November 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime
“I used to be snow white, but I drifted” Mae West
Velvety, red, winter wedding shoe perfection. Right there.
November 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Across in our brilliant and busy Brides Up North Facebook group (are you a member yet? click here to join) a regular discussion thread concerns unique ideas for keeping little relatives (never mind the bigger guests!) entertained.
As much as it’s an enjoyable occasion a wedding can be a long day with little lulls here and there that need filling to avoid guest becoming bored and or restless. While a few disposable cameras and a recommended DJ once sufficed as adequate entertainment, many couples are now looking for more imaginative ideas to make their big day not only fun for their guests, but unique and memorable too.
This is easy during the summer, but in the winter months it can prove more of a challenge. So, to cut boredom off at the pass we’ve asked Brides Up North Sponsor Rich at Alive Network Entertainment Agency for some top tips for family-friendly wedding entertainment ideas that everyone can enjoy together, whatever the weather.
Over to the experts…
Set the mood right from the moment your guests arrive at your venue by creating a mini carnival in the car park. Let costumed ice-themed characters guide guests to the door, where Frozen-styled characters stand in the middle of illuminated ‘living’ tables to serve child-friendly cocktails in sugar-frosted glasses.
If you enjoy TV street magicians like Troy and Dynamo, imagine the thrill of them performing at your wedding drinks reception, stunning guests with seemingly impossible tricks and illusions right before their very eyes. Look also at iPad magicians, who combine digital tablets and old school magic into a visually stunning and logic-defying show. What’s more, magicians are like Piped Pipers for kids; if you lose the little ones, they’ll have disappeared to watch that trick just one more time!
Spice up the speeches with a celebrity lookalike who can also act as your master (or mistress) of ceremonies. Image the best man introduced by Marilyn Monroe, your Dad applauded by Prince Charles, or your bridesmaids and pageboys given their thank-you gifts by David Beckham – now that’ll really leave them speechless! For even better value, look for professional lookalikes who offer more than one character, such as John Clees or Prince Charles, or hire two to work together as a double act, such as Basil Fawlty and Manuel.
Let’s face it, wedding days should be filled with chatter, music and laughter, but sometimes a little peace and quiet goes a long way! Hear nothing but laughter when your professional mime artists entertain, combining the skill of classical mime with the much-loved antics of Mr Bean type characters, for a wonderful post-meal show everyone can enjoy – and understand.
Unless your pre-teen relatives are buddy classical musicians, chances are a traditional string quartet is not going to hold their interest long. So, keep those little eyes glued to the antics of a comedy string quartet, that turns classical music into classic comedy at the twitch of a bow. Look for other comic style groups as well, such as Ukulele bands, Oompah bands, or strolling mariachi bands as seen in those savoury snack commercials.
We’ve all done it, held our hands in front of a torch to project the image of a cute bunny, but that’s about our limit. Professional shadow artists take it to a whole new level, creating an animated show of animals, scenes and even celebrities from just their hands and light source. Or hire a sand artist to create swirling pictures and scenes from just a trayful of sand in seconds. If requested in advance, some artists offer a chance to ‘have a go’, something the younger generation will particularly enjoy.
Ditch the disco and get everyone up and dancing with a ceilidh band, regardless of age, agility or the complete absence of any dancing talent whatsoever. You caller teaches the steps, everyone does the dance, and then it’s on to the next, swapping dancing partners as you go, for guaranteed smiles all round.
I told you that these guys were the experts! For more winter wedding entertainment ideas, call the team at Alive Network on 0845 108 5500 or visit their website; they’ll be happy to help with free advice and even more suggestions!
October 20th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
With the last of the summer stock swinging on sale rails, autumn winter collections are now being rolled out across shop floors. I’ve been checking out the occasion wear high street offerings for the cooler season ahead and once again I’ve been peeking my head around shop doors I’d usually sail right by. This time it’s Lipsy.
