Charlotte Balbier

hot topic: picking your bridesmaid a-team

August 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

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Mike Plunkett Photography

They’re your go-to girls, your support squad, a crack team of commandos who pop up like a flash mob to help you shop, craft and uncork the wine when it’s most needed – but how to go about actually choosing your #bridesquad? Here at Brides Up North we’ve mulled over one of Weddingland’s biggest dilemmas – who makes the bridesmaid cut? – so you don’t have to. We’re nice like that…

take time out

Chances are, the minute you got engaged you were tempted to shout the news from the rooftops – or at the very least, your Facebook page. And that’s all part of the fun but, be aware: as soon as you do, expectations and questions begin to build. Don’t succumb to the pressure: choosing the team that will surround you and support on one of the most important days of your life is a humongous decision – not one that should be rushed.

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Mike Plunkett Photography

where loyalties lie

Do you choose your official bestie who dates all the way back to Brownie camp but lives 200 miles away, or your new partner in cocktails and crime who’s only been your sidekick for the last couple of years? Your sister, even though you usually brawl like Noel and Liam Gallagher on a night out? Your boyfriend’s cousin – even though she’s a bit wild and unpredictable and, err, odd – because you know it’ll delight your MIL-to-be?  What counts for more – 20+ years of friendship, blood ties or an Excel spreadsheet competency that means your hen do will go without a hitch?

There are no easy decisions here, ladies. Often brides have to consider family loyalties, how futureproof their friendships might be and what their potential bridesmaids can bring to the metaphorical planning table. It’s a tough one – hence, take a deep breath, make a list and get thinking.

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Kazooieloki Photography

the line of duty

One way of clarifying these questions could be to look at the expectations you have of your bridesquad. Will you be bitterly disappointed if they don’t come to every bridal boutique, every fitting and organise a raucous girlie weekend in Ibiza? Perhaps your cousin who lives on the Isle of Man with three kids isn’t the best choice, then – or maybe she is, but you need to scale down your expectations of her.

A good rule of thumb if you’re choosing a team of girls is to look for balance. Someone might live a long way away from you, but you know you can’t live without her support on the big day. Your little sis might be a bit scatty on the organisational front but will be on-call day and night and knows all the uber-cool gin bars in your hen do destination city. Yin plus yang = happy bride.

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Daz Mack

the money question

Many brides choose and pay for their bridesmaids’ dresses, while others ask them to choose something they feel comfortable in and foot the bill, but the uncomfortable truth is that being a bridesmaid can often cost – whether it’s the flights to Ibiza, a night in an expensive hotel before the wedding so that you can all wake up in the same place or forking out the petrol for several trips to your hometown for venue-scouting. Of course, many of your best girls will be more than happy to do this – but it’s something you might need to be sensitive about if one of your chosen maids is struggling for cash.

There’s also the question of cost for you, too: while it might be The Dream to have your whole secondary school hockey team to back you up on your big day – yup, all ten of them – those dresses (and shoes and gifts and personalised morning robes for the wedding photos of your girlhood imaginings) aren’t going to pay for themselves. Make sure your planning is within your budget – so keep the numbers and head for the sales, or cut the numbers and go designer.

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Sean Elliott Photography

the bottom line

And lastly, don’t confuse any of the the following for valid reasons why someone should be part of – or out of – your Big Day Girl Gang:

  1. She asked you. When it comes to being a bridesmaid, there’s no obligation to return the favour.
  2. She’d look super-cute in the colour you’ve chosen. If that’s all you’re going on, it’s definitely a no-no.
  3. She’s a he. Is your bestie a guy? Then go for it. As long as he’s not an ex – even the most accepting of husbands-to-be might find that one a little tricky.

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lovely littles: keeping your flowergirls sweet

July 13th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

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image source, photography by Lucy G Photography

It’s that time once again when we hand over the blogging reins to our lovely guest writer, Carrie Marsden of our media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine, to offer her top wedding advice, inspo and ideas.

For today’s post, she’s talking flowergirls, and more specifically, how to keep the fine little helpers on form throughout the big day…

Carrie says: We’re besotted with the idea of a traditional wedding party, complete with the fairytale troupe of gorgeous little flowergirls. Inspired by Pippa Middleton’s recent nuptials and her pretty-as-a-picture party of little helpers, we felt moved to devoting some time to the cutest guests of them all. So, here’s our guide to keeping your precious flowergirls happy, entertained, and most of all, looking gorgeous!

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image source, photography by Miki Photography

dress to delight

Little girls love to be dressed as little princesses and as flowergirls, this is their moment in the spotlight! We have heard it on very good authority (from a four-year-old flowergirl, no less) that this was her day, never mind the bride’s! Make sure you factor in shopping trips and fittings with your little ones (if you’re brave enough, do them all in one go!). Absolutely make a day of it with them and share in their excitement – little girls are the best audience for getting excited with (and can talk about princess dresses for hours…).

if the shoe fits

Your princesses will need a pair of fabulous shoes to match that fairytale dress – and little girls’ shoes don’t come any more fabulous these days. Choose from colourful or sparkling options for a flowergirl that likes to stand out, or alternatively a pair of ballerina-style pumps in soft satin for a little lady that likes a touch of class.

