Brides Up North

notes from the east coast mainline…

November 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Standing at the station

^another no-makeup selfie for the archives^

I’m hoping that this quick blog feature – fired across the internets courtesy of East Coast Wifi – will make it onto your screens this morning, but as I’ve spent 24 hours without coverage back at Brides Up North HQ due to some BT mast works, and the usual dip-in, dip-out nature of on-train signal, confidence isn’t at an all time high.  Fingers crossed.

Another week, another journey to the smoke, and this time for the esteemed Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards.  We are absolutely thrilled to have been nominated as best wedding blogamong a really glittering line up of top blogs, and can’t wait to celebrate with our industry colleagues this evening.

Tonight’s just a little bit special.

Not only are we up for the Award, but we’re also using the occasion to celebrate a fabulous 4 years in business (my pride in which I talked about yesterday, before the lines were cut!).  My husband – usually on babysitting duty when I’m on official blog business – is my date for the evening, and I’ve been promised Champagne, whether we win or not!

I’ve also got a really very lovely outfit for tonight, and I’ve the privilege of being dressed by two of my wonderful sponsors, the gorgeous Charlotte Balbier and Charlotte Mills, both of who are up for their own accolades this evening.  Both have reworked some of their beautiful bridal designs in sleek and chic jet black, just for me.

*pinches self*

I’m one very lucky girl, I know. I’ll be tweeting lots of piccys later, plus all the gossip from Perfect Wedding’s jazz-era inspired soiree. Make sure to watch our Twitter feed this evening.

I’m signing off for now, and hoping that the Wifi Gods are looking favourably on us…

Wish me luck!

Julia x

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now we are 4.

November 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime


Can you believe our pretty little corner of the internet turns 4 years old this week?! I hope you’ll join me in a glass of something fizzy as we say happy birthday Brides Up North!

It’s been another amazing year here at wedding blog HQ, and I still have to pinch myself when I think how far we’ve come from the first few tentative posts tapped out in my spare room during the summer of 2010.  We “launched” – and I use those inverted commas very seriously indeed – on the day of the Royal Engagement that November to almost overnight success (ever the opportunist!), and I’ve never looked back.  After leaving my job as a lawyer the following autumn to concentrate on expanding the blog and brand on a full time basis, our first events season swiftly followed in the spring of 2012.  Now three years, six seasons and almost 60 events down, I think I deserve our fourth birthday cupcake!

Cat Hepple Photography

Usually, when people look back from a milestone, they say things like “It’s flown by!” or “It seems like just yesterday that…”.  Well, this is absolutely not the case for me.  I’ve (we’ve, for I’ve a fabulous little team around me now) have packed so much into the last four years that it feels like forty.  It’s been hard work.  Writing, sourcing, editing, styling, planning, selling, promoting, producing, managing, directing… it’s been busy.  But it’s been amazing.

Cat Hepple Photography

I’m so grateful for the way in which this industry and our brides have supported what we’re all about here at Brides Up North.  We love stylish weddings.  In fact, stylish weddings are pretty much all that we’re about here,  but we like them to be local too.  We strive to support and promote the amazing local suppliers right there on our readers’ doorsteps, show off what they can do, and make them available to you for your wedding day.  A wedding day that looks set to be very special indeed.

Every year at this time, I take a while to reflect at how far we’ve come, and every year I’m astounded to see the progress from the last. There are times when I’ve thought that it couldn’t get any better, but it does.  I love my job, my team and my brand, and I love you, my readers, who make what we’re doing possible, and make it count.

Cat Hepple Photography

And before I go all get anymore Gwyneth Paltrow on your asses, I better launch right into our traditional recap of the year that was.  It’s been busy, so as usual, excuse me for any omissions.

I’ve some really exciting news to share with you before our seasonal break over Christmas, so watch these pages for that.  Let me just say, it looks like 2015 is going to be an even more exciting year than this one.

Cat Hepple Photography

But first, that fizz and that cupcake please, Happy Birthday Brides Up North, this is the year that was…

We left you last in October 2013 having won a Wedding Blog Award!  We took home Wedding Magazine’s prize for “Best Big Day Inspiration” and were very proud indeed.  It boded well for our fourth year…

In November 2013 we wrapped up an immense events season with knockout exhibitions at The National Railway Museum and The Bowdon Rooms, before I packed my home (and 8 month old daughter) into a backpack and headed off to support my husband who was working in the Southern Hemisphere for a couple of months.

