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Make Mine A Monica: Why Hiring A Wedding Planner Works

January 16th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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The One With The Whistle

Image credit: fanforum.com

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Less Monica, more Rachel.

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Our gal Rachel, editor of Mosaic Brides and regular guest blogger here at Brides Up North explains why hiring a wedding planner should be at the top of your wedding wish list.  Headsets not included.

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Rachel says:  Think wedding planner and you might just picture a control crazed Monica from Friends when she took on the role for Phoebe’s big day – but fear not, none that I know of bark military style orders at brides and grooms whilst carrying a clipboard everywhere they go. Here I explain the benefits that a professional planner can bring without the use of a megaphone…

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It’s a common misconception that wedding planners are just for the rich and famous. In fact, their affordable rates and varied packages mean they can help couples from all walks of life to make their dream weddings become a reality.

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The duty of a planner is not to take over, but instead to help a couple achieve their wedding day vision whilst saving time and money, thus resulting in an enjoyable and stress-free celebration.

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The One With The Wedding Dresses

Image credit: weheartit.com 

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Professional planners can help with as little or as much of the planning as a couple desires, being involved for either a short period of time or throughout the entire planning process and during the big day itself.

Whilst your chosen venue may have an on-site co-ordinator thrown in as part of the package, their duties rarely go beyond assisting with the menu, décor, floor plan and perhaps providing a list of recommended suppliers.

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Meanwhile independent planners offer different packages to suit individual couples’ needs. For example an initial consultation is ideal for couples who want to be very hands on with the planning but perhaps are just a little overwhelmed. An early meeting with a planner will help them establish a budget and give them an idea of what will need to be done and when. Partial planning gives brides and grooms the option to cherry pick a number of services they require as such venue searches, creative styling or on the day co-ordination. A full planning service is usually a popular choice with couples who have little time to spare and would therefore prefer to let someone else to do the leg work for them.

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The One With The Headset

Image source: fanpop.com

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Before hiring a wedding planner it’s a good idea to meet with them so you can enquire about their experience and see how you get along. It’s important you feel at ease and trust them as your planner will need to get to know you and your wishes for the wedding so they achieve, or even surpass, your expectations.

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So how can a wedding planner help?

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Time Is Money

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Planners can do the groundwork of researching venues and suppliers which will save you endless hours. They can then set up meetings and appointments for you to attend to go over suggestions, present creative ideas, meet with suppliers and sample food/drink menus.

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Money Is Money

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Due to their contacts in the industry many planners can often score discounts with suppliers who they bring repeat business to. They also have knowledge of what things should cost so can shop around for best price and haggle on your behalf.

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Ask An Expert

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Planners can offer advice on subjects you might not have even thought about such as wedding laws, etiquette and insurance. Furthermore they have first hand experience with trusted suppliers/venues and therefore know those best suited to your requirements.

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Budgeting For Beginners

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Initially many couples don’t realise how the cost of a wedding can mount up or where hidden costs can occur. A planner’s knowledge means they can help you set a realistic budget and stick to it by keeping track of costs so there are no nasty surprises.

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Under Pressure

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Planners can handle the difficult/boring parts in the run up to the wedding leaving you more time to indulge in the fun stuff like dress shopping. On the day itself co-ordination and styling set-up services offered by planners will ensure all runs smoothly and looks perfect meaning no added pressure on the bride and groom or any of their guests.

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The One With The Panic Attack

Image credit: Comedy Central

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Gloves Off

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As an independent third party who has a wealth of experience in weddings, a planner can help settle disputes between the bride and groom and or family/friends by offering impartial, expert advice to reach the best solution.

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Creative Concepts

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For those who are struggling for inspiration, or who have an idea but aren’t sure how to make it a reality, planners can suggest and source everything from décor and chair covers to table linen and stationery and ensure it all corresponds.

