July 10th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Natalie Hamilton, a documentary style wedding, portrait and events photographer, was the creative brains behind the fabulous bridal shoot that’s gracing our pages today. But brides-to-be, step aside, it’s a shoot with a difference – as this one’s all about the bridesmaids!
Showcasing a handpicked selection of stunning, demure gowns, beautifully paired with delicate posies and oh so pretty floral headpieces – the shoot most definitely shines a spotlight on your #girlsquad and the best way to bring out the unique looks and personalities of your besties.
We just love the styling too – pared back yet classic – featuring oversized balloons, a prosecco van and rose gold love letters. And the backdrop – none other than the stunning Saltmarshe Hall in East Yorkshire, where we hold two of our famous Luxury Wedding Shows a year – the next one being on Sunday 7th October 2018. Trust us when we say this is a to-die-for-venue, with its sweeping staircase, grandiose décor and enchanting gardens.
So, pinning fingers at the ready ladies, as we dish up today’s dose of glam bridal inspo with plenty of shimmer!
With images by Natalie Hamilton. Models: Sophie Anderson, Charlotte Partridge, Charlotte Black.
natalie says: The shoot came about as a means of bringing all the small local suppliers together to showcase what we do and create beautiful images we can all use and benefit from.
The shoot was bridesmaid focused to bring inspiration to local brides who may be struggling to find those perfect dresses. Each model wore dresses of the same colour with different necklines complemented by different hairstyles and similar makeup. We did this to show that you don’t necessarily need to have bridesmaids all the same and that each of your bridesmaids can be different based on what they would prefer, to suit their body shape or to reflect their personality.
We chose Saltmarshe Hall, an exclusive venue in Howden, as the backdrop to the shoot, simply for its beauty. Inside, the venue is sophisticated and elegant which went perfectly with our beaded and sparkly bridesmaid gowns. The grounds have extensive manicured lawns too, which were ideal for showing off our balloons.
The styling was minimal in this shoot as we wanted to keep the focus on the models. Flowers were supplied by Lisa’s Florist, who wanted to keep it simple with daisies and hydrangeas with gypsophila and a full arrangement of calla lilies, peonies and statement bear grass. With some of the dresses being mismatched, we thought brides could also take a mismatched approach to the bridesmaids’ flowers and have some with headdresses and some with posies.
We had 3ft round balloons supplied by Imagination Creation complete with ombre tassels and available in a variety of colours, to suit any theme. Each tassel is intricately handmade. We also decided to add some love letters in rose gold. The Fizz Machine – a baby blue and white quirky little VW replica prosecco van – also popped by to add a quirky element to some of the shots.
January 9th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
There’s no doubt that picking your bridesmaids can be a tricky task, but often choosing what they will wear for the big day can be even more difficult. There are different colours and styles to debate, and while one of your leading ladies might love your suggestions, another could take a little more convincing.
In order to help ensure shopping for your gals is an enjoyable rather than exasperating experience, we’re introducing you to our fabulous Sponsor Hannah of Joy’s Bella Bridesmaids, who has numerous bridesmaid dress designers and styles all under one roof with something to suit all ages, preferences and styles.
Frustrated that there wasn’t a special boutique that catered for groups of ladies to find the perfect gowns for their key role in the proceedings, owner Hannah Robinson set up Joy’s Bella Bridesmaids in North Yorkshire, which has proved hugely successful as news of its unique offering has spread.
With more than 300 different dress styles stocked at the boutique and a full floor dedicated to trying and fitting with spacious changing rooms and comfortable seating for brides to have fun with their bridesmaids, this is serious wedding #girlsquad heaven!
