Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

friday fabulous: anthropologie

September 8th, 2017 | Julia Braime


Could these be the ultimate bridal earring for 2017? We think so.

Pearl Tassel Earrings, £54 at Anthropologie.

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

lookbook: a lot of front

August 2nd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Julie Vino 2

For our latest lookbook post, we’re taking lead from gossip mags’ favourite and reigning Brides Up North gym inspiration Pippa Middleton – seriously though, I would swap one of my legs for those biceps. Sigh.

Prior to the wedding of the year, fashion commentators consulted their crystal balls and clamoured to predict the style the Duchess’ little sister would go for – arguably it was all a bit more, well, interesting than the 2011 debate about Kate’s dress decisions because so much (length, sleeves, modest front) is set in stone for a Royal bride. Pippa however, could freestyle it a little – and so she did, surprising the world’s media with her unexpectedly classic Giles Deacon princess gown.

We’ve already fully dissected the new Mrs James Matthews’ bridal style in a Get The Look special, but today we’re zooming in on one of the key details of her stunning frock: namely, the high-neck. We’ve been thinking: what inspiration is out there (other than the £40,000 bespoke designer option, obvs) for a girl who wants a lot of front in her frock?

Main feature images from Julie Vino

Julie Vino 4

Well, first up is Ersa Atelier, with their to-die-for designs from Bucharest. Sisters Gabriela and Cristina make much artful use of the high-neck in their most recent collections and the results are just – well, see for yourself. Serena with its delicate beaded and detailed sleeved top and plain waisted frothy skirt gives the impression of separates and pulls off the almost impossible feat of being both regal and ‘fashiony’. Pea is at the opposite end of the formality spectrum and is everything its short ‘n’ sweet appellation suggests, with its dropped waist and simple crochet-style fabric. Celie, with its glorious Art Deco-style scallops, speaks of another era, and its high-neck almost looks like a little lace collar – statement and simplicity all at once. If you’re a fan of the high-neck, this collection demands closer inspection.

Julie Vino

Jesus Peiro’s current collection also embraces high-necks but takes the look in a slightly different direction. Dresses 7019 and 7002 – the first a halter-neck with a draped sash and large bow at the waist, the second a breathtakingly simple origami-style bodice with subtly slashed neckline and full-on princess skirt – are almost sculptural in design and certainly current rather than classic in feel. Dress 7074 is more conventional – delicate lace overlay and elbow-length sleeves balanced by a mermaid flare – but no less attention-grabbing. The Nanda Devi collection heads for more ethereal territory, so if a Midsummer Night’s Dream-slash-fairytale vibe is your bag, JP’s website is definitely worth a trawl: drifting skirts, pretty lace crop tops and full-length lace sleeves abound. Dreamy bridal design brilliance.

Julei Vino 3

You might be forgiven for thinking that ‘high-necked’ as a descriptor automatically aligns itself with ‘modest’ or even ‘prudish’, and that a high-necked dress is definitely a distant cousin of ‘modern bride’ and even further removed from ‘sexy bride’. Allow us to dispel all misconceptions with Julie Vino’s daring Napoli, Roma and Venice collections. Here we see the modesty of the high neck neutered with plunging backs, daring sheer panels, Swarovski and exposed shoulders – what on earth would Ms Middleton think?

And finally, in more situations than I’d like to admit I find myself asking the question “what would Vera Wang do?” and, in the case of designing a wedding gown for her Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 collections, the answer seems to have frequently been “put a high-neck on it”. Thank you, Vera, for showing us the way with the halter-neck wonderfulness of the Galilea, the all-over lace glamour of the Cecile and the wow-factor of Clemence’s peasant gown perfection. Inspiration overload.

Julie Vino 5

continue reading

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

lookbook: bardot bride

November 7th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth



The bardot-style neckline has been a mainstay on the high street this summer, so we’re not surprised to see that it’s transcended into the world of bridal fashion too, and put simply – we absolutely adore this trend!

Off-the-shoulder dresses are both romantic and demure, creating a beautiful silhouette that accentuates a bride’s décolletage and neckline. The style is sweet with an air of innocence, but with straps ‘tumbling’ off the shoulder, it also hints at a bride’s more vivacious and flirtatious side too.



What we love most about the look though is its versatility. From straight-cut straps and mini V-necks, to sweetheart necklines and ruffled bell sleeves – there’s an off-the-shoulder style to make every bride swoon.

