Wednesday, 20 February 2019

our wedding - finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses & hightsreet dress picks

I actually think finding the girls dresses was so much harder than finding my own!

From the minute I started looking at different styles, I made sure to involve them in the process!
I set up a group chat and we went back and fourth sending photos of what we all liked, colour ways, lengths, sleeves, no sleeves, the list went on.
I personally knew that I wanted a blush, full length look but it needed to suit them all, and for them to ultimately feel like they loved what they were going to wear on the day! 

I absolutely fell in love with the classic wrap dresses from Two Birds, the most beautiful designs and you could switch the ways you wrapped them to tailor each bridesmaid individually, but they don't come cheap, at around £250+ per dress (before alterations) I knew this was far too out of reach for our budget and the search went on for an attainable dress on a budget. 

After a long few months of scouring every high street store & online too, eventually I came across the TFNC range on ASOS and I fell in love with the sateen bow back maxi dresses.
Amazingly they cater for petite, plus-size & tall which meant finding different sizes for the girls wouldn't be an issue as there is something for everyone in the range.
They had a few different colour ways in this style usually in the current 'popular' wedding colour trends which means you can generally find a shade that matches your wedding theme, if thats the sort of thing you are going for!
We decided on dusty rose, a beautiful blush with an almost grey hue to it.

Once all the dresses had arrived we had a girly evening and tried them all on to see if we needed to change anything about them, and too see if everyone actually liked them in the flesh, we had to exchange a few for the length and different sizes as they run slightly on the larger size and the trains are super long so bare that in mind if you do order from TFNC.
Once we had all the correct sizes we ventured off to the seamstress to have them perfected to the girls figures, this is something I totally recommend as it makes the dresses look completely finished and really meant that the styles flattered each of there individual shapes, we also had to alter the trains quite abit because of the original length of them, so we couldn't have really gotten away with wearing them straight out of the packet as such. 

I personally found the material super flattering on all of the girls, it skimmed over any areas you would generally worry about with ease and even after a three course wedding breakfast they weren't clingy in anyway, our wedding day was one of the hottest days of summer and the girls said how comfortable and lightweight the dresses were, I think having such open backs helped too! 

I left the accessories down to the girls to choose, I wasn't fussed about what shoes they wanted to wear as they dresses totally covered this but they all went for similar styled sandals as they were going to be wearing them for a long time, since our day I have seen a few other brides who have chosen the same dresses and added little necklaces that dangle at the back so it gives a subtle sparkle without being over the top, I  wish I'd seen them sooner as I really love how they look, its definitely something I would've picked up for the girls to wear, however the dresses are so lovely by themselves that it isn't essential to add if you're on a budget.


My top high-street bridesmaid dress picks SS19

                                      Asos Design Pinny Maxi Dress                  TFNC Bandeau Maxi Dress                TFNC Pleated Maxi        NEXT Maya Short Sleeved Sequin Maxi           Monsoon Garland Multiway Maxi

I hope this weeks post has helped any of you bride-to-be's in finding your bridesmaid dresses or just headed you in the right direction in your search!

Do let me know what Wedding Wednesday post you would like to see next, Frankie x


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Our Wedding - finding the perfect dress

I pretty much always knew what style of dress I wanted for our wedding, even before I started looking I knew that I would want something slightly fitted but also a style that showed off a little skin, as I figured it was the one time I could get away with showing off the figure that I had worked so hard on and before I would gain those all important baby weight lb's! 

When we had first gotten engaged, I worked part time on the weekends at a beautiful bridal boutique in my hometown of Tunbridge Wells, housing designers like Stewart Parvin, Sarah Seven & Charlie Brear, however nothing quite caught my eye, I actually never tried on any dresses whilst working there, as I really wanted my 'bridal experience", so I made it my mission to start scouring other places in the hunt for 'my perfect dress'

"The One"

Wading my way through white, this time at Isabella Grace, another, absolutely stunning bridal boutique where I live, I found myself drawn to vintage lace sheath styles, with the help of the stylist we landed upon an Essense of Australia gown, along with a few others we headed off to the dressing room and I instantly knew I had to try this one first.

