Charlotte Balbier

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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Hey Manchester?! Get Ready. Brides Up North Is “Official Blogger” For The North West Wedding Fair!

February 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Brides Up North is Official Blogger for The North West Wedding Fair


I’ve some very exciting news to impart this Monday afternoon folks!  And I’ve been dying to tell you about it for weeks!  You see, I’m not very good at keeping massive secrets…  

The North West Wedding Fair

A while back, I was approached by the organisers of the ma-hoo-sive North West Wedding Fair and invited act as their “Official Blogger”.  Quite the compliment!  Now, you know that we run our own  Luxury Wedding Exhibitions here at Brides Up North – including two very special events in the North West this spring – so at first I wasn’t sure… partner with the competition?  Hmm.

But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  The North West Wedding Fair is this season’s largest premium show for brides from the North West. Visitors love that every one of their Exhibitors and Partners are dedicated to serving the North West region. Isn’t that what Brides Up North encourages:  thinking local?  Also, whilst our events are bespoke, exclusive (and perfectly formed… are they in your diaries yet?) I wouldn’t want my North West readers to miss out on the biggest juggernaut of a bridal event to come your way this season either.  There’s plenty of room in the diary for us both.

The North West Wedding Fair

So I asked around, and it turns out that my fellow industry professionals and you beautiful brides to be rate this event too.  So, I thought to myself cunningly, what better way to get my brand in front of thousands more Brides Up North and fuel this Northern Revolution even further? 

Our position as one of the top wedding blogs in the UK – and the only one specifically for Northern Brides – is extremely valuable, so alliances like this one need to be right for us. It is Mercury Events’ excellent reputation in the market that gave me the confidence to join up with The North West Wedding Fair.

The North West Wedding Fair

Plus, I get to ponce around on camera as I host the show’s official preview video, live from site (err… nervous, me?)  Sold.  I’m looking forward to contributing to a great show!

The North West Wedding Fair

Turns out that it’s going to be a bit of a love-in all round! Mercury Events, who host the fair, said some verrrry nice things about Brides Up North too, in an “official release” that went out to special press and partners last week: “This fantastic new partnership with Brides Up North reflects our focus on delivering shows to the market which are high on quality content specific to the regions they serve. Brides Up North… is established as an essential resource for brides and grooms planning their wedding in the north of England. Julia’s vast experience and indispensable creative advice and tips will add tremendous value to our overall show offer.”

The North West Wedding Fair

So watch this space – and the show’s official blog, where I’ll be posting all that indispensable creative advice they talk about about above, as well as exciting updates, exclusive competitions and insider info – for more updates soon, but for now, all you need to do is mark this in your diaries:

The North West Wedding Fair is taking place at EventCity, Manchester on 7th to 9th March 2014.  Visit for more details.

Oh, and you might just want to enter MW61 at the ticket checkout to save 1/3 off usual prices.  Just ‘cos I love ya baby! 

The North West Wedding Fair

I can’t wait to get the party started!


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 provided by Mercury Events

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Look Who’s Talking: How To Nail The Wedding Speech

January 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Lee Brown Photography

Lee Brown Photography 

Our lovely guest blogger Rachel’s back this afternoon with more pearls of wisdom, all because she wants your wedding speeches to be memorable for all the right reasons.  Don’t forget to raise a glass to her too!

Jamie Penfold Photography

Jamie Penfold Photography 

Rachel says:  Although I’m currently as close to getting married as Justin Bieber is to winning a role model of the year award, it’s a growing concern of mine just how my Dad will manage to hold it together long enough on my wedding day to make a speech.

Basically he’s an emotional guy – he’s been known to cry over Forest Gump (forgivable), waving my 19-year-old brother off on his two-week holiday to Thailand recently caused him to blubber, even a beautifully cooked steak sandwich has been known to reduce the man to tears (I kid you not).

