Sunday, 29 May 2011

Here Comes the Pride...

Planning a civil partnership can be a very daunting experience, and with an abundance of choice and oodles of options, where exactly do you start? From the Sublime to the, er, Stanford, your wedding can be as subtle or extravagant as you wish. So for an insight into the all important planning tips, follow Bespoken Dreams  guide to Here Comes the Pride! In the words of Julie Andrews, let’s start at the very beginning…

12 Months to Go – RAINBOW!

Organise your engagement party and show off your bling; it’s celebration time! Tell relatives and close friends and plan your Save the Dates.

Agree on the type of celebration you want; relaxed or formal, register office or licensed venue (you can contact your council to receive a full list of venues licensed). But whatever you choose, remember to…

…Incorporate your dreams, aspirations, likes, loves, hobbies, lifestyle or interests into the day of your bespoken dreams. Delicately stamp your unique personal style and flair all over it!

With the average wedding costing £22k, and of course a raging recession to think about, it’s important to sit down and discuss your budget as soon as possible. If family members are contributing, involve them too. What are your priorities and what areas can you cut back on or save? Think about opening up a wedding bank account and don’t forget to include wedding insurance in your sums. Consider a wedding planner; they have friends in high places and can connect super savvy couples with elite suppliers offering wedding planner discounted rates!

Book an appointment to give notice at your local register office. Couples must have lived in the district they are giving notice in for at least 7 days. Your notice will be publically displayed for 15 days and anyone who wishes to oppose may do so during this time. Assuming it’s not Corrie or the Dales, you’ll be good to go…

Decide if you will have the ceremony and reception at the same place. If you have your heart set on a fashionable venue, book it yesterday! Think about seasons. If it’s more popular in summer then why not consider a winter wedding? Also think about topical events; FA Cup finals, the forthcoming Olympics, they all have knock on effects on cost and availability. If you don’t have a venue in mind, shortlist your own venue menu and visit 3-5 until you find your perfect location temptation!

Decide on a first draft of numbers and draw up a list with both sets of parents. Of course this won’t be the final cut, but you will need a rough indication before you can confirm your ceremony and venue. Capacity at a particular venue will dictate whether you host dinner for 80 or an evening cocktail reception for 120.

“So! If there’s one thing you take from this planning keepsake, then darhlings please let it be this, today is your beginning of always, a lifetime of happiness and bliss”

Helen Burns For Better or Verse

Much Love and Happy Planning x

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

White Gallery Opens its Doors to New Talent 2012

The UK’s only designer bridal exhibition, White Gallery  London, was staged over the last 3 days, Sunday to today, at Battersea Evolution.  White Gallery has a reputation for delivering the best names in the business. With an audience of leading retailers from as far as Japan and attracting a high level of international media attention, this is the show that positions British bridal design at the forefront.
Important British names such as Amanda Wakeley, David Fielden, Ian Stuart, Sassi Holford, Matthew Williamson, Stephanie Allin and Stewart Parvin are among the global players who regard White Gallery London as key to their business interests. It is an elegant and exclusive show which facilitates the coming together of the top designers and their customers, the top bridal wear stores.

This year, White Gallery London introduced a small group of talented UK designers who are poised for critical and commercial acclaim.

According to Event Director Alejandra Campos: “it is important that the industry recognises the names that will shape bridal in the years ahead. The high-voltage talents we have on board for White Gallery London are every bit as individual as they are exciting. It is thrilling that White Gallery London will help them on the next stage of the journey”.

At 2pm yesterday, the New Talent Preview wowed visitors and buyers alike. Retailers, on the look-out for bright new names made appointments to see the hand-picked young labels.  Coming soon to a boutique, near you!

Watch out for...

The Vintage Wedding Dress Company

Renowned Stylist Charlie Brear has brought together her years of experience in fashion to create The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, showcasing the Decades Collection which is a new range of vintage-inspired dresses, each capturing the essence of an era, from the 1900s through to the 1970s. With an unrivalled knowledge of vintage dresses Charlie has created a beautiful capsule collection of gowns each elegantly constructed using the silhouettes of past decades.

