Friday, 29 January 2010

Always Advice: What's your dress size?

While I was at Circa Vintage last week Marion and I got to talking about the difference in dress sizes now and in vintage clothing; vintage clothing is usually much smaller then modern sizes as the modern body shape has changed and is generally bigger, so you wouldn't necessarily buy your standard dress size when shopping for vintage clothing

When you go shopping for your wedding dress it’s not as simple as just knowing your dress size; there are standard sizes but the measurements used for this will vary from designer to designer and from shop to shop. The reason is that there is no universal standard size that all fashion houses copy. The general sizes are used as guidelines; each company will tailor its own basic block (Block is the term given to the basic pattern from which other patterns are adapted and graded into other sizes) for use with its designs. They will also modify their sizes to fit in with the market they are targeting. So for example a shop that caters for a younger clientele will be smaller than one which caters for an older clientele.

The cut and style of the garment will also affect the size and how it fits. A Bias cut dress will stretch and therefore have a lot more give in it then a fitted corseted style.

Standard dress sizes don’t take into consideration body types either they are generally based on an hourglass ratio. So if you’re busty with a small waist, the waist may end up being too big. It can help knowing your measurements as well your dress size as this is often a better indication of how a dress will fit. Catalogues give good guides on how to take your measurements. If you are a ‘non-standard’ ratio consider getting your dress made to measure as it may end up being more cost effective then having a lot of alterations made to a standard dress size.

Also worth bearing in mind as you try dresses on is that many bridal wear shops stock European (within Europe size charts vary too) and American brands which have different sizing charts. So for example a UK size 12 will be a US 10, France 40, Germany 38, Italy 44 etc.

Good bridal shops will know what the fit is like on their different labels and will be able to size you accordingly, so do trust the assistant. This is particularly important if you are shopping and/or having to order in dresses for your bridesmaids; don’t just take their word for it, try getting them measured.

So when dress shopping try on a variety of styles and don’t get hung up on the label. Your ‘dress’ size is only a guide to know which dresses to try on first, chances are most dresses will need altering. Don’t be tempted to buy a dress too small because you always wear size 10 say, it’s far easier to take a dress in then to let it out; and if anyone is impolite enough to ask tell them the American size, it will be one size smaller.

Image courtesy of Marianne Taylor

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Fashion Inspiration: Circa Vintage Brides

Last week I visited Circa Vintage in Fulham, a hidden treasure trove of ladies vintage clothing. They also design an in house Circa Vintage Brides wedding dress collection based on classic shapes and styles from the 20th century in beautiful silks and satins.

Vivienne and Greta 1930’s Inspired Wedding Dresses

Ava & Chloe 1940’s inspired Wedding Dresses

Grace and Marilyn 1950’s Inspired Wedding Dresses

Lizzie and Bianca 1960 & 1970’s Inpsired Wedding Dress

The collection is lovely and worth seeing in person as I don’t think the photos do the dresses justice; the fabrics are gorgeous, very tactile and though minimal there are some lovely details adorned with Swarovski crystals. The designer, Astral Sundholm-Hayes has worked with Julian McDonald and her excellent pattern cutting and design skills shine through. She is currently designing a new bridal collection to be launched in the summer.

All the dresses are made to measure with prices starting from £1650, if you’d like to see the collection do ring ahead and make an appointment, contact details here.

Also worth noting is the vintage ladies wear in the front of the shop. If you are looking for a truly unique piece then the vintage collection is outstanding and in immaculate condition; great for a wedding dress, bridesmaids or a mother of the bride outfit.

I'd also like to thank Marion ((the designer’s mother who has been in the vintage clothing industry for over 30 years) for taking the time to show me the collection and chatting to me about vintage clothing, costumes and beautiful brides.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Vintage Boudoir Shoot with Julia Boggio

On Tuesday Kat from the amazing Rock’n’Roll Bride blog finally revealed (after a few sneek peaks on Twitter) her fabulous Vintage Boudoir photos taken by Julia Boggio, one of London’s best and most creative wedding photographers. I caught up with Julia to ask her a little more about the concept behind her vintage boudoir shoots.

Why a ‘Vintage’ Boudoir shoot?

Vintage Boudoir is all about helping women feel fantastic by giving them a 1940s makeover and photographing them dressed as sexy pin-up models. It's fun and it's different from the majority of boudoir that's available out there today. The pin-up look is so much more erotic than a lot of modern boudoir, which often shows too much. Pin up is all about tantalising the viewer with what’s being covered up, but saying ‘I’m cheeky and sexy’ in the expression.

