Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

christmas eve, eve…

December 23rd, 2016 | Julia Braime

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image source*

Its Christmas eve, eve in the Brides Up North office and our inboxes – usually pinging constantly – have gone very, very quiet.  It’s no server error… it’s christmas! So, we figure, it’s time to hang up our blogging boots (suede, over the knee, metallic block heel) and reach for the Charbonnel & Walker truffles.

Its been the most epic year of growth here at Brides Up North.  As well as a double daily dose of #weddinggoals via our pretty blog pages (and we think the blog has been better than ever in 2016, thanks to all our beautiful brides and grooms and fabulous supplier submissions) and our ever swelling social media channels, we’ve aced 35 Brides Up North branded bridal shows, completed the UK’s first ever WEDFEST Wedding Festival tour back in May – with big plans for 2017 – and pressed print on two gorgeously glossy copies of UNVEILED Magazine. Not to mention, of course, the arrival of another Brides Up North baby. Lili Charlotte Braime was born on 25th June 2016, and we’re training her up already!

2017 looks set to be bigger and better still. The WEDFEST tour is expanding to include new dates and venues, we’ve added some other amazing venues to our events portfolio and we’re currently working on the most beautiful issue of UNVEILED yet, due in March. We’ve got some pretty plans, including a blog facelift, and some very, very (and I mean VERY!) big news to share after the Christmas break.  Watch this space.

I’m often asked how I manage everything on my own, and of course, as our blog and brand has grown, so has our little team. I’m not superwoman (although checking emails whilst managing night feeds at 5am I sometimes feel like it). Our editorial team now includes Rachel our Features Editor and the lovely Alexis and Laura, our contributing writers – who you’ll be meeting properly and hearing more from in the new year – whilst over on the events, account management and admin side we have Robin, Kate, Hannah P, Lucy, Mandy, Sam, Hannah B, Helen, Kathryn and Kathryne to thank for keeping our well oiled machine running. Go team!

We’re taking a short break to celebrate with our families over the Christmas season, and we’ll be back (with that big news!) when normal blogging service resumes on 9th January 2017. In the meantime, from Tuesday we’ll be leaving you with our usual yearly recap of ten of our favourite real weddings that wowed. Check back daily to see if your big day made our top ten!

For now though, we’ll raise a glass to you our lovely readers, sponsors, exhibitors and supporters (we couldn’t do it without you!) and wish you the loveliest, merriest Christmas imaginable, and a very happy hygge New Year!

love julia and the team x

* via John Lewis, who else? And of course our house (or the office for that matter) doesn’t look like this: we’ve two small children, a blog and glossy magazine to write and 40+ amazing bridal events planned for 2017. We’ll be lucky if we actually get the tree up…!

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put a ring on it. it’s 2016.

January 3rd, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Congratulations and hello there! If you’ve found your way to our pretty pages it probably means that someone has put a ring on your finger (or at least that you are hoping they might do quite shortly)!  We hope that it’s a massive, sparkly rock, would like to formally welcome you to our corner of the internet, and wish you a very happy start to 2016.

If you’ve been coming here for a while now – we do hope that we are easing you back into the working week after the holidays in our usual friendly style by the way – and are one of our regular readers or industry supporters, here’s to you too as we enter this brand spanking new year.  We can promise you more wedding inspo than ever before, both on and off the pages of this blog.

Usually, at the end of the year and the start of a new one, we like to do a recap post of all that we’ve been up to in the past 12 months, but to be honest, 2015 was so amazingly busy and the year to come is even more so, that we prefer to look ahead to all the excitement that we have in store for you.  If ’15 was a ‘pinch yourself’ year for us in terms of exciting new collaborations, new projects (hey, how about editing a whole 260 page print magazine anyone?), business travel, award recognition, sensational new partner venues and industry support, then we might need some smelling salts by the end of the next one.

As we get our heads down and motor on through our sixth year – six years, can you believe it – as the UK’s favourite blog and brand especially for Northern brides, I’d like to take a moment to remind you what Brides Up North is all about, the ethos behind what we do, and why you should #jointhenorthernrevolution.

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Brides Up North began because our founder (that’s me, actually!) was tired of the media focus on weddings in the southern half of the country. The chip on my shoulder initially began when I worked for fashion mags in London, but grew when a few years later (now a qualified lawyer and planning my own wedding) it seemed that the northern bridal world and the talented suppliers that I discovered via good old fashioned word of mouth were also seriously under-represented in the pages of the glossy mags and online. So, I decided to do something about it myself, and began a bridal blog on a wreck of an old PC from my spare bedroom.

