November 10th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon we’re leaving the UK behind to relive Ashton and Mark’s dreamy wedding in Siena, Italy.
Brimming with romance, we can see why this bride and groom chose to leave their Yorkshire roots behind in favour of sunnier climes with stunning backdrops galore! Following their traditional church ceremony, Ashton and Mark then enjoyed a stunning outdoor reception complete with Italian food and drink. Sounds favoloso to us!
Ciao for now.
With images by Black Mill Photography.
ashton says: Mark popped the question on the 9th July 2013, while we were on a brilliant holiday Croatia. Mark had initially planned to ask me to marry him on a walk up a ‘hill’ with a lovely view as a back drop. The ‘hill’ was actually a mountain, and I got a little bit grumpy so he decided it wasn’t the right time or place! That evening, after a lovely dinner, he got down on one knee in a secluded area of the old town in Split and I obviously said yes, whilst tears of happiness were streaming down my face. The ring was amazing, an art deco halo style, which Mark had got custom made for me in Hattton Garden, London. I was so excited to tell all my family and friends I rang up a £120 phone bill! Oops!
Our wedding date was the 31st July 2015, there was no real relevance of the date other than it was between both our birthdays and a date that Mark was likely to remember! The last day of July!
We are from Bradford in West Yorkshire but got married in Siena, Italy. We married in a Roman Catholic church, Certosa Di Pontignano, and then had our reception back at Villa Catignano where family and friends stayed for the wedding week. We both love travelling and always wanted to marry abroad. Italy was perfect; great food, wine, scenery and affordable so that friends and family could join us on our special day.
October 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime
First up, we are so very sorry to be doing this to you on a chilly Monday afternoon! But oh, the pretty!
We’re sun seeking on the wedding blog today as we join Brides Up North Sponsor Lisa of The Bridal Consultants for a dreamy destination wedding styled shoot in Santorini. Pinterest fingers at the ready destination brides (or those planning the most beautiful honeymoon, like, ever)!
Images by Nathan Wyatt Photography.
lisa says: Santorini is one of the most highly desired wedding locations in the world, due to the exclusive selection of beautiful unique venues and the incredible views. With our inspiration shoot I wanted to create something simple yet beautiful that any bride could recreate. I advise my Santorini brides not to ‘over design’ their wedding as the view is really the main attraction that guests will be focusing on.
We chose to host the shoot at the most popular venue on the island, Dana Villas. Nathan then took our model to some of the most scenic spots on the island to show the different landscapes and charming ancient villages this gorgeous destination has to offer for adventurous brides willing to stray off the beaten track.
The wedding dress was by the amazing Sarah Janks, I was so excited when we found it. It is clean and elegant with simple detail and a modern edge. It was also really exciting to use a relatively new designer to the UK. The dress had a tulle overlay with flower beading and lace which danced beautifully in the breeze. The veil which we planned to use for just a few shots was so effective it became one of the highlights of the shoot!
I wanted to keep the model’s hair simple and neat to make sure the attention was all on the dress, Helen Savva on hair and makeup knew exactly the look I was going for so I know I could leave her to it after sending her my ideas. We work with Helen on almost all of our weddings so I had complete faith that she could interpret my vision.
The flowers by Wedding Wish were just perfect. Simple, stylish and beautiful! They provided a lovely contrast to the blank white canvas of Dana Villas. I wanted to include a range of soft blues, from the deep blue of the Aegean to soft pastel we gained with the Hydrangea.
The stationery was very simple and stylish in soft shades of blue. The table plan is one of my couples biggest concerns as most like to bring theirs along from home, I chose to use small cards that were easy to transport and then used a flower arrangement to display them in, very simple and effective.
For the favours I went for something different, my couples like to get away from the norm and having a favour you can enjoy on the day is very popular right now and what’s better than a couple of delicious macaroons! Getting them in the right blue colour was a challenge and my decision to use one of my regular suppliers in the UK meant I had to take the macaroons in my hand luggage. Not something that I’d recommend for a stress free wedding experience… besides, there are lots of amazing bakers on the island that can make these for you.
