Sunday, 20 December 2015

Are These The Most Stylish Weddings of 2015?

Dear Reader,
How's your Christmas going? All ready...? No, me neither. No matter how early you get started, doesn't it always seem a rush. Well, let's steal a minute away from the festive frenzy to draw breath and enjoy a few vintage moments from our year. 

Kick off those high heels, swap your spiced rum cocktail for a nice cup of Earl Grey, and relax while I show you the Most Stylish Brides of 2015 according to the Daily Telegraph... 
Heiress Beatrice Borromeo in Armani Prive… just one of her five couture wedding dresses!

As it's The Daily Telegraph these are crazy society weddings. All the brides do look stunning – but at what a price! One wedding dress is encrusted with 15 carats of Chopard diamonds. Another wedding dress is rumoured to have cost over £50,000. And heiress Beatrice Borromeo wears not one or even two – but five couture wedding dresses! A tad excessive... non?
Hilary Rhoda in Carolina Herrara dress, encrusted with 14.7 carats of Chopard diamonds!

However, most of these fabulous couture wedding dresses are based on vintage originals. And it's perfectly possible to achieve equally stunning looks on a more realistic budget. So – of course – I can't resist showing you how...!
Beatrice Borromeo in blush Valentino vintage–inspired wedding dress and cape

Beatrice Borromeo

For her official wedding ceremony, Heiress Beatrice Borromeo chose a pale pink Valentino silk tulle gown with a delicate beaded cape (above). I'm always looking for similar antique beaded capes from Victorian to 1930s. And if you too love this look, do call me to see what little treasure are in my current stock. 
An original vintage wedding capelet, from my West London studio.

A week later, Borromeo said 'I do' again – this time on one of her family's islands! For this ceremony, she wore a beautiful ivory-coloured dress with a flared silhouette in Chantilly lace from Armani's luxury PrivĂ© label. The silk chiffon layered gown was paired with a delicate silk tulle veil, also with a Chantilly lace border.
Beatrice Borromeo in Armani Prive wedding dress

Full length lace wedding dresses like this one are always in style. I have a range of lovely figure–flattering dresses in my Heavenly Collection made from exquisite lace (and you don't even need to be an heiress to afford one!) As well as some wonderful original lace wedding dresses like the 1960s one shown below…
Full length, 1940s–inspired lace wedding dress from my Heavenly Collection.
Original 1960s vintage wedding dress in lace, from my West London studio.
Long lace veil from my Heavenly Collection

Allison Williams

Another featured bride is Girls actress Allison Williams. Allison married entrepreneur Ricky Van Veen in September at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming, in a ceremony officiated by actor Tom Hanks. Her 1950s–inspired Oscar de la Renta gown was created by the fashion house's British creative director, Peter Copping. The heavily embellished gown featured a sheer, long-sleeved overlay atop a full-skirted strapless dress.
Allison Williams in Oscar de la Renta wedding dress.

These 1950s wedding dresses are so feminine and flattering, whether original or simply vintage–style like my Heavenly Collection version below. These styles really are timeless. Look out for the cinched waist, full skirt and neat bodice.
Original 1950s wedding dress from my West London studio.
One of many 1950s inspired lace wedding dresses in my Heavenly Collection

Nicky Hilton

Not only Allison's but several other dresses in the Most Stylish list had their roots in classic 1950s styles. Nicky Hilton married banking scion James Rothschild in Kensington Palace Gardens in London. Her 1950s–style couture lace Valentino gown that is said to have cost £50,000 and with its high neck, full skirt and long sleeves has echoes of everyone's favourite brides Grace Kelly and Kate Middleton.
Nicky Hilton in lace Valentino wedding dress
1950s style lace wedding dress from my Heavenly Collection

Noor Fares

Fine jeweller Noor Fares also chose 1950s style for her wedding to artist Alexandre Al Khawam at a beautiful ceremony in Normandy in June. Her first dress – yes, there were two – was this beautiful haute couture Giambattista Valli gown. 

