At the start of the year, we were thrilled to announce that our ceremony license had been extended to include the front porch and temple overlooking the lake. In England, ceremonies must take place in a structure with a solid, permanent roof with a designated license. Birdsall House holds a ceremony license for these two ‘outdoor’ areas as well as seven staterooms. This is in addition to the Church within our grounds which is available for religious ceremonies.
Finding a venue that can give you the look and feel of an outdoor wedding ceremony can be hard to find and advice on how to plan one can be even harder.
Let’s take a look at some top tips for couples wanting to make the most of the outdoors on their wedding day:
That ‘roof’ refers to the space above your heads and not your guests.
The law in England can be confusing and many people think “permanent roof” means outdoors is simply out of the question, but, as long as you and your partner are covered by the roof, your witnesses and guests can be outside. So in our two outdoor ceremony locations, you and your fiancé may say your vows under the temple while chairs are placed around it for guests.Likewise, you may stand on the grand front porch with rows of chairs facing the stately home for guests to watch you say “I do”.
Flexibility is key.
While we are proud we can offer something so bespoke here, what’s really bespoke is the opportunity to then be flexible – this is Yorkshire, England after all! It’s a good idea to plan for less agreeable weather. Fortunately, here at Birdsall we have another seven state rooms licensed for ceremonies so we would work with you to plan an alternative should the weather go against us.
Outdoors does not mean you have to sacrifice style!
We work with a number of dedicated suppliers who will ensure the space is stunning and tailored to you. From choosing chairs that fit in with your taste to working with florists who know how to design bouquets that are resilient in the breeze, we can help you get the perfect look and take full advantage of the surrounding Yorkshire Wolds.
Break up areas so your guests still mingle
Usually, basing your celebration outdoors means working with a bigger space. To stop guests from spreading out everywhere consider how you can assign different parts of the grounds to different parts of the day. Just beside our stately home is a twelfth century monastery. So far, every couple has utilised this space differently – some used it as the area for post-ceremony drinks, others for photographs. At one event, comfortable outdoor furniture was placed on one of the lawns outside the front of the house for people to mingle in whereas for other events we’ve seen marquees used on the back lawn, overlooking the lake and this is where everyone spent the night dancing. We work with the Yorkshire Bartender who has a number of options for mobile bars so you can run a bar inside or keep everything outdoors – they even have a converted Landrover you can use as a bar! The great thing about an outdoor wedding is the possibilities are endless. Just pay us a visit and start to think about where the different elements of your special day might work.
Outdoor lighting is key – it looks stunning in photographs, creates the wow factor for guests arriving for the evening and helps to add style to your day. We also light up the house which keeps guests awestruck well into the night.
Choose a photographer who is prepared to get their wellies on
There’s no point having an outdoor wedding if you can’t take advantage of the location for your photos! Our country house overlooks the Yorkshire Wolds and is surrounded by manicured grounds and meadows. If you’ve got a photographer in mind, chat to them about how they might achieve different shots – we’ve seen photographers neck deep in the fields surrounding Birdsall to get the perfect shot. Use #yorkshireweddings on Instagram to find a photographer.
Talk to your venue
Most importantly of all, chat to your venue about exactly what you are looking for. If you’ve seen a space you’d like to use but you’re not sure how it can be done, say so. Here at Birdsall, our home is exclusively yours for your wedding and we try our best to ensure the grounds can be taken full advantage of.
Having only opened to the public in April 2018 we are thrilled to announce we have been nominated for ‘Best New Venue’ at the UK Wedding Awards. Hosted and organised by leading bridal brands Hitched and You & Your Wedding, the awards recognize the very best of the UK wedding industry.
We join 11 other nominees from across the country, so it really is an honour to be included. Who wins, however, is up to you, so please vote for us here. Voting is now open and closes on Sunday 17th February.
It’s been such a busy time since we opened less than a year ago. From a spectacular launch to hosting a number of exclusive and bespoke weddings, the AGM for Historic Houses and being the set for Abi Alton’s showreel. We’ve been on TV (twice!), hosted a wonderful wedding fair and a Christmas fair, met some inspiring industry partners and this is such a great way to start 2019.
Incase you are yet to visit, Birdsall House sits in its own private valley on the edge of the Wolds. Built in 1540 it has remained home to the Willoughby family ever since. The Honourable James and Lady Cara Willoughby and their three children opened their home for events to ensure the longevity of the spectacular building and to allow more people to make use of the ballroom, Oval Room, other reception rooms and grounds.
