June 29th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
As we find ourselves at this sensationally sunny mid-point of the year it’s time to reflect on the on the words of wisdom shared by the fabulous brides who have featured on the blog so far this year.
There is certainly nobody better to advise you on how to handle the run up, as well as the big day itself, than those who have been there, done that, said the ‘I dos’ and worn the Jimmy Choos. As such, we’ve picked out top 20 pearls of wisdom that we consider golden to assist you on your planning journey; from recruiting the right suppliers and avoiding a dress shopping crisis, to working as a dynamic duo and really making the day your own!
So readers, prepare to take note as these fully-fledged brides complete the following sentence – “My top tip to other Brides Up North would be…”
Click on the links to see each wedding in full.
Louise says: Firstly, enjoy every minute of the planning as well as the big day. Don’t over think things. Set your budget but when you see something you really like, go for it. I think you can spend so much time scrutinising everything and it can take over your life. Secondly, don’t leave yourself too much to do in the last week before the wedding. The build-up was such good fun and we loved spending that time with our family and friends before the big day. We also used Brides Up North in the lead up to our wedding to help with the planning – I followed the Instagram account (and still do!) We also read the wedding blogs on the site as it is a great way to get ideas – and who doesn’t love to hear about other people’s wedding stories?! We used the online supplier directory as a sense check too.
Sarah says: Don’t stress about the little things; as long as there is good food, drink, dancing and good company you will have the best day regardless.
Rachael says: Enjoy the process of organising the wedding as much as you can. It is such a busy and, at times, stressful experience worrying about making the right decisions and trying to keep everyone happy, but it is also a really special time and one that doesn’t last forever, so make the most of it. Ultimately, it’s your day and, as long as you do what makes you both happy, you can’t go wrong.
Jemma says: Take your time and don’t get stressed! Start planning early and do bite sized tasks bit by bit so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Jessica says: I would strongly recommend getting a venue decorator/stylist. It’s easy to think that it’s easier to do it yourself but it was so reassuring to know that we could enjoy the day before without worrying about centrepieces. Oh, and get married early – it gives you loads of time to chat to everyone!
Jen says: Follow your gut and do what feels right for the two of you. Make sure you push to have an occasion that is personal and keep it fun. Everyone says it, but the day itself goes so fast, take some time to be together and sit back for a minute to look around. The ceremony is the best bit, so don’t forget about it in the planning madness!
Nic says: Do everything together. People often say that planning a wedding is stressful. It’s as stressful as you choose it to be! Make all the decisions together, split the workload and be decisive.
Kathryn says: Don’t let the rain ruin your day! It rained all day on our wedding day, but it didn’t matter in the slightest. I’m so happy we decided to embrace the rain and head into the woods for some photographs, as these ended up being some of my favourite photos of the day. The rain makes everything look so fresh and the colours look so beautiful in our photos.
Emily says: Get a wedding planner as they are well worth the money. They keep you on track and have great recommendations; they know what suppliers you can trust and also help to keep everything on track on the day of the wedding itself. I am an extremely organised person so thought I could do it on my own, but my husband convinced me we needed a planner and I am so thankful he did!
June 19th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
image source, photography by Carly Bevan Photography
So, you’ve chosen your venue, decided on the date, picked your colour palette and drawn up your guest list. Dress dilemmas are done and dusted, and you’ve selected which gal pals will accompany you down the aisle (still agonising? Check out our tips!). You’ve painstakingly worked your way down the wedding admin tick-list, from the cool stuff – food, music, entertainment – to the not-so-cool stuff – insurance and checking the venue’s PAT testing requirements.
If that’s the case, then bravo and a big shiny gold star for you! And we have good news: it’s time to take a break from all the adulting and spend some time indulging in the frivolous – but fun – details. We’re talking about the kind of finishing touches and frippery that won’t necessarily make or break your day (or your budget, for that matter) but are nevertheless important to you. These little features are often used as a way to make your celebration more personal, more poignant or simply to pump up the wedding wow factor.
