March 2nd, 2017 | Julia Braime
Today on the blog we have a styled shoot that focuses on the venue and decor aspects of a wedding – and features not one, but two of our fabulous Brides Up North Sponsors.
Captured by the talented Melissa Beattie Photography at dream wedding venue Brinkburn Northumberland, this shoot aims to show how old can be mixed with new to create a stylish and unforgettable setting for those all-important “I dos” and big day celebrations.
Located on the banks of the river Coquet, Brinkburn provides a relaxed and informal backdrop for couples looking for an unusual historic and quirky venue. Offering use of its stunning White Room, Tipis and the 12th Century Priory Church for the ceremony and reception, alongside its comfortable accommodation in The Stables, Priory Cottage and Bel House, the venue has everything a wedding party could desire all in one place.
Here to show us more of this gorgeous venue whilst talking us through the details of the shoot, is Brinkburn’s wedding coordinator Jan-Marie…
With images by Melissa Beattie Photography.
jan-marie says: In doing this shoot we wanted to capture, the natural vibe of Brinkburn, taking inspiration from our mantra, “The Hills, The River, The Woods, The Quiet, Ssshhhh”.
The idea was to show the juxtaposition of contemporary design amongst the historic buildings and natural surroundings.
In terms of styling and colour we took our inspiration from the natural palette of Brinkburn. Christine of Lavenders Blue really does know Brinkburn inside and out so her brief was short and sweet. Fabulous greens from the lush and relaxed foliage set against the natural sandstone of the walls and the canvass of the tipi. Almost as if the viewer had stepped into their own decadent secret garden.
Christine foraged for foliage with stronger hues of green, fresh fern, ivy and rhododendron leaf in the woodland at Brinkburn and paired this with eucalyptus, olive leaf, rosemary and bay leaf for the tablespaces. The tipi poles were adorned with a cascading soft ruscus.
The simple brass belted glass vases we used are from a collection at Tutti & Co, along with all of the table accessories from their wedding table styling range.
June 30th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Last month on the blog Jane Witherspoon, our real life bride and celebrity columnist, shared with us details of her early wedding planning, including the reasons behind deciding on North East venue Brinkburn Priory, for her upcoming wedding in October.
As a celeb reporter for the likes of Good Morning Britain, Jane also made us green with envy as she told us about her latest red carpet antics which included interviewing a certain Mr Clooney. And she’s been at it again! This time though she’s been rubbing shoulders with a big girl crush of ours here at Brides Up North, actress and newlywed Michelle Keegan.
So we’ll let Jane give you all the goss on what Miss Keegan had to say about her lavish ceremony to Mr Wright, whilst also bringing you up to date with the plans for her and beau Alex’s impending wedding.
jane says: So we’re on a train to see Alex’s parents as I write this blog. “Why don’t you write about invitations?” he says sarcastically. Oops, we really need to get on top of this ‘wedmin’! I can see why some people would hire a wedding co-ordinator as it’s hard to find the time to get organised. That said, we have got the bones of our wedding nailed down.
Wedding season is well and truly upon us. I’ve even been chatting nuptials on Good Morning Britain this month following Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan’s big day. I thought they both looked stunning. In fact I’d go as far to say that Michelle is the most gorgeous girl I’ve ever met!
They tied the knot at the beautiful Hengrave Hall in Suffolk in front of 120 guests. The same number that will be attending ours at Brinkburn Priory. I interviewed her a few weeks ago and we were swapping bride-to-be tips. She told me once the venue is booked that the most important thing was to get your flowers sorted. Having since seen the reports that she spent £60,000 on flowers I now understand why she thought it was a big deal!
We’re still undecided what to do about the floral aspect of our day but we definitely won’t be splashing out to that extent on them. I love that our venue was a medieval monastery. It’s so magical. There was talk of us putting flowers in the priory itself but the more we chat about it I like that its old stone and atmospheric. We’re leaning more to the idea of filling it with candles. Our reception is being held in two tipis on site that have pit fires in them. The tables will have eastern style lanterns on them and lots of tea lights so flowers will be minimalist.
We’re working with a lovely florist called Christine at Lavenders Blue in Northumberland. She’s got some great ideas which will add elegance and simplicity to the day. Simple glass cubes with a single ivory hydrangea and greenery. The poles of the tipis will be decorated with green foliage and have fairy lights around them too. I’m a typical magpie (had to get the Newcastle United reference in) and love anything sparkly.
