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WEDDINGS AUTUMN / WINTER 2015  £5.00

Top trends Our pick of the best in bridal fashion

Caroline Castigliano

PURE ROMANCE

Gorgeous real weddings

FROM CASTLE TO BEACH Venues with style

Meet the London designer

Belle of the

BALLROOM Gowns and jewels to get the party started

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COUTURE www.stephanieallin.net

17 Chiltern Street Marylebone London W1U 7PQ Tel 0207 486 7310

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PARIS PARIS

Mirror Mirror LONDON LONDON

SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL WEDDING GOWNS AND ACCESSORIES SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL WEDDING GOWNS AND ACCESSORIES LEADING INDEPENDENT STOCKIST OF CYMBELINE LEADING INDEPENDENT STOCKIST OF CYMBELINE 020 7713 9022 | 56 Penton St London N1 9QA | angel@mirrormirror.uk.com 020 7713 9022 | 50-56 Penton St London N1 9QA

www.mirrormirror.uk.com www.mirrormirror.uk.com

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Skirt and top, Caroline Castigliano Heels, Emmy London Veil, Caroline Castigliano (CCV1108) Flowers, Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart

Contents Autumn / Winter 2015 12

84

ABSOLUTELY LOVES

Wedding must-haves, from hats to the ultimate silk lingerie

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WEDDING ALBUM

Absolutely's album showcases weddings with true London style

H A I R & B E AU T Y 78 PERFECT HAIR & MAKE UP Tips for getting the runway look from top stylist Pam Wrigley

81

THE PERFECT 10

Bridal trainer Sarah O'Neill shares her tips for ensuring you look and feel divine on the day

FA S H I O N 20 DRESS TO IMPRESS

WEDDING PLANNER 84 PICK OF THE VENUES

Glittering fashion to ensure you're the belle of the wedding ball

From castles and an Art Deco gem to the the perfect beach hideaway

30 AND THE BRIDE WORE... WHITE

94 MEET THE EXPERTS

36 COUTURE QUEEN

HONEYMOONS 110 TUSCAN IDYLL

The fascinating history of our modern wedding dress, as captured in a recent V&A exhbition

Meet Caroline Castigliano, designer of delectable wedding couture

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BRIDAL TRENDS

17 glorious pages of the hottest wedding fashion and runway trends

J E W E L L E RY 67 LOVE TOKENS

Our panel of professionals give advice on everything from dress to photographs

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Stunning views over Florence and the Chianti Hills make this Renaissance villa something special

72

The best and brightest engagement rings from London's top jewellers

72 WITH THIS RING

Want the perfect ring? Here's how to design it yourself

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REAL WEDDINGS 122 EMERALD AISLE

A destination wedding in a romantic County Cavan castle, complete with picture-perfect turrets and towers

126 FAIRYTALE ROMANCE

Just 30 miles from the capital, Hedsor House proved to be an idyllic setting for a summer party with a delicate botanical theme

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On The Cover ◆

Strapless peplum dress, Caroline Castigliano (Taylor) Drop earrings, Caroline Castigliano Ring, De Beers, £14,500 Flowers, Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart ◆

Photography:

DA N W I L L I A M S

FINANCE DIRECTOR ALEXANDRA HVID ◆

PA TO THE DIRECTORS MARIANNE MCFADDEN ◆

DIRECTORS GREG HUGHES, ALEXANDRA HUNTER ◆

CEO/PUBLISHER SHERIF SHALTOUT For editorial enquiries please email: libby@zest-media.com For advertising enquiries please call 020 7704 0588 or email: advertising@zest-media.com Subscriptions are available simply by emailing marianne@zest-media.com

Simple and elegant designs exquisitely executed

Part of the

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WELCOME

Editor’s letter Weddings make the world a brighter place and the pure glamour of the occasion is something to celebrate

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or all of us at Absolutely Weddings, it's been a pleasure talk to the people who make gorgeous weddings happen – from top designers and cakemakers to leading photographers. We're delighted that so many great names from the bridal industry have offered their advice in this launch issue to make your wedding planning that little bit easier. You will find lots of expert advice, including our useful Wedding Planner section beginning on page 93. But, let's face it, it's all about the dress – and this issue is packed with beauties, beginning with our fashion shoot at The Langham featuring sublime dresses by Caroline Castigliano (see page 19). We tell the fascinating story of the white wedding dress, as captured in a recent V&A exhibition (page 30) before bringing things bang up to date with a stunning array of the finest gowns, jewels and wedding extras (page 41). We couldn't neglect true love stories that make the world go round and we've included romantic real weddings (page 121). Finally, if you're in full planning mode, don't miss the chance to join us at Quintessentially's fabulous winter atelier (page 52). Enjoy! ◆

LIBBY NORMAN Editor libby@zest-media.com

~ THE ABSOLUTELY WEDDINGS TEAM ~ T h e p e o p l e t h a t m a k e i t a l l p o s s i b l e ... VICTORIA HUGHES

Sales Director victoria.hughes@zest-media.com

LIBBY NORMAN Editor libby@zest-media.com

RAY SEARLE

Art Director ray@zest-media.com

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PAWEL KUBA

Senior Designer pawel@zest-media.com

STEWART HYDE Production Manager stewart@zest-media.com

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10

Things we

ABSOLUTELY LOVE From gorgeous silks and crystal-encrusted heels to a glittering wedding coat and pure white diamond, here are ten ways for brides to shine

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Top hat There are hats, and then there are the marvellous confections created by Awon Golding. Alongside ethereal wedding headpieces are standout models for guests and bold brides – including this blossominspired design; awongolding.com 3

Get me to the church There will be no excuses for arriving late with this Blossom Full Bloom wristwatch, featuring diamonds, a white mother-of-pearl dial and grey alligator leather strap. From £21,500 at Boodles; boodles.com

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Best foot forward Aruna Seth’s spectacular range of shoes – including these crystal-studded heels – will ensure you stroll up the aisle in style. London stockists of her bridal range include Stephanie Allin; arunaseth.com

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Let’s stowaway Every bride needs a suitable case for love letters, jewels and other personal treasures and this smart green case fits the bill perfectly. It’s from Ethan Koh, a super-talented designer of seductive leather goods in rich colours, with many made to order. Stockists include Harrods; ethan-k.com

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WEDDINGS LOVES

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Silk dressing Exquisite pure silk charmeuse gowns from Christine’s Silks in Canada double as honeymoon evening or lounge wear. Made to order and with bespoke options, they are exclusive in Europe to Tallulah Lingerie. From £278; tallulah-lingerie.co.uk

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Open your heart

Glitter bug

Colourful Splash Love designs from The Umbrella Shop come in a rainbow of hues to brighten up the greyest morning and will co-ordinate beautifully with your wedding colours. £18.95; theumbrellashop.co.uk

This magical sparkly coat and long gown are part of A/W high-glamour evening and bridalwear from Jenny Packham – just perfect for making a dramatic entrance to your after party; jennypackham.com

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Smalls reminder These embroidered silk bridal knickers are handmade for Tallulah Lingerie and come in soft colours, including pale blue and blush, with a toning crystal at the front. Bespoke embroidery is available. From £45; tallulah-lingerie.co.uk

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Fairytale bride Joyce Young’s latest collection includes everything from fairytalebride dresses to sophisticated dayinto-evening gowns. We adore this elegant swoop-back number; joyceyoungcollections.co.uk

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White magic Guaranteed to give you all the extra sparkle required on your wedding day, the Enchanted Lotus cocktail ring from De Beers features a magnificent white diamond set in white gold. £17,300. De Beers, 50 Old Bond Street, W1; debeers.co.uk

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Absolutely Weddings London style

Who said Paris was the city of lovers? Our eight London couples prove that the capital plays host to the most romantic wedding moments WO R D S : L I B BY N O R M A N

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aris may lay claim to being the city of lovers, but London just oozes style and old-fashioned romance. Not only does the capital offer some of the most sumptuous venues imaginable – from fine hotels and historic public buildings to royal palaces, and private members’ clubs – but its setting provides a timeless backdrop to wedding portraits. What our album of shots from some of the most talented wedding photographers around shows is that few couples can resist the opportunity to let the city play a starring role in their big day. And whether that magical photo was captured on the streets, in one of the city’s lush parks or even mudlarking on the River Thames foreshore, London rocks. ◆

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WEDDINGS ALBUM

1 MARIE AND GEORGE

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P h o t o: J o h n N a s s a r i

arie and George chose The Royal Exchange, a landmark Grade I venue close to Threadneedle Street, and were captured framed against the building’s vast columns overlooking the City’s heart, Bank Junction.  johnnassari.co.uk

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LUCIE AND JAMES

P h o t o: A n n e S c h w a r z

ucie and James chose a high-summer wedding at St. James Clerkenwell. Dressed in their wedding fi nery, they made a detour for a quick bevvy at the Crown Tavern adjacent to the church before heading to Old Finsbury Town Hall for their reception.  anne-schwarz.com

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DEE AND RAMON

P h o t o s: A n n e S c h w a r z

ee and Ramon were married D in May at St James Catholic Church in, Spanish Place, Westminster and then strolled down the road in the spring sunshine to their reception at One Great George Street, just off Parliament Square.  anne-schwarz.com

“London just oozes style and old-fashioned romance"

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ANDREW AND CHRIS

P h o t o s: N e i l H o r n e

ndrew and Chris kept their cool on the big day, choosing to travel by motorbike to their wedding and reception at Eight Moorgate, a chic private members’ club adjacent to Finsbury Square with great views over the City.  eyeimagine.co.uk

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WEDDINGS ALBUM

ELLIE AND HARRY

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P h o t o s: A n n e S c h w a r z

llie and Harry held both their wedding ceremony and reception at The May Fair Hotel on Stratton Street in the heart of London’s West End, taking time out to have some photographs captured in nearby Green Park.  anne-schwarz.com

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JENNIE AND DUNCAN

P h o t o: J o h n N a s s a r i

ennie and Duncan held their wedding at the RAC Club, strolling down Pall Mall in the sunshine to be captured by photographer John Nassari in a classic London streetscape, complete with red London bus.  johnnassari.co.uk

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“Few can resist letting the city play a starring role”

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GEMMA AND MICHAEL

P h o t o s: N e i l H o r n e

emma and Michael were married at Dukes Hotel in St James, taking some time to go mudlarking in bare feet along The Thames foreshore before their reception. Gemma’s gorgeous bouquet is by Elizabeth Marsh Floral Design of New Covent Garden Market.  eyeimagine.co.uk

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JASMIN AND PETER

P h o t o: J u l i e M i c h a e l s e n

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asmin and Peter – originally from Bengal and Denmark– chose Chelsea Register Office before moving on to The Ivy Chelsea Garden. The bride mixed traditions by matching her Jimmy Choos to a hand-embroidered dress by Variety Silk House in Ealing Road.  juliemichaelsen.com

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STOCKISTS OF

ZUHAIR MURAD NAEEM KHAN BERTA CHRISTOS COSTARELLOS MONIQUE LHUILLIER BLISS ELIE BY ELIE SAAB INES DI SANTO SAREH NOURI ELIZABETH STUART TEMPERLEY LONDON

WWW.THEWEDDING-CLUB.CO.UK 10 Yeomans Row, Knightsbridge, London SW3 2AH 020 7581 9540 info@thewedding-club.co.uk

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SUZANNE NEVILLE BEST WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER

WINNER 2015

29 Beauchamp Place Knightsbridge London SW3 1NJ T 020 7823 9107 COUTURE BRIDAL AND EVENING WEAR

W W W. S U Z A N N E N E V I L L E . C O M

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FASHION Trends p.20

AND THE BRIDE WORE... WHITE

p.30

P h o t o g ra p h y DA N W I L L I A M S S t y l i n g L E I G H W I L L I A M S

> DRESS TO IMPRESS

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B r i da l t r e n ds

DRESS TO IMPRESS It's all in the dazzling detail with Caroline Castigliano's 2015 collection of couture gowns – just perfect for taking you from ceremony to ballroom P h o t o g ra p h y DA N W I L L I A M S Styling LEIGH WILLIAMS

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Lace thick strap-dress, Caroline Castigliano Heels, Emmy London Diamond ring, De Beers, ÂŁ14,500 Diamond earrings, De Beers Diamond necklace, De Beers, ÂŁ13,200

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Strapless gown, Caroline Castigliano (Eliska) Heels, Freya Rose Belt, Caroline Castigliano (CC1054) Diamond necklace, De Beers, ÂŁ27,400 Flowers, Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart

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Star light, star bright Nude lace backless dress, Caroline Castigliano (CC1081) Heels, Emmy London Tiara, Caroline Castigliano (A1402) Diamond ring, De Beers, ÂŁ2,025

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Making an entrance Backless lace dress, Caroline Castigliano (Valentina) Heels, Emmy London Diamond earrings, De Beers, ÂŁ6,850

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Strapless dress, Caroline Castigliano (Kapolina) Heels, Emmy London Veil, Caroline Castigliano (CCV1108) Diamond ring, De Beers, ÂŁ24,400

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Full bloom Strapless peplum dress, Caroline Castigliano (Taylor) Heels, Emmy London Drop earrings, Caroline Castigliano Diamond ring, De Beers, ÂŁ14,500 Flowers, Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart

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Mirror Mirror on the wall Backless dress, Caroline Castigliano (Lily) Belt, Caroline Castigliano Bracelet, Caroline Castigliano Heels, Freya Rose

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Accessories THIS PAGE

Heels, Emmy London Dress, Caroline Castigliano (Taylor) Ring, De Beers, £14,500

FACING PAGE

Earrings, Caroline Castigliano Ring, De Beers, £14,500

PHOTOGRAPHY Dan Williams FASHION EDITOR Leigh Williams HAIR & MAKE-UP Nancy Sumner using Liz Earle and Kiehls MODEL Jenny Guttridge at Profile Model Management SHOT ON LOCATION AT: The Langham, London, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, W1 020 7636 1000; langhamhotels.com The romance, the elegance, the precision of everything... With a lavish Ballroom, rare al fresco space, gastronomic menus and a dedicated events manager, a wedding at The Langham, London is an unforgettable celebration. STOCKISTS carolinecastigliano.co.uk debeers.co.uk emmylondon.com freyarose.com wildatheart.com

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Arts & culture

And the bride wore… white The white wedding dress has a history dating back to the 18th century and it remains the classic look today. The Victoria and Albert Museum’s recent major exhibition reveals its fascinating past – and shows that many fashions today are based on designs our grandmothers wore E X H B I T I O N & B O O K : V& A , LO N D O N

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ondon’s Victoria and Albert Museum did not begin formally collecting examples of wedding attire until 1900, but its fascinating archive reveals that, while fashions in what we wear to get married may appear to change, many elements we think of as contemporary appear in some of the earliest dresses. In the 18th century aristocratic and wealthy brides appear to have favoured silver, white or a combination of the two – but then these were also popular colours in typical day dress for these sectors of society. Similarly, in the 19th and early

