Charlotte Balbier

the big debate. to grow or not to grow?

May 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime

Found on, photography by Patrick Moyer Photography

image source, by Patrick Moyer Photography

That is the question.

Today’s big debate topic is a dilemma ladies come up against time and time throughout their lives and is a particularly tough call for brides-to-be – to grow your hair or not for your wedding day. As well as the engagement ring a signal that proposal has taken place is often a bride’s hair growing at a rapid rate as hair appointments are put on hold while operation rapunzel is carried out.

However while once long locks reigned supreme in the wedding hair world, a new relaxed and individual vibe is coming through that gives brides-to-be more choice than ever before.

So what’s it going to be ladies, long or lopped?

Found on, photography by Mango Studios

image source, photography by Mango Studios

rachel says: let it grow

Ok so I once had lovely long blonde locks, then at the age of 14 I started work in a hairdressers and before I knew it my hair was up by my chin as I became the salon Guinea pig.

While I didn’t particularly mind, the problem is I’ve never had the patience or strength to get it back to that length and so see a wedding day as a goal to get mission grow back on track once and for all.

Furthermore I feel that growing your hair gets all the more impossible the older you get making a wedding day almost a last chance saloon scenario for me to resurrect my once long trestles.

And it seems I’m not alone in this trail of thought. Many friends of mine that have gotten engaged have instantly put the brakes on their regular salon visits in an attempt to lengthen their locks for the big day, whether opting for an up or down do.

So while I’m all for brides rocking their own individual look and not succumbing to a stereotypical bridal mould, I do love to see ladies walking down the aisle with long loose waves, just as the lovely princess Kate did on her special day.

And for indecisive people like myself, long hair can act as a safety net as it gives a bride lots of different options for their wedding day look – down, partly up, or relaxed dos such as messy top knots and romantic fishtail plaits. Those with short hair however can be confined to just a handful of styles.

Now, bring on the hair boosting supplements *heads to Holland & Barret*

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julia says – it’s a no grow

You can always count on an impending wedding to bring on a princess complex.

Even if you’re an otherwise hip and happening chick who rocks a cool cut and knows her lobs from her pobs, one mention of wedding day styling and the bi-monthly trims go out of the window.  I’ve seen it happen to my best girls… and – I’ll admit – I’ve had it happen to me.

I’m just one of those girls who feels better in a bob.  Short, choppy locks suit my face shape and style.  My (sometimes almost white) blonde hair just looks cooler with a bit of bluntness, and I love an interesting neckline.

But when the proposal dropped, what did I do?  Squealed over the ring, spent my month’s wages on wedding magazines and promptly started the “must grow my hair” process.  Why?  Not sure really. Having long hair is just a thing brides do, right?


Brides Up North, I implore you… claim back your rights to a haircut.  Ditch the fish oil supplements and the coconut oils.  Be yourself.  Wear your dream dress… but with the hair that he fell in love with. Otherwise you’ll spend a lifetime looking at your wedding photos and wondering who the gal with the funny up-do is, or (worse, and like me) marvelling at your amazing tresses and wondering why you cut it all off after the wedding.

Because – and I guarantee you this – you will cut it all back off again after the wedding.

You know it and I know it, and whether you can stand to spend the next 12 months painstakingly watching your hair grow or not… some girls just aren’t meant to have long hair.  If you’ve felt the call of a bob before, you’ll feel it again.

After all, what says “Brand New Mrs” better than brand new hair?…

Save yourself the hassle and spend the supplement fund on shoes instead.  Much healthier.

Found on, photography by Elizabeth & John Craig

image source, photography by Elizabeth & John Craig

what you said on facebook:

Laura: “I’m trying to grow mine.  I just think my dress would look better with long hair, and if not now, then never!”

Penny: “I’ve always had short hair and it would feel weird to change my whole look just for one day”

Kate: “I’ve been growing mine since we got engaged – it’s nice to look special on your wedding day”

Jayne: “I can’t grow mine past my shoulders, so I guess I’ll be a bride with a bob!”