From the first minute I popped it on I genuinely felt like it took my breath away, I never thought I would get that feeling as I'm generally not the sort of person over bowled by clothes, but this dress made me feel things I'd never experienced from a piece of clothing before!

Essense of Australia - Style No' D1767

I had fallen in love, however my purse had not, initially I had a budget of around £1000 (preferably under if I could try) and at the time of trying the dress on it was priced around £1650, I knew this wasn't a price I could justify and sadly left it on the rails for another bride to enjoy instead. 

If you know me personally, then you'll know once I set my heart on something I have to have it, this was no exception, I perused other boutiques in the meantime, whilst comparing it to 'the dress' and nothing lived up to it.
I decided to give up the search for a while and just focus my attention elsewhere on our wedding, a year or so passed and I went back to the search.
After working in bridal industry,  I knew after a year designers usually bought out new collections, therefor meaning any previous works would go into sample sales, I decided to contact the boutique I tried the original dress and yes, it had gone into sample sale, but sadly somebody had already purchased it that week at an amazing price of £975, slightly discouraged, but still in the hopes of finding it I decided to have a look on the internet for any other boutiques selling one, eventually I found a lady selling the dress in a size 10, brand new with the tags, in America! 
With shipping costs included it would have cost me £650, I literally couldn't believe my luck, I emailed her instantly and snapped her hand off for it, I felt like the wait had truly been worth it.
Fast forward a week or two later and it arrived, boxed and wrapped in tissue was the dress bag containing 'the one', I couldn't wait to get home from work to try her on.
The minute I stepped through the door I ran straight to our bedroom and popped my feet through, the lace was so soft and delicate, I remember my heart racing and just wanted to look in the mirror to see what I saw the first time I tried it on.
This time I studied every detail of the dress, the vintage cap sleeves, subtle beading, low scoop back and the train.. the train, I didn't realise quite how much I loved it, but I knew it was definitely something special and I was finally wearing it!

I still to this day look at my dress and love it so much,  I'd worked hard on ensuring it fitted me well and after a few hard months of diet and exercise, along with an incredibly talented seamstress, wearing it on our wedding day, I honestly never felt so amazing. 

Now its time for you to find your perfect dress..

I learnt a few things along the way & I feel like after sharing my journey, that it is my duty to share these with you!

  • Keep an open mind

Even though I personally pretty much knew the style I wanted to go for, this isn't always going to mean thats what is going to suit you, I was fortunate enough to have seen many brides go in and out of the fitting room with an idea in there minds and 9 times out of 10 they would walk away with the one style they had said they would never try on.
Bridal gowns are totally different to regular dresses and what you may expect in your head to look good on your particular frame may be the total opposite!
Pick around 5-8 dresses, throw in a wild card or two and you never know what you may fall in love with!

  • Budget
To me this is SO important, its very easy to get carried away when it comes to weddings and you can easily stumble into a trap of spending far much more than you ever intended to.
The best way you ensure you stick to your price bracket is to only try dresses within this, don't be tempted to try a dress you love the look of if its £3000 as you'll probably fall in love with it, they always say you want what you can't have! 
Be totally honest with the stylist and let them know your maximum and that you don't wish to exceed it, in my experience, most boutiques are usually pretty good with this.
You also need to factor alterations into your budget, you may have a separate allowance for this, however a lot of bride-to-be's forget about the need to have the dress fitted to you once you have purchased it.
This can cost anywhere between £100-£400+.
 Of course it depends on the seamstresses individual pricing & the level of detail that is required to alter your dress, generally most dresses will need to be taken in/out up/down for them to fit you well & in some cases you may want to add additional details, i.e buttons, extra material for coverage of an area you may want to hide away, extra support around the boobs, the list goes on, and if you don't add this into the budget of your dress you may be shocked at the final bill, so it is always good to factor this in right from the beginning.
Speak with your stylist about alteration costs once you have chosen your dress but not before you make a final decision and hand over your hard earned money!

