Charlotte Balbier

autumnal allure: a boho wedding shoot in sheffield’s botanical gardens

November 10th, 2015 | Julia Braime

An Autumnal Boho Styled Shoot by Key Reflections for KMR Bespoke Bridal(11)

We’ve spoken before on the blog about our love for autumn, and so when this dreamy styled shoot inspired by the season fell into our inbox, we just knew we had to share it you, our lovely readers.

Put together by a very talented bunch of Sheffield wedding suppliers at the city’s Botanical Gardens, the theme and concept behind the images was simply to inspire brides who would like a rustic bohemian themed wedding. Having been totally captivated by the images below we’d say they’ve easily achieved their goal.

To tell you more about the team work and styling that went into creating the shoot, we’ll hand over to Kelly Marie Redhead, of KMR Bespoke Bridal, who supplied the stunning dresses and accessories seen in the images. Over to you Kelly…

With images by Key Reflections.

An Autumnal Boho Styled Shoot by Key Reflections for KMR Bespoke Bridal(57)

kelly says: Inspiration for the bohemian themed shoot came from the warm autumnal colours within the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Sheffield. We created two looks to provide inspiration for brides who desire a rustic bohemian themed wedding by shooting within the woods to create a ‘rustic picnic’ and shooting within the beautiful conservatories and gardens to give a true ‘bohemian’ feel.

For the picnic setting, set stylist Julia Jeckell, created a rustic feel using old wooden crates for the picnic table and old canvas sacks and cushions for seating. The picnic table was styled with a delicious selection of outdoor picnic food – fresh French bread and cheese, red wine and autumnal fruits in shades of burnt oranges and reds. The finishing touches were made with candles in old jam jars, pine cones, rustic hearts, and props in reclaimed materials all sourced in Sheffield.

An Autumnal Boho Styled Shoot by Key Reflections for KMR Bespoke Bridal(7)

Hair and makeup inspiration for our shoot came from the rustic bohemian theme and autumnal colours. The makeup look was created by Sheffield based professional hair and makeup artist Julia Jeckell for our model, Hannah, with this in mind.

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eye candy: ian stuart runway rebel 2016

October 8th, 2015 | Julia Braime



While we love elegant and classic wedding gowns we also lust after designers that dare to push the boundaries by offering ladies something a little different to the norm with their imaginative bridal creations.

Perhaps one of the most daring (and talented) is British designer Ian Stuart, who never fails to impress with his theatrical and head-turning collections. As such, this morning on the blog we‘re sharing with you Mr Stuart’s latest collection, runway rebel, in all its beauty.



The most highly anticipated collection of the White Gallery 2016 catwalk, buyers and brides alike are always eager to see what the fearless designer has come up with next.

For the Runway Rebel collection, Ian focused his energy on designing for different body shapes, ages and personalities. In doing so, he created a collection that is diverse and versatile, giving every bride the opportunity to find her own style within the Ian Stuart label.



Experimenting with softer fabrics and fluid silhouettes, Ian used his unique flair and couture construction to reach a different spirit of bride and – as the unprecedented ‘king of colour’ – he also introduced stunning softer shades of silver, pink and taupe.



The result is a gutsy and glamorous collection featuring four stand out themes: Ian Stuart Signature Style – textured, playful and dramatic; Sexy and Statuesque – figure hugging with plunging lines and dynamic silhouettes; Romantic and Regal – fairy tale ball gowns, exquisite laces and glittering touches and Fashionista Glamour – modern, unconventional and daring.



Commenting on Runway Rebel, the Ian Stuart design house says: “Adversary to ‘plain and commercial’, Ian is as rebellious in his own nature as he is in his approach to designing bridal wear. He dares to break rules and take risks while keeping the traditional essential beauty of a wedding gown. Runway Rebel pays homage to Ian’s intrinsic values of design, as well as the attitude of the daring modern bride who chooses to wear his creations.”



“Runway Rebel is an uplifting celebration, an ode to life and the freedom to be expressive, creative and rebellious in it.”


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look book: a cut above

April 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Hayley Paige HP6450

Hayley Paige – HP6450

If we said cut-out wedding dress to you there’s a good chance horrifying thoughts of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding would spring to mind. But fear not, the type of dresses we’re referring to in today’s look book post are oh-so-elegant designs that reveal just the right amount of flesh and are set to be one of the biggest bridal trends on the 2015 catwalks.

We’ve witnessed cut-out detailing on in the fashion world over the past year or so, and while some designs brought out the inner-Jordan (cue the revealing bodycon) others demonstrate how baring just a little skin can be both sexy & sophisticated.

