A few weeks ago, our classic bride, Charlie shared some great Highstreet bridesmaid dresses with you all. Today we have our luxury bride, Pippa here to share her ideas and inspiration for your bridesmaids including some rather gorgeous designer dresses. Over to you Pippa…
So, time to talk all things Bridesmaid. Having only been a bridesmaid once previously at the age of 8, (complete with classic 90s floral puff ball sleeves and satin bows), I really underestimated how much I would rely on my best girls on the big day. All our lovely married brides will understand when I say that weddings really show you who your ‘real’ friends are and my girls did me super proud. They arranged the best hen weekend a girl could have wished for and were such a support on the day itself, fixing makeup, supplying bubbles (as I was always too busy talking or dancing to visit the bar) and just providing lots of fun, giggles and special touches to help make the day everything I hoped it would be…love you always…x
So, for all our Cwtch Bridesmaid’s to be…what are some little extras that can help make your friendships thrive and the big day just that teeny bit more special?
– How about some extra special personal touches on the hen-do…something unique to the bride? Believe me when I say the smallest of things can make such a huge impact and really show thoughtfulness above and beyond the expected naughtiness. What about a photo library of the bride and her hens together over the years? – these create lots of giggles looking back at the fashion faux pas and nights out! Maybe organise a ‘hen book’ full of stories, favourite memories with the bride, poems or drawings from all the hen’s? The classic game of Mr & Mrs is always a winner but why not try a recorded version or even better, use your smart phone for a video version – hearing (and seeing) the groom squirm as he answers the questions is guaranteed to be a huge hit!
– What about giving a thoughtful gesture (that doesn’t have to cost the earth) on the morning of the wedding- maybe a photo book of the hen do or even something as simple as a few words in a card will go a long way…although be sure to give it before the makeup…it’s a really emotional day!
– I know we all take such a long time to get ready girls but leaving the all important hour before you are due at the ceremony to spend with the bride to help get her into her dress, heels, jewellery etc really is a special time…afterall, it’s the last girlie time you will have together before she becomes a ‘Mrs’.
– Just casually asking on the big day if your bride wants anything – a drink? something to eat? She will really appreciate it!
– Not that you’d need a prompt if you’re anything like my girlies, but make sure to start the dancing and socialise. It really means a lot to the bride and groom to see their friends having and creating a good time for themselves and all the other guests.
Now, down to the all important dress…
Bridesmaid dresses have come a long way since the style hangover of the 80s and 90s where giant satin bows, puff ball sleeves and matching headpieces were the height of fashion. There is such a huge selection of beautiful dresses available today that being a bridesmaid doesn’t have to mean forgoing style. If you’re lucky, your bridesmaids may be the type to grin and bear whatever you pop them in (while complaining quietly behind your back) but with all the options available today, and the growing trend for mis-matched bridesmaid dresses, there really is no excuse to inflict psychological torture on your girlfriends! Everyone knows who makes the final dress decision so try to choose something that will earn you rave reviews. Here are a few of my favourite ‘Luxury’ bridesmaid dresses that are bound to avoid any criticism and sunken faces from your maids…
Even though many brides will consider themselves a savvy shopper, it is still exceptionally difficult to pick out one dress in a colour or style to suit all your maids who will have a variety of body frames, skin tones, style and hues that suit – queue the miracle dress! I may be a little biased having chosen this for my bridesmaids, but what’s not to love? One dress with over 15 different ways to wrap and customise – and it really is super easy. Two birds dresses are so heavy and made from such quality material they hang beautifully to suit all shapes and sizes – they are even perfect for a pregnant maid. Mix and match fronts and backs so that all your girls can look different walking down the aisle…and into the evening.
Check out their website and pinterest page for more fantastic images of real brides mixing colourways and styles…you really can create any look you want!
…and if it couldn’t get any better – there are 4 stockist in Wales…
I think GHOST is another shop perfect for matched or mis-matched maids. Their classic satin floor-length gowns come in a variety colours and necklines. They have a fantastic “dye-to-order” service where you can pick any of the styles in any of the colourways (perfect for mis-matched) and the gorgeous feminine pallet would be ideal for your bevvy of beautiful bridesmaids!
Grace, Nicole, Salma, Taylor, Diana, Sylvia
These beauties have caught my eye too (ooo…the choice – can we do it all again Mr P?)
