March 6th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
As the shopping trip of all shopping trips there is no doubt visiting bridal boutiques in search of that one special dress is one of the most exciting elements of planning a wedding.
You’ll want the experience to be fun, enjoyable memorable and stress-free, which is why we think its uber-important to enter into the search fully equipped with all the dos and don’ts that will see you well on the way to securing your perfect dress.
And who better to deliver such golden advice than a lady who has helped to dress hundreds of beautiful brides for their moment in the wedding spotlight, Hayley Hoyle, proud owner of top Yorkshire bridal boutiques, The Bridal Collection Harrogate and The Harrogate Wedding Lounge.
So, we’ll waste no time in handing over to Hayley to impart her insider knowledge in the form of a handy step by step guide to make your dress shopping, an absolute dream!
Homework – what research/preparation can brides do when initially beginning their wedding dress search?
hayley says: There is certainly no shortage of wedding inspiration in this world. Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, social media, magazines, wedding fairs, designers’ websites the list goes on – I would start a Pinterest board specifically for your gown and keep it as a secret board, use it to collate a collection of images you like; from a fabric, a neckline or even a specific dress or designer. This board will be useful when you start the shopping process, show your stylist and ask them to select some styles for you based on what you have been liking so far. If you are a technophobe a scrap book works just as well.
Booking appointments – how should a bride go about selecting the boutiques she makes appointments at?
First of all, I would consider the designers that have caught your eye from your research, check their websites and find your nearest stockist. Get on social media and check out the profiles of your local boutiques and see what resonates with you, each boutique will have their own brand personality and it should inspire you. Check out their reviews on Google and Facebook and look at how they respond to complaints as well as praise. Most importantly try to support your small, independent, service driven boutiques, to them you are special, you are a unique bride not just another sale.
Attending appointments – what advice would you give to brides when attending boutique appointments?
Most importantly – relax, remain open minded and let the stylists do their thing. It might be wise to wear modest seam-free flesh coloured underwear and a good strapless bra. Don’t slap on the fake tan before your appointment as it may damage the dresses and definitely don’t take too many people shopping with you! Remember the less people that see the dress the bigger the impact on the day. Finally remember to ask your boutique what extras will need paying pay for? Do they have an in-house alterations team, can you use it and how much are anticipated fittings?
Making a decision – what would you say to a bride who can’t make up their mind on a dress or that is unsure whether to visit more boutiques before making up their mind?
Don’t over think it. Think about both of the gowns in the setting of your wedding, does one work more than the other? Is there anything you would change about either of the dresses? Do they make you feel amazing? Over shopping will only make the process harder and more choices will only confuse you more. Remember there will always be more dresses and selecting yours is not the end of the process, it’s actually just the beginning. If after all of that you still have reservations, chances are you haven’t yet found your gown so head to your next appointment and keep looking, the perfect one is out there.
Fittings – is there anything you would advise brides to be mindful of during their fittings?
By the time it gets to your fittings your weight needs to be stable and you need to have the correct shoes and underwear, so your gown can be fitted to perfection. It is impossible to make a garment fit a moving target and because we want your gown to fit perfectly we advise no further weight loss once your gown has been pinned. Don’t take photos during your fittings, the gown isn’t perfect yet and looking back at a photo of a dress that doesn’t fit correctly will only cause you stress and anxiety. Trust the professionals and leave the photos until the day.
Accessories – after the dress comes the accessories. What elements should brides take into consideration when it comes to picking their finishing touches?
Your accessories should be the icing on the cake, they should complement the gown perfectly and not overpower you or the dress. When styling any outfit, I believe that less is more with regards to accessories and a wedding gown is no different. Choose one piece to shine and keep everything else simple. Oh – and always try a veil, there is only one day in your life you can wear one.
The big day – any tips on how brides can look and feel their absolute best in their wedding gown on their big day?
Make sure one of your bridal party knows how to get you in to your gown and how to bustle the train for dancing if there is one. Try practicing at your final fitting to avoid unnecessary stress on the day.
Most of all, keep calm and remember what the day is really about: you and your partner celebrating each other. Everything else is just stuff.
Aftercare – once the big day has been and gone, what should brides do with their dress/what are the options?
Depending on your sentimentality there are a few options you can choose post wedding to either preserve or recoup. If you intend to have your gown professionally cleaned I recommend you use a specialist gown and luxury fabric cleaner. We offer a post wedding dry cleaning service in our boutiques with the option of a long-term storage box in a design of your choice. Speak to your boutique to see if they do something similar or have any recommendations.
Timeless dress design: Swanson by Suzanne Neville
Showstopper dress design: Margo by Enzoani
Favourite dress trend: I love unusual fabrics, so I’m a big fan of gowns that have plenty of texture to them such as brocade, printed organza and thick textured Mikados. There is nothing more beautiful than a simple gown, expertly cut in a beautiful fabric so I’m a big fan of the simplicity popular with brides at the moment.