Having just had our ceremony license extended to include the grand front porch and temple that overlooks the lake we hope this latest news will attract even more couples to the historic home as well as raising the profile of the region in general. The main wing of the house is available for exclusive use for weddings and events. This includes a ballroom, dining room and a state room named the Oval Room, the width of which was built to equal the spectacular jump of Henry Willoughby’s horse in 1790 and includes a number of items of historical importance such as an unbroken line of family portraits dating from 1588.
Six bedrooms have also undergone complete renovation, bringing them into the 21stcentury while complementing the home’s history. This includes a bridal suite with double bath and stunning views over the Wolds and the home’s own lake.
Alex Vyse, who was one of the first brides to get married at Birdsall House said
“We found Birdsall House on Instagram, we’d just got engaged and I searched the hashtag #yorkshireweddings. It was the first of 9 venues we visited in one weekend, and none of the others came close. Danny, my husband, has a Masters in Archaeology, and so the monastery ruins that sit on Birdsall’s front lawn really resonated with us. Birdsall has that ‘wow’ factor we were looking for without feeling pretentious.”
Lady Cara Willoughby said
“There are many people who work tirelessly hard here at Birdsall and make it the special place it is so I am thrilled we have been nominated for such a prestigious award. I want to thank everyone who has helped Birdsall House grow since opening in April.”
We’re thrilled to announce that our ceremony license now extends to the grand, front porch of Birdsall House and our temple, overlooking the lake. If you’ve been dreaming of an outdoor or garden wedding you will be aware that a legal ceremony venue in England must be a permanent structure with a roof, well both these stunning areas of our historic home fall under this requirement so we’re thrilled you can now choose them for your vows.
Our house, which has been the home of the Willoughby family since 1729, can host civil ceremonies in our dining room, Oval Room and ballroom as well as under our porch with your guests sitting directly in front of the house, or for smaller ceremonies you can say your vows in the temple which overlooks the lake with guests surrounding you just outside of it.
These are all in addition to the option of having a religious ceremony in the Church within our grounds.
Whichever you choose, there are then a number of options for you to celebrate saying ‘I do’, whether it’s canapes in the long hall followed by a wedding breakfast in the dining room or speeches in the ballroom. We only book one wedding for the weekend so whatever you choose Birdsall House is exclusively yours, with six luxury bedrooms for you and your guests too.
If you’ve recently become engaged, congratulations! We’d love to show you all the options for your ceremony, wedding breakfast and reception in person so why not contact us to arrange an appointment? We’ll get back in touch with you as soon as possible after the Christmas decorations have been put away.
Back in October Abi Alton came along to Birdsall to film her new showreel and we were thrilled she’d chosen us for it! Here she tells us about filming the short video designed to give potential clients a taster of what she offers as a wedding singer and musician.
“Birdsall perfectly complements everything I want to say about my brand and my business. It’s elegant, beautiful, unique and personal. I wanted my clients to be able to visualise what it would be like to have me at their wedding day and filming the showreel at one of the best venues in North Yorkshire allowed me to do just that! Being able to record using the Steinway piano at Birdsall also added something very special to the project. It’s a very old piano and with that comes a certain charm and character, a theme which runs throughout the whole venue.
Aside from this, having worked with Cara before, I knew she would be happy to help. From the moment myself and the filming crew arrived, she couldn’t have done more to make us feel more comfortable and welcome. Cara is certainly one of Birdsall’s biggest assets as a wedding venue. She is a genuinely lovely person who treats suppliers exceptionally well, something I know applies to her wedding clients too.
We arrived at Birdsall at around midday. After load in, it took approximately two hours for us to set up the microphones around the piano and to get a sound with which we were happy. We had a short break for lunch and a cuppa and then we got down to work!
We filmed two full videos (She’s The One by Robbie Williams and Perfect by Ed Sheeran) and the rest of the filming and recording consisted of small sections of popular wedding songs which were to be married together for the final showreel. For the piano tracks, we filmed in The Oval Room as that’s where the Steinway is! It’s also got a lovely feel in general, as I mentioned before, elegant and beautiful, but also very homely. For each track we took two shots, a close up, and a wide shot, which allowed us to capture the setting of the whole room. For the guitar tracks we moved to the ballroom, as it offers some lovely acoustics.
We also took some shots of the grounds outside of Birdsall, for the opening sequences of the videos.
In total filming and shooting took around 7 hours (which was tiring, but well worth it!)
Spending time at Birdsall in general is a real pleasure. The whole place is steeped in history and between shots we humoured ourselves with conversations about what the lives of people who have lived here in years gone by must have been like. The paintings in the Oval Room make you feel like those people are still part of the home. It’s a fascinating place and I hope I’ll be returning to help couples celebrate very soon.”
A huge thanks to Abi for spending the time to tell us about her process. To see and hear this beautiful showreel click here.
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