Charlotte Balbier

lookbook: flirty feathers

March 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Charlie Brear - Cames cape

The bridal runways of 2014 were covered in a flurry of feathers as feminine gowns featuring delicate detailing emerged as one of the top trends. And the style looks set to continue to dominate after feather embellished gowns were seen taking flight on 2015 catwalks too.

While fairly fresh to the bridal scene, the feather trend has been a popular red carpet look for quite some time now with actresses including Kate Bosworth, Emma Watson and Olivia Palermo, plus presenter Alexa Chung, all rocking some fluff at awards ceremonies and premieres over the past few years. Not forgetting the white Stephane Rolland Haute Couture gown with bold red feather train that Cheryl Cole wore to make a show-stopping entrance at the Cannes Film Festival back in May 2012.

Though initially brides might think this is a somewhat daring trend, designers are incorporating feathers into their gowns in lots of different ways, offering options for all tastes that range from subtle to standout.

For those wanting to follow in celebs’ footsteps by going for all out Hollywood glamour there are some truly amazing creations with full feathered skirts. Lazaro’s LZ3051 design (see our Gallery at the foot of this post) is a perfect options for brides wanting to make Cheryl-style high impact on the aisle as the simple sweetheart bodice descends into a flamboyant skirt of cascading feathers.

The feathered look is also particularly appealing to vintage brides who desire 1920s inspired fashions. While gowns dripping with beads and sequins scream Great Gatsby glamour, the look isn’t for all so plainer gowns with soft feather embellishing can offer an equally fitting alternative. Designer Charlie Brear has some stunning examples within her collections such as the dreamy ostrich feather Carmes skirt.

Charlie Brear Carmes skirt

Hitching up the hemline there are also some cute mini-length dresses that emit flirty flapper girl charm and give leggy bride-to-be the opportunity to show off their pins – check out the creations of labels like Naeem Khan and Johanna Johnson.

Some designers have mixed up the detailing to create highly stylish and striking gowns that both sparkle and flutter. Lazaro also offers some stunning floor-length frocks featuring such detailing including the dreamy LZ3401 design – an ivory jewel encrusted A-line gown with romantic feathered and sequined skirt.

Ladies that think less is more can also join in the trend with some designs simply featuring a dusting of feathers on the straps or along the waistline.

There is also the option for brides to add feathers to their attire in the form of luxurious looking accessories such as light feathered capes and shrugs, vintage headpieces and even cute shoe clips.

Make no doubt about it ladies, this trend has wings!

Main images courtesy of Charlie Brear 2014 Collection.

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beloved. supplier showcase: one fine day bridal

March 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime

One Fine Day Bridal (1)

This afternoon we are proud to welcome Brides Up North Sponsor Lindsey of Lancashire based bridal boutique, one fine day bridal to our pretty pages.  One Fine Day Bridal is unique in that it specialises in pre-loved, worn once wedding gowns and sell only face-to-face to offer the full bridal service.

You know that wayyyy out of budget designer gown you’ve had your eye on? It’s yours.

One Fine Day Bridal (38)

When did One Fine Day Bridal open and what is your background?

I am a fashion buyer, wife, mama and thrilled to say owner of One Fine Day Bridal which opened its doors on 20th November 2014.

I have worked in the fashion business since I graduated with a degree in Fashion and Brand Promotion in 2001.

I have been fortunate in my career to work directly with celebrities who I admire. I love the class and quality of Amanda Wakeley designs and was taught about dressing to your body shape by Trinny & Susannah. The most rewarding time was spent working on occasion and bridal wear. I love the design, the fabrics and the finished garment – preparing for a special event and how amazing the right style can look on a woman.

Following the birth of my son last year I made the decision to run my own bridal shop. The time felt right and I understood how radically my lifestyle was changing.

Quality designer wedding gowns are timeless, and I love that one bride’s treasured dress may also bring such happiness to another. Once upon a time women who bought pre-owned may have felt the need to keep it secret, but this has changed. At One Fine Day Bridal we take pride in offering a personal service in beautiful surroundings and ensure our brides feel special, whether buying or selling

One Fine Day Bridal (12)

Which wedding gown labels do you stock?

