Charlotte Balbier

words of wisdom – real brides up north top tips

July 13th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Sian & Joe - Elegant Wild Photography

Mori Lee for a Sheffield themed wedding at Kelham Island Museum – Sian & Joe

In a bid to help guide you, our lovely readers, through the minefield that can be planning a wedding, we always ask our featured brides who share their big days on the blog to share a few words of wisdom too.

This can range from practical advice on suppliers and the budget, to emotional advice, such as who to include in your special day and how to remain calm and composed. Either way we’re always super impressed with the gems of knowledge that our brides pass on following the lessons they’ve learnt when planning their own celebrations.

So today we thought it would be helpful if we took a little time to recap what we feel are the top 20 tips from brides who featured on the blog during the first half of 2016.

Ladies, prepare to take note as these wise brides complete the following sentence – “My top tip to other Brides Up North would be…

Click on the links to see each wedding in full. 

sian says: [Top image] It’s never too early to start organising. Get ahead and it will help you later on. The final two weeks can be extremely stressful and they certainly were for me, I was just glad that I had done what I could in the early stages. Also, you may get hung up about the fine details but remember that you won’t be able to do everything and not every cute idea that you see on Pinterest has to be part of your day. There were things like broken pompoms and a dud balloon canister that meant that I could not use all of the decorations and ideas that I had in place. In the end, it mattered little!

Katy & Warren - Adamskii-Photography

Vera Wang for a stylish and sophisticated wedding at Newby Hall – Katy & Warren

katy says Tailor the wedding to your own styles/interests and preferences and don’t be swayed by others. At the end of the day, if you are enjoying your day, then everyone else will enjoy it too!

Jennifer & Warren - Tim Simpson Photography

A pretty and personal homemade wedding in Oldham – Warren & Jennifer

jennifer says: If you are having a wedding at home remember the less glamorous things like sound/audio equipment, skip hire, generator, water supply and parking. Also, consider a videographer. We were unsure but so glad we did as there are so many things you forget or miss on the day and having the video fills those blanks.

Anna & Dan - Stella Photography

Ronald Joyce for a Christmas wedding at Eaves Hall – Anna & Dan

anna says: Consider having a party/gathering the night before the wedding if possible. We loved having a little Christmas party the night before. It was a great way to get everyone together and relaxing before the big day and meant we had more time to spend with our guests. Getting married just before Christmas was brilliant too as we just continued celebrating into the New Year!

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style sheet: ethereal metallics

May 24th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Metallics

image source

When asked to think of a metallic styled wedding, visions of a glitzy and glamorous celebration with lots of sparkling décor might well spring to mind. However, brides looking for a more muted palette should not instantly rule out metallics, as hues of bronze, gold and silver can be easily stripped back for a more natural and dreamy finish.

Particularly well suited to outdoor and ethereal style weddings, there is a clear trend emerging for muted metal tones that provide opulence without the OTT element.

We love to see elegant table set ups of mercury glass vases and worn metal candelabras mixed in with earthy foliage for an almost Midsummer Night’s Dream meets Lord of the Rings feel. And it’s not just the décor were these fanciful hues can be added to the big day – what about a gold embellished wedding dress, silver muted heels or bonze bridesmaid dresses?

So to help spread a little metallic magic here on the blog, today we’re sharing three swoon-worthy metal inspired mood boards…

beautiful bronze

BRONZE

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Katie Bryant Photography, Love Ya Jess| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Amy Fanton Photography| image source| image source, photography by Ashley Ludaescher Photography| image source.

Though associated with third place, bronze can be a winning choice of colour scheme, particularly for those wanting to incorporate lots of foliage into their big day as its darker tone sits beautifully alongside earthy greens.

Bronzes also have lovely worn qualities whilst still retaining an element of shine, giving a sense of luxury but that isn’t too polished.

For table settings think long timber tables with trailing centrepieces that creep along, interspersed with bronze candle stick holders and table wear. Elsewhere hanging decorations work particularly well with ethereal metallic themes and can easily be suspended from branches if marrying in the open air, or from beams if, for example, marrying in a barn-style venue.

