Sunday, 21 November 2010

How will a Royal wedding effect us?

With the news of a Royal Wedding next year it started a whole excitement and debate. I began dreaming of what it would be like to be asked to make Kate's dress! Imagine if one of my brides were to be a princess in the waiting, it certainly set me thinking. I like to think I treat each one of my brides as the most special bride in the world. I like to think that each bride thinks that the dress I make her is the best one I have ever made. Could I handle the pressure?

I remember Diana's wedding 30 years ago, big sleeves and bows. "We wanted the dress to be every girl's fantasy wedding dress." said the Emanuels. Sadly the use of paper sillk taffeta in Diana's dress still means that clients of mine today think that silk creases, when actually it is one of the least creasable natural fabrics that exists. My opinion was that the Emanuals choose the wrong silk. Within hours people were copying the notion, every girl could have that fantasy wedding dress!
It has brought back memories of the day I was meant to meet Princess Diana. My claim to fame!! I had bben told to be at the Art College at my degree exhibition in the middle of the summer holidays. I usually have a good memory but this day I was at home listening to the radio when I heard that a Royal visitor was at The University of Ulster's Art College! I had forgotten to go. My mum has never let me forget again. She heard from one of my tutors that I had ben choosen to speak to her as they thought that my work would have been of interest to her. At least she saw my work. If she had of been hear today would she have remembered me or rather my work, if only!! Dream on Joanne.
In 1985 I started my business,and was inspired in 1987 by Fergie's dress, will it was fantastic!! It made her look her very best and the embroidery was so personal and sensational. Lindka Cierach, you are a genius! As Sarah Ferguson said " there will never be a dress to match it..." Copycat creators where beat on this one. What would Katie pick? Lindka has said that whoever designs Kate Middleton's wedding dress should prepare themselves for a time of high pressure,fun and excitment . She said she loved it. It was really exciting but there was also a lot of pressure.

The chat in London is that Bruce Oldfield is doing it. I think she will choose "Made in Britain". If Oldfield does it it will be incredibly stylish and glamourous.. He was once Diana's favourite couturiers. Will she have much input or will she just wear what someone tells her? How much influence will her Mum have? How will she cope with the pressure of the world's eye on her?

I thought about it, how could someone take on that pressure. I guess that the wedding will be sooner than later maybe April and I know I have my bride's for April well underway.

Just this week I have been putting the finishing touches to a veil for one of my brides for April. As I sewed the beads on before she came to see the finished result, I knew I loved it and was so proud of this veil that I do believe that it is fit for a princess. This is something I could do for Katie, if you are out here Katie reading my blog and you still need a veil I would love to do it for you. What about the idea of the detail on it having roses for England, shamrocks for N Ireland, the Scottish thistle and a daffodil or two for Wales, tastefully done so that it didn't look too contrived. I think I would have to do an extra one or two just encase something happened it. I could do the veil but the dress, even though I have years of experience I would want more time on it. I think I would be terrified with the pressure and yet this is what I do everyday for all my brides .

HRH Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress in 1947 had the most fantastic embroidery work on it. By dress designer Norman Hartnell, it is hard to believe that less than three months before the wedding date the design was approved. The white silk satin came from a Scottish firm near Dunfermline but sadly it hasn't kept well. The weight of the embroidery has dragged the skirt down away from the bodice. The left sleeve was badly frayed and so you have to find a picture of it to see it at its best. When you find a picture notice Her veil it is fantastic. Or is that the 15 foot train that looks like a veil? Whether it is the train or the veil it is" Breath taking", the detail of the embroidery as it cascades on the carpet! Her shoe was drawn for Vogue as a symbol of good luck. Vogue said " we hope that their lives will be as smooth as its satin - their spirit as bright as its buckle - and their happiness as perfect as its shape."

