There’s no two ways about it, shopping for your wedding dress is at once the most exciting and potentially terrifying experience of the whole wedding planning process. For some brides, it’s all they’ve dreamt of since the day they came out of nappies, whilst for others, it’s a daunting and overwhelming task. Whichever camp you fall into, the best way to approach the task is with your eyes open, and armed with some insider tips! Today, Lindsay, from Dress In Love Bridal and Honeymoon Boutique in Hertford, lets us in on the industry scoop, the bits the magazines don’t tell you!
“It was the first Saturday in January and the phone at Dress in Love Bridal & Honeymoon Boutique was going crazy with newly engaged ladies eager to start the search for her dream wedding dress.
As I was having the familiar conversation with one bride-to-be, while booking her in the diary, I was reminded about the exciting yet overwhelming task of just where to start on the hunt for the “One”, the perfect dress that will take you from Miss to Mrs in one fabulous “I Do”
For some girls, this is the highlight of wedding planning, the bit they have dreamed of since they were a little girl playing dress up. But for some it’s daunting, intimidating and altogether overwhelming.
But don’t worry, there is a dress out there for everyone, you just have to find it. So here is our guide to everything you need to know about dress shopping to help you on your way.
So let’s start at the beginning. The search for your perfect dress has to start with finding the perfect boutique for you.
How to start the search
My first tip would be to do your research on the boutiques in your area. Take a look at their website, is it informative and friendly? A website should reflect the boutique and give you an indication of the designers they carry and the style of dresses the house. Stalk their Social Media pages, do they make you feel inspired? Do they come across as empathetic on Facebook? Check out their style on Instagram. Do they keep their pages up-dated with news & events?
Have a look at the price range of their dresses, does it suit your budget? Are their sample dresses the right size for you? If you are working to a tight timescale can they get a new dress in time for you? (Some boutiques need up to 9 months for your dress to arrive). Ask lots of questions; do they offer any additional services? Do they offer in-house alterations?
You need to love the boutique you’re buying your dress from, you also need to feel comfortable with the staff and your bridal consultant as you’ll be working with your chosen boutique for quite a while; from that first appointment through fittings and finally collection.
It’s important that you have confidence and trust in the boutique.
Next is the tricky question of a budget. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. If you have a price point you are comfortable with make sure your bridal consultant knows at the beginning of your appointment. There is nothing more heartbreaking than a bride falling in love with a gown which is beyond her budget.
But be realistic with your budget and expectations. Dresses cost what they cost for a reason, whether the money has gone into the fabrics, the design, structure or production you will feel the value and quality when you put it on.
When to start shopping for your dress
Hopefully you now have a shortlist of boutiques you would like to visit, so now is the time to make your appointment. Don’t be daunted by the fact that you have to make an appointment. It’s not because we bridal boutique owners want to put you in an intimidating, pressured environment, we want to give you our dedicated, undivided attention, to switch off the phone and the laptop to focus on you.
You will find it helpful if you have a confirmed wedding date and venue. This will give you an idea of the time frame you are working towards, and your chosen venue may impact on the overall vibe to your wedding and you will want your dress to reflect that.
As exciting as it is, resist the temptation to try on dresses before you are ready to purchase. If you have two years before your wedding and you are not ready then just wait and use your anticipation to research dress styles and find out what you like. Looking over a long period of time will cause confusion and when the time comes to seriously shop for your gown you will forget what you have seen where.
In an ideal world a bride would start looking for her dress about a year before the big day, and look to place her order around nine months before. Just remember dresses usually take 4 – 5 months to make and you need to allow for fittings and alterations, but always check with the boutique.
But here is my top tip…..If you fall in love with a gown, go for it, place your order and stop looking! You need to be sure it’s the “One” but often a bride doesn’t trust her own instincts and bows to pressure from well-meaning friends to “try on lots more just to be sure.” But this will just leave you confused and you will forget how you felt and why you fell in love with the dress in the first place. Think of it like this….when your fiancé proposed you said “yes!” you didn’t say “hang on, I need to try a few others to check you are the One!”
It is also a common misconception that you shouldn’t fall in love with the first dress you try on or from the first boutique you visit….but it happens more often than you think, you just got lucky!
Who should you bring with you?
