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Wedding dresses under £1500

Paula McGarry

Beautiful wedding dresses don't have to take up most of your wedding budget. Some of our favourite styles come from smaller, independent designers with a keen eye for detail and a design aesthetic that is unique to traditional gowns. Whether you are looking for a boho-inspired dress or something more conventional, there are plenty of options you can consider without fearing the price tag. 

We have featured a round-up of our favourite wedding dress designers that sell designs for under £1,500 to help inspire you on your dress-hunting journey. 



1. Rime-Arodaky

Photo credits: www.rime-arodaky.com/ and  @felixxboniface

Photo credits: www.rime-arodaky.com/ and @felixxboniface

This French design house has produced a variety of bridal attire ranging from gowns to two-pieces and pre- and post-wedding outfits. Rime envisions brides as liberated, sexy, edgy and modern and her designs seek to replicate this image. 

Her designs are sold directly on her website, through her Parisian boutique as well as on global platforms such as Shopbop and Net-a-Porter. Tailored gowns can be made with all alterations and fittings taking place in Paris, a perfect excuse to visit if there ever was one. 

Animal lovers among you will also be keen to know that Rime recently challenged a host of bridal boutiques and designers to pledge to be 100% cruelty-free, ensuring that no animals are harmed or mistreated in the design and manufacture process of the wedding garments they produce and sell. 

Prices from: £850 

Stockists: Direct at Rime Arodaky, Net-a-Porter, Shopbop 

Theme: The modern bride 

USP: You can create several looks with Rime Arodaky, which is especially convenient if you want to change throughout the day or plan outfits for other wedding celebrations such as the rehearsal dinner. 


2. Catherine Deane 

Catherine's designs take cultural references from her nomadic lifestyle having lived in Ireland, South Africa, London and Hong Kong. The dresses are a combination of old meets new, strength and fragility, striking modern design and simplicity. 

The designs are best suited for Spring and Summer brides with lace and sleeveless silhouettes playing a key design element in a lot of the dresses.  The laid-back aesthetic entices images of blossomed trees and ceremonies outdoors or in orangeries. 

Aside from bridal gowns, Catherine Deane also produces bridal separates, accessories including veils, sashes and belts as well as dresses suitable for pre-or post-wedding events. 

Prices from: £995

Stockists: Direct at Catherine Deane, select bridal boutiques in the UK  

Theme: Summer Brides 

USP: Catherine Deane's bridal separates selection is arguably more extensive than her bridal gown selection making this brand an ideal choice for creating a more bespoke look, opting for a mix and match finish over one that has been pre-put together. 


3. Needle & Thread 

Known for their embellished and embroidered ready to wear, Needle & Thread have branched into bridal gowns with a vintage meets modern look. While some designs have a romanticised nod to Charles Dickens' Mrs Haversham, others, particularly those with added colour, give brides an untraditional and whimsical vibe. To us, these designs are reminiscent of castles and fairytales, a dress that can tell a story. 

The bridal range from Needle and Thread is relatively new so you can expect to see the number of styles in the collection continue to grow and evolve with time. 

For brides struggling to find bridesmaids dresses in keeping with their own look, Needle and Thread provides a wide range of styles to choose from that will be in keeping with the theme without any risk of overshadowing the bride. 

Prices from: £550

Stockists: Direct at Needle & Thread 

Theme: Modern Vintage 

USP: These dresses influenced by the ethos of the existing brand err on the side of non-bridal making them a unique option for brides that want to go down the non-traditional route without compromising on a stand-out look. 


4. Grace Loves Lace 

Grace Loves lace, an Australian brand, pride themselves on being the designer for unique brides. Their French lace is manufactured exclusively for Grace Loves Lace in Calais by hand before it starts the journey back to Australia. 

The brand has made a determined effort to create a range of bridal gowns that are distinct from each other. Long sleeve, short sleeve, strapless, flowing and fitted gowns are available, making this brand a stand-out choice for brides that are keen to have a lace dress that veers away from the traditional kind. 

Their collection of dresses are touted as being comfortable, easy to wear and easy to fit, doing away with the traditional, structured gowns that are often commonplace in most stores. The inbuilt stretch components allow the dresses to be slipped on and off and for sizing to be more flexible, giving brides a new opportunity to take a deep breath on the big day. 

