Charlotte Balbier

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

May 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Found on

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.

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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.

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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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the big debate: should you get your groom involved in the wedding planning?

April 10th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Found on, photography by Jennifer Rotz Photography

image source, photography by Jennifer Rotz Photography

pesky boys.

Should you let them anywhere near the wedding planning? Today on the blog, that’s what we’re talking about.

We’d love to hear your side of the argument.

Found on

image source

rachel says: get him involved

As more couples ditch traditional weddings in favour of personal affairs, I think it’s hugely important that input comes from both sides to ensure the big day is a reflection of both the bride and groom. It’s all about striking a balance.

Most females (myself included) have dreamt about their wedding day from being a little girl and while we want the groom to get involved and show an interest/support we also don’t want them taking over the show.

That can be the trouble, nag a guy to do something and he goes from ‘whatever’ to ‘I can do it better’. In the first instance I think it’s best to sit down and discuss the main factors – location, budget and numbers – together. Then when it gets to the more creative side of things – colour theme, styling, décor, food and entertainment – write down your ideas separately (so he has to put some thought into it) and then come back together to discuss what you’ve come up with. A little bit of compromise might well be required at this point.

Don’t sweat it if he doesn’t want to be involved in all elements, such as bouquets, button holes and sashes, but I say definitely try to get him fired up and to take the reins when it comes to areas he’s passionate about, such as food, entertainment, transport and the honeymoon.

Just remember the main reason you’re getting married – love – and try to make it fun, attending events such as wedding fairs and tastings together. I’ve read numerous real weddings where the bride and groom have created some great memories during days out planning their big day and the joint-efforts really shine through.

Found on

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julia says: keep him out of it

Why is this even up for debate? Girls, haven’t you seen Don’t Tell The Bride?!

Sure, they all laugh and say how well the hapless husband has done at the end of every episode, but by that point they’re blinded by relief (that their wedding wasn’t the skydive episode), impending Sky Living stardom or alcohol (well, wouldn’t you get smashed in that scenario?!). Ladies, do not be fooled by “happily ever after” episode formatting: take control.

Other than making sure your wedding day is one to remember for the right reasons, I think that this is only fair. Has your other half dreamed of his big day since he was a little boy? Did he dash straight out to the newsagents and clear the bridal title shelf right after you made it official? Does he even know that wedding blogs exist? Girls, this is your time in the sun. If I were you I’d grab that wedding folder, and enjoy every blissful minute of independent planning. Hey, he got to plan the proposal (didn’t he…?)!

Yes, this is his wedding day too. Of course it is. And I know I’m generalising (and yes, being pretty sexist, but hey, it’s for the good of the piece), but what does he know about pastel Pinterest boards, bridesmaids’ frocks and sugar craft?

If you must, get him involved in some of the less pretty bits, like shopping for formal wear, making a wedding playlist or even let him loose on “the honeymoon project”. Be warned though, men can get some funny ideas when left to their own devices.

Make it extremely clear just how far any decision making autonomy can go, or you’ll end up with a rugby anthem for every hymn, some dubious waistcoat options and bottled beer for reception drinks.

I know. I’ve lived it.

My advice to you? Schedule a few Don’t Tell The Bride viewing sessions with your groom to be, watch him take in the worry, sweat, tears (and usually ill-advised tattoos) involved, then click off before the finale, telling him not to worry, you’ll take care of everything, hey, even the budget.

Control established, grateful brownie points won, budget extended, wedding saved. And if that isn’t a win, win scenario, I don’t know what is.

Found on, photography by Red, White & Green Photography

image source, photography by Red, White & Green Photography

what you said

Gillian: “My other half is planning what the boys wear and also planning the drinks menu.”

Leah: “We are both planning our wedding together, he has been involved in every part (excluding the dress). It takes a lot of the stress away to plan it together.”

Gemma: “My other half is taking some coaxing. As he put it he’s only an ornament on the day. I wasn’t best pleased and since then he’s picked up his game! He’s responsible for sorting out music and taking the fellas to get their suits, also he doesn’t know it yet but because he’s a perfectionist he’ll be making the majority of the invites.”

Angie: “Mine wants to be involved so much that I keep telling him it’s about me too, I’m the bride.”

