Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

Ready For my Close Up.

April 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Ready For My Close Up

Jenny Packham, Suzanne Neville, Maggie Sottero, Anoushka G, Claire Pettibone… I think I’ve died and gone to wedding dress heaven.  Brides Up North HQ is currently full of tulle and sequins, glitter and sparkle, as we prepare for a very special Brides Up North shoot – on location – tomorrow.

When we do things at Brides Up North, we don’t like to do them by halves.  That’s why I’ve pulled together the most fabulous team of wedding industry professionals to concoct a contemporary and glamorous peep behind the scenes here at Brides Up North HQ, with fantastical frocks, beautiful blooms, sensational styling elements and ideas that you will be able to borrow for your very own wedding day. 

I’ll be ‘out of the office"’ all day, so keep track of the Brides Up North Twitter and Facebook feeds for sneaky peeks at the action as it unfolds. 

With creative assistance and input from the likes of Brides Up North Featured Suppliers and friends Cat Hepple Photography, Leafy Couture, JB Creatives, Silver Sixpence Films, Flutter, Victoria Farr, Pamella Dunn, The White Room Sheffield, The Harrogate Wedding Lounge, Dine, Marie Antoinette Cakes and more, I’m raring to get started and SO ready for my close up. 

Watch these (soon to be even prettier) pages for the results soon. 

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – image © 2014 The Harrogate Wedding Lounge via Instagram

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Joy To The World. A Backless Anoushka G Gown For A Real Wedding At Quarry Bank Mill – Clare & Lee-John

January 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Hayley Baxter Photography

Things are looking really rosy red this week on Brides Up North aren’t they?  First up, the sun baked celebration of Annie and Lee yesterday, and now a complete about turn with today’s stunning winter Real Wedding.  Shot by Hayley Baxter Photography, Clare and Lee-John’s big day had all the hallmarks of the perfect Christmas wedding – red berries, a feather cape, a dress to die for, Christmas pudding, a ruby red carriage and a partridge in a pear tree!

Hayley Baxter Photography

Clare says:  We got engaged on 16 August 2013, in North Wales and were married on 21 December 2013 at Norcliffe Chapel, Styal with our reception at Quarry Bank Mill. 

Hayley Baxter Photography

Hayley Baxter Photography

We visited the National Trust village and Mill in June 2013 and both absolutely loved the church and the imposing architecture of the Mill itself.  Mandi and her team at the Mill were so helpful and were happy to assist in any way possible.

Hayley Baxter Photography

Hayley Baxter Photography

Hayley Baxter Photography

We chose a Christmas theme, we sang carols in the church and had mulled wine and mince pies at the drinks reception instead of canapés.  We decorated the Mill ourselves with fairy lights, Christmas garlands and Christmas trees, including edible decorations and a gingerbread house.  The table centres were hurricane vases with candles, holly, ivy, cinnamon, pine – all natural flowers and seasonal.

The colours were dark green and red.  The green was chosen to incorporate the Bride’s Irish roots and the red for the groom’s Welsh roots.  The bridesmaids wore dark green and the groomsmen all wore red ties and hankies.  The bouquets were gorgeous red and green with grand prix roses for the bride and tulips for the bridesmaids and flower girls.

Hayley Baxter Photography

Hayley Baxter Photography

My dress was called Hazel by Anoushka G. I love it! I bought it from Lace Bridal in Hale who were so helpful. I am not a keen shopper and had given myself one day and two bridal shops to find my dream dress – I didn’t have to search for long… it was the first dress I tried on and it could not be matched! It was cut on the bias with mini capped embroidered sleeves with a cowl scoop at the back.

I had an oyster feather shrug to keep me warm too.  I wore my wellies into the church as the path down was muddy and I didn’t want to spoil my Jimmy Choos!

Flossy & Leigh made all the bridal party’s hair and make up look fabulous and I wore a bespoke hair piece designed by Ann McKaveney of Eleventh Heaven.

Hayley Baxter Photography

My two adult bridesmaids wore a dark green maxi dress from Coast and the three flower girls wore gorgeous white dressed from Debenhams.  They all had gorgeous fur shrugs for warmth and the two littlest flower girls wore White Uggs boots.

