White Gallery London 2016

On Monday I attended The White Gallery in London’s Battersea Evolution which is essentially the London Fashion Week of the bridal industry. It’s a trade event for UK and international bridal designers to showcase their 2017 collections to press and buyers, and it feels like stepping through a vortex into the bridal apparel future.

The show took place in the heart of a blossom-filled Battersea Park inside a pavilion that was transformed into an elegant showroom, complete with catwalks and press lounges. The event ran over three days and offered press and buyers access to a diverse range of designers, runways, and of course industry lovelies!

You may have already seen a few sneak peeks of my photos on Instagram, and live commentary and video on Snapchat (and if you’re not yet on Snapchat, you’re missing out on ALL the fun and behind-the-scenes footage!). This post takes it up a notch with my favourite wedding dress and wedding shoe designers, and my six key bridal trends for 2017 as spotted at White Gallery.

If you’re currently on the hunt for your wedding dress or shoes, I do hope that this post will inspire you. All the gorgeous images (unless otherwise stated) are by the super talented Kate Nielen who accompanied me to the show. Feel free to pin and share them to your heart’s content!

Below: clockwise from top: Sassi Holford catwalk show / Emmy London / YolanCris

Stephanie Allin Couture

Stephanie Allin designed my wedding dress and is genuinely one of the loveliest people in the business. What appeals to me about Stephanie, besides her wonderful service and giving nature, is her contemporary take on classic couture and her desire to create wedding dresses for the ‘real bride’ as opposed to what looks best on a model. Her latest collection is inspired by the Italian lifestyle and artistic flair, and incorporates compelling fabrics including metallic jacquard prints on silk organza, and concepts like bridal separates of bra-lets teamed with dramatic skirts.

One a side note, Stephanie definitely gets the award for the most inspired creative campaign (shot by Matt Bird). How uh-mazing is the shot below taken from Stephanie’s new Bellisima collection?!

Stephanie Allin Bellisimo   Stephanie Allin

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A Stephanie Allin bride in a blue and white wedding dress for an English country garden Jewish wedding at Adwell House, Oxfordshire

Girl crush, girl crush!  Oh my goodness, today’s bride, Claudia is utterly gorgeous, and what amazing fashion choices she made – an astonishing Stephanie Allin wedding gown adorned with blue flowers, followed by a party dress to dance the night away in, not to mention some spectacular jewellery. She made a speech too (a smashing-the-glass-ceiling bride if ever there was one!) and I could literally write pages about Claudia’s creative talents alone… She’s definitely one clever and very accomplished woman.

But full credit to her dashing groom, Edward, too… Claudia was working as a doctor in Africa for much of their engagement so Edward spent many a weekend wedding planning and venue-hunting with Claudia’s mum. Hat’s off, Edward!

Details-wise, I can’t kick off with anything but that glorious chuppah… The groom’s father cut branches off a tree in his Norfolk garden where the couple got engaged and together with Edward built the chuppah in his back garden. The delightful Liz from Blue Sky Flowers worked her magic on the chuppah structure with the most sensational blooms, and for the canopy, one of Claudia’s friends assisted all the hens in decorating fabric ‘Stars of David’ on the hen weekend. The stars were then sewn on to a simple white tablecloth and it felt like the most wonderfully personalised starry sky.

What’s more the couple are now repurposing the chuppah poles as a gazebo in their garden and growing flowers up it in time for summer. Perfection!

What makes this wedding all the more special is that both families had known each other long before Claudia and Edward had ever got together. Oh, and as an aside, Claudia has a twin brother and identical twin sisters – how extraordinary is that?!) Claudia told me.

During the ceremony our Rabbi asked us to turn around to look at all our family and friends. It was overwhelming… To have so many people you love all there for you. Our families have been friends for 40 years and lots of people commented that they’ve never been to a wedding before where they love all the people under the chuppah – we are incredibly lucky and were completely surrounded by love all day.

There are lots more treats, surprises, advice, tips and just a wonderful account of a glorious day so if you can get five minutes with a cuppa to sit down and read Claudia’s wonderful words, as well as look at the stunning photography from Ria Mishaal, I promise you will get so much out of this wedding story.