How does the shoot work? (Hair, makeup, costumes etc)

Pin up art harkens back to an era when women had more time to spend pampering themselves and making themselves look amazing. The Vintage Boudoir experience has been created to give clients that beautiful feeling again. My team of hair (Sev from The Hepburn Collection) and make-up (Kaz Fernando) professionals create the classic pin-up look with every client. After they’ve been given their makeover, including sweeping false eyelashes, they go into wardrobe, where I help them into their hold ups and costume. When a woman books for a Vintage Boudoir session, she is welcome to either pop into the studio to peruse the looks we have or chat with me over the phone, so we can decide which set ups to go for at the shoot. We have loads of costumes and props to suit different body shapes and sizes. The great thing about this style is that everyone can look sexy, whether you’re a size 4 or 24.
Once the client is looking fabulous, I then work with them in front of the lens to get the right expressions and poses. We have the ‘oops, I caught my dress’ look, the ‘surprised & naughty’ look, and the ‘innocent seductress’ look, to name a few. Together, we figure out which one works best for the client and away we go. For those that need a little Dutch courage, we've got plenty of Prosecco!

Do the models/ladies need to bring anything to the shoot with them-costumes, accessories etc?

We usually ask them to bring some high heels in black and a few colours, just in case we don't have anything that fits them. Other than that, we've got it covered. Working with a stylist and a seamstress, we design each look in our style book and then source the props and outfits needed to create the image. Our seamstress hand makes the majority of our costumes. The rest are either sourced from shops or they are genuine vintage pieces. If the client would like to do a look that we don't have the props or outfits for, she is more than welcome to bring her own things. We can even direct her to places she can look for props.

What do you recommend ladies do with the photos after the shoot?

After the shoot, the client will be scheduled in for viewing session.Clients have a range of ways that they can display their images, from small desk frames to large-format acrylics. When we were creating a product range to go with Vintage Boudoir, we decided that this isn’t the kind of gift you give to hide away in your husband’s drawer. This is tasteful, colourful, fun and sexy. It should be a part of your interior design.

Thanks for the info Julia and to Kat for letting me blog about the shoot; of all the types of boudoir shoots out there this the one that most appeals to me with my love of costumes. So whether you’re getting married or not and are looking for a great gift for your partner or just to have a fun day dressing up and looking amazing consider the Vintage Boudoir Shoot: for further information take a look at Julia’s website, and head over to Rock'n'Roll Bride, here for the rest of Kat's fabulous shoot.

All images courtesy of Julia Boggio via Rock’n’Roll Bride

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Always Asks Under The Cherry Moon

Last year I talked about the cute ‘Will you be my…’ cards from Under the Cherry Moon who I discovered via Rock’n’Roll Bride and I’m delighted to bring you today an interview with the owner and creator of UTCM Rhiannon Burton.

Why did you decide to set up Under the Cherry Moon?

Like a lot of folks who go into the wedding industry, it was the painful procedure of planning my own wedding! I was working as a midwife, and found it super tough to find the hours in the day to arrange a wedding which I hoped would be reflective of us as individuals and as a couple. I was so sure I didn’t want to cave in to the pressure of planning and stray down the path of matching the napkins to the bridesmaids' shoes. Frankly, I would have sold a kidney to come across a wedding professional who “got” what I was trying to do and would take the hard work off my hands. Our wedding wasn’t even out of the ordinary, the format was traditional but just with a few extra details. At the time there were very few innovative blogs around and even less inspiration coming out of the UK wedding magazines, so inevitably I had to produce everything myself.

How would you describe your style/vision?

Relaxed, eclectic and personal. I love details in a wedding, even more so if they reflect the personalities and interests of the couple. I’d like to banish all wedding professionals who dictate what’s right and wrong in etiquette and tradition, to a big island where they can enforce their rules amongst themselves. It’s not all about the money.

What’s your design process?

For couples wanting bespoke design and/or wedding styling, I need to spend quite a bit of time probing them! Questions about their personality, everyday style, like/dislikes, vision for their day, all gives me a clearer picture of how I could translate this into their wedding day style.

If I’m designing individual elements for people to use themselves on the site, I try to think of trends and what people might be searching for. Recently there’s been more interest in birds, animals, insects… So I’d try to get some elements onto the site for folks to start building their stationery. I’d love it people suggested designs they wanted to see, perhaps Twitter would be a good forum for them to do this…

You finally launched your fabulous website towards the end of last year and it includes being able to DIY your own stationery-can you explain how it works?

