What to wear to a royal wedding

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s guaranteed to be the most photographed event of 2018, and it’s not just the royal couple under scrutiny. A royal wedding requires guests to pull out all the style stops, so if you’re one of the fortunate few invited to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19th May, what on earth should you wear?

Even for the brief period of the couple’s engagement, Ms Markle has won plaudits for her distinctive but occasion-appropriate sense of style. So who better to offer inspiration on this most public style platform than the bride herself?[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="19546" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="19550" img_size="full" alignment="center"][/vc_column][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Wear the Trousers

It’s still relatively unusual to see women wearing trouser suits at weddings, but Meghan Markle showed just how elegant they can look at the Endeavour Fund Awards in February. Amal Clooney, meanwhile, wore cream trousers and matching top with a wide-brimmed hat for her civil ceremony in Venice.

With jumpsuits given the official nod of approval at Royal Ascot’s Royal Enclosure for the first-time last year, we can expect to see the all-in-one make an appearance on the 19th, too.

Pale or bright colours and light fabrics such as silk or linen, paired with well-thought-out accessories, will ensure that you don’t look like you’re heading to the office. Remember that shoulders should be covered for a church ceremony.

Above: Amal Clooney in Stella McCartney for her wedding in Venice; Meghan Markle at the Endeavour Fund Awards.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="19547" img_size="full" alignment="center"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="19558" img_size="full" alignment="center"][/vc_column][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Keep it British

Royal weddings in the UK are occasions for celebrating homegrown craft and produce: sparkling wine from Chapel Down vineyard in Kent was served at the reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with an array of locally-sourced food.

The Queen similarly chose to wear British designer Norman Hartnell on her wedding day, with Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge following suit in the Emanuels and Alexander McQueen respectively.

Meghan Markle has already shown her support for British labels and brands on a number of public appearances: Marks & Spencer sold out of its black bell sleeve sweater when she wore it to visit Brixton radio station Representz earlier in the year. It is believed, however, that a sketch from Israeli bridal designer Inbal Dror has been requested by Kensington Palace – will she break with previous form in her choice of wedding gown?

For guests keen to bring the best of British to the royal wedding, Stella McCartney, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Emilia Wickstead, Amanda Wakeley and Erdem are just a few of the homegrown choices on offer.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Above: Erin O'Connor in Erdem at the Serpentine Gallery summer party; Meghan Markle at the Commonwealth Day observance service in Amanda Wakeley.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19548" img_size="full" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Consider the occasion

Despite her relaxed approach to interacting with members of the public, Meghan Markle knows when to embrace formality, choosing smart but stylish outfits for her many high-profile appearances, such as on Christmas day at Sandringham.

Guests at the royal wedding should bring a similar sense of occasion, opting for an outfit that incorporates both tradition and style to acknowledge the importance of the ceremony.

And while Meghan Markle might prefer to dispense with formal physical protocol when meeting members of the public, if guests are introduced to a member of the royal family, women should still remember to curtsey and men bow from the neck.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19549" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Remember to Smile 

She’s about to marry the UK’s most eligible bachelor, so why has the British public embraced Meghan Markle so readily to its heart? It could be because she seems so likeable. Much of her appeal is down to the warmth and authenticity of her smile: remember the relaxed grin with which she responded to events going awry at the Endeavour Fund Awards?

Guests on 19th May should follow suit. If a heel breaks, or a button pops, or your hat topples, simply remember that you’re there to celebrate the couple – as is everybody else – so smile![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Are you attending a wedding this year? For style inspiration, head to the luxury boutiques at Bicester Village, less than an hour on the train from London www.bicestervillage.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What can we expect from the royal wedding?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you’ve been a guest at a few weddings, you’re probably so familiar with the order of events that you could write them down backwards and blindfolded. Ceremony, champagne, photographs, dinner, speeches, dancing: it’s time-honoured and tested, and it does the trick. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have already shown that they’re prepared to do things a little differently. First there were the affectionate engagement photographs, then the candid BBC interview, and finally those informal and very smiley first few public appearances.  

So how might the couple deviate from tradition (or decide to embrace it) on the day? We’ve got a few ideas… [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="19391" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="19393" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Dress

We might think of a traditional wedding dress as being white, but royal brides of the last century have typically worn ivory – The Queen, Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge all chose ivory silk.  

The shape and style are still up for debate – might Meghan Markle opt for the corset bodice and elegant lace sleeves favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge, or a dramatic, extra-long train like Princess Diana? The only element about which we can be fairly confident are that her shoulders will be covered, as is traditional for formal church ceremonies in the UK. 

