Brides Up North

the big debate: should you allow your single guests to bring a plus one to your wedding?

February 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

found on, by RachelCarl

via, by RachelCarl

In this brand new Friday morning feature on the wedding blog, we’ll be debating all the most difficult wedding planning topics. Today we tackle a sensitive subject and ask: Should you allow your single guests to bring a plus one to your wedding?

Found on


julia says YES:

Smug marrieds. Annoying, aren’t they?

Think back to your own single days. Chances are, you weren’t sitting at home every Saturday night drinking vodka and singing to Chaka Khan on your lonesome, but equally, it’s very likely that as fabulous as singledom can be (all the duvet, no wet towels on the bathroom floor, no awkward lunches with the in laws) you didn’t much like being reminded of your solitary status during notable romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas and weddings.

Your single friends? They don’t like that either.

Ok, so your best mate might have just met the “love of her life” in a club last Saturday night, but if she’s hoping he’ll hold her hand during your wedding ceremony, do you really want to deny her that happiness?

To me, the success of a wedding isn’t down to the colour of the centrepieces or the cost of your frock. It’s the people who make the party. Ok, if the budget, or space, really is very tight, then I’d always advise just asking your very favourite people and perhaps having a quiet word about why you can’t allow for any more. But if there’s some flexibility there, why not make someone’s day and allow them to bring a plus one to your wedding?

Have you ever been a guest at a drinks reception where you only know the bride and groom? Have you ever been seated at the “children’s table”? Have you ever danced awkwardly with the bride’s teenage brother? You can save your friend from all of that. What a hero.

Happier guests make for a better wedding day, even if you never see a few of them ever again. And who knows? It might be that you’re buying your hat for that plus one’s wedding in the not so distant future…



rachel says NO:

A best friend of mine who is in the wedding planning process is currently in meltdown over her ever-growing guest list – and she’s not alone, it’s a task dreaded by most to-be-wed couples.

The pressure goes far beyond simply drawing up a list of the friends and relatives you want present to share your special day as issues such as inviting children, pushy parents and plus ones come into play. As I see it ruling out plus ones from the off is the easiest way to lighten the load and means one less thing to worry about.

Weddings are expensive affairs and every extra body can add more than £100 to the bill, so couples can be forgiven for not wanting extras dining out on their big day. In most cases these would be people you don’t know anyway, essentially strangers at your wedding and allowing some friends and relatives plus ones could mean not inviting somebody else you would actually want at your wedding – someone that you would actually recognise in the congregation.

I get it, you might have a single friend who wouldn’t really know anybody at the wedding – but aren’t weddings meant to be a place where single people meet? I say mix them all in together and hope for a Cilla Black/Paddy McGuinness result.

Chances are some of your friends and relatives will meet on the hen and stag dos which breaks the ice and gives them a friendly face to look for on the big day. Also be clever with your seating plan and try to plant the singletons with others who are in the same boat and also with chatty/friendly people who are likely to make them feel at ease.

I know I’m making it sound easier than perhaps it is but if you’re planning an intimate wedding or your budget is stretched, saying no to plus ones is the way to go. Of course you have to be sensible and fair with it though – make it a one rule for all and don’t just pick who can and can’t have a plus one. I’m not suggesting you don’t invite people’s partners who they have been with for a considerable amount of time but if your mate has now been to the cinema with that guy she met on a night out he still doesn’t constitute a partner and therefore shouldn’t be given the honour of an invite. When all said and done that’s what it is, an honour.

via ruffledblogvia

what you said on Facebook:

Nic: “I gave everyone a plus one, including my single friends. Some of them just brought a friend. I just wanted every one to enjoy themselves as much as possible and worried they wouldn’t as much if they felt a bit left out especially as the meal is so formal.”

Beth: “If we’ve both met them and it’s a long term relationship, they’re invited. But if it’s a new relationship and nobody has met them… I’m not paying for their dinner!”

Rachel: “If they are married/living together and we know them then they’re invited if not, they’re not. Luckily a lot of our friends are mutual and we all go out as couples but we’re applying it to family as well as friends.”

We’d love to hear your side?


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a wedding alphabet. l is for love.

February 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Found on (2)


All too easily engaged couples can let wedding plans consume them as they become hung up on the small details and forget about the big reason the day is taking place – love.

