Brides Up North

friday fabulous!

January 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

Mimosa by Rachel Simpson

It’s nearly happy hour

Make mine a Mimosa.

Mimosa Powder Blue Wedding Shoes by Rachel Simpson Shoes, £170

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something for the weekend…

January 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime



It’s a big weekend for weddings in the North East, and brides in the region can’t fail to have noticed the massive North East Wedding Show by The UK Wedding Shows, at the Metro Arena in Gateshead this weekend.

Taking place two times a year, once in London (The London ExCeL Wedding Show) and once in Newcastle (The North East Wedding Show), The UK Wedding Shows bring together the very best local bridal wear and specialist wedding suppliers to provide all the essential products and services, contacts, help and inspiration to ensure that brides-to-be have everything at their disposal to plan their perfect wedding.

The event runs both Saturday 24th January and Sunday 25th January 2015, from 10am till 4pm, and tickets are £5 in advance, £7 on the door.

If you still haven’t got your tickets, you can click here to find out more about the event and book your place in advance.

While you are in the area, our sponsors and friends at Dandy Events are hosting another of their Inspirational Wedding Weekends, around the corner at their showroom on Scottswood Road.

Dandy Events Inspirational Wedding Weekend

The team at Dandy are our go to at Brides Up North when we need help dressing our big events and catwalk shows, so I’d definitely suggest that you pop in to see Denise, Nicola and their fabulous showroom.

Dandy Events will be showcasing all of their products, the top trends for 2015 and their exclusive new room dressing ideas. The showroom is open this weekend from 10am till 5pm on Saturday, 10am till 4pm on Sunday.

For more information visit their website at

That’s your weekend sorted then!

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its the most wonderful time of the year!

January 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime

Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions 2015

Excitement is building at Brides Up North HQ and there’s a frisson of confetti in the air.

Is it really that time again?

We are so excited to get started with another fabulous Brides Up North exhibition season, and this spring, it’s going to be bigger, busier and more beautiful than ever.

You can view the full schedule of events – spanning three regions (North East, North West and Yorkshire) over three months - by clicking here. You can use our drop down menu to browse, select the event of your choice, pre-register for free entry and your VIP goody bag and pop the date in your diary.  You can even register for more than one event if you like – each is very different and we’ve made sure that there is something to delight everyone!

We’ve said it before but we don’t just work with any old  venues or suppliers.  Our venue portfolio is carefully managed to offer our readers choice and quality, and our exhibitors are handpicked. We cover every detail – dresses, menswear, stationery, cars, photographers, videographers, rings, accessories, bridesmaids, finishing touches, entertainment, photobooths, love lights, flowers, favours, hair and beauty… the list goes on. You’ll leave our events excited and inspired (and maybe a little poorer – but happier)! We promise you that.

Just click here to check out this lovely line up…

See you there?

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bride to be?

To pre-register for a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be Goody Bag (stuffed with treats and glossy mags) and FREE ENTRY at any of our shows, fill in your details below. You can collect your VIP Bride-To-Be Goody Bag upon entry to the Luxury Wedding Exhibition. Only the bride need register for larger groups, and you can register for as many as you like!

VIP Bride-To-Be Goody Bags available while stocks last only.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Select the event that you wish to attend (required)

Number of people attending the event (including yourself) (required)

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wedding industry professional?

We would love to welcome old friends and new exhibitors to the Brides Up North family in 2015. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our fabulous luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions in 2015. 

Click here to view the full schedule.

Exhibitors will be strictly limited by category and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Since their inception in spring 2012, all exhibitions have been sell outs on exhibitor space with a record attendance for every venue. Consequently, we expect demand for our 2015 events to be very high. Get in touch as soon as possible to guarantee your place.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Telephone No

Your Website (begin web address with http://www.)

What sort of wedding business are you enquiring on behalf of? e.g. Bridal Boutique/ Photographer etc

Select the event that you are interested in (required)

If you wish to attend more than one event, please list all here - discounts are available for block bookings

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Images by Cat Hepple Photography

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catch of the day. a home made wedding at the alnwick garden – jancis & casey

January 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (46)

Jancis and Casey’s choice of wedding venue was all about the memories – a special place that they could share with their friends and family on their special day and for years to come.

It’s one of our favourite venues here at Brides Up North HQ too and you can join us for our beautiful wedding exhibition here in April, but for now, let’s celebrate Jancis and Casey’s ‘catch of the day’.

With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (34)

jancis says: Just after we met Casey promised that he would one day take me to Rome. Three years later we still hadn’t made it so while we were planning what to do for our anniversary I decided to have a look at flights. I never thought they would be reasonably priced but it worked out less than we could have spent on petrol if we had stayed in the UK. I floated the idea to Casey and with one thought of pizza and Peroni he was sold! We booked the tickets and off we went to a destination I had only dreamed of!