Prices from: $935 (Australian Dollars)

Stockists: Direct 

Theme: Bohemian Beauty 

USP: Unlike some other bridal brands, Grace Loves Laces sells exclusively through their online website, allowing them to pass on wholesale prices to their brides rather than having to apply boutique markups. 


5. White by Vera Wang 

The White by Vera Wang collection is perfect for women that want to opt for a full bridal gown, traditional in appearance and with an air of regality to it. The number of options is sizable, creating tonnes of choice for brides including dresses in a variety of materials (not just lace and tulle) as well as different colour groups. 

Vera Wang designed the collection exclusively for David's Bridal, making her signature dramatic style renowned around the world available for women at a lower cost than through her boutiques. The versatility of the range means that whether you have an indoor, outdoor, winter or summer wedding, there will be a style that is not only appropriate for your wedding theme but also one that you will treasure wearing. 

There is also a matching bridesmaid range available with between 18-36 different colour options to choose from, an easy way to ensure your bridesmaids' dresses are linking in with your overall colour scheme. 

Prices from: £400

Stockists: David's Bridal 

Theme: Traditional Bride 

USP: White by Vera Wang, has specific plus size styles for curvier brides ensuring a fantastic fit for every body shape and size. 

Aside from choosing smaller designers with lower price tags, there are other ways you can find the dress of your dreams within budget. StillWhite is a website specialising in the resale of preloved wedding dresses, featuring some of the most prominent name designers. This option may well allow you to find a dress ordinarily out of budget at a significantly reduced price. 

Alternatively, keep your eye on bridal sample sales that take place at lots of bridal boutiques around the country. It is a brilliant way to pick up a brand new wedding dress at a fraction of the price with some designers offering discounts of up to 80%. 

Finally, if you are design savvy, you may find a solution in designing your own dress, taking inspiration from your favourite dress designers. More brides are leaning towards having their wedding gown made by local seamstresses, having sourced the material they need themselves. 

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Bridal Beauty Timeline

Paula McGarry

Of course, it is natural to want to look your best on your wedding day. With all eyes on you and pictures that will last a lifetime, you might make perfection the order of the day. However, bridal beauty is a topic that can leave any bride feeling overwhelmed and confused. There is so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start and what is relevant to your look and style. To help you figure out a plan for your look we have pulled together a timeline for what, when and how you should make your beauty preparations. 

You're engaged! 

Congratulations, first of all. The engagement period is complete bliss; it is the time where you can brainstorm specific ideas, concepts and consider the different ways you can make your wedding unique. It is likely that you will think about a provisional date for the wedding, even if it is as vague as a season and a year. When you have done this, you'll know how much time you have ahead of you for planning and achieving your beauty goals. 

Research 

Use this particular time to hunt through Pinterest boards, Instagram accounts and creative, wedding-specific blogs for ideas and more importantly, images to build and create your own beauty mood board. Doing this will allow you to identify goals and start some early research into specialists. For example, you may think your wedding is the perfect opportunity to have your smile improved through dental work, or alternatively, you may decide that you want to give your hairstyle an overhaul. These kinds of decisions need prep and time to be able to work well enough to achieve your vision. 

Face

Almost as soon as your engagement ring is on your finger, the golden rule for any beauty regime should be followed. Invest in a good SPF and wear it daily, whether the sun is shining brightly or not. UV rays are one of the prime causes of premature ageing, sun spots and skin discolouration, none of which are on your wishlist for your wedding day. 


If you have the means to be able to do so, it is also worth booking an appointment with a dermatologist who will be able to discuss any skin concerns with you and provide you with information on what tonics, creams and serums will best serve your skin in the run-up to your wedding. You can also use beauty blogs, both Sali Hughes and Nadine Baggot offer fantastic resources for skin advice and product reviews for all forms of concerns, ages, and skin profiles. Try to avoid going with the mainstream consensus and buying products with ingredients you have heard of but might not be suitable for you. 

When you have identified the right form of products for your skin, try to start using them as soon as possible, following any intricacies of a prescribed treatment plan. It takes 45-days for a product to take effect on the skin so be patient, start early and you will be able to assess exact results before making any changes, all with plenty of time before the big day. 

