Charlotte Balbier

the perfect planning pressie: say hello to hook box

July 6th, 2017 | Julia Braime

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When it comes to a wedding you may think that all the gifts come after the big day, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Thanks to a clever new concept put together by wedding supplier duo Lisa Steane, a Brides Up North Sponsor and owner of The Bobby Pin, and Katherine Cocksedge, owner of The Bridal Market, you lucky brides-to-be can treat yourself to a helpful planning pressie every month in the run up to your wedding.

Through Hook Box, brides-to-be will receive a pretty package containing priceless information, fabulous inspiration and wonderful treats, all relevant to current wedding trends. From planning tools and glossy magazines to beauty treats and stationery, it’s bursting with show-stopping ideas from a range of handpicked wedding suppliers. Brides can pick to subscribe, or alternatively there are one-off boxes for brides-to-be, bridesmaids and festival hens (the latter of which is apparently glitter-tastic!) Interested? Then read on as the lovely Lisa lifts the Hook Box lid…

Can you give us a brief overview of Hook Box?

lisa says: Hook Box is owned by myself, Lisa Steane, and Katherine Cocksedge, who owns The Bridal Market. We became partners in October last year and really saw a massive hole in the market for brides to acquire great gift boxes to help with wedding planning as well as introducing brides-to-be to amazing independent wedding suppliers available in the UK. Our subscription box aims to give brides the choice of what is out there in the wedding supplier world.  We give them helpful hints and tips on how to plan their wedding and also add in a few gifts and wedding ideas for them to keep.

Can you tell us what types of items brides can expect to find in their Hook Box?

The great thing about our boxes is that we have some amazing suppliers on board that will be introducing their products in our boxes.  The products range from beauty, stationery, favours and decorations – the list is endless as we put products in our boxes that are trend relevant and are amazing quality. Our box also includes the latest edition of Wedding Ideas Magazine, which is a great addition.

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How far in advance of the wedding would you advise brides to subscribe to Hook Box and what different subscriptions are available?

We would say in order to get the full enjoyment of our box, a 12-month subscription would give you the best overall value, but the subscription can be picked up at any time as it offers so much information and different ideas that it could help a bride that is already halfway through her planning. We offer a monthly rolling subscription and then a three, six and 12-month subscription offer that gives discounts for signing up for longer periods.

What brands are you currently working with at Hook Box and what kind of style does a brand have to have in order for you to work with them?

We are currently working with fantastic wedding suppliers like Team Hen, Treat Kitchen, Mix & Twist Cocktails, Ginger Ray, Wedstock Stationery. We are open to working with more independent wedding suppliers as long as we feel it is the right fit for Hook Box.  The Hook Box brand is all about unique products that will offer fantastic ideas to our brides.  We love new products that haven’t been around long because we are all about offering brides things they haven’t seen before in the market.

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You also do one-off Bride-To-Be and Bridesmaid Hook Boxes, can you tell us a little about them?

Yes, we offer one off Bride-To-Be, Bridesmaid, Hen and also a summer Festival box for the girls who love glitter. These are similar to the Bride-To-Be box in terms of they are full of amazing gift products and wedding ideas. The one-off gift boxes are great to give to your bridesmaids to either pop the question or to say thank you, and our Hen box is great to give to your bride-to-be on her hen night. All the products have been handpicked for the type of box it is and has no tacky plastic products in sight!

How have Hook Boxes been received by brides so far?

We have had so much love for our boxes. I think the brides are totally amazed on how many products you get inside our box for the £25 subscription. It is great value for money but it is also full of great planning help that is so valuable when you are starting out with your wedding planning journey.  It can be daunting when you first start and we wanted to take the stress out of it.

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be our valentine?

February 11th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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Meadow Playsuit, £325 from Needle & Thread

happy valentine’s!

While some people view Valentine’s Day as a commercial con, we view it as the perfect excuse for some pretty presents. So (naturally) we’ve drawn up a list of gorgeous gifts that we girls here at Brides Up North HQ would love to receive come February 14th.

