October 20th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
With the last of the summer stock swinging on sale rails, autumn winter collections are now being rolled out across shop floors. I’ve been checking out the occasion wear high street offerings for the cooler season ahead and once again I’ve been peeking my head around shop doors I’d usually sail right by. This time it’s Lipsy.
I’ve been lured into studying the store’s autumn/winter collection following a string of desirable celebrities putting their name to the brand, most notably ex-Corrie star Michelle Keegan and one of my absolute favourite style icons, Millie McIntosh of Made in Chelsea fame.
If it’s good enough for these super stylish and stunning ladies then surely it’s good enough for the rest of us, right? And that is why I deem it worthy of our high street honey accolade.
At Brides Up North’s recent season of Luxury Wedding Exhibitions I couldn’t help but notice the flurry of brides who will be tying the knot at Christmas time. And who can blame them? It’s a truly magical time of the year when everyone is in high spirits and it offers the perfect excuse for a comforting wedding breakfast (bangers and mash, anyone?).
But what does one wear to a winter wedding? Well Lipsy offers solutions not only for guests, but also potential bridesmaid and hen do outfits. From sexy strapless frocks to figure-hugging, floor-length gowns, Lipsy has lots of lovely attire to choose from.
Those opting for a short or strapless dress – such as the cream and black pencil dress or the floral print midi dress – may want to consider a faux fur jacket, of which many can currently be found on the high street, to complete their look in a classy and cosy way.
The full-length gowns are particularly striking and offer an opulent look for winter weddings and high-end hen dos. I really love the black dress with regal gold detailing as well as the maroon maxi with black cobweb panels The long royal blue gown with glitter embellished shoulder straps would make a gorgeous bridesmaid dress, complete with Christmas sparkle.
And finally, for those pre-wedding nights out, there are a couple of eye-catching jumpsuits within the autumn/winter collection that can be worn during the festive period and beyond.
Happy Lipsy shopping ladies!
September 22nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wedding couples’ budgets vary, as do their lists of priorities. While some will want to splurge on a delicious wedding banquet fit for a king and queen, others would much rather invest in an amazing band to keep the dance floor rocking all night long.
On a similar note, brides have different ideas of what price tag their wedding attire should carry. A proposal can mean the green light to spend a crazy amount of money on a couture dress, designer heels and matching accessories – because hey, if you don’t do it on your wedding day when will you ever have a license to spend so frivolously again?
But then there are other lines of thought – why spend so much on a dress that I’ll only where for one day? I’d rather have a blow out on fancy footwear that I can wear well beyond the wedding day? I’ll spend less on the dress and put the money saved towards my dream honeymoon.
Of course there’s no right or wrong answer as to how much one should spend on a wedding dress – it’s a case of each to their own.
For those brides that are on smaller budgets, or who would simply prefer to spend in other areas, there are some incredibly pretty high street bridal offerings that won’t completely break the bank.
An expert in elegance, style and class, high street honey Monsoon has just released its autumn/winter 2014 bridal collection, and ladies; you’re in for a treat!
Sleek and slim-line in the majority, the dresses are fabulously flattering and not one oversteps the £700 mark. In fact one of my favourites in the collection is actually the cheapest. The stunning Lyra maxi dress, which features a sparkling band hand embellished with beads and diamantes, comes in at just £229.
Mid-range dresses include Rosanna, Iris and May, though each offers a totally different look. The high-waisted Rosanna is a pretty vintage vision with a sparkling diamante and bead trimmed scalloped neckline and antique broach detailing. Meanwhile the cute tea-length Iris dress is ideal for 50- style brides with its boned bodice, full skirt and floral appliquéd layers. May is perhaps a better option for brides wanting a more fitted gown. Though less voluminous, the romantic knee-length design still packs a punch its lavishly embroidered finish.
Creeping up to the £500 region we have the beautiful Breya. The romantic, mermaid silhouette with a scalloped court train boasts vintage Indian-inspired metallic embroidered tulle, adorned with shimmering seed pearls, beads and miniature sequins. This is most definitely a show stopper!
Finally the enchanting Ellis dress is top of the shop at £699. According to its creators, this dress has been tailored to form-flattering perfection so brides can walk the aisle with the utmost confidence.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Monsoon has also designed a collection of highly-desirable bridal shoes, which remain within the £50-£100 price bracket, so you can pocket even more pennies.
1. Lyra, £229
2. May, £249
3. Rosanna, £299
4. Iris, £299
5. Jessica, £299
6. Breya, £499
7. Erynne, £499
8. Ellis, £699
All prices correct at the time of publishing.