After three days seeing the amazing sights and eating fabulous food it was our third anniversary. We spent the day doing all the things we had wanted to do. We went to Castel Sant’angelo in the morning which had the most spectacular views of the Vatican City. Then walked down to watch the Pope hold his service and went up to St Peters Basillica. Casey had thought about proposing at the top but after the 320 steps and around 100 other people squeezed up there he decided against it.

After spending most of the day on our feet we decided to go back to the hotel room for a rest and to get ready for a lovely meal to celebrate our anniversary. We got all dressed up in our best clothes and Casey asked me to open a bottle of prosecco. We toasted three years together and Casey sat me down on the edge of the bed and started talking about how thankful he was and how much he had enjoyed the past three years. Before I knew it he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I didn’t need to think about it the words just spilled out: “Of course I will!”

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (40)

We were married on 25th May 2014. We chose this date as it was a bank holiday Sunday and we were asking our guests to travel from far and wide across the UK and the world to celebrate with us. We knew this would mean most of them wouldn’t need to take too much time off work, if any at all, or like us, they would be able to make the celebration into a week long holiday.

We were married at The Alnwick Garden, It is one of our favourite places to visit. Casey first took me there on a spur of the moment weekend away. I has been having a really hard time at work and got home one Friday night to him looking up b&b’s in Northumberland, a place I’d never been. He whisked me away to Warkworth, a village we have both now fallen in love with, for the weekend and decided to make the trip the gardens for the day. We both love that it is a charity, run by donations from other people who love to visit and enjoy the flowers and of course the fountain.

We wanted a venue where we felt like we were contributing to the local community and somewhere in the future we will be able to take our children and relive our special day.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (42)

We had been to a wedding in America the year before where the bride and groom had their first look before the ceremony. The photos were very personal and it meant that they got to spend their cocktail hour with their guests. Casey and I decided to do the same. Around 3 miles from our venue is a beach where we have spent a lot of time. We decided to head down there before the ceremony and have a first look moment. We took our wedding party to the beach and one of the bridesmaids cleared the area for us. A group of people started forming so it wasn’t the most intimate moment however it felt special and we will always have the memories of that moment.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (43)

The style we went for came from the venue we chose. The Garden is full of bright colours and earthy tones so we chose green, white and brown for our wedding colours inspired by the plants, the water and the hessian sacks the compost came in. Then when I found my dress I knew we had to include lace in the wedding and it added that much needed feminine touch to our plans.

We brought the garden inside with our centre pieces which we made ourselves, in fact almost all of the decorations were made by us. The table squares were hand cut and the lace added by Casey, the centre piece boxes were made by Casey, painted by me and planted together (the flowers from each box are now planted in gardens around the UK!), the bunting was homemade, the signs were homemade and even the favours too!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (44)

Less than a month after we were engaged I spotted a dress in Debenhams and decided to try it on just for fun. As soon as I put it on I felt beautiful and graceful (something I’m usually not!) and with the manageable price tag I bought it there and then. When I returned home I excitedly called my mum, unfortunately she was fairly disappointed she hadn’t been there so insisted she take me shopping with my bridesmaids so I could have the wedding dress shopping experience every mother dreams of having with her daughter. I agreed but told her I wouldn’t find one I liked as much.

On the day it felt like I tried on every dress in the shop so the lady who was helping me asked for three words to describe what I was looking for, “elegant, fishtail and lacy” I replied. The lady wouldn’t let me look in the mirror as she dressed me so when I walked out of the dressing room I hadn’t seen what I looked like. All of my bridesmaids were speechless and my mum burst into tears. A pretty good reaction when you don’t know what you’re wearing!

Unfortunately the dress was strapless and I didn’t like that feature so for the next half hour the shop assistants brought me lace, ribbon and readymade straps to try on with it. None felt right so I came away with just the dress and a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that even though it was the one, it wasn’t. It took me another 12 months to find the right material to make straps but I loved them when I did.

I carried a gypsophila and hydrangea bouquet tied with brown string and green ribbon which matched my bridesmaids’ dresses. They were supplied by Simply Flowers of Alnwick.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (49)

Casey wore a grey silk suit from Slaters and green ties from Debenhams. It took months to find a green tie that matched the bridesmaid dresses. The groomsmen wore the same suits and ties.

My bridesmaids wore a long, strapless green chiffon dress which was bought over the internet from a specialist bridesmaid dress designer.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (24)

I knew the most important part of the wedding, apart from getting married of course, for me was the photographer. I am an amateur photographer myself and have photographed a few friends weddings so I knew that I wanted the best of the best to photograph my wedding. I first saw Lissa’s work at a wedding fair in Leeds and fell in love immediately and knew I had to have this person as my photographer. When Lissa came back to the stand she was so lovely and helpful we booked her there and then. Other than getting married in the first place it was the best decision we made!