Anyhow, a girl can dream – and we feel that if a Valentine’s present drought or disaster does occur, then we’re 100% justified in going out and buying one of these fabulous treats for ourselves (just maybe not the ring!)…

Valentine's Wish List

Poppy Print Waisted Dress, £46, from Warehouse – whether dining in or out this Valentine’s, every girl needs a pretty new dress for the occasion.

Hey Girl Bow Point Courts, £72, from Office – We are totally crushing on Office’s latest collection of heels and this swoon-worthy pair makes the perfect pressie, all wrapped up with a bow on top!

Lulu Guinness Glitter Perspex Lips Clutch Bag, £245, from House of Fraser – For an ultimate statement clutch it has be Lulu Guinness and it doesn’t get much more on point for Valentine’s than this swish, shiny number.

Pink Satin Kimono, £45, from Victoria’s Secret – With warmer weather on the way soon (we hope!) a lighter type of cover-up is required for those ‘getting ready’ moments – this cute kimono certainly gets our vote!

Rosie for Autograph Silk and Lace Bra, £26, and knickers, £12.50, from Marks & Spencer – lingerie may be a predictable gift at this time of year, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Turn things up a gear with this racy red set from our major girl-crush Rosie.

Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum 100ml, £96, from Boots – Full bodied and opulent with addictive floral notes we think this is the scent of pure romance .

Milano Mozart Ladder Detail Jumper, £65, from French Connection – As it’s not mild enough to ditch the jumpers altogether, we like the idea of this peak-a-boo, cut-out detailing, revealing just the right amount of skin.

Dior Addict Lip Glow, £24, from feelunique.com – As we prepare to pucker up for some extra kisses on February 14th, a gorgeous lip-colour with staying power, such as this fabulous product from Dior, would be greatly received.

Rose Embroidered Mom Jeans, from Topshop, £59 – We’re all for a big Valentine’s bouquet, but this type of flowers will last much longer than a dozen real red roses.

Tiffany Legacy Engagement Ring, starting at £12,400 from Tiffany & Co – because diamonds are a girl’s best friend, right?!

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christmas eve, eve…

December 23rd, 2016 | Julia Braime

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image source*

Its Christmas eve, eve in the Brides Up North office and our inboxes – usually pinging constantly – have gone very, very quiet.  It’s no server error… it’s christmas! So, we figure, it’s time to hang up our blogging boots (suede, over the knee, metallic block heel) and reach for the Charbonnel & Walker truffles.

Its been the most epic year of growth here at Brides Up North.  As well as a double daily dose of #weddinggoals via our pretty blog pages (and we think the blog has been better than ever in 2016, thanks to all our beautiful brides and grooms and fabulous supplier submissions) and our ever swelling social media channels, we’ve aced 35 Brides Up North branded bridal shows, completed the UK’s first ever WEDFEST Wedding Festival tour back in May – with big plans for 2017 – and pressed print on two gorgeously glossy copies of UNVEILED Magazine. Not to mention, of course, the arrival of another Brides Up North baby. Lili Charlotte Braime was born on 25th June 2016, and we’re training her up already!

2017 looks set to be bigger and better still. The WEDFEST tour is expanding to include new dates and venues, we’ve added some other amazing venues to our events portfolio and we’re currently working on the most beautiful issue of UNVEILED yet, due in March. We’ve got some pretty plans, including a blog facelift, and some very, very (and I mean VERY!) big news to share after the Christmas break.  Watch this space.

I’m often asked how I manage everything on my own, and of course, as our blog and brand has grown, so has our little team. I’m not superwoman (although checking emails whilst managing night feeds at 5am I sometimes feel like it). Our editorial team now includes Rachel our Features Editor and the lovely Alexis and Laura, our contributing writers – who you’ll be meeting properly and hearing more from in the new year – whilst over on the events, account management and admin side we have Robin, Kate, Hannah P, Lucy, Mandy, Sam, Hannah B, Helen, Kathryn and Kathryne to thank for keeping our well oiled machine running. Go team!