Next, glorious food. What do you serve up at a wedding that’s going to satisfy everyone with different tastes? Let me introduce Wilkins Fine Dining. Neil and his team are just amazing. We’re still to do our tasting session which Alex can’t wait for. Everyone I talk to says that the food tasting session is one of the highlights of planning a wedding. We’re thinking of serving Roulade of Ham Hock and Piccalilli for starter followed by Slow Cooked Shoulder of Wingate’s Lamb, Fondant Potato and Rosemary Sauce. For dessert it’s warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Sauce. There will of course be a vegetarian option and no doubt once we sample all of Wilkins’ taster menu this could all change!
We’ve booked the entertainment for the night too. An old friend from school put us in touch with a band called Purple Cloud of Funk. They’re incredible. In my business I get to go to a lot of gigs and these guys really stand out. They’re fun and play tunes that will have everyone on their feet. Guests can expect a mix of the latest pop tunes mixed in with some classics and lots of Northern Soul and Motown. We’ll be asking guests to suggest a song as part of their RSVP and that will make up the play list. That reminds me, those invitations!
In my July blog post I will be talking dresses and makeup. I bumped into Hunger Games actor Sam Claflin at the Burberry show at London Men’s Collection last week. We have a mutual friend – Ciona Johnson-King. She’s the best makeup artist in the business who’s worked with him since he started his career as well as Hollywood A-listers including Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Craig. So next month I’ll be bringing you some of her top beauty tips!
Follow Jane on Twitter @janeyspoon
May 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Last month on the blog we introduced you to real life bride & celebrity columnist Jane Witherspoon, who is sharing her planning journey exclusively on Brides Up North in the run up to her October wedding.
If you recall Jane has a pretty cool but extremely busy job as a showbiz TV reporter and presenter for the likes of Good Morning Britain. And while that does mean rubbing shoulders with the celebs, it also means a hectic schedule full of early starts and late finishes, making finding time to plan a wedding all the more challenging.
In this month’s post Jane brings us up to speed with her glitzy TV work (which includes chatting with a certain Mr Clooney – jealous, much!) and she also spills the beans on the gorgeous venue for her big day. Over to you Jane…
jane says: As I sit down to write this month’s blog the panic sets in. I keep telling myself we’ve got loads of time to organise our wedding but it’s now just over four months away – 17 weeks to be exact (I’ve just read the last line out to Alex and his reply was ‘Oh thanks for that, you’ve got me worried now’)! I’ve discovered as time goes by that Alex has been approaching the organising of our day very cleverly. Let’s put it this way – he’s a great project manager! Then again I can be a bit of a control freak so it works.
May has been a crazy month workwise. It started with a charity ball with the cast of Downton Abbey followed by the General Election. No matter how much I do it, waking at 3am is never easy. It was a buzz hanging outside Conservative HQ waiting to grab the first shots of the Prime Minister to arrive from his count in Whitney.
And then there was George! Clooney that is! I’ve been lucky enough to interview him a few times over the years and he’s always a dream interviewee – so charming and professional. When reporting from the red carpet of the premiere of his new film Tomorrrowland in Leicester Square I seized the opportunity to ask him a bit of advice for that first year of marriage. His reply: “I would say, your husband is always right…just a thought.” That’s apart from when he’s wrong of course George!
It’s quite full on trying to organise a big event around our work schedules but we’re getting there. I think that’s mainly due to the fact that we decided on a venue very early on. Alex is from a very small family which is just as well as mine is huge. Speak to any bride and groom and I’m sure they’ll tell you the most stressful thing about organising a wedding is deciding who to invite. It’s the most awful thing having to whittle down a list of friends and family. In fact, it’s quite brutal. Everyone tells you to just invite who you want and people will understand. That’s all well and good but they’ve never met my Mum. She had her own list from the off!
Luckily the venue pretty much dictates how many people can be accommodated so that does help in deciding numbers. When choosing where to get married there were only two choices for us, Wigan (where Alex is from) or the North East (my roots).
