PRONOVIAS
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

The Winter Boudoir. A Sweet Reveal shoot by Cat Hepple Photography

January 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography

Boudoir photography has a bad name, and this is no-one’s fault but it’s own.  All to often, boudoir photography is tacky, hard, artificial, awkward and the absolute opposite of soft and and sensual.  Would I book a boudoir shoot?  Absolutely not. 

But what about a Sweet Reveal shoot?  Handled in an entirely different way at the hands of our wonderful Featured Supplier Cat of Cat Hepple Photography and her team of creatives, these shoots are less of a present for his bottom drawer, and more of a present to yourself – for your armoire or bedroom window seat.  Affirming, confidence building, celebratory and oh soooo sexy, would I book a Sweet Reveal shoot?  Well, maybe I already have…

Cat Hepple Photography

That’s for me to know, but for now, here’s Cat and her team (watch out for Brides Up North Featured Suppliers Victoria Farr and Story Of Your Day Wedding Films too) to ease you into this very good idea, as they present their “Winter Boudoir” shoot.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat says:  Sweet Reveal shoots are stylish boudoir shoots with an editorial feel- they look like something from a glossy magazine. I created this style of boudoir for my brides who often asked for a boudoir shoot but with a more subtle and romantic feel than typical images you’d expect from a lingerie shoot.

The Winter Boudoir from Story of Your Day on Vimeo.

I always work around a theme, a styled look for each shoot, carefully crafted around the woman I’m going to be working with. Recent shoots included a Bond Girl influence, a boho look, and a Carrie Bradshaw styled look. It’s an individual as the woman.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

For this shoot, I wanted to use ballet as our inspiration, we weren’t looking to recreate a ballet scene, but to use elements of dance to soften the feel and give it a fashion edge. Firstly the lingerie choices were so important, soft laces, high waisted knickers, tulle skirts, body stockings, all gave a nod to the world of ballet. I brought in the expert help of Jayne Winn from Sheer Bliss lingerie boutique, who sourced the beautiful lingerie pieces used in the shoot. Added to that  we sprinkled a little extra glamour using gorgeous necklaces and hair decorations. These pieces added that all important editorial feel to the finished look.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

I asked Charlotte Miller from Eden and Eve to style the shoot for me. Charlotte has a lot of experience at styling and understands how to bring a concept to life. She added warm sumptuous fur throws and ballet ribbon to our scenes and suggested one necklace be worn as a headpiece to go with some beautiful sleepwear in the softest blush rose pink. The key for this shoot was not to make it look too cutesy. Women having a boudoir shoot want to look sultry, sassy, sexy and chic. So we didn’t want the look to become too fluffy. This is where Victoria Farr our hair and make up artist became so important. She created hairstyles which you wouldn’t expect to see in the ballet room, so keeping the look more edgy and fashion conscious. The whole mix works so well together.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Many women are scared of boudoir shoots, feeling that everything will have to be on show and that they can be completely unforgiving to most women, but this simply is not true. These carefully crafted shoots are about exploiting the best parts of a woman, and giving her confidence to feel and look amazing. The transformation between a woman who arrives for the shoot feeling nervous and when they leave looking and feeling radiant and confident, is one of the best things for me about The Sweet Reveal. It’s amazing to do that for someone.

The Sweet reveal shoots make a great Valentines day gift. Imagine surprising your partner with the most beautiful little album filled with gorgeous shots of you. Currently if you book for Valentines, hair and make up is included in the price too, making it a great way to do something amazing for someone very special.

Cat Hepple Photography

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Wisps & Wilderness: A Styled Bridal Shoot Featuring Laura George Wedding Lingerie At Danby Castle, North Yorkshire

September 18th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Lissa Alexandra Photography

This afternoon’s feature is something really rather lovely.  If you’ve got your knickers in a twist about your wedding lingerie, look no further.  After today’s pretty post, with images by Lissa Alexandra Photography, I have a feeling that you’ll have it sorted.

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa says:  Laura George makes amazing wedding lingerie and garters.  The shoot concept was really simple, amazing lingerie in an amazing location: Danby Castle in North Yorkshire!

