February 12th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Whether you consider it a day of passion or a commercial con, valentine’s day is the perfect time to swindle a lovely gift out of your other half.
You might be lucky enough to have a romantic fella whose already got your pressie all wrapped up, as well as a table booked at your favourite restaurant. However, if like many of us you fear your beau is more likely to remember when Pancake Day is in February rather than Valentine’s there is still time to drop some major hints so he’ll hot-foot it to the shops before Saturday.
So get leaving your laptop open on web pages displaying your top Valentine’s picks, circle wish list items in magazines and remember to mention that your perfume is running exceptionally low.
And if you’re in need of a little inspiration we’ve put together some top Valentine’s gift ideas right here – good luck ladies!
french connection Rhea clutch bag, £75
This block colour clutch bag in Brides Up North’s favourite hue – pink – is big enough to cradle ladies’ essentials during both the day and night making it a great all rounder.
kurt geiger Sharkie shoes, £250
As the warmer spring/summer season approaches ladies’ wardrobes will be crying out for a pair of killer nude heels – and Geiger’s Sharkie heels certainly tick the boxes. The classic court-shoe design is brought bang up to date by featuring one of the season’s top material effects – mesh.
lancome La vie est belle Eau de Parfum Légère 50ml, £52
It might not take too much thinking outside the box, but a bottle of perfume will land most men in the good books. Lancôme’s latest feminine fragrance, La vie est belle Eau de Parfum Légère blends jasmine sambac, orange blossom and patchouli essence for an irresistible spritz contained in an elegant bottle.
marks & spencer silk lace bra and knickers, £27.50, £12.50
She’s only gone and done it again! Stunning model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has created yet another swoon-worthy lingerie set for her Autograph collection and M&S. Pretty in pink this set is the epitome of romance, featuring silk and lace, all topped off with a pretty bow. A treat for both him and her!
molton brown Pink Pepperpod gift set, £72
There’s nothing us girls love more than an indulgent soak in the tub when the daily grind gets that little bit too much, which is why this decadent bath and body gift set makes an perfect Valentine’s pressie. Blended with notes of ginger, patchouli and pink pepperpods, these gorgeous goodies will leave you feeling pampered from top to toe.
miu miu purse, £330
While some ladies like to splurge on the bag, others like a posh purse to do the talking. This metallic Matelasse’ purse from Miu Miu is high up the style ranks and is guaranteed to earn partners a bucket-load of brownie points.
oliver bonas silver bracelet, £19.50
As they say, it’s the thought that counts. So if you and your other half agree to buy each other just a small gift on Valentine’s Day this is a great choice for all you accessories lovers.
tiffany & co. Grace ring, from £9,850
Ok, so a girl can dream. While this amazing platinum band with a princess-cut diamond may be a little out of some blokes’ price range, Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular times of the year for proposals. In which case we should be welcoming a surge of new readers to our pretty Brides Up North pages shortly!
yves saint laurent rouge volupte, £26
Red lips are a top beauty trend at the moment making this award-winning Yves Saint Laurent lippy in ‘rouge a danger’ a fabulous addition to any girls’ make-up bag. According to its creators, the long-lasting, comforting formula is highlighted with a unique colour-shine complex that leaves lips visibly smoother, plumper and more radiant – all the better for kissing!
dachshund puppy, POA
Because who doesn’t love a puppy? Popular with celebs including Made in Chelsea’s Rosie Fortescue and previously mentioned model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, this on-trend pooch fast becoming the next Chihuahua.
November 11th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This morning we join Gemma and Jim for their simple yet stunning wedding in the Yorkshire countryside. Our homecoming couple kept things plain yet interesting with delicate, handmade touches and a pretty pale colour palette for their celebration under canvas at the heart of village life.
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
Gemma says: When Jim proposed it was totally unexpected! He had insisted on taking me out for a slap up evening meal as a Christmas treat. We live in London and it had snowed all day, I was wet, cold and just wanted to make sure we could get home! The odds were against him – my mood wasn’t the warmest, and little did I know, he had called my Mum to ask her permission – to be promptly told to call back later as she was ‘in the middle of dishing up tea’! Poor fella! He took me to the Oxo Tower Restaurant on the Southbank – at which point I insisted this was far too lavish and I would prefer to have a Chinese take away and save the money! He pressed on..! During the meal he started to look a little ‘off colour’ which I later realised was because he desperately needed the toilet but couldn’t risk standing up and me seeing a square bulge in the pocket of his skinny jeans! He proposed with the most romantic words of love for me and with a standing ovation from the other dinners when I said ‘yes’ (in floods!).
