February 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This morning, I gave you the heads up on some of my very favourite Yorkshire venues, and I’m swinging by this afternoon with a special treat for one lucky couple from my friends at Dine At The Mansion.
I work really closely with award winning event caterers and venue managers Dine at their venues (check out our fantastic exhibition schedule here) and so I’m really proud to help them unveil their beautifully refurbished Garden Room Restaurant at this iconic Leeds venue with this special competition.
I have a feeling that love is in the air…
My friends at Dine would love you to join them to celebrate St Valentine’s Day with dinner for two at The Mansion, their beautiful wedding venue in the heart of Roundhay Park.
For one lucky couple, the evening is on them – just like the Dine Facebook page & share their Valentine’s Competition image for your chance to win.
Happy St Valentine’s y’all!
Love, julia x
Competition closes at midnight on 09/02/15. No cash alternative. Prize includes dinner for two from set menu. Prize does not include drinks. Dine At The Mansion Ltd’s decision is final. Winner to be notified via Facebook by Dine At The Mansion Ltd.
February 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Feature in Belle Bridal Magazine
It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it! As the editor these pretty pages I spend my days immersed in designer look books, wedding magazines and glued to my computer screen tracking down the latest trends and ideas in the wedding world, so my readers don’t have to. I also spend a lot of time meeting with industry insiders to discover the best services, shops and venues for brides based in the North of the UK. Super sleuth that I am, Belle Bridal Magazine sent me off to Yorkshire early last year with one mission, and one mission only – to check out their best wedding venues and come back to divulge all.
This county has so many stunning spaces for weddings and events that it’s almost impossible to choose between them (that venue hunt might take a long time!) but I share my top tips from the article – plus a few more favourite places – below.
Think Yorkshire and what comes to mind? Flat caps, rolling countryside, whippets? You’d be right, but as well as the ale and Yorkshire pud, this beautiful county – named as the top European destination by Lonely Planet for 2014 – is also fabulously diverse. Yes, it has it’s fair share of pubs (not necessarily a bad thing, more on that later) but it’s also home to stunning vistas, crumbling stately piles, chic city venues and fairy tale castles. There’s plenty to discover, but these are some of my very favourite spots.
Allerton Castle by Chris Chambers Photography
allerton castle (Knaresborough)
With seriously impressive features and beautiful surroundings this 18th century gothic castle will take your breath away. Dine, the Yorkshire based experts in providing exceptional weddings and events, work in partnership with the Allerton Castle team to deliver faultless perfection to ensure your wedding is special.
the mansion (Leeds)
From The Mansion‘s tree-lined drive to the sweeping staircase, panoramic park views and immaculately restored interior spaces, this exclusive use, boutique venue is wedding day perfection. One for the fashionistas, this city chic space has a stellar reputation for fantastic events and wedding
The Mansion by Joel Skingle Photography
swinton park (Masham)
This privately owned hotel is the perfect romantic retreat, and good food is guaranteed, for as well as fine dining Swinton Park boasts its own cookery school! Set in 200 acres of parkland, this secluded, ivy covered castle provides the perfect setting for a fairy-tale wedding. And if it all gets too much for you, just head to their superb spa… bliss.
hotel du vin (York)
This beautiful hotel in York city centre is housed within a Grade II-listed building that dates back to the early 19th century. With 44 stylish bedrooms and suites, trademark bistro, bar and private dining rooms along with a terrace, courtyard and inner forum for alfresco dining Hotel Du Vin York is a cool and contemporary sanctuary within the city’s ancient walls.
the feversham arms (Helmsley)
Cosy yet contemporary, this former public house and secluded luxury retreat in the market town of Helmsley is perfect for a boutique wedding. With stunning menus and an award winning spa, I’d have the honeymoon at The Feversham Arms too!
thorp perrow (Bedale)
An authentic private stately pile, with amazing manicured gardens and space for a grand marquee, this beautiful property wows all year round, but my top tip is a springtime celebration when the bluebell walk at Thorp Perrow will be in full bloom. Divine!
