Charlotte Balbier

when in rome. a sumptuous wedding at swinton park – victoria & matthew

November 23rd, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth

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For today’s real wedding, we’re getting swept away by the enchantment of Victoria and Matthew’s beautiful wedding set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

Combining the tradition of a church ceremony with the decadence of a castle, hotel and stately home for their celebrations – this is a wedding with class and sophistication in spades, and we simply adore every little detail from their special day!

With images by Andy Sutcliffe Photography.

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victoria says: Matthew proposed during a surprise break away to Rome, leaving me guessing right until check in at the airport as to where we were going. Little did I know that in the luggage that I’d been carting around, on and off trains and through the airport, there was an engagement ring.

The hotel in Rome had a balcony that overlooked the city and the view was incredible. Every day the hotel staff kept leaving bottles of champagne and strawberries in the room and I had no idea why. I just thought it was all part of their hospitality and even said that we should stay in this hotel more often, as I felt like a princess.

We visited many historical sights and enjoyed sightseeing around the city, including a visit to the Vatican. On the final evening, I was so exhausted from walking around that I suggested that we should stay at the hotel for a meal, but Matthew insisted that we should go out. When we arrived back at the hotel, the balcony had been lit up with candles and there was a large parcel wrapped up on the table with a bottle of champagne. I was very surprised and I thought Matthew was too. Matthew insisted I open the parcel. Initially I thought it was a gift from the hotel, because of all the surprises they kept sending to us each night. I carefully tore the paper and inside was a canvas with photographs of Matthew’s niece and nephews holding up signs reading, “Will you marry Uncle Matthew please?” At this point, Matthew got onto one knee and pulled a ring box from his pocket and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!

A few days after we returned home, I received a postcard stamped from Vatican City. Matthew had sent me a postcard when we were in the Vatican City saying that by now he hopes that I am his fiancée and can’t wait to marry me. I didn’t even notice that he had done this and I was with him the whole time. This came as a great surprise. Just as well I said yes!

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We got married on 3rd August 2015. The ceremony took place at St. Joseph and St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, Richmond, North Yorkshire. We chose this church as it was fairly local to our reception venue – Swinton Park in Masham, North Yorkshire. Our local priest, Father Butters was able to conduct the ceremony too, which made it even more special.

We had a Roman Catholic ceremony with two readings. The first was from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, read by the mother of the groom and then then a reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians read by my godmother. We also had bidding prayers that were read by our eight-year-old nephew Louis, and my cousin Michelle.

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#dreamteam diary date: charlotte mills shoe launch at luella’s bridal

August 25th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Today we have news of an exciting new #dreamteam with two of our fabulous Sponsors teaming up to bring you lucky brides-to-be a stunning choice of exquisite dresses and gorgeous accessories, all under one roof.

As from next month Manchester-based Charlotte Mills will be stocking her fancy bridal footwear at the wonderful Luella’s Bridal boutique, located in Wimbledon, London. And to mark the beginning of the pretty partnership, the boutique will be hosting an exclusive launch event on the 2nd and 3rd September – to which you are all invited!

As well as the opportunity to try on Charlotte’s stunning footwear, those who book an appointment for the event at Luella’s will also get to meet the designer herself during a one-to-one consultation, and, better still, will receive a fabulous 10% discount on any purchases made from her collection.

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We spoke to Rachel Attwell, the founder and creative director of Luella’s.

rachel says: We are so excited about our new venture with Charlotte. Her designs perfectly complement the dresses we have in store and our brides are going to be really spoilt for choice.

Not only are we going to be able to offer our customers a fantastic variety of styles, but we will be carrying a large quantity of stock, so they will also be able to walk away on the day with a pair of shoes in their size. We view this as a key step towards really giving our brides what they are asking for and leading the way in instant bridal fashion.

As it’s the first time that the entire Charlotte Mills collection will be available to purchase in London, the northern designer is equally thrilled about the union.

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charlotte says: I’m delighted to be working with Rachel and the team at Luella’s to bring our collection to London brides. We opened our first boutique, based in Greater Manchester, in March this year and it’s been a huge success. We have so many brides in the south wanting to see the shoes and try them on, so this collaboration will be the perfect opportunity for us to make this possible.

