I like to shop around to get the best when I make a purchase. I take time over a menu in an expensive restaurant; I deliberate over shoes, sometimes the most cost effective is not the cheapest long term option. Expensive shoes tend to stand the test of time and serve as design classics. I recently attended Leonie Claire Bridal in Brighton, which lead me to question would I spend more on a bespoke design? It was the boutiques 4th Birthday and crikey did we celebrate! Champagne was provided by Leonie and her lovely team. Canapés and 3 tiers of cup cakes were supplied courtesy of Jam Queen. They were so yummy that this honest woman may have had more than one!
The really exciting bit is that I talked to Sarah Arnett about her bespoke service. Sarah explained that she sits down and goes through your ideas, next she sketches up your ideas and illustrates a couple of options. The bespoke service is obviously a little more expensive than the ready to wear current bride collection. I feel so excited at the prospect of a bespoke gown! (Cue another high pitched squeal!). Because I’m getting married in church and the reception will be held at Seaham Hall I want a dress that fits the venue. So I’ve made an appointment to talk to Sarah in Leonie’s boutique next week. Thanks Leonie for a fab evening and delicious goodie bag packed with ideas, advice and tips. Feeling pretty pampered right now!
So all I’ve done for the past few months is think wedding dresses. I’ve even dreamt of them. Never have I been so excited as I was earlier in the week to receive an invite to a re-launch party at Leonie Claire Bridal. Leonie is throwing a birthday party for her beautiful Brighton boutique which has been going now for 4 years! (Que high piched squeal!)
Added to that award winning local designer Sarah Arnett is offering a unique bespoke service at the shop. So not only can you now buy form her new bridal collection but you can have a new dress deigned from scratch to boot!
I’m very excited about going to the party tomorrow. Champagne and canapés are promised though I think I’ll be giddy just from looking at the dresses! X
I’m fast learning that planning a wedding has many stages and with it come many decisions. Booking the church and Seaham Hall were the first 2 major decisions. Though, I have a feeling that this next stage for me may be the most enjoyable. Choosing THE DRESS! (insert small but very high pitched scream!)
I’ve loved fashion from a young age; I think I learnt to say ‘la Croix’ just after mama & dada. Well maybe not that early but certainly after Ab Fab. I’ve been drawing dresses ever since I can remember so I knew as soon as the question was popped that the wedding dress had got to be special.
I booked an appointment at Leonie Claire Bridal in Brighton. Leonie suggested coming in with a friend on an afternoon so that I could spend a couple of hours tying on. So armed with my bridesmaid Rhonda I began the search. I tried a few big dresses to rule them in or out….and I surprisingly really liked them. So I tried fishtails and loved them…slinky’s next, ditto…..in fact I practically loved every dress in the shop!
Leonie was understanding and offered advice…..”try your favourites on again, when you do you’ll know the one.”….so I did. First I tried the Suzanne Neville….amazing corsetry; I found the waist I never knew I had! I cried. This must be the one. I tried the David Fielden, all slinky with delicately sequined bust to try and rule it out but oh no more tears! Finally a Sarah Arnett dress, I must say I felt more affinity with the Sarah Arnett perhaps because she is locally based in Brighton and I’ve worn her dresses before. I loved the slinky plunge neckline and pleating, and I had some more tears.
Leonie had more advice. “Take some time off”, she said. She sent me off with another appointment in a few weeks time. I haven’t made my mind up yet but I can’t wait to go back and try them again maybe with my mum. I’ll bring the tissues! x www.leonieclaire.com
The trip ‘up north’ had resulted in securing our family church St Helen’s Church Kelloe, pretty and steeped in history, it had to be the place. We also viewed a number of hotels, for me there was only ever two in the running…Rockliffe Hall and Seaham Hall both are fab 5 star hotels with lovely indulgent spa’s, Rockliffe is all new and sparkly whilst Seaham drips in history. For Mr B however there was no contest, Seaham Hall he said had ‘a true pedigree’, history; (Lord Byron was married there), architecture; visually it’s a stunning house with modern highlights and uber luxury. Finally location; added to that its set on the dramatic North East coast next to the north sea, for Mr B and me it’s the right place. Isn’t it funny how sometimes craggy and dramatic can win hands down to brand new.
