A few weeks ago, top bridal and groomswear designers took to the stage to showcase their latest collections on The National Wedding Show spring 2013 catwalk. Stunning wedding gowns, stylish suits, flower girl and pageboy outfits, gorgeous accessories and beautiful occasion wear was all on show for a catwalk The National Wedding Show described as their “best catwalk show yet”, and we have the pictures to share with you…
Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique has launched ‘The Dressing Room’, a completely new customer service experience for it’s brides. Located in Beaconsfield old town, a short walk from their main boutique, The Dressing Room takes service to a whole new level, with a dedicated fitting, styling and post sales environment over two floors.
Bride’s who purchase their wedding dress from the boutique will be invited to visit The Dressing Room, stocked with a myriad of bridal accessories and a huge collection of designer wedding shoes, beautiful veils, fur wraps, garters and more. They will enjoy an individual bespoke styling appointment, where the advice surrounding the accessories, shoes and the ‘look’ can be given to fit the bride’s vision for their special wedding day.
The Ellie Sanderson experience ensures not only the selection of the dress is a day to remember, but for every visit back to Ellie Sanderson afterwards the bride is getting the very best attention, in a gorgeous, dedicated space with the widest range of quality bridal veils, accessories and shoes, and knowledgeable friendly sales consultants.
Ellie says “After 6 years of operating in this industry we have a very good idea of what is important to our brides. The fitting of the gown is top of the list so we have invested heavily in this new space which will give us a best in class service level in the UK bridal industry and keep us ahead of our competition.”
Ellie Sanderson – The Dressing Room, 11 London End, Beaconsfield, Bucks HP9 2HN
To find out more visit www.elliesanderson.co.uk/the-dressing-room
This week instead of our usual real wedding pictures feature, we have the catwalk pictures from the Autumn 2012 National Wedding Shows to share with you. The catwalk featured bridal wear, bridesmaid dresses, groomswear, mother of the bride outfits, flower girl dresses and pageboy outfits.
Bridal wear retailers, including The Wedding Community’s bridal wear expert Ellie Sanderson, showcased the latest wedding dress designs, from full skirted princess style gowns, to sleek dresses with heavily embellished overlays.
The State of Grace is London’s only head-to-toe bespoke design, styling and beauty service for brides.
Previously an exclusive little black book bespoke fashion destination, The State of Grace clothes, accessories and styling have graced shoots and red carpet occasions for an array of women including Jerry Hall, Sade, Kate Moss, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Claudia Schiffer.
Now this increasingly renowned cutting-edge expertise is at a bride’s fingertips, with The State of Grace’s bespoke wedding dress design and styling services.
“We don’t follow trends, we create them – inspired by each new bride we encounter.” says Lucia Silver, Founder and Creative Design Director.
“Our creativity is unrestricted by the usual pressures to design off the peg collections more than a year before presentation; or to mass-produce our work abroad.
“The State of Grace can therefore pick and choose from the greatest talent and craftsmanship available in the UK and concentrate all our skills on making each bride look the best she possibly can!”
Working with teams of up to forty to fifty experts who are specialists in their field, The State of Grace delivers a seamlessly creative and focused vision from head to toe.
The Bespoke Process
You discuss your requirements, the nature and style of your wedding and any thoughts that you may have about what you would like with The State of Grace style and design team.
You look at portfolios and try on samples to get an idea of what you like and what suits you. You also browse through the huge selection of colours and fabrics. With their expertise, you then choose a design(s) and/or accessories and The State of Grace will take any measurements necessary to ensure a perfect fit.
They will then illustrate a new design for you and start to prepare your bespoke toile and pattern.
The Toile Fittings
If a toile or a ‘mock up’ of your garment is required, this will be ready at your next fitting. This ‘mock-up’ allows the team to perfect the design and fit. Before they create your pattern and cut into your final fabric, they will ensure that all the elements are correct and to your liking (the overall shape or silhouette, the neckline, the sleeves etc.). Further fittings may be needed with the ‘mock up’ if substantial changes have been made, otherwise you move into your final fabric. Your underwear and shoes are normally required at these fittings.
