Brides Up North

what a wonderful world. a travel themed wedding at Hodsock Priory – sami & chris

December 2nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry

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Well, what can I say, from the memorable wedding proposal to the stately venue and swoon-worthy wedding attire (especially the Jimmy Choos) – this couple have style.

Chris popped the question to Sami when they were travelling together so it seemed only natural to them to incorporate their love for globetrotting into their big day celebrations – and my word they did it well.

With Sami’s creative eye and Chris’s exceptional carpenter skills, they created a host of gorgeous personal props that were a whole classy world away from what Handy Andy used to create with a piece of plywood.

So pack a suitcase guys, as it’s time to join Sami and Chris on the journey of their splendid wedding day.

With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.

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sami says: We got engaged in Hoi An, Vietnam, on June 23, 2013 during our travels. We’d been travelling for nine months before Chris went down on one knee during a romantic cycle ride into the countryside, with rice fields galore. We stepped off our bicycles then walked between rice paddies to reach a distressed bamboo bridge to take photographs. The next thing I knew, Chris popped the question with a “will you marry me?” which he had created with wooden letters he bought from a market stall in Bangkok six weeks earlier and attached them onto a world map paper. Chris had created the proposal, using snatched moments when I was in the shower each evening!  It was an unexpected moment even though I was hoping that Chris would propose one day during our travels!

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Sunday September 14, 2014 was the date we decided to tie the knot. We chose this date as we liked the fact that September is usually warm and pleasant and with the hope of an Indian summer, still retaining the colours of the flowers and leaves from the lingering end of the season, that end of summer feeling we love so much, when the sun appears lower in the sky, giving everything a soft warm glow and it doesn’t go dark until around 8pm. The date also includes our personal significant numbers, so it all worked out perfectly, as if it was written in the stars for us!

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We chose Hodsock Priory in North Nottinghamshire as our venue as it has the perfect magical, fairytale and country feel and is in a tranquil setting. It looks like a castle with its Tudor gatehouse as a welcoming entrance, grounds with woodland offering romantic walks, a quirky summerhouse and an Italian terrace, creating endless opportunities for amazing photographs. The interior of Hodsock Priory was just as perfect!  What also attracted us to Hodsock Priory is its exclusivity, so we wouldn’t have to worry about sharing our wedding with another wedding party.

The moment we stepped into Hodsock Priory we immediately fell in love with it and knew nothing else could compete with this stunning and special place!  Also we live near Hampton Court in London, so there are some connections – Henry VIII once visited Hodsock Priory and to us, it’s like a mini version of Hampton Court. The venue is also local to where my parents live, about 20 minutes away, yet we had never heard of it before we got engaged!

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It was a no-brainer to pick a travel related theme as we had travelled around the world and visited 20 countries together in our four-year relationship. So we had a vintage travel theme with a natural, rustic boho chic style.

Our colour scheme was grey, ivory and natural kraft, which was used in our wedding stationery, along with splashes of blue, green and pink colours in the flowers. We chose this scheme because grey is one of our favourite colours and the other colours were thrown in the mix to complement it and bring the whole scheme to life with the natural look we were after. Chris made lots of wooden props, which also blended in well with the colour theme.

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The day Chris and I returned from our travels in July 2013, we received our first wedding magazine as a part of our engagement gift. Already having an idea of the look I wanted in my mind, I flicked through the magazine and there it was – I spotted ‘the one’. It was Holly by Charlotte Balbier. I sourced local stockists and found Emily Bridal Wear in Sheffield, who was fantastic. I looked at dresses in other bridal shops first to make sure, but once I slipped into the Holly dress, I just knew, tears welled up in my eyes and my mum welled up too!

I wanted a simple, flowing, ethereal and dreamy dress that I could wear again after my wedding (the hem can easily be shortened). I also wanted to wear the dress rather than it wearing me, plus I wanted some details to add interest, such as embellishments around the waist and detailed bodice – that dress ticked every box! I had a halter neck strap added to it to make it a little more unique from the usual strapless dress.

