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friendly fashion: charlotte mills launches vegan bridal shoe range

August 28th, 2018 | Julia Braime

vegan meghan

Having brought her fabulously cool and girly bridal shoes to the masses, we’re excited to announce that our lovely Sponsor Charlotte Mills, has now made her stunning heels an option for even more fashion-loving females with the introduction of a capsule vegan collection.

Responding to a gap in the market for stylish yet animal-friendly shoes, Charlotte has produced three of her favourite styles – George Pearl, Meghan and Chloe – in high-quality synthetic materials, which are available to pre-order now.

Keen to find out more, we’ve invited Charlotte along to the blog to give further details on the collection while also filling us in on an exciting London pop-up event taking place next month, providing a fabulous opportunity for any brides south of the border to get their hands on beautiful pair of big-day heels from Ms Mills’ wonderful collections. So, over to the talented designer herself to tell us more…

vegan chloe

Can you tell us how the vegan bridal shoe range came to fruition?

charlotte says: It’s something we have wanted to do for a long time. We have had brides contact us so many times asking us to offer a vegan style, as they love our shoes but would not wear a leather shoe. There are not many options out there for vegan bridal shoes and they have really struggled to find something they love, which is special, luxurious but most importantly cruelty free.

How did you go about developing the range?

Kim, who is the brand manager at Charlotte Mills and is a Vegan herself, has worked with our factory in Spain to source the best synthetic materials. It’s still very important for us to offer a luxurious product so quality and aesthetics couldn’t be compromised. The final product is beautiful and we are really proud to offer vegan wedding shoes as an option for our brides.

How do the vegan designs differ to your mainline collections?

Our leather bridal shoes not only have a leather upper, but they also feature a soft leather sole, with the famous Charlotte Mills rhyme embossed into the leather. On our vegan shoes, the upper and the soles are now hand crafted with the finest synthetic materials, with the rhyme still embossed into the soles, keeping them true to the Charlotte Mills brand.

vegan george

Which styles are included in the capsule vegan collection?

The first styles in this collection are George Pearl, Meghan and Chloe with more designs being added in 2019.

Where are the designs available from and what is the price range?

The shoes will be available to pre-order from August 2018, for delivery in September 2018. The vegan bridal range is exclusive to the Charlotte Mills website and prices will range from £230 to £260.

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put your own stamp on it: personalised paper goods by basic invite

August 16th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Antique Elegance 1

As the very first insight you give guests into your big day it’s super important to take time when deciding on your invites. For maximum impact you will want them to be both a nod to the colour scheme and theme you have planned for the wedding, but also a reflection you and your partner.

We therefore love stationery suppliers that give brides and grooms the option to personalise designs through their wording, colour and material choices. One such company is the fabulous Basic Invite who we’re chatting to on the blog today about their utterly gorgeous paper goods, which range from save the dates and invites to on day essentials, like name place cards, menus and guest books.

Taking custom designed wedding invitations to the next level, Basic Invite offer couples an incredible range of designs, from pretty floral creations to cool graphic prints, and then give them the power to make their stationery truly unique with 180 custom colour choices, 100 font styles, plus multiple paper types and card cuts.

Better still, they’re offering Brides Up North readers 15% off orders placed on their website – just use code 15FF51 at checkout.

So, let’s handover the blog to the team behind Basic Invite to showcase some of their delightful stationery options while talking us through the design and ordering process.

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Can you give us an overview of the service and products that you offer?

basic invite say: We offer truly custom stationery for all of life’s major moments! From wedding invitations and thank you notes to personal stationery and business cards. We have a card for everything and designs to suite any style!

Why is stationery such an important element of a wedding and how can it help to enhance the build-up and the big day itself?

Wedding invitations and stationery are an important element because it’s one of the first things your guests will receive in regards to the big day. It’s important that your invitations reflect you as a couple and give guests a sneak peek into your wedding style, giving them a taste of what’s to come.

Foil Invitations 2

How would you describe the style of the stationery that Basic Invite offer?

We have something for everyone! We strive to offer the most innovative designs while also designing timeless options that will never go out of style. The cool thing about Basic Invite is our customisation options. This offers endless options for brides to tweak their design and make it truly unique. Brides can choose styles ranging from vintage to modern, typography to calligraphy, and even photo invitations.

What is your most popular design currently?