Tobi Hannah

London-based designer Tobi Hannah is rapidly developing a reputation for well-crafted little dresses that make women feel effortlessly sexy – her best-selling dress to date, Rosales, a blooming rose number, sold out within 24 hours of reaching retailers around the UK. This capsule dress-only collection of intricately-detailed short and tea-length wedding dresses is going places. Tobi’s passion for modern art is evident in her work and she is uncompromising when it comes to production. It is an unconvential look, and one which young, adventurous brides will love.

Terry Fox

She debuts her 2012 collection, a set of designs for the style conscious bride. The collection encompasses a new direction for the Bridal designer. While maintaining her signature avant-garde style, Terry has incorporated vintage design influences, taking inspirations from Madeleine Vionnet-style fabric draping, Mad Men skirts and glamorous swing jackets, all in luxurious white chocolate-inspired shades.With Terry’s eye for detail and perfection each dress has been lovingly handmade in the UK using only the finest tulle, chiffon and duchesse satin in pure silk with rich embellishments of original vintage pearls and crystals.

Sanyukta Shrestha

Her beautifully made bridal collection combines eco-friendly use of fabrics with each exquisitely hand crafted bridal millinery and accessories telling its own truly ethical story, on how and where it’s produced and the crafts makers who made them. Most of the fibres used in the collection of hats, fascinators and accessories are wild fibres which are skilfully hand loomed by underprivileged village women in Nepal. Each style within this exquisite collection follows ecologically green guidelines, with fabrics from ethical and fair trade certified manufacturers.

Elizabeth Stuart

Elizabeth Stuart steps outside of the box of ordinary bridal design presenting a creative vision where future meets fairytale and falls in love.Much love x
Elizabeth Stuart’s emphasis on the beauty of a woman’s best attributes, her careful consideration to detail, utilisation of the highest quality silks and material, including her ideology that the dress must feel wonderful against the skin, results in the most extraordinarily luxurious, glamorous, and memory making designs.

Sarah Janks
Luxury designer wedding dresses –classics style with a modern slant.

Sarah’s collection of timeless classics reflects her international experience and technical skill, with a range of dresses, which are individual and distinctive. There is strong focus on the quality of fabrics, superb cutting and corset construction as well as the finely worked handcrafted details on many of the dresses.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

As Crafty as a Hen - Your Own Arty Party!

Back in July last year I blogged about 'the more Discerning Hen  planning her own party, opting for sophistication rather than intoxication.'

Well here is another wonderful stress-free and glamorous way to wave goodbye to your singledom.

Taking place in stylish locations across Liverpool city centre, Craft Creative is a bi monthly event, that helps bring craft making into the 21st century, encouraging the more social side of crafting with a contemporary twist.

Craft clubs are one of the latest trends popping up everywhere from New York to Notting Hill, but The Craft Creative isn’t just a jam-making W.I or a Nana’s knitting circle, it’s a social, stylish twist on craft making. Aimed at girls and guys of all ages, you can have a drink, enjoy live music and learn crafts with local experts teaching you new skills every month.

From embroidery, screen-printing, candle making, cupcake decorating and crochet to making your own knitted ipod cover, a cute pair of frilly knickers, graffiti printed t-shirts or creating a unique piece of jewellery...the list is endless.

Craft Creative was co-founded by Becky Christian and Camilla Halstead in February 2011 by combining their love of social events and enthusiasm for all things crafty to create an alternative social experience.

The idea was to move away from the traditional craft workshop vibe, in which the focus is solely on making crafts and combine this with live music and a quirky venue, to create a relaxed, social experience and a platform to learn new skills with a modern twist.

With Camilla’s Event Management background and Becky’s extensive knowledge in Sales and Management the pair had the perfect partnership to start a craft workshop event-planning business.

By keeping an eye on the latest fashion trends the pair make sure each event has a modern contemporary edge, creating unique on-trend items and must-have accessories.

"We have craft, we have cake and we have cocktails served from vintage tea pots – what more could you want? Indulge yourself with a decedant high tea and listen to music provided by our live DJ. Just select an activity, pick a date and don’t forget the bride to be!"

Enjoy a day of crafting, cocktails and cakes followed by a master class in hair and makeup.