When it came to accessories, I fell in love with my Jimmy Choos and I had a matching handbag to go with it. I wanted shoes to complement my dress and they did with the lattice effect just like my dress bodice. They felt so special! My floral clay circlet meanwhile was bespoke, created by the lovely Sofia of Lilain London, whose work I spotted at The Brides Show in Battersea.

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Chris wore a country look grey suit. It was purchased from Reiss along with a white shirt and tan brogues. The silver/grey tie was from Aquascutum and a silver/grey silk pocket square was from John Lewis.

The bridesmaids’ grey/silver dresses were purchased from Coast and the groomsmen’s light grey suits were from River Island. The pale blue ties were from John Lewis.

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For our décor, we had the same flowers as my bouquet, with lots of gypsophila!  We collected lots of glass jars with the help of both sets of parents for the tables. Me and my mum decorated these jars with ribbon, jute string, raffia and wicker hearts then Kay at Hodsock added the flowers. I also collected large glass coffee jars from work, filled with pebbles collected from a beach near Chris’s family’s regular seaside place; they were perfect for the table names! We had each table named after some of our favourite countries and instead of just writing them out, I made a country outline template then Chris cut it out on plywood using a jigsaw. We originally planned to have the guests guess what each country was but realised it was too difficult, so made a label with country name for each one. For each table, we also sourced candle lanterns and photo frames. We love candle lanterns as they evoke warm memories of our travels we felt they gave an enchantingly calm atmosphere.

We used props to give our day more of a personal touch. Chris made some large ‘LOVE’ letters, a wooden wedding post box and also wooden hanging hearts for the aisle, which we alternated with, bunches of gypsophila. He also made a rustic wooden signpost, which depicted some of the places we had visited. It was placed on the lawn giving photo opportunities for guests.

We added family wedding photographs of our parents and dear departed grandparents and had decorations to tie in with vintage travel theme, such as world map board used for table plan, a map photo frame with our engagement photo and C & S letters covered with world map. We also had two wooden step ladders – the large one made a lovely decoration at the entrance, with flowers scattered all over it, topped with a bicycle to represent us (we got engaged whilst out cycling) and a handwritten painted ‘welcome’ sign. We even borrowed a vintage globe from Hodsock Priory for our ceremony table.

Together with my creative eye and perfectionist way, and Chris’s skilled hands, we were able to make the decorations and props we wanted. Since we got married, we have decided to set up our own website as we are looking to go into the wedding props market.

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We went for natural and wild looking flowers. I carried a bouquet filled with gypsophila, ivory and dusky pink roses, pink veronica, eryngiums, eucalyptus, small daisies, all tied together with jute string.  The flowers were part of the Hodsock Priory package. Chris and the men in the bridal party wore eryngium buttonholes and the ladies wore ivory roses.

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We wanted to arrive at Hodsock Priory in style while continuing our travel theme, so we hired Harry, a beautifully restored VW campervan from Vintage VolksWeddings. It was reminiscent of our road trips in Australia and New Zealand. The campervan transported me and my bridesmaids to Hodsock Priory first, where we had our final preparations. Then the groom and groomsmen were collected from a hotel, along with the groom’s parents to be taken to the venue. It was an awesome start to the day and a great photo opportunity!

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Jo and Simon at Shoot Lifestyle were our photographers on the day.  We discovered them by Googling and admired their blog with photographs of a couple whose wedding also took place at Hodsock Priory. We loved their natural and candid style and felt the photographs oozed freshness and colours, and lots of close up shots of details, which were also so important to us. We also hired two videographers to film our wedding as we feel it is a memory in motion that we can keep and cherish over the years.

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For our favours we presented the ladies with stainless steel heart spoons and for the men we gave antique key bottle openers.

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After many months of changing our minds on how we wanted our cake and cupcakes to look, we eventually settled on a lattice effect for half of the cupcakes and small ivory roses for the rest of the cupcakes. The lattice effect tied in with my dress bodice and the ivory roses with our flowers. I loved the simple dot design also, so had that for the main three-tier cake finished with cascading ivory roses. I didn’t want to decide between a three-tier cake and cupcakes, so I managed to persuade Chris to have both! Yvonne, another supplier of the Hodsock Priory package, baked the scrumptious three-tier fruitcake and sponge cupcakes made in two separate flavours – Victoria sponge with jam and lemon.

