Charlotte Balbier

friday fabulous!

July 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime

I am very busy

The wedding planning just got prettier.

17 Month Classic “I Am Very Busy” Agenda by, £12.92

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a wedding alphabet. n is for name change

June 24th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Found on

image source

Today on the blog we return to our wedding alphabet to discuss something of a contentious issue – the name change – whether a bride should take her new partner’s surname or not.

From the moment I started dating a guy I was guilty of thinking how their surname would marry with my first – how would it sound? And as a journalist, how would it look in print and how easily could it be misspelt/mispronounced?

I suppose I’m a little shallow when it comes to the name change debate in that I would happily take the groom’s name in place of my own, on just one condition: that it’s not an embarrassing surname. I’m sorry to the Cockburns, Nutters and Shufflebottoms out there but there are certain names that I wouldn’t voluntarily adopt, even if it is ‘the done thing’. I also personally wouldn’t want to land myself with a rhyming name, but fortunately not many things rhyme with Rachel, so I’m pretty safe in that respect.


image source

However for other women the reason for not wanting to change their surname goes much deeper than this. It might be that the bride’s parents haven’t had any sons and therefore the family surname will undoubtedly die out unless they keep it going. Then there are those that choose to stick with their own name for professional reasons; they’ve built a career under their maiden name and don’t want to feel like their achievements would be somewhat erased when with a simple ‘I do’.

Then there’s the biggies – equality and identity (which I totally understand). Over the years females have fought hard for women to be seen as equal to men – having the right to vote and for the same pay – so why should one have to change their identity upon marriage and the other not?  It’s a fair argument and I fully respect any woman that chooses to keep her surname for such reasons. Hey, he can aways take your name, right?

And what about our same sex couples out there – do you plan to keep your own names, combine the two or adopt one over the other?

Beyond my fear of being lumbered with a surname that saw children at school continuously teased, I, like many other women, am also in favour of sharing a surname simply to tie the family together as one for that day when children come along. Of course there are ways around this in that the children can have both parent’s names hyphenated, even if their parents haven’t chosen to go down the double barrelled route (which again, in my non-deep opinion, can sound incredibly posh given the right combination).

Now I’ll probably regret my decision when I’m neck-deep in account and ID name-change applications, but for me currently I’m happy to stick to tradition on this one (it might also cause me a few less problems with the numerous interpretations of Parry people come up with during phone conversations – Perry, Harry, Barry and even Charlie, I kid you not).

Found on Pinterest, image by Melissa Milis (1)

image by Melissa Mills 

Whichever way you choose to go yourselves ladies, surname intentions are going to crop up at some point so it’s well worth giving this some serious thought and discussing with your husband or wife to be!

We’d love to know your thoughts – will you be taking your other half’s name, keeping your own, is your partner taking your name… or something else entirely?

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style sheet: muted naturals

June 18th, 2015 | Rachel Parry


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Here at Brides Up North HQ we make no secret of the fact that we love super glam weddings that sparkle and shine. However we’ve found of late that we’re becoming increasingly drawn to an emerging trend at the more relaxed end of the wedding spectrum.

We’re talking about pared back, elegant weddings featuring soft, muted colour palettes. Where once bolder was seen as better, we’re now starting to see weddings returning to a simpler, more stripped back look that creates an overall feel of natural romance.

Pretty pastel colour schemes have remained strong in the industry for the past few years but the muted trend sees shades such as mint green, blush pink and lilac, toned down a level or two. A more neutral colour palette of hues including dove grey, putty and stone, also sits well within the trend, giving couples plenty of choice.

So today we’ve picked out three of our favourite muted naturals to show you how it’s done. Let the inspiration flow…

delicious caramel


Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Braedon Photography| image source| image source, photography by Jemma Keech Photography| image source| image source, photography by Jacque Lynn| image source| image source, photography by Grace Photography| image source| image source, photography by Joielala| image source

As tasty as it sounds, this colour palette is warm, elegant and inviting without being at all in your face. People’s opinion on the colour caramel will vary from a light brown to more of a golden tone so we say there’s no harm in picking a few varying shades for depth and interest. This will also save you the added stress of trying match up all wedding elements to just one hue.

