Wedding Wednesday Discussions – The North South Divide

Wedding Wednesday Discussions – The North South Divide

Over the last few weeks I have been getting increasingly frustrated with the amount of wedding stuff I seem to be missing out on. There are so many amazing events going on all the time in the wedding world but because I live where I live (Sheffield) I seem to be missing it all.
Now is this just me? I’m originally from Cornwall (as south as you can get!) but having moved to Sheffield 4 years ago I feel I can talk as both a Northerner and a Southerner!

It seems nearly every day I receive an invitation for an opening party, or a launch night, a networking event…..but most of them seem to be in London. Don’t get me wrong I am delighted that I being asked to these events, and very honoured and flattered that people are thinking of me, but I’m always more than a little disappointed and sad when I have to say no.  I would love to say yes to all of them but time and money just doesn’t allow me to do so…….so sometimes I feel like an outsider looking in on a wedding world I can’t quite touch!

Is this just me? Recently amazing events likeLuellas Boudoir Wedding fair and The Wedding Sanctuary have passed me by as I just don’t have the time to make the trip down to London. Yes it’s only 2-3 hours on the train but it’s not just a nip into town option like it is for many who already live there.

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Sheffield in my eyes is brimming with amazing photographers, wedding suppliers, we really are very lucky to have so many talented wedding people all in one place, and the same can be said for the whole of the North, so many great wedding suppliers! so why do I feel that I’m missing out on so much? Is it because the south has London as a central point? Is it because there seems to be a higher element of wedding creativity going on in the south? Or is it just a case that everything seems so much more glamorous down there? When really it probably isn’t.

So instead of moaning about it I want to do something about it, it’s just I’m not too sure what! I want to put on a wedding event for us wedding suppliers and brides alike who can’t necessarily get to every wedding event held in the centre of our lovely country!

So I’m asking you for ideas……as suppliers and brides what would you like to see? I don’t really want to do a wedding fair, been there done that, it has to be something glamorous and fun done in a non-pushy/sales way. What would you all like to see? A party? A bridal workshop? And where would we do it? The north is a pretty big place and we don’t really have a centre, so where is a good place that is central to everyone? And when? Day or night, weekend or weekday? Personally I think there needs to be cocktails! I have images of mixologists creating some amazing Boho cocktails….but that’s as far as I’ve got!!

So I’d love to hear your thoughts
1)    Are you based in the north and do you feel like you are missing out?….(or is it just me?)
2)    What sort of event would you like to see, and where?

Please feel free to add your thoughts and comments, this is for everyone to get involved in.


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      rachel barnett

      Hi ladies

      I am a southern lass (Milton Keynes, 1 hour from London) and I have moved up to Lancaster to be with my northern (Harrogate) husband to be! As a southerner in northern climes I would love to hear about wedding fayres happening up in t’north! Did you organise something Kelly? I would love to hear about it if you did!

    Dresses at No9

    Being a migrator myself (Bristol) I kind of get where you are, but feel there are loads of things going on up North. The Tweet up was a huge success for me personally and meeting so many talented folk such as yourself, Kelly, was fabulous.
    I often see all types of events and birthday celebrations going on, invites too, but sometimes it’s not easy to attend evening events with a young family.
    I try to get involved with daytime things, work permitting, and have a fabulous network of people who involve me too.
    I think it would be a fab idea to get together again. You meet people via cyberspace, but so lovely to see the real person behind the screen. Opens up a whole new persona.

    Sarah @ Honeymoons Blog

    I am in the North (Harrogate) and I also feel like I’m missing out! There are a few events but nowhere near what seems to happen in London. I do travel a lot, but it would be nice to go when I’m in the country!!!


    Fab post and I couldn’t agree with you more Kelly! I’m a Northern bride to be (near Leeds) and whilst I have managed to find the things I’m looking for, for our day, it’s been so hard at times.

    I don’t want to offend, but in the North you can easily find the not so good suppliers, but it’s almost like the brilliant ones are in hiding!!

    Blogs and social media have been my saving grace, but that’s because I work in the industry and am familiar with them.

