Brides Up North

pearl’s girls. introducing the little pearl bridal boutique.

January 9th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (3)

This morning on these pretty pages I’m very proud to introduce a new Brides Up North Sponsor and brand new (so new its doors haven’t even opened!) bridal boutique for North Yorkshire, The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique.

The boutique’s fabulous owner, the lovely Diana, wanted to organise a special photo shoot to show off the wedding dresses that you’ll be able to find at The Little Pearl on launch day and beyond.  I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously excited…

Readers, I give you, pearl’s girls.

Images by Hayley Baxter Photography, Samantha Ward Photography and Georgina Harrison Photography, as individually credited in our gallery.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (9)

diana says: The inspiration behind the launch shoot for The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique was creating our own style of hollywood glamour.  Our vision for the boutique is elegant yet stylish with a warm, relaxed and welcoming feel.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (16)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Samantha Ward Photography (2)

We decided on The Talbot Hotel in Malton as a shoot location due its classic British design, period features, but also its modern take on traditional comforts.  The landscaped gardens and historic setting also provided some great backdrops for the photographers to work their magic!  We had the most talented people in Yorkshire involved on the day, all assisted by my good friend Jonny Draper at Jonny Draper Photography, who helped bring all these fantastic people together.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (15)

We had the best photographers Yorkshire has to offer, who all brought their different style and edge to the shoot.  Hayley Baxter has such a contemporary style to her shooting, with the most stunning use of light.  Samantha Ward takes a relaxed and romantic approach. She’s passionate about film photography and incorporates shooting film within the wedding day, producing beautiful images, rich in tone and depth. Sam was thrilled to be involved in the Little Pearl Bridal photo shoot and says “Diana has sourced some stunning dresses for her boutique along with incredibly beautiful accessories and what a wonderful opportunity to be able to photograph these gowns and details creatively with film.”

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (11)

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (10)

Georgina Harrison shoots hybrid with traditional medium format film along side digital. Her style is feminine, using natural light to create luminous , light airy images that have a sense of romance with soft pastel tones. She always loves shooting bridal portraits and making woman feel comfortable so was delighted to be involved in this shoot and despite the damp, grey day she produced some gorgeous soft, light romantic images.

Having these photographers come together for our launch shoot was an honour and they’ve captured such beautiful and complimentary shots between them.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (4)

Our stunning models were styled by the superb and internationally renowned, hair and make up artist, Catherine Elizabeth.  She came along knowing exactly what would work both for the shoot and on the models themselves – a true pleasure.  I even learnt a few techniques myself!

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Samantha Ward Photography (8)

Sarah of Leafy Couture brought along some stunning floral displays, from bouquets to floral crowns, which helped bring the essence of glamour and elegance together.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Samantha Ward Photography (3)

The models (Laura, Kirstie, Livvie and Molly) are all friends of mine and even though it was a new experience for them, they were naturals! They all brought something different to the shots and loved playing dress up for the day!

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (6)

The shoot itself went so well! Obviously it was my first time organising and running something like this, and everyone involved was so supportive and helpful throughout the day.  I loved finally seeing the dresses on, watching their movement and experimenting with different accessories to complete the look.  They all looked stunning!

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (7)

The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique is a beautifully elegant boutique, situated in the historic market town of Pickering, North Yorkshire.  We will be opening the doors in February and can’t wait for brides to come and see us.  Searching for your perfect gown is such an emotional experience, and should be a joy from the moment you start seeking out what designers you like to the day you walk down the aisle.

I have had a passion for all things bridal for as long as I can remember.  After working with my husband in the wedding industry and then searching for my own gown, I knew that opening a bridal boutique was my destiny.  I wanted to give brides the experience that I feel you should have when planning such an important purchase!

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) GH Photography (1)

At The Little Pearl we pride ourselves in offering a one on one, by appointment only service to all of our brides, in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. We have carefully selected our gown and accessory designers to bring ourcustomers the very best in bridal wear, whilst suiting a wide variety of styles.  Our gown designers are the award winning Sassi Holford, Charlotte Balbier and Enzoani and the up and coming Maria Senvo. We also offer accessory styling appointments for all those finishing touches.  Our accessory designers are Rachel Simpson (shoes), Flo & Percy (headwear and jewellery), Sasso (stoles) and Pompadour (garters).

