They say “never work with children or animals” but for many of us, and certainly here at Birdsall, both take centre stage in our lives. Not having them with us at big life events, whether attending as bride, groom or guest is unthinkable. As we all know however, what seems special and glamourous to grown-ups can be a bit dull for our little friends, the ones with two legs that is!
Here’s some top-tips for entertaining children at major events, be it weddings, birthday or anniversary celebrations.
Give them some responsibility.
Children love ‘a job’. We all remember how taking the register to reception or ‘milk-monitor’ were coveted roles at school. When planning your special event, consider a role for any small people attending. If larger roles such as Page Boy or Bridesmaid aren’t an option, could they hand round confetti? Collect cards? You could even send them a typed letter before the big occasion asking them to take on a role and outlining what the duties are. It’s sure to keep them busy and happy.
Consider the space.
When choosing a venue for your wedding or party consider the space available. We have lots of outdoor space here at Birdsall, perfect for running around in. Large outdoor games can be found easily online or for hire, but if that’s not your thing, point out the wildlife or just leave them to it. Children will soon be dashing around making their own fun. As the saying goes “they can’t bounce off the walls if you take the walls away”.
Allocate some budget to entertainment.
Entertainment doesn’t just have to be for children to be fun. Live bands and musicians can often mesmerise children or consider a photo booth. Children and adults alike will love it and there’s various options out there to fit with your own styling. We love this one from Viva La Booth which has a traditional style and creates images guests will keep forever. Club Class UK also offer a DIY one with an interactive screen which no doubt children will be teaching adults to use within a few minutes.
Leave presents on children’s place settings.
We’ve seen this at many events and it gets a great reaction every time. Wrapped gifts on children’s place settings give them something to get excited about when it’s time to sit down. Make the gifts things they can do at the table, such as colouring books or jigsaws and you’ve entertained them throughout the meal too!
We are happy to help with creative ideas for your event and as a family-run venue can be very children-friendly. Contact us to find out more.
As the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding gown goes on display in Windsor and Edinburgh we got thinking about that tricky and all-important decision that every bride has to make – the hunt for the perfect dress.
More brides are choosing to change, add a little something or even take something off for their evening reception. We take a look at brides who have done this and share some inspiration for creating a different look after you’ve said ‘I do’.
The Duchess’ change of outfit is probably the most famous bridal change of the year. Meghan wore the stunning Claire Waight Keller dress to say her vows along with a 16ft veil and changed into a bespoke Stella McCartney halterneck dress for the private evening reception.
While the Duchess also changed her hair and accessories part way through the wedding day this, of course, is not realistic for most brides but changing dresses is becoming increasingly popular as brides opt for a more traditional long dress for the day and then something more relaxed for dancing in the evening.
Solange Knowles switched it up by wearing one outfit to her ceremony and another once she got there. She cycled to the Church in a caped Stéphane Rolland jumpsuit but changed into a dramatic Kenzo gown for the ceremony.
Orange is the New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale star Samira Wiley opted to go from glamour to casual when she married her partner Lauren Morelli . She wore a ball gown with a beautiful off-the-shoulder neckline by Christian Siriano but changed into jeans and a tank top when it was time to dance – we’ve seen similar but with jeans and sandals for a country-look at the height of summer.
Closer to home, friend of Birdsall, triathlete Rosie Clarke, married her husband Stu in a beautiful Willowby Range by Watters dress with a Wendy Makin skirt over the top which she took off for the evening reception for a more modern look. It’s a great example of how to transform yourself without the need for a whole outfit change.
As described by OK! Magazine, which we have previously featured in, changing outfits is the wedding trend all the celebrities seem to be following at the moment and our venue lends itself so well to this whether it’s the bride, groom or everyone involved. We have some spectacular, more traditional places to say your vows, such as our Church or our historic ruins but, come evening, we have several areas within our gardens that work really well for a marquee or tipi allowing you to create a garden party, festival feel or whatever takes your fancy, the only limit is your imagination!
