Charlotte Balbier

silver lining. a highly entertaining wedding at west tower – sally & simon

March 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

an entertaining wedding at West Tower by Jonny Draper Photography (66)

Having a good time was certainly high up on the priority list for today’s real wedding couple.

Sally and Simon planned their wedding date around securing the right entertainment for their big day in order to ensure the celebrations went with a bang.

Lots of singing, dancing, cocktails and a Jaeger train resulted in a fabulously fun wedding that went on into the small hours.

So it’s full steam ahead with today’s real wedding inspiration… cheers!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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sally says: We got engaged on July 18th 2014. Simon took me and our dog Oscar for a walk up Rivington Pike, it’s all uphill and I nearly gave up half way up but he made me carry on. I’m so glad I did as when we reached the top he got down on one knee! He had a mini bottle of champagne with glass and a can of Stella in his back pack to celebrate! He chose there as we often visit and you can see the church where his dad is buried so it made it that little bit more special!

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We tied the knot on 7th February 2015, the date kind of picked us! We didn’t want a long engagement and always wanted a winter wedding so decided early 2015. The only thing that was a must was having Howard Wing as our entertainment, so it was a case of checking Howard’s diary along with the venues (and Bolton Wanderers fixtures!). I loved having the wedding so soon after the engagement, it meant I didn’t dwell on decisions and everyone’s excitement levels were high all the time!

We were married at Holy Trinity Church, Horwich as Simon’s dad is there. We then went on the have our reception at West Tower, Ormskirk. Years before I met Simon my sister was planning her wedding and was given the brochure by a friend, from that day I said it was where I wanted to get married. We thought it would be out of budget but we were allowed to tailor a package that suit our budget. Neither of us had ever been but we booked straight after our first visit!

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I wanted the theme of the wedding to be very simple and classic. I always wanted an all-white wedding and added a touch of silver to add a little sparkle!

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I wore an Ellis dress, style 11330 from Bridal Italia in Bolton, who were amazing! I always wanted lace strapless mermaid design and must have tried every lace strapless dress made! I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice but I felt a million dollars on the day and wouldn’t change it! The in-house seamstress made so many changes to the dress to get it exactly as I wanted, covering the tulle neckline with matching lace and creating a deeper sweetheart. I always wanted a bolero to cover up at church so they made me a matching one from scratch. It was exactly what I had pictured in my mind! A few days before the wedding I decide to have a cathedral length veil which Bridal Italia altered to add extra lace down the edges – it gave the wow factor!

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Simon wore a navy three-piece suit from Next, my dress had polka dots within the tulle so he wore a spotty pocket square and a silver tie to match the bridesmaids!

The groomsmen wore matching two-piece suits to Simon but had polka dot navy ties. I had seven bridesmaids who all have their own styles and I wanted them all to love their dress and feel comfortable. So, I decided to go for a multiway dress where each girl could choose a style that suited them. They also had an optional lace bandeau. I encouraged them all to be different with hair, makeup and accessories so they felt amazing and they all did! The dresses were from Coralie Beatrix who sells on Esty.

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It took a team of people to get me and seven bridesmaids ready on the day! My hair was done by Paisley Gamble and make-up by Helen Cafferky, I cannot recommend both enough and will use them both again in the future.

We wanted to cut back on some expenses so decided my dad would drive me to church as he has a lovely car. I bought ribbons to put on and champagne for the journey to the venue. However! On the day just as I had put my dress on and was making my way downstairs my sister told me to look out the window, and there was a vintage silver car waiting! Her and my mum had surprised us, Simon didn’t know about it either until we left the church, he loved it!

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Our photographer was Jonny Draper. He was recommended to us by Howard Wing and as soon as I saw his blog I knew I had to have him! I can’t recommend Jonny enough, he’s great fun and completely put us at ease, he understood exactly what I wanted and the pictures are fantastic!

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My flowers were supplied by Sue Nunn, we were on the same page immediately! I carried a simple bouquet of white roses and I chose centrepieces in all white. She made the table arrangements propped on four test tube vases so views were not obstructed and we added lots of mini tea lights and vases all over the tables! To save a little I asked Sue to provide seven empty vases on the top table for my bridesmaid bouquets, they looked great and kept the flowers fresh to take home! I also hired petal table clothes and silver sequin runners from Gilded Linens for something a little different along with lace chair sashes from Princess4aday.

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As favours we decided to make a charity donation to two charities close to our hearts in remembrance of loved ones we have lost. I bought charity pins for the guests to take away with them.

I called in quite a few favours for the wedding, the cake being one! I left the whole cake design to one of my bridesmaids, Michelle, who had a friend at work that made individually designed cupcakes and a cutting cake. I didn’t see them until the day and they were a lovely surprise!

