October 19th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Given the popularity of this priceless post we have allocated a quarterly yearly slot to round up the very best nuggets of advice from the real brides that have graced our pretty Brides Up North pages over the last few months.
For these are the ladies fully in the know of the beautiful, if not at times bumpy, wedding planning journey that you brides-to-be have ahead of you as you pull together all the elements of your dream day.
From budget and timeline tips to advice on the venue, theme and supplier choices, our certified newlyweds share where it’s worth investing your time, money and stress and when it’s time to just full on Frozen-style let it go!
Within their clued-up comments, we’re thrilled to hear how we at Brides Up North have helped to play a part in the planning of their gorgeous celebrations; from taking inspiration from our beautiful featured real weddings, to using our handy online directory to locate top local suppliers and also visiting our Luxury Wedding Shows that we host at wow-worthy venues across the north, directly linking couples and industry pros to take care of every wedding detail while providing an abundance of inspiration.
We hope you too will use and benefit from such fabulous resources as well as the priceless knowledge that our fully-fledged brides are about to impart as they complete the following sentence – “My top tip to other Brides Up North would be…”
Click on the links to see each wedding in full.
samantha says: My top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to try to keep everyone happy; it is your day, so it’s the only time you can be truly selfish. We worried too much about everyone else throughout the whole process. Funnily enough, my best friend gave me the same advice! I would also say relax and don’t let the small things on the days leading up to it, and on the day, get to you. So many small things did not go exactly to plan for us, but it doesn’t dampen your mood on the day. The most important thing is having your friends and family around you – all the laughter, happy tears, dancing, eating good food and celebrating while they watch you marry your best friend. It is the most amazing day, no matter what.
linsey says: Don’t worry about the weather – you can’t control it so try not to waste time stressing about it. Think about how to keep the day interesting and enjoyable for your guests. For us, we knew that if we could see our family and friends enjoying themselves then this would make the day even more perfect! In the run up to the wedding, I also spent a lot of time looking at the real weddings section on Brides Up North – it was so helpful to get tips from other brides and to get a feel for the types of things that we wanted to incorporate into our wedding day.
stacey says: Don’t settle for anything less than you want. If there are suppliers you really want, get them booked in as soon as you can. We knew the suppliers we wanted to make our day special and each one made it perfect.
emma says: Definitely get a videographer! We were unsure for a long time but so pleased we did in the end. The guest messages definitely made us chuckle! Also, take time out to be on your own, just the two of you. We had a 25-minute journey between the ceremony and reception that meant we had some time alone before greeting all of our guests. Finally, when looking for suppliers, the online directory on Brides Up North was extremely helpful. I followed Brides up North on Instagram and took a lot of inspiration from the real weddings section too.
natalie says: Enjoy every minute of the planning. I never really understood why brides were stressed before the wedding. I really enjoyed the whole process. I particularly liked choosing the flowers and also liked creating all of the finishing touches.
zoe says: Think about what wedding you want. Don’t worry about what other people will think. I know that people thought we were ‘doing too much’ or ‘doing the wrong things’ because they couldn’t see the bigger picture but, in the end, everyone could see it all came together and was worth it. I like to be organised and have things written down, so make lots of lists, talk to lots of different suppliers and don’t rush into booking the first one you see. Just remember it’s all about you as a couple and it will come through in your day.
sophie says: Give yourself lots of time the few days before the wedding to get things sorted – there were lots of last-minute bits we were running around doing and I was pretty organised, so it’s always worth having the time as a contingency.
caroline says: Trust your suppliers. You’ll have chosen them for a reason, so let them do their thing! We also put them all in touch with each other, which meant they could chat to each other without us being the middle man – much quicker! My other tip is to do a full ‘run of show’ and contact sheet and give it to everyone who is part of your day. Then everyone is kept in the loop and you don’t get plagued with a million questions in the run-up to the big day.