Another tradition upheld by successive royal brides is to have a charm sewn into the lining of the wedding dress for good luck. The Queen chose a clover leaf, Princess Diana a horseshoe, and the Duchess of Cambridge a blue ribbon (“something blue”). [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Hair and Make-up

On her wedding day in 1947, with Britain still suffering the economic after-effects of the war, the Queen sensibly chose to do her own make-up. Her granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, followed suit decades later, although her “demi-chignon” hairstyle was created by celebrity stylist Richard Ward. 

Brides like Meghan Markle who usually favour a natural look may make an exception for their wedding day and opt for a more striking and dramatic style. After all, royal bridal make-up has to endure not just a long day on show, but also the scrutiny of thousands of camera lenses.  

And while it’s still more usual for brides to wear their hair up in keeping with the formality of the occasion, this decision will largely depend on the style of the dress and the veil. 

The Suit

Like his father, grandfather and older brother, Prince Harry may well choose to wear dress uniform on his wedding day. Though he no longer serves with his former regiment the Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry, his military ties are understandably important to him: the Invictus Games founder also took over from the Duke of Edinburgh as Captain General of the Royal Marines last year. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19390" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Wedding Party

It’s not customary for the groom to elect a best man at a royal wedding, but Prince Harry was official ‘supporter’ to Prince William back in 2011, so it’s likely that the older brother will play a reciprocal role on 19th May. 

Rumours abound over whom Meghan Markle might choose for her bridal party, but with child attendants more traditional for royal weddings (and arguably less controversial) than adult bridesmaids, she is likely to involve her new niece and nephew, Princess Charlotte and Prince George. Will her beloved rescue beagle Guy also follow her down the aisle? 

Bridesmaids originally wore white to imitate the bride – the idea being that they would confuse rival suitors or those with evil intentions. Formal weddings often still adhere to this tradition, especially for child bridesmaids, although sashes and trims may be a different colour. 

It’s traditional for couples to give presents to members of their wedding team to say thank you. Will Meghan Markle’s younger attendants receive an engraved pen for when they’re older, or a special photograph album to help them remember the occasion later on?  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19398" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Speeches

It’s traditional for speeches to be given by the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man (usually in that order). Increasingly, modern brides are choosing to say something as well, and it is believed that Meghan Markle intends to speak at her wedding to Prince Harry.  

Already an experienced performer, we doubt she’ll have any trouble delivering a poised and moving speech on the day, while Prince Harry is accustomed to speaking at public engagements and charity events.  

For less seasoned speakers who may be called upon to say a few words on the day, we recommend plenty of practice to help eliminate nerves and emotion. However tempted you may be by some Dutch courage, limit your champagne intake beforehand to ensure you pull off a polished performance.  

Contrary to expectation, a best man’s speech doesn’t have to rival a stand-up comedy routine – for less confident speakers, heartfelt and succinct is preferable to rambling and borderline offensive.

The Food

If the couple's choice of wedding cake creator is anything to go by, this year’s royal wedding food is likely to be influenced by their backgrounds: like the bride-to-be, pastry chef and food stylist Claire Ptak was born in California and is now based in London. It's likely that their shared love of overseas travel and humanitarian work could provide inspiration, too. Could we see crab rolls from the sunshine coast or Vektoek (Afrikaner fried dough) in amongst the quails’ eggs and asparagus spears? [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Wedding Favours

Wedding favours are not traditional, but whether it’s a miniature fragrance or chocolates, the couple may choose to give each of their guests a token to thank them for attending. 

Alternatively, given their shared commitment to charitable causes, they might choose charity favours – usually small pin badges that represent a donation made on behalf of each guest.  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19388" img_size="full"][vc_column_text]

The Dancing

An evening party, complete with DJ or band, is a relatively recent wedding development, and it may be that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decide to stick with the more traditional reception or dinner and forego the party. 

If there is a party component (perhaps only for close friends and family), friend to the princes Guy Pelly is surely best placed to oversee it – the nightclub owner runs Chelsea hotspot Tonteria. And will Coldplay, who performed at Kensington Palace for Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale, put in a special appearance? 

