March 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Several of our previous lookbook features have focused on wedding dress trends that encourage brides to flash some flesh, but today we are swooning over graceful gowns where modesty is key.
Somewhat unexpectedly dresses featuring high collars and capes (sorry Madge) have come to rule recent bridal runways promoting sophisticated styles that scream high fashion.
Though it didn’t work out for Madonna at The Brits (awkward) capes are a stylish accessory and can prove an incredibly practical choice for ladies having religious ceremonies that need to cover up that bit more, as well as brides with body hang ups that want to detract from the bits they’re less keen on.
A cape is a demure alternative to a shrug, bolero or jacket that comes in a variety of lengths and designs so brides can choose the type of style statement they wish to make.
The shorter options are fabulous for covering shoulders and the tops of arms while still showing off the main spectacle – the dress. Meanwhile long capes are particularly popular with brides looking to make a dramatic entrance on their wedding day without the use of a regular veil or train.
Solange Knowles is one high-profile bride that recently rocked this look on her wedding day, donning a cape with both her elegant gown and edgy jumpsuit outfits.
High low capes provide an option between the two either as a full coverlet or semi open design depending on how much of the dress a bride wants to be on show.
When it comes to detailing ladies opting for plainer dresses can add interest with laced and blinged-up designs. Meanwhile brides with highly detailed gowns are likely to stick to a simple sheer design though there are no hard rules to abide by.
Whichever option, caped brides can remove the additional garment for the evening celebrations giving them two different looks for their big day whilst also ensuring the all-important dress gets the exposure it deserves.
Designers that we think are executing the caped look exceptionally well within their collections include Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham and Claire Pettibone, though our favourite has to be Jasmine from Enzoani, which combines modern elegance with vintage glamour for one gorgeous dress.
Moving on to another covered-up trend – collars. Overtime the wedding dress neckline has crept up and where once the strapless sweetheart gown reigned supreme there are now full-sleeved designs as well as those with illusion necklines and high-necks.
In some cases the neckline has developed into a fully-fledged collar creating an incredibly regal look, which was favoured by one of the most elegant ladies in history on her wedding day – Grace Kelly.
Similar to the cape, a collard neckline can offer that bit more cover-up for body conscious brides whilst also emitting a theatrical look that’s bound to make a statement.
Many of the collared designs feature delicate lace collars but alternatives can be found in striking shirt necklines and super cute Peter Pan collars. Designers doing up the collar look perfectly include Pronovias, Ian Stuart and Charlotte Balbier – we heart her oh so sweet Flora dress.
All gowns featured are credited in our gallery.
February 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime
One of my favourite ever scenes in Friends (hey, I’m a big fan!) is the one where Monica, Rachel and Phoebe head to the NYC dress sale to search for Monica’s dream wedding dress. Issued with whistles by the ever competitive Monica to attract attention if they locate the gown, the girls split up. A frenzied scene results in a tussle over tulle and Jennifer Aniston cowering under a rail of frocks, using her whistle to sound the search alarm.
Girls, now’s your chance to unleash your inner Monica.
Our North East readers are sorted for this weekend’s plans, but Cheshire ladies… clear your calendar.
The big north sample sale is brought to you by three leading bridal boutiques in the North-West – Agapé Bridal Boutique, Love Bridal Boutique and The White Closet, and will be held at one of Cheshire’s most popular and one of Brides Up North’s own favourite wedding venues (we’ll be here a month later for our fabulous Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition), The Bowdon Rooms this Sunday 22nd February 2015.
This is the first collaboration of its kind in the North West, developed by three innovative boutiques who had the idea of bringing a host of leading bridal designers together all under one roof for Northern brides-to-be, offering a broad selection of bridal gown styles at amazing discounted prices.
Usually, a bridal boutique would host their own individual sample sale event meaning only a limited amount of brides are able to attend, with a smaller selection of dresses to choose from. The three boutiques involved pride themselves on being in tune with their brides, and knowing that the average bride likes to view a number of designers before making their final dress decision, what better way to present a sample sale than to bring the crème de la crème of bridal designers together for one exclusive event! The Big North Sample Sale allows a larger number of brides to attend and choose from a wide variety of fabulous gowns and designers.
With a collection of much sought after designers including Jenny Packham, Alan Hannah, Temperley London, Charlotte Balbier, Stephanie Allin, Stewart Parvin, Claire Pettibone, Amanda Wakeley, Terry Fox, Raimon Bundo, Ian Stuart and many many more, and with dresses available from £100 to £1700, this event is going to be seriously popular. There will also be a selection of accessories on offer too and some bridesmaid gowns. Savvy brides who know their designers, and appreciate great quality gowns will be in their element with dresses for sale at a fraction of the price. This event will also suit brides who have a shorter timescale to find their dress and whose only option may be to buy ‘off the rail’. Sample dress sizes range from 8-14.
all gowns featured are available to buy at the event
Brides will have the opportunity to try on gowns at the event, choosing a maximum of 2 at a time. There will be dedicated changing areas (predominantly communal changing areas with some private changing areas available too) and lots of mirrors around the venue. Brides are encouraged to wear nude underwear and also bring a pair of heels of the height they are thinking of wearing on their wedding day. Bridal experts from each boutique will also be on hand to offer any advice on any alterations required, recommended seamstress contacts, dry cleaning etc (alterations and dry cleaning are not included in the dress price) There is a strict girls only policy at the event too!
