Charlotte Balbier

hola! #barcelonabridalweek

May 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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If you follow Brides Up North over on Facebook, Twitter or (especially) Instagram, you can’t have failed to notice that I’ve been getting a leetle bit ridiculously excited about being in Barcelona as a guest of Barcelona Bridal Week (hashtag #barcelonabridalweek).  I’m here all week as a VIP blogger partner of XXL Comunication, Barcelona Turisme and Barcelona Bridal Week, bringing you all the news from the front line of the couture catwalks as it lands… and maybe even a little backstage action too.

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I arrived late on Monday night, and since then it’s been a bit of a Barcelona Bridal whirlwind!  I was whisked straight from the airport to the grand opening of designer Miquel Suay‘s brand new flagship boutique, where a very warm welcome from the designer and his team (and their ah-may-zing gowns) awaited me, via late night tapas and a cheeky cerveza and back to my 5* lodgings in the sensational Gothic Quarter, then awoke today for a full on day of soirees and sightseeing.

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I’m here with a hand picked selection of top bloggers and media partners including the Aussie stylistas from The Lane, the lovely Lindsay of Fly Away Bride, famous US bloggers Jen of Green Wedding Shoes and Ally of Inspired By This, gorgeous Elizabeth of Bridal Musings and the fantastic Yolanda of Girls on Film, representing So You’re Getting Married.  Together we make quite a motley (albeit fabulously dressed) crew, and I’m enjoying exchanging tips (I think Jen from Green Wedding Shoes might have changed my life with her advice on email management), gossip and trend spotting with these amazing ladies.

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If today was all about the sights; a whistle-stop tour of the fashionable and quirky Born District, a tour of Casa Batllo (the beautiful Gaudi house), an amazing seafood lunch with Barcelona Turisme at La Gavina at Port Guell, a visit to the Poble Espanyol and more glasses of Cava offered my way than on my own wedding day… then this evening was all about the catwalk.

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At 6pm we headed to the Fira Gran Via for the opening show of Barcelona Bridal Week 2015, the stunning and sensational, Rosa Clara. Official press images and info will follow, but here are a few of my favourite shots. The 2016 Collection by Rosa Clara seeks to ‘emphasise the essence of female beauty’. We saw crop tops, blouses (very Olivia Palermo!) knits and beaded embroidered detailing, combined with a mixture of full and slim skirts and gorgeous fabrics like silk brocade, lace, crepe, muslin, silk organza and mikado.

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After a quick scrum backstage to meet with the directors of the show and see those gowns (and the beautiful creatures wearing them) close up, the team was whisked off to the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona for a full VIP tour of the hotel, it’s sumptuous spa and wedding facilities (again, more on this later), and treated to an exquisite evening meal… complete with the requisite three glasses of Cava… hic!

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It seems unbelievable, but we haven’t even really got started yet.  Tomorrow’s event schedule is among the craziest I have ever seen.

I have a feeling that this week is going to be one to remember, and I can’t wait to share it with you here on these pages.  Between diary updates, watch the social media feeds for live coverage and all the catwalk gossip as it happens.

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Ciao for now!

All images via Instagram @bridesupnorth.

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front row: amanda wyatt 2016 collection, promises of love.

April 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Amanda Wyatt Promises of Love  (30)

Is there anything more exciting than sitting front row catwalk knowing that you’re among a select few to about to clap eyes on a designer’s brand new collection for the very first time? We think not.

We were therefore delighted, enthused and excited when an invitation to the launch of Amanda Wyatt’s 2016 Collection, cutely named promises of love, arrived here at Brides Up North HQ. Today we’re extending that invitation further by sharing the designs with you, our fabulous readers, here on the wedding blog.

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For those of you that aren’t familiar with Amanda and her gorgeous creations it’s time to come out from underneath that rock as Ms Wyatt is a pretty big deal, having been a leading name in British bridal for more than 20 years.

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Forward thinking Amanda is known for creating gowns that not only look amazing, but also that make her brides feel amazing thanks to their fabulous fit, quality fabrics and sensational detailing, so we were confident that the latest collection would be just as fabulous as those that have gone before.

