Charlotte Balbier

hot topic: urban vs rural

September 20th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

City - image by Mike Plunkett

Mike Plunkett Photography

It goes without saying that choosing your dream wedding venue is one of the first – and most important – decisions you’ll make when it comes to tying the knot.

And even before you hone in on different venues and draw up a wish list, the most basic of questions will need consideration: should you marry in the country or the city?

Both locations offer couples something unique; complementing your grander plans and priorities for the day – whether it’s unrivalled photo opportunities, ease of getting from the ceremony to the party after, or quite simply fitting with your overall theme.

For some brides, you may already have the perfect backdrop mapped out in your head, but for others who are undecided, we’re taking a closer look at the merits of both locations and the special qualities they could bring to your wedding celebrations. Which will you choose?

country charm

When you think of a country wedding, chances are you’ll think of a magnificent manor house, or even a castle with impressive sprawling grounds.

Country weddings are typically traditional, grand and offer exclusivity. And for the most regal of settings, they tend to come with a heftier price tag, too.

Country - image by Helen Russell Photography

Helen Russell Photography

If you’re after something classic, steeped in heritage and in complete contrast to your day-to-day lives, then this style of wedding offers a true fairytale moment and is perfect for couples after a touch of elegance and decadence.

The backdrop will require minimal effort on your part, with the venue decked out in the most pristine and classy of decors – think chandeliers, illustrious artwork, spellbinding staircases and balconies, and majestic furnishings. The surrounding estate (the stuff from period novels, no doubt) will offer the finest of photo opportunities too. What’s not to love?

Of course, there are other types of country weddings which have become increasingly on-trend in recent years. We’re talking about the country barn or tipi.

City - image by Bethany Whittaker

Bethany Whittaker Photography

The barn is another serene, stylish backdrop but it’s much more informal. You’re likely to have more freedom on how you decorate this space (candles, blossom trees and festoon lighting are just a few ideas we’ve seen recently) and you’ll probably be able to bring in your own catering – ice cream parlours, burger vans and street food pop-ups abound!

For something unconventional with an ethereal twist – the tipi is the venue du jour for the boho bride and groom. This is the ideal setting for outdoorsy types who want to break away from the traditional wedding day formula and do it their way, with bundles of rustic charm. We’ve seen everything from outdoors game tournaments to bake offs, and of course, mesmerising photos set within atmospheric woodlands and meadows.

Country - image by Shimma Photography

Shimma Photography

The down-side? The country wedding takes place in a rural, secluded spot and your guests may have to travel far to get to and from the venue. Local accommodation may be limited as well, so guests will need to be super-organised and book early.

Whatever your style or theme though – the country wedding comes in many captivating guises. And irrespective of the venue you choose, all you can really hope for on the day is some good British weather to top it all off!

city chic

The city wedding is brimming with cosmopolitan, contemporary vibes. It’s for the bride and groom who are forward thinking, pragmatic and modern in their outlook, looking to make a statement.

The hustle and bustle of the city might prove too much for some couples, but for the bride and groom who opt for an urban backdrop – the thrive on this hectic yet lavish location. And they don’t shy away from attention either. There’s also the added convenience it offers both them and their guests in terms of transport and accommodation on the day itself.

A city wedding can bring glamour and glitz by the bucket load with chic hotels and city landmarks – everything from maritime museums and art galleries to former warehouses, rooftop bars, breweries and zoos – providing your celebrations with an unconventional edge.

There might be limitations on how you can access and decorate these venues and some spaces may also need to remain open to the public, so it’s worth clarifying these points when you go for a show around.

City - image by 2 Ducks Galleries

2 Ducks Galleries

A city location can present unusual and iconic photo opportunities too. Suddenly the everyday becomes a stunning prop in your photo…crossing a busy road, standing in a doorway scribbled in graffiti or even the quirky architecture of the pub on the corner or a distant towering office block.

And if you’re choosing a city wedding, then chances are, the city in question holds special memories for you and your hubby-to-be, so why not go all-out and pay homage to this in your décor and theme for the day? From your table names and centre pieces to your welcome drink and favours – think of original ideas that will personalise the venue and help put your stamp on the day.

