May 20th, 2018 | Julia Braime
And all of a sudden it’s Summer! How the bloomin’ beejesus did that happen?!
*unfurls beach towel*
Here at Brides Up North HQ our features schedule is fully charged, so that we never knowingly miss an opportunity to bring you beautiful wedding inspiration every weekday (and sometimes bonus blog posts at the weekends too). The only exception to this rule is our bi-annual break, to re-charge, re-assess and re-focus our efforts to keep bringing you the most precious wedding pretty from our corner of the internet.
Following an INSANE (in a good way!) and absolutely AMAZING 5 months packed full with online inspo and SO many amazing Brides Up North events, culminating in the incredible WEDFEST’18 tour this past month (we love you boho brides!), we’ll be taking our leave for the next fortnight.
But we’re not going far! Starting first thing Monday, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule that will make sure that you still get your daily dose of #weddinggoals, recapping some of our favourite real weddings of 2018 so far. Check back daily for the most beautiful, unique and inspiring celebrations, and if you’re a Brides Up North bride, to see if your day was one of our top picks!
We’ll be back soon with a all-new rejigged features edit; to announce some exciting finishing touches to our upcoming autumn events schedule (trust me, have we got some gigs lined up for you!) and ‘unveil’ a whole new online look for our glossy print product UNVEILED magazine (that’s been a long time coming!). With excitement levels at an ALL TIME HIGH, we’ll see you on the other side!
Usual service will recommence on Monday 4th June 2018.
julia, rachel & the team x
Images by Melissa Beattie
April 26th, 2018 | Julia Braime
If you have your heart set on a wedding photographer that will capture your day in a relaxed and natural manner, documenting all the emotions as they unfold then we know just the lady for you – our fabulous North-West based Sponsor, Amanda Balmain, who we are catching up with on the blog today.
As a regional finalist in last year’s Wedding Industry Awards, Amanda’s couples are keen to praise her for the utterly gorgeous and highly emotive images that she delivers from the big day. Blending into the background and putting her brides and grooms above all else, it is Amanda’s main priority to make sure that her couples have “the best day ever”.
A self-confessed hopeless romantic, Amanda’s images are filled with love, energy and joy that brings the special day back to life in an instant.
So, if you too are all heart-shaped eyes over her images be sure to read on for all the details on how this lovely lady works and also take note, as Amanda is kindly offering a free engagement shoot to Brides Up North readers who book her for their wedding. How amazing!
With images by Amanda Balmain Photography.
When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?
amanda says: Back in 2012 I was photographing children and babies. My only experience of wedding photography was a bride in 2000 when my wedding was shot on film in a classic style. A friend dragged me along on a wedding photography course that I thought would just be good photography experience and a bit of fun. It was so much more than that! Wedding photography has changed so much since switching to digital and the more I learnt, the more I fell in love. Digital technology has allowed wedding photographers to become so much more creative and diverse in their styles.
How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?
My style is somewhere in between documentary and modern creative. Some would call it lifestyle. I shoot mostly candidly with minimal direction focusing on authentic emotion and connection. I love all the details that make up the story of a wedding day but its the people and their emotions that matter the most.
What is it that you love most about your job?
Simply getting to go to so many weddings and hearing people’s stories. I nearly always cry at the speeches. I’m a bit of hopeless romantic at heart, don’t tell anyone!
In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?
What do they want to see when they look back at their photographs in ten years’ time? What pictures will be most important to them? What style of pictures do they really like? What do they like about them? Check that the photographer they are looking at has those sorts of images throughout their portfolio not just once. Also think about the experience of the wedding day. Do they want a photographer who is quiet in the background or the life and soul of the party?
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
I put the wedding day experience for my couples above all else. I work with them to make a plan and we discuss how much time to a-lot for photography depending on their requirements. But on the day, I always go with the flow and work around how they are feeling at the time. I do whatever I can to make sure my couples have the best day ever.
What is the feedback like from your couples?
My couples are often surprised at the shots I get without making any fuss. They love the natural looking images and moments that they may have missed on the day. They like the fact that I fit into their day, that I will chat with their guests and that I’m generally very calm and relaxed.
Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?
One of my favourite moments is straight after the ceremony when the bride and groom get those first moments alone. They look at each other and the reactions are amazing. They’ve done it, they are married and the happiness on their faces says it all.
What area do you cover and is there somewhere in particular that you would love to shoot a wedding that you’ve not yet had the opportunity to do?
All of UK and I’d love to do some destinations. Iceland is on my wish list and I’d love to shoot more in Scotland. But I also love my home county of Cheshire. There are some amazing venues here and it’s always great to be near home.
March 14th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Quite simply, today’s wedding is all kinds of pretty. From the bride’s beautiful bespoke gown to the dreamiest of floral arrangements, complete with plush hydrangeas and peonies – there’s lots of wonderful ideas and special touches from Maria and Simon’s celebrations to pin away to your heart’s content.
But, before we can even gush about these details, we have to talk about the fact that Maria underwent spinal surgery in the lead up to the wedding. We think you’ll agree, this adds extra significance to their nuptials, and we’re delighted to hear that Maria had a speedy recovery that didn’t hinder plans for their big day.
And what a big day it was! Exchanging vows against the grandiose backdrop of Leeds Cathedral, Maria and Simon then went on to host their celebrations at luxury Harrogate hotel, Rudding Park, set in 300 acres of beautiful gardens and woodland. Maria’s Italian and Greek heritage influenced their overall theme for the day, too, with pretty olive branches, a lemon tree and even Greek dancing all bringing Mediterranean feels to the proceedings. Read on as Maria tells all…
With images by Paul Read Weddings.
maria says: We got engaged in August 2015, in Rome, at the beautiful Giardini degli Aranci (garden of oranges) with its stunning view of the city. We went just before sunset, and it was such a romantic setting. I really didn’t expect the proposal and after being there for a while, I asked when we could go for a Prosecco! It was then that Simon said it would be nice to take a seat on one of the benches further back from the wall.
Long story short, he said there was a reason he had brought me to the most beautiful secret spot in Rome, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Once I had stopped crying and said yes, we could hear applause from around the park – such a surreal moment but one we will never forget and that place will remain special for both of us forever.
My mum is Italian so I think Simon always knew he wanted to propose in Italy and it was a trip of a lifetime. We ate at a Michelin star restaurant afterwards but spent most of the evening on our phones telling our family and friends about the amazing news!
We tied the knot on Saturday 24th June 2017.We chose this date as it was 11 years to the day since we first started going out.
We got married at Leeds Cathedral, where I used to sing in the choir. I have also known the priest (now a Monsignor) since I was a child, so it was perfect that he conducted the service for us.
We then held the reception at Rudding Park in Harrogate, voted number one hotel in the UK by Trip Advisor for three years in a row. We knew immediately we wanted our wedding to be attended by all our friends and family, and had considered Amalfi (where my family heritage is from) but given difficulties with older family members being able to get there, we decided that there would be nowhere better than Yorkshire, especially given that I’m a Leeds girl and he’s a Wetherby boy.
We’ve both known Rudding Park for years and it was the perfect balance between city and country. The service at Rudding Park is exceptional and the new spa was going to open the year of our wedding – we just knew we were in safe hands. Plus, I have a pretty huge family and it is one of the few venues in Yorkshire that caters for more than120 people. It’s everything we wanted.
I had spinal surgery for scoliosis in November 2016 – it was a huge procedure but I bounced back within three months – just in time for my wonderful wedding dress to be measured and created. I had often been really paranoid about my waist and I am so lucky to have had this corrected before I walked down the aisle. It seemed a long journey back to health and I had three months off work, but that just left more time for wedmin to take my mind off things!
We didn’t have a theme in the beginning, but once I started my Pinterest obsession, I realised I kept pinning things that were tagged as “fine art”. I tried to bring in a bit of a Mediterranean theme, along with pastel colours to keep things understated and elegant. For example, the olive branches on the cake and the lemon tree in the middle of the main hall, the soft candles, soft blues and pale pinks, and the menu was very much inspired by my Italian and Greek heritage. There was so much food! There was also Greek dancing and a bit of Italian Vin Santo which added much more alcohol to proceedings!