Whatever Kate's choice it is all about the detail , we like to notice every detail when it comes to a wedding. Thee days with

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Plenty of Bridal dresses to see

Dresses of all colours and styles, off the peg, couture and vintage. There is so much choice you need assistance to make sure you get the perfect bridal dress for you. Your dress sets the theme for your Big Day. Get your gown right and you feel brilliant and cannot wait to wear your dress on one of the best days of your life. It should suit your size and shape and also your personality. If you need guidance this is the place you need to visit or if you know what you want have it made especially for you.
Some brides on the phone and visitors to my shop said that they were not sure if I would have many dresses for them to see. Believe me we probably have every shape and style to help you realise which is the dream dress for you. Call and visit so that you can see for yourself. Get help and advice on what is right for you.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Mother of the Bride and Groom

Mother of the Brides or Mother's of the Groom I am here to help you. If you need advice and want something different then why not come and visit the shop so that I can help you. We have outfits for you to try on and I can do a design especially for you then we choose the colour and take your measurements and you are sorted. I love to do the fascinator/ hat and accessories to match, even the jewellery.

Monday, 1 November 2010

A recent bridal survey conducted by Wedding Journal has revealed that the outlook is bright in Northern Ireland when it comes to organising the "big day" with a surprisingly 42% of couples stating that the current economic climate is NOT having an impact on their wedding plans - despite the fact that 58% of couples are paying for their wedding entirely by themselves without any external help from family members.

The Wedding Journal team understands how important choosing the right wedding dress and recently asked me to do their Style Stage. For anyone who has been to my shop you know how I can help you with what suits your figure and then listen to what your personal taste is and get the balance right. It is easy for me to do this in my shop as I have all my samples to help me guide and explain what I mean. However to take me out of my comfort zone and try to do this at one of their shows was just a step too far. In my shop it is a one to one consultation, personal and sincere. I was frightened that at the Kings Hall it would be the opposite and just look like I was trying to promote myself and not fisrt and foremost looking after my brides.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Am I mad or sane?

Am I mad, I push myself to do as much as I can each day. There are just not enough hours in one day for all I want to achieve.
Those of you who have met me probably think I am mad, but it is my crazyness and passion for life that keeps me going.
I read an article last week that suggested that talking to ourselves was good for us. Recent research at the University of Toronto, said that talking to your self is healthy, and we should all be doing more of it.
So here goes yet again, as when I am doing my blog I never know if I am really just talking to myself or someone is actually listening to me. They say that exercising your inner voice can improve your self control, help to defuse an argument, reduce implusive behaviour, improve decision-making and even strengthen your will power ( great news for us how want to loss weight)
I think it helps me cope with life, there is method in my madness and hopefully it is what keeps me sane.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Where has the summer gone.

Sorry girls , it has been ages since I last did my blog. I don't know where the time goes, but I have been sewing away.
Thought I would share with you some of the photos of what I have been up to this summer. Some show the details of a brides dress with lots of colour, intricate detail and a bit of sparkle. Vintage lace seems to have been a theme this year.
Then the other photo is of the detail of a Mother of the Brides outfit. The embroidery was worked to match her shoes.

I hope everyone enjoyed the day. Rumour has it that the Mum's trouser suit was very popular with everyone.

Let us not forget the Dad's outfit too, supplied and fit by Joanne.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Something Different

One of my brides goes to Glastonbury for her honeymoon!
What a perfect year when the sun was shining and it just couldn't have been better.
I just wanted to share some of the photos as it was just great to be allowed to do something a bit different.
I loved every minute of working on the dress and it has inspired me along with my talk with Zandra Rhodes to go for it, not to be frightened to do something special. Zandra was never bound by the limits of thinking that you had to be commercial,
she was radical and away ahead of her times and an inspiration for fashion than and today.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The chance of a Life time

It has been 25 years seen I have been back to the University of Ulster the Art College where I got my degree, June 1985. Gosh that takes me back a bit. It makes make think of the day I was meant to go to the Art College in the middle of our holidays and I forgot to go. Boy I have never been allowed to forget it! That was the day I could have spoken to H.R.H Princess Diana. It was her first visit to the province and one of her stops was the Art College. The Degree Shows were on and as my work they thought would have been of interest to her they had selected me to talk to her. However no-body told me till it was too late. I was at home listening to the news that she was in the province, at the college when the penny dropped!!! Thankfully I don't think I have ever forgotten anything important ever since.So brides don't worry I usually fulfill my commitments!
The wasn't missing this one! The College looked fantastic, it wasn't like this when I was here. It brought back loads of memories. I was very excited as to who I was going to meet. Would I see my old tutors and some fellow students? One sure thing was I was going to meet Zandra Rhodes!!!! You may not of heard of this person but your mother will have. You must look up and learn more about this character. She is one of the most influential people in the world of fashion. Her imagination, her inspiration, her use of colour and design, is extraordinary and unbeatable. She is brilliant! Zandra Rhodes defined British Fashion. Still with her coloured hair at the age of seventy she leads the way and has set up a museum of fashion and textiles in London, in the heart of Bermondsey. She is still full of passion and dedication to her work, what an inspiration to us all.
Thank you Zandra for taking time to visit Belfast and share with us your life experiences.

