Brides Up North

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

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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!

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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

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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

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Designer Preview. White Gallery 2014.

April 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Lusan Mandongus by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Wrapping up last week’s fashion marathon as I recapped the catwalks I’d seen at White Gallery London, I thought I’d ease you into an equally fabulous (but perhaps not quite so manic from my POV) week with one last bit of eye candy… for now. 

The Designer Preview catwalk showcases a selection of gowns from twelve big name designers and due to it’s eclectic and diverse collection is always a favourite of mine. 

My take on this season is that it’s all about shape and detail – whether high fashion or big romance – as the bridal catwalks echo haute couture with high low hemlines, interesting backs, bold use of pattern, embellishment, fit and flare and florals, florals, florals.  Colours are pale and interesting – a watercolour wash of pale pink, blues and greys. 

I loved every second.  And here’s my pick of the bunch…

Lusan Mandongus by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Lusan Mandongus

A wonderful white-out that sang with style and luxury. The collection by Lusan Mandongus is vintage inspired with rich yet subtle details, incorporating different stunning features focusing on elements such as higher necklines, sleeves and peplum waist detail. 

Yolan Cris by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Yolan Cris

The Barcelona based label totally rocked it with their style setting detailed designs and rich handcrafted applications.  Daring, stylish and different. 

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Charlotte Balbier 

A Charlotte Balbier bride is a free spirit who expresses her personality and individuality through her Balbier designed gown.  My favourite? Iscoyd Park, the collection’s title gown that Charlotte designed for her own evening reception. 

Anna Romysh Haute Couture by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Anna Romysh Haute Couture

Daring,different and sometimes (very seriously) barely there, these gowns raised a few eyebrows (and iPhones!) but I salute the risk taking label for putting a high fashion stamp on their collection. Avant garde meets ultimate fashion. 

Naomi Neoh by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Naomi Neoh 

For the romantics.  Naomi Neoh’s stunning skirts were dipped in a swish of pink for the prettiest wedding day look.  And you know I love pink!  The designer has taken inspiration from the glamour and romance of vintage Hollywood and her gowns are crafted from only the finest silks and French lace. 

Timeless Couture by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Timeless Couture

Just what it says on the tin: timeless, couture.  Encapsulating elegance and glamour, with a dramatic and contemporary twist.

Terry Fox by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Terry Fox 

Boho and beautiful as ever, this truly romantic collection for 2015 encapsulates mystical creatures of the sea and the ancient call of the Siren song.  Magical.

Sadoni by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Sadoni

The Nordic signature of Sadoni expresses pure simplicity and understated luxury through their flowy, feminine silk dresses. 

Ivory & Co by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Ivory & Co

Sometimes better known for their twinkling bridal accessories and tiaras, Ivory & Co also specialises in stunning silk designer wedding dresses.  I’m in love with the subtle, swishy, silky glamour of the gown above.  One to add to your dress hunt for sure. 

Brides Desire By Wendy Sullivan & Jack Sullivan Bridal

Brides Desire By Wendy Sullivan & Jack Sullivan Bridal

A unique collection from Australia’s leading designer, a new and updated take on vintage bridal style. 

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

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Wahoo! We’re Off To White Gallery London 2014.

April 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Anna Dello Russo For H&M

Image: Fashion Gone Rouge

So that’s another fabulous Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition done and dusted!  The already beautiful Nostell Priory looked the prettiest I’ve seen it yet yesterday at our fifth event of the spring season. Big, big love to all our amazing exhibitors (a truly superb selection) and gorgeous brides and grooms who supported our event.  We salute you… and hope you left feeling inspired by the talent on show and super duper excited about your big day! Hooray!

