Bateau necklines are having a moment - and we know why

boat neck bridesmaid dresses

Bateau, boat neck, off the shoulder, Bardot  - whatever you prefer to call it, this neckline is having a real moment and we think we know the reason why. 

It's probably Meghan Markle - now the Duchess of Sussex - who has done the most to popularise the style, having chosen a bateau neckline for her beautiful wedding dress. 

From left: Studio Design Collection 4513, Dessy Style 3002

Who should choose a boat neckline? 

  • It's great if you want to show off a slim neck and shoulders
  • If you have a large tummy or bust it's flattering because it draws the eye upwards
  • Good for pear and hourglass figures
  • Off the shoulder - can sit on the shoulder or just below it

From left: Bella style BB112, Dessy Collection Style 3016


Remember to think about your underwear when you're choosing this style as visible bra straps are an absolute no starter. Choose a good strapless bra instead. 

Bateau necklines look wonderful with a hat as they leave a clear neckline, allowing the dress to work with the hat and vice versa. In the case of your bridesmaids, you might want them to wear flower crowns or some sort of fascinator in their hair. 

Talking of hair, a bateau neckline works best with an updo. It doesn't have to be super formal - a messy bun like Meghan's is a fantastic choice. Chandelier earrings also look amazing. 

 From left: Alfred Sung D686, After Six Style 6763


  • If you leave locks long and flowing it will detract from the line of the dress - so put that hair up!  
  • The other name for this neckline is a 'Sabrina' after the Audrey Hepburn film in which the heroine wears just such a style. 
  • It's supremely elegant and timeless, so it will look good in your wedding photographs for a long time to come. 

However, as you know, it's always best to choose bridesmaids dresses that flatter your girls - so if one of your maids is self conscious about her waist or has a larger bustline, then a bateau neckline probably isn't for her. Ask her what she'd like to wear and browse through some alternative styles. 






Just following these simple health and fitness tips will make a BIG difference to your wedding day look

Your wedding day is one day when all eyes are going to be on you. And you'll also have a lot of photographs taken to remind you of how you looked then.

As a result, most brides embark on a strict diet/fitness regime in the run-up to the big event. But what's the best way to go about this?


A post shared by tory benson (@torybfitness) on

Even if you just follow the simple advice below, you'll be making improvements to your overall health and fitness, setting up better habits for a lifetime. 

    • Start your fitness and health campaign six months before your wedding day. Really this shouldn't be a campaign you'll drop after the marriage - you need to implement many of these changes for the rest of your life so that it's a healthy one.
    • Carbs aren't the enemy. It's poor quality carbs you should be avoiding - white bread, biscuits, fries, sugar, white rice, cakes. Decide to stick to healthy carbs - brown rice, wholemeal freshly made pasta, sweet potatoes. If you're trying to lose weight, don't eat carbs after 6pm and never after 10pm. You need some carbs first thing in the morning to kick start your metabolism and give you energy.
    • Avoid alcohol in the run up to your wedding day. You need to give your liver a chance to reset itself which takes about a month. Also alcohol contains many toxins which are fat soluble - with the result that these toxins mix with existing fat which then becomes difficult to lose as the body doesn't want to expose itself to the toxins that are stored within it, hence 'stubborn' fat around the tummy!
    • Keeping away from the alcohol will help you to lose weight faster and has many health benefits.
    • Drink water rather than juice (which contains 25% sugars)
    • If you're not used to exercising, start off with some light movements. Don't overdo it straight away. Slow and steady wins the race here - build up your activity and your stamina.
  • Aim to lose a maximum of 2lbs a week and a minimum of 1lb a week.
  • Pilates is great for building up your strength and re-engaging out-of-condition muscles.
  • Small things will make a difference. Walking upstairs instead of taking the lift. Walking to work if you can or at least some of the way. Cutting out candy, cakes, cookies, milky drinks. Increasing the amount of exercise you do and eating more healthily. This is a good rule for life in any case, so try to set in place some good habits that you'll keep up for the rest of your life.
  • It's important that you find exercise you enjoy or you won't stick to it. Okay, go to a spinning class three times a week. It's great exercise but if you don't enjoy it, you won't stick to it long term. Far better to find something you love doing that you'll want to keep at - that's why I think classes and clubs are good. Maybe you want to take up cycling. Take up ballroom dancing "Dancing with the Stars" style.
  • Exercise classes are great because they're structured and disciplined. The gym is good for focusing on certain areas but remember that after 4-6 weeks of doing the same training in the gym your body stops adapting to exercise so your results will stall.
  • Don't smoke. If you smoke you undo most of the good effects of your exercising and put masses of toxins in your body. You'll be setting yourself up for long term health problems besides prematurely ageing your skin, risking eye problems, teeth staining, bad breath - need I go on?

