Why You Should Keep An Open Mind When Shopping For A Wedding Dress

One of my girlfriends is getting married in December - she's had a bit of a whirlwind engagement - and because she knows I write about weddings she asked me to join her on a wedding dress shopping trip.

I was so honored. So at the duly appointed time, I met her and her teenage daughter at the wedding dress shop for the appointment she'd set up, at Ellie Sanderson's shop in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

Fixed ideas about a wedding frock

It was a real eye opener to me. My girlfriend had arrived with a moodboard and she had very fixed ideas about her colors, the style of dress she wanted and the fit. (Her daughter is quite involved in the wedding planning side of things and had a very efficient-looking file with her).

My girlfriend (I won't name names in case her husband-to-be is reading this!) had a look around at all the gowns, and then chatted to Ellie about the sort of wedding day she was planning, the time of year it was, where the ceremony was being held and the time of day.

Experts like Ellie Sanderson look at a bride's whole personality - as well as figure - and I was impressed at how quickly Ellie summed up my friend's being.

A post shared by The Dessy Group (@dessygroup) on

Dressing For Your Fiance

The bride to be is a bright, bouncy kind of a person - it's a second marriage - and she wants to look amazing for her fiance (no surprises there then).

Ellie pulled out a selection of dresses from the racks - talked about why she thought they would suit and the pair of them then went off to the changing rooms, whilst teenage daughter and I chatted and waited impatiently. At this point you should know that my girlfriend had arrived in jeans and a shirt - so when she swept back out again in a floor length full bridal gown, with her hair pinned up off her shoulders, there was a total transformation.

A post shared by The Dessy Group (@dessygroup) on

Play Up Your Good Points

My friend - let's call her D - has great shoulders, lovely skin and a good bustline. All of which were accentuated perfectly in an ivory, strapless frock with a hidden built-in corset which gave her a wonderful shape. The duchesse satin was pleated across the front (a confidence trick if you're less than perfectly happy with your tummy) and then the whole gown fell below to a wonderful full, sweeping skirt with a small train. D looked quite the princess. She immediately said 'this is the dress I want' but we persuaded her to try on a few more, which brought out different features. Each had their good points - but we all agreed that the dress she first tried on was The One. Which is interesting, because that's not always the case. Brides to be often arrive at a shop with a particular idea of a gown they've seen in a magazine and demand to try it on but are disappointed when it doesn't look quite right on them.

Listen To The Experts

If you think about it, the experts in bridal shops see so many different girls a year and know the different specialties of different designers - so with just a look at you they can sum up what is going to show off your good points and flatter, and what will diminish your not so good characteristics.

Anyway, about an hour and a half later, D went back to the original dress and put it back on. As it was strapless, she felt she needed more of a cover-up for the ceremony itself and has chosen to wear a delicate lace tie back top made by Sassi Holford which gives a perfect day to night look. (She also looked very pretty in it.lace bridal top

Lace top by Sassi Holford

Originally D had wanted a purple wedding dress - to introduce a note of purple I suggested that she wear some purple shoes instead - an idea she loved for the quirkiness of it. Of course, she's getting married in December so purple is a wonderfully rich winter color for flowers too.

So to sum up. When you're wedding dress shopping:

  • Take a moodboard with you so that the shop knows the kind of look you're after
  • Talk about the sort of bride you want to be and how you see the event going
  • Let the experts look at you, your shape so they can judge what will suit you
  • Choose some dresses yourself but let the experts also make suggestions - you may well be surprised and that may end up being the dress you wear!
  • Think about colored accessories like shoes
  • If you have teenage daughters and nieces, don't be afraid to invite them along. If you look good they'll tell you, if not they'll also tell you honestly!

10 Ideas for Wedding Table Seating Plans

Photo Credit: Laura Babb on Golden Apple Designs via Lover.ly

When you get to a wedding reception, isn't checking out the seating plan board one of the first thing you do?

If you're single, it's exciting to see who you've been sat next to. And if you're a couple, it's good to see if you will be catching up with friends.