We married in a small village called Hackness, North Yorkshire on 6th September 2014 – close to where our families live. Hackness has a beautiful church and wonderful countryside surroundings. It was quite tricky choosing the location as, living in London, there was a bit of a North, South divide! As luck would have it, we found a wedding blog showing a great wedding in the same village, with a Tipi reception at the village hall. We had been to our friends Tipi wedding and loved the idea of putting our own personal touches on the day. Plus we are outdoorsy people and go camping all year round – so this really suited us. It all started to fall into place!
We wanted to make everything ourselves to give our day a real personal touch – and save money of course! Romantic, rustic and simple was the theme! We didn’t want to over decorate the tipis as we thought they looked wonderful with simple sparkly lights. We tied in parts of our London life – our table plan was based on the tube map and we used Oxo Cubes (engaged in the Oxo Tower) to hold each name plate. My Mum made meters and meters of hessian table runners with a lace centre, and we had lots of glass jars and sundae dishes with candles in them, with sand from Scarborough Beach to hold them in place.
The initial colour scheme was duck egg, but the actual colour of duck egg blue is a very serious debate within our family and friends now! So we’ll just say ‘light bluey’!
My dress was from London Designer Bridal Room just off Oxford Street. I am very simple in what I wear day to day so I knew a large dress wasn’t for me…(I did have fun trying one or two on though!). I went for a simple, slinky dress which made me feel very elegant, womanly and, most of all, me!
Jim showed me quite a few pictures of David Gandy in suits…so I knew he wanted something quite fitted and trendy! We went to some amazing tailors but in the end the slim-fit style we found (as luck and budget would have it) in Red Herring at Debenhams was the one. It had a matching scoop neck waistcoat which looked perfect with his skinny French Connection tie. His shoes were from Linea at House of Fraser and shirt was a white slim fit dress shirt from TM Lewin.
The Bridesmaids and I had to do a lot of virtual shopping as they both live miles away. I came across the dresses on one of my many web searches and they both loved it! The dresses had a subtle sequin hem which tied in perfectly with my dress – from Kalico at John Lewis. The Bestman and Usher wore the same suit and tie as Jim. They were a little concerned with the ‘slim fit’ description but they both looked amazing!
For our centre pieces we ordered 100 stems of loose gypsophila from our florist, to put into the vases we had decorated for the table centres. My Mother-in-Law has done a bit of floristry so she made sure each stem was cut nice and level. We also had (my favourite) white hydrangea heads in jam jars.
Our florist at Blooms of Scarborough was so clever, I wanted a simple gypsophila bouquet but she suggested tying in a hydrangea centre to match our centre pieces. I was so pleased with the final result which was all tied together with hessian.
Our photographer was the wonderful Hayley Baxter. I have fallen in love a bit with Hayley… she is just a little genius and the nicest person to boot! We could not believe the wonderful intimate shots she managed – most of the time we had no idea she was there! Our edited pictures arrived very quickly – but we got a little sneak peek the day after via Facebook – which was such a lovely touch!
We made all the favours ourselves. I made pretty dangly earrings for all the ladies and Jim made a ‘mix tape’ of all sorts of music (some meaningful, some just fun!) for the gents. We spent many a Sunday afternoon cutting and sticking and creating. I think I loved this part a bit more than Jim… but he is a dab hand with the heart shaped hole punch now!
On each table setting we added a question card from the Logo board game, which we thought would be a nice ice breaker.
Having a tipi wedding limits your food choices to a degree but we managed to work it – I think! Well… no one went hungry! Malton Relish made all our gorgeous canapes and the vegetarian options of ‘Wild Mushroom Loaf’ and ‘Italian Vegetable Frittata’ they delivered them on the day so we didn’t have to worry about chilling them. Stepney Hill Farm provided the main meal of a Hog Roast with stuffing and apple sauce. Jim’s step father is a dab hand in the kitchen so he lovingly prepared some amazing salad accompaniments. We had lots of cheese and biscuits, wedding cake and my friend made delicious chocolate brownies for dessert. Late evening we had Pickering Fish and Chips arrive with their mobile van – which went down an absolute treat! We ran a free bar so shopped for the alcohol during various promotions in the supermarkets. Aldi was an absolute winner for spirits! We also had a hand pull real ale from Scarborough Brewery which people went crazy for!
Jim’s Mum is a wonderful baker and so she kindly baked our cake – traditional fruit on the bottom tier and lemon sponge with lemon curd and butter cream on the top tier. Her super clever friend did all the icing. We have the figurines set now and sitting on our book case – a wonderful keepsake!
We were so pleased with The Big Party Band, a 5 piece band based in Keighley. We had seen them perform at a rare public gig and knew they were good! The music was a mix of modern and dance floor classics. The real wow factor comes when the band get on the dance floor with their wireless guitars – so much fun! We paid extra to hire their kit all day to allow us to have music during the day and a PA system for the speeches. We gave them two options for our first dance and they surprised us on the day having learnt them both – so gave us a first and last dance!
