October 31st, 2017 | Julia Braime
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…
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.
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.
September 25th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
While the warmer months of the year remain the most popular time to marry, winter weddings are certainly on the rise with some couples preferring to embrace the cooler temperatures rather than rely upon the unpredictable British weather to come good.
Today’s couple tied the knot during the first week of January, giving them and their guests a fabulous celebration to look forward to beyond Christmas and New Year.
Rebecca and Alex’s big day is the epitome of elegance with a stately home setting, chic colour palette, classic blooms and gorgeous attire. We particularly love Rebecca’s Augusta Jones dress, complete with a dreamy ballgown skirt – just perfect for twirling around the dancefloor!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Mark Newton Photography.
rebecca says: We got engaged at home in April 2015, and set the date for Saturday 7th January, 2017. As Alex works abroad and has limited time at home we were forced to have a winter wedding, but we embraced this.
We had both the ceremony and reception at The Mansion in Roundhay Park, Leeds, which is owned and operated by Dine. We needed somewhere which had enough indoor space to easily accommodate all of guests for the whole day, as we knew with a January wedding time spent outside would be limited.
The general feel of The Mansion is luxurious, grand and special. This is carried over into the food and drinks that they serve, which also played a big part in our venue choice. The team’s attention to detail is exceptional.
We chose dusky lilac, silvers and navy blue as our colour scheme. We wanted the wedding to be traditional in style, and quite wintery.
I chose a gown by Augusta Jones, which I found at The Swanky Bride, Kirkburton, Huddersfield. I tried on approximately 20 dresses, but was struggling to find anything that I thought suited me without looking overly fussy, as I am quite petite, so decided to try a simpler style. My chosen dress was a plain satin strapless ballgown with a sweetheart neckline. It had a sheer overlay skirt which added a bit of interest without being fussy. I added the lace top later as I wanted to be slightly more covered up for the ceremony.
Catherine Elizabeth of York, did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and makeup. Her team made the morning of the wedding so relaxing and the makeup looked natural. We were ready on time with no stress or worries.
July 25th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
When Rebecca and James’ Christmas wedding dropped into our inbox we simply couldn’t believe our luck. In Rebecca we saw a kindred spirit: a girl hell-bent on gorgeousness, glamour, sequins and a festive berry lip. Plus, she tells a blummin’ good story, not just spilling all the pretty details (obvs) but also gets across a real sense of the laughter and love they shared with their guests on the day. All the goosebumps.
Our highlight? Well, that Ritva Westenius gown is a beauty – a slinky statement of a dress with a simple, timeless silhouette – and the gallery setting is something very special indeed – but if the Brides Up North team could direct you to just one detail it would be that makeup. An education in how to do bridal glamour right there. You’re very welcome.
With images by Shane Webber.
rebecca says: We got engaged in 2015 while on holiday in Singapore (this makes us sound very extravagant – it was a treat!) We were sitting drinking cocktails at the long bar in Raffles (as you do), munching away on the complimentary monkey nuts (as you do), when I looked down to see that one had a ring around it. Cue floods of tears from me for the next hour – the poor barmaid didn’t know what was going on. It was a complete surprise (although there may have been some, ahem, gentle encouragement from me in the months proceeding) and the happiest moment of my life (pre-wedding!)
Initially we looked at a September wedding, but struggled to match up availability of our venue and the registrar. I also had a niggling idea about a winter wedding that wouldn’t budge…after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and wails of “But I thought we’d agreed September!” I think it was actually James who first said “well, what about Christmas?” And that was that. We had a hankering to do something just a little bit different and we both love the festive season, so it felt perfect.
We had both the ceremony and reception at the Manchester Art Gallery. We really wanted to get married in the city centre as it’s local to us, and we both love the paintings there. We looked at a couple of other venues but when we went to look round the Gallery, James (not normally the world’s most effusive about these kind of things) turned to me and said: “I actually feel a bit excited!” I could’ve hugged the woman showing us around! It’s a beautiful building inside and out and such a privilege to marry there.
