Charlotte Balbier

rose gold: a wedding anniversary shoot in manchester

July 7th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Styled Wedding Anniversary Shoot (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (4)

Today we’re excited to be bringing you a styled shoot with a difference. Instead of the usual collaboration between local wedding suppliers to create an inspirational wedding day set using professional models and props, this morning’s styled shoot sees a real wedding couple taking centre stage, with little need for details.

The stars of the shoot, Amy and Adam, tied the knot two years ago but back then were unable to afford a quality photographer to capture their day as they would have liked. Keen to do something about it, they approached photographer Kate McCarthy with the idea of doing an ‘anniversary shoot’ to give them those special portraits that they longed for.

The result is a glam outdoor shoot with true emotions and laughter that will be treasured by the ‘models’ for many years to come.

To explain more about the concept we’ll hand over to the lady that captured the magic…

With images by Kate McCarthy Photography.

A Styled Wedding Anniversary Shoot (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (14)

kate says: Amy is a fellow photographer whom I’ve become friends with recently and the anniversary shoot was something she was eager to do. Having had a discussion about our own wedding photos Amy had said that two years ago when she and Adam got married, they were (like so many of us) in the unfortunate position of not being able to pay for quality photos of their largely DIY wedding day.  With their anniversary looming, Amy approached me with the idea of essentially ‘re-staging’ their wedding photos but with the freedom to have a bit more fun with them; to wear a totally different dress that showed off her own personal style and to capture her and her lovely husband Adam’s natural chemistry and laid-back comfort with each other.

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We both loved the idea of a springtime woodland-style shoot and I suggested the not-so-secret Walkden Gardens, just down the road from me in Sale. I chose the location because I knew it was still quiet in the mornings.  Not many people seem to know it exists! I wanted the ability to shoot without the couple feeling like they were on show.  This way they were able to relax and be themselves with each other.  After shooting in the gardens, I wanted to show contrast to the organic shapes and colours by shooting against brick or steel as well.

A Styled Wedding Anniversary Shoot (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (9)

We kept styling to a minimum and chose to just let the flowers take centre stage in the locations.  Amy originally planned to use her own wedding dress but changed her mind in favour of something totally different. The shape of her chosen dress (which was from ASOS) was very retro and so makeup artist Charlotte Sprosten of Beauty in Elysium, took her cues from the rose gold hue and the flowers and created a very soft bridal look with a bold berry lip.

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more from the wedding festival front line: #wedstival16

June 10th, 2016 | Julia Braime

WEDSTIVAL'16 (c) Jonny Draper Photography (2)

Last weekend we featured all the official images from #WEDSTIVAL16, our epic Brides Up North Wedding Festival at Capesthorne Hall, and told you about how you can get involved in our events this autumn and next spring. Click here to catch up.

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Turns out though, that the fabulous Peace Wedding Photography weren’t the only ones doing a bit of snapping – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know y’see – and super talented friend of the wedding blog, Jonny Draper had been capturing the action on his trusty camera for us too.

We absolutely adore Jonny’s images of our amazing day in full swing (and he even had time for an impromptu photo shoot with LOVE Bridal Boutique’s stunning models too – what a backdrop for wedding photos!) as they remind us what a brilliant party it was!  We couldn’t wait to share all the shots with you here.

Images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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As a reminder, don’t forget that we’ve already set the dates for our wedding festivals in 2017 – #WEDSTOCK17 will take place at Stockeld Park on Sunday 7th May, 11am till 4pm and #WEDSTIVAL17 will take place at Capesthorne Hall on Sunday 21st May, 11am till 4pm. Get the dates in your diaries (and interested wedding suppliers should get in touch using the contact form below). Watch this space for a couple of other exciting dates too… North East, we mean you…

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diary date: the wedding edit (plus win an absolutely amazing romantic break at gilpin hotel & lake house)

October 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Love Wedding Edit

We’re interrupting your Tuesday afternoon to remind North West readers of a very special event coming up this Sunday. Introducing the wedding edit at Styal Lodge in Cheshire: brought to you exclusively by friends of Brides Up North, Emma of LOVE Bridal Boutique and Jonny Draper Photography!

