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look book: the backlist

May 14th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

Rosa Clara Asier

Forget the tulle skirt, sweetheart neckline and spaghetti straps – when it comes to the finer wedding dress details, the back is where it’s at.

And surprisingly, it’s always something that’s overlooked when a bride is compiling her dream dress wish list. But just ponder this for a moment; you spend the key parts of your day – walking down the aisle, exchanging your vows with your hubby-to-be and sharing your first dance as newlyweds – with your back to your guests. So, surely this part of your gown should be sprinkled with all kinds of prettiness too?

If an understated lace-up corset simply won’t cut it, look out instead for intricate styling details to the back of the gown, certain to make it ultra swoon-worthy. We’re talking sparkly embellishments, intricate beads and pearls, as well as luxe lace and even bows.

And so, to help you on your wedding dress journey, we’ve handpicked a few of these desirable details, certain to make you princess-perfect from all angles on your special day…

Main images by Rosa Clara.

Rosa Clara Soft Lilian

lace

We’re opening our look book with a vintage classic: lace. Typically, lace detailing is focused around the neckline and sleeves, but as Claire Pettibone perfectly showcases, lace can become the most beautiful of features on the reverse of your dress too. We just love her understated, demure wedding gowns, beaming with an ethereal quality. Pettibone’s collection pairs exquisitely embellished lace and buttons with sheer backs and luxurious fabrics such as Italian tulle for a full-on romantic bridal look.

beading

Beading is another popular choice for adding that extra something to a gown that might, on first appearance at least, seem like a simple style. This could be anything from beaded straps and buttons to embellishments all over. For inspiration on all things beaded, look to Rosa Clara’s decadent collections. Timeless crisp white gowns, encompassing everything from mermaid cuts to sensual silk muslin, create enchanting silhouettes that are then perfectly accentuated by intricate beaded embroidery and dainty appliques to the back.

Rosa Clara Argel

bows

For a fun and feminine twist to the back of your gown – the classic bow is the statement you’ve been looking for. And nobody does it better than Temperley London. These swooshing, graceful gowns are the epitome of bridal elegance and the bows make the perfect finishing touches. Whether it’s a soft bow neatly tied at the nape of the neck or a larger prissy knot around the waist to emphasize the plumage of the skirt below – the option is yours. Just make sure one of your bridesmaids is on bow watch throughout the day to keep it perfectly tied and in place!

Rosa Clara Ares

jewels

We do love a bit of sparkle here at Brides Up North, and we know that you do too! So, no look book would be complete without twinkly jewels thrown into the mix. A shimmery back makes for gorgeous photos as the lights and camera flashes bounce off these dainty gems, creating your very own crystal-infused Instagram filter in real life! Sophia Tolli has some beautiful diamante-encrusted gowns – by no means OTT but just enough sparkle for a stylish, sophisticated look.

Rosa Clara Walram

But whatever bridal look you go for – remember to do a practice run on how to fully get into – and out of – your dress, tantrum-free. And don’t forget to give extra thought around your hairstyle too, and how this will compliment the back of your dress and really give it a chance to shine. The last thing you’ll want is to hide all those fabulous details under your tresses, so we suggest you begin your up-do Pinterest board pronto!

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fit for a princess: caroline castigilano on how to wear it like meghan markle

May 11th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Caroline Castigliano Sweet Dreams

Having been thrust firmly into the UK’s media limelight after snapping up one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors, Meghan Markle is quickly becoming a new style obsession for us ladies, favoured for her chic, tailored looks that are both pretty and polished.

We’re all keen to take note of her outfit choices at royal engagements and public appearances so that we can mirror that elegant yet effortless style for ourselves. So much so that certain outfits sported by the former Suits actress have gone on to sell out in just a matter of hours, or even minutes. In particular the bow-detailed green dress by Italian label P.A.R.O.S.H that Meghan wore for her first television interview with Harry after announcing their engagement.

It’s no wonder then that they biggest hype around the upcoming royal wedding, is what Meghan’s choice of gown will be. Speculation is sky high but with nothing confirmed we only have predictions to go on until the big reveal on May 19th.

Never one to wait patiently, we were keen to get the view of an expert in the industry, and so we’ve called upon our amazing Sponsor and top British bridal designer Caroline Castigliano, to give her thoughts on what we can expect from Meghan’s big day style while offering guidance for those brides-to-be wanting to radiant a royal worthy look for their own nuptials and celebrations.

