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Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

perfect finish: top bridal accessory styling tips from caroline castigliano

August 2nd, 2018 | Rachel Parry

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While the main focus of a bride’s big day look is on her dress, there are numerous other elements that contribute to the finely tuned finished look. From hair accessories, shoes and underwear to polished hair and makeup, time and consideration is most certainly needed to ensure these all come together in harmony.

As such, we’re looking to our wonderfully-talented Sponsor, top British bridal designer Caroline Castigliano, for her dos and don’ts when it comes to accessorising your dress. So, ladies, be sure to take note as there are lots of gems of advice below that will help in your pursuit to avoid visible bra lines, awkward shoes and dreaded hair and makeup faux pas.

With images by Andy Mac Photography and Olka Fuller Photography.

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In your opinion, how can the right finishing touches enhance and complete a bride’s big day look?

caroline says: Accessories are very important to finishing off a ‘look’ for your big day and can make the simplest gown look glamorous. A favourite of mine is a silk crepe fishtail gown with a long two tier veil a beaded belt, complete with drop earrings and a matching bracelet – timeless, stunning and glamorous. Similarly, if you want a traditional look you could use crown as a headpiece with a cathedral length veil.

How do brides go about selecting the right underwear for their dress? Do you have any bridal lingerie shopping tips?

First of all, make sure you are professionally measured before you purchase your bra to make sure that you get a perfect shape and fit. Choose something simple and comfortable on your wedding day in ivory or nude. Bows and lace look pretty but can create uneven, visible lines.

The bra shape all depends on the gown you have selected – a good supportive strapless bra with soft, moulded, seam-free cups will give you smooth lines underneath a strapless dress.

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And what about the shoes?

It’s advisable to have bridal shoes when you are measured for your dress. When choosing your shoes consider first and foremost your comfort for the day – you want to have the best day of your life, so comfort is essential.

Also, make sure you do not have brooches or bead work that will snag the bottom of your dress or a flap that the bottom of the dress will catch behind – you won’t notice until you see the pictures but then it will be to late!

What advice do you have for brides when picking their bridal jewellery – what would you suggest for a timeless look and for a statement look? 

A lot of the decisions regarding jewellery come from the actual design of the dress. Timeless conjures up the idea of a simple chain necklace (platinum or gold) with either a diamond solitaire or a pearl with matching stud earrings. A statement would be more chunky big earrings and bracelet – again this all depends on the design of the gown and the total vision you are creating – modern chic will be different to understated and romantic.

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If a bride is looking to switch up her look from day to night but doesn’t have the budget for two dresses what accessories could she use to style her dress in different ways?

I would look at having a shrug that could maybe be removed in the evening, there is also the possibility of wearing a straight or fishtailed gown and adding a large overskirt that is detachable. This means during the day you can appear to have a large full traditional dress and then take off the over skirt in the evening to reveal a body skimming fishtail. If you then also removed the shrug you could spend the evening in a strapless, skimming fishtail perhaps also adding a jewelled belt – two great looks!

Are you a fan of a veil?

Most definitely!  I am passionate about veils – the wedding is the only day in your life you can wear one and they add such a wonderful touch of romance to the whole occasion.

My opinion on veils is they should always be cathedral length, to the floor so there are no break lines down the dress – it should be a simple sheer vision – of course the choice is broad when it comes to veil selection – any length is possible and then you have trims; beautiful laces, satin edges – the choice is endless.

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And what about their hairstyle? Why would you encourage a bride to hire a professional stylist and what should they take into consideration when picking the right hair style for their wedding day?

I always say go to your wedding looking like the woman your fiancée has fallen in love with. I do not understand why a woman would want to wear her hair entirely differently on her wedding day.

It is best if you can afford it to have a professional hairdresser on hand to do your hair – they will ensure your headpiece is in place and set the veil, so it does not move and overall ensure you look perfect. It is advisable to have a few run throughs before the day, so you are confident with the style and that will help you relax on the day.