Payment for dresses will be by cash or card (Visa, Mastercard or Maestro).
Whistles at the ready!
agape bridal boutique, Alan Hannah, amanda wakeley, brides up north featured supplier, charlotte balbier, claire pettibone, ian stuart, Jenny Packham, love bridal boutique, raimon bundo, stephanie allin, stewart parvin, temperley london, terry fox, the big north sample sale, the bowdon rooms, the white closet, wedding dress
January 29th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Here at Brides Up North HQ, we really care about the fabulous industry suppliers who support the growth of our brand and business, both online and off. I love nothing more than to hear the stories of their own success and development and how they helped our readers to achieve their dream days. This afternoon I’m proud to welcome Jessica of mother and daughter dress designer duo Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride back to the wedding blog as they recap a great first year in the business.
jessica says: We could not have asked for a more exciting or successful 2014, our first year in business. We have been overwhelmed by the interest in the services we offer and all of the lovely comments and feedback we have had from each and every one of our clients. Both my Mum and I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with such lovely ladies and to have been a part of every one of their special days.
Our main wedding of the season, for this Cheshire August celebration we were commissioned to design and create the bride’s gown, bridesmaids and Mother of the Bride.
They were such a fantastic group of people to work with and the bride, Zoe knew exactly what she wanted for her bridal party from our first consultation. Being a stylist she had dreamt up exactly the gowns she wanted us to create for her, starting with her own gown. It was so exciting to work with someone that fully embraced the opportunity of having a truly bespoke and unique gown tailored to them personally.
She had specified all silks for her gown, we knew she wanted a very subtle blush peach colour and a very full tulle skirt. After a lot of sourcing for the perfect fabrics we began work on her gown – firstly, making a toile for her to see the overall shape and style before we began work on her silks for her final gown.
The design evolved throughout the bespoke process and the run up to her wedding, with every one of her weekly fittings was a dream and it was so rewarding to see how delighted she was and how incredible she felt in that dress.
Likewise, her look for her three bridesmaids was equally well thought out – the girls were to be in a contrasting white, playing with traditional norms but also ensuring their look was elegant and classic. Each bridesmaid wore a white duchess cowl drop back dress with fishtail skirt.
The bride’s Mum also knew exactly the silhouette that flattered her shape and with this we went for a 60′s inspired, fitted bodice with full circular skirt – such an elegant and feminine Mother of the Bride dress with a powder blue silk underneath with embroidered lace overlay.
Dressing all of these ladies on the day was the icing on the cake for us! Seeing months of hand work and fittings all come together in one morning was fantastic. We keep in touch with Zoe, having made further bespoke evening dresses for her since her wedding and plan to work together throughout 2015- this Bride has certainly caught the bespoke bug!
Images by Flawless Photography.
Kelly’s bridesmaids were our first set of Bridesmaids for 2014 – with her wedding in June it was a fantastic one to kick off the wedding season for us.
Kelly first came to us in January with a specific look in mind for her bridesmaids. The brief given to us was ‘suede, rose, vintage colouring’ with a very relaxed feel for her maids. She had 5 adult bridesmaids and was certain she wanted all of the girls to feel totally comfortable in each of their dresses and so we tailored them all individually – altering sleeves, straps, adding boning to some of their bodices, to ensure each girl was totally comfortable and feeling gorgeous and confident in their gowns.
The finishing touches and attention to detail that Kelly gave to her wedding day were so well thought out and can truly be seen in her beautiful photographs. The lace used for the bridesmaids’ dresses was added to each of their bouquets and matched the lace in the chair decorations. It was a pleasure working with Kelly and her bridesmaids and would like to thank her photographer for the beautiful images.
Image above by Phunk D Photography
Melanie was our first bride of the season, having come to see us in February to commission her bridal gown. We knew her main desire as a bride was to look classic and elegant in a gown that reflected her personal style rather than being too typically ‘bridal’. With this in mind, we used a range of silk fabrics from duchess to chiffon to create a contemporary design that was simple in look but executed with a perfect finish.
Mel looked fantastic and it was such an honour to dress her on the morning of her wedding.
When Catherine first approached us in 2013, before we had officially launched our bespoke bridal business, it was a real privilege that she had put her faith in us (before seeing any of our work!) to commission her own bridal gown and her sister’s bridesmaid dress.
We spoke about design and fabrics and agreed to meet again in Jan 2014 once we had launched and get the ball rolling.