This is a tricky one! Try not to “crowd-please” and invite too many people. It is super exciting and it’s lovely to have so much attention on you (or not as is often the case) but too many opinions will be confusing and make you doubt yourself. Instead take one or two close friends or family who you trust.
At Dress in Love we offer all of our brides a Bridal Styling Appointment with our stylist to help inspire your hair & makeup choices. This is an ideal opportunity to bring along guests who you want to involve in the dress shopping experience without having so many people there for the dress selection.
Ultimately your friends and family want you to be happy on your wedding day and if that means you wearing a dress that may not be their first choice, well that’s ok, as long as you are happy and confident in your choice.
What happens at your appointment?
Personally, we love to have a chat over a cup of tea to get to know a little about your wedding plans; what you are looking for in a wedding dress, what overall look you are wanting to achieve and we help you with the dresses you choose to try on. But each boutique will have their own appointment format.
Once you have shared your ideas, brows the rails, make your initial selection of dresses to try on and be open to suggestion….that old adage of “you will choose a dress which is completely different from what you thought you wanted” is so true.
Be prepared for the fact that you are going to be in a changing room, with somebody you have just met, in only your underwear! The Bridal Consultant will need to help you in and out of the gowns. But don’t worry, we think all of our brides are beautiful and there is no such thing as the perfect shape or size, we just want to help you look and feel fabulous in the dresses.
Be honest with your Bridal Consultant, the dresses don’t have feelings so say how you feel. But be constructive, it will help the consultant refine your search and select dresses better suited to you. Concentrate on how the shape of the dress works with your figure and how the dress makes you feel, details and trends such as belts, sleeves and necklines can often be changed or added.
You might think it helpful to take photos to help you remember, but try to avoid relying on pictures to help you make your dress choice. Remember it is unlikely that the sample dress will be a perfect fit. Coupled with camera-phone-photography and poor lighting you may not get an accurate impression. It’s much better to concentrate on how the dress makes you feel.
Final words of advice!
Every bride is different and each bride will go on her own journey to find her dream wedding dress.
You may not have that heart-stopping moment where you just know it’s the One, but what I can guarantee is that you will have that pinch-me-moment when you see yourself in the mirror and say “I am actually getting married”
The dress IS really important but it is only a dress to be worn on one day. Ultimately the wedding isn’t about the dress, it’s about you and the one you love declaring your commitment to each other. A dress cannot encompass every facet of your personality but as long as it makes you feel happy, confident and fabulous then it is the dress for you.
Trust yourself and go with your heart. It is a moment to be savored, an experience to be treasured.”
Photography credit to Andrew Prod Photography
Hair & Makeup Francesca Fonzarelli MUA
Culled from https://weddingplanner.co.uk/
Unless you are an A-lister used to treading the red carpet or someone who has custom ball gowns made for high society events, you are probably as much in the dark about the vast array of bridal fabrics available as the next bride. The sort of fabrics used to make wedding dresses are very different from the fabrics used to manufacture the everyday clothes that we wear – so it can be confusing for many brides when faced with the choices out there. In turn this makes it hard to judge if a dress with a high price tag is made from an expensive silk material or a cheaper synthetic version if these are not fabrics you come into everyday contact with. So here is my guide to fabrics, to allow you to know your chiffons from your organzas on your next bridal shopping trip:
Silk vs Synthetic
Many designer bridal gowns are made from luxury silk fabrics and that is partly the reason for the higher price tag. Pure silk fabrics do come at a price when compared to their cheaper synthetic version – but silk fabrics are just fabulous and can be hard to match. As a dress designer, personally I love working with silk as it looks so beautiful and can flow in a way that a synthetic version can be hard pushed to do. However there is a lot to be said for some synthetic fabrics these days; the more luxurious ones are improving all the time in terms of texture and could fool some into thinking they are silk and can be a perfect alternative for any bride on a budget. There can be pros and cons for each choice – for example any bride getting married abroad should consider silk if they afford it as being natural fibre it allows skin to breathe and can avoid perspiration in hot weather. If a bride is desperate for a really sparkly look and wants an encrusted bodice of crystals and beads they should definitely opt for a synthetic fabric as if the fabric is mainly being covered with decoration why spend twice as much on silk just to cover it. These are the different fabrics and the points to keep in mind with each:
This is a pure silk fabric and is just beautiful for structured classic style wedding dresses. It is a rich and fairly thick fabric with ‘slubs’ on – this means there are rough bits in areas and some lines which adds to the character and texture of the silk – this helps to show that it is a natural silk fabric. This is a favourite for traditional brides. The synthetic version is made with a type of rayon – the slubs are made in the weave to look like silk but the texture of fabric is not quite the same – it can appear shinier.
