Charlotte Balbier

lookbook: fit n’ flare

October 4th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Charlotte Balbier - Sasha-LR

You know us, readers: an edgy bride makes our hearts sing, we adore wedding creative cool and Fashion-with-a-Capital-F, but there will always be a special place in our hearts reserved for the classic, the timeless, the elegant. As the formidable Coco Chanel said, “Fashion changes, only style remains the same,” and, for lots of brides-to-be, the temptation of the classic often wins over the contemporary when it comes to their wedding gown. After all, those photographs will adorn mantelpieces and be pored over by future grandchildren in the years to come, and many of us want them to have longevity.

And the dress that sums up Coco’s motto of enduring style best of all? It’s got to be the A-line. Ask a little girl to draw a wedding dress and the A-line is what she’ll invariably produce – a bodice which fits to the waist and flares at the skirt. This design staple is feminine, romantic and almost universally flattering – what’s not to like?

Main images, Charlotte Balbier.

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So, if an A-line ticks the boxes for you, where to start? Well, how about with Brides Up North’s very own Lead Sponsor, Charlotte Balbier. We’ve previewed Bohemian Blush here previously, and the Klara gown from that very collection is a classic A-line beauty, with full chiffon skirt (perfect for twirling and swirling, dancing fans), but this modesty is offset by a sheer bodice and stunning lace applique.

This combination of demure and daring is clearly a Balbier ‘thing’, with the Tuesday gown going for the same feel – a revealing Bardot lace neckline with a fabulously elegant chiffon skirt – just heavenly.

Then there’s the Romy – a boho dream of a dress with a small A-line skirt if you want something a little less princessy. We think the long cape is a stunning detail and destined to set a Balbier bride apart from the rest.

Charlotte Balbier - Sonnett-LR

It’s hard to go wrong with directional bridal brand Pronovias, and a quick peep at their current ranges throws up a bevy of A-line lovelies. The Regina’s tattoo neckline adds fashion interest, whereas the cap sleeves and flowing skirt are classically romantic. In fact, we can’t decide between that and the Reina, with its tattoo-style bodice and satisfyingly swishy chiffon skirt.

The Rumba is a self-confessed adventure in modern bridal design, taking a classic A-line gown and showing how it can be “reinterpreted to create an original, sensual and very modern look”. More tattoo-style bodice and sleeve work with a full skirt and sweetheart neckline; the perfect fusion of classic and contemporary.

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best dressed: tips on wedding dress shopping

September 7th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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image source, photography by Jess Yarwood Photography

Following the summer, we’re welcoming a new surge of readers to the blog *waves*, mostly whom accepted a proposal while away on their holidays (you lucky things!). A good way to avoid those post-holiday blues setting in would be to throw yourselves into the wedding planning – and girls, we’re here to help.

Though daunting, it’s also a very exciting time as you begin to piece together your dream day. In the most sensible of terms, we’d advise you to start off by looking for, and securing, your top choice of setting and photographer – however, we know how easy it is to get caught up in the desire to dress shop!

I mean this isn’t just any outfit; as a main focal point of the day this is a moment to shine in front of your family; outdo, we mean, impress your friends, and feel amazing, not ashamed, when you come to show your children, and possibly, your grandchildren, your wedding album in years to come.

So, in preparation of your boutique-visiting expedition, we gift you the following top tips…

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image source, photography by Sarah Beth Photo

research, research, research

As if you haven’t already been pinning wedding dresses quicker than a Kardashian can contour her face, now is the time to expand the research beyond just the appearance of the dress, to the designers that you like, the price tag of such dresses, and in which boutiques you can expect to find them. Often designers will have a certain signature look – vintage-esque Eliza Jane Howell, girlie Charlotte Balbier, sweet So Sassi and beautiful boho by Rembo. This means by studying their collections you should be able to get a feel for the designer’s overall style, and perhaps even pick out key designs that you’re particularly drawn to. You can then research which boutiques stock such designers and in what proximity they are located to you. Some will share the price range of their dresses on the boutique’s website, so it’s worth having a quick search before booking.

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image source, photography by Sean Elliott Photography

timing is everything

Though we know you’re itching Muriel-Heslop-style (a 1994 film reference for any babies out there) to get trying on those dresses, you don’t want to begin visiting boutiques too early, or even too late. Most dress shop owners recommend starting around 12 to 18 months in advance of the wedding to allow time for ordering in the dress and making alterations ahead of the big day. While you can start a little in advance, the danger of picking out a dress too early is that you might change your mind before the wedding arrives (numerous of our featured real brides have admitted falling victim to this). A change of heart can be very costly, so regardless of exactly when you pick your gown, we suggest you don’t actively continue your search beyond that point.