Either way, we suspect that Prince Harry will set a high standard on the dance floor: according to Joss Stone, he had no qualms about initiating a conga line at a charitable event in Lesotho. Al Green’s Call Me, meanwhile, is apparently guaranteed to get Meghan’s mother, Dorla Raglan, ‘swaying her head and snapping her fingers.’ [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][vc_column_text]Are you planning or attending a wedding yourself this year? For style inspiration, head to the luxury boutiques at Bicester Village, less than an hour on the train from London www.bicestervillage.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

'The more you look for kindness, the more you see it': Interview with Shahroo Izadi

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]As part of our month-long celebration of kindness in March, we spoke to Shahroo Izadi, a behavioural change specialist in private practice and the author of The Kindness Method, a forthcoming book that details her approach to behavioural change, which evolved from her experience treating substance misuse.

We spoke to Shahroo to learn more about the book and her background, and found out why we can’t be kind to others until we have learnt to be kind to ourselves…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="19233" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" link="http://shahrooizadi.co.uk"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]What led you to develop the Kindness Method?

My first role after graduating in Psychosocial Sciences and Psychology was as an assistant psychologist at an NHS substance misuse service in north-west London.

I learned a huge amount about how drug addiction is treated in this country and found working in the field of addictive behaviours fascinating. I received training in the different approaches used in addiction treatment and went on to become a substance misuse practitioner and then a Criminal Justice Lead.

I later became a consultant to a number of organisations responsible for treating addiction. During that time, some of the staff asked me how they could adapt some of my motivational training to overcome their own habits – whether procrastination or smoking. That encouraged me to develop a framework that would be applicable to a more mainstream audience.

Following a sold-out workshop at The School of Life and a series of articles for The Pool, I was receiving so many enquiries that I set up my own private practice. I secured a two-book publishing deal with Pan Macmillan in the summer of last year.

What is the Kindness Method?

The Kindness Method consists of exercises aimed at helping you change any habit and activate any plan of your choosing – whether you want to train for a marathon or develop a better relationship with alcohol.

The Kindness Method teaches you to credit yourself with the ability to accomplish your goals, instead of anticipating failure

These exercises focus on developing a kinder internal dialogue. They teach you how to credit yourself with the ability to accomplish what you have set out to do, instead of anticipating failure or being harsh on yourself at the slightest setback.

How does it work?

The theory behind the Kindness Method is that we speak to ourselves in ways we would never speak to a loved one.

If a partner or close friend was working towards a goal or experiencing a personal challenge, we would only offer them support and encouragement.

With ourselves, we are much crueller and less forgiving – we often fall back on core beliefs that might have been in place since our childhoods: 'I’m the sort of person who…'

If you want to train for a marathon, for example, circumstances can inevitably mean you have to deviate from your plan – but it’s about not blaming yourself when that happens and having the faith in yourself to get back on track.

We hear a lot about ‘self-care’ these days. How does self-kindness differ from self-indulgence?

It’s not about being easy on yourself, or letting yourself off the hook. It’s about believing yourself to be worthy enough to achieve your goals.

So to go back to the marathon training analogy: you wake up one morning and it’s raining, and you’re completely lacking the motivation to go for a run. What do you do?

I would advise you to think about the conversation you’ll be having with yourself tomorrow if you go, versus the conversation you’ll have if you don’t go.

What is your own experience of the Kindness Method?

I used to be very overweight and went to an Overeaters Anonymous support group. They use a similar approach to the one you might find in AA or NA, which is based on an end-goal of complete abstinence: obviously not an option with eating!

I realised that I needed to adapt some of the same approaches I was developing with my clients in substance misuse, particularly exploring the purpose that food was serving for me. The framework I developed, and which also formed the basis of the Kindness Method, enabled me to lose eight stone.

We are often focused on what’s wrong with a behaviour rather than what’s right with it, but it’s actually more interesting and useful to talk about what somebody enjoys about a particular behaviour or addiction – that allows you to create a more unique plan to deal with it, based on adding the positives rather than taking away the negatives.

We are often focused on what's wrong with a behaviour rather than what's right with it

How can self-kindness affect our relationships with others?

Some of what I consider my most important work has been at a recovery house, where staff are doing such selfless work.

I also learned about compassion fatigue, however, and the importance of replenishing our stores of kindness. We’re more able to be compassionate to others when we are kind to ourselves. I learned that the best thing I can do for my clients is to take care of myself.

When you cultivate kindness to yourself, you look for it around you.

The other thing is that when you cultivate kindness to yourself, you look for it around you. The more you look for it, the more you see it and attract it.


Good Morning: variations on the traditional wedding suit

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s easy to assume that men have it easy when it comes to wedding-wear. Surely all they have to do is remember to collect their suit from the dry cleaners and pick out a suitable tie?

Not anymore. Men are increasingly making their own mark on the wedding ‘uniform’ of a traditional morning suit or lounge suit in grey or navy.