To book an appointment to meet Charlotte on the 2nd or 3rd of September and to receive 10% discount, email Luella’s directly at appointments@luellas.co.uk

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lookbook: charlotte mills ss16/17 collection

August 8th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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You’re in for a treat this afternoon as we take a look at the stunning new wedding shoe collection from our super-talented Sponsor Charlotte Mills Bridal. The master of all things sparkling, girly and pretty, Charlotte’s creations instantly send us weak at the knees and are an absolute must for brides wanting standout footwear that’s fashionable and fun.

Expanding on her already impressive range, the new collection includes several new shoe and handbag designs for SS16/17, which are available to buy online, at selected bridal boutiques and directly from Miss Mill’s sweet boutique, located in the gorgeous village of Saddleworth, Oldham.

So without further ado we’ll leave you to swoon over the new collection with the leading lady herself on hand to explain a little more about the dazzling designs…

Amore handbag

Amore handbag

Tell us where the inspiration for the new collection came from…

charlotte says: For the SS16/17 season, my designs take inspiration from Havana nights with a bridal twist. Metallics, including rose gold, and soft nude nappa leathers make the styles perfect to wear again beyond the big day.

To put the collection together I studied Vintage Havana, its fashion and designs from the art deco and art nouveau eras. I love the architecture and style of this time and the fact it’s still relevant today.

Overall I’d say my collections are always a romantic, yet fun mix of something old and something new.

Ana Rose

Ana Rose

Do you have a personal favourite design within the new collection?

I love Calle – it’s so on trend and looks amazing on the foot. It’s a timeless style which could easily be worn again after the wedding day has been and gone.

Calle

Calle

What are the main colours, fabrics and details used within the new collection?

Metallics in pale gold and rose gold with ivory and nude leathers. We have also added a gorgeous new glitter which looks like crushed pearls.

Cindy

Cindy

Which design from the new collection would you suggest for brides wanting to make a real style statement with their footwear?

Cindy really makes a statement with the block heel and oversized bow. The glitter is amazing when it catches the light and the leather has a pearlized finish too.

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love train. david tutera for a rustic wedding in the north west – sarah & cj

June 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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We just love it when a couple adds special elements to their wedding day to make it all the more memorable for them and their guests.

Today’s bride and groom decided the transport was a key area of their wedding where they could do things differently, in order to wow their guests. Having planned a marquee wedding on a relative’s farm through which a steam train track ran, Sarah and CJ seized the opportunity for their guests to travel from the church to reception by rail. But this was no mean feat, in order to make their wish come true, they had to build a temporary train platform so that the steam train could stop at the farm, and in order to do that they had to wait for a time of year when the trains didn’t run during the week so that we could work on the track. Top marks for effort guys!

Now let’s board that locomotive…

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Zen Photographic.

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sarah says: We got engaged at Fountains Abbey, which is a place I used to go to a lot with my family when I was younger. It was just a normal afternoon on 1st November 2014, we went over for a nice walk, headed up to Anne Boleyn’s lookout, which has an amazing view to the gardens and the abbey, and whilst we stood there admiring the view, CJ asked me to marry him, completely unexpected! He’d worked with Whiting & Wilson jewellers in Rossendale to design the ring himself.

We wanted the wedding to be within a year of getting engaged and so decided to set the date for 10th October 2015.

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We got married at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Bury, as this is where CJ’s parents were married and he was christened. It’s also in our hometown and right opposite the steam train station, which was how we planned to transport our guests to the reception. We wanted a completely unique way to transport our guests that would be fun and meant something to us too. We live in Irwell Vale, which the steam train passes through and came up with the idea as the train passed through the village one day. My relatives have a farm, which the steam train runs right through to, so we built a temporary train platform on the farm for the train to stop at, and laid down a gravel walkway from the platform to an Indian style marquee we’d hired, which was in one of the fields. The marquee was a grand pavilion from Shades Canvas.

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walk this way: introducing charlotte mills bridal shoes

June 15th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Prepare to fall head over heels in love (and reach for your credit card) ladies, as we welcome Brides Up North Sponsor, and true Northern gal, Charlotte Mills, to the blog.