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distinctly different: introducing along came eve bridal boutique, chester

July 31st, 2018 | Julia Braime

Along Came Eve (6)

Many bridal boutiques recommend you begin your dream dress hunt between 12 and 18 months in advance of your big day, which means ladies getting wed in the latter half of 2019, it’s time to get your search on!

Picking which gorgeous bridal boutiques to visit can be tricky as you want to give yourself enough choice but without becoming too overwhelmed. As such, it’s a good idea to look for those that stock a fabulous line up of differing designers to help present initial options of varying shapes and styles.

It’s perhaps very timely then that we introduce one of our most recent Sponsors to the blog today, fabulous mother and daughter team Kendal and Moira of Along Came Eve Bridal Boutique. Located in the gorgeous historic city of Chester, the rails of this welcoming boutique boast an incredible selection of designers that each offer brides a different look; from elegant lace numbers, to heavily detailed designs, sexy silhouettes and boho beauties.

With backgrounds in bridal and fashion, Kendal and Moira are well equipped to help ladies find that one special dress and are proud of their personal approach and exciting range of dress designers that provide stunning gowns that are a little “out of the ordinary”.

And as if that wasn’t enough to tempt you through the boutique’s doors, Along Came Eve will be holding its Summer Sample Sale on Sunday 19th August, when brides-to-be can bag an ex-sample gown at a bargain price, with some dresses reduced by more than £1,000 – just think of the bridal shoes you could buy with that saving!

So, let us leave you in Kendal’s capable hands as she talks us through her lovely family-run boutique…

Boutique images by Orphic Photography, gown images by Willowby, supplied by Along Came Eve.

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How did you become involved in the wedding industry and what led you to set up your own boutique?

kendal says: We are a mother and daughter team. My mum Moira had her own couture bridal studio when I was growing up and that kick-started the passion for bridal. Moira’s career took her into the clothing industry where she still works as a Technical Director for a leading clothing production company.  After following different career paths, we came together to start Along Came Eve and combined our passion for all things bridal.  We have always wanted to have our own business together and our strengths make us work really well as a team.

Where is your boutique located and how would you describe the look and feel of it?

We are based in a gorgeous Grade II listed building on the historical rows of Chester city centre. Our boutique is light and airy with pops of colour throughout and an atmosphere that provides privacy and comfort for all of our brides.

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What designers do you stock at Along Came Eve?

We stock eight fabulous brands at the boutique. Enzoani, a flagship collection that oozes detail and sophistication with sexy silhouettes and delicate beading. Blue By Enzoani, which is a sought after collection that brings a modern twist on classic looks with plenty of detailed fabrics and textures. Rosa Clara Couture will be landing in the boutique in autumn 2018 and offers a fashion forward and super elegant collection with dramatic details. We also stock mainline Rosa Clara, which features beautiful fabrics, amazing details and classic design. Martin Thornburg for Mon Cheri, is a collection where pretty meets sexy, with modern necklines and incredible detail! Then we have the Watters flagship collection, which combines exclusive laces and exquisite silks with fashion forward design. Willowby By Watters, is their super soft, boho inspired collection that is not only stunning, but also so incredibly comfortable to wear. Finally, Agnes provides a truly special collection with each piece handmade to order in Poland, using unique laces, stunning design and fantastic attention to detail.

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How do you select the right designers for your boutique and what do you look for in a collection?

Our main objective is to have a point of difference between each of the brands that we stock. We chose from collections that we adore and look for something out of the ordinary. We did our research and didn’t want to be one of those stores that has the same lace dress ten times over.  The quality of our gowns is so important to us, we look for brands with super high standards and real identity for their brand as these designers produce fabulous collections season after season.

What trends are proving popular with your brides at the moment?

For us, classic silhouettes and fabrics are certainly on the rise! Our brides are loving crepes georgettes and Mikados at the moment with classic boat necklines and super detailed backs. We think there will be more of this in future collections with embellished details coming forward ahead of lace.

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What preparation would you advise brides to do before visiting the boutique?