We welcome back our Luxury Bride, Pippa. Hooray! Today she is going to woo us with some beautiful designer bridal bags.
Wedding bags – to have and to hold? That is the Question…
If you’re anything like me (shoe and bag crazy) then the question of should I? Do I REALLY need one? didn’t really cross my mind, it of course was an ‘essential’ part of my bridal outfit. Looking back now though I don’t think I used it at all thanks to my very handy bridesmaids so I suppose I have to ask – did I really need one? Your wedding is a perfect excuse to add to your wardrobe with all manner of beautiful items but would your money be better spent elsewhere?
There are a whole range of beautiful bags to choose from at the moment and below are a few of my faves…
If you’re like me, I couldn’t be without my ‘suitcase’ (as Mr P calls it) on a daily basis filled with all my essential (and not so essential) bits. So for my big day I felt I needed the security of having a few items on hand…just incase! Now, I’m not advocating a shoulder slung bag over your beautiful frock (eeek…fashion faux pas) but a simple clutch could just be a saviour should you have a bridal emergency. Obviously, as beautiful as they are, you wouldn’t want to be carrying it down the aisle so you could leave it in the wedding car during the ceremony or maybe rope in a bridesmaid’s partner to help. I popped mine on the top table for the remainder of the evening but equally you could entrust your lovely ladies to help with bag duty.
You will need to cut down from your usual ‘suitcases’ though girls (I don’t even know what I carry in my bag half the time) so here are a list of items we think would be handy for any bridal ’emergencies’…
1. Mints (NOT chewing gum) – you will be kissing ALOT of people.
2. Lippie – keep your make-up looking fresh from your “I Do” to your photos and well into the evening. Personally I would avoid sticky lipgloss though and I’m sure your groom (and guests) will thank you for it!
4. Safety Pins
6. Plasters – just incase you haven’t broken in your bridal heels…tut tut!
7. Tissues – a must for the speeches!
We’d love to know what all our lovely Cwtch brides think – are you having a bridal bag? If so, what will you be carrying inside?
Our Luxury Bride Pippa, tied the knot with Matthew in a luxurious wedding last August with a beautiful ceremony at Llandefalle Church followed by a fabulous reception at Felin Newydd House. Photographer Maria Farrelly was on hand to capture the whole day.
We asked Pippa some questions about her big day…
What was your budget?
This is always a tricky one isn’t it? A girl never likes to give away her secrets – like that pair of shoes you “got in the sale” or the designer handbag that “was a steal”. I always try and reassure myself (and more so my husband) that I am not a spendoholic and my tastes aren’t that extravagant but I suppose part of me doesn’t really want to know the final budget (yes, of course we went over the original)! Let’s just say we were lucky enough to have a healthy budget thanks to my very generous parents and alot of hardwork and saving on our part. Our thinking was, we will only ever do this once so let’s go for it…and as long as you can afford to then why not?
How would you describe your wedding theme?
We didn’t have a theme as such but I knew I didn’t want it to be too ‘matchy-matchy’ – so NO definite colour-scheme. I love the colour blush so decided to incorporate lots of pastel colours into the day and bring the look together through the flowers. All the floral displays were different and no two tables, pew ends or displays were the same. I am very particular (have I mentioned this before?) and have a distinctive eclectic style but I did feel the pressure a little to style the venue being an interior designer! I found a beautiful Nina Campbell fabric that we used for our backdrop to the top table and we incorporated vintage props, china, flower jugs, trunks, suitcases, antique furniture, lanterns, frames, birdcages etc that we sourced ourselves from carboot sales, auctions, charity shops over the 14 months in the lead up to our big day. We are regulars at the local auction houses, usually looking for antique & retro furniture to re-upholster for our business (and home), but this was so much fun and Matthew was usually better at spotting little gems than me. In the end I suppose it ended up being about pastels, pearls and lace with a touch of vintage.
It was important to us that our day be personal too, simply to show and involve all the things we love. I roped in the help of my cousins who secretly found wedding photos of my Grandparents, Uncles & Aunts and it was fantastic to see their reactions when they spotted our surprise vintage family photo frame. Our families have a history of lifetime marriages , both of our parents have been married over 35 years, grandparent 50+ years and aunts and uncles the same and we wanted to show them as our inspiration, the ones who taught us about love.