Celebrity style: For everyday fashion I love Holly Willoughby, she always looks expertly put together and I am constantly Googling where her outfits are from.
Favourite wedding trend: We have seen so much in the way of blush pinks, rose gold, greys and mixed metallic colour palettes over the last couple of years, I am very excited to see some strong opulent tones coming through now too – think peacocks, exotic landscapes and rich jewels.
March 2nd, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
This season, the catwalks are dancing with spectacular sleeve detail. From illusion sleeves with lace detail, to puffball sleeves, to flutter sleeves, to bell sleeves, to off-the-shoulder sleeves, to blouson sleeves … yes, OK, you get the picture. There’s an incredible array of delightful choice in the sleeve department. So, we’ve done the hard work for you (oh, it’s tough looking at wedding gowns for hours on end!) and whittled down the options to a collection of gorgeous creations that will no doubt send you all misty-eyed.
Main image Rime Arodaky.
From the bell to the blouson, Lillian West has got your arms covered when it comes to dreamy, romantic sleeves this season. Styles 6463 and 6509 have a gorgeous vintage vibe, with flared skirts to echo the flute of the bell sleeves. Flutter like a butterfly in style 6517, as ethereal chiffon cascades from the shoulders of this beautiful illusion neckline and deep illusion back. Go boho with blouson sleeves and a crepe gypsy skirt in style 6518, or an off-the-shoulder illusion blouson bodice in style 6476.
If you’re looking for effortless cool with a bit of grit thrown in (think rocking up to the church on a motorbike with bed hair and sharply contoured cheeks), Rime Arodaky is right up your alley. The puffy sleeves are to die for. Check out the Zappa, with its funnel neck, puffy sleeves and plaited high-waisted skirt. Or the Jude, a sleek silhouette with a gigantic puff adorning each wrist. The off-the-shoulder Madden sports large ruffles in plumetis and organza and brings a bit of romance to the occasion. And, for the ultimate in ruffled sleeves, look no further than the Arlo and the Joni, both crepe gowns with dazzling appeal. Pass me the black kohl eyeliner, quick.
There’s a delicate vibe to Theia’s sleeve detail that gives us the romantic feels. Sandy is sophisticated, with hand-appliquéd, scallop-edged sleeves that swish down the aisle. Layla is covered with thousands of glass-cut beads and micro pearls which, combined with the off-the-shoulder flutter sleeves, create an ethereal effect. For a long-sleeved gown with gorgeous floral detail that the designer describes as a ‘tattoo effect’, take a look at Karina. Then there’s the Sasha, with a stunning mermaid skirt and a cut-out cape-style sleeve and Ellie, with its chic silhouette and fabulous bell sleeves.
Absolutely nailing the illusion sleeve is Hayley Paige. Pascal is completely divine, with its long-sleeved illusion bodice with metallic floral micro beading. Stevie is another off-the-shoulder creation with a glorious bateau neckline and full skirt, while Rogers combines an illusion sleeve with a delicate butterfly flutter at the wrist and a low scoop back. So pretty. For a more obvious flutter, try Frida, a fit-to-flare gown with a deep V scalloped neckline and a detachable, cascading sleeve. And, finally, we mustn’t forget the cap sleeve, for a subtle nod to the season’s trend. Check out Vaughn, with its low open back, full tulle skirt and lovely bateau neckline.
So, come on ladies, dress your arms to impress. After all, they do have a huge roll to play in the proceedings, from presenting the hand upon which your dashing groom will slip the wedding ring, to making some serious shapes on the dancefloor in the evening. Whether your totally boho or a chic petite, there’s a sleeve out there for you!
February 22nd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
This afternoon we’re talking about sculpted columns, bold lines and architectural sweeps – but this isn’t a piece about wedding venues, oh no, it’s all about dresses – specifically, simple, fuss free-wedding gowns with clean lines and sleek silhouettes.
There’s something about a minimalist gown that, while timeless, has a simultaneous up-to-the-minute feel perfect for a fashion-forward bride. Here at Brides up North we love the edginess of a dress with less, and we’ve gathered together a whole lovely loot of unadorned beauties for your browsing pleasure.
Main post images by Cortana.
First up is Spanish designer Cortana, a label which boasts a romantic, boho vibe. We love the luxe factor of the Gala gown; a silk satin bias-cut beauty which looks slinky and effortlessly chic. The attention to detail is just stunning – that diagonal row of silk-covered buttons on the back gives us all the feels – and the thin straps feel bold and youthful and a little bit 90s-Calvin-Klein, which is always a good thing in case you’re wondering.
