July 31st, 2018 | Julia Braime
Many bridal boutiques recommend you begin your dream dress hunt between 12 and 18 months in advance of your big day, which means ladies getting wed in the latter half of 2019, it’s time to get your search on!
Picking which gorgeous bridal boutiques to visit can be tricky as you want to give yourself enough choice but without becoming too overwhelmed. As such, it’s a good idea to look for those that stock a fabulous line up of differing designers to help present initial options of varying shapes and styles.
It’s perhaps very timely then that we introduce one of our most recent Sponsors to the blog today, fabulous mother and daughter team Kendal and Moira of Along Came Eve Bridal Boutique. Located in the gorgeous historic city of Chester, the rails of this welcoming boutique boast an incredible selection of designers that each offer brides a different look; from elegant lace numbers, to heavily detailed designs, sexy silhouettes and boho beauties.
With backgrounds in bridal and fashion, Kendal and Moira are well equipped to help ladies find that one special dress and are proud of their personal approach and exciting range of dress designers that provide stunning gowns that are a little “out of the ordinary”.
And as if that wasn’t enough to tempt you through the boutique’s doors, Along Came Eve will be holding its Summer Sample Sale on Sunday 19th August, when brides-to-be can bag an ex-sample gown at a bargain price, with some dresses reduced by more than £1,000 – just think of the bridal shoes you could buy with that saving!
So, let us leave you in Kendal’s capable hands as she talks us through her lovely family-run boutique…
Boutique images by Orphic Photography, gown images by Willowby, supplied by Along Came Eve.
How did you become involved in the wedding industry and what led you to set up your own boutique?
kendal says: We are a mother and daughter team. My mum Moira had her own couture bridal studio when I was growing up and that kick-started the passion for bridal. Moira’s career took her into the clothing industry where she still works as a Technical Director for a leading clothing production company. After following different career paths, we came together to start Along Came Eve and combined our passion for all things bridal. We have always wanted to have our own business together and our strengths make us work really well as a team.
Where is your boutique located and how would you describe the look and feel of it?
We are based in a gorgeous Grade II listed building on the historical rows of Chester city centre. Our boutique is light and airy with pops of colour throughout and an atmosphere that provides privacy and comfort for all of our brides.
What designers do you stock at Along Came Eve?
We stock eight fabulous brands at the boutique. Enzoani, a flagship collection that oozes detail and sophistication with sexy silhouettes and delicate beading. Blue By Enzoani, which is a sought after collection that brings a modern twist on classic looks with plenty of detailed fabrics and textures. Rosa Clara Couture will be landing in the boutique in autumn 2018 and offers a fashion forward and super elegant collection with dramatic details. We also stock mainline Rosa Clara, which features beautiful fabrics, amazing details and classic design. Martin Thornburg for Mon Cheri, is a collection where pretty meets sexy, with modern necklines and incredible detail! Then we have the Watters flagship collection, which combines exclusive laces and exquisite silks with fashion forward design. Willowby By Watters, is their super soft, boho inspired collection that is not only stunning, but also so incredibly comfortable to wear. Finally, Agnes provides a truly special collection with each piece handmade to order in Poland, using unique laces, stunning design and fantastic attention to detail.
How do you select the right designers for your boutique and what do you look for in a collection?
Our main objective is to have a point of difference between each of the brands that we stock. We chose from collections that we adore and look for something out of the ordinary. We did our research and didn’t want to be one of those stores that has the same lace dress ten times over. The quality of our gowns is so important to us, we look for brands with super high standards and real identity for their brand as these designers produce fabulous collections season after season.
What trends are proving popular with your brides at the moment?
For us, classic silhouettes and fabrics are certainly on the rise! Our brides are loving crepes georgettes and Mikados at the moment with classic boat necklines and super detailed backs. We think there will be more of this in future collections with embellished details coming forward ahead of lace.
What preparation would you advise brides to do before visiting the boutique?
We advise ladies to take a look at the websites of the designers that our boutique stocks and screen shot or pin dresses that they love, we will then take a look at these with the bride when they arrive at our boutique and help them pick out the dresses in store. We also give our brides some advice around what to expect from their appointment with us i.e. how long it lasts, who to bring along, what underwear to wear. We find our brides really appreciate this bit of advice as it makes them feel more comfortable with the process before they get to us. Most brides find dress shopping a really daunting experience so being prepared really helps to calm the nerves!
What can brides expect from an appointment at Along Came Eve?
Firstly, all of our bridal appointments are completely private. When a bride arrives for her appointment she is welcomed to our boutique and then taken upstairs to our bridal showroom along with her friends and family. We will then talk the bride through the dresses and take a look at her inspiration photos pulling out any dresses she has highlighted (they can look very different on hanger in comparison to press shots). We make sure the bride is totally comfortable and knows how many dresses she will have time to try on during her appointment. We then leave the bride and her entourage to look through the dresses and make her choices returning within five minutes to take them through to our separate fitting room, where we fit the dresses in private and then the bride gets to make a grand entrance to her waiting party.