What’s your verdict girls?  We’d love to know? 

Found on, photography by by Sharon Nicole Photography

image source, photography by Sharon Nicole Photography

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the big debate. wedding day beauty: all out effort or keep it natural?

April 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Found on, photography by Heather Elizabeth Photography

image source, photography by Heather Elizabeth Photography

Today on Brides Up North its all about the aesthetics, as we argue the case for keeping things natural or giving the beauty gods a helping hand. We ask: wedding day beauty - what to do?  No added effort or bring in the experts?

Found on

image source

rachel says: keep it natural

While I do enjoy a good Mac makeover now and again I have to say I’m more a fan of the au natural look than I am an obvious made up look, especially when it comes to weddings.

I’ve first-hand double-taken brides arriving on the aisle, not because I’m dazzled by their radiance but because I barely recognise them. Who is this Barbie-like bride and what have you done with my friend?

Many ladies can think they have to look a certain way for their big day, often adding false nails, eyelashes and fake tan to their pre-wedding beauty regime that they wouldn’t usually entertain. But to me the most important thing is to look like you – a flippin’ good version of you, but you all the same.

I’m pretty certain the majority of grooms out there would also much rather lift a veil to find a bride that they actually recognise rather than someone who could give Amy Childs a run for her money at the cosmetics counter.

And that’s not the only problem, if you go for an on-trend fashionable look chances are you will regret it when look back on your wedding photos, perhaps within a few months, never mind years.

So I say keep it natural ladies, just like our celebrity bride yesterday, Ms Palermo. This doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your makeup a little by adding a bolder lip colour or subtle, smoky eyes but just be sure not to go OTT, which should result in a look that’s more wowie than it is TOWIE.

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julia says: go all-out

Ooh, I love a good makeover.

Girls, hear me! This is your wedding day for crissakes. If there was ever a time to step it up, that time is now.

Yes, he loves you just as you are, and yes, you don’t want him to wonder who the make-up caked stranger advancing down the aisle might be, but really – he bought you a diamond – an all-out effort on the most important day of your life really is the least you can do.

First and foremost, when will you get the chance for such unashamed pampering again? Take it from this working mum, not when you’re changing nappies at 5am or catching up on emails at midnight. If I were you, I’d revel in the chance for a bit of spa-time and shopping. Full body massages, regular manicures, raiding the Charlotte Tilbury counter of a Saturday afternoon – the wedding budget can cover that!

Secondly, upping the beauty ante prior to the big day shouldn’t leave you looking like Franken-bride – just choose carefully. In the weeks pre-wedding, I’d leave the chemical peel and spray tan appointments free, but carefully placed individual eyelashes or pretty highlights and even a light swoosh of airbrush makeup will leave you looking flawless and fresh.

Often, the cheapest changes are the most effective. Prior to my own wedding way back in 2010 (when we barely even knew what a wedding blog was), I upped the ante on my regular runs, pencilled in lots more shut eye, ditched the vino and glugged lots of water instead. I treated myself to lots of lovely beauty products and more regular trims to keep my crowning glory in ship-shape. On the day itself, I brought in the experts: my nails were buffed and polished to perfection, hair casually coiffed and make-up beautifully done. The result: tons of confidence and a set of wedding pictures that I’m really proud of.

Did I still look like myself?

Nope. I looked better.

Found on

image source

what you said

Kim: “I definitely plan to go glam on my wedding day, this is my chance to look like a princess and I fully intend to make the most of it!”

Melissa: “I’m keeping things natural.  My partner hates heavy make up and  I don’t want to scare him off!”

Julie: “I’ve heard horror stories about fake tan going wrong, so I plan to let my natural beauty shine through.”

Kate: “Part of my hen party involves a spa day so the bridesmaid and I are going to do lots of pre-wedding pampering!”

We’d love to hear what you’re planning for your big day beauty look?

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the skinny on: balletfit.

