Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

dream venue: bowcliffe hall

January 17th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Bowcliffe_Hall

Following the festive period, we’re seeing a surge of newly-engaged readers to the blog (including myself – eep – !) and we’re super keen to help you with the first, and possibly most challenging part, of your planning journey – picking a venue.

We’re very fortunate in the North to have such a diverse range of amazing settings for big day celebrations; from cool urban structures, to grand countryside retreats, modern new-builds and fascinating historic venues. But it’s a case of finding the one that’s a reflection of you as a couple and the special day you dream of.

For those on the hunt in the Yorkshire area, we highly recommend adding our Sponsor venue, the stunning Bowcliffe Hall to your ‘to explore’ list. Exclusive and individual, the venue located in Bramham, near Wetherby, only holds a limited number of weddings a year, ensuring those that it does host are totally tailored to the couple exchanging their vows.

With a choice of magnificent spaces and wow-factor-worthy food as standard brides and grooms can have an influence on everything from how the rooms are used on their day to the menu that is served to their guests.

So prepare to take note as we hand over to Bowcliffe Hall’s team now to tell us more about their bespoke approach and personal service…

Bowcliffe_Room

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

bowcliffe hall say: At the heart of the Bowcliffe Estate is Grade II listed Bowcliffe Hall, built between 1805 and 1825. Once home to the Lane Fox family and subsequently aviation pioneer, Robert Blackburn, Bowcliffe Hall hosted many guests including Winston Churchill and Amy Johnson. In 2013, the current owner and custodian, Jonathan Turner, began an extensive restoration and development programme, sympathetically restoring many rooms to their former glory and creating a diverse collection of spectacular event spaces.

Ballroom_Chandelier

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

Set in 38 acres of spectacularly landscaped grounds, Bowcliffe is no ordinary country estate. From the Georgian splendour of Grade II listed Bowcliffe Hall with its glamorous Ballroom and sumptuous Bowcliffe Drivers Club, to the multi-award-winning Blackburn Wing, a copper and glass masterpiece which took more than 50 weeks and 30,000 man hours to build, Bowcliffe is a personal and unique venue offering an unparalleled choice of venue space and flexibility for any wedding.

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

Bowcliffe offers total flexibility for weddings of all sizes, with a choice of event space available across the estate. The seriously stylish, multi-award winning, Blackburn Wing is a modern-day treehouse shaped like an airplane wing. The fairytale Ballroom has a romantic and glamorous feel harking back to a bygone era with its elegant sparkling chandelier and art deco bar. The Bowcliffe Room is a splendid drawing room with beautiful Georgian period features and double doors leading to spectacularly maintained gardens. The Bowcliffe Drivers Club is the estate’s private members club. Dark mahogany panelled walls, 1920’s inspired décor and the largest collection of motoring art and artefacts outside London create an opulent, sumptuous and intimate atmosphere. For a larger wedding, Bowcliffe’s 38 acres of beautifully maintained grounds offer a perfect location for a marquee wedding.

Drivers_Club_Briefing_Room

What makes Bowcliffe a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?

An unrivalled choice of spectacular venue space allows the flexibility to create the perfect day that truly reflects your personal taste and style. With fully exclusive use for every wedding, Bowcliffe offers a truly bespoke approach where exceptional service is a given and the belief is that the food should be as much of a wow factor as the dress or the venue.

What sort of bride would be a Bowcliffe bride?

A Bowcliffe bride appreciates exclusivity, exceptional standards and meticulous attention to detail, whether in the presentation of the venue, food or the service, as well as the opportunity of creating a truly bespoke wedding day based on the flexibility that Bowcliffe can provide.

Blackburn_Wing_Terrace

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

We believe that offering outstanding service should be the norm. Because we only host a limited number of weddings each year, the highly-experienced events team have the opportunity of delivering a very personal service. A dedicated member of the events team will be the single point of contact throughout the whole planning process, taking the time to work with each couple to create their perfect wedding day.