Checklist for the engagement period: 

  • Develop a beauty mood board and identify your individual beauty goals 

  • Research any specialists that might be able to help you achieve your dream look 

  • Start wearing SPF daily if you aren't already 

  • Work with a dermatologist or beauty professional to identify a skincare plan unique to your profile 


Six months to go 

Face

While makeup can work wonders, some of you might want to look at more longterm tweaks you can make with the use of cosmetic aesthetics and injectibles. If you are interested in making any non-surgical enhancements such as laser hair removal, botox, facial fillers, or lip, chin or jaw augmentations then now is the time to start. 

A respectable practitioner (always choose a doctor and never a beautician) will never make too many changes at one time. Instead, they will produce a treatment plan to meet your goals that are spread across several months and appointments. This will leave you with a natural look and nothing that looks like a marked difference and leaves you feeling less 'you.' 

Body

Six months before the wedding, you might also want to tone up some of the areas of your body you will have on display. For many brides, this is often their arms if they are wearing strapless dresses. For others, it may be that they want to generally slim down and tone up across their entire body. Whatever your fitness and physical goals in this regard, six months is a healthy amount of time to achieve the changes you have in mind without having to crash diet or undergo any drastic or intensive regimes that can leave you feeling burned out and exhausted, especially with the added pressure of wedding planning on top. 

There are now tonnes of fantastic apps you can download on your phone if you feel that a gym is too much of a commitment and do not want to work with a trainer. SWEAT is ideal for those short on time and equipment as the workouts are no longer than 28-minutes long, can be done from the comfort of your home and come with meal plans too. The cost is low, around £20 per month for the paid subscription that you can cancel any time. 

Hair

The other key consideration six months before your wedding is any colour changes you want to make to your hair. Again, a good hairdresser and colourist would not let you make drastic changes in one go, both for the sake of your hair and for the result itself. Instead, they will advise you to have smaller, more frequent changes made over time to ensure you get the colour you want without causing damage by drying out your hair, thinning it or worse, causing breakages. Subtle colour changes may need something as low maintenance as regular toners applied to the hair; however, a full colour-change will be more complicated and require much more active management. Particularly if you have been self-dying your hair for any time. 

Finally, start looking into which hair and makeup artists you want to book for your wedding day. Some of the more popular professionals can get booked up to a year in advance so factor this into your planning if you are getting married in peak season. 


Six months to go checklist:

  • If you are inclined to have any non-surgical procedures, find a reputable doctor and negotiate a treatment plan with them now

  • Book to see a hair colourist for any substantial hair transformations you want to make 

  • Identify a short list of ideal hair and makeup artists you wish to book for your wedding day and book them as soon as possible 

  • Start an exercise regime either at home or in the gym to target any changes to your physique that you are keen to see 

Three months to go 

Face

With only three months to go, now is the time to indulge a bit more. Whether that be with monthly facials that target your skin concerns and keep the pores clean and unclogged or combined peels and light therapies to smooth out your base. 

If your eyebrows have been neglected, then you may want to start thinking about making regular eyebrow appointments to shape and sculpt them to perfection. Some women may want to grow their eyebrows out so they are thicker, while others may want to look at microblading or semi-permanent makeup, all of which we would suggest planning as far in advance as possible, although makeup can serve as a fantastic way of creating dream brows without a long maintenance plan. 

Hair

You should have already started garnering traction on hair colour changes, but now would be the time that you might want to consider any hair extensions needed to lengthen or thicken your hair. You will need these put in before you have your hair trial so that your hair stylist is getting an authentic feel for how your hair will hold on the day. 

At this stage, you should be booking in the trials for your hair and makeup. While some people suggest that waiting until two weeks before your wedding is enough for the trial, we would advise that you stretch it out further than this in case there are any significant changes you want to make to your look, or more importantly to the professionals you have booked. They will also be able to prepare you in terms of what to do and what not to do to your skin in the run up to your wedding day, giving you enough time to factor this information and plan accordingly.

Body

On the subject of trials, if you are considering a spray tan before your wedding day then now is also the time to try these out. You will want to be able to see what the hues will look like on your specific skin, as well as how your skin responds to it. The last thing you want is to book a spray tan without trialling it only to find it has a pungent smell that overshadows your bridal fragrance choice and irritates your skin leaving it patchy or inflamed. 

If you were making an effort to lose weight, tone up or get fitter in the lead up to your wedding, then you may have already changed your diet. Even if changing your physique is not your goal, now is an excellent time to embark on healthier food choices. Not only will eating a good diet of reduced dairy, but salt and sugar also prevent you from looking or feeling bloated, it will provide you with increased energy which is just what you need for this final stretch of planning. 