lucie says: Choose a venue that suits you as a couple. I would say that picking and choosing the bits that actually matter to you is really important, and also helps you to prioritise and budget. At the end of the day, the most important part is the vows and making sure you’re in an environment that feels right to celebrate with your nearest and dearest. The rest of it is detail, and no amount of flowers or hours spent agonising over stationery colours will matter as much to you both on the day itself. Also, during the planning, we went to several Brides Up North wedding fairs at Denton Hall, which were a very handy way to catch up with all our suppliers and generally think about where we wanted to display things on our day. I visited the Brides Up North website too. I didn’t really do overwhelming amounts of research, but for me looking at real weddings on the blog was the best way to get inspiration or to think of extra details. It’s also a great way to track down tried and tested suppliers.
sarah says: Make sure you make time for yourself and invest in a photographer you trust to take great pictures and who you would want to hang out with for 12 hours! Also, make whatever decisions feel right for the two of you. Changing my dress with three months to go felt like a crazy thing to embark on, but it was the best decision I made – I felt a million dollars!
rachel says: Get the big things booked in as soon as possible; you are therefore more likely to get the suppliers you want before they get booked up and you have a good idea of how much everything is going to cost well in advance. We wouldn’t recommend a two-year engagement like we had but it was the time we needed to save up for everything we wanted; it was worth it, but it did get a little stressful thinking of the wedding for two whole years. Also, don’t worry about getting around all your guests on the day – just take everything in and enjoy the moment. The only thing we wish we’d had that we didn’t was a live band for the reception.
emma says: Throughout the wedding planning process, I visited Brides Up North to look for local suppliers and read the real weddings with a similar theme so I could get more ideas on what we wanted our wedding to look like. Myself and my maids of honours also visited a wedding fair in Leeds, held by Brides Up North, which we fully enjoyed, particularly sampling the cakes and prosecco on offer!
katy says: Get people to help you, don’t try to do everything yourself! People helped us with all sorts – the wedding playlist, teaching us to dance, making the cake – you name it! Not only does it take some of the stress away, but everyone feels a part of your wedding, which makes it even more special. We got a group of us together to make the decorations about six weeks before the wedding. It was a great way to power through making them all and we had a lovely day spending time together getting excited for the big day. Also, if you’re going on your honeymoon straight afterwards, make sure you have the first few days to just relax, recover and enjoy being newlyweds. We love packing loads into our trips, but boy did we need a few days to just veg out on the beach after it all. It’s more emotionally exhausting than you realise!
alex says: Enjoy every single part of the planning process. It’s a cliché but the day itself will go by in flash – it may not even go to plan (although we were lucky that ours did) – but the wedding process is so much more. Enjoy your engagement, searching for venues, meeting with suppliers, dress shopping, the hens and stags; it’s all part of it, so enjoy every second.
lucy says: Having a DIY wedding was much more challenging than we anticipated, mainly in terms of building an infrastructure around the effort and ensuring the costs for this don’t spiral. So, if you do something similar, make sure you talk through with your marquee/ tipi provider what they require in terms of electricity and water, and how they can support you in this area of your planning. There are so many things to think about, from how you can facilitate your caterer, and whether you need a generator, through to organising suitable toilets. Totem Tipi were amazing in helping us to understand all of this and without this level of advice we would have been struggling.
holly says: Do exactly what you want to do on your day – just because it doesn’t fit the ‘regular mould’ of a wedding day doesn’t make it any less special. Early in your planning, sit down together and work out what your top priorities are for your day and keep those as your focus.
emma says: Accept help from people. There were so many family and friends who helped with different aspects of our day. We couldn’t have done it without them and they made our day even more special. Also, there were also some aspects of our day that were a complete surprise to us. We hadn’t seen the wedding cake, we’d given Milly the florist free reign over the flowers and the decorations, and it was so lovely as the bride and groom to have some surprises waiting for us at the venue, rather than knowing every detail inside out.
rebecca says: The Brides Up North site gave us a great starting point when searching for suppliers. The main element we found useful though was definitely the Brides Up North wedding fairs; it’s important to meet your suppliers in person as the people you work with are often far more influential to your day than the products they offer.