I’ve been lured into studying the store’s autumn/winter collection following a string of desirable celebrities putting their name to the brand, most notably ex-Corrie star Michelle Keegan and one of my absolute favourite style icons, Millie McIntosh of Made in Chelsea fame.
If it’s good enough for these super stylish and stunning ladies then surely it’s good enough for the rest of us, right? And that is why I deem it worthy of our high street honey accolade.
At Brides Up North’s recent season of Luxury Wedding Exhibitions I couldn’t help but notice the flurry of brides who will be tying the knot at Christmas time. And who can blame them? It’s a truly magical time of the year when everyone is in high spirits and it offers the perfect excuse for a comforting wedding breakfast (bangers and mash, anyone?).
But what does one wear to a winter wedding? Well Lipsy offers solutions not only for guests, but also potential bridesmaid and hen do outfits. From sexy strapless frocks to figure-hugging, floor-length gowns, Lipsy has lots of lovely attire to choose from.
Those opting for a short or strapless dress – such as the cream and black pencil dress or the floral print midi dress – may want to consider a faux fur jacket, of which many can currently be found on the high street, to complete their look in a classy and cosy way.
The full-length gowns are particularly striking and offer an opulent look for winter weddings and high-end hen dos. I really love the black dress with regal gold detailing as well as the maroon maxi with black cobweb panels The long royal blue gown with glitter embellished shoulder straps would make a gorgeous bridesmaid dress, complete with Christmas sparkle.
And finally, for those pre-wedding nights out, there are a couple of eye-catching jumpsuits within the autumn/winter collection that can be worn during the festive period and beyond.
Happy Lipsy shopping ladies!
July 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Lindsay and Ian’s big day at the iconic Ripley Castle in Yorkshire was sleek, chic, fun and fabulous… with a really big party at the end of it. Sounds exactly like our kind of wedding.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
Lindsay says: We got engaged at the top of a mountain during a snowboarding trip to Tignes, France on Ian’s 30th Birthday. Ian rode all morning with the ring in his pocket unaware his pocket zip had been open! Luckily it was still there when the time came to propose!
We got married on 22nd February 2014 at Ripley Castle in Harrogate. We wanted a winter wedding to tie in with honeymoon plans to head straight to Thailand after the wedding.
We’d looked at a number of venues prior to seeing Ripley Castle and none of them felt right. As soon as we looked around the Castle it was exactly what we were looking for and booked straight away.
I never wear strapless dresses so I knew my dress would have sleeves of some description. Before I went dress shopping I saw my dress in a magazine and already knew it was the dress I wanted. I searched for shops who stocked Mori Lee and managed to find the dress I wanted and loved it as soon as I tried it on.
I’m not a massive flower fan so I wanted more greenery and a twig effect rather than roses. My bouquet was made by a florist called Elsie Russell in Shipley – they also made my mums bouquet when she got married.
My make up artist, Lauren Sally, was also amazing and we all loved our make up on the trial and on the day of the wedding.
I had two bridesmaids who had floor length evening dresses from House of Fraser by Ariella.
Ian had a custom made three piece tweed suit made on Saville Row by JLSA MONO Design.
We went for a bit of an indie style wedding as we both love music so this was heavily featured in our wedding plans. We also wanted to keep it a little vintage to keep in with the Castle theme. Our colour scheme was navy blue and green.
We handmade our seating plan which concentrated on our music theme of the wedding. Instead of table numbers we had our favourite bands as the table names and put the bands vinyl on each table.
Instead of a guest book we ordered a heart shaped jigsaw for guests to sign the pieces from www.notonthehighstreet.com
The centre pieces were floating candles and candelabras, and we had little navy blue and ivory chocolate love hearts as our favours. The bridal party all got tailored gift as an extra special thanks.
Neither of us are big sweet people so we went for the savoury option and had a five wheels of cheese cake. This was from Cheese and Chutney, Saltaire.