The Cortana collection also features the stunningly minimalist Grace with daring back and thin crossed strap detail and the silk brocade Linda, made with a touch of lurex to give a super-flattering fit and stretch. There’s also the Valentina which, quite frankly, makes my heart sing – the boat neckline! The sleek drapery! And is a strong contender in my frequent ‘What Would I Wear If I Got Married Again?’ mental debate (don’t mention that to my husband, kaythanks?)
Onwards to a Brides Up North favourite – the always-opulent Eliza Jane Howell. EJH is known for their decadent vintage designs, and so might not seem a natural bedfellow of the Clean Lines brigade. However, in Gill Harvey’s recent collections, we’re seeing subtlety, simplicity and lots of plain silk alongside the embellishment and embroidery. Belle from the Leading Lady collection is a stunner with a contemporary feel, complete with bold halterneck, textured figure-hugging fabric and a daring sheer back. Daisy from the Legend collection and Clarissa from the Debutante range are unquestionably more vintage in style but still simple and sleek, with Daisy offering the tiniest hint of embellishment and Clarissa’s floaty sleeves a great option for brides less inclined to bare. Luna from the Stardust range gets close to the fussier end of the spectrum with its frothy skirt and mini train, but the long sleeves, close fit and semi-sheer overlay is dreamily clean and sculpted.
February 8th, 2018 | Julia Braime
With the weekend almost in sight, we think it’s high time for some serious dress candy; which might just be the extra inspiration you need if you’re about to embark on your dream gown search.
Today’s gorgeous loot of loveliness comes in the form of the brand-new collection from our fabulous Sponsor Luella’s Bridal. Located in the Wimbledon Village area of London, this independent boutique not only stocks a stylish range of creations from edgy international designers, but it also produces its own line of totally dreamy dresses.
Having just launched their second collection, titled Expectations, the team at Luella’s wanted you lucky Brides Up North readers to be among the first to see these utterly beautiful gowns in all their glory. And so today we’re brining you a first look at the five stunning designs that make up the collection, while finding out about the inspiration behind these fine creations.
Here to tell us more is the lovely owner of Luella’s, Rachel Attwell…
Tell us about the inspiration behind Expectations?
rachel says: The collection is inspired by Trinidadian jewellery designer, Sarah May. The collection includes five distinctly different dresses, which have been carefully designed to match Sarah’s island pod rings, which were inspired by her original engagement ring and then her subsequent life journey. Named; Happy, Love, Dream, Believe and Abundance.
The idea behind the collection, is that each ring can be interpreted in the wearers own unique way and Luella’s felt that there was something truly special about having a ring to wear that is so personal to each individual.
As such, we felt that it was important to include an assortment of styles to reflect the essence of the rings and therefore our bride’s personality. Each dress has an element of sparkle so that even the simplest styles, still look and feel truly special.
Can you give us an overview of the styles of dresses that make up the collection?
All of the dresses have been designed by the Luella’s team and are handmade in the UK. Each has been designed to reflect our beautiful free-spirited brides and includes a mixture of simple understated and intricately beaded slip style dresses and beautiful lace and tulle gowns. There is a selection of low plunging backs, soft flowing skirts, stunning hand beaded lace and our signature pleated skirt.
What about the fabrics and colourways used within the collection?
The collection is made from a variety of beautiful silks, satins and French laces and the most exquisite selection of hand beaded appliques. We have used more than 16 metres of tulle in the skirt of one of our designs! The dresses are made in a mixture of colours ranging from soft ivories to warm cream tones and our Nieve dress also comes with a slip that can be ordered in a choice of ivory or oyster.
Talk us through the dress designs one by one…
Isla – The Isla dress is made from two layers of sumptuous silk satin in a soft ivory colourway. The bias-cut design features a low v neckline and plunging v-back which is framed with the most exquisite handmade beading in a floral design in ivory and soft blush tones. The dress also features and optional long flowing train and can be made in either off white, ivory or oyster silk satin.
December 5th, 2017 | Julia Braime
There’s only one way to get through Monday, and that’s crushing on pretty dresses. Fortunate for you, we have a fabulous instalment of gorgeous gowns coming right up as we take a look at the stunning new 2018 collection from Lyn Ashworth.
Handmade and crafted from start to finish by British designer Sarah Barrett and her highly experienced team of cutters and seamstress, the Lyn Ashworth name has become renowned for its romantic and flowing skirts and perfectly fitted boned bodices – and the latest Daydreamer collection is no different.
True to its name, the collection is filled with captivating designs that offer a perfect balance between fairy tale and fashion. With a focus on ‘texture, twinkle and tulle’ there are some incredible princess style gowns with shimmering detail, but also some beautiful Bardot designs with 3D floral touches, and amazing A-line gowns with on-trend monochrome influences.
We’re in love and easily find ourselves daydreaming of twirling around in these incredible gowns!
