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rachel’s diary: team wedding is go!

September 18th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Rachel's Diary (8)

Gotcha! The lead image on today’s post may well have caused you to double take, but Andy and I haven’t got hitched just yet! The photo was actually taken at our best friends’ wedding a few weeks ago where I was a maid of honour and Andy one of the groomsmen.

Attending four fabulous weddings this year has certainly made for very helpful research for our own big day, reaffirming the most important elements to us, where we should allocate more of the budget, where we might be able to make a saving and how to weave special touches among the proceedings.

And now, with no other weddings in the diary between now and summer 2019 we are officially next in line to become Mr & Mrs – and I feel that with less than eight months to go, we are making surprisingly good progress.

I have, however, found myself somewhat torn when writing these diary posts as I’m excited to give you updates and share my experience, but like any other bride-to-be, I don’t want to give away too many details about the big day before it’s happened, especially for those that will be attending.

Following the wedding I’ll certainly be divulging all aspects and details of the amazing suppliers we have onboard, but in the meantime, there are some elements that I think are safe to reveal…

Rachel's Diary (6)

Since my last diary post the day invites have been sent out causing Andy to get weirdly cocker-spaniel-style excited for the post arriving each day. Every time a few more RSVPs drop through the letter box he quickly retrieves them and moves the responding guests’ names into the ‘attending’ column on one of our many planning spreadsheets. I have to say though, I adore this level of enthusiasm and organisation (if only he could take transfer such skills keeping ‘his side’ of our bedroom in order!).

Clean and elegant, we went with a personal ‘R&A’ design in a gold leaf garland for the invite with accompanying details card and RSVP sealed within a brown Kraft envelope, which should tie in nicely with other styling elements that we have planned for the wedding.

Another box ticked is Andy and his groomsmen’s suits, which he found while shopping with his best men in Manchester. It’s really important to me that Andy loves what he wears on the day as much as I love my dress and I must say, though he’s still to accessorise his outfit, he looks absolutely gorgeous in his chosen suit and picturing him in it at our chosen venue The West Mill, gives me butterflies! Finding his attire also helps to pull together the wedding colour palette a little more, though the hue of his tie is an ongoing debate!

We’ve ticked all entertainment boxes now too, with bookings for different parts of the day that we hope will reflect our musical tastes while setting the desired atmosphere and, in turn, creating memories that will last beyond the wedding.

Rachel's Diary (4)

I’ve also recruited my #glamsquad to beautify me and my four bridesmaids – it was certainly an area where I was spoilt for choice as through both Brides Up North and UNVEILED magazine we work with some true talents of the hair and makeup industry. The two pros I’ve enlisted the skills of are Lake-District-based hair stylist Gareth Lambert of Aqua The Salon, and North East makeup artist Anna Cordelia Mason. I’ve had the pleasure of working with this dynamite duo on several occasions and I’ve found their approach and styles to be right up my street, plus they both have such lovely personalities that I know they will bring a really fun yet chilled vibe to the wedding morning.

What else? Well after letting you all know that I unexpectedly found my dream dress in record time in the summer I thought I’d move onto my accessories, starting with my shoes – and I’m thrilled to say I’ll be a Charlotte Mills bride when it comes to my big day footwear. I was keen to go to a designer that specialises in bridal shoes, rather than buy off the high street, as I know the experts in this area provide both style and comfort in their designs. As a girl that lives in trainers (all hail the Stan Smiths!) I couldn’t bare the thought of hobbling around in pain on my wedding day, though I knew I’d want a heel for added height and an elegant posture. Thanks to Charlotte I had the most amazing experience picking the perfect pair from her utterly gorgeous collection and would highly recommend others to follow in my footsteps by visiting her cute boutique in Saddleworth near Oldham or visiting one of her amazing stockists for personal on- to-one service and advice. For those coming to our Luxury Wedding Shows this season, you’re in for an extra special treat as our goody bags will include a Charlotte Mills discount voucher meaning you can bag yourself a pair of her totally dreamy heels and make a saving in the process!

Rachel's Shoes

Next on my wedding to-do list is the bridesmaid dresses, an element of the planning I’m really stoked for as I’m looking to fabulous designer Rosanna Garden of Motee Maids to assist me in dressing my leading ladies. Having first met Rosanna at The White Gallery in London when she’d not long launched her amazing bridesmaid collection, I instantly fell in love with her clever customisable creations that give options on dress style, colour and delicate hand embellishment detailing, enabling individual personalities and style preferences to shine through. Furthermore, Motee Maids was named ‘Best Bridesmaid Collection of the Year’ at the 2018 Bridal Buyer Awards, just last week further cementing Rosanna’s position as a leading designer in the industry. The only problem with picking such a talent is that I will, without doubt, be enviable of my maids’ attire.

