SPOTTED: Gorgeous Vintage-Style Wedding Dress by Caroline Castigliano

Walking past bridal gown designer Caroline Castigliano‘s Central London store on Berners Street is always an exciting experience.   The dresses in the window always make me stop and stare but, being a lover of vintage bridal designs, I often find her elegant gowns too modern for my tastes. Until today.

The vintage-inspired gown seen below took my breath away. I love lace, sparkle and sleeves and this one has all three (thank you Princess Kate for starting the sleeved trend again!)… Despite the fact that marriage will never be in my future, when I see a dress like this one, I feel a wistful pang (sad and pathetic, I know):

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Caroline Castigliano Bridal Gown - Berners Street Window Display

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Caroline Castigliano Wedding Gown - Vintage Style

The dress was difficult to photograph through a glass window but I’ve blown up sections of the image and added colour effects to try to bring out some of the gown’s intricate, gorgeous detail:

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Caroline Castigliano Gown - Amazing Detail!

The above images don’t do the dress justice but I tried my best! Whichever brides may get to wear this stunning gown are very lucky indeed. Wishing you all a beautiful wedding and a blessed future.

PHOTOS: The Cake & Bake Show 2013 – Part 2

Here are a few more shots of yet more lovely cakes from The Cake & Bake Show at London’s Earl’s Court on Sunday 15th September:

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Time for tea!

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Hungry yet?

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Stylish & Girlie!

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Red & Romantic

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Rosettes!

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Chocolate... Mmmm!

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Ruffle-icious!

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Stairway to heaven...

PHOTOS: The Cake & Bake Show 2013

I saw some cracking cake designs at this year’s Cake & Bake Show at Earl’s Court on Sunday 15th September – great inspiration for your wedding cake!

From vintage to abstract, there was every conceivable design to view. Here are a few photos of my favourites:

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Stained Glass Window Design

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Elegant Yet Modern!

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Vintage Elegance

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Colours & Petals

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Helter Skelter & More!

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All Wrapped Up!

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Feathers!

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Black & White!

More Bridal Shoes In TK Maxx

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I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again… Don’t spend full whack on bridal shoes you’ll only wear once when you can snap up a perfectly gorgeous pair from designer discount haven TK Maxx. Check out the gorgeous strappy heels from designer Pedro Garcia that have now arrived in store, featuring a sparkling diamante ring (pictured above right). These ivory heels are simply stunning – classy, understated and timeless glamour. Also in store are a luxuriously good-looking pair of gold stilleto heels from Dune (pictured above left). Embellished with golden rhinestones around the back, this stunning pair of shoes would be perfect for modern brides seeking heels that they can wear again and again. Perfect party wear, you can christen them at your wedding before rolling them out again for your work’s Christmas party!

Tiaras For A Queen!

In honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I couldn’t resist shining a spotlight on one of the most girliest, yet regal, of hair accessories; the tiara. Any bride planning a vintage themed wedding should give serious thought to adding an opulent antique tiara to her get-up. After all, your wedding is effectively the time when you become Queen for a day; all eyes are on you, you’re the centre of attention and the focus of all your subjects (ok, we’ll go back to calling them ‘guests’ but you have to admit, the thought of them becoming your subjects for the day definitely enthralls…).

For the truly extravagant, check out Etsy for jewelled tiaras dating as far back as the 1800s. They’re not cheap, but they’re certainly breathtaking – and you’d easily check off the ‘old’ or even ‘something blue’ from your list of wedding day traditions.