Noor also wore an Azzedine Alaia wedding dress, speckled with delicate pearls...
Noor Fares in Azzedine Alaia wedding dress.

Bar Refaeli

The next bride featured in the Most Stylish list is Israeli model Bar Refaeli. For her lavish wedding to business magnate Adi Ezra this year, Bar wore a custom-made, 1970s–inspired bohemian Chloe gown.. and looked every inch a supermodel!
Bar Refaeli in Chloe vintage–inspired wedding dress

But you don't have to be a model marrying a millionaire to look gorgeous in a boho–style original vintage wedding dress, like this beautiful original 1970s dress from my collection...
Original 1970s wedding dress from my West London studio.

Original 1970s wedding dress from my West London studio

Hilary Rhoda

Model Hilary Rhoda wore an elegant and simple 1930s–inspired Carolina Herrera wedding gown to marry NHL player Sean Avery in the Hamptons. But – you guessed it – this chic and 'simple' dress also featured beading with 14.7 carats of Chopard diamonds!
Hilary Rhoda in Carolina Herrara wedding dress

For similarly chic and elegant 1930s–inspired silhouettes try my Heavenly Collection… (Real diamonds come as extra!)
1930s style lace wedding dress with fishtail, from my Heavenly Collection.
1930s inspired wedding dress from my Heavenly Collection

Riley Keough

Model and actress Riley Keough wed stuntman Ben Smith-Peterson in Napa Valley in Feruary. She wore a Delphine Manivet Couture gown featuring double levels of soft French lace, long sleeves with vintage-style buttons and a stunning open back. Truly lovely and very 1940s.
Riley Keogh in 1940s style full length lace wedding dress
1940s lace wedding dress & jacket, from my West London studio
1940s inspired lace wedding dress, from my Heavenly Collection
1940s inspired lace wedding dress from my Heavenly Collection

Sophie Hunter

Theatre director Sophie Hunter and actor Benedict Cumberbatch may have kept their wedding pictures under wraps, but thanks to US Vogue we got a good look at the bride's heavenly dress. The Valentino gown was Medieval-inspired with long sleeves, a high neck and formed of delicate silvery-grey lace.
Sophie Hunter in grey Valentino lace wedding dress

While I can't promise to find you an original Medieval dress (!) many 1960s styles are based on this timeless silhouette – with its flattering empire line, high neck and elegant lace sleeves. This original Priscilla of Boston 1960s wedding dress was recently sold from my collection, but do contact me if you're a fan of this beautiful look…
Original 1960s wedding dress by Priscilla of Boston, from my studio.
Detail from Priscilla of Boston 1960s wedding dress.

Sabine G

For her wedding to billionaire Joseph Getty, Lebanese–Egyptian jewellery designer Sabine G wore a wedding dress and cape by couture house Schiaparelli. The outfit was hand–embellished with no less than 500,000 sequins. A fabulous dress to end the list – and one I'm afraid I can't match. But I guess when you're marrying into the Getty family, you really need to pull out all the stops! 
Sabine G wears Schiaparelli couture wedding dress and cape with 500,000 sequins
Well, did you agree with their selection, and which is your favourite? At New Year (not so long now!) I'll be delighted to show you my own personal favourites from my real vintage brides – looking every bit as beautiful and radiant as the selection here! A happy wedding day, a room full of loved ones, a proud groom and a beautiful vintage dress – these are the things that can make every bride look as beautiful as any supermodel!
Heavenly Vintage Brides

With thanks to The Daily Telegraph

Friday, 11 December 2015

Vintage Bride Carlye's Tips for a Wonderful Wedding.

Dear Reader, 
Today, we have the last of Carlye's wonderful posts: her tips for future brides...

