Could you spot the Highstreet dress?


Can YOU tell which is which? Left: Debut at Debenhams £199 Ivory embellished Grecian wedding dress

Debenhams – £199

Back on one of my favourite topics – High street wedding dresses. Wedding gowns from high street retailers are getting better every year, so much so I bet you couldn’t tell they were from high street retailers at all.
The dress to the left from Debenhams is described as a “Grecian inspired gown that is crafted from satin with beautiful chiffon straps and waterfall detail to the centre front and back. It has a fitted, boned bodice with stone, bead and sequin floral embellishment to the waist and rear straps and an elegantly flared skirt.” and costs just £199

Many designer dresses give you a fuller skirt or longer train, but not every bride wants a full skirt or David’s Bridal Jewel Collection tulle over satin trumpet gown with south detailing and sweep train, left, £1,895long train, so why pay over £1,000 for a dress just because of the designer tag attached to it? The  dress to the right from David’s Bridal collection costs £1,895 and is described as being a “tulle over satin trumpet gown with south detailing and sweep train”, and I don’t think it is worth the price tag when compared to some of the high street dresses on the market.

Another high street store that is seriously impressing me with its Bridal Collection is Phase Eight. Phase Eight have been a favourite of mine when it comes to looking for occasion ware for a long time now, as I’ve bought two dresses to wear as a wedding guest and the first time I was engaged my mum bought her MOTB dress from Phase Eight.

Phase Eight aren’t going anywhere in my list of favourite formal ware high street shops any time soon as they have now wowed me with their new Bridal Collection for 2015.

Phase Eights ‘Hope’ is a dress many brides longing for the designer look would Phase Eight's Hope Twenties inspired wedding dress heavily embellished with shimmering beads and sequins, right, which, at £595, is less than half the pricefall in love with. A 20’s inspired gown with heavy embellishment using beads and sequins, featuring a sheer blouson top with a sweetheart lining and embellished waist detail. Styled with a delicate train with finger loop, keyhole back and concealed centre back zip at a steal £595.00 – still at least half the price of a designer version!

If you’re worried that perhaps the high street dress may not fit as well as you’d want you can always arrange for a dress maker to do alternations to pinch in more here, shorten the give on the straps etc to make it just right. Even with small alternations done the cost would still be less than the designer alternative.

I have struggled to find a high street gown with a train, and I think I would quite like a train. If you also would like a train but have fallen in love with a high street dress have two options here:
1) Buy a cathedral length veil to create the illusion of a train

2) Have a separate train piece created

A separate train can be attached at the waist or the shoulder (weaubleau train) depending on the style of your dress. A detachable/separate train attached at the waist could be sewn between the layers of the skirt, or over the top of the skirt. For brides with sewing experience there is help and advice online for how to create a train for your trainless wedding dress yourself, such as here and here.

If you are a bride on a budget there has never been a better time to get out on the highstreet for all your wedding needs, including your wedding dress.

The Budget Dress


For the budget bride, the dress can be a real worry. We still want the perfect dress but don’t want to have to pay through the roof or break our wedding budget for it.

One great way to pick up your perfect dress at a discount rate, is to go 2nd hand. Charity shops like Oxfam have shops designated for wedding dresses and other wedding day items such as veils and shoes that have been donated by brides who decide not to keep them.

Brides also sell their wedding dresses on wedding forums such as www.youandyourwedding.co.uk, and the dresses are regularly this seasons as they often sell only a couple of months after the wedding day.

There are a ton of dress makers on eBay, who also do very good wedding dresses that can be made to be very similar to that designer dress you’ve been lusting after but can’t afford. When looking at dress makers on eBay, be very careful and choose wisely. Make sure to check out their reviews fully before choosing which one to go for, as the reviews will tell you a lot about the quality of fabric used, the overall turnout of the dress and the speed of turn around from ordering to being delivered. Also, check out this Facebook page that warns you which eBay wedding dress sellers to steer clear of.

Bridal shops also have sales, selling off last seasons stock and end of lines. This isn’t the place to be looking for the best deals as such, but at least you’ll know the dress is yours and not been worn by any other bride on her wedding day. Many of the dresses may be ex-demo dresses, so will have been tried on by other bride-to-be’s so make sure you check the stitching on the dress to make sure it is till good. Any pulled stitching or hanging detailing and make sure the bridal shop fix it for you FOC.

