Brides Up North

a perfect year. a real wedding recap with Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

January 29th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride (8)

Here at Brides Up North HQ, we really care about the fabulous industry suppliers who support the growth of our brand and business, both online and off.  I love nothing more than to hear the stories of their own success and development and how they helped our readers to achieve their dream days.  This afternoon I’m proud to welcome Jessica of mother and daughter dress designer duo Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride back to the wedding blog as they recap a great first year in the business.

jessica says: We could not have asked for a more exciting or successful 2014, our first year in business. We have been overwhelmed by the interest in the services we offer and all of the lovely comments and feedback we have had from each and every one of our clients. Both my Mum and I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with such lovely ladies and to have been a part of every one of their special days.

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride (16)

zoe’s wedding

Our main wedding of the season, for this Cheshire August celebration we were commissioned to design and create the bride’s gown, bridesmaids and Mother of the Bride.

They were such a fantastic group of people to work with and the bride, Zoe knew exactly what she wanted for her bridal party from our first consultation. Being a stylist she had dreamt up exactly the gowns she wanted us to create for her, starting with her own gown.  It was so exciting to work with someone that fully embraced the opportunity of having a truly bespoke and unique gown tailored to them personally.

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride (17)

She had specified all silks for her gown, we knew she wanted a very subtle blush peach colour and a very full tulle skirt. After a lot of sourcing for the perfect fabrics we began work on her gown – firstly, making a toile for her to see the overall shape and style before we began work on her silks for her final gown.

The design evolved throughout the bespoke process and the run up to her wedding, with every one of her weekly fittings was a dream and it was so rewarding to see how delighted she was and how incredible she felt in that dress.

Likewise, her look for her three  bridesmaids was equally well thought out – the girls were to be in a contrasting white, playing with traditional norms but also ensuring their look was elegant and classic. Each bridesmaid wore a white duchess cowl drop back dress with fishtail skirt.

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride (5)

The bride’s Mum also knew exactly the silhouette that flattered her shape and with this we went for a 60′s inspired, fitted bodice with full circular skirt – such an elegant and feminine Mother of the Bride dress with a powder blue silk underneath with embroidered lace overlay.

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride (13)

Dressing all of these ladies on the day was the icing on the cake for us! Seeing months of hand work and fittings all come together in one morning was fantastic. We keep in touch with Zoe, having made further bespoke evening dresses for her since her wedding and plan to work together throughout 2015- this Bride has certainly caught the bespoke bug!

Images by Flawless Photography.

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride (23)

kelly’s wedding

Kelly’s bridesmaids were our first set of Bridesmaids for 2014 – with her wedding in June it was a fantastic one to kick off the wedding season for us.

Kelly first came to us in January with a specific look in mind for her bridesmaids. The brief given to us was ‘suede, rose, vintage colouring’ with a very relaxed feel for her maids. She had 5 adult bridesmaids and was certain she wanted all of the girls to feel totally comfortable in each of their dresses and so we tailored them all individually – altering sleeves, straps, adding boning to some of their bodices, to ensure each girl was totally comfortable and feeling gorgeous and confident in their gowns.

The finishing touches and attention to detail that Kelly gave to her wedding day were so well thought out and can truly be seen in her beautiful photographs. The lace used for the bridesmaids’ dresses was added to each of their bouquets and matched the lace in the chair decorations. It was a pleasure working with Kelly and her bridesmaids and would like to thank her photographer for the beautiful images.

Image above by Phunk D Photography 

JB stomped (2)

melanie’s wedding

Melanie was our first bride of the season, having come to see us in February to commission her bridal gown.  We knew her main desire as a bride was to look classic and elegant in a gown that reflected her personal style rather than being too typically ‘bridal’. With this in mind, we used a range of silk fabrics from duchess to chiffon to create a contemporary design that was simple in look but executed with a perfect finish.

Mel looked fantastic and it was such an honour to dress her on the morning of her wedding.

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride (1)

catherine’s wedding

When Catherine first approached us in 2013, before we had officially launched our bespoke bridal business, it was a real privilege that she had put her faith in us (before seeing any of our work!) to commission her own bridal gown and her sister’s bridesmaid dress.

We spoke about design and fabrics and agreed to meet again in Jan 2014 once we had launched and get the ball rolling.

