Charlotte Balbier
Luxury Wedding Fairs

the big debate: high street vs designer

April 15th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Every couple is different when it comes to planning their wedding and every bride is different when it comes to picking their dress. There is no rule book to follow on how much the overall budget for the wedding should be, or how it is to be split between the different elements of the day. And while for some, the venue and food will be top of the list, for others it’s the honeymoon, entertainment or attire that gets the majority of the cash.

In terms of the bride’s spend on her dress it may be the case that she’s been saving on the side of the main budget to buy her dream dress, or that this is something her parents have said that they would like to contribute to. Whatever the case, the dress ‘allowance’ generally comes down to the bride’s mind-set: ‘you only do it once – spend on an amazing designer gown’ or ‘it’s only one day – save with a high street dress’.

So today on the blog we’re debating if ladies should be booking appointments at bridal boutiques filled with fabulous designer gowns once that ring is firmly on her finger, or if it’s worth giving the high street options a go for a pretty gown at the fraction of the price?

(All gowns pictured in post body by ASOS. This is not a sponsored post, we just think they are pretty!)

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rachel says: high street happy

Once upon a time I would never have suggested a bride look to the high street to find her wedding gown but now I would say it’s certainly worth considering.

We’ve seen the likes of BHS, Monsoon and Phase Eight releasing wedding dress collections (and making a good job of it too) and now more stores are jumping on the bridal bandwagon by launching their own big day collections – most recently fashion giants ASOS and H&M.

This means there is now more choice than ever for brides-to-be when it comes to selecting a gown at the lower end of the price scale, with high street designs starting from as little as £100 – leaving lots more in the spending pot for the shoes and accessories!

And just like the designers, the high street are taking notice of brides’ desire for individuality and so you won’t just find a one-style-suits-all approach within the collections. Instead there are options for the boho bride, the fashionista, the style statement maker and fans of vintage. Just this week Self-Portrait has launched its first bridal collection within selected Selfridge’s stores (and it includes some real beauties – some of which are shown in our Gallery below). With modern and rock n roll influences, the brand has created “a contemporary capsule of affordable, timeless wedding dresses for the ‘untraditional bride’”. Sounds good to me!

I’m also bowled over by Needle & Thread’s swoon-worthy bridal collection with dreamy designs varying from slinky floor-length gowns, to modern separates and mini dresses, not to mention ridiculously pretty tulle, almost ballerina, style creations.

One of the main reservations of buying bridal from the high street can be the thought of missing out on the boutique experience – and while having specialist on hand to help you pick a dream dress is a hugely valuable service – there’s nothing to stop you creating your own special shopping experience at home or on the high street. Either make a day out of it with your leading ladies, factoring in time for a lush lunch and a champagne stop (or two) on the agenda. Or, order online and invite your nearest and dearest to help you pick over an evening of fizz, canapes and cupcakes (surely that’s an ideal job to delegate to your bridesmaids). Who knows, you might even be able to afford to keep more than just the one dress!

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julia says: undoubtedly designer

We’ve featured all sorts of amazing frocks on these pretty pages, from vintage finds to high street bargains to couture masterpieces and the one thing that they had in common was that the bride felt like a million dollars in them and they all looked bloody beautiful.

I also think it’s wonderful that there is now a range of fashion forward options at varying price points for today’s bride and would never judge a friend for choosing a more affordable option, but would I pick up my wedding dress during a high street haul?  Not a chance!

I’ve been lucky enough to sit on the front row of some of the world’s most prestigious bridal events and work alongside some of the most talented designers in the business.  What makes these labels successful is the unbelievable attention to detail that they pay to every gown, every sequin and every client.

What makes these dresses worth saving for and spending on is the whole ‘dream dress’ experience.  It’s in the exciting trips to the boutique or atelier with your loved ones; the anticipation (and pop of Champagne) at every fitting; the rustle of tulle in a big, starched box; the million hand sewn pearl buttons; the bespoke accessories and additions and the perfectly steamed silk chiffon.

Not only that, it’s the exquisite fabrics, perfect cuts and delicate boning that nip, tuck, lift and skim in all the right places. These gowns really will make you look the best you ever have, and I think that’s worth paying for.