The crown tiara below – yep, it’s actually called a ‘crown’ – is a French brass and gilt creation from the late 1800s. At £552.06, it’s a tad pricey, but a far better investment than a pair of designer shoes or a dress you’ll only wear once:

If that’s too colourful – and you don’t mind breaking the bank – the superb tiara below costs over £4,000. It’s a rare French crown (there’s that delicious word again) boasting an ornate, filigree design with mercury glass balls nestled in beautifully crafted flower petals. It’s more than an investment – it’s a bonafide work of art. Originally found in an ancient church, it would have once graced the head of a Madonna or Saint – and for a high price, it could adorn your very own temple. The seller states that it’s in pristine condition, but in case you still have doubts, you’ll be reassured to know that this crown was featured on a recent TV show in the USA, where experts confirmed the hefty valuation – it truly is worth every penny:

If your budget won’t stretch to an actual antique crown, dump your future hubby for a richer prospect. Kidding! All is not lost… you don’t need bags of money to look like a Queen on your big day. The 1930s were big on sparkly hair combs; rhinestone designs that sparkle like diamonds under the light. Ebay, Etsy and charity shops are great places to pick up some of these wonderful alternatives – I own several for the sheer beauty of them, not even for a wedding day! Here’s one currently on Etsy, which looks like a mini-tiara, priced for under £65:

It’s eye-poppingly pretty and would look beautiful nestled in front of a simple hair bun or any bridal hair style with some height. It’s definitely time to channel your inner Royalty and wear your tiara with pride; you are the Queen of the ball on your big day – and don’t you dare let anyone forget it!

Scrumptious & Sophisticated Wedding Cakes!

If it includes sponge and buttercream I’m usually a fan. I love cakes. Chocolate cakes, plain cakes, layer cakes, slab cakes… you name it, I can pretty much eat it in record time. When it comes to wedding cakes though, it’s absolutely shocking how many of them can both look and taste awful. On the one day in your life where you want everyone to ask for seconds, there’s nothing more embarrassing than serving a below average wedding cake.

Visually, I prefer a tower of stacked layer cakes. Individual cupcakes are cute, but you can get those at a bake sale. They’re just not special enough. At a wedding, I expect to see a pillar of beauty… literally. It has to be something that could rival an ancient Greek-built pillar in Zeus’ temple. I want beauty, height, glamour, detail and a moment where I am compelled to suck in my breath and say “Wow! Just look at that cake!”.

As a lover of antique and vintage styles, the retro look is more to my taste. Iced pipework, rosettes, lace strips and anything else that looks straight out of my grandmother’s era is a must. Those dames had style. And a lot of elegance. If it was good enough for them then it’s good enough for me. Now, there’s no need to go overboard; there are ‘modern vintage’ styles that you can choose from so you don’t need to go for the ceramic cake-toppers or edible paper flowers that your Nana may have selected for her big day. Your cake can have all the best of yesteryear with all today’s chic.

Check out The Abigail Bloom Cake Company in London for a selection of gorgeous wedding cakes. My favourites include the yummy looking ‘Tabitha’ below, which is classy and simple:

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I also adore the ‘Camille’ cake pictured below. The flower detail is wonderful and it looks so graceful…

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I’m also quite taken with this delicious looking tower:

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Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the above style is called (you’ll need to contact Abigail Bloom) but it looks divine!

You’ll be pleased to discover that Abigail Bloom’s cakes are available in a range of flavours, including chocolate, vanilla, banana, carrot and red velvet. For the full list of sponge and buttercream combinations on offer, please read through their cake menu.

Hopefully, this blog will inspire you to think not of the future but of the past. Cakes with vintage chic are something we can all enjoy… at any time, in any era.

North London Wedding Venue: Vintage Glamour

London’s ethnic minorities have been leading the way in vintage themed weddings for decades, but most of them haven’t even realised it. With a need for venues capable of seating hundreds of guests, London’s Greek, Turkish, Italian and – more recently – Eastern European communities have been flocking to The Regency Banqueting Suite in North London for years:  http://www.regencybanqueting.co.uk/gallery.html

Venues for big numbers are hard to find – especially at a reasonable price. Many Central London hotels have lovely suites on offer, but the cost can start from as much as £60 per guest, for food alone! Some couples turn to local community spaces (church halls, school gyms etc.) but these are usually very plain in their decor and you’re forced to be extra creative with table decorations and other accessories, just to transform the space into a romantic vision.

