July 19th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Having just shared details of my own dress shopping experience in this wedding diary instalment (I’m a 2019-bride-to-be don’t you know?!) this afternoon’s post further backs-up my findings as we hear from industry expert and Brides Up North Sponsor, Hayley Hoyle, on why ladies should visit independent bridal boutiques when searching for their dream gown.
As the owner of not one, but two top Yorkshire boutiques – The Harrogate Wedding Lounge and The Bridal Collection Harrogate – Hayley is well placed to speak on this topic and advise brides-to-be on how to get the most out of this precious part of the planning.
A far cry from a high-street changing room, Hayley explains the welcoming ambience, top styling and seamstress service and aftercare that awaits brides and these small, professional businesses. She also makes clear that ladies of all budgets can shop at independent boutiques and the service is warm, friendly and fun – not at all like the Pretty Woman style connotations that some conjure up in their heads.
My experience of such businesses was exactly as Hayley describes – real women dressing real women to help find that one special gown that ticks all the boxes while providing professional support along the way that you just won’t find elsewhere. So, ladies, here’s why you’ll want to support your independent sisters…
hayley says: For some, buying their wedding gown is a prospect filled with excitement, giddiness and hopes of the perfect shopping trip filled with friends, fizz and finding the one. For others the thought is nothing short of terrifying. Fears of being squeezed in to samples too small or bulldog clipped into samples three-sizes too big while your nearest and dearest pick fault at every part of the dress, or even worse, your body in the dress. Whatever your inclination toward it, after more than ten years in the industry I can confirm that for the most part finding, buying and fitting your wedding gown is an intimate, emotionally charged, sometimes nerve wracking but ultimately beautiful experience, or at least that’s what my hope is for all of my brides.
It should be undertaken with your most trusted advisors; the person or people who know you most and who’s number one priority is your happiness. This also applies to the place you choose to shop for your gown. As an independent boutique, myself and my team make it our business to get to know you. Your hopes and dreams for the dress and the day. We understand your fears, your hang-ups and all your insecurities. We are women too remember. We don’t care that your pants don’t match your bra today or that you have just had lunch and feel like have a food baby going on, all we care about is you relaxing and having fun finding a gown that truly represents you, and that you feel and look incredible in.
Independent boutiques go much further than selling wedding dresses, I certainly don’t see that as my job at all and I am pretty sure other independents would say the same. We are councillors, confidants, mediators, the shoulder to cry on, the person who holds the tissues – and the prosecco! But above all we are stylists. Our space and that of many other boutiques I know are beautifully created and full of inspiration. Everything matters; the calming atmosphere, beautiful scents, gorgeous flowers, endless accessories, soft music and of course the beautiful gowns and the team of experienced stylists that know our products inside out and are passionate about your experience with us.
My team accompany me to all of our designers’ collection launches, they know about construction, fabric options, possible changes that can be made and make personal recommendations for you based on your body type and desires. Unlike many other less personal options available to brides when choosing their dress, our team are trained to work with you individually, hand pick gowns we know will knock your socks off and give you the very best advice on fit. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, we can recommend options such as bespoke sizing – like a size 14 top and 18 bottom. Made to measure for a large bust or a short torso. The result? A unique experience totally tailored to you, your ideas and your body.
July 19th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
If, like us, you love binge watching crime drama Peaky Blinders in your spare time, then we’ve got a real treat for you today on Brides Up North! We’re dishing up a swoon-worthy wedding shoot inspired by the popular TV series, brimming with vintage 1920s bridal attire and styling.
As luck would have it, an actual Peaky Blinders themed bar in Liverpool provided the perfect backdrop for the shoot, which was led by the lovely Caroline from Words to Glow, who supplies beautiful light up letters, words and phrases for hire.
There’s a stark industrial edge to the shoot, showcasing the hidden beauty to be found in an urban setting and providing us with lots of inspo on how to make this the most captivating of backdrops for your big day. Think copper tones, jewel coloured flowers, hanging Edison bulbs and driftwood and your dream 1920s wedding will begin to take shape!
Let’s step behind the lens and find out more about the shoot, as we hand the blog over to Caroline to tell us all.
With images by Vickerstaff Photography.
caroline says: The brief for the shoot was to see if we could mix the gritty world of Peaky Blinders with the love and laughter of the wedding world.