I thought the blue drinks were a fun element that is easy to create, I always recommend my couples have a signature cocktail to serve to everyone after the ceremony! It’s a simple detail but incredibly effective and really delights the guests.
We introduced enough detail to give interest but made sure they complemented the view and not take away from it and think that these simple yet effective ideas can be copied by anyone.
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September 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
As soon as Brides Up North sponsor James Tracey, told us he’d shot a Halifax couple’s new york, new york we knew it would be good, but it isn’t good – it’s flippin’ fantastic, as you’ll see for yourselves.
Keen travellers Anna and Andy chose to go all out with their wedding by saying their ‘I dos’ in the iconic Central Park before hailing down a taxi cab, with James in tow, to travel around the city’s top tourist spots stopping for amazing photograph opportunities along the way.
It’s amazing how time seems to stand still for Anna and Andy’s intimate moments on their big day but the bustling city of New York keeps going at lightening pace in background. The Grand Central Station picture is my absolute favourite. All in all, a stateside stunner!
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, James Tracey Photography.
anna says: Our three-year-old daughter Isabel and Andy woke me up with breakfast in bed one morning. Isabel came in holding a ring box and asked me to marry her daddy. Isabel then opened the ring box she was holding and took the ring out put it on herself and gave me the empty box! Following the proposal, Andy took me to our favourite hotel for the night, The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey.
The date of our wedding was 25th June 2015 – the day before my birthday. My birthday fell on a Friday this year and in New York you can only get married in Central Park Monday to Thursday, so we picked the nearest date.
We chose to get married at Central Park, New York as the city is very special to us. Last time we were there I found out I was pregnant with Isabel shortly after returning home. We also both love travelling and wanted to do something different whilst also getting married abroad. We had a reception back in the UK in August at 53 Degrees North in Halifax.
We knew it was going to be hot in New York at that time of year and had planned to travel round the city immediately after getting married with James Tracey our photographer so we could document our day with some of the famous iconic sites of New York. New York is renowned for style so we both wanted to echo this in what we wore.
I chose a simple but elegant ivory dress wore from Ghost and some Jimmy Choo champagne peep toe shoes. I took some inspiration from Pippa Middleton as thought she looked amazing when she was bridesmaid for her sister and I liked the style of what she wore. I also thought it would look more classic against the inner city back drops of New York. On the wedding day Sharon Becker Hair & Beauty did my makeup and hair which were faultless and stayed on/in place all day without any need for reapplication.
On the wedding day we travelled around in a traditional New York yellow taxi and I carried a bouquet of ivory roses wrapped with ivory ribbon.
We would highly recommend our photographer James to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. He has an amazing eye for photography – the quality of his work speaks for itself. He is easy to work with, friendly, understanding and helps you relax in front of the camera – which is often how you get the best pictures!
We only told close family we were getting married and then sent anonymous save the dates out for a secret wedding reception party back in Halifax. We announced to everyone that we had got married on the 26th June and then sent out passport style invites to the wedding reception, which were designed by The Wedding Angels in Huddersfield.
For our reception in the UK we chose to use A Little Bit of Eden, who are based in Sowerby Bridge, to provide the flowers. I’ve used this florist a number of times before and they do great quality flowers with a difference. At the reception we also had a traditional sweet stall and photo booth, which was provided by Dreambooth. Instead of a sit down meal/buffet we had tapas. The chain that own the reception venue, Ricci’s Group, are well known for serving up fantastic food. Andy and I are both foodies and so wanted to incorporate this into the wedding reception. We also wanted our guests to experience something a bit different than the standard wedding sit down meal. On arrival guests were served with either a Hendricks mojito or American beer and the food was a personalised selection of Michael Ricci’s menus from across his three restaurants.
To provide entertainment at the reception, we hired Agent Smith, a live band from Manchester, who did two one-hour sets with a mixture of new and older classic hits. This was followed by a three-hour set of classic 1990s house music.
