April 16th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s couple shows us what you can do when you have real vision and plenty of original ideas for your big day; celebrating with family and friends in a barn in the beautiful Peak District which – at the time of their first visit – wasn’t yet fully renovated and didn’t even have a door or solid walls!
Needless to say, when their wedding day came around last October, it was brimming with rustic charm, brought to life by all kinds of pretty – including fairy lights, hanging ivy and paper lanterns. This was paired with homemade jam for their favours, a gourmet barbecue, live music, a sparkler send-off and so many other special touches, beautifully captured on camera.
Our bride even added a splash of glitter to the proceedings, in keeping with the vintage glam theme for the day and opted for a neutral palette complemented by sumptuous white and gold. Proof that a barn wedding can be anything but ordinary! We’ll pass the blog onto bride, Hannah, now though to talk us through her special day with hubby, Ben – prepare to swoon!
With images by George Krousti of U and Eye Photography
hannah says: We got engaged in Canary Wharf in London. We were away with some friends and family for a few days in London. One evening (about 11pm) me and Ben went for a walk along the river, and then round the corner I saw some people stood with a guitar and singing (thought it was a little odd late at night) but as we got closer I could hear the song Green Eyes by Coldplay, which has been ‘our song’ since we met in school. I recognised the voices singing as Ben’s sister and one of our friends. Then I realised what was going on! Some of the lyrics had been changed so we stood and listened to them until the end when Ben turned around, got on one knee and asked me to marry him, obviously I said yes! Some friends had arranged a small party, so we headed there and celebrated together.
We got married on Friday 27th October 2017. Twenty-seven has always been a special number for us – my birthday is 27th April, Ben’s is 27th August, we got engaged on 27th July and whilst I was living in Australia (we did two years long distance) Ben sent me a gift when he officially asked me to be his girlfriend and it arrived on my doorstep on 27th May. I’ve always wanted an autumn wedding as I love the colours and cosy vibes.
We had our ceremony at Christian Life Church in Chesterfield (now called IKON church) and had our reception at Peak District Holiday Barn. We are both hugely involved in church and lead the youth ministry there. Ben grew up going to CLC and I have been going since I was 15 and it has become a home to us so there was no doubt that was where we wanted to get married.
We went for a vintage glam style wedding and loved the idea of a barn reception with some glitter! We stumbled across the venue as we couldn’t find anything that quite fitted our idea, so we went off on a tangent looking for somewhere to put up a marquee.
When I called Mark, who owns the barn, I asked if he had a field we could use, his response was ‘we do have a barn out the back instead if you want to look at that’ – we went to look and we were blown away (at an empty barn with no door or solid walls). Mark was amazing and said it was in the process of being refurbished and painted – it was our dream venue right in front of us. It was a year-and-a-half before our wedding and we visited it throughout that time, always confident in Mark, we can’t thank him enough for making our dream a reality!
We went for a colour palette of neutral wood tones, with white and a hint of gold glitter. We’re not a fan of garish colours, so wanted something neutral yet warm and cosy. The vintage style fitted with the autumn season too and I based the gold glitter on my choice of bridesmaid dress as it was something different and gave it that extra pop of fun.
April 11th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Grown-up glamour was the dress code for Victoria and Paul’s Manchester city wedding, so expect to be wowed by the bride’s custom-made Suzanne Neville gown – not to mention the sterling black tie effort from their stylish guests.
Their glamorous details – the bottomless gin bar, the nine-piece swing band – are impressive enough on their own, but when you consider that this couple’s original venue cancelled their wedding a mere five months before the big day, you really start to appreciate the scale of this determined duo’s accomplishment. Married life should be a doddle in comparison!
Our favourite picks? The fact that they walked back up the aisle to I Predict a Riot and that infamous red sofa pic – the very same spot where our editor in chief Julia, has sat for a live national broadcast all things weddings – no biggie!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Slice of Pie Photography.
victoria says: The proposal happened in a local restaurant we’ve visited for the last few years. We decided to spend Christmas Day there in 2015, and Paul had told all the staff about his plans. He ordered champagne and got down on one knee before lunch – of course, I said yes!
However, before this starts to sound terribly romantic, full disclosure: Paul’s brother was annoyed because he was starving and had to wait for his lunch because we were busy ringing our family – and then our six-month-old daughter promptly threw up all over my dress! Gotta love kids for bringing you back down to earth with a bump!
