February 28th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Following a surge of engagements over Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s, we’ve been welcoming lots of lovely new brides-to-be to our pretty pages. If you’re one of them you may well be looking to steam straight into the wedding planning process, though feel a little overwhelmed with all the different elements to consider.
What areas should you tackle first, where should you invest the majority of your time and effort, and what should you look for in suppliers? Here to assist with some of the questions is our fabulous Sponsor, award-winning catering and events specialist Dine.
Catering for more than 200 weddings each year, the Dine team has drawn on its vast experience of hospitality and event management, whilst also taking into account comments from some of its happy newlywed couples, to share its top ‘do and don’t’ tips to planning the perfect wedding.
We will be hosting one of our Luxury Bridal Show with the Dine team at its flagship venue The Mansion at Roundhay Park in Leeds, on Sunday 12th March, 11am till 3pm, free entry where you can gain further pointers and advice while meeting some of the area’s finest wedding suppliers. You can pre-register for the free-entry event here.
Now, on with those tips…
Images supplied by Dine/ Joel Skingle Photography
make sure you do
Give yourself plenty of time to plan and appreciate every part of the process. As the actual day goes by so quickly make sure that the anticipation and build up is also something you will remember with fondness.
Think carefully about the expense and research all aspects to ensure that your budget isn’t overstretched. You may well end up spending more than you originally planned. Wedding planners like ourselves can be a great asset when it comes to budget planning, as we have lots of experience and can advise where savings can be made and where it is worth splashing out.
Book the main aspects of the wedding such as venue, photographer and the registrar first as these often get booked up the quickest. Once these have been sorted it’s much easier to plan the rest of your wedding around them. For example, if your wedding is going to be in a stately home you may decide to theme the day accordingly.
To avoid disappointment, sit down with your photographer prior to the wedding to ensure they are fully aware of what you want to achieve and the photographs you’d like to be taken.
Communicate with each other and family, friends and suppliers. It is important that both the bride and groom with the plans for the day and communication is the best way to make sure this happens.
Remember that you have your partner to rely on. Even if everything feels like it is getting out of hand, the relationship between you and your partner means more than anything and should come before any wedding planning.
Make sure you involve all of your guests on the day as it is important everyone has fun. Think of the different age groups that will be present and plan elements, such as food and entertainment, accordingly.
Enjoy the day! It goes by in a flash so make sure to take it all in and take time out with your partner. Having an events caterer such as Dine means that you can spend more time with each other, as they will be checking everything runs smoothly, leaving you to simply relax and enjoy.
Leave planning to the last minute. Foresight saves you money, hassle and stress and no stress means you enjoy planning the big day far more.
Book suppliers that you don’t trust or whose work you haven’t looked at otherwise there’s a very high chance you’ll be unhappy with the results. Responsible suppliers also mean that on the day you can relax as you know they will be doing a great job.
November 24th, 2016 | Julia Braime
An expert in both catering and event management, some might think that Michelle would have it easy planning her own big day, but having seen so many weddings from week to week she was looking for something that bit different.
Cue a stunning lakeside wedding at the beautiful Lingholm Estate near Keswick, with a church ceremony, followed by marquee (top class) wedding breakfast and a stately home evening party. Impressed? Us too!
We must say Michelle and her beau Adam pulled off a truly elegant wedding to perfection with Michelle looking nothing short of stunning in her swoon-worthy Pronovias gown.
So let’s hand over the blog to the leading lady herself to tell us more about her dream day…
With images by Wynn Davies Photography.
michelle says: We got engaged on the 14th December 2014. We went on a weekend away with some friends on the Isle of Arran where Adam spent a lot of his childhood with his grandparents. On the very last day we went for a walk on the beach in the pouring rain and he proposed; after nine years of being together it was a big shock. I remember a lady walking past with her dog, saying “Isn’t it a miserable day” and I was ecstatic! He knew I loved all things vintage and had bought the ring six months beforehand in Whitby. The ring dates back to 1909.
