Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

real wedding recap: ronald joyce for a romantic wedding at ashton memorial – melissa & craig

January 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, 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 9th January 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from 2016. 

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.

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We love that today’s real wedding has been influenced by two different styles – wild nature and glamour – that when brought together, complement each other perfectly!

Everything about Melissa and Craig’s big day is utterly gorgeous; from the choice of ceremony venue, styling and elegant colour scheme, to the bridal party’s stunning attire.

Though there is a lot of beauty to be admired, standout details for us include Melissa’s handmade headpiece, the blousy bouquets and both the bride and groom’s fancy footwear!

With images by Pixies in the Cellar.

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melissa says: We got engaged during the trip of a lifetime. I’d quit my job, Craig had taken a sabbatical and we travelled around the world together for five months, it was our dream and we decided it was now or never! We trekked the Inca Trail, travelled Australia by bus, walked the Great Wall of China and learnt to scuba dive in Thailand. At every great landmark we visited Craig made me pose with a sign with a single letter on and took a photo. He’s always full of kooky ideas and told me it was for a surprise collage when we got back. So I held aloft a ‘V’ at Machu Picchu, an ‘E’ at the Sydney Opera House, an ‘M’ in Halong Bay and so on!

On the final night of our trip we went all out and booked the Lebua hotel in Bangkok (The Hangover 2 film hotel!) As we got ready for a special meal Craig went out to ask what time the rooftop bar opened, then the bellboy rang the door with a big envelope. Inside were all the photos of me with the letters and a note – they were numbered and I had to re-arrange them, if I understood then I was to go and find him. I re-ordered them and it spelled out “Veux tu m’epouser?” – will you marry me in French! I had lived in Paris for several years and this was also so I wouldn’t have guessed throughout the trip if it were spelt in English! As a typical woman I rushed to finish half my hair and get on my shoes… then there was a knock at the door, Craig on one knee! Too nervous and impatient waiting for me, he proposed right there & I very happily said “Oui!” We had a wonderful night celebrating in the rooftop bar.

We set the wedding date for Saturday 23rd July 2016. We chose this date, as it would mark seven years since our first date.

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Being some of the last people in our friendship group to marry, we were determined to find a different venue, where none of our friends had been married before us. Although we had loved the idea of a destination wedding it just wasn’t practical family wise so we had to find somewhere that wowed us closer to home. As Craig is rather tall we wanted somewhere with grandeur but not really a church – when we visited Ashton Memorial it all fell into place. It immediately appealed to me – it was a beautiful domed building, all light and windows, surrounded by nature and spectacular views. We also loved the fact Lord Ashton had built it as a tribute to his wife.

We then had to find somewhere for our reception. After a lot of searching we found Forrest Hills, a relatively new multi-purpose venue, which had hosted some lovely weddings. Upon visiting we loved the wild natural beauty and secluded location. Also, the option of an open-side marquee next to the lake combined our dream of an open air wedding and the practicality for British weather, just in case.

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Our theme was ‘wild natural glamour’ – a bit of a running joke with our florist. We had two sides to our wedding – one side the cottage like reception venue, the cascading flowers intertwined with driftwood and our marquee with open sides to allow the real ‘outdoor’ feeling we wanted. On the other side we loved the glamorous elements – an ice sculpture, popping a giant gold bottle of champagne instead of cutting the cake, Craig in a tuxedo and a beautiful cream Rolls Royce as transport. We loved the mix of the two to fit our personalities.

We decided early on to have a duck egg blue colour scheme with accents of gold. It felt like it matched the theme of the day – wild natural surroundings and dramatic venues, with some glamour!

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As I own my own occasion wear brand, people kept asking if I was going to design my own wedding dress – but I couldn’t face the visualisation required and the extra stress! Luckily when I came across the Ronald Joyce Erin gown on Pinterest, it was beautifully styled on a bride and I had to try it. I always wanted a fitted fishtail gown with a beautiful back and this dress was just that, the crystal beads draped at the back and the low sheer lace detail ticked all my boxes. The experience at Emma Louise Bridal was friendly and personal, I didn’t feel pressured into anything and they gave honest opinions. My mum and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole dress shopping experience (all 20 or so shops!), it will always be a time I’ll treasure, just the two of us.

