Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

look book: winter wedding wonders

November 13th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson

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Winter weddings are a gift for the bride who wants to add a twist to her wedding attire to suit the season; whether that by covering-up more a little more flesh with luxurious detailing and fabrics, adding some sparkling accessories, or throwing on an extra cool layer. We’re thinking floaty capes, long delicate sleeves, cute high-neck collars, and even edgy biker jackets. So, in case you hadn’t guessed, today’s Look Book post is all about the latest bridalwear designs that we feel are particularly well suited to winter…

Main feature images Monique Lhuillier, see ‘the big picture’ for more styles.

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The fashion-forward bride can’t go wrong with a cape for the season – and who doesn’t want to exude a Wonder Woman aura on the biggest day of her life? Badgley Mischka has some of the dreamiest bridal capes on the scene. Both The Angel and The Annabelle complement the beautiful, clean silhouettes of their gowns with divine capes that scream vintage Hollywood glamour with a boho edge. The Ally-A tulle jacket has a dreamy train that does the job of a veil as well as a cape and, for the more daring bride, the Ashton Bralette and Jacket is a sexy, vintage glam two-piece bodice, layering a long-sleeved lace jacket over a strapless sweetheart bra top that you can pair with a skirt of your choice.

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In complete contrast to the ethereal cape, Monique Lhuillier is showcasing bold and edgy jackets in her Fall 2018 collection. The Alexis has biker chick written all over it, while The Sawyer has a slightly softer feel, with laser cut lace detailing. Also in the collection is The Yoko, a trouser suit for the bride who wants to break out of the box.

If you just want a nod to the season, Amanda Wyatt is showcasing some beautiful gowns with collars. The Buttercup has an elegant lace collar with cute cap-sleeves and a beaded belt at the waist. Definitely a dress that demands an up-do to show off the gorgeous detailing. Then there’s The Audrey, an A-line gown with a pretty satin collar edged with beading, and The Aria, a mid-calf length satin gown with a collar sporting no fewer than 7,000 beads from the front to the back in a pretty V-drop.

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new designer announcement: the little pearl bridal boutique welcomes noya by riki dalal

October 25th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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Dedicated to bringing you all the latest bridal news hot of the press, we’ve got details of another new designer landing at one of our Sponsor boutiques – this time it’s one for all you Yorkshire brides-to-be.

As of December, the lovely Diana McMann, owner of The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in Pickering, will welcome the beautiful ‘Shakespeare’ collection from Noya by Riki Dalal – making them the only stockist of this designer the county.

Perfect for brides keen to make a statement, the stunning collection features stand-out detailing, fabulous fabrics and figure-hugging silhouettes.

In-the-know Diana is here now to tell us more, including how to snap up an appointment at a special Designer Weekend, between Friday 10th and Sunday 12th November, where you lucky brides-to-be will be able to view and try on these truly lust-worthy creations…

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How would you describe the style of the Noya by Riki Dalal designs and why are they a good fit for The Little Pearl?

diana says: Riki Dalal is world renowned for her exquisite, extravagant haute couture bridal gowns. Riki launched Noya, a luxury ready-to-wear collection, to enable brides to have that modern, fresh bridal look without the couture price tag.

Sexy and modern silhouettes with statement detailing are huge bridal trends at the moment, and something that was missing from my collections in the boutique. As soon as I saw the Noya collections I just knew it would be the perfect addition to the boutique.

Can you tell us a little about the Shakespeare collection?  

The Shakespeare collection is inspired by the writers most powerful female characters. The collection is full of romance but with a bit of an edge!  There’s shimmering tulles, 3D florals, luxurious laces and stunning embellishments. The collection has a real mix of unique styles too, from illusion beaded separate toppers paired with tiered tulle skirts, to sexy fitted gowns with dramatic lace over skirts.

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Which design catches your eye most from the collection?  

I am totally in love with Olivia from the Shakespeare collection. I love the separates look, even though you wouldn’t think this was a topper and skirt. The floral detailing and lace is out of this world, nothing like I’ve seen before!

What type of bride would the dresses appeal to?

The bride that wants to have that haute couture look, standing out from the crowd and highlighting their individuality.

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What is the size range and price range of the collection?

The gowns range in price from £2,000 to £3,000, with sizes available to order up to an 18.

Do you have any events coming up that would be of interest to our readers?