Country - image by Lucy G Photography

Lucy G Photography

Country and city weddings offer such a contrast to your celebrations, and within each location, there’s another myriad of choices to be made when selecting a specific venue. But like most things associated with your wedding planning, we’re pretty sure you’ll have a gut feeling what’s right for you and your fiancé. The key is to make whatever venue you choose your own, and make it the flawless backdrop for showcasing your personalities and sharing your special memories together with your loved ones. Country or city? You decide!

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test of time. mori lee for a quintessential english wedding at rudby hall – sara & paul

May 19th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

An English Wedding at Rudby Hall (c) Victoria Edwards Photography (37)

When Sara and Paul stumbled across Rudby Hall in North Yorkshire, they knew they’d found the perfect venue to host the intimate country house wedding of their dreams. It offered them a sophisticated, luxurious and exclusive setting as well as a warm, homely feel – they even allowed the couple’s Westie dog Bonnie in on the celebrations!

All the elegant details of their timeless day have been captured beautifully: think handsome buildings, fine gardens, soft pink hues and romantic florals. Get ready, guys: this one’s a beauty.

With images by Victoria Edwards Photography.

An English Wedding at Rudby Hall (c) Victoria Edwards Photography (39)

sara says: We got engaged in November 2015. Paul had planned our engagement at Thornton Steward reservoir as it’s one of our favourite places to walk our Westie dog, Bonnie. He even got up early to hide a photo album of memories and champagne. Unfortunately though, it started pouring down when we got there and I insisted on going home! Paul later had to go to the ‘pub’ to retrieve the hidden surprises and instead proposed on a spa weekend later in the month.

Our wedding day was 1st October 2016 . I’d always dreamt of a summer wedding but, after looking round beautiful country houses, such as Rudby Hall, we thought it seemed such a waste not to make use of the full house! There’s also something romantic about candlelight on a dull day.

An English Wedding at Rudby Hall (c) Victoria Edwards Photography (12)

Our ceremony was held at All Saints Church, Hutton Rudby and the reception was held up the road at the beautiful Rudby Hall.

We really struggled to find a venue that accommodated under 60 day guests on a Saturday; most had a minimum of 70 which we simply didn’t have. Another bonus of Rudby Hall was that we had exclusive use from Friday to Sunday, so the celebrations felt really intimate; it was like home for a weekend!

An English Wedding at Rudby Hall (c) Victoria Edwards Photography (35)

Theme-wise, I’d describe our wedding as classical romantic/old English – including the rain! The theme revolved around my love of all things pretty and floral and the colour dusky pink. ​​​​​

An English Wedding at Rudby Hall (c) Victoria Edwards Photography (42)

In the run up to the wedding, I thought buying my dress would be a nightmare but I actually bought the first one I tried on! I later realised scrolling through Pinterest that I’d pinned the same dress six months before our engagement, so it was meant to be. I wore a simple Mori Lee fishtail gown paired with a delicate crystal ribbon belt that matched my shoes perfectly.

Laura Mac did my makeup on the day of the wedding, which was flattering and natural. My bridesmaids and mum loved their makeup too. In the morning before the ceremony I felt so nervous, but Laura’s friendly and warm personality put me at ease. She was lovely to have around and I would thoroughly recommend her.

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best of both worlds. madison james for a glamorous country wedding at aldby park – lindsey and andy

February 14th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (31)

Happy Valentine’s Day Brides up North! Did you catch our weekend wish list?

It’s time to get all romantic on these pretty pages as today’s seriously sophisticated couple pulled out all the stops for their wedding in glorious Yorkshire. After the groom’s idyllic proposal in Champagne, Lindsey wore Madison James, Andy wore his RAF Number Ones, and beautiful blooms, jaw-dropping home bakes and fizz (Champagne, obviously) were the order of the day.

This outdoor-loving pair created a striking fusion of styles – Lindsey’s deep-cut beaded dress and the colour scheme’s copper accents feel very city chic, but their stunning sailcloth Sperry marquee and those hayfield tandem photographs are pure countryside class.

