October 19th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Given the popularity of this priceless post we have allocated a quarterly yearly slot to round up the very best nuggets of advice from the real brides that have graced our pretty Brides Up North pages over the last few months.
For these are the ladies fully in the know of the beautiful, if not at times bumpy, wedding planning journey that you brides-to-be have ahead of you as you pull together all the elements of your dream day.
From budget and timeline tips to advice on the venue, theme and supplier choices, our certified newlyweds share where it’s worth investing your time, money and stress and when it’s time to just full on Frozen-style let it go!
Within their clued-up comments, we’re thrilled to hear how we at Brides Up North have helped to play a part in the planning of their gorgeous celebrations; from taking inspiration from our beautiful featured real weddings, to using our handy online directory to locate top local suppliers and also visiting our Luxury Wedding Shows that we host at wow-worthy venues across the north, directly linking couples and industry pros to take care of every wedding detail while providing an abundance of inspiration.
We hope you too will use and benefit from such fabulous resources as well as the priceless knowledge that our fully-fledged brides are about to impart as they complete the following sentence – “My top tip to other Brides Up North would be…”
Click on the links to see each wedding in full.
samantha says: My top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to try to keep everyone happy; it is your day, so it’s the only time you can be truly selfish. We worried too much about everyone else throughout the whole process. Funnily enough, my best friend gave me the same advice! I would also say relax and don’t let the small things on the days leading up to it, and on the day, get to you. So many small things did not go exactly to plan for us, but it doesn’t dampen your mood on the day. The most important thing is having your friends and family around you – all the laughter, happy tears, dancing, eating good food and celebrating while they watch you marry your best friend. It is the most amazing day, no matter what.
linsey says: Don’t worry about the weather – you can’t control it so try not to waste time stressing about it. Think about how to keep the day interesting and enjoyable for your guests. For us, we knew that if we could see our family and friends enjoying themselves then this would make the day even more perfect! In the run up to the wedding, I also spent a lot of time looking at the real weddings section on Brides Up North – it was so helpful to get tips from other brides and to get a feel for the types of things that we wanted to incorporate into our wedding day.
stacey says: Don’t settle for anything less than you want. If there are suppliers you really want, get them booked in as soon as you can. We knew the suppliers we wanted to make our day special and each one made it perfect.
emma says: Definitely get a videographer! We were unsure for a long time but so pleased we did in the end. The guest messages definitely made us chuckle! Also, take time out to be on your own, just the two of you. We had a 25-minute journey between the ceremony and reception that meant we had some time alone before greeting all of our guests. Finally, when looking for suppliers, the online directory on Brides Up North was extremely helpful. I followed Brides up North on Instagram and took a lot of inspiration from the real weddings section too.
natalie says: Enjoy every minute of the planning. I never really understood why brides were stressed before the wedding. I really enjoyed the whole process. I particularly liked choosing the flowers and also liked creating all of the finishing touches.
zoe says: Think about what wedding you want. Don’t worry about what other people will think. I know that people thought we were ‘doing too much’ or ‘doing the wrong things’ because they couldn’t see the bigger picture but, in the end, everyone could see it all came together and was worth it. I like to be organised and have things written down, so make lots of lists, talk to lots of different suppliers and don’t rush into booking the first one you see. Just remember it’s all about you as a couple and it will come through in your day.
sophie says: Give yourself lots of time the few days before the wedding to get things sorted – there were lots of last-minute bits we were running around doing and I was pretty organised, so it’s always worth having the time as a contingency.
caroline says: Trust your suppliers. You’ll have chosen them for a reason, so let them do their thing! We also put them all in touch with each other, which meant they could chat to each other without us being the middle man – much quicker! My other tip is to do a full ‘run of show’ and contact sheet and give it to everyone who is part of your day. Then everyone is kept in the loop and you don’t get plagued with a million questions in the run-up to the big day.
lucie says: Choose a venue that suits you as a couple. I would say that picking and choosing the bits that actually matter to you is really important, and also helps you to prioritise and budget. At the end of the day, the most important part is the vows and making sure you’re in an environment that feels right to celebrate with your nearest and dearest. The rest of it is detail, and no amount of flowers or hours spent agonising over stationery colours will matter as much to you both on the day itself. Also, during the planning, we went to several Brides Up North wedding fairs at Denton Hall, which were a very handy way to catch up with all our suppliers and generally think about where we wanted to display things on our day. I visited the Brides Up North website too. I didn’t really do overwhelming amounts of research, but for me looking at real weddings on the blog was the best way to get inspiration or to think of extra details. It’s also a great way to track down tried and tested suppliers.