Found on, photography by Sarah McKenzie Photography

image source, photography by Sarah McKenzie Photography


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a wedding alphabet. m is for mum

March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Found on, photography by by Pasha Belman Photography

image via, photography by by Pasha Belman Photography

For most girls that get engaged there is often one person even more excited the news than they are – their mum. Enter the mother of the bride

While you might think you have been dreaming about the big day forever, your mum has had the occasion firmly placed in her future diary since you were a little girl – and now it’s actually happening!

But after the whoops and cheers have died down some mothers of the bride, and sometimes of the groom, can be known to get a little carried away and overbearing when it comes to planning the ‘perfect day’.

On top of the stress organising a wedding can bring, the last thing you want is a family feud so it’s important to know how to handle over-enthusiastic mums that take off down this route. Brides Up North, I’m here to help.

Found on

image via

be clear from the start

Though I’m yet to have a ring on my finger I have to say me and my mum talk about my fictional wedding all the time, but then I constantly change my mind on what I think I’ll have (I blame the day job).

Whether your mum is in the know or not, once you and your partner have made some key decisions about the type of wedding you want, arrange to meet up or speak to your mum over the phone about your plans to gage her thoughts/approval. Be sure to give reasons on your decisions and emphasise that you came to these conclusions with your groom so that she can tell you’ve really thought about these elements and that it’s what you both want as a couple.

Whether she fully agrees or not she will appreciate you keeping her informed on the decisions and for seeking her opinion. Be sure to keep the updates coming throughout the planning process to ensure she doesn’t feel out of touch or surplus to your requirements.

meddling mums

If you and your mum have different ideas about what will make the perfect day your mum could come to meddle in your plans in an attempt to get her own way.

Try to figure out early on what elements of the wedding you think will be particularly important to your mum to avoid her trying to change your plans later down the line. This might be who should be included on the guest list, the location in which you should tie the knot or what type of food you should be serving up.

Take on board her thoughts and if you can compromise in these areas to avoid your mum looking like she’s sucking on a lemon at the top table come your big day.

Found on, photography by Lorraine Daley Wedding Photography

image via, photography by Lorraine Daley Wedding Photography

play on her strengths

Having a mum that wants to get involved in the wedding can work to your advantage, especially if they have a great skill set.

Think of your mum’s talents and try to give her jobs that will let her shine. So if she gives Mary Berry a run for her money in the kitchen ask her to make your wedding cake, if she knows of more flowers than Alan Titchmarsh take her along to the florists or if she’s more of a Kirstie Allsopp give her some crafty tasks to take ownership of, like making decorations or stationery.

Not only will she enjoy the challenge but she will also feel touched that you’ve given her a special role in the proceedings.

Found on, photography by Rob Greer Photography

image via, photography by Rob Greer Photography

set mum-sized boundaries

While you have taken the time to listen to the areas that are important to your mum and to include her, don’t be afraid to let her know the areas that are important to you and the groom, elements that you are not prepared to change your mind on.

Of course approach the conversation with care but gently let her know where you draw the line in negotiating.

Found on, photography by Katelyn James Photography

image via, photography by Katelyn James Photography

mums that overstep the mark

Having set the boundaries if your mum chooses to hop, skip and triple jump over them, pull her up on it to avoid heartbreak and fallouts.

Speak to her and try to figure out why she’s feeling the need to try to overrule your wishes. It could be that your parents are paying for the majority of the wedding and therefore she feels she has the right to call the shots. In such circumstances try to explain that while you are grateful for their kind contribution and want them to have a say and feel included, the wedding is a huge milestone in your relationship and should therefore be a reflection of you as a couple and what you want.

Alternatively it could be that your mother didn’t get much say in her own wedding and therefore she is either mimicking her mum by taking on the chief planning role or trying to create the wedding she really wanted through your big day. Again take the time to talk to your mum about this – listen to her feelings and share your own. Remind her how it felt to have someone else calling the shots and try to make her see that organising parts together is a much more enjoyable and fair way to go about things.

Found on, photography by Leo Timoshuk Photography

image via, photography by Leo Timoshuk Photography

dealing with the mother-in-law

Some mothers can find it difficult to let go of their sons and such feelings can manifest themselves in reactions to your wedding plans.