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
The whole day was unforgettable and it’s hard to single out one part as my favourite but I think I would have to say the anticipation and excitement at walking into the Church and seeing Matthew waiting for me at the end of the aisle. It was very emotional and a memory I will treasure forever. I loved getting ready in the morning with my girls, all of my presents (I really was spoilt) and seeing people’s faces with all the surprises I had arranged throughout the day but the emotion we felt and I saw in Matthew at that point…it makes my heart flutter thinking about it now…but that’s what it was really all about..and the huge party to celebrate with our family and friends was a bonus!
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?
This was an obvious choice for Matthew as his closest friend is my cousin Ben whose wedding was responsible for us getting together. They have known each other since Primary School and he was such a help to Matthew & I not just being on hand throughout the whole day and delivering an unforgettable speech, but in the weeks and days leading up to our wedding too. Ben arranged a superb stag do for Matthew (not that he can remember much) and he & Matthew’s Ushers (our brothers Gareth, Jonathan & Nicholas) were a fantastic help to us both when setting up the marquee and venue the day before. There was so much to do, especially lots of heavy lifting, building our DIY bar (and stocking it) that we wouldn’t have coped without them. We were so glad they got to enjoy emptying the bar on the day – which was very much deserved!
It was a trickier decision for me as there were so many of my girls I would loved to have been beside me when I said ‘I do’. I am blessed to a fantastically large family and group of girlfriends that choosing was a daunting task as it was unrealistic to ask them all. I asked my lovely sister, Victoria, and four of my beautiful friends from University and London life, Natalie, Sarah, Natasha & Lucy to stand beside me at the alter – and luckily they all accepted. They were amazing to have around and it was so relaxing the morning of the wedding getting ready together and enjoying a few glasses of fizz – just what I needed to calm my butterflies! I think you’ll all agree they all looked absolutely stunning in the Twobrids dresses – maybe a little too good…I should have fattened them all up a little before the big day! It was important to me though to still incorporate my other lovely ladies into the wedding in different ways, whether saying a reading or ringing the church bells…they all did a fine job – ding dong! The girls did me so proud too with a hen weekend in The Hamptons, Brighton, I could have only dreamt of. Probably the less said about that the better ( what goes on away, stays away after all) but I will say I think there is a very young ‘Butler in the Buff’ out there that will be scared for life after meeting…our mums!
One piece of advice we would definitely share is to choose well and have people around that you want to be with you (not that you feel you should ask) as their help and support is priceless.
How did the proposal happen? (we love a good proposal story! :) )
You can read all about Matthew dropping to one knee in our engagement shoot post here
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?
During my time as a student and first few years in London, I had to learn be clever with design on a budget and I developed a love for crafty projects -that interest was certainly flared up again during the wedding planning .
Our bar was a huge hit (although we did have a few strange looks when wheeling in the old barrels to such a fantastic venue). I had an idea for the rustic design to incorporate a fabulous picture by Maria Farrelly taken during our engagement shoot at the Sugarloaf Vineyard (our very favourite place in Abergavenny). My clever husband (eek…this still sounds strange) and brother-in-law put the bar together the day before, wallpapering the enormous picture (printed by Mr Perswall, c/o our interior company Jaybee Soft Furnishings attaching the bar top and constructing some shelving from shoe-racks…we were so pleased with the end result!
A few of the items I made are:
Wooden save the date signs
Table settings & name places
M&P Lace names
100s of Jam Jar lanterns (used outside with candles and in the church for flowers)
Linen and lace table runners
Chocolate moustache and lips (DIY tutorial coming soon)
We had so much interest from everyone on the day that we have started to hire all our props out.
If there are any aspects of the wedding you lovely ‘Cwtchers’ and ‘Cwtchettes’ spot and would like to know in more detail then we’d love you to get in touch with us – I’m happy to share any secrets!
What was your first dance & why?