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And we weren’t wrong – cue soft flowing chiffons, French and Italian laces, fine tulle and rich satins, adorned with frosted pearl beading and embellished details. This lady sure knows how to make us (and plenty of other pretty-loving ladies) go weak at the knees.

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As the lights dimmed the music kicked in and the models stepped out to flaunt Amanda’s fabulous frocks. From sleek slim-line designs and flattering A-line silhouettes to short 50s style dresses and perfect princess gowns, Promises Of Love had covered all bases meaning that there was quite literally ‘the one’ for everyone. And this lady is not only big on offering brides a wide range of looks, but also a wide range of sizes as not to exclude more curvaceous ladies from the wonderful Amanda Wyatt party.

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Further choice was provided with Amanda’s exciting colour palette which strayed beyond classic ivory hues with some gowns in soft gold, blush pinks and even powder blue.

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Standout favourites for us Brides Up North girls included the headline gown of the collection, Promise – a slim design featuring delicate lace and a pretty fluid skirt. In terms of fuller designs there were plenty to choose from, including regal satin gowns and romantic tulle offerings with varying levels of detail.

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In a nod to the princess of the moment, and no we’re not talking Kate Middleton, the collection features a design named Elsa (Frozen fans will get the reference). Available in ivory or powder blue, (just like the Disney sovereign herself) this gown is what fairytales are made of with its voluminous tulle layered skirt and angelic lace detail.

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Those planning a city centre or destination wedding may well be drawn to the cute shorter length gowns in the collection, such as Nia and Cupid, which certainly caught our eye on the catwalk.

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There was however one particular dress that got us wishing for an impromptu proposal (from quite literally anyone) just so that we could put it on – Chantilly. High fashion and hot, we mean hot, this sultry little number is a guaranteed head-turner with its plunging neckline, elegant lace top and slinky skirt. Pure perfection!

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Following the catwalk show, leading lady Amanda talked us through the collection dress by dress, explaining the inspiration behind the designs, which in a lot of cases included listening to brides’ feedback via stockists and giving them exactly what they asked for, showing that this talented lady has a real connection to her clients.

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Amanda also explained that the collection had been designed with matching accessories to complement each gown, with additions including soft tulle silk veils and delicate hair accessories.

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Finally we were given a taste of the beautiful bridesmaid gown styles that Amanda has added to her increasingly popular maids’ collection for 2015, meaning both you and your gals can be styled by Wyatt for your big day.

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And that, our friends, is one promise worth keeping.

Images by Jonny Draper Photography.

Amanda Wyatt 2016 Collection from Silk Wedding Films on Vimeo.

Enter the password mere to view this exclusive video. (Trust me, it’s worth a good look, and you might just spot us FROW!)

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the designer series: KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer

October 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime

KMR Bespoke Bridalwear Designer (c) RJH Wedding Photography (28)

A collaborative styled shoot at Carlton Towers brought together a fantastic group of Sheffield based wedding suppliers to showcase the 2015 whiting collection from Brides Up North Sponsor Kelly of KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer.

The Whiting Collection is made up of seven bridal gowns which reflect the label’s signature style and showcase various shapes, fabrics and looks that brides can choose from.

I’m just a little bit absolutely head over heels.

With images by RJH Wedding Photography.

KMR Bespoke Bridalwear Designer (c) RJH Wedding Photography (59)

Kelly says: The concept of the shoot was to emulate heritage and inspire brides to embrace the past whilst incorporating modern themes and traditional values.  We chose Carlton Towers a grand and traditional wedding venue which we juxtaposed with an ethereal whimsical feel.

The shoot day was fantastic, the team of suppliers involved helped create such amazing results. We were shooting for 12 hours! We were able to use the entire venue for shooting which gave us some fantastic shots in the wedding reception rooms, hallways, snugs, outside and in the bridal suite.

