Cocktail flats - the must-have shoe for Winter 15/16
And I'm not talking ballet pumps here. I'm conjuring up images of glamour, embellishments, crystals, velvet, lace, brocades and, most of all, pointy toes!
Cocktail flats are the new must-haves for any wedding, party or generally glam 'do' where you
(a) don't want to be towering over your partner]
(b) might have to walk a fair way in a beautiful outfit and so want to be sure of your footing, especially if you have cobbled streets or uneven surfaces to contend with
(c) might possibly have more than the one glass of champagne and you don't want to have to worry about wobbling around on high heels
(d) you are going to be on your feet for a LONG time!
So here is a round-up of some of the best cocktail flats on the market this season:
In the top left corner above we have Park Avenue Gold Brocade flats from Dessy.com; top right are the snazzy Navy Blue patent pumps from La Redoute; in the centre are the animal print 'Ritzie' from Office; and lastly the fab Red Sparkle Bow flats from Deichmann UK.
From the top is one of my favourites, the Jewel Slingback by Next; I love all three in the next row but it is the middle, black and white stunner Georgette from Dune which floats my candle; the Pompom flat, also from Next, is just ADORABLE; and last but no means least are the gold lace cocktail flats from Dessy.
Who needs heels to feel on top of the world?
We all know that halter top dresses are one of the most flattering styles you can wear, so why is it that we so often run shy of them?
Take this exquisite dress by Dessy Collection 2937; the draped halter neckline is the utmost in modest elegance yet the cut-away design exposes the shoulders in a most beguiling way.
Lack of support in the bust area to this day remains the number one reason why we are tentative about wearing a halter neck, particularly if we're well-endowed. But nowadays there are plenty of ways to assuage your worries about such matters. For example, this beautiful Exquis Lace Underwired Halter neck Bra from the renowned La Redoute is cleverly designed to be low at the back, narrow at the front, pretty and yet fully supportive.
New Look also have a good selection of halter neck bras which are very reasonable whilst Marks and Spencer have a large collection of strapless and multiway bras, including strapless bandeaus.
My other favourite halter top bridesmaid dresses from Dessy are shown below, including the Alfred Sung D678 which is actually a modified halter neck.
I think you'll agree that they all look so effortlessly beautiful, so go on, be brave and give it a go.
Of course you want the obvious photos to remember your wedding by:
the bride and the groom;
- the bride and the groom with each side of the family;
- the bride and the groom with both sides of the family;
- the bride with her bridesmaids;
- the groom with his ushers;
- the bride and the groom, the ushers, the bridesmaids, both sides of the family...
The list can go on and on; and in many ways it should. After all, let's be honest, a lot of people will have made a considerable effort to make your wedding day all you could have ever wanted, so it seems churlish not to take the time to commemorate it with a professionally-taken series of photographs that will include everyone that really matters. Which is (hopefully) everyone you've invited to celebrate with you.
But don't get too carried away with lists of who has to be photographed with whom. Apart from the formal shots, what you really want the photographer to do is to:
(a) capture those special, off-the-cuff moments
(b) encapsulate in a few stills the true essence of the Happy Couple on their Big Day.
Take a look at these creative wedding photos I've collated and you'll see what I mean. With the exception of the featured image at the top by the great Cheshire Wedding Photographers, the Crawleys, the others are all by the talented husband and wife team at Tucker Images. Some have been planned, some are spontaneous - ALL of them are relaxed and joyous!
Cheers, girls! I love this one of the bride before she starts getting ready; she looks SO happy that finally the Big Day has arrived! And below it, the look of concentration on the bridesmaid's face as she is concerned solely with getting that sash right for the bride.
Isn't this the sweetest shot? Totally un-staged, you just know that this Father of the Bride couldn't be prouder than he is at this very moment, as evidenced by the subtle, but unmistakeable, thumbs up.
These next few have been beautifully arranged and are forms of art in themselves, providing perfect momentoes of all the meticulous planning that has gone into the wedding.
I particularly like the idea top right, to put together an original invitation, reply card, name place and flowers from the various arrangements all in one shot as a wonderful reminder of the ancillary aspects of the wedding that went to create the cohesive whole.
With huge thanks to Ben and Britney Tarno of Tucker Images, and The Crawleys of The Cheshire Wedding Photographers for the featured image.
Don't get me wrong, I love pastel- and soft hued-themes, particularly for a wedding - they just ooze romance and almost demand a soft lens on the camera.
HOWEVER, there is undoubtedly a place in the world for more vibrant, shake-it-in-your-face colour schemes which shout to the rooftops how ecstatic you are to be marrying the love of your life. Of late, I feel the Boho Bride has almost claimed this most joyous of crowns for herself, but I'm here to encourage even the most conservative of brides to give the technicolour wedding a second glance. Take a look at this fabulous bouquet of gerberas and ranunculi, anemones and freesias from Helen Jane Floristry. Doesn't it just make you want to grin with sheer delight at the audacity of colours singing together so merrily? Or the brilliant clash of greens and pinks in the table decoration photographed by Gia Canali at the top of the page.