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Brides Abroad

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A planner is particularly useful for those getting married overseas especially if the couple aren’t familiar with their chosen destination. There are planners who specialise in certain destinations and therefore are totally clued up on the country’s wedding laws and venue options and also boast a list of trusted suppliers.

In short professional planners are the answer to a wedding fairy godmother offering priceless expert knowledge, professionalism, creativeness, guidance, stress relief and perhaps even friendship.

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Check out the Brides Up North wedding planners’ page in our directory to find help in your area.

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  – Images © 2013 as credited

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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

Up For Discussion: The Kids Are Alright! Yes Or No – Children At A Wedding?

February 23rd, 2012 | Julia Braime

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www.danielkrieger.com

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When planning my own wedding, it was a no brainer.  The day would be strictly adults only (with the exception of my very gorgeous 12 going on 25 little friend Lili).  Most of my friends at this stage were still pre-kids, and the ones who had little people were canvassed for their opinion and it was unanimous:  they very much fancied a day off. 

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The style of the wedding also lent itself to a child free day – a black tie style do with fine glassware, oysters and a vodka luge.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no Cruella De Ville! I love children, and I do love the atmosphere that they can bring to a wedding, but for our wedding it was a no go. 

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The decision can be a difficult one, but make it early (childcare negotiations can seemingly take decades), explain your reasoning to your nearest and dearest and stick to your guns.  Remember that this decision doesn’t make you Cruella De Ville either. 

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If you do decide to invite the brood, my guest blogger Alison has some top tips as a bride who got very familiar with the children’s menu on her own big day. 

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Over to Alison: It’s a very thorny issue – do you allow children at your wedding or not?

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.www.wildflowersphotos.com

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There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s your wedding so you do what you want.

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In our case, we were a bit older when we got married and most of our friends already had children. A childfree wedding would have made it really difficult for many of our friends to share our big day – and as our priority was to have as many of them with us as possible, we took the bull by the horns and made our wedding as child friendly as possible.

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We ended up with over 50 children on the day!

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www.FourT4.com.. .www.FourT4.com

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www.FourT4.com

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Logically, I thought if the children are happy then the parents will be happy – which will make me happy. So this is how we did it:

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We chose the most child friendly venue we could think of – Chester Zoo. It was safe and enclosed with lots to do. There was plenty of space for them to run around and an adventure playground right next to the Manor House where we got married. Then once the zoo had closed to the public our guests were treated to a private safari with one of the keepers which the kids loved.

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We had a Wedding Bus which the kids absolutely revelled in.

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There was a designated children’s room and I hired two child minders. Giving the children their own space was a stroke of genius. There were activities in one room – I photocopied lots of animal related colouring-in sheets, quiz sheets and animal masks which all got used. And there was a quiet room where the littlies in particular could crash out. I asked parents to bring blankets and cushions and we had an ample supply of DVD’s and toys.

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The child minders were probably the best £175 I spent. The two of them were on the go, face painting and entertaining the children from 1pm until 10pm when we physically had to send them home. I provided sticky name labels for the children and their bags and a list of children’s names, who their parents were and their mobile numbers, and in return they face painted as though their lives depended on it.

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I gave instructions in advance about meal times. The last thing you want at your wedding are 50 whinging children, so I sent all parents an e-mail the week before the wedding advising them to feed their children beforehand – what time the meals were, what they would be eating and to bring any snacks they might need.

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Other than the bridesmaids, we didn’t have children in the room with us when we actually got married. There just wasn’t the space. While we didn’t have any screaming babies, one of our bridesmaids did announce very loudly, 30 seconds into the ceremony “(yawn) This is taking ages!” which gave the whole room a good giggle.

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We ordered picnic boxes for the children instead of an adult BBQ, and we saved a fortune by giving them packets of animal biscuits instead of a full cream tea which the grown-ups enjoyed. It was all very informal, there was no seating plan and the children were able to sit with whoever they’d made friends with.

