April 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Well, Brides Up North, last weekend’s events at Dine’s Allerton Castle and The Alnwick Garden were just magical! What an EPIC end to another amazing season of Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions… stellar turnouts and I swear our exhibitors just get more talented and creative! Thanks to everyone – brides, grooms, our suppliers and our stunning venues – for their support and brilliance. We love you.
One fabulous supplier who we all got to know a little better this season was the lovely Cat of Brides Up North Sponsor boutique, elegance of scholes. Today, she opens the doors of her beautiful bridal shop for us to take a closer peek.
Oh and FYI: we’re already planning an autumn season of events to knock your socks off..! Stay tuned.
When did Elegance Of Scholes open and what is your background?
cat says: Elegance opened around six years ago, but I bought it last August after deciding to embark on a bit of a lifestyle change! Prior to owning Elegance I was a full-time Corporate Event Manager, and I also had my own Wedding Venue Décor business. Both of these have set me up well with a lot of the skills needed to run my own business, and having worked in the wedding industry for a number of years I understand how brides feel and what they go through… and it’s lovely to be able to help them out with such a huge, special and important part of the journey!
Which wedding gown designers do you stock?
We stock Justin Alexander, Ellis Bridal and Mark Lesley. All three labels complement each other really well and we have a great selection of silhouettes and fabrics to suit all tastes.
What bridal accessories labels do you stock?
We stock tiaras and veils by Richard Designs, veils by Nieve Couture and Joyce Jackson, and tiaras/ jewellery by Blossom. We update our selection of bridal accessories on a regular basis so it’s worth keeping an eye out until we have your perfect piece! We also have a small selection of shoes by Rainbow, and are looking to expand this collection in the near future.
What makes you different?
We are a luxury boutique with an extremely high level of service. People are always taken by surprise by the size of the boutique once they enter (we get a lot of ‘wow!’ comments!), and we have two spacious private fitting rooms at the rear of the boutique so guests can relax and enjoy their experience in comfort and privacy. We also have an in-house seamstress so all alterations are carried out on the premises, meaning the dress stays with us until your big day.
Where are you located?
We are located in a small village called Scholes, which is close to Cleckheaton. Exit the M62 at J26 (Chain Barr roundabout), and we’re a couple of miles from there.
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?
Our gowns range from about £900-£1800, although we do also have a sale room for brides on a slightly lower budget.
Do Brides Up North need an appointment?
We do tend to run on an appointment basis, purely so that we can guarantee the bride our undivided attention. Our first bridal appointments tend to be around an hour long, and we would always start with an initial chat about a bride’s ideas/wedding/preferred dress styles. From there we let the bride (and any accompanying people!) browse the dresses and pull out those they want to try on. The appointment then evolves as we eliminate certain dresses from the running/ narrow the selection down to THE dress. Quite often we add in our own opinion of dresses that girls might like to try… with surprising results! It’s amazing how many girls come in with an idea of their perfect dress, and leave with something completely different!
What is your current favourite gown that you stock and why?
I have two current favourites (although it was pretty hard limiting myself to just two!)– Justin Alexander 8762 for the perfect princess ball-gown, and Ellis 11368, which is an absolutely stunning dress with lace sleeves and an amazing keyhole back… on the right figure it’s a definite show-stopper!
Is there a particular style of dress that is popular with your brides at the moment? What trends do you see being popular this year?
Lace continues to be popular, with the fitted mermaid-style being a particular favourite. We’re also seeing a move towards much more brides wanting sleeves or straps over strapless gowns, and the ‘feature back’ is also becoming more and more popular. As we were told when buying our new collections – “the back is the new front”… and it appears to be true!
How does Elegance Of Scholes provide a superior experience to other wedding dress boutiques?
We pride ourselves on our relaxed and friendly service, and certainly are not pushy sales-people. Our priority first and foremost is making girls feel comfortable and happy in their search for their dress. There’s nothing nicer than the look on a girl’s face when they look in the mirror and see themselves as a ‘Bride’ for the first time, and it’s a privilege to us that we get to be the ones to put that look on their faces! We feel that we are definitely doing something right, as the majority of our appointments come from recommendations from past brides who have had the ‘Elegance Experience’ – and the comments, reviews and photos we receive after the big day are testament to this, and lovely for us to receive!
Do you stock bridesmaid dresses?
Yes – we stock Kelsey Rose and Mark Lesley bridesmaid dresses, as well as flower girl’s dresses. Soft tulle seems to be the fabric of choice in bridesmaids this season (a lot of the new Kelsey Rose collection comes in this fabric), although chiffon is still (and I believe will remain) a very popular option. We continue to see dusky pink and pastels as key colour choices, but we have ensured we have a wide range of colours in stock to suit as many people as possible. Our bridesmaid dresses range in price from approx. £180-£280, and our flower girl dresses (from ages 6 months to 9/10 years) are approx. £69.
