February 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Feature in Belle Bridal Magazine
It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it! As the editor these pretty pages I spend my days immersed in designer look books, wedding magazines and glued to my computer screen tracking down the latest trends and ideas in the wedding world, so my readers don’t have to. I also spend a lot of time meeting with industry insiders to discover the best services, shops and venues for brides based in the North of the UK. Super sleuth that I am, Belle Bridal Magazine sent me off to Yorkshire early last year with one mission, and one mission only – to check out their best wedding venues and come back to divulge all.
This county has so many stunning spaces for weddings and events that it’s almost impossible to choose between them (that venue hunt might take a long time!) but I share my top tips from the article – plus a few more favourite places – below.
Think Yorkshire and what comes to mind? Flat caps, rolling countryside, whippets? You’d be right, but as well as the ale and Yorkshire pud, this beautiful county – named as the top European destination by Lonely Planet for 2014 – is also fabulously diverse. Yes, it has it’s fair share of pubs (not necessarily a bad thing, more on that later) but it’s also home to stunning vistas, crumbling stately piles, chic city venues and fairy tale castles. There’s plenty to discover, but these are some of my very favourite spots.
Allerton Castle by Chris Chambers Photography
allerton castle (Knaresborough)
With seriously impressive features and beautiful surroundings this 18th century gothic castle will take your breath away. Dine, the Yorkshire based experts in providing exceptional weddings and events, work in partnership with the Allerton Castle team to deliver faultless perfection to ensure your wedding is special.
the mansion (Leeds)
From The Mansion‘s tree-lined drive to the sweeping staircase, panoramic park views and immaculately restored interior spaces, this exclusive use, boutique venue is wedding day perfection. One for the fashionistas, this city chic space has a stellar reputation for fantastic events and wedding
The Mansion by Joel Skingle Photography
swinton park (Masham)
This privately owned hotel is the perfect romantic retreat, and good food is guaranteed, for as well as fine dining Swinton Park boasts its own cookery school! Set in 200 acres of parkland, this secluded, ivy covered castle provides the perfect setting for a fairy-tale wedding. And if it all gets too much for you, just head to their superb spa… bliss.
hotel du vin (York)
This beautiful hotel in York city centre is housed within a Grade II-listed building that dates back to the early 19th century. With 44 stylish bedrooms and suites, trademark bistro, bar and private dining rooms along with a terrace, courtyard and inner forum for alfresco dining Hotel Du Vin York is a cool and contemporary sanctuary within the city’s ancient walls.
the feversham arms (Helmsley)
Cosy yet contemporary, this former public house and secluded luxury retreat in the market town of Helmsley is perfect for a boutique wedding. With stunning menus and an award winning spa, I’d have the honeymoon at The Feversham Arms too!
thorp perrow (Bedale)
An authentic private stately pile, with amazing manicured gardens and space for a grand marquee, this beautiful property wows all year round, but my top tip is a springtime celebration when the bluebell walk at Thorp Perrow will be in full bloom. Divine!
Middleton Lodge by Hayley Baxter Photography
middleton lodge (Richmond)
Fancy your own country mansion for your wedding weekend? Middleton Lodge has that covered. Boasting Yorkshire’s only outdoor licensed space in the midst of rolling countryside, Middleton Lodge and its 250 acre Georgian estate offers the perfect setting for a traditional country wedding party with a modern twist.
denton hall (Ilkely)
An authentic stately pile, nestled right in the heart of God’s own county, Denton Hall offers an idyllic rural settic in 2,500 acres of stunning private parkland. Just add your own Mr Darcy, and you are good to go!
East Riddlesden Hall by Lissa Alexandra Photography
east riddlesden hall (Keighley)
With ceremony space in the Great Hall of this historic Grade I house and a reception for up to 180 in their fabulous converted barn, the National Trust estate at East Riddlesden Hall offers plenty of options for creating a bespoke and beautiful day.
bolton castle (Wensleydale)
Bolton Castle is a spectacular medieval fortress, preserved in outstanding condition and situated in the heart of peaceful Wensleydale. For a celebration full of atmosphere, Bolton Castle has to be at the top of your wish list.
