November 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
^another no-makeup selfie for the archives^
I’m hoping that this quick blog feature – fired across the internets courtesy of East Coast Wifi – will make it onto your screens this morning, but as I’ve spent 24 hours without coverage back at Brides Up North HQ due to some BT mast works, and the usual dip-in, dip-out nature of on-train signal, confidence isn’t at an all time high. Fingers crossed.
Another week, another journey to the smoke, and this time for the esteemed Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards. We are absolutely thrilled to have been nominated as best wedding blogamong a really glittering line up of top blogs, and can’t wait to celebrate with our industry colleagues this evening.
Tonight’s just a little bit special.
Not only are we up for the Award, but we’re also using the occasion to celebrate a fabulous 4 years in business (my pride in which I talked about yesterday, before the lines were cut!). My husband – usually on babysitting duty when I’m on official blog business – is my date for the evening, and I’ve been promised Champagne, whether we win or not!
I’ve also got a really very lovely outfit for tonight, and I’ve the privilege of being dressed by two of my wonderful sponsors, the gorgeous Charlotte Balbier and Charlotte Mills, both of who are up for their own accolades this evening. Both have reworked some of their beautiful bridal designs in sleek and chic jet black, just for me.
I’m one very lucky girl, I know. I’ll be tweeting lots of piccys later, plus all the gossip from Perfect Wedding’s jazz-era inspired soiree. Make sure to watch our Twitter feed this evening.
I’m signing off for now, and hoping that the Wifi Gods are looking favourably on us…
Wish me luck!
November 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Can you believe our pretty little corner of the internet turns 4 years old this week?! I hope you’ll join me in a glass of something fizzy as we say happy birthday Brides Up North!
It’s been another amazing year here at wedding blog HQ, and I still have to pinch myself when I think how far we’ve come from the first few tentative posts tapped out in my spare room during the summer of 2010. We “launched” – and I use those inverted commas very seriously indeed – on the day of the Royal Engagement that November to almost overnight success (ever the opportunist!), and I’ve never looked back. After leaving my job as a lawyer the following autumn to concentrate on expanding the blog and brand on a full time basis, our first events season swiftly followed in the spring of 2012. Now three years, six seasons and almost 60 events down, I think I deserve our fourth birthday cupcake!
Usually, when people look back from a milestone, they say things like “It’s flown by!” or “It seems like just yesterday that…”. Well, this is absolutely not the case for me. I’ve (we’ve, for I’ve a fabulous little team around me now) have packed so much into the last four years that it feels like forty. It’s been hard work. Writing, sourcing, editing, styling, planning, selling, promoting, producing, managing, directing… it’s been busy. But it’s been amazing.
I’m so grateful for the way in which this industry and our brides have supported what we’re all about here at Brides Up North. We love stylish weddings. In fact, stylish weddings are pretty much all that we’re about here, but we like them to be local too. We strive to support and promote the amazing local suppliers right there on our readers’ doorsteps, show off what they can do, and make them available to you for your wedding day. A wedding day that looks set to be very special indeed.
Every year at this time, I take a while to reflect at how far we’ve come, and every year I’m astounded to see the progress from the last. There are times when I’ve thought that it couldn’t get any better, but it does. I love my job, my team and my brand, and I love you, my readers, who make what we’re doing possible, and make it count.
And before I
go all get anymore Gwyneth Paltrow on your asses, I better launch right into our traditional recap of the year that was. It’s been busy, so as usual, excuse me for any omissions.
I’ve some really exciting news to share with you before our seasonal break over Christmas, so watch these pages for that. Let me just say, it looks like 2015 is going to be an even more exciting year than this one.
But first, that fizz and that cupcake please, Happy Birthday Brides Up North, this is the year that was…
We left you last in October 2013 having won a Wedding Blog Award! We took home Wedding Magazine’s prize for “Best Big Day Inspiration” and were very proud indeed. It boded well for our fourth year…
In November 2013 we wrapped up an immense events season with knockout exhibitions at The National Railway Museum and The Bowdon Rooms, before I packed my home (and 8 month old daughter) into a backpack and headed off to support my husband who was working in the Southern Hemisphere for a couple of months.
Winter tan and a spot of judging for The Bridal Buyer Awards, Wedding Industry Awards and The National UK Blog Awards under my belt, we arrived home in February 2014, ready for another events season to kick off. Columns and features appeared in regional glossies Belle Bridal Magazine, Hitched Magazine and Etc Magazine, and we hosted our first grand wedding exhibition of 2014 at Hardwick Hall Hotel.
March 2014 and we were into exhibition season proper… stops at Allerton Castle, Ramside Hall and The Mansion kept our weekends busy, and I was invited to act as Official Blogger for The North West Wedding Show at Event City, Manchester. The inspiration was going viral!