We loved the idea of an elegant, glamorous theme with a touch of Gatsby. With the ceremony being later in the day at 4pm and the time of year, this theme worked really well. We considered a black-tie dress code for guests but James wasn’t sure. In the end our invites said: “It’s Christmas, it’s evening, so feel free to throw the glitter around and GO ALL-OUT GLAM’”. Sums it up, really!
So the colours? Hints of gold, sequins and dark jewel shades for the best men. And the ‘feel’? Glamorous, warm, festive. We wanted our guests to feel special and essentially have a fantastic pre-Christmas party!
I chose a simple but elegant dress by Ritva Westenius from Isaac Charles in Poynton. It was a sample on its own in the store and when I tried it on I loved how I felt in it. Because of our theme I really wanted something that felt glamorous and luxurious (…and a bit sexy, as I said to my slightly bemused mum) The store and staff at Isaac Charles were lovely and I’d definitely recommend them to any brides-to-be.
James, the best men and both our dads wore elegant white dress shirts, black trousers and velvet dinner jackets from Reiss. The boys wore black and James’ was a dark blue just to stand out a little. They all had contrasting silk scarves, pocket squares and bow ties. I absolutely loved it; they all looked so handsome. James was really keen for something a bit different but also a ‘non-traditional’ suit (that could be worn again for special occasions) and I think he nailed it.
The bridesmaids wore floor-length gold sequinned gowns from Jenny Packham at Debenhams. I had such a strong idea of what I wanted them in that we ended up getting their dresses before mine. Thankfully, they liked them! They both looked so beautiful. Amina at Stockport Wedding Services did a great job with alterations for us all.
June 5th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Quirky and fun was the order of the day for teacher couple Andy and Sammi’s winter wedding. After an early morning visit to the registry office decked out in Christmas jumpers, this unconventional pair headed to 18th century corn mill, Fishlake Mill, for their stunning outdoor ceremony lit by candles and fairy lights.
Guests enjoyed a hog roast, a shot cake, hot chocolate and mulled wine and the entertainment just kept coming with a live band, a magician, photobooth and a string quartet. Phew – sounds exhausting!
No wonder bride Sammi says it was all a “bit of a blur’”. Here, she tells us more…
With images by Lara Frost Photography.
sammi says: We got engaged in the Lake District. We’ve been visiting the Lake District during October half-term with family every year since we met, and hope to continue this tradition for many years to come.
On this particular visit, we had a week with family and then a week on our own. On one of the days it was particularly sunny, so we went on a long walk around Elterwater. Looking back, the day was filled with many opportunities for a beautiful proposal up on the moors with stunning views. After sitting on a rocky ledge admiring the countryside with the sun setting for an abnormally long amount of time and a very tense Andy… we went home.
Following this, we then went to an incredible Michelin starred restaurant (which was amazing despite feeling slightly out of place with our strong Yorkshire accents – barely understood by the poor waiter – and complete cluelessness about half of the items on the menu which led to a lot of nodding and smiling). Not that we were too concerned though, as a few drinks helped us blend into our swanky surroundings rather quickly – in our eyes. It was a fantastic evening and has left us with lots of memories. Still no ring though…
Finally, on the journey home, I was really cold and asked to borrow Andy’s coat. He refused, because of the ring in his pocket. As we got to the edge of the lake where our lodge was, he got down on one knee and proposed. Although it wasn’t quite what he’d originally planned, it was still perfect.
Our wedding date was 21st December 2016. We chose the date partly because it fitted with the school holidays – we’re both teachers – and partly because we liked the idea of a winter wedding but mostly because we loved the idea of getting married as the sun was setting with lots of fairy lights and candles (and a more flattering light for photos).
We got married at Fishlake Mill in South Yorkshire, as they had a beautiful pagoda and would let us have our ceremony outside in mid-December – no matter what the weather (we were hoping for the best). We did the legal bit at the registry office early that morning with two witnesses, all dressed in Christmas jumpers. We didn’t consider this as our ‘official’ ceremony, although it technically was.
To us, our ‘actual’ ceremony was led by a close family friend, Andrea Bonser, a celebrant who made our ceremony quirky and humorous – perfect, we thought, to reflect us. Also, she too was willing to marry us at 3.45pm, outside, mid-December no matter the weather.
