November 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
One otherwise unremarkable Wednesday evening last month, I was invited along to a rather sensational little soiree at the atmospheric Barley Hall in York to celebrate the launch of blossom & belle, and preview their inaugural bridal offering. The creative brainchild of two sisters in law, Antonia Aitken and Sarah Cartwright, Blossom and Belle is the inspiration of two women whose ultimate aim is to make a woman to simply feel beautiful when she puts on one of their unique dresses.
With images by Oliva Brabbs Photography.
Originating from a particularly ‘bad wardrobe day’ by Sarah when feeding her first child, and knowing Antonia’s original background in fashion design, Sarah asked Antonia if she could make her something just for her to wear to make her feel special again.
Antonia, with a BA in Fashion and Textiles, and Sarah, with a Marketing degree, got their heads together, and after many a long night over cups of tea, texts and phone calls, the first Blossom & Belle wrap dress was born.
With Antonia’s creative juices flowing, she started to think about the wedding dress designs she had previously enjoyed creating before she had started her family. Sarah, in the meantime, was using her marketing and business experience to get the Blossom and Belle word out there. In fact, their very first web order came from a twitter follower!
Sourcing beautiful fabrics and unique vintage additions, the collection now composes of Ready to Wear, Prom and Bridal Couture. Every garment is created lovingly by hand by Antonia to the client’s specification. Sarah now works hard behind the scenes helping to drive the business forward as part of her own Sales & Marketing agency, Searson Fox.
From a custom butterfly print in organic cotton which was commissioned specifically for Blossom and Belle, silks, Irish linen and swarovski beads, each Blossom and Belle dress is completely unique. Wedding dresses comprise of a mix of french lace, duchess and crepe silks, organza and dupion silks. All the bridal dresses are lined in silk for the ultimate in luxury
If you choose a Blossom and Belle gown, Antonia will go through designs, fabric samples and your own ideas on the first consultation. There will be several fittings of both the toile in calico to ensure the fit and look is perfect and of the gown itself. You go away in plenty of time before your wedding with a gown created just for you and Blossom and Belle can also be there on the day of your wedding to help you dress.
What stood out to me was the very personal nature of every gown, along with the collection’s ethereal influence. It might have been the flickering candlelight or the baby ballerinas who took to the catwalk between scenes, but the vibe was almost medieval, with laced ribbon sleeves and long, trailing veils.
If you’re a free spirited lady who is looking for bespoke service and design for a unique and stunning wedding day look, you might just like to give Blossom and Belle a call.
Diary Date: On the 21st February 2016 Blossom and Belle are having a Bridal Tea Party at the historic Tithe Barn, Nether Poppleton from 1pm to 4pm. There will be a vintage tea room and luxury bridal exhibitors from flowers and cakes to photography. Blossom and Belle will be available to discuss and showcase their beautiful couture bridal wear range and any ideas you have for your dream dress.
November 2nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Earlier this year, we were proud to bring you a first look at designer Amanda Wyatt’s beautiful 2016 collection promises of love and now, we are excited to share the full range of gowns available for our readers to choose from Amanda’s fabulous stockist boutiques.
Girls, it’s like Christmas has come early at Brides Up North HQ! Let’s stop with the talking and play dress up already…
Promise – The beautiful signature gown of the Promises of Love collection. A delicate lace bodice decorated with seed pearls and beading enhances the beautiful 14 yards of chiffon trailing luxuriously down to the floor.
Aisla – The princess gown of the new collection is simply stunning in the colours silver blue with an ivory lace and tulle overlay. It’s a statement gown with the all out there bridal skirt.
Love – We’re in love with the Love dress! A gorgeous defined gown of matt pleated satin creates a beautiful silhouette for the bride and can be styled with beaded belts and jewels.
Audrey – A sweeping silk neck-line with fine beading falls into a beautiful v-neck back.
Ophelia – Accentuated with over 5,000 diamante and sequin beads to create some sparkle and detachable wide shoulders to become strapless gown, the Ophelia offers two different looks.