Don’t forget the highstreet! There are loads of highstreet shops that sell wedding dresses too. Lovely styles at really good prices. Check out my previous posts for where to shop.

However you obtain your dress for your big day I also advise any bride to try on a range of styles before settling on which one to go for. The reason for this is because often you’ll think you know what you are looking for and what style of dress you’d like, but you never really know until you try them on, and you might be quite surprised at what looks amazing on you when you get in the shops and start having a play.

An Evening Dress Perhaps?


Even a budget bride can have an evening dress (AKA Going Away Dress). That’s right I said you can have an evening dress! All you have to do is find a dress within your budget.

An evening dress can be a lovely thing to have. Some wedding dresses aren’t exactly easy to dance in. Even if your dress can be bustled, you may not like the look of it bustled, or you may love dancing and even when bustled still feel too restricted in your big wedding dress. What ever your reason for wanting an evening dress, I’d like to see if I can help you realise your dream.

Out of the obvious choices (Debenhams, Littlewoods, Moonsoon, BHS) BHS is the website that I have found to have the best range of short dresses at the best prices. The other sites did have small collections of short dresses but they were £100+.

All the ones I have found on the BHS website are under £100 even when not at sale price. The prices I have shown next to the name of the dress are the full price.

Eleanor Ivory Satin Bridal Dress £90

Cecily Ivory Bridal Dress £90

If you have a slightly higher budget for your wedding dress and can look up to the £300 region then I have always loved phase eight!

You don’t have to go for a knee length dress for the evening, but it can be nice to do so, if you have worn a full length bridal gown during the day. In fact you don’t even have to go for a cream/white dress if you don’t want to. Many brides opt for a coloured dress, either the same colour as their wedding theme or blue is a popular choice as the brides something blue.
Will you be having an evening dress?

Matalan


I was in Matalan on Sunday doing some shopping with my MOH, not even looking for anything remotely wedding related when I saw some items I thought would make lovely wedding accessories, such as these lovely bridal clutch bags.

In Matalan at the moment they also have some lovely bird cages. This one is only £10.

This Vintage Wire birdcage is only £20.

This birdcage gives a nice different twist on the normal birdcages you find, and at only £15 is an absolute steal!

All of the above images are from Matalan of products they currently have for sale (26/03/2012) and are linked to their source.

Gold, Palladium, Platinum…Expense-dom


There are many areas of the wedding day that couples can and will cut costs on, but the wedding rings is either an area seen to be one that shouldn’t be scrimped or people feel they can’t scrimp on.

As one lady said on a wedding forum I frequent “I never wanted to spend a lot, but in fairness, it is one of the few physical things left after the wedding day”. This knowledge that our rings are the only part of our wedding that are always on show to everyone, and that (hopefully) we will be wearing them for the rest of our lives; it isn’t just a fleeting moment of a wedding that will be forgotten after a couple of weeks; the thought of trying to save money in this area is not always very appealing.

I, however, am on the campaign to say that you can say money on your rings without forgoing the quality.

As many people know you can exchange your Tesco Club Card vouchers for GoldSmiths vouchers with an exchange rate of up to x4. So if you have £100 of Club Card vouchers, you could exchange them for up to £400 worth of GoldSmiths vouchers – a fantastic way to up your rings budget, enabling you to still be able to buy quality jewellery without maxing out your budget.

Jewellers do have sales – so keep your eye out in jewellers windows or online for their sales, as you can save anything from 10% to 50%.

If you go to a jewellers and have your finger sized to make sure that you know your size you can buy your jewellery from an e-retailer. One such e-retailer is The Beautiful Company where you can get beautiful cut price rings without forgoing the quality. The website allows you to choose the shape of the ring (court, D shape etc), the quality of the carat and the design among other things, so it is good to know what you are looking for before you venture on to the site as it can get just a little confusing.

Now the above mentioned ways to cut the expense out of your wedding jewellery are all for new jewellery. My favourite way to save money is to go second hand. This may not sound very appealing, but when you consider that modern jewellery is hollow, which is why so much of it has a low weight, the heavier ones will be less hollow, but still hollow to some degree. Older jewellery is much less likely to be hollow. Think about jewellery that was bought 20+ years ago. Some independent jewellers will stock second-hand jewellery where you can pick up fantastic pieces for a fraction of the price. The Hubster 2B and I went a jewellers that stocks second-hand wedding rings a couple of weekends ago and they had a lovely little range of rings. My favourite was a plain yellow gold mens band, it had a very good weight as it was a solid band, and was 6mm for just £100. The only reason we didn’t snap it up was because the H2B wants a yellow gold band, of about that thickness but with slight detailing on the edges as opposed to completely plain.

