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.
October 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
If you’re thinking of flats, for the love of the fashion gods pick these ones.
Be a brogued bride with Dalston by Irregular Choice, £110.
October 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m all about the flowers in today’s stunning real wedding, sent to me by Brides Up North Sponsor James Jebson Photography and newlyweds Mark and Stephanie.
What a way to start the weekend with all things bright and beautiful, a very beautiful bride, a dapper groom, some super cool styling and an abundance of pretty blooms.
Be inspired… and it’s over to the groom to talk you through it!
With images by James Jebson Photography.
Mark says: We were married in Lancaster on 24th August 2014.
We chose our venues because we felt they complimented each other in their own special way and we are both fond of old grand buildings. We loved the grandeur of The Ashton Memorial overlooking The Lake District with its striking appearance. The boldness of the dome on the horizon for us sold it as it would be something we will always see and think about.
Thurnham Hall was picked as the reception because of its history and the intimate feel it had, alongside this was the huge fact that it looked like a castle and so went well with The Ashton Memorial.
Our theme was based around a show/play where each part of the day on the program was put together like a set of acts with a synopsis for each part. The programs were designed like you would receive at a show on arrival. The tables were set with each one being a scene from a London market and using the guests on the table we wrote a funny introduction to each scene including them in it. Our invites were designed and printed like an invite to a play based around the old Empire posters where it was heavily typographic with an old ‘admit one’ ticket in each tube for the guests.
The colours were a mixed bunch taking the lead from the bridesmaids dresses and ties and pocket squares to pick out the flower colours. There were bright pastel colours used in the flowers and more subtle tones used in the bridal party’s outfits.
Stephanie’s dress was a princess style dress from Enchanted Brides, Lostock Hall. The gown had a pale pink lace bodice and ivory at the bottom with a band around the waist.
My outfit was bought from Ben Sherman and it was a pale blue suit with a white shirt. The vintage waistcoat and brown braces with it were bought from a vintage fashion shop on Brick Lane.
The bridesmaids wore dresses from two places; the younger three dresses came from an online retailer called Vertbaudet, the older two bridesmaids wore dresses from Dorothy Perkins. The groomsmen got suits from Slaters in Preston and the ties came from Ben Sherman for each groomsman. The pocket squares were handmade from fabric bought from Abakhan.
Stephanie carried a bouquet with various vibrant flowers in it from Flower Design St Annes. There were blooms of different shades with a full poppy head.
I had a wooden bowtie and two ceramic scrabble pieces on each side of the cuff link with L(left) and R(right). Each groomsman had a personalised scrabble piece for their first initial inside the button holes.
Our photographer was James Jebson Photography.
James understands creativity and understands people. Even on the first meeting with James I instantly felt comfortable with him. He has a great personality and he makes you feel in control throughout the day but adds his creative direction to it. He is such a lovely bloke too and has great banter which makes it even nicer. I would actually say he is someone we would like to see more often as I think we formed a bond with him on the day.
When we first saw our images we were absolutely stunned, they were amazing. They brought tears to my eyes when I saw them for the first time.
Our stationery was by Ditto Press, Dalston.
All table furnishings and props were sourced by us from vintage tins to old books as you will see in the photographs. We had a sack for all the wedding notes, the wedding notes were hand letterpressed postcards that people could write on.
We chose to use cupcakes from Yummy Cupcakes in Lancaster. 7 tiers were used, the top cake was a fruitcake and the other 6 tiers were various assorted cakes with different flavours.
We had a pianist to play throughout the evening reception for the guests and a DJ afterwards.
We went to Windermere for a minimoon. We stayed at a place called The Rum Doodle, a boutique hotel. Our main honeymoon is in New Zealand next year.
Designing the theme or idea is the trickiest part, so my top tip for Brides Up North would be have a really rough concept from the start, brainstorm ideas together and build a really rough storyboard of what you want in moodboards, Pinterest or drawings, whatever you can. What you will find is that when you start building up the people you are using you will gather ideas and create more ideas with them when meeting them. Its not a bad thing that you have a rough guide. We started the ball rolling with our invitations and this gave us a great design base/concept with look and feel, typography, colours and that reflected in the flowers we wanted and how they were created by our florist.