We’re taking a short break to celebrate with our families over the Christmas season, and we’ll be back (with that big news!) when normal blogging service resumes on 9th January 2017. In the meantime, from Tuesday we’ll be leaving you with our usual yearly recap of ten of our favourite real weddings that wowed. Check back daily to see if your big day made our top ten!

For now though, we’ll raise a glass to you our lovely readers, sponsors, exhibitors and supporters (we couldn’t do it without you!) and wish you the loveliest, merriest Christmas imaginable, and a very happy hygge New Year!

love julia and the team x

* via John Lewis, who else? And of course our house (or the office for that matter) doesn’t look like this: we’ve two small children, a blog and glossy magazine to write and 40+ amazing bridal events planned for 2017. We’ll be lucky if we actually get the tree up…!

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santa baby…

December 21st, 2016 | Julia Braime

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We’re so close to the festive break now that we can almost smell the mulled wine.

From both a work and present-buying point of view, we’ve got Christmas all wrapped up and so are indulging in a little virtual retail therapy this afternoon by sharing the top items on our wish list to Santa.

We work hard, we play hard and so we’re hoping to be rewarded with a few of these lovely gifts beneath the tree come Christmas Day – though we fear our other halves may not have even started their shopping yet. If yours is the same, try leaving your laptop or tablet open on this page with the hope they will get the hint and hop-foot it to the high street!

Merry Christmas everyone!

rachel’s wish list

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Siren Band, £75, from Monica Vinader – Having been spoilt with a few pieces of Monica Vinader jewellery for my 30th birthday recently, I’d quite like to add to my collection with this gorgeous topaz pimped gold band.

Coach Eau De Parfum, £35, from Debenhams – Every girl needs a new scent to start the new year, and it was this sweet-smelling fragrance from Coach that caught my attention in the perfume aisles of Debenhams. Not a bad price tag either!

La Boheme Watch, £75.41, from Cluse – By now you may be well aware that I have a slight addiction to watches, I blame by boyfriend for that, he started it – so now he will have to continue to feed by cravings with this clean and contemporary design from Amsterdam-based brand, Cluse.

Trin Heeled Over The Knee Boot, £78, from Dune – Having celebrated a milestone birthday this year, I decided it was now or never to become the proud owner of a pair of over-the-knee boots – no matter how pantomime-esque they may look!

Phellia Textured Leather Shoulder Bag, £215, from Ted Baker – A new bag often features on my Christmas wish list, and I thought this stunning metallic Ted Baker design made the perfect evening arm-candy that can withhold more than a phone and lipstick.

Four Season Votive Candle Collection, £40, from The White Company – Because surely everybody wants their home to smell like a White Company store.

Eddie Harrop Voyager Appliqued Textured Leather Weekend Bag, £675, from Net-A-Porter – Having enjoyed some fabulous short breaks away this year I feel like it’s high time I replaced my rather worn-out weekend bag – and top of the list to take its place would have to be this gorgeous Eddie Harrop design.

La Boheme Pyjama Set, £38, from Topshop – Another Christmas staple, the festive period just wouldn’t be complete without some new PJs and this pretty pink set certainly get my vote.

711v2 Graphic Trainer, £55, from New Balance – More of a practical request. I loathe buying new gym gear but my trainers are literally about to fall apart, and so if I’m going to make Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) proud – needs, must!

Premium Fine Cord Lace Shirt, £49, from Topshop – Finally, for those festive nights out I’d love this oh so pretty lace shirt, which I would top off with an on-trend black bow tied at the neck. Well it is Christmas, after all!

julia’s wish list

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Toulouse Printed Skirt, £129, from Coast  – Having welcomed our brand new baby girl this year, we’ll just be toasting 2017 at home with friends, but I’ve some glitzy industry events coming up in the New Year where I’ll need to look the part. I love this statement skirt: very Olivia Palermo, don’t you think?

In The Bag Perfect Pouch, £15.99, from Katie Loxton – this working mama likes to stay organised, and look chic whilst doing so.  Katie Loxton’s Perfect Pouches are great to grab in a hurry and transfer from work tote to changing bag, keeping all my essentials in order. I’m buying them for all my girlfriends too!

