April 12th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Certain parings just work seamlessly: gin and tonic, sea salt and caramel, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Harry and Meghan – as well as our latest duo obsession: L.K.Bennett and Jenny Packham. That’s right ladies, the British luxury high-street brand and bridal designer extraordinaire have joined forces and talents to produce a mesmerising collection of bridal shoes that we guarantee will shoot straight to the top of your wedding attire wish list!
Quite literally a power coupling, the two parties possess all the necessary skills and vision to create the finest footwear that will take you from your ceremony to your celebrations, and beyond! Trust us when we say these designs are far too fabulous to only see the light of day once.
The collection combines the aesthetic of both Jenny Packham’s and L.K.Bennett’s designs, resulting in sixteen shoe styles that have been carefully thought out to deliver not only fashionable options, but also varying heel heights, colourways and fabrics. Better still, the collection includes four chic clutch bags – a bride needs a place to keep her lippy on her big day, right?
For us personally we are 100% starry eyed over the amazing Felicity though also adore the luxe appearance of more subtle styles, such as Brielle and Ellena. The whole collection is totally swoon-worthy though as you’re about to discover with the fabulous L.K.Bennett team taking hold of the blogging reins this morning to talk us through the heavenly collab step by step…
Can you tell us how the collaboration with renowned designer Jenny Packham came about and what you wanted the collection bring to the bridal fashion scene?
l.k. bennett say: It felt so natural to collaborate with Jenny Packham, an iconic British fashion brand that has become synonymous with red carpet elegance and luxurious bridal silhouettes. The combination of the Jenny Packham aesthetic with the timeless, distinctive handwriting of L.K.Bennett has led to a breathtakingly-beautiful collection of bridal bags and shoes; a collaboration that showcases a variety of styles and heel heights to suit traditional brides and modern romantics. L.K.Bennett x Jenny Packham brings choice, versatility and vintage-inspired elegance to the bridal scene; designs that can be worn for her big day and beyond.
What was the inspiration behind the collection?
Inspired by the leading ladies of the golden age of cinema, the collection fuses the mesmerising glamour of Old Hollywood icons Vivien Leigh and Bette Davis, with the vintage style of 1930’s Paris.
Can you give us an overview of the styles that make up the collection?
The collaboration showcases 16 bridal shoes and four bridal clutch bags. The Dahlia high sandal is dressed with a light-catching drop crystal ‘necklace’ reminiscent of Art Deco jewels, whilst the Felicity strappy sandal features sparkling stars that will add a statement touch to understated wedding dresses. The Fern satin court, embellished with delicate crystals, is a bridal take on our bestselling design, and the perfect partner to the co-ordinating Brigitte clutch bag.
And can you tell us a little about the detailing and fabrics?
We wanted to create a collection to suit all types of ceremonies, from relaxed surroundings to more traditional settings. With this in mind, L.K.Bennett x Jenny Packham features a variety of heel heights, from 100mm to 50mm and flat options. Every bride should look and feel amazing on her big day, and the Italian nappa leather, French lace and fine satin used within the collection reflects the desire for something extra special.
What type of bride would the collection appeal to?
There’s a style to suit every bride-to-be in our collaboration. Whether she considers herself to be a touch more traditional or a fashion-forward romantic, there’s something to please everyone.
Which shoe design out of the collection would you suggest for a bride wanting to make a statement?
Our show-stopping Dahlia sandals which are the epitome of high-octane glamour; created in the finest Italian nappa leather and indulgently designed jewels inspired by a bygone era.
And what shoe design would you suggest for a bride wanting to keep their look traditional and elegant?
The Brielle designed in sumptuous Italian nude satin – a stylish alternative to timeless white or ivory – it’s our contemporary take on the classic bridal sandal.
What would be your top tip to brides when choosing their shoes and accessories for their big day?