Seating is a focal point at your wedding reception and will be a gathering point for your friends at the start of the celebrations. How you choose to present your seating is entirely up to you and should be in keeping with the theme of your day.

I'm always amazed at the creativity of wedding seating plans - so here are 10 ideas for you to be thinking about for your big day.

1. Black and white calligraphy wedding table seating plan. Never goes out of style really.

2. Keeping it pretty and simple, with flowers and a pink wedding theme.

3. Handwritten onto an antique mirror always looks good.

A post shared by Katie Zwalf (@katiezedphoto) on

4. Make yourself with Ferrero Rocher chocolates! A fun way to start off the festivities!

5. Use a photograph you love of the two of you together and have it printed over.

6. Nice idea if you have plenty of guests flying in from out of town.

A post shared by Beccy Clegg (@beccy_clegg) on

7. Another way to get your guests into the spirt of things!

8. Maybe if you're having a tea party at your wedding reception?

9. If you are keen bibliophiles!

10. An easy one to DIY. Pick up old frames at any junk shop. Print out your table names and place them inside.

We'd love you to share your wedding table seating ideas and plans with us!

Wedding cake trends to look out for

I don't know about you, but I LOVE looking at photographs of wedding cakes. It doesn't matter if they are professionally made or made by a keen baking friend - they are all so different.

Designers such as Rosalind Miller, Helen Mansey of Bellisimo Cakes and Ceri Olofsen of Olofsen Design are some true culinary artists to look out for. Next season's wedding cakes appear to be moving away from traditional styles. The most popular wedding cake fashions at the moment are incorporating an increasing use of color, lace, metallics and height.

glowing tiered wedding cakes

Rosalind Miller Silver Silouhette wedding cake-2

Rosalind Miller Gold Silouhette wedding cake 2

Spot the watercolor effect here below ...

floral tiered wedding cakes

Textures, embellishments and geometric patterns are all playing a part - along with this new watercolour technique.

gold sequinned wedding cakes

Metallics are increasingly popular (and Dessy has designed a range of metallic bridesmaid frocks that you should certainly check out if you like this kind of a look). Think gold, silver, platinum and rose gold for a delicate look.

Brides who love lace will be delighted by a new product - edible lace - which can be used by cake designers to match the lace on the bride's wedding dress.

Tiered wedding cakesdecorated wedding cakes in pale blue

Beaded wedding cakes are also having a bit of a moment. The beads can be all one colour or form a sort of ombre effect. Either way, we like what we are seeing!
Florals on wedding cakes are never really going to go out of style. It just depends on the way they are done.

Whimsical cakes

Whimsical and slightly fantastic wedding cakes still have their place. It's probably because a) They allow the wedding couple to express their personality and b) Because they create a real centrepiece at the wedding reception c) They're really, really fun.

In our view, cupcakes, shabby chic and vintage are a bit over. They've been around for a while now so it really is time for a change.

10 Great Wedding Songs for walking down the aisle

This is your moment. Your grand entrance. You're walking down the aisle towards your future partner and you need the right wedding music to accompany you. Something to create the perfect moment.

Making your music choices

So what are you going to choose? A timeless, classical piece or something a little more contemporary? Here are some wedding music ideas to inspire you. Just click on the link to play and start dreaming!

Vivaldi - Glorida. Very uplifting. This is something to consider if you're a bit of a traditionalist but also want the classical wow factor as you make that long walk. You're going to have a bit of a moment if you walk to this one - and if you're getting married in a large church with a long veil, then this music might must be a must.

The Bridal March from Lohengrin by Wagner. The 'Here Comes The Bride' piece. It's a classic and everyone will recognise it. You will certainly feel like a princess walking to this one!

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. Lovely, slow paced. And so romantic. Have those hankies ready.

I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher. Perfect for walking back down the aisle together as man and wife. A sunny, uplifting song that everybody knows.

I Can't Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley. Timeless and perfect. Elvis sings it with a voice like velvet.

Unforgettable by Nat King Cole. Another romantic classic.

Ode to Joy. Beethoven. Classical again, this one will never date.

