Charlotte Balbier

rustic luxe: a styled country wedding shoot at the black swan, helmsley

July 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (26)

If there’s one thing that makes me go weak at the knees, other than gorgeous weddings, it’s a cute dog.

Having grown up with canine companions a firm part of the family, there aren’t many mutts that don’t evoke a genuine ‘ahh’ from me. So when our fabulous Sponsor, The Black Swan hotel, sent over the results of a recent styled shoot at the venue, which featured a fine Irish Red Setter, it was a ‘yes’ from me.

The ‘groom’ isn’t bad either, is he?!

Located in the idyllic North Yorkshire village of Helmsley, the black swan is the perfect venue for a romantic country-inspired wedding (did you catch the beautiful celebration we shared on the wedding blog this morning?). With this in mind the hotel welcomed photographer Annemarie King and a talented bunch northern wedding suppliers, to use the venue as a stunning backdrop for a rustic luxe styled shoot, complete with dapper tweed, natural blooms and detailed dresses.

The setting of the hotel brings all elements to life for an incredibly well-executed shoot that will make you go ‘ooh’ and well as ‘ahh’ (and not just over that dog). So let’s handover to The Black Swan for those all important details…

With images by Annemarie King.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (14)

the black swan says: The well-loved country charm, welcoming atmosphere and quaint English gardens, overlooking the pretty churchyard next door, made The Black Swan the perfect venue for Annemarie King and her team to co-create a rustic-luxe themed photographic campaign.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (10)

Model James with his red-haired beauties, ‘bride’ Zara and Connor, the Irish Red Setter, are on location at the hotel and also at Helmsley Walled Gardens, which brings the theme to life with a touch of nostalgia. The evocative images are intimate, dream-like, and sometimes fun and light-hearted.

The timeless, informal elegance of the photography mirrors the essence of this historic hotel venue – the smartly-tailored handsome groom James, in his Yorkshire tweeds and smartly polished brogues, along with his bride’s sweet, ethereal beauty and swan-like elegance make for a beautiful pairing, and Connor certainly adds a special appeal to the ‘family shots’.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (11)

The various settings demonstrate the hotel’s oak beamed Tudor Lounge, the oldest part of the venue with its original inglenook, and the cosy stone-walled Crosland Lounge, as well as the pretty English walled gardens, in which The Black Swan’s new Oak Gazebo is located, which is now available for outdoor summer wedding ceremonies and celebrations. Helmsley Walled Gardens also plays a part, giving a super botanical backdrop to the shots.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (19)

A creative team led by York photographer Annemarie King, is responsible for the shoot with all those who offered their talents and goods on the day doing a fantastic job. Two of Annemarie’s passions are showcased within the shoot as she’s an award-winning photographer specialising in both country weddings and canine photography.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (8)

The shoot’s retro-inspired gowns, which include the Alan Hannah’s Tara long lace gown, White Rose’s 50s style R920 gown, Angel B’s peppermint bridesmaid dress Am 242, and the flamboyant Cymbeline Adele design, were kindly loaned by The Bridal Lounge in Northallerton, along with selected accessories.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (7)

Carters Country Wear provided the tweed tailored outfit sported by groom, James. Carters specialise in suits and country wear tailored with cloth from Saville Row and Yorkshire tweed mills, with a particular emphasis on country sportswear. They enjoy an international clientele who value their quality and highly personalised service.

Much of the jewellery was generously loaned by Libby Butler Jewellery, located in Helmsley.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (3)

The striking makeup and hairstyling of our bride Zara, is by award-winning hair and make-up artist Kate Pymm, who based in the North East and works throughout the UK on a wide portfolio of projects, including bridal hair and makeup.

The sweet bouquets and simple floral arrangements with home-grown ‘grandma’s cottage garden blooms’ inspired by the rural-luxe theme, were all created by Liz Wood at Busy Liz’s Floral Design, of Kirbymoorside.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (5)

To complete the stellar line-up, Celebrate Country Cake Design, located in Helmsley’s Walled Gardens, supplied the cake, Fabulously Finished, of Ampleforth, supplied the props and the chair covers were loaned by Chair Covers of Yorkshire, located in Easingwold.