The site gives you the option to pick and choose from backgrounds, design elements and frames, add them to your lightbox (a kind of design basket), then drag and drop them onto your artboard, changing sizes, positions and colours. You can then add your own text, approve online, and the printed version will be sent out to you. If starting from scratch fills you with terror, there are also readymade designs which are a great place to start. You can simply change the example text to your own, or customise it further as above.

What has been your favourite wedding to design for /work on?

I love working with couples who are eager for some creative input. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing a Circus themed wedding I worked on in Brides magazine in the spring.

What have you found the most challenging job?

Actually I find designing “classic” wedding stationery the hardest. It feels alien to me to create something impersonal. I want to dig a bit deeper!

What do you think couples should be looking for when sourcing their wedding stationery?

Personality and reflected interests (Am I boring yet?!). If you hate flowers and would never buy anything with flowers on in your everyday life, why would you choose to have one on your wedding invite?

What advice would you give to couples when planning their wedding?

Let go of the preconceptions of what you should and shouldn’t have. It’ll be a much more fun process if you make it all about you.

What do you wish couples knew already when working with you?

Colours are never exact.

Where do you see the future of Under the Cherry Moon?

I want to make it easy for people to find lovely, artfully mismatched details for their wedding. As well as providing a full design and styling service. I’ve got a few themes I’d love to work on…
Alice in Wonderland, High School Sweethearts, Folksy...Eventually I suspect there’ll be a UTCM baby line too.

What’s your one non-wedding obsession at the moment?


Thank you Rhiannon, we wish you all the best for the future. Do check out the new Under the Cherry Moon website where not only will you find great DIY and bespoke stationery but also other fun things for your wedding too from bunting, button holes, paper pompoms and even wedding bouquets made from wedding dress off cuts.

Images courtesy of Under the Cherry Moon. Circus Invitation suite photo by Lillian & Leonard

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Gift List Service: Beyond Weddings

Beyond Weddings is a new gift lift service from Interior designer Chelsea Bidwill. As many of you may have already been living together for a while a standard home wares gift list might not be for you, or you may have only recently bought a place together and it’s in need of major renovation. This is where Beyond Weddings can offer a real helping hand. They offer 3 services from helping picking out your gift lists to detailed decoration and full renovation plans.

The designer will work with you both to find your design style, create a mood board and pick out décor items, furniture etc that truly complement the home you want to set up together. If you go for the top to toe package they will even draw up plans for major renovation work which can be posted on line for your guests to see. They will put together a gift list for your guests to access via a secure online website where they can either buy individual pieces or contribute towards the larger pieces.

Chelsea Bidwill, head designer of Beyond Design Ltd explains the concept further: “A wedding normally represents the start of a new life – as couples set out on their journey together. The furniture and decoration they choose will colour and shape their lives for years to come. Beyond Weddings creates wedding lists which allow couples to identify their combined style and to bring together the objects, furniture, decorations and fixtures needed to set up a marital home together, under the expert eye of a seasoned interior designer.”

Another advantage of a guest list like this is that it gives you a project to work on after your wedding has taken place. After months of planning it can be easy to feel at a bit of a loss following the ‘big day’ and a large project like renovating the kitchen or bathroom can be something you can both work on together as you start your life as a married couple.

All images courtesy of Beyond Weddings

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Always Advice: Gift Lists

If you are considering setting up a gift list, you need to decide what you type of presents you want on it as there are number of gift registry options out there. For example, if you are thinking of a standard gift list take a look at what you have already in your home and what you might need; if you are moving in together after you get married look at both your belongings and decide what you are likely to keep and where the gaps are. Popular items for traditional gift lists are house wares such as linens, china, small appliances; which even if you have already you could upgrade.

You may find that you really don’t need any more items for your home in which case there are other options: this could be a great opportunity to get some of those luxury items you may have been coveting such a bespoke piece of furniture, a piece of art or setting up your own wine cellar. Then there are gift lists for honeymoons, charitable donations even Interior Design companies to help on large renovation projects (I’ll be looking at one such company Beyond Weddings in my next post). Don’t be afraid to think out of the box.

You can register your gift list in a number of different ways.

Large department stores such as John Lewis, Debenhams are often first choice as they provide a large variety of items in a wide price range and you can go in and choose the items yourself.

Specialist wedding gift registries such as The Wedding Shop or lifestyle shops like Cath Kidston offer a more personal service and they will know more about the items you are choosing and have their own dedicated showrooms or shops.

