A very belated blog!

It seems as if I tend to open my blogs with an apology and once again I have to say sorry for the recent lack of posting. On a good note this is because George James Bridal has been busy and bustling with beautiful brides and although I do love to fill you in on all of my news my lovely ladies do of course take priority! With all of this in mind I thought as we have just celebrated the year anniversary of being in the fabulous new shop location on Bromham Road and with my own year wedding anniversary approaching this was the perfect time to do a very belated catch up. I can’t believe how much has happened in the last six months and I will do my very best to fill you in as far as possible. Forgive me for not going in to the finer details as the blog may very well then turn into a book so I will keep it short and sweet with the updates.

The New Year started off with a flurry of wedding fairs which we always love to do as it is a fantastic opportunity to meet lots of lovely brides to be and also support wonderful wedding venues and catch up with industry suppliers. Whether your wedding is fast approaching or you are taking it slowly with the preparations then wedding exhibitions are a super way to get inspiration for the big day. In January we showcased our beautiful dresses at The Grand Hall and at The Sharnbrook Wedding Fair and then this was followed in February by the big three day event at Milton Keynes by Central Exhibitions where we also supplied dresses for the catwalk show and then the month ended with a triple whammy where the GJ Bridal team were out in full force at The Sculpture Gallery in Woburn, The Swan Hotel and Woodlands Manor. The Spring brought about The Wyboston Wedding Fair and then back to Milton Keynes for The MK Dons, moving swiftly into April we had a luxurious Twilight Show back at The Sharnbrook Hotel and later in the month the first Wedding Journey Festival took place at Moggerhanger swiftly followed by another fabulous Affinity Wedding Fair at The Swan and The Wedding Collective show at Bedford School. In May we ventured to St. Neots for the first time to take part in the Priory Wedding Fair and it has been lovely to welcome many more brides from the surrounding areas into the shop. The fairs tend to quieten down a little over the busy summer season but this part of the year was rounded off with another lovely Affinity Fair at Bedford Rugby Club and The Grand Hall opposite my beautiful boutique. I realise I have written quite a long list of all the shows but it is quite nice to give you an idea of all the lovely local venues that we attend so that if you are a bride to be and fancy popping by in the future then you can keep your eyes peeled for some of these fairs that will also take place in the Autumn and again next year. Always feel free to give us a call if you would like any more detailed information on upcoming events. Before I move on to more news I must do a very special thank you to my family who represent the magnificent GJ Bridal team. My parents, sisters, beautiful niece Amy who has modelled for me twice and my husband all help at all the events and I couldn’t do it without you all.

The start of the new year also marked our two year anniversary. We are now moving swiftly towards the three year mark but wow what an incredible time it has been. The shop has expanded and more and more gorgeous gowns have been chosen. Over 400 weddings have taken or will be taking place and I am always in utter awe that I get to be involved in a small way towards all of these amazing days. I always like to tell my brides how honoured I am but when I receive the stunning pictures and thank you cards it really does mean the absolute world. I will eventually post all of the incredible pictures on the real brides page and Facebook but of course I don’t want to single any one out on here just for the moment but please keep all the wonderful pictured coming!!
I can do a couple of posts as two of our lovely ladies, namely Jessica and Lizy were featured as real brides in the amazing Affinity Wedding Magazine and I can be a little bit cheeky and say I was delighted to also be featured as a real bride!

Not only were we busy with lovely wedding fairs but many of the weekends were taken up with Designer Weekends. For those brides who are new to researching then it might be of interest to know that very often boutiques will have special trunk shows that showcase the designers that they stock in greater details. I have had Justin Alexander, Lillian West and Kenneth Winston designer weekends so far with more to come later in the year. At these events we are able to have the entire collection in store with the fantastic opportunity to purchase your dress with a discount of 10%. Of course this does mean you have to be quite confident when choosing but if you find your dream dress then it is a perfect opportunity to get it at a great price. Keep a lookout on the Facebook page for the Autumn events.