As avid fans of the hugely popular BBC show Peaky Blinders, the team – as a collective – were excited to see if we could transpose the key elements and gritty realism of the hugely popular series into real life and the wedding industry.
With the support of the newly opened themed Peaky Blinders Bar on Liverpool docks and the amazing London-based Garrison Tailors, the theme was decided. All was set to transform Peaky Blinders off the small screen and bring it smack bang into real life!
Once the theme was set, Jamie from Vickerstaff Photography and I were on the lookout for a set location that paid homage to the industrial, working class background, which forms the backbone and origin of the Peaky Blinders series.
In keeping with the show itself, The Peaky Blinders Bar in Liverpool clearly identifies not only with The Garrison Pub featured in the TV series, but also through its wall art showcasing characters as well as set locations featured in the show. It also boasts statement fixtures and fittings including huge chandeliers, copper brewing equipment and large light up bars.
Located on the Liverpool docks, the surrounding wasteland also proved to be the perfect backdrop for some outdoor, gritty shots, perfectly in keeping with the era, and the look and feel we were going for.
I provided a selection of props to showcase in the shoot, including rustic light up LOVE letters and a love heart, featuring whitewashed driftwood and metal trims – these were used to great effect to light up both the downstairs stage area and the upstairs bar.
My new METRO Boxed LOVE letters looked fabulous sitting atop the Peaky Blinders Bar, accompanied by pretty floral hoops, by Verdure Floral. Taking inspiration from modern and funky city centre industrial spaces, the letters feature a painted blackboard base and are encased in industrial inspired driftwood. Their clean lines and sparkly cabochon light bulbs provide a warm and ambient lighting which provides a beautiful backdrop to wedding photography.
June 7th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
We’re often asked if we love our jobs and the answer is “ab-so-flippin-lutley”, and who wouldn’t – working in a ‘happy’ industry with a whole host of talented creatives and truly loved-up couples – we’re quite literally in wedded bliss every day of the week!
A certain highlight of the year so far has to be a trip we took to Barcelona back in April for the city’s Bridal Fashion Week, to view the brand-new collections by some of the top Spanish designers – and my god, do these people know how to put on an impressive catwalk show. Forget a simple runway and rows of benches, we’re talking incredible, large-scale productions with the most amazing props, styling, models, lighting and music. And as if all that wasn’t enough – there was, of course, the dresses, which wowed to the max – giving us an exclusive first look of what’s to come in bridalwear over the coming year. So, ladies, you can trust us when we say that those of on the dress hunt are in for a real treat!
One of the most highly anticipated catwalk shows of Bridal Fashion Week is by our Sponsor, Spanish design power-house, Pronovias. Year on year this show is a huge talking point as the team raise the stakes time again to deliver a dazzling and unforgettable show – and they certainly didn’t disappoint this time round.
Held at the city’s Italian Pavilion, some 1,500 guests from around the world, including celebrities, media, international and Spanish socialites, influencers and boutique owners, gathered for the unveiling of the 2019 Atelier Pronovias Collection created around an ‘In Bloom’ concept.
With the dresses inspired by new beginnings the show set was a mesmerizingly-beautiful garden scene, complete with flourishing botanics, trailing florals and flowing trees as well as an impressive stone pavilion, arched structures and even a pretty wooden bridge over a stream-like pond.
We were already hugely-impressed, and this was without sight of a single bead or thread of silk. But then came the dresses, which wowed and delighted in equal measures, offering something to suit the dreams every bride.
Showcasing dresses with maxi volumes in dreamy princess styles; revamped yet effortlessly feminine empire cuts and A-line silhouettes; plus, gowns with simpler lines and straight silhouettes, the clever collection is said to “dress every kind of woman and enhance her beauty”.
Furthermore, the range gives brides the option to switch up their big day look with convertible designs featuring detachable and off-the-shoulder sleeves, and yokes.
May 18th, 2018 | Julia Braime
Prepare to hoist up the Union Jack, gather round the TV and don your finest hat, for the royal wedding is upon us and anticipation for what’s to come is at fever pitch!
Since Harry and Meghan’s engagement was announced back in November, details of their big day have gradually been revealed or leaked to the press, but one element that has remained a closely guarded secret is what Ms Markle’s dress will look like.