Just after the New Year we decided to visit two potential venues in Northumberland: Short Flat Tower in Belsay and Brinkburn Priory near Rothbury. We went to Brinkburn first. We never made it to Belsay. From the moment we pulled up to Brinkburn we were sold on it. It is the perfect place. Emma, Jan and the team there are so welcoming and totally got us and what we wanted from the day from that very first meeting.
The priory was a 12th Century Medieval monastery built on a bend on the River Coquet. It’s beautiful. The priory church is like a mini cathedral and the converted stables mean there’s lovely spacious accommodation on site for family. We’ve decided on welcome drinks on arrival and then our 120 guests will take their seats in the Priory before dinner, drinks and dancing in the tipis which will be erected on site. I love that we don’t have to move location throughout the day and that it’s all confined to this beautiful English Heritage site.
The food on the day is being organised by Wilkins Fine Dining. Their menus are incredible and we’re actually off to the North East next weekend for a tasting session. This is surely one of the fun points in organising a wedding! Wilkins source and use local produce for their meals which I’m thrilled about. It’s great to support local businesses.
There’s one question that I keep getting asked about the wedding and that is ‘What’s your theme?’ I didn’t realise how important this is to some people. I still don’t have a theme as such but I know it will be a classic, fun day and night. There’ll be lots of laughs, candles and fairy lights to enhance the already magical setting.
I’d love to know: have you picked a theme for your big day, and if so, what?
Follow Jane on Twitter @Janeyspoon
December 2nd, 2013 | Julia Braime
I take pride in featuring all sorts of celebrations here on Brides Up North, and today’s fun and colourful, festival themed, foot stomping, hand fasting, outdoor wedding in Northumberland is as diverse, original and fabulous as they come. I love how real bride Justine had everything planned down to the finest details in order to allow the wildness of the setting and theme to take centre stage on the big day. Remember – it’s your wedding, do it your way.
With images by Browns Photography
We used the Stables for our civil ceremony and bridal party accommodation with our druid blessing in the orchard, plus dancing, yurt dining and camping there too.
We chose the venue because the owners, Mark and Emma Fenwick, were prepared to allow me to create the wedding that I wanted. Emma and I worked closely to organise the whole day. Emma allowed our guests to camp overnight too which was a big factor to us. I also wanted my grandmother to be comfortable and the Stables provided decadent accommodation in a wonderful riverside setting.
We chose to have a barefoot eco wedding with a festival undertone – laid back fun and far from formal – with horse and cart transport, camp fires and lively foot stomping music. Our party went on until midnight (wellies and posh frocks).
My dress was a bespoke corset and skirt made to my design by a costume maker based in Bristol. My skirt had a ribbon pulley system so the skirt could be ruched up for dancing at night incorporating lots of ribbons.
I wanted a dress that no one else would have with a hint of theatre and festival fun within the design. The fabric was wonderful raw silk and it had a fun deep plum silk lining which was only revealed after the more traditional civil ceremony.
I had a posy of Victorian roses tied with cream and plum satin ribbon.
My bridesmaid’s bespoke dress was again made to my festival fun idea, with ruching and a net petticoat in plum silk. The groomsmen wore their own suits.
My company Cloudhouses Ltd provided the large 30 foot diameter wedding yurt, dancing party tent, PA, Lighting Rig and bell tents Albert Hall Dance Floors provided our dance floor. Food was supplied by Wilkins Fine Dining. Emma from Brinkburn supplied waiting staff and decorated our wedding yurt.
Many friends helped with setting up our wedding and taking it down again which was wonderful. People’s time and energy meant so much more to us than physical gifts.
The whole day was wonderful, but seeing the faces of our friends and family from near and far as we arrived to the afternoon ceremony was something we will never forget! It was a really emotional moment for us both.
We had live music all the way, swing music followed by lively foot stomping local bands. P!key Beatz and Diddley squat provided the music along with swing DJ Dan Mahon. My son Dan is the base player in Pikey Beatz and the other band members I have known for years. Diddley Squat are very good friends of my husband Simon.
For our honeymoon we went to the Algarve in Portugal after our summer festival season (a gift from my cousins).
My top tip for other Brides Up North is that planning is crucial so take the help or advice of someone with experience. Make sure the person you choose is someone you can connect with and get along with, which will make it a whole lot easier.
Congratulations Justine & Simon!
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