Monday, 28 November 2011

Bride and Tested: Italian Bling - Passion, Piazzas and Prosecco!

Having visited the charming small town of Sorrento, this is one real life wedding I got totally lost in!  Lyndsey and William Duckworth were married 11th June 2011 under the romantic Sorrentine skies of the Neopolitan Riveria.  So utterly charmed were they both by the romance, culture and pretty picturesque views of the Bay, post wedding they're now focussing on a new business venture, Ciao Bella Wedding Design, planning weddings for other excited couples in Sorrento (Ciao Bella Wedding Design on Facebook)

"We met at work, William says it was love across the desk partition.  I got fed up of waiting for William to make a move so seduced him at the Christmas Party!"

Our photographer was Vincenzo Aiello, originally from Sorrento but he now works out of London as a fashion photographer. It was great that we had someone who knew the local area along with speaking perfect English and the most important factor for us was that he had such a contemporary and stylish portfolio.  He made us feel completely relaxed and was there at every perfect moment without being too intrusive.

San Francesco Cloisters

"The bride walked down a green carpet which was rose petal covered aisle to a mandolin playing the wedding march, the mandolin continuing to provide background music throughout the ceremony"

Relais Blu Belvedere A charming Boutique hotel, between the Amalfi coast and the Sorrento Peninsula

Evening reception
Photo is a restaurant and bar with contemporary style with traditional Italian cuisine. Photographs represent the main theme of the place and are the reason for the name.  They have a fab little hide away garden at the rear of the restaurant.  The resident DJ selects music to make it lively and we thought it would be the perfect place to end out day.

Will, tell us about the proposal
We were on a holiday of a lifetime in Dubai, then Safari in Tanzania, then a rest in Zanzibar in September 2009.  I'd arranged everything before we left and picked the ring up secretly in Dubai at the Gold & Diamond Park, when I saw it I just thought wow - exactly as I wanted. From then on it was wrapped in tissue in my money belt for 2 weeks; the most important, most expensive purchase in my life in a sweaty bit of tissue around my waist as we travelled through Africa on safari!  Every now and again I'd check it to make sure it was ok and as time went on I thought "it's not looking as good as I first thought, is the setting was too big", by the time we got to Zanzibar I was a nervous wreck!
As we'd stayed in the grubbiest bed and breakfast in Dar es Salaam and even camped in the Serengeti (where Lyndsey tripped the campsite's generator with her ghd's), I arranged to stay at the Penthouse Suite in the Z hotel on Zanzibar as a luxurious treat; the ‘Z Suite’ though with a hot tub on a balcony over looking the sea.

I hadn't planned anything past this point - I had a poem for when I got down on one knee but I didn't know when to say it. As the day went on I thought about just doing it over dinner but when we were watching the sunset in our hot tub I thought "this is it". I said I was going to order drinks at the bar but went down onto the beach and wrote ‘Lyndsey Will You Marry Me?’ in the sand. I looked up to the balcony; I was going to get down on one knee on the beach with her looking over but she wasn't there, I ran back up to the room past people at the pool clapping and caught her in the hall, got down on one knee, recited my poem then she said yes.  What a great moment!
When we walked on the beach that evening an African kid had written ‘yes’ in the sand underneath.

Tell us about your dress, Lyndsey
The dress was Blue by Enzoani – Calistoga, a European influence design, ivory satin and strapless with lots of attention to detail.  The dress had a shell top edge which I loved and a cathedral train.  As I wasn’t sure on the bottom of the dress or the long train I had it customised to suit my style more.  I loved the Calistoga gown as soon as I tried it on in Pronuptia but was told I couldn’t achieve the alternations I required.  By chance I attended a small wedding fair and a bridal boutique based in Widnes who also stocked the Enzoani gowns were prepared to do the alternations to the dress.  So by process of elimination really I had my dress! 