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image source, photography by James Tracey

safety in numbers

While it’s natural to want to share your dress shopping experience with you mum, nan, sister and aunt, not to mention your #girlsquad, too many opinions can hinder, rather than help, when it comes to making your decision. Most boutiques suggest picking no more than three shopping companions if possible, and selecting those that you can trust 100%. So before booking appointments, think about whose opinion you will value most, and who you want to share that special moment with.

that loving feeling

You will have heard the expression “I knew it was the one” used by brides on many an occasion, but what they report is real. The intense gut feeling that they know they have found their dream dress for their big day, whether it be the first or 50th gown they try on. If you’re just not getting that loving feeling though, try not to settle or feel pressured. Take time to go away and think about it, is there any dresses that you are being drawn back to, or do you need to expand your search further before making that final decision?

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image source, photography by Melissa Beattie Photography

trust the experts

Trained bridal stylists know their Peiros from their Packhams, the style, detailing, cut and fit of a gown, and so it’s worth taking their suggestions and advice on board. Often, they will begin a consultation with a chat about your personal style and the type of wedding you are planning before helping you to pick out gowns to try on. If they suggest a wild card, give it a try. No end of brides have said the dress they ended up picking is nothing like what they thought they would go for, but a bridal stylist persuaded them to try it on and they’re so glad they did.

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image source, photography by Melissa Beattie Photography

stay true to you

Overall the decision comes down to you and what you feel most confident in. Don’t forget you will be wearing the dress all day; eating, drinking, dancing and (if your groom struggles to get you out of it) possibly sleeping in it, so you need to feel comfortable too. Most of all you want to feel like you; don’t be tempted to play ‘dress-up’ with something too far out of your comfort zone. So, if you’re naturally a fashionista go bold with an on-trend design, but if classic chic is more your thing, an elegant princess-style gown will ensure that you do go to the ball!

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look book: fringing & finery

August 21st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

NK Chrysler

Naeem Khan – Chrysler

Today’s look book is all about those subtle details and gorgeous embellishments that can transform an otherwise ordinary wedding dress into something extra special and utterly Instagram-worthy.

Usually – and quite rightly so – we focus on the overall style and fit of a gown, not to mention the sumptuous lace, tulle or silk fabrics and such like. But, for us, the delicate embroidery and finer detailing are where it’s at when it comes to choosing your dream dress.

Whether it’s flapper-esque fringes (we’ll never ever tire of a Gatsby throwback), intricate beading or dazzling diamantes, there’s lots to capture the imagination of the discerning bride-to-be – and add a touch of sparkle too, of course. Vintage, glamorous, kitsch, contemporary – whatever the style or theme, there’s an embellishment out there to make your gown quite literally the perfect fit for your special day.

As always, here at Brides Up North, we’re looking to some of our favourite designers as well as the runways for top bridal fashion inspo and have rounded up a few of the most coveted looks you’ll find on the rails this season.

JP - Harmonica

Jenny Packham – Harmonica

Jenny Packham’s demure styles ooze a feminine aesthetic and timeless elegance; and we can see why her designs are so popular among the celebrity elite, thanks to their floaty, slinky silhouettes. Treasure is one of our favourites from the new 2018 collection – a beautifully embellished ivory gown, brimming in sparkle but by no means OTT. Combining plush silk chiffon with a fringe studded lace panel – Harmony is another gorgeous creation guaranteed to make a statement. By contrast, the barley-hued Dare gown is all about the shimmer, with a heady dose of sequins for a full-on spectacle, and the ever so pretty Verity & Bloom halter neck dress is altogether more understated, with a pretty pearl and crystal-adorned bodice.

Fringing, feathers and floral appliques feature heavily in the new collection from designer Naeem Khan. Be warned though, these designs aren’t for the fainthearted bride! The Chrysler gown is embellishment at its best, with swathes of fringes and flashes of silver tumbling from the fabric, head to toe. We just love the flapper look embodied by the Argentina dress; skimming the knee with frivolous fringing and plenty of sparkle. Then there’s the Sedona from the Fall 2017 collection – an ultra-chic and glam gown – we’re talking silk fringes (perfect for swishing around on the dance floor!) and a jewel-embroidered neck. If you’re daring to be different on your big day and fancy a couture-inspired moment while walking down the aisle, then this is the designer for you.

EJH - Stardust 1

Eliza Jane Howell – Luna

Sabrina Dahan’s ethereal styled gowns are dreamy creations, pairing lavish fabrics with dainty beading and subtle hints of shimmer. The Isabelle gown brings the pretty by the bucket load and is, we think, the epitome of bridal elegance. As for the stylish Liliane – who could resist that beautiful tulle wrap and pretty floral detailing? The Sylvie, meanwhile, is a gorgeous backless number from the new spring 2018 collection, boasting that sought-after fuller skirt and a sprinkling of twinkly sequins.