Of course you want to put on a day for everyone to remember with the perfect styling, décor and attire all in place. But beyond the pretty and the party the day is ultimately a celebration of you as a couple, your love for one another and the joining of two families (gushy, we know). So we’re encouraging our readers not to lose sight of the love during their planning journey and if anything to embrace it.

Found on, photography by  Ryan Ray

via, photography by Ryan Ray

Fall outs are bound to arise along the way but work out what you both want from your big day and then join forces to achieve it. We all hear stories of brides neglecting their men and ploughing ahead with the plans, and equally the men that don’t want to get involved and would rather take a back seat. Either scenario is going to result in someone feeling alone and possibly undervalued – in our book planning an occasion that joins two people together requires two people’s input.

Found on, photography by Mango Studios

via, photography by Mango Studios

So take on board one another’s ideas, wishes and requirements and where you can’t agree be prepared to compromise – there will be a lot more of that to come in married life! Also try to look at the planning less like a chore or one great big ‘to do’ list and instead remember that this is something special that you are creating together. Have fun with it and don’t take things too seriously – everyone will still have a great day whether or not the napkins are an exact match to the bridesmaid dresses.

Found on (3)


On the flip side be sure to take a break from the planning here and there for those all-important ‘date nights’. Engaged or not we all fall victim of getting into a rut, but spending quality time together doing the things that you enjoy can often remind you of all the reasons you fell in love in the first place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a trip to the cinema, visiting the place you had your first date or escaping on a pre-wedding getaway, you’ll just be grateful that it’s a no-planning zone.

Found on, photograpgy by Christine Lim.

via, photography by Christine Lim

A wonderful way to express how you feel about your other half and to reflect on your journey together so far is to write your own vows in the run up to the wedding. This gives you an opportunity to rip up the script and to tell your own love story. You could include details of how you met, how you’ve grown as a couple, what your partner means to you and your promises for your future together.


via, photography by  Jennings King Photography ¦ photography by Polly Alexandre Photography

If however you’re planning a religious ceremony, or you would simply like to stick to tradition, you could always request to speak at the reception. More brides are now taking up the opportunity to write their own speech for the big day – not only to say how they feel about their other half and their future together, but also to thank the other people in their life that they love and who’ve championed their relationship, such as friends, parents and siblings.

Found on


Meanwhile for those that get stage fright there’s always the option of sending your fiancée a special a card or letter on the morning of your wedding to remind them just how much they mean to you and how excited you are for what’s to come. You might also want to include a gift that they can wear on the wedding day and beyond as a keepsake of your special day.

So as girls that have made weddings our full time job we fully support you in creating a beautiful big day but by keeping sight of the love along the way we believe you will have an equally beautiful marriage ahead of you to match.

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lets get it started: early wedding planning

February 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry


image source

Christmas and New Year are peak times for proposals meaning we’ve had an influx of new brides-to-be to our pretty pages *waves*.

Setting out on the wedding panning road is both an exciting and daunting experience – but don’t panic as we will be with you every step of the way, offering fabulous inspiration, insider info on top trends and, of course, some useful advice.

One of my best friends is just starting the journey having had a ring romantically slipped onto her finger on Christmas Eve. At the moment she’s wondering in which order she should build up her blank canvas into her dream day. And so to help her, as well as our other new readers, take their first steps towards the big day, I thought now was a good time to cover the early planning stages.

money matters

Not to put a dampener on your just-engaged mood but as with most things in life a wedding starts with money – in particular how much you would like to spend and on which areas you will save and splurge.

If it’s just yourself and your partner footing the bill you can keep the conversation to yourselves but if parents plan to contribute you will need to discuss a rough sum and if there is anything in particular that they would like to cover the cost of, for example the reception, transportation or the bar bill.

Once you have a budget in mind try to stick to it. Write down what elements of a wedding day you will need to finance out of your pot from the venue to the attire, food and entertainment. As a couple discuss which are the most important areas to you and so where you will spend the most money and areas in which you can cut back. It might be that you wanting lasting memories of your big day so want to allocate a chunk to a photographer and videographer, or perhaps you’re huge music fans and want to blow out on a rocking band to keep the party going into the small hours. Try to think about you as a couple, your personalities and what you enjoy and aim to reflect this in your planning choices to make your celebration your own.

it’s a date

Money sorted, it’s time to set a date. For many this will come down to the season in which they want to tie the knot; so is it to be a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter affair? Other elements could sway your decision though, such as your budget. Wedding venues can be more expensive at peak times of the year, such as high summer, and weekends are often more pricey than week days. It may also be that your jobs govern the time of year you can get married, or if you are planning a destination wedding you will need to think about when the weather will be best and when will be most convenient for your friends and family to travel.

be our guest

Another stress-inducing area of planning – the dreaded guest list. Here lies a whole minefield of extended families, plus ones and what to do about children.