Tailor-made packages to bring out everyone’s crafty side, an all day craft workshop where guests make their own fascinators, garters or wedding stationary followed by a 1950′s style tea party and then enjoy a masterclass in applying makeup and a bespoke hair lesson. Prices start at £35 per person.

For an unusual hen party then why not try something creative, taught by our lovely expert, you can make your own:

•Fabulous fascinator

•Cute pair of frilly knickers

•Gorgeous Garters

•Wonderful wedding stationery – photo album / guestbook

Add On Your Vintage Tea Party

After the craft enjoy your own quintessential 1950’s tea party with our indulgent high tea. You’ll be served fabulous home-made cupcakes and tea from vintage teapots. For a truly decadent experience, choose our alcoholic high tea and we’ll fill our beautiful teapots with delicious cocktails.

Add On Your Vintage Hair & Makeup Masterclass

After that we will have a masterclass in vintage make-up/hair, our expert will teach guests how to apply their make-up and do you hair ready for your night around town.
Prices range from £35 – £60 per person, depending on the package type.
Workshops take place in Liverpool City Centre. All material, food and drink included in the price.

For more information email

Much Love x

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Speech Writing Advice from Simply the Best Man

Simply the Best Man is a website that does exactly what is says on the tinPractical, honest, witty - invaluable advice guaranteed to separate the best men from the boys. 

Kye Harman is tonight's Industry Expert, sharing his expertise on the all dreaded BEST MAN'S SPEECH. 

Guys, take note....

So you have been asked to be best man, you have gone through the usual stages as it sinks in. Firstly your Soon To Be Married friend/brother/cousin has finally acknowledged you are indeed the "Best Man", a fact you have believed all along, what’s more you’re finally going to get a free meal out of him.

Then the touching sentiment has dawned, that of all the people he knows he has chosen you to be by his side on the most important day of his life.

And finally you realise the massive task you now face, organising the stag do (can anyone actually co-ordinate his rabble of friends and family for a decent knees up?), taking care of the main man and seeing him through his big day and then there is the sphincter tightening realisation that you are going to have to write and deliver the killer Best Man’s speech.

But where do you begin? It is possibly one of the most daunting roles a man will face.

Thanks to sites such as Soon to be Married most modern couples plan their weddings with near military precision (although this is mostly down to the sensible bride rather than the hapless groom) however you might be called upon to help out. Make sure you communicate regularly with the happy couple in the build up to their big day offering your services where required. They have picked you for this huge honour for a reason so make sure you help out wherever you can.

Communication is king. Stay in regular contact with the happy couple, find out what roles they would like you to fulfil on the day and how they would like your help during the planning. The groom will probably have a few ideas of his own when it comes to the stag do, make sure you respect his wishes at all times (well… most of them). A day crawling from one bar to another en route to a lapdancing club might be your idea of fun but is it his? And will this land him in any trouble with the soon to be Mrs?

Also you might find the groom is starting to break under the strain of having to choose the best one out of 200 dresses that all look the same to him and other assorted tasks he didn’t see coming. The beautiful girl he fell in love with has suddenly turned into Bridezilla, and at times it will feel to him that no matter what he says or does, any word of him will bring forth accusations of not caring or pulling his weight and a few lonely nights on the sofa. Offering to get him out on “wedding fact finding missions” to the local pub might be an invaluable help.

The greatest advice we can offer to any Best Man is to get organised early. When facing such a massive task many guys revert to type and work under the delusion that “if I just don’t worry about it it’ll sort itself out and it’ll all be ok in the end” or are filled with such dread of everything that faces them that they simply bury their head in the sand and keep putting everything off until “tomorrow”. Bad idea. The more you put things off until the last minute the more of a panic you’ll find those last few weeks before the wedding. And come the big day the bride and groom will be panicking enough already without finding out that the man they thought they could rely upon above all others has spent the last few weeks trying to beat his highest score on “Call of Duty” rather than taking care of the tasks he had promised faithfully to accomplish.