And drink lots after the wedding watershed. The wedding watershed is around 9:30pm!
October 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I’m handing over this little corner of the internets to Brides Up North Sponsor Rachael of The Social Butterfly, to tell you all about a rather lovely little date for your diaries: White Memoirs.
Rachael says:White Memoirs will be making its Autumn debut at new venue, Halle St Peters, Ancoats on Sunday 26th October, 11am – 3pm.
Tickets: £3.50 per person available in advance by clicking here
Brides Up North also has ten complimentary pairs of tickets to give away. The first 10 brides to contact Brides Up North quoting White Memoirs will take the bounty!
Nestled in the heart of Manchester’s industrial quarter, Halle St Peters, a Grade 2 listed deconsecrated church was lovingly rescued, restored and reopened by the Halle orchestra in April 2013. Working alongside amazing event design house, Pocketful of Dreams and Brown Sugar Blooms we will be enhancing the building’s natural beauty and creatively curating a stunning botanical themed backdrop to house thirty of the North’s crème de la crème creatives.
Purveyors of the innovative, imaginative and inspirational, White Memoirs this year will for the very first time showcase a botanical banquet, a communal dining area displaying different table designs perfectly put together by Pocketful of Dreams. Visitors will have the opportunity to make reservations in advance and sample scrumptious sugary delights home-baked by Tea with Tom whilst washing down the crumbs with samples from cocktail mixologist The Drink’s Enthusiast’s ‘garden gin bar’!
There will be live music and entertainment throughout the day provided by Twisted Tubes, a 10-piece contemporary jazz group putting their own personal spin on all your favourite pop-songs! Dancing shoes are a must!
Independent bridal designer Erica Stacey and vintage-inspired bridal boutique, The Case of the Curious Bride will be showing their stunning collective of wedding gowns during two exclusive catwalk shows and will be offering special discount for orders places on the day.
DIY brides can look forward to taking part in a series of complimentary wedding workshops in which there will be opportunities create and take home bridal accessories and gifts.
Newcomers for October include the intricate work of mixed-media artist, Emily Notman who will be launching her unusual bridal accessories range at the event. Up-cycled jewellery brand, Retold Jewellery will also be revealing their first jewel collection crafted from original vintage pieces fused with modern materials.
Returning to White Memoirs, we look forward to once again working with bridal headwear and accessories designer Silver Sixpence in her Shoe who will be showcasing a handful of never-seen-before designs at the event. Paper perfect stationery company, To & From will also be returning with their new collection of ‘wedding storybooks’, creating beautiful memoirs of each couples unique story. Once again, the glamorous, Miss Bethany James Davies of The Vintage Beauty Parlour will be creating a pop-up salon and curating hair and make-up demos as well as free trials throughout the day.
The first 50 brides to register and purchase an advance ticket for White Memoirs will have be given a special goody bag on arrival, complimentary glass of fizz and free copy of our White Memoirs mini magazine.
Those details again – tickets: £3.50 per person available in advance by clicking here
Brides Up North also has ten complimentary pairs of tickets to give away. The first 10 brides to contact Brides Up North quoting White Memoirs will take the bounty!
October 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
This real wedding is a little bit special to me because I went to school with the bride and one of my best friends Kate *waves* was one of her lovely bridesmaids.
If I had to describe Laurie it would be a warm and laid back person who likes the pretty things in life and enjoys having a flippin good time – to me this wedding is a perfect reflection of that.
I love how personal her and Paddy made their big day. From the engagement and wedding date tied in with the time they met (at Leeds Festival no less) to the great involvement from their family and friends to make the day a truly special affair.
Also, I have to mention that two of Laurie’s bridesmaids and her photographer were pregnant at the time of the wedding so massive kudos to the lovely ladies for completing their duties with a big smiles as well as big bellies!
Right, over to Laurie for those all important details.
Photos by Gabrielle Bower Photography.
Laurie says: We got engaged on the 23rd of August 2013, which was a year to the day since we met at Leeds Festival. Paddy proposed at home but he needed to get me out the way while he prepared everything which is where my friend Kate came in. It was very personal, he lit lots of candles all around the house and waited patiently for me to come home from being out with Kate. When I arrived he told me I was his best friend, that he loved me and then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.