Winter tan and a spot of judging for The Bridal Buyer Awards, Wedding Industry Awards and The National UK Blog Awards under my belt, we arrived home in February 2014, ready for another events season to kick off. Columns and features appeared in regional glossies Belle Bridal Magazine, Hitched Magazine and Etc Magazine, and we hosted our first grand wedding exhibition of 2014 at Hardwick Hall Hotel.

March 2014 and we were into exhibition season proper… stops at Allerton Castle, Ramside Hall and The Mansion kept our weekends busy, and I was invited to act as Official Blogger for The North West Wedding Show at Event City, Manchester. The inspiration was going viral!

In April 2014 I styled and directed a shoot involving some of the finest wedding industry suppliers in Yorkshire, and put the final wheels in motion for our big and beautiful blog and directory rebrand.  Can anyone actually remember now what the ‘old’ Brides Up North used to look like?  I’m not sure I can! We also enjoyed gorgeous branded events at Nostell Priory and The Bowdon Rooms.

In May 2014 we concluded our spring season with a set of stunning shows at the lovely Hilltop Country House, The Alnwick Garden and Middleton Lodge, enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the new bridal-wear collections at White Gallery 2014 and welcomed our fabulous Features Writer Rachel to the Brides Up North team to fuel our double daily dose of wedding pretty here online. What would we do without our Rach?

June and July 2014 were spent with our heads down, fine tuning the details for our site rebrand, which we were proud to unveil to much outpouring of love, encouragement and support.  I love our new look, and it seems like you do to – blog hits, social media support and bridal registrations for our wedding events are noticeably much higher than ever.  We also got busy launching our popular Brides Up North Facebook Group (have you joined yet) and started taking Pinterest more seriously, pinning to inspire both our readers and our future work.  Our boards can be seen here.

In August 2014, a brief (and lovely) family holiday was made even better when we celebrated being nominated for not one, not two, but three coverted industry awards – we were nominated for a Cosmopolitan Blog Award 2014 (“Best Wedding Blog”), in Wedding Magazine’s Wedding Blog Awards 2014 (“Best City Wedding Blog”) and the Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards (“Best Wedding Blog”). We also won several nods in the Wedding Industry Experts Awards.

September 2014 arrived and it was time for another flurry of print features with columns and features in a host of glossies including Unveiled Magazine, and to head into event season, with Brides Up North branded exhibitions at Ramside Hall, Hilltop Country House and Hardwick Hall.  I reprised my coveted role as Official Blogger for the North West Wedding Fair and I was also proud to host the launch party for our new industry venture, The Circle, with some very special industry colleagues and which remains in earnest development.

October 2014 hit the ground running, our busiest month yet, with events at The Mansion, The Alnwick Garden, Nostell Priory, Allerton Castle and Middleton Lodge, and a quick succession of cocktail fuelled trips to the smoke to attend some seriously swanky awards ceremonies.  We were over the moon to be Highly Commended in the Best City Blog Category at The Wedding Blog Awards.  Snaps to us!

November 2014 has started as 2014 seems to mean to go on, with parties and fireworks! This week we’re off to The Perfect Wedding Awards, and we’ve just concluded our events season with a very twinkly, very lovely show at The Bowdon Rooms. Exhibitor sales and bridal registrations are open for 2015 - with some brand new venues- and Rachel and I are bursting with features ideas for taking our online offering to the next level.  Our brand new media pack lands shortly, so anyone interested should drop me a line.

Cat Hepple Photography

I’ll let you know that ‘big news’ as soon as I’m able, and until then, raise a glass.

here’s to you.

Love you, #jointhenorthernrevolution

Julia x

Images by Cat Hepple Photography

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TWIA 2015 have landed!

November 10th, 2014 | Julia Braime


The Wedding Industry Awards


Brides Up North has been really proud to support The Wedding Industry Awards since their inception, and this year I have been honoured to take my place on the esteemed Judging Panel for the fourth year running.

The Wedding Industry Awards recognise and reward excellence in our stunning UK wedding industry, and as you know, I’m all about shining a light on brilliance – on a local, regional and national level.

I’ve already spent hours this month pouring over all the entries in my designated category (this year I’m working on the “Special Touch” award) and am really excited to see the regional results – of every category! – announced this week, before the glitzy main event in January 2015.

