Brides Up North

the circle: be a wedding industry insider

September 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime

The Circle_Master_strapline_WO rose gold

A glittering press party at Media City, Manchester this Wednesday night saw the launch of The Circle - a brand new concept in creativity, training and connectivity for wedding and lifestyle businesses.

I’m so proud to stand along my industry friends (who also just happen to be the very best entrepreneurs in the business), Charlotte Balbier, Jonny Draper and Howard Wing, as we launch our new concept.

Finally… I’m allowed to talk about it! (It’s been killing me).

circle -4

Just so you know who you are dealing with here, Charlotte Balbier is one of the UK’s leading bridal gown designers; Jonny Draper is an award winning photographer and boutique owner; Howard Wing is the most in-demand wedding entertainer in the UK and I’m the Editor In Chief of one rather lovely wedding blog… all four of us have won numerous coveted awards and are recognised for excellence and experience in our specialisms within the industry. (*blush*)

Over the years (and over the odd cocktail or ten!) we’ve discussed the need for a club or collective – an inspiring and exciting space, comprising a combination of special events, practical training and online membership – where wedding industry suppliers can meet to exchange insider ideas, secrets and knowledge with the aim of boosting business and raising standards, profiles, contacts and turnover.

Our answer?

The Circle. Founded 10th September 2014.

Following Wednesday’s big reveal (an exciting and nail biting evening explaining the scope of our plans to assembled press luminaries like editors from Brides Magazine, Perfect Wedding Magazine… and other industry big wigs – official photos and lots of thank yous coming soon!) The Circle are now proud to announce our exclusive inaugural event, strictly limited to just 100 initial The Circle members.

Attendees should forget anything they ever knew about training days and get ready to transform or refresh the way in which they do business.

The first ever full day event is suitable for experienced industry professionals and start-ups alike and sessions packed full of insider tips and strategy will tackle topics such as brand evolution, blogging, social media wizardry, killer sales, effective networking and management, before ending the day with a VIP After Show Party.  More in-depth info about the event, The Circle’s founders and pricing info can be found over at our brand spanking new website, just live:

www.theweddingcircle.co.uk

Inspiration is guaranteed, and surprises come as standard.

As an attendee at the February event, delegates will automatically become a year-long member of The Circle’s essential online support networks, gaining exclusive access to an immediate, priceless forum in a private space to share ideas, make referrals, win business, solve problems and generate goodwill.

When you’re in The Circle, you’re one of us.

We’d love to see wedding businesses old and new, fresh and familiar faces at our first event, strictly limited to just 100 places. Since the website went live yesterday our inbox has been pinging with booking confirmations, so we’d urge you to move quickly to avoid disappointment.

This is going to get epic, and quickly…

 

the 100 club

Tuesday 10th February 2015

Styal Lodge, Cheshire

9:30am till 5pm

Then After Show Party

One day to transform your wedding business.
Inspire. Apply. Connect. Elevate

Book now at www.theweddingcircle.co.uk

 

Images by Hayley Baxter Photography

Film by Silk Wedding Films

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#GetSetSparkle… A Few Awards Under Our (Sequinned) Belt & We’re Almost Ready!

June 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography for Brides Up North #GetSetSparkle

Well, hello there!  Happy Monday to you my lovely reader.

So. It’s really very nearly time to unveil the glam new look that I’ve been working on behind the scenes here at Brides Up North since the turn of the year (and procrastinating on since early 2013 – maternity leave can do that to you).  We’re so excited to give these pretty pages a little makeover, add some snazzy new features and bring the whole Brides Up North experience up a notch.

Not to worry though, you won’t suddenly find our head in the clouds and you won’t be needing a map. We’re purposely keeping the layout and functions of the site familiar so that you can still find your way around quickly and easily (the experience should just be glossier and more useful) and you’ll still feel loved – everyone’s welcome at our party! You just need to be Northern, and proud of it…

To celebrate, we’re busy working on a whole host of great new features and seeking the advice of a lauded panel of industry experts – the very best in the business, no less-  who’ll also be taking their places on the inaugural Brides Up North Team Excellent Panel to administer help, advice and inspiration liberally (and sprinkle a few sequins here and there). 

