Brides Up North

lookbook: ruffle it up

August 1st, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Cymbeline - Haora

While trends in wedding dresses aren’t particularly fast moving there are those classic looks that have come to stand the test of time and remain on the catwalk season after season.

One recurring trend that I’m particularly fond of is wedding gowns with romantic ruffle detailing. From large cascading layers to small, neatly formed rows of pleated fabrics – there are so many fabulous frocks to choose from.

As well as continuing to feature classic ruffle creations within their collections, designers are also updating the look each season by delivering more modern designs for fashion forward brides.

Simple or standout, designs with ruffles demand attention and offer that perfect bridal look, ticking boxes for prettiness, femininity and, of course, romance.

Many princess style gowns incorporate ruffle detailing in their voluminous skirts, but there are also more structured designs with dropped waists that equally pack a punch in the style stakes.

Cymbeline -Hossana

Here are a few of my favourites from current collections:

Maggie Sottero has some exceptional ruffle detailed designs in her collection, including Fallon. This luxurious, yet playful ball gown is sure to strike a chord with the fashion-forward bride according to its creator. Its fitted bodice, adorned with rich beading and Swarovski crystals, projects into a full skirt of irregular ruffled layers that’s bound to turn heads.

Freida, Jalissa and Miri are equally impressive Sottero designs, perfect for ladies wanting ultra girly gowns. For those brave enough to step away from traditional ivory, Kirby in beautiful blush pink is perhaps the girliest ruffle option of them all with its sensational sequined embellished frothy tulle skirt.

Alfred Angelo also has a number of soft coloured ruffled creations in his collection. The 879 dress in metallic is a subtle alternative to a pure white or ivory dress, as is style 886 in ivory/light gold. In addition to ruffles, the pretty designs feature further detailing in embroidery, rhinestones, and crystal beading sequins.

Fashionista brides meanwhile will definitely want to check out Cymbeline’s ruffle offerings. Haora is perhaps my favourite – I love the stark contrast between its plain, simple bodice and explosive dropped-hem skirt. Hilary and Holly are more classic and elegant designs though still attract plenty of attention while Hortense and Hosanna are quieter, delicate designs, featuring perfectly formed pleated tiers.

Cymbeline - Hortense

For brides in search for more structured designs, Enzoani’s Gloria and Hadiya are strong contenders. Both feature slim-line dropped waist bodices which flow into stunning layers of tulle. Haydia’s skirt is more light and playful, while Gloria’s ruffles are compact and frothy. Enzoani has also catered for brides wanting a real ruffle showstopper with its Gina dress. The dreamy creation boasts an exquisite embroidered bodice and cascading ruffle skirt for that extra wow-factor.

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a way with words. a styled bridal shoot by Calligraphy For Weddings

July 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime

Calligraphy For Weddings - a styled bridal shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (49)

This afternoon, we’ve a styled shoot with a message.  Claire Gould (and you might also know her from English Wedding Blog) of Brides Up North sponsor Calligraphy For Weddings wants you to be bold, and say no bland design.  I’ll hand the soap box to her…

With images by Vickerstaff Photography.

Calligraphy For Weddings - a styled bridal shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (7)

Claire says: The inspiration for this shoot came from my secret paper fetish! I wanted to create two styled display areas for brides to recreate: a table with escort cards and cakes, and a ceremony area with a backdrop. The theme of paper and mirrors was inspired by calligraphy and creative wedding photography: I adore images with reflections and I knew the perfect photographer – lovely Jamie from Vickerstaff Photography – to create and capture them. We added mirrors and vintage props, metallics and colours to bring together lots of ideas to share with you.

We had homemade watercolour paper flowers, calligraphy, a fabulous cape made of flowers, brooch bouquets and vintage table decor, and gowns by Sassi Holford and Ritva Westenius. With three wedding cakes and one of my favourite wedding venues (Broadoaks Country House) to play in, the shoot came together beautifully, from a gentle beginning to a bit of a crazy finale…

Calligraphy For Weddings - a styled bridal shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (14)

The day began with a pretty watercolour table display. Homemade crepe paper flowers in mini milk bottles made for a lovely escort card collection (DIY tutorial here for any creative brides!) A delicious-looking cake by lovely Caroline from Caroline’s Cake Company took centre stage, surrounded by vintage props on one of the cute little tables in Broadoaks’s sunny Victorian Orangery. We added candles and mirrors, chair signs and place cards to create a romantic, homemade style with vintage flair. Our gorgeous model Kelsey wore a lace Sassi Holford wedding dress from my favourite Lakes boutique Julia Tasker Bridal Couture, and carried an exquisite pink and yellow peony bouquet by the amazing Brackens of Bowness. With elegant hair styling and a real peony at one side, and natural make up to complement her colouring, Kelsey looked stunning.