The groomsmen wore hired suits from Slaters in Manchester. They were dark grey tails with waistcoat and their own classic white shirts with bright red ties and hankies.

Hayley Baxter Photography

We hired a beautiful red and cream vintage car supplied by Love & Carriage.

continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Lavender & Lace: Anoushka G For A Real Wedding At Lumley Castle – Laura & Will

May 29th, 2013 | Julia Braime

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Laura and Will’s beautiful wildflower inspired Real Wedding in the North East is a master class in understated elegance and subtle beauty, resulting in a perfectly pretty celebration. 

.

With images by Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Laura says: We got engaged on 3rd June 2012 (Diamond Jubilee Weekend) at my grandparents’ holiday cottage in the Lake District.  t is such a special place where I spent much of my childhood and is so beautiful and peaceful. It was just me, Will and Elsa, my dog, having a lovely picnic when Will proposed, it was perfect!

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

We were married on Saturday 30th March 2013 at Lumley Castle Hotel, County Durham.  My family and I are from the Newcastle so we wanted a venue in the North East and my mum used to work at Lumley Castle in the 80s so knew it well!  When we went to visit we were impressed by their professionalism and knew they would ensure that our day would be as important to them as it was to us which is so vital when picking a venue.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

We wanted our wedding to reflect an English wildflower garden with the dresses having a vintage look to them and the colour scheme to be subtle and to reflect the wild flower theme. We had lavender bows and sprigs of lavender on the chairs in the ceremony room and pink rose garlands to decorate the main table. The groomsmen also wore lavender cravats and handkerchiefs.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

My dress was the Katrina dress by Anoushka G which I got from Ava Rose Hamilton in Durham. I knew as soon as I walked into the shop and saw it that it was the dress for me. I loved the vintage style lace and delicate beading.

.

My shoes were from Rachel Simpson and were the ivory lace Chloe shoe.

.

I wore vintage pearl jewellery which was my ‘something borrowed’ from my Nanny and my wedding perfume was Coco Mademoiselle.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Getting ready in the morning was such a lovely experience! My Maid of Honour Beth and I went for a run in the morning to calm the nerves and then we all gathered in the Bridal suite to get ready. It was so great having my bridesmaids to help me get ready, my cousins Katy and Emily and Aunty helped with hair and make-up and my sister Sarah, the chief Bridesmaid, and Beth made sure everything was organised.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

The bridesmaids’ dresses came from the Monsoon bridal range and contrary to the usual bridesmaid colour schemes, I wanted the girls to be in ivory too.

.

The groom and best man were in navy suits from Moss Bros and my Dad wore a Navy Armani suit. They all wore waistcoats and cravats from Moss Bros.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

I was so nervous walking to the ceremony room and down the aisle with my Dad that I had pins and needles in my hands! But once I was stood at the bottom of the aisle with Will and I looked at him all the nerves disappeared and I couldn’t wait to be married to him.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

The bouquets were arranged by Jill Springall and consisted of Lisianthus, thistles, Bear Grass, Oceania Roses and smaller mauve roses.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Our photographer was Andy Hudson who captured our day beautifully! We both wanted natural photos which captured those special moments and little details which Andy did perfectly! I was so worried about having to pose for the traditional photographs but Andy made the whole process so easy and enjoyable! My sister Sarah is getting married in April 2014 and has also booked him for her wedding as she was so impressed!

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

The flower arrangements on the cake and tables were by Floral Joy in Harrogate also had mauve and pink roses as well as eucalyptus and lavender.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

We really wanted our wedding to be unique and have personal touches for the guests to remember. So we made all the table settings and the table plan ourselves. We also had wild flower seed packets as favours – lavender seeds for the girls and ‘seeds for bees’ packets for the boys.

.

We divided the tables into sections named after our favourite places and had a photo of us at that particular place in each section.

.