Lifestyle

If you can combine a healthier lifestyle with at least two litres of water daily, then your skin will thank you for it too. Although making healthier food choices at any time of your life is beneficial, by starting this early you will give your body time to adjust and flush out any hovering toxins which can result in a few breakouts or mood changes. If you implement the diet change now, then you should be able to avoid any of these drawbacks closer to the wedding day itself. 

Three months to go checklist:

  • Book in a few facials for before your wedding to give your skin an excellent base on which to layer makeup 

  • Have regular eyebrow shaping appointments and avoid overplucking or tweezing at home 

  • Have any planned hair extensions fitted or buy the hair pieces you intend to use on your wedding day 

  • Go for your hair, makeup and tan trials 

  • Drinks lots of water and implement slight but positive dietary changes 

One month to go 

Body

By now, a lot of your beauty preparations should already be in place, and hopefully, you are seeing positive changes that are leaving you feeling confident for your wedding day. With one month left to go, you should ensure that you have picked out a nail colour for your wedding as your fingers and hands will be in a lot of photos. Take care to moisturise too, so your hands look supple and youthful. A good cuticle oil wouldn't be out of place. 

If you haven't been doing so already, start exfoliating your body a couple of times a week and moisturising with a thick body balm that locks in hydration so that your body is soft and supple at your wedding. Pay particular attention to parts of your body like your elbows and the backs of your arms which can accumulate dry and dead skin and are likely to be on display on your wedding day. 

Face

The other part of your body that might be receiving extra attention is your lips, which we can easily neglect. Avoid this by buying a lip exfoliator and heavy duty lip balm, or alternatively, use a flannel to exfoliate them a few times a week and slather on balm before bed. This will leave an excellent base for your lipstick, ensuring it stays on for longer and also make lips look more full for any close-up photos of the 'you may the kiss the bride' moment. 

If you can, cut out any teeth staining drinks such as caffeinated sodas, coffee and red wine. Switch to a teeth-whitening toothpaste and start preparing for plenty of smiling. 

You might also be considering wearing eyelash extensions, then try them now as you will definitely need a patch test and some to decide whether or not they are comfortable enough for you to wear. 

Hair

A month before your wedding is also the ideal time to have your last hair trim. Know that you don't want to do anything drastic, just a very light trim to keep your hair in peak condition, blend your extensions if you have them and ensure that come your wedding day the ends are neither blunt nor split. 

One month to go checklist: 

  • Find your ideal nail colour shade and book an appointment for the day before your wedding 

  • Exfoliate and moisturise the body, paying attention to the elbows, arms and decolletage 

  • Have a final hair trim 

  • Have a patch test/trial run of eyelash extensions 

One week to go

Body 

You would have done everything you possibly can to achieve your look and should be feeling evermore beautiful. The week before your wedding is an excellent time to have a lymphatic drainage facial and massage to move fluid out of your body. Make sure that you stay extra hydrated in this week so that your body can flush out excess fluids and toxins, the less you drink, the more fluid your body will try to retain thus causing bloating. 

Face

Have your last eyebrow appointment for threading or tinting and book in your waxing appointments for other parts of the body. A week will give you enough time to reduce any redness or soreness, moisturise the soft skin but won't be long enough for you to have to worry about re-growth. 

Lifestyle

Whatever you do, don't be tempted to try anything new this week. Avoid strenuous exercise that could cause injury, do not apply any clay or detoxifying masks as this could draw impurities to the surface and create spots and try to steer clear of the sun, so you don't risk any unruly tan lines appearing.


Two days before

You are almost there and what a journey it has been. All that is left to do is have your nail appointment which should be nothing but relaxing. We would suggest a gel manicure so that there is no risk of chipping or fading. Have your tan applied so that there is enough time for it to sink in without risk of transferring onto your dress and if you have chosen to do so, have your eyelash extensions applied so you can minimise the use of mascara (a good idea for emotional brides). 

Every bride will have a different journey when it comes to achieving their dream bridal look. The sheer happiness of taking this step in your life and relationship will give you a stunning glow, and we can guarantee your husband or wife to be will have never seen a more beautiful version of you regardless of what prep you undertake. Bridal beauty should be fun and enjoyable rather than something you feel compelled to go through. We hope this timeline helps you consider different options and plan whatever is right for you in a more manageable fashion. 



