Monday, 19 December 2011

Wedding dress fitting: the guide

As tomorrow and my first dress fitting beckons (!) I thought it was high time I shared some wedding dress fitting survival tips. Some are gleaned from the team here at Quintessentially Weddings, and some unadulterated insider knowledge by way of model castings and a Saturday job in a bridal shop as a teen. Some are just a little unashamedly self-indulgent as I see the fitting as an extra special excuse for some new Agent Provocateurs. Hello, bride!

1. Take the maids or friends who were unable to come on the dress hunt, and also those who will be honest with you about your planned 2 stone weight loss. You know who they are, and they love you just as you are (as does your future husband, who asked you, not you-three-sizes-smaller, to be his wife).

2. Go prepared with shoes: these should be either your actual wedding shoes or shoes of a similar height to those you anticipate wearing on the big day (and if you are doing your 'something old' with the shoes, give the soles a thorough clean to avoid messing the dress and annoying the shop assistants).

3. Plan an appointment as early in the day as possible. The dieter's logic is that you are generally 1 -2lbs lighter in the morning and you will likely be a bundle of nerves on the big day itself so will lose this amount naturally with the jitters.

4. Most bridal specialists will not order a dress for you based upon a hoped-for slimming down. They aren't being mean - quite the opposite in fact when it comes to your confidence and purse. Most brides do not lose that much weight, and there is only so much even a super skilled seamstress can do with a seam allowance.

5. You are better off going armed with some Spanx and trying to not drink too much (a beauty pageant trick I am almost ashamed to know of) during the day so as to lessen water retention and make your body appear more toned. Avoid carbs, salt, sugar and fizzy drinks for a few days prior to the fitting as these will be easy to repeat before your wedding day and give a realistic 'trimming' of your figure without full throttle, silly dieting.

6. My relationship with Agent Provocateur is almost as strong as I hope my marriage will be. Pretty, sophisticated and pleasingly saucy without the all-out kink of its mainline collections. The bridal ranges and Imelda strapless bra make for good choices if your dress is strapless or has a flimsy top (see right). And I promise there will be no yanking up of your dress every few nanoseconds.
Agentprovocateur.com

7. If there is lacing, don't be afraid to ask for a good hauling-in.

8. Move around in your dress and don't be afraid to ask for a little more fabric in places where you feel restricted if your gown is made to measure or can have such alterations (Ian Stuart is fantastic at letting brides play with their dresses). You need to be able to sit, dance and walk with ease.

9. A tip learnt from the lovely Miss Bush Bridal Wear: don't be cheeky and expect any alterations for free. The seamstresses bridal shops will use will be exquisitely skilled. Their time is worth every penny. Equally, don't scrimp on alterations - a gaping or ill-fitting gown will make you feel uncomfortable and not look your best in pictures.

10. Enjoy seeing your dress again - it isn't likely you will have any wobbles, but some bridal shops will (with a bit of gentle persuasion) allow you to switch to another gown. However, check you can  afford any difference in cost and no formal order has been placed. This is the 'forever hold your peace' part when it comes to your gown.

And that's it!

Good luck brides.

Friday, 9 December 2011

FANTASY FRIDAY: Dior Couture

With its steal-your-breath beauty and legendary couture, Dior Couture is the stuff of dreams. Bridal inspiration does not come much more fairytale than these images of masterpiece gowns as captured in the new tome.

Even the images of designs from the label's definitive 1947 New Look hold ideas for the vintage-referencing bride. There has been little since to surpass the whipped in, dainty waists and explosions of skirt of these classic A-line dresses when it comes to making a stylish statement on your wedding day. Then there is the knockout beauty of Galliano, or the glamour of Yves Saint Laurent's designs to look-to. If you are just starting out on your hunt for the dress (in which case you really should read 'How to find the one after The One') you won't go far wrong with a copy of this toted around as a reference.


Luminous fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier's portraits of the likes of Gisele Bundchen, Natalia Vodianova, Charlize Theron, Karolina Kurkova and Gemma Ward perfectly encapsulate the atelier's appeal: fantastical, grand and exquisitely romantic. Quite simply, these are gowns and wedding gown inspiration like no other.
CLICK HERE TO READ HOW TO FIND THE ONE AFTER THE ONE

Dior Couture published by Rizzoli is out 6 December.

