PRONOVIAS
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

perfect finish: top bridal accessory styling tips from caroline castigliano

August 2nd, 2018 | Rachel Parry

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While the main focus of a bride’s big day look is on her dress, there are numerous other elements that contribute to the finely tuned finished look. From hair accessories, shoes and underwear to polished hair and makeup, time and consideration is most certainly needed to ensure these all come together in harmony.

As such, we’re looking to our wonderfully-talented Sponsor, top British bridal designer Caroline Castigliano, for her dos and don’ts when it comes to accessorising your dress. So, ladies, be sure to take note as there are lots of gems of advice below that will help in your pursuit to avoid visible bra lines, awkward shoes and dreaded hair and makeup faux pas.

With images by Andy Mac Photography and Olka Fuller Photography.

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In your opinion, how can the right finishing touches enhance and complete a bride’s big day look?

caroline says: Accessories are very important to finishing off a ‘look’ for your big day and can make the simplest gown look glamorous. A favourite of mine is a silk crepe fishtail gown with a long two tier veil a beaded belt, complete with drop earrings and a matching bracelet – timeless, stunning and glamorous. Similarly, if you want a traditional look you could use crown as a headpiece with a cathedral length veil.

How do brides go about selecting the right underwear for their dress? Do you have any bridal lingerie shopping tips?

First of all, make sure you are professionally measured before you purchase your bra to make sure that you get a perfect shape and fit. Choose something simple and comfortable on your wedding day in ivory or nude. Bows and lace look pretty but can create uneven, visible lines.

The bra shape all depends on the gown you have selected – a good supportive strapless bra with soft, moulded, seam-free cups will give you smooth lines underneath a strapless dress.

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And what about the shoes?

It’s advisable to have bridal shoes when you are measured for your dress. When choosing your shoes consider first and foremost your comfort for the day – you want to have the best day of your life, so comfort is essential.

Also, make sure you do not have brooches or bead work that will snag the bottom of your dress or a flap that the bottom of the dress will catch behind – you won’t notice until you see the pictures but then it will be to late!

What advice do you have for brides when picking their bridal jewellery – what would you suggest for a timeless look and for a statement look? 

A lot of the decisions regarding jewellery come from the actual design of the dress. Timeless conjures up the idea of a simple chain necklace (platinum or gold) with either a diamond solitaire or a pearl with matching stud earrings. A statement would be more chunky big earrings and bracelet – again this all depends on the design of the gown and the total vision you are creating – modern chic will be different to understated and romantic.

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If a bride is looking to switch up her look from day to night but doesn’t have the budget for two dresses what accessories could she use to style her dress in different ways?

I would look at having a shrug that could maybe be removed in the evening, there is also the possibility of wearing a straight or fishtailed gown and adding a large overskirt that is detachable. This means during the day you can appear to have a large full traditional dress and then take off the over skirt in the evening to reveal a body skimming fishtail. If you then also removed the shrug you could spend the evening in a strapless, skimming fishtail perhaps also adding a jewelled belt – two great looks!

Are you a fan of a veil?

Most definitely!  I am passionate about veils – the wedding is the only day in your life you can wear one and they add such a wonderful touch of romance to the whole occasion.

My opinion on veils is they should always be cathedral length, to the floor so there are no break lines down the dress – it should be a simple sheer vision – of course the choice is broad when it comes to veil selection – any length is possible and then you have trims; beautiful laces, satin edges – the choice is endless.

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And what about their hairstyle? Why would you encourage a bride to hire a professional stylist and what should they take into consideration when picking the right hair style for their wedding day?

I always say go to your wedding looking like the woman your fiancée has fallen in love with. I do not understand why a woman would want to wear her hair entirely differently on her wedding day.

It is best if you can afford it to have a professional hairdresser on hand to do your hair – they will ensure your headpiece is in place and set the veil, so it does not move and overall ensure you look perfect. It is advisable to have a few run throughs before the day, so you are confident with the style and that will help you relax on the day.