sarah says: Make sure you make time for yourself and invest in a photographer you trust to take great pictures and who you would want to hang out with for 12 hours! Also, make whatever decisions feel right for the two of you. Changing my dress with three months to go felt like a crazy thing to embark on, but it was the best decision I made – I felt a million dollars!
rachel says: Get the big things booked in as soon as possible; you are therefore more likely to get the suppliers you want before they get booked up and you have a good idea of how much everything is going to cost well in advance. We wouldn’t recommend a two-year engagement like we had but it was the time we needed to save up for everything we wanted; it was worth it, but it did get a little stressful thinking of the wedding for two whole years. Also, don’t worry about getting around all your guests on the day – just take everything in and enjoy the moment. The only thing we wish we’d had that we didn’t was a live band for the reception.
emma says: Throughout the wedding planning process, I visited Brides Up North to look for local suppliers and read the real weddings with a similar theme so I could get more ideas on what we wanted our wedding to look like. Myself and my maids of honours also visited a wedding fair in Leeds, held by Brides Up North, which we fully enjoyed, particularly sampling the cakes and prosecco on offer!
katy says: Get people to help you, don’t try to do everything yourself! People helped us with all sorts – the wedding playlist, teaching us to dance, making the cake – you name it! Not only does it take some of the stress away, but everyone feels a part of your wedding, which makes it even more special. We got a group of us together to make the decorations about six weeks before the wedding. It was a great way to power through making them all and we had a lovely day spending time together getting excited for the big day. Also, if you’re going on your honeymoon straight afterwards, make sure you have the first few days to just relax, recover and enjoy being newlyweds. We love packing loads into our trips, but boy did we need a few days to just veg out on the beach after it all. It’s more emotionally exhausting than you realise!
alex says: Enjoy every single part of the planning process. It’s a cliché but the day itself will go by in flash – it may not even go to plan (although we were lucky that ours did) – but the wedding process is so much more. Enjoy your engagement, searching for venues, meeting with suppliers, dress shopping, the hens and stags; it’s all part of it, so enjoy every second.
lucy says: Having a DIY wedding was much more challenging than we anticipated, mainly in terms of building an infrastructure around the effort and ensuring the costs for this don’t spiral. So, if you do something similar, make sure you talk through with your marquee/ tipi provider what they require in terms of electricity and water, and how they can support you in this area of your planning. There are so many things to think about, from how you can facilitate your caterer, and whether you need a generator, through to organising suitable toilets. Totem Tipi were amazing in helping us to understand all of this and without this level of advice we would have been struggling.
holly says: Do exactly what you want to do on your day – just because it doesn’t fit the ‘regular mould’ of a wedding day doesn’t make it any less special. Early in your planning, sit down together and work out what your top priorities are for your day and keep those as your focus.
emma says: Accept help from people. There were so many family and friends who helped with different aspects of our day. We couldn’t have done it without them and they made our day even more special. Also, there were also some aspects of our day that were a complete surprise to us. We hadn’t seen the wedding cake, we’d given Milly the florist free reign over the flowers and the decorations, and it was so lovely as the bride and groom to have some surprises waiting for us at the venue, rather than knowing every detail inside out.
rebecca says: The Brides Up North site gave us a great starting point when searching for suppliers. The main element we found useful though was definitely the Brides Up North wedding fairs; it’s important to meet your suppliers in person as the people you work with are often far more influential to your day than the products they offer.
ashleigh says: Start getting ready early on the day of the wedding! The only time I felt any stress or nerves was whilst getting ready in case I was late! My other top tip would be to take in every moment and make a mental note. I got told that so many times before the big day and now I think back and remember so many lovely details.
charlotte says: If you are planning a fairly large wedding and know you are going to have a lot going on, get a wedding planner. If you are as meticulous as me, having someone else also with an eye for detail takes a huge weight off your mind on the day. Our day definitely would not have run as smoothly if we didn’t have Helen Eriksen involved. We also found Brides Up North helpful when looking up local suppliers for our day.
October 15th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Happy Monday y’all! Today’s beauty of a real wedding between Lucy and Martin centres around a lovely, delicate blush pink theme that tones beautifully with the blue of the boys’ suits and works in harmony with the subtle rustic vibe of the day.
Sandburn Hall, where the couple held their nuptials, lends itself perfectly to such a natural-styled wedding, with gorgeous exposed beams perfect for twining around fairy lights and a panoramic rural view that creates a fabulous backdrop to the ceremony and wedding breakfast.