Vivaldi - The Four Seasons. Just beautiful.

Purcell - Trumpet Tune. Dazzling.

In My Life - The Beatles. As you walk either up or back down the aisle. Perfection.

Hope this wedding music inspires your walk down the aisle on your big day.

Oh, and here's how Kate Middleton - now the Duchess of Cambridge - made her walk.

Ideas for a gold wedding theme

(Image via Sofia Invitations)

Metallics are fast becoming a trend at chic weddings these days. One way of embracing the metallic look is by giving your wedding day a golden theme.

Gold is classic, rich and goes beautifully with white and cream. Or you can mix it up with bright shades like hot pink, turquoise or emerald.

Use it as a key color throughout. Start by calligraphing your envelopes with gold ink - or maybe send your save the dates and invitations out in golden envelopes.

(Gold wedding invitation and cake topper by Sofia Invitations)

Gray and gold shades work stylishly together here.

This is one luxe looking wedding! We're reminded of the Palace of Versailles in France!

Weaving the gold theme through your wedding day

(Bridesmaids dresses by Dessy, from left to right: Studio Design Collection Style 4509, Dessy Bridesmaid Dress Style 3002)

We think your bridesmaids would love these metallic gold dresses from Dessy. They're slinky, sophisticated and flattering and come in three shades (we've chosen the rose gold here).

Alternatively, give your bridesmaids golden accessories - like the luxurious Dessy chiffon stole. On their feet they could wear gold strappy sandals (as could you, the bride). Another good thing about metallic shoes is that they go with every colour and you'll be able to wear them after your wedding if you want to.

Sprinkling the magic of gold dust

On your tables you can place runners of golden cloth or ask your caterer to place golden chargers at each place setting. Print your table plan in gold lettering - and the place settings.

Your wedding cake could be sprinkled with gold, have golden flowers or a metallic gold sash. These cakes below are by the talented Rosalind Miller.

As for your flowers, you could tie your wedding bouquet with some metallic gold ribbon ...

Really a gold wedding theme can be as glitzy or as low key as you want to make it.

Wedding Hairstyles for Short Hair

You know, some of us just don't suit having long hair. Perhaps you've tried it and never felt it was quite 'you'.

You might have a long face that's better suited to short hair. Or small and petite features that show off a pixie crop beautifully.But now you're getting married you're wondering if you should grow your hair longer again. Because you want to wear a tiara - and how will that work? How will you attach your veil?

Don't worry. We've been looking around and we've found some great inspiration for short wedding hair and some beautiful role models.

Inspirational wedding hairstyles for short hair

A post shared by @Leen75 (@75leen) on

Sweep your hair back and attach a diamante band to it. Elegant, classy and yes, you can still wear diamonds in your hair. Check out the diamante hairbands and slides on offer at Dessy.

You don't have to wear a veil if you don't want to. Instead look around for a chic little statement hat - we think the brides above absolutely nailed it. The detail on their heads creates a perfect contrast to the simple cream wedding dresses. (Images from left to right Paper Antler, Cappy Hotchkiss).

And if you do have short hair, you can always ask your hairdresser to give you the impression of more volume by having a well placed hair extension placed at the nape of your neck - which can be covered by your veil or hair ornament. (Bridal hair accessories by Dessy.)

If you're having a destination wedding somewhere hot, short hair is in fact very practical. You can tuck a floral accessory behind one ear and stay cool in the heat! (Images from left to right Our Labor of Love, Turner Creative Photography).

Tips for short wedding hairstyles

  • Talk to your hairdresser. If you're getting married in a year or so, you have time to grow some of your hair to have a different type of short hairstyle. That will affect how you wear a tiara, diamante hair accessory and the type of veil you have. Take their advice and get a look book together of bridal hair you like.
  • Talk to the sales people in the bridal shop you use. They will know what sort of headpiece will suit the frock you're planning to wear and how it can fit with your hairstyle.
  • Think about hairpieces and hair extensions for your wedding day to give you a different look. Discuss with your hairdresser.
  • Not everyone wants to wear a veil anyway, it may not be your style at all
  • Don't have a dramatic hairstyle change just before your wedding day or change the colour. Firstly your partner wants to marry somebody they can identify! And secondly, you may not be happy with the change and it may be too late to change the colour/grow it.

