Charlotte Balbier

girls only: the wedding edit.

October 9th, 2017 | Julia Braime

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As bloggers, we’re the first to rave about how useful the internet is in sourcing wedding suppliers and gaining glorious big day ideas. However, we also value the importance of meeting suppliers face to face, hence our epic season of Brides Up North wedding fairs held at some of the finest venues across the North (if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our upcoming events here.)

While we’ll be taking a one-weekend break from the wedding fair scene on Sunday 29th October, we have details of a massively swoon-worthy event staged by our fabulous Sponsor, LOVE Bridal Boutique, at gorgeous Cheshire wedding venue, Styal Lodge – well we wouldn’t leave your diaries with a gap in now, would we?!

Now in its fourth year, The Wedding Edit is a strictly girls-only event, that unveils LOVE’s latest dress collections providing heaps of heavenly styling inspiration. Furthermore, a hand-picked selection of North West suppliers will be in attendance to showcase their talents, and we hear there are some tasty culinary treats in store too!

Here to give us the full low-down on the event, including details on how to get your hands on tickets (which are free!), is owner of LOVE Bridal Boutique, our mate, Emma Draper…

Images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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When is the event taking place and what will it include?

emma says: The Wedding Edit will take place from 12 noon until around 3pm on Sunday 29th October. The main event will be the catwalk show where we are proudly showcasing the latest collections from Sarah Seven, Sassi Holford, Enzoani, and our new collection from Savannah Miller will make its debut.

Brides and their guests will be welcomed with drinks and throughout the course of the event will have the opportunity to chat about all things wedding with some of the very best wedding suppliers in the North West, who will be there to offer their advice, guidance and inspiration.

What suppliers will be involved in the day?

We, LOVE Bridal Boutique will be hosting the event at Styal Lodge and will be joined by Jonny Draper Photography; The Flower Lounge and The Soiree Stylists, who will dressing the event; The Switch Entertainment, featuring Ellie Sax, Laserboy Wonder and Sash Sings; Flossy and Leigh, who will be styling our models and will be on hand to talk bridal hair and makeup; Pink Pepper, who will be providing stunning edible treats – and we will have a little surprise for our guests too! Other suppliers include Cakes by Yolk, Whitfield and Ward, Adam Wing Films, Lucy Wright Events, The Word is Love, Hipswing and Eleventh Heaven by Ann McAvney, plus shoes from Harriet Wilde and Charlotte Mills will feature on the catwalk.

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What can brides-to-be planning their wedding get out of the event?

Strictly a girls-only event, brides-to-be and their guest will have the opportunity to see all of the brand-new collections that have only just arrived in store.

They will be able to take inspiration on how dresses can be styled, looking at accessories, hair and makeup as well as get a real sense of how the dresses move and fit, off the hanger.

My team and I will be on hand to chat about the dresses and the process/timescales involved in buying a wedding dress as well as the opportunity to book an exclusive appointment.

Will there be any special treats in store?

Cocktails on tap, goody bags for our brides, treats to sample, heaps of inspiration and plenty of selfie opportunities – a definite Instagrammable event!

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What are you looking forward to most about the event?

Seeing the look on our guests faces when we unveil our new collections! Now in its fourth year, we still can’t get enough of the vibe and eager anticipation as everyone takes their seats for the catwalk show.

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How do brides register for the event?

Email hello@lovebridalboutique.co.uk to reserve a space on our guest list. Limited number of places available so be quick!

For more brides can also visit our website or follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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lookbook: fit n’ flare

October 4th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Charlotte Balbier - Sasha-LR

You know us, readers: an edgy bride makes our hearts sing, we adore wedding creative cool and Fashion-with-a-Capital-F, but there will always be a special place in our hearts reserved for the classic, the timeless, the elegant. As the formidable Coco Chanel said, “Fashion changes, only style remains the same,” and, for lots of brides-to-be, the temptation of the classic often wins over the contemporary when it comes to their wedding gown. After all, those photographs will adorn mantelpieces and be pored over by future grandchildren in the years to come, and many of us want them to have longevity.