Now of course in order to provide all of my lovely brides with the latest stunning creations from the worlds top designers, I need to travel to go and do the buying for all of the new seasons collections. This is when the first part of the year is taken up with a lot of tough decision making. Many people ask me how I pick what I stock and I must say it can be tricky. There are hundreds upon hundreds of amazing gowns and it is a bit like being a kid in a candy shop. However, it is important to think carefully about what you want to provide for your brides. It is obviously wise to keep up with the latest trends but important to stay true to the tradition of bridal without also selfishly picking your favourites. If I had all the money in the world I would probably go even more wild but of course there are only so many that can be bought but fingers crossed you will all love the new dresses as they start to arrive in September. First up I was off to Madrid buying for La Sposa in February then it was on to the London Bridal Show in March buying from Kenneth Winston before jet setting out to Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week to buy from Justin Alexander and Lillian West in April and finally back to good ole blightly in May to buy my Suzanne Neville collection where I was thrilled to grab a picture with this amazing designer. You may have also noticed that her dresses have been featured frequently on many of the top celebrities recently and I am thrilled to be the exclusive area stockist. Although I must let you in to a secret, there is another very exciting new arrival on the horizon so keep a look out for the updates!! 

As I think many of you know I am so proud to be a local Bedford business and I love nothing more than collaborating with other local businesses and industry professionals. This year has been no exception and despite being rushed off my feet in the boutique I have always found time to help where I can. I provided a gown for a fab film organised by Beauty by Roxanne. You can find many of my top tips in Your Herts and Beds Wedding Magazine along with How to choose your wedding accessories in Find Your Dress. As a winner of the fab Four Counties Wedding Awards I was honoured to provide a dress for an incredible Cuban inspired photo shoot and delighted to have one of my gowns featured in Love Our Wedding.

I am also not the only one to be celebrating an anniversary as The Vintage Suit Hire Company turned one and Greycourt Events also had their year celebrations along with 40 years as Greycourt Florists and I was also very happy to wish the Bedfordshire on Sunday a fabulous 40 years of providing great local news! Huge congratulations to all on your fabulous achievements and long may they continue.

Finally to round off what has been a super six months I was delighted to win the Service Excellence and Bedford Business of the Year Awards at the first SME awards. I am thrilled to say I now move on to the National finals where the results will be announce in December at Wembley Stadium and I was tremendously honoured to be asked to be a spokesperson for the event. Once again it is at this point where I must thank all of my beautiful brides, industry colleagues, friends, husband and fabulous family for your continued love and support. None of this would be possible without you all and of course last but most certainly not least my inspiration Georgie boy!

I have now reached my year anniversary at the new location and with my one year wedding anniversary approaching all that is left for me to announce is the last bit of exciting news and that is that I am now 5 months pregnant. We are obviously delighted and very happy to share our news but I want to reassure all of my lovely ladies that the boutique will all continue as per normal as my super assistants will be taking over where need be! Here’s to a bridal baby in the making!
Huge love to all,
Nicola, xx

A wonderful 2016 at George James Bridal

Once again it seems that I have to start my blog with an apology as it has been quite some time since I last did a post but this is mostly due to all of the wonderful events that have been happening both in the boutique and personally. With 2016 drawing to an end and the excitement of the New Year approaching I thought that it was perfect timing to do a little round up from the year and also to fill you in on the recent news.

I almost don’t know where to start as 2016 has been full of such incredible new adventures. In my last update you saw that George James had moved to its stunning new premises at 8-12 Bromham Road and after a super team effort from my husband and family we did a gorgeous new shop re fit and had a brilliant launch evening where MBE Vicki Michelle officially opened the new boutique.

I was beyond thrilled to once again make the finals of many of the awards this year and to win Business Person of the Year and the Overall winner at both the FSB and East of England Awards was mind blowing. I also won the Service Excellence Award and made the final for Best Bedfordshire Business at The Beds on Sunday Bedfordshire Business Awards and Highly Commended at The Four Counties Wedding Awards. I really can’t thank my beautiful brides enough for taking the time to vote for me. I always strive to provide excellent customer service and give you a wonderful experience but reading your reviews and feedback and finding out that you have had such a lovely time at George James makes all that I do worthwhile.

