Charlotte Balbier

autumn amour. maggie sottero for a chic urban wedding in leeds – rachel & robin

December 2nd, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s chic city real wedding simply exudes elegance. There’s a stunning Maggie Sottero dress, a gorgeous autumnal colour palette and an organic, woodland theme.

There was also plenty of personality to this stylish wedding too, with nods to the groom’s love of owls, Cockney rhyming slang table names and a real ale special brew called ‘Old Legover’!

With images by Olivia Brabbs Photography

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rachel says: Robin’s proposal centred around an owl theme. He has a particular passion for owls – since he was a child he collected all things owl. It has turned into a running joke that owls are literally taking over our house, so it was no surprise that they featured quite heavily in Robin’s proposal. Robin went to great lengths to set out an owl-themed treasure hunt, which went on for a few weeks (!) and, led by a number of clues, I found Robin under the ‘Owl of Justice’ – a carved owl that can be found at the back of the Civic Hall in Leeds, where Robin proposed and we later got married.

Our wedding date was the 9th September 2016. We both love autumn and wanted a natural earthy wedding. The weather also always seems to be lovely in Leeds in September, so we were lucky to secure the date when we did.

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We got married in the Banqueting Hall in the Civic Hall in Leeds city centre. We chose the venue for obvious reasons (hello gold owls!) but we were both so stunned at how beautiful the hall is once you get inside. We even decided to have a drinks reception after the ceremony to make the most of our time there. We really wanted to have our reception somewhere close to where we got married and settled on the Devonshire Hall in Headingley, to have our party; an amazingly grand hall of residence, which forms part of the University of Leeds. We loved the blank canvas of the dining hall and the design of the building is so lovely with the cloisters and outside space. We both got a great feel from the place when we visited so it was an easy decision.

In terms of theme, we’re big lovers of the great outdoors and our vision was for a woodland/autumnal/natural style of wedding. If we’d been brave enough (and my mum had allowed us!) we’d have had our reception in the woods, so this was a good compromise.

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Our colour scheme was navy and gold and, fitting with the autumnal theme, the groomsmen wore navy suits with a variety of dark gold and burnt orange accessories. My sister is a personal stylist so she helped choose the bridesmaid dresses, and navy is a gorgeous universal colour that looks great on everyone. I’m also a big fan of a bit of sparkle so gold shoes were a must!

If I’m honest, I wasn’t entirely looking forward to the wedding dress shopping – I had no idea what I wanted and felt a bit nervous about it all. When I walked into the first bridal shop (the wonderful Bridal Boutique in Baildon) I knew that the first dress that I saw would be the one I’d wear. I tried on all sorts of different styles anyway – and was surprised by how much I loved the huge princess dresses! But I settled for the first dress: Vidonia by Maggie Sottero. Such gorgeous detailing and I felt so comfortable in it, I knew it had to be the one. I cancelled my next booking!

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Robin and the groomsmen wore three-piece navy Ted Baker suits, which we hired from Moss Bros. We got the bowties and ties, made from knitted English silk, from the website Swagger & Swoon.

The bridesmaids wore A-line navy dresses from Coast and they each chose their own gold shoes. As a thank you for being my best women, I got them all engraved bangles made by the fab Libby Jubb Jewellery. They had a little birdy charm on them which matched the turtle doves I wore in my hair. Hannah De Ath and Annabel Bailey also did a fantastic job with hair and make-up and made my mum, bridesmaids and me feel like a million dollars.

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laughter & limoncello. justin alexander for a timeless wedding at denton hall – sarah & chris.

December 1st, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Sarah and Chris’s elegant Yorkshire wedding is a tale of two halves. First, there was the poignant ceremony in the village church where Sarah grew up, with precious memories woven into the smallest of details.

Then there was a good old-fashioned party, with plenty of laughter, live music, Limoncello and even an Elvis wig!