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perfect prep: capturing the morning of the wedding

January 17th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (11)

When asked to pick their favourite part of their wedding day, our featured brides on the blog often pick the ceremony (as one would expect), closely followed by the morning of the wedding. For this is precious time that they spend getting ready for their big day with the most important ladies in their lives.

We personally adore looking at professional images taken at this stage in the day, when the prosecco, laughter and tears, are often in full flow. One lady who is in full agreement on this being a super-special stage of the day is Brides Up North Sponsor and Yorkshire-based photographer Jenny Maden.

We’ve therefore invited Jenny to take over the blog this morning, to tell us all about the fabulous images that can be captured during the bridal prep – from the reactions and relationships to the all-important details – so these elements of the wedding can be relived when the big day has been and gone.

With images by Jenny Maden Photography.

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (2)

Why do you think the bridal prep is such an important part of the wedding day to capture?

jenny says: My main objective when photographing a wedding, is to ultimately ‘tell the story’ of the wedding day through pictures. For me, missing the bridal preparations would omit the first chapter in the story, as the bride gets ready for the ceremony with her closets family and friends. It captures the excitement of the imminent ceremony. It’s a really lovely time and a privilege to capture.

What is it you enjoy most about being present for this part of the day?

It’s great to spend some time with the bride and her crew, before the wedding day gets into full swing. There’s usually a lot of laughing, a lot of tea and prosecco drinking and some fab hair and makeup tips flying around.

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (36)

Image-wise, what elements do you tend to photograph during this time?

A typical set of bridal prep images would include bridal ‘detail’ shots, such as the dress, shoes, jewellery. But I also document the morning unfolding, from hair and makeup, the giving and receiving of gifts, the bride getting into her dress and the reactions of her family and closest friends. But above all, what I really aim to capture is the ’vibe’ of the morning, so that the morning can be re-lived, through photos, after the wedding day is over.

Is the bridal prep included as standard as part of your packages and, if so, how much of the prep to you tend to capture?

Yes, bridal prep is included in my wedding package. I typically arrive at around the same time as the hair and makeup artists.

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (4)

Can you do groom prep as well, either yourself or with a second shooter?

It’s not a common request, as I usually meet the groom and groomsmen at the ceremony venue, in advance of the ceremony. But yes, if a couple wanted groom prep coverage too, this can certainly be arranged (the travelling distance between the bride and groom on the morning, would generally dictate whether I would need a second shooter).

Bridal Prep (c) Jenny Maden Photography (44)

What is the feedback like from your brides about images you have taken of the bridal prep, what do they love about the images?

Brides are always surprised at quite how much I have captured of the morning! My coverage at this point in the day is very much ‘fly on the wall’; I just let things unfold around me, but capture them in a discreet yet artistic way. Furthermore, while a wedding day is predominately focused on the bride and groom, the bride’s relationships with her parents and close friends really comes through in the images taken during the bridal preparations.

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happily ever after. a garden wedding at capesthorne hall, cheshire – rachel & omar

January 16th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

A Garden Wedding at Capesthorne Hall (c) Slice Of Pie (42)

Ahead of our first Luxury Wedding Fair of the spring season at the stunning Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire this Sunday, we’re sharing the wedding story of Rachel and Omar who chose this fine venue as the setting for their special day.

Exchanging their vows in the Hall’s impressive grounds beneath the lake-side gazebo, Rachel and Omar’s ceremony was 100% picture perfect.

The proceedings gave a tasteful nod to Disney (something we suspect their guests may have seen coming after a proposal by the Alice in Wonderland statue in New York’s Central Park!), and the couple further styled their day with a statement navy and coral colour scheme.

Other special touches to look out for include games on the lawn – something that should be a prerequisite for any garden wedding, we think, and a lovely string quartet to set the laidback ambience.

If you’re on the venue hunt in the North West, be sure to join us at this spectacular venue on Sunday 21st January, for our Brides Up North Bespoke Luxury Wedding Fair, 11am to 2pm, FREE ENTRY. We will be joined by top suppliers from the area as well as the venue’s super helpful team. Pre-register to attend here.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Slice of Pie Photography.