As Chris is a carpenter, he made the wooden cake stand to present the cupcakes in a creative and unique way and the top stand was personalised with engraving. We also had a wooden base for the three-tier cake. We decided to use fairylights for the lighting effect as it reminds us of travelling in faraway places, especially restaurants by the beach!  The cake topper was a bespoke design, created to look like us!  It was by Cheryl at Artlocke Designs.

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The wines were included in the Hodock Priory package and we chose Gail Dandy as our caterer as we felt her variety of food covered everyone’s tastes. When we went food sampling and were impressed by the numbers of dishes on offer and how delicious her food was!

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As we wanted everyone to join in on the dance floor, we decided to have a ceilidh band. We hired Knitters Jig, who provided an entertaining performance. It was brilliant fun. It didn’t matter if guests made mistakes, it only added to the atmosphere and everyone had a really good laugh!

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We would most definitely recommend our wedding venue to others – it is such a beautiful and fairytale like venue with stunning grounds. The woodland and the lake give the place a magical, enchanted feel! George and the staff were so helpful and friendly and so well organised. We were made to feel very welcome to share their beautiful home.

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It’s really difficult to pinpoint our favourite part of the day as we loved every moment. It was the best day of our lives but if we had to choose, the greatest part would be seeing each other at the aisle!

Shoot Lifestyle

For our honeymoon we went to Hawaii for three weeks island hopping, visiting three different islands, which was a fantastic and amazing experience. We hired a Jeep for a week to explore one of the islands and we swam along with turtles and stingrays in the sea!  It was an amazing honeymoon with a variety of things to do but at the same time offered a lot of relaxation time, which we so desperately needed. We didn’t want to come home!

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Our advice to other brides and grooms-to-be is to enjoy the planning and make sure you leave plenty of time if you want to DIY everything and do rope in family or friends to help – make use of their skills. For example, whilst we had our own ideas for wedding stationery, Chris’s brother-in-law helped us by honing our ideas into reality with his creative graphic design skills for travel themed invitations, order of service, table plan and place cards. Although the day flies by so quickly, make sure you have time for each other but also circulate with your guests between meals like we did, it makes them feel appreciated.

If you want a creative first wedding dance, it’s worth investing in a few dance lessons to build up your confidence and learn your moves, like we did. We wrote our own promises for the ceremony as we wanted our wedding to be more personal, meaningful and unique. If you wish to do the same, make sure you leave plenty of time to think and write them.

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a wedding alphabet. G is for Gown

December 2nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Amaryllis - Claire Pettibone

Amaryllis by Claire Pettibone

A bride’s wedding attire had to appear somewhere in our wedding alphabet, so here it is under the letter G for gown.

This is the element of a wedding that most girls picture first, and that some dream about from being a little girl. Watching the Disney princesses flaunt their posh frocks when I was a youngster certainly helped me conjure up an image of what my very own ‘princess’ dress might look like for the day I would wed my prince charming.

My first thoughts were very much along the lines of Ariel’s wedding dress with corseted top, Princess Diana-esque puff sleeves and an almighty voluminous skirt. Of course over time our ideas and tastes change (thank God), and we come to realise the vast number of pretty bridal dresses there are to choose from beyond the standard fairytale gown.

But how do you find the one? When collating our fabulous real wedding posts for the blog, it becomes apparent that while some ladies find their dream dress almost instantly, others trawl numerous boutiques, toing and froing for months before making their decision.

