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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!

Caroline Castigliano_Porcelain

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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medieval magic. a romantic winter wedding at the priests house – victoria & matthew

May 11th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Barden Tower (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (35)

The atmospheric venue where today’s real wedding between Victoria and Matthew takes place, is set against the resplendent backdrop of 13th century Barden Tower, nestled in the glorious Yorkshire Dales landscape. With open log fires, candlelight and dark oak beamed ceilings, it was the perfect place for Victoria and Matthew to exchange their vows on a cool January day.

Wearing a gorgeous Justin Alexander dress with illusion sleeves and a full skirt, Victoria married Matthew on her late father’s birthday, to create new and wonderful memories of that date. With their young son William in attendance, dressed in an adorable combination of waistcoat, smart trousers and white converse trainers, this family affair was brimming with love and happiness!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lloyd Clarke Photography.

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Barden Tower (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (15)

victoria says: We got engaged at Bamburgh Castle. We were away on a family holiday for my mum’s birthday and visiting the castle. Matthew proposed in front of all my family (and everyone visiting Bamburgh Castle at that time!) so I quickly said yes to stop everyone looking!

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Barden Tower (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (31)

We got married on 5th January 2018. We chose this date as it is my late father’s birthday. We had both always wanted a winter wedding and decided it would be good to make a nice memory on my dad’s birthday. We also managed to spread out Christmas a little longer than usual!

We got married at The Priests House right next to Bolton Abbey. We fell in love with this venue the moment we saw it and knew we had to get married there. The venue has the most beautiful surroundings whatever the weather, which was important to us considering the high chances of getting married on a wet and windy day.

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Barden Tower (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (38)

We loved our venue. They took the stress out of a lot of the day and definitely knew what they were doing. They weren’t afraid to let us know if they thought one of our ideas wouldn’t work and also suggested things they thought we would like. They didn’t complain when I started emailing them a lot in the run-up to the wedding and nothing seemed too much bother. All our wedding guests complimented us on our venue and how stunning it was. We couldn’t have chosen anywhere much prettier.

We had a rustic wedding theme to match the wedding venue. For our colour scheme, we chose red and white and complemented this with lots of rustic/wooden decorations. We worked backwards with the colour scheme for the wedding as the bridesmaid’s dress had been chosen before a colour scheme, so we matched our colour scheme to the dress.

A Romantic Winter Wedding at Barden Tower (c) Lloyd Clarke Photography (43)

I chose an A-line wedding dress by Justin Alexander from the Sweetheart Collection. I got it from The Bridal Affair in Boroughbridge, after a friend had recommended them. It wasn’t the dress I originally thought I would get but as soon as I tried it on I didn’t want to take it off.

My bridesmaid wore the same dress I had worn as a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding. My niece, who was my only bridesmaid, had asked if she could wear it as she really liked it.

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falling for film: cine reportage

May 9th, 2018 | Julia Braime

CINE REPORTAGE (5)

Pure, simple and spellbindingly beautiful is how we would describe the stunning work of our fabulous Sponsor Cine Reportage, with whom we are catching up with on the blog today.

A wedding videographer with a difference, William who owns the business captures a couple’s big day on real film using Super 8 and 16mm cameras. The outcome? Utterly gorgeous footage with a charming, nostalgic grainy edge which only further boosts the romantic feels.

Having covered varying styles of weddings across the UK and overseas, William is now keen to shoot some celebrations closer to his home in rural West Yorkshire having recently become a dad to baby son Percy (talk about a cute name!) As such, William is offering a £150 discount for weddings within a 75-mile drive of Holmfirth – so be sure to get on Google maps to see if you fall into said radius for a little extra saving!

But for now, join us as we take a look at William’s incredible work – be warned, this could trigger an emotional tear or two!

Ciné Reportage – Super 8 & 16mm Wedding Films from Cine Reportage on Vimeo.

Images by Zara of Ginger Veil.

