I have been meaning to talk weddings for some time. For those of you who are married, have enjoyed recent celebrations or await soon-to-be-here special days, you'll understand why. Weddings provide the perfect occasion to dress up (the unbeatable excuse for a new outfit), share a happy day with family and friends and/or potential additions to both groups, and marvel at the many ways a wedding can unfold. Religiously, aesthetically, romantically, strategically, no two weddings are the same and, as someone who enjoys writing about this sizeable subject, I'm pleased they're not. As brides (and grooms) prepare for their weddings this Autumn, Winter, new year and beyond, I hope to talk weddings from time-to-time, under the label: Wedding Belle. It doesn't matter if you're not a wedding fan, any posts will include a non-bridal element too. For me, that's one of the most appealing aspects of weddings: from dresses and shoes to hen night cocktail bars, weddings have the potential for more cross-over appeal than ever before.
|The Hummingbird Bakery|
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the National Wedding Show, excited to discover eclectic exhibits, catwalk shows, cupcakes and generous goody bags. It was a lovely day made lovelier by our 'VIP' status, generously acquired by my sister, a.k.a the beautiful bride-to-be. To avoid the predictable rush of eager brides, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride, it's worth paying for 'VIP' tickets, if you're planning on visiting the next show (18th - 20th February 2011, Earls Court). Along with the designated 'VIP area' where you can sit back, relax and enjoy champagne on arrival, you'll receive the afore-mentioned goody bag overflowing with chocolate, beauty products, ideas and more chocolate. Oh, and prime catwalk-side seats. Exhibits are diverse, showcasing dresses, photographers, stationery, musicians and cakes (visit the Hummingbird Bakery to taste mini-versions!). A melting-pot of nuptial ideas, shops and brands with any possible wedding connection are out in-force. The event is therefore a useful source of inspiration and a fun way to start your wedding planning, even if you don't leave with your perfect gown. From the many dresses on display, my favourites were from The Bespoke Wardrobe, Naomi Neoh (top image) & Candy Anthony (I would just love a gown from here for any occasion!)
|Candy Anthony (Audrey Hepburn in 'Funny Face'-inspired?)|
Dresses aside, my highlight was visiting the lovely Not on the High Street.com team. A long-time personal favourite for hours lost roaming the internet, this online store is an entrepreneurial success story and consistently inspirational, beautiful and all-embracing. Perfect for gifts, home decorations and personal indulgences (seek out stunning clothing and jewellery), Not on the High Street.com was created to support independent businesses while maintaining high standards of quality, style and originality. They stock items from over 1,600 British designers and manufacturers and write a blog, run competitions and feature highly creative content. Here are some of my favourite finds, which I believe represent the ethos of friendly founders Holly and Sophie:
|Fairtrade hammock (Garden Boutique)|
|Sakura blossom wall sticker (Spin Collective)|
|Gabrielle maxi-dress (Anusha)|
|Personalised necklace (Posh Totty)|
|Sports photo frames (Bob by Post)|
In addition to this deluxe database of gifts and goodies, Not on the High Street.com provides a wedding list service. As with their online store, all extras have been considered. Brides don't merely receive a tick-box list and arrange delivery. Charming and personal from the start, the company provides prospective couples with a personal consultant, wedding planning guide, devoted wedding section on their website brim-full with ideas and where you can also find bridal jewellery, venue decorations, invites, thank you cards, favours and more!
Each bride/bride and groom receives a wedding pack:
And chooses from the 30,000+ products online for their list or day itself:
|Tiered cake stand (Linda Bloomfield)|
|Silk rose hat (sophiei)|
|Card holder (Josephine Interior Accessories and Gifts)|
|Personalised hen-night book (Amanda Hancocks)|
Happy browsing! Request your Not on the High Street.com wedding information pack here and visit their wedding homepage. See here for the National Wedding Show with news/photos from the most recent shows.