Braime Pressings by Lee Scullion Photography
braime pressings (Leeds)
Ok so, I’m a little biased, but this authentic vintage venue in the heart of Leeds has been in my husband’s family for 125 years and only now is it open to the public for weddings and events.
The working factory’s stunning listed canteen, used to host public meetings and dance parties during two World Wars (with a separate upper floor for ladies!), has stood almost untouched for 50 plus years. With its original historic features, marble bar and parquet flooring, Braime Pressings offers a completely unique space for wedding celebrations.
the kp (Hull)
A stylish and contemporary space that can accommodate up to a whoopping 400 guests, The KP is one fabulous blank canvas for a bride and groom who want to create their dream day.
Priory Cottages by Helen Russell Photography
priory cottages (Wetherby)
Like a little piece of Provence in Yorkshire, this exclusive use barn and marquee venue is my destination of choice for summer soirees, and oh so cosy for winter weddings too. A huge bonus is the cottage accomodation on site at Priory Cottages which means that you and your party can make a whole weekend of the festivities.
oulton hall (Leeds)
With impressive grounds and an incredible 18th Century mansion on your doorstep, it’s hard to look past Oulton Hall. Factor in the serene spa space and beautifully manicured golf course for him indoors and I’m pretty much sold.
Nostell Priory by Peter Boyd Photography
nostell priory (Wakefield)
Space for ceremonies in the huge house, an outdoor drinks reception in the rose garden or orangery and a wedding breakfast in the newly refurbished riding school, beautiful Nostell Priory has it all. Set in gorgeous National Trust grounds and with the fabulous Dine events team on site, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.
the deep (Hull)
The Deep is one of the most exciting aquariums in the world, home to a whopping 3,500 fish including a pair of Green sawfish, magnificent sharks and rays, but also one of the coolest wedding venues in the UK. Make a splash by choosing somewhere completely different for your celebration.
Check our Brides Up North Directory for more brilliant venue ideas in Yorkshire and beyond.
October 11th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Another Sunday, another two spectacular bridal showcases brought to you by your favourite wedding blog! Now we really are spoiling you.
These are two of the loveliest events in our autumn calendar so make sure to pop in and see us and soak up all the wedding pretty. We’ve got every detail covered from wedding dresses to cakes to your finishing touches, and a handpicked selection of the regions very best wedding suppliers at both. And if you’re still venue hunting then, well… look no further.
Both events are free entry THIS SUNDAY 12th October 2014, and with Allerton Castle open 11am – 3pm and Middleton Lodge slightly later at 1pm till 5pm, hey, why not come along to both!?
We’ll see you there!
We’re giving away up to 150 free Bride To Be goody bags at each event, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our sponsors John Lewis and Love Hearts. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.
While stocks last.
March 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
You’ll never learn will you? You have to watch out for those sneaky folks at Booth Revolution you know! It’s Friday… it’s payday… and if that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, this lot will. Yorkshire’s brides to be have never looked more beautiful, have they?
Booth Revolution is a Brides Up North Exhibitor, but this is not a sponsored post
February 26th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’ve been shouting loudly on these pretty pages about our fabulous Luxury Wedding Exhibition coming up at Allerton Castle this weekend (you ARE coming, aren’t you?), and this morning’s Real Wedding is just a little reminder of why I am so passionate about this beautiful venue.
Stylish ballerinas (how cool is that – dream job alert!) Hannah & Kenny chose this elegant setting for their beautiful, fun and touching big day. With lots of luxury additions and a good dose of craft, this stunning couple’s celebration was both grand and personal. Just lovely and – as Hannah is a dedicated Brides Up North reader – watch out for lots of our Featured Suppliers popping up too!
With images by Joe Dodsworth Photography.
Hannah says: We got engaged in July 2011 in Sri Lanka whilst on holiday, Kenny organised a private dinner on the beach. It was really one of the best moments of my life! I am a huge fan of Brides Up North and just lived on it in the prep for our wedding!
We were married on 28th June 2013 at Allerton Castle, Knaresborough. We chose the venue because it has such a sense of occasion and it’s all exclusive to you and your wedding party for the day.
We just wanted to have a fantastic day and an awesome party! We didn’t set on any one colour or theme. We just chose items and colours that we liked and we felt went with the surroundings.
