Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

tis (nearly!) the season: winter wedding tips from dine

October 31st, 2017 | Julia Braime

The Mansion at Roundhay Park

Though the cold weather can be a turn off for some couples, winter actually has a lot to offer brides and grooms-to-be.

With celebrations by candlelight, those tying the knot during the colder months of the year can piece together a warming and luxurious big day, complete with hearty food, fine tipples, opulent décor and elegant attire.

So as the temperatures drop, and the nights draw in, we’re in the mood for some comforting winter wedding inspiration, with all the necessary elements covered for an atmospheric big day that gives a sophisticated nod to the season.

And here to provide such details is Matt Jones, managing director of award-winning catering and hospitality company Dine, which caters for more than 200 weddings each year – making him well-versed in seasonal celebrations…


Mark Newton Wedding Photography

Matt says: As any expert or newlywed couple will know, venue hire can often be one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding. However, if you’re looking to cut the costs while still getting married at your dream venue, winter can be the perfect season. With less demand in winter, venues may offer off-season rates, made even cheaper if you go for a mid-week rather than weekend wedding. Winter may also offer greater availability for both venue and other suppliers meaning you may be more likely to book your dream venue than another more popular season.

With its large windows looking out across the beautiful Roundhay Park, Dine’s venue The Mansion offers the perfect indoor setting for your winter wedding. The Greek Palladian style, Grade II listed building offers several ceremony and reception rooms of varying sizes enabling you to hold your wedding ceremony and breakfast in the same building. Whichever room you choose, they are guaranteed to remain warm and toasty throughout your day whilst affording you some great views.

As the bride and bridesmaids can get ready in The Mansion before having both the ceremony and reception in this stunning building, there is no worry of arriving windswept or snowed on. Situated in the rolling 700 acres of Roundhay Park, The Mansion also offers the opportunity for magical winter wonderland photography.

food & drink

Dine's festive plum and date pudding

No matter the season, food and drink is one aspect that can make or break a wedding. The coming of winter means warming and hearty food that will leave a smile on the faces of your guests.

When guests arrive at your venue why not greet them with mulled wine or warming sloe gin? Guests will be grateful for this warm welcome to your wedding and it will leave them in a good mood for the ceremony and reception. If your guests include children try serving fun coffees and teas or luxurious hot chocolate for a family friendly alternative.

Whether you’re going for a festive theme or not, the food served at your wedding should be comforting and sustaining. After standing outside having photographs taken, your guests will very much appreciate comfort food that will bring them back up to temperature.

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your day, your way: making it personal

October 2nd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Pic 3

Image source, Photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography

A wedding is the ultimate form of self-expression that a couple can make. Not only is it the one day where they formally declare their love and commitment to one another, but it’s also a chance for them to showcase who they are, individually and a as a couple, and share the memories they’ve created together so far.

That’s why, when it comes to the finer, smaller details, these can sometimes be more telling, more intimate, and more personal than the grander, sweeping statements made around the choice of venue, the colour scheme and so on.

The table names, the favours, the guest book, even the entertainment and those special extra touches you plan – they all make your wedding, yours. So, don’t overlook these – they’re the really important entries listed in your wedding planner.

As such, we’re today exploring just some of the ways you can inject your personality and interests into your big day and make it a memorable one for you and all your guests.


Pic 2

Image source, Photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography

First things first, an overarching wedding theme can be a catch all means of making your wedding personal to you and knit together all the different elements of your day. A nod to a Celtic heritage, a love for travel, a passion for a local football team, a special era such as the 1920s – whatever allows you to showcase ‘you’ is a great starting point.

Your table names are one of the simplest ways to make a personal statement – think about sharing your favourite holiday destinations, your favourite books or musicians, or something that relates to a shared hobby. Your centre pieces and place names can also tie in with this.

Many couples take a DIY approach to their wedding table plan and the box that houses their wedding cards. And instead of a guest book, why not create a jigsaw of a special photograph, and ask your guests to leave a message on each piece?

Pic 1

Image source, Photography by Ginger & Lime Photography

You might want to create a montage of photographs too showing you both in your early childhood and then chronicling your time together. Another special touch is to feature wedding photos of your parents and grandparents, or loved ones who are sadly no longer with you.

As for other decorations in the venue – what ambience do you want to create, and what expresses you as a couple? Do you consider yourselves as laid-back cultural enthusiasts, sporty and adventurous, or nomads forever indulging in your wanderlust? Think about the lighting, flowers and foliage, and other props that can help express your ‘vibe’ as a couple.