One of our favourite details has to be the somewhat clever cake. From the front, it’s a simple and elegant design topped with two figures resembling the bride and groom, even down to Martin’s unique beard! But head round the back of the cake and you’ll find a whole host of Lego figures working hard to finish their creation. It’s details like this that guests remember from the day and it’s lovely to offer the odd surprise here and there.
Talking of surprises, thoughtful groom Martin arranged for a mint green VW campervan to pick Lucy up and transport her to Sandburn on the day of the wedding, simply because it’s her favourite. And we adore the time and thought invested into the table plan displaying photos of each guest – a lovely idea and serves two purposes; getting guests to the right table while giving them a smile en route. Tell us more, Lucy …
With images by All You Need is Love Photography.
lucy says: We got engaged on 28th March 2016. We were having a lazy Bank Holiday Monday, trying to decide what to do with our day as our plans had been cancelled. Martin went off to make breakfast but came back upstairs shortly afterwards and said, “I know what we can do today.” He pulled the ring out of his pocket and said, “Let’s get married!” It was a complete surprise. I don’t think I’ve ever been so speechless in my life. It took me a good few hours to be able to talk normally again!
We got married on 24th March 2018 at Sandburn Hall in York, where we had both our ceremony and reception. Sandburn has a restaurant called Tykes that has always been one of our favourite places to eat and, even before we got engaged, we’d always said it would be a great place to get married. It’s beautiful inside and out, with beams and a light open space.
We wanted a relaxed, fun day with everything in one place and Sandburn provided that, so we’d definitely recommend the venue to others. Our wedding coordinator Rhian was great and helped massively throughout our planning. She made sure the day ran seamlessly. We can’t fault the venue at all. The rest of the staff on the day worked so hard and a lot of them were there from start to finish, which is a long day, and yet the smiles never left their faces.
We didn’t choose a particular theme but it ended up being quite rustic with logs and flowers on the tables. We just wanted something quite simple and natural. The room is so lovely on its own that it didn’t need much decoration.
Colour-wise, we went for a blush pink as we had found bridesmaid dresses from Dorothy Perkins we liked that were blush pink, so we used this colour for the rest of the wedding.
I got my Morilee dress from the Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton. I tried on several different dresses to see what suited as I had no idea what I would like and, when I put my dress on, it just felt right. It had an oyster-coloured layer under the lace, which gave it an almost vintage colouring, and lots of lace detail.
October 11th, 2018 | Julia Braime
We’re so excited to return as the official blogger for The National Wedding Show at Manchester Central from Saturday 27th to Sunday 28th October 2018!
I’ll be on site at the event, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming like mad (from a front row seat at the designer catwalk no less) and trying to meet as many of you lovely brides to be as possible.
Joining me this autumn will be over 200 of the most trusted suppliers from Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and Liverpool. I always love it when the suppliers have gone that extra mile, be it in the visual styling of their stand, the experience that they are offering to their customers or their beautiful products. Having checked out the exhibitor line up for this event, it’s going to be a gorgeous one!
And no wedding show is complete without a bit of dress shopping, is it? We’ll be immersing ourselves in clouds of lace and tulle as we check out the Catwalk Show to see what our favourite bridal boutiques and designers have to offer for the season ahead.
The best boutiques in the North West will be on hand to help you find the best type and fit of dress for you and your whole wedding party. The Catwalk brings the latest looks for brides and bridesmaidsto life in a fabulous show that takes place four times a day at the National Wedding Show Manchester. Watch out for dream dresses by Berketex, Ladybird, Oriental Pearl, Willow Bride, White Gallery, Diane Harbridge, Wedding Style Collective and The Confetti Box!
Whilst the bridal dresses are the obvious showstoppers, you’ll also see beautiful make-up looks by Lancôme, a variety of on-trend hairstyles from Anna Sorbie, shoes to fall in love with from Rainbow Club, Mother Of The Bride by Maria Morris and Nigel Raymont and even inspiration for bouquets and other accessories!
We wouldn’t forget the groom either, there’ll be some seriously swoon worthy looks on the catwalk from the likes of Slaters, Ben Sherman, Swarbricks Formal Hire, Youngs Hire and Moss Bros.
It’s a must-see for everyone visiting the show so why not guarantee yourself a seat with a Brides Up North VIP ticket? Then you can pick up a glass of fizz from the Champagne Bar and settle in to “ooh”, “aah” and enjoy the show! Catwalk shows are at 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm and 3:30pm every day.
Images supplied by The National Wedding Show
October 4th, 2018 | Julia Braime
The lovely wedding fairies at Lartington Hall have teamed up with Brides Up North and UNVEILED Magazine to bring you a Brides With Style, A Luxury Wedding Fair at the heart-stoppingly beautiful, exclusive use venue Sunday 14th October 2018, 11am till 2pm, and it’s FREE ENTRY, everyone welcome!
