November, 2012


29
Nov 12

The engagement rings adorning the fingers of the British royals

To serve as inspiration to those future brides and boyfriends who are lost and have no idea what engagement ring to go for, I have decided to take a look at the sparklers adorning the fingers of the British royals. From Kate Middleton’s sapphire engagement ring, which once belonged to Princess Diana, to Sophie Wessex’s two-carat oval diamond flanked by two heart-shaped gemstones. Take your pick!

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth received a square-cut diamond engagement ring with diamond side stones set in platinum from Prince Philip. The diamonds all came from the groom’s mother’s tiara.

Princess Margaret

Queen Elizabeth’s sister Margaret received a ruby engagement ring that was designed by her future husband, photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones,  it was created to look like a rosebud (a ruby surrounded by diamonds) to honor the princess’ middle name, Rose.

Kate Middleton

Prince William gave Kate his mother’s distinctive 18-carat blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring. It cost £28,000 when it was bought by Prince Charles in February 1981, but now it is apparently worth £85,000. William popped the question in the spartan Rutundu Log Cabins during their Kenyan holiday. According to Kate, it was VERY romantic!

Princess Diana

When Prince Charles proposed to Diana, he still hadn’t bought a ring. Diana was given several rings to choose from Garrard Jewellers. She finally chose the sapphire engagement ring that now belongs to Kate. Her choice of jewellery caused a stir both in the royal family and the public because her ring wasn’t a unique piece and it was part of the jeweller’s catalogue, making it available to anyone.

The Countess of Wessex

Following in family tradition, Prince Edward also proposed with a ring from the British royal jeweller Garrard. He presented his girlfriend Sophie with a two carat oval diamond, flanked by two smaller heart-shaped gems. Set in 18 carat white gold, the jewel is worth an estimated £105,000.

Sarah Ferguson

Prince Andrew proposed to Sarah on March 19, 1986. The romantic prince proposed during a stay at Scotland’s Floors Castle, where apparently their first kiss took place – with a £25,000 Burmese ruby ring, chosen specifically to match Sarah’s red hair. The ring is very similar to Diana’s as it features a coloured gem and it’s also surrounded by diamonds.

Princess Anne

For her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips, Princess Anne chose a sapphire and diamond engagement ring, again by Garrard Jewelers.

  
Autumn Phillips  

Autumn Kelly debuted the beautiful ring given to her by Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips at an equestrian event in August 2007. All eyes were on the three stone white gold ring, featuring an oval shaped diamond at its centre. The ring is reportedly worth £80,000.

Zara Phillips

Rather than choosing a family heirloom, as William did, Mike Tindall decided to design his own ring for his royal bride-to-be. The beautiful piece of jewellery features a single solitaire diamond in the centre. It sits on tens of pave set diamonds on a split shank or band made of platinum.

The Duchess of Cornwall

Britain’s future king presented the Duchess of Cornwall with a unique art deco style ring featuring a huge square cut diamond flanked by three diamond baguettes. A family heirloom, it was reportedly given to the Queen Mother in 1926 on the occasion of the birth of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth.

Which one is your favourite? Would you want any of these rings for yourself?

MBxx


26
Nov 12

Celebrity inspired braided bridal hair

On your wedding day you must wear a hairstyle with which you feel comfortable. If you usually wear your hair down and you choose an up’do for your big day, you may not feel like yourself.

You should try out different styles until you find the perfect one. If you love braids and wear them ocassionally,  maybe it’s a good option for your big day. They don’t go out of style and there are many different types to choose from. You could go for a fishtail, Dutch or French braid. Depending on your choice of dress, the braid could be perfectly polished and neat, or loose and messy.

 


Photos: Pinterest

In Ireland, it is actually a tradition for the bride to braid her hair for her wedding day. Braided hair is an ancient symbol of feminine power and luck.