We used James Tracey Photography. I would definitely recommend James to others. He was exactly what we were looking for as we didn’t want structured pictures for hours but more of a documentary style photographer and James is great at this. We’ve had lots of compliments on how good our pictures look. In addition to this as soon as we met him we knew we wouldn’t be a bossy photographer and had a personality which would get along with us and our guests during the day.
We hired a band called ‘The Story’ who we booked through Warble Entertainment. They played a mixture of music but mainly indie. They had everyone up dancing all night, and their rendition of ‘Killing in the Name’ was a particular highlight!
The evening reception was probably the best part of the day. The band were amazing and it was great for the evening reception to turn into a massive party with everyone dancing all night.
We went on our honeymoon two days after the wedding. To start with we flew to Bangkok for three nights, from there we stayed on the island of Koh Pha Ngan for three nights where we stayed in an amazing hotel with our own pool overlooking the sea. From there we stayed in Koh Samui for four nights and then to finish off we went to Singapore for a couple of nights.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have a spreadsheet! I had lots of spreadsheets and although everyone laughed at me and I had hours of jokes made about my organisation there wasn’t anything I didn’t know from looking at them!
I asked Ian to answer this question and his top tip to the groom was ‘just say yes’!
June 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
Katie and Guy’s Real Wedding is my kind of affair. Classy, beautiful and elegant – with lots of pretty pale pinks, lace accents and seasonal touches. This clever couple did things their own way, choosing to keep their stunning celebration simple and hassle free, letting their gorgeous venue and floral accents speak for themselves. Beautifully done.
With images by Jill Thorning-Jensen.
Katie says: Guy proposed on the first day of our ski holiday in Zermatt in February 2013, and we were married on 21st December 2013 (I was not the most patient of brides)!
We were married at St Mary’s Church in Whitewell, Shropshire followed by a reception at Iscoyd Park.
We looked at a number of venues around Cheshire and Shropshire, but fell in love with Iscoyd. The house and grounds are absolutely stunning – like no other venue we had seen. To add to that, Phil and the team at Iscoyd were so warm and friendly that we felt very comfortable that they would help make the day special.
I stayed at Willington Lodge the night before the wedding, a gorgeous local B&B with delightful hosts.
As the wedding was so close to Christmas we had a few festive touches (Christmas trees outside the church, and reindeer table names). The bridesmaids looked gorgeous in dark navy and the flowers were lilacy pinks with eucalyptus and dark navy berries to add a wintery feel.
I was determined that the wedding was going to be a stress-free event, so we purposefully kept any additions to a minimum. Instead we chose a beautiful venue (which needed no ‘extras’), with lots of lovely food and drink and a fantastic band who had everyone up and dancing.
The groom wore a Reiss suit and the groomsmen wore their own navy suits. All had knitted navy ties which matched the groom’s knitted navy bow tie.
The adult bridesmaids wore three quarter sleeve black tops with beautiful navy skirts designed and made by one of my bridesmaids and her exceptionally talented mum. The little bridesmaids wore ivory dresses from John Lewis.
Hair was by Louise Huxley (and her mum!) and makeup was by Melanie Poutney. We were very lucky to find a group of amazing people to help with the wedding, all of whom were a pleasure to have around on the day.
Selina Godsal did all the flowers for us. My bouquet was blush pink and cream roses, eucalyptus, a thistle (to match Guy’s buttonhole) and catkins.
We chose a vintage cream taxi from Manor Bridal Cars. Not only was the taxi a great choice for the December weather, it also made my Mum smile – she had been very concerned that I hadn’t booked a car until the last minute and we would end up having to get a taxi to the church!
The whole day was fabulous, but I think one of the most special parts was being in church. Seeing Guy waiting at the front looking so handsome was just lovely, and to be surrounded by all of our family and friends took my breath away.
In the evening we had a band, The Badcats, who were fab and had everyone dancing.
For our honeymoon we spent three weeks touring around Australia, seeing as much as possible and enjoying the sunshine.
For me, my top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t try to do too much. There is an awful lot to organise just concentrating on the basics, without adding in chocolate fountains and all the other extras. Being calm in the run up to the wedding meant that we could relax and enjoy every minute of the run up and the big day.