Friday, 18 November 2011

FANTASY FRIDAY: Lauren Lauren

Today I'd love to introduce you to an extra bit of Friday feeling - FANTASY FRIDAYS. I know there are many, many more pressing things on most brides and grooms minds when it comes to weddings, but every Friday henceforth I'm going to feature something that takes my breath away. It could be a gown, it could be a real wedding, it could be a groom (just kidding) or just anything awfully inspiring that I couldn't not share, but didn't necessarily fall into the realms of planning resources, news, bridal or groom fashion or anything else more practically applicable.

So today, the lovely Lauren Bush Lauren, and her staggeringly cool, wistful wedding. Held on her father-in-law's ranch replete with navajo blankets, aged tan leather and lots of timber, the bride rode in a carriage with a real cowboy driving, dressed in a period-influenced lace gown and married her equally dashing groom before posing for Vogue photographs that mimicked the tin-type images of the old wild-west. Almost as rock and roll as her new married name; and another example of that homely, simple country wedding we've seen enjoying a real moment.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Put a spell on you: Vera Wang

Lunchtime on a Friday afternoon in Brook Street, and I find myself mingling with some of the most beautiful bridal gowns I have ever clapped eyes on. To be honest, I did not even realise they made gowns this beguiling, all swan-like grace and stardust lightness. But here's the catch - of the 10 or so gowns the lovely team at Browns Brides showed me as part of a limited chance to see this, Vera Wang's latest collection fresh from the catwalks of New York Bridal Fashion Week - most were cinder-coloured. Yes, black wedding dresses.

Inspired by Degas ballerinas, and I suspect a certain Swan Lake character, the line-up featured fluid silhouettes of overlaid silk chiffon with fan detail pleating around the waist, drawing the eye into its dainty proportions before slinking down to an eruption of degrade-effect tulle (sure to cause a stir up the aisle) and romantic frothy ballgowns in inkiest black. For the uninitiated, the legendary queen of bridal wear Vera has been in the bridal fashion industry for over 20 years, so is unlikely to be ditching her respect for tradition anytime soon. These dresses do remain faithful to her romantic standing, and fit the bill for the catch-your-breath impact many brides seek. Channelling the same luxurious feel of all her collections in textures of undulating millefeuille that are almost shockingly light - I found myself happily swinging one from its hanger a finger - these gowns are pure haute couture in their exquisite construction.




On the face of it, it is hard to see many brides being brave enough to give these bewitching gowns a whirl. But I think Vera has a point about the often staid, overly-girly aesthetic of much bridal attire. As she explained "I found black to be fresh and tongue-in-cheek". And, increasingly, I don't think brides want to settle for the safe or commonplace etiquette of weddings. They are actively seeking if not such a break with tradition-bound bridal frocks, something that at least makes them feel very much themselves. Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City's Carrie) wore black when she married Matthew Broderick, so there is a iconic pedigree to this dark-dress lark.White or ivory are timeless, they will not fade or date if chosen carefully - and if you only get one chance at your wedding dress, is this a wildcard too far for most? Us lucky brides should be thankful then, that Vera has been fairy godmother-ish enough to do them in ivory, too. Phew.

SEE THE SPRING/SUMMER 2012 COLLECTION HERE

Browns Brides
59 Brook Street, London W1K 5HS
Tl: 44 (0)20 7514 0090
 



Thursday, 10 November 2011

Maids to Measure

I have a confession to make. Not for want of showing willing or any dislike (I hope) friends may feel, I have never been a bridesmaid. Yet with my dress ticked off, I am quickly becoming well-acquainted with the fact that there are very few dresses that manage to blend fashion glamour, allure and are discreetly demure enough so as to let the bride shine through.

Traditionally, bridesmaids were plucked from a bride's most eligible, unmarried family and friends in a bid to bring them to the attention of the groomsmen and members of the wedding party who were also not attached or promised to anyone. It was effectively an open auction and bathing-beauty style parade of women dressed to ensure that while they didn't out-do the bride in beauty, it was a near miss.