For supreme vintage glamour, look no further than Eliza Jane Howell, another favourite of ours whose designs look to the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 30s for bridal inspiration. The new Stardust Collection is brimming with decadent, unstructured gowns, adorned with exquisite embroidery – perfect for the modern-day bride after a retro twist. The Tucana with its fabulous billowing sleeves and the Aerial with its floral detailing are just two of this season’s stunning highlights.

With so many options (and let’s be honest, we’ve only featured a mere snapshot of what’s out there!), any sparkle-loving brides-to-be will certainly be spoilt for choice.

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diary date: sarah seven designer event at love bridal boutique

August 17th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Goodwin

Gals, it’s time to get those diaries out once again, as this afternoon we’re bringing you details of a very exciting and exclusive event set to be hosted by our wonderful Sponsor Emma Draper, owner of LOVE Bridal Boutique.

On Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd September, Emma will welcome top bridal designer Sarah Seven to her Altrincham boutique for a special designer day event. This will be a rare opportunity for brides to meet the creator of the stylish gowns, enjoy a personal styling session with both Emma and Sarah, and pick from an extended selection of Sarah Seven dresses. Oh, and those purchasing will get an incredible 10% discount too.

Sounds amazing, right?! To ensure you’ve got all the lowdown ahead of this fabulous event we’ve invited Emma to fill us in on all the details, including how to bag yourself one of the limited appointment slots…

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Can you tell us what brides-to-be can expect from the Sarah Seven event?

emma says: Sarah Seven will be bringing her full ‘The Romantics Collection Part II’, so you can snag your favourite dress long before it “officially” hits retailers. This will be the epitome of the LOVE experience. Brides will enjoy an hour-long personal appointment with myself, and Sarah Seven herself will be on hand to help style and advise brides on the perfect dress and fit. There will be a fab 10% discount on all purchases on the day too!

And what are the benefits to attending this exclusive event?

This is Sarah Seven’s only stop in England on her Trunk Show tour of America and Europe this year. Most of the gowns from her new The Romantics Part II collection will only be available during Sarah’s two-day visit, so this is a rare opportunity to find the dress. Brides will not only get an exclusive look at this new collection but also meet and be styled by Sarah Seven herself!

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How many appointments will be available over the two days?

Each appointment will last an hour and there is a limited amount of appointments available over the two days, so those wanting to attend should get in touch ASAP.

Tell us a little about Sarah Seven’s designs…

Sarah Seven’s designs are unashamedly feminine and whimsical; awash with masses of soft tulle, sequins, lace and plunging necklines. Her designs have a young aesthetic, but take inspiration from eras gone by, making her collections appeal to a broad range of brides.

Starting at around £1,800, these gowns are beautifully embellished and heavy on detailing and texture, all whilst retaining simple, clean cut lines and elegance.

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Any particular favourites or stand out pieces within her collections for you personally?

The Milo gown has already stolen the hearts of so many brides on Sarah’s Instagram feed with its heavy lace detail, plunging neckline and dramatic cape-like sleeves. It just screams wow! What’s not to love?!

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What sizes are Sarah Seven’s designs available in?

Dresses can be ordered from UK size 4 to 18, with plus sizes available too.

And what is the price range of the dresses?

Prices start from around £1,800 up to around £4,000 with the majority sitting around £2,000 to £2,500.

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personal & unique: introducing one fine day bridal

August 15th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

One Fine Day Bridal (7)

Our online ‘Suppliers We Love’ directory is a go-to for our readers looking for professional and trusted local businesses that can help to bring their wedding visions to life. From photographers and florists, to entertainment and accessories, there is a category for every requirement.

And this afternoon, we’re delighted to be introducing another gorgeous boutique to our ‘bride’ category, a useful source for those of you on the dream dress hunt. Our new Sponsor, One Fine Day Bridal, based in Hoole, Lancashire, was set up by owner Claire Bland after feeling underwhelmed by her own wedding dress shopping experience.

Running the boutique with her mum Pam, the duo have created a warm and welcoming atmosphere and have filled the shop’s rails with beautiful and unique dress designs to offer brides and memorable and exclusive experience.

Here to tell us more is the lady herself. Take it away Claire….

One Fine Day Bridal (10)

Where is One Fine Day Bridal located and can you describe the style and feel of the boutique?

claire says: One Fine Day Bridal is in a small village called Little Hoole, Lancashire – we are located just of the A59 so you can’t miss us! Our boutique has a warm, friendly, homely feel. We want all of our brides to feel relaxed and at ease when finding their dream dress.

