PRONOVIAS
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

on the catwalk: 2019 atelier pronovias collection, barcelona

June 7th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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predictions for a princess: what will meghan markle wear?

May 18th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Lempika - Suzanne Neville

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

rachel says

Cavetto - 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.

julia says

Geddess - Suzanne Neville

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.

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look book: the backlist

May 14th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

Rosa Clara Asier

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.

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lace

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

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.

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bows

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!

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jewels

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.

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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!

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fit for a princess: caroline castigilano on how to wear it like meghan markle

May 11th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Caroline Castigliano Sweet Dreams

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.

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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!

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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.

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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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suits you: caroline castigliano’s tips on how to dress for your body shape

April 25th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Lyla

Lyla

Here at Brides Up North we are dedicated to helping to inspire, excite and assist you, our lovely readers, on your wedding planning journeys, arming you with all the necessary information to make the process more straightforward, and above all, enjoyable!

As such, we often call upon our trusted Sponsors, who are experts in their fields, to share their top advice, tips and pointers that will keep you right along the way. And today it’s the turn of top British bridal designer Caroline Castigliano to take to the blog with some fabulous words of wisdom for you ladies currently on the dream dress hunt.

As one of UK’s leading bridal designers, Caroline has been realising brides’ dreams for 27 years and has built up a glowing reputation for her incredibly beautiful designs with clever corsetry that shows of the female figure at its best.

We caught up with her as she prepared to fly off to New York Bridal Week to discuss how brides should best dress for their body shape. Ladies, you may well want to grab a notebook as this information is golden!

Images provided by Caroline Castigliano.

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There are so many styles of wedding dresses to choose from the search can feel a little overwhelming. Initially, what should brides-to-be think about when setting out on their dress search?

caroline says: Once you have booked the venue, and have seen the room where you are going to have your wedding breakfast, you have seen the dance floor, you just want to think about that moment. When you leave the table and walk towards the dance floor with your now husband how is it that they want everyone to see you.

You don’t need to know the shape of the dress, if you are working with an expert they will find the silhouette for you. What you need to know is what that dress is saying to people – is it saying a very strong traditional look, soft and romantic, elegant and classic, vintage, boho. What is the appeal of the dress?

Without considering the silhouette decide on the vision – once this has been determined – go see one of our fantastic stockists and you will get advice. It is important to work with someone that understands silhouettes and fabrics so they can show you what suits you and what creates a strong silhouette for you.

If you are 5ft you will suit totally different silhouettes to someone that is 5’8” tall – if you are full busted you will suit different silhouettes to a bride that is more petite. Once you get going it is all quite easy but it starts with that one all important question – what vision do I want my future husband and my guests to see when I arrive at the wedding?

In what ways can professional boutique stylists and designers help brides make the most of their figure – highlight assets and disguise any body hang-ups?

When choosing a wedding gown, it’s important to find a silhouette that properly accentuates your figure. The cut and fabrics of your gown are essential for the beauty of your dress.

Fit is everything, a gown has to fit amazingly, it has to balance a person’s figure, bring out all the fantastic elements and play down the things they don’t like so much. They should look in the mirror and feel that they have never ever looked so beautiful; that they look the most beautiful they ever have in their life – that is the absolute key.

The art of designing brilliantly is when you can have someone who comes in who is 5 ft tall with a very full bust and she looks incredible in a dress and you can also take a dress on a girl who is 5’9 with a very small bust and make her look absolutely incredible. Design is about being able to take all the different body shapes and make them look stunning.

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Tertia

How do your dresses help to enhance the female figure while remaining comfortable?

Corsets are the engineering of our gowns, they are the foundation that everything is built around – each panel is hand cut to mould and sculpt the figure. They also have a very flattering effect on the bride’s figure, I design the corsets to really balance the figure and extenuate a small waist. I have a number of different corsets that create different effects depending on the design of the gown, nothing will ever compare to a beautifully structured corset creating the foundation of the gown. We have also developed a unique stretch corset that is to die for so while you are getting the beautiful balance you also get great comfort.

What elements can help to improve a bride’s posture, stance and confidence? 

I like to create a corset in as many of my gowns as possible as it really helps a bride with her posture. Even if you are slim with a perfectly balanced figure corsetry helps in every way as it makes you stand up straight and walk nicely with a straight back. It also effects the way she sits so ultimately has a sensational effect on all the photographs and videos taken on the big day.

 What styles of dresses would you suggest for the following body shapes and which of your designs would you pick for each:

athletic

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Tertia

Brides who have a straight body shape will find they have a less defined waist than most. Your bust and hips tend to be pretty balanced and you are not as curvy. This is known as more of a ‘sporty’ athletic body shape, and it is important, when picking a bridal gown for a straight structure, to enhance your waistline and create a soft curve on the bust.

Look for: Bridal gowns with full skirts give the illusion that the hips are wider than they will add a feminine shape to you. Look for embellishment around the bust and necklines it is also good to have an off-the-shoulder strap as this draws the eye to the width of the shoulder and then gives the illusion that the figure is more curved as the eye leaves the shoulder to a small waist.

Avoid: Strapless dresses can make your shoulders look broader than they are so avoid harsh necklines and column wedding dresses that have no definition in their shape as they won’t give you a defined waist.

Caroline Castigliano gown of choice: Tertia

pear

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Everlasting

Look for: For a pear-shaped body choose a ball gown. A waisted dress and full skirt accentuates the waist. These gowns will still show off your waistline and really flatter your body type. A pear shape bride wants to really emphasise the top of the body, beautiful arms, lovely bust shaping and small waist – a corset will always redefine your figure and create a perfect balance between your bust and waist. Choose a gown with embellishment on the bodice or a beautiful lace, falling in to a full or A-line skirt.

Caroline Castigliano gown of choice: Everlasting

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dream dress shopping: pro pointers for finding your wedding dress from yorkshire boutique owner hayley hoyle

March 6th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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hayley loves

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.

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