Julia Head Shot High Res

This year, I’ve also another job to add to my list, as I join the TWIA Official Blog Partners (I’m representing the North East and the North West) to bring you all the news and gossip from our regional front line. This year’s awards are going to be bigger and better than ever and I can’t wait to share the excitement with you.


Tonight, I’m slipping on some glittering ‘Choos to join the very best of the North East wedding industry, as we hear who has taken home the gongs at the regional awards event at our beautiful (Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition) venue, Middleton Lodge. Then tomorrow, its over to Sandhole Oak Barn, as we learn who is crowned the best in their fields in the North West.

To check out the regional shortlists in all their glory, click here.  Now there’s a talented bunch!

These swanky soirees will be a fantastic opportunity to rub shoulders with others at the top of their game and raise a cheeky glass to the best industry there is to work in.The regional winners of each of The Wedding Industry Awards categories will be announced live on stage by TWIA founder Damian Bailey, following which the winners will be given photo opportunities and interviews with local and national press (that’s me)!

With some industry colleagues covering the other regions, expect our Facebook and Twitter feeds to be awash with all the news, as it happens. Make sure you are following live for all the action, and to see which industry talents you should be booking up for your big day.

Only a few hours left to get glam and until all is revealed!

Watch this space.

To find out more about the TWIA and how they work, click here.


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the final countdown: The Perfect Wedding Awards 2014

October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

(c) Cat Hepple Photography

It’s been a phenomenal year for us here at Brides Up North HQ so far.  A brand new look, more fabulous sponsors getting behind us than ever before, a fan-blooming-tastic spring and autumn exhibition schedule, and a hat-trick of awards nominations!

I’ve said it (wistfully!) before, but I used to think a blogger’s life would go a little like this: sleep late, RSVP to a few party invitations, full hair and make up, coffee with beautiful industry friends, a bit of light writing, meet the husband for cocktails and skip off to bed… how wrong I was.

Running and writing a full editorial schedule, organising and styling shoots, managing twenty wedding exhibitions, sales, admin, marketing, keeping on top of a mountain of emails, taxes, VAT, meetings with sponsors, working on new projects, liaising with the press and PRs, freelance features, social media, venue visits whilst simultaneously nurturing a young family… and remembering to brush your hair in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, It’s fun, fulfilling, exciting and no day is ever the same.  But its not quite the Carrie Bradshaw life I thought it might be.

So it’s with pride and pleasure that I celebrate the fabulous bits.

I’ve already told you about our reaching the finals in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, and our  “Highly Commended” accolade in the “Best City Blog” category in The Wedding Blog Awards, and now there’s just one glitzy ceremony left to attend!

Perfect Wedding Magazine have gone and absolutely made my year, by shortlisting us in the “Best Wedding Blog” category in their prestigious industry awards.

Despite all the events, networking parties and the constant conversation on social media, blogging can be a pretty secular profession, so this support really does mean a lot.  It tells me that you like what I do, what I’m striving towards and that I should keep on doing it.

I’ve shared this exciting news already on the blog, but as the voting closing date approaches next week, I’d be ever so grateful if you could spare a sec or two to vote for Brides Up North.  The line up in our category is pretty stellar, so this Northern Revolution needs some people power.

Click here to vote for Brides Up North in the Perfect Wedding Awards

(If you needed any encouragement, every person that does is entered into a special draw to win an amazing one-night break for themselves and a guest at one of 18 luxurious spa venues in the UK, a delicious three-course evening meal, breakfast, a 60-minute spa treatment for each guest and a cream tea courtesy of Q Hotels.  Nice.)

Voting closes 29th October 2014.

CHP small no logo IMG_4364-4

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highly commended at the #WeddingBlogAwards

October 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Wedding Blog Awards 2014

This last week has been crazy town.

And god, do my feet hurt.  Memo to self: buy some flat shoes woman!

It’s been a total whirlwind, with four stunning Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions in Leeds, Northumberland, Knaresborough and Richmond under our bejewelled belts (that’s almost 200 of the most talent wedding suppliers in the North right there for the taking), and four train journeys back and forth from the ol’smoke, to attend not only the Cosmpolitan Blog Awards last Tuesday – nominated in the Best Wedding Blog category – and Wedding Magazine’s Wedding Blog Awards on Friday at The Savoy.

Yes.  That was just in the last week.