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Over the coming months we have a few more suppliers to source and meetings to arrange, including with the florist, caterer and our amazing photographer Jon of S6 Photography. And so, I guess what is safe to say is that the wedding clique is coming together, and momentum is building for the big day, though I’m eager to not wish away the run-up as it’s all part of the wedding experience and a time that I aim to absorb and enjoy!

Catch up on Rachel’s other diary entries here.

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friendly fashion: charlotte mills launches vegan bridal shoe range

August 28th, 2018 | Julia Braime

vegan meghan

Having brought her fabulously cool and girly bridal shoes to the masses, we’re excited to announce that our lovely Sponsor Charlotte Mills, has now made her stunning heels an option for even more fashion-loving females with the introduction of a capsule vegan collection.

Responding to a gap in the market for stylish yet animal-friendly shoes, Charlotte has produced three of her favourite styles – George Pearl, Meghan and Chloe – in high-quality synthetic materials, which are available to pre-order now.

Keen to find out more, we’ve invited Charlotte along to the blog to give further details on the collection while also filling us in on an exciting London pop-up event taking place next month, providing a fabulous opportunity for any brides south of the border to get their hands on beautiful pair of big-day heels from Ms Mills’ wonderful collections. So, over to the talented designer herself to tell us more…

vegan chloe

Can you tell us how the vegan bridal shoe range came to fruition?

charlotte says: It’s something we have wanted to do for a long time. We have had brides contact us so many times asking us to offer a vegan style, as they love our shoes but would not wear a leather shoe. There are not many options out there for vegan bridal shoes and they have really struggled to find something they love, which is special, luxurious but most importantly cruelty free.

How did you go about developing the range?

Kim, who is the brand manager at Charlotte Mills and is a Vegan herself, has worked with our factory in Spain to source the best synthetic materials. It’s still very important for us to offer a luxurious product so quality and aesthetics couldn’t be compromised. The final product is beautiful and we are really proud to offer vegan wedding shoes as an option for our brides.

How do the vegan designs differ to your mainline collections?

Our leather bridal shoes not only have a leather upper, but they also feature a soft leather sole, with the famous Charlotte Mills rhyme embossed into the leather. On our vegan shoes, the upper and the soles are now hand crafted with the finest synthetic materials, with the rhyme still embossed into the soles, keeping them true to the Charlotte Mills brand.

vegan george

Which styles are included in the capsule vegan collection?

The first styles in this collection are George Pearl, Meghan and Chloe with more designs being added in 2019.

Where are the designs available from and what is the price range?

The shoes will be available to pre-order from August 2018, for delivery in September 2018. The vegan bridal range is exclusive to the Charlotte Mills website and prices will range from £230 to £260.

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hot heels: charlotte mills 2018 collection

July 3rd, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Charlotte Mills (50)

We’re turning the temperature up a notch on this super sunny Tuesday afternoon by showcasing the gorgeous new bridal shoe designs that have just landed in the 2018 Collection from our insanely talented Sponsor Charlotte Mills.

We love to see brides reflect their personal style on their big day and the footwear is an easy element of the attire through which ladies can let their personality run free.

We’ve seen brides don ankle boots, sneakers and even wellies, but the majority choose to stick with a heel for that extra confidence, height and poker posture.

With a style, heel height and hue to suit all brides, from the traditional to the fierce, we’re sure there will be perfect pair of Charlotte Mills shoes to complete your big day look. So, let’s waste no time in handing over the blog to the creator herself to tell us more about these absolute showstoppers.

Charlotte Mills (59)

What was your inspiration behind the 2018 collection? Does it have an overall theme?

charlotte says: I wanted to create a collection that suited a range of different style types. Whether you’re a modern, traditional, retro, super glam or vintage bride. I wanted to ensure we offered styles to suit everyone as well as incorporating the Charlotte Mills aesthetic.

What new shoe styles can brides find within the 2018 collection and which stand out for you?

Our new styles for 2018 are Meghan, Farah, Esmeralda Blue, Jane, George Pearl, George Silver, Frankie, Francesca and Blossom Pearl.

One of the most exciting new styles is the Meghan shoe, which was designed in preparation for the royal wedding. We love every wedding here at Charlotte Mills, but we particularly couldn’t wait to see Meghan Markle’s bridal style. Hence the production of the limited-edition Meghan shoe. This design features a pointed toe, pearlescent leather and pearl glitter details with a block heel. Not too dissimilar from Meghan’s shoes on the day! Each pair includes a specially dated sixpence in collaboration with the Royal Mint UK for an extra special touch.