Pic 4

Image source, Photography by Jessica O’Shaughnessy

Here at Brides Up North, we’re always intrigued by the vast assortment of favours handed out at weddings. Gone are the traditional sugared almonds and instead, guests are presented with chocolates, macaroons, candles, scratch cards, wooden hearts, homemade jam, glow sticks and even a donation to a charity on their behalf, close to the couple’s hearts. The question is, what small gesture encapsulates you both, or ties in with your wider wedding theme?

food & drink

Pic 7

Image source, photography by Bethany Clarke

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spot-on setting: top tips for picking your wedding venue

September 26th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Andie Freeman Photography

Andie Freeman Photography

This afternoon we’re handing over the blog to our lovely guest writer, Izzy Hicks of our media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine, to share her wedding-planning pearls of wisdom with you lovely brides-to-be!

For today’s post, she’s talking venues, and offering advice on the various elements to take into consideration when searching for the perfect place to host your big day celebrations…


Lara Frost Photography

izzy says: Your wedding venue is one of the most important parts of creating your day, as it can totally change the feel, size and style of your wedding depending on what you pick. As such, here are my top tips for choosing the perfect setting for your special day…

Peppermint Love Photography

Peppermint Love Photography

style in mind

When discussing your ideal wedding, you and your partner have probably got an idea of how you want the day to feel, and may have started thinking about colours and décor. How formal would you like it to be? Which season are you considering? Are you thinking rustic or glamorous? All these factors can help you narrow down which venues you view, and find the picture-perfect setting for your wedding day.

wedding season

Your chosen wedding season will have a big impact on your wedding venue, and therefore the look of your day. If you’re dreaming of a winter wedding, then don’t let the rose garden or the outdoor ceremony space sell you into a venue, as it’s likely it won’t get put to use in the colder months. Instead, opt for rustic spaces that will look elegant lit by candles or fairy lights. Equally, if you’re planning a summer celebration, then make the most of venues with natural light and garden features, but ensure there’s enough indoor space for all your guests if the weather turns sour.

Shane Weber Photography

Shane Weber Photography

size matters

The size of your venue (and of your guest list) can make a real difference to the feel of your wedding. If you love the idea of an intimate wedding with all your loved ones close by, then picking a smaller venue can help you get that feeling – think about a beautifully-decorated restaurant, wine cellar, or pub if you want a wedding day with a cosy feel, rather than booking a larger space that will feel empty. Alternately, brides with masses of friends and family attending may prefer a large, glamorous ballroom with high ceiling, which won’t be overwhelmed by a large group, or even a festival-style wedding outdoors with plenty of space to spread out.

what’s important

Focusing on areas that you know you and your partner want to make the most of on your big day can help you find the perfect setting. For example, if you’re live music fans and want a rocking dancefloor all night, then be on the lookout for venues with raised stage areas and generous noise allowance. If you’re both foodies who are dreaming of a wedding feast, find a venue with lots of outside space for food trucks, or built-in pizza ovens or outdoor fire pits. If you know you’ll have elderly relatives or lots of young ones at your day and your priority is making your family comfortable, keep your eye out for easily-accessible rooms, comfortable seating or children’s play areas.

Daz Mack Photography

Daz Mack Photography

go non-traditional

You may feel that stately home, barn and marquee are your only venue options, but these days plenty of couples are thinking outside the box when it comes to their wedding setting. Consider a zoo or aquarium, quirky museum, art gallery or warehouse. If you want something meaningful to you both, why not ask the school where you met, or the place you got engaged if they can do weddings?

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seasonal inspiration: dine’s top tips for an autumn wedding

September 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

With extensive views across Roundhay Park photo opportunities at The Mansion are in abundance

The unpredictability of the British weather means that couples are looking beyond the key wedding season for their big day, opting for an autumn or winter date instead.

Low lighting, cosy venues and warm comfort food, can make celebrations at these times of the year more appealing to some brides and grooms, despite the shorter days and lower temperatures. So, as we head towards the end of summer (or what was supposed to be!), we thought it was high-time for some autumnal wedding inspiration, which comes courtesy of our fabulous Sponsor, award-winning hospitality and event management company Dine.

Established in 1998, Yorkshire-based Dine caters for more 200 weddings a year as well as offering exclusive private dining. Through its stunning portfolio of venues, the team provide event services for organisations ranging from English Heritage and the National Trust, to the owners of some of the UK’s most notable private houses, providing a varied choice of beautiful big day settings.

For this afternoon’s post, we’re welcoming Dine’s Managing Director, Matt Jones, to the blog to share some of his top tips for planning a wedding at the most colourful turning of the seasons.

The Greek Palladian style, Grade II listed building offers several ceremony and reception rooms


Matt says: With the right forward planning, marquees can be a great year-round alternative to an indoor venue. With cooler weather in prospect, your event planner will include heating and flooring in your marquee to ensure you and your guests are warm and comfortable, even if the weather isn’t ideal. While Dine boasts spectacular sites for a marquee, an at-home wedding can be the perfect option to enjoy an intimate and relaxed day.