If you’re tempted to try something different this year, here are a few options to consider:[/vc_column_text][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][eltdf_section_title title_tag="h3" title="A Kilt"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][vc_single_image image="19207" img_size="full" alignment="center"][vc_empty_space height="20px"][vc_column_text]

South of the border, kilts should technically only be worn by Scots or those with close Scottish ties. Then again, we can probably all just about locate a Celtic clan lurking somewhere in our family tree.

At a wedding, a kilt is usually worn with a Highland jacket or doublet, a waistcoat and tie, and a dress sporran (the leather or fur pouch that hangs from the waist). If you’re unsure of your kilt-wearing credentials, you can still incorporate some Caledonian flair into your wedding outfit with a pair of trews, or tartan trousers, worn with a morning coat and waistcoat.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][eltdf_section_title title_tag="h3" title="Dress Uniform"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][vc_single_image image="19208" img_size="full" alignment="center"][vc_empty_space height="20px"][vc_column_text]One of the dress code options on the wedding invitations sent out by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this week, 'uniform' is restricted to serving army officers or those with honorary titles. For those who fit these criteria, formal military uniform is a smart and striking alternative to the morning suit.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][eltdf_section_title title_tag="h3" title="A Three-piece Suit"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][vc_single_image image="19211" img_size="full" alignment="center"][vc_empty_space height="20px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][vc_single_image image="19214" img_size="full"][vc_empty_space height="20px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you’re opting for the 'lounge suit' dress code given as an alternative to morning dress on the royal wedding invitations, a waistcoat will add the dash that distinguishes wedding-wear from work-wear. Take your style inspiration from three-piece fans David Gandy, Idris Elba or Zayn Malik. Unlike the waistcoat worn with morning dress, this one should match the colour of your suit.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][eltdf_section_title title_tag="h3" title="Unusual Colours"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][vc_single_image image="19213" img_size="full" alignment="center"][vc_empty_space height="20px"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_empty_space height="10px"][vc_single_image image="19212" img_size="full"][vc_empty_space height="20px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Olympic swimmer Tom Daly wore maroon to marry Justin Lance Black, while musician Jamie Hince was a vision in powder blue at his wedding to Kate Moss. The ever immaculate Eddie Redmayne often opts for unorthodox suit colours, and even managed to pull off head-to- toe plaid at a recent red carpet event.

This option takes confidence and a certain type of wedding. If you suspect the event will be more village green than Gretna Green, save your flashier suit for when your best friend gets married in Vegas.

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If you do decide to have a little fun with your wedding-wear, be mindful of the following faux pas:

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]For more wedding style inspiration, head to Bicester Village, where an irresistible range of luxury boutiques cater to both men and women: www.bicestervillage.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

"The one power we all have": interview with Edward Miles

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As our month-long celebration of kindness continues, we spoke to Edward Miles, who set up his eponymous removals company at the age of 22. He told us what challenges he faced as a young business owner, how he has incorporated a policy of kindness into his work, and how one particular incident with a team member gave him pause for thought.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered when you first set up your own company? 

The biggest challenge was my age. I was only 22 when I set up Edward Miles Removals so I couldn’t get truck insurance (which is fairly crucial to a removals business) because I was under 25!

How would you describe your style of leadership? 

I take every opportunity to be on the ground with my team, to do the running and lift the boxes. I think that you have to lead by example to build a strong team.

What qualities do you look for in your team members? 

I want to see a commitment to honesty, integrity and trust.

What does good customer service mean to you? 

Good customer service means having the knowledge and confidence to advise your clients and going as far as you possibly can to support them.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt since starting Edward Miles Removals? 

That mistakes are as important as successes! I firmly believe that making mistakes is part of learning. What matters is how you resolve them and what you learn.

What advice would you give to others who are looking to start their own business?

You can do it. I started Edward Miles Removals having left education at 16, with no business backer, in a heavily saturated market.

Now we’re three years in and our turnover is increasing over 100% each year. I firmly believe that the only person standing in front of you is yourself. You can’t let anyone tell you that it’s not possible; if I had believed that, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in.

Is kindness really compatible with commerce? 

In our line of business, which involves moving people out of often much-loved homes into new and unfamiliar situations, we need to be sensitive. I wouldn’t expect anything less of myself and my team than to be empathetic and kind.

However, there is one moment that stands out and made me particularly proud of a team member.

