It’s that time once again where recent brides to have graced our pretty pages pass on what they learned during their wedding planning journey to those of you currently on the path towards your own big day, so that you feel both equipped… and excited!
Comforting, inspiring and incredibly helpful, these priceless pearls of wisdom should help you to focus on where best to invest your efforts as you navigate your way through the organising, whilst reminding you not to lose sight of what it’s all about along the way.
There is practical advice, such as researching suppliers, booking early and budget chat, as well as emotional support, including not getting hung up trying to please others and making time for you as a couple, both in the run up to the wedding, and on the big day itself.
We’re also thrilled to hear how Brides Up North played a key part in the planning of these brides’ stunning celebrations; from taking ideas from our beautiful featured real weddings, to using our incredible online directory to locate top local suppliers and also visiting our Luxury Wedding Shows that we host at top venues across the North.
So, notebooks at the ready as we hand over to our wise and wonderful brides…
Click on the links to see each wedding in full.
Cat says: Our advice would be to enjoy the process, don’t get caught up in the hype and stay true to your own style and identities. Be who you are as a couple and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to tradition or to outside influences. Less is definitely more!
Also, talk to your suppliers before committing to them, anyone who is willing to ring you and put up with looking at you sideways on Facetime because you can’t both fit on the screen otherwise (hello Tim… our photographer!) is worth more than anything money can buy!
Emma-Kate says: Don’t procrastinate too much. We went with our gut on everything and it all came together. Whatever you do, it’ll be the most amazing day whatever!
Also, do things your way. On the face of it our wedding was quite traditional, but we had personal touches like the speeches and the top table and banquet tables, which made it unique to us.
Sarah says: Wedding planning can be stressful to say the least so it’s key that the bride and groom both work together during the planning. This will help make sure it doesn’t seem like a chore and help you make the bigger decisions.
We divided everything up and discussed our visions for the day so we were both on the same page. We made sure we had covered everything that was important to both of us, in order to create a day that would reflect both of us equally.
Also, don’t worry about what other people think when making your choices. It is your day and it should reflect you!
For the wedding day itself, our tip would be don’t sweat over the small stuff and enjoy every single moment as it all goes by so quickly.
Hannah says: My top tip for other brides is to use local suppliers. I asked the venue for their recommendations and used Instagram hashtags to locate suppliers who worked in the area and had worked with Middleton Lodge before. I loved being able to support local companies and use their knowledge and experience to guide my decisions.
Emma says: Try not to get so caught up in the stress of planning the wedding that you lose sight of the bigger picture! It’s really easy to let fear and panic dictate your decisions so there were certain things that I panic-booked because I was scared that if I left it too late, everything would be booked up. In hindsight, however, I may have made different choices.
Also, make a list of what are the most important elements to you both and put your energy into getting those right and everything else will just fall into place.
Finally, everyone will tell you that the day goes so fast…they’re right. So, make sure you take a bit of time out to soak it all up and enjoy everything you’ve been planning for months!
Laura says: Don’t rush things. Enjoy every minute of planning because it’s over with all too soon and you never get these amazing experiences again.
If there is something over-budget that you really want, make sacrifices. It’s the biggest day of your life after all – no ‘make do’s and no regrets. And take your time!
Elizabeth says: My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, secure suppliers well in advance as the best get booked up early.
Georgia says: Remember the wedding is for you two and to make it what you want it to be – not what your parents/family/friends want it to be… or think it should be! Our Oktoberfest theme was so random, but actually these elements totally made the day special and everyone embraced it!
My other tip would be to stick within budget – I think it can be so overwhelming with so much choice out there, but stick to what you’ve planned to spend and don’t go over – your guests are there to celebrate the day with you and the people there are what make the day special.
Finally, working in the Brides up North office gave me an amazing insight into what was available in our region – we have so many amazing suppliers in the North to suit all budgets and tastes! I actually read the Brides Up North blog every day – it’s always good to see what other brides do or find important, or not important, to give you a bit of a reality check!
Katie says: Make lots of lists and never be afraid of booking things ‘too early’. I had a lot of people tell me I had loads of time but it’s surprising how quickly two years go – having everything booked in advance took an awful lot of stress off me.
Emma says: Enjoy every second of the planning with your closest friends and family as it really is such an amazing process.
To help with the planning of our wedding, I was always reading the real-life weddings on Brides Up North – the website is a great place to hear other people’s experiences and gain tips. I also attended the Brides Up North wedding shows at Ramside Hall, which were a great help too.
