Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

wedding planning like a pro: dreamy themes & dresses

March 22nd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Image credit Sally Eaves Weddings

Sally Eaves Weddings

It’s time to say a huge ‘welcome!’ once again to the newly-engaged amongst our readers – a big, pink, sparkly Brides Up North congratulations to you all (psst! Did you know that our very own lovely Rachel joined the ranks of the betrothed over the Christmas break? Catch up on the first instalment of her wedding diary here if you missed it!)

Even if your organisational OCD gives Monica from Friends a run for her money, the reality of planning a wedding can feel a little daunting – ok, let’s be honest, terrifying. There’s so much to consider – Venue! Guest list! Photographer! Entertainment! – and so many people, well-meaning and otherwise, clamouring to give you their esteemed opinion on all things wedding-y.

Enter Brides Up North **curtsies** – we’re here to share everything we know about wedding planning like a pro and put it all into some kind of more easily-digestible timeline rather than a constant stream of random demands that you find vying for your brain’s attention at 4am.

So if you missed Part 1 – all the first stage essentials of date, venue, guests, budget and photographer – have a read here. Otherwise, it’s onwards to the pretty!

dreamy themes

Image credit A Little Picture

A Little Picture

Now that you have a season and venue in mind, you can start thinking about the specifics of your wedding day theme – in fact, if you’ve been true to yourself in your choice of venue, the chances are you’ve already thought about it!

No one wants a cookie-cutter wedding exactly the same as the last, but there are definitely broad wedding styling themes that run through even the most personal of big days. If you’re both fans of the outdoors and have chosen a venue that reflects that – a barn, a marquee at home or in a farmer’s field for example, you may find that elements of a natural, organic, woodland wedding theme start to sneak in – rustic log slices, pine cones, greenery, hessian and so on. Treat it like a buffet, though – you don’t have to have it all, just choose the bits that really take your fancy! Of course, this is just one theme of many; we pride ourselves on featuring a range of wedding inspiration on the blog, from laid-back cool to vintage glamour and from clean and contemporary to timeless fairy-tale elegance.

Believe us, there’s a lot out there, so go on and get inspired. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Pinterest is your friend, check out our pretty boards here. Get onto those wedding and photography blogs and give that pinning finger some exercise to get some big, broad ideas fermenting.

style notes

Image credit Jonny Draper

Jonny Draper

What’s the difference between theme and styling? Well, this is where things get a bit more specific. So, theme-wise, you and your beau might opt for a vintage winter wedding, and your styling takes your research and ideas to the next level. You’ll need to think about a colour-palette that matches theme (oohh, amethyst and fuschia?), start considering broad dress ideas (Beading galore? A 1920s dropped waist? A super-sparkly headpiece rather than a veil?) and how these could be reflected in other areas of the wedding planning; from favours to font styles on stationery. And speaking of stationery…

save that date

Image credit Bloom Weddings

Bloom Weddings

It’s become more common for couples to send out a Save The Date card (or photo, or magnet, or whatever you like, really) even over a year in advance so that guests have ample notice of their intention to tie to knot. Of course, you don’t have to rely on mail if you don’t want to (although pretty paper always gives us a buzz) – there’s the option of a slick We’re-Getting-Married website where you add more details over time and you have the option of changing the design as your planning – and styling – develops.

the one

Image credit Rachel Joyce Photography

Rachel Joyce Photography

No, not the partner of your dreams – we’re pretty sure you’ve sorted that one already – but rather the dress of your wildest imaginings. Most bridal boutiques recommend you start the search for your dress 12 to 18 months in advance in order to leave time for ordering, alterations and fittings ahead of the big day. We’d certainly recommend you getting stuck into window shopping sooner rather than later so that you get an idea of the range that’s out there and set up some bridal boutique appointments – be warned that in popular stores, weekend appointments are often booked up weeks in advance.

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make it personal: wedding styling tips from one stylish day

July 17th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

One Stylish Day (9)

One piece of precious advice from our featured brides that comes around time and time again is “make it your own”. But with wedding inspo coming at you from all angles, it can sometime be a little tricky to know how to put a truly personal stamp on the proceedings.

