Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

dream venue: sefton park palm house, liverpool

December 12th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Sefton Park Palm House (3)

We’re all feeling the cold this week as temperatures plummeted from nippy to flippin’ freezing levels following the weekend’s snowfall. In a bid to warm things back up, we’re brining you details of a truly unique wedding venue in the north west that has tropical vibes all year round!

Introducing Sefton Park Palm House, a breath-takingly beautiful Victorian glass house that’s home to the Liverpool Botanical Collection and that provides a spectacular celebration space like no other!

Surrounded by award-winning parkland, iconic monuments and unusual plants, the stunning building can host weddings of up to 400 standing guests and 220 seated guests within its incredible glazed structure.

Not only can couples marrying here be sure of a quirky and individual setting, but following a partnership with hospitality specialists Dine, brides and grooms saying, “I do” to Sefton will also receive exquisite catering and faultless event management as standard.

Planning more than 200 weddings each year, the Dine team are well qualified to make big day dreams at Sefton Park come true, and are here today to tell us what makes this rare venue such a winning choice for a couple’s special day…

Where is Sefton Park Palm House located?

dine say: Sefton Park Palm House is located in the magnificent 235-acre historic Sefton Park, in south Liverpool. The Grade I park is a Green Flag and Green Heritage awarded site with beautiful features and monuments. The park’s bandstand, popular since the Victorian era, is said to be the inspiration for The Beatles’ song Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Can you tell us a little about the history of the venue?

Sefton Park Palm House was designed and built by MacKenzie and Moncur of Edinburgh. Henry Yates Thompson, a Liverpool millionaire, gifted £10,000 to the city to fund the construction. The Palm House was opened in 1896.

During the Liverpool Blitz of May 1941, a bomb fell nearby and shattered the glass. It was reglazed in 1950 at a cost of £6,163. However, after a period of decline it was closed in the 1980s due to safety concerns.

In 1992 a public fundraising campaign raised more than £35,000, which led directly to the repair and reopening of the Palm House in 1993. It was fully restored at a cost of £3.5 million with Heritage Lottery and European funding and fully reopened in September 2001.

Sefton Park Palm House (1)

How would you describe the look and feel of the venue?

Sefton Park Palm House is an octagonal, Grade II listed, three-tier dome conservatory designed in the tradition of Joseph Paxton’s glass houses. The conservatory currently houses one of the oldest horticultural collections in Britain, originally containing more than 4,000 different plants.

The eight corners of the Palm House are marked by statues by the French sculptor Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud. These statues include explorers Captain Cook, Christopher Columbus, navigators Gerardus Mercator and Henry the Navigator, botanists and explorers Charles Darwin, Carl Linnaeus and John Parkinson and landscape architect Andre le Notre.

The Palm House is a luxurious, historically significant venue that makes any event feel special and unique. The combination of the glass and the horticultural collection means that even on a day where the weather isn’t quite perfect, you’ll feel as though you’re in a tropical oasis.

It’s also worth remembering that booking your wedding at the Palm House will contribute towards its preservation for future generations.

Can you tell us about the ceremony and reception areas and how many guests the venue can cater for? 

Sefton Park Palm House is licensed for civil ceremonies, civil partnerships and renewal of vows. The Palm House can host a maximum of 400 guests when standing, while 220 guests can be seated for dinner.

The Palm House is a Victorian glass house and is one large building so both the ceremony and reception take place in the same beautiful space.

What makes Sefton Park Palm House a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?

The beautiful setting in the 235-acre Sefton Park, combined with the octagonal, tiered conservatory and the significant collection of plants makes this venue truly unique. It is unlike any grand country house or modern venue, and once inside you and your guests will feel as though you are in a world of your own.

The historic significance of Sefton Park Palm House and the chance to preserve it for future generations when used for events makes this a venue one on its own.

Sefton Park Palm House (2)

What sort of bride would be a Sefton Park bride?

Sefton Park Palm House offers a beautiful setting for year-round weddings and often appeals to brides looking for something different and completely unique. The venue is, of course, happy to welcome couples from all over the UK looking for that extra special venue with the ‘wow’ factor.

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

Our experienced events team will expertly guide you through the planning process to turn your vision into reality. They can advise what will work within the venue and make creative suggestions.

We draw on our expertise of planning more than 200 weddings each year, and combined with the extensive experience of the Sefton Park Palm House events team, we are well qualified to make the planning process as easy as possible and your big day beyond imagination.