August 19th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Jasmine at BHS
I’m 27 and I’ve never been a bridesmaid. I suppose this means I don’t have to worry about the ‘always a bridesmaid, never a bride’ saying, but when I was young (and now too really) I would have given anything to be one.
I remember visiting friends’ houses where their numerous redundant bridesmaid dresses had been demoted to the dressing-up box – which was as close as I got to actually fulfilling the role. I suppose it was similar to a scene from Muriel’s Wedding, but instead of trying on endless wedding gowns, I was diving into ex-bridesmaid dresses at any given opportunity.
Bailey at Monsoon
Veronique at Monsoon
Anyway, while I never got to be a miniature maid there are plenty of lucky tots that do get to don a pretty frock and follow a real bride down the aisle.
If you’re having young bridesmaids on your wedding day there are numerous adorable options to dress them in. Both designers and the high-street offer some truly ahh-worthy options, with Monsoon and BHS coming tops as our High Street Honeys for little fashionistas.
Pom Pom at Monsoon
Lydia Ballet at BHS
Lily by Monsoon
If you’re having a mix of different aged bridesmaids it’s worth remembering your adult bridesmaids don’t want to be wearing the same outfit as a knee-high maid, equally teens will want to feel grown-up and gorgeous, rather than wearing the same attire as their younger sibling or cousin. Therefore it’s often best for brides to pick contrasting outfits for their grown-up and toddler bridesmaids. For those who do prefer to match things up, there is always the option of selecting a child’s dress with a coordinating sash in the colour that your adult maids will be wearing.
August 5th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
If you’re anything like me you will fall in and out of love with high street stores.
At one point French Connection was very much my go to when it came to finding an occasion dress, then I flirted with Zara for a while before falling head over heels for many of Warehouse’s pretty frocks.
I have to be honest I rarely even look at the window display of Miss Selfridge let alone cross its threshold, but recently I’ve spotted numerous ladies wearing stunning outfits on social media sites from the very store.
I figured it was time to check out some of the store’s offerings for myself and I’m pleased to report the glamorous garments swinging on its rails are worthy of our High Street Honey accolade.
A fair few of my friends are attending weddings in the next couple of months and despite trawling the high street and internet, they’re yet to make a purchase. Perhaps they are making the same mistake I did by racing past Miss S’s doors and missing out on the last pieces of its stunning summer collection.
There is a fabulous array of dresses in pretty pastels and vibrant hues, perfect for August/September ceremonies. There are also various lengths of frocks providing options for those who have just returned from their summer holidays to flash some beautifully bronzed flesh and those who are yet to jet off, to hide their pale pins under a layer of lovely fabric.
The outfits aren’t just ideal wedding guest attire – brides can get in on the action too, with stunning options for bridal related occasions up to and following the wedding – think hen do, ice-breaker meal the night before the wedding and, of course, the honeymoon.
In true Miss Selfridge style, there are a couple of rather bling options within its collection, such as the coral embellished flapper dress. But this would be perfect for a bride-to-be wanting to stand out from her hens when partying.
The nude embellished maxi dress is a lovely option for ladies that will be honeymooning onboard a cruise liner, but could also be considered by brides to be worn by their maids on the big day, particularly those having glamorous and/or Gatsby style weddings.
One of my favourite pieces has to be the embellished playsuit, with cute scalloped edging. Hen do or honeymoon I’d get as many wears as possible out of this pretty number.
For those looking for plainer options to accessorise and make their own, Miss Selfridge again doesn’t disappoint. There are flattering maxi dresses, simple slim-line frocks and fetching blazer and short combos.
So next time you hit the high street it’s certainly worth visiting the store – many of us might associate it with our younger years, but it looks like Miss Selfridge has matured a little.
Coral embellished maxi dress £190
Nude embellished maxi dress £150
Embellished playsuit £69
Pastel jacket £45
Pastel shorts £35
Coral and silver prom dress £55
Blue embellished flapper dress £80
Waffle bra blue dress £28
Pink maxi dress £55
Coral maxi dress £55
All prices were correct at the time of going to press.
May 29th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
The dismal and depressing weather over the Bank Holiday forced me to take shelter indoors, and by indoors I mean within a shopping centre. Here I came to spend a good proportion of my Saturday, and in turn, my wages (for which I whole heartedly blame the British weather).
Although on a mission to purchase a new work wardrobe, I found myself distracted by the shoe department in Debenhams (I’m only female, after all). Whilst eyeing up fancy footwear that was totally inappropriate for the office, I was pleasantly surprised to find Debs’ collection included a wide range of beautiful bridal footwear at write-home-and-tell-your-mum-about-it kind of prices.