In April 2014 I styled and directed a shoot involving some of the finest wedding industry suppliers in Yorkshire, and put the final wheels in motion for our big and beautiful blog and directory rebrand. Can anyone actually remember now what the ‘old’ Brides Up North used to look like? I’m not sure I can! We also enjoyed gorgeous branded events at Nostell Priory and The Bowdon Rooms.
In May 2014 we concluded our spring season with a set of stunning shows at the lovely Hilltop Country House, The Alnwick Garden and Middleton Lodge, enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the new bridal-wear collections at White Gallery 2014 and welcomed our fabulous Features Writer Rachel to the Brides Up North team to fuel our double daily dose of wedding pretty here online. What would we do without our Rach?
June and July 2014 were spent with our heads down, fine tuning the details for our site rebrand, which we were proud to unveil to much outpouring of love, encouragement and support. I love our new look, and it seems like you do to – blog hits, social media support and bridal registrations for our wedding events are noticeably much higher than ever. We also got busy launching our popular Brides Up North Facebook Group (have you joined yet) and started taking Pinterest more seriously, pinning to inspire both our readers and our future work. Our boards can be seen here.
In August 2014, a brief (and lovely) family holiday was made even better when we celebrated being nominated for not one, not two, but three coverted industry awards – we were nominated for a Cosmopolitan Blog Award 2014 (“Best Wedding Blog”), in Wedding Magazine’s Wedding Blog Awards 2014 (“Best City Wedding Blog”) and the Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards (“Best Wedding Blog”). We also won several nods in the Wedding Industry Experts Awards.
September 2014 arrived and it was time for another flurry of print features with columns and features in a host of glossies including Unveiled Magazine, and to head into event season, with Brides Up North branded exhibitions at Ramside Hall, Hilltop Country House and Hardwick Hall. I reprised my coveted role as Official Blogger for the North West Wedding Fair and I was also proud to host the launch party for our new industry venture, The Circle, with some very special industry colleagues and which remains in earnest development.
October 2014 hit the ground running, our busiest month yet, with events at The Mansion, The Alnwick Garden, Nostell Priory, Allerton Castle and Middleton Lodge, and a quick succession of cocktail fuelled trips to the smoke to attend some seriously swanky awards ceremonies. We were over the moon to be Highly Commended in the Best City Blog Category at The Wedding Blog Awards. Snaps to us!
November 2014 has started as 2014 seems to mean to go on, with parties and fireworks! This week we’re off to The Perfect Wedding Awards, and we’ve just concluded our events season with a very twinkly, very lovely show at The Bowdon Rooms. Exhibitor sales and bridal registrations are open for 2015 - with some brand new venues- and Rachel and I are bursting with features ideas for taking our online offering to the next level. Our brand new media pack lands shortly, so anyone interested should drop me a line.
I’ll let you know that ‘big news’ as soon as I’m able, and until then, raise a glass.
here’s to you.
Love you, #jointhenorthernrevolution
Images by Cat Hepple Photography
November 18th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham
Shopping for a wedding dress should be an exciting experience for a bride-to-be, no matter what her style, age or size.
That said I’ve heard upsetting stories from a number of fuller-figured brides when searching for the dress, which have hindered their enjoyment. From tales of being asked to squeeze into small sample dresses and to ‘imagine’ how it might fit, to being told collections don’t go up to their size, or simply feeling that there is nothing out there for them.
I’ll bet Kim Kardashian had no such problems at Givenchy.
Well, even if you’re not quite ready to ‘break the internet‘ with your own booty, I’m pleased to report there are some truly stunning plus-size wedding dress collections out there, with certain gowns going up to a size 32. And better yet, more designers are beginning to branch out into plus-size creations by extending their size range.
The queen of bridal prettiness Jenny Packham, included flattering gowns for plus-sized brides in her Spring 2015 collection which were showcased by gorgeous fuller-figured models on the catwalk. Her Josephine dress in steely grey features incredibly elegant lace sleeves, a pretty sash and signature intricate detailing, drawing the eye to all the right places. Likewise Packham’s Isabella dress covers up the tops of the arms with a delicate and stylish cape, while sparkling crystal detailing frames the under-bust area of the dress perfectly.
Veromia is another designer that offers stunning plus-size dresses with support and structure so that brides feel both confident and comfortable during their moment in the limelight. Veromia’s Sonsie collection offers designs to suit a wide range of tastes, from the fluid SON91452 with fluttery capped sleeves, to the 1950s tea-length SON91462 and the fuller SON91465 with illusion neckline detail. Meanwhile for autumn and winter brides who crave more dramatic dress designs, Veromia’s SON91208 in ravishing gold, and S91051 in deep regal red, are bound to tick boxes.
