Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

style sheet: modern festivities

December 8th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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image source

With sight of this month’s festivities on the horizon our thoughts have turned to those planning a Christmas or New Year wedding. But more specifically, to couples who desire the party atmosphere and glamour of this most wonderful time of the year, though not the obvious wedding themes that can come with it.

As such we’ve thrown aside the seen-it-all-before-red, blinding-silver and gaudy-gold and brought together a more contemporary, clean-cut and sophisticated selection of fitting themes for this magical period.

So, in preparation for the weekend ahead, drop a little Baileys in your morning coffee and enjoy soaking up this sublime seasonal inspo…

glitter & gilded

Glitter & Gilded

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Marion Heurteboust Photography| image source| image source, photography by Danielle Nowak| image source| image source| image source

The theme: A sophisticated take on the ‘usual’ party-season golden wedding.

The details: While we love a bit of glitter, you can have too much of a good thing in our book and so this look is all about understated glamour. Keep the gold tones light rather than yellow/orange and even lean toward blush/rose tones for an element of girly elegance. Table décor should be more sparse and well-thought out with uniformed rows of mercury and metallic candle holders and simple, dainty floral arrangements on pressed linen. Add just a sprinkling of glitter accents and mix with matt and gloss metallics to continue the class. Greenery features can also help to keep the look grounded, fresh and clean. Sprayed flowers are a step-too-far for this theme so instead look to include beautiful caramel shades in the bouquet and add a little gold by binding with a trailing ribbon.

The dress code: A full-gold dress could have you looking more Disney princess than Meghan Markle princess, so we suggest keeping things refined with an ivory gown, complete with delicate gold detailing in beading, lace or embroidery. The accessories are one area that you can afford to turn up the glittering aspects, though perhaps just blow out on one bold item, such as the shoes, and keep other add-ons simpler. Your leading ladies on the other hand could be in top-to-toe sparkling cocktail style gowns, suiting the time of year perfectly and adding black-tie-esque glamour to the proceedings.

white out

White Out

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Mike Cassimatis| image source| image source, photography by Blaine Siesser| image source| image source| image source, photography by Aden Priest| image source| image source

The theme: A traditional white wedding given a modern and luxurious twist.

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setting & style: a wedding dress to suit your venue

December 5th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Photo credit Olegs Samsonovs Photography

Olegs Samsonovs Photography

A feature for those of you on the dream dress hunt today, as we welcome our lovely guest writer, Carrie Marsden of media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine, to the blog to discuss picking the right wedding dress, to suit not only your style but also that of your chosen venue…

carrie says: Be it urban, rustic, boutique, historic or coastal, your venue sets the tone for your special day, and so it helps to make sure that your dress style is in-line with the setting for all over harmony.

As wedding planning goes, what’s the first thing we brides-to-be think of mere moments after saying yes to that certain special someone? “What dress am I going to wear?” (if you’re anything like us, in fact, you’ve had an idea of ‘the one’ even before The (other) One popped the question). But consider: with many spectacular wedding venues now taking bookings of upwards of two years in advance of the big day, increasingly, securing the venue is becoming a couple’s number one on the ‘to do’ list. Many brides assume their choice of dress will set the tone for the entire day. But if the venue has been chosen first, where does that leave the dress?

It might seem obvious. The venue and the bride’s dress ought to be in perfect harmony; one complementing and completing the other, a beautiful simpatico symphony (much like the bride and groom themselves, in fact!). And in many cases, an overall theme will draw together and incorporate both. But occasionally, dresses and venues will clash -having been present at a beach-themed wedding in a tipi with the bride tightly bound in a heavily structured fishnet-effect gown, I can assure you, ‘twas truly a confusing affair.