After initially reserving the hotel for Saturday 25th September, we visited it again over the Easter break. It’s grown on us more. We ate there in The White Room, (all starched linen and high ceilings, with a welcome feel and outstanding menu). Mr B had steak and I had craster kipper salad, it didn’t disappoint. After we digested with a coffee in the drawing room and looked around the hotel’s 19 rooms, all utterly fantastic suites, individually designed. We saw the Penthouse, and it’s a must, views of the sunning vortex below. We were looked after by Kelly the wedding planner, who is going to be really good at all the things I’m not any good at, ie organised! OMG I have a date and a venue and a wedding planner. Who’d have thought it! Wow, must take my breath! With just over 5 months to go we have our favourite date, church and venue. Done, done and done x
Now although I live in beautiful seaside town of Brighton I do hail from a place somewhat further north than that. Born and bred in God’s own country, County Durham I thought it appropriate to get married up north. My folks still live in a little ex pit mining village called Kelloe in the same house I moved to when I was 3! I’ve got a passion for the North and its always friendly people and the warm welcome you always get there.
Kelloe Church is one of the oldest churches in the North East of England. It’s Norman and was built as a stop off point on the pilgrimage to visit St Cuthbert’s final resting place in Durham Cathedral. It ticks a few boxes for me, its old and its grey and its pretty and I did my A Level Art study on the church when I was 17. (So innocent back then!) So that’s a yes from me, decision made, tick!
Reception venue was the next job on the list….. I had a feeling this would not be so easy. We got in the car and ventured north to look at a couple of possibilities. Now I hope I’m not being too much of a princess when I say I do not under any circumstances want to see another bride on my big day. Unbelievably some venues held multiple weddings on the day, up to 5!? Not for me, Noooo!.. No way! After a little looking it came down to 2 possible venues, Rockliffe Hall and Seaham Hall. They are both beautiful venues, both also have 5 star hotels and spas, I loved both. For Mr B there was no contest, only one possibility for him….Which will it be?
Now although me and Mr B were engaged over on the other side of the pond in NYC the sparkler has its roots firmly ‘set’ in Brighton. Mr B being in the men’s accessories trade and some time jeweller really had no excuse but to come up with the goods. So he called on close friend Mr Kyle McIntosh of Baroque Bespoke Jewellery in Brighton. Now as you might expect from the name, Kyle does not hail from Brighton, ach noo! (sorry about the accent) he is indeed a bonny scot. But having trained and cut his teeth on the rough diamonds in the jewelling trade down in Brighton he decided to stay and set up Baroque Bespoke with fellow Jewellers Pippa Knowles, Jason French and Phil Park. Baroque really is a sumptuous little find, nestled in the lanes. What I didn’t know was that Mr B spent countless hours in Kyle’s office, The Bath Arms, 3 doors down from Baroque discussing the sparkler over a pint or two of Guinness!
So the sparkler is uber contemporary design in yellow gold with a cunning groove shaped out of the side of the band. And this is the clever bit, in the groove sits the round cut diamond….genius! So thank you to Kyle (and Mr B) for crafting a cunning yet perfectly formed plan and a fabulous sparkler to boot! You’re a diamond! You can find Baroque bespoke for all manner of fine jems by going to 9 Union St Brighton or www.baroquejewellery.com XX
I got engaged in January, a shock for anyone who knows me! It’s not that I was anti marriage I just didn’t think I was that into it. Oh how all of that changed on 22nd January 2010! Mr Boston and I were in New York doing a menswear show for denisonboston. After a week of work Mr B pulled a big surprise and booked us into a proper swanky place in the meatpacking district, Hotel Gansvoort – Really very cool, pool, spa, concierge….you know the sort of place where the have a lift boy and bell hop, or is that lift hop and bell boy? Never mind. After a day of sipping cocktails and swimming (not recommended after more than 3 Mojito’s) Mr B suggested the Empire State building for a bit of evening air before dinner, bit odd I thought but why not indulge him, we’re on holiday right?
86 floors later (we used the elevator, complete with lift lady) and reached the top. Stunning views of the Chrysler Building, it was cold mind, January aint the month to be hanging about outdoors in NY. So without further ado Mr B got down on one knee and popped the question. I was so shocked I almost fell over and through the sparkler off the top (can you imagine the damage I could have done? I can see the headlines now, falling rock knocks out small child..etc)
So after that rather lovely news we spent the next 2 days drinking bubbly on the 18th Floor of The Standard (the best views of Manhattan)….How very cosmopolitan!
Back to Blighty (Brighton) and decided to get hitched this year. September 25th to be precise! We wanted to get married up North in God’s own country County Durham. We have a venue holding the date that we are hoping to firm up soon, Seaham Hall a stunning Hotel on Durham’s rugged North East coast. Magic, but more on that later…
Is it possible to organize a wedding in 6 months – Heck yeah, Is the Pope Catholic?
So that’s where I am, planning and getting excited and squealing about things I never thought I would, venues, the dress, table centers, bridesmaids, colours and favours. Mr B is going to make an honest woman of me and here’s how it happens…..