Expect stunning styling, perfect interiors, all the details from fine art florals to bridal fashion, cakes, photographers, stationers, live music and more. Come along and see what makes Lartington Hall just that extra bit special, from it’s delicious food to every little considered last touch of décor and comfort. This really is one of our very favourite places in the world – when we visit, we never want to leave!
The whole of the Hall, including it’s beautiful Ballroom, Chapel, bedroom suites and gardens will be open to explore and enjoy. If you haven’t found your venue yet (or even if you have and just fancy some serious wedding inspiration) then we would love to see you there. Register now!
Lartington Hall has quickly become one of the most sought after country house wedding destinations in the North of England. Having been lovingly restored, the Grade II listed building set amongst 78 acres of romantic parkland is now equally stunning on the outside as within; housing an opulent collection of ceremony and reception rooms, luxurious, boutique style accommodation and its very own private chapel.
The quality of the restoration and attention to detail is nothing short of spectacular; from reclaimed venetian marble floors and regency antiques, to Nina Campbell furnishings and state-of-the-art Bose sound systems, the old and new have been blended together seamlessly.
For weddings, the impressive country house, which combines the glamour of The Great Gatsby with the grandeur of Downton Abbey, becomes couples’ very own rural retreat for their special day, with exclusive use of the entire building for just them and their chosen guests. Helping to bring the perfect package together, a wedding specialist, stylist and, of course, a butler, will be on hand to assist brides and grooms with their every wish.
Find out more about the venue at www.lartingtonhall.co.uk.
bride to be?
To pre-register for a free VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack (full of treats and glossy mags including the latest issue of our collectable glossy UNVEILED Magazine), simply follow the link below. You can collect your VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack upon entry to Lartington Hall. Only the bride need register for larger groups. While stocks last.
fancy exhibiting with us?
We would love to welcome new exhibitors to the Brides Up North family in 2018 and 2019. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our fabulous luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions this year and next.
Click here to view the 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.
Images supplied by Lartington Hall.
September 18th, 2018 | Julia Braime
Gotcha! The lead image on today’s post may well have caused you to double take, but Andy and I haven’t got hitched just yet! The photo was actually taken at our best friends’ wedding a few weeks ago where I was a maid of honour and Andy one of the groomsmen.
Attending four fabulous weddings this year has certainly made for very helpful research for our own big day, reaffirming the most important elements to us, where we should allocate more of the budget, where we might be able to make a saving and how to weave special touches among the proceedings.
And now, with no other weddings in the diary between now and summer 2019 we are officially next in line to become Mr & Mrs – and I feel that with less than eight months to go, we are making surprisingly good progress.
I have, however, found myself somewhat torn when writing these diary posts as I’m excited to give you updates and share my experience, but like any other bride-to-be, I don’t want to give away too many details about the big day before it’s happened, especially for those that will be attending.
Following the wedding I’ll certainly be divulging all aspects and details of the amazing suppliers we have onboard, but in the meantime, there are some elements that I think are safe to reveal…
Since my last diary post the day invites have been sent out causing Andy to get weirdly cocker-spaniel-style excited for the post arriving each day. Every time a few more RSVPs drop through the letter box he quickly retrieves them and moves the responding guests’ names into the ‘attending’ column on one of our many planning spreadsheets. I have to say though, I adore this level of enthusiasm and organisation (if only he could take transfer such skills keeping ‘his side’ of our bedroom in order!).
Clean and elegant, we went with a personal ‘R&A’ design in a gold leaf garland for the invite with accompanying details card and RSVP sealed within a brown Kraft envelope, which should tie in nicely with other styling elements that we have planned for the wedding.
Another box ticked is Andy and his groomsmen’s suits, which he found while shopping with his best men in Manchester. It’s really important to me that Andy loves what he wears on the day as much as I love my dress and I must say, though he’s still to accessorise his outfit, he looks absolutely gorgeous in his chosen suit and picturing him in it at our chosen venue The West Mill, gives me butterflies! Finding his attire also helps to pull together the wedding colour palette a little more, though the hue of his tie is an ongoing debate!
We’ve ticked all entertainment boxes now too, with bookings for different parts of the day that we hope will reflect our musical tastes while setting the desired atmosphere and, in turn, creating memories that will last beyond the wedding.
