Brides Up North

welcome rachel (but this time it’s serious).

February 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Rachel Parry - Features Writer

If you’re a long term reader of the wedding blog, chances are you’ll have seen the name Rachel Parry pop up a few (hundred) times.

If you recognise this pretty face, that’s because I formally welcomed Rachel to the team back in May 2014 when she joined us as a regular freelance features writer, but this time around, we are playing for keeps.

After about three years of guest blogging and one as our regular contributor, former news reporter Rachel has finally joined the Brides Up North team and signed on the dotted line (in blood) to become a full time member of staff!

She’s left hard news behind for the world of weddings.

Things just got serious.

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (127)

This is a huge moment for us.  This little corner of the internet that I started in a flight of fancy on a summer’s evening back in 2010 has grown beyond all recognition to support a huge online resource for inspiration and practical, local planning; a directory packed full of and passionately supported by the very best individuals, businesses and brands in the wedding industry; twenty (yes, two-oh!) Brides Up North branded luxury wedding exhibitions per annum plus the odd industry knees up; social media management contracts for some of the industry’s leading businesses; a whole host of speaking and mentoring engagements; editorial responsibility for one of the leading glossy wedding magazines in the north and now is home to a proper little team of two full time and one part time members of staff. Check us out!

Little did I know when I pressed publish on that first blog post that I’d write twice a day, every day (religiously) since that moment, or did I have any concept whatsoever of the places I would go, the people I would meet, the knowledge that I would acquire and the huge opportunities that Brides Up North would bring with it.

Rachel joins us not a moment too soon.  I’m not ok with average. I’m not ok with standing still. This blog, this brand, this northern revolution, it has wings. I want to see it fly.

It was time to call for back up.

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With a demanding blog schedule, a heaving inbox and lots of all consuming offline projects on the go (not to mention a teeny toddler at home), it’s an understatement to say that my resources were feeling stretched. In order to curate the best content for Brides Up North and to keep our related workflow running smoothly I needed a support team. Like, yesterday.

I did consider bringing in more freelance writers on a casual basis, but to be honest, I want my readers to engage with the writer as much as what they are writing about, and for a blog built on personality and good old northern soul, I felt anxious about expanding the team too much. I still think that the best blogs are those written by real people, for real people.  Yes, our voice might have grown, but our accent isn’t changing anytime soon.

And then of course there was Rachel herself: talented and stylish, super keen, and with the perfect background in PR and wedding media. Besides, she just wouldn’t go away.

That’s passion and hustle for you.  Right there.

I decided to invest: in Rachel and in the future of Brides Up North. The job was always going to be hers.  Or nobody’s, as I can’t think of anyone else that I’d want to share this journey with.

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (34)

If you’re beady eyed, you might have noticed a shift around here already.  Rachel joined us at the start of the month, but we’ve been so busy playing catch up and hatching plans that it’s taken me a while to sit down and type out a proper welcome.  Finding the right words has been difficult.  A bit like writing a wedding speech, the more I’ve thought about what I’d like to say, the more overwhelming actually doing it has become. I don’t envy those grooms, one bit.

Like I say, this is a huge moment.

I could take pages to outline my hopes for the blog and our brand, our plans for growth, related projects and dreams, but instead, I think I’ll keep it simple.  There’s a lot to be said for letting the proof be in the pudding.

As features writer and editorial assistant, Rachel will be penning lots of our daily content, helping to manage our very active social media output and dealing with her own client accounts as well as actively sourcing the very best weddings, shoots and suppliers in the northern wedding industry to share with you. She’s got a nose for a fabulous wedding and an eye for stunning detail, so expect these pages to be looking even more inspirational, very soon. We’re on a mission to deliver on a new level editorially and are looking to enrich our offering to provide more in depth, cutting edge content that’s also really, really lovely to look at.

She’s my right hand girl, so you can also expect her to be mixed up in whatever crazy-exciting project I have my eye on next, by my side as we steer the fabulous Unveiled Magazine to even greater creative success and hanging around offering her help at all of our Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. It’s an evolving process, so who knows where we’ll be and what we will have achieved by this time next year?!  And in the meantime, I have a feeling that you are going to get to know her very well indeed.

It’s been a slow burner, but this is the start of a beautiful friendship… so I’ll just say: Welcome, Rachel.

I can’t wait to work with you.

Lets do this,

julia x

Images by Cat Hepple Photography

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free entry to the North West Wedding Fair with brides up north (you are welcome!)

February 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (67)

I’m really excited to be reprising my role as “Official Blogger” for The North West Wedding Fair this spring.

This isn’t just a sponsored “I’m really excited” either, I genuinely love this gig. Whilst our own events are bespoke, exclusive (and perfectly formed… are they in your diaries yet !?), The North West Wedding Fair is the largest premium show for brides from the North West and I 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?

And, whilst I can’t wait to see as many as possible of you at our own events this season, I wouldn’t want my North West readers to miss out on the biggest juggernaut of a bridal event to come your way this spring either.  There’s plenty of room in the diary for us both and what better way to get my brand in front of thousands more Brides Up North and fuel this Northern Revolution even further?

