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Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

what’s your jam? alive network’s top lancashire wedding entertainers

June 27th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

6 - Andy Billington_Side On Dancefloor

Andrew Billington Photography

Up there as one of couples’ main concerns when planning a wedding is “what if guests become bored?”. As your nearest and dearest there to witness you make a life-long declaration of love to one another this is highly unlikely as they will just be thrilled to be a part of your big day. But in a somewhat Bride Wars mindset, there’s always the desire to top any wedding you’ve been to before with your own, and hope that it creates memories that guests harp back to long after the celebrations have been and gone.

As such it’s important to get your entertainment in order – which elements of the day require music to keep the vibe high and what other live acts could you incorporate into your day to make it all the more special?

Being our true helpful selves, we’ve called upon our rocking Sponsor, entertainment agency Alive Network, to talk us through all options for the wedding day, from the ceremony to the evening par-tay! Better still, for those of you in the North West, the Alive Network team have pinpointed some of their very favourite Lancashire-based acts that can deliver that added wow-factor to your proceedings. Over to the experts…

the ceremony

It’s the biggest moment of your day. So, it’s no wonder couples aren’t waiting for their evening band to get goosebumps. More of you than ever are choosing live ceremony music to make things super special from the start. #itsoktocry

Prelude: As your guests gather – and the nerves kick in – how about a little musical calm? Your prelude is usually 30 minutes of live music, and a great way to warm things up for your big entrance.

Processional: Your musician can play your special ceremony music as you take to the aisle for your processional, which is usually one song. Top tip: Go through the version with your artist (see if they can send you a recording of them playing it) and time your walk during rehearsal so that you hit your favourite bit of the song at the right time!

Signing of the registers: This is usually two to three songs. Depending on your style of ceremony, this could take a bit of time, so live music is a great way to keep the excitement up for your guests and make the moment even more special.

Recessional: Your joyful, hand-in-hand jaunt back down the aisle as a couple! Choose something upbeat that reflects the crazy-happy moment.

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 Andrew Billington Photography

our picks for the ceremony

Harpist – Bella Rose creates a sound that’s ethereal, subtle and pretty.

String quartet – Lancashire String Quartet perform elegant, classical versions of chart tracks, which is perfect for a modern-classic feel at your ceremony.

Classical singer – Rousing and captivating, Gemma La Voce performs your choice of operatic arias, show tunes, and modern classics.

Acoustic singer-guitarist – A guitarist is by far the most popular choice for chilled ceremonies. James T or John Gough both perform beautiful, unplugged music to underscore one of the most emotional parts of your big day.

Live taster. See Lancashire String Quartet perform A Thousand Years here.

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modern botanics: grey & copper for an elegant wedding at middleton lodge – rachel & chris

June 25th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

Modern Botanics Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (63)

The swoon-worthy wedding of Rachel and Chris brings both style and elegance together in a beautiful ‘modern botanicals’ theme. Lush eucalyptus and succulents are lit with tasteful copper lanterns on the tables and spill from the bride’s luxurious, scent-filled bouquet.

Choosing a scheme of grey and copper, Rachel cleverly weaves her delicate, modern colour scheme throughout the whole day, with no detail left to chance; from the copper writing on the confetti cones and order of service at the church, to the Mr and Mrs cake topper and charming marble place names, on which the guests’ names were painstakingly written in copper calligraphy by Rachel and her mum. Grey is a sophisticated choice for the bridesmaids’ dresses, and tones beautifully with the elegant surroundings and pale colourway of the venue.

The bride is stunning in a Blue by Enzoani gown, which brings old Hollywood glam together with modern elegance in a halterneck dress of lace and tulle, with a daring keyhole back. Hiring a classic car to travel from the church to the reception only added to the glamour, while also giving Rachel and Chris some time together to celebrate exchanging their vows. Tell us more, Rachel…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lloyd-Clarke Photography.

Modern Botanics Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (10)

rachel says: Chris proposed in a gorgeous restaurant called Kat and Theo in New York, in August 2016. As I went to pick up my drink, Chris slid the ring box on to the table – lots of crying and “Oh my Gods” happened before I realised I hadn’t actually said yes! We then celebrated with cocktails in the square of the Rockefeller Centre.

Modern Botanics Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (16)

We got married on 7th April 2018. I wanted all of my family from Canada to be able to join us and Easter is the best time for them to fly here. Plus, I’m a teacher so it meant we could have a week beforehand to prepare and a week after to relax. Spring is also our favourite time of the year.