 Main image features Bridesmaid Twist Dresses by Dessy.

What's Your Floral Wedding Style?


floral wedding trends

Trends in weddings come and go but flowers will always have their place with a bride. 

Here are some of the floral wedding trends that are having a bit of moment. Scroll through and see which of these ideas appeals to you.


Greenery. If you're on a bit of a budget then this is the way to go. Greenery-inspired wedding decorations are everywhere and they look fabulous. Think long swatches of green branches and trailing leaves - comes in less expensive than flowers (and also wilts less in hot weather).  

One of the keynotes at the Royal Wedding in May were the beautiful floral arches at St George's Chapel Windsor. White roses and greenery welcomed the bride as she walked over the threshold and it's said that white roses were one of Princess Diana's favourite flowers. 


A post shared by Formosa Events (@formosaevents) on


Floral arches look set to become even more popular as a result. They certainly provide the wow factor at a wedding venue and make the perfect backdrop for wedding photography. 


Don't forget the fourth wall. Ceilings are being celebrated and decorated as never before. Think of the space as like an extra canvas at your wedding. Adorn your marquee up above with strings of flowers or have a chandelier with flowers dipping down over your guest tables.  


A post shared by elska flowers (@elskaflowers) on


Wedding bouquets are getting smaller. Meghan had a handtied bouquet at her wedding that was minimal and discreet. If you want to to add an extra accent, ask your florist to tie it with a trailing ribbon. 

Living walls. Consider having a 'living wall' at your reception created entirely from flowers. It would look spectacular behind the bride and groom table. Or maybe at the entrance to your reception for photo opportunities. Or as a backdrop to your wedding cake table. Or a bar? Or a chill-out area. 





10 Beauty Tips To Put In Place WAY Before Your Wedding Day

It's all about being prepared and not doing stuff last minute. The moment you get engaged (or even beforehand), get some of the below in place.

  • Get your smile looking its best ever. That means going to the dentist for a check-up and a session with the hygienist to get your teeth looking really clean and bright. If your wedding is a way off and you've never been happy with your smile then you might consider visiting an orthodontist to get things straightened out - Invisalign is the modern way of wearing braces and very unobtrusive.
  • How's your hair looking? On your wedding day you'll want it to be looking glossy and healthy. So chat to your hairdresser in the months before about how you can get it into the best possible condition. That might mean some serious deep conditioning treatments, laying off the hair straighteners, rethinking extensions and of course, keeping it regularly trimmed. If you fancy a different style, this is the time to do it. Not a week before your wedding!
  • You might not think it's part of your beauty routine but how you sit and stand is very much a part of your look. So think about how you walk and what your deportment is like. This might be the time to join that Pilates class so you can really learn how to work your core muscles and have fabulous posture. Or maybe work up that yoga practice.
  • If you're somebody who likes to soak up the sun, don't fall into the trap of getting strap marks that are going to show on your strapless wedding dress. If you do want to have a bit of a glow before your wedding day then think about how your dress is cut so that your tan is even - not stripy. This sounds like such basic advice, but you'd be amazed at how many girls forget about this (and it applies to your bridesmaids too!)
  • Many brides-to-be go on an extreme diet and fitness campaign before their wedding days. There are a few drawbacks to this  - but in any case, anything extreme is not going to last. You're really looking at rethinking how you eat and exercise in the long term. It's a habit for a lifestyle rather than just the months before your wedding so consider how you can make some healthy changes that you're likely to be able to stick to.
  • What are your nails like? If you like the natural look and you're a stranger to the nail bar, then pay a visit. Try and go regularly in the build-up to your big day. You don't have to have acrylics, gels or long talons if you don't want to. A regular, standard manicure on a regular basis will get your nails looking their very best - with well shaped cuticles and stronger, even tips.
  • Your feet also play a big part on your wedding day. If you're wearing open-toed shoes, then a pedicure is an absolute must (same applies if you're having a beach wedding). And on your honeymoon you're going to want pretty-looking feet so treat yourself in the weeks before your wedding - and a proper reflexology foot massage is a wonderful relaxant. Oh, and if you're wearing heels, make sure you wear them in on the carpet at home before you walk down the aisle so that they're comfortable and you're used to them.
  • Your skin. It's a real no no to have a facial in the week before your wedding day - which is precisely the wrong time because any toxins will be released with the result that you might have a blemish you really don't want when you're being photographed more than ever. On the other hand, you may want to get into a good skincare routine so ask around your friends, visit some beauty salons to see what's on offer and some skincare counters in your local department store to chat things through.
  • Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Try and get as much rest as you can and get into a bedtime routine of reading before you go to bed - by which I mean a proper book and not something with a screen (which has been shown to interfere with sleep patterns).
  • Exercise. If you haven't got into the 10,000 steps a day routine, then this is a good time to start. 