Keeping with the soft pastel look, we created a vertical display area outside using a 10ft calligraphy backdrop in pastel pinks. Beautifully Vintage provided antique stepladders decorated with doilies and the most wonderful little clay pots, and we decorated these with love quotes from the fabulous Vintage Twee. Caroline’s watercolour tiered wedding cake was the perfect addition to the setting, with four tiers in pastel shades and the most delicate paper flowers for decoration.

Calligraphy For Weddings - a styled bridal shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (4)

We took some wonderful portraits in the William Morris room at Broadoaks, where lovely Gareth from Aqua The Salon finished Kelsey’s hair with a pretty vintage accessory to complement the amazing brooch bouquet by Natasha at Pumpkin & Pye. Meanwhile, back in the Orangery and outside we were busy creating an altogether more eclectic and crazy display…

Calligraphy For Weddings - a styled bridal shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (33)

Christa from Beautifully Vintage had brought along some wonderful mirrors and picture frames, and she arranged these brilliantly outside with a bolder calligraphy backdrop – another 10ft piece handwritten by me – Claire from Calligraphy for Weddings. This display was bolder, with a smashed mirror and slashed backdrop representing the challenges wedding stationers have faced in recent years. Inside I set up a more alternative wedding display table with bright calligraphy tags and using ribbon garlands as a backdrop. The decorated mirror, love letter and typed quotes added plenty of interest to the table.

Calligraphy For Weddings - a styled bridal shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (47)

Kelsey was transformed by our genius styling team – the absolutely lovely Julia Tasker, Gareth from Aqua, and Definitions’ Helen who created the strikingly beautiful make up. Ripped tulle as an alternative wedding veil looked fabulous, and our creative wedding flower expert Kevin from Brackens of Bowness had created a cascade of silk orchids for Kelsey’s hair accessory. Wearing a glamorous Ritva Westenius couture gown, our bride played the role of wedding creatives fighting back against mass production and bland design!

Calligraphy For Weddings - a styled bridal shoot (c) Vickerstaff Photography (50)

For the final part of our shoot we explored the wonderful grounds at Broadoaks Country House. The star of the show was our floral stole – a million times better than flower crowns, beautiful to wear and hold and such a talking point on the day! Kelsey played on the swings while Jamie took some of my favourite images from the whole day, and a fascinated group of visiting pensioners looked on!

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must be the music. mori lee for a ripley castle winter wedding – lindsay & ian

July 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime

mori lee for an indie wedding at ripley castle wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (17)

Lindsay and Ian’s big day at the iconic Ripley Castle in Yorkshire was sleek, chic, fun and fabulous… with a really big party at the end of it. Sounds exactly like our kind of wedding.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.

mori lee for an indie wedding at ripley castle wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (3)

Lindsay says: We got engaged at the top of a mountain during a snowboarding trip to Tignes, France on Ian’s 30th Birthday. Ian rode all morning with the ring in his pocket unaware his pocket zip had been open! Luckily it was still there when the time came to propose!

We got married on 22nd February 2014 at Ripley Castle in Harrogate. We wanted a winter wedding to tie in with honeymoon plans to head straight to Thailand after the wedding.

We’d looked at a number of venues prior to seeing Ripley Castle and none of them felt right. As soon as we looked around the Castle it was exactly what we were looking for and booked straight away.

mori lee for an indie wedding at ripley castle wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (9)

I wore a Mori Lee dress, and bought it from Platinum Bridal Boutique, Yeadon.

I never wear strapless dresses so I knew my dress would have sleeves of some description. Before I went dress shopping I saw my dress in a magazine and already knew it was the dress I wanted. I searched for shops who stocked Mori Lee and managed to find the dress I wanted and loved it as soon as I tried it on.

I’m not a massive flower fan so I wanted more greenery and a twig effect rather than roses. My bouquet was made by a florist called Elsie Russell in Shipley – they also made my mums bouquet when she got married.

My make up artist, Lauren Sally,  was also amazing and we all loved our make up on the trial and on the day of the wedding.