New York was so unique and we would certainly recommend the city to other couples looking to get married overseas. Destination weddings are so special because you get to spend more than just a day with your nearest and dearest celebrating one of the most memorable times of your life.
Gail Herring at Travel Counsellors helped plan our destination wedding and bent over backwards to ensure that our wedding/honeymoon went exactly to plan. Whilst in New York we stayed at The Giraffe Hotel, which was the best hotel we’ve stayed at, they couldn’t do enough for us.
All of it from start to finish was amazing – we couldn’t pin point just one part which was our favourite. James has documented the whole day in a picture diary so we can easily look back and go through it again any time we like, which is extremely valuable to us to have. The pictures, if anything, made our day for us.
Following the wedding we went on honeymoon to Secrets Silver Sands Rivera, Mexico. We were ready for a week on a beach after five nights in New York. The hotel was luxurious, staff couldn’t do enough for us and we met some amazing people, who were also on their honeymoon. We certainly celebrated in style.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to trust your instincts; be organised because it helps alleviate your stress levels; and relax and enjoy as much as you can as it goes too quickly.
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June 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If you’re currently craving a sunny holiday abroad today’s real wedding is going to make you want it all the more.
Antony and Rhonda left their Liverpool roots behind to wed in a gorgeous villa destination wedding in Cala de Mijas, Spain, surrounded by their nearest and dearest.
The pristine white villa against the flawless blue skies provided the perfect setting for the couple’s romantically themed wedding, with touches of white, silver and pale pink.
Spending a week abroad meant everyone was fully relaxed and ready to party (with great tans) when the big day arrived which made for a chilled out yet highly enjoyable wedding.
So pack your sunnies, flip-flops and swimwear as we jet off to southern Spain.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Jamie Penfold Photography.
rhonda says: We were visting Puerto Banus for a weekend and while we were there Tony decided that we should go for a long walk then a nice meal. While we were walking along the harbour Tony noticed a lovely lighthouse that was on the other side of the harbour and suggested we go there. It was a really hot day and I was moaning all the way but once we got there it was lovely just sitting looking out to sea and there were a few people resting and enjoying the same view as us. Tony then said let’s ask that lady if she will take our picture so he went over and gave her our phone and then sat down next to me. Suddenly he went down on one knee asking me to marry him but all I could hear was the lady saying ‘Oh my God he’s proposing to her’, which made me laugh and poor Tony was still waiting for my answer – of course I said yes.
The people that were there all came over and congratulated us and we went over to the lady who took our picture whose name was Wendy to say thanks. As we started talking I noticed she was a Liverpool girl like me who had lived in Spain for years. She said if you get married here my good friend is a minster, then she told me her name and to my surprise I’d already emailed her before I went away for information on wedding venues abroad (how weird was that?) so after a good chat to Wendy we left, me with a big smile on my face and uncontrollable tears of joy. We went to the nearest bar to celebrate!
We met on the 23rd June 2007 and so wanted had originally wanted to marry on this date but most of our friends could not make that timing so we picked 14th June 2014 instead.
Our wedding took place in Cala de Mijas, Spain. We picked this location because we got engaged in the area and we chose Wendy’s best friend Lizzy as our minister. We looked at local wedding planners FiestaSol Weddings who were fantastic and found us a great venue in Mijas called the Hacienda San Jose and everything just fell into place and felt so right.
We didn’t have a theme really but with having our wedding at the Hacienda San Jose, which is such a beautiful place, we knew we wanted the day to have a really romantic feel to it. In terms of colours we had white, silver and pale pink with diamante touches – I wanted a little bit of bling for my romantic day.
When shopping for me dress I decided on an ivory laced mermaid dress which I found in Brides World, Liverpool. I felt the dress had a little bit of a Spanish look to it.
The men’s suits where from Slaters in Liverpool. Tony wore a midnight blue three piece suit made to measure with white shirt and ivory tie to match my dress.
