Charlotte Balbier

welcome rachel (but this time it’s serious).

February 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Rachel Parry - Features Writer

If you’re a long term reader of the wedding blog, chances are you’ll have seen the name Rachel Parry pop up a few (hundred) times.

If you recognise this pretty face, that’s because I formally welcomed Rachel to the team back in May 2014 when she joined us as a regular freelance features writer, but this time around, we are playing for keeps.

After about three years of guest blogging and one as our regular contributor, former news reporter Rachel has finally joined the Brides Up North team and signed on the dotted line (in blood) to become a full time member of staff!

She’s left hard news behind for the world of weddings.

Things just got serious.

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (127)

This is a huge moment for us.  This little corner of the internet that I started in a flight of fancy on a summer’s evening back in 2010 has grown beyond all recognition to support a huge online resource for inspiration and practical, local planning; a directory packed full of and passionately supported by the very best individuals, businesses and brands in the wedding industry; twenty (yes, two-oh!) Brides Up North branded luxury wedding exhibitions per annum plus the odd industry knees up; social media management contracts for some of the industry’s leading businesses; a whole host of speaking and mentoring engagements; editorial responsibility for one of the leading glossy wedding magazines in the north and now is home to a proper little team of two full time and one part time members of staff. Check us out!

Little did I know when I pressed publish on that first blog post that I’d write twice a day, every day (religiously) since that moment, or did I have any concept whatsoever of the places I would go, the people I would meet, the knowledge that I would acquire and the huge opportunities that Brides Up North would bring with it.

Rachel joins us not a moment too soon.  I’m not ok with average. I’m not ok with standing still. This blog, this brand, this northern revolution, it has wings. I want to see it fly.

It was time to call for back up.


With a demanding blog schedule, a heaving inbox and lots of all consuming offline projects on the go (not to mention a teeny toddler at home), it’s an understatement to say that my resources were feeling stretched. In order to curate the best content for Brides Up North and to keep our related workflow running smoothly I needed a support team. Like, yesterday.

I did consider bringing in more freelance writers on a casual basis, but to be honest, I want my readers to engage with the writer as much as what they are writing about, and for a blog built on personality and good old northern soul, I felt anxious about expanding the team too much. I still think that the best blogs are those written by real people, for real people.  Yes, our voice might have grown, but our accent isn’t changing anytime soon.

And then of course there was Rachel herself: talented and stylish, super keen, and with the perfect background in PR and wedding media. Besides, she just wouldn’t go away.

That’s passion and hustle for you.  Right there.

I decided to invest: in Rachel and in the future of Brides Up North. The job was always going to be hers.  Or nobody’s, as I can’t think of anyone else that I’d want to share this journey with.

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (34)

If you’re beady eyed, you might have noticed a shift around here already.  Rachel joined us at the start of the month, but we’ve been so busy playing catch up and hatching plans that it’s taken me a while to sit down and type out a proper welcome.  Finding the right words has been difficult.  A bit like writing a wedding speech, the more I’ve thought about what I’d like to say, the more overwhelming actually doing it has become. I don’t envy those grooms, one bit.

Like I say, this is a huge moment.

I could take pages to outline my hopes for the blog and our brand, our plans for growth, related projects and dreams, but instead, I think I’ll keep it simple.  There’s a lot to be said for letting the proof be in the pudding.

As features writer and editorial assistant, Rachel will be penning lots of our daily content, helping to manage our very active social media output and dealing with her own client accounts as well as actively sourcing the very best weddings, shoots and suppliers in the northern wedding industry to share with you. She’s got a nose for a fabulous wedding and an eye for stunning detail, so expect these pages to be looking even more inspirational, very soon. We’re on a mission to deliver on a new level editorially and are looking to enrich our offering to provide more in depth, cutting edge content that’s also really, really lovely to look at.

She’s my right hand girl, so you can also expect her to be mixed up in whatever crazy-exciting project I have my eye on next, by my side as we steer the fabulous Unveiled Magazine to even greater creative success and hanging around offering her help at all of our Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. It’s an evolving process, so who knows where we’ll be and what we will have achieved by this time next year?!  And in the meantime, I have a feeling that you are going to get to know her very well indeed.

It’s been a slow burner, but this is the start of a beautiful friendship… so I’ll just say: Welcome, Rachel.

I can’t wait to work with you.

Lets do this,

julia x

Images by Cat Hepple Photography

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the power of posing. cat hepple photography

February 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography - The Power Of Posing (7)

It’s no secret that these pretty pages are a big source of inspiration, not only to our bride to be readers (who we love very much) but also to our wedding industry followers.  I love that this creative industry of ours is – in general – such a fabulously supportive environment in which to work.  I know that I owe a lot to the wedding industry friends who have championed my blog and brand over the years, so I hope you’ll take a break from the wedding planning (get some work done!) as I direct this morning’s feature squarely their way.