I had a simple satin trimmed ivory veil that was scattered with crystals.  I didn’t want a traditional tiara; I wanted a side hair band style which I got from Glitzy Secrets, a bargain!  My earrings were beautiful Swarovski crystal chandelier style (my signature /statement piece is dangly earrings).  Will bought me a beautiful Swarovski cuff which he delivered to me on the morning of the wedding as a surprise.  I had seen beautiful ‘bling’ diamond encrusted shoes that were very 'me' at St George’s Hall wedding fair that I had been lusting over for weeks, and then Will surprised me on my birthday with them!

And the Groom...
Will wore a silver contemporary three piece Albert suit with silver waistcoat and cravat.  He wanted the matching waistcoat as he knew it would be too hot abroad wearing the jacket all day; he looked extremely handsome and very stylish!  Will completed the look with diamante cufflinks and tie pin from Groom Hire at the Wedding House

I orignally struggled to select a colour that would complement my best friend's colouring, Will's suit and the venue.  In the end I went for a Jim Hjem Teal Bridesmaid dress which suited my beautiful blonde best friend's figure and colouring perfectly and went perfectly with Will’s grey suit; it was such a relief once we had bought it.

"The dress code for our guests was stylish suits and fabulous frocks.  The best man wore a matching Albert suit with a teal and silver paisley tie"

Following the ceremony we had a drinks reception and photographs taken at Villa Communale overlooking the Sorrento coastline and Mount Vesuvious. There is a small little Italian bar were our guests enjoyed chilled white wine, beers and ice cream.
Our guests were then transported to the reception venue Relais Blu, a boutique hotel and restaurant located a short drive from Sorrento. When we first visited Relais Blu to plan our wedding the year before we turned up in the pouring rain but still the view of Capri from the entrance took our breath away.  Suffice to say in the glorious sunshine of our wedding day when we arrived 20 minutes after our guests their mouth’s were still open in awe as they stood on the Capri Terrace.

Special Touches
It’s traditional in Italy to walk to the ceremony so we both walked to the cloisters.  You really are made to feel special like a celebrity people in the street were clapping and cheering!
Following the ceremony we strolled hand in hand through the cobbled streets of Sorrento to get some photographs in the surroundings.
Relais Blu were supplying transport to get us and our guests from the ceremony to the reception venue but at the last minute Will and I thought we’d like to have these few moments alone so we arranged a transfer (BMW X5 big enough to fit my dress in) with the hotel owner.  We really enjoyed this private/quiet moment together drinking a chilled bottle of Prosecco.

The Food
Our wedding breakfast was a lavish 5 course affair! 
As we milled around on the rattan sofas and stood chatting on the balcony drinking Prosecco & Peroni we were served with our aperitif which comprised of Bruschetta, Shrimps with Lemon Leaf, Smoked Salmon with Fennel, Dried Beef with Parmesan and Fried Chicken with Mayonnaise.

After a 30 minute break we were seated at our tables for the wedding breakfast which were laid out simply with white linen and a vase of cut white roses along with the favours for each of our guests.
A pasta course of Ravioli with Walnut Sauce 
A main of Tagliata of Beef served with Arucola and potatoes
Fruit and  Wedding Cake.  Yum!

The wedding favours were laid out on the tables in a bride dress box for the ladies, and a groom suit box for the men. Inside all the guests received a poem thanking them for being a part of our special day, personalised Lyns & Will Love heart sweets, the ladies received a handbag holder and Murano glass ring and the men received an Italy bottle opener and Sorrento football badge.  

Fans were provided at the Cloisters to ensure that all the guests remained cool during the ceremony.  The tag of the fan were personalised with ‘Lyns & Will 11th June 2011 Sorrento’.  We had also provided flip flops for the lady guests to ensure that they were comfortable for the day and could save their feet for the dancing later!  These were at the entrance of Relais Blu with a sign that said ‘Ladies, Aching Feet Give them a Treat Love Lyns & Will x’

The music throughout the reception was provided by an Ipod playlist compiled specifically for the occasion by ourselves – probably one of the most stressful things, but it was worth the effort.
The first dance was performed on the Capri Terrace at dusk to if I Aint Got You by Alicia Keys, with choreography provided by Danielle Norman at Butterfly Dance and Fitness; following the first dance our guests joined us in a chorus of That’s Amore!

Once the sun had set we released sky lanterns from the terrace. Will and I had two huge Red Heart Lanterns and the rest of our guests had white.