For more information about weddings at The Black Swan, contact 01439 770466 and ask to speak to their Wedding Co-ordinator. Alternatively, visit their website

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kiss from a rose. an intimate wedding at the black swan, helmsley – andrea & steve

July 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (30)

Today’s real wedding takes place at the gorgeous The Black Swan hotel, one of our beautiful Brides Up North Sponsor venues, and so when Andrea talks about it being an amazing venue, we know exactly what she means.

To fit in with their roots and the idyllic setting for their big day, Andrea and Steve chose to have a pretty garden themed wedding, complete with a simple white and green colour scheme.

We love the relaxed drinks reception in the hotel’s pretty gardens and the gorgeous shots of the newlyweds in the surrounding countryside, which ties the whole day together beautifully.

Oh, and if you want to see more of The Black Swan, watch out for a stunning styled shoot at the hotel, coming up on the wedding blog this afternoon.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Georgina Brewster Photography.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (1)

andrea says: Steve popped the question on the evening of 29th November 2014. We had tickets to see Passenger at the O2 Academy that night and had gone for a pre-gig drink in a champagne bar in Leeds called Epernay on Great George Street. An unforgettable evening!

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (2)

We got married on 23rd May 2015. After narrowing down our venues it was a case of what availability they had, we couldn’t believe our luck when the bank holiday weekend was still available so we plumped for that.  As we were having the ceremony and reception under the one roof and it wasn’t our hometown, the bank holiday gave our guests a chance to make a weekend of it with us.

Our wedding venue was The Black Swan in Helmsley, North Yorkshire. It is just amazing! The staff, the area, the food, the accommodation and just the general feeling and atmosphere of the place. We can’t thank the staff enough, they were exceptional and looked after us all so well.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (3)

The theme just evolved. As Steve is from Lancashire and I’m from Yorkshire the roses seemed an obvious choice, although my white rose seemed to prevail over the red of Lancashire! Steve designed our logo that was printed on all the stationary and favours. The Black Swan has a great garden area to the rear and the wedding room is called the Garden Room so I suppose all in all it was a garden theme if any.

In keeping with the theme we had a simple colour scheme of white and green.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (6)

My dress was from Alison Jane Bridal in Mirfield, West Yorkshire.  It was a Grecian style gown by Alexia Designs, with crystal detailing. Steve loves my back, so a backless dress was a design I chose.

Steve wore a Hugo Boss suit and white shirt with a green skinny textured tie from T.M.Lewin and tan leather Jeffrey West shoes.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (13)

We chose Georgina Brewster Photography, based in Skipton, North Yorkshire, to capture our day and we love our photos! We’ve had so many comments from our friends about them too. Georgina really captured every element so well, she is so personable and really went that extra mile by whisking us away at sunset to a location she had spotted on her drive over. We would highly recommend Georgina to any couple tying the knot. Amazing!

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (15)

In terms of flowers on the day we had avalanche roses, freshias and vintage roses, which were all from Busy Liz’s Floral Design in Kirbymoorside.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (20)

Our favours were napkins with our guests’ names embroidered on the corner. We also gave raspberry and Chambord jam by Woody’s Preserves in Yorkshire.

Jo’s Cakes in Honley created our gorgeous three tiered iced cake of vanilla and chocolate sponge.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (31)

For entertainment we hired a pianist called Joseph Barton, to perform. The venue’s recommended musician wasn’t available that day and Joe was mentioned to us. We are so glad we chose him.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (38)

To add to the evening reception, we also hired some giant illuminated ‘love’ letters, which we placed in the garden. They were supplied by Fabulously Finished, near York.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (26)

We would most definitely recommend The Black Swan to other brides and grooms-to-be. They provide such great service and hospitality with a relaxed atmosphere. The food is exceptional too!

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (36)

I can’t pin point one particular aspect of the day as my favourite as I loved all of it! It was so magical from start to finish.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (42)

For our honeymoon we travelled to Iceland, a place we were both keen to explore. We share a great love for the outdoors and when time allows we participate in triathlons to test ourselves. We had a wonderful time.