I had two bridesmaids who had floor length evening dresses from House of Fraser by Ariella.

Ian had a custom made three piece tweed suit made on Saville Row by JLSA MONO Design.

mori lee for an indie wedding at ripley castle wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (11)

We went for a bit of an indie style wedding as we both love music so this was heavily featured in our wedding plans. We also wanted to keep it a little vintage to keep in with the Castle theme. Our colour scheme was navy blue and green.

We handmade our seating plan which concentrated on our music theme of the wedding. Instead of table numbers we had our favourite bands as the table names and put the bands vinyl on each table.

Instead of a guest book we ordered a heart shaped jigsaw for guests to sign the pieces from

The centre pieces were floating candles and candelabras, and we had little navy blue and ivory chocolate love hearts as our favours. The bridal party all got tailored gift as an extra special thanks.

Neither of us are big sweet people so we went for the savoury option and had a five wheels of cheese cake. This was from Cheese and Chutney, Saltaire.

mori lee for an indie wedding at ripley castle wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (25)

We used James Tracey Photography. I would definitely recommend James to others. He was exactly what we were looking for as we didn’t want structured pictures for hours but more of a documentary style photographer and James is great at this. We’ve had lots of compliments on how good our pictures look. In addition to this as soon as we met him we knew we wouldn’t be a bossy photographer and had a personality which would get along with us and our guests during the day.

mori lee for an indie wedding at ripley castle wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (29)

We hired a band called ‘The Story’ who we booked through Warble Entertainment. They played a mixture of music but mainly indie. They had everyone up dancing all night, and their rendition of ‘Killing in the Name’ was a particular highlight!

The evening reception was probably the best part of the day. The band were amazing and it was great for the evening reception to turn into a massive party with everyone dancing all night.

mori lee for an indie wedding at ripley castle wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (40)

We went on our honeymoon two days after the wedding. To start with we flew to Bangkok for three nights, from there we stayed on the island of Koh Pha Ngan for three nights where we stayed in an amazing hotel with our own pool overlooking the sea. From there we stayed in Koh Samui for four nights and then to finish off we went to Singapore for a couple of nights.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have a spreadsheet! I had lots of spreadsheets and although everyone laughed at me and I had hours of jokes made about my organisation there wasn’t anything I didn’t know from looking at them!

I asked Ian to answer this question and his top tip to the groom was ‘just say yes’!

mori lee for an indie wedding at ripley castle wedding (c) James Tracey Photography (50)

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cosy up. a rustic wedding in the lakes – sarah & adam

July 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime

cosy lake district wedding (c) Mark Newton Weddings (29)

Today’s wedding makes me yearn for fresher air, falling leaves and azure autumn skies.  Fickle, I know.

Sarah & Adam chose a cosy pub setting and rustic, vintage style details for their snug celebration in the Lakes.  Make mine a pint of Blond Witch please!

cosy lake district wedding (c) Mark Newton Weddings (15)

sarah says: We got engaged in New York – at the top of the Empire State building at night.  It was freezing & Adam had to keep waiting for a quiet moment – which you don’t really get in December in New York! It was very special & we went out for an amazing meal that night to celebrate & watched the Christmas lights at Saks department store.

We were married on 16th November 2013 at The Wild Boar in the Lake District. We fell in love with the place the moment we stepped through the door – it has wood beams & open fires & was just the perfect cosy, vintage venue we wanted.  It was also really important to us that all of our closest family & friends could stay at the venue & so it was just the best option for us. The grounds meant we had some amazing wedding photos that really captured the time of year in the Lakes.

We used a colour palette of golds, silvers and creams.  I got vintage tea cups from charity shops to use on the tables & we used a lot of tea lights & more rustic flowers rather than stylised centre pieces.

cosy lake district wedding (c) Mark Newton Weddings (17)

We used Mark Newton Weddings for our photographs.  Mark was recommended by a friend & we are delighted with the results. I would & have recommended Mark as he was so good on the day & worked so hard – we also had photo booth by Mark which was really good fun & we got some really great photos from this.

Mark also came up on Friday & spent the day taking photos of Adam & the ushers & dads doing clay pigeon shooting – we are really pleased that we did this as we have the whole weekend captured. It was very important for us to have a photographer that made everyone feel comfortable. Everyone loved Mark & he got some great pictures as a result.