Leila - Jenny Packham

Leila by Jenny Packham

While we can’t put a time on how long it, will take we can offer a little guidance. So, here are some top tips to help when wedding dress shopping, along with some of my favourite current designs for some extra inspiration:

money matters

Like a helpless moth to a flame, it’s easy to be drawn to stunning full lace gowns, those with intricate detailing or a dress with a killer train to rival Kim Kardashian’s. But if it carries a price tag that is well out of your league it really is pointless, if not a little heartbreaking. So to save you the pain, set a budget and look for designers/boutiques that fall into your price bracket. Also bear in mind that your attire allowance needs to also cater for the accessories that will complete your look, such as shoes, veil, under garments, jewellery and hair accessories.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

Charlotte Balbier‘s Iscoyd Park Collection

early bird

One panic buy you don’t want to make is your wedding dress so be sure to give yourself a suitable amount of time (usually around eight months) to shop around and have alterations made. At the same time, be careful not to start too early or you run the risk of buying something too far in advance and then see something you prefer closer to the big day.

Alchemy - Claire Pettibone

Alchemy by Claire Pettibone

picture perfect

Build up an image of the types of dresses you like using magazine cuttings and Pintrest to record your findings. As well as basing choices on your personal style preferences, also take into account elements of the wedding, such as the venue and season and how your dress might work with this in terms of its colour, fabric and design.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection

bookable boutiques

When booking appointments at bridal boutiques, make sure they stock designers that you like, that are within your budget and that go up to your size. If you have your heart set on trying on a certain design ring ahead and make sure they stock it. Once you have made your bookings be sure to go along prepared with suitable nude underwear and heels of a height similar to what you plan to wear on your wedding day so you can see how the dress falls.

Simone - Jenny Packham

Simone by Jenny Packham

keep an open mind

During the search if a bridal shop owner or assistant suggests trying on something you wouldn’t pick out yourself, don’t dismiss it straight away. These people are experts in the field, and don’t forget, a dress can look completely different on the hanger to what it does when it’s on. A real bride featured on the blog recently (the lovely Fiona) is a great example of how being open minded can work in a bride’s favour. She took up the suggestion of trying on a pink gown (more out of politeness than anything else) and ended up falling head over heels for it.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection

don’t crowd me

Too many cooks and all that! You need to select your dress shopping companions carefully. It’s advisable to take just two or three people when trying on dresses in the early stages. For most it’s a combination of their mum, sisters, best friend and/or nan. Basically the people whose opinion you value the most. What you need is honest and reliable thoughts, not confusing and conflicting opinions. Once you have made your decision you can always take a few other friends or relatives along to a later fitting for a sneak peek.

Julia - Claire Pettibone

Julia (great name!) by Claire Pettibone

be true to yourself

Ultimately the final decision comes down to you so trust your instinct and don’t be swayed by others. You might not have that teary, speechless, dramatic moment, but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident with your choice. When you do find ‘the one’ be sure to order it in the size you currently are, not what you aim to be. Organising a wedding can be stressful enough without putting yourself under added pressure to drop several dress sizes before the big day. If you do lose weight in the meantime, you can always have the dress taken in.

Above all remember that shopping for your wedding dress should be an exciting and memorable experience so keep calm and enjoy!

Garbo - Jenny Packham

Garbo by Jenny Packham

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notes from the east coast mainline…

November 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Standing at the station

^another no-makeup selfie for the archives^

I’m hoping that this quick blog feature – fired across the internets courtesy of East Coast Wifi – will make it onto your screens this morning, but as I’ve spent 24 hours without coverage back at Brides Up North HQ due to some BT mast works, and the usual dip-in, dip-out nature of on-train signal, confidence isn’t at an all time high.  Fingers crossed.

Another week, another journey to the smoke, and this time for the esteemed Perfect Wedding Magazine Awards.  We are absolutely thrilled to have been nominated as best wedding blogamong a really glittering line up of top blogs, and can’t wait to celebrate with our industry colleagues this evening.

Tonight’s just a little bit special.

Not only are we up for the Award, but we’re also using the occasion to celebrate a fabulous 4 years in business (my pride in which I talked about yesterday, before the lines were cut!).  My husband – usually on babysitting duty when I’m on official blog business – is my date for the evening, and I’ve been promised Champagne, whether we win or not!

I’ve also got a really very lovely outfit for tonight, and I’ve the privilege of being dressed by two of my wonderful sponsors, the gorgeous Charlotte Balbier and Charlotte Mills, both of who are up for their own accolades this evening.  Both have reworked some of their beautiful bridal designs in sleek and chic jet black, just for me.