Looking at collections from some of the industry’s top designers, off-the-shoulder detailing is making an appearance in a variety of bridal creations; from fit and flare numbers and traditional A-line gowns to structured mermaid and carefree boho dresses.

When it comes to the fabric, elegant lace, semi-sheer tulle, layered chiffon and flawless silk, are just a few that work beautifully with the trend, adding a whimsical and ethereal twist to current collections.


Oscar de la Renta

Designers who are advocates of the trend include Oscar de la Renta, with the new bridal collection boasting pretty draped sleeves and exquisite sequin detailing: the stuff fairytales are made of!

Marchesa is also doing its bit for the look with numerous attention-grabbing dresses stopping short of the shoulders. Perfect for those wanting to make a statement, there are opulent designs embellished with pearls and crystals, as well as dreamy hand cut petals and striking 3D roses. The colour palette gives brides the opportunity to make a bigger statement still, with romantic nude and blush pink options in addition to traditional white and ivory tones.

For something more classic, Carolina Herrera’s vintage-inspired gowns are like works of art with intricate floral embroidery and sheer off-the-shoulder fabrics subtly highlighting a bride’s neck and shoulders. Justin Alexander’s collection also features the bardot neckline in a range of elegant and feminine styles, complete with delicate lace applique and sparkling beaded detail.

continue reading

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

celebrity spy. oscars inspiration: dakota johnson

March 5th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Dakota Johnson

It’s been one red carpet event after the other recently with The Oscars, Elle’s Style Awards and The Brits all taking place in quick succession of each other.

While stylish ladies from both the UK and US have pulled out all the stops at each of the events we think the fabulous females at the Oscars presented the most award-worthy looks.

There didn’t appear to be any total fashion flops (though Lady Gaga’s red leather gloves were a little questionable) or any serious wardrobe malfunctions (unlike at The Brits #nocape) with the majority of ladies working their enviable red carpet styles perfectly.

Though it might be difficult to mirror their exact looks, fashions flaunted by the stars often spill over into the bridal wear scene giving brides-to-be the opportunity to take inspiration from these A-list celebs.

So prepare to take note ladies as we translate of some of the finest Oscar looks paraded outside LA’s Dolby Theatre into fabulous bridal wear options in a series of posts.

It seems only right to start with the most talked about actress of the moment Dakota Johnson, aka Fifty Shades’ Ana Steele.

the dress

Dakota Dress

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, dress by Vera Wang

Moving herself to the opposite end of the colour spectrum from grey, Dakota chose to be a lady in red. Her Saint Laurent column gown features an asymmetrical neckline and high-leg slit, trends we’re already seeing on the bridal catwalks and therefore an easy look for brides to imitate.

Ticking all the Oscar boxes, Dakota’s look is timeless, sexy and sophisticated and features just a touch of sparkle in diamond detailing on the shoulder.

Brides can choose if they would like a dress featuring all three of these features or just one or two areas of detail.

Column and asymmetrical dresses lend themselves to the Grecian look which might be a particularly appealing to those brides saying their ‘I dos’ overseas. Many designs of this type can also be found with touches of sparkling detailing like Dakota’s dress, whether it be similarly placed on the shoulder or perhaps along the waistline or hip.

Alternatively brides might want to do away with the shoulder detailing altogether in favour of a simple, strapless, slim line gown reflecting the lower part of Dakota’s outfit.

Meanwhile those keen to make an impact could take inspiration from the glamourous hue of Dakota’s dress and don red for their big day.

the hair

Dakota Hair

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, dress by Berta| image source| image source via Shut The Front Door| image source, photography by Melissa Oholendt Photography| image source| image source| image source, photography by Bethany Belle| image source| image source, dress by Ellie Saab

The sleek ponytail is a timeless and effortless look that works as well on the red carpet and it does on the aisle.

Some brides-to-be get caught up thinking they require a complicated up do or a style they wouldn’t usual go for when it comes to their big day, but Dakota proves you can keep things simple and still look stylish by sporting a classic pony tail.

Brides can keep sweep their locks up straight, or as an alternative style their ponytail into loose romantic waves. Brides with short hair can still work the look by gathering their hair in a low ponytail at the nape of the neck while those with long hair might want to also lower their ponytail and reposition it to the side for a slightly different style.