Celebrities have already taken this hot trend to the red carpet throughout this last year - Charlize Theron chose a beautiful braided chignon for the Critics’ Choice Awards back in January. Charlize’s stylist, Enzo Angileri, said at the time he was inspired by the beauty of Spanish Flamenco dancers when creating her look. I love it!

 

 

Blake Lively is often spotted with this style. For the premiere of her film Green Latern, she chose a messy fishtail braid. Blake’s hairstylist, Rod Ortega, confessed he had created beachy waves that were tossed back into a tousled ponytail and a trio of fishtailed braids. A gold and diamond floral hair accessory topped off the hairstyle for a truly cool/vintage look.

 

 

But braids can be worn in so many other ways. Sienna Miller went for a braided crown, looking every inch the Greek goddess, for the Golden Globe Awards. Jessica Alba, on the other hand, opted for two wrapped braids,  creating a more elegant Grecian style hair band. The ’do has even been favoured by royals, Kate Middleton wore a lovely and chic braided bun for an Olympic-themed concert at the Royal Hall in London.

What do you think of these styles? Which one is your favourite? Will you be wearing braids on your wedding day?

MB xx


23
Nov 12

Christmas gifts for the bride-to-be

I am sure everyone of you will be attending a wedding in the coming year. It might be the nuptials of a best friend or a close family member and with Christmas coming up you probably want to buy her a lovely and thoughtful present that will come in handy the months leading up to her big day. Don’t panic, here I have chose my top five gift ideas, I’m sure they will come in very handy!

1. Wedding Monogram goodies: This monogram seal set can be personalised with the bride and groom’s initials, or it can even contain a thank you message. The set contains silver and gold wax, a ribbon, a wooden seal handle with a heart seal and a monogram seal of your choice. Inside the box the future bride will find a voucher to complete and send off with details of their initials. Within 28 days she will have the ideal personal seal to use on her wedding stationery. Available from www.confetti.co.uk for £24.99

2. A Digital Camera: A bride needs a good camera to photograph venues, dresses, accessories…everything! Nikon offers the perfect one, the COOLPIX S3300. It is slender, has 16-megapixels, it’s deliciously colourful and wonderfully quick. Available for £78.00.

3. A Wedding Notebook: This beautiful leather bound ruled notebook is perfect. She will need it to write down all her ideas, she can even use it to compile her guest list, the different venues to visit, dress stores…etc. Available from www.organise-us.com for £49.95.

4. Sexy Lingerie: You might want to give her lingerie for her wedding day (if you know her really well) or just a nice set for her to enjoy. And how about getting her the Brooke set available from www.Bluebella.com? This Provocative black Basque with mesh panelling has a sophisticated twist with its delicate lace detailing and satin bow at centre bust. It comes with detachable suspenders so you can complete the look with a pair of lace stockings, and partner with the gorgeous matching Brooke brief or thong. The basque is available for £40.00.

5. A Spa gift certificate: Preparing for a wedding is undoubtedly stressfull, so help your friend relieve the stress by buying her a spa day certificate or facial. At the Skin Health Spa they offer the ‘Ultimate Facial’. There’s no better way to pamper a bride-to-be than giving them the 5* Hollywood treatment; the Ultimate Facial does just that! It’s perfect preparation for that all-important day, and the perfect opportunity to relax in a stunning, tranquil environment. She’ll leave the clinic looking and feeling younger, more refreshed and beautiful. Available from www.skinhealthspa.com for £245


19
Nov 12

Royal Weddings: Queen Elizabeth II

It has been a very special and unforgettable year for Queen Elizabeth: the sovereign marked her Diamond Jubilee, hosted the 2012 Olympic Games and on the 20 of November she celebrates 65 years of marriage. Here we take a look back at her nuptials to Prince Phillip - then known as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten – which took place in 1947 and was broadcast to 200 million radio listeners around the world.

The dress

In order to make her wedding dress, the young Princess famously saved up ration cards to purchase the material needed. The beautiful gown, designed by Normal Hartnell, was made of ivory duchess satin and decorated with around 10,000 white pearls imported from America, silver thread and tulle embroidery.