To launch the collection into the boutique, we are hosting a Designer Weekend, on Friday 10th, Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November, at the boutique. The whole collection, plus gowns from the ‘Casablanca’ collection, will be here for brides to try on for the first time in Yorkshire!  Every bride that finds their dream Noya gown will also receive a complimentary veil, plus lots of other treats too! Just contact us to book your exclusive appointment for this event!

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What can brides expect from an appointment at The Little Pearl?

Every bride who comes to the boutique has the place completely to themselves. I love to get to know my brides, hear about their wedding plans and just have a really fun bridal experience. We chat through their bridal style, whilst I offer advice on different looks and how to accessorise too. The boutique is a really warm and relaxing environment for the bride and their guests, plus we always have lots of delicious treats too!

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new designer alert: the bo & luca temple collection arrives at luella’s bridal

October 23rd, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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As out and out wedding dress obsessives, we’re always keen to hear of a new collection of dresses to develop a serious crush on. So, when our Sponsor, the fabulous Luella’s Bridal, got in touch to say they we’re welcoming a new designer to their boutique this month, we just had to find out more (and share all the details with you, of course!)

As of October, Luella’s will be stocking the Bo & Luca TEMPLE collection. Dreamily delicate and beautifully boho, these dresses are slinky, stylish and edgy – putting them perfectly in-line with Luella’s ethos of offering brides originality and beauty through their choice of carefully selected designers.

Located in the Wimbledon Village area of London, the boutique offers a relaxing and enjoyable shopping experience with knowledgeable stylists to assist and advise brides on finding the perfect dress for an individual big day look.

Here to tell us more about the arrival of the Bow & Luca and whom the label will appeal to, is the lovely Rachel Attwell, owner of Luella’s…

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How would you describe the style of Bo & Luca designs and why did you pick this designer for Luella’s?

rachel says: Boho luxe. They are definitely the coolest bohemian brand around. They really fit in with our style of wedding dresses and this year’s bridal trends and we just know our brides are going to love them.

Can you tell us a little about the TEMPLE collection?

With beautiful flowing skirts, silk tiers and loose silhouettes, the TEMPLE collection has all the boho style of the original Bo & Luca collection but they are just a little bit more understated and effortless. They’re also slightly less expensive, with dresses starting from £2,650, which is perfect for brides with a budget.

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Do you have a particular favourite design from the collection?

We honestly like so many of them, but a particular favourite of mine is the Primrose dress. It has really beautiful detailing on the sleeves and a beautiful layered skirt. Our store manager Philippa’s preferred gown is Elsa, with the delicate beading around the neckline and soft figure-hugging shape.

What type of bride would be a Luella’s bride?

Luella’s brides are those looking for a vintage or bohemian inspired bridal gown with a difference, whether it is one with lots of detailing or a minimalistic, extremely simple style dress.

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lookbook: fit n’ flare

October 4th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

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You know us, readers: an edgy bride makes our hearts sing, we adore wedding creative cool and Fashion-with-a-Capital-F, but there will always be a special place in our hearts reserved for the classic, the timeless, the elegant. As the formidable Coco Chanel said, “Fashion changes, only style remains the same,” and, for lots of brides-to-be, the temptation of the classic often wins over the contemporary when it comes to their wedding gown. After all, those photographs will adorn mantelpieces and be pored over by future grandchildren in the years to come, and many of us want them to have longevity.

And the dress that sums up Coco’s motto of enduring style best of all? It’s got to be the A-line. Ask a little girl to draw a wedding dress and the A-line is what she’ll invariably produce – a bodice which fits to the waist and flares at the skirt. This design staple is feminine, romantic and almost universally flattering – what’s not to like?

Main images, Charlotte Balbier.

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So, if an A-line ticks the boxes for you, where to start? Well, how about with Brides Up North’s very own Lead Sponsor, Charlotte Balbier. We’ve previewed Bohemian Blush here previously, and the Klara gown from that very collection is a classic A-line beauty, with full chiffon skirt (perfect for twirling and swirling, dancing fans), but this modesty is offset by a sheer bodice and stunning lace applique.

This combination of demure and daring is clearly a Balbier ‘thing’, with the Tuesday gown going for the same feel – a revealing Bardot lace neckline with a fabulously elegant chiffon skirt – just heavenly.

Then there’s the Romy – a boho dream of a dress with a small A-line skirt if you want something a little less princessy. We think the long cape is a stunning detail and destined to set a Balbier bride apart from the rest.

