October 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Oh god. what’s not to love?
Bubblegum Pink Butterfly Heel by Aruna Seth, coming soon.
October 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I honestly can’t quite fathom it, but our very last Brides Up North event of 2014 is upon us. What an abso-effin-loutely amazing whirlwind of a season it’s been. Our best yet.
But we’re going out in style, with more than a good sprinkle of vintage sparkle! *Does dance* The finest North West vintage wedding industry talent will be descending upon The Bowdon Rooms, Altrincham, for our fourth Luxury and Vintage Wedding Exhibition at this unique and authentic vintage venue next Sunday 2nd November 2014!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a bit of a party…
the bowdon rooms
Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition
The Firs, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2TQ
Sunday 27th April 2014
12pm till 4pm
This brilliant, exclusive use venue is as fun as it is special, with it’s high ceilings, sparkling drapes, ornate fireplaces and perfectly sprung dance floor. Dancing shoes at the ready! If you are looking for a bespoke and private wedding venue with a little added period pizazz, it’s your lucky day.
We’re giving away up to 150 free Bride To Be goody bags, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our sponsors John Lewis Cheadle & Love Hearts. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.
While stocks last only.
We had such a fantastic time at our last three events at this beautiful venue – these images were snapped by Martin Hambleton Photography – and can’t wait to do it all again, with a host of great suppliers ready to make your big day into the stuff of your dreams.
Like everything vintagey, these events just get better and better with age. It’s going to be even fabulous this time around. You need to be there.
The venue’s helpful team will be on hand to answer your queries and take bookings (form an orderly queue please!) and I’ll be there to talk wedding pretty till I’m hoarse. I genuinely love this venue and am really excited to see my gorgeous readers there. Please do seek me out and say hello, I adore hearing about your plans.
October 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Sian and Stu’s outdoor wedding is full of individuality, meaningful touches, casually cool couture and fun. A bride who carries a textbook bouquet and plans a laboratory style bar for her guests is absolutely my kind of geek.
With images by Chelsea Shoesmith.
Sian says: We got engaged just before Christmas 2012 back where I grew up in Anglesey, and we were married on 23rd August 2014. We were lucky enough to be able to choose the summer bank holiday, with the intention of our families, who would be travelling, to be able to enjoy the long weekend.
We had the wedding ceremony at Heaton House Farm, and the reception in a nearby field owned by Fairborough’s Farm. We love the beautiful scenery in the Peak District and the Staffordshire Dales. We were very keen on having the Tipis for the reception, and centered our search on finding venues with outdoor spaces with great views, which we found in spades in Rushton Spencer. The Tipis were provided by Peak Tipis.
I was keen on keeping the decor and styling quite rustic and natural in order to keep in line with the look and feel of the Tipis. We also wanted to feature a bit of science and chemistry, as both of our careers are chemistry based. It was a fun little juxtaposition with all of the natural elements.
I picked the colour scheme – neutrals with blue accents – to inject a bit more colour into the decor of the Tipi without looking at odds with the the colour of the canvas.
I fell in love with infinity dresses while looking for a bridesmaid dress that would suit all three of my very different bridesmaids. I found Coralie Beatrix on Etsy who also makes bridal infinity dresses and loved the idea of being able to wear the dress in different ways as the day went on, and being able to choose complementing shades for my bridesmaids. My own dress was actually custom made for me by my mum, Linda, which is amazing to have something so personal.
For the boys, we chose Edinburgh Woollen Mill waistcoats, BHS trousers, Burton shirts and stag head lapel pins from River Island. We wanted something more relaxed and casual than the traditional suits, whist still looking put together.
My bouquet was made out of pages of an old chemistry textbook, glued together rather messily by me and my mum in the dead of night a few days before the wedding. I loved being able to make as much as I could for the wedding, but I did superglue my fingers together on several occasions on this particular project!