And the dress that sums up Coco’s motto of enduring style best of all? It’s got to be the A-line. Ask a little girl to draw a wedding dress and the A-line is what she’ll invariably produce – a bodice which fits to the waist and flares at the skirt. This design staple is feminine, romantic and almost universally flattering – what’s not to like?

Main images, Charlotte Balbier.

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So, if an A-line ticks the boxes for you, where to start? Well, how about with Brides Up North’s very own Lead Sponsor, Charlotte Balbier. We’ve previewed Bohemian Blush here previously, and the Klara gown from that very collection is a classic A-line beauty, with full chiffon skirt (perfect for twirling and swirling, dancing fans), but this modesty is offset by a sheer bodice and stunning lace applique.

This combination of demure and daring is clearly a Balbier ‘thing’, with the Tuesday gown going for the same feel – a revealing Bardot lace neckline with a fabulously elegant chiffon skirt – just heavenly.

Then there’s the Romy – a boho dream of a dress with a small A-line skirt if you want something a little less princessy. We think the long cape is a stunning detail and destined to set a Balbier bride apart from the rest.

Charlotte Balbier - Sonnett-LR

It’s hard to go wrong with directional bridal brand Pronovias, and a quick peep at their current ranges throws up a bevy of A-line lovelies. The Regina’s tattoo neckline adds fashion interest, whereas the cap sleeves and flowing skirt are classically romantic. In fact, we can’t decide between that and the Reina, with its tattoo-style bodice and satisfyingly swishy chiffon skirt.

The Rumba is a self-confessed adventure in modern bridal design, taking a classic A-line gown and showing how it can be “reinterpreted to create an original, sensual and very modern look”. More tattoo-style bodice and sleeve work with a full skirt and sweetheart neckline; the perfect fusion of classic and contemporary.

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best dressed: tips on wedding dress shopping

September 7th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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image source, photography by Jess Yarwood Photography

Following the summer, we’re welcoming a new surge of readers to the blog *waves*, mostly whom accepted a proposal while away on their holidays (you lucky things!). A good way to avoid those post-holiday blues setting in would be to throw yourselves into the wedding planning – and girls, we’re here to help.

Though daunting, it’s also a very exciting time as you begin to piece together your dream day. In the most sensible of terms, we’d advise you to start off by looking for, and securing, your top choice of setting and photographer – however, we know how easy it is to get caught up in the desire to dress shop!

I mean this isn’t just any outfit; as a main focal point of the day this is a moment to shine in front of your family; outdo, we mean, impress your friends, and feel amazing, not ashamed, when you come to show your children, and possibly, your grandchildren, your wedding album in years to come.

So, in preparation of your boutique-visiting expedition, we gift you the following top tips…

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image source, photography by Sarah Beth Photo

research, research, research

As if you haven’t already been pinning wedding dresses quicker than a Kardashian can contour her face, now is the time to expand the research beyond just the appearance of the dress, to the designers that you like, the price tag of such dresses, and in which boutiques you can expect to find them. Often designers will have a certain signature look – vintage-esque Eliza Jane Howell, girlie Charlotte Balbier, sweet So Sassi and beautiful boho by Rembo. This means by studying their collections you should be able to get a feel for the designer’s overall style, and perhaps even pick out key designs that you’re particularly drawn to. You can then research which boutiques stock such designers and in what proximity they are located to you. Some will share the price range of their dresses on the boutique’s website, so it’s worth having a quick search before booking.

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image source, photography by Sean Elliott Photography

timing is everything

Though we know you’re itching Muriel-Heslop-style (a 1994 film reference for any babies out there) to get trying on those dresses, you don’t want to begin visiting boutiques too early, or even too late. Most dress shop owners recommend starting around 12 to 18 months in advance of the wedding to allow time for ordering in the dress and making alterations ahead of the big day. While you can start a little in advance, the danger of picking out a dress too early is that you might change your mind before the wedding arrives (numerous of our featured real brides have admitted falling victim to this). A change of heart can be very costly, so regardless of exactly when you pick your gown, we suggest you don’t actively continue your search beyond that point.

