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  1. It is always a pleasure to make things for brides and bridesmaids, whether they have already been pre-designed, partially custom-made, or totally bespoke. This summer, Blue Lily Magnolia is starting a new blog category, to share some real bride stories with you. If you have purchased something from Blue Lily Magnolia and would like to be featured, please get in touch!! 

  2. Ateliers 5 Discover Your Style

    Based in Chester and Nantwich, UK, Ateliers 5 makes gorgeous bespoke wedding dresses and occasion wear, starting from the design process to the finished item. Having developed a unique system of helping clients visualise what works best with them (Silhouette Styling System), this month, they share with us their top tips on how to discover your wedding dress style. 

    The wedding dress is the piece de resistance in all weddings. The one thing that everyone awaits to be revealed in anticipation. The only thing that makes you stand out from the rest of the party, and the main thing that makes you look like the dream bride. But many brides-to-be find it difficult to find their style. It is easy to find beautiful dresses, but less easy to find beautiful dresses that suit your personality, body shape, wedding theme and make you look you, with an extra va-va-voom. At Ateliers 5, we work hard to try to do just that - making dresses that are not just pretty, but that suit everything. And here’s our top tips for you, when you’re trying to discover your own style.

    1) Who do you feel most like in the public world, from a personality perspective? Who do you aspire to be? Check them out, and see what they wear at formal occasions or what they have worn for their weddings. Are there anything that they have worn that you like? By getting ideas from this type of inspiration, you can first get an overall idea of the personality based dress styles to start off with.

     2) Browse as many dress styles as you can - whether from magazines, or online. Keep cuttings or a Pinterest board. After a while, you will see a recurring pattern of the things that really pull you, and you can build from there.

     3) Keep an open mind. It is good to start with something in mind, but be prepared to try something a little different in a shop or studio. If nothing else, this will simply confirm your style. Alternatively, you might be pleasantly surprised by finding that something you never considered actually looks good on you and feels right.

     4) Take photos of yourself when you like something that you’ve tried on. This is especially important if there are several dresses or several styles that you love. You can always review them later on with friends and family. And don’t keep it just wedding dress photos. If you find a feature that you like in a fashion shop, e.g. a particular neckline, or sleeve, just snap away!

     5) Know your body and work with it. Be honest with yourself, and ask yourself what is your best assets and the body parts you would prefer not to be on show. If you don’t like your arms, don’t get styles that emphasises them. Likewise, if you love your slim waistline, find styles that would enhance that.

     6) Finally, make it fun! Finding your dream dress should be an enjoyable journey, so take it easy and take advantage of the pampering!

     Ateliers 5 will be exhibiting at the National Wedding Show in Manchester on the 22nd-23rd October 2016. Visit them at stand C12, and get a discount on booking your tickets by using the code below! 

    Visit the National Wedding Show site

  3. process1

    Sometimes, you just can't find the thing you want, in shops, online, anywhere. It may be that you have seen something in the right shape, but not the right colour, or vice versa, or it could be that what you are looking for simply hasn't been created yet. The answer to that is of course to have it made specially for you - a custom, bespoke order. But what should you be looking for in selecting the right designer? Whether it is a dress designer, or one for shoes, hats, accessories, jewellery, these points should always be considered: 

    - How close to your style is the designer's existing work? If you have something in mind already, does it roughly match the type of things the designer has already done? If you found something that he/she makes but just not in the colour or size you want, that's perfect, but if their style is more shabby chic and you're looking for an ultra modern effect, think twice. 

    - How much bespoke work does the designer do? The more bespoke experience, the better it should be for you, simply because he/she will have learnt from prior experience what works and what doesn't. By all means, this doesn't mean that no bespoke experience is bad, but experience will give you a smoother process. You could ask to view pictures of previously completed bespoke pieces, and even better, if the reviews on bespoke services are great, it is a good sign.

    - How is the initial communication between you and the designer? If it is prompt, courteous, not full of grammatical errors, and with a positive tone, it is a good start towards making sure you will have a positive experience. 

    - Does the designer 'get' what you're saying? Sometimes, if you have to work too hard to get a message, a concept or an idea across, be mindful. You may be surprised or disappointed at the end when the outcome is totally different to what you expected. It helps if you could explain your ideas visually, for example using a Pinterest board, or showing them pictures of the styles you like, and see how he/she responds.

    - Is the designer going to bring something to the design? Asking someone to just copy an existing design is a big no-no for any self-respecting designer. As a designer, I am happy to take inspiration from other people's work to create something unique, but copying is unlawful. 

    - Is the designer happy to share pictures of work in progress if you so wish? Not everyone is interested in being kept in the loop at every stage, but if you are, will you be? 

    - Can the designer deliver on time? This very much depends as well on how long you are giving them! Always ask about the timeline, and if it is a rush order, try to get reassurances that the order can be completed on time. 

    - How are payments made and what are the terms? A deposit is very common, and often this is non-refundable. Payments using well known channels, with an invoice and receipts are always better. Run a mile from anyone you don't really know asking for a cash deposit, particularly if there are no receipts. Make sure you understand all the payment requirements, e.g. when next payments will be due, how much, whether there might be additional payments over and above your original quote, etc. 

    And finally, how do you feel after talking to or messaging the designer? Confident? Excited? If that's the case, go for it! 

    Blue Lily Magnolia makes bespoke bridal accessories, and accessories for formal wear, bridesmaids, mother-of-the-bride, etc. If you have any other good pointers for people on what to look for in a bespoke designer, please share!