I’m really delighted to welcome beautiful Gioia Mia bride, Eilidh to my blog. She’s written about her wedding style, choosing the dress and deciding on what jewellery and accessories to wear for her big day…lots of invaluable advice on the planning process!
How would you describe your wedding style?
Relaxed, classic and understated.
And that goes for the general feel of the day, the décor, the ceremony, the outfits and the jewellery!
I was never going to be a bride who spent thousands of pounds on her dress or accessories but I still wanted them to be special and reflect my style – and though the wedding décor in our venue was minimal we were in an awesome building (St Andrews in the Square, Glasgow) so we were never going to need a huge amount of flowers and decorations as the gilding, panels and stained class in the building was more than enough (though I did love the fairy lights provided by the venue, they were brilliant).
So this classic style, of the building and the overall setting, was key and that was also reflected in what I wore (lots of ivory lace and a little bit of sparkle, but only a little!) and what Andrew wore (kilt and tweed jacket with thistle buttonhole). But our style was definitely classic but not too preened to perfection – certainly understated and relaxed!
We wanted people to feel comfortable and relaxed throughout the whole day, without too many formalities, and I hope we encouraged this just by the way we acted – we were both very relaxed and smiley all day!
At what stage in the whole wedding planning process did you start thinking about your jewellery and accessories?
We got engaged at the end of August 2013 and our wedding date was 9th August 2014 so the wedding planning was confined to just under 1 year which was a relatively short period of time for what ended up being quite a big wedding of about 150 guests.
We only looked at 2 venues and decided St Andrews in the Square was exactly what we were looking for – and we had this booked within a couple of months of the engagement, and over the first few weeks of the engagement I had been browsing through wedding dresses online. I really didn’t know what I was after when I started looking – I know some people know exactly what style of dress they want but I’d never really thought about it in great detail, or so I thought…It quickly became clear during these online searches that I knew exactly what I didn’t want, so that helped immensely to narrow down the dress options!
I knew I didn’t want anything too big, or anything that I couldn’t dance in properly. We had a ceilidh at the wedding and our ‘first dance’ wasn’t a slow, romantic number but a very fast set dance – strip the willow – with all of the bridal party and immediate family members in the set dancing with us, so I knew I wanted a dress I could swing about in, and flat shoes (I’m not a big heels person).
I ended up finding what appeared to be my ideal dress in Debenhams! I was sceptical at first, it couldn’t be that easy surely…and I expected the lace to maybe not look as nice in person as it did online so I ordered it ‘click and collect’ and went in to try it on myself on a Thursday night after work, assuming it would look awful but it would at least be a start in the wedding dress search to work out what suited me and what didn’t suit me.
Had I known this was going to be my actual wedding dress I probably would have invited my bridesmaids and mum to come with, and maybe smuggled in some champagne! And certainly not gone in on a Thursday night late after work, but I really didn’t expect the dress to be that nice! But of course, it was, and it only needed taken up an inch and nipped in at the waist to be perfect. And it was a serious bargain so allowed for more money to be spent on other lovely wedding things like being able to pay to have more guests on the actual wedding day!
So, once I had chosen this dress I knew I wasn’t going to have a veil (as I loved the back of my dress and I decided I’d probably end up discarding the veil straight after the ceremony anyway so there was no point), but I definitely wanted to have something in my hair as I’d decided hair-up would go best with the style of the dress and a little bit of sparkles or pearls would help to make the hair-style that little bit more special for the day.
The jewellery stage came once I had the dress and also once I had decided on the best hairstyle for the dress – I couldn’t have chosen jewellery earlier than that and I’m glad I didn’t. For example, the neckline of my dress was quite high and round and a necklace would have looked odd or too much, so I knew I just wanted simple stud earrings, maybe a bracelet and something in my hair.
I had originally thought I might just have a small hair slide or a very plain hair band (with just tiny pearls) but decided to go see Sonia and try some things on.
This was early 2014 – with the wedding coming up in August, so it was a few months before the wedding that I began to think about jewellery and accessories, which was perfect because it gave Sonia time to make something unique especially for me!
How did you decide what accessories to wear?
A few months before the wedding I came into Sonia’s studio to have a chat and try on some different pieces to work out what I liked and what wasn’t for me.
I originally thought just a simple headband would be perfect for my look – very dainty with tiny pearls – and this was something I’d seen in Sonia’s collection before. I tried it and it looked lovely but I also decided to try all sorts of other styles just for fun – this was when I realised I liked some aspects of one headband and some aspects of another – so Sonia said it was no problem and we could just combine the two aspects into one new design for me!
This design ended up being much bigger than I’d originally thought I’d go for, but the stones in the main piece of the headband weren’t too flashy and had a vintage feel to them (Sonia, you’ll be able to explain what is different about the stones in the Helena headband!) so it still felt quite understated, and it went really well with the style of the dress.
I’d also decided that I wanted to get a gift for my two bridesmaids and felt that a dainty bracelet would be ideal – especially something that they could wear again and wasn’t clearly a piece of wedding jewellery.
Sonia and I had a chat and decided to go for a silver chain bracelet with three small freshwater pearls in different colours of white, blues and greys. Sonia made a bracelet for each of the bridesmaids and one for me too – I handed them over the night before the wedding and we all wore them on the day.
What did you enjoy most about having your jewellery and accessories designed and made for you?
For the bracelets, I loved that it was our own design that Sonia and I came up with ourselves and which was really unique, not something you could get in the shops.
The bridesmaids loved the personal touch of the gift and I really liked that we all had something that was of a similar style but with each one that little bit different (my bracelet had a large white pearl in the middle with grey and blue either side, and the bridesmaids’ versions were variations on this with the colours switched round).
For the headband, I loved how we were able to tweak the design and, again, put together something unique that was exactly what I wanted, with no compromises! It was brilliant to be able to book a time with Sonia and come to the studio, try on all different styles (without feeling pressured for time like you might do in a busy high street shop). And Sonia was brilliant at reading me and noticing when I wasn’t too keen on a style I was trying on, and offering up different options or ways that we could tweak it – again something you just don’t get when you go into a shop and they have a limited selection of what’s on offer to you.
Is there any advice about jewellery and accessories that you would give a bride to be?
Don’t leave it till the last minute because it takes time for something unique to be designed and handmade especially for you and you want to make sure you get it in time for the big day!
And allow yourself lots of time to try plenty of different styles, even if they’re not what you think you are after – I ended up going for something much bigger and sparklier than I had originally planned but I think it looked awesome and I was so glad I did. I got so many compliments on the day!
I’d recommend waiting until you’ve decided on your dress and hairstyle as it will have a big impact on things – like I said, I originally assumed that of course I would wear a necklace but the neckline of my dress worked much better without it, and this allowed me to put much more sparkle elsewhere without it becoming too overpowering or busy.
Eilidh and Andrew also had a videographer, you can see their rather lovely video here.
Huge thanks to Kimberley for making so many of the images from Eidlidh and Andrew’s big day available for my blog. Please do check out her beautiful work.
Sarah Melvin at Gosh! Hair Design
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