Charlotte Balbier

best dressed: tips on wedding dress shopping

September 7th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Pic 3

image source, photography by Jess Yarwood Photography

Following the summer, we’re welcoming a new surge of readers to the blog *waves*, mostly whom accepted a proposal while away on their holidays (you lucky things!). A good way to avoid those post-holiday blues setting in would be to throw yourselves into the wedding planning – and girls, we’re here to help.

Though daunting, it’s also a very exciting time as you begin to piece together your dream day. In the most sensible of terms, we’d advise you to start off by looking for, and securing, your top choice of setting and photographer – however, we know how easy it is to get caught up in the desire to dress shop!

I mean this isn’t just any outfit; as a main focal point of the day this is a moment to shine in front of your family; outdo, we mean, impress your friends, and feel amazing, not ashamed, when you come to show your children, and possibly, your grandchildren, your wedding album in years to come.

So, in preparation of your boutique-visiting expedition, we gift you the following top tips…

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image source, photography by Sarah Beth Photo

research, research, research

As if you haven’t already been pinning wedding dresses quicker than a Kardashian can contour her face, now is the time to expand the research beyond just the appearance of the dress, to the designers that you like, the price tag of such dresses, and in which boutiques you can expect to find them. Often designers will have a certain signature look – vintage-esque Eliza Jane Howell, girlie Charlotte Balbier, sweet So Sassi and beautiful boho by Rembo. This means by studying their collections you should be able to get a feel for the designer’s overall style, and perhaps even pick out key designs that you’re particularly drawn to. You can then research which boutiques stock such designers and in what proximity they are located to you. Some will share the price range of their dresses on the boutique’s website, so it’s worth having a quick search before booking.

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image source, photography by Sean Elliott Photography

timing is everything

Though we know you’re itching Muriel-Heslop-style (a 1994 film reference for any babies out there) to get trying on those dresses, you don’t want to begin visiting boutiques too early, or even too late. Most dress shop owners recommend starting around 12 to 18 months in advance of the wedding to allow time for ordering in the dress and making alterations ahead of the big day. While you can start a little in advance, the danger of picking out a dress too early is that you might change your mind before the wedding arrives (numerous of our featured real brides have admitted falling victim to this). A change of heart can be very costly, so regardless of exactly when you pick your gown, we suggest you don’t actively continue your search beyond that point.

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image source, photography by James Tracey

safety in numbers

While it’s natural to want to share your dress shopping experience with you mum, nan, sister and aunt, not to mention your #girlsquad, too many opinions can hinder, rather than help, when it comes to making your decision. Most boutiques suggest picking no more than three shopping companions if possible, and selecting those that you can trust 100%. So before booking appointments, think about whose opinion you will value most, and who you want to share that special moment with.

that loving feeling

You will have heard the expression “I knew it was the one” used by brides on many an occasion, but what they report is real. The intense gut feeling that they know they have found their dream dress for their big day, whether it be the first or 50th gown they try on. If you’re just not getting that loving feeling though, try not to settle or feel pressured. Take time to go away and think about it, is there any dresses that you are being drawn back to, or do you need to expand your search further before making that final decision?

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image source, photography by Melissa Beattie Photography

trust the experts

Trained bridal stylists know their Peiros from their Packhams, the style, detailing, cut and fit of a gown, and so it’s worth taking their suggestions and advice on board. Often, they will begin a consultation with a chat about your personal style and the type of wedding you are planning before helping you to pick out gowns to try on. If they suggest a wild card, give it a try. No end of brides have said the dress they ended up picking is nothing like what they thought they would go for, but a bridal stylist persuaded them to try it on and they’re so glad they did.

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image source, photography by Melissa Beattie Photography

stay true to you

Overall the decision comes down to you and what you feel most confident in. Don’t forget you will be wearing the dress all day; eating, drinking, dancing and (if your groom struggles to get you out of it) possibly sleeping in it, so you need to feel comfortable too. Most of all you want to feel like you; don’t be tempted to play ‘dress-up’ with something too far out of your comfort zone. So, if you’re naturally a fashionista go bold with an on-trend design, but if classic chic is more your thing, an elegant princess-style gown will ensure that you do go to the ball!

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seasonal inspiration: dine’s top tips for an autumn wedding

September 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

With extensive views across Roundhay Park photo opportunities at The Mansion are in abundance

The unpredictability of the British weather means that couples are looking beyond the key wedding season for their big day, opting for an autumn or winter date instead.

