Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Shows Spring 2017

first reveal: felicity cooper 2018 authentic luxe collection

March 14th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (46)

We just love it when we get to share an exclusive first look at a designer’s brand new collection – and this afternoon on the blog, we are doing just that!

Prepare for some serious dress candy ladies, as we reveal a special preview of the 2018 collection from our hugely talented Sponsor, Felicity Cooper Bridal.

Felicity Cooper Behind the scenes photoshoot v5 (short) from Paul Kyte Photography on Vimeo.

The stunning label was launched by North West designer Fiona Cooper back in 2010 and has continued to go from strength to strength, with brides falling head over heels for its pretty bohemian designs that are both feminine and fashionable.

Here to introduce the latest collection with stunning imagery and video footage, is the leading lady herself.

With images by Lucy G Photography.

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (39)

What is the name of the new collection and does it have a certain theme?

fiona says: ‘Authentic Luxe’ is our 2018 collection and we are so excited to preview it here exclusively! It has a bohemian luxe vibe – the look we love the most!

Where did you get the inspiration from for the new collection?

The 2018 collection has a relaxed feel. I have taken inspiration from so many things, including interior design trends, bohemian fashion and the brides I meet.

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (1)

Can you give us an overview of the various styles that feature in the collection?

The majority of the collection is slim fitting; off-shoulder gowns and spaghetti straps play a prominent part.

And what fabrics have been used?

My usual signature fabrics; silk chiffon in both matt and shine, delicate French laces, soft draping crepe and a really quirky geometric stretch cotton.

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (48)

Do you have a personal favourite dress from the collection?

Oh, I have a few, though I think Willow and Poppy are my very favourites!

How has the new collection been received so far by those that have seen it?

Some of our stockists have had sneak previews and so far we have had an amazing response. We can’t wait to get the collection in their boutiques and to the brides!

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (27)

What type of bride do you think the new collection will appeal to?

We really think our dresses appeal to the relaxed bride, fun loving and fashion thinking bride. The bride who knows her own mind and style, who wants to be comfortable yet look breath-taking.

When and where will the new collection be available from?

The collection will be available at trunk shows with our stockists over the coming months and permanently with them from the summer. I would advise any bride wanting to try the new collection to contact their nearest stockist, book into the trunk shows and make sure the dress they want to try will be there!

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (56)

Any other news to share with us?

With the success of Felicity Cooper Bridal with our wonderful stockists we have decided to close our Knutsford boutique to enable us to concentrate fully on our brand and support our stockists. We will be hosting special events in the North West and I will be attending as many trunk shows as I can personally. Our stockist trunk show dates so far are:

Frock & Soul – 8th and 9th April

The White Yard – 1st May

Kimberley Ann Bridal Boutique – 8th and 9th July

For a full list of stockists visit www.felicitycooper.co.uk

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lookbook: romantic ruffles

February 22nd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Monique Lhuillier - Beatrix

If the 2017 bridal runways are anything to go by, ruffles are all the rage – so we thought it was about time we revisited this recurring trend, and show you how best to rock this romantic look.

Perfect for adding dimension to a slim silhouette and creating extra movement, ruffles are ultra-feminine and can serve up a hint of drama, too. Fluted layers, stiff waves, cascading skirts and voluminous frills – what we love is that there are so many different styles to choose from.

This isn’t for the faint-hearted though – the best way to carry off this playful trend is to go all out for a high-end twist to your bridal look. It’s a style, we think, best suited to modern fashionista brides seeking something alternative and chic.

Main images: Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier - Hailee

Focusing on current collections, Persy’s new Le Tresure collection offers a sweet twist on the ruffle trend with its head-to-toe layers crafting a figure-flattering silhouette. The Lily and Perla dresses are our particular faves – we can only imagine how wonderful it would be to swish around in these bohemian designs.

For the more contemporary and demure bride, look to Monique Lhuillier for inspiration. The Tresor strapless gown is one of our personal highlights from the AW17 collection, with its abundance of soft spiraling ruffles. By contrast, the Beatrix dress serves up a whimsical fashion moment with its cascading layers of beautiful lace, finished with a cute bow.

Monique Lhuillier - Ballad

If you’re seeking something a touch more understated with a vintage edge, look no further than Sachin & Babi’s new collection, delivering tight ruffles in all the right places to really accentuate your figure.

