Hardwick Hall Grand Wedding Exhibition
Charlotte Balbier

visit the north west wedding fair with brides up north!

February 2nd, 2016 | Julia Braime


I’m extremely excited to be reprising my role as official blogger for The North West Wedding Fair for the fifth time this spring!

Whilst our own events are bespoke, exclusive and perfectly formed (…are they in your diaries yet !?), The North West Wedding Fair is the largest premium show for brides from the North West and I love that every one of their Exhibitors and Partners are dedicated to serving the North West region. Isn’t that what Brides Up North encourages: thinking local?




Our position as one of the top wedding blogs in the UK – and the only one specifically for Northern Brides – is extremely valuable, so alliances like this one need to be right for us. It is Mercury Events’ excellent reputation in the market that gave me the confidence to join up with The North West Wedding Fair in spring 2014, and I‘m happy to report that it was the start of a beautiful friendship.

As well as hosting my own features over on the show’s official blog, I’ll also be on site at the event, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming like mad (from a front row seat on their designer catwalk no less), trying to meet as many of you lovely brides to be as possible and also putting my judging hat on to award the “best in show” exhibitor prize.


The show brings you the finest collection of over 180 wedding suppliers and experts from your area. Try, buy, book and hire all you need for your perfect day. Every detail is covered; from venues to favours, transport to catering, stationery to cakes, and much more. There are also free expert workshops and live entertainment acts.

Eight stylish Catwalk Shows take place throughout each day of the show, showing a hand-picked selection of dresses in their very best light and keeping brides-to-be up to date on the latest trends.

Plus all of the show’s regular features return, including The Vintage Village and the live Entertainment Stage, where you can hold your own auditions for your big day’s entertainment.


My top picks for any bride’s visit include:

  • The Entertainment Stage
  • Those Beautiful Catwalk Shows
  • The Essential Bridalwear Collection
  • The Stylish Prosecco Bar (of course!)
  • Meet The Experts
  • Inspired Bakes Gallery (cake!)
  • The Vintage Village

Manchester-fair-Sep15-Louise-Bjorling-photo-351vip access

Go VIP for an extra special girl’s day out. For the ultimate in wedding show experiences, treat yourself to a day out to remember. Enjoy FastTrack entry to the show and make your way to the You & Your Wedding VIP lounge for some all-day pampering. Pick up your bridal beauty tote from Benefit Cosmetics, sip on some bubbly and then make your way to your reserved seating at the popular catwalk shows.

VIP tickets include FastTrack entry, access to the VIP lounge & dedicated Prosecco Bar, Benefit Bridal Beauty Tote Bag, glass of bubbly, Benefit makeup masterclasses and reserved catwalk seating.


save 1/3 on standard tickets

Save 1/3 on standard tickets by quoting the code LN70 when booking.

Standard Adult tickets £15 each (£10 with 1/3 off). VIP ticket £25 and not included in 1/3 off offer. Booking fees apply. 1/3 offer closes at midnight on 11th March 2016.

book now

Visit the website for more details and to book your tickets now

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leafy chic. an autumn wedding with a nod to halloween at hilltop country house – joanne & chris

February 1st, 2016 | Rachel Parry

An Autumn Wedding at Hilltop Country House (c) Lee Brown Photography (113)

Monday comes around quick, don’t you think? But to get you through what always feels like the longest day of the week, we’re sharing this gorgeous real wedding.

We absolutely love Joanne and Chris’s big day, not only because it took place during one of our favourite seasons (the other being spring), but also because it was held at a venue that we adore too!

Located in the heart of the beautiful Cheshire countryside, Hilltop Country House provides a stunning setting combined with first class service, exclusivity and delicious menus.

And how do we know all this? Because we’re fortunate enough to stage our Luxury Wedding Exhibitions in the romantic gardens of this charming venue twice a year – the next one is coming up on 3rd April 2016, so put it in your dairies!

In the meantime we’ll leave you to admire the pretty via Joanne and Chris’s wonderful wedding photos.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.

An Autumn Wedding at Hilltop Country House (c) Lee Brown Photography (20)

joanne says: We got engaged at midnight on 11th October 2014, while we were at home. We’d just got home from a trip to Matlock Bath to see the illuminations so were in high spirits.