A Garden Wedding at Capesthorne Hall (c) Slice Of Pie (48)

rachel says: We were on a romantic city break to New York in February 2015, when Omar surprised me and proposed by the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park, in the snow.

We tied the knot on 30th July 2016. We chose that date as we wanted an outdoor wedding and summer is our favourite season.

A Garden Wedding at Capesthorne Hall (c) Slice Of Pie (24)

The venue – Capesthorne Hall in Macclesfield – was stunning and a great location for our friends and family. It had everything we wanted – outdoor facilities, a stately home and a contemporary feel for the evening reception.

A Garden Wedding at Capesthorne Hall (c) Slice Of Pie (26)

We didn’t have a full theme for the wedding, but we chose certain aspects to show our favourite things and personalities. For example, I walked down the aisle to a Disney arrangement (arranged by my very talented best friend) and our tables were Disney couples instead of numbers. My cousin very kindly painted small canvasses with the couples on.

We decided on a navy and coral colour scheme – we felt it was appropriate for the season, with the six bridesmaids in three different shades of coral and the male members of the bridal party wearing three-piece navy suits.

A Garden Wedding at Capesthorne Hall (c) Slice Of Pie (50)

I chose a lace-up tulle fishtail gown with a strapless sweetheart neckline and pewter lace appliqués, beginning on the body and continuing down the front of the dress and the train. The dress was from The Confetti Box in Eccles. It was just what I wanted; very grand for the venue and something I’d never really seen before.

Omar wore a navy morning tails suit with a grey soft tartan waistcoat, pocket watch and matching tie and pocket square in navy with small white polka dot. This was from Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow.

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#getcreative: bridal beauty by aj edgar mua

January 15th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

AJ Edgar MUA (13)

While it can be tempting to have a complete beauty overhaul ahead of your big day, we believe it’s incredibly important to be the very best version of you on that special day, and not to take things too far so that you look like someone else altogether.

With this being our mantra, we’re very much in favour of our talented Sponsor Alexandra Jane Edgar’s approach to bridal beauty: “you wear the makeup, it does not wear you”. For, as Alexandra explains in today’s post, hiring a professional to create your wedding makeup doesn’t mean changing the way you look, but enhancing your features and complementing your big day plans, with luxury brand products that are kind to skin and long-lasting.

As an out and out pro, with experience of working for and training with some of the world’s most luxurious brands and cosmetics houses, we’ve invited Alexandra to the blog today to tell us more about her fabulous makeup services while also sharing a few top tips and tricks along the way…

With images by Joe Laws Photography.

AJ Edgar MUA (2)

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to be in the wedding industry?

alexandra says: Yearning for a creative career I began working in the cosmetics industry 16 years ago. I have represented the world’s most luxurious brands and cosmetics houses and have had extensive training throughout my career from the industry leading names, such as Lisa Eldridge, Francois Nars, Eve Nom and Sylvie Chantecaille. I have been so fortunate to come into the wedding industry purely through client demand for my services on their big day.

Can you give us an overview of the services that you offer and the area that you cover?

I travel throughout the North East to your bridal venue on your big day. I am based full time in an award-winning wedding and portrait photography studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne. This is where you can come for your makeup trial and very excitingly receive a digital photograph. This is a wonderful opportunity to see how you will photograph on your wedding day whilst giving you a confidence boost and a little experience being in front of a camera. We even host hen party experiences, which is fun opportunity to meet us and trial your big day look, with a fabulous photo shoot of you and your bridal party.

AJ Edgar MUA (7)

How can brides-to-be prepare for a wedding makeup trial?

Start to consider your wedding day look when you have chosen your palette, flowers etc. so we can complement your ideas. It really is important to know you are going to look and feel your best on your wedding day. I can then also advise you on skincare to really get your complexion radiant in plenty of time for your big day. Afterwards, just relax and look forward to your wedding morning.

Why would you recommend a bride hires in a professional makeup artist for their big day?