Catherine was pregnant with her first baby throughout her initial consultations and she had a clear idea what her requirements were for her wedding dress. With this we came up with a design together based on silhouettes that would suit and detailing that Catherine liked: a lace bodice and scalloped edge neckline. At the toile stage for Catherine we perfected the fit of her gown, added boning to her bodice for support and began work on her final fabrics.

Likewise, for her bridesmaid and sister, Elizabeth, we designed a form fitting fishtail silhouette gown with an off the shoulder detailed bodice. The pair looked stunning on the day and it was such a pleasure working with them both.

Image above supplied by Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride.

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

clare’s wedding

Our final bridesmaid of the season was Lou, her sister Clare was getting married in a beautiful Woolton wedding in October and the bride had already bought her dress which was a 50,s inspired knee length, full skirt silhouette and so the pair needed to co-ordinate well.

The brief given to us was ‘midnight blue’ and so we used a mix of silky satin and chiffon to create a beautiful feminine dress for Louise to wear. She paired her dress with bespoke underskirt for a dramatic shape, killer heels and a drop dead gorgeous white feather bolero ! Thank you to the sister duo for letting us be a part of their special day.

Image above by Ant Klausen Photography

JB stomped (1)

mother of the bride

Mother of the Bride Josie wore an all silk sage, lemon and champagne coloured dress with pleated waist detail and matching sage jacket. Josie said she felt a million dollars in this dress and with this design we made a fully boned ‘foundation’ that was secured within the dress which gave her added support and structure.

the year ahead…

2015 is set to be a huge year for us, we have begun to expand our studio as we can’t fit all of our gowns in our existing one and we are already super excited about showing off our beautiful brides and their gowns with you all.

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lookbook. all that glitters.

January 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Jocasta -  Jenny Packahm

Jocasta by Jenny Packham 

Here at Brides Up North we love everything that glints, glistens and sparkles.

Luckily in the wedding industry there is plenty of pretty to give us a twinkle fix – from fabulous glitter encrusted shoes, to bejewelled accessories and, of course, beautifully embellished dresses.

Etta -  Jenny Packham

Etta

For me a glittering gown demands a double take and is therefore an excellent choice for brides wanting to make a statement on the aisle. Just how much a bride wants to shine though is down to the individual, for there are designs that glow from top to toe, those with killer back detailing and dresses with beaming bodices.

Simone - Jenny Packham

Simone

Those who desire the latter should look to Maggie Sottero who is an expert in designing wonderfully enchanting princess style gowns, complete with sparkling bodice detailing. Dawson and Esme Marie are perfect examples with both featuring chic organza ball gown skirts topped with heavily beaded bodices and stunning Swarovski crystals.

Nelly -  Jenny Packham

Nelly

Enzoani meanwhile offers less structured sparkling designs. Jody, Joyce and Joanna are ideal for brides wanting a slinky, slim-line dress with gorgeous glistening detail. Each of the gowns also features sparkling straps and oh so low backs, to flash a little extra flesh.

Dina -  Jenny Packham

Dina

The princess of dazzling detail though has to be Jenny Packham. A master in heavily detailed frocks that radiate high-shine and glamour, magpies must check out her current collection. There are fluid designs such as Dina and Nelly with subtle sparkles then there’s the likes of Simone and Hatty, which takes the brilliance up a notch. Meanwhile for those that want a dress dripping in detail, Packham offers high-end Gatsby style in the form of her Etta dress or for red-carpet radiance it has to be the shimmering Jocasta.

Hatty -  Jenny Packham

Hatty

We’d love to know, are you set to sparkle on your big day?

Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham.

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high street honey: monsoon 2015

January 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Camille

Camille

They’ve only gone and done it again – Brides Up North High Street Honey favourite Monsoon has just released its Spring/Summer 15 bridal collection and just as those that have gone before, it’s flippin’ gorgeous.

Ideal for stylish brides on a budget, Monsoon knows how to deliver highly swoon-worthy dresses that won’t break the bank. Drawing on current bridal trends there are gowns of varying styles, lengths and materials, providing plenty of prettiness.

Jane

Jane

As the collection is for the warmer season, it includes some stunning short-length gowns, including the sweet and sophisticated Harriet and Jane. I absolutely adore these designs, which have highly desirable price tags, with Jane coming in at just under £300 and Harriet costing an incredible £169.