Can you tell us about the accommodation at the venue or is there accommodation nearby the venue that you could recommend?

Both The Sefton Park Hotel and the Hallmark are located within Sefton Park so you can enjoy a short walk through beautiful parkland to your wedding venue.

Sefton Park Palm House is also a ten-minute drive from Liverpool city centre, which boasts a fabulous selection of hotels on the waterfront and in the town. Such a convenient location means you and your guests will be spoilt for choice.

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berry gorgeous: a rich & opulent styled shoot at soughton hall

December 12th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (36)

We’re getting your Tuesday off to fine start with this styled shoot which features ones of the dreamiest colour palettes for the time of year. Rich berry and golden tones turn up the heat at the opulent Soughton Hall, a Georgian country house in North Wales that once was a bishop’s palace.

Award-winning make-up artist Cathryn Kerwin-Rawlinson engineered the shoot, having witnessed a dramatic change in the interior style of the venue since it changed ownership in the last couple of years. Here she shares her story behind the shoot and introduces us to the talented suppliers who assisted her in achieving her vision…

With images by Teresa C Photography.

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (17)

cathryn says: I regularly work and exhibit at Soughton Hall, which is close to Chester in the North Wales countryside. I love the details outside the property and the décor inside and wanted to create a rich and romantic look to complement the high-end venue.

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (18)

As a wedding venue, it is my personal favourite and I thought it was a great place to do an autumn/winter styled shoot, so I spoke to friends and contacts in the industry to see if they were interested in a collaboration. Everyone I asked was interested in the shoot and venue and wanted to take part. The theme we chose was romantic styling with rich berry and autumnal tones.

The interior décor of the main room at Soughton is navy blue and gold, so we wanted to pick up on the colours of the room but use rich colours to complement. We opted for a colour scheme of gold, navy, deep reds and burgundy. A Pinterest board was created and everyone knew that the look and feel for the shoot was opulence and richness.

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (12)

For the table decorations, Vikki Sweeney from Sapphire Bespoke Events went for very rich golds and jewel colours, while the flowers by Carol Anne’s were a mix of deep reds, again taking inspiration from the Pinterest board we all created before the shoot. Lindsey Devlin of Devlin Designs created invitations and table cards, again picking up on the chosen colour scheme.

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (3)

In the summer, I did a wedding for a bride who wore an Essense of Australia gown from Bellissima Brides and I rated it my top dress for 2017. And so, when Carol Ellis-Thompson, our hair stylist, contacted Bellissima to see if they would like to take part, we asked them to bring some of their Essence gowns along. Our model, Gaby, suited these gowns perfectly and they fitted her like a glove!

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river deep, mountain high. anna sul y for a chic garden wedding at eleven didsbury park- jess & craig

December 11th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (20)

Today’s love-struck couple, Jess and Craig got engaged 4,000 metres up the Rocky Mountains, but wanted to come back down to earth with an elegant garden themed wedding. And it was the stunning Eleven Didsbury Park – a luxury villa hotel close to Manchester – that ended up being their venue of choice, providing the enviable backdrop to their celebrations.

Keeping things understated and natural, the newlyweds went for a subtle sage colour scheme complemented by some rather gorgeous florals, including amnesia roses, blue thistle, white veronica and eucalyptus gunnii, not to mention plenty of wood, hessian and candles for decoration.

Though sticking to a strict budget, our savvy couple pulled together lots of special touches and treats, including an indulgent cake table (yes, that’s a whole table of cakes!), and we for one are bowled over by their special day.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Nik Bryant Photography

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (4)

jess says: Craig proposed at the very top of the Rocky Mountains, at 4,000m on Peak Eight of Breckenridge ski resort in March 2016. He pretended he wanted to take a photo of us and set up the GoPro, but in fact was filming. He got the whole proposal on film! It was a stunning sunny day, very windy and freezing cold, with the most incredible view. After proposing, Craig produced two small bottles of champagne and glasses, which he’d hidden in his backpack. He almost got frostbite in his fingers as a result of taking his gloves off to give me the ring and pour the champagne!

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (1)

We got married on 30th July 2017. We wanted the wedding to be in the summer so that we could have a garden wedding or garden reception. We also chose a date that would mean that all of our close family and friends could be there.

