I hope you are all well and had a lovely week. Firstly, my usual little catch up. I am back to the drawing board (literally) after a restful midterm break. While I was off, I attended a friend’s hen party in Westport which was great fun! The following morning, I got an early train to Dublin and a group of us flew to Budapest for four days filled with laughs and exploring. I would highly recommend a trip to Budapest, we loved it. I then finished the midterm break off with a last minute trip home to Donegal on the Saturday to spent time with family. I always feel so refreshed after some time off. I had a great start to my week with my five week painting course in Strandhill kicking off on Monday evening with a wonderful group of ladies. I can’t wait to see how their painting’s develop over the coming week’s and I am really looking forward to Monday’s class already.
In this new blog I wanted to catch up with you on wedding style. If you missed the separate blog I wrote in which I featured my bespoke Australian designed Karen Willis Holmes wedding dress you can read it here. In that blog, I also offer some tips on choosing a wedding dress and the pressure a bride feels when trying find her dream dress!
Today, I wanted to focus on bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire. Many of you had got in touch with me since our wedding at the end of December, asking for recommendation’s for bridal party style so I hope this will inspire you.
Below, I share some new wedding photograph’s with you of our stylish bridal party – (photos by the very talented photographer Darek Smietana) – how utterly gorgeous were they all? – BEAUTIFUL. I also offer some practical tip’s and recommendation’s on bridesmaid dress shopping, alterations, time frame to start the search for your bridal parties dresses/suits’s and I also talk very honestly with you about what I struggled with.
I am not going to lie, the hunt for bridesmaids dresses was not as simple as we would have liked!! I only really started to look for bridesmaid dresses in September which was a few months before the wedding in December!! I know, I know, it was stressful and crazy yes!! I spent such a long time searching (with the help of my bridesmaids!) online as it was too difficult to round everyone up to go around the shops trying on dresses. With one just after having a baby at the start of September, the other working crazy long overtime hours and delivering training courses in her spare time around the North West and another bridesmaid completing a masters, developing her new business whilst working full time and living in Dublin. Everyone including myself was just so busy. The lead up to Christmas is always an especially busy time too. As I say, life goes on and no one should have to drop plans or run around after you just because you are planning a wedding. I hate to say it, but the world does not revolve around you and your free time. I honestly didn’t think it would be fair to drag them around the shops at the weekends either trying dresses on, although I know had I suggested it, they would have all been there at the drop of a hat. Together, we decided the best option was online. I can’t tell you how much time I spent looking up dresses online!! It took up all of my spare time and I must have visited every online shop possible. The only way we could work it was by ordering the dresses then getting the girls to try them on. If they didn’t suit or weren’t right we would send them back and get refunded. To start off, I ordered THIS rose gold embellished dress from Folkster but unfortunately it did not suit them. Folkster has a gorgeous range of vintage and embellished dresses and I knew that I wanted an embellished element to the bridesmaids outfit’s. If you are looking for some bridesmaids options check out my recommendations, here, here, here and here. Next, my sister ordered THIS skirt and top combo from COAST but unfortunately this outfit did not suit either. So it was back to the drawing board!
Originally, we had decided that all three bridesmaids would wear different look’s, as they all are individuals with their own sense of style and very different body shapes and figures. So I wanted three looks which would not necessarily have to match but there would be some element within them all that linked them nicely together. I thought maybe a subtle colour throughout all three or matching belts or accessories would be lovely.
As I didn’t have a colour scheme for our wedding, I only knew that I wanted to go with neutral colours throughout and so I kept to whites, creams, soft gold and rose golds when searching for bridesmaid dresses. I also knew that I wanted to add embellishment in some way into their look.
With time being an issue we ended up going with this gorgeous neutral toned embellished dress. Luckily this dress turned out to be exactly what I had in mind for the girls. (You can see the dress we went with featured in some photograph’s throughout this blog.) My bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS. We found that lot of the nicer gown style dresses which we came across on ASOS sold out within a couple of days, sometimes a few hours, so when we saw this gorgeous nude toned dress my sister Lisa acted fast and ordered three dresses for me straight away! As soon as I saw it I fell in love with it. It was just exactly the look I had in mind. This dress suited all three ladies gorgeous figures and the neutral colour was subtle and complimentary on all skin tones. I loved how this dress was quite understated yet dressy enough for them to stand out from our stylish wedding guest’s. It was a real show stopper and so many of you have got in touch with me to compliment my bridesmaid dresses. I think you will agree that all three ladies wore their dress so beautifully and looked effortlessly elegant.
I absolutely loved my bridesmaid’s dresses and I think you will all agree that Sinead, Mairead and Lisa wore them so beautifully. The dress is now sold out on ASOS unfortunately and I can’t seem to find a similar dress to it online on any other site. A brand that I also really loved when I was looking for dresses was MAYA, which can also be found on ASOS. Check some MAYA dresses out HERE. I love this, this and this dress. If you are looking for bridesmaid dresses on ASOS I recommend you order them via express delivery and also write to them to inform them when you need them by. If you are a regular customer with ASOS they are usually very helpful and will try to send out your items asap to you if you let them know it is for your wedding!
Despite the rush and panic to get bridesmaid dresses, it all worked out so well for us in the end. However, if I had to do it all again, I would advise ordering your bridesmaids dresses at least 6-8 month’s ahead of your wedding date. You should also get the accessories in advance as soon as the dress arrives to match them up, so you are not running around town like a headless chicken looking for everything last minute, like I was!! Get the girls shoe’s, clutch bag’s and jewellery as soon as you can and keep it aside in a safe place or give it directly to your girls when it arrives. As the dress was quite striking as it was, we kept accessories to a minimum and they wore statement drop earrings and finished the look off with an embellished clutch bag. I ended up buying their earring’s with the help of my sister Lisa a week before the wedding in a jewelers in Derry. Do not leave everything to the last minute! Thankfully, Lisa was with me to help me pick and choose accessories, as at this stage, a week before our wedding day, I already had so much going through my mind that I was a bit overwhelmed, even with making the smallest of decisions!