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One of our planning highlights was the food and wine tasting. We sampled several dishes and settled on butternut squash soup, chicken with a creamy leek and mushroom sauce (yum) and profiteroles. West Tower allowed us to tweak recipes to get exactly what we wanted. We were given so many wines to choose from and Brian spent a lot of time with us tailoring a drinks package to suit. We had several compliments on the red wine we chose! We chose two different beers for the reception drinks, Moretti and Budvar and a Kir Royale for the ladies. The only thing I can recommend for any brides getting married at West Tower is don’t drive to the tasting! I have never seen so much wine and so many cocktails!

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We had Mike Smith Sax Player to provide entertainment for reception drinks, this was a surprise given to me on my hen party from the girls! Later we had Howard Wing. Since we saw Howard for the first time at a friend’s wedding I said I would never get married without him! We wanted a huge party to celebrate our wedding and that’s certainly what Howard delivers. There aren’t enough words to describe how good he is and how many amazing memories I have from the day. He gets everyone involved and in the party spirit. We also booked a DJ – Dave Jones – through Howard Wing, he was amazing, I didn’t leave the dance floor all night!

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We wanted to add special touches to our day to ensure our guests had the best time! One extra was the Jaeger train; we had 100 Jaeger bombs set up and had a race against each other. Simon won however he did slip and fall knocking a few over the bar! Luckily it was all caught on camera and on the short video Howard Wing made on the day! Another little special touch was to have our ‘last kiss’ before our first kiss. We really wanted to make our mums feel special on the day, so as a surprise they were invited up during the ceremony to give us our last kiss as single people before our first. We chose our mothers as they had given us our first ever kiss at birth. We also had Candles 2 Cherish make us two candles in memory of lost ones which we lit during the ceremony and are a great keep sake.

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We would definitely recommend West Tower to others. The venue and setting are stunning and the main reason we booked. Other than the fact the place is stunning, the food is incredible and the staff couldn’t do enough for us. Brian and Charlotte helped with all the planning and Lindsey made sure our day went without a hitch! Lindsey cares about every little detail which was great as I was very particular! After meeting Lindsey I had no worried about the day and felt completely relaxed to leave everything to her! The waiting staff and bar staff are also superb, extremely polite and accommodating, they even stayed up until we wanted to go to bed at 4.30am!

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My favourite part of the day was standing in church next to Simon, all nerves disappeared and I couldn’t take the smile off my face! Closely followed by Howard Wing’s entertainment – epic!

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We left a few days after the wedding for our honeymoon, we went to Jamaica and stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid. The hotel was amazing and it was great to just get away alone and really relax!

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I would advise other Brides Up North not to cut corners on a photographer as after it’s all over you will want amazing memories to look back on! And…the little things really don’t matter!

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real wedding recap 2014. a fun & fabulous wedding at Heaton House Farm – helen & ryan

January 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime

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 wedding at Heaton House Farm (c) Jonny Draper Photography (85)

Starting a brand new year on a high by recapping one of our most fun and fabulous weddings from 2014 sent to me by my friend Jonny of Jonny Draper Photography and real bride Helen.

Check out those rocking bridesmaids. Girl power.

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helen says: We got engaged in Central Park, New York in October 2012.  The arrival of Hurricane Sandy meant that we were stuck in NYC for an extra 5 days too!

We were married at Heaton House Farm on 7th June 2014.  As huge Manchester United fans we wanted our wedding to be outside of football season and before the World Cup. Plus 7 is a lucky number for us with many United legends wearing the 7 shirt!

Heaton House was the perfect venue for us as it was a blank canvas on which to create our amazing day. We went for a rustic and relaxed feel, with pale pink details. I am a girly girl and have always loved pink.

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My wedding dress was by Sassi Holford and called Faye.  As time went on I decided that I liked the simpler styles of gown and didn’t want it to look dated in years to come.  I bought it from Bellisima Bridal Gowns in Holcombe.

Ryan’s navy suit and floral tie were by Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow.

The bridesmaids’ dresses were pink 50’s style prom dresses, made by my Auntie Katie, so I could have them exactly as I wanted.

My bouquet was made up of lots of peonies and roses in pastel pinks, in keeping with the theme.  My Grandma, who I was very close to, died in 2011 and I attached a tiny picture of her in a frame to my bouquet.

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Jonny Draper was our photographer.  The photographs of our special day were really important to us and I knew from the moment of meeting up that Jonny was the man for the job.  I would recommend Jonny to anyone, he is so professional and his attention to detail is amazing.

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Ryan’s Auntie Nicola of Secret Garden Flowers in Newcastle did all the blooms on the day and they looked and smelled amazing. We had flowers everywhere! All of the decorations at the venue were made by family members.

We wanted our wedding cake to be very simple and all about the taste.  We decorated a plain iced cake from Walkden Cake Company with fresh flowers.

As favours, the girls had Yankee “Wedding Day” Candles, pink heart shaped sunglasses and little lavender bags.  The boys got CDs with our favourite tracks.