Accessories wise I knew I wanted a long dramatic veil – but with the detail on the dress it had to be quite simple. I chose a two-layer chapel length veil in soft ivory tulle, from The Wedding Veil Shop. I loved the way it fell over my shoulders and was sheer enough to see the back detail on the dress.

One of the main accessories for my look was the headpiece – I had lusted over some beautiful freshwater pearl styles but my budget didn’t quite stretch. Not one to be deterred I took two lengths of pearl and crystal flowers I sourced online and intertwined them to make the full dramatic headpiece I desired, able to wrap around the front and back. With my masses of hair I knew it wouldn’t overpower my look.

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celebrity spy: kim kardashian west

November 4th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Image source E! News (1)

image source: e! news

It’s no secret that the Kardashian ladies like to flaunt their figures, particularly leader of the pack, Kim – after all this is the lady who attempted to ‘break’ the internet with explicit pictures of her famous booty.

But Kimmy both surprised and impressed critics on her wedding day (mark two) to rapper Kayne West when she covered up the majority of her svelte figure with a custom haute couture Givenchy gown by Riccardo Tisci, featuring full-length sleeves and a long train.

A far cry from the strapless Vera Wang ball gown she wore when getting hitched to first hubby Kris Humphries back in 2011, which showed ample cleavage, Kim chose to keep her ‘assets’ under wraps second time round for her and Kayne’s Italian ceremony in May 2014.

Keeping true to her signature style the dress still had alluring elements to it, but classy Kim hit the nail on the head when it came to striking the right balance between sexy and sophisticated.

Keen to demonstrate how you can do the same on your wedding day, we’re putting Mrs West under our celebrity spy spotlight to study her big day look in a little more detail.

the dress

Kim Kardashian - The Dress

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source.

Presenting a totally different look to her first trip up the aisle, Kim’s elegant Givenchy gown covered up her chest and arms with a delicate round neckline and beautiful lace sleeves. Rather than another voluminous design, Kim also chose a slimmed down mermaid silhouette, which clung to her trademark figure in all the right places.

Keeping with the sexy, Kim’s dress featured sheer lace panels around her midriff and a full sheer back exposing just the right amount of flesh to retain a ‘pure’ bridal look overall.

Though brides might find it challenging to find an exact carbon copy of Kim’s unique dress, there are certainly elements of her look that can be found in many current collections.

Backless gowns, for one, are a popular trend; from cute keyhole detail, to full on cutaway designs that expose the whole of the back.

In a nod to Princess Kate (not that we thought this is someone Kim would take style tips from), Kim’s long lace sleeves can also be easily replicated and offer an effective way to show off a little skin without it being inappropriate.

Daring brides meanwhile might like to copy Kim’s cutaway side panels, which we’re seeing in collections by the likes of Alfred Angelo and Badgley Mishka. Braver still, ladies could take things a step further by doing away with the panels and wearing bridal separates that full on flash the flesh.

Another key element to Kim’s striking look was the gown’s long train, which we just loved! This was further amplified by a matching, long, lace-trimmed silk veil, which created the ultimate wow-factor!

the hair

Kim Kardashian - The Hair

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Logan Cole Photography| image source, photography by Lauren Ross| image source, photography Elizabeth Messina| image source| image source| image source, photography by Ciara Richardson | image source, photography by One and Only Paris Photography| image source, photography by Josh Elliott Photography| image source, photography by Ciara Richardson| image source, photography by Terralogical.

As well as her distinctive derriere, Kim is also known for her long, glossy locks, which she chose to wear down and simple when marrying Kanye. The soft natural style with a slight wave, was elegantly parted in the middle and tucked behind her ears, making this an easy look for brides with long hair to mirror.

Though modern and chic, the style also had a slight retro feel to it with extra volume at the root of the hair making it appealing to both fashion-forward and vintage brides.

The simple styling meant that no attention was taken away from Kim’s stunning dress and it was also easy to secure her stunning veil in place.

the makeup

Kim Kardashian - The Make Up

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Kim’s wedding day makeup was flawless, feminine and fabulous without being at all OTT. Although a queen of contouring, Miss Kardashian’s skin had a silky smooth, almost creamy appearance, rather than sculptured, with just a little added warmth on the apples of her cheeks.

