A Downton Abbey experience at Broughton Hall, Skipton

Sometimes my job can be very glamorous and none more so than an exclusive invitation to dinner and an overnight stay at Broughton Hall, near Skipton.  http://www.broughtonhall.co.uk/broughton-hall/

Situated in some of the most stunning countryside in Yorkshire, Broughton Hall is set within 3,000 acres of extensive landscaped grounds. The Hall is the private home of the Tempest family who have been established in the area for 900 years and the lineage now runs through thirty one generations to the present day.  The location is often used for film and TV dramas and is now also available for exclusive use hire for weddings, parties and events.

When you drive up to the front of the Hall it is truly impressive, but nothing prepares you for the house itself.  After champagne in the stunning drawing room I was given a guided tour of the recently restored 12 en suite bedrooms.  Everything in the house is like a film set and it truly is a ‘real’ lived in house, yours exclusively for a day or a week or anything in between,  however you want to use it.  Every room houses beautiful artwork and antique furnishings, roaring fires (don’t worry there is central heating!) and the boys even have their very own snooker room!

The Hall can accommodate small intimate groups or up to 80 guests for dinner in the drawing room with its golden pillars.  The Hall has its own private chefs who can design any menu you wish using fresh local produce, some from the estate, and will return to cook you breakfast for your guests the next morning.

Wedding ceremonies can be held in the Estate’s Catholic chapel or the local village church, or if you would like a blessing or humanist celebration the orangery or the stunning gardens are absolutely perfect.  Evening celebrations can be held in nearby Utopia if you would like dancing, just a short walk through the grounds.  http://www.broughtonhallutopia.co.uk/index.html

There are very few such unique and exclusive venues as Broughton Hall and I cannot recommend it enough to anybody looking for that something special.  My evening there was a very great privilege and I would like to thank all the team for inviting me.

For further information on Broughton Hall and Aldourie Castle please contact Helen McKenzie Smith, at helenmckenziesmith@broughtonhall.co.uk and don’t forget to mention I sent you!

‘Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside’ – Raithwaite Hall

Back in 2012, on a cold winters day, I had been to visit the building site of the new Raithwaite Hall near Whitby, and amongst the diggers and dumpers  had to imagine how lovely it would be when finished!  Now in 2013 I was invited back for lunch with the wonderful wedding co-coordinator Clare Goldsmith, and it exceeded all my expectations.

Situated just outside the seaside town of Whitby, Raithwaite Hall manages to perfectly combine the feel of an exclusive country house with the facilities of a modern 5 star hotel, whilst maintaining a traditional Yorkshire friendly and personal service.  Sitting in the cosy lounge it was easy to imagine wedding guests feeling right at home. In summer the grounds are absolutely stunning and have been beautifully planted with lots of TLC.

Weddings range from small and intimate for 20 with various rooms licenced for ceremonies, to the larger room seating 140 for the wedding breakfast. Exclusive use packages are available taking all 45 bedrooms to ensure a truly unique experience.  Food is locally sourced and I can vouch for its quality and presentation (try the Whitby sole) and the set menus offer something for everybody.

If you do want to leave the cosy surroundings of the hotel, country pursuits can be organised for you and staff will advise you on the local golf courses and walks on the beaches. Whitby and Sands End are just on the doorstep with not to be missed Fish and Chips at the famous Magpie café, all of which can be worked off in the hotels pool afterwards.

A tour of the bedrooms left me wanting to stay a night, from flat screen TV’s, a penthouse with private terrace and  the Bridal suite is absolutely huuuuge and totally luxurious.

For more information see http://www.raithwaitehallwhitby.co.uk/ or speak to Clare directly.

Bride Magazine Real Life Wedding Features

Published this January 2013 and now available in newsagents and at weddings fairs, we are thrilled to be featured in the new Bride magazine, from the publishers of Yorkshire Life.

We have 3 of our gorgeous bride and grooms featured in ‘Real Life weddings ‘  Alex and Javier and  Francesca and Ben both in marquees at home, and  Dave and Jen  having an exclusive wedding  weekend at http://www.swintonpark.com/    Many thanks to all the suppliers who helped put the features together and especially the photographers http://www.ryan-browne.co.uk/  http://www.annemarieking.co.uk/ and http://gm-photography.co.uk/

There are some other great features and articles in the magazine including my guide to planning the perfect marquee wedding on page 120 so make sure you pick up a copy and get planning your special wedding day  in Yorkshire.

Wild About Beauty

The gorgeous Louise Redknapp and International make-up artist Kim Jacob recently launched their new make-up range “Wild about Beauty” http://wildaboutbeauty.com/  .  When I met Louise in Morgan Claire, Harrogate http://www.morganclare.co.uk/  for the launch of their range I was really impressed by such gorgeous and natural products at truly affordable prices.