When and why did you decide to set up Joy’s Bella Bridesmaids?
hannah says: I set up the boutique in September 2015, I married in May 2015, and my sister got married the year before. We both really struggled to find somewhere to go to choose bridesmaids dresses. We found we had an amazing experience as a bride choosing our bridal gown but when it came to buying the bridesmaids dresses we were really limited. We couldn’t find a boutique that had a large selection of styles, colours and designers to try all in one place. I thought that there must be a better way to do things which led to opening Joy’s Bella Bridesmaids. I wanted to create the same experience for bridesmaids as the bride has. You choose your family and your best friends to be your bridesmaids, it is such an important and special time.
Where is Joy’s Bella Bridesmaids located and can you describe the boutique?
The boutique is in a rural location between York and Selby, in a converted granary. It’s definitely peaceful and a very relaxed atmosphere. When I was choosing premises for the shop I wanted somewhere a little off the beaten track with a lot of space and plenty of parking right outside. I think The Old Granary is perfect!
Can you tell us a little about the designers that you stock at the boutique?
I stock Sorella Vita, Dessy, twobirds and Amanda Wyatt. I wanted to have the highest quality designers that offer the largest range of styles and colours. Each of my designers offer something different, whether it’s Dessy who offer such a variety of fabrics, Sorella Vita with their sequin collections, twobirds which have such an ingenious solution for a large number of bridesmaids or Amanda Wyatt who have matching styles for all ages.
How do you select the designers that you stock?
A lot of research! The designers have to mirror the image and feel that I am creating within the boutique, they have to be so focused on getting it right for the bride.
Do you also stock flower girl dresses too?
I do stock flower girls dresses, they range from classic ivory dresses with matching sash to so many different styles to coordinate with adult dresses.
November 14th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
A post for you and your #girlsquad this afternoon as the focus is on finding the perfect outfits for your leading ladies. Here to suggest how to shop smart and keep everyone onside in the process is our lovely guest writer, Carrie Marsden of media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine.
carrie says: So, the day of choosing your bridesmaids’ dresses has finally arrived. Everyone has assembled excitedly for brunch somewhere uber-chic first (the flowergirls and smaller bridesmaids are meeting you later). There’s a free prosecco fountain in the middle of the restaurant and, obviously, in the background, Bradley Cooper is setting the mood on the harp. You get down to business and brainstorm some dress ideas and are delighted to find your bridesmaids in unanimous agreement on your style of choice – even more surprisingly, they suddenly break into a rousing burst of spontaneous applause. Bradley Cooper is so moved by this show of female solidarity that he sweeps you off your feet and then…you wake up!
Real talk, it’s more likely that the day will begin with your maid of honour calling to say she’s fallen out with the other bridesmaid over hemlines; one of your maids will casually let you know that she can’t possibly wear any shade of pink… or blue; your best friend will reveal she’s pregnant and will be eight months’ gone by the time of the wedding, and your flowergirl lets you know she’s not coming if you try and put her in a dress. Bradley Cooper is nowhere to be seen.
As unlikely (and borderline depressing) as it may seem ladies, choosing your bridesmaids was the easy bit. Whether you’ve gone big and love the thought of fifteen girls of all ages accompanying you down the aisle, or have chosen an intimate and select group of your very closest two besties, there are still potential minefields to navigate. To help ensure nothing but smooth sailing ahead, read on for top tips for dressing your bridesmaids and be ahead of the game when that day of shopping arrives…
Being honest with yourself about what sort of a bride you are and your vision for how the bridal party will ‘look’ is paramount. And this is information that needs to be shared with your bridesmaids from the outset. If it’s important to you that all maids wear a particular and uniform style in a colour that you’ve been dreaming of since you were ten (and there’s nothing wrong with this approach whatsoever; in many ways, it makes life easier!), then tell your maids before you go dress shopping. If they’re worthy of the bridesmaid banner, they’ll respect that this is your day and that your wishes are the only thing that matter.