A similar fabric to the dupion but without the slubs – still quite a firm texture so perfect for ball gown styles. It makes a gorgeous rustling noise and can have the wow factor. Synthetic version are getting better and can look very effective – they have a similar texture about them with maybe not quite the same sheen, but all the same probably one of the best synthetic buys if trying to save money.
One of the most opulent fabrics available for brides. The pre silk versions are just stunning! You can get heavy silk satins just perfect for dramatic gowns and a type called a Charmeuse satin which is the softest type used most often in 1920’s style slinky dresses. There are many synthetic versions – some as a synthetic / silk blend and some made totally of polyester. This is one where it can be easy to be confused – a Duchess Satin sounds impressive but is often 100% polyester. The synthetic ones can look really good- but the downside with them can be that they snag easily on sharp jewellery or watches whilst it is unusual for this to happen with a 100% silk satin. The smoothest texture and fabric with the most gleam are the pure silk satins.
Soft draping fabrics
The best of these are silk crepe and silk georgette. These are soft and silky but without a high sheen – (The dress which Pippa Middleton wore as bridesmaid at the Royal Wedding was silk crepe) Perfect fabrics for brides not wanting a big dress as these look fabulous for slinky styles. Synthetic versions of these are available – you can get polyester crepe and georgette which flow in the same way – it will not have quite the same luxury feel to it but can work well with Great Gatsby style designs with lots of embellishments.
The best examples of sheer fabrics are silk chiffon and silk organza. As these are sheer they are generally used in layers on skirts or as overlays in areas on dresses to create structured frills on a dress – or can be used as an overlay for softer style beach wedding dresses. Both silk organza and chiffon are softer than their synthetic counterparts – they have a better sheen too. The synthetic ones are much firmer – but this can be an advantage if you are wanting a dress with lots of frilly layers to really keep their shape.
This is the soft netting fabric that bridal veils are made from. This is often used on fairytale style dresses as it looks wonderful as layers on a skirt and can also be used in pleated layers on bodices. It is available in silk and polyester – whilst the silk can be beautiful for a veil it is often too delicate and soft for a dress so it’s stronger synthetic version is more commonly used for good reason.
One of the most commonly used fabrics for bridal. There are many different types and qualities of lace – generally machine made lace from the far east is of lesser quality than the more elaborate European laces. Some of the finest lace is French or Italian many of which are corded meaning that extra lacework has been added to create a more textured lace. These can be much more expensive but create a wonderful look for bridal gowns. Lace is very popular, particularly at the moment, however, do remember that by opting for lace it may mean more expensive alterations as hems cannot be just cut and sewn to make shorter – it can involve removing the decorate lace hem and replacing when shortened which involves much more work.
Embroidered or beaded fabrics
Many tulles and laces in bridal gowns have been embellished with beads, pearls or crystals. These are perfect for girls wanting added sparkle and dramatic impact on their wedding dresses. Remember thought that beaded dresses are much harder to take in at the side seams if you lose weight and need your dress taken in. Ask in your bridal store for advice on which dresses with this type of fabric are easier to adjust than others.
The main thing to remember is to ask for help with anything that you are not sure about. Any good bridal retailer or wedding dress designer will be happy to discuss fabrics with you. They will be able to tell you whether dresses you are interested in are silk or synthetic. They will also be able to advise you which might be best for you depending on your wedding destination and budget. Don’t be afraid to check details – sometimes brides assume a dress is silk based on the price tag – or they can often be surprised to find that some designers don’t charge over the odds for silk as they can buy in larger quantities whilst passing the savings onto the bride. Take the time to try on dresses of all styles and different fabrics as you may be surprised by what you like the best. But at least now you’ll know the fabrics and what style dresses they are most often used for, just have fun deciding which is the one for you!