10 Things You Don't Want To Be Saying (Or Thinking) The Week Before Your Wedding Day

diamond engagement and wedding rings

There's a lot written about mindfulness these days and being in the moment. Thinking about what is great in your life right now and practising thankfulness. The thing is, if you don't do that you can look back and think: "Why didn't I just enjoy myself at that time because really it was ok."

The run-up to your wedding day should be just such a time. Think about it. You've met somebody you hit if off with and you're planning a life together, with all the support and companionship that brings with it. You don't want to be looking back at the period before your marriage and shudder at how stressed you were, when really you should have been enjoying the build-up. Read our tips below which will help you to embrace this time, rather that see it as something to get through. 

1. "I feel completely stressed out by all this".

Don't overdo it. Remember why you're getting married - it's to commit legally to somebody you love and want to spend your life with. It's not really all about the party, the dress you wear, who comes, where you get married. So what if you don't have time to hand-craft all the guest invitations, menu cards, seating plan and thank you cards. Buy them ready-made. So what if your chief bridesmaid announces that she's pregnant and will be in full bloom in your wedding day. There are some beautiful maternity bridesmaid dresses out there. So what if you can't afford to entertain hundreds of people and are going to have to keep your wedding small and select (it's more personal that way anyhow).  

2. "My wedding dress doesn't fit properly"

Although many brides embark on a major fitness and diet campaign before their big days, you don't want to overdo it. Remember that your other half fell in love with you the way you are. A good bridal boutique will allow for the fact that you're liable to lose a bit of weight before your wedding day, but you really don't need to walk up the aisle looking skinny and scrawny.

3. "I wish x, y and z weren't coming to the wedding". Remember it's your big day and you should only have people there whom you want to invite. Although if your parents are paying for a significant part of your wedding then they may feel they are allowed to have a say in who comes. If you feel that's taking over or you're not having the wedding you want, then maybe downsize to something the two of you can afford to pay for, so that you can do it your way.

4. "I wish xx (your chief bridesmaid) would do a bit more to help." Sometimes your best friend doesn't always make the best chief bridesmaid. Maybe she's got a busy job that preoccupies her, maybe she's got a young family, maybe she's just not very practical and organised. You might do better to look around at your friends and pick one that has all the qualities a chief bridesmaid needs (organisational skills, time management, imagination, ability to work under pressure ...) and have a diplomatic word with your best friend. She might actually be relieved not to have to take on the role.

5. "I wish we hadn't spent so much money." This is probably the most important thing to think about before you make your wedding plans. Sit down with your fiance, draw up a wedding budget and stick to it. There are plenty of apps out there to help you keep track of your spending and plenty of ways to make that budget stretch further. You really don't want to be starting married life in serious debt.

6. "I wish my bridesmaids were a bit more enthusiastic about what they're wearing."  It's really not friendly or kind to force your girls to wear dresses they loathe - even if you think pale pink frills look fabulous and it's what you've dreamed of ever since you were a little girl. Far better is to choose different styles for each maid that suit their individual figures - you can tie the look together by using the same colour. Why not start a Pinterest board of bridesmaid dresses that catch your eye and share it with your girls.

