Charlotte Balbier

style profile: bespoke bride

April 30th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Jess - image credit Laura Power Photography

image by Laura Power Photography

As we head full steam into the summer months ahead we’re hoping the British weather is going to be kind to us so that we can finally ditch the monochrome winter wardrobe once and for all and start wearing more colourful clobber.

Talking of which, today we welcome somewhat of a colour connoisseur to the Brides Up North pages to take part in our Style Profile feature. Introducing,

jess turley, co-founder of the fabulous Bespoke Bride.

Now here’s a girl with incredible style that’s not afraid to stand out with her vibrant outfit choices no matter what season it is. Here Jess shares her fashion fixes and crushes along with her some of her top wedding picks. She’s certainly inspired us to inject some colour into our wardrobes and we hope you’ll be doing the same.

If this doesn’t brighten up your day, nothing will! Take it away Jess…

JESS 9 TO 5

Clockwise from top left: Jeans from H&M| skirt from Topshop| heels from Topshop| necklace from ASOS| jumper from H&M.

How would you describe your nine ‘til five style and what are your key work wardrobe pieces?

jess says: I would describe my nine ‘til five style as very casual.  If I’m working from home, I like to make sure I’m comfy but am still wearing something that makes me feel motivated! So often you’ll find me in bright colourful jumpers teamed with a bold statement necklace and a comfy pair of leggings or ripped jeans!

If we’re working out for the day or are meeting up with other fab industry suppliers then I love to wear feminine pleated skirts to dress up an outfit. As for shoes I’d normally throw on something with a wedge heel to give myself a bit of height without losing too much comfort!

What would you wear for a night out drinking cocktails with the girls?

For a night out drinking cocktails I’m most likely to wear a maxi skirt with a strappy crop top or alternatively a pretty playsuit. Again, I’d be teaming it with a pair of comfy shoes so either a wedge shoe or a block heel and probably a blazer.

If you were currently planning your wedding what would be your top picks in terms of styling, attire, accessories and blooms?

If you didn’t already know from our blog, I am obsessed with colour so a plain white wedding dress just wouldn’t be an option for me, I would need something a little more vibrant going on and to me, ombre dresses are perfect for that!

I would then continue that colourful theme throughout the styling with fun place settings and vibrant table runners teamed with an array colours, but mostly several different shades of pink.

For the blooms I really love bouquets that are a real selection of flowers but also have a few succulents in the mix, I think it gives the bouquet a little something different, and of course it would have to be filled with beautiful bold colours (no surprise there!).

For the accessories I know I would be asking the fabulous Crown and Glory to make a custom floral headband or crown to sit upon my head all day with colours that matched my bouquet and the dress! I think I’d keep it simple with the shoes and wear a block colour pair of wedges or heels, probably in a vibrant pink!

JESS WEDDINGS

Clockwise from top left: Heels from Topshop| image found on target.com via ohjoy.blogs.com, photography by  Laure Joliet| dress by  Synderela Story, photography Amber Gress| headband from Crown and Glory.

Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?

Mostly Pinterest, I have a style board that I pin anything that catches my eye to, then when I’m struggling to put together an outfit I’ll check back there for reference! I also find Lookbook really helpful with fashion inspiration, I keep the app on my phone too so I can have a browse from time to time!

Where would be your dream honeymoon destination and why?

I used to think my dream honeymoon destination would be Mexico, because it’s my favourite place to visit, however because I’ve been there a lot I think it would be nice to go somewhere extra special for my honeymoon, probably somewhere really secluded like the Maldives or Bora Bora so that we could really relax, snorkel, and soak up the sun. I really like the idea of honeymoon time being all about each other more than exploring the destination, I’d like to think we have our whole lives to explore the rest of the world but that time would really be about us as a couple.

Who is currently your favourite fashion designer and why?

I don’t really follow fashion designers but the first person that popped into my mind when I read that question was Kate Spade, I just love how bold and colourful her pieces are!

JESS COCKTAILS

Clockwise from top: Jumpsuit from Warehouse| skirt from Topshop| top from Boohoo| heels from ASOS| blazer from ASOS.

What current wedding trends are you a fan of and why?

I absolutely adore geometric themes, bold and colourful colour schemes or something Aztec or Mexican, although my favourite weddings are always the ones where you can tell a whole lot about the couple just from the wedding because their personalities are splashed all over it!

Which celebrities’ style do you admire and why?

I really like the way Cheryl Cole dresses, she always looks classy and feminine! I also love the way most of her outfits come in at the waist, that’s something I like to do often with high waisted skirts and jeans.

Another celeb who’s style I love is Katy Perry, it can be pretty wacky at times but I always love how fun and colourful her outfits are!

What is your key piece in your wardrobe that you couldn’t live without?

