Brides Up North

Wedding Blog Fashion Exclusive: Starlets! A Styled Bridal Shoot In Yorkshire By The Little Bridal Company

January 29th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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This afternoon I am proud to introduce lovely Brides Up North Featured Supplier Becky of Bradford based The Little Bridal Company as she debuts her first complete collection here on the blog.  Becky is fiercely proud to be a Northern bridal designer and draws heavily on design influences from bygone eras to create beautiful and distinctive designs.  And we are all for that around here!

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Get ready to twirl, girls!

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Becky says:  The photo shoot took place in the simply stunning The Midland Hotel in the centre of Bradford.  The idea behind the shoot was to bring together up and coming bright stars of the bridal business based in and around Bradford. Bradford has had a bad press over the last few years, resulting in a lack of jobs and opportunity. I wanted to show that there really is something good happening in our city so watch out!

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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My first complete off the peg collection is named ‘Starlets’  and my muse a young actress, especially one working her way up through the star system. This rings so true in so many ways. The Little Bridal Company with myself at the helm is at the beginning of its own journey through the star system. So too is a bride.

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company.

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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The inspiration behind The Little Bridal Company has many origins.

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Thanks to my grandparents the love of musicals is deep-set: ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers’, ‘Wizard Of Oz’ and ‘Some Like It Hot’ (to name but a few). Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Sofia Lauren graced the screens with their true beauty – no air brushing needed – and they had womanly, hour glass figures. No wonder we are seeing a vintage revival with so many smoke screens in the world today! These films take you away to a fantasy world where the good prevail, the bad lose and everybody lives happily ever after.  Isn’t that what we need to pick us up in this time of austerity?

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It isn’t reality but who wants reality 24/7 and what better time to embrace this feeling than on your wedding day were you do get your happily ever after and your knight in shining armour?! You are the star in your own show for that one day and just maybe if you work at it that feeling will stay with you for your entire marriage just like in the good old days.

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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The Little Bridal Company harps back to the days of elegance and sultriness of the 1940′s and 50′s glory days, with echoes of the war time ethos ‘make do and mend’ when dresses were made from old bed sheets and curtaining during the war and grow your own and self sustainability were encouraged.

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In this current age we are encouraged to spend, spend, spend and told that new is best, but in the world of weddings this is not always the best way to go. Embracing the old and fashionably labelling it ‘vintage’ has helped the modern day bride personalise every element of her special day.  ‘Something old’ and ‘something borrowed’ has now taken on a whole new role and I applaud this.

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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‘Starlets’ is a soft, feminine collection created for my 2013 brides to be.  The collection is heavily influenced by ‘The New Look’ collection of 1947 by Dior:  this post war collection brought back the femininity, soft rounded shapes and full flowing shapes which had been lost during the war when women went to work to aid the war effort and fabric was in short supply.

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The term fit or flounce was first penned around this time describing the quintessential silhouettes of the era. The dresses placed great emphasis on the narrowing of the waist, creating a feminine and curvaceous silhouette.

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Karen Spencer for The Little Bridal Company

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Little Black Book

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Dresses – The Little Bridal Company

Suits – Pins Bespoke Tailors

Photographer – Karen Spencer

Location – The Midland Hotel

Make up – Holly Hutchinson

Florist and props – Greenhouse

Bouquets and headpieces – Urban Bride

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  – Images © 2013 Karen Spencer

The Little Bridal Company is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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And They All Lived Happily Ever After! A Real Wedding In The North West – Megan & Darren

April 12th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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A Real Wedding In The North West: Paper Daisy Photography

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Today’s real bride and regular reader Megan got in touch with me via my Facebook page after seeing the gorgeous art deco wedding inspiration shoot that was featured on these swirly silver pages a few weeks ago.  Click here if you missed it.   Megan got married at the very same location as our shoot – The Midland Hotel – and wanted to share her beautiful wedding day with you lovely lot.

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Now here’s an admission: I don’t usually cry when I blog Real Weddings.  It’s a good job as I’d need shares in Kleenex for the amount that pass through my inbox on a daily basis.  But this one totally did it for me.  Sniff. 

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I hope that you love it too.

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A Real Wedding In The North West: Paper Daisy Photography

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We decided to get married when our very close friend, Jane, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We have been together for 7 years and although we had discussed marriage kept waiting until we had the money. We decided that you never know what is around the corner and it was time to get on with it.

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I said I wasn’t bothered about an official ‘engagement’ and I bought a bling wedding ring from Ebay. On Christmas Day Darren surprised me with a treasure hunt around the house. My ring was hidden in a box on the Christmas tree with a note saying ‘Will you marry me?’

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A Real Wedding In The North West: Paper Daisy Photography

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We were married on 24th March 2012.  The ceremony was at Lancaster Town Hall, followed by a reception at The Midland Hotel, Morecambe.