So let’s start with styling the wedding party. As we’re seeing more brides step away from classic white and ivory for their dress, blush and caramel tones have become increasingly accepted in the world of weddings, with designers like Mori Lee and Mark Zunino showcasing such shades within their collections. If a bride would rather stick with tradition, it’s best to dress the bridesmaids in a caramel colour instead. Again there’s the choice of a pale brown or a slightly warmer tone so brides should think about their maids’ complexions and pick what will suit best, or alternatively mix and match for a combination.

Flowers tend to look most effective when kept to a neutral palette of soft creams and whites with just the odd caramel toned bloom, such as blousy roses, dotted throughout.

The caramel colour scheme also lends itself well to light textured materials with a ripple effect (like how the running liquid itself pools and puddles). So brides might like a dress featuring soft ruffles or loose pleats and shoes with corsage type detail also work well. In terms of décor, paper pom poms and flowing ribbons can help continue the textured feel.

Thinking outside the box, couples can deliver a muted caramel scheme in more ways than one, through both colour and sweet treats. So how about a salted caramel wedding cake, fudge favours or sweet caramel apple martinis drinks reception. Delicious!

pretty pistachio


Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Melissa Oholendt| image source| image source, photography by Hyer Images| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by AMBphoto| image source

Working our way onto another appetising palette, a pistachio scheme is both a modern and elegant choice within the muted trend. It’s simple and sophisticated appearance is less playful than previously popular mint green, but it is by no means boring.

Similarly to the caramel theme, couples can play on the flavour of pistachio as well as the hue, perhaps opting for a show stopping pistachio layer wedding cake or dainty pistachio macaroon favours.

In terms of flowers, décor and stationery it’s best to keep things clean and simple to achieve the desired level of elegance. So go for uncomplicated table settings with plain pistachio coloured crockery, glassware or linen and natural centrepieces.

Metallics such as gold and silver complement pale green colour schemes well, but to keep on track with the muted theme pick matt rather than glittery options.

Elegant, long, flowing and uncomplicated bridesmaid dress designs work best with the theme and thankfully pistachio is a flattering tone on most complexions so maids should be merry about the choice. Meanwhile the bride can incorporate the hue in her footwear and groomsmen can adopt it for their ties, pocket squares and socks.

putty in your hands


Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Shipra Panosian| image source, photography by Annalie Young| image source| image source, photography by Jessica Lorren| image source, photography by Helen Russell Photography

Just like caramel, putty can be interpreted in several different ways. Though often seen as an off-white or pale grey, others feel it has more of a warm mushroom or pink hue running through it, so again we suggest working several colours of this nature into your muted palette.

This means brides might like to mix up their bridesmaid dress colours rather than putting all their leading ladies in just one shade. But it’s not just the maids that can switch things up, the groomsmen could opt for mix and match trouser, tie and blazer combinations in shades of grey, putty and mushroom for both a stylish and individual look.

For brides an ivory or pale cream dress tends to complement the warm putty tones best but they hints of muted tones can be added in their flower and footwear choices.

Finally, décor should be light and elegant so think pale paper lanterns, dainty flowers in clear vases, simple candle light and polished glass wear. In terms of the cake, pale ombre creations and those with subtle texture are perhaps the most popular to complete the desired look

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wedding planning 101: the next steps

June 12th, 2015 | Rachel Parry


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Following a surge of proposals over Christmas and New Year we brought our novice brides-to-be a post on early planning, offering advice on where one should start when trying to organise possibly the biggest day of their life. A few months on and it’s time to tackle the next lot of hurdles set out on the wedding planning track.

Wedding planning folders at the ready girls…

spread the word

Ok you’ve set a budget, drawn up the guest list and booked the venue, so now it’s time to share the news by sending out your save the dates – yes, things just got real!