1. Make sure your day reflects you as an individual and as a couple! Don't do anything because someone else wants you to or because it's what your 'supposed to do'! You and your guests will have a far better time knowing all those big and tiny details reflect you both! 

2. Make sure you have a way of collecting photos in one place such as a website, Instagram etc so you don't miss a moment.
3. Ensure you have an idea of what type of photos you want and who you want in them but also give a bit of time for guest to ask your photographer to take pictures of them so you don't miss a vital group or couple which you may forget in your own personal list! That way you have everyone covered! 
4. Shop around for what you want and stay within your budget. Don't settle for anything less on the big things like your dress, venue, food, photographer if you can – as these are what will make your day! 
5. It's worth spending a bit more on your photographer as this is your record for years to come! Get the best for your budget! 
6. And once you both know what you want, ask family and friends to help where they can. They'll be happy to do it as a wedding present. This will allow everyone to be included and  adds that personal touch, while saving you time and money. 
7. Only invite who you really want and who know you both. Don't feel obliged to invite people's other halves or someone from work or someone you don't know every well. This can be tricky but ultimately it will save you money and ensure you only have your nearest and dearest! Just ask yourself: will we still see each other in 3 ,5, 10 years time? We had everyone we wanted and it felt so much more intimate! 
8. Try not to stress and worry. Ensure you enjoy your day as much as possible. Things may not exactly go to plan but make the best of things – it's your big day and it's never gonna come round again! 
9. Try to see everyone and do everything you planned to get the most from it. But it's important to accept this isn't always possible – and that's ok as long as everyone else enjoyed it! 
10. Try not to be too precious about your dress. Just enjoy it. Don't be afraid to move or eat or dance! It's there to make you look beautiful but for you to also enjoy your day as well. If there's a hiccup – mine got stood on and I caught my sleeve – it can be fixed. Don't panic! 
11. Remember your day is about you both most of all, about enjoying yourself with friends and  family! Capture moments and make memories for years to come. That way, when you're old and wrinkly you can smile and enjoy looking back! 

Thanks so much Carlye – for sharing your brilliant day and all your wisdom. 
Readers... what a girl! 
Heavenly Vintage Brides

For a snapshot of more gorgeous Real Vintage Brides, 
check out my website page here...

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

This is my day, by Vintage Bride Carlye

Dear Reader,
Welcome to Part Two of Carlye's takeover. Today, our gorgeous bride is going to whizz us through her fabulous vintage–inspired day.…

Well, readers, this is my day, my experience – and my advice for you! 
Jase and I met almost eleven years ago at Uni in Swansea, aged just 19. Eight years later, we were living together in London when he took me on a surprise holiday to Venice – and proposed. 

In the next three years, while we established our careers, we went to so many friends' weddings that by the time we tied the knot this summer we had a really good idea of what we wanted our own big day to look like. 

The most important thing for us was that the day had to reflect us as individuals and as a couple. Everything we chose was personal and meaningful to us. And although there were lots of themes going on, everyone understood those details were a reflection of us.

We also wanted to be respectful of the traditions of marriage but not necessarily follow everything if we didn't feel it was right for us. We wanted things to be a bit more friendly, easygoing and informal, just like us! 

As soon as we were engaged, we chose Devon for our wedding as that's where Jase is from. We spent many summers there as students, and decided on our favourite village, Cockington: the most charming place with its thatched cottages and the best tea room.

I really wanted the wedding to reflect my love of all things vintage! I love the 1950s for its elegance and glamour, and the 1960s for its colours and simple style. So I chose a 1960s look for me and 1950s for my bridesmaids. Then we asked everyone to come in their own interpretation of 50s or 60s style. And I must say – though I'm a bit biased – everyone looked stunning! 

To get everyone in the vintage mood, we played a range of vintage music – everything from a 20s charleston to swinging 60s pop. We had a vintage London bus, an old fashioned Post Box for all our cards... even a vintage taxi cab for a photo–booth! 

