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don’t be like the rest of them, darling: personalising your big day

April 17th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

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David Walters Photography, image source

We do love a theme here at Brides Up North, and some seriously picture-perfect big days have been popping up on the blog recently: all-natural woodland-inspired weddings, ultra-romantic chic celebrations and Pantone’s colour of 2018 (ultra violet, in case you’re wondering) have all made an appearance on these pinky pages of late – but when you’re looking for gorgeousness and scrolling through inspo galore, how do you stop those glorious images blurring into one? You want to be inspired, yes, but not reduced to copying – the last thing any discerning bride wants is a wedding that’s a carbon copy of a real wedding that’s gone viral, are we right?

So, it’s time to channel the inimitable Coco Chanel and find a way to stand out, whatever your theme. Sadly, those ‘20 Ways to Make Your Big Day Unique!’ articles aren’t going to do the trick – we hate to break it to you, but they’re full of the same old tired advice. You simply can’t ‘fake’ originality; the trick is to think long and hard about what’s representative of you as a couple and find the elements of your big day where it feels really important to be true to yourself.

Easier said than done? Well, ask yourself this: what are you known for amongst your family and friends? What shared loves did you and your partner bond over? Start brainstorming, but don’t worry about integrating it into your wedding plans just yet – just get thinking. Are you a pair of bona-fide coffee snobs? Love Tarantino movies? Sunday pain-au-chocolats? Holidaying in Lisbon? Tequila?! Whatever it is, get it down. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to think about which elements could fit into your wedding day – and how that might happen.

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James Tracey Photography, image source

the ceremony

Depending on your choice of ceremony, you may have the option of adding to the legally-required script – however, you need to check with the celebrant and the relevant local council. Nevertheless, it’s a great option for couples looking to personalise their day. What do you want to promise your other half alongside your love and fidelity? Your support for their goals and ambitions? Your laughter? Control over the remote during Olympics season? Go for it.

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Image by Ed Godden Photography, image source

Readings are also an opportunity to express your individuality in a civil ceremony, whether you decide on a conventional Captain Corelli’s Mandolin-style all-about-the-love excerpt or something more unusual. Go back to your list – do you love Manchester like this recent Brides Up North couple? Perhaps have a read of Salford bard John Cooper Clarke’s poem I Wanna Be Yours. Met at Uni in York? Check out York-born WH Auden’s Tell Me The Truth About Love. Of course, lots of couples go for highly personal music choices – you might recall this film-loving bride whose ceremony featured the hauntingly beautiful Jurassic Park theme tune. Hey, that Tarantino passion might prove unexpectedly inspirational – what about dancing back down the aisle to Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell like Uma Thurman and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction? Do it, please (and then send the photos to us, natch!)

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Image by Carla Blain Photography, image source

the reception

There’s lots of opportunity for originality at the reception, too: do away with the roast dinner and deny your guests fruit cake if it doesn’t do it for you (FYI eating a roast is my idea of an I’m A Celebrity challenge, and so we had leg of lamb and Moroccan couscous for the main at our wedding – insert shrugging emoji here). Go for innovative flavours that reflect your personal tastes (Jaffa? Reece’s peanut butter cups?) or cancel the cake altogether and have something altogether more representative – a cheese board, a pork pie ‘cake’, fondue or a croquembouche. Favours also benefit from the personal touch – donations to special charities, a jar of your favourite childhood sweets or access to a specially-compiled Spotify playlist charting your relationship to date. And as far as drinks are concerned – what about a rum-based welcome drink to pay homage to your Cuban honeymoon? A signature cocktail with Yorkshire rhubarb or Irish whiskey to celebrate your heritage? Limoncello to hark back to your Italian engagement? The personalisation possibilities are endless.

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Image by Carla Blain Photography, image source

decor and styling

Stationery – so, orders of service, menu cards, seating plans and table names – are often the first port of call for brides and grooms looking to make their reception a little more ‘them’. What about naming your tables after your favourite albums (psst! LP sleeves are the perfect size for a table sign and have the added bonus of looking super-cool), important years in your families’ histories complete with old photographs, favourite movie titles or quotations (romantic or otherwise) or favourite holiday destinations? I once went to a wedding where the tables were named after different breeds of sheep – proof that there’s no limit to some couples’ creativity!

