It seems that our little introduction to the fabulous event that is Brides The Show has certainly picqued the interest and we know that lots of you have got your tickets all booked. So, just to whet your appetite a little more (and convince those of you that haven’t yet cleared your diary that you need to hop along), we’re going to take a little look at some of the exhibitors that you can look forward to seeing.
Today, we’re featuring all things fashion from gorgeous gowns for brides and maids to accessories and boutiques.
To be completely honest, we’re already super excited to browse the stands of the designers at the show. The prospect of rails full of tulle, chiffon and silk is almost too much. But, we’ll try to control ourselves as we run through some of the exhibitor you’re going to fall for…
Kate Halfpenny’s effortlessly chic creations will certainly be on our ‘must see’ list as will the beautiful embellished gowns of Vicky Rowe. Both of these designers have a strong, individual style that we just love. That’s the joy of Brides The Show, there’s just such variety – from the show-stopping gowns of Ian Stuart and the established beauty of Stephanie Allin to the elegant refinement of Andrea Hawkes and the ethereal delicacy of Naomi Neoh. You can view, touch and experience styles that you might not have considered before or you can be made surer of your choice. Wedding perfection.
Bridal boutiques are also well represented and you can make your appointments with the iconic Browns Bride among others. Boutiques provide such great service for brides from helping you put together your perfect look to ensuring that your gown is precisely fitted before your big day.
I just adore this wedding! There are so many little touches that make it extra special and bride Amanda obviously worked really hard to bring the whole day together. It seems like such a charming, relaxed day. I always love photographs taken in early spring light and Campbell Photography capture both the ambience and the happiness of the occasion beautifully. The traditional irish ceremony sounds so romantic too. This is an all-round gorgeous day!
Amanda and Graham were married on 17th April 2014 at Brooklodge Hotel and Spa in County Wicklow, Ireland. This is a bride with some really savvy words of wedded wisdom – but you’ll need to scroll to the end of the feature to find out what she has to say
“As we like lots of different things we didn’t just want to be limited to having a set theme. Overall our aim was to have a fun day so I guess you could say it was quite eclectic; 50′s glamour meets rustic charm with a twist of festival fun. As “Love” was what brought us both to this special day we wanted that to be the message that stood out on the day.
We decided to go DIY on the wedding pretty early on. This was down to budget but also because we are both pretty handy and are partial to a bit of arts and crafts. This meant that we were styling and making most of the props ourselves. We made the invitations to start and this was where our theme developed from.”
Amanda’s full skirted lace dress was from Candy Anthony. With her incredible beehive hairstyle and yellow shoes she just looks so retro-glam don’t you think?
“I did a lot of research online looking for short 50′s style dresses and came across Candy Anthony in London. I exhausted all options here before I decided to fly over and try on my dream dress. I am so happy I did, as I fell in love the minute I tried the dress on.”
“It fit like a glove and this was only a sample! The dress I went for in the end was a Nottingham lace overlay with ¾ sleeves and a scalloped hemline. It sat over a winter white satin gown with a four layer petticoat. I wanted a colour pop somewhere in my look so I went with the marigold ruched sash with big bow at the back.
I love everything about this dress, it is the ultimate party dress and was so comfortable. I twirled around the dance floor all night in it, it was so much fun!”
“My sister Erika is the most amazingly gifted hairdresser. She was also a bridesmaid so she was very busy on the morning of the wedding. She knew exactly what I had in mind and did such a fabulous job. It was a modern take on a beehive. I love big hair and it was definitely that! My two sisters had short hairstyles so we used a Marilyn Monroe image as inspiration for their hairstyles. They looked so amazing in their swing dresses.”
“As I couldn’t find the exact style of headpiece that would compliment this style of dress I decided to make my own. I studied costume design at college so no better opportunity to put my skills to use. I had an oversized winter white taffeta bow with birdcage veiling. I absolutely loved wearing and it just completed the whole look. I have since set up my own Etsy store, ‘All Bells & Whistles’, where I design and make bespoke bridal headpieces for other brides to be.
The only item of jewellery I wore on the day were my earrings. They belonged to my nan and she sadly passed away two weeks before the wedding. They were a gorgeous vintage looking drop pearl. I was delighted to have something of hers with me on the day so they were very special.”
“Our polaroid guestbook table was such a fun idea and people loved taking their picture and sticking it in our book. We made an instruction chalkboard and labelled it “shake it like a polaroid picture”. We thought it was a nice alternative to the photobooth idea and a nice keepsake for us to look back on in years to come.”
“Kristi and Neal are The Campbells and I can’t say enough about this couple, they are so talented. We couldn’t have imagined some of the pictures that they captured on the day. They have an intuition for a great shot and saw potential in the most unexpected of locations. They prepared a preview slideshow of our wedding and we were truly moved by the beauty of it. They captured all of our favourite moments and helped us to relive the day. It felt like we had been given the best present ever.