(Images from left to right Kido Design, Pinterest).

A sunflower themed wedding day

(Image via Kingdom Photography)

Bright, vibrant, full of sunshine and HAPPY! How else would you describe a sunflower?

Every flower has a meaning and sunflowers have come to symbolise adoration, loyalty and longevity - so what better bloom to pick for your summer wedding day?

Another advantage of sunflowers is that they are relatively inexpensive and you don't need many to make a fabulous display.

They're the sort of flowers that are happy to look beautiful on their own or when placed alongside other blooms.

A post shared by Cora (@cora_de_jongh) on

A sunflower motif works well on your wedding invitations, seating plans and of course you could put a packet of sunflower seeds by every place setting as a memorable favor.

Using sunflowers as a color theme

If you're having a summer wedding day then consider putting your bridesmaids in sunflower yellows.

Or you can also use the sunflowers with other hues to create quite a different feel to your day. Take a look below at a few of the real wedding color combinations.

Blue and yellow always works together well - so maybe that's something to consider for your bridesmaids' dresses.

Sunflower Summer Wedding

I love this bride's choice of delphinium blue and white flowers mixed with her sunflowers, with the bridesmaids in pretty royal blue. Many thanks to Boho Weddings for this great shot.

And then for a TOTALLY different look - sunflowers mixed with coral pink or red! Both of which combinations are absolutely stunning. Immediately below is an inspirational look from Rustic Wedding Chic and below that is a riot of color from Jennefer Wilson, via Pinterest.

Sunflowers with coral from rusticweddingchic.com

Red and Sunflower summer wedding

Mr & Mrs Questions For Your Bachelorette Party

Remember the sleepovers you had as a little girl?

When all your friends came over and you watched a movie and slept in sleeping bags.

Well, there's no reason why you shouldn't reinvent the idea as an adult for a bachelorette party with a difference. Just imagine the gossip and conversation.

Get everyone to come over (and bring a sleeping bag), you can cook up some delicious food, serve a little wine and then stay up all night chatting in one room, tucked into sleeping bags.

Of course, you're going to want to play some bachelorette games along the way and so we've devised a Mr & Mrs Quiz with questions for your girls to ask the bride to be - which I think will result in even more amusement.

Here are 20 questions that are guaranteed to get a bachelorette evening sleepover going

  1. If your other half could be anyone famous then who would they be?
  2. What's the most embarassing thing your fiance has ever done?
  3. Where would you both like to visit most in the world?
  4. What's the thing you're most likely to argue about?
  5. What's your other half's best physical feature?
  6. What does he think is his best physical feature?
  7. What's his special name for you?
  8. Which of the following has your fiance done? Streaked, bungee jumped, abseiled, skinny dipped?
  9. Where was your fiance on New Year's Eve 1999?
  10. If another man flirted with you would he be a) Jealous b) Pleased c) Amused d) Not bothered
  11. What's his favourite thing for you to wear?
  12. What's your fiance's most annoying habit?
  13. What was his first present to you?
  14. What's his favourite ever book?
  15. What's the first thing your fiance does when he gets home from work?
  16. Who was his first crush?
  17. How many times has your fiance been a best man?
  18. What's his favourite food?
  19. How old was he when he had his first kiss?
  20. How old was he when he got his driver's license?

    After reading this list you might think of a few questions of your own!

Easy crafting - paper flowers to dress up your wedding day

Just sometimes, you get to craft something and it's great. By which you mean you can follow the instructions and the finished result looks fantastic. Professional and something to be proud of (rather than a bit of a disaster).

Which is what we think you'll find when you follow this easy tutorial for making paper chrysanthemums. The ones here have been made in a soft pink but actually chrysanthemums come in many different colors - whites, yellows, creams, golds, rich deep purples and hot pinks - so you pick out the colour that's going to suit your theme (or maybe even more then one color.)