April 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Found on, photography by  Jessica Maida

image source, photography by Jessica Maida

Getting in shape usually features pretty high up on bride-to-be’s ‘to do’ list though it’s often one of the tasks they’re least looking forward to. The very thought of pounding away on the treadmill, or worse still, running outside in public for all to see, is enough to bring some ladies out in a sweat.

Found on (2)

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But (praise the Lord) there are options beyond the gym and running around your local park. Fitness classes have grown far beyond aqua aerobics and offer imaginative ways of slimming down and toning up that are actually fun – that’s right we used the ‘f word’ in an exercise post.

The most effective way of working out, and to gain the quickest results, is to continuously challenge your body which can be hard if you’ve got into a mundane routine – treadmill, cross trainer, bike, repeat.

However most instructors like mix their classes up from week to week to keep things interesting as well as worthwhile and they also help to put the pressure on, meaning you’re less likely to slack off.

So it would appear signing up to a couple of new classes in the run up to the big day could make the shaping up task much more bearable, and possibly even enjoyable.

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For brides whose main goal is to tone up we suggest taking to the barre – but unfortunately not the type where you can order a glass of pinot, for we’re talking about a ballet barre. Ballet fit is one of the newer classes to come out of the fitness industry and gives ladies the opportunity to relive an element of their youth.

Open to all ages and abilities (no previous dance experience is required) the fat-burning workout uses form and techniques from classical ballet, yoga and Pilates to work muscle groups you never even knew you had, sculpting and strengthening the body.

Found on

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The class is often an hour in length starting with a cardio warm up before ladies limber up at the barre to increase their flexibility while toning core and leg muscles. Then it’s time to take to the floor for some proper ballet steps – we’re talking frappés, developes and pose turns darling!

While effective, the classes aren’t at all regimented like traditional ballet classes and in most cases the classical music goes out the window as ladies pirouette to chart topping hits instead.

But it’s not all tutus and ribbon, the moves are done repetitively to tone and strengthen muscles so brides should prepare to feel the burn! In return have-a-go Darcy Bussells should see the results in the form of weight loss, lean muscles and improved posture as well as increased stamina and flexibility.

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The classes are said to be addictive so you could well find yourself getting the ballet bug. They’re also extremely good for tightening up abs, buttocks and pins and while you might not be showing off these areas so much on your big day, you can hit the beach on your honeymoon feeling toned and confident.

So why not dust off your ballet pumps and give it a go – you never know you might be doing the splits on the dancefloor come your wedding reception!

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No excuses! Here are some locations ladies can currently get on their balletfit: Sheffield; Morpeth; Skipton; Sunderland; Newcastle; Harrogate; Hull; Fife; Edinburgh.

Found on, photography by  lilou73

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wedding alphabet. B is for beauty

September 18th, 2014 | Rachel Parry Photography Sara Logan Photography Dress Monique Lhuillier Model & Makeup Greyson Harvey

Image via, photography by Sara Logan Photography

After kicking off our A to Z of weddings by deliberating how brides can top off their wedding attire with fabulous ‘A’ccessories we now move on to the letter B, which is for beauty.

Some may think that a bride doesn’t need to worry about her beauty regime until almost reaching her wedding day – but the preening and primping preparations often start well in advance.

Upon setting the date for the wedding and booking a venue, many brides begin the search for a make-up artist who they can trust to transform them into a gorgeous goddess on the big day. When embarking on the hunt, ladies should look out for glowing testimonials, details of their experience and also find out what brands they use to ensure its high-quality stuff that will stand the test of time in front of the camera. Once decided it’s helpful for a bride to think about the type of look she would like for her big day and collect images that will help their chosen make-up artist achieve what’s desired. When it comes to the trial; try, try and try again until you are happy with your chosen look and your make-up artist is happy they can recreate it.

But of course, make-up is just one small part of a bride’s beauty plan in the run up to their wedding. So let’s take a look at what else is on the mission goddess to do list.

Collage image sources as tagged in gallery.

Via J D

eight to six months to go

Starting at this point gives brides time to make changes to their diet, beauty regime and fitness ritual ahead of the big day, without causing too much added stress to the already demanding task of organising a wedding.

