I’m not going to lie, I love the festive season and personally it’s all about the build-up. There’s something rather uplifting about the Christmas season for me (even if it does now start super early but I’m not complaining!) from watching Christmas Movies on Channel 5 in the afternoon whilst I’m working (I’m the Queen of multitasking!) to the traditional selection of my very special Scotch pine Christmas tree with my now teenage son; I love this time of year.
I’ll be honest, it really is about that time from late November (OK, mid-November!) to Christmas Eve and over the years I’ve loved being involved in a huge array of different festive events, both professionally and socially and this year I plan to lap up as much Festive cheer as possible to keep me buzzing through the Winter months; and I don’t just mean I’m going to ‘Gin-gle’ all the way!
Therefore, based on events I’ve experienced in previous years, added with a little something new and always supporting friends, musicians, local creatives, businesses and venues, here’s my list of five things to do in West Yorkshire this Christmas Season.
So, what are you waiting for? Get booking your tickets, planning your days, shop independent and go and have some Christmas cheer.
Now, it’s not unusual for you to hear me say I love a DIY wedding and events venue and I spend a lot of time researching great places where you can host your absolutely perfect, intimate and unique wedding or event without blowing your budget on grand facilities and gardens that you may never use.
I’m also a huge fan of the ‘dry hire’ venue because, to be quite frank, I don’t like being told what to do and which suppliers to use. I like the personal touch, creating a unique event with facilities that allow me to use the suppliers I love to work with or to be able to do things myself.
I don’t like to be told what menu I have to select from that only has 3 options and I definitely don’t like ridiculous bar prices for my friends to pay, so a menu of my favourite food and a free or realistically priced bar is a huge incentive for me to book a venue.
This was definitely the driving force and the brief in hunting for our own wedding venue in 2015 and when hunting for venues for our own series of The MF Tasting Notes events in the last few months; I want blank spaces that would have a great feel about them, that I could personalise for the style of event, that I have complete freedom for food choices and no ridiculous bar or corkage charges.
I’ll be honest, that brief is not as easy as it may sound; these venues are tricky to find and they usually come on recommendation or luck! But I’m going to make it easy for you and give you my Top Three DIY wedding and events venues and save you some of the leg work in research.
These three venues, which are in no particular order because actually I love them all, are on point for creating a fabulous unique wedding or event. They have fabulous owners and staff and really give you the opportunity to let your creativity run wild and bring your wedding and event in on a sensible budget.
Still not sold on the whole DIY element of doing everything yourself? Don’t panic. We’ve got you covered. With services from planning to coordination, styling to catering, here at Mode for…Events we can arrange your whole wedding or event for you and take all the strain off you and you’ll still get that unique and personal style whilst sticking to a sensible budget. We take time to really get to know you and your family so we totally deliver your dreams.
Recent DIY bride Laura Stroud had this to say after her wedding in October at Parwich Memorial Hall: “We are so grateful for everything you did for us. It felt like you were part of our family. We had the most perfect of days and we will always be so thankful that you made everything run so smoothly and you even smiled the whole day with us when we know you must have been exhausted! I know I said it on Saturday, but I knew as soon as we met I could trust you with our wedding ❤️. I’m not sure many people could handle my OCD planning like you did!”
We actually supplied planning support, coordination, catering, floral bouquets and ran the bar for the wedding of Laura and Graham at Parwich Memorial Hall and we loved every minute. The hall itself is one of the best equipped and most beautiful halls we’ve had the pleasure to work in. It was so easy to deliver a perfect event there and we can’t recommend it enough. We’re also dying to go back and do another wedding or event there now we’ve found it, not just for the hall itself but the beautfully amazing village it’s in. Definitely a perfect location.
Hargate Hall obviously holds a special place in our hearts as it’s where Simon and I got married in 2016 but with around 17 weddings undertaken there now in the last two years, supplying planning, coordination, catering, floristry and styling we are always wowed at how every wedding is different and would recommend this venue to everyone that wants somewhere that everyone can come and stay and have a great big party in your ‘own home’ for the weekend and we know just how to make it work for every style of event.
Recent bride Tiffany Chevis said: “Thank you so much for all your hard work. It was the perfect day and we couldn’t have done it without you.”
East Keswick Village Hall is a very special venue and a real gem in the crown of village halls. With lovely people helping to run the hall, a fabulous space that really can be styled from rustic to luxury and a fabulously beautiful location it offers a wonderful opportunity for your wedding and events. With great facilities for you and your suppliers, this hall is a perfect choice and again it’s getting us a little bit excited as it’s also our venue of choice for our own ‘A Little Gin and Jazz’ and ‘Wines of the Wars’ events in January and March 2018. So, if you want to check it out, come and party with us at these events and see how amazing it is for yourself!
So there’s our Mode for… Events Top Three DIY wedding and events venues. Go check them out now and drop me a message with any DIY wedding or events questions you have. Or, got Amazon and check out my Guide to DIY Weddings here!
The sun shone beautifully in early April and it was out to stay for the wedding of Anna and Mark at Hargate Hall on 8th April. What more could you need for a festival inspired wedding in the middle of the Peak District for the most fantastic couple and their party loving friends?
