Charlotte Balbier

class acts: entertainment nation

July 24th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Entertainment Nation (5)

This afternoon on the blog, we’re catching up with our fabulous Sponsor Entertainment Nation, to hear their latest news whilst also getting some pro tips and advice on picking the right acts to enhance your big day.

Offering something for all, Entertainment Nation has an impressive choice of bands, musicians and performers to choose from, each reliable, professional and sure to delight and excite your wedding guests.

In this post, the friendly team are bringing us up to date with their wedding entertainment offering, but you can also find out more about their amazing services on their easy-to-use website and also via their fabulous Live Loft videos as detailed below. Take it away guys…

Can you give us an overview of the types of entertainment that you offer?

entertainment nation say: We offer a huge range of bands, performers and entertainers – including bands, soloists, duos and classical performers, plus tribute, themed and speciality acts. We provide anything from a rock and pop band, to a carnival show, a classical quartet to a DJ, a magician to a football freestyler! You name it, we’ve got it!

Do you have any exciting new acts or news to tell us about since we last spoke to you?

We are always hiring exciting new acts to our roster – so we encourage readers to go and check out the fresh blood we have on the site! We are branching out to all different kinds of acts at the moment and we can’t wait for them to head out and perform at our clients’ weddings

We’ve also had a brilliant start to our Entertainment Nation Live Loft series. A great range of acts have come in to perform in our live lounge style studio and we’ve loved hanging out with them! Every act performs two live acoustic covers, as well as taking part in an informal interview and a few ‘Guess the Intro’ games. There’s plenty more in the pipeline for the Live Loft, so keep an eye out for more videos!

Entertainment Nation (10)

In your opinion, how can entertainment at a wedding enhance the day and make it more memorable?

Live entertainment is the only way to go in our eyes! If you book a professional live band, you are guaranteed a spectacular show that will wow all of your guests. Our bands are all very experienced performers, meaning your wedding is in safe hands. Our acts know what works for each event and can tailor their sets to cater for a particular audience. That dancefloor will be full until the early hours, for sure!

Wedding entertainment isn’t just restricted to the evening reception either – a classical string quartet or acoustic duo for your ceremony/drinks reception will add an elegant and romantic atmosphere. Trust us – there’s an act for every part of your big day!

How do you pick the bands and acts that you select and ensure that they are reliable?

We take the process of selecting new bands and acts very seriously. The acts we promote are a reflection of Entertainment Nation and we only want the best entertainment on our books. Acts are required to provide professional promotional material and accurate information regarding their act if they wish to sign up. Our expert team also read through the acts’ testimonials from previous clients – which tends to highlight anything that we might have missed.

Entertainment Nation (1)

What do couples love about your service and what sets you apart from other entertainment companies?

Entertainment Nation stems from a background of experienced musicians who have played at thousands of weddings. We know how weddings work and can see both sides of the process. We bring the personal touch and will take time to answer every email and discuss every last detail of a couple’s wedding entertainment, to make sure it’s perfect on the day. During our many years of experience in the wedding entertainment industry, we have seen what happens when things aren’t done properly and we don’t want anyone else to suffer that experience – we do it right.

One of most attractive things about booking with Entertainment Nation is that we are available from 10am until 10pm, seven days a week, meaning we are always there to answer any questions or queries about the act you’ve booked.

What are your top five tips for couples when choosing their wedding entertainment?

Book early – We can’t emphasise this enough. We advise that clients book at least 12-18 months in advance to make sure they get plenty of choice when it comes to booking their entertainment. You don’t want to find the perfect wedding band and then be told they were snapped up six months ago!

Talk to your venue – Most venues know exactly what to tell a client regarding live entertainment. However, you need to ask the right questions. You need to know: if the venue allows live entertainment, if they have a sound limiter and how big the performance area is.

Explore the options – When searching for an act, make sure you look at different line ups, different genres and different styles of entertainment. We advise that clients explore all possible options to make sure they don’t miss out on their ideal act.

Watch promo videos and listen to demos – most bands and acts provide professional promotional videos or demo tracks on their profile. They are a great representation of what the act will be like on the day.

Book with an agency – Booking with an agency means you have someone to contact at all times as well as the security of a contract. We oversee everything from initial enquiries until the big day itself, and are on hand in case of an entertainment emergency.

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the real moments: introducing venn photography

July 20th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Haydock Wedding,

You will often hear us remark on how imperative we consider a professional wedding photographer to be, in order to capture and record your big day, with fabulous images to look back on forevermore. That said, we do totally understand that some couples are camera shy – or downright terrified of having their photo taken!