Friday, 28 May 2010

The Trip of a Life Time

Girls, I have just had the time of a life. I got an invite to a Bridal Designers meeting in London. The area we stayed was fantastic, full of beautiful buildings, shops and restaurants. As we walked from the train to our hotel we passed a lovely Italian Bridal designers Shop, things were looking prosperous! Oh my Goodness! a certain hat designer was just across the road. Nuala, which was the hat you had seen at £950?I think he must have got his idea for Camilla's hat from the gates at Buckingham Palace. I was excited. I could feel my batteries being charged minute by minute. I was ready to move to London, inspiration everywhere, I just needed a million or 2 or 3 to buy a tiny establishment. We could live upstairs and have the shop downstairs. It would definitely be a down size though, I am spoilt for space in my shop here with over 3000 square feet, What would that cost in London? However I love the buzz, clients with money we only dream of,walking distance to lots of parks and everything on hand in the heart of the capital.
I found myself in St James Park taking in the planting, the ducklings and the sun shine. All dressed for the meeting I was meant to be going to but sitting on the grass happy where I was. Then the phone rang, it was someone who I consider one of the most influential people in the bridal industry " Hi Joanne, where are you??" "Mmm!!! I am sitting in the park taking in the rays- is this what you call sunshine!!" I said. " Joanne are you not meeting at the Saatchi Gallery?? Give me half an hour or so and i will join you. Let's go to Harrods for High Tea".
Brilliant!!The time flew and we chatted so much we didn't realise they were throwing us out of Harrods it was closing time. Then we jumped into a taxi and off to a fabulous hotel. We went 15 floors up and saw views all over London it was incredible. We had food too. I could get used to this.
Next morning finally I had to go and do some work. It all seemed a bit imtimidating, everyone was on tender hooks. It was a bit posed. There was an exciting Australian jewellery designer from Sydney who had a friendly girl, whose Dad lived in Belfast, telling us about his work. I think was my favorite part of the day. I meet up with other people with the same interests and we compared notes and ideas.
That bit over now I could go shopping for all the interesting things I can get in London that we don't have at home. Fabrics , beads and buttons all things nice.
It doesn't end here, there was more to come.
Well for those of you who know me,if I tell you I was staying an extra day have you worked out why? There were exhibitors staying at the same hotel. Could they get me in? So close and yet so far. Tickets had been sold out for months. It didn't look good my chances seemed bleak. But don't give up there try harder!!
It was walking distance, the crowds were gathering. There was a girl and fellow dressed as Adam and Eve with very few clothes on!! Did you need to dress like this to get in? I know it was sunny!!
Two ladies from my Flower Club had been selected to exhibit. It was a once in a life time,it was worth a try. So I found an offical in a pin striped suit. I told him my plea, he heard my accent and he got me in. It was meant to be! I actually felt a tear
I couldn't believe I was more overcome with excitement at getting in to this than any Bridal Show. Where was I ?? The Chelsea Flower Show, it was heaven, flowers everywhere. This is the best show I have ever been too. Anyone slightly interested in gardening and plants most make it one of there top 10 things to do. Everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was brilliant. My faith in human beings was restored for now and my batteries were recharged ready for work.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Well done everyone you have done a fabulous job. Brilliant King size Hanging baskets especially made by Nuala and Anne.
There is going to be dancing on the chequed floor!!
Good Luck and what a day to have a wedding!!
This is the girls doing the finishing touches.
I hope you all have a wonderful day, best wishes Joanne