To think about their personal style and the venue when choosing the perfect bridal shoes and accessories. If you’re concerned about comfort, consider switching your shoes for a bridal block heel or dressy flat after the ceremony and in time for the first dance. The ‘finishing touches’ to your bridal look should complement your style and reflect your personality.
April 11th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Grown-up glamour was the dress code for Victoria and Paul’s Manchester city wedding, so expect to be wowed by the bride’s custom-made Suzanne Neville gown – not to mention the sterling black tie effort from their stylish guests.
Their glamorous details – the bottomless gin bar, the nine-piece swing band – are impressive enough on their own, but when you consider that this couple’s original venue cancelled their wedding a mere five months before the big day, you really start to appreciate the scale of this determined duo’s accomplishment. Married life should be a doddle in comparison!
Our favourite picks? The fact that they walked back up the aisle to I Predict a Riot and that infamous red sofa pic – the very same spot where our editor in chief Julia, has sat for a live national broadcast all things weddings – no biggie!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Slice of Pie Photography.
victoria says: The proposal happened in a local restaurant we’ve visited for the last few years. We decided to spend Christmas Day there in 2015, and Paul had told all the staff about his plans. He ordered champagne and got down on one knee before lunch – of course, I said yes!
However, before this starts to sound terribly romantic, full disclosure: Paul’s brother was annoyed because he was starving and had to wait for his lunch because we were busy ringing our family – and then our six-month-old daughter promptly threw up all over my dress! Gotta love kids for bringing you back down to earth with a bump!
Our wedding date was 4th August 2017 – we met in August and love that time of year so that’s why we chose it.
Our venue was a private members’ club in Media City called On The 7th. We’d booked another venue in Manchester city centre, but we had a phone call in March to say they were closing down and our wedding was cancelled – total nightmare! Within 24 hours, though, I’d found our new venue and rearranged all of our suppliers. I knew about On The 7th as I used to be a member there and it’s such a cool, versatile place.
Theme-wise, we just wanted glamour! We love dressing up and make any excuse to do so. Our guests did not disappoint! Our colour scheme was black and white with silver accents; we like simple, monochrome palettes.
I had a custom-made Suzanne Neville gown designed and fitted by Suzanne and paired it with crystal-encrusted, ostrich feather Kurt Geigers. Suzanne travelled up from London to her Wilmslow studio for my fittings. She’s a real idol of mine, so I was thrilled she agreed to do it!
Paul wore a black three-piece tuxedo with black velvet bowtie and the groomsmen wore black Swarovski crystal bow ties – they were from M&S!
We had nine flower girls all in black and two bridesmaids also in black floor-length gowns.
April 9th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Melissa Beattie Photography, source
Nope, the topic of this afternoon’s post isn’t wedding karaoke or even new craze marryoke, but instead brides shaking up tradition by choosing to make a speech on their wedding day.
Gasp you might, as this is a duty usually dealt to the groom, father-of-the-bride and best man, but no longer are speeches considered a male-only zone, as mothers, maids of honour and brides themselves are stepping up to the mark and relishing in the opportunity to address and entertain guests with their memories, anecdotes and well wishes.
And with bride-to-be of the moment Meghan Markle, set to be making a speech at the royal wedding, we can only see this emerging trend continuing to grow. As such, we’ve invited an expert in the field to the blog today to inspire and inform you ladies on how to smash public speaking – please welcome our wonderful Sponsor, Emma of Emma Taylor Presents.
The fairy godmother of wedding speeches, Emma offers a series of group workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions on how to nail that moment in the limelight, covering everything from content and structure to the delivery.
So, for those of you keen to exercise your vocal chords at the top table as well as on the dancefloor, we’re handing over the blog to the lovely Emma who has golden girl power advice to share…
It’s becoming increasingly popular for brides to make a speech on their wedding day, why would you say that is?
emma says: In an age of equality, it seems very odd that the bride – who has usually ploughed copious amounts of time and money into making her big day one to enjoy and remember – should sit mute when the time comes to formally speak about the day. Very often if brides work in positions where they have to present regularly, they know they’re decent speakers and that they can handle a speech. They think, ‘well if the chaps are doing it, it seems strange that I wouldn’t.’ Meghan Markle will give a speech at her wedding, and is any one surprised? She’s a modern, capable professional.