A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex opens at Windsor Castle from 26 October 2018 to 6 January 2019. The exhibit then moves to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh from 14 June to 6 October 2019. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to view our home and see how we can help you create a truly unique day.
Here at Birdsall, we like nothing better than a good ol’ love story. After all, it’s how the house became part of the Willoughby family in the 1700s. So we were thrilled to work with Pinecone Productions shooting a film to promote the location and other partners. After 10 years of experience within the film and music industry working freelance, Alex from pinecone decided it was time to set up his very own company alongside production assistant and more importantly fiancé, Jodie, earlier this year.
Prior to the shoot, Pinecone came to the House to do some research. We gave them a guided tour of the house and grounds. Pinecone’s entire brand is inspired by their local setting and love for nature and the outdoors, so we knew it would be a great fit to work with them as our gardens, grounds and views overlooking The Wolds are such a huge part of our identity.
Alex had a clear idea in his head of what he wanted to shoot and which rooms he wanted to use. This was great as it meant filming was so efficient. Of course, there were some spontaneous shots – unfortunately we can’t control the peacocks and other wildlife, but luckily it turns out lots were keen to be featured on the day!
An amazing behind the scenes production team provided laughs and high energy throughout the day which ensured the shots were both relaxed and natural. Before each shot, Alex would engage the models, which included a member of the Willoughby family, to brief them on what he was looking for. Everyone felt so relaxed. We needed a banquet of food to keep the energy high and focused, plus lots of laughter, which was in abundance!
We were so surprised at how unimposing the equipment was. When talking to brides and grooms about filming their day, both they and us are a bit put off by the thought of all these massive cameras and microphones getting in the way, but Pinecone just used a single Canon 70D DSLR camera with an on-camera Rode Mic and three different lenses. Sometimes he used a slider but most of the time everything was shot completely handheld to give the film a more natural look, which we loved!
The only challenge we faced on the day was the glaring sun, but Alex had lots of tricks up his sleeve to overcome this using filters, which again were very discreet.
Of course, the film wouldn’t be what it is without the involvement of the other businesses.
Production assistant, Jodie, was the brains behind the scenes, pulling together some of the regions most talented individuals. Jade Heaney from The Makeup Works was a dream to work with and was such an asset as she kept energy levels high behind the scenes. Scouting our brides was the most challenging aspect, to find the right look and have models who would work with us professionally. Jodie did an amazing job of finding both our brides, Sabine Verenko and Lucy Ledgeway who were true professionals and looked amazing in the wedding dresses, Birdsall’s very own Flora also did an amazing job of showcasing her home and taking all the filming in her stride. As always, Birdsall’s manager, Cara, flipped into action when we were offered the opportunity to work with Pinecone, finding our dresses for the day by partnering with Little Pearl Bridal Boutique once again. They also supplied our dresses for our wedding showcase back in April, and always they were very professional and just had the most stunning selection.
We owe a great deal of thanks to all the companies involved, without whom the film would not have been possible. See the full film here.
Interested in using a videographer at your wedding?
“Couples who book with Pinecone can expect a bespoke film tailored to their own individual story and day. We aim to capture the energy of all our weddings to truly bring your day to life over and over again in a timeless film. Our style is very relaxed and we try to engage our couples creatively and with an element of fun, after all it is the happiest day of your life! We stage our couple shots and set up to film the dress but other than that our films are completely spontaneous, we aim to blend in with your day and for the most part you won’t even notice us filming. Capture your day with our cinematic, creative and bespoke wedding films.”
Steph is one half of Rustic Rose (the other half is made up of her husband, Adam Philps) The creative duo work with you to create a vision that inspires and excites you, enabling you to enjoy planning your wedding without worrying about how it will all come together on the day.
We caught up with Steph just after she, along with Kymm Queen, styled the marquee in our grounds for our wedding showcase…
What made you become a stylist?