Sarah’s Justin Alexander gown is a jaw-dropper with just a touch of sparkle and lace, and the couple’s romantic moors photographs are some of the most stunning shots incorporating landscape that we’ve seen here at Brides Up North.

So what are you waiting for? The pretty beckons….

Photography by Neil Jackson Photographic

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sarah says: We got engaged at Robin Hood’s Bay almost exactly two years before we got married. We’ve been together for a long time and we’d talked about getting engaged, but I left the where and when up to Chris. I was fooled into thinking that I’d planned a weekend trip to the seaside to visit one of my favourite childhood places, but Chris had other ideas! So we went to Robin Hood’s Bay on the Saturday as planned and went for a stroll out along the scars prior for a picnic lunch. It was the first weekend of nice weather that summer so the beach was busier than expected. Instead of popping the question over lunch, he chose a spot where we were alone on the edge of the scars looking out to sea and asked me there. The seaweed prevented him from getting down on one knee!

Our wedding date was 28th May 2016. May is one of our favourite times of year and it also meant that we would be getting married almost 15 years to the day of us getting together (yes, I’m very patient!) I love late spring/early summer: everything is so fresh and colourful and you can also get some pretty decent weather.

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We got married at St Mary’s Church, Burley-in-Wharfedale and had the reception at Denton Hall, Ilkley.

The church was important to me as it‘s the church I went to as a child and my parents still live in the village. I’m lucky enough to know lots of people still living in Burley-in-Wharfedale, too, and they were all so kind and supportive of our marriage.

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Denton hadn’t initially been on our radar because of budget but we went along just to see and we fell in love with it immediately. They were so welcoming and have such a wonderful, personalised set up. It was the only venue to offer exclusivity without us having to pay ridiculous amounts. Plus, Box Tree is their caterer, so in the end it was a no-brainer!

We didn’t really have a wedding theme as such. We’re very proud Yorkshire folk so that helped us come up with a few ideas. Our wedding was like coming home for us, and we wanted to share our Yorkshire home with family and friends from all over.

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I’m also a sentimental old fool. My grandparents, who were a big part of our lives, had sadly all passed before our wedding and we wanted to stress their importance to us. My grandad was a very talented watercolour artist, so we used one of our favourite paintings of his for our invites and table place names. We also displayed the original painting on the day. Although we created our own invites, we had the help of The Cherry Orchard printers in Belper, who reproduced the painting and helped me realise my ideas.

The colour scheme for the wedding developed from my grandad’s painting too. I didn’t want to restrict myself colour-wise and it was more about having access to a range of colours that went together. The bridesmaid dresses captured the purple and lilac from the painting and then I wanted the flowers to pop out against these with some brighter, yet still elegant, pink roses. We then chose things to go with a floral garden-type colour scheme, which was pretty flexible!

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bridal trend alert: the illusion wedding dress

December 1st, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Allure Couture

Keen to collaborate with other big-day enthusiasts in the world of weddings, we’re introducing a new guest writer to the blog today, the lovely Sophie Grabham, Online Editor at Love Our Wedding Magazine.

Aa a regular feature in our Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Fair media packs, we’re big fans and supporters of Love Our Wedding Magazine and enjoy flicking through its glossy pages of inspiration. As such Sophie will be sharing a monthly feature with us on everything from dresses to décor, and in return we will be writing for the wonderful Love Our Wedding Magazine website once a month too. If you didn’t see our first feature on the Top 2017 Wedding Themes, be sure to take a look.

For her first feature, Sophie has some serious dress candy in store for you as she talks bridal fashion trends.

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Mark Lesley

sophie says: One of our favourite bridal trends of the moment has to be illusion gowns!

Illusion necklines made an appearance in many designer collections for 2016 and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down for 2017. The elegant detailing gives the appearance of tattooed lace on skin and is a must have for any fashion-conscious bride.

But it’s not just necklines that have been featuring this illusion styling. There has also been a lot of emphasis on the backs of gowns as well as on sleeves, with intricate illusion lace patterns cropping up in many of the hottest new collections.