Not that much has changed except for the fact that most female relationships have evolved with the times, and the statistics that show that a bride is now on average 30 years old when she marries - this will naturally mean her bridesmaids will be of a similar age. And no 30 year-old would want to make her friends stroll up the aisle in anything that didn't make them feel pretty and womanly. The only thing that perhaps has not altered is that many bridesmaids dresses remain staid and stuck in some nineteen-nineties timewarp - criminally expensive gowns in ill-fitting, shiny satin colours such as coffee, wine and violet. Whilst my four bridesmaids are my dearest girls, and I want them to garner the wolf-whistles and admiring glances they deserve, I am not a confident enough bride to risk a repeat of the Royal Wedding's 'Bottomgate' and the focus on Pippa Middleton's rear which nearly upstaged Catherine's beautiful Sarah Burton number.

Thank goodness then for Maids to Measure. Newly launched by London-based sisters Sinclair and India Sellars, with backgrounds in many turns as a bridesmaid and working as part of Vera Wang's team respectively. Both shared the frustrations of shopping for bridesmaids dresses that bridged the gap between wow-factor style and design, and affordable options for the modern bride who would no doubt still be paying for them. Hitherto the preserve of the lucky few, they struck on the idea of couture bridesmaids dresses - offering an online design process whereby you simply input your measurements under their expert guidance, your colour, style and fabric choice, and you are good to go. Alternatively, you could attend their Fulham atelier and enjoy some Champagne and cake whilst bridesmaids put their personal touches on their gowns.

At the launch party on Tuesday of last week, studded with some of the wedding world's star players such as the Conde Nast Brides Magazine team and OK! magazine's wedding editor, all were struck by the dresses shown in refined silk chiffon layers that would cling in all the right places and move beautifully, and cocktail numbers in colour-pop pink or sorbet yellow. They presented lovely options for the modern bridesmaid. What's more, I'd be proud to wear these as a bridesmaid - I think we might even have another hunt ticked off the list.

All photos from the launch kind courtesy of Emma at Smartography (www.smartography.com)


The Conde Nast Brides girls

Emma at OK! magazine

The lovely Festival Brides gang


3 Knivet Road, Fulham, London SW6 1JJ

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The 2012 Wedding Trend Edit!


Although we are firmly knee-deep of this cosy season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, my thoughts have been firmly turned towards spring and the weddings of next year by two key events:

1. The Luxury Wedding Show - a fantastical wedding feast for the eyes. Featuring established and rising star wedding talent, suppliers and designers.

And...

2. The number of 2012 weddings now being brought together by the team I am fortuitous enough to work among. Seeing them about their daily business of putting a wedding together cannot help but inspire and inform.

There's a whole new cast of spellbinding, accessible and inspiring trends on their way to reimagine the wedding in 2012 with personality and style.


If you are planning to wed next year - or, indeed are a late 2011 wedding looking for those final nuances to give your wedding that wow-factor - these are boxfresh ideas I predict will make weddings even lovelier...

Let me know your favourites Blog@Quintessentiallyweddings.com

CEREMONIES


Folkeloreish throwbacks to a simpler time - medieval handfastings, wiccan blessings and humanist services.

Hymns that aren't really hymns: Kate Moss choir sang the Rolling Stones 'You can't always get what you want'. The rule of thumb here is that most non-secular services will ask that you include one traditional reading and song, but there is room for the more unconventional as long as it is not blasphemous or inappropriate.

The 3 day wedding festivities: go big with a rehearsal supper, followed by the wedding day itself and a traditional wind-down Irish 'after' - each day is understated and makes the wedding more of an event. It's about spending real time with loved ones and friends who have travelled far and wide to share it with you. It evokes the spirit of great house parties past where a social group would retreat to a bucolic pile or city ball as an extraspecial occasion.

RECEPTIONS

Real World Luxury: call me a over-prudent sort, but overawing glitter, ostentation and a tendency towards excess just doesn't feel right anymore.