Now it is fair to say that most women are far more organised than us blokes. One thing that certainly sets us apart is the matter of writing lists. Most guys at some time or other have noted how a female they know has an inbuilt propensity for writing lists for pretty much everything that happens or needs to happen in her life. While we guys find this notion completely alien. Lists are for girls right? Or are they? In fact men are actually the king of lists, it is indeed where we thrive. Not convinced? Name your top 5 films of all time? Greatest England starting XI? Top 10 albums of the 20th century? Lists are the corner stone of the most hotly debated bloke banter in pubs and offices the length and breadth of the country. So start with a list of tasks the future Mr and Mrs wedded bliss have asked you to take care of before the wedding. A list of the names and numbers/email address of the stag attendees, a list of everything you’ll need to attend to on the big day.

It’s really not as scary as you think. Communicate. Get organised. Write those lists. Soon you’ll find you’re halfway there and that on the day you will indeed be the BEST MAN. As for that speech, well we’ve got a few tips for you there as well. Come check us out at Simply the Best Man and we’ll guide you through every part of the perfect speech.

As for those lists… we thought we’d share of few of our own. Although obviously we don’t like to think of them as “lists”. These are just a sample of our “Top 10’s”. We don’t write lists…. Lists are for girls!

Top 5 Stag Do Daytime Activities

1. Clay Pigeon Shooting

2. Paintball

3. Go Karts

4. Quad Biking

5. Racing School

6. White Water Rafting

7. 4x4 Off Road Driving

8. Mud Buggies

9. Tank Driving

10. Infantry Experience

Top 6 Stag Do Anthems

1. White Wedding - Billy Idol

2. It’s Over - Roy Orbison

3. Love Is The End - Keane

4. See You On The Other Side - Ozzy Osbourne

5. Modern Love - David Bowie

6. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It - REM

Top 8 Stag Weekends

1. Golfing Weekend
For the competitive streak in you why not get a bit of Tiger Woods style action (minus the prostitutes, press exposure and loss of endorsements).

2. Road Trip
Hire some classic wheels or VW camper vans and take the groom on a road trip back down memory lane to all those happy places he’s never going to be allowed to see again.

3. Canal Barge
3 men in a boat? Why not hire a couple of canal barges and find every fine hostelry along the way.

4. European Trip
The world’s your lobster. See the big picture and go find yourselves a new playground to have fun in.

5. Carry On Camping
Tents, tinnies and tantrums. Can any stag do survive the riggers of a camping trip and live to tell the tale?

6. Activities Weekend
Quad biking, go cart racing, clay pigeon shooting, hovercraft racing. Why not visit one of many activities centres and do the whole lot?

7. House Guests
“They stayed in a house a very big house in the country...” Why not pack up all you need and find your own solitude away from the regular stag crowds and hire a holiday home for a weekend. We recommend BBQs and take-aways rather than suffer each others cooking.

8. Kidnap
Try any of the above just don’t tell the groom. Simply tell him what to pack, turn up on the day and bundle him in the back of a waiting car. Be sure to make it authentic and leave the bride a ransom note telling her where to pick him up and what the price of his safe return will be.

Thank you Kye, we look forward to hearing from you soon! x

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Tweethearts Strike a Pose for Charity - 2012 Calendar

You know the saying, “something to show the grand kids”? Well, from last November to early March this year, I frequently repeated this saying to myself, a mantra of reassurance that I wasn’t totally bonkers! Why? Well, at the tail end of last year, there was a buzz on Twitter one night between the wedding professional tweeters, chatting about an idea to make millions. The talk turned to the Calendar Girls movie, and quite soon an idea was being bandied about to produce a Twitter version, in aid of two worthy charities, PC David Rathband’s Blue Lamp Foundation and Help for Heroes.  A cheeky boudoir style, no doubt!

Now, I can’t quite pinpoint my volunteering, but think it fell between my second or third glass of Chablis.

Pros: Get to put beautiful faces to my beautiful tweetmate names, get to raise lots of money, get to be pampered at the prestigious and elegant country house wedding venue, Langley Priory

Cons: Get your kit off, eek!

Joking apart, we were reassured by the fantastic organisers, Gina Griffiths from ByGina Events and Jo Pickup from Sprae PR,  that the shoots would be tasteful and fun. So, in for a penny and all!