ashleigh says: Start getting ready early on the day of the wedding! The only time I felt any stress or nerves was whilst getting ready in case I was late! My other top tip would be to take in every moment and make a mental note. I got told that so many times before the big day and now I think back and remember so many lovely details.
charlotte says: If you are planning a fairly large wedding and know you are going to have a lot going on, get a wedding planner. If you are as meticulous as me, having someone else also with an eye for detail takes a huge weight off your mind on the day. Our day definitely would not have run as smoothly if we didn’t have Helen Eriksen involved. We also found Brides Up North helpful when looking up local suppliers for our day.
March 22nd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
It’s time to say a huge ‘welcome!’ once again to the newly-engaged amongst our readers – a big, pink, sparkly Brides Up North congratulations to you all (psst! Did you know that our very own lovely Rachel joined the ranks of the betrothed over the Christmas break? Catch up on the first instalment of her wedding diary here if you missed it!)
Even if your organisational OCD gives Monica from Friends a run for her money, the reality of planning a wedding can feel a little daunting – ok, let’s be honest, terrifying. There’s so much to consider – Venue! Guest list! Photographer! Entertainment! – and so many people, well-meaning and otherwise, clamouring to give you their esteemed opinion on all things wedding-y.
Enter Brides Up North **curtsies** – we’re here to share everything we know about wedding planning like a pro and put it all into some kind of more easily-digestible timeline rather than a constant stream of random demands that you find vying for your brain’s attention at 4am.
So if you missed Part 1 – all the first stage essentials of date, venue, guests, budget and photographer – have a read here. Otherwise, it’s onwards to the pretty!
Now that you have a season and venue in mind, you can start thinking about the specifics of your wedding day theme – in fact, if you’ve been true to yourself in your choice of venue, the chances are you’ve already thought about it!
No one wants a cookie-cutter wedding exactly the same as the last, but there are definitely broad wedding styling themes that run through even the most personal of big days. If you’re both fans of the outdoors and have chosen a venue that reflects that – a barn, a marquee at home or in a farmer’s field for example, you may find that elements of a natural, organic, woodland wedding theme start to sneak in – rustic log slices, pine cones, greenery, hessian and so on. Treat it like a buffet, though – you don’t have to have it all, just choose the bits that really take your fancy! Of course, this is just one theme of many; we pride ourselves on featuring a range of wedding inspiration on the blog, from laid-back cool to vintage glamour and from clean and contemporary to timeless fairy-tale elegance.
Believe us, there’s a lot out there, so go on and get inspired. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Pinterest is your friend, check out our pretty boards here. Get onto those wedding and photography blogs and give that pinning finger some exercise to get some big, broad ideas fermenting.
What’s the difference between theme and styling? Well, this is where things get a bit more specific. So, theme-wise, you and your beau might opt for a vintage winter wedding, and your styling takes your research and ideas to the next level. You’ll need to think about a colour-palette that matches theme (oohh, amethyst and fuschia?), start considering broad dress ideas (Beading galore? A 1920s dropped waist? A super-sparkly headpiece rather than a veil?) and how these could be reflected in other areas of the wedding planning; from favours to font styles on stationery. And speaking of stationery…
It’s become more common for couples to send out a Save The Date card (or photo, or magnet, or whatever you like, really) even over a year in advance so that guests have ample notice of their intention to tie to knot. Of course, you don’t have to rely on mail if you don’t want to (although pretty paper always gives us a buzz) – there’s the option of a slick We’re-Getting-Married website where you add more details over time and you have the option of changing the design as your planning – and styling – develops.
No, not the partner of your dreams – we’re pretty sure you’ve sorted that one already – but rather the dress of your wildest imaginings. Most bridal boutiques recommend you start the search for your dress 12 to 18 months in advance in order to leave time for ordering, alterations and fittings ahead of the big day. We’d certainly recommend you getting stuck into window shopping sooner rather than later so that you get an idea of the range that’s out there and set up some bridal boutique appointments – be warned that in popular stores, weekend appointments are often booked up weeks in advance.