We advise ladies to take a look at the websites of the designers that our boutique stocks and screen shot or pin dresses that they love, we will then take a look at these with the bride when they arrive at our boutique and help them pick out the dresses in store. We also give our brides some advice around what to expect from their appointment with us i.e. how long it lasts, who to bring along, what underwear to wear. We find our brides really appreciate this bit of advice as it makes them feel more comfortable with the process before they get to us. Most brides find dress shopping a really daunting experience so being prepared really helps to calm the nerves!

What can brides expect from an appointment at Along Came Eve?

Firstly, all of our bridal appointments are completely private. When a bride arrives for her appointment she is welcomed to our boutique and then taken upstairs to our bridal showroom along with her friends and family. We will then talk the bride through the dresses and take a look at her inspiration photos pulling out any dresses she has highlighted (they can look very different on hanger in comparison to press shots).  We make sure the bride is totally comfortable and knows how many dresses she will have time to try on during her appointment.  We then leave the bride and her entourage to look through the dresses and make her choices returning within five minutes to take them through to our separate fitting room, where we fit the dresses in private and then the bride gets to make a grand entrance to her waiting party.

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What size and price range of dresses do you stock?

Our samples range in size from an 8 to an 18 with the majority being a 12 or 14. Our prices range from £1,200 to £4,000.

Do you stock accessory ranges at the boutique?

We do, we have beautiful handmade tiaras and hair pieces from UK based Miranda Templeton and stunning veils from Nieve Couture with a bespoke veil service from Joyce Jackson. We also stock stunning silk flower crowns from UK based Frida Flower Crowns, faux fur accessories from Helen Moore and stunning hand painted, vegan-friendly biker jackets from Lucky Sew and Sew.

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floral fancy: enzoani for a dusky pink wedding at middleton lodge – natalie & tom

July 27th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Pretty Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Helen Russell Photography (59)

Groom Tom from today’s real wedding feature scored ultimate points for his proposal – going far beyond just getting down on bended knee, he decorated the house and filmed a proposal video to surprise Natalie when she returned home from work, before whisking her off to Belgium for a minibreak. No wonder she thought he was a keeper!

And Tom continued to earn those brownie points by getting fully involved in the wedding planning too, whipping up a clever easel, cake stand, and confetti stand for the big day; the perfect accessories for the beautifully illustrated table plan, naked cake and cute confetti cones, complete with the couple’s initials and wedding date.

A delicate colour scheme of dusky pinks carried through the flowers and décor creating a pretty and romantic setting for the celebrations. We particularly love the effect of the paper spheres and fairy lights hanging from the marquee ceiling, and the elegant table centres.

Stolen kisses under the blossom trees make for a romantic collection of photographs on what, we’re sure, was a wonderful day to remember.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Helen Russell Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Helen Russell Photography (16)

natalie says: We got engaged in our first home together. Tom surprised me on my arrival home from work with a decorated house and a proposal video. It was two days before my birthday and he whisked me off to Bruges for the weekend.

A Pretty Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Helen Russell Photography (46)

We got married on Saturday 21st April 2018. It was exactly six years that we had been together. Our venue was Middleton Lodge in Richmond, which ticked all of our boxes. We were overwhelmed on our first visit and fell in love with the house and surroundings. It’s a lovely Georgian house that we could have exclusive use of for the weekend and it gave a really relaxed feel to our wedding.

We would absolutely recommend Middleton Lodge as it was a fantastic venue for a weekend of wedding celebrations. From initially visiting on an open day, we were instantly wowed and knew that Middleton Lodge was where we wanted to get married. The wedding team was excellent and no job was too big or too small. On the wedding day, Anna the wedding coordinator put my mind at rest that everything was coming together and asked final questions just to make sure everything was how I would expect it.

A Pretty Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Helen Russell Photography (19)

We didn’t have a particular theme for our wedding. I wanted to have dusky pink elements and Tom wanted to have an input into the overall look and feel of the wedding. He produced wooden boxes for country flowers, which were located at the front of our venue. He also made an easel, cake stand and our confetti stand.