Save the dates are particularly important if you are planning to tie knot at a busy time of year, such as Easter, Christmas or late summer. To avoid guests double booking on your big day it’s a good idea to get these sent out about a year before the wedding.

If you want your wedding stationery to be consistent from beginning to end this means finding a designer who can create the pretty paper you desire for everything from your invites and menus to your thank you cards. When searching for a supplier and the type of stationery you’d like, be sure to keep your budget in mind as the design, paper, printing process and quantity will all make a difference to the overall price.

snap happy

A great photographer comes high up the priority list for many couples meaning the earlier you can secure your top choice the better – these talented individuals get booked up fast!

Once the big day has been and gone your wedding album provides the lasting memories and therefore you will want to find a professional that you feel comfortable with to zoom in and capture those all-important special moments.

Recommendations from friends and family can be a good place to start when searching for a photographer, as well as the internet as most photographers now have up-to-date blogs and galleries of their work online. In addition to looking at examples of their previous work to make sure their style suits your requirements, you will also want to check the price and what’s included – some photographers only stay up to the first dance while others stay for the majority of the reception, also is the price of your album included?

Once you have someone in mind set up an appointment to meet them so you can see if you connect well and feel relaxed when they put you in front of the lens. As part of the booking you might also want to arrange a pre-wedding shoot to give you somewhat of a practise run before the real thing.

music to your ears

Just as good photographer can get booked up, musical entertainment such as DJs and bands can also be in high demand so it’s a good idea to tie these down early on too if possible.

Your chosen venue will often have recommended DJs which can help save you time and stress. If not recommendations are certainly a good way to go to ensure you get a DJ that plays what you and your guests want to hear rather a classic wedding soundtrack of Oops Upside Your Head and Come on Eileen. Fine if you want cheese, but incredibly cringe if not!

Other than the evening disco think about what other musical entertainment you might like taking your personal tastes, wedding theme and setting into account before beginning your search. It may be that you want an opera singers to lift the roof of your ceremony venue, a string quartet to play during your drinks reception or an energetic band to get the party started in the evening. Again use the good old world wide web to research the options. See what’s available in the area of your wedding and look at pricing and testimonials. Often you can listen to the artist on their website too giving you a taste of their sound if it’s someone you’re familiar with.

here comes the bride

Enough about everything else, let’s talk dresses! Deciding on the right time to start your search for ‘the one’ can be tricky as begin too early and you run the risk of changing your mind in the run up to the big day and leave it too late and you could panic-buy a dress that you come to regret when looking back through your wedding album.

While most brides-to-be can’t resist flicking through magazines for inspiration as soon as that ring lands on their finger, it’s sensible to leave the actual boutique visits until around 11 to 12 months before the big day.

So while flicking through those mags, or swooning over blogs and Pinterest, make a note of the designers you’re drawn to and then lookup bridal boutiques in your area that stock such names and make appointments to visit. When doing so try to keep an idea of price in mind so you know if the dresses you will be trying on are within your budget to avoid heartbreak later on.

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win it! keep calm and marry on with your own heavenly pamper hamper

May 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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Here at Brides Up North we’re always encouraging our readers not to get too caught up in planning pandemonium and to ensure time is taken out of the hectic pre-wedding schedule to simply unwind.

And we’re not the only ones worried about brides over doing it and burning out before the big day. Online printing company StressFreePrint, which helps to lighten the planning load by making the printing process a breeze for couples wanting to create their own wedding invitations, has noticed brides-to-be getting bogged down and stressed out in the run up to their weddings too.

As such they’ve come up with a few handy tips to help brides on their way to a stress-free wedding day. Plus, they’re also giving one lucky Brides Up North reader the chance to win a fabulous bride-to-be pamper hamper which includes gorgeous goodies such as a luxurious silk Victoria Secret kimono dressing gown, elegant Hotel Chocolat champagne, strawberries and cream truffles, a Heavenly Hands Nails inc. manicure gift voucher and Ted Baker luxury relaxing bath collection. What a prize! To enter simply answer the question at the end of the post.