Congratulations Katie & Guy!
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February 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Yes, that really is today’s bride and groom’s married name – Mr & Mrs Perfect. Don’t you love it. No pressure or anything..! Anyway, it turns out that their gorgeous Real Wedding in Manchester was pretty much that – a chic and simple and prettily perfect winter city wedding.
With images by Stella Photography.
Gemma says: Nigel asked me to marry him on 1st December 2012, on Llanmadoc beach in Wales, on a weekend away. It was a beautiful isolated beach on a lovely crisp winter’s day.
We were married on 23rd November 2013. We had the ceremony at Manchester Town Hall, and the reception at The Place Apartment Hotel, a converted cotton warehouse in central Manchester.
We wanted everything to be indoors, firstly because it is Manchester, so it was more than likely to rain, and secondly because of the time of year. We had looked at country locations, but decided that as we had so many guests coming not only from over this country but also from abroad, the city centre would be best for travel from the airport, train or the motorway. Also, we live very close to the city centre, so going in to see our wedding coordinator at the venue, and meeting local suppliers was so much easier than if we had picked somewhere far away. Manchester Town Hall is a stunning old building, with high stained glass windows so we felt it added to the occasion. The Place is beautifully restored, maintaining many original features such as red brick walls and steel columns.
Our theme was simplicity. The venue for the reception made it seem urban chic and we also teamed this with a vintage feel with the flower displays – very natural, in small glass bottles and jars – and hand-tied favours with luggage tag labels.
The wedding was mainly white and ivory, however my husband had decided that he wanted to wear his kilt, in the family tradition, so I picked a dark forest green for the bridesmaids to match this.
My dress was from The Staite Rooms in Huddersfield. It was a Maggie Sottero gown (Geneva), fitted to the waist and slightly over the hips, and had a long train. The top layer was a delicate lace with floral adornments, and a a band in light mocha under the bust, which made it look quite different to any I had seen before. I loved my long train! The dress was strapless which I didn’t think I would like when trying on dresses, but it fit beautifully with a lace-up back.
My bridesmaids wore full length forest green chiffon dresses from Fairytale Occasions in Bury. The groomsmen wore kilts in a similar style to my husband, our fathers wore black suits to match the kilt jackets. These were all hired from Slaters.
I had a fantastic hair & makeup artist come to make up myself, my bridesmaids, my mother and mother-in-law at the hotel, Jodie Smith, also based in Manchester.
January 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Things are looking really rosy red this week on Brides Up North aren’t they? First up, the sun baked celebration of Annie and Lee yesterday, and now a complete about turn with today’s stunning winter Real Wedding. Shot by Hayley Baxter Photography, Clare and Lee-John’s big day had all the hallmarks of the perfect Christmas wedding – red berries, a feather cape, a dress to die for, Christmas pudding, a ruby red carriage and a partridge in a pear tree!
Clare says: We got engaged on 16 August 2013, in North Wales and were married on 21 December 2013 at Norcliffe Chapel, Styal with our reception at Quarry Bank Mill.
We visited the National Trust village and Mill in June 2013 and both absolutely loved the church and the imposing architecture of the Mill itself. Mandi and her team at the Mill were so helpful and were happy to assist in any way possible.
We chose a Christmas theme, we sang carols in the church and had mulled wine and mince pies at the drinks reception instead of canapés. We decorated the Mill ourselves with fairy lights, Christmas garlands and Christmas trees, including edible decorations and a gingerbread house. The table centres were hurricane vases with candles, holly, ivy, cinnamon, pine – all natural flowers and seasonal.
The colours were dark green and red. The green was chosen to incorporate the Bride’s Irish roots and the red for the groom’s Welsh roots. The bridesmaids wore dark green and the groomsmen all wore red ties and hankies. The bouquets were gorgeous red and green with grand prix roses for the bride and tulips for the bridesmaids and flower girls.
