Monday, 30 June 2014

Stylish Brides: Olivia Palermo marries in Carolina Herrera

This weekend Olivia Palermo married Johannes Huebl in a private ceremony in Bedford, New York.

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Monday, 16 June 2014

Wedding News: Jimmy Choo launches bespoke shoe service

When on a recent dress shopping visit I asked a shop assistant what is the most popular brand for brides'  shoes, she instantly answered, 'Jimmy Choo'.

There is a whole area on the Jimmy Choo website dedicated to those who have said 'I Do in Choo'.

But Jimmy Choo has now launched a bespoke shoe service, where you can choose your perfect heel height, colour, fabric and design. Perfect for brides (on the neutral end of the spectrum) through to Mothers of the Bride, bridesmaids and wedding guests. 

From £475. 

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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Q&A with: Mr & Mrs Smith

We are just starting to think about honeymoon options and really don't know where to begin…

Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith know the importance of a romantic retreat so I asked their honeymoon expert Claire Wilson for the latest honeymoon trends and the inside scoop on a stylish stay...

Claire Wilson, Honeymoon Expert at Mr & Mrs Smith

What is currently the most popular destination for honeymoons?
This year it’s all about Greece, particularly Santorini and Mykonos – they’re beautiful islands with the most stunning sunset views. Iconic opened earlier this year and still has availability for this summer, so that’s my insider tip! The Amalfi coast is the ultimate Italian escape for a honeymoon, too; I love Capo la Gala and Maison la Minervetta for their quirky design, ocean views and, of course, wonderful food.

Iconic, Santorini, Greece

How has this changed in recent years?
Direct flights are one of the biggest drivers for increased demand – naturally if it’s easier to get there you’re more likely to go! Bali has really opened up to travellers, as has Sri Lanka, which is upgrading its two airports currently so they’ll see more flight routes added within the next couple of years.

What are the hidden gems that people might overlook when planning a honeymoon?
Greece has about 200 inhabited islands (and hundreds more that are uninhabited) so I think there’s an enormous amount of exploring to do there. Getting around by ferry is incredibly easy – Poseidonion Grand Hotel on Spetses and the Anemi Hotel on Folegandros are perfect honeymoon hotspots. They’re both completely unique and chic, in beautiful beachside locations.

Anemi Hotel, Folegrandos
Where would you recommend for a couple looking for relaxation only? And what is the general price range for this kind of honeymoon?
If you want an indulgent beach holiday after an inevitably hectic wedding, Fusion Maya in Vietnam would be my top choice: it has all-inclusive spa treatments and a beautiful beachfront location. In terms of price, it’s hard to say because it completely depends on where you go and how long for. You could be looking at anything from £800 for a week in a hidden boutique retreat like Cortijo del Marqués in the Andalusian olive groves, right up to £9,000 for a blowout, multi-stop trip to New York and St Lucia.

Cortijos del Marqués, Spain

Where would you recommend for a couple planning to indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon?
I always think Australia is overlooked because of the flight time, but if you fly on a Friday night you can take just two weeks out of the office and still have a full two weeks exploring thanks to the time difference. Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island is an all-inclusive stunner of a hotel, as is Qualia on the southern Great Barrier Reef, and I love the Empire Retreat & Spa in the Margaret River region just south of Perth – it’s a secret retreat in the coastal wine region that’s perfect for honeymooners.
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia
Empire Retreat & Spa, Margaret River 
Where would you recommend for an adventurous couple planning a longer honeymoon (say two to three weeks) on a tighter budget?
Sri Lanka is a great option and it’s good value – it has the ideal mix of culture and beach. I’d recommend starting in Colombo, heading to Kandy and the hill country to explore the tea trails, and then, if you want to have a treat and can splash out at the end of your trip, the Maldives is hard to beat, somewhere like Cocoa Island by Como.

Cocoa Island by COMO, Maldives
Do people tend to go for one week or longer? What other trends are you noticing?
Most honeymooners head off for more than a week – if it’s a trip within Europe then it’s generally 10 days. For those heading long-haul, it’s generally a fortnight to make the most of it. I always think two weeks feels like you’ve been away for far longer than just double the one!

In terms of trends, combination stays are becoming more popular, for example twinning Miami with Mexico’s Riviera Maya, or Singapore with Bali, or Sri Lanka with the Maldives.

Your top tip for planning a honeymoon?
It sounds obvious, but book ahead… although bear in mind that flights come out 11 months before travel, so don’t try to book any earlier than that! Generally six months ahead of travelling is sensible. Remember to check direct flights and connections, too, if you want to go on a multi-stop trip – planning a logical route will save you time as well as money.

Your personal opinion…

Italy or Indonesia?
I’d personally pick Italy, because the options are endless: Tuscan hills, lakeside luxury, coastal retreats…

Maison La Minervetta, Italy
Bali or Bora Bora?
For me, Bali, because I can’t get enough of its variety and beautiful views, there is just so much to take in.

France or French Polynesia?
I’d probably say France, and specifically Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence for its perfect location to explore beaches and beautiful countryside.

