Top advice from celebrity stylist Beth Dadswell…

Having spent the last 9 years visiting the twice yearly catwalk shows in Milan and Paris, travelling the world shooting Couture & Designer collections and producing stunning fashion shoots for The Independent, London based personal stylist Beth Dadswell knows everything there is to know about style and Fashion! Beth now specialises in helping brides and grooms to visualise their dream wedding through her personal styling business…

What kind of bride do you aspire to be? You might have been secretly visualising your fantasy wedding since you met Mr Right, and now it is time to make those daydreams a reality. So whether you want to be a bohemian fairy with flowers in your hair or a classic English rose, now is your time to start pulling together all of your ideas to turn your daydreams in to a reality!


Firstly, you need to consider the ‘mood’ of your wedding;

The Venue
Where are you getting married? Is the venue modern, traditional, romantic or remote? The venue and your outfit should complement each other and set the ‘mood’ for your entire day. Once you have made a decision about this, you will be able to think about flowers, food, music and accessories with much more clarity. The venue will set the tone for the groom’s, bridesmaid’s and pageboy’s outfits, so think about whether it fulfils your style brief and will be the perfect backdrop for your photos.

picture-178The Weather
You also need to think about the weather. Although never guaranteed, the weather will play a huge factor in choosing the right dress. If you are getting married abroad you will need to choose something that is easy to pack and  won’t make you too hot or sweaty. If it is a daytime event that will continue late into the evening, you may require a change of outfit or a covering up option if it is chilly (like a shrug or mini cape). I have seen many beautiful (and very expensive) dresses ruined by mud and dancing in the evening, so choosing a shorter dress for the réception can be a good option.

The Budget
This is something that you need to calculate at the outset as it can cause a lot of financial friction if you let it get out of control. Work out what your priorities are, for example, if you have seen a dress that costs a small fortune but is absolutely ‘the one’ then you might have to cut back elsewhere. Don’t assume that inlaws or parents will be happy to contribute towards the cost of your dress either. Think about whether you would rather spend less on the dress but more on an amazing pair of shoes or vice versa and also think long and hard about the practicalities of buying a wedding dress versus something that you can wear again afterwards. To avoid disappointment don’t even start looking until you know what your budget is!

The Date
The date of your wedding will determine when you need to start looking for your outfit. If you are planning on a heavily embroidered, beaded number then you will need to order it well in advance of the wedding day (Vera Wang at Selfridges advise ordering at least 7-8 months before the wedding). If you have more than a year to spare it can be worth asking the shop assistants when their sales are on as you could get lucky! Also remember that you will need to allocate additional time for the fittings and collection of your dress and if you are hiring, you will need to make certain that your outfit is available on your preffered dates. If looking for a truly unique Vintage dress it is worth getting in touch with specialist boutiques and letting them know what you are looking for as they can keep an eye out for you when sourcing on trips abroad. Alternatively, if you have less time and are looking for something more relaxed and modern then you may well be able to find your dress in a boutique or even online. Once bought, it may still need to be tweaked by a seamstress so that it fits like a glove, so don’t risk leaving this to the last minute.

The Dress
Do you lust after vintage Edwardiana or Grace Kelly chic? Think about your existing style and don’t get sidetracked by celebrity outfits or ‘trends’ as you will live to regret it. Remember, the photos will be around for decades, so much better to go for something stylish and beautiful but essentially ‘you’! Don’t be pushed into wearing a meringue by an over zealous mother in law if what you really desire is a sexy little slip of silk chiffon and be prepared to try lots of outfits on as it is impossible to know which is ‘the one’ until you have tried them all on! Also consider your budget and be realistic. You won’t be able to afford a beaded lace couture dress unless you have thousands of pounds to spend but if you are clever and know where to look you can find something totally unique for a fraction of the cost.

The Accessories
This is an area that you can be a little bit clever with as you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on shoes or jewellery. Vintage accessories such as hair clips, jewellery and bags can give an outfit a totally individual edge and most stores make shoes that could be worn with a wedding dress but aren’t necessarily ‘Bridal’ shoes. Look for luxurious fabrics and delicate detailing as these can make even the most inexpensive accessories look unique. This can also mean big savings! Work some wild flowers into your hair for a really natural, bohemian look or into a corsage for a retro vibe.

The Wedding Party
The groom’s outfit can easily get forgotton in the midst of wedding dress hysteria so it is definitely worth sitting down together and talking about what kind of ‘look’ he wants for his big day (especially if he isn’t known for his great personal style on a day to day basis….). Without giving the game away, you can suggest colours or styles that would work with your outfit as well as talking generally about the mood and style of the wedding. If you are still worried, you could enlist a personal stylist or a trusted friend to accompany him on his shopping trip to ensure that he doesn’t turn up looking like Peter Andre. Bridesmaids and page boys also need to be considered; how old are they and will one outfit suit all? Generally, it looks better if you keep it simple and uniform but do consider their feelings too, a sailors outfit may look cute on a five year old but won’t be popular with a chubby pre-teen. Likewise, think about the shapes of your bridesmaids and choose a dress that will be flattering to all of them especially if they are expected to buy it themselves.

Other important things to think
When planning the flowers I would suggest taking a polaroid of your dress with you so that they can suggest specific flowers that will work with your themes. Ask them which flowers they would recommend for scents as these can really set the tone. You will be reminded of your wedding day every time you catch a whiff of them, so choose carefully. The same goes for your perfume. Another trick is to light scented candles in your venue as these will help to set a romantic, unique mood that you will be able to enjoy long after the big day is over.

If you have plenty of time, then it’s really worth experimenting with different styles for your hair & make-up to best find a look that works with your dress. Ask your regular hairdresser what they would suggest as they will be familiar with your hair type, face shape and personal style. Dont be afraid to try something a bit different and equally dont be talked into something boring and bland that is very weddingy but really isnt you.  If you dont like their suggestions then visit other salons, most will be happy to talk you through more ideas. Tell them about your style as well as your dress and the mood that you want to create as these references will help them to visualise your look. When it comes to make-up, dont be tempted to just do it yourself unless you are really confident. Your wedding make-up needs to stand up to a long day filled with tears, kisses, weather and photographs. Employ an expert to set your face for the wedding and then you can touch it up yourself throughout the day (or perhaps you have a friend who is a make-up artist?). If you insist on doing it yourself, then visit at least two or three department store beauty counters in advance and let them show you how they would do it. They can suggest long lasting, durable products that will be worth investing in, especially if you have any blemishes that you want to camouflage or features that you want to enhance.

Remember it’s your day! You only get one chance to get it right, so take lots of time to think about your style. Put a mood board together to show the florist, caterers, hair and make-up artist and photographer so that you are all working towards the same goal.

For more info about Beth’s Personal Styling services visit

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