My dress was called Hazel by Anoushka G. I love it! I bought it from Lace Bridal in Hale who were so helpful. I am not a keen shopper and had given myself one day and two bridal shops to find my dream dress – I didn’t have to search for long… it was the first dress I tried on and it could not be matched! It was cut on the bias with mini capped embroidered sleeves with a cowl scoop at the back.
I had an oyster feather shrug to keep me warm too. I wore my wellies into the church as the path down was muddy and I didn’t want to spoil my Jimmy Choos!
My two adult bridesmaids wore a dark green maxi dress from Coast and the three flower girls wore gorgeous white dressed from Debenhams. They all had gorgeous fur shrugs for warmth and the two littlest flower girls wore White Uggs boots.
The groomsmen wore hired suits from Slaters in Manchester. They were dark grey tails with waistcoat and their own classic white shirts with bright red ties and hankies.
We hired a beautiful red and cream vintage car supplied by Love & Carriage.
December 11th, 2013 | Julia Braime
It’s been a while since we ran our last High Street Honey series here on Brides Up North (mainly since pulling the editorial together was an unhealthy online shopping enabler), but – especially as we approach the festive season – I think it’s high time that we reinstate this popular feature.
I’ll be checking out all the most popular High Street retailers (and lesser known online finds too) and picking our favourite looks, so that you don’t have to. No gorgeous gowns get past me! Whether it’s bridesmaids dresses you need, a frock for your reception dinner or heading off on honeymoon, we’ll have it covered.
This week, I’ve been browsing the online aisles at fashion forward favourite New Look who contacted me recently to show off their sparkly sequin dresses, evening party dresses and prom dresses, with sartorial options for a wedding guest or glitzy bridesmaid (see this beautiful Real Wedding for inspiration) in mind. And since it’s the festive season, these wouldn’t go amiss at your Christmas do either. See what I do for you!
1 Gold Sequin 3/4 Sleeve Bodycon Dress £39.99
2 Navy Sequin Floral Bodycon Lace Dress £27.99
3 Belle Heart Black Sequin Side Panel Pleated Dress £22.99
4 Tokyo Doll Gold Strappy Sequin Contrast Cami Dress £27.99
5 Gold Sequin Sleeveless Bodycon Dress £24.99
6 AX Paris Navy Sequin Plunge Maxi Dress £60.00
7 Parisian Gold Floral Sequin Skater Dress £34.99
8 AX Paris Bronze Lace Midi Dress £35.00
Finding the perfect outfit to wear to a wedding can be a bit of a challenge. There are many factors to consider when choosing what frock (or trouser suit, or shorts suit, or separates!), from the location of the ceremony and the reception to the time of day and season in which the event will be held.
Even in winter, guests have more flexibility with a daytime wedding ands can wear shorter, above-the knee length dresses to create a more casual look. Have some fun experimenting with vibrant colours and punchy patterns as much as possible. For the autumn/ winter season, haute hues on Pantone’s Fashion Colour Report include samba red, koi orange, vivacious magenta, acai purple, and Mykonos blue. Patterns that are sure to pop this season range from dainty oriental butterflies and flower prints to fierce tribal and animal patterns. If you decide to wear brighter hues or eye-catching prints, be sure to pair them with neutral bags and shoes to balance out the look, and don’t forget a pretty shrug or jacket to keep of the chill.
1 Red Metallic Ruched Side Bodycon Dress £24.99
2 AX Paris Black Floral Print Midi Dress £28.00
3 Tokyo Doll Burgundy Metallic Grid Shoulder Midi Dress £27.99
4 Burgundy Lace Cap Sleeve Midi Dress £22.99
5 AX Paris Red Crochet Neck Midi Dress £30.00
6 AX Paris Purple Crochet Waist Midi Dress £28.00
7 AX Paris Purple Raglan Bodycon Dress £22.00
8 Dark Red One Shoulder High Neck Aztec Dress £19.99
If the wedding is being held in the evening, skip the flirty frock in favour of something more sophisticated like a curve-hugging bodycon dress or midi dress in emerald green, gold or midnight blue. You can amp up the wow factor with crocodile and snakeskin print clutches, bags and heels that incorporate the current colour blocking trend or (my favourite) plenty of sequins.