We set the date for the 28th of August 2014, because we met on a Thursday two years previously.
Our chosen wedding venue was Ringwood Hall in Chesterfield. We looked at several small venues as we wanted a more intimate wedding than most. I’d been to a few weddings at Ringwood Hall and knew it was a really beautiful venue so decided to go take a look, even just to rule it out. They showed us their two smaller venue rooms, which Paddy and I immediately fell in love with. The staff at Ringwood Hall were absolutely fantastic too!
We didn’t have a theme as such; instead we just choose things that we loved as we wanted a really relaxed wedding. We both love vintage, retro, boho things so I suppose you could say we went down that road. Navy featured throughout the wedding as it’s mine and Paddy’s favourite colour. The bridesmaids wore navy which looked really flattering and classy and Paddy wore a navy tie.
I chose a very simple floor-length dress in ivory, it had a slight drape at the back and a small train. I always knew I wanted something simple and when I tried the dress on at the Monsoon store in Manchester I just knew that was the one. To complete my look my cousin Georgina Dobson did my make- up, she’s an incredible make-up artist, and my best friend Kelly Pendleton did my hair. I totally left it down to both of them (no pressure) and they were absolutely fantastic.
Paddy picked a grey three-piece suit, white shirt and navy tie all from Next for his big day attire.
My bridesmaids wore navy dresses that I ordered online from China and a good friend of mine, Sarah Coombes, tailored them all to fit perfectly. I was so pleased with the dresses and so were the bridesmaids. Two of them were eight months pregnant at the time of the wedding, my sister Hayley and my friend Kate, so it was really important the dresses were flattering and that the girls felt comfortable in them.
Our fab photographer was a very good friend of mine, Gabrielle Bower. Paddy and I would recommend Gabrielle to everyone; she is so talented and super professional. We were absolutely amazed with our photos, in fact I cried when I saw them. Like the rest of our wedding we wanted the photos to be relaxed and Gabs just totally got us and what we wanted straight away. She captured every single moment and more.
My flowers were done by a lovely lady called Liz at Meadow Sweet in Sheffield. They were wild and natural style flowers, all locally grown. We absolutely loved them and so did all our guests. In addition to floral decorations, my very creative and talented sister-in-law Beck at Little Ghost made our stunning table stationary, invites and table plan.
We choose a three- tier Victoria sponge with strawberries – or as it’s known a ‘naked cake’ for our wedding day. It was absolutely amazing. A lovely lady at Swoon Bakery made it for us. Yum, yum!
We selected a ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’s’ menu from Ringwood Hall for our meal. For starters there was a choice of tomato bruschetta or pate, mains was either beef with Yorkshire puddings or chicken in a tarragon and mushroom sauce and for deserts there was strawberry shortcake or chocolate profiteroles. Ringwood Hall had a great choice of food and we really enjoyed the taster session. It was so difficult to choose but we went with our favourites.
I would 110 per cent recommend Ringwood Hall to other wedding couples – and not just for the food. The staff were great and the service was fantastic! They took total control of the whole day so everything ran so smoothly. Their packages are worth every single penny.
To get the party started we had a family member DJ for us in the evening. We had a great time dancing the night away!
My favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle to see my husband-to-be. Other than that we couldn’t possibly pin point another ‘best part’ of the day – it was all truly amazing and more than what we’d ever dreamt of.
For our honeymoon we went to Mexico for two weeks, it was absolutely fantastic. Wish we were then now. We got married on the Thursday, booked it on the Saturday and jetted off the following Saturday. Our honeymoon was all thanks to our generous family and friends who gave us money towards it.
My top tip to other brides-to-be would be to have what you want and be sure to get your other half involved. Don’t be lured into gimmicks if you’re on a budget, a perfect day doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Enjoy planning it! Our wedding was very personal and we had great family and friends with various talents that kindly offered their expertise to help us create our perfect day for which we are very grateful.
Since our big day Hayley has given birth to a gorgeous baby boy named Joshua and Kate has also had a cute little boy called Ollie. Our photographer Gabs shot our wedding whilst pregnant so she is also soon to be a mum!