Harriet is a 1960s inspired shift dress with simple floral jacquard and crystal gem, pearl and bead detailing while Jane features a tulle overlay with lavish pearl and sequin embellishments, which are all hand embroidered.

Maria

Maria

For fans of intricate detailing there is also the wonderful Maria and Georgina gowns in short lengths but both have sleeves for those wanting a little more coverage. Both are adorned with elaborate embellishing that ooze opulence. I also particularly like how the cape of Georgina can be worn two different ways around or even detached altogether, giving a bride the option of several different looks for her big day.

Sophia

Sophia

Sticking with highly detailed designs, Monsoon has some vintage inspired floor-length gowns that emulate regal Gatsby glamour. Sophia and Camille are wonderful examples. Slim-line Sophia is encrusted with crystal gems, pearls and sequins from top-to-toe, while the flirty tassels and glitzy detailing of Camille gives it an elegant flapper girl feel.

Elinor

Elinor

And Monsoon hasn’t forgotten about ladies that like to keep things simple. The likes of Elinor and Olivia are graceful gowns that still feature fancy detailing but that isn’t too flashy.

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look book. the little mermaid

January 14th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Crystal - Ian Stuart

There are certain styles of wedding dresses that demand attention, and for me the mermaid gown falls into this category. Fabulously fitted all the way down to the knee, these dresses might not be very easy to manoeuvre in but boy they create a killer silhouette.

The framed bust, tight corseted bodice and dropped waist combination is a classic red carpet look that was designed to turn heads – and it works as well at film premieres as it does on the aisle.

While some brides will choose to let their figure do the talking by picking a mermaid style wedding dress that is simple in its detailing, others will want to go all out with a fishtail frock that is guaranteed to make a splash.

Main images courtesy of Ian Stuart.

Four Seasons - Ian Stuart

For those brides keen on the first option, Justin Alexander has several simple yet stunning designs within his collection. Perfect for vintage style brides, many incorporate lace or antique broach detailing for that extra regal touch.

Myself, I’d be in camp two and would want a mermaid tail that packs a punch. One man’s designs that can promise just that are those that come from Ian Stuart. Brilliantly flamboyant, Stuart’s dresses boast attention grabbing volume and to-die-for detailing. His Cocorico design in pale blue is a gorgeous example. Designed for maximum impact, the dress is fitted down to the knee where it then erupts into an abundance of flowers. Similar to the Brunei dress, the lower skirt can be detached to give brides a dramatically contrasting look for the evening part of their celebrations.

My favourite mermaid creation of Stuart’s though has to be Four Seasons. Its romantic colour, cascading flowers and layers of silk gazar make for one heavenly dress.

Lolobrigida - Ian Stuart

Another designer that leads the style stakes when it comes to mermaid dresses is Maggie Sottero. Also pushing the traditional wedding dress colour boundaries, Sottero offers show stopping gowns in pretty shades of light gold and blush pink. Her detailed bodices and ruffled skirts are without doubt worthy of a place on couture catwalks and provide brides with sensationally glamorous attire.

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pearl’s girls. introducing the little pearl bridal boutique.

January 9th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (3)

This morning on these pretty pages I’m very proud to introduce a new Brides Up North Sponsor and brand new (so new its doors haven’t even opened!) bridal boutique for North Yorkshire, The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique.

The boutique’s fabulous owner, the lovely Diana, wanted to organise a special photo shoot to show off the wedding dresses that you’ll be able to find at The Little Pearl on launch day and beyond.  I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously excited…

Readers, I give you, pearl’s girls.

Images by Hayley Baxter Photography, Samantha Ward Photography and Georgina Harrison Photography, as individually credited in our gallery.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (9)

diana says: The inspiration behind the launch shoot for The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique was creating our own style of hollywood glamour.  Our vision for the boutique is elegant yet stylish with a warm, relaxed and welcoming feel.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (16)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Samantha Ward Photography (2)

We decided on The Talbot Hotel in Malton as a shoot location due its classic British design, period features, but also its modern take on traditional comforts.  The landscaped gardens and historic setting also provided some great backdrops for the photographers to work their magic!  We had the most talented people in Yorkshire involved on the day, all assisted by my good friend Jonny Draper at Jonny Draper Photography, who helped bring all these fantastic people together.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (15)

We had the best photographers Yorkshire has to offer, who all brought their different style and edge to the shoot.  Hayley Baxter has such a contemporary style to her shooting, with the most stunning use of light.  Samantha Ward takes a relaxed and romantic approach. She’s passionate about film photography and incorporates shooting film within the wedding day, producing beautiful images, rich in tone and depth. Sam was thrilled to be involved in the Little Pearl Bridal photo shoot and says “Diana has sourced some stunning dresses for her boutique along with incredibly beautiful accessories and what a wonderful opportunity to be able to photograph these gowns and details creatively with film.”

