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Look Who’s Talking: How To Nail The Wedding Speech

January 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Lee Brown Photography

Lee Brown Photography 

Our lovely guest blogger Rachel’s back this afternoon with more pearls of wisdom, all because she wants your wedding speeches to be memorable for all the right reasons.  Don’t forget to raise a glass to her too!

Jamie Penfold Photography

Jamie Penfold Photography 

Rachel says:  Although I’m currently as close to getting married as Justin Bieber is to winning a role model of the year award, it’s a growing concern of mine just how my Dad will manage to hold it together long enough on my wedding day to make a speech.

Basically he’s an emotional guy – he’s been known to cry over Forest Gump (forgivable), waving my 19-year-old brother off on his two-week holiday to Thailand recently caused him to blubber, even a beautifully cooked steak sandwich has been known to reduce the man to tears (I kid you not).

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative 

Hypothetical talk of my wedding day is another catalyst of emotion for my Dad. It’s therefore no surprise that I worry how he will fare when it comes to delivering his farther-of-the-bride speech – a duty that has caused even the sternest of fathers to well-up.

As the only daughter I would never take the privilege away from him – I know he’ll make a wonderful job of it (no matter how many boxes of Kleenex he goes through in the process), but this trail of thought did get me thinking about who else I might like to speak at my wedding.

Lee Brown Photography

Lee Brown Photography

Traditionally speeches are delivered after the wedding breakfast by the father-of-the-bride, the groom and the best man, but as couples continue to shake up formal proceedings, speeches are taking place at different times of the day and are being delivered by different people.

A popular new addition is inviting the father-of-the-groom to deliver a speech. Witnessing a child tying the knot is a big day for any parent whether it’s a son or daughter taking their vows. As such mothers-of-the- bride/groom are also taking to the stage.

Peter Boyd Photography

Peter Boyd Photography 

To me, those picked to speak at a wedding should be the people who know the bride and groom best, both before and during their relationship. As well as a parent, it’s a nice idea for a grandparent sibling or friend to be invited to say some words too. Admittedly there needs to be a short-list, not all those nearest and dearest can contribute but speeches given by people who know the couple in different capacities gives a well rounded overview of the new Mr and Mrs that all guests can relate to.

Another change to note is the rise of the bride’s speech. After all ladies why wouldn’t we want the opportunity to thank our loved ones, speak kindly of our new husband (oh and have the right to reply to any cringe-worthy stories delivered at our expense).

JB Creatives

JB Creatives 

Much to the relief of many people’s digestion systems, speeches are often now planned to take place before, rather than after the wedding breakfast. Whether it’s outside during the welcome drinks or prior to the sit down meal, this enables all to relax and enjoy without struggling through courses with their stomach in knots.

Whoever you choose to do the honours, here are a few quick tips for a spectacular speech:

Plan In Advance

I’ve actually seen people leave their speeches until the last minute and try to wing it, I’m yet to see this done successfully. The nerves on the day are enough to contend with without piling on the pressure by having to make up a speech on the spot.

Practise

Those who plan and practise in advance often deliver the best speeches, whether they provoke tears, laughter or a combination of the two. Rehearsing will give those not used to speaking in public the opportunity to build confidence whilst running their speech passed others to gain feedback.

Stott & Atkinson

Stott & Atkinson 

Make Notes

Engaging with the audience is key to delivering a good speech so don’t bury your head in a piece of paper and read out your prepared speech word-for-word. Instead try to come across more conversational, get the main parts in your head ahead of the big day then have a few clear notes to hand during your moment in the limelight to ensure you don’t miss anything, or anybody, out.

Be Aware Of Your Audience

The last thing any wedding couple wants is a speech that warrants a #awkward or #cringe tag. While embarrassing stories, dating anecdotes and hen/stag do memories can add a humours element, speakers should consider if they are likely to upset or offend. Particularly bear in mind children, older relatives and protective parents.

Andy Wardle

Andy Wardle

Make It Memorable

Incorporating photos, videos or props in a speech can help to make it all the more memorable. It might be a souvenir from the hen do, a video message from someone unable to make the wedding day or a montage of childhood photos but whatever you choose don’t forget to take it with you on the big day.

Finally, remember the tissues – God knows I’m going to need them at my wedding!

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as credited

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

Posted in Guest Blog, Wedding Speech | Filed Under | NO COMMENTS yet, click here to start the discussion! »

To Favour Or Not To Favour? That Is The Question.

December 10th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Wedding Favours - Lissa Alexandra Photography

As it’s the season for giving, our regular guest blogger Rachel is back to talk wedding favours. 

An age-old wedding tradition, favours originated in Italy in the form of five sugar almonds which were given to guests as a thank you for attending the wedding and as a symbol of good luck. Each sweet almond was said to represent a different quality that the couple would hopefully experience as husband and wife – health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity.

But just like many other wedding traditions, the favour has evolved over the years with many of today’s couples ditching dated sugar almonds in place of creative and individual gifts for their guests.  Rachel makes the case for tradition. 