If you’ve not popped in to see us at one of our beautiful events yet – or if you have and would like to do it all over again – there’s still plenty of time this season!  Pop one of these stunners in your diary

Its a quick turnaound at Brides Up North HQ today – no rest for the wicked (I must be pretty damn wicked!) – as we were up at the crack of dawn and are already on the East Coast Mainline down to the smoke, to catch up with the fun that’s already started at White Gallery London

Recognised as one of the leading international designer bridal trade shows, White Gallery London is set to present the finest in bridal design at its sold-out forthcoming fifth edition.  Press passes in hand, Ellie and I will be joining the trade at this hunting ground for the best in British and international bridal design, previewing the gowns and the gorgeous that will be landing in a bridal boutique near you next season.

It’s one of my very favourite events of the whole year, and I can’t wait to (do a bit of schmoozing and) see what my favourite bridal designers have lined up for us in 2015.  I’m hoping for structural extravagance, sexy silhouettes and even bolder use of colour in bridal wear.  Let’s wait and see…

Over 70 leading designers will preview their new bridal wear and accessories collections at the event including Alan Hannah, Amanda Wakeley Sposa, Anna Romysh Haute Couture, Annasul Y, Augusta Jones, Benjamin Adams London, Blue Bridalwear, Brides Desire by Wendy Sullivan, Cabotine Novia by Gema Nicolas, Caroline Atelier, Caroline Castigliano, Charlotte Balbier, Charlotte Mills, Christos Costarellos, Cocoe Voci, The Couture Veil, Cymbeline, Eliza Jane Howell, Emma Hunt, Emma Tindley, Encore, Franc Sarabia, Freya Rose, Gemy Maalouf Bridal, Hadas Cohen, Halo & Co, Harriet Wilde, HT Headwear, I Love Gorgeous, Ian Stuart, Ivory & Co Bridal, Ivory & Co Tiaras, Jack Sullivan Bridal, Jenny Packham, Jesus Peiro, Johanna Hehir, Karen Willis Holmes, KatyaKatya Shehurina, Lark Bridal, Linea Raffaelli, Lou Lou, Lusan Mandongus, Lyn Ashworth by Sarah Barrett, Maddy by Madeline Isaac-James, Madeline Isaac-James, Accessories by Madeline Isaac-James, Malis Henderson, Mia Mia, Miguel Suay, Miranda Templeton, Mooshki Boutique, Naomi Neoh, Nicki MacFarlane, Nicola Anne, Nicola Harvey Couture, Nilah & Company, Nordic Gems, Novia D’Art, Nymphi, Ozlem Suer, Parthenis, Patricia Avendano, Polly Edwards, Qiana Bridal, Rachel Simpson, Raimon Bundo, Sadoni, Sassi Holford, Sasso, Shelle Belle Couture, So Sassi, Stephanie Allin Couture, Stephanie James Couture, Stephen Yearick, Terry Fox, Timeless Couture,  Victorio & Lucchino, Watters Brides, White Ivy, YSA Makino, Yolan Cris and Zaeem Jamal. 

Then we’ll come back to tell you all about it!

We’ve seats lined up at some of the iconic catwalk shows including Ian Stuart, Madeline Isaac-James and Suzanne Neville, plus drop in appointments with our pick of the bunch.  We’re also looking forward to catching up with our friends and supporters from bespoke bridal label House Of Mookshi – based in the North East – at this their debut show.  Specialising in custom designed wedding dresses and bridal gowns from vintage inspired through to gothic, those girls have always got something fabulous up their sleeve.  

After all that, we’ll be ready for a drink (or three) and will be hitting the hard stuff with our industry colleagues at Kensington Roof Gardens for a cocktail party sponsored by Perfect Wedding Magazine and in association with the Retail Bridalwear Association.  I’ve a free pass for the evening as the hubby’s on babysitting duty back Up North, so make mine a Mojito please!

See you on the other side.  There’ll be lots of catching up to do…

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2014 Anna Dello Russo for H&M via Fashion Gone Rouge

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Flower Power. Charlotte Balbier For A Real Wedding In Lancashire – Caroline & Stuart

April 2nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Natural Touch Photography (30)

It’s off to Ormskirk, Lancs this evening as we join Caroline and Stuart to share in their gorgeous Real Wedding.  Caroline chose to style her day with an abundance of floral displays – to blooming beautiful effect!