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image source, photography by Photography34

get them involved

Little ones will love to feel a part of your day, and giving them a little responsibility, whether it’s in charge of holding your veil as you walk down the aisle or throwing confetti as you leave the church – they like to know they’re important! Treating your flowergirls like your main maids will keep them on board and make them feel loved.

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image source, photography by Stephen McGowan Wedding Photography

keep them entertained

It’s a brave bride who includes flowergirls in her day and then doesn’t cater for those moments when they get a little bored. Gone are the days when children were seen but not heard; today’s little girls will most certainly be heard if they want to, so make sure it’s for all the right reasons – because they’re giggling to the heavens above and having so much fun! We love the idea of photo booths with children’s dressing-up, as well as including games and sweet stands. A trusty grown-up maid in charge of the little ones is also a top idea (follow Pippa Middleton’s lead and ask your older sister to do it – if it’s good enough for royalty!)

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image source, photography by Emily & Katy Photography

say thank you in style

Your little flowergirls will love nothing more than being a part of your day and sharing in the excitement, though it’s nice to rewards their efforts with a gift. Trinkets that say thank you in style include engraved photo frames with you and the flowergirl on the day, as well as lockets and charm bracelets for when they get a little older. Perfect for on the day, however, is a ‘flowergirl teddy’ dressed in an identical outfit to your mini maid, or for that Disney-fairy perfection, a sparkling wand!

Love Our Wedding is stocked by hundreds of top bridal boutiques, venues and fairs nationwide. Visit loveourweddingmag.com to download or order your FREE monthly copy today!

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friday fabulous: bridesmaids by amanda wyatt

November 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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For today’s Friday Fabulous we’re turning our attention to brides’ leading ladies, as it’s important for a girl and all her #squad to look and feel amazing too, right?

So for those in search of beautiful dresses in a gorgeous range of colours, styles and fabrics to suit all ages, we give you the stunning bridesmaid collection from our wonderful Sponsor, Amanda Wyatt.

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Made famous for her perfect fit, British designer Amanda doesn’t stop at providing a dream dress for the bride, but for adult and teenage bridesmaids, plus cute little flower girls too! The beautiful gowns are sure to please all, with short and full length designs to choose from, featuring pretty detailing in pleated bodices, illusion necklines and dreamy tulle skirts.

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Perfect for those wanting to mix and match their maids, brides can pick one style in a variety of different colours, or alternatively chose just one hue but mix up the dress designs with short sleeve, twisted strap and bateau neckline options, to name but a few.

We have to say the star of the show for us in these new campaign images has to be the sweet little flower girl, particularly the shot of her slipping into those gold sparkly heels – a girl after our own hearts for sure!

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diary dates: designer events for brides & bridesmaids the little pearl bridal boutique

January 7th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Ladies it’s time to start filling the pages of your 2016 diary with some rather special events that are set to take place at The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in North Yorkshire, this month.

If you’re yet to find your dream dress or are still on the hunt for the perfect bridesmaid gowns, then these events are most certainly for you!

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First up on Saturday 23rd January, the lovely owner of Little Pearl, Diana, will be hosting the boutique’s very first bridesmaid pop up event with leading gown designer Amanda Wyatt. Perfect for maids that will be walking down the aisle in 2016 and 2017, Amanda’s gorgeous gowns offer something to please all, with lots of different styles, colours and fabrics to choose from. There are also options for teenager bridesmaids and flower girls too, so brides can dress all their maids in just one shopping trip!

As well as browsing the beautiful collections and getting expert advice from both Diana and Amanda, ladies attending the event will also enjoy fizz and treats and bridesmaids will receive a lovely little gift to take away with them.

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The following weekend on Saturday 30th January, it will the turn of brides to take centre stage as top wedding dress designer Charlotte Balbier will be visiting Little Peal to showcase her brand new separates collection while helping to style brides for their big day.

The stunning collection features ten inter-changeable separates, designed for brides to build and create their own individual look. From elegant satin gowns and delicate lace jackets, to voluminous ball gown skirts and little lace boleros, there are numerous looks to choose from with the assistance of Charlotte to help find that match made in heaven.

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charlotte says: Meeting my Balbier brides is most definitely the best part of my job, I adore them. I am super excited to be spending the day with Diana at The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique, it’s the most gorgeous boutique and we have planned a really lovely day.

It makes it even more exciting that not only will the brides be able to view and choose ‘the one’ from my bridal gown collection, but also the new separates collection. The new collection gives brides the opportunity to choose from pieces that are interchangeable enabling them to bring out their personal style and personality through their individual look.

The Charlotte Balbier designer day will be made complete with pink fizz, cupcakes and VIP goody bags. Plus every bride who orders their unique bridal look, will get a free sash/belt or hair accessory. So what are you waiting for?

Appointments for the Amanda Wyatt bridesmaid pop up event and Charlotte Balbier designer day are limited and can be booked by emailing diana@thelittlepearlbridalboutique.co.uk, or calling the boutique on 01751 798080.