An Intimate Wedding at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Georgina Brewster Photography (45)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be simply to relax and enjoy every minute. The day really does go by so fast.

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true blue. justin alexander for an eclectic wedding at the crab & lobster – ann-marie & matthew

July 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (31)

Today’s real wedding took place at a quirky hotel and restaurant that has a sort of anything goes feel to it with its mismatched décor and furnishings. Rather than try and impose a set theme on such an individual venue, bride and groom Ann-Marie and Matthew cleverly blended styles they love into the setting for an elegant yet eclectic wedding day.

We love the 1950s influences in the bride and maid of honour’s dresses as well as the groom’s slightly unusual pale blue suit and patterned tie combo. Elsewhere there are pretty shabby chic touches in the décor and a country garden theme running through the flowers and cake designs.

Oh, and Ann-Marie didn’t just go for one ‘something blue’ but instead lots, with a colour palette made up of varying shades of the cool hue.

With images from Michael Cartwright Photography.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (2)

ann-marie says: We got engaged on 20th April 2013 at Drybeck Farm in Cumbria. It was our anniversary weekend and Matthew had booked a weekend to Drybeck Farm as a surprise. Drybeck was our first weekend away together when we first met so Matthew thought it would be romantic to rekindle the early days. Matthew had been working during the day and came back at lunch time to get ready and go. I jokingly asked him “Have you forgotten anything? Like a ring?” to which he replied “Seriously? You do know there isn’t a ring, don’t you?” That was enough to put me off the scent.

I’d made a lamb stew to take with us that we cooked over an open fire and we sat and drank red wine and ate stew and tiger bread under the stars, wrapped in blankets. Matthew finally popped the question down on one knee on the banks of the River Eden. I of course said a massive yes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (3)

We decided on 24th May 2015 as our wedding date and chose The Crab & Lobster near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, as our venue. We knew the hotel and restaurant because of its reputation in fine dining but we had never been to stay before. We went to a wedding open day and suddenly everything fell into place. The gardens are beautiful and the hotel is so wonderfully quirky that we instantly fell in love with it.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (10)

We wanted our wedding to be laid back but still beautiful. One of our major turn offs with all things wedding was the ‘fake grandeur’ that is automatically pushed on brides. We also didn’t like the idea of an outright theme. We preferred just to choose all the things we liked and try to link them together. If we had to try and shoehorn our wedding into any kind of theme I suppose it would be ‘50s shabby chic, English country garden glamour’ (if that can be a theme?).

This eclectic mix of styles matches our personalities and went perfectly with the venue, which is a mismatch of all sorts of memorabilia and oddities.

We chose blue for our colour scheme. We didn’t make any decision on one particular type of blue and decided to have a wonderful mix of shades and hues that all complemented each other. We used white and ivory with a touch of peach to complement the blues. On reason for choosing blue was because of its association with luck at weddings and we thought why stop at one ‘something blue’ when it can all be blue!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (12)

My dress was a 50s style ball gown by Justin Alexander and bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. It had a boat neckline and pleated sash waist with a small detailing of crystals and pearls. The dress was plain ivory silk and had a train. On my feet I wore peacock blue peep toe shoes from Faith, which had a T-bar encrusted in diamantes and peals.

My headpiece was custom made by The Libertarian. It was an ivory silk flower with crystals and pearls in the centre and a short 50s style veil with a sprinkling of diamantes. The crystals on the flower were my ‘something old’ and had been taken from a necklace my Grandmother left to me. My earrings were custom made by Mobeus in Hartlepool which also used the crystals from my Grandmother’s old necklace. Finally, I wore a jersey pearl bracelet that I borrowed from our daughter (she was bought it as a christening present).

On the big day, Nicholas at Hobson and Holmes in Darlington, did my hair while Jo Leversuch of Makeup by Jo, did my makeup.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (8)

Matthew wore a pale blue suit from Psyche in Middlesbrough with a coordinating dark blue tweed waistcoat from Debenhams. His shirt was plain white from M&S and shoes were brown brogues from Just Perfect Menswear at Shotton Colliery. Matthew’s tie and pocket square were from an online retailer called Dancys.