Catherine was pregnant with her first baby throughout her initial consultations and she had a clear idea what her requirements were for her wedding dress. With this we came up with a design together based on silhouettes that would suit and detailing that Catherine liked: a lace bodice and scalloped edge neckline. At the toile stage for Catherine we perfected the fit of her gown, added boning to her bodice for support and began work on her final fabrics.
Likewise, for her bridesmaid and sister, Elizabeth, we designed a form fitting fishtail silhouette gown with an off the shoulder detailed bodice. The pair looked stunning on the day and it was such a pleasure working with them both.
Image above supplied by Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride.
Our final bridesmaid of the season was Lou, her sister Clare was getting married in a beautiful Woolton wedding in October and the bride had already bought her dress which was a 50,s inspired knee length, full skirt silhouette and so the pair needed to co-ordinate well.
The brief given to us was ‘midnight blue’ and so we used a mix of silky satin and chiffon to create a beautiful feminine dress for Louise to wear. She paired her dress with bespoke underskirt for a dramatic shape, killer heels and a drop dead gorgeous white feather bolero ! Thank you to the sister duo for letting us be a part of their special day.
Image above by Ant Klausen Photography
mother of the bride
Mother of the Bride Josie wore an all silk sage, lemon and champagne coloured dress with pleated waist detail and matching sage jacket. Josie said she felt a million dollars in this dress and with this design we made a fully boned ‘foundation’ that was secured within the dress which gave her added support and structure.
the year ahead…
2015 is set to be a huge year for us, we have begun to expand our studio as we can’t fit all of our gowns in our existing one and we are already super excited about showing off our beautiful brides and their gowns with you all.
January 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Jocasta by Jenny Packham
Here at Brides Up North we love everything that glints, glistens and sparkles.
Luckily in the wedding industry there is plenty of pretty to give us a twinkle fix – from fabulous glitter encrusted shoes, to bejewelled accessories and, of course, beautifully embellished dresses.
For me a glittering gown demands a double take and is therefore an excellent choice for brides wanting to make a statement on the aisle. Just how much a bride wants to shine though is down to the individual, for there are designs that glow from top to toe, those with killer back detailing and dresses with beaming bodices.
Those who desire the latter should look to Maggie Sottero who is an expert in designing wonderfully enchanting princess style gowns, complete with sparkling bodice detailing. Dawson and Esme Marie are perfect examples with both featuring chic organza ball gown skirts topped with heavily beaded bodices and stunning Swarovski crystals.
Enzoani meanwhile offers less structured sparkling designs. Jody, Joyce and Joanna are ideal for brides wanting a slinky, slim-line dress with gorgeous glistening detail. Each of the gowns also features sparkling straps and oh so low backs, to flash a little extra flesh.
The princess of dazzling detail though has to be Jenny Packham. A master in heavily detailed frocks that radiate high-shine and glamour, magpies must check out her current collection. There are fluid designs such as Dina and Nelly with subtle sparkles then there’s the likes of Simone and Hatty, which takes the brilliance up a notch. Meanwhile for those that want a dress dripping in detail, Packham offers high-end Gatsby style in the form of her Etta dress or for red-carpet radiance it has to be the shimmering Jocasta.
We’d love to know, are you set to sparkle on your big day?
Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham.
January 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
They’ve only gone and done it again – Brides Up North High Street Honey favourite Monsoon has just released its Spring/Summer 15 bridal collection and just as those that have gone before, it’s flippin’ gorgeous.
Ideal for stylish brides on a budget, Monsoon knows how to deliver highly swoon-worthy dresses that won’t break the bank. Drawing on current bridal trends there are gowns of varying styles, lengths and materials, providing plenty of prettiness.
As the collection is for the warmer season, it includes some stunning short-length gowns, including the sweet and sophisticated Harriet and Jane. I absolutely adore these designs, which have highly desirable price tags, with Jane coming in at just under £300 and Harriet costing an incredible £169.
Harriet is a 1960s inspired shift dress with simple floral jacquard and crystal gem, pearl and bead detailing while Jane features a tulle overlay with lavish pearl and sequin embellishments, which are all hand embroidered.
For fans of intricate detailing there is also the wonderful Maria and Georgina gowns in short lengths but both have sleeves for those wanting a little more coverage. Both are adorned with elaborate embellishing that ooze opulence. I also particularly like how the cape of Georgina can be worn two different ways around or even detached altogether, giving a bride the option of several different looks for her big day.
Sticking with highly detailed designs, Monsoon has some vintage inspired floor-length gowns that emulate regal Gatsby glamour. Sophia and Camille are wonderful examples. Slim-line Sophia is encrusted with crystal gems, pearls and sequins from top-to-toe, while the flirty tassels and glitzy detailing of Camille gives it an elegant flapper girl feel.
And Monsoon hasn’t forgotten about ladies that like to keep things simple. The likes of Elinor and Olivia are graceful gowns that still feature fancy detailing but that isn’t too flashy.
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