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I love being by the sea and really wanted a venue which over looked Morecambe Bay. at first we thought The Midland would be out of our price range and wrote it off. In the end we decided to talk to them and met with Vicky Cruse, who was brilliant. We discussed ways of getting the wedding in on budget and although it was slightly more than we initially had in mind we knew we would regret it if we didn’t go for the place we liked the most.

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Having the ceremony elsewhere broke up the day a little and made it a slightly less expensive option. The town hall were brilliant, very accommodating. We can’t fault either venue.

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A Real Wedding In The North West: Paper Daisy Photography

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The ‘theme’ was loosely based on Old Hollywood Glamour. The Midland is an iconic 1930′s hotel and it seemed apt to go with a more opulent theme then perhaps a ‘vintage’ wedding. We chose The Midland not only because it had stunning views and the interior was gorgeous, but because we knew they would look after us. We had to do very little to make the place look stunning – and all we did was provide the décor and they did the rest.

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As Lancaster town hall and The Midland are totally different in style and décor I decided to not have a colour scheme. The bridesmaids were all in white, I was in white and the flowers were white with lime green and dark green accents. This meant we could add splashes of colour where we wanted. For example we had red heart balloons for the car and the car had turquoise bows on it.

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I had an Essense wedding dress. Initially I wasn’t going to have a real wedding dress, but one morning I was walking past Butterfly Bridal in Lancaster and I decided to try some on. They were so lovely. There was less than six months to go and with the Chinese New Year approaching they were concerned I might not get a dress in on time. So we searched the ex-samples.

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On my second visit I found ‘the’ dress. It was just wanted – it gave me a really curvy shape and the flowers on the train were just stunning. I felt amazing wearing it. Darren said it was better than he could ever imagine.

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I did the flowers – I ordered them from Triangle Nurseries. They were very helpful I would recommend them to anyone.  I carried white ranunculus with green viburnum.  The button holes were made from freesias, ranunculus and berries.  Chloe’s bouquet was made from white hyacinths and white freesias with dark green foliage.  The table decorations were made from twigs I sprayed white with flowers around the bottom {Brides Up North side note: Wow!}.  

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My sons were supposed to give me away and our son Rory was supposed to be ring bearer. However, in the end Rory walked down the aisle with my son Callum and my other son Liam gave me away. We used the box in which Darren had used to propose at Christmas.

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The brooch I wore to keep my wrap on was given to me at Christmas by Callum and Liam to wear on my wedding dress.

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The bridesmaids all had different dresses. I had our daughter, Farrah (3), who was wearing a dress from Monsoon. She also had the strap from my dress as a head dress. There was my niece, Holly, 2 who had a dress from Debenhams. However she decided she didn’t want to walk down the aisle with us and promptly fell asleep as the ceremony started! The oldest bridesmaid (Darren’s niece) was Chloe, 14, who wore a lovely chiffon dress we found in Debenhams. She looked like a little starlet! It was really nice having the girls in different outfits but having them all tied in by being white. Chloe carried flowers but I bought the little ones heart decorations at Christmas as I knew that if I gave them flowers they would soon destroy them!

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The boys outfits came from various high street shops and Darren’s suit came from Marks and Spencer.

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We travelled in style on the day! A friend of a friend had an open top beetle from 1972. It was great fun. They are thinking of a setting a business up so this was a great way for them to get some pictures. It was great driving along with the roof down, everyone was shouting congratulations at us!

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A Real Wedding In The North West: Paper Daisy Photography   Meg&Daz037ResizedforBUN

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The cakes were made by Darren’s cousin, Emma. She made three stunning cakes which faded in in colour from pink, green and yellow to white {Brides Up North side note #2: Double Wow!}. His Aunt and Uncle also provided some fondant fancies and french macaroons from Betty’s in Harrogate. I made some ‘truffles’ with my sisters and bought the rest of the items on the dessert table.

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The decorations came from months of collecting items from high street shops.

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A Real Wedding In The North West: Paper Daisy Photography

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We had a band in the evening called ‘The Tracks’. Darren plays the guitar so he got up and did a couple of songs.  Darren’s brother, Kevin, brought his ukulele and did an impromptu singalong in the bar between the meal and the evening do.

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We also spent a lot of time thinking about the music during the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa ‘Something’s got a hold of me’ we wanted it to be lively and fun. After the ceremony I tried to find as many of our friends first dances as possible and put them on a cd. I am not sure whether people noticed though!

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I have so many favourite moments:

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Seeing Darren’s face as we all walked down the aisle. He cried whilst I beamed!

Getting woken up by my friend Jenny at 6.45am in the suite at The Midland (STUNNING!) jumping around saying ‘you’re getting married today’!

Realising it was a sunny day.

Seeing Farrah in the rain shower at the Midland, she was like a little mermaid.

Pulling up at The Town Hall and seeing my boys all dressed up and gorgeous.