From pretty platforms to cute kitten heels and feminine flats – they had it all!
Top Image: No 1 Jenny Packham – Grey high heel cut-out court shoes with pleated trim, £48 (20% off)
1 Debut – Gold metallic beaded peep toe court shoes, £39.60 (20% off)
2 Debut – Ivory glitter trim mid court shoes, £36 (20% off)
3 Faith – Ivory embellished bow high court shoes, £65
4 Faith – Ivory pearlised leather mid heel stiletto shoes, £75
5 Faith – Ivory rhinestone studded pumps, £32.50
6 No 1 Jenny Packham – Designer ivory lace and jewel trim ballet pumps, £47.20 (20% off)
7 J by Jasper Conran – Designer ivory embroidered toe high court shoes, £55.20 (20% off)
8 No 1 Jenny Packham – Designer ivory lace detailed heeled sandals, £68 (20% off)
Bottom Image: Faith – Natural glitter lace court shoes, £56 (20% off)
All prices correct at the time of going to press
Shopping in a department store is a good idea, of course, for those wanting a wide choice. The main designers stocked in bridal shoes include reliable Faith, classy Jasper Conran and an exclusive collection designed by the princess of bridal wear herself, Jenny Packham.
Each offers brides something a little different. For those that like a bit of bling, Faith features some rather dazzling designs with sequin, glitter or rhinestone detail, though their plainer options are equally attractive: the ivory pearlised leather stiletto with sophisticated scalloped edges being a particular favourite of mine.
Jenny’s cut-price collection meanwhile offers more elegant options including classic courts with neat pleats as well as pretty pumps and platforms, complete with jewel trim.
Debenhams’ Debut collection is also worth a mention, not only for its reasonable price tag, but also for its simple yet stunning designs – the ivory glitter trim court being a wonderful example.
With affordable bridal footwear like this on the high street it made me wonder how so many cash-strapped grooms on Don’t Tell the Bride get it so wrong. And as if you needed anymore persuasion to check out the collection, there’s currently up to 20% off selected styles meaning you could get change from a fifty pound note!
View the full collection here.
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May 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
If you’re one of the many Brides Up North picking a pretty pastel colour palette for your big day this summer, you’re in luck, for the Great British High Street is awash with options. Topping our High Street Honey charts is staple favourite Ted Baker, who we think has batted one out of the park with it’s summer 2014 collection.
Flirty dipped hems, cute creases, pretty pleats and delicate details… this collection is as unique as it is charming, and although some of the price points are at the top of the usual bridesmaid budget, the pieces are oh so special. And very, very wear again (and again, and again) able.
Dress your maids in these ice cream shades and you’ll be one popular Mrs.
Top Image: Remma, £449
1 Faybll, £179
2 Priscil, £159
3 Iberis, £179
4 Pheabea, £149
5 Josa, £149
6 Verity, £179
7 Fayth, £999
8 Halina, £179
All Ted Baker
All prices were correct at the time of going to press.
To check out Ted Baker’s (gorgeous) full collection of fancy frocks click here.
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Contact Ted Baker to submit your business as a Featured Supplier
May 19th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Ladies we’ve all been there (before finding fiancées that is) – you see an attractive man on a night out, pluck up the courage to say hi, or even better, he approaches you, and then within matter of measly minutes the dream falls apart. Turns out he’s a mannequin man – perfectly formed on the outside but there’s nothing on the inside – he clearly has a low IQ, he’s way too laid back, or worse: he’s just plain boring.
I’ve had similar experiences with cakes – there’s nothing worse than a highly attractive cake that disappoints massively once you get a taste of the inside (just like mannequin man).
Surely for a wedding cake it’s essential that the style and taste stakes match up? Some couples are fortunate enough to have a talented relative or friend capable of producing a culinary masterpiece while others can afford to task a cake supplier with making a bespoke creation that tastes as good as it looks.
Chocolate Plaque Vintage Rose
But what are the options for couples’ whose cake budget just doesn’t stretch that far? Cue the Marks & Spencer wedding cake collection – yes that’s right folks, this is not just any wedding cake collection, it’s an M&S wedding cake collection. And, though we traditionally reserve the honour for fast fashion, these cakes totally deserve our High Street Honey accolade.
Shimmering Hoop (Dark & Gold)
Upside Down Raspberry
The high street supplier is close to many Brits’ hearts, especially the contents of its food hall – whether it’s the cheesy puffs, ultimate mash or faithful Percy Pigs, we trust M&S to deliver wonderful pleasures for our palettes. This is perhaps why so many couples turn to Marks and Sparks for their wedding cake.