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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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The Winter Boudoir. A Sweet Reveal shoot by Cat Hepple Photography

January 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography

Boudoir photography has a bad name, and this is no-one’s fault but it’s own.  All to often, boudoir photography is tacky, hard, artificial, awkward and the absolute opposite of soft and and sensual.  Would I book a boudoir shoot?  Absolutely not. 

But what about a Sweet Reveal shoot?  Handled in an entirely different way at the hands of our wonderful Featured Supplier Cat of Cat Hepple Photography and her team of creatives, these shoots are less of a present for his bottom drawer, and more of a present to yourself – for your armoire or bedroom window seat.  Affirming, confidence building, celebratory and oh soooo sexy, would I book a Sweet Reveal shoot?  Well, maybe I already have…

Cat Hepple Photography

That’s for me to know, but for now, here’s Cat and her team (watch out for Brides Up North Featured Suppliers Victoria Farr and Story Of Your Day Wedding Films too) to ease you into this very good idea, as they present their “Winter Boudoir” shoot.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat says:  Sweet Reveal shoots are stylish boudoir shoots with an editorial feel- they look like something from a glossy magazine. I created this style of boudoir for my brides who often asked for a boudoir shoot but with a more subtle and romantic feel than typical images you’d expect from a lingerie shoot.

The Winter Boudoir from Story of Your Day on Vimeo.

I always work around a theme, a styled look for each shoot, carefully crafted around the woman I’m going to be working with. Recent shoots included a Bond Girl influence, a boho look, and a Carrie Bradshaw styled look. It’s an individual as the woman.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

For this shoot, I wanted to use ballet as our inspiration, we weren’t looking to recreate a ballet scene, but to use elements of dance to soften the feel and give it a fashion edge. Firstly the lingerie choices were so important, soft laces, high waisted knickers, tulle skirts, body stockings, all gave a nod to the world of ballet. I brought in the expert help of Jayne Winn from Sheer Bliss lingerie boutique, who sourced the beautiful lingerie pieces used in the shoot. Added to that  we sprinkled a little extra glamour using gorgeous necklaces and hair decorations. These pieces added that all important editorial feel to the finished look.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

I asked Charlotte Miller from Eden and Eve to style the shoot for me. Charlotte has a lot of experience at styling and understands how to bring a concept to life. She added warm sumptuous fur throws and ballet ribbon to our scenes and suggested one necklace be worn as a headpiece to go with some beautiful sleepwear in the softest blush rose pink. The key for this shoot was not to make it look too cutesy. Women having a boudoir shoot want to look sultry, sassy, sexy and chic. So we didn’t want the look to become too fluffy. This is where Victoria Farr our hair and make up artist became so important. She created hairstyles which you wouldn’t expect to see in the ballet room, so keeping the look more edgy and fashion conscious. The whole mix works so well together.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Many women are scared of boudoir shoots, feeling that everything will have to be on show and that they can be completely unforgiving to most women, but this simply is not true. These carefully crafted shoots are about exploiting the best parts of a woman, and giving her confidence to feel and look amazing. The transformation between a woman who arrives for the shoot feeling nervous and when they leave looking and feeling radiant and confident, is one of the best things for me about The Sweet Reveal. It’s amazing to do that for someone.

The Sweet reveal shoots make a great Valentines day gift. Imagine surprising your partner with the most beautiful little album filled with gorgeous shots of you. Currently if you book for Valentines, hair and make up is included in the price too, making it a great way to do something amazing for someone very special.

Cat Hepple Photography

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Simply Successful! Supplier Showcase: Simply Bows & Chair Covers

May 16th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Back in 2010 when I launched Brides Up North, there were a just handful of wedding industry supporters who really understood what I was trying to achieve (the Northern Revolution y’all) – and helped me to champion my cause until everyone else understood it too.  The road has been long and full of late nights and hard, hard work, but I will always to be grateful to that first brave band of Brides Up North Featured Suppliers who took a chance on a rooky blogger and wedding enthusiast.