My bouquet was also made to be similar to my nan's who got married in the late 50s. She loved that I wanted the same! 

My bridesmaids love a bit of vintage too, but are more contemporary in style than me. So we chose a modern dress with a vintage feel: with a halter neck, laced bodice and flared skirt. Then we added a pinny and peep toe shoes for that cute 50s housewife look (we even used the pinny fabric to create extra–special shoe laces!)

My engagement ring is a gold Panther sitting proudly on a branch – inspired by the famous Wallis Simpson Panther Brooch. I definitely wanted something different, so Jase had 'Charlie' (as my panther is now known!) made specially for me. I wanted a branch style ring for my wedding band, and found the perfect one at Alex Monroe. Jase even found a branch style on etsy so we match! 

Jase is a typical big kid, and works in computer–generated special effects. He loves computer games, specially a Japanese series called Final Fantasy. He chose a character that represented us, (for those in the know this was Squall and Aeris!) so we had models of them by the cake. The game also has a classical musical score so I walked down the aisle to 'Aeris' Theme' played by the organist!

We wanted an informal, summery theme and chose Italian to represent our engagement. We kept it simple and rustic – with an Italian menu, prosecco, and a dining room decorated with olive trees and herbs for fragrance. We even put up some of my sister's photographs of Venice. 
We wanted our family involved as much as possible, so we had lots of help with our cake, flowers, stationery, favours and decorations. It made things that extra special. (We had lots of people to thank!)  And both of our families are big cat lovers so our tables were named after all our family cats, past and present.
Our final theme was The Owl & and The Pussycat as Jase had given me a canvas of one of my favourite children's book illustrations from the 60s by Dale Maxey. We used it as part of our invitations (Jase's brother is an illustrator andd designed all our stationery) and decorated the bar area with this theme.
We then tied it all together with the vintage theme in our beautiful tea room: lots of bunting, vintage fabrics and proper cups & saucers – and all beautifully decorated by my mum & sister. 
Our venue was so perfect: Colehayes Park, a stunning Georgian Manor House with dormitory style rooms and beautiful gardens. It's basically a giant holiday home so we rented this for a week and we were allowed to do what we wanted. We weren't restricted to use particular people and that really helped as we were able to add our personal taste to the place, within our budget! 

We wanted the house to speak for itself so we mainly used flowers as its so beautiful & Jase' mum lovely filled the house! We loved that we could invite most people to stay with us & we loved that we had the place to ourselves so it was more informal. We only had a handful of people to help with serving food 
and drinks. 

We had a great time all helping to set up the venue at the beginning of the week, so we had just close friends and family with us. Most guests arrived the night before, and we all went out for a meal to break the ice. 

On the big day, I was so excited as unfortunately I had been very very poorly in the week up to the wedding (I
 honestly thought I was going to have to go to hospital) but I woke up feeling great! I ran round the house shouting 'I'm getting married today.' It was great to have friends and family staying with us, all getting ready together! 

The hair and make up team were calm, friendly and fabulous. They got the look perfect and though I still looked quite poorly, they worked a miracle! I loved my Priscilla Presley inspired look! 

My bridesmaids looked so cute with their 50's curls & flower in their hair & I loved their pines! I chose the Liberty print as I love their fabrics & also worked there when I first lived in London after uni! 

The vintage bus was a great surprise for everyone. We all headed to Cockington at a thatched cottage pub a short walk from the church. It was a great opportunity for everyone to meet and greet, calm their nerves or toast the day! It was relaxed and friendly, exactly as we hoped and the best start to the day! I just wish I had been there but I was still getting ready...

It was great to travel together with my mum & sister! Mum had hired a VW campervan to take us to the church – a great surprise – I loved it so much! We did get stuck in traffic and arrive quite late. Poor Jase! 

My mum walked me down the aisle and it was great to have her by my side! 
Afterwards, guests made a beautiful arch outside the church for us to walk through & I had brought everyone a vintage wedding wand by Ginger Ray as an alternative to confetti & was another fun keepsake. 