*pinches self*

I’m one very lucky girl, I know. I’ll be tweeting lots of piccys later, plus all the gossip from Perfect Wedding’s jazz-era inspired soiree. Make sure to watch our Twitter feed this evening.

I’m signing off for now, and hoping that the Wifi Gods are looking favourably on us…

Wish me luck!

Julia x

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let’s get fizzy! A colourful champagne poppin’ wedding at Colshaw Hall – miriam & richard

November 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (21)

Packing a zesty punch to end the week on a vibrant high, we welcome Miriam and Richard to the blog with their opulent, colourful and champagne fuelled Algerian inspired wedding.

Get ready to pop the fizz… this looks like my kind of celebration.

With images by Matt Horan.

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (2)

Miriam says: Richard proposed when we went away for the weekend to the lakes, it was actually my brother in law’s 30th Birthday which Rick kyboshed. We walked up to the room and the bed was laid out with flowers, it took me a while to comprehend what they said and the first thing that came out my mouth was “ I think we are in the wrong room!” anyway, on closer inspection the rose petals said “Will you marry me?” and I turned round  and Rick was on one knee. It was a surreal moment but I of course said yes and the champagne got opened.

We were married on Thursday 17th July 2014 at Colshaw Hall in Pever. We just fell in love with this place. It is a stately home and was just beautiful. The owner is also very down to earth which made us want to go with them even more.

It is just the most beautiful venue, gorgeous gardens and you felt you were a million miles away even though you weren’t.

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (1)

My dress was a Heritage gown, by Amanda Wyatt and Charlotte Balbier. I got it from Love Bridal Boutique and I just fell in love with it. Rick wore a tailored suit that he had especially made for him and my fabulous bridesmaids all wore dresses from Debenhams.

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (14)

We had a Algerian theme as my dad is Algerian and also a fizz theme as I love Champagne, so all the tables were named after Champagnes. The colours were all middle eastern and the food followed this theme.

Our flowers were from Red Floral Architecture and were very blingy with diamante in them! We also had lanterns and candles.

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (17)

Matt Horan was our photographer and we’d certainly recommend him! He was very natural and really caught the moment.

We had a videographer, Tom from Silk Wedding Films who was great, you didn’t even know he was there.

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (20)

We used a wedding planner called Janice who really supported and helped us through the whole process.

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (30)

We carried the Algerian theme into our wedding breakfast so served a mezze to start which included taboluh, merguez sasuage, humous, feta with harissa, flat breads, we then had lamb and couscous with roasted veg and a trio of desserts.

My dad picked all the wine which included red, white, fizz and champagne.

We gave Algerian sweets as favours and instead of a wedding cake we had lots of mini pavlovas, they were lovely!

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (35)

We had a jazz band in the day called Gypsies of Bohemia and a band called The Rush in the evening – we all had a good dance!

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (38)

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (41)

The whole  day was just amazing but it just went very quickly. We are both foodies so I would have to say the food part was lovely, even though Rick was too nervous to eat as he knew he was going to do his speech!

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (45)

We went to France, Italy and Spain for our honeymoon.

In France we stayed in a Michelin starred chateaux for 4 nights, we then got the train to Italy for 4 nights where we visited Lake Maggorie and finally relaxed in a villa in the Andalusian mountains for a week.

It was great that we visited a few different places.

a bright and beautiful wedding at Colshaw Hall (c)  Matt Horan (49)

I am sure all brides say this but my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to ENJOY every second as it flies by!

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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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get ready for the launch

September 10th, 2014 | Julia Braime

The Circle_Master_strapline

 

This evening sees the launch of a project I’ve been working extremely hard on behind the scenes for the majority of this year.

Those of you who have been regular readers and supporters of Brides Up North for the past four years will know that I believe wholeheartedly in the value of carrying on the online conversation in real life. This goes for both brides to be during our busy Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition season and members of our fantastic regional wedding industry.