We departed Relais Blu at 9pm to continue the party at Photo, a contemporary bar in the heart of Sorrento, we were welcomed once again with Prosecco and partied with the backing of a DJ spinning classic house drinking Mojito’s, Sex on the Beach and Peroni – plus for the guests who were peckish there was more canapĂ© style finger food.

As it was an intimate wedding abroad with close family and friends only (we had a no child policy it excluded some guests), when we returned from honeymoon we held a party to celebrate our marriage at nightclub Kingdom. (A special thanks to Andrew Donohue Kingdom Manager).

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Winterspiration: Wonderland Mood Board...

Tis the season to be jolly...romantic

I love that snowflakes are said to be kisses from angels. 
love the idea of wrapping up in snug luxe velvets and furs. 
I love how mischievous mistletoe represents romance and fertility.  I'm thinking homemade snowflake cookie favours, I'm thinking ice bars, I'm thinking sparklers and lanterns.  Yes, I'm thinking Christmas...

With love xxx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Suits You, Sir...Happy Birthday GROOM!

Groom Hire’s 15thBirthday Party

26 – 27 November 2011

Groom Hire  is celebrating its 15th birthday in serious style. On the weekend of 26th – 27th November, for one weekend only, GROOM will be discounting all its suits by 40%!

Open seven days a week and soon to be featured on ‘Don't Tell the Bride’, Groom Chester is situated in Chester's cosmopolitan city centre, surrounded by top restaurants, wine bars and speciality style stores.

Groom specialises in men's formal wear for weddings, back tie events, proms, Ascot and all other formal occasions, either to hire or to buy. With a wide range of designer slim fit tails, Albert's and Savile Row style short 2 & 1 button suits, in all the colours: black, navy, dark grey, mid grey and silver. They also offer a bespoke waistcoat, cravat and tie making service and promise to match any colour under the rainbow.

Store Manager Colin Wilkes says of the celebrations

"Groom Chester is one of five stores in the North West celebrating Groom’s 15th Birthday during the last weekend in November. Over the weekend there will be a party atmosphere in the store, with bubbly, nibbles, cakes, balloons and unbeatable discounts. Come along and join in the fun!"

With professional wedding advisors Jenna and Maria on hand, you're sure to find a suave style that suits you...!

Happy Birthday GROOM, with love x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Have You Heard the One about the Celebrity Bride, Don’t Tell the Bride and the Gothic Bride?

And the Bride Wore Black...
Gothic Fashion Show at the Wedding House, 3-4 Great George Place, Liverpool, L1 7AG Thursday 3rd November 2011 6pm-8.30pm  

They say everything comes in threes, and for the the Wedding House in Liverpool last week, that was spookily so.  Kerry Katona was papped entering the Wedding House with a Channel 5 film crew in tow, filming the latest TV wedding craze, Celebrity Wedding Planner. The show pays up to £12k towards a couple’s wedding day, on the basis that they put their trust in a mystery celebrity who organises the wedding on their behalf.

Following on with the TV theme, BBC3’s Don’t Tell the Bride airs tonight at 9pm with bride-to-be Amanda trying on her ‘dream dress in her dream shop’; the beautiful boutique that is Cloud 9 Bridal at the Wedding House. Let’s just hope she didn’t pay a visit when proprietor Shirley Briers, ‘trashed’ one of her exclusive Ian Stuart gowns, all in aid of the Gothic inspired bridal fashion show at the Wedding House on Thursday 3rd November. 

Shirley says of the Trash the Dress trend,

"We took inspiration from Ian Stuart’s ‘Flower Bomb’ dress and added black fabric strips of tulle, ostrich feathers, black flowers, diamante brooches and ribbon bows. The top edging was a beaded belt, the skirt was then ripped and graffiti was added. Black lace, a big tulle bow, ostrich feathers and a diamante brooch were also added to the top hat, courtesy of Rocks for Frocks. The gloves were the bride’s ‘something borrowed’. We wanted a gothic twist to the Trash the Dress trend, which involves a bride wearing her dress after the big day for a photo shoot in an inappropriate environment such as a beach, urban setting or muddy field. The rich dark interior and gothic exterior made this a perfect and unique backdrop for our own Gothic Trash the Dress catwalk.”