If, like me, you’re guilty of not drinking enough water, now’s the time to up your intake as H2O is the simple solution to clearer, brighter skin. To ensure your skin is glowing and your eyes twinkle, try to drink at least eight glasses a day.

Following a healthy eating plan should also help to boost your skin as well as your hair and nails and will also help you shed any extra pounds you’d like to ditch. Weight-loss is of course aided by exercise so now’s the time to up your efforts in this area too. While high-intensity fat-burning exercise like running, aerobics and spinning will be top of the agenda for brides looking to slim down, those that are happy with their weight might just want to shape-up areas that their dress will highlight, such as toning their upper arms, stomach and/or bum.

Oh and let the pampering commence! If your pre-wedding budget allows treat yourself to a programme of tailored facials up until the week before your wedding to clear up and enhance your skin. Alternatively, if your purse strings are a little tight, you can always treat yourself to facials in the comfort of your own home. Photograpy Melissa Schollaert Photography

Image via, photograpy by Melissa Schollaert Photography

three months to go

You should be starting to see the results of your new beauty, diet and exercise routine but you could always step it up a gear by cutting down on your tea, coffee and alcohol intake which will enhance your appearance further.

If you’re becoming tired of your current exercise regime mix it up a little by trying a new class such as yoga or Pilates which will help improve your posture and core muscles while helping you to de-stress.

If you fancy spoiling yourself a little, start having regular manicures to keep your hands and nails in tip-top condition ready for that wedding ring close-up shot! Photograhy Kimberly Kay Photography

one to two months to go

By now you should have clearer skin, glossier hair and a more slimmed down and/or toned up figure.

You can boost your beauty regime further by body brushing and exfoliating to rid yourself of dry skin cells resulting in a much more radiant look.

If a Hollywood smile is also on your ‘must list’ it’s time to whiten those pearls, whether you opt for a home-kit or book in for a professional procedure with a dentist. Photo by Ciara Richardson

Image via, photography by Ciara Richardson

seven to five days to go

Get a bikini wax and either shave or wax those legs so you’re ready for any wedding night passion and/or the honeymoon that‘s to follow.

Now is also a good time for any final eye-brow shaping and tinting.

If pre-wedding nerves are getting to you an indulgent massage might be just the ticket to relieve tense and aching muscles.

Have your final facial now to allow your skin to settle down ahead of the wedding but you can continue to exfoliate and moisturise to achieve a really flawless complexion.

Oh and did I mention to drink plenty of water?

two days to go

Try not to wear any make-up a day or so before your wedding to allow your skin to breath.

A visit to the beauty salon is in order for those wanting spray tans, manicures and pedicures.

And the final stage in the ‘make me a goddess’ countdown is simply to get plenty of beauty sleep the night before the wedding – just so long as the pre-nerves or excitement aren’t kicking in too much, that is. The result should be one confident, radiant and beautiful bride who is ready for her moment in the nuptial limelight.

Via We Love Weddings


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Bridalplasty: Terrifying Trend Or Pre-Wedding Prep?

March 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime

Recent reports from Hollywood have me more than a little concerned.  What the beejezuz is Kim Kardashian up to now?! Tomorrow’s chip paper or not, with a degree in Communications Studies under my belt I firmly believe in the power of the press to persuade, normalise and control.

Along with the excitement of getting engaged and setting a date often comes a feeling of pressure for brides-to-be as it confirms the time frame in which they have to both plan and achieve their perfect wedding day look.  Obviously this includes finding the dream dress, shoes and accessories, plus an amazing hair stylist and beautician (which is stressful enough), but in certain cases brides are now taking their pre-wedding preparations a step further to ensure they are at their most radiant on their special day. 

My vote lies firmly with keeping things natural, but our regular guest blogger Rachel is back to investigate the latest beauty craze without getting over dramatic about it.  We want our readers to be informed and capable decision makers.  This is serious stuff ladies. 

So, fancy a bit of bridalplasty with your blow dry? Think carefully. 