We set the date for 3rd September 2016, as Adam’s birthday is on the 9th of September and he always has great weather. However, on the 3rd, it didn’t stop raining – all day!
Being a wedding planner and events caterer I have been to a lot of wedding venues so it was very difficult to find somewhere that I hadn’t worked at, or that was a bit different. Adam actually chose the venue after working up in the Lake District. The venue is owned by friends and has only been a wedding venue for a very short time. It is truly breath-taking; it is called The Lingholm Estate, where Beatrix Potter wrote many of her books. It’s situated on Derwentwater, not far from Keswick.
We didn’t really have a wedding theme as such. The sail cloth marquee that we hired from Paul at Shades, had transparent sides all the way around and so I wanted the view to be the focal point. The later part of the evening was up in the house, where we just lit all the fire places with hundreds of candles, contrasting with the old panelled wood, it looked lovely.
Our colour scheme was gold and cream, with blush tones brought in by the bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen’s ties.
Choosing a dress when I see them every week turned out to be hard. I wanted something less weddingy! My only conditions were no lace or sparkles, I wanted something elegant and super plain. I chose two dresses from Pronovias that they were able to combine. I had a capped sleeve, fitted, slightly fish tailed dress with a low back and buttons to the floor with a detachable bustle which made the most beautiful train. I didn’t want to take it off! I bought the dress from Eternity Bridal in Warrington.
Adam wore a Hugo Boss black suit, shoes, socks and shirt. All the gents had personal cufflinks made by Chimo Holdings, my father’s silver company in Sheffield. All the cufflinks were personalised with my nana’s hallmark.
For our wedding transport, we used my father’s car, which used to belong to my uncle, who has sadly passed away. The bridesmaids’ car was Adam’s BMW, which I had bought a personalised number plate for as a little pressie.
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August 18th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
We all know that while wedding planning can be a fun and exciting, it can also be a daunting and stressful task, which is why having an expert to help can really lighten the big day load.
Contrary to what some may think, hiring a wedding planner doesn’t mean a couple are left out of the decision-making, but instead the bride and groom-to-be work with a professional who knows the industry like the back of their hand to piece together their perfect big day, saving time, and in some cases money, along the way.
Cue an introduction for our fabulous new Sponsor, wedding planner Justine Vincent of Silver Sixpence Weddings. Whether a couple just need assistance certain elements, such as venue and supplier suggestions, or instead want a professional on hand at every point of the planning journey for guidance and inspiration, Justine is the lady for the job.
Described by her clients as “amazing” and “a godsend” perhaps we could all do with a Justine to organise our busy lives, but for now we’ll leave her explain how she can help to plan your perfect big day…
Tell us a little about your background and how you came to set up Silver Sixpence Weddings?
justine says: As long as I can remember I’ve always loved planning! Whether it’s been a party, corporate event, holiday or wedding. Over the years I’ve helped many friends, family and even the odd work colleague plan their special day. Before starting my new business I worked various organisational/planning roles, however these were never as fulfilling as my passion for wedding planning – for me was the best thing ever.
After having my little boy I decided it was the right time for me to do the one thing that I have wanted to do all my life and that was to become a wedding planner. After lots of research in to the wedding industry, hard work and planning Silver Sixpence Weddings became a reality.
Do you offer full planning packages or can couples opt to just use one or two services, such as venue search assistance?
I do offer a full planning package, however this I know is not necessarily for everyone. That’s why I offer a number of services, including venue and supplier searches as well as on the day management to ensure the smooth running of the day from the bride and groom’s perspective. As I’m independent anything can be tailored to suit each and every couple. I can even help the bride to find her perfect dress!
Do you offer your services nationwide or just in a particular area?
At this moment in time my clients are Yorkshire based, however I’m more than happy to travel to any couples that require my help.
What is it that you love about working in the wedding industry?
I love all the different people that I meet in my job. These people enable and help me to create a wedding that’s as individual as my couples’ personalities. Creating ideas with them and seeing them come to fruition is truly amazing. What could be any better than being involved in the best day of someone’s life?