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One such friend, and someone who is always prepared to give so much back to others in our field is the beautiful Cat of Cat Hepple Photography.  Always one of my favourite ladies to work with (she created the stunning set of images for our rebrand back in April of 2014) and on my personal speed dial for advice on making things look really, really pretty, she certainly is one clever Cat.

I’d like to welcome Cat to the pages of the wedding blog today as she shares her latest achievement with us: she’s only gone and published a book! “The Power of Posing: win clients, create perfect poses and boost your business” is a guide for photographers, written to help them boost their skills and book more clients. This 28,000 word downloadable guide is designed to show photographers all the steps they need to take to put their clients at ease and to teach them to trust, so they take direction and the result is gorgeous images full of emotion.

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I know that our photographer friends (*waves!*) will be reading with interest, as might any enthustiatic amateurs and anyone who just wants to take better personal pictures, so I’ll hand you over to the lovely Ms. Hepple.

Take it from someone who has been “posed” by Cat and loved the results: this is a tome that everyone needs in their creative library.

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cat says: In the four years I’ve been a professional photographer, there’s one question I get asked more than any other by people in the industry: “How DO you get people to look so magazine worthy and yet so natural?”

To me it’s always seemed to be a strange question because posing my clients and getting them to look sensational has been one of my favourite parts of being a photographer, right from the start. I can’t imagine having it any other way. I’ve never done it any other way.

I’m not saying I’ve always known exactly what to do with them, how to guide and direct them but I have been certain from the very beginning of how I want them to look and feel and I’ve worked very hard to create techniques and routines which really help me achieve that.

I love posing people. I know that puts me in the minority in the world of photographers ( a bit like how much I love public speaking, again I know that probably makes me a bit odd!) but I get enormous satisfaction from creating a beautiful image which not only looks fabulous but captures a mood too. Because without emotion, your photographs are just poses, and nothing more. Emotion and mood are critical to connect an image with someone’s soul. So many photographers worry that by focusing on posing the emotion will be lost. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

So I’ve studied hard, not just how to pose someone by moving their arms and legs, hands and feet, but the psychology of working with people. I’ve learnt a lot about trust, building a client’s confidence in me and how to make that work on a shoot. I’ve studied people, considered ways to work with different body shapes and confidence levels and I’ve applied what I’ve learnt to my work. And now it’s all in a new book I’ve written for photographers.

Cat Hepple Photography - The Power Of Posing (1)

The chances are you currently:

  • feel nervous about posing people
  • don’t have time to think about posing on a shoot
  • feel you always get clients who look nervous and won’t take direction from you
  • sometimes have no idea on a shoot what you are going to do next
  • lack confidence in taking the lead and directing
  • struggle to pose people you don’t think are typically beautiful
  • don’t ever get enough emotion into your shots


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My book will help you to:


A simple process you can rely on.

A way to gain confidence.

Trust from your clients so they do what you ask them to do.


The art of winning people around.

The ways to guide people into poses.

The secrets to getting natural images.


Yourself as a posing expert.

Build a reputation for incredibly natural images.

Be in demand and get more bookings, because you make people look and feel amazing.

Cat Hepple Photography - The Power Of Posing (3)

In addition to the book, Cat is now available for one to one mentoring sessions to help you develop even further and look in depth at your own specific business needs.

Visit her new website to buy the book and for more details of Cat’s mentoring offering.

And if you’re a bride to be reader who stuck around and has liked what you’ve seen, you can book Cat for your own wedding by getting in touch here.

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the editorial wedding. a workshop for A/W2014 with Cat Hepple Photography

September 15th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography Workshops (12)

It’s been a really inspirational week or so here at Brides Up North HQ.  We’ve kicked off our lovely autumn season of Luxury Wedding Exhibitions with a really beautiful (and record attendance) bridal show at Hilltop Country House yesterday, launched our exciting new industry concept, The Circle, at a glittering party last week, and have been making travel plans to attend the three award ceremonies that Brides Up North is nominated in this year (The Wedding Blog Awards (“Best City Blog”), The Cosmopolitan Blog Awards (“Best Wedding Blog”) and the Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards (“Best Wedding Blog”), if you’re asking…)

There’s something in the air, and I’ve definitely got that raring to go, ‘back to school’ feeling.

Cat Hepple Photography Workshops (7)

One professional engagement that I’m really looking forward to is joining my friend and industry colleague Cat Hepple at another of her wonderful workshops for wedding photographers.  I was lucky enough to speak at Cat’s last event and catch her in action, and left feeling really energised and extremely inspired.  This time I’ll be reprising my session on blogging, social media and offering my insider advice to help you to get your work published in blogs and magazines.