With a marquee being the ultimate blank canvas, an at-home wedding often feels more informal and rustic and vintage themes can be used to create an even more welcoming atmosphere. Encouraging your guests to get involved and create decorations or provide flowers can also make your day, and venue, feel even more special.

With the leaves turning red and gold, an indoor venue might not feel like the right space to take advantage of the gorgeous colourful backdrop. However, choose a venue set in acres of parkland with large picture windows and you have the perfect compromise between taking the guesswork out of the weather and making the most of spectacular views and autumnal scenery.

With extensive views across the 700 acres of Leeds’ Roundhay Park, photo opportunities at Dine venue, The Mansion are in abundance. The Greek Palladian style, Grade II listed building offers several ceremony and reception rooms, all with large windows offering fantastic vistas over the park. The private terrace is the ultimate spot for the bride and groom to steal a few minutes together and take in the autumnal colours.

Plants with little to no foliage help to bring the outside in while keeping links with autumn and the wedding inside

food & drink

Autumn menus are all about taste and satisfaction. Warming, layered flavours incorporating plentiful seasonal ingredients are fundamental to ensure your guests are left feeling satisfied. This is even more important as the weather turns colder.

If you’d like to carry the autumnal theme through to your menu dishes, seasonal British produce is at its best just now and an autumn wedding is the perfect opportunity to showcase the very best in the larder. Rich meats like venison, duck and beef are versatile and readily available. Try them in a terrine of duck confit to start, and beef wellington or roasted fillet of venison for a hearty, seasonal main that are sure to delight your guests.

British fruit and vegetables are also in abundance in autumn, fantastic for a side to your flavoursome main or as the star of a dish. Perfect with strong cheeses, apples can be used in any course. For a twist, why not incorporate this classic British fruit into your starters with a Yorkshire blue and leek terrine with a Granny Smith jelly. Or if you’re looking for a richer vegetarian dish, why not take advantage of the abundance of mushrooms available in the UK and treat your guests to a brioche of creamed wild mushrooms with a garlic and shallot hollandaise.

Although often overlooked, cocktails can be a wonderful way to incorporate seasonal flavours. Hot, mulled apple ciders, sloe gin and whisky sampling take the chill off, while nut-based liqueurs like amaretto provide a seasonal base for autumnal cocktails.

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hot topic: picking your bridesmaid a-team

August 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh


Mike Plunkett Photography

They’re your go-to girls, your support squad, a crack team of commandos who pop up like a flash mob to help you shop, craft and uncork the wine when it’s most needed – but how to go about actually choosing your #bridesquad? Here at Brides Up North we’ve mulled over one of Weddingland’s biggest dilemmas – who makes the bridesmaid cut? – so you don’t have to. We’re nice like that…

take time out

Chances are, the minute you got engaged you were tempted to shout the news from the rooftops – or at the very least, your Facebook page. And that’s all part of the fun but, be aware: as soon as you do, expectations and questions begin to build. Don’t succumb to the pressure: choosing the team that will surround you and support on one of the most important days of your life is a humongous decision – not one that should be rushed.


Mike Plunkett Photography

where loyalties lie

Do you choose your official bestie who dates all the way back to Brownie camp but lives 200 miles away, or your new partner in cocktails and crime who’s only been your sidekick for the last couple of years? Your sister, even though you usually brawl like Noel and Liam Gallagher on a night out? Your boyfriend’s cousin – even though she’s a bit wild and unpredictable and, err, odd – because you know it’ll delight your MIL-to-be?  What counts for more – 20+ years of friendship, blood ties or an Excel spreadsheet competency that means your hen do will go without a hitch?

There are no easy decisions here, ladies. Often brides have to consider family loyalties, how futureproof their friendships might be and what their potential bridesmaids can bring to the metaphorical planning table. It’s a tough one – hence, take a deep breath, make a list and get thinking.


Kazooieloki Photography

the line of duty

One way of clarifying these questions could be to look at the expectations you have of your bridesquad. Will you be bitterly disappointed if they don’t come to every bridal boutique, every fitting and organise a raucous girlie weekend in Ibiza? Perhaps your cousin who lives on the Isle of Man with three kids isn’t the best choice, then – or maybe she is, but you need to scale down your expectations of her.

A good rule of thumb if you’re choosing a team of girls is to look for balance. Someone might live a long way away from you, but you know you can’t live without her support on the big day. Your little sis might be a bit scatty on the organisational front but will be on-call day and night and knows all the uber-cool gin bars in your hen do destination city. Yin plus yang = happy bride.


Daz Mack

the money question

Many brides choose and pay for their bridesmaids’ dresses, while others ask them to choose something they feel comfortable in and foot the bill, but the uncomfortable truth is that being a bridesmaid can often cost – whether it’s the flights to Ibiza, a night in an expensive hotel before the wedding so that you can all wake up in the same place or forking out the petrol for several trips to your hometown for venue-scouting. Of course, many of your best girls will be more than happy to do this – but it’s something you might need to be sensitive about if one of your chosen maids is struggling for cash.