Wedding Favours - Lissa Alexandra Photography

She says:  Just this week a friend of mine was telling me how a male colleague, who is due to get married next year, was having a moan about wedding favours.  His outburst went a little something like this: “Now she’s talking about what favours we should get the guests – I tell you what favour I’m getting them, a three course meal, wine and evening buffet – what more do they want?”

He makes a point I suppose, but done right carefully chosen favours can add an extra element of enjoyment and/or serve as a wonderful reminder of the big day.

Wedding Favours - Chris Milner Photography

The budget will obviously need to be taken into consideration when selecting favours and couples will have to decide if they want to buy, make and/or personalize their gifts.  Whether couples choose to blow the budget on special keepsakes, or take the cheaper novelty route, there are plenty of options to choose from (without an almond in sight):

Something to Eat

Perfect for food lovers this is a simple idea that can be as thrifty or indulgent as couples like.  A tasty treat is always greatly received by guests and can be easily personalized to fit in with the chosen colour scheme or theme.

Popular choices include handmade chocolates, cake pops, macaroons and Pic-A-Mix style bags of sweets.

Another foodie option is for couples to make and jar their own preserves such as jam, marmalade, chutney or honey, which can be individually decorated and stamped with the wedding date.

Mints served in personalised tins puts an individual twist on a classic idea while movie lovers can opt for popcorn served in bespoke containers.

(For those really wanting to impress their guests, I recently came across a company that will decorate gingerbread men to look like your guests, or alternatively you can order a DIY kit to give it a go yourself. While this involves a fair amount of organization the reaction from your guests will be well worth it.)

Wedding Favours - Peter Boyd Photography

Something to Drink

This can be a way of buying your guests a drink without having to offer a free bar. Brides pick miniature bottles of their favourite drinks to give to the ladies while grooms choose their top tipple to give to the men. Popular choices include mini bottles of wine, spirits or champagne. Miniature bottles of alcohol can also double up as name places by tying a simple name tag around the bottle neck with decorative ribbon. For those who would prefer a non-alcoholic option, fruit teas fit in well with organic and country style weddings while specialty coffee will be greatly appreciated by guests the morning after the wedding. Those with a sweet tooth may prefer to give cocoa or hot chocolate mix.

Wedding Favours - Peter Boyd Photography

Something to Grow

An ideal option for eco-friendly brides and grooms who want to give their guests a lasting reminder of their big day. Top choices include pretty packets of wildflower seeds or tree saplings for guests to take away and plant in their gardens. An alternative for foodies is to give locally grown herbs planted in recyclable glass jars dressed up with a ribbon.

Something to Break the Ice

Some couples like to mix up their guests on different tables encouraging them to get to know one another, in which case icebreaker favours are perfect. This type of favour is also ideal for couples who don’t take life too seriously and want to inject some humour into their special day. Options include old-school origami fortune tellers, table trivia and quirky wedding badges with statements such as ‘I love the groom’, ‘I’m next’ and ‘The bouquet is mine’. Couples choosing to have a fun photo booth at their wedding may want to give favours in the form of masks or fancy dress items which double up as great props for the booth.

Wedding Favours - Petals & Peonies

Something for the Little Ones

A couple’s choice of favour might not suit all ages so separate gifts for younger guests may be required. While sweet treats generally always go down well with children it’s a good idea to give a favour that will keep little ones entertained during less active parts of the day such as the meal and the speeches. A goody bag including a small present, puzzles and colouring pencils is a great solution.

Wedding Favours - JP Photography

Something to Keep

For some couples the whole idea of a wedding favour is to give a gift that will act as a lasting reminder of the big day. Popular options include personalised tea towels, coasters, mugs and pens featuring the couples name and wedding date.

A mixed CD made up of songs played during the wedding day is perhaps one of the best keepsake favours that will instantly evoke memories of the wedding.

For something a little different, couples tying the knot during the festive period could give a personalised Christmas tree decoration that will provide a reminder of the special day year after year.

Wedding Favours - Weddings Vintage

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So what do you think?  Will you be doing favours for your guests, and if so what? 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as tagged, Lissa Alexandra Photography, Chris Milner Photography, Jamie Penfold Photography, Petals & Peonies, Weddings Vintage 

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The Rise Of The Mini Moon

November 11th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography

It’s been a busy Monday morning and Friday feels a long way off.  What better time than for our regular guest blogger Rachel (we’ve missed you Rach!) to talk time out and remind you that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.  Today, she’s all about facilitating that “minimoon”.  Monday blues?  What Monday blues? Go on, get it booked…

Images by Cat Hepple Photography, as previously featured here and here

Cat Hepple Photography

Rachel says:  I don’t know about you but I love an excuse to extend a celebration. Take my birthday for example – of course the main celebration is the day itself but I like to push the partying over at least one weekend, if not two. After all there’s the family meal, weekend away with the boyfriend (I hope) and drinks, shopping and spa treatments with friends to squeeze in. And don’t even get me started on festive celebrations in our household – they stretch from the very beginning of December right into the new year (though thankfully don’t include a turkey curry buffet).