This girl definitely has the golden touch, and I’d love for you to join Cat and I at her next workshop on Tuesday 23rd September 2014 at the gorgeous Priory Cottages, North Yorkshire.

Images by Cat Hepple Photography, shot on location at her last workshop.

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Cat says: Do you long to have a more editorial and fashion feel to your wedding images, but don’t know how to achieve this with your couples? Do you struggle with posing, ideas, working under wedding time pressures?

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My one day workshops for photographers show you my techniques on a wedding day, from directing my couples, to working with light and creating a consistent editorial feel to the full collection of images.

Other topics covered include;

– How to market yourself to clients who want the fashion feel
– Branding and visual identity
– Inspiration
– Equipment and technical approach

There’s always a live shoot on the day, allowing you to build your wedding portfolio and advice on getting published too.

The next workshop is on the 23rd September 2014, at the Priory Cottages, North Yorkshire, and I’d love you to join us.

Visit Cat’s website to find our more and to book your place. Click here.

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Here’s what some of our last delegates said from our spring course…

“I absolutely loved the day at the workshop with Cat!

We were completely spoilt beyond my expectations…. through the thoughtful little touches such as our handwritten letters, cute notebooks and stellar food, alongside the fact that Cat had gathered a fantastic team to produce the styled shoot and help us not just get some really specific and useful practice but also really high quality images to use afterwards! All of this made me feel really valued and respected, and totally relaxed in that environment to chat and learn.

On the shoot, it was great having the time to break down the thought process of how an image is made. There was so much attention to detail, and I really began to understand why each of these things mattered, which I know will help me to remember the issues in the future. Cat was incredibly generous in sharing her knowledge and ideas, and we all had a lot of fun at the same time.

The information before and following the shoot was massively thorough as well. I had no idea we were going to cover such ground, but honing in on a developing this specific ‘editorial’ style it became apparent that that would affect all aspects of your business! With this at the core of the discussions it felt like everything was that much more relevant, so instead of general advice, I was working out exactly what I would need to do next for me, which was refreshing and rewarding.

As a bonus it was great to get to know some more people in the industry! Julia, you were as generous with your knowledge and attention as Cat was and I couldn’t be more grateful! I’m feeling very energised still right now and keen to apply what I’ve learnt. Would definitely recommend the workshop to anyone considering!”

from Eleanor Woodruff

“I would just like to take this opportunity to offer a heart felt thank you for allowing me to attend such a wonderful day.

You made us all feel so very welcome, and the whole day was perfect – from the Venue, Styling, masses of information & guidance… right down to the smallest details like the bespoke stationery – such a lovely touch!

I particularly enjoyed the section where we explored the images we had chosen, this really was a brilliant opportunity to take a step back and consider our own styles and where we aspire to be.

A huge part of the day which I took away with me was the guidance around use of light & posing…I loved seeing you in action and am already putting into practice a lot of what you taught us.

I loved the fact that the day was really interactive – and not just a case of being talked at. Julia coming along was also really great – and such a brilliant opportunity to meet her in person and hear what she had to say.

I have followed your work for such a long time now – and am thrilled that your Workshop lived up to and surpassed my expectations!

I really do want to take my business to the next level and the course has really given me the confidence and tools to do this.”

from Hayley Baxter

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That link again? Click here.

continue reading

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Summer Shutdown.

June 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime

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We work hard here at Brides Up North HQ to ensure that our features schedule is fully charged, so that we never knowingly miss a day to bring you beautiful wedding inspiration: twice a day, every weekday (and sometimes bonus blog posts at the weekends too).  The only exception to this rule is our bi annual fortnight’s break (once at Christmastime and once towards the end of June), to re-charge, re-assess and re-focus our efforts to keep pushing this Northern Revolutions forwards.

2014 seems to be absolutely motoring by, and all-of-a-sudden it’s our annual Summer Shutdown season here on the blog.  This unfortunately doesn’t mean I’ll be reaching for a caipirinha and the factor 30, but instead shutting myself indoors and at my computer screen to catch up on emails – I get a lot; compile a shiny new features edit; complete our exciting new experts panel; put the finishing touches on our autumn events schedule; polish up our super glossy brand new look here at Brides Up North (shriek!)… and maybe plan a very special, super chic, little launch party for our even prettier new pages.  Oooh… watch this space.

Whilst I use our downtime wisely (probably emerging even more translucent and in need of a break than ever before) we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule that will make sure that you still get your daily dose of wedding pretty. 

Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014,  but in the meantime keep dropping in on a daily basis and watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far in 2014.  Will your big day be included in our editor’s choice selection?



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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#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


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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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 


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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