Rachel and the Leafy Couture girls will testify, I almost needed to be dragged from The Savoy kicking and screaming.  I’ve found my own personal piece of heaven, right there.

It has been absolutely amazing.

Wedding Blog Awards 2014 at the Savoy

The Brides Up North team had an absolute ball catching up with all our blogger friends and the lovelies at Wedding Magazine, fangirled presenter Mark Francis of Made In Chelsea for the second year running (“The North, what’s that, dahlings?”), sipped way too much Savoy champagne – but balanced it with copious canapes and cupcakes - and took home a highly commended prize in the Best City Blog category.

We’ll take that, thank you very much!

Wedding Blog Awards 2014 with Mark Francis

Thank you to each and every one of you who voted for Brides Up North and show such immense support of the blog and brand both online and at our inspirational wedding events.  We couldn’t do it without you.

Today, I am taking a day off, putting my feet up (maybe) and hanging out with my little girl (definitely), leaving you with a selection of iPhone candids from what was a truly fabulous Friday night.

Have a lovely Monday, and I’ll see you on the other side.

julia x

Wedding Blog Awards 2014 Photobooth

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written in the stars. supplier showcase: Calligraphy For Weddings

October 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime

Watercolour calligraphy credit Vickerstaff Photography (12)

This afternoon I’m thrilled to hand these pretty pages over to a very talented lady, lovely Brides Up North Sponsor Claire of Calligraphy For Weddings (and English Wedding Blog fame).

She’s here to put pen to paper and make your wedding stationery and accessories super beautiful and gorgeously personal.  She’ll even write your love letters for you, how’s that for service?

Claire is kindly offering Brides Up North readers a 10% discount from her Etsy Shop throughout October. Quote code LOVEBUN when you order! 

Let’s meet her…

Images supplied by Calligraphy For Weddings and as credited where relevant in our gallery.

Calligraphy 4 vintage love letter (4)

Introduce yourself and Calligraphy For Weddings?

I’m Claire, I’m thirty-something and I work full time as a calligrapher, specialising in weddings and gifts for anniversaries and special occasions. I have the best job in the world! I live on the edge of the Lake District in a character apartment by the seaside. I have stained glass and original features, but I still write on the walls. I love my life, my surroundings – walking on the beach is my daily ‘commute’ – and the way my boyfriend calls me his ‘Beach Girl’. Calligraphy for Weddings has been going since 2005, and I’ve written for hundreds of brides and grooms, event organisers and brands. I’m known for my work with Kirstie Allsopp and I’m so lucky to have my own little craft business.

What wedding calligraphy services do you offer for brides to be? 

I offer a full calligraphy service for couples who have their own stationery (whether it’s bought or DIY) and I also sell wedding stationery, from invitation suites and collections through to place names, table plans and mirror calligraphy. Everything is online in my Etsy shop.

The most recent additions to my wedding calligraphy shop are kraft and calligraphy quirky wedding invites with matching stationery, which are all personalised for every client. These are designer invites from an independent calligraphy business – professionally designed and printed, with handwritten calligraphy elements. Your guests will adore them, and you can continue the kraft and calligraphy theme right through to your wedding day with reception stationery to match your invites. Prices start from just £2 for invitations.

I also take on bespoke commissions and I write mirror table plans – this has been a massively successful part of my business in 2014 and I love mirror calligraphy, writing on windows and chalkboards! I also write calligraphy backdrops – the more unusual the better. I love writing song lyrics, poems and larger commissions too.

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Tell us about your vintage love letters?

The vintage love letters are an absolute joy to write and make a perfect wedding day gift or – even better – a lovely present and keepsake for your first (paper) wedding anniversary. I use the highest quality writing paper, which is aged and then entirely handwritten in a 19th century script. Every letter is personalised, with the option of adding stamps and wax seals, ribbons and gold twine – they’re a real labour of love and as well as being wonderful gifts they’ve been used on photoshoots around the UK and even in France!

Calligraphy 4 vintage love letter (5)

What if brides want to try calligraphy for themselves?

I love it when brides (and grooms) are keen to try calligraphy, and with modern ‘quirky’ styles being really popular now I’ve launched a range of calligraphy starter kits for absolute beginners. I’ve also written a book which takes beginners through very first steps in modern, quirky calligraphy – from preparing the pen to some really simple exercises with examples – and all aimed at fun styles rather than the traditional formal scripts.