Looking at today’s wedding scene, it’s clear there are many wedding couples who share my mindset with a growing trend for weekend weddings. After all, why would you confine the celebrations to just one day when you can easily spread it across three with a pre-wedding dinner the ceremony itself and then, of course, a day of present opening, cake eating, champagne quaffing and catching up with family and friends.

But now brides and grooms are taking extending the wedding celebrations a step further by delaying their main honeymoon until later in the year, or even the following year, and taking a minimoon in the meantime instead.

Cat Hepple Photography

The minimoon was originally born out of the credit crunch when many wedding couples were forced to tighten the purse strings. Research revealed brides and grooms were swapping lavish two-week holidays to long-haul destinations such as the Maldives for shorter holidays closer to home. But as circumstances have continued to change so too have couples’ holidaying habits, with many brides and grooms now having the best of both worlds – booking themselves a minimoon for a that much-needed break straight after the wedding and a honeymoon a little later down the line, giving reason for the wedding excitement to live on.

Cat Hepple Photography

A minimoon usually consists of a relaxing three- to four-day break at a destination not too far away from the wedding location. Some couples might choose a sentimental location such as the first place they went on holiday together or the place they got engaged, while others might just want a destination that provides pure relaxation to unwind following the tense pre-wedding build up. In the UK top choices include rustic retreats, spa breaks and city locations while those flush enough to push the minimoon boundaries are jetting off to romantic European destinations such as Rome, Paris and Venice.

Cat Hepple Photography

While delaying a honeymoon in favour of a minimoon does effectively spread the celebrations, it has become a big hit among today’s wedding couples for many more reasons.

The minimoon is particularly popular with teachers and those with work commitments that can’t afford to take large amounts of time off work all in one go. It’s also ideal for those asking their guests for contributions towards the honeymoon instead of traditional gifts as they book a holiday suited to the fund following the wedding.

Cat Hepple Photography

For those who can only handle so much planning at a time, delaying the main honeymoon means there will be more time to organise the holiday after the wedding preparations have taken place. Taking a minimoon in the meantime means couples have that essential break before returning to the daily grind after their wedding day.

A postponed honeymoon also gives brides and grooms who will be stumping up the honeymoon costs themselves longer to save up and book their holiday at a time suited to the best prices and weather conditions.

Cat Hepple Photography

So while the credit crunch may curbed our Topshop sprees and cocktail drinking, we do have it to thank for the introduction of the minimoon/postponed honeymoon trend which helps keep the post-wedding day blues at bay that bit longer.

What do you think?  Will you/ did you take a minimoon?  Any hot spot recommendations for our other readers?

All images taken from Alice & Paul’s gorgeous Parisian engagement shoot with Cat Hepple PhotographyClick here and here to see the full set. 

 

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Cat Hepple Photography

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Posted in Guest Blog, Honeymoon | Filed Under | 1 COMMENT so far, click here to join the discussion! »

Evening Do… Or Evening Don’t?

September 27th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Jonny Draper Photography

Our regular guest blogger Rachel – editor of Mosaic Brides – is giving me the morning off, as she takes control of these pretty pages to debate the pros and cons of a wedding at sundown.  No more worries about getting to the church on time: if you’re going to be fashionably late, why not make it official?!  Over to Rachel. 

With images by Jonny Draper Photography 

Jonny Draper Photography

Rachel says:  As marriage laws have been relaxed over the years couples have been given much more say over when and where they tie the knot.  One of the most recent changes to marriage laws means ceremonies can now be conducted outside the traditional hours of 8am to 6pm so couples can get married at any time of day or night – depending on the venue, of course.

It seems crazy that it’s taken this long for the rule to be relaxed considering it was initially introduced in 1837 to stop people marrying the wrong partner in the dark before the days of electricity (awkward).

The change is seen as a good thing for those looking to save money on their wedding day as it gives them the option to hold their celebrations in the evening, which means less expenditure on food, drink, entertainment and venue hire.

Jonny Draper Photography

But, as the law was only changed in England and Wales last year (there are no restriction on the hours of weddings in Scotland) the difficulty may be finding a venue that provides the option of an evening wedding, as most would prefer couples to hire the facilities for the majority of the day and evening.

Before deciding on whether or not to say ‘I do’ at dusk it’s worth taking a look at the pros and cons in a little more detail.

Jonny Draper Photography

Pros

Save – As previously mentioned the biggest plus point is considered to be the savings couples can make by holding their celebrations in the evening. So instead of forking out for a champagne and canapés reception plus a main wedding breakfast and evening meal, couples should be able to get away with feeding their guests just the one time. Similarly you will only require entertainment for the evening and the venue hire should be less for the amount of hours you require it for.

Relax – A later ceremony means no rushing around during the day. There will be plenty of time to decorate the venue, take receipt of flowers, cakes etc and make those final checks ahead of the ceremony. This also means more time for the bride and her maids to get ready and make the most of the venue’s facilities (halleluiah).