And then just think of the vibrancy you could create at the Wedding Breakfast with table arrangements like these below left. You would literally have the guests dancing their way to the tables, energised by the brilliant clashing of blooms. I love the multicoloured table runners, bright plastic mini-vases (I'd use IKEA tumblers which come in punchy colours that work so well together), and really tall vases with lavish coloured foliage and flowers dramatically spilling over as in the photo below left. And just look at the bride's bouquet - you'd have every guest beaming like a cheshire cat when they first clapped eyes on that! With thanks to One Fab Day for this lovely montage.
Long gone are the days of three tiers of royal-icing, marzipan-ed fruit wedding cakes, where the first tier was packed away for Baby No 1's Christening, the second tier cut up and sent to those invited who couldn't make the wedding, and the third tier distributed amongst the guests to crack their dentures on!
Nowadays your wedding cake can be as colourful and individual as the bride and groom. Really truly, the world is your technicolour oyster! I love the dramatic cake above, beautifully captured by Tucker Images, and then the rainbow-coloured cake below by the talented team at ButtercreamandDreams.com.
And don't forget your bridesmaids: if you're going all out for a technicolour wedding, go to Dessy.com and let your imagination run wild! These maids below are all wearing Alfred Sung dresses - how stylish do they look with their mismatching bouquets? Go on, forget about work for a bit and have a play with Dessy's Inspiration Styleboards and see what you can come up with. I bet you'll have a lot of fun!
Wow, these Electric Blue Bridesmaid Dresses are SO energising that you could almost sell back to the National Grid!
Don't the Bridal Party all look fabulous? This Alfred Sung style D440 is one of my favourites, I must admit. The way the straps sit just on the shoulders elongates the neck and encourages perfect deportment. Combined with the bateau neckline, it is one of the most flattering, elegant of dress shapes and in this colour, it just sings out the bride's vivacity and vibrancy. The girls' bouquets have been superbly chosen to fortify the sentiment, with the matching shade of blue creating a perfect foil for the bright pink and lime green, with just the right amount of cream to lift the visuals and tie-in those wonderful pearl necklaces. The Maid of Honour wears a lace shift dress and holds a rounder, more sophisiticated posy in shades of blue, lime and white. The beautiful bride is stunning in her gorgeously embellished gown and a near-mirror image of the MOH's bouquet.
A similar effect is found in the bridegroom and his ushers who have almost the 'negative' of each others' outfits. The groom looks supremely dapper in his dark blue silk DJ with matt satin lapels and black bow tie; his favourite chums sport black dinner jackets and narrow bright blue ties and pocket handkerchiefs that match the bridesmaids' dresses.
To create a similar look for the jewellery, try Braybrook and Britten who do exquisite jewellery on-line that really is as top quality and divine as it looks.
Take this graduated, single strand Grace Pearl necklace at £195; the lustrous Giselle Pearl Ear Studs at £84 and the triple strand, adjustable Giselle Baroque Pearl necklace at £395 - all of them absolutely perfect with this kind of bright colour choice. Find your nearest Dessy stockist here and think about the electric blue for your bridesmaids dresses - you know it will look stunning.
With many thanks to shopjoielle.com for sharing their brilliant images of this great wedding.
Illusion neckline bridal gowns are absolutely the in thing for 2016. But what about your bridesmaids? If you want your favourite girls to be on trend too next year, Dessy has some stunning illusion neckline bridesmaid dresses to choose from:First up is this beautiful After Six gown style 6726. You can see from the image of its back why the illusion neckline works so well: the sweetheart bodice has a daringly low back which might make you feel a little over-exposed were it not for the sheer fabric which not only adds a little warmth but also gives the strapless dress support and extra structure. The full-length gown is made of the softest tulle (probably THE fabric for 2016 weddings!) over either a gold or silver lurex bodice which adds a gentle sparkle to the whole affair.
My next choice is Dessy Collection 2924 in Oyster, as shown above. Here the illusion neckline features shimmering rococo lace which of course looks particularly gorgeous for an evening reception. The top is immensely flattering as it produces a very pretty line for the shoulders so if you haven't had time to tone your upper body it won't matter in the slightest!
The next two illusion neckline bridesmaid dresses are both short and I think look all the sassier for it! Alfred Sung's D694 in Ivory is cocktail length in sateen twill with a chiffon knit yoke and jewel neckline - so pretty. Below that is I think my favourite of all, the Dessy Collection 2947 in Rose with fleur lace bodice and appliqué spilling on to the fuller skirt. The back of this dress is stunning.
Which one is your favourite?