With images by Stephen Rooney at Natural Touch Photography

Natural Touch Photography (54)

Natural Touch Photography (55)

Natural Touch Photography (1)

Caroline says:  We got engaged in Cyprus in July 2012 and were married on 11th October 2013 at West Tower Country House Hotel, Ormskirk. 

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We had looked at about thirteen venues across the North West but we couldn’t decide on any. There was something not right about all of them for us, but then we visited West Tower and it was absolutely perfect. Beautiful setting, friendly staff, incredibly organised – it just felt right.

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I stayed at Formby Hall the night before with my family and bridesmaids and my chief drove us over to the West Tower in the morning where we got ready.

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I chose quite a vintage style dress. It was Mocha in colour with cream lace over the top. It was a Charlotte Balbier dress from The White Closet in Didsbury.

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After lots of shopping around and trying on, the bridesmaids were in navy dresses from Coast and the groomsmen were in grey tails from Groom in Liverpool.

Natural Touch Photography (7)

Natural Touch Photography (8)

I carried a hand tied bouquet of whites and creams, the majority of which were roses.  We used Flowerstyle by Laurie who is in Formby – an absolutely amazing florist.

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Natural Touch Photography (10)

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Natural Touch Photography (13)

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As a special treat for our guests we used Ice Cream Dub who provided our chosen ice cream and sorbet and served them from their vintage VW camper van.

Natural Touch Photography (18)

Natural Touch Photography (19)

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Natural Touch Photography (20)

Natural Touch Photography (21)

Natural Touch Photography (22)

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Steven Rooney of Natural Touch Photography was our choice of photographer.  He was very easy going and professional.

Natural Touch Photography (26)

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Red Events Creative provided the chair covers and sashes and Flowerstyle By Laurie our beautiful centrepieces.  Our table plan was our favourite places we had travelled to together rather than numbers. 

Natural Touch Photography (34)

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Our cake was the “Vintage Fairy-tale” design from Waitrose – just beautiful. 

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We used Steve Mitchell Wedding DJ in the evening.  He really was excellent.  Our free bar also helped too get the party going!

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I loved every bit of the day!  I really enjoyed getting ready with bridesmaids in the morning, I loved the actual ceremony which surprised us both, the speeches were fantastic and I finished off the day dancing with my new husband and then my Dad! Just seeing everyone having a blast was amazing!

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Natural Touch Photography (51)

After the wedding we went to Australia for an epic honeymoon for five and a half weeks, stopping in Dubai on the way home.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is that flowers make such an impact. Shop around for the best but always barter!

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Congratulations Caroline & Stuart!

Would you like to see your Real Wedding on Brides Up North? Here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Natural Touch Photography

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Style A Rainbow: Could You Rock A Colourful Frock?

July 15th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Claire Pettibone – Venus

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As well as the usual – and still beautiful – ivories and whites adorning the bridal catwalks for the past few seasons, they have also been awash with watercolour hues as wedding gown designers step away from monochrome and explore the further reaches of the rainbow.  Our regular guest blogger, Rachel Parry of Mosaic Brides has fallen head over heels for colour. 

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Rachel says:  As part of my job (and in my spare time) I spend a lot of hours swooning over beautiful wedding dresses which often results in a daydream of my very own white wedding. However recently I’ve found myself dreaming in colour as many wedding dress designers have dared to dip their gowns in beautiful blush tones and even vibrant hues, posing a controversial question to brides – would you marry in a colour?

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While many brides do stray from pure white to the heady heights of ivory, very few dare to go that step further. But with an influx of coloured gowns on the bridal catwalks for several seasons now the trend is gradually growing in popularity and has picked up several celebrity endorsements along the way. Last year the gorgeous Jessica Biel married Mr JT in a pretty pink gown and actresses Anne Hathaway and Reece Witherspoon have also walked the aisle wearing the girly hue.