Plus, it was loads of fun last year.  And I like having fun.

The North West Wedding Fair is taking place at EventCity, Manchester on 6th – 8th March 2015. Visit the website for more details. Brides Up North can save 1/3 off gold and standard tickets by entering exclusive discount code MK82 at checkout.

And guess what?!  I’ve got a handful of FREE passes for two up my sleeves, and I’ll be giving those golden tickets away to the first 150 brides through the door at our own Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Hilltop Country House on Sunday 1st March 2015.  Bonus! Be there…

^^^And yes, that is me nervously introducing the showreel above! (dies) ^^^

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 in 2014, and I‘m happy to report that it was the start of a beautiful friendship.

As well as hosting my own features over on the show’s official blog, I’ll also be on site on the Friday evening at the event, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming like mad (from a front row seat on their designer catwalk no less), trying to meet as many of you lovely brides to be as possible and also putting my judging hat on to award the “best in show” exhibitor prize.

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (57)

Joining me this autumn will be 180 of the most trusted suppliers from Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and Liverpool. The best boutiques in the North West will be on hand to help you find the best type and fit of dress for you and your whole wedding party. 

Ideas for every aspect of your wedding will be on tap all weekend, with stunning Catwalk Shows, The Essential Bridalwear Collection, Vintage Village, Live Entertainment Stage, Inspired Bakes Showcase, free Tasting Sessions and so much more.

Treat yourself and visit the Fair in style, GOLD tickets include a reserved priority seat at the popular Catwalk Shows and a glass of bubbly from the Champagne Bar.

I can’t wait.

Louise Bjorling wedding photography

Louise Bjorling wedding photography

Louise Bjorling wedding photography

Louise Bjorling wedding photography

Visit their website for more details. Remember – Brides Up North can save 1/3 off gold and standard ticket prices by entering exclusive discount code MK82 at checkout, or we’ll see you for those free tickets at our Hilltop Country House event!

Standard Adult tickets £15 each (£10 with 1/3 off). Standard GOLD  tickets £30 each (£20 with 1/3 off). Booking fees apply. These offers close at midnight on 5th March 2015.

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the fixer.

February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime

The Fixer 1

Stills snapped from The Fixer, 10/02/15, BBC2

So, tonight at around 20:45 hours, we had a little bit of a server crash here on these pretty pages.  I hadn’t forgotten to renew our domain name again (hey it happens!), rather it was due to an absolutely mahoosive spike in traffic – we are talking tens of thousands here – and all thanks to a little air time on BBC 2′s the fixer.

I had another feature planned for Wednesday morning’s post, but given the surge in visitors and the fantastic response that this episode had across the social media channels, I thought that I better pop my head up and say hello (hello there!) to any new bride to be readers that might be loitering after this evening’s excitement.

For those of you who are regulars around these parts or didn’t catch the show, The Fixer is a business series hosted by the dynamic Alex Polizzi (of Hotel Inspector fame), where ailing companies of any type are given a proper ‘business beating’, a shake up and a sort out.  This week, it was the turn of the lovely Jo of (formerly) Balloonin’ Marvellous to step forward as Alex helped her to take her company from deflated to fabulous.

I’m sure that the industry will get to know Jo, her family – trading under their new company name of Lusso Styling - and her beautiful styling ideas very well, very soon.  She’s a lovely lady and I genuinely hope that being part of this programme has given her the platform, courage and confidence that she needs to go far.

My role?  I was invited to act as the reviewing expert for Jo’s final pitch (once all the hard work had been done).  In the beautiful surrounds of my favourite Leeds venue The Mansion, which my colleagues at Dine kindly lent to BBC 2 as a stunning backdrop to the segment, I got to sit back and hear all about the results of Jo and Alex’s hard work. And I was really impressed.

The Fixer 2

I cut a few shot clips on our Instagram from Brides Up North’s prime time TV debut, and you can see them by clicking here and here.

Introduction to Brides Up North

The Industry Launch 

I’ll try to piece together some of the longer footage (including some cameos by some of my wonderful industry friends) to share here shortly. In the meantime, you can check out the Lusso Styling website here.

For those of you who came this way via the programme, welcome! If you’re planning a wedding Up North, you’ve come to the right place.

Brides Up North stands out because it encourages its readers to think local and to support the fabulous wedding industry suppliers on their own doorstep. With a double daily features schedule, every single featured supplier, styled shoot, real wedding or industry expert we feature on the blog took place or is based in the North of England.

Brides Up North has been named “Best Blog for Northern Brides” by Channel 4; crowned “Best Big Day Inspiration” blog in the Wedding Magazine Awards 2013 and highly commended in the “Best City Blog” category in the Wedding Magazine Awards 2014; listed in Easy Wedding Search’s Top 100 UK Wedding Blogs and in Bride Tide’s Top 100 Wedding Blogs in The World 2011, 2012 and 2013. Brides Up North was also a finalist in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014 (“Best Wedding Blog”) and in Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards 2014 (“Best Wedding Blog”).