We met with a few photographers and found Chelsea Shoesmith who has worked at the venue may times before, which gave us a lot of confidence. Of the photographers we met, she had the perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness, and throughout the planning process and the wedding day put us at ease and got the best out of us. She was totally on board and enthusiastic about doing a ‘First Look’ photo shoot too. This allowed Stu and I to see each other just before the ceremony and calm our (his) nerves and get some portrait shots in, leaving us with more time after the ceremony to get the group shots done and get back to the day. I’d recommend this to any couple who aren’t fussed about only seeing each other coming down the aisle for the first time; we aren’t traditional in that sense. I’d recommend Chelsea to anyone, and already have!
Glass jars were collected for me by various people and we decorated them ourselves using various techniques, including authentic Trearddur Bay sand collected by my niece in the summer. I found so many amazing ideas on Pinterest but had to reign myself in and only use a few to keep things looking cohesive! The bunting and cutlery sleeves were made by Stu’s mum Lynn and were some of people’s favourite features (a lot went missing)! We have kept some bunting and plan on putting it up in our first nursery as a little reminder of the day.
The first concrete decision I made about the wedding was that instead of giving our guests favours, I wanted to make a donation to Cancer Research UK. Like all families, we have lost and won battles with cancer and I know that all of our guests would appreciate the gesture.
My sister Rachel’s chocolate orange cake has long been one of my favourites, and asking her to bake our wedding cake was a total no-brainer. We had four layers: chocolate orange, carrot cake, lemon drizzle and vanilla sponge. We also have an amazing log cake board cut and engraved by my uncle. I’m going to have to start baking in order to use it again!
We had a barbecue consisting of lamb, ribs and sausages, salads and breads supplied by Vanilla in All Seasons. I think the best testimony we can give was that one of my friends had to be sent back to the table as he was up for second helpings within minutes before everyone had even been fed! In the end I think there were some people going back for thirds… fourths… fifths…
We supplied the drinks ourselves, with a master plan of having a chemistry lab/bar set up. In the end it wasn’t as grand as we first set out, as it turns out some of the lab glassware was extremely fragile! We also had mini-kegs of beer from Stewart’s donated from our friends Charlotte and Jamie after being a big hit at their own Tipi wedding.
For the ceremony music we had string and instrumental versions of a couple of our favourite songs by Incubus and The Cure. I think there were only a few people who noticed!
We also asked our friends’ band to play, and they ended up doing an acoustic set with a few of their own songs and a few covers that they knew we’d like, then played a carefully selected playlist in the evening. It was tough to put together as there were people with very different music tastes, but I think we managed to pull it off pretty well. We actually shared the wedding playlist with our friends afterwards, too.
During the day we had a few outdoor toys, bubble machines etc for the kids (and big kids) to play with, which they loved.
I would recommend this venue to any couple, especially those who just doesn’t get excited by the ‘standard’ weddings they see, and want to shape their own day.
I realised the time half an hour before I knew we were supposed to finish and pack up, and I was desperate for it not to end; for it to carry on with us all singing and dancing. There were little details that hadn’t gone exactly to plan or that I hadn’t thought of, and I knew that none of them mattered at all because I’d just had so much fun all day with all the people that I love most around me, and I could see how much fun everyone else was having, too.
With the money generously gifted to us by our guests, we went on a last minute all-inclusive holiday to Cyprus, where we both got to put our feet up and plan absolutely nothing after the stress on planning the wedding!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that I’ve been assured that it’s normal to feel like you haven’t spent enough time with each guest – although I certainly tried!
October 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Brides Up North Sponsor Emma of Love Bridal Boutique would like me to extend a fabulous invitation to my readers (because she knows you’re pretty fabulous too) to the wedding edit.
Happening this weekend – clear your diaries – on Sunday 26th October 2014, from 12pm at Styal Lodge, Cheshire, this event is your chance to see Love Bridal Boutique’s stunning new gowns in their catwalk show from some of Brides Up North’s favourite designers including Stewart Parvin, Raimon Bundo, Alan Hannah, Enzoani, Terry Fox, Mia Mia and Maids To Measure.
Emma says: It’s going to be an amazing catwalk show, showcasing all our designers’ new collections (including bridesmaids) and then there’s a unique opportunity to chat with all of our wedding friends who are there to offer their advice about all things wedding planning. There will also be a lot of prosecco and canapés!