From chic and subtle to the fashion-forward and daring, this trend will work for any style of bride.

Let’s take a look at some of our favourites…

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Kenneth Winston

illusion necklines

The signature style for 2016/2017 weddings, illusion necklines can be as daring as you like! There are many variations of this look; from high-neck detailing to plunging V-necklines – another huge trend for the new season.

We’d recommend wearing minimal jewellery and hair up or to one side, to really show off the gorgeous detailing on this style of gown.

Labels including Allure, Chloe Bridals, and Kenneth Winston all rock this look.

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express yourself: introducing debbie gillespie cake design

November 30th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Image by Photography By Kathryn

We have something pretty tasty in store for you this afternoon, as we welcome new Brides Up North Sponsor, Debbie Gillespie Cake Design, to the blog.

Based in Yorkshire, Debbie loves nothing more than the challenge of creating a cake that tells a story and is a big advocate of couples expressing their personalities and interests through their big day design.

From beautiful hand-painted creations to rustic sensations and fun novelty designs, Debbie has the skills to do it all!

So, let’s take a look at some of her show-stoppers while hearing a little more from the lovely lady herself.

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Can you tell us a little bit about Debbie Gillespie Cake Design and how it came to fruition?

debbie says: My first wedding cake was my own in 2005. Although it was a very simple design, I found the process renewed the love of art and creativity that I had had as a child, whilst at the same time producing something beautiful and tasty for someone else to enjoy. The arrival of two children meant that cakes became more elaborate and soon I was being approached by family and friends to make cakes for them.

I am largely self-taught but draw on a love of watercolour painting, gardening and my kids’ creative input to inspire my designs.

What is it about your job that you love?

I love sitting down with customers over tea and stickies and hearing their stories e.g. proposals, common interests, nicknames, and then designing their cake together. Many of my customers have become friends and I have continued to watch their lives unfold, even getting the opportunity to make cakes for their children. The wedding is only the beginning!

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Where do you get your inspiration from for your cake designs?

I have very much a split design personality; enjoying bold and fabulous florals as much as fun and funky personal designs. I love the hand-painted and floral designs of Emily Hankins and Amy Swann, but would say that my biggest cake hero is Duff Goldman (of Ace of Cakes fame), as I love his ‘anything goes’ philosophy. Ultimately, my main inspiration are the couple and their life together and feel that their wedding cake should be a reflection of this, however bold and crazy it may be!

What should couples look for when searching for a supplier to make their wedding cake?

With any wedding supplier, there should be an ease so always find someone you feel comfortable with. Check out their portfolio to ensure that they can provide the style you want and don’t be afraid to ask questions. With cakes, always ensure that they are EHA-registered with good hygiene practices, have adequate public liability insurance and ultimately that they serve a tasty cake. You don’t want any nasty or unpalatable surprises!

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What is the process if couples book you to make their wedding cake?

All my wedding couples are invited for a no-obligation consultation, where they are provided with a sample selection of our most popular flavours. We then chat over the design and I will provide a detailed quotation and sketch (if required). Their date is then secured with a 25% non-returnable deposit.  Alternatively, as I will only have limited capacity per week, a wedding date can be secured with a £50 deposit and the design process completed nearer the date.

What styles and flavours of cake do you tend to create?

I do believe that the cake should taste as wonderful as it looks and for that reason, I prefer to stick to a smaller selection of popular and traditional flavours, e.g. lemon drizzle, red velvet, rich fruit etc. that I know are exceptional.  However, I have just introduced a courgette and lime cake, which is proving very popular.

As for styles, I love to incorporate bold floral displays with hand-painting to produce a modern but rustic look. However, I am also partial to a little novelty and one of my biggest trends for 2017/18 are the reveal cakes – traditional at the front, party at the back!