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative 

Hypothetical talk of my wedding day is another catalyst of emotion for my Dad. It’s therefore no surprise that I worry how he will fare when it comes to delivering his farther-of-the-bride speech – a duty that has caused even the sternest of fathers to well-up.

As the only daughter I would never take the privilege away from him – I know he’ll make a wonderful job of it (no matter how many boxes of Kleenex he goes through in the process), but this trail of thought did get me thinking about who else I might like to speak at my wedding.

Lee Brown Photography

Lee Brown Photography

Traditionally speeches are delivered after the wedding breakfast by the father-of-the-bride, the groom and the best man, but as couples continue to shake up formal proceedings, speeches are taking place at different times of the day and are being delivered by different people.

A popular new addition is inviting the father-of-the-groom to deliver a speech. Witnessing a child tying the knot is a big day for any parent whether it’s a son or daughter taking their vows. As such mothers-of-the- bride/groom are also taking to the stage.

Peter Boyd Photography

Peter Boyd Photography 

To me, those picked to speak at a wedding should be the people who know the bride and groom best, both before and during their relationship. As well as a parent, it’s a nice idea for a grandparent sibling or friend to be invited to say some words too. Admittedly there needs to be a short-list, not all those nearest and dearest can contribute but speeches given by people who know the couple in different capacities gives a well rounded overview of the new Mr and Mrs that all guests can relate to.

Another change to note is the rise of the bride’s speech. After all ladies why wouldn’t we want the opportunity to thank our loved ones, speak kindly of our new husband (oh and have the right to reply to any cringe-worthy stories delivered at our expense).

JB Creatives

JB Creatives 

Much to the relief of many people’s digestion systems, speeches are often now planned to take place before, rather than after the wedding breakfast. Whether it’s outside during the welcome drinks or prior to the sit down meal, this enables all to relax and enjoy without struggling through courses with their stomach in knots.

Whoever you choose to do the honours, here are a few quick tips for a spectacular speech:

Plan In Advance

I’ve actually seen people leave their speeches until the last minute and try to wing it, I’m yet to see this done successfully. The nerves on the day are enough to contend with without piling on the pressure by having to make up a speech on the spot.


Those who plan and practise in advance often deliver the best speeches, whether they provoke tears, laughter or a combination of the two. Rehearsing will give those not used to speaking in public the opportunity to build confidence whilst running their speech passed others to gain feedback.

Stott & Atkinson

Stott & Atkinson 

Make Notes

Engaging with the audience is key to delivering a good speech so don’t bury your head in a piece of paper and read out your prepared speech word-for-word. Instead try to come across more conversational, get the main parts in your head ahead of the big day then have a few clear notes to hand during your moment in the limelight to ensure you don’t miss anything, or anybody, out.

Be Aware Of Your Audience

The last thing any wedding couple wants is a speech that warrants a #awkward or #cringe tag. While embarrassing stories, dating anecdotes and hen/stag do memories can add a humours element, speakers should consider if they are likely to upset or offend. Particularly bear in mind children, older relatives and protective parents.

Andy Wardle

Andy Wardle

Make It Memorable

Incorporating photos, videos or props in a speech can help to make it all the more memorable. It might be a souvenir from the hen do, a video message from someone unable to make the wedding day or a montage of childhood photos but whatever you choose don’t forget to take it with you on the big day.

Finally, remember the tissues – God knows I’m going to need them at my wedding!

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as credited

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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To Favour Or Not To Favour? That Is The Question.

December 10th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Wedding Favours - Lissa Alexandra Photography

As it’s the season for giving, our regular guest blogger Rachel is back to talk wedding favours. 

An age-old wedding tradition, favours originated in Italy in the form of five sugar almonds which were given to guests as a thank you for attending the wedding and as a symbol of good luck. Each sweet almond was said to represent a different quality that the couple would hopefully experience as husband and wife – health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity.

But just like many other wedding traditions, the favour has evolved over the years with many of today’s couples ditching dated sugar almonds in place of creative and individual gifts for their guests.  Rachel makes the case for tradition. 