Reem Acra (2)

Reem Acra

In bridal wear designers are using cut-out detailing in numerous different ways to create dresses with graceful peek-a-boo charm. This means brides can choose which part of their figure they wish to flaunt – whether it be their chest, shoulders or midriff.

Hayley Paige HP6513

Hayley Paige – HP6513

Dresses with keyhole detailing in the back have been popular for a while now though designers appear to be getting bolder with their creations by cutting away more fabric than before. Some have also chosen to lower the keyhole from the shoulder blade area down to the lower back, which is considered a more flirtatious area of the body to reveal. Braver still, designers such as Hayley Paige offer gowns that border on being completely backless. Pretty detailing in floral corsages and intricate embellishing ensure that such dresses remain tasteful rather than tarty.

Keyhole detailing has also crept around to the front of some dress designs to reveal a little of the chest area, or even a glimpse of cleavage. These designs suit small framed brides beautifully but perhaps larger-busted ladies should give them a swerve so not to shock their vicar.

Claire Pettibone Adagio

Claire Pettibone – Adagio

Elsewhere designers are using cut-out detailing by getting creative with straps for a high fashion look. Again, Hayley Paige offers some head-turning examples within her collections – HP6450 and HP6513 being standout designs.

Hayley Paige HP6463

Hayley Paige – HP6463

For body confident brides there are some incredibly striking gowns with cut out detailing in the bodice of the dress which expose areas of the waist, hips and stomach. Reem Acra and Badgley Mischka are particularly talented at producing such dresses.

The level of exposure varies from small slits or triangles in the side of the dress, which can help accentuate a bride’s curves, to fuller areas of the torso being revealed, which might require a fair few pre-wedding-day planks to pull off.

Claire Pettibone Rachel 9back)

Claire Pettibone – Rachel

If you like the idea of flashing a your midriff but don’t want to strip back to the bare skin, there are designs that use pretty sheer fabrics to create an illusion cut away for that extra bit of coverage. Those that would prefer to keep the cut-out detailing at the top of the dress can also take advantage of effective illusion designs adorned with pretty embellishing for that extra wow factor.

Reem Acra

Reem Acra

Read on for more gowns in our Gallery…

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lookbook: backwards forwards

October 14th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Heart's Desire back - Claire Pettibone

Heart’s Desire by Claire Pettibone

A bride entering her wedding venue is such an iconic moment and there is often one aim in mind – to impress on the aisle.

A beautiful dress is of course part of the essential ingredients required to provoke a positive reaction for the big first reveal. The hope is to take guests’ breath away (as well as the groom’s) during the grand entrance and to hold their gaze.

A dress with stunning back detailing is an effective way to achieve this and gives brides two bites at the ‘look at me’ cherry – a double reveal, if you will.

Claire Pettibone Bridal Runway Show with Wedding Paper Divas - Saturday, Oct. 12th

Iris by Claire Pettibone

Many designers are advocates of impressive back detailing which encourages brides to save the best part of the dress until that last moment as they make their way down the aisle. Whether they choose elegant embroidery, flamboyant corsages or a cute key hole cut-out, the dress is bound to impress.

Claire Pettibone is one designer who is particularly well-known for featuring stand-out back detailing in her collections. Many dresses within Pettibone’s enchanting Still Life collection are stunningly simple on the approach but the back demands a double take. Alchemy, Iris and Sonata all boast beautiful sheer backs revealing a glimpse of the bride’s skin but in an ‘oh so elegant’ kind of way.

For something a little more striking there is a namesake of mine as well as the highly romantic Heart’s Desire. Rachel features a jeweled keyhole back complete with large black corsages while Heart’s Desire has incredible embroidery detailing on its second reveal.

Rachel back - Claire Pettibone

Rachel by Claire Pettibone

Both Maggie Sottero and Justin Alexander also have some seriously stunning gowns with detailed backs in their collections. Sottero’s Melanie, Francesca and Savannah Marie each feature wonderful low illusion backs adorned with floral designs and sparkling crystals. Alexander’s 8596, 8689 and 8780 are equally stunning illusion back options for graceful brides.

For those wanting to flash a little flesh Sottero’s Indiana has both illusion and cut-out detailing while her Brandy backless design, framed by a bead embroidered trim with Swarovski crystals, will also attract attention. Alexander offers an elegant backless creation in his 8764 dress.