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look book: hue honed heels

April 27th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

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This season the bridal catwalks have dared brides to go beyond a traditional ivory dress, with blush, blue and even dazzling gold gowns making an appearance on the runway.

We understand however that a colourful gown, no matter how subtle, is still considered a more niche option, with many choosing to stick with a pure shade of fail-safe white. But this doesn’t mean that brides have to forgo colour altogether, as big day footwear provides an ideal area in which ladies can add a pop of pizazz and personality from any end of the spectrum.

When it’s time to get the shoe search underway, we highly advise looking to specialist bridal shoe designers who craft their creations with both comfort and style in mind – meaning you can keep your heels firmly on from the ‘I dos’ to the dance moves!

So, for those of you that crave a colour-pop, we’ve rounded up our favourite heels from the top designers in the industry, which we’re pretty sure will help inspire your choices. Ladies, let’s shop!

Main post images from Rachel Simpson.

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First up is our fabulous Sponsor, Charlotte Mills, where each shoe sole is embossed with the phrase, “Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something Blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” And yes, each left shoe includes an original silver sixpence to bring you luck on your big day. Sticking with wedding traditions, why not add your ‘something blue’ in the shape of a shoe? The April Blue peep toe sandal is delicate in pale blue with a heart design at the back and cross-over ankle straps, while the Cece Blue is a T-bar peep toe with a low block heel and an iridescent pearl blue tonal glitter bow. Ms Mills also has some fab options if you want a stand-out heel. Check out the Becky range, each with a show-stopping glitter block heel and the Eve, a court shoe also rocking a pretty, shimmering heel.

Next, another stylish Sponsor of Brides Up North, Paradox London, where you can expect to find some bold blues in the shape of the Adaline Navy and Catrina Navy. The Adaline is ideal if you want a bit of height but don’t fancy teetering on a stiletto, while the Catrina has some lovely embellishment detail. Add pizzazz with the Alandra Red, a bejewelled stiletto sure to make an entrance, or tone it down a tad and plump for the Manhattan Blush or Macpherson Blush. The Manhattan sports a chunky jewel embellishment on the strap, while the Macpherson is a beautiful sandal with a sexy strap design to flatter the foot.

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Taking a step into Rachel Simpson’s collections, the Mimosa shoe is heart-stoppingly beautiful. The soft petal design is inspired by nature – choose it in the pale mint leather, which is overlaid on metallic champagne gold leather to beautifully highlight the petal design. For a darker shade of green, look to the Olivia peep toe in luxurious velvet, which is enhanced with a luxe copper glitter heel. For your ‘something blue’, slip into a pair of Isabelle Ice Blue peep toes, with an art deco vibe and subtle metallic leather detailing, or the Valentina Cobalt – the perfect footwear for that kingfisher flash. And, if you’re looking for ruby red, check out the Bonita Red glitter courts, complete with full red satin bow.

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sparkle & shine: the bobby pin

April 24th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

The Bobby Pin (6)

Though the dress tends to take the spotlight of a bride’s chosen look, it is the accessories that can help create the overall vision and help inject a little more personality.

Be an uber-glam or pretty pared back kinda gal, a statement headpiece or carefully placed hair comb can provide the perfect finishing touch as our Sponsor Lisa Steane of The Bobby Pin, knows only too well.

With a passion for all things that sparkle and shine, talented Lisa set up her bridal accessories company in 2016, which has quickly gone from strength to strength, favoured by brides for its varied and adaptable designs that can work with numerous hair styles and dress choices.

Currently working on some stunning floral inspired and subtly coloured designs, Lisa is taking over the blog today to tell us what we can expect from the latest creations, including options for the bride, her maids, and even mini maids…

Images supplied by The Bobby Pin.