She was fabulous in the run up to, on the day and afterwards. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. My guests really enjoyed her company, she made everyone feel at ease and she captured moments that most people didn’t even notice happened. We couldn’t have asked for a better service!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (19)

We spent the afternoon before the wedding with a select few of our guests dressing the venue so it was exactly how we wanted it to be. All the effort was worth it, we love how it turned out and the small touches are what our family and friends still talk about!

My brother has set up his own upcycling business and made our ceremony décor, the bulbs with flowers in where his own creation and beautiful they looked too!

We gave out mini shot bottles filled with flavoured vodka. Casey and I met while working at Revolution Bar in Lancaster. Casey was the assistant manager there and I was working on the bar so it felt appropriate to incorporate that into our wedding somehow. We bought the vodka from the actual vodka factory where Revolution make the different flavours of vodka that they sell in their bars and decanted it into smaller bottles. It went down a storm with most of the guests although some found the flavours a little strong for them!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (4)

We chose a four layer cake: chocolate, lemon and raspberry, red velvet and fruit cake. All of which are our favourite flavours – we couldn’t choose between them. Our cake was made as a gift by Casey’s cousin Leanne. She is a professional cake maker and brought it all the way from Reading for us! She decorated it in a new style she hadn’t tried before for us so but I think you’ll agree she did an excellent job!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (9)

We had been to a wedding a few years ago where they had a live band, after having a brilliant time we decided this was the way forward for us. We spent hours on the internet listening to previews of different bands and finally found a band that made us want to dance.

The Shakedown Band North East made our wedding incredibly special. They kept the dance floor full for the whole evening and we have had numerous people come to us asking for their contact details. We would highly recommend them for a great night of dancing!

Our bridesmaids and a few friends decided to surprise us with a flashmob! They recorded a video and sent it to various family members and friends. On the night they sat us down and on came the three bridesmaids singing the first lines to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” gradually other people joined in and eventually the whole dance floor was filled with our nearest and dearest singing to us.

It was brilliant and the first moment I actually took stock of what the whole day meant to us. All we had wanted was to have the people we loved around us as we made a commitment to each other. Only when we saw how much effort they had gone through for us did we truly realise what they all meant to us.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (3)

The venue was stunning- in the day time you felt like you were part of the garden and in the evening with the venue and fountain lit up it felt like being transported into a fairy tale.

We enjoyed all the parts of the garden from the ornamental garden with its huge cast iron gates to the meadow of purple flowers and the castle turrets which make up the garden walls. Each area adds a different feature to the photographs we had taken and allowed our guests to take some time away from the festivities to explore.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (11)

My favourite part of the day was hammering the nails into our “Love letter Box”. A box filled with a bottle of wine we bought the day we were engaged and a love letter from each of us. We plan to only open the box if we get to the point of no return or on our 35th wedding anniversary.

Casey says his favourite part of the day was seeing me for the first time on the beach. He said it was a relief that I’d turned up and the first moment he felt calm all day.

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (18)

We went to Disney World in Florida for the first week of our honeymoon. We like to have fun so decided to “do Disney” one last time. The second week we spent at my aunt’s house in Clearwater, Florida relaxing – if you can call it that! We hired a car, played golf, went sightseeing up and down the coast, and ate out far too many times. The third week we went to the Kennedy Space Centre and Universal Studios.

We had a lot of fun but felt like we needed another holiday afterwards!

a vintage themed wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography  (25)

Our top tip for other Brides Up North is to take ten minutes together during the evening reception to have a walk through the garden and have a drink together. One of our friends found me and told me to go and find Casey to do this – it was a brilliant tip and I would recommend this to anyone who is getting married. You are pulled in so many directions all day on your wedding day that spending a small amount of time with your husband to reflect on the day is invaluable.

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an autumn affair. a stylish winter wedding at priory cottages – jude & colin

January 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (38)

Priory Cottages near to my adopted home town of Wetherby in North Yorkshire is one of my favourite local venues, and I always get a warm welcome from their team when I pop in to pay a visit.  I’m used to seeing the venue dressed for spring and summer celebrations (not least the fabulous wedding of one of my best girls, Charlotte – you can see her big day here), but it’s lovely to see how special and sparkly this place looks on a late autumn day.

Jude and Colin’s wedding brought all the brightest colours of nature inside for a stylish, cosy and heart warming day, filled with fun. My absolute favourite kind of celebration that there can be.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, and all round lovely lady, Helen Russell Photography.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (5)

jude says: We got engaged on 25th August 2013.  Col had originally planned on doing it on my birthday earlier in the month but the ring wasn’t ready, so plan B was when we were visiting my best friend in Derby. Little did I know but they were all in on it. He proposed in Matlock in a cable car on our way up to the Heights of Abraham. Our friends Manda, Chris and their little boy Vinnie were there too so we got some great pictures of the proposal. I had just found out that I was pregnant so the champagne picnic was enjoyed by everyone else!

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (9)

We were married on Friday 7th November 2014. We both love the autumn and the vibrant colours associated with the season are beautiful.  We were hoping for a crisp cold sunny day! We got the rain instead!