Available in House of Fraser and Debenhams, I have no doubt this range will be really successful and I would urge you to try it.  I am normally on the other side of the fence seeing my brides get their make-up done on their wedding day, but for once it was my turn!  My make up in this photo with Louise was not quite finished and I promise it looked amazing for my birthday night out!

Fabulous new wedding venue at Thorp Perrow

Sometimes we come across a wonderful new wedding venue that we would love to keep a secret but on the other hand we want to spread the word to all you brides and grooms and suppliers! Just before Christmas I was invited to a party at a fabulous new wedding and party venue in North Yorkshire. Thorp Perrow is a beautiful family home, dating from around 1800and located near Bedale. It has become available for use as an exclusive venue through one of my favourite caterers Clive Wilkinson of CWC Malings Ltd. The house can seat up to 60 guests for a smaller party or dinner and for larger numbers a marquee can be attached to seat up to 200. Both the gardens and the interiors are stunning and Clive will provide you with a very personal and friendly service – not to mention his amazing food! For further information and photos please see http://www.cwcevents.co.uk/venue and if you speak to Clive please mention where you heard about this special venue but shhhhhh don’t tell anybody else!

‘One for the Girls’ – Urban Retreat at Home

Urban Retreat started life in the world’s most famous department store, Harrods, and covers 22,000sq ft.  of beauty heaven.  Combining the finest salon brands and the industries top therapists it is acknowledged by many as one of the ultimate destinations for beauty.

I recently met a lovely lady called Philippa who is one of the first therapists to set up ‘Urban Retreat at Home’ and is based in Yorkshire.  You can now have the indulgent experience of a trip to a glamorous spa, with the quality and professionalism you would expect from a top class therapist, all in the comfort of your own home.

For a girls night in with a group of friends to a fabulous hen party or birthday treat, you receive a welcome pack complete with gown and slippers, scented teas, choice of background music, and room sprays to set the scene, and of course if you want to add your own bubbly and nibbles  that can all be done!

Treatments can be tailor made to your group from manicures, facials, pedicures to facials and spray tans- the choice is yours.   Philippa recently gave me a pedicure (all in the name of research!) and it was just heavenly – I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a relaxing evening before your wedding with your mum and friends and nobody has to drive or go anywhere.  Prices are very reasonable both individually or for a group and just contact philippa.rayner@urbanretreat.co.uk and tell her I sent you.


A true Yorkshire Wedding at its finest

 – as featured on ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’s’ Y Wedding Blog

As a wedding planner in Yorkshire there is lots of scope to incorporate different elements of this very special county into my client’s weddings.  I often get asked what has been my favourite ‘Yorkshire wedding’ so below is the story of one of the best.

The bride and groom lived and worked in London but had spent many holidays in a cottage in the beautiful village of Muker in Swaledale.  When they got engaged they asked the local village farmer if they could rent his field for a wedding (as you do!)  So, when I met them we had a very remote field in a stunning setting, the village church and a pub nearby and not much else.  To me the obvious choice was tepees, rather than a traditional marquee, and a truly Yorkshire themed wedding.  Sheep feature prominently in Muker so they were incorporated into the hand drawn sketch on the invitations and stationery as well as the table names.  The decoration was kept rustic and in keeping with the setting – long tables, straw bales to sit on outside and the food all featuring good local produce including a ‘cheese’ wedding cake consisting, of course, of Yorkshire cheeses!

Guests walked from church to the tepees and were asked to bring wellies – we even decorated the bride and grooms wellies with flowers as a surprise.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and as a special request the local silver band played for everybody in the drinks reception – it really was very special and a great honour.  In the evening the village pub provided Yorkshire ales and a local ceilidh band played well into the night.  I am not sure if the Londoners, or the locals had ever seen anything like this wedding but it was talked about for a very long time after as Yorkshire at its finest.


Spotlight on ‘Yorkshire Yurts’

You may have seen them associated with glamping or on programmes filmed in Mongolia, but what exactly is a Yurt?

“A yurt is a circular wooden framed tent structure with a lattice wall and a cone shaped roof. The outer fabric shell of the yurt can be made of felted wool, coated canvas, or a modern architectural fabric.”

I particularly love them because they are so versatile and the space inside is light and airy, free of any poles and ropes, they are great value to hire and they give an extra dimension to a wedding, party or event.  So much so that I had a winter birthday party in one earlier this year complete with roaring log fire, sheepskin rugs and a winter wonderland dinner table!

For weddings they can be used for a ceremony, reception and by linking two together you can add on a ‘chill out’ area, bar and  dance floor. The yurts give you a blank canvas to decorate how you want with the option on a really hot day to take off the sides leaving the beautiful lattice frame  open.  You can even hire a small one to sleep in on your wedding night – complete with fire and  Egyptian cotton bed linen – what could be more romantic!

For further information contact Tom at www.yorkshireyurts.co.uk