The Bobby Pin (4)

Can you tell us a little about The Bobby Pin, when you set it up and what it offers to brides?

lisa says: I set up The Bobby Pin in spring 2016 after having my baby Jude. I gave up my corporate career in buying fashion and children’s toys to spend more time at home with my baby boy.  I have always been into sparkle and have always been very creative. I offered to do my best friend’s hairpiece for her wedding and from then on I was addicted to creating bridal headpieces. I decided to launch my brand with about ten pieces and moved on from there. By January 2017, I had won the ‘Best Accessory Designer’ with the British Wedding Awards, which was totally amazing and so unbelievable at the same time.

How would you describe your style of accessories and what type of brides do you think your designs appeal to?

I would describe my style as very delicate and pretty. I mostly do wire work with beads, crystals and embellishments. Nothing too big or over the top, more romantic and dainty.

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Can you tell us a little about your collections – the types of products, styles, materials, colours?

My collection is very tonal this year with lots of rose gold and blush tones.  My pins are full or pearls, crystals and floral embellishments.  I have gone with a very floral theme this year which suits the trend of the dresses. I am seeing a lot of embroidery out there, which is a complement to my pieces.

Do you have a favourite piece from your collections?

I am just in love with my new pin set Arabella.  The blush pink tones with the gold is just so pretty.  I love that these pins are so versatile and can go in so many places in the hair.  The tones of these pins are very opulent and are great for summertime weddings.

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Are you seeing any particular trends in bridal accessories at the moment?

I am really seeing brides go for less traditional pieces and I think this is because their choice of dress is less traditional, so they also want something different in their hair.  I am being asked for much more colour in bespoke work and I love it because it makes it so much more interesting for me to make it.

Which pieces in particular are proving popular with brides from your collection and why do you think that is?

My most popular pieces at the moment are my Daisy and Amelia hair pins – they are powder blue and it seems the tradition for something blue is very much on trend.  These pins are so different, and I have had so many brides a and bridesmaids wear these over the past few months.  I would also say the Izzy vine is also a huge favourite.  This is a statement vine and looks amazing on the halo of the head.

The Bobby Pin (5)

As well as making ideal accessories for brides, your designs are also perfect bridesmaid and flower girls. Can you tell us which pieces are particularly well suited for such?

I have always been a massive fan of having lots of pins in my collections.  I have also found more brides going for smaller pieces, like pins to add in their hair rather than a big piece.  This has been a trend for me since I started.  I think brides who want a veil but also want a hint of sparkle have this option with the pins. My most popular pins for bridesmaids and flower girls are Orla and Anna.  These are just so dainty and add the perfect touch to a bridesmaid’s look.

What advice would you give to brides when picking accessories for their bridesmaids and flower girls?

When choosing accessories for your bridal party I suggest you look at your overall vision for them.  Look at the dresses and decide on accessories.  I always think that bridesmaid accessories should be dainty and pretty with that touch of sparkle.  Nothing too over the top as the bride needs to take the spotlight. Getting accessories right for all your bridesmaids can be a difficult task when they all have different hair lengths and colours. I suggest keeping it simple with a delicate comb or pin that can be added into any hairstyle.

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match made in heaven: l.k.bennett x jenny packham collection

April 12th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Dorothy Sandal Ivory

Certain parings just work seamlessly: gin and tonic, sea salt and caramel, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Harry and Meghan – as well as our latest duo obsession: L.K.Bennett and Jenny Packham. That’s right ladies, the British luxury high-street brand and bridal designer extraordinaire have joined forces and talents to produce a mesmerising collection of bridal shoes that we guarantee will shoot straight to the top of your wedding attire wish list!

Quite literally a power coupling, the two parties possess all the necessary skills and vision to create the finest footwear that will take you from your ceremony to your celebrations, and beyond! Trust us when we say these designs are far too fabulous to only see the light of day once.