  • Timing
One thing I would see a lot of is brides with no concept of time, if you are going to be purchasing your dress via a bridal boutique, these are usually (unless you go down the sample sale route) made to order and designers generally have a lead time around 6-9 months per dress, which means ideally you'll be trying on your dress around a year before your wedding date.
I know this may sound like a crazy length of time but you need to factor a few things into this..
1 - Finding your dress, this could be the first appointment or ten stores later.
2. Designers lead time.
3. Fittings and alterations once the dress has arrived into the boutique from the designer.
This can take around 1-3 visits to get right, you are usually working to the seamstresses/boutiques schedules so if there are other people in line it can take up to 3 months until your dress is completely ready for you to wear on the big day! 
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time so you aren't fretting over something that is one of the most enjoyable parts of planning your wedding. 

  • 'Entourage'

I find this word so funny, it makes you sound like such a diva, but if theres one diva in the room you want it to be you and not your over opinionated third cousin. 
Really think about who's advice means the most to you, the last thing you want is a room full of divided opinions on whether or not you look better in a full ball gown or if baroque lace makes you look like a granny. 
I would suggest taking your Mum/Mother In Law, if this is someone you feel comfortable listening to (we all know what some parents can be like eek!) and 2 of your closest friends or family members.
The advice they give you needs to be valuable and honest but equally these people need to know that ultimately the final decision is yours and you need to feel your best and fully supported by them!
Also, its ok to go it alone, personally my favourite dress experiences were the appointments I went by myself, I totally knew that my decision would be made by me and only me and I didn't want anything else to sway that, and if thats you then go for it, don't feel pressured by friends and family into inviting them if you don't want to! 

  • Your Husband to be
My final tip is to imagine what you want your husband to feel when you walk down the aisle towards him, this is something I really wanted to portray in my dress.
I wanted him to say "wow" and see me in something that took his breath away, that doesn't mean you have to go for something totally out of your comfort zone, if anything I'd say stay true to the person you are, thats who he fell in love with in the first place, but just amp it up a little.
Think of what your favourite part of you, your fiancé loves the most, and maybe play on these areas a little more, if you know he loves your butt maybe go for something with a low back so his eyes are drawn to this area, ultimately this day is about the two of you and the person you want to impress the most is him, so as much as its making the right decision for you its about making him feel included in the little details too!

I really hope you've enjoyed this weeks post, I feel like I've tried to cover as many of the important aspects of finding your dress as possible, however if you have any other questions feel free to leave me a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram: @frankieameliaxo and I'll be more than happy to answer them for you! 

See you on the 20th for the next Wedding Wednesday instalment, 
lots of love Frankie xo


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Our Wedding - The Venue - Decor

This post has been a few months in the making, and something I've been wanting to share with you all for a while now but figured I would wait until the new wedding season was upon us, so that any bride-to-be's getting married this year could use our wedding for inspiration (if they so wished).

Over the next few Wednesdays I'm planning on sharing with you the finer details behind our big day, how we saved those all important pennies (and where I suggest spending them) and all the beautiful photos from our perfect day! 

So lets start at the beginning.. Our venue was somewhere we pretty much knew we were going to get married before we even started thinking about getting engaged.
Sam's Uncle had gotten married there a few years prior and we just absolutely loved the feel of their day, the relaxed vibe of the barn with soft fairy lights and lots of natural rustic decor was so up our street and that meant we visited them again ourselves in the winter time of 2016.
We popped along to a wedding open day they were holding and quickly remembered just how much we loved it in the first place, we quickly placed our deposit and booked our date for 28th June 2018 at The Plough Barn in Leigh, Kent.

We chose our wedding day to be on a Thursday, this was mainly down to our budget and one way we saved a large chunk of our money, from switching from a weekend to a weekday we saved a significant amount, which meant we could use this money elsewhere, this is definitely something I would recommend if you are wanting to save those £'s.
Initially we had worried this would put people off of attending our day but every single person we invited attended, and we figured along the way, anyone who wanted to be there would try to make it, however one tip would be to give your guests plenty of notice so they can book any holiday off work in time!

We also gave ourselves one full year and 6 months to save for our day and to ensure we could manageably save enough each month to have things the way we wanted them.
Personally for us this time frame worked best as we lead very normal lives with average salaries and having a slightly longer time frame just gave us peace of mind, so if you're in no rush then theres no harm in booking your date slightly further in the future.

The next 18 months I lived vicariously through other wedding blogs, watched every YouTube video on others wedding planning processes and, of course, had a Pinterest board for every wedding item you could imagine.