The theme? As I said, we were going for quirky and fun. Hopefully it came across like that, anyway. We aimed for a less formal affair than normal, starting our wedding at 3.45pm and, rather than a sit down meal, we had a hog roast. We changed quite a lot of the traditional elements; instead of a fruit cake, for example, we had a ‘shot’ cake, which seemed to go down well and certainly settled our nerves.
I wore an ivory drop-waist dress from It’s Bliss Bridalwear. I chose it as I thought it was wintery in style and matched our loose theme quite well. For shoes, I wore black sparkly wellies and warm, fluffy socks when outside and some little sparkly heels for inside.
Andy wore a tweed three-piece suit and a bow tie from Moss Bros.
May 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
The sun may be shining outside, but for today’s real wedding we’re focusing on an elegant Christmassy affair, perfect for those of you in the midst of planning a classy winter wedding.
Sophie and Callum were wed at the stylish and striking Matfen Hall in Northumberland – sold to Sophie on the basis of its jaw-dropping entrance staircase for the bride’s grand arrival.
This gorgeous couple opted for an elegant celebrity-styled vibe with black and white tuxedos, a Cinderella-esque princess gown and luxe favours. They also remained true to themselves, however, with their favourite chocolate Krispie slices transformed into the wedding cake of their dreams.
Sophie balanced big spends with some judicious bargain-hunting, and making savings on details like her dress helped her budget for big splurges – like a visit from some real-life reindeer. Yes, you read right – real-life reindeer!
So, sit back readers and enjoy Sophie’s gorgeous winter’s tale.
With images by Philip Ryott.
sophie says: We got engaged on Callum’s 21st birthday. It was the night before we flew to Dubai for two weeks and I’d booked a stay at Jesmond Dene House with a surprise afternoon tea with our parents.
Callum seemed nervous and, just as we were having tea, a couple had came in with the wedding planner. I commented, “Aw, how sweet! They’re planning their wedding!” Everyone suddenly seemed keen to change the subject, which I thought was a bit strange but didn’t think too much of it.
After our parents left we went back to the hotel room for a bath and to get dressed for dinner. Callum was looking at me with so much love throughout the evening and it was a gorgeous night. After we came back to our room, he suggested going onto the balcony and drinking some champagne. I agreed and went to get comfy – taking off my makeup and getting into my dressing gown – whereas Callum stayed in his suit and waistcoat!
I went back out to the balcony and he was sitting there with champagne looking gorgeous. He spoke to me under the moonlight and went back over all our special memories of early dates, fancying each other in school and holidays we’d been on. Then he said, “You know, I’m 21 today. I’m officially a man. I’ve got something to ask you”. I couldn’t contain my emotions and started to cry as he got down on one knee and asked me if I would do him the honour of becoming his wife. It was so beautiful, emotional and personal – and, of course, I said yes!
We were married on Thursday 1st December 2016. We chose this date because I loved the idea of a magical Christmas wedding – what better day than the 1st December?! It’s the start off the official countdown to Christmas, everyone is in good spirits, Christmas music can officially be played and, of course, advent calendars!
We were married at the gorgeous Matfen Hall. I heard someone say that of all the venues they’d been to, Matfen Hall had the grandest entrance for the bride – so I had to check it out!
As soon as we entered the Great Hall we got goosebumps and a sense of ‘this is it.’ It has a traditional church-like atmosphere with its high ceilings and stained glass windows; you definitely get the feeling that a lot of beautiful things have happened there over its history. I loved the staircase entrance, too – I mean, wow! What a statement! I had real nerves walking down there to greet everyone but the excitement and anticipation was just amazing.
The Matfen Hall team were incredible, especially Victoria Paterson (wedding planner) and Peter Dawson (master of ceremonies). Their hard work and care to every detail, enquiry and question was just outstanding. Such down-to-earth, lovely, lovely people who went so far beyond their role. I can’t thank or praise them enough.