Princess wannabes will no doubt fall in love with the Ines Di Santo Souffle ball gown, which combines an illusion bodice and back with pretty appliques and a tumbling tulle skirt for a subtle and dreamy take on the trend.

You’ll also find ruffles of all shapes and sizes in the 2017 couture collection from Yolan Cris. Delicate and ethereal, these angelic dresses offer brides-to-be an alluring mix of fabrics and cuts, from pleated organza and Chantilly lace to tulle skirts and open boat necklines. In a word: adore.

the big picture

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for the stars. a styled bridal shoot at allerton castle

February 20th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (13)

Today on Brides Up North, the stunning Allerton Castle in North Yorkshire provides the romantic setting for our styled wedding shoot.

Dating all the way back to 1066, the site is quite literally steeped in history with striking architecture and a captivating gothic interior to match. We’re talking ornate mirrors, candelabras, original fireplaces and spellbinding staircases.

Becki from all You Need is Love Photography paired up with a number of talented suppliers (including Brides Up North Sponsor Blossom and Belle) to create this dreamy yet dramatic bridal look, and we simply adore the bold palette of the bouquet, headpiece and makeup.

Don’t miss our Brides Up North Luxury Bridal Show on Sunday 5th March 2017, 11am till 3pm, Free Entry at this stunning venue! We’re filling the Castle with 30+ of the area’s most brilliant bridal suppliers, live music, bridal fashion, pretty paper, sweet treats, floral designs and all the details.  Come and see the place dressed to the nines to inspire your own perfect wedding day! Click here to register now. 

With images from All You Need is Love Photography

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (29)

becki says: We named the shoot ‘Star Of Love’ which is the variety of astrantia that the florist, Claire Slater Flowers used in the red bouquet, which features in most of the photos. Our model, Daisy, was quite the star, too, wearing a white gown from Blossom and Belle, based in York.

In terms of inspiration for the shoot, we focused on all things vintage. We wanted an opportunity to be creative together, especially as our tastes are so similar; plus we all have a soft spot for anything vintage.

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (16)

We loved working together to create such a timeless and elegant look for the shoot. It’s just great to meet like-minded ladies within the wedding industry that can inspire and encourage the best from each other.

Allerton Castle was the most perfect location; each room is breath taking and the staff there are incredible.

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (26)

I visited the castle a few years back, and it has always been a dream location for me to photograph. Each element of the shoot fitted together seamlessly and the backdrop of the castle really pulled it all together. It was like stepping into a time machine, as it’s steeped in so much history.

A Styled Wedding Shoot at Allerton Castle (c) All You Need Is Love Photography (7)

We didn’t have a specific style from the outset, this emerged as we discussed our favourite looks, and before we knew it, the vintage theme took a life of its own.

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all that sparkles. caroline castigliano a winter wedding at rudding park, harrogate – jessica & andrew

February 14th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Winter Wedding at Rudding Park (c) York Place Studios (29)

Today on the blog, Jessica and Andrew share with us their quintessentially classic wedding at the captivating Rudding Park.

We adore the couple’s minimalist palette of rose gold, white and blush pink combined with an understated glamorous vibe, and as for Jessica’s  Caroline Castigliano dress – you would never guess that she had such an arduous task in finding ‘the one’ as it is simply stunning.

Throw in some sparklers, fireworks, a seven-piece live band, plus face painting and soft play for he kids – and you have the most perfect wedding day for guests of all ages. Jessica tells us more…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor York Place Studios

A Winter Wedding at Rudding Park (c) York Place Studios (21)

jessica says: We got engaged on the 1st March 2015, at Center Parcs in the Lake District. We took a family holiday to get over the winter blues and Andrew surprised me by proposing in the cabin. As he got down on one knee, it began to snow. The day after, we announced our engagement by writing it in the freshly fallen snow. For someone who likes to plan every tiny detail, I was amazed at how Andrew managed to keep the engagement a surprise from me; only my parents knew. Andrew had asked for my hand in marriage a few days prior to our trip.

We got married on 11th December 2016. From the offset we set our hearts on a winter wedding in England and knew we couldn’t guarantee the weather, even in the peak of summer. So we went for a day where the sun set at 3.30 pm and we could have pretty much the whole celebration with beautiful low lighting, creating a very intimate feel.