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20th centuries, a white wedding dress was strictly for the well-to-do and most wedding dresses were worn again – usually for Sunday best. Fortunately for the archivist, even then some brides chose to preserve their dress, and many became family heirlooms – a tangible link to the past helped to guarantee their survival as a piece of fashion history. It is only in the 20th century that we started to see the white wedding dress adopted universal marriage attire and its popularity has spread over time – fuelled in part by the globalisation of fashion trends. It is the period from 1914 onwards where we

HARDY AMIES’ 1953 DESIGN FOR THE COTTON BOARD, PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOHN FRENCH

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WEDDINGS TRENDS

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MARGARET DUCHESS OF ARGYLL’S 1933 WEDDING DRESS (ALSO SHOWN RIGHT) FEATURED A TWELVE-FOOT TRAIN AND THE CROWDS OUTSIDE BROMPTON ORATORY STOPPED TRAFFIC

IN THE '50S LONDON COUTURIERS cutwork see most parallels CREATED PATTERNS FOR WOMEN'S orange flowers with today’s wedding MAGAZINES – MANY BRIDES STILL MADE embellished fashion. Initially, bridal THEIR OWN DRESSES with pearls and styles followed evening bugle beads. rather than daywear At the end trends, especially after of the 1930s, the interwar period (1918there was a 39). In the 1920s, metallic distinct change lamés, lace, gold and of silhouette. shell pink fabrics added Leg-of-mutton glamour to dresses, while sleeves, pinched waists the classic white satin and a flaring basque – dress became popular as seen in a wonderful during the uncertain and rare V&A sketch economic years of the by the House of Paquin 1930s. We also began – conjure up theatrical to see adjustments to glamour that was the the hemline of dresses; hallmark of this period. some designs were Wartime meant brides kneelength during the had to be imaginative jazz and flapper years and practical. While and they also followed some brides married in the fashionable boyish suits, a more romantic silhouette of flattened survivor of this era chest and slim hips. featured in the recent Meanwhile, in the V&A wedding dress 1930s – in keeping exhibition was made of with more straitened lightweight upholstery times – the focus was fabric dotted with on plain and more yellow flowers – an practical styles that innovative solution to could be adapted (for the problem of finding instance dyed after white fabric in an era the wedding); detail of rationing. Despite the unconventional was added with features such as machine pattern, it still had a classic bridal shape lace sleeves, collar details and sometimes a and featured traditional details such as a bolero jacket. satin horseshoe stitched into the lining. Society weddings were a perennial source Post-war fashion – along with wedding of fascination. The wedding of the Duchess fashion – was hugely influenced by of Argyll in 1933 brought traffic to a standstill Christian Dior’s 1947 debut fashion show, outside Brompton Oratory, as people jostled which launched what became known with photographers in a bid to see the bride as the ‘New Look’. Cost and materials and her nine attendants. The svelte sheath remained an issue in the post-war years in gown created for her by the young couture Britain – Hardy Amies’ 1953 design (page designer Norman Hartnell (who would 33) looks every inch the 1950s shape, with later design for the Royal Family) included its nipped in waist and full skirt, but it was a twelve-foot train designed for maximum created for Britain’s Cotton Board to show impact in the aisle. Trimmings included

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“Women who have worn white for their weddings talk about how it miraculously transformed them into a bride”

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THIS 1926 WEDDING DRESS WAS PURE FLAPPER AND FEATURED A ROMANTIC LONG TRAIN – TRANSPARENT TO SHOW OFF THE BRIDE’S ELEGANT FIGURE

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WEDDINGS TRENDS 1922 SKETCH BY THE HOUSE OF WORTH, WITH PLAIN BODICE, FULL SKIRT AND LONG TRAIN ATTACHED TO THE BACK OF THE DRESS

CLASSIC WEDDING TRADITIONS

1 Traditions in floral arrangements may have changed, but some brides still favour orange blossom and myrtle, the traditional flowers for brides. This bouquet dates from 1899 (previous page) 2 These 1914 ‘tango’ shoes – bought from the West End department store Peter Robinson – look surprisingly contemporary with their combination of pale leather and silk 3 This wartime dress – made of upholstery fabric because of rationing – still incorporated a lucky horseshoe into the lining 4T  his beautiful 2008 tiara, created by milliner, Philip Treacy was made of antique lace

1950S BRIDES OPTED FOR ROMANTIC FULL SKIRTS

HEMLINES ROSE DURING THE 1920S, AS THIS 1927 LONDON WEDDING SHOWS

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WEDDINGS TRENDS

CONTEMPORARY SHOWSTOPPERS

5. Dita Von Teese chose dramatic violet silk faille for her 2005 nuptuals, but Vivienne Westwood’s dress – topped with a tricorne hat by Stephen Jones – was pure Gothic romance 6. Gwen Stefani’s pure white silk Dior featured a pink spray-painted hem fading at knee height, creating a sensation at her 2002 wedding in London 7. Kate Moss’s wedding gown, designed by John Galliano, is redolent of 1920s high glamour with its formfitting cut and luxe fabric

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the versatility and glamorous potential of this 'everyday' fabric. Leading London couturiers, such as Amies, Hartnell and John Cavanagh, earned their living and reputation designing for society weddings, but they also reached out to brides on more modest budgets – and many brides made their own dresses, often to patterns created by top designers such as Cavanagh. By the mid 1950s, shorter lengths appeared once again in dresses – in 1956, Harper’s Bazaar described this length as: “the career girl’s choice”. While fashions

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continued to change throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, as hemlines rose dramatically and manmade fabrics became popular, there was a distinct return to fairytale styles in the 1980s, while the 1990s

revitalised the links between wedding gowns and catwalk fashion. Today, white remains the most popular choice. As Edwina Ehrman, author of The Wedding Dress – the book published in association with the exhibition – puts it: “Women who have worn white for their weddings talk about its romantic, fairy-tale appeal and talismanic qualities, but above all of how it miraculously transformed them into a bride”. u Article adapted from The Wedding Dress by Edwina Ehrman (V&A Publishing), a book that accompanied the major exhibition ‘Wedding Dresses 1775-2014’, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2014-15. All images courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum; vam.ac.uk

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Designer profile

Couture Queen

Caroline Castigliano – whose gowns feature in our fashion shoot – has carved an international reputation for exquisite couture. Absolutely Weddings meets the designer behind one of our favourite bridalwear brands WO R D S : L I B BY N O R M A N

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ith a flagship store in Knightsbridge, and a presence in elite bridal boutiques worldwide, Caroline Castigliano has built an international reputation as go-to designer if you want to guarantee an exquisitely designed and crafted couture wedding or occasion gown. But Caroline’s prodigious design skills were in evidence from childhood. Indeed, such was her ability and eye for detail that she created her first successful label just out of her teens. A talented actor in childhood, Caroline initially believed the theatre was where her future career lay. Then someone suggested she had what it took to be in business, and this caught her imagination. She found a product – a lightweight dumbbell that you filled with sand or water – and, with the brazenness of youth, contacted the Swiss manufacturers and secured the US licence. Then she put her sewing skills learned throughout her childhood to good use and

fashioned a garment collection around them, calling it ‘Survival Kit’. Travelling to New York, she secured the business of a who’s who of Big Apple department stores. Survival Kit was considered so hot that she had to rush it into production to make Macy’s Christmas gift catalogue. Although she was only 22, Caroline relocated to Fort Lauderdale to run the business. The label was a huge success, but it wasn’t her future. She says: “I hated living so far away from my home and family”. She was persuaded to take stock for a few months to decide what she would really love doing. Caroline did take stock and did find what she loved – it just happened rather sooner than anyone had envisaged. She says: “I was helping a friend choose her wedding dress, and it inspired another idea. I spotted a florist that offered the right space and location, so I walked in and asked the owner if she would be interested in surrendering the lease and she was”. While sportswear had been an exciting testing ground for her design

“Our brides have to feel ecstatic about their dress...radiant, confident and happy”

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WEDDINGS TRENDS

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SAVIN - London -

For all enquiries and exclusive previews please contact sales@savinlondon.com SAVIN LONDON.indd 1

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WEDDINGS TRENDS

talents, Caroline knew pretty much from the day she created her fi rst bridal store in Esher that this was her future. Her unerring eye for cut and detail meant she knew instinctively which gowns worked – this meant, of course, she was also extremely discerning. She says: “By this time, I had met my future husband and he was the one who fi rst pointed out that instead of telling other designers where they needed to adjust the cut and balance, I should be designing myself”. Her future husband Chris helped organise a lunch with Jasper Conran – a designer she particularly admired – in 1994, and this meeting went so well that Conran offered to design bridal gowns exclusively with her. “All the way through the lunch, Jasper kept saying ‘you know don’t you’, and we didn’t, but he had designed the gown for Sarah Armstrong Jones’ wedding to Daniel Chatto, which was a matter of weeks’ away”. Sarah Armstrong Jones’ wedding dress – which was a huge critical success – meant that Caroline Castigliano had a just made a very successful design marriage. While Conran sketched the original 10 designs that launched the label, these were always Caroline’s dresses; she established her own production arm that managed every onward stage of design and creation, from pattern making and sample cutting, to make up and fi nishing. The Jasper Conran For Caroline Castigliano label helped springboard Caroline’s name into the national press, and it was not long before she was also managing the bridal departments of London’s most prestigious department stores. More Caroline Castigliano designs were produced – and 10 bridal design brands were bought under the Castigliano umbrella – ensuring a presence in prestigious locations across the UK. Caroline says it was word of mouth that built her reputation, but continued critical acclaim cemented her name as a hallmark for British couture quality and led on to the establishment of the flagship store in Knightsbridge. Form is a trademark of Castigliano dresses, along with luxury fabrics and painstaking attention to fi nishes; in particular, her concealed corsetry – the magic that sculpts that beautiful hourglass shape

Her concealed corsetry is the magic that sculpts that hourglass shape – has been refi ned over many years and provides the perfect combination of comfort and confidence-boosting support. For Caroline, the essence of what she does – the reason she continues to attract a devoted following – is that her gowns offer the fundamentals all brides want: timelessness; clean lines; silhouette. “There is what I call the life of the dress”,

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she says. “It’s about the shape, the cut and the way it moves. It should seem moulded to your body so that you feel and look beautiful, so that you stand well. Sitting down is also important – I always ask brides to sit down during fittings so they can see the effect it has from every angle”. Caroline believes her role is not only to understand how brides want to look, but also ensure the couture experience is a cherished (rather than stressful) part of the wedding journey. Recently, Channel 4 gained privileged access to her salon for the documentary How The Rich Get Hitched and, confident of Caroline's ability to make them shine at every stage of the process, some of her brides also took part. Wedding couture her way is not high drama. “People sometimes ask me if my work is all last-minute stress and panics, and I have to disappoint them. Even if a bride’s decision about a major element of the dress changes – and, of course, this can happen – what we do is calmly work through the changes. “Our brides have to feel ecstatic about their dress. It has to ‘the one’ – the dress that means they are radiant, confident and happy when their husband turns and sees them and when they greet their guests. It’s quite simply our job to get the dress perfect each and every time”.  CAROLINE CASTIGLIANO, 154 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW3 carolinecastigliano.co.uk

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Zaeem Jamal

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BRIDAL Trends > GET SHORTIE! p.44 WHITE WEDDING p.46 RUNWAY LOOKS WE LOVE p.48 AFTER DARK p.50

GOLDEN GLAMOUR Amanda Wakeley's Lara is a beautiful gold wedding dress decorated with antique lace – all part of a very grown-up collection with a focus on clean lines and intricate details; amandawakeley.com

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Fashion

Stepping out in style There are no rules you have to follow and our pick of the bridal trends features glamorous styles to take you effortlessly from ceremony to ballroom, beach or bar

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Urban chic

GET SHORTIE!

Short dresses offer a fresh alternative to full length – perfect if you’re planning a relaxed ceremony or want to show off your finest assets EMMA HUNT

SIXTIES SHIFT

Emma Hunt London is a go-to designer for a modern silhouette. Coco is a super-wearable shift with just a hint of Sixties’ It-Girl; emmahunt.co.uk STEPHANIEALLIN

BEACH BABY

Perfect for beach or poolside – and easy to top with a shrug or shawl for a more formal ceremony – Mimi, by Stephanie Allin, combines a romantic full skirt with contemporary bandeau-style bodice; stephanieallin.net ZAEE M JA M AL

Emma Hunt

Zaeem Jamal’s King’s Road atelier creates flowing designs for brides, with beautiful hand finishes. This low-key white dress features an exquisite neckline detail; zaeemjamal.com IAN STUART

GO FIGURE

This form-fitting number, with sparkle at hem and neckline gives guaranteed standout at day-into-evening parties; ianstuart-bride.com IAN STUART

SWING OUT SISTER

An elegant take on Fifties style, with fitted bodice and full swing skirt, Mayfair Mini features a frothy transparent overlay; ianstuart-bride.com

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Ian Stuart

LET IT FLOW

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WEDDINGS TRENDS

Ian Stuart

With a career that's spanned designing for New York and London brides, Ian Stuart is master of urban glamour

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Joyce Young Couture Timeless style

WHITE WEDDING Whether it’s white on white, or subtle tones of ivory and cream, the classic full-length dress delivers real elegance this season, favouring details in crystal, beading or lace

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WEDDINGS TRENDS

Sadoni

J OYC E YO U N G C O U T U R E

SWEETHEART LINE

A demure scalloped lace panel over the plunging sweetheart neckline gives this fullskirted dress with on-trend pockets classic allure. joyceyoungcollections.co.uk TEMPERLEY LONDON

PURE WHITE ROSE

K AT E E D M O N D S O N

CRYSTAL BRIDE

Kate Edmonson’s London atelier creates bespoke wedding gowns and headpieces. This soft cream sleeveless dress features crystal trims on waist and shoulders; kateedmondsonbridal.co.uk

ZAEE M JA M AL

CRYSTAL TRIM

Zaeem Jamal’s signature Chakra silk chiffon gown is a full-length design with beautiful, crystal cut hand embroidery at the neckline; zaeemjamal.com SADONI

ICE MAIDEN

Nordic design duo Hamid and Trude Sadoni create super-feminine and elegant gowns. Elita, features a simple boat neckline, elbow-length sleeves and draped skirt. Sadoni UK stockists include BOA; boa-boutique.co.uk J OYC E YO U N G C O U T U R E

POWER DRESSING

Stephanie Allin

Naeem Khan

Joyce Young Couture

With a dramatic cowl neck and deep scoop back, this modern twist on the 1970s Grecian gown makes a great choice for glamorous beach or evening weddings; joyceyoungcollections.co.uk

Temperley London

Zaeem Jamal

A flattering empire line, the Fiona from Temperley London features scattered cabbage roses on the skirt; temperleylondon.com

NAEEM KHAN

SILVER STAR

US designer Naaem Khan’s celebrity following includes Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Portia de Rossi. The bridalwear range – which includes gowns and separates – is available exclusively at the London branch of The Wedding Club. thewedding-club.co.uk STEPHANIE ALLIN

BODY SKIMMER

This sleek white strapless gown has a subtle beaded overlay and skinny belt to add party glamour. stephanieallin.net

Kate Edmonson

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Catwalk trends

6 RUNWAY LOOKS WE LOVE

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WEDDINGS TRENDS

1. BLUE NOTES

3. SCULPTED WAISTS

5. SLOUCH POCKETS

If you’re looking for an alternative to white, pale blues are on trend and perfect for winter as well as summer weddings, when you can add a touch of frost to detailing; jennypackham.com

Plunge necklines and shimmering detailing on the waist create the ultimate bride-as-goddess look, perfect for day into evening weddings. Lilya gown by Jenny Packham. jennypackham.com

Pockets add attitude to the classic full skirt. This Elizabeth Stuart design includes wool to ensure it flows beautifully. Stuart designs are stocked at The Wedding Club’s London store; thewedding-club.co.uk

2. MERMAID CURVES

4. FEATHER TRIMS

6. LACE BACKS

Pure femme fatale (think Rita Hayworth in Gilda), the fishtail shape adds wiggle room to a strapless gown. Martina Liana stockists include Angelica Bridal; angelicabridal.co.uk.