Luxury now is about meaningfulness, taking the time to enjoy and the personal touch. Not unlike the integrity of the farm-to-table movement, or the baked potatoes and caviar of Natalia Vodianova's Love Ball and the Fillet Mignon and Frites served at a recent autumn wedding organised by the team because it was the couple's favourite supper, rather than it being all about impressing their guests. This is why I think more modest celebrations that are designed around everyone having a ravishing day in each other's company appeal more than ever. Image above courtesy of Shanna Jones


With the rise in the taking of high-tea and swoony pretty vintage tea-set hire companies (our favourite is Vicky Rowe's vintageteasets.co.uk) we'll be seeing a lot more stylish tea-party orientated celebrations in place of costly sit-down dinners.


Iced Cider 'Champagne': a refreshing, cost-effective and delicate sparkler. Biddendens newly launched fizz is perfect for a reception drink served in gold-trimmed coupes

Photobooths go 3D: recreate glamorous silverscreen moments with Photobooth-out-of-order.com

Give a winter wedding that Narnia, ethereal touch with the help of Snowbusiness.com, who could make your tablecentres look as fantastical as these...










FASHION TRENDS

'Floating' embellished lace bodices at Mira Zwillinger and Marchesa 2012 collections make for an enchanting yet demure adornment. Stiched on to sheer ivory tulle, they make me think a little of ice-skaters costumes and nymphs. No bad thing.
Shapes and silhouette go fluid or airy ballgown - meaning both are as light as a feather and easy to wear.

Embellishment glittered as if woven from stars on gowns from Vivienne Westwood and David Fielden at the Luxury Wedding Show catwalk show as styled by Conde Nast Brides Astrid Joss.

Plus, when our friends at Brown's Brides showed us Vera Wang's newest creations, fresh from the catwalk at New York Bridal week, my jaw audibly bumped the floor - not just because these gowns were the most beautiful ever from Vera, but most of the collection was in black (yes, black!).


The renaissance of the veil continues apace - look to Kate Moss' ethereal Juliet cap veil from Johanna Johnson (Lucy or Ava) or birdcage veils perched on pillarbox hats from Candy Anthony for a little My Week With Marilyn old-school glamour.


Grooms go high-fashion: at Jimmy Choo's new dedicated mens store at the Burlington Arcade. These shoes were made for sweeping a bride off her feet in.

The return of proper millinery - no more flightless birds or concoctions of fascinators please. Just good old-fashioned, handsome hats. Try Louis Mariette's staggeringly glamorous numbers for size.


Thank goodness for the newy launched Maids to Measure - a lovely gang of girls who understand adult bridesmaids wanting to look more fashion-forward like Pippa Middleton or Emilia Wickstead's bridesmaids as featured in Vogue, and less safe, staid second-fiddle to the bride.




BEAUTY

Hair goes loose and childlike, and is a welcome antithesis to fussy excess. The gentle highlights are achieved using a technique called balayage, and hair is twisted around fingers when trying to create softly undone, innocent waves. Try the style at Daniel Hersheson - and look at Kate Moss and Lily Aldridge for inspiration.

Master perfect skin (or the illusion of ) with Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua foundation, with the compact version set to launch early next year.









FLOWERS

Will increasingly tend towards a little undone, natural beauty. There is a hint of the influence of the chivalric romance of the Language of Flowers (see Royal Wedding florist Shane Connolly for more) and a shift away from unpragmatic hothouse flowers that dominate a room leaving guests playing peekabo around big, lusty displays as they cannot see those sat opposite!


Blooms evoke a woodland nymph mood as seen at Mulberry, using native flowers such as Cornflower, baby's breath, Larkspur, garden roses, flowering herbs and interesting leafy foilage to create dell-like settings. Scarlet & Violet lead the field here with their wild arrangements - pull up a chair and enjoy their pleasingly English book of Vintage Flowers...
VENUES

Also, note the rise of enchanting woodland weddings in established forests of ancient trees: Wasing, Wise's Wedding Wood or the National Trust's Nymans Gardens.

Cotswolds countryside idylls will still be going strong - it must be something about the pale honey stone, corbels and scenery straight out of Thomas Hardy. The line-up boasts Thyme Southrop Manor, Cowley Manor, Babington House, and Calcot Manor.


DETAILS


Putting your own idiosyncratic stamp on things - literally - with monograms, interlocked thumb print hearts for your Save The Date cards, and Fiona Leahy lace curtains woven with your initials.