October 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon on the blog we’re squeezing in an extra (exciting) post to give you all the details of not one, but two, very special sample sales taking place in Yorkshire, in the coming weeks.
Bridal boutique owner Hayley Hoyle will be holding the sample sales at her two gorgeous boutiques – The Harrogate Wedding Lounge and The Bridal Collection Harrogate – giving brides-to-be the opportunity to save up to 70% on their dream dress and up to 50% on those all-important finishing touch accessories.
With an amazing selection of gowns by both British and international designers, such as Maggie Sottero, Justin Alexander, Suzanne Neville and Caroline Castigliano, hanging on the rails, these events are not to be missed.
So ladies make a note, the sample sales will take place between 10am-4pm on Sunday 1st November 2015 at The Harrogate Wedding Lounge and on Sunday 8th November at The Bridal Collection Harrogate.
We’ll now hand over to the leading lady herself Hayley, to give you details of the fabulous bargains that will be on offer as well as info on how to secure a sample sale appointment. Now go, go, go!
Images by Cat Hepple Photography.
Dresses by which designers will be included in the sample sales?
hayley says: At The Harrogate Wedding Lounge we have a fantastic selection of dresses in the sample sale from designers such as Maggie Sottero, Justin Alexander, Enzoani and Mia Mia by Alan Hannah.
Meanwhile at the Bridal Collection we will have some stunning dresses by iconic British designers, including Jenny Packham, Suzanne Neville, Caroline Castigliano, Sassi Holford and Ian Stuart in the sale, as well as picks of some top international labels such as Badgley Mischka and Claire Pettibone.
What level of discounts will you be offering on the dresses?
We have lots of amazing discounts on our sample dresses. The discounts will start at 20% and go up to an incredible 70% off!
What sizes of dresses will be in the sale?
At The Harrogate Wedding Lounge our sample sizes are between an 8 and 20, while at The Bridal Collection our sample sizes are between an 8 and 14.
Overall, the majority of our dresses are between a size 10 and 14. If brides-to-be have any enquires with regards to the sizes of our samples they shouldn’t hesitate to get in contact.
Why are the dresses in the sale? What condition are they in?
All of the dresses going into our sale are sample gowns, this means that they have been tried on by brides-to-be. The condition of our sample dresses varies, some are new collection dresses that are in excellent condition and others have been well-loved and tried on. Some of the dresses are discontinued gowns, however many dresses are going into the sale simply to make more room for the stunning new collections we have coming into the boutique!
We offer a gown cleaning service and alteration packages, so any brides-to-be that find their perfect dress at our sample sale can still get a bespoke fit and finish to their dress. Also, all of the gowns in our sample sale are priced to reflect their age and condition.
What is the process for brides-to-be that attend the event? Are they given a one-to-one appointment?
All appointments at both of our boutiques are on a one-to-one basis which allows us to give brides a very personal shopping experience. Each sale appointment is an hour long, within this hour ladies will be with their very own bridal stylists who will talk them through designers and styles and help them into the dresses. Brides will be allowed to try on a maximum of five dresses during their appointment. Appointments are on a first come first serve basis and they are filling up fast so we advise booking in soon to avoid disappointment.
What is your advice to brides-to-be who will be attending the sale?
Take a look on our website and social media pages to gain a good insight into what types of dresses you are likely to find at the sample sale. Study the designers that we stock and make notes of any particular styles or dresses that are standing out. We advise brides to have tried dresses on prior to attending a sale event and to have a clear understanding of what it is they are looking for in their dream dress.
As the sale is a one day only event it is for brides who are ready to find their perfect dress at an amazing price. We advise that you bring along to your appointment the one person who wish to be there when you make that big decision, whether this is mum, relative or your maid of honour. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on your dress or make a decision without them. It’s going to be a busy day and space may be limited so we do ask that you only bring up to three people to your appointment.
Can you give us details of a few highlight pieces that will be included in the sale?