Strictly no boys allowed.
This event is guest list only. To reserve your place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images by Jonny Draper Photography
October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s been a phenomenal year for us here at Brides Up North HQ so far. A brand new look, more fabulous sponsors getting behind us than ever before, a fan-blooming-tastic spring and autumn exhibition schedule, and a hat-trick of awards nominations!
I’ve said it (wistfully!) before, but I used to think a blogger’s life would go a little like this: sleep late, RSVP to a few party invitations, full hair and make up, coffee with beautiful industry friends, a bit of light writing, meet the husband for cocktails and skip off to bed… how wrong I was.
Running and writing a full editorial schedule, organising and styling shoots, managing twenty wedding exhibitions, sales, admin, marketing, keeping on top of a mountain of emails, taxes, VAT, meetings with sponsors, working on new projects, liaising with the press and PRs, freelance features, social media, venue visits whilst simultaneously nurturing a young family… and remembering to brush your hair in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, It’s fun, fulfilling, exciting and no day is ever the same. But its not quite the Carrie Bradshaw life I thought it might be.
So it’s with pride and pleasure that I celebrate the fabulous bits.
I’ve already told you about our reaching the finals in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, and our “Highly Commended” accolade in the “Best City Blog” category in The Wedding Blog Awards, and now there’s just one glitzy ceremony left to attend!
Perfect Wedding Magazine have gone and absolutely made my year, by shortlisting us in the “Best Wedding Blog” category in their prestigious industry awards.
Despite all the events, networking parties and the constant conversation on social media, blogging can be a pretty secular profession, so this support really does mean a lot. It tells me that you like what I do, what I’m striving towards and that I should keep on doing it.
I’ve shared this exciting news already on the blog, but as the voting closing date approaches next week, I’d be ever so grateful if you could spare a sec or two to vote for Brides Up North. The line up in our category is pretty stellar, so this Northern Revolution needs some people power.
(If you needed any encouragement, every person that does is entered into a special draw to win an amazing one-night break for themselves and a guest at one of 18 luxurious spa venues in the UK, a delicious three-course evening meal, breakfast, a 60-minute spa treatment for each guest and a cream tea courtesy of Q Hotels. Nice.)
Voting closes 29th October 2014.
October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding is something special. A little bit wild, a teeny bit untamed, but altogether natural and entirely beautiful.
I’m completely in love with Kate and Mike’s happy go lucky approach to planning their gorgeous big day and the oh so pretty result.
With images by Chris Parkinson Photography.
Kate says: We got engaged on a bench at Kew Gardens on October 18th. We were living in London at the time and it was raining on the day, so I was pretty sceptical about a picnic at Kew – especially as Newcastle United were on TV. But Mike convinced me the rain didn’t matter so we headed out with a rucksack. Mid afternoon we picked a bench for our picnic and Mike knelt down in the wet grass with a beautiful ring – 2 rings intertwined with 22 diamonds, I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers! I’m sure he never doubted that I’d say yes.
We got married on 8th August 2014 at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-wear. I have lived there since I was a little girl, so it was really important to me that we were married at that church. The morning we got married the village green was lined with people waving and wishing us well!
Because we got married in the village church the ceremony was filled with special touches, a poem my mum wrote and a reading from Mike’s father, and my next door neighbour rang the church bells. Olive and John opened the Dun Cow, our local pub, for all our friends to gather before the service.
The reception was at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. We booked the venue without ever having seen it, as we were living in London at the time. We sent our Mums along to check it out and trusted their judgement completely. It was great seeing the castle for the first time knowing that was where we would be having our reception, as we got to experience it through the eyes of our guests.
We never planned on having a theme and were just picking stuff we liked. Then at the church the vicar gave a sermon and commented upon the proposal at Kew Gardens, the wild flowers, hand dried confetti and floral illustrations on the order of service, and at that point we realised that maybe there had been a theme without us realising. The whole day had a bit of a pagan feel to it, from the flowers and dress to the centrepieces and castle.
There was a lot of green and pink in our colour scheme with the combinations of wild and botanical flowers, but that happened by accident.