So how to make your big day stand out from the rest?
image source, photography by Weddings by Smith
Maybe I’m just a weird stationery fiend – always a possibility – but I find that there are so many ways to incorporate little personal paper details into your big day. I’ve been to weddings where origami decorations (flowers, rainbow-coloured cranes) featured heavily, paper pompoms, lanterns and streamers provided a colourful (and cheap) decor hit, and place settings and table plans and numbers/names were creatively inspired. Plus, any excuse for a creative get together and cava – oops, I mean crafting – session with your pals, eh?
image source, photography by Pixsmiths Photography
Couples who put thought into their favours just make us squeal with their cuteness. They don’t need to be expensive – bottles of Bolly and Creme de la Mer products might be affordable for Kimmy K, but not for us mere mortals – so get your thinking caps on. My favourites from recent years have included a pork pie wrapped in floral fabric, gingerbread men from a local bakery, Jameson miniatures from a fellow whiskey-loving bride and Nutella tubs with guests’ names on the label. What’s personal to you that you haven’t seen before at a wedding? I feel a spider diagram coming on….
image source, photography by Bethany Whittaker
Another detail we love – guest books with a twist. Colouring in charts, polaroid or photobooth sessions, date and anniversary ideas, advice for a happy marriage, memory requests, song recommendations – they all get a thumbs up for individuality and creativity from us. Could your venue or interests lend you some inspiration? One couple I know who married in Newcastle’s Baltic modern art gallery asked all of their guests to draw a self-portrait of themselves and stick it to the glass walls, later putting all of the pictures together into a book. It was a great ice-breaker activity on the tables for people who didn’t already know each other and caused a not-insignificant amount of hilarity – bonus!
image source, photography by Bethany Whittaker
It used to be that brides and grooms thanked their mums with a big bouquet of last-minute lilies and that was that. Well, no more. Bridal party gifts are another area where the bride gets to go off the beaten track and have some fun. You can go personal – family pictures from the past turned into a beautiful photobook? – or poignant – an engraved locket with a snapshot of the two of you? Maybe she’d appreciate a massage to unwind from all of the stress of the preparations, or perhaps you could book an afternoon tea for the two of you to debrief and share photos a few weeks down the line. The same goes for your #bridesquad, #groomsquad and all of the others who’ve lent a hand, an ear or a wedding car for the big day – think personal and be creative.
image source, photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography
We look at a lot of pictures of cake (I know, it’s a tough gig) and, by default, lots of cake toppers. It’s clear that this is an area where brides and grooms express their individuality, straying far from traditional couple figurines. We’ve seen Lego people, knitted creations, superhero motifs and even beloved pets rendered in icing. What tickles your fancy?
Also, we’ve lost count of the number of brides who declare their dislike – or their husband’s lack of enthusiasm – for a traditional fruit cake with marzipan icing. The cake flavours described on these hallowed pages, from chocolate orange to pink lemonade, reflect the individuality of each couple and make us drool with worrying regularity. But who says you even have to have cake? We love it when brides demand something a bit different: a favourite family pudding, a humungous cheeseboard or a croquembouche – or an entire wall of doughnuts?! Now we’re talking!
March 22nd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
It’s time to say a huge ‘welcome!’ once again to the newly-engaged amongst our readers – a big, pink, sparkly Brides Up North congratulations to you all (psst! Did you know that our very own lovely Rachel joined the ranks of the betrothed over the Christmas break? Catch up on the first instalment of her wedding diary here if you missed it!)
Even if your organisational OCD gives Monica from Friends a run for her money, the reality of planning a wedding can feel a little daunting – ok, let’s be honest, terrifying. There’s so much to consider – Venue! Guest list! Photographer! Entertainment! – and so many people, well-meaning and otherwise, clamouring to give you their esteemed opinion on all things wedding-y.
Enter Brides Up North **curtsies** – we’re here to share everything we know about wedding planning like a pro and put it all into some kind of more easily-digestible timeline rather than a constant stream of random demands that you find vying for your brain’s attention at 4am.
