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 18th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Richard and Francesca’s dreamy engagement atop an Italian castle inspired the rustic Italian theme for their glorious ‘back garden’ wedding in the height of the English summer. And, when you have a back garden like that of Francesca’s parents, there could be no finer place to pitch your yurt, scatter your hay bales and soak up the atmosphere to the chilled-out sound of a five-piece band in the sunshine!
A wedding sign proclaimed “Let us make our own fairy tale today” – and Richard and Francesca duly did. They even enjoyed a sprinkle of fairy godmother magic: Richard’s late grandmother spoke to them across the decades in a letter 30 years old and gifted Francesca a gorgeous diamond ring despite never having known her.
Wearing a stunning Jenny Packham gown, Francesca looked every inch the modern princess. We love the capped sleeve detail and beading that echoes a sunbeam pattern across the bodice – the perfect complement to a sunny June day. Apparently, Richard planned most of the big day by himself and we have to agree with his bride that he did a marvellous job #majorgroompoints
With images by Eyesome Photography.
francesca says: We got engaged in a small town called Calitri in southern Italy in August 2015. We were on holiday with my family and Richard arranged to have a tour of a castle in the town in the evening. What I didn’t know was that he planned the whole evening weeks in advance. He arranged for the castle to stay open after hours and for us to have a private tour. When we reached the top of the castle with views of the vineyards and open countryside, whilst the sun was setting I turned around from looking at the view and there he was, on one knee. As you can imagine I was shocked and taken back. Perfect proposal.
We got married on 3rd June 2017, in a very small local church in Copt Hewick, Ripon. The reception was in my parents’ garden, a short walk from the church. This was the home I grew up in, so I had always dreamt of this for my wedding day.
Our theme was Italian rustic. We chose this style because of where we got engaged and also because we have lots of family holidays across Italy every year and we love the food. We didn’t really have a colour scheme – just very rustic colours.
For my dress, I went to The Bridal Collection in Harrogate and chose a Jenny Packham gown. I tried it on and instantly knew it was the one. My shoes were Aquazzura and my veil was borrowed from a good friend.
Richard, the groomsmen and dads wore navy blue suits with light pink ties, which they hired from a local suit shop in Harrogate.
May 29th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 4th June 2018 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
The gorgeous couple we’re featuring today wanted a delicate colour scheme of nudes and neutrals in keeping with their elegant North Yorkshire venue, The Orangery, hence this dreamy palette of the palest of pinks, golds and lots of brilliant, bright white.
Having studied photography, bride Jennifer knew exactly what she wanted from her pictures and keeping everything clean and natural really did make the few splashes of bold colour – her scarlet lipstick, the rich blue of their wedding bicycle – ‘pop’.
This savvy pair made a few small-spend but big-impact decisions which we’re sure Brides Up North readers will adore: firstly, the 200-candle ‘Wall of Light’, which added a warm glow to their autumnal celebration and, secondly, two £8 confetti cannons. Just take a look at those first dance pictures – we’re simply in awe.
Elegance overload heading your way…
With images by John Hope Photography.
jennifer says: We got engaged during a late Valentine’s/birthday night away. We stayed in a cosy treehouse retreat in Yorkshire, which was lovely. Scott popped the question over a bottle of champagne in the treehouse surrounded by lots of photos of our best memories.
Our wedding was on 14th October 2017. We chose that time of the year as Scott is a professional cyclist and spends most of the year racing all over the world. October is his off season, i.e. our only opportunity to have a honeymoon without a bike in tow! Autumn is also our favourite time of the year and we were keen to have lots of autumnal colours in our photographs.
We got married at All Saints Church, Settrington, and our reception was held next door at The Orangery. We came across it while we were looking for videographers – we saw the venue on one of the films and immediately booked to go and have a look. As soon as we arrived and walked inside we knew it was the one for us! It’s set on a private estate, so we were guaranteed complete privacy and a personal service. They only hold around twelve weddings a year, which felt even more special. The Orangery is surrounded by trees and woodland which we knew would look fantastic in autumn and we liked the idea of being able to walk to the venue from the church. It really is the perfect setting!
Styling-wise, we wanted a light, modern feel to fit with The Orangery. We were after a light colour scheme without any strong colours and so we opted for white, pale pink and gold touches to complement the venue.
My dress was Dallas by Jenny Packham. I’d previously tried on lots of different dresses in a wide range of styles. I remember looking on the Jenny Packham website and seeing the Dallas gown and wanting to try it on – however, on my dress shopping weekend in London, I didn’t have the time. A few weeks passed and I’d almost confirmed an order for a Stewart Parvin at The Bridal Collection in Harrogate. I went to have a final try and they had just got the Dallas dress in stock. I tried it on and fell in love with it! It wasn’t what I’d originally imagined but I think a lot of women end up with a dress that’s different to what they thought they’d go for.
Scott wore navy blue tails with a grey waistcoat. He hired them from Youngs; there was an option to select a suit to try on at home which made the process very easy! The groomsmen also wore navy blue tails from Young’s online with a matching blue waistcoat.