My inspiration for the Rustic Rose Company was born out frustration! Whilst planning my own wedding, my creative mind was on overdrive and I felt somewhat overwhelmed by a myriad of Pinterest images, resulting in ideas that were significantly bigger than my budget. I did not know where to start, let alone how to source many of the items I had fallen in love with. I would spend hours researching suppliers only to find the nearest available option was hundreds of miles away. Delivery costs alone were astronomical! Working with a limited budget, I had to be creative. From the stationery to the cake design and venue decor, I designed everything.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
One of my highlights so far is being there to witness the clients’ reactions when they walk into the venue and are amazed at how I have been able to make the vision a reality.
What does a typical week look like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical week at Rustic Rose, each week is vastly different, responding to every couples enquiries differently.
How would you describe your own style?
My own style reflects myself. I love the outdoors and love to bring elements of the outdoors and nature into my styling but each wedding I style is so bespoke it reflects the couples personality. In my styling I like to tell a story – it should be a feeling when you walk into the room.
Can people come to you with no idea what they want or do they need some sort of plan?
My favourite clients are the clients that have no idea! I love getting to know the client and making something really special for them; getting to know there hobbies and interests, how they got to know each other, I love making their story into a visual representation for the special day.
What do you love about weddings?
I love everything about them! I love the run up to the day, the setting up on the morning of to that special moment when it all comes together and the clients are happily married and taking those few precious moments to themselves – you can feel the love!
When you’re not styling weddings how do you like to spend your time?
Me and my husband love walking our dog Wilfred, he is a six month old Labrador. We live in the best part of the world for walks. As cheesy as it is, I love spending time with him in the workshop coming up with new products and designs.
We’re really proud at Birdsall House that couples have exclusive use of the venue for the weekend so it’s easy to avoid that ‘conveyer belt’ feeling, how else can couples make their day unique?
There is nothing worse than feeling your wedding is a conveyer belt system. Here at Rustic Rose we are a one wedding weekend company, the same as Birdsall. We commit ourselves to only one wedding per weekend because I do the consultations and the design all the way to the end – making sure that last candle on the table is stood straight – I wouldn’t trust anyone else with your special day!
It was fascinating hearing how Steph works. For more information about Rustic Rose visit the company website.
The Yorkshire Bartender all started back when Callum Houston, Managing Director and his partner looked at hiring a bar for their own wedding. Having worked for mobile bars in the past he wasn’t comfortable having them at his own wedding. Recognising that ridged menus with limited flexibility and drinks prices of extortionate proportions is what we have come to expect from a wedding bar, he set out to offer something different in an attempt to break away from the normality in the industry. The Yorkshire Bartender offers a wedding bar that is; tailored specifically to your preferences; a menu, which features affordable drinks prices; and a selection of high quality Cocktails, Liquors, Wines, Beer and Ale. Let’s get to know the man behind the bow tie!
How do you work with couples who book Yorkshire Bartender?
Each wedding is unique which is why all of our drinks menus are personalised to match a couples taste. Once a couple have booked the Yorkshire Bartender they receive confirmation of their booking along with a wedding questionnaire, which we ask be fill in. This questionnaire allows us to truly personalise our bar package on the day to meet a couples taste. Two months prior to the wedding couples receive a bespoke wedding menu, which has been hand illustrated, any revisions to the menu will be then be made before agreeing a finalised menu a month before the wedding. Additionally, we are contactable at any point during the lead up to a couples wedding. Have you tasted a new cocktail you’d like to add to the menu? Got a question regarding timings? Or maybe you’re just unsure on something and want some clarification. We always have time for our couples.
Who would you recommend engaged couples follow on social media for inspiration (apart from yourself)?
Rock My Wedding gave me so much inspiration for my own wedding. So Your Getting Married has great Honeymoon tips! Brides Up North and Love My Dress are full of great content (PLUS its always nice to support us northerners)
Can you recommend something exciting for a tee-totaller to join in the celebrations?
