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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.

Caroline Castigliano_-83

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.

Caroline Castigliano_-77

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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suits you: caroline castigliano’s tips on how to dress for your body shape

April 25th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Lyla

Lyla

Here at Brides Up North we are dedicated to helping to inspire, excite and assist you, our lovely readers, on your wedding planning journeys, arming you with all the necessary information to make the process more straightforward, and above all, enjoyable!

As such, we often call upon our trusted Sponsors, who are experts in their fields, to share their top advice, tips and pointers that will keep you right along the way. And today it’s the turn of top British bridal designer Caroline Castigliano to take to the blog with some fabulous words of wisdom for you ladies currently on the dream dress hunt.

As one of UK’s leading bridal designers, Caroline has been realising brides’ dreams for 27 years and has built up a glowing reputation for her incredibly beautiful designs with clever corsetry that shows of the female figure at its best.

We caught up with her as she prepared to fly off to New York Bridal Week to discuss how brides should best dress for their body shape. Ladies, you may well want to grab a notebook as this information is golden!

Images provided by Caroline Castigliano.

Baboushka

Baboushka

There are so many styles of wedding dresses to choose from the search can feel a little overwhelming. Initially, what should brides-to-be think about when setting out on their dress search?

caroline says: Once you have booked the venue, and have seen the room where you are going to have your wedding breakfast, you have seen the dance floor, you just want to think about that moment. When you leave the table and walk towards the dance floor with your now husband how is it that they want everyone to see you.

You don’t need to know the shape of the dress, if you are working with an expert they will find the silhouette for you. What you need to know is what that dress is saying to people – is it saying a very strong traditional look, soft and romantic, elegant and classic, vintage, boho. What is the appeal of the dress?

Without considering the silhouette decide on the vision – once this has been determined – go see one of our fantastic stockists and you will get advice. It is important to work with someone that understands silhouettes and fabrics so they can show you what suits you and what creates a strong silhouette for you.

If you are 5ft you will suit totally different silhouettes to someone that is 5’8” tall – if you are full busted you will suit different silhouettes to a bride that is more petite. Once you get going it is all quite easy but it starts with that one all important question – what vision do I want my future husband and my guests to see when I arrive at the wedding?

In what ways can professional boutique stylists and designers help brides make the most of their figure – highlight assets and disguise any body hang-ups?

When choosing a wedding gown, it’s important to find a silhouette that properly accentuates your figure. The cut and fabrics of your gown are essential for the beauty of your dress.

Fit is everything, a gown has to fit amazingly, it has to balance a person’s figure, bring out all the fantastic elements and play down the things they don’t like so much. They should look in the mirror and feel that they have never ever looked so beautiful; that they look the most beautiful they ever have in their life – that is the absolute key.

The art of designing brilliantly is when you can have someone who comes in who is 5 ft tall with a very full bust and she looks incredible in a dress and you can also take a dress on a girl who is 5’9 with a very small bust and make her look absolutely incredible. Design is about being able to take all the different body shapes and make them look stunning.

Tertia

Tertia

How do your dresses help to enhance the female figure while remaining comfortable?

Corsets are the engineering of our gowns, they are the foundation that everything is built around – each panel is hand cut to mould and sculpt the figure. They also have a very flattering effect on the bride’s figure, I design the corsets to really balance the figure and extenuate a small waist. I have a number of different corsets that create different effects depending on the design of the gown, nothing will ever compare to a beautifully structured corset creating the foundation of the gown. We have also developed a unique stretch corset that is to die for so while you are getting the beautiful balance you also get great comfort.

What elements can help to improve a bride’s posture, stance and confidence? 

I like to create a corset in as many of my gowns as possible as it really helps a bride with her posture. Even if you are slim with a perfectly balanced figure corsetry helps in every way as it makes you stand up straight and walk nicely with a straight back. It also effects the way she sits so ultimately has a sensational effect on all the photographs and videos taken on the big day.

 What styles of dresses would you suggest for the following body shapes and which of your designs would you pick for each:

athletic

Tertia_front

Tertia

Brides who have a straight body shape will find they have a less defined waist than most. Your bust and hips tend to be pretty balanced and you are not as curvy. This is known as more of a ‘sporty’ athletic body shape, and it is important, when picking a bridal gown for a straight structure, to enhance your waistline and create a soft curve on the bust.