April 13th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Luca Latrofa – Sassi Holford
You may recall from our social media feeds being flooded with catwalk shots and videos that we headed down to London a few weeks’ ago for the bridal fashion event of the year – The White Gallery. Combined with London Bridal Fashion week for the first time, the event was bigger than ever with a host of both British and international designers in attendance to showcase their new collections to bridal boutique owners and members of the press, like us!
As always, we were totally blown away by the designers’ stunning creations and their ability to reinvent what we know to be wedding dresses time and time again while also pushing bridal boundaries to incorporate more fashionable elements for full-on style, impact and individuality.
Whilst there we always love to catch up with the northern boutique owners that we work closely with on both Brides Up North and UNVEILED magazine. This includes fabulous bridal fashion guru Hayley Hoyle, who is the proud owner of Yorkshire-based boutiques, The Bridal Collection Harrogate and The Harrogate Wedding Lounge.
With an expert eye for what brides want in terms of style, fit and functionality, Hayley is 100% in the know when it comes to spotting the next big thing, and so we’ve invited her to the blog today to report on the collections that caught her attention at the latest White Gallery event so you lovely readers are well informed of the upcoming trends when setting out on your dream dress search.
Images provided by Hayley Hoyle unless credited.
Jenny Packham – Rosa
hayley says: Buying new collections is such a big and important part of our job in the bridal industry. Forward thinking stores use the opportunity as staff training and by way of ensuring stylists and seamstresses are invested in the product, the brands and as a way of introducing the team to emerging trends. I have always involved my team in the selection of our collections, it keeps our team at the top of their game, knowledgeable and enables them to provide an exceptional and authentic experience to our brides back in the boutiques.
A couple of weeks ago myself and a few team members went along to our biggest buying event of the year. London Bridal Fashion Week and The White Gallery, this year the shows occupied one space all together at Excel London and we also attended 2019 collection launches at The Ritz and Home House by both Jenny Packham and Suzanne Neville.
In my honest opinion there is very little out of fashion in bridal at the moment; as an industry very much focused on embracing your individual style and executing it perfectly. However, there are some notable trends emerging and staying put. Here’s our round up of the hot looks to watch out for in the coming season.
Suzanne Neville – Orianna
This season we are seeing a big emergence of the scoop neckline. We saw soft and flattering versions for designers such as Caroline Castigliano and Suzanne Neville finished with delicate lace shoulders or subtle shoe string straps. Keep your eye out for new dresses Sakura from Caroline Castigliano and Floriana from Suzanne Neville.
The plunge neckline is also here to stay. As brides are getting braver and designers getting more adept at pulling this look off with class and sophistication we will be seeing a lot more of this sexy statement look. Some of our favourites for this season is Rosa by Jenny Packham and Vivian from Sassi Holford.
March 14th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Quite simply, today’s wedding is all kinds of pretty. From the bride’s beautiful bespoke gown to the dreamiest of floral arrangements, complete with plush hydrangeas and peonies – there’s lots of wonderful ideas and special touches from Maria and Simon’s celebrations to pin away to your heart’s content.
But, before we can even gush about these details, we have to talk about the fact that Maria underwent spinal surgery in the lead up to the wedding. We think you’ll agree, this adds extra significance to their nuptials, and we’re delighted to hear that Maria had a speedy recovery that didn’t hinder plans for their big day.
And what a big day it was! Exchanging vows against the grandiose backdrop of Leeds Cathedral, Maria and Simon then went on to host their celebrations at luxury Harrogate hotel, Rudding Park, set in 300 acres of beautiful gardens and woodland. Maria’s Italian and Greek heritage influenced their overall theme for the day, too, with pretty olive branches, a lemon tree and even Greek dancing all bringing Mediterranean feels to the proceedings. Read on as Maria tells all…
With images by Paul Read Weddings.
maria says: We got engaged in August 2015, in Rome, at the beautiful Giardini degli Aranci (garden of oranges) with its stunning view of the city. We went just before sunset, and it was such a romantic setting. I really didn’t expect the proposal and after being there for a while, I asked when we could go for a Prosecco! It was then that Simon said it would be nice to take a seat on one of the benches further back from the wall.
Long story short, he said there was a reason he had brought me to the most beautiful secret spot in Rome, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Once I had stopped crying and said yes, we could hear applause from around the park – such a surreal moment but one we will never forget and that place will remain special for both of us forever.
My mum is Italian so I think Simon always knew he wanted to propose in Italy and it was a trip of a lifetime. We ate at a Michelin star restaurant afterwards but spent most of the evening on our phones telling our family and friends about the amazing news!
We tied the knot on Saturday 24th June 2017.We chose this date as it was 11 years to the day since we first started going out.
We got married at Leeds Cathedral, where I used to sing in the choir. I have also known the priest (now a Monsignor) since I was a child, so it was perfect that he conducted the service for us.