In my head I had envisioned very early on, a very simple decor theme of white with subtle hints of greenery and gold.
The barn itself did a lot of the talking so I wanted to keep it very understated, we opted for a round head table so we could face everyone we loved the most and then longer rectangular tables for the guests so they could converse easily.
I knew I wanted the Chiavari chairs the moment I saw them on a Pinterest photo and luckily the venue worked with a supplier that stocked the exact colour I had envisioned, we had to pay a little extra for them, but I totally think they were worth the spend and finished off the look beautifully.

The table decor was something I had fussed about in my head for months and months and on the day before the wedding we had to totally re-arrange our original plans due to my lovely friend and florist being stuck in another country, meaning we had to last minute pick up a few floral table runners from Ginger Ray rather than the eucalyptus garlands I had originally planned! 
They weren't totally what I had in my mind but on the day they looked lovely and I was so pleased with how it had turned out considering we had such a short turn around on them, we finished them off by weaving a selection of Fenomen pillar Ikea candles & mercury glass votives from The Range in between the garlands which gave such a lovely finish and soft lighting. 

The place names we purchased from a website called VM Bespoke, whichI originally found via Instagram, they do amazing laser cut wooden pieces in lots of different font styles, we opted for the 'script' font, in natural wood as this made them slightly cheaper when ordering and then we sprayed them with a gold spray paint which I picked up at our local DIY store for around £10.
The rosemary was a little touch I'd seen on Pinterest, which was kindly picked from my sister-in-laws rosemary bush at her home and I thought it finished off the look just perfectly, it also meant we didn't waste any money on something that essentially would've been thrown away at the end of the day! 

We added a few paper lanterns in amongst the fairy lights above the tables, we bought them in different sizes to scatter around, which added a softness to the wooden barn beams, these were again really in-exspensive, & we purchased most of them in bulk on Amazon.

Our table plan was made very last minute, this was one of the DIY jobs that I couldn't quite get my head around exactly how I wanted it to be, initially the plan was to purchase a giant mirror or frame and have the names hand calligraphy written onto the glass, however sourcing a large mirror on a budget wasn't as easy as I thought & in the end I ended up picking up some garden trellis and painting it white, adding one of the Ginger Ray garlands to the top and making the table plan cards out of a template on PicMonkey.
I used the Botanical Wedding on their template section and then added the names of the guests for the tables, this I then printed onto some lovely watercolour card which made it look as if the greenery had been hand painted & attached these onto the trellis using little gold clips.
 I was so happy with how it turned out and we've kept all the individual table cards in our wedding memory box at home! 

All the little crafty DIY aspects of the wedding were so much fun to make, and it gave me such enjoyment each evening to sit and craft, seeing all the projects I'd worked on over the months before the wedding on the day was amazing and knowing I could keep them all once it was over with made it even better. 

When we visited the open wedding day at The Plough they had an incredible photo booth vendor and it made us totally fall in love with the idea of having somewhere guests could take group photos, silly photos or just photos they could simply pop on Instagram, however when it came down to budget we had simply spent too much elsewhere and thats where the DIY came into play again, the little props we picked up from Ginger Ray and also The Range, I made the little wooden 'Oh Snap' sign from an MDF board which we stained with a wood varnish and then using a white paint pen, I simply hand wrote what I wanted it to say.
 The frame was one I found in a charity shop for £5, painted with the same white paint as I used for the table plan and then we found the gold clip fairy lights in our local Home Sense, we glued them onto the back of the frame and weaved them so that our guests could hang the polaroids we provided. 
This was one of my favourite ideas as we have all the little polaroids in a box in our living room and I love going through them occasionally, I think I will find a frame large enough to have them all on display one day in our house so our guests can see them when they come over too! 

The eucalyptus garland made a lovely backdrop for the outdoor area of the barn, the rings were simple wreath rings that I cut down to individual circles and the faux eucalyptus I picked up again, from Home Sense, I attached it with some green florist wire and then used fishing line to attach them all together, it took a few hours and was really simple to make. 

So thats everything for my first Wedding post, I have LOVED reliving our day and cannot wait to share the rest of it with you all, do let me know if there is anything specific you would like to see over here too! 

Mrs S x