 

Her bridal ensemble also included a 15-foot patterned full court train attached at the shoulders, and a silk tulle veil held in place by a tiara lent to the princess by her mother. Normal Hartnell’s inspiration for the gown was Botticelli’s Primavera, which symbolizes the coming of Spring.

The Shoes

On her feet, the Queen wore ivory duchess satin high heels, embellished with silver and pearls.

The Bouquet

Elizabeth’s bridal bouquet was made up of white orchids and a sprig of myrtle – from the bush grown from the myrtle in Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet. The following day it was laid on the grave of the unknown soldier in Westminster Abbey.

The Wedding Cake

After the wedding ceremony, a celebratory lunch was held at Buckingham Palace where guests were presented with posies of white heather and myrtle as favours. The wedding cake was a grand affair, standing at nine-foot high, weighing 500 pounds and featuring four tiers. Made from ingredients received from the Australian Girl Guides, the cake was cut using Philip’s sword. One layer was kept until the christening of Prince Charles and another was sent back to Australia by way of thanks.

The Fringe Tiara

This tiara, which can also be worn as a necklace was made for Queen Mary in 1919. It’s not, as has sometimes been claimed, made with diamonds that had belonged to George III but re-uses diamonds taken from a necklace/tiara purchased by Queen Victoria from Collingwood & Co as a wedding present for Queen Mary in 1893. In August 1936 Queen Mary gave the tiara to Queen Elizabeth, from whom it was borrowed by Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in 1947.


The Duchess of Teck’s earrings

These earrings, which originally belonged to Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester, were bequeathed to her niece Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck and by her to her daughter, the future Queen Mary, in 1897. They were given by the Queen to her granddaughter Princess Elizabeth on 31 January 1947, and she wore them at her wedding later that year.

The Necklaces

The shorter of her two pearl necklaces was the ‘Queen Anne’ necklace, said to have belonged to Anne, the last Stuart Queen. The longer ‘Queen Caroline’ necklace was said to have belonged to the wife of King George II. Both were left to the Crown by Queen Victoria and were given to Elizabeth as a wedding present by her father, King George VI.

 


15
Nov 12

Celebrity brides who think pink on their big day

Many will think that Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel were the first celebrity brides to ditch the traditional white wedding dress for a pink gown, but they weren’t! Looking back in time, I have discovered other stars that have given their big day a touch of pink. Gwen Stefani, Reese Witherspoon and Sharon Stone are just some of the A-Listers that have broken with tradition, and here we take a closer look at their unforgettable looks.

Sharon Stone

Actress Sharon chose a pink creation when she married Phil Bronstein on Valentine’s Day in 1998. The star’s dress was designed by Vera Wang and was made of chiffon with A-line silhouette.

 

Gwen Stefani 

In 2002 rock star Gwen married Gavin Rossdale in a white wedding dress with shades of pink on the bottom designed specially for her by John Galliano.

 

Julianne Moore 

Julianne married her husband Bart Freundlich in an intimate ceremony and didn’t go for the usual wedding dress, instead she opted for an elegant, sleeveless pink/lilac silk Prada dress. She completed her look with sparkly earrings she had borrowed from Barkin.

 

 Portia De Rossi

When Portia and Ellen DeGeneres tied the knot, the actress donned a Zac Posen gown that featured a blush tulle skirt. 

Reese Witherspoon 

For her wedding, which was featured in HELLO! Magazine last year, Reese opted for a blush-hued gown with a Chantilly lace corset bodice and full tulle A-line skirt by Monique Lhuillier.

 

Anne Hathaway

Anne wore custom-made Valentino dress for her big day. It was an off-the shoulder creation with swathes of chiffon, and a Twenties-inspired headband and a flowing veil.