7. "I hope the photography is going to work out alright." We'd always say book a professional photographer. Don't rely on a good friend who has a photographic talent - they'll want to go off and socialise at some point and may miss that crucial shot. Put aside some of your budget for a photographer you've researched cay and let the professional take over. Better still, book a videographer as well.

8. "Why can't my mother in law back off". Difficult one this. But if your mother in law has only had sons getting married, she may never have had the pleasure of getting involved first hand in a wedding. Take a deep breath and try and delegate some tasks to her - she can't then complain she's being left out and you may be surprised at how helpful she can be.

9. "I've just got time for a facial". Don't do it. Having a facial in the week before your wedding day is asking for trouble. A facial lifts out all the impurities in your skin - just in time for a major breakout on your big day. Have a facial - but in the weeks before your wedding day so that your skin has time to benefit and settle down.

10. "Think I'll have a new look for my wedding day and surprise anyone." Do not, do not have a major make-over just before your wedding - with completely different hair and make-up. You may not like the result. Hair takes a while to grow, a new colour may not suit you and you don't want to run the risk of your fiance not recognising you as you walk up the aisle. Have your hair cut and coloured as normal, maybe experiment with some new make up looks in the weeks before your wedding but don't make any dramatic changes.


A little-known secret about flattering dresses - it's all about the fabric and color

figure flattering bridesmaid dresses

Most ladies want to look toned and sleek. And we know it takes commitment. Diet, exercise, self-control and motivation.

We're all different shapes and sizes. Some girls are thin and some are curvy. The trick is to embrace your shape and make it look fabulous. 

Most girls feel even more pressure to look svelte on the days when they dress up. This could be for something like Prom, a business meeting, or..especially...a wedding.

We diet and exercise for weeks before a special occasion and work hard to find the perfect dress that will complement our bodies. That goes for bridesmaid dresses too. 

However, there are a few secrets about choosing a flattering dress that you should know. 

Flattering for less than perfect upper arms, the lace stretches and holds an hourglass figure. Dessy Collection Style 3014

Fabrics and colors matter too

Believe it or not, but there are some materials and shades out there that will take 5-10 pounds off your look, and if you're worried about the photographs, then you need to be aware of them. 

Here's what you need to know.

Show off a neat waist with a belt and slim wrists with bracelet length sleeves.  Alfred Sung Style D736

Flattering fabrics

Stretchy materials are usually best. You want something that pulls into you. Spandex blends are great. The key is to have the dress tight enough that it gives you a great shape, but not so tight that it shows every single part of you (and stops you breathing!)  Body con looks much better on curvy women than skinny ones. Get the right cut and the right material and you'll look dazzling. 

A black velvet column dress is supremely flattering. Dessy Collection Style 2998


If you want to appear slimmer then dark and consistent colors are key. Having one solid color from head to toe will make a woman seem taller and therefore slimmer. Crazy and bright patterns are the worst for a woman who lacks confidence in her shape. 

You can be fabulously fit and shapely (and not a size zero heaven forbid) and look amazing.

This dress looks wonderful on curvy girls. Studio Design Collection Style 4526

Necklines and waistlines

We've written before about choosing flattering necklines. What you need to do is choose a frock that WORKS. So if you're a bit flat-chested, don't choose a neckline that needs to be 'filled out'. And if you are well-endowed, make sure your neckline offers you support. 

A romantic strapless gown with a full skirt that floats along.  Studio Design Collection Style 4505

How old is TOO old to be a bridesmaid?

bridesmaids in white dresses

Should bridesmaids be under 25, 30, 40, 50. Or is there no age limit? 

We looked at some message boards on bridal forums and here's what people said. 

