April 15th, 2016 | Julia Braime
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!)
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!
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.
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.”
April 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Fairy-tale weddings don’t come much more magical than today’s big day celebrations.
From Maria and Tommy’s choice of wedding venue and pretty pink colour scheme, through to their Disney inspired cake and the bride’s sparkling princess style dress, today’s real wedding could be taken straight from the pages of a story book.
So let us start at the beginning. Once upon a time…
With images by Zen Photographic.
maria says: We got engaged outside the Abbey in Bath. We were celebrating our two-year anniversary and Bath is one of our favourite cities in the UK. Tommy got down on one knee in front of Bath Abbey as it is a really spectacular landmark, especially when it’s all lit up at night. It was in the evening and it was February so it was quite dark and no one was around – it was just us, so it felt really special. I was so shocked I didn’t actually say anything! We celebrated later on with vodka instead of champagne because I’m allergic to wine!
We got married on Saturday 14th March 2015. We chose this date because we wanted a spring wedding and the date was close to our original anniversary. Because you can’t guarantee the weather in the UK, we knew that booking it in March meant we would be totally prepared for the cold, wind, rain or even snow! We would have been heartbroken if we’d booked an August wedding and it had been a rainy day, so at least this way we were prepared for all eventualities.
We got married at St Helen’s Church in Tarporley and then had our drinks reception, wedding breakfast and evening reception at Peckforton Castle. It was important to us both and our families that we get married in a church and St Helen’s is a beautiful church nearby to Peckforton Castle, which made it an ideal choice. We chose Peckforton because it was by far the most stunning and impressive venue we went to see. We both fell in love with it immediately and, when we took my mum and sister back to see it, they agreed it was perfect. It was a dream fairy-tale castle.
We didn’t really have a theme to begin with, we just wanted things which were ‘us’. However, it soon turned into a bit of a fairy-tale theme because of the castle venue. We designed our own invitations, our sister-in-law made an amazing Rapunzel castle cake and our first dance was to Love in an Open Door from Frozen. Also, my dress was from Alfred Angelo’s Disney range!
Alfred Angelo, beryl cotton weddings, brides up north featured supplier, craig owen, jimmy choo, limos north west, love gets sweeter, monsoon, nikkis floral occasions, peckforton castle, picture booth, real wedding, st helens church, ted baker, uk wedding blog, virgin holidays, wedding photographer, zen photographic
March 11th, 2016 | Julia Braime
We may have mentioned just one or two times before that here at Brides Up North HQ, we absolutely LOVE Christmas. It will therefore come as no surprise that we are big fans of festive weddings – I mean, why not hold you big day at a time of year when people are already in high spirits and give friends and family yet another reason to raise a glass of champers?
Today’s real wedding couple did just that, hosting their wedding at the lovely Eaves Hall on the 21st December. To get their celebrations off to a fabulous start, the bride, groom and their guests enjoyed a pre-Christmas party, complete with carol singing (how perfect?), before the main event got underway.
We love the simple midnight blue and ivory colour scheme with red berry pops, as well as the elegant floral and table displays of thistles, roses and pine cones.
So join us as we rewind the clock to the most wonderful time of the year…
With images by Stella Photography.
anna says: We got engaged at Valley Gardens in Harrogate. The first weekend that we met, we went for a walk through the park and woods in there and then Dan took me back there for a walk one Saturday morning and proposed. It was very romantic! I was in complete shock as I really wasn’t expecting it at all. He had also planned a surprise stay at The Feversham Arms in Helmsley, where we celebrated with champagne in the spa!
We set the date for 21st December. We wanted to get married around Christmas time and getting married just before Christmas seemed like the perfect way to start off the celebrations and festivities.
Our chosen venue was Eaves Hall. It’s gorgeous and was the perfect location for our big Christmas wedding party. We hired out the whole venue for two days (day before and day of the wedding) and all the family were able to stay in the same place so it felt like our ‘home’. The night before the wedding we had a meal and had organised for a pianist to come and play carols and Christmas songs so we could have a ‘sing song’ around the grand piano. This was amazing and really got everyone in the mood for Christmas and to party!
February 18th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
We just love a bride that embraces her inner princess on her wedding day! This afternoon’s bride Emma did just that, picking a sparkling, full skirted dress and full length veil for her attire, whilst adding many more regal touches to her and Adam’s special day, during the planning process.
Taking place at the gorgeous Black Swan hotel in Helmsley, we were immediately impressed when this beautiful wedding landed in the Brides Up North inbox, but what made it all the more impressive was that Emma and Adam had organised their big day in little over two months! Perhaps they’ve missed their calling as wedding planners?!
With images by Photography34.
emma says: We got engaged on 12th March 2015. Adam brought me breakfast in bed – complete with a ring and a note saying “Marry Me”.
We set the date for 16th May 2015, giving us just over nine weeks to organise it all! I was really keen to have our photographer and he only had two available Saturdays in the year. It also just so happened that our chosen venues were both available on 16th May too – like it was meant to be!