We then held the reception at Rudding Park in Harrogate, voted number one hotel in the UK by Trip Advisor for three years in a row. We knew immediately we wanted our wedding to be attended by all our friends and family, and had considered Amalfi (where my family heritage is from) but given difficulties with older family members being able to get there, we decided that there would be nowhere better than Yorkshire, especially given that I’m a Leeds girl and he’s a Wetherby boy.
We’ve both known Rudding Park for years and it was the perfect balance between city and country. The service at Rudding Park is exceptional and the new spa was going to open the year of our wedding – we just knew we were in safe hands. Plus, I have a pretty huge family and it is one of the few venues in Yorkshire that caters for more than120 people. It’s everything we wanted.
I had spinal surgery for scoliosis in November 2016 – it was a huge procedure but I bounced back within three months – just in time for my wonderful wedding dress to be measured and created. I had often been really paranoid about my waist and I am so lucky to have had this corrected before I walked down the aisle. It seemed a long journey back to health and I had three months off work, but that just left more time for wedmin to take my mind off things!
We didn’t have a theme in the beginning, but once I started my Pinterest obsession, I realised I kept pinning things that were tagged as “fine art”. I tried to bring in a bit of a Mediterranean theme, along with pastel colours to keep things understated and elegant. For example, the olive branches on the cake and the lemon tree in the middle of the main hall, the soft candles, soft blues and pale pinks, and the menu was very much inspired by my Italian and Greek heritage. There was so much food! There was also Greek dancing and a bit of Italian Vin Santo which added much more alcohol to proceedings!
With regards to the pastel colour scheme, I wanted pale pinks and blues with Mediterranean greenery as I thought they would stand the test of time when looking back at the photographs. I also love hydrangeas and peonies which helped guide the colour scheme, and indeed the month of June for the wedding, when peonies are available and in bloom.
February 14th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today on the blog, Jessica and Andrew share with us their quintessentially classic wedding at the captivating Rudding Park.
We adore the couple’s minimalist palette of rose gold, white and blush pink combined with an understated glamorous vibe, and as for Jessica’s Caroline Castigliano dress – you would never guess that she had such an arduous task in finding ‘the one’ as it is simply stunning.
Throw in some sparklers, fireworks, a seven-piece live band, plus face painting and soft play for he kids – and you have the most perfect wedding day for guests of all ages. Jessica tells us more…
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor York Place Studios
jessica says: We got engaged on the 1st March 2015, at Center Parcs in the Lake District. We took a family holiday to get over the winter blues and Andrew surprised me by proposing in the cabin. As he got down on one knee, it began to snow. The day after, we announced our engagement by writing it in the freshly fallen snow. For someone who likes to plan every tiny detail, I was amazed at how Andrew managed to keep the engagement a surprise from me; only my parents knew. Andrew had asked for my hand in marriage a few days prior to our trip.
We got married on 11th December 2016. From the offset we set our hearts on a winter wedding in England and knew we couldn’t guarantee the weather, even in the peak of summer. So we went for a day where the sun set at 3.30 pm and we could have pretty much the whole celebration with beautiful low lighting, creating a very intimate feel.
We chose Rudding Park in Harrogate as our venue. We wanted a location half way between East Yorkshire and Manchester, so started looking at the Leeds area. Nothing we came across had that “feeling” until we walked into Rudding Park. Not only did they make us feel like VIPs from the moment we stepped through the door, they treated Millie, my little girl, like a celebrity too and she loved it there. Millie is three, and not a lot of hotels with Rudding Park status accept children – not only did they accept her, they encouraged her play, her mischievousness and made her laugh every time we went across. Family to us in key and Rudding Park definitely has that family relaxed feel, in a 5 star luxurious environment.
We selected a colour scheme of gold, blush pink, white, rose gold, complimented by a glamorous feel with chandeliers and fairy lights. We wanted a theme that would bring the sparkle, to celebrate the time of year, but not make the wedding about Christmas. We also wanted the colours to look beautiful in the dim lights, so opted for soft pure colours mixed with sparkle and metallic.
My dream dress was a fitted, fishtail, lace gown with sleeves. When I tried on this gown I couldn’t believe how much I didn’t love it. I was really upset. I had to go back to basics and try on a lot of different shapes and then fell in love with a high waist, A-line gown.
I tried on many, but nothing felt like “the one”. As soon as we walked through the doors of The Bridal Collection in Harrogate, we fell in love. The shop itself is magical; I will remember the smell of the Jo Malone candles forever.
I tried on a range of Jenny Packham gowns, again I was disappointed that they didn’t suit my style. I decided to have a look at some of the other designers on the rack, and I noticed a dress hung up that was nothing like I had tried on before. My stomach literally got butterflies when I saw it! Boat neckline, dipped back (not too low), button fastening, high waistline, pencil pleats, cathedral train, A-line, plain, white beautiful gown… the Caroline Castigliano, Hepburn gown! As soon as I stepped into it, I cried. I felt like a bride and this was the gown I was going to marry my best friend in.
My bridesmaids wore a chiffon blush pink gown from ASOS. Meanwhile, the ushers, father of the bride, and father of the groom wore the same as Andrew.
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