September 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Having set your budget, booked your venue, sent out your save the dates and secured your photographer and entertainment, it’s time to move onto tasks that many brides deem as the more enjoyable and exciting parts of the planning schedule.
This is because it’s time to start thinking about how to style yourself and your venue for the big day to come! So in today’s wedding planning post we’ll be talking blooms, bridal boutiques and bridesmaids.
Today beautiful blooms tend to stretch way beyond bouquets and button holes with many couples opting to incorporate pretty petals into their décor too. From dainty pew ends to grand floral chandeliers, the possibilities are pretty much endless, though you will need to find a florist that shares your botanical visions in order for them to become reality.
When searching for the right florist, it’s important to look for a trusted supplier with good testimonials from previous couples. You will also want to view examples of their recent work to get an idea of the styles and arrangements that they can achieve. So it might be that you are looking for a florist known for loose, natural and rustic designs, or perhaps neat and elegant arrangements or those that can wow with modern, striking floral structures.
Once you have whittled down a short list meet up with the florist to see how you ‘click’ and if they share your visions on bouquets and floral decorations. They might even suggest great ideas you’d never even thought of.
In many cases shopping for the dream dress is a bride’s favourite part of the planning, though it can be daunting and frustrating at times too with so many options to choose from.
Having done your initial wedding dress research using magazines, blogs and websites to get an idea of the type of gown you might like and to suss out which designers fall into your dress budget, it’s time to search for boutiques that stock your chosen designers and make appointments to visit.
When attending bridal boutique appointments it can be easy for brides to get carried and invite a small entourage to accompany them but it really is best to keep numbers to a minimum to avoid becoming confused by differing opinions. Take those who know you and your style best and will give you an honest opinion – so perhaps mum, sister and maid of honour.
Though it’s good to have an idea of the type of dress you might like, it’s also good to be open minded at your appointment as a style that you’ve never considered just might turn out to be ‘the one’. Bridal stylists know their stuff so if they make a suggestion to try a certain gown on, go with it but don’t feel pressured – the decision is ultimately yours.
Once your dress is sorted you can move onto finding the right gowns for your maids. Again, though most ladies love to shop, bridesmaid dress hunting can be far from retail therapy with bridesmaids clashing on what they would and wouldn’t want to wear.
To avoid shopping centre tantrums it’s a good idea to get together with/speak to your bridesmaids about what type of design and colour you were hoping to dress them beforehand, giving them an opportunity to express any concerns early on. If you have maids of varying figures you could dress them in one colour but different styles of dresses to suit their individual shapes. Alternatively, if you have maids of varying hair colours and complexions, you could ask them all to wear the same design but in varying complementary colours, to suit both them and the wedding styling.
Also, when picking suitable colours for the maids’ dresses think about the styles and tones of flowers you’ve picked and how they will work together.
At this point in the planning process it’s also a good idea to get the catering search underway if the venue you’ve booked won’t be providing the food.
Over time wedding breakfast menus have been extended beyond traditional meat and vegetables, meaning that there are now lots exciting options to whet your appetite. Some couples base their food choices on their personal preferences while others make their decisions by the season of the wedding. There’s also the option to pick menus that complement the style of the wedding, so for example afternoon tea for a rustic, country themed wedding, or street food, such as pizza or Mexican, for informal outdoor weddings.
Whatever you decide look for caterers with good reputations and find out what is included in the price, such as waiting staff and glass/crockery hire, to avoid any hidden costs. Then it’s time to sample the goods with a tasting session so you’ll know exactly how the food will look and taste when it’s served up on the day.
April 16th, 2015 | Julia Braime
With all this promised sunshine on the agenda, plus lots of crushing on this gorgeous Venetian wedding this week, here at Brides Up North HQ we are dreaming about destination dos.
If you are doing the same, there’s an expert to help! Step forward the lovely Lisa (who I first met back in 2012 as part of a shoot for a profile in Fabulous Magazine) of Brides Up North Sponsor the bridal consultant, who is ready and willing to make your overseas dreams come true.