Brides tell me they could not have achieved the same look themselves and they all enjoy a professional, pampering and relaxing service on their wedding morning.

AJ Edgar MUA (14)

What should a bride look for when hiring a makeup artist?

It is your day! You need a good relationship with any professional to feel happy and confident.  Experience is essential. I use luxury brands of skincare and makeup and I create looks for ladies of all ages every day.

What would you say is the best part of your job and what you excel at?

I love meeting new people and being a part of your most special day is so rewarding and the feedback from my brides and the bridal party is so positive and encouraging. I am told from my clients that they do not feel any makeup on their skin so they can just feel and be themselves. This is definitely my signature style – you wear the makeup, it does not wear you. Making a woman feel transformed, beautiful and her best is extremely empowering.

AJ Edgar MUA (1)

Where do you look to for inspiration?

I work in such a creative space, as a team we are constantly challenging ourselves with new looks, lighting techniques, photographic editing. We pore over fashion magazines and Instagram for inspiration and bounce lots of ideas around the studio and on location. We never stop creating – #getcreative is our thing. I recently created a stunning Baroque inspired look for a shoot for Kathryn Russell, an incredible couture bridal gown designer who is based in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne.

What bridal makeup looks are in vogue currently?

Brides always tend to require timeless and classic makeup for their wedding day. I’ve recently noticed an increase in brides requiring elements of glitter and sparkle into their looks too.

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everlasting love: a wonderful wedding weekend at hornington manor – sarah & neil

January 15th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Pretty Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Richard Perry Photography (28)

A wedding that lasts a whole weekend has to be every bride’s dream, as anyone who’s ever been married will tell you that the big day goes by in a flash.

Today’s featured couple, Neil and Sarah, who held their wedding at Brides Up North Sponsor venue Hornington Manor, squeezed every minute they could into their nuptials, hiring the venue exclusively for a full weekend and bookending their wedding day with relaxed barbecues for their family and friends.

An unusual but inspired detail of their big day was to have a juke box in the evening instead of a band, so everyone could plug in their favourite tunes and create their own DJ set.

We love the barn setting, with its hanging chandeliers, and the bunting that Sarah’s mum took a whole year to make – now that’s dedication! If you too adore the country charm of this stunning venue then be sure to join us on Thursday 19th April, when we will be hosting an Pop Up Evening Wedding Festival Fair at Hornington Manor, with a collection of fabulous local suppliers and the venue’s amazing team!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Richard Perry Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Richard Perry Photography (31)

sarah says: We got engaged in 2016. Neil had bought a ring in the August but had been thinking about how to pop the question for a few months. He decided to propose when we were on holiday in Edinburgh, in September. We stayed in a small town called Linlithgow, for a few days where there is a castle by a loch, which would have been a lovely setting. He had planned the proposal to be there and we went after dinner one night – but it was really dark. We went into Edinburgh for the latter part of the week, by which point Neil was running out of chances. One night I had a dream that Neil proposed while in Edinburgh, so he thought I knew! It got to our last night: we had dinner in town and walked back through the Princes Street gardens. He took me to a quiet part away from other people and got down on one knee. I was so surprised that I started laughing and crying at the same time. So much so that he had to prompt me for an answer!

A Pretty Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Richard Perry Photography (17)

We got married on 22nd July 2017. I liked the idea of a summer wedding but wasn’t set on an exact date. When we booked the beautiful Hornington Manor near Tadcaster, they didn’t have many dates left, so we just picked one before they got booked up! The venue is an old manor house, which has all the original bedrooms and kitchens, and large front lawns, and they’ve refurbished the barn into a reception area. It was perfect – so relaxed and homely. You can hire the whole place for the weekend, which is an extra bonus. We would definitely recommend the venue: it’s so beautiful and the barn was just perfect for our style of wedding. Having it for the whole weekend meant we could invite all our family down, have barbecues on the Friday and Sunday and have a good catch up with people we hadn’t seen for a while. Joanne, Simon and all the team are so helpful and go above and beyond to make the weekend perfect.