What’s not to love about heading down the aisle looking like an exotic bird of paradise? This edgy Savin London design combines a frivolous skirt with an ultra simple bodice; savinlondon.com

Lace remains a key trend, but some of the most elegant designs – such as this Savin London gown – have a demure neckline to the front, then a perfect reveal as you sashay past; savinlondon.com

JENNY PACKHAM

MARTINA LIANA

JENNY PACKHAM

SAVIN LONDON

ELIZABETH STUART

SAVIN LONDON

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Catwalk dresses

TEMPERLEY LONDON

L U C Y TA M M A M

GOLD STANDARD

FAIRYTALE NIGHTS

Tamir has a short unstructured jacket that can be removed to reveal a shimmering backless evening gown with simple crossover straps; temperleylondon.com

London designer Lucy Tammam has an atelier in Bloomsbury. This sculpted bodice is combined with a lavish skirt in tulle; tammam.co.uk

IAN STUART

SPARKLE FACTOR

Ian Stuart’s Lumiere has elegant ruching, flattering wide straps and a touch of sparkle at the neckline to add bling in the ballroom. ianstuart-bride.com

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EMMA HUNT LONDON

ICE MAIDEN

Pure white, and with an ultra simple front, this Emma Hunt Alba gown has a full length ruffle detail at the back for understated night-time glamour; emmahunt.co.uk

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High glamour

After DARK With more weddings happening later in the day, high glamour options take you effortlessly from ceremony to ballroom

S AV I N L O N D O N

RUBY ROCKS

Deep red can be a wonderful alternative for winter weddings – or for brides who want to unleash their inner Scarlett O’Hara when the lights go down. savinlondon.com

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WEDDINGS READER OFFER

Wedding wonderland The definitive wedding planning and shopping event, the Winter Atelier from Quintessentially Weddings is taking place at Claridge’s in Mayfair, so save the date

T

he ultimate wedding emporium for discerning brides and grooms, Quintessentially Weddings’ Winter Atelier is a luxurious showcase of the best wedding designers, planners and luxury suppliers – as you’d expect Absolutely Weddings will be among the guests at this luxury three-day event and readers are invited to join us for what promises to be a spectacular shopping and planning event. The venue is iconic hotel Claridge’s and for the Atelier it will be transformed into a sophisticated 1920s emporium of luxury – in keeping with the Art Deco style of this London gem – all curated by the supertalented wedding planners at Quintessentially Weddings. For brides and grooms, the Atelier is an opportunity to relax in a luxurious London destination and meet the many wedding specialists who will be on hand to offer advice and ideas for planning your event. As a guest at the Atelier, you also gain access to Quintessentially Weddings’ exclusive ‘little black book’ of contacts – ranging from leading couturiers to renowned gastronomes. On each day, the Atelier features a bridal catwalk show – a live showcase of leading lingerie, wedding

gown, groom’s tailoring and beauty names – adding extra sparkle to this stunning 1920s-themed event. You will find a ‘who’s who’ of leading brands and wedding specialists in the mix, ranging from internationally recognised photographer John Nassari and go-to London florist McQueens to Julien Macdonald and children’s couturier Nicki Macfarlane, plus luxury hotel and travel specialists Mr & Mrs Smith. u

Save the date

Absolutely Weddings readers are invited to attend the November Atelier, which takes place at Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1. Tickets cost £35 and include champagne from Laurent Perrier, Claridge’s cocktails and canapés. If you would like tickets for the Atelier with a special opportunity to sample Claridge’s famous afternoon tea served with Laurent Perrier, this will cost an additional £30 and must be booked when you purchase your Atelier tickets.

Opening Times

Friday 6 November, 6pm - 9pm Saturday 7 November, 11am - 5pm Sunday 8 November, 10am - 4pm For more information and to book your places, visit quintessentiallyatelier.com

ABOUT QUINTESSENTIALLY WEDDINGS

Quintessentially Weddings was founded by Anabel Fielding and Caroline Hurley, who have been organisers and producers of luxurious, bespoke weddings around the world for the past 10 years. Creativity and attention to detail, combined with unique access to industry luminaries and preferential rates, ensure the most beautiful weddings. It is part of the Quintessentially group, which also includes Quintessentially Event, curated luxury shows featuring the finest brands.

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WEDDINGS TRENDS 3 of the best

FROCKS

Dreamy flower girl outfits to make your young attendants happy

Ghost Classic British brand Ghost has oh-so-simple silk gowns, from tea dresses to full-length bias-cut slips, and its dye-to-order service gives you a choice of 13 colours. Shawls can be dyed to match. Dresses from £195; ghost.co.uk

Perfect for tiny flower girls, Rosie is a silk ballerina-length dress with appliqué rosebuds at the waist. In white or ivory, with rosebuds available in shades ranging from pale pink to navy blue. From £70; bellezara.co.uk

Bridal party

Juliette has a sweet heart cutout detail at the back and a lavish sash. Designed by Nicki Macfarlane – who created the dresses worn by the Duchess of Cambridge’s bridesmaids – it’s available in a range of colours. From £299; nickimacfarlane.com

Perfect Princesses Your attendants will look like heaven sent supporters in our pick of the best bridesmaid and flower-girl dresses

Adrianna Papell Adrianna Papell has a range of RTW cocktail and evening gowns that are ideal if your older bridesmaids want a matching colour but different styles. The UK stockist is John Lewis, with prices starting from around £200; adriannapapell.com

Amy Jewel is a sleeveless dress with full skirt, covered buttons and silk piping. The sash is sold separately. Designed by Little Bevan, it is available in ages 2-12. From £190; littlebevan.co.uk

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JOYCE YOUNG DESIGN STUDIOS GLASGOW 0141 942 8900

LONDON 020 7224 7888

joyceyoungcollections.co.uk

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WEDDINGS TRENDS

The story of a

Couture dress Bridal designer Phillipa Lepley reveals the painstaking work that goes into creating a perfect couture wedding dress WO R D S : L I B BY N O R M A N

N

ow celebrating her 25th year as one of London’s foremost bridal designers, Phillipa Lepley trained at London College of Fashion and built her business through word-ofmouth – with some high-profile brides in the mix – although discretion has always been a watchword and most brides choose their gown in utmost secrecy. Her success has been based on a simple mantra: “I’ve always believed in creating the dresses that real women want to wear”. For Lepley, the perfect wedding dress is a matter of mathematics – ensuring the right proportions through painstaking measuring and fitting – with, of course, tricks from the couturier’s toolbox, such as clever corsetry and cutting to define and flatter the body. And the perfect fit takes time, with multiple fittings and adjustments to ensure every detail is just right on the day.

Inspiration and selection

The first step is to choose the style and – as all brides know – there can be many false starts on the road to finding ‘the one’. Lepley and her team always advise brides-to-be to leave their preconceived ideas outside the door and bring as few advisors as possible. Her Chelsea showroom – a harmonious environment of soft dove grey walls, carefully chosen French antiques and huge mirrors

– provides a setting to soothe brides’ nerves and encourage them to relax and enjoy the best dressing-up box they will ever encounter. Choosing can’t be rushed. “Often it is a process of elimination,” says Lepley, “But there’s also the ‘wild card’ – that magical moment when the dress a client would never have considered turns out to be right”. Perfect at this stage is the look that the bride knows is for her, but once a basic design is chosen the hard work of fine tuning begins. Before an order is placed, the bride will have discussed materials, style adjustments and details.

Measuring and toile creation

The first measuring appointment is designed to ensure every statistic is accurately assessed – and at Phillipa Lepley this is a process that includes elements most of us would not even consider: “Posture is crucial as we all have a certain way of standing and moving,” says Lepley “So we not only take extremely detailed measurements, but also photograph the bride in the sample – side view photographs are particularly valuable in ensuring we get the line of the dress right.” From here, the first calico toile (test garment) is constructed – this effectively acts as a template for the final pattern. At Phillipa Lepley there are usually at least

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two toiles created for each dress, sometimes this might run to three or four, so brides will return for a number of subsequent fittings in the run up to the final gown.

Silk fitting

Only when the shape and fit pass scrutiny, does the final and most crucial couture stage begin. The final toile is used as a guide to cutting the design in its lavish fabric. Once this is made up, the silk fittings takes place – of which there are usually three or four – where all the key elements of the final couture design are in place, but with small adjustments and finishing to neckline, hem and sleeves. Lace overlays – a feature of many classic Phillipa Lepley gowns – are added at the very last, with the laced moulded and embroidered onto the dress so that no seams are visible. The final check fitting takes place as close to the wedding as possible – weight gains are extremely rare, but many clients may need a small adjustment to compensate for weight lost in the stressful final stages of planning. While the whole process may seem laborious, the results speak for themselves. And whatever else veers off plan on the day, that Phillipa Lepley dress will be precision engineered to fit like a glove. u Phillipa Lepley; 48 Fulham Road, Chelsea, SW3; phillipalepley.com

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B

ritain has a long tradition of fine shoemaking, but when Emmy Scarterfield decided to establish her shoe company bridal shoes were something of a style backwater. The brand she has created – Emmy London – is now a go-to for anyone in search of craftsmanship, elegance and luxury. Emmy was obsessed with footwear from a prodigiously young age – as a small child she would totter around with wooden building blocks in her socks to create the illusion of high heels. Growing up in Somerset shoe country, she couldn’t escape their influence either. Her family lived close to both the Mulberry and Clarks shoe operations. In particular, the nearby Mulberry shop was an Aladdin’s cave of dressing up opportunities, feeding Emmy's obsession with footwear. Its factory skip of offcut and reject leathers formed the basis for some of her earliest designer-maker experiments. Her school even had an affiliation with the Clarks factory and one of Emmy’s greatest childhood regrets was not being picked as one of the school’s official ‘Clarks shoe testers’ – a role she was surely born for. Her early focus meant she had no doubts about her future direction and, after getting involved in arts and drama activities at school and taking an art foundation course, Emmy trained at the prestigious Cordwainers College. There she learned both the science and the physical processes of shoemaking – an unglamorous but highly

Designer spotlight

Emmy’s shoe heaven

Born with a passion for shoes, Emmy Scarterfield began experimenting in childhood and worked in the UK and Italy before embarking on a business designed to give every bride just what she wants – the ultimate pair of wedding heels P H O T O S : : J U L I E M I C H A E L S E N P H OTO G R A P H Y

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practical training, designed to equip her with the skills needed to create shoes that stood up. As Emmy says: "Unlike fashion, shoes can be just wrong". After that, she took a somewhat unusual route. It began with a year out working for Sofa Workshop – she describes it as a “wobble” – while she considered her next move. She also credits its focus on bespoke options and customer service as giving her an excellent grounding in how a business is run. And it planted the germ of an idea – the kind of bespoke and customer-focused business she might like to create for herself.

Having learned how to design and make shoes the British way, Emmy then decided to branch out, so taught herself Italian and spent five years immersing herself in the Italian luxury leather goods industry. She worked with every stage of the process of creating high-end shoes and accessories – spending time both designing and supervising factory make up and finishing

In Italy, Emmy mastered every stage of the process of designing shoes – including supervising factory production – working for some of its most hallowed luxury brands EMMY’S TIPS FOR CHOOSING SHOES • Stick with a style you already feel comfortable with – look in your wardrobe for inspiration. • Keep an open mind on shape; even if you had your heart set on sandals you may find a closed toe works better, especially with long or more formal wedding gowns. •F  ocus first on silhouette and heel height. Once you’ve settled on the shape, then consider colour and details.  tick to your •S comfort zone – sixinch heels won’t feel right if you never normally wear them and also wear a shoe suited to your venue. • Ideally pick a flexible design you can wear again. Most Emmy London shoes can be dyed afterwards.