Those wedding suppliers who have already used our annual Brides Up North “tweet ups” and networking parties to come together to share a few cocktails, ideas, business cards and recommendations will know just how beneficial events like these can be to business.

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Well, we’ve decided to take things a bit further than that.

You know we don’t like to sit still here at Brides Up North HQ, and this year I’ve joined forces with an amazing team of industry leaders to bring industry connectivity and creativity to the next level.

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This evening, I’ll be standing (in my sequins!) alongside the fellow directors of this exciting new vehicle – Charlotte Balbier, award winning wedding dress designer; Jonny Draper, award winning photographer and boutique owner and Howard Wing, award winning entertainer – to reveal our pet project to a select group of industry friends, sponsors and press, including the biggest bridal titles on the newsstands.

Nervous, me?

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I’ve never been very good at keeping secrets, and can’t wait to reveal all on these pages.

One thing that’s guaranteed?  You’ll ALL be invited. 

More very soon.

 

Images by Hayley Baxter Photography 

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the designer series: Charlotte Balbier

August 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Balbier

We recently featured Ms Balbier’s new Iscoyd Park bridal collection for 2015 on these very pages, and today I’m proud to hear all about the inspirations behind my wonderful friend’s beautiful designs.  So Brides Up North, will you be a Balbier bride?  You lucky, lucky things.

Click here to view the extended collection.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

Charlotte says: A Charlotte Balbier bride is confident and daring in both her wedding dress style and every day fashion choices. My brides certainly have their own sense of individuality. Whether you’re a relaxed boho bride whose bouquet choice is wild hand picked rural flowers or a city fashion forward bride who keeps it minimalist and chic. Some brides like a theme and some like to keep it eclectic, it’s a personal style and choice and both are gorgeous.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What were your inspirations for this collection?

The Iscoyd Park Collection is very close to my heart as I designed the collection based on my wedding day to Teddy. My wedding day took place at a venue called Iscoyd Park in North Wales last December. ‘The Iscoyd Park’ collection is made up of over twenty new gorgeous gowns in an array of styles to suit the modern day bride, their wedding and style. The new collection includes two dresses I actually wore on the big day called ‘The Charlotte’ and ‘Iscoyd Park.’ I am flattered we’ve had such a positive response to brides wearing the same dress as I did on my big day! The ‘Iscoyd Park’ collection was designed with love, close to my dear heart.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What shapes, fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the collection and why?

The Charlotte Balbier collection has always been fashion inspired.  Gowns that are forward thinking for the new generation bride. My signature style and look is using soft French laces. Charlotte Balbier is utterly feminine in charm and grace. My gowns are inherently traditional but with that added extra twist of fashion for a modern gown, bride and wedding day. The collection presents classical elegance and timeless gowns that never go out of fashion in array of styles, silhouettes, fabrics and a soft gold, pink and ivory colour pallette.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What sizes are your gowns available in? 

Our sizing is from 0 to any size. Brides can choose the sizing they need and our stockist’s usually amend the dresses to fit the bride to perfection.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What does 2014/ 2015 hold for your label? What are you excited about?

Charlotte Balbier has been around for more than 10 years now and we’ve built a great brand. I am now embarking on a new chapter and looking forward to another 10 years, staying at the forefront of British bridal and looking to also take the Balbier brand International. Last year I won the Wedding Ideas Magazine’s Bridal Designer Awards and I’ve just been nominated for Perfect Wedding’s Best Bridal Designer. Winning Awards is a great achievement and honour to be recognized in the industry. Brides who’d love Charlotte Balbier to win can vote here.

Charlotte Balbier Collection 2014

What are your “best things” in life?

I am a very lucky lady because the best things in life surround me all the time! I’m constantly surrounded by lovely Charlotte Balbier bridal dresses and of course everything else in the bridal industry. I love shoes especially Jimmy Choo’s, Aruna Seth and Freya Rose. I love Clarins facials and enjoy one once a month religiously! I love my dog Buster and my dear husband Teddy!

Where can Brides Up North find out more about your label?

Visit our website, or find us on Twitter or Facebook.  A list of stockists can be found here.