Culled from https://weddingplanner.co.uk/
How To Personalise Your Wedding
In my book, achieving a ‘personal’ wedding is far more desirable than one which is ‘unique’. Whilst this may sound nuanced, it boils down to a pet peeve of mine which is couples striving to do that which has not yet been done at a wedding. An aim which is almost unachievable (there are nearly 250,000 weddings in the UK every year) and also leads to people making stupid uncharacteristic choices in the name of being unique.
Anyway… enough of my rambling. Here is a list of fabulous ways in which to make your wedding personal to you, and not unique as according to some kooky wedding blogger…
1. Monograms – go with the traditional elegant type, or get creative and modern. Have a stamp made and then BOOM. Stamp everything. Invites, place cards, menus.
2. Signature Cocktails – not only will this keep on top of costs if you’re having a ‘free’ bar, but it also adds a stamp of your own personalities. Choose a ‘his’ and ‘hers’ cocktail for your guests to try!
3. An hommage to loved ones – include the love stories and old photographs of those who came before you for a personal and sentimental touch.
4. CD Wedding Favours – filled with all your favourite songs as a couple – a relatively cheap favour to make, and if you’ve got that stamp too… PRETTY.
5. Personalised order of service – this is a particularly fine example (though I think this company is Australian) of how to add a fun and quirky element to your order of service which your guests will love to read whilst they wait for you!
6. Have custom drinks labels – then keep a couple of these bottles as keepsake candlestick holders! WoW’s very own Bottle Bazaar do some fabulous labels, check them out here.
7. Table numbers/names relating to your relationship – from holiday destinations, to significant milestones in your relationship.
8. Dance Floor Fillers – have all your guests write down a song which gets them on the dance floor, this way they’ll feel part of your big day!
9. A nod to where you met – did you meet at University? Or maybe on holiday? This could be a lovely way to tie in your past!
10. Find and reclaim random objects – just like this crafty couple did with an old pallet! It’s really easy to pick up random pots and pallets from junk yards, or just ask around! Then paint and stencil your names on – simples!
Bridal make up isn’t only about it looking fabulous, it’s about it staying looking fabulous throughout your wedding day and well into the evening. Having makeup which will stay perfect all day but that still looks glowing and natural is a challenge many brides face. How do you avoid looking like an Oompa Loompa or a china doll? Today on the blog we have some top tips from pro makeup artist, Jenna from Jenna West Makeup, on just how to achieve just that…
‘My advice as a make up artist is to always ensure that you use the right primer for your skin. My favourite primer is Laura Mercier’s and she does a variety for different skin types, if your make up tends to slide off your skin and you start looking oily choose her oil free primer. There is also a hydrating primer for dry skin types and a original primer for combination skin.
My second tip would be to choose a foundation that isn’t too heavy in coverage and contains little or no spf (sunscreen causes flashback on the camera and can make you look pale).
The reason for choosing a light-medium coverage foundation is that you can always use concealer in the places you need more coverage (nose and chin) and in doing so you don’t look heavy all over but have the look of naturally flawless skin. A couple of good medium foundations are YSL Tint Eclat, Mac’s Face and Body Foundation, Bobbi Brown’s Moisturising Foundation and Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation.
Setting your foundation is very important on ensuring that it stays on well, you set make up by using a translucent powder. You can dust the powder over the face by using a large powder brush (be sure to tap excess powder off the brush before applying as you don’t want to overload the skin and have to work hard to blend it in, this will disturb the foundation) or alternatively you can use a powder puff and lightly dab the powder onto the skin (again a light application) I recommend using a loose translucent powder rather than a compact one, the loose powder tends to be softer and is applied more easily and looks less heavy.
If you want a classic radiant glow that so many brides choose for their big day then using a highlighter on the cheek bones is the best way to achieve this and not look ‘shiny’ there’s lots of beautiful highlighters on the market and I suggest a powdered form- MAC and Bobbi Brown do nice ones and some have a hint of colour for a peachy glow or golden glow.