Luckily for our readers, we just happen to know an expert in this area who is a pro at taking wedding styling to the next level of gorgeous, while it still remaining a reflection of the happy couple. So please prepare to take note as our wonderful Sponsor Louise Hughes, the fabulously stylish event designer behind One Stylish Day, takes to the blog…

Main post images by Kate McCarthy Photography or otherwise provided by One Stylish Day, with additional gallery images from Nicola Dixon Photography.

One Stylish Day (13)

louise says: When browsing Pinterest and Instagram, you’ll see the same wedding trends come up over and over again. They may look fabulous, but are a bit, well, ‘done before’. You want to create a dream day that will surprise and delight your guests. So, how can you design a wedding day that doesn’t look like all the rest? Here, I share my top ten tips for creating a wedding day that is both achingly stylish and completely personal to you…

One Stylish Day (17)

Know the difference between trends and style

The key difference between trends and style is that a trend is for everyone, whereas style is deeply personal. Trends can be fleeting but style has longevity. Great style has confidence and authenticity – focus on finding your own personal wedding style for a truly unique day.

Identify your Couple Style

Think beyond superficial fashion or design details to get to the heart of what makes you tick as a couple. Are you fun-loving explorers or city dwelling culture vultures? Are you famous for your cocktail parties or kitchen table suppers? The wedding style should be comfortable for both of you and reflect both your personalities.

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all in the detail: the wedding of my dreams

May 12th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Photo credit Daffodil Waves Photography (3)

Daffodil Waves Photography

We’re big believers in it being the little details that bring the overall look and feel of a wedding together. We’re therefore over the moon to be introducing another fabulous Brides Up North Featured Supplier to the blog this afternoon, who happen to know a thing or two about styling a wedding.

Prepare to go slightly weak at the knees as we say hello to The Wedding of My Dreams and their fabulous wedding prop and décor offering.

Run by mother and daughter team, Karen and Gemma, this easy to navigate website is an Aladdin’s cave of pretty details for your wedding day. Better still, as well as shopping till you drop on the site, The Wedding of my Dreams also offers an abundance of stunning big day inspiration to really crank up the creativity… and they are giving an exclusive 5% discount to all Brides Up North readers, just enter the code BUN5 at the checkout.

To tell us more about all the pretty on offer, we’ll now hand over the blog to one half of the dream team…

Birmingham Wedding Photographer

Daffodil Waves Photography

Can you give us a little overview of The Wedding of my Dreams?

gemma says: I’m the younger half of the mother and daughter team who founded The Wedding of my Dreams in 2010. My amazing mum, Karen Morgan, runs the award winning wedding florist Passion for Flowers, which I got more and more involved with after graduating from uni. I’d help on busy weekends picking up floristry skills as I went along, learning only from the best, and developed a real passion for floristry, styling weddings and to be honest everything wedding related! My job at the time was in digital marketing and social media, I knew a thing or two

At the time Passion for Flowers couples were hiring an array of props and decorations from us to complement their florals, saying they couldn’t find anything as lovely elsewhere in the market. Mum and I both love sourcing decorations and wanted couples all over the country to have access to the props and decorations we had searched so hard to find and so The Wedding of my Dreams was born.

Going into business with my mum was the best decision I’ve ever made, we both love going to work every day and both now work across the two companies. It’s so rewarding to see how far we’ve come and how both businesses have blossomed. All the hard work and late nights have really paid off. In 2015 Passion for Flowers was voted best wedding florist in England in The Wedding Industry Awards and The Wedding of my Dreams has won numerous awards since its launch.

Birmingham Wedding Photographer

Daffodil Waves Photography

What services and products do you offer to wedding couples?

The Wedding of my Dreams is an online shop brimming with beautiful wedding decorations and details to style your tables and venue. We sell table decorations, centrepieces, tea light holders, table plans, favours, and signs, oh and so much more.

Our blog runs alongside our website and we use it as a way to show styling ideas and how our products can be used at weddings. If you’re a crafty DIY bride we have a number of free printables and step-by-step guides on our blog too, so you can make your own bits and pieces. Check it out our blog here.

