August 2nd, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
If the sunnier climes up North this summer have given you a taste for the sun drenched, carefree life, then we have the perfect styled shoot for you today, as we transport you to California to provide inspo for that other big day in your life – your hen do!
Led by Natasha, stylist and creator at planning and styling company Want That Invite, the shoot is a dreamy, colourful affair bursting with fun factor – everything we could want from our celebrations with our girl squad in tow!
There are gorgeous prints, palm trees (of course), rainbow bright cocktails, balloons and cake pops to get the party vibes in full swing. And it all takes place in a back garden in the North West of the UK, no less – so no airfare required! We’re just wondering if we even need the excuse of hosting a hen do to recreate this beauty ourselves?!
natasha says: We decided to create this shoot to show our clients what can be achieved in their own back gardens. With the help of us at Want That Invite, and our dream team of suppliers we can transform any space to suit their needs.
California is a popular hen party destination, but this is not always easy to get to (think money, flights and getting everybody to commit). So, instead, we decided to bring California to the UK!
Our colour scheme was inspired by Palm Springs’ architecture; think pastel pinks paired with geometric shapes. The shoot’s overarching theme is California dreaming with a ‘party in Palm Springs’ concept.
We wanted the party to be relatable and to show what’s possible with the help of a planner and stylist. We selected a colleague’s garden as the venue for the shoot, which was fairly neutral with pastel grey fences and no bold flowers or decor. We knew it was the ideal spot for our shoot as we loved the different areas available. There was a grassed area for the picnic, decking for a seating area and also a great long fence for the Photo Booth (supplied by Vivalabooth) to go in front of. It wasn’t overpowered by bushes or trees, which meant our styling was the focal point.
A variety of styling elements were taken into consideration when designing this shoot – from the patterns on the picnic rugs, to the colours of the placemats and cushions. Modern elements were introduced with the use of gold cutlery and Perspex name-tags and signage, with stationery supplied by Ever After Paperie and favours from Team Hen.
Beautiful fresh florals were introduced to add pops of colour to the picnic table, the drinks cart and even in the bride-to-be’s hair, supplied by the talented Milly Davey Flowers. Even the desserts, crafted by Honeywell Bakes and Polka Pops, were styled to match with the theme – think palm trees and pineapples.
We wanted the attire for the shoot to be relaxed, fun and realistic to what would be worn to a garden party. But we wanted to add a statement piece, which is why we decided to get Bee Davies Illustration involved. She created a bespoke denim ‘Miss to Mrs’ jacket to add to the relaxed atmosphere.
July 18th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Today’s real wedding between Helen and Ed has been on the cards for more years than most – they first met at primary school aged five and have the photo evidence to prove it! With so many years of history behind the couple, Helen was keen to bring plenty of memories with her to the wedding, incorporating lots of photographs of the couple from throughout the years. Furthermore, she created place names out of photographs of each guest with either her or Ed, and also made decorations for the aisle out of song lyrics that are important to them as a couple. A little bit of extra thought when planning these details certainly adds to the personal feel of the day.
Breaking the bridal mould Helen ditched a traditional ivory gown in place of a striking magenta gown and centred the wedding décor around her love for the bold hue. Beautiful beaded detailing gives Helen’s gown a wonderful vintage feel that, paired with her gorgeous curled locks, results in a look reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour. A vibrant lip anchors her style and echoes the brights in her dazzling bouquet. Seamless colour scheming skills Helen, we salute you!
With images by A Little Picture.
helen says: Ed’s proposal came as a complete surprise. We both went to Rome on a whim and every day we would walk past the Trevi Fountain and admire its beauty. On the penultimate day of the holiday, after a lovely meal near the fountain, Ed insisted we see it one last time. It was about 10pm, so it was relatively quiet compared to normal. I was doing my usual selfie-taking, trying to get the right angle, when Ed turned to me and got down on one knee. I was so shocked but elated. I knew he was the man I wanted to marry since our first date in 2012. Beaming with excitement and glee, I said “yes!”
We got married on 21st April 2018 at Saltmarshe Hall near Howden in East Yorkshire. We chose the date primarily because the venue was booked up for the entire summer but also because I love blossom and I wanted to get some photos of the blossom during that time of year.