Who would be an Elegance bride?
Elegance brides tend to be people that want to enjoy their experience in a relaxed and friendly setting, and who appreciate the quality behind a true designer gown such as the ones we stock. The purchase of a bridal gown doesn’t stop with just that one transaction, and with alterations and so on, we can see a bride many times in the run-up to her wedding. For this reason, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our brides and its always a proud moment when we see them for their final fitting right before their wedding, knowing that we’ve done everything in our power to make their dress perfect for them.
Whilst not wanting to limit ourselves to a particular ‘type’ of bride, our dresses do fall into a certain price bracket so when someone comes in with a £300-£500 budget, the only way we would be able to help out is by directing them to the dresses in our sale room (which are also stunning, but are often discontinued dresses, or ex-samples that we need to sell in order to make way for new collections).
Are you married?
I’m not yet married… but engaged and getting married on June 4th 2016! Everyone is always surprised to hear that I’m the owner of a Bridal Boutique and have never tried on a wedding dress in my life. Before being engaged I didn’t want to jinx it until it was my turn, and now that I am engaged I keep putting it off! Having fitted dresses to so many different people however, I have an idea of the style that will suit my figure so will be limiting myself slightly in that regard (although I can’t say what that style is, in case my fiancé reads this interview!) – and I change my mind every couple of days on my favourite dresses as I see girls trying on the different samples, so who knows which will be my final choice?!
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you?
Is there anything else that Brides Up North should know?
As well as stocking our beautiful designer gowns, our in-house seamstress (another Cat!) designs and makes bespoke bridal gowns… so if you’re struggling to find that perfect dress but have an idea of what you’re looking for, Cat will be able to make it for you. We also offer a dry-clean and box service, so you can keep your gown for years to come and re-live those memories as often as you like!
March 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime
via weddingchicks.com, photography by Peaches & Mint
Another Friday, another meaty topic to get our blogging teeth into. Today we discuss a topic that we covered as Official Blogger for The North West Wedding Fair’s magazine this spring and one that many brides-to-be struggle to make a call on – whether or not to involve your bridesmaids in the decision making process when choosing their outfits for the big day.
rachel says: let them choose!
One of a bride-to-be’s top priorities is naturally going to be to look and feel the very best she can for her moment in the limelight. However not too far behind should be the same thought for your bridesmaids, for they too are playing a key role in the proceedings and will not thank you for putting them in unflattering designs and uncomplimentary colours.
Too many cooks can spoil the broth – agreed, but going ahead and choosing the bridesmaids dresses without consulting or involving them is undoubtedly going to lead to some miserable maids come the big day.
You don’t necessarily need to take all your leading ladies on the first shopping trip, but having a discussion with them beforehand will help no end. This gives an opportunity to talk about what colours and designs are on the short list and for a bridesmaid to raise her concerns if she truly feels a certain suggestion would not suit due to her complexion, hair colour or figure.
It’s also an opportunity to discuss the price range, particularly if you are just putting a contribution towards the dresses, or are asking the maids to fully foot the bill for their attire.
The respect has to come from both sides to result in a winning wedding party that looks and feels great on the inside and out. So I say get the gals on board for a shopping trip that you can all enjoy while being honest and fair in your suggestions and choices.
julia says: it’s your decision!
Picture the scene – you’ve found the perfect gown for your maids, it’s in the right price range, it’s the right colour and would fit into the theme beautifully. But come shopping day when your friends see it they each find something they don’t like about it, and worse still they each find a totally different dress that they prefer. Bride meltdown alert.
While in theory it’s a nice idea, including all the bridesmaids in the dress decision making is likely to lead to endless and highly-stressful discussions, shopping trips and tiffs.
To keep the peace I suggest that you build up a mood board of bridesmaid dress ideas that would work well with your big day styling and then run them past a few choice people, such as your mum, the groom and your maid of honour, to get honest feedback before making the final call.
While selecting the shortlist you should also consider your maids’ colouring and figures to try to ensure they will be fairly happy with the outcome. If the maids are buying their own dresses it’s also important not to ask too much of them by looking at designs that carry a high price tag. You might consider intentionally mismatched gowns that work along a particular style or colour theme so they stand more chance of pleasing all parties while still working to your overall vision.
But when all said and done it’s your big day and the ultimate decision should be down to you.
via weddingchicks.com, Photography by Tealily Photography
what you said on Facebook:
Kerry: “Minefield! I chose them for my special girls and with a slight apprehension handed them out… but they were all well received and my girls are happy…at least to my face!”