During your garment mock-up stage, the team will start to look at your styling and accessories. You can enjoy seeing your ‘whole look’ evolving and check that all garments and accessories are working well together with a wonderfully harmonised colour palette that perfectly suits your complexion.
Once your final fabric has been chosen, your garment is made and you will have your first fabric fitting. Usually only the hem and minor finishing details remain to complete.
Complete the Look – Styling as well as Designing…
The State of Grace will ensure that every woman is empowered to take control over how she wants to look and express herself on her wedding day. You will learn how to transform your look from something perfectly demure for your ceremony, through to something more exciting for your evening reception.
Personal styling is brought to bear with The State of Grace’s treasure trove of jewellery (vintage and modern), shrugs, capes, coats, veils, hats and head-pieces, shoes, bags and more. Absolutely everything can be custom-made or created from scratch for The State of Grace’s brides.
The expert hair and make-up technicians will ensure a totally polished final look that can be adapted throughout the day and evening should you wish.
By Appointment Only
Enjoy flexible appointment times at The State of Grace’s sumptuous studio in Notting Hill, London.
You will receive the advice and encouragement of a warm, discerning and qualified team of stylists and designers who will ensure you ‘step out’ looking your absolute best.
The State of Grace team can create a whole ‘head-to-toe look’ for you alone; a service you’d never find on the high street and, until now, only available to red carpet celebrities.
With fabric either designed especially for you or sourced from the finest purveyors in the UK and Europe, virtually all of the creative design and production takes place in Notting Hill itself.
The beauty of bespoke lies in the pure uniqueness of your outfit as well as the perfection of the cut, choice of colour and style.
Why Should You Compromise?
With prices often lower than leading designers’ collections bought off-the-peg, The State of Grace’s bespoke wedding dress design and styling services start from £2000.
The same VIP service is available to bridesmaids, mothers of the bride, maid of honours and of course, wedding guests.
Designed especially for you, this is an heirloom for the future and one that you may well wear again…
To find out more visit The State of Grace website www.thestateofgrace.com
One of the big trends for 2012 and 2013 wedding dresses is the backless wedding dress. We are seeing this trend on all the catwalks and here at The Wedding Community we love them; a backless wedding dress is so pretty and feminine. We have chosen a few examples to show what is available, from deep plunging v-backs to delicate lace keyhole backs. Here are some of our favourites.
Long Princess Dress with Open Back and Bow – Delphine Manivet ‘Swan’
Ivory Lace Wedding Dress with Open Back – Jim Hjelm ‘JH8211′
Sheer Tulle Backed Dress with Buttons – BHLDN ‘Elysium Gown’
Beige Cotton Toille Trimmed Backless Dress with Cascade Detail – Claire Pettibone ‘Provence’
White Chiffon Wedding Dress with Keyhole Back – Maggie Sottero ‘Electra’
Deep Plunging V-Back Dress – Amanda Wyatt ‘Italy’
Backless Mermaid Dress with Capped Sleeves – For Him and For Her ’0113929′
Backless Wedding Dress with Lace Sleeves – Benjamin Roberts ’2303′
Full Wedding Dress with Plunging V-Back – Ian Stuart ‘Blue Bird’
The spring National Wedding Shows have recently taken place in London and Birmingham. At each of the wedding shows, a selection of top designers showcased their latest bridal wear designs for Spring/Summer 2012.
Here is a gallery of the bridal wear that graced the catwalk at the shows, including wedding dresses, groomswear, bridesmaid and flower girl dresses, pageboy and mother of the bride outfits.
Interview with: Annie Lucas
Company Name: Annalise Harvey, Bridal and Occasion Wear
Location / Coverage: Truro based but covers the SW and SE and offers a fittings service in London.
What does Annalise Harvey do?
A Wedding is a big event, and some believe that the dress is the star of the show. We don’t. It is the bride who steals the day, and a good dress should reflect who she is; her passions, her beauty, her style, her originality, her flair. All of the things that, after all, made her future husband fall in love with her!
Our mission, led by a tireless dedication to beauty, is to create a gown which is so natural to the bride that any other would be unthinkable!
Dresses are handmade to the highest finish in our studio in Truro, and as creative director I ensure that my years of experience designing for dance and, more specifically, classical ballet, are reflected in the gowns that we make.