There is a compromise however – a pro photographer that specialises in natural and relaxed shots that are discreetly captured throughout the day with the couple in question barely even noticing. One such photographer to embody these skills, is our brand-new Sponsor, Robbie Venn of Venn Photography.

Based in the North West, Robbie takes a photo-journalistic approach to weddings capturing the “real moments” of the day while remaining unobtrusive. This work ethic results in honest and natural photos with at-ease brides and grooms enjoying their special day, and the album of beautiful images that follows.

Vibeke and Sam's Wedding

Tell us a little about your background and how long you have been in wedding photography for?

robert says: I first became involved in photography after I left school in 1999 and went on to complete a HND in photography; this was in the days of analogue photography and I have always continued to take film pictures for my personal use.

After becoming a digital photography convert I travelled around Asia for six months, doing a lot of street photography and portraits which was a great learning experience. Back from travelling, a friend asked me to photograph their wedding as a favour and I ended up really enjoying the experience. That’s how I started my career in wedding photography and I haven’t looked back since!

What attracted you to wedding photography specifically?

I’m really interested in the fact that you have to have so many skills as a photographer; from being a good documentary photographer to capture all the candid moments in the day to being like a fashion or portrait photographer for when you have time with the couple to shoot some more artistic couple shots and even a product photographer when photographing the details like the flowers and the ring. I believe you can really test yourself as a photographer as there is so much involved in wedding photography.

Rob and Gemma's Wedding 02/04/16

And what is it about your job that you love?

Well just taking photos really! I love the fact I have free rein to take photos all day and in such a nice setting. Being able to share people’s wedding day with them is great, such a nice time to share with people and to document their wonderfully creative days.

How would you describe your style of wedding photography?

I see myself more of a documentary wedding photographer, I like to keep things natural and un-posed, I’ll try to blend into the background for the day and make myself unnoticed and capture those candid moments. I also use natural light mainly, which adds a particular look to photos. I like to give the couples simple, good documentary photos that will stand the test of time when they look back at them in ten, twenty or thirty years’ time and they will help reminisce about the day.

Haydock Wedding,

What do your clients love about your approach, service and images?

The feedback has been great so far, people particularly love the natural documentary style of photos which I present to them. The main comments have been about how I capture the emotions perfectly which is something I’m really happy with, and how calm and relaxed I am to work with. The wedding day can be stressful to plan and also can be on the day so I like to be as organised as I can to make the day go smoothly.

What is the top piece of advice you would give to camera shy couples?

I’d say that you should try to have some fun with each other, I like to keep things natural and un-posed during the couple shots and this creates a more natural image. It’s better to try and forget about the camera (and me) and concentrate on each other. Also, I try and be as discreet as I can throughout the day so the couples usually don’t notice me taking their photo so that’s not a problem!

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happy heritage. alan hannah for an elegant wedding at the hospitium, york – adwoa & jonny

July 19th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Classic Wedding at The Hospitium (c) Bethany Lloyd Clarke (70)

Adwoa and Jonny’s elegant town wedding combined a traditional British feel with Ghanaian touches to reflect the bride’s proud heritage. The result? A completely unique celebration. This couple were married in spring in the beautiful city of York and if you can show me a dreamier combination of location and time of year I will happily eat my fascinator.

Bethany Lloyd-Clarke captured the love with her typical flair and these photographs totally warrant all the gushing. We just adore the honest beauty of her images – the bride joyfully tangled in her veil, the groom’s last-minute hair check courtesy of his best man and especially the look of utter glee on Adwoa’s face in the back of their wedding car. You simply can’t fake that magic!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Bethany Lloyd-Clarke.

A Classic Wedding at The Hospitium (c) Bethany Lloyd Clarke (14)

adwoa says: Jonny proposed before Christmas 2015 in Dean’s Park, just behind York Minster. We’d recently moved to York and Jonny said he wanted to go for a festive walk around town when, much to my surprise, he got down on one knee and popped the question. It was a wonderful surprise and although it was raining at the time, neither of us seemed to notice!

We were lucky enough to go back to the site of the proposal when we had our engagement photoshoot with the talented Bethany Lloyd-Clarke. She captured some beautiful pictures of us – this time in the spring sunshine.

A Classic Wedding at The Hospitium (c) Bethany Lloyd Clarke (17)

We got married on the 29th April 2017. We both loved the idea of a spring wedding, and chose the Bank Holiday weekend to give our loved ones time to enjoy York after the wedding if they wanted to.