With thanks to the lovely Alex from The Bijou Bride for submitting this very original Jewish wedding (and although heavily pregnant at the time, spot how ‘on theme’ Alex was in her beautiful blue and white ‘ceramics pattern’ maternity dress… I love you girl!)

Speaking of which, you’ll see Alex holding an umbrella over Claudia in one or two of the images. Claudia quite rightly says, “don’t stress about the weather – it poured with rain all day for us but we had so much fun no-one even noticed and if you’ve surrounded yourself with the right professionals they’ll make the reorganisation needed completely seamless. We walked around the grounds having our picture taken through the rain and you’d never know from the pictures!”

Spot on, Claudia… SPOT ON! Enjoy every last detail of this very special Jewish wedding.

Stephanie Allin bride for an English country garden Jewish wedding Stephanie Allin bride for an English country garden Jewish wedding
how we met

Claudia, the Bride: Our families have been friends forever but somehow Ed and I didn’t meet until a few years ago. We hid our relationship from our mothers for the first few weeks because we thought they’d start planning our wedding after the first date! He took me to the Zetter Townhouse for cocktails, and we ended up in the games room playing Jenga until they closed. When Edward walked me home, we narrowly missed my brother who I lived with at the time who got home minutes later. He took me for a picnic two days later and cooked me dinner after a set of night shifts later that week and the rest was history!

I’m a doctor and had always planned to work abroad for a year and Ed was unwavering in his support for me doing this even though he couldn’t come with. He proposed in our favourite place in Norfolk just days before I left the country to work in Zanzibar. He didn’t realise he’d signed himself up to months of Sunday lunches with my mum planning and Saturday expeditions to wedding venues!

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A super cool and creative, colourful Jewish wedding at Middle Street Synagogue, and The Grand, Brighton, UK

Oh my goodness. Where on earth do I start with this wedding?! It’s such fun, and it’s just bursting at the seams with creative details that will make you squeal. Seriously – it’s that good!

There are gold pineapples, the most exquisitely branded stationery (all designed by the bride), an enchanting alternative to a guest book, bridesmaids in the most epic shade of coral, a personalised head-in-hole board (a must-have when your wedding is by the English seaside!) and beautifully designed welcome bag totes (again designed by bride) filled with Brighton Rock, fish & chips shaped crackers, and all sorts of other seaside-themed treats.

It’s clear from looking at all of the delicious details in this big day that Danielle poured her heart and soul into all of the planning. Everything was evidently created with the greatest care and love, and, not surprisingly, her wedding features some of my much-loved Smashing Suppliers doing an AMAZING job.

I’m talking about Jonny Mosesson (their incredible chazan under the chuppah –who also was the chazan at my wedding!) and Stephanie Allin, Danielle’s sensational wedding dress designer, who bizarrely enough, designed my wedding dress too! Danielle says, “I hope that anyone reading this who likes the sound of anything we did gets in touch with our vendors because they made our day so incredible – they were absolutely brilliant.”

This wedding is literally the perfect mix of Jewish tradition and super cool creativity and I think you’re going to love it. I certainly did!

Oh, and their ‘How We Met’ story is beyond… their mums set them up!!

All of the laughter was captured by one of my favourite photographers, Kristian Leven, making a very welcome debut on STG today. 

Take it away Danielle!

Jewish wedding Brighton
how we met

Our mums set us up. Yes, it’s true!

They knew each other when they were kids growing up in Leeds and then happened to be seated together at a wedding two years ago. They figured out that they both had kids the same age. Who were single. My mum had had a few too many cocktails and so Gideon’s mum, someone who will never take no for an answer, ended up going home with my phone number! When I spoke to my mum about the wedding the next day, she never mentioned it because she never thought he would call. And he didn’t. But he texted! And the rest is history!

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Meredith & Shoshana | True love + oodles of creativity: Lesbian Jew-ish Wedding at Notley Abbey, Oxfordshire, UK

One of the reasons I’m in love with my job as editor and curator of Smashing The Glass is that weddings are the ultimate fusion of creativity, traditions and of course true love – three things that I adore – and this divine wedding has all three in buckets.