There’s also the question of cost for you, too: while it might be The Dream to have your whole secondary school hockey team to back you up on your big day – yup, all ten of them – those dresses (and shoes and gifts and personalised morning robes for the wedding photos of your girlhood imaginings) aren’t going to pay for themselves. Make sure your planning is within your budget – so keep the numbers and head for the sales, or cut the numbers and go designer.


Sean Elliott Photography

the bottom line

And lastly, don’t confuse any of the the following for valid reasons why someone should be part of – or out of – your Big Day Girl Gang:

  1. She asked you. When it comes to being a bridesmaid, there’s no obligation to return the favour.
  2. She’d look super-cute in the colour you’ve chosen. If that’s all you’re going on, it’s definitely a no-no.
  3. She’s a he. Is your bestie a guy? Then go for it. As long as he’s not an ex – even the most accepting of husbands-to-be might find that one a little tricky.

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eternal elegance: key ingredients to a classic big day

August 23rd, 2017 | Rachel Parry


Pixies In The Cellar

On our pretty pages today our guest writer, the lovely Carrie Marsden of media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine, is covering off all the elements you need to achieve an elegant big day that the cast of Made in Chelsea would approve of. So, grab your notebook ladies, as there’s lots of ideas, tips and tricks to jot down…

Carrie says: Speaking with our beautiful brides, there remains one essential and recurring theme that unites them all: they want their big day to be elegant. Whatever else the day includes, it must, at its core, be elegant. Now, we love the ‘next big thing’ as much as you do – and we’ll forever remain unashamedly excited by unique and intriguing twists and turns on a classic theme – but it’s still the classic theme that we return to, ever faithful and as lovestruck as ever, time and time again. And as we all know… true love lasts a lifetime.

Words like ‘traditional’, ‘classic’, and ‘elegant’, in the wonderful context of weddings, need celebrating and honouring – and just maybe we have taken this theme for granted. We need to remind ourselves just how beautiful these weddings are, not as staples but as ‘stand-outs’ in their own right. As a theme, the traditional British white wedding deserves its moment in the sun. And so here it is, our fabulous guide to achieving the ultimate traditional and elegant, classic white wedding…

Pic 5

Sally Eaves Weddings

the venue

Escape city chaos for country chic and you’re halfway there already. A classic wedding positively cries out for a sensational stately house backdrop. I can promise you the wedding photos won’t disappoint and you’ll never regret it, plus, many wedding venues can accommodate guests and give great deals for the bride and groom on their wedding night too (four-poster bed anyone?!).

Top tip: Make sure you make lots of visits beforehand with your photographer to scout out the best sites for unforgettable shots of you and your new husband, as well as the best places for group shots.

Pic 6

Laura Calderwood Photography

the photographs

Candid, informal shots can be truly joyful but don’t dismiss more conventional wedding photography out of hand (back in vogue in recent months). Give a little nod to tradition on your big day and consider asking your photographer for long-established shots, the perfect mementos and keepsakes of your big day and guaranteed to make you smile for years to come. We love shots of the dress, the car and a troupe of little ones.

Top tip: Don’t forget to ask your photographer to capture the groom and best man waiting (patiently!) for the bride before she makes her grand entrance – we love the sense of nervous excitement and there are always some crackers of the guests too!

Pic 4

Helen Russell Photography

the decor

You have two rather wonderful options here. Keep your look quintessentially British and elegant and let the magnificence of your stately backdrop do all the talking for sensational, stunningly simplicity, or view the backdrop as a blank canvas to tailor to your individual taste. Both effects are striking; keeping the dining area predominantly cream and using neutral tones will let the beautiful cornicing and ornaments speak for themselves, and dressing up what’s already there can be a fabulous way to personalise the whole look for a memorable, holistic ‘feel’.

Top tip: The Union Jack instantly brightens up any stately home, and this injection of primary colours keep things fun as well as classy. Make sure you ask the venue in advance whether you can start dressing up their antique, stuffed polar bear!


ER Photography

the finishing touches

From the cake to your bouquet to your veil and tiara, it’s in these final flourishes that the theme ‘classically elegant’ finds full expression. Nothing ties a theme together like these little details. We love a hand-tied bouquet in contrasting white blooms and green foliage, and a traditionally tiered wedding cake always looks big-day ready.

Top tip: Proper lighting is a must for any stately venue. Picture your venue at dusk and ensure the cake, in particular, has effective lighting. Consider using gilded mirrors or a backdrop of fairy lights to ensure your cake gets the attention it deserves. Adopt the mantra: ‘Use more fairy lights’ and you can’t go wrong!

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