Charlotte Balbier

petals & pencils. the leafy couture school for florists

February 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (2)

As well as being a source of inspiration and guidance for our brides-to-be we also like to give our supplier followers a helping hand where we can by letting them know about blooming marvellous industry events such as Leafy Couture’s two-day styling class on the 5th and 6th of March 2015, part of their brand new offering - The Leafy Couture School For Florists.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of public speaking on blogging and social media within the wedding and lifestyle sector recently, and I’m honoured to have been invited along to share my top tips in a dedicated session during this special event.

I love hosting smaller group sessions like these, and if hearing about my recent adventures into the world of coaching have peaked your interest a little do watch out for some very exclusive workshops launching here soon.

But back to those flowers.

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (1)
Our good friend and the wonderful talent behind Leafy Couture Sarah Richardson, has a an amazing portfolio that comes with some serious clout. This incredible lady has vast experience in the world of weddings having worked on hundreds over the past eight years, from marquees to grand stately homes, she is truly passionate about couples’ big days.

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (4)

Her work is regularly featured in national wedding magazines and local press as well as on numerous national and international wedding blogs, including Brides Up North. She’s also one of our go-to-girls for styling at our industry events and creative shoots, delivering impressive blooms every single time. To add to her credentials Sarah has taught floristry to BTEC Level 3 as a college tutor, demonstrated at RHS Harrogate Flower Show and has recently been nominated for a Wedding Magazine blogging award, phew!

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (5)

She’s therefore incredibly well placed to support others in their passion for flowers through both her group styling events and one-to-one mentoring sessions. Whether amateur or experienced a lot can be learnt from this lady and we’re sure some of our florist friends will be keen to go back to school if it means gaining tricks of the trade from Ms Richardson.

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (6)

But enough from me, I’ll hand over the pages to Sarah to explain in more detail what her upcoming styling event has to offer – catch you there!

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (9)

sarah says: This class is especially for florists who are wanting to build their confidence in the world of weddings.

We will hold your hand and guide you through a series of arrangements to build your portfolios. We will introduce you to a wedding planner, wedding blogger and events team to get insider tips on how to get on in the industry.

And there’s more. We’ll help you work on building your own style and create images for your websites and social media. We will guide you through our processes with wedding appointments and show you how to create wedding bouquets, buttonholes, flower crowns and then style a ceremony and wedding breakfast with large scale designs such as urns and an archway.

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (7)

All classes take place in The Chili Barn, Otley – a real wedding venue, where we will show you all the things you need to think about when working on site and fill your head with ideas. You will be working on your own and also as part of a team as you would in a real life wedding situation.

This is a two-day course with all refreshments, including tea and coffee and cake and a delicious lunch, provided. All material, aprons, workbooks and flower material will also be supplied.

Places are limited so each student will get maximum experience and attention. A basic knowledge of flowers and floristry is preferable but we are on hand to guide you every step of the way.

We shall have a photographer on site but you are advised to bring a camera too or a smart phone. All students will get a free skype or phone mentoring session a month after the course to continue the support. Students will also get free access to our new E-Book chapter on wedding flower appointments and session hand outs.

Hope to see you there!

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (8)

For more details about the styling class, costing £600 per person, and Leafy Couture’s one-to-one mentoring sessions, please email Sarah at, or visit

Images by James Melia.

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2015, Unveiled.

January 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime


I’m crazy excited to welcome readers old and new (hey, if you just popped a ring on your finger – congratulations!- you are in the right place) to these pretty pages for our first feature of 2015, and to finally be able to share the big news that I’ve been hinting at (and #hashtagging) all over our social networks during the Christmas break.

As of today, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be joining the team at the North’s glossiest bridal magazine, Unveiled, as Editor.

Editor! How very Anna Wintour!

Issue Three of this beautiful, coffee-table book style publication is about to land this month, and after that, I’ll be taking the creative reins alongside the publishing team to build on the quality, luxury and creativity that the team has already achieved in their inaugural issues.

Readers, we are going high-end and cutting edge.

I’ve always had a passion for print, and a background in glossy mags before a career in law is what pushed me to create this award winning wedding blog just over four years ago. I’ve flirted with the idea of creating an annual Brides Up North publication, but after the publisher of Unveiled approached me last year, a collaboration with this stunning title was an idea that I’ve just not been able to let lie.

I’m excited and nervous in equal measure, but there was no way that I was turning down this amazing opportunity and dream role.