Hamper 4

set a budget and stick to it

If there’s one thing that stresses people out, it’s money, especially when it comes to a wedding. While you want a wonderful day, you don’t want to be paying it off ten years down the line so in the early planning stages set a budget and stick to it. Think about the areas that are most important to you such as the venue and photographer and allocate funds accordingly.

ask for help

Planning details with friends, family or your partner can help bring you all together and as they say, two heads are better than one. This can also provide an opportunity to save some time and money by calling in a favour or playing on the talents of your nearest and dearest. So if, for example, your uncle has a posh motor ask if he will be your wedding chauffer, or if your mum’s baking skills are up there with Mary Berry’s see if she will create you a bespoke cake for the big day.

Hamper 3

consider calling in a professional

If the planning burden still feels a little heavy or overwhelming why not look at hiring a professional wedding planner to help? This doesn’t mean losing control of what you want but instead having someone on hand for guidance and reassurance. Wedding planners often have great links to suppliers in the industry too which could also save you some money along the way.


While it’s your big day and of course you will want to do things your own way, be prepared to listen to what others think, especially the groom. So if it would mean the world to your parents to invite some dear old distant relative would one more guest cause that many problems? Or if your groom has his heart set on chocolate brownie for dessert could you forgo your choice of crème brulee? Sometimes backing down is easier than the stress incurred by going against others.

Hamper 2


You will want to look and feel your best on your wedding day which might mean upping your exercise regime and though it might feel like a chore, just a little activity can release endorphins which increase your mood – win, win.

eat right

It’s not just about how you look on the outside but how you feel on the inside too that can affect your mood. Obviously eating healthy is a good move in the run up to your wedding day but to maximise on calming chemicals try eating foods which contain tryptophan, such as bananas, oats, soy, poultry, milk, cheese, and nuts.

make the admin part easy

StressFreePrint focuses on making the printing process of wedding invitations simple. They can assist every step of the way, from design to print, and help you in producing the perfect invitations for your special day. StressFreePrint offer folded or flat invites that incorporate a design of your choice making the print as personal as you want. With more than ten years online printing experience and proven excellent customer service, StressFreePrint hope to bring you a printing process that is simple and easy and helps to take the stress out of your wedding planning.


To be in with a chance of winning the StressFreePrint pamper hamper*, that will help you find time for you and stay stress free during your wedding planning, simply answer the following question:

Which of these is not a style of invite that StressFreePrint design?

A)         Folded

B)         Flat

C)        Pop up

To enter, just email your answer either A, B or C along with your name to by midnight on the 31st May 2015, good luck!

*The full prize includes; a Paperchase wedding planner, delicate and fresh Lanson Rose NV Champagne, luxurious silk Victoria Secrets kimono dressing gown, elegant Hotel Chocolat champagne, strawberries and cream truffles, Heavenly Hands Nails inc. manicure gift voucher, Ted Baker luxury relaxing bath collection, Benefit Primping with the stars makeup kit, clean and calming natural Lush face mask, delicious sweet Wedding Day large jar Yankee Candle and a gloriously soft fragrance of fresh cut roses Yankee Candle reed diffuser.

Competition Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all UK and NI residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees of the Promoter and their immediate families, the Promoter’s agents or anyone professionally connected to the competition. Only one entry per household. Incomplete entries will be void. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are incomplete or not received for any reason. The Competition will run until 31st May 2015. Winner will be the first entry drawn at random by computer software. The prize must be accepted as offered. No cash alternatives and the prize is non-transferable. There will be one winner selected who will be contacted within seven working days of the closing date and the winner must respond within fourteen days, otherwise an alternative winner will be selected. If you are a winner, you may have to provide additional information (including, without limitation, proof of age or identity) within a specified time period. Failure to provide such additional information and send them to the Promoter within the required time period, or if any notification is returned as undeliverable as addressed, will result in your disqualification as a winner and an alternative winner will be selected.

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