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On arrival at Heaton House Farm we had a split level camper from Ice Cream Dub serving cones to all our friends.

We chose Dominic Halpin and The Honey Bs, a live band, to entertain the guests in the evening. Their songs spanned all ages and they go everyone up and dancing… they even had me on stage with maracas and a limbo! We also had Leos Quartet playing throughout the drinks and the meal. We were so happy with all of our suppliers!

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We used Silk Wedding Films to capture our day.  There is so much we would have forgotten if Tom hadn’t filmed and edited it so beautifully for us. We would really recommend them, we hardly knew they were there yet the results were fantastic.

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We went on a minimoon to Mallorca for a week following the wedding, and are getting ready for a big trip to California in September.  I can’t wait!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that organisation is key!  We were very organised which saved a lot of stress.  Also, book great suppliers that you can trust. We would recommend all of ours.

a wedding at Heaton House Farm (c) Jonny Draper Photography (61)

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girls only. this weekend: the wedding edit

October 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North Sponsor Emma of Love Bridal Boutique would like me to extend a fabulous invitation to my readers (because she knows you’re pretty fabulous too) to the wedding edit.

The Wedding Edit

Happening this weekend – clear your diaries – on Sunday 26th October 2014, from 12pm at Styal Lodge, Cheshire, this event is your chance to see Love Bridal Boutique’s stunning new gowns in their catwalk show from some of Brides Up North’s favourite designers including Stewart Parvin, Raimon Bundo, Alan Hannah, Enzoani, Terry Fox, Mia Mia and Maids To Measure.

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Emma says: It’s going to be an amazing catwalk show, showcasing all our designers’ new collections (including bridesmaids) and then there’s a unique opportunity to chat with all of our wedding friends who are there to offer their advice about all things wedding planning. There will also be a lot of prosecco and canapés!

Strictly no boys allowed. 

This event is guest list only.  To reserve your place, please email hello@lovebridalboutique.co.uk.

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Images by Jonny Draper Photography 

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get ready for the launch

September 10th, 2014 | Julia Braime

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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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fancy footwork. the designer series: Charlotte Mills Bridal

September 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Mills Bridal 2015 (c) Jonny Draper Photography (5)

A relative newcomer to the bridal design scene, Charlotte Mills is a bit of a genius.

Launched to huge acclaim within the industry, the talented designer (and all round lovely North West lass) offers affordable luxury to style conscious brides giving them a more fashion forward option to traditional wedding shoes.

We like her style.

And we want her shoes.

With images by Jonny Draper and Sarah Saddler (see little white book for full credits)

Charlotte Mills Bridal 2015 (c) Jonny Draper Photography (1)

Charlotte says: We create beautiful, elegant, fun, romantic designs we hope brides will fall in love with and want to wear again and again after their wedding day.

Charlotte Mills Bridal 2015 (c) Jonny Draper Photography (12)

What were your inspirations for this collection?

Love hearts provide the inspiration for collection each style incorporating them in a unique and individual way.  I love art deco and art nouveau, so studied heart shapes and also the lines used in the architecture of these era’s and gave them a modern twist to create the designs.  For as long as I can remember I have always has a passion for shoes. I couldn’t imagine designing anything else.

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

Each shoe is hand finished with a silver sixpence and the leather sole is embossed with the phrase ‘Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.’

We have covered all bases. The Sixpence is also the Something Old, the Something New is the shoe, the Something Blue is detailed on the insock and the Something Borrowed will be inside the shoe box. Brides love this old tradition. This detailing is unique to Charlotte Mills Bridal shoes.

Charlotte Mills Bridal 2015 (c) Jonny Draper Photography (19)

What shapes, materials and embellishments were chosen for the collection?

The collection has been created using laser cutting, appliqué and embroidery techniques. Each shoe is handmade in Spain using finest materials such as Italian Kid Suede, silks, tulle or metallic and pearlised leathers and is embellished with large structured bows, embroideries, appliqués or Swarovski crystals.

What is your average retail price?

£250.00

Charlotte Mills Bridal 2015 (c) Jonny Draper Photography (23)

What does 2015 hold for Charlotte Mills?  What are you excited about?

I am busy designing lots of new styles to add to the range and working on a top-secret collection.

Seeing images of all the ‘Charlotte Mills brides’ is so exciting and as we have only just launched there is a time delay because people tend to buy so far in advance for weddings. It will be amazing to see our shoes featured in someone’s special day.

Charlotte Mills Bridal 2015 (c) Jonny Draper Photography (4)

What are your ‘best things’ in life?

Shoes Shoes Shoes!

My husband, family and friends, my dogs Meg and Coco, pink, holidays, cake, weddings and fashion – I could go on and on…

Charlotte Mills Bridal 2015 (c) Jonny Draper Photography (1)

Where can Brides Up North find out more about Charlotte Mills? 

You can visit our website at www.charlottemillsbridal.com, follow on Twitter or like on Facebook.

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