There are two starter kits: the luxe version has more samplers, white ink, gift tags to practice on and is personalised.

Calligraphy 5 modern starter kit (2)

What sets your business apart from your competitors?

Customer service and experience set me apart. I wrap every calligraphy order like a present, so it’s lovely to receive. I answer all of my emails and phone calls personally. I manage my website, write my blog and look after my Facebook page. One of the best things about Calligraphy for Weddings, for me, is getting to know my customers. It’s never a faceless transaction: every customer gets a personal service, every name is written with meticulous attention to detail and the most important thing to me is that my customers are happy with everything I give them – and the same goes for wedding guests! The calligraphy quality has to be exceptional – and I know it is, because I know how many wedding guests take their place cards home!

Who would be a “Calligraphy For Weddings” bride?

Any bride who loves paper, pretty details or special touches should consider adding calligraphy to her special day. DIY brides can add the perfect finishing touch to invites and envelopes with handwritten calligraphy names. Classic weddings can incorporate calligraphy with more formal scripts on envelopes and for reception stationery, and quirky weddings look even more amazing with handwritten signs, mirrors and name tags. Every bride is different, and every wedding has its own style. Calligraphy comes in a rainbow of flavours and there’s one to delight every bride!

Calligraphy 1 kraft wedding collection (3)

Calligraphy 1 kraft wedding collection (1)

Calligraphy 1 kraft wedding collection (4)

Tell us about some of the industry connections you have made and shoots that you have worked on since launching your business?

Through my wedding blog I’ve worked with hundreds of wedding photographers as well as writing calligraphy for many stationery designers and even branding. I designed a logo for Walker & Walker Photographers and have been involved in shoots with the amazing Chris Hanley Photography, lovely Vickerstaff Photography, for Petra Opperman, with Karen Flower Photography, at Aspire Photography Training, and featured on Junebug Weddings, Brides Up North and Love My Dress blogs. There are too many to list – I love being involved in styled shoots as they fire my imagination and inspire new products and designs!

Tell us about some amazing weddings that you have worked on and the lettering and products that you have created?

Most recently I worked on Sophie and Hamish’s Lake District wedding with a 6ft mirror for their table plan – it was incredible, a real challenge and the final product was amazing! I’ve been writing wedding certificates and vows in calligraphy over the summer – all with personalised designs and different every time. I love those. I’ve written thousands of invitations and place name cards as well as quirky wedding signs which I send across the UK, to the US, Australia, across Europe and all over the world. I posted a poem to Dubai this morning… it’s amazing knowing my calligraphy travels so far! Oh, and a highlight of my summer was writing riddles in French for Regis, who was planning the most romantic proposal and asked me to write out riddles on my best Italian card stock which would lead his partner (now fiancee!) to a ring… she said yes!

Calligraphy 4 vintage love letter (2)

What have been your professional highlights to date?

I’ve just come back from teaching calligraphy skills workshops at Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair in London. My work with Kirstie has been a delight for years: we’ve collaborated on several projects since Kirstie styled a vintage military wedding back in 2012, and I’ve featured in two of her books and TV series. (See “Kirstie Allsopp stroked my calligraphy on the telly!“) I’ve also written for Manchester United, and I was hired to write Steve Gerrard’s wedding place name cards too!

Calligraphy 2 modern kraft invites (3)

Calligraphy 2 modern kraft invites (2)

Calligraphy 2 modern kraft invites (5)

What are your favourite wedding looks for 2014?  What trends do you see emerging?

I have a thing for kraft invitations, which have been ever so popular this year. I like anything quirky so long as it’s beautifully designed: creative stationery packs and peculiar shapes and textures can be really exciting. I also love minimal design, so beautiful type and creative lettering with lots of lovely spacing really excite me. As far as general wedding trends go, I’m a fan of big neon letters, weddings in cinemas and theatres, sperry tents and jumbled up mismatched flowers. I think glitter and sequins will continue to be a big part of weddings in 2015, and the homespun look will be popular with UK brides. I’d love to see large scale backdrops feature in real weddings here as they do in the US – and I’d love to write some!

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

I keep my prices as low as I can and offer plenty of options for couples on a budget. Place cards start from £1.10 each, invitations are from just £2 and table plans start from £75. Calligraphy isn’t as expensive as many people think, and it’s all about the time it takes to write everything for you. Wedding readings and poems are priced from 75p per word, which gives you more flexibility in what you order.