Personal preference – If you’re not marrying during traditional hours there’s certainly no need to stick to all the formalities. For example after the ceremony you could enjoy a cocktail hour (a trend particularly popular in America) without the fear that your guests will crash and burn before the party really gets started. Also instead of a formal sit down meal you could have street style food or a buffet so guests can mingle and the disco/live entertainment can get underway. If you are a real foodie however, the money you save on only needing to feed your guests once can be pooled on the main meal so you can really go to town and treat your guests to something special.

No lulls – We’ve all been to a wedding where we’ve found ourselves stood around with nothing to do but listen to the sound of our stomachs rumbling. A later wedding means less time to fit things in and so the proceedings should move swiftly from one part of the celebrations to the next without guests becoming bored.

Setting the scene – An evening wedding can make for a more atmospheric and romantic occasion with low lighting and twinkling fairy lights and candles. Creative couples can go all out on a decedent theme to suit the mood such as Great Gatsby with sparkling décor, elegant lighting and glamorous attire.

Grateful guests – A later time of arrival means guests can travel to the venue on the wedding day so those coming from further afield don’t need to book more than one night’s accommodation. An evening wedding, particularly on week days, can also mean that guests don’t have to take a full day off work.

Jonny Draper Photography

Cons

Blink and you’ve missed it – Most couples are put off the idea of an evening wedding simply because they’re told a wedding goes too quickly so they should make the most of it with a full day of celebrations.

Nerves – Many brides, grooms and those that will be making a speech can suffer terrible nerves on the wedding day awaiting their moment in the spotlight. A later wedding means a longer wait and more time for nerves to build.

Venue – As previously mentioned finding a venue for an evening wedding can be tricky as many places will prefer couples to hire the facilities for the day and evening. Also local authorities and religious groups aren’t forced to conduct marriages outside the traditional hours, so finding someone to conduct the legal part could also prove challenging.

Photography – Getting married later in the day, and particularly in the winter, means less natural light for photographs. Those getting married at venues with gorgeous grounds and stunning views will more than likely want to use them as backdrops for wonderful wedding pictures which require daylight. Those who do choose to hold evening celebrations should look for a photographer who has some great night time shots in their portfolio to ensure they still get some standout snaps.

Jonny Draper Photography

One area of the law that remains however is that 15 days advance notice is required for weddings – so they’ll be no drunken Ross and Rachel style wedding ceremonies taking place in England just yet!

 

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Jonny Draper Photography

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

Posted in Guest Blog, Wedding Planning | Filed Under | NO COMMENTS yet, click here to start the discussion! »

Wednesday Wedding Inspiration: Lovely Lilacs

May 29th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Lovely Lilacs Wedding Inspiration

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1. Johanna Hehir ‘Lila’ 2. Delicate Floral Wedding Cake 3. Floral Hanging Birdcages 4. ‘April’ Floral Hair Wreath 5. Jennifer Behr Halo 6. Floral Tablescape 7. Purple Stalacite Necklace 8. Agnes & Norman ‘Audrey’ Heels 9. Polka Dot Cutlery Case 10. Mismatched Bridesmaids

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All good things must come to an end, and today is our regular guest blogger Katy of What Katy Did Next’s last post here on these swirly silver pages for a while.  Katy’s been creating beautiful mood boards for us for over a year and in this time has seriously seen her business take off.  We’ll be sad to see her go!  Whilst Katy’s busy making pretty things, we are introducing some brand new regular features to the site, so watch this space – news soon.  In the meantime, it’s over to Katy…

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Katy says:  I don’t often get excited when I hear lilac as the main colour scheme for a wedding – with images of girly pastels all over the internet for inspiration. Even bride Rachel wasn’t sure about incorporating her favourite colour into her big day. The lovely bride to be who marries late next spring, asked for my help with an inspiration board full of beautiful floral displays, an outdoorsy rustic vibe and of course… lilac!

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I’ve blended lilac into the colour palette with mismatched bridesmaids, whoSE dresses were all handmade by the bride and her mother! Of course if you don’t moonlight as the mice from Cinderella, try Dessy or twobirds bridesmaid for similar styles. You could even take pictures to a local dressmaker for a quote? The beautiful drape in the dresses are perfect for a boho feel – to be teamed with pretty flip flops, loose waves and fresh flowers. I adore the purple stalactite necklace from Etsy.com shop FriedaSophie. The unique pendant is perfect as a gift to your maids. 

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The bridal gown is ‘Lila’ (not lilac!) and is one of many gorgeous dresses from Johanna Hehir. Her designs are perfect for an outdoor affair – the fabric of this particular design will look spectacular floating in the breeze. The shoes are from Rachel Simpson’s new Agnes & Norman range – i absolutely love brides in a coloured shoe and this tone is breath-taking. 

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Not all venues are suitable for this look but if you’re a lover of spacious, neat tablescapes then the beautiful hanging birdcage displays could be perfect in place of centrepieces, the colours can be reflected on the table with mismatched vintage crockery or kept crisp white and clean with colourful place cards – or cute cutlery pouches like the polkadot package which doubles as a place setting (bottom, centre). If you’d rather go all out on an extravagant centrepiece, I love the huge rustic crate full of beautiful florals in all shades of purple – including lilac!