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (11)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (10)

Georgina Harrison shoots hybrid with traditional medium format film along side digital. Her style is feminine, using natural light to create luminous , light airy images that have a sense of romance with soft pastel tones. She always loves shooting bridal portraits and making woman feel comfortable so was delighted to be involved in this shoot and despite the damp, grey day she produced some gorgeous soft, light romantic images.

Having these photographers come together for our launch shoot was an honour and they’ve captured such beautiful and complimentary shots between them.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (4)

Our stunning models were styled by the superb and internationally renowned, hair and make up artist, Catherine Elizabeth.  She came along knowing exactly what would work both for the shoot and on the models themselves – a true pleasure.  I even learnt a few techniques myself!

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Samantha Ward Photography (8)

Sarah of Leafy Couture brought along some stunning floral displays, from bouquets to floral crowns, which helped bring the essence of glamour and elegance together.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Samantha Ward Photography (3)

The models (Laura, Kirstie, Livvie and Molly) are all friends of mine and even though it was a new experience for them, they were naturals! They all brought something different to the shots and loved playing dress up for the day!

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (6)

The shoot itself went so well! Obviously it was my first time organising and running something like this, and everyone involved was so supportive and helpful throughout the day.  I loved finally seeing the dresses on, watching their movement and experimenting with different accessories to complete the look.  They all looked stunning!

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (7)

The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique is a beautifully elegant boutique, situated in the historic market town of Pickering, North Yorkshire.  We will be opening the doors in February and can’t wait for brides to come and see us.  Searching for your perfect gown is such an emotional experience, and should be a joy from the moment you start seeking out what designers you like to the day you walk down the aisle.

I have had a passion for all things bridal for as long as I can remember.  After working with my husband in the wedding industry and then searching for my own gown, I knew that opening a bridal boutique was my destiny.  I wanted to give brides the experience that I feel you should have when planning such an important purchase!

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (1)

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 ourcustomers 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).

We have lots of exciting plans for the boutique, including exclusive events and helping brides and their families get access to and experience the very best wedding suppliers in Yorkshire.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Samantha Ward Photography (14)

The diary is now open! We will be having a launch open day, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or sign up to Pearls Girls via our website to keep up to date with everything at The Little Pearl.  Contact us at diana@thelittlepearlbridalboutiqe.co.uk to book your Little Pearl experience now.

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eye candy: amanda wyatt’s blue iris collection

January 8th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Adam Cowie - Client Magazine editorial

Alicia

First week back at work, neeeeeeeearly the weekend… I think we need a little eye candy, don’t you girls? Today, it’s time to twirl.  Let’s take a look at the pretty, classic designs of Brides Up North Sponsor, Amanda Wyatt, and her beautiful blue iris collection.

Shall we play a little dress up?

Adam Cowie - Client Magazine editorial

Celestine

amanda says: Iris was a Greek goddess and her name means the rainbow. In Greek legends and mythology she was the messenger of the gods, travelling to earth on a rainbow to deliver message of promise and hope.

Adam Cowie - Client Magazine editorial

Francesca

The Blue Iris collection from Amanda Wyatt comprises 30 enchanting gowns that bring ‘love to life’. Soft chiffons, French and Italian laces, fine tulle and rich satins are adorned with frosted pearly beading and embellished details in a soft colour palette of ivory, buttermilk and a hint of blush.

Adam Cowie - Client Magazine editorial

Blue Iris

Amanda Wyatt Collection

Adrianne

Visit this feature’s gallery to view the full collection, or find out more at Amanda Wyatt’s website.

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lookbook: city sleek.