What are the main considerations for brides to think about if they do want to make a speech on their wedding day? What content could they include?
She needs to understand the speech responsibilities of the other speakers and make sure she doesn’t stray into their territory.
In terms of a content roadmap, the bride should open by thanking her maid of honour and bridesmaids for all their support. A funny hen do anecdote that captures the fun and dedication of her top girl team will always go down well. It needs to be pithy though; edit out the dull bits but expand and play out the big, humorous moments.
Now she should talk about her new husband. How they came to meet and the life journey they’re about to embark on together. This should be kept light, witty and original. Although guests might say ‘ah’, none really wants to hear, “And I can’t believe I’ve married my Prince Charming.” It’s been done to death. But they will relish something like, “And I look forward to the years ahead; converting Adam to the wonders of yoga, meat-free meals and moisturising.”
The bride should thank her family and the groom’s family for any outstanding non-financial help they’ve given. She should let the groom thank the families for monetary contributions. She could remark on the hours her mum put in accompanying her to wedding fairs and dress fittings. If she fears she’s been a bit Bridezilla during the planning process, then now’s the time to fess up and apologise. She could finish by proposing a toast to the continued health and happiness of her parents and parents-in-law.
Stu Ganderton Photography, source
In what ways can you help brides with the construction and delivery of their speech?
I can help her to select the best material and eek out as much entertainment from it as possible. I can help her structure it so it flows beautifully and doesn’t jump jerkily from one section to the next. And I can help her give a poised performance so that she won’t cringe and want to hit fast-forward when she watches her video back.
How can a bride making a speech add to the wedding day and why would you encourage ladies to take to the mic?
The fact is that even if the bride doesn’t intend to make a speech, she’ll most probably be called upon to do so. Guests love hearing from the bride. And, like anything in life, it’s always best to be prepared. So I think brides who feel confident about speaking should state that they will speak – guests will look forward to it – and for those who don’t feel confident, they should prepare a speech anyway in case their guests start to chant their name and demand a few words, and the poor bride suddenly realises that if she doesn’t take to the mic she’ll look impolite and disappoint them.
What would you say to brides who like the idea of making a speech but that are nervous about public speaking?
The same as I say to all wedding speakers. Do your preparation; good prep is the fountain of all confidence. Accept that adrenalin will be in the body before you speak but manage it by controlling your hands and feet and breathe in deeply through the nose. Remember too that everyone there is willing you to do brilliantly. You’re their woman. Think how warmly Adele would be received at the Brixton Academy or Lady Gaga at Carnegie Hall – well your guests are going to respond to your performance with that same level of warmth and affinity.
Laura Calderwood Photography, source
What for you are the key ingredients to a good bride speech?
Humour, confidence and enjoyment. Although brides are more than capable of delivering a witty, polished speech, a lot of guests are surprised when they actually do. Although guests like to hear from the bride, they often expect her contribution to be a nervy, giddy, teary few words, so when their expectation is completely subverted, and she storms it, it’s just brilliant.
What is the feedback like from brides who you have helped to construct a wedding speech?
The feedback’s been great. Brides typically love the planning stage; talking through their material and polishing it. Although, as they do this, the majority are nervous about actually delivering the speech. After they have, however, they are very pleased that they took to the mic, and this is largely for posterity’s sake. They’re thrilled that their children and grandchildren will be able to watch them addressing their nearest and dearest while looking stunning on such a special day.
April 4th, 2018 | Julia Braime
Through our pretty pages we’ve often promoted The Biscuit Factory as a cool urban choice of venue for North East wedding couples, though it can be of service to brides and grooms in more ways than one.