It quickly became apparent that a lot of other people had the same chip on their shoulders too. In the five plus years since that first post, Brides Up North has skyrocketed in profile and popularity. With a host of accolades under our belt and recognised as one of the top 5 bridal blogs (and top 50 blogs, full stop) in the UK, we now employ a small editorial and events team based out of our own glossy office in the centre of Leeds and our Features Editor Rachel (my Gal Friday) joined us full time last February. All that means in reality though is better quality, more carefully curated content for you, our readers, plus exciting events that you can attend and benefit from too.

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First up, you can get your double daily dose of real weddings, bridal fashion, style inspiration, topical debate and supplier showcases right here. Hey, why not bookmark us?  We won’t mind a bit! Our schedule is busy and reliable, which means that you can be sure that there’ll be new quality content to swoon over almost every day both here and via our constantly updated Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest accounts (pick your fave or follow ’em all). All the images you see here can also be pinned directly to your own Pinterest planning boards too, so we’re useful as well as aspirational.

We back this up with a supplier directory that’s constantly being updated to link you directly to the finest suppliers in your local area.  We can vouch for every single one of the exceptional individuals and wedding businesses in our suppliers we love directory, and there you can find links to each one’s website, examples of their work and a little introduction to the service that they provide. You can search the directory by category, then by location within that category, to help you to really narrow your search. We often feature the work of our supplier sponsors in our editorial content too, so you can really see them in action working on the real weddings of your fellow brides and grooms.  Their work is just stunning.

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Away from the pages of the blog, we also have a loyal offline following, and under the Brides Up North brand name have become celebrated for hosting the very best bridal events right across the North of the UK. So far we have personally hosted over 60 luxury bridal events since 2012, and have 30 events planned in 2016 alone.

We handpick the venues that we work with carefully in order to build up a select portfolio of the very best locations in the North. 2016 is by far our busiest and most exciting year yet (the team have like, one Sunday off each out of 52) and we’d love to help you get your wedding inspo on and see you at one of our very special wedding shows. We are proud to be working with some stunning new partner venues this season – watch out for dates at Capesthorne Hall, Adlington Hall, The Belle Epoque, Hornington Manor, Newby Hall, Denton Hall and Worsley Park Marriott, to name a few – as well as some well established Brides Up North favourites, like Middleton Lodge, Ramside Hall, Hardwick Hall, The Bowdon Rooms, Hilltop Country House, Allerton Castle, The Alnwick Garden, Nostell Priory, Wentworth Woodhouse, The Mansion… the list goes on…

We’ve also freshened things up for 2016 by adding some exciting new concepts to the mix as we host the UK’s first dedicated large scale festival wedding exhibitions in 2016, in collaboration with Stockeld Park and Capesthorne Hall. These outdoor venues will be transformed into a boho wedding wonderland! There’ll be huge sail cloth tents, chill out areas, tipi villages, vintage Pimm’s tents, street food vendors, live bands and 60+ luxury wedding suppliers at each to make all your festival themed wedding planning ideas a reality. Bring your bridesmaids, designate a driver, wear flowers in your hair and make a day of it… these are set to be events to remember. Watch this space for more news and “line-up” announcements, coming soon!

We treat every event – even a repeated event at a regular venue – as entirely unique and as such our offering at each venue is bespoke.  We really do think that our shows are the very best in the business, and pride ourselves on delivering an amazing and inspiring experience to both our visiting brides and exhibitors alike. You’ll love what we have to share with you.

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And, as if there was going to be any rest when we are having such a wicked time, in addition to all of that we are also extremely proud to edit the North’s luxury wedding magazine, the beautiful, bi-annual, super glossy print publication that is Unveiled Magazine. Joining the Unveiled team at the beginning of 2015 and producing our first issue in collaboration with the publishing team (to great industry acclaim) at the end of August 2015 was a creative whirlwind and an absolute dream come true.  You can still pick up a copy of Issue #04 in the Unveiled online store, or in WHSmiths. At the moment, we’re (ridiculously) busy putting the finishing touches to Issue #05, due out this spring and – dare I say it – looking even better than our celebrated debut edition. We can’t wait to share it with you.

As you can see, there’s lot’s to get done around these parts and we’ll be hitting the ground running tomorrow with two sensational real weddings.  We’ll obviously keep you updated on every key date for your diary, but for now, enjoy exploring our site (there’s literally years of inspiring content at your fingertips) and make sure to check back here twice daily for your dose of fresh inspo.

Now, get outta here, the glare from your new diamond is giving us a headache…

Here’s to 2016!

julia & the team x

Images by Cat Hepple Photography.

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