On your wedding day you want to feel special, beautiful, unique and individual, not just one of thousands of off the rail identikit Saturday shoppers.  Your wedding day fashion can be flash, but it should never be fast!

I love some of the most recent designs hitting the high street and featured here today, but I still wouldn’t give up the couture experience over bagging a stylish bargain.

To be honest, I’ve never seen a clearer cut need for a two dress wedding day… some of these numbers would look amazing on the dance floor!  Pass the credit card.

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what you said on social…

Elizabeth says: “I’ve dreamt of getting married since being a little girl and so have saved up for my dream dress. Going to the boutiques was an amazing and unforgettable experience so for me it would have to be designer every time!”

Jemma says: “We’re doing our wedding on a £4,000 budget (excluding the honeymoon) and so I’ve decided to buy from the high street. I’ve fallen in love with a lace Monsoon gown with scallop detail which is just under £300. I think it could be ‘the one’.”

Fay says: “I’ve already picked a designer gown and enjoyed every minute of the shopping experience. However it’s quite a voluminous dress and after recently seeing a real wedding on a blog where a bride chose a slim-line high street gown to change into for the evening do, I’m tempted to do the same.”

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Eye Candy: The “8” Bridal Collection

January 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime

The 8 Bridal Collection by Phase Eight

You all know I’m not afraid to champion a true High Street Honey when I find one, but there are high street success stories and then there’s this brand new “8” Bridal collection by Phase Eight, which has completely knocked my socks off.

The 8 Bridal Collection by Phase Eight

When it comes to “the gown” itself, I’m usually resolutely designer all the way.  But, girls, this lady might be for turning.  What do you think Brides Up North, does this stunning new collection make you think about buying (quelle horreur!) off the peg?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

And could I get away with the swishy number below at my baby girl’s christening?  No?  Bah.

Images supplied by Phase Eight, visit their website for more details. 

The 8 Bridal Collection by Phase Eight

Phase Eight say:  Our new vintage inspired collection matches exquisite detailing with a contemporary silhouette to offer feminine elegance and delicate charm.

Breathtaking beading and vintage inspired lace designs are expertly fitted with clever inner construction and dreamy tulle skirts for a truly ethereal feel whilst luxurious fabrics, intricate embroidery, floral appliqué and fringing add unique style to each individual shape. 

The 8 Bridal Collection by Phase Eight

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High Street Honey: Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

January 23rd, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Now you know that I’m a fan of the Great British High Street, particularly for it’s variety, fast fashions and amazing accessory options… but would I recommend buying your actual wedding dress from a high street label?  I’m not sure.  Its a total toss up between affordable, accessible designs and that whole once-in-a-lifetime boutique, bespoke experience.  Honestly?  If you can afford it, I’d generally opt for high end.

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Then these pictures landed in my inbox. I may well be swayed

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Coast and Monsoon are excellent at producing beautiful bridal collections that continue to fly off the pegs, and now I think they have found a major contender in Phase Eight, as they launch their stunning wedding collection (for brides and the bridal party) for 2013. 

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My opinion? Dreamy, daring, sexy and cool.  I’m dying to get down the shops and see how these beauties look in real life.

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(any excuse).  

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Phase Eight say: This season, Phase Eight’s enchanting wedding collection twists romantic, whimsical detailing with a modern silhouette, perfect for every fairytale romance.  Revisit a time when Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn were the style sweethearts of a nation, with vintage inspired full-length wedding dresses in duchesse satin and crepe de chine. Exquisite floral appliqué and pearl beading details adorn the bridal gowns adding a feminine elegance and delicate charm to the clean, fluid silhouettes.

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Wedding accessories are designed to enhance and complement each look, from satin peep toe shoes and dainty clutch bags to pearl encrusted fascinators and silk corsages. Beautifully coordinating feather boleros in pretty neutrals add the perfect finishing touch to your bridal style.

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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This season Phase Eight also offers a delectable collection of gorgeous bridesmaid dresses in divine colours and flattering shapes. Fabulously feminine dresses featuring pretty bows and full skirts emanate an air of timeless elegance, whilst breathtaking full length maxi dresses exude luxury and glamour. Whatever bridal theme you have chosen for your special day, Phase Eight will have a dress to please even the fussiest of bridesmaids!