Beyond its fabulous function spaces, The Biscuit Factory houses the UK’s largest independent contemporary art, craft and design gallery, featuring impressive work by both local and national artists with pieces ranging from paintings, prints and ceramics to furniture, homewares and jewellery.
Not only is the art showcased and admired through exhibitions, but numerous items are also available to buy at the Newcastle-based gallery or online. For wedding couples with an appreciation of art this means the option of setting up a gift account in the gallery, for a wedding present wish list with a difference.
Furthermore, through its impressive jewellery collections, brides and grooms can also source beautifully bespoke gifts for one another and their bridal party, and can even have wedding and engagement rings specially commissioned by jewellers based at the gallery.
We’ll now hand over the blog to The Biscuit Factory’s jewellery curator, Megan Collier, to tell us more about the options, including the latest Botanical Collection of jewellery with stunning handmade pieces inspired by the natural world.
Can you give us a brief overview of the jewellery collections that The Biscuit Factory houses?
megan says: The Biscuit Factory houses one of the largest collections of contemporary handmade jewellery in the North of England. Our pieces are carefully curated each season and are all handmade, original and unique. From affordable statement pieces to high-value wedding bands – we stock a variety of jewellery from the UK’s most talented designers and makers.
How do you choose the designers that you stock/exhibit and do these change from season to season?
We have a few makers who are firm favourites in the gallery and have been with us for years, such as Jessica Briggs, Fran Stunt and Jill Stewart. Their work never fails to be popular with our audiences! Aside from that, I try to bring in a selection of new jewellers for each seasonal show to make sure the collection is fresh and exciting. I tend to find these through hunting online or looking at other galleries and trade fairs. Instagram has a wealth of new and exciting designers to discover so is always a good place to start! I try to look for designers who are doing something a little different or innovative with their work, so the collections at The Biscuit Factory are always giving our audience something new to discover.
Can you tell us about the current Botanical Jewellery collection?
The spring show seemed like the perfect time to explore the world of botanical jewellery, putting the spotlight on artists who take inspiration from the natural world at the time of year when everything is starting to bloom and flourish.
Botanics is a theme explored by many jewellers in many different ways, and our new collection perfectly showcases the diverse range of styles, materials and techniques that makers have used to interpret this theme, each coming up with entirely unique results. Some of the collections have even been specially created just for The Biscuit Factory, too.
From Sue Gregor, who uses real plants in her bright bold acrylic jewellery, to Farrah Al-Dujaili’s Oddical collection made from cutting-edge 3D printing – the jewellers in this show experiment with their craft and break from traditional methods of jewellery making. For this reason, the Botanical Collection appeals to a wide audience.
There are subtle, floral pieces like Yuki Kokai or Lisa Rothwell-Young’s collections, for those who like their jewellery elegant and understated, but there is also bold, statement jewellery, such as Lauren Bell Brown’s Grimms fairy-tale inspired collection, created using handcrafted wax carvings and cuttlefish castings combined with needlepoint embellishment.
Award-winning jeweller John Moore, meanwhile, captures the essence of feathers and the repeating patterns of fish and plants in his decorative Flight and Elytra pieces; and Nettie Birch of nbNg makes fold formed jewellery using aluminium, copper and Sterling silver to create beautiful flowing organic shapes.
Couples have been known to have wedding and engagement rings commissioned at The Biscuit Factory. Can you tell us a little more about this option and what the process involves?
There are a number of jewellers who we work with who can create specially commissioned wedding pieces for us. We have a selection of their work in the gallery that couples can try on and explore for inspiration. We can then order directly from the artist in the right size and desired materials. It’s a great place to find your engagement and wedding rings as it ensures they will be truly unique and handmade by an artist. I think this makes them extra special!
Brides and grooms have also sourced wedding gifts for loved ones and each other from designers at The Biscuit Factory. What types of items have they bought and what would you suggest from the current collections that would make lovely wedding gifts?