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It’s hard to go wrong with directional bridal brand Pronovias, and a quick peep at their current ranges throws up a bevy of A-line lovelies. The Regina’s tattoo neckline adds fashion interest, whereas the cap sleeves and flowing skirt are classically romantic. In fact, we can’t decide between that and the Reina, with its tattoo-style bodice and satisfyingly swishy chiffon skirt.

The Rumba is a self-confessed adventure in modern bridal design, taking a classic A-line gown and showing how it can be “reinterpreted to create an original, sensual and very modern look”. More tattoo-style bodice and sleeve work with a full skirt and sweetheart neckline; the perfect fusion of classic and contemporary.

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best dressed: tips on wedding dress shopping

September 7th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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image source, photography by Jess Yarwood Photography

Following the summer, we’re welcoming a new surge of readers to the blog *waves*, mostly whom accepted a proposal while away on their holidays (you lucky things!). A good way to avoid those post-holiday blues setting in would be to throw yourselves into the wedding planning – and girls, we’re here to help.

Though daunting, it’s also a very exciting time as you begin to piece together your dream day. In the most sensible of terms, we’d advise you to start off by looking for, and securing, your top choice of setting and photographer – however, we know how easy it is to get caught up in the desire to dress shop!

I mean this isn’t just any outfit; as a main focal point of the day this is a moment to shine in front of your family; outdo, we mean, impress your friends, and feel amazing, not ashamed, when you come to show your children, and possibly, your grandchildren, your wedding album in years to come.

So, in preparation of your boutique-visiting expedition, we gift you the following top tips…

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image source, photography by Sarah Beth Photo

research, research, research

As if you haven’t already been pinning wedding dresses quicker than a Kardashian can contour her face, now is the time to expand the research beyond just the appearance of the dress, to the designers that you like, the price tag of such dresses, and in which boutiques you can expect to find them. Often designers will have a certain signature look – vintage-esque Eliza Jane Howell, girlie Charlotte Balbier, sweet So Sassi and beautiful boho by Rembo. This means by studying their collections you should be able to get a feel for the designer’s overall style, and perhaps even pick out key designs that you’re particularly drawn to. You can then research which boutiques stock such designers and in what proximity they are located to you. Some will share the price range of their dresses on the boutique’s website, so it’s worth having a quick search before booking.

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image source, photography by Sean Elliott Photography

timing is everything

Though we know you’re itching Muriel-Heslop-style (a 1994 film reference for any babies out there) to get trying on those dresses, you don’t want to begin visiting boutiques too early, or even too late. Most dress shop owners recommend starting around 12 to 18 months in advance of the wedding to allow time for ordering in the dress and making alterations ahead of the big day. While you can start a little in advance, the danger of picking out a dress too early is that you might change your mind before the wedding arrives (numerous of our featured real brides have admitted falling victim to this). A change of heart can be very costly, so regardless of exactly when you pick your gown, we suggest you don’t actively continue your search beyond that point.

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image source, photography by James Tracey

safety in numbers

While it’s natural to want to share your dress shopping experience with you mum, nan, sister and aunt, not to mention your #girlsquad, too many opinions can hinder, rather than help, when it comes to making your decision. Most boutiques suggest picking no more than three shopping companions if possible, and selecting those that you can trust 100%. So before booking appointments, think about whose opinion you will value most, and who you want to share that special moment with.

that loving feeling

You will have heard the expression “I knew it was the one” used by brides on many an occasion, but what they report is real. The intense gut feeling that they know they have found their dream dress for their big day, whether it be the first or 50th gown they try on. If you’re just not getting that loving feeling though, try not to settle or feel pressured. Take time to go away and think about it, is there any dresses that you are being drawn back to, or do you need to expand your search further before making that final decision?

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image source, photography by Melissa Beattie Photography

trust the experts

Trained bridal stylists know their Peiros from their Packhams, the style, detailing, cut and fit of a gown, and so it’s worth taking their suggestions and advice on board. Often, they will begin a consultation with a chat about your personal style and the type of wedding you are planning before helping you to pick out gowns to try on. If they suggest a wild card, give it a try. No end of brides have said the dress they ended up picking is nothing like what they thought they would go for, but a bridal stylist persuaded them to try it on and they’re so glad they did.