Mu dress was from Happily Ever After in Darlington. It was the third one I tried on. I just felt really comfortable in it and I wanted something that didn’t cover my tattoo. I’ve always loved flowers and wear them in my hair all summer, so the floral detail at the waist band was what attracted me to the dress.
My bouquet was from Eliza Blooms in Darlington. She was just fantastic and really understood the natural, unstructured look I wanted. Daisies and pink peonies were the main flowers, with lots of greenery.
Mike wore a traditional suit from Moss Bros, with a sage green pocket scarf and cravat. He looked hot!
The bridesmaid’s also wore dresses from Happily Ever After. The girls loved the mesh detail at the neckline and the flared layers. The groomsmen also wore suits from Moss Bros, but they ditched the cravat and waistcoat for the evening!
We travelled in a vintage Rolls Royce, which was hired from Elite Cars in Etherley. The driver was actually my dad’s mechanic and he was great! He had a constant stream of polos and jokes to keep up relaxed.
We arranged a vintage bus to take our guests from the church to Lumley castle, which we booked by making a donation to the North East Bus Preservation Trust. It was a beautiful bus and we bought a crate of mini prosecco for our guests to drink on the journey!
Chris Parkinson was our photographer. He lives in the village and was recommended by a friend. I love his photographs, they are really different and very artistic. I am quite creative so it was great to meet someone who I knew would do something original. The photographs are so lovely and so unique, it really feels like he captured the essence of the day.
My mum and I picked the flowers for the church the morning before in a wild meadow near our village. It’s a memory I will never forget: of me and my mum amongst a field of wild flowers, grasses and hundreds of butterflies. My mum’s friends brought flowers from their gardens to decorate the church. The pew ends were made of poppies, corn flowers and ferns and then the arrangements consisted of daisies, cow parsley and dried grasses.
Mike and I made the woodland centerpieces ourselves. We went to the beach with Mike’s father and his wife to collect driftwood, then arranged these amongst ferns, succulents, birds nests, orchids and moss. We wanted the centrepieces to look like they had just been lifted from the forest floor.
My mum and dad made all of the confetti. It was lovingly hand dried petal by petal. It was stunning when everyone threw the confetti – 20 seconds that had taken 9 months of preparation!
We didn’t have favours – we bought everyone an extra glass of wine!
The cake was from Marks & Spencer – a beautiful surprise from my mum!
We would definitely recommend Lumley Castle. It was so well organised and that’s exactly what we wanted planning a wedding from London. Our wedding coordinators were lovely and really understood what elements of the day were important to us.
We loved the ceremony, it was just so special to have it in the village church. We both thought we’d be such a mess and wouldn’t be able to stop crying, but we just smiled and laughed our way through.
The first dance was also pretty special. We chose ‘She Bangs The Drums’ by the Stone Roses. About a minute into the song we realised we couldn’t get away with swaying along to the music so all our friends joined in. After seeing the Stone Roses live with our friends a couple of years ago it felt extra special to relive the moment.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to smile and don’t get hung up on the small stuff, it really doesn’t matter. Spend as much time together as possible on the day and if it doesn’t go as according to plan laugh if off!
October 21st, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’ve just closed our beautiful Yorkshire season of Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions (just one show left in 2014, can you believe it?! We’ll be at the unique and individual The Bowdon Rooms, Cheshire in just under two week’s time) but that doesn’t mean that the real-life inspiration for Yorkshire brides stops this side of Christmas. Oh no!
My fabulous sponsor and lovely colleague Charlotte Balbier will be hosting an exclusive designer weekend at Lace & Co in Wakefield on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November 2014 to mark the occasion of the award winning Yorkshire boutique’s first birthday.
I’ve seen (and tried on – come on, who wouldn’t play a little dress up?) Charlotte’s gorgeous collection of gowns and these frocks truly are something else. If you’re still looking for ‘the one’, you might want to pop this one in your diaries…
For two days only brides to be will be able to view and purchase wedding gowns from a stunning array of dresses specially selected from Charlotte Balbier’s award winning ‘Iscoyd Park’ Collection as well as many of the timeless classic pieces from her legendary ‘Hall of Fame’ collection.