Our most popular design for the 2018 wedding season is definitely our watercolour wedding invitations. Brides are loving the soft touches of colour and delicate floral designs. With that said, our new Seal & Send wedding invitations are coming in as a close second. This popular line offers an all-in-one design with a tear-off RSVP card and no envelope needed as addresses are printed on the front and sealed with a custom sticker. We anticipate seeing a lot of brides going for this look in the 2019 wedding season.

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How far in advance of the wedding would you advise couples to source their stationery?

The sooner the better! Based on a one-year engagement we suggest couples follow the following timeline.

8+ months order samples

6+ months order your save the dates

4+ months send your save the dates and order your wedding invitations

3+ months send your invites and order your wedding day stationery

2 weeks post-wedding send your thank you notes

What elements of the wedding would you advise couples to consider when picking their stationery and where should they look for inspiration?

Incorporating wedding colours is a huge design detail that will go a long way, especially if you are keeping a cohesive theme throughout all of your wedding festivities. Theme is another element to consider. Switching things up throughout your engagement is a fun option but designing invitations that will match and transfer across to your wedding day stationery, like your menus and place cards, will make for a solid overall look which is super classy!

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Basic Invite offer various ways that couples can personalise their wedding stationery designs, can you tell us more about such options?

Our customisation options are what help us stand apart from other online stationery vendors. Not only do we offer hundreds of wedding invitation designs and so many other products, we also offer 180 custom colour choices, 100 font styles, multiple paper types and card cuts, three foil colours in two styles, and almost every aspect of reach design can be edited or customised including wording, spacing, colour, and more!

Can couples order material samples and previews of stationery products before placing their final order?

Absolutely and it’s something we highly recommend. That way customers can see their invitations first hand before they order in full. Although our website shows edits in real time it’s still a good idea to see the final product before sending hundreds out.

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natural beauty: pronovias for a pared back wedding at priory cottages – harriet & mike

August 14th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Simple Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Lloyd Clarke Photograpghy (71)

There’s something about a bride on her wedding day, as she brims with beauty, elegance and an inner radiance – and today’s bride, Harriet, is certainly no exception. Looking 100% gorgeous in a fitted lace gown with capped sleeves and a delicate full-length veil, she glides down the aisle with grace. And to complete the moving moment – a live church choir performing.

Harriet and Mike chose a beautiful, natural theme to complement the countryside setting and their personalities. The rustic look was echoed on the tables of the wedding breakfast, with candles, wooden log slices and trails of ivy. The two large foliage hoops hanging from the roof of the marquee provide a pretty focal point and draw guests’ attention to the fairy-lit ceiling, which really comes into its own as the light fades and the band strikes up for the first dance.

A further detail highlight has to be the cake stand made from a tree trunk, decorated with wispy foliage and topped with a naked cake in a beautiful; summery yellow hue. Confectionery perfection!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lloyd Clarke Photography.

A Simple Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Lloyd Clarke Photograpghy (26)

harriet says: We got engaged on 17th July 2015, at the breakfast table on our balcony. Mike made a lovely cooked breakfast and shortly afterwards he brought me a red velvet cupcake that said ‘Marry Me’ on it. To my great surprise, I turned to him and he was already on one knee. Later that evening we travelled to India to explore the Himalayas. What a way to start our journey!

A Simple Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Lloyd Clarke Photograpghy (63)

We got married on 5th August 2017. It was one of the only dates available at the stunning Priory Cottages where we held our reception – a very popular place! Without question we would recommend the venue; it’s simply stunning if you enjoy being in the countryside. Serena and her team were very accommodating. We also reserved all the cottages for our families, which was convenient for us.

Our ceremony took place at All Saints Church in Kirk Deighton. We chose this venue because it is a beautiful church and close to my family home. I also have fond memories of the church because my eldest sister got married there in 2012. I must give a special mention to the wonderful choir that joined us at the ceremony – Collavoce from Harrogate.

A Simple Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Lloyd Clarke Photograpghy (59)

We chose a rustic theme for our wedding. I felt it complemented the venue and we also like a natural approach with nothing too extravagant. There was no set colour scheme, other than whites, greens and blush pink in the flowers to bring a hint of colour into it. We wanted it to be as natural as possible.

A Simple Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Lloyd Clarke Photograpghy (79)

My dress was from a shop in York called Bridal Rogue Gallery – a full-length, white lace dress from the designer Pronovias. I chose it because I liked the fit, the lace detail and the slightly lower back. It was a very statement wedding dress for me, which I wouldn’t have normally gone for. I went into the shop thinking I would choose a completely different kind of dress but instead I fell in love with that one.