Our wedding date was 4th August 2017 – we met in August and love that time of year so that’s why we chose it.
Our venue was a private members’ club in Media City called On The 7th. We’d booked another venue in Manchester city centre, but we had a phone call in March to say they were closing down and our wedding was cancelled – total nightmare! Within 24 hours, though, I’d found our new venue and rearranged all of our suppliers. I knew about On The 7th as I used to be a member there and it’s such a cool, versatile place.
Theme-wise, we just wanted glamour! We love dressing up and make any excuse to do so. Our guests did not disappoint! Our colour scheme was black and white with silver accents; we like simple, monochrome palettes.
I had a custom-made Suzanne Neville gown designed and fitted by Suzanne and paired it with crystal-encrusted, ostrich feather Kurt Geigers. Suzanne travelled up from London to her Wilmslow studio for my fittings. She’s a real idol of mine, so I was thrilled she agreed to do it!
Paul wore a black three-piece tuxedo with black velvet bowtie and the groomsmen wore black Swarovski crystal bow ties – they were from M&S!
We had nine flower girls all in black and two bridesmaids also in black floor-length gowns.
April 11th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
There aren’t many couples who can say they tied the knot in the very place they first met! But today’s couple Steph and Matt did just that. Having initially met at a job interview in the Bradgate Suite of Ye Olde Bell Hotel six years previous, they came together in the very same room with friends and family to celebrate their marriage last summer. How romantic to have come full circle!
The theme of their pretty wedding – handmade with love – delivered delightful, intricate paper flowers painstakingly crafted by the bride’s mother, a tear- and laughter-inducing handwritten speech by the groom’s seven-year-old son, and decorations the couple searched high and low for to ensure their day was perfect.
In her Eddy K princess gown, bride Steph looks nothing short of stunning – we love the sweetheart neckline and the elegant lace detailing gives us all the romance feels.
With images by Sorin Careba Photography.
steph says: Matt proposed at our home on 22nd November 2014. We had quite a long engagement looking back, but it seemed to fly by. I came home from work and I’d had a bad day so I wasn’t in the best of moods; Matt had gone to a lot of effort making a lovely three-course meal and I was ranting and moaning all night. He opened an expensive bottle of wine we had brought back from Rome earlier that year and we were saving it for a special occasion. I moaned at him for opening it, not knowing we would be celebrating that night. Needless to say, I felt awful afterwards and I stopped moaning as soon as he got down on one knee!
We got married on 29th July 2017. We wanted a Saturday in summer and our venue was free, so it seemed perfect. Our ceremony was held at St John the Baptist Church in East Markham, Nottinghamshire. It’s the church where my parents and grandparents got married, so it was important for me to get married there and carry on the tradition.
Our reception was held at Ye Olde Bell Hotel, Barnby Moor, Nottinghamshire. The Bradgate Suite, where our wedding breakfast and evening reception was hosted, was the very same place Matt and I met! We both used to work at the hotel and we crossed paths in a very awkward job interview in the Bradgate Suite. Matt was the bar manager and I was interviewing for a part-time bar job. Little did we know we would be in the same spot six years later celebrating our wedding!
We didn’t have a particular theme when we started planning. If anything, the theme ended up being ‘handmade with love’. My mum spent the six months leading up to the wedding making everything from scratch, including paper flowers with our names and wedding date on and paper flower place names. We searched high and low for all the room decorations and now it’s all boxed up collecting dust in my parents’ spare room!
Matt has a son from a previous relationship, so it was important to both of us that he had a part in the wedding. He was only seven at the time but said he wanted to tell some jokes and do a speech at the reception. We didn’t know he would end up stealing the show. There was not a dry eye in the house when he made his speech and he couldn’t finish because he got too emotional. It was a very special moment for both of us and I still have his handwritten speech in my wedding memory box.
For our colour scheme, we chose peach/blush. It was a nice summery colour scheme and caught my eye on lots of Pinterest posts.
When it came to dress shopping, I ended up deciding on an Eddy K princess-style gown with lots of lace and a sweetheart neckline. It wasn’t what I imagined I would fall in love with, but I am so glad I picked my dress. It complemented my figure and looked beautiful. I was at the National Wedding Show at Event City in Manchester, when I first saw the dress. I went to try it on at Cheshire Bridal Wear in Altrincham, the next day and fell in love. I got my belt online from Bridal Adornments.