In terms of attire bronze is a bold and untraditional choice for a bride and therefore those wanting to incorporate the hue are more likely to do so through accessories, such as shoes and jewellery. There is also the option of bronze bridesmaids, with its warming tones complementing many complexions and hair colours.

silver sophistication

SILVER

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Mi Amore Photo| image source| image source| image source, photography by Jen Wojcik Photography| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Conforti Photography| image source| image source.

To achieve an ethereal look with silver it’s best to mix varying finishes; from shiny silverware, to worn pewter and varying tones of grey. This way there is a good mix of depth, interest and texture, which will prevent the premium hue looking too glam.

The level of décor detailing is up to the individual with the option to strip things right back to bare wooden tables dotted with small shiny and muted pots of cactuses or succulents, or to go all out with large glass and mercury vases and urns over spilling with greenery and linked up with leaves and moss. Given that it’s done effectively the latter should look natural and uniformed rather than cluttered and messy.

Large pewter lanterns are an effective way to add ambience whilst remaining on theme and can look incredibly effective when used outdoors to line pathways, entrances or the aisle.

Dresses embellished with dainty detail in silver beads and sequins are not unusual on the bridal catwalks, giving brides the option to venture beyond traditional ivory for their big day. The men can easily be included in the theming too with grey being among the most popular choice when it comes to grooms picking their suits. For added interest the groom and his groomsmen can pick varying shades of suits as well as ties/Dicky bows.

To keep things simple those wanting metallic maids should look to dresses with simple shiny detailing, rather than top-to-toe sparkle.

going for gold

GOLD

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Conforti Photography.

Perfect for those wanting a stripped back outdoor wedding but still with a hint of elegance; simple touches of gold be the perfect way to add an opulent edge.

Similar to bronze, gold works well with leafy green plants as it provides a complementary contrast between raw and regal.

For the décor little pops of gold works best – so you might want to add metallic finished cutlery, glass wear or napkin rings. Also, stationery such as name places and menus can bring a hint of shimmer with gold leafing detail – as can the cake. Gold antique mirrors are also an excellent choice to create unusual seating plans and signage.

Just as we’ve seen silver embellished dresses grace the catwalks, gold detail dresses are no stranger to designers’ collections either, with the likes of Jenny Packham well known for her metallic creations. If however, that’s a little too glitzy for the bride, a simple gold Game of Thornes style head piece or botanical detail shoe or jewellery can be the perfect way to give a discreet nod to the theme.

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all in the detail: the wedding of my dreams

May 12th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Photo credit Daffodil Waves Photography (3)

Daffodil Waves Photography

We’re big believers in it being the little details that bring the overall look and feel of a wedding together. We’re therefore over the moon to be introducing another fabulous Brides Up North Featured Supplier to the blog this afternoon, who happen to know a thing or two about styling a wedding.

Prepare to go slightly weak at the knees as we say hello to The Wedding of My Dreams and their fabulous wedding prop and décor offering.

Run by mother and daughter team, Karen and Gemma, this easy to navigate website is an Aladdin’s cave of pretty details for your wedding day. Better still, as well as shopping till you drop on the site, The Wedding of my Dreams also offers an abundance of stunning big day inspiration to really crank up the creativity… and they are giving an exclusive 5% discount to all Brides Up North readers, just enter the code BUN5 at the checkout.

To tell us more about all the pretty on offer, we’ll now hand over the blog to one half of the dream team…

Birmingham Wedding Photographer

Daffodil Waves Photography

Can you give us a little overview of The Wedding of my Dreams?

gemma says: I’m the younger half of the mother and daughter team who founded The Wedding of my Dreams in 2010. My amazing mum, Karen Morgan, runs the award winning wedding florist Passion for Flowers, which I got more and more involved with after graduating from uni. I’d help on busy weekends picking up floristry skills as I went along, learning only from the best, and developed a real passion for floristry, styling weddings and to be honest everything wedding related! My job at the time was in digital marketing and social media, I knew a thing or two

At the time Passion for Flowers couples were hiring an array of props and decorations from us to complement their florals, saying they couldn’t find anything as lovely elsewhere in the market. Mum and I both love sourcing decorations and wanted couples all over the country to have access to the props and decorations we had searched so hard to find and so The Wedding of my Dreams was born.