Now, where’s my credit card…
December 9th, 2013 | Julia Braime
The classic styling continues this afternoon on these pretty pages with Nicola and Duncan’s stunning celebration at Goldsborough Hall. Nicola added elegant details and a scatter of snowflakes and sparkle to create a beautiful winter’s wedding day.
With images by Yorkshire wedding photographer Damian James Bramley, DJB Photography.com.
Nicola says: Duncan proposed at the top of the York Eye in North Yorkshire in the VIP Cabin on Valentine’s Day, 14th February 2012.
We were married on 1st December 2012 at St Mary’s Church, Alne, with our reception at Goldsborough Hall. It’s a truly stunning venue, intimate and royal with fabulous photographic opportunities.
We had a winter wedding with lots of snowflakes and sparkle! I chose a colour palette of white, soft ivory and silver with a hint of vintage green.
I travelled in a 1952 Bentley Freestone and Webb by Superior Motor Cars.
My bridesmaids wore a Vintage Kiwi one shoulder dress made in duchess satin with a Lux Chiffon overlay by Dessy.
Duncan wore Newbury Charcoal Tails with classic stripped trousers, olive diamond waistcoat with silver cravat and hanker-chief by Moss Bros, and our groomsmen and pageboys wore the same with olive accessories.
I carried a natural, quite large loose hand tied bouquet with large creamy winter white roses, white bouvardia, white freesia, creamy white spray roses, green hypericum berries, feathery fountain grass and added winter foliage by Paper White Flowers. Our church flowers were by Hilda Harvey.
When it comes to my favourite moment, its very difficult to pull out one specific part. Walking down the aisle and our first dance and having all your close family and friends around us was fantastic.
We used crooks and ribbon to line the pathways both at the venue and at the church with large floral displays, storm lanterns with flower explosions, lots of candle light, crystal candelabras and topiary hearts with twinkle lights on the red carpet. Inspire Me Designs provided our stationery and It’s A Cover Up did our venue dressing.
Our cake was covered in winter snowflakes with snowdrop beading and was a four tier fruit cake and chocolate sponge with chocolate truffle icing. The layers were alternated with the bottom tier starting with fruit cake by Patisserie Viennoise of Otley.
We honeymooned in Sri Lanka and then onto the Maldives. It was all booked by my ‘husband to be’ as a surprise! I found out the day after our wedding on route to the airport where we were going!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to jot down everything you’ve always dreamed of for your wedding day. I had a day called ‘Wedding Wednesdays’ purely set aside for wedding planning and appointments! Enjoy every moment, add personal touches where you can and try not to make too many compromises. Relax, drink tea and eat cake! Not too many though!
Congratulations Nicola & Duncan!
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December 1st, 2013 | Julia Braime
Can you believe its Advent already? I’ve so much gorgeous Real Wedding content to share with you between now and when that New Year’s ball drops that I thought I’d sneak in a pretty Sunday post to welcome the season.
If you’re planning a winter wedding – or just thinking about decorating your home for the holidays – there’s nothing chicer than layering white on white, as this lovely little decor and details inspiration shoot from North West photographer Amanda Balmain and floral designer Sharon Saberi at Aphrodite Flowers shows. Be inspired to create something lovely this Christmas.
Amanda says: Sharon and I actually put together this simple shoot earlier this year, but the ideas would work equally well for a beautiful winter wedding breakfast. We would both love to work on an outdoor wedding and we thought this gorgeous tree in the pretty woodland setting was just perfect. We had such fun decorating the tree and it looked so pretty that we both thought we would like to get married again right there (although we’d have to wrap up warm)! On the day the light was just perfect to give a warm glow to our all white winter floral colour palette.
This is not a sponsored post
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