Brides Up North

high street honey: mini maids

August 19th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Jasmine - BHS

Jasmine at BHS

I’m 27 and I’ve never been a bridesmaid. I suppose this means I don’t have to worry about the ‘always a bridesmaid, never a bride’ saying, but when I was young (and now too really) I would have given anything to be one.

I remember visiting friends’ houses where their numerous redundant bridesmaid dresses had been demoted to the dressing-up box – which was as close as I got to actually fulfilling the role. I suppose it was similar to a scene from Muriel’s Wedding, but instead of trying on endless wedding gowns, I was diving into ex-bridesmaid dresses at any given opportunity.

Bailey Dress - Monsoon

Bailey at Monsoon

Veroniquea Dress - Monsoon

Veronique at Monsoon

Anyway, while I never got to be a miniature maid there are plenty of lucky tots that do get to don a pretty frock and follow a real bride down the aisle.

If you’re having young bridesmaids on your wedding day there are numerous adorable options to dress them in. Both designers and the high-street offer some truly ahh-worthy options, with Monsoon and BHS coming tops as our High Street Honeys for little fashionistas.

Pom Pom Dress - Monsoon

Pom Pom at Monsoon

Lydia Ballet - BHS

Lydia Ballet at BHSLilly Lace Dress - Monsoon

Lily by Monsoon

If you’re having a mix of different aged bridesmaids it’s worth remembering your adult bridesmaids don’t want to be wearing the same outfit as a knee-high maid, equally teens will want to feel grown-up and gorgeous, rather than wearing the same attire as their younger sibling or cousin. Therefore it’s often best for brides to pick contrasting outfits for their grown-up and toddler bridesmaids. For those who do prefer to match things up, there is always the option of selecting a child’s dress with a coordinating sash in the colour that your adult maids will be wearing.

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dress to impress. high street honey: Miss Selfridge

August 5th, 2014 | Rachel Parry


Miss Selfridge High Street Honey (2)If you’re anything like me you will fall in and out of love with high street stores.

At one point French Connection was very much my go to when it came to finding an occasion dress, then I flirted with Zara for a while before falling head over heels for many of Warehouse’s pretty frocks.

I have to be honest I rarely even look at the window display of Miss Selfridge let alone cross its threshold, but recently I’ve spotted numerous ladies wearing stunning outfits on social media sites from the very store.

I figured it was time to check out some of the store’s offerings for myself and I’m pleased to report the glamorous garments swinging on its rails are worthy of our High Street Honey accolade.

Miss Selfridge High Street Honey (1)

A fair few of my friends are attending weddings in the next couple of months and despite trawling the high street and internet, they’re yet to make a purchase. Perhaps they are making the same mistake I did by racing past Miss S’s doors and missing out on the last pieces of its stunning summer collection.

There is a fabulous array of dresses in pretty pastels and vibrant hues, perfect for August/September ceremonies. There are also various lengths of frocks providing options for those who have just returned from their summer holidays to flash some beautifully bronzed flesh and those who are yet to jet off, to hide their pale pins under a layer of lovely fabric.

The outfits aren’t just ideal wedding guest attire – brides can get in on the action too, with stunning options for bridal related occasions up to and following the wedding – think hen do, ice-breaker meal the night before the wedding and, of course, the honeymoon.

Miss Selfridge High Street Honey (3)

In true Miss Selfridge style, there are a couple of rather bling options within its collection, such as the coral embellished flapper dress. But this would be perfect for a bride-to-be wanting to stand out from her hens when partying.

The nude embellished maxi dress is a lovely option for ladies that will be honeymooning onboard a cruise liner, but could also be considered by brides to be worn by their maids on the big day, particularly those having glamorous and/or Gatsby style weddings.

One of my favourite pieces has to be the embellished playsuit, with cute scalloped edging. Hen do or honeymoon I’d get as many wears as possible out of this pretty number.

For those looking for plainer options to accessorise and make their own, Miss Selfridge again doesn’t disappoint. There are flattering maxi dresses, simple slim-line frocks and fetching blazer and short combos.

So next time you hit the high street it’s certainly worth visiting the store – many of us might associate it with our younger years, but it looks like Miss Selfridge has matured a little.