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While I wouldn’t dare to go as far as fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker who married in black, I would consider the option of a pastel wedding dress. I think soft hues such as taupe, peach, powder pink and baby blue give gowns a romantic and whimsical appearance, perfect for a fairytale wedding.

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Claire Pettibone – Dew Drop

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Some of my favourite designs come from Claire Pettibone who often injects bursts of colour into her delicate and detailed creations.  For those not wanting to stray too far from tradition, Pettibone has many flattering and fashionable designs in subtle gold and blush tones with elegant embroidery detailing.

Personally I was a big fan of her pale pink ‘Dew Drop’ dress, complete with eye-catching rose bolero.

Several designs in her recent collection ‘An Earthy Paradise’ feature on-trend pops of mint green and the full coloured ‘Venus’ dress.

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Ian Stuart

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The expert in theatrical bridal wear, Ian Stuart is also an advocate of coloured wedding dresses.

His ‘Killer Queen’ collection featured many dramatic designs in muted palettes such as taupe, honey, rose and lilac as well as bolder options including the ‘Verbier’ dress in blue and ‘Broadway’ in bright peony pink. Coloured dresses also feature in his latest collection ‘Supernova’ but the confident designer has gone one step by with the addition of a floral print dress, ‘South Pacific’ which is both bold and beautiful. Australian designer Wendy Makin has also included a statement floral print dress (‘Katelyn’) in her couture collection which is attracting a lot of attention..

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Ian Stuart

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Of course these aren’t the only designers experimenting with colour. Maggie Sottero, Charlotte Balbier, Veromia and Elie Saab but to name a few have also come up with colourful creations.

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Ian Stuart

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Perhaps the queen of coloured wedding dresses though is Vera Wang who never fears to push the design boundaries. Previous collections have included the cute yellow Isabella dress and the dramatic grey and black Josephine gown. She also turned up the heat with an all red collection for Spring 2013 and her latest Spring 2014 saw the catwalk awash with striking monochrome creations for fashion-forward brides.

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Ian Stuart

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So, would you, could you, should you?  Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

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

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Who Says Lace Won’t Sell? The Designer Series: Charlotte Balbier

June 16th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Beaullea by Charlotte Balbier

Beaullea

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

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

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Let’s open the series with a chat with one of my very, very favourite designers – who also happens to be a very lovely lady indeed – North West based Charlotte Balbier, a pioneer of lace detailing and vintage styling in modern bridal design. 

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Charlotte’s eagerly anticipated 2014 collection adds embellishment and modern touches to cloud like romantic gowns, teaming muted hues with metallic accents for subtle sophistication.  A Decade of Style takes a turn to the future with a plethora of luxury textures and tones that have never been seen before from this leading bridal fashion house.

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Charlotte Balbier

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Charlotte Balbier

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Hi Charlotte, please introduce and tell us a little about your brand?

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Charlotte Balbier was first established September 2003 and elatedly for all of 2013 we are celebrating a decade in British bridal. I was born into bridal heritage with both my grandparents being in bridal design, manufacturing and retail between the 1960’s-1990’s and my Mum is award winning bridal designer Amanda Wyatt. I created Charlotte Balbier as I wanted to bring something fresh, fashion forward, young and vibrant to the U.K bridal scene and thank fully 10 years later I can proudly say… it worked!

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What is your style philosophy?

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Be true to you, don’t follow the trends and dress for your style, personality and body shape and don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd, be unique!

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Beaullea by Charlotte Balbier

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Beaullea by Charlotte Balbier

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Tell us about your beautiful new collection?  

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Each gown has an identity, a distinct look and feel, a story behind the magic.  The collection captures the imagination and that’s just how I  intended when designing each piece with the bride in mind. Each bride embarks on a journey and each bride is consumed by love, and they all have their own love story to tell…

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Beaullea by Charlotte Balbier

Beaullea

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Beaullea by Charlotte Balbier

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Where do you look for inspiration?

