November 15th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
We’ve been out on the road again all in the name of research to share with you our experiences of the North’s finest hotels, getaway retreats and spas, providing inspiration for pre- and post-wedding relaxation, and sometimes also a setting for the big day itself!
Cue our recent visit to Matfen Hall – a stunning stately home set in 300 acres of lush parkland in the Northumbrian countryside. The award-winning Hall houses fabulous function spaces, accommodation and spa and leisure facilities, making it an option for sophisticated hen dos, romantic getaways, such as a minimoon, plus a dream wedding venue too.
All images by Sean Elliott Photography.
Ahead of a super-exciting wedding refurbishment at Matfen, we were invited to view the current celebration spaces and to see what’s in store to take this already gorgeous venue to the next level. And my word, are couples saying ‘I do’ to Matfen in for a treat! Keen not to give away too much at this stage, we will be following up with a Dream Venue post soon that will detail the stylish refurbish plans in more depth.
Furthermore, on Sunday 4th March 2018, we will be holding a Luxury Wedding Fair at Matfen to reveal the results of the quarter-of-a-million-pound-refurbishment programme first-hand – so be sure to mark the date in your diaries!
But for today’s post, we return to our visit. During our blissful overnight stay, we experienced Matfen’s warm and welcoming hospitality, making use of its leisure facilities, restaurant and accommodation.
We began as any busy business ladies should, with a trip to the spa! Hotel guests can enjoy access to such facilities or there are a number of full and half-day ‘Escape’ packages to choose from, comprising different treatments, food and drink, so ladies (and gents) can pick which best suits their needs and wishes.
There is a 16-metre swimming pool and spa pool, plus thermal suites including an aromatherapy room, steam room, sauna, ice cold bucket shower, monsoon shower and ice fountain. We worked our way round, prioritising the warmer options, to relax and revive weary muscles, before indulging in a little chill time around the pool.
Matfen’s treatment choices cover off facial, body and massage therapies for men and women, as well as ‘Finishing Touch’ treatments such as nails, waxing and tinting.
Feeling in need of a radiance boost part-way through our autumn season of wedding fairs, we both opted for the Skin Specific Facial. Having been led to quiet, candle-lit treatment rooms, our knowledgeable therapists took time to enquire about our skin concerns before tailoring our facials to help combat such issues using heavenly Elemis products. We both emerged with hydrated, glowing complexions and super-soft skin (if only we could indulge one of these treatments every week!).
Leaving the spa feeling super-relaxed, it was time to freshen up (and wake-up!) before dinner. We were staying in one of Matfen’s stunning Principal Rooms in the original part of the Hall, that was spacious, comfortable and boasted gorgeous views of the garden.
November 10th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North HQ we’re the first to recommend using trusted and experienced suppliers to contribute to your big day, which should greatly reduce the risk of any aspect of the celebrations going wrong.
Through our ‘Suppliers We Love’ online directory, we highlight those from across the North that we know are talented, skilful and creative, and that will enhance, not hinder, your special day. One such supplier is entertainment agency Bands for Hire, who are here today to offer their top tips on securing a professional wedding band.
As providers of jazz bands, party bands and more throughout the UK, including Liverpool, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and the North East, the agency team are well placed to reveal the best way to secure top entertainment for your big day…
bands for hire say: Let’s face it – you’re pouring so much time and effort into all other aspects of your wedding that only the best and most professional band on the circuit will do. And although there are a lot of contenders out there for this title, there’s also quite a wide margin in terms of quality if you don’t know where to look or what to look for. The following is a quick checklist to help you identify and book yourself a band worthy of this happiest of occasions.
How do they present themselves?
When trying to attract new clients, presentation is everything to a wedding band. This includes how they conduct themselves on the phone, how frequently they update and monitor their online presence, and the quality of the photos and videos they submit. Low production values suggest a lack of professionalism that you don’t need to be dealing with come your big day. You want a band that cares about what they do, and wants you to know it. In a tough and highly competitive business climate, a band must cover all of its bases, and if to you they don’t seem to be, you’ll soon be able to find another act that does.
Can you book them via an agency?
We always recommend going through an agency. While there are a lot of untethered wedding bands out there that we’re sure are fantastic, using a live music agency will give you the assurance that your chosen act has been thoroughly quality checked – plus, they’ll have all the requisite experience, so you can trust you’ll be getting hitched without a hitch. An agency is also a handy way to compare services and rates of a selection of wedding bands, so your search time would be cut in half.