January 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Mae & detachable skirt - Stephanie Allin

Mae by Stephanie Allin

We were recently Highly Commended in the Wedding Blog Awards 2014′s “Best City Wedding Blog” category, and chic cosmopolitan styling is one of our favourite trends for wedding day fashion, like, ever.  goodbye meringues! A stylish city ceremony gives brides-to-be the opportunity to rock sleek attire that varies from the wedding norm.

Moving around busy urban areas and climbing staircases of grand city halls and hotels calls for a slim line, fluid number that isn’t going to slow you down or trip you up. And we’re not just talking dresses; a city centre do pushes the style boundaries wide open, inviting fashion forward brides to consider a two-piece skirt and top design, or even an all in jumpsuit, Solange Knowles style.

Those preferring to stick to tradition with a dress can always hitch up their hemline to free their feet ready for stepping out through bustling streets.

Pia - Monique Lhuillier

Pia by Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier has some particularly striking options for city brides, including stylish mini-length dresses and sophisticated two-piece designs.

Billie is a particular favourite of mine, not that I would be brave enough to work its cut-away silhouette. But for those that are, its gorgeous crisscross crop top and elegant illusion pencil skirt scream high fashion. Meanwhile, for those planning a more vintage affair, the pretty embroidered Charlotte top and ballerina skirt cover a little more flesh and are still easy to get around in.

Lhuillier’s short-length dresses are also incredibly swoon-worthy options, particularly the Pia and simple yet striking Zelda designs.

Pia - Monique Lhuillier

Billie by Monique Lhuillier

Zelda - Monique Lhuillier

Zelda by Monique Lhuillier

The princess of prettiness, Stephanie Allin boasts several slim line dresses within her collections that would most definitely stand out in a city scene.

Chicago, Eternal, Ingrid and Olivia are all stunning examples of city simplicity at its best, but for those wanting a more structured design there is the Ashlea or even Mae, which has a detachable skirt, to give brides two equally wonderful looks.

The pièce de résistance has to be Allin’s Garbo jumpsuit as she dares to go where few other designers would. The fabulous sweet-heart neckline and wide-leg design also has an optional lace shrug for that extra piece of prettiness and cover-up where required.

Chicago  - Stephanie Allin

Chicago by Stephanie Allin

Olivia  - Stephanie Allin

Olivia by Stephanie Allin

Eternal  - Stephanie Allin

Eternal by Stephanie Allin

Garbo  - Stephanie Allin

Garbo by Stephanie Allin

Finally, I’d encourage city brides to consider the svetle, sleek lines of Suzanne Neville’s Novello Collection (click here to see a preview on Brides Up North), the fab and flirty frocks in Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection (click here) or some of Sassi Holford’s cute designs as big day contenders.

For city brides wanting to bring a bit of bling to their big day, well, you can’t go wrong with a beaded Jenny Packham number, can you?

Simone - Jenny Packham

Simone by Jenny Packham

Rio-Jenny-Packham

Rio by Jenny Packham

Noa-Jenny-Packham

Noa by Jenny Packham

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real wedding recap winter 2014. a wonderful world. a travel themed wedding at Hodsock Priory – sami & chris

January 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Happy New Year! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.

Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.  Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (36)

Well, what can I say, from the memorable wedding proposal to the stately venue and swoon-worthy wedding attire (especially the Jimmy Choos) – this couple have style.

Chris popped the question to Sami when they were travelling together so it seemed only natural to them to incorporate their love for globetrotting into their big day celebrations – and my word they did it well.

With Sami’s creative eye and Chris’s exceptional carpenter skills, they created a host of gorgeous personal props that were a whole classy world away from what Handy Andy used to create with a piece of plywood.

So pack a suitcase guys, as it’s time to join Sami and Chris on the journey of their splendid wedding day.

With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (8)

sami says: We got engaged in Hoi An, Vietnam, on June 23, 2013 during our travels. We’d been travelling for nine months before Chris went down on one knee during a romantic cycle ride into the countryside, with rice fields galore. We stepped off our bicycles then walked between rice paddies to reach a distressed bamboo bridge to take photographs. The next thing I knew, Chris popped the question with a “will you marry me?” which he had created with wooden letters he bought from a market stall in Bangkok six weeks earlier and attached them onto a world map paper. Chris had created the proposal, using snatched moments when I was in the shower each evening!  It was an unexpected moment even though I was hoping that Chris would propose one day during our travels!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (10)