As a blogger and creative events director, I’m used to instant gratification for my efforts.  Curate a pretty feature and boom! – there it is for all to see and share, host an excellent event and voila! – the internet is filled with rave reviews and re-bookings.  This is different.  The site’s makeover has been a real labour of love and has taken longer than I ever imagined.  Functional tweaks (upon tweaks), a dedicated branding shoot – sneak peeks of which I’ve been leaking for the past month or so, a couple of the images here – key image choices, font selection, layout decisions, team selection, features planning, writing, writing, writing and re-writing, self doubt, paranoia and self loathing (ok, not those last two)… but it’s been hard work, and I bet you’ve been wondering what I do all day between event seasons!?

Tear my hair out, mainly.

I just hope you all love the new look as much as I do.  It’s coming really soon, I promise.

Follow #GetSetSparkle on Twitter and like our Facebook page for more updates as they happen.

Cat Hepple Photography for Brides Up North #GetSetSparkle

Amongst all the grafting, there are sometimes some nice surprises! Working late on some top secret web stuff last night, inbox pinging away with Sunday submissions (it’s one of our busiest times of the week), I was pleased to find amongst them a happy little email from The Wedding Industry Experts Awards 2014.  Turns out that Brides Up North has picked up a few awards this season – Most Popular Wedding Show or Fair, West Yorkshire & Most Popular Wedding Blog, West Yorkshire (are there any others?!?), and named a top 5 National & Worldwide Finalist in both categories.  Well, thank you very much!  That’s certainly a boost just as I needed it.

We keep banging on about it, but I’ll say it again – our mission is to get you ladies thinking local and to promote the fabulous wedding industry talent that we have right here on our doorstep in the North of the UK.  To take the crown in our home County really is something that I’m very proud of indeed. 

Cat Hepple Photography for Brides Up North #GetSetSparkle

Now whilst the recognition is nice, The Wedding Experts Awards is a huge process, with many categories and spanning the entire wedding industry and (being honest) to win can sometimes feel a little like pot luck.  Lovely – icing on the cake of a lovely Sunday pot luck – but all the same, there is one rather more niche (and very special) awards process that we’d really, really like to do well in again this year.  While we’re on a roll, I’d love it if you could give us a hand.

I’ve already told you all about what a fabulous honour it was to take home a Wedding Blog Award for “Best Big Day Inspiration” in 2013, and we’d love to join the Wedding Magazine winners circle again this year.  Let’s keep this Northern Revolution going!

Brides Up North campaigns tirelessly to encourage brides to think local and support our fabulous regional wedding industry… so lets show the rest of the UK what we can do!

Click here to VOTE for Brides Up NorthWe love you! It literally takes a moment, and would mean so, so much to us.

Nominations close on Thursday 26th June 2014.

Thank you, so much x

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Cat Hepple Photography 

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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#GetSetSparkle

April 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Brides Up North Is Getting Ready To Sparkle!

Brides Up North is getting ready to sparkle.  Watch this space. 

Our new look, coming soon, right here.

Look out for the hashtag #GetSetSparkle on our Twitter and Facebook feed for more exciting updates. 

Image by Cat Hepple Photography 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog Image © 2014 Cat Hepple Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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The Editorials: Surfer Chic. Brides Up North Talks Online Wedding Planning For Loved Up Magazine Spring 2014

April 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime

Brides Up North For Loved Up Magazine Spring Summer 2014

Away from the pages of the wedding blog, I’m frequently commissioned to write freelance pieces for various glossy magazines (Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out, eh?) and quite often like to share that content again here when I think it might be interesting or relevant to my readers.  Or genuinely because I’m just really, really proud to see my work in print.

Loved Up Magazine, to whose pages I’ve been contributing for – goodness! – actual years and years now got in touch to ask me to compile a feature sharing my “top clicks” for online wedding planning content, a subject close to my heart.

Yes, I’m a first and foremost a blogger, but I’m also a consumer.  Shock horror!  I read other blogs.  And I’m a prolific consumer of wedding media especially.  I like to keep up with the industry news, the creativity of my peers and to be honest, it’s still fun for me.  Yes, even after four years of blogging about weddings twice a day and 40+ branded bridal events and exhibitions under my Brides Up North belt… I still love it.  I’ve a full blog reader, test out any new bridal app going and don’t even get me started on social media.  39,394 tweets down at the time of writing, I’m well aware that that’s my unwritten novel, right there on Twitter (hey, come follow me, I’ve clearly a lot to say!)