Making a statement of just one area – her eyes – Kim’s brows are defined and her lashes full and luscious with the help of some individual falsies, giving maximum impact. Bronze and brown tones have been blended on the eyelid and below the eye for an opulent look, which is further enhanced by lining the eyes with a black liner.

A fan of a nude lip, Kim opted for a timeless, subtle lip colour and a coat of gloss to complete her Hollywood smile!

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celebrity spy. beyonce at the met

May 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

"China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala - Arrivals

image source

If there’s one event where female celebrities raise the style stakes it’s the met gala. Primarily the annual event is held to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York, though the glitzy bash also gives top celebs and designers the opportunity to team-up and create some show-stopping red carpet looks.

Each year’s gala celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition making the dress code for 2015 ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’. However, to us the theme may as well of been ‘bare all’ as that’s what many of the female A-listers decided to do.

Make no mistake, sheer gowns were big news at the event with bootylicious ladies Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez entering into some kind of flesh-off. While were very impressed with the bravery of all involved, for us it was Queen Bey who ran the red carpet.

And so today we’re putting the Love on Top singer in our celebrity spy spotlight to see how fierce and fashionable brides-to-be can take inspiration from Beyonce’s glittering getup, slick hair and pretty makeup.

Girls, you’re going to be crazy in love for this one!

the dress

Beyonce Dress EDITED

What there was of Beyonce’s dress was custom made by Givenchy and left very little to the imagination. In fact her modesty was only covered with strategically placed sparkling gems – similar to the look she adopted for her Dangerously in Love album cover, way back in 2003. The girl’s still got it though and even if a few people lost their breath when she stepped out on the red carpet, there’s no denying she worked the bold look incredibly well.

We realise that this exact look would be wholly inappropriate for a traditional church wedding, or many other styles of ceremonies for that matter, but there are certain elements of Beyonce’s style that ladies can steal to add some attitude to their attire.

The majority of the sheer wedding gowns that we’ve seen on the bridal catwalks thankfully offer more coverage than Miss Knowles’ gown – with full length nude underlays and carefully embroidered panels hinting at nudity rather than actually revealing it. There are of course more daring dresses with embellishment or delicate 3D flowers covering just the area between the bust and the bum.

More conservative creations give brides the option of a design with just one or two sheer elements, such as the sleeves, back or side panels of the dress, so they can choose which areas of their body they feel most confident flaunting (as well as what’s deemed appropriate). Alternatively for brides that want to remain under wraps there’s the option of a gown with a sheer lace overlay or jacket that will give a translucent look but without the need to flash any flesh that you’d rather your parents, in-laws and the vicar didn’t see.

And as if she needed to reveal anymore, Beyonce’s dress did also feature sexy cut out back detail, which is an easy feature for brides to mirror.

the hair

beyonce hair

Ponytails are growing in popularity, particularly with brides looking for a simple up do that will last the day, and the test of time. That said, the majority are keeping their hair ties a little lower than Beyonce who chose to pile her hair high, presumably not to distract from the dress.

Brides in favour of the high ponytail can choose whether to keep the look sleek and straight, undone and messy or classy and curly, like Miss Knowles. Meanwhile if you like the idea of high up hair but want something a little more exciting for your big day, further options include the top knot, ballerina bun, sophisticated chignon or an intricate twisted do.

In terms of accessories most ladies tend to keep the look quite simple opting for a cute girly bow or blousy floral corsage hair slide. Locks scraped away from the face also gives brides the opportunity to rock some elaborate earrings such as sparkling chandelier styles.

the makeup

beyonce makeup

Once again, not to detract from the gown, Beyonce kept her makeup fairly simple opting for classic rosy cheeks and lips.

Her eyes were the main focal point which featured a mint green hue on the lids to pick out the stunning colours of the gems sprinkled across the dress. To open up the eyes just a flick of liner was used on the top eye line, adding a sexy edge, while the bottom was left bare – much like the rest of Bey’s body.

Lashings of mascara and perfectly sculptured brows completed the look which is certainly one brides could adopt for their moment in the limelight.

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