Glamourous, wear again dresses

Glamourous, wear again dresses

Sweet jars filled with colour coordinated threads adorn the shelves in Sabina Ali’s East London studio where she creates her line of evening & cocktail style wedding dresses, Motasem dresses. When we meet, she is preparing for a sample sale where brides-to-be and fashionistas alike will be hoping to snap up a dress which is just as perfect for a bride as for an evening occasion.

After jobs as fashion designer for the high street stores Jigsaw and M&S, Motasem was born in 2005 when Sabina received her fifth comission for a cocktail style wedding dress. Further research showed that brides were looking for dresses priced between £500-1000 and felt that they were lacking choice. The Motasem collection provides a range of dresses that are affordable and are for the glamourous bride rather than the fairytale princess.

Not simply an off-the-peg dress, Motasem dresses can be customised from a template. Brides can choose the length of the dress and add sleeves, add a puddle train and choose the colour of the ribbon detail. Eco conscious brides can also have the dress made in organic silk.


How does Motasem contibute to an ethical wedding?
The range is created in ivory silk which is the natural colour, not dyed, so brides can feel comfortable even if they don’t choose the organic option which has no chemical finishes, but can cost 15% more. The dresses are made in the UK and can be worn again as the style is so versatile, rather than hanging it in a wardrobe for years. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing white as a guest at a wedding or evening occasion, then there is the option to dye it after your wedding. The Lotus dress has been designed so there is no stitching on the outside meaning it dyes really well.

The collection is championed by the professional woman aged 28-45 who doesn’t want to look frumpy. The most popular dresses are Cecaelia and Alaya. The perfect way to style the dress is with a vintage hair piece and feather shrug – Chanel with an edge.

Who would you most like to dress?
Natalie Portman. She is gorgeous, but not a girly girl. She is independent and has strong ethical principles. Natalie has recently launched her own vegan shoe collection and wears Beyond Skin shoes in her film ‘V for Vendetta’

What trends do you see growing in weddings?
There is a grown in off-the-peg dresses. In the last 5 years we have seen a development in weddings from church to civil ceremonies, destination weddings, second weddings and older brides plus mixed culture weddings. There are many smaller civil ceremonies and weddings where there is less money available but couples still want the glamour. People want the bridal experience.

More brides are now planning their weddings in their lunch hour as they lead busy professional lives so we will be seeing a growth in online shopping for bridalwaer. Like Natalie Massey did for Net-a-Porter, we will be able to buy designer bridal on the web. Motasem would be perfect for this as the dresses are not structured so dont need endless measuring and re-fitting – just pick your dress size and go! The dresses just take 5 weeks to make from ordering.

What about bridalwear trends?
There is much less strapless and more drapery – using the fabrics to flatter the body in the style of Amanda Wakely. Style is also moving from catwalk to bridal very quickly and picking up inspiration from celebrity weddings. The Alaya dress combines hollywood glamour with catwalk style.

There is a trend for the recessionista – as has been roumoured for SJP’s character in the new Sex and the City film.

What inspires you?
This collection is Grecian and nautical inspired. They are timeless and classsic pieces with a contemporary edge.

What’s next for Motasem?
In her next collection Sabina is planning on adding a bit of sparkle. The range is now stocked in a few stores including Bridal Path &  Berkshire Brides where Motasem hangs alongside lines from Jenny Packham and Amanda Wakely.

Stay tuned for big news that Sabina couldn’t disclose but I could see she was bursting with excitement…

The Story Of Stuff

The amazing thing about your wedding is that you are marrying the person of your dreams… When planning it can be easy to get carried away with all the excitement and start spending and adding more ‘things’ into the day.

I checked out this video which really brought me down to earth about the way I view stuff:

It has made me think more about what and when i buy, and to aim to be more ethically and environmentally conscious. Thrift, handmade and cutting down are all great ways to be individual and save money too!

Gift list concerns eliminated with independent list providers

Gift list concerns eliminated with independent list providers

A BBC report last week announced that a watchdog is calling for more protection for shoppers who pay in advance for goods but lose their money when the business collapses. After the collapse of wedding list company Wrapit in August 2008, around 2,000 newlyweds were left without their gifts.

Is there a safe way to have a wedding list when companies are going bust in the current economic climate?
Yes: Dont put all your eggs in one basket! Having a wedding list that allows guests to buy directly from independent retailers rather than all from one company means that you are not going to lose all your gifts in one fell swoop.

The business model for Wrapit meant that guests paid for gifts upfront and Wrapit then ordered them from the suppliers. It took 6 weeks for them to collect all the gifts up after the couples list closed so couples often had an empty home until the gifts were delivered.

