Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

lookbook: a lot of front

August 2nd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Julie Vino 2

For our latest lookbook post, we’re taking lead from gossip mags’ favourite and reigning Brides Up North gym inspiration Pippa Middleton – seriously though, I would swap one of my legs for those biceps. Sigh.

Prior to the wedding of the year, fashion commentators consulted their crystal balls and clamoured to predict the style the Duchess’ little sister would go for – arguably it was all a bit more, well, interesting than the 2011 debate about Kate’s dress decisions because so much (length, sleeves, modest front) is set in stone for a Royal bride. Pippa however, could freestyle it a little – and so she did, surprising the world’s media with her unexpectedly classic Giles Deacon princess gown.

We’ve already fully dissected the new Mrs James Matthews’ bridal style in a Get The Look special, but today we’re zooming in on one of the key details of her stunning frock: namely, the high-neck. We’ve been thinking: what inspiration is out there (other than the £40,000 bespoke designer option, obvs) for a girl who wants a lot of front in her frock?

Main feature images from Julie Vino

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Well, first up is Ersa Atelier, with their to-die-for designs from Bucharest. Sisters Gabriela and Cristina make much artful use of the high-neck in their most recent collections and the results are just – well, see for yourself. Serena with its delicate beaded and detailed sleeved top and plain waisted frothy skirt gives the impression of separates and pulls off the almost impossible feat of being both regal and ‘fashiony’. Pea is at the opposite end of the formality spectrum and is everything its short ‘n’ sweet appellation suggests, with its dropped waist and simple crochet-style fabric. Celie, with its glorious Art Deco-style scallops, speaks of another era, and its high-neck almost looks like a little lace collar – statement and simplicity all at once. If you’re a fan of the high-neck, this collection demands closer inspection.

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Jesus Peiro’s current collection also embraces high-necks but takes the look in a slightly different direction. Dresses 7019 and 7002 – the first a halter-neck with a draped sash and large bow at the waist, the second a breathtakingly simple origami-style bodice with subtly slashed neckline and full-on princess skirt – are almost sculptural in design and certainly current rather than classic in feel. Dress 7074 is more conventional – delicate lace overlay and elbow-length sleeves balanced by a mermaid flare – but no less attention-grabbing. The Nanda Devi collection heads for more ethereal territory, so if a Midsummer Night’s Dream-slash-fairytale vibe is your bag, JP’s website is definitely worth a trawl: drifting skirts, pretty lace crop tops and full-length lace sleeves abound. Dreamy bridal design brilliance.

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You might be forgiven for thinking that ‘high-necked’ as a descriptor automatically aligns itself with ‘modest’ or even ‘prudish’, and that a high-necked dress is definitely a distant cousin of ‘modern bride’ and even further removed from ‘sexy bride’. Allow us to dispel all misconceptions with Julie Vino’s daring Napoli, Roma and Venice collections. Here we see the modesty of the high neck neutered with plunging backs, daring sheer panels, Swarovski and exposed shoulders – what on earth would Ms Middleton think?

And finally, in more situations than I’d like to admit I find myself asking the question “what would Vera Wang do?” and, in the case of designing a wedding gown for her Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 collections, the answer seems to have frequently been “put a high-neck on it”. Thank you, Vera, for showing us the way with the halter-neck wonderfulness of the Galilea, the all-over lace glamour of the Cecile and the wow-factor of Clemence’s peasant gown perfection. Inspiration overload.

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get the look: pippa middleton

June 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry


Though not technically royal family herself, Pippa Middleton’s recent wedding to her millionaire beau James Mathews caused media waves across the globe, with newsrooms worldwide on high alert ready for the first reveal of the blushing bride.

Dubbed the “society wedding of the year” many were intrigued to see which high profile individuals and celebs had, or even more so, hadn’t made the guest list. For us though the intrigue was all about the dress – questions that had been lingering for months would finally be answered; who designed the gown? Slinky or princess? Lace, satin or silk?

Contrary to what some people had predicted, Pippa covered up the curves that made her a household name at her sister Kate’s royal wedding back in 2011, instead opting for a stunning lace princess gown with beautiful A-line skirt for a demure look with a stylish twist.

We would certainly love to wear such a gorgeous gown for our nuptials – and if you too are crushing on Pippa’s big day look, we’re going to discuss how to mirror her impeccable style in today’s celebrity spy post. Prepare to take notes ladies!

the dress


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Giles Deacon was the designer who put Miss Middleton’s breath-takingly beautiful gown together – and we loved e-v-er-ything about it. However, if the rumours are anything to go by, such a gown would take a £40,000 chunk out of the wedding budget, placing it out of most bride’s reach.

Though all is not lost, for Pippa wore a classic shaped gown and some of the key detailing on her dress features in many other designers’ collections, meaning you can steal this style without blowing the entire wedding budget!

Though stunning, full lace gowns usually come with quite a hefty price tag and so savvy brides may prefer to look for gowns similar to Pippa’s but that just feature lace on just the top half of the dress. Then there’s the sleeves to consider – whether to go for a cute capped sleeve like Pippa or throw in some inspiration from sister Kate with full length lace sleeves instead.

The super elegant high-neck though not a hugely popular trend (yet!) could be spotted in some designs on the recent White Gallery catwalk and is a look worn by one of our other fav celebrity brides, Nicky Hilton.