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Yet again I am behind on my blogging!! My excuse is that I had an almighty cold or the flu and was struggling to keep going with my work load let alone do my blog too!! I haven't many new photos but my resolution is to make myself take a photo every week and keep you up to date with my latest work.
I seem to have a notion for brooches at the moment. It is something that you can use to embellish an outfit and then reuse again on another outfit.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Sorry I have taken so long to get another blog done. I have been busy in work as you can guess getting my Easter Brides sorted. Finally I have got a day off. One of my favourite things is to get out in the garden, however it is so cold I just stayed out long enough to get some flowers to do a flower arrangement for the house. I wish you all a pleasant Easter break, a few days to recharge the batteries and tidy my house.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Sorry it took so long to get this blog up. I had to wait to see if the Organisers of the Show were happy for me to use the photos. I haven't done a show like this for years. The night before it opened I wondered why I had gone to the trouble of coming out of my shop and taking the time to set up. Maybe I was just nervous. However once I got chatting to people the time flew and I have to say I enjoyed every minite of it. I would love to hear from those of you who went how useful you found it and did you enjoy it. Was it worth while for you? Would you go to the next show? Add a comment. Thanks Joanne

Monday, 1 February 2010

Top 10 tips for choosing your wedding dress.

1 Set a budget.

First things first - set your wedding dress budget. Try not to look at dresses that are out of your price range, unless you plan on going over budget. If you don't, then use top of the range gowns as inspiration for a less expensive design, so you won't have to spend a fortune.

2 Choose a style.

Flick through magazines to get an idea of the style of dress you're looking for - it could be classic or contemporary, slinky or strapless. Consider your venue and the time of year, as well as what you like.

3 Book Appointments.

Most bridal shops prefer you to make an appointment so that you can get the individual attention you require.

4 Pick a Partner.

Pick someone that knows you and can give you an honest opinion, a helpful friend or your mum. Too many people can be confusing.

5 Be Open minded.

Try on various styles of dresses. You will learn from your experience, you may find that a style you think won't suit you actually looks fabulous!

Cathryn thought she was going to pick a short dress to keep her wedding as informal as possible. However after working through her thoughts she realised she wanted the effect of being a more romantic, traditional, modest bride with the personal touch. I love this photo of Cathryn so natural in the garden of her family home.

6 Don't rush.

Don't be rushed into any decisions. If you think you've found 'the one', you can always go away and think about it before making your mind up.If someone is pushing you stop and ask why.

7 Think things through.

Consider practicalities and accessories. If you want to a wear a veil, for example, try one on with the dress. Equally, put your hair up if you think that's how you'd like to wear it on the day. Make sure all your accessories match they can make or break an outfit.

8 Trust your choice.

When you've found the perfect dress, a nights sleep and you will know. Ask when you will have your first fitting. You can start looking at shoes as your feet will not change size. Hold off on getting underwear as you can change size, but start thinking about what underwear would be suitable for you to wear under your dress. Sometimes it is more functional than glamorous!! You can keep the nice underwear for your honeymoon.

9 What next.

While you don't have to show your bridesmaids your dress before their own dresses are chosen, make sure their gowns tie in with the theme and colours of your wedding as a whole.


10 Make sure.

Check on alterations, who will be doing them and if they cost extra.It's also worth asking the designer or retailer for advice on how you can clean the fabric of your gown in case you have any small spillages on the day! That way you can rest easy in the knowledge that whatever happens, you'll still look cool, calm and amazing.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Finally the Day Dream of Your Dreams

It took too long to arrive for this Bride, she could not wait for her Big Day to come. Rain ,hail or snow she was going to enjoy it. Snow it did, this was the biggest amount of snow at any of my weddings in 25 years. It looks lovely in photographs but it can be a nightmare for organisers and for the guests. The ice and the poor road conditions made it dangerous.
First and foremost the bride was well looked after.
I went out to dress her just to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible. There were plenty of buttons that take a long time on this one.
Her dress will probably end up cleaner than a dress on a sunny fine day as it will have been so well lifted and laid.
If you look at the photos you can see I made the headdress and the brooch detail on the front of her dress to match. Thank fully with the cold we had done a jacket just to keep the chill away.