With regards to the pastel colour scheme, I wanted pale pinks and blues with Mediterranean greenery as I thought they would stand the test of time when looking back at the photographs. I also love hydrangeas and peonies which helped guide the colour scheme, and indeed the month of June for the wedding, when peonies are available and in bloom.
January 18th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
We might only be a matter of weeks into the new year, but we’re already excited to see the new wedding trends of 2018 starting to emerge. Expect to see large floral installations, new food trends breaking further away from the traditional three-course menus, and even colourful wedding dresses.
With the vibrant and eclectic mix of colours as predicted by Pantone, the spring wedding season looks set to be full of bold colour fusions with hints of subtle nudes and earthy classics.
Keen to see how such on-trend palettes will convert into couples’ confetti choices, we’ve invited our uber-knowledgeable Sponsor in this area, Shropshire Petals, to the blog to share their inspiring confetti recommendations featuring clever combinations of the top spring hues.
Renowned for their ‘Pick & Mix’ confetti selector, Shropshire Petals enable couples to create their own unique natural petal confetti mixes for their big day. Brides Up North readers that would like to do so can save 10% on confetti orders over £50* by entering BRIDESNORTH10 at the checkout.
Now, over to the experts for that inspo…
Named as 2018’s colour of the year, this magical and intriguing shade of purple is vibrant and playful. We will be seeing lots of couples choosing Ultra Violet as their colour scheme, so keep it simple by choosing confetti to match. Midnight Bloom is a beautiful purple delphinium petal, which is perfect to be used on its own for a colour block confetti shot. You can mix in some contrasting colours to include some of Pantone’s other spring shades or some neutral larger petals for some added texture.
Recommendation: Midnight Bloom or Amethyst. Display your confetti in Confetti Pops or Confetti Wands as they are clear, giving the confetti more impact before its thrown.
There are some stunning pastel shades predicted to appear this spring, including Little Boy Blue, a dreamy sky blue, Pink Lavender, a cheery shade of pink and Blooming Delilah, a pretty salmon-y pink tone perfect for springtime. Creating a confetti mix using aspects of these pastel shades will give you a wonderful colourful confetti shot without distracting from the main focus – the newly married couple!
Recommendation: Choose Summer Nights or a pick and mix of Candy Floss, Icing Sugar, Parma Violet, Duck Egg and some Heather Grain.
Earthy tones are classic colours that really create an impact. This spring, we will see Chili Oil, a sophisticated deep red, Warm Sand, an effortless natural shade and touches of rich coffee brown in the warming Emperador colour. We predict that couples will use elements of these colours together to create a sense of warmth and depth. Combine earthy colours together for a richness and include some neutral tones to help them stand out.
Recommendation: You could create a confetti bar using the elements of Moulin Rouge, selecting Burgundy Berry and Icing Sugar with Kraft, Chestnut Red and Rose Gold cones for guests to make their own confetti mix, which would combine Chili Oil, Warm Sand and Blooming Delilah.
There are some wonderful bright colours this spring, from the lively yellow Meadowlark and the tempting Cherry Tomato to the charming Spring Crocus and the zesty Lime Punch. When it comes to choosing your confetti, you can be really creative. Decide how you want your confetti moment to look – full of petals or a delicate shower, then have fun selecting the colours that work for your wedding theme and style. If you want to include some of the bright tones, try mixing them with other colours to make them stand out or tone them down.
Recommendation: Pick Midnight Bloom and Cerise for a bold explosion of colour.
Of course, you don’t have to match your confetti to your colour scheme; you could choose something to contrast and display in confetti cones to complement your colours. For example, keep it simple by choosing a classic confetti mix such as the black and white Tuxedo with vibrant Strawberry Red confetti cones.
Choosing your confetti is fun, so take some time to play around with the petals and colours and order your free samples to see what your confetti mix will look like before you buy! Also, be creative with how you display your confetti; you can display in colourful confetti cones, pretty baskets, contemporary confetti pops or in little pouches tied to your order of service.