October 2nd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Image source, Photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography
A wedding is the ultimate form of self-expression that a couple can make. Not only is it the one day where they formally declare their love and commitment to one another, but it’s also a chance for them to showcase who they are, individually and a as a couple, and share the memories they’ve created together so far.
That’s why, when it comes to the finer, smaller details, these can sometimes be more telling, more intimate, and more personal than the grander, sweeping statements made around the choice of venue, the colour scheme and so on.
The table names, the favours, the guest book, even the entertainment and those special extra touches you plan – they all make your wedding, yours. So, don’t overlook these – they’re the really important entries listed in your wedding planner.
As such, we’re today exploring just some of the ways you can inject your personality and interests into your big day and make it a memorable one for you and all your guests.
Image source, Photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography
First things first, an overarching wedding theme can be a catch all means of making your wedding personal to you and knit together all the different elements of your day. A nod to a Celtic heritage, a love for travel, a passion for a local football team, a special era such as the 1920s – whatever allows you to showcase ‘you’ is a great starting point.
Your table names are one of the simplest ways to make a personal statement – think about sharing your favourite holiday destinations, your favourite books or musicians, or something that relates to a shared hobby. Your centre pieces and place names can also tie in with this.
Many couples take a DIY approach to their wedding table plan and the box that houses their wedding cards. And instead of a guest book, why not create a jigsaw of a special photograph, and ask your guests to leave a message on each piece?
Image source, Photography by Ginger & Lime Photography
You might want to create a montage of photographs too showing you both in your early childhood and then chronicling your time together. Another special touch is to feature wedding photos of your parents and grandparents, or loved ones who are sadly no longer with you.
As for other decorations in the venue – what ambience do you want to create, and what expresses you as a couple? Do you consider yourselves as laid-back cultural enthusiasts, sporty and adventurous, or nomads forever indulging in your wanderlust? Think about the lighting, flowers and foliage, and other props that can help express your ‘vibe’ as a couple.
Image source, Photography by Jessica O’Shaughnessy
Here at Brides Up North, we’re always intrigued by the vast assortment of favours handed out at weddings. Gone are the traditional sugared almonds and instead, guests are presented with chocolates, macaroons, candles, scratch cards, wooden hearts, homemade jam, glow sticks and even a donation to a charity on their behalf, close to the couple’s hearts. The question is, what small gesture encapsulates you both, or ties in with your wider wedding theme?
Image source, photography by Bethany Clarke
June 14th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Though couples marry all the year through, summer remains peak wedding season with brides and grooms pinning their hopes on warm and dry weather for their special day.
And as we’re just on the cusp of official British summer beginning, we thought what better way to see in the new season (and hopefully the sunshine) than with some top tips for those of you planning summer celebrations.
Today’s words of wisdom come courtesy of our fabulous Sponsor, award winning hospitality and event management company Dine. Established in 1998, Yorkshire-based Dine caters for more 200 weddings a year as well as offering exclusive private dining. Through its stunning portfolio of venues, the team provide event services for organisations ranging from English Heritage and the National Trust to the owners of some of the UK’s most notable private houses, providing a varied choice of beautiful big day settings.
For this afternoon’s post, we’re welcoming Dine’s managing director, Matt Jones, to the blog to share some of his pro pointers on planning a wedding in the season of blue skies and sunshine…
Matt says: If a summer wedding is something you have been dreaming of, Yorkshire is the perfect county in which to realise your dreams. With Dine’s impressive portfolio of stunning venues, from historic castles and magical gardens to spectacular deer parks and unique marquees, if planned properly a summer wedding can be truly breath-taking.
Make sure to start booking both venues and suppliers months, or sometimes years, in advance – a longer engagement is more sensible for a summer wedding. While it can be helpful to have several venues and suppliers in mind, if you plan ahead more options will be available. Flexibility is important for a successful summer wedding, but that still doesn’t mean that you should settle for options that won’t make you happy. Hiring an experienced event planner like Dine ensures that your most cherished dreams can become your reality on the day.