So, here’s my current top picks of the online wedding World – emphasis on current there: trust me, I could have filled the whole magazine with links.  So, have fun exploring, but come right back again afterwards  y’hear?!

Brides Up North For Loved Up Magazine Spring Summer 2014

I said:  In my role as editor of one of the top wedding blogs in the UK I spend a whole lot of time at a computer screen. Mostly its bonafide blog business, but I also spend some time every day keeping on top of what’s new in the online bridal world. It’s as much about checking out the latest cyber products for my bride-to-be readers as staying ahead of the competition, and I’m here to share some of my favourite online resources with you.

Blogging Bride

Wedding blogs are a dynamic, easy to access and free source of wedding planning know how, with a personal touch. There’s a blog out there to suit almost every bride, so bookmark your favourites and return daily for a rapid turnover of ideas, inspiration and tips.

My Top Clicks

Brides Up North (well, obvs.)  – our site and branded bridal events are a must for local ladies who want to see just what the fantastic wedding industry suppliers on their doorstep can do. Every fabulous feature on Brides Up North is sourced from the regions, be it a supplier showcase, styled shoot or real wedding.

Rock N Roll Bride – a cute and colourful site packed full of diverse and different wedding inspiration. If you fancy trying your hand at blogging yourself, creator Kat also runs courses for aspiring writers at her worldwide Blogacademy.

Festival Brides – if you’d rather host your own “wed-stock” party under canvas than hire a stately home, this is the blog for you. Focusing on outdoor and festival weddings, the site is a little bit of summer sunshine delivered to your blog reader daily.

Brides Up North For Loved Up Magazine Spring Summer 2014

Appy Days

There are apps galore for wedding planning on the move. From finding your dream dress to keeping track of your gift list, a few clever downloads can make the whole process a little less daunting. Take a break from Candy Crush and try out some bridal apps that might just save you time and money.

My Top Clicks

WedPics – An alternative to disposable cameras, this nifty tool gathers all your guests’ pics and videos in one private place – and gives you a record of your big day through your nearest and dearest’s eyes.

AppyCouple – A fully personalised online space that your guests can access to obtain all the key details for your celebration including addresses, gift list info, directions, dress code and timings. They can even RSVP and make menu choices, leaving all the information to hand when table planning hysteria sets in.

Find Your Dream Wedding Dress  – A fashionista’s fantasy – browse different design features and come up with a selection of gowns that meet any given criteria, then find the shops that stock them. The dress hunt made easy.

Brides Up North For Loved Up Magazine Spring Summer 2014

Social Club

Use social media to network your way from engagement to altar. Here you can get real time responses to your queries and supplier searches on a no obligation basis.

My Top Clicks

FacebookMost industry professionals keep their Facebook page more up to date than their brochure or websites, making it easier for you to get a sense for their current work.

Pinterest – If you love a mood board, you’ll adore this image sharing site, also available as a smartphone app. Build online boards by pinning your favourite wedding inspiration images to build up a visual idea of your wedding style. And if you don’t want to spoil the surprise – simple – you can now make secret boards too!

Twitter – You’ll find that the wedding industry is live and loud on the Twitter airwaves: keen to offer advice, sell their services and attract new customers.

Words:  Brides Up North for Loved Up Magazine Spring/Summer 2014

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Loved Up Magazine/ Brides Up North

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2014. Let’s DO This!

January 2nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Bluelights Photography

Well, hello there!  Happy New Year and welcome to 2014.  I’ve missed you.

After a short festive break here at Brides Up North HQ (and wasn’t it a lovely one, did you check out our beautiful Real Wedding Recap for Winter 2013 whilst we were away?) we are back to a full blogging schedule as of right now

I return to my desk relaxed, recharged and raring to go, and a submissions folder full of wedding inspiration ready to sift through and share with you.  Our editorial schedule has never looked prettier, and I can’t wait to get going.  But first – if you’ll bear with us regular readers – I think a few introductions might be in order.

Hits to the site, exhibition registrations and newsletter subscriptions have hit a record high in the past few days, and hedging my bets I’d say we might have a few newly engaged ladies joining the Northern Revolution and exploring all the pretty content here at Brides Up North.  Welcome and congratulations!  He (or she) put a ring on it!