Charlotte Mills (84)

What are your main considerations when designing a new collection?

Producing fashion forward styles which are elegant and reflect the Charlotte Mills brand image. All shoes are designed with comfort in mind! Fun and girly details are key!

How would you sum up the 2018 collection in three words?

Elegant, modern and unique.

Charlotte Mills (79)

What main colours and details are featured in the latest collection?

Ivory, blue, pearlescent leather, pearl glitter details and silver art deco piping.

Which shoes style from the collection would you suggest for the daring, fashion forward bride and which for the elegant, traditional bride?

For a daring bride it would have to be Francesca, while Anastasia would be perfectly suited to more traditional weddings.

Charlotte Mills (37)

What are your top three tips for picking the right wedding shoes?

Stick with a heel height that you’re used to; pick something you can wear again so you can re-live your special day all over again and break them in ahead of the big day

What bridal fashion trends are you enjoying right now, and can you predict any big trends to come?

It’s all been about the royal wedding, and I expect a lot of brides will want to mirror Meghan’s look for their own big days to come.

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look book: hue honed heels

April 27th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

Rachel-Simpson-Olivia-Green-Pair-2-788

This season the bridal catwalks have dared brides to go beyond a traditional ivory dress, with blush, blue and even dazzling gold gowns making an appearance on the runway.

We understand however that a colourful gown, no matter how subtle, is still considered a more niche option, with many choosing to stick with a pure shade of fail-safe white. But this doesn’t mean that brides have to forgo colour altogether, as big day footwear provides an ideal area in which ladies can add a pop of pizazz and personality from any end of the spectrum.

When it’s time to get the shoe search underway, we highly advise looking to specialist bridal shoe designers who craft their creations with both comfort and style in mind – meaning you can keep your heels firmly on from the ‘I dos’ to the dance moves!

So, for those of you that crave a colour-pop, we’ve rounded up our favourite heels from the top designers in the industry, which we’re pretty sure will help inspire your choices. Ladies, let’s shop!

Main post images from Rachel Simpson.

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First up is our fabulous Sponsor, Charlotte Mills, where each shoe sole is embossed with the phrase, “Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something Blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” And yes, each left shoe includes an original silver sixpence to bring you luck on your big day. Sticking with wedding traditions, why not add your ‘something blue’ in the shape of a shoe? The April Blue peep toe sandal is delicate in pale blue with a heart design at the back and cross-over ankle straps, while the Cece Blue is a T-bar peep toe with a low block heel and an iridescent pearl blue tonal glitter bow. Ms Mills also has some fab options if you want a stand-out heel. Check out the Becky range, each with a show-stopping glitter block heel and the Eve, a court shoe also rocking a pretty, shimmering heel.

Next, another stylish Sponsor of Brides Up North, Paradox London, where you can expect to find some bold blues in the shape of the Adaline Navy and Catrina Navy. The Adaline is ideal if you want a bit of height but don’t fancy teetering on a stiletto, while the Catrina has some lovely embellishment detail. Add pizzazz with the Alandra Red, a bejewelled stiletto sure to make an entrance, or tone it down a tad and plump for the Manhattan Blush or Macpherson Blush. The Manhattan sports a chunky jewel embellishment on the strap, while the Macpherson is a beautiful sandal with a sexy strap design to flatter the foot.

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Taking a step into Rachel Simpson’s collections, the Mimosa shoe is heart-stoppingly beautiful. The soft petal design is inspired by nature – choose it in the pale mint leather, which is overlaid on metallic champagne gold leather to beautifully highlight the petal design. For a darker shade of green, look to the Olivia peep toe in luxurious velvet, which is enhanced with a luxe copper glitter heel. For your ‘something blue’, slip into a pair of Isabelle Ice Blue peep toes, with an art deco vibe and subtle metallic leather detailing, or the Valentina Cobalt – the perfect footwear for that kingfisher flash. And, if you’re looking for ruby red, check out the Bonita Red glitter courts, complete with full red satin bow.

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fierce footwear: charlotte mills fashion collection

April 3rd, 2018 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Mills (14)

While most brides will opt an ivory coloured wedding gown, few stick to tradition when it comes to their bridal shoes, with the footwear an ideal element through which to express their individual style and personality.

Better still, this part of the attire can be worn time again after the big day and so it’s wise to choose a style that you could wear on an evening out rather than just down the aisle, right?!

We’re therefore delighted to see one of our very favourite bridal shoe designers and Brides Up North Sponsor, Charlotte Mills, helping to broaden the style-led choices for brides through her insanely-gorgeous new fashion collection.