We got some lovely vintage tea cup candles from Etsy to use on the tables too.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

After the recommendations of quite a few people we went for a three tier sponge cake from Marks and Spencer. We were amazed at how expensive some wedding cakes could be, but our cake from M&S was so delicious and half the cost of most of the cakes we had looked at. We would definitely recommend it!

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

We had Karaoke for the evening entertainment which was a great success as it got everyone up and involved!

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

We went back to the cottage in the Lakes where we got engaged for our first little honeymoon and had a lovely relaxing week. We will be going on a second honeymoon to Greece in July for a summer get away which we are so looking forward to!

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that personal touches do not have to cost a fortune but will be priceless! I looked at loads of wedding blogs and websites for ideas and you can end up saving a lot of money doing things yourself.

.

.

Andy Hudson Photography

.

.

Congratulations Laura & Will!

.

Would you like to see your own Real Wedding on these pretty pages?  Here’s how.

.

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Andy Hudson Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

.

.

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Just Dreamy! Supplier Showcase: Dreamcatcher Bridal

May 1st, 2013 | Julia Braime

.

Dreamcatcher Bridal

.

.

Today I am proud to introduce you to Dreamcatcher Bridal, one of our fabulous Featured Suppliers and definitely worth a visit for all our North West readers on the hunt for their dream dress.  These ladies know their gowns, and goodness, what gowns they stock!  Let’s meet them…

.

Dreamcatcher opened its doors in July 2000, a family business run by mother and daughter team, Gill and Georgina. Having had some bad experiences ourselves during bridal gown shopping and realising that it would be necessary to travel long distances to find designer dresses, we set upon our venture to bring couture designer collections to the Preston area. Gill with a passion for beautiful fabrics and a background in the technical side of dress design and construction and Georgina with the business brains, artist flair and youthful enthusiasm, we knew we’d make the perfect partnership. 

.

We have bridal gowns to suit all budgets with bargain sample sale gowns under £500 to new gowns from £650 to £3500.

.

.

Dreamcatcher Bridal

.

.

Following months of research and planning, the designers at the top of our wish list were Sassi Holford and Suzanne Neville. Both designers of exquisite, classic gowns with amazing cut, structure and style, yet each bringing an individual twist. Sassi the pure genius with lace and Suzanne with the ability to create smooth sculptured bodices that somehow make all brides instantly drop a dress size.

.

At our very first Harrogate Bridal Buyer Exhibition, some 13 years ago, we were fortunate enough to be introduced to Benjamin Roberts and knew instantly that the label was just what we were looking for. With beautiful embroidery and stunning beadwork at amazing prices but still with the quality and structure we weren’t prepared to compromise on.

.

Over the years we have added new designers to our range including Enzoani and Essense of Australia. Enzoani offers a modern European style using soft satins, chic layers, signature high quality and rich detail using the finest Swarovski crystals. Essense gowns feature luxurious fabrics and just the right amount of head-turning sparkle. With the added option of a lace up or zip/button up back this diverse collection is a popular choice with both our staff and brides to be.

.

We are also extremely proud to stock beautiful designs from Anoushka G, perfect for destination weddings, Veromia, for the traditional fairytale wedding and Sonsie by Veromia, a stunning range specially created for the curvier figure. The newest addition to our extensive collection is Anny Lin, offering a definite WOW for the more daring bride. The usual fabrics and delicate, yet stunning beadwork make Anny’s designs stand out amongst the crowd.

.

Our range is so diverse with so so many amazing designs. If absolutely pressed our favourite at the moment is Faye by Sassi Holford. It’s a simple waisted style in rose damask with a plain duchesse satin sash with buttons and large bow detail down the back. The fabric is so unusual, simply subtle and stunning!  Currently lace gowns are particularly popular, with brides looking for a more covered demure look.

.

.

Dreamcatcher Bridal

.

.

Loving all things that sparkle, we have a fantastic range of accessories, hand selected to complement each bridal gown. With designs from Halo & Co, Polly Edwards, Ellie K, Richard Designs and Bijoux Bec, all offering coordinating headpieces and jewellery handcrafted using Swarovski stones. A large selection of veils from Joyce Jackson and The Couture Veil, designed by Sassi Holford using gorgeous soft vintage tulles with a wide variety of lace edges which perfectly match Sassi’s superb bridal designs. There really is something for everyone!