I was on the way to see my team, who were working in a penthouse on Chelsea Embankment, when I happened to see one of my guys painfully hopping along in a foot brace – he had broken his foot the day before playing football so he really shouldn’t have been working, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

At the bottom of the building we were working, he bent down to give his lunch to a homeless man. Witnessing this moment was incredibly humbling. Quite honestly, I think I would have run past this man without a thought because I was too ‘busy’. This act of kindness puts into perspective the things that really matter and was a reminder that being kind is the one power we all have.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Four Wedding Style Commandments (and how to break them)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As anticipation for the royal wedding builds to ever more giddy heights, so too do the rumours, speculation and snippets of ‘official’ information about the Big Day.

And while we look to previous royal weddings for clues about what to expect, each generation also brings with it new takes on tradition.

Like many women of her generation (and subsequent ones), Princess Diana chose not to promise to ‘obey’ her husband in her wedding vows. Zara Phillips, meanwhile, retained her maiden name when she married Mike Tindall – no surprise when she had established a world-class equestrian career under her own name.

Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle could well be the most modern royal marriage yet, so what better time to consider the ‘new’ wedding etiquette?

In particular, weddings can make us feel duty-bound to stick to certain style rules, but perhaps we should take our lead from this year’s happy couple instead.

The royal pair have already shown that they’re prepared to dispense with traditions and protocol if it means being themselves and putting others at ease, so before you panic about what to wear to this oh-so traditional occasion, remember that for every wedding style ‘rule’, there’s an exception.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][vc_column_text]

Wedding Guest Commandment No.1: Thou Shalt Not Wear Black or White

While for many of us it’s a wardrobe staple, black was traditionally associated with mourning – understandably, not an association many people want on their wedding day.

The logic behind the no-white-or-cream rule, meanwhile, is to ensure that you neither match too closely to the bride, nor look like you wish it were you standing at the altar.

And yet, all-black or white outfits can also be formal, glamorous and versatile. Today, some UK couples are even choosing a black tie dress code, which has long been popular in the US.

If you do choose to go monochrome, it’s wise to check with your hosts beforehand – and to add some contrasting accessories.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="19047" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="19046" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Rule Bender: Cara Delevingne as bridesmaid at the weddings of her sisters Chloe and Poppy.

The elder Delevingne sisters both dispensed with the no-monochrome rule when choosing bridesmaid outfits for model Cara. In fact, white or cream dresses used to be traditional for bridesmaids, and have recently come back into vogue for adult attendants.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][vc_column_text]

Wedding Guest Commandment No.2: Thou Shalt Not Wear The Same Outfit Twice

At a time when weddings have their own Instagram hashtag and every guest a camera phone, we’re more wary of recycling a wedding outfit in case our thriftiness is exposed on social media.

And yet, if you’ve hit on a winning look, why shouldn’t it earn a repeat appearance? You’re simply proving your instinct for timeless style and your understanding of what suits you. Change your hairstyle and switch up the accessories to avoid accusations of outfit monogamy.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19053" img_size="full" alignment="center"][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Rule Benders

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is well-known for her sensible approach to re-wearing the same outfit: here she is, wearing the same Day Birger et Mikkelsen brocade coat to three different occasions.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19068" img_size="full"][vc_column_text]Keira Knightley’s knee-length Chanel wedding dress, meanwhile, has made at least one reappearance on the red carpet[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][vc_column_text]

Wedding Guest Commandment No. 3: A Hat is a Wedding Essential

Visitors from the US to the royal wedding in May might be somewhat baffled by our obsession with headwear. While it’s true that a hat can elevate an outfit from ‘garden party’ to ‘elegant wedding’, many women simply prefer not to wear one – whether for comfort, taste, or because they want their outfit to do the talking.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19072" img_size="full"][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Rule Benders

Samantha Cameron wore a simple hair slide at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, while model Karolina Kurkova showed off a fetching fascinator at the nuptials of Prince Albert of Monaco and South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock. Jemima Khan, meanwhile, goes bare-headed at her brother Ben Goldsmith’s wedding: we would, too, if we had her lustrous locks.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][eltdf_separator type="normal" position="center" color="#c99e66" width="100%" thickness="1px"][vc_column_text]

Wedding Guest Commandment No. 4: Shoes will be practical and venue-appropriate

With summer weddings likely to be held partly outdoors, and to involve plenty of dancing, there’s a tendency for guests to opt for sensible shoes. It’s true that you might want to consider block heels for an outdoor wedding, but if you’ve found a pair of sky-high stilettos that add the requisite wow-factor to your outfit, we say go for it – just make sure your bag is big enough to conceal a pair of flats. Thoughtful hosts may even provide flip-flops for the dance floor.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="19063" img_size="full"][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Rule Bender