    I would love to see an event of some sort – afternoon tea, cocktails… something glamourous but not intimidating where suppliers and brides can come together… Might be a rubbish idea, but perhaps they could be themed – so one for vintage weddings, destination brides, contemporary, classic.


    Hannah - Little Fish Events

    Never has a truer word been spoken! Yes, yes, yes, please bring on an event that I will enjoy exhibiting at as much as brides and their friends will enjoy attending.

    What about this for an idea…

    If a wedding fair could run more like a fabulous wedding, then wouldn’t it help showcase all our talents? We would be actually doing it – rather than just talking about it! I think a wedding fair that showcased several themed weddings would be amazing. Rather than having individual stands, suppliers could present a gown, or a set of invites, a central table display, a tiara etc etc and these woud be used a props as a mini wedding is staged out. Everyone involved would receive an advert in a specialy produced magazine, detailing where their items were showcased and which room they will be networking in. Brides see something they like from the vintage wedding, or the 70s wedding, or the carnival wedding and they simply look up the supplier and go and speak to them one on one, with a glass of bubbly and their full attention. And just think… we could eat the cake!

    It would take some serious planning to make sure that (for example) the stationery on the vintage table worked pefectly with the favours, which co-ordinated with the flowers, that bought out the tiny hint of pink in the wedding dress being modelled… but isn’t that what we do everyday anyway?

    Go for it Kelly, organise something different and please count me in!

    Han x
    Wedding Stylist – Little Fish Events

    Katy Thomson

    This is a great post and very much something which I have seen to be an issue with a lot of people. Having been a photographer living in Sheffield who has now moved to London I feel I can relate to both sides as well. There are a lot of events happening down here in London which are very exciting but it does limit who can attend. I often see people tweeting that they wished they could come but they can’t get a train back or they can’t afford to come down and pay for a hotel.
    When I was living in Sheffield I was really excited to be part of such an amazing network of wedding suppliers both in the city and around Yorkshire. There is a growing number of people in the wedding industry in the north and I really feel that there are growing opportunities for events to be happening in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle as well as down here in London.
    We can learn a lot from each other and I absolutely love meeting other suppliers from around the country and sharing our ideas together.
    Thanks for addressing this today Kelly, let’s hope you get an overwhelming response of ideas and support for the ever growing wedding industry.


    I know the feeling. Living in Newcastle, so miss out on UK stuff and all the Irish stuff too! Would love something to happen up here. Perhaps best at the weekend as there is no central points so most will still have to travel. Manchester or Leeds might be good places to have an event? Both quite happening spots…


    If being in North of England feels frustrating, then let me say being in Scotland can feel like you are on the MOON.
    I hate in Wedding World when people say its the UK, because its not.
    To encompass a countries wedding industry it has to encompass that whole country and not just one geographical area.
    All this rubbish about not being able to have a creative wedding outside of London is the biggest load of toss I have ever heard.
    All over Scotland and England there are so many fabulous, talented and lovely wedding suppliers who do a marvellous job and who create seamless, exquisite days for their clients.
    Whys should it be that these suppliers think they are anything less than completely brillinat or worthy of credit in Wedding World because they don’t live in the alternate universe known as London.
    This may sound really terrible but one geographical area CANNOT be representative of a whole country.
    The North of England, hell the middle of england and the whole of Scotland have kick ass people, we have opinions about what happens in the world of wedding and we bust our asses every day to make a difference so PLEASE don’t make us feel less important cos we are not right in the HUB of the action.
    And YES, I do feel like I miss out being up here, a lot. I love my country and I love where I live but I hate not being able to take an opportunity because of where that is. It would be nice if there was something a bit more central where everyone had equal opportunity.
    ps. sorry to ramble. !