Coral embellished maxi dress £190
Nude embellished maxi dress £150
Embellished playsuit £69
Pastel jacket £45
Pastel shorts £35
Coral and silver prom dress £55
Blue embellished flapper dress £80
Waffle bra blue dress £28
Pink maxi dress £55
Coral maxi dress £55

All prices were correct at the time of going to press.

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Well Heeled. High Street Honey: Debenhams

May 29th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

No 1 Jenny Packham - Grey high heel cut-out court shoes with pleated trim

The dismal and depressing weather over the Bank Holiday forced me to take shelter indoors, and by indoors I mean within a shopping centre. Here I came to spend a good proportion of my Saturday, and in turn, my wages (for which I whole heartedly blame the British weather).

Although on a mission to purchase a new work wardrobe, I found myself distracted by the shoe department in Debenhams (I’m only female, after all). Whilst eyeing up fancy footwear that was totally inappropriate for the office, I was pleasantly surprised to find Debs’ collection included a wide range of beautiful bridal footwear at write-home-and-tell-your-mum-about-it kind of prices.

From pretty platforms to cute kitten heels and feminine flats – they had it all!

Debenhams Bridal Collection


Top Image: No 1 Jenny Packham – Grey high heel cut-out court shoes with pleated trim, £48 (20% off)

1  Debut – Gold metallic beaded peep toe court shoes, £39.60 (20% off)

2  Debut – Ivory glitter trim mid court shoes, £36 (20% off)

3  Faith – Ivory embellished bow high court shoes, £65

4  Faith – Ivory pearlised leather mid heel stiletto shoes, £75

5  Faith – Ivory rhinestone studded pumps, £32.50

6  No 1 Jenny Packham – Designer ivory lace and jewel trim ballet pumps, £47.20 (20% off)

7  J by Jasper Conran – Designer ivory embroidered toe high court shoes, £55.20 (20% off)

8  No 1 Jenny Packham – Designer ivory lace detailed heeled sandals, £68 (20% off)

Bottom Image: Faith – Natural glitter lace court shoes, £56 (20% off)

All prices correct at the time of going to press

Shopping in a department store is a good idea, of course, for those wanting a wide choice. The main designers stocked in bridal shoes include reliable Faith, classy Jasper Conran and an exclusive collection designed by the princess of bridal wear herself, Jenny Packham.

Each offers brides something a little different. For those that like a bit of bling, Faith features some rather dazzling designs with sequin, glitter or rhinestone detail, though their plainer options are equally attractive: the ivory pearlised leather stiletto with sophisticated scalloped edges being a particular favourite of mine.

Jenny’s cut-price collection meanwhile offers more elegant options including classic courts with neat pleats as well as pretty pumps and platforms, complete with jewel trim.

Debenhams’ Debut collection is also worth a mention, not only for its reasonable price tag, but also for its simple yet stunning designs – the ivory glitter trim court being a wonderful example.

With affordable bridal footwear like this on the high street it made me wonder how so many cash-strapped grooms on Don’t Tell the Bride get it so wrong.  And as if you needed anymore persuasion to check out the collection, there’s currently up to 20% off selected styles meaning you could get change from a fifty pound note! Faith Natural Glitter Lace Court Shoe

View the full collection here.


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 supplied by Debenhams

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Ice Cream Maids. High Street Honey: Ted Baker

May 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Ted Baker - Remma

If you’re one of the many Brides Up North picking a pretty pastel colour palette for your big day this summer, you’re in luck, for the Great British High Street is awash with options.  Topping our High Street Honey charts is staple favourite Ted Baker, who we think has batted one out of the park with it’s summer 2014 collection.

Flirty dipped hems, cute creases, pretty pleats and delicate details… this collection is as unique as it is charming, and although some of the price points are at the top of the usual bridesmaid budget, the pieces are oh so special. And very, very wear again (and again, and again) able.

Dress your maids in these ice cream shades and you’ll be one popular Mrs.

High Street Honey - Ted Baker

Top Image:  Remma, £449

Faybll, £179

Priscil, £159

Iberis, £179

Pheabea, £149

Josa, £149

Verity, £179

Fayth, £999

Halina, £179

All Ted Baker


All prices were correct at the time of going to press.

To check out Ted Baker’s (gorgeous) full collection of fancy frocks click here.


