Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Winner All The Way.

Last year we launched a competition to win a wedding gown to the value of £1,000, a headpiece or accessory to the value of £100 and a studio photography session and DVD slideshow valued at £350
It was a HUGE success and our winner recently tied the knot and have some amazing images.
However, there was a second prize of which I'd like to tell you more about.
The competition basically asked engaged couples how their better halves got down on one knee.
Second prize was to receive a £75 voucher to put towards a bridesmaid gown supplied by a local bridal store.
Unfortunately for Louise, she was unable to redeem her prize, so when I heard about it I contacted Louise to see if there was anything she needed for the wedding.
She hadn't yet found her veil or novelty veil and top hat with Mickey/Minnie mouse ears (you'll understand why in a bit) and with a tight budget due to a baby on the way, I told her not to worry. We'd supply whatever she needed.
Louise gave us her 'Down on One Knee Moment'
"Ian proposed in front of Mickey Mouse at Disney land Paris in November 2009. We had a change of wedding date from June to April 15th 2011 as we found out we were expecting a baby in June. We had a Disney themed day with hot pink and orange colour scheme. Photographs taken at Colchester castle park and reception at rugby club. We had sweetie buffet, quiz in the afternoon and fish and chips for the wedding breakfast with an 99 ice cream van as a pudding surprise! Cupcakes with a mickey mouse head and sparkles on top too!
It was also my nanny and grandads 60th wedding anniversary the day before so they had a cake to cut too! Was a fantastic day- I was exhausted by the end especially as bump was pretty much dancing along all day too! Wouldn't change a thing though. It was an amazing day, really personal. We worked hard making everything for the day but it paid off seeing the smiles from everyone we love and care about.
I think you'll agree what a beautiful, blooming bride!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A Little Bit of Jiminy Cricket.

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

I consider myself a wife and mother ahead of the designer/dressmaker and it's lovely for clients to refer to me as 'Their Fairy Godmother' Thank you, Abi.
As a dressmaker/designer, I'm approaching (fast) 3 years since the re launch of my career and I really want to make it. However, the wrong side of forty has left me wondering why I left it so late in my life to try and achieve those dreams.
Like most of the lovely industry people I have the pleasure of knowing, we all want the recognition, to be 'out there' to be featured in top magazines, but to enjoy the fame and glory you have to work hard. I'm a big believer that nothing comes for free and the harder you work, the greater the rewards.
When an opportunity presents itself, grab it with both hands and squeeze every last drop you can from it. I guess the more you squeeze the more you want.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with the lovely Cat Hepple on a very special shoot for Leafy Couture owner, sarah Richardson. My usual dream team were involved, Jane from HF Couture and Annie from Roma Velace. We had such fun.
It wasn't long after that Cat mentioned she had put my name forward to provide a gown for a shoot taking place later in the year, Damien Lovegrove’s guest photographer, Chris Hanley. Chris is one of the leading wedding, fashion and portrait photographers in the UK. Both Damien and Chris will be spending two days next week teaching a group various photographic techniques in a secluded villa near Pisa, Italy. The location is a 16th century privately owned palace, Villa Sermolli, which is situated in the exclusive and private heart of a medieval village. With its magnificent gardens and fountains the palace is the most important palace in the Castillo.
My initial instinct was why me? Of all those people she could have suggested, why me? I'm nothing special, I can sew a pretty fine frock, but Cat knows plenty of people she could have suggested. However, I believe she pestered the photographer to death and after a few e mails introducing me to him, he finally called and I got the job.
So, my husband watched me jump up and down, unable to string a single sentence of coherent words together until I could tell him what was so important about this phone call.
It was one of those moments that I knew an opportunity had been sent my way. The only brief I was given was that the model needed to be able to 'Can Can' in it! So after receiving images of the location and model, I set to work.
Kate Middleton’s wedding gown has been talked about for months and there are already copies available to purchase from high street bridal retailer.The gown is still a talking point due to it’s vintage similarities with the gown Grace Kelly wore, when in 1956, she married her Prince. The Vintage wave is still sweeping the bridal scene 18 months on and it seems many brides are after this look. My love of Dior, of Hollywood designer Edith Head and the back detail of the Sarah Burton creation gave me a great place to start for inspiration.
For all the right reasons, Kate’s gown needed to fit the criteria for a future Queen. Covered shoulders and arms were probably stipulated by the Palace, which today’s modern bride may find far too conservative.The gown has not specifically designed for general sale although it will be a ‘Limited Edition’ piece.
I called in James Melia to photograph the gown in its finished state to enable me to have detailed shots to send across to Chris. His reaction? "I'll do this gown proud under the Tuscan Sun." Yes, I get to have some super images from one of the leading UK photographers!

I think you'll agree, James captured an air elegance and calm in these images. Thank you Mr Melia from the bottom of my heart.
So, after a few sneaky peeks yesterday, here it is.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Rendevouz Hotel Skipton, wedding fair.

Its been another one of those super busy weeks where I'd been hoping it was still Monday when in fact it was friday.

Tuesday saw an amazing experience for No 9 to work alongside the superb talents of my Yorkshire Dream Team, HF Couture, Leafy Couture and Just Darling cakes and a new addition to that team, pheomenal photographer James Melia.

Today we exhibited at our first wedding fair at Skipton Rendevouz Hotel where we happened to be the only bridal wear consession in attendance. All good for us however.

We were approached by photographers who wanted to set up shoots with us and local mens hire who wanted to have our frocks in their windows. Yes please!

However, it seemed to be our presentation that impressed fellow folk in the industry alongside brides-to-be, where at peak times, were queuing up to chat with us.