NEWS

The end is night for L-Plate, poor-taste hen dos. Click HERE to read more about Cliff Barns.

Paul Antonio launches his astonishing calligraphy and stationary atelier early next year. Keep eyes peeled here...

PLUS See more catwalk images from the Luxury Wedding Show at our Flickr page.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Exclusive sneak peek at Vivienne Westwood Bridal Collection

In impact, pageantry and sheer rock and roll, irreverent national treasure Vivienne Westwood stands second to none. Which is why I had to practically sit on my hands on Saturday morning to prevent them bursting into uncontrollable rapturous applause (not the done thing on the Frontrow) as each of her new bridal creations stomped down The Luxury Wedding Show runway.

The first collection in quite some time from the Dame was suffused with her usual knock-out beauty and spirit which touches on the borderline bonkers at times. There was an evolution, however, as the collection paraded a more diverse offering of colourful dresses and a shimmering corseted dress decked in fine encrustations as if made of stars. Particularly lovely was the Capon gown: a riff on the legendary Carrie dress, but an altogether more contemporary and laid-back affair with a sweeping straight neckline and less pudding-y flounces in the body of the skirt.


The shapes, volume, corset clad waists and couture interest were still there in addition to the rebellious undercurrent that defines Vivienne's work. These are intuitively dresses for a woman, not for girls or the shy.

Vivienne's signature heritage references give these gowns their rare quality, and I imagine the craftsmanship of the atelier of couture dressmakers that creates them is still as exquisite. Having tried a few on at the Davies Street store on a whim, I can honestly say it looks as if the little seamstress mice from Beatrix Potter's The Tailor of Gloucester have been at them.The weight of fabric and finish of the Italian Duchess silks and sheer tulle layers do look fit for a fairytale princess, albeit a latter day one with a rebel streak. Amid the commonplace ivory and softness of most bridal gowns on the runway at the weekend, these gowns were a welcome antithesis.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL RUNWAY WEDDING DRESSES EDIT

But the big question is - who will be brave enough to wear red on their big day? I can't help but feel this was more about the drama and facilitating Vivienne to make a statement than being a viable decision for most brides; more Natalia Vodianova at her Love Ball than a wedding.

After all, dresses this beautiful deserve to be worn and rocked down the aisle to be married in. I'll salute a bride that does!

Would you wear anything other than ivory or white on your Wedding Day? We'd love to know...

Gold Label & Couture 6 Davies Street, London W1K 3DN
T: 020 7629 3757
VivienneWestwood.co.uk

Friday, 21 October 2011

LIVE & EXCLUSIVE

Watch this space as I live-report from The Luxury Wedding Show and give you exclusive, rare first glimpses of Vivienne Westwood's full bridal collection, the lovely team at Browns Brides, Conde Nast Brides Magazine's catwalk, and a host of other white-hot wedding news!

The best of the wedding industry will be descending on the Saatchi Gallery from 10am, including the Quintessentially Weddings team composed of Quintessentially WeddingsGifts, Travel, DrivenTV (film and photography) and Flowers at stand 210 on the Ground Floor.

Please do come and see them, and try and spot me, the resident @QBride

Dressing your Table

Though I have many months still to plot and plan - and likely many more pressing things than napkins to be worrying about, wedding shoes for my first dress fitting next month for example - as one of the most impactful and scene-setting aspects of a wedding, you can't beat a well dressed table.

That I am also something of a pedant when it comes to the balance between ornamental prettiness and over-doing it doesn't help. We've all been to the wedding with silly amounts of flowers that droop unwittingly into the soup, or glittery hearts that end up in places they should never end up. The key to this seems to be the edit.

Luckily for me, my obsession is easily placated with a good hunt through a clutch of websites that have swiftly crept their way up my favourites list and can be used to create scenes such as the one to the left (taken from a Quintessentially Weddings reception this summer and featuring glass and dining ware from Jones Hire, flowers from Absolute Flowers). We're hoping to blend a rock and roll medieval feel with a lighter, bucolic aesthetic created with armfuls of seasonal flowers and herbs, glassware that is not quite right for the period but adds some sparkle and vintage lace table runners.