This was a trickier decision for us as we don’t really have ‘a song’ as such. For a time I had an obsession with all the Jive and Rock-n-roll first-dance- routines on you tube but once I had chosen my dress I knew this would be impossible given the extremely tightly fitting mermaid shape of my Suzanne Neville creation! We stumbled upon “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk and the lyrics struck accord with us both so we knew it was perfect. I always imagined my first dance waltzing elegantly around the dance floor so Matthew (begrudgingly) agreed to a year of dance lessons (I do love my husband). The week of the wedding though, with a few nerves kicking in regarding Matthew’s speech, he was really feeling anxious about dancing a ‘routine’ so we decided to scrap the idea and wing it! This was definitely the right decision as it was more relaxed and we could just enjoy a moment together. The dance was much more intimate than I ever imagined it would be and was a great opportunity for us to take stock of the day and enjoy a special moment together as husband and wife. I will say the dance lessons definitely paid off though as knowing some basic steps, twists and turns off hand we were at ease on the dance floor and didn’t feel uncomfortable or wooden.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?
I can genuinely say, hand on heart, there is nothing I would have done differently but this was one of the important things Matthew & I would always refer back to during the planning stage. I know every bride probably says this but the only downside of the day for me was definitely it all coming to an end. Time really does fly by so quickly and was the perfect celebration we had planned – I loved every second of the day itself, all the preparation and everything in between! We did manage to eek out extra time though by asking our caterers to stay on an and provide a fabulous BBQ at Felin Newydd the day after for friends who had travelled to be with us and to share stories of the day before (of which there were many).
Do you have any advice for future couples?
One piece of advice when planning your big day is to hire a videographer if your budget will stretch. I know it is a cliche to say the day goes by so quickly but it really does! Matthew & I considered this but with our budget over-running in different areas we originally decided not to have our day filmed. I did however, arrange to have our day filmed as a surprise for everyone (including Matthew) so on the day it was amazing to see everyone’s reactions (there were a few tears)! The day went SO fast, we are now so grateful to have the day recorded so we can watch it back, fill in the spaces and remember the things that passed us by! Having read so many wedding blogs, a regret of many brides is not having their wedding filmed and looking back now, having a videographer was probably the best decision we made and I cannot recommend Martin of Razzelcam enough. I have never laughed and cried so much in one evening watching our film. He really is superb capturing our day in such a unique and special way – it was just our style and he was so fantastic to have around on the big day! Here is a sneaky peak at our highlight montage, edited a little differently for this website but I hope you enjoy as much as we did…
I really would advise choosing quality vendors. Like everything, you get what you pay for and if something seems too good to be true – it probably is!
More importantly is to enjoy everything! I know this is easier said than done in the sometimes stressful moments leading up to your big day (queue my episode after dropping my i-phone into the toilet, complete with all my vendor contacts and email correspondence the evening before we were due to set up the marquee) but really do take stock of every little moment as believe me you will miss it when it’s all over. It is ok to be a bit “particular” girls (you really are not alone)and want everything as you imagine it but on the day just forget all the worrying over every tiny perfect detail and just ENJOY the bigger picture…you are after all stealing your man’s last name…what else matters after that?
Why did you choose your venue?
You all probably now have an understanding of just how ‘particular’ (well fussy) I am and didn’t want to be married anywhere someone I knew had previously – I like to be different. We knew we wanted a big wedding, a traditional ceremony and a free bar but both like to have quirky and personal touches. The usual venues around the area, as lovely as they are, just couldn’t accommodate what we wanted to do so we decided to search for private hire houses. We stumbled across Felin Newydd House on the internet and instantly fell in love. It was just our style, combining beautiful original features, elegant antiques with quirky individual pieces – just our cup of tea! The grounds were stunning and the owners Huw & Elizabeth were fantastic and couldn’t be more helpful. We loved that the house was left to us to do with whatever we wished. It really felt like a home from home and was even more special that our close family and bridal party could stay together in the house over the whole weekend. We ended up hiring the house for 3 days (never one to eek out a celebration), holding the champagne reception on the lawn in front of the house and having a marquee attached to the side for the wedding breakfast so all our guests and the action of the day would be in one room.
The ceremony was held in Llandefalle church, just around the corner from our reception venue. A gorgeous rustic country church perched on the side of the mountains in Brecon. The views of the surrounding Black Mountains are beautiful and when we met our wonderfully colourful vicar, Ian Charlesworth, we knew that was the place and he was our man!
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?
After our first kiss as a married couple, Ian, our vicar, addressed us privately at the altar and spoke some extremely poignant words.
“As you take your first steps as a married couple, look into your hearts and think of the enormous love you have for each other. Take a snapshot of this moment – it will always be yours. In the many long years to come, you can always look back on this moment. You can look back into your hearts and see that you will always be so very much in love. This place is yours forever.”