Matt and his groomsmen wore suits that we purchased from Grays Menswear in Chesterfield. We hired the waistcoats. My bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS; they were in the sale and were an absolute bargain at £30 each!
April 9th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Melissa Beattie Photography, source
Nope, the topic of this afternoon’s post isn’t wedding karaoke or even new craze marryoke, but instead brides shaking up tradition by choosing to make a speech on their wedding day.
Gasp you might, as this is a duty usually dealt to the groom, father-of-the-bride and best man, but no longer are speeches considered a male-only zone, as mothers, maids of honour and brides themselves are stepping up to the mark and relishing in the opportunity to address and entertain guests with their memories, anecdotes and well wishes.
And with bride-to-be of the moment Meghan Markle, set to be making a speech at the royal wedding, we can only see this emerging trend continuing to grow. As such, we’ve invited an expert in the field to the blog today to inspire and inform you ladies on how to smash public speaking – please welcome our wonderful Sponsor, Emma of Emma Taylor Presents.
The fairy godmother of wedding speeches, Emma offers a series of group workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions on how to nail that moment in the limelight, covering everything from content and structure to the delivery.
So, for those of you keen to exercise your vocal chords at the top table as well as on the dancefloor, we’re handing over the blog to the lovely Emma who has golden girl power advice to share…
It’s becoming increasingly popular for brides to make a speech on their wedding day, why would you say that is?
emma says: In an age of equality, it seems very odd that the bride – who has usually ploughed copious amounts of time and money into making her big day one to enjoy and remember – should sit mute when the time comes to formally speak about the day. Very often if brides work in positions where they have to present regularly, they know they’re decent speakers and that they can handle a speech. They think, ‘well if the chaps are doing it, it seems strange that I wouldn’t.’ Meghan Markle will give a speech at her wedding, and is any one surprised? She’s a modern, capable professional.
What are the main considerations for brides to think about if they do want to make a speech on their wedding day? What content could they include?
She needs to understand the speech responsibilities of the other speakers and make sure she doesn’t stray into their territory.
In terms of a content roadmap, the bride should open by thanking her maid of honour and bridesmaids for all their support. A funny hen do anecdote that captures the fun and dedication of her top girl team will always go down well. It needs to be pithy though; edit out the dull bits but expand and play out the big, humorous moments.
Now she should talk about her new husband. How they came to meet and the life journey they’re about to embark on together. This should be kept light, witty and original. Although guests might say ‘ah’, none really wants to hear, “And I can’t believe I’ve married my Prince Charming.” It’s been done to death. But they will relish something like, “And I look forward to the years ahead; converting Adam to the wonders of yoga, meat-free meals and moisturising.”
The bride should thank her family and the groom’s family for any outstanding non-financial help they’ve given. She should let the groom thank the families for monetary contributions. She could remark on the hours her mum put in accompanying her to wedding fairs and dress fittings. If she fears she’s been a bit Bridezilla during the planning process, then now’s the time to fess up and apologise. She could finish by proposing a toast to the continued health and happiness of her parents and parents-in-law.
Stu Ganderton Photography, source
In what ways can you help brides with the construction and delivery of their speech?
I can help her to select the best material and eek out as much entertainment from it as possible. I can help her structure it so it flows beautifully and doesn’t jump jerkily from one section to the next. And I can help her give a poised performance so that she won’t cringe and want to hit fast-forward when she watches her video back.
How can a bride making a speech add to the wedding day and why would you encourage ladies to take to the mic?
The fact is that even if the bride doesn’t intend to make a speech, she’ll most probably be called upon to do so. Guests love hearing from the bride. And, like anything in life, it’s always best to be prepared. So I think brides who feel confident about speaking should state that they will speak – guests will look forward to it – and for those who don’t feel confident, they should prepare a speech anyway in case their guests start to chant their name and demand a few words, and the poor bride suddenly realises that if she doesn’t take to the mic she’ll look impolite and disappoint them.
What would you say to brides who like the idea of making a speech but that are nervous about public speaking?
The same as I say to all wedding speakers. Do your preparation; good prep is the fountain of all confidence. Accept that adrenalin will be in the body before you speak but manage it by controlling your hands and feet and breathe in deeply through the nose. Remember too that everyone there is willing you to do brilliantly. You’re their woman. Think how warmly Adele would be received at the Brixton Academy or Lady Gaga at Carnegie Hall – well your guests are going to respond to your performance with that same level of warmth and affinity.