Oh we love a Mocktail! They have really started a resurgent recently and all our menus now feature at least 3 mocktails on the menu! We recommend our cocktail Ginger Spice. Made with Ginger, Lemongrass, Seedlip Spice Liquor (it’s non alcoholic!) and Ginger Ale. It’s refreshing, light and feels like your drinking a cocktail BUT without the sorehead in the morning!
What do you love to drink?
My current favourite is a Smoked Statesman! Don Draper made Old Fashions’ popular again but our smoke statesman adds a unique twist to a great classic. It’s a must for your wedding menu!
What’s been the highlight for your business so far?
There has been so many. We’ve attended so many beautiful weddings, met so many lovely people and worked with some incredible suppliers.
When you’re not running Yorkshire Bartender how do you like to spend your time?
Mostly going for walks and exploring the Yorkshire country side with our office pug, Percy! With a little Yorkshire Bartender soon to be born that may all change though!
Meet Callum and The Yorkshire Bartender team at our Wedding Showcase on Sunday 29 April 11 – 4pm. Let us know you’re coming by pre-registering here to ensure he brings enough supplies to serve you a cocktail or mocktail.
Follow The Yorkshire Bartender on instagram
Thanks to Todd and Moore Photography for the images.
Diana McMann opened The Little Pearl just over 3 years ago. Affectionately naming those brides that find their dress at The Little Pearl as “Pearl’s Girls” this award-winning business-woman chats to us about finding THE dress ahead of our wedding showcase next week.
What inspired you to start The Little Pearl?
It has always been a passion of mine to own and run my own business and I feel so lucky to be finally living out my dream! After having my two boys, I knew it was the perfect time to take that step and I haven’t looked back.
How would you recommend brides get started when looking for THE dress?
Do lots of research on different styles and check out the boutiques that stock those designers. As much as you will get an idea of styles you like, the best piece of advice I can give when starting your search is to have an open mind. More often than not you will end up choosing something you didn’t think you would, but don’t let this overwhelm you, just go with it. Your wedding day is the one day you can truly express yourself and feel a million dollars.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Winning Best Bridal Retailer in Yorkshire & The North East in 2018 and Best Bridal Retailer in Yorkshire in 2016. We have also been nominated as a finalist in two Customer Service awards at our industry awards over the past 2 years.
You stock bridesmaids dresses as well, we’ve all heard stories about the stress of trying to find dresses for a group of ladies, have you got any advice?
Yes we do stock Bridesmaid gowns, from Sorella Vita and Amanda Wyatt. Finding your girls’ gowns is such a fun experience, and we love to host our special #Bridesquad Experience at the boutique. You get the boutique to yourself, fizz, treats, goodie bags and lots of fun! It’s a great way to get your girls together and take the stress out of Bridesmaid shopping.
What do you love most about your work?
Not everyone gets to be a part of someone’s wedding day. For me it is such an honour. To see your bride on their big day, all smiles and looking amazing is just the best feeling in the world.
Who would you recommend brides follow on social media for inspiration (apart from yourself!)?
Brides up North
Love My Dress
Blush Cake Company
What are your favourite trends at the moment?
My favourite bridal wear trends have to be the use of textured fabrics and detailing…feathers, pearls, bows, 3D flowers. I can’t get enough of them!
When you’re not dressing brides how do you like to spend your time?
I have two young boys so any spare time is usually spent with them. I also enjoy running as I’m currently training for the Great North Run.
Meet Diana and The Little Pearl team on Sunday 29 April at our wedding showcase, which includes a fashion show featuring dresses from The Little Pearl. To contact Diana, telephone 01751 798080, email email@example.com or visit the below links to discover more.
Facebook – /thelittlepearlbridalboutique
If you recognise Abi Alton it might be because as a teenager she gained experience performing in front of millions every Saturday night on the UK’s biggest singing competition The X Factor, it might be because her latest single ‘Never Come Back’ had a fantastic reaction among her 80,000 plus Twitter followers, or you may even have had the pleasure of seeing her live yourself playing a gig across the UK, in Nashville and supporting Ellie Goulding. Her debut EP ‘Souvenirs’ entered the Top 10 of the iTunes UK singer-songwriter chart and on Sunday 29 April Abi will be playing here at Birdsall House on our grand piano, where she will also be available to chat to you about live music at your very own wedding.