My bridal makeup was done by Laura Wilkinson. She was very friendly, professional and reasonably priced. She wasn’t pushy in any way and gave advice as to what best suited my complexion. I would recommend her to anyone.

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colour pop petals: a bloom-filled wedding at priory cottages, yorkshire – sophie & rob

August 8th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (37)

The gorgeously vivid flowers that feature in today’s real wedding between Sophie and Rob add some real pizzazz to this lovely summer celebration; in pinks and oranges, purples and yellows, they pop spectacularly against the neutral marquee and white paper lanterns and balloons. Achieving a ‘grown-up boho’ vibe for their big day, Sophie and Rob opted for some lovely homemade details, such as the chalkboard running order of the day and table plan.

Sophie went with a lesser known designer for her delicate boho-inspired dress; the Inbal Raviv creation is stunning with its lace and bead embellishments and unusual tassel straps. Completing her ensemble with a headdress of vibrant flowers and a simple pair of earrings, Sophie’s look is elegant and oh-so chic with a playful twist.

Sophie and Rob had all the right connections to make their wedding extra special. Working in PR meant Sophie had access to plenty of fantastic suppliers and being the son of the Bishop of Warrington meant Rob could secure a pretty high-profile figure to conduct the ceremony – not many people can say they’ve been married by their own father!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (35)

sophie says: We got engaged during a weekend away that Rob booked “as he had some points on his credit card” to spend, which saw us staying in a hotel in Richmond for the weekend – one of my favourite places in London. I should have thought it was all too good to be true (we were in a huge suite) but was, of course, completely oblivious. After we’d had lunch and been to the spa, he caught me off guard in the room with the ring and I was completely shocked. We then headed for a meal by the river and a few too many drinks to celebrate! The next day he’d planned a surprise Sunday lunch with friends, too: safe to say I had a very sore head on Monday at work.

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (27)

We got married on 12th August 2017 and had our reception at the amazing Priory Cottages in Wetherby, which I cannot rate highly enough. We looked at loads of places online (we live in London but wanted to get married in the north as Rob is from Sheffield and I’m a Leeds girl) and wanted somewhere we could celebrate for the weekend and that felt informal and fun. The cottages meant we could have the whole wedding party stay the night before and the night of, and it had a beautiful marquee and gardens, of which we could have free reign. Serena at The Priory was amazing and answered so many of our questions, putting us at ease and making everything super easy – we would 100% recommend it. The Priory is a stunning setting (so many people said so) and the people who manage it (shout out to the lovely Serena and Phoebe) are so helpful and down to earth and honestly made the experience so hassle free and easy. I asked so many questions and they always had an answer and can suggest great suppliers to work with, as well as tips for the big day.

We had our ceremony in a gorgeous village church up the road from The Priory, called Wighill Church. Rob’s dad is part of the church (at the time, the Bishop of Warrington) and so he married us, which was one of the most amazing parts of the day. He got everyone laughing and really matched the service to our personalities and became a bit of a celebrity at the reception afterwards.

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (36)

For transport, we splashed out and hired a little red sports car – an AC Cobra for anyone who knows anything about cars – from Classic Car Hire North, which actually became one of our favourite bits about the day – it looked so good in pictures! My dad drove him and I to the church and then Rob and I drove back with the top down (the hair wasn’t loving it, but it was worth it) down all the pretty country roads.

A Colourful Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) James Tracey Photography (18)

There was no theme as such but we’re both quite non-traditional in our style and wanted something laid back to match the countryside setting. If forced to say so, I would describe it as ‘grown-up boho’, which probably started with my dress and came through in everything else. We just tried to pick things that felt like our personality. We had such a great backdrop to begin with, with The Priory, which really brought everything together.

In terms of a colour scheme, I scoured Pinterest and became obsessed with big, bright bouquets and flowers, which is the opposite to my usual style as I’m often dressed head to toe in black or one simple colour, but I loved the pictures and so decided that, to make it more ‘us’, we’d create a really simple white blank canvas, with white lanterns and balloons, and then have bright flowers popping throughout.

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distinctly different: introducing along came eve bridal boutique, chester

July 31st, 2018 | Julia Braime

Along Came Eve (6)

Many bridal boutiques recommend you begin your dream dress hunt between 12 and 18 months in advance of your big day, which means ladies getting wed in the latter half of 2019, it’s time to get your search on!