Image: Grazia 

Rachel says:  It’s easy to understand why brides want to look their very best as they will be centre of attention, taking their vows in front numerous friends and family while photos, and often video footage, are taken that will be passed around and down the family for years to come. It’s therefore often the case that a bride will cut out calories, up her gym membership and indulge in a few facials ahead of her big day, but it appears much more extensive wedding day makeovers are starting to evolve.

Recent studies have revealed there is a fast growing trend for brides-to-be to undergo non-invasive treatments as part of their beauty prep and UK clinics are also reporting an increase in requests for pre-wedding day surgical procedures from brides striving for perfection.

It’s thought there are several reasons for brides deciding to take such measures, the main one simply being to boost their confidence. Others suggest the average age of a bride increasing to early 30s is a factor as at this age it’s assumed women often have more disposable income and therefore can afford such treatments and procedures.

Another contributor is said to be changes in wedding dress designs. Traditionally dresses have been structured on top, with corsets pulling everything into place, while the bottom halves have been made up of meringue-style layers, perfect for hiding women’s common body hang-ups areas such as bum, thighs and hips. Today’s fluid, slinky and sometimes backless designs however can be most unforgiving and rarely allow for any kind of hidden support.

For some brides it may be that they have been considering a certain procedure for some time and their wedding day provides a trigger point while for others it’s simply a lack of time or patience which makes the quick fix treatments appealing.

So, what types of treatments are brides-to-be having?

Huffington Post

Image: Huffington Post


This is one of the most popular non-invasive pre-wedding treatments for brides-to-be. Skin starts to show signs of aging from the age of 25 as our bodies loose collagen at the rate of 1.5 per cent every year. It is this depletion that leads to wrinkles, meaning that even brides in their 20s can feel the need for anti-aging skincare procedures. During the treatment ultra-fine needles are used to target wrinkles on the forehead, around the eyes and mouth, between the eyebrows and on the neck by injecting botulinum toxin into the skin to achieve a smooth, flawless look.


Dermal fillers are popular with brides wanting to achieve a more youthful appearance by plumping up their cheeks, filling their lips or enhancing their cheekbones. Dermal fillers are also used to fill in hollow areas of the face, smooth out wrinkles and remove scarring.

Facial treatments

Laser therapy, microdermabrasion and chemical peels are some of the most popular pre-wedding non-invasive facial treatments. These are used to revitalise the surface of the skin by removing old skin cells giving brides a fresh and more radiant appearance.

Non-surgical liposuction

Chosen by brides who want to target fat on their stomach, buttocks, hips, thighs and backs of the arms, this treatment uses ultrasonic technology to sculpt the body. During the procedure ultrasonic waves burst fat cell membranes, effectively ‘melting’ the fat away.

Double Vision Media

Image: Doublevision Media

Meanwhile those brides choosing to go under the knife are forking out for breast implants, tummy tucks, liposuction and rhinoplatry (nose alterations). And it’s not just brides feeling the pre-wedding pressure – bridesmaids, mothers of the bride or groom and even grooms are also undergoing such procedures, with some clinics even offering special pre-wedding group packages.

As someone who is too scared to switch from eyebrow waxing to threading for fear of the pain, I can’t see myself handing over money to undergo such procedures ahead of my wedding. I’m also of the opinion that we shouldn’t mess with our bodies more than is necessary and above all I’d hate to arrive at the altar and my future husband fail to recognise me.


That said it’s up to each individual to decide what they want to do with their body. What I will say is that the treatments and procedures discussed are not without risks.  Brides who are considering more extreme pre-wedding makeover should allow plenty of time to research and plan any procedures they are interested in having carried out and ensure they leave time for proper healing before the big day. I would also ask them to question if there is an alternative and if the money could be better spent elsewhere – perhaps on a luxurious honeymoon, a top photographer or a pair of designer wedding heels.

So what do you think?  Would you consider plastic surgery before your big day?


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2014 Grazia/ Huffington Post/ Doublevision Media/

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

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