Going into business with my mum was the best decision I’ve ever made, we both love going to work every day and both now work across the two companies. It’s so rewarding to see how far we’ve come and how both businesses have blossomed. All the hard work and late nights have really paid off. In 2015 Passion for Flowers was voted best wedding florist in England in The Wedding Industry Awards and The Wedding of my Dreams has won numerous awards since its launch.

Birmingham Wedding Photographer

Daffodil Waves Photography

What services and products do you offer to wedding couples?

The Wedding of my Dreams is an online shop brimming with beautiful wedding decorations and details to style your tables and venue. We sell table decorations, centrepieces, tea light holders, table plans, favours, and signs, oh and so much more.

Our blog runs alongside our website and we use it as a way to show styling ideas and how our products can be used at weddings. If you’re a crafty DIY bride we have a number of free printables and step-by-step guides on our blog too, so you can make your own bits and pieces. Check it out our blog here.

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the big debate: first look or grand entrance?

April 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Image by Helen Russell Photography

image by Helen Russell Photography

As couples continue to bend the ‘wedding rules’ in order to have a big day that’s done their way, we are seeing more traditions fall by the wayside.

Previously through The Big Debate we’ve discussed whether or not couples should stick with tradition by spending the night before the wedding together or part. It’s a contentious issue as superstition has it that it’s bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony. But for some couples it’s all about feeling comfortable and at ease, rather than running scared of marriage day myths.

This desire to feel relaxed on the day of the wedding has now also led to some couples opting for what’s known as a ‘first look’ prior to the ceremony. So instead of setting eyes on each other as ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ for the first time at the altar, the couple share a private moment together ahead of taking their vows where they can see and speak to each other, calming any pre-wed nerves. In most cases the couple’s photographer would join them for the first look moment to document the ‘big reveal’ emotions, just as they would usually capture it at the beginning of the ceremony.

So today we discuss if ditching tradition in this case will make that big reveal moment more, or less, special?

Image by JPRShah Photography (2)

Image by JPR Shah Photography

rachel says: save it for the ceremony

During our previous debate on the night before the wedding I said I was willing to risk the bad luck factor of spending the night with my hubby-to-be in order to get a good night’s sleep ahead of the big day. However I stipulated that I’d still want to go our separate ways on the morning of the wedding in order to achieve that highly-anticipated entrance at the ceremony, in front of both the groom and the guests, and I stand by that.

I’m certain I’ll suffer wedding-morning nerves, as in case you didn’t know I’m a worrier by nature, (I worry about worrying!) but I fear that seeing the groom just minutes before the ceremony would turn me into even more of an emotional wreck than I’ll already be.

Also, I’ve found that the brides we feature on the blog often say their favourite part of the wedding day was meeting their partner at the altar – the expression on their face and perhaps any words they exchanged is what they remember most. I realise you can still get this with a first look, but I think the big reveal is one of the most memorable parts of the wedding for guests too, and something that they feel blessed to be a part of. For example last year when my cousin got married, she cried as she reached the front of the church and watching the groom wipe away her tears, put a tender arm over her shoulder and make her laugh and smile instantly showed us onlookers how perfect they were for each other – and that moment is now etched in my mind!

There’s no doubt that emotions will run high, but that’s all part and parcel of a wedding day and I don’t think the bride and groom need to keep such moments to themselves. So along with not walking under ladders, smashing any mirrors or putting up umbrellas indoors, I’ll be avoiding bad luck by saving the first look for the ceremony!

Image by Sarah Brabbin Photography

image by Sarah Brabbin

julia says: just the two of us

Prior to my own wedding day, I wouldn’t have been game for a sneaky peek, or “first look”. I was firmly of the opinion that the arrival of the bride should be met with awe and wonder at the end of an aisle… veil down, music high, anticipation huge.

That’s until I learned that my nervous new husband had spent the best part of the wedding morning literally almost throwing up with nerves. Worries about marrying me? Never! Slight hangover? Possibly. Crowd shy? Very.