This styling event is ideal for brides getting married from 2016 onwards, looking for inspiration for their wedding dress with an exciting catwalk show showcasing new collections and trends from LOVE’s designers Alan Hannah Bridalwear, Enzoani, Raimon Bundó Novias, Sarah Seven and Stewart Parvin.  Not to mention all the finishing touches from accessories to cakes, entertainment to shoes, flowers, photography and so much more…

And all glamour and inspiration aside, as an attending bride at The Wedding Edit you will be given the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win an absolutely sensational prize from our friends at Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, known as one of the best hotels in the Lake District where carefully designed ‘mini-moon’ breaks for newly weds are nothing short of spectacular.


Just by attending The Wedding Edit, you will be automatically entered into a competition to win a TWO night stay in one of Gilpin Hotel and Lake House’s new spa suites with dinner (with upgraded tasting menu with matched wines), breakfast, lunch, all drinks and their new spa journey (described below) included, totalling £1600. This is a unique opportunity for a couple to be one of the first to experience the ultimate romantic break in the hotel’s stunning new spa suites!


Each suite comprises an open plan bedroom and lounge with treatment area, an ensuite spa bathroom with steam room, sauna, hot tubs, rain maker showers and private walled garden. Gilpin Hotel and Lake House have designed a range of beautiful spa products to accompany these spa experiences which are specifically designed to be shared as a couple and as part of a spa journey. The spa journey also includes accompanying music, food, drinks, and lighting to create the ultimate romantic experience. Terms and conditions will apply.


emma says: “Jonny and I were lucky enough to stay at Gilpin Hotel during the summer and can not come close to explaining what a stunning experience we had.  The bedroom, the terrace, the lounge areas – the food, the drinks and the wonderfully attentive staff all led to us relaxing so much that we felt like we’d been away a week!  We are so grateful to our friends at Gilpin for providing this exclusive prize for The Wedding Edit and one bride to be is going to be walking away from our event with an amazing break for her and her hubby to be!

If you would like to be sure of a place on our guest list then please email with your name, wedding date, venue and the name of your ‘plus one’ (unfortunately, due to high levels of demand for places, we are only able to accommodate one guest per bride)

Be quick as there are now only a handful of places left! And remember – this is strictly a girls only event!

style profile: charlotte mills

July 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry


Image by Jonny Draper

To brighten up your Tuesday afternoon we’re putting another wedding industry superstar under our Style Profile spotlight to find out what makes them go week at the knees in the world of fashion.

Today it’s the turn of charlotte mills, the fabulous owner and creative genius behind Charlotte Mills Shoes.

You only need to take one look at Charlotte’s stunning collection of bridal footwear to know this lady has bucket loads of style and a real eye for design. From fancy flats, to cute peep-toes and show stopping heels, Charlotte really does offer something for every bride.

As a self-confessed pink addict we find ourselves instantly connected to Charlotte and love her passion for all things cool and colourful. So let’s find out what treasures are to be found in Ms Mills’ wardrobe while getting the lowdown on her top wedding picks too! The floor is all yours Charlotte…

Charlotte Mills 9to5

Clockwise from left: Necklace from Zara| Top from Zara| Shoes from Charlotte Mills| Victoria Beckham tote from Harrods| Jeans from Topshop.

How would you describe your nine ‘til five style and what are your key work wardrobe pieces? 

For work it’s normally a nice top and skinny jeans, I keep the clothing quite simple as I love to accessorise, often with a statement necklace and a fab pair of shoes. I don’t have a lot of handbags, unsurprisingly I’m more of a shoe person! I do like big totes though, so I can fit everything in.

What would you wear for a night out drinking cocktails with the girls?

I love getting all glammed up for a girls’ night out! When travelling to the factory in Spain I came across an amazing brand called Bimba Y Lola, I just love their playful use of prints and colour.  As soon and I walked into the store their Crocodile Print Dress said ‘buy me’. I always wear dresses when I go out as I’m normally in jeans all week.  And usually team with killer heels and my fav Lush lipstick which stays on for hours!

Charlotte Mills Cocktails

Clockwise from left: Dress from Bimba Y Lola| Shoes from Sophia Webster| Bag from Zara.

If you were currently planning your wedding what would be your top picks?

I’m already married but would do it all again in a heartbeat! After seeing images of this Monique Lhuillier dress on the catwalk at NYBW I have fallen totally in love! I would have to go for peonies which are my favourite flowers and I had these at my own wedding. Betty from our collection would go really well with the gown and tie in with the sparkle.