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography
Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Laura’s designs are uber feminine and pretty and she wanted really soft photos to reflect this, which suits my photography style perfectly! We discussed different shot ideas and wanted it quite ethereal and not too posey. We also didn’t want stick thin models either, the girls had to be natural and pretty and look like a ‘real’ bride to be, in fact one of them was! Fortunately the girls who work at Danby Castle very kindly offered their services and they fitted the bill perfectly!

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography
We didn’t want a plethora of suppliers involved but we invited Katy Howieson from
What Katy Did Next to supply the headpieces as I’ve worked with her before and absolutely love her creations. She does very intricate designs with natural materials like feathers and leather and the two designers complemented each other’s work fabulously.

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

For makeup we used Kate Pymm, she is recommended by Danby Castle and I often get to shoot her lovely work. The makeup was soft, with earthy colours to highlight the model’s natural beauty. Hair was styled by Meg Horton.  Meg works at Danby Castle but also does bridal hair in her own time. Meg is a fab stylist who listens to the brief and delivers the vision.

Lissa Alexandra Photography
Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

On the day of the shoot itself Em, the head chef at Danby, provided us with the most amazing spread including oysters, salmon, champagne jellies and much more, it was quite the treat I can tell you! So I simply had to photograph it as it was so beautiful (and yummy!) The tents and cars are a new service offered by Danby Castle as part of their ever expanding wedding packages.

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography
Lissa Alexandra Photography

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Little Black Book
Photographer: Lissa Alexandra Photography 
Lingerie: Laura George
Venue: Danby Castle 
Makeup: Kate Pymm
Hair: Meg Horton
Headpieces: What Katy Did Next
Cars: Danby Castle own
Tents: Danby Castle own

Lissa Alexandra Photography

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Lissa Alexandra Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Passion For Pants! Supplier Showcase: Top Drawer Diva PLUS 10% Discount For Wedding Blog Readers

May 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Top Drawer Diva

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Big, big thanks to all our amazing exhibitors, beautiful brides, gorgeous grooms and our stunning host for a lovely first Brides Up North event at brand new venue Thorp Perrow yesterday. Some images from the day are coming soon, but in the meantime I wanted to say how very privileged I feel to work alongside such inspirational people and to meet so many new friends yesterday too.  Thank you for your support.

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Top Drawer DivaThis morning, we meet one of the fabulous Brides Up North Featured Suppliers whose sponsorship makes the wedding blog and indeed events like yesterday’s lovely exhibition possible – the dynamic duo behind knicker making maestro Top Drawer Diva.  These girls have a passion for pants, and want to make your hen party an occasion to remember.  Get ready to be frilled! 

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How and when did Top Drawer Diva begin?

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In July 2010, we realized there was a gap in the market for hen party activities for the more crafty hens who wanted something different so we created a unique business celebrating the trend for all things crafty and combined this with our in depth knowledge of lingerie and textiles.  Hey presto: our knicker-making master class was born!

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Who makes up the team and what is your background?

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Clare and Vicky are the ladies behind Top Drawer Diva.  Clare Booth is a fabric technologist for a large UK lingerie brand with a degree in BSc (Hons) in Textiles from Heriot-Watt University and Vicki Williams is a lingerie designer for several UK high street retailers and brands with a BA (Hons) in Contour Fashion from De Montfort University.

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Top Drawer Diva

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Tell us about your Folksy shop and commission services?

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We create beautiful bespoke garters and sell these mainly at wedding fairs but also have a selection on Folksy for brides to be to browse. All the garters are individually designed and made using European laces and embroideries sourced from contacts we made during our time in the lingerie industry. We prefer to receive commission work and love creating a product to the person’s individual’s style.

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We have just finished making a peg bag as a wedding gift at someone’s request; this combined a mix of vintage fabrics, embroideries plus a cheeky reference to pants with his and her underwear appliquéd on the reverse. Personalised embroidery of names, dates and times completes the ensemble.

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If you have an idea for a gift or garter please get in touch as we are happy to work with any project.

