Happy New Year all! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last wrote – I had a number of plans for blogs, and then life and wedding planning sort of took over… and now here I am, six months away from the wedding. My goodness, I feel a little faint!
Here’s a round-up of what’s been happening, and what I have discovered along the way.
1. The Dress: I ordered it at the end of September, and it is a beautiful, light gold Maggie Sottero number. It is not something I would have picked for myself initially, as I had imagined something lacy and romantic. Instead, I have gone for something rather glam, yet also romantic. It has that vintage feel I love, but in a more stylised way.
I ended up going back to Young’s Bride and Groom in Watford to get it, after a few near-purchases as Berketex next door. All in all I tried on pretty much every style, shape and size possible in my hunt for the dress – from enormous princess dresses that drowned my small frame to simple column dresses. To be honest they all started to look the same after a while and I just wanted to get it organised! But the one I chose was the one that made me feel most special.
The dress has been ordered in the size closest to mine, and when it is finally delivered to Watford, they will need to alter it to me. I’ve just found out, however, that it won’t arrive until April, which just seems a ridiculous amount of time to wait. I want to try it on now!
Brides – this just goes to show that you should start shopping around early for your dress!
I won’t put a picture up of the dress I chose in case Mr CB has a peek, but here are a couple of the other dresses I tried on (some good, some not so). The pictures are taken in a number of different shops, and my actual dress is nothing like any of these:
2. Jewellery: To go with the vintage glamour of the dress, I needed some accessories with wow-factor. It was hard to decide what sort of thing to go for in order to coordinate with the gold of the dress, but I’ve decided on pieces with diamantes and crystals to match the waist detail on the dress.
After looking at magazines and trying some bits at Youngs, I knew that a side tiara (headband or comb) would suit me better than a full-on tiara, which makes my long-ish face-shape look even longer! I also knew I didn’t want anything too wispy and delicate as that’s not really my style, but I did fall in love with some of the more bold pieces on websites like Magpie Vintage and Flow and Percy.
I contacted the Stephanie Allin store on Chiltern Street in London to find out if I had to make an appointment to view accessories, as it stocks Magpie Vintage, and was told just to pop in. However, when I got there the reception I from the sales assistant (one in particular, I name no names, but she was quite young) wasn’t exactly warm and friendly. After showing me a few items she asked me if I had decided on what I wanted (literally after 10 mins) because she had to help someone who was due to arrive, and that I should have booked an appointment if I wanted to look around. She also showed me some items which she claimed only that particular store had. I later found out that was not true.
You can’t really do much in that situation, but politely leave and decide not to waste your cash.
Thankfully for me, Chiltern Street is full of bridal shops, and I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the Bridal Rogue Gallery. The choice of accessories there is enormous – from jewellery (some of which were ones I had been told were exclusively stocked in the previous shop) to shoes to bridal umbrellas. I literally tried on every single hair piece and was assisted by the friendliest assistant who was completely patient, and understanding.
My sister (also my maid of honour) bought me a beautiful hair comb, which was actually chosen by my bridesmaid. We later noticed that it had two diamante missing and so I went back to the shop, and they were happy to repair it for me. Now I just have to wait another four weeks to get it back!
The shop’s bridal shoe collection is also fabulous, and they offer to dye the items for you to any colour, if you provide a swatch. I intend to go back for some shoe hunting.
Now I need to find a bridal necklace and earring set. Watch this space!
Bridal Rogue Gallery, Chiltern Street, London
3. Bridesmaid dresses: My sister and I spent a lot of time looking at magazines and websites, but were not really blown away by anything until we came across an advert for Amsale in Brides magazine. The dresses were stunning and simple and made from beautiful chiffon – really elegant and understated… but with the potential to be glammed up. Also, as my bridesmaids were nice enough to offer to pay for the dresses themselves, I wanted them to have a really special dress that they’d be able to wear again.
It turns out one place – The Dress Consultants – in London has recently started stocking the American brand. Yay! So we met up with the lovely Sophie Lewis of TDC, my three bridesmaids had a wild time trying on the dresses, and to cut a long story short, we ordered three beautiful pieces in a fabulously summery cerise colour.
The styles of a lot of the dresses meant that it was possible to find ones that suited all three ladies, who have very different body shapes. At £250 a pop they aren’t cheap but I think they are worth it.
Now the girls have to wait until April to try them on and get them altered!
Two of the bridesmaids are wearing this exact first dress (the chiffon straps an be worn over the shoulder like little sleeves) and my sister is wearing the one shoulder piece in the same colour as the other dresses.
4. Shrug: My dress is strapless with a sweetheart neckline and I love it. But my Asian mother is a little traumatised because she thinks I will look naked in my wedding photos.
I resisted her attempts to make me buy a high-collared, long-sleeved Victorian style dress, and her attempt to cover me up in a Cathedral length veil (I’m 5’2”, it’s really not a good look for me). But I have conceded that maybe I need to cover up a bit for the ceremony.
Youngs offered to make me a shrug using the satin of my dress, but I felt that would be too heavy and cover me up too much (don’t tell mum I said that)! I found some beautiful lace shrugs at the Bridal Rogue Gallery, but they were about £300 – totally out of my price range.
So I was over the moon to find American designer Holly Stadler, who makes stunning lace shrugs in whatever colour you need for around £100! I have been in touch with her and she is sending me a fabric sample. Woohoo – you’ve got to love google search!
5. Photographers: This was a tricky one for me, because while photography was one of the most important things on my list, my budget was pretty small. I loved the vintage style of some photographers, such as Emily Quinton, but sadly spending £3,000 on a snapper was out of the question!
I considered getting photographers I liked to come in for just a few hours, and I also came across some very talented and well-priced photographers who could do the whole day (Elizabeth Lois and Tim James are two I met with, and I also liked Yolande de Vries’ albums).
I then emailed Julia Ford, photographer and art director of Wedding Magazine who had once helped me with a blog, and she recommended Matt and Katie Ebenezer – an Australian couple who will be travelling to Europe this summer. I looked at their site and instantly loved their photographs! They are soft and romantic, but best of all everyone in their pictures looks like they are having the best time!! They obviously have a knack for capturing people at their best. So after some toing and froing and negotiating, we booked them.
The only drawback is we won’t get to meet them until a little while before the wedding, and obviously won’t be getting an engagement shoot, but after chatting to them on Skype, we are more than certain that we have made the right decision.
Matt and Katie – can’t wait to meet them!
That’s it for now. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to update this blog more often. I always find reading about other people’s wedding really useful… so who knows, someone out there might say the same about mine!
Happy planning, CB x