Which celebrities’ style do you admire?

Olivia Palermo – she is all about the accessories and looks effortlessly chic every time.

What is your favourite high street store and online shopping site?

Zara is my favourite high street store, I get the majority of my wardrobe from there. If I’m shopping online I like ASOS.

Charlotte Mills Wedding

Clockwise from left: Outfits from Coast| Shoes from Charlotte Mills| Dress by Monique Lhuillier| Ring by Heidi Gibson| Flower image found on

What current wedding trends are you a fan of?

I love bridal separates and the floral gowns coming through.  They are both really fresh and different.

Do you consider yourself a trend setter or follower?

I would say a bit of both, after working in fashion I can identify trends. When I design a product I want it to fit with current trends but then give my own twist, which makes it different.

What colour features most in your wardrobe?

Pink for sure, I’m a pink addict! At least 70% of my wardrobe is pink. It makes me happy and brightens up any dreary day.

Charlotte Mills Honeymoon

Clockwise from top left: Pink bikini from River Island| Patterned bikini from Ted Baker| Shoes from Charlotte Mills| Bag from Accessorize.

What areas of a wedding would you splurge on the most?

The dress and the shoes and the groom’s attire. You will be looking back at your pictures forever so you want to remember feeling your best. It really is once in a lifetime. The other thing which is so important is to choose an amazing photographer. You cannot get those moments back and you want to remember them as if you are reliving the day every time you look at them.

Where would be your dream honeymoon destination and what top items would you pack in your case?

If I went on honeymoon now my dream destination would have to be somewhere I haven’t been before. I would love to charter a small sailing boat and sail around the Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos.

front row: amanda wyatt 2016 collection, promises of love.

April 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Amanda Wyatt Promises of Love  (30)

Is there anything more exciting than sitting front row catwalk knowing that you’re among a select few to about to clap eyes on a designer’s brand new collection for the very first time? We think not.

We were therefore delighted, enthused and excited when an invitation to the launch of Amanda Wyatt’s 2016 Collection, cutely named promises of love, arrived here at Brides Up North HQ. Today we’re extending that invitation further by sharing the designs with you, our fabulous readers, here on the wedding blog.

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For those of you that aren’t familiar with Amanda and her gorgeous creations it’s time to come out from underneath that rock as Ms Wyatt is a pretty big deal, having been a leading name in British bridal for more than 20 years.

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Forward thinking Amanda is known for creating gowns that not only look amazing, but also that make her brides feel amazing thanks to their fabulous fit, quality fabrics and sensational detailing, so we were confident that the latest collection would be just as fabulous as those that have gone before.

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And we weren’t wrong – cue soft flowing chiffons, French and Italian laces, fine tulle and rich satins, adorned with frosted pearl beading and embellished details. This lady sure knows how to make us (and plenty of other pretty-loving ladies) go weak at the knees.

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As the lights dimmed the music kicked in and the models stepped out to flaunt Amanda’s fabulous frocks. From sleek slim-line designs and flattering A-line silhouettes to short 50s style dresses and perfect princess gowns, Promises Of Love had covered all bases meaning that there was quite literally ‘the one’ for everyone. And this lady is not only big on offering brides a wide range of looks, but also a wide range of sizes as not to exclude more curvaceous ladies from the wonderful Amanda Wyatt party.

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Further choice was provided with Amanda’s exciting colour palette which strayed beyond classic ivory hues with some gowns in soft gold, blush pinks and even powder blue.

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Standout favourites for us Brides Up North girls included the headline gown of the collection, Promise – a slim design featuring delicate lace and a pretty fluid skirt. In terms of fuller designs there were plenty to choose from, including regal satin gowns and romantic tulle offerings with varying levels of detail.

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In a nod to the princess of the moment, and no we’re not talking Kate Middleton, the collection features a design named Elsa (Frozen fans will get the reference). Available in ivory or powder blue, (just like the Disney sovereign herself) this gown is what fairytales are made of with its voluminous tulle layered skirt and angelic lace detail.

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Those planning a city centre or destination wedding may well be drawn to the cute shorter length gowns in the collection, such as Nia and Cupid, which certainly caught our eye on the catwalk.