The best of both worlds – and simply gorgeous to boot.

With images by Chris Milner and video by Brides Up North Sponsor Silver Sixpence Films.

Andy and Lindsey from Silver Sixpence Films on Vimeo.

lindsey says: We got engaged in the Champagne region of France in August 2015. Andy booked us first class Eurostar tickets for a weekend in Paris and Champagne. On the day we got engaged, he had hired a tandem bike (we both like cycling and had cycled from London to Paris earlier in the year together). We cycled from vineyard to vineyard and sampled lots of champagne. It rained a little in the morning so we got wet on the bike but at the last Champagne House the clouds parted and the sun came out beautifully. At around 3pm we got back on the tandem for the last time to cycle back. We’d only been cycling for about ten minutes down a beautiful quiet country lane when we got to a hill. Having had a good few glasses of bubbly in us, Andy asked if we could ‘take five’ at the top and enjoy the view down the valley. And that’s where he took off his helmet (and I thankfully did the same!) and he dropped down on one knee and popped the question!

We spent the rest of the evening drinking champagne (obviously!) and got planning what our dream wedding could look like….

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (28)

We got married on 30th July 2016. We wanted a day in the summer so that (weather permitting) we could celebrate in the sun in my beautiful home county of Yorkshire. I grew up on a farm and we both love the countryside so we wanted to be able to celebrate in with the trees and flowers in full bloom and Yorkshire looking glorious.

We got married at St Helen and the Holy Cross Church in Sheriff Hutton, followed by a Sperry (white marquee by Papakata) reception at Aldby Park in Buttercrambe. We fell in love with the venue and it ticked every box for us – a combination of a stunning stately home surrounded by acres and acres of open fields and countryside as far as the eye can see. A very country style look with the glamour of an incredibly handsome period property. The owners allowed us to have our marquee on their beautiful garden at the rear of the house so that we also had a view down the steep bank to the River Derwent. Perfect! The owners also allowed us to have a camping area so as many of our friends as we wanted were able to camp at the venue for free which was really helpful. We hired a handful of deck chairs and shepherds’ crooks (from Add Vintage) to create a summer’s evening chillout area on the lawn.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (42)

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (45)

The Sperry tent is stunningly elegant. It is made out of sailcloth and has incredible roof contours. We both loved how striking it is and different to any normal marquee we’d seen. Also, Andy has sailed extensively (his parents have a boat on the South coast still) so having a tent made out of sail cloth seemed very apt.

We had a bit of a bike theme (referencing back to the big fat engagement) so we made a bicycle wheel chandelier, sprayed it bronze and suspended it above the dancefloor. We also had a tandem on the day and cycled through the fields at dusk (I just about mastered the art of hitching up a wedding dress!)

Our colours were pale blue and copper. We wanted some blue in the theme as Andy’s RAF uniform is blue. So we went with a pale shade throughout with some copper touches to complement and also to bring some sparkle to the colour theme.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (20)

I wore a fitted beaded gown from Madison James. It had straps and a deep cut-out back. I actually found it at a wedding fair in Manchester. Andy agreed to attend one fair and accidentally (honestly!) I picked one of the biggest in the UK. Typically, I found the dress on a mannequin while we were walking round so I waited until we were well past it before asking Andy if he wouldn’t mind finding a quiet spot in a café at the other side of the show and having a coffee on his own while I checked something out! About 45 minutes later I returned to poor Andy, knowing that I had probably found the dress, but hadn’t felt brave enough to hand over the credit card without having had a second opinion.

The same show returned in the October so I went back with my mum and one of my bridesmaids (Natalie, who had flown over from Amsterdam where she lives) so I could try the dress again. I safely assumed that mum and Natalie’s tears were a good sign so half-an-hour later (after they’d wrestled the dress off me!) we were sitting drinking more champagne celebrating that I’d found my dream dress.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (34)

Andy is an Officer in the RAF so he wore his Number Ones to get married in. He changed into a navy suit (matching the bestman and ushers) just after our drinks reception and before sitting down for dinner. Andy’s wedding ring was made out of an engine turbine from a Concorde airplane. His dad was a flight engineer on Concorde and flew for British Airways for 20 years until retirement. We trawled the country trying to find a working jewellers who could work with a titanium piece of engine and eventually found one in Birmingham. They etched a drawing of Concorde into the inside of the ring alongside our initials and our wedding date.