Our maid of honour wore a royal blue 50s style dress by LouLou Bridal and our flower girl wore an ivory satin and tulle ballerina style dress both bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. Their head pieces were both custom made by The Libertarian and featured handmade and custom dyed silk flowers.

The groomsmen all wore a suit of their choice with white M&S shirts and ties from Dancys. Our page boys wore pale blue linen suites from Next with coordinating bow-ties from Dancys.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (24)

Michael of Michael Cartwright Photography took our photographs. Michael is an old school friend of mine so we knew that we would be hiring a photographer that could put us at ease and who knew our personalities and tastes. Michael did a fantastic job of capturing the day without lots of posed or staged photos that will age and go out of fashion. We have ended up with a wonderful pictorial story of our day that will stand the test of time. Michael was a true professional and was so great at taking candid photos. We hardly even knew he was there throughout the day but we still got more than 1,000 pictures to choose from.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (32)

I carried a bouquet of wild and garden flowers in a range of blue and lavender tones including forget-me-nots, scabious, cornflowers, roses, lisianthus. They were tied with a bow with long tendrils of multi-coloured ribbons in different widths and textures. The brief to the florist was that I wanted to look like I had walked through a beautiful meadow and country garden and collected my flowers on the way to the ceremony – they did not disappoint.

The flowers were from Flowerhouse in Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees which until recently was my brother’s business which he and my mum started more than ten years ago. Ever since I was small I have grown up around flowers and flower shops as my mum has been an award winning florist for 50 years. I knew from being a little girl that the most special thing was for my mum to do my wedding flowers and with the help of the staff at Flowerhouse that wish came true and the flowers were spectacular!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (54)

Our table decorations were lots of smaller bunches of flowers using the same flowers as my bouquet. These were in jam jars which I decorated with ribbons and lace. Again the flowers were from Flowerhouse. We also decorated the tables with smaller jars with tea lights in them and set the table settings with sprigs of lavender and corn from Shropshire Petals, who also supplied our confetti.

I made all the decorations for the day including a number of hand painted signs and more than 30 metres of bunting as well as burlap signs and ribbon wands for the little people to carry. Instead of a guestbook I also made a hand painted canvas which everyone could write their messages on which has given us a beautiful momentum of the day.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (47)

As favours, each guest was given a packet of forget-me-not seeds from Not on the High Street. Due to the huge number of flowers at the wedding, each couple also got to take home a jar of fresh flowers at the end of the night.

We chose a three tier cake with a different flavour for each tier – fruit, chocolate and vanilla. A friend of ours (Jenny) made the cakes and a friend of my mum’s iced them for us. It was decorated with fresh flowers from Flowerhouse and a bunting cake topper from Beautiful Greys, a shop on Facebook.

Additionally we had a cheese and pork pie wedding cake from Earls Cheese Wedding Cakes in Stockton, which doubled as our evening buffet. This was topped with bride and groom mice from Cotton Reel Crafts. We served the wedding cake on the evening as dessert.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (49)

To keep guests entertained we had a jazz duo welcoming everyone to the ceremony and then playing in the gardens afterward. They were the Crab and Lobster resident musicians, Muttonchops, and were a fantastic addition to our day. During the ceremony Matthew’s brother, Robbie, and my friend Angela gave a rendition of Songbird by Oasis which was very special to us. On the evening we decided to have a jukebox instead of a DJ. That way the dancefloor was always full because the music was chosen by the guests.

To make the day all the more special we added a few individual touches, including inviting our guests to take part in a competition at The Crab and Lobster’s one-hole golf course to win a bottle of bubbles. It was a fun little addition and everyone had a go at getting their ball closest to the flag.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (70)

We would recommend all of our suppliers, they each provided exactly what we wished for and were full of professionalism. We would also definitely recommend our venue to other couples. It was so fantastic in every way. The staff were wonderfully attentive and understood our vision from the outset and ensured that everything went swimmingly. They were very willing for us to completely take over and decorate everything in sight and change things around as we saw fit. The wedding coordinator, John Lacey, was fantastic and couldn’t do enough for us – from helping me to change my shoes, to standing up ladders hanging bunting, carving up enormous pork pies and helping our daughter up and down the patio steps.