We have lots of exciting plans for the boutique, including exclusive events and helping brides and their families get access to and experience the very best wedding suppliers in Yorkshire.

Little Pearl Bridal Boutique (c) Samantha Ward Photography (14)

The diary is now open! We will be having a launch open day, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or sign up to Pearls Girls via our website to keep up to date with everything at The Little Pearl.  Contact us at diana@thelittlepearlbridalboutiqe.co.uk to book your Little Pearl experience now.

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lookbook: city sleek.

January 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Mae & detachable skirt - Stephanie Allin

Mae by Stephanie Allin

We were recently Highly Commended in the Wedding Blog Awards 2014′s “Best City Wedding Blog” category, and chic cosmopolitan styling is one of our favourite trends for wedding day fashion, like, ever.  goodbye meringues! A stylish city ceremony gives brides-to-be the opportunity to rock sleek attire that varies from the wedding norm.

Moving around busy urban areas and climbing staircases of grand city halls and hotels calls for a slim line, fluid number that isn’t going to slow you down or trip you up. And we’re not just talking dresses; a city centre do pushes the style boundaries wide open, inviting fashion forward brides to consider a two-piece skirt and top design, or even an all in jumpsuit, Solange Knowles style.

Those preferring to stick to tradition with a dress can always hitch up their hemline to free their feet ready for stepping out through bustling streets.

Pia - Monique Lhuillier

Pia by Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier has some particularly striking options for city brides, including stylish mini-length dresses and sophisticated two-piece designs.

Billie is a particular favourite of mine, not that I would be brave enough to work its cut-away silhouette. But for those that are, its gorgeous crisscross crop top and elegant illusion pencil skirt scream high fashion. Meanwhile, for those planning a more vintage affair, the pretty embroidered Charlotte top and ballerina skirt cover a little more flesh and are still easy to get around in.

Lhuillier’s short-length dresses are also incredibly swoon-worthy options, particularly the Pia and simple yet striking Zelda designs.

Pia - Monique Lhuillier

Billie by Monique Lhuillier

Zelda - Monique Lhuillier

Zelda by Monique Lhuillier

The princess of prettiness, Stephanie Allin boasts several slim line dresses within her collections that would most definitely stand out in a city scene.

Chicago, Eternal, Ingrid and Olivia are all stunning examples of city simplicity at its best, but for those wanting a more structured design there is the Ashlea or even Mae, which has a detachable skirt, to give brides two equally wonderful looks.

The pièce de résistance has to be Allin’s Garbo jumpsuit as she dares to go where few other designers would. The fabulous sweet-heart neckline and wide-leg design also has an optional lace shrug for that extra piece of prettiness and cover-up where required.

Chicago  - Stephanie Allin

Chicago by Stephanie Allin

Olivia  - Stephanie Allin

Olivia by Stephanie Allin

Eternal  - Stephanie Allin

Eternal by Stephanie Allin

Garbo  - Stephanie Allin

Garbo by Stephanie Allin

Finally, I’d encourage city brides to consider the svetle, sleek lines of Suzanne Neville’s Novello Collection (click here to see a preview on Brides Up North), the fab and flirty frocks in Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection (click here) or some of Sassi Holford’s cute designs as big day contenders.

For city brides wanting to bring a bit of bling to their big day, well, you can’t go wrong with a beaded Jenny Packham number, can you?

Simone - Jenny Packham

Simone by Jenny Packham

Rio-Jenny-Packham

Rio by Jenny Packham

Noa-Jenny-Packham

Noa by Jenny Packham

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real wedding recap winter 2014. a wonderful world. a travel themed wedding at Hodsock Priory – sami & chris

January 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Happy New Year! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.

Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.  Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (36)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (8)

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!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (10)

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!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (13)

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!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (16)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (19)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (2)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (3)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (21)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (29)

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!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (27)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (32)

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (35)

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

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (44)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (53)

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!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (51)

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!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (60)

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.

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (62)

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!

a travel themed wedding at Hodstock Priory (c) shoot-lifestyle.co (65)

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).

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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

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Celynnen Photography

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Celynnen Photography

Celynnen Photography

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Celynnen Photography

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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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