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peonies & balloons – a country wedding at owen house wedding barn – jess & chris

January 19th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Pretty Country Wedding in Cheshire (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (33)

We think that you’re going to fall head over heels for today’s real wedding, set within the captivating Owen House barn in Cheshire.

Jess and Chris celebrated at this beautiful converted venue last summer surrounded by picture-perfect tractors, fields and bales of hay, all adding a hint of country wedding chic to their special day.

From pies and rag bunting to jam jars and pots of honey for the guests, there are plenty of original ideas here on how to host the perfect barn wedding with oodles of style and charm.

With images by Jo Bradbury.

A Pretty Country Wedding in Cheshire (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (30)

jess says: Chris popped the question while we were in the Lake District, which is where we spent our very first holiday together as a couple. Chris bought Champagne, strawberries and proposed on one knee in our cottage. We went out to dinner and spent the rest of our engagement holiday exploring Windermere on boats, which we love.

We wanted a summer wedding so tied the knot on 23rd August 2015. We got married at Owen House Wedding Barn in Cheshire. We chose this venue because we wanted a barn wedding set in the countryside and also one that would fit in our large families and all our friends.

A Pretty Country Wedding in Cheshire (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (3)

We thought that the relaxed country-barn-hippy style reflected us as a couple.

Our wedding colour scheme wasn’t fixed, which is how we wanted it – we had country flowers and peonies so there was a mixture of floral colours and lots of pastels, including blush pink, sage greens and light blues.

A Pretty Country Wedding in Cheshire (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (31)

I chose a lace wedding dress from a tiny wedding boutique in Worcester. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it! The gown was ivory, with soft lace all over and exactly what I wanted!

Chris wore a navy suit and white shirt from House of Fraser with a sage green tie.

Our groomsmen wore their own navy suits and the same sage green ties, which gave the wedding the mismatched look we wanted. We had eight bridesmaids and had considered putting them all in the same colour but thought this would look rather military, so we had four in sage green and four in nude pink.

A Pretty Country Wedding in Cheshire (c) Jo Bradbury Photography (44)

We travelled in a vintage car, hired from Moss Farm near Mobberley Cheshire, which is also where I got ready.

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diary date: the black swan wedding open day

October 17th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

the-black-swan-c-anne-marie-king-19

If you’re currently on the hunt for a wedding venue that offers a beautiful rustic setting, stunning reception rooms, first class service and to-die-for food, then we might just be able to help. For our wonderful Sponsor, The Black Swan hotel is inviting brides and grooms-to-be to see its fabulous wedding offering for themselves during a special open day between 12 noon and 4pm on Sunday 6th November.

Located in the idyllic North Yorkshire market town of Helmsley, The Black Swan is renowned for being among the North’s finest weddings venues and has twice been voted ‘Best Venue in the North East’  in the prestigious Wedding Industry Awards.

the-black-swan-c-anne-marie-king-11

During the open day event, couples will be able to see two of the cosy boutique hotel’s unique reception rooms, ‘The Garden Room’ and ‘The Gallery’, each with their own character, individually styled for a wedding reception for up to 50 and 90 guests. It will also provide the perfect opportunity for brides and grooms meet the venue’s preferred suppliers and the friendly in-house team, including wedding coordinator, Nicola Bolden, who can help bring their big day dreams to life.

the-black-swan-c-anne-marie-king-13

The Black Swan houses four welcoming reception rooms in total: ‘The Crosland Room’, ideal for small, wedding sophisticated parties; the hotel’s restaurant ‘The Gallery’, the largest reception room; the cosy and intimate ‘Tudor Lounge’, and the lovely ‘Garden Room’, with its access onto the hotel’s stunning English walled gardens.