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Everywhere and anywhere, every day brings a new lease of inspiration and ideas. My brides are amazing and I love to hear from them with all their wedding news and journey’s and thanks to social media I get to keep in touch with each and every one of them. I love to take myself away with my dog Buster for a long walk whilst mulling over ideas and taking in the countryside. I am also addicted to Pinterest and love to follow all kinds of  lifestyle, fashion and wedding boards. My biggest passion is high fashion and haute couture and I love to keep an eye on all the latest collections from my favourite designers.

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

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I design for all women! To me all my brides are all beautiful and special in their own way. Each collection has 25 pieces and each design is unique.

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Belle by Charlotte Balbier

Belle

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Belle by Charlotte Balbier

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What fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the new collection?

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I chose soft satins, French laces, floating chiffons, rich jersey and crepes. I adore lace and I spend months sourcing beautiful and bespoke laces for each collection. This collection I have also commissioned some exclusive Charlotte Balbier fabrics with metallic silver accents, which are just amazing.

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Do you have a personal favourite from the new collection?

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I have two! I love ‘Leonora’ for the shape (it makes you look and feel 1-2 sizes smaller) and really makes the most of a woman’s shape. I also love the lace on Leonora as it’s so feminine. My other favourite is ‘Sienna’ as I just adore the soft satin and cowl back detail.

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Holly by Charlotte Balbier

Holly

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Holly by Charlotte Balbier

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Holly by Charlotte Balbier

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

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I am a less is more kind of girl when it comes to jewellery, although I am a sucker though for a cuff or some statement earrings but it really depends on the gown, the bride her style  and style of wedding.

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

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The beauty styling we went for on the photo-shoot was old sultry Hollywood glamour, vibrant red lips and nails with long lashes. This look compliments the gowns perfectly and it’s a personal favourite of mine!

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Boadicea & Holly by Charlotte Balbier

Boadicea & Holly

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Boadicea by Charlotte Balbier

Boadicea

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Boadicea & Holly by Charlotte Balbier

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Boadicea by Charlotte Balbier

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Do you have a “signature” piece?

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‘Flora’ is my ‘wow’ dress that captures everyone’s attention, it’s completely unique and stands out from the crowd.

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

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I try to match them with a name that suits the style of gown, I also only use names I like and love. If I have a dress that reminds me of someone I will name it after them, it might be a past bride, a Charlotte Balbier boutique owner or member of my team…

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What sizes are available in your gowns? Is there a made to measure option?

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A Charlotte Balbier gown can be ordered in any size.  Our chart is 8-30 but we often make below and over this. Yes, you can have made to measure and these start at £2,500 upwards.

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Rose by Charlotte Balbier

Rose

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Megan & Beaullea by Charlotte Balbier

Megan & Beaullea

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Libby by Charlotte Balbier

Libby

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What is the process for your clients from finding “the one” to the final fitting?

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Every Charlotte Balbier bride orders their ‘one’ via a Charlotte Balbier stockist and they handle all the appointments and fittings. We recommend a bride orders 8-12 months in advance to ensure there is time to make the gown and all alterations to be carried out. We do though cater for those last minute brides too.

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What is the retail price range for your designs?

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£1,000 – £2,000 for the ready to wear pieces.

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Boadicea by Charlotte Balbier

Boadicea

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Boadicea by Charlotte Balbier

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Flora by Charlotte Balbier

Flora

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Flora by Charlotte Balbier

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What sets Charlotte Balbier apart from other bridal wear brands?

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Over the 10 years as a designer my aim was always to create fresh and exciting designs that still remain true to the brand identity and that are instantly recognisable as a ‘Charlotte Balbier”.

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

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I was born into it, my Grandmother was a wedding dress designer and my Grandfather both a wedding dress designer and tailor. My  Mum is also a designer, Amanda Wyatt so it’s in the blood. I did toy with other career path’s in my early 20’s but my heart belonged to our bridal heritage.