The ceremony was at St Michael and All Angels Church in Middleton Tyas, and the reception was at nearby Middleton Lodge. My parents live close by and we had been to the Coach House at Middleton Lodge several times before and absolutely loved it. The fact that they have a cellar bar that opens until 2am was also a big selling point! The church is really cute, up a country road and surrounded by fields.

Modern Botanics Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (77)

I would absolutely recommend the venue to other engaged couples. My bridesmaids, mum and I stayed at the farmhouse on the estate the night before the wedding, which was perfect. The farmhouse itself is absolutely gorgeous and we enjoyed a meal together for my final night as a ‘miss’. On the morning of the wedding, we were then all together in the living room while we had our hair and makeup done.

Middleton Lodge itself was amazing. Our wedding co-ordinator (Chloe) was so attentive and reassuring – I am quite a control freak, which I think she soon realised so she kept me up to date with everything that was going on and made sure it all looked how I had imagined. She was brilliant and made sure the day ran perfectly. I also loved having lots of people stay at the lodge with us and then we all enjoyed a delicious breakfast the next day.

Modern Botanics Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (31)

For the theme, we wanted quite a modern, botanical style and not so much a ‘traditional’ wedding style. I wanted lots of succulents, eucalyptus, etc. to be the main style of flower. We went for a grey and copper colour scheme, with lots of greenery in the flowers.

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party on: alive network’s top ten yorkshire wedding bands

November 21st, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Vintage Jukebox

With many talented musicians out there, even those with their finger firmly on the live music pulse can struggle when it comes to narrowing down the options to just one act to perform at their wedding.

And even once you’ve found a potential entertainer, you’ll need to check where they’re based, how far they will travel, what type of formation they have and what type of music they can play. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll also need to know that they’re reliable, and it’s imperative that they will deliver a performance to be remembered for all the right reasons.

To help make the search easier for those of you tying the knot in Yorkshire, our fabulous Sponsor Alive Network Entertainment Agency, has culminated a list of the hottest bands that are guaranteed to fill the dancefloors of weddings taking place across the county.

Here they share the essential info on their top ten Yorkshire wedding bands, so you can cut to the chase. It’s a right mix of rock, indie, chart, jazz, swing, rat pack, and rock and roll – meaning there really is something for all.

Better still, a place on Alive Network’s books mean that the agency can vouch for the reliability and performance skills of each act, so all you need to do is find the one that best fits the bill for your big day.

Blue Note Mitch and The Red Hot Jacks

blue note mitch and the red hot jacks

Wild, jumping and energetic – think The Blues Brothers meets ska, and you’re half-way there. Blue Note Mitch and The Red Hot Jacks are a fab five-piece, who’ve all performed at amazing venues world-wide, such as the Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Gardens, to name just a couple… Their wide range of fun vintage music will fill your dancefloor big time.

Sinatra, Chuck Berry, Madness, Louis Prima, James Brown, Elvis, The Killers… their repertoire includes classics and funky takes on newbies. Dare you not to dance.

The MBB

the mmb band

If it’s a big sound and a big night of supercool and ultra-luxe entertainment you’re after, West-Yorkshire based The MBB Band can bring it. This ten-piece jazz orchestra specialise in classic swing, jive, and pop in a swing style. They also offer a fun ‘singaoke’ option, where you can take centre-stage – could this be the most classy karaoke ever? We think so! The band embodies the smooth glam of the Rat Pack in sound, style and appearance, wearing dinner jackets and performing with professional vintage instruments for the classy 1940s Glenn Miller orchestra look. Members of the band have performed world-wide, including at prestigious music venues like Ronnie Scotts and Bridgewater Hall. So, if you want a memorable first dance and a band that will have you and your guests dancing (and maybe even singing!) your hearts out, look no further. Shake your tail feather to that!

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period romance. cornflower blues & lilac blooms for a fun-filled day at pendrell hall – jennifer & david

March 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Pendrell Hall (c) Juliet Lemon (31)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only the most gorgeous weddings grace the pages of Brides Up North. What’s with the Jane Austen? Well, there’s something a little bit Regency-era about today’s real wedding. Perhaps it’s the understated elegance of the bride’s Phase Eight Hermione dress (that cape!), or maybe it’s Pendrell Hall’s stunning architecture and sculpted gardens.