Big Day Films captured our video on the day. We chose a retro style highlights video which was a snapshot view of the day. It is such a fun video and to watch it back really puts a smile on our faces. It’s so nice to have footage of our nearest and dearest and to see their reactions and how they enjoyed themselves. I could watch this over and over as it just sums up the whole day.”
As I was preparing this wedding, I couldn’t help but smile at the photographs of bride Louise – she just looks so happy, and I mean a genuine, beautiful happiness, the kind that catches you out smiling with your head tilted slightly when you’re watching a really good film – a sign of some great photographs, surely?
“Tom grew up in Bridport, Dorset, and we try and spend as much time there as possible. We love the Dorset countryside and so we wanted to base our wedding around a Dorset country theme. From our Ukulele band ‘Mother Ukers‘ at our garden reception, barn dance in the evening, and our traditional Dorset cream tea wedding breakfast, we wanted everyone to feel like they’d come to country village fete rather than a wedding.”
“Tom and I met 10 years ago at University, I was a Fresher and Tom was in his third year. We endured a long distance relationship for three years before I moved to London after graduating at uni. We got engaged on Durdle Door beach down in Dorset in June 2013, where we had spent many evenings there during my summers living with Tom and his parents in between my university years.
Oue venue was Crepe Farmhouse in Dorset. My family are from the Northwest so we wanted a venue that could sleep all 17 of them ☺ It was the perfect setting for our country themed wedding. We hired it for the whole week which meant we could plan onsite in those final stages, and it was perfect.”
I found the whole dress shopping experience not as fun as I thought it would be. I had no idea what sort of dress I wanted, I just knew I wanted to be comfortable, and feel like me. I shopped all over the country, and eventually found this particular boutique on my doorstep – which thankfully made up for the experience I had had up to then.
Originally, the dress had a satin belt which I had taken off, but I loved the back. It was sexy, and elegant, and seeing as 100 people were going to be staring at my back for an hour I was glad it was a feature! It was comfortable and light, and the quality of the lace really stood out from other dress’ I tried on.”
“Our photographer was Ruth Atkinson Photography, who was everything we wanted in a photographer. Her style was perfect for our day, very relaxed and discreet. She captured the day perfectly, making everyone, including a photo shy husband, feel at ease. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough.”
One of the very greatest pleasures of being in the position I am as blogger, is that I get to use Love My Dress® as a platform to showcase amazing, British talent. Today I am so excited to be sharing details of a beautiful new collection with you, created by a lady who has been with me every step of the way throughout my past five years of my adventures in the land of weddings.
Vicky Rowe first came to my attention in 2008, as I was researching for my own wedding. I used to spend an unhealthy amount of time in online wedding forums, gaining inspiration and supplier details from other brides. To me, Vicky was this mesmerising character from the start – she had amazing stories to tell about how her Grandma used to perform for the Folies Bergère in the 20′s, and how her Grandma’s style had influenced her own love for the fashions and aesthetics of that period. She was also amongst those that helped the vintage scene explode a few years back – she was running a vintage china hire company, the first of it’s kind in the UK. She also had a fondness for fashioning 1920s style cloche hats and would wax lyrical aver her love of beaded flapper style frocks. It’s a look that heavily influenced her own wedding which features both on Love My Dress, and in my book, Style Me Vintage Weddings.
Needless to say, we connected pretty much instantly and have remained friends every since. Five years on, Vicky has harnessed her true life passions and talent in design to produce an exquisite collection full of beautifully beaded and intricately hand embellished dresses and headpieces, evocative of the 1920s and 30s, but with a with an updated, contemporary feel for today’s modern bride. And I think you’re going to love it.
Film Production Copyright (c) 2014, David Harper // Burning Red
“My dresses aren’t your traditional wedding gown – and this originates from my obsession with the 1920’s and 30’s and that female rebellious streak of the era. I love the intricate bead and sequin embellishment from the 20s which abruptly stopped during the Great Depression. I see my designs as more heirloom pieces than your average wedding dress.”
“Prior to becoming a designer, I trained as a surveyor and went on to be a successful project manager – an experience which has provided me with skills in planning, time management, organisation and of course, working under pressure. I have however always been creative and during my years in the corporate world, I felt that part of me was left missing and unfulfilled.
During this period, I studied Millinery with ‘Rose Cory’ in London during the evenings and at weekends, and before long, I started to take private commissions – moving on to running successful hen party millinery workshops for Hen parties all over the country.”
“I had also set up Vintage Tea Sets, a china hire company, after collecting so much antique and vintage china for my own own wedding. I was one of the first people to do this in the UK and had the likes of Fortnum and Mason and The Sanderson Hotel as my clients.
In 2010 I left my job in surveying and pursued my cloche hat making and vintage teat set businesses full time which I sold a year ago, meaning I was free to pursue my one true passion of designing dresses.”