Bluelights Photography

I’m Julia, editor and founder of Brides Up North: a blog and wedding inspiration resource written especially for Brides in the North of the UK.  That’ll be you, then.  The site celebrated it’s third birthday back in November, and since it’s inception in 2010 we’ve added a full schedule of Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions and wedding industry networking parties (I’d love to see you at some of our events in 2014 – click here to see the full schedule and add the dates to your diary) but our message is essentially the same as it’s always been: think local.  You can read all about our story and about me on those dedicated pages, but essentially, there’s so much wedding industry talent and inspiration right here on your doorstep and I encourage you to use it!  Creativity absolutely isn’t limited by geography and since the blog began I’ve seen the evidence to prove it – the very best ideas and celebrations are home grown. 

Our readers and industry peers think so too.  Brides Up North has been named Best Blog for Northern Brides by Channel 4, been named “Best Big Day Inspiration” blog in the Wedding Magazine Awards 2013 (just a little bit of a big deal), listed in Easy Wedding Search’s Top 100 UK Wedding Blogs, Bride Tide’s Top 100 Wedding Blogs in The World 2011, 2012 and 2013 and Cison’s Top 50 UK Blogs.  Brides Up North was headline sponsor for and hosted the first North of England Wedding Awards. Brides Up North is also a regional judge in The Wedding Industry Awards 2014 for the third year running and a judge for the National UK Blog Awards in 2014.   

Our wedding industry networking events the Brides Up North Tweet Ups, the Brides Up North Christmas Party and most recently, #weddinghourlive went down a storm and were completely sold out.  The Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions across the North East, Yorkshire and North West (we are planning 18 confirmed events (so far… look out for some exciting news shortly!) under our brand name in 2014 alone) have been consistently sold out on exhibitor space with record attendances for the venues since their launch in Spring 2012.

I am a regular columnist for Wedding Magazine, Etc Magazine, Unveiled Magazine and LovedUp Magazine, and Brides Up North has recently been featured in Wedding Magazine & Wedding Flowers Magazine Online, Wedding Ideas Magazine, Bridal Buyer, North East Life, Pure Weddings Magazine, Belle Bridal Magazine, Darlington Weddings, Yorkshire Bride, Cheshire Bride, Hitched Magazine, The Daily Mirror, The Evening Chronicle, The Sunday Sun, The Journal, The Yorkshire Post, The Hartlepool Mail, The Sunderland Echo, The Northern Echo, The Northumberland Gazette, Fabulous Magazine, Harrogate Living, The Times and Times Online as well as other regional titles.  Check us out!

Bluelights Photography

Here at Brides Up North you’ll find a double daily weekday dose of wedding inspiration, with links to the suppliers – local to you – who make the magic happen.  Visit us daily for Real Weddings, love stories, Supplier Showcases, bridal fashion features, interviews with your favourite designers, discounts, giveaways, discussion pieces, the latest industry news and more.  We’ve got some exciting new features and blog series planned for the New Year, so watch this space.  You can also keep up with the action over on our Twitter and Facebook feeds, where you’ll find all the news first, extra content, dress of the day, special details and my happy ramblings!

It’s our wonderful sponsors – the Brides Up North Featured Suppliers – who make all of this possible, so show them some love.  Make sure to visit our Directory to find the best industry suppliers local to you and make use of their talent, and watch out for an all singing, all dancing Directory revamp in early Spring (I’m excited!).  Use our search function to look for back content here a Brides Up North and read your chosen supplier’s interviews and introductions.  If you are looking for a personal recommendation, feel free to contact me directly. 

This is your blog, so I’d love to hear from you.  Use the comments to add to the discussion on blog posts, or get in touch with your queries, feature ideas or Real Wedding submissions.  I’m here to help, and can almost always put you in touch with a talented local supplier who can turn your big day dreams into reality (often with a little discount thrown in)!

Shall we get this party started then?  I’ve a feeling 2014 is going to be very, very special indeed…

 

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2011-2014 Bluelights Photography (yes, three years old, what can I say, it’s anti-ageing!)

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Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Now We Are Three! Happy Birthday Brides Up North!