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Golden Admiral. A Beautiful Butterfly Inspired Styled Bridal Shoot In The North West

May 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Celynnen Photography

It’s nearly home time and I’m finishing off your Tuesday with a burst of lovely from a very talented collection of wedding industry suppliers over North West way. 

Showcasing the butterfly inspired rare but beautiful colour combination of pale blues and rose gold and with gorgeously understated yet frightfully glam styling from friend of the wedding blog Boris & Betty, in these stunning shots from North Wales Wedding Photographer of the Year, Celynnen Photography, we’re going for gold!

Get ready to flutter! See our Little Black Book for stockists. 

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

Little Black Book

Planning & Styling: Boris & Betty

Images: Celynnen Photography

Venue: The Isla Gladstone Conservatory

Wedding Dresses: Charlotte Balbier 

Wedding Dresses: Amanda Wyatt 

Bridal Accessories: Vintage Styler

Shoes: Aruna Seth

Hair & Makeup: Artiste Creative

“Big Heart” Prop: Typical Type

Wedding Cakes: Cakes by Andrea Lee

Butterfly Garland: Flutter Designs

Sequin Backdrop & Cloth: Pudding Bridge

Art Deco China: Pretty Little Trio

Model – Abigail Tara-Lilly, CAST Models, Liverpool

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Celynnen Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Deco Does It. A Modern Art Deco Wedding Inspiration Shoot In Morecambe.

April 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Julie Lomax Photography

Earlier this spring a group of North West wedding suppliers got together to collaborate on a contemporary art deco styled wedding photo-shoot at The Midland Hotel in Morecambe on the North West coast.

Brides Up North exhibitors (you can meet them both at our Hilltop Country House event in just under two weeks – click here for details) photographer Julie Lomax and cake specialist Rachel Hanna of Marie Antoinette Cakes teamed up with Vicky Cruse at The Midland Hotel to create something really special. The Midland was originally built in 1933 and is the epitome of art deco elegance and glamour. In 2013 it was lovingly restored and transformed to perfectly blend the original grandeur with a luxurious modernist style.

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie says: As the hotel sits right along the Lancashire coastline, it provides the perfect setting for a wedding filled with seaside chic with incredible views, particularly from the fantastic bridal suite with its huge secluded balcony featuring a private hot tub!

Inside the hotel you can make use of several different spaces for your wedding but it’s the huge Art Deco staircase that we really love with elegant sweeping lines that just seem to go on forever, a chance to get some truly unique and timeless photographs.

The team spent a long time searching for the perfect suppliers to collaborate with and certainly struck gold with a beautiful selection of headpieces, statement jewellery, flowers, dresses and a classic black tuxedo.

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

I was keen to keep the shoot as in-keeping with my natural-light style as possible, something that was relatively easy at The Midland given it’s huge windows. Capturing all of the different details whilst strongly featuring the character of the hotel was something really important to me and I spent time assessing the location prior to the shoot to ensure that I got the best photos possible on the day.

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

The beautiful dresses were a selection of beaded Jenny Packham gowns – Rose, Eden and Esme from Mears Ghyll Bridal in Lancaster who also stock a wonderful selection of gowns from designers Alan Hannah, Charlotte Balbier and Suzanne Neville. The stunningly simple Maggie Sottero Oriana dress is from Butterfly Bridal in Lancaster who are also stockists of gowns by Justin Alexander and Essense Australia.

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Samantha from Isobel Hind Couture is a very talented jewellery designer and her collection of jewellery and headpieces is really something special. Her unique style translates wonderfully to this collection which caught the eye of celebrity stylist and designer Kate Halfpenny who now stocks pieces from the range in her London showroom.

Jane from HF Couture in North Yorkshire has been designing bespoke and unique headdresses, tiaras and bouquets for over five years and they really are beautiful. If you’re looking for a one off piece that will fit perfectly with your dress then look no further. Jane has recently been commissioned by British bridal designer Madeline Isaac-James to create a range of accessories to match her 2015 bridal collection.

