Charlotte Balbier

something blue. a stylish inspiration shoot in santorini

October 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (44)

First up, we are so very sorry to be doing this to you on a chilly Monday afternoon! But oh, the pretty!

We’re sun seeking on the wedding blog today as we join Brides Up North Sponsor Lisa of The Bridal Consultants for a dreamy destination wedding styled shoot in Santorini.  Pinterest fingers at the ready destination brides (or those planning the most beautiful honeymoon, like, ever)!

Images by Nathan Wyatt Photography.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (64)

lisa says: Santorini is one of the most highly desired wedding locations in the world, due to the exclusive selection of beautiful unique venues and the incredible views.  With our inspiration shoot I wanted to create something simple yet beautiful that any bride could recreate. I advise my Santorini brides not to ‘over design’ their wedding as the view is really the main attraction that guests will be focusing on.

We chose to host the shoot at the most popular venue on the island, Dana Villas. Nathan then took our model to some of the most scenic spots on the island to show the different landscapes and charming ancient villages this gorgeous destination has to offer for adventurous brides willing to stray off the beaten track.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (40)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (21)

The wedding dress was by the amazing Sarah Janks, I was so excited when we found it. It is clean and elegant with simple detail and a modern edge. It was also really exciting to use a relatively new designer to the UK. The dress had a tulle overlay with flower beading and lace which danced beautifully in the breeze. The veil which we planned to use for just a few shots was so effective it became one of the highlights of the shoot!

I wanted to keep the model’s hair simple and neat to make sure the attention was all on the dress, Helen Savva on hair and makeup knew exactly the look I was going for so I know I could leave her to it after sending her my ideas. We work with Helen on almost all of our weddings so I had complete faith that she could interpret my vision.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (33)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (24)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (27)

The flowers by Wedding Wish were just perfect. Simple, stylish and beautiful! They provided a lovely contrast to the blank white canvas of Dana Villas. I wanted to include a range of soft blues, from the deep blue of the Aegean to soft pastel we gained with the Hydrangea.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (46)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (68)

The stationery was very simple and stylish in soft shades of blue. The table plan is one of my couples biggest concerns as most like to bring theirs along from home, I chose to use small cards that were easy to transport and then used a flower arrangement to display them in, very simple and effective.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (39)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (16)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (6)

For the favours I went for something different, my couples like to get away from the norm and having a favour you can enjoy on the day is very popular right now and what’s better than a couple of delicious macaroons! Getting them in the right blue colour was a challenge and my decision to use one of my regular suppliers in the UK meant I had to take the macaroons in my hand luggage. Not something that I’d recommend for a stress free wedding experience… besides, there are lots of amazing bakers on the island that can make these for you.

I thought the blue drinks were a fun element that is easy to create, I always recommend my couples have a signature cocktail to serve to everyone after the ceremony! It’s a simple detail but incredibly effective and really delights the guests.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (81)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (86)

We introduced enough detail to give interest but made sure they complemented the view and not take away from it and think that these simple yet effective ideas can be copied by anyone.

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wedding planning 101: super stylin’

September 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Be My Bridesmaid

image source

Having set your budget, booked your venue, sent out your save the dates and secured your photographer and entertainment, it’s time to move onto tasks that many brides deem as the more enjoyable and exciting parts of the planning schedule.

This is because it’s time to start thinking about how to style yourself and your venue for the big day to come! So in today’s wedding planning post we’ll be talking blooms, bridal boutiques and bridesmaids.

Check out our earlier posts in this series by clicking here (the early stages) and clicking here (the next steps).

flower power

Today beautiful blooms tend to stretch way beyond bouquets and button holes with many couples opting to incorporate pretty petals into their décor too. From dainty pew ends to grand floral chandeliers, the possibilities are pretty much endless, though you will need to find a florist that shares your botanical visions in order for them to become reality.

When searching for the right florist, it’s important to look for a trusted supplier with good testimonials from previous couples. You will also want to view examples of their recent work to get an idea of the styles and arrangements that they can achieve. So it might be that you are looking for a florist known for loose, natural and rustic designs, or perhaps neat and elegant arrangements or those that can wow with modern, striking floral structures.

Once you have whittled down a short list meet up with the florist to see how you ‘click’ and if they share your visions on bouquets and floral decorations. They might even suggest great ideas you’d never even thought of.

the one

In many cases shopping for the dream dress is a bride’s favourite part of the planning, though it can be daunting and frustrating at times too with so many options to choose from.

Having done your initial wedding dress research using magazines, blogs and websites to get an idea of the type of gown you might like and to suss out which designers fall into your dress budget, it’s time to search for boutiques that stock your chosen designers and make appointments to visit.

When attending bridal boutique appointments it can be easy for brides to get carried and invite a small entourage to accompany them but it really is best to keep numbers to a minimum to avoid becoming confused by differing opinions. Take those who know you and your style best and will give you an honest opinion – so perhaps mum, sister and maid of honour.

Though it’s good to have an idea of the type of dress you might like, it’s also good to be open minded at your appointment as a style that you’ve never considered just might turn out to be ‘the one’. Bridal stylists know their stuff so if they make a suggestion to try a certain gown on, go with it but don’t feel pressured – the decision is ultimately yours.

leading ladies

Once your dress is sorted you can move onto finding the right gowns for your maids. Again, though most ladies love to shop, bridesmaid dress hunting can be far from retail therapy with bridesmaids clashing on what they would and wouldn’t want to wear.

To avoid shopping centre tantrums it’s a good idea to get together with/speak to your bridesmaids about what type of design and colour you were hoping to dress them beforehand, giving them an opportunity to express any concerns early on. If you have maids of varying figures you could dress them in one colour but different styles of dresses to suit their individual shapes. Alternatively, if you have maids of varying hair colours and complexions, you could ask them all to wear the same design but in varying complementary colours, to suit both them and the wedding styling.

Also, when picking suitable colours for the maids’ dresses think about the styles and tones of flowers you’ve picked and how they will work together.


At this point in the planning process it’s also a good idea to get the catering search underway if the venue you’ve booked won’t be providing the food.

Over time wedding breakfast menus have been extended beyond traditional meat and vegetables, meaning that there are now lots exciting options to whet your appetite. Some couples base their food choices on their personal preferences while others make their decisions by the season of the wedding. There’s also the option to pick menus that complement the style of the wedding, so for example afternoon tea for a rustic, country themed wedding, or street food, such as pizza or Mexican, for informal outdoor weddings.

Whatever you decide look for caterers with good reputations and find out what is included in the price, such as waiting staff and glass/crockery hire, to avoid any hidden costs. Then it’s time to sample the goods with a tasting session so you’ll know exactly how the food will look and taste when it’s served up on the day.

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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


 image source

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


image source

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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