Jennifer and her dashing Mr Darcy (aka David) left Pride and Prejudice behind, however, when they also opted for vibrant colours, confetti balloons, pom poms, giant Jenga and an industrial-sized bubble machine (yes, really) to ensure a fun-filled day for young and old alike.

Period venue, classic gown, children’s games and wacky photo booth? Trust us. It really works.

With photography by Juliet Lemon.

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Pendrell Hall (c) Juliet Lemon (17)

jennifer says: We got engaged during a trip away for my birthday in 2013 to Snowdonia, Wales. It was organised by David. We stayed in a beautiful B&B with views of sheep and mountains, and the day after my birthday we climbed Snowdon. The heavy snow and weather meant we could only get as far as Glas Lyn (the lake beneath the summit), where we stopped for a lunch break practically up to our knees in snow. He then surprised me by getting down on one knee with a totally perfect aquamarine and diamond ring. Of course, I said yes!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Pendrell Hall (c) Juliet Lemon (18)

We got married on 15th May 2015. The date had a nice symmetry to it and meant we had a shot at a sunny wedding. Luckily, we got it!

Our venue was Pendrell Hall, Codsall Wood (near Wolverhampton). It is close to both our parents’ homes and lots of friends and family so we went along to view the venue not long after we got engaged. We fell in love with the grounds, and the beautiful interior (even though it was still being renovated and wasn’t finished!) We knew we could trust the team at Pendrell to finish the works to the high standard of the rest of the venue, so we booked. They also work with Jenkinsons Caterers.

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Pendrell Hall (c) Juliet Lemon (2)

The overall idea for a theme was ‘relaxed’ – we didn’t want anything too formal. We fancied some wild flowers dotted around and some loosely arranged floral arrangements, and then tea lights, fairy lights, confetti balloons and garden games were quickly decided on. We just really wanted people to have fun and get to know each other.

Our colours were mainly ivory and lilac, forget-me-not blue (bridesmaids’ dresses) and pale pink (e.g. pompoms) dotted around – the colours complemented the venue and are our favourites!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Pendrell Hall (c) Juliet Lemon (48)

I chose a Phase Eight dress called Hermione, from a couple of seasons ago. I fell in love with the Phase Eight range last year when I was looking and the Hermione dress just felt wonderful to wear. It’s quite heavy (all the beading!) but almost slinky too, and I loved the cape (I’m quite conscious of my arms!) It wasn’t too expensive either, and spending less meant I could spend more on shoes and my hair! My hairband was from June Ellen, shoes from Rainbow, my hairdo was by Cute Hair (Wolverhampton), nails by my mother (a nail artist, handily) and I did my own makeup. My mini-birdcage veil was from LilyBella.

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vintage romance. sophia tolli for an elegant wedding at middleton lodge – beccy & craig

September 14th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today’s real wedding is the type that calls for some serious pinning, so mood boards at the ready ladies, as this one is brimming with gorgeous inspiration.

Tying the knot at one of our fabulous Sponsor and Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Fair venues, the wonderful Middleton Lodge, Beccy and Craig took cue from the elegant setting planning a sophisticated yet fun wedding weekend, complete with stunning attire, dreamy décor, delicious food and fabulous entertainment. Top marks guys!

With images by Lucy G Photography.

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beccy says: We got engaged on 13th December 2014, just four months after we starting going out (we have known each other for nearly four years though). Craig proposed at my parents’ house, in their dining room! We live in Cheshire but Craig is from Teesside originally. His parents had come to stay with us for the weekend and had brought the engagement ring with them, which he’d bought from Whittakers in Yarm, but didn’t have a way of collecting without me knowing.  He had been thinking about all the different ways to propose and hadn’t decided on the best approach, so when we got to my parents for a joint-family meal Craig managed to get my mum on her own to show her the ring and told her he wasn’t sure when he was going to do it. She told him it didn’t matter where or when because she knew I would say yes.  The parents were all so beside themselves with excitement, Craig thought then was as good a time as any… and beside which, both sets of parents may have spontaneously combusted at any point otherwise! I had been wondering what was wrong with him given that he offered me his dessert and I’ve never seen Craig not finish a meal before!

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Our wedding was on 20th February 2016, as we wanted to get married as soon as we could.  We visited our venue on their open day and asked about availability.  We nearly went for November 2015 but decided that February would be a good time as it would give us something to really look forward to after Christmas and the New Year.  We also knew it would be good weather for where we wanted to go on our honeymoon.