Middleton Lodge by Hayley Baxter Photography
middleton lodge (Richmond)
Fancy your own country mansion for your wedding weekend? Middleton Lodge has that covered. Boasting Yorkshire’s only outdoor licensed space in the midst of rolling countryside, Middleton Lodge and its 250 acre Georgian estate offers the perfect setting for a traditional country wedding party with a modern twist.
denton hall (Ilkely)
An authentic stately pile, nestled right in the heart of God’s own county, Denton Hall offers an idyllic rural settic in 2,500 acres of stunning private parkland. Just add your own Mr Darcy, and you are good to go!
East Riddlesden Hall by Lissa Alexandra Photography
east riddlesden hall (Keighley)
With ceremony space in the Great Hall of this historic Grade I house and a reception for up to 180 in their fabulous converted barn, the National Trust estate at East Riddlesden Hall offers plenty of options for creating a bespoke and beautiful day.
bolton castle (Wensleydale)
Bolton Castle is a spectacular medieval fortress, preserved in outstanding condition and situated in the heart of peaceful Wensleydale. For a celebration full of atmosphere, Bolton Castle has to be at the top of your wish list.
Braime Pressings by Lee Scullion Photography
braime pressings (Leeds)
Ok so, I’m a little biased, but this authentic vintage venue in the heart of Leeds has been in my husband’s family for 125 years and only now is it open to the public for weddings and events.
The working factory’s stunning listed canteen, used to host public meetings and dance parties during two World Wars (with a separate upper floor for ladies!), has stood almost untouched for 50 plus years. With its original historic features, marble bar and parquet flooring, Braime Pressings offers a completely unique space for wedding celebrations.
the kp (Hull)
A stylish and contemporary space that can accommodate up to a whoopping 400 guests, The KP is one fabulous blank canvas for a bride and groom who want to create their dream day.
Priory Cottages by Helen Russell Photography
priory cottages (Wetherby)
Like a little piece of Provence in Yorkshire, this exclusive use barn and marquee venue is my destination of choice for summer soirees, and oh so cosy for winter weddings too. A huge bonus is the cottage accomodation on site at Priory Cottages which means that you and your party can make a whole weekend of the festivities.
oulton hall (Leeds)
With impressive grounds and an incredible 18th Century mansion on your doorstep, it’s hard to look past Oulton Hall. Factor in the serene spa space and beautifully manicured golf course for him indoors and I’m pretty much sold.
Nostell Priory by Peter Boyd Photography
nostell priory (Wakefield)
Space for ceremonies in the huge house, an outdoor drinks reception in the rose garden or orangery and a wedding breakfast in the newly refurbished riding school, beautiful Nostell Priory has it all. Set in gorgeous National Trust grounds and with the fabulous Dine events team on site, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.
the deep (Hull)
The Deep is one of the most exciting aquariums in the world, home to a whopping 3,500 fish including a pair of Green sawfish, magnificent sharks and rays, but also one of the coolest wedding venues in the UK. Make a splash by choosing somewhere completely different for your celebration.
Check our Brides Up North Directory for more brilliant venue ideas in Yorkshire and beyond.
January 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Lets get this week off to a swinging start, shall we? Vanessa and Andrew chose to go for Gatsby glitz for their speakeasy style wedding at East Riddesden Hall.
The gin might have been flowing, but nobody was feeling melancholy on Vanessa’s big day – add some super styling, fabulous florals and a dress so good it had to be worn twice, and you’ve got one helluva party.
And as we all know, a little party never killed nobody!
With images by James & Lianne.
vanessa says: Andrew asked me to marry him during our annual ski holiday in 2013. We were staying in the French resort of Morzine when Andrew, with massive help from our friend Dan at The H.O.F.N.A.R Experience had arranged a surprise picnic at the top of the mountain overlooking Switzerland to celebrate our two year anniversary.
Afterwards, when Andrew was packing up the picnic in the snow, he was down on his knee and pulled out the engagement ring (which he had designed himself) and asked me to be his wife, to which I said yes. Unbeknownst to me Andrew had already asked my traditional father for my hand in marriage on a ski lift days earlier and him, my sisters and brother were waiting at a mountain bar further down the hill with champagne waiting for our arrival to celebrate!