Daphne Guinness at the wedding of Lady Mary Charteris and Robbie Furze

Never mind kitten, stiletto or wedge, these shoes appear to have no heels. We can only assume that sometime model Daphne Guinness is accustomed to less-than-supportive footwear – and hope that she was offered a pew soon after her arrival at the church.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]For more wedding style inspiration, head to Bicester Village. Less than an hour by train from London, its luxury boutiques will ensure you stand out for all the right reasons www.bicestervillage.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What does a wedding chef eat at his wedding?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Have you ever wondered what someone who caters for weddings might choose to serve at their own? Jonathan Carter, executive chef at Caviar & Chips, faced just that decision when he proposed to his fiancée last year. Read on to find out what he’s planning for his own (mouthwatering) wedding menu:

It was July last year when, after a delicious lunch at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and an afternoon of croquet and boules, I finally plucked up the courage to say those four big words: ‘Will you marry me?’ After a teary ‘yes’ and a few minutes to compose ourselves, we popped a bottle of champagne, had an indulgent dinner of caviar, and started thinking about our wedding. By the end of that night, we had already written our guest list and started talking about our wedding breakfast.

Like many couples, we’ve eaten some wonderful meals in some amazing places in our time. Once we had decided on a date and knew the season, it was fun to think back on memorable plates of food we’ve enjoyed and great hospitality we’ve received. We started piecing together the things that were most important to us:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_section_title title_tag="h3" title="The Main"][vc_single_image image="17881" img_size="full"][vc_column_text]The main course is most appropriately named as it’s the main event, the focus of the meal, so that felt like the best place to start. As ours is a November wedding, we thought about game, beef and other rich treats, and finally settled on venison.

Living in the Midlands and having family in the North-west means that we’ve ‘enjoyed’ many a journey up the M6! One of the best, however, was around this time of the year in 2014. My fiancée fell asleep (as is the norm) thinking we were going to Manchester and woke up, to her surprise, in the Lake District en route to a tiny restaurant called L’Enclume. In what was possibly The Best Meal Ever, there was an amazing venison dish with root vegetables and charcoal oil with a smoky pinot noir wine. We’ve changed up a few things for our meal, but we think vension is just beautiful so it had to stay – thanks for the inspiration, Mr Rogan![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_section_title title_tag="h3" title="The Fish"][vc_single_image image="17886" img_size="full"][vc_column_text]So, we had our first dish – now on to the fish course.

For my fiancée’s birthday in 2016, we took a trip to Cambridge and had dinner at a lovely little restaurant called Midsummer House (you might be forgiven for thinking there’s a theme emerging here!) One of our favourite dishes from that evening was an amazing scallop dish with one of the tastiest, softest, biggest scallops we’ve ever had. We just had to have this as our fish course at our wedding breakfast. And, because you can never have too much of a good thing, we added lobster bisque, sea vegetables and caviar. When we cooked this dish up for our tasting it blew everyone’s socks off. Delicious, light and yet rich and packed with flavours. Exquisite, even if I do say so myself.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_section_title title_tag="h3" title="The Starter"][vc_single_image image="17885" img_size="full"][vc_column_text]On to the starter. We love a terrine – it’s the best way to start any meal – after warm bread and some nice salted butter, that is! Many a dinner at ours has begun with this or something similar – a ham hock terrine with pickled baby vegetables, black pudding bon bons and saffron mustard mayonnaise, for example. The vegetables have changed and the dressing changes every time, but there’s always ham hock, and always mustard. The saffron mustard was a Christmas present from a good friend last year (don’t worry, the first jar got used very quickly, but we’ve always got one now!) and the little crisp black pudding bon bons were my idea. Much to my surprise, my fiancée loved the addition and we had our opening dish.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][eltdf_section_title title_tag="h3" title="The Dessert"][vc_single_image image="17884" img_size="full"][vc_column_text]Before we knew it, we were on to dessert, our final flourish. Although neither of us has a particularly sweet tooth, there were two must-have ingredients in our dessert – chocolate and salted caramel. The weekend we were trying out all our wedding food, my mother had popped along to our local veg shop and picked up a box of delicious cherries. When it came to trying our chocolate and salted caramel delice, because chocolate and cherries are such good bedfellows, it made perfect sense to cook a few cherries and make a little cherry sauce. Et voila – our dessert was chosen.