.

.

Dreamcatcher Bridal

.

.

We have an excellent selection of bridesmaid’s gowns with collections from JLM Europe, Watters & Watters and Veromia. With traditional bridesmaid’s styles to cutting edge designs all available in a variety of fabrics and colour options. We also have a beautiful collection of silk flower girl styles from Nicki Macfarlane.

.

Not wanting to leave out the Men, we offer an extensive range of high quality hire wear from Peter Posh and Highland wear from Cameron Ross, catering for both traditional and contemporary weddings. When everything’s available under one roof it’s much easier to co-ordinate styles and colours to ensure the perfect match.

.

.

Dreamcatcher Bridal

.

.

It’s official! We stock some of the best in the business. The recent Bridal Buyer Awards proved to be very successful for some of our designers, not just Bridal designers, but Bridesmaids and accessories too. Massive congratulations to Sassi Holford, for winning British Bridal Designer of the Year 2013, Benjamin Roberts for winning Best Bridal Manufacturer 2013, Sonsie by Veromia for winning Best Plus Size Collection 2013, JLM for winning Best Bridesmaids Collection 2013 and Ellie K for scooping the award for Best Headdress Designer 2013. This we think proves we have fantastic taste and stock the best in the business!

.

.

Dreamcatcher Bridal

.

.

We’re located in Kirkham approximately half-way between Preston and Blackpool. Very easy access from Junction 3 of the M55, 300 yards from Kirkham & Wesham railway station, with free parking right outside.

.

Appointments are not essential but advisable especially on a Saturday and Thursday evening to avoid disappointment. Private appointments are also available upon request.  Brides can expect a very warm welcome from a friendly, experienced and knowledgeable team, dedicated to finding the dress of your dreams.

.

.

Dreamcatcher Bridal

.

.

As most of our business now comes from personal recommendation we must be doing something right! We pride ourselves on the calm and relaxed atmosphere in our boutique with customer service being of paramount importance to us. We believe that all our brides should feel like the only bride in the world. We also have an excellent reputation for fit. Our in-house personal fitting and alteration service is second to none.

.

Brides can get in touch via our website, email info@dreamcatcherbridal.co.uk or telephone 01772515090.  We’re also on facebook and twitter @BridalInfo so like our facebook page and follow us on twitter for up to date news, special offers and events.

.

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as supplied by Dreamcatcher Bridal

Dreamcatcher Bridal is a Brides Uo North Featured Supplier, and this is a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

.

.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Queen Of The Castle! A Real Wedding In Yorkshire – Grace & Tony

July 12th, 2012 | Julia Braime

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

Today’s breathtakingly beautiful Real Wedding, sent to me by real bride Grace and Steve Ramsden Photography, caught my interest as soon as it landed in my inbox.  That’s because Allerton Castle is one of the fabulous venues that I work with in Yorkshire to host the Brides Up North Wedding Exclusives events for all you lovely brides to be.

.

I think once you see today’s wedding, you’ll be wanting to put the date of our next show in your diaries to come along too!

.

The Brides Up North Wedding Exclusive at Allerton Castle

Allerton Park, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

Sunday 16th September 2012

12pm – 4pm

FREE ENTRY

.

Click here to register for your free VIP Bride-To-Be Goody Bag and speedy entry. 

.

This is your exclusive invitation to a day of bridal brilliance at North Yorkshire’s most desirable wedding venue! As well as the Dine team hosting venue tours, over 30 of the regions finest bridal suppliers will be in attendance to inspire and advise – everything from flowers, to bridal fashion to photobooths – only the best will do!

.

I’ll see you there, and in the meantime, enjoy today’s stunning celebration. 

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

Grace says:  We got engaged in January 2011 at the Crab and Lobster, Asenby just before I went to Spain to ride in the Spanish Sunshine Tour for eight weeks.

.