We had eight bridesmaids who wore pale pink long chiffon dresses with diamante straps and waist bands, which I bought off the internet. Our nine groomsmen meanwhile wore midnight blue three piece suits with white shirts and pink ties to match the bridesmaids, they looked really smart!
Jamie Penfold flew over from Newcastle to shoot our wedding. He was organised and well-rehearsed at what we wanted. He blended into the background and captured things so naturally and perfectly. We would absolutely recommend him to others – he’s fantastic!
For my bouquet I had pink and white roses with little bit of gypsy grass, which were lovely. They were supplied by VG Florists Marbella.
My wedding planner Tara chapman from FiestaSol helped us with the decorations for our wedding villa and VG Florists did our beautiful centre pieces for the tables which were tall glass champagne vases turned upside down with pink and white large gypsy grass sprays with crystal tea lights hanging off them – they looked so colourful and pretty.
As favours we gave all the ladies white fans, which were a God send as it was so hot that day. For the men we did a whisky and cigar bar which surprisingly the ladies liked too!
Our cake, made by the fantastic Fiona from Sweet Things, Gibraltar, was three tiers with a different flavour for each: chocolate vanilla, strawberry and fruit. The cake was ivory with a lace pattern on it and pink flowers on top. It tasted as good as it looked!
For our wedding meal we had lots of lovely canapés to start which included serrano ham on crostini with tomato and a minty pesto, skewers of garlic prawns and crab and coriander tartlets. We then had a buffet menu of more delicious food including pepper sirloin steaks, swordfish steaks marinated with garlic and parsley and skewers of tiger prawns. Desserts were mini lemon tarts with fresh raspberries, raspberry sorbet with berries and chocolate love cake.
To entertain our guests had a great DJ called Ian Preston, who really got the crowd going. I picked him out after seeing him on the internet and the good feedback from my wedding planner Tara. We also had a Spanish guitarist playing through our cocktail hour, a sweet table for the kids and a chill out area with big white cushions, lantern fairy lights, tree raps and chandeliers.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others – it is an amazing place! A private estate that is warm and welcoming and has all the amenities you could ask for. This wasn’t just our wedding venue, it was our home for the week!
As a bride I would have to say my favourite part of the day was seeing Tony as we didn’t get married until 5pm so I had a long wait and wanted him to see me in my dress. Likewise Tony’s favourite part was seeing me.
For our honeymoon we decided to go back to Mijas where we got married. When we were there for our wedding we didn’t have much time to explore as guests were arriving each day and it was a very busy week so our honeymoon was just us two chilling out.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be try not to get too stressed, enjoy your day, take it all in as well as going around all your guests on the day and spend time with your new husband/wife – the day goes so quick!
Going abroad was perfect for us. We had a lovely week in the sun with our family and friends, great wedding pictures, great food and great memories!
April 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime
We’ve been chasing the sun all week, and we’re not about to stop now.
Not when the footwear is this good.
Destination wedding or honeymoon accessory… the style factor just soared.
April 16th, 2015 | Julia Braime
With all this promised sunshine on the agenda, plus lots of crushing on this gorgeous Venetian wedding this week, here at Brides Up North HQ we are dreaming about destination dos.
If you are doing the same, there’s an expert to help! Step forward the lovely Lisa (who I first met back in 2012 as part of a shoot for a profile in Fabulous Magazine) of Brides Up North Sponsor the bridal consultant, who is ready and willing to make your overseas dreams come true.
Grab your passport…
When did you launch your business and what is your background?
The Bridal Consultants Ltd was launched in 2004. I have a love of travel, I actually met my own husband while working on cruise ships and together we travelled the Caribbean, South America and Canada for 5 and a half years. This was a fantastic experience and I learnt a lot about the wedding abroad market; Information that was to prove very useful when setting up The Bridal Consultants. When we started, 11 years ago, the wedding abroad industry was very different. It was very much a conveyor belt style of wedding and no one was offering a tailor made service for couples living in the UK who wanted to marry overseas, but didn’t want to book their wedding under the restrictions of a set wedding package, couples who wanted to tailor make their big day to make it personal to them.