We tied the knot at All Saints church in Wighill.  It was small and cosy but beautiful. We attended the church in the year prior to the wedding and all the locals were so friendly. The reception was at The Priory Barn and Cottages, Nr Wetherby. We fell in love with The Priory as soon as we visited it. The barn has been restored and the old architecture of some of the buildings is beautiful. Serena the owner was fabulous from start to finish, we immediately knew that she would be on hand to help, which she was. We wanted a venue that was different, we had been to nine weddings in the past 14 months and didn’t want to marry somewhere our friends had done so.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (13)

We chose an autumnal/rustic style. I’m an outdoorsy girl and love nature and a natural feel to things. The table centre pieces were slices of logs we had gathered with skeleton leaves and Chinese lanterns. We used mini pumpkins were as table numbers.  We had kilner jars with candles standing on upturned logs dotted around the venue and some old driftwood was used. We used a lot of hessian and lace and candlelight.

Our colour palette was purples and oranges – gorgeous vibrant autumnal colours that complement each other

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (19)

My dress was from the Bridal Rogue Gallery in York. It was a Pronovias dress, ‘Leonde’, a tulle mermaid style made from Chantilly and Guipure lace. It had crystal, pearl and gemstone embroidery below the bust.  I fell in love with the dress immediately. I wanted something classic and vintage and loved the lace and open back. I wore it with a borrowed vintage fur and Diane Hassall lace shoes. My mum bought me some beautiful diamond earrings which I hope my daughter Ava may wear one day.

I used Lisa Jones Hair and Makeup. Lisa is fantastic at what she does, I’ve had my hair and makeup done several times by her and it always looks immaculate. She is fun to be around and after a long sleepless night with a teething 10 month old she worked miracles!

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (23)

Col wore a navy blue three piece suit from Ted Baker. He bought a pocket watch which finished the suit off beautifully.

My bridesmaids Manda and Sarah wore a rich 50’s style purple dress, with a jewelled cuff and a-line skirt from House of Fraser designed by Eliza J. They wore bright burnt orange heels from Next.

The flowergirls Ava and Olivia wore ivory dresses with purple petals sewn into the hems and our page boy wore a three piece suit from BHS with a pair of white Converse pumps.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (26)

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (29)

We wanted something different from a traditional wedding car so opted for a 1967 ivory VW campervan called “Summer”. This was hired from The Yorkshire Wedding Car Company.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (34)

Helen Russell was our photographer. We would definitely recommend her. I was introduced to her at a friend’s wedding and immediately warmed to her, she has an amazing ability to make you feel at ease in front of the camera. We loved her vintage style, she has a great passion for her job and you really get the feeling that she wants to give you the best images she can.  She managed to capture the romantic yet fun mood of our day. We had a pre wedding shoot with her and took our daughter Ava and Col’s son Elliott along… she was great with the children.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (35)

Wendy at Paperwhite Flowers provided our flowers. She is such a professional and so passionate about her job.  She knew exactly what I wanted and goes above and beyond.  My bouquet was a wild hand tie with lace and a decorative vintage key.  It had creamy white vendella roses and superbubbles, spray roses and buds, large dolcetto roses, purple and plum foliage, orange rosehip, fountain grass, purple lisianthus, rosemary, astrontia million stars, birch and willow twig and was wrapped in fine green ivy.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (45)

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (44)

Paperwhite provided all the flowers, dressed the top table and provided a large pumpkin filled with beautiful flowers and asparagus grass. I wanted a messy looking arrangement rather than something too structured. It was perfect.

They provided two beautiful pew ends with wild flowers for the church which we used at the barn afterwards and  chrome lanterns which we used in the church then back in the courtyard and barn.They also dressed upturned logs with kilner jars and candles wrapped with ivy trails and Chinese lanterns and placed them around the barn.

AV Matrix dressed the barn in fairy lights. This was done before we even got there on the Thursday to get ready.

We had lots of purple and cream paper lanterns to hang from the marquee roof, Col and my bridesmaids Manda and Sarah spent most of the afternoon hanging them!

My mum made 120 hanging love hearts to hang on the backs of all the chairs. Our guests took these home and it’s so lovely to see them hanging in our friends’ homes. She also dressed our chairs in hessian and lace, they looked so pretty.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (52)

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (56)

We had Cancer Research pin badges as favours as this is a charity close to our hearts. The men had blue ones and the ladies had the Elizabeth Stuart silver leaf pins.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (62)

Taste Cuisine provided the food and we went for a real ‘winter warming’ menu for the wedding breakfast. At the evening reception we had a hog roast served with cheese and homemade pickles and chutneys from my parents.

A very close friend of mine, Ronni made our cake. We had fruit cake (to compliment the cheeses at the evening reception) and chocolate cake.  It was decorated with sugar blackberries, maple and oak leaves and wrapped in a fine hessian.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (64)

We lit a memory candle at the church which we took back to The Priory and had on a table with photos of our grandparents and those that are sadly longer with us.