Can you tell us a little about your style of videography and why you think it’s so important for weddings to be captured on film?

william says: We love the photos of our wedding, but every year on our anniversary it’s our wedding film that we watch. It transports us back to the day, the place and the people in a way that photos can’t. I love it more every year and I look younger and slimmer every year!

What would you say to camera-shy couples who feel that having a videographer present on their wedding day would make them nervous?

I shoot as unobtrusively as possible and a lot of the time you won’t even know you’re on camera. It’s worth remembering that the film won’t just be about you; you’ll be surrounded by your favourite people and they’ll all be there to celebrate your love – it’s worth recording!

What is it that couples love about your approach and particular style of videography?

Unlike almost any other wedding filmmakers, we shoot on real film. It’s more romantic, more beautiful and more permanent than digital mediums. The films we make are fairly simple, and free from gimmicky production. We just record the day, as it happens, in a beautiful way. It’s not for everyone, but people that get it, love it.

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What have you been up to since we last spoke to you? Where have you been shooting and what styles of weddings have you captured?

I’ve shot a crazy variety of weddings since we were last in touch – from fields, to beaches, to a private chateau in the South of France. The most unusual was a 1940s themed wedding at a 1940s weekend in Sheringham, Norfolk. The whole town dressed up and I shot it entirely in grainy black and white film with a period soundtrack.

You’ve just launched your new website. What’s changed and what can couples see on there?

Our new website is simpler and has more films on it than the last one; it’s easier to show you what we do than to talk on about how we do it. I’m going to add a blog page on there too – I’ve just got to find the time to write some posts!

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What was your highlight of 2017 and what are you most looking forward to this year?

My highlight of the year was the arrival of Percy, our son. With him around I’m really keen to do more local work so that we can enjoy more time together.

If you could shoot a celebrity’s wedding whose would it be and why?

Hmm, that’s tricky! Maybe Martin Freeman. I just watched the first series of Fargo on Netfilx and he’s awesome in it. And my wife once saw him taking his mum to tea at Ladurée in Paris, which make me think he’s a good egg. I’ve no idea if he has any plans to get married. Otherwise maybe a great designer, director, photographer, or artist – it’s always a massive compliment when you’re asked to work for someone whose work you love.

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Is there anywhere in particular you would love the opportunity to shoot, that you’ve not yet visited, or an area you enjoying shooting that you would like to shoot in more often?

I live in Holmfirth, on the edge of the Peak District. It’s an incredibly beautiful part of the world and I’d love shoot some weddings around here. There’s a vineyard just up the hill from our house – the view from there is immense and the wine is pretty good too! I’d love to shoot a wedding there.

Can you give us an idea on price/packages and are you able to offer our readers a special discount?

Our prices usually start from £1,650, but for 2018-2019 I’m offering a £150 discount for weddings within a 75-mile drive of Holmfirth. With a young family, it’s becoming more important for me to spend time at home and living in such a beautiful part of the country it seems a shame not to do more, more locally.

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life thru a lens: kristian leven photography

May 8th, 2018 | Julia Braime

Kristian Leven (1)

If there’s one element of our job that we adore, it’s getting lost in the beauty of couples’ wedding images with some photographers able to make us feel that we were actually present at the celebrations for ourselves as we share in the emotions. One such professional who embodies this skill is our wonderful Sponsor, Kristian Leven.

With a true passion for documenting weddings, Kristian likes to blend into the background and capture the magic as it happens, framing not only the connection between the newlyweds but also the emotions and reactions of their guests resulting in a set of truly special images.

He promises that his photos have the power to transport his couples back to that treasured moment in time and looking at his work here, it’s clear to see that he is a man of his word.

So, let’s find out what makes this fine photographer tick while viewing some more of his fabulous imagery…

With images by Kristian Leven.

Kristian Leven (16)

When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?

kristian says: Eight years ago now! For me it was an opportunity to do something I love, but also in a style I enjoyed. I was very fortunate to start at a time when documentary wedding photography was really taking off.

How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?

I’m all about creating very natural and emotive imagery. I just let everyone enjoy their day, but behind my calm exterior I’m constantly looking and observing for moments, and quirks, and things that a lot of people would not ordinarily notice.