I don’t think we could pick a favourite part of the day as it was all absolutely amazing. That said, our highlights would include; seeing each other for the first time, spending an entire day with all the people we love and dancing the night away to a plethora of retro tunes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (72)

For our honeymoon we had four nights at Peacock Pavilions just outside of Marrakech in Morocco. It was a wonderfully relaxing break full of delicious food and exploration. We were fully spoilt at Peacock Pavilions with private dining in a hand painted Berber tent, a private screening of Casablanca in an outdoor cinema with cocktails and a bridal henna party for me. No stone was unturned at this wonderful quirky little oasis. Pure bliss!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to start early! If you are anything like us and want to do a lot of work yourself or are interested in the finer details you need as much time as possible. We spent two years planning and it was only just enough time. We had an amazing day and all of the extra effort, hard work and sometimes stress was worth it all for the perfect amazing day.continue reading

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a little bit of what we like. a personal wedding with vintage touches at crab manor – gemma & darren

June 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (21)

Having found their perfect wedding venue in Crab Manor, North Yorkshire, today’s couple decided against a set theme and instead added bits and pieces that they liked to the manor’s unusual décor or an individual big day.

Individuality continued throughout the wedding in the bride’s vintage-esque attire, the groom’s tweed getup and the beautiful floral bridesmaid dresses.

There are many elements of this big day that we absolutely love, though one in particular has to be Gemma’s wild bouquet – just stunning!

We think you will all agree, this one is a real beauty!

With images by Brides Up North featured supplier, Helen Russell Photography.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (3)

gemma says: We got engaged on 2nd December 2013. Darren took me for lunch at Browns in Newcastle. After our starters Darren started to fidget in his pocket then he pulled the ring out and proposed, I said yes immediately. I can remember thinking though I wished he had waited until after our meal as I couldn’t eat anything else as I was so excited to get back home and tell everyone!

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (7)

We set the date for 13th February 2015. We decided on that date as the 13th February is the anniversary of when we officially started dating.

Our chosen venue was Crab Manor in Thirsk, we fell in love with how cool and quirky the place was and also the uniqueness of the venue. We always knew a big stately house/hotel wasn’t for us and wanted somewhere everyone would feel comfortable on the big day.

We didn’t wanted to have a theme as such but I have a love for vintage clothing/items so that did play a part in the day, but ultimately we chose to buy whatever we liked. Similarly, we chose not to have a colour scheme as we didn’t want to be limited in what we could buy, we wanted free rein and hoped everything would come together in the end.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (10)

My dress was from Amore Brides in Sunderland. I always knew what kind of dress I didn’t want more than what I did want. I met June the owner and pulled out three dresses to try on, as soon as I put the first dress on I knew it was the one. It was the most beautiful lace backless Maggie Sottero dress and it was just me. I felt 100% comfortable so I bought it there and then. I still look at it now and I’m still in love with it.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (12)

Darren bought his suit from Leaf in Newcastle. He wanted a tweed suit and fell in love with the first one he saw. His tweed tie was bought online from a shop in Scotland to go with his Dolce and Gabbana shirt. His Jeffrey West shoes were a gift from me for his birthday the year before. Unfortunately Darren’s gran passed away before our wedding. With some of the money he was left he bought a gold pocket watch, so in a sense his gran could be with us on our special day.