Again, a frank and candid discussion with your best girls about who you anticipate paying for the dresses is needed at the very beginning of the whole process. Bear in mind the overall expense of your wedding for your bridesmaids, including travel, and accommodation etc. Many brides negotiate this often awkward conversation by offering to pay for the dress but ask their maids to cover the cost of shoes. Do also consider the budget for hair and makeup too – will your bridesmaids get their hair and makeup done with you on the big day?
If you see your bridesmaids in styles and colours that are tailored to suit them but loosely coordinate under a general theme, approach dress shopping collaboratively. That picture of prosecco-fueled fun with all your best girls need not be out of the question (sadly, we fear Bradley Copper’s presence might). We women of the world have some incredible insights; get your maids involved with the process! Consider hosting a ‘mood board’ party. Give your best girls some general guidelines then ask them to do their research and bring two or three dress ideas to the party. Put everyone’s ideas up on the wall to pack a visual punch and let the creative juices flow! Out of the mix, a sharper sense of clarity could well emerge, as well as fostering a truly positive dialogue that helps everyone empathise and understand one another’s hopes for, or anxieties about, the big-day look. Plus, this mood board will make an excellent memento for you afterwards!
August 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Mike Plunkett Photography
They’re your go-to girls, your support squad, a crack team of commandos who pop up like a flash mob to help you shop, craft and uncork the wine when it’s most needed – but how to go about actually choosing your #bridesquad? Here at Brides Up North we’ve mulled over one of Weddingland’s biggest dilemmas – who makes the bridesmaid cut? – so you don’t have to. We’re nice like that…
take time out
Chances are, the minute you got engaged you were tempted to shout the news from the rooftops – or at the very least, your Facebook page. And that’s all part of the fun but, be aware: as soon as you do, expectations and questions begin to build. Don’t succumb to the pressure: choosing the team that will surround you and support on one of the most important days of your life is a humongous decision – not one that should be rushed.
where loyalties lie
Do you choose your official bestie who dates all the way back to Brownie camp but lives 200 miles away, or your new partner in cocktails and crime who’s only been your sidekick for the last couple of years? Your sister, even though you usually brawl like Noel and Liam Gallagher on a night out? Your boyfriend’s cousin – even though she’s a bit wild and unpredictable and, err, odd – because you know it’ll delight your MIL-to-be? What counts for more – 20+ years of friendship, blood ties or an Excel spreadsheet competency that means your hen do will go without a hitch?
There are no easy decisions here, ladies. Often brides have to consider family loyalties, how futureproof their friendships might be and what their potential bridesmaids can bring to the metaphorical planning table. It’s a tough one – hence, take a deep breath, make a list and get thinking.
the line of duty
One way of clarifying these questions could be to look at the expectations you have of your bridesquad. Will you be bitterly disappointed if they don’t come to every bridal boutique, every fitting and organise a raucous girlie weekend in Ibiza? Perhaps your cousin who lives on the Isle of Man with three kids isn’t the best choice, then – or maybe she is, but you need to scale down your expectations of her.
A good rule of thumb if you’re choosing a team of girls is to look for balance. Someone might live a long way away from you, but you know you can’t live without her support on the big day. Your little sis might be a bit scatty on the organisational front but will be on-call day and night and knows all the uber-cool gin bars in your hen do destination city. Yin plus yang = happy bride.
the money question
Many brides choose and pay for their bridesmaids’ dresses, while others ask them to choose something they feel comfortable in and foot the bill, but the uncomfortable truth is that being a bridesmaid can often cost – whether it’s the flights to Ibiza, a night in an expensive hotel before the wedding so that you can all wake up in the same place or forking out the petrol for several trips to your hometown for venue-scouting. Of course, many of your best girls will be more than happy to do this – but it’s something you might need to be sensitive about if one of your chosen maids is struggling for cash.
