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

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!

Wedding Favours – Homemade Macarons

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As much as I love vintage and antique wedding features, I do like the idea of making homemade Macarons to give out in pretty bags as wedding favours.

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They’re really simple to make, taste great and, depending on the filling, can be made in advance without requiring refrigeration. They also bake really quickly and are a doddle to assemble. Lovely!

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Antique Engagement Rings

Vintage 1.56 Carat Old European Cut Diamond. Circa 1935.

 

I adore antique and vintage engagement rings – especially if they include diamonds! It’s not just the cushion cut of the rock that makes them sparkle brighter than Angelina Jolie’s teeth, it’s the the incredible style of the actual bands and stone settings that make them stand out from the rest. It’s so boring to see modern rings with their plain bands; I want detail, height, filligree, engraving – you name it, I want to see it! If you’re looking to buy an antique ring, check out this link to the current offerings for sale on Etsy. If I won the lottery I’d scoop the lot, and wear a different one every day for the rest of my life. OTT? Maybe. Obssessed? Definitely. And very proud!

The stunning ring pictured above is on sale through the Erstwhile Jewelry Co. on Etsy. The listing for the ring can be found here. It will set you back $10,000 (so if any UK folks have a spare £6,000 lying around that they don’t know what to do with … Hi! Please buy this ring for me and make a stranger soooo happy.

 

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?

Dance Like Beyonce At Your Wedding (Crazy In Love)

You’ve got to admire Beyonce … The woman rocks out arenas for two hours straight, night after night, wearing ridiculously high heels. That’s got to hurt. If it was me, I’d be guzzling painkillers the whole night through. It’s bad enough when you hit the club on a Saturday night. It’s not long before you start scanning the venue for a comfy seat, or even resort to kicking off your stilettos to go barefoot. Foot ache can start to nag like tooth ache very quickly. Unfortunately.

There are no such choices for Beyonce at her gigs and your wedding day is your own Beyonce moment; all eyes on you, hour after hour, all night long. You’re the queen of the dancefloor, jumping, shimmying, shaking and swaying through every single song being delivered by your band or DJ. Your feet start throbbing and no amount of adrenalin can anaesthetize the pain. There’s no avoiding it; the wedding’s in full swing but the bride’s about to fall flat. Thank God. For flat soles, that is. Yep, most savvy brides have their maid of honour stash a pair of flats for them in a bag, ready to produce at that crucial moment when you’re ready to start crying or screaming.

A simple satin pair of ballerina pumps, dyed to match the colour of your dress, will suffice. But, if you want some bling to match your wedding ring, I’d suggest this sparkly, white, patent pair currently on sale in Fenwicks (Brent Cross Shopping Centre). Check out the faux diamonds and pearls… Even Prince (Symbol or whatever he’s called these days) would surely approve.

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For £25, these will be a cheap saviour on the most important night of your life. So, let things go flat on your wedding night – and have a better time!

TK Maxx – Latest Bridal Shoes

I was in TK Maxx again this week and spotted a few new bridal shoes adorning their shelves.

This vintage-styled pair from Rocket Dog look like they’re made from Silk and have a medium high heel:

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The designer pair along the shelf – from Filippa Scott – weren’t half bad either, looking elegant and comfortable:

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Too plain? Fear not. Check out these blinged out high heels that were also on the shelf:

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With prices ranging from £19.99 to £29.99, these shoes won’t break the bank yet promise to add some style to your all-important walk down the aisle!

How Low Can You Go?

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One of the things I first notice when walking into a wedding reception are the table centrepieces. Usually, the greatest visual impact comes from taller designs, standing over the seated head level of guests. That may be so but there’s nothing more annoying than being sat at a circular table with an obstructed view of those seated opposite. It restricts conversation across the table and can create a “them and us” environment.

So, I ask you… How Low Can You Go?

Having been to scores of weddings throughout my lifetime, I’m becoming increasing fond of low centrepieces. They open up the feel of the venue, creating the illusion of space.

From stacked mini plant pots to water filled bowls topped with floating flower heads and candles, I’ve seen an array of shorter centrepieces to suit every budget.

If you’re stuck for an idea, use the image above as inspiration. It’s actually a Christmas design, which was made by the florists in John Lewis’ flagship store on London’s Oxford Street. I think it would also work well for any Autumn wedding, where arrangements using flowers, fruit and spices (such as cinnamon sticks) are more common and bring to life the colours of the season (reds, oranges, rusts, greens, golds and caramels).

This particular John Lewis beauty cost £60 but your local florist can produce something equally show-stopping for less using seasonal flowers and alternative accessories. And, best of all, it will create a stunning visual impact without impairing your guests’ ability to see one another!

Personalise Your Scent-ter Pieces!

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If you want to make your wedding day truly personal, and keep that vintage feel, think about making your centre-pieces scent-sational by adding your own, handmade candle – complete with your own signature scent featuring all the smells you and your beau love!

I made a vintage tea cup soya candle (pictured above) at The Make Lounge in Islington, London. For a paltry £29 I got to learn not only how to make scented soya candles at home but also how and which essential oils blend well together to create my perfect scent. And they let me choose a vintage tea cup and saucer to my liking, especially for my candle.

The helpful handouts provided on the day – and also by email – mean that I can start making more candles at home.

It’s really quick and fairly cheap to make your own scented candles at home so if you’re on a tight budget for your big day but still want a personal touch, this is definitely worth exploring.

If you’re worried about having a fragrance which may be too overpowering, you can colour your candles instead and leave out the fragranced oils, to still add a personal impact to your centre-pieces or table decorations. Otherwise, opt for delicate scents to blend into a subtle but heavenly perfumed candle.

Alternatively, why not give out mini versions of your handmade scented candles as wedding favours instead? Make them reminders of your day by incorporating scents that feature in your overall wedding theme… Like the fragrance of the main flower in your wedding bouquet or button holes; the flavours of your wedding cake, like vanilla, lemon or chocolate; or you could even opt for reflecting your location so if you’re having a spring wedding, you can add the smell of freshly cut grass!

You only need a few drops of fragranced oils per candle & synthetic oils are stronger and cheaper than many essential oils so buying and mixing a batch for your wedding need not be costly.

I’ve already seen some beautiful vintage cups and saucers in my local charity shops, all priced fairly cheaply (you can even pick up a full tea set with 6 – 8 cups, sugar bowl & tea pot for under £20!). If tea cups aren’t your thing, go for vintage glass bowls or mini vases – anything as long as it’s heat proof!

In case you’re wondering, my scented candle contains a blend of vanilla, geranium and grapefruit oils. I won’t reveal the exact amounts – hey, it’s my signature scent after all – but needless to say it smells heavenly, and reflects me in every way 😉

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