There’s plenty to choose from in the way of wedding gifts from our collections. Handmade, unique cufflinks are always a popular choice when buying gifts for the groom or groomsmen. We also have very affordable and pretty silver necklaces, bracelets and earrings made with semi-precious stones and molten metals which could make perfect bridesmaid gifts.
April 3rd, 2018 | Julia Braime
While most brides will opt an ivory coloured wedding gown, few stick to tradition when it comes to their bridal shoes, with the footwear an ideal element through which to express their individual style and personality.
Better still, this part of the attire can be worn time again after the big day and so it’s wise to choose a style that you could wear on an evening out rather than just down the aisle, right?!
We’re therefore delighted to see one of our very favourite bridal shoe designers and Brides Up North Sponsor, Charlotte Mills, helping to broaden the style-led choices for brides through her insanely-gorgeous new fashion collection.
Ranging from glittery metallic stilettos to cool platforms and bejewelled boots in the most fabulous colourways, we’re totally in love – and expect you’ll fall head over heels for the range too. As such we’ve invited the lovely Charlotte to the blog today to talk us through the varying designs, which are already proving popular with celeb fashionistas, including Fearne Cotton and Pixie Lott.
So, if you fancy treating your feet to some fierce footwear for your big day (and beyond!), step this way…
Why did you decide to do a fashion collection in addition to your bridal line?
charlotte says: I wanted to do a fashion collection because there’s more freedom in terms of colours and fabrics when designing for fashion rather than bridal. Less limitations.
Can you give us an overview of the collection, does it have an underlaying theme?
The collection was inspired by the 70’s, Studio 54 and the Disco Era. Metallics and glitter are always something key in Charlotte Mills shoes, but I decided to go for a more fun and vibrant colour palette to our bridal collection.
Your heels have been worn by a number of celebrities, can you tell us which celebs are Charlotte Mills fans?
Fearne Cotton loves our platforms! She’s been seen in a few pairs, but other celebs such as Pixie Lott, Ella Eyre, Lucy Meck, Stacey Martin and Lousia Johnson have all been seen in our shoes!
Can you tell us about the colourways, details and fabrics used within the collection?
We have a couple of different colour ways in the collection, Pinks, metallics and petrols would be the first; looking at shoes like Elda Barbie, Eve Petrol and the Charlotte shoes. Then we have our Velvet story, which is a selection of different jewel tones, such as black, navy, raspberry and ruby. We have the Eleanor boot and the Ellie shoe, which are velvet with rose gold and jewelled studs. Then we have the Leopard Print collection, a boot and a low block heel in a pink and petrol leopard print.
Do you have a favourite design from the collection, and if so which is it and why?
It’s hard to choose because I love them all – but if I had too, I’d probably say Charlotte! That’s why we decided to do it in so many colours – they look so lovely and flattering on. But I also have a soft spot for the Eleanor boots!
Have some of your bride clients picked a pair of heels from your fashion line for their big day?
Yes, indeed they have! We’ve had a couple of brides pick up Eve Barbie and Charlotte Barbie. Also our black velvet platform, which we think will look amazing with a bridal gown, we can’t wait to see all the pictures!
What type of girls do you see your fashion line appealing too?
Fashion forward girls, that love pink and all things girly! Lots of these shoes are the perfect party shoe, so a girl that likes having fun!
How has the collection been received so far? What do people love about it?
The collection has been received well so far, I think people love how fun and exciting the shoes are, nothing to plain and simple here. I also think the fact we kept our sixpence in the fashion shoes (but we have dipped it in Rose Gold to add a touch of luxury) is a nice feature, that still keeps the fashion shoes tied to the bridal shoes and what we’re known for.
March 30th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Far more than a pretty piece of jewellery, engagement and wedding rings represent the commitments a couple make to one other and therefore it’s important that they last a lifetime.
To ensure top quality as well as a design that’s perfect for you and your partner, we’d always advise spending time discussing all the various options with a professional; with varying metals, jewels and settings to choose from, not to mention the 4Cs of diamond quality.