Taking time out from her busy schedule, Abi chats to us about her career and music:
|How would you describe the kind of music you perform for weddings?|
|Ambient, Elegant and Personal.|
|What’s been the highlight for your career so far?|
|It was a real honour to have strings recorded at Abbey Road for an album of TV compositions I worked on last year.|
|How do you work with couples who book you?|
|With every booking I offer a complimentary consultation. This allows the couple the opportunity to hear a selection of songs they may have had in mind for the ceremony or first dance. It also gives me the chance to get to know them a little, understand their music tastes and go through the logistics of the day so that I know exactly how I can complement it best.|
|What do you like to listen to?|
|At the moment I’m in love with Lewis Capaldi’s music. He’s a bit of an Ed Sheeran/James Arthur Hybrid.
|What instrument do you like playing the most?|
The Piano. I’m forever thankful for the lessons I had when I was younger!
Have you got any tips for couples struggling to pick music for their ceremony and reception?
|Consider songs that may remind you of special or pivotal points in your relationship, or ones that have a sentiment that resounds with you as a couple.
|When you’re not performing how do you like to spend your time?|
|Music wise, I write a lot as this forms a large part of what I do. In my spare time, I like running or tucking into a good Netflix series (at the moment I’m loving Suits!)
|Register here for our Wedding Showcase where you can meet Abi, listen to her play, as well as have a tour of the house. Receive a free gift bag on arrival and get access to a very special offer when you register in advance.
Victoria Farr provides an exclusive, luxury styling experience with the highest attention to detail for any bride on her wedding day. We’re delighted she will be joining us at our wedding showcase on Sunday 29 April but before that we thought we’d get to know her a little better in our latest spotlight feature…
Hi Victoria! What do you love about being a make-up artist?
Making ladies look and feel amazing on such a special occasion, enhancing their own natural beauty and ensuring they can look back at their wedding images in years to come and feel happy with how they look.
People are often afraid of the cliché of looking very orange and overly made-up when getting their make-up done, how do you ensure brides get the look they want?
I talk at length about their likes and dislikes and we work on the overall look together, bringing in details of their wedding gown, flowers and styling to ensure everything works perfectly together.
What are some of your favourite products?
Illamasqua Skin Base foundation, Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks and Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion.
How do you fit in different members of the wedding party?
Depending on bridal party numbers, the time of the ceremony and logistics of bridal preparations that morning, I then work out the best timeline for the bride and her bridal party. I am seeing more often larger numbers, which is not a problem as I can provide additional artists to join me on the day.
What’s been the highlight for the business so far?
There have been so many over the last 7 years, but I am so excited for what the future holds and knowing that what I bring to a brides wedding day is so very special and quite unique.
What is one of the most memorable bridal looks you’ve seen?
History always provides good references and I am a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn, timeless, classic and elegant wedding day looks. Also Jennifer Anniston when she married Brad Pitt looks as relevant today as it was in 2000, again a timeless look that was her own style.
Unless you were already into wedding cakes and bakeries on Instagram, then a few weeks ago the name Clare Ptak probably didn’t mean much to you. Fast forward in time and the world’s media were all itching to speak to her after news broke that she would be creating Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle’s wedding cake.
Ms Markle had previously met the owner of London bakery Violet Cakes when she interviewed her for her lifestyle website ‘The Tig’ and the Californian bakers use of seasonal and organic ingredients clearly left an impression.