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There was however one particular dress that got us wishing for an impromptu proposal (from quite literally anyone) just so that we could put it on – Chantilly. High fashion and hot, we mean hot, this sultry little number is a guaranteed head-turner with its plunging neckline, elegant lace top and slinky skirt. Pure perfection!

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Following the catwalk show, leading lady Amanda talked us through the collection dress by dress, explaining the inspiration behind the designs, which in a lot of cases included listening to brides’ feedback via stockists and giving them exactly what they asked for, showing that this talented lady has a real connection to her clients.

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Amanda also explained that the collection had been designed with matching accessories to complement each gown, with additions including soft tulle silk veils and delicate hair accessories.

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Finally we were given a taste of the beautiful bridesmaid gown styles that Amanda has added to her increasingly popular maids’ collection for 2015, meaning both you and your gals can be styled by Wyatt for your big day.

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And that, our friends, is one promise worth keeping.

Images by Jonny Draper Photography.

Amanda Wyatt 2016 Collection from Silk Wedding Films on Vimeo.

Enter the password mere to view this exclusive video. (Trust me, it’s worth a good look, and you might just spot us FROW!)

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silver lining. a highly entertaining wedding at west tower – sally & simon

March 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

an entertaining wedding at West Tower by Jonny Draper Photography (66)

Having a good time was certainly high up on the priority list for today’s real wedding couple.

Sally and Simon planned their wedding date around securing the right entertainment for their big day in order to ensure the celebrations went with a bang.

Lots of singing, dancing, cocktails and a Jaeger train resulted in a fabulously fun wedding that went on into the small hours.

So it’s full steam ahead with today’s real wedding inspiration… cheers!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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sally says: We got engaged on July 18th 2014. Simon took me and our dog Oscar for a walk up Rivington Pike, it’s all uphill and I nearly gave up half way up but he made me carry on. I’m so glad I did as when we reached the top he got down on one knee! He had a mini bottle of champagne with glass and a can of Stella in his back pack to celebrate! He chose there as we often visit and you can see the church where his dad is buried so it made it that little bit more special!

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We tied the knot on 7th February 2015, the date kind of picked us! We didn’t want a long engagement and always wanted a winter wedding so decided early 2015. The only thing that was a must was having Howard Wing as our entertainment, so it was a case of checking Howard’s diary along with the venues (and Bolton Wanderers fixtures!). I loved having the wedding so soon after the engagement, it meant I didn’t dwell on decisions and everyone’s excitement levels were high all the time!

We were married at Holy Trinity Church, Horwich as Simon’s dad is there. We then went on the have our reception at West Tower, Ormskirk. Years before I met Simon my sister was planning her wedding and was given the brochure by a friend, from that day I said it was where I wanted to get married. We thought it would be out of budget but we were allowed to tailor a package that suit our budget. Neither of us had ever been but we booked straight after our first visit!

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I wanted the theme of the wedding to be very simple and classic. I always wanted an all-white wedding and added a touch of silver to add a little sparkle!

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I wore an Ellis dress, style 11330 from Bridal Italia in Bolton, who were amazing! I always wanted lace strapless mermaid design and must have tried every lace strapless dress made! I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice but I felt a million dollars on the day and wouldn’t change it! The in-house seamstress made so many changes to the dress to get it exactly as I wanted, covering the tulle neckline with matching lace and creating a deeper sweetheart. I always wanted a bolero to cover up at church so they made me a matching one from scratch. It was exactly what I had pictured in my mind! A few days before the wedding I decide to have a cathedral length veil which Bridal Italia altered to add extra lace down the edges – it gave the wow factor!

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Simon wore a navy three-piece suit from Next, my dress had polka dots within the tulle so he wore a spotty pocket square and a silver tie to match the bridesmaids!

The groomsmen wore matching two-piece suits to Simon but had polka dot navy ties. I had seven bridesmaids who all have their own styles and I wanted them all to love their dress and feel comfortable. So, I decided to go for a multiway dress where each girl could choose a style that suited them. They also had an optional lace bandeau. I encouraged them all to be different with hair, makeup and accessories so they felt amazing and they all did! The dresses were from Coralie Beatrix who sells on Esty.

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It took a team of people to get me and seven bridesmaids ready on the day! My hair was done by Paisley Gamble and make-up by Helen Cafferky, I cannot recommend both enough and will use them both again in the future.

