Charlotte Balbier

style profile: rock n roll bride

April 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Kat Williams by Shell De Mar Photography

image by Shell De Mar Photography

In the world of fashion there are those that lead, those that follow and those that don’t give a royal stuff what everyone else is wearing as they simply do things their own way. Today’s wedding superstar in our Style Profile spotlight certainly fits into the latter.  This afternoon we welcome to our pretty pages, our friend,

kat williams, founder and editor, Rock n Roll Bride blog and magazine.

Stylish Kat is known for standing out from the crowd, not only for her alternative take on weddings, but also her iconic hair (which has so far been vibrant shades of pink, blue and purple). Here the queen of quirky shares her fashion go-tos and what makes her tick in the world of weddings, which of course includes things that sparkle!

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

kat says: Well, I work from home most of the time so it’s all about comfort! I’m currently wearing sequinned sweatpants from Pink by Victoria’s Secret, a black vest from Topshop and slipper booties from Next. That’s pretty standard daily work wear I’m afraid. There’s nothing glamourous about working from your home office and I honestly think getting all dressed up is a bit of a waste of time! If I have to actually go out and see people I pretty much dress in my uniform of a patterned midi skirt or a plain maxi, a cropped and/or graphic tee and black boots! I love cropped graphic tees – most of mine come from Forever 21, ASOS and Mango. Finding a pair of the perfect black everyday wear appropriate boots is a constant quest! They need to be hard wearing, comfortable and with just the right amount of heel. I think I’m going to get the Scampy boots from Kurt Geiger next!

Kat's 9 to 5

Clockwise from left: T-shirt from ASOS| Boots from Kurt Geiger| Vest top from Topshop| Slipper boots from Next| Sweats from Victoria Secret

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

My favourite style of dress is the midi/ maxi skirt, cropped tee and boots combo, or a 50s shaped mid-length dress with some sparkly shoes. I very definitely have a ‘uniform’. I know what styles and shapes suit me so I don’t stray far from them!

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

If money was no object I’d wear a Vivienne Westwood couture gown. I saw one at their press event recently and I’m obsessed! My shoes would probably be Miu Miu, or Alexander McQueen or Charlotte Olympia. Something stand-out. And my flowers would no doubt be equally bright and colourful!

Kat's Cocktail Hour

Clockwise from left: Skirt from AQ/AQ| Shoes from Miu Miu| Skirt from Ted Baker| Leather jacket from Ted Baker| Skirt from Ted Baker

Where do you get your fashion inspiration from e.g. celebrities, magazines, catwalks, Instagram?

I love Katy Perry’s style but really I know what does and does not suit me so I’m not REALLY that influenced by what any other people wear. Something that looks amazing on someone else won’t necessarily work with my shape.

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

Photography, because it’s the only thing that remains once the wedding is over (as well as the marriage of course!)

What is your favourite high street store and online shopping site?

ASOS all the way. I also love Ted Baker.

Who is your favourite bridal gown designer and why?

Fur Coat No Knickers are amazing. I love their Flaunt It collection which are made in the UK and based off the vintage dresses they became so well known for. I also adore Vivienne Westwood, and Claire Pettibone, but I also love the idea of getting something custom made.

What has been your biggest fashion splurge so far and was it worth it?

I don’t like to spend too much on frivolous items that you’ll only wear a couple of times, my biggest splash was probably £400 on a pair of sparkly Miu Mius. But I think investing in an amazing leather jacket and comfortable, well-made boots is always going to be money well spent.

Kat's Honeymoon Picks

Clockwise from top left: Trainers from Nike| Dress from DKNY| Face cream from Dior| Cardigan from Urban Outfitters| Face serum from Boots

Where would be your dream honeymoon destination and why? What top five items would you pack in your case?

I travel a lot with work and by this point I’ve probably visited most places on my bucket list! I recently got back from Vegas though and I LOVE it there. I always over pack when I travel and end up bringing things I never get around to wearing, but some things I can’t live without are good skincare and hair items (travel does play havoc with your skin and my bleached hair needs constant attention, I can’t wing it and use hotel shampoo!) and comfortable clothes for the plane.

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

Sweatpants! Sad but true.

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on air.

March 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

BBC Radio Tees

Interrupting our usual blogging schedule to bring you this special broadcast

Following our plus one debate on the wedding blog last Friday, we were invited to join the argument over guest list difficulties on BBC Radio Tees yesterday morning. You can listen again at the BBC website, I join the show at around about 50 minutes in.  And talk.  A lot.

Click here to catch up.

You can catch up on our original debate here.

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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.

2015-02-25_0001

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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