We’ll be launching some exciting new products in the coming months. Follow us on social media for all the latest news, launches, competitions and offers.
For more inspiration and to shop for your confetti, visit the Shropshire Petals website.
*Discount does not apply to existing special offers.
January 18th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
As we touched on briefly in yesterday’s post, the festive season was a peak time for couples to put on a ring on it with a strong stream of just-engaged selfies filling up our social media feeds through late December and early January.
Firstly, if that was you – congratulations! Secondly, if you’ve wound up on these pink pages thinking ‘what next?’, you’re in the right place! For we’re here to hold your hand and guide you through the first steps on your wedding planning journey. So, open up the first page of that wedding planning journal, and let’s begin…
Chances are, questions about the date will start flooding in seconds after you’ve uploaded your first ‘Does this ring make me look engaged?’ photo. Cast your mind forward – are there any big family birthdays, anniversaries or events coming up that you don’t want to clash with – or alternatively, you’d like to honour? How long do you think you’ll need to plan – and save? Trying to predict the British weather is a bit like trying to guess what Britney was going to do next in 2007, but the season or month you choose may have significant impact on the finer details such as colour theme, flowers and dress style, so it’s worth bearing it in mind. Try to come up with a broad range (ish) of dates that would suit, and then it’s onto the venue.
It might be tradition for the bride to be married in her hometown, but who says it has to be your tradition? Often couples have moved away from their respective homes, or might have a special relationship with another place – a university town, the city where they met or first lived together – and can’t imagine getting hitched anywhere else. Sometimes logistics have to rule – couples often consider venues that are close to or between their respective families or a venue that can cater to particular requirements – offering total exclusivity if that’s a deal-breaker, is licensed for weddings if you’re not having a religious ceremony elsewhere, has disabled access or can manage a rowdy rabble of nephews and nieces.
But before you get too weighed down by shoulds and musts, close your eyes and imagine the day you’ve dreamed of. What do you see? A remote countryside retreat, a candle-lit manor house, an edgy urban rooftop bar? What feels most ‘you’ as a couple? There. That’s your starting point. Get online and get searching in your chosen area. Even better, get yourself to a wedding fair (‘tis the season!) at one or two of your potential venues, get your wedding party on board and get scouting. And speaking of the wedding party…
Our advice with this one is to start big. Ignore budgets and venue capacities – you’ll be forced to do some trimming shortly. Who would you have if you could have everyone you wanted, from your long-lost best friend from reception class to that lovely bloke from IT at your last job?
You‘ll also need to consider how much financial help you’re going to accept from parents and in-laws-to-be. If they’ve offered, you’ll need to be sensitive – mum and dad may want (and be entitled?) to ask a few friends, but it’s best to have that conversation and set some boundaries before you start cashing cheques.
Then – and this sounds harsh – start culling. We suggest you get yourself some golden rules – have you actually met cousin Phil’s new girlfriend? No? Then it’s not a ‘plus one’. Have you spoken to Lucy from uni – actually talked to her – in the last two years? Then ask yourself whether you need her there on your big day. It works the other way, too, though – you might not have seen aunty Margie and uncle Derek in the best part of a decade, but is the inevitably nuclear family fallout from not inviting them really worth it?
Get it down to a ballpark figure, and be conservative – 60? 100? 120? Now you need to ask venues about their capacity.
This really goes hand in hand with the above, but it’s time to talk budget – sadly, wedding planning involves a fair bit of spreadsheet tedium as well as the occasional sprinkling of glamour. Based on potential guest numbers and average venue charges per head (choose a venue that’s currently middle-of-the-range on your list), do your figures. How much have you already got saved/can you get saved by your earliest possible wedding date? How much are family able and willing to contribute, if anything? Stack this against your guest list and bear in mind other big ‘wants’ – is it achievable? If not, you need to trim your list further or reorder your priorities – where can you make some cuts?
Warning: time, patience and compromise required. Think of it as good practice for your marriage!