We chose to have an elegant winter wedding theme with a Christmassy touch. I wanted the colour-scheme, decor, favours, chairs, tables – everything, really – to be very classy – with whites, silvers and sparkles. My Christmas touch was brought to life with real reindeer from Santa’s Reindeer based in Birmingham! I’d never seen reindeer before and had always wanted to; I’ve always believed in their magic and what better day to see them than on your wedding day?
Of course, my family thought I was bonkers! But my mantra is, “You can’t put a price on memories!”
I also had a reindeer-themed seating plan made by my friend Shawnee Quinn, and the tables were named after Santa’s reindeer. We had advent calendars as favours and snowflakes for name cards and the children had mini Santa hats.
For my dress, I originally wanted a fitted, possibly mermaid-style, beaded gown and – like most brides – I ended up with the total opposite! The wedding dress outlet store WED2B had recently opened in Gateshead so we tried there first.
My cousin and matron of honour Kelly pulled out a dress that was totally different to what I’d said I wanted – it was plain and Cinderella-style. But when I saw it I just felt something. Then I tried it on and, well, wow. I felt like a real bridal princess, like all the Disney princesses in one; I couldn’t stop smiling! They added the veil and the embellished belt and I just knew. My mam and maid of honour (who’s like a brick when it comes to emotion!) started to cry. Later, my fantastic dressmaker Kayleen added a five-layer tulle train with crystals scattered along the back and sides.
April 18th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
We’re easing you back into the four day week by featuring the beautiful big day of Danni and Rich, who tied the knot last November after more than six years together.
They exchanged vows in their parish church in Melbourne, Derbyshire, and then celebrated at one of their favourite local venues, Amalfi White – a stunning restaurant and cocktail bar complete with a contemporary ballroom.
We just love the couple’s special touches throughout the day, which included a nod to their love of books, and also lots of glorious sweet treats in the form of a dessert table.
Wih images from Ragdoll Photography
danni says: Rich had a ring, ready to propose for a while, so when we booked a last-minute trip to Rome in June 2015, he decided to pop the question, which was incredible! We’ve been together for over six years (four-and-a-half when he proposed) so we’ve always talked about it, but it still took me by complete surprise. I’d always said please, please do not propose in front of anyone, so he tried a few times in various super romantic locations but every time he was about to get down on one knee (unbeknown to me) a crowd of people would come along. In the end, he proposed in our hotel room at the end of a perfect evening. I was in my pyjamas but immediately after saying yes got dressed and we went out for champagne.
We got married on 25th November 2016, which has always been a special time of the year for us. Our first date was on 22nd November 2010 and Rich’s mum’s birthday, who sadly passed away ten years ago, would have been on 27th November. So, this date was a way to honour Rich’s ,um.
We tied the knot in Melbourne, Derbyshire, which is the village we live in. We got married at Melbourne Parish Church. Angela, the vicar, is amazing (she was extremely patient with me when I sobbed my way through our vows) and we were so glad that it was her who married us.
Our reception was at The Ballroom at Amalfi White. It’s where we celebrated buying our first home and is literally our local as it’s along the road. We wanted a very relaxed day full of lovely food and drinks and our favourite people so it felt perfect to be somewhere we loved and where we would feel comfortable.
We didn’t have a particular theme. Overall, we just wanted it to be relaxed with great lighting so that it felt atmospheric and romantic. The combination of chandeliers on dimmers, light-up ‘love’ letters and candles as table centre pieces looked beautiful together.
We knew we wanted to entwine our love of books into the day and do this in a subtle way. Our table names were Minas Tirith, Hogwarts and The Shire (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter references) and we had quotes from F Scott Fitzgerald (our new surname is Fitzgerald) dotted around.
We’re also Christmas fanatics, so Amalfi White put the Christmas decorations up and we had some of our favourite Christmas songs on our playlist in the evening.
There was no particular colour scheme. I don’t like anything to be ‘matchy matchy’ so all of the bridesmaids wore different dresses in complementing shades and we kept decorations soft and neutral. We used burgundy ribbons in the flowers and burgundy ties and pocket squares to give a bit of depth and winter warmth to the neutral colour palette.
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