What size and price range of dresses do you stock?
Our samples range in size from an 8 to an 18 with the majority being a 12 or 14. Our prices range from £1,200 to £4,000.
Do you stock accessory ranges at the boutique?
We do, we have beautiful handmade tiaras and hair pieces from UK based Miranda Templeton and stunning veils from Nieve Couture with a bespoke veil service from Joyce Jackson. We also stock stunning silk flower crowns from UK based Frida Flower Crowns, faux fur accessories from Helen Moore and stunning hand painted, vegan-friendly biker jackets from Lucky Sew and Sew.
July 24th, 2018 | Julia Braime
Halfpenny London – Cheryl
We just love to work with suppliers who are evidently passionate about the world of weddings and the job they do within it – hence our excitement to introduce you to one of our newest Sponsors on the blog today, the wonderful Zoey Amitage, proud owner of White Closet Studios.
Located in a chic spot in Liverpool’s city centre, this friendly bridal boutique is beautiful both inside and out. Set within a beautiful Georgian house and stocking gowns by some of our very favourite designers, we can easily see why Zoey fell head over heels in love with it – just as you might well do.
Keen to help brides narrow down their search and find that one special dress, Zoey prides the boutique on its appointment-only approach, and its amazing collection of gowns, each chosen to offer something unique to the contemporary bride who craves a romantic yet individual look.
Designer images provided by White Closet Studios.
How did you become involved in the wedding industry and what led you to own a bridal boutique?
zoey says: It may sound clichéd but it has been a dream since I was little. Life has taken me along quite a different path, but the dream was always to work in bridal and now I am finally doing what I love. For months I had been looking for the perfect boutique to come along as I know that setting up from scratch can be extremely difficult and White Closet Studios was the second boutique I visited. After sitting there for five minutes I just fell in love with it and knew it was the right one for me (a little like finding the right husband!).
Where is your boutique located and how would you describe the look and feel of it?
Based on the iconic Rodney Street in Liverpool City Centre, we are a small but elegant studio, which seeks to create a calming and creative atmosphere for our brides. Being bijou certainly has its benefits, in that we are able to operate on an individual appointment only basis which means we devote our full attention to each bride who visits us.
Watters – Galatea
What designers do you stock and can you tell us a little about each one?
We are extremely fortunate to work with some of the most sought-after designers who all create unusual and romantic dresses for the contemporary bride.
Renowned for her relaxed bohemian styles and pioneering additions, we are extremely proud to stock London based designer Charlie Brear. Charlie’s dresses are beautiful enough to be worn on their own but by including additions a bride is given the freedom to celebrate her individual style by creating her own unique wedding dress.
We are equally as thrilled to work with British luxury bridal wear designer Halfpenny London, who offer the most beautiful elegant detailed designs which ooze glamour with a nod to a bygone era. With a distinctive couture look utilising the most exquisite fabrics and textures, Halfpenny London continue to push bridal wear boundaries.
Widely known for their elegant, refined and sophisticated lines the acclaimed Spanish designer Jesús Peiró provides our third collection. It is their philosophy of high quality which has this year seen the designer celebrate their 30th anniversary. Designed and manufactured entirely in Spain, Jesús Peiró gowns offer a twist on the traditional with touches of romanticism.
And for the bridal party we stock Rewritten bridesmaid dresses, which are simple, elegant and pretty damn cool!
How do you pick the right designers for the boutique and what do you think makes a good bridal collection?
We pride ourselves on offering something a little different and we are only able to do this by choosing the best designers who seek to break the mould when it comes to bridal wear. Of course, there will always be traditional styles, and Jesús Peiró are an example of this, but it is how our designers adapt these styles to create something unique that inspires our collection.
A good bridal collection should offer quality and diversity which is something we achieve with our contrasting designers. Moreover, it should be adaptable to allow brides to create something that is unique to them.
Watters – Brighton
What current trends are you seeing in bridal wear and can you forecast any future trends that will be coming through?
Lace remains hugely popular and we are continuing to see a rise in brides asking for mermaid styles.
We are however interested to see if the addition of black nuances, as noted on bridal catwalks recently, will prove popular, alongside the increasing number of bold applique designs.
What research or preparation would you advise brides to do before visiting the boutique?
We would advise brides to look at our website and research our designers before they come to see us. We love seeing everyone, but there is nothing worse than advising a bride that we do not stock the style of dress they have their heart set on and seeing their disappointment. Equally, if you have not tried any dresses on yet come with an open mind and try on something different, if nothing else this will enable you to narrow down your ideal silhouette very quickly.
My other little bit of advice is by all means look on Pinterest, but you cannot feel any genuine emotion until you try on a gown. It is this emotion that make the bridal shopping experience so special and cannot be replaced by online browsing.
Halfpenny London – Daisy
What can brides expect from an appointment at your boutique and how do you and your team help brides to find their dream dress?