Sonata back - Claire Pettibone

Sonata by Claire Pettibone

But if it’s full on cut-away back with eye-catching detailing you’ve been dreaming of, I urge you to take a look at Enzoani’s latest collection. The designs are striking and sophisticated with the right amount of sexiness thrown in for a killer combination. Jamie and Joanna are beautifully bold choices for brides that dare to bare but the absolute show stopper has to be Jasmine. For me this dress has it all; a simple silhouette with a mesmorising lace adorned sheer caped overlay and draped jeweled detailing in the back. I could totally picture Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine to tie the knot in this dress and I’m sure it will mean the dog days of dress shopping are over for many other fashion forward brides-to-be.

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the designer series: Charlotte Balbier

August 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Balbier

We recently featured Ms Balbier’s new Iscoyd Park bridal collection for 2015 on these very pages, and today I’m proud to hear all about the inspirations behind my wonderful friend’s beautiful designs.  So Brides Up North, will you be a Balbier bride?  You lucky, lucky things.

Click here to view the extended collection.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

Charlotte says: A Charlotte Balbier bride is confident and daring in both her wedding dress style and every day fashion choices. My brides certainly have their own sense of individuality. Whether you’re a relaxed boho bride whose bouquet choice is wild hand picked rural flowers or a city fashion forward bride who keeps it minimalist and chic. Some brides like a theme and some like to keep it eclectic, it’s a personal style and choice and both are gorgeous.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What were your inspirations for this collection?

The Iscoyd Park Collection is very close to my heart as I designed the collection based on my wedding day to Teddy. My wedding day took place at a venue called Iscoyd Park in North Wales last December. ‘The Iscoyd Park’ collection is made up of over twenty new gorgeous gowns in an array of styles to suit the modern day bride, their wedding and style. The new collection includes two dresses I actually wore on the big day called ‘The Charlotte’ and ‘Iscoyd Park.’ I am flattered we’ve had such a positive response to brides wearing the same dress as I did on my big day! The ‘Iscoyd Park’ collection was designed with love, close to my dear heart.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What shapes, fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the collection and why?

The Charlotte Balbier collection has always been fashion inspired.  Gowns that are forward thinking for the new generation bride. My signature style and look is using soft French laces. Charlotte Balbier is utterly feminine in charm and grace. My gowns are inherently traditional but with that added extra twist of fashion for a modern gown, bride and wedding day. The collection presents classical elegance and timeless gowns that never go out of fashion in array of styles, silhouettes, fabrics and a soft gold, pink and ivory colour pallette.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What sizes are your gowns available in? 

Our sizing is from 0 to any size. Brides can choose the sizing they need and our stockist’s usually amend the dresses to fit the bride to perfection.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What does 2014/ 2015 hold for your label? What are you excited about?

Charlotte Balbier has been around for more than 10 years now and we’ve built a great brand. I am now embarking on a new chapter and looking forward to another 10 years, staying at the forefront of British bridal and looking to also take the Balbier brand International. Last year I won the Wedding Ideas Magazine’s Bridal Designer Awards and I’ve just been nominated for Perfect Wedding’s Best Bridal Designer. Winning Awards is a great achievement and honour to be recognized in the industry. Brides who’d love Charlotte Balbier to win can vote here.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What are your “best things” in life?

I am a very lucky lady because the best things in life surround me all the time! I’m constantly surrounded by lovely Charlotte Balbier bridal dresses and of course everything else in the bridal industry. I love shoes especially Jimmy Choo’s, Aruna Seth and Freya Rose. I love Clarins facials and enjoy one once a month religiously! I love my dog Buster and my dear husband Teddy!

Where can Brides Up North find out more about your label?

Visit our website, or find us on Twitter or Facebook.  A list of stockists can be found here.

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A Time To Sparkle!

December 18th, 2012 | Julia Braime


Time To Sparkle


There’s still time for some online shopping before things close down… and with that sparkler on your finger glittering away, there’s never been a better time to twinkle!



Ozlem Sequin Column Dress £230 at French Connection

Karmen Beaded Back Detail Dress £195 at Reiss 

Chrystle Sparkle Dress £220 at Coast 

Alexis Sequins Dress £160 at French Connection

Sequin Skater Dress £65 Topshop 

Embellished Fishtail Dress £95 at Miss Selfridge

Penrose Asymmetric Hem Dress £265 at Reiss 

Tina Maxi Dress £450 at Coast

Hestia priced by stockists by Project D

10 Catherine Tunic £199 at Monsoon 



  – Images © 2012 as credited

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