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#squadgoals. introducing bridesmaids by amanda wyatt

November 16th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Bridesmaids By Amanda Wyatt (16)

Bridesmaids. As much as you love your best girls and they love you, let’s face it – the dress shopping bit can end up being a bit of a nightmare.  Different styles, tastes and body shapes can make for some uncomfortable changing room situations. Luckily, Brides Up North favourite amanda wyatt is here to help with her new line of bridesmaid dresses, in enough colour, fabric and style combinations to keep even the fussiest of friends happy!

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Made famous for her perfect fit, attention to detail and innovative designs Amanda Wyatt has celebrated over 20 years at the forefront of British bridal design and draws on inspiration from her love of fashion, keeping a firm eye on all the latest emerging trends from the fashion catwalks.

Bridesmaids By Amanda Wyatt (25)

The new collection of bridesmaid gowns are available in over 40 colour shades and 25 varying styles from short to long, strapless, one-shoulder and more. The fabrics in the collection span from chiffon and satin to lace and the gowns can be ordered in any style, colour and fabric, covering all ages from baby to teen and adult.

Found in over 80 boutiques nationwide, Amanda’s collection is a great way to make sure that your girls feel truly comfortable, in a gown that compliments their unique body shape and colouring, leaving you plenty of time to get on with the important stuff… bubbly anyone?

For more, visit www.amandawyatt.com

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wedding planning 101: super stylin’

September 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Be My Bridesmaid

image source

Having set your budget, booked your venue, sent out your save the dates and secured your photographer and entertainment, it’s time to move onto tasks that many brides deem as the more enjoyable and exciting parts of the planning schedule.

This is because it’s time to start thinking about how to style yourself and your venue for the big day to come! So in today’s wedding planning post we’ll be talking blooms, bridal boutiques and bridesmaids.

Check out our earlier posts in this series by clicking here (the early stages) and clicking here (the next steps).

flower power

Today beautiful blooms tend to stretch way beyond bouquets and button holes with many couples opting to incorporate pretty petals into their décor too. From dainty pew ends to grand floral chandeliers, the possibilities are pretty much endless, though you will need to find a florist that shares your botanical visions in order for them to become reality.

When searching for the right florist, it’s important to look for a trusted supplier with good testimonials from previous couples. You will also want to view examples of their recent work to get an idea of the styles and arrangements that they can achieve. So it might be that you are looking for a florist known for loose, natural and rustic designs, or perhaps neat and elegant arrangements or those that can wow with modern, striking floral structures.

Once you have whittled down a short list meet up with the florist to see how you ‘click’ and if they share your visions on bouquets and floral decorations. They might even suggest great ideas you’d never even thought of.

the one

In many cases shopping for the dream dress is a bride’s favourite part of the planning, though it can be daunting and frustrating at times too with so many options to choose from.

Having done your initial wedding dress research using magazines, blogs and websites to get an idea of the type of gown you might like and to suss out which designers fall into your dress budget, it’s time to search for boutiques that stock your chosen designers and make appointments to visit.

When attending bridal boutique appointments it can be easy for brides to get carried and invite a small entourage to accompany them but it really is best to keep numbers to a minimum to avoid becoming confused by differing opinions. Take those who know you and your style best and will give you an honest opinion – so perhaps mum, sister and maid of honour.

Though it’s good to have an idea of the type of dress you might like, it’s also good to be open minded at your appointment as a style that you’ve never considered just might turn out to be ‘the one’. Bridal stylists know their stuff so if they make a suggestion to try a certain gown on, go with it but don’t feel pressured – the decision is ultimately yours.

leading ladies

Once your dress is sorted you can move onto finding the right gowns for your maids. Again, though most ladies love to shop, bridesmaid dress hunting can be far from retail therapy with bridesmaids clashing on what they would and wouldn’t want to wear.

To avoid shopping centre tantrums it’s a good idea to get together with/speak to your bridesmaids about what type of design and colour you were hoping to dress them beforehand, giving them an opportunity to express any concerns early on. If you have maids of varying figures you could dress them in one colour but different styles of dresses to suit their individual shapes. Alternatively, if you have maids of varying hair colours and complexions, you could ask them all to wear the same design but in varying complementary colours, to suit both them and the wedding styling.

Also, when picking suitable colours for the maids’ dresses think about the styles and tones of flowers you’ve picked and how they will work together.

#foodie

At this point in the planning process it’s also a good idea to get the catering search underway if the venue you’ve booked won’t be providing the food.

Over time wedding breakfast menus have been extended beyond traditional meat and vegetables, meaning that there are now lots exciting options to whet your appetite. Some couples base their food choices on their personal preferences while others make their decisions by the season of the wedding. There’s also the option to pick menus that complement the style of the wedding, so for example afternoon tea for a rustic, country themed wedding, or street food, such as pizza or Mexican, for informal outdoor weddings.

Whatever you decide look for caterers with good reputations and find out what is included in the price, such as waiting staff and glass/crockery hire, to avoid any hidden costs. Then it’s time to sample the goods with a tasting session so you’ll know exactly how the food will look and taste when it’s served up on the day.

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