Can you tell us about the designers that you stock at the boutique and what type of brides they would appeal to?

We stock the Spanish designer Rosa Clara & Rosa Clara Soft, perfect for the bride who loves something a little different, using luxurious fabrics, such as silk Mikado, ottoman and brocade. Also in our boutique is the fabulous Watters Bride & Bridesmaid collections, both absolutely dreamy ideal for the modern bride. Nicole Spose is our last collection, gorgeous crepe fabrics and masters of ‘slinky’ gowns, perfect for the bride looking for a figure-hugging dress.

One Fine Day Bridal (4)

How do you select the designers that you stock?

We like our designers to be unique, so we don’t stock designers that you will find in every other boutique. We make sure the gowns are well made and are of a great quality, but we also like to ensure that nobody else with our area stocks that particular designer. We like to be individual and make sure are brides are choosing something exclusive.

Can you tell us about the accessories that you stock at the boutique?

We stock Linzi Jay and Ariana Tiara for our head pieces, jewellery and veils, we also use Elizabeth Dickens for our veils ensuring we have a wide variety of choice to suit all dresses.

One Fine Day Bridal (3)

How do you help brides to find their dream dress and to complete their look with accessories?

We like to make sure our brides try one of every style, even if they have an idea in their head, this some of the time doesn’t always look how they expected. Once they think they have found ‘the one’ we like to add in veils and accessories so the look is complete. Even once they have found their dress with us, we encourage them to come back for a styling appointment after their hair and makeup trial so the full vision can be seen.

What are your top tips for brides when dress shopping?

Be open minded and try something you never imaged you would go for – you could be surprised.

Even though it is nice to bring family and friends to enjoy the experience with, don’t be swayed by too many opinions – it’s the bride’s day! It is good to get a feel for style but when you think you’ve found the one, stop trying and stop looking, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and it can get very confusing.

What sets One Fine Day Bridal apart from other boutiques and what can brides expect from an appointment at the boutique?

We are a mother and daughter team here at the boutique. We decided to do this because of my own experience which I didn’t enjoy so we try to make sure our brides don’t feel deflated or under whelmed by their experience, like I did. We offer a relaxed and luxurious experience, we let the bride lead the appointment and offer our advice when we feel appropriate. We always offer to dress our bride the morning of the wedding, we know how stressful it can be so we like to ease the pressure wherever possible.

One Fine Day Bridal (5)

What trends are you seeing coming through in bridalwear and accessories?

A flutter sleeve or capelet – we think these could be a huge trend for 2018, along with a statement bow which is a theme that runs through our Rosa Clara gowns.

What is the size and price range of the dresses that you stock?

We stock sample sizes from 6 to 16, and price range between £950 and £3,500.

What is the feedback like from brides who found their dress and One Fine Day?

Our brides always comment on what a lovely personal service we offer from beginning to end. We get a lot of comments about how welcoming and professional we are and how beautiful our boutique is. Our brides love that we are not pushy, in some cases we encourage the bride to go away and have a think, then come back.

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lookbook: so sassi 2018 collection

August 3rd, 2017 | Julia Braime

Roxie

Ladies, we think it’s high time for a little dress candy – and the treats we have in store today are nothing short of delicious!

Courtesy of our fabulous Sponsor So Sassi, we invite you to swoon over the new 2018 Collection from this fabulous set of designers.

Made up of a bright collective of fashion graduates, the So Sassi design team works hard to develop unique, individual and fashion forward styles, giving their brides a collection, which is not only all those things, but one that is created with love and passion.

According to its creators, the 2018 collection celebrates brides who want to embrace their own style, brides who are not afraid to make a statement and brides that want a twist on tradition. Tick, tick, tick!

There is a gorgeous blend of styles, silhouettes and fabrics, with new design elements including cold shoulders, fringed back details, feature sleeves and ballerina-length tulle skirts.

Having already poured over the collection numerous times, highlights for us include Charlie, Rosie and Scarlett, but we’d love to know which of these beauties melt your heart most, as we take you through the designs, one by one!

Annalise

Annalise: Beautiful soft fishtail gown with gathered tulle bust and diamante detail.

Aria

Aria: A wow gown with lace side and back cut-out detail gives this gown a real edge. Style with Aria shrugette for an alternative look.

Anya (2)

Anya: A striking fishtail gown with soft sweetheart neckline – perfect for accessorising!

Bianca (2)

Bianca: All about the bohemian vibes with this stunning lace column gown and v neckline detail.

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