"I am a 28 year old bride with a lot of older friends. Two that I'm close with are in their late 40's. Can I ask them, with complete sincerity, to be a bridesmaid? Both feel like they're a mentor than a friend, but I think of them as a friend with awesome life advice. Any suggestions?" Kathleen

"I don't think there is an age limit. I would ask who you want by your side."  Hannah
 "My sister will be 50 in January and was my matron of honor. Didn't give her age a thought when I asked her her!" Mrs Ski
"No one has to be in a specific age group to be in your wedding. Are the older women in your life special to you? Do you want them to stand with you and your SO on your big day? If you answered yes to either of these questions, put them in your bridal party. " The People Bride 

"My 84 year old godmother is one of my bridesmaids." Sarah

There is no age limit

The general opinion seems to be that age doesn't really matter. Some bridesmaids in their late 30s, early 40s and older may jump at the opportunity to be a special part of your wedding. 

Others may have other reasons for not wanting to be a bridesmaid. 

Reasons she doesn't want to be your bridesmaid

She may not have time. Women in their late 30s and early 40s and older are often super rushed. They are running households, raising kids or just too busy with their jobs. Being part of a wedding just might not fit into their schedule.

She may be worried about the bridesmaid dress.  Maybe they don't feel like they can wear the same dress as the 25-year-old bridesmaid in the bridal party. In which case, talk to them, calm their concerns and choose something you will both love, that fits in with the day and the colors you have chosen. (You'll find tips on choosing bridesmaid dresses here.)

She may not feel in good shape: Women of every age never think they are physically fit to be in a bridesmaid dress to stand in front of a large group of people. She may be going through life changes or is just not feeling her best self physically.

She may not be able to afford it: A woman in her late 30s or early 40s may be saving for a house or recently just bought a house and any added expenses like being bridesmaid is not something she can do right now.

She thinks she will feel ridiculous: If she's older she is less likely to want to partake in the traditional bridal party activities like a weekend away for the bachelorette party or even being up all night for one.

Ultimately, leave the decision up to her, if she is an important person in your life and you explain why you have chosen her, she may surprise you! Just remember, be considerate of any apprehensions she may have.


Three questions you need to ask when choosing a hat to wear to a wedding

wedding hats

(All hats shown above by Vivien Sheriff)

If you're anything like me, you've been watching reruns of Meghan and Harry's beautiful wedding day. 

And something that stuck me last time was how beautiful all the hats were. 

Hats at weddings - why they're so right 

There's something about a hat that just completes your look when you're getting dressed up. At the Royal Wedding there were some amazing hats on show and there's a shape to flatter everybody, so don't class yourself as a non-hat person. You just haven't found the right one yet, that's all.  


A post shared by Rachel Meghan Markle (@meghansmarkles) on You can wear a hat if you're a bride - and of course, wearing a hat to a wedding as a guest is too good an opportunity to miss. 


When you're choosing a wedding hat, we suggest you ask yourself three main questions:

1) What hat will suit my face/body type?
It's important to make sure your hat flatters your face and your silhouette. If you feel overwhelmed or unattractive in one style of hat then try another shape that you feel more comfortable in. But be daring and try on different shapes. You'll be amazed at what you can wear!

Rounder faces tend to be able to wear most shapes, a large brim or very small brim. Narrow faces usually suit bigger brims. Petite ladies can't wear a huge brim that will overshadow them, and larger figures usually suit big brims and tall headpieces.

2) What hat works with my outfit?
It's worth going shopping with a swatch of your outfit. If you're wearing a very brightly patterned dress, then maybe tone it down on the headwear, wear a subtle disc shape hat or headpiece in neutral tones, this will create balance in your look. Likewise, if you're wearing a low key subtle dress, then that acts as a blank canvas for you to really express yourself and go wild with the hat or extravagant headpiece.

3) What makes me feel amazing inside?
Wearing a hat is a chance for a women to express herself and feel beautiful, sexy, classy or any range of emotion or feelings. If you're feeling flamboyant, wear a showstopper. If you're feeling subdued and reserved you can wear a piece that embodies tradition and formality. You can convey such a range of feelings and social messages through your choice of headwear; for example wearing a headpiece which covers the face with veiling can signify allure. Ultimately it's all about feeling great and expressing yourself; a hat in many ways acts as an a extension of your persona.

People who always wear hats to get their look right

  • HM The Queen
  • The Duchess of Cambridge
  • Meghan Markle - the new Duchess of Sussex
  • Amal Clooney
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • All hats shown here created by Vivien Sheriff.

Give your bridesmaid a beautiful back ...