We had our ceremony at our parish church, the beautiful and ancient Holy Trinity on Micklegate, which predates the Domesday Book. For our reception, we really wanted to make the most of the spring wedding, so booked the 14th century Hospitium in Museum Gardens in York. It’s an absolutely gorgeous setting by the river within botanical gardens. We were a little worried that it might rain on the day and our guests wouldn’t get to enjoy the lovely surroundings, but we were very lucky with the weather.

A Classic Wedding at The Hospitium (c) Bethany Lloyd Clarke (71)

We didn’t have a special theme as such, but we did want to combine my Ghanaian heritage with a traditional British wedding. Our favours were pocket squares made from Ghanaian wax print cloth with motifs symbolising the beauty of marriage. They were handmade by Jonny, who tried out a sewing machine for the first time! We also wore traditional Ghanaian outfits for the evening. Other than that, the colour scheme was classic: champagne and ivory with gold highlights.

A Classic Wedding at The Hospitium (c) Bethany Lloyd Clarke (59)

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make it personal: wedding styling tips from one stylish day

July 17th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

One Stylish Day (9)

One piece of precious advice from our featured brides that comes around time and time again is “make it your own”. But with wedding inspo coming at you from all angles, it can sometime be a little tricky to know how to put a truly personal stamp on the proceedings.

Luckily for our readers, we just happen to know an expert in this area who is a pro at taking wedding styling to the next level of gorgeous, while it still remaining a reflection of the happy couple. So please prepare to take note as our wonderful Sponsor Louise Hughes, the fabulously stylish event designer behind One Stylish Day, takes to the blog…

Main post images by Kate McCarthy Photography or otherwise provided by One Stylish Day, with additional gallery images from Nicola Dixon Photography.

One Stylish Day (13)

louise says: When browsing Pinterest and Instagram, you’ll see the same wedding trends come up over and over again. They may look fabulous, but are a bit, well, ‘done before’. You want to create a dream day that will surprise and delight your guests. So, how can you design a wedding day that doesn’t look like all the rest? Here, I share my top ten tips for creating a wedding day that is both achingly stylish and completely personal to you…

One Stylish Day (17)

Know the difference between trends and style

The key difference between trends and style is that a trend is for everyone, whereas style is deeply personal. Trends can be fleeting but style has longevity. Great style has confidence and authenticity – focus on finding your own personal wedding style for a truly unique day.

Identify your Couple Style

Think beyond superficial fashion or design details to get to the heart of what makes you tick as a couple. Are you fun-loving explorers or city dwelling culture vultures? Are you famous for your cocktail parties or kitchen table suppers? The wedding style should be comfortable for both of you and reflect both your personalities.

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walk this way: new shoe styles by charlotte mills

July 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

platform 2

If, like us, you’ll happily forgo a latte or a mani from time to time in order to top up your ‘new shoe fund’ we expect that fancy footwear will rank highly on your wedding must-have list.

Surely more important than any other shoe purchase you’ve ever made (or at least that’s what you will be telling your hubby-to-be), this element requires careful consideration and an allocation of the big day budget.

Style is obviously key, though don’t forget about comfort too, as you’ll want to show off your heavenly heels from dusk to dawn! One designer whose shoes easily tick both such boxes is our talented Sponsor Charlotte Mills.

Having carved out a name for herself in the bridal shoe world, Miss Mills is known for her fashion forward designs that can continue to be worn far beyond big day (that’s another thing to mention when sweet-talking the hubby!). Featuring her fabulous signature heart detailing, glitter block heels and Art Deco inspired sandals, Charlotte’s latest Bridal Collection has something for all.

Favourites, including Becky, Betty and Cindy have been carried forward in the 2017/18 Collection, whilst new equally-stunning styles have been added too, such as Etta and Esmeralda, which will be particularly appealing to brides who favour lower heels. Here to tell us more about the new additions is the creator herself – take it away Charlotte…

blondie silver 4

Can you tell us where the inspiration for the latest collection came from ?

charlotte says: As always hearts play a big part in the design of our shoes. We have also taken inspiration from Studio 54 and 70’s glamour.

Do you have a personal favourite out of the new designs?

I love Charlotte Rose! It looks great with a cocktail dress, ideal for wearing again after your wedding day.

anastasia silver

What are the main colours, fabrics and details used within the latest collection?

Our signature glitters still play a big part in the collection with new pearl and blue tones. Metallics, in particularly rose gold, are key. Block heels are so popular with our brides we have added more this season with low block heel courts and sandals.

Which design from the collection would you suggest for brides wanting to make a real style statement with their footwear? 