I’m brimming with ideas that I think are beautifully different and will push the boundaries of bridal publishing. I’ve never been busier on Pinterest’s secret boards, and my office is currently dominated by some very large mood boards. I can’t wait to get going!

And what does all this mean for Brides Up North? Well, everything and nothing, really. First up, your favourite blog isn’t going anywhere. I’ll be here, sharing inspirational real weddings, fashion features, supplier showcases and personal posts on a double daily basis. Forever.  Or until Kim Kardashian really does break the internet. We’re actually working on expanding our team to support an increased editorial schedule, more Brides Up North branded events, some very special styled shoots and even a Brides Up North You-Tube channel (watch out for that one!).

2015 is the year that we plan to get bigger, better and more beautiful.

I’m hopeful that the diversity and opportunity that comes from heading up a print title will also fuel and further creativity and contacts for our online content too.  As well as having my finger firmly on the pulse of all the prettiest content and news from the bridal front line, I’ll also be sharing behind the scenes gossip and editorial insights with my online readers.

My first issue of Unveiled goes to print in July 2015 and I’m so excited to get started.  Until then, I’ll keep you updated as to how it’s all going right here, or you can follow my progress via our social media channels over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you’re an industry reader who’d like to work with either Brides Up North or Unveiled, I’d love to hear from you.  You can contact me here. 

2015. let’s do this!

Is it too early for a glass of Champagne?

To check out previous issues of Unveiled, click here and here.

Unveiled 2

Unveiled 1

Unveiled 3

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Where I’ll Be Next Week: Talkin’ Shop.

April 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

This week has been all about catching up, office time, making plans and getting ready – because once I’ve eaten my last Easter egg on Monday it’s a jam packed diary right until the end of April.  As well as a double daily features schedule, the usual 200 plus emails a day from readers and suppliers (no lie, but I love hearing from each and every one of you!) there’s a fabulous vintage wedding exhibition for Brides Up North at The Bowdon Rooms in Cheshire, not one but two very exciting speaking engagements, fittings, styling jobs, freelance writing, social media projects, a blog overhaul (oh yes, oh yes!) and one very special styled shoot. More on that later.

All this is jammed into a three “day” and a lot of midnight oil burning seven “nights” a week, as I try to juggle my business with motherhood!  Consequently, May might well involve a lot of lying down.

Anyway, those very exciting speaking engagements I mentioned? They both take place next week, and I can’t wait to get out into the spring sunshine and hang around with some wonderful, creative, inspiring souls.

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

I’ve already told you about the wonderful workshop that I’m thrilled to join Brides Up North Featured Supplier Cat Hepple Photography at next Tuesday: The Editorial Wedding (click here for more information).  I’ll be joining Cat and a collective of wedding photography professionals as she shows them the tricks and techniques that allow her to do what she does so well.  Cat’s craft is very special – her work has that magic touch that makes you look a million dollars, “magazine ready” in your wedding photographs.  Put it this way, I’ve never turned down a feature submission from Mrs Hepple yet.

I’ll be there on the day too, to talk to you about the process of getting your work “out there” and seen more effectively.  I’ve been in this game for nearly four years, and worked on glossy magazines long before that, so I know my stuff.  How to craft a successful submission to a wedding magazine or blog, how to increase your chances of being selected and what those with an editorial eye are looking for. 

And it just so happens that the very next day, I’m hopping in the Brides Up North mobile and heading over the Pennines to make a very special appearance on day two of Jonny Draper Photography’s Masterclass too!  I can’t wait!  Jonny and Cat are two of my very favourite industry friends and to see they do what they do best in their own environment will be fantastic.   

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

So, we’ve heard from Cat, but what’s the plan for Jonny’s class? Please note – Jonny’s Masterclass is now SOLD OUT but watch out for more dates later in the year. 

Jonny says: This two day wedding photography experience  has been specifically designed for wedding photographers who are ready to take their business to the next level.  This is a Masterclass for photographers who are confident with their own digital SLR and are ready to shoot stunning images inside and outside of one of the UK’s most beautiful bespoke wedding venues.

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

Throughout the shooting day, Jonny will be demonstrating a range of lighting techniques that he uses during a wedding.  Attendees are invited to bring along as little or as much equipment as they would like to use throughout the day and there may be opportunity for attendees to use some of Jonny’s own lighting equipment.