We put a confetti balloon in the centre of the dance floor which was popped during our first dance – the actually popping caused lots of laughs as it just wouldn’t go!
We had these huge LOVE letters which I scrounged from Debenhams on Oxford Street – it was one of their valentines displays that they were throwing away. We underestimated how large they were which made for a bit of hilarity when trying to get them home on the tube!
Boutipi were our Tipi suppliers and they are just the best!! They are a family run business which really shows, nothing is too much trouble and they really care about giving you the best day possible! They even gave us a crash course in the Waltz the day before!
Crystal Penguin Events did our on the day coordination along with two waitresses my mum knows. I would recommend to anyone having a Tipi wedding to have someone there on the day to worry about timings etc. Steph made everything run like clock work, she also brought along some of her family to help run the bar and wash up!
Abbey Sound and Light hired our generator, we had no idea what size we would need but they worked this all out for us and plugged it all in – a real weight off our mind.
Our wedding day was truly the best day of our lives. It’s impossible to say what our one favourite moment was – but saying our vows to each other was wonderful, we were finally becoming man and wife! I messed up my lines and cried all the way through…but people said they loved that it was sincere and not polished. The three days prior to our wedding was wonderful, everyone turning up to help decorate and lift and shift… just made your heart melt. We felt so lucky to have such hard working family and friends!
We had a couple of days away after our wedding in Bruges – which was wonderful! Such a pretty and romantic place, perfect for relaxing and mooching about! We are planning our honeymoon for later next year.
I have so many tips for other Brides Up North! These types of blogs are so handy for reading about the experience of others. Having now been there, done that, I would have explored the second hand dress market a bit more, it is such a huge part of your budget and after all, most second hand dresses have only been worn once!
abbey sound and light, blooms of scarborough, boutipi, crystal penguin events, french connection, hayley baxter photography, john lewis, london designer bridal room, malton relish, outdor wedding, real wedding, red herring, rustic wedding, scarborough brewery, simple wedding, the big party band, tipi wedding, tm lewin, uk wedding blog, yorkshire wedding
June 2nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry
I’m so excited to kick off the week and share Jess and Matt’s Real Wedding with you. Not only because it took place in my home city of Sheffield (and featured some fantastic suppliers I know *waves*) but also because it has all the right ingredients for one hell of a party.
In the run up to the wedding Jess and Matt built the excitement among their guests by tasking family and friends with helping to organise their special day, making them feel an important part of the proceedings whilst creating beautiful personal touches to set their wedding apart from others.
Then there’s the evening do – quirky outdoor location, amazing homemade food, locally brewed beer, live music and fire pits! What more could you want?
This is one wedding I wish I’d attended.
Jess said: We got engaged on Monday 29th October 2012. We were in Spain visiting the beautiful Andalusian town of Granada and had spent a lovely sunny day at the 1,000-year-old Moorish citadel The Alhambra. As the sun was beginning to set (and my feet were beginning to ache) Matt suggested we walk to a viewpoint. An hour later we reached the top after a pretty steep climb. As I sat down on a bench to regain my breath, Matt bent down to tie up his shoelaces and returned with a stunning antique ring! On our return from Spain late that Friday night, Matt surprised me a second time by driving me from Liverpool airport to a luxury spa resort in Cheshire, where we stayed for the weekend.
We decided to set the date for Saturday 10th August 2013. We wanted a summer wedding and, as we are both teachers, this date gave us enough time to prepare for the wedding but also to have a three-week honeymoon abroad.
We wanted a combination of a traditional church ceremony in the city alongside a more alternative reception venue in the countryside. So we chose our stunning parish church St John’s in Ranmoor, Sheffield, for the ceremony and Green Directions at Townfield Head Farm, Stannington, for our reception.
We wanted to have a very relaxed and informal wedding which was a bit different so we hired Papakata teepees.
I love blues of different shades so this was our theme. It is also a colour which suits all of the bridesmaids. Our brilliant florist Tracey from Campbell’s Flowers also showed us lots of gorgeous blue flowers which would be in bloom in August so this sealed our decision.
Initially I wanted a strapless lace wedding dress but the woman at the bridal shop I visited suggested I try on a scalloped neck lace dress called Ali by Augusta Jones which I fell in love with. It has a beautiful long chapel train and a stunning lace back with simple buttons. There’s a vintage belt which accentuates your waist and really sets off the lace. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford it so my sister (chief bridesmaid) helped me find a pre-loved dress, exactly the same and to my precise measurements, for half the price at www.preloved.co.uk. My shoes were simple alabaster sling-backs by Bertie which I found in the Christmas sale.