A Pretty Wedding at Middleton Lodge (c) Helen Russell Photography (9)

My dress was by Enzoani and it was beautiful. I bought it from Perfect Daze in Scissett, Huddersfield. The dress ticked all of the boxes of how I imagined I’d look on my wedding day.

Tom hired his and his groomsmen’s suits from Antich and Sons.

My bridesmaids wore dresses from Elenor Rose, Huddersfield.

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calming, contemporary & creative: say hello to white closet studios, liverpool

July 24th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Halfpenny Cheryl

Halfpenny London – Cheryl

We just love to work with suppliers who are evidently passionate about the world of weddings and the job they do within it – hence our excitement to introduce you to one of our newest Sponsors on the blog today, the wonderful Zoey Amitage, proud owner of White Closet Studios.

Located in a chic spot in Liverpool’s city centre, this friendly bridal boutique is beautiful both inside and out. Set within a beautiful Georgian house and stocking gowns by some of our very favourite designers, we can easily see why Zoey fell head over heels in love with it – just as you might well do.

Keen to help brides narrow down their search and find that one special dress, Zoey prides the boutique on its appointment-only approach, and its amazing collection of gowns, each chosen to offer something unique to the contemporary bride who craves a romantic yet individual look.

Designer images provided by White Closet Studios.

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How did you become involved in the wedding industry and what led you to own a bridal boutique?

zoey says: It may sound clichéd but it has been a dream since I was little. Life has taken me along quite a different path, but the dream was always to work in bridal and now I am finally doing what I love.  For months I had been looking for the perfect boutique to come along as I know that setting up from scratch can be extremely difficult and White Closet Studios was the second boutique I visited.  After sitting there for five minutes I just fell in love with it and knew it was the right one for me (a little like finding the right husband!).

Where is your boutique located and how would you describe the look and feel of it?

Based on the iconic Rodney Street in Liverpool City Centre, we are a small but elegant studio, which seeks to create a calming and creative atmosphere for our brides. Being bijou certainly has its benefits, in that we are able to operate on an individual appointment only basis which means we devote our full attention to each bride who visits us.

Watters Galatea

Watters – Galatea

What designers do you stock and can you tell us a little about each one?

We are extremely fortunate to work with some of the most sought-after designers who all create unusual and romantic dresses for the contemporary bride.

Renowned for her relaxed bohemian styles and pioneering additions, we are extremely proud to stock London based designer Charlie Brear. Charlie’s dresses are beautiful enough to be worn on their own but by including additions a bride is given the freedom to celebrate her individual style by creating her own unique wedding dress.

We are equally as thrilled to work with British luxury bridal wear designer Halfpenny London, who offer the most beautiful elegant detailed designs which ooze glamour with a nod to a bygone era.  With a distinctive couture look utilising the most exquisite fabrics and textures, Halfpenny London continue to push bridal wear boundaries.

Widely known for their elegant, refined and sophisticated lines the acclaimed Spanish designer Jesús Peiró provides our third collection.  It is their philosophy of high quality which has this year seen the designer celebrate their 30th anniversary.  Designed and manufactured entirely in Spain, Jesús Peiró gowns offer a twist on the traditional with touches of romanticism.

And for the bridal party we stock Rewritten bridesmaid dresses, which are simple, elegant and pretty damn cool!

How do you pick the right designers for the boutique and what do you think makes a good bridal collection?

We pride ourselves on offering something a little different and we are only able to do this by choosing the best designers who seek to break the mould when it comes to bridal wear. Of course, there will always be traditional styles, and Jesús Peiró are an example of this, but it is how our designers adapt these styles to create something unique that inspires our collection.

A good bridal collection should offer quality and diversity which is something we achieve with our contrasting designers. Moreover, it should be adaptable to allow brides to create something that is unique to them.

Watters Brighton

Watters – Brighton

What current trends are you seeing in bridal wear and can you forecast any future trends that will be coming through?

Lace remains hugely popular and we are continuing to see a rise in brides asking for mermaid styles.

We are however interested to see if the addition of black nuances, as noted on bridal catwalks recently, will prove popular, alongside the increasing number of bold applique designs.