What services do you offer and to who?
We plan tailor made weddings for couples wanting to get married abroad in one of our handpicked destinations. This includes everything from helping to choose or recommending the venue, menu planning/tasting, decor, bridal party flowers or live entertainment. We help with the legal paperwork, our admin team will ensure all the documents are completed correctly so the wedding is fully legal on the couples return to the UK. We also work with British people outside of the UK, at the moment we have several brides living in Dubai.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Getting to know our couples and what they want most from their day and then through careful questioning finding out what’s most important so we can make the best recommendations for the venue and the suppliers we recommend to them.
I also love the creativity of seeing a wedding theme come to life, advising on colour choices and decor, after all the majority of our couples won’t see the venue until their wedding day so they rely on our expertise to help them make the best decisions. We visit our venues regularly which really helps with ideas and keeps our information update and fresh!
What makes you different to other destination wedding planners?
A big factor is the way we get to know our couples closely. We provide sample costs and then we encourage our couples to tailor their day rather than commit to a predefined package. Every couple deserves a wedding day tailored exactly to them. We’re also very honest and if we feel that a venue doesn’t suit or a supplier isn’t a good fit we will tell our couples, after all the couples happiness is our success.
Where are you located and what areas do you offer your services in?
We work with brides all over the world but mostly our couples are from the UK, our offices in Chester are in the city centre so easily accessible to those that wish to visit us, however due to time pressures the majority of our brides use email, phone and SKYPE as forms of communication
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?
A simple wedding in Santorini, Greece for 25 people is usually around £6000.
This includes everything you need for your wedding and receptions: venue hire, basic photography, decor, food, drinks and wedding planning services. However our average bride spends around £8 to £10k once they have added entertainment, upgraded their photographer and added extra decor. Everyone is unique and usually the sample costing is a starting point for them to work from.
We focus on the wedding and reception, so this doesn’t cover costs such as flights and accommodation or wedding dress/ suits, so don’t forget to budget for those.
What is the process for a bride-to-be booking you to help plan their big day?
Initial contact is made via email or phone where we discuss the bride/grooms ideas/requirements and what they expect. From here there is much communication via email/phone, and on request a consultation to discuss the finer details of the day. As soon as the venue is decided we’ll look at a date and secure this first. Some venues book up years in advance so this is key at this early stage. The Interim planning for the wedding then takes place in October of the year before the wedding with final planning around 3 months before. It’s a very easy process and suits our busy couples. Along the way we are always here to discuss ideas and, of course, concerns which are a normal process in any wedding, we wear many hats!
What areas of the wedding do you find brides need the most help with and why?
Finding the perfect venue is the hardest I would say. The majority of brides will not visit the venue before booking so they rely on us to translate their wants/desires into their perfect day. We visit our venues regularly to ensure we are up to date in our recommendations and we pride ourselves in being able to interpret what a couple wants into their perfect wedding day.
Another thing that couples tend to need help with is the look of the day. Done correctly this really makes the wedding unique and perfectly reflects the couple. I find that couples have lots of ideas but struggle putting them together in a way that works, so we help them to incorporate their ideas and desires into a way that works perfectly with the wedding venue and the day.
Do you offer elements of planning such as venue search as well as a full planning package?
We only offer full wedding planning so the whole day from start to finish.
How far in advance would a bride-to-be need to book you?
At least one year in most locations, however in highly demanded destinations like Italy and Santorini 18 months to 2 years is the norm!
Are there any particular destinations that are popular with your brides at the moment?
Santorini is definitely very popular, it offers exclusivity and is very stylish without losing the Greek charm. It’s not overly commercialised either and is very good value for money considering the calibre of suppliers and venues. We get a lot of requests for a very modern and minimalist look and Santorini fits this perfectly.
What destinations do you cover? Tell us a bit about them.