That’s why The Regency Banqueting Suite is a saving grace in the mid-priced wedding venue sector. As its name suggests, the interior is styled in the oppulence of the Regency period, offering a luxurious, vintage themed backdrop for loved up couples to either tie the knot or celebrate their union.

There’s even a huge drinks reception room for cocktails or champagne ahead of the main party in the banqueting room. Thankfully, the catering is good, too. They even provide a choice of Meditterean appetisers (like tangy humus, delicious salads, refreshing tzatziki), ahead of your actual starter, helping you to provide a four or five course meal at a reasonable price!

Admittedly, the outside of the venue is not much to look at and the limited parking at the rear of the building isn’t perfect but, once you step into their banqueting suite, it immediately fades into insignificance. All you feel is the splendour and glamour you’re suddenly cocooned within. What more could any couple want on their big day?

Vintage Style Wedding Cakes – From Kitsch To Classy!

You all know that I adore anything vintage and bridal themed. I love looking at the different styles of vintage wedding gowns and wedding cakes. The detailing is usually splendid, casting a look at the skills of the old world experts who painstakingly crafted their goods to absolute perfection. Finding modern day versions gives me such joy because I love the thought of the best parts of yesterday being repeated tomorrow; what was great once can always be great again. Amen.

Today, I’ve been admiring the different styles of wedding cakes from two separate companies; Zoe Clark Cakes and Dunn’s Bakery. So many of their creations have caught my attention but here are some of my particular favourites:

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Zoe Clark’s Pink Vintage Lace Cake above is breathtaking. The icing looks intricate and pretty, creating the delicate lace effect which could match many a bridal gown in its simplicity and grace. In contrast, Dunn’s Bakery have the even more vintage looking Cameo Cake below, which could rival any Regency decorated wedding venues for a showstopper award! And if you’re lucky enough to serve your wedding meal on Wedgewood china, this cake is a must for you…

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For a more ‘girlie’ gloriousness, I love the Ivory Ruffle creation below, from Zoe Clark. She gets top marks for evoking my nostalgia for ’50s prom dresses! I desperately want to run my fingers through the ruffles like I would across a frilly prom skirt! Of course, that would completely destroy the stunning visual effect, but I suspect licking the icing from my hands afterwards would more than compensate 😉

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You’ll find yet more Hollywood glamour in Zoe Clark’s Bow & Brooch Cake, which is a favourite coupling amongst cake makers. It’s amazing what a bit of bling and ribbon can do to not only jazz up an iced cake but also give it that ever-beautiful vintage appeal:

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If 1950s ruffles aren’t your thing, and you think brooches are for grandmothers, there’s always the 1970s if you want brighter inspiration. ’70s wedding cakes were famous for their high tiers and colourful accessories – from edible flowers to vibrant ribbons. It may sound kitsch, but these cakes can still look stylish in today’s modern world. All it takes is a little imagination – and it looks like Dunn’s Bakery can probably find a perfect balance of colour and style to suit your tastes. Check out their Rosetrellis design below:

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Not for you? What about the regal looking Dunstan (pictured below) instead? Not as detailed as the Rosetrellis, you still get the impact of the separate tiers and a very eye-catching cake topper…

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If you’re veering back towards more ‘contemporary vintage’, Zoe Clark’s Broderie Lace Cake or Sweet Roses & Dots designs are both definitely worth a look-see:

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Alternatively, if they’re not quite vintage enough for you, but you still want something similar, there’s Dunn Bakery’s Cascade cake (below). With it’s pink roses and pipework icing, it may be the perfect compromise!

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Otherwise, it may be worth speaking to Zoe Clark about a more specific theme. I love what she’s created below – a dress inspired by a wedding gown design! This is her Caroline Castigliano Dress Inspired Cake and it’s beautiful…

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All this cake talk has made me hugry … it’s time to dig a gateau from the freezer or find a nice tea shop for a slice of Victoria Sponge. Yummy!