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style profile: rachel

March 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Rachel Headshot

Today we introduce a new feature to the wedding blog, one we’re calling the style profile.  I don’t know about you, but I love a bit of people watching (er, hello Instagram?) and always want to know more about the personalities behind the pictures. My go-to-first-features in the glossy mags I read are always the pieces delving behind the scenes in a fashionista’s wardrobe, so we decided to ask some of the top bods in the wedding industry to spill the beans on what makes them so damn cool.  Our first #stylesuperstar?  Why, it’s only our own Rachel.

rachel parry: editorial & events, Brides Up North.

I get to share an office, event space (and party time) with this chick, who combines her high street staples to cute and gutsy high fashion effect.  Ever worried about what to wear in the morning?  Rachel’s made my getting dressed anxiety about a zillion times worse.  On the plus side, she’s here to share her secrets – and bridal picks – with us lesser mortals.  Lets hope some of it rubs off!

Rachel Style Profile - 9 to 5

Clockwise from top left: Jumper, French Connection| dress, Topshop| skirt, Warehouse| necklace, Warehouse| bag, Zara| shirt, Zara| jeans, Topshop| coat, Topshop| boots, Office| dress, Marks & Spencer

How would you describe your nine ‘til five style and what are your key work wardrobe pieces?

rachel says:They say pain is beauty to me comfort is key, so while I like to make an effort, sport the latest trends and enjoy that feel good factor of wearing nice clothes, where possible I also like to be able to do simple tasks, such as walk, speak and eat, without being restricted by my outfit choices. A designer shop owner once told me to invest in key wardrobe staples and that there is nothing wrong with sticking to black, so particularly in the autumn/winter months a good pair of black skinny jeans and a midi skirt will feature heavily and can be easily mixed with various colours and trends. I like to dress up simple items such as checked shirts, jumpers and plain shift dresses with a statement necklace and cool ankle boots. Of course more striking and sophisticated options are on hand for client meetings, business lunches and events. Finally the essentials – coat and bag. For the office a smart mac and bottomless shopper bag are never going to let me down.

What would you wear for a night out drinking cocktails with the girls?

Always an absolute nightmare for me and I’m often one of those that will try on everything in the wardrobe before going back to the very first item I tried on. Again I have the staples – a trusty pair of ripped skinny (makes for more edgy evening wear), a pair of leather-look leggings and a leather skirt. Depending on my mood I’ll either stick to my beloved monochrome palette and team a grey/black/white top or shirt with a staple bottom half or mix it up by adding some colour and pattern. If the venue calls for it I’ll pull out a dress or playsuit – again as it’s evening opting for a little pattern or colour to hopefully turn a few heads. If I’m keeping the outfit simple I like to accessorise with bolder options in shoes and bags. A pair of black killer heels can always also be found in my cocktail hour wardrobe.

Rachel Style Profile - Cocktail Hour

Clockwise from top left: Shoes, ASOS| top, Topshop| shirt, Topshop| playsuit, Warehouse| bag, Whistles| skirt, Zara| leggings River Island| jeans Topshop| dress Topshop| shoes French Connection

What is your favourite high street store and online shopping site?

What girl doesn’t love Topshop – right? Though it’s predictable I like that Topshop always carries a wide range of trends on its rails meaning you can usually find something to suit your taste. I find the fit and quality good (not to sound like a Lorraine Kelly but these things are important). Plus, as well as their clothing I really like their make-up range – bonus! Online wise it would have to be ASOS, again perhaps a little predictable but the range of brands is great and they seem to always have promotions and sales on which means you can bag a bargain or two.

What colour features most in your wardrobe?

As previously mentioned I find it difficult to tear myself away from a monochrome palette and so I’m instantly drawn to anything black, white or grey – so much so that a friend has compared me to Simon Cowell (though my waistline is a lot lower). I think it’s because I see them as more classic pieces that can easily be mixed and matched with other items in my wardrobe. Where colour does appear it’s usually in pinks and green. I am trying to branch out more though, particularly with the warmer season on the way – watch this space!

Who is your favourite bridal gown designer?