A top tip: if you’d like to order your wedding readings or first dance lyrics in calligraphy, and want to save money, select your favourite extract or paragraph!

Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?

I’ll be delighted to offer Brides Up North readers a 10% discount from my Etsy shop throughout October. Quote code LOVEBUN when you order!

Watercolour calligraphy credit Vickerstaff Photography (1)

Where are you located and will you travel?

I’m on the edge of the Lake District and almost all of my calligraphy orders are mailed to my customers. I am a leading world expert on protective packaging, with shares in tissue paper, bubble wrap, Ecoflow and boxes. Your order will arrive safely, wherever you are! Mirrors and glass are the only things I can’t post. I can travel to venues or we can arrange to meet so I can collect your mirrors… get in touch if you’re interested!

How can Brides Up North see examples of your work or find out more? 

I’m all over the internet, with examples of my calligraphy on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, my website and calligraphy blog, my wedding blog and other wedding blogs… once you find me it’s hard to avoid my calligraphy I’m afraid!

My website | Facebook |Pinterest | Instagram | My Blog | YouTube

Calligraphy 1 kraft wedding collection (7)

Calligraphy 1 kraft wedding collection (6)

Calligraphy 1 kraft wedding collection (1)

Tell us about your blog, English Wedding?

The English Wedding Blog is all about creativity: my dream is to curate an online space for couples to get inspired by real weddings, shoots and the latest in wedding design – with a real focus on English and UK weddings and suppliers. The English Wedding Blog was born in November 2009 to showcase what makes weddings in this country so great. The site is updated daily and is full of inspiration and advice for brides in the UK and for anglophile brides overseas. With a unique perspective from inside the UK wedding industry, English Wedding also focuses on the brightest and best new talents in all aspects of wedding design, with a special focus on real weddings by the UK’s finest wedding photographers.

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the editorial wedding. a workshop for A/W2014 with Cat Hepple Photography

September 15th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography Workshops (12)

It’s been a really inspirational week or so here at Brides Up North HQ.  We’ve kicked off our lovely autumn season of Luxury Wedding Exhibitions with a really beautiful (and record attendance) bridal show at Hilltop Country House yesterday, launched our exciting new industry concept, The Circle, at a glittering party last week, and have been making travel plans to attend the three award ceremonies that Brides Up North is nominated in this year (The Wedding Blog Awards (“Best City Blog”), The Cosmopolitan Blog Awards (“Best Wedding Blog”) and the Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards (“Best Wedding Blog”), if you’re asking…)

There’s something in the air, and I’ve definitely got that raring to go, ‘back to school’ feeling.

Cat Hepple Photography Workshops (7)

One professional engagement that I’m really looking forward to is joining my friend and industry colleague Cat Hepple at another of her wonderful workshops for wedding photographers.  I was lucky enough to speak at Cat’s last event and catch her in action, and left feeling really energised and extremely inspired.  This time I’ll be reprising my session on blogging, social media and offering my insider advice to help you to get your work published in blogs and magazines.

This girl definitely has the golden touch, and I’d love for you to join Cat and I at her next workshop on Tuesday 23rd September 2014 at the gorgeous Priory Cottages, North Yorkshire.

Images by Cat Hepple Photography, shot on location at her last workshop.

Cat Hepple Photography Workshops (6)

Cat says: Do you long to have a more editorial and fashion feel to your wedding images, but don’t know how to achieve this with your couples? Do you struggle with posing, ideas, working under wedding time pressures?

Cat Hepple Photography Workshops (10)

My one day workshops for photographers show you my techniques on a wedding day, from directing my couples, to working with light and creating a consistent editorial feel to the full collection of images.

Other topics covered include;

- How to market yourself to clients who want the fashion feel
- Branding and visual identity
- Inspiration
- Equipment and technical approach

There’s always a live shoot on the day, allowing you to build your wedding portfolio and advice on getting published too.

The next workshop is on the 23rd September 2014, at the Priory Cottages, North Yorkshire, and I’d love you to join us.

Visit Cat’s website to find our more and to book your place. Click here.

Cat Hepple Photography Workshops (2)

Here’s what some of our last delegates said from our spring course…

“I absolutely loved the day at the workshop with Cat!