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sunshine & smiles. pronovias for a fun filled wedding at knipe hall, cumbria – alexandra & andrew

November 30th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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We are totally head over heels for this morning’s gorgeous real wedding which features a super-stylish wedding party, pretty pastel colour scheme and lots of outdoor fun and frolics.

Highlights? There are many! Though for us the delicate décor, on-trend attire and super cute four-legged guest are among our very favourite bits!

With images by Darren Mack Photography

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alexandra says: We got engaged whilst we were staying at some vineyards in Yorkshire with friends for my 30th birthday in June 2014. Unbeknown to me, the day before we went Andrew had “Alex will you marry me?” Tattooed on his chest. We went out for dinner and drinks in Holmfirth then to a Billy Bragg gig. After an amazing evening, we got back to our apartment and much to my utter shock and disbelief Andrew revealed his new chest art to me! I said yes and we celebrated with a bottle of champagne with the rest of the bunch that we were away with!

Our wedding day was exactly two years after the weekend that we got engaged, so 18th June 2016, the day before my 32nd birthday.

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We got married at Knipe Hall in Cumbria, where we are from. We wanted a rustic blank canvas venue and this fit the bill! It’s an old farm that has been converted into luxury holiday cottages and has a barn and old dairy and huge outdoor space to host your wedding. This meant that whole wedding party could stay over making it a full weekend celebration and we could do as we wanted with the venue.

We didn’t really have a specific wedding theme as such, we just wanted it to be relaxed and fun! I guess it had a bit of a rustic country wedding feel to it. Our colour scheme was pastels and metallic. I was just drawn to those colours from day one and I love a bit of gold/sequins/glitter – just a touch though.

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My dress was by Pronovias bought from Olivia James Bridal in Egremont. When I first got engaged I saw a similar Rosa Clara dress in a wedding mag, which I loved – it reminded me of the wedding dress Audrey Hepburn wears in Roman Holiday. This dress was only in one shop in the UK so I travelled all the way down to London to try it on. It was lovely but wasn’t quite right so I walked away. I then decided I wanted a more boho 70s style gown so proceeded to try on around 30 more dresses; some vintage, some high street, designer, bridal couture, you name it but discovered I didn’t really suit a lot of the lace and nothing felt special enough. I was starting to lose faith and decided I just don’t like wedding dresses then I came across this dress online and found out it was in a shop not far from home and like I said, very similar to the first dress I liked. As soon as I tried it on it felt right. Still very much a wedding dress with the full skirt and long train but no added bling or lace; plain but beautiful details like the low scoop back and simple bows at the waist. It was such a relief to find the one!

My hairdresser for the wedding was Sarah Redding from Halo in Carlisle, and she was amazing, working relentlessly to get us all ready in time. A very talented lady. I own my own beauty salon in Carlisle called Rock and Fairy so I did everyone’s beauty treatments a couple of nights before the wedding and did my own makeup on the day using Mac products.

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Andrew wore a fitted black suit and white shirt with little gold buttons, all bought from Zara. He accessorised his outfit with gold braces and bow tie from Etsy and black patent loafers by Grenson.

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scarves & sequins: winter high street haul

November 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Knitted Jacquard Skater Dress, £149, from Ted Baker

While we prefer the weather in the summer, we most definitely prefer the fashion in the winter and can already hear the call of cosy knits, stylish boots and hats with bobbles on top!

If you too are looking to add to your winter wardrobe then you’re in the right place, as we’re taking a little break from the wedding talk this afternoon to bring you the hottest hits from the high street. Ladies, prepare to shop!

the threads

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Mahhar Chevron Longline Coat, £359, from Ted Baker – First thing’s first, with the temperatures dropping you’re going to need a cosy winter coat to keep warm. As a key investment piece for the season, we see this as an area to blow a bit more of the budget on, plus a good winter coat can last you years. With party season approaching we’re thinking this smart Ted Baker number is an excellent choice.