So, here’s our guide to making sweet, sweet music and harmonising two of your most important big-day elements: your venue and your dress…

boho bride

Boho Bride

Cherry Williams | Lilian West

Rustic weddings are playful, outdoors-y affairs, full of a kaleidoscope of colour and with the emphasis on a celebration of the beauty of nature. The details and decor don’t typically include anything too structured or deliberately ‘matching’ so mirror this more relaxed and carefree attitude in your dress of choice. More bohemian styles with lose, tousled hair work well here, as do soft frills and flowing tulle.

urban-chic

Urban Chic

Clockwise from top left: Modeca | Rita Colson | White Rose Bridal | Elbeth Gillis

Love the idea of marrying in iconic style? If you’re joining the glitterati and marrying in a sophisticated city setting, reflect this slick, polished and uber-cool vibe in your dress. Think subtle sparkle, a seriously structured silhouette and even a sharp trouser suit. For an ultra-glam effect in a town setting, opt for monochrome and ask you guests to wear black tie.

boutique hotel

Boutique Hotel

Clockwise from top left: Special Day | Peppermint Love Photography | Eliza Jane Howell | The White Garden Collection

The great thing about a boutique hotel venue is that they tend to be unique, curiously quirky and inimitable in their own sense of style. This gives you free license to choose a gown that best reflects the venue’s holistic ‘feel’. Tea-length dresses work well here in the summer time, or, if the venue calls for it, chose a vintage-inspired or even ‘indie’ dress to suit the individual surroundings.

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wish you were here: marvellous minimoon ideas

November 9th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Ronnie Rose Photography 2

Ronnie Rose Photography

As temperatures continue to dip, we think it’s only right to dispel any forthcoming winter blues with a holiday-related post.

A fairly recent phenomenon, the not-so-humble minimoon fills the gap for lots of couples between a big blowout honeymoon at a later date and the need for some serious downtime after the wedding planning whirlwind. Maybe you’re leaving the Caribbean until after the stormy season has passed, or you’re putting off that trip to Iceland until you’ve got a decent chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Or perhaps after following Rachel’s recent advice and splashing your cash on the dress of your dreams, you’ve simply got some pennies to save. Either way, a minimoon can be the perfect way to chill and indulge a little if money or time is short.

So, to help inspire where you can go for a little romance, rest and relaxation after the big day, here’s our round-up of top minimoon ideas…

spa o’clock

Titanic Spa

Titanic Spa

There’s little more indulgent than a spa, and in the UK you’ll have plenty of luxury day or spa hotels to choose from. Many spas have specific minimoon packages, meaning you’ll get a great deal too. Also, you’ll have flexibility – a couple of nights with ‘basic’ access to the sauna, steam room and swim facilities is a great way to unwind, or you can treat yourselves with a bespoke Mr and Mrs. Just gown up, lay back and float away…

beside the seaside

Stan Seaton Photography

Stan Seaton Photography

The seaside is synonymous with holidays, and so where better to head for your minimoon than the UK coast? Reluctant grownups can release their inner big kid at the beach, heading for the arcades and the candyfloss stands, running wild on the sand or paddling in the balmy (OK, perhaps ‘icy’ is more realistic, but bear with me) waters. Long romantic walks, plenty of opportunities to write your new married names in the sand – plus, what tastes better than real fish and chips with lashings of salt and vinegar out of a paper, especially after a pre-wedding healthy eating campaign? I rest my case.

camptastic

Sarah Maria Photography

Sarah Maria Photography

We actually did this – three days after getting hitched, a ‘proper’ minimoon in Northumberland coming up and a big honeymoon in India on the horizon in winter, we headed to the local campsite for a post-wedding night away. And I can recommend it on the following basis: camping creates the instant sense of an uber-romantic adventure. There’s just the two of you alone with only the elements and a starry sky for company – plus, you know, the convenience of an electric hook-up and local pub. There’s also the opportunity to test the strength of your newly-forged marriage by putting a tent up together. If you can survive that one, readers, you’re onto a winner.

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wedding planning made fun: banish those pre-wedding woes

November 7th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Peace wedding photography 8

Image by Peace Wedding Photography

It may well be the best day of your life, but the days spent willing the budget column of a spreadsheet to add up and the hours spent fashioning super-fiddly origami cranes? Not so much. There’s no getting away from it – a wedding means big ol’ Life Admin at every turn, and it can get pretty…well, tedious.