November 15th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Three

Well, would you look at that? This little wedding blog is growing up fast!  Fire the confetti cannons and wheel in the cake…for today, Brides Up North is three!

Happy Birthday to us!

Taking stock following our #WeddingHourLive party last month, I counted up the number of luxury wedding exhibitions and industry networking parties that I have personally organised and hosted since the site went live back in November 2010.  Not ten, not twenty.  Thirty six!  Thirty six fabulous, jam packed, buzzing events for my readers and industry friends in just under three years.  No wonder I’m knackered!

It may be hard work – and  the arrival of our baby girl in March this year has certainly upped the ante on that – but the late nights, early mornings, thirty six exhibitions and parties, 1,858 blog features, 37,943 tweets (yes you read that right… that’s the novel I’ve never had time to write, right there on Twitter) and constant updating of the Brides Up North Facebook feed have been absolutely worth it. 

I love my job.  I love championing the brilliant wedding industry suppliers that I meet on a daily basis.  I love sharing the celebrations of our readers past and present.  I love scouting out the latest bridal collections and meeting the wonderfully creative people behind them.  I love meeting my readers and their families at our bridal events.  I love writing, talking, living and breathing weddings… all day, all week, all year long. 

Here’s where it get gushy, as I couldn’t do it without your support.  It’s your daily visits (hello you!), your shares and re-tweets, your submissions, sponsorships, freelance commissions and friendship that keeps the Brides Up North engine functioning.  And I love you for it.  Thank you. 

The Northern Revolution continues to grow.  Our Featured Supplier Directory is ever increasing – swelling with the best wedding talent in the North – and about to get a whole lot more interactive, so watch this space.  We have 18 luxury wedding exhibitions, plus a few contracts ready for review, in the diary for 2014 across three regions already.  Our bridal columns and freelance features appear in pretty much every regional or glossy magazine worth reading.  Our Twitter and Facebook following is growing daily (if you haven’t already, do head over and follow and like, those pages really are the place to stay updated with all our breaking news and the most fabulous bits of our features) and we are gradually cultivating a very pretty Pinterest presence.  Happy days!

It’s become a bit of a tradition to do a whistle stop tour of the year that was at this stage, so here we go… it’s been a busy one.  And if I leave anything out, I blame baby brain.

In December 2012 we gathered round roaring fires at the stunning Thorp Perrow for the Brides Up North Christmas Party and celebrated with canapés and cocktails (virgin ones for me as I was sporting a rather huge baby bump).  In the same month Brides Up North also coordinated a brilliant team for a romantic and opulent styled shoot at the same venue. 

In January 2013 we welcomed in the New Year with a few judging engagements.  We joined the panels for The Wedding Ideas Magazine Awards and The Wedding Industry Awards 2013 and were overwhelmed by the talent of some of the finalists and winners.  I also reprised my popular monthly columns in Etc Magazine and National glossy Wedding Magazine for another year. 

In February 2013 we had features published in Loved Up Magazine, Mosaic Brides and Darlington Weddings, as well as kicking off a brand new spring season, with the added excitement that my waters might break at any second (!).  Fantastic luxury exhibitions at Allerton Castle, Hardwick Hall Hotel and The Mansion followed.  

In March 2013, whilst the team held the fort at our largest bridal exhibition of the season – The Brides Up North Super Showcase at Ramside Hall – I packed my hospital bag and handed over the reigns to my mother, and brand new assistant at Brides Up North HQ, Kate.  At 10:37pm on 13th March 2013 Alan and I were overjoyed to welcome our beautiful baby daughter Annabella Robyn into the World. 

In April 2013, it was back to business as we held two more events at Nostell Priory and the National Railway Museum, York, the latter being an absolute triumph in terms of styling and footfall for our first event in this stunning setting. 

In May 2013 we returned to Thorp Perrow for a bridal garden party style exhibition in their lakeside marquee, then headed over the Pennines to The Bowdon Rooms for our most unique and authentic vintage bridal event yet.   

In June 2013 Brides Up North was profiled in Fabulous Magazine’s Careers Issue to over 8 million readers, and we completed our Spring season with our final bridal show at Sarah Beeny’s Rise Hall.  I had a brief lie down as we took our family holiday to Spain.  Bliss.   