“When I got engaged myself, and had to find a wedding dress, I suddenly found myself thrust into this big white world that I didn’t really connect with. I have a bit of a rebellious streak, and I’d already been seriously questioning what ‘traditional’ wedding dresses were in the first place. Why does everyone consider a big white dress to be essential, just because Queen Victoria wore white when she married Albert? The whole tradition is actually less than 200 years old; prior to this, most women would just have simply worn a special dress.”
“Needless to say, I didn’t really enjoy the bridal dress shopping experience. I found the whole thing very daunting and was supremely reluctant to even step foot in a bridal shop. In a shop in Bath I bought the first white beaded dress I tried on, knowing that what I really wanted did not exist.
Now, when I look back at my wedding pictures, I can’t help thinking that the look I ended up with was not entirely me, but if I had found the dress of my dreams I wouldn’t be here today writing this feature for Love My Dress®.”
Just so beautiful – the attention to detail on Vicky’s designs is outstanding, but then with an office located in such inspiring surroundings, it’s no wonder that Vicky’s mind is allowed to wander to places that allow her to create these exquisite pieces.
“I live in mid-Wales in a 16th Century Farmhouse on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, surrounded by countryside. We moved here two years ago. I have converted part of one of the buildings into my studio, and the tranquillity and scenes of astonishing natural beauty all around inspire me. I’m still at the start of my career as a designer and I’m just really enjoying exploring and experimenting with different designs and materials right now, but I am also very proud indeed of my debut collection and hope that it will resonate with readers of Love My Dress®”
I love how Vicky talks about her journey of inspiration – this is what makes her and her brand so authentic for me.
“So many things inspire me; silent movies from the 20s with Louise Brookes, Pandoras Box for example and Clara Bow in ‘It’ – original couture pieces from the 20s and 30s, my surroundings in Mid-Wales where nature is so abundant, and of course books like ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald and ‘The Sun Also Rises’, by Ernest Hemmingway – they all have a big influence.
As a very young girl, I vividly remember my mother wearing gorgeous floor-length embellished dresses for functions and parties, and I think that’s when my love of glamorous dresses started.”
“When I was in my 20s I spent a few years travelling around Asia, and during that time I became really interested in the crafts and embellishments from those countries and the artisans who made them.
These were the skills that had been used in the past on 1920s dresses and which still exist in the couture fashion houses. I love the one off dresses that grace the runways at the London and Paris fashion weeks, with their jaw-dropping designs and exquisite embellishment.”
I’m always amazed at how creative Love My Dress couples are, and how weddings become such a wonderful showcase of people’s talents. That’s certainly the case for our next couple – say hello to Sarah, a web designer, and Phil, a 3D print technician working in the film industry.
In true designer-maker style, they wrote themselves a brief for their wedding, and it went something like this: “Lotsof fun for family and friends, seasonal local food, scented seasonal flowers and our personality magnified.”
The couple married on the first gloriously sunny day of the year, 17th May 2014, at Sunningwell Church near their home in Oxford. A reception followed at the nearby Great Barrington Village Hall, Burford – a beautiful Cotswold stone building with a vaulted ceiling. Perfection.
“I was literally the girl next door while we were in student housing in Birmingham. We got together in our second year at university, then spent a few years after we graduated commuting between Birmingham and Oxford, where I got a job. Phil eventually moved to Oxford and we set up our home
.Five and a half years in, Phil proposed on a volcanic rock overhanging the sea on the south east coast of Majorca. We spent six months just enjoying being engaged, then gave ourselves a year to plan the wedding.”
Sarah’s gorgeous tea-length dress is ‘Scarlett’ from the Love Letters collection by Naomi Neoh, which Annabel blogged about here. Soft, floaty layers of chiffon are a hallmark of Naomi’s designs and her lighter-than-air creations must feel incredible to wear.
Sarah visited Victoria Allison Couture especially to try this dress on. “After seeing the dress online, it was the first dress I tried on. Trying several more only convinced me further that it was the right dress. I loved the soft blush chiffon.
“Being in the design industry we did many of the creative things for our wedding ourselves. For our invites, we contacted Richard Lawrence, a local letterpresser who specialises in handset type. I love typography and it was really special to design our invites, then go and spend the day in Richard’s workshop letterpressing them.
Originally we weren’t too bothered about wedding favours and just saw them as an extra cost. But I’d been following a Swiss designer’s blog and a few years ago she set up Tattly. I’ve pined over her cool little temporary tattoos for some time, so we snapped up the ‘Everything’ pack of 313 tattoos and had a fun evening pairing them up with the guests whilst sipping red wine.”
These stunning photographs are by Jen Marino. “We got on with Jen so well at the engagement shoot, we couldn’t wait for her to cover our day. She and Nicki our second photographer captured so many touching moments that we would have missed. We had one of our friends say they would love to get married again, purely to have Jen as their photographer!”