Picking which gorgeous bridal boutiques to visit can be tricky as you want to give yourself enough choice but without becoming too overwhelmed. As such, it’s a good idea to look for those that stock a fabulous line up of differing designers to help present initial options of varying shapes and styles.

It’s perhaps very timely then that we introduce one of our most recent Sponsors to the blog today, fabulous mother and daughter team Kendal and Moira of Along Came Eve Bridal Boutique. Located in the gorgeous historic city of Chester, the rails of this welcoming boutique boast an incredible selection of designers that each offer brides a different look; from elegant lace numbers, to heavily detailed designs, sexy silhouettes and boho beauties.

With backgrounds in bridal and fashion, Kendal and Moira are well equipped to help ladies find that one special dress and are proud of their personal approach and exciting range of dress designers that provide stunning gowns that are a little “out of the ordinary”.

And as if that wasn’t enough to tempt you through the boutique’s doors, Along Came Eve will be holding its Summer Sample Sale on Sunday 19th August, when brides-to-be can bag an ex-sample gown at a bargain price, with some dresses reduced by more than £1,000 – just think of the bridal shoes you could buy with that saving!

So, let us leave you in Kendal’s capable hands as she talks us through her lovely family-run boutique…

Boutique images by Orphic Photography, gown images by Willowby, supplied by Along Came Eve.

Along Came Eve (9)

How did you become involved in the wedding industry and what led you to set up your own boutique?

kendal says: We are a mother and daughter team. My mum Moira had her own couture bridal studio when I was growing up and that kick-started the passion for bridal. Moira’s career took her into the clothing industry where she still works as a Technical Director for a leading clothing production company.  After following different career paths, we came together to start Along Came Eve and combined our passion for all things bridal.  We have always wanted to have our own business together and our strengths make us work really well as a team.

Where is your boutique located and how would you describe the look and feel of it?

We are based in a gorgeous Grade II listed building on the historical rows of Chester city centre. Our boutique is light and airy with pops of colour throughout and an atmosphere that provides privacy and comfort for all of our brides.

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What designers do you stock at Along Came Eve?

We stock eight fabulous brands at the boutique. Enzoani, a flagship collection that oozes detail and sophistication with sexy silhouettes and delicate beading. Blue By Enzoani, which is a sought after collection that brings a modern twist on classic looks with plenty of detailed fabrics and textures. Rosa Clara Couture will be landing in the boutique in autumn 2018 and offers a fashion forward and super elegant collection with dramatic details. We also stock mainline Rosa Clara, which features beautiful fabrics, amazing details and classic design. Martin Thornburg for Mon Cheri, is a collection where pretty meets sexy, with modern necklines and incredible detail! Then we have the Watters flagship collection, which combines exclusive laces and exquisite silks with fashion forward design. Willowby By Watters, is their super soft, boho inspired collection that is not only stunning, but also so incredibly comfortable to wear. Finally, Agnes provides a truly special collection with each piece handmade to order in Poland, using unique laces, stunning design and fantastic attention to detail.

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How do you select the right designers for your boutique and what do you look for in a collection?

Our main objective is to have a point of difference between each of the brands that we stock. We chose from collections that we adore and look for something out of the ordinary. We did our research and didn’t want to be one of those stores that has the same lace dress ten times over.  The quality of our gowns is so important to us, we look for brands with super high standards and real identity for their brand as these designers produce fabulous collections season after season.

What trends are proving popular with your brides at the moment?

For us, classic silhouettes and fabrics are certainly on the rise! Our brides are loving crepes georgettes and Mikados at the moment with classic boat necklines and super detailed backs. We think there will be more of this in future collections with embellished details coming forward ahead of lace.

Along Came Eve (4)

What preparation would you advise brides to do before visiting the boutique?

We advise ladies to take a look at the websites of the designers that our boutique stocks and screen shot or pin dresses that they love, we will then take a look at these with the bride when they arrive at our boutique and help them pick out the dresses in store. We also give our brides some advice around what to expect from their appointment with us i.e. how long it lasts, who to bring along, what underwear to wear. We find our brides really appreciate this bit of advice as it makes them feel more comfortable with the process before they get to us. Most brides find dress shopping a really daunting experience so being prepared really helps to calm the nerves!

What can brides expect from an appointment at Along Came Eve?

