October 11th, 2018 | Julia Braime
We’re so excited to return as the official blogger for The National Wedding Show at Manchester Central from Saturday 27th to Sunday 28th October 2018!
I’ll be on site at the event, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming like mad (from a front row seat at the designer catwalk no less) and trying to meet as many of you lovely brides to be as possible.
Joining me this autumn will be over 200 of the most trusted suppliers from Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and Liverpool. I always love it when the suppliers have gone that extra mile, be it in the visual styling of their stand, the experience that they are offering to their customers or their beautiful products. Having checked out the exhibitor line up for this event, it’s going to be a gorgeous one!
And no wedding show is complete without a bit of dress shopping, is it? We’ll be immersing ourselves in clouds of lace and tulle as we check out the Catwalk Show to see what our favourite bridal boutiques and designers have to offer for the season ahead.
The best boutiques in the North West will be on hand to help you find the best type and fit of dress for you and your whole wedding party. The Catwalk brings the latest looks for brides and bridesmaidsto life in a fabulous show that takes place four times a day at the National Wedding Show Manchester. Watch out for dream dresses by Berketex, Ladybird, Oriental Pearl, Willow Bride, White Gallery, Diane Harbridge, Wedding Style Collective and The Confetti Box!
Whilst the bridal dresses are the obvious showstoppers, you’ll also see beautiful make-up looks by Lancôme, a variety of on-trend hairstyles from Anna Sorbie, shoes to fall in love with from Rainbow Club, Mother Of The Bride by Maria Morris and Nigel Raymont and even inspiration for bouquets and other accessories!
We wouldn’t forget the groom either, there’ll be some seriously swoon worthy looks on the catwalk from the likes of Slaters, Ben Sherman, Swarbricks Formal Hire, Youngs Hire and Moss Bros.
It’s a must-see for everyone visiting the show so why not guarantee yourself a seat with a Brides Up North VIP ticket? Then you can pick up a glass of fizz from the Champagne Bar and settle in to “ooh”, “aah” and enjoy the show! Catwalk shows are at 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm and 3:30pm every day.
Images supplied by The National Wedding Show
October 4th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Miraz Willinger – Laurel
There’s nothing like a bit of sparkle to add that something special to your wedding day attire. And the best way to nail this breathtaking look? Beautiful beads and embellishments, of course!
Whether you’re after something shimmering and delicate or with full-on amplified sparkle, there are plenty of options for the bride seeking a dose of sophisticated detailing.
A subtle dazzle to the bodice is always an elegant touch, but for a true princess moment, don’t rule out a gown with an embellished skirt too – we promise it’s never OTT when it comes to your wedding day!
Here, we’ve spotlighted a few of our favourite designers who know a thing or two about beaded glamour, providing you with all the glitz you could desire for your dreamy Pinterest boards – and then some!
Main images by Miraz Willinger
Miraz Willinger – Celine
First up, Jenny Packham. This is our go-to designer for the most elegant and demure of wedding gowns with a lavish edge. We’re talking figure-flattering silhouettes and sumptuous fabrics like silk and tulle that gracefully glide over your curves, paired with twinkling embellishments to the corset and skirt. The Verity gown is one of our favourites from the 2018 collection, with its plunge neckline and fuller skirt, and who could resist the vintage-inspired Spirit dress – a truly classic Jenny Packham look.
Miraz Willinger – Jasmine
Dana Harel’s collection offers up a more original look that you won’t find on just any bridal rack. The dresses teeter on the boho side, but are ultra luxe in their use of fabric, embroidery and design. Just look at the elaborate beaded patterns, layers and ruffles – not forgetting peekaboo bralet corsets and bleached out colour palettes. These are dresses to fall in love with, and just perfect for the bride craving a wedding day look that’s ethereal yet bold, and wholly unique.
Miraz Willinger – Violeta
We always like to introduce our readers to bridal day looks that are out of the ordinary and today, Miraz Willinger’s couture collection is the very thing. We just love everything about these dresses. The delicate, sheer gowns are fabulous works of art encrusted with intricate beading and dainty embellishments from top to toe, with the Jasmine gown being a particular highlight of ours. The epitome of the statement gown that will most certainly turn heads on your big day.
If a classic wedding dress gives you all those butterfly feels, then Aussie designer Anna Campbell ought to be on your radar (just saying). The attention to detail – especially to the back of her silk and lace gowns – is immense. The demure Paige gown is a perfect example, with its abundance of exquisite beads and crystals draped from the shoulders for an utterly beautiful bridal day look.