Bonny Bridal’s Unforgettable collection has further stunning offerings in plus sizes. Standout designs include 1207 and 1304, which boast fairytale style ruffle detailing, as well as 1424 and 1206, which feature feminine lace sleeves.
Style and structure can also be found within Cara Mai’s wonderful collection. Again brides-to-be are given a choice of both fitted and fuller gowns. The simple, strapless 29228 is a firm favourite within the collection, but for those brides in search of a little more support, the 29244 with tulle overlay and pretty lace appliqués frames curvaceous ladies’ figures beautifully.
November 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Beth and Tom’s wedding is the very best type: relaxed, fun and colourful with lots of pretty details, good food and a packed, twinkling dance floor.
Add a swingingly gorgeous (high street!) frock, the most beautiful of bouquets and a visit from the ice-cream fairies and that’s one mighty fine big day nailed.
Can I get a flake with that?
With images by James and Lianne.
Beth says: We got engaged on holiday in Cape Cod, America. We’d just arrived at where we were staying and took a little drive to go for a walk on the beach. I think Tom thought that this was a good opportunity to pop the question. It was a fab surprise and made our holiday really special.
We were married on 1st August 2014. We chose this date as I’m a teacher so it fitted nicely with the school holidays. It also happened to be Yorkshire Day which made it extra special.
We got married in the Airedale Barn at East Riddlesden Hall, which is a National Trust Property in Keighley, West Yorkshire. It was the only venue we looked round and knew straight away that it was just what we wanted. The barn is set in lovely grounds with a lake, a walled garden so lots of space for guests and fab photo opportunities. The inside of the barn and really simple with prettry fairy lights and we knew that we could add our own little touches to make the barn personal to us. Also the team at East Riddlesden Hall are brilliant and were so helpful in helping us to organise the day.
We didn’t have a particular theme but we had lots of bright colours and quirky touches. We were keen for the wedding not to be formal or traditional so we tried to make the flowers and decorations colourful, fun and relaxed. We didn’t have a set colour scheme but chose lots of faded bright colours for the flowers and decorations, in particular the bridesmaid dresses and men’s ties which were a coral/ pink colour.
I knew that I wanted a short 50′s style dress as I thought it would suit my shape and I wanted to be able to dance in it. After reading lots of wedding blogs I knew exactly what I wanted and thought that I would have to have the dress made. Luckily when looking on the Coast website I spotted the dress that I had in mind. I went to try on the dress at the Coast store in London when visiting a friend and loved it. I added a petticoat underneath it to give the skirt a bit more volume. The dress was perfect for me and I really did love wearing it. My auntie had made my jewellery and jewellery for the bridesmaids which went perfectly with mineand their outfits.
My flowers were done by Emma Flora Home and Garden and they were exactly what I wanted. I had met Emma at a wedding fair at East Riddlesden Hall and knew her style would be perfect for what I fancied. Emma is so talented and created amazing bouquets for myself and my bridesmaids. I explained the colours that we were incorporating and I showed Emma lots of pictures that I had collected. I was really excited to see my flowers on the morning of the wedding and they were even better than I expected!
My bridesmaids wore coral dresses from Warehouse. I wanted something bright and nothing too ‘bridesmaidy’ so these dresses were perfect and the girls looked gorgeous!
Tom chose a navy suit from Ted Baker and a coral tie from Charles Tyrwhitt which matched the girls’ bridesmaid dresses. He also chose a piece of fabric that matched his suit and tie that my mum made into a pocket square.
The dads, best man Daniel and groomsmen wore their choice of suits and the same tie as Tom’s.
To keep with the theme of the day we wanted to hire transport that was a little quirky. We found Liberty Campers when searching for camper vans to hire for weddings and loved ‘Dylan’ the campervan. We couldn’t recommend Liberty Campers enough and Tracey was so lovely on the day and made it feel extra special.
Our close friend Helen read ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ by John Cooper Clarke during the ceremony as it was a poem we studied when we were at school together. She did an amazing job!
Our rings were hand made in Yorkshire by Nikki Barret, from NB Jewellery.
We were so glad that we chose the amazing James and Lianne Photography to capture moments from the day. I had seen some of their photo’s on various blogs and loved the relaxed and natural look of their photos. Guests commented on how they both just fitted in with the rest of the guests and didn’t even notice they were there. We are so pleased with the photos and would highly recommend them!
To help create a colourful relaxed feel to the barn, My amazing mum had made meters and meters of colourful bunting which looked gorgeous. She also made a fab little banner that we attached to the curtain behind where we sat which used the same fabric as the bunting. We were very keen for the day to be very personal to us. For the table names we had found postcards from the special places we had visited, which was very personal to us. We also had made a photo board showing photos of when we were younger and with friends and family.
