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!
May 10th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Last week we hit a poignant point in the wedding day countdown – one-year-to-go, whoop! Naturally we paid extra close attention to the weather on May 2nd as if it’s a guaranteed reflection of what the weather will be in a year’s time. But then I reminded myself that the weather can change drastically from day to day in the UK, never mind year to year, and so I suppose we have no clue what type of conditions we are in for until the big day rolls round (just please, no snow!)
I’m a born worrier, though I have to say the weather is one area I’m not too hung up on about the wedding as we took this into consideration when picking our venue – The West Mill in Derby – as it has so much stunning indoor space that it won’t matter if we can’t make use of its outdoor areas due to rain, gales or worse!
So, what have Andy and I managed to arrange since my last diary post? Well I’m afraid we’ve slacked off a little actually, due to being extra busy with work, also my older brother’s wedding is now just a matter of weeks away (eeeekk!) and we we’re also basking in the comfort of having more than a year to plan – a luxury that has now come to an abrupt end meaning we need to pick our socks up.
While some elements we want to keep a surprise for the big day (which we will of course be sharing with you following the ‘I dos’) there are a few elements I can discuss.
Up first is our photographer – a supplier we ticked off the list as soon as we had our date and venue, and I would highly recommend you doing the same as these talented folk get booked up years in advance. Working in the industry I am surrounded by skilful photographers but there is one that I met early on in the industry, who is from my home city of Sheffield and whose images and approach I instantly connected to – and that certain someone is the wonderful Jon Dennis of S6 Photography. Thankfully Andy was equally taken with his spectacular work and Jon was free on our chosen date – phew!
As the photos are your lasting memories of a wedding once the day has been and gone, I think it’s of paramount importance to find a photographer whose style you love and that you can trust to deliver. My advice when searching is to look through full weddings on photographers’ websites/blogs if possible rather than just ‘hero’ shots shared on social media as this will give you a better idea of how they capture the full day; the emotions, details and everything in between. Once you’ve narrowed down your list I then think it’s a case of getting the right vibes when communicating/meeting with them. As your photographer will be with you all day, it’s important to like and get along with them, knowing they will treat you and your guests well.
We are so excited for Jon to capture our day, and highly advise you looking up his work if you are currently on the photographer hunt.
Further to report, last month we returned to our venue for a ‘Tasting Experience’ evening where we could view The West Mill once again, along with its new Mill House accommodation, meet some of their recommended suppliers and, most importantly, sample food from the caterers that will providing our wedding breakfast to give us an idea of what we can expect. We were also invited to take along four guests, which meant we could reveal our choice of venue to our parents – thankfully, they loved it as much as we do!
The function spaces at The West Mill had been dressed to impress so it was great to see what could be done with the rooms and certainly gave us food for thought styling wise – now just to whittle down my ever-growing Pinterest boards!
Having seen gorgeous images of the Mill House on-site accommodation we were also excited to see these rooms first hand, and they didn’t disappoint! Each of the eight en-suite double rooms feature beautiful boutique styling, copious amounts of exposed brick and luxury bathrooms making us want to move in permanently, rather than just stay one night.
And just when we thought we couldn’t be anymore smug about our choice of venue, we sampled the food by their caterers, Jenkinson’s. Wow oh wow – a couple of friends of mine who have attended weddings at The West Mill previously mentioned the food was delicious, but it far exceeded our expectations. Three different starters and mains were delivered to the table followed by two different desserts meaning we consumed a full meal each but got to sample varying options from the menu. Presentation and flavour were both fabulous and the portion sizes were very good too, given the nod of approval by hollow-legs-Andy, who often reminds me that his Barnsley roots means he is requires ‘proper’ meals!
We will now await a meeting with the caterers about six months before the wedding to make our food choices but we certainly left feeling highly satisfied and inspired!
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
May 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
A blogger’s gotta do what a blogger’s gotta do.
This evening you’ll find me knee deep in summer shift dresses, cute clutch bags and the odd statement necklace as I throw a week’s worth of pretty threads into ^^^my suitcase ^^^ to take me to the FROWs of barcelona bridal week.
It’s a real honour to have been invited to Spain as Barcelona Bridal Week‘s guest to take in four days of cutting edge catwalk collections, opening parties, cultural expeditions and a rather swanky 25 year celebration.
If you are a long term reader of these pages, you’ll know that I’m ridiculously keen on my bridal fashion, and for the past five years we’ve been striving to keep you up to date with all the latest looks and trends as they break. That’s why when the invitation to head to one of the most prestigious events in the worldwide bridal calendar dropped into my inbox, I cleared my diary, pronto.
It also helped that the weather in Barcelona currently looks like this. Nice.