Our ceremony was held at Stockton-on-the-Forest Church – a church with strong connections with my family and I also grew up in a nearby village and went to school there too. We then went on to The Black Swan, in Helmsley, for the reception. Again, I had connections to Helmsley through a family friend and often went there as a child. The Black Swan is a gorgeous hotel in a beautiful, picturesque town – what’s not to love?!
We decided not to have a theme and instead settled on a simple and elegant colour scheme of navy and ivory.
bhs, brides up north featured supplier, celebrate country cake design, confetti, deans garden centre, debenhams, h&m, hayley parker, monsoon, north yorkshire wedding venue, photography34, propose to invite, real wedding, sugar beach resort, swarovski, the black swan helmsley, the topiary tree florist, the yorkshire wedding car company, uk wedding blog, yorkshire wedding
February 15th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Before we start today’s post we must warn that it may cause serve weakness of the knees.
Florence and Stephen’s wedding takes place at what we believe is one of the most stunning wedding venues in the North, not only that, but it was held during one of our favourite months of the year, and it features our top hues of pale pink and elegant gold.
As a real family occasion with the bride and groom’s children fully involved, this is a wedding day that really is beautiful through and through.
We could seriously swoon over this one all day, but instead of rabbiting on we’ll let you see the pretty for yourselves – just make sure you’re sitting down first!
With images by Nicola Helen Photography.
florence says: We got engaged in 2012 at Matfen Hall Hotel in Northumberland. We had been together a few years and I was expecting our son, Hugo. I was quite pregnant by this point and feeling tired. Stephen surprised me with a night away so we headed to Matfen and just spent the afternoon relaxing. He had booked the most expensive room in the hotel and I still had no idea. Just before we headed down to supper, he proposed in the window, overlooking the beautiful grounds. It was all quite relaxed. We ate in the Library Dining Room quite quietly excited to know we were finally going to get married!
Our wedding was on 31st October 2015, yes, Halloween! It most certainly was not a themed wedding, though there was a nod to the day with pumpkins scattered here and there. October is my favourite month and it was the last Saturday the venue had available – so we just went with it and now quite enjoy the looks on people’s faces when we tell them the date.
We initially wanted a venue that was very quiet and intimate, our local village hall perhaps. But we had fallen in love with a property in Lartington and knowing that we would be spending the rest of our lives there, we thought it would be wonderful to be able to tell the children that we were married locally.
Once we viewed Lartington Hall in Teesdale, we knew it was something special. My family are from Barnard Castle and my parents had stories about the Hall from years gone by. It just felt right. Once the hall was booked, things grew from there.
February 8th, 2016 | Julia Braime
This feature comes to you a little later as normal as we’re working hard behind the scenes here at Brides Up North HQ, right on deadline for issue #05 of our beautiful Unveiled Magazine. I always love this last push, bringing together everything that we’ve been working on for so long, and I’ve got my Editor’s hat firmly on. Anna Wintour, I salute you! The industry support for this issue has been phenomenal and we can’t wait to show you all what we’ve been up to for the past six months, so watch this space!
Now, everyone needs a little pretty on a Monday morning (us more than ever right now #sleepdeprived) and as such we’re sharing with you the wonderful wedding of Sami and Matt.
We love the simplicity of this relaxed big day which resulted in a beautiful and fun filled occasion, evident from the abundance of smiles in the images below.
It’s also a lovely tribute to her ‘Gramps’ that Sami built in so many little memories of a family member who was clearly very dear to her in a subtle yet moving way.
With images by Hayley Blackledge Photography.
sami says: We first got together on a night out on St Patrick’s Day, so seven years later in 2013, Matt took me to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day and proposed outside St Patrick’s Cathedral
We set the date for 12th September 2015, it was my Gramps birthday. He meant the world to me, but sadly died just before we got engaged.
Our ceremony was at Victoria Gallery and Museum (VGM) in Liverpool, and the reception was at Crosby Hall Educational Trust Centre (CHET). We choose these as they were both unique venues and different from each other. Neither of us are originally from Liverpool so we wanted to show off the amazing buildings and sights the city has to offer. The VGM is a very old building in the city centre, and CHET centre is a bit like a converted barn on the outskirts, five minutes from where we now live.
There was no particular theme to the wedding, though we made all the decorations. The table names were named after cities we’ve visited and we decorated the seating plan using bits that we’d picked up while we were in those cities.
We chose green as the colour scheme as it’s my favourite colour, and also the favourite colour of my Gramps.
beetles about, cosby hall educational trust centre, florettes florist, green wedding, hayley blackledge photography, liverpool wedding, monsoon, naggie sottero, north wedding, real wedding, relaxed wedding, rocks for frocks, slaters, soso choir, tapas tapas, tiger makeup and capaldi hair, tilley mint, uk wedding blog, ukebox, victoria gallery and museum, vivienne westwood, words to glow
Subscribe to receive Brides Up North e-shots, our newletters and notifications of events, giveaways and offers
We strive to represent the very best in our industry, but Brides Up North cannot be held liable for the products/ services of our sponsors. Any bookings are made at your own risk. Terms & Conditions.
All images © Brides Up North/ original author. Images should not be reproduced without written permission. Terms & Conditions.