We were married on 12th May 2012 at St Marys Church at Myton on Swale, the first wedding at the church for nine years, with our reception at Allerton Castle near Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.  Allerton Castle was the first venue we looked at and no where else compared, it was just amazing, a fairytale castle.

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography   Raper016

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

We didn’t have a particular theme and just wanted something simple but traditional.  The colours that we chose were ivory with touches of red. 

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

I chose an ivory tulle dress from Andrea Bambridge of York with a long train of tulle, and flowers scattered across the bodice and skirt. I wore a veil and tiara previously worn by my sister Charlotte who was married six years ago and gorgeous Swarovski shoes by Gina.

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

My four adult bridesmaids wore red Anoushka G dresses from House of Frazer, and our four flowergirls wore ivory dresses with a red bow on the back.  Our pageboy who was two wore an ivory suit with a waistcoat but he decided he wanted to be like the girls so he wore one of the flowergirls’ cardigans during the ceremony!

.

The other guys wore traditional outfits by York Suit Hire

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

The church service was the most emotional and nervous part of the day and meant the most because our marriage is really what the day was about.  

.

Vocalis Choir of Harrogate sang in the church.  Amongst other songs they performed ‘I Will Follow Him’ originally sung by the choir and Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act.

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

I carried a traditional shower bouquet of David Austin Patience Roses and Calla Lilies, and Dendrobium OrchidS.  My adult bridesmaids’ carried natural hand-tied bouquets of red roses and the flowergirls carried hearts decorated with Dendrobium Orchids, all provided by Elise Flowers. Two of the hearts are now hanging at either side of the fireplace as a momentum of the day. There were arrangements of flowers inside the church and there was an arch of flowers over the church door. At Allerton Castle table decorations were also provided by Elise Flowers and the staircase was decorated with ivy, fairylights and storm lanterns, and a wishing tree was placed in the conservatory.  This has now been planted as a reminder of our day.

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

A chimney sweep – Pete the Sweep – attended to wish us luck!  This is a tradition derived 200 years ago when King George II was riding his horse in a royal procession when without warning a stray dog began nipping the legs of the King’s horse causing it to rear up and the King lost control. As the crowd looked on in horror, a chimney sweep came from the crowd, regained control of the horse and returned to the crowd. After the procession the King was unable to thank the sweep personally for his bravery so he decreed that from that day onwards all chimney sweeps should be considered lucky.

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

We travelled to Allerton Castle in an amazing 1950 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith, provided by Superior Motor Cars. 

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

Dine at Allerton Castle looked after us so well all day – coordinating the whole wedding and providing all the catering.

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

Our cake was provided by a family friend and was seven tiers which were all different, fruit cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake, with the top layers being sponge cake. 

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography   An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography   An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

During the drinks reception Pure Silk Jazz played to entertain 90 guests followed by Sounds Familiar, a local band from Tollerton, who played during the meal and then Pure Silk Cutz played in the evening.

.

Our first dance was a waltz, with a few twists and turns, to Take That’s Rule the World.  We rehearsed our first dance with The Butterfly School of Dance in Thirsk. 

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

After the wedding, we honeymooned in Goa in India for fifteen nights and stayed in the Taj Exotica Hotel, with miles of beach to ourselves before returning to rainy Yorkshire.

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to stand back and look, see what is going on around you and take it all in, it goes so fast.

.

.

An Allerton Castle Wedding by Steve Ramsden Photography

.

.

HEARTCongratulations Grace & Tony! HEART

.

Are you newly wed?  Contact me to share your Real Wedding memories with Brides Up North.

.

.

  – Images © 2012 Steve Ramsden Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

.

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

As Audrey Would Say: ‘I Believe Happy Girls Are The Prettiest Girls’: Supplier Showcase: Choola, Sheffield

February 22nd, 2012 | Julia Braime

.

.

I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and… I believe in miracles.  Audrey Hepburn
.

.

.

Today we meet an Audrey fan who lives by her idol’s motto – the fabulous Francesca from the even more fabulous (if it’s possible!) Choola bridal boutique, Sheffield.  Form an orderly queue girls. 