For the next five days, I’ll be checking out the latest offerings from (and sipping a few cocktails with) some very, very big name bridal houses, including the likes of Rosa Clara, Miguel Suay, Jesus Peiro, Isabel Sanchis, Yolan Cris, Cabotine and Cymbeline Paris.
Anyway, enough name dropping for now, as there’ll be plenty of that to come. In a special series of live-blogged features this week, I’ll be bringing you all the fashion news – and my favourites – from the front line. Watch this space – as well as our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, for the couture as it happens.
Adios for now, and I’ll see you in Barcelona!
April 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime
image by Shell De Mar Photography
In the world of fashion there are those that lead, those that follow and those that don’t give a royal stuff what everyone else is wearing as they simply do things their own way. Today’s wedding superstar in our Style Profile spotlight certainly fits into the latter. This afternoon we welcome to our pretty pages, our friend,
kat williams, founder and editor, Rock n Roll Bride blog and magazine.
Stylish Kat is known for standing out from the crowd, not only for her alternative take on weddings, but also her iconic hair (which has so far been vibrant shades of pink, blue and purple). Here the queen of quirky shares her fashion go-tos and what makes her tick in the world of weddings, which of course includes things that sparkle!
How would you describe your nine ‘til five style and what are your key work wardrobe pieces?
kat says: Well, I work from home most of the time so it’s all about comfort! I’m currently wearing sequinned sweatpants from Pink by Victoria’s Secret, a black vest from Topshop and slipper booties from Next. That’s pretty standard daily work wear I’m afraid. There’s nothing glamourous about working from your home office and I honestly think getting all dressed up is a bit of a waste of time! If I have to actually go out and see people I pretty much dress in my uniform of a patterned midi skirt or a plain maxi, a cropped and/or graphic tee and black boots! I love cropped graphic tees – most of mine come from Forever 21, ASOS and Mango. Finding a pair of the perfect black everyday wear appropriate boots is a constant quest! They need to be hard wearing, comfortable and with just the right amount of heel. I think I’m going to get the Scampy boots from Kurt Geiger next!
What would you wear for a night out drinking cocktails with the girls?
My favourite style of dress is the midi/ maxi skirt, cropped tee and boots combo, or a 50s shaped mid-length dress with some sparkly shoes. I very definitely have a ‘uniform’. I know what styles and shapes suit me so I don’t stray far from them!
If you were currently planning your wedding what would be your top picks in terms of styling, attire, accessories and blooms?
If money was no object I’d wear a Vivienne Westwood couture gown. I saw one at their press event recently and I’m obsessed! My shoes would probably be Miu Miu, or Alexander McQueen or Charlotte Olympia. Something stand-out. And my flowers would no doubt be equally bright and colourful!
Where do you get your fashion inspiration from e.g. celebrities, magazines, catwalks, Instagram?
I love Katy Perry’s style but really I know what does and does not suit me so I’m not REALLY that influenced by what any other people wear. Something that looks amazing on someone else won’t necessarily work with my shape.
What areas of a wedding would you splurge on the most and why?
Photography, because it’s the only thing that remains once the wedding is over (as well as the marriage of course!)
What is your favourite high street store and online shopping site?
ASOS all the way. I also love Ted Baker.
Who is your favourite bridal gown designer and why?
Fur Coat No Knickers are amazing. I love their Flaunt It collection which are made in the UK and based off the vintage dresses they became so well known for. I also adore Vivienne Westwood, and Claire Pettibone, but I also love the idea of getting something custom made.
What has been your biggest fashion splurge so far and was it worth it?
I don’t like to spend too much on frivolous items that you’ll only wear a couple of times, my biggest splash was probably £400 on a pair of sparkly Miu Mius. But I think investing in an amazing leather jacket and comfortable, well-made boots is always going to be money well spent.
Where would be your dream honeymoon destination and why? What top five items would you pack in your case?
I travel a lot with work and by this point I’ve probably visited most places on my bucket list! I recently got back from Vegas though and I LOVE it there. I always over pack when I travel and end up bringing things I never get around to wearing, but some things I can’t live without are good skincare and hair items (travel does play havoc with your skin and my bleached hair needs constant attention, I can’t wing it and use hotel shampoo!) and comfortable clothes for the plane.
What is your key piece in your wardrobe that you couldn’t live without?
Sweatpants! Sad but true.
April 10th, 2015 | Julia Braime
In this hour long episode with the website’s founder and host Heidi I discuss what you should know about working with bloggers, how to get the most out of blog advertising, how to get more engagement on social media and how to manage a busy workload. If you are one of our lovely industry readers (or just curious about how this whole blog thang works behind the scenes!) then why not stick the kettle on, cosy up for an hour and have a listen.
You can listen to our podcast by clicking on the link here. Enjoy!
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