What research or preparation would you advise brides to do before visiting the boutique?

We would advise brides to look at our website and research our designers before they come to see us.  We love seeing everyone, but there is nothing worse than advising a bride that we do not stock the style of dress they have their heart set on and seeing their disappointment.  Equally, if you have not tried any dresses on yet come with an open mind and try on something different, if nothing else this will enable you to narrow down your ideal silhouette very quickly.

My other little bit of advice is by all means look on Pinterest, but you cannot feel any genuine emotion until you try on a gown.  It is this emotion that make the bridal shopping experience so special and cannot be replaced by online browsing.

Halfpenny Daisy

Halfpenny London – Daisy

What can brides expect from an appointment at your boutique and how do you and your team help brides to find their dream dress?

As we operate on an individual appointment only basis each bride will have exclusive use of our boutique for the one-and-a-half-hour appointment.  We wholeheartedly believe that bridal shopping should be an enjoyable, stress-free experience and our aim is to ensure that the whole bridal party are relaxed and enjoy their visit with us.

We are inspired by our bride’s sense of individuality and endeavour to find a dress that represents who they truly are without compromising on quality.  Therefore, during the appointment, we will offer advice on shapes, fabrics, cuts and designers, in addition to offering accessory advice but we love hearing creative suggestions.

What size and price range of dresses do you stock?

The majority of our samples are size UK12, however we are very proud of our Capsule Curve Collection with samples sizes up to UK20.  Many of our styles however can be made up to a size UK32.

Our bridal collections ranges from £1,500 to £3,000.

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independent woman: yorkshire bridal boutique owner hayley hoyle on why you should buy from the professionals

July 19th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

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Having just shared details of my own dress shopping experience in this wedding diary instalment (I’m a 2019-bride-to-be don’t you know?!) this afternoon’s post further backs-up my findings as we hear from industry expert and Brides Up North Sponsor, Hayley Hoyle, on why ladies should visit independent bridal boutiques when searching for their dream gown.

As the owner of not one, but two top Yorkshire boutiques – The Harrogate Wedding Lounge and The Bridal Collection Harrogate – Hayley is well placed to speak on this topic and advise brides-to-be on how to get the most out of this precious part of the planning.

A far cry from a high-street changing room, Hayley explains the welcoming ambience, top styling and seamstress service and aftercare that awaits brides and these small, professional businesses. She also makes clear that ladies of all budgets can shop at independent boutiques and the service is warm, friendly and fun – not at all like the Pretty Woman style connotations that some conjure up in their heads.

My experience of such businesses was exactly as Hayley describes – real women dressing real women to help find that one special gown that ticks all the boxes while providing professional support along the way that you just won’t find elsewhere. So, ladies, here’s why you’ll want to support your independent sisters…

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hayley says: For some, buying their wedding gown is a prospect filled with excitement, giddiness and hopes of the perfect shopping trip filled with friends, fizz and finding the one. For others the thought is nothing short of terrifying. Fears of being squeezed in to samples too small or bulldog clipped into samples three-sizes too big while your nearest and dearest pick fault at every part of the dress, or even worse, your body in the dress. Whatever your inclination toward it, after more than ten years in the industry I can confirm that for the most part finding, buying and fitting your wedding gown is an intimate, emotionally charged, sometimes nerve wracking but ultimately beautiful experience, or at least that’s what my hope is for all of my brides.

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It should be undertaken with your most trusted advisors; the person or people who know you most and who’s number one priority is your happiness. This also applies to the place you choose to shop for your gown. As an independent boutique, myself and my team make it our business to get to know you. Your hopes and dreams for the dress and the day. We understand your fears, your hang-ups and all your insecurities. We are women too remember. We don’t care that your pants don’t match your bra today or that you have just had lunch and feel like have a food baby going on, all we care about is you relaxing and having fun finding a gown that truly represents you, and that you feel and look incredible in.

