I have been looking forward to writing this post for so long, I can’t even explain how happy I am the day has finally come! Most of wedding planning I found stressful and it didn’t come naturally, but if there was one part I took to like a duck to water it was planning all of the outfits! For me, the bridal party’s look would be one of co-ordination, practicality (we would be on the beach at some point – sand!!) and some vintage-inspired gorgeousness. Isn’t it a surprise that someone who spends their free-time blogging vintage style outfits that match to the nth degree would have a ball with this? You’re all gobsmacked, I’m sure.
As it happens, I’ve enjoyed writing this so much that halfway through I realised I’d need to break it up into two parts! So I’m going to tell you about my prep, hair, makeup, jewellery and, of course, the dress, in this part and then show you the rest of the bridal party’s looks in part 2. Brace yourself for a LOT of images.
All photos in this post are © Summer Love Photography
. If you don’t know, Jo is the world’s best wedding photographer and we had 1,100 amazing photos from the day that testify to this fact! Note I’ve cropped in some of these to show you specific details better, hence they’re not all crystal clear. This is my fault and not Jo’s!
And as a bonus, see if you can spot the surprise blogger guest below 😀
Bridal party prep, jewellery, hair & make-up
I wanted the prep to be an integral part of the whole day, so it was an easy choice to get some pretty gowns to lounge around in. I knew I wanted the colours to echo the rest of the day and I couldn’t believe my luck when I found these robes with red flowers on on eBay and for a steal.
Originally, I was planning to have a necklace, as my dress exposed a fair amount of my chest. I bought a necklace to match the earrings I’m wearing, but it just looked all wrong. It was probably the most difficult part of the outfit planning to work out what the jewellery was because it was the one thing where my idea didn’t pan out into reality in the same way.
The earrings, however, stayed. I really loved the little something extra they added to help complete the whole look – the sparkly bit on the top is a bow draping over the pearl. You can see them properly on their product page
Lipstick: Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bang Bang (my full review
Jumping onto the makeup, again this didn’t take me long to work out! We all had classic pin-up style makeup just like my usual look and I’d done my red lipstick research, as you will know if you’ve been following along in the last year! Did you all guess that this one was my favourite? And yes, there was the odd occasion after wearing it all day that I transferred a little to B, but it was minor and easily dealt with. And to be fair, I had fish and chips at my wedding breakfast so I knew it would happen! I have no regrets at picking this lipstick, or my fantastic makeup artist, Emily.
Poor Emily. I didn’t envy her the task of making me up, as I am incredibly particular about how my face looks – especially my eyeliner. I had two trials with Emily and I knew after the first one that she’d eventually nail it, but I’m not sure Emily was as convinced about that as I was! I had a sneaking suspicion that she was slightly dreading doing the makeup on the day, which was confirmed when she arrived and immediately told us all that she’d had a nightmare I had forgotten my foundation (I was providing my own)! She needn’t have stressed though, my makeup looked beautiful (and there’s no way I’d forget my foundation!) and very much in the spirit of how I usually look and feel comfortable. I looked like myself, basically, but in the most photo-proof way, which is the all important thing for your wedding day. My bridesmaids looked absolutely stunning and they loved being pinned up!
Another part of the jigsaw that fell into place later on, was what to wear in our hair. I puzzled over it for months. And then Holly at Alternate Normality put these hair combs up for sale and I loved them and I couldn’t stop pondering them as an idea for the wedding hair. I just couldn’t picture how the shape would work with styles that I wasn’t 100% sure how they’d turn out.
But then inspiration hit! If the comb was flexible we could move it to fit with whatever we ended up with. I dropped Holly a line and she said that ordinarily, no, the comb wasn’t posable, but she’d be happy to make them on a wire so that they would be. She did this for no extra cost because she is a legend! They were £7 each and they ended up being one of my favourite parts of our outfits – and I loved that we all had matching ones. They really added something special and unique to our looks.
Do you recognise this beautiful lady?! You might well, because this is of course the lovely Porcelina of Porcelina’s World
. As you might know if you’ve been following for some time, Porcelina and I met through our blogs and then B and I went to stay
with her and her husband last year. We were so pleased to be able to thank them for that lovely trip and their hospitality by inviting them to our wedding. I hope they now love Cromer as much as we do 🙂
Back to the style – let’s talk about the hair some more because my stylist Amy did an absolutely fantastic job! I had two trials and on the second trial we nailed it and figured out how to get the flowers to work with the style, becoming part of the design and not just an awkward add-on. And perhaps even more importantly to me, we worked together to figure out how to incorporate my front roll into the ‘do and I love what she did with sweeping it back and into the roll you see on the right in that last pic.