The collection combines the aesthetic of both Jenny Packham’s and L.K.Bennett’s designs, resulting in sixteen shoe styles that have been carefully thought out to deliver not only fashionable options, but also varying heel heights, colourways and fabrics. Better still, the collection includes four chic clutch bags – a bride needs a place to keep her lippy on her big day, right?

For us personally we are 100% starry eyed over the amazing Felicity though also adore the luxe appearance of more subtle styles, such as Brielle and Ellena. The whole collection is totally swoon-worthy though as you’re about to discover with the fabulous L.K.Bennett team taking hold of the blogging reins this morning to talk us through the heavenly collab step by step…

Brigette Clutch Ivory

Can you tell us how the collaboration with renowned designer Jenny Packham came about and what you wanted the collection bring to the bridal fashion scene?

l.k. bennett say: It felt so natural to collaborate with Jenny Packham, an iconic British fashion brand that has become synonymous with red carpet elegance and luxurious bridal silhouettes. The combination of the Jenny Packham aesthetic with the timeless, distinctive handwriting of L.K.Bennett has led to a breathtakingly-beautiful collection of bridal bags and shoes; a collaboration that showcases a variety of styles and heel heights to suit traditional brides and modern romantics. L.K.Bennett x Jenny Packham brings choice, versatility and vintage-inspired elegance to the bridal scene; designs that can be worn for her big day and beyond.

What was the inspiration behind the collection?

Inspired by the leading ladies of the golden age of cinema, the collection fuses the mesmerising glamour of Old Hollywood icons Vivien Leigh and Bette Davis, with the vintage style of 1930’s Paris.

Fern Shoe Hot Fix

Can you give us an overview of the styles that make up the collection?

The collaboration showcases 16 bridal shoes and four bridal clutch bags. The Dahlia high sandal is dressed with a light-catching drop crystal ‘necklace’ reminiscent of Art Deco jewels, whilst the Felicity strappy sandal features sparkling stars that will add a statement touch to understated wedding dresses. The Fern satin court, embellished with delicate crystals, is a bridal take on our bestselling design, and the perfect partner to the co-ordinating Brigitte clutch bag.

And can you tell us a little about the detailing and fabrics?

We wanted to create a collection to suit all types of ceremonies, from relaxed surroundings to more traditional settings. With this in mind, L.K.Bennett x Jenny Packham features a variety of heel heights, from 100mm to 50mm and flat options. Every bride should look and feel amazing on her big day, and the Italian nappa leather, French lace and fine satin used within the collection reflects the desire for something extra special.

Fifi Shoe and Sissi Clutch Ivory

What type of bride would the collection appeal to?

There’s a style to suit every bride-to-be in our collaboration. Whether she considers herself to be a touch more traditional or a fashion-forward romantic, there’s something to please everyone.

Which shoe design out of the collection would you suggest for a bride wanting to make a statement?

Our show-stopping Dahlia sandals which are the epitome of high-octane glamour; created in the finest Italian nappa leather and indulgently designed jewels inspired by a bygone era.

Brielle Sandal Trench

Dahlia Sandal Ivory

And what shoe design would you suggest for a bride wanting to keep their look traditional and elegant?

The Brielle designed in sumptuous Italian nude satin – a stylish alternative to timeless white or ivory – it’s our contemporary take on the classic bridal sandal.

What would be your top tip to brides when choosing their shoes and accessories for their big day?

To think about their personal style and the venue when choosing the perfect bridal shoes and accessories. If you’re concerned about comfort, consider switching your shoes for a bridal block heel or dressy flat after the ceremony and in time for the first dance. The ‘finishing touches’ to your bridal look should complement your style and reflect your personality.

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a real gem: the biscuit factory’s jewellery collection

April 4th, 2018 | Julia Braime

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Through our pretty pages we’ve often promoted The Biscuit Factory as a cool urban choice of venue for North East wedding couples, though it can be of service to brides and grooms in more ways than one.