Designer Valentino then released a sketch of the bespoke gown that he personally designed for her. “Anne’s gown is a strapless ivory silk point d’esprit tulle dress, which included a beautiful pink hand-painted shaded train and embroidered with satin flowers,” he said.

 

Jessica Biel 

Jessica is the last of the girls to take on the rising trend. For her October nuptials to Justin Timberlake she wore a Giambattista Valli rose-pink strapless gown, enhanced with layers of delicate tulle, specially designed for her.

Which is your favourite dress out of the above? Which celeb would like to see in a pink gown instead of the traditional white? According to some sources, Blake Lively added a bit of pink to her bridal gown. We will soon find out! The actress’ wedding will be featured in the December issue of Martha Stewart Wedding magazine.

MB xx


13
Nov 12

Five hot winter honeymoon destinations

When thinking of a winter honeymoon you may instantly think of rain, very low temperatures and snow, but although at home it may be like that, in some parts of the world it’s summer which means high temperatures, beaches and sexy swimsuits!

I have put together my top five destinations for a perfect and unforgettable winter honeymoon, so take your pick and get packing!

Hawaii

Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate and abundance of public beaches make it a very popular destination for newlyweds. It offers perfect weather all year round but during the winter months, it has extra attractions making it an idealic honeymoon destination. Surf season starts in late October and runs through March and whales visit from late November to May.

 

Argentina

It’s the most visited country in South America and its capital, Buenos Aires, the most visited city. Regarded as the “Paris of South America,” it offers elegant architecture, exquisite cuisine, a legendary nightlife, and fashionable shopping. Don’t forget to take some tango lessons whilst in this incredible country. The hottest months are Decemeber and January, when temperatures go up to 35 degrees.

India

Goa is an ideal setting for romance and relaxation offering multi-cuisine restaurants, clean and secluded beaches as well as excellent infrastructure and facilities. The temperatures during the European winter months are ideal, usually around 30 degrees. A 131-km long coastline means choices are aplenty. You can visit Anjuna for its lively flea market, Palolem for water sports and Calangute and Dona Paula for shopping, nightlife, food and drink. 

 

Belize

Located on the north eastern coast of Central America, Belize is on of the hottest destinations during the cold months, its dry season is from November to late April. Here you can discover the Belize Barrier Reef and over 450 offshore Cayes (islands). You can choose from hundreds of activities such as fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, rafting, kayaking, hiking, bird watching, helicopter touring and you can also discover the Maya ruins.

 

New Zealand

For those with a sense of adventure, New Zealand is the perfect destination. From extreme adventure to total relaxation,  like Belize, there are hundreds of activities to choose from. December and January are the perfect months to try river surfing, gliding and scuba diving or, for those who like their feet firmly on the ground, a hike in thousands of acres of National Parks. If you just want to sunbathe and relax, don’t worry, New Zealand has 15,000 km of beautiful beaches. 

Which destination is your favourite? If you are getting married during the winter months, do you want a hot or cold destination for your honeymoon?

MB xx


8
Nov 12

Celebrity inspired floral bridal crowns

Forget tiaras and the traditional veil, this year is the year of floral bridal crowns. Until now, the beautiful accessory was most popular in vintage or bohemian weddings, but now traditional brides are choosing the floral headdress over other usual headpieces.

Celebrities such as Margherita Missoni, Peaches Geldof and Kate Moss have been the latest brides to make this trend a part of their big day.

 

To complement her amazing custom-made Alberta Ferretti wedding dress, Peaches chose a simple and elegant wreath of daisies. Margherita, on the other hand, had her three bridesmaids, Tatiana Santo Domingo, Eugenie Niarchos and her sister Teresa, wear daisy headdresses for her gypsy-inspired nuptials, as did Kate’s 15 bridesmaids for the country affair.

Traditionally it was only the bride’s flower girls who wore the crowns, but now everyone has taken a like to them, including A-listers for their red carpet appearances. Even designers such as Dolce & Gabbana have included them onto their latest catwalk shows.