Keli: “I’ve given mine a colour scheme but let them choose their own! All of them are completely different in personality and body shape so really wanted them to just have something they’re happy with.”
Emma: “I’m paying so I’m deciding!”
Sarah: “My friend (the bride) set up a Pinterest group of possible options for us all to share. Her budget was really tight and last minute. Three of 4=four bridesmaids met up with her and went shopping together, luckily we found one we all liked and that suited us all, it was over her budget so we all paid the difference each. I’d rather pay towards something we all liked than be uncomfortable.”
Rachel: “With six bridesmaids aged 40 to 13 who are all shapes and sizes I ‘ve chosen their dresses. That said I showed them all a picture before they were ordered and they like them.”
February 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Image via brit.co via Lucky Mag
In this brand new Friday morning feature on the wedding blog, we’ll be debating all the most difficult wedding planning topics. Starting off with an awkward one, we ask: Should you ask someone to be your bridesmaid, just because they asked you?
rachel says YES:
It’s not that you should feel obliged but if a relative or friend asks you to be one of their leading ladies it’s nice to return the favour, right?
As I see it there are enough catalysts to cause rifts and rows in the run up to a wedding without throwing another in to the mix by not returning the bridesmaid honour to someone who has deemed you worthy of the role.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve stepped-up to the position more times than perennial bridesmaid Katherine Heigl in the chick flick 27 Dresses, it might be that you couldn’t possibly return the invitation to all without a hefty entourage following you up the aisle. However, if you’ve had the honour bestowed upon you just a couple of times I think it’s a nice sentiment to include the ladies that invited you into their wedding party in your own.
Think of their strengths and the relationship you have with them and how this could contribute to their role as bridesmaid, in both the approach to and actually on the big day itself. For example, if one of the people that made you a bridesmaid is your go-to when you need a care-free and slightly crazy night out, they could well make a fabulous hen do planner. Likewise you might have been a bridesmaid for a relative who you can discuss your plans with and trust to give you an honest opinion – again, important bridesmaid skills. It could even be as simple as that the individual in question isn’t lacking in the confidence department and so would be the perfect contender to say a reading or poem allowed in church.
While you can preserve the role of maid of honour for your very nearest and dearest, building up a group of varied bridesmaids (rather than those that just look pretty in a dress) can make for a top wedding team. I also think that if you did a good job for them, they will certainly want to do their best for you and having got wed themselves they understand the importance of the role – instead of just thinking it’s a jolly.
Ultimately weddings are a pricey business and if you’re footing the bridesmaid dress bill numbers will have to come into consideration, but where possible it’s sweet for bridesmaid buddies to stick together and keep the peace.
Found on brit.co, via Kayla Elizabeth
julia says NO:
Take some advice from a girl who has pulled on a bridesmaid frock more times than she can actually remember (seriously, Katherine Heigl has nothing on me) and think twice before reading out your bridesmaid honours list.
Bridesmaids. Ask who you want to ask. Don’t ask who you don’t want to ask. And if you don’t want to ask, don’t ask anyone. That’s fine too.
First up: this is absolutely your wedding – you can do things the way you want to. And secondly, are you sure your best girls wouldn’t rather pick their own hats for your special day?
Don’t get me wrong. Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a big deal. A sort of public friendship badge of honour. But with great power comes great responsibility. Being a bridesmaid is about more than turning up in a pretty dress – and everyone involved needs to know it. It’s easy (and fun!) to ask everybody in your friendship circle to take on the job, but before you get carried away in the excitement, take some time to reflect on who you really want by your side on your wedding day, and who you think will be up to the job. It’s not just about holding your bouquet during altar duty, after all.
When it comes to picking the team for your wedding day, it’s easy to get emotional. But that’s exactly the point: this choice should be based on emotion, rather than logic or loyalty. This isn’t a case of tit for tat and everyone’s idea of the perfect wedding is subjective. So what if you did the bridesmaid thang for your second cousin twice removed?! It’s your day, and I’d ask you to choose your attendants based on the people you know and love best. After all, they’ll be hanging around in your wedding photos forever (and more).
Choose the people that mean the most to you, right now. Who cares if they asked you (or not)? Who cares what your mum thinks? Who cares what your mother in law thinks? This is your wedding. These are your girls.
If you have to think twice, they’re not the ones for the job.
Your best girls will share in the dress shopping highs, hen night hangover lows, favour bagging cramps and cupcake sampling sugar rushes. Choose them because you love them, not because you think you should. And even if they’re not the same girls you’d choose in another 10 years’ time – so what? – you had lots of fun on the way,
And the ones you thought you left behind? The already marrieds? They’re just relieved. They never suited peach anyway,
what you said on Facebook:
Adele: “I think if I had been a friend’s bridesmaid I would feel inclined to ask her to be one of mine.”