Meanwhile for those who wish to marry outdoors, there’s the hotel’s locally hand-crafted oak gazebo, which is licensed for al fresco ceremonies and makes the perfect setting for an English country garden wedding.

the-black-swan-c-anne-marie-king-12

To help couples save time and money when planning their big day, The Black Swan offers an all-inclusive wedding package. Available on select dates during 2017, up to 50 guests can enjoy food and drink, accommodation and many other extras for just £5,600. There’s also a generous 20% discount* off the hotel’s standard wedding package in January, February and March 2017, making the charming venue an even better proposal!

the-black-swan-c-anne-marie-king-10

Preferred suppliers supporting the open day include Emma Dodsworth Photography, Brides of York and the Bridal Lounge Northallerton, Libby Butler Jewellers, Busy Liz’s Floral Design, Kate Pymm Hair and Makeup, Fabulously Finished Events, Celebrate Country Cake Design, Yorkshire Chauffeur Company, and live entertainment, courtesy of magician Mark Waddington, with live music by pianist, David Robertshaw, and vocalist/guitarist, Val Hill.

The event will also include opportunities for canapés and wine sampling from the hotel’s wedding packages. Entry is complimentary and so is car parking at the hotel.

Images by Annemarie King Photography/ supplied by The Black Swan.

*Terms and conditions apply (see website for full details)

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real wedding recap: antlers & heather for a countryside wedding at chatsworth – clare & tom

June 28th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 4th July 2016 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

A Country Wedding at Chatsworth (c) Shoot Lifestyle Photography (55)

From the moment we set eyes on today’s real wedding we instantly fell head over heels.

As if bride Clare’s beautiful blush dress wasn’t enough to makes us go weak at the knees, we also found ourselves majorly swooning over the stately venue, stunning styling and beautiful blooms. What we’re trying to say is that we love everything about it – and we’re pretty sure you will too!

With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.

A Country Wedding at Chatsworth (c) Shoot Lifestyle Photography (16)

clare says: We got engaged while in Split, Croatia. We were in the Old Town in a square on the last evening of our holidays and Tom asked me if I would do him the honour of being his wife. Not massively original, but perfectly low-key!

Our wedding took place on 13th February 2016. We wanted a winter wedding and as I’m a teacher we wanted it to be next to a holiday. We also thought that February is generally a bit of a ‘not much happens’ time of the year, so we thought it might be nice for our guests to have our wedding then. Despite the timing, it was nothing to do with Valentine’s Day!

A Country Wedding at Chatsworth (c) Shoot Lifestyle Photography (48)

We chose Chatsworth Stables near Bakewell, Derbyshire, as our wedding venue. I’m from Sheffield and have been going to Chatsworth since I was born with family and on school trips etc. Now my parents have moved even closer to Baslow, we visit most times we’re up to see them, and so it seemed like an obvious choice.

There was a bit of an antler and heather theme to the wedding. This came from an idea of my sister’s as there are deer on the Chatsworth Estate, and also, it felt like a good wintery, countryside theme. My mum collected and dried lots of heather from the moors above their house during the summer so we could use it for the wedding. We didn’t want too strong of a theme because we didn’t want to draw away from the beauty of the venue, but it was featured on all of the wedding stationary (designed by my brother-in-law) and Zara, from Chatsworth, did the most beautiful table centres incorporating them too.

We had a colour scheme of navy, pinks and white. With it being a winter wedding we avoided pastels. Also, Tom wanted to wear a tweed three-piece suit, which was a lovely dark blue shade so we picked it from there really.

A Country Wedding at Chatsworth (c) Shoot Lifestyle Photography (44)

My wedding dress was a big one – completely not what I’d thought I’d go for – from Surrey Brides in Weybridge, where we live. I’m pretty pale (and it was going to be in February!) so out of all of the shades of white/ivory, the blush seemed to work best with my skin tone. It was totally un-beaded, but the bodice was made up of folds of blush satin and with the big skirt – I just fell in love with it!

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