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.


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

Friday 21 October 2011


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... 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

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

Hunter metallic gold or silver wellies (pictured above), £85

Blanche in the Brambles Muffler £89
(Coming soon to Liberty's)

A Chloe Felted wool cape over your dress... 
Matthew Williamson's  Lapin fur shrug, £1, 795 from
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 

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.

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.