Getting married on Halloween may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there is no doubt about it there is more than a little interest out there. And of course, if you look at the day afterwards, All Saints Day, you'll find a lot of Mexican influence in the skeletons and skulls, which will certainly add a lot of humour to the whole proceedings, particularly if you're thinking about a black and white Halloween wedding!
It's only when you start looking at the wording on all of these Halloween wedding invitations and cakes that you realise quite how fitting the theme is! Purpletrail,com do a fine selection of Halloween wedding invitations, like the one above and the one immediately below:
And you've got to love some of the Halloween wedding cakes that have been created as you'll see from these fab pictures from whengeekswed.com and juxtapost.com via Pinterest!
Other clever touches for the wedding table are these DIY black lace tea light holders (left) from Elegantweddinginvites.com or you could go the whole hog with taller glass candle holders wrapped in black lace like the fanatastic table setting (right) from weddingomania.com, both via Pinterest.
And now for the bride and her girls. There are some exquisite wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses out there, like this fab one from marrymetampabay.com (via Pinterest)
and then this divine one from homeandheavens.com (also via Pinterest), which is slightly Scarlet O'Hara meets Twilight!
For the bridesmaids, I do love this Dessy Collection 2948 black and off-white gown (left) or you could go the full black route for your girls like the ones in the Dessy style board on the right with Dessy Collection 2788 and After Six 6580.
For flowers you could have a field day, utilising black ostrich feathers, shaggy white dahlias, brilliant white peonies with their large black centres or the deep plum calla lily which is a just stunning.
And last but not least, don't forget the bridal garter; how about this one from Etsy?
Blood Red and Vampire Black - what a fabulously Gothic combination. So if you're thinking about getting married on 31st October 2016, take a look at some of these ideas for an atmospheric red and black Halloween wedding.
Set the scene right at the beginning with this wedding invitation from Zazzle - absolutely brilliant!
When you're planning the reception, think dark! I love these ideas from a couple of Dessy Style boards. Black ribbon on the nameplates, church candles on the tables with white and black petals strewn around them; yew and ivy as part of the decorations, both plants with magical connotations; black satin bags and shoes for the bridesmaids, red bag and shoes for the bride. Add the drama for the photos with a red backdrop, like the church with the red painted doors - what a great wedding photo that makes!
And as far as the flowers are concerned, you are almost spoilt for choice, particularly when looking at roses. I mean, do you go for the freshly spilt blood colour, or the darker, almost black crimson? Or if roses aren't your style, what about something like this bouquet below (courtesy of Pinterest), which includes all the shades of blood red imaginable? And then you could dress your bridesmaids in a variety of reds, which would look pretty stunning, and pair them with ushers in black morning suits with red satin waistcoats and ties to match the girls.
For your make-up, I'd got for smoky eyes and a pale complexion; for your lips, choose a long-lasting lipstick in the deepest of reds; and for your nails? It would have to be the appropriately named Vamp by Chanel, previously known as Rouge Noir as made famous by Uma Thurman in the 1990s cult classic, Pulp Fiction. And get that sultry attitude on for those photos!
But the most fun you'll have is choosing your food and drink, particularly the cocktails and wedding cake. You'll find great ideas on Pinterest, such as the blood red cocktails with black sugar at the top of the page, and the most fantastic red and black Halloween wedding cakes...I'm torn between the Black-iced Red Velvet cake and the 'Eat Your Heart Out' one below left - although the wedding cake below right with the brains spilling out at the top and the blood trickling over the layers is quite something too! Which would you choose?
Purple and black is a beautiful combination at the best of times, but when you consider it for an already emotionally-filled occasion like a wedding, it takes on a whole new level of drama.
The setting, the flowers, the cake, the lighting - all can look so fabulously theatrical and just call out for the bride and her girls to be dressed in the sumptuous satins, lace and velvets that such gothic colours demand.
What I like about the Bridesmaid dress Lela Rose LR192 in Majestic (above left) is that it is like a simplified version of the bride's superbly-skirted black gown (above centre) from WeddingDressFantasy.com, giving a natural cohesion to the two outfits. Even better would be for the bride to be wearing simple ballet slippers in a colour to match the bridesmaid's dress, like the Chelsea Ballet pumps from Dessy.
Or you could choose bridesmaid dresses that combine the two colours, like the ones I've picked out below. I have stuck to the glamorous satins as I think they work so well for a purple and black Halloween wedding.
From left we have Dessy Collection DC6718, Dessy Collection DC6708 and Alfred Sung D695.
But there are plenty of other awesome gowns to choose from, as you can see from this fab style board from the Dessy website...
And the flowers? Why not add in some black ostrich feathers and black lace ribbon for an extra Gothic touch; don't they just look awesome?
With thanks once again to the fabulous weddingdressfantasy.com for their magnificent bridal gowns.