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– for hallowed names such as Bottega Veneta and Giorgio Armani. When Emmy returned to the UK, she soon saw her niche in the market – wedding shoes. Many of her friends were getting married at the time and were bemoaning the choices on offer; typical complaints were that shoes were hard and uncomfortable, frumpy or – if they aimed for glamour – wildly overshot the mark and looked outré at a formal civil or religious occasion. What Emmy decided to focus on was designs based around classic and delicate silhouettes, fine detailing and luxury materials. Most of all, the shoes had to be comfortable and make brides feel effortlessly glamorous. One of the key things about good bridal shoes is that they should be timeless – no one wants to look back at the wedding photos and laugh at their choices – so the core of all Emmy London designs since its foundation is simplicity and the kind of look that never dates. Emmy also designed a fresh way of offering bespoke to brides. These days her shoes come in both readyto-wear and customised options (after all, not all brides can wait 10-12 weeks). But the bespoke experience is worth the wait if you can. You simply book an appointment and visit Emmy London’s Islington store armed with as much information as possible about your personal style, your dress and the type of shoe you’re after. Appointments give you the chance to try on lots of shoes – it is shoe heaven – and her team help you narrow down to the right shape, colour and trimmings. Once you’ve ordered your bespoke shoes, you are able to borrow a sample pair for dress fittings to ensure the perfect hemline on the day. With courts, sandals, flats and platforms in the mix, these are tried and trusted styles that work with just about every wedding gown. All bespoke shoes offer customisation of colour and heel height and offer the v very useful option of half-sizes. Many shoes in both the bespoke and readyto-wear ranges have matching accessories to complete the look – Emmy’s Italian experience has given her an expert's touch with luxury belts, bags and hair accessories. The company also produces occasion and party shoes, even a cute capsule range of shoes for newborns and babies that are destined to become keepsakes – maybe even inspire the next generation of great British shoe designers. u EMMY SHOES LONDON 65 Cross Street, London, N1. 020 7704 0012; emmylondon.com

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Men's style

Choosing a wedding suit

Well Groomed Sartorial tips from a style guru and leading London tailor, plus treats for grooms

Expert advice for grooms from James Cook, manager of Turnbull & Asser’s new Davies Street, Mayfair store Fashions change, but style never dates – you want what you choose to look just as appropriate when someone looks at the photographs in 30 years’ time as it does on your wedding day. For that reason, I’d advise something clean and classic that ensures you stand out but don’t overshadow the bride. A wellcut suit is appropriate at any event if you choose darker blue or grey. Do remember that lightweight materials may look the part if you are marrying in Italy or Dubai, but tend to look rather out-ofplace in this country. Wool is comfortable and a 10 gramweight wool – what we would describe as a year-round suit – is especially versatile. If your wedding is in high summer, you can always ask for it to be half-lined. At Turnbull & Asser, madeto-measure suits typically take around six weeks and we also offer ready-to-wear options, however I’d advise allowing as much time as possible for peace of mind. Our made-to-measure shirts will usually take around two to three weeks. I suggest investing in a good shirt – you will be spending the whole day in it – and a good quality silk tie with a wool backing – so that it will stay in place and tie well. turnbullandasser.co.uk

PHOTO: JOHN NASSARI, SEE PAGE 121 FOR FULL WEDDING STORY

3 of our favourite

1. Romantic bright blue cuffl inks with royal blue hearts are made of gold-plated silver and enamel. £230; kiki.co.uk. 2. These funky cuffl inks are made of yellow gold and feature coral hot lips and bar. £1,300; kiki.co.uk. 3. London jeweller Hattie Rickards designs to order and these fi ngerprint cuffl inks – an inspired gift on the day – featured the bride’s fi ngerprints and the date; hattierickards.com

CUFFLINKS

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TIME GENTLEMEN

T I E D D OW N

You are relying on your best man to get you to the service on time, so a reliable watch is essential – it also makes a good gift to thank him for his help. The ultra simple Bianco Brown is by Cornerford. £120; cornerford.com

This classic English silk design in jacquard weave is handmade and features small lilac circles. It’s one of a vast selection at Turnbull & Asser so you’re bound to find a colour to match your theme. And a smart handkerchief for the top pocket wouldn’t go amiss – just in case emotions are running high. Silk ties cost from £105 and elegant pocket squares from £65; turnbullandasser.co.uk

T R AV E L L I G H T

TA K E C O V E R

A wedding is the perfect excuse to invest in new luggage, and this debonair black weekender or carry-on is made by Ethan Koh, crafter of some of the finest bespoke luggage and bags from leathers and skins (including ostrich and Louisiana alligator). He also stocks a range at Harrods; ethan-k.com

You need a smart umbrella, particularly if you are a groomsman or best man, in order to ensure the wedding party make it to the ceremony in one piece. This wood-handled design is from The Umbrella Shop – one of a range of designs for every occasion. £24.99; theumbrellashop.co.uk

Tips for the

GROOM

WE DON’T HAVE A FORMAL DRESS CODE AT THE WEDDING BUT I DO WANT TO STAND OUT AS THE GROOM, SO WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST? Robert Johnston is Style Director of GQ magazine; gq-magazine.co.uk While there are no rules today, I tell grooms that this is one of the few opportunities in contemporary life to really dress up. But you also want to match the importance of the occasion. A statement outfit may become a talking point for all the wrong reasons, and you don’t want to feel uncomfortable on your wedding day. Another important consideration is ensuring your more traditional guests don’t feel out of place. Unless you are getting married on a tropical beach – in which case crisp linen and bare feet fit the bill – I would suggest an ‘old school’ approach. A suit is a blank canvas that enables you – not your clothes – to stand out. You can’t go wrong with an impeccably tailored, single-breasted design in navy, with plain white shirt and black, formal shoes. It’s timeless and, of course, the suit will earn its keep long after the wedding day. Express individuality through your tie, perhaps a romantic lavender, yellow or pink. If you have ushers and groomsmen, they could also wear a navy suit and be supplied with a matching or similar tie and white shirt.

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Bespoke Bridal Gowns and Evening Wear www.lisawagnerdesigns.com | 020 3411 9720 | enquiries@lisawagnerdesigns.com

Bespoke Bridal Gowns and Evening Wear

Bespoke Bridal Gowns and Evening Wear www.lisawagnerdesigns.com | 020 3411 9720 | enquiries@lisaw Bespoke Bridal Gowns and Evening Wear www.lisawagnerdesigns.com | 020 3411 9720 | enquiries@lisawagnerdesigns.com www.lisawagnerdesigns.com | 020 3411 9720 | enquiries@lisawagnerdesigns.com

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Clothes to treasure for your memorable day “The most adorable selection of children’s clothes for special occasions” Gabriella Cortese, Stella magazine, The Sunday Telegraph “..thank you for the exquisite gown and also the utterly professional service. Most importantly Beth loved wearing it and that was so special for all of us.” Ginny, bride

10am-5pm Monday-Saturday

stylist PierreCarr / photography Eddie Judd

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Dress Specialists Bentley Garment Care will ensure your bridal finery is cleaned, restored and preserved. Its dedicated concierge service service means your wedding dress is returned safely to your door, beautifully boxed and preserved

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wedding gown is not only one of the most personal and important wardrobe investments we make, but also a treasured source of memories that last long after the celebrations are over. Investing in expert cleaning and storing is essential to ensure your dress is preserved and remains as beautiful as the moment you first chose it. With over 50 years’ experience, Bentley Garment Care is recognised as a national specialist in the dry cleaning and care of wedding dresses; it is also one of the few trusted specialists in bridal garments in London . The team's extensive knowledge of luxury fabrics and their personal service and attention to detail means they check every garment carefully, use only specialist hand treatments and are skilled at removing reminders of a great party – from red wine to lobster sauce. The team at Bentley Garment Care have expertise at working with the most delicate materials, including lace, organza, beading and diamante, and with a long tradition of assisting both brides and the theatrical industry, they are also used and recommended by leading designers, suppliers and boutiques. Any untreated marks, blemishes or spills will ruin the fabric of a wedding dress over time, and the sooner cleaning takes place the more likely it is your gown

will be successfully restored to its pristine best. While many brides store their gown as a treasured heirloom, others may decide to pass it on and, if you plan to sell or gift yours, it is essential to have it cleaned as quickly as possible to preserve its value.

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o assist brides, Bentley Garment Care offer a wedding gown concierge service that can be pre-booked before your wedding day. This provides convenience and peace of mind because garments will be collected from any England venue or property, cleaned and restored, and then returned to you at your home address or location of your choosing via Bentley Garment Care’s personal delivery service. Your wedding gown is returned in a specially designed personalised box and wrapped in acid-free tissue paper to protect it from fading and ageing. This gives you the peace of mind of knowing that it will remain in good condition for years to come. Bentley Garment Care also offer specialist advice, cleaning and repair for many other precious and designer items, from shoes, handbags and millinery to evening gowns and groomswear. ◆

BENTLEY GARMENT CARE 27 Page Street, London SW1 020 7828 6019; bentleygarmentcare.com

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> PICK OF ENGAGEMENT RINGS

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LOVE IS ALL AROUND The classic wedding band has had a makeover, with many more options than the simple gold design of old. Christian Bauer is past master at creating bespoke designs in endless combinations – enabling you to select your precious metall, opt for bi-colour and add beautiful details such as an encircling ring of diamonds; christianbauer.de

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www.thecouturegallery.com

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Tokens of Love From classic diamonds to rainbow-hued gems, here’s our shortlist of engagement rings from leading London jewellers and bespoke designers

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1. ASTLEY CLARKE Classic diamonds are paired with a rose-gold setting in this Mirielle ring. £8,500; astleyclarke.com 2. SHAWISH GENEVE Elegant and masterful designs, such as this Love Ring, are a Shawish speciality. POA; shawish.ch 3. ELLIE STICKLAND Each unique piece Stickland makes is designed around the client – this ring features multiple stones with a distinctive gold half-sphere; elliestickland.co.uk 4. HATTIE RICKARDS This recent commission – a sleek channel-set sapphire and diamond combination in platinum band – was designed in conjunction with the groom as a surprise for the bride; hattierickards.com 5. LUCIE CAMPBELL This outstanding heart-shaped diamond in platinum setting costs £24,500; luciecampbell.com 6. JESSICA DE LOTZ Lock of Love is available in yellow or rose gold and features a spinning bezel set with twinkling gems, from diamonds to rubies. From £795; jessicadelotz.co.uk 7. CAT MEFFAN Young British designer Cat Meffan loves working with both precious and semiprecious stones and this opal and diamond combination costs from £2,400; catmeffan.com 8. LONDON ROCKS This pink sapphire framed by diamonds was created by Karl Karter; londonrocksjewellery.co.uk 9. SWEET PEA Siobhan O’Neill hand picks each stone and creates delicate and understated settings, with each item designed to commission. This rose gold teardrop-shaped setting features a pale pink diamond; sweetpeajewellery.com 10. BOODLES This platinum ring has a gorgeous marquise cut yellow diamond and smaller white diamonds. POA; boodles.com

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A touch of sparkle Bespoke jeweller Sweet Pea – led by designer Siobhan O’Neill – creates unique, beautifully crafted and discreet pieces with timeless appeal from a charming boutique in Primrose Hill

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WEET PEA FINE JEWELLERY is a rare treasure – an intimate, designer-led boutique and workshop where you can find or commission something truly unique. From engagement and wedding rings to bridal and bridesmaid jewellery, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for! Designer Siobhan O’Neill is inspired by a myriad of things from Hollywood high glamour to haute couture, with a hint of punk and glam rock added to the mix. Her philosophy is to do things a little differently. Each piece is created with exceptional, hand-picked gemstones and hand crafted in her workshop with a meticulous attention to detail. Her style is delicate with definite vintage influences and the final pieces are discreet, with subtle detailing such as personalised engraving, secret stones (for instance, positioned inside a wedding band) and unusual settings.

Siobhan O’Neill

RAINBOW OF GEMSTONES...

Sweet Pea is best known for its use of colour and fine jewels. Siobhan says she doesn’t pick the stones they pick her! She enjoys working with rarer finds, including coloured and unusual hues of diamonds and sapphires. Beautiful pearls are also a Sweet Pea trademark though her designs are anything but Miss Marple. Instead, Siobhan gives them a contemporary and very wearable edge by combining them with precious stones such as diamonds. She also designs more unusual, one-off pieces using faceted Siobhan trained in jewellery and then worked in the fashion industry with some of the fashion greats such as McQueen and Galliano. She says: “I originally made bespoke umbrellas for International designers and catwalks around the world”. She eventually decided to return to her original love and opened her Primrose Hill fine jewellery workshop and boutique. Sweet Pea designs are recognised internationally – having been stocked in legendary stores such as Barneys New York and Maxfield Los Angeles

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– alongside London meccas Liberty, Browns and Harvey Nichols. The designs are particularly coveted in Japan, which is one of the most exacting jewellery markets. Siobhan says: “My Japanese customers appreciate delicacy and the English style – the quality and finish of the pieces are of paramount importance”.

“Each piece is created with exceptional hand picked gemstones and hand crafted with meticulous attention to detail”

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Tahitian pearls that make for a truly special keep sake bridal piece. Soft, pastel coloured pearls also feature in many of her collections. These delicate bracelets and fine necklaces lend themselves to be perfect bridesmaid gifts. Visitors to the store are usually on the hunt for something original, be it the dream engagement or wedding ring or a special wedding day gift. With lots of designs on display for inspiration, Siobhan and the team can help them design their piece from scratch. The process begins with choosing the stone to drawing up designs and always ensuring meticulous fine details to make the piece unique. “Clients will often come in with just an idea of what they want, and we help translate that - we start with a blank page and then design each component with them”. It’s the ideal destination for those in search of gifts: as well as bridesmaids, there’s also something special to be found for the mother of the bride, where pieces can be made to order to suit each wearer and their personal style. For wedding day bridal pieces - necklaces, earrings and bracelets can also be adjusted and designed so that they work perfectly with the neckline and style of gown. Siobhan says: “We have a large area behind the boutique where clients can try on the jewels with their dress to ensure they match the outfit. With my background in styling, I understand the importance of proportion and the balance of colour. We can make final adjustments after the client has tried it on”.

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Diamonds remain the most popular choice for engagement and wedding rings, so Sweet Pea offers many unusual and understated options such as superior quality rose-cut stones. Jewellery is a personal statement and the real pleasure of a Sweet Pea design comes from knowing that it is not only beautifully made with impeccable materials, but also hand crafted in London. 

Sweet Pea Fine Jewellery 77 Gloucester Avenue, Primrose Hill, London NW1 020 7449 9292 sweetpeajewellery.com

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Bejewelled bride From earrings and wedding necklaces to the perfect tiara and showstopping brooch, here are treasures to complete your outfit

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1. KIKI MCDONOUGH White gold and diamond set snake necklace tipped with two fire opals. £12,900; kiki.co.uk 2. ASTLEY CLARKE Rose gold and diamond Cosmos pendant with extendable chain and star-set diamond tag. £495; astleyclarke.com 3. CHRISTIAN BAUER Contemporary and elegant, Christian Bauer wedding rings can be customised by metal or stone; christianbauer.de 4. FEATHER AND COAL Emily Kent has reinvented bridal tiaras combs and trails as glorious confections that include crystals and feather trims. £195; feather-and-coal.myshopify.com 5. KIKI MCDONOUGH Luna Cabochon stud earrings in yellow gold feature a large green amethyst and diamonds. £1,300; kiki.co.uk 6. SWEET PEA Classic large pearl drops are given a contemporary edge by combining them with a decorative pearl cluster; sweetpeajewellery.com 7. HATTIE RICKARDS These elegant octagonal earrings are made to order; hattierickards.com 8. BOODLES Lavish platinum and diamond drop earrings feature perfect heart sapphires. POA; boodles.com 9. JENNY PACKHAM Delicate gold and crystal-trim tiara from a range of bridal dress jewellery at Jenny Packham; jennypackham.com 10 KIKI MCDONOUGH Lola hoop earrings comprise delicate blue topaz and diamonds set in white gold. A matching pendant is available. £3,200; kiki.co.uk 11. LUCIE CAMPBELL Designed and created at Lucie Campbell's New Bond Street store, this platinum and diamond rose brooch would make a showstopping buttonhole or clasp for a wedding shawl. £7,000; luciecampbell.com

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With this ring Harriet Kelsall, founder of the bespoke ring specialist, believes the best way to get an engagement ring you’ll love for evermore is to design it yourself

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arriet Kelsall says the ring is one of the most important decisions you make – apart, that is, from choosing to get married. And she has a point. The dress may be divine, but it’s worn for one day then wrapped in tissue paper. The celebration and honeymoon are spectacular, leaving behind warm memories and a fading