.

With images by Jess Petrie

.#

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

When did Choola open and what is your background?
.

Choola proudly opened its doors in July 2008 and is run by myself and my partner Ivan. I’m thrilled to say since opening, we have become one of the leading boutiques in Sheffield and the Northern region with brides travelling from all over the UK and now even abroad to visit us! We have worked very hard to establish ourselves and we are thrilled to have been recognised enough that we were selected to appear on Wedding TV, be the supplier to National and local Radio competitions and regularly featuring in the leading bridal magazines.

.

Bridal had always been my passion, having religiously bought the wedding magazines each month for years and losing myself in a world of style, fashion, flowers and cakes! After being a bridesmaid 6 times, I had known for many years that I wanted to open my own boutique but it was only when driving down Ecclesall Road one day and spotting the empty shop that the ‘Eureka’ moment hit me! It was now or never!

.

That was back in January 2008 and within weeks I had gone part time in my job, signed the lease and all focus was now on turning the once bathroom and shower showroom into a gleaming bridal boutique!

Ivan and I did all the work ourselves with a huge amount of help from our family and before we knew it the appointments were flooding in and we were in full swing. 

.

Having graduated in 2004 with a degree in Law and working within the field of policy and procedure, suddenly running my own business was a huge shock to the system! However, Ivan and I were used to throwing ourselves in at the deep end and having previously worked as a Rent Arrears Officer for the Council, I was certainly not afraid of a challenge.  My fiancé and business partner was no stranger to the complexities of business with a degree in Business Studies and having run a successful property development company. With his business expertise, my legal background and passion for all things wedding, we knew we had the perfect mix for a fabulous new venture. 

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

What lines of wedding gowns do you stock?

.

We were really keen to have a mix of designers both well established and up and coming and over the years this has developed significantly. We aren’t afraid to change which designers we stock as quality and service is everything to us and we have successfully managed to carve ourselves a niche for showcasing dresses with "that little bit of something different". The dresses aren’t so far off centre as to limit our clients but yet edgy enough to set the Bride apart from the crowd.

.

We have stocked Lyn Ashworth from first opening and these are our classic British made gowns. With an exceptional cut and quality of silk and lace, these our firm favourites with our brides seeking the quintessential English wedding style.

.

For girls who love beautiful fabrics with more emphasis on cut than embellishment, we stock the French design house of Lambert Creations. All handmade and made to measure in Brittany, these gowns can seldom be found anywhere else in the UK. 

.

For our brides who favour lace and intricate beading we stock the Portuguese designer Maria Karin which again has few UK stockist so brides can be assured of exclusivity.

.

The award winning Mark Lesley range provides beautiful dresses with a more traditional element but still with some great contemporary twists.

.

We then have then very glamorous designs of Anoushka G, favoured with the celebrities, these dresses are perfect for brides who want to be fashion forward and not feel overly "bridey"! The collection boasts a lot of silk-chiffon which is also perfect for brides having destination weddings.

.

Our two newest designers to Choola are Jonathan James Couture and Private Label by G. We were drawn to Jonathan because he isn’t afraid to break the rules when it comes to his collections! He can just as easily create a simple unembellished gown as he can a heavily beaded princess dress and with the ability to bespoke gowns for our clients, he was a definite must!

.

Private Label by G has only just been introduced in the UK with its cult following being in the USA and Canada but always wanting to be ahead of the crowd we quickly sought to introduce the label into Choola! The first dress from their fabulous collection was sold within an hour of arriving at the boutique and already are proving a real talking point! The Private Label collection literally has a dress for every bride, from vintage glamour to full on fairy-tale romance. 

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

What lines of accessories do you stock?
.

I love my sparkly things! We stock stunning headpieces and veils from Ivory & Co, Studio Bridal and Emmerling. We have an eclectic mix of vintage inspired pieces, art deco styled hairbands, traditional tiaras and some quirky birdcage veils and fascinators.

.