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Click here to see previous Wednesday Wedding Inspiration Mood Boards

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited, supplied by What Katy Did Next

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Posted in Wedding Inspiration | Filed Under | NO COMMENTS yet, click here to start the discussion! »

Sound The Bugles! The Venue Hunt Has Commenced…

May 27th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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And you thought I was going to ease you back in gently after the bank holiday break, eh?  Incorrect.

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This afternoon, we are going hard (or going home) and getting one big thing ticked off that to-do list – your wedding venue.  Dropping by to talk you through it is our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides.  Notepads – and cheque books – at the ready people… 

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DINE LEAFLET

Allerton Castle, North Yorkshire by Chris Chambers Photography

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Rachel says:  Last week I received a picture message of a sparkly diamond on the ring finger of a pretty manicured hand. I knew without even looking at the sender’s name that the perfectly polished hand belonged to my beautician friend Jo. Sure enough her boyfriend James had whisked her away to a romantic hotel in North Yorkshire where he popped the question in a plush roll top bath, complete with bubbles and fizz.

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When meeting up with Jo this week to hear more about the proposal (I’m a sucker for a soppy engagement story) I handed her a useful engagement pressie rather than the expected bottle of champagne. It was a cute wedding planner book from Marks & Spencer titled ‘Lots of Lovely Ideas For A Very Big Day’ with dedicated areas for the guest list, contacts, the budget and checklists as well as pages to record wardrobe, reception and ceremony details. So where to begin?

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For Jo and many others it’s the venue. This is often the biggest expense and one of the most important factors of a wedding as it sets the scene for the big day. Therefore it’s well worth researching all the fantastic venues available (particularly in the North, of course) to ensure you find one that ticks all the boxes.

Hotels remain a top choice, often favoured for their package deals and on site facilities, but changes in the law and the amazing creativity of suppliers have made the previously impossible, possible when it comes to dream wedding venues.

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So what are the options beyond the church in the UK and what should you take into consideration when doing your research?

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Something Old

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We are fortunate to have many stunning historic venues in the UK that are licensed for civil ceremonies. Options include castles, country houses, listed halls and stately homes. Such venues tend to ooze character and charm meaning little décor is required which can make a big saving. Their rooms are often of large proportions providing plenty of space for big guest numbers though those planning more modest celebrations should not be put off as smaller, more intimate rooms are often available.

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Gimble_Wade_Wedding_240

Meredith & at Denton Hall in West Yorkshire (see their full celebration by clicking here) image by Gary Micklethwaite

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Perfectly Packaged

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Most hotels or independent venues hold a civil license giving couple’s the straightforward option of having their celebrations all in one place which can eliminate travel costs from the budget altogether. It’s important to ask what’s included in the price such as room hire, the registrar and the wedding breakfast, also ask if there is a minimum guest requirement and how prices vary on different days of the week and throughout the year. To make the plans even more manageable the hotel may well have a list of recommended suppliers that you can use which can save you both time and money. Be sure to enquire about exclusivity – if you want the place to yourselves there can be an additional charge.

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Rise Hall, East Yorkshire by Peter Boyd Photography

Rise Hall, East Yorkshire by Peter Boyd Photography 

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Blank Canvas

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Marquees and tepees continue to rise in popularity with couples won over by the prospect of having a plain backdrop to go to town on for a unique and stylish celebration. While you can’t legally get married in marquee or tipi as it’s not a permanent structure, you can throw a flippin’ good party in one afterwards. The styling possibilities are endless from cute bunting and bundles of hay to natural blooms and twinkly fairy lights. Some also offer the option to create individual areas for dancing, dining and chilling, complete with cosy fur throws and roaring fires. Though a marquee or tepee might seem a cheaper option, additional costs such as the fee to plant it on someone’s land and essentials such as toilets, heating and electricity can see the price creep up.

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John Steel Photography for Totally Tipi & Horti-couture

John Steel Photography for Totally Tipi & Horti-couture

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Let’s Go Outside

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My friend Jo has her heart set on a relaxed outdoor wedding with lots of live music. While some venues do have gazebos, band-stands and the like licensed four outdoor weddings, those craving a more adventurous or quirky backdrop may still be able to secure their dream setting by doing the legal ‘I do’ bit separate. This means simply booking into the registry office prior to the outdoor celebrations for the legal formalities which can take as little as 20 minutes. A celebrant can then conduct a more personal ceremony in front of your guests at your chosen outdoor wedding setting whether it’s on the beach, a woodland location or amongst the ruins of a castle.

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Alnwick Garden

The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland

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Dare To Be Different

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Changes in legislation have opened up the doorways to many unusual settings for couples to tie the knot in. Out of the ordinary options include museums, theatres, restaurants, sporting venues, private residences and art galleries.