    Yes, yes, yes. Kelly it’s like you read my mind! I was thinking exactly the same the other day and wondering how it is possible to keep abreast of the wedding industry outside of London. But we in the North have so much to offer brides outside of the capital and so many delights at our fingertips. I am so lucky to live in the Ribble Valley an area of outstanding countryside and perfect for beautiful rural weddings. I would love to see more industry events taking place in the North, I think Manchester is probably an accessible point transport wise and I would love for those events to complement the fantastic ones taking place in London, not to rival them but to offer the same high standards and style. Most of the wedding fairs I have been to in the North are so boring and run-of-the-mill just a few stands and people trying to ‘sell’, it needs to be interactive, offering expert advice, building a relationship, a guiding hand for brides. I’m with you and will help any way I can to get something off the ground. For starters let’s get a networking event going so us Northern bloggers can meet with the best in our industry on a regular basis and bash out some ideas. Michelle x

    Kim - The Fine & Funky Events Company

    I live in Teesside originally from North Yorkshire so have been ‘Up North’ all my life. I too feel like I’m missing out sometime as I just don’t have the time or the money to attend everything I’m invited to, especially when your just starting out. It all sounds so amazing as well! I do think in the North we have amazing venues, photographers and other awesome suppliers and we are very lucky that Annabel from Love my Dress lives in the North as she is always promoting us North Suppliers, and now with Julia setting up Brides up North wedding blog, things are getting better and better!

    Would love to attend an event, you had me at cocktails! Any opportunity to have a girlie chat, meet other folk in the industry, dress up and drink gorgeous cocktails is a winner with me


    Laurra - One Life Ceremonies

    Great post Kelly – I think it’s something I think a lot of us up t’North feel… London does seem much more glam and happening, for us we’re actually looking to open a London office because people tend to be a bit more open to new and exciting ideas down there! Which isn’t to say us Northerners are stuck in the mud it’s just… well… we like what we like and we want it to come at a good affordable price – which isn’t always easy for businesses who aren’t super cheap!

    Also when it comes to getting things in the press, unless you’re a business located in or around London you can pretty much forget about making it into any of the broadsheets… we’re lucky if we make page 6 of the bumbleton-upon-nowhere gazette!

    I really like Hannah’s idea of showcasing different styles of weddings – you know we’d come and do a ceremony again!

    Laurra x


    Things to be done? Ok, these are some loose suggestions – feel free to adapt, change, ignore, whatever.

    Well, given we North British types want to see more things for us, maybe we could do something collectively – e.g. have an event, in different cities, all on the same day; but all under the same banner. That way, if you wanted to advertise it, you could advertise it with all the different cities listed on it. It’d certainly save on advertising costs to do so; plus you could then all blog about it, and compare how great each event went, what made it special etc. And do it well enough, and I’d bet anything you’d get people wishing they lived a little further north and could go along! ;)

    A bridal party would be good – invite suppliers to put their leaflets into goodie bags to give out to people when they attend.

    What about wedding workshops? Workshops run by people giving advice on how to get the most from their wedding preparations. For example, someone presenting a sample range of different dresses and fabrics and shoes (that can be seen and touched, not just on a catwalk); someone else showing different types of wedding stationery; someone showing a sample of what a wedding planner does; talking about different types of wedding lists; cake tasting sessions with sample nibbles from different suppliers; how to deal with contentious issues, or the sorts of problems people do and might face (particularly personal issues) all very broad and generic rather than supplier focussed. You could even have someone (a life coach? a yoga instructor?) giving a more zen based workshop to help people feel calmness before their big day.
    Could perhaps have make up artists and hairdressers advising brides and their friends what skin and hair treatments they can do in the lead up to the wedding, to make sure their skin/hair is in its best condition before the big day and before all the make up gets put on and the hair gets tied up. Just ideas.

    Claire of York Bride

    Oh my goodness, you have done it again!! I was literally only talking (well moaning ) at my husband earlier today about this exact same thing. Everything seems to go on elsewhere, I am too a Southener (Essex originally) but have lived in York for a while now, and still get so frustrated at the lack of bridal events for for both the brides and suppliers. By this I mean imaginative and glam and carefully thought out events which are fresh and exciting!! I have 2 children and a day job and most people who know me already know how much I struggle to find the time to get to any network events to meet other suppliers. I understand that wedding fairs are a necessary part of advertising and meeting brides and grooms on a face to face basis to me is really important! However, someone has to have the nerve to get the wheels in motion and shake it up ‘up North’. I know for a fact there are a ridiculous number of uber talented wedding peeps in the North, but you pick up any glossy wedding mag and #northernsupplierfail they are very rarely mentioned. I cant work out if its just that suppliers cant be bothered or are a bit anxious about trying something new. I think you can safely say that you have touched upon a point that you will receive a stack of support on. Logistically wise it may prove tricky but feel it would be worth it to get a ‘bridal party’ together and get plans in motion. Research has to be done to speak to the Brides about what they want to see and what will help. If you need anything count me in as I for one would love to bring a new dimension to the wedding world!! Good blog again Kelly, mind you I am getting slightly concerned that you may have cameras hiding in my house or have me tapped as you know exactly what I am thinking – which to be honest is good for me ‘cos I know im not thinking all this on my own!! xx