At The Harrogate Wedding Lounge there are lots of highlight pieces going into our sample sale; Maggie Sottero’s Joelle is a beautiful A-line lace dress with delicate cap sleeves, Justin Alexander’s 8731 is a beautiful fit and flare gown with a bodice full of sparkle, and Enzoani’s Haleyville is a timelessly elegant mermaid gown with beaded appliqué on a delicate lace bodice, just to name a few!
We also have some great stand out dresses heading into the sample sale at the Bridal Collection. Jenny Packham’s Jocasta is a stunning fully beaded gown with a big wow factor, Ian Stuart’s Amalfi is another dress that’s certainly got the wow factor, or if you’re a bride-to-be looking for a more romantic boho look then Claire Pettibone’s Rosemary dress is a top pick.
Will any accessories or shoes be in the sample sale?
Yes there will be a selection of accessories at a both sample sales. This includes headpieces, veils and belts from designers such as Tantrums and Tiara’s, Ivory and Co, Lilly Bella, Jenny Packham and The Couture Veil Company with discounts of up to 50%. It’s a great chance for brides to complete their wedding look at a brilliant price.
How should brides-to-be get in touch if they have any other questions?
You can contact either of the boutiques through email or telephone for any enquiries or to book one of these exclusive sale appointments. Depending upon demand it is possible that appointments will be available on Monday 2nd November at The Wedding Lounge and Monday 9th November at The Bridal Collection, please enquire at time of booking if this is convenient.
The Harrogate Wedding Lounge, call us on 01423 888242 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bridal Collection Harrogate, call us on 01423 202029 or email at email@example.com
October 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today we are thrilled to be wishing Brides Up North Sponsor and beautiful Lancashire boutique, one fine day bridal, a very happy birthday as it celebrates its first year in business! (*fires party poppers into the air whilst wearing party hat*)
After starting out stocking pre-loved wedding dresses to give beautiful gowns a life beyond their first wear, owner Lindsey Johnson, is now preparing to move onto a new chapter at One Fine Day Bridal by replacing pre-owned gowns with gorgeous new creations by talented designers Rosa Clara Two and Louise Bentley.
Keen to share her exciting news with others and to mark the boutique’s milestone anniversary, Lindsey has planned a very special relaunch evening event on Thursday 19th November 2015, featuring stunning catwalk shows and fabulous wedding industry suppliers – and you could be there!
Limited to just 60 places, tickets are priced at £10 each and can be booked directly by contacting Lindsey on 01772 816512, or alternatively online, with a small fee, via Eventbrite by clicking here.
Looking back on the past 12 months, we asked Lindsey how her business has grown, what’s next for the boutique and how (pretty please) do we get our hands on tickets for this fabulous sounding event…
Congratulations on your first year (and happy birthday), how have the past 12 months been?
lindsey says: Thank you, it has been a thrilling, but challenging 12 months and I can honestly say I have loved every minute. I chose to build my business slowly giving me the chance to get to know my brides well and allowing me time to meet like-minded and talented local wedding suppliers. It is extremely important to me that I provide the best service possible, as purchasing a wedding dress is one of the most memorable occasions in a girl’s life. It’s an absolute honour to be part of it.
We originally opened with high-quality pre-owned dresses for brides and bridesmaids. Over the past 12 months I have listened to our brides and introduced new collections, starting with bridesmaids, accessories and veils. Now we have exclusive, new made-to-order bridal gowns.
You are having a relaunch event to celebrate your first birthday, tell us about it.
In my first year I had the pleasure of helping brides sell-on their gowns to future brides with a stock of pre-owned dresses, offering an alternative to sites such as eBay. Although I found this rewarding it has also been extremely frustrating as too often a bride fell in love with her dress and the size available was not correct.
I made the decision this summer to search for new designers to stock at One Fine Day and chose Rosa Clara Two and Louise Bentley at Harrogate’s buyer event in September. My first birthday is the opportunity to showcase my new dresses and I have chosen an intimate location (Whittles Farm Restaurant in Tarleton) close to my boutique to hold an evening of entertainment. This will include a catwalk, live music and inspiration from selected local wedding experts such as stylist, photographer, florist and make-up professional. I can’t wait!