A marquee can make a stunning backdrop to your celebrations and offer the ultimate flexibility. They can accommodate as many or as few guests as you choose and are available in a vast range of styles – from tipis and vintage army tents to on trend sailcloth. If you don’t have enough room in your garden, Dine offers a number of stunning sites which make the most of Yorkshire’s breath-taking countryside. Choose from panoramic views at Bolton Abbey, lakeside settings at historic Ripley Castle and the Gothic-style Carlton Towers, or the quintessentially English Dalton Hall walled garden.
A well-chosen indoor venue can be equally impressive however – providing picturesque views over gardens through large picture windows and respite from whatever the weather might throw at you.
Dine’s flagship venue The Mansion is perfect for any bride-to-be looking for the best of both worlds. Set in Roundhay Park, Leeds, one of the largest urban parks in Europe, the Greek Palladian style building offers several ceremony and reception rooms of varying sizes all with large windows overlooking the park and modern, luxurious décor.
Other exciting Dine venues include the magnificent Wentworth Woodhouse with a façade longer than Buckingham Palace, the chic city venue New Craven Hall and the glorious 18th century Palladian mansion Nostell Priory set in enchanting gardens.
While you can have a fantastic wedding breakfast in any season of the year, there’s so much more variety during the summer months. The sheer choice makes choosing (and tasting) your menu a lot of fun. With such an extensive range of choice available, it is reassuring to choose a specialist caterer and events manager such as Dine which can recommend what will work best and help you narrow down your menu choices.
The warmer summer months are the perfect opportunity to incorporate light and spicy foods from around the world. Canapés can be a fantastic way of incorporating small elements of international cuisine into your wedding breakfast without intimidating your more traditional guests. A ‘shot’ of Teriyaki beef, giant tiger prawns, and wild mushroom and truffle arancini are only a small selection of global ingredients available in summer.
The great weather also means that more informal, outdoor dining experiences are perfect for a wedding with a twist. Dine can offer a wide range of interesting and relaxed dining options including carnival themes, barbecues, picnic hampers, bowl and street food that take advantage of the fantastic weather and produce that is available. A more casual wedding breakfast can be a unique experience and a great conversation starter.
Dine can also cater for you if you’re concerned about veering too far from the traditional wedding food route. Traditional British food, such as mini sausage and mash, mini roast dinners and lobster ‘n’ chips, ensure that some time-honoured seasonal Yorkshire produce is incorporated into your wedding breakfast.
April 27th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Thursday evening’s don’t come much better than this! It’s very nearly the beginning of a bank holiday weekend and to top that, we’ve got an uber-gorgeous styled shoot packed with wedding inspiration to share with you. Ladies, it’s time to let down your hair, fill up your glass (with bubbles, we hope) and feast your eyes on this bridal beauty.
Lead by award-winning Sheffield florist Tracey Campbell, of Campbell’s Flowers, this shoot is the work of a talented team of South Yorkshire suppliers who relished in the opulent ‘fine romance’ brief.
True to form, Tracey created some truly breath-taking designs, which were complemented by the stunning choice of bridal attire, hair, makeup and details.
The backdrop of the misty Peak District hills adds to the romantic tale, and we are thrilled to see a little cameo appearance from some rather gorgeous greyhounds.
With images by Shelley Richmond Photography. Models: Jessica Fletcher and Jessica Leatherday.
tracey says: The big idea behind the shoot was to really visually explore the growing trend of floral wedding designs moving away from the meadowy, just-picked look so dominant in recent years, and towards a very opulent, luxe look. It’s an incredibly romantic look, so we worked with the shoot title ‘A Fine Romance’.
To create that style, I used lots of textures when crafting the floral designs, and maximised contrasts, by juxtaposing more traditional blooms, like amaryllis with exotic flora, such as King Protea.