These are the @QBride's favourite table top dressers...

NotontheHighStreet.com for an tons of imaginative wedding accessories.

Cox & Cox are home to simply some of the loveliest decorations we've ever seen.

Fiona Leahy Boutique chanelling her unique breed of enchanted chic, we love Fiona's lace runners, voiles with your initials woven in, and ceramic wares. Keep an eye out for the online shop launch.

Scarlett & Willow because a few monograms go a long way.

And for good old fashioned inspiration, Snippet & Ink.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

La Frassinede

With its setting of the cornflower blue skies of summer and deep Pyrannean beauty by winter, La Frassin├Ęde is as close an approximation to a French heaven as I've come – and a perfect wedding or honeymoon hideaway. It makes me think a little of a French Kate Moss-esque wedding and would be a fitting venue for a chic, poetic big day.
An ancient former wine cave in the realms of Fitou country, the bucolic residence features reclaimed 18th century fireplaces, a courtyard garden, 15m swimming pool, freestanding rolltop baths, staggeringly pretty original antique pieces and elegant fabric furnishings that lend the pale amber and honey stoned building a real-world, undone luxury feel.
Imagine a garden ceremony among the lavender and heady scents of trees, followed by a long, wine-laced wedding breakfast that leads into a night of dancing under vast skies of stars. Then retreat to one of the six contemporary yet charming bedroom suites for first wedded night.
Available as an exclusive hire and comfortably accommodating up to 14 guests (plus two staff bedrooms), this venue is the equivalent to your own boutique bolthole hotel, and private chefs can be arranged, in addition to the resident housekeepers.
LA FRAISSINEDE, Corbieres, Languedoc Region
Montlaur, France
+44 (0) 7771 601 629
info@lafraissinede.com

Friday, 14 October 2011

New! Stella McCartney Bridal Lingerie


Stella McCartney has done it again, rescuing a generation of brides from extortionate and overly fussy wedding underwear fripperies they’ll never wear again. Fashioned from diaphanous laces and silken matt satin, Stella’s bridal collection is coy, pretty and even beautifully packaged in a box embossed with a golden ‘Here Comes the Bride’. I would almost be tempted to ditch the dress just to show them off.
Bra £108, Torsolette £185, Briefs £72, Garter £41
Stocked at Stella McCartney 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Weather proof Wedding


Whilst most of us dream of a heavenly wedding day of radiant sun and the odd cooling breeze, an autumn or winter wedding (and increasingly a summer big day, if this past season was anything to judge by) asks for a more pragmatic, stoic approach. English weather needs a thoroughly English attitude.

As we descend further into this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, I have become increasingly aware of how at my autumn wedding in just a little over 11 months, the odds of goosebumped guests and puddle-dodging with my wedding gown's train are dramatically increased. There is also the fact that elderly guests will feel any cold all the more.The things that attracted us to the idea of marrying in autumn: gilded leaves, mulled cider, a seasonal feast of venison, and the muted light: risk being overshadowed by the certainty of rain and chill. It is up to us to ensure our guests' comfort, but equally not marr the beauty of the day with cumbersome brollies or thermal foil capes.

Thankfully, there is an arsenal of stylish options that can help with the wedding weather come rain, snow - or that particular breed of fine, clear cold on a winter's day.

Here are my favourite Weatherproof Wonders...

Metcheck.com - Accurate and reliable. Be safe, not sorry.

Hunter metallic gold or silver wellies (pictured above), £85 Hunter-boot.com

Blanche in the Brambles Muffler £89
Blancheinthebrambles.co.uk
(Coming soon to Liberty's)

A Chloe Felted wool cape over your dress... 
Matthew Williamson's  Lapin fur shrug, £1, 795 from Net-a-Porter.com
COMING SOON: Beaded Lapin Shrug
A pile of blankets and shawls from Notonthehighstreet.comNatural Pure Wool Throw

And some beautiful umbrellas from Umbrella Heaven

Fifi blanc Umbrella, £19.45
UmbrellaHeaven.com 


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Wren Press


Nothing surpasses the pleasure of receiving a proper, weighty and finely-wrought invitation. Let your guests in on how much they mean to you with a swoony, accomplished invitation from Wren Press.