Most venues we looked at would either have multiple weddings on at the same time or the general public walking by during the ceremony. Saltmarshe Hall, however, ensured exclusivity for the entire day and there was just us and our family and friends in the grounds, which we loved. We also liked that there were separate rooms we could use; for example, in the evening, there was the room that had the disco in but also two additional rooms for seating. It meant those who didn’t want to dance and wanted a bit of quiet time could use these rooms to talk and not feel like they were losing their voice to shout over the music. Overall, the venue is beautiful inside and out; we couldn’t fault it and would definitely recommend it. It was perfect for what we wanted – somewhere exclusive with lots of different rooms and places to go outside for the guests and for photographs.
In terms of a theme, we went for a floral style, which we felt would suit the venue. The colours we chose were magenta, dusky pink and navy, with silver accents. As my wedding dress was magenta, I wanted to tie in the décor with it. Everything was made to match these colours – even the wedding cake.
For my dress, I went for a colour as I just didn’t feel like myself when trying on white dresses. I always wear bright colours and I feel I suit colours better, so I went against the tide and bought a beautiful chiffon dress in magenta. I got it from Elenor Rose in Huddersfield. They were so helpful and supportive with my idea to get a coloured dress, which was amazing. In other bridal shops, I felt I was pigeon-holed into getting the standard white dress but Elenor Rose were so kind and understanding. The dress I chose was actually a bridesmaid dress of which I could choose any shade I wanted from an amazing swatch book. I was in colour heaven. I loved the beading detail on it as well. It was so pretty and delicate. On the day, with my long Hollywood curls, I felt like a vintage movie star.
Ed opted for hired suits for himself and the groomsmen. They were from a suit rental shop in Sheffield called Ashley Rogers. He chose a gorgeous mid-blue suit, which had a tonal effect and a shine to the fabric. It was such a flattering colour and looked amazing on all the groomsmen. Ashley Rogers were very helpful as well. All the suits fitted like a glove.
For my bridesmaids, I had two adults and two young girls. The adult bridesmaids, Emma and Helen, chose Little Mistress dresses bought from Debenhams – one in a mink colour and the other in a dusky pink. My younger bridesmaids, Daisy and Alice, chose Monsoon dresses in their favourite colours – lilac and pink. The dresses complemented each other very well, which I was pleased about, and they looked gorgeous in them.
I chose the ties for the groomsmen, as I wanted to make sure the colours matched the dresses. I was delighted to find a tie for Ed that matched exactly to the colour of my dress and the rest of the adult groomsmen had dusky pink ties that matched Emma’s dress. In addition, the page boy had a bow tie matching Helen’s bridesmaid dress. They were all bought from various shops on the high street.
July 17th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Ten months – well actually less than ten months to go now until our big day! Our featured brides aren’t lying when they say the run up to the wedding flies by, and in a twist of roles, it is these knowledgeable now-married ladies that I’ve found myself turning to for guidance along this tricky planning path. For despite being immersed in weddings day in day out, and constantly absorbing the expert advice passed on by the amazing suppliers that we work with, I’ve come to realise that nothing quite prepares you for planning your own – and those armed with the most solid advice are the couples that have been there, done that, and bear the wedding bands to prove it.
I therefore really enjoyed putting together this recent post, which lists top tips from our real brides over the past few months, and I’m now trying to put their wise words into practise – “enjoy the organising”, “don’t stress”, “split the workload”, “be decisive”, “break things down into bite-size chunks”. And so, I found myself scheduling a ‘wedding meeting’ with groom-to-be Andy. Sounds rather bridezilla-esque I know, but as we both lead busy lifestyles (or more to the point, our evenings are currently taken up with Love Island #teamdanijack) I felt like it was necessary to ensure we gave the plans some quality time and got a few things ticked off the ever-growing to do list.
It started out all angelic with a notebook and glass of Buck’s Fizz in our sunny garden, though ended with us sat at a computer screen indoors with our heads in our hands. But I’m pleased to report that progress was made!
The invites are almost ready to hit ‘print’ on thanks to my super talented best friend Nic – a graphic designer/art director with a fabulous eye for detail and styling. Another top tip often mentioned by our featured brides is to call on the skills of family and friends, and I couldn’t agree more. As well as potentially saving you a little money, it’s also a lovely way to involve someone you care about in your plans and to bounce ideas off too. I can’t wait to reveal the final result, but if you want to check out some of Nic’s gorgeous wedding stationery designs in the meantime, take a look at her lovely little business, Paper Dates.