Grab your passport…
When did you launch your business and what is your background?
The Bridal Consultants Ltd was launched in 2004. I have a love of travel, I actually met my own husband while working on cruise ships and together we travelled the Caribbean, South America and Canada for 5 and a half years. This was a fantastic experience and I learnt a lot about the wedding abroad market; Information that was to prove very useful when setting up The Bridal Consultants. When we started, 11 years ago, the wedding abroad industry was very different. It was very much a conveyor belt style of wedding and no one was offering a tailor made service for couples living in the UK who wanted to marry overseas, but didn’t want to book their wedding under the restrictions of a set wedding package, couples who wanted to tailor make their big day to make it personal to them.
What services do you offer and to who?
We plan tailor made weddings for couples wanting to get married abroad in one of our handpicked destinations. This includes everything from helping to choose or recommending the venue, menu planning/tasting, decor, bridal party flowers or live entertainment. We help with the legal paperwork, our admin team will ensure all the documents are completed correctly so the wedding is fully legal on the couples return to the UK. We also work with British people outside of the UK, at the moment we have several brides living in Dubai.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Getting to know our couples and what they want most from their day and then through careful questioning finding out what’s most important so we can make the best recommendations for the venue and the suppliers we recommend to them.
I also love the creativity of seeing a wedding theme come to life, advising on colour choices and decor, after all the majority of our couples won’t see the venue until their wedding day so they rely on our expertise to help them make the best decisions. We visit our venues regularly which really helps with ideas and keeps our information update and fresh!
What makes you different to other destination wedding planners?
A big factor is the way we get to know our couples closely. We provide sample costs and then we encourage our couples to tailor their day rather than commit to a predefined package. Every couple deserves a wedding day tailored exactly to them. We’re also very honest and if we feel that a venue doesn’t suit or a supplier isn’t a good fit we will tell our couples, after all the couples happiness is our success.
Where are you located and what areas do you offer your services in?
We work with brides all over the world but mostly our couples are from the UK, our offices in Chester are in the city centre so easily accessible to those that wish to visit us, however due to time pressures the majority of our brides use email, phone and SKYPE as forms of communication
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?
A simple wedding in Santorini, Greece for 25 people is usually around £6000.
This includes everything you need for your wedding and receptions: venue hire, basic photography, decor, food, drinks and wedding planning services. However our average bride spends around £8 to £10k once they have added entertainment, upgraded their photographer and added extra decor. Everyone is unique and usually the sample costing is a starting point for them to work from.
We focus on the wedding and reception, so this doesn’t cover costs such as flights and accommodation or wedding dress/ suits, so don’t forget to budget for those.
What is the process for a bride-to-be booking you to help plan their big day?
Initial contact is made via email or phone where we discuss the bride/grooms ideas/requirements and what they expect. From here there is much communication via email/phone, and on request a consultation to discuss the finer details of the day. As soon as the venue is decided we’ll look at a date and secure this first. Some venues book up years in advance so this is key at this early stage. The Interim planning for the wedding then takes place in October of the year before the wedding with final planning around 3 months before. It’s a very easy process and suits our busy couples. Along the way we are always here to discuss ideas and, of course, concerns which are a normal process in any wedding, we wear many hats!
What areas of the wedding do you find brides need the most help with and why?
Finding the perfect venue is the hardest I would say. The majority of brides will not visit the venue before booking so they rely on us to translate their wants/desires into their perfect day. We visit our venues regularly to ensure we are up to date in our recommendations and we pride ourselves in being able to interpret what a couple wants into their perfect wedding day.
Another thing that couples tend to need help with is the look of the day. Done correctly this really makes the wedding unique and perfectly reflects the couple. I find that couples have lots of ideas but struggle putting them together in a way that works, so we help them to incorporate their ideas and desires into a way that works perfectly with the wedding venue and the day.
Do you offer elements of planning such as venue search as well as a full planning package?
We only offer full wedding planning so the whole day from start to finish.
How far in advance would a bride-to-be need to book you?