You may think that the rates at which agency bands are available seem astronomical in comparison to your local pub band, but in reality you’re forking out for a far superior service you can rely on to deliver – and, at any rate, every agency will be vying for your custom, and will therefore be keeping their prices competitive. You may be fortunate enough to know a great wedding band personally – in which case, take advantage of those mates’ rates – but an agency is otherwise your safest bet. This way, your act is contractually obliged to both show up and entertain for the agreed fee. Heaven forbid anything should go wrong, but at least you’ll be covered for any eventuality.
What’s their track record like?
Wedding and function bands will more often than not list for you their past gigging experience – most likely dropping the biggest client names they have in their arsenal. While these won’t necessarily be a sure-fire ascertainment of the standard of the service they’ll deliver to you, a band that can boast a recommendation from the BBC, Apple, Virgin or another major corporation will be able to perform at a certain level – and should at least be able to behave themselves. Bands worth their salt will also list any other achievements they’ve had during their careers, such as quotes from satisfied customers, prominent appearances or awards.
What services do they provide?
It’s one thing to book a band to play two 40-minute sets for you; it’s another entirely to receive a tailor-made service that follows you through each stage of the ceremony, from the cutting of the cake to the knees-up at the reception. Even a solo performer will have a range of music for you to pick from, and a real pro will know precisely what to put where. Bands should also clearly state what their protocol is when it comes to their own requirements – if providing their own PA and lighting rig is extra, this needs to be confirmed well in advance. Nobody wins if they just show up with nothing to plug into. Furthermore, if the band is expecting to be fed and watered, they should give you a heads up regarding any additional costs or dietary requirements.
It’s not unheard of to have live musicians provide the music for one part of the ceremony and for a DJ to provide the other. Often, bands will include a DJ set (or something similar) in their wedding packages, whether it be an additional performer or one of the band members themselves. It’s definitely worth sorting this out early on – you don’t want to get caught short with a spell of radio silence, or have to go on a mad dash for a last-minute DJ on the day. The best course of action is to have a clear idea of what you want from the outset, then clarify with the band exactly what it is they’ll be doing for you, then see if anything else needs addressing. A proper professional wedding band will most likely offer everything you could possibly want, and will be willing to work with you to maintain a tight ship.
Now you’re a little more clued up on the subject, we hope you can make your choice with confidence. Remember – there are professionals out there who’ll do the hard work for you, so you can concentrate on the other aspects of your perfect wedding. It’s always going to be tempting to cut corners wherever you can when the budget’s hurtling through the roof, but with something as integral to the wedding experience as the music and entertainment, risking an anything less than excellent wedding band is not one you can afford to take.
November 8th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Ever wonder how much time you would save if didn’t have to do all your makeup from scratch every day? Us too. But a rise in semi-permanent makeup treatments mean you could get some of that precious time back and remain looking tip-top, as our new Sponsor to the blog will tell you in today’s post.
Qualified Leeds-based permanent makeup artist, Jessica Speight of JS Semi-Permanent Makeup, offers a range of effective treatments, including lip, eye and eyebrow makeup, that provides radiant and lasting results.
Ideal for brides-to-be who crave a polished and fresh-faced look for their wedding day, honeymoon and beyond, these pain-free treatments can give ladies that final extra boost of confidence for their moment in the limelight. Intrigued? Well, the lovely Jessica is offering Brides Up North readers a fabulous 10% discount on treatments so now is the time to find out more and book that appointment…
Can you tell us a little about your background and training?
jess says: I have always been very creative and loved makeup, art and anything that requires a lot of patience and detail. I wanted to train as a permanent makeup artist for years before I decided to take the plunge. I decided I needed a career change two years ago and finally decided it was time to go for it! I was lucky enough to have one-to-one training through LCN elite PMU School in Manchester. I was awarded a distinction qualification for my work and every year continue to up skill through training; which means my qualifications continue to grow.
Can you give us an overview of the services that you offer and the area that you cover?
I specialise in semi-permanent eyebrow, lip and eye makeup. The variety of techniques and finished look of each treatment is determined during the consultation period. I am based in East Leeds, not far from junction 46 off the M1 and A1, therefore I am accessible and easy to find. There are also direct train and bus links from Leeds to my area.
Why would you advise brides to consider semi-permanent makeup?
It’s a great consideration for your wedding day as it means you don’t have to worry about reapplying any makeup throughout the day, you will always ready to go for every photo opportunity. It also gives a flawless finish for your honeymoon, so you will look and feel amazing throughout all of your celebrations.