I had some daisies incorporated into the flowers and my bouquet in memory of my Auntie Daisy who died of leukemia.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (72)

We used Dave Spink Videography, the girls who worked at the wedding were very friendly and professional, I didn’t even know they were around at times, we can’t wait to see the finished DVD.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (76)

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (74)

Without the help of my parents the day that we had wouldn’t have been possible.  They have spent so much time making things and helped to get the venue ready and looking as beautiful as it did.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (86)

Howard Wing was our wedding singer- what a legend and absolute gent with an amazing voice and talent to entertain! I came across him on a wedding blog and after speaking with him immediately knew we had to book him. We certainly weren’t disappointed, he had the whole place bouncing before the starters had even finished… I’ve never been at a wedding where people are singing and dancing on the chairs before dinner ends! Brilliant! So many people said ‘best wedding we’ve ever been too!’

We had dance floor rules and flip flops for the ladies, these went down very well…the following morning we found several pairs of shoes left in the marquee!

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (89)

It’s hard to choose a favourite part of the day. I was so happy that my dad walked me down the aisle as only a week previously he had suffered a heart attack and we were unsure whether he would be able to make the wedding. I bought my dad a hanky and had it embroidered and gave it to him before we left for the church. It said ‘I may have found my prince but you will always be king, thank you for walking with me today’.

Col’s face when I walked down the aisle was priceless, he looked so emotional.

My favourite part of the reception most definitely has to be when Howard had us all doing the Love Train around the marquee before we had even had dessert, even the waitresses got dragged into it… it was fantastic fun.

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (95)

We chose to go to New York for our honeymoon, having a 10 month old going away for two weeks just wasn’t an option, but thanks to grandparents and aunties and uncles we were lucky enough to have 5 nights away.

We have both always wanted to go, so it was the perfect choice. We loved it. We managed to do almost everything we wanted. We would love to go back one day and check out all the lovely restaurants, bars and of course do some shopping!

a winter wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Helen Russell Photography (101)

My top tip for other Brides Up North is that the day goes so quickly so take some time together, and take a step back (easier said than done) and watch your guests having fun.

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sounds good! 10 northern bands to hire from Alive Network

January 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Swing Jive Rock-n-Roll -Blue Note Mitch

When you’re looking at bands to play at your wedding, it really can pay to think local (or at least, Northern!).

Many professional wedding and function bands are based right here in the North, and they are just as good (if not better) than those based in or near London. By booking a locally-based band through an established national entertainment agency rather than direct, you can be sure of their quality and professionalism.

why book a local wedding band?

With local wedding bands:

- You save money on travel costs
- You don’t need to cover accommodation costs
- Locally-based bands can arrive later, so you won’t pay expensive waiting fees
- You’ll be supporting your local live music scene
- Your booking benefits the local economy

So, what type of Northern wedding band should you choose? We asked the team at the UK’s largest online entertainment agency, Alive Network, to come up with their top ten wedding band types…

Rock and Pop Band-Backbeat

rock and pop function bands

These are the bands that get every guest up and dancing, playing hits from the 1950s to last week’s chart toppers. Sometimes called cover bands, most rock and pop bands consist of four talented lads playing songs by internationally famous artists.

Recommended Yorkshire Based Rock & Pop Band  – BackBeat

Five young, cool, professional musicians playing your favorite party classics and hits guarantee to really get your wedding party started! Prices from £1020.

Tribute Bands-Adele

tribute bands

Love the idea of a famous act playing at your wedding, but your budget won’t quite stretch? Here’s the answer – book a talented tribute band to recreate the sounds, sights and moves of your favourite artists. Often using authentic instruments and replica costumes, these bands bring the thrill and excitement of ‘the next best thing’ to your special day!

Recommended West Yorkshire Based Tribute Act – Ultimate Adele

The UK’s top Adele tribute, recreating the award-winning soulful sound, and with superior sound and lighting equipment plus a sound technician! Prices from £600.

Jazz Bands-Straight No Chaser

jazz bands

Jazz comes in all kinds of styles – Dixieland/traditional, standards, contemporary; you name it, there’s a band that’ll play it! From the infectious Southern sound of Dixieland to the laid back style of lounge, there is a jazz sound to suit every moment of your wedding day.

Recommended Lancashire Based Jazz Duo – Straight No Chaser

A flexible, talented group who can be set up and playing jazz standards and popular songs in as little as 15 minutes. Book the duo version for pre-ceremony music, the trio for your drinks reception, or the quartet for sophisticated wedding meal entertainment. Prices from £381.

Rat Pack and Swing Bands-Indigo Moment

rat pack & swing bands

Cool, sophisticated and always stylish, Rat Pack and Swing bands recreate the timeless sound of The Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé and Jamie Cullum. Perfect for wedding entertainment with a touch of class and cross-generation appeal.