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Tell us about your knicker making parties?  How do they usually work?

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We like to break the ice with a round of knicker bingo before cracking open the pink fizz and retro sweets to get everyone in the party mood. We then reveal the diva kit that contains every variety of coloured ribbon, laces, trims and sequins you can imagine ensuring every hen can craft an item to suit their style and personality. Examples of mood boards and inspiration knickers are shown to ward off any creative concerns.

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Parties usually last about three hours with a photo shoot showcasing everyone’s creations and the bride gets to choose her favourite pair and award the much coveted prize of ‘Prettiest Pants’. The hens then present the bride to be with two garters they have sneakily made during the party – one for the hen night and a more traditional cream one that can be worn on the big day. With hen parties in particular there is always a brilliant atmosphere and the great thing is that anybody from 19-90 can come along and enjoy them.

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Top Drawer Diva

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Top Drawer Diva

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Top Drawer Diva

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Tell us about your workshops and the different types that you offer?

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We do offer beginner workshops and a few of them are specifically related to lingerie with our frilly knicker and waspie workshops being very popular.  These are not the run on mill type of workshops and we believe give us that quirky edge.  The knicker-making master classes for hen parties are keeping us so busy that we are only taking private bookings for other workshops.  Please get in touch for details.  

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What sets your business apart from your competitors?

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It’s our passion for pants that puts us on top!

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Top Drawer Diva

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Who would be your dream client and why?

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Jessica Ennis because first and foremost she is a Northerner, a national gem and hugely inspirational. We believe that behind the cute girl next door image lies a diva that could create a pair of knickers that is worthy of a gold medal.

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Are there any really memorable parties that you have worked on and why?

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All are very memorable in their own way as we see fantastic designs, but generally the parties where the bride to be has no idea what to expect are hilarious. We like to get them guessing the activity ahead and one bride to be thought she was in for some housewife training as the diva kit includes an iron and ironing board, sewing machine and so on… a fantastic alternative side-line for the business but we don’t think the Mr Diva’s would agree!

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Top Drawer Diva

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Top Drawer Diva

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Have you got any parties or events coming up that you are really excited about?

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We do love showing at wedding fairs and explaining our concept to the brides (mainly to great amusement of the groom).  We have also just been booked for a Women’s Institute presentation in Lincoln to do a ‘frilly knicker’ demonstration as part of their of 2014 upcoming events.

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What else is going on at Top Drawer Diva? Tell us about Stitch Club?

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For mini designers aged 9-12 we run afterschool and holiday stitch clubs. We hope to inspire the next generation with our knowledge and love of craft to learn traditional and modern skills of creating things from scratch. We find that the children are really enthusiastic and love learning and creating. We help them to make things like bunting and Ipod covers so they are fusing old techniques with new trends.  Stitch Club also offer party packages for budding designers and their friends.

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Top Drawer Diva

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Top Drawer Diva

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How far in advance should Brides Up North get in touch with you to book a party or workshop?

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The more advance the enquiry the better to ensure availability of dates, sometimes we can even accommodate two parties in one day (location dependant).

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Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

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Usually prices are around £28-£30 per person and this includes all materials and equipment plus glass off pink fizz and a retro sweet fix, knicker themed party games, two garters are made for the bride to be by the hens on the day as an extra keepsake, photo shoot to showcase everyone’s creations and Prettiest Pants award judged by the main Diva (bride to be). 

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We prefer at least 10 people or a minimum party fee of £200, and can cater for large group bookings of 20+

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Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?

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If you quote Brides Up North in your initial enquiry we will offer a 10% discount.

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Top Drawer Diva

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Where are you located, what areas do you cover and can you travel?

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We are based on the Lincolnshire coast and cover a huge area of the North of and Midlands – it’s best to see our map by clicking here. Locations outside our boundaries are considered so please get in touch if you require a price.

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How can Brides Up North find out more?

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You can visit our website, Facebook or Twitter pages, and contact us by clicking here or on 07739 960568. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 supplied by Top Drawer Diva

Top Drawer Diva is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, and this is a sponsored post

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

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Pretty Wispy Things: Love By Susie

June 4th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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I recently posted an Eye Candy interview with my Featured Supplier and designer of all things wispy, lacy and lovely, Susie McKenzie of LovebySusie.