For those of you who’ve not come across Charlotte before, this uber-talented lady creates to-die-for bridal shoes that are fashionable, girly and fun. From first setting eyes on her swoon-worthy designs we knew Charlotte would go far with brides unable to resist her super gorgeous heels.

What we love most about Charlotte’s collections is the versatility within; from high stilettoes that wrap around the leg, to cute flats detailed with hearts and stunning block glitter heels, there really is something for all – better still these shoes can easily be worn well beyond he wedding day.

We could go on all day, but instead we thought best to let Charlotte tell you all about her fancy footwear, oh and her lovely new North West boutique too!

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Tell us a little about your background and how you came to be in the wedding industry?

charlotte says: For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to design shoes. I attended Cordwainers at London College of Fashion where I gained my BA in footwear design. I knew I wanted to create my own brand after designing a bridal footwear range for my final year show. This is where the dream began. After university I worked as a footwear design manager for a variety of UK brands until I felt the time was right to launch the Charlotte Mills brand in April 2014.

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What is it about bridal shoes that you love?

It amazing to be able to design something which someone will love and want to wear on their wedding day to show a little bit of their personality. I find this really inspiring.

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How would you describe the style of your collections and designs?

Fun yet stylish shoes, which stand out from the crowd.

What would you say is important in the design of bridal footwear?

I want to create something different to what is already on the market, brides should fall in love with their wedding shoes and not just settle. I find that creating styles which are fashion forward is important. I want brides to be able to wear their shoes again after their wedding day.

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time travellers. justin alexander for a back to the future wedding in cheshire – lisa & david

September 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime

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The styling of today’s real wedding was inspired not by the season or the venue, but by the groom’s favourite film – back to the future. Though a cult classic of the 1980s, David and Lisa chose to style their wedding on the era Marty and Doc Brown were thrown back to, the 1950s, which made for a colourful and upbeat big day.

We love both the bride and groom’s choice of fitting attire, especially Lisa’s pretty tea length dress, finished off perfectly with a pair of cute Charlotte Mills heels.

And what better way for David to travel than in his very own DeLorean time machine car? We think this one might make a few grooms rather jealous!

So join us as we travel back in time to relive David and Lisa’s big day.

With images by Ragdoll Photography.

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david says: We got engaged on the 1st September 2014. We were on a visit to Canada to see my Uncle Neville. We had an amazing holiday visiting Niagara Falls, Forest in Sarnia, and Windsor Ontario. We spent our last few days in Toronto, and I thought there would be no better time and place than to propose on the glass floor of the CN Tower, with a beautiful Tiffany ring. I knew she wouldn’t be able to say no, and I was delighted that Lisa accepted to spend the rest of her life with me.

lisa says: We chose the 4th July 2015 as our wedding date because Dave is a big Back To The Future film fan, and this date marked the 30th anniversary of the film’s release date.

We were welcomed so warmly into the community at our local Methodist church in Sale, Cheshire, that we wanted to take our vows there, and were really pleased that Rev Richard Mottershead agreed to marry us.

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We both agreed we wanted a really relaxed and informal day that our friends and family could let their hair down and enjoy, so where better than our home for the reception? We hired a marquee from Marquee Hire 4 You, which we dressed beautifully with 50s style bunting, cut glass vases, summer bright flowers and candles. It was a great bonus that our house was only a short walk from the church. We were also blessed that our wedding day fell on one of the best summer days in July. The days leading up to the wedding and immediately after were wash outs, but on our day the sun just kept on shinning down on us.

We loved the idea of having a fun theme to a make our day that little bit different, so we continued with the Back To The Future theme and travelled back in time to the 1950s. Lots of our guests got into the spirit of the era, wearing swing dresses, trilbies and 50s hairstyles.

In terms of the colour scheme we just wanted things to be vibrant and bright, so we gave the florist free reign to use their creative flair. We were very happy with their fantastic choices of summer flowers, which added lots of colour.