Shelley: “My best friend was mine but I wasn’t hers as she just had her sisters. Mine was a bigger wedding and was no hard feelings or awkwardness but we really are best mates so totally understood.”
Hollie: “I wasn’t going to have adult maids but then chose two friends who have asked me – I didn’t feel obliged though.”
Suzy: “I wouldn’t ask someone just because I was theirs, and I wouldn’t feel like they should ask me either. Everyone wants different things from bridesmaids.”
January 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
I recently shared a post on the rise of black bridesmaid dresses, favoured for their sophisticated looks, versatility and availability, but the dark hue is not for everyone. At the other end of the colour spectrum many brides-to-be choose the dress their maids in vibrant shades with dresses that pop at the side of their pure ivory attire.
Particularly well suited to weddings in the warmer spring and summer season, as well as destination weddings, bright bridesmaid dresses can really make a wedding party stand out from the crowd. Initially brides-to-be need to decide if they will be picking their maids’ dresses to set the colour theme or to fall in with it.
Ladies’ skin tones and hair colours should also be taken into account to avoid any embarrassing clashes that could result in a mardy maid or two. A growing trend for mismatched bridesmaid dresses means one shade need not suit all. Brides can pick a style of dress for her girls and then allow them to pick a suitable colour within a particular palette to achieve a selection of hues that complement each other. For brides choosing to go down the rainbow route After Six’s 6556 dress is an ideal option. The simple floor-length, floaty gown will flatter most figures and is available in a delicious variety of shades, such as Apple Slice, Clementine, Spa and Sunflower. Even better, if a bride doesn’t want her maids in solid hues, the dress is offered in three ombre designs. There’s Tropical in exotic greens and blues, Citrus in zesty orange and pink or Vintage, featuring soft purples and yellows.
Alternatively, a bride might like to mix-up both the colours and styles of her maids’ dresses. The answer here has to be twobirds. One dress that can be tied in 15 different ways to create varying looks. And the colour range is just as varied, with options spanning from Butter Yellow and dazzling Duck Egg to fierce Fuchsia.
Meanwhile those on the hunt for sassy short-length dresses in bold hues should consider one of Alfred Sung’s mini masterpieces. The likes of Sung’s structured D634 or D697 designs are available in opulent jewel tones, including in Daisy, Mandarin and Mediterranean.
For a burst of colour in a longer length, Jim Hjelm has several punchy designs with stunning back detailing worthy of a double take.
Main images by twobirds bridesmaid.
January 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
by Monique Lhuillier
I’d say 80 per cent of my wardrobe is black, something I’m often told off about but it’s a classic, right? Slimming, timeless and flattering against pretty much every skin tone and hair colour. This is why in my eyes it’s a great choice for bridesmaids.
The dark, elegant colour palette provides sophistication and class, and is unlikely to rock the boat with any of your maids.
Initially the trend was mostly isolated to New Year weddings with brides and grooms going for a polished black tie theme. But now the little (or long) black dress has become more acceptable for ceremonies in seasons beyond the winter.
5531 by Jim Hjelm
Those opting for the dateless hue can keep things clean and simple with black or nude accessories, add a little sparkle with glittering metallics or opt for a contrasting colour to achieve a vibrant pop. Black maids’ dresses won’t district from or determine your choice of blooms either, giving you and your florist free range.
Looking at what’s available, designers have clearly noted the rise in popularity with most offering a fair few black creations within their collections. The simple hue is available in designs incorporating other top bridesmaid trends such as lace, illusion necklines and detailed backs.
2940 by Dessy
For those wanting a full lace number Dessy has two stunning options in contrasting lengths; the 2911 strapless knee-length and the floor-length 2940 with illusion neckline, which can be picked to suit the season and maids’ preferences on whether they would rather flaunt or cover their pins.
5476 by Jim Hjelm
Meanwhile for those that desire just a little lace detailing Jim Hjelm and Monique Lhuillier have some truly striking options that are bound to result in very merry maids. Hjelm’s 5420 and 5524 offer mini length dresses with lace appliqués and panels while the elegant full length 5476 and 5531 feature just flirty touches of the regal material.
Lhuillier’s black short taffeta dress (top) with lace bodice is a real show stopper and a LBD that I would love to own myself.
2925 by Dessy
If any brides are planning to have black maids’ dresses for a New Year 2016 wedding, then all out glamour is the way to go. Full length designs that would hit the right level of opulence include Hjelm’s 5428 with high-leg split and Dessy’s elegant 2921 and 2925. For those wanting to bring the hemline off the ground, it has to be Lhuillier’s mid-length strapless taffeta dress – pure perfection!
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