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image source, photography by James Tracey

safety in numbers

While it’s natural to want to share your dress shopping experience with you mum, nan, sister and aunt, not to mention your #girlsquad, too many opinions can hinder, rather than help, when it comes to making your decision. Most boutiques suggest picking no more than three shopping companions if possible, and selecting those that you can trust 100%. So before booking appointments, think about whose opinion you will value most, and who you want to share that special moment with.

that loving feeling

You will have heard the expression “I knew it was the one” used by brides on many an occasion, but what they report is real. The intense gut feeling that they know they have found their dream dress for their big day, whether it be the first or 50th gown they try on. If you’re just not getting that loving feeling though, try not to settle or feel pressured. Take time to go away and think about it, is there any dresses that you are being drawn back to, or do you need to expand your search further before making that final decision?

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image source, photography by Melissa Beattie Photography

trust the experts

Trained bridal stylists know their Peiros from their Packhams, the style, detailing, cut and fit of a gown, and so it’s worth taking their suggestions and advice on board. Often, they will begin a consultation with a chat about your personal style and the type of wedding you are planning before helping you to pick out gowns to try on. If they suggest a wild card, give it a try. No end of brides have said the dress they ended up picking is nothing like what they thought they would go for, but a bridal stylist persuaded them to try it on and they’re so glad they did.

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image source, photography by Melissa Beattie Photography

stay true to you

Overall the decision comes down to you and what you feel most confident in. Don’t forget you will be wearing the dress all day; eating, drinking, dancing and (if your groom struggles to get you out of it) possibly sleeping in it, so you need to feel comfortable too. Most of all you want to feel like you; don’t be tempted to play ‘dress-up’ with something too far out of your comfort zone. So, if you’re naturally a fashionista go bold with an on-trend design, but if classic chic is more your thing, an elegant princess-style gown will ensure that you do go to the ball!

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look book – decolletage display

August 29th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Anna Campbell - Raine Dress

The décolletage takes centre stage in our look book today, with a handpicked selection of gowns that beautifully expose the neck, shoulders, back and upper chest in the most sophisticated and elegant of styles.

There’s a certain allure surrounding this part of the body, so you’ll want a dress that will accentuate this area in a demure yet discreetly sultry fashion – think strapless numbers, gorgeous Bardot styles or barely there spaghetti straps. For the more risqué brides-to-be among you though – a plunging neckline is a bold and sexy statement, to say the least.

The key to puling off this look, however, lies not just in your gown of choice but also in prepping your skin, ready to bare (almost) all. Stay on top of your skincare regime in the lead up to your big day (we’re talking regular exfoliation and indulgent body creams) to ensure this delicate zone is hydrated and smooth. And don’t forget that a sun-kissed glow will do wonders, too, when it comes to your wedding photography.

All set to now show off your glowing décolletage? Here are a few ideas to get your wedding dress inspo in full flow…

Anna Campbell - Mia

First up, we’re spotlighting breathtakingly beautiful dresses from the mesmerising Anna Campbell. The elegant Brooklyn gown typifies this bridal collection, embodying a romantic, bohemian vibe with its strapless sweetheart neckline, silk bow, low exposed back and detachable off the shoulder silk tulle sleeves. As for the v-shaped Ruby dress – it’s all about the detailing with its low, open back, paired with a delicate fringed lace fabric for an ultra classic look. The shimmering ivory Raine, meanwhile, combines a V-shaped bust with narrow straps and an open back – a sparkling, embellished design with the most flattering of silhouettes. And for a heady dose of vintage glamour – look no further than Chloe – a design that’s brim-full of sparkle, complete with cascading hand-beaded shoulder loops.