But this was a wedding with a difference as Anna and Mark had legally married two years before in Gretna Green when the couple discovered they were pregnant with their super awesome son Zeph; so this was the party to end all parties which they had always planned….and my, what a party it was!
It was late 2016 when Anna & Mark contacted us at Mode for…Events as a recommended catering and coordination supplier at our favourite Hargate Hall and they came to visit us at home for a meal and chat through all things ‘Hargate Weddings.’ It was so great to get to know Anna and Mark and little Zeph (who is the most amazing little guy!) and soon we were on hand to not only supply some fabulous food, but to also help plan and coordinate the whole wedding, including design, styling and all the floristry, with bouquets, buttonholes and much more.
Anna wanted lots of colour and fun to be evident and with a brief of colourful lantern canopied ceilings and festoon lights, Tabby got to work planning the big event. There was colour everywhere with giant paper lantern instalments in the marquee with ‘floating bottles’ with single stems of blooms and the tables were filled with different bottles and vases of Spring blooms.
In the main house, we created a canopied ceiling of paper lanterns (all with individual LED bulbs) and festoon lights and hanging coloured bottles up the staircase with Spring blooms and fireplace was trimmed with a range of different brightly coloured flowers.
The bridal and bridesmaid bouquets reflected the fun, relaxed, colourful nature of the day but also worked well with the pastel pink hue of the bridesmaid dresses. In terms of fashion, the whole bridal party looked immaculate and full of style and grace, Mark complete with his feather adorned top hat and son Zeph looked like the most handsome trendy little guy and a heartbreaker!
As Anna and Mark were already legally married, the ceremony was a truly personal event led by ‘Uncle Bill’ complete with his anvil in a nod to the Gretna Green tradition. The ceremony was full of love, laughter and fun before guests emerged into the sunshine for drinks, canapés and photos with photographer Steven Rooney Photography (plus his wife created an awesome photobooth in the evening! What a super talented couple).
Next it was time to head along the lantern lined path to the marquee for speeches and a relaxed meal of Antipasti sharing boards and Red Pepper Pesto stuffed Chicken with Dauphinoise Potatoes and green beans. The weather was so fabulous it seemed a shame to stay indoors so we then served dessert on the terrace in the sunshine with sharing boards of lemon and chocolate tarts. Every crumb of food went…it was a triumph!
With hot tubs and slip and slides there was plenty to keep people occupied but these guests were all party goers, so with the biggest festival ready sound system you’ve ever seen at Hargate, it was time to party, party, party….in fact, when Simon and I returned at 9am the next day to pack-up, guests were still partying! Oh, what a night!! There night time fun was accompanied by some simple perfect grazing food of pork pie cake, pies and a cheese tower.
Our on-the-day team
This was such a fun wedding party and we have loved every minute of working with Anna, Mark and Zeph and so proud of everything we created from planning to coordination, food and styling, plus some lovely flowery fun. Congratulations Mr & Mrs & Master Sekree from all of us at Mode for…Events.
Super excited to have been asked to write an article as part of the And so to Wed (The Cafe – And so to Business) business takeover week and I think this is valuable advice for anyone trying to juggle their time, especially those with their own business. It’s completely based on my own experiences and the continual work/life balance journey Simon and I are on;
A week on from being in Switzerland working with the fabulous musicians of the Echo du Jorat Brass Band, I’ve been pondering why the concert Simon and I took part in had such a huge impact on me when, to be quite frank, the idea of playing in a brass band concert in the UK leaves me somewhat cold these days.
That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed a couple of the last concerts I’ve played in here in Blighty. Before Christmas I had the great pleasure of playing for the Rothwell Temperance Band in two concerts and well, what a band that is! A superb standard band with a great Musical Director that puts a little twist on the musical choices to keep programmes fresh, plus a full, appreciative audience. What a great combo!
The fact is though, I loved our Switzerland gig because it wasn’t just a concert. It was a whole performance and event packaged up with every element that made the musicians and audience happy and wanting more.
For years, bands, choirs and other musical groups in the UK have put on a concert for audiences to enjoy, but with a decline in audience sizes, less disposable income for people to spend on attending concerts and let’s face it, a general apathy towards supporting the arts, concerts are struggling to compete with other social invitations.
Maybe it’s just because groups are not offering the paying guests enough? Maybe it’s time for a shake-up and to think outside the box.
The format for our Swiss adventure went something like this….
8.30pm – Concert… A great concert in two halves with new music, easy listening music, great soloists (all of which did an encore of their entire solo again). During the interval, there was the usual drinks, raffle etc… everything you’d expect to help ‘up the revenue.’
11pm – Concert finishes. Lots of happy musicians and very happy paying guests…none of which leave the venue….
So, what happens next you may ask? Well, it was at this point that everyone chipped in and seemingly this was just the beginning of the night… A local folk band started playing, people started dancing, the local food and wine was flowing, everyone had their role to play and there was a room of the biggest, happiest party I’ve seen in a while…and they were still going five or six hours later! It was truly brilliant and a tremendous, happy atmosphere.
But it isn’t rocket science to make it such a success; quite simply the concert wasn’t just a concert. It was a whole performance event and party which became a great celebration of music, food and drink.
Now, like the best culinary recipes, surely that’s the way forward with performances…simple quality ingredients put together well to create the ultimate sensation.