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Phase Eight Wedding Dress Collection 2013

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Simply browse the bridal collection online, and call 0207 471 4422 to have them delivered to your nearest Phase Eight store to try on at your leisure! There is no charge for this service, so the only difficult part is deciding which dress to choose for your big day. Or Brides-to-be can simply order online at www.phase-eight.co.uk. Wedding dresses are available in size 6 to size 20.

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  – Images © 2013 Phase Eight

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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High Street Honey: Monsoon Bridal Spring/Summer 2012

April 9th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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So.  We knew that Monsoon was a total bridal high street honey already right?  I mean: perfect shrugs, great bridesmaid options, darling flower girl frocks and the perfect honeymoon flips.  Duh!

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But who knew that their Spring/ Summer 2012 bridal collection would be this good?  If you are looking for a pretty yet relaxed take on bridal style (perhaps with a dash of whimsy?) then Monsoon should be your first stop. 

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The coolest chicks will rock their Wordsworth frock to their secret walled garden wedding, sip Caipharinias in their Blake gown following their oceanfront ceremony or say I do in Claire before throwing on a leather, hopping on the back of the new hubby’s motorbike and heading off into the sunset. 

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What you save on the frock, spend on the party.

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Oh and Etienne?  Get in my wardrobe.  Now!

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Monsoon Claire    Monsoon Claire

Claire £110

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Monsoon Bluebell    Monsoon Bluebell

Bluebell £230

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Monsoon Austen    Monsoon Austen

Austen £225

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Monsoon Wyatt    Monsoon Wyatt

Wyatt £250

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Monsoon Cadogan    Monsoon Cadogan

Cadogan £110

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Monsoon Waterlily    Monsoon Waterlily

Waterlily £200

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Monsoon Wordsworth    Monsoon Wordsworth

Wordsworth £300

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Monsoon Blake    Monsoon Blake

Blake £275

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Monsoon Orwell    Monsoon Orwell

Orwell £240

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Monsoon Etienne    Monsoon Etienne

Etienne £150

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Monsoon Alara    Monsoon Alara

Alara £190

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All prices were correct at the time of publishing

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  – Images © 2012 Monsoon 

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Wham Bam, Thank You Ma’am! More High Street Hotness From Coast’s Fabulous Bridal Collection!

March 15th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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A couple of month’s ago I reported that all things bridal over at high street favourite Coast were looking hot, didn’t I?  Well, those oh so clever high street honeys have been at it again, by adding not one, not two but ten fabulous new wedding ready gowns to their bridal collection.  I really believe that affordable bridal glamour has never looked so good. 

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Here are my top picks. Dive right in, just click the links!

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Coast Persephone 1 

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Persephone £450

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Coast Persephone 2

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Coast Venetia 1

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Venetia £395

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Coast Venetia 2

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Coast Angelique 1

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Angelique £495

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Coast Angelique 2

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Coast Avalana 1

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Avalana £450

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Coast Avalana 2

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Coast Vecaria 1

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Vecaria £295

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Coast Vecaria 2

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Coast Lavinia 1

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Lavinia £550

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Coast Lavinia 2

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Coast Mimosa 1

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Mimosa £450

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Coast Mimosa 2

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See the rest of the collection featured earlier in the year on this wedding blog by clicking here

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  – Images © 2012 Coast

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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High Street Honey: OMG. The New Bridal Collection By Coast Is To Die For!

January 28th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Oh my goodness.  It was a fairly standard recce of the internets this week, just seeing what had come into my favourite high street stores by way of bridal beauties, when BAM!  Gold was struck.  And shrieks of excitement were heard (!)

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Coast are fairly consistent when it comes to producing affordable, well cut, wedding-y fashion, but OMG, this season they have hit the nail right on the head. 

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Enough exclamations of wonderment!  See for yourself.  Note the screen siren influences (Monroe and Angelina), and more than a hint of the Princess Catherines (see Cora and Aston)… LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

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Click the image to go there. 

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Coast Angelina

Angelina

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Coast Cora

Cora

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Coast Darling

Darling

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Coast Aston

Aston

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Coast Hartley

Hartley

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Coast Analie

Analie

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Coast Monroe

Monroe

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Coast Miasara

Miasara

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About time I turned off this laptop.  And perhaps went shopping. 

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  – Images © 2012 Coast

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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