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Ted Baker

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High Street Honey: Marks & Spencer

May 19th, 2014 | Rachel Parry



Ladies we’ve all been there (before finding fiancées that is) – you see an attractive man on a night out, pluck up the courage to say hi, or even better, he approaches you, and then within matter of measly minutes the dream falls apart. Turns out he’s a mannequin man – perfectly formed on the outside but there’s nothing on the inside – he clearly has a low IQ, he’s way too laid back, or worse: he’s just plain boring.

I’ve had similar experiences with cakes – there’s nothing worse than a highly attractive cake that disappoints massively once you get a taste of the inside (just like mannequin man).



Surely for a wedding cake it’s essential that the style and taste stakes match up? Some couples are fortunate enough to have a talented relative or friend capable of producing a culinary masterpiece while others can afford to task a cake supplier with making a bespoke creation that tastes as good as it looks.

Chocolate Plaque Vintage Rose

Chocolate Plaque Vintage Rose





But what are the options for couples’ whose cake budget just doesn’t stretch that far? Cue the Marks & Spencer wedding cake collection – yes that’s right folks, this is not just any wedding cake collection, it’s an M&S wedding cake collection.  And, though we traditionally reserve the honour for fast fashion, these cakes totally deserve our High Street Honey accolade.

Romantic Pearl

Romantic Pearl

Shimmering Hoop (dark and gold)

Shimmering Hoop (Dark & Gold)

Upside Down Raspberry

Upside Down Raspberry

The high street supplier is close to many Brits’ hearts, especially the contents of its food hall – whether it’s the cheesy puffs, ultimate mash or faithful Percy Pigs, we trust M&S to deliver wonderful pleasures for our palettes. This is perhaps why so many couples turn to Marks and Sparks for their wedding cake.

The fabulous collection features a stunning range of both contemporary and traditional options, including exceptionally pretty vintage and floral designs, with a choice of delicious sponges and fillings.

Shimmering Hoop (white and pink)

Shimmering Hoop (White & Pink)

Vintage Rose

Vintage Rose

M&S itself states that a wedding cake should look and taste amazing, and encourages its customers to pick a cake that reflects them as a couple. Personal favourites of mine include the Birdcage and Bauble cake designs – it’s just a shame there isn’t a bride or groom version of Colin the Caterpillar!

For more information about wedding cakes by Marks & Spencer, visit their website.


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 courtesy of Marks & Spencer

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High Street Honey: Reiss – Spring Summer 2014

April 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Reiss Jennifer

Reiss Jennifer

Jennifer, £225

Reiss Jennifer

*Tumbleweed rolls in*

Don’t you just hate it when your best efforts are completely frustrated?!  I’ve just spent two full days “on the road” as part of a series of speaking engagements at the workshops of some seriously talented professionals, and whilst I’ve been so, so inspired to send time shooting ideas around with some fabulous creatives – and extremely honoured to be invited to take part (more on this later) – my Wi-Fi cover has been a little less than satisfactory.  I hope you’ll bear with me as we get to some of the features that were actually meant to hit these pretty pages a little earlier this week.  It’s catch up time, ladies

Reiss Lansky

Reiss Lansky

Lansky, £189

Reiss Lansky

Last week, back when life was a little less hectic, I actually got to spend a little time out of the office (and out of the car!) hitting up the High Street and checking out the new collections.  Can I get a whoop whoop?! All in the name of research, you understand.

First stop:  Reiss

I’ll be honest.  Whilst Reiss used to be my go-to treat yourself on payday staple, I’ve found it’s latest few seasons to be a little lack lustre.  At the top end of my high street spend, I wanted a little more brilliance for my buck.

Well, hello! This season, Reiss is back on track. 

Reiss Ibiza

Reiss Ibiza

Ibiza, £179

Reiss Ibiza

And guess what? There’s loads of flirty little dresses that would be just perfect for all those bridal occasions in the run up to and surrounding a wedding (the ones where you’re not actually rocking the main frock).  Think classy hen party, rehearsal dinner, going away dress or some seriously grateful bridesmaids.

Go to work ladies!

Reiss Ciara Swift

Reiss Ciara Swift

Ciara Swift, £195

Reiss Ciara Swift

Reiss Jade

Reiss Jade

Jade, £225

Reiss Jade

Reiss Valentina

Reiss Valentina

Valentina, £139

Reiss Valentina

Reiss Aragon

Reiss Aragon

Aragon, £169

Reiss Aragon

Reiss Larkies

Reiss Larkies

Larkies, £195

Reiss Larkies

All prices were correct when going to press.