At least one year in most locations, however in highly demanded destinations like Italy and Santorini 18 months to 2 years is the norm!
Are there any particular destinations that are popular with your brides at the moment?
Santorini is definitely very popular, it offers exclusivity and is very stylish without losing the Greek charm. It’s not overly commercialised either and is very good value for money considering the calibre of suppliers and venues. We get a lot of requests for a very modern and minimalist look and Santorini fits this perfectly.
What destinations do you cover? Tell us a bit about them.
We specialise in weddings around the Mediterranean, our most popular destination being Greece followed closely by Italy. Greece offers all types of settings from a private beach to vineyards and rustic farms, whereas Italy has an array of private villas, luxury estates and historic castles. We recently expanded our services into Ibiza which is perfect for the relaxed stylish bohemian bride and will shortly be adding Marbella in Spain which offers beautiful boutique style luxury venues and stunning Croatia where you can get married on a small island away from the main land together with a lighthouse, all overlooking the beautiful azure water of the Adriatic coast.
Tell us about the types of weddings you help to plan? Is there a favourite that stands out?
We plan all types of weddings from intimate weddings with 20 guests so extravagant weddings with 100 people plus. I especially love planning weddings where the bride and groom get really involved in the overall look of the day and work closely with us to ensure the day reflects their personalities.
One of my favourites last year was the wedding of Nicole and Andy from Manchester a young professional couple. They were so excited about the wedding, yet so relaxed and trusting in us as a company. They really went to town for their guests by making sure they were kept up to date via a fantastic wedding website. They prepared welcome bags for their guests and gave them out pre departure with wedding guides that were simply brilliant. They went as far as to tell them how much a beer cost and what to wear on the big day (and very funnily what not to wear). On the evening they incorporated games, my favourite was a dancing game where each table was named after a song and when the DJ played that song the guests on that table had to get up and dance and the best dancer got a medal that the bride and groom had made. They also had each guest make peg versions of themselves which each guest brought with them to the wedding and the best peg won an award! Although this was quite a lavish wedding, the wedding was so successful due to the time taken by the bride and groom creating these special touches, and these cost nothing and can be incorporated by anyone.
Any tips for brides-to-be on how to pick the right destination for their wedding?
I would say write down the top 5 priorities, such as weather (sun or snow, warm or hot), budget (and be honest), distance from the UK (long or short haul), cost of guests accommodation/accessibility to all types of accommodation from budget to 5 star, type of wedding venue, (villa/hotel/town hall/church/beach). Once you have these it’s easier to narrow the choices.
What would you say are the main plus points of having a wedding overseas?
The weather is still the main advantage for most bride and grooms along with the unique settings that you can only get with a wedding abroad and the obvious cost factor that your money goes so much further abroad. The majority of the guests won’t have attended a wedding abroad before so you will be offering them a very different and unique experience far different from anything they have experienced before.
What would you say to couples that think it would be too stressful to organise a wedding abroad?
Planning a wedding abroad can be very stressful, more so than planning a wedding in the UK where you can actually visit your suppliers and see them face to face. I would always recommend using a planner that understands your requirements and expectations, offers clear honest advice and that fills you with confidence. You should only really have to get involved in the decision making, the planner should take care of the contracts, and administration along with offering advice and ideas. If you can find a company you trust and enjoy working with there is nothing to be stressed about, you can truly enjoy the experience of the planning and the day itself.
In your experience do destination wedding couples tend to honeymoon in the same place they have their wedding or do they move on to another country?
In most cases the bride and groom have a separate honeymoon after the wedding. The wedding is such an exciting time but much of this time is spent with guests, socialising, hen party/stag do’s, pre wedding dinners, that having the time afterwards together away from guests is quite important so you have time to enjoy each other and reflect. Some go straight on after the wedding others come home, have an after party in the UK and then go onwards to their honeymoon.
Are you married?