Other decorations included flowers in jam jars that I decorated with my mum and sister. Jill, a close family friend did an amazing job and put all the flowers together which were picked from our gardens and some from the flower market in Leeds. These were placed in the middle of the tables on cut up tree slices and some were placed on the window ledges of the barn. She also made the button holes for the lads and mums. We also used tea lights that were dotted around the tables to create a nice glow.
We also had three large silver vases that we filled with flowers from friends and families gardens.
The ladies were given button heart favours that were made by myself, our mums, sisters and bridesmaid.
Our caterers were GFS Catering and they were fantastic in both producing amazing food and providing excellent service. For the evening food we also had bacon and sausage sandwiches. We would highly recommend using GFS.
A close family friend Jill, made our fab cake and it was just what we wanted. We loved the bright colours and bunting to match our actual bunting. The mini Beth and Tom were made by my friend Mandy and we loved the little clothes and detailed she added. I made the little models of our cats, Will and Boo.
We had a sweet table, with lots of jars of our favourite sweets, and for dessert guests were treated to an ice cream from the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream van which were really delicious!
We chose the brilliant Jonny Ross band who played a fab mix and really got everyone up dancing. Our first dance was ‘You and Me’, by Penny And The Quarters.
It is difficult to choose just one part of the day that we enjoyed the most. It was fantastic having all of our family and friends together. We also enjoyed the ceremony much more than we thought and our brilliant registrar Jeff really helped us to relax. Coming down the aisle to a song that was special to us, Micky P Kerr, ‘Where its At’ and the barn doors opening opening as we said our vows was also lovely. Getting ready at my Mum and Dad’s, travelling in the campervan, the speeches and dancing all night were just fab!
For our honeymoon we went to San Fransisco and down the coast to Carmel, Monteray and the Big Sur.
Our top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the build up to the day, don’t get too bogged down by all the little details, it will all come together. Add touches to make your day personal to you. Also try to relax as much as you can on the day, it really does fly by so try and take a moment to take everything in! Lads, go for a pint before hand to calm the nerves and relax. Tom felt loads better after going to the Busfeild Arms first with the boys. Need to take your mind of things!
November 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Joanna and Amit’s wedding day fuses the traditional with the unusual, the pretty with the quirky and best laid plans with really no plans at all. The result? A unique and happy celebration, bringing together all the things they love the most.
Bring on the origami elephants!
With images by Sarah Mason Photography.
Joanna says: We got engaged on bonfire night, watching the fireworks at our local park (Brockwell Park in South London). I’m not very good at remembering anniversaries so Amit wanted to choose a date I would definitely remember!
The redevelopment of Hebden Bridge Town Hall was a community project, and lots of people I know were involved in it! It meant a lot to me to be able to get married in my home town in this Town Hall.
Todmorden Town Hall is a beautiful Grade 1 listed Victorian hall in the next town along the valley. I had only been there as a kid and hadn’t remembered all of the beautiful period features. It was a great venue for the evening reception and had plenty of space for dancing and a band!
We joked about lots of different themes to begin with as all the magazines told us it was the thing to do. In the end we had a kind of Indian/British theme, combined with lots of other things that we love (like wool and origami elephants) but it wasn’t so much a plan as a collection of things we liked and wanted to do.
We chose a colour scheme of pink, green and white. Soft colours in the daytime and in the evening all a bit brighter.
We broke with tradition and decided to do photos before the ceremony (partly because the ceremony wasn’t till 4pm). It was so nice to spend time together and some time out from the hecticness of the rest of the day. It was raining all day up until we started the photos so we go very lucky with the weather (plus it meant I got to wear my wellies).
I wore a white dress from Angelica Bridal in London. I hadn’t realised how long in advance you need to order your dress (6 months lead in time!) and left it all a bit late. The dress was Justin Alexander. I also had an Indian lenga style dress for the evening from Simla’s in London.
I knitted a lace shawl for the day, I love knitting and it seemed really appropriate for the day. I was a bit nervous it wasn’t going to go or it wouldn’t work, but was really pleased with how it looked .
Amit went to Bangkok on his stag do and had a suit tailor made at Raja’s Fashions there (this apparently saved money and time…). His Indian outfit was also from Simla’s.
My bridemaid wore a dress from Coast with an Indian style shawl from Simla’s too. Amit’s best man wore a suit he already owned.
I don’t really know one flower from another which became apparent in the florists conversations. Amit kept googling flowers to try and sound knowledgeable, so between us we muddled through. But we trusted the florist and on the day what we had was truly beautiful.
Willow Garden in Hebden Bridge did the flowers. We had so many great people who helped us bring the day together. We were also keen to use local suppliers.
Jo’s mum decorated the whole of Hebden Bridge Town Hall. This did mean carrying round trees for the local garden centre and sourcing a lot of chair covers (not to mention stringing up pompoms and bunting) but the end result was really lovely, and it was so nice to give it a personal touch.