Ranging from glittery metallic stilettos to cool platforms and bejewelled boots in the most fabulous colourways, we’re totally in love – and expect you’ll fall head over heels for the range too. As such we’ve invited the lovely Charlotte to the blog today to talk us through the varying designs, which are already proving popular with celeb fashionistas, including Fearne Cotton and Pixie Lott.

So, if you fancy treating your feet to some fierce footwear for your big day (and beyond!), step this way…

EVE BARBIE

Why did you decide to do a fashion collection in addition to your bridal line?

charlotte says: I wanted to do a fashion collection because there’s more freedom in terms of colours and fabrics when designing for fashion rather than bridal. Less limitations.

Can you give us an overview of the collection, does it have an underlaying theme?

The collection was inspired by the 70’s, Studio 54 and the Disco Era. Metallics and glitter are always something key in Charlotte Mills shoes, but I decided to go for a more fun and vibrant colour palette to our bridal collection.

ELINA PETROL 2

Your heels have been worn by a number of celebrities, can you tell us which celebs are Charlotte Mills fans?

Fearne Cotton loves our platforms! She’s been seen in a few pairs, but other celebs such as Pixie Lott, Ella Eyre, Lucy Meck, Stacey Martin and Lousia Johnson have all been seen in our shoes!

Can you tell us about the colourways, details and fabrics used within the collection?

We have a couple of different colour ways in the collection, Pinks, metallics and petrols would be the first; looking at shoes like Elda Barbie, Eve Petrol and the Charlotte shoes. Then we have our Velvet story, which is a selection of different jewel tones, such as black, navy, raspberry and ruby. We have the Eleanor boot and the Ellie shoe, which are velvet with rose gold and jewelled studs. Then we have the Leopard Print collection, a boot and a low block heel in a pink and petrol leopard print.

ELINA BARBIE 2

Do you have a favourite design from the collection, and if so which is it and why?

It’s hard to choose because I love them all – but if I had too, I’d probably say Charlotte! That’s why we decided to do it in so many colours – they look so lovely and flattering on. But I also have a soft spot for the Eleanor boots!

Have some of your bride clients picked a pair of heels from your fashion line for their big day?

Yes, indeed they have! We’ve had a couple of brides pick up Eve Barbie and Charlotte Barbie. Also our black velvet platform, which we think will look amazing with a bridal gown, we can’t wait to see all the pictures!

EDNA PETROL 2

What type of girls do you see your fashion line appealing too?

Fashion forward girls, that love pink and all things girly! Lots of these shoes are the perfect party shoe, so a girl that likes having fun!

How has the collection been received so far? What do people love about it?

The collection has been received well so far, I think people love how fun and exciting the shoes are, nothing to plain and simple here. I also think the fact we kept our sixpence in the fashion shoes (but we have dipped it in Rose Gold to add a touch of luxury) is a nice feature, that still keeps the fashion shoes tied to the bridal shoes and what we’re known for.

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expertly styled: harriet wilde designer day & accessory styling event at love bridal boutique

March 13th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Harriet Wilde at LOVE Bridal Boutique (14)

Keen to see ladies making the most out of their bride-to-be-limelight, we highly encourage enjoying all elements of the planning, especially those that relate to piecing together the big day look.

Thankfully the shopping doesn’t end at picking a dress; for there are the all-important finishing touches to consider too, which ultimately complete the attire and help to reflect a bride’s individual style.

This includes everything from the veil, hair accessories and jewellery through to the shoes, giving ladies quite a lot to think about. Though the task may seem a little overwhelming there are experts on hand to assist, with many boutiques offering dedicated styling appointments to help bring a bride’s final look together. One such boutique, is our fabulous Sponsor, LOVE Bridal, located in the gorgeous market town of Altrincham.

Owner Emma Draper and her team love nothing more than assisting brides in finding their dream dress and then adding the perfect accessories to complete a bride’s big day vision. As such, they’re holding a fabulous accessories styling event alongside a Harriet Wilde Designer Day that will see brides professionally styled by the LOVE team, as well as designer behind the gorgeous Harriet Wilde brand, Ruth Shaw.

Taking place on Sunday 18th March, 11.30am to 3pm, those who attend can view and try on an extended range of beautiful Harriet Wilde shoes and accessories, as well as veils, jewellery, garters and more from LOVE’s other accessory designers. Spots are expected to be snapped up fast ladies, so if this sounds like a dream day to you, be sure to email hello@lovebridalboutique.co.uk to reserve your place on the guest list.

In the meantime, we’ve invited the lovely Emma to the blog today to tell us more about this wonderful event and to swoon some more over those stunning Harriet Wilde designs!

