Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Star Style - Celebs who get it right (and oh soooo wrong!)

Whilst we can't all go out and have a dress made for us like The Duchess of Cambridge did, there's still no reason we can't all find the perfect dress for the big day.  Dressing for the occassion as well as for yourself is the first thing to remember.  You'll look rather silly turning up at the concrete registry office in a Princess Di replica.  Likewise, there's no point in booking the city cathedral if you'd far rather wear a suit.

The time of year (and day) and your own personal style are also critical factors when picking the most important outfit you'll ever wear.  Forget any of these rules and you'll end wearing something you'll look back on and regret.

Join me as I talk you through some of my best (and worst) dressed celebrity brides.

Best Dressed Brides:  Caroline Corr, Princess Di, The Duchess of Cambridge

This is how to do it.  Caroline Corr knew she was going to have hoards of locals and fans watching her on her big day, so she knew she needed to dress to impress.  However, a dress that was over the top and fussy would not have served her well in the Mallorcan heat.  This dress is an easy laid back combo of the two and Caroline looks effortlessly chic and cool in it.

Princess Diana's dress captured the hopes and desires of a nation in one outfit.  And that is a pretty powerful thing.  The fluffy meringue style of the dress matched her warm and giving nature seen in the proceeding years with her children and her charity work.  The sheer size of the dress meant it didn't fade within th grandeur of St. Paul's Cathederal.  The expensive detailing in the lace and the sequins served as a symbol of the opulence and wealth of the country at the time.  The dress suited her and it suited the Nation.  Perfect. 

Okay, don't hate me for saying this, but I didn't like The Duchess of Cambridge's Westminster Abbey dress.  It was a work of art with all that beautiful lacework and folds of the skirt and it suited the ocassion of a future king's royal wedding perfectly.  But I don't think it suited her.  Kate is unquestionably a style icon and by-and-large is a very good judge of what she looks good in.  This is why her evening wedding dress that she wore to the private party looked a million times better on her.  It was simplicity itself with the simply flourish of the McQueen belt to keep it stylish.  The wrap was practical for keeping out the chill of an April night.

Worst Dressed Brides: Claudia Schiffer, Jemima Khan, Big Fat Gypsy weddings

Too much lace!

Too much like Oxfam.

Too much.  End of.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Ssh! - The Pros and Cons of doing it in Secret

What a surprise we've woken up to today - James Bond star Daniel Craig married his love of 6 months Rachel Weisz in a secret ceremony in New York.  Only their children and two close friends were in attendance.

For interfering mothers everywhere, this sounds like a nightmare.  But for many couples, tying the knot with no muss, no fuss is the idea of heaven.

Take Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who married on a beautiful Carribbean island with her co-star Victor Garber as the celebrant and only one other person in attendance.

It was intimate, beautiful, poignant, meaningful...  everything a wedding should be.

Or should it?  There are some who say that a wedding without the pomp and ceremony, and without the family and friends there to share the moment with you, is not a wedding at all.  The marriage ceremony is steeped in ritual and tradition and to dodge all of that is to simply make a contract with the state.

Of course, if escaping the hoards of guests is EXACTLY the point of your wedding, than you can't do much better than running away to Vegas.  This stunt has been pulled many's the time over years by celebs ranging from Britney Spears to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

As with everything in life, there are good reasons for and against marrying in secret. 