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suntan. But the rings are worn on your body each and every day and will, in all probability, be family heirlooms for generations to come. Harriet is passionate about jewellery, and with an eye for what buyers love too. It’s a recipe that swiftly took her from kitchen-table start-up in 1998 to multi award-winning business. Today, Harriet Kelsall the company has a large international following via its website, plus a store in central Cambridge and a destination gallery and jewellery

workshop housed in a converted barn in the Hertfordshire village of Halls Green. A team of 35 – the majority of them women – design and create bespoke engagement and wedding rings as well as other one-off pieces. Each object is produced in a close consultation between designer and buyer – and the buyer’s design input is critical. This was one of the things that set the company apart when it started. As Harriet puts it: “Bespoke used to mean either going to see a man (it was usually a man) at

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be National Association of Jewellers). She is one of the leading exponents of Fairtrade Gold, having helped establish the pioneering scheme in the UK. And on gemstones she is resolute: the company was the first independent to

The team often get invited to the weddings of couples they design for – one was even chosen as a witness

receive Responsible Jewellery Council certification and insists on strict traceability. “Rings are a luxury item,” says Harriet, “but it’s important to feel good about what you wear, and today that means transparency – knowing that every element is responsibly and fairly sourced”. She and her team of designers often get asked to the weddings of the couples they work with – one designer has even been a witness at the ceremony – which is a mark of how valued the relationship between jewellery designer and wearer can be. And the same happy couples often return to get anniversary, milestone-birthday and eternity pieces.

a small workshop or going to the ultra exclusive traditional jewellery houses. I realised that, by establishing a specialist workshop, I could offer customers the opportunity to commission a piece of timeless craftsmanship in a contemporary way”. Harriet has become a passionate advocate for British jewellery expertise, not only involved in training the next generation of designers and makers, but also sitting on the committee of the British Jewellers’ Association (soon to

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"If you would like a coloured stone and don't know how to choose, pick the same shade as your eyes" Customers are a constant source of inspiration – coming up with ideas that are personal and imaginative. One couple chose a Southern Cross design for their engagement ring, signifying the long-distance relationship that had a happy ending; another a design based around the full moon that shone the night they met, and also the night their twins were born. For Harriet, the symbolic value of each piece is one of the best things about their work: “We like to think we help tell people’s individual life and love stories through jewellery”. ◆ Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design; hkjewellery.co.uk hkjewellery.co.uk

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HARRIET'S GUIDE TO RINGS

• Start by considering what you already have. A stone, or even the gold of an old family wedding ring, can be incorporated into a bespoke design. It’s recycling at its best and means the jewellery will carry extra meaning. • Avoid what’s in vogue unless it’s in tune with your personal style. A design that suits your personality will stand the test of time. • Be realistic in your expectations of what jewellery will stand up to and do tell the jeweller if your career or hobby is likely to expose the piece to tough treatment. • There are so many beautiful stones beyond diamonds. If you’re thinking of a colour and are unsure how to choose, a good rule of thumb is to select a stone the same shade as your eyes. That way, it will go with everything you wear. • Years ago an engagement ring was a financial sy mbol, but today something that is entirely personal to you carries more value.

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BEAUTY Looks > PERFECT HAIR & MAKEUP p.76 FITNESS & NUTRITION p.79

BEAUTIFUL BRIDES To achieve the runway style we all love, it makes sense to hire a hair and make up professional to ensure your wedding look stands up to heat, photography and the emotion of the day. Dress by Martina Liana martinaliana.com

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Expert advice

Perfect hair and make-up Bridal stylist Pam Wrigley, who has provided the looks for London Fashion Week, explains how she creates runway-perfect brides

C R E D I T S : N I T I N K A P O O R , A N N E S C H WA R Z , TO R I A B R I G H T S I D E , V I CTO R I A A D A M S O N

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erfect hair and make-up doesn’t just happen – and it has to stand up to wedding nerves, maybe tears, and certainly the partying after the ceremony. Pam Wrigley originally trained in make-up and worked in the fashion and TV industries, including spells at London Fashion Week. It was there that she discovered a passion for working with hair, and this – plus her makeup skills – led her to move into bridal styling. Professionally applied make-up avoids the ‘caked’ look because it uses a less is more approach – strategically applied highlighting and shading rather than more foundation and powder. Even more importantly, it is designed to last under heat, light and other testing conditions, as if you were on the runway or stage. Make-up has to match the bride, the dress and the mood of the wedding, so Pam always organises a trial run where the look can be agreed and fine-tuned. This can take place anywhere between one week and six months before the wedding – usually it depends on the bride’s schedule, and some brides prefer to have the look decided

TIPS FOR HAIR

Professionally applied make up uses highlighting and shading and stands up to heat, light – even tears

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well in advance. Pam cautions against fine-tuning the look too far in advance though: “It’s important to run the trial close to the season when the wedding takes place. For instance, for a December wedding I prefer to ensure the trial takes place in late September or October. This ensures the bride’s skin tone isn’t too different because of a tan, and we also want to ensure the make-up works with surrounding light levels”.

• It may seem counterintuitive, but hair is easier to work with if it’s not in silkysmooth and shiny condition. Avoid deep conditioning treatments in the immediate run-up to your wedding. • Remember that you don’t need to grow your hair to have an ‘up do’, where hair is styled to give the illusion of volume and length. • The casual look – either in a soft bun or left long, with perhaps some hair twisted or braided – is very popular, but hair needs to stay put all day – so this is a look that is generally best left to a professional stylist and a test session is essential.

Setting a trial date closer to the wedding day also means you’re more likely to have major and minor details decided. When you work with a bridal stylist, go armed with as much information as possible – venue, style and colour of dress and level of formality – and then you can relax and let the creative work begin. While Pam also works with other members of the wedding party on the day itself, the core focus should always be the bride, so this means attendants taking their turn. “Usually it works best if everybody else in the party is allocated a strict time for make up,” she says. When there are a lot of bridesmaids, Pam often advises that they each bring

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TIPS FOR MAKE-UP

along a lipstick they like which goes with their outfit (and won’t clash with the bride). Choosing lip colour for a large group of attendants can be a surprisingly laborious process if it hasn't been agreed in advance. Reassuringly, Pam says very few brides she works with have a hair or skin crisis in the run up to the wedding. The key beauty issue on the day is invariably fatigue, but make-up can conceal a multitude of last-minute stresses and sleepless nights, and sitting down for a pampering hair and beauty treatment is also a reviver. Some brides ask her to stay on at the wedding to transform their look from day to evening although, unless there’s a radical change in look, a professionally applied face should weather the celebration easily with, perhaps, a minor touch up of mineral powder and lip colour. u

• The most common mistake brides make is to apply too much make-up – either by applying more than usual to ensure they look good for photos, or by continually touching up during the day. Rather than reapplying powder, Pam advises blotting papers or mineral powders – far more effective at keeping the matte finish. • Subtle make-up is on trend, with emphasis on beautiful eyes and perfect brows. Avoid strip eyelashes – individual lashes look more natural. • Natural looks work for summer and daytime weddings, while smoky styles work well for winter ceremonies and afternoon-intoevening schedules. • One of the biggest hazards on the day is guests, who transfer oils and make-up onto your skin when they kiss you. Stick to air kisses for everybody except, of course, husband-to-be.

Pam Wrigley can be contacted on 07720 300062; weddingmakeupandhair.com

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Alcohol is probably the biggest hindrance my clients face when they’re aiming for a target weight. Cutting right back is obviously a good idea, but your engagement is also a time to celebrate. Wine is high in calories, so try substituting vodka or gin with slimline tonic and lime. Or order the finest sparkling water in a large wine glass. Time is the other great barrier, but there are lots of ways to fit exercise into life. For instance, start the day with a short (say, 10-minute) exercise video. Then use your daily commute by walking or running part way to work. Both use time wisely, require minimal planning and act as a metabolism booster that sets a positive mindset for the day ahead. Set a realistic timeframe if your goal is to lose weight. You should be aiming for 1lb a week. Sadly, it’s easier to take in calories than burn them off – don’t be fooled into thinking each exercise session earns you rewards. As a guide, two thirds of weight loss comes from what you consume, the remainder from activity. I often recommend my clients keep a food diary. While we may be eating super healthily for most of the time, we often forget to count the biscuits or crisps we grabbed in the office – a diary highlights nutritional faux pas and helps you stay on track. Exercise doesn’t work when it’s a punishment. If someone says they hate running I’ll say, ‘well, let’s not run’. It’s crucial to find something you enjoy – be it team sports, dance or quick workouts – so you will stick with it. Do train smart; running burns calories and is great for weight loss, but if you want toned arms you will need to do light weights. Start out with a checklist of what you want to achieve and then get advice on which exercises work best. Thirst is often masked as hunger, so instead of reaching straight for a snack, drink water. We should all be drinking two litres a day, plus a litre to compensate for every exercise session. Keep a bottle with you throughout the day to measure your intake – add fresh lemon or lime to make it more palatable. Dieting is about good planning not an empty stomach, so have a well-stocked fridge to avoid the ready meal and fast food trap. A lunch box really works for my brides; take an extra one full of healthy snacks such as chopped raw vegetables – they’re guilt free and fill you up. Eat colourfully and, if you love cooking, keep doing it but experiment with healthier alternatives. Don’t deprive yourself of everything though – if you love chocolate, factor that in as a small treat. Finally, enjoy yourself! Your engagement should be the happiest time, so do as much as you can with your partner. A competition to reach goals, or simply a bike ride before that blowout Sunday lunch makes this a positive lifestyle change that you share.

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Personal coach and nutritionist Sarah O’Neill says brides are her best clients because they are always the most committed to achieving their goals. Here are her 10 golden rules for looking and feeling great Sarah O’Neill

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Sarah O’Neill is a nutritionist and personal trainer, who specialises in working with brides. She also runs regular bridal bootcamps – group sessions to kickstart pre-wedding regimes; sarahoneill.co.uk

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The Old Finsbury Town Hall

an

exceptional

Call for appointments at this impressive Grade II listed building T 0207 713 7710 ext 2234 E events@theoldfinsburytownhall.co.uk W www.theoldfinsburytownhall.co.uk

©Sarah Legge Photography

wedding venue

All profits go towards the Urdang Academy’s Student Bursaries Scheme, supporting outstanding talent in The Performing Arts The Old Finsbury Town Hall Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4RP ©Sarah Legge Photography

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VENUES Planner > MARRYING IN A ROYAL PALACE

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A CLASSIC BEACH VENUE

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DREAM VENUES Once you've chosen your venue, it sets the tone of your whole celebration. And whether your mind is set on a grand palace, a classic city hotel or something more intimate, we've rounded up advice from the experts – and some inspiring venues – to help you make the right choice.

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PHOTO: CHRIS O’DONOVAN

DINING IN STYLE AT THE LANGHAM

Perfect Venue From one of London's grandest hotels to a romantic hideaway on the beach, here are some gems

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elebrating its 150th birthday, The Langham is one of Europe’s grand hotels. Located on Regent Street, it has a glorious ballroom (as featured in our fashion shoot), rare Courtyard Garden and eleven private dining rooms. The Langham also offers splendid food, and its new wedding menu is in partnership with Chez Roux. With a focus on seasonal, and luxe ingredients, it includes options such as Dorset crab salad, Denham Estate venison and seared Cornish seabass. That all-important dessert menu includes pistachio

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Fine dining at The Langham is by Chez Roux

cheesecake, mango and passion fruit trifle and Guanaja chocolate lava cake. And, if more is required, the embellishments menu includes amuse bouches, sorbets and fine cheeses. ◆ The Langham, London; langhamhotels.com

CHOOSING A ROYAL WEDDING Top wedding planner Dominique Douglas of Stylish Events reveals what you need to know about marrying in a Royal Palace

or many brides, the ultimate wedding venue is a Royal Palace – the quintessential princess experience. Elegance, luxury and history all rolled up in one romantic location. Here are a few things you to consider before deciding.

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TH E CHOICE S There are several to choose from, but my favourites have to be The Orangery at Kensington Palace

(pictured right) and Banqueting House on Whitehall. I’ve been privileged enough to work with couples at both venues. PR ACTICALITIE S Hire fees are at the higher end. For instance, at Kensington Palace, you can expect to pay upwards of £12,000 plus VAT, exclusive of catering, drinks, flowers, lighting and all the other things that make your wedding truly special. Royal Palaces have what are often called ‘restricted lists’, which means only approved suppliers may work there. They wouldn’t

"Each Royal Palace is unique and will give you a day you will remember for the rest of your lives"

Romantic dining at the Orangery; photo: Kate Nielen

be on the list if they weren’t among the best in the business. They are usually more flexible on photographers, videographers and wedding planners though. N E E D TO KNOWS The grounds and rooms are immaculate and so beautiful that you really only need the simplest dressing. However, it’s The Langham has an imposing ballroom

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The Orangery at Kensington Palace; photo: Kate Nielen

important to note that Royal Palaces were not built with the wedding industry in mind; this means kitchen facilities may not be suitable for mass catering and often catering tents will be required. Many Royal Palaces are open to the public and access on the day will not be until they have closed. This means set up times are very tight. For instance, you may not be allowed access until 3pm, which means not a table, a flower, a canapé or wedding favour is allowed before that time. If you are not the most organised of brides, then I would suggest you have a wedding planner assist you with organisation.

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‘Top 10 Romantic Hotel Rooms in the World’

THE SUNDAY TIMES

CREATING MEMORIES... Your Wedding Day at Stoke Park 300 Acres of glorious Parkland and Lakes 49 Luxury Bedrooms 3 Fully licensed rooms and beautiful Southern Terrace for Civil Ceremonies Dining facilities for up to 146 guests Award winning Health & Beauty Spa

Stoke Park’s Palladian Mansion is truly one of the most breathtaking Wedding Venues in Buckinghamshire Please contact our Wedding Co-ordinator on 01753 717171 or weddings@stokepark.com Stoke Park, Park Road, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire SL2 4PG 35 minutes from London and 7 miles from Heathrow Airport

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WEDDINGS VENUES

Due to the nature of these fine buildings, there are rules to be adhered to in order to protect them. Certain pieces of furniture may not be moved, confetti may be banned, only faux candles, or perhaps red wine only at the dinner table. These practicalities aside, each Royal Palace is unique and will give you a day you will remember for the rest of your lives. Many only host four or five weddings a year, so you will also be giving your family and friends a rare opportunity. ◆ Stylish Events; stylishevents.com Wedding hire of Historic Royal Palaces; hrp.org.uk/Hireavenue/weddings

ITA* offers unique London venues, such as 28 Portland Place

ON THE BEACH ne of our favourite spots for a beach wedding is The Gallivant, located at Rye, East Sussex. In summer, you can enjoy drinks on the dunes and return to dine at the Beach House Marquee on a divine locally sourced menu (food is a real speciality here). Come autumn and winter, the hotel takes on a cosy New England-style atmosphere with open fires, informal seating and intimate ambiance. Summer or winter, it tends to get booked well ahead – for obvious reasons. ◆ The Gallivant Hotel; thegallivant.co.uk

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"In summer you can enjoy drinks on the dunes...come autumn there's an open fire"

Romantic weddings on the beach at The Gallivant

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Venue finding service ITA* offers a free London wedding venue finding service and, with its catering partners Ampersand and Chester Boyd, gives you exclusive access to many of the capital’s most iconic private spaces. There are over 40 historic and interesting venues in the collection, from small and intimate to extravagant halls for the most gargantuan guest lists. ITA* venues include The In & Out, an elegant listed townhouse in St James’s Square that was once home to Lady Astor and features a stateroom, sweeping staircase and grand chandeliers. The Haberdashers’ Hall is tucked away in the heart of the City and has a courtyard, orangery and dancing fountain. Meanwhile, the sumptuous Adam Smith-designed 28 Portland Place (pictured above) offers West End elegance in one of the grandest London townhouses – it can be hired exclusively for you and your guests. For more information, visit itavenues.co.uk

Old Finsbury Town Hall, Clerkenwell is an Art Deco gem

DECO GEM ure vintage glamour, The Old Finsbury Town Hall is a gem in the heart of Clerkenwell. The photo opportunities are part of the draw – from the Art Deco entrance canopy to the sweeping staircase, stained glass and crystal chandeliers. It offers a range of spaces to suit wedding parties of different sizes. And, nice to know, all profit from events help to provide bursaries for talented performing arts students at London's Urdang Academy. ◆ The Old Finsbury Town Hall; theoldfinsburytownhall.co.uk

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OUR PROMISE TO YOU IS COMPLETE PERFECTION FROM ‘YES’ TO ‘I DO’...

