Thursday, 24 October 2013

Exciting Career Opportunity At Balbier Wyatt

 
*EXCLUSIVE NEWS* Amanda Wyatt ltd (Balbier Wyatt Group) exciting sales role;
Area Sales Manager (the South& Midlands)
Amanda Wyatt Ltd.
The Midlands/North West – Excellent salary + bens based on experience
Over the last few years, the brands within the Balbier Wyatt Group have continued to soar. With new brands and new collections being developed and their sales in turn are wowing both brides and retailers a like. The Balbier Wyatt Group now dresses women all over the UK and Ireland with its reach now expanding to the UAE, Europe and the U.S. making the Balbier Wyatt Group the UK’s number one choice for bridal, party and evening wear.

We’re now looking to extend that growth further in and this role of Area Sales Manager is key. The focus will be primarily on the management of the territory of retailers within the south and Midlands, therefore a clean, valid driving license is a must. As a confident and dynamic individual, you will maximise all sales opportunities throughout this region by adopting a very positive and pro-active approach to business development, whilst managing an existing account base and monitoring and driving sell-thru throughout the season. Proven field sales experience of 1-2 years and a track record of driving growth and development of accounts are needed. Working with the Marketing team as Brand Ambassador, this role will include staff training and running incentives for key retailers at the Head Office near Manchester Airport.
To apply send your CV to

careers@balbier-wyatt.com www.balbier-wyatt.com

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Why Choose Your LOCAL Charlotte Balbier Boutique?...


Why choose your LOCAL Charlotte Balbier boutique?
 

The Beautiful Isabella Grace Boutique
 
When it comes to finding the perfect dress for your big day there are so many things to think about...shape, colour, cost, fabric, strapless, not strapless...the choices are endless!!

You will find your dream dress by visiting our exclusive stockists!

 Bridal boutiques around the country are small, independent and often family-run businesses. Unlike the big high-street competitors, Charlotte Balbier stockists have a wealth of experience and specialise in the bridal industry...they really know their stuff!!

 By supporting your local Charlotte Balbier stockist you will receive a service that is second to none and they are always willing to go that extra mile. A one-to-one service where you get to know the staff ensures you get the individual advice and tailored help you deserve. Independent retailers have the flexibility to ensure their opening times meet your needs; late night openings, Sunday opening, individual opening times to cater for your busy schedules.

 Some people say it’s wise to shop around to get the gown you want at a lower cost. Our boutiques work to a Suggested Retail Price and are unable to offer discounts on gowns as they are already sold at the best possible price. Also, in our experience ‘shopping around’ isn’t as cost effective as you’d think, often spending more on your fuel to reach someone else or even having to find yourself a seamstress nearby to do your alterations.

Our exclusive stockists also have the knowledge and experience of our gowns, often having seamstresses in-house that know our gowns inside and out. It is this knowledge and service that you get when purchasing a Charlotte Balbier gown with our official stockists.

For a full list of Charlotte Balbier official stockists please visit our website

 Independent bridal boutiques are there to provide an extra special service that every bride-to-be deserves. Shop locally to help support your boutiques and ensure the independent retail industry doesn’t disappear for good.

 

**CHARLOTTE BALBIER ENDORSES SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUES**

Monday, 7 October 2013

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Diary.... Beauty

Charlotte Balbier make-up
If I was a lady of leisure who had endless time on her hands there is no doubt in my mind I would spend most of my time in a beauty salon as I just love to be pampered. Sadly, with my crazy work schedule, spa days are an annual treat but I do always make time for regular facials and would never leave the house without perfectly manicured nails. Given the attention I usually pay to how I look on a day-to-day basis, it's safe to say I'm starting to think about my hair and make-up for my wedding!

Following up my earlier blog post on diet and well-being, I continued my delivery diet by sticking to the general rule of 80/20; 80% of the time being healthy, and for the other 20%, allowing a few naughty treats, which usually takes the form of a few drinks with the girls for me. I really don’t believe you should deny yourself anything – just a little bit of what you fancy now and again – and I'm delighted to say this motto is paying off for me, as I've lost a stone and I feel great!