Using a list where guests buy from independent stores means gifts can be delivered either to the couple or guest  immediately so there is no credit hanging around waiting for lists to be collated.

The new gift list system from Wedding Notebook, to be launched in Autumn 2009, allows couples to create a list with gifts from anywhere, including websites, independent stores, charity giving and suggested items. It has the convenience of a department store gift count-down system, but with the flexibility of not being tied to one store or small selection of gifts.

It is good to remember that generally,where guests are spending over £100 on a gift, then paying by credit card rather than debit card should mean they will get their money back if anything happens to the company they are buying from.

Get green inspiration at UK aware

f you are looking for inspiration and ideas on greener living, then make a stop at the UK Aware show next week. Hosted at Londons Olympia on Fri 17th & Sat 18th April the event shows you how easy greener living can be, how it will improve your quiality of life and how much money it can save you.

Here are some of the things I am most looking forward to:
– Getting travel ideas from ecoescape – ideal for planning your honeymoon, or even just a short UK break to get away from wedding planning for a bit!
– Swishing – there will be two clothes swap events each day giving you may opportunity to grab a ‘new to you’ wardrobe courtesy of Daisy green magazine with all profits and left over clothes going to Traid
– some green debates on subjects such as finance, business, lifestyle and trends lead by the leading names in ethical business
– getting informed – there is so much info out there that it canbe confusing. Talk directly to the companies and other consumers to get informed and to see the new fangled ideas that are out there. You can see a full list of exhibitors here

There are FREE tickets around on the web if you do a good search, but at a small £5 there is nothing stopping you just getting a ticket

Check back for a report after the event…

Creative memories For Guests Messages

Guests Messages Creative memories

I love getting my wedding photos out to look through them, and wish I did the same for our guest messages. The wedding guest book of personal message is such a thing to be treasured and can be made as unique and creative as you like.

One off the difficulties of one book being passed round is that it can only be used by one person at a time as so some people just dont get a chance to write in it. Create a table or area at the venue where guests can write their message during the drinks or dancing – and it will be a visual reminder to do so throughout the day.

If you want to be able to see your messages more frequently then ask guests to sign a frame border that will then surround a wedding photograph on your wall. You can easily make your own by buying some mount board from an art shop and cut to the size of a large frame which you can get in charity shops or antique stores for a more ornate version. Alternatively try these from The Handcrafted Card Company

Why not get guests to write a thought or a wish on a little card and drop it into a vintage box which can become part of your home. You may have a box at home, or a shoe box decorated in decoupage, or you could buy a jewellery size box like the one from Touches Home Interiors.

One of the real weddings I have come across on the web had a beautiful idea from their twenties themed wedding. They cut squares of fabric for guests to write their messages on that would then be made into a wedding quilt. Get inspired here.

Milla Jovovich intimate wedding style

Milla Jovovich intimate wedding style

Not all celebrities want the huge weddings with hundreds of other stars in attendance. This weekend Milla Jovovich married her long time partner director Paul Anderson in an intimate affair in the back garden of their home Beverly Hills.

You can see photos of the wedding here

 

Images: Orchid, rose & lily bouquet from Budget Designer Florals in USA, Long Adria dress with bead detail and split sleeves from Temperley London, Long romantic style hair design from Brides.com.

Dress: Milla walked down the aisle in a full length retro-inspired white gown which she had designed, taking inspiration from the 1960′s & Grecian. For Grecian influenced gowns, try the Lorelei dress wear-again style from Motasem

Flowers: A hand tied white orchid bouquet mixed with roses is a classic bridal design. If you are concerned about the milage, ask your florist to source locally grown, or you may want to consider white flowers that are seasonal to the date of your wedding.

Hair: Milla let her hair loose in an ethereal style, with headband of twisted leaves with a medieval influence. Remember to consider your face shape when choosing your hairstyle, and how it will work with the dress. It was a pity you couldn’t see the detail on Milla’s dress as her hair covered the beaded panels…

To go with their Spanish-style house, Milla & Paul had a latin style occasion with a Spanish flamenco guitarist during the cocktail reception, then a Cuban band afterwards.

However worth the wait, I’m not sure I would have coped with a six year engagement.

Throw Romance In The Wind

Wedding lanterns look beautiful and have been suggested as the most romantic send-off fo the bride and groom – the guests light the lanterns and let them go, watching the little lights rising into the nights sky.

I must admit it does look stunning. Standing on the cliff-top in Cornwall this week, we watched the lanterns from a beach wedding rising up over our heads like a column of stars.