Due to the nature of my business I am lucky to stock a wide range of designers and styles. I currently hold designs from top designers in the UK market such as Justin Alexander, Ian Stuart, Alan Hannah, Ronald Joyce, Augusta Jones, Maggie Sottero, Pronovias Bridal, Sassi Holford, Charlotte Balbier, Sophia Tolli, La Sposa and Enzoani and designers who are unique in style or up and coming such as Cymbeline, Lizzie Agnew, Sanyukta Shersetha, Kayta Kayta, Jesus Peiro, Eliza Jane Howell and Minna.

What bridal accessories designers do you stock?

I work locally with a handmade accessories designer to offer a personal consultation to all my brides; I take pride in quality service. One Fine Day also currently stock one-off accessories by Enzoani, Sasso Brides, Rachel Simpson, Halo & Co and Amanda Wyatt amongst others.

One Fine Day Bridal (14)

Where are you located?

In Lancashire. Tarleton, a beautiful rural village which is easily accessible from Manchester and Liverpool. We are situated on a lovely courtyard with restaurants and coffee shops nearby and are on the first floor, so nice and private.

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

Our dresses range from destination styles at £250 to more exclusive designs at £1800. Accessories and shoes begin at £19 for lace gloves to £120 for beautiful head pieces.

One Fine Day Bridal (45)

Do Brides Up North need an appointment?

I do recommend an appointment as I like to lock the door and give my brides and their family full attention. I would begin by chatting to you as I love to hear all the details of your big day, from the engagement to any dress designs already tried and styles you love.

Dresses can be tried on as usual however I do request that heavy make-up and fake tan is not worn for fittings.

We offer the full bridal service and have an experienced seamstress who will fit your gown to you perfectly.

One Fine Day Bridal (22)

What is your current favourite gown that you stock and why?

My personal taste is very simple by design. I adore a Jesus Peiro gown which arrived this week in pale ivory. The fabric is matt satin and it is slim fitting with a gentle train. The belt has exquisite beadwork and I love a bridal gown with pockets!

Is there a particular style of dress that is popular with your brides at the moment?

I have found Justin Alexander to be a very popular designer and many brides are asking for mermaid styles in lace. I think gowns are becoming much softer and romantic with beautiful details in beading and fine lace and I love to see designs with a hint of colour – blush or ice grey.

The bridesmaid colour I have been asked for most is soft aqua.

One Fine Day Bridal (25)

Do you stock bridesmaid dresses?

I am expanding the business in summer to stock a range of new bridesmaid dresses; the designer is yet to be selected when I visit the London Bridal exhibition at the end of March. I also have lovely open space in my shop and am lucky to have 2 lovely rooms. One will become home to One Fine Night Lingerie as I introduce a beautiful new lingerie range in August this year.

One Fine Day Bridal (10)

Who would be a One Fine Day bride?

A One Fine Day bride is aware of her budget and is searching for her dream dress at an affordable price. She is aware of style and quality and she is not prepared to compromise on personal service or a pleasurable buying experience.

What did you wear on your wedding day?

I married in 2007 in a stunning silk Cymbeline gown, it was a very simple design in a warm ivory with one-shoulder, no embellishment but the skirt was a two piece with a gorgeous tulle underskirt shown through a split – I love it! It sits in my shop as a lucky omen. I wore a pearl necklet on my forehead woven into my hair which I later dropped around my neck.

Today I would chose a tea length gown with a full skirt and a pair of killer heels in a strong colour!

One Fine Day Bridal (41)

How can Brides Up North get in touch with you and find out more?

Visit our website at, find us on Facebook, email me at or call 07793288986.

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a lovely launch: The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique

March 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (55)

We are so proud of our fabulous industry Sponsors here at Brides Up North, and were thrilled to support gorgeous Diana of The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in the run up to her (very pretty) launch party.

A little while ago, we ran a feature to introduce the beautiful boutique and show off some of the amazing gowns that they’ll be stocking.  You can click here to catch up on the stunning shoot and hear about, and if I was excited then..