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Finally, instead of traditional favours we had a candy bar full or retro sweets which the kids loved and gave them a big enough sugar high to see them through the rest of the evening – bopping merrily to Nirvana and the Fun Loving Criminals alongside their happy parents.

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As I said at the start, there is no right or wrong answer to the question – but for us I wouldn’t have had it any differently. One of my enduring memories of our wedding is all the children, many of whom had never met before, playing together and having a thoroughly brilliant time.

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Naked At A Wedding

Honeymoons – Just The Two Of Us!

Santa Baby- A Bride’s Letter To St Nick

Christmas Weddings In Soap Land – Some Very Un-Real Weddings!

Up For Discussion- Money Can’t Buy You Love – Bringing It In On Budget

Up For Discussion- Don’t Tell The Groom! Man Management

Up For Discussion- How To Do “I Do”- Writing Your Own Vows

Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2012: 1: www.danielkrieger.com, 2: www.wildflowersphotos.com, 3-6:  FourT4 Photography 

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Posted in Children, Guest Blog, Up For Discussion | Filed Under | NO COMMENTS yet, click here to start the discussion! »

Up For Discussion: Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

November 11th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Poppy Day.

Well, whaddya know?  Its only Friday!  Yippee!  What have you got planned for the weekend?  Two days of intensive wedding planning, some time out, a hen party celebration (speaking of which, have you read my top tips for planning a hen do or entered this little giveaway yet?), or maybe, just maybe, its time to say I do?!  Whatever you are up to, I hope you have a good one.

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Before we get there though, It’s 11.11.11 today – so please do remember to wear your poppy with pride. 

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Today, our guest blogger and newlywed Alison is back on the wedding blog with another reflection on getting hitched.  You all loved her novel way of choosing a marital name last Friday, so I thought I would put my feet up, dunk another ginger snap in my brew, and let her take the floor…

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Over to Alison: When I was planning my wedding at Chester Zoo, like all brides, I aspired for perfection. I was convinced that I could organise the best wedding people had ever been to.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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I remember reading an article in one of my wedding magazines about the perfect wedding morning. In my quest for the perfect day, I gobbled up all the advice and aspired to achieve a similar level of Zen. 

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Apparently, the magazine told me, I should be aiming for a good night’s sleep, awaking from my princess slumber refreshed, excited and ready to float through my perfect day.

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The reality was rather different.  While hubby-to-be stayed in Chester the night before our wedding, I was at home in South Manchester with my dad and sister. With only one spare room, my sister slept on an inflatable mattress at the end of my bed – which farted loudly every time she turned over – which was a lot. I think I got 20 minutes sleep and when the alarm went at 7am I shot out of bed and promptly tripped over my own eye bags. It wasn’t the image of impossible glamour I was aspiring towards.

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The article then advised me to have a breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – light enough for the guests not to be able to see what I’d had for breakfast, but substantial enough to see me through until my second (wedding) breakfast.

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I didn’t quite manage that either. The lack of sleep coupled with an overdose of adrenaline meant that I managed to shove a third of a bowl of ‘oats’ down my bridal neck before feeling sick and giving up.

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My perfect wedding morning was also to include a relaxing bubble bath, favourite calming tunes on my ipod and half an hour of quiet meditation.

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In theory – what a nice idea. In practice – you’ve got to be joking!  I was surviving on adrenaline and a third of a bowl of oats. If I relaxed I’d be asleep! I opted for an alternative strategy and drank red bull and coffee.

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After loading the car I spent the next hour barking at my dad to sit down, be quiet and refer to his wedding spread sheet – it didn’t bring out the ‘good daughter’ in me. I then drove like a lunatic along the M56 wishing traffic be gone and praying that the car wouldn’t break down.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Alison Staples

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When we arrived at the hotel in Chester where we were getting ready, we were still statistically within the margin of error on the wedding timetable. I’d bought croissants and champagne so I allowed myself a brief moment of relaxation and un-corked my first smile of the day.