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Love By Susie

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LovebySusie creates bespoke and beautiful bridal gowns, gorgeous bridal lingerie and pretty loungewear.  Seriously.  I need to stock up.  Jogging bottoms and old t-shirts should not the attire of a newly wed be!

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Love By Susie

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Lucky for you and me then that LovebySusie has just launched it’s sleek new website – complete with online shop.  High fives all round.  Lemme at it…

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Love By Susie

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Better still, until 14 June 2011 if you enter LOUNGE at checkout you will receive 15% off all LovebySusie Lingerie and Loungewear.  Bonus!

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Want to see more of LovebySusie’s designs on Brides Up North and learn more about the designer?  Click here to read the Eye Candy interview.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © LovebySusie

LovebySusie is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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

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Brides Up North Logo

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The Eye Candy Interview: Love By Susie

March 8th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North jumped at the change to ohh and ahh with Susie McKenzie, Edinburgh based wedding dress and lingerie designer. I’ve fallen in love with LoveBySusie and I bet you will too.  Oh and if your groom is bored of wedding planning – show him this post – sure he will quickly re-focus!

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Love By Susie Dea

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What sort of bride do you design for?

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LovebySusie appeals to the modern fashion aware bride, with a passion for luxury fabrics, sophisticated vintage design and unabashed pretty femininity. Every aspect of a LovebySusie bride’s wedding day ensemble is a careful consideration, including when it comes to what is underneath that once in a lifetime gown.

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LoveBySusie

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Love By Susie

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What is your most popular design and why?

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Bridal Gowns – Lizia Gown – this is the gown that all brides want to try on and when they do they fall in love with its beautifully hand beaded bodice and voluminous fairytale silk chiffon skirt. This is also a very flattering design if you have anything to hide being empire line whist being adoringly feminine, timeless and very glamorous. I have made variations on this gown for many brides changing the colours and beading to suit.

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Love By Susie Lizia .

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Love By Susie Lizia

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The Lorelei Corset is my best selling lingerie piece – Ivory silk dupion with vintage cream and blue heart embroidered ribbons down each boning channel. This is very pretty and perfect for under your gown or as a honeymoon treat, a little flirty, vintagey and gives you a gorgeous hourglass silhouette…perfect.

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Which is your favourite design in your collection and why?

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My favourite gown design (and also my mum’s) is also the Lizia Gown as the design stemmed from a small piece of fabric that was my grandmothers. This gold brocade was then shaped into a top and hand beaded, I then added the very full dramatic chiffon skirt. It’s just such a lovely and unique design which really epitomises what LovebySusie gowns are about.

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Love By Susie Lizia

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My favourite design from the new lingerie collections is the Tallulah Dressing robe and nightie – so so pretty lace all over and perfect for a bride getting ready for her big day in – at the photo shoot all the girls wanted one!

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Love By Susie

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What would your dream wedding day be like – and what sort of gown would you choose?

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I’m not married myself, always dropping hints though to my man! My dream day would be pretty, classic, luxurious with a hint of glam. Have always imagined an outside ceremony in a forest clearing, all deco white and green with a tiny bit of dusky pale pink. Lots of glass ornaments and twinkling lights I use to love the outside weddings they would have on the ranch in TV show Dallas! My gown I imagine would be silk chiffon, very voluminous and flowing with lots of hand cut silk organza flowers, petals and beading scattered and down the back of full train. My flower girls would be my two lovely little nieces in little girl versions of my gown probably tagging along my puppy Sherlock wearing a top hat!

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Which celebrity would you most like to dress and why?

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Actress Emma Watson from ‘Harry Potter’ films. I think Emma is a really beautiful young woman, really natural, feminine and quite ethereal. I think her graceful style and slight figure would suit a LovebySusie gown perfectly, something like the Orthia Gown with a 1930s feel, very elegant and not too fussy.