New Forest Hampshire BH25 6QS 01425 275341 mywedding@chewtonglen.com www.chewtonglen.com

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WEDDINGS PROMOTION

Dream wedding makers Located in London and Ibiza, Kit & Caboodle design unique and exclusive events worldwide and, whether you are planning an intimate gathering for 50 or a large-scale spectacular, they have every last detail covered

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reative Event Agency Kit & Caboodle are dream makers – ensuring each lavish wedding and event they design and produce is perfect, down to the final detail. With teams and offices/workshops in West London and Ibiza – plus access to a huge array of bespoke kit, specialist equipment and international talent – the teams work with both bluechip corporates and discerning private clients worldwide. Using the same attention to detail they deliver for tours, launches and live events, Kit & Caboodle work with brides and grooms to create bespoke and exceptional weddings in destinations from London and Ibiza to Bahrain, Delhi and Vancouver. Their approach is both discreet and entirely personalised and means the opportunity to tap into a unique set of resources and knowhow. Talented designers

and stylists will work with you every step of the way to realise your original vision by providing the planning expertise, creative input and technical knowhow needed to take your dream party from drawing board to big day. Kit & Caboodle have the expertise to design and manage everything on your behalf, from venue hire and lavish transformation to ensuring staff and security, catering, entertainment, floral design, guest list and smooth running on the day or night. Working with brides and grooms is particularly rewarding because it is an opportunity to create something very special for a unique day in your life – a celebration that is perfectly planned, beautifully executed and truly memorable. 

“Kit & Caboodle work with brides and grooms to create bespoke and exceptional weddings”

KIT & CABOODLE 0203 214 3310 info@kitandcaboodle.co.uk kitandcaboodle.co.uk

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Make the most of the unpredictable British weather with these personalised and quirky umbrellas on your big day! 0845 475 9848 info@TheUmbrellaShop.co.uk theumbrellashop

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WEDDINGS PROMOTION

Dominique Douglas

Thinking about becoming a Wedding Planner? What will you learn?

The one-day course, which costs £99, offers an introduction to the realities of being a wedding planner. Dominique shares anecdotes, hints and example templates from the hundreds of weddings and events she has organised, as well as outlining the day-to-day practicalities of being a wedding planner. Subjects covered include: • The wedding planner’s role and building a client list • Key skills and building a career in the industry • Finances – from budgets and cash flow to contracts and invoicing • Choosing the perfect venue and styling modern weddings and events

With insights into everything from costing and contracts to styling and venue selection, a one-day workshop with Stylish Events is a great way to find out more about this exciting industry

Who is the workshop for?

The workshop is designed for anyone thinking about a career in the events and wedding planning industry and you do not have to be studying or working in the field to benefit. Dominique, who is co-author of Wedding Planning for Dummies (UK edition), believes in sharing knowledge across the industry. Each workshop has only seven places for delegates, which means plenty of individual attention and discussion time. The cost of £99 includes templates, a sandwich lunch, a completion certificate and the opportunity to make contacts within the industry. Stylish Events draw their intern shortlist from delegates on this course. u

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edding planning is a fast-paced and rewarding career. If you've ever thought about becoming a wedding planner, then attending "The Life of a Wedding Planner" workshop may be the great place to start. This one-day workshop was created by Dominique Douglas, Director of Stylish Events, who has over 25 years experience organising high profile, luxury weddings and events. She is a visiting speaker for a number of UK universities running event management degrees and the London & South East joint Regional Ambassador for the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION Courses take place bi-monthly at Canary Wharf, London E14. For more information and to book your place, email ddstylishevents@aol.com or visit stylishevents.com/careers

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The Wedding Shop Chelsea 171 Fulham Road London, SW3 6JW

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www.weddingshop.com 020 7384 8400

The Wedding Shop at Selfridges 400 Oxford Street London, W1 1AB

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WEDDING Planner

> WEDDING EXPERTS p.94 CAKES & CATERING p.97 GIFT LISTS p.98

FLOWER DRESSING From choosing a dress, to planning your party favours and organising a wedding list, there is so much to do. Our panel of experts have advice to help you get organised, as well as inspiring design and planning ideas. This gorgeous flower arrangement is by London florist Wild at Heart, see more ideas on page 102.

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Phillipa LEPLEY ◆◆◆

leading couture bridalwear designer phillipale ple y.com

I WILL BE HAVING A FORMAL WEDDING CEREMONY, FOLLOWED BY AN INFORMAL EVENING CELEBRATION SO I NEED ONE DRESS THAT LOOKS APPROPRIATE FOR BOTH. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

T Meet the

WEDDING EXPERTS Our panel of experts answer your wedding planning, shopping and design questions

ABSOLUTELY WEDDINGS

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his is quite a common request from brides and there are many ways to manage the formality of the ceremony, and also the party afterwards. Do ensure that your designer knows from the outset what the dress has to achieve. I would suggest a number of options. For instance, you could choose a core strapless dress and then – for the ceremony – a lace or tulle button-back top that fits over it. Another solution would be to create a lightweight coat to go over the top of the dress – again, tulle or lace would work well for this. A key consideration is to decide how much flesh you want to show for the evening celebration (and how much is appropriate for the style of your wedding). Some brides are happy showing off shoulders, back and armpits, but you may prefer a gown that has a bit more coverage at the neckline and shoulders, and then you could cover that with a tailored shrug or jacket for the ceremony. Bear in mind that a veil can also assist in creating a more formal impression; a wonderful wide veil (we use French silk tulle with traditional embroidered edges) will offer coverage and adhere to the conventions of modesty at the ceremony, and could then be removed later. ◆

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WEDDINGS PLANNER

CLARE GUEST Jamie LANDESBERG

Neil JONES

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principal of london-based wedding and events organiser 4 the people

award-winning wedding, lifestyle and portrait photographer

4the peopleuk .com

e yeimagine.co.uk

BOTH SETS OF PARENTS WANT TO HELP OUT WITH ORGANISING THE WEDDING, BUT THERE SEEMS TO BE A CASE OF ‘TOO MANY COOKS’ AND WE ARE WORRIED THAT THINGS ARE GOING TO GO WRONG. HOW DO WE KEEP THE PEACE AND HAVE THE WEDDING WE WANT?

I HATE HAVING MY PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN AND I’M NOT SURE HOW I’M GOING TO COPE WITH THE FORMAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY ON THE DAY. DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS?

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t the risk of sounding biased, I would suggest it is time to call in a wedding planner. Clearly, your family are working with the best of intentions but there is a real danger that wrong decisions will be made or key details overlooked. You need one person you can entrust with your vision. A good wedding planner is a skilled organiser, but also a diplomat – they will be able to liaise tactfully with all the other people who have a stake in making the day run smoothly. Perhaps point out to your parents that you are concerned something will go wrong if you don’t have one person with oversight and understanding of every detail – rather like trying to run a company without a chief executive. A wedding planner has the expertise to manage an army of suppliers so that that nothing is overlooked and all the people you contract will know exactly what they have to deliver and when. Remember that your wedding should be a joyous occasion for all the family, not a cause of sleepless nights. Perhaps your most persuasive argument is to remind your parents that you want them to be relaxed and ready to play their major role in the celebrations, which means entrusting the details to someone else. ◆

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would say about 90 per cent of the people I photograph are in the same boat. Many people feel shy about the process of being the star, have decided they are un-photogenic or have had bad photography experiences in the past. You need to establish trust and a rapport with your photographer, also explaining your issues so that they can ensure the best results on the day. We are all harsh judges of our own appearance, but if there is something that makes you selfconscious – your nose, profile or whatever – tell them and that can be factored into the way they photograph you. One solution – and something I recommend to all my wedding clients – is an informal test shoot before the wedding. This becomes an important way of building a rapport. Even clients who dreaded the prospect, have ended up feeling relaxed once they have seen how good they can look. As part of this process, I send clients the test shots and ask them to tell me what images they like and – more importantly – what they don’t. It’s hugely beneficial in ensuring they get the wedding images they want. Do remember that your photographer’s only mission (and their business relies on this) is to make you and your guests look fantastic. Find someone you can rely on to ensure your photos become an enjoyable part of the whole wedding experience and treasured memories afterwards. ◆

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The Wedding Club stocks international names in ready to wear and exclusives from rising stars. Here, Clare Guest gives her tips on finding the perfect RTW dress hopping for a dress is less stressful if you go alone S initially. Use the first visit to create a shortlist of favourites and then call in up to three helpers for a second opinion (any more and you’ll struggle to decide). The aim of a wedding dress is to make you look like you on a really fantastic day, not like someone your partner has never seen before. Go for a style that works with your personality, rather than being shoehorned into what you think a ‘proper’ bride looks like. Be prepared for the fact that certain dresses you’ve set your heart on when you’ve seen them on a photoshopped model just won’t work. It may be a disappointment, but it’s never a disaster. Trust your own judgement and also the advice of the stylists in the store – they should know the cut, style and fit of their designers and be skilled at knowing what works with different body shapes Major changes to cut and style are never a good idea because they may ruin the look of a dress. If a bride wants too many radical changes, I see it as a warning sign and will suggest she might want to look at other dresses. ◆

The Wedding Club 10 Yeomans Row, London SW3 15 Templefield Square, Birmingham B15. thewedding-club.co.uk

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Ann’s Designer Cakes Artisan Cakes for all Occasions

07932 564 033 www.letitbecake.co.uk

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020 8644 8523 | www.annsdesignercakes.com

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BEAUTIFUL, BESPOKE WEDDING CAKES LONDON

Chocolate&Cake www.choccywoccydoodah.com

London London. .Brighton Brighton

WWW.DAISYCAKES.CO.UK / 020 8465 5534

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WEDDINGS PLANNER

EXPERT TIPS

What’s in flavour? ◆◆◆ Elsa Laima of Let it Be Cake shares her tips for choosing the perfect cake to match your ceremony

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t’s a good idea to have an idea of the colour scheme and theme of your wedding before you choose. All cake makers know that this can change, but discuss ideas as early as possible. We find a lot of brides are opting for naked cakes or ‘semi naked’ – this is because inevitably some guests just leave the icing on the plate. Un-iced options can be very effective if you add in fruit and flowers. Another idea is to have different cakes for different family members, catering for everybody’s taste. Cupcakes remain very popular and they are an incredibly practical idea – it means you can mix flavours and designs – adding labels so people find it easy to select their choice. They are also a very good idea if you are catering for vegans or people with food intolerances. And, of course, it’s far easier for people to take a cupcake home with them than a piece of sponge cake in a napkin. Fruitcake is still a traditional favourite and some brides include it to appeal to older guests. It’s always possible to have a two tier – one sponge cake and one fruit. But there are so many options beyond the traditional; at the moment many of our brides are choosing combinations such as carrot and walnut, red velvet (a very light and moist chocolate cake) and banana butterscotch.

5 of our

FAVOURITE CAKES

Push the boat out with a spectacular centrepiece. Here are five bright ideas from our favourite wedding cake makers Roses all the way

Floral themes are always popular and this gorgeous cake for a summer wedding is dressed in ornate and delicate rose icing. It was created by south Londonbased baker Let it be Cake, which creates everything from traditional tiered fruitcakes to light sponges and cupcakes; letitbecake.co.uk

Birds and flowers

Founded in Brighton and with a second store off Carnaby Street, Choccywoccydoodah has gained a national reputation for its fabulous sweet creations. This romantic bird and flower-themed cake is typical of its fantasy approach; choccywoccydoodah.com

Give them variety

Pearly queen

Why just one cake? A choice idea is to please all your guests with a table groaning with sweet options, all sharing a similar decorative theme, but with different flavours to suit their tastes and appetites. This fantastic table was prepared by award-winning wedding baker Rosalind Miller Cakes; rosalindmillercakes.com

The classic tiered cake is dressed up in style with a pearl-trimmed and frilled finish in icing. This beautiful design was subtly tinted to match the wedding theme and was created by Rosalind Miller Cakes; rosalindmillercakes.com

Don’t forget the favours! Alexeeva & Jones is a destination chocolatier in London’s Westbourne Grove that creates delectable handmade treats for weddings, celebrations and indulgences. Choose from a dizzying variety of permutations, from handmade truffles and pralines to bitter dark chocolate. Of course, a pre-wedding tasting by the bride is de rigueur; alexeevajones.com

LET IT BE CAKE 020 3291 3193; letitbecake.co.uk

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Sumptuous sponge

The undressed cake can be a real hit – especially as quite a lot of people don’t like icing. When the sponge is the star, you can dress it up with fruit and flowers, even mix flavoured layers. This delectable creation is from bespoke London baker Daisy Cakes; daisycakes.co.uk

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LUXURY FLOWERS FOR YOUR WEDDING Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart is one of London’s top wedding florists. We are renowned for our inspirational designs and luxurious wedding flowers. Our team will work with you through every step of your wedding to create a stunning, memorable occasion. Visit our website for more wedding flowers inspiration or contact us to discuss your requirements.

NIKKI TIB B L ES

wild at heart 020 7229 1174 (option 3) | events@wildatheart.com

www.wildatheart.com

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Beauty by nature, sophistication by design We specialise in creating bespoke floral schemes that capture the moment and live on in the mind, long after your special day is over. To arrange your complimentary consultation with Karen, contact our studio. Tel 0208 858 1112 enquiries@kwfloraldesign.co.uk kwfloraldesign.co.uk 18 Royal Hill Greenwich London SE10 8RT

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WEDDINGS PLANNER

4 TIPS FOR CATERING AT YOUR WEDDING 1

TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR MENU Top Hat Catering provides tips on choosing the perfect menu.