When we got hitched waaaaaay back in 2010, the whole wedding scene was still pretty traditional compared to now. A first look wasn’t even mentioned, let alone properly discussed.  If it had been, I probably would have discounted it (hey, it was “my moment”!) but in retrospect, it might have worked very nicely for us – him especially – whilst also allowing us a special photo opportunity and a lovely moment of togetherness and anticipation before the ceremony itself.

Some might think that its bad luck to meet before the service, but it’s hardly cheating if it’s on hallowed (or licensed!) ground, is it? For me, a first look only ups the excitement factor, is cute and romantic and is all about togetherness – a stolen moment for just the two of you to cherish.

And hey, if you still want to do the whole big entrance thing, your partner can always sneak in the side-door as The Bridal March starts up.  In fact, no one need ever know it happened at all…

Image by Laura Calderwood Photograph

image by Laura Calderwood Photography

what you said on social:

Natalia says: “We are only having a very intimate wedding of 20 guests so I don’t see the need for a first look ahead of the ceremony as I will be comfortable with everyone that will be present.”

Jenny says: “I’m not good at being centre of attention so we’ve decided to have a first look to help ease my nerves. I know seeing my partner will calm me down and give me the confidence I need to make a good entrance.”

Clare says: “I’m totally superstitious so won’t be taking any chances! I’ll be spending the night before away from the groom and then won’t see him until I get to the altar. I think doing it any other way would lessen the magic and excitement that builds while you are apart!”

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style sheet: pantone 2016

February 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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For some couples giving their wedding day a theme makes it feel a little gimmicky, and so they prefer to keep things simple by coordinating the details to a chosen colour scheme instead. But which hues to choose?

Some brides will simply go with their favourite colour(s), while others will pick shades which complement the season of the year in which they will wed. Those needing inspiration meanwhile can always turn to colour experts Pantone, who forecast the top colours each year based on a snapshot of what is taking place in our culture.

For the first time ever, Pantone has introduced two colours for 2016 – rose quartz & serenity – both of which make dreamy wedding colour schemes, either alone or when combined together. So today we’re giving you, our lovely brides-to-be, ideas on how to pull off the perfect Pantone palette for your big day…

rose quartz

Rose Quartz

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Masha Golub| image source, photography by Laura Gordon Photography| image source| image source, photography by Matthew Morgan Photography| image source, photography by Elizabeth Messina| image source, photography by Ryon Lockhart| image source, photography by Sarah Mellor| image source| image source.

Described as a warm tone that reflects wellness by Pantone, this stunning dusky shade of rose pink is particularly elegant and would suit various styles of weddings, from classic to contemporary.

Sweet and soft in its appearance this shade is the epitome of love and romance and is also gentle on many skin tones, making it an ideal choice for bridesmaids. It’s also an option for brides looking for a subtle alternative to ivory, with a growing number of designers introducing blush gowns to their collections.

Brides sticking to tradition however can still incorporate the rosy hue into their attire through their shoe and accessory choices; whether it be a blush garter, pink pearl necklace or dusky stone drop earrings.

Thankfully when it comes to flowers, there are plenty of pink blooms for brides to choose from, such as peonies, lilies, astilbe and anemones. In addition to bouquets and button holes, such blooms can be incorporated into the décor and even the cake design. It would also be a nice play on the colour scheme to feature roses in the theming, both in terms of the flowers and design of elements like the stationery.

Weddings that are light, soft and delicate in their appearance will work best with this girly hue so just be sure to keep things simple, clean and classy.

serenity

Serenity

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Ben Yew Photography| image source, photography by Fuller Photography| image source, photography by Anastasia Belik| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Amaranth Photography| image source.

Every bride needs a something blue for her big day, so why not choose Pantone’s serenity for an on-trend and elegant colour scheme.

Described as tranquil and soothing by the colour forecasters, this is an ideal choice for those wanting a laid-back yet loved-up feel for their wedding.