Caroline Castigliano_-83

As the royal wedding approaches the question on everyone’s lips is what type of gown will Meghan wear? Can you share your prediction with us?

caroline says: I think the dress will be in a delicate lace with very subtle beading, it will be designed with a deep V neckline and long lace sleeve – the sleeve will show her skin tone through so you can see the beauty and delicate detail of the lace. The gown will skim Meghan’s body and have a large train attached at the waist in a silk zibeline – from the front you will see the vision of the body skimming lace dress and this fabulous train creating drama – the train will extend to the back and the lace from the gown will trickle down the train from the waist.

Do you think that Meghan will follow in Kate Middleton’s footsteps and have a second gown for her wedding? If so what type of gown do you think this will be?

Meghan will definitely change for the evening reception, I feel she will wear a classic but very stylish gown to the wedding and change for the evening to something more in keeping with a glamourous party, perhaps a low back fitted gown that is sparkly and shows off her stunning figure. It was estimated that three billion people watched the last royal wedding – we need to see as many gorgeous gowns as possible!

Caroline Castigliano_Porcelain

And what about accessories? How do you think Meghan will complete her big day look?

Meghan will wear a silk veil covering the entire gown and extending to just past the end of the train on her gown. She will wear a tiara chosen from the collection of the late Princess Diana. I believe Meghan will also wear a delicate diamond necklace and matching bracelet.

How do you think Meghan’s choice of gown will shape bridal trends going forward?

I don’t think Meghan’s wedding dress will change the fashion of bridal wear in future years, Meghan may decide on something subtle within her outfit that could become a trend for a short period but if you look at royal weddings over the years you will see that none of these royal gowns have changed the course of bridal fashion.

You have designed gowns for celebrities, film stars and dignitaries – who has been your favourite to dress so far and which A-lister would you love the opportunity to design for?

I have never worked with anyone that I haven’t enjoyed dressing. My experience is the more successful someone is the more at peace they are within themselves and often quite humble. I would love to dress Adele. I love everything about her, the voice, the face – she is a great role model, truly amazing and a fabulous star.

Caroline Castigliano_-77

For brides that are wanting to achieve a radiant princess look through their dress choice, what style of gowns would you suggest?

If a bride wants the princess radiant look she should create a classic look; long fitted sleeve with the shoulder covered, no cleavage and preferably the back covered too, this of course could be in a beautiful soft lace, so the skin creates a highlight through the lace. Most royal wedding dresses have full ball gown skirts this helps create impact and most importantly a princess bride must wear a veil preferably a cathedral veil. Jewellery would be delicate with diamond or pearl earrings and makeup simple and natural with glowing skin.

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suits you: caroline castigliano’s tips on how to dress for your body shape

April 25th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Lyla

Lyla

Here at Brides Up North we are dedicated to helping to inspire, excite and assist you, our lovely readers, on your wedding planning journeys, arming you with all the necessary information to make the process more straightforward, and above all, enjoyable!

As such, we often call upon our trusted Sponsors, who are experts in their fields, to share their top advice, tips and pointers that will keep you right along the way. And today it’s the turn of top British bridal designer Caroline Castigliano to take to the blog with some fabulous words of wisdom for you ladies currently on the dream dress hunt.

As one of UK’s leading bridal designers, Caroline has been realising brides’ dreams for 27 years and has built up a glowing reputation for her incredibly beautiful designs with clever corsetry that shows of the female figure at its best.

We caught up with her as she prepared to fly off to New York Bridal Week to discuss how brides should best dress for their body shape. Ladies, you may well want to grab a notebook as this information is golden!

Images provided by Caroline Castigliano.

Baboushka

Baboushka

There are so many styles of wedding dresses to choose from the search can feel a little overwhelming. Initially, what should brides-to-be think about when setting out on their dress search?

caroline says: Once you have booked the venue, and have seen the room where you are going to have your wedding breakfast, you have seen the dance floor, you just want to think about that moment. When you leave the table and walk towards the dance floor with your now husband how is it that they want everyone to see you.

You don’t need to know the shape of the dress, if you are working with an expert they will find the silhouette for you. What you need to know is what that dress is saying to people – is it saying a very strong traditional look, soft and romantic, elegant and classic, vintage, boho. What is the appeal of the dress?

Without considering the silhouette decide on the vision – once this has been determined – go see one of our fantastic stockists and you will get advice. It is important to work with someone that understands silhouettes and fabrics so they can show you what suits you and what creates a strong silhouette for you.