    I think the blog and twitter world etc has opened up networking so well, we get to see what we’re missing out on up North! I do agree with you and would love to be part of something fun! LOVE the idea someone else said about the themed weddings in different parts of a room to showcase all talents and show how you can bring together many different suppliers in one fabulous wedding theme!

    Sarah - Mirror Imaging Photography

    Yes I agree wholeheartedly. I keep up with a few London wedding planners, one or two in particular… and laugh out loud at a particular Love/Hate list… it feels like they set the trends in London and the wedding industry up north is late to catch on. I would love to photograph a “London wedding” but there’s no reason we can’t have the glamour and luxe up here too, or indeed set a few trends for couples on a budget. Blogs and wedding magazines are featuring nationally-spread real weddings, so I think this falls on northern wedding planners to update and champion the talented suppliers – I agree with Katie that there’s some poor suppliers that seem to get everywhere! In my industry, we seem to have a flood of old-fashioned, below average or often semi-pro photographers that are given recommendations due to cost alone. When in fact if couples are on a budget, they should be advised to negotiate less time or out of season with the very best venues and suppliers. I also agree with Hannah, that what occurred to me as well was a ‘mock wedding’ event, or perhaps rig up a photoshoot at a wedding fair, so you could showcase a variety of wedding looks, dresses, hair styles, and then ‘theme them’ with sample reception tables, cakes and bouquets from select suppliers. Being Nottinghamshire based I’d love to see an event in Nottingham but would be really encouraged by any nearby city being represented.

    Laura - Laurel Weddings

    I couldn’t agree with you more! (Especially an event involving cocktails too)
    I often find myself disappointed when I hear of a fabulous wedding event and then find out it’s in/near London and would be too costly and involve too much time to attend.
    I am a wedding florist/ venue dresser based in Manchester and I would love to be able to showcase my work to brides in a fun and relaxed atmosphere and have the opportunity to meet other quality wedding suppliers.
    Whether you go for an afternoon tea or evening event, I think it should be glamorous but relaxed. I love the idea of walking into a gorgeous reception room with themed tables (as Hannah- Little fish events mentioned above), there should be a mix of entertainment, tasty treats, models showcasing dresses, have everything on show that a bride could want but at an event where they have the time to take it all in, enjoy it and be able to visualise how it would look on their wedding day.
    I also like the idea of then having a separate supplier area where brides can go and talk to the suppliers they want, after they’ve had a a chance to wander round and taken everything in.
    I think wedding fayres sometimes aren’t exciting enough for brides and they should be, planning your wedding should be fun.
    Depending on the scale of the event it could be a massive task to organise but i’m sure it would be worth it with the right advertising.
    Good luck with it and I would definitely be happy to be involved :-)

    Laura x

    Nikki Foster

    Hello ladies

    Of course the North needs a shake up. I am based near Leeds but helped in the design for the Wedding Sanctuary at Somerset House last week – it was a beautiful fabulous event.

    London is where things start in the UK, but that is only natural. If you wanted to suss out the wedding industry in the US you wouldn’t go to Texas (although I am sure there are lots of brilliant suppliers and planners there) ;-).

    London is our New York…….we should be proud of London and what it can offer. Then we should take what we can from it and make the North stand up and be noticed.

    At The Wedding Sanctuary the brides were so taken aback that a wedding ‘event’ could be so relaxed and with so little pressure. We had everything that is being mentioned above: an inspiration zone with different themed tables, 121 opportunities with planners, an advice zone with chill out areas and top suppliers, talks, and of course champagne and canapes.