But do we think about what happens to them after the flame has gone out and the remnants come in to land? It saddened me the next morning to see the paper and frames scattered about the fields on the cliff top, and being washed onto the beach by the incoming tide. It looked horrible, littering the beautiful countryside and leaving a mess for the locals to clean up.

When planning a wedding there are various decisions to be made on the materials and resources. To go organic or not, to use local flowers or import. These lanterns showed to me the impact of decisions in a more immediate way than other things. We may not see an immediate benefit of avoiding throw-away crockery or having an organic wedding dress, but these small decisions add up to minimising the negative impact of our wedding.

Picture Perfect

Ethical And Natural Photography

Picture Perfect

When planning an ethical wedding there is all sorts of information available about rings, dresses and flowers. But what about choosing a photographer? What is an ethical photographer? Is there a photographer out there who has a small carbon footprint?

Here are a few things to consider:

– On a simple level, do they do proof albums by CD, saving on printing and allowing you to choose your album shots in a digital format?

– It always pays, in anything, to follow recommendations from friends. If they have had a good experience then that is a top priority.

– Have a good look at the photographer’s website to check out their portfolio, but don’t skip the ‘about us’ page as this will tell you about their passions or their philosophy.

Photographers Cat and Suzanne from CTimages in Manchester really caught my eye as understanding the importance of their craft on a social level. From their background in fashion and social photography, as well as weddings they offer photo parties for young girls, which were initially developed to aid female youth groups discuss self esteem issues.

Cat & Suzanne wanted girls to understand the airbrushing that goes on in the fashion world, and the unique beauty that each one of them has. Cat says ‘Our aim was to inspire confidence in our clients by explaining and demonstrating poses and creating a relaxed and encouraging environment. We believe women, especially girls in their teenage years need good role models and lots of positive words said about them. The vision of the photo sessions is not only to have a fun experience and high quality pictures to take home, but to inspire young women to be an encouragement to one another and to celebrate each others uniqueness!’

I was recently shown the Dove campaign for real beauty which made me laugh, but really did hit home about what ‘role models’ we are measuring ourselves against…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

Photos from CT images will be used throughout the Weding Notebook website, so check back to see more when we go live in the Autumn.

Celebrity Wedding – The Eastenders

Samantha Janus ties the knot in vintage style

Last month Eastenders star Samantha Janus wed her long-term partner Mark Womak at Claridges in London at a vintage inspired ceremony attended by her fellow cast members and other celebrities such as Melanie Blatt and Natalie & Nicole Appleton, formerly of girl band All Saints.Celebrity weddings are not always about the flamboyance and excess that we have seen covered in reality TV shows following well-known brides. When planning her wedding Janus kept in mind the theme she had chosen for her Spring wedding – The traditional wedding with the combination of classic and vintage. She didn’t want frills or taffeta and the result was a stunningly sleek and elegant affair – thankfully with less of the drama than a typical Eastenders on-screen wedding!

Why not take some tips from Janus’ wedding style:
Buy a vintage ring – Mark bought Samantha’s ring at a Paris flea market. Have a unique ring with a story behind it by going vintage. You could even ask if there is a family ring from either side that you could wear. Vintage and second had rings also avoids the excesive manufature and mining of new resources of gold and precious stones.
Simple style – Janus carried a simple posy of Lily of the Valley, her favourite flowers. By keeping it personal you can avoid spending over the odds for extravagant blooms that distract from your dress. also, chosing in season, locally grown flowers cuts the air miles of the product.
Work the theme and dress together – Janus’s theme saw her in a 20′s inspired dress, such as those from Jenny Packham. If you want the designer dress but don’t have the budget try sample sale shops or end-of-season sales.

If lavender be the scent of love…

Mayfield_Lavender_Field_LB_Sutton
Lavender Fields Of Love

So, incase you have stumbled across this site and happen not to be engaged to be married, you may be interested in this eco-speed-dating event happening next Saturday in a lavender field near you…

Following the success of BTCV in York, Carshalton Lavender, the Observer Ethical Award-winning community group based in the London Borough of Sutton, is introducing eco-dating, a new form of match-making for environmentally-conscious singles aged 30-50, to London on Saturday 18th April.

Eco-dating takes the speed dating idea and aims do a little for the environment at the same time – helping to prepare Carshalton Lavender’s field for this year’s annual lavender harvest. Whilst going about the tasks at hand you will be paired with a different partner every 10 minutes, and the small sum of £5 includes all the hot drinks and cake you could need…

Sign up quickly whilst there are still places available. and dont forget to let us know how you got on…