Being able to relax and know nothing was too much trouble.

My parents surprise Charleston dance in the evening. Talk about being upstaged!

Becoming Mrs Hawkins. 

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My advice for other Brides Up North is enjoy yourself. All too often I read about stressed out brides – it is supposed to be fun! Remember all that is important is marrying your other half. The other ‘stuff’ is exactly that. If it is stressing you out or distressing you then don’t worry about it. Do the things you like and find enjoyable.  Also, remember everything on the day will take far longer than you think. Listen to the advice of your wedding coordinator if you have one. Or ask those who have recently married.

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Ooh, and don’t give up on your ideal venue. Approach them and see what they say. You will never regret asking.

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Congratulations Megan and Darren!

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Contact me to share your Real Wedding memories with Brides Up North. 

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  – Images © 2012 Paper Daisy Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Deco Does It Better! An Art Deco Bridal Inspiration Shoot

March 30th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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McAvoy Weddings:  Art Deco Wedding Inspiration

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If you are looking for a classic and vintage yet cool and clean style for your wedding, then you’d do worse than adopting Art Deco influences into your theme. 

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The Art Deco era flourished during the 1920s and 1930s and is seeing a resurgence in popularity in fashion, film (looking forward to The Great Gatsby anyone?) and yes, bridal styling.  It’s one of my favourite eras for style influences as it’s elegant yet modern, plus a drop waist is so very flattering.

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Today’s absolutely stunning location shoot was sent to me by Jan of Erica Stacey Bridalwear, with images from a pair of fabulous North West wedding photographers, Jenny and Keith of McAvoy Weddings (they shot all the images of the Brides Up North Tweet Up North West don’t you know), and I’ve been desperate to share it with you lovely lot.

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Happy Friday – enjoy today’s visual treats along with a bacon sarnie and an extra sugar in your tea!

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McAvoy Weddings:  Art Deco Wedding Inspiration

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Jan tells us about the shoot and it’s inspirations: We originally met Jenny & Keith McAvoy at the Tatton Wedding Show in January 2012. When Jenny contacted us to say she had secured the beautiful Art Deco The Midland Hotel at Morecambe for a shoot, we jumped at the chance to showcase our gowns.

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McAvoy Weddings:  Art Deco Wedding Inspiration

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We approached Adi Thomas at Verdure, who was also really excited to be involved in the project. The gorgeous hair and make up artist Hayley Stott Makeup did her magic and also modelled for the shoot as well.

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We all arrived at the fabulous venue on Monday. The weather was beautiful and it really was a perfect day to be beside the seaside. We were able to get lots of shots inside the stunning venue and also plenty of shots on the beach itself.

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The theme of the shoot was ‘Art Deco’ . The Venue obviously fit the bill perfectly as do many of the dresses in our debut Ready to Wear Collection for 2012. Adi Thomas of Verdure embraced the Art Deco brief and created a gorgeous 1920’s inspired shower bouquet with lots of trailing asparagus fern. He decorated a delicate lace fan with beautiful pale pink orchids and filled ‘cosmopolitan’ glasses with pretty roses. Beautiful floral hair pieces and a crystal candelabra completed the look.

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McAvoy Weddings:  Art Deco Wedding Inspiration

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Jenny & Keith have achieved some wonderful shots and we are delighted with the results. The images are a real inspiration for any brides wanting to create an Art Deco inspired look for their big day.

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McAvoy Weddings:  Art Deco Wedding Inspiration

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Erica Stacey Bridalwear was launched at the very end of 2011. It is the partnership of Erica Stacey and Terry Keane. Both have a vast experience in the clothing industry. Erica is a trained pattern cutter and designer whilst Terry has over 30 years experience in pattern creation, pattern grading and has worked as an advisor to global clothing manufacturing companies.Both have a love of the history of fashion and are passionate about keeping the Clothing Manufacturing Industry in the UK, alive. Erica Stacey creates couture gowns for weddings, parties, proms. We also cater for Mother of the bride and bridesmaids.

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Erica says: In January 2012 we launched our first Ready to Wear Collection under the Erica Stacey label. The collection comprises 7 dresses. All of which are unique so we hope there is something to suit everyone. The inspiration for the collection was The Hollywood Age of Glamour, the Art Deco movement and also fashions from the 1930’s & 40’s.  We are very proud of the fact that all our dresses are handmade in Manchester, England – (Yes… you heard right Mary Portas!) We use only quality silks and lovingly finish our gowns with laces and unusual trims.

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Little Black Book

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Dresses: Erica Stacey Bridalwear

Images: McAvoy Photography

Hair, makeup and modelling: Hayley Stott Makeup

Floristry: Adit Thomas at Verdure

Venue: The Midland Hotel at Morecambe (English Lakes Group)

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  – Images © 2012 McAvoy Weddings

McAvoy Weddings is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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