Whilst their stationary maintains the great British tradition of being both a touch libertine and eclectic (which I love), the fine embossed, gilded lettering and watermarked paper set Wren Press' cards and notelets apart.

WrenPress.co.uk

Monday, 10 October 2011

A Downton Abbey Wedding

I have a confession to make. In the beginning, I didn't get Downton Abbey, finding it a little cloying and missing some of the sumptuous nuances or playfulness of other period dramas such as Cranford or Gosford Park. But now, I am just one more swelling the ranks of those who have become caught up in the opulent world of Downton Abbey and its pleasingly English charms, the perfect sanctuary for a Sunday night. Now, I simply can't get enough.

With grand, lavish lawns that sweep up to a Victorian pile that is of equal measures devastatingly majestic and romantically otherwordly, Downton Abbey is a lovely glimpse into a lost world of exquisite elegance and pageantry. Perfectly capturing the refinement of the early twentieth century with crystalline chandeliers, Persian rugs, fringed lamps, mint julep coloured walls and silver trays overflowing with classic libations, Downton packs an irresistible punch. Add a colourful cast of characters who seem thoroughly stuck in the mud of the early twentieth century, but so right for now - with all their heartache, irritations, simmering sexual tension, glamour and spirit – and you have more than a mere period drama, but an unexpectedly rich source of inspiration for a wedding - and some lovely bridal muses.


Which is why I'm dreaming of a Downton Abbey wedding: with a setting of Highclere Castle - the show’s imposing, ravishing home – a wedding supper of 1916 favourites such as roast quail  - and some vintage Downton moodboard nostalgia. It is a wedding that nods to the fancy for all things historic and British, cosy and reasurringly eccentric, but has grace, romance and gilding in all the right places.

 
Credits: photo of recreation of Cecil Beaton’s image of Debutantes (find similar gowns at Ian Stuart and Angelina Colarusso), similar chandeliers from A & M Hire, Headpiece similar from Olivier Laudus, flowers Absolute Flowers, Aspen lace detail and silk wedding gown by Jenny Packham, faux pearl and crystal bracelet by St Erasmus, vintage Rose invitation similar from Ditsy Chic, Highclere Castle, Place Cards similar from Paul Antonio, Macarons by Laduree, table lamp by House of Hackney, engraved star Champagne coupes from The Vintage Wedding List, The Satine hand-beaded wedding gown by Johanna Johnson, wedding cake byLittle Venice Cake Company, chevron tray from Up in the Air Somewhere, Rouge Volupte lipstick YSL, antique diamond engagement ring from Kaizen, Crystal necklace by Nocturne, photo from Vogue of Downton Abbey stars in Bottega Veneta gowns, Jimmy Choo Lace shoes, flowers as before.

Friday, 30 September 2011

WIN! 50 Tickets to the Designer Wedding Show to give away!


Gird your loins. With its romantic, breathtaking and fashion-forward showcase of 140 of the wedding industry's finest, The Designer Wedding Show in London is a go-to for any bride or groom and their wedding party.

Taking place on the 7 - 9th October at Battersea Park, the event is a unique shortcut to the loveliest wedding gowns, accessories, flowers, millinery, cakes, jewellery, stationary, caterers, venues, gift lists, photography and more from a line-up of some 140 luxury companies.

Four couture bridal catwalk shows a day feature some of the leading wedding dress designers from Alice Temperley to Sassi Holford, Pronovias to Vera Wang, in addition to an all-new On the Sofa consultation salon with Bryony Toogood of Conde Nast Brides magazine. Restaurant areas feature a pop-up from Mosimann's and Peggy Porschen's pop-up cake parlour for a little taste of what rocked Kate Moss' wedding.


Win!! The Designer Wedding Show is pleased to offer two complimentary tickets to Quintessentially Weddings Blog readers for the first 50 people who contact us.

To take advantage of this fabulous offer, simply email harriet@foxgloveevents.co.uk quoting ‘Quintessentially Weddings’ and your address in order to forward on tickets.

Visit www.designerweddingshow.co.uk for more details.
Tickets are £16 in advance and £18.50 on the door.