This is a toughie, with Jenny Packham, Claire Pettibone, Hayley Paige and Maggie Sottero all strong contenders though currently I would have to say Stephanie Allin. I love how she can do beautifully detailed and simple designs that are equally stunning. So some days I’ll dream of saying “I do” in her gorgeous slim-line Honour design, complete with floral corsage sash, then other days her Bardot princess gown with dreamy tulle skirt is top of my list. I don’t think I’m controversial enough to don her Garbo jumpsuit for the big day though!

Which celebrity’s style do you admire?

The main reason I watch Made in Chelsea (honestly) is to crush on the female stars’ wardrobes. Though she’s now left the programme, I’m an avid follower of Millie McIntosh via her blog and Instagram. I also enjoy a lot of what Louise, Rosie and Lucy wear on the show and so also style stalk these ladies on Instagram. I like that they’re all classy dressers but adapt their look to work certain trends as well as their own unique styles. For similar reasons I’m also a fan of Lauren Conrad, Rachel Bilson and Fearne Cotton’s getup.

Rachel Style Profile - Wedding Picks

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Erin Hearts Court| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| images source, photography by Krista Leigh Hurst Photography

If you were currently planning your wedding what would be your top picks in terms of styling, attire, accessories and blooms?

At the moment I would sum my wedding lust list up as ‘pretty, petals and pizzazz’ as I’m obsessed with pastel shades, fabulous blooms and glitter. All these would help make up my styling with a pastel colour or two providing the backdrop, then glitter accents added for sparkle and glamour along with flowers – lots of flowers! I’m particularly loving peonies at the moment, I find their blousy appearance incredibly romantic, particularly in playful tones of blush pink and peach. As someone who is always looking at gorgeous wedding gowns it would be difficult to pinpoint exactly what attire I would go for but I’m really loving dresses with stunning back detail at the moment by designers such as Claire Pettibone and Hayley Paige. For wedding shoes I think it’s nice to have something to fit in with the theme and perhaps something a little different to what you would normally wear which is why I’m particularly fond of Charlotte Mills’ Andrea heels. For my maids it would have to either be full on sparkling gowns or sweet flowing pastel dresses, in which they would all look and feel gorgeous. Another important part of the wedding for me would be food and drink as I love both and think it’s a great way for a couple to really inject some of their personality into the big day. I’m crazy for naked wedding cakes adorned in pretty flowers so that would be top of the list. I think a cocktail hour with his and hers choices of drinks picked by the bride and groom is a great icebreaker and cute styling addition when executed in striking glasses. I’m also a fan of street food ideas such as sliders and tacos, particularly for outdoor laid back ceremonies.

What areas of a wedding would you splurge on the most and why?

Up near the top of the list would have to be photography. I absolutely hate having my photograph taken to the point that my boyfriend only has about two images of me on his camera roll – however your photos are your lasting memories of the big day and therefore in my eyes a photographer is well worth splashing the cash on. I also think the style of photographer you pick can help capture the feel and theming of your day bringing it all together. Again as a foodie and lover of wine, cocktails and gin, the food and drink would be another splurge area as well as the entertainment to make it personal, ensure guests have a great time and to make the day memorable to all.

What do you tend to wear when relaxing at the weekend?

Leggings are literally my best friend. At one time I would only associate the garment with slobs or children but I can honest say I couldn’t live without them when it comes to kicking back. They are incredibly versatile so at a weekend if I’m chilling out I will often wear with an oversized checked or denim shirt and then layer up with a cosy knit and if I’m heading out throw on a pair of boots. Also when indulging at the weekend an expandable waist is much appreciated!

Where would be your dream honeymoon destination and what top five items would you pack in your case?

Due to one reason and another I’ve not been abroad for the past two years so I’m literally gagging to get on a plane and head in pretty much any direction so long as there is sunshine at the end of it. Though secluded destinations such as the Maldives and the Seychelles are particularly popular with newlyweds, I think I would like a little culture/adventure mixed with some relaxation. So for me it would have to be a romantic break to Sorrento in Italy (which my parents rave about) so I could enjoy the culture, food and scenery or an American road trip. I’ve done areas of California and Las Vegas but would love to return to The States to make more memories – and who better to share them with than a new hubby? Top five suitcase items for either destination would be sun cream (I’m fair), Ray Ban sunnies, a trusty pair of denim shorts, bikini (or five) and a good book (the majority of reading fiction is done on my holidays).

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