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image source, photography by Melissa Beattie Photography

stay true to you

Overall the decision comes down to you and what you feel most confident in. Don’t forget you will be wearing the dress all day; eating, drinking, dancing and (if your groom struggles to get you out of it) possibly sleeping in it, so you need to feel comfortable too. Most of all you want to feel like you; don’t be tempted to play ‘dress-up’ with something too far out of your comfort zone. So, if you’re naturally a fashionista go bold with an on-trend design, but if classic chic is more your thing, an elegant princess-style gown will ensure that you do go to the ball!

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personal & unique: introducing one fine day bridal

August 15th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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Our online ‘Suppliers We Love’ directory is a go-to for our readers looking for professional and trusted local businesses that can help to bring their wedding visions to life. From photographers and florists, to entertainment and accessories, there is a category for every requirement.

And this afternoon, we’re delighted to be introducing another gorgeous boutique to our ‘bride’ category, a useful source for those of you on the dream dress hunt. Our new Sponsor, One Fine Day Bridal, based in Hoole, Lancashire, was set up by owner Claire Bland after feeling underwhelmed by her own wedding dress shopping experience.

Running the boutique with her mum Pam, the duo have created a warm and welcoming atmosphere and have filled the shop’s rails with beautiful and unique dress designs to offer brides and memorable and exclusive experience.

Here to tell us more is the lady herself. Take it away Claire….

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Where is One Fine Day Bridal located and can you describe the style and feel of the boutique?

claire says: One Fine Day Bridal is in a small village called Little Hoole, Lancashire – we are located just of the A59 so you can’t miss us! Our boutique has a warm, friendly, homely feel. We want all of our brides to feel relaxed and at ease when finding their dream dress.

Can you tell us about the designers that you stock at the boutique and what type of brides they would appeal to?

We stock the Spanish designer Rosa Clara & Rosa Clara Soft, perfect for the bride who loves something a little different, using luxurious fabrics, such as silk Mikado, ottoman and brocade. Also in our boutique is the fabulous Watters Bride & Bridesmaid collections, both absolutely dreamy ideal for the modern bride. Nicole Spose is our last collection, gorgeous crepe fabrics and masters of ‘slinky’ gowns, perfect for the bride looking for a figure-hugging dress.

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How do you select the designers that you stock?

We like our designers to be unique, so we don’t stock designers that you will find in every other boutique. We make sure the gowns are well made and are of a great quality, but we also like to ensure that nobody else with our area stocks that particular designer. We like to be individual and make sure are brides are choosing something exclusive.

Can you tell us about the accessories that you stock at the boutique?

We stock Linzi Jay and Ariana Tiara for our head pieces, jewellery and veils, we also use Elizabeth Dickens for our veils ensuring we have a wide variety of choice to suit all dresses.

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How do you help brides to find their dream dress and to complete their look with accessories?

We like to make sure our brides try one of every style, even if they have an idea in their head, this some of the time doesn’t always look how they expected. Once they think they have found ‘the one’ we like to add in veils and accessories so the look is complete. Even once they have found their dress with us, we encourage them to come back for a styling appointment after their hair and makeup trial so the full vision can be seen.

What are your top tips for brides when dress shopping?

Be open minded and try something you never imaged you would go for – you could be surprised.

Even though it is nice to bring family and friends to enjoy the experience with, don’t be swayed by too many opinions – it’s the bride’s day! It is good to get a feel for style but when you think you’ve found the one, stop trying and stop looking, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and it can get very confusing.

What sets One Fine Day Bridal apart from other boutiques and what can brides expect from an appointment at the boutique?

We are a mother and daughter team here at the boutique. We decided to do this because of my own experience which I didn’t enjoy so we try to make sure our brides don’t feel deflated or under whelmed by their experience, like I did. We offer a relaxed and luxurious experience, we let the bride lead the appointment and offer our advice when we feel appropriate. We always offer to dress our bride the morning of the wedding, we know how stressful it can be so we like to ease the pressure wherever possible.

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What trends are you seeing coming through in bridalwear and accessories?

A flutter sleeve or capelet – we think these could be a huge trend for 2018, along with a statement bow which is a theme that runs through our Rosa Clara gowns.

What is the size and price range of the dresses that you stock?

We stock sample sizes from 6 to 16, and price range between £950 and £3,500.

What is the feedback like from brides who found their dress and One Fine Day?

Our brides always comment on what a lovely personal service we offer from beginning to end. We get a lot of comments about how welcoming and professional we are and how beautiful our boutique is. Our brides love that we are not pushy, in some cases we encourage the bride to go away and have a think, then come back.

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