In July 2013 and August 2013 it was down to business once again, completing freelance projects and booking in our amazing exhibitors for the Autumn season.  We also put plans in place for some changes to these pages which will be debuting on a screen near you soon.  We can’t wait. 

September 2013 seemed to arrive super quick, and our luxury wedding exhibition season began once again.  As well as being listed for another year in Bride Tide’s Top 100 Wedding Blogs in the World, Brides Up North was also listed in Channel 4’s 10 Best Wedding Blogs scrapbook, and nominated for a Wedding Blog Award by Wedding Magazine.  Whoop whoop!  Shows at The Alnwick Garden, Ramside Hall, Allerton Castle and Hardwick Hall Hotel kept us out of trouble, and features appeared in Loved Up Magazine, Unveiled Magazine, Belle Bridal Magazine and Mosaic Brides as well as our regular monthly columns in Wedding Magazine and Etc Magazine

In October 2013 we hosted events at Nostell Priory and The Mansion, and only went and won a Wedding Blog Award!  We took home Wedding Magazine’s prize for “Best Big Day Inspiration” and are very proud indeed… what a way to end it all!

So here’s to the end of our toddler years!  Have a cupcake on me and join the party over on Facebook today.

The Northern Revolution rumbles on…

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2013 Party Craft

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Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Back In A Jiffy…We’re Off The The Wedding Blog Awards!

October 8th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Brides Up North/ Black Tie Photobooths

Our suitcases are packed full of high heels, sparkle and hot pink lipstick.  We’re laden with the latest issues of all our favourite glossies.  We’ve raided the sandwich section in M&S for Percy Pigs (travel essential). 

Our tickets have been clipped and we’re off on the train to London town for the first ever Wedding Blog Awards hosted by Wedding Magazine

I am so proud that my blog has been nominated for an award at this evening’s ceremony, alongside a bevvy of other beauties, and would like to say a huge thank you to you – our readers and supporters – who voted in your hundreds and made that happen.  I love you. 

With a very hectic schedule of features writing, events co-ordination and spending time with my little family, I didn’t need asking twice when Wedding Magazine’s little golden invitation dropped through our letter box.  Never mind the awards, a night out is a night out!

Brides Up North/ Black Tie Photobooths

But then I read on… it’s only a night out at the bloomin’ Ritz, hosted by Mark Francis (of Made In Chelsea fame, darlings!) and the perfect chance to catch up with my lovely fellow bloggers.  Sold.  I was down the shops outfit hunting quicker than you could say “babysitter”.

In the end, I’ve opted for a little silky number I already had in the back of my wardrobe, but with a blow dry booked, freshly manicured nails, my glam assistant Ellie on my arm and a glass of Champagne in hand, I’ll be ready to celebrate.

Whether we win it or not, we’re definitely going to show them how it’s done, Northern style. Brides Up North/ Black Tie Photobooths

(Maybe not as above). 

That Northern Revolution?  It’s happening people…

 

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Black Tie Photobooths

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North Is Shortlisted For A Wedding Blog Award With Wedding Magazine!

September 9th, 2013 | Julia Braime

I’m so excited to announce that Brides Up North has been shortlisted as a finalist in the first ever Wedding Blog Awards with national glossy Wedding Magazine – in the Best Bridal Style & Fashion Blog category. 

The Wedding Blog Awards

We work so hard here at Brides Up North to bring you the very best events, the most fabulous regional wedding inspiration and more recently all the news, behind the scenes gossip and new collections from the big name bridal designers, and I would love it if our readers could vote for us to take home the award.

Bluelights Photography

We are up against some tough competition from some of my very favourite wedding blogs, but I would be thrilled if you could take a minute to cast a vote in our favour, whilst also voting for some more of your favourites across the other categories.  The Awards ceremony takes place at The Ritz in October – so come on ladies – let’s show London what the North has got!  Click here to vote for Brides Up North.

Bluelights Photography

As always, a huge thank you for your support, daily visits and to those beautiful brides who come back to share their stylish celebrations on these pretty pages.  We couldn’t do it without you.  The Northern Revolution rumbles on…

And speaking of Awards ceremonies, I can’t wait to see all my industry friends at The North Of England Wedding Awards this evening at National Railway Museum, York.  Well done to all of the talented finalists, I’ll have my fingers tightly crossed for you (on one hand, with a glass of bubbly in the other)!