It was the perfect proposal!
Our wedding was on the 2pm on the 13th September 2014. You know what they say about the 13th being unlucky for some? Well we are the opposite! We met on the 13th through an online dating service, we found our and moved into our dream home in Harrogate on the 13th so there was no other date would have chosen.
We got married at Christ Church on The Stray in Harrogate. It’s a beautiful church set in a great location, nestled in an area of calm just outside the centre of the town.
Our guests were then whisked away on vintage buses to East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley. East Riddlesden Hall has always been a perfect venue in our eyes, as when we initially talked about wedding venues both our answers were that we would love to have our reception in an old barn. We spent days scouring the internet looking for such a venue with little success. We eventually stumbled across East Riddlesden Hall through our photographer’s website instantly knowing that this was the place for us.
Our theme was Great Gatsby glitz meets underground prohibition. We both love gin so we had the tables named after different gins and an old crystal decanter filled with gin on each table with bowls of lemons and an individual bottle of Fever Tree Tonic at each place setting. There was even a cocktail table where you could mix the gin and make a Vansoire or a Bob Roberts cocktail.
The colours were dark grey and mint green as they work really well together in contrast. Andy used it on our invites, table plans and other stationery and designed it all himself.
I had a beautiful Claire Pettibone dress. I couldn’t stomach the full cost of a brand new one, so I bought it second hand from a lady who was selling hers on a preloved site. The only downside was I had to try it on for the first time in a grotty train station toilet – it just made the experience even more memorable!
I carried a bouquet of Sweet Williams, ivory Roses and some very special Patience Roses from Nicolla Florist in Wetherby.
Our attendants wore their own outfits. The two best men wore dark grey suits and the bridesmaids wore mint green and charcoal grey – all different makes and styles.
Our photographers were James & Lianne – we found them online and had a real affinity with their style of photography. We wanted laid back and natural and that’s what they provided – beautiful, natural contemporary photos – we even had some taken with a vintage 1930’s camera which we adore
The reception flowers were amazing – we had a huge mix of flowers from pampas grass and gold sprayed baby’s breath with peacock feathers and willow branches. All our reception flowers were supplied by Emma’s Home & Garden.
Mel Brooksbank at stylemywedding.co.uk designed the whole look of the day – all the props and little touches were all made possible by her – she set up the whole venue and rents out all the props from her collection. It completely took the stress away on the day and made it all look magical.
We wanted our guests to have a good time so we spent a lot of our budget on food and drink. GFS Catering did our food – we had a mix of canapés with Pimms and Saltaire Brewery Ale on the lawn before a main course of BBQ food including ribs, chicken & chorizo skewers and a selection of salads and sides. For pudding we had a trio of mini lemon cheesecake, crème brûlée and chocolate brownie.
Our friend recommended the caretaker’s wife at a local school to make our mountain scene cake – it had a chalet, hot tub, piste, gin, BBQ and our little car – she’s incredibly talented! Andrea Anderson isn’t a pro but she should be.
We are famous in our friendship group for BBQ’s so we made our own BBQ rub and packaged it up in test tubes for our guests to take away as favours.
Andy also had a box of Romeo & Julietta cigars which we handed out after dinner.
We had outdoor games, a coconut shy, croquet and boules.
One of the best bits was the dress-up box and frame – we hired old vintage fur stoles, hats and gloves and everyone dressed up and took pictures with our instant Polaroid camera.
Alex Graham & The Concords play outside Harvey Nicholls every Christmas and one year I stopped and asked them for their card, vowing they would one day play at my wedding, then one day they did. They play proper rock n roll and also some of the new stuff – they had the crowd in the palm of their hand and everyone was up dancing the night away
Emma and the wedding team at East Riddlesden Hall are so helpful and friendly – they try to embrace people’s ideas rather than impose rules and regulations like at some venues. It’s a National Trust site so the grounds are beautiful and well kept. It was also excellent value for money.