Our day was filmed by Tiago & Sandra from All ByVideo who were amazing and worked really hard all day creating a 1.15 wedding film for us that we love.

cosy lake district wedding (c) Mark Newton Weddings (36)

My dress was from Bridal Apparel in Rawdon Leeds – I chose it because I loved the lace back & it wasn’t too big for the venue & for dancing later.

My mother in law made me a vintage brooch bouquet made up of jewellery from my Grandmas who have passed away.

I had five adult bridesmaids & they had two different dresses – three wore gold/cream dresses from French Connection & we added netting & belts . The other two wore silver from Phase 8. I also had three young bridesmaids from 3- 7 and they all wore silver sparkly dresses from Monsoon.

Adam wore a tweed suit from Next, altered to fit him perfectly. It really suited the time of year.

cosy lake district wedding (c) Mark Newton Weddings (21)

We used Flower Design based in Blackpool for the venue flowers & they were amazing.  We used lots of gypsophila & apples & moss from the fields next to the venue to decorate as we wanted a very natural look.

My brother is a baker & he made a cake & cupcakes with snowflakes on them.  We used a wood stand for the cake with some silver pine cones to decorate it.

Food is very important to us & so that was big factor in our choice of venue. The food at the Wild Boar is amazing –we were able to give our guests a three course meal with three choices for each course – ranging from a deli board for starter, Steak for main & White Chocolate Cheesecake for pudding. We bought our own wine from the supermarket to save a bit of cash & then just paid corkage!

cosy lake district wedding (c) Mark Newton Weddings (24)

For our honeymoon, we went to San Francisco, Hawaii & then Washington.  We would go back to San Fran in the summer as it rained a lot when we were there but it was still amazing & we went to Alcatraz & did the Golden Gate Bridge on bikes in the torrential rain. We went to the Big Island in Hawaii & really relaxed – the food & beaches were stunning.  To break up the trip back home we went to Washington to see all the sights.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the whole process of planning & make sure you don’t compromise on the important things such as your photographer & videographer as they will help to create the lasting memories of the day for you.

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on film

July 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime

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so, how do we look?

July 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography

I’m so very excited to be unveiling our brand new look on the pages of the wedding blog today.

This makeover has been a long time in the planning and from conception to completion has been an absolute labour of love.  After a 4am finish yesterday (this morning?) to get the final detailing perfect, I’m feeling wired, tired, happy and emotional in equal measure.

Finally, you all get to see what we’ve been working on behind the scenes for months (and then some)!

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (77)

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (112)

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (80)

When developing the concept for a refreshed Brides Up North blog, I wanted a light and pretty feel, with a look to reflect the quality of the features that we curate and the amazing industry suppliers that we feature.  It was also important to me that the site was easy to use, and valuable to our visiting brides when actually planning their weddings.

Inspiration is all very well and good, but I want our readers to get active, get connected and find real use in our offering. Away from these pages we strive to make every Brides Up North party or exhibition extremely fun, fresh, beautiful and useful.  We aim to run our events seamlessly and at an impeccable level of quality.

I saw no reason why we couldn’t design a site to reflect all of these aims online too.  And I think that we might have cracked it.

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (118)

The result?

A wedding blog that’s clean and chic for easy reading on mobile devices and fabulously floral on larger screens. With a sleek new Wedding Fairs section, new imaging features and an interactive Directory brimming with supplier info and images, we are really proud.

Take some time to have a look around; whether it’s diaries at the ready as you browse our autumn events schedule; peruse our expanded Directory or lose hours being inspired by the new gallery facility on each and every blog post.

we hope you love it.  Let us know what you think.

You can leave us a comment here, or socialise using the icons at top right. We can’t wait to hear from you.

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (20)

This afternoon I’d like to say a quick thank you to those people who made the transformation possible.  To my family for their support during this crazy time, to my brilliant (and patient) designer Helen, to the talented and kind Cat Hepple for the beautiful images that form the basis of the new design concept and to my dream team of suppliers who helped to make my styling ideas a reality. A finer team of professionals I’d challenge you to find.

With abundant florals by the marvellous girls at Leafy Couture, superb props by Love Light Hire (heart backdrop) and Pamella Dunn (table dressing and big balloons), sparkly stationery by JB Creatives, transformative hair & makeup by Victoria Farr, long lashes by Flutter, drop dead gorgeous dresses and accessories by The Harrogate Wedding Lounge and The White Room Sheffield, table dressing by Dine, scrumptiously beautiful wedding cakes by The Marie Antoinette Cake Company and cutting edge videography by Silver Sixpence Films – on location (and not at all disturbing the shoppers!) at the stunning Leeds Corn Exchange, this just looks like an ordinary day in the Brides Up North office.