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ecide as early as you can on the format of the day and then the appropriate times for food. Always aim to overfeed guests – you don’t want to be remembered for letting them go hungry, or get very drunk. A lot of weddings happen between 2pm-3pm, which means guests may be starving by the time they emerge from the service (especially if they’ve had a long journey). Canapés are moreish and a good filler if you’re having a long day – especially if you are serving drinks – but one idea is to combine the finger-food concept with afternoon tea, by for instance, serving mini bagels and cucumber sandwiches with macaroons and chocolate éclairs. Sharing platters

are a good alternative to the full threecourse plated menu, especially as they get people talking and are a relaxed way of serving dinner. They may also be a way of keeping catering costs in check if you’re having a lot of guests or more than one meal. Bowl food can be another alternative – something simple and delicious that is easy to eat when you have a glass in hand will be welcome, especially if you are serving a supper after dancing and partying. Puddings are a good opportunity for people to stand up, move around and meet other guests. A pudding station and a cheese table give people the option to wander up in their own time rather than waiting to be served. It is hard for any guest to resist a plate groaning with fine

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It's a good idea to avoid beef, shellfish and pork. And to accommodate food intolerances and vegans choose a starter and pudding suitable for all. 2

Choose in-season produce – asparagus is never so good out of season anyway. It’s always a good idea to incorporate something very seasonal, for instance, roasted chestnuts at a winter wedding. 3

Do get a tasting before you choose your caterer – ask to try whatever they consider to be their speciality. 4

Add flavoured waters to guests’ tables. These can be flavoured with mint, strawberry, geranium or cucumber so that they look decorative and give guests the opportunity to stay hydrated.

hunks of cheese at 12am. Other alternatives to consider when you’re serving are food stalls – a great way to accommodate a second wave of guests or keep things relaxed. For instance, a wood fired pizza oven, roving oyster shucker or wok food stall can be entertaining and a great way for people to graze. ◆ TOP HAT CATERING are based in London and Wiltshire; tophatcatering.co.uk

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Planned to perfection As founder and Principal of 4 the People, Jamie Landesberg knows how to plan a perfect event of any size, in any location, so nothing is left to chance. Her bespoke wedding planner service means brides can relax knowing the organisation is going to be flawless

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VEN IF YOU ARE A MASTER of organisation in your professional life, organising your own wedding can be overwhelming. Not only is it such a personal decision, but there seem to be a million choices to make – from venue, caterer and photographer, right down to sourcing the right candles and perfect buttonholes. And this is where Jamie Landesberg comes in. “Effectively, I act as the bride’s personal assistant and sounding board throughout the whole process, becoming her confidante and trusted guide who ensures that no decision – big or small – causes sleepless nights or gets left off the ‘to do’ list���. Jamie, who organises weddings and events around the globe, has a peerless contact book, as well as an encyclopaedic knowledge of the best people to talk to – whether you want a particular style of floral design and photography or yearn for world-class jugglers and fire-eaters to entertain your guests. “Relationships are key to a successful wedding – so part of my role is to match the best and most trustworthy suppliers to you and then ensure the vision you have is translated successfully by them,” says Jamie.

BUILDING A RAPPORT

Each bride Jamie works with can expect flawless personal service that begins with a consultation and getting-to-know-you session. “I always recommend that the first consultation be a face-to-face meeting,” says Jamie. “It’s really important that the chemistry between us is right, and that we are on the same page from day one. After that, I offer a hand-holding service – my brides can talk to me at any time, whether it’s a major or a minor issue, because every detail of co-ordination, organising and checking is what I’m there to manage and supervise on their behalf”. Jamie says understanding each bride’s personality and feelings about the style of her wedding is also crucial when it comes to choosing suppliers – which is why she spends so much time ensuring she builds a rapport. “An excellent example of this

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WEDDINGS PROMOTION

is choosing the right photographer,” says Jamie “It is vital that the bride trusts the person who is going to be capturing her day on film, and once I understand her taste and preferences, I can then recommend and make an introduction to the photographer I think she will trust and enjoy working with, so that she feels totally relaxed on the day.” Jamie also considers it essential to get to know all the key players involved in the wedding, since they will often be closely involved in the planning and decision making, and she acts as a trusted contact point and source of information: “I would be lying if I said that planning a wedding was fun and laughter all the way – especially as these days we all lead such busy lives – but I am there throughout the process to ensure that those moments of stress that can occur when big decisions are being made are reduced to the absolute minimum. I work to ensure that all the key players are at ease with me, are enjoying the planning process and can turn to me if they have a query that needs resolving”.

bit like buying a house; you usually know when you have found 'the one'. And this is an important decision, because it is likely to influence the tone and style of every decision that follows.” But, just like buying a house, even if the venue looks and feels absolutely perfect, there is the all-important negotiation and contract stage: “The bride has to be 100 per cent happy with every decision, so I’m there to support her, and flag up details she might not have considered to ensure that it meets her expectations and event requirements – whether it be the licence of the venue and its capacity, its ability to accommodate outside contractors such as entertainers and videographers, or the special consideration required for guests who are older or have mobility issues, and those who may be travelling there from overseas”.

“The bride has to be happy with every decision, so I’m there to support her”

FINAL PLANNING

It is in the final whirlwind weeks – when brides are sandwiching last-minute dress fittings and hair appointments in between professional and family commitments – that a wedding planner’s professional knowledge and attention to detail becomes JAMIE ’S TIPS invaluable. Jamie says: “My bride FOR BRIDES should be calm in the last fortnight before the wedding or I’m not 1. Do be honest with doing my job!” Inevitably, at some suppliers throughout the planning process point before that, every soon-to– their role is to be has had the odd moment of translate your vision, panic or cold feet – it’s wedding so tell them when tradition – but knowing that there something isn’t right. If you hire a is always someone on hand to offer professional wedding reassurance, and that you have planner, they will nothing left to do except work on help you negotiate getting enough sleep helps brides to and ensure you don’t get rushed into feel relaxed and in control. decisions. Jamie attends every wedding 2. I often recommend and event she organises, arriving that my brides keep on site early in the morning to a notebook with them at all times ensure that all the planning pays because nothing is off. While she remains discreetly more frustrating than backstage, she’s directing having a brilliant proceedings to ensure it all runs idea in the middle of the night and then like clockwork – right down to the forgetting the next last song and final firework. “I’m day what it was. passionate about what I do and love 3. Moments of total the magic of every wedding day as indecision (analysis paralysis) are it unfolds,” says Jamie, “But one of completely normal the nicest things is after it’s all over when you are faced because so many brides contact with 1001 issues that me to say how glad they were that need attention. Stay calm and return to they entrusted everything to a the decision later professional wedding planner.” if it’s not pressing. Jamie believes that the ultimate If it is urgent, then value of her role is that couples are talk it through with someone you left free to enjoy what should be trust implicitly to the happiest day: “How often have offer sensible advice. you heard brides and grooms say it 4. Your suppliers are went by in a flash? The fact that my your on-the-ground experts. On the day clients have the opportunity to relax itself, trust them to and savour every moment, knowing manage everything that someone else is ensuring it all while you relax and goes according to plan, is immensely enjoy your day. satisfying. I always feel proud and Jamie Landesberg privileged to have been entrusted can be contacted at with making such an important jamie@4thepeopleuk.com; event in people’s lives match up to 4thepeopleuk.com their original vision”. u

TRANSLATING THE EVENT VISION

We all know how hard it can be to get someone to understand what exactly you are looking for – especially if your ideas are still evolving or you are working to create a very specific look or style. Jamie addresses every element in a logical and methodical way to ensure that there is complete understanding of what you want. This invariably begins with selecting the venue that matches your ideals. “I always like to say that finding the right venue is a

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Dressing Your Venue Here are simple ideas from wedding and event florist Wild at Heart for making flowers and greenery a focal point at your celebration

Nikki TIBBLES ◆◆◆

founder of wild at heart, the leading London florist wildatheart.com

I REALLY WANT THE FLOWERS TO BE A MEMORABLE PART OF THE DAY, NOT JUST TABLE CENTREPIECES. CAN YOU ADVISE ME ON MORE UNUSUAL WAYS TO INCORPORATE THEM INTO THE CEREMONY AND RECEPTION VENUE?

Be imaginative with vessels Table decorations need not be formal to be effective – here, a small silver bucket is laden with a colourful arrangement of cut flowers and garden herbs.

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tree as a creative way t weddings, for displaying the table we love to plan at your wedding give venues – even an avenue of a focal point beautiful blossom trees by having a at an outdoor spring statement piece. This wedding. might include beautiful But it’s not floral arches just about big that the bride “For place statement and groom can pieces. At walk through to settings, try their ceremony a single rose Wild at Heart often use or a wall of or knot of we flowers and flowers which herbs tied greenery as serves as a with ribbon" personalised picturesque backdrop for makes a p place settings and this adds photos. the perfect As well as finishing touch to flowers, also consider weddings. A single using trees. For rose or a knot of herbs, instance, an oversized tied together with tree will add a sense of a gorgeous ribbon scale and grandeur to adds an extra bit of your wedding or you extravagance. ◆ could have a placement

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WEDDINGS PLANNER After-dark glamour

4 beautiful

BOUQUETS

A focal point, such as a tree, looks magical in photographs and can be lit up as day turns to evening. It's also an imaginative way to display place settings.

PHOTO: CHRIS O'DONOVAN

The perfect bouquet is memorable, but never overpowers your dress. These gorgeous ideas are from Jane Packer janepacker.com

This exquisite domed posy features lush pink roses with unusual details such as oldfashioned buttons, an effective foil to a simple white wedding dress.

Truly sumptuous One knockout arrangement can be far more effective than multiple smaller ones, particularly if you’ve chosen a grand or high-ceilinged venue. Here, a lavish combination of soft-hued blooms sets the scene for a summer wedding.

High drama for an evening or winter wedding, calla lilies in rich purple-black are arranged in an ultra-simple bouquet where the focus is on the perfection of each individual bloom.

Add a keepsake for guests

A single-coloured bouquet is effective if you have a dress with ornate lace or fine detaili Here, sprays of pure white flowers are combined with elegant green foliage.

A posy or small arrangement of blooms and herbs incorporated into your tablesettings can pick up on your main colour theme, as well as being a fragrant keepsake for guests.

Dress the chairs Scene setting is made easy at a beach or outdoor wedding, but these simple hand-tied arrangements dressing the guests’ chairs add a romantic flourish.

Trailing bouquets are wonderful when they suit the line of the gown. Here a combination of purples and greens adds ethereal glamour.

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The Wedding Shop

GET OVER THE SHAME

any of us are just a tad embarrassed about the whole business of wedding lists, but in fact the whole point is to make life easier for your guests. Most of them want to give you something and it’s far easier if they are steered in the right direction rather than left floundering in the dark. As Ali Beaven of Prezola says: “Have a list. It’s actually a pain for guests when you don’t because they’ll almost certainly buy a gift anyway”. Jemma Phillimore of The Wedding Shop also believes it makes things much less stressful, especially as a list means guests can choose options that suit their personality and yours: “A gift list is the perfect way to make it easy for them as they

M

IT’S A GIFT Wedding lists should be a pleasure not a chore – here are tips for getting it right

ABSOLUTELY WEDDINGS

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WEDDINGS PLANNER Prezola

Perfect wedding stationery Something Made is a small London printmaker established by two architects. They design stationery to suit the event and use origami and other unusual paper techniques. They can also design bespoke thank you cards at the same time as your invitations; so meth i ng ma d e.co.uk

can purchase something they love that they know matches your taste in just a few clicks”. ◆

BE ORGANISED

et started early on selecting the items you might like so that your guests don’t view it as an afterthought. This means registering early for your gift list and compiling it over days or weeks (this should be a treat, not a chore), so that it’s ready to go by the time your invitations are sent. A discreet card – or a link to your list via your wedding website – are all that’s then required. Ensure you keep the list open after your wedding day – both Prezola and The Wedding Shop recommend a couple of weeks at least: it’s surprising how many guests forget beforehand and log on to buy after the wedding day. ◆

G

THINK DIFFERENT

hile you may crave that über W toaster-cum-sandwich maker or a mixer that transforms you into Mary Berry, a wedding list is also an opportunity to be imaginative. “If you want flamingo coffee cups, go for it”, says Jemma Phillimore of The Wedding Shop. Ali Beaven of Prezola suggests you think of heirloom items – for instance, Christmas

dinnerware or really good cutlery are objects you might not prioritise yourself, but if they are given as a gift you’ll use and treasure them over years. And they will always be a reminder of your wedding day and the gift givers. ◆

COVER ALL PRICE POINTS

he under £20 end covers off younger and more cashstrapped guests or those who choose a small token from the list because they’ve flown in specially for your wedding from Australia, while the higher end may become joint gifts from a group of friends or presents from someone who wants to spoil you both. This means it is very

The Top 5 at The Wedding Shop

Alice Peto Penguin Baking Dish, £35

YOU CAN ASK FOR CASH

ncreasingly, people see giving cash as a viable alternative – especially if there is the opportunity to make your honeymoon extra special or provide cash towards something that you really want. It’s not a good idea to have cash left around the venue, so if this is an option you’re choosing look at options such as establishing a separate bank account for the purpose or, more convenient still, a combined gift and honeymoon list where cash can be deposited safely before your wedding. ◆

I

T

Prezola

important to include as wide a range of price points as possible, showing the world it’s not about the money, but giving you objects that you can use and enjoy. ◆

Bobble Jug, £79

Stelton French Coffee press, £49.95

DON’T FORGET THE THANK YOU CARD

our wedding list company should keep a record of who bought what, so all you have to do is hand write a note that is personal, appreciative and specific about the gift. You could even get the cards designed at the same time as your wedding invitations are made up. ◆

Y

Merchant Archive Brass Pineapple, £145

The Wedding Shop has London showrooms and an online gift list; weddingshop.com Newgate Clock Battersby, £115

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Prezola offers a combined gift and honeymoon fund; prezola.com

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Florence, Italy

Tuscan romance With a romantic location in the verdant hills above Florence, Belmond Villa San Michele is a lovers’ paradise and a magical venue to tie the knot W O R D S : R AY S E A R L E

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Mauritius

The best choice of luxury hotels on the island

As the first hotel company in Mauritius, Beachcomber Hotels had the first pick of the most stunning locations and the best of the beaches when choosing to place its hotels. We now have a choice of eight individual and exceptional hotels on the island, all located right on the beach.

We’ve got everything from indulgent luxury to superb all inclusive options. For honeymooners all of our resorts offer a range of superb honeymoon discounts and treats for you when you arrive. And if you are looking to get married abroad all of our hotels guarantee just one wedding a day.