This week we employed the services of a design team (thank you Danny) situated in the studio on our floor of the Clock Tower to design our handouts and banner. So it only seems fitting to say a massive thank you to the amazing photographers who contributed to our handout and banner Rob Booker and James Melia.

Brides to be loved the accessories we brought along by HF Couture and Tiararama, both whom we stock in our studio.

They also loved the floral arrangement put together especially for the day by Leafy Couture.

However, the most memorable moment for me was when chatting to a bride to be who looked totally resentful about being at the fair with her mum. She hadn't exactly received the best of treatments in bridal salons she told us and as we chatted with her and passed on our 'Dream Team' contact details after our protfolio seemed to thoroughly engage her, she raised her hand in the air and 'high fived' me. In that single moment she looked like for the first time she could look forward to planning her wedding, that we could make her look amazing, but more important we would make her feel amazing.

That's why I love my job.

Of course the day was about promoting us, but it couldn't have looked more professional without the talents of (in no particular order)

Rob Booker

James Melia

HF Couture


Leafy Couture

Monday, 12 September 2011

Win a Wedding Gown Competition!

Last year to celebrate our 2nd year of sucessful dressmaking, No 9 Bridal Couture launched what we believe was a pretty amazing competition.

We teamed up with HF Couture and Xposure Photography to offer one lucky bride-to-be the chance of winning a very unique experience.

The winner would receive:
1. A bespoke wedding gown to the value of £1,000 hand crafted by ourselves.

2. An exclusive tiara or accessory made to their own design to the value of £100,

supplied by HF Couture

3. The choice of a ‘Model’ or ‘For Your Eyes Only’ professional photo shoot to the value of £300 as well as a slide show DVD containing a selection of the photographs taken by

One runner up would receive a £75.00 voucher to be redeemed against a bridesmaid gown.

All we wanted to know was how your fiancé proposed.

Competition between our five finalists was pretty fierce, but we were delighted with our winner, Abi who married last weekend.

Abi chose a timeless style which consisted of silk, tulle and corded lace in ivory. We also had a beautiful hand beaded embelishment worked on to the gown by the very talented Jane at HF Couture to add a finishing touch of couture luxury.

Abi chose to take advantage of our personal dressing service and we arrived promt at 'Flash' at 8.30am.

The air was calm and peaceful inside the cottage. Not a hint of nerves or disorganisation anywhere. After helping her four lovely bridesmaids dress, I finally helped Abi into her gown just before 10am.

The competition was a huge success and we shall miss Abi terribly.

May I take the opportunity of wishing both Abi and her new husband the very best for the future.

Official photographer Helen of PH Weddings and a sneak into the day can be found here.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Little R & R

Friday 9th September 2011

Mr D comes everywhere with me. Anything business related and he's by my side.

This weekend he's taking me to Sheffield to dress a very special bride. Our competition winner Abi gets married tomorrow and I rarely 'do' motorway driving, so we're up and off for 7am to prepare Abi for her big day.

Sunday he's taking me to Harrogate for the BBEH and Tuesday he took me to the Brides Up North Tweet up. In a few weeks, he'll also be by my side for our first ever wedding fair.

It's been non stop for us over the past year, a new studio move, magazine features and a brand new collection out Mid November, so we've never been in more need of a family holiday.

We recently returned from our haven. There was no mobile phone reception and eventhough there is Wifi, I ignored it.

We spent time relaxing and enjoying the peace and tranquility of our Devon cottage and I didn't want to come home! Infact, before we left, we booked next year.

We all enjoyed it, even the Cairn.

Our beautiful holiday cottage.

Home from home comforts

The view from our window.

Attention to detail.

The Cairn and the farm help, Jim.

Time out to go bug hunting with the family. We came across these wierd catapillars. We believe they pupate into Hawk Moths (let me know if i'm wrong!)

Time to enjoy scones with locally produced clotted cream and jam.

Strawberries and wine while reading on the lawn

Helping on the farm with the children.

Day outs to the beach

And visiting my son in his new Plymouth flat.

Everybody needs a little R & R. It leaves me refreshed and ready for the next mad few months!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A vision in lace.

I'm going to miss Kirsty.

I remember our first meeting when she told me what she wanted for her wedding gown and where she was going to be married. "In a field," she said.

The uniqueness in her dress gave me such inspiration and when she told me Emma Case was her chosen photographer, my bum was making buttons on my seat. It really was the most perfect choice.

I showed Kirsty some lace samples and we both agreed on a beautiful corded lace with more of a wide net texture than that of tulle.

A 100% silk slipper satin cut on the bias would be the full length chemise beneath.

The back was almost smock-like with a covered button detail. The length falling into a very small puddle train.

I think you'll agree, the bride along with the images Emma has given me showcase our work perfectly.

Emma Case
and Emma's blog of Kirsty and her husband Rob's wedding

All images Emma case photography.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A very High Society frock.

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such lovely people at the moment and one of those lovely people is the gorgeous Cat Hepple.

Cat is an amazing photographer and when she asked if I would make her a special gown for a very special social event, I jumped at the chance.

Cat loved the dress Grace Kelly wore when dancing with Frank Sinatra in High Society. The floaty chiffon would suit her to a T.


We chose a old gold satin for the base and a soft pale gold for the chiffon overlay. The bronze and gold embroidered motifs running from the top of the shoulder to the hip were a perfect match and complimented the gown as if they were made for it.

Cat, just before leaving for the Love My Dress event.

The gown was the talk of the evening which makes me very proud.

I must say however, without this demure and elegant lady wearing it, it would have simply been a very pretty frock.

Thank you Cat.

last 3 images courtesy of the LMD soiree photographers Katy Lunsford and Helen Russell.