What do you love about the designers you have chosen to stock, what type of brides do their dresses appeal to?
Rosa Clara Two is a magical collection of romantic but glamorous dresses. They use beautiful fabrics combining lace, embroidery and beadwork in a delicate way. I have been given the honour of being the only boutique in Lancashire and Merseyside to stock their collection and currently have 15 dresses on order which I will grow over the next year.
Louise Bentley is the exciting new label from the designers behind the successful LouLou collection. They are passionately committed to quality and design and use beautiful silks and corded lace. Many of my brides are inspired by vintage designs and these dresses offer that with a contemporary edge.
Both collections are available from sizes 6 to 30 and our price range is £1,200 to £2,200. I handpicked shapes to flatter various body shapes and all dresses are made-to-order.
The relaunch catwalk show will also include Huit Lingerie and bridesmaid dresses from Lela Rose and Dessy. Can you tell us a bit about these collections and what they offer?
I am extremely fortunate to have a spacious boutique and love to offer brides and their bridal party solutions to dressing and feeling fabulous. My experience has taught me that a good foundation is important and I offer a modest, carefully selected shape wear range from Wacoal and feminine delicate lace bridal lingerie from Huit.
One Fine Day Bridal is a stockist for all Dessy labels which enables me to find the perfect dress within a bride’s budget and offer a wide choice of styles, fabrics and colours. These include Social, Alfred Sung, Dessy, After Six, Lela Rose and new for spring, Jenny Yoo. I have selected my favourite styles to complement our bridal collection and to give our guests an exciting taster!
Places at the event are limited to 60, how do brides-to-be go about getting tickets?
The event will be held between 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Thursday 19th November at Whittles Farm Restaurant, The Courtyard, Tarleton, and will include prosecco and nibbles on arrival.
Tickets are priced at £10 each and can be booked directly by contacting me on 01772 816512, or alternatively online, with a small fee, via Eventbrite by clicking here.
What have you enjoyed most about your first year at One Fine Day Bridal?
My career to date is as a ladies fashion buyer and I have previously worked for large companies. I love meeting each bride personally and hearing about the finer details of her big day. I have a passion for styling and the chance to offer advice in a relaxed way is rewarding. It is this interaction with brides and their families which has shaped my business so far and I welcome feedback. The proud feeling of seeing your bride dressed on her big day and receiving a small thank-you is extremely satisfying!
What has been your biggest achievement or highlight during the first year?
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting amazing, very well respected designers in bridal fashion and the reception I have received has made me very proud. It has also given me the confidence to realise that I have much to offer brides-to-be in terms of dressing to suit their body and personality, plus a welcoming nature to provide high-quality, personal service. But seeing the smile on the face of my first bride when she found her dress has to be my absolute highlight!
What do you have planned for the year ahead for One Fine Day bridal?
Following my relaunch on 19th November I will be planning designer days in 2016 and already have plans for some exciting styled shoots. I am also considering my third bridal label and hope this will be revealed soon!
Oh and, I have teamed up with local businesses to put together a special bridesmaid experience – details will be revealed in February!
What can brides expect from an appointment at One Fine Day Bridal?
All appointments are with me personally and I am able to dedicate time especially to my bride and her family and friends. I am fortunate to have a spacious, welcoming showroom with a large changing room. One Fine Day feels very exclusive and intimate, creating a memorable experience. (Earlier this year one of my brides actually booked an appointment to practise her first dance routine in her dress!)
We exclusively stock Rosa Clara Two which means we are the only boutique in Lancashire and Merseyside to house such designs, offering our local brides individuality.
I believe assisting a bride to make one of the most memorable purchases of her life is an honour.
Do you believe brides do have that ‘this is the one’ moment when searching for their dream dress and if so what is your top tip to help them to find it?
