September 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
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.
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.
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.
August 8th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
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?
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.
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…
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?
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.
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.
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!
July 17th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
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…
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…
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.
July 12th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
June 13th, 2017 | Julia Braime
This morning on our pretty pages we have suggestions on how to make your wedding entertainment both personal and poignant, courtesy of our guest writer, the lovely Carrie Marsden of our media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine.
carrie says: Your wedding day is a beautiful opportunity to play out your own personal love story. Now that you’ve found the dress, the venue, the caterer, the flowers, the transport (and, er, the man), thoughts may begin to turn to wedding day entertainment. But let this not be a final flourish, an add-on, or an afterthought. Here is where the magic of your story lies for you and your guests. Here is the place where the story unfolds in magical and memorable chapters. To that great, timeless, enduring and blissful love story – shared by many the world over – here is the chance for you to add into the mix your own unique experience.
The heart of your day belongs to the love you two share, but how that love is honoured, cherished and celebrated will find expression in your choice of wedding entertainment. Be authentic. The entertainment should reflect you both – what you enjoy, what you share, what makes you giggle, what moves you. Don’t be distracted by a ‘theme’, for how often is one person so easily defined, let alone two? Instead, go with what you love. Here are our favourite wedding entertainment ideas, which might just help inspire your choices:
Inspired by our favourite Liam Neeson film (and a mandatory watch every December despite what that hubby says), we love the thought of making a grand entrance (or departure) in the ceremony itself. A regal fanfare troupe of trumpeters to walk you in or out will set the occasion off with a bang. Even better if your guests are the musical type and can surprise everyone and join in! (Don’t discount the groom’s talents either: one memorable wedding included the groom serenading the bride mid-way down the aisle after the service with a surprisingly pitch-perfect version of Bruno Mars’ I Think I Want to Marry You!).
The traditional meet-and-greet line-up is making a bit of a comeback and I have to say, I love it. Whether you do or don’t go down this path (excuse the pun!), a common theme from guests themselves is that the wait around between the service and the breakfast can be, well, a little bit dull. Leaving guests the only option of drinking heavily, which is – and I speak from personal experience here – worth avoiding. So dazzle and delight to swerve a lull!
Perhaps a cocktail pianist tinkering away on the ivories, which lends the occasion a certain elegance, class and panache (even better if he or she will take requests).
Choose activities that work well inside or out: oversized Jenga, skittles and chess are great fun, weather-proof and age-appropriate. (I’d draw the line at Twister, though, unless you’re happy for things to take a decidedly eventful turn…)
Celebrity lookalikes who mix and mingle with the guests might liven things up, as will a caricaturist, although I’ve always thought a nice twist on this would be to employ a caricaturist before the event. Give him or her pictures of some of your friends/the wedding party and dot them around for people to giggle at! An organised and willing chief bridesmaid might be persuaded to rustle up baby pictures of the guests for a ‘Guess Who?’ board, too.
Children can be a wonderfully exuberant and joyful addition to your day, without whom, the day just wouldn’t be complete. But they can also become, a little restless. You want everyone to have an awesome time – parents and kids alike, so bubbles, face-painting and old-school sweet stalls with candy floss are brilliant ideas. Also consider enlisting the services of an older sibling (‘encouraged’, let’s say, by financial reward) charged with devising games, treasure hunts, making kids’ caves. If there isn’t a team of 13- to 16-year-olds out there offering this service somewhere, well, there should be (there’s a lucrative career here, one feels).
When the sun goes down, make sure nothing about your day fades away. The party is now in full swing and here’s how you keep the fire burning bright:
Send round a frameable card for your guests with the question ‘what should we call our kids?’ What a brilliant memento of the day for you and, when it comes to it, highly illuminating and informative! (Expect the exact science of alcohol-to-exotic-name-choice ratio, naturally).
For dancefloor fuel, hire an ice-cream van or ‘posh’ burger bar. Hog-roasts are also deeply satisfying in a very visceral way. Just think ‘meat’, and for all those 11.45pm munchers, you’ll fast become everyone’s favourite bride.
The stars should feature in some way. The thought of an outdoor movie screen on a warm summer’s evening – kids’ films on a loop as toddlers begin to flop, then a creatively designed ‘movie’ about the bride and groom, and even a late-night screening of, say, Casablanca, – warms the heart. Cushions, beanbags and blankets; popcorn at the ready. Whitewash a wall and set up a projector, or even a white sheet hung across a washing line. I’ve seen this done beautifully and cost effectively.
Lots of newlyweds enjoy their quiet time together, retreating away at a sensible time in the evening, to reflect and bask in the warmth of the day. Others prefer the all-night approach and want to stay with their guests until the break of dawn. Whatever your choice, spare a thought to how you want your special day to officially ‘end’. Guests won’t be expecting over-the-top fanfare or a band of trumpeters to signal your departure, but it is worth thinking about how you’ll say goodbye. Should you want a grand farewell, have well-primed bridesmaids and ushers in on the plan to ensure guests are in the loop and where they are supposed to be.
No one will expect you to go out of your way on their behalf. Guests get that they are the guests. But arguably, they too have featured in this unique story that you and your partner share – and will continue to do so. They are celebrating you and you are acknowledging their role. Do it in style but do it your way!
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