A good website to look at for second-hand jewellery is Freeman & Bennett. You can have a look at used jewellery by section.

The modern highstreets are full of pawnbrokers which are often crammed with second-hand jewellery. Looking for second-hand jewellery can be a bit pot luck, as you don’t know what you are going to find but I think that is half of the fun. Looking through an assortment of rings not to your taste trying to find a ring that you’ll fall in love with. The good thing is not many people ask you where you got your ring from. Especially not after a few weeks of the wedding, so having a lovely piece of jewellery that has been polished and buffed so it is just as shiny and lovely as any new ring is nothing but a good thing. If you are contemplating buying your wedding ring second-hand you are definitely not alone. Just looking at the figures for Ebay, they have seen a 200% increase in the sale of second-hand engagement and weddings in the last year.

Do any of you have any second-hand jewellery? Where did you find it?

LRT – Jewellery


To save a bit of money on your wedding ring, buy your wedding ring from the same place you bought your engagement ring. Most jewellers offer a 10% discount on your wedding ring if you tell them you bought your engagement ring from them too.


There is also the option of using your Tesco Clubcard vouchers to buy your wedding jewellery. If you exchange your club card points into vouchers for Goldsmiths, you can then use your Goldsmiths vouchers to buy your wedding jewellery. Goldsmiths aren’t the cheapest jewellers on the highstreet but if you have found your perfect ring in there then there is no harm in saving some money.

Alternatively if you already know your size then you can order your ring online. Because the online shops don’t have the overheads of running a shop, and because there is a short handling line from the gold being dug out the ground to being in your possession they are often able to offer you fantastic jewellery for a fraction of the cost of what they can in the shops.
Think: Wedding Rings Direct, The Jewellery Company and Diamond Heaven.

My Wedding Ring

The search for my wedding ring was a long hard one. I struggled to find anything that I like that was in my budget and fitted with my e-ring. That is until a couple of weeks ago when the jewellers I bought my wedding ring from brough out seom new lines! As you know from my previous LRT post I found my perfct ring but it was in white gold. Well this new line included a yellow gold version of that ring!!!! = me unbelieveably happy!

^ ^ because who doesn’t love a lol cat 🙂

I picked up my ring today and I can’t stop looking at it. Plus because I got it from the same place I got my e-ring I got a 10% discount.

My Wedding Ring

My Think High Street


It wasn’t an option for me, I knew that I would be looking to the high street for many things for my wedding. The first thing I bought on the high street was my bridesmaid dresses. I saw them in the sale, reduced by 50% to £50 and knew that I had to have them. I sent the link to my Maid of Honor (here after known as MOH) who also liked the dress. My MOH was a complete star with the bridesmaids dresses, and if it wasn’t for her there is no way I would have been able to get them at that price. She phoned round the stores hunting down the right sizes as there wasn’t many of them left by the time I saw them on the website. We did have some issues with getting them, but thanks to my MOH we got them and they looked great! The shop where I got them from? Debenhams!

Green Bridesmaid dress

For me, I wanted the bridesmaids dresses to be something my bridesmaids could wear again and most important were comfortable wearing. The dress had also really good reviews online and seemed perfect for the autumnal wedding we were planning. when the dresses arrived my MOH tried hers on and she loved hers. The one we got for my BM was too big, but have kept it, as the dress hasn’t gone back in the sale down to £50 again yet. When it does I will get the smaller size she needs and sell the bigger one.

I got my day wedding invites for FREE 😀 from a couple who had got married and had loads of invites left over, so just had to buy my evening invites, which came from a high street discount card shop.

Poundland offers a small range of wedding paraphernalia, such as banners, invites and cake/favour boxes and confetti. In Poundland one day I spotted some Favour boxes that seemed nice so picked them up. £1 for ten – BARGAIN!

Favour Boxes

So, just think, everywhere is worth a look, as you never know what you are going to find. The above boxes will need minimal assembly to take them from flat packed into the box form they will take. We will be putting the dress boxes on the table for the women, and the suit boxes for the men. Pounland no longer stock these, however they do currently stock favour boxes with a simpler design that could be pimped with ribbon to fit your theme.

Poundland Favour Boxes