I believe the experience is different for every bride. Some brides are led by the heart, others can be more cautions as it is a huge decision. Some brides try on a gown and immediately fill with emotion; with no doubt in their mind they have found ‘the one’.
Others, like me, try on a dress and feel fabulous but their love for the design comes later. That ‘moment’ can come when they compare other dresses to it, or wake up one day thinking ‘I love it, I wish I had ordered it’.
I definitely recommend keeping an open mind, listen to the advice of family and myself. If a bride comes to an appointment with her mum or best friend I like them to pick a design too. Most brides are pleasantly surprised!
October 1st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Over time we’re seeing bridal gowns that are less virginal and pure as designers become much bolder with their designs, chopping and changing the traditional wedding dress as we know it.
We’ve witnessed the hemline of some dresses get higher, necklines get lower, backs on full show, and more recently, cutaway detailing which exposes various areas of brides’ physiques, from their arms to their abs.
And it looks like brides will continue to bare all, as this year’s designer catwalks have been awash with striking sheer gowns.
Though bridal dresses with see-through detailing are nothing new, the most recent take on the translucent look sees the sexiness taken up a notch – with some gowns leaving very little to the imagination.
That said, similar to the cutaway trend, brides can opt to be as coy or confident as they like with the look, be it donning a barely there gown to show off their figure from top to toe, or choosing a dress with subtle sheer detailing on just the arms or across the chest.
For brave brides Reem Acra has some fabulous sheer showstoppers. Most expose the arms, chest and torso area though the necessities are covered by decorative embroidery and lace detail that’s so delicate it appears to have been etched onto the skin. Though revealing the dresses are both soft and romantic, and in most cases follow the rule of only exposing one half of the body.
Heightening the risqué factor further are designers such as Anna Romysh Haute Couture, who showcased daring and distinctively different dresses on the 2015 White Gallery catwalks. Though some of the gowns did offer full body cover, in the sense that they were floor length, long sleeved and high necked, flesh was still flashed though beautifully detailed sheer fabrics. Other dresses meanwhile flaunted either the pins or upper half of the body. The Romysh dresses also stood out in terms of colour, with metallics and even black designs getting runway time.
Fortunately, there are much more toned down options available for those who like the idea of showing just a little skin, or at least giving the impression that they are doing so. While some sheer fabrics do expose the bare skin beneath, others are cleverly placed over nude slips to give the illusion of exposure. Anna Kara has some particularly pretty options along these lines within her collection, which is classic and elegant but with a modern edge.
Tamer still are dress designs with just small or subtle elements of transparency. Such designs can be found within numerous designers’ collections, including Augusta Jones, Naeem Khan, Simone Carvalli and Sharon Elle Design. Some of our favourites however, come from Monique Lhuillier and Claire Pettibone, which show that there is no need for brides to fear the sheer!
Main images by Reem Acra, visit our Gallery for more inspiration.
July 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon, it’s time for some eye candy of the most lovely, as we welcome bridalwear designer Sabina Motasem, and her gorgeous new en pointe collection to these pretty pages, with styling and design inspiration taken from the world of ballet. If you are looking for luxurious, understated elegance on your wedding day, look no further.
sabina says: I have taken inspiration from ballet for my latest collection of dresses. A ballerina, just like a bride, encapsulates elegance, grace and beauty through refined movement and flow. The dresses emphasize my brides’ gracefulness, as if floating weightlessly on air throughout her special day with the special man in her life.
I love the romance that comes from vintage Hollywood and the passion that comes from ballet. I love to sprinkle a bit of that magic glamour and sophistication into everything I do.
Each dress is handcrafted in London and made from the finest Italian silk crepes, chiffons and satins and French lace to achieve the highest quality finish. There are also beautiful separates, which slip on over many of the dresses, transforming them into completely new looks for day and night.
Our favorite? It has to be Emillienne, a luxe dress with a choice of art nouveau beaded neck detail in either silver metal or rose gold, crystals or pearls. Just delightful.
Get ready for your curtain call…
Prices start from £1,400 and gowns are available throughout the UK and internationally.
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