How did Annalise Harvey come about and how long has the business been going?
I always wanted to be a designer since I was a small girl and I found a bin bag full of off cuts of fabric in the utility room at home. I taught myself to sew, got my first sewing machine aged 10, and became a bit obsessed with period dramas and historical costume!
I devoured pretty much every book I could find on how to make things and used to dress up as Scarlett O’Hara and run around the garden in my early teens!
As I got to thinking about careers I naturally chose the theatre path, since my parents were both heavily involved with local theatre groups and I loved being in the audience as well as backstage. After a foundation year I went to Central St Martins to study Costume Design, and enjoyed a professional career designing costumes for dance, theatre and opera for ten years before relocating to the West Country as a newlywed myself!
I had made quite a few wedding dresses alongside my costume work, and I found I enjoyed it more; the attention to detail, the luxurious fabrics, not to mention the personal reward of contributing so personally to someone’s big day – and moving to Cornwall gave me a fresh opportunity to start anew!
Describe your studio
My studio is based in an Old Bakery right in the heart of Truro. The building almost sits in the river itself, there are swans that float along beneath my window, and I have a great view of the hustle and bustle of the city set against the backdrop of the beautiful Cathedral.
The studio itself is designed to be a calming and warm place in which a bride can step out of the stresses of planning her wedding and concentrate just on herself for a bit. I find there is so much hype about weddings in the media that very often couples put far too much pressure on themselves to create the perfect day. The day will be perfect if it’s got the couple at the heart of it!
What sets Annalise Harvey apart from other wedding dress designers?
Designing a wedding dress is a lot like designing a costume for a character in a ballet or a play – only the subject isn’t fictional, it’s real. My designs are about making something that truly reflects who the bride is, what inspires her, what she loves, who she is and who she wants to be. Oddly, it isn’t about play acting or dressing up, it’s about making something so beautiful and simultaneously so natural, so perfectly ‘her’ that any other dress would be unimaginable!
Do you have a specialist area / style of wedding dress that you create?
Having been passionate about the history of dress since I was practically old enough to pick up a book I would say that my main approach is to reflect historical/heritage/vintage styles in a contemporary way.
What Annalise Harvey aims to do as a business is not reproduction historical costume, it’s about looking back at times when cut was clever, dress-making almost engineering, and the most beautifully intricate details were crafted out of scraps of fabric and a few beads.
Who/what are your influences?
The wall above my desk in the studio is plastered with images from a variety of places – postcards from the costume collection at the VA, scraps of fabric I found and have loved, quick sketches on the backs of envelopes – an attempt to capture a stroke of inspiration at a ridiculously impractical time!
I look everywhere for inspiration, but all the best designers look to each other, as well as the historical sources for some small detail that will spark an idea. Fabric is like paint – the possibilities are absolutely limitless and the best designers are always dreaming up new and exciting ways to drape, stitch, fold etc.
I am in complete awe of designers such as Elie Saab and Vivienne Westwood, and Vera Wang and Jenny Packham take my breath away with every new collection!
Do you only create bespoke wedding dresses or do you have a dress collection?
Annalise Harvey has made a name for itself as a bespoke label, though we are pleased to announce we are working on our first collection, which will be launched in the early autumn of 2012! Not everyone can afford the bespoke option and the collection will bring the essence of the label to a wider audience, whilst still enabling us to work together to create something unique and one-off through details, fabric choices and cut.
What are the advantages of a bride having her wedding dress made for her?
How long is a piece of string?! The advantages are numerous, but I feel the ability for a bride to have some control over the finer details of her gown, and to have something that is made for her and only her, are the most important.
We women have all experienced the variety in ‘standard’ sizing in clothes shops, and this is because no two bodies are the same! There are very very few ladies who are a standard size, and in fact good design is about proportion as well as shape, which means that two people with the same measurements, but different heights, probably won’t suit the same dress.
Proportion is such an important aspect and it can’t be underestimated how great the effect of having something made to balance your own body shape and show off your best bits!
What are the stages of making a wedding dress? How long does it take on average to make a wedding dress?