Matt wore a black French Connection suit which he’d recently bought and only worn once to an awards ceremony. He made it look more unusual by wearing a multi-coloured Ted Baker bow-tie and black shoes with an orange sole to complement his auburn hair!
My bridesmaids wore handmade baby blue 50s style dresses made-to-measure from Etsy with petticoats to boost the skirts. The ushers and best man all wore dark suits and blue ties (bow tie for the best man).
We hired a Yorkshire Heritage vintage double decker bus to transport me and my family to the church and then took most of us to the farm afterwards. It was fab!
As previously mentioned, our beautiful rustic bouquets were made by Campbell’s Flowers. They were absolutely stunning – lots of local blooms and even some eucalyptus from our own garden. My bridesmaids and I carried matching bouquets down the aisle. The groomsmen all had matching buttonholes. We also had a large, wild, ‘just-picked’ looking bouquet on each table at the reception.
Lots of friends and family (especially my mum) pitched in to help make lots of hand-made touches to decorate the teepees. These included guest names on luggage tags which we strung from a washing line around the teepee entrance which had table names on the back and served in place of a table plan. We also made candle holders from empty jars we’d collected and decorated with hessian and lace, baby blue gingham table runners and bows for chairs, hand-sewn material hearts for each table, table names which were each a place in Sheffield with a picture and a menu on the back, plus patchwork cushions and blankets for the benches.
My Dad is a keen allotmenteer so when it came to the favours he donated lots of seeds with appropriate names such as ‘love in the mist’ or ‘party girl’. My parents then put them in rustic brown seed-envelopes and labelled to double up as place-names.
Helen and Paul Haigh of PH Weddings did our photographs and we love them! They were very discrete and captured lots of hidden moments without being at all intrusive. We also had a great pre-wedding shoot in Endcliffe Park as part of their package.
Matt’s aunty makes the best desserts so she agreed to make enough cup-cakes for all of our guests. We bought a huge stand and another friend (with immaculate handwriting) wrote out guest names so that everyone could find their own cake.
On arrival at the farm, we ate scones (homemade by super-baker Matt’s mum) with clotted cream and jam (made with fruit from my Dad’s allotment). A complimentary drink of local ale or cider was also served. For our main evening meal, we used Coco Catering who provided a delicious and inexpensive barbecue of locally sourced meat such as sausages and lamb burgers alongside unusual salads such as butternut squash and cous cous. Later in the evening, they provided a snack-sized portion of fish and chips once our evening guests arrived.
Matt and I bought all of the alcohol ourselves and sold it at cost price to keep everything as cheap as possible for our guests. We drank lots of prosecco and also had kegs of local ale and cider from Bradfield Brewery who I would highly recommend for great tasting drinks and efficient, well-mannered staff at a good price.
To keep the children entertained during the day we had a section of the teepee devoted to kids’ things such as colouring books and games. The farmer Mark Woodward was really chilled and let the little kids all go for a farm tour during the speeches
We really wanted love music so we splashed out on an amazing live band The Cassettes from London who my brother had recommended. They played two one hour sets of motown and classics and were awesome!
In the middle of the teepees were fire pits which were great fun later at night. Once the band finished at midnight we all went into the ‘chill-out kungs’ and sat around the fire playing guitars, singing and carrying on the party until 4am.
I would most definitely recommend Green Directions as a venue. For us it was the perfect as it’s close to Sheffield city centre whilst still having stunning views out into the peaks. The cost was much cheaper than at other farms we visited as they have their own wind turbine which provides all the electricity and there are also toilets on site so you save money on portaloos and a generator. What really made it special though was how laid back, friendly and enthusiastic Mark and his wife were.
I loved the whole day start to finish but perhaps the evening, when the band was playing and all of my favourite people were together dancing or relaxing in our giant teepees, was the best part.
For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka on my parents’ recommendation as they’d be there when they were our age. Our favourite place was Casa Columbo where we stayed in the capital for our first two nights – we should have stayed much longer!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be if you’re organising the wedding yourself, rather than through a wedding planner at a hotel/venue, make sure you have a very patient, efficient and willing chief bridesmaid! Also, make sure there is someone on the day who knows exactly what needs to happen and ensure that contractors are not contacting you about logistics on the day. I would not have had such an amazing wedding without my sister and brother taking on these two taxing jobs!
Congratulations Jess & Matt!
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January 8th, 2013 | Julia Braime
The best thing about the January blues? Beating them with a bit of sale shopping. Can I hear a “Hell Yeah!”?
Pick up some cut price pieces to make your wedding day and all those little occasions before it sparkle that little bit brighter.
This is not a sponsored post
December 18th, 2012 | Julia Braime
There’s still time for some online shopping before things close down… and with that sparkler on your finger glittering away, there’s never been a better time to twinkle!
This is not a sponsored post
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