Hotel Crillon le Brave, Provence

Mexico or Maldives?
Ooh, tough one! Mexico, for its beaches, which almost rival those in the Maldives… but it also has so much to explore if you want a bit more adventure.

For your free insider guide to planning the perfect honeymoon, sign up for your copy of Mr & Mrs Smith’s Little White Book of Honeymoons and find out how to bag exclusive VIP benefits (including free upgrades and extras at every hotel). Can’t wait? Give Claire or another of Smith’s honeymoon experts a call on 0330 100 3180.

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Wedding Photography: Katy Lunsford

When looking at wedding photographers, I came across the wonderful Northern-based Katy Lunsford. These are some photographs of one of her favourite weddings to shoot, in the French Riviera. 

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Saturday, 7 June 2014

Q&A with: The Cut London

Unique engagement jewellery has increased in popularity in recent years. I spoke to Kate Baxter, the jewellery expert behind The Cut London about trends for 2014 and forecasts for 2015.

Kate Baxter of The Cut London

What are you noticing to be the strongest trends in engagement rings this year? How has this changed from previous years?

The biggest trend I’ve noticed with my readers is towards rose gold - a colour that was hardly ever used in engagement rings is now on everyone’s mood boards when they come to me! This is in tandem with the general move towards vintage styles - like classic dainty halo designs or art deco shapes - I think rose gold feels inherently characterful but can look really fresh in an engagement ring as it’s still quite uncommon. 

I have designed my own engagement ring with London based jewellery designers Robinson Pelham. What do you think is driving this move towards bespoke/unique engagement jewellery? 

Good for you! Everyone should get a bespoke engagement ring in my opinion. I think it’s becoming more popular as we are more interested in customising and tailoring everything to exactly how we want it - weddings have lead the way with more unusual venues and styles, and people want something that feels more ‘them’ when it comes to a ring, too. A platinum solitaire just doesn’t reflect many women’s individual style or personality, so why should she wear one just because it’s tradition? 

Who are your favourite jewellers for unique engagement rings? And wedding bands? 

My favourite jewellers for unique engagement rings are Polly Wales, who is leading the way in a more organic, natural style and uses lots of grey and muted tone coloured diamonds. She’s amazing. I also love Hattie Rickards for her trademark bold, graphic style - perfect if you’re looking for something chunky with lots of colour and VERY non-traditional! 

I would always recommend that the jeweller who designed your engagement ring should make your wedding band, to ensure they fit perfectly and comfortably together, but also so you can get a hint of the style in your wedding band too. That way you get a perfect set that look great together. 

You offer a complimentary engagement ring finding service, how does this work?

Well it’s usually men who email me with a slightly panicked tone, looking for help in finding a ring for their girlfriends. I talk them through her style, ask them what kind of jewellery she already wears, what she’s hinted at in the past. It takes a very brave man to get a custom ring made so I applaud them all! Once I’ve built up an idea of what she might want, I can either take them window shopping and offer an expert opinion (this is quite risky in case we get spotted!), or refer them straight to a jewellery designer who I think will be the best match style-wise.

What do you think will be the big trends for jewellery in 2015? 

COLOUR, COLOUR & COLOUR! Unusual and traditionally underused gemstones are going to be huge in fine jewellery in the coming few years, as people learn more about them and designers experiment with different materials. Opaque stones such as marble, granite and quartz are on the rise in fashion jewellery, and there’s definitely a 70s vibe coming out too with turquoise, coral and lapis lazuli appearing everywhere. 

Thank you Kate!

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Friday, 6 June 2014

The Chicest Wedding Outfits

How to dress for a British summer wedding?

It's the question on everyone's lips. With weather this unpredictable, finding an outfit to wear to a wedding can be more of a stress than a pleasure.

I've pulled together a selection of my favourite looks from British occasions and catwalks (Jonathan Saunders SS14 and Erdem SS11).

One of my favourite brands for occasionwear is Beulah London, who have an extensive range of beautiful silk dresses, suitable for wedding wear. They even have an amazing wedding dress, the Jasmine

Lulu Frost is also great for wedding guest jewellery, a very quick and easy way to glam up something you've had for a while. 

Finally, I can't get enough of Charlotte Olympia's gorgeous range of satin pumps in varying heel heights - perfect for matching to your outfit!


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Wedding News: Jenny Packham Sample Sale

Jenny Packham are having an end of line sample sale next week on Thursday 12th June, 8am-6pm at their Carlos Place boutique!

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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Wedding Inspiration: Cakes

I only ever feature things I like on this blog, but in the process of planning our wedding I am being careful not to give away too much!

When it comes to wedding cakes, there is so much choice. Whether it's floral additions, interesting flavours or classic with a twist, like the leaning tower of Pisa style Victoria Sponge below, I love the idea of choosing a cake that is just a bit different... 

A floral creation from Lili Vanilli

Wibbly Wobbly Victoria Sponge from Patisserie Viennoise

Simple pretty seen on Once Wed

Say Cheese! from Northumberland Cheese

Coming up Roses from Cake Geek