Fortunately for you, we have a gem of an expert taking over the blog today to explain all the considerations of ring buying while telling us about his personal and professional jewellery business – welcome Gareth Graham, managing director of Luv Olivia.
Covering the North West and Central England, including the Midlands, Luv Olivia offers a bespoke wedding, engagement and eternity ring design service with quality and value at the core of its business ethos.
Bringing a stunning collection of rings direct to the homes of its customers, Gareth and his team go above and beyond in the journey to designing rings which are perfect and unique to each couple. The Luv Olivia team also regularly attend our Luxury Wedding Fairs, sharing their fabulous knowledge and showcasing their stunning collections direct to visiting bride and grooms-to-be!
Can you tell us a little about your background and how Luv Olivia came to fruition?
gareth says: Luv Olivia Jewellery was born in September 2016 out of a desire to combine my wealth of expertise in the jewellery industry with providing a quality customer-centric design service. I fell in love with selling jewellery early on whilst managing a team at Goldsmiths. I developed a passion for sourcing the perfect piece for customers to mark the most memorable occasions in their lives. The company has great values, many of which are instilled in my business today.
However, after eight years it was time to push boundaries and I began building relationships within the trade side of the industry. I worked for a company selling diamonds and for a bespoke wedding jeweller, thus sparking my inspiration to launch Luv Olivia. I have always had an eye for design and coupled with my ability to connect with customers I knew this was the beginning of an exciting and successful venture.
I started by carefully selecting suppliers who I deemed highly skilled, ethical and reputable. After 30 years in the industry I trust that they can produce exceptional quality jewellery.
What does Luv Olivia offer to couples?
The main objective of the business is to be able to offer customers unique rings which are value for money whilst maintaining the quality of the product. The item is most likely a lifetime purchase and it is essential the craftsmanship is of high calibre and durable.
Luv Olivia is so confident in our product that we offer a lifetime manufacturer guarantee as long as the ring is brought back to be checked at least once a year!
Where did the name for the business come from?
The name Luv Olivia is very special to me. Family is the most important part of my life and is the ultimate motivation for success. Olivia is the name of my daughter who amazes me every day with her boldness and determination. She represents the strength behind the brand and evokes a spirit of ingenuity and innovation. The term “Luv” reflects the eternal love between couples forever imprinted in the rings they wear to symbolise their unity.
Can you give us an overview of the rings you stock and how you pick collections for Luv Olivia?
The rings I bring to an appointment are selected from the most popular collections in the UK and Europe. There are more than 100 styles of ladies wedding rings, 80 gents’ rings and 80 engagement rings of different widths and diamond weights. The styles range from plain to very sparkly with diamond sets. There are also options of various shaped wedding bands to fit around all types of engagement ring settings.
How do you advise couples on the right ring(s) for them?
I always advise that the style of wedding ring should enhance the beauty of their engagement ring as that is the pièce de résistance. The rest is decided by the client. I guide them through my collection to ensure that they have seen enough options to make a decision.
What elements should couples think about when picking their wedding rings?
The main elements are the width of the engagement ring band and style of shoulders. It is also important for a couple to decide if they would like an eternity ring in the future. This will affect the width of the wedding band to ensure there is enough room for another ring.
You also offer a bespoke service. Can you tell us a little about this process?
Every ring is made specifically to the bride’s tastes. Although I bring my collection it is only used as a guide for styles, settings and size. Each ring is designed by taking a 3D scan of their engagement ring for the most accurate detail. Then the wedding ring is made to complement both the width and the depth of the engagement ring as I know all too well stock rings can vary in all these aspects.
I come to the comfort of their own home at a time that suits them. This allows for a relaxed environment with no time restraints. I offer advice and educate couples on all of the C’s and which metals are suitable for them.
I am available after the high street stores close and am always on hand to answer any questions. The entire process takes three months to make the perfect wedding ring.
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