We were completely spoilt beyond my expectations…. through the thoughtful little touches such as our handwritten letters, cute notebooks and stellar food, alongside the fact that Cat had gathered a fantastic team to produce the styled shoot and help us not just get some really specific and useful practice but also really high quality images to use afterwards! All of this made me feel really valued and respected, and totally relaxed in that environment to chat and learn.

On the shoot, it was great having the time to break down the thought process of how an image is made. There was so much attention to detail, and I really began to understand why each of these things mattered, which I know will help me to remember the issues in the future. Cat was incredibly generous in sharing her knowledge and ideas, and we all had a lot of fun at the same time.

The information before and following the shoot was massively thorough as well. I had no idea we were going to cover such ground, but honing in on a developing this specific ‘editorial’ style it became apparent that that would affect all aspects of your business! With this at the core of the discussions it felt like everything was that much more relevant, so instead of general advice, I was working out exactly what I would need to do next for me, which was refreshing and rewarding.

As a bonus it was great to get to know some more people in the industry! Julia, you were as generous with your knowledge and attention as Cat was and I couldn’t be more grateful! I’m feeling very energised still right now and keen to apply what I’ve learnt. Would definitely recommend the workshop to anyone considering!”

from Eleanor Woodruff

“I would just like to take this opportunity to offer a heart felt thank you for allowing me to attend such a wonderful day.

You made us all feel so very welcome, and the whole day was perfect – from the Venue, Styling, masses of information & guidance… right down to the smallest details like the bespoke stationery – such a lovely touch!

I particularly enjoyed the section where we explored the images we had chosen, this really was a brilliant opportunity to take a step back and consider our own styles and where we aspire to be.

A huge part of the day which I took away with me was the guidance around use of light & posing…I loved seeing you in action and am already putting into practice a lot of what you taught us.

I loved the fact that the day was really interactive – and not just a case of being talked at. Julia coming along was also really great – and such a brilliant opportunity to meet her in person and hear what she had to say.

I have followed your work for such a long time now – and am thrilled that your Workshop lived up to and surpassed my expectations!

I really do want to take my business to the next level and the course has really given me the confidence and tools to do this.”

from Hayley Baxter

Cat Hepple Photography Workshops (16)

That link again? Click here.

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the circle: be a wedding industry insider

September 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime

The Circle_Master_strapline_WO rose gold

A glittering press party at Media City, Manchester this Wednesday night saw the launch of The Circle - a brand new concept in creativity, training and connectivity for wedding and lifestyle businesses.

I’m so proud to stand along my industry friends (who also just happen to be the very best entrepreneurs in the business), Charlotte Balbier, Jonny Draper and Howard Wing, as we launch our new concept.

Finally… I’m allowed to talk about it! (It’s been killing me).

circle -4

Just so you know who you are dealing with here, Charlotte Balbier is one of the UK’s leading bridal gown designers; Jonny Draper is an award winning photographer and boutique owner; Howard Wing is the most in-demand wedding entertainer in the UK and I’m the Editor In Chief of one rather lovely wedding blog… all four of us have won numerous coveted awards and are recognised for excellence and experience in our specialisms within the industry. (*blush*)

Over the years (and over the odd cocktail or ten!) we’ve discussed the need for a club or collective – an inspiring and exciting space, comprising a combination of special events, practical training and online membership – where wedding industry suppliers can meet to exchange insider ideas, secrets and knowledge with the aim of boosting business and raising standards, profiles, contacts and turnover.

Our answer?

The Circle. Founded 10th September 2014.

Following Wednesday’s big reveal (an exciting and nail biting evening explaining the scope of our plans to assembled press luminaries like editors from Brides Magazine, Perfect Wedding Magazine… and other industry big wigs – official photos and lots of thank yous coming soon!) The Circle are now proud to announce our exclusive inaugural event, strictly limited to just 100 initial The Circle members.

Attendees should forget anything they ever knew about training days and get ready to transform or refresh the way in which they do business.

The first ever full day event is suitable for experienced industry professionals and start-ups alike and sessions packed full of insider tips and strategy will tackle topics such as brand evolution, blogging, social media wizardry, killer sales, effective networking and management, before ending the day with a VIP After Show Party.  More in-depth info about the event, The Circle’s founders and pricing info can be found over at our brand spanking new website, just live:

Inspiration is guaranteed, and surprises come as standard.

