Updated: Apr 30, 2019
I can’t actually believe that we celebrated 5 years of marriage last Friday, that’s a whole half decade of being a married lady! The time has literally flown by. It feels like only yesterday I was getting ready at the magical Iscoyd Park… I was the most chilled-out bride on the actual day of the wedding – that can’t be said for the run up to the day, but on the actual day I took it all in my stride. I enjoyed a lovely morning getting my makeup done by renowned makeup-artist-to-the-stars Sarah Brock (such a lucky girl!) and my hair done by my gorgeous industry friend Claire at Harry John. I literally had a dream beauty team.
The day itself was all gorgeous and went without a hitch - there were a few niggles but nothing major. But like all brides say, it passed in a flash and no sooner than I was walking up the aisle, I was dancing the last dance and it was all over.
I know most people fantasise about what they would do differently if they had their time over again – like all trends weddings date and things move on and no matter how amazing your wedding day was you can’t but think… What would I do now? I know I am exposed more than most to the wedding world and I see new trends emerging all the time – I mean, I have even been part of setting the trends and discovering what’s the next big thing. This is of course amazing but also a nightmare for someone like me who just loves all the pretty and just has to have it!
So to satisfy my longing to do it all again and to share with you all my top tips from what I learnt, here is a little look at my wedding and what I am loving right now that is featuring heavily in the fantasy wedding I have in my head!
My wedding: What I loved: My Top 5 CB loves:
1. I still love the colour pallet I chose of pink, gold and midnight blue. It worked beautifully together and I still love these shades together. Would I choose this again? Yes, I probably would if it was a winter wedding. If I had a summer wedding I would swap the midnight blue to a cornflower blue instead to soften the look.
2. Flowers and lots of them – they were high on my list of what was priority and still would be. I had masses of my favourite roses. Roses would still be part of my look but styled in a different way… More on this below.
3. Food again was high on the agenda, I love my food and I wanted my guests to have the best so I booked the best caterers for our wedding. Vanilla in Allseasons are multi award winning with good reason. They served up all my favourite canapés for the drinks’ reception and then our guests dined on fillet steaks cooked to their preference along with a delicious starter and sides. Dessert was more of an event in itself – I had a dessert room, and it was like the pink version of a Willy Wonka fantasy land!
4. Videographers are not always high on a couple’s agenda but they are SO important. Yes the photographer is important but our video has given us so much more joy over the years. Being able to watch the whole wedding was amazing because I hardly remembered it and I got to feel like a guest at my wedding, seeing it through their eyes. It’s become even more special to me because since our wedding I have lost my beloved Grandpops and I have actual footage of him from the wedding so to me this is one of my most treasured things. I can’t wait until Harry is older so I can show him all the films that our videographer made for us. You can view our beautiful wedding film preview here https://www.stylemepretty.com/2014/05/23/glamorous-pink-english-wedding/
5. Of course my loves would not be complete without including my bridal style look. So many people ask me which designer I wore, but I couldn’t not design my own wedding dress. As a designer and at the time of getting married I still had my bridal brand so it was not even a question I would of course wear a Charlotte Balbier creation. With over a decade of designing bridal gowns under my belt and my family being in bridal fashion since 1950 you would think my own gown would be easy to do, right? Wrong! It was one of the hardest gowns I have ever had to design. I felt an overwhelming pressure to have the most amazing gown in the world, something totally unique, something radically different. The reality was though what works for me and my body shape is a classic cut and design and more importantly it’s what I felt most comfortable and special in. So after about 20 or so patterns and designs being made I went with a very classic deign. My favourite detail of my first gown was the oversized bow and the beautiful cathedral long train. I chose a stunning French lace and silk organza for the fabric and finished the look with large diamanté buttons down the back of the train for just a touch of sparkle.
I designed my evening gown literally weeks before the wedding. I was going to wear a gold sequin number for the evening, the sequin trend was just starting and with it being a Christmas wedding I was keen to embrace this look. However on a fabric buying trip I came across the most exquisite gold lace and I knew I just had to have it. This gown took no time at all to design because I was led by the fabric and I knew I wanted something more fitted with a lovely floaty cap sleeve.
Of course both gowns had of course killer heels and stylish bags to complete my bridal style. Jimmy Choo, Rachel Simpson and Freya Rose all made an appearance on the day.
These are just a few of the things I loved from our wedding, there was so much I loved that if I included it all this post would go on for days! I do though have a few things I think all brides cannot stress about and if needs be live without.
My top tips for not sweating the small stuff (that really does not matter!)
Do me a favour… So many brides get so obsessed with favours and from my experience from my own wedding and from working with thousands of brides over the years they really are not that important. My view on them is if you have the budget then great have them but if it means using important budget that can be spent on other things that are priority then these can be dropped from the day. Yes, they can look lovely on the table and it's a nice gesture to give something to your guests but I can tell you that over 50% of your guests will leave them on the table and go home without them! We chose the pink and gold Charbonnel et Walker heart boxes and we counted up 35 boxes left the following day, so that was £175 that could have been allotted to something else and if we had not had them at all that would have been £500… Ladies, that is a pair of shoes!