One of my favourite things is collaborating with the extremely talented local suppliers and I held a super Bridal Styling Evening with the very talented Ali K MUA and Kate Atalay. This gave brides to be a great opportunity to see themselves in a finished look and try on gowns so that they could visualise how they would appear on the big day. I was delighted that it helped so many lovely ladies find their dream dresses and we shall look forward to holding another event in 2017.

 

I also took part in several styled photo shoots where many industry professionals showcased their superb talents. Several of the photographs taken by the awesome Cat Lane will be featured in future magazine publications and I will be sure to share all the supplier details and images in the New Year but below is a little taster from a couple of the shoots.

As if all this wasn’t keeping me busy enough wit my own wedding and honeymoon but I also got involved in several wedding fairs including my first at Milton Keynes Midsummer place which took part over 3 days and also The Woburn Abbey Sculpture Gallery, Moggerhanger Park, The Barns Hotel and Woodlands Manor. All of these events were organised brilliantly and we loved providing the catwalks shows which as always go down a storm with all the attending brides. We shall look forward to exhibiting lots more in the New Year and will keep you posted with all of the upcoming events.

With the new move to the larger premises on Bromham Road we are now able to provide bridesmaids dresses which has been so exciting. We are now stocking two fabulous collections from Colour by Kenneth Winston and Bari Jay. There are over 30 dresses with 50 colours and several fabric choices available. It gives brides a wonderful variety of choice depending on what look you would like you maids to have for your special day. We have been delighted to welcome so many brides old and new and they are proving to be a real hit.

With all this excitement I am also delighted to announce that as of January we are adding a new designer to the boutique. We have a stunning collection from Kenneth Winston and of course a full Facebook update will follow as and when the new dresses are in store!

It has been such a joy to find dream dresses for so many brides to be and as many of you know in September I finally managed to join you all on the journey and say my ‘I do’ in my own perfect dress, (which I must confess of course came from my beautiful boutique!!) We had such a wonderful wedding and I will all treasure the most amazing memories from our special day. I promised so many of you that I would fill you in with some of the details from our day and I will include a few pics and a little video so that you can join in the adventure.

 

I feel honoured and blessed that you all trust me with such an incredibly important part of the day and having experienced it all myself I can’t express enough my appreciation for allowing me to help. I will try not to bore you with too many details but hopefully the following few words will give you an insight to our wedding.

We got married on 10th September 2016. This was an incredibly important date and it was chosen for a very special reason. It was also my parent’s Golden wedding anniversary. My husband and I both love Autumn and when we got engaged over two years ago and realised the date fell on a Saturday in the season and month that we wanted to go for anyway it all seemed so perfect. It was ideal that they should pass over the marital baton to us after 50 fabulous years together.

We made a whole weekend of celebrations which began on the Thursday. The bridal party got ready at The Priory Hotel and the wedding took place at The Lady St. Mary Church in Wareham. The guests then took a routemaster London bus to board a private boat where we all travelled along the River Frome to The Italian Villa at Compton Acres where the reception took place. 

When it came to picking my dress I must confess I was spoilt for choice and most people thought I might struggle but I always knew what I wanted. I love a ball gown shape as for me it epitomises the traditional bride and I am all about fabric and tailoring. Suzanne Neville gowns have all of this in abundance and so I chose Heather which had a silk organza skirt and a lace bodice with a Bardot neckline.

I must say I was very lucky and naughty and had a second dress to dance the night away in. In the evening I changed into a gorgeous tea length dress style 8800 from Justin Alexander. My parents are ballroom and Latin American dance teachers and so the first dance was a special father/daughter dance where he handed me over to Josh where we danced to Moon River. 