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © Wedding Magazine/ Bluelights Photography 

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Wedding Blog Giveaway: An Evening Of Swing With Glen Roughead

August 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime

An Evening Of Swing

Those of you who’ve attended one of our brilliant Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions recently (or our Tweet Ups, or our Christmas Party come to think of it… we can’t get enough of this chap!) will have been wowed by the better-than-Buble tones of Glen Roughead, the New Face of Swing.

Looking for a wedding singer who looks the part, has tons of personality and can do acoustic and swing in his sleep?  Glen’s your man.

Mr Roughead and I have become firm friends since I started inviting him to sing at (seemingly every one!) of our events, and so it was with great excitement that I heard about his Evening of Swing at Newcastle’s Live Theatre on 23rd August 2013.

The event’s a complete sell out, but here at Brides Up North, we’ve got our hands on the very last pair of tickets.  And we’re giving them away!

If you fancy checking Glen out as a potential wedding singer (or just checking Glen out!), a date night with a difference or a way to say thank you to someone who has been invaluable in your wedding planning process (Mum’s love Glen, just ask mine) then this giveaway is for you!

There’s not long till the event, so all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment on this post telling us why you’d like the tickets.  Easy.

The competition will close at 12noon this Friday 16th August 2013 and we’ll pick a winner at random. No cash alternative, judge’s decision is final.

Good Luck!

You can also catch Glen at our Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Alnwick Garden on Sunday 1st September 2013.  Click here for all the details and to pre-register for Free Entry as a VIP Bride To Be.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Glen Roughead

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Radiance. The Designer Series: Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

July 2nd, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

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If you are a regular reader of the wedding blog, you’ll know that I recently made a whistle-stop trip down to the smoke to White Gallery London, for a preview of the top bridal designer’s 2014 collections.  These are the gowns that will be landing in a wedding dress boutique near you soon.

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I couldn’t possibly keep all the pretty to myself though, and so am in the privileged position of obtaining access to all my favourite bridal designers for a series of exclusive interviews here on Brides Up North, where they’ll be giving you a sneak peek at their newest designs, sharing the inspirations behind the collections and giving you a glance into their (very beautiful) world. 

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This afternoon I am thrilled to introduce Astral of Astral Sundholm Circa Brides, whose clean and classic lines and beautiful fabrics really did take my breath away.  Currently based in Richmond, London, the campaign to find Astral some fabulous Northern stockists starts right now!

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

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Please introduce Astral Sundholm Circa Brides and tell us a little about your brand?

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I started the company in 2006 and re-launched it in 2011 when I opened my first boutique in Richmond along with a new collection and website. The brand was originally named "Circa Vintage Brides" after my vintage shop in London "Circa Vintage" where the idea came from to design my own wedding dresses.  I have now dropped the "Vintage" and put my name on the brand.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Rosie

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What is your style philosophy? 

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Keep it simple and accessorise your look with something that is totally you, a special piece of jewellery or a scarf, killer heels…

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Tallulah

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Tell us about the new collection by Astral Sundholm Circa Brides?

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The new collection is called "New Romantics" which has a  reflection on the glamour of the 80′s.  I focus on strong lines with attention to detail using beautiful silk fabrics and French lace.  My brides want to wear the dress rather than the dress wearing them. The wedding dresses look different on every woman and it’s lovely to see them bring the look together with family jewellery, veils and other accessories.  

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Amelia

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Where do you look for inspiration?

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I’ve been so lucky to have had so many years of hands on experience searching for stunning vintage clothes from the Victorian times through to the 1970′s and seeing how they are made and the gorgeous fabrics and prints which fill my thoughts and sketch books. The internet is incredible now: you can see a costume exhibition in NYC from your laptop and all you have to do is Google 1920′s dress and the screen is full with beautiful imagery.  I also find that brides influence me when they try on the collection and I can see so many more shapes.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Amelia

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What sort of woman do you design for, did you have a specific “muse” for this collection?

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I would hope there was something for everyone in the collection,  my dresses are quite simple and classic. My brides like the fact that the dresses are all silk and lined in silk satin which make wearing the dress even better.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Antoinette

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

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All the collections are in silk, from silk crepe, silk heavy weight satin, silk Duchess satin and lined in silk satin with hints of French lace and covered buttons and quilted waist bands.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Gabrielle

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Do you have a personal favourite from the new collection? Which piece and why?