Entertainment is of course so important and if live music is you're thing book an amazing band or singer and spend a good chunk of budget on this. However under the entertainment umbrella comes all the other little things like, photo booths, singing waiters, hog roast… I could go on. It might be that I am too over exposed to weddings and awards’ dos but these are things you just don’t need. Guests want good food, drinks to be flowing and to have a good boogie and most importantly share your special day and get lost in the love and emotion of the ceremony and speeches.
Make a list of your dream wedding and what you want and list it in priority and then put some costs to it all. If it all works with your budget than amazing have it all. If though you’re over budget by having things listed in priority order it makes easier to eliminate things. When it comes to your budget always have a little stashed by for any hidden costs that might occur or for any last-minute things you might want to treat yourself to.
My top 10 priority list for your supplier dream team:
1. Videographer. Book an experienced and well known one.
2. A fantastic photographer who is the best you can have with your budget. Meet up with them before booking them because it’s so important that you have a good relationship and feel at ease with them. Book in a pre-wedding shoot too - a great way to get to know each other so your more relaxed on the day.
3. Venue is key as it sets the tone and style for the day, and without having this booked you can’t plan the wedding. Ideally go to an open day at the venue so you can see it set up for a wedding and meet their preferred suppliers.
4. The dress is of course in my opinion the most important factor of the day. Don’t compromise on this. Have the best dress you can with your budget, allocate a price to work with and then have your reserve funds incase your dream dress comes in a little over this. Another little tip is book in with no more than two to three boutiques and try on no more than eight dresses at each. Listen to the bridal stylist in store, take on their advice - they are the experts and will know exactly what will work for you, your body shape and personality.
5. Allocate a healthy chunk of budget on food and drink for your guests. The main three things people remember from a wedding are what they ate, what they drank and the bride’s dress. I would say sacrifice the small stuff if you have to and spend more on the food and drinks.
6. Flowers and decor are so important because they really set the scene for how your wedding looks and is styled. So many couples under-estimate how expensive flowers are, they are very expensive but if like me you love them then make them high on the list. Same can be said for other decor, the balloon trend is huge at the moment but they can be just as expensive as flowers.
7. Wedding planners are so undervalued. Yes they can be expensive but the good ones are worth every penny. These guys are top of their game, they know all the best suppliers and have them all on speed dial and can introduce to the very best in the industry. They not only help you create your dream wedding they will keep things on schedule and budget and on the lead up to the day and the day itself.
8. Gorgeous stationery is also a big thing for me. The save the date or invitation is the first look your guests get at your wedding and sets the scene. I became SO obsessed with my stationery and it all being perfect, I actually wanted stamps to match but they did not arrive in time and I had a meltdown when I had to use a normal first class stamp! Of course this was absolutely ridiculous but as a total perfectionist I wanted my guests first glimpse of our wedding to make an impression. I needn’t have worried because people were not at all offended by the standard stamp and still RSVPd yes and all commented on how pretty the stationery was. There are so many really special wedding stationery brands out there – you will be spoilt for choice.
9. Music and entertainment for the evening is key. A live band get’s the party started and a good DJ is great for banging out the cheesy tunes for later when everyone is merry and wants to have a good old boogie.
10. Finally my last key supplier is your beauty glam squad. Every bride should look and feel her very best on her wedding day. Treat yourself to an amazing hair and make up team to create your dream bridal look.
So I hear you say what would the queen of pretty have now if she was to re-new her vows? In the 5 years since I got married I have seen trends come and go and I am seeing some really beautiful one’s emerging.
Right now I am literally obsessed with Mandy Moores recent wedding, I mean who’s not right? Pink pamper grass styled with delicate pink flowers was just so dreamy. Her pastel Pink Rodarte gown was simply divine and her choice of veil made her look like an etherial princess. This wedding is firmly in my top 3 favourites of all time.
I would definitely have the pink pamper grass if I was getting married now with Pink roses and lot’s of green foliage to create a whimsical and magical scene as the back drop to the wedding. Relaxed and unruly in design but stylish and feminine to match my style. And lot’s of it, for more when it comes to flowers too much is never enough. Styled in would be gold foil calligraphy, bamboo silk ribbon with a colour palette of pinks, blues, greens and golds with crisp white linens.
As I have had the big dress and I am now a little older I would design a gown more fitted for me now. I love silk chiffon and soft delicate French lace and spotted tulle so I would include all these to create something totally dreamy and for the evening I would go short and let my shoes make a statement.
Sadly all this is just a dream as we have no plans to do it all again. We have said that we might for our 10 year anniversary so that’s 5 years for me to plan and pin on Pinterest my dream wedding number 100 in my head!
If you have enjoyed this post and would love for me to share more of my knowledge and experience on all things weddings and of course wedding dresses I would love to hear from you. Comment below or message me on Instagram and let me know what you want me to share and I will post all my top tips for you.
Happy planning pretties,
Love CB xx
Image Credit: http://alexandreweddings.com