Girls, doors are officially open!

Images by Hayley Baxter Photography.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (4)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (7)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (2)

diana says: It seemed only right to have a little party to celebrate the launch of our gorgeous new boutique, so a few days before our open day, we had an exclusive launch evening for our lovely family, friends and industry friends.  It’s certainly been hard work getting to this point, but to see everyone’s expressions when they came into the boutique that night was unforgettable.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (31)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (28)

The night was filled with a flurry of emotions, from being paranoid about fizz getting spilt on the freshly laid carpet to having to make a speech!  Thankfully no fizz was spilt and the speech as someone else described was ‘epic’, although I wouldn’t have given it that description!  It was really important for me to thank my family for all the love, support and hands on help they have given me to get the boutique looking like it does.  I could not have done it without them. The look and feel of the boutique is everything I had hoped for and more.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (21)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (13)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (10)

I was also very touched by so many industry friends travelling from near and far to support the launch.  I know how manic this industry is and how busy everyone’s diaries are, so to see so many there was just lovely.  To top the night off we made a booking for a bride to be too!  We were so pleased with how a great an evening everyone had and there was certainly a buzz in the air ahead of our official open day.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (57)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (45)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (37)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (22)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (26)

At The Little Pearl we pride ourselves in offering a one on one, by appointment only service to all of our brides, in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. We have carefully selected our gown and accessory designers to bring our customers the very best in bridal wear, whilst suiting a wide variety of styles.  Our gown designers are the award winning Sassi Holford, Charlotte Balbier and Enzoani and the up and coming Maria Senvo. We also offer accessory styling appointments for all those finishing touches.  Our accessory designers are Rachel Simpson (shoes), Flo & Percy (headwear and jewellery), Sasso (stoles) and Pompadour (garters).

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique Launch (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (24)

Valentine’s Day is not only the day of love but also the day The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique opened its doors!  We had a day of bookings and lots of lovely treats for the bride-to-be and their families.  This is what all the hard work has been about, getting to meet these lovely ladies and helping them on their journey to finding the perfect gown and accessories.  We had lots of happy brides in the boutique, who had such lovely things to say about The Little Pearl.  We are so proud of our boutique already and can’t wait to welcome more lovely ladies through our doors.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or sign up to ‘Pearl’s Girls’ via our website to keep up to date with everything at The Little Pearl. Contact us at to book your Little Pearl experience now.

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lookbook. collars & capes.

March 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Jasmine - Enzoani

Several of our previous lookbook features have focused on wedding dress trends that encourage brides to flash some flesh, but today we are swooning over graceful gowns where modesty is key.

Somewhat unexpectedly dresses featuring high collars and capes (sorry Madge) have come to rule recent bridal runways promoting sophisticated styles that scream high fashion.


Though it didn’t work out for Madonna at The Brits (awkward) capes are a stylish accessory and can prove an incredibly practical choice for ladies having religious ceremonies that need to cover up that bit more, as well as brides with body hang ups that want to detract from the bits they’re less keen on.

A cape is a demure alternative to a shrug, bolero or jacket that comes in a variety of lengths and designs so brides can choose the type of style statement they wish to make.

The shorter options are fabulous for covering shoulders and the tops of arms while still showing off the main spectacle – the dress. Meanwhile long capes are particularly popular with brides looking to make a dramatic entrance on their wedding day without the use of a regular veil or train.

Solange Knowles is one high-profile bride that recently rocked this look on her wedding day, donning a cape with both her elegant gown and edgy jumpsuit outfits.

High low capes provide an option between the two either as a full coverlet or semi open design depending on how much of the dress a bride wants to be on show.
When it comes to detailing ladies opting for plainer dresses can add interest with laced and blinged-up designs. Meanwhile brides with highly detailed gowns are likely to stick to a simple sheer design though there are no hard rules to abide by.

Whichever option, caped brides can remove the additional garment for the evening celebrations giving them two different looks for their big day whilst also ensuring the all-important dress gets the exposure it deserves.