We loved driving over from the church to the reception in the Aston Martin, just casually driving through Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales with the music up loud and celebrating being newlyweds in style!
For our honeymoon we went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy and travelled around Positano, Sorrento, Capri and Ischia. Our favourite stop was The Relais Blu Hotel near Sorrento but Capri was stunning – if you haven’t been already you must go. We were lucky enough to see the fireworks festival in Ravello which was an amazing experience.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to pick the three most important elements for the wedding and concentrate your budget around them. Ours were food & drink, the band and the venue. For example, I was looking at chair covers but Andy pointed out that for the same price of the chair covers we could have an extra 30 bottles of champagne. Needless to say we went without chair covers in the end and I didn’t even notice!
Try not to look at too many options as it’s easy to confuse yourself – try or get quotes from a maximum of 3 places. 3 venues, 3 dress shops, 3 caterers… otherwise the planning can be all consuming.
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November 12th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
When Brides Up North got a stylish new look we promised some fab new content to match. One of the new features we will be bringing to our pretty pages is the insider, a series focused on the all important venue hunt, where we will go through the doors and over the thresholds of some of the finest wedding venues in the North.
Within these posts, brides on the lookout for a stunning location to tie the knot can discover what hidden gems lay nearby whilst finding out, from those who know it best, exactly what the venue has to offer wedding couples and what sets it apart from all the rest.
Today we are starting with the gorgeous Hodsock Priory in North Nottinghamshire. Having grown-up just a stone throw away from this venue, I know firsthand just how truly magical it is.
Set with 800 acres of wonderful countryside, the historic country house is famous for its Snowdrop Garden but Hodsock holds a lot of beauty within as well. So at this point I will hand over to Helen Leach, who looks after the marketing of Hodsock Priory, to reveal more about that beauty I speak off.
Image by Andy Hook Photography
Where is Hodsock Priory located?
Helen says: On the border of South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, two miles from the A1 at Blyth, near Worksop.
Tell Brides Up North about the venue, what is its history?
Lived in by the same family since 1765, as you walk through the archway of our Tudor gatehouse, you enter a truly peaceful place and will see why so many couples immediately fall in love with Hodsock. We’re a family-run wedding venue, following the tradition of the great family weddings held here over the centuries. The garden, which was landscaped in 1820s, is lovingly tended to daily and surrounds the Priory, which has an impressive 36 chimneys.
What facilities does it have and do you cater for weddings?
Yes – we actually only offer weddings and each one has exclusive use of the house and gardens. There is a bridal suite and two guest rooms in the main house, ten bed and breakfast rooms, a 120-capacity dining room with a dance floor, bar, library and floodlit gardens.
Is Hodsock Priory licensed for civil ceremonies?
It most certainly is.
Image by Andrew Fletcher
What makes Hodsock Priory a special wedding venue and sets you apart from others?
Couples love the history, peace and privacy of Hodsock Priory. Also that fact that it’s family-run and we specialise in weddings – it’s all we do!
What sort of bride would be a Hodsock Priory Bride?
A Hodsock bride enjoys affordable luxury, has an eye for detail and wouldn’t say no to a glass of champagne on the floodlit Italian terrace.
Image by Barnaby Aldrick
How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing? Do you work with trusted suppliers?
We have fine-tuned our trusted suppliers to the ones who offer the same personal service as us and know how to pull off a show-stopping wedding without breaking the bank. Our weddings manager, Lynda Pepper, is always showered with thank you cards from newlyweds and their families after the care and attention she gives each Hodsock couple and puts into the smooth running of their wedding. She’s there for our couples from their first viewing to the day after their – see what they say about her here.
Can guests stay over at your venue? If not, can you recommend accommodation nearby?
Both – we have 13 amazing rooms on site, plus five good local hotels we recommend. Inside Hodsock Priory the sumptuous bridal suite and two guest rooms (the Blue Room and the Green Room) are located at the top of the grand staircase. Further bridal party accommodation can be found in the Courtyard B&B, a former dairy, which has ten apartment-style rooms with ensuite bathrooms, kitchenette and living areas.