This styled shoot showcased my 2015 Whiting Collection and brand new accessories range which will soon be able to purchase on our website. The collection is named after my late grandmother, who taught me to sew and inspired me to become a designer. The names of the gowns are Grace, Pamela, Ivy, Marlene, Elizabeth, Ruby and Annie.

KMR Bespoke Bridalwear Designer (c) RJH Wedding Photography (54)

Grace is an elegant floor length bias cut ivory silk crepe and guipure lace gown.  A high illusion neckline is finished with bound silk crepe detailing and delicate cap sleeves. A KMR signature of a keyhole back opening paired with a detachable lace train creates a stunning back. The gown is finished with a silver crystal embellished waistband.

Ivy is a stylish ivory embroidered lace and silk crepe backed satin gown.  Elegant lace sleeves and a deep V-shaped neckline at the back of the gown are finished with a delicate scallop lace edging. Creating a figure enhancing silhouette the gown has a bias fishtail skirt with a train to add a feminine touch. The gown is finished with delicate covered buttons and rouleau loops down the back.

Annie is a sophisticated strapless gown with a sweetheart neckline. The elegant circle skirt is made up of layers of silk taffeta and silk chiffon with a beautiful train. The bodice is finished with delicate pleated silk taffeta, a plunging back and fastened with rouleau loops and covered buttons. The gown is finished with a stunning silver crystal motif on the waist.

KMR Bespoke Bridalwear Designer (c) RJH Wedding Photography (33)

Marlene is a tea length bridal gown with an ivory silk taffeta circle skirt with layers of net and tulle to create a classic silhouette. The bodice is made from laser cut silk organza with an illusion neckline finished with bound silk taffeta and a floral laser cut finish on the waistband. Delicate rouleau loops and covered silk button create a beautiful fastening down the back showcasing the unusual fabric and floral detail.

Pamela is an ivory floor length lace gown with three quarter length lace sleeves. It has a deep V neckline at the front and back of the gown with scallop lace edge detailing on the neckline, sleeves and hem. The gown is fastened with pearl buttons down the back. We have styled Pamela with a cathedral length KMR veil with a thin lace edging.

Ruby is an ivory duchess satin gown with a low V neck back, large pleated skirt and applique shoulder detailing creating a modern silhouette. Ruby has been styled with one of our bridal belts and headpieces from our new accessories collection.

Elizabeth is an ivory duchess satin, tulle and embroidered lace strapless wedding gown. It is styled with one of our brand new bridal sashes and a beautiful floral crown from Campbell’s flowers with a KMR drop veil.

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Showcasing this shoot on Brides Up North has come at an exciting time for KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer. We have just announced that the brand new bridal boutique The Bridal Emporium, in Leeds, will be our first stockist of our Whiting collection and accessories range.  Our 2015 accessories range will also be available to purchase on our website very soon.

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Rob and Alice at RJH Wedding PhotographyWorking with other exceptionally talented suppliers on styled or editorial shoots like this gives each of us the opportunity to bring something new and exciting to the mix. Collaborating helps us all to enhance one another’s individual skills and therefore realise something greater as a result.

KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer’s new 2015 Whiting Collection inspired us to produce imagery that complimented the style, elegance and luxury of her collection and Carlton Towers was the perfect setting.

As photographers, RJH Wedding Photography subscribe to a more traditional style where we use a delicate balance of light, texture, colour and form combined with an understanding of the setting and subject to best evoke a desired mood or style. The combination of the fantastically dressed and styled models, in such an impressive setting, really helped to represent the luxury and elegance that we, as photographers, try to capture in every wedding we cover.

We aimed to create a visual tone, in keeping with the period, grandeur and elegance of the setting which equally complimented the grace and beauty of each dress. This concept was kept in mind through the work on the day to post production and we have been proud to help launch KMR Bespoke Bridal Designer’s new collection.