The final biggy on your list has to be a photographer – good ones are booked up literally years in advance and if you’re having a weekend wedding and you want to get wed in 2019, chances are they’ve only got a handful of dates left. Here once again, the internet is your friend. Make trawling through some wedding blogs and Instagram your priority (this post from Brides Up North being the perfect place to start your search, obvs) and make notes on the kind of style and shots that make your head spin and your heart sing. Don’t listen to friends and relatives who say, ‘Oo, such-and-such was great at x’s wedding’ – ‘great’ photography is so subjective, this really has to be a decision for you and your other half alone. Scour their portfolios, get in touch and – eventually – go with your gut.
January 15th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
While it can be tempting to have a complete beauty overhaul ahead of your big day, we believe it’s incredibly important to be the very best version of you on that special day, and not to take things too far so that you look like someone else altogether.
With this being our mantra, we’re very much in favour of our talented Sponsor Alexandra Jane Edgar’s approach to bridal beauty: “you wear the makeup, it does not wear you”. For, as Alexandra explains in today’s post, hiring a professional to create your wedding makeup doesn’t mean changing the way you look, but enhancing your features and complementing your big day plans, with luxury brand products that are kind to skin and long-lasting.
As an out and out pro, with experience of working for and training with some of the world’s most luxurious brands and cosmetics houses, we’ve invited Alexandra to the blog today to tell us more about her fabulous makeup services while also sharing a few top tips and tricks along the way…
With images by Joe Laws Photography.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to be in the wedding industry?
alexandra says: Yearning for a creative career I began working in the cosmetics industry 16 years ago. I have represented the world’s most luxurious brands and cosmetics houses and have had extensive training throughout my career from the industry leading names, such as Lisa Eldridge, Francois Nars, Eve Nom and Sylvie Chantecaille. I have been so fortunate to come into the wedding industry purely through client demand for my services on their big day.
Can you give us an overview of the services that you offer and the area that you cover?
I travel throughout the North East to your bridal venue on your big day. I am based full time in an award-winning wedding and portrait photography studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne. This is where you can come for your makeup trial and very excitingly receive a digital photograph. This is a wonderful opportunity to see how you will photograph on your wedding day whilst giving you a confidence boost and a little experience being in front of a camera. We even host hen party experiences, which is fun opportunity to meet us and trial your big day look, with a fabulous photo shoot of you and your bridal party.
How can brides-to-be prepare for a wedding makeup trial?
Start to consider your wedding day look when you have chosen your palette, flowers etc. so we can complement your ideas. It really is important to know you are going to look and feel your best on your wedding day. I can then also advise you on skincare to really get your complexion radiant in plenty of time for your big day. Afterwards, just relax and look forward to your wedding morning.
Why would you recommend a bride hires in a professional makeup artist for their big day?
Brides tell me they could not have achieved the same look themselves and they all enjoy a professional, pampering and relaxing service on their wedding morning.
What should a bride look for when hiring a makeup artist?
It is your day! You need a good relationship with any professional to feel happy and confident. Experience is essential. I use luxury brands of skincare and makeup and I create looks for ladies of all ages every day.
What would you say is the best part of your job and what you excel at?
I love meeting new people and being a part of your most special day is so rewarding and the feedback from my brides and the bridal party is so positive and encouraging. I am told from my clients that they do not feel any makeup on their skin so they can just feel and be themselves. This is definitely my signature style – you wear the makeup, it does not wear you. Making a woman feel transformed, beautiful and her best is extremely empowering.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
I work in such a creative space, as a team we are constantly challenging ourselves with new looks, lighting techniques, photographic editing. We pore over fashion magazines and Instagram for inspiration and bounce lots of ideas around the studio and on location. We never stop creating – #getcreative is our thing. I recently created a stunning Baroque inspired look for a shoot for Kathryn Russell, an incredible couture bridal gown designer who is based in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne.
What bridal makeup looks are in vogue currently?
Brides always tend to require timeless and classic makeup for their wedding day. I’ve recently noticed an increase in brides requiring elements of glitter and sparkle into their looks too.
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