I teemed my first dress with a classic single tier train length veil from Nieve Couture and a roman inspired vintage tiara called Valkirie from Ivory and Co. My evening dress had a stunning belt from Lily Bella sewn on to add a bit of sparkle and I wore some head jewellery with a change of hair do from Richard Designs.

We have a small family who are incredibly close and when we walked into the church I gave my dad a squeeze and told him I loved him and as our atmospheric entrance music played (Beethoven’s Five Secrets by The Piano Guys) I looked straight ahead to Josh and my heart just filled with more joy and excitement with every step I took towards him. It had rained in the morning and somehow it made the church even more magical and intimate and we felt like we were in our own special world. We both say how we will never forget the second when we first looked at each other as it really was the best moment of our lives.

We didn’t really want to have a ‘theme’ as such but it inevitably happens in order to create cohesion for the day. What was most important for us was that we did and had things that we loved and that all our guests would find representative of us. We both have special places in the world and have travelled together so with this a slight travel inspired feel tied all the elements of the wedding together. The guests all had travel documents as their invites that included passports, boat and bus boarding passes and travel money (that was later used as free vouchers for the photo booth) which also had to get stamped to allow passage onto the various modes of transport. The guests boarded a red London double decker bus and made their way to the church where the very ‘English’ part of the wedding took place. We had an incredible gospel choir during the service and then made our way to the boat. The next part was meant to have an Irish flavour as we had a fiddler on the boat and then when we arrived at The Italian Villa we had an accordionist to set the mood along with an authentic Italian ice cream tricycle that came all the way from our hometown of Bedford. The gardens at Compton Acres are so stunning that they set the tone immediately but this was enhanced by the incredibly floristry.  I had asked Jen for sumptuous, decadent centre pieces with the light fittings draped in ivy and grapes to create the faded grandeur which is indicative of Italy and she really captured this mood. This followed through to the cake, card table and other decorations throughout the venue including mini limoncello bottles as favours. 

One thing that was the most important was to have very special tributes to my nephew who tragically passed away from cancer three years ago. The whole colour choice for the day was inspired by him as his favourite colours were orange and green, so with this in mind and considering it was Autumn it was perfect to use burnt oranges and soft pinks, golds and warm greens. As it was my parents golden wedding anniversary we also wanted to link in all of these lovely golden hues as well. My sister had his pictures printed on the ring pillow as he would have been our page boy and the songs picked in the church were some of his favourites. I had all my loved ones pictures in my bouquet and when we arrived at The Italian Villa there was a special table set up with an arrival cocktail called George’s Marvellous Medicine which was a bright green vodka drink. There were large 3 ft balloons surrounding his picture that were released by the family in the evening. On the cake made by a dear friend and guest Helen Whelan at Sweetness and Delight, we had a little lego brick wall tucked away again as a tribute to him.

So really the theme of the day was inspired by family as that really is the most important thing to us and what will make the day so memorable.

There were so many highlights to the day, celebrating my parents golden anniversary in the morning and having my mum put me in my dress and my dad seeing me for the first time was so special. The incredible entertainment throughout the day was fantastic and created such different atmospheres and we had a fabulous performance from the world ballroom and Latin American dance champions. The sensational food, fun and frolics and excellent service from the brilliant team at The Italian Villa made the reception so much fun and we had a goosebump moment that no one will ever forget when one of George’s balloons just took to the skies with its weight still attached. The sun suddenly appeared with a shaft of light and it floated off during our family picture as everyone cried out “It’s George!” 

However, without question the highlight was saying our vows in Church. Wedding planning is wonderful and we had a glorious day but what is important is making the commitment to the person you love and I will always treasure the very special moment as we both said “I do”. 

So….it may have been a long time coming but hopefully this has made up for the lack of posting. All that is left for me to say is I hope that you all have an amazing New Year. Thank you so much to all my friends, family, husband and wonderful brides for all of you love and support. For those brides having their first New Year as newlyweds enjoy and for all my brides getting married in 2017 get ready for the countdown…… to the big day. So much love, luck and happiness today and always, xxxx