Following the engagement we set the date of wedding for 31st October 2015. We wanted an autumnal wedding, but practically speaking, it had to fall in with school holidays as I’m a teacher and Chris is training to be one. The fact that it was Halloween was a nice extra touch.

An Autumn Wedding at Hilltop Country House (c) Lee Brown Photography (116)

Our chosen venue was Hilltop Country House, in Prestbury, Cheshire. It’s close to where we were both brought up; I was brought up in Rainow and a lot of my family are from Bollington; Chris is from Disley.

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simple elegance. maggie sottero for a neutral wedding at eaves hall – cara & mike

January 27th, 2016 | Julia Braime

An Elegant Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (33)

We’re getting your Wednesday off to a stylish start by sharing the wedding of teenage sweethearts Mike and Cara, who have been together since the tender age of sixteen.

While we love to see couples going all out with an imaginative themed wedding, we also feel there’s nothing better than a celebration that is simple and elegant in its appearance, as is the case today.

Bride Cara decided to steer clear of gimmicks and plan a classic and romantic big day, complete with a chic muted colour scheme and picturesque venue.

For us the stand out part of the wedding has to be Cara’s choice of attire – her Maggie Sottero fitted dress and floor-length veil are nothing short of sensational!

With images by our sensational Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.

An Elegant Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (16)

cara says: Mike proposed to me while we were staying at a boutique hotel in Manchester, The Great John Street Hotel – it was just before we were going to Australia for a year to live. In the evening we had a meal at a restaurant with Australasian cuisine and then went onto a couple of champagne bars. While we were out Mike had arranged for the hotel staff to go into our room and fill it with rose petals and candles. When we returned I went into the room and turned around to find Mike on one knee.

We set the date for 15th October 2015. I wanted an autumn wedding, as I love the oranges and reds on the trees at that time of year, and the grounds at our venue were amazing, so I wanted to make the most of them.

An Elegant Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) James Tracey Photography (40)

Our chosen venue was Eaves Hall, in Ribble Valley. We fell in love with the venue as soon as we went to visit it. It was elegant without all of the ‘old’ soft furnishings that you can tend to get with manor houses. We also loved the fact that it was completely exclusive and that the venue had 30 rooms for our guests to stay in. The good thing about the venue is that there are plenty of different rooms so people could do what they wanted. Some of the guests were dancing, whilst others were having a nice wine by the fire, with it being a mild evening some of our guests were outside and some in the bar / lounge and snooker room. It just made for a really relaxed environment where people could enjoy the day and evening.

I wanted the wedding to be simple, elegant and romantic. The venue is grand enough to keep the decorations to a minimum. I wanted our wedding to stand the test of time and so tended to stay away from gimmicks.

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secret garden. enzoani for a wonderfully whimsical wedding in the north west – natalie & jamie

January 19th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Secret Garden Wedding (c) Stella Photography (69)

wow! is the word that we would use to sum up this morning’s real wedding on the blog!

We love everything about Natalie & Jamie’s big day, built around a secret-fair-garden-type theme.

Natalie’s stunning dress, bouquet and super cute daisy chain headband make her look wonderfully whimsical and elegant and we could spend an age just looking at her, though there are lots of other gorgeous elements to take note of, including the maids’ cute dresses and incredible centre pieces.

Prepare to swoon…

With images by Stella Photography.

A Secret Garden Wedding (c) Stella Photography (67)

A Secret Garden Wedding (c) Stella Photography (39)

natalie says: We got engaged on a beautiful beach in Portugal. Jamie’s plan was to propose on a jet ski, but as I don’t like the sea, I refused to get on! His backup plan was to propose in one of the caves in the sea…again, I was awkward and refused to take part! Eventually, he gave in and proposed on the beach.

Our wedding was on 23rd May 2015, at The Great Hall at Mains in Lancashire. We chose the venue as its very local to us (literally round the corner from our house). As we were only having a small wedding, it was important that all our guests would be able to make it!

A Secret Garden Wedding (c) Stella Photography (31)

We wanted to choose a theme that suited our style and that wasn’t too serious. We’re not massive fans of traditional weddings so we wanted something a little bit different. In the end we chose a whimsical theme – like a secret fairy garden.

The colour scheme was mainly pale pink and apple green. I didn’t have a scheme in mind until we went shopping for bridesmaids dresses – the dresses we found were perfect for the theme so they determined the colour scheme!

