Charlotte Balbier

friday fabulous!

July 31st, 2015 | Julia Braime


For a seriously stylish start to married life, we implore you to choose this little number for your rehearsal dinner, going away outfit… or even for the main event.

Carissima Sheath Dress by Byron Lars at Anthropologie, £218


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eye candy. sabina motasem 2016 collection

July 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Mistinguett_with sleeves - dancing


This afternoon, it’s time for some eye candy of the most lovely, as we welcome bridalwear designer Sabina Motasem, and her gorgeous new en pointe collection to these pretty pages, with styling and design inspiration taken from the world of ballet. If you are looking for luxurious, understated elegance on your wedding day, look no further.



sabina says: I have taken inspiration from ballet for my latest collection of dresses. A ballerina, just like a bride, encapsulates elegance, grace and beauty through refined movement and flow. The dresses emphasize my brides’ gracefulness, as if floating weightlessly on air throughout her special day with the special man in her life.

I love the romance that comes from vintage Hollywood and the passion that comes from ballet.  I love to sprinkle a bit of that magic glamour and sophistication into everything I do.

Lily Chiffon - dancingLily

Each dress is handcrafted in London and made from the finest Italian silk crepes, chiffons and satins and French lace to achieve the highest quality finish. There are also beautiful separates, which slip on over many of the dresses, transforming them into completely new looks for day and night.



Our favorite?  It has to be Emillienne, a luxe dress with a choice of art nouveau beaded neck detail in either silver metal or rose gold, crystals or pearls.  Just delightful.

Get ready for your curtain call…

Genevieve - dancing


Prices start from £1,400 and gowns are available throughout the UK and internationally.


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eye candy: suzanne neville songbird collection 2016

July 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime



Back in May 2015, Rachel and I were thrilled to be one of the only UK wedding blogs invited along to British bridal designer Suzanne Neville‘s exclusive event at HM Tower of London, showcasing her 2016 songbird collection.

Camilla back


Suzanne and her team always make us feel so very welcome at their events, and her stunning gowns always leave us speechless (which is hard to do).  Suzanne Neville has led the way in the couture bridal and fashion industry for the last 24 years, known for creating elegant fashion forward gowns with a real wow factor. Year on year, each collection just seems more perfect than the next.  This is British bridal talent at its very best.



The latest collection of breath taking bridal gowns was inspired by beautiful floral gardens, birdsong and music with dresses in a sumptuous array of fabrics, styles and colours.  With all press at the event on an #instaban lockdown, this is a first exclusive sneak peek at the new collection, hot off the catwalk and landing in Suzanne Neville stockist boutiques near you very soon.

Eden back


suzanne says:I have really enjoyed designing the 2016 Songbird Collection. It is a fusion of beauty, tradition, modernity, yet still classically couture. There are simple styles, some lace and exquisite embroidery for a very eclectic mix of designs, with a dress for every bride. There are many dresses with the trademark corsetry, but also softer dresses for a more relaxed look.

In 24 years, I’ve seen styles change, but our modern bride is a very different bride. She’s more fashion aware, watching many images from all over the world and collating an idea in her mind of her perfect dress and styling the wedding of her dreams.

Over the years, the company has grown, yet we truly believe in keeping production in our studios in London under my watchful eye, so we can make sure every dress has the attention it deserves. Every year, even after all this time, I am still inspired by meeting the brides themselves, and taking all this knowledge into my pattern construction for future collections.











Suzanne Neville has boutiques in Knightsbridge, Wilmslow and Guilford and over fifty stockists in the UK and worldwide.

Visit the Suzanne Neville website for more. 

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willa rose. a charlotte balbier launch at jean jackson couture

July 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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My job isn’t always as glamorous as it might seem.  Editing Brides Up North and Unveiled Magazine as well as managing and producing over 20 Luxury Wedding Exhibition events and all the copy writing, art direction, event management and business development that comes with is a more than full time job (for a team of people).  For every swanky industry event requiring sequins and Champagne, there’s a lot of long, lonely screen hours juggling emails, contracts, floor plans and all the admin that comes with being the #girlboss of a busy business.

Luckily for me though, one of those swanky industry events always seems to come along just as you need it!

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I was thrilled to be invited along as a special guest as Brides Up North Sponsor bridal boutique Jean Jackson Couture in Manchester’s Northern Quarter was transformed into a secret rose garden to mark the official launch of Charlotte Balbier’s WILLA ROSE collection and brand at Jean Jackson Couture’s two boutiques, earlier this month.

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Charlotte Balbier is our headline Sponsor for 2015 and now a dear friend of mine, so it was lovely to join the Jean Jackson Couture girls – they are a very stylish bunch – in toasting our talented designer friend and debuting Charlotte’s new 2016 Willa Rose collection (which you can see featured on Brides Up North here).

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Brides Up North was joined by Manchester brides-to-be, other industry professionals and national press to celebrate this beautiful new partnership.  The boutique was transformed into a magical space filled with beautiful blooms and a gorgeous swing by The Vintage Swing Company to re-create the Charlotte Balbier ‘Willa Rose’ campaign images.  We were also treated to rose pink lemonade, pink champagne and delicious cakes.  I told you it was a hard job being me, didn’t I?!

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The new 2016 ‘Willa Rose’ collection was modelled in a salon style throughout the evening along with a special guest appearance by the face of Charlotte Balbier, the beautiful Verity.