This is also a great option for mother of the bride/groom or anyone for that matter that would like to look their best for the big day. Semi-permanent eyebrows frame your face and open your eyes, so it’s great for any ladies that want to achieve a fresh faced, youthful appearance.
Beautiful gift box vouchers are also available for permanent makeup treatments; perfect for brides looking to give their leading ladies a unique thank you gift.
How far ahead of the wedding would you recommend a bride gets in touch with you to discuss treatments/booking appointments?
Appointments do book up quickly, therefore to avoid disappointment, I’d definitely recommend getting in touch for more information as soon as you are considering this as an option. I do a free consultation and patch test with all of my clients before I discuss dates etc., therefore anyone wanting to ask any questions or come in and have a chat about times and the full treatment and costs, feel free to contact me. I always aim to reply to any queries the same day.
November 8th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson
The moment a father glimpses his baby girl in her wedding dress about to embark on the biggest day of her life is particularly special – perhaps it’s only at this moment that he realises his girl is a baby no longer. For Laura, today’s featured bride, this split-second was one of her most favourite moments of the day. Tears a-plenty. Forget the details and dress, sometimes it’s these freeze-framed flashes in time that produce the strongest memories to remind us what’s really important. Love is all you need, after all.
OK, so of course we’re not really going to forget the dress or details. What do you take us for? We can’t get enough of those special touches that make your weddings all about you, and Laura and Tom certainly didn’t disappoint with their endless metres of handmade hessian bunting – some featuring photographs of friends and family, homebrewed gin to tickle the guests’ taste buds, romantic quotes to inspire the guests during dinner, and a roulette table for those who like to take a gamble – and where else would you be invited to ‘pimp your prosecco’? Don’t mind if I do!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Bethany Clarke Wedding Photography.
laura says: The day we got engaged, Tom and I were moving into our new home. I was making Tom do the obligatory selfie outside the sold sign and, next thing I knew, he was down on one knee outside our dream home with the most perfect engagement ring asking me to marry him. Once I said “yes”, there were builders clapping and cheering from the other side of the estate!
Our wedding date was 21st July 2017. We always wanted to get married in the summer in the hope the weather would be good. A friend of a friend raved about their wedding at The Coniston Hotel, in Skipton, and, when we compared it to three other venues, we both loved how “us” The Coniston was; it felt so relaxed and romantic and we loved how the wedding area felt very private from the rest of the hotel. The views over the lake are incredible, so we knew (whatever the weather!) that wedding pictures by the lake would be amazing.
The Coniston was everything we wanted in a venue; everything we asked Sophie and Sharon, the wedding co-ordinators, to do was never too much trouble; they really seemed to understand what type of wedding we wanted. Everything went perfectly on the day and that was largely down to Sophie co-ordinating every aspect. We were never without a drink in our hands and all our guests felt so very well looked after. We couldn’t recommend The Coniston enough.
We didn’t have a specific theme for the day – more of a vintage style. We love the look of lace and hessian together – we’d used these materials for our save the date and wedding invitations – and we included some pastel peach colours to complement the look. We also had an inordinate amount of hessian bunting! Tom’s mum is extremely crafty and wonderful at bringing ideas to life; she made a very impressive 180m of bunting: 120m of it were incorporated into the ceiling drapes in the wedding breakfast room and the rest were dotted around the venue with lovely hand-painted lettering. We also had quite a lot of wood involved, with wooden slices for the table decorations and wooden stands for scented candles throughout the venue.
For my dress, I visited Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden, and instantly knew I wanted to get my dress from there; it’s so beautiful inside the shop and all the girls working there are great. I tried on a Justin Alexander dress that I just knew was perfect: Bardot-style with beautiful beading, nipped in at the waist with a very floaty skirt and long train. It sounds really clichêd but I knew when I tried it on it was the dress I wanted to marry Tom in.
November 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
It’s time to get those diaries out again ladies as we have news of an exciting event that’s happening in Yorkshire this week, at which you could find the dress of your dreams.
Our brand new Sponsor, the gorgeous Perfect Daze bridal boutique located in the picturesque village of Scissett, is now stocking top British designer Suzanne Neville, and will be celebrating with a special launch event on Thursday 9th November.
Taking place between 3pm and 9pm at local venue, Holmfirth Vineyard, within its new function room, Perfect Daze owner Emma Roberts is inviting you lucky brides-to-be to view stunning gowns from the sensational Suzanne Neville Belle Époque collection, while meeting fellow suppliers, viewing the gorgeous setting and sipping on a glass of bubbly, of course!