Those with wispy bangs like Dakota shouldn’t feel the need to grow them out for the big day as we can see that a fringe can frame the face beautifully.

Brides choosing to wear their hair in a ponytail tend to keep their accessories simple, picking out pretty hair combs or tiaras to complete their look.

the make up

Dakota Makeup

Clockwise from left: image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by A Brit & A Blonde| image source, photography by Olga Thomas Photography| image source, photography by This Modern Romance| image source, photography by Erich McVey| image source| image source| image source

Sticking with a classic and simple look once again, Ms Johnson adds a pop of colour to her flawless porcelain-like face with radiant red lipstick to match her attention-grabbing dress.

In true Cara Delevinge style she makes the brows bold and the eyes soft, sultry and alluring (must be her inner Ana Steele).

For brides this is a glamorous film star look that can easily be carried through from day to night without the need for alterations.

Just like Dakota those going for red lips are advised to keep the rest of their make-up simple as not to look like an over made-up Barbie.

Red lips are a hot trend right now in the beauty world so brides will be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a shade. Options vary from brights like poppy and cherry through to medium and darker hues such as scarlet and claret.

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

Look Book: The Bow Factor

July 10th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Rosa by Stephanie Allin

Rosa by Stephanie Allin 

From small to big and neat to blousy, bows are everywhere. 

A pretty addition to many wedding dresses, ribbons, sashes and bows can be used for delicate detailing or to make one heck of a statement.

Traditionally bows appeared in the back of the dress and were used to cinch in the waist, but today designers are making bolder statements with bows, placing them on the front of the dress, the side, or even on the shoulder.

Honour by Stephanie Allin

Honour by Stephanie Allin

Graceful bows feature quite heavily in Stephanie Allin’s Day and Night collection. Rosa, Heaven and Bardot are equally dreamy designs with slim-line bow and ribbon detailing. Allin’s steely toned Masquerade dress also features a delicate bow, but in the back. Meanwhile her Honour dress (which I have swooned over too many times) gives brides the option to tie its stunning sage green sash, complete with fabulous floral corsages, in the front, back or side, depending on their styling preference.

Stephanie Allin

Images: Stephanie Allin

Those looking for simple bow designs will find options in the collections of Ronald Joyce, Ellis and Sassi Holford, including large princess style gowns as well as structured slim-line creations. Ellis’ tea-length fifties 11404 style dress is a cute example as is Sassi Holford’s Martha dress. Those looking for more detailed designs might prefer Ronald Joyce’s Bernice dress. Its slim-line silhouette features a beautiful cowl neck and embroidery detailing, all finished off with a large jewel-centred bow on the side.

Martha by Sassi Holford

Martha by Sassi Holford

17416 by Ronald Joyce

Bernice by Ronald Joyce

11404 by Ellis Bridals

11404 by Ellis Bridals

67073 by Ronald Joyce

Style 67073 by Ronald Joyce

Josephine & Josephine Skirt by Sassi Holford

Josephine by Sassi Holford

Megan by Sassi Holford

Megan by Sassi Holford

Fans of structured, rather than blousy, bows should look to Holford’s Josephine gown, which features a wide satin bow belt in the front, and her fabulously feminine Megan dress with slim duchess satin bow belt, which nips in neatly at the waist.

South Pacific Print by Ian Stuart

South Pacific Print by Ian Stuart Bride 

Blue Bird by Ian Stuart

Blue Bird by Ian Stuart Bride

Finally, for those really wanting to make a statement on the aisle, there‘s only one man for the job – step forward Ian Stuart. His sensational Supernova collection has several dresses featuring bold bows. Blue Bird (from the Killer Queen collection) is a particularly striking design with incredible oversized bowtails that waterfall down the back of the dress into a flowing chapel train. But top of the stand-out stakes has to be South Pacific that features a billowing oversized bow which cascades from the left hip and opens to reveal flowing silk gazar. A must for fashion-forward brides, this dress is also available in striking floral print for that extra wow-factor!

Ian Stuart Bride

Images: Ian Stuart Bride


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as credited

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

Delicate Threads. The Designer Series: Naomi Neoh Secret Garden 2014 Collection

September 30th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Naomi Neoh

I’m thrilled to welcome one of my very favourite wedding dress designers to the pages of the wedding blog this evening – I’ve been swooning ever since discovering the Naomi Neoh bridal label, and can’t wait to share her latest collection with you all. 