The fabulous collection features a stunning range of both contemporary and traditional options, including exceptionally pretty vintage and floral designs, with a choice of delicious sponges and fillings.
Shimmering Hoop (White & Pink)
M&S itself states that a wedding cake should look and taste amazing, and encourages its customers to pick a cake that reflects them as a couple. Personal favourites of mine include the Birdcage and Bauble cake designs – it’s just a shame there isn’t a bride or groom version of Colin the Caterpillar!
For more information about wedding cakes by Marks & Spencer, visit their website.
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April 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
*Tumbleweed rolls in*
Don’t you just hate it when your best efforts are completely frustrated?! I’ve just spent two full days “on the road” as part of a series of speaking engagements at the workshops of some seriously talented professionals, and whilst I’ve been so, so inspired to send time shooting ideas around with some fabulous creatives – and extremely honoured to be invited to take part (more on this later) – my Wi-Fi cover has been a little less than satisfactory. I hope you’ll bear with me as we get to some of the features that were actually meant to hit these pretty pages a little earlier this week. It’s catch up time, ladies.
Last week, back when life was a little less hectic, I actually got to spend a little time out of the office (and out of the car!) hitting up the High Street and checking out the new collections. Can I get a whoop whoop?! All in the name of research, you understand.
First stop: Reiss.
I’ll be honest. Whilst Reiss used to be my go-to treat yourself on payday staple, I’ve found it’s latest few seasons to be a little lack lustre. At the top end of my high street spend, I wanted a little more brilliance for my buck.
Well, hello! This season, Reiss is back on track.
And guess what? There’s loads of flirty little dresses that would be just perfect for all those bridal occasions in the run up to and surrounding a wedding (the ones where you’re not actually rocking the main frock). Think classy hen party, rehearsal dinner, going away dress or some seriously grateful bridesmaids.
Go to work ladies!
Ciara Swift, £195
All prices were correct when going to press.
For more (and I know you want more!) visit the Reiss website.
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April 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’ve spent the last three days staring at beautiful wedding dresses (two at White Gallery in London and last Sunday at our Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Nostell Priory) and you know what? I don’t feel like stopping anytime soon.
Yesterday after our meetings and viewings were concluded and before hopping back on the train Up North, Ellie and I headed for my spiritual home, Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, for a slap up sushi lunch and a spot of browsing.
One thing I was obsessed with when planning my own wedding was my “going away” dress. You know, the fabulous frock that I would slip into as my new husband whisked me off on our fabulous honeymoon to live happily ever after (whilst our friends went back to work on Monday). The pressure was on and dress had to be perfect – a little bit Audrey, a little bit Grace, flirty, sparkly, a nod to bridal and ever so Summer Holiday (in October).
So today, four years after our wedding (goddammit!) I found the perfect frock. Step forward Alice & Oliva, Stacey Bendet I salute you. I seriously thought about whipping out the credit card then and there, but decided to accept that it wasn’t meant to be (for me anyway) and share my find with you actual soon-to-be-weds instead.
And whilst looking around, I spotted lots more bridal-esque pieces that could certainly make it into the shortlist for a pretty rehearsal dinner outfit, engagement party frock, special hen party piece or even to walk the aisle itself. Ok, so a designer in Harvey Nichols ain’t exactly budget, but if we’re quibbling, fact: HN is actually on the “high street”.
Technicalities aside, I think Alice & Olivia totally deserves the Brides Up North High Street Honey accolade. What do you think?
I think I want to go shopping. Now.
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February 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
1. Effie Dress, £169; 2. Dallas Dress, £109; 3. Ava Dress £99; 4. Ania Dress, £139; 5. Crissy Dress, £119; 6. Evina Dress, £179; 7. Beatrice Dress, £139; 8. Bonnie Dress, £89; 9. Lyra Dress, £139; 10. Lainie Maxi, £179; 11. Lorena Maxi, £119; 12. Lyra Maxi, £179.
You know we’re not adverse to a bit of high street browsing here at Brides Up North HQ in our quest to uncover the prettiest bridesmaid offerings and bridal accoutrements out there – in boutiques, online and by pounding the pavement. It’s a hard job… yaddah yaddah yaddah.
This afternoon, step forward Monsoon, with their tonal selection of pretty gowns in a wash of muted red, white and blue. Given our recent weather, Monsoon may not be the best named retailer on the block, but in terms of bridal party offerings, it’s as good as a day on the beach.
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