Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I do love when my dress goes to England.

 Maybe it's the English major in me, but I have a weakness for red telephone boxes...
Victorian brick...
...and beer swilling grannies. Mel's Manchester wedding. The bride wore Giselle. And a fine time was had by all.

All photos: Lillian and Leonard
Yes, it poured rain. But nobody seemed to mind. The bride, gorgeous Emily, wore Eventide.


Viva isn't usually a fan of recycling blog posts but with so many of our 2011 brides-to-be heading to the Wedding Palace Bridal Show this weekend, we thought our previous 2009 post "Wedding Show Survival Guide" might come in handy. Enjoy!!

Wedding Shows are attended by thousands of brides-to-be (and future grooms) each year. Not only can they be a fun way to spend the day, they’re also the perfect networking tool when planning a wedding because they allow you to meet with so many vendors in a short period of time all under one roof. But in order to make the most of your day and keep it as fun and stress free as possible, you need to have a game plan.Click on the image above for details on The Wedding Palace Bridal Show taking place here in Ottawa this weekend and review the tips below before going to ensure your day is an enjoyable and productive one.

1. The early bird gets the worm - Find out when the doors open and be one of the first brides there. If you wait until the afternoon it will be crowded and harder to get around with longer waits to talk to the vendors you’re looking to hire.

2. Slip on your Uggs for this event - Hard concrete floors mixed with hours of walking around from booth to booth can make for very sore feet at the end of the day so your shoes should be comfortable ones.

3. H2O – A simple bottle of water can cost over $3 so throw a couple in your bag before leaving the house in the morning. It can get hot, the air can get very dry and after spending the day sampling cake and chocolate covered strawberries - you’re going to need it!

4. Don’t bring the whole posse - While it may sound like a fun excuse to get all the girls together there are going to be A LOT of people there and it may be difficult at times to navigate through the crowd. Sticking to a group of two or three is best, otherwise your time may be spent trying to find your crew instead of focusing on finding vendors for your big day.

5. Map it out - All Wedding Shows have a website that lists the vendors who are going to be there and usually include a floor map with their booth location as well. Take a look at the list and map if available before hand. Check out the vendors’ websites ahead of time and try to determine which ones you want to talk to. Highlight them on the floor map so they’re easy to find and when you’re at the show, only take the business cards and brochures from the vendors you’re interested in. It will make it less confusing when you’re weeding through your bag at home.

6. Q & A – Prepare questions ahead of time and bring a pen to take notes. You will be talking to many vendors all with different services to sell and information to give. Make quick notes after talking with each of them so you will remember what they said and what you liked/didn’t like about them.

7. Patience is a virtue - If you really want to talk to a vendor don’t get discouraged if their booth is crowded by other brides-to-be. Walk around and come back later. If the crowd around them doesn’t ever seem to get any smaller, wait for the fashion show to start. The floor usually thins out a little when the show is on.

8. Don’t give into the pressure - You’re sure to run into vendors who will tell you that they only have one opening left for your wedding date. While the best vendors do book up quickly, there are a lot of vendors at the show to talk to so don’t feel like you need to sign with the first one you come across.

9. Draws, draws and more draws - If you’re hoping to win one of the many draws a Wedding Show has to offer come prepared with pre printed cards that have your name, address, phone number and email address on them. This will save you time at the show and make entering the draws a piece of cake.

10. Have fun! - After all, you’re getting MARRIED!! Whether you’re going with your fiancĂ©, mom or maid of honour make the most of it. Go early, get down to business, and then head out for a great lunch and a cocktail or two to thank them for sharing in a productive day.

Sleeves, please.

Kate Osborne Photography
For Amy's Texas wedding, I made a variation of my Oysters & Pearls dress with a higher neckline and cap sleeves. I do think it suits her beautifully. And that bouquet is fantastic. More photos here.

If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.


Real Simple loves Beatrix

Did you get Hitched?

Photo: Erin Hearts Court

My dresses made an appearance in the fashion show at Hitched, a super-cool wedding event at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs last month. The show was styled by the gifted Catherine Sheppard of The Life Styled. She was kind enough to share these photos. I had hot plans to attend personally, when a vicious winter flu knocked me sideways at the last minute--still a bit bitter about the poolside lounging I missed. But what a gorgeous show! Thanks, Catherine.
Keepsake lace gown. Photo: Amelia Lyon

San Francisco trunk show!

I've collaborated with Duchess on many a wedding (including this one), and I'm thrilled to announce we are taking our his + hers wedding apparel show on the road. The smashing sisters of Hello! Lucky will graciously host us for a San Francisco weekend event featuring my dresses for the ladies, Duchess suits for the gentlemen (or ladies, as the case may be), and copious amounts of prosecco for all. If you're looking to dress up for a wedding in the Bay Area and would like to attend, just email for more details!

