November 16th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Bridesmaids. As much as you love your best girls and they love you, let’s face it – the dress shopping bit can end up being a bit of a nightmare. Different styles, tastes and body shapes can make for some uncomfortable changing room situations. Luckily, Brides Up North favourite amanda wyatt is here to help with her new line of bridesmaid dresses, in enough colour, fabric and style combinations to keep even the fussiest of friends happy!
Made famous for her perfect fit, attention to detail and innovative designs Amanda Wyatt has celebrated over 20 years at the forefront of British bridal design and draws on inspiration from her love of fashion, keeping a firm eye on all the latest emerging trends from the fashion catwalks.
The new collection of bridesmaid gowns are available in over 40 colour shades and 25 varying styles from short to long, strapless, one-shoulder and more. The fabrics in the collection span from chiffon and satin to lace and the gowns can be ordered in any style, colour and fabric, covering all ages from baby to teen and adult.
Found in over 80 boutiques nationwide, Amanda’s collection is a great way to make sure that your girls feel truly comfortable, in a gown that compliments their unique body shape and colouring, leaving you plenty of time to get on with the important stuff… bubbly anyone?
For more, visit www.amandawyatt.com
November 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
One otherwise unremarkable Wednesday evening last month, I was invited along to a rather sensational little soiree at the atmospheric Barley Hall in York to celebrate the launch of blossom & belle, and preview their inaugural bridal offering. The creative brainchild of two sisters in law, Antonia Aitken and Sarah Cartwright, Blossom and Belle is the inspiration of two women whose ultimate aim is to make a woman to simply feel beautiful when she puts on one of their unique dresses.
With images by Oliva Brabbs Photography.
Originating from a particularly ‘bad wardrobe day’ by Sarah when feeding her first child, and knowing Antonia’s original background in fashion design, Sarah asked Antonia if she could make her something just for her to wear to make her feel special again.
Antonia, with a BA in Fashion and Textiles, and Sarah, with a Marketing degree, got their heads together, and after many a long night over cups of tea, texts and phone calls, the first Blossom & Belle wrap dress was born.
With Antonia’s creative juices flowing, she started to think about the wedding dress designs she had previously enjoyed creating before she had started her family. Sarah, in the meantime, was using her marketing and business experience to get the Blossom and Belle word out there. In fact, their very first web order came from a twitter follower!
Sourcing beautiful fabrics and unique vintage additions, the collection now composes of Ready to Wear, Prom and Bridal Couture. Every garment is created lovingly by hand by Antonia to the client’s specification. Sarah now works hard behind the scenes helping to drive the business forward as part of her own Sales & Marketing agency, Searson Fox.
From a custom butterfly print in organic cotton which was commissioned specifically for Blossom and Belle, silks, Irish linen and swarovski beads, each Blossom and Belle dress is completely unique. Wedding dresses comprise of a mix of french lace, duchess and crepe silks, organza and dupion silks. All the bridal dresses are lined in silk for the ultimate in luxury
If you choose a Blossom and Belle gown, Antonia will go through designs, fabric samples and your own ideas on the first consultation. There will be several fittings of both the toile in calico to ensure the fit and look is perfect and of the gown itself. You go away in plenty of time before your wedding with a gown created just for you and Blossom and Belle can also be there on the day of your wedding to help you dress.
What stood out to me was the very personal nature of every gown, along with the collection’s ethereal influence. It might have been the flickering candlelight or the baby ballerinas who took to the catwalk between scenes, but the vibe was almost medieval, with laced ribbon sleeves and long, trailing veils.
If you’re a free spirited lady who is looking for bespoke service and design for a unique and stunning wedding day look, you might just like to give Blossom and Belle a call.
Diary Date: On the 21st February 2016 Blossom and Belle are having a Bridal Tea Party at the historic Tithe Barn, Nether Poppleton from 1pm to 4pm. There will be a vintage tea room and luxury bridal exhibitors from flowers and cakes to photography. Blossom and Belle will be available to discuss and showcase their beautiful couture bridal wear range and any ideas you have for your dream dress.
August 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The prettiest treat for the best bridesmaids ever.
Are your girls worth it?
June 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This Friday on the blog, its all about the little people. Brides Up North Exhibitor Elena of Damigella D’onore has relaunched her flower girl range for 2015 and shares it with us today in this special shoot by Joanne B Photography, starring their daughters Sienna and Grace.
Elena has over 18 years of professional sewing experience behind her and now specialises in designing and making couture bridal wear. Mainly based in Yorkshire, she also covers the UK and has made dresses for clients from all over the world, including celebrities. Elena works closely with each individual client to create beautiful unique dresses using the flattering classic techniques of couture tailoring; which suit their individual style and perfectly complements each bride and their wedding day.
For her new flower girl range, Elena’s aim was to create a classic collection which would stand the test of time. All the dresses are handmade from the highest quality silk, using couture tailoring techniques; ensuring that the dresses are beautifully crafted and finished to a very high standard. Each dress can be enhanced to suit each individual girls taste, by the use of handmade silk or lace roses, bows, sashes or belts.
elena says: Joanne’s daughter, Grace, modelled the dresses alongside my daughter Sienna. As soon as the girls met they got on so well, which made the day 100 times more fun. They couldn’t wait to try the dresses on and I think that you’d agree that they just made the cutest models that you’d ever seen.
As a location for the shoot, we were hosted by the very lovely Nikki Nelson, who owns the stylish vintage Cakes d’ licious, a 1940’s themed, family run tearoom and cakery in York. Not only is it a fantastic tearoom, with a trendy retro décor, Nikki makes the most divine wedding cakes and afternoon teas, and boy they were yummy!
Sienna & Grace’s hair was styled by Amy Jackson, a freelance hairstylist based in Leeds, who jumped at the chance to come and do the girls’ hair for us. Amy was fantastic with the girls, making them feel very comfortable whilst making their hair look gorgeous. I have never seen my daughter sit so still whilst having her hair done!
There was no set theme for the day as the tearoom had a vintage feel to it, so we chose to the let the venue influence the shoot. Nikki set up a sweet little tea party for the girls, with sandwiches, cakes and orange juice served in a vintage teapot and tea set. The girls loved it! They were so happy having their lunch together.
The shoot was enhanced by the beautiful flowers which were made by Allison from Wild Floral Couture. I have known Allison for a few years now and have worked together previously so when we thought of flowers I knew Allison would be the perfect person. She surpassed herself by making up the cutest prettiest little bouquets for the girls to hold. The colours of the flowers perfectly complimented the vintage cakes that Nikki made, and highlighted the dresses, bringing the shoot together beautifully.
The girls had a fantastic day and loved posing in front of the camera. Joanne was amazing at directing the girls with such ease and confidence, which shows, through the fabulous images that we have. I am so pleased with the how the day went, everyone was happy and worked so well together. The dresses looked amazing on the girls, and the details really shone through. It was fantastic to see the girls looking so pretty, twirling round enjoying the moment, which is why I loved the day!
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.”
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