Sarah and Suzi from Sarah Mason Photography did the photos. We both felt so comfortable with them and we couldn’t imagine anyone doing a better job. We still love looking back on the photos.
We hired a bus from Keighley Bus Museum. It had to be a London Routemaster and the guys on the day were lovely and gave out special wedding bus tickets.
Lauren at Zouk’s Catering in Bradford sorted out the food (including several tastings and many iterations of the menu). She also looked after organising the cutlery and plates and staff to set up and serve the food on the day. She was amazing!
Neither of us are that big a fan of traditional cake. However at the last minute we did decide to stack a cake stand with baklava (Turkish pastry sweets). It made an awesome tower and it was a big hit.
We had the Rumblefatband doing the music. We were debating whether or not to get a band for a while and I’m really glad we did. They do a mix of funk and soul music that’s just great to dance to. They also let one of the guests go up and join them for an Elvis number.
We also had Dave Nelson playing the piano for the ceremony and one of Jo’s friends playing ukulele, walking in to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and walking out to ‘Umbrella’, unintentionally weather themed.
There were lots of kids at the wedding so we wanted to keep them entertained. Amit’s sister put together party packs for the children; which also made them feel special on the day.
We went to Vietnam and Cambodia for our honeymoon. It was very relaxing after the trials and tribulations leading up to the day.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is that if you’re organising things yourself you should realise that there are all kinds of things that need to be done (like hiring plates and buying napkins). Don’t underestimate how much organisation this can take (and delegate where you can)!
Spreadsheets are your friend.
And it’s much more fun when it’s the two of you doing it together and makes the whole day much about you as a couple.
November 17th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Today’s wonderful real wedding couple opted for a July wedding in hope of a fabulous sunny day – and lucky for them, that’s exactly what they got. Following an impromptu yet unforgettable wedding proposal, Sean and Jade planned a stylish and elegant wedding day with hints of navy blue and pops of hot pink.
But it’s not just the sunshine and colour scheme that added warmth to Sean and Jade’s big day – just look at their faces in the photographs, neither of them can stop smiling which reflects their true love for one another and their enjoyment of the day.
So ignore the dismal weather that currently lingers outside and take a few moments to lose yourself in this bright & breezy celebration.
With images by PH Weddings.
Jade says: Sean hadn’t fully planned on proposing while on we were on holiday in Thailand when it actually happened. We were in a rooftop bar called the Banana Bar in Koh Phi Phi where we were having some beers and watching the wedding singer film (I think that gave Sean the idea). After the film had finished, we had a couple more drinks and we were looking at the stars through a telescope. We couldn’t believe it when our favourite song came on ‘Us’ by Regina Spektor – it isn’t a very well known song and I’m sure it was fate. We then went for tasty Thai food. Afterwards we decided to go back to the bar because we really liked it. Sean then said he needed to go to the toilet but he was gone quite some time. He had actually gone to the local market to buy a ring so he could propose and he got a bargain £1.50 ring! When he came back he was a little flustered. He had asked the DJ to play another song by Regina Spektor called Samson to which he proposed. I instantly said yes and everyone on the rooftop cheered and we celebrated into the night.
We got married on July 12th 2014 as we had always wanted a summertime wedding and when we went to view our chosen reception venue, Wortley Hall, the 12th was the only Saturday left available in July so we went ahead and booked it in – two years in advance.
We chose to get married at Darfield Church, it was our local church which we felt close to as we regularly went on walks with our dog Billy around the grounds. When we first visited the church we couldn’t believe the beauty inside, it is one of the oldest churches in Yorkshire and has lots of character and original features. We loved it instantly! Wortley Hall in Wortley, near Sheffield, was our reception venue. We loved the vintage style of the building, the gardens were also amazing. There’s a lovely walk with a beautiful lake and woods that just takes your breath away. We quickly fell in love with the building fitted in with our rustic and vintage theme.
We would definitely recommend Wortley Hall as a venue. The staff had no problems with any of our requests. They were brilliant on the day and everything we requested was done to perfection. If you love rustic venues and beautiful gardens Wortley has it all!
My Ian Stuart Peaches dress was from Limelight Occasions in Huddersfield. I had been to another shop previous to going to Limelight and I did have a maybe when I left the first shop. All the dresses I tried on did look nice but I didn’t get ‘the feeling’ until I tried Peaches on. I instantly fell in love with my dress, I loved the big blush flowers but still felt that it was a simple design and I had always loved Ian Stuart dresses. Limelight has a beautiful shop and items – I also got all my jewellery and veil for the day from there.