A Winter Wedding at Rudding Park (c) York Place Studios (10)

We chose Rudding Park in Harrogate as our venue. We wanted a location half way between East Yorkshire and Manchester, so started looking at the Leeds area. Nothing we came across had that “feeling” until we walked into Rudding Park. Not only did they make us feel like VIPs from the moment we stepped through the door, they treated Millie, my little girl, like a celebrity too and she loved it there. Millie is three, and not a lot of hotels with Rudding Park status accept children – not only did they accept her, they encouraged her play, her mischievousness and made her laugh every time we went across. Family to us in key and Rudding Park definitely has that family relaxed feel, in a 5 star luxurious environment.

We selected a colour scheme of gold, blush pink, white, rose gold, complimented by a glamorous feel with chandeliers and fairy lights. We wanted a theme that would bring the sparkle, to celebrate the time of year, but not make the wedding about Christmas. We also wanted the colours to look beautiful in the dim lights, so opted for soft pure colours mixed with sparkle and metallic.

A Winter Wedding at Rudding Park (c) York Place Studios (13)

My dream dress was a fitted, fishtail, lace gown with sleeves. When I tried on this gown I couldn’t believe how much I didn’t love it. I was really upset. I had to go back to basics and try on a lot of different shapes and then fell in love with a high waist, A-line gown.

I tried on many, but nothing felt like “the one”. As soon as we walked through the doors of The Bridal Collection in Harrogate, we fell in love. The shop itself is magical; I will remember the smell of the Jo Malone candles forever.

I tried on a range of Jenny Packham gowns, again I was disappointed that they didn’t suit my style. I decided to have a look at some of the other designers on the rack, and I noticed a dress hung up that was nothing like I had tried on before. My stomach literally got butterflies when I saw it! Boat neckline, dipped back (not too low), button fastening, high waistline, pencil pleats, cathedral train, A-line, plain, white beautiful gown… the Caroline Castigliano, Hepburn gown! As soon as I stepped into it, I cried. I felt like a bride and this was the gown I was going to marry my best friend in.

A Winter Wedding at Rudding Park (c) York Place Studios (46)

Andrew wore a classic slim fit, black tuxedo from Creation Suit Hire, in Goole. He teamed his suit with braces and a self-tie bow tie from Moss Bros.

My bridesmaids wore a chiffon blush pink gown from ASOS. Meanwhile, the ushers, father of the bride, and father of the groom wore the same as Andrew.

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falling for florals. a styled bridal shoot inspired by charlotte balbier posey separates

February 13th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (30)

Right in time for one of the most romantic days of the year, we’ve got a super pretty styled shoot that’s bursting with beautiful blooms.

Centered around the stunning Posey separates by top British bridal designer and Brides Up North Sponsor, Charlotte Balbier, the shoot’s creative team of fabulous suppliers have shown how the design of a dress can influence other elements of the wedding without taking things OTT.

We just love ultra-feminine styling complete with romantic roses and opulent metallic touches, which work in perfect harmony with the dreamy bridal two-piece and rural backdrop. Here to tell us more is lovely makeup artist Amy L Wilkinson, who also directed the shoot.

With images by Samantha Hook Photography. Models Iain Spivey and Chloe Tong.

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (19)

amy says: The theme of the shoot was flowers after I was inspired by the beautiful Charlotte Balbier Posey skirt and top. The two-piece lead the shoot in every way; we chose to incorporate flowers and floral patterns into as many elements of the day as we could without it becoming overpowered, and used a pretty colour palette mainly consisting of girly lilacs and pinks.

The location of the shoot was the stunning Swancar Farm in Nottinghamshire. We felt the rural location and the setting of an old farm house was the perfect backdrop for all our fabulous flowers. The venue is surrounded by fields, trees and flowers, so it also felt like we were bringing the outdoors, in!

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (8)

I chose to keep the bride’s makeup fresh with perfectly polished skin. The gold eyeshadow was a nod to some of the styling elements and the lip colour reflected the flowers. For a subtle floral touch, the bride’s nail art by Nikki Drury featured a sweet flower design.

For the hair styling, created by Mon Amie, we decided on perfectly structured curls and finished off the look with a delicate head chain from Miss Clemmie to keep the look individual.

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (13)

The bride’s shoes, from I am Florence, were decorated with white leather flowers and we also used trainers in some shots for a relaxed and alternative look.

When it came to styling the groom, we chose a floral-patterned shirt by Sauce & Brown, that remained in keeping with the theme and that wasn’t at risk of clashing with the bride’s attire. Instead of a traditional corsage, we used the groom’s pocket to create a “window box” of flowers.