Charlotte Balbier will also be making a personal appearance in the boutique on Saturday 22nd November 2014. Charlotte will be on hand to help style and guide you into finding your dream wedding dress, Charlotte has been designing and styling brides for the last 11 years and will ensure that every bride feels and looks amazing in their Balbier design by showing you how to style and accessorize your dress to suit your own style and personality.
Every bride who buys a Balbier gown over the two days will receive a luxury Charlotte Balbier goody bag brimming with treats. Champagne and yummy cakes as standard!
This is an appointment only event. Places are limited. Book your place by calling 01924 277725 or visiting www.laceandco.com
October 20th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
With the last of the summer stock swinging on sale rails, autumn winter collections are now being rolled out across shop floors. I’ve been checking out the occasion wear high street offerings for the cooler season ahead and once again I’ve been peeking my head around shop doors I’d usually sail right by. This time it’s Lipsy.
I’ve been lured into studying the store’s autumn/winter collection following a string of desirable celebrities putting their name to the brand, most notably ex-Corrie star Michelle Keegan and one of my absolute favourite style icons, Millie McIntosh of Made in Chelsea fame.
If it’s good enough for these super stylish and stunning ladies then surely it’s good enough for the rest of us, right? And that is why I deem it worthy of our high street honey accolade.
At Brides Up North’s recent season of Luxury Wedding Exhibitions I couldn’t help but notice the flurry of brides who will be tying the knot at Christmas time. And who can blame them? It’s a truly magical time of the year when everyone is in high spirits and it offers the perfect excuse for a comforting wedding breakfast (bangers and mash, anyone?).
But what does one wear to a winter wedding? Well Lipsy offers solutions not only for guests, but also potential bridesmaid and hen do outfits. From sexy strapless frocks to figure-hugging, floor-length gowns, Lipsy has lots of lovely attire to choose from.
Those opting for a short or strapless dress – such as the cream and black pencil dress or the floral print midi dress – may want to consider a faux fur jacket, of which many can currently be found on the high street, to complete their look in a classy and cosy way.
The full-length gowns are particularly striking and offer an opulent look for winter weddings and high-end hen dos. I really love the black dress with regal gold detailing as well as the maroon maxi with black cobweb panels The long royal blue gown with glitter embellished shoulder straps would make a gorgeous bridesmaid dress, complete with Christmas sparkle.
And finally, for those pre-wedding nights out, there are a couple of eye-catching jumpsuits within the autumn/winter collection that can be worn during the festive period and beyond.
Happy Lipsy shopping ladies!
October 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Now, I’m a girl who loves her fashion. And bridal fashion? The best type there is.
As a result, one of the highlights of my year is always my annual pilgrimage to the capital every spring, to check out the newest collections from the big name bridal design houses as they debut their latest offerings to assembled trade and press visitors.
FROW. It’s the only way to go (dahlings).
One of the most anticipated openings in my schedule is always the suzanne neville show at the historic Tower of London. What this talented lady delivers with shape, structure and fabric is always delectable, and this season’s ‘Novello’ Collection for 2015 didn’t disappoint.
Suzanne Neville is known for creating elegant fashion forward gowns with a real wow factor. Every couture gown is beautifully hand cut and individually made in London, overseen by Suzanne herself. Frequently requested for red carpet events and television shows, the incredibly flattering dresses are always in demand.
I’m proud to share this beautiful selection of dresses with you today. The images are a selection of official shots and my iPhone candids from my catwalk-side seat back in April.
Suzanne Neville say: Modern clean lines work in harmony with clever construction, in ultimate luxury fabrics with gowns such as the satin bias cut ‘Chelsea’ and the effortlessly chic ‘Brompton’.The detail is in the cut and the design, with fabrics sourced to compliment the fall of the gown in true Suzanne Neville style. Other highlights include gowns such as ‘Grosvenor’ with its classic silk organza skirt and contrasting French lace long sleeved bodice.
For more, and details of Suzanne Neville’s stockists, click here to visit the official site.
October 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re giving away up to 150 free Bride To Be goody bags, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our sponsors. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.
While stocks last only.