You will need:

  • Paper of 180 gsm or a thin cardboard (in a colour of your choice)
  • Craft knife
  • Sharp scissors
  • Florists wire
  • Florists ribbon
  • Masking tape
  • Watercolor paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Cork


  • Paint the paper horizontally with watercolor and dilute the brush in water to layer the color. (You don't need to do this if you've bought paper in a color you already like).
  • Cut the paper into strips of less than 1cm. It can be cut with scissors. Don't worry if the strips aren't exactly the same width.
  • Wind the scissors round the tips of the petals and curl with the edge.

paper flowers

  • Cut the leaves from green paper.
  • Fasten them to the flower with masking tape.
  • Cut a piece of cork, pass through the wire and turn it.
  • Push it gently through the middle of the flower.

making paper flowers

  • With masking tape secure the flower to the wire and just cover it to give body to the stem.
  • In the middle of the stem add a leaf.
  • Make the flowers in different sizes to add variety and realism
  • You can also create flowers that look like buds or some with fully open petals.

paper chrysanthemums

Using Flowers For Decoration

So where to feature your flowers once you've made them? Well, you could use them to decorate chair backs at your wedding venue. Tie them onto napkins to decorate place settings. You could make a bouquet out of them for the bridesmaids.

Doorways always look good decorated with flowers, so if you've the inclination, why not make enough to create a garland to go around the entrance to your reception.

Original blog by DRI

The Secrets of Wearing a Fascinator at Weddings

(Image via Creative Commons)

Fascinators are bang on trend at weddings. Kate Middleton - now The Duchess of Cambridge - started off the fashion. (In fact, why not rename them "Kates"?)

In all the photographs we've seen of the Duchess of Cambridge as a wedding guest, she looks fabulous wearing this type of headgear. She picks styles to complement the color and cut of her outfits and her choices are memorable for all the right reasons.

In fact, we'd really like the Duchess to give us her hints as she is so obviously an expert. How does she keep her fascinators on for a start? Especially when it's windy, for example when she launched a lifeboat.
Obviously, the Duchess can't help us out. But here are our tips for wearing a fascinator to a wedding elegantly.

Top Tips for Wearing Fascinators

    • There are fascinators to suit every woman, whether you're looking to make a statement or add a touch of glamour to your outfit. So if you think they won't suit you, you probably just haven't tried the right style yet.
    • Fascinators can be worn for the whole day (forget about worrying where to put your hat at the wedding breakfast) and they don't give you Hat Hair. They look great both at the service and at an evening reception.
    • Fascinators are so varied and versatile, even the bride and bridesmaids can wear them.
    • You can match your fascinator color to your outfit, or choose one in different shades to pick out the varying tones of your dress.
    • Fascinators are usually worn to one side - if you have a parting, then wear your fascinator there.
    • With very short hair, wearing a fascinator attached to a hair band is the easiest option.
    • When fitting fascinators with a comb attached, decide where you want the headpiece positioned. If you have thick hair, slide the comb backwards through your hair about an inch (the opposite way your hair falls), holding the fascinator at a slight angle to feel the teeth against your scalp. Then tip the comb, rest the fascinator on your head and push down in the direction your hair falls. The fascinator should then grip.
    • For finer hair (or extra security) take a small section of hair, comb in the opposite direction to the way your hair falls and grip with a hair pin. You then have a sound base in which to slide the fascinator.
    • For extra, extra security, backcomb a section of hair before gripping and then spray with a small amount of hairspray before fitting the headpiece.
    • The general rule with fitting combs is to slide them back onto themselves to create an abrasive service which will GRIP!
    • Wash your hair the day before you want to wear your fascinator - this helps to keep it in place.
    • Consider your hair color. Redheads look great with natural and earth tones such as beiges, browns, camel, dark and olive greens. Blondes should go for light warm colours like coral, turquoise, apple - neutral navy, beige and taupe also look gorgeous. Brunettes suit bright, deep shades. Think hot pink, purple, bright blue and emerald, and again neutral black and navy.