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Holly by Charlotte Balbier

Holly

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Holly by Charlotte Balbier

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

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Yes my ‘Summer Of Love’ collection that I launched in 2007 put me on the map so to speak. This was my 5th collection and I really pushed myself and the boundaries to create a collection that was really different. I also produced a photo-shoot to go with this collection that at the time was very different to what anyone had ever done before in bridal. The location, model, styling and photography were amazing and I still love it now five years on!

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Another turning point was that when I started in 2003 there was no lace dresses in the market, my 1st collection and every collection since has always had lace pieces and it’s so lovely to see it now so popular.  The first shows I did so many people said to me “Ooh lace won’t sell it looks too vintage and brides don’t like vintage or lace!” I’m glad I stood by what I believed in and pushed the boundaries.

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What are your plans for the future?

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This year and collection is a massive achievement and turning point for Charlotte Balbier both for the brand and me personally. Every year I have evolved and this collection sees my biggest evolvement to date and next year I have some very exciting changes and developments up my sleeve for the brand. I am also getting married this Winter so will no longer be Miss Balbier I will be Mrs Balbier Bedford… I feel so grown up!

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Leonora by Charlotte Balbier

Leonora

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Leonora by Charlotte Balbier

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Phillipa by Charlotte Balbier

Phillipa

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Phillipa by Charlotte Balbier

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

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This is my dream and I feel blessed to have the dream job and career every morning I wake up (however stressed I am with new collections or photo shoot planning)!

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What would “a day in the life” at Charlotte Balbier HQ be like?

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My day starts at 9am and very rarely before 9am as I don’t do mornings! We have regular morning meetings with all the team together (there are 20 of us in the Balbier Wyatt HQ) if we are not having a big meeting with all the team we have mini meetings with those we work closely with, for me that’s my assistants Lucy and Holly and I always have a ten minute catch up with my Mum and business partner Amanda.

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My inbox is constantly full and I try my best to clear it but it never seems to get done… I do though answer all the urgent ones immediately.

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Depending on the time of year my day really can vary, in sales season I can be in the showroom daily with Charlotte Balbier stockists showing them new collections. Around show times I am running round like a crazy lady finishing new designs, signing off catwalk shows, stand plans and many, many things that make a show successful. At the moment  have been busy arranging the next photo-shoot working with the stylist calling in gorgeous accessories and props. I also spend a lot of time away from the HQ sourcing fabrics and working on new designs and collections.

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Priscilla by Charlotte Balbier

Priscilla

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Priscilla by Charlotte Balbier

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

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I am obsessed with having facials and massages and I go to the Clarins Spa every 2 – 3 weeks for a body or face treatment. For 90 minutes I switch off and have some ‘me’ time. I walk every day with my dog Buster and this relaxes me as it’s the only time I am not either on my laptop or iPad!

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What are your “best things” in life?

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My family comes first followed closely by my friends.  I am lucky as I am from a very close family and have a wonderful circle of close friends. I love spending time with them all: BBQs in the garden, cocktails in the sunshine or just a walk in the park.

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Sarah by Charlotte Balbier

Sarah

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Sarah by Charlotte Balbier

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

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Online at www.charlottebalbier.com or join our fabulous online community on Facebook and twitter or you can email charlotte@charlottebalbier.com

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Do you have any Northern stockists – how can Brides Up North find them?

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Of course we do! Click here for a full list of all of the Northern boutiques that stock Charlotte Balbier. 

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Charlotte Balbier

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Thank you Charlotte!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Charlotte Balbier

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Under The Apple Tree: A Real Wedding In Yorkshire – Emma & Neil

January 24th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Yorkshire Wedding by Sarah Mason Photography

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It feels like everything has been happening at 1,000 miles  an hour here at HQ.  It’s a whirlwind of exhibition preparation, freelance features, meetings, plans and – on the personal side of things – refurbishing our new home and getting everything ready for the new arrival of baby Brides Up North.