Wedding Favours - Lissa Alexandra Photography

She says:  Just this week a friend of mine was telling me how a male colleague, who is due to get married next year, was having a moan about wedding favours.  His outburst went a little something like this: “Now she’s talking about what favours we should get the guests – I tell you what favour I’m getting them, a three course meal, wine and evening buffet – what more do they want?”

He makes a point I suppose, but done right carefully chosen favours can add an extra element of enjoyment and/or serve as a wonderful reminder of the big day.

Wedding Favours - Chris Milner Photography

The budget will obviously need to be taken into consideration when selecting favours and couples will have to decide if they want to buy, make and/or personalize their gifts.  Whether couples choose to blow the budget on special keepsakes, or take the cheaper novelty route, there are plenty of options to choose from (without an almond in sight):

Something to Eat

Perfect for food lovers this is a simple idea that can be as thrifty or indulgent as couples like.  A tasty treat is always greatly received by guests and can be easily personalized to fit in with the chosen colour scheme or theme.

Popular choices include handmade chocolates, cake pops, macaroons and Pic-A-Mix style bags of sweets.

Another foodie option is for couples to make and jar their own preserves such as jam, marmalade, chutney or honey, which can be individually decorated and stamped with the wedding date.

Mints served in personalised tins puts an individual twist on a classic idea while movie lovers can opt for popcorn served in bespoke containers.

(For those really wanting to impress their guests, I recently came across a company that will decorate gingerbread men to look like your guests, or alternatively you can order a DIY kit to give it a go yourself. While this involves a fair amount of organization the reaction from your guests will be well worth it.)

Wedding Favours - Peter Boyd Photography

Something to Drink

This can be a way of buying your guests a drink without having to offer a free bar. Brides pick miniature bottles of their favourite drinks to give to the ladies while grooms choose their top tipple to give to the men. Popular choices include mini bottles of wine, spirits or champagne. Miniature bottles of alcohol can also double up as name places by tying a simple name tag around the bottle neck with decorative ribbon. For those who would prefer a non-alcoholic option, fruit teas fit in well with organic and country style weddings while specialty coffee will be greatly appreciated by guests the morning after the wedding. Those with a sweet tooth may prefer to give cocoa or hot chocolate mix.

Wedding Favours - Peter Boyd Photography

Something to Grow

An ideal option for eco-friendly brides and grooms who want to give their guests a lasting reminder of their big day. Top choices include pretty packets of wildflower seeds or tree saplings for guests to take away and plant in their gardens. An alternative for foodies is to give locally grown herbs planted in recyclable glass jars dressed up with a ribbon.

Something to Break the Ice

Some couples like to mix up their guests on different tables encouraging them to get to know one another, in which case icebreaker favours are perfect. This type of favour is also ideal for couples who don’t take life too seriously and want to inject some humour into their special day. Options include old-school origami fortune tellers, table trivia and quirky wedding badges with statements such as ‘I love the groom’, ‘I’m next’ and ‘The bouquet is mine’. Couples choosing to have a fun photo booth at their wedding may want to give favours in the form of masks or fancy dress items which double up as great props for the booth.

Wedding Favours - Petals & Peonies

Something for the Little Ones

A couple’s choice of favour might not suit all ages so separate gifts for younger guests may be required. While sweet treats generally always go down well with children it’s a good idea to give a favour that will keep little ones entertained during less active parts of the day such as the meal and the speeches. A goody bag including a small present, puzzles and colouring pencils is a great solution.

Wedding Favours - JP Photography

Something to Keep

For some couples the whole idea of a wedding favour is to give a gift that will act as a lasting reminder of the big day. Popular options include personalised tea towels, coasters, mugs and pens featuring the couples name and wedding date.

A mixed CD made up of songs played during the wedding day is perhaps one of the best keepsake favours that will instantly evoke memories of the wedding.

For something a little different, couples tying the knot during the festive period could give a personalised Christmas tree decoration that will provide a reminder of the special day year after year.