The best men and my dad wore navy suits from Debenhams with tweed ties also from the same shop as Darren’s. All the guys had matching monster socks from Burton.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (6)

Our bridesmaids wore dresses from ASOS. They were for me the perfect dresses and I really liked them straight away. Isabelle my flower girl (niece) wore a beautiful dress from Monsoon with some glitter pumps from John Lewis.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (19)

Helen Russell was our photographer on the day. Helen has photographed a few friends’ weddings and I totally love her style and how she captures the perfect moments. I’m not a great fan of posed photos and I knew Helen’s images were mostly natural shots and this was ideal for us.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (16)

My flowers were a bit of a gamble as I didn’t really know what I was getting until the morning of the big day. My maid of honour, who flew back from Australia for the wedding, is good friends with Kirsty who co owns Darling and Green, we met up once last summer and I saw some of her work and knew she was the one who I wanted to do my flowers. I was quite laid back about what I wanted and Kirsty totally got my style and I knew she would deliver on the day.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (23)

We had a selection of different shaped and sized glass bottles filled with wild flowers for our table decorations from Darling and Green, along with glass bottles I filled with pearls, which we used for our table numbers. I bought a flowery storage box and some mini ‘Mr & Mrs’ bunting and made a box for our cards. The venue is full of bits and bobs so we didn’t need a lot of decorations.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (29)

Our wedding favours were retro mix ups in personalized brown paper bags, we put in all of our favourite sweets from our childhood. The children got goody bags full with activities such as colouring in books, puzzles, pens and also disposable cameras, which went down a treat.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (34)

We weren’t really fussed on having a wedding cake so we decided on cupcakes made by Lynn, a family friend. They were a huge success and tasted amazing!

We choose a menu that would please everyone; leek and potato soup, beef and vegetables then sticky toffee pudding followed by coffee and the famous Crab Manor chocolate truffles.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (40)

For entertainment, we hired a juke box from Crab Manor. As we only had a small wedding of 30 people we didn’t need anything else. Everyone loved dancing away to their favourite tunes. For decoration we also hired a love heart from Coco Luminaire with our names and date of the big day on.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (42)

If you are after something different to your normal wedding then choose Crab Manor as the venue is without doubt one of the best places we have stayed in. It offers something different and the staff are amazing, especially John, one of the wedding co-ordinators. The venue is cool and quirky and just has an amazing overall feel. We highly recommend!

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (52)

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (43)

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (41)

My favourite part of the day was the ceremony; being with everyone who we love and care for and being able to share our special day with them.

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (64)

For our honeymoon we went to Jamaica. We literally went to chill after a busy few months arranging the wedding. The surprises kept on coming though as on our second week we found out I was expecting our first child, due in October!

A Personal Wedding at Crab Manor (c) Helen Russell Photography (62)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – try to relax and enjoy the experience, as it’s very easy to turn into a bridezilla!

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dream venue: the black swan, helmsley

June 15th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

The Black Swan Helmsley (23)

Today on the wedding blog we’re incredibly excited to introduce you to our dream venue, The Black Swan, located in the picturesque town of Helmsley, North Yorkshire.

If you’re looking for a wedding venue that’s brimming with character, charm and luxury, this boutique hotel has it all. Couples will not only fall in love with The Black Swan’s unique and historic building, but also its incredibly helpful team of staff who ensure every couple’s wedding is perfect, from beginning to end. In fact, the venue won the prestigious accolade of ‘Hotel of the Year’ at Visit York’s Annual Tourism Awards 2015.

Oh and did we mention the food? The Black Swan is renowned for taking the very best Yorkshire ingredients and using them to create exciting and undoubtedly delicious dishes that are guaranteed to wow your guests. It’s also famous for its afternoon tea experiences and so we highly recommend those interested in viewing the hotel for themselves take a trip to Yorkshire, if not for the dainty sandwiches, cute cakes and fabulous scones alone.

In the meantime we’ve quizzed those who know the venue best on what it has to offer to brides and grooms…

The Black Swan Helmsley (4)

Tell us about the location of the Black Swan?

the black swan say: Located in the picturesque market town of Helmsley in North Yorkshire, we are surrounded by the breath-taking landscapes of the county’s famous moors that add to the charming English aura, which forms part of the special experience we provide here. Offering a warming invitation of snug armchairs and big open log fires during colder climes, alongside the romantic charm of the quintessentially English walled gardens that glisten in the sunshine come summer, at The Black Swan we offer beauty and tranquillity all year round.

The Black Swan Helmsley (1)

Can you describe the Black Swan as a venue?

The Black Swan offers the perfect retreat from the rest of the world. Providing boundless hospitality, home from home country comfort, roaring fires, exceptional cuisine and the lure of a traditional Yorkshire tea room.