Look for: Bridal gowns with full skirts give the illusion that the hips are wider than they will add a feminine shape to you. Look for embellishment around the bust and necklines it is also good to have an off-the-shoulder strap as this draws the eye to the width of the shoulder and then gives the illusion that the figure is more curved as the eye leaves the shoulder to a small waist.

Avoid: Strapless dresses can make your shoulders look broader than they are so avoid harsh necklines and column wedding dresses that have no definition in their shape as they won’t give you a defined waist.

Caroline Castigliano gown of choice: Tertia

pear

Everlasting_front

Everlasting

Look for: For a pear-shaped body choose a ball gown. A waisted dress and full skirt accentuates the waist. These gowns will still show off your waistline and really flatter your body type. A pear shape bride wants to really emphasise the top of the body, beautiful arms, lovely bust shaping and small waist – a corset will always redefine your figure and create a perfect balance between your bust and waist. Choose a gown with embellishment on the bodice or a beautiful lace, falling in to a full or A-line skirt.

Caroline Castigliano gown of choice: Everlasting

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new gowns on the block: 2019 bridal trends report

April 13th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Luca Latrofa at White Gallery - Sassi Holford (9)

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

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.

necklines

Suzanne Neville Orianna

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.

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look book: capes & cover ups

April 10th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Savin - Ebeka Jacket

While not exactly a Weddingworld staple in the way that a veil is, capes make an appearance on the white carpet of the bridal runways season after season. And before you dismiss the idea of a cape or cover up out of hand, be aware that they’re not just for fashion-forward brides or those craving a dramatic entrance. In fact, many brides opt for a cover up for the simple reason that they want a muted, modest look for their ceremony but then want to switch up their style for the evening; in this instance, capes or cover ups can provide versatility without going down the two-dress-route (and completely blowing the budget). Plus take note, readers: cover ups come in all shapes and styles, from sheer, delicately-beaded, vintage-style numbers to blingy Beyonce-style (faux) furs – and this season we’re even seeing fresh, unorthodox pieces such as satin bomber jackets and denim cut-offs emerge. What a time to be a bride!

So, if you fancy the statement of something trailing down the aisle behind you but a cathedral-length veil is a tad too conventional, join us as we take a look at what designers are offering in the way of capes and other cover ups.

Main post images by Savin London.

Savin - Floya Cape

Let’s begin with something classically cape-like, such as Savannah Miller’s Lisa. So far, so vintage. Made from blush velvet and adorned with pearls, this would be glorious for a winter wedding or with a castle as a backdrop – is it just me or is there a bit of a medieval feel to this one? There’s also the May capelet, a strikingly simple tulle creation with more than a nod to the 70s with its ruffle drawstring neckline. And then there’s my personal favourite: the Edith. You’d have to have been dead (or, you know, at least have been locked out of your Instagram) to have missed the frenzy from fashion bloggers over the M&S constellation print dress over the winter, and the delightful Edith plays to the same trend. With its starry lace pattern, it’s cosmic, cute and a little bit kooky without being too far out.

Savin - Alya Jacket

So now that you’re warming up to the idea, let’s take a look at trendy trailblazer Halfpenny London’s offerings, starting with the Wren top. Halfpenny prides itself on creating vintage-style pieces for modern brides, and this mantra is perfectly encapsulated in the simple but striking Wren – we love its boxy shape, the pleated piecrust collar and the row of delicate buttons down the back. Arguably more classic in style, the Ridley’s batwing shape and sheer lace is universally flattering and is worn over a number of different gowns in the Halfpenny campaign images to illustrate its gorgeous versatility. And then there’s the Cliff dress – not technically a cape, but a fitted satin dress with an oversized sheer three-tiered lace overlay which gives the definite impression of a cover up. Striking, stylish and undeniably stunning.

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wedding planning like a pro: dreamy themes & dresses

March 22nd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Image credit Sally Eaves Weddings

Sally Eaves Weddings

It’s time to say a huge ‘welcome!’ once again to the newly-engaged amongst our readers – a big, pink, sparkly Brides Up North congratulations to you all (psst! Did you know that our very own lovely Rachel joined the ranks of the betrothed over the Christmas break? Catch up on the first instalment of her wedding diary here if you missed it!)