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Happy hunting!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Posted in Guest Blog, Wedding Planning, Wedding Venues | Filed Under | 1 COMMENT so far, click here to join the discussion! »

Wednesday Wedding Inspiration: Delicate Darkness

May 1st, 2013 | Julia Braime

Delicately Dark Wedding Inspiration

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1. Tiered Tulip Gown 2. Groom’s Attire 3. Blossom Image 4. Candlesticks 5. Silhouette Cake 6. Valentino Heels 7. Floral Arrangement 8. Rings 9. Wedding Stationery 10. Black Bridesmaid

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Normally a fan of delicate pastels and prettiness, our regular guest blogger Katy of What Katy Did Next seems to have gone over to the dark side.  And isn’t the result rather lovely?

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Katy says: I decided to have a bit of ‘me’ time making this week’s Wednesday Wedding Inspiration mood board. Greedy I know, but i have been filled with so much inspiration over the last couple of weeks that I couldn’t hold it in any longer! Today i have picked a colour palette of black, ivory and brass gold – absolutely fab for a city wedding, but if you picked a less structured bridesmaid’s gown the theme could easily be tailored to suit a country affair.

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I’m a huge lover of pale blooms and I love the idea of keeping your wedding flowers a colourless white/cream contrasted against the green foliage. I adore the delicateness of blossom, and it looks absolutely perfect positioned in a clear glass jar – scattered on tables as centrepieces, teamed with those fabulous pale candles in brass gold candlesticks. Those billowing blooms from Jo Flowers are to die for. I have been distracted many times by the work of this lovely lady – she has a gorgeous rustic feel to her work that blows me away time after time.

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The simplicity of the Wedding cake and topper is amazing! I love how the colours are mirrored in the BHLDN gown with it’s bold black bow. I know black seems a daring colour to use in a wedding but it does suit everyone! I’m sure your maids would thanks you for the beautifully flattering Dessy dress (bottom, right).

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As far as make up goes – I would keep it natural with a slick of eyeliner, have your hair in a neat up do (or boho waves for a garden wedding!) For the character of the dress to shine through, keep accessories minimal – perhaps a couple of twinkly hair grips or a discreet hair vine wrapped in your hair?

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Remember: the plan is to share a new inspiration board in this time slot every other week, either compiled by myself, regular guest blogger Katy or YOU: get in touch with your own ideas and inspiration boards! We’ll be discussing our inspirations behind the images too so it’s simply going to be a whole load of lovely.

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If you are a little less arty but in need of inspiration and still want to play along, we will also be taking requests for colour schemes and themes and making bespoke boards for my readers. Please contact me to suggest a theme or colour scheme.

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Click here to see previous Wednesday Wedding Inspiration Mood Boards

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited, supplied by What Katy Did Next

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Posted in Guest Blog, Wedding Inspiration | Filed Under | NO COMMENTS yet, click here to start the discussion! »

Stress. Less.

April 15th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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With a punishing blog schedule, inbox full of enquiries (556 as of 9am this morning, and working on it) and our largest Yorkshire show to date coming up this weekend, those two little words in today’s blog post title couldn’t be more timely.  Whether it’s work or wedding planning that’s getting your knickers in a twist, let’s all take a deep breath and just chill out

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Sure, it’s a very busy week in the Brides Up North office, but we wouldn’t have it any other way, and we absolutely love what we do – raising awareness of regional wedding industry excellence both on and offline, and forging ahead with the Northern revolution! 

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And what if you are stressed out by your wedding planning?  Well, short of calling the whole thing off – and you don’t want to do that, do you? – remember why you are doing it (you know, getting to marry the person you love!) and take our guest blogger Rachel’s tips to heart. 

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With Rachel at the helm, I think the rest of the team can have the afternoon off… or at least make a good dent in that inbox! 

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Kat Timmins Photography for Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Rachel says:  I’ve seen a bridezilla in action and it’s not a pretty sight. After months of careful planning, one tiny detail can cause a bride-to-be to lose her composure, bringing on a meltdown of epic proportions. I recall one bride on the morning of her wedding sending her bridesmaids out to buy new shoes just hours before the ceremony because they’d deviated slightly from the brief.

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“I said flats, not kitten heels,” she roared. But just a short time later she and all her bridesmaids were dancing barefoot to Lionel Richie and all seemed forgotten. As I looked at the pile of disregarded shoes I had to question if it had been worth stressing herself out so much and upsetting several friends in the process (not to mention forcing them to spend money on a second pair of shoes).

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There is no doubt that planning a wedding will cause the stress levels to fluctuate with so many decisions to make, a budget to handle and endless guests to try to please – but to avoid the groom doing a runner before the big day even arrives, there are times when hot-headed brides need to take a step back and question what really matters.

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This point is often reinforced by brides’ tips to others at the end of real wedding blog posts, with most comments along the lines of: “Don’t stress about the small details”, “Enjoy the planning”, “Things can go wrong but remember what’s important.”

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Of course you want things to be perfect, but as the ladies who made it down the aisle will vouch, the important part of the day is marrying the person you love surrounded by those who mean the most to you.