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Love By Susie Orthia

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Love By Susie Orthia

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The question on everyone’s lips – which of your designs would you choose for Kate Middleton?  Or alternatively, what sort of dress would you design for her?

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I think Kate Middleton’s gown should be extremely elegant with subtle but still quite encrusted embellishment with a beautiful slim silhouette. Perhaps a silk satin and chiffon bias gown with flowing fishtail and sheer chiffon sleeves with delicate glass and pearl embellishment especially around the train and hem and neckline.

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How did you get into wedding dress design – what is your "story"?

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Born in Edinburgh, I completed BA (hons) Degree in Fashion Design at Edinburgh College of Art followed by a MSc in Fashion Marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University.  This led to an exciting and inspiring career in buying Tailoring and Occasion wear for the highly successful luxury High Street brand Coast.  During this time, I gained vast knowledge and expertise in all aspects of the design, construction and production of exquisite high quality garments.  After six years in London, I decided it was time to return to Edinburgh to set up on my own.

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I established LovebySusie last February creating LovebySusie Bridal Couture in Edinburgh offering a bespoke bridal gown design service.  Realising a gap in the market for luxury bridal garters and lingerie to wear with her unique wedding gowns led to the introduction of LovebySusie Lingerie.

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Love By Susie

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Is this your dream job?  If you weren’t a wedding dress designer, what would be your alternative career?

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This is my dream job and was a perfect way to bring free flowing creativity and gain complete control over my work back into my life after an enjoyable but stressful position in fashion buying. I always know I would do something design led, I suppose if I could do anything else I would be on the West End stage in musicals…unfortunately my talent here would let me down but how I would have loved the chance.

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(Brides Up North note: OMG! Me too!)

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Describe a typical working day in the life of Love By Susie…

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Every day is different and some days I have no idea what is in store. Typically I will start the day with checking emails, I will then go upstairs to my studio and work on what is needed – If I have lingerie orders I will get these made up, may also be working on new patterns, new designs. I may also have bridal consultations during the day, or can be emailing and chasing up fabric or trims orders and customer enquires. Working on my own I do everything including the designs, pattern cutting, fabric sourcing, accounts, admin, pr and of course a lot of sewing! I also work in the evening a lot as I can sit peacefully and do work such as hand beading on a gown which can be very therapeutic.

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Tell us a bit about your new bridal lingerie collection?

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I have two new lingerie collections and a loungewear collection for the first time;

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LILIANA COLLECTION – LovebySusie classic bridal styles in ivory, cream and pale blue. Not so innocent silk duchesse satin corsetry finished with delicate ivory and ecru lace and unique waspies with suspenders in floral embroidered organza and polka dot cotton coutil. Brides to be will love the luxury silk satin knickers worn with beautiful silk satin, polka dot and lace wedding garters.

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Love By Susie

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Love By Susie

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Love By Susie

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Love By Susie

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VALENCIENNES COLLECTION – For all you lovelies who adore antique trimmings, LovebySusie have incorporated the most delightful authentic vintage design Valenciennes leaver’s lace produced in Nottingham since the 18th century into this collection. The collection includes traditional corsets in pastel hues with lace trimming or all over designs with delicate silk and lace knickers. For the bride to be the ‘something old’ and something blue’ is translated in the truly unique Valenciennes wedding garters. Lastly we have the loveliest loungewear from lace, silk and luxury cotton camisoles and shorts to pretty nighties and a must have ivory all over lace robe perfect for getting ready on the big day.

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Love By Susie

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Love By Susie

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How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you?  Do they need an appointment?

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Bridal gowns are bespoke only so brides can make an appointment for a no obligation consultation here: info@lovebysusie.co.uk.

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To purchase items from my new lingerie and loungewear collections please go to www.lovebysusie.co.uk

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Love By Susie

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Are you at any upcoming wedding fairs or events that Brides Up North should know about?

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The main event for me this year is the launch of my new ecommerce website www.lovebysusie.co.uk and I plan to exhibit at wedding fairs starting in the Autumn this year.

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Some satisfied customers…

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Love By Susie    Love By Susie

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Love By Susie   Love By Susie

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This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North Logo

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