 For one fright only, each boutique gave an appetizer of their AW collections with a nod to the Gothic-Glam trend in their very own distinct style. Brides-to-be and their hentourages fell in love with the romance, magic and mysticism of the iconic gothic grade II listed building in all its lit up glory, whilst enjoying entertainment from in house band Kikosi and flowing pink fizz. Gothic models included a bevy of local beauty queens from Miss Liverpool Galaxy 2011 (Sarah Fairley), Miss Galaxy International 2011-2012 (Jamie Lee), Miss Merseyside Galaxy 2011 (Brooke Baday) and Miss Teen Merseyside Galaxy 2011 (Sophia Hatoum).

Organisers of the event, Kate Bentley of Eat Your Heart Out Vintage and Danielle Jenkins of Hollywood Glamour explained  

“We wanted a fashion show to represent the gothic heritage of the newly re-launched Wedding House. Our collections are influenced by the timeless style of the past as well as catwalk trends from the present; offering the finest selection of fashion forward vintage clothing. Materials of luxe lace, velvet, silk and floaty chiffon, translate the look from the runway to the big day. We’re delighted with the turnout and reaction from all our visitors.”  

Not everything on the night was so scary; guests were spellbound by the cute flower girls modelling dresses from boutique Ruby & Tom, the Gothic inspired wedding cake made by Edible Magic and the dessert table by Half Dozen Designs. With thanks to Tatty Lashes Handcrafted stationery, Beauty Box, Miss Bouquets, Rocks for Frocks, and Calidad Creations.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

TOWIE Star Celebrates 30th Birthday with a Well Reem Wedding Theme

Admission number 1.  I am a TOWIE late bloomer.  There, I've said it.  Admission number 2.  My name is Mrs. Plan B  and I am avid reader of Closer/Look/Now/Reveal/Heat/G'way/YourMessin'/NoWay  (My first love, though, is Grazia, which is not an admission, but in fact, a bible).  So perusing weekly pictures of the TOWIE girls in all their Forever Unique glory, it was hard not to want to delve a little deeper and find out just what they're all about.  I briefly 'met' Chloe Sims on a night out in San Carlo Liverpool in the summer, and found her to be utterly charming and beautiful.  With such a tiny waist!  #WellJel.  So series 3 has become my guilty pleasure; my excuse to tuck myself up for an early night and relive my twentysomething party days (in a much more polished sort of way).  And my Tweeting timeline is so much more brighter for it.  Okay, maybe they don't always come out on top in the style stakes, but they certainly DO THINGS in style. 

Take for example, the aforementioned Miss Sims.  Today she celebrated her 30th birthday with a REEM Wedding Theme.  A gal after my own heart!  More Flirty 30 than blushing bride, she was still dazzling in white, with the two Laurens helping her up the aisle in matching 'bridesmaid' dresses.    Read all about it here in my other daily fix,  the Daily Mail.

So like any good wedding, TOWIE has it all: glamour, romance, tears of love and laughter, and hopefully for all, a happy ever after! 

Stay reem gang, I love ya xxx

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Liverpool reveals a dark side as brides follow designers to go Gothic

Check Bespoken Dreams out in yesterday's  Liverpool Echo!

A model displays a creation by British fashion designer Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen spring-summer

IF the word Gothic conjures up images of sullen inky-eyed teens, or Twilight’s beautiful blood-guzzling vampires, then it might be time for a rethink.

Because the biggest name designers have decreed that fashion is feeling in a dark mood and that means a resurgence in all things decadent and dramatic.

Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen unveiled a Gothic inspired collection in Paris for spring/summer 2012, full of satin and lace, and so too did Yves St Laurent and Chanel.

But it isn’t just stunning evening dresses which have crossed to the dark side - bridal gowns have too.
The queen of wedding style Vera Wang has just released a collection in New York called Witchcraft by Vera Wang. It features black gowns designed with lace, tulle and organza, and has had fashion observers predicting that in the next few months at least black could well be the new white.