I’ve also recruited my #glamsquad to beautify me and my four bridesmaids – it was certainly an area where I was spoilt for choice as through both Brides Up North and UNVEILED magazine we work with some true talents of the hair and makeup industry. The two pros I’ve enlisted the skills of are Lake-District-based hair stylist Gareth Lambert of Aqua The Salon, and North East makeup artist Anna Cordelia Mason. I’ve had the pleasure of working with this dynamite duo on several occasions and I’ve found their approach and styles to be right up my street, plus they both have such lovely personalities that I know they will bring a really fun yet chilled vibe to the wedding morning.
What else? Well after letting you all know that I unexpectedly found my dream dress in record time in the summer I thought I’d move onto my accessories, starting with my shoes – and I’m thrilled to say I’ll be a Charlotte Mills bride when it comes to my big day footwear. I was keen to go to a designer that specialises in bridal shoes, rather than buy off the high street, as I know the experts in this area provide both style and comfort in their designs. As a girl that lives in trainers (all hail the Stan Smiths!) I couldn’t bare the thought of hobbling around in pain on my wedding day, though I knew I’d want a heel for added height and an elegant posture. Thanks to Charlotte I had the most amazing experience picking the perfect pair from her utterly gorgeous collection and would highly recommend others to follow in my footsteps by visiting her cute boutique in Saddleworth near Oldham or visiting one of her amazing stockists for personal on- to-one service and advice. For those coming to our Luxury Wedding Shows this season, you’re in for an extra special treat as our goody bags will include a Charlotte Mills discount voucher meaning you can bag yourself a pair of her totally dreamy heels and make a saving in the process!
Next on my wedding to-do list is the bridesmaid dresses, an element of the planning I’m really stoked for as I’m looking to fabulous designer Rosanna Garden of Motee Maids to assist me in dressing my leading ladies. Having first met Rosanna at The White Gallery in London when she’d not long launched her amazing bridesmaid collection, I instantly fell in love with her clever customisable creations that give options on dress style, colour and delicate hand embellishment detailing, enabling individual personalities and style preferences to shine through. Furthermore, Motee Maids was named ‘Best Bridesmaid Collection of the Year’ at the 2018 Bridal Buyer Awards, just last week further cementing Rosanna’s position as a leading designer in the industry. The only problem with picking such a talent is that I will, without doubt, be enviable of my maids’ attire.
Over the coming months we have a few more suppliers to source and meetings to arrange, including with the florist, caterer and our amazing photographer Jon of S6 Photography. And so, I guess what is safe to say is that the wedding clique is coming together, and momentum is building for the big day, though I’m eager to not wish away the run-up as it’s all part of the wedding experience and a time that I aim to absorb and enjoy!
Catch up on Rachel’s other diary entries here.
August 23rd, 2018 | Julia Braime
We’re super excited to be reprising our role as official blogger for The National Wedding Show at Manchester Central this autumn on 27th to 28th October 2018! As the North West’s biggest wedding show, you can try, buy, book and hire all that you need for your perfect day.
With up to 200 wedding specialists, from bridal boutiques and florists to photographers and cake designers, this is the place to gain first-class creative ideas, tips and advice from the area’s crème de la crème of wedding suppliers. As one of our very favourite events of the year, we’re always eager to learn what wonderful extras The National Wedding Show team have in store – and ladies and gents, we can safely say that you’re in for a real treat!
As usual, we’ve got some great savings up our sleeves for you too – we ain’t the Official Blogger for nothing!
Book tickets adult tickets for just £12.50* or save £5 on VIP tickets by clicking here.
We’ve put together a list of our not to be missed moments at the show – and there’s SO much to see and do. Top tip: leave the high heels at home!
This is your ‘all under one roof’ chance to meet hundreds of top wedding suppliers face-to-face. Some of the exciting names joining the fun this season include: J&J Designs, The White Gallery, Bride at Swarbricks, Churchmouse Cheeses, Krispy Kreme, Manchester Gin, Moss Bros, Nigel Rayment, Qube Events, Shropshire Petals, The Eclectic Hotel Collection and many more. We’d say that’s every detail covered.
she’s in fashion
Our favourite bit (you’ll always find us in the FROW)! The showstopping catwalk brings the latest looks for brides, bridesmaids, grooms and guests to life in a fabulous show that takes place four times a day. Whilst the bridal dresses are the obvious showstoppers, you’ll also see beautiful make-up looks, a variety of on-trend hairstyles, shoes to fall in love with and even inspiration for bouquets and other accessories! Grab yourself a guaranteed seat with a VIP ticket (more on that later)!
There are loads of free DIY wedding workshops running throughout the weekend. Get creative at ‘The Inspiration Lab’ where a selection of suppliers will be running free classes covering everything from calligraphy to flower crown making. Nice.
Visit the gallery to see the North West’s star bakers showcase their delicious creations.
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