As an attendee at the February event, delegates will automatically become a year-long member of The Circle’s essential online support networks, gaining exclusive access to an immediate, priceless forum in a private space to share ideas, make referrals, win business, solve problems and generate goodwill.

When you’re in The Circle, you’re one of us.

We’d love to see wedding businesses old and new, fresh and familiar faces at our first event, strictly limited to just 100 places. Since the website went live yesterday our inbox has been pinging with booking confirmations, so we’d urge you to move quickly to avoid disappointment.

This is going to get epic, and quickly…


the 100 club

Tuesday 10th February 2015

Styal Lodge, Cheshire

9:30am till 5pm

Then After Show Party

One day to transform your wedding business.
Inspire. Apply. Connect. Elevate

Book now at


Images by Hayley Baxter Photography

Film by Silk Wedding Films

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it’s official! free entry to the North West Wedding Fair with Brides Up North (you are welcome!)

September 2nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

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

The North West Wedding Fair is taking place at EventCity, Manchester on 26th to 28th September 2014. 

Visit for more details. Brides Up North can save 1/3 off usual show prices by entering exclusive discount code NW58 at checkout.

I’ve also got a handful of FREE passes for two people 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 14th September 2014.  Bonus! Be there…

If you’re a regular around these pages, you’ll recall that last spring (doesn’t it seem like absolutely ages ago now?) I was approached by Mercury Events, the organisers of the ma-hoo-sive North West Wedding Fair, and invited act as their ‘Official Blogger’.  Quite the compliment!

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

Now, you know that we run our own Luxury Wedding Exhibitions here at Brides Up North – including two very special events in the North West this autumn – so at first I wasn’t sure… partner with the competition?  Hmm.

But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Whilst our 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. Visitors 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?

Also, 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 autumn 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 time.  And I like having fun.

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

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

I’m back this autumn, reprising my Official Blogger role.

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.

Joining me this autumn will be 150 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, Favours & Finishing Touches Marketplace, Live Entertainment Stage, Inspired Bakes Showcase, free Tasting Sessions and so much more.

I can’t wait.

Louise Bjorling wedding photography

Louise Bjorling wedding photography

Louise Bjorling wedding photography

Louise Bjorling wedding photography

Visit for more details. Remember – Brides Up North can save 1/3 off usual show prices by entering exclusive discount code NW58 at checkout, or we’ll see you for those free tickets at our Hilltop Country House event!

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just married? we’d love to hear from you!

August 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime

(c) Cat Hepple Photography

One of my very favourite parts of my job as Editor here at Brides Up North is receiving and reviewing Real Wedding submissions from my newly-wed readers and industry suppliers.  There’s nothing quite like the love and joy that radiates from the images of a couple’s big day and the palatable excitement in the accompanying email.  I’m putting this post together late on Sunday evening, and I’ve just spent the best part of the afternoon approving some very, very special submissions that I’m so looking forward to sharing with you soon.

(c) Cat Hepple Photography

I hope that those of you who visit these pages daily will come back to share your own celebrations and help to inspire the thousands of readers who pop in to see us daily.  It’s so simple to contact us with a submission – and all the details of how to do this are found permanently under the submit tab above – but now and again I like to reach out and remind you that I’d love you to get in touch.

We accept submissions from brides and grooms, photographers, planners and other wedding vendors, and as well as weddings, we also love to see engagement session photographs, couples shoots, trash the dress, cherish the dress and styled session photographs. We accept wedding submissions of all themes, sizes, religions and gay weddings.

(c) Cat Hepple Photography

If you’d like to submit your own Wedding to feature on Brides Up North all you need to do is drop us a line.

step one

Your initial contact email should include:

  • Your name and email address
  • Your Wedding venue and date
  • A brief description of your Wedding including general theme, colour scheme and any other special details
  • 5 to 10 varied images from your Wedding
  • Confirmation that your Wedding has not been submitted to any other blogs/ websites/ magazines (with the exception of the photographer’s own blog)

step two

Should Brides Up North wish to review your submission further we will require:

  • 40 to 50 high quality varied photographs – mostly in colour and without watermarks – of the day from start to finish to include stylish details of your Wedding (your photographer will be able to assist with this). I accept submissions as a ZIP file or via Dropbox only
  • Completion of the Brides Up North Wedding Interview which will be provided by email
  • Details of your photographer and any other key suppliers
  • Online exclusivity for 28 days after date of publish


(c) Cat Hepple Photography

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