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Unfortunately the ‘fizz’ was fleeting. With five bridesmaids and myself waiting for our transformation, it came to light that the salon only had one pair of hair straighteners. By the time my hair was finished we were nearly an hour behind schedule. My make-up artist was pacing and despite having an extensive pre-wedding make-up consultation to find the perfect wedding look, by this point I was willing her to just slap it on and finish. Red danger lights were flashing and I was about to turn into a whistling kettle.

My sister reminded me to breathe!

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We hired a wedding bus to collect guests from various points in Chester and transport them to the zoo. I was still having my face fixed when it arrived – and luckily I had a bit more time before my car turned up. Thirty minutes later I was sprinting through the hotel in my Jenny Packham wedding dress, heels and bouquet, with my poor dad trailing in my wake, trying to make up time.

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It was only when I was actually sitting in my wedding car (and back on schedule) that I started to relax into the day. Little did I know that our wedding bus had got stuck in the hotel car park and was only two minutes up the road ahead of us!

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No matter how much you brief people, no one knows the big picture of your wedding like you and although the day ran like clockwork from then on, every so often I had to prod proceedings to keep them on track:

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“We should be having the group shots now.”

“They should be serving afternoon tea.”

“Can you round people up for the speeches.”

“Time to cut the cake.”

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And so forth. Luckily I had my ‘Best Woman Gill’ who would go and make things happen and ensure that while my little duck feet were paddling away like Michael Flattery, to my guests I was gliding like a beautifully elegant swan.

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I guess what I’m saying is, plan your perfect day, plan your perfect wedding morning. If you manage to achieve the required level of Zen then I take my tiara off to you. But if it doesn’t quite run to plan, take a deep breath, try not to panic, embrace the story it will give you and if you don’t get to the church quite on time – it isn’t the end of the world.

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FourT4 Photography

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So, Brides Up North – what are your plans for wedding morning zen?  Do you think you can achieve it?  And if you have been there and done that – what was your secret?  Tell us!  It’s officially up for discussion. 

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To read Alison’s post from last Friday and to find out a little bit more about her, click here

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Alison writes her own lifestyle blog over at – http://alison-staples.blogspot.com – check it out!

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HEARTIt’s also Alison’s six month wedding anniversary today!  See her real wedding here. Congrats! HEART

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  – Images © 2011 Alison Staples and FourT4 Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Posted in Guest Blog, Up For Discussion, Wedding Blogger | Filed Under | 9 COMMENTS so far, click here to join the discussion! »

Up For Discussion: The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

November 4th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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This morning on the bridal blog, we have a visitor!

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I recently featured Alison’s wedding story and super fun Chester Zoo wedding on Brides Up North and we started chatting by email.  Alison writes her own blog over at www.alison-staples.blogspot.com and I have been heartened by her upbeat and optimistic approach to life in the face of some pretty steep recent hurdles.  Her writing also made me giggle, which is always good. 

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I have invited Alison to contribute a series of guest posts here on the wedding blog about her life as a newly wed, so she’ll be here for the next few Friday mornings, sharing her wisdom in her own unique way.  First up, she tackles a difficult issue – To take his name or not to take his name?  That is the question.  Enjoy! 

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.Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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But first, meet Alison…

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I’m Alison Staples and this summer my trusty bloke and I finally ‘tied the knot’.

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For many reasons, never thought I’d see the day:

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I’ve always been clueless with men and managed to go through all of the ‘90’s and most of the   noughties without a boyfriend.

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When I finally did find someone who wanted to go on a second date, I promptly left him behind and went on a round the world jolly for 6 months without any guarantee that he would be waiting for me

…….when I got back. Thankfully he was.

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I dropped so many hints and created so many ‘perfect proposal’ opportunities, it made him all the more determined to do things in his own way and in his own time.

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When he finally chose his moment I managed to cock it up by getting cancer. We had to cancel our holiday to New England, where he’d planned to propose, at a day’s notice.