Just like with your own mum be sure to let your mother-in-law know your plans early on so she feels included and continue with regular updates. Also as a wedding is ultimately the joining of two families, invite your mother-in-law to join you and your mum when arranging some parts of the wedding, such as choosing the flowers or shopping for decorations. This will also help you to bond as a family.

If however your mother-in-law gets a little out of hand, ask your partner to have a gentle word with her and to explain that you have made your decisions as a couple to avoid her taking up issue with you alone.

Found on, photography by Caroline Maxcy Photography

image via, photography by Caroline Maxcy Photography

have fun

Most importantly – have fun with it. This is a great time of your life for mother/daughter bonding and while the planning path might not run entirely smooth, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend quality time together and to create some fabulous memories.

A mum’s input can be particularly helpful in areas that the groom just can’t get enthused about, such as chair covers and sashes, so there are plenty of different areas in which to get those most important to you involved.

Planning with your mum is also a great excuse for numerous shopping trips and glasses of fizz, just don’t mention it to the men that will be left at home!

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the big debate: should you allow your single guests to bring a plus one to your wedding?

February 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

found on, by RachelCarl

via, by RachelCarl

In this brand new Friday morning feature on the wedding blog, we’ll be debating all the most difficult wedding planning topics. Today we tackle a sensitive subject and ask: Should you allow your single guests to bring a plus one to your wedding?

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julia says YES:

Smug marrieds. Annoying, aren’t they?

Think back to your own single days. Chances are, you weren’t sitting at home every Saturday night drinking vodka and singing to Chaka Khan on your lonesome, but equally, it’s very likely that as fabulous as singledom can be (all the duvet, no wet towels on the bathroom floor, no awkward lunches with the in laws) you didn’t much like being reminded of your solitary status during notable romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas and weddings.

Your single friends? They don’t like that either.

Ok, so your best mate might have just met the “love of her life” in a club last Saturday night, but if she’s hoping he’ll hold her hand during your wedding ceremony, do you really want to deny her that happiness?

To me, the success of a wedding isn’t down to the colour of the centrepieces or the cost of your frock. It’s the people who make the party. Ok, if the budget, or space, really is very tight, then I’d always advise just asking your very favourite people and perhaps having a quiet word about why you can’t allow for any more. But if there’s some flexibility there, why not make someone’s day and allow them to bring a plus one to your wedding?

Have you ever been a guest at a drinks reception where you only know the bride and groom? Have you ever been seated at the “children’s table”? Have you ever danced awkwardly with the bride’s teenage brother? You can save your friend from all of that. What a hero.

Happier guests make for a better wedding day, even if you never see a few of them ever again. And who knows? It might be that you’re buying your hat for that plus one’s wedding in the not so distant future…



rachel says NO:

A best friend of mine who is in the wedding planning process is currently in meltdown over her ever-growing guest list – and she’s not alone, it’s a task dreaded by most to-be-wed couples.

The pressure goes far beyond simply drawing up a list of the friends and relatives you want present to share your special day as issues such as inviting children, pushy parents and plus ones come into play. As I see it ruling out plus ones from the off is the easiest way to lighten the load and means one less thing to worry about.

Weddings are expensive affairs and every extra body can add more than £100 to the bill, so couples can be forgiven for not wanting extras dining out on their big day. In most cases these would be people you don’t know anyway, essentially strangers at your wedding and allowing some friends and relatives plus ones could mean not inviting somebody else you would actually want at your wedding – someone that you would actually recognise in the congregation.

I get it, you might have a single friend who wouldn’t really know anybody at the wedding – but aren’t weddings meant to be a place where single people meet? I say mix them all in together and hope for a Cilla Black/Paddy McGuinness result.

Chances are some of your friends and relatives will meet on the hen and stag dos which breaks the ice and gives them a friendly face to look for on the big day. Also be clever with your seating plan and try to plant the singletons with others who are in the same boat and also with chatty/friendly people who are likely to make them feel at ease.

I know I’m making it sound easier than perhaps it is but if you’re planning an intimate wedding or your budget is stretched, saying no to plus ones is the way to go. Of course you have to be sensible and fair with it though – make it a one rule for all and don’t just pick who can and can’t have a plus one. I’m not suggesting you don’t invite people’s partners who they have been with for a considerable amount of time but if your mate has now been to the cinema with that guy she met on a night out he still doesn’t constitute a partner and therefore shouldn’t be given the honour of an invite. When all said and done that’s what it is, an honour.

via ruffledblogvia

what you said on Facebook:

Nic: “I gave everyone a plus one, including my single friends. Some of them just brought a friend. I just wanted every one to enjoy themselves as much as possible and worried they wouldn’t as much if they felt a bit left out especially as the meal is so formal.”