We initially went to the open day at Didsbury House Hotel, and at the end of our visit they asked if we wanted to also see their sister venue Eleven Didsbury Park. We wandered down the road and when we saw the gardens, we completely fell in love with the idea of a garden wedding there.

We had planned to get married in the walled gardens of Eleven Didsbury Park Hotel, however in the end there’d been so much rain the week before that the ground was too soft. Instead we got married in the Blue Room of Didsbury House Hotel, which was pretty perfect and a beautiful back-up plan. We then had the reception back at Eleven Didsbury Park in the gardens there.

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (25)

Neither of us are religious however I had a Jewish upbringing. We chose a Humanist ceremony as it allowed us to create a personal ceremony bespoke to us.

Our absolute best decision was using Hannah Wroe Gill as our Humanist Celebrant. It was the one thing we went well over budget on, but she created the most personal ceremony bespoke to us and which had all our guests in tears and talking about the ceremony afterwards.

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (47)

We decided against having a strong theme. We felt that the venue itself had such great character and the gardens were beautiful in themselves. We planned a relaxed and understated garden wedding with personal touches and a natural feel.

We wanted the bridesmaids to look fantastic and feel comfortable in their dresses so we picked them out first before deciding on a colour scheme. With two brunettes and one redhead, sage green dresses from Little Mistress suited them best, so we went with that.

The guys then picked out the ties and pocket squares to match – they even took one of the dresses shopping with them to make sure they got it right – what absolute stars!

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beyond words: greenery & white for a stylish wedding at the highfield house – jemma & paul

December 8th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson

A Stylish Wedding at The Highfield House (c) Kazooieloki Photography (24)

Our final real wedding of the week shows the magic that can be achieved in next to no time, as Jemma and Paul planned their day in an eye-popping 12 weeks!

Despite the clock ticking, the couple secured a fabulous new venue and then spent time getting the personal touches, dining and décor just right.

To complement their show-stopper of a venue (just take a look at those interiors!) Jemma and Paul chose an abundance of glowing candles, on-trend white and green floral displays and opulent metallic touches – all of which we adore! Add to this a fine ‘his and hers’ feast and personal messages to each and every guest and we think you’ve got a pretty damn special big day!

With photography by Kazooieloki Photography.

A Stylish Wedding at The Highfield House (c) Kazooieloki Photography (1)

jemma says: We got engaged in November 2016 at Sensatori Tenerife – Paul booked the trip as a birthday present and then proposed as a surprise on the first night.

We decided to plan our wedding in a fairly short time frame (12 weeks!) so we picked a date that the venue could accommodate – 21st October 2017 – and that would give us enough time to get everything sorted.

A Stylish Wedding at The Highfield House (c) Kazooieloki Photography (34)

We chose The Highfield House and Grounds, Driffield, East Yorkshire; it was the first venue we looked at and we both loved it. We would be the first people to get married there, as they hadn’t even got their wedding licence when we booked! Ellen, the house manager, couldn’t do enough to help and was a pleasure to deal with throughout. We picked an elegant, glamorous theme with accents of gold, which we felt really suited the venue – lots of glassware, candles and white/cream roses and greenery.

A Stylish Wedding at The Highfield House (c) Kazooieloki Photography (35)

I chose a fitted lace dress with a fishtail and lace straps. I instantly knew this dress was the one when I tried it on.

Paul wore a navy blue three-piece suit, as did the groomsmen, and my bridesmaids wore Showcase dresses from Debenhams.

A Stylish Wedding at The Highfield House (c) Kazooieloki Photography (37)

Our photographers, Richard and Christine from Kazooieloki, were amazing! So professional yet friendly and we barely noticed they were there. We had a pre-wedding shoot and I was really nervous but they soon put me at ease. The photos speak for themselves – beyond words! We could not be happier with them. They have a great eye for catching all the details, which I love, and you get to see all the parts of the day you missed at the time. The photos really are a story of our day and looking back at them really is like going back through the whole day – fabulous! We’ve had lots of people tell us they are the best wedding photos they’ve ever seen!

My brother-in-law Kris Knight kindly filmed the ceremony and speeches for us.

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style sheet: modern festivities

December 8th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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image source

With sight of this month’s festivities on the horizon our thoughts have turned to those planning a Christmas or New Year wedding. But more specifically, to couples who desire the party atmosphere and glamour of this most wonderful time of the year, though not the obvious wedding themes that can come with it.