Image by Andrew Fletcher
Any really memorable weddings at the venue?
Check out Hodsock Wow Weddings .
Just the other day a couple named Sami and Chris tied the knot here. It was one of the most truly magical and romantic weddings we’ve ever had the pleasure of hosting – you could really feel the love.
We also had a lovely couple called Will and Sarah’s whose Narnia-themed 1940′s wedding was so memorable. It was a brilliantly playful theme and they were deeply creative using everything, from decorative lampposts and fur-filled wardrobes, to ration books as their order of service. The autumn colours in the gardens complemented the theme and the house was transformed, we felt like we had gone back in time.
Any funny stories to share?
Playing the Jaws theme tune as a bride’s entrance music.
Image by Barnaby Aldrick
Tell us about your catering services? What makes them special?
We have three of the best local caterers lined up to provide the best service and food for our couples. What grub you choose for your wedding is one of the most important decisions – we arrange a personal meeting with the caterer, florist, cake maker and DJ for each couple. We have a carefully selected wine list we have put together with our caterers so you know you’re in good hands. Our bar is open throughout each wedding as part of our service – it’s a beautiful room and our staff are friendly and relaxed with everyone they meet.
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price or any special packages available?
Our all-inclusive Grand Wedding Package for £15,500 includes exclusive venue hire, a drinks reception, three course wedding breakfast with wine and toasts for 60 guests (£60 per head thereafter to max 120), your flowers, wedding cake, seating plan, place names, DJ with mood lighting and a night’s stay in our bridal suite.
Where can we get more information/ contact the venue?
Telephone: 01909 591 204
Do you have any bridal/ special events or open days coming up shortly that my readers should know about?
We have an open day on Sunday 28th December, 2014. During the event couples can see the venue set up for a wedding day with tables laid, music playing, flowers in place and candles lit. They can also meet George, the owner, and have a private tour or a chat by the fire over a glass of fizz.
Is there anything else that Brides Up North should know?
We have the luxury of not being a hotel and being able to walk in the opposite direction of the crowd. At Hodsock we only do weddings and because it’s also where we live, we think it’s really important that everyone who comes to Hodsock has an excellent time. We see it as a great privilege to be at the heart of a landmark occasion in a couple’s lives and if it’s important to your family, it’s important to our family. We’ll look after you and give you a day to remember.
October 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I honestly can’t quite fathom it, but our very last Brides Up North event of 2014 is upon us. What an abso-effin-loutely amazing whirlwind of a season it’s been. Our best yet.
But we’re going out in style, with more than a good sprinkle of vintage sparkle! *Does dance* The finest North West vintage wedding industry talent will be descending upon The Bowdon Rooms, Altrincham, for our fourth Luxury and Vintage Wedding Exhibition at this unique and authentic vintage venue next Sunday 2nd November 2014!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a bit of a party…
the bowdon rooms
Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition
The Firs, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2TQ
Sunday 27th April 2014
12pm till 4pm
This brilliant, exclusive use venue is as fun as it is special, with it’s high ceilings, sparkling drapes, ornate fireplaces and perfectly sprung dance floor. Dancing shoes at the ready! If you are looking for a bespoke and private wedding venue with a little added period pizazz, it’s your lucky day.
We’re giving away up to 150 free Bride To Be goody bags, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our sponsors John Lewis Cheadle & Love Hearts. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.
While stocks last only.
We had such a fantastic time at our last three events at this beautiful venue – these images were snapped by Martin Hambleton Photography – and can’t wait to do it all again, with a host of great suppliers ready to make your big day into the stuff of your dreams.
Like everything vintagey, these events just get better and better with age. It’s going to be even fabulous this time around. You need to be there.
The venue’s helpful team will be on hand to answer your queries and take bookings (form an orderly queue please!) and I’ll be there to talk wedding pretty till I’m hoarse. I genuinely love this venue and am really excited to see my gorgeous readers there. Please do seek me out and say hello, I adore hearing about your plans.
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