In-line with the sorting the invite designs we’ve also firmed up our guest list, which is no mean feat, as despite family politics, we’ve remained determined to invite those closest to us, rather than who’s ‘expected’ to be attending. At my brother’s recent wedding (where Andy and I are pictured in the opening image to today’s post), he and his partner Ben invited just 40 people to their ceremony and evening reception – the vast majority of these being friends – and then opened up the invite to around 100 guests the following evening for a larger-scale party. The result was a really special and intimate atmosphere for the main part of the wedding that we’d love to replicate on our big day, though our numbers are slightly higher due to the style of wedding. Evening guests have been kept to a minimum not to disrupt the flow of the proceedings, and as we’re having a Thursday wedding we appreciate the logistics of people travelling on a work night could be tricky.
So what else? Just the small matter of finding my wedding dress! It fills me with both excitement and nerves to say that after just two bridal boutique appointments, I’ve found the one! I’m not nervous about my choice, just that it makes it all seem so real and we have plenty of planning left to do.
When initially thinking about my dress search I loved the idea of going to around four or five boutiques, trying on lots of gorgeous dresses while enjoying glasses of fizz before making my mind up – but that wasn’t quite the case as it all happened rather quickly, and on reflection I’m rather glad it did. You see, I’m notoriously indecisive so in the back of my mind I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find the perfect dress and as the search would continue I’d become more disheartened and lose my focus.
For anyone fearing the same, my advice to help you in your search would be:
1 Initially look in magazines and blogs to find styles of dresses that you think you would like.
2 Next, try to find designers that have those styles in their collections, the price range of such dresses and the boutiques that stock them.
3 If you come across a certain dress by a designer that you are really drawn to, enquire with the boutique if they stock that particular design and, if not, are they able to call it in from the designer for you to try on at your appointment or do they have a designer event coming up where they will have the full collection in store for a limited time?
4 Take two, three people maximum to your appointment with you to avoid too many differing opinions. I took my mum and best friend Nic as these are the people I tend to shop with and they know my style and personality best. Most importantly I knew they would be 100% honest with me.
5 Try on a variety of styles. Even if you couldn’t think of anything worse than an A-line princess gown it’s good to try a variety of style to get an idea of what you do want – and while you might not like the overall style on you, there may be an element, such as the neckline, that you love and can look for in another design.
6 Go to a professional boutique rather than shopping on the high street or at warehouse style stores. The service that I received at both boutiques was second to none, as experienced stylists they listened to my plans and style and suggested dresses accordingly, and even made further suggestions on how the design could be altered. Those that have an in-house seamstress in particular are great at giving you alternatives, such as differing necklines, adding straps, sleeves or building in bra cups (the ab-so-lute dream for us small-busted girls keen not to look like a 13-year-old on their wedding day).
7 Move. Don’t just walk around the changing room and boutique rigid, you will need to be able to eat, drink, sit (and possibly kneel if in church), hug and dance in that dress so you have to feel comfortable and at ease.
8 Finally, when you find a dress you like ask yourself – can you see yourself getting married in that dress and will it work with the venue? Don’t worry about the styling, as these are details that will follow and that you can alter to work in-line with the dress. The most important thing is that you are comfortable, feel confident and above all, you love it!
During my appointments my mum and Nic compared me to Princess Diana and Shirley Bassey in some of the dresses so their speechless reactions and teary eyes spoke volumes when I emerged in what will be my dress for the big day. Thankfully there were no comparisons and the overriding opinion was that the dress was totally me!
And so, my journey continues, and I imagine there will need to be a fair few more ‘wedding meetings’ scheduled with Andy up to May, not to mention a ‘hen do brief’ with my #bridesquad as I try to decide where to have my final hurrah as Miss Parry – and make clear that no phallic straws or inflatables will be required!*
*Editor’s note: Just try and stop us Rach!
October 10th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Rachel and I are absolutely thrilled to share that Brides Up North has been shortlisted once again in the The Wedding Blog Awards 2016, hosted by Wedding Magazine. We’re up for not one but two categories this time, Best Regional Blog and Best Blogging Team, so things are pretty excitable here at Brides Up North HQ!
The awards evening is one of our yearly “best bits” and we are looking forward to another night of hobnobbing and hi-jinks with our fellow UK wedding bloggers (cue cupcakes washed down with Champagne) – and not-so-much the hungover train ride home – later on this month.