So if you missed Part 1 – all the first stage essentials of date, venue, guests, budget and photographer – have a read here. Otherwise, it’s onwards to the pretty!
Now that you have a season and venue in mind, you can start thinking about the specifics of your wedding day theme – in fact, if you’ve been true to yourself in your choice of venue, the chances are you’ve already thought about it!
No one wants a cookie-cutter wedding exactly the same as the last, but there are definitely broad wedding styling themes that run through even the most personal of big days. If you’re both fans of the outdoors and have chosen a venue that reflects that – a barn, a marquee at home or in a farmer’s field for example, you may find that elements of a natural, organic, woodland wedding theme start to sneak in – rustic log slices, pine cones, greenery, hessian and so on. Treat it like a buffet, though – you don’t have to have it all, just choose the bits that really take your fancy! Of course, this is just one theme of many; we pride ourselves on featuring a range of wedding inspiration on the blog, from laid-back cool to vintage glamour and from clean and contemporary to timeless fairy-tale elegance.
Believe us, there’s a lot out there, so go on and get inspired. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Pinterest is your friend, check out our pretty boards here. Get onto those wedding and photography blogs and give that pinning finger some exercise to get some big, broad ideas fermenting.
What’s the difference between theme and styling? Well, this is where things get a bit more specific. So, theme-wise, you and your beau might opt for a vintage winter wedding, and your styling takes your research and ideas to the next level. You’ll need to think about a colour-palette that matches theme (oohh, amethyst and fuschia?), start considering broad dress ideas (Beading galore? A 1920s dropped waist? A super-sparkly headpiece rather than a veil?) and how these could be reflected in other areas of the wedding planning; from favours to font styles on stationery. And speaking of stationery…
It’s become more common for couples to send out a Save The Date card (or photo, or magnet, or whatever you like, really) even over a year in advance so that guests have ample notice of their intention to tie to knot. Of course, you don’t have to rely on mail if you don’t want to (although pretty paper always gives us a buzz) – there’s the option of a slick We’re-Getting-Married website where you add more details over time and you have the option of changing the design as your planning – and styling – develops.
No, not the partner of your dreams – we’re pretty sure you’ve sorted that one already – but rather the dress of your wildest imaginings. Most bridal boutiques recommend you start the search for your dress 12 to 18 months in advance in order to leave time for ordering, alterations and fittings ahead of the big day. We’d certainly recommend you getting stuck into window shopping sooner rather than later so that you get an idea of the range that’s out there and set up some bridal boutique appointments – be warned that in popular stores, weekend appointments are often booked up weeks in advance.
December 20th, 2017 | Julia Braime
It’s time for us to slow things down here at Brides Up North HQ and wish all of our readers, clients and friends a very merry christmas!
We’ll be back in the New Year with our double daily dose of wedding inspiration, lots of brand new and old favourite (and more epic than ever) bridal shows, new projects and schemes (always thinking!) and some brand new web spaces to share (all the eeks and whoops and whathaveyous)!
As always, whilst we’re off necking the prosecco and scoffing the mince pies – and hopefully finding some of the goodies from this morning’s post under our trees (can we hint enough people?!) – we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule as we recap our 10 real wedding picks of 2017. Pop back in everyday from 27th December to see which weddings gave us that extra “ooh!” and to see if your big day is featured again.
Meanwhile, we’re finishing our year of blogging ‘proper’ with what’s always one of our very favourite posts as we look to our featured brides from the latter part of 2017 to pass on their gems of wedding planning advice to those of you soon to be saying your “I dos”.
These gals have only recently experienced the emotional rollercoaster of organising a wedding, and so we think they’re best placed to share a few words of wisdom that could help make your big day all the more amazing. From tips on where to spend the budget and how to allocate duties to others, to some pretty awesome ideas on how to make the proceedings personal to you and your partner – our #Bride(sUpNorth)Squad has it covered!