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How to hire the right wedding planner

Paula McGarry

Statistically, the average couple could spend between 250-300 hours planning their wedding, and that's if it's not particularly complicated. Aside from your wedding day causing a lot of 'wedmin', it can also be quite stressful being responsible for everything on the day itself. These reasons are perhaps the most prominent ones that urge couples to enlist the help of a wedding planner. 

However, hiring a wedding planner can bring with it its own complications as there are so many planners available within this vast industry. If you have decided that help is what you need, then follow our best advice for finding the best fit for you. 

Understand what you want from a wedding planner.

The planner that you eventually settle with will depend on what you really need from them. For some couples, it might be the organisation itself, keeping on top of budgets, suppliers, contracts and general back and forth emails. Other couples may want someone to assist them that has a bank of creative ideas, suggestions and an extensive network from which to hand-select the best suppliers in the business. Alternatively, another common reason for hiring a wedding planner is if you are set on a destination wedding. In these cases, it is almost essential to have a localised agent representing you, mainly if language differences are at play but also for peace of mine that they will have concrete experience with the area, location, and intricacies that could come into effect on the day of your wedding that you may not have otherwise considered.  Another critical factor is whether or not you need your wedding planner to do the background admin and planning or whether you also need them to be on site on the wedding day too. Determining which kind of help you require will enable you to find the wedding planner that is right for you. 

Look at their previous work and reviews. 

You should always carry out checks on prospective vendors for your wedding, whether it is a supplier or the wedding planner. Do your research and read up on their reviews online, on their social media websites and if you can find them on forums. It is easy to look at pictures of a wedding and foresee a perfect day, but in reality, photos can mask a lot of hiccups and may not be wholly representative of how smoothly the day ran. You are potentially trusting another person or business with one of the most important days of your life and as such their previous work and experience should be representative of what you want to achieve. For example, if you find a wedding planner that has tonnes of experience with organising beach-side destination weddings that is fantastic, but they may not be the ideal port of call for your inter-city wedding requiring lots of logistical considerations. 

Understand the billing and charging policy. 

The way wedding planners charge their clients varies. For some businesses, they may charge a percentage of the overall wedding budget. Others may charge by the hour or provide a flat fee based on the initial proposal and complication of the wedding. Either way, it is vital that you have an estimated cost in mind before you sign the contract. If your wedding planner charges a percentage of the overall spend, you need to be able to trust that they are actively sourcing the best prices for you when enquiring and booking vendors. On the flip side, if they are working on a flat fee basis, understand that should your requirements change drastically or should need significantly more time and planning that they may not be able to accommodate you or will be able to but at an increased rate that may not be within your budget. Understanding the terms of the contract is critical as the last thing you would want is a controversial clause cropping up and adding an enormous amount of stress or distaste to your wedding. 

Share the same vision. 

A picture can say a thousand words which is why we strongly recommend that you share a mood board with your wedding planner so that you can ensure that you have the same vision. After your initial conversations with various wedding planners, you should receive a visual outline of their thought process and understanding of your dream day. If their proposal isn't what you had in mind, then it may be an indication that you have an underlying miscommunication between the two of you which could be problematic if it continued throughout the process. Your wedding planner is enlisted to make life easier, if you feel that you will need to keep explaining concepts and ideas, then you may feel frustrated. Instead, focus on finding an individual or a business that seems to understand you quickly and effortlessly. 

Meet in person. 

When you have narrowed down a shortlist of potential wedding planners, you should always meet them in person too. You will need to be able to connect with your wedding planner and form a bond with them. This is particularly important if you are working with an agency rather than an individual. If they are part of an agency, then make sure you find out whether or not you will be passed amongst a group of wedding planners or whether you will have dedicated support. If you are working with an individual, then you will want to know what happens if for some reason they are absent or unavailable. Regardless of their business set-up though, being able to communicate with ease, understand each other and have the flexibility to email or meet in person based on your preferences is something that should be factored into your decision-making process.

Apart from saving you time, wedding planners can be a fantastic investment when you take into account their wealth of experience, their knowledge and their ease with which they can negotiate rates and contracts on your behalf. Good communication with your wedding planner will be essential, and you will need to do your research before committing to one person in particular but in the end, the wedding day that you end up with could be that much better for the additional input, creativity and organisation that your wedding planner can provide. A few of our favourites are Tebbey & Co, For the Love o Weddings, The Purple Chair, The Stars Inside & Devine Bride

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