So in an attempt to help other brides-to-be avoid a pre-wedding meltdown over a pair of pesky kitten heels I’ve compiled a list of ways to lessen the stress in the run up to the big day…

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Kat Timmins Photography for Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Be organised

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From the off-set plan a realistic budget and do your best to stick to it, keeping track of your expenditure as you go. Also draw-up a check list of things you need to do and when you need to do them. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete tasks and tick your accomplishments off along the way. Also, don’t put off the things you’re not looking forward to, instead get them out of the way first so you can enjoy the fun parts in the run up to the wedding.

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Be realistic

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Remember the reason you’re getting married in the first place (apart from the pretty dress) and don’t put pressure on yourself to achieve the impossible. Accept that you can’t please everyone but you can throw a ruddy good celebration that you and your guests will remember for years to come. Also don’t get competitive, your wedding should be a reflection of you and your fiancée and what the two of you want rather than trying to out-do another couple.

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Delegate

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Get your friends and family involved with the planning by giving them jobs. This will lift some of the pressure off your shoulders whilst giving them a chance to make a memorable contribution to your big day. Consider hiring a wedding planner to assist with all or part of the planning to lessen the pressure. For those who don’t hire a planner, liaise closely with the venue wedding co-ordinator so staff know what’s expected of them.

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Trust in your decisions

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If the planning process starts to feel like an overwhelming chore you can easily become negative and start to doubt decisions you’ve already made . As the saying goes ‘keep calm and carry on’. Believe in your original choices as scrapping plans late on will cause added stress.

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Kat Timmins Photography for Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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While feeling in control and being organised will go some way to reducing stress it’s also important not to become completely consumed with the planning by taking some time out. Escaping the check-list every so often can make a huge difference leaving brides-to-be feeling refreshed, confident and excited when proceeding with their plans. When researching the best ways for brides to take a breather I came across some rather interesting suggestions including flying a kite, building a sandcastle and rearranging furniture but I’ve gone for options that centre more around friends, love and laughter (oh and a generous measure of Pinot).

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Date night

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Once-a-week spend some quality time with your fiancée when the w-word is strictly off limits. Whether you choose to cook a romantic meal at home, take a trip to the cinema or book a night in a hotel be sure to remind each other why you first fell in love.

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Time with the girls

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While your friends will undoubtedly want to know how the wedding plans are going, don’t talk obsessively about it for hours on end. Instead, give them a quick update then enjoy finding out what’s new with them while indulging in a girly pastime.

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Time for yourself

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Don’t allow the planning to take over your life, still make time for the things you enjoy doing like going to the gym, having a manicure, loosing yourself in a good book or taking a relaxing bubble bath.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Karen McGowran/ Kat Timmins Photography

Rachel Parry of Mosaic Brides is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Posted in Guest Blog, Wedding Planning | Filed Under | NO COMMENTS yet, click here to start the discussion! »

Are You Sitting Comfortably..? Tackling The Seating Plan!

March 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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No Seating Plan

Always an easy option!  Image sourced via Zoe Lewis via Pinterest

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Ahh, now this is a task that I remember from my own wedding.  It took hours and at the end of it all, I still couldn’t be 100% sure that everyone had a seat… Luckily, it all worked out in the end, and yours will too.  Just try to resist the urge to play matchmaker or seek revenge, and with our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides tips you’ll find the perfect place for everyone. 

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Rachel says: Sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

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The task of planning a wedding sees a bride and groom go through many different emotions, ranging from excitement and happiness, right through to anxiety and despair.

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Drawing up the dreaded seating plan usually stirs up the latter emotions causing a couple to endure sleepless nights and countless arguments as they debate where best to place guests in order to avoid family feuds, disapproving looks and Pinot Grigio-fuelled outbursts.

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The wedding breakfast is a main feature of the big day and a carefully constructed seating plan can be key to achieving the desired atmosphere. While there is no right or wrong way to approach this tedious task, the following might help…

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First things first…

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It might be the job you’re dreading most but don’t keep putting it off. In the first instance talk to the wedding coordinator at your chosen venue to find out what size and shape tables you will have for your celebration and how best to arrange them to accommodate your guests. From here you can set to work on a draft seating plan which you can then amend at a later date when you know exactly who will be attending. To save time (and perhaps an entire rainforest) it’s a good idea to draw up a seating plan on a computer rather than by hand, that way if you make a mistake you don’t have to draw it all out again. Better still, there are handy seating plan tools available online which can make the job a whole lot easier by allowing you to make changes at the click of a button and amend right up until the last minute.

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Taking Centre Stage…

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Seating plans usually begin with the top table and deciding whether or not to have one. For those who want to stick to tradition the top table is usually made up of eight places; the bride and groom, flanked by the bride’s parents, then the groom’s parents, followed by the best man and chief bridesmaid. For those with divorced parents who have remarried the top table may need extending a little. Alternatively to avoid seating parents in close proximity who do not see eye-to-eye, you could have a top table made up of the bridesmaids and groomsmen leaving parents to join family tables.