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On the wedding day I wore a lace 50s style tea length dress by Justin Alexander, which I chose from Puure Bride in Lymm, Cheshire. The ladies in the shop were fantastic, and the seamstress altered it to fit me perfectly. I wore fresh orchids in my hair, which was pinned up beautifully by Michelle from House of Finesse in Altrincham. My shoes were by Charlotte Mills, with a silver six pence sewn inside for luck.

Dave wore a lovely bright electric blue suite, off the peg, from Marks & Spencer, along with a grey Christys’ trilby hat, a yellow cotton tie, and brown brogues. He finished the outfit off with some DeLorean Time Machine cuff links, which I bought for him.

My flower girl Natalie, wore a dress similar to mine, which I bought from Debenhams. Our sons Sam and Josh wore matching blue check slim fitting suits from Next and Trilby’s from M&S. They really looked the part.

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My good friends Rajiv and Shalini, drove me from the hotel to the church in their gorgeous silver Jaguar car. David, meanwhile, arrived in his DeLorean time machine car, hired from Tom Reddaway of DeLorean Timemachine, Devon. After the service the Reverend put on a pair of shades, jumped in the DeLorean and myself, Dave and all of our guests followed as it drove to the house for the celebrations to continue.

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Our photographer for the day was Rosie from Ragdoll Photography. I met Rosie at the Brides Up North Bowden Rooms bridal fair and as soon as I started to explain what our theme was and what we wanted, her face lit up and I knew she was going to be great. We can’t praise Rosie enough. She was amazing with a very natural and relaxed style. It was like having a friend/guest at your wedding that just happened to have a camera. We are so pleased with the photos and the video slideshow she produced.

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My bouquet and all our flowers were from Living Colour Floral Design, Warrington. I asked Amy there to use whatever bright and beautiful summer colours were available, and the results were just stunning. For decorations, we had pew ends and flowers on the altar in the church. They also filled the large vases for the marquee tables with a vibrant splash of colourful flowers, each unique. Everybody loved and commented on the flowers

Our reception was in our garden, so we thought that forget-me-not seeds tied with a pretty ribbon would make nice favours (David definitely banned sugared almonds!)

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We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake or cutting of a cake, so we decided instead to have a selection of beautiful cakes from Slattery’s Bakers, Whitefield. There was something for everyone’s taste. They looked great and tasted delicious. We also had a selection of handmade chocolate decorated strawberries from McAuley’s Coffee Shop in Swinton.

For the wedding meal we decided to stick with our Back to The Future theme, and so chose Ollie from Pizza Loco, which is a quirky traditional wood fired pizza oven inside a steam train, to provide the food. They cooked a choice of perfectly crisp pizzas at a rate of one every ninety seconds for our 200 plus guests. We also had two chefs, Colin and James from Hewitt’s Hog Roast, cooking tasty American style BBQ food. We provided a well-stocked bar with everything our guest could want, and had Pimms on arrival and a champagne toast.

As an extra treat (and because I love sweets), I turned our little summerhouse at the bottom of the garden into a sweet shop, which the children and adults all loved. Dave illuminated it with a varied selection of LED lighting and bunting, giving it a 50s old sweet shop feel.

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When it came to the entertainment, we searched for a 50s style band, and booked Rockin’ Robin & Honky-Tonk Hoods (aka The Ginger Nuts) from Nottingham, through DG Music online. James and the band were just awesome. They did two main sets, and all the DJ’ing. We asked if they could perform our first dance, which they learnt, and played for the first time at our wedding. It was Earth Angel, by Marvin Berry, from the Back to The Future film. Their version was wonderful, and just what we wanted. The dance floor was never empty during their sets.

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Following our wedding day, we would highly recommend others consider having a wedding at home. To us it allows a much more personal touch than any other venue.

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Our favourite part of the day was dancing out of the church, much to the surprise and delight of our guests. Everybody was laughing and clapping as we exited to the sound of Huey Lewis and the News, The Power of Love.

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Following our wedding we jetted off on honeymoon to Sorrento, Italy. It was both romantic and beautiful.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – don’t get swayed by other people’s ideas of what your wedding should be, and what you should have. Keep focussed on what you really want and not what other people expect. Nothing says you have to conform, so just be yourselves and most importantly enjoy every moment of the occasion.

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