Low lighting, cosy venues and warm comfort food, can make celebrations at these times of the year more appealing to some brides and grooms, despite the shorter days and lower temperatures. So, as we head towards the end of summer (or what was supposed to be!), we thought it was high-time for some autumnal wedding inspiration, which comes 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 top tips for planning a wedding at the most colourful turning of the seasons.

The Greek Palladian style, Grade II listed building offers several ceremony and reception rooms

venue

Matt says: With the right forward planning, marquees can be a great year-round alternative to an indoor venue. With cooler weather in prospect, your event planner will include heating and flooring in your marquee to ensure you and your guests are warm and comfortable, even if the weather isn’t ideal. While Dine boasts spectacular sites for a marquee, an at-home wedding can be the perfect option to enjoy an intimate and relaxed day.

With a marquee being the ultimate blank canvas, an at-home wedding often feels more informal and rustic and vintage themes can be used to create an even more welcoming atmosphere. Encouraging your guests to get involved and create decorations or provide flowers can also make your day, and venue, feel even more special.

With the leaves turning red and gold, an indoor venue might not feel like the right space to take advantage of the gorgeous colourful backdrop. However, choose a venue set in acres of parkland with large picture windows and you have the perfect compromise between taking the guesswork out of the weather and making the most of spectacular views and autumnal scenery.

With extensive views across the 700 acres of Leeds’ Roundhay Park, photo opportunities at Dine venue, The Mansion are in abundance. The Greek Palladian style, Grade II listed building offers several ceremony and reception rooms, all with large windows offering fantastic vistas over the park. The private terrace is the ultimate spot for the bride and groom to steal a few minutes together and take in the autumnal colours.

Plants with little to no foliage help to bring the outside in while keeping links with autumn and the wedding inside

food & drink

Autumn menus are all about taste and satisfaction. Warming, layered flavours incorporating plentiful seasonal ingredients are fundamental to ensure your guests are left feeling satisfied. This is even more important as the weather turns colder.

If you’d like to carry the autumnal theme through to your menu dishes, seasonal British produce is at its best just now and an autumn wedding is the perfect opportunity to showcase the very best in the larder. Rich meats like venison, duck and beef are versatile and readily available. Try them in a terrine of duck confit to start, and beef wellington or roasted fillet of venison for a hearty, seasonal main that are sure to delight your guests.

British fruit and vegetables are also in abundance in autumn, fantastic for a side to your flavoursome main or as the star of a dish. Perfect with strong cheeses, apples can be used in any course. For a twist, why not incorporate this classic British fruit into your starters with a Yorkshire blue and leek terrine with a Granny Smith jelly. Or if you’re looking for a richer vegetarian dish, why not take advantage of the abundance of mushrooms available in the UK and treat your guests to a brioche of creamed wild mushrooms with a garlic and shallot hollandaise.

Although often overlooked, cocktails can be a wonderful way to incorporate seasonal flavours. Hot, mulled apple ciders, sloe gin and whisky sampling take the chill off, while nut-based liqueurs like amaretto provide a seasonal base for autumnal cocktails.

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hot topic: child-free or child-friendly?

August 8th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Joe Stenson Photography

Joe Stenson Photography

Wedding etiquette can feel like a minefield of decisions and dos and don’ts, with one wrong step having the potential to cause a rift of Cold War proportions. Where to sit your couple-no-longer best mates – and their new partners? To free bar or not to free bar? At my own wedding in 2011 the fish starter emerged from the kitchen only for my Aunty Breda to announce (within full earshot of that top table) that she “couldn’t even look at a fish”. Six years on and I’m still thinking about that haddock entree and Aunty B’s pursed-lip fish disgust. Time to let it go, man.

But anyway, I digress. My point is that the build-up to any big day involves running the gauntlet of tough decision-making, and undoubtedly one of the most controversial dilemma of them all is this: to invite the kids, or declare your big day child-free?

Daz Mack Photography

Daz Mack Photography

Couples split into two camps on this one, with some thinking that weddings = love and that = family, and so the more under tens running around pulling knee-skids on the dancefloor, frankly the better. An equal number are at the other end of the spectrum, considering their big day to be a less-than-perfect environment for a four-year-old suffering from mood swings and a Haribo addiction.