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Another option is to have a ‘sweet heart’ table just for the bride and groom which will allow you to spend some precious time together as husband and wife during the reception. Couples with children may want to seat them at the sweet heart table too.  Meanwhile other brides and grooms have been known to invite certain guests to join them at their table for certain courses.

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Shake things up…

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Most couples ask themselves the question of whether to mix guests up or to keep family and friend groups confine to separate tables.

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The aim of many couples is to create an enjoyable atmosphere by seating guests where they will feel most comfortable and where conversation will flow freely. This usually means putting those of similar ages with common interests together. So beyond close family and friends, who are generally seated closet to the top table, there might be tables of extended family, family friends, childhood friends, university friends and colleagues.

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Those who do want to mix things up will need to decide how best to do it. Perhaps you could take a couple of guests from each of the different groups and place them on a table together with a bridesmaid or groomsman acting as ‘host’. There is also the option of drawing up different seating plans for different courses so guests move tables and mingle with others (though this one sounds like a recipe for indigestion). 

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Be clear…

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In order to help things run smoothly on the day clearly display a seating plan in the entrance to the reception room directing guests to their allocated places. Also be sure to exhibit table names/numbers clearly and use place cards with first and surnames to avoid confusion.

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Turn the tables…

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For some grabbing a seat scenarios should only be experienced on Ryanair flights but for others it’s seen as a simple solution to the seating plan headache – take inspiration from the image at the head of this feature and let your guests decide where to sit. While this approach is highly likely to cause chaos in formal dining settings it can work well for more relaxed wedding breakfasts such as barbecue buffets and outdoor picnics.

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And remember – you can only do so much to encourage a good atmosphere – the rest is down to your guests.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2013 Zoe Lewis via Pinterest 

Rachel Parry is editor of Mosaic Brides and a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Posted in Guest Blog, Wedding Planning | Filed Under | 3 COMMENTS so far, click here to join the discussion! »

Wednesday Wedding Inspiration: Marvellously Muted

March 6th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Marvellously Muted Wedding Inspiration

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1. Aigrette Clutch 2. Table Decor 3. Lace Gown Image 4. Fur Shrug 5. Button Holes 6. Bouquet 7. Semi Precious Bracelet 8. Blush Bow Heels 9. Floral Wedding Cake 10. Pine Code Place Cards 11. Bridesmaids Gowns

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I might be thinking ahead to the balmy days hour of British Summertime that we have to look forward to, but I know that you soon-to-be-wed ladies will be planning ahead.  This afternoon our regular guest blogger Katy of What Katy Did Next helps bride Sarah, who was looking for some marvellously muted wedding inspiration for her Winter 2013 – 2014 celebration. 

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Katy says:  You might think – pinecones and fur wraps on the brink of Spring? But this week’s inspiration was was requested by a bride wanting some help with her vintage theme for a Winter wedding with sage green and blush pink. The colour palette is so gorgeous I’ve managed to keep elements of the board useable all year round, as well as help out bride Sarah with wintery touches.

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Due to the soft colours Sarah has chosen, I have used light and airy vintage styles with the lace gown, floaty feathers and delicate sparkles – this isn’t to say that you couldn’t go all out twenties vintage with floaty chiffon flapper style bridesmaids, smoky eyes and pin curled hair!

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The bridesmaids, dresses in this board are from Monsoon. The silk chiffon ‘Diana’ dress is available in two lengths and if your maids would rather not go for a strapless design why not find a dressmaker who can add flattering straps or beaded cap sleeves? Have your bridesmaids carry a decorative clutch down the aisle in place of a bouquet – it’s practical, pretty and makes a lovely gift for your girls.

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Winter is already a dark enough season so why not use metallics and light colours in your decor to reflect what light there is? The wonderful table setting features golden vases and candles which will create a warm cosy feeling for you and your guests. As a cheaper alternative to flowers you could use pinecones and leafy sage foliage in your centrepieces as well as the cute place card holder idea. Or with it being a wintery affair, why not use baubles in blush pink and sage colours, placed in glass bowls/vases? If pinecones aren’t your thing – delicate tissue paper crackers in your colour scheme can double as a place card and favour box.

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I hope you fall for this board and it’s colour palette like I did – the floral imagery is absolutely gorgeous! Keep your requests coming in to Julia and me – I’d love to help you out!

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Remember: the plan is to share a new inspiration board in this time slot every other week, either compiled by myself, regular guest blogger Katy or YOU: get in touch with your own ideas and inspiration boards! We’ll be discussing our inspirations behind the images too so it’s simply going to be a whole load of lovely.

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If you are a little less arty but in need of inspiration and still want to play along, we will also be taking requests for colour schemes and themes and making bespoke boards for my readers. Please contact me to suggest a theme or colour scheme.

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Click here to see previous Wednesday Wedding Inspiration Mood Boards

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited, supplied by What Katy Did Next

This is not a sponsored post

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Posted in Guest Blog, Wedding Inspiration, Winter Wedding | Filed Under | NO COMMENTS yet, click here to start the discussion! »

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