Sunday September 14, 2014 was the date we decided to tie the knot. We chose this date as we liked the fact that September is usually warm and pleasant and with the hope of an Indian summer, still retaining the colours of the flowers and leaves from the lingering end of the season, that end of summer feeling we love so much, when the sun appears lower in the sky, giving everything a soft warm glow and it doesn’t go dark until around 8pm. The date also includes our personal significant numbers, so it all worked out perfectly, as if it was written in the stars for us!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (13)

We chose Hodsock Priory in North Nottinghamshire as our venue as it has the perfect magical, fairytale and country feel and is in a tranquil setting. It looks like a castle with its Tudor gatehouse as a welcoming entrance, grounds with woodland offering romantic walks, a quirky summerhouse and an Italian terrace, creating endless opportunities for amazing photographs. The interior of Hodsock Priory was just as perfect!  What also attracted us to Hodsock Priory is its exclusivity, so we wouldn’t have to worry about sharing our wedding with another wedding party.

The moment we stepped into Hodsock Priory we immediately fell in love with it and knew nothing else could compete with this stunning and special place!  Also we live near Hampton Court in London, so there are some connections – Henry VIII once visited Hodsock Priory and to us, it’s like a mini version of Hampton Court. The venue is also local to where my parents live, about 20 minutes away, yet we had never heard of it before we got engaged!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (16)

It was a no-brainer to pick a travel related theme as we had travelled around the world and visited 20 countries together in our four-year relationship. So we had a vintage travel theme with a natural, rustic boho chic style.

Our colour scheme was grey, ivory and natural kraft, which was used in our wedding stationery, along with splashes of blue, green and pink colours in the flowers. We chose this scheme because grey is one of our favourite colours and the other colours were thrown in the mix to complement it and bring the whole scheme to life with the natural look we were after. Chris made lots of wooden props, which also blended in well with the colour theme.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (19)

The day Chris and I returned from our travels in July 2013, we received our first wedding magazine as a part of our engagement gift. Already having an idea of the look I wanted in my mind, I flicked through the magazine and there it was – I spotted ‘the one’. It was Holly by Charlotte Balbier. I sourced local stockists and found Emily Bridal Wear in Sheffield, who was fantastic. I looked at dresses in other bridal shops first to make sure, but once I slipped into the Holly dress, I just knew, tears welled up in my eyes and my mum welled up too!

I wanted a simple, flowing, ethereal and dreamy dress that I could wear again after my wedding (the hem can easily be shortened). I also wanted to wear the dress rather than it wearing me, plus I wanted some details to add interest, such as embellishments around the waist and detailed bodice – that dress ticked every box! I had a halter neck strap added to it to make it a little more unique from the usual strapless dress.

When it came to accessories, I fell in love with my Jimmy Choos and I had a matching handbag to go with it. I wanted shoes to complement my dress and they did with the lattice effect just like my dress bodice. They felt so special! My floral clay circlet meanwhile was bespoke, created by the lovely Sofia of Lilain London, whose work I spotted at The Brides Show in Battersea.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (2)

Chris wore a country look grey suit. It was purchased from Reiss along with a white shirt and tan brogues. The silver/grey tie was from Aquascutum and a silver/grey silk pocket square was from John Lewis.

The bridesmaids’ grey/silver dresses were purchased from Coast and the groomsmen’s light grey suits were from River Island. The pale blue ties were from John Lewis.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (3)

For our décor, we had the same flowers as my bouquet, with lots of gypsophila!  We collected lots of glass jars with the help of both sets of parents for the tables. Me and my mum decorated these jars with ribbon, jute string, raffia and wicker hearts then Kay at Hodsock added the flowers. I also collected large glass coffee jars from work, filled with pebbles collected from a beach near Chris’s family’s regular seaside place; they were perfect for the table names! We had each table named after some of our favourite countries and instead of just writing them out, I made a country outline template then Chris cut it out on plywood using a jigsaw. We originally planned to have the guests guess what each country was but realised it was too difficult, so made a label with country name for each one. For each table, we also sourced candle lanterns and photo frames. We love candle lanterns as they evoke warm memories of our travels we felt they gave an enchantingly calm atmosphere.