Designers that we think are executing the caped look exceptionally well within their collections include Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham and Claire Pettibone, though our favourite has to be Jasmine from Enzoani, which combines modern elegance with vintage glamour for one gorgeous dress.


Moving on to another covered-up trend – collars. Overtime the wedding dress neckline has crept up and where once the strapless sweetheart gown reigned supreme there are now full-sleeved designs as well as those with illusion necklines and high-necks.

In some cases the neckline has developed into a fully-fledged collar creating an incredibly regal look, which was favoured by one of the most elegant ladies in history on her wedding day – Grace Kelly.

Similar to the cape, a collard neckline can offer that bit more cover-up for body conscious brides whilst also emitting a theatrical look that’s bound to make a statement.

Many of the collared designs feature delicate lace collars but alternatives can be found in striking shirt necklines and super cute Peter Pan collars. Designers doing up the collar look perfectly include Pronovias, Ian Stuart and Charlotte Balbier – we heart her oh so sweet Flora dress.

All gowns featured are credited in our gallery.

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the big north sample sale.

February 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime


One of my favourite ever scenes in Friends (hey, I’m a big fan!) is the one where Monica, Rachel and Phoebe head to the NYC dress sale to search for Monica’s dream wedding dress.  Issued with whistles by the ever competitive Monica to attract attention if they locate the gown, the girls split up.  A frenzied scene results in a tussle over tulle and Jennifer Aniston cowering under a rail of frocks, using her whistle to sound the search alarm.

Girls, now’s your chance to unleash your inner Monica.

Our North East readers are sorted for this weekend’s plans, but Cheshire ladies… clear your calendar.

Big North Sample Sale

The big north sample sale is brought to you by three leading bridal boutiques in the North-West – Agapé Bridal Boutique, Love Bridal Boutique and The White Closet, and will be held at one of Cheshire’s most popular and one of Brides Up North’s own favourite wedding venues (we’ll be here a month later for our fabulous Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition), The Bowdon Rooms this Sunday 22nd February 2015.

This is the first collaboration of its kind in the North West, developed by three innovative boutiques who had the idea of bringing a host of leading bridal designers together all under one roof for Northern brides-to-be, offering a broad selection of bridal gown styles at amazing discounted prices.

Usually, a bridal boutique would host their own individual sample sale event meaning only a limited amount of brides are able to attend, with a smaller selection of dresses to choose from. The three boutiques involved pride themselves on being in tune with their brides, and knowing that the average bride likes to view a number of designers before making their final dress decision, what better way to present a sample sale than to bring the crème de la crème of bridal designers together for one exclusive event! The Big North Sample Sale allows a larger number of brides to attend and choose from a wide variety of fabulous gowns and designers.

With a collection of much sought after designers including Jenny Packham, Alan Hannah, Temperley London, Charlotte Balbier, Stephanie Allin, Stewart Parvin, Claire Pettibone, Amanda Wakeley, Terry Fox, Raimon Bundo, Ian Stuart and many many more, and with dresses available from £100 to £1700, this event is going to be seriously popular. There will also be a selection of accessories on offer too and some bridesmaid gowns. Savvy brides who know their designers, and appreciate great quality gowns will be in their element with dresses for sale at a fraction of the price. This event will also suit brides who have a shorter timescale to find their dress and whose only option may be to buy ‘off the rail’. Sample dress sizes range from 8-14.


all gowns featured are available to buy at the event

Brides will have the opportunity to try on gowns at the event, choosing a maximum of 2 at a time. There will be dedicated changing areas (predominantly communal changing areas with some private changing areas available too) and lots of mirrors around the venue. Brides are encouraged to wear nude underwear and also bring a pair of heels of the height they are thinking of wearing on their wedding day. Bridal experts from each boutique will also be on hand to offer any advice on any alterations required, recommended seamstress contacts, dry cleaning etc (alterations and dry cleaning are not included in the dress price) There is a strict girls only policy at the event too!

Payment for dresses will be by cash or card (Visa, Mastercard or Maestro).

Whistles at the ready!

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