In terms of weddings, bespoke, elegant and romantic are all words that sum up the perfect big day here at The Black Swan – a truly unique venue. Our name alone unmasks a picture of rare beauty that is characterised in the classic style and historical architecture of our distinctive four star boutique hotel.

How does the Black Swan cater for weddings?

Our beautifully designed rooms and restaurant mirror both style and comfort, creating the perfect environment for a variety of different wedding styles.

The bespoke wedding packages we offer have been specially designed to cater for couples’ specific requirements, whereby the smallest attention to detail never goes unnoticed. With carefully crafted wedding menus showcasing sumptuous plates of food from breakfast through to the evening, and with drinks that have been specially paired to match the flavours of each dish, we invite brides and grooms and their guests to indulge in a truly memorable experience.

We offer two different rooms which can be used for both civil ceremonies/partnerships and for wedding breakfasts. These are the main restaurant and the Garden Room. The main restaurant can accommodate up to 90 guests for a wedding breakfast and up to 90 guests for a civil ceremony, and the Garden Room can accommodate up to 50 guests for a wedding breakfast and 70 guests for a civil ceremony.

Whichever wedding package couples opt for, the Tudor Lounge will also be included for the drinks reception and also for wedding photography throughout the day, plus during the drinks reception wedding parties will also have use of our gardens.

The Black Swan Helmsley (14)

The Black Swan Helmsley (20)

What type of bride would be a Black Swan bride?

Those looking for a county wedding, in relaxed, homely, historic surroundings.

What sets the Black Swan apart from other wedding venues?

Each wedding at The Black Swan is exclusive on that day ensuring that each wedding party has the highest degree of attention and service and are made to feel very special.

Size doesn’t matter to us – from an intimate tea party celebration for 12, to a house party for 90 guests taking over the whole hotel for an ‘exclusive use’, all are equally welcome.

Our friendly, small team of wedding co-ordinators pride themselves on their positivity, listening skills, knowledge and can-do attitude as they carefully tailor each wedding day to individual couples’ delight.

When it comes to wedding photography, there are a fabulous array of backdrops to capture the individual spirit of a wedding day, both in and around the hotel. These include the eclectic and iconic exterior of the hotel located on the picturesque market place, the English country house style walled gardens at the rear of the hotel and the romantic ruins of the Helmsley Castle.

The Black Swan Helmsley (2)

How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?

With our weddings, we ensure that each couple’s needs are considered individually – we spend time talking and listening and advising to ascertain what they are seeking from their special day, so that we can guide them through the planning process and work together to deliver their dream wedding day. We also look for clues as to any individual touches we can add to make their day extra special.

Can guests stay over at your venue? 

Yes, we can offer wedding guests a preferential bed and breakfast rate if they would like to stay at the hotel. Alternatively we can offer recommendations of other accommodation providers in Helmsley for wedding guests.

The Black Swan Helmsley (5)

The Black Swan Helmsley (18)

Tell us about your catering services and what makes them special?

Our wedding menus have been carefully designed to complement varying peoples’ tastes and needs. We understand that choosing the menu can be a difficult decision to make, however from our many years of experience we offer a selection of popular dishes to tickle even the most discerning taste buds!

Our wedding packages offer a selection of menus for the wedding breakfast, canapés, drinks reception, and for the wine to accompany the meal. We also offer a selection of buffet menus if couples choose to have an evening buffet. We do ask that couples choose a set menu for their wedding breakfast, however alternative menus are available for guests with special dietary requirements and for children requiring alternative menus.

The Black Swan Helmsley (16)

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

Our wedding packages are priced from £95 per person. It’s also worthwhile visiting our website as we often have late availability deals for couples looking to get married in the next 12 months.

Do you have any open days coming up that our readers might be interested in?

Our next wedding open days will take place on Sunday 28th June 2015 and Sunday 1st November 2015. We hope to see you there!

To find out more about the Black Swan and its facilities contact 01439 770466 and ask to speak to the Wedding Co-ordinator. Alternatively, visit www.blackswan-helmsley.co.uk

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