It might seem from our pretty Instagram feed that all Rach and I do is play with pretty dresses when we are in the office and put our feet up in spas when we are not. Usually, that’s exactly what we want you to think. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the reality.
Behind the scenes here at Brides Up North we work really, really long, often unsociable hours – just ask my husband – to make sure that the inboxes are emptied and the pretty pages of the wedding blog and related social channels are constantly fuelled with new wedding inspiration. That’s not to mention my role as Editor-In-Chief of Unveiled Magazine or the vast amount of effort that goes into our extremely busy seasons of Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s hard work being this goddamn fabulous.
We’d be really pleased to take home the gongs this year (lets go for the double!) and will keep you posted! We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our loyal readership, so big love and thanks for your support, it’s very much appreciated.
Let’s show the rest of the UK exactly what us Northerners can do!
julia & rachel x
September 3rd, 2016 | Julia Braime
We’ve got a Super Sunday coming up, and it’s next weekend, Sunday 11th September 2016! Tell me you’ve cleared those diaries already?! We’ve already told you about the first of our sensationally pretty events at Hilltop Country House in Cheshire next Sunday, and now, let us introduce the second event in the line up, especially for our Yorkshire readers.
It’s big and it’s beautiful! With it’s newly granted Civil Licence the marbled halls of stately giant Wentworth Woodhouse can be exclusively yours for a very special day.
Wentworth Woodhouse offers one of the most picturesque and luxurious settings in South Yorkshire, which complemented by Dine’s award-winning food and service, and with beautiful parkland views, is a stunning venue for your celebrations. On Sunday, the beautiful, gilded Marble Saloon and adjoining Van Dyke and Whistle Jacket Rooms will be dressed with luxury wedding inspiration to showcase this venue at it’s very best. We have invited the region’s very best exhibitors to join us for a day of delight and inspiration.
We do hope that you can make it too?
bride to be? register now
To pre-register for a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack (stuffed with treats and glossy mags) on Sunday 11th September 2016, simply follow the link below. You can collect your VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack upon entry to the Luxury Wedding Exhibition. Only the bride need register for larger groups. While stocks last.
EXHIBITOR ENQUIRIES: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of all of our forthcoming events.
Images (c) Cat Hepple Photography
September 29th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today I’m really very excited to share that Brides Up North has been shortlisted in the Forward Ladies women in business awards 2015 for Online/Digital Business Of The Year. As you read this, Rachel and I are perfecting our lippy and heading to Newcastle to join lots of bright business minds at the Yorkshire & North East Awards ceremony.
We’re never really ones for making a huge fuss (in our ever so Northern manner), but we’re ever so chuffed that our work in this field has been lauded by an organisation with so dynamic and varied a membership as Forward Ladies. Today, at the sparkling do, we’ll be over the moon if we take home the award – but it’s just as nice to see our hard work, loyal readership, solid supporter base and resultant business success recognised.
forward ladies say: ‘This year’s awards continues its tradition of being the premier forum for recognising and rewarding the talented women across the UK. The awards, which were created to celebrate trail blazing and pioneering women from enterprise and business, are hugely important because they give women a unique opportunity to acknowledge their successes and become credible and inspirational role models for others.
We have categories to showcase the underrepresented women working in traditionally male dominated fields such as the Digital and Online category, and have received some outstanding entries in this category. The judges have seriously had their work cut out for them this year… This is a testament to the high quality of our female business leaders across the regions who are helping the region’s economy grow.’
Here at Brides Up North, we’ll ALWAYS be all about the pretty… but there’s a serious side to what we do too. We connect. We aim to connect our bride to be readers with each other as a community; we aim to bring our wedding industry friends together, forging solid business relationships and networks along the way and most of all, we aim to put our bride to be readers directly in touch with the very best professionals in their area to help them realise their wedding day dreams. We achieve this through our daily blog posts, social networks, luxury wedding exhibitions, supplier gatherings and more recently through our work with Unveiled Magazine.
We’ve recently gone back to the proverbial drawing board to assess our entire service and how Brides Up North can better help our readers and supplier clients. Soon, (watch this space) we hope to bring you an exciting new online offering to make these connections even easier than ever before, but just for tomorrow, we’ll stick to networking in the old fashioned way… hopefully over a glass of celebratory bubbly!
Wish us luck!
julia, rachel & the team x
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