Even more exciting was the news that the cake would be a lemon elderflower cake “covered in buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers”. A departure from the traditional fruit-cake caused quite a stir and we love the choice. Of course, the royal couple are by no means the first to shun tradition in favour of something they prefer and this week we take a look at some bakers local to us and get their reaction to the royal news:
Specialising in bespoke wedding and celebration cakes, just looking at this company’s website makes our mouths water. The company is based at Jervaulx Abbey Tearooms with cakes, tray bakes and pastries baked by Carol, Gayle and Anna using local and high-quality ingredients. Gayle is mainly self-taught but one look at her detailed, three-tier sculptures would make you think she’d trained for years first. She said of the royal wedding cake choice:
“Personally I love the flavour choice, I’m going to be serving it at a wedding fair this weekend. Lemon is one of our most popular flavours. We do a gooseberry and elderflower cake when they are in season. I think it will be a huge hit.”
Image credit: Riff Raff Photography
“I think lemon and elderflower is a delicious combination – the delicately floral sweet taste of the elderflower will be perfectly balanced by the tang of the lemon. But, then I love any floral flavour and, indeed, have a couple of floral choices on my menu, namely, Lavender & Pear and Rose & Raspberry. It is also nice to see that the royal couple have chosen a baker for whom provenance of ingredients is so important, an ethos I share.”
Initially starting out in ceramics, Amanda Earl’s creative flair is apparent in all of her cake designs. Based in Harrogate, we love her use of florals and how detailed her designs are. This Moroccan-inspired opulent wedding cake, for example, features sugar damask roses, sugar fruits & foliage, with hand piping and 24ct edible gold leaf accents. Almost too good to eat!
Even if you’re not into cake, you’re probably one of over 74,000 people following Poppy Pickering on Instagram for some serious wedding inspiration. A daughter and father team based in Ilkley, their shop window is truly eye-catching and it’s easy to see why they won National Wedding Cake Designer of the Year in 2016.
“I love the sound of Harry and Megan’s cake flavour, it sounds so summery and perfect in keeping with the wedding cake design they are going for. To be honest I am thinking of adapting my lemon & blueberry cake flavour to incorporate the elderflower too. I must admit I also have a new cake flavour which might sound appealing, its orange, satsuma and Masons Yorkshire gin!”
Tell us what cake you want on your dream day and meet local Cake Designers at our Wedding Showcase on Sunday 29 April 11am – 4pm.
The reasons for choosing a wedding venue are so personal to each couple, but one thing that really matters to every bride and groom we meet is the people who will be looking after you, from the moment you arrive for a show-around to the moment you say goodnight on your big day. That’s why we are so pleased that with every wedding booked at Birdsall, Lindsay Whitwell, Founder of the award-winning LW Events is there to help you plan and co-ordinate memories that will last a lifetime. We found out a bit more about her so you know who you will be meeting at our showcase on Sunday 29 April (which you can register for here).
What made you get into the wedding industry?
How I came to be a wedding planner has lots of answers, but the reason I am motivated to be a planner remains a constant – life moves along at such a pace, you blink and a month has passed, a year, a decade even, so when a day comes along that deserves to be celebrated and cherished I take utter joy in being there to make sure the happy couple enjoys every moment, spends it with their friends and family, without worrying about hosting the day or what might go wrong. And I get to add a little extra magic; touches they haven’t even thought about to make the day truly special.
How I came to be a planner takes a little more explanation; I studied theatre and I have always loved putting on productions, conceiving an idea and then finding ways to bring it to life. My Wedding lightbulb moment was actually at my sister’s best friend’s wedding, which was being hosted at her parent’s farm. My sister was maid of honour and with her limited skills had somehow been coerced into making the dresses for herself and the other bridesmaids. After various hitches she was still adding finishing touches (like hems and straps!) through the night, on the eve of the wedding. I was duly drafted in to take over her other bridesmaid responsibilities along with a few other oversights. Armed with nothing but a 4×4 from the farm and my knack for problem-solving I was tasked with various jobs including, but not limited to the following; finding the person who could make the church bells toll after the ceremony (an oversight during the planning), styling the bride’s hair (medical emergency meant a last minute cancellation), collecting guests from the station (who didn’t realise the farm wasn’t in the heart of the city) and most importantly keeping my sister topped up with coffee whilst she sewed.