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moroccan magic. maggie sottero for a colourful diy wedding in the north west – jen & marc

January 11th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Moroccan Themed Wedding in the North West (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (85)

Though the temperatures outdoors are dropping, we have something guaranteed to warm up your day – the Moroccan themed wedding of Jen and Marc. Taking inspiration from her travels in North Africa, bride Jen chose vibrant colours and authentic décor, such as ornate metal lanterns, to style their big day.

We love the warm rich tones that feature and also have a huge soft spot for Jen’s Maggie Sottero gown and gorgeous bouquet!

Though Jen says she felt the pressure when planning her big day, we think she did a sterling job!

With images by Kyle Hassall Photography.

A Moroccan Themed Wedding in the North West (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (31)

jen says: Marc proposed when we were on holiday in Barbados. It was completely unexpected!

We got married on 15th August because Marc’s dad offered us the use of his beautiful garden for a marquee wedding and so it had to be a summer date to accommodate UK weather! I didn’t want to spend too long planning the wedding and felt I could turn it around within eight months.

A Moroccan Themed Wedding in the North West (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (49)

Our ceremony was at Chester Town Hall. We chose it because it was close to Marc’s dad’s house where our reception would be reception.

The wedding had a very loose North Africa/Morocco theme. I really wanted to incorporate such influences into our traditional English country wedding as I lived in the Middle East and North Africa for a time and still travel there. The colour scheme was slightly out of control as I’m a big fan of bright colours! I wanted all the flowers and décor to be warm and bright. So orange appeared to be the dominant colour but it was more of an evolution than a conscious choice.

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lilac love. ronald joyce for a beautifully natural wedding at bartle hall – laura & simon

December 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Lovely Lilac Wedding in the North West (c) Lisa Hindle Photography (11)

This morning’s real wedding is yet another beauty that starts with an insanely romantic proposal (top marks Simon!)

Filled with natural blooms, rustic décor and pretty colours, Laura and Simon’s wedding day was a beautiful affair filled with laughter, joy and tears (happy ones, of course).

We love the choice of venue, which fitted in perfectly with the elegant style of wedding that they envisaged, and we also adore Laura’s Ronald Joyce lace gown – #swoon!

With images by Lisa Hindle Photography.

A Lovely Lilac Wedding in the North West (c) Lisa Hindle Photography (18)

laura says: The night Simon proposed was truly special. The thought and effort that had gone into the proposal was something I will never forget. It was the day before our five year anniversary and I got home from work on that Friday night to find over 40 lit candles with photos printed off from our first date to the most recent photo we’d had together. Simon finished work early to put the photos on the floor of our newly purchased home with candles on top of each of them and rose petals scattered around the house and arrows leading me to him. It really was a romantic and breathe-taking sight to come home to.

Simon was waiting for me upstairs in our bedroom. I looked at each photo that lead me to him, taking in all of the different emotions and memories. When I got to our room Simon had his hands behind his back. He asked me if I’d studied, and really studied, all of the photos. My response was “I looked at them”. This wasn’t good enough for Simon so back downstairs we went to really ‘study’ each of the photos. Simon explained what they all were and why he’d picked them and I was so touched. After the explanation and me focusing on one particular photo of an unforgettable date, I turned around to find Simon on one knee with a diamond ring in his hand.

A Lovely Lilac Wedding in the North West (c) Lisa Hindle Photography (7)

We got married on 29th August 2015. It was the bank holiday weekend and as we wanted a ‘wedding weekend’ we thought this would be an excellent choice of date as family traveling from far and wide could stay with us on the Sunday to prolong the celebrations.

We were married in my family church then went on to Bartle Hall for the reception. We chose Bartle Hall as it was so us. It is an elegant building, though not too big, with the most beautiful surroundings. Guests had the option to move into the bar area later on in the evening or outside if they didn’t want to stay in the main room with the loud live music. Surprisingly having our guests scattered around different parts of the venue made it easier to talk to people. The staff were friendly and the food was much nicer and aesthetically pleasing than other venues we had been to. There was something about Bartle Hall that just felt special. The fact it wasn’t really a hotel also made the decision to have the reception there a lot easier as we thought the staff would be more attentive.

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