Kristian Leven (23)

What is it that you love most about your job?

Probably the email I receive after the couple have seen their wedding gallery for the first time. I put so much work and effort into this, so it’s incredibly special to then to hear how much the pictures mean to them.

In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?

Sounds a little obvious, but the photography! There are so many different styles of wedding photography now – some photographer’s concentrate on the details, or the bride and groom portraits – so they need to ask themselves, what do I really want? If it’s to spend as much time with their family and friends and to have the relationship between them captured, then I’m your guy!

Kristian Leven (22)

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

Being able to see things differently to other photographers and capturing those moments in a unique way.

What is the feedback like from your couples?

I received this recently, and it blows me away every time I read it:

“I spent the day yesterday waiting eagerly for these and when they arrived I had to pause Eastenders and settle down with Corey and a glass of wine to look at them and we were still viewing them come midnight. We both felt so emotional; you managed to transport us straight back to the day with the power of your imagery. We never imagined our photos would be anything like that. They make us laugh, cry and smile, and we love EVERY single one of them. We cannot thank you enough, we wanted timeless photos to last us a lifetime and that is exactly what you provided. You listened to us and made us feel so relaxed on the day, we both agreed that we didnt even know youd taken the majority of these pictures and we love how natural they all are, and the emotion and personality each photograph conveys. We would recommend you a hundred times over and if we are ever in need of photography again, we know who to call.”

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Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?

To be honest I love the reception, as that’s the part I can get stuck into, and capture the really original stuff. Plus, people are relaxed then, and can let their guard down, which results in some great moments.

What area do you cover and is there somewhere in particular that you would love to shoot a wedding that youve not yet had the opportunity to do?

Originally all my weddings were in London or the South East, but since my referral network has grown, I travel all over the UK, and internationally now. I had two places I really wanted to shoot, the Big Sur and the Amalfi Coast, and in 2016 my dream came true.

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venue hunter: gibbon bridge hotel, lancashire

May 4th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Lottie Designs

The setting of your big day has to be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during the planning process and so it’s worth taking the time to thoroughly do your research and scope out all of the options available. Keen to assist in your search, we’re bringing you details of another stellar venue in the north of the UK, our brand new Sponsor Gibbon Bridge Hotel.

Situated in Chipping in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire – an Area of Outstanding National Beauty – this family owned venue offers couples elegance, class and quality for their big day celebrations. With a choice of beautiful ceremony spaces both inside and out, brides and grooms can tailor their day to their exact requirements, working with the venue’s friendly team and experienced head chef.

Personal and punctual, the Gibbon Bridge team pride themselves on providing excellent attention to detail, and the venue’s exclusive-use policy means only one wedding takes place at the hotel per day, resulting in the staffs’ undivided attention from beginning to end.

Sounds perfect right?! For those of you eager to find out more we’re chatting more to the team about Gibbon Bridge’s spectacular wedding offering, plus the venue has a Wedding Open Evening coming up on Wednesday 6th June, from 5pm to 8pm, when you can go along and view this beautiful building for yourselves.

Images as credited or provided by Gibbon Bridge.

John Francis Photography (2)

John Francis Photography

Can you tell us a little about the history of the venue?

gibbon bridge say: Originally a family farm, Janet Simpson (the owner) and her mother created Gibbon Bridge in 1982. The hotel has developed over the years and now has 23 acres of beautiful award-winning gardens, a large elegant bar with dining rooms overlooking the terrace and gardens, as well as 30 unique and comfortably appointed bedrooms. Janet is still hands on and offers a personal service with a management team who have been with her since the early days. All the food is freshly cooked and sourced locally, whether from the kitchen gardens or local suppliers.

How would you describe the look and feel of the venue?

Gibbon Bridge is a warm friendly place with stunning gardens, an amazing view and an individual, eclectic but comfortable style.

Kerry Woods Photography

Kerry Woods Photography

Can you tell us about the ceremony and reception areas and how many guests the venue can cater for? 