I actually first brought them the year before, for a best friend's hen do (we were each other's bridesmaid). They were such a hit, she asked if I could bring them to her wedding too! 

Everyone then got back on the bus to the venue. The weather was perfect and so we all enjoyed drinks in the garden before our Italian summer feast by the excellent Dartmoor Kitchens.

We had the speeches before we ate so the very nervous speakers could get this out the way and then relax. They were the most unprepared speeches but also the most spontaneous, funny and heartfelt! Jase's brothers were great – each said a little bit about growing up together, looking up to each other and welcoming me into the family. My sister and grandfather made a speech on my family's side and talked about bring our families together. Everyone was laughing and crying! There wasn't a dry eye in the room! 

The food was perfect. My very clever Auntie and godmother made my cake. I just said I wanted a vintage feel so bless her, already a gifted cook, she went on a course and made lace icing! It looked stunning and tasted delicious! 

We then made things flexible for everyone. Those who wanted cake and a cup of tea could enjoy the vintage tearoom, others could enjoy the bar or the chillout in the Lounge, or take a stroll in the garden before the party got started. 

The tearoom was a great hit with lots of specialist teas including Wedding Breakfast tea from Fortnum & Mason (one of my favourite places) and lots of homemade cakes from a family friend as well as the wedding cake.

We wanted people to feel at home and
come and go through the different rooms as they please. We were so lucky that our venue allowed us to do this. I really feel Colehayes is a very special place. The owners are great too – I would highly recommend!

We then opened the dance floor and photo booth. We also had the fabulous Pizza Buona to keep hunger at bay with their made to order stone bake pizzas! Our final salute to our love of Italy! 

Everyone enjoyed themselves until the wee small hours and it was great that most people stayed so no one had to worry about getting home or finishing at a particular time! At midnight, we had an open bar and kept the tearoom going. And we had the added bonus of a basement for our after–party, so the young at heart still had a place to keep dancing but those with tired party feet could also retire upstairs! 

We wanted something for everyone but also still true to us and I think we achieved this. I had the most amazing day 
and was so overwhelmed to have everyone we know and love in one place.

I also love how everyone's memories, stories 
and photos help you capture your big day in a way you couldn't imagine. You truly feel very lucky and happy. There are still new moments and stories coming out and I hope that continues for years to come! 

So here's to all Helena's vintage brides – past, present & future! Have a very Happy Wedding Day and may your Heavenly Vintage Wedding Dress bring you lots of love, luck & happiness now and always!

Thanks for letting me share my big day with you! 
Lots of Love 
Mrs. Carlye McCloy-Brown 

For a snapshot of more Real Vintage Brides,
check out my website page here...

Photographs with thanks to Alice of The Vintage Wedding Photographer 
Bride's dress: Original 1960s lace wedding dress – Heavenly Vintage Brides of course!
Bride's Shoes: 1960s Vintage Lace from Candy Says
Bride's Underwear: M&S
Bridesmaids' dresses: Chi Chi London
Bridesmaids' shoes: Mojo Moxy 
Bride's Hair & Make Up: Claire & Rebecca of The Popup Salon
Photo Booth: Alfie the Black Taxi Cab Booth
Groom's Suit: Ben Sherman Tailoring
Shoes: Kurt Geiger 
Best Men Suits: Topshop
Bridesmaid's Pinnies, Ushers / Best Men / Groom Cravats & Pocket: Liberty Art Fabric

Stationery: Groom's brother Danny Deeptown 
Meet & Greet: The Drum Inn, Cockington 
Wedding Ceremony: St George & St David's Church, Cockington, Devon
Wedding Reception: Colehayes Park, Bovey Tracey
Caterers: Dartmoor Kitchens 

And best of all
Cake by Bride's aunt
Flowers by Groom's mum
Decoration by the mums, close family & friends