Blusher is by far my favourite product to transform a face and bring it alive with colour. Blusher can sculpt a face to look less round and do the reverse (depending on where you put it) I suggest using at least 2 different blusher colours to Create a more natural looking flush. The cheeks don’t have just one colour so a peach and pink work well together but everyone’s skin tone and eyes/hair colour is different so choose tones that complement your colouring and work on harmony with your overall look. Some favorite blushers of mine are Nars ‘orgasm, Bare Minerals ‘laughter’ and Laura Mercier ‘lotus pink’.
Jenna is a professional makeup artist based in Brighton, with 10 years of experience working in Film, Editorial, Fashion and Bridal Make-up. If you’d like to contact Jenna to discuss your own wedding you can do so here.
Culled from https://weddingplanner.co.uk/
Understanding diamonds can be a bit of a minefield! Last month we discussed engagement ring styles and it’s important that the diamond you choose fits with your selected style of ring but also your budget. Generally the diamond will be the most expensive part of an engagement ring so it’s important you get the right one.
The 4 C’s are a common way of helping you understand the different characteristics of diamonds, these are Cut, Colour, Carat and Clarity.
Cut is often confused with the shape of the diamond, for example brilliant cut (round stone) or princess cut (square stone). The other shapes available include oval, marquise, pear, heart, emerald and radiant/cushion. The most popular cut is brilliant. Cut is actually a measure of how diamonds facets interact with light. Cut is the only C that is influenced by the human hand. The rest are created naturally as diamonds form in the earth.
The colour of a diamond is measured on a scale from D to Z, D is colourless and this allows more light to pass through, giving the diamond more sparkle. As the grading progresses through the alphabet to Z, the diamonds take on a yellowish/brownish tone. Anything up to colour H is considered white, with a hint of yellow appearing in diamonds graded from I onwards.
Carat is the weight of a diamond and one carat is the equivalent of 200 milligrams. It can also be divided into 100 “points”, a 0.75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-points or a 3/4 carat diamond.
Clarity is the visual appearance of internal characteristics of a diamond called inclusions and surface defects called blemishes. The GIA diamond grading scale is divided into six categories, starting with FL (Flawless) and moving through to Internally Flawless category (IF), Very, Very Slightly Included category (VVS), Very Slightly Included category (VS) Slightly Included category (SI), Included category (I). The most popular gradings are VS and SI. From SI2 upwards, inclusions should only be visible through 10x magnification.
Each one of these characteristics will affect the price you pay for a diamond.
So you’ve drawn up a budget (gulp) and allotted an allowance to each major section of your wedding day. There’s £200 for the favours, £1000 for the dress, and £400 for that vintage sports car your other half is sick for. If the purse strings are tight, however, it may also be worth keeping in mind a few of those sneaky wedding expenses which often leave couples creeping over budget.
We’ve drawn up 5 of the sneakiest wedding costs that we think you need to know about, and allow for in your budget.
If you need some help budgeting, try our handy budget calculator – simply enter your proposed budget and it will suggest how you divide it up. Genius!
1. Tips and Taxes
Just make sure that all the quotes you’ve received are inclusive of any taxes and service charges. Some venues can be pretty sneaky when it comes to charging additional fees that you may have missed when making enquiries. You may also like to keep some cash aside for tipping your on the day suppliers, such as the band or serving staff.
2. Extra Meals
To avoid any wobbly bridesmaid moments you’ll probably want to give them some breakfast before you hit the champers. Little meals like this start to add up, so allow yourself a catering buffer. Secondly, any suppliers who are spending the whole day with you (think photographer, musicians, childcare) will need to eat too. Make arrangements with your caterers to ensure everybody gets fed!
3. Postage and Delivery
Ordering decorative items online? Sending invites in the post? Postage and delivery costs soon stack up, so make sure you factor these in to any purchasing decisions. Stamps are a serious purse buster!
It’s not just on-the-day hair and makeup you’ll need to budget for; we’re talking hair cuts, beauty regime potions and lotions, nail salon visits, tanning… All your pre-wedding beautification will start to add up, and should be factored into your overall budget for this category.
5. Holiday Shopping
Your honeymoon may well be already budgeted for, or even be part of your wedding gift list, but all those extra bits and bobs associated with going on the holiday of a lifetime will add extra costs. Do you need vaccinations? Airport transfers? And what about all those glamorous newlywed holiday outfits and swimsuits?
culled from https://weddingplanner.co.uk