The Headrow Jumper, £45, from Archive by Alexa at Marks & Spencer – With the cold weather comes chunky knits and we adore this traditional cable knit jumper from Alexa Chung’s latest collection at M&S. Following the success of her first line, we expect it to be a sell-out item so shop quickly girls!

Frame Le Skinny de Jeanne Mid-Rise Jeans, £205, from Net-A-Porter – Another invest piece for the season, jeans! Although the ‘mom’ cut is on the rise we like a good pair of skinnies for the winter that we can easily slide into our over-the-knee boots to avoid cold ankles.

Pleated Velvet Midi Dress, £75, from Oasis – A key fabric for the season, you must have at least one velvet garment in your wardrobe, whether it be a cold-shoulder top, party skirt or an all-rounder dress such as this beauty from Oasis. We adore the dusky pink colour and love that the design has on-trend pleating too. A wonderfully versatile piece that can be dressed up or down.

Tatlin Beau Jersey Lace Dress, £49, from French Connection – No winter wardrobe is complete without a little black dress and the fashion gods at French Connection have gone and done an insanely good-value line of LBD’s for just £49, leaving you with spare cash to splurge on your accessories!

Double Elastic Stripe Leggings, £20, from Topshop – While we love dressing up during the party season we also love to have some easy-to-wear casuals for those lazy days. And what could be more comforting than a big, cosy jumper and a pair of stretchy leggings?

Metallic Faux Leather Skirt, £35, from Warehouse – Another big look for the season is metallics; whether you choose a bold item or just add small pops in your accessories. We love this gold skirt from Warehouse, which looks like the real deal for a snip of the price and is great for both daytime and night.

Printed Blouse with Bow, £25.99, from Zara – No matter what the weather is doing we always like to have a cool blouse or shirt to hand. Giving a nod to the 70s with its billowing bow and sleeves, this gorgeous design can easily be worn with jeans and layered up for a casual look, or alternatively would make a great accompaniment to that Warehouse skirt for a festive night out.

Sequin Disc Jumper, £55, from Warehouse – Hurrah, sequin season has returned and we’re getting our sparkle on with this fabulous, head-turning jumper!

the accessories

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Ailara Micro Bow Leather Gloves, £89, from Ted Baker – Well if we’re buying the coat we may as well go all out and get co-ordinating gloves too!

Floral Embroidered Cross Body Bag, £34, from Topshop – The party season calls for a new party bag and they don’t come much louder than this. Featuring masculine studs and feminine embroidery, this is a perfectly balanced bag that we’re totally in love with!

Geometric Jaquard Scarf, £19.99, from Zara – As far as we’re concerned, when it comes to winter a girl just can’t have too many scarves, and Zara does them oh so well. As we’re geometric-obsessed we will definitely be adding this one to the shopping cart.

Sammy Boots, £180, from Kurt Geiger – Tis the season for boots and this year the two main trends are one extreme to the other; over-the-knee and ankle. While we do sometimes worry that a thigh-high-boot could cause us to look like a pantomime character, we just can’t help but give into their flirty appeal.

Patchwork Pearle Hobo Bag, £90, from French Connection – While we’ve got the party bag sorted, we’ll be needing a new day bag too and adore this classic brown leather design that we know will just get better with age!

Kiri Leopard Purse, £35, from Dune – Well we couldn’t have a new bag without a new purse. Check out the latest to arrive at Dune, problem is if you’re anything like us you will want more than just the one.

Soft Grey Faux Fur Scarf, £25, from Topshop – Did we mention that we have a thing for scarves? Another winter-must has to be a little throw-on faux fur for those nights on the town.

Gold Knit Bobble Hat, £13, from River Island – We are pleased to see the bobble hat live on for another year and love this glam metallic design.

Amaze Star Boots, £65, from Miss Selfridge – This year we’re totally spoilt for choice ankle boot wise with everything from glitter, buckled and embroidery designs to choose from, though it’s these sparklers that have us all starry-eyed!

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