Even if your organisational OCD gives Monica from Friends a run for her money, the reality of planning a wedding can feel a little daunting – ok, let’s be honest, terrifying. There’s so much to consider – Venue! Guest list! Photographer! Entertainment! – and so many people, well-meaning and otherwise, clamouring to give you their esteemed opinion on all things wedding-y.

Enter Brides Up North **curtsies** – we’re here to share everything we know about wedding planning like a pro and put it all into some kind of more easily-digestible timeline rather than a constant stream of random demands that you find vying for your brain’s attention at 4am.

So if you missed Part 1 – all the first stage essentials of date, venue, guests, budget and photographer – have a read here. Otherwise, it’s onwards to the pretty!

dreamy themes

Image credit A Little Picture

A Little Picture

Now that you have a season and venue in mind, you can start thinking about the specifics of your wedding day theme – in fact, if you’ve been true to yourself in your choice of venue, the chances are you’ve already thought about it!

No one wants a cookie-cutter wedding exactly the same as the last, but there are definitely broad wedding styling themes that run through even the most personal of big days. If you’re both fans of the outdoors and have chosen a venue that reflects that – a barn, a marquee at home or in a farmer’s field for example, you may find that elements of a natural, organic, woodland wedding theme start to sneak in – rustic log slices, pine cones, greenery, hessian and so on. Treat it like a buffet, though – you don’t have to have it all, just choose the bits that really take your fancy! Of course, this is just one theme of many; we pride ourselves on featuring a range of wedding inspiration on the blog, from laid-back cool to vintage glamour and from clean and contemporary to timeless fairy-tale elegance.

Believe us, there’s a lot out there, so go on and get inspired. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Pinterest is your friend, check out our pretty boards here. Get onto those wedding and photography blogs and give that pinning finger some exercise to get some big, broad ideas fermenting.

style notes

Image credit Jonny Draper

Jonny Draper

What’s the difference between theme and styling? Well, this is where things get a bit more specific. So, theme-wise, you and your beau might opt for a vintage winter wedding, and your styling takes your research and ideas to the next level. You’ll need to think about a colour-palette that matches theme (oohh, amethyst and fuschia?), start considering broad dress ideas (Beading galore? A 1920s dropped waist? A super-sparkly headpiece rather than a veil?) and how these could be reflected in other areas of the wedding planning; from favours to font styles on stationery. And speaking of stationery…

save that date

Image credit Bloom Weddings

Bloom Weddings

It’s become more common for couples to send out a Save The Date card (or photo, or magnet, or whatever you like, really) even over a year in advance so that guests have ample notice of their intention to tie to knot. Of course, you don’t have to rely on mail if you don’t want to (although pretty paper always gives us a buzz) – there’s the option of a slick We’re-Getting-Married website where you add more details over time and you have the option of changing the design as your planning – and styling – develops.

the one

Image credit Rachel Joyce Photography

Rachel Joyce Photography

No, not the partner of your dreams – we’re pretty sure you’ve sorted that one already – but rather the dress of your wildest imaginings. Most bridal boutiques recommend you start the search for your dress 12 to 18 months in advance in order to leave time for ordering, alterations and fittings ahead of the big day. We’d certainly recommend you getting stuck into window shopping sooner rather than later so that you get an idea of the range that’s out there and set up some bridal boutique appointments – be warned that in popular stores, weekend appointments are often booked up weeks in advance.

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the whole experience: perfect daze bridal

March 13th, 2018 | Rachel Parry

Perfect Daze - Glix Photography (5)

As quite possibly the most exciting aspect of the wedding planning, we here at Brides Up North are firm believers that brides should remember their boutique visits for all the right reasons and have an experience that is professional, yet personal and fun, as they search for that one special dress.

And we’re not alone in our mantra, for the new Sponsor that we’re introducing on the blog today was built upon these very beliefs – the fabulous Perfect Daze Bridal.

In opening her gorgeous Yorkshire boutique, Perfect Daze owner Emma Roberts, wanted to offer ladies the full bridal shopping package; from a chic and relaxing setting to stunning designers, excellent customer service and faultless attention to detail – and she continuously strives to give her brides the very best experience.