We’ve been profiled in or contributed to almost every National wedding magazine title, as well featuring extensively in regional bridal titles, national news and lifestyle press. Brides Up North was headline sponsor for and hosted the first North of England Wedding Awards, a judge in the Bridal Buyer Awards 2012, 2014 and 2015 and The Wedding Ideas Awards 2013. I was also a judge and official blogger for The Wedding Industry Awards 2015 for the fourth year running.

I was headhunted as editor of Unveiled Magazine – the luxury wedding magazine for the North East and North Yorkshire – in January 2015 with the aim of further developing this bridal title to build on the quality and creativity that the team achieved in their inaugural issues.  So it’s pretty busy backstage here at Brides Up North.

That’s the official bio anyway – and you can read more on our about page - but really it all boils down to: we love local (check out our amazing supplier Directory), and we love stylish weddings (and lots of them!).

If you think like we do, we hope that you’ll stick around a little longer.

julia x

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the wedding industry awards 2015

January 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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I’m just looking in this afternoon as I’m off to London in a whirl of sequins to attend the first major industry event in my calendar this year – The Wedding Industry Awards 2015.

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This is the fourth year that I’ve been asked to support this esteemed event as a member of the judging panel, and I was very proud to take my place alongside some really rather fabulous leading lights in the wedding industry for 2015′s proceedings.

This year I’ve also been tasked with the job of being #officialblogger for the North East and North West regions, and back in November I really relished sharing all the news and tweets from the front line of the regional finals.  I was so proud of all our winners and finalists.

You can check out all the regional winners here.

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A poorly little girl meant that I had to share in the fun by proxy, whilst my party shoes stared at me accusingly from the wardrobe, so that means that I’m even more excited to join the party at the ritzy, glitzy Cafe De Paris tonight.

I’ll be rubbing shoulders with my fellow judges at a swanky private drinks reception from 6pm, then joining the crowds to see who takes home the glittering prizes.  I’ll be tweeting, instagramming and facebooking all the headlines from the night, so watch out for the news as it breaks on our social media channels… even if your favourites don’t win, seeing and hearing me descend into an excited Champagne fuelled stupor should keep you all very amused indeed.

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So wish them luck, and watch the feeds.  Those party shoes are about to make up for lost time.

All images from The Wedding Industry Awards Regional Events North East/ North West.  Click here to see the full sets of images from all events.

 

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2015, Unveiled.

January 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Unveiled

I’m crazy excited to welcome readers old and new (hey, if you just popped a ring on your finger – congratulations!- you are in the right place) to these pretty pages for our first feature of 2015, and to finally be able to share the big news that I’ve been hinting at (and #hashtagging) all over our social networks during the Christmas break.

As of today, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be joining the team at the North’s glossiest bridal magazine, Unveiled, as Editor.

Editor! How very Anna Wintour!

Issue Three of this beautiful, coffee-table book style publication is about to land this month, and after that, I’ll be taking the creative reins alongside the publishing team to build on the quality, luxury and creativity that the team has already achieved in their inaugural issues.

Readers, we are going high-end and cutting edge.

I’ve always had a passion for print, and a background in glossy mags before a career in law is what pushed me to create this award winning wedding blog just over four years ago. I’ve flirted with the idea of creating an annual Brides Up North publication, but after the publisher of Unveiled approached me last year, a collaboration with this stunning title was an idea that I’ve just not been able to let lie.

I’m excited and nervous in equal measure, but there was no way that I was turning down this amazing opportunity and dream role.

I’m brimming with ideas that I think are beautifully different and will push the boundaries of bridal publishing. I’ve never been busier on Pinterest’s secret boards, and my office is currently dominated by some very large mood boards. I can’t wait to get going!

And what does all this mean for Brides Up North? Well, everything and nothing, really. First up, your favourite blog isn’t going anywhere. I’ll be here, sharing inspirational real weddings, fashion features, supplier showcases and personal posts on a double daily basis. Forever.  Or until Kim Kardashian really does break the internet. We’re actually working on expanding our team to support an increased editorial schedule, more Brides Up North branded events, some very special styled shoots and even a Brides Up North You-Tube channel (watch out for that one!).

2015 is the year that we plan to get bigger, better and more beautiful.

I’m hopeful that the diversity and opportunity that comes from heading up a print title will also fuel and further creativity and contacts for our online content too.  As well as having my finger firmly on the pulse of all the prettiest content and news from the bridal front line, I’ll also be sharing behind the scenes gossip and editorial insights with my online readers.

My first issue of Unveiled goes to print in July 2015 and I’m so excited to get started.  Until then, I’ll keep you updated as to how it’s all going right here, or you can follow my progress via our social media channels over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you’re an industry reader who’d like to work with either Brides Up North or Unveiled, I’d love to hear from you.  You can contact me here. 

2015. let’s do this!

Is it too early for a glass of Champagne?

To check out previous issues of Unveiled, click here and here.

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Unveiled 1

Unveiled 3

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