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charlotte says: I am so excited and thrilled to be welcoming Jean Jackson Couture as a Charlotte Balbier brand partner.  Working with a well-known and established boutique that has a long heritage in bridal and are also a family business is wonderful and mirrors my family also and business so is the perfect partnership. It’s amazing to have the gowns stocked in both boutiques and can’t wait for our next event!”

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Jean Jackson Couture is now taking appointments for brides to try the Willa Rose collection. See for more details and to book your appointment. 

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Images by Hayley Baxter

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the big debate. one look or two?

July 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Found on, photography by Bellagala

image source, photography by Bellagala

As brides aim to make their weddings more personal (and perhaps extravagant) there’s a growing trend for them to have not just one, but two big day looks.

While some are keeping the changes from wedding ceremony to evening reception fairly subtle with a quick switch of accessories or shoes, others are going all out with a complete dress change and even a second hair and makeup look.

So for today’s big debate we discuss if the ‘it’s just one day’ line entitles brides to blow a hefty proportion of the budget on her wedding day attire or not.

Found on, photograph by Milk Photography

image source, photograph by Milk Photography

rachel says: shop ‘til you drop

So it’s said that there’s that one perfect dress out there for each and every bride, but what if that’s not the case, what if there’s two?

With so many beautiful wedding dresses to choose from it’s incredibly tricky to find a single gown that ticks all of the boxes. But having two dresses gives brides the opportunity to rock differing looks on their big day. Personally I’m quite taken with the idea of a gorgeous classic gown for the day and something more fashion-forward, personal and easy-to-move-in for the evening party.

Surely if a girl ever had a license to spend it’s for her wedding day? So although some might say it’s a waste of money, or the cash could be spent better elsewhere, I understand why a bride that cares deeply about her style might want to go all out to ensure maximum confidence and clout during her moment in the spotlight.

Those that do choose to go down the two dress route will want to look at their budget early on and decide how they will split it between the day and evening look, whether they require different accessories for each and at what point in the day they intend to make their change as not to disrupt the proceedings.

Also, if a bride is going to the extravagance of a second gown I say it needs to be a totally different dress from day to night. So go volume to slim line or hitch up the hemline and go from long to short for the evening. Recent examples of such dress changes have been flaunted by celebrity brides Nicky Hilton and Michelle Keegan. Miss Hilton nailed two totally different looks by opting for a high-neck, A-line lace gown for the day and a short sparking slim-fit dress for the evening. Meanwhile a Strictly Come Dancing style first dance to Dirty Dancing’s The Time Of My Life meant Corrie-star Michelle had to switch from her elegant fishtail dress to short frock with ruffled skirt at the reception to make for a convincing ‘Baby’.

Meanwhile if a bride is wanting to mix up their look and wow their guests but is worried about the dent it would make in their budget, there’s always the option to just change accessories and shoes to something more glam in the evening. Some clever designers have also created two-in-one dresses that provide varied looks with the simple addition or removal of certain elements, such as a jacket, belt or train.

So what are you waiting for, shop, shop, shop!

Found on, photography by  Joseba Sandoval Photography

image source, photography by Joseba Sandoval Photography

julia says: commit to ‘the one’

Commitment. Isn’t that what a wedding day is supposed to be all about?

Look.  The “choosing your dream dress thing” is supposed to be tricky.  That’s all part of the fun.  If brides to be go dress shopping knowing they can pick up two (or more?) frocks it takes all the drama, emotion and fun out of it… “Oooh it’s the one… er, except that other one I like almost as much…”

Your Mum cries at ‘the one’… you dream of the day you can finally wear ‘the one’… you never want to take her off, much less wear her for half a day then swap into the ‘other one’.

Imagine if we applied the same level of restraint when picking a husband?

Let’s use Kim Kardashian as Exhibit A.  She had no less than three, admittedly fabulous, dresses at her wedding to Kris Humpries… and a divorce after 62 days. Is this a girl who has commitment issues or what?!

Don’t even get me started on the cost of this trend.  The bill for an average priced off-the-peg designer wedding dress – plus all the necessary alterations that come with it – already runs into the thousands.  That’s a lot of savings spent on one frock. If you want a designer dress and then another gown for the evening do then either some huge compromises are going to have to be made or you’ll have to borrow from the honeymoon fund.  And trust me, a week away in that newlywed bubble is far better than a second dress! Your wedding day goes fast enough as it is.  There’s no time for extra time lacing corsets.

My advice?  Spend your wedding dress pennies on one knockout gown.  Go as fabulous as you can afford, and after you slip it on to walk down that aisle, refuse to take it off again until someone gives you a very good reason (which hopefully he will).

Found on, photography by Mark Van Der Voort

image source, photography by Mark Van Der Voort

what you said on our social channels:

Hayley says: “Just the one for me – but I haven’t found it yet!”

Rebecca says: “I’ve chosen my dress, but I’m still not sure if it’s ‘the one’.  I quite like the idea of choosing a second dress for our night time party.”

Cat says: “I’ll take any excuse to shop!”

Tiffany says: “I’ve already blown the budget.  I don’t think my partner would be too happy if I get another [dress].”

Found on

Photography by Ryan Ray Photography

We’d love to hear from you – will you be working multiple style options on your big day? 

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