I married in 2013 in Scotland! 30 of our close friends came with us so it was a small intimate wedding, it was on the 20th of December as we both love Christmas. However I am planning a renewal of vows in the next few years, I’m just searching for the perfect venue, I love Villa Eva in Italy and The Sunset View Terrace in Santorini, I just can’t decide!
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?
We’re really proud of our website, it offers lots of information plus real life wedding case studies and details of each of the gorgeous weddings venues we work with, so this is an excellent place to look at what we do and what we can offer, after this we suggest an email or phone call to talk with our team about your wedding plans:
01244 316 772
October 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I do love autumn. Crisp skies, moody mists, golden leaves, better telly.
This is a special season and a special week, in fact, for my family as my husband and I celebrate four happy years of marriage together, and our second anniversary with our little daughter in tow.
If you tie the knot yourself this week, let me tell you, it’s a great one for it – and I hope you are as happy in your future lives as we are.
For the rest of you, let’s kick off another week of wedding inspiration with this pretty marquee castle wedding, sent to Brides Up North by our fabulous Sponsor Andrea of Fabulous Day wedding planning, and real bride Gemma.
String out the bunting…
With images by SMH Photography.
Gemma says: We got engaged on a weekend away in Cardiff. We saw the perfect ring and knew the time was right.
We set the date for 25 July 2014. We are both teachers and knew we wanted to marry at the start of the summer holidays. The venue is lovely on a sunny day and we wanted to maximise our chances of plenty of sun.
We were married at Chirk Castle. It is one of our favourite places to visit. We have always found it very romantic and loved the idea of being able to have the ceremony in the Hawk House.
We decided on a pretty eclectic theme. There were lots of flowers and pastel colours but we wanted it to feel relaxed and have an informal, thrown together feel. We didn’t have just one main colour. Lots of floral patterns and colours were important to us so that is what we were aiming for.
I chose a Maggie Sottero gown. It was a long dress in light gold with beading. It had straps and was corseted at the back. I didn’t want a white dress and after searching for a year found one that I thought was perfect. I used Aristocrats Of Chester.
David wore a grey Cameron Ross morning suit. The morning suit seemed to go better with the informal style of the day.
We used SMH Photography. They were great and we would highly recommend the services of Sandra and Steve. They were very professional and worked really hard all day.
Our flowers were from Fletcher and Foley. We had a variety of fragrant herb and flowers to link the the garden theme. We had jugs of flowers on the tables that matched the bouquet and buttonholes.
The favours were homemade whiskey marmalade for the men and strawberry jam for the ladies. David’s parents made them and we bought personalised labels from notonthe highstreet.com.
We choose a ‘Naked Cake’ after seeing something similar in a newspaper. We had three tiers each filled with cream and decorated with fresh flowers and fruit. Our colleague, Nerys, has made the cakes for lots of the teachers at our school and did a great job on a very hot day!
Andrea at Fabulous Day was our wedding planner and we couldn’t have done it without her. We want her to come and live with us now!
We used Ice Cream Dub ice cream for desserts, including mojito and strawberry champagne flavours. The van looked great.
In the evening we had a curry station served outside as the weather was so great. Rupert Frazer Worden was our fantastic caterer. At the bar we had Wrexham Lager on tap as David’s grandad worked for the company. It was great to have it there.
We also loved the DIY photo booth provided by our marquee company. The guests had loads of fun playing around.
We used Lucy of Memento Stationary and were very pleased with the results. We’ve even used Lucy for our thank you cards.
We loved the setting for our wedding and would have chosen it a thousand times over. The place was already special to us and now it’s a special part of our lives. My family members from South Wales loved it so much they’ve been back to visit.
I was apprehensive about the ceremony as I’m a very emotional person but it was just perfect! Very natural and laid back, just as we wanted it!
I really wanted to go to the Maldives and it was just perfect. We booked through Kuoni and had 10 days in the Maldives and three days in Dubai. It was the perfect end to the whole experience. A perfect setting and great service at a wonderful resort. We want to go back now!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to hire Andrea, she had so many unique and money saving tips and contacts. Our day would have been completely different without her. Thank you Andrea!
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