My beautiful wedding dress was off the rack and I am by no means ashamed to admit it. I bought my wedding dress on my first day of looking and it was about the 8th I tried on and second shop I has been to. I didn’t really plan to buy off the rack, the first shop I went to was a boutique for example, but the second was a sample store and that’s where I ended up finding the dress I loved.

I have had mixed reactions. Most people thought it was great or didn’t really have an opinion either day, but a few friends wrinkled their noses a bit. They seemed fixated on the fact that other women would have tried it on before me… What like every other piece of clothing you have bought from a shop you mean?! These pre conceptions are plain silly. So, for any off the rack brides like me, here are some benefits of buying a sample dress as well as some tips for getting it right.

Saving money is obviously a big one. My dress was an Alfred Angelo last season which was reduced to half its original price. The full price of most wedding dresses makes me wince (you’ll only wear it once) but I do understand the price tags with all the material and detailing. So, to buy a sample and save some pennies seems like a great idea to me.

It might be one of a kind! When I found my dress before buying it I went home to think about it and searched the web high and low for the same Alfred Angelo design elsewhere. I would not find it for sale for love nor money anywhere in the world, it must have been a discontinued line. This meant that next to no brides would be wearing it for the 2016 wedding season! For someone who likes to be unique like me this is a big plus and I was keen on being a DIY friendly bride so buying a sample kind of fitted into that theme.

Flexible fittings. When you order your dress in you have the big decision of choosing a size. Yes, you can have it altered but it’s more difficult to take things out than in. I have heard of brides ordering a dress in a smaller size and then panic dieting to try and get into it when they haven’t lost the weight they wanted to. My dress was a size 14 so that was what I got. When I bought it, I was a 12 and by the time I went for my first fitting I was a 10 so I could have it taken in a fair bit. But equally could have had it taken in only a little. Flexibility makes for a calmer bride!

Tips for buying off the rack:

  1. Check the dress thoroughly, a few gems missing here or there is no biggie (my seamstress fixed some of those for me) but stains, foundation marks or major damage could prove difficult and cause you unnecessary stress.
  2. Get a good seamstress who you trust and can fit it properly and repair any small problems. Mine was amazing and transformed the dress. It fitted like a glove.
  3. Do not be ashamed! It does not mean your dress is used, second hand or in any way less ‘yours’. On the other hand you don’t have to tell people if you don’t want to. They’ll never know! And it’s none of their business anyway.
  4. Pick a dress you love and don’t be put off it’s off the rack. If, like me, you didn’t necessarily plan on buying a sample dress but you fall for one then get it! It might be your only chance! And if it’s the one, it’s the one.

Off the rack is fabulous. It doesn’t mean the dress is any less beautiful, stylish or special. I’m so glad I found mine and  wouldn’t change it for the world.

Happy shopping!

 

DIY wedding makeup. *Screams of horror*. I know, I know, my friends were horrified too. But I’ll let you into a secret..

Unless you want perfectly blended smokey eyes with Kardashian style contouring which needs a professional – you can do it!

And it will be fine!

I wanted a natural, glowy and summery makeup look for my wedding. I have little makeup experience and hardly wear any on a day to day basis. With a few makeup lessons with Bare Minerals and Laura Mercier, a few YouTube tutorials and some good quality makeup products; I did this:

 I am so happy with how it turned out. The best decision that I made was to invest a lot of effort (which means money) in preparing for my wedding day. I had mechanical facials every four weeks for 6 months prior to the big day. Manual facials are lovely but I feel having a mechanical or ‘electrical’ facial gives the skin an extra kick and can really help give you that ‘glow from within’. I alternated the microdermabrasion facials (removal of the dead skin cells for deep exfoliation) with the oxygen facials oxygen is pushed into the skin for a pumped up and refreshed look) and I found this to be a winning combination. The only important thing to remember is to have your last microderm no less than 4 weeks before the wedding as it can leave the skin slightly irritated and pink.

Teeth wise I didn’t bother with the expensive teeth whitening that many brides do. I used Oral B Luxe White (Glamorous) toothpaste and mouthwash for 4 weeks proceeding the wedding and it did the job! I didn’t have too much discoloration to begin with so didn’t need anything heavy duty but it certainly worked and I was surprised how white my teeth looked in the pictures!

I also invested in having an LVL Lash Lift. This was honestly the best thing I did regarding my bridal beauty and I would recommend it to any bride who doesn’t want the faff of falsies. I have long lashes but they are dead straight and the lash lift curls the lashes from the root and basically makes them curly, giving your eyes a much more open and doll eyed-look.  I’m really pleased with how they look in the pictures.  I’m not going to lie – the process is not a picnic. It takes about 40 minutes with your eyes shut and various liquids being put on your lashes but it’s well worth it.

Finally, I splashed out and got my brows threaded at Blink Brow Bar, London. They are on the pricey side as far as threading goes but they do an amaaaazing shape and, once done, my perfect brows lasted 3 weeks and didn’t need any filling in or makeup on the day.

The key to perfecting a DIY look is practice and planning. I went for makeup lessons at several counters; MAC (for eyes), Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Bare Minerals and Lancome. I was never 100% happy with any of the completed looks (which reinforced the fact I was right to do my own – I’m fussy!!) but I liked elements and took bits from all of them to come up with completed look. I didn’t scrimp on the products and bought a few a month until I had everything I wanted and then I practiced, practiced, practiced at home.