When an email from Danny and Julie of Minty Slippers popped in with a link to Meredith and Shoshana’s incredible wedding film, below, I had a massive ‘this is why I cherish my job’ moment. It’s so very moving, and their devoted love for each other is so apparent – I literally whooped, hollered and clapped my hands with glee in anticipation of blogging Danny and Julie’s fabulous work, and Meredith and Shoshana’s love story.

It’s a tale of long-distance desire with the pair first meeting in 2011 when Shoshana, from London, was studying at the New York Film Academy and Meredith was working at a Manhattan advertising agency.

Shoshana eventually returned to London after her studies, and being thrown suddenly into a long distance relationship, they decided to make videos to remind them of the fun they shared together. Their videos are super creative and fun and will fill you in a little more on their love story.

But on to the wedding itself.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen brides who smiles as much as Meredith and Shoshana did on their big day; honestly their infectious grins are enough to make even the most miserable, rainy Mondays seem like Happy Hour in the Caribbean.

They were married at Notley Abbey in Oxfordshire, a beautiful venue that was once the home of Sir Laurence Olivier. There is a Stephanie Allin AND a J.Crew gown, both as beautiful as each other. There is a singing harpist, an immense naked cake, outdoor games and stunning florals . There are hand-painted favours by Shoshana (who is an illustrator by trade) of each guest’s name painted and presented on miniature easels. There are some fantastic ideas for a really meaningful wedding ceremony.

But most of all? Most of all there is L.O.V.E

The beautiful moments on film below were captured by Minty Slippers, whilst the immense photography is courtesy of Mark Cachia.

The venue

Meredith and Shoshana, the Brides: We chose Notley Abbey in Oxfordshire, for its tree-lined entrance, the castle like turrets, the beautiful gardens and the stunning contemporary mix with 13th century architecture – need we say more, it was perfect!

Lesbian Jew-ish Wedding at Notley Abbey, Oxfordshire, UK
‘Global travel meets art’

Our wedding theme would be best described as ‘global travel meets art’   – that’s what we arrived at in the end! We didn’t have a colour scheme but we definitely thought about colour throughout the process. We didn’t use a wedding planner, we had too much fun planning it ourselves!

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Philippa & Andrew | Romantic City Chic Jewish Wedding at the Mandarin Oriental, London

Mandarin Oriental Jewish Wedding 6 Philippa and Andrew’s big day is the epitome of romantic elegance. The exquisite colour scheme of purples, greys, golds and pastels pervades everything in their wedding; it’s present in Philippa’s luscious bouquet (that frankly looks good enough to eat) and their beautiful dessert table too… right down to the invitations, menus and lighting.

And how gorgeous is our bride, Philippa? Doesn’t her Audrey Hepburn / 50s inspired Stephanie Allin dress look immense? And I am swooning over her awesome Lulu Guinness ‘lips’ bag (her lovely husband actually surprised her with it on the day… so cute)

Anyway I won’t delay you any further; go on check out Philippa and Andrew’s splendid day for yourselves: ogle over the gorgeous imagery by Mark Seymour and, at the end of the post, the wonderfully atmospheric film by The Dreamcatchers.
Mandarin Oriental Jewish Wedding 24
A countryside wedding was our original plan, however this was proving difficult because at the time we had 200 guests to invite. We didn’t want to go to a beautiful countryside manor and have to use a marquee – what’s the point of going to a stunning location to be put in a marquee and have to spend thousands dressing it? So we decided that interior was key and the Mandarin Oriental was the perfect answer. We had the best of both worlds, a beautiful ballroom with Hyde Park literally on your door step.
Mandarin Oriental Jewish Wedding 0
We went for a  ‘romantic and elegant’ theme. Being a makeup artist I love to mood board so this was always going to be a fun task . The colour scheme and the style of the wedding was so important. Purple was the chosen dominant colour used throughout the wedding on the invitations, menus, flowers, ties etc) with greys, golds and different coloured pastels to compliment. The ballroom was dripping in gold and had lots of huge mirrors inside and so the romantic mood was enhanced with soft purple and pink lighting. Candelabras were placed on every other table with a small floral display on top & pastel coloured scattered petals on the mirrored base. The alternate tables had a low flower display with tea lights and scattered petals so not to block anyone’s view. Purple was used throughout the flowers in different shades to enhance and compliment the mood.

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