Red Performance Swimsuit, was £60 now £42, from Stella McCartney for Adidas – working out used to be something that I loved to hate, and now it’s my ‘me time’.  This gorgeous swimsuit means that I’ll look fab whilst clocking up the laps.

Any makeup by Charlotte Tilbury, price varies – For me, the best part of a night out is getting my glam on, and Charlotte Tilbury’s products are both fun and effective.  I’ll take one of everything please!

Classic Bracelet by Nomination, price varies – I’ve worn my Nomination charm bracelet every day since I was 15, but would like to add some stacking bracelets bearing my daughter’s names to my collection… it’s the closest this needle-phobe will ever get to a tattoo!

Kate Spade 2017 Agenda, £20 from Quill London – I’m a sucker for pretty stationery, and this beautiful agenda will look beaut on the desk at Brides Up North HQ.

Letters, from £19, L.K. Bennett x Boyarde – I can’t wait to personalise every clutch I can get my hands on with these beautiful leather handbag stickers designed by Boyarde for L.K. Bennett.

Gwyneth Dress, was £195 now £115, from Whistles – Whistles just works for me, full stop. I’m currently coveting this beautiful jaquard cut out frock. Santa better be quick though, because it’s just gone into the sale…

Mirah Embellished Collar Jumper, £129, from Ted Baker – Super feminine and snuggly to boot, this knit will work well both on and off duty. Hope my baby gets the memo… this one might be dry clean only.

Lola Ruffle Front Dress, was £109 now £130, from Reiss – Ok, so I might have already treated myself to this one, but who could resist such a perfect festive party dress. Get the Kir Royales on ice, this girl is ready to shimmy!

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dangerous liaisons. a spooky styled shoot

November 2nd, 2016 | Julia Braime

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We’re dropping by this lunchtime to share the results of a gorgeously gothic styled bridal shoot courtesy of photographer Ania Pankiewicz. Well, we did all survive Halloween after all.  Didn’t we?

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ania says: This was a creative bridal photo shoot I organised at The Last Drop Village with other wedding suppliers local to the Bolton area. The shoot has been inspired by the spirit and magic of Halloween and we went for vintage vanguard look, with strong vampish make up for the bride and ghostly looks for the grooms.

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Vintage Lane Bridal Boutique provided our beautiful gowns (nothing scary about those!) whilst Julie Carr from John Francis Suit Hire made sure that our dashing ghouls were suited and booted.

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Hair was by the talented Danielle Conway McStravick from Masquerade Hair and Beauty.

With special thanks to our models: Frank Pendlebury, Megan Shott and Artur Biernat and Kirsty Warburton for her assistance.

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a change of season: an autumn high street haul

September 6th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Romelie Neoprene Dress with Guipure Braid, £225, from Maje

While we can’t rely on the British summer to be wall to wall sunshine, we can most definitely rely on the temperatures starting to drop as we head into autumn – a sure sign that it’s high time for a new season shopping spree.

Just the thought of cute ankle boots, soft knitwear and a staple autumnal mac gets us excited as the cooler weather means layering up and making a statement in the season’s top trends.

So to give you a little break from the wedding planning this afternoon we’re sharing our top early autumn picks that are landing in store and online as we speak. This should also help to ease the pain of packing away your summer wardrobe for another year (if it made it out of storage in the first place, that is!)

the threads

The Threads

Wool Slouch Coat, £95, from Topshop – Each year us Brides Up North girls look forward to a new autumn/winter coat (or two) and this classy camel number is top of our list! Simple yet incredibly stylish, the colour and shape of this swoon-worthy outerwear easily makes it a cult buy.

Wrap Leather Midi Skirt, £280, from Whistles – When it comes to getting glammed up we’re finding ourselves drawn to skirts rather than dresses and love that an easy switch of top can lead to a whole different look. For us a leather skirt is an autumn/winter must-have and they don’t come much better than this super-soft wrap design.