We got married at Middleton Lodge, which is in Middleton Tyas, near Richmond in North Yorkshire. We started looking for venues as soon as we got engaged and were initially thinking of somewhere between Cheshire and Teesdale, like the Lake District, but we didn’t really find anywhere that we loved. We saw Middleton Lodge on hitched.co.uk and we fell in love with it immediately. We went along to an open day there, having not viewed any other venues, and as soon as we saw it, we knew it was the place for us – it was perfect!

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We didn’t really have a theme as such for the wedding, our inspiration stemmed from the venue but also my dress, although Craig didn’t know that of course!  My dress wasn’t white or ivory – it was classed as blush but it was a very, very pale peachy/champagne pink. Given the colour of my dress, I thought that grey would work best for the chief bridesmaid and her dress was really sophisticated and beautiful.  The feel of the venue combined with the look of my dress and my bridesmaid’s dress inspired us to aim for a vintage, glamorous look. We therefore decided to use lots of silver/mercury glass as a key feature. We actually sprayed an awful lot of glass bottles, jars and containers to look like mercury glass ourselves. The glasses had been saved up by us and both sets of parents over the course of a year, so lots of jam had been eaten, along with wine and whiskey drunk, all for the good of the wedding! We dotted these around Middleton Lodge, lighting tea lights in the jars to give off a glow which reflected against the bottles to create a lovely, warm atmosphere. We also had silver candelabras as our centre displays on the guests’ tables with silver candlesticks, which had pearls draped over them. Our wedding stationery also complemented the feel and featured a grey ribbon with a pearl embellishment, as I had lots of pearls on my dress.

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I got my wedding dress was from 7th Heaven in Congleton, where we live. The shop is owned and run by the delightful and totally gorgeous Helen Allen. I feel very honoured and privileged to call this lady my friend. Choosing my dress from 7th Heaven was really special. Helen, her mum Brenda, Leslie and the seamstress Carolyn are just amazing. The shop is beautiful inside and out and you are made to feel incredibly special – you never want to leave! I tried on a number of dresses and was struggling to decide between a few until Helen’s mum came down from her fitting appointment to see how we were getting on. She reminded us that they wanted me to try on the dress on the mannequin in the window because it was a little different. As soon as I put it on my mum cried and I knew that was the one!

I absolutely adored my dress, it was Sophia Tolli and it was called Starling.  I really felt like a princess in it. The dress was very different to those I had previously tried given its colour and detailing. It was a strapless ball gown with a sweetheart neckline in lace and tulle which had a fitted, lace up bodice. It flared out from the hips into a big skirt and had a chapel length train.  The dress was a blush/champagne pink and covered in charcoal grey lace and crystal and pearl beading.  It also had a beautiful and very sparkly satin belt to match that went around the waist.continue reading

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roses & tweed. sophia tolli for a sophisticated wedding at crewe hall – laura & luke

September 5th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

An Elegant Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Sarah Horton Photography (41)

Monday might have come around too quickly once again, but fear not as we have a stunning real wedding to distract you from the working week ahead.

After falling head over heels in love with the beautiful Crewe Hall in Cheshire, Laura and Luke found picking their venue a doddle. Taking inspiration from its grandeur and class, the two then planned a sophisticated celebration full of pretty pink and purple summer blooms with fabulously fine attire for the wedding party.

With images by Sarah Horton Photography and assistant photographer Hannah Wilson.

An Elegant Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Sarah Horton Photography (25)

An Elegant Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Sarah Horton Photography (19)

laura says: We got engaged on my birthday at one of our favourite restaurants, The Swan with Two Necks in Blackbrook, Staffordshire. We’d been away travelling for nearly four months to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. It turned out that Luke had taken the ring with him but never found the right moment – plus I think everyone was expecting it back home so he didn’t given in!  We got home in March and he proposed in May – which nobody was expecting so it was a complete surprise which made it even more special. Luke was however given some grief about visiting many amazing places while we were away and missing his opportunity.

We set the date for Saturday 25th June 2016, as we wanted a summer wedding.

An Elegant Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Sarah Horton Photography (29)

Our chosen venue was Crewe Hall in Cheshire. We got married in the library and had the wedding breakfast in the long gallery. We both loved Crewe Hall form the moment we saw it!  We’d been to weddings there before and knew it was the place for us.

We didn’t have a specific theme but we wanted it to be classy and sophisticated to reflect the venue. Our colour scheme was subtle pinks, lilacs and purples.

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