With my weight loss on track, it's time to think about my hair and beauty on the actual day. Not only do I want to look radiant and glamorous when I say ‘I do’, but I've also got to meet the beauty demands of eight bridesmaids, two flowergirls and my mum and aunt. It's no understatement to say I'll need a full team on hand! The only thing to do was call in some amazing experts who I've worked with in the past, so I have six very talented and creative make-up artists and hair stylists lined up to make me and the rest of the wedding party look our very best on the day.
It might not be for everyone, but I think it's super important to have a professional step in to do a bride's make-up on her wedding day while she sits back and relaxes. If your budget doesn't stretch to treating the entire wedding party, just get one for yourself – you're only a bride once after all. To know I've got a few beauty mood boards on the go will come as no surprise (you know how much I love a mood board!) but it's definitely worth pulling together some specific ideas and examples before you meet up with your make-up artist and hair stylist for a trial, so both you and they know the look you're going for on the day.
Charlotte Balbier beauty
One of the best pieces of wedding advice I've been given is to make sure you look like you on your wedding day - the most polished version, of course! If you let the professionals have too much control, or attempt to try new trends you've never dipped into before, you'll not only feel out of your comfort zone but it'll be a bit of a shock for your new husband too! This is what I'm keeping in mind when trialling ideas for my wedding day beauty look. My 'look' is smoky eyes, minimal lips, rouge cheeks, red nails and tousled hair, so I want to stick close to these elements but look better than I usually do. I'm sure with the super talented Sarah Brock in charge, my make-up will be flawless. I've worked with her before and she's an absolute genius with a make-up brush. My hair, however, doesn't fill me with such confidence. It's a little on the fine side which often means I can't always pull off voluminous, glamorous looks, but I've been assured by hair guru Nicola that she can make even my hair look fabulous. It’s all so exciting!

My wedding day beauty team have been passing on so many fantastic hints and tips that it’s only fair I share a few with you. The three that I've really taken on board are:

"Be honest when you're having your hair trial. If you're not sure then speak up now (or forever hold your peace!), as it's better to play around with different styles and settle on something perfect now than on the wedding morning. This could be your one chance to make your feelings known, so do it." Claire from Harry Jon

"Primer is a must for brides, as it softens fine lines, fills enlarged pores and depending on your skin type, hydrates or controls oils. It provides a smooth surface for your foundation to lie on and ensures it stays put all day." Catherine from Ivy Clara

"There are lots of products that promise radiance but drinking lots of water in the lead up to your wedding day really is the key to plump, perfect skin. Drinking two litres every day (that's roughly four big glasses) will help your skin look clearer and glowing, plus it will feel hydrated." Zoey Clarkson

I think I'm pretty much on track for looking and feeling fab on the big day, don't you? Here's to staying motivated to keep it up after the wedding is over too!

Until next time.
Much Love,
Charlotte x

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Diary... Bridal Lingerie

Elle and Cee
Second to the perfect dress is the perfect wedding lingerie and I know from speaking to my brides that finding the right underwear is something every one of us worries about. Why spend so much time, effort and money finding a fabulous dress to then ruin the look with ill-fitting or mismatched underwear? And then there's the wedding night lingerie, which comes into play much later in the day but is still super important to most women.

Over the years I've been keeping a mental note of what styles of lingerie work with each of my dresses so I can advise brides on what they should choose dependent on their dress. Unfortunately, it's not a one style fits all scenario, although this would make life much easier! A good time to start thinking about your bridal underwear is before you even start trying on gowns, to try to make that process a little less stressful. Many brides-to-be don't take undies into account at this early stage and come to their first dress fitting wearing black or floral pants and bras with big straps - not great for seeing a strapless ivory gown at its best! A nude bra and knickers set in a smooth fabric and a good fit is my top tip for all of your bridal appointments.