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

A wedding isn’t complete without flowers and Bolton-based florist Victoria from Lancashire Floristry didn’t disappoint when she created two stunning bridal arrangements with matching buttonholes for the groom. The first was a collection of black call lillies, ivory roses, brunia, black eyed chins and gorgeous succulents. Victoria also made an amazing art deco style fan of flowers using pipped hyacinth heads, tulips and beautiful white orchids, all wired together with a jewel beads.

Julie Lomax Photography

Rachel, my fellow organiser, from Marie Antoinette Cakes created a black, white and silver art deco themed cake for the shoot with clean lines, sharp edges, geometric shapes and patterns. Her award winning cakes are renowned for their eye catching design and deliciously moreish recipes. Rachel uses the best quality ingredients and takes the time to really understand your cake requirements in a free, no obligation consultation. Her designs include the increasingly popular Simply Antoinette range which was launched in 2012 but bespoke designs are equally as in demand. Not only does she create tiered cakes but also makes cupcakes, cake tables, dessert tables and wedding favours.

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Debra from Ruby Red Lips Makeup is based at her studio at the beautiful Last Drop Village in Bolton and has a real passion for makeup and really making you and your bridal party feel extra special. Debra takes the time to really understood your skin and the look you want to create in a pre-wedding trial so that everything on the day runs smoothly and you and your bridal party can really enjoy the experience and feel pampered. For this shoot so created really strong eyes and lips and took inspiration from the flowers with deep purple on the eye lids and on the lips.

Alex Lee from Sarah’s Hair in Bolton was the hair stylist on the day and spent time beforehand understanding the models hair, researching art deco hair styles and understanding the headpieces before deciding upon a style. She used thin tongs to create curls which were then softened to create a modern, softer version of the classic finger wave. Alex was then on hand throughout the course of the day to fix various headpieces into place which she made look a lot easier than it actually is!

Midland-153

Julie Lomax Photography

Julie Lomax Photography

Chelsea Leigh Edgar – Miss Bury 2014 – was the stunning bride for this wonderful shoot and looked amazing next to our groom, Peter Smithson. Chelsea is studying for a degree in Fine Art but enjoys modelling in her spare time having worked with me on previous shoots. 

Julie Lomax Photography

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Julie Lomax Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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First Look: Charlotte Balbier’s 2015 Iscoyd Park Collection

April 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

I’m really happy to welcome my lovely industry friend and colleague Charlotte Balbier to the wedding blog this morning, as I give you a sneak peek at her beautiful 2015 Collection, straight from the catwalk at last week’s White Gallery.

I’ve known Charlotte for some years now, and spent a little time with the lady herself and her lovely Mum, the fabulously talented Amanda Wyatt, on their stand at the show, watching as Charlotte unveiled her new line to assembled buyers and press.  I can absolutely vouch for this:  This is a designer who really cares.  A lot of heart goes into each and every Charlotte Balbier design, and she positively glowed as she swirled and showed her designs to the audience and discussed what made each and every one unique and special. 

And glow she might, for the new collection is an absolute triumph. 

Charlotte, you should be very proud.  Brides Up North, they’ll be landing in a stockist near you soon. Yippee!

Charlotte Balbier Wedding

Charlotte’s own wedding day at Iscoyd Park, Cheshire

The collection was designed in celebration of Charlotte and her new husband Teddy’s 2014 wedding day and is inspired by the historical and traditional setting of Iscoyd Park.  2015 marks eleven years for Charlotte at the forefront of British Bridal design, a truly amazing decade as one of the UK’s leading bridal designers.

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

The Iscoyd Park Collection is made up of over twenty gorgeous gowns in an array of styles, and delightfully includes two of Charlotte’s own wedding gowns, named ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Iscoyd Park.’ Charlotte’s designs inherently traditional but with that added extra twist for a modern gown.

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

The 2014 collection, ‘A Decade of Style’ won the Wedding Ideas Magazine ‘Designer Of The year’ award and this year is all set to become Charlotte’s most successful year to date with exciting plans and collaborations ahead.  Go girl!

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

To find out more about Charlotte Balbier’s designs and view a list of Northern stockists, visit her website.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

This is not a sponsored post

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

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