Dana our new personalised sneaker is so different to what is out there at the moment – I think it would really make a statement and you could dance the night away without having to kick your heels off at the end of the night.

cindy blue

What would you say are your priorities when designing a new collection?

We want brides to fall in love with their wedding shoes so creating something with attention to detail, which is fashion forward, luxurious, unique and stylish are our key priorities.

What do you enjoy most about the design process?

Seeing my ideas come to life in the sampling process. I spend a lot of time in Spain working with the factory to ensure everything is perfect.

Dana

How has the last collection been received so far by boutiques and brides?

Our brides love the fact there is something for everyone in the collection. Our rose gold and pale blue styles are super popular and we have sold out of the first two deliveries in many of the new styles.

Does the collection include any other accessories in addition to shoes?

Yes, we have joined forces with accessory genius’ Crown and Glory and created a range of hair accessories to match with our shoes. You can view the designs here.

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contemporary, caring & cutting-edge: fantail designer florist

July 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (9)

As regular readers of the wedding blog will know, we’re suckers for beautiful wedding day blooms and love to see florists pushing the design boundaries in order to deliver something that is both impressive and individual.

One such florist who does just this is Brides Up North Sponsor, Samantha Coventry, proud owner of Fantail Designer Florist. Supplying dream bouquets, centrepieces and styling for weddings in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire, Samantha enjoys nothing more than meeting new couples and translating their personalities and ideas into show-stopping arrangements.

This afternoon on the blog, we’re super excited to be catching up with this talented lady at her Sheffield-based shop to her learn more about her designs, service and style…

With images by Stu Ganderton Photography.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (7)

Can you tell us a little about your background and how Fantail first came to fruition?

samantha says: Originally hailing from New Zealand, I came to Sheffield to peruse in a career in Interior and Furniture Design. Succeeding in this, and in the meantime having two children, a dog and a cat, I then retrained in floristry and set up Fantail doing freelance wedding floristry from my home studio in 2008. The business outgrew the house and when the local post office moved premises the opportunity arose in the village to open a shop, which I couldn’t allow to pass me by!

How has the business grown since that time?

Since we opened the shop back in November 2016, the business has grown ten-fold. It has given us the opportunity not only to offer more in the everyday bouquet market, including deliveries, but has also allowed us to expand our wedding portfolio. In addition to this we’ve been offering seasonal floral making classes, which have been over-booked to the extent that we had to double the dates! As well as flowers we also supply other, locally made, products, such as Sheffield Honey, Burgon & Ball gardening items, Nathalie Bond organic skincare and cards for all occasions. We’ve also taken the idea of a florist further beyond flowers by offering house plants in designer pots, with our own unique twist.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (1)

What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings and what is your favorite part of your job? 

I love weddings and take pride in being involved in one of the most important days of a couple’s life.  I enjoy everything about creating for a wedding. The initial consultation is great – you get to find out how the couple met, what are their likes and dislikes, their honeymoon ideas and by working together with them I can begin to suggest floral designs that work and create something unique that reflects their personality, the venue and the theme. The best part is when we meet them on the day to deliver the designs and they see the venues transform to the vision we created together.

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create and where do you get your inspiration from? 

We are contemporary florists, with classic style and dip into vintage. We use a range of different textures and tones and try to include something different.  We like to think that we are thorough and consider all the details, such as wiring succulents so they can be planted after the wedding and incorporating plants dependent on the time of year for the same reason. We take inspiration through the seasons, which sounds pretty obvious, but we always like to encourage seasonal availability. Yves Saint Laurent said: “fashions fade but style is eternal” and I think that’s as true for floristry as anything else.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (4)

What process will a couple go through if they pick you to supply their wedding flowers?

We like to invite couples into the shop for a chat. We like to get to know our couples and I think jelling with each other is another key to the success of the relationship. We’ll go through all the nitty gritty things from floral bouquet style, the pins colours on the buttonholes to the length of a trail based on the height of the bride to the height of the candles used on a candelabra.  We then come up with a plan going forwards that suits that couple and their budget.

Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for their flowers?

Most brides will have an inkling as to what they think they would like or want to achieve in the venue for their wedding day. That might be a colour or a favourite flower or style, including bringing along magazine cuttings to the meeting. We can generally get to a finalised design by the time we’ve finished. Pinterest is a massive influence and is helpful for both brides and grooms as well.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (8)

Where do you source the flowers from for your arrangements? 

We source flowers from a range of suppliers including UK-grown flower farms, the Dutch auctions and even as far afield as southern Africa.

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