I had ordered the bridesmaid’s strappy silver heels to tie in with their dresses, from ASOS also, at the start of December (too late !!!) but they got lost with the couriers which was very frustrating. I was told that they were sent to Dublin then on to Cork and got lost somewhere between Dublin and Donegal!! You can only imagine the phone calls I had with the couriers begging them to find them for me!! The man at the end of the phone suggested I order another three pairs from ASOS again and hopefully they arrive – ehhh not what I wanted to hear at that stage!! Anyway, the shoes finally arrived the day before the wedding!!! It was obviously too late at that stage so Lisa had gone into NEW LOOK in Letterkenny the week before the wedding to get the girls replacement’s. We needed heels which were identical to the heel height that we had originally ordered (as dressmakers had measured floor length to match heel height!) so do keep this in mind when matching shoes and getting alterations. You really need to bring the heels with you along with the bridesmaid or wedding dress itself to the dressmaker so she knows how much to take off. Luckily the replacement heels were identical in height!! Phew!!
I got the bridesmaids clutch bags sale in accessorize in Quayside in Sligo and popped them into their bridesmaid box’s (which you can see below -created by Elaine Leydon of El-Create in Sligo)
The cream faux fur stoles were spotted by my mother in good ole reliable PENNEYS. She got three of them for me there and then before they got snapped up! A bargain!
Another thing to take into consideration is alteration’s. Alterations can be costly. It seems that as soon as you mention the word WEDDING prices just shoot up! I recommend that you set aside a practical budget for any alterations your bridesmaids outfits may need. I only needed to get two bridesmaid dresses altered which was great and they charged me between €50- €65 each. Sometimes we forget about all of these extra costs for bridesmaids accessories, shoes, the dress itself and then hair and makeup so I would advise that you have a budget for all of that in mind. Every little cost adds up! My very generous sister Lisa decided that she would buy all three bridesmaids dresses for me as part of her wedding present to me which was amazing and took the pressure off big time.
Another thing I should mention is if you are planning on getting married at Christmas, bare in mind that it is one of the busiest times of year for dressmakers I urge you to make appointments asap. We were very lucky that Boyle Tailoring made room to alter two of the girls dresses with very short notice and he did a fantastic job.
Groom & Groomsmen:
With men, everything is simple!! Luckily for them, they do not have as much to think about as us ladies do! Rory took care of the men’s suits and I popped in with him into EJ’s for his own suits alterations to see what he choose. The only thing that Rory really did not want was black tie. Personally I love black tie and think it’s is so dressy but Rory joked that they would all look like penguins!! Fair enough!! Each to their own and I was not going to dictate to him what he should wear on his wedding day. At the end of the day you want everyone to have a good day, to feel comfortable, relaxed and good in their skin so choosing a suit that ticks all of those box’s is important.
EJ’s Menswear in Sligo town kitted Rory and his three groomsmen Roddy, Cian and Dermod out for the wedding. When it comes to timing, I would definitely recommend that you get everyone together at least five weeks before your wedding day. Organize what suits you (the groom) want, if you will be hiring or buying them and then make an appointment two week’s before the wedding day to sort out alteration’s. Some of the men may have lost or gained weight within the time frame of the first appointment to closer to the wedding day so adjustment’s may need to be made to their suits and shirts. You really do need to take into consideration alteration time and ask the expert’s whom you bought/hired your suit’s from how long alterations will take. Ej’s did all of the alterations for them in store which was really handy as we did not have to source a dressmaker. I think the lads went into EJ’s and found their suits on the first attempt! Typical men -oh this one will do!!! Ej’s took all of their measurements there and then and Rory popped back in once more with me to go through what he choose. Ej’s even kitted out 12 month old baby Jack in his own mini suit which was adorable. Rory picked up the suits from EJ’s three days before the wedding and gave them to all of the lads ahead of the wedding day so they could try them on again and let him know if anything needed to be changed etc. Do not leave all of this last minute, it will cause a lot of unnecessary stress. BRIDES – let the men take responsibility for their suits, you have enough to be doing lets face it!
EJ’s were extremely helpful and offered fantastic suggestion’s with suit styles, shirt’s and tie colours. I choose the tie for the groomsmen and we went with a light grey wool tie from Magee’s of Donegal. Rory opted for a darker shade of a similar wool Magee’s of Donegal tie. Rory’s suit was a different brand from the groomsmen and he also choose a different style waistcoat and navy shoes.
EJ’s also kitted out both father’s. The lads also got their brown shoes in EJ’s and I got personalized socks made in ‘JAKO’ in Sligo with their initial’s on them for everyone. I also got the girls robes personalized in JAKO. They were great to deal it so I highly recoomend you pop into them or call them if you are personalizing anything for your wedding. Rory got personalized cuff link’s for his three groomsmen from Wehrly’s jeweller’s in Sligo and I got a pair for Rory to wear and also my father.
I think you will all agree that the lads wore their suits well and looked extremely handsome.
Everyone looked fabulous. I especially loved how both the bridesmaids and groomsmen’s outfits complimented each-other without having to be too ‘matchy matchy’.
I hope this blog has give any of you ladies out there planning a wedding some tips!
THANK’S FOR READING,