We wanted to cut back on some expenses so decided my dad would drive me to church as he has a lovely car. I bought ribbons to put on and champagne for the journey to the venue. However! On the day just as I had put my dress on and was making my way downstairs my sister told me to look out the window, and there was a vintage silver car waiting! Her and my mum had surprised us, Simon didn’t know about it either until we left the church, he loved it!

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Our photographer was Jonny Draper. He was recommended to us by Howard Wing and as soon as I saw his blog I knew I had to have him! I can’t recommend Jonny enough, he’s great fun and completely put us at ease, he understood exactly what I wanted and the pictures are fantastic!

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My flowers were supplied by Sue Nunn, we were on the same page immediately! I carried a simple bouquet of white roses and I chose centrepieces in all white. She made the table arrangements propped on four test tube vases so views were not obstructed and we added lots of mini tea lights and vases all over the tables! To save a little I asked Sue to provide seven empty vases on the top table for my bridesmaid bouquets, they looked great and kept the flowers fresh to take home! I also hired petal table clothes and silver sequin runners from Gilded Linens for something a little different along with lace chair sashes from Princess4aday.

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As favours we decided to make a charity donation to two charities close to our hearts in remembrance of loved ones we have lost. I bought charity pins for the guests to take away with them.

I called in quite a few favours for the wedding, the cake being one! I left the whole cake design to one of my bridesmaids, Michelle, who had a friend at work that made individually designed cupcakes and a cutting cake. I didn’t see them until the day and they were a lovely surprise!

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One of our planning highlights was the food and wine tasting. We sampled several dishes and settled on butternut squash soup, chicken with a creamy leek and mushroom sauce (yum) and profiteroles. West Tower allowed us to tweak recipes to get exactly what we wanted. We were given so many wines to choose from and Brian spent a lot of time with us tailoring a drinks package to suit. We had several compliments on the red wine we chose! We chose two different beers for the reception drinks, Moretti and Budvar and a Kir Royale for the ladies. The only thing I can recommend for any brides getting married at West Tower is don’t drive to the tasting! I have never seen so much wine and so many cocktails!

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We had Mike Smith Sax Player to provide entertainment for reception drinks, this was a surprise given to me on my hen party from the girls! Later we had Howard Wing. Since we saw Howard for the first time at a friend’s wedding I said I would never get married without him! We wanted a huge party to celebrate our wedding and that’s certainly what Howard delivers. There aren’t enough words to describe how good he is and how many amazing memories I have from the day. He gets everyone involved and in the party spirit. We also booked a DJ – Dave Jones – through Howard Wing, he was amazing, I didn’t leave the dance floor all night!

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We wanted to add special touches to our day to ensure our guests had the best time! One extra was the Jaeger train; we had 100 Jaeger bombs set up and had a race against each other. Simon won however he did slip and fall knocking a few over the bar! Luckily it was all caught on camera and on the short video Howard Wing made on the day! Another little special touch was to have our ‘last kiss’ before our first kiss. We really wanted to make our mums feel special on the day, so as a surprise they were invited up during the ceremony to give us our last kiss as single people before our first. We chose our mothers as they had given us our first ever kiss at birth. We also had Candles 2 Cherish make us two candles in memory of lost ones which we lit during the ceremony and are a great keep sake.

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We would definitely recommend West Tower to others. The venue and setting are stunning and the main reason we booked. Other than the fact the place is stunning, the food is incredible and the staff couldn’t do enough for us. Brian and Charlotte helped with all the planning and Lindsey made sure our day went without a hitch! Lindsey cares about every little detail which was great as I was very particular! After meeting Lindsey I had no worried about the day and felt completely relaxed to leave everything to her! The waiting staff and bar staff are also superb, extremely polite and accommodating, they even stayed up until we wanted to go to bed at 4.30am!

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My favourite part of the day was standing in church next to Simon, all nerves disappeared and I couldn’t take the smile off my face! Closely followed by Howard Wing’s entertainment – epic!

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We left a few days after the wedding for our honeymoon, we went to Jamaica and stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid. The hotel was amazing and it was great to just get away alone and really relax!

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I would advise other Brides Up North not to cut corners on a photographer as after it’s all over you will want amazing memories to look back on! And…the little things really don’t matter!

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