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Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook (come and join the party!) will have seen a few candid shots of our renovation project and will understand that it’s been pretty much a happy chaos around these parts for the last fortnight, whilst I sit calmly in the midst of it all processing all the beautiful Real Wedding submissions and bridal inspiration in my inbox.  There’s been a lot of irregular hours worked to keep up to speed with both the blog and the business side of the brand, but so far, we are coming out fighting (and I figure it’s good practise for the arrival of this little one anyway)!

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This morning, though, I have hidden myself away in a back bedroom whilst all the mayhem happens in the rest of the house – and for once in my life – I’m feeling serene!  It’s been thoroughly lovely to welcome the new day with a big pot of tea, work through the email backlog due to last week’s server issues and indulge myself with Emma and Neil’s beautiful Real Wedding images and story.  With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier Sarah Mason Photography, this gorgeous day is a sunny breath of fresh air on an otherwise hectic January morning.

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Enjoy, and have a wonderful day (it’s nearly the weekend)!

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Wedding in Yorkshire by Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah, our photographer, says:  As soon as Emma & Neil started talking about their day, I knew it was going to be amazing! One of the first things they mentioned to me was that Wetherby Silver Band would be playing at their reception at Wood Hall! As the wedding was late October, I knew the autumn colours would be stunning in the grounds.

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We went to Emma’s parents’ house after being to the hairdressers and the sun started to shine, in fact it stayed out all day! As Emma and her bridesmaids were having their cuppas and their bacon sarnies, Emma was telling me about the apple tree in the garden, a tree she used to climb when she was younger. I was so pleased she agreed to me taking the dress out to the tree to take a few pictures!

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I loved all the personal touches. It was a beautiful day – so many smiles and laughter. Congratulations Emma & Neil.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Emma, our bride, says:  We got engaged on 14 June 2010 on Whaleshead Beach in Oregon, USA. We were doing a road trip from Vancouver down the coast to San Fran and then back up inland. Neil proposed a couple of days in – he must have been certain I would say yes as we had 2 weeks left and 3000 miles to cover!

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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We were married on 27th October 2012, with the ceremony at St Mary’s RC Church, Horsforth, Leeds.  I was christened there and went to the primary school next to the church so it meant a lot to get married there. We live in Horsforth and both grew up there.  Our reception was at Wood Hall, Wetherby.

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The first time we drove there our jaws dropped as we came round the corner and saw the hotel. The views are just stunning. We had looked at quite a few places and Wood Hall was the standout winner.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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I wore a Charlotte Balbier dress from Bridal Boutique in Guiseley. I knew I didn’t want a strapless dress and found my dress the first day I went out searching. My sister Suzy spotted it in the window of Bridal Boutique and we both knew it was the one when I tried it on.

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Charlotte and Sally at Bridal Boutique were incredibly helpful, I always looked forward to my dress fitting appointments with them!

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Sarah Mason Photography

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The bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses in blue from Angel Brides in Horsforth. Again they found them the first day they went looking. They’re not too bridesmaidy looking and they all looked very sophisticated in them!

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Neil, his best man and the groomsmen had suits made at Michelsberg.  They all looked incredibly smart and had a handkerchief on their suits to match the bridesmaids’ dress colour.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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We had our rings made by Iain Henderson Designs.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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The bridesmaids, me and my Mum and Dad went from Emma’s parents’ house to the church in a Daimler limousine.  From the church to the wedding, Neil’s groomsman Paul was our chauffeur and drove Neil’s BMW M5 (Neil’s pride and joy, called “Pudding”). Neil had bought Paul a chauffeur’s hat especially for the occasion!

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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We really enjoyed the ceremony. The priest who married us (Father Boniface) was so funny and made the ceremony very special – even when he thrust a microphone at each of us asking us why we were marrying each other – nothing like putting us on the spot!