Here to tell us more is the lady who created all the magic, designer Sarah Barrett.
Can you give us a brief overview of the Daydreamer collection?
sarah says: Inspired by texture and light, the 2018 ‘Daydreamer’ collection is all about beautiful fabrics, ruffles, twinkle and tulle. From hand appliqued three-dimensional embellishments and delicate beaded French lace, to shimmering sequins, I wanted to create a collection with a contemporary take on our signature style.
Where did you draw inspiration from for the collection?
We are surrounded by texture and light. Different light can portray a different texture and a different texture can portray a different light. I wanted to mimic the amazing contrast between the two and use beautiful fabrics to portray this. We used hand-appliqué beading and 3D embellishment to maximise the luxurious and luminous fabrics used across the collection.
Can you tell us a little about the fabrics and colourways included in this collection?
The collection features an abundance of amazing fabrics including three-dimensional floral tulle and guipure lace, delicate French beaded lace and light shimmering sequins. There are also a few monochrome accents threaded throughout the collection using black velvet ribbon belts.
Similarly, what details feature within the collection?
Texture is a major influence for this collection. From beautiful Guipure lace to delicate light-catching sequins, there is something for all brides. Our skirt shapes have been designed in a way that offers volume and movement with a light-as-air feel.
Do you have a favourite design from the collection, and, if so, which one is it and what do you love about it?
Champagne Blush was the first dress I created for this collection, which I simply adore. It encapsulates the whole essence of the theme of texture, twinkle and tulle. You should always start a collection with a show stopper and well every girl needs a little Champagne in her life, wouldn’t you say?!
What type of bride would the Daydreamer collection appeal to?
Within this collection there is a dress for all brides. The joy of all my collections is that each dress can be adapted to suit a bride’s own individual style.
What are the key features of a Lyn Ashworth gown and how do your designs stand out from others?
A Lyn Ashworth gown is renowned for its quality and fit. Designing and manufacturing in our studio in Staffordshire, allows me to have a very hands-on approach and I am extremely proud to be flying the Made in England flag. All of my dresses are designed and made in-house, which allows flexibility in lead times and design for my brides.
December 1st, 2017 | Rachel Parry
We have a fabulous Friday treat in store for you today, as we’re taking a look at the stunning 2018 collection from our Sponsor and top British bridal designer, Caroline Castigliano.
We’ve long been fans of Caroline’s instantly-recognisable gowns which feature expert corsetry and classic lines for a cut and fit like no other. Thinking beyond the aesthetics, Caroline takes into consideration the architecture and movement of a dress to ensure a wow-worthy moment when the bride makes her entrance.
And yet again we’ve fallen head over heels for her latest collection, Celebrating Romance, which we shot as an exclusive for issue 09 of UNVEILED and that we are also sharing with you today. Romantic, elegant and sensual these gowns give us all the feels! There is a shape and style for all and we love Caroline’s talent in combining classic beauty with on-trend fashion elements.
So let’s hear more from the designer herself on what Celebrating Romance has in store for you lucky brides-to-be…
Can you give us a brief overview of the 2018 Celebrating Romance Collection?
caroline says: The 2018 Celebrating Romance collection features timeless designs with ultra-feminine twists, elevated textures and highly luxurious accents.
There is a light airy feel throughout the collection, with a range of silhouettes from A-line, to circle skirts and fishtails, all creating beautiful movement and a powerful but understated vision.
I have continued to build the collection around our structure and corsetry so even in the most effortless gown there is a secret hidden structure.
Where did you draw inspiration from for the collection?
The inspiration for Celebrating Romance was ultra-feminine gowns – very fluid, I just wanted to create gowns that feel light and airy but create shape and power – the collection needed to be sensual and playful yet only suggestive.
I get inspired by fashion and pick different elements that are in vogue and create these along with my signature look of classic lines – this really inspires me and keeps me excited.
Can you tell us a little about the fabrics and colourways included in the collection?
The main fabrics are guipure lace, Chantilly lace, silk georgette, satin faced organza, crepe and Mikado.
The collection comes in a colour palette of ivory with soft water colours and hints of nude foundations.
In My Dreams
Similarly, what details feature within the collection?
I have a number of unique features in the collection, there is a lot of layering – this creates a beautiful texture and 3D depth. I have continued with our unique stretch corset that is to die for, not only does this corset fit well but it is really comfortable. There are also new necklines – along with skirt silhouettes.
Do you have a favourite design from the collection?
My favourite gown from the new collection is Monarchy. It has a deep sweetheart neckline and I’ve moulded beautiful beaded guipure lace over the bodice, with lace trickling down the silk organza skirt.
What type of bride would the 2018 collection appeal to?
The Caroline Castigliano bride is into style, she understands fashion but is not ruled by it, she is passionate about quality and loves effortless glamour.
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