We used props to give our day more of a personal touch. Chris made some large ‘LOVE’ letters, a wooden wedding post box and also wooden hanging hearts for the aisle, which we alternated with, bunches of gypsophila. He also made a rustic wooden signpost, which depicted some of the places we had visited. It was placed on the lawn giving photo opportunities for guests.

We added family wedding photographs of our parents and dear departed grandparents and had decorations to tie in with vintage travel theme, such as world map board used for table plan, a map photo frame with our engagement photo and C & S letters covered with world map. We also had two wooden step ladders – the large one made a lovely decoration at the entrance, with flowers scattered all over it, topped with a bicycle to represent us (we got engaged whilst out cycling) and a handwritten painted ‘welcome’ sign. We even borrowed a vintage globe from Hodsock Priory for our ceremony table.

Together with my creative eye and perfectionist way, and Chris’s skilled hands, we were able to make the decorations and props we wanted. Since we got married, we have decided to set up our own website as we are looking to go into the wedding props market.

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We went for natural and wild looking flowers. I carried a bouquet filled with gypsophila, ivory and dusky pink roses, pink veronica, eryngiums, eucalyptus, small daisies, all tied together with jute string.  The flowers were part of the Hodsock Priory package. Chris and the men in the bridal party wore eryngium buttonholes and the ladies wore ivory roses.

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We wanted to arrive at Hodsock Priory in style while continuing our travel theme, so we hired Harry, a beautifully restored VW campervan from Vintage VolksWeddings. It was reminiscent of our road trips in Australia and New Zealand. The campervan transported me and my bridesmaids to Hodsock Priory first, where we had our final preparations. Then the groom and groomsmen were collected from a hotel, along with the groom’s parents to be taken to the venue. It was an awesome start to the day and a great photo opportunity!

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Jo and Simon at Shoot Lifestyle were our photographers on the day.  We discovered them by Googling and admired their blog with photographs of a couple whose wedding also took place at Hodsock Priory. We loved their natural and candid style and felt the photographs oozed freshness and colours, and lots of close up shots of details, which were also so important to us. We also hired two videographers to film our wedding as we feel it is a memory in motion that we can keep and cherish over the years.

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For our favours we presented the ladies with stainless steel heart spoons and for the men we gave antique key bottle openers.

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After many months of changing our minds on how we wanted our cake and cupcakes to look, we eventually settled on a lattice effect for half of the cupcakes and small ivory roses for the rest of the cupcakes. The lattice effect tied in with my dress bodice and the ivory roses with our flowers. I loved the simple dot design also, so had that for the main three-tier cake finished with cascading ivory roses. I didn’t want to decide between a three-tier cake and cupcakes, so I managed to persuade Chris to have both! Yvonne, another supplier of the Hodsock Priory package, baked the scrumptious three-tier fruitcake and sponge cupcakes made in two separate flavours – Victoria sponge with jam and lemon.

As Chris is a carpenter, he made the wooden cake stand to present the cupcakes in a creative and unique way and the top stand was personalised with engraving. We also had a wooden base for the three-tier cake. We decided to use fairylights for the lighting effect as it reminds us of travelling in faraway places, especially restaurants by the beach!  The cake topper was a bespoke design, created to look like us!  It was by Cheryl at Artlocke Designs.

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The wines were included in the Hodock Priory package and we chose Gail Dandy as our caterer as we felt her variety of food covered everyone’s tastes. When we went food sampling and were impressed by the numbers of dishes on offer and how delicious her food was!

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As we wanted everyone to join in on the dance floor, we decided to have a ceilidh band. We hired Knitters Jig, who provided an entertaining performance. It was brilliant fun. It didn’t matter if guests made mistakes, it only added to the atmosphere and everyone had a really good laugh!

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We would most definitely recommend our wedding venue to others – it is such a beautiful and fairytale like venue with stunning grounds. The woodland and the lake give the place a magical, enchanted feel! George and the staff were so helpful and friendly and so well organised. We were made to feel very welcome to share their beautiful home.

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It’s really difficult to pinpoint our favourite part of the day as we loved every moment. It was the best day of our lives but if we had to choose, the greatest part would be seeing each other at the aisle!

Shoot Lifestyle

For our honeymoon we went to Hawaii for three weeks island hopping, visiting three different islands, which was a fantastic and amazing experience. We hired a Jeep for a week to explore one of the islands and we swam along with turtles and stingrays in the sea!  It was an amazing honeymoon with a variety of things to do but at the same time offered a lot of relaxation time, which we so desperately needed. We didn’t want to come home!