For more (and I know you want more!) visit the Reiss website. 


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Reiss

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(Almost) High Street Honey: Alice & Olivia

April 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Alice & Olivia ZACK

I’ve spent the last three days staring at beautiful wedding dresses (two at White Gallery in London and last Sunday at our Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Nostell Priory) and you know what?  I don’t feel like stopping anytime soon.

Yesterday after our meetings and viewings were concluded and before hopping back on the train Up North, Ellie and I headed for my spiritual home, Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, for a slap up sushi lunch and a spot of browsing.  Alice & Olivia MCBAIN

One thing I was obsessed with when planning my own wedding was my “going away” dress.  You know, the fabulous frock that I would slip into as my new husband whisked me off on our fabulous honeymoon to live happily ever after (whilst our friends went back to work on Monday).  The pressure was on and dress had to be perfect – a little bit Audrey, a little bit Grace, flirty, sparkly, a nod to bridal and ever so Summer Holiday (in October).

So today, four years after our wedding (goddammit!) I found the perfect frock.  Step forward Alice & Oliva, Stacey Bendet I salute you. I seriously thought about whipping out the credit card then and there, but decided to accept that it wasn’t meant to be (for me anyway) and share my find with you actual soon-to-be-weds instead.

Alice & Olivia CLOVER

(^^^This one^^^)

Alice & Olivia EADDY

Alice & Olivia BRIT

Alice & Olivia ADELIA 

Alice & Olivia ANIKA

And whilst looking around, I spotted lots more bridal-esque pieces that could certainly make it into the shortlist for a pretty rehearsal dinner outfit, engagement party frock, special hen party piece or even to walk the aisle itself.  Ok, so a designer in Harvey Nichols ain’t exactly budget, but if we’re quibbling, fact: HN is actually on the “high street”. 

Technicalities aside, I think Alice & Olivia totally deserves the Brides Up North High Street Honey accolade.  What do you think?

I think I want to go shopping.  Now.

Alice & Olivia GORE

Alice & Olivia HILTA

Alice & Olivia PERCIE

Alice & Olivia LENA


.Alice & Olivia BETRICE

Alice & Olivia CHAP

Alice & Olivia FELICE

Alice & Olivia FRANCESCA

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Alice & Olivia

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Here Come The Girls! High Street Honey: Monsoon

February 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime

High Street Honey Monsoon

1. Effie Dress, £169;  2. Dallas Dress, £109;  3. Ava Dress £99;  4. Ania Dress, £139;  5. Crissy Dress, £119;  6. Evina Dress, £179;  7. Beatrice Dress, £139;  8. Bonnie Dress, £89;  9. Lyra Dress, £139;  10. Lainie Maxi, £179;  11. Lorena Maxi, £119;  12. Lyra Maxi, £179. 

You know we’re not adverse to a bit of high street browsing here at Brides Up North HQ in our quest to uncover the prettiest bridesmaid offerings and bridal accoutrements out there – in boutiques, online and by pounding the pavement.  It’s a hard job… yaddah yaddah yaddah. 

This afternoon, step forward Monsoon, with their tonal selection of pretty gowns in a wash of muted red, white and blue.  Given our recent weather, Monsoon may not be the best named retailer on the block, but in terms of bridal party offerings, it’s as good as a day on the beach. 

Click here to check out my other recent High Street Honey finds


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Monsoon

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Bridesmaid Mecca. High Street Honey: Coast

January 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Researching for our regular Friday Fabulous feature is no great hardship –  I love scouring the interwebs for the prettiest new things.  It sometimes hurts my credit card, but other than that, the pleasure is all mine.  Chancing upon something really rather lovely from Coast for this afternoon’s coveted spot (wait and see), I decided to stick around and browse the rest of this High Street Honey’s new Spring collection.

High Street Honey Coast S14

All dresses by Coast:  Amorette, in naturals, £150; Venus, in yellow, £95; Riley, in orange, £135; Poppy, in green, £125; Tulia, in pink, £165; Mandy, in naturals, £125; Glamour Bow, in orange, £160; Lori Lee Lace, in grey, £125; Mirabella, in yellow, £125; Aloisa, in white, £350; Carraway, in blue/ silver, £160; Darling, in white, £295

As I said at the end of last year, in 2014 I’ll be checking out all the most popular High Street retailers (and lesser known online finds too) and picking our favourite looks for, so that you don’t have to.  No gorgeous gowns get past me!  Whether it’s bridesmaids dresses you need, a frock for your reception dinner or heading off on honeymoon, we’ll have it covered.