We didn’t choose a particular theme. With the venue being quite ‘country’ and relaxed, we just aimed for the whole wedding to be easy going. We both like the colour blue, so were happy to incorporate that where we could. The wedding party was dressed in blue and all the stationery, made by Megan at Pretty Neat Studios in Harrogate, was done on navy blue card. She laser-printed our invitations, menus and thank you cards. We gave her an idea of what style we wanted, which she based the design on. They were beautifully made and unique. We would highly recommend looking her up!

A Pretty Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Richard Perry Photography (30)

I got my dress from Scarlet Poppy in Pudsey, Leeds. The staff there are so helpful and not pushy. I knew I wanted a slim-fitting dress, as I have a small figure. It was a sweetheart gown in ivory, with the underskirt a sand colour. It had lace detail and the straps could be either straight or criss-crossed. I loved it and it was so comfortable to wear all day.

A Pretty Wedding at Hornington Manor (c) Richard Perry Photography (35)

Neil wore a suit hired from Harrogate Suit Hire. It was a navy, slim-fitting tailcoat, with a tweed waistcoat. He wore tan brown shoes. The groomsmen wore the same as Neil.

The bridesmaids wore pale blue maxi dresses, which had an oriental print along the bottom. They suited the venue style really well and the girls looked really nice.

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country luxe: a seasonally glamorous styled shoot at castle farm barn

January 12th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

Country Luxe at Castle Farm Barn (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (17)

You’d be forgiven for thinking an entire garden had gone into the creation of today’s styled shoot. The frothy floral creations bursting with abundant rich greenery brought together by our wonderful Sponsor Leafy Couture, plus the most wonderful sweet treats gracing the dessert table (and the cute little tomatillos on the place settings), are enough to turn our eyes heart-shaped!

The shoot was orchestrated by florist extraordinaire Sarah of Leafy Couture, who runs flower classes, including DIY wedding flower classes for beginners and hen party flower crown tutorials – great options for our crafty brides-to-be out there!

It’s fair to say we are totally blown away by this shoot as there is so much beauty to feast your eyes on and gorgeous inspiration to take note of. As such, we’ll hand over the blog to the lovely Sarah, so she can fill us in on the all-important details…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Laura Calderwood Photography.

Country Luxe at Castle Farm Barn (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (28)

sarah says: Castle Farm Barn in Knaresborough, is a beautiful space in a gorgeous setting; the perfect blank canvas. The inspiration for our styled shoot was the fact we really wanted to show how to make the tables stand out and add interest to a barn space. We wanted to portray a luxury feel while keeping a country vibe, using textured foliage and seasonal-inspired tones. Small details were added, such as autumn fruits and velvet ribbons, to complement the linen and tableware. Bridal P.A. styled the shoot, assisted by L27 Weddings.

Country Luxe at Castle Farm Barn (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (60)

In the bouquet, we used beautiful seasonal flowers, including antirrhinums, avalanche roses, eryngium, eucalyptus parvifolia, wax flower, succulents, astilbe and prunus. In the frame, we used succulents, wax flower, eryngium, tuberose, astilbe, moss and ranunculus. The buttonholes comprised an avalanche rose, euc parvi, wax flower and succulent, while the wrist cuff showcased a succulent, wax flower and viburnum tinus. We were assisted in the floristry by The Mindful Florist, Inspirations 288 and Sandra’s Flower Studio.

Country Luxe at Castle Farm Barn (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (46)

For the styling, we used gold icon vases, antique gold candelabras and floral hoops to make use of the roof space within the barn. Extra details were added with votives, candlelight and fresh petals, all creating an opulent feel.

Country Luxe at Castle Farm Barn (c) Laura Calderwood Photography (12)

Our models, Phoebe and Eve, wore amazing wedding dresses designed and supplied by Charlotte Balbier and bridesmaid dresses by ASOS. The wedding gowns had an elegant, timeless look with a touch of 1940’s/50’s Hollywood glamour. The makeup by Smink Make-up Artistry (who also styled the hair) was natural with an understated feel, yet achieved a glamorous look with berried tones.

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