Sean’s suit was by Paul Costelloe from House of Fraser, his tie was from French Connection and his shirt was from T M Lewin. The groomsmen’s’ suits were from Marks & Spencer’s and their ties were from eBay. My bridesmaid dresses were from Casamiento in Barnsley and the flower girls’ dresses were from Monsoon.
Our colour theme was pink and blue. From the start we loved blue suits for the groom and the groomsmen – Sean really wanted everyone looking vibrant as it was a summer’s day. I suggested we had pink for the bridesmaid as my Ian Stuart dress had blush roses on it and I thought the pink would bring this out more.
We travelled by a Rolls Royce Wraith 1938 Landaulette. First it picked up Sean and his groomsmen and they all say it was a great moment for them all to have that time together on the day. It then picked up my Mum and the bridesmaids and then came back for me and my Dad. It was a soft top and as our day was sunny – I’m so glad we had that now.
PH Weddings took our photographs. They were amazing from start to finish. They take so much pride in their work, which you can tell by their photos. Helen and Paul make you feel at ease and you never once feel uncomfortable. I loved how natural our photos looked and Helen and Paul fully understood exactly what we wanted. We also felt that they gave a personal touch. We are so unbelievably happy with the photos and the service that PH Weddings provided.
On the day I carried a natural, hand-tied vintage style posy in dusky pinks, ivory and greens. It included dusky pink memory lane roses, deep pink astilbe, green/white cabbages, deep pink astrantia, ivory waxflower, ivory thistles, ivory veronica, dark dahlia, quicksand rose and peonies all tied together with a classic ivory ribbon tie. Swallow and Damsons provided all our flowers, including my bouquet – they were the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen, they were a work of art.
For decorations we had flowers on the table: medium size glass hurricane vases with a full and lush natural posy style arrangement in the same colours as my bouquet, including more foliage and trailing flowers. There were also three smaller cut glass vintage vases dotted around the bottom of the larger centre piece with a few flowers and foliage.
We made all the menu cards ourselves by stamping each individual folded card, we glued the menu inside, along with a fun fact about ourselves. The place cards were luggage tags, we stamped everyone’s name using a stamping kit we purchased on eBay. It took some time but we started at least two months beforehand. Our table plan was a mirror frame we purchased from TK Maxx – we knocked the mirror out tied string across and then clipped our printed table plans to let everyone know where they were seated.
Our Covers and Bows in Barnsley did our chair covers and they were lovely. We had lace round the wooden chairs in the dining room and white and pink in the ballroom.
Our favours were baked by Fancie in Sheffield; they were love heart whoopie pies, pink with swirls on the top with cream in the middle. We packed each whoopie pie into a cellophane bag the day before and then tied a name place luggage tag which. They were so tasty! Fancie also made our wedding cake. We had a three-tier design covered in frosting, there was a caramel flavour, raspberry and lemon and cherry and almond. It was beautiful. We made the bunting on the top of the cake ourselves.
The food was beautiful at Wortley. We had sun dried tomato and feta cheese (two of our favourite things) tarts to start, pork for main and apple and crumble for desert. We also had peanuts and popcorn with the arrival drinks and wine on the tables.
For our wedding entertainment we had Michael Mulholland. We found Michael as our two other friends who had recently got married had Michael to provide their music. He was brilliant and the guests really enjoyed his singing while myself and Sean were having photos. As a surprise Sean asked him to play an acoustic version of Kiss The Girl from The Little Mermaid as we entered Wortley. The Little Mermaid was my favourite Disney film as a child.
For the night entertainment we had our really good DJ friend Richard Shirt. Richard took the time to get all our songs together and we could have any that we wanted! A lot of DJs give you a maximum number but Richard allowed us to choose our own – there was a mix of soul, indie, 80s and 90s music to suit us all. At one point towards the end Richard got people crowd surfing! For the night do we had a basket of flip flops that everyone said they were so thankful for on the night. No aching feet!
There were a few special touches throughout our wedding day. Sean surprised me on the morning(I knew he had been up to something) Adam, one of his best men, delivered me a package – it was a crate box that contained a letter, a scrap book and a necklace. The scrapbook is the most precious item I own now and it contained our story so far. Whenever we go away we keep everything, from business cards of hotels, restaurants to tickets for museums and gigs. We’ve also got every card and note we’ve ever given each other and they were all in the scrap book. I wrote Sean a letter and gave him a Nick Cave lyric book and Nick Cave vinyl record.We collect vinyl records and have all our favourite songs on 7 inch singles, so we decided to use the record sleeves as our table names, which looked awesome.
When signing the register after we were wed we had the Edward Scissorhands Ice Dance song played in the church and also our favourite song Regina Spektor’s Us – our favourite music that means something to us.One of the readings in church read out by Sean’s brother was Love Is Strange by Karen O and this features on the Disney film Frankenweenie. We love this Disney film and had to have it because the words are beautiful.