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass

From the business point of view, this Masterclass offers an insight that no other wedding photography workshop has done before.  On day two of the course, not only will you hear from The 2013 Wedding Industry Awards "North West Wedding Photographer of The Year" (that’s Jonny!) about how he runs his hugely successful business, you will also be given invaluable business information from one of the UK’s busiest and most popular wedding venues about how you can develop relationships with venues just like them.

You will hear from the owner of Cheshire’s most exclusive bridal experience about how to establish and develop relationships with top wedding suppliers that will benefit your wedding photography business as well as an award winning blogger (that’s me!) who will show you just what it takes to get your work featured on the UK’s most popular wedding blogs.

Sounds good to me!  I’ll be reporting back on both sessions, and might just have picked up a few photography tips myself.  Watch this space.

Jonny Draper Photography Masterclass


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Jonny Draper Photography

Jonny Draper Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier and this is a sponsored post

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

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Friday Fabulous!

February 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Friday Fabulous Kathy by LK Bennett

Not so much a bridal accessory than a ‘go on treat yourself it’s Friday and the wedding’s ages away’ or a ‘perfect for a wedding blogger always on the go’ accessory.  Plus, your online wedding planning should be done in style, right?

(It was my birthday this week).

Did I mention it was my birthday this week? Anyone..?

Just in case you didn’t get that: IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK.


Kathy Printed Leather iPad Case in Fuchsia, by LK Bennett £95


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2014 LK Bennett

This is not a sponsored post

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

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The Editorials: “Its All In The Detail”

January 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Helen Russell Photography

Helen Russell Photography 

It’s time for another online/ offline catch up folks.  The Editorials is a series I run occasionally here on the wedding blog, bringing the offline bridal freelance writing that I do on a monthly basis for numerous glossy magazines online. 

“It’s All In The Detail” was a piece penned by moi and first published in National Glossy, Wedding Magazine as a part of my Trend Alert series of columns (although it’s contents have been tweeted a few times since then)!  I hope it inspires you to accessorise wisely…

Its All In The Detail

I said:  No longer content with just the church, dress and swish wheels, trendsetting brides and grooms are thinking outside the box when it comes to the finer details of their big day.

This isn’t about following the crowd and installing a job lot of teacups, typewriters and the prerequisite bird cage table centres, but selecting unique props and decorating details that say something about the your individual tastes and interests and using them as a backdrop to your celebration.

Dan Jones Photography

Dan Jones Photography

Dan Jones Photography  

A plan is essential. It’s all too easy to get carried away at the car boot sales and lose sight of your initial vision. This isn’t an episode of ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’. Before the great rummage begins, consider your theming carefully and arm yourself with a wish list to avoid expensive mistakes. Consider enlisting the services of a prop hire or event styling specialist who will help you to bring more ambitious ideas to life.

SDS Photography

Middleton Lodge Wedding By Helen Russell Photography  (26)

CG Weddings by The Crawleys

SDS Photography, Helen Russell Photography, CG Weddings by The Crawleys 

A Personal Touch

Whatever decorating details you add to your big day, the most effective schemes will be those that really mean something to you as a couple. Travel mad? Vintage suitcases, picture postcards and grand old maps in place of table runners can add nostalgia and romance to your celebration. Love cycling? How about a bicycle made for two?

Helen Venables Photography

Jonny Draper Photography

Helen Venables Photography, Jonny Draper Photography 

Go Large

Some of the more popular grand schemes like festival or circus themed weddings need commitment to work. If in doubt, add bulk and colour – reams of rainbow streamers or paper pompoms en masse are a cheaper alternative to filling the room with flowers, and in some scenarios more definitely is more!

BUN Charlotte & Matt-94

Cassandra Lane Photography

Richard Wynn Davies, Helen Venables Photography


Before embarking on a decorating extravaganza, remember to do your sums. Props and detailing should really be somewhere near the bottom of your budget and an optional extra rather than essential expense. Decide what’s more important to you – 100 Greek urns or your Santorini honeymoon (and I’m not judging!) and budget accordingly.

Jonny Draper Photography

Shelley Hughes Photography

Jonny Draper Photography, Shelley Hughes Photography

Nothing For The Sake Of It

Often, the most stylish weddings are the simplest affairs. Don’t feel pressured to over-style your day if a themed celebration just isn’t your bag. You can still add personal touches with your favourite flowers, photographs of loved ones or a carefully chosen playlist.

SDS Photography

SDS Photography

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as credited

This is not a sponsored post

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

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