  • Getting exactly the kind of day you want with no interference from other people.  Whether its on a beautiful beach somewhere, or just you and him at the registry office.
  • Significantly cheaper: Fewer guests = fewer costs
  • No need to announce engagement: if you're going to marry in secret, there's no need to go through the embarrassment (and cost) of finding a picture for the local paper, ringing lots of people up and explaining for the millionth time how he proposed, or a tedious party with bad buffet food.
  • Flexibility: you could jump on a plane for Vegas tomorrow if you want to.  You've not got any guests to worry about, so why not?
  • Fewer gifts:  Whilst parents and close relatives are likely to still be generous because they love you so much, friends and other family may feel miffed and robbed of a chance to party.  They may be less giving as a result.
  • Loss of shared memories: one of the great things about weddings is that they give you and your loved ones a happy occassions to share and talk over for the rest of your lives.
  • Having to ring everybody up to tell them afterwards.  It's going to be an even longer phonecall than the engagement one would have been.
It is worth noting that  just because you marry in secret doesn't mean that you can't have the wedding of your dreams.  Darius Campbell and Natasha Henstridge married in beautiful California with only her children in attendance.  They arranged their wedding in a week and Nastasha had always dreamed of wearing Monique Lhuillier on her big day.  Lhuillier wedding dresses, even the 'off-the-rack' ones take at least 3 months to prepare.  But there was a beautiful white cocktail dress in the shop.  Natasha tried and it fit her perfectly.

She got her wish after all.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Everything I Do, Nothing Compares 2 Your Song - picking the perfect first dance

First dances can be nerve-wracking to say the least.  There's the not-stepping-on-your-partner's-toes which can prove problematic, not wanting to look like an idiot in front of all your friends and family, and trying not to ruin your dress, sweeping around a dusty dancefloor.

But before you trip into the light fantastic, there is one big choice to be made:  WHICH SONG TO CHOOSE???

Who can forget the couple who choreographed their first dance in the style of Dirty Dancing:

Or the couple who danced down the aisle to Chris Brown's 'Forever':

Whichever moment of your wedding day to pick to do that dance in, the whole point of doing it is to make a memory that will last a lifetime; for your guests, not just yourself.  If you get it right, the piece of music you choose will always send them right back to your big day.

Classic favourites include Bryan Adams' throaty 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)', LeAnn Rimes' 'How Do I Live' and 'I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing' from Armageddon's (otherwise pretty forgetable) soundtrack.  The bride and groom would hunch close together and embarrasedly hug each other whilst vaguely swaying to the music, wishing they were anywhere else in the world at that moment.

Because of this, more and more couples are favouring uptempo numbers.  The rise of Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)' and Dusty Springfield's 'I Only Wanna Be With You' has been notable. 

Sometimes it's all about finding the right words and the poetry to sum up the momement.  A word to the wise: don't automatically go for the obvious.  You can find this poetry in the most unusual places.  Would you consider taking your first dance with your new husband to Morecombe and Wise's 'Bring Me Sunshine'?  No?  Really?  Not even when the words go:

"Make me happy, through the years,
Never bring me, any tears,
Let your arms be as warm as the sun from up above,
Bring me fun, bring me sunshine, bring me love."

Picking the right song can be a nightmare to say the least but so long as you make one you and your partner will remember for the rest of your lives, you'll be onto a winner.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Do It Like A Duchess - how to be the perfect wedding guest

Before she became recognised as being one of the brides of the century, it was a case of 'Always the guest, never even the bridesmaid' for Kate Middleton.  We all have that Hugh Grant/Four Weddings moment when we seem to have a wedding to attend every single Saturday, but perhaps in this, we can learn something from Her Royal Highness: 

Sticking to a range of comfortable colours and simple styles is the key.  There is a place for daring fashion, but your best mate's big day is not it.  Do as the Duchess does and stick within your normal pallett.  While she looks divine in cool blues and gorgeous golds, you will know which colours suit you best.  Kate likes her skirts to sit just above the knee and she has a nice cleavage which she shows to effect (but never revealing too much!)  It's important to remain modest at a wedding - leg or bust, never both.

One pit that is sooo easy to fall into is wearing the all black ensemble, especially for a winter wedding.   Some might call it classy; everyone else will say funereal.  Kate's tried to lighten her outfit here with some burgundy shoes, but they're simply not enough.  The LBD can look great at a wedding, but weddings are happy occassions.  And it's scientifically proven fact that bright colours go hand in hand with happiness.  Inject some colour a bright pair of shoes, hat or fascinator, or even a bag.