If you are 5ft you will suit totally different silhouettes to someone that is 5’8” tall – if you are full busted you will suit different silhouettes to a bride that is more petite. Once you get going it is all quite easy but it starts with that one all important question – what vision do I want my future husband and my guests to see when I arrive at the wedding?

In what ways can professional boutique stylists and designers help brides make the most of their figure – highlight assets and disguise any body hang-ups?

When choosing a wedding gown, it’s important to find a silhouette that properly accentuates your figure. The cut and fabrics of your gown are essential for the beauty of your dress.

Fit is everything, a gown has to fit amazingly, it has to balance a person’s figure, bring out all the fantastic elements and play down the things they don’t like so much. They should look in the mirror and feel that they have never ever looked so beautiful; that they look the most beautiful they ever have in their life – that is the absolute key.

The art of designing brilliantly is when you can have someone who comes in who is 5 ft tall with a very full bust and she looks incredible in a dress and you can also take a dress on a girl who is 5’9 with a very small bust and make her look absolutely incredible. Design is about being able to take all the different body shapes and make them look stunning.

Tertia

Tertia

How do your dresses help to enhance the female figure while remaining comfortable?

Corsets are the engineering of our gowns, they are the foundation that everything is built around – each panel is hand cut to mould and sculpt the figure. They also have a very flattering effect on the bride’s figure, I design the corsets to really balance the figure and extenuate a small waist. I have a number of different corsets that create different effects depending on the design of the gown, nothing will ever compare to a beautifully structured corset creating the foundation of the gown. We have also developed a unique stretch corset that is to die for so while you are getting the beautiful balance you also get great comfort.

What elements can help to improve a bride’s posture, stance and confidence? 

I like to create a corset in as many of my gowns as possible as it really helps a bride with her posture. Even if you are slim with a perfectly balanced figure corsetry helps in every way as it makes you stand up straight and walk nicely with a straight back. It also effects the way she sits so ultimately has a sensational effect on all the photographs and videos taken on the big day.

 What styles of dresses would you suggest for the following body shapes and which of your designs would you pick for each:

athletic

Tertia_front

Tertia

Brides who have a straight body shape will find they have a less defined waist than most. Your bust and hips tend to be pretty balanced and you are not as curvy. This is known as more of a ‘sporty’ athletic body shape, and it is important, when picking a bridal gown for a straight structure, to enhance your waistline and create a soft curve on the bust.

Look for: Bridal gowns with full skirts give the illusion that the hips are wider than they will add a feminine shape to you. Look for embellishment around the bust and necklines it is also good to have an off-the-shoulder strap as this draws the eye to the width of the shoulder and then gives the illusion that the figure is more curved as the eye leaves the shoulder to a small waist.

Avoid: Strapless dresses can make your shoulders look broader than they are so avoid harsh necklines and column wedding dresses that have no definition in their shape as they won’t give you a defined waist.

Caroline Castigliano gown of choice: Tertia

pear

Everlasting_front

Everlasting

Look for: For a pear-shaped body choose a ball gown. A waisted dress and full skirt accentuates the waist. These gowns will still show off your waistline and really flatter your body type. A pear shape bride wants to really emphasise the top of the body, beautiful arms, lovely bust shaping and small waist – a corset will always redefine your figure and create a perfect balance between your bust and waist. Choose a gown with embellishment on the bodice or a beautiful lace, falling in to a full or A-line skirt.

Caroline Castigliano gown of choice: Everlasting

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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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look book: capes & cover ups

April 10th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Savin - Ebeka Jacket

While not exactly a Weddingworld staple in the way that a veil is, capes make an appearance on the white carpet of the bridal runways season after season. And before you dismiss the idea of a cape or cover up out of hand, be aware that they’re not just for fashion-forward brides or those craving a dramatic entrance. In fact, many brides opt for a cover up for the simple reason that they want a muted, modest look for their ceremony but then want to switch up their style for the evening; in this instance, capes or cover ups can provide versatility without going down the two-dress-route (and completely blowing the budget). Plus take note, readers: cover ups come in all shapes and styles, from sheer, delicately-beaded, vintage-style numbers to blingy Beyonce-style (faux) furs – and this season we’re even seeing fresh, unorthodox pieces such as satin bomber jackets and denim cut-offs emerge. What a time to be a bride!

So, if you fancy the statement of something trailing down the aisle behind you but a cathedral-length veil is a tad too conventional, join us as we take a look at what designers are offering in the way of capes and other cover ups.

Main post images by Savin London.

