Charlotte Balbier

hola! #barcelonabridalweek

May 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Barcelona Bridal Week  (1)

If you follow Brides Up North over on Facebook, Twitter or (especially) Instagram, you can’t have failed to notice that I’ve been getting a leetle bit ridiculously excited about being in Barcelona as a guest of Barcelona Bridal Week (hashtag #barcelonabridalweek).  I’m here all week as a VIP blogger partner of XXL Comunication, Barcelona Turisme and Barcelona Bridal Week, bringing you all the news from the front line of the couture catwalks as it lands… and maybe even a little backstage action too.

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I arrived late on Monday night, and since then it’s been a bit of a Barcelona Bridal whirlwind!  I was whisked straight from the airport to the grand opening of designer Miquel Suay‘s brand new flagship boutique, where a very warm welcome from the designer and his team (and their ah-may-zing gowns) awaited me, via late night tapas and a cheeky cerveza and back to my 5* lodgings in the sensational Gothic Quarter, then awoke today for a full on day of soirees and sightseeing.

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I’m here with a hand picked selection of top bloggers and media partners including the Aussie stylistas from The Lane, the lovely Lindsay of Fly Away Bride, famous US bloggers Jen of Green Wedding Shoes and Ally of Inspired By This, gorgeous Elizabeth of Bridal Musings and the fantastic Yolanda of Girls on Film, representing So You’re Getting Married.  Together we make quite a motley (albeit fabulously dressed) crew, and I’m enjoying exchanging tips (I think Jen from Green Wedding Shoes might have changed my life with her advice on email management), gossip and trend spotting with these amazing ladies.

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If today was all about the sights; a whistle-stop tour of the fashionable and quirky Born District, a tour of Casa Batllo (the beautiful Gaudi house), an amazing seafood lunch with Barcelona Turisme at La Gavina at Port Guell, a visit to the Poble Espanyol and more glasses of Cava offered my way than on my own wedding day… then this evening was all about the catwalk.

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At 6pm we headed to the Fira Gran Via for the opening show of Barcelona Bridal Week 2015, the stunning and sensational, Rosa Clara. Official press images and info will follow, but here are a few of my favourite shots. The 2016 Collection by Rosa Clara seeks to ‘emphasise the essence of female beauty’. We saw crop tops, blouses (very Olivia Palermo!) knits and beaded embroidered detailing, combined with a mixture of full and slim skirts and gorgeous fabrics like silk brocade, lace, crepe, muslin, silk organza and mikado.

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After a quick scrum backstage to meet with the directors of the show and see those gowns (and the beautiful creatures wearing them) close up, the team was whisked off to the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona for a full VIP tour of the hotel, it’s sumptuous spa and wedding facilities (again, more on this later), and treated to an exquisite evening meal… complete with the requisite three glasses of Cava… hic!

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It seems unbelievable, but we haven’t even really got started yet.  Tomorrow’s event schedule is among the craziest I have ever seen.

I have a feeling that this week is going to be one to remember, and I can’t wait to share it with you here on these pages.  Between diary updates, watch the social media feeds for live coverage and all the catwalk gossip as it happens.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (16)

Ciao for now!

All images via Instagram @bridesupnorth.

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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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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.

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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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