Harriet Wilde at LOVE Bridal Boutique (17)

What can brides-to-be expect from the Harriet Wilde Designer Day and Accessory Styling Event?

emma says: Shoes, shoes, oh and some added bubbly and treats! We will be presenting the full range of beautiful Harriet Wilde shoes, plus a selection of hair accessories, veils, jewellery, garters and more from designers including Hermione Harbutt, Donna Crain, Halo & Co, Pompadour Lingerie, White Willow Bridal, Sassi Holford and Stewart Parvin. Alongside Harriet Wilde designer Ruth Shaw, LOVE’s very own stylists will be on hand to offer expert guidance and advice. And, if you purchase anything at the event, you’ll receive 10% off!

What do you love about Harriet Wilde designs and what type of bride do they appeal to?

Harriet Wilde is synonymous with unique design, luxurious embellishments, comfort and a high level of craftsmanship. Perfect for the bride who is looking to stand out from the crowd, with styles ranging from classic Italian ivory silk satin shoes to statement embellished heels and intricate gold floral laser cut peep toe lace up sandals!

The range includes the luxurious ready to wear bridal shoe collection with personal customisation, bespoke shoe atelier and coordinating hair accessories and handbags.

They’re not just shoes for brides either! If a mother-of-the-bride or -groom are looking for that special pair of shoes there are plenty of options. Harriet Wilde’s shoes are so versatile they can even be dyed to match a specific outfit.

Harriet Wilde at LOVE Bridal Boutique (19)

Do you have a personal favourite from the Harriet Wilde collection and is there a particular design that proves poplar with your brides?

There are so many refreshing, stunning shoe options to choose from in Harriet Wilde’s collection. Of course, we love the embellished heels, which are available on a number of her shoe styles. The gold Peony low is certainly one of our favourites with her laser cut floral leather detailing and pretty bow ties, but an absolute classic favourite with us and our brides has to be the Joanie style, with her clever added platform. Such an elegant shoe, which moulds the foot beautifully with a delicate pointed toe, and is now available in two heel heights, depending on a bride’s preference. You can also add an embellished heel to this shoe style too! This shoe looks amazing with all sorts of dress skirt shapes, but a personal favourite is when they’re worn with a slinky silk crepe gown, such as the Sarah Seven ‘Belmont’ style, and you can just see a peek of shoe when the bride walks.

What advice would you give to brides when picking their accessories and in particular their shoes?

I would usually recommend choosing your accessories once you have chosen your dress, so you can then try different options, and make sure that they complement your dress style perfectly. For example, if you have chosen a heavily beaded gown then you may want to let the dress do the talking and opt for very delicate hair accessories rather than anything too elaborate – perhaps a diamanté comb or hair pins at the back of the head, or just a simple earring.  For a more romantic, relaxed style gown or an elegant plain fitted gown with simpler fabrics and less detailing on the dress, then you might want to make more of a statement with your accessories, such as the Hermione Harbutt Floriana or Violette hair vines.

You might have thought that a veil isn’t quite ‘you’ or is ’too much’ but don’t rule it out straight away until you’ve tried one.  There’s so many beautiful, simple veil options including soft silk tulle veils, draped back veils and more which complement softer dress styles and shapes. Alternatively, you may know you definitely want a veil and you want to tie it in closely with your dress style and fabric so there are many options for bespoke veils to complement your dress. Veils can come in any length you like too.

When considering shoe styles, consider the movement of your dress and how much of your shoe will be seen as you walk. A lot of our brides opt for a closed toe with a more fitted dress style rather than peep toe, so that the shoe will be seen instead of your toes (obviously when fitted correctly your dress should just tickle the floor and you shouldn’t see any shoe as you stand still, but it can then glide slightly over your shoe as you walk). Perhaps you’ve got a front or back slit on your dress, or a high-low hem so shoe choice will be even more important to you – those Harriet Wilde embellished heels would certainly be the perfect shoe choice for this!

Contrary to what a lot of people think, shoes certainly don’t go unnoticed – your photographer will be keen to capture them, you also might be required to lift your dress to walk up steps or get out of a car or lift your dress hem in case of inclement weather – so those shoes will definitely grab attention!

Overall with hair and accessory styling our one piece of advice would be to stay true to your style. Don’t go for something because somebody else thinks it goes with your dress – after all we firmly believe accessories usually divide people more than the actual dress choice; in one bridal party there’s usually more than a couple of magpies, and that might not be you! Tell your stylist exactly what you are looking for and they will go above and beyond to tailor your accessories to your dress and most of all your style.

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