From April to September, weather permitting, civil ceremonies take place outdoors in the Bandstand. The Bandstand is sheltered by trees and surrounded by beautiful gardens, which can then be enjoyed for the rest of the day. Drinks are served on the terrace adjoining the Conservatory; a room with a view and doors that open to let the outside in. Should rain prevail, and during the winter months, the Orangery is available for ceremonies. Light and airy with its unique pillars and glass collection, it is a beautiful and elegant alternative to the Bandstand. Gibbon Bridge can cater for weddings of up to 200 guests for the wedding breakfast, with additional evening guests, as well as smaller, more intimate weddings.  No number is too small.

What makes Gibbon Bridge a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?

The personal service and attention to detail that Janet and her team offer, as well as its individuality, beautiful gardens and setting. We will only ever hold one wedding a day so couples can rest assure that they are our sole focus.

Lottie Designs

What sort of bride would be a Gibbon Bridge bride?

A happy bride!

How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?

Your wedding day is as important to Janet and her team as it is to you. The team’s experience and attention to the details of your wedding will ensure that it is a day never to be forgotten.

Mark Tattersall Photography (4)

Mark Tattersall Photography

Can you tell us about the accommodation at the venue?

The hotel has 30 bedrooms including the bridal suite.  The rooms are spacious and individually furnished.

Tell us about your catering services and what makes them special? 

Janet and the head chef, Gary, who has been with her for 22 years, have created the menus especially for you and your guests using local produce.  The food is always freshly prepared and cooked on the day to meet your timetable and to ensure it is served hot. However, we are always happy to discuss alternative dishes and menus to suit your tastes.

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blissed out bride: titanic hotel liverpool

May 3rd, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Titanic Hotel Liverpool (13)

What are the necessary requirements for chilled out girly trip? For us it has to be comforting and stylish surroundings, delicious food, one or two glasses (ok, bottles) of wine and, of course, access to some pampering facilities. We were therefore delighted to be invited for an overnight stay at our fabulous Sponsor venue, the stunning Titanic Hotel Liverpool, last month, which offers all this – and a whole lot more!

Titanic Hotel Liverpool (4)

Given it’s uber cool location at Stanley Docks, the gorgeous boutique style hotel offers a tranquil haven away from the immediate buzz of Liverpool’s city centre but is just a few minutes’ cab ride away should you want to mix some city, culture and bar hopping into your escape.

Perfect for a pre-wedding getaway, perhaps to shop for the last minute big day bits with your other half, or an indulgent girls-only get away with your mum, sister or bezzie – or get all in tow for a sophisticated hen do – the Titanic houses a contemporary bar, restaurant and accommodation all under one roof, plus its Maya Blue Wellbeing, complete with fitness, pool and treatment areas. Oh, and did we mention they do weddings? But more on that later.

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For now, let’s fill you in on our experience of this dreamy hotel. Arriving mid-morning we checked in and took a seat in the impressive Rum Bar lounge, with original exposed brick and large steel pillars mixed in with modern décor and soft furnishings giving a New York loft apartment vibe, which is echoed through all areas of the hotel. As a nod to its rum warehouse heritage and location on the docks, the spirit is the tipple of choice at the Titanic, though at 11am we felt it a little too early to start on the alcohol, and so settled in with a large latte as we took in the surroundings before being given a full tour and rundown of the hotel’s facilities.

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In the midst of a hectic but truly epic wedding fair season (don’t forget it’s our annual WEDSTOCK’18 Wedding Show in Harrogate this Sunday, 6th May) we decided to make our trip one of relaxation, enjoying some much-needed magazine time and a visit to the Maya Blue Wellbeing. As mentioned, those visiting could easily venture into the city centre during their stay, where there are shops, museums, tourist attractions, bars, cafes and restaurants galore.

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We broke up our day with lunch in the bar area before checking out our spectacular accommodation. Boasting 153 rooms in total, the options range from classic double rooms to superior and presidential suites. All are light, airy and spacious, with rich furnishings and luxurious bathrooms.

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