Recommended Manchester Based Rat Pack & Swing Duo – Indigo Moment

Combining smooth vocals and beautiful guitar accompaniment, this delicious duo perform timeless ballads plus swing and up tempo numbers. Prices from £444.

Big Bands-Russell Shaun Big Band

big bands

Love that Glenn Miller sound and the sound of the 1940s, when bands were BIG and brass was best? Big bands recreate that superb sound and apply it to classic tunes and contemporary hits alike, for a full-on musical performance your guests will adore.

Recommended Lancashire Based Big Band – Russell Shaun Big Band

One of the most sought-after big band signers in the business, Russell is a superb entertainer. Add in his 12-piece big band, and you’re in for a night of world class entertainment at your wedding. Prices from £2520.

swing, jive & rock n roll bands

When you want timeless hits that get everyone up and dancing, these are the bands to book. Playing an irresistible mix of upbeat music from classic swing and jive to rock and roll, these energetic bands provide high quality, high value wedding party entertainment anytime of the year.

Recommended Yorkshire Based Swing, Jive, Rock n Roll Band – Blue Note Mitch

Led by the irrepressible Mitch, this band is just 100% pure entertainment.  These guys can play almost anything, including jazz, swing & jive, rock ’n’ roll rock, indie, pop & soul and even classic ska music. Perfect for the ‘good time’ couple who love to let their hair down! Prices from £1260.

Soul RnB Motown-Funkytown

soul, rnb & motown bands

If you love big vocals, huge harmonies and classic songs, this type of band will take you to soul heaven and back. Ideal for coupes who adore good music, and want a fun yet heartfelt soundtrack to their wedding reception.

Recommended West Yorkshire Based Soul, RnB, Motown Band – Funkytown

This cool, versatile band has two stunning female vocalists, ready to blow your guests away with classic soul and quality pop, from Aretha Franklin to Lily Allen. The band also offer a free iPod disco service in between sets if you book within seven days of receiving your quote – great value! Prices from £1260.

70s Disco Funk -Gold

70′s, disco & funk bands

Shy and retiring these bands ain’t, as they brighten your wedding with cool moves, disco beats and 70s dancefloor fillers!! If you love to strut your stuff, and still own a pair of flares or hot pants, book now and “Blame it on the Boogie”!

Recommended South Yorkshire Based 70’s, Disco, Funk Band – Gold

This band really sets the “Gold” standard in disco bands, featuring musicians who have played with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Corrine Bailey Rae, The Human League, and appeared on tv, radio and recordings. Gold are genuine 24 carat entertainment for any wedding. Prices from £1320.

Ceilidh Bands-Ceilidh and Co

ceilidh bands

Before there were discos, tea dances or even posh balls, there were ceilidhs, community dances where everyone came to dance, drink and have a great time (sound familiar?). So, get back to fun at its most fundamental with ceilidh bands, who will teach traditional dances injust  five minutes, and get everyone, regardless of age, background or ability, up and dancing all night long.

Recommended Manchester Based Ceilidh Band – Ceilidh And Co

Young and energetic, this talented trio combines driving percussion, foot stomping piano and ferocious fiddle, for an evening of dances such as Lucky Sevens, The Cumberland Reel and the Dashing White Sergeant! Prices from £744.

Latin Salsa World Music-Agua Panela

latin, salsa, and world music bands

Bringing the best of the world’s music to your wedding, these bands infuse your day with the heat, excitement and exotic flavours of music from around the globe. Latin bands are particularly popular for weddings, bringing the passion of Latino music to any venue.

Recommended Lancashire Based Latin, Salsa, World Music Duo – Agua Panela

These guys are the real thing, two terrific South American musicians playing Latin, Funky, Salsa, Cuban, merengue and pop arrangements. Compact and compelling, this band is ideal for intimate venues, and great value too as they offer lower prices for midweek bookings. Prices from £420.

why Alive Network?

Booking through an entertainment agency such as Alive Network saves so much time, energy and hassle.

- View any band profile online, anytime.
- Click for your free online quotation and availability check.
- Choose the band you like, and book.
- The team will call you back, to check details.
- Sign the professional contract, pay a deposit, and relax!

The agency will take care of all the details, and even send you an emergency contact number for the day, just in case.

Call Alive Network now on 0845 108 5500 or visit their website

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the wedding industry awards 2015

January 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime


I’m just looking in this afternoon as I’m off to London in a whirl of sequins to attend the first major industry event in my calendar this year – The Wedding Industry Awards 2015.


This is the fourth year that I’ve been asked to support this esteemed event as a member of the judging panel, and I was very proud to take my place alongside some really rather fabulous leading lights in the wedding industry for 2015′s proceedings.

This year I’ve also been tasked with the job of being #officialblogger for the North East and North West regions, and back in November I really relished sharing all the news and tweets from the front line of the regional finals.  I was so proud of all our winners and finalists.

You can check out all the regional winners here.