Initially couples should think about the type of ceremony they want; while some will prefer to keep things simple with a small and intimate affair, others will want to make the most of their moment in the limelight by filling the church to the rafters.

Your budget will also go some way to determining at what point you have to draw the line.

In the first instance as a couple both write down the names of the people you would like there and see how the numbers work out. If the final figure is coming out too high, look at where you can make cut backs without causing a friend or family rift. For example if neither of you are close to your cousins can you just invite them to the evening do? Or perhaps you could cut back on plus ones or omit children and just have an adult-only celebration.

set the scene

Now the numbers are in place you can search for a venue to accommodate your clan.

The venue is often the biggest expense and one of the most important factors of a wedding as it sets the scene for the big day. Therefore it’s well worth researching all the fantastic venues available to ensure you find one that ticks all the boxes.

Beyond the traditional church wedding ceremony, hotels remain a top choice, often favoured for their package deals and on site facilities. But changes in the law and the amazing creativity of suppliers have made the previously impossible, possible when it comes to dream wedding venues so don’t be afraid to push the boundaries.

For something old there are castles, country houses, listed halls and stately homes, or for a blank canvas to make your own, tepees and marquees. Meanwhile others might want a quirky outdoor wedding in gardens, woodland or on a beach. Or for something totally out of the ordinary, possibilities even stretch to museums, theatres, restaurants, sporting venues and art galleries.

Whatever you consider be sure to think about logistics, extra costs and find out exactly what’s included.

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pretty eclectic. a marquee wedding at Chirk Castle – gemma & david

October 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (34)

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.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (8)

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.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (16)

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.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (21)

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.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (32)

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.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (37)

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

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!

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (40)

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!

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (25)

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.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (43)

We used Lucy of Memento Stationary and were very pleased with the results. We’ve even used Lucy for our thank you cards.

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (47)

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!

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (48)

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!

a pretty eclectic wedding at Chirk Castle (c) SMH Photography (54)

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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Fabricated. Supplier Showcase: Love To Marry

November 26th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Bespoke Fabric Bouquets by Love To Marry

We’ve met Brides Up North Featured Supplier Hazel of Love To Marry here on these pretty pages before, whilst celebrating her award winning wedding planning business, but today she’s back to tell you all about a really rather lovely addition to her skillset over on her brand new website.  Is there nothing this girl can’t do?

Welcome back Hazel – tell us about your new range of fabric bouquets?  What made you diversify into bridal accessories?

I love planning weddings and being able to be part of the day but even though I am a big part of the couples’ day I offer a service that not all couples require. A wedding planner is classed as a luxury (although for some couples it should be essential!) but all brides want to hold something walking down the aisle and I mentioned before I’m a creative person and so can use that creativity to make something that’s a keepsake for brides, bridesmaids and even the wedding party as I make fabric and faux flower buttonholes, corsages and pomanders. And it turns out that I’m pretty good at it!

Bespoke Fabric Bouquets by Love To Marry

Tell us a little about how the fabric bouquets are designed and made?

I offer three styles of bouquets. Foam rose and brooch bouquets – made with foam flowers, jewellery and other embellishments, for example, lace, pearl pins, feathers and feather butterflies. These are simple, lightweight and very pretty and can be made of almost any colour or combination of colours. I can also make pomanders in the same style which are great for leaving the brides hands free.

Then there are silk flower bouquets. Silk flowers are very realistic looking these days and these can be made into hand-tied posies and again be adorned with ribbons, lace and jewellery and be made of any variety of flowers and foliage.

Then there are the fabric and brooch bouquets. These are boho or rustic in style. The flowers are hand made using satins, silks and lace and adorned with brooches. They can also be made in any colour combination to suit.

Can you make bespoke designs?

Yes. Some brides give me photos of the look of their wedding with fabrics and colours and I make bouquets to match.