It’s that pesky piece of string metaphor again! It all depends on the level of finished detail and the complexity of the cut – but the average dress requires around 3 fittings after the initial toile fitting (in which we fit a cotton version of the dress from which we make the pattern). If we were to be working on one dress at a time and the whole workshop was involved we might do it in a couple of weeks!
However it is best to allow a minimum of 4 months so that plenty of time can be given to the design and toile process, as anomalies here are hard to rectify later on!
Do you have a favourite dress you have made?
Every dress becomes a favourite for different reasons, but the all time favourite to date is this gorgeous full skirted gown I was privileged to make for a very good friend. Frances has an enviable figure and would look fabulous in a potato sack, but working on this dress with her was such fun. There are 3 layers of silk in the skirt; a dupion, topped by an organza and finally a gorgeous satin finish silk chiffon – 36 metres of silk altogether! We visited my favourite lace supplier in London and spent a whole afternoon choosing the lace which was bought from a mill in Belgium. Frances’ style is classic and elegant; her wedding was a simple but beautiful event in a barn in Surrey and her dress reflected all of this! She positively radiated gorgeousness on the big day and I loved every minute of making this dress for her.
What’s your top tip for choosing your perfect wedding dress?
ALWAYS try things on and be open minded when you do!
Very often what we think suits us isn’t necessarily the best for us, and our views of what suit us are based on our own, sometimes negative, feelings about our bodies.
There aren’t many opportunities to dress up in big beautiful frocks (unless you are a Hollywood A-lister!), and quite often the shock of the picture of you in a red-carpet dress outweighs an ability to be objective about what works. Try, try and try some more – and by the end you’ll be an expert!
Random question… What was your best Christmas present?
A piano! My husband ‘found’ it somewhere – it’s totally honky-tonk, nothing glamorous but I love it so much. I used to play a lot in my teens – not much Beethoven and pretty much every musical known to man instead, and it’s great stress relief. I love to come home at the end of a day in the studio and bash out something totally cheesy for an hour or so to unwind, and I am very lucky that my husband is patient with my ‘eclectic’ music taste!
Where can I find out more about Annalise Harvey?
There are the traditional routes such as the Annalise Harvey website and our Facebook fan page – but the best way is to give us a call. We’re always happy to talk through the process, and initial consultations with Annie are no obligation and very informal, over a cup of tea and a biscuit…
We have a fabulous bridal shoot to share with you today, showcasing the new Simply Minx bridal collection from White Minx Bridal Boutique. The shoot, photographed by Jay Watson of All Seeing Eye, took place at Burton Court in Herefordshire, a historic house that is a truly unique location for a wedding. The bridal make-up look for the stunning models Charlie, Orchid and Leanne was created by Doreen of Le Glow, with beautiful hair designs by Angie of Bridal Beauty at Le Glow. Male model George’s attire was provided by Bill Child Formal Wear, and flowers from The Hibiscus Room provided the finishing touches.
Kate Middleton’s wedding dress was expected to be an instant sell out with many brides to be. While elements of the lace overlay and neckline detail translates well for many ladies, I feel it hasn’t had them clambering over themselves to replicate the look of the Sarah Burton design for their own wedding.
The moment the dress became available to see back in April, teams of tailors and seamstresses across the globe whirred into action to copy the elegant dress. Many bridal salons debuted their in-house version of the dress within days…
Read the full article by linda Davey on The Wedding Community – Has the Royal Wedding Dress Affected Your Dress Choice?
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We are often asked by our brides to help them choose the best bridal accessories for their wedding dress. It is important not just to fall in love with your wedding jewellery, but to make sure it works with the style of your wedding dress and, most importantly, doesn’t crowd or work against the neckline.
Here are some of our ideas on how to find the perfect necklace for most wedding dress necklines:
Pendants work best with a V-neckline and, depending on the style of the dress, you can either go for something simple like a stunning diamond (or diamante!) pendant, or something sentimental like a silver heart on chain. V-necklines can also work with more statement vintage pendants if that is more your style…
Read the full article by Sangeeta Laudus on The Wedding Community – Necklace Ideas for Different Wedding Dress Styles
Read more Wedding Jewellery and Accessories Advice articles
Read other Wedding Advice articles