So, notebooks at the ready as our wise brides complete the following sentence – “My top tip to other Brides Up North would be…
love, julia, rachel and the team x
Donna says: If you are doing a DIY wedding, planning all the minute details in advance (although laborious) is really useful to ensure you can completely relax on the big day. There is an impossible amount to remember, things will be forgotten in the rush of the day before – and day of the wedding itself – so where possible assign specific tasks to people in advance and give specific instructions. Have checklists but, above all, if things don’t go exactly to plan on the big day – don’t sweat the small stuff.
Abigail says: Think about yourselves! Take a step back and worry a little less about pleasing everybody else, think about what makes you laugh, what you love about each other and how you want to celebrate that. Focus on making memories together, with your friends and with your families. Let go of your dress, let it get dirty, dance until your hair gets loose, cry until your make up smudges and don’t be afraid to take a little time out in the day for the two of you. One of the best things we did was organise a family get together after our church rehearsal, the night before the wedding – that way we were able to get our ‘hellos’ and introductions out of the way before the big day – it really helped us relax on the day itself.
Jane says: Suppliers get booked up very early, so make sure you have done your research and booked them in ASAP. You don’t want to lose them to another couple! Also, have a list of the photos you want on the day to make sure they are taken, get a good night’s sleep the night before the wedding and – most importantly – have fun!
Rebecca says: Keep a wedding spreadsheet to stay on top of your budget, guest RSVPs and then to keep a record of gifts to help you out with the thank you cards afterwards. Though, be prepared for the wedding spreadsheet to become your nemesis in the final weeks before the big day. Also accept it’s probably quite normal to argue about lots of things during the planning! Finally, an “oh my God I’ve made the wrong dress decision/will look terrible/have not spent nearly enough time in the gym” moment (or three) just before the wedding is normal (or it certainly was for me!). But trust me, you will look the best you ever have, and you’ll not give a hoot on the day itself!
Laura says: Be realistic about how much things cost. At first, we looked into doing things a bit more cheaply but, to be honest, it really wasn’t worth it for us. Try not to argue about the guest list and, most importantly, try to take a step back from everyone during the day. Even if it’s just for ten minutes, it’ll allow you to enjoy each other’s company and look on at the amazing day you’ve both managed to create.
Clare says: If you want to do something, go for it! People will tell you not to worry about the details, that no one will notice them – but if it’s important to you, that’s all that matters.
Fern says: Accept that there may be problems but if you surround yourself with trustworthy people they will help in any way possible. Also, definitely ask suppliers about who they would recommend as it takes the stress out of the searching. Finally, I’d recommend taking out wedding insurance. We got ours from Debenhams and also got a gift voucher from them. We didn’t need to use the insurance, but it gave us peace of mind.
Kerry says: Get a good photographer, and allocate a decent budget for photos because it’s the thing you have afterwards as a reminder of the day.
Christina says: Do the planning together. Nick and I made every decision together, because wanted the wedding to reflect ‘us’ as much as possible. We even broke a few traditions here and there: Nick helped me to pick my dress, and I helped with his suit. As a result, though, there were no nasty surprises ahead of us and we both felt so proud at the end of the night.
Zorina says: Have a mid-morning wedding. The day goes so quickly that having an afternoon wedding simply isn’t long enough. I’d also say get a videographer – it’s one of our big regrets that we didn’t. Also, ensure your photographer will be there from getting ready to the disco.
Melanie says: Enjoy every second of the run up, as much as the day itself. We loved the menu sampling, meeting the florist, picking songs for the string quartet and outfit appointments, and didn’t feel stressed at any point as we just wanted to enjoy everything.
Dawn says: At the wedding breakfast, we didn’t have a top table. We just had a table for my husband and I, which was so special as we got to have our first dinner together without trying to talk to everyone on the top table. Try as you might, you cannot please everyone so the best thing to do is please yourself, it’s your day and it goes fast, so have everything that you want – even if it’s not conventional.
Fiona says: Listen to your suppliers. You chose to work with them for a reason, and they really know their stuff. Secondly, tell your story. Your wedding is about you and your partner bringing together all of your loved ones. A lot of people will have a lot of opinions and suggestions – but make sure the day speaks to both of your characters, as that’s what people are there to witness and celebrate.