We wish.

You’ll find all their website links in our snazzy   little white book  below, and the full results of the shoot in our expandable gallery section.  Just click on any image, then use the arrows to scroll.  Lovely.

If you love tulle, sparkle, peonies and lace (and if you don’t, what are you doing here?!) then you are going to love this.

Be inspired!

#getsetsparkle Brides Up North (c) Cat Hepple Photography  (127)

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blush love. a romantic wedding in yorkshire – sam & neil

July 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a romantic wedding at Carlton Towers (c) Yorkshire Portraits

Well, well, well. Aren’t things looking pretty around here this morning?

Not to ignore the rather gorgeous elephant in the room, we’re going to talk more about our new look later on (have a good look around, you’ll find some snazzy new interactive features to have a play with) but for now, it’s straight into the wedding watching.

Don’t know about you, but I’ve missed our daily fix of lovely whilst we’ve been redecorating these pages, and I just couldn’t wait. This morning we’re joining Brides Up North reader Sam and her husband Neil for their romantic real wedding in Yorkshire.

a romantic wedding at Carlton Towers (c) Yorkshire Portraits

Sam says: We got engaged on 15th September 2012.

Neil and I were getting ready to go the St Leger races in Doncaster and before we went Neil suggested that we go to the Lakeside to have some photos taken as we were all dressed up. It was a beautiful sunny day and when we got there Neil got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!

We got married on 24th February 2014.  It was very important to us to have a church ceremony and for this we chose St Mary’s Catholic Church in Selby. Our reception venue was Carlton Towers. It was the first venue we went to look at and we immediately knew that it was where we wanted to have our reception.

We would highly recommend Carlton Towers as a wedding venue. Nothing was ever too much trouble and the day ran without a hitch.

a romantic wedding at Carlton Towers (c) Yorkshire Portraits

We tried to choose things that would look timeless and elegant. My dress was lace so I took some inspiration from this when choosing other items.

We used a palette of ivory, grey, pink and deep plum colours. When we met our florist she advised us to choose colours which toned in with the bridesmaids dresses as picking out the plum colour in the flowers could have made everything look quite gothic and we wanted a more classic, vintage style.

We hired a number of items from Beau Ideal Weddings to use at Carlton Towers including chair covers with ivory satin sashes, crystal candelabras for the guest tables and lots of pots of flowers and candles. We also hired a huge ornate silver mirror and easel for our table plan and an old-fashioned postbox which was dressed with gypsophila.

There were so many extra touches we added to make our wedding personal to us. Neil designed all of our wedding stationery and I made the invitations with the help of his mum. I liked the idea of using some old sheet music which my grandfather’s had given me in the wedding somewhere, so a friend made them into confetti cones for me. I made a display of old family wedding photos to display on top of the piano in the reception venue and we named our reception tables after wedding anniversaries. We designed and made our own guest book out of photographs that our photographer had taken on our engagement shoot. We also made the playlist for our wedding breakfast and included lots of our favourite songs. A family friend and wedding guest provided our evening reception food – a hog roast and lots of tasty desserts.

a romantic wedding at Carlton Towers (c) Yorkshire Portraits

My dress was by Justin Alexander and I bought it from Georgian House Bridal in Doncaster. I knew when I went shopping for a wedding dress I didn’t want a strapless dress and knew that I liked lace.This dress was the first I tried on and the moment I put it on it felt right and I knew it was the dress for me! I wore a vintage style hair comb in my hair and my veil had some lace embellishments to tie in with my dress.

I carried a bouquet of faith, amnesia, memory lane, avalanche and vendela roses, brunia, eucalyptus, pink wax flower and ornithogalum which was designed by Emma-Victoria at Beau Ideal Weddings.

Neil wore a traditional navy morning suit with a pale grey pin-stripe waistcoat and plum coloured cravat to match the bridesmaid’s dresses. This was hired from Georgian House Bridal.

The bridesmaids wore deep plum coloured maxi dresses with grey faux fur shrugs. Both were from Debut at Debenhams.

a romantic wedding at Carlton Towers (c) Yorkshire Portraits

Our photographer was Phil Shillitoe from Yorkshire Portraits. Phil was superb on the day. He was very discrete and a creative photographer who enjoyed capturing the finer details. We are both really pleased with the photographs and would highly recommend him to other brides and grooms!