Once you have found The One, ask the expert. Chat with your bridal consultant in their boutique to gauge their recommendations of what underwear works well with your gown. They'll not only have notes on what previous brides have worn but also local bridal lingerie boutiques that stock the right styles. Armed with this information, it's now time to start your search.
Bridal lingerie
The day is all about finding the right underwear to make the most of your assets while providing support for those problem areas. Do you need to streamline your stomach? Bum? Boobs? And keep in mind any details on your dress that might affect your lingerie choice. Does it have straps? A deep V neckline? A low back? My secret underwear tip is the body shaping slip. These little figure-hugging inventions help you instantly drop a dress size and smooth over all your lady lumps, and I admit I now wear one most days under floaty dresses. You can pick them up really easily on the high street and they come in all colours, styles and fabrics. For me, the smooth nude style that sits under my bust is perfect as it allows me to streamline but still wear a sturdy bra, and it’s a dead cert that I'll be rocking one under my wedding dress. I must give a little mention to the amazing multiway collection by Ultimo as I know so many of my brides who swear by these bras. The range seems to do exactly what it says on the tin and can be worn in a multitude of ways which makes it perfect for bridal gowns.
Now, onto the pretty part of what to wear for your wedding night. I have fallen totally and utterly in love with Ell & Cee – their bridal collection is utterly divine. It's full of flirty feminine pieces in the softest silks and chiffons and offers something a little sexier and prettier than a lot of other ranges out there. I'm loving the cute and fun personalised silk knickers, I’ve just got to have a pair of these! Also on my wish list is one of their gorgeous robes – a pretty robe is a must for when you're getting ready in the morning and is also a lovely keepsake to have after the big day.

Finally, every bride needs to have a garter and I have come across a really pretty collection handmade in the UK by Pompadour Garters. As a cute touch, they can add a little hint of blue to your garter to make it your ‘something blue’ too… it’s tradition after all!

Until Next Time,
Much Love,
Charlotte xx

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Diary... Transport

red bus
The big day is approaching now at rapid speed – the months, weeks and days seem to be going quicker and quicker and now I'm thinking not just about the pretty things like flowers, shoes, dresses and décor but also the logistics of the day and how I can make sure my wedding runs as smoothly as possible.
Early on in our planning, Teddy and I decided we wanted to get married in a church even though our wedding venue offers a beautiful space to hold a civil service. It was tempting to have the actual ceremony at Iscoyd just because of the ease. It would mean not having to worry about getting the two of us, a bridal party of 20 and all of your guests from A to B, but in the end our want for a church wedding overruled.
I've been doing hours of research investigating into how other brides have tackled the transport issue that faces those of us who choose to have a church wedding and then need to get everyone over to the second venue. I love to hear from my brides about the ideas they've come up with and there's definitely some unusual solutions out there. It seems vintage and classic cars are still as popular as ever – Rolls-Royce, Daimler, Bentley and Mercedes are all very popular choices – and that's including the new models which I think are popular for couples who want a traditional vibe with a modern twist. Then there's buses! I've noticed a huge trend for VW Camper Vans, London double deckers and old-fashioned buses, conductor and all. A bigger vehicle definitely makes sense when you need to get your whole wedding party from one place to another, but these choices are so much more imaginative than a standard coach.
On my quest for the perfect wedding wheels, I've also looked into some alternative options that are very specific to the style of wedding. If your wedding is a high summer affair set in the rolling countryside, have you thought about arriving on a tractor? If someone had said this to me I would have thought they'd lost their mind(!) but after seeing some images from a beautiful wedding of a bride and her maids arriving on a hay-filled tractor and trailer dressed with flowers, I fell a little bit in love with this idea. (Sadly it just doesn't suit my winter wedding.) Another idea I like for a city celebration is black cabs, but white! They look super-chic and stylish but can be a cheap alternative for wedding transport.
rolls royce
As much as I love the quirky ideas, both Teddy and I agree that we're a classic couple, and should go for a classic car. We don't usually spend a lot of time talking about cars (shocker!) but after discussing wedding cars we quickly agreed that we like the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. One thing I hadn't taken into consideration was that we'd need to find our dream transport near our venue, as a lot of cars won't travel far, especially the older vintage ones. It's one of those things you just don't think about until you become a bride yourself… well I didn't anyway. After some help from my wedding industry friends, I managed to track down a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow 1 (woohoo!) and the best news ever was that the company who owns it is just a few miles from our venue. So without further ado, we booked the most beautiful car called ‘Alice’ (love the name) and she'll be transporting me and pops to the church, and then Teddy and I back to Iscoyd.
Although we have our dream car sorted, we still haven't worked out how to transport the wedding party and our guests from the church to the reception venue. Like most couples, we're having to keep a close eye on our ever-growing budget, so we're looking into using our own cars and those of our wedding party. We've got some lovely-looking cars between us, and it makes sense to use them if we're all there on the day.
But while I'm happy that we'll have enough cars to do the job, what about night buses to ferry the evening guests home at the end of the night? Perhaps that's where the red double decker will come in but that decision can be left until a little nearer the day. Until then, if you're a bride who's struggling to choose your transport, take a look at my transport Pinterest board for some cool ideas.
Until next time,
Much love,
Charlotte xxx