As such we’ve thrown aside the seen-it-all-before-red, blinding-silver and gaudy-gold and brought together a more contemporary, clean-cut and sophisticated selection of fitting themes for this magical period.

So, in preparation for the weekend ahead, drop a little Baileys in your morning coffee and enjoy soaking up this sublime seasonal inspo…

glitter & gilded

Glitter & Gilded

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Marion Heurteboust Photography| image source| image source, photography by Danielle Nowak| image source| image source| image source

The theme: A sophisticated take on the ‘usual’ party-season golden wedding.

The details: While we love a bit of glitter, you can have too much of a good thing in our book and so this look is all about understated glamour. Keep the gold tones light rather than yellow/orange and even lean toward blush/rose tones for an element of girly elegance. Table décor should be more sparse and well-thought out with uniformed rows of mercury and metallic candle holders and simple, dainty floral arrangements on pressed linen. Add just a sprinkling of glitter accents and mix with matt and gloss metallics to continue the class. Greenery features can also help to keep the look grounded, fresh and clean. Sprayed flowers are a step-too-far for this theme so instead look to include beautiful caramel shades in the bouquet and add a little gold by binding with a trailing ribbon.

The dress code: A full-gold dress could have you looking more Disney princess than Meghan Markle princess, so we suggest keeping things refined with an ivory gown, complete with delicate gold detailing in beading, lace or embroidery. The accessories are one area that you can afford to turn up the glittering aspects, though perhaps just blow out on one bold item, such as the shoes, and keep other add-ons simpler. Your leading ladies on the other hand could be in top-to-toe sparkling cocktail style gowns, suiting the time of year perfectly and adding black-tie-esque glamour to the proceedings.

white out

White Out

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Mike Cassimatis| image source| image source, photography by Blaine Siesser| image source| image source| image source, photography by Aden Priest| image source| image source

The theme: A traditional white wedding given a modern and luxurious twist.

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belle of the ball. teal & coral for a fairy-tale wedding in the north west – amy & jamie

December 7th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (45)

This afternoon’s gorgeous real wedding features a striking teal and coral colour palette, a truly exotic bouquet and some jaw-dropping stained-glass windows.

Amy and Jamie’s Saddleworth and Ashton-based big day also boasts some stunningly candid speech photographs and a top-drawer mother-of-the-bride outfit – full marks, mum, for co-ordinating perfectly with the colour scheme – the Brides Up North team salutes you!

What turns our head most though has to be Amy’s Disney inspired dress based on the ballgown of one of our very favourite princesses, the beautiful Belle.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Venn Photography.

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (23)

amy says: We got engaged on 2nd October 2016, while we were on holiday in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca. We’d been out for an evening meal and were walking back to the apartment when Jamie said he’d seen something down on the beach, I followed him down to the sea, he got down on one knee and proposed with a gorgeous ring.

We chose 30th September for our wedding day; originally, we’d wanted 7th October, but the church was unavailable on that day.

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (49)

We chose Friezland Church for the ceremony. I’d driven past it many times and thought it was a beautiful church in a stunning location. The reception was at The Village Hotel; it was a great location with easy access for all of our guests. They offered a great food and drinks package with loads of extras.

In terms of a colour scheme, we chose teal as the main colour. We found that teal dresses suited all of our bridesmaids beautifully. We also opted for a coral colour for the flowers to complement the teal.

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (24)

I wore an Alfred Angelo Disney inspired dress based on Belle’s dress from Beauty and the Beast. I‘d seen the Disney inspired collection and thought the dresses were amazing. I went to Once Upon a Bride and knew as soon as I put it on that it was the one.  My shoes were custom-made Beauty and the Beast Converse hi-tops made by Becci Boo’s Custom Shoes.

Jamie wore a dark grey suit, a chequered grey waistcoat, a white shirt, teal tie and a top hat from Perfect Fit. The groomsmen wore the same as Jamie.

The bridesmaids wore floor-length, teal, halterneck dresses by Alfred Angelo and our flower girl wore a sparkly white dress with a teal sash. All of the bridesmaids wore coral Converse.

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (21)

Transport-wise, we hired two retro Volkswagen Campers and two Volkswagen Beetles to take myself, the bridesmaids and my mum to the church from Funcampers in Stalybridge. As a surprise for Jamie and the groomsmen, I hired two Range Rovers, but ended up with a Jaguar XJ as one crashed the day before!

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