    I think the key to getting this right is managing the suppliers; if you are trying to keep it high class it has to be a group of high class suppliers that trust each other and are happy to be associated with each other.

    I Do Designer Weddings

    Andy Garfitt - Greyeye Photography

    Hi Kelly,

    Well said. However, you shouldn’t let it upset you. Just like all the other commenters here we know that there are just as many great suppliers throughout the country as there in London. However this has always been the case. London is a magnet, it’s our capital city, it’s the centre of commerce and art for the country, it’s only natural that there would be a bias.

    The only thing that London has that the North doesn’t is concentration. Having everything “on your doorstep” makes things easier, than being spread out over thousands of square miles of wonderfulness that is “The North”.

    Now, I’m a Yorkshireman, and proud of it. Our photography business is based near Leeds. The only alternative to us all moving “down South”, urgh the thought of it! Is to create the same kind of networks and events as there are in London, up here. Where the air is clear and people talk proper like what we do.

    Geographically we’re spread out, but in the age of the web does that really matter. All we need is a focus. Some central point or idea(s) to rally around.

    We’ve been talking about this recently at Greyeye but from more of a suppliers networking point of view, ie organising some regular “Big Northern Bash” for wedding suppliers to have a good natter, maybe a couple of speakers kind of thing (cocktails sounds good too) but there’s no reason why we couldn’t broaden the scope to include clients.

    I would also suggest that there is so much scope in The North that we should look at events across the country. Based around the great cities would seem like a good place to start. Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, York, Newcastle, Edinborough, Leeds (obviously). If people find it difficult to travel to London from Yorkshire then it’s going to be the same issue travelling to Manchester from Edinborough for example.

    What kind of event, well I’m not sure. Yes, wedding fairs are a bit dull, but on the other hand they are functional. Maybe we just need to cross a wedding fair with a party. Depends what people want to get out of it I suppose. (Wonder if it would be easier to get bookings from tipsy brides?)

    Anyway, I’ve started rambling. So to some up, if people feel that they’re missing out by not being able to go to London then it only shows, not that London is somehow better, but that we’re not running the right kind of events up here. There’s more than enough talent and creativity to easily complete with the capital, they should want to come to us. It’s glam up north.



    Great blog post Kelly,
    and I also love Alison’s comment about being on the MOON – laughed out loud at that one.
    There are events going on up here – Katy Lunsford organised a Manchester tweet up the other week, for wedding suppliers for example.

    I think you need to meet Jonny Draper – he’s a photographer in Manchester and is full of bright ideas about this kind of thing… there’s a little network of Manchester suppliers that kind of revolve around Jonny and it’s pretty intriguing and impressive – you’d love hearing what he gets up to.

    I’m meeting up with him tomorrow, will mention this. Seriously: I know you both a little bit, and if ever there was potential for a meeting of brilliant minds…

    I wonder if an event up north should focus on brides meeting brides, in a creative setting? Not sure…


    Wow what an amazing responce, I’m not alone then on this obvioulsy! and some great ideas!
    Loving the afternoon tea idea Katie, maybe this could then move into cocktails?
    Hannah, loving teh idea of lots of differnt themes going onm like a showcase.
    Alsion i can feel your frustration through your coment and can only imagine how hard it must be so far away.
    Kristin love the diea of having an event going on at the same time across differnt cities, a collective indeed!
    Andy like the idea of speakers
    and I think we are all in agreement that it has to be glamourous!
    and Calire yes please do give Jonny my deatils, I would love to chat to him.

    Thanks again everyone….keep the ideas coming! xxxx

    greg (TP Photography)

    As a northerner born and bred (sheffield) and now living in Dorset I see this all the time. Dorset although down south is still far away from a lot of events that are organised.

    I think the only solution is to organise these events ourselves and make it happen for us too!

    Belinda McCarthy Photography

    Being South West, like Greg (I’m in Somerset), although London is also just a couple of hours on the train, it’s not as if you can pop along at the drop of a hat!

    there’s no reason why London has to be a style leader or central focal point when it comes to weddings. It’s only so if we tell ourselves it’s so, and create one of those self-perpetuating truths.