On Tuesday 1st March, Mr. Dreams and I set off for Derbyshire, staying at the nearby delightful Donington Manor Hotel, Castle Donington for the evening. The shoot was the following day at 10am, so there was no way I was setting off from Liverpool at 6am; major beauty sleep was required here! After a nerve wracking morning, Mr. Dreams literally pushed me out the door, ignoring my incoherent cries of thunder thighs, and as I set off with a racing heart, Mr. Dreams set off to watch racing cars!
Langley Priory quite literally took my breath and fears (momentarily) away. First to arrive, I was greeted with a warm welcome, warm log fire and a warm cuppa tea. Perfect! One by one my fellow models arrived, events planner Vicky Wilkin , Candice from Cerendipity Events,  Kerri from Starstruck Designs with her own star in tow, little Austin, and Laura from Little White Book.  Chris Lynn our photographer for the day arrived on cue to some pretty miserable and nervous looking ladies! The fantastic hair and makeup ladies from Branston Spa along with the gorgeous Gina completed ‘Team Langley’…and so the fun began!

Off we went upstairs, delving in the lingerie box as one by one we were beautified by the Branstons! We discussed the shots we were going to do, (inside and out….in 2 degrees please!) and hung onto our dressing gowns as if our lives depended on it. The girls all looked gorgeous. With some persuasion I opted for the funky pink stockings, but in hindsight I only hope the outcome doesn’t look like uncooked Cumberland sausages! One by one we had some individual shots with Chris to get us in the swing of things. Chris, ever the professional, soon brought the divas out in us as we took to it like ducks to water. Hmmm…water. After a few group shots on the stairs and in the study (with not a lead piping or Colonel Mustard in sight) we moved outside to the picturesque lake and waterfall. Cue high winds, spray of waterfall, wet ladies and lots of screams! With lots of giggles too.
With a short stop for lunch, more tea and Chunky Kit-Kats provided by the very hospitable Tim, we waved goodbye to Kerri and Laura and continued with a few more shots….outside! Before we knew it, we were back in our civvies, saying our goodbyes and heading off home after a very enjoyable day.

It was an absolute pleasure to meet such great Tweeple and it certainly was a different day at the office! My admiration goes out to Gina and Jo who have pulled this together and worked extremely hard to raise funds for two extremely worthy causes.  The Social Sirens rock!
There were four shoots in all around the UK, and the launch party is scheduled for September, so please watch this space! For more information on the cause or if you would like to donate, please visit Tweet Girls

Much love, Helen x

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Kiki by Kirsty Doyle - Luxurious Wedding Night Loungewear

Here at Dreams HQ we're having a bit of a fashion crush at the moment!  Liverpool Designer Kirsty Doyle has just launched her new diffusion range, Kiki, much to the delights of her international online customers and in store customers at  Liverpool ONE

The collection is inspired by pastel shades and and uptown city chic look.  Basics include silk vests, cotton tailoring and soft draping. 

Split into Cocktal Hour, Workwear and Loungewear, we couldn't help drool over the bridal inspired cream collection of silk frillies, playsuits and crepe corsets with touches of luxurious french lace, silk chiffon and oversized bows.

You've looked so beautiful all day long, why compromise on style on your wedding night?

So go on spoil yourself....and your new husband!

Much Love x

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Premiere! Bespoken Dreams Launch Party on Film

On Sunday 8th May 2011, the Cream of the Wedding Crop and the North West's Best gathered at local celeb haunt Neighbourhood Cafe to celebrate the launch of Bespoken Dreams Wedding Design and Consultancy, and to raise funds for local hospice Marie Curie Liverpool.  Guests enjoyed a red carpet arrival, champagne and canapés, entertainment from Steve Charles supplied by Riverside Entertainments Agency and a luxury raffle draw with prizes donated from generous local businesses. 

We're highly delighted to announce we raised over an impressive £780 on the night! 

Uber talented husband and wife team Tony and Sara Williams of  Marry Me Films very kindly and professionally captured the evening on film.  A MASSIVE THANK YOU to you both for donating your time and efforts. 

And here are the evening's highlights! 