Whether buying a designer gown or investing in a bespoke dress, all brides are seen by Emma as she gets to know them over a cuppa or glass of fizz, and she sees them through to their big day with assistance from her highly-experienced team in ensuring absolute perfection.

Here to tell us more about the boutique’s ethos and offering is the leading lady herself. Take it away Emma…

Images by Glix Photography.

Perfect Daze - Glix Photography (3)

Where is your boutique located and how would you describe the look and feel of it?

emma says: Perfect Daze is nestled in the rural village of Scissett in the heart of Yorkshire. A stone’s throw from Holmfirth, we are sat right on the boundaries of Wakefield, Huddersfield and Barnsley and only ten minutes from the M1 making Leeds and Sheffield quite close by.

The emphasis is on the whole experience and the boutique is spacious and luxurious. Large changing rooms and comfortable seating, plush fabrics and an industrial edge. Copper, steel and woods are the perfect backdrop to the chic gowns.

We stock the best of British bridal with our signature look being couture.

What designers do you stock and can you tell us a little about each one?

Enzoani Blue is at the cutting edge of bridal fashion. Designed by Kang Chun “KC” Lin, the gowns incorporate intricate lace, beautiful fabrics and the Enzoani signature cut out trains. Enzoani Blue is perfect for the style savvy bride, their gowns are anything but ordinary.

Enzoani Beautiful sits alongside Enzoani Blue with the same attention to detail, but with a slightly more traditional look. If Blue is a little too edgy for your bridal style, but you still appreciate the signature cut out trains and attention to detail then Enzoani Beautiful is perfect for you.

As for Badgley Mischka – think red carpet, think glamour, think the Oscars. This designer supplies high-octane styling for a bride who desires the wow factor. Their designs are a little more couture, sometimes quite edgy, but always focusing on fit and shape.

Suzanne Neville is a designer adored by celebrities such as Holly Willoughby, Tess Daly and Katherine Jenkins. Her gowns exude class, sophistication and elegance. Using the most opulent fabrics, every single dress is handmade in the UK and as beautiful on the inside as the outside.

Her ‘less is more’ approach to bridal is breath-taking and her famous corset shape creates the most fantastic curves.

Perfect Daze - Glix Photography (6)

How do you pick the right designers for the boutique and what do you think makes a good bridal collection?

I believe our designers have to work well together and their collections must complement each other.

We have a wide range of styles which are all focussed on fit, quality and elegance. When I invest in a label, I am looking for design which works well within the ethos of Perfect Daze Bridal. I firmly believe that shape and good fabrics are key, and when it comes to detail, just the right amount.

Furthermore, fantastic customer care, is essential. I need to know my designers can deliver 100% every time, I can then pass this onto my brides.

What current trends are you seeing in bridal wear and can you forecast any future trends that will be coming through?

It is all about the back in bridal at the moment. We are seeing some stunning designs and Enzoani are right at the forefront of this. We love it when a dress looks demure from the front but has a wonderful surprise in the back. Vision backs with floating lace and cut out trains give the wow factor.

I don’t think this current trend will be going anywhere for some time.

I think we might start to see a return to more structured fabrics like satin and Mikado. A sophisticated look which focuses on curves and structure. Seams and panels will replace lace, and sparkle will be there, but as a statement rather than all over. Badgley Mischka introduced these types of dresses in 2017, and my brides are loving the opulence.

Perfect Daze - Glix Photography (1)

What research/preparation would you advise brides to do before visiting the boutique?

It doesn’t matter whether you bring a full board on Pinterest to show me or arrive with nothing but your wedding date – every bride is individual and the fun is to find what works for each person.

If you have firm ideas about the type of look we are going for, then I need to know so I can work with your wedding day ideas. If your wedding has a rustic theme, you would probably not want to go for a sexy, glamourous gown. Likewise, you wouldn’t want to turn up to a black tie themed wedding in a crochet dress. Brides often allow their choice of dress to determine the theme of the wedding.

Prepare to be honest – this is what I ask of all my brides. I always start by saying “Be honest with me, you will not offend me, if one gown was right for everybody then I would need just one in every size. The more feedback you give me, the more chance I have of finding you ‘the one’.”

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