Beth: “If we’ve both met them and it’s a long term relationship, they’re invited. But if it’s a new relationship and nobody has met them… I’m not paying for their dinner!”

Rachel: “If they are married/living together and we know them then they’re invited if not, they’re not. Luckily a lot of our friends are mutual and we all go out as couples but we’re applying it to family as well as friends.”

We’d love to hear your side?


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lets get it started: early wedding planning

February 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry


image source

Christmas and New Year are peak times for proposals meaning we’ve had an influx of new brides-to-be to our pretty pages *waves*.

Setting out on the wedding panning road is both an exciting and daunting experience – but don’t panic as we will be with you every step of the way, offering fabulous inspiration, insider info on top trends and, of course, some useful advice.

One of my best friends is just starting the journey having had a ring romantically slipped onto her finger on Christmas Eve. At the moment she’s wondering in which order she should build up her blank canvas into her dream day. And so to help her, as well as our other new readers, take their first steps towards the big day, I thought now was a good time to cover the early planning stages.

money matters

Not to put a dampener on your just-engaged mood but as with most things in life a wedding starts with money – in particular how much you would like to spend and on which areas you will save and splurge.

If it’s just yourself and your partner footing the bill you can keep the conversation to yourselves but if parents plan to contribute you will need to discuss a rough sum and if there is anything in particular that they would like to cover the cost of, for example the reception, transportation or the bar bill.

Once you have a budget in mind try to stick to it. Write down what elements of a wedding day you will need to finance out of your pot from the venue to the attire, food and entertainment. As a couple discuss which are the most important areas to you and so where you will spend the most money and areas in which you can cut back. It might be that you wanting lasting memories of your big day so want to allocate a chunk to a photographer and videographer, or perhaps you’re huge music fans and want to blow out on a rocking band to keep the party going into the small hours. Try to think about you as a couple, your personalities and what you enjoy and aim to reflect this in your planning choices to make your celebration your own.

it’s a date

Money sorted, it’s time to set a date. For many this will come down to the season in which they want to tie the knot; so is it to be a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter affair? Other elements could sway your decision though, such as your budget. Wedding venues can be more expensive at peak times of the year, such as high summer, and weekends are often more pricey than week days. It may also be that your jobs govern the time of year you can get married, or if you are planning a destination wedding you will need to think about when the weather will be best and when will be most convenient for your friends and family to travel.

be our guest

Another stress-inducing area of planning – the dreaded guest list. Here lies a whole minefield of extended families, plus ones and what to do about children.

Initially couples should think about the type of ceremony they want; while some will prefer to keep things simple with a small and intimate affair, others will want to make the most of their moment in the limelight by filling the church to the rafters.

Your budget will also go some way to determining at what point you have to draw the line.

In the first instance as a couple both write down the names of the people you would like there and see how the numbers work out. If the final figure is coming out too high, look at where you can make cut backs without causing a friend or family rift. For example if neither of you are close to your cousins can you just invite them to the evening do? Or perhaps you could cut back on plus ones or omit children and just have an adult-only celebration.

set the scene

Now the numbers are in place you can search for a venue to accommodate your clan.

The venue is often the biggest expense and one of the most important factors of a wedding as it sets the scene for the big day. Therefore it’s well worth researching all the fantastic venues available to ensure you find one that ticks all the boxes.

Beyond the traditional church wedding ceremony, hotels remain a top choice, often favoured for their package deals and on site facilities. But changes in the law and the amazing creativity of suppliers have made the previously impossible, possible when it comes to dream wedding venues so don’t be afraid to push the boundaries.

For something old there are castles, country houses, listed halls and stately homes, or for a blank canvas to make your own, tepees and marquees. Meanwhile others might want a quirky outdoor wedding in gardens, woodland or on a beach. Or for something totally out of the ordinary, possibilities even stretch to museums, theatres, restaurants, sporting venues and art galleries.

Whatever you consider be sure to think about logistics, extra costs and find out exactly what’s included.

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