I wanted a dress I felt comfortable in and could move in but I still wanted it to be a wedding gown, something that you would only wear on your wedding day. I also really wanted Kenny to love it, and he has great taste so I did find the whole shopping for the dress surprisingly stressful. I went for a Jenny Packham ‘Lady Astor’ from The White Room in Sheffield. Chloe at The White Room is excellent and made the whole experience simple and yet still special. I treated myself to a pair of Christian Louboutin heels (I saved £1 a day for a year and a bit) and then I had a simple pair of earrings from Carat, a hair band from Jenny Packham (which I got on ebay) and a silver bracelet that Kenny had given me for my 21st birthday.
Kenny found a great outfit from Vivienne Westwood that was just right for him, individual and a nod to his Scottish heritage.
The bridesmaids wore Sapphire blue dresses from Dessy and they each had a pair of silver shoes from various places, wherever we found ones they liked! The best men had suits from Zara and our dad’s had suits from M&S, all the men had waistcoats that my Dad helped us organise from a tailor in Somerset.
I carried a bouquet of roses, lisianthu and gypsophila. My bridesmaids had very similar ones and the men all had roses or acanthium for button holes. My mum did all the flowers herself!
Joe Dodsworth was our photographer and Will at Cine Reportage filmed the day on super 8mm, both of these guys are great and real artists in their field.
I really enjoy a bit of crafting when I get time, so I had a go at adding lots of bits and bobs. I collected items from the time we got engaged, some things made the cut, other items are still in my loft. I made the table plan, place names with mini sweet jars, a letter box for cards and notelets that guest filled in instead of a guest book and the sweet buffet all the decorations for the staircase and the tables. It all took a long time but I enjoyed it and when I looked around on the day and saw all the bits and bobs that we had put all that effort into it felt like our day.
The ceremony itself was very special and like nothing we have experienced before, but every stage of the wedding was just wonderful. Getting ready with my bridesmaids, mum and mother in law in the morning, seeing each other at the altar, chatting with my dear friends after the ceremony, wondering around the grounds having our photos taken when the sun decided to show up (!) and the party and fireworks and the great food.
We are both professional ballet dancers so live music is a huge part of our lives and we really wanted to include that in our day. We were really lucky and had a singer for our ceremony and a band called Func On The Rocks for the evening. Other than that we had a huge box of garden games that went down a treat! Kenny’s parents treated us to a firework display which was so cool, by Ferrensby Fireworks.
After the wedding we honeymooned in Singapore and Koh Samui in Thailand.
I got really lucky and won the money to pay for our wedding, so we didn’t have that worry but before I did that we had financial concerns. Please believe me when I say you really don’t need to spend a lot to have the time of your life. You are so lucky to have met that person you are ready to live your life with and those feelings will be felt 100 times over on the day and that is what is so remarkable about your wedding day.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to take a few moments to step back and view what is your day, and don’t rush, relax and be in the moment. Our families really enjoyed being involved and so hand out jobs big or small and give your people little bits of the day that they had a hand in. I dried my bouquet and have it in a vase and think of my mum when ever I see it. Just think about what is important to you as a couple and what you would like to have as your memories after the big day and go from there.
Congratulations Hannah & Kenny!
This is not a sponsored post
September 30th, 2013 | Julia Braime
So I know I might harp on just a little about how brilliant our Brides Up North events are, but it’s so true! Yesterday at Hardwick Hall Hotel was an absolute knockout! A fabulous day, so much wedding inspiration and talent in one – massive – ballroom and so much fun. Thank you to this stunning venue for looking after us so well and to all my wonderful exhibitors, readers (hello you!), brides and grooms for making it such a great way to spend our Sunday.
After a hot bath and a bit of Downton Abbey I was tucked up in bed in readiness for another busy week ahead, and what a week it is! New projects galore, lots of meetings, a bit of party planning (have you got your ticket yet?) and topped off with our Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at The Mansion, Leeds. Yorkshire… it’s your turn! If you’d like to come along, click here to pre-register as a VIP Bride To Be.
That’s all behind the scenes though, so it’s on with the wedding gorgeous on these pretty pages. Today we join the beautiful Olivia and her new husband Phil for their stunning Real Wedding at one of our other amazing venues, Allerton Castle.
With images by Olivia Brabbs Photography.