There’s also the question of cost for you, too: while it might be The Dream to have your whole secondary school hockey team to back you up on your big day – yup, all ten of them – those dresses (and shoes and gifts and personalised morning robes for the wedding photos of your girlhood imaginings) aren’t going to pay for themselves. Make sure your planning is within your budget – so keep the numbers and head for the sales, or cut the numbers and go designer.
the bottom line
And lastly, don’t confuse any of the the following for valid reasons why someone should be part of – or out of – your Big Day Girl Gang:
February 10th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Allure 1435 & 1436
We’re seeing lots of exciting bridesmaid trends coming up in 2017, which means that come the big day, your leading ladies can be looking as stylish as you (well, almost!).
This afternoon we’re putting the blog in the safe hands of our guest writer, the lovely Izzy Hicks of our media partner, Love Our Wedding Magazine, to tell us about the top bridesmaid trends for the year ahead.
Izzy says: Floral wedding gowns were popular in designers’ 2016 collections, so it’s no surprise that bridesmaids are jumping on the bandwagon too with stunning flower print dresses. This trend can be worn a few different ways: in different colours for a cute vintage vibe, in different lengths but a matching print for an updated take on mix and match maids, or with just the maid of honour in floral print to make her really stand out! A top label for floral prints this season is Allure.
Christina Wu 22704
One of our favourite bridesmaid trends this year is sequins! Luckily for magpie brides, this trend is appearing in more and more 2017 bridesmaid collections, meaning they can pick sparkling gowns in a number of different styles and colours. Try full-length sequins for Jessica Rabbit glam, mixed metallics for an Instagram-worthy bridal party or sequin tops with chiffon or tulle skirts for just a hint of sparkle.
Look to Christina Wu Celebration for some dazzling options.
Kelsey Rose Style 12559
Another bridesmaid trend taken from bridal is the separates. Instead of dresses, designers are including separate tops and skirts (or even trousers!) in their bridesmaid collections so that brides can mix and match styles for their maids. Not only does this mean that you can change up the styles depending on your bridesmaids’ preferences and body shapes, but they’re more likely to be able to wear the separate pieces again. We especially love this look combined with an on-trend crop top, perfect for boho or destination weddings. Our favourite label for separates this season is Kelsey Rose.
Special Day Diamond Collection D16556
With more brides opting for 1950s-inspired tea-length wedding dresses, 2017 will be the year to have matching bridesmaids. Tea-length tulle gowns look cute on young bridesmaids and elegant on adult maids, and make the perfect choice for a vintage-inspired wedding theme. Add brightly-coloured petticoats for a fun retro twist! Special Day Ireland has some stunning tea-length tulle examples in its collection.
Jasmine B2 Style B193011
This pretty detail updates a classic bridesmaid dress and brings it right into 2017. The cold shoulder silhouette is the ideal way to balance coverage with just a little skin showing, and flatters bridesmaids of all shapes and sizes. Wear it in pastel colours for a dreamy, summer boho vibe, or switch it up for winter with rich jewel shades. A great label for this look is Jasmine B2.
November 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime
For today’s Friday Fabulous we’re turning our attention to brides’ leading ladies, as it’s important for a girl and all her #squad to look and feel amazing too, right?
So for those in search of beautiful dresses in a gorgeous range of colours, styles and fabrics to suit all ages, we give you the stunning bridesmaid collection from our wonderful Sponsor, Amanda Wyatt.
Made famous for her perfect fit, British designer Amanda doesn’t stop at providing a dream dress for the bride, but for adult and teenage bridesmaids, plus cute little flower girls too! The beautiful gowns are sure to please all, with short and full length designs to choose from, featuring pretty detailing in pleated bodices, illusion necklines and dreamy tulle skirts.
Perfect for those wanting to mix and match their maids, brides can pick one style in a variety of different colours, or alternatively chose just one hue but mix up the dress designs with short sleeve, twisted strap and bateau neckline options, to name but a few.
We have to say the star of the show for us in these new campaign images has to be the sweet little flower girl, particularly the shot of her slipping into those gold sparkly heels – a girl after our own hearts for sure!
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