As a huge shoe lover we have over 30 pairs of shoes to choose from by celebrity favourite Benjamin Adams. We love their shoes because they are stylish, fashionable and all beautifully handmade. The best thing is that most of them can be dyed after the wedding and worn again so they don’t end up gathering dust in the attic. I have several pairs in several colours that look great with pair of jeans or the infamous LBD. 

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

Where are you located?

.

Our beautiful boutique is based in one of my favourite places in Sheffield, Ecclesall Road. This road has always been a favourite with the independent boutiques and the trendy bars.  It has a great cosmopolitan buzz to it and perfect to be able to spend a whole day on, browsing the shops, having lunch and a glass or two of wine! It also has a fabulous park with beautiful views. In my opinion there is nowhere else we could have had our boutique.

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

Can you give Brides up North an idea on price?

.

Our dresses start from around £900 to approximately £2700. A good retailer will always chat with a bride about budget as the last thing we want to do is put you in a dress you fall in love with, only then for you to find out that the price is above what you would like or more importantly able to spend. Don’t be afraid to be honest about what you are able to spend, the more honest you are the more we will be able to help you. For us its not about selling you the most expensive dress in the boutique, its about selling you the perfect dress for both your body shape and personality. The bride after all is our walking advertisement!

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

Do Brides up North need an appointment?
.

We will always try and see a bride if somebody pops in and we have the time to do so but we always advise brides to book as there is nothing worse than travelling a long way to see us, only to be turned away as we already have a full diary. Booked appointments are a must on Saturdays and need to booked well in advance. We always suggest a bride to come on a week day if she is able to take time off work as we can generally spend a little longer with her. However, as a busy woman myself, I understand that its not always possible, therefor we offer late appointments on both Mondays and Wednesdays. We only close Sundays so we are very accessible to both busy brides and those who live further afield.

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

What can Bride Up North expect when they come for an appointment?
.

When brides come to visit us we want everyone to leave feeling energised and excited! They will have time to browse the gowns, chat through their thoughts and feeling about what they envisage for their day and then be taken to their private fitting area.

.

Looking for your dress is one of the most important and exciting parts of the wedding planning, this is where it all starts! We are genuinely passionate about what we do and I think that shows. We take time getting to know our brides, we listen and support. We offer constructive advice and never pressure brides into a decision. We ask brides to pick out their own dresses to try on but then we will make our own suggestions and often a bride is surprised to fall in love with the dress she never dreamed of. 

.

We only see two brides at a time but they are both on separate floors so each bride has her own consultant and more importantly her own privacy. Great refreshments are also a must and we always have plenty of drinks and freshly baked cupcakes to nibble on! For us, providing a woman’s dress for her wedding is a real honour and privilege so we always strive to provide the best level of service and advice. We all still regularly attend training events with designers and all staff have completed national qualifications in customer service and business.

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

What is your current favourite gown and why?
.

My favourite dress changes regularly depending on my mood or who has just tried it on. I’m a real fan of quirky dresses that have intricate pattern cutting or unique fabrics.  At the moment though, I’m really in love with Elenore by Anoushka G. Its a silk dress with cowl neck and back and an amazing waterfall train! I also love Gwendoline by Lyn Ashworth as its very Audrey Hepburn and as you will be able to tell from the amount of Audrey Hepburn pictures in the boutique she is my style icon! Elegant yet quirky, chic yet individual!

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

Is there a particular style of dress that is popular with your brides at the moment?

.

The vintage and lace styles have been popular for several years now but I think we are seeing a move away from the vintage trend with a number of our brides opting for either the more classic style or braving a more contemporary look. Organza has become very popular as you can create a number of looks with this versatile fabric. What I love though is that a style of dress can look so very different on each bride, this is what makes the job so interesting. 

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

How does Choola provide a superior experience to other wedding dress boutiques?

.

I think this is a really tough question to answer as the one thing I’m not so good at is saying how good we are! I think we would all like to believe we are the best at what we do and it can become easy to criticise other boutiques in the process. The fact is though, that Sheffield and the surrounding area has some fabulous boutiques and when we started the business we wanted to become a part of that, to really put Sheffield on the map. We are pleased to say we have forged some great friendships with other bridal boutique owners which is not only beneficial for us and them but also for the brides.