Anna Campbell - Brooklyn Dress

Daughters of Simone offers up a more carefree, contemporary look with its latest collections, which we simply adore. The floral lace Iver dress is one of our favourites – who could possibly resist this strapless gown, complete with top ruffle and scalloped eyelash trim along the hem? By contrast, the chiffon Miller gown presents a more minimalistic style – we just love how the ruffle, with its beautiful crochet lace, is intentionally longer to the back, helping to accentuate the waist. And for a peek-a-boo moment on your midriff as well as your décolletage – the Ono dress boasts a crochet-lace fitted bodice and playful off the shoulder flutter sleeves.

Anna Campbell - Ruby Dress

A long-standing favourite here at Brides Up North – Enzoani combines fashion-forward styles with those sought-after fairy-tale moments thanks to its luxe fabrics and fabulous detailing. It has an array of classic styles perfect for baring the décolletage area. From the tumbling ruffle A-line skirt, ruched tulle bodice and sweetheart neckline of the Jacqueline, and the beaded spaghetti straps and low v-backed Jamila to the whimsical strapless Luanne with its voluptuous beaded corded lace skirt – there are lots of exquisite, couture styles to fire up your wedding dress wish list.

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diary date: sarah seven designer event at love bridal boutique

August 17th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Goodwin

Gals, it’s time to get those diaries out once again, as this afternoon we’re bringing you details of a very exciting and exclusive event set to be hosted by our wonderful Sponsor Emma Draper, owner of LOVE Bridal Boutique.

On Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd September, Emma will welcome top bridal designer Sarah Seven to her Altrincham boutique for a special designer day event. This will be a rare opportunity for brides to meet the creator of the stylish gowns, enjoy a personal styling session with both Emma and Sarah, and pick from an extended selection of Sarah Seven dresses. Oh, and those purchasing will get an incredible 10% discount too.

Sounds amazing, right?! To ensure you’ve got all the lowdown ahead of this fabulous event we’ve invited Emma to fill us in on all the details, including how to bag yourself one of the limited appointment slots…

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Can you tell us what brides-to-be can expect from the Sarah Seven event?

emma says: Sarah Seven will be bringing her full ‘The Romantics Collection Part II’, so you can snag your favourite dress long before it “officially” hits retailers. This will be the epitome of the LOVE experience. Brides will enjoy an hour-long personal appointment with myself, and Sarah Seven herself will be on hand to help style and advise brides on the perfect dress and fit. There will be a fab 10% discount on all purchases on the day too!

And what are the benefits to attending this exclusive event?

This is Sarah Seven’s only stop in England on her Trunk Show tour of America and Europe this year. Most of the gowns from her new The Romantics Part II collection will only be available during Sarah’s two-day visit, so this is a rare opportunity to find the dress. Brides will not only get an exclusive look at this new collection but also meet and be styled by Sarah Seven herself!

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How many appointments will be available over the two days?

Each appointment will last an hour and there is a limited amount of appointments available over the two days, so those wanting to attend should get in touch ASAP.

Tell us a little about Sarah Seven’s designs…

Sarah Seven’s designs are unashamedly feminine and whimsical; awash with masses of soft tulle, sequins, lace and plunging necklines. Her designs have a young aesthetic, but take inspiration from eras gone by, making her collections appeal to a broad range of brides.

Starting at around £1,800, these gowns are beautifully embellished and heavy on detailing and texture, all whilst retaining simple, clean cut lines and elegance.

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Any particular favourites or stand out pieces within her collections for you personally?

The Milo gown has already stolen the hearts of so many brides on Sarah’s Instagram feed with its heavy lace detail, plunging neckline and dramatic cape-like sleeves. It just screams wow! What’s not to love?!

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What sizes are Sarah Seven’s designs available in?

Dresses can be ordered from UK size 4 to 18, with plus sizes available too.

And what is the price range of the dresses?

Prices start from around £1,800 up to around £4,000 with the majority sitting around £2,000 to £2,500.