So, what can help you make the initial decision as to whether to invite the kids or not? Well, we’d always advise taking a good look at your close family and friends first. Do your siblings or best mates have children? Would they struggle to organise sitters for your long wedding weekend in Ibiza? Be aware. We’re not suggesting you change your dream day to accommodate everyone else or feel the pressure to invite children when it’s never been part of your plans. However, you may have to accept that if your sister-in-law is going to be breastfeeding a three-week-old at by the time the day rolls around, she may feel she can’t attend – and you might have to be ok with that. The best way to avoid fall-outs is to give your guests plenty of notice so that they can organise childcare if needs be – oh, and another top tip from the wise: be clear on your wedding stationery as to who exactly is invited. Don’t write ‘The Joneses’ if you actually just mean ‘Mr and Mrs Jones’ and not their adorable-but-ear-piercing six-month-old. These things have a habit of being misinterpreted.

Kristian Leven Photography29

Kristian Leven Photography

If you go the other way and decide to invite children, you may want to have a think about how best to keep them entertained. Weddings are feats of endurance even for grown-ups – I can’t count the amount of times I’ve disappeared from a reception for a sneaky power nap – and so the average two-year-old who relies on two scheduled daytime sleeps a day is going to find a wedding tough going.

Consider when your ‘golden times’ will be, i.e. when you really, really need children to be quiet – most would say the ceremony, particularly the vows, and the speeches – and plan, plan, plan. I’ve seen everything from a vicar’s warm reminder that it’s ok to step out during the ceremony if required (i.e. if Nathaniel loses the plot) to a ‘pop-up’ creche organised by a local nursery for a couple of hours (more affordable than you might think).

Here’s the best of the Brides Up North brainstorm for keeping the kids onside…

Sally Eaves Photography

Sally Eaves Photography

ask the experts

Speak to your venue – after all, they’ve done this before. Do they have a room where children can go for some downtime? Provide a hamper of quiet toys and games? A stash of high-factor sun cream, plasters and Calpol? Sofas and blankets for a snooze?

munch bunch

And while you’re on it, ask about children-friendly food; lunchboxes for during the drinks reception, plastic plates and cups and child-size cutlery. Saves a multitude of potential accidents and meltdowns.

keep em quiet

Definitely consider children’s packs for during the meal. Never underestimate the novelty value of a CBeebies magazine, a sticker book or a mini Lego set. If you don’t have children yourself, you might want to speak to mums and dads you know to get some age-appropriate ideas.

Lucy G Photography

Lucy G Photography

star of the show

Rather than trying to keep them out of the way, why not get them involved? Many children love having a job, so whether it’s Unofficial Instax Photographer, Number One Confetti Thrower or Holder of the Guest Book, they’ll be all over it.

big kids

Fun and games. You can even tie the kiddy entertainment into your theme. Cute retro vibe? Go for space hoppers, a sweetie table or even an ice cream van. Rustic country feel? Giant wooden Jenga, croquet, or a rounders match. A word of warning, though – you may be fighting the adults off the pitch later in the evening!

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make it personal: wedding styling tips from one stylish day

July 17th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

One Stylish Day (9)

One piece of precious advice from our featured brides that comes around time and time again is “make it your own”. But with wedding inspo coming at you from all angles, it can sometime be a little tricky to know how to put a truly personal stamp on the proceedings.

Luckily for our readers, we just happen to know an expert in this area who is a pro at taking wedding styling to the next level of gorgeous, while it still remaining a reflection of the happy couple. So please prepare to take note as our wonderful Sponsor Louise Hughes, the fabulously stylish event designer behind One Stylish Day, takes to the blog…

Main post images by Kate McCarthy Photography or otherwise provided by One Stylish Day, with additional gallery images from Nicola Dixon Photography.

One Stylish Day (13)

louise says: When browsing Pinterest and Instagram, you’ll see the same wedding trends come up over and over again. They may look fabulous, but are a bit, well, ‘done before’. You want to create a dream day that will surprise and delight your guests. So, how can you design a wedding day that doesn’t look like all the rest? Here, I share my top ten tips for creating a wedding day that is both achingly stylish and completely personal to you…

One Stylish Day (17)

Know the difference between trends and style

The key difference between trends and style is that a trend is for everyone, whereas style is deeply personal. Trends can be fleeting but style has longevity. Great style has confidence and authenticity – focus on finding your own personal wedding style for a truly unique day.

Identify your Couple Style

Think beyond superficial fashion or design details to get to the heart of what makes you tick as a couple. Are you fun-loving explorers or city dwelling culture vultures? Are you famous for your cocktail parties or kitchen table suppers? The wedding style should be comfortable for both of you and reflect both your personalities.