Natalie says: In the run up to the wedding, I read lots of the real weddings on Brides Up North, which really inspired our style for the day. I also attended the wedding fairs – it was great to see suppliers and their products in the flesh!
Rosie says: Don’t let other people influence your decisions. When I said that I wanted the ‘Ritz in the Woodland’ theme, people said I was crazy. I ended up having the perfect day because I stuck to what I wanted.
Emma says: Share the day and get everyone involved. We had people collecting jars and gin bottles for months, everyone helped us get the venue ready and we really made it a family affair. It makes it really special and everyone takes ownership of the day. Then, when it’s a success, everyone feels delighted! Also, if at all possible, make a weekend of it. It creates a sense of community and allows everyone to relax. Plus, it’s so much fun and it all doesn’t fly by like everyone always says!
Aimee says: Make sure you get a good best man and bridesmaids. Our best man was fantastic for us on the day, organising everything behind the scenes and really going above and beyond. It ensured we could concentrate on really enjoying ourselves and not worrying about all the things we’d booked going to plan. We made it our mission to have a good time and because we did, everyone else followed suit. Also, make sure you are first for the food in the evening. Too many brides and grooms miss out on this because they are working the room and hosting too much.
Rebecca says: Do it all your way. There are no rules when planning a wedding, so don’t do something just because it’s what normally happens. If you don’t want speeches, don’t have them. If you want ice cream, burgers, cake and pizza (in that order), go for it! The most important thing is that you both have fun.
Alana says: You don’t have to break the bank to get the look you want – where you can, source your own ideas and search to get things within a budget. We spent a lot of our budget on the venue, as we fell in love with the beautiful setting. We created our theme around what we love, and decided that we wanted a chilled-out, relaxed fun atmosphere. We sourced as much as possible ourselves, and searched for the right style of clothes and decorations, which kept costs down but also linked up with our style.
Jess says: Our top tip to pass onto other couples came from our celebrant – ask the venue to arrange a little room for you to disappear into after the ceremony. Take five to ten minutes with your new wife/husband just to enjoy each other’s company and take it all in. The day flies by so make sure you stop to be in the present and appreciate it.
July 17th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
One piece of precious advice from our featured brides that comes around time and time again is “make it your own”. But with wedding inspo coming at you from all angles, it can sometime be a little tricky to know how to put a truly personal stamp on the proceedings.
Luckily for our readers, we just happen to know an expert in this area who is a pro at taking wedding styling to the next level of gorgeous, while it still remaining a reflection of the happy couple. So please prepare to take note as our wonderful Sponsor Louise Hughes, the fabulously stylish event designer behind One Stylish Day, takes to the blog…
louise says: When browsing Pinterest and Instagram, you’ll see the same wedding trends come up over and over again. They may look fabulous, but are a bit, well, ‘done before’. You want to create a dream day that will surprise and delight your guests. So, how can you design a wedding day that doesn’t look like all the rest? Here, I share my top ten tips for creating a wedding day that is both achingly stylish and completely personal to you…
Know the difference between trends and style
The key difference between trends and style is that a trend is for everyone, whereas style is deeply personal. Trends can be fleeting but style has longevity. Great style has confidence and authenticity – focus on finding your own personal wedding style for a truly unique day.
Identify your Couple Style
Think beyond superficial fashion or design details to get to the heart of what makes you tick as a couple. Are you fun-loving explorers or city dwelling culture vultures? Are you famous for your cocktail parties or kitchen table suppers? The wedding style should be comfortable for both of you and reflect both your personalities.
June 16th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North HQ our features schedule is fully charged, so that we never knowingly miss an opportunity to bring you beautiful wedding inspiration twice a day, every weekday (and sometimes bonus blog posts at the weekends too). The only exception to this rule is our bi-annual break, to re-charge, re-assess and re-focus our efforts to keep bringing you the most precious wedding pretty from our corner of the internet.