Beyond its fabulous function spaces, The Biscuit Factory houses the UK’s largest independent contemporary art, craft and design gallery, featuring impressive work by both local and national artists with pieces ranging from paintings, prints and ceramics to furniture, homewares and jewellery.

Not only is the art showcased and admired through exhibitions, but numerous items are also available to buy at the Newcastle-based gallery or online. For wedding couples with an appreciation of art this means the option of setting up a gift account in the gallery, for a wedding present wish list with a difference.

Furthermore, through its impressive jewellery collections, brides and grooms can also source beautifully bespoke gifts for one another and their bridal party, and can even have wedding and engagement rings specially commissioned by jewellers based at the gallery.

We’ll now hand over the blog to The Biscuit Factory’s jewellery curator, Megan Collier, to tell us more about the options, including the latest Botanical Collection of jewellery with stunning handmade pieces inspired by the natural world.

Mabel Hasell

Can you give us a brief overview of the jewellery collections that The Biscuit Factory houses?

megan says: The Biscuit Factory houses one of the largest collections of contemporary handmade jewellery in the North of England. Our pieces are carefully curated each season and are all handmade, original and unique. From affordable statement pieces to high-value wedding bands – we stock a variety of jewellery from the UK’s most talented designers and makers.

How do you choose the designers that you stock/exhibit and do these change from season to season?

We have a few makers who are firm favourites in the gallery and have been with us for years, such as Jessica Briggs, Fran Stunt and Jill Stewart. Their work never fails to be popular with our audiences! Aside from that, I try to bring in a selection of new jewellers for each seasonal show to make sure the collection is fresh and exciting. I tend to find these through hunting online or looking at other galleries and trade fairs. Instagram has a wealth of new and exciting designers to discover so is always a good place to start! I try to look for designers who are doing something a little different or innovative with their work, so the collections at The Biscuit Factory are always giving our audience something new to discover.

Can you tell us about the current Botanical Jewellery collection?

The spring show seemed like the perfect time to explore the world of botanical jewellery, putting the spotlight on artists who take inspiration from the natural world at the time of year when everything is starting to bloom and flourish.

Botanics is a theme explored by many jewellers in many different ways, and our new collection perfectly showcases the diverse range of styles, materials and techniques that makers have used to interpret this theme, each coming up with entirely unique results. Some of the collections have even been specially created just for The Biscuit Factory, too.

From Sue Gregor, who uses real plants in her bright bold acrylic jewellery, to Farrah Al-Dujaili’s Oddical collection made from cutting-edge 3D printing – the jewellers in this show experiment with their craft and break from traditional methods of jewellery making. For this reason, the Botanical Collection appeals to a wide audience.

There are subtle, floral pieces like Yuki Kokai or Lisa Rothwell-Young’s collections, for those who like their jewellery elegant and understated, but there is also bold, statement jewellery, such as Lauren Bell Brown’s Grimms fairy-tale inspired collection, created using handcrafted wax carvings and cuttlefish castings combined with needlepoint embellishment.

Award-winning jeweller John Moore, meanwhile, captures the essence of feathers and the repeating patterns of fish and plants in his decorative Flight and Elytra pieces; and Nettie Birch of nbNg makes fold formed jewellery using aluminium, copper and Sterling silver to create beautiful flowing organic shapes.

Elizabeth Trueman earrings

Elizabeth Tueman

Couples have been known to have wedding and engagement rings commissioned at The Biscuit Factory. Can you tell us a little more about this option and what the process involves?

There are a number of jewellers who we work with who can create specially commissioned wedding pieces for us. We have a selection of their work in the gallery that couples can try on and explore for inspiration. We can then order directly from the artist in the right size and desired materials. It’s a great place to find your engagement and wedding rings as it ensures they will be truly unique and handmade by an artist. I think this makes them extra special!

Brides and grooms have also sourced wedding gifts for loved ones and each other from designers at The Biscuit Factory. What types of items have they bought and what would you suggest from the current collections that would make lovely wedding gifts?