I distinctly remember the winter before our wedding as a rough one – we were literally snowed in for a week. Snow-bound, I was suddenly confronted by all of the wedding admin I’d been avoiding and there was nowhere to hide. Two days later and the living room resembled Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms – a table plan of military proportions and precision was in place, as well as an epic photographer’s itinerary and 180 washi-taped place cards that Pinterest would be proud of. It sounds drastic, but that snowfall saved our wedding. But if there isn’t a storm on the horizon and you’ve got piles of stuff to sort? Well, here are some ideas that might just save your bacon.

friends that craft together

Pic by Carly Bevan Photography

Image by Carly Bevan

Are you DIYing it? For most brides-to-be, there’s an element of DIY, whether it’s outsourcing the cake to a family friend, fashioning a few flower arrangements or going the whole hog with rustic orders of service and homemade favours. A word to the wise: don’t be afraid to call in a few favours, ladies, and get your friends together to help. I mean, by all means, make it worth their wine – oops, I mean while – by supplying some drinks and snacks and perhaps a favourite DVD or six. It’s the perfect opportunity to a girly catch-up at a time when ordinarily you’d be super busy with all of your preparations, and keeps your closest pals in step with what’s going on. I did a craft session as part of my hen do – it was in a bar, as you do, so plenty of, err, refreshments were available, lots of fun was had and we made a stack of bunting for the reception venue. Winners all round.

food glorious food

Wynn Davies Photography

Image by Wynn Davies Photography

Food choices can often be a big stress associated with wedding planning. How will Cousin Johnny – who’s never eaten anything green in his life – cope with the vegetable medley? Will Aunty Margaret turn her nose up at the haddock entree? How do you please everyone? Well, the short answer is that you can’t. Better to choose what you want (within reason-ish) and be done with it – and have as wonderful a time choosing that meal as you possibly can. Arrange a tasting session with your venue and indulge, people – we at Brides Up North insist.

Peace Wedding Photography

Image by Peace Wedding Photography

line them up

Pic by Babb Photo

Image by Babb Photo

There’s also the liquid refreshment to consider, and an evening spent wine or cocktail tasting can be a wonderful way to unwind after all the stress of planning – just you and your other half, or you could invite a few friends to thank them for all of their crafty efforts – see my first suggestion. You could find the perfect wine to accompany your meal, as well as the perfect cocktail to serve your guests on arrival. Or perhaps you could try several just to make sure and then go with prosecco as originally planned, anyway…you’ve got to be certain, right?!

shop ‘til you drop

Peace Wedding Photography 7

Image by Peace Wedding Photography

Beyond the realms of your laptop, there are other ways to source suppliers; whether it be snuggling up on the sofa with a pile of glossy wedding mags (including UNVEILED, of course) or venturing out to a wedding fair. Here at Brides Up North we organise and run more than 40 Luxury Wedding Fairs across the north of the country (you can see what we have coming up for Spring 2018 here) and so we know just how fabulous these events. Held at venues from fine country houses, to urban warehouses and rustic barns, there is something for all, and as well as viewing some spectacular settings, you will also get the chance to meet local suppliers face to face, be inspired by their creations, products and services and perhaps sample a few cakes, sweet carts and pop-up fizz and street food stands along the way, providing an enjoyable and productive day out.

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tis (nearly!) the season: winter wedding tips from dine

October 31st, 2017 | Julia Braime

The Mansion at Roundhay Park

Though the cold weather can be a turn off for some couples, winter actually has a lot to offer brides and grooms-to-be.

With celebrations by candlelight, those tying the knot during the colder months of the year can piece together a warming and luxurious big day, complete with hearty food, fine tipples, opulent décor and elegant attire.

So as the temperatures drop, and the nights draw in, we’re in the mood for some comforting winter wedding inspiration, with all the necessary elements covered for an atmospheric big day that gives a sophisticated nod to the season.

And here to provide such details is Matt Jones, managing director of award-winning catering and hospitality company Dine, which caters for more than 200 weddings each year – making him well-versed in seasonal celebrations…

venue

Mark Newton Wedding Photography

Matt says: As any expert or newlywed couple will know, venue hire can often be one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding. However, if you’re looking to cut the costs while still getting married at your dream venue, winter can be the perfect season. With less demand in winter, venues may offer off-season rates, made even cheaper if you go for a mid-week rather than weekend wedding. Winter may also offer greater availability for both venue and other suppliers meaning you may be more likely to book your dream venue than another more popular season.