A poorly little girl meant that I had to share in the fun by proxy, whilst my party shoes stared at me accusingly from the wardrobe, so that means that I’m even more excited to join the party at the ritzy, glitzy Cafe De Paris tonight.

I’ll be rubbing shoulders with my fellow judges at a swanky private drinks reception from 6pm, then joining the crowds to see who takes home the glittering prizes.  I’ll be tweeting, instagramming and facebooking all the headlines from the night, so watch out for the news as it breaks on our social media channels… even if your favourites don’t win, seeing and hearing me descend into an excited Champagne fuelled stupor should keep you all very amused indeed.






So wish them luck, and watch the feeds.  Those party shoes are about to make up for lost time.

All images from The Wedding Industry Awards Regional Events North East/ North West.  Click here to see the full sets of images from all events.


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mrs & mrs #TN – a newlywed shoot – kirstin & ash

January 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (16)

This morning it’s my pleasure to welcome my industry friend Kirsty of Kirstin Halstead Wedding Planning and her lovely new hubby Ash to the pages of the wedding blog.

Kirstin and Ash hot-footed it to Nashville, Tennessee when they eloped earlier this year to tie the knot in style, but couldn’t resist a special newlywed shoot (in red sequins and cowboy boots no less!) back on Yorkshire soil.

I’m thrilled that they chose to share their celebrations with Brides Up North.

#TN forever.

Images by Stephanie Reeder.

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (31)

kirstin says: One day Ash just turned to me and asked me to marry him. It was so unexpected, my heart fluttered and I immediately said yes.

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (3)

We eloped to Tennessee a few months later. We wanted an adventure together. We both love the United States so it seemed the perfect place to get married. Even though our friends and family weren’t with us they sent celebratory video messages on our wedding day it was really sweet.

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (2)

We have known each other a while, but never really took notice of each other until early last year! You just cant see what is right in front of you sometimes.

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (3)

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (10)

We went to a restaurant on our first date. Even though we worked at the same place we never really spoke but during dinner it was like we had known each other for years. We didn’t stop laughing.

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (12)

I knew he was the one right from our first date.

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (14)

I love that we have the same likes and dislikes. I love Ash’s smile, jokes and sense of humor, he makes me laugh a lot. He is really clever, I learn from him all the time.  He says he loves that I am a go getter and knows what I want in life!

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (29)

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (23)

We chose to have a newlywed shoot to capture memories of our time together in Nashville and also because we loved our photographer Stephanie Reeder’s style.

We loved the newlywed shoot – it made us so excited for our married life together and was lots of fun.

a newlywed shoot in Yorkshire (c) Stephanie Reeder (32)

Our biggest wish for married life is health and happiness. Simple, really.

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call it magic. a winter’s walk for an engagement in durham – dan & donna

January 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (3)

This afternoon we are in my home town of Durham as we meet loved up newly-weds Dan and Donna and share their wild and wintery engagement shoot.

wrap up warm

With images by Chris Parkinson.

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (2)

dan says: The engagement took us both by surprise really, we were sharing a bottle of champagne in Durham, and all of a sudden I just asked Donna ‘Will you marry me?’. It was as much a surprise to me as her, I didn’t have a ring or anything. It was just the right moment, the perfect time. Magic.

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (9)

We were actually classmates in primary school. But we went on to different secondary schools, and didn’t meet again until we were both 25, through Donna’s brother. I asked Donna out for a drink and we’ve been together ever since.

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (16)

We just went to the local pub for our first date. It was love at first sight for me, but not sure about Donna! We just seemed to become best friends instantly.

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (23)

Just being around Donna makes me happy, she makes me laugh a lot, in particular her dancing around the house.

I know this sounds soppy, but Donna never really annoys me, I annoy myself more.

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (24)

Our biggest wish for married life is just to keep on being us.

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (26)

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (28)

Obviously the best bit about Brides Up North that its local, and helps you find exactly what you need. We just find the whole website really easy to use and got some great ideas.  We were married at South Causey Inn on 22nd December 2014 and we’ll definitely be back to share our wedding photos on the blog.

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (31)

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (29)

An engagement shoot in Durham (c) Chris Parkinson (30)

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reader, i married him. a literary wedding in north wales – diane and aeddan

January 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (81)

Like many people who write for a living, I’m also an avid reader, so I absolutely adore that Diane and Aeddan chose a literary theme for their beautiful Real Wedding in North Wales.

Their lovely wedding day was filled with pretty touches, personal details and themed surprises for their guests, but on a day filled with words, it’s really only three little ones that matter the most…

Diane and Aeddan seem to have the i love yous sorted.