Full coverage of the event will be featured in the Down South Liverpool Magazine and the Best of Liverpool supplement June issue of the Liverpool Echo.  Images courtesy of Martisan Photography

With special thanks to Neighbourhood Café, Riverside Entertainments Agency, Steve Charles, Marry Me Films, Martisan Photography, Matt Cox Hairdressing and Beauty, Resident Makeup Artist Claudia at Matt Cox, So Coco Rouge, Zoe Photography, Deco Hair and Makeup, Funtown, Flowerbug, Laser Skin Clinic, Liverpool FC, Lizzie's Larder, Martisan Photography, PlumSugar, Red Carpet Makeup, Roberts Edwards & Worrall, The Mixing Bowl, The Restaurant Bar & Grill, the Tiny Tea Room, Kirsty Doyle, Benna Harry, Little Satsuma, Down South Liverpool, the Eminence Group, Flannels and Wade Smith.

A personal thank you to Matt CoxRed Carpet Makeup and Kirsty Doyle  for hair, makeup and a beautiful bespoke dress on the night!  And a huge thank you to my beautiful friend Jo over at My Stylish Bump for her invaluable help.  Mwah x
Bespoken Dreams Promo from Marry Me Films on Vimeo.

We've Officially Launched!

Wowee! What a hectic but exceedingly fun couple of weeks! Firstly, my sincerest apologies for the blogging break. Wedding Fever has hit Dreams HQ in, ahem, a royally big way (sorry).

Yes, yes, we LOVED being a fly on the Abbey wall, enthralled spectators as Kate and William tied the knot (Best Bits: the Aston Martin DB6 Volante – class, Team Middleton showing us how to do it, Harry’s whisper to big bro as Catherine glided up the aisle in her McQueen Dream. The Pits: Apart from a few mis-hats and fascin-haters, ladies, none! Our only qualm being the media focus on the pleasing-to-the-eye Pippa. Yes, she’s beautiful, but please let Princess Kate have her shining moment! Sibling comparisons are so not good).

But the icing on the eight-tier-Fiona-Cairns-royal-wedding-cake had to be their obvious and unmistakable love for one another.  Something tax-payers money simply can’t buy! 

Yet our wedding fever has been a little close to home; Bespoken Dreams Wedding Design and Consultancy has now officially launched online! Please do visit us and tell us what you think, our door is always open!

The wonderful and patient Tineke of Kinet E-Solutions was an absolute treasure and totally got our stylish and elegant vision. So a huge thank you to you, Tineke. 

So with the launch we were very excited to feature in the Real Lives supplement of the Liverpool Echo last Wednesday 4th May 2011. Read all about it! Words by Dawn Collinson, thank you very much!

Much love x

Weddings are Helen’s Passion

THE whole world is gripped with wedding fever right now, which for Helen Burns is perfect timing.
This week she launches her online business, the Bespoken Dreams Wedding Design and Consultancy, hoping to bring a little of the fairytale royal big day to Liverpool brides.
Helen, who lives in Woolton, first got the idea for the venture when she married back in August 2009.

“I adore weddings and I’m passionate about creating events that induce goosebumps, memories and smiles,” she says.

Having featured herself in national wedding magazine Wedding Ideas, she began writing a bridal blog last summer.

Forging relationships with brides, suppliers and industry professionals, the next natural step for the 32-year-old was to follow her own professional dream.

“Bespoken Dreams was inspired, quite simply, from a passion stirred inside by planning our own elegant romantic wedding, says Helen.

“The whole experience, from reading my first bridal magazine to tasting menus, sourcing suppliers and sampling champagne, created such an enthusiasm in me that I wanted to share my experiences with future brides and grooms … and plan weddings forever!”

With previous experience in event planning in the charitable sector, Helen trained with the UKAWP – the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners – and gained a Wedding Planner diploma.

Now, while still working full-time as a finance officer at charity Alternative Futures Group Prescot, she devotes her creativity to helping couples achieve stylish, stress-free celebrations.

On Sunday Helen will celebrate the launch of her business with a charity night in aid of Marie Curie Hospice.

“Both my grandmother and aunty were nursed by Marie Curie nurses so it is a cause close to my heart,” she explains. “Weeks before our wedding in 2009 I lost my aunty to cancer so I felt it was right to combine the launch with a fund-raising event.”

Marry Me Films and Martisan Photography will capture the evening, at Neighbourhood Cafe  in Childwall, and guests will include Liverpool designers Kirsty Doyle 
Bespoken Dreams charity evening in aid of Marie Curie takes place at Neighbourhood on Sunday from 6-9pm. (