Laura Calderwood Photography, source
What for you are the key ingredients to a good bride speech?
Humour, confidence and enjoyment. Although brides are more than capable of delivering a witty, polished speech, a lot of guests are surprised when they actually do. Although guests like to hear from the bride, they often expect her contribution to be a nervy, giddy, teary few words, so when their expectation is completely subverted, and she storms it, it’s just brilliant.
What is the feedback like from brides who you have helped to construct a wedding speech?
The feedback’s been great. Brides typically love the planning stage; talking through their material and polishing it. Although, as they do this, the majority are nervous about actually delivering the speech. After they have, however, they are very pleased that they took to the mic, and this is largely for posterity’s sake. They’re thrilled that their children and grandchildren will be able to watch them addressing their nearest and dearest while looking stunning on such a special day.
April 9th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Rustic, homemade details ruled for Craig and Sarah’s big day, with mismatched flowers, neutrals, fairy lights and paper lanterns. Sarah is justifiably proud of the fact that almost everything for their wedding was made by them, from the beer bath to the bouquets. They even foraged for the ivy they used to dress their tables – now that’s dedication!
The result? A gloriously sun-soaked, boho affair which will have you lusting after a fairy-tale woodland ceremony.
The ultimate take-home detail from this visual feast of gorgeousness, though? The flower crowns. Oh Lordy, those flower crowns. They’re giving us palpitations. We strongly suggest you take a comfy seat for this one – it may well cause weakness of the knees!
With photography by Emily Hannah Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged in Palma city by the cathedral after a few too many mojitos! Craig got down on one knee when only the two of us were around.
Our wedding day was the 8th July 2017. We decided on an outdoor wedding, so we chose summer and prayed for a dry day!
Our venue was Camp Katur, Kirklington, North Yorkshire. We chose the venue as it was so different to a typical hotel or stately home and had such a relaxed vibe. The ceremony area was in the forest and felt perfect while the reception was in the rustic barn. We also loved the fact that our guests could stay over in different glamping pods!
We went for a festival/bohemian-style wedding with a relaxed feel and a neutral colour scheme. We wanted to make as many things as we could for the wedding so that it was as ‘us’ as possible. With help from a good friend, we created a bar made from pallets along with a beer bath. In the end, we created almost everything for the day ourselves.
I bought my dress from Happily Ever After in Darlington. Amanda, the shop owner, couldn’t have been more helpful or lovely. Unlike most people, I knew what style I was after: simple, with lots of chiffon.
Craig wore a brown suit and jacket with a white cotton shirt, black chinos and tan brogues. The jacket, shoes and waistcoat were from Rocha John Rocha and the chinos were good old M&S. The shirt was Jasper Conran.
April 6th, 2018 | Julia Braime
We don’t like to get too carried away, but with the temperatures reaching double figures over the past few days we’re inclined to believe that spring has finally arrived – hallelujah! This means that those of you set to tie the knot in the coming weeks can stop considering a snowmobile as a practical method of wedding transport as calm is restored across the country.
Meanwhile, for those of you just getting started on the big day planning, we’re bringing you details of a stunning East Yorkshire venue perfect for stately celebrations. Introducing new Brides Up North Sponsor, the gorgeous Rise Hall.
Sound familiar? You may well recognise the name of the building from Channel 4 show Sarah Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare, when the property guru and her husband Graham Swift brought the historic building back from the brink of dereliction.
From nightmare to dream, the determined couple painstakingly restored the Hall to its former glory, transforming it into a truly unique wedding venue that invites others to share its beauty and heritage, while also helping to safeguard its future.
A grand yet welcoming home from home, Rise Hall is available to hire exclusively for a full weekend of celebrations, giving couples and their guests use of the entire house, including all 29 bedrooms.
Here to tell us more about the venue’s incredible transformation and wedding offering, while also passing on some words of wedded wisdom, is the lady that know Rise Hall best, Sarah Beeny…
Can you tell us a little about the history of Rise Hall?
sarah says: Rise Hall was built in 1820 and was the home of the Bethell family until the Second World War. During the war it was used for the army and shortly afterwards the family moved out to the rectory and rented the house out to a convent who opened a boarding school. This shut down around 1980 and it was then inhabited by the nuns for ten years falling further into disrepair until around 1990 when they moved out. It stood empty and on the market for ten years until myself and my husband bought it in 2000.
