Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

diary date: the black swan wedding open day

October 17th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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If you’re currently on the hunt for a wedding venue that offers a beautiful rustic setting, stunning reception rooms, first class service and to-die-for food, then we might just be able to help. For our wonderful Sponsor, The Black Swan hotel is inviting brides and grooms-to-be to see its fabulous wedding offering for themselves during a special open day between 12 noon and 4pm on Sunday 6th November.

Located in the idyllic North Yorkshire market town of Helmsley, The Black Swan is renowned for being among the North’s finest weddings venues and has twice been voted ‘Best Venue in the North East’  in the prestigious Wedding Industry Awards.

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During the open day event, couples will be able to see two of the cosy boutique hotel’s unique reception rooms, ‘The Garden Room’ and ‘The Gallery’, each with their own character, individually styled for a wedding reception for up to 50 and 90 guests. It will also provide the perfect opportunity for brides and grooms meet the venue’s preferred suppliers and the friendly in-house team, including wedding coordinator, Nicola Bolden, who can help bring their big day dreams to life.

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The Black Swan houses four welcoming reception rooms in total: ‘The Crosland Room’, ideal for small, wedding sophisticated parties; the hotel’s restaurant ‘The Gallery’, the largest reception room; the cosy and intimate ‘Tudor Lounge’, and the lovely ‘Garden Room’, with its access onto the hotel’s stunning English walled gardens.

Meanwhile for those who wish to marry outdoors, there’s the hotel’s locally hand-crafted oak gazebo, which is licensed for al fresco ceremonies and makes the perfect setting for an English country garden wedding.

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To help couples save time and money when planning their big day, The Black Swan offers an all-inclusive wedding package. Available on select dates during 2017, up to 50 guests can enjoy food and drink, accommodation and many other extras for just £5,600. There’s also a generous 20% discount* off the hotel’s standard wedding package in January, February and March 2017, making the charming venue an even better proposal!

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Preferred suppliers supporting the open day include Emma Dodsworth Photography, Brides of York and the Bridal Lounge Northallerton, Libby Butler Jewellers, Busy Liz’s Floral Design, Kate Pymm Hair and Makeup, Fabulously Finished Events, Celebrate Country Cake Design, Yorkshire Chauffeur Company, and live entertainment, courtesy of magician Mark Waddington, with live music by pianist, David Robertshaw, and vocalist/guitarist, Val Hill.

The event will also include opportunities for canapés and wine sampling from the hotel’s wedding packages. Entry is complimentary and so is car parking at the hotel.

Images by Annemarie King Photography/ supplied by The Black Swan.

*Terms and conditions apply (see website for full details)

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antique elegance. alfred angelo for a relaxed & rustic wedding at the black swan – natalie & bob

May 17th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Rustic Wedding at The Black Swan (c) Glix Photography (37)

This morning on the blog we’re taking a little trip to the pretty village of Helmsley in North Yorkshire, as we relive the wedding day of Natalie and Bob.

After a surprise proposal 12 years into their relationship, Natalie was in no mood to wait around and got straight to work planning the big day, starting with the venue. Having come across the stunning Black Swan hotel in Helmsley by chance, Natalie fell head over heels in love with its rustic charm and the other elements of the day soon fell into place for a relaxed and personal wedding, complete with shabby chic décor to complement the rural surroundings.

With images by Glix Photography.

A Rustic Wedding at The Black Swan (c) Glix Photography (4)

natalie says: Bob and I got engaged on the 12th September 2015 in the Lake District on a family holiday. It wasn’t the most romantic proposal but Bob doesn’t do romance. I put on his jacket because I was cold and pulled the box out of the pocket. I was in total shock because after 12 years it’s always been a standing joke that this day would never happen. He looked at me smiling and said “So are you going to then?” We still laugh at it now.

We got married on the 26th March 2016. We didn’t have a date in mind but this was a date that the venue and registrar were available. We knew we didn’t want a long engagement and if we didn’t just do quickly it would never happen. It also fell on the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, which was a plus.

A Rustic Wedding at The Black Swan (c) Glix Photography (38)

We got married at the Black Swan in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, and it was just perfect. We looked at a few venues but as soon as I walked in by chance, I just knew this was the right venue for us. By chance Nicola Boden, the wedding coordinator, was free and talked me through what the venue could offer and all the packages. I booked the venue there and then without Bob and we later went together to have another look.

I never really had a theme or colour scheme in mind for the wedding, I was very open minded. The decisions were made after I fell in love with the antique purple bridesmaid dresses, which suited them perfectly. So from there it turned into a vintage shabby chic theme.

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diary date: the black swan wedding open day

October 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry

The Black Swan Helmsley (26)

Today we have a little something for our readers who have recently put a ring on it and are now searching for the perfect venue in which to say their ‘I dos’. While it can be fairly straight forward to draw up a short list of potential contenders via an online search, a visit to the venues is when couples truly know if they’ve found ‘the one’.

Keen for couples to fall head over heel for its unique character and stunning setting, Brides Up North Sponsor and top Yorkshire wedding venue, the black swan in Helmsley, is welcoming couples through its doors on Sunday 1st November 2016 for a special Wedding Open Day.

The Black Swan Helmsley (7)

Renowned for being one of the North’s finest weddings venues and voted ‘Best Venue in the North East’ for two years in the Wedding Industry Awards, the cosy boutique hotel will showcase its country charm for brides and grooms-to-be at the afternoon event, which will be held between 12 noon and 4pm.

In addition to being able to see two of the hotel’s unique reception rooms, The Garden Room and The Gallery individually styled for a wedding reception, the event is also a fabulous opportunity for couples to bring their dream wedding day ideas to life and to meet the venue’s preferred suppliers and the friendly in-house team, including wedding coordinator, Nicola Bolden.

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The Black Swan boasts four beautiful reception rooms in total: The Crosland Room, ideal for small, sophisticated parties; the hotel’s restaurant The Gallery, the largest of the spaces; the cosy and intimate Tudor Lounge, and the lovely Garden Room, with access onto the hotel’s English walled gardens and the locally hand-crafted oak gazebo, which is licensed for al fresco ceremonies and perfect for making the most of an English summer wedding.

The Black Swan Helmsley (14)

Furthermore couples looking to save time and money when planning their big day could take advantage of The Black Swan’s all-inclusive wedding package. Available on select dates during 2016, the package includes use of the superb venue, food and drink, the cake, photographer, overnight accommodation, plus many other extras, including a special first wedding anniversary celebration, with a trip back to The Black Swan.

The all-inclusive wedding package is priced at £5,300, based on 50 guests, or £7,900, based on 80 guests. There’s also the chance for couples to secure a generous 20% discount off the hotel’s standard wedding package in January, February and March 2016, making the venue a very appealing proposal indeed!

The Black Swan Helmsley (21)

Preferred wedding suppliers supporting the Wedding Open Day will include Emma Dodsworth and Annemarie King Photography, Brides of York and The Bridal Lounge Northallerton, Libby Butler Jewellers, Busy Liz’s Floral Design, Kate Pymm Hair and Make-up, Fabulously Finished Events Decor and Hire, Noble Fine Arts, Celebrate Country Cake Design, Yorkshire Chauffeur Company, and live entertainment, courtesy of Val Boyers and pianist, David Robertshaw. The event will also include opportunities for canapés and wine sampling. Entry is complimentary and so is car parking at the hotel.

Images by Annemarie King Photography/ supplied by The Black Swan.

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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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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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