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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The whole day was just fabulous – from the amazing sunny weather doing our photos at Wood Hall to the speeches to the party afterwards.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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We had Wetherby Silver Band playing at the reception drinks. We love the sound of brass bands and thought it was a nice ‘Yorkshire’ touch as a lot of the guests were coming from afar.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Wood Hall Wedding by Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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I carried a bouquet of white roses and green foliage and berries – I wanted something that was autumnal and reflected the season. The bridesmaids had similar but with white gerberas and the groomsmen and VIPs wore white flower buttonholes. Our flowers came from Eden Florists, Horsforth. They were great and the arrangements were beautiful.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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We chose Sarah Mason Photography as we are big fans of her work (we’d seen her photos from Neil’s best man’s wedding) and we knew she’d capture the day in a way nobody else would. We discussed the kind of shots we wanted and Sarah put us both at ease at the pre wedding shoot and on the big day itself. We love the photos and are so glad Sarah could join us and share our special day.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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We had a mock up newspaper front page dated 27 October 2012 displayed around the hotel – we first met many years ago whilst doing paper rounds at a paper shop in Horsforth. After the ceremony we went and had a few shots outside that shop, much to the amusement of people on a bus going past at the time!

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Sarah Mason Photography

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For the wedding breakfast we had the tables named after places we had visited during our US road trip when we got engaged and the table plan was a map of our route. Neil’s sister and brother in law are very creative and designed and made our menus and place names.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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We had a cake of fruit, chocolate and sponge mix from M&S.  We had a cake of cheeses from Millie’s Deli in Leeds which we served in the evening too.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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The best man Graham’s speech was incredibly entertaining. It had a section where he wigged up as Philip Schofield and posed Mr and Mrs style questions!  We had a disco in the evening. We had a large Irish contingent of guests so had given some song suggestions to keep the dance floor packed out.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Sarah Mason Photography

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We had a cosy thatched cottage in the Cotswolds for the week after the wedding – was great to relax, go for walks, eat and drink! With organising the wedding we hadn’t had chance to plan our honeymoon – we knew we wanted to go to South America so we booked after the wedding to go on our proper honeymoon to Argentina in February 2013 visiting Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Iguacu Falls and Salta then a few days on the beach in Uruguay at the end.

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Sarah Mason Photography

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be on the day just savour it all and enjoy every moment. I don’t think either of us have smiled and laughed as much on one day!

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Sarah Mason Photography

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Congratulations Emma & Neil!

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Get in touch to see your own Real Wedding featured on these pages – here’s how.  I can’t wait to hear from you.

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Brides Up North – Images © 2013 Sarah Mason Photography

Sarah Mason Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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STOP PRESS! This Weekend: Charlotte Balbier By Appointment At The White Closet, Didsbury

November 9th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Charlotte Balbier

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My friend and industry colleague, the beautiful Charlotte Balbier – designer of super pretty wedding dresses – has been in touch to let Brides Up North know all about a very special, appointment only, North West ‘meet the designer’ weekend at the very gorgeous The White Closet in West Didsbury, Manchester.

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The White Closet is a beautiful vintage inspired boutique in the heart of West Didsbury village Manchester . For two days ONLY – this weekend – the boutique will be turned into a Charlotte Balbier boutique and Charlotte will be previewing four of her 2014 collection gowns, never seen anywhere else!  That kinda makes this a must see for all brides to be!

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Charlotte’s full Romantic Decadence 2013 collection will also be at the designer weekend and Charlotte will be there to help her brides and answer any questions they may have.  If that’s not all, every bride who choses and purchases her dream dress during the event will be treated to a complimentary Charlotte Balbier hair accessory to match her gown and a goody bag bursting with luxury gifts and treats, a gift from Charlotte & The White Closet girls.

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Bubbles, cakes and cupcakes will of course be served a plenty!

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The event is this weekend – 10th and 11th November 2013 at The White Closet in West Didsbury, Manchester.  Please note that this is Charlotte’s ONLY Northern designer day and the only event at which the four preview gowns from her 2014 collection will be showcased.  

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If you fancy popping in, the event is by appointment only so call (0161) 445 5678 or drop a line to info@thewhitecloset.co.uk to reserve your lucky last minute space!  Good luck!

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Brides Up North – Images © 2012 Charlotte Balbier

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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