Speculation of the designer has been rife, with bets placed on the likes of Alexander McQueen, Stewart Parvin, Erdem and Victoria Beckham, plus favourite, Ralph & Russo, with the Daily Mail reporting that the London-based couture house have crafted a £100,000 gown for the bride-to-be.
It’s also been said that Meghan will follow in future sister-in-law Kate’s footsteps by having two dresses; one for the ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and a second to change into for the evening reception at Frogmore House so that she can party the night away without sartorial restrictions.
But still we don’t know what style that main significant dress will be – the shape, fabric, detailing, length of the train etc – until the proceedings are broadcast to billions of viewers around the world this Saturday. What we do know, however, is that Meghan’s choice of dress will have a big impact on shaping future bridal trends, just as Kate Middleton’s iconic long-sleeve lace gown did back in April 2011.
So, sharing in the excitement and spirit of the Harry and Meghan’s impending nuptials, we’re giving our thoughts on what the LA-born actress will wear for her biggest moment in the spotlight to date!
Main images: Suzanne Neville
While there’s a lot of talk about Meghan being the one to break the royal mould and put her own style in-line with tradition when it comes to design preferences, I believe such a high-profile wedding still calls for a classic gown. I’m therefore gravitating towards a safe A-line creation that cinches in at the waist, though I don’t see it being as large, ‘princess-ey’ or fussy as Kate’s.
Another impacting factor has to be the venue, while Meghan has said her personal style is “very pared down and relaxed”, the gown will need to hold its own against the grand setting of St George’s and also be a suitable and respectful choice for such a building. Furthermore, it’s reported that the Queen must approve Meghan’s gown, and so surely we can safely rule out any plunging necklines, thigh-high leg splits or Berta-style transparent panels. We can only imagine Prince Philip’s face!
So, I’m thinking clean cut and classic, yes, in rich luxurious, possibly silk fabric but with a level of detailing in jewels/beading – this is a royal wedding after all!
Sleeve and neckline-wise I think a thicker strap or off-shoulder design, with a gracious rather than deep-cut v. Or perhaps even a high-collared racer-neck design that would tick both elegant and contemporary boxes.
I’m expecting beautiful corsetry in the top half to accentuate Markle’s stunning figure and then flaring out and over the hips and legs to the floor for a hint of a fairy tale skirt.
The detailing I doubt would be blingy, so I’m drawn to more muted colour embellishment that will blend with the dress for just the right amount of sparkle and regality.
All in all as a bride-to-be soon to embark on the dress hunt myself, I can’t imagine the pressure on Meghan and those around her to create the perfect dress for such a stately occasion but I’m hoping Ms Markle brings some of that Hollywood sparkle and sass to Saturday’s proceedings.
The big day is nearly upon us, and there’s only one thing this bridal editor is bothered about… I’m not bothered who will walk Meghan down the aisle, couldn’t give a hoot what her (horrible) sister said next and I’m not even tallying up the bridesmaid and pageboy count. I want to see the dress. I want wow, I want romance and, most of all please Ms Markle, I want FASHION.
There’s a big difference between this dress and Kate’s – and that’s that whilst I was expecting K Middy to play it classic and classy, with Meghan, I’m looking for more fashionable form, and a nod to her Hollywood heritage. She’s also done it once before, in a simple chiffon sheath with a beautiful bejewelled waistline. I actually loved her first, beachy wedding dress, but the pomp and ceremony of Windsor calls for something a bit more structured, a bit more statement.
The bridal fashion part of my job – the styling for UNVEILED Magazine creative shoots, viewing of new collections and trend predicting – is without question, my very favourite part of my job here at Brides Up North, and as such, I’ve had some time and quite a lot of inclination to ponder what our future Duchess should choose.
Yeah, I know the odds are on a classic cut and heavy beading, probably lashings of lace and tulle… but my prediction (or wish list!) is a little more specific. if I were Meghan, I’d go for a simple yet sexy silhouette. I think she’d look sensational in something super slinky. Maybe an off the shoulder silk number, with long sleeves and a soft figure hugging bodice, tapering down to either a bit of a fishtail or a super long, soft, silky train. Clean lines, drama in the structure. A thoroughly modern, sexy princess. No A-lines please!
So pass the flags, I’m ready for Meghan’s moment. Just don’t let me down Ms Markle.
May 14th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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!
May 11th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
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.
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!
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.
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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