What attracted you to Rise Hall and what kind of condition was it in when you bought it?
It was pretty bad but unlike many of the houses ‘at Risk’ that we had looked at, the dry rot hadn’t taken hold too much and it sat happily in the centre of its land. It was solid and straight and surprisingly quick to get to from London, Leeds and York, despite looking a long way east on the map. The first few years were spent with a lot of buckets trying to keep the rain out, but we had fun there and had lots of hardy friends who used to come and stay on mattresses with electric blankets!
What was your vision for Rise Hall and can you give us an overview of the work that has been carried out so far
When we first bought it, I think I honestly thought we might just live there. However, when we had the children we had to make a decision about their schooling and as much of my work was based in London we based ourselves there. It made us look at Rise in a different way and we realised that for it to come out of a ‘building at Risk’ category, it needed a proper future that was financially secure and for that it had to have a purpose. Weddings seemed the perfect option as the dozens of friends who had visited Rise over the years all wanted to get married there so we started the major internal refurbishment which resulted in the finished home we have today.
What is the look and feel of the Hall like now?
We very much want people to feel it is ‘their home’ when they get married at Rise Hall. Yes, it is incredibly grand and walking down the amazing main staircase it is difficult not to pretend you are in a film, but it is also wonderfully relaxed with our ‘pub’ and ‘kick off your shoes’ style mixed with seamless, cheerful service. Rise is pretty classic and traditional in many ways (with a few modern exceptions in the bedrooms) and I believe this is what attracts a lot of our couples.
When did Rise Hall become available for brides and grooms?
It was about six years ago – we wanted Rise Hall to have a sustainable future and knew that weddings were a great place to start. We also have quite a lot of special birthday parties celebrated at Rise also and regularly host corporate getaways.
Is it still a home to you and your family too?
Yes, very much so – it is trickier now that the children are getting older to get there as much as we’d like but all the children, their cousins and most of our friends’ children all have childhoods full of memories of Rise Hall.
Can you tell us about the areas of Rise Hall that can be used for ceremonies and receptions and how many guests the venue can cater for?
There are actually eight different spaces you can get married in at Rise Hall – and of course Rise Church, which is a lovely walk across the parkland. At Rise itself we have rooms that can seat from as few as 20 in the Gallery to 300 in the Ballroom. We want people to be able to have the wedding that perfectly suits them and their guests.
What makes Rise Hall a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?
To be honest I think the proof is in the pudding – people rarely visit Rise Hall and don’t book it. It is exclusive yet accessible, impressive but informal, grand but comfortable. It truly is your stately home from home!
What sort of bride would be a Rise Hall bride?
We see such a variety of brides at Rise – from the more relaxed bohemian bride, to the dark red tartan bodice wearing bride and to the bride who has always dreamed of the 20-foot train! You name it, we can do it – we are entirely flexible and it truly is your day. I think the thing that all the Rise Hall brides have in common is a love for grand architecture, the feeling that they want the house to be all theirs for their stay and wanting a really great party with feasting and celebration.
How can the venue’s events team help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?
I believe that a perfectly organised event is generally down to how experienced the person delivering it is. We have amazing staff who not only know Rise Hall, but they are headed up by our general manager, Ed, who joined us last summer and is fantastically capable of ensuring the planning and delivery of a wedding is seamless. Our motto is that you should enjoy the journey as well as the destination and our team help to make that happen.
Can you tell us a little about the accommodation at Rise Hall?
We have 29 bedrooms. Graham is an artist and was very hands on for much of the design of all the rooms. We have three rooms that reflect the different periods that the house has lived through – Regency, Victorian and Millenium as houses such as Rise Hall would have had perhaps one or two rooms that were refurbished every generation, but most would have stood the test of time. All the beds are fantastically comfortable with loads of feather pillows and shutters or blackout curtains to ensure a great night’s sleep.
What is the feedback like from couples about Rise Hall?
They all say that it feels like home despite being amazingly grand – they never want to leave as the house and gardens are beautiful and somehow time stands still whilst they are there. I think the roaring fires in the winter and endless lawns that can be enjoyed in the summer are a big plus but also that they can have a truly bespoke wedding that is completely different to all the weddings they’ve been to before – that is probably the biggest selling point.
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