KMR Bespoke Bridalwear Designer (c) RJH Wedding Photography (53)

Tracey at Campbell’s Flowers: I designed several bouquets for the shoot, all in my very relaxed, soft, natural, ‘just picked’ style in different shapes to suit the different silhouettes of Kelly’s gowns. Bouquets featured a meadowy cascading, almost sheaf-style in lovely bright locally grown, summery blooms using wheat, lavender, daisies, nigella, ammi, lysmachia and sweetly scented herbs such as clary sage, mint and oregano. I also created a slightly smaller more posy-styled bouquet using similar flowers but with the addition of an alternative variety of daisy and lots of pretty white thistles.

Here at Campbell’s, we’ve found that many of our brides are looking for an unstructured, slightly asymmetric bouquet using seasonal blooms. This I created in muted tones of soft pale pinks, lilacs, lavenders, all of which are very much on trend at the moment.  Flowers and foliage were highly textured and included ‘Memory Lane’ roses, peonies, hydrangea, spray roses and campanula teamed with lots of soft trailing ferns, gorgeous silvery senecio and jasmine vines. To complete the look I designed a really full bridal crown using more of the roses and pretty green eustoma, along with wheat and white thistles.

For my final bouquet, I put together stylish, classic ‘balls’ of the babiest shell pink hydrangea to work alongside a slightly more elegant, formal gown, along with a ‘pom-pom’ buttonhole to match, for our groom. Kelly had also dropped off a really stunning silver candelabra which had belonged to her grandmother, which seemed to cry out for balls of hydrangea, softened with wispy asparagus fern!

Lastly, in keeping with the grand, historic surroundings, I designed a really soft, flowing design into an urn I’d brought along with me filling it full of lush, opulent, open peonies, hydrangea, roses and lots of gorgeous foliage kindly donated by the lovely gardeners at the Carlton Towers estate.

KMR Bespoke Bridalwear Designer (c) RJH Wedding Photography (58)

Lydia from Sweet Additions: For the cake we created a soft ombré effect using delicate sugar ruffles wrapped around each tier. We chose a subtle dusky pink shade which we gradually faded to white. The gentle ruffle layers created an almost peeling effect which gave the cake a beautiful antique look.

KMR Bespoke Bridalwear Designer (c) RJH Wedding Photography (13)

Makeup artist Sarah Gray: With the shoot showcasing all of Kelly’s new collection there were plenty of different styles of dresses from quite classical to vintage to more of a fishtail design so I wanted to show a variation off different bridal looks which could work well with Kelly’s designs. The four looks were designed to appeal to every type of bride whether they would want something very natural to full on glamour.

Tina Howarth from Beau Hair: I created a range of 2015 Inspired Bridal Hair designs to compliment both the stunning bridal gowns and the romantic whimsical nature of Carlton Towers. Three themes were selected and adapted to compliment and to show how the gowns were adaptable to all brides and to show off the various headpieces and veils in the range and how to wear them in various hair designs.

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lookbook: backwards forwards

October 14th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Heart's Desire back - Claire Pettibone

Heart’s Desire by Claire Pettibone

A bride entering her wedding venue is such an iconic moment and there is often one aim in mind – to impress on the aisle.

A beautiful dress is of course part of the essential ingredients required to provoke a positive reaction for the big first reveal. The hope is to take guests’ breath away (as well as the groom’s) during the grand entrance and to hold their gaze.

A dress with stunning back detailing is an effective way to achieve this and gives brides two bites at the ‘look at me’ cherry – a double reveal, if you will.

Claire Pettibone Bridal Runway Show with Wedding Paper Divas - Saturday, Oct. 12th

Iris by Claire Pettibone

Many designers are advocates of impressive back detailing which encourages brides to save the best part of the dress until that last moment as they make their way down the aisle. Whether they choose elegant embroidery, flamboyant corsages or a cute key hole cut-out, the dress is bound to impress.

Claire Pettibone is one designer who is particularly well-known for featuring stand-out back detailing in her collections. Many dresses within Pettibone’s enchanting Still Life collection are stunningly simple on the approach but the back demands a double take. Alchemy, Iris and Sonata all boast beautiful sheer backs revealing a glimpse of the bride’s skin but in an ‘oh so elegant’ kind of way.