There’s plenty to choose from in the way of wedding gifts from our collections. Handmade, unique cufflinks are always a popular choice when buying gifts for the groom or groomsmen. We also have very affordable and pretty silver necklaces, bracelets and earrings made with semi-precious stones and molten metals which could make perfect bridesmaid gifts.

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fierce footwear: charlotte mills fashion collection

April 3rd, 2018 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Mills (14)

While most brides will opt an ivory coloured wedding gown, few stick to tradition when it comes to their bridal shoes, with the footwear an ideal element through which to express their individual style and personality.

Better still, this part of the attire can be worn time again after the big day and so it’s wise to choose a style that you could wear on an evening out rather than just down the aisle, right?!

We’re therefore delighted to see one of our very favourite bridal shoe designers and Brides Up North Sponsor, Charlotte Mills, helping to broaden the style-led choices for brides through her insanely-gorgeous new fashion collection.

Ranging from glittery metallic stilettos to cool platforms and bejewelled boots in the most fabulous colourways, we’re totally in love – and expect you’ll fall head over heels for the range too. As such we’ve invited the lovely Charlotte to the blog today to talk us through the varying designs, which are already proving popular with celeb fashionistas, including Fearne Cotton and Pixie Lott.

So, if you fancy treating your feet to some fierce footwear for your big day (and beyond!), step this way…

EVE BARBIE

Why did you decide to do a fashion collection in addition to your bridal line?

charlotte says: I wanted to do a fashion collection because there’s more freedom in terms of colours and fabrics when designing for fashion rather than bridal. Less limitations.

Can you give us an overview of the collection, does it have an underlaying theme?

The collection was inspired by the 70’s, Studio 54 and the Disco Era. Metallics and glitter are always something key in Charlotte Mills shoes, but I decided to go for a more fun and vibrant colour palette to our bridal collection.

ELINA PETROL 2

Your heels have been worn by a number of celebrities, can you tell us which celebs are Charlotte Mills fans?

Fearne Cotton loves our platforms! She’s been seen in a few pairs, but other celebs such as Pixie Lott, Ella Eyre, Lucy Meck, Stacey Martin and Lousia Johnson have all been seen in our shoes!

Can you tell us about the colourways, details and fabrics used within the collection?

We have a couple of different colour ways in the collection, Pinks, metallics and petrols would be the first; looking at shoes like Elda Barbie, Eve Petrol and the Charlotte shoes. Then we have our Velvet story, which is a selection of different jewel tones, such as black, navy, raspberry and ruby. We have the Eleanor boot and the Ellie shoe, which are velvet with rose gold and jewelled studs. Then we have the Leopard Print collection, a boot and a low block heel in a pink and petrol leopard print.

ELINA BARBIE 2

Do you have a favourite design from the collection, and if so which is it and why?

It’s hard to choose because I love them all – but if I had too, I’d probably say Charlotte! That’s why we decided to do it in so many colours – they look so lovely and flattering on. But I also have a soft spot for the Eleanor boots!

Have some of your bride clients picked a pair of heels from your fashion line for their big day?

Yes, indeed they have! We’ve had a couple of brides pick up Eve Barbie and Charlotte Barbie. Also our black velvet platform, which we think will look amazing with a bridal gown, we can’t wait to see all the pictures!

EDNA PETROL 2

What type of girls do you see your fashion line appealing too?

Fashion forward girls, that love pink and all things girly! Lots of these shoes are the perfect party shoe, so a girl that likes having fun!

How has the collection been received so far? What do people love about it?

The collection has been received well so far, I think people love how fun and exciting the shoes are, nothing to plain and simple here. I also think the fact we kept our sixpence in the fashion shoes (but we have dipped it in Rose Gold to add a touch of luxury) is a nice feature, that still keeps the fashion shoes tied to the bridal shoes and what we’re known for.

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