As well as being super duper stunning, these dresses are clever too – and we all know that’s a winning combination.  Ex-physicist Naomi designs with the real bride in mind and nearly all her designs have lightweight but effective corsetry inside to give every size and shape of bride the perfect silhouette in her wedding dress.  A beautiful science, if you ask me.  Let’s meet her…

Naomi Neoh


What is your style philosophy?

Style and elegance with romance and joy.  Body friendly dresses – corsetry is key.

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Clementine


Tell us about the new collection by Naomi Neoh? What were your inspirations? 

This collection is esoteric, dreamy and ethereal with the romance of pre-Raphaelites.  The gowns are gentle, detailed and have slim lines with super light lace interwoven into the design and look amazing against the skin.  Layering of sheer fabrics and subtle antique tones creates a movement of colour for elegant dancing dresses. 

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Dahlia


Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Dahlia

Where do you look for inspiration?

Ginger Rogers – I watched a lot of the Ginger Rogers old movies to get the inspiration for this collection!

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Fleur


Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Fleur

What fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the new collection and why?

We’re using more texture in these gowns – we have a plisse chiffon which is delicately pleated and adds a different dimension to the gowns.  There are more colours: peach, apricot, powder pink, and antique ivory.  I still love to use flowers but these are smaller and more delicate.  You’ll be seeing lots of lace – small patterns, light weight weaves and delicate threads.

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Fleur 5

Do you have a personal favourite from the new collection? 

Oh it’s really hard – its all about getting the right dress on the right person – that’s when the magic happens.  But I do love Peony right now – it will probably change next week – because she has subtle colour, delicate lace on the back and arms, flattering pleating and an elegant silhouette.

How do you decide on the “names” for your gowns?

This collection were all named after flowers.

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Lily


Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Orchid


Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Dahlia


What sizes are available in your gowns? 

6 to 16 and then made to measure if you want it or need it up to any size. 

What is the retail price range for your designs?

£2000 to £3000 but there are a few special ones which are more. 

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Orchid


What sets Naomi Neoh apart from other bridal wear brands?

Commitment, passion, dedication to making distinctive, beautifully balanced, elegant gowns which we love to try on and we hope you will delight in wearing.  An absolute obsession with fabrics, sourcing the best and most distinctive silks and laces. 

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Peony


How did you get into wedding dress design – what is your story?

I took a curious path to my career as a dress designer.  I read physics at Durham and worked as an IT consultant and merchandiser before finding my true calling. Fabric has always been my first love – and bridal wear allows an indulgence into the most luxurious silks, laces and embellishments. I create dresses which feel fabulous to wear as well as making you look amazing.

Since the launch of my first bridal collection in 2008, the brand has grown into a dedicated team working from the West Dulwich studio where all the gowns are created.

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Penelope


Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Penelope

Was there a defining point in your career that made your business the success that it is today?

When I decided to make a super light pink wedding dress – ‘Dita’. 

What are your plans for the future?

Well I don’t really know but I love to explore and try new things, so we’ll see, at the moment I’m thinking about creating a super high end range to indulge all our fabric fantasies. 

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Snowdrop


Is this your dream career? 

Running your own business is a lifestyle more than a career – it is definitely for me.  I have a genetic condition which flares up every few years and leaves me bedridden for months and sometimes years, running my own business allows me the flexibility to work when I can, and keeps me going on the tough days.

What would “a day in the life” at Naomi Neoh HQ be like?

I think it’s creative, fun, hard work, inspiring, challenging and constantly changing.

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Violette


Where do you go and what do you do to relax?

I find it very hard to relax – I have to be forced into it!  I like yoga, walking in the countryside, cooking, gardening, reading, seeing my friends, and I keep promising myself to practice the piano – a good Beethoven sonata is a great stress reliever.  I’m a recent member of the National Trust and I’m loving the palaces and great houses in the beautiful rolling hills of the British countryside – very inspiring.

Naomi Neoh Secret Garden Collection Violette

What are your “best things” in life?

Love, friendship and happiness, and the simple things: a freshly made bed, ripe summer fruits, seeing your plants grow.

How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you/ see more of your designs? 

Visit our website at or contact us through our Facebook page at


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as supplied by Naomi Neoh

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