Perhaps a little unexpected was the heart-shaped key-hole back to Pippa’s dress that revealed a hint of skin. For those wanting to follow in Pippa’s style steps, there are plenty of gowns with such detailing, from princess designs similar to Pippa’s as well as more fitted gowns. If feeling brave then you could go for more of a cut away design that would show off a larger proportion of skin.

the hair


Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by The Loved Ones| image source, photography by Erich McVey Photography| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source 

In classic bride style, Pippa chose to wear her hair up in a chignon inspired do with all locks pulled clear of her face to show-off that beautiful high-neck detail.
Pippa’s do was loose but still had an element of structure. Chignons come in all varieties, from sleek and polished to almost messy and undone, so ladies can pick a style to suit their overall bridal look.

Pippa finished off her look with just a touch of sparkle in the form of a delicate tiara and drop earrings.

the makeup


Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by  Brandi Smyth Photography| image source| image source, photography by NV Maui Media| image source, photography by Olive Photography| image source, photography by Bellamint Photography| image source| image source, photography by Jonny Draper Photography| image source, photography by Jay Emme Photography| image source| image source

Pretty Pippa chose to keep things real on the makeup front with a natural English rose look.

Her slightly tanned skin has a luminous glow though and there are no signs of heavy liquids, powders or contouring. Instead just a flush of pink blush is swept across the cheeks, eyes are delicately lined and brows defined. A coat of mascara and pretty pink lippy finishes off the look perfectly.

Royal, or not, this lady has certainly earned herself a spot in our celebrity bride hall of fame!

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lilac love. roses & thistles for a personal wedding at adlington hall – katie & simon

June 2nd, 2017 | Rachel Parry

A Personal Wedding at Adlington Hall (c) Katie Siddell Photography (27)

A perfect combination of pretty and personal, today’s real wedding features a romantic colour palette combined with individual touches for a day that’s a true reflection of the bride and groom.

There are subtle references to Katie and Simon’s roots, interests and hobbies through their flower, cake and décor choices, showing others how to incorporate special touches into their special day.

The highlight of this wedding for us though has to be Katie’s beautiful high-neck wedding dress – she was ahead of Pippa Middleton on that trend!

With images by Katie Sidell Photography.

A Personal Wedding at Adlington Hall (c) Katie Siddell Photography (16)

katie says: We got engaged on the 26th August 2014, in Rome at a beautiful square with a fountain called Piazza Novana. We had planned to go out for an evening meal and a few drinks that evening. After our meal we walked to Piazza Novana. When we arrived at the square Simon asked me to go and have a look for a nice place to drink. Unbeknown to me he was trying to ask someone to take a video of him proposing. Unfortunately they didn’t understand English so that plan failed. When I came back Simon got down on one knee (right in front of the big water fountain) and showed me the beautiful ring. He then asked me to marry him. I was so overwhelmed as I really wasn’t expecting it. I remember crying with happiness and of course said yes. It was so romantic.

A Personal Wedding at Adlington Hall (c) Katie Siddell Photography (24)

We set the date for 25th June 2016. We definitely wanted a summer wedding so wanted the weather to be nice but not too hot. On record June tended to be the nicest month. We were fortunate to get the weather because it had rained in the morning as I was walking into the church but when we came out it was glorious.

Our ceremony was held at St Michael and All Angels Church in Bramhall. I have lived in Bramhall all my life and I’m very fond of this church. We chose Adlington Hall for the reception. The venue blew us both away. It is beautiful and we liked the fact it is an exclusive venue where we would be the only party there. The staff who worked there were so lovely and really made us feel special. We never looked back.

A Personal Wedding at Adlington Hall (c) Katie Siddell Photography (31)

Our wedding had a rustic theme overall, which went particularly well with Adlington Hall and the beautiful high beams in its hunting lodge. There were a few subthemes too, which brought some personal elements to the day. As I was born in Scotland and Simon in England, so the men’s buttonholes included thistles and roses, and we also had thistles and roses within the bouquets. We had a park theme for the table plan. We chose ten parks throughout the world we had both been to, such as Central Park in New York and Villa Borghese Park in Rome. As we both represent our counties in tennis (Simon for Derbyshire and myself for Cheshire) we had Wimbledon themed cupcakes for our wedding cake. We also met each other through tennis and have known each other since we were about ten-year-old as we competed in the same tennis tournaments.

The colour scheme was lilac. This has always been my favourite colour and as a little girl I always dreamt of lilac flowers for my wedding. For our invitations, Michelle from Smileyhiley used rustic hearts and purple lace to help set the scene for the theming of the wedding.

A Personal Wedding at Adlington Hall (c) Katie Siddell Photography (20)

I chose a Ronald Joyce wedding dress from Isaac Charles in Poynton. It was a drop waist design with a high neck because I felt these type of dresses were the most flattering for my figure. The wedding dress was made from very delicate lace, which I always wanted. It had pretty diamonds scattered throughout the dress and a shoulder/elbow length veil.

I actually thought I would go for something very simple with not much detail, when in fact the dress I chose was the complete opposite. When I put the dress on I knew it was the one straight away and never wanted to take it off. It was so beautiful and elegant and like nothing I had ever seen before.

On the day of the wedding, makeup artist Chloe Alexandra did my makeup and stylist Lisa Marshall did my hair.

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