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Diary... Favours

jam favours
Homemade jam favours by Melysweddings on Etsy.com
With just six months to go until the wedding, it’s time to start turning my attention to all the finer points of the day's theme. Being a perfectionist and a firm believer in attention to detail, I’ve actually been looking forward to this part of the wedding planning since the whole process began! Whenever I launch a new dress collection and hold an event to celebrate, I always include little gifts for my guests, just like wedding favours, so I thought there was no better place to start. My Pinterest board is bursting with fabulous favour ideas from purse-friendly to blow the budget and I literally can't stop pinning!

I love chatting to my brides about their ideas for wedding favours and from what I'm hearing it seems DIY options are proving to be the trend for 2013, with brides galore opting to get creative rather than buy ready-made. From borrowing their granny’s sewing machine to making homemade lavender bags or getting busy in the kitchen creating home-grown tasty jams and yummy baked goodies, you lot are getting your hands dirty when it comes to wedding favours. One of my brides-to-be Catherine, who's getting married on a beautiful Cornish beach this summer, is giving each of her guests a stick of seaside rock that supports the local lifeboat charity; I love an idea that’s both delicious and for a good cause.

So with all this talk of wedding favours, I've become curious as to why it's a tradition for couples to give them on their wedding day. My only knowledge until recently was that the tradition was to give sugared almonds in sets of five as they represented fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. When looking into the history of favours a little further I found the idea originates from France and bonbonnieres (porcelain trinket boxes filled with precious stones and sugar cubes) were given as glamorous gifts to wedding guests of French aristocrats, and the sugar almonds followed years later. Doesn't that paint such a romantic picture? I’m actually finding it really interesting to look back at wedding history and tradition, wondering what our ancestors would make of our weddings today.

Back to my wedding planning, and after much consideration and Pinterest-related research, I've decided that we'll only be gifting the ladies on the big day as let’s face it, most men don’t notice the favours, or will forget to take them home, leaving me with a pile of leftover little gifts with no home to go to! So my female-friendly shortlist is as follows...
favour
Lavender-scented fabric hearts by KarenWalkWeddings on Etsy.com
Budget:
DIY lavender bags made from fabric used elsewhere within the wedding decorations
Charity badges for RSPCA (both Teddy and I love animals and you can get doggy ones like our pooch Buster Bear)
Traditional sugared almonds after being inspired by Parisian history and tradition!

Fancy:
Charbonnel & Walker chocolates – the pink and gold heart box is perfect for our wedding
Ladurée macaroon gift boxes,
 personalised biscuits or sweets (I’ve seen so many when flicking through the bridal glossies)

Luxury:
Jo Malone bubble bath (in the hope someone does leave one behind by mistake!)
Vintage perfume bottles
Diptyque candles – I'm smitten ever since my first experience at Space NK

So I am now on a mission to source prices and availability on all of my shortlisted options so I can work out just how much of the wedding budget to allocate to favours, and when is the best time to buy them.

I would love to hear what you're planning to have as your wedding favours so join in the debate on my Facebook page.

Until next time, happy planning fellow brides-to-be!

With love,
Charlotte x

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Diary... Shoes!

Freya Rose shoe
Tahiti Boudoir by Freya Rose
Now that we've been sharing wedding experiences for a few months, I'm happy to let you lot into a confession; I may be more excited about buying my wedding shoes than any other aspect of my wedding. Shoe shopping is a love of mine and one I can't deny given the collection I have stashed away - Carrie Bradshaw's got nothing on me! Shoes can make all the difference to an outfit or your mood and I love admiring them when I'm out and about shopping, not to mention ogling over the brand new collections at wedding trade shows. Luckily, some wedding shoe designers have become close friends of mine over the years so I get to try their creations on before they hit the bridal boutiques!