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Sarah Pittendrigh of Simply Bows & Chair Covers was one of those fabulous people and I am proud to have worked alongside her for almost three years.  Whilst Brides Up North has grown, Sarah hasn’t exactly been resting on her laurels either.  A true North East success story, Sarah now has a trophy cabinet to rival Manchester United’s and an ever expanding empire.  She’s even (whisper it!) going South.

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Simply Bows and Chair Covers

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This week Sarah launches her weekly column in the Newcastle Journal – every Thursday – where she will be sharing her experience from starting a business from scratch as a single mum, right through to franchising it and now having 12 multi award winning offices across the UK. Sarah says:  I hope my column will inspire budding entrepreneurs and offer support to existing companies. I would also be happy to try and answer any questions on business people may have.

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Sarah Pittendrigh established Simply Bows & Chair Covers in 2008 after being made bankrupt when the national events company she worked for suffered the effects of the economic downturn. Whilst helping to organise her brother’s wedding, Sarah found a gap in the market for stylish, high-quality chair covers and linen and launched her business across the North East area. Since then, Simply Bows & Chair Covers has grown rapidly and Sarah opted to launch the franchise operation in 2010 as customer demand for her unique service grew quickly all over the UK.

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Simply Bows and Chair Covers

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Simply Bows & Chair Covers are now a multi-award winning company, with award winning franchisees. They manufacture high quality chair covers and accessories for you to hire, for your special event.  They are a professional team of event and wedding specialists with over 20 years experience in the industry, working on many weddings and high profile corporate gatherings in some of the most prestigious venues in the UK.

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Sarah says:  We pride ourselves in the high quality product that we deliver supported by excellent customer service. On the back of this we receive many letters of thanks and referrals from our satisfied clients.

We hold in stock many different sized chair covers, and prior to your event we ensure our chair covers are the perfect fit for your venue. Your chair covers will be fully fitted on the day of your event by our professionally trained staff, this way we can guarantee you an exceptional standard of delivery.

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Simply Bows and Chair Covers

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Simply Bows & Chair Covers encourage all of their clients to create a theme for their big day that reflects their own style and differentiates them from their friends. They have a huge selection of chair covers, to include coloured chair covers with matching coloured table linen and also hold in stock organza sashes for chair bows, diamante chair bands and chair treatments in hundreds of different colours, that they can use to match with wedding flowers/bridesmaids dresses or corporate branding.

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The company has has seen demand for its services increase dramatically in the last year and now has franchises in locations such as Aberdeen, Cumbria, Lancashire, Berkshire and around the North East and Yorkshire. At the end of 2012, the business was named Most Promising New Business by the British Chamber of Commerce.

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Simply Bows and Chair Covers

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Speaking about her latest business growth, Sarah says: “Expanding across the South of England is a really important step in the business’s growth. I get lots of enquiries from this region and it’s very exciting to now have Kimberley in Essex on board who has such a lot of experience and ideas for the company. And North Northumberland is a really vibrant region for our business and our new franchisee Janine brings with her such passion and a great wealth of experience in both the wedding sector and events’ industry.

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Janine says: I really love the business and what it does- and how it fits into my lifestyle. It’s great to be part of an exciting, growing business with such an enthusiastic team.

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Simply Bows and Chair Covers

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Visit the Simply Bows & Chair Covers website or email enquires@simplybowsandchaircovers.co.uk to see how they can help you to dress your beautiful big day. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 supplied by Simply Bows & Chair Covers

Simply Bows & Chair Covers is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier 

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

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Friday Fabulous!

October 5th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Leafy Couture from Russell Jeanes of Artisan Films on Vimeo.

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My friend and colleague Sarah of Leafy Couture sent me this beautiful little film of floral inspiration, and it was too beautiful not to share. 

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Grab your Friday morning cuppa and prepare to be very inspired!

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The Mansion Wedding Exclusive - Luxury Wedding Exhibition.

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Leafy Couture will see all you lovely brides to be at the Brides Up North Wedding Exclusive at The Mansion this Sunday 7th October 2012, 12pm – 4pm, free entry.  Have you pre-registered for your VIP Bride To Be Goody Bag yet? Click here.

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 Video © 2012 Artisan Films for Leafy Couture

Leafy Couture is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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