Chay Lace Blouse, £145, from Whistles – The ideal accompaniment to a new leather skirt is this gorgeous white lace blouse. A staple that should be owned by all females, this stunning top makes a subtle statement and fits in perfectly with the season’s Victorian trend.

Black washed embroidered T-shirt denim dress, £55, from River Island – another hot trend for the upcoming season is bold embroidery detail. Expect to see it appearing on everything from boots and bags to bomber jackets. This cute mini dress provides a relaxed way of rocking the look, which we love!

MOTO Bleach Rip Mom Jeans, £42, from Topshop – keeping with the casual we like to invest in a new pair of jeans each season too, and we’re currently all about the Mom cut. Move aside skinnies, we need these loose, high-waisted jeans ready for those hearty comfort meals that come in hand with the dark nights and cool weather.

Vintage Washed City Tee, £36, from Olive Clothing – statement and slogan tees are showing no sign of disappearing anytime soon and so it’s another cert buy for autumn. We’re obsessed with the colour grey and this cute design also happens to feature the names of our favourite cities.

Hitch Knot Sweatshirt, £55, from French Connection – did we mention that we like the colour grey? A dip in temperatures means an increase in fabric thickness and this gorgeous knotted number says sleek chic to us, giving a little nod to the athleisure trend too.

Linen Sleeveless Top, £19, from & Other Stories – while we could quite happily live with an entirely monochrome wardrobe we know that a pop of colour can help put a spring in your step on those dark mornings and so this bold basic gets the nod of approval from us.

Floral Print Bomber, £29.99, from Zara – we have been totally in love with the return of the bomber and will definitely be adding to our collection with this botanical beauty.

Pleated silk-blend lamé skirt, £595, by Christopher Kane at Net- A-Porter – Because Christmas isn’t that far away (under 16 weeks to go and counting!). The effortlessly gorgeous pleated skirt has taken us through spring and summer, and now it’s continuing into the autumn/winter season too with chic metallic designs such as this sparkling silver number on the up!

the finishing touches

Finishing Touches

Jagger Multi Buckle Boots, £85, from Office – possibly our favourite style of footwear, we just love boots! For the autumn season prepare to see buckles galore which is why we are most definitely adding this pair straight to our shopping basket!

Multi Tassel Pu Brea Saddle Bag, £65, from French Connection – a change of season always calls from some new arm candy too. As we’ve finally got used to condensing all our ‘necessities’ into a more compact bag, we’re eyeing-up this cute saddle design from French Connection, which features on-trend tassel detail too.

Pu Studded Belt, £25, from Topshop – following the heavy buckled look and fitting in perfectly with the edgy Victorian trend that we’ve seen flooding the A/W catwalks, we think this studded belt is a great seasonal staple.

Daria Round Sunglasses, £75, from Whistles – though we will undoubtedly see less of the sun over the coming months, it’s always handy to have a pair of classy shades for those blue skied autumnal days (as well as those when you are simply a little hungover).

Kylie Backless Buckle Loafer, £49, from Topshop – as seen all over this season’s fashion runways, loafers are big news (trust us, Gucci said so). We feel that this gorgeous metallic pair put a little geek chic edge on the somewhat granny slipper shaped shoe.

Red drop tassel earrings, £8, from River Island – more tassels in the form of statement earrings. Check!

All Black Watch, £129, from Kapten & Son – we’ve become a little addicted to timepieces of late and this black and gold beauty is totally on our radar as the perfect autumn accessory.

Star Print Scarf, £15.99, from Zara – if there’s one store that knows how to design a killer scarf it has to be Zara. Whether you’re after a chunky winter knit or a lighter statement cover-up, this is where you’ll find it ladies. Style reports suggest that star prints are a big news for season ahead and so we plan to bag ourselves this bold monochrome delight.

Polar Star gold-plated Swarovski crystal ring, £190, by IAM By Ileana Makri at Net-A-Porter – another shining example of the cosmic star trend! While this super lovely ring might be too much of a splurge to pass off as a seasonal staple, you could always put on your Christmas list (which is exactly what we’ll be doing – it’s never too early to start!)

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