For something a little more striking there is a namesake of mine as well as the highly romantic Heart’s Desire. Rachel features a jeweled keyhole back complete with large black corsages while Heart’s Desire has incredible embroidery detailing on its second reveal.

Rachel back - Claire Pettibone

Rachel by Claire Pettibone

Both Maggie Sottero and Justin Alexander also have some seriously stunning gowns with detailed backs in their collections. Sottero’s Melanie, Francesca and Savannah Marie each feature wonderful low illusion backs adorned with floral designs and sparkling crystals. Alexander’s 8596, 8689 and 8780 are equally stunning illusion back options for graceful brides.

For those wanting to flash a little flesh Sottero’s Indiana has both illusion and cut-out detailing while her Brandy backless design, framed by a bead embroidered trim with Swarovski crystals, will also attract attention. Alexander offers an elegant backless creation in his 8764 dress.

Sonata back - Claire Pettibone

Sonata by Claire Pettibone

But if it’s full on cut-away back with eye-catching detailing you’ve been dreaming of, I urge you to take a look at Enzoani’s latest collection. The designs are striking and sophisticated with the right amount of sexiness thrown in for a killer combination. Jamie and Joanna are beautifully bold choices for brides that dare to bare but the absolute show stopper has to be Jasmine. For me this dress has it all; a simple silhouette with a mesmorising lace adorned sheer caped overlay and draped jeweled detailing in the back. I could totally picture Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine to tie the knot in this dress and I’m sure it will mean the dog days of dress shopping are over for many other fashion forward brides-to-be.

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lookbook: dip it low

September 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Nina - Jenny Packham

Wedding dress necklines have officially reached new depths.

While once an innocent sweetheart neckline was as far as designers dared to dip, there are now an increasing number of dresses reveal that much more of the chest area. But this doesn’t mean the dresses look at all cheap, tacky or tarty. Instead the designs scream high-fashion, ooze elegance and have just the right amount of sass and sexiness.

A perfect choice for confident brides who dare to bare, this style of dress can be highly flattering and incredibly striking. So let’s get the lowdown on the designers that are endorsing the new lowered neckline.

Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham, images in gallery as tagged.

Noa - Jenny Packham

Monique Lhuillier has several wonderfully dipped dresses in her collections. Clever designs such as Sylvie, Karlotta and Logan feature a lowered neckline but keep a good amount of flesh under wraps through the use of broad shoulder straps, illusion necklines and elegant lace sleeves. Meanwhile, the likes of Valletta and Teagan, which boast deep necklines but with thinner shoulder straps, give brides the opportunity to flash some extra flesh.

Claire Pettibone’s lowered necklines also retain modesty through the use of sleeves and shoulder detail. Lily is a stunning example for brides wanting to keep their arms covered. The elegant slim-line design features a highly detailed lowered neckline, exquisite long lace sleeves and a to-die-for sheer lace back. Minuet meanwhile is a much more revealing design with a dipped sweetheart neckline and pretty keyhole back detail.

Rio - Jenny Packham

Queen of vintage glamour, Jenny Packham has also jumped onboard the lowered necklines bandwagon. For brides wanting to keep their look simple but flash just a little flesh, there is Lavinia and Nina. Other brides will look to Packham for a dose of that intricate detailing that she does oh so well. This can be found in Noa and Marina, both of which feature plunging necklines as well as pretty, sparkling embellishment. Gatsby-style brides meanwhile will find it almost impossible to resist the sophisticated yet sexy charm of Rio – it’s a real head-turner!

Finally Justin Alexander, which produces perfect princess style gown, has a few lowered neckline creations to add to the offering. Interestingly, many of the dresses that feature deep necklines in the front are mirrored in the back of the gown. So for example the 8737 fit and flare gown, with heavily beaded pearl and crystal deep V-neckline also has a plunging back neckline. Similarly the 8652 mermaid style dress features a V-tank neckline in the front and is finished with a deep V-neckline in the back.

Marina - Jenny Packham

So the only question that remains is how low will you go?

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