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Once engaged (on ‘The Lovers Island’ on a trip to Anglesey), I refused to set the date until I knew I was on the mend and would have a decent thatch of hair.

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I wanted our wedding to be an amazing celebration and for it to be an opportunity to say thank you to all our family and friends who had stuck with us and helped us through our ‘difficult time’. We chose Chester Zoo – and it was amazing. I was both cancer free and had a full head of hair. You can read about it in our real wedding feature.

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As a professional charity fundraiser, I’ve organised a few events over the years, however I found getting married a completely different kettle of fish. It was mammoth and a bit overwhelming at times. Ultimately though, I did manage to navigate my way through wedding maze and popped out the other end with a near perfect (and on budget) day.

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As a new bride, Julia has asked me to share some of my newlywed know how with you, her readers, as one of her ‘guest bloggers’. I’m someone who has been there, done that and got the tiara!

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I’m sitting on the fence and it’s not very comfortable.

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Everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do about my name now that I’m married.  But while I feel really honoured to become a member of the Pocock family, Alison Staples is who I am. I’ve spent 42 years building ‘my brand’ and I feel very deeply rooted in my family history.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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With everything that’s happened over the last couple of years (I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2009), there is a lot to be said for drawing a line under Alison Staples and making a new start now that I’m well. It’s an opportunity to re-invent myself. But I’m also very aware that my sister and I are the last in our current line of Staples. It’s a line that I’ve traced back to the 1650’s.

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I know at the end of the day, I’m still the same person whatever my name, but I spent 18 months fighting hard to make sure that Alison Staples didn’t disappear. She’s a precious person – a big part of me needs to hang onto her.

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Since I got married in June, it has felt at times like my identity has disappeared. Our joint letters are now addressed to Dr & Mrs T Pocock. Where am I?

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I suppose I could hyphenate. Alison Staples-Pocock? Alison Pocock-Staples? No, I don’t think so.

Another option would be to ‘mesh’ our names. Apparently it’s very trendy at the moment. Alison Stacock? Alison Poples? That doesn’t work either.

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Finally, in an attempt to tackle the issue from a different angle, one evening after a particularly competitive game of rude word scrabble – we played ‘the name game’.  With our scrabble tiles, we put the letters P O C O C K S T A P L E S into the bag and pulled out just 6 tiles with a view to seeing what we could make from our combined letters.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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The first one out of the bag was SPACKO!

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Not a very good start, Try again: POCKAS, COPASK, SPACOK, COPOSE

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All rubbish, so we kept trying and eventually they started to improve: PACKET, POCKET, CASTLE, CLASPE, SLACKS, SCOOPE

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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Then we got a bit silly and started to organise them into categories:

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TV series name – SPOOKS

Mollusc name – COCKLE

Tour de France names – SPOKES

Rapper name – T-CLOCK

Clairvoyant name – STOKES

Star Trek name – SPOCKS

Prison names – SLOPPS & SLAPPS

Cash n Carry name – COSTCO

Greek name – KOSTAS

French names – PASTEL, POSTAL, LE-SACK & LE-COCK

Spanish name – EL-COCK

German name – SPLATS

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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However, I think my absolute favourite has to POLPOT. We’ve never had a Cambodian dictator in the family.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: The Name Game

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It was a fun game to play on a warm summers evening fuelled by a bit too much wine, however I’m still confused about what to do and who to be. In the mean time, I guess I’ll carry on being a bit schizophrenic and answer to everything until I get fed up of procrastinating and finally have to jump off the fence. Fingers crossed for a soft landing.

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So, what do you lot think?  Do you plan on taking your new husband’s name?  Are you looking forward to being Mrs His-Last-Name or are you still on the fence?  Leave a comment and me know.  Its officially up for discussion!

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Would YOU like to guest blog for Brides Up North?  Email me at julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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  – Images © 2011 Alison Staples (for now!)

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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