My teal green pleated maxi skirt from Zara, I absolutely adore how long and flowy it is and I can be totally bloated in it and you wouldn’t even know! Ha! So it ticks all the boxes for me, it’s comfortable, colourful and flattering.

What areas of a wedding would you splurge on the most and why?

100% photography and videography! I cannot express how important those two factors will be in my own wedding, they’re pretty much the only two things about your day that will last you a lifetime!

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that’s showbiz! introducing jane, our real life bride & celebrity columnist

April 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Jane Witherspoon

Today we introduce you to bride-to-be and friend to the stars, the lovely Miss Jane Witherspoon, who will be taking on the role of real bride & celebrity columnist here on Brides Up North over the next six months.

In the approach to her big day, Jane will be sharing her wedding planning journey exclusively with our readers on these pretty pages as she toys over everything from the theme, food and flowers to the all-important hair, makeup, dress and hen do.

To give you a little background on Jane she has an incredibly cool job that most ladies would quite happily lose a limb to do. As a showbiz TV reporter and presenter for the likes of Good Morning Britain this lucky lady gets all the goss directly from the stars and has interviewed top A-listers including the likes of Madonna and Tom Cruise during her various broadcast roles for the BBC, ITV and Sky.

As a celebrity hack Jane is also no stranger to the red carpet having reported on everything from the Baftas and Brits to the Oscars, giving her plenty of glam inspiration for her moment in the spotlight when she ties the knot with her beau Alex in early October.

Though her glitzy job has required her to move to London’s big smoke, Jane will be returning to her north east roots for her wedding day, which is set to take place at the stunning Brinkburn Priory in Northumberland.

So without further ado, let’s hand over to Jane to give you all the details of where her rapid romance with Alex first began…

Jane and Alex

jane says: This time last year Alex and I hadn’t even met. Now it’s just six months until our big day.  Welcome to what has become my crazy, whirlwind life.

I was never the kind of girl who grew up wanting the big white wedding or dreaming of settling down. I was the single girl about town, dedicated to my career as a showbiz TV journalist and hanging out with my mates. But back in August that all changed.

I was out for after work drinks with a publicist friend who I’d known for over a decade. He casually mentioned he had a mate who was popping by for a drink and in walked Alex. They’d been best mates since university. “Who’s that and why have you never introduced us?” I asked, trying not to sound desperate. “Who? Him? That’s just Alex! Didn’t think you’d be interested” was the reply.  So when everyone had peeled off I found myself alone, chatting to Alex in the aptly named Northumberland Arms – (this will become clearer in my next blog post). “I wouldn’t be stepping on anyone’s toes if I asked you on a date?” he said.  We arranged a date that Friday and spent it sat in a beer garden under an umbrella in the rain. Our second date was an Arsenal football match – being a Newcastle fan he’s lucky he got a third (joking Alex)! And the rest is history.

Photo from first night I met Alex

They say ‘when you know, you know’ – we knew instantly. Both of us. Fast forward ten weeks and we were engaged. We decided to do it while chatting late one night in his attic. No big grand proposal – just us, his guitar and a nice bottle of red wine.

The hardest thing was keeping it secret for a couple of weeks as at that time he’d still not met my family. We planned a trip to Newcastle to tell them. Alex had wanted to do the whole ‘asking my parents’ permission’ thing which went slightly pear shaped after a boozy train ride from London’s Kings Cross. I blurted it out to my mam when we met her in a Quayside pub. She thought I was joking.

Then there was telling my dad. When Alex finally got him alone to ask him he didn’t realise we were already engaged and returned home chatting twenty to the dozen and two octaves higher than normal trying not to give anything away. Everyone was over the moon though, if not a little shocked at the speed things were going.

Trip to Newcastle to break the news

While all this had all been going on Alex had arranged for a stone from his mum’s original engagement ring to be reset.

I was working late one night at ITV’s Good Morning Britain and got a photo by text of our Christmas tree which had a little box hanging from it. “Santa’s been early and look what he’s left”. When I got home he nervously presented me with the most gorgeous ring! Like a lot of brides-to-be the ring was far too big for my finger (not sure how or why he thought my fingers were that fat?!) but a lovely local jewellers in north London resized it in just two days. Thanks again Giorgio!

The ring

As Christmas approached it suddenly dawned on me that I had a future husband. Even writing this now makes me feel a bit grown up! We decided we wanted to crack on with the wedding and do it in 2015. So we rang in new year and set about making plans. But as wedding planning novices there was one major question on both our lips – ‘Where on earth do we start…

Follow Jane @Janeyspoon

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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. 

Grazia

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

Botox

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.

Fillers

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.

Awkward!

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

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

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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

WHOOP WHOOP!

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 www.theweddingfairs.com 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.

Practise

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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