The wonderfully colourful garlands are suitable for all seasonal weddings, whether it’s a summer or winter one. All you need to do is make your crown with the flowers in season. You can even match the wreath to your wedding colour scheme!

 

But there is one thing I love the most about these romantic headdresses, the fact that they can be made from real flowers, as seen in the picture above, dried flowers or silk flowers!

Actresses Anne Hathaway and Kirsten Dunst have gone one step further. Newlywed Anne was spotted months back wearing a floral headpiece made of crystals whilst Kirsten went for a special designer Dolce & Gabbana floral headband.

 

 

So out of all these, what headdress do you like most? Would you wear one on your wedding day or opt for the traditional tiara and veil?


6
Nov 12

Royal Weddings: Princess Grace of Monaco

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Princess Grace‘s death and 56 years since her unforgettable nuptials to Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

The wedding, watched by an estimated 30 million people on television and dubbed the “The Wedding of the Century”, was attended by 600 guests, including Hollywood stars such as Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, Cary Grant and David Niven.

Grace Kelly‘s wedding dress, designed by Helen Rose, is still considered one of the most beautiful ever and has inspired brides worldwide, including Kate Middleton, who chose a very similar design for her big day.

Here we take a closer look at all the details.

The wedding dress

Truly fit for a princess, Grace’s wedding gown was a gift from the MGM film studios and was designed by Helen Rose who worked on it for six weeks with three dozen seamstresses. The dress, featuring a high collar and long sleeves, had a fitted bodice and voluminous skirt.

The bodice was made of reassembled rose point lace over silk net which had been re-embroidered by two seamstresses who worked on it for a month. Thousands of seed pearls were added to accentuate the patterns in the lace.

Bridal headpiece

Grace decided against the customary tiara and instead opted for a Juliet cap decorated with orange blossoms and a veil that was reportedly 90 yards long. The circular veil was edged with lace motifs, but the majority was left sheer, so that the princess’s face would be visible through it.

Wedding Bouquet

Grace’s bridal bouquet was made from Lily of the Valley and the ribbons of her bouquet had small sprigs attached to them. She left the bouquet on the altar of the Chapel of St. Dévote after the wedding.

Meanwhile, Grace’s matron of honour, her sister Peggy, and six bridesmaids carried bouquets of tea roses, whilst the flower girls carried white daisies.

Wedding Shoes and Bible

The shoes paired with Grace’s wedding dress were from Evins, New York, and were designed by David Evins. At the bride’s request, a copper penny was built into the right shoe for good luck.

Grace carried Rev. J.M. Lelen’s Bride’s Manual: A Manual of Catholic Devotion with Mass for the Marriage Ceremony and the Nuptial Blessing during her wedding to Prince Rainier. The book was a gift from family friend and was decorated by MGM’s wardrobe department.

Engagement ring

Rainier originally proposed to Grace with a Cartier eternity band of rubies and diamonds. When he saw other leading ladies in Hollywood were flashing bigger rings, he quickly ordered a 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond ring with two baguette diamonds mounted in platinum. Grace can be seen wearing it in the aptly named film High Society – her final screen performance before becoming a princess.

Wedding dress sketch

This sketch of the gown was drawn by Helen Rose herself. The design of the dress was carefully guarded in the two months leading up to the wedding. It never left the fitting room,  the workspace was enclosed in partitions so no-one could catch a glimpse, and the dress was locked away every night.

According to historian Stephen Englund, who had access to MGM’s archives, the dress cost £4,500 (£36,000 today) in materials and manufacture, not including Helen Rose’s salary.  MGM stated that 23 metres of heavy taffeta, 23 metres of silk taffeta, 91 metres of silk net and 274 metres of lace were used, but the finished dress used only about a quarter of these amounts.


4
Nov 12

The do’s and don’ts of buying an engagement ring

Following my previous post about beautiful engagement rings I spoke to diamond expert Vashi Dominguez, founder and CEO of DiamondManufacturers.co.uk, who has given me some guidance about the do’s and don’ts of buying an engagement ring.