The task of finding my perfect pair of wedding shoes (or pairs, as I think the case may be!) is well under way. I've accumulated quite a long list of shoes by different designers, and as always my Pinterest board, overflowing with beautiful styles from classic ivory to more unusual colours and looks. There's a couple of deal breakers for me - the heel must be high as I'm only 5"4 and want to feel like a glam goddess on my big day, and I'm looking for a peep-toe as I want to show off either pink or red perfectly-pedicured tootsies - but the rest is yet to be decided!

I have noticed during my search that there's a real trend for non-white shoes, instead brides are loving bright shoes that bring a pop of colour when worn with a traditional bridal gown, with blue being super popular and I suspect a certain Miss Bradshaw had something to do with that. Do you remember those totally amazing Manolo Blahniks she wore in the SATC movie? And don't forget that they could count as your 'something blue'.

So, on to the shoe styles I have my beady eye on. I've been lusting after the Jimmy Choo 'Crown’ shoes for a while now as they are a gorgeous champagne shade - and they provide the perfect excuse to pick up the matching ‘Riane’ bag, too! They are a little on the pricey side (my budget is between £300-700), but then again they're not typically bridal so I'd probably be able to wear them again in the future. It's always good to rationalise spending! Actually, even if these don’t end up being one of my chosen wedding shoes I'm tempted to buy a pair anyway as I just love them.
Rachel Simpson shoes
Mimosa by Rachel Simpson
Also on my radar are some rather amazing Freya Rose styles, which I've fancied since I used them on the photo shoot for my new 2014 A Decade Of Style collection. They were the perfect match to my gowns and not only do they look lovely but they're also super comfy. I'm a big fan of the ‘Tahiti Boudoir’ style (love that name!) with a mother of pearl heel that Freya Rose are famous for as their signature feature. The ‘Ennis’ design is another of my favourites, as these gold delights come with a detachable rose flower, vintage antique in style and very special. Given that I've been eyeing up various styles from this collection, and letting everyone know of course!, I've actually been invited to the Freya Rose showroom in London for a personal fitting with Freya herself. Woohoo, I'm going to be in shoe-loving heaven! My plan is to work the meeting into a trip to London with my mum, for an ultimate girly visit doing bridal bits and bobs and I’m really, really excited to not only try on shoes but to take a few days out of normal life to focus on all things wedding!!

If you’re a bride-to-be who needs comfort and a higher heel is not your thing, then you must check out Rachel Simpson shoes. Rachel’s shoes are some of the comfiest I've tried and as the heel height isn't as high as a lot of other styles, they're perfect for those brides wanting to dance the night away! Her vintage-inspired designs are dreamily pretty and I really like the colour palette Rachel uses with all of her soft ivory hues and rose-pink tones. Then again, I've long since had a love affair with Aruna Seth shoes from the moment I first laid eyes on them a few years ago. I've lost count of the number of pairs I own (oops!) because they're gorgeous, comfortable and handmade in Italy, which adds to the chic elegant feeling that washes over me as soon as I step into a pair.

By now you'll have guessed that my shoe journey is going to be a long but enjoyable one - it's one of my wedding planning tasks that I'm happy to drag out because I'd be happy trying on shoes all day long. I promise to keep you posted on my wedding shoe finds over on my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages and would love to see what shoes you are all wearing for your special day.

Until next time, happy shoe shopping ladies.

Much Love,
Charlotte xxx

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Diary.... Decor

Red Floral
What's that saying again? "Stop worrying about what could go wrong and instead get excited about what can go right." This mantra has, happily, finally hit home this week as our wedding plans have really started to come together and both Teddy and I are getting super excited. Over the last few weeks I feel like we've made massive headway in our planning with lots of meetings with our wedding suppliers. Brainstorming with creative people is always such good fun and I'm loving the opportunity to work with the talented Red Floral Architecture again, who are not only doing all of my wedding flowers but are also adding their brilliance to my décor and styling for both the church and the reception venue. Despite hectic schedules on both sides, I managed to sit down with them this week to discuss décor and let me tell you, I've been one elated bride-to-be ever since! Their ideas and plans for our wedding day really blew my mind and surpassed my expectations, and then some.