We’ll hand over the blog to Emma now to fill us in on all the fabulous details, including how to get your hands on tickets to the event (did we mention entry is free?!) – and if the above wasn’t enough to tempt you, we’re pretty sure the images of the collection accompanying this post will seal the deal…
Can you tell us what brides-to-be can expect from the event?
emma says: Brides-to-be will be able to see the Suzanne Neville dresses up close as all eight will be displayed on mannequins. There will also be a harpist, photographer, florist and Neil Geddes, who designs and creates individual jewellery pieces.
There will be fizz and a prize draw to win a bottle of Suzanne Neville perfume for all those who register and attend the event. Brides in attendance will also have the first opportunity to book in and try on the new dresses.
Can you tell us a little about the Suzanne Neville dresses that you will be stocking?
The eight pieces are from the Belle Époque collection and we’re among the first in the UK to get the dresses in. The designs are magnificent and varied, made from the most beautiful fabrics, exquisite laces, embroidered tulles, piqué, cloqué silks, clean crepes and satins.
Why did you want to stock Suzanne Neville at your boutique?
I have always loved Suzanne Neville and thought it would be a dream to stock her dresses, so I feel very honoured that they said yes to us. We have increased the price point of our full collection by introducing Enzoani Beautiful, Enzoani Blue and Badgley Mischka and I felt we needed a jewel in our crown. Suzanne Neville is the perfect complement to the Enzoani dresses – we love chic, tailored designs with a little twist. The corsetry and workmanship is exquisite and I can’t tell you how excited we are to introduce them into the shop!
Do you have a personal favourite from the collection?
I love Swanson, Rosa and if I was to get married again, without doubt, it would be in Coco.
What type of bride will the collection appeal to?
The collection will appeal to the savvy bride, the lady who really knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go and get it. Our Suzanne Neville brides will appreciate simple design and quality and know that less is definitely more!
What is the price range of the collection?
Price range from £2,500 to £4,000.
What are you looking forward to most about the event?
I am so proud of what we have achieved and excited about the future of the industry that I want to share it with people. I love the fact it will be a gallery type of setting, without the stands that are usual at such events. I am hoping my old customers will also come along and I will be able to catch up with them too.
How do brides get hold of tickets for the event?
Tickets are available here on Eventbrite. They are free and will enter ladies into the perfume draw if they attend the event. Anyone can come and have a look, it’s not just open to brides-to-be, it’s a celebration of very beautiful dresses.
November 4th, 2017 | Julia Braime
The finest North West wedding industry talent will be descending upon The Bowdon Rooms, Altrincham, for our Mini POP-UP Wedding Festival Bridal Show at this unique & authentic vintage venue this SUNDAY 5th November 2017, 11am till 3pm, FREE ENTRY!
This brilliant, exclusive use venue is as fun as it is special, with it’s high ceilings, sparkling drapes, ornate fireplaces and perfectly sprung dance floor. Dancing shoes at the ready! If you are looking for a bespoke and private wedding venue with a little added pizazz, it’s your lucky day.
We’ve added the very best floral designers, bridal boutiques, stationers, vintage cars , venue stylists, photographers, cakes, diamonds (and more!) that the area has to offer – plus a festival styling twist and lots of live music – to make sure that every detail of your big day is covered with individual style.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a bit of a party…
bride to be?
We’re giving away up to 150 free Bride To Be media packs, filled with glossy magazines and treats from Brides Up North. As demand is high, to pick up your media pack all you need to do is register.
While stocks last only.
fancy exhibiting with us?
We would love to welcome new exhibitors to the Brides Up North family in 2018. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our fabulous luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions this year.
Click here to view the full schedule.
Exhibitors will be strictly limited by category and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Email Julia at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
To whet your appetite in the meantime, we’re handing over the blog to director of The Bowdon Rooms Neil Hughes, to tell us more about this spectacular space.
Can you tell us about the style and history of the venue?
neil says: Our luxury wedding venue in Cheshire is a charming building that offers an abundance of authentic character and beautiful features. More than 110 years old, the property’s Edwardian decadence will offer you and your guests a superior environment.
Amid subtle yet exquisite details of art nouveau charm, you can relax and dine in our glorious ballroom, with its stunning chandeliers suspended from a 40-foot domed ceiling, against a backdrop of romantically-lit voiles.
All The Little Details, altrincham wedding, barkers the florist, brides up north featured supplier, cheshire wedding exhibition, Dominic Halpin and his Swing Band, Marie Antoinette Cakes, Martin Hambleton Photography, perfection on linen, the bowdon rooms, the bowdon rooms wedding exhibition, The Mighty Boof, uk wedding blog
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