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (28)

For the backdrop, we styled a table setting with small flowers enraptured in geometric shapes, floral painted menus by Amy Bailey Designs and decorative glasses, all of which reflected the colours used in the floral arrangements. Touches of copper and gold helped to add a further elegance.

The cake table had flowers pouring out of the draws as well as decorating the wedding cake itself, which was designed by The Confetti Cakery. Macaroons were brushed with gold and copper to match the cake and other sweet treats provided further colour and texture.

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creating couture: blossom & belle’s unique wedding gowns

February 8th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (3)

While there are numerous stunning wedding dress designs hanging on the rails of boutiques, for some brides nothing completes the dream wedding picture like having a couture gown specially made for their big day.

Brides Up North Sponsor and dress-maker extraordinaire Antonia Aitken of Blossom and Belle, is fully versed in the art of creating beautiful bespoke wedding gowns, from the structure and cut to the fabric and finish. As such, we’re putting the blog in her skilful hands this afternoon so she can tell us exactly what couture is, and how she goes about creating it through her one-off, timeless wedding gown designs.

She also has news of a fabulous Blossom and Belle charity tea party event taking place in York on Sunday 26th February, which will feature workshops, high-end suppliers and delicious treats, so be sure to read to the end of the post for full details.

With images by All You Need Is Love Photography

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (22)

How would you define a couture wedding gown?

antonia says: Couture is not ‘dressmaking or copying a design’ – rather it is the creation of a luxury item which starts from design through to pattern cutting, toiles and fittings and the final amazing result.

Couture is not off the peg. It is a unique creation that no one else will have. It is a process that takes time, not something that can be made in an instant. Specialised elements, from hand stitched hems and embellishments, to steel boned bodices and button and loop detailing, are the epitome of a couture gown. It is timeless piece that will look just as wonderful in years to come as it does on the day of the wedding.

What skills must you have as a dress maker to craft such creations?

As the design director at Blossom and Belle I pride myself in my skill to create a one-off bespoke gown or outfit.

It’s having the ability to see a client for the first time and knowing exactly what she will suit. It is the art of how fabric will work and fall on the form. Knowing about colours, textures and the cut and line of a design. How to emphasise the best features of a client and disguise those that they are less keen on.

I do not work from someone else’s pattern, I make my own, which is a meticulous process requiring great skill and an art form in itself.

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (9)

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (30)

What do brides enjoy about having a couture gown for their big day?

For my clients, it’s the knowledge that they are wearing something truly unique and luxurious and in their own size – not mass produced and not off the peg – something made especially for them.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the process a bride can expect to follow if she decides to have a couture Blossom and Belle gown made?

The whole process of having your own gown created is really quite lovely. After your first free consultation, where we go over ideas and look through fabrics and any trimmings or embellishment ideas, I will design a range of gowns for you to choose from and take your measurements. I also say at this point that the bride should get their underwear as this is vital to the fit of the gown.  A toile is then made in calico, which is a mock-up of the wedding dress and where tweaks and design decisions are made. Having a couture gown made just for you is a very private affair and no one else, unless you want to, will see your gown being created.

There should be no more than five fittings, although some brides like to have more as they love to see everything taking shape and enjoy the process so much.

Finally, for the full experience, I’m available to dress the bride on the day of the wedding to make sure everything is perfect.

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (12)

What would you say to brides who are worried that having a couture dress made will be expensive and time consuming?

A couture gown is unique and made just for you, which is why it can cost more than an off the peg gown. Only the finest of fabrics are used, meticulous hand beading and hand stitching are all involved in the process of having a couture gown made. It can take several months just to make one gown, which is why fittings are spread over time to suit the bride and to allow for any tweaks to be made.

We never ask for the full price of the gown to be paid upfront, rather it is paid by instalments, which takes the pressure off.  I do say that you never lose money on a couture gown as it becomes an heirloom passed down through the family.

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (13)

What is the feedback like from brides who have had a Blossom and Belle Couture dress made?

I always receive wonderful feedback from brides, and have even been invited to the wedding. Over the time of the dress being made we get to know each other very well.

I have had one bride recently send me a photograph of her 17-year-old daughter wearing her gown that was made by me 20 years ago and it still looks wonderful and timeless. I also had one bride love the style of her vintage inspired gown so much, she had another two made in different colours!

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