Though not the most popular choice with brides, we have seen an increase in the number of steely blue dress designs hitting the bridal catwalks, notably from top designers such as Ian Stuart and Monique Lhuillier. Brides wanting to play it safe meanwhile could go for the classic something blue in the form of their shoes, adding a pop of colour to their attire.

For bridesmaids the cool tone could be a little tricky to match to varying complexions and so a mix of differing blue tone dresses might work best, whilst also adding depth and interest.

Grooms can also get in on the blue colour scheme for their attire. Though serenity is a mid to lighter shade of blue, which many men might not feel comfortable in, there is the option of a navy suit matched with a tie or dicky bow in a similar shade to serenity, whether it be plain or patterned.

Elsewhere blue can be reflected through flower choices such as hydrangeas, thistles, eucalyptus and iris. Cake designs can also feature the hue, with watercolour, ombre and wedgewood styles lending themselves particularly well.

As to not make the overall look too cold and controlled, try to keep to the powder side of blue and soften décor with the use of pretty petals and bows.

blue & blush

Blue & Blush

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Into the Light| image source, photography by Loft Photographie| image source, photography by Natalie Bray Photography| image source, photography by Rebecca Amber Photography| image source, photography by NJ Wedding Photographer Kay English| image source, photography by Eve Photography| image source| image source, photography by Tiffany Hughes Photography| image source, photography by Caroline Tran| image source.

Finally for a complete colour contrast, couples can fully embrace Pantone’s picks of 2016 by incorporating both blush rose and serenity blue into their big day.

Focusing on gender equality, Pantone points out that bringing the two shades together creates something of a gender blur, though for weddings it could be seen as both a reflection of the bride and groom through both a feminine and masculine colour combination.

Working in perfect harmony Rose Quartz and Serenity are particularly appealing for those wanting a sweet, surgery and elegant look to their wedding.

Bridesmaids can be mixed and matched in the two colours, or alternatively kept in one shade for their dresses and then have the contrasting colour for either their bouquets and/or heels.

In terms of décor, coordinating and contrasting blooms and vases, jars or bottles work well, as do pretty paper pompoms or lanterns in the two shades. Crockery and glassware can also be mismatched to reflect the scheme, and in pastel shades can work particularly well with vintage and afternoon tea style settings.

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wedding planning 101: saving for your wedding day

February 12th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Honeymoon Fund

image source

It’s mid month and we’re all feeling the pinch, right..? When payday feels like such a long time away, it’s often easy to worry about how you’re going to be able to afford that dream day that everyone keeps mentioning.

We’re huge advocates here of doing things your own way on your wedding day, and achieving the perfect day (your version of it!) within your own budget, whatever that might be. Yes, its a super important day in your life, but it really is just one day – don’t give yourself a lifetime of debt to furnish 100 guests with the perfect wedding favours! Unless you’re very comfortable financially or The Bank of Mum & Dad is paying out big time, we think it might be time to get saving.

Luckily, our sponsors at TSB have come up with some handy tips for saving for your wedding without breaking the bank. Take a look, and here are some of our favourite tips, combined with a few of our own…

set a budget

It’s important to be realistic and set a budget for the big day, but also all the smaller elements of it too.  Be strict, because if you go over budget on each part, you might find yourself in trouble when it comes to paying the registrar! TSB advise that setting a limit on the amount you can spend on your dress is a good place to start.

“Budget before you go and be realistic by only trying on dresses that are within your budget,” says Phil of Phil Collins Bridal. “You don’t want to be disappointed by falling in love with a dress you can’t afford.”

limit the numbers

Yes, obviously, less bums on chairs will bring the overall cost down, but you might like to consider the number of people in the actual wedding party very carefully too.  The cost of six adult bridesmaid dresses can really add up.  Consider keeping the number of attendants and groomsmen on the smaller side, or ask if they would mind contributing to the cost of their outfits if you are prepared to give them some flexibility in the style stakes.

double up

TSB suggest cutting costs by using your flowers and decorations at both your ceremony and reception venue, if they are separate (ushers at the ready)! It’s wise to make sure you have factored in absolutely all costs – as well as the cost of hiring the venue, remember any decor you may wish to use; flowers, the photographer and transport.

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