We love having game nights with our friends so we thought of the idea of Jenga pieces being our guestbook. They were great as each guest could write us a message and we can use this game with our friends.
Apart from our marriage service one of the favourite parts of the day was the car journey to Wortley together. After not seeing each other all morning for one of the most important day ofour lives it was such a precious time together to be alone and one we will never forget. Another favourite part of the day was all the love we were surrounded with from our family and friends on our special day.
We set off to the airport on honeymoon the day after our wedding. We went backpacking for three weeks in Vietnam. It’s such a lovely country and all Vietnamese people are so friendly. There is so much history in the country and we enjoyed visiting cultural spots and museums. The food is best we have ever eaten and you can’t beat 50p for a bottle of beer! We had an amazing time together.
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be – don’t worry about the little details before hand, it’s your day and if you two are enjoying it, nothing else matters!
November 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Could this be the magic, at last?
November 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Designed and shot by husband and wife team Kristin & Mark (collectively Mr & Mrs W), I’ve a styled bridal treat lined up for you today! With rich colours, dramatically dark styling and texture galore, this is a decadent close to an autumnal Thursday afternoon.
Wrap up warm…
With styling and images by Mr & Mrs W.
Kristin says: Our inspiration for the shoot was in essence ‘Tweed and Country’. With tweed being seen more and more in wedding fashion, I wanted to incorporate it with the Bride as well as the Bridegroom and nothing encompasses tweed and country than a Cheshire farm shoot, in both senses of the word.
I wanted to start with outdoor pursuits and end with a debauched party and feast with a dark undertone, using antlers, feathers and the odd skull here and there.
The team we used for the shoot are local to the area. We worked together before and I knew that each supplier would provide exactly what I envisaged, which sometimes even I can’t do!
To realise my concept, the venue was always going to be Owen House as its so rustic, quirky and rural and there is nowhere quite like it in the North West.
For menswear it was no contest with the tweed experts at Whitfield and Ward being close at hand, and the beautiful wedding dresses came from The Wedding Boutique Cheshire. Fiona actually hand designs and makes her own styles so was able to make all the little extras I needed.
The shoot was such good fun. Everyone got so involved and really understood the brief. We hope that you like the results! Going forward I have another couple of shoots in mind and I might even go a bit darker next time, but in the meantime I am looking forward to creating some enchanted woodlands and a sequin extravaganza in a Tipi for some real life brides.
All the suppliers, props and styling are all available in and around the Knutsford area.
November 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re starting the day off brightly as we commence the downhill to the weekend, with Jennie and Jon’s fabulous fuchsia wedding day in glorious Yorkshire.
Following the cutest proposal ever (read on!), beautiful bride Jennie combined traditional romance with bold brights and fun extras for a memorable and show stopping celebration.
And here at Brides Up North, we love her choice of accent colour… funny, that.
With images by John Hope Photography.
Jennie says: We got married on 27 March 2013, I was full of cold and feeling disgusting, Jon planned date night, a romantic candlelit meal in our home, with Emeli Sande playing in the background, to “cheer me up”. Jon took me upstairs where there were two wrapped up presents on the bed, I opened the first one and it was a cuddly elephant, the second was a box of fireworks, then Jon switched off the light and written on the ceiling in glow in the dark stars were the words “Marry me?”. He had remembered years earlier that I had said if he was to propose I’d want it to be like the end of the film Annie – complete with elephants and fireworks! Jon said it was pretty difficult to get real elephants to come to our back garden in suburban Leeds in March.
We celebrated by letting off the fireworks whilst we sipped cocktails and excitedly rang round family and friends to share the news!
We were married on 31 May 2014, we were working around my studies for my Postgrad degree and the school holidays for Jon’s daughter, Alicia, our beautiful bridesmaid. This was the first feasible date that we could do it, it seemed so far away when we set it but it really creeps up on you!
We got married in a Catholic Church as this is Jon’s family’s faith, St Edward’s King and Confessor in a small village called Clifton. I knew I wanted a church that was picturesque and this one certainly delivered, I felt like we were in a movie.
Wood Hall was the reception venue, picked for the stunning views and amount of open space for the children to run around outside and for the drunken guests to stagger around!
I picked fuchsia pink as it’s one of my favourite colours; I knew I wanted a bold colour rather than a more traditional pastel. I particularly liked the contrast between the white and the pink which shows really well on the photos.
My Dad was in charge of the car, he picked a navy Bentley to travel in style. It was totally his choice, he paid, despite admitting it was the most expensive taxi ride of his life!
I tried on hundreds of dresses, which I would thoroughly recommend; it’s a great day out! I bought a strapless gown with sweetheart neckline and full skirt. It is an ivory lace dress called Greta from The Bridal Lounge of York.