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?
I bought some wedding magazines a few days after Matthew got on one knee at the Trevi Fountain (Rome) for the flight home and I was hooked. I loved everything about the organisation and was in my element with all the design details. This was by far the biggest project I have attempted and I loved every minute especially the shopping and sourcing of props. We had such an overwhelming response from our family and friends about how special the personal touches were which reinforced the effort was all worthwhile. We now also have some fantastic additions to our home decor that remind us of the most magical weekend.
I loved that our wedding highlighted the strength of some bonds between our family and friends – you certainly become aware of who the special people in your life are! It was also fantastic to know different groups of our friends who had never previously been introduced, have stayed in touch with each other…and we were responsible for it!
Many of the items including ushers waistcoats, bridal accessories, candelabras & props (frames, signs, birdcages, trunks, cases, pearls, chinaware, glassware, antique tables, cocktail dispensers, tin bath, lanterns, mason jars etc) you see in the pictures are for sale or for hire so please get in touch with us if you are interested in anything you see as we would love them to be used at another Cwtch wedding!
Martine and Peter tied the knot in October this year at Llansantffraed Court in Abergavenny. Oliver & Ruth were on hand to capture all the stunning details of their vintage 1920s wedding! :)
How would you describe your wedding theme? We went for a 1920’s theme – we wanted glitz and glamour. We own a 1929 Bentley Special which was one of the features in our wedding. Our invitations were designed in black, white and gold with the pattern from the original book ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F.Scott Fitzgerald.
My dress and bracelet was designed by Jenny Packham in Mayfair, London and my shoes were from Jimmy Choo.
Peter had a 1920’s suit made in Saville Row and his two toned shoes were from Crocket And Jones, London.
Our fabulous cake was made by Choccywoccydoodah.
I wanted the flowers to look vibrant but still vintage, so we had a variety of pink shades using roses and Hydrangeas with lots of foliage.
What was your favourite part of your wedding? My favourite part of the wedding was my surprise for Peter. We are both big musical theatre fans, so I arranged for a amateur theatre company to sing ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables at the beginning of our wedding reception.
The thirty cast members were dressed as waiters and waitresses and were scattered around the marquee – it was the most breath taking moment ever seeing not just my husband but all of our guests faces as the cast began to sing, there wasn’t a dry eye! Another favourite moment of ours was the helicopter flights over the Brecon Beacons. We chartered a helicopter to take our guests on a pleasure trip to see the views.
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why? I had three flower girls. My daughter Livia who is 9 yrs old and two of her friends Sophie and Abbie. My daughter was so excited on the day !
Why did you choose your venue? We chose Llansantffraed Court in Abergavenny to get married because the venue is idyllic and we wanted all of our guests to feel comfortable in a homely environment. The Wedding events manager (Lauren) was fantastic and only surpassed by the food which was amazing! Lauren organised the event, leaving us to enjoy our wedding day.
How did the proposal happen? We went to London for a romantic weekend. We stayed in Claridges and had booked a table at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant in the hotel. I can remember Peter not being quite himself that night , so it was no surprise when he asked me to marry him at the the end of the evening and of course I said yes!
Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share? Peter said if you’re not a natural speaker there’s no substitute for hours of planning and research – don’t try and wing it on the day!
What was your first dance & why? Peter doesn’t like dancing and had said to me he didn’t want to do a first dance – so I decided to surprise him one more time and do a dance for him! The first part of the dance was the Charleston and the second part of the dance was ‘All That Jazz’ from the musical Chicago. The whole dance fitted in so well with our theme.
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently? Nothing at all – the day went smoothly and to plan!
Do you have any advice for future couples? Work hard, play hard, be happy, have patience and be considerate of each other!
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? Be happy!
What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding? The planning was easy, we often ate at Llansantffraed Court and we knew straight away that it was the place we’d get married.
Our favourite thing was sampling their food, we made numerous visits and must have ate our way through the menu! Peter and I really enjoyed researching the fashions from the 1920’s era, everything was so tailored and glamorous.
OLIVER & RUTH www.oliverandruth.com
We are an easy-going, enthusiastic husband and wife team with a passion for capturing amazing wedding images. Inspired by people and relationships, we are driven to document the emotion of the wedding day.