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From the latest "New Romantics" collection I have fallen in love with Lotty which has a 1940′s feel with it’s elbow length sleeves edged in French lace and lace inserts under the bust in bias crepe. I would wear this if I was getting married again! 

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Lotty

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What jewellery would you pair with pieces from your new collection?

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I would say 99% of my brides for their final fitting with family heirloom jewellery and they will have either a necklace or earrings which have been handed down the generations.  If not, there is so much choice out there and you don’t have to wear real diamonds and pearls to get the heritage effect.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Antoinette

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What beauty look would complement the pieces in your new collection?

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Very natural, white eye liner inside the eye lids to make them look bigger and tinted lip gloss. 

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Lotty

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Do you have a “signature” piece?

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Ava is my number one selling dress although Eddie is hot on it’s heels.  The quilted waistband is definitely a signature for me.

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

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The first collection was after famous Icons but now i name them after my friends (which they all like)and one is after my dog!  I know a few designers who have done the same.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Gabrielle

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What sizes are available in your gowns?

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They are available in sizes 8-16 depending on the style.   I can do bespoke where the dresses are made to measure to an original design.

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What is the retail price range for your designs?

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From £2000 to £3000. 

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Tallulah

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What sets Astral Sundholm Circa Brides apart from other bridal wear brands?

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I beat to my own drum, although it is lovely when all the designers are at a trade show together and you get to see everyone’s work, there is so much choice out there which makes it very exciting  world to be part of.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Xanthe

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

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I was brought up by my mother who dealt in antique and vintage clothes so from a young age I was exposed to the beauty of stunning clothes as a little girl.  I went on to study Fashion at Chelsea and Winchester School of Art to get my degree and then worked as an apprentice pattern cutter for six months (where i learned more than all the years studying).

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I met Julian Macdonald who was just finishing his MA at the Royal School of Art and went on to work for him as his pattern cutter for years.  I made bespoke wedding dresses for friends as word of mouth got out about what I could do, and then opened a high end vintage clothes shop with my mother.

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This is when the penny dropped! It seemed a day did not go by when a soon to be bride was asking for a vintage wedding dress. The problem with that was they were often too small, stained, deteriorating and covered up most the body. So in 2006 i created Circa Vintage Brides – my first collection of 8 vintage inspired wedding dresses

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Lotty

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

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Selling my old vintage business to focus fully on the bridal and re-launching in 2011.  It’s been hard work but I can see ahead,  opening my lovely little shop in Richmond and taking part at the White gallery this year and seeing the response from wedding boutique buyers and press.

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What are your plans for the future?

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To get more stockists across England and Europe so more brides can get to try the collection on, to get more exposure for the brand and to move into evening wear in some of the styles.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Rosie

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Is this your dream career? What alternative career would you choose? Why?

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Yes, I always wanted to be a fashion buyer and sit at the front of the catwalk, but the creative side got in the way.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Antoinette

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What would “a day in the life” at Astral Sundholm Circa Brides HQ be like?

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I  take my little girl to nursery and in the Summer I’m really lucky as I get to walk through Richmond park with my dog to work (a Schnauzer) she sits in my office under the desk while I’ll check emails, then downstairs to the work room where I’ll alter patterns, make patterns or create on the stand and  cut the fabric for the seamstresses to sew.  Later in the week the bridal appointments get more frequent and I like to see them myself to go through the collections. Saturday is very busy and I have an assistant in to help. I have Sundays and Mondays off to be with my family and catch up with friends as I can work very late during the week.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Xanthe

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

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I love playing with my daughter and the dog and we love family walks, we try and get away for a weekend every now and again, the last was to Salcombe camping and I’m off on my yearly holiday to France where i totally switch off.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Tallulah

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What are your “best things” in life?

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Spending time with my family, designing and seeing happy brides leave my shop with their wedding dresses over the moon.

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Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

Eddie

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

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Visit our website, or they are more than welcome to come and visit the shop and try the collection or hopefully we will secure some stockists Up North in the next year so they can go to them direct! I really hope Brides Up North like the collection. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 supplied by Astral Sundholm Circa Brides

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