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style sheet: the dark ages

July 12th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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image source

When thinking of wedding colour schemes thoughts often instantly turn to sweet, sugary tones of lilac, peach and mint, or to soft and romantic hues of blush, taupe and cream. But what if these kinds of colours just ‘aint your jam? What if you crave something darker, richer and more enchanting? Then ladies, we give you the ‘dark ages’.

Anything but old-fashioned, this type of styling is proving popular in interiors right now and centres around bold, deep colours that give a look of luxury and opulence while still remaining grounded. It’s not blingy, nor is it particularly vibrant, but it still packs a serious styling punch. It also lends itself particularly well to outdoor and rustic celebrations, both of which are currently top of the wedding trend charts.

So, to help get the inspiration flowing, we’ve pieced together three mood boards featuring our very favourite colour combinations that are sure to captivate your wedding planning (and possibly home-décor) thoughts!

mustard & navy

The Dark Ages - Navy & Mustard

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Mustard Seed Photography| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by RS Brown Photography| image source, photography by Lucy Spartalis| image source, photography by Hot Metal Studio| image source| image source, photography by Lauren Balingit| image source

The richness of mustard – a beautiful goldie, yellow, orange hue – is a perfect choice for this look and can dominate as much or as little of your wedding palette as you wish. We suggest mixing it with tones of dark blue and lots of foliage, enabling the hue to pop-out from its surroundings.

A gorgeous choice for bridesmaids, mustard surprisingly suits most complexions and offers something a little out of the norm for your #girlsquad. Attire wise, the hue can be incorporated into the men’s outfits through ties, pocket squares and socks, while the bride, if keen, can add her own touch of mustard through her footwear.

Flower-wise there are lots of beautiful yellow-toned blooms that can feature in the button holes, bouquet and décor, including Billy Buttons, also known as Craspedia, and Daisies, that when mixed in with earthy additions, such as succulents, poppy seed heads and dainty berries, will achieve the desired effect.

forest green

The Dark Ages - Forest Green

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Erin Jean Photography| image source| image source, photography by Fabrice Tanzer| image source, photography by Hazelwood Photography| image source , photography Danfredo Photos + Films| image source, photography Phil Chester| image source| image source, photography by Alissa Saylor Photography| image source| image source, photography by Sergey Lapkovsky

Another spin-off from Pantone’s colour of the year, ‘Greenery’, forest themed weddings featuring an abundance of natural décor score highly on our lust list.

The look is all about texture and depth so use large amounts of varying foliage layered up for an element of drama, whether suspended overhead, strewn down table centres or spilling over vessels. Though planned to detail, the trick is to make sure that nothing looks overdone, instead try to build up your own forest floor.

For added interest mix dark fern tones with lighter green shades of emerald and grass, and combine raw materials such as timber and cones with luxurious elements like cut glass and metallic finishes.

Fashion-forward grooms can flirt with the option a super-stunning bottle green suit, while brides can easily become an ethereal princess with the addition of a fresh foliage crown.

slate & plum

The Dark Ages - Slate & Plum

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Laura Calderwood Photography| image source, photography by Ruth Eileen| image source| image source, photography by This Modern Romance| image source, photography by Lelia Scarfiotti| image source, photography by The Official Photographers| image source| image source

Note the plum, not purple, we’re looking for opulent jewel tones here so it’s strict no-Cadbury-zone! Softer shades of lavender, and even the odd peek of pink, are welcome, but nothing flat or dreary.

The simplest way to nail the look is to use a gorgeous and timeless shade of grey as your base colour and then build up the plum on top. So, attire-wise the groom can have a grey suit and add a plum shade or two into his accessories, while the bride can add fashionable grey heels or even don a dip-dye dress for a real style statement. The bridesmaids can then bring in more of the purple tones in the likes of violet and amethyst. Mix and match maids would work particularly well here to extend the palette.

Elsewhere pretty petals can dress tables, and for rustic weddings, fruit and berry accents and details can be added too. For a pretty spin on the look, go for light textures and dainty blooms, while for a more dramatic look pick bold blooms, such as Ranunculi and Thistles, and mix in with large-leafed greens.

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walking on sunshine: top tips for a summer wedding with events specialists dine

June 14th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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Shutter Go Click Photography

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…

Marquee

Natasha Cadman Photography

venue & suppliers

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.

Canapés can be a fantastic way to incorporate small elements of food into your wedding breakfast

food

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.

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