There have been a few amends and alterations since writing our first ideas down – we’ve added a gin and tonic granita as a little palate cleanser after the main course and we’ve chosen some of our favourite cheeses as well, but the most important thing for us was creating a personal menu that represented us, and was a genuine treat for all our guests. We think we’ve done that, and have loved every step of the process along the way. The icing on the proverbial cake is that in my ‘day job’ as executive chef at Caviar & Chips, it’s my aim to do the same for every bride and groom with whom we have the pleasure of working!

Jonathan Carter, Executive Chef and Co-founder, Caviar & Chips[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Renée's Recipe for Pumpkin Pie

No pudding is more synonymous with Thanksgiving than pumpkin pie, and our managing director Renée, who moved to the UK from California three years ago, has shared a little bit of history on this festive sweet treat – as well as her favourite recipe for it:

History of the pumpkin pie

More often than not, any mention of pumpkin pie to my British friends is met with a sceptical raised eyebrow (polite response) or the facial expression a toddler might make when served mushed broccoli. While it’s a staple of the American Thanksgiving table, history attributes the use of pumpkins in baking (or ‘pumpions’ as they were known in the 16th Century) to the English.

Ingesting pumpkin for pudding rather than as a side dish (or as a seasonal spiced latte) may not be your slice of pie, but, if you’re given the opportunity, don’t be afraid to try a bite. You won’t be alone if you find you love the taste (50 million pumpkin pies are devoured each Thanksgiving). If it’s not to your liking, you can be thankful it’s only served once per year.

Pumpkin pie recipe

For the crust:

Yields 1 double crust or 2 single 9" pie crusts


 Mix flour, salt and sugar (if desired) in a large mixing bowl.  Blend in the cubed butter by hand or using a pastry mixer until pea-sized pieces have formed.  Add half the water (or water/vodka) and mix until the dough comes together.  If more water is needed, add in tablespoons.  Shape the dough into a ball and separate into two pieces.  Flatten both into disks, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (dough can be frozen for up to 1 month before using).  

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12’’ – 14’’ diameter and transfer to a 9’’ pie tin, crimping the edges to seal.  If you have pie weights, line the crust with parchment paper or aluminium foil ; else use a fork to prick the dough to prevent it from rising.  Bake at 175C for 15-20 minutes (until crust is lightly browned).   

For the pumpkin filling*

Whisk eggs, sugar, and maple syrup together until smooth. Add pumpkin purée, cream, vanilla, spices and salt until blended.

 Heat the oven to 225C. With your pre-baked pie crust on a baking sheet, pour the pumpkin filling into the crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 175C and bake for 35-45 minutes, rotating every 15 minutes, until a toothpick about 2’’ from the edge comes out cleanly. If the crust edges are browning, cover with a thin strip of aluminium foil. Cool on a wire rack and top with whipped cream when ready to serve.

*Note: there are many ways this recipe can be adjusted to be dairy free or suitable for vegans. Sweetened condensed milk or dairy alternatives such as coconut milk can be used instead of cream, and caster sugar can be substituted for maple syrup. Sugar, spices and salt can all be adjusted to taste. The one non-substitutable ingredient is the pumpkin!

Investment Dressing

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By Renée Kuo

US investor and billionaire Warren Buffet once wrote to his shareholders, ‘Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. Whether talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.’ (Note: $1,000 invested with Buffett in 1964 when he took over Berkshire Hathaway would be worth around $13 million today).

He may be better known for his investment nous than his fashion sense, but we’re with Warren. Who doesn’t love getting a good deal, especially when the item is of exceptional quality? But even if you can’t snag a bargain Birkin or marked-down Miu Miu, there are some items worth buying because they will become your wardrobe icons. These are your investment pieces.

By ‘investment’ we don’t mean defaulting on your monthly rent to purchase the latest ‘it’ bag. Nor does a wardrobe icon have to be a well-known label. You can take the approach made famous by Marie Kondo, the Japanese decluttering guru: does it ‘spark joy’ each time you wear it? Will it stand the test of time with regard to style and quality? As Coco Chanel famously stated, ‘Fashion changes, but style endures.’

Investment dressing means carving out your own style, rather than conforming to a style determined by someone else. This means finding shapes, colours and cuts that suit you and returning to them time after time. It also involves investment of your time, thought and discipline: opting for finer fabrics rather than fashion, timeless silhouettes rather than trends, and clothes that fit you now rather than when you attain the mythical ‘beach body’.

No more impulse purchases hiding in the back of your wardrobe with the tags still on.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image="16690" img_size="full"][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]In turn, this means that clothes are more likely to last thanks to higher quality fabric and manufacturing. It also means no more impulse purchases hiding in the back of your wardrobe with the tags still on.