I loved every chaos-filled moment; rather than balk under the pressure, I managed each issue with a calm determination and a beaming smile that I had been trusted with such weighty responsibility. On the day the bridesmaids were fully dressed for the occasion and the wedding went without a hitch. I received a special thanks during the speeches and a toast to the ‘pop up planner’.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
There are too many to mention! I get goosebumps whenever a bride walks down the aisle, and cry at least once every wedding day. I have also been lucky enough to see some famous singers and bands perform at my weddings and parties; Clean Bandit was definitely a night I won’t forget!
What can a couple expect your help with as part of the Birdsall House package?
I will be there at every step of your planning and wedding day, to offer advice and support.
I feel lucky enough to have the best of Yorkshire’s Wedding Suppliers in my Little Black Book, so if you’re nervous about finding the perfect cake maker or photographer, or 20’s Jazz band, you can relax and know that I am there to help.
I will also be on hand to oversee the set up of your wedding, so you can spend the day with your family and friends, and coordinate the day itself, ensuring everything goes to plan.
Everyone knows there’s something that doesn’t go to plan on a wedding day. What’s the most usual thing you’ve had to do as a wedding planner?
Sew a bride into her dress.
I was working with a beautiful bride whose gorgeous one shoulder gown came apart at the seam – during the post-ceremony cocktails and canapés. I always carry my kit boxes which of course contain a sewing kit and I put my remedial needle skills to good use – my Mum was very proud of me!
Every problem has a solution, you just have to find it – that’s my motto.
What would you recommend couples plan first after getting engaged?
First, I think couples should take time to enjoy being engaged, enjoy the romance of the moment and take some time to live your love story.
Then it’s Venue, Menu and Dress!
Wedding planning can seem incredibly overwhelming at first, but when you’ve made a few big decisions things really do seem to fit into place and the subsequent decisions are much easier to make. I would create a guest list first, because the number attending your wedding will be one of the biggest influences on the venue you choose.
When making any big decisions I would look at what is essential for you, what would be a dream come true and what is negotiable. If there is one thing that you enjoy most as a couple (eating out, drinking beautiful wines, listening to live music…) focus on that first, make the day yours.
What is your favourite room at Birdsall House?
This is so difficult and my favourite changes every time I am there. If I had to choose just one it would probably be the Oval Room. I love the story of how it was added to the house to show the length of an extraordinary horse jump by the owner of the time, but also the proportions of the room as well as the Asian Screen and Tea Chests. When the candles are lit and somebody is playing the piano, I swoon – it’s incredibly beautiful.
Who would you recommend couples follow on social media for inspiration?
There are so many great wedding bloggers and Instagram accounts. I love The White Sparrow – it’s a breath-taking barn venue in Texas, but they also feature some incredibly beautiful detail shots. Other favourites are The Bridal Theory, Nicola Dixon Photography Co., and a little off-the-wall, but I adore Yew Kong Photography Japan.
When you’re not planning weddings, how do you like to spend your time?
I still love the theatre and watching movies; so many of my ideas come from what I see on the stage and screen. I am happiest outdoors, so I try to take my dog for as many walks in the woods as possible – she loves coming to Birdsall House and exploring the grounds with me. Yoga is essential for me to keep my mind focused, especially at the height of wedding season. And in September I will take part in the Great North Run half marathon for the first time, wish me luck!
What do you think a lot of couples overlook when planning their big day?
Planning alone time – weddings are magical days, but they fly-by in a haze of laughter and tears and well-wishes; it’s absolutely essential that you have 10 minutes alone with the person you will spend the rest of your life with; make sure you plan that into the day; sneak off for a few stolen kisses, your guests won’t miss you for a few minutes, I promise.
What is your favourite cocktail?
I’m not much of a cocktail drinker actually, but I love a glass of champagne! As my style hero once said –
“I only drink champagne on two occasions; when I am in love and when I am not” – Coco Chanel