.

We take great pride in our attention to detail in both our service and how the boutique looks and feels.  We are very humbled to have a shop filled to the brim with thank you cards and photos from past brides and with a huge amount of our business coming from recommendations, I guess that tells us we really are getting it right! Many brides have now become firm friends and come back with friends and family either to help someone else shop for a dress or simply just to pop in and have a chat. 

.

We are very honoured and proud to have been nominated for 2 awards within 12 months of opening, getting to the finals of Wedding Boutique of the Year UK and the top 50 Hottest boutiques in the UK! This was especially exciting as we were categorised alongside the very best of the best such as Bruce Oldfield and Suzanne Neville! It was a lovely surprise as a lot of awards you have to put yourself forward for but this was completely out of the blue!

.

We have a genuine enthusiasm for our business and I’m a bit of a wedding-a-holic! I go home and watch Wedding TV and read the bridal magazines, I just cant get enough of it! Our brides tell us we have a lovely warm atmosphere here at Choola and I think it’s because our business is family run so our dedication and passion radiates through all of us! We also have fun! My heart swells when I hear the shrieks of laughter and the champagne corks popping, its a feeling like no other. 

.

Our ethos here is to treat brides how we would want to be treated, simple I know but its strategy that works! We are honest with our brides and try to give them as much information as possible to enable them to make an informed decision about their gown. Our boutique is chic and stylish with great lighting and lots of space and privacy, There are always fresh flowers and our boutique smells divine thanks to our fab candles.  We have soft cosy cream sofas and carpets and stunning mirrored furniture. The changing areas are luxurious and large enough to really move in the dresses. We offer a full styling service as well as being able to provide contacts for other bridal industry experts. We know our gowns and industry inside and out and most importantly, know how to dress a woman to show off her figure and personality to its full advantage. All in all we believe our dress shopping experience is exactly what it should be, fun, relaxed, special and a memory to be treasured.

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

Do you stock bridesmaid’s dresses?

.

We have two great collections by Mark Lesley and our newest designer Kenneth Winston. The dresses are a wonderful mix of traditional, contemporary, quirky and style led. A lot of the dresses are perfect to be worn again after the wedding. We have a great array of colours and many of the dresses my friends and I order to wear at days at the races and awards events as they are that gorgeous. 

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

Who would be a Choola bride?

.

Anyone can be a Choola bride! We literally have a dress to suit every figure and personality and love that fact that over the years we have dressed brides from the ages of 20 to 60 and every size and shape that’s in between! We have brides who aren’t particularly "girly" and don’t want to look "bridal" right through to brides who have dreamt of being the princess from a little girl. I love the quirky mix of brides we have and how individual and different they all are.

.

.

Are you married?

.

In case anyone didn’t know, Ivan and I got engaged last year and are marrying in early summer! I’m so excited that I tell everyone! I’m extremely fortunate to be able to have a couture gown made for me by one the most talented designers (I’m keeping it secret for now!) The whole process of sitting down and sketching out the dress has been a fabulous experience and watching the dress develop step by step is truly amazing. I’m so excited to see the finished gown and I think there will be lots of tears when I have my final fitting! I can tell you though that I am having the most stunning pair of Aruna Seth shoes and they aren’t ivory. I’m a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw and have more shoes than I care to admit (or want Ivan to know about) and these are just to die for!

.

.

Choola by Jess Petrie

.

.

How can Brides up North get in touch with you and find out more?

.

Brides can visit our website www.choola.co.uk, our facebook page, Choola Bridal Boutique and our Twitter page for more information about us. We will soon have a blog where I can talk wedding till my hearts content! Or if you just want a chat the good old fashioned way you can call us on 0114 2671303.

.

.

Anything else Brides up North should know?

.

Yes, we will soon be having our very first celebrity bride tie the knot! My lips are sealed but when the time comes keep your eyes peeled and there may even be an appearance in OK magazine… watch this space!

.

.

  – Images © 2012 Jess Petrie

Choola is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

.

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+share on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail to someone