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personal & unique: introducing one fine day bridal

August 15th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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Our online ‘Suppliers We Love’ directory is a go-to for our readers looking for professional and trusted local businesses that can help to bring their wedding visions to life. From photographers and florists, to entertainment and accessories, there is a category for every requirement.

And this afternoon, we’re delighted to be introducing another gorgeous boutique to our ‘bride’ category, a useful source for those of you on the dream dress hunt. Our new Sponsor, One Fine Day Bridal, based in Hoole, Lancashire, was set up by owner Claire Bland after feeling underwhelmed by her own wedding dress shopping experience.

Running the boutique with her mum Pam, the duo have created a warm and welcoming atmosphere and have filled the shop’s rails with beautiful and unique dress designs to offer brides and memorable and exclusive experience.

Here to tell us more is the lady herself. Take it away Claire….

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Where is One Fine Day Bridal located and can you describe the style and feel of the boutique?

claire says: One Fine Day Bridal is in a small village called Little Hoole, Lancashire – we are located just of the A59 so you can’t miss us! Our boutique has a warm, friendly, homely feel. We want all of our brides to feel relaxed and at ease when finding their dream dress.

Can you tell us about the designers that you stock at the boutique and what type of brides they would appeal to?

We stock the Spanish designer Rosa Clara & Rosa Clara Soft, perfect for the bride who loves something a little different, using luxurious fabrics, such as silk Mikado, ottoman and brocade. Also in our boutique is the fabulous Watters Bride & Bridesmaid collections, both absolutely dreamy ideal for the modern bride. Nicole Spose is our last collection, gorgeous crepe fabrics and masters of ‘slinky’ gowns, perfect for the bride looking for a figure-hugging dress.

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How do you select the designers that you stock?

We like our designers to be unique, so we don’t stock designers that you will find in every other boutique. We make sure the gowns are well made and are of a great quality, but we also like to ensure that nobody else with our area stocks that particular designer. We like to be individual and make sure are brides are choosing something exclusive.

Can you tell us about the accessories that you stock at the boutique?

We stock Linzi Jay and Ariana Tiara for our head pieces, jewellery and veils, we also use Elizabeth Dickens for our veils ensuring we have a wide variety of choice to suit all dresses.

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How do you help brides to find their dream dress and to complete their look with accessories?

We like to make sure our brides try one of every style, even if they have an idea in their head, this some of the time doesn’t always look how they expected. Once they think they have found ‘the one’ we like to add in veils and accessories so the look is complete. Even once they have found their dress with us, we encourage them to come back for a styling appointment after their hair and makeup trial so the full vision can be seen.

What are your top tips for brides when dress shopping?

Be open minded and try something you never imaged you would go for – you could be surprised.

Even though it is nice to bring family and friends to enjoy the experience with, don’t be swayed by too many opinions – it’s the bride’s day! It is good to get a feel for style but when you think you’ve found the one, stop trying and stop looking, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and it can get very confusing.

What sets One Fine Day Bridal apart from other boutiques and what can brides expect from an appointment at the boutique?

We are a mother and daughter team here at the boutique. We decided to do this because of my own experience which I didn’t enjoy so we try to make sure our brides don’t feel deflated or under whelmed by their experience, like I did. We offer a relaxed and luxurious experience, we let the bride lead the appointment and offer our advice when we feel appropriate. We always offer to dress our bride the morning of the wedding, we know how stressful it can be so we like to ease the pressure wherever possible.

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What trends are you seeing coming through in bridalwear and accessories?

A flutter sleeve or capelet – we think these could be a huge trend for 2018, along with a statement bow which is a theme that runs through our Rosa Clara gowns.

What is the size and price range of the dresses that you stock?

We stock sample sizes from 6 to 16, and price range between £950 and £3,500.

What is the feedback like from brides who found their dress and One Fine Day?

Our brides always comment on what a lovely personal service we offer from beginning to end. We get a lot of comments about how welcoming and professional we are and how beautiful our boutique is. Our brides love that we are not pushy, in some cases we encourage the bride to go away and have a think, then come back.

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