The bridesmaids’ hair was something Amy came up with on the day, with my instructions ‘it should echo mine and be structured, pin-up hair, but one bridesmaid’s will sweep one way, one the other’. Like Emily, she 100% nailed it. Just look at those gorgeous curls and that fantastic front swoop! The girls were so happy and that made me even happier! What I haven’t included here is the many shots Jo took of the girls getting selfies before we left – if that isn’t a sign of a happy bridesmaid I don’t know what is 😉
The dress! (& veil)
Isn’t the guipure lace of this dress absolutely divine? It’s the main reason I chose it, but more on that and how I picked the dress in a minute. Moving onto the veil, if you look closely you’ll see it has almost the exact same lace on the edges as my dress does, which is of course why I picked it. I was originally going to have an elbow-length, short veil, but because of the length the lace covered the bow at the back, when I wanted it to be seen. So I opted for the slightly longer version instead. It was perhaps bigger than I wanted, but I think it worked quite well nonetheless. The main thing I knew about the veil is I wanted a traditional, sits-on-top, covers-face double veil. It was probably, in fact, the most traditional part of my wedding day apart from the whole ring exchanging thing.
Petticoat: custom made by Honeypie Boutique (review here
Oh, the dress! How did I pick the dress? Well, as it turns out, I picked it in 2013, when B and I had literally just met. Yeah, I know I’m a planner, but even I’ll admit that sounds bad! Let me explain… I didn’t actually remember I’d done this until mum showed me the text I’d sent her as proof. I knew it wasn’t impossible I’d need a wedding dress one day, so I always had half an eye on any I saw that I liked the look of. I remembered in hindsight that when I sent the picture of this exact dress to mum I said something like ‘If I ever get married, this is my dream dress’. I never thought I’d be able to afford it or that it would even still be on sale when I actually got married one day.
Fate intervened. After we got engaged, I started the biggest internet trawl for dresses you’ve ever seen in your life. I didn’t want to spend a huge amount on my dress and was looking for options around £500. But I still remembered this dress and I visited its website page now and then and sighed wistfully. I realised I had to try it if it was still available just to rule it out – the length would look horrible on me anyway, I reasoned, so it’s better to move on for good.
As it turned out, I found a shop stocking this dress. And that shop – the only one in my whole region who were stocking it – just happened to be in my home town, in a shop I passed daily in my youth. And more than that, they had one sample in the sale and then they weren’t going to stock it anymore. The sample was a size 14 and I’m an 8-10, but hey even more reason to try it on, it would look ridiculous and that would be that.
Only it didn’t work like that. It was the first dress I tried and I looked at myself in the mirror completely gobsmacked at how it looked. It didn’t look stupid. The length wasn’t hitting my calves like it was supposed to, but rather at a more ‘ballet’ type ankle-length that I really liked. And the bust wasn’t hilarious, it actually fit my chest perfectly. And the lace was painfully beautiful and the off-white, dark yellowy ivory colour of the ‘vanilla’ satin underlay was a really good compliment to my warm undertones. I looked at the bridesmaid I’d managed to rope in at short notice (I found the shop had a dress, heard it was in a sale and pegged it over the same week) and I knew from her face that she was thinking the same way I was. And then I tried on 5 more floor- and knee-length dresses that looked so bad that I realised I wasn’t going to have a ‘typical’ dress whatever happened.
There were no sobs (I’m not really the crying kind) or fireworks and I still wonder to this day if it was ‘the one’ – but that’s in my nature. I hate making decisions about important things like this. Everyone else
thought it was my dress, so that helped convince me. I added some volume to the skirt, by the way, with my custom-made petticoat from Honeypie Boutique – all the details about this in my previous review post
Oh and please take my advice and don’t shop from Serenity Brides in Colchester. The moment I bought a sample (which they tried to talk me out of to buy a new dress) I felt like I was treated like a second-class citizen. The customer service was nowhere near what I’d expect for something I’d spent this much money on for such an important event, regardless of the fact it was ‘in the sale’ (it was still over £1k!). I don’t write bad reviews often but they made the whole dress-buying process stressful and upsetting.
Anyway, on a happier note, I’m pleased to say that on my wedding day I ticked something off my fashion blogger bucket list…
FINALLY! An outfit photo with a dog. Two dogs in fact. Nailed it. As it happened we got a few more because B’s parents’ Jack Russell joined us in the evening (which was so much fun), but this was before that. I’d told Jo I wanted a photo of me in my dress with a dog because there’s always so many on the pier and I run around like a crazed child trying to pet each one, so it felt fitting. Another moment where fate intervened – there was a black labrador sitting right outside the entrance to our evening venue. B’s dog Meg was a black labrador who sadly died last year and she would have loved to have come to the wedding. We often joked about hilarious she’d have been as a ring-bearer (she’d have just ran to get in the sea, taking the rings with her). This dog wasn’t Meg, of course, and very irritatingly I now forget its name, but it was the best poser in the business and stayed patiently in spot for all of the photos we took.
I think that’s enough for one post, but I will soon be posting the rest of the bridal party’s style, including info on the cute accessories you see in this post!
All details from this post:
Petticoat: custom made by Honeypie Boutique (review
Veil: unknown brand