Wedding Favours - Weddings Vintage


So what do you think?  Will you be doing favours for your guests, and if so what? 


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as tagged, Lissa Alexandra Photography, Chris Milner Photography, Jamie Penfold Photography, Petals & Peonies, Weddings Vintage 

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The Rise Of The Mini Moon

November 11th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography

It’s been a busy Monday morning and Friday feels a long way off.  What better time than for our regular guest blogger Rachel (we’ve missed you Rach!) to talk time out and remind you that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.  Today, she’s all about facilitating that “minimoon”.  Monday blues?  What Monday blues? Go on, get it booked…

Images by Cat Hepple Photography, as previously featured here and here

Cat Hepple Photography

Rachel says:  I don’t know about you but I love an excuse to extend a celebration. Take my birthday for example – of course the main celebration is the day itself but I like to push the partying over at least one weekend, if not two. After all there’s the family meal, weekend away with the boyfriend (I hope) and drinks, shopping and spa treatments with friends to squeeze in. And don’t even get me started on festive celebrations in our household – they stretch from the very beginning of December right into the new year (though thankfully don’t include a turkey curry buffet).

Looking at today’s wedding scene, it’s clear there are many wedding couples who share my mindset with a growing trend for weekend weddings. After all, why would you confine the celebrations to just one day when you can easily spread it across three with a pre-wedding dinner the ceremony itself and then, of course, a day of present opening, cake eating, champagne quaffing and catching up with family and friends.

But now brides and grooms are taking extending the wedding celebrations a step further by delaying their main honeymoon until later in the year, or even the following year, and taking a minimoon in the meantime instead.

Cat Hepple Photography

The minimoon was originally born out of the credit crunch when many wedding couples were forced to tighten the purse strings. Research revealed brides and grooms were swapping lavish two-week holidays to long-haul destinations such as the Maldives for shorter holidays closer to home. But as circumstances have continued to change so too have couples’ holidaying habits, with many brides and grooms now having the best of both worlds – booking themselves a minimoon for a that much-needed break straight after the wedding and a honeymoon a little later down the line, giving reason for the wedding excitement to live on.

Cat Hepple Photography

A minimoon usually consists of a relaxing three- to four-day break at a destination not too far away from the wedding location. Some couples might choose a sentimental location such as the first place they went on holiday together or the place they got engaged, while others might just want a destination that provides pure relaxation to unwind following the tense pre-wedding build up. In the UK top choices include rustic retreats, spa breaks and city locations while those flush enough to push the minimoon boundaries are jetting off to romantic European destinations such as Rome, Paris and Venice.

Cat Hepple Photography

While delaying a honeymoon in favour of a minimoon does effectively spread the celebrations, it has become a big hit among today’s wedding couples for many more reasons.

The minimoon is particularly popular with teachers and those with work commitments that can’t afford to take large amounts of time off work all in one go. It’s also ideal for those asking their guests for contributions towards the honeymoon instead of traditional gifts as they book a holiday suited to the fund following the wedding.

Cat Hepple Photography

For those who can only handle so much planning at a time, delaying the main honeymoon means there will be more time to organise the holiday after the wedding preparations have taken place. Taking a minimoon in the meantime means couples have that essential break before returning to the daily grind after their wedding day.

A postponed honeymoon also gives brides and grooms who will be stumping up the honeymoon costs themselves longer to save up and book their holiday at a time suited to the best prices and weather conditions.

Cat Hepple Photography

So while the credit crunch may curbed our Topshop sprees and cocktail drinking, we do have it to thank for the introduction of the minimoon/postponed honeymoon trend which helps keep the post-wedding day blues at bay that bit longer.

What do you think?  Will you/ did you take a minimoon?  Any hot spot recommendations for our other readers?

All images taken from Alice & Paul’s gorgeous Parisian engagement shoot with Cat Hepple PhotographyClick here and here to see the full set. 


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Cat Hepple Photography

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