Much of the inspiration came from the wonderful Marilyn gown by Sassi Holford, particularly in terms of the colour palette, which featured silvery grey eucalyptus and pinks in a range of hues from soft, baby blushes through to some magnificently vivid magenta. The stunning gowns for the shoot, including Marilyn, were provided by Sheffield-based bridal boutique, The White Room.
When it came to the shoot location, we decided on Losehill House Hotel and Spa. We’ve long been fans of this superb venue, and as preferred suppliers we adore working with them. For us, its incredible location is hard to beat as the rolling hills of the beautiful Peak District will always hold a very special place in our hearts; constantly inspiring us and drawing us back.
Losehill also perfectly matched our theme, as the whole place is brimming with luxury details and feels very special. We also love to collaborate with other businesses who share our ethos, and Losehill really does, particularly when it comes to insisting on quality and supporting local artisans and suppliers, for example, the lounge and restaurant furniture was all hand crafted to their design by a nearby company.
To create our romantic, high-end look with our flowers for the shoot, we focused on a contemporary classic look that was all refined elegance with a muted, soft and incredibly feminine colour palette, which we then contrasted with vivid colour pops like cerise. We also incorporated rich colours that were reminiscent of oil paintings, such as a deep emerald green as seen in the simple ivy crowns.
April 11th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Image by Theresa Furey
We’re getting your Tuesday off to a bright and beautiful start by welcoming our guest writer, the lovely Sophie Grabham, Online Editor at Love Our Wedding Magazine, back to the blog to give us the all-important deets on the current wedding colour trends…
sophie says: When it comes to choosing a colour scheme for your wedding, the possibilities can seem endless! So where do you start?
Consider what sort of wedding you’re hosting. If it’s informal and laid-back you may not want a rigid scheme at all, but for many of us it’s nice to have something to work from. Think about what colours you love, what will suit your venue and the time of year, and what will be easy enough to put together. Matching very specific shades can be tricky, so bear that in mind and be flexible about mixing and matching shades if necessary.
Need a little inspiration? Check out our five favourite colour schemes for 2017 weddings here:
One of our all-time favourite wedding colours has to be nude. Chic and understated on its own or easily mixed with other shades, nude is a real winner whatever your venue or wedding style. Why not ask your bridesmaids to find their own gowns in shades of nude, for a pretty and eclectic look that shows off their individuality without looking bland.
Bethany Clarke Photography
Pantone’s colour of the year for 2017 is Greenery, so we’re expecting to see gorgeous green tones featuring a lot in weddings for 2017/18. This scheme works beautifully for any season, whether it be pastel shades for spring, bright hues for summer or darker, more rustic palettes for autumn/winter. Foliage is a huge trend right now, and lends itself perfectly to this scheme. Include beautiful leafy green foliage everywhere from your floral displays and bouquets, to your wedding cake and decor. A beautiful way to create a natural wedding look, that’s much more cost effective than using expensive, traditional blooms, such as roses or peonies.
Paul Liddement Photography
Take a modern twist on tradition, by turning your ‘something blue’ into your scheme! We’ve seen plenty of weddings featuring pastel blue shades recently and are completely in love. This is a great alternative shade for a vintage theme and may go down better with your hubby-to-be than girly pink! Team with silver and sparkles for a wintry look or try a darker shade, such as navy, for a formal alternative to black.
A trend that’s been going strong for a while and is showing no sign of slowing down, is metallics. Silver, gold, copper and our favourite, rose gold, are all hot picks, whether you choose to mix and match shades or keep things simple with one metal taking centre stage. Sequins are a wonderful way to incorporate metallics into your day, and are everywhere right now, from bridesmaid dresses to table cloths.
Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography
One scheme you can never go wrong with, is white. Traditional and timeless, white is a great choice if you’re indecisive or can’t agree on a scheme. Details in this colour are easy to come by and will never date in your photographs. Plus, they’re easy to pull together, with no messing about trying to match specific shades. Perfect!
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