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Our advice to other brides and grooms-to-be is to enjoy the planning and make sure you leave plenty of time if you want to DIY everything and do rope in family or friends to help – make use of their skills. For example, whilst we had our own ideas for wedding stationery, Chris’s brother-in-law helped us by honing our ideas into reality with his creative graphic design skills for travel themed invitations, order of service, table plan and place cards. Although the day flies by so quickly, make sure you have time for each other but also circulate with your guests between meals like we did, it makes them feel appreciated.

If you want a creative first wedding dance, it’s worth investing in a few dance lessons to build up your confidence and learn your moves, like we did. We wrote our own promises for the ceremony as we wanted our wedding to be more personal, meaningful and unique. If you wish to do the same, make sure you leave plenty of time to think and write them.

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eye candy. So Sassi 2015

December 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime

So Sassi 2015 - Gabrielle Back CU

It’s Friday.  Got your cuppa in one hand, bacon buttie in the other?

Excellent.  Time for a bit of dress gazing

So Sassi 2015 - Paige & Jacket 1

This morning, we debut multi award-winning wedding gown designer Sassi Holford’s 2015 Collection of her esprit label, So Sassi. Perfect for the young, modern bride with a sense of fashion and her own style, So Sassi is the creation of a young design team working in a highly creative environment under Sassi’s expert tutelage.

So Sassi 2015 - Petula CU 1

So Sassi 2015 - Paige CU 1

So Sassi 2015 - Colette

sassi says: The collection features fresh, spirited dresses that combine exquisite silks and laces with contemporary twists – key hole backs, cut outs, sheer cap sleeves and ballerina length tulle. The dresses are handmade in our workrooms in Somerset and the collection retails from £1,100.

So Sassi 2015 - Kitty

Our young designers understand the exuberance and style of contemporary brides and that really comes across in the collection.  It’s attracted a great deal of interest from brides looking for dresses that express that sense of joie de vivre that makes a wedding day so special – and being ‘made in England’ has become a key element.

So Sassi 2015 - Arabella back CU

So Sassi 2015 - Willow 1

So Sassi 2015 - Maisie CU 1

For more, visit www.sosassi.so

For more gowns and dress details, see our gallery below.

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eye candy. a first look at BHDLN’s spring 2015 collection

December 10th, 2014 | Julia Braime

BHLDN Preview

The lookbook has just landed, and I’ve shifted a few features around today to bring Brides Up North the first look at the highly anticipated spring 2015 collection from BHDLN. Those clever people behind Anthropologie really do know how to do pretty, pretty perfectly.

Here at Brides Up North, we’re desperate to play dress up. Anyone got a spare ticket to NYC?

Maelin Corset and Priya Skirt

bhldn say: The collection, launching January 6th, features 18 new gowns and a multitude of accessories that draw upon two distinct inspirational concepts: The Painted Garden and Bon Vivant.

Zaden Gown

Raquel Dress

Winnie Gown

Gowns inspired by The Painted Garden feature sheer elements like illusion necks and backs along with intricate back details, extra fine lace and voluminous trains while those of the Bon Vivant feature delicate beading, strategic draping, soft tailoring and eye-catching embroidery.

Marlowe Gown

Aria Gown

Angel Gown

When it comes to accessories, we see a focus on sheer fabric trims, mixed elements on sashes, freshwater pearl accents and dramatic moments created by long draping tulle on both sashes and halos. Other refined “drippy” pieces feature mixed metallics with fine embellishments along with both champagne and metallic pearls. Headpieces with carefully placed crystals have a structured and polished feel while luxurious fabrics like silk charmeuse bring an element of luminosity to sashes and clutches.

Tiered Petal Maxi

Wisteria Gown

Alhambra Gown

Amelie Gown

Beloved designers like Catherine Deane, Watters and Nicole Miller return with new styles that mirror the stars of previous collections while designers that are new to BHLDN like Rosa Clara, Something Blue Vancouver and Johanna Johnson bring a fresh take to the assortment.

For more details visit the BHLDN website, and if a quick hop over to New York City isn’t covered in the wedding budget, details of international shipping can be found here.

For individual gown names and more gorgeous frocks, check out our gallery. 

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