Bespoke Fabric Bouquets by Love To Marry

Where do you look for inspiration?

A lot of my designs come from someone asking me for something in particular. For example I started making fans and flower girl wands because I was asked if I could make them. I get inspiration from many sources – seeing a fresh flower bouquet and wondering if it can be made using silk flowers, or seeing a bridal gown and designing a bouquet to go with it.

What bridal accessory trends have been popular in 2012 and what trends do you see emerging in 2013 and beyond?

Fresh flowers will always be popular and they smell lovely, but a lot of brides are wanting keepsakes and so button and brooch bouquets are becoming more popular. Vintage is still holding strong and having vintage pieces of jewellery either as it is or made into a bouquet or head dress has been popular. Vintage will still be going strong but some brides like the unusual and hopefully quirky and bright coloured accessories will be popular. The ‘natural’ look is also emerging and the use of recycled items.

Bespoke Fabric Bouquets by Love To Marry

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price? Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers? 

Bespoke brides’ bouquets start from £70 and bridesmaids from £25. I offer free postage on orders over £100 and a 10% discount for larger orders. Brides Up North Readers can get complimentary mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom corsages and a free bridesmaid bouquet or pomander if ordering three or more bouquets.  Quote Brides Up North when ordering. 

What can Brides Up North expect when they use your service?

I want my clients to be happy and so I will keep you updated with how your order is coming along and send you photos of items as I make them so they won’t be a surprise when they arrive and you know you’ll be happy with the order when it does arrive.

With my wedding planning you’ll get attention to detail and a calm presence on the day to make sure you have a relaxed and happy day with your family and friends.

Bespoke Fabric Bouquets by Love To Marry

What is your current favourite design and why?

I love the bridal pomander. It looks beautiful, its light, can be made in any colour and adorned with pearl strings and brooches and is also very practical as it sits over the brides wrist and leaves the hands free for holding a glass of champagne in one hand and new husband in the other.

I’ve also started making extra large pomanders that are perfect for hanging from beams, marquees or even standing in large vases.

Do you make pieces that would be appropriate for Bridesmaids or Flower girls?  What would you recommend?

For flower girls I make pomanders out of cotton flowers that I make myself with buttons in the middle. I use 5 or 6 different fabrics in each pomander to give a girly and vintage feel to the pomanders. They are very light and so perfect for little ones. They come in three sizes and with matching hair slides and make a lovely keepsake. I can do wands and pomanders in foam and silk flowers too.

For bridesmaids I make smaller versions of the brides bouquet and can also do wrist corsages and peacock feather fans.

Bespoke Fabric Bouquets by Love To Marry

How are your products packaged?  Do they make good gifts?

The fabric pomanders and buttonholes come in acetate boxes so make lovely gifts. If the bouquets are being posted I make sure I wrap them well as you never know how carefully the carrier takes care of the packages. But under the bubble wrap they will be wrapped in tissue paper and can be provided in a gift box if requested

Is this your dream career? 

I think being in the wedding industry is a fabulous career and having a successful business is my goal. 

There isn’t much time to relax in the Walshaw household with two little boys and I find making my bouquets and pomanders relaxing. Other than that I like reading and watching TV or catching up on much missed sleep!

Bespoke Fabric Bouquets by Love To Marry

What are your “best things” in life?

My family and dancing. My two boys are brilliant! My 7 year old is history and Lego obsessed and talks for England and my youngest is 10 months and is the happiest contented baby in the world. I’m very lucky. I’m also a belly dancer and have recently been performing in a Middle Eastern Folkloric show in Birmingham and Liverpool which will be coming to Leeds and Manchester in November. Just to make my life extra busy!

Tell us about your recent North Of England Wedding Award?

I won The North of England Wedding Award for Customer Service 2012 Yorkshire for Wedding Services. I’m very proud of this achievement and though it was for my wedding planning services my customer service is the same for the bouquet side of my business too. I always aim to make sure my clients and customers are happy with the service and products I provide. So whether it’s full wedding planning, event styling, a bouquet or just a buttonhole – you will always get Excellent customer service.

Bespoke Fabric Bouquets by Love To Marry

How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?

For wedding planning and event styling services I can be contacted on; for bouquets and faux floral arrangements and accessories then please email or visit where I have a gallery of recent designs.


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Love To Marry

Love To Marry is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier and this is a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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