There’s no doubt that Gothic glam is having a moment and, with Halloween just around the corner, it’s a trend that Liverpool fashion followers are finding more of a treat than a trick.

“Brides fall in love with the romance, magic and mysticism of the look,” explains Liverpool wedding planner Helens Burns. “But it’s a trend that is accessible to all, not just Gothic brides.

“Rich colours such as deep reds and purples and emerald greens have an edge without the bride having to wear all black, and materials such as lace, velvet, silk and chiffon all hint towards Gothic glam.

“A lot of fashionistas drew inspiration from the Duchess of Cambridge’s iconic wedding dress, and from Sarah Burton’s recently unveiled collection for SS12.”

Helen, who lives in Allerton, launched her Bespoken Dreams wedding consultancy in April. She says the Gothic trend doesn’t just centre around what the bride wears, it’s all about setting the scene too.

“Castles, stately homes and country manors are the perfect backdrop to build this theme around and props and accessories including candles and dramatic flowers like black roses and calla lilies all add to the feel,” she explains.

"Dramatic italic and Gothic fonts can be used on wedding stationery and menus, and quotes from Gothic-inspied literature like Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey or favourite movies are perfect nods towards the trend which can be used on table plans and place settings.

“Brides and bridesmaids might also want to experiment with darker make-up for lips and nails, so there are lots of ways to incorporate touches without going for a full-blown Gothic wedding.”

In perfect timing for the trend, Liverpool will host a Gothic Fashion Show on Thursday November 3.

The event, at the Wedding House near the Anglican Cathedral, is being co-ordinated by Kate Bentley from Eat Your Heart Out Vintage boutique in aid of Alder Hey’s Clothes Throw Appeal.

More than 30 suppliers, covering everything from cakes to corsetry, will be taking part in the show encouraging guests to unleash their inner Gothic girl.

“The theme translates into mystery, subtle seduction and quiet confidence for any bride-to-be or fashion conscious woman,” says Kate.

“Our collections are influenced by the timeless style of the past as well as catwalk trends from the present, offering fashion forward vintage clothing. Materials of luxe lace, velvet, silk and floaty chiffon take the look from the runway to the big day.

“For the show, each boutique will give an appetiser of its autumn/winter collections with a nod towards Gothic glam. Cloud 9 Bridal, Eat Your Heart Out Vintage and Hollywood Glamour are among the names showcasing their collections with hair and make-up from in-house professionals.”

The Gothic Fashion Show will take place at The Wedding House, 3-4 Great George Place, Liverpool 1 on Thursday November 3, 6-8.30pm.

Dawn Collinson

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Keeping Up With the Paper Doll - An Inspiring Invite Insight...

Hot on the (Giuseppe Zannoti wedding) heels of Kim Kardashian is Sarah Cluney of the Paper Doll, local lovely and wedding stationer extraodinaire.

Always  keeping up with the ever changing trends to whet her bride's amorous appetites, Sarah's most recent design is the Oh-So-Cool-Old-Hollywood-Glamour-Old-School, a replica of Kim Kardashian's beau-ti-ful wedding invitation, and of course, at a kimth of the price!

Bespoken Dreams caught up with Sarah and her sparkly world of crafty creations to find out more...

"I accidentally ‘fell’ into the wedding business!  I have always be crafty and loved to create various bits and bobs which led me to having part time jobs in both Craft Central and The Paper Mill.  I was at these shops while completing my degree in Psychology.  I took on the role of wedding co-ordinator at The Paper Mill and it all started from there.  I began to develop my passion for wedding stationery running appointments and teaching brides how to create their own wedding stationery, giving tips and advice on materials and tools required.  It was at this point that I decided to put one of my table plans on Ebay - the classic bow design that has now become my biggest seller. I remember selling one three days after the item had been listed and I was so excited to create the item, then the next day I sold another, and another and it all took off from there!  In June 2010 I completed my degree and when I started to develop an order book for wedding stationery I realised there was no looking back. 