The makeup I used to achieve this look:

FACE

  • Bare Minerals Prime Time primer; Original.
  • Bare Minerals mineral foundation; Fairly Medium.
  • Benefit bronzer; Hoola.
  • Bare Minerals Bareskin concealer; Medium.
  • Bare Minerals Mineral Veil setting powder.
  • Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage face concealer.
  • Bare Minerals compact blusher; The One.
  • Bare Minerals compact highlight; READY Luminizor Duo.

EYES

  • Laura Mercier Eye Basic; Flax.
  • MAC Eye Shadow; Dazzlelight.
  • MAC Eye Shadow; A Natural Flirt.
  • MAC Eye Shadow; Corduroy.
  • Lancôme Hypnose Mascara  (waterproof!)

I used the 3 MAC eye-shadows with a MAC blending brush and blended them all out to create a dewy, soft pink look with a subtle shimmer.  I had been toying with wearing a chocolate brown eyeliner but with the lifted lashes I felt I didn’t really need it.

LIPS

  • MAC Lipstick; Angel.

I would encourage any bride thinking about DIY to go for it. You really don’t necessarily need a makeup artist, with the right products, practice and the ability to remain calm on the day (!!!) you can certainly do it yourself 🙂

Any other DIY brides out there?

xox

So, those of you who follow me on Instagram will probably know that we have just received our professional wedding photography! I apologise for the overload of wedding pictures on all of my social media right now – but it’s pretty exciting. I’m so happy with how they turned out especially considering the less than perfect weather conditions!

I thought I’d do a little post about how we chose our photographs and share a few of our favourites. There were 700 photos taken on the day and we had to get it down to our favourite 70! It was so tough.

We had the photographer for a pre-bridal session with my bridal party and family, for the ceremony and an hour of the reception to catch the cake cutting and a few more key moments. A lot of couples choose to have the photographer stay on for the whole reception but I just wanted to let my hair down and relax! I thought I may find a photographer there all night distracting. We also arranged a photoshoot for the next day – a sort of ‘wreck the dress’ shoot where we went in the sea which was amazing!

When whittling down wedding photographs I would give the following advice:

  1. Get a photo from every ‘portion’ of the day. At least one from pre-bridal or ‘getting ready’, the groom and best man at the alter, walking down the aisle, the ceremony, the ‘I now pronounce you husband and wife’ etc etc. Then you will have a basic timeline of the day.
  2. Get at least one picture of every ‘important person’ and one group shot. Even if they’re not your favourite photos you need to make sure that both mums and dads, close family and siblings are represented when you look back.
  3. Choose a few which reflect different elements of the day. Although they may not have people in them when you look back in years to come it will be nice to remind yourself what your cake and table set up looked like. Especially since so much effort and planning goes into these bits.
  4. Get some that make you go, ‘Wow’. You’re the bride after all – get some of you and your hubby that you love! And any pictures that you will look back with fond memories.

  


 

 

 







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INSTAGRAM// PINTEREST 

I am in love with French/Dutch braids. Unfortunately, I really can’t do them on myself! I trawl Pinterest and pin to my hearts content but when I try in front of the mirror – it just doesn’t happen. My fingers don’t bend that way!

Because I’ve got long hair which is quite thick I’m lucky in the sense that some of my more-able friends like to practice styles on me! I can’t take credit for any of these, they were all done by an incredibly talented work friend, but these are all me and I wanted to share the styles because some of them are soooo pretty.

Braid across the front, side and into a bun. I like this one because it’s a nice up do and looks kind of ‘little house on the prairie’. It’s one braid starting at the front of the head and crossing over round the side.

Festival plaits. Classic! Great for the gym or festivals, make you look kind of cool.

My favourite! This was a backwards French braid (starting at the bottom of the head) which is done with the model (me) with their head upside down the whole time. It looks amaaaazing from the back.

Side braid. Or Katnis braid! Love it.

Another favourite – a simple everyday look with one fat braid across the front. So pretty!

Can you do any exotic braid styles? Can you teach me??

xox

INSTAGRAM // BLOGLOVIN // PINTEREST

If, like me and most twenty-somethings trying to make it in this world, you are renting your current place of residence then you may be familiar with the term I have affectionate coined; The Magnolia Nightmare.

We live in a small (and by small I mean smaller than some 4-man tents) apartment in London and the bedroom kinda leads into the living room which leads into the kitchen so it’s all painted the same shade of lovely Magnolia. Which is not really an issue except for the fact that it’s so boring. And unfortunately when you don’t own the house it’s not your colour scheme to change.

So, a little tip to combat the cream, use accessories to add mad pops of colour to your home! I love bright colours, particularly pinks (can you tell?!) and pastel tones, so I have furnished and accessorized my flat within an inch of it’s life to give it some oomph. And I must say I think it looks fab.

Choosing really strong colours on an otherwise plain background is a really nice style choice for those who don’t want to invest too much time and money in a property which isn’t theirs – you can always take the soft furnishings with you It also means you can update your interior easily as styles and your tastes change. It’s not necessary to spend a fortunate on your place, a few well placed things can make all the difference and can say a lot about your personality. Plus, so many high street shops now do really good quality homewear at bargain prices.

A few pops of colour in my apartment:

Bright Cushions – Primark.

Tropical Fabric Birds – Gift.

Handmade pink Dreamcatchers – Etsy (read my post here).

Audrey Hepburn pop art canvas – charity shop!

xox