I am a music teacher and music is very important to both of us. We had lots of friends who offered to play for us throughout the day. During the ceremony we had a string quartet which included two of my work colleagues. In the drinks reception another work colleague played the piano. In the evening we hired the Danny Maddocks Band who played a mixture of pop, rock and mo-town songs. They had everyone dancing all night long. Our first dance was ‘Got to get you into my life’ by the Beatles and two of our friends and wedding guests got up to play the horn parts which made it extra special.

a romantic wedding at Carlton Towers (c) Yorkshire Portraits

There were so many special moments but the two that stand out are during the wedding breakfast, Neil and I were chatting to each other at the top table watching our guests eating their food, chatting and laughing, our favourite music was playing and the room was lit by candlelight. It’s such a rare thing to have all of your family and friends together in the same room at the same time and knowing they were there for us was quite overwhelming. Our other favourite moment was stepping out of church together holding hands as man and wife into the glorious sunshine.

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#getsetsparkle. its time.

July 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Brides Up North is getting ready to sparkle! (c) Cat Hepple Photography


When you hear from me again, hopefully, it will be from our brand spanking new Brides Up North blog.

There’s lots of wallpapering, uploading and coding to be done behind the scenes, so bear with us for a few days while we slip into something a little more pretty…

See you on the other side!

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lady luxe. the designer series: ian stuart bride

July 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Ian Stuart Bride - Lady Luxe - 2015 Collection

“Bridal gowns transcend fashion, they are a timeless representation of the brides own style and personality.” Ian Stuart

Of all the bridal catwalks I’ve seen, the ones masterminded by Ian Stuart are my favourite – colour, music, personality, cheekiness, beauty… and fabulous frocks: it’s like a very good day at the theatre.  And I love theatre. Lots.

So this morning I’m honoured to welcome a truly talented Northern export home to the pages of Brides Up North, as we sneak a peek at the marvellous Ian Stuart’s brand new collection for 2015, and hear about what makes this design genius tick.

Wedding. dress. heaven.  Right here.

Ian Stuart Bride - Lady Luxe - 2015 Collection

What sort of woman do you design for? 

Ian says:  My collections are always very diverse, as are the women who wear them. As a designer- you can’t put all of your energy and creativity into creating one signature look for one type of woman. We no longer live in a society where we all fit into the same shaped hole, I believe it’s my duty as a designer to celebrate this. I’m known for my dramatic and theatrical creations, because no one else has a look like this, but I also create more demure, cleaned lined and sophisticated gowns, as well as those somewhere in between. I design for all women – this is evident on our Facebook page from all of the real bride’s photos we a share.

Ian Stuart Bride - Lady Luxe - 2015 Collection

Ian Stuart Bride - Lady Luxe - 2015 Collection

What were your inspirations for this collection?

I’m always inspired by the same things, because these are my passions: music, theatre, couture, films, photographers, we live in such a creative world, the supply of inspiration is endless. But I was particularly inspired by the new Pink Martini album, which is a collaboration with the real Von Trapp family. The music is simply magical. I locked myself away, put my headphones in, absorbed myself in the exquisite sounds, and allowed my mind to conjure designs that flowed from the music. The album was also the central soundtrack to my fashion show, it was my favourite to date.

Ian Stuart Bride - Lady Luxe - 2015 Collection

What shapes, fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the collection and why?

Lady Luxe, as the name suggests, is about those luxurious details. I’ve carefully selected laces, beading and applique that I think will make brides feel more illustrious than they could’ve imagined. The way a bride feels I think, is far more important than the way she looks, as it gives her that stunning glow you only get from being in blissful joy.

I always include many silhouettes in my collections to ensure that any bride can find a shape that sculpts and compliments her figure. I’d never eliminate a shape just because it wasn’t ‘on trend’. Bridal gowns transcend fashion, they are a timeless representation of the brides own style and personality.

Ian Stuart Bride - Lady Luxe - 2015 Collection

Ian Stuart Bride - Lady Luxe - 2015 Collection

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lookbook: unveiled

July 22nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Lee Scullion Photography

So you’ve found your dream dress but how do you intend to top it all off?

For some brides choosing the accessories can prove more challenging than finding that one special dress. Perhaps the trickiest of accessories to decide on is what type of headdress you will wear.