Images by Daffodil Waves Photography.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (30)

dianne says: We got engaged in May 2013.  As a history teacher I love all things historic, so Aeddan surprised me with a weekend away for my birthday which included a visit to Harlech Castle where he proposed with a custom made necklace as he knew I wanted to pick my own ring.  We then spent the weekend at a beautiful country hotel.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (44)

We got married on 12th September 2014 at Nant Gwrtheryn, which is a restored quarrying village on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales.  Its primary function is as a Welsh language centre but it also does functions.  We chose this venue because we wanted somewhere we could put our own mark upon.  We also loved the idea of having a wedding that lasted all weekend with everything including the chapel and the guest accommodation (in restored quarrymen’s cottages) all in one place.  Also, Aeddan is a Welsh speaker and I am English so we were able to have a bilingual wedding that brought our two cultures together.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (53)

Our theme was words, so we had our tables named after books that we both love and our place names were made from scrabble pieces.  As a favour each guest was given a personalised Penguin book cover postcard.  There were lots of other literary touches throughout the day.

We picked this theme because we both like reading and the theme evolved with the planning and took on a life of its own.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (63)

Our colour scheme was mint green and navy blue.  Navy blue was decided upon because I had two bridesmen who needed to be in different coloured suits to the groomsmen and mint green worked well with navy blue.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (67)

I had a lace Justin Alexander dress from Bridal Path in Liverpool.  I wanted a dress that I felt like the best version of myself in but that wasn’t too heavy so I could forget I was wearing it on the day.  As soon as I put my dress on I felt comfortable.  I knew I wanted lace from the start so it was an easy decision.  Although I knew something was missing, three weeks before I realised my dress needed a belt, luckily the staff at Bridal Path were happy to let me hire one.

My flowers were pastel coloured roses and gypsophilia. I wanted a vintage look to my bouquet which Carol from Acacia Flowers on Anglesey delivered.

Nina Wren did the hair and make up on the day and was fantastic.  She made all the ladies look amazing and was very professional.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (76)

Aeddan had a suit made from Moss Bros Bespoke, he tried on many suits but was never happy with the fit, so we decided to have one made for him.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (77)

Our bridesmaid wore a 1950s style dress from Vivien of Holloway and the bridesmen wore navy blue suits hired from Slaters.

The groomsmen also had suits hired from Slaters but these were in grey to match the groom.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (89)

Our photographer was Nicola from Daffodil Waves who exceeded our expectations.  I would wholeheartedly recommend her.  On the lead up to the day she was professional and her level of communication was amazing.  I honestly felt like her only bride.  On the day she was wonderful, it felt like having a friend there not a photographer.  As for the photographs, we were blown away by how amazing she made everything look.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (93)

The centre pieces for the reception were provided by Acacia Flowers and matched my bouquet, we then stacked the centrepieces on piles off vintage books.  We did much of the decoration ourselves including over 100 metres of bunting that we made. We really wanted to capture our personalities in the decoration which included a vintage ladder that Aeddan painted, a homemade scrabble board table plan and place names made from scrabble pieces.  There was also some Welsh décor.

Our chairs were hired from Chair Covers of Anglesey who went above and beyond by decorating the chapel for us on the morning of the wedding.

We gave out various favours including: CDs with music on from the day (for the men), Penguin book themed thank you notebooks (for the women), a personalised penguin book postcard for each guest and activity packs and games for the children.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (3)

We had a four tier cake from Benjamin Lee on Anglesey which included chocolate and baileys, chocolate and vanilla and strawberry.

We also had a sweet table, gave female guests flip flops in the evening and had garden games for the children.  We had two guest books, a vintage typewriter to fit in with our theme and giant colouring in where guests could colour a character and leave us their advice for a happy marriage, this now has pride of place in our hallway.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (5)

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (1)

We had a harpist in the ceremony who was a family friend who also played at Aeddan’s parents’ wedding.

In the evening we had a soul band called The Soul Boys, Aeddan was adamant he wanted a live band from the start and the Soul Boys kept our guests dancing all night.  The band were followed by a DJ who was under strict instructions not to play any cheesy music, we even had an hour of indie music.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (10)

I would recommend the venue without hesitation, it is absolutely unique.  To have everything on one sight and views out to sea over the Llyn Peninsula was amazing.  The service both in the lead up and on the day was professional and attentive.  Nothing was too much trouble.  Being able to book the venue for the weekend was an added bonus.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (11)

Our favourite part of the day was the ceremony.  We had a Catholic ceremony which was conducted by a friend the family.  He tailored the ceremony to suit our different beliefs and backgrounds.  We were able to design a bilingual ceremony that all our guests loved.  A particular highlight was our readings an Apache blessing translated in Welsh and A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton.

The bilingual elements of our day made it very special and personal to us, I even learnt some Welsh to surprise Aeddan with in my speech.

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (7)

Our honeymoon was spent in The Maldives where we enjoyed ten days relaxing on the Island of Kuramathi, Aeddan did manage to fit in some diving however!

a literary wedding in North Wales (c) Daffodil Waves Photography (15)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that all those details are worth it and your guests will notice all your hard work.  We had a vision and a spreadsheet and never compromised on it.

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