His main advice? Well, a very simple one, “take your time” and ”save up”, he says.

“Some people let their girlfriend select her own favourite engagement ring. If you prefer to surprise her, however, you just need to follow the following do’s and don’ts to get it right!”

 

DO’S

  • Do shop around and browse online jewellery websites to get a good idea of what styles are available and what you could afford. Seeing what is available and at what price will also make you more aware of how to spot a great deal, ensuring you get the most sparkle for your money.
  • Do ask her mother, sister, friend or colleague for advice. They’re likely to know what style of jewellery she likes even more than you do. They may also be able to help find out what her ring size is, for example by casually asking if they could try on one of her rings.
  • Do take a closer look at what jewellery she already wears. The style and materials used will give you a better idea of what engagement ring she will love. Does she like big, bold jewellery or intricate, subtle rings and earrings? Is her preference for yellow gold, silver or platinum jewellery?
  • Do take her shopping. You’re pretty much guaranteed to come across a jewellery store or stall and your girlfriend will be only too pleased to point out which rings she likes. That doesn’t mean that she suspects you’re planning to propose to her; most women simply love jewellery.
  • Do decide how much you can afford to spend on an engagement ring. There’s no point in getting into debt for your engagement. Take time to save up as much as possible and only use your credit card if you really need it.

DON’T

  • Don’t buy a diamond engagement ring because everyone tells you it’s a tradition. If you feel your girlfriend really, wouldn’t like a diamond engagement ring, feel free to buy her a different engagement ring altogether. Sapphires and rubies are a popular choice with women who don’t like diamonds.
  • Don’t buy a ring with a wide band if your partner has short fingers. A diamond engagement ring should be proportional to the dimensions of her hands. A wide band can make short fingers appear even shorter, while an elongated diamond – such as an oval, pear or marquise shape – can make her fingers appear slightly longer. If your other half has large hands, a delicate engagement ring could look really small on them and merely emphasise the size of her hands.
  • Don’t buy any ring just because you have given up on finding the perfect one. DiamondManufacturers.co.uk can work with you to make a complete bespoke piece. Whatever your preference or budget, everything is possible.

2
Nov 12

Ten breathtaking engagement rings

The most popular month to get engaged is just around the corner, that being December of course.

Some boyfriends choose Christmas Eve for the special moment while others pick Christmas Day and I think either one is a wonderful choice for bringing family and friends together to share in your joy.

But don’t worry if by Christmas Day your future fiancé hasn’t popped the question, the second most popular day is New Year’s Eve!

With the help of diamond engagement and wedding ring specialist DiamondManufacturers.co.uk, I have picked ten amazing engagement rings to choose from, so you may want to discreetly forward a link to this blog post to your partner!

And he need not worry about prices, these fabulous rings range from £500 to £4,000, perfect to suit all budgets.

1. A 0.75 carat halo engagement ring with side stones  - £2,299

2. A delightfully elegant design sculpted from gleaming 18k white gold and set with sparkling diamonds - £599

3. A stunning 0.95 carat halo engagement ring with side stones in 18k white gold - £2,199

4. Dazzling round cut 0.55 carat side stones engagement ring - £1,499

5. This delightfully elegant design is sculpted from gleaming 18k white gold and set with sparkling diamonds - £3,999

6. A 0.65 carat side stones engagement ring - £1,799

7. An elegant design made from 18k yellow gold  - £1,100

8. Round cut 0.65 carat side stones engagement ring in platinum – £1,899

9. Round cut 0.63 carat colour side stones in 18k white gold – £1,699 (above)

10. Round Cut 0.65 carat three stone engagement ring in platinum- £1,899 (above)

What ring would you love your partner to choose for you? Do you have a favourite from these top ten?

Keep an eye out for my next post filled with tips of the do’s and dont’s of buying an engagement ring (another one to forward to your boyfriend!)

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