When it comes to hats, Kate's got it nailed.  Never too big, never too small.  You need a hat that has character without having a full-blown story to tell.  (Princess Beatrice: we're looking at you!)  Rule of thumb: if you can't travel in a car with it on your head, it's probably too big.

When it comes to shoes, smart but comfortable is the way forward.  For all that you want to look your best, you will be on your feet for quite a long time.  Will the corns from those amazing 6-inch Manolos really be worth it in the morning?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Bye Bye Baby - what to do went it all goes wrong

No doubt you were all as shocked as I was when the news came through late last night that Hugh Hefner's wedding to his beloved Crystal Harris following her "change of heart" is off.  Given The Heff's love of other women and his two previous marriages, this wedding had 'Meant To Be' and 'Happily Ever After' written all over it.

Okay, okay, sarcasm aside, it's never nice when a couple splits.  It's especially awkward when they do it in the run up to the wedding.  Whilst The Heff is a millionaire and the lost cost of this wedding is probably a drop in the ocean to him, it simply doesn't work like that for every one else.  If your wedding gets cancelled at the last minute, here are a list of Must - Dos:

  1. Contact all the guests.  And do it immediately.  They are more important than any supplier.  Telephone everyone who is coming.  If you can't get them, leave a message or send a text.  Email if you have to.  Just stop them from getting to the church on time!  There's no need to give an explanation now.  People can ring back for the full story later if they want to.
  2. Contact your venue and caterer.  These are likely to be the most expensive of all your suppliers so you need to work out how much (if any) of your deposit you're going to get back.  Don't demand your money back; if a genuine tragedy has occurred, suppliers can be more sympathetic than you think.  It's reasonable that they should be covered for any expenses already incurred, but they may surprise you by returning the full amount, even if it's within the agreed time frame for payment.
  3. Contact your minister/registrar.  If you were planning to get married in a religious ceremony, your minister may wish to offer you counselling.  It is up to you to decide if you wish to take up the offer.
  4. Contact all other suppliers.
  5. Contact your partner.  If you've split up, you will need to sort out important details such as division of property, payment for losses incurred through the wedding, returning rings etc.  If you're still together, you should talk to each other.  Cancelling a wedding can be as big a deal as going through with it.  You are going to need each other right now.
If you took out wedding insurance, you must check your policy carefully to see what is covered.  Cancelling through a simple "change of heart" may not be covered.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lily and Sarah - Fashion rules on the big day

We all know that celeb weddings set the trend of the rest of us poor common folk, and many people quite rightly predicted the boom in lace detail following the wedding of the  Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Given how she's set up a fashion label as well as a vintage clothing boutique with her sister Sarah Owen, all eyes were on the sometimes-wacky-sometimes-uber-chic Lily Allen to see what she would be wearing on her big day.

And I have to say... I was rather taken aback.

We all know that vintage is 'the' by-word in wedding culture at the moment, and many brides spend hours traipsing around charity shops in a bid to find their perfect antique dress. In her line of work, I would be very surprised if Lily hasn't come across a dress or two like this, so why go to all the bother (not to mention expense) of making this 'modern' vintage, lacy oddbox.

Especially those Princess Leia earmuffs.  We can all see the Rag Time influence in this dress, but this detail feels overblown and over the top to the point of being ridiculous.  It seems such a shame too when the rest of the cap headdress looks rather pretty.

For a high profile fashionista wedding such as this, fashion etiquette cannot be entirely forgotten, but that's exactly what the bride's business partner Sarah seems to have done.  That is FAR too much cleavage on show.  And who told her that those shoes go with that dress??  Okay so she's got to draw attention to her outfit in order to get notice for her business, but is upstaging the bride really the way to go?

Having said all that, given the rough year Lily's had, it's nice to see her with a beaming smile on her face.  No matter what a bride looks like or does, we should always wish her well.  Marriage is a tricky business and the wedding is just the start.