The English Dept. voted one of Lucky Magazine's "Best Bridal Shops"

We're thrilled to have made this list!  That fetching pink frock is our "Love and Tenderness" dress frnm Ivy & Aster, in Cherry Blossom. Here's what Lucky has to say about us:

Oysters & Pearls on Style Me Pretty.

Amy wore a customized version of my full length Oysters & Pearls dress (we raised the neckline front and back and added cap sleeves). So many dear, personal details to this celebration. See more photos on Style Me Pretty.

Our love is big as a barn.

I love these photos Ben Blood shot of Jenny and Kevin's wedding on a historic farm in Southwest Washington. Jenny wore a silk chiffon gown from Jenny Yoo and a Modern Romance headpiece, all from The English Dept.
Yes, his boutonniere is a kite. A kite! I love it. And the tie.
Like I said, barn-size. You can see more photos of their celebration here.

Princess and the (Sweet) Pea.

New at The English Dept.: the Sweet Pea gown from Ivy & Aster. Softly pleated flocked dot silk chiffon, draped bodice, just enough train to give the dress a regal bearing. Truly stunning.


Photo Credits: Robyn Guy Photography

A Storyville story.

April wore my Storyville Suite, a three piece ensemble. Silk duchess satin minidress with two convertible skirts--a blush-colored tulle ball skirt and a melon green silk organza mini. The perfect solution to the long-or-short-dress dilemma...


While there are many old school wedding traditions Viva has been happy to see disappear, the getaway car is not one of them. Okay, we should be specific. The time honoured tradition of the wedding party sneaking out during the reception to toilet paper the bride and groom’s car, wrap it in cellophane and fill the air vents with confetti is not what we’re talking about. Having an actual getaway car is.

A common past tradition, wedding guests would gather outside to officially send off the bride and groom earlier in the evening and then continue to enjoy the reception without them. When newlyweds decided to ditch the early exit, choosing instead to party the night away with their guests and often being the last to leave, the getaway car became obsolete.

Well Viva’s happy to report it’s making a comeback! Newlyweds aren't necessarily leaving their reception early, but after exchanging vows they definitely have a car to drive away in with the Just Married decor to prove it. We wonder if Will & Kate having their own getaway car had something to do with it.


Thinking of having your own getaway car at your wedding? Here are a few of Viva's favourite!


Photo Credits: Hyperfocus Photography

Gosh, thanks.

Oregon Bride Magazine readers honored me with "Best Dress Designer" at the 2011 awards this week. Ladies, I'm so blessed. You brides continually inspire me and make my dresses come to life. Thank you for your support! xo Elizabeth


Fairly fantastic wedding photos of Allison and Alex by Red Fly Studio. Many more great ones on their blog. The bride wore Tempest (beautifully!).


As much as we love it when our couples are all about extravagant details and decor, sometimes keeping it simple is what best represents them and I must admit I’m just as head over heels about these weddings as I am about the extravagant ones.

Probably the most laid back easy going couple out there, Emily & Tim had their wedding ceremony and reception at The Wakefield Mill back in June and Viva was absolutely thrilled to help them with the planning and execution of their intimate day.

Just a few of Viva’s favourite details of their wedding:

~ Emily & Tim were married on the MacLaren House lawn. Two rows of chairs were set up for immediate family and the remaining guests gathered around creating a very warm, intimate ceremony.
~ Emily had nine flower girls. Yes, nine! It was important for her to include all of these lovely girls in the ceremony so they lined up creating an aisle for Emily to walk down and as she did, she was handed flowers from each of them which created her bouquet.
~ Instead of flowers, the girls in the wedding party all carried handmade pinwheels and the guys wore pinwheel boutonnieres.
~ While the ceremony took place, Emily & Tim’s rings were passed around so that each guest could hold and bless them with their best wishes for the soon to be newlyweds.
~ Representing the librarian in Emily, Emily & Tim’s guests signed their congratulations to the bride & groom on library cards which were held in card catalogue drawers.
~ After a fabulous cocktail hour full of wine and tasty hors d’oeuvres, guests visited several food stations (offering pasta and seafood crepes to name but two) and could help themselves to the most amazing cheese platter in honour of the groom’s love affair with cheese.

These wonderful images below are all courtesy of Ottawa Wedding Photographer Blair Gable.
Viva’s always excited when we get the chance to work with Blair! Simply put, he's awesome!! After photojournalism school, Blair Gable worked his way through seven newspapers before leaving a staff position to freelance for some of Canada’s largest media outlets. Blair also shoots a limited number of weddings each year with the same style and intensity as his newspaper assignments – A blend of contemporary storytelling, real moments and dramatic portraits captured naturally.

“When hockey season ends and the politicians head home for the summer I shoot weddings. The pressure situations and tight deadlines I work in prepare me for the chaos and emotion of a wedding day”


Giselle in Manchester.

Love these shots of Mel's wedding in Manchester, England, as seen on Annabel's blog. Photos by Lillian and Leonard.