Savin - Floya Cape

Let’s begin with something classically cape-like, such as Savannah Miller’s Lisa. So far, so vintage. Made from blush velvet and adorned with pearls, this would be glorious for a winter wedding or with a castle as a backdrop – is it just me or is there a bit of a medieval feel to this one? There’s also the May capelet, a strikingly simple tulle creation with more than a nod to the 70s with its ruffle drawstring neckline. And then there’s my personal favourite: the Edith. You’d have to have been dead (or, you know, at least have been locked out of your Instagram) to have missed the frenzy from fashion bloggers over the M&S constellation print dress over the winter, and the delightful Edith plays to the same trend. With its starry lace pattern, it’s cosmic, cute and a little bit kooky without being too far out.

Savin - Alya Jacket

So now that you’re warming up to the idea, let’s take a look at trendy trailblazer Halfpenny London’s offerings, starting with the Wren top. Halfpenny prides itself on creating vintage-style pieces for modern brides, and this mantra is perfectly encapsulated in the simple but striking Wren – we love its boxy shape, the pleated piecrust collar and the row of delicate buttons down the back. Arguably more classic in style, the Ridley’s batwing shape and sheer lace is universally flattering and is worn over a number of different gowns in the Halfpenny campaign images to illustrate its gorgeous versatility. And then there’s the Cliff dress – not technically a cape, but a fitted satin dress with an oversized sheer three-tiered lace overlay which gives the definite impression of a cover up. Striking, stylish and undeniably stunning.

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look book: pared back & pretty

March 15th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

Watters Cassia Skirt

Unsure about thousands of sparkles, puff sleeves and a skirt so voluminous you disappear into it the second you sit down? Never fear – if you’re a bride who prefers the simpler things in life, there are gorgeous gown options aplenty. And to help you make your selection, for this look book we’ve rounded up a collection of our very favourite pared back & pretty designs.

Main post images by Watters.

Watters Hymn

First stop, and setting the styling bar high, is the fabulous Amanda Wakeley whose gowns are all about the elegance and glamour. The Amber is beautifully graceful dress in luxe silk jersey and showcases a pretty Swarovski-encrusted belt fir just the right amount of sparkle. The Antonella is a panelled silk Mikado dress with a full skirt and cathedral train – simple in style but luxurious in quality! We also love the Olivia – minimalist from the front but dramatic at the back, with rows of delicate beading and a draped train giving the best of both worlds!

Watters Geneva

Another brand to explore is Watters. The silk Hymn gown has the most exquisite illusion back, dotted with buttons, yet gives the impression of a clean, simple sheath from the front. Then there’s the Geneva – a dream for brides who want simple and elegant with a sexy edge. The Leona is chic and beautifully minimal, while the Mabel has a lovely satin bow detail on the back and a simple and sophisticated air. If you fancy a very plain bodice but a bit of oomph in the skirt department, try the Cassia skirt, made from soft netting. It’s playful and full but looks divine with a classic bodice for a more minimalist look.

Next up, Enzoani. See the Lindsey for a timeless gown with a gorgeously full A-line skirt. The detail comes in the form of a pretty, glimmering beaded waistband. The Lenore is an inner dress with a bateau illusion neckline over a sweetheart neckline that you can wear underneath your chosen gown for a unique look. Choose a simple dress to wear it with for maximum impact. The Justice has a sleek bodice down to the knee, before flaring into a tulle skirt accentuated with embroidered stones, while the Lacy is simple and chic at the front with a glamorous illusion back for an old-Hollywood feel. Or rock the Grecian goddess look in the Harmony, a full-length mermaid gown with beaded straps and subtle ruching.

Watters Leona

Finally, we look to the fabulous Jesus Peiro – a designer that gets the pared back and pretty brief down to a tee. We love how gorgeous textured fabrics are used to create structured dresses with impact but that still have a calm and clear overall appearance, such as design 8000 and 8027, the latter finished with a simple yet highly satisfying bow. More slim-line gowns are in the offering too; some in sumptuous silk fabrics and others in matt. For just a touch of detailing we adore the cowl back and jewel embellishment of 8017, and also the simple sheer linear panels of 8002. However, if it’s a truly pure creation you crave, there can be no better choice than the amazingly-cut 8062.

Watters Mabel

So, as you can see, if you see yourself gliding down the aisle in a dress that you wear – rather than one that wears you – there’s an exquisite array of chic and minimalist gowns out there to get trying on. High time for some boutique bookings we feel!

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