My vision, and subsequently my brief, for our wedding décor was simple: I wanted WOW! Chandeliers and candelabra, lots of candles mixed with draping fabrics, crystals and pearls and of course A LOT of flowers. I certainly don't want subtle, but equally I don't want to go too over the top. And that's why I've called in the experts. My colour palette is ivory hues teamed with rose pinks and metallic shades. It's taken me (and my maids!) a long time to get my head around the fact that I don't really have a theme as such, so all there is to do is make the most of my colours. My problem was that I loved so many I just couldn't decide on what was truly us, so instead I went with what felt right and I kept coming back to those 2 words; sophisticated and glamorous. After many hours looking at décor themes on Pinterest and gathering inspiration from my surroundings, I came to the decision that it's OK for me not to be a theme bride - I just wish I'd realised this 18 months ago!
Red Floral 2
I'm a great believer in trusting your suppliers and letting them have the freedom to be creative, as they are the experts after all, and I know as a fellow creative that I do my best work when I'm left to my own devices. I have a major advantage, in that although I've never been married before, I have worked with many of the companies we've booked for our wedding so I knew from the start that we were working with the best in the biz. That's not to say little old control freak me doesn't struggle with letting go, and I do still want to be included in all of the ideas and planning, but I've learnt to do it from afar. The best tip I have is to do lots of research first and create mood boards and tear sheets which will help you express your vision to the suppliers.

So now it's time to work with my suppliers to source all the décor that will create our dream wedding, although my general excitement means I've given myself a little head start. I feel like I've spent the best part of this year looking for gold-toned cutlery, and have become somewhat obsessed with finding the right pieces to hire. But after searching high and low for months, the result was me realising that to hire this kind of cutlery is nigh-on impossible and to buy it is far too expensive, so my gold dream has had to be shelved. Cue meltdown! Luckily, Jane and Mat at Red Floral are used to brides losing the plot over little things and are working on some cutlery ideas for me as a plan B…

So now that my breathing has become less erratic since the décor and styling is well underway, there is still a lot to think of; luxury linens, chair décor, marquee styling, special touches in the church, romantic centre pieces, delicate place settings, the fancy top table… the list is endless. I'm starting to feel sorry for the team at Red Floral! However, armed with my trusty pin boards and their general amazingness, I'm sure that between us we can make this wedding every bit the sophisticated and glamorous affair I envisage – and limit anymore meltdowns along the way!

Until next time,
Much love
Charlotte xxx

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Diary.... Let them eat cake!

Cake consultation
Working in the bridal industry for over a decade has meant I've constantly been surrounded by pretty ideas and amazing wedding inspiration, so even in my pre-Teddy days I'd already come across a few things I knew I wanted for my big day when the time finally came. The ring, the shoes, the cake – I've got tear sheets from bridal magazines that I pulled out years ago hidden away (that can remain our little secret!) and although a lot of my fixed ideas have actually changed dramatically, one thing has stayed the same. My dream cake is still my dream cake.

Not wanting to sound too much like an M&S advert but this is not just any cake I'm talking about, this is the most beautiful cake I've ever laid my eyes on. The Peggy Porschen floral avalanche cake is quite simply a work of art. I remember the first conversation we had about the wedding after Teddy proposed and I proudly informed both my mum and husband-to-be that one decision was already made and I wouldn't budge. Sadly though, like all brides, I'm planning a wedding within a budget and once Teddy and I had gone over the figures and decided on our priorities, I realised we just couldn't include the floral avalanche cake in our plans. Peggy Porschen cakes are absolutely amazing and the master baker has created wedding cakes for the likes of Kate Moss and even royalty, so I knew we'd be talking big bucks. But as I’ve said before, you have to work out what’s most important to you as a couple and sometimes you have to compromise (however hard it is!).

Between you and me, I'll admit I did contemplate having a bridezilla moment and saying I wanted 'that cake or no cake,' and was even tempted to consider the other extreme of buying a shop cake and decorating it myself... but I've since come full circle and reconsidered both options, thanks to Pinterest! When in doubt, make yourself a Pinterest board and let your mind get creative, I say. My cake board is one of my favourite boards and I have become obsessed with cakes (nothing to do with me enjoying eating them so much, I'm sure!