Why is it important to have investment pieces? Whether a classic cashmere jumper or a traffic-stopping statement necklace, whether it meant you ate beans on toast for a month or you got the bargain of the century, an investment piece makes you feel a million dollars (or pounds, euros or riyals for that matter). And we all know when you look good, you feel good.

Furthermore, dressing well is a form of good manners. That’s a direct quote from the ever-fashionable Tom Ford. Making an effort with your outfit shows respect to others – colleagues or clients if you’re at work, hosts and friends in a social situation. John Christie, the founder of Glyndebourne, introduced formal eveningwear at the opera festival as a way in which the audience could show their appreciation for the performers.

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

Lastly, ‘dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.’ Yes, that’s Coco Chanel again. Investing in your clothes is an investment in yourself: whether you’re dressing for the job you have or the job you want, what you wear can boost your confidence. Struggling to determine which investment piece to buy? We’ll revert back to Mr Buffett: ‘If you are not willing to own a stock for 10 years, do not even think about owning it for 10 minutes.’ Insert your coveted item for ‘stock’ and see if passes the investment test.

Renée’s current favourite investment piece is a beautiful hand-embroidered leather dress from Alexander McQueen, purchased at Bicester Village: “It’s elegant yet eye-catching and truly a piece of art.”

For more ways to investment dress for less, Bicester Village is home to more than 130 designer boutiques and less than an hour away from London by train.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]A few of our style icons:

Kate Moss
Helen Mirren
Bill Nighy
Charlotte Rampling
Barack & Michelle Obama
Alexa Chung
Colin Firth
The Queen
Idris Elba[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]Investment items that will stand the test of time:


My day at Debrett's

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]My answer sounded pretty lame to me. “My mum signed me up for it,” I said, when we were each asked why we had come on the Debrett’s one-day Coming of Age course. There were four of us, all girls, the other three a little older than me at 15, and two of them friends already.

I didn’t add, “And I didn’t want to be here.” To be honest, I hadn’t been best pleased. Nobody wants to lose a day right at the end of the summer holidays, just before starting a new school, and I had a hundred other things I wanted to do instead.

But I have to confess that it flouted all my expectations and I loved it!


The opening lesson of the day was on first impressions. Did you know that it only takes seven seconds to form an impression, on the basis of which we decide whether we like someone? Obviously this means how you walk into a room is really important, whether to make friends, secure a job or meet people at a party.

One of the leaders walked into the room in three different ways. The first two times with bad posture, speaking too fast and in an elevated pitch, eyes darting all over the room... and then finally standing straight and smiling and using eye-contact. And yes, we all had to agree that behaving confidently is much more attractive!

We were taught that smiling can give you eight more years of life; and it cheers other people up because when you see a smile, you want to smile too – and that in turn makes you happy. So cheerful people are more popular. We were taught about the triangle of the face, including the mouth, eyes and forehead, and where to look to give different impressions, whether of friendliness or professionalism. And about personal space and how to respect other people’s.

What surprised me, I suppose, was how informative and interesting it all was. It was done in a very interactive way, and it was very relaxed and informal, not like school, so we could ask questions about anything we liked and go off in different directions.

So, for instance, somebody asked about how you should eat peas (answer: pushed on to your fork with mashed potatoes), whether we could use our fingers for asparagus and how to lay a table. When I got home and told my brothers and sisters they roared with laughter because it was such a cliché and they thought the whole day must have been full of trivia, with us walking around with books on our heads to improve our posture.

But it wasn’t like that at all: it included very useful skills, such as how to protect our profile on social media and manage our reputations in the world of cyberspace, how to network and tweet and handle friendships online.

Over lunch, the four of us girls relaxed together – the other three were really nice – while the leaders took a break. In the afternoon we learnt how to survive away from home: what to pack when staying with other people, how to be good guests and fit in with another family, and intriguingly, how to buy personalised presents so your hostess knows you have bothered to take trouble and think about it. For instance, if they have a dog you can choose a doggy present, and so on.

And yes, of course you always have to write a hand-written thank you note! (If you thought you were going to get out of that with “a quick email is better than nothing,” forget it...) For everything. And straight away.

So I had to admit, when I came home, that my mother had had a good idea for once. It was huge fun, interesting and useful, and I have learnt things I will probably remember and find helpful for a very long time.

Not a bad way to spend nearly the last day of the summer holidays...

Rosie Atkins, 13


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