Online services offer a great choice of products and are very convenient for your guests; a very good one such as Not on the High Street which stocks a huge range of products from independent British suppliers, give you a personal consultant and deliver the items as soon as your guests have purchased them rather than one large delivery when you return. This can be very helpful in keeping on top of those thank you notes.

For the alternative to items for the home there are dedicated honeymoon gift lists such as Honeymiles or travel agents such as Trailfinders. Consider one that not only pays towards the flights and hotel but also special treats you can do while away such as a meal with a sunset view, a helicopter trip, spa days; for guests who like to know where their gift is going this is a great idea and your thank you note can be a photo of you enjoying it.

For Charitable gift lists where guests give donations to your favourite causes there are number of choices from Oxfam Unwrapped, Good Gifts to The Alternative Wedding List and there are ethical and eco friendly lists too such as Fair Gift or Our Green Wedding List

If you want to combine department stores, honeymoons and charity then there are number of services that do this such as The Bottom Drawer or Nearly Married .

So how do you go about deciding which gift list provider to go for?

• Check what level of service is on offer and does it meet your needs
• How do you choose your gifts and set up your list
• Is there a charge for registering
• Can you add or take away items from your list once open
• Can you change your mind about items bought
• When are your gifts being delivered
• What’s the delivery charge if any
• How do your guests buy from the list
• How will you notify them, does the service provide notification cards

Really place close attention to fine the print and think about if it’s right for you and convenient for your guests e.g. will your guests want to go into a shop or will they be happy to buy online, and when you come to compiling your list put a variety of items on it, in a range of prices to give your guests the most choice.

Once upon a time it used to be frowned upon to even suggest you were asking your guests for a gift but these days many guests want to buy you a gift; even if you don’t want one or would like cash gifts, consider having a small back up one. Guests also appreciate having guidance when it comes to choosing a gift as they’ll know that it’s a gift you truly want. So if you do decide to go for a gift list choose your gifts and the registry service wisely and don’t forget to send out those thank you cards!

All images via Not on the High Street

Friday, 8 January 2010

Always Loves: Elopements

Our family had a delightful surprise over Christmas, a Las Vegas Elopement! I’ve wanted to post a few pics from elopements for a little while now; there’s something so very romantic and sweet about them and this has given me the perfect excuse.

The great thing about an elopement is you can pretty much get married wherever you want; abroad or closer to home, in a small chapel , a funky city registry office or outdoors overlooking a favourite view, when you have fewer people to accommodate you have so many more choices.

Here are just a few of the many elopements you can find on the blogosphere, do take a look at the original posts and the photographers’ as they often give the story behind the elopement.

This groom suprised his girlfriend by proposing just before Christmas and they then went to Las Vegas to get married at the Little White Chapel.

Even if you do decide to elope it doesn't mean you can't still have the big white wedding for family and friends; this couple did both, an intimate ceremony for two in Barcelona, followed by a larger legal ceremony back home in the US a few months later and it was all photographed by UK photographer David M McNeil

The only guest at this elopement was the couple’s son whom they included in their vows and the location- under an oak tree in a field. They also had a beautiful super 8mm video shot (which you can watch here), always a great idea for an elopement to show your friends and family after the event.

This couple were planning on larger wedding in Australia when they decided to elope to Scotland instead; they invited just 14 close friends and family as their guests and then had a month long honeymoon touring Scotland.

And who says you still can’t have a lots of fun with the details arranging an elopement, this one planned by Lisa Vorce of Oh How Charming is just full of them...

An elopement may not be for everyone, but at the end of the day your wedding should be all about what you as a couple want,  be that a large wedding in front of family and friends or an intimate ceremony just for the two of you.

Photo at top: Las Vegas Save the Date via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, hope everyone had a great Christmas and for any newly engaged couples out there congratulations!

If you are just starting to think about planning your wedding check out my advice on Getting Started and if you’re already thinking about your what to wear take a look at Choosing your Dress and some trends for 2010 ruffles, bows and asymmetrical gowns.

2009 was an exciting year for Always Andri Wedding Design, we’ve worked with and met some lovely couples and great suppliers.

2010 is shaping up to be just as good as we look forward to some fabulous weddings and meeting more suppliers to work with for your weddings.

We hope to bring you lots more useful info and inspiration on the blog, if there’s anything you’d really like to see just drop me a line, I’ll be happy to post about it and whatever stage of planning you’re at we can help with our planning services.

Photo credit: ‘Snow Globe’ via One Love Photo I love this photo and seeing as we’re set for a lot of snow this week it seemed the perfect image and do take a look at One Love Photo’s work it’s beautiful.

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