Firstly, all of our bridal appointments are completely private. When a bride arrives for her appointment she is welcomed to our boutique and then taken upstairs to our bridal showroom along with her friends and family. We will then talk the bride through the dresses and take a look at her inspiration photos pulling out any dresses she has highlighted (they can look very different on hanger in comparison to press shots).  We make sure the bride is totally comfortable and knows how many dresses she will have time to try on during her appointment.  We then leave the bride and her entourage to look through the dresses and make her choices returning within five minutes to take them through to our separate fitting room, where we fit the dresses in private and then the bride gets to make a grand entrance to her waiting party.

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What size and price range of dresses do you stock?

Our samples range in size from an 8 to an 18 with the majority being a 12 or 14. Our prices range from £1,200 to £4,000.

Do you stock accessory ranges at the boutique?

We do, we have beautiful handmade tiaras and hair pieces from UK based Miranda Templeton and stunning veils from Nieve Couture with a bespoke veil service from Joyce Jackson. We also stock stunning silk flower crowns from UK based Frida Flower Crowns, faux fur accessories from Helen Moore and stunning hand painted, vegan-friendly biker jackets from Lucky Sew and Sew.

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marsala magic: a cosy winter wedding at the oak tree of peover – natalie & paul

July 31st, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Winter Wedding in the North West (c) Nik Bryant Photography (65)

Love Island is over (and we’ve already got #TeamJani withdrawal, we’re loyal like that). What’s a good wedding blogger to do?

Bring on the winter weddings.

It’s hard to imagine winter ever existed as we roast our way through this incredible heatwave, but today’s real wedding is here to remind us how magical winter nuptials can be; with roaring open fires, candlelight and inviting colour schemes, just like Natalie and Paul’s celebrations. They chose marsala as a key colour for their wedding, which evokes feelings of warmth and cosiness on the coolest of days and is dramatic and festive on the photographs.

To continue the cosy theme, the couple decorated the wedding breakfast with fairy lights draped from the ceiling and placed giant love letters behind the top table, which looks wonderfully effective as the daylight begins to fade. For an autumn or winter wedding the lighting is so important – balancing your light levels using plenty of different, gentle light sources enables your photographer to get some fantastic, atmospheric shots and really capture the ambience you’ve worked so hard to create.

Natalie and Paul share a love of travel, so the map of the world they used as a table plan is a great idea to bring their personalities to the fore. They also dotted photographs on little easels throughout the wedding breakfast of their adventures, which is a lovely, personal touch. We also love the photo opportunity at night, when all the guests line up and wave sparklers for the couple to walk through – another magical use of light!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Nik Bryant Photography.

A Winter Wedding in the North West (c) Nik Bryant Photography (20)

natalie says: Paul and I got engaged while we were on holiday in America on 25th May 2016. We were in Austin, Texas, and, after eating our bodyweight in delicious barbecue meat in Franklin’s BBQ, we climbed to the top of Mount Bonnell, which overlooks Austin city and the Colorado River. There’s a superstition that says couples who hold hands the whole way to the top without letting go will be together forever, so we decided to give it a go (harder than it sounds in the humid Texas heat!). When we got to the top, we found a secluded spot overlooking the river to cool down and Paul got down on one knee and popped the question. The ring was so beautiful that I couldn’t believe he’d chosen it all by himself!

A Winter Wedding in the North West (c) Nik Bryant Photography (1)

Our wedding date was 18th November 2017. We really wanted it to be cosy and intimate, so we thought a winter wedding would be perfect, but this date also left us enough time for a longer honeymoon before Christmas!

We had our ceremony at St Cross Church in Knutsford. The church was really pretty and, as soon as we went in, we felt really welcomed by everyone, so we were so happy to be able to get married there! Our wedding reception was at the Oak Tree of Peover in Knutsford, Cheshire. We loved the venue as soon as we saw it! It was so cosy and rustic and was beautifully decorated. We couldn’t recommend the Oak Tree of Peover enough, particularly for a winter wedding with its lovely fire, fairy lights and ivy. It was the kind of venue that looked amazing without adding anything, but there was plenty of space to add personal touches if you wanted.

A Winter Wedding in the North West (c) Nik Bryant Photography (39)

On the day of the wedding, we travelled between the church to the reception venue in a car hired from Broadoak Cars. We weren’t sure about hiring a car as both venues were so close but it meant we got some good quality time together to take a breath after the ceremony, and the driver was great at helping me get my dress into the car!

A Winter Wedding in the North West (c) Nik Bryant Photography (37)

Our colour scheme was marsala and dusty pink, with olive and gold. We wanted the darker red as a nice contrast to my white dress and it felt perfect for a winter wedding, whilst the softer pink and olive helped to keep it warm and cosy.

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