Olivia says: I wouldn’t say I was your average bride. Unlike most girls I’ve never dreamt of the perfect day, where it would be and what I’d wear. In fact it wasn’t until Phil proposed on my birthday in Vegas last year (2011) that the idea of a wedding had even crossed my mind. I remember looking at the ring, then at him, and saying ‘so does this mean we’re getting married then?’
“If you like!” he said.
And so it began.
By the time we arrived back to my parents’ house in Leeds, my mum had practically picked the venue and spent hours scouring the internet for The Dress.
Phil had asked for their permission before we went away so mum had enjoyed a three-week head start.
Her enthusiasm for wedding research certainly made our lives a lot easier and meant we were free to head back down to London and back to work, safe in the knowledge she was going to be our wedding planning rock.
Allerton Castle in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, was the only venue we looked at and from the moment we stepped through its gothic doors, we knew it was the one. The place is oozing with character and from a decoration point of view, made things very easy.
Our fabulous florist, Joanna McCrea from Twisted Willow Floristry in Ripon, did an amazing job enhancing the gothic feel. She used tall candelabras with gypsophila, wax flower and trailing ivy, lots of candles to create a warm feel and fairy lights for that dramatic staircase.
Our bouquets absolutely blew me away when I saw them. Joanna used the same flowers as above but with the addition of astilbe, which looked very vintage and suited the feel of the day perfectly.
The dress was Eden in platinum by Jenny Packham and I wore the Acacia 1 headpiece and matching cuff. I’d tried on every style of dress you can imagine as I had no idea what I wanted. But when I saw the shop assistant walking towards me carrying Eden, I knew it was the one. I felt fabulous and very privileged to wear it.
My shoes were by Christian Louboutin and went perfectly with the dress. Again, I had no idea what I wanted but when I saw them I fell in love.
We did our own make-up and hair which was definitely the right decision. We had a lovely morning, slowly getting ready and having breakfast, and of course lots of champagne! It meant we were totally relaxed when we walked down the aisle.
A large ornate elephant statue, a symbol of good luck, stands in front of the fireplace at the castle and when we saw it, we knew we had to use it in our stationery. None of us are particularly traditional so we went for a laid back, quirky style with gothic fonts and the elephant as the focal point. It meant that when our guests arrived at the venue, everything came together. All our stationery was designed by the creative genius that is Bev Speight – my cousin’s wife.
Olivia is an extremely talented photographer and it was a joy to have her documenting our wedding.
She captured the essence of the day, the friendships and the fun, without anyone even noticing she was there. I didn’t want her to leave!
In fact it was the same with all our guests and we literally had to be peeled out of the castle. I think that is testament to our wonderful family and friends who helped make our wedding the best day of our lives.
Entertainment also came courtesy of Booth Revolution which helped capture the fun atmosphere of the evening when our photographer finished for the day.
We wanted our big day to be personal to us, so we had a lot of little touches including personalised thimbles – Royal Wedding style – and hangover kits which included paracetamol, alka seltzer, sachets of coffee and sugar, retro sweets and a miniature bottle of vodka.
A few guests said it actually saved their lives the morning after!
We both adore cheese so a cheese wedding cake was the obvious choice. The tasty rounds came courtesy of the lovely girls at The Cheeseboard in Harrogate. All our food was locally sourced so we made sure the cake was too. It sat on part of a solid oak tree trunk which my dad had skilfully chopped up a few weeks prior.
The feel of the day was very relaxed but it soon got raucous in the evening when our band, the brilliant Northern Vinyl from Leeds, and Phil’s old school friend and Ministry of Sound DJ James Lansdown, who travelled up from London, created the perfect party/rave atmosphere.
The dance floor was packed all night and saw guests go wild with blow-up guitars, including my 90-year old grandma!
Our first dance was Florence and the Machine, “You Got the Love”. The song means a lot to us because Florence sang it at one of the first festivals we went to together. It was quickly followed by Calvin Harris and “Vegas” which is another one of our favourites.
My advice to other Brides Up North would be to stay calm even when things go wrong, because in the grand scheme of things, the relationship between you and your future husband means more than anything. Your wedding is just one day to celebrate that.
And to party of course!
Congratulations Olivia & Phil!
This is not a sponsored post
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