Let me tell you ladies, if you are in the market for bridesmaid dresses this season, I think we’ve just found heaven.  Usually strong on this front, those fabulous people at Coast HQ have just raised the bar that little bit higher. 

The lines come in sizes 6 to 18, are pretty affordable and with a new petites range just added, this wedding blogger is seriously impressed.  Here’s my top picks for maids and mates.  Gather your girls, but hands off Riley, she’s all mine!


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Coast

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Glitterball. High Street Honey: New Look

December 11th, 2013 | Julia Braime

It’s been a while since we ran our last High Street Honey series here on Brides Up North (mainly since pulling the editorial together was an unhealthy online shopping enabler), but – especially as we approach the festive season – I think it’s high time that we reinstate this popular feature.  

I’ll be checking out all the most popular High Street retailers (and lesser known online finds too) and picking our favourite looks, so that you don’t have to.  No gorgeous gowns get past me!  Whether it’s bridesmaids dresses you need, a frock for your reception dinner or heading off on honeymoon, we’ll have it covered.

This week, I’ve been browsing the online aisles at fashion forward favourite New Look who contacted me recently to show off their sparkly sequin dresses, evening party dresses and prom dresses, with sartorial options for a wedding guest or glitzy bridesmaid (see this beautiful Real Wedding for inspiration) in mind.  And since it’s the festive season, these  wouldn’t go amiss at your Christmas do either.  See what I do for you!

High Street Honey New Look AW 2013

1  Gold Sequin 3/4 Sleeve Bodycon Dress £39.99

2  Navy Sequin Floral Bodycon Lace Dress £27.99

3   Belle Heart Black Sequin Side Panel Pleated Dress £22.99

4  Tokyo Doll Gold Strappy Sequin Contrast Cami Dress £27.99

5  Gold Sequin Sleeveless Bodycon Dress £24.99

6  AX Paris Navy Sequin Plunge Maxi Dress £60.00

7  Parisian Gold Floral Sequin Skater Dress £34.99

8  AX Paris Bronze Lace Midi Dress £35.00

Finding the perfect outfit to wear to a wedding can be a bit of a challenge. There are many factors to consider when choosing what frock (or trouser suit, or shorts suit, or separates!), from the location of the ceremony and the reception to the time of day and season in which the event will be held.

Even in winter, guests have more flexibility with a daytime wedding ands can wear shorter, above-the knee length dresses to create a more casual look.  Have some fun experimenting with vibrant colours and punchy patterns as much as possible. For the autumn/ winter season, haute hues on Pantone’s Fashion Colour Report include samba red, koi orange, vivacious magenta, acai purple, and Mykonos blue.  Patterns that are sure to pop this season range from dainty oriental butterflies and flower prints to fierce tribal and animal patterns. If you decide to wear brighter hues or eye-catching prints, be sure to pair them with neutral bags and shoes to balance out the look, and don’t forget a pretty shrug or jacket to keep of the chill. High Street Honey New Look AW 2013 (2) 

1  Red Metallic Ruched Side Bodycon Dress £24.99

2  AX Paris Black Floral Print Midi Dress £28.00

3  Tokyo Doll Burgundy Metallic Grid Shoulder Midi Dress £27.99

4  Burgundy Lace Cap Sleeve Midi Dress £22.99

5  AX Paris Red Crochet Neck Midi Dress £30.00

6  AX Paris Purple Crochet Waist Midi Dress £28.00

7  AX Paris Purple Raglan Bodycon Dress £22.00

8  Dark Red One Shoulder High Neck Aztec Dress £19.99

If the wedding is being held in the evening, skip the flirty frock in favour of something more sophisticated like a curve-hugging bodycon dress or midi dress in emerald green, gold or midnight blue.  You can amp up the wow factor with crocodile and snakeskin print clutches, bags and heels that incorporate the current colour blocking trend or (my favourite) plenty of sequins. 

Now, where’s my credit card…

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 New Look

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