Unlike the shoes, your headpiece and/or veil will be on show in the vast majority of your photos so it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable and confident with your decision. Problem is there are so many fabulously pretty options and styles to choose from – from classic veils and striking headpieces to sparkling hair accessories and whimsical floral crowns.

Clive Doyle Photography

When Real Weddings arrive in my inbox I’m always intrigued to find out what type of headdress the bride has plumped for – in particular I’m keen to see if they’ve stuck with tradition and gone down the route of an elegant veil, or instead chosen an individual headpiece that adds that extra wow-factor to their attire.

While I’m not a fan of all wedding traditions I am in favour of the veil – for me it’s the item that defines a bride and just looks incredibly pretty and timeless.

Dotmoxee Photography

Helen Russell Photography

Mark Newton Weddings

A veil was originally said to be worn by brides as a sign of their virginity or to ward off evil spirits – but just because the reasoning behind the garment has become dated, doesn’t mean the veil is no longer a highly desired bridal accessory.

Clive Doyle Photography

Those brides who do opt for a veil will need to take several elements into consideration when making their selection. The general rule is that a simple dress requires a more decorative veil and vice versa. So for example, if the dress is high-necked or has detail on the shoulders, a short veil such as a bird cage design would be a wise choice. Equally if a gown has back detailing you aren’t going to want to cover that up, so perhaps don’t go beyond shoulder length. Classic, princess style gowns often suit a veil that ends before the skirt projects out. Meanwhile for brides looking at longer lengths there are finger-tip, knee and chapel length veils, providing options right down to the floor. Alternatively brides could follow in the glam footsteps of Kim Kardashian with a show-stopping cathedral length veil that extends several feet along the ground. The reality star is such a fan that she wore an extended veil when she wed first hubby Chris Humphries in 2011, then again when she got hitched to Kanye West earlier this year.

Laura Calderwood Photography

Jamie Penfold Photography

Clive Doyle Photography

Clive Doyle Photography

As well as varying lengths there are also different widths to consider, depending on the fullness a bride requires. Wider veils can be favourable with brides wearing strapless dresses though wanting a little coverage around the arms. Fuller-figured brides may want to choose a sleeker veil that pulls attention to their slimmer areas rather than a voluminous design that frames their body from head to toe.

Next detailing – again brides won’t want to detract from the main spectacle of the dress, so if you’re wearing an elaborate gown it’s often better to select a subtle style veil while those with quieter dress designs can afford to make more noise with their headdress. There are shimmering veils, those with dazzling Swarovski crystal droplets or delicate lace appliqués, plus elegantly edged or beautiful scalloped creations. Some brides may even choose to have a tinted coloured veil in a soft playful hue or a regal metallic tone.

Melissa Kay Photography

Jonny Draper Photography

Katy Melling Photography

And a veil doesn’t have to be worn alone, it can be paired with a pretty tiara for the ultimate princess look, a glam hair accessory for a little bridal bling or to really stand out from the crowd – a totally bespoke headpiece. Any extra accessories and the positioning of the veil itself will often be governed on a bride’s chosen bridal hair style so it’s well worth taking your veil along with you for any hair trials ahead of the big day.

Dotmoxee Photography

Lee Scullion Photography

Final elements of consideration – how many layers should the veil have and most importantly will the bride want her face covered when she makes her journey up the aisle? This is a hot topic of discussion and one I noticed has already been raised on the fabulous new Brides Up North Facebook group (an interactive space where the blog’s bride-to-be readers, sponsors, exhibitors and industry friends can share inspiration, questions and recommendations). Opinion was split with some saying they couldn’t stand the thought of something covering their face while others said it was a good shield to hide their tears. Several said they loved the romantic elegance it brought, particularly in images, and one or two industry experts even tipped the “big reveal” as a huge wedding come-back.

To add my thoughts to the discussion, I think if it’s good enough for super bride Kate Middleton it’s certainly good enough for me but I tend to get makeup across everything I look so my only fear would be that I’d arrive beside my groom with my veil resembling a used tissue at a Mac counter.

Veil fail.

So will you be doing the big unveil at the altar?  We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as tagged, Dotmoxee Photography, Clive Doyle Photography, Lee Scullion, Mark Newton Weddings, Katy Melling Photography, Melissa Kay Photography, Helen Russell Photography, Laura Calderwood, Jamie Penfold Photography, Jonny Draper

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