Miraz Willinger – Lily
September 21st, 2018 | Rachel Parry
As we gear up for two more fabulous Brides Up North Wedding Shows in the north this Sunday, we have a double dose of wedding loveliness for your Friday afternoon. Prepare to pay extra special attention as we’re sharing details and images of the breathtakingly beautiful new collection of bridal gowns from our amazing Sponsor, British designer Caroline Castigliano, plus we have details of a super event taking place at her flagship boutique in a few weeks’ time that you won’t want to miss out on!
First up, those dresses! Ever a fan of Caroline’s incredible creations, her latest collection is just as wow-worthy (if not more so!) than the last, comprising beautifully feminine gowns that celebrate the female figure, in the finest fabrics complete with delectable detailing.
And so, we’re hearing directly from Caroline about her inspiration for this latest set of divine dresses and quizzing her on which are her personal favourites.
Thankfully you lucky brides-to-be won’t have to wait long to see such gowns first-hand as the collection is arriving in stockist boutiques across the country from this week. The event we have details on also provides a perfect opportunity to view Caroline’s latest designs and gather ideas for your big day to come.
Taking place on the Thursday 4th October at the Caroline Castigliano Knightsbridge store, the Evening of Wedding Inspiration invites brides to meet Caroline along with her favourite partners, all experts in their field of luxury, who will be offering top tips and advice that only insiders know.
Those who attend can enjoy mini make-up and styling sessions by the Bobbi Brown and Richard Ward teams, get wedding planning tips from Bruce Russell, talk to Scott Dunn about the perfect honeymoon destination and sample drinks from Berry Bros. & Rudd, while also meeting Luxury florist Paula Rooney, wedding and celebrity photographer Andy Mac, diamond expert Duttson Rocks, exclusive wedding cake designer Yevnig and Leeming Brothers Fine Stationery.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, all guests will receive a goody bag worth more than £150 with special gifts and exclusive offers from partners involved in the event.
But enough from us, let’s hand over the blog to Caroline now for more details on those dreamy dresses plus information on how to get your hands on tickets for that a-maz-ing event!
Can you start by giving us a brief overview of your gorgeous new collection?
caroline says: The collection is called the ‘Power of Love’ and features classic and timeless gowns with contemporary highlights and details that create a chic look.
Where did you draw inspiration from for this particular set of dresses?
My inspiration behind the collection was relaxed effortless style. I love creating glamorous pieces that fit perfectly and create a beautiful silhouette but at the same time appear relaxed and chic – no effort. The collection has gowns that are understated and quite simple but exude a sensual feeling. For me it all comes down to the cut and the movement – the architecture of the gown.
Can you tell us about the various styles and silhouettes of the gowns within the collection?
The ‘Power of Love’ collection features day to night looks – sleek fishtail gowns are paired with sumptuous detachable trains and delicate lace shrugs to transform the silhouette.
The essence of 50’s glamour is brought back with a modern take on the classic ball gown with clean lines making the statement.
I have also continued with the unique stretch corsets I’ve developed with bra cup corsets sculpting the figure to create a feminine and playfully sensual shape with layered laces creating depth and texture.
And what about the fabrics, detailing, colourways?
The collection has been handcrafted in the UK from fluid crepe, satin faced organza and guipure lace alongside new modern laces with subtle beading creating an understated yet glamorous bridal vision. Colours are soft – ivory, blush, mocha and beautiful water colours.
Do you have a particular favourite within the collection?
I really do love quite a few of them. It’s difficult to pick, though three standouts for me include:
Chrissy – the new scoop necked corset is stunning, modern and fresh with a power mesh layered with Chantilly lace and then moulded with exquisite beading very delicate and feminine, it comes with a soft water wash mocha silk organza skirt – I love the movement of this dress.
Madeira – all corded lace dress with a high neck and cap sleeves falling into a full circle lace skirt – it says young modern bride with a sense of classic.
Celia – full crepe dress with a strap and deep curved neck skimming the body – powerful yet understated, a chic glamorous style.
When will be new collection be landing in boutiques?
Dresses are arriving in stores from this week. You can find you closest Caroline Castigliano stockist here on our website.
We are excited to hear of the Evening of Wedding Inspiration that you are hosting at your Knightsbridge flagship boutique on 4th October. Can you tell us how the event will be beneficial to brides-to-be and why you’d encourage them to attend?
This is a fantastic opportunity for brides-to-be to see our latest collection of designer wedding gowns and meet some of the top experts in the wedding industry to get exclusive tips, ideas and inspiration! From bridal beauty to floral arrangements and honeymoons, we will have it all covered!
Furthermore, we will be showing a selection of our evening wear collection – just the thing for mothers-of-the-bride looking to wow in a red-carpet-worthy dress.
Tickets are available to buy online here.
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.
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