    Claire Hooper

    Fab post again Kelly…. and you have read my mind.
    I’m not in the North but in Devon (just outside the Cornish border) so a trip to London is minimum of 3 hours on the train and great expense, time, accommodation, etc.

    Perhaps we could create something that can be done in the North & South of the Country so all Tweeters across the UK can be part of it.

    Claire x

    Lucy Ball

    Hi Kelly, We met very briefly at the Tatton wedding show where we were both exhibiting. Funny you should talk about this as I am hoping to organise something soon in my area.

    Firstly, I’m having a launch for my new shop very soon that I was going to invite you to. Secondly, having been inspired by Luella’s Boudoir, I was going to put some feelers out about organising something.
    Please email me about getting some ideas together as I’d love to be involved and know loads of fab like minded souls who would come along for the ride!


    Jane @HF Couture

    Great post Kelly. I am not surprised you have had all this feedback.
    I am from London and now living in North Yorkshire but it does annoy me how ‘Londoncentric’ the wedding industry appears to be. It doesnt help that virtually all the magazines appear to feature the same people all the time and they just happen to be based in London/South east…. Saying that the vast majority of my customers are based down south… as for London being the place where things start thats so not true and certainly not all the time by any stretch of the imagination – there are many designers who are amazing who are not London based who are creative and as cutting edge as anything in London who have chosen not to be down there.
    I hope that there will be people out there who will support their excellent high end suppliers like Kelly has.
    I wonder where this blog will lead us all to…. could be interesting….

    Dresses at No9

    It could have the different themes. Of course, there are some fabby vintage china companies whom I sure would allow the use of the china. Cake makers donate cup cakes etc. We could all pay a fee which would go to charity. Kelly, you may have started something! x


    As someone who is currently playing sounding board to a friend planning her wedding I have to say I’ve been stunned at just how many fantastic suppliers and creatives we actually have in the North. There seem to be tons!! I think the reason there are less events is purely that the North is much less densely populated than the South and people are not as close together geographically up here.

    Phoebe Miller

    I agree! I think the idea of having it accross the northern cities under one brand would bring awareness and accessibility to everyone, suppliers and brides to be. There are so many fantastic suppliers and venues up here that we should make brides more aware of it. I chose to have my wedding down south purely because I wasn’t sure of what was available to me as a bride. I have to admit, the overall outlook on weddings up here is different to the south but I think we should embrace it. Great post Kelly. Xxx


    You should try being on the Isle of Man! I did my training to be a florist in the West End in two fabulous Flower shops and studied for my degree in Essex… since moving back to the Isle of Man (which I love dearly and genuinely wouldn’t want to live anywhere else) I have felt so isolated when I see all the amazing stuff happening in London and in the UK. But I came to the same conclusion you did, and have been involved in organising a couple of fun Bridal shoots and will hopefully be organising our very own Vintage Wedding Fair later on in the year. If you do hold a Wedding Party or something like that I would love to come, but need as much notice as possible to book flights/boat to the mainland that don’t cost an arm or a leg! Good Luck and keep us posted x

    Kirsty Duncan - Singer: Wedding Ceremonies & Events

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, Kelly! :) Cocktails are always the plan!! I’ve been singing for years but have only just started my own business and I’m based in Glasgow. I totally can relate to to what Alison’s saying because I love Glasgow, and wouldn’t live anywhere else (I studied in York, so I know the North well) but its a challenge because so much does happen in London, and it doesn’t seem to be taken to other parts of England or Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland. There are so many examples that are not even to do with the Wedding Industry as well!

    There has to be something we can do…something that will help suppliers and brides in all areas…



    I’m totally behind on this post, but would love to get involved – based just outside on Manchester in Cheshire and think more exciting wedding related things should happen up here x

    Julie Dawson

    Great post and so excited about everyone’s ideas. I have started a company which will launch soon called Bridalicious putting events on just like you all want. Starting in the midlands then moving we hope to meet demand. As a wedding planner I was sick of missing out too. I hope the first will be in October they will be interactive so we get to show what we all do and brides go home inspired full of ideas and we hope book fabulous suppliers. sarah you are near me so will be in touch.


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