As we operate on an individual appointment only basis each bride will have exclusive use of our boutique for the one-and-a-half-hour appointment. We wholeheartedly believe that bridal shopping should be an enjoyable, stress-free experience and our aim is to ensure that the whole bridal party are relaxed and enjoy their visit with us.
We are inspired by our bride’s sense of individuality and endeavour to find a dress that represents who they truly are without compromising on quality. Therefore, during the appointment, we will offer advice on shapes, fabrics, cuts and designers, in addition to offering accessory advice but we love hearing creative suggestions.
What size and price range of dresses do you stock?
The majority of our samples are size UK12, however we are very proud of our Capsule Curve Collection with samples sizes up to UK20. Many of our styles however can be made up to a size UK32.
Our bridal collections ranges from £1,500 to £3,000.
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.
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.
April 12th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Certain parings just work seamlessly: gin and tonic, sea salt and caramel, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Harry and Meghan – as well as our latest duo obsession: L.K.Bennett and Jenny Packham. That’s right ladies, the British luxury high-street brand and bridal designer extraordinaire have joined forces and talents to produce a mesmerising collection of bridal shoes that we guarantee will shoot straight to the top of your wedding attire wish list!
Quite literally a power coupling, the two parties possess all the necessary skills and vision to create the finest footwear that will take you from your ceremony to your celebrations, and beyond! Trust us when we say these designs are far too fabulous to only see the light of day once.
The collection combines the aesthetic of both Jenny Packham’s and L.K.Bennett’s designs, resulting in sixteen shoe styles that have been carefully thought out to deliver not only fashionable options, but also varying heel heights, colourways and fabrics. Better still, the collection includes four chic clutch bags – a bride needs a place to keep her lippy on her big day, right?
For us personally we are 100% starry eyed over the amazing Felicity though also adore the luxe appearance of more subtle styles, such as Brielle and Ellena. The whole collection is totally swoon-worthy though as you’re about to discover with the fabulous L.K.Bennett team taking hold of the blogging reins this morning to talk us through the heavenly collab step by step…
Can you tell us how the collaboration with renowned designer Jenny Packham came about and what you wanted the collection bring to the bridal fashion scene?
l.k. bennett say: It felt so natural to collaborate with Jenny Packham, an iconic British fashion brand that has become synonymous with red carpet elegance and luxurious bridal silhouettes. The combination of the Jenny Packham aesthetic with the timeless, distinctive handwriting of L.K.Bennett has led to a breathtakingly-beautiful collection of bridal bags and shoes; a collaboration that showcases a variety of styles and heel heights to suit traditional brides and modern romantics. L.K.Bennett x Jenny Packham brings choice, versatility and vintage-inspired elegance to the bridal scene; designs that can be worn for her big day and beyond.
What was the inspiration behind the collection?
Inspired by the leading ladies of the golden age of cinema, the collection fuses the mesmerising glamour of Old Hollywood icons Vivien Leigh and Bette Davis, with the vintage style of 1930’s Paris.
Can you give us an overview of the styles that make up the collection?
The collaboration showcases 16 bridal shoes and four bridal clutch bags. The Dahlia high sandal is dressed with a light-catching drop crystal ‘necklace’ reminiscent of Art Deco jewels, whilst the Felicity strappy sandal features sparkling stars that will add a statement touch to understated wedding dresses. The Fern satin court, embellished with delicate crystals, is a bridal take on our bestselling design, and the perfect partner to the co-ordinating Brigitte clutch bag.
And can you tell us a little about the detailing and fabrics?
We wanted to create a collection to suit all types of ceremonies, from relaxed surroundings to more traditional settings. With this in mind, L.K.Bennett x Jenny Packham features a variety of heel heights, from 100mm to 50mm and flat options. Every bride should look and feel amazing on her big day, and the Italian nappa leather, French lace and fine satin used within the collection reflects the desire for something extra special.
What type of bride would the collection appeal to?
There’s a style to suit every bride-to-be in our collaboration. Whether she considers herself to be a touch more traditional or a fashion-forward romantic, there’s something to please everyone.
Which shoe design out of the collection would you suggest for a bride wanting to make a statement?
Our show-stopping Dahlia sandals which are the epitome of high-octane glamour; created in the finest Italian nappa leather and indulgently designed jewels inspired by a bygone era.
And what shoe design would you suggest for a bride wanting to keep their look traditional and elegant?
The Brielle designed in sumptuous Italian nude satin – a stylish alternative to timeless white or ivory – it’s our contemporary take on the classic bridal sandal.
What would be your top tip to brides when choosing their shoes and accessories for their big day?
To think about their personal style and the venue when choosing the perfect bridal shoes and accessories. If you’re concerned about comfort, consider switching your shoes for a bridal block heel or dressy flat after the ceremony and in time for the first dance. The ‘finishing touches’ to your bridal look should complement your style and reflect your personality.
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!
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