Becca says: We have three top tips for other brides- and grooms-to-be:
Don’t feel you have to have all the things! I’d recommend investing in a good band if you can, but don’t feel like you have to have lots of entertainment options for your guests. If you’d like those things and can afford them, go for it (as it’s your day of course!), but people will have a great time with some good music and yummy food. Don’t feel you need to do/have everything.
Try not to fall into Pinterest black holes. Take on a small number of DIY projects that’ll have impact and leave it at that. I’m really pleased I made a massive 8ft backdrop, but in hindsight I gave myself (and my poor dad!) a lot to do, some of which probably wasn’t necessary.
Finally, a bit left field, but consider making a recording of you and your husband chatting about your wedding day memories soon after the day. We did this on our honeymoon, and while we’ve not actually listened to it yet, we can’t wait to open a bottle of wine and laugh at how lame and ecstatic we sound!
During the planning, I loved looking at the Brides Up North blog! It’s so helpful to see other people’s weddings, and piece together what you want from that.
Victoria says: The days before the wedding I was so emotional and overwhelmed, so we decided to give ourselves a cut-off point of planning and booked a night away just the two of us on the night before, the night before – which was perfect for us to switch off and start to really get excited about the days ahead of us!
Try to plan as much of the small things in advance, they take up a lot of your time and time is very precious closer to the day.
Most importantly, this is your wedding – your choices and your day – try not to let too many people influence your decisions.
During the planning I loved speaking with, and reading about, other couples’ weddings, there is a huge bridal community on Instagram and so many real weddings to get inspo from on Brides up North and UNVEILED – even though I am in the wedding industry and surrounded by inspiration, it was just nice to be able to speak to brides-to-be and learn about their planning journey, especially my own brides who got married around the same time as we did – it was so lovely sharing such a special time with them!
Adele says: Choose the right photographer for you, bearing in mind that the pictures will serve as memories of your wedding day for years to come.
Naomi says: My advice would be not to worry about the weather! We chose the Yorkshire Dales in August and, from experience, it always rains. I spent the week before our wedding obsessing about the weather. The forecast changed constantly and the day before the wedding, thunderstorms and flash flooding were forecast for the big day. I was so stressed about it! On the day of the wedding there was rain, there was sun, there was even a bit of thunder and it genuinely didn’t matter in the slightest!
Elysia says: Enjoy every minute of the planning process. Don’t let stress get the better of you – you’ll look back with fond memories – even when it comes to the tricky decision-making. If something feels right, just go with it. Middleton Lodge was the first venue we had a proper look around and I picked out my dress at the first shop I visited. There’s no need to over complicate things. The most important thing is that you enjoy your day and create many happy memories along the way.
During the planning, I loved to read real weddings – it’s so lovely to hear all about a couple’s journey to the altar, so much personality can come through in a wedding. The online directory on Brides Up North is also very useful when looking for suppliers, and it’s always good to soak up the atmosphere at wedding fairs – you meet some lovely people along the way, too.
Laura says: Book a videographer! Bennett Media were our last supplier to come on board but we are so glad that we made that last minute decision. Their videos are next level!
We would also stress to couples who are planning their weddings how important it is to assign the right tasks to the right people. For example, we didn’t manage to get everyone to sign our guestbook, which saddens us as we look back; appointing someone from the bridal party to ensure this got done would have been a good idea. Also, making sure you have one or two people to help gather groups for photos is useful, as it can get rather manic and hold everything up when you’re trying to find individuals!
We’d also definitely recommend having a good MC to help run the day and sort any supplier issues – that’s a must from us!
Sara says: I did a speech and I would highly recommend it – I was never one for public speaking but I felt so good after it.
During the planning I looked at the real wedding section on Brides Up North to get some inspiration on colour themes and accessorising wedding ideas. I like how there are the handy tabs which summarise what season/theme/area the weddings were located, so you can easily view what’s most relevant/appealing.
Abigail says: Make sure you book your suppliers on recommendation and talent. Take that bit longer to save and book in advance if you need to. Recommended suppliers are usually not the cheapest, but they are simply worth their weight in gold and earn every penny of that cost as they make your lives so much easier when it comes to planning.
Eileen says: Love is timeless – we waited 50 years, after all. Life is short so grab it with both hands and don’t sweat the small stuff.