I've not long celebrated The Paper Doll’s official birthday and I would never in a million years have thought that something like this would have been possible.  One of the most exciting things to happen was when one of my brides went on Four Weddings.  I didn’t actually know when her episode would be shown; it was just lucky that one night while I was watching the camera suddenly zoomed into the stationery and I screamed the house down when I realised it was mine, then to top it off... she won!

Every day I get excited about designing and creating items. I don’t really think of this as a job, its more like a life style as I really do eat, breath, sleep weddings and wedding stationery.

SO!  Firstly I just want to say that I am a huge Kardashian fan. While I’m designing and creating I am usually watching (with my ears) E! and the Kardshians tend to dominate this channel.

So when I found out that Kim Kardashian was getting married I had to know every little detail including the most important of all - the stationery!

I managed to find out the company designing K&K's stationery was Invitationers to the Stars  Lehr and Black. Their celebrity client list is endless, including invitations for Gweneth Paltrow & Chris Martin, Seal & Heidi Klum and now Kim Kardashian & Kris Humphries. Sadly many of these celebrity couples are no longer married but I guess thats Hollywood for you! My favourite design in fact is Britney Spears and Kevin Fedderline’s, I love that its vintage, girly and romantic all in one, so I would definitely like to create something inspired by this in the future.

Although we haven’t really seen most of the wedding footage, from short clips that I have seen the logo/embelum is followed right the way through the theme, its even on the carpet as Kim swished down the aisle! It's a really classic, elegant and effective way of tying all items of stationery together. And it doesn’t just have to be done with identical initials, any two letters can fit together to create a unique personalised image.
I also LOVE how this style of invitation comes in its own box. This is such a simple way to really make an impression for your wedding - its like a little present for each guest to open.

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing all the extras to match this theme! x

Us too Sarah!  Thank you for the inspiring invite insight,

Much love and Happy Planning x

Friday, 16 September 2011

Liverpool's Gothic Wedding House Relaunch Party

Where the Heart Is
Home Sweet Home for the North West’s Bridal Best

Liverpool’s iconic gothic building the Wedding House  relaunched last week over a two day event in true celebratory style.  And keeping in with the essence of any fabulous wedding knees up, guests were indulged with fun, fizz and festivities.  Special guest Lord Mayor Cllr Frank Prendergast officially opened the event by cutting an aptly coloured pink ribbon before stepping inside the beautiful grade II listed building to sample an array of the thirty elite suppliers now housed there.  Wow!

From its original detailed Victorian tiled floor to the inviting rich red staircase, it’s clear to see how the Gothic Revival inspired a genre of romantic poetry in the literary world.  And within the wedding world, it seems the Wedding House has stirred many a romantic too.  Brides and their entourages came in droves to sample the four floors of top design inspiration and personal style advice to help plan their special occasion. 

Hot band on the circuit, Kikosi set the party atmosphere as guests were wowed by a first dance routine choreographed by Danielle Norman from Butterfly Wedding Choreography.  Also wowing the guests were the easy-on-the-eye semi naked hunks courtesy of My Sexy Butler.

The Wedding House is the brainchild of husband and wife proprietors Neil and Jennifer Shaw of Knutsford.  Neil purchased the building eight years ago to house his Liverpool Groom formal hire store.  He approached several other businesses at a Liverpool Echo wedding show and invited them to join, several of who are still there now. In 2011, Jennifer, a business improvement consultant working predominantly for global PLCs, took a sabbatical to help out in the family business.  

Jennifer says “I started by approaching some of the best wedding and special occasion related businesses within the North West; my vision to bring in some younger, funkier and more bang on trend businesses who would widen the appeal to any stylish customer looking for something a little bit different for their special occasion.”  

Like any blushing bride-to-be, the Wedding House is now at her most beautiful.  Nestled in the heart of the city centre and open seven days a week, the cream of the wedding crop exclusively provide an all year round wedding show experience to guide brides through the exciting planning process.  A wedding treat retreat! 

“We are still very much aimed at the wedding market, however, I equally see it as a destination of choice for a fashionista visiting for that special outfit to make them stand out from the crowd at the races or something to give their party the WOW factor, whatever the occasion.”

For a detailed guide of all suppliers at the House please visit

Much Love & Happy