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Independent boutiques go much further than selling wedding dresses, I certainly don’t see that as my job at all and I am pretty sure other independents would say the same. We are councillors, confidants, mediators, the shoulder to cry on, the person who holds the tissues – and the prosecco! But above all we are stylists. Our space and that of many other boutiques I know are beautifully created and full of inspiration. Everything matters; the calming atmosphere, beautiful scents, gorgeous flowers, endless accessories, soft music and of course the beautiful gowns and the team of experienced stylists that know our products inside out and are passionate about your experience with us.

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My team accompany me to all of our designers’ collection launches, they know about construction, fabric options, possible changes that can be made and make personal recommendations for you based on your body type and desires. Unlike many other less personal options available to brides when choosing their dress, our team are trained to work with you individually, hand pick gowns we know will knock your socks off and give you the very best advice on fit. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, we can recommend options such as bespoke sizing – like a size 14 top and 18 bottom. Made to measure for a large bust or a short torso. The result? A unique experience totally tailored to you, your ideas and your body.

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i do by order of the peaky blinders: a 1920s styled bridal shoot in liverpool

July 19th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

Peaky Blinders Styled Bridal Shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (36)

If, like us, you love binge watching crime drama Peaky Blinders in your spare time, then we’ve got a real treat for you today on Brides Up North! We’re dishing up a swoon-worthy wedding shoot inspired by the popular TV series, brimming with vintage 1920s bridal attire and styling.

As luck would have it, an actual Peaky Blinders themed bar in Liverpool provided the perfect backdrop for the shoot, which was led by the lovely Caroline from Words to Glow, who supplies beautiful light up letters, words and phrases for hire.

There’s a stark industrial edge to the shoot, showcasing the hidden beauty to be found in an urban setting and providing us with lots of inspo on how to make this the most captivating of backdrops for your big day. Think copper tones, jewel coloured flowers, hanging Edison bulbs and driftwood and your dream 1920s wedding will begin to take shape!

Let’s step behind the lens and find out more about the shoot, as we hand the blog over to Caroline to tell us all.

With images by Vickerstaff Photography.

Peaky Blinders Styled Bridal Shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (4)

caroline says: The brief for the shoot was to see if we could mix the gritty world of Peaky Blinders with the love and laughter of the wedding world.

As avid fans of the hugely popular BBC show Peaky Blinders, the team – as a collective – were excited to see if we could transpose the key elements and gritty realism of the hugely popular series into real life and the wedding industry.

Peaky Blinders Styled Bridal Shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (26)

With the support of the newly opened themed Peaky Blinders Bar on Liverpool docks and the amazing London-based Garrison Tailors, the theme was decided. All was set to transform Peaky Blinders off the small screen and bring it smack bang into real life!

Once the theme was set, Jamie from Vickerstaff Photography and I were on the lookout for a set location that paid homage to the industrial, working class background, which forms the backbone and origin of the Peaky Blinders series.

Peaky Blinders Styled Bridal Shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (16)

In keeping with the show itself, The Peaky Blinders Bar in Liverpool clearly identifies not only with The Garrison Pub featured in the TV series, but also through its wall art showcasing characters as well as set locations featured in the show. It also boasts statement fixtures and fittings including huge chandeliers, copper brewing equipment and large light up bars.

Located on the Liverpool docks, the surrounding wasteland also proved to be the perfect backdrop for some outdoor, gritty shots, perfectly in keeping with the era, and the look and feel we were going for.

Peaky Blinders Styled Bridal Shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (32)

I provided a selection of props to showcase in the shoot, including rustic light up LOVE letters and a love heart, featuring whitewashed driftwood and metal trims – these were used to great effect to light up both the downstairs stage area and the upstairs bar.

My new METRO Boxed LOVE letters looked fabulous sitting atop the Peaky Blinders Bar, accompanied by pretty floral hoops, by Verdure Floral. Taking inspiration from modern and funky city centre industrial spaces, the letters feature a painted blackboard base and are encased in industrial inspired driftwood. Their clean lines and sparkly cabochon light bulbs provide a warm and ambient lighting which provides a beautiful backdrop to wedding photography.

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