Fly Air Mauritius and arrive on holiday relaxed and refreshed. Enjoy the friendly, welcoming on-board Mauritian hospitality, take advantage of the excellent in-flight facilities and for a treat upgrade to the superb Business Class and settle in to your own spacious lie-flat cocoon seat.

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LUXURY TRAVEL

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estled among the hills above Florence – surely one of the greatest romantic cities on the planet – Villa San Michele is a pictureperfect Tuscan retreat. A former 15th-century monastery with a façade by Michelangelo, it has been preserved through time and is rich in history and architecture. And, just as importantly, it has all the lavish comforts you would expect from a property in the Belmond group. One of the biggest benefits of choosing Villa San Michele for your wedding or honeymoon is its location. Undeniably, it is just perfect. Less than 15-minutes from the city (and with distant views of the cupola of Florence cathedral), it is a world away in atmosphere from the bustle of cosmopolitan Italy, with its secluded setting in the green and unspoiled Arno Valley. The hotel is intimate, with 45 suites and rooms, some with private terraces. What strikes you most, from the moment you arrive, is the breathtaking views. Whatever part of the Villa you happen to be in, there is something to see. This

means there is no such thing as a bad room – you can choose from an outlook over the stunning Italian gardens, the dreamy Florence panorama or the vineyard-clad Chianti hills. Among the most outstanding choices if you like space and seclusion is the Limonaia Suite, originally the monks’ orangery and now an elegant large apartment with a private heated plunge pool and – once again – aweinspiring vistas.

Dining options

“Less than 15 minutes from Florence, Belmond Villa San Michele is a world away in atmosphere” 113

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While Florence offers abundant gourmet options, the temptation is to dine in. Villa San Michele’s sumptuous La Loggia Restaurant has an international reputation for its food and serves authentic Tuscan cuisine – also running popular cookery lessons throughout the year. For relaxed trysts, you can sip morning coffee in the cloister or beside the swimming pool. With so many authentic sights and sounds of Tuscany on the doorstep, there is plenty to see and do when you do venture out. This is wine country, so a tour of one of the local vineyards is a must. Historic Pisa is within an easy drive if you want to wander beyond cosmopolitan Florence.

SEPTEMBER 2015

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Dress by Naomi Neoh

From weddings of dramatic scale, to more intimate affairs,

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Some of the greatest palaces ever built are now available to host your special day. The grand settings of Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace offer a diverse range of spaces including spectacular gardens. Whatever your requirements, you’ll be treated like royalty.

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LUXURY TRAVEL

Practicalities

Weddings and honeymoons

Both weddings and honeymoons are a speciality of the hotel, with multiple dining and entertaining options and spectacular photo opportunities whichever venue you choose. Some couples prefer the terraced gardens for an al fresco wedding or opt for the Cenacolo Room, which comes complete with a period fresco of the Last Supper. You may also opt to have exclusive use of the hotel, including the La Loggia Restaurant. In April, the hotel opened its new Davanzati Room, a separate event space with a capacity of up to 100 people and set in the hotel gardens with its own spacious terrace. u

“While Florence and the villages around offer abundant dining options, the temptation is to dine in at La Loggia – which has an international reputation” 115

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•N  on residents may marry in Italy according to Catholic rites and you are also able to arrange religious ceremonies of other faiths, including Protestant, Jewish and Orthodox. There are several spectacular local churches if you opt for an Italian church wedding. • Civil ceremonies can be conducted in town and city halls throughout Italy. The team at Villa San Michele can organise champagne cocktails in front of Fiesole Town Hall after the ceremony, or assist with town hall ceremonies at Palazzo Vecchio (Florence Town Hall). • Blessings can be arranged – either for couples who have already had a civil or religious ceremony, or for those who wish to celebrate an anniversary or renew their vows. • The hotel will organise a whole host of finishing touches – from bridal pampering and music to photography/video. They can also recommend local musicians, whether your taste is Italian opera, jazz or something for the dance floor.

BELMOND VILLA SAN MICHELE Located 20 minutes from Florence (FLR) airport and one hour from Pisa (PSA) airport. For more information about weddings, honeymoons and other special events, contact vsm.seso@belmond.com; belmond.com/villasanmichele

SEPTEMBER 2015

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Pure Zanzibar The World’s Leading Zanzibar Specialists

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15/09/2015 09:41 16/09/2015 11:36


WEDDINGS TRAVEL

Love in Paradise

Honeymoon Venues

Which slice of heaven will it be? Beach, safari or New Zealand winery – you choose

Sandals Renowned for luxurious destinations and superb wedding and honeymoon service, Sandals Resorts also offer a huge variety of options to plan the trip of a lifetime. WeddingMoons gives you the freedom to customise your wedding using an online interactive wedding designer tool. Alternatively, you can choose from six pre-designed themes – from Beautiful Beginnings up to Island Paradise. Whichever package you choose, there are complimentary extras as standard, such as a honeymoon and gift registry, honeymoon dinner or breakfast-in-bed with mimosa. And, of course, the choices on offer are glorious, including the romantic Caribbean islands of Antigua, St Lucia and Barbados. Sandals Resorts; sandals.co.uk

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WEDDINGS TRAVEL Pure Safari

WILD AT HEART

Park Hyatt MALDIVES

With peerless green credentials, the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is nestled on a private island with superb snorkelling, scuba diving, dolphin watching and sunset cruises. Then there's the luxury – 50 private villas with fabulous views and fine dining. maldives.hadahaa.park.hyatt.com

Mahana Weddings Overlooking the Tasman Bay and with views of Mount Arthur and the Southern Alps, Mahana is New Zealand's premier winery, but also a superb location for weddings and honeymoons – especially if you enjoy fine wines. mahanavilla.com

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Pure Safari specialise in building tailormade safaris, so whether your dream is gorilla watching in Uganda or an idyllic beach in Zanzibar, they can help design the perfect wedding or honeymoon package using their local expertise. puresafari.com

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BEAUTIFUL COASTAL WEDDINGS We host beautiful weddings by the beach, that are relaxed but effortlessly professional, serving extraordinary food that your guests will remember for months to come. Set behind an extraordinary sandy beach we are a boutique hideaway by the sea and the perfect setting if you dream for a Hampton’s style wedding. We host around 30 weddings for up to 120 people every year, with our venue becoming exclusively yours for the duration of your celebration. Please contact Diana our Wedding Co-Ordinator if you would like to chat about your dream coastal wedding - 01797 225 057 or diana@thegallivant.co.uk Britain’s Best Seaside Hotels, Telegraph 2015 Best Beachside Hotels, Independent 2015 World’s Best Beaches, Sunday Times 2015 Top 100 UK Hotels, Times 2014

New Lydd Road, Camber, East Sussex TN31 7RB www.thegallivant.co.uk

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REAL LIFE Weddings

PHOTO: JOHN NASSARI

> EMERALD ISLE p.122 FAIRYTALE ROMANCE p.126 PERFECT DAY p130

CAPTURING THE CASTLE Meghan and Simon chose a picture-perfect Irish castle for the wedding of their dreams. With turrets, romantic grounds and traditional Irish hospitality, Cabra rolled out the red carpet to marry them in style.

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Real wedding

Emerald Aisle It had to be Ireland for Meghan and Simon’s destination wedding, and they found a jewel – the perfect castle for partying in style PHOTOS: JOHN NASSARI

F

rom the moment Meghan and Simon began planning their celebration, they knew their ideal was a destination wedding so that family and friends could all gather together. Meghan’s family is Irish, and with strong connections to the Emerald Isle, so it seemed the natural choice – offering the perfect combination of rich culture and history, amazing scenery, fantastic hospitality, and more than its fair share of castles. With quite a large party of around 150 to accommodate, they were quite limited in their options, especially as they didn’t want guests to have to travel too far. But after a wellplanned road trip to ‘recce’ a shortlist of potential destinations, they found Cabra in County Cavan and knew straight away that this was the place. A spectacular country hotel in a Gothic-style castle, complete with friendly resident Irish

wolfhound, it also has picturesque turrets and looming towers, a river running through the grounds and a beautiful Catholic church just a few minutes down the road. Once secured, this magical period setting inspired the themes; guests were sent traditional scroll invitations secured with a wax seal, and hand-labelled bottles of Irish whiskey were chosen as table favours. The styling of the bride and groom’s parties was a modern take on traditional wedding clothing. Groomsmen wore

“For both of us, the high point of the day was meeting each other for the first time at the end of the aisle”

ABSOLUTELY WEDDINGS

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WEDDINGS REAL LIFE

tailored morning suits with a contemporary cut, while the bridesmaids’ elegant long gowns were in ethereal dove grey. The same dove-toned base was used throughout for scene setting, accented with soft spring pastels in peach, lilac and pink. Meghan chose a dress that ensured she looked every inch the perfect princess for the castle – a timeless full-skirted gown with fine detailing on the bodice was combined with a long, gossamer-light veil with delicate floral trim. With the bride and groom and their bridal parties staying over before the wedding day, final preparations were easy.

From their castle retreat, the couple travelled independently to the church in the traditional way. Meghan says: “For both of us, the high point of the day was meeting each other for the first time at the end of the aisle. It was a very special moment indeed. This was closely followed by our arrival at the castle where all our guests were waiting for us on the red carpet”. The day went perfectly – with traditional Irish hospitality ensuring that the guests enjoyed the occasion and the setting as much as their hosts. Meghan says: “Cabra Castle staff were so friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The food was incredible as well – it really is a fairytalecastle wedding location”. Meghan and Simon’s advice for other

MEGHAN’S WEDDING SOURCEBOOK VENUE: CABRA CASTLE HOTEL, KINGSCOURT, CO CAVAN; cabracastle.com PHOTOGRAPHY: JOHN NASSARI; johnnassari.co.uk • VIDEOGRAPHY: EDITHOUSE; edithouse.ie • FLOWERS: FLOWERS BY ANN; flowersbyann.ie • COSMETIC TREATMENT: ROTHLEY LODGE; rothleylodgedentalsurgery.co.uk

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couples is to factor in the memory making and ensure you don't waste the opportunity to record every moment. Simon says: “Spend the money on a fantastic photographer and definitely get a videographer, as the day goes so fast and you are running on so much adrenaline that you don’t remember a lot. It has been so special reliving it through our photographs and video. John Nassari and his colleague Katie did a fantastic job documenting the day photographically, with beautiful shots in both traditional and modern styles”. Their other key tip is to ensure you spend as much time as possible together so that you savour every moment. “It is easy to get sidetracked,” says Meghan. “So, to combat this, we really tried to meet all of our guests together. We also spent 20 minutes alone in the middle of the day to just reflect on what was going on and take it all in. That was a really special moment”. 

AUTUMN / WINTER 2015

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Real wedding

Fairytale Romance With a romantic country mansion as their backdrop, and a lush botanical theme, Sarah and Matt’s wedding was a feast for the senses P H OTO S : P I P PA M AC K E N Z I E

F

or Sarah and Matt, fairytale romance was definitely in the air on their wedding day. The venue they chose, the Italianate Georgian-style mansion Hedsor House, has both history and star credentials. Located less than 30 miles from London, it seems a world away and has been the backdrop for numerous films including, most recently, the 2015 Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow comedy Mortdecai. Its lush parkland setting, listed gardens and lavish interiors – replete with weddingcake-style cornicing and splendid domed ceilings – offered Sarah and Matt a timeless backdrop for lavish scene setting in the romantic style.

Music was an important linking element of the day and, to continue the fairytale theme of the venue, Sarah and Matt walked up the aisle to 'As the World Falls Down' from Labyrinth, played by harpist Rebeca Jones. With the formalities over, Stringfever – a celebrated string quartet – provided a change of pace, playing classical with an acoustic twist for the after party. When it came to flowers, it was roses all the way. The panelled dining-room and domed hall where the celebrations took place were

“I genuinely believe most guests thought they were in a Michelin-starred restaurant”

ABSOLUTELY WEDDINGS

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draped with subtle pastel blooms and pearls by Mary Jane Vaughan. The same botanical theme was continued in the cake, which was created by Rosalind Miller; this had a pearl-themed icing and featured multiple sponge layers delicately flavoured with rose, lavender and lemon. Rocket Food provided the remainder of the catering – from elegant canapés to the guests' wedding breakfast: “I genuinely believe that most guests thought they were in a Michelin-starred restaurant," says Sarah, “The team from Rocket Food really did go that extra mile”.

With all the guests remaining in one place for the whole celebration, it was one planning worry off the list, and Hedsor House converted easily from formal wedding to magical after-party setting, thanks to clever mood lighting and fairytale touches such as circus performers to entertain younger guests. With all the finer details of planning managed by Cranberry Blue, Sarah and Matt could relax and enjoy their party. Wedding photographer Pippa MacKenzie was on hand throughout to record the celebration and bride and groom were delighted with the blend of formal and informal moments revealed through her images. For Sarah, the photos were the icing on the cake: “Pippa captured every special moment from our day with unique creativity”. u

SARAH’S WEDDING SOURCEBOOK VENUE: HEDSOR HOUSE; hedsor.com  •  PHOTOGRAPHY: PIPPA MACKENZIE; pippamackenzie.com  •  WEDDING PLANNING: CRANBERRY BLUE WEDDINGS & EVENTS; cranberryblue.co.uk Flowers: Mary Jane Vaughan; maryjanevaughan.co.uk  •  CATERING: ROCKET FOOD: rocketfood.net CAKE: ROSALIND MILLER CAKES; rosalindmillercakes.com  •  MUSIC: STRINGFEVER; stringfever.co.uk  •  HARPIST: REBECA JONES; rebecajones.co.uk  •  STATIONERY: EMILY & JO STATIONERY; emilyandjo.co.uk

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Such a

PERFECT DAY At the wedding of Ivan and Jessie, there was one important family member who couldn’t be left out JESSIE & IVAN: We wanted some photos with Henry because he’s part of our family and, on a practical level, he was still a very young dog – under a year old at the time. We didn’t want to leave him alone for too long, so incorporated that into our day. We had a late afternoon wedding and reception at The Varsity in Cambridge, with a dinner booked for that evening at a local restaurant. This meant we could leave our guests, who were well stocked with food and drink with taxis booked, while we escaped for an hour. So off we went with Ben our photographer to walk Henry. We were so lucky as it was a beautiful day with warm weather, all captured in this moment with us together. BEN: This is one of those rather magical shots where the light and the moment were just right. Ivan and Jessie wanted some time with their young Labrador on the day and it made an excellent informal photo opportunity. We headed off while the guests were finishing at The Varsity reception, took Henry for a walk and then I captured a few shots when he’d had a run and calmed down a bit. He was an excellent subject, as you can see, although a few months later I did have to send a duplicate set of photos through to Jessie and Ivan because he’d stolen the original USB stick out of their computer and eaten it. PHOTO: Ben Bull; benbull.net

ABSOLUTELY WEDDINGS

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Photographed at The In & Out

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