I had tried on mainly slim fitting style dresses as that is what I thought I wanted, but the full skirt on this one was so much fun to swish round in that I came skipping out of the changing room, decision made!
We hired a suit for Jon, from our local Moss Bros. Jon wanted one that fitted well and was nicely tailored and I managed to persuade him that tweed was a bad idea. We hired the same suits for the Best man and Ushers, with the only difference being that Jon had a pink pocket handkerchief and they had a silver one.
I had one adult bridesmaid, my sister, she had recently had baby number two, so we took a bit of a gamble and ordered a dress online that we hoped would be too big and then had it fitted nearer the day to take some of the pressure off her. She looked amazing!
My favourite part of the day was definitely walking down the aisle! I was so nervous beforehand, I’d been worrying about the walk for months, concerned I would be too emotional to enjoy it, but the second I got to the church and I saw all the guests, I felt fine and I really enjoyed the walk down and took everything in.
John Hope was our photographer, we picked him after our first meeting as we both felt very comfortable with him, we thought this was important as he would be a large part of our day. We did a pre-wedding shoot which was incredibly useful for us to get used to each other and for me and Jon to relax in front of the camera (turns out Jon’s lifetime of posing came in handy!)
I would thoroughly recommend John as a photographer, he arrived at the crack of dawn and left late in the evening, he didn’t stop all day and we are incredibly grateful for the beautiful shots he took (we don’t look that good in real life!) My overwhelming memory of him on the day was helping me to take the tags off the flower girls dresses with his teeth as we realised we had no scissors in the room and they needed to leave for the church – above and beyond!
I had cerise gerberas and they were provided by a wonderful florist called Angie Walker. I asked for them to be simple and bold, which is exactly what she delivered, the bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet.
We stuck with the same flowers for all my arrangements, knowing very little about flowers and how to arrange them we were very happy to let the florist guide us. We asked for smaller arrangements on the tables as we wanted them to add to the beauty of the room and not detract from the guests on the tables trying to talk across them.
The favours were chocolates that tied in with the table names. We chose not to have place names but to use old/embarrassing photos of the guests in their places. This was a lot of work to take on before the wedding but definitely worth it for the reactions and the laughs it brought!
My Dad made the wedding cake, he baked a traditional fruit cake pretty soon after we got engaged and kept topping it up with alcohol to keep moist until the big day. Or at least that was the excuse he used to keep buying brandy!
We hired a singer called Jade, who learnt especially for the Wedding Angry Anderson’s ‘Suddenly’. There were plenty of Kylie and Jason references throughout the day, if only Jon looked a little more like a Donovan…
We hired a magician/pick pocket called Magic Matt who was brilliant and had the guests in stitches; we wanted some light relief whilst the room was turned around for the evening do. This was mainly for our Dad’s but everyone got in on it. He even managed to control the friends table who started the drinking games from 4pm. Not sure doubling up as a babysitter came as part of the package but he was delighted to help out!
Then we hired a chocolate fountain and a photo booth through The Amazing Company, we didn’t get to try the chocolate fountain but we have been assured it was very good and the photo booth book was one of my favourite things. We know it’s a standard “wedding” thing to do but it’s really funny to see people deteriorate over the course of the evening do and have it all in recorded forever!
We made a family tree, full of photos of Grandparents, parents, through to us and the generation below. We wanted to physically show the two families coming together to make our marriage and also include Grandparents who were no longer with us.
Jon’s daughter who was six had written messages and drawn pictures for the guests to thank them for their attendance; these were included by the guest book and enabled her to feel part of the day, so much so, Alicia told everyone it was her wedding too.
We had a DVD of the day made, I would definitely recommend it. It was so exciting to receive and you live back bits of the day that you forgot or missed as it passes so quickly – plus you can see what your friends get up to after a few drinks! We used Picture House Wedding Films who did a great job.
Our wedding planner has since won an award for her role at Wood Hall. They took all the stress and planning of the day out of our hands and put up with our weird and wonderful requests!
The venue is just stunning as are the rooms; the staff were really friendly and went over and above to help us.
We had an amazing honeymoon, we flew to LA and hired a mustang convertible and drove up the coast to San Francisco, where we stayed for a few days before driving down to Vegas, through Yosemite Park, Death Valley etc, stayed there for a few days before heading back to LA and Orange County to see how the rich and famous live. It’s something we could get used to; we just need Jon to start working a little harder so we can afford the lifestyle!
We knew very early on that we would marry in a Catholic Church as that was important to Jon’s family; the hard part is that I was never baptised! This meant that we had to seek permission from the Bishop and this was a long time coming, so my top tip for other Brides Up North is to bear this in mind if you are in a similar situation, it took some chasing and gave us and the parents some hairy moments.
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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.
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