We specialise in weddings around the Mediterranean, our most popular destination being Greece followed closely by Italy. Greece offers all types of settings from a private beach to vineyards and rustic farms, whereas Italy has an array of private villas, luxury estates and historic castles. We recently expanded our services into Ibiza which is perfect for the relaxed stylish bohemian bride and will shortly be adding Marbella in Spain which offers beautiful boutique style luxury venues and stunning Croatia where you can get married on a small island away from the main land together with a lighthouse, all overlooking the beautiful azure water of the Adriatic coast.
Tell us about the types of weddings you help to plan? Is there a favourite that stands out?
We plan all types of weddings from intimate weddings with 20 guests so extravagant weddings with 100 people plus. I especially love planning weddings where the bride and groom get really involved in the overall look of the day and work closely with us to ensure the day reflects their personalities.
One of my favourites last year was the wedding of Nicole and Andy from Manchester a young professional couple. They were so excited about the wedding, yet so relaxed and trusting in us as a company. They really went to town for their guests by making sure they were kept up to date via a fantastic wedding website. They prepared welcome bags for their guests and gave them out pre departure with wedding guides that were simply brilliant. They went as far as to tell them how much a beer cost and what to wear on the big day (and very funnily what not to wear). On the evening they incorporated games, my favourite was a dancing game where each table was named after a song and when the DJ played that song the guests on that table had to get up and dance and the best dancer got a medal that the bride and groom had made. They also had each guest make peg versions of themselves which each guest brought with them to the wedding and the best peg won an award! Although this was quite a lavish wedding, the wedding was so successful due to the time taken by the bride and groom creating these special touches, and these cost nothing and can be incorporated by anyone.
Any tips for brides-to-be on how to pick the right destination for their wedding?
I would say write down the top 5 priorities, such as weather (sun or snow, warm or hot), budget (and be honest), distance from the UK (long or short haul), cost of guests accommodation/accessibility to all types of accommodation from budget to 5 star, type of wedding venue, (villa/hotel/town hall/church/beach). Once you have these it’s easier to narrow the choices.
What would you say are the main plus points of having a wedding overseas?
The weather is still the main advantage for most bride and grooms along with the unique settings that you can only get with a wedding abroad and the obvious cost factor that your money goes so much further abroad. The majority of the guests won’t have attended a wedding abroad before so you will be offering them a very different and unique experience far different from anything they have experienced before.
What would you say to couples that think it would be too stressful to organise a wedding abroad?
Planning a wedding abroad can be very stressful, more so than planning a wedding in the UK where you can actually visit your suppliers and see them face to face. I would always recommend using a planner that understands your requirements and expectations, offers clear honest advice and that fills you with confidence. You should only really have to get involved in the decision making, the planner should take care of the contracts, and administration along with offering advice and ideas. If you can find a company you trust and enjoy working with there is nothing to be stressed about, you can truly enjoy the experience of the planning and the day itself.
In your experience do destination wedding couples tend to honeymoon in the same place they have their wedding or do they move on to another country?
In most cases the bride and groom have a separate honeymoon after the wedding. The wedding is such an exciting time but much of this time is spent with guests, socialising, hen party/stag do’s, pre wedding dinners, that having the time afterwards together away from guests is quite important so you have time to enjoy each other and reflect. Some go straight on after the wedding others come home, have an after party in the UK and then go onwards to their honeymoon.
Are you married?
I married in 2013 in Scotland! 30 of our close friends came with us so it was a small intimate wedding, it was on the 20th of December as we both love Christmas. However I am planning a renewal of vows in the next few years, I’m just searching for the perfect venue, I love Villa Eva in Italy and The Sunset View Terrace in Santorini, I just can’t decide!
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?
We’re really proud of our website, it offers lots of information plus real life wedding case studies and details of each of the gorgeous weddings venues we work with, so this is an excellent place to look at what we do and what we can offer, after this we suggest an email or phone call to talk with our team about your wedding plans:
01244 316 772
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