With its large windows looking out across the beautiful Roundhay Park, Dine’s venue The Mansion offers the perfect indoor setting for your winter wedding. The Greek Palladian style, Grade II listed building offers several ceremony and reception rooms of varying sizes enabling you to hold your wedding ceremony and breakfast in the same building. Whichever room you choose, they are guaranteed to remain warm and toasty throughout your day whilst affording you some great views.

As the bride and bridesmaids can get ready in The Mansion before having both the ceremony and reception in this stunning building, there is no worry of arriving windswept or snowed on. Situated in the rolling 700 acres of Roundhay Park, The Mansion also offers the opportunity for magical winter wonderland photography.

food & drink

Dine's festive plum and date pudding

No matter the season, food and drink is one aspect that can make or break a wedding. The coming of winter means warming and hearty food that will leave a smile on the faces of your guests.

When guests arrive at your venue why not greet them with mulled wine or warming sloe gin? Guests will be grateful for this warm welcome to your wedding and it will leave them in a good mood for the ceremony and reception. If your guests include children try serving fun coffees and teas or luxurious hot chocolate for a family friendly alternative.

Whether you’re going for a festive theme or not, the food served at your wedding should be comforting and sustaining. After standing outside having photographs taken, your guests will very much appreciate comfort food that will bring them back up to temperature.

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your day, your way: making it personal

October 2nd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Pic 3

Image source, Photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography

A wedding is the ultimate form of self-expression that a couple can make. Not only is it the one day where they formally declare their love and commitment to one another, but it’s also a chance for them to showcase who they are, individually and a as a couple, and share the memories they’ve created together so far.

That’s why, when it comes to the finer, smaller details, these can sometimes be more telling, more intimate, and more personal than the grander, sweeping statements made around the choice of venue, the colour scheme and so on.

The table names, the favours, the guest book, even the entertainment and those special extra touches you plan – they all make your wedding, yours. So, don’t overlook these – they’re the really important entries listed in your wedding planner.

As such, we’re today exploring just some of the ways you can inject your personality and interests into your big day and make it a memorable one for you and all your guests.

decor

Pic 2

Image source, Photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography

First things first, an overarching wedding theme can be a catch all means of making your wedding personal to you and knit together all the different elements of your day. A nod to a Celtic heritage, a love for travel, a passion for a local football team, a special era such as the 1920s – whatever allows you to showcase ‘you’ is a great starting point.

Your table names are one of the simplest ways to make a personal statement – think about sharing your favourite holiday destinations, your favourite books or musicians, or something that relates to a shared hobby. Your centre pieces and place names can also tie in with this.

Many couples take a DIY approach to their wedding table plan and the box that houses their wedding cards. And instead of a guest book, why not create a jigsaw of a special photograph, and ask your guests to leave a message on each piece?

Pic 1

Image source, Photography by Ginger & Lime Photography

You might want to create a montage of photographs too showing you both in your early childhood and then chronicling your time together. Another special touch is to feature wedding photos of your parents and grandparents, or loved ones who are sadly no longer with you.

As for other decorations in the venue – what ambience do you want to create, and what expresses you as a couple? Do you consider yourselves as laid-back cultural enthusiasts, sporty and adventurous, or nomads forever indulging in your wanderlust? Think about the lighting, flowers and foliage, and other props that can help express your ‘vibe’ as a couple.

favours

Pic 4

Image source, Photography by Jessica O’Shaughnessy

Here at Brides Up North, we’re always intrigued by the vast assortment of favours handed out at weddings. Gone are the traditional sugared almonds and instead, guests are presented with chocolates, macaroons, candles, scratch cards, wooden hearts, homemade jam, glow sticks and even a donation to a charity on their behalf, close to the couple’s hearts. The question is, what small gesture encapsulates you both, or ties in with your wider wedding theme?

food & drink

Pic 7

Image source, photography by Bethany Clarke

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