Jenny Packham Bridesmaid Style JP1001 in Midnight Blue

Of course you want your maids to look wonderful as they walk behind you up the aisle. 

But when you think about it, how they look from behind is important too. (And it's how one Pippa Middleton almost stole the show at her sister's wedding.)

All eyes are going to be on your bridesmaids as they hold your train and accompany you, and people are going to be judging and thinking about what your girls are wearing. 

So you really owe it to them to make sure that they look pretty from all angles. 

Making the back special 

Take a look at these dresses, which all share something in common. They look as good from the front as from the back. We've used lace, ties, ribbon, pleats, folds ... 

Left: Dessy Collection Style 3014 Midnight Blue  Right: Dessy Collection Style 3014 shown in Platinum

Let's start with lace. This is a supremely elegant style that is 'covered up', yet superbly glamorous. Lace details are very on trend and your girls would love the form fitting cut of this design. Choose from a light, muted shade or something darker and more dramatic. Ideal for a winter wedding, don't you agree? 


Left: Alfred Sung Style D751 in Silverstone Right: Alfred Sung Style D751 in Aubergine

Here's another form-fitting dress, with quite a different look. It's probably more suitable for a spring or summer wedding but either way would translate well from afternoon through to evening. In a rich, luxurious fabric with a sheen, the criss cross back is eye-catching - as is the off the shoulder neckline. 

Left:  After Six Bridesmaids Style 6779. Right: Jenny Yoo Bridesmaid Style JY540. Both in Suede Rose. 

Ruffles are coming back into weddings big time. You're going to see them on chairs, on table displays and on bridemaids dresses, as here. If a ruffle isn't your thing, then maybe a simple tie back and a higher neckline would suit. Love this colour too. It's Mist. 


Left: Bella Bridesmaids style BB111. Right: Dessy Collection Style 3022

We think the style on the left is just shouting out to be worn at a beach wedding. It's simple and unfussy. On the right there's another idea for working with ruffles. The front of the dress is relatively unadorned, whilst it's all happening in the prettiest way possible at the back. 




Read this and you'll be mixing and matching your bridesmaid dresses BEAUTIFULLY

Well, it's about time. Why should your maids all wear matchy matchy? The picture above shows just how cool mixing it up can be (here with sequins and chiffons).

  • One style is unlikely to flatter all
  • One color can look a little 'samey'
  • Why not blend colors a little?

Brides are going for similar NOT identical

These days brides are starting to veer a bit away from the traditional one-for-all mentality when it comes to their bridesmaids. Instead they are opting instead for similar, but not identical styles.

This trend is catching fire. Why's that? 

  • Bridesmaids get to have some freedom in their dress choice (who knew?).
  • Everyone ends up looking like themselves and feeling (and photographing) their best!

Elegant summer blue! Style 2970 and 2989 in mist
Picture by @lindsay_hackney

By default, girls are going to choose something that's flattering and that they feel confident wearing.

A bridal party with a view. Doesn't get much better than that! Everyone is in our Alfred Sung collection in Pearl Pink

Going rogue is not an option

Giving your best gals some freedom of choice doesn't mean that you let them go rogue though. It's important to set up some pretty strict stipulations to keep everything look organised and elegant. We've outlined the rules that will ensure everyone is happy and that your bridal party looks chic and sophisticated.

1. COLOR - Choose one or two Pantone shade(s) for your ladies. If you have just a few bridesmaids (like four or less) you could get a little risky and let them choose within a color family (like deep blue). A color story is a MUST, so this point is non-negotiable. We recommend following the outlined color rule and combining it with one or two of the tips below:

2. FABRIC - Whether it's lace or lurex (just kidding!) give your girls a fabric that they must stick to. Chiffon and silk crepe are both awesome!

3. LENGTH - Just below the knee, tea length or gown length are all great options. Something we love is having your maid of honor wear a gown while all other bridesmaids go for a shorter length.

4. NECKLINE - This is less popular, but it's still a noteworthy idea. Keep it sweetheart, one-shoulder or a classic scoop and then let them run a little wild with the length and fabric!

Running to the reception in Hunter Green

Fun fact

All images used in this post are from real Dessy weddings featured on our Facebook page! And just how fabulous do these real life girls look!