We’ll be taking our leave for the next fortnight, leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule that will make sure that you still get your daily dose of #weddinggoals, recapping some of our favourite real weddings of the 2017 so far. Check back daily for the most beautiful, unique and inspiring celebrations, and if you’re a Brides Up North bride, to see if your day was one of our top picks!
We’ll be back soon with a shiny new features edit; to announce some exciting finishing touches to our upcoming autumn events schedule; finish off what looks set to be the super glossiest issue of our print baby, Unveiled magazine, to date and oooh… maybe, just maybe, a whole new look for Brides Up North!
Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017, and in the meantime, you can contact us here.
But we wouldn’t just stick the out-of-office on and leave it at that. At this halfway point through the year (yes, we can barely believe it too), we’re looking to our fabulous featured brides from the first half of 2017 to share what they consider to be the best pieces of advice with those of you soon to be walking down the aisle.
After all, these ladies have been there, done it and got the ring, so can offer words of wisdom on everything from dress shopping, suppliers and venues to emotional advice and tips on how to remain composed (Bridezillarma can strike at any moment!).
So ladies, grab a notebook and pen as these clued-up brides complete the following sentence – “My top tip to other Brides Up North would be…
love, the team x
Click on the links to see each wedding in full.
Chloe says: Think about what you want and try not to get sucked into the ‘wedding must-haves’. Lots of people asked why we weren’t ‘having this’ or ‘doing that’, but we stuck with what we wanted our wedding to be and we were so glad we did! Also, use Pinterest to collect lots of ideas, but don’t feel too disheartened when you can’t use them all.
Niamh says: Remember that making a wedding your own doesn’t have to cost the world. Small touches are often what people remember. Some of the nicest touches we had cost next to nothing.
Sarah says: Visit your venue lots and take photos; I found the hardest thing was dressing the venue. Also, buy what you can and do some yourself; it’s very satisfying seeing it all on the big day and knowing you did it.
Katie says: Firstly, find your bridesmaid dresses early! We planned and delivered our wedding in nine months flat and the fact that I wanted different dresses and colours but couldn’t get them on the high street as I had hoped made it more complicated. Next, stick to your guns/gut. I’m not saying be a birdezilla but be really clear about what you want, this is too special and over too fast to not be the way you want it. Also, make lists of the photos that you want and try to ensure that they are taken, and perhaps have the day videoed. I didn’t think I was bothered about that but then there’s so much you just don’t remember when you look back on it because it is such a blur or emotion and adrenaline. Finally, chill and enjoy it.
Rachel says: If you want to save some cash and do some DIY décor, have a crafts party with friends – things can be done so much quicker in groups and it’s lovely to involve your mates!
Rowena says: Make sure you find the time in the day to spend a few moments together – it would be very easy to barely talk to each other after your vows! We had a ‘sweetheart table’ instead of a traditional top table, which meant we got to spend some time just the two of us during the wedding breakfast, and could watch and take in all our family and friends enjoying themselves!
Samantha says: Enjoy the planning and preparation leading up to your special day, it all becomes part of your fond memories of your wedding. I am a very organised person and began planning almost immediately after setting a date. I really enjoyed the planning stages of the wedding but my husband knows that I am very indecisive. He suggested that once I had made a decision, I was not to change it, and not to look for an alternative. And that is exactly what I did. I have no regrets.
Charlotte says: Don’t be scared to go a bit crazy and have everything you want. You will (hopefully) only get married once. It will be one of the most important days of your life and you shouldn’t hold back. A little bit of extra saving and making small sacrifices is totally worth it so that you can have no regrets. Also, don’t get too stressed out about anything. Take each stage in your stride and treat each bit of the planning like a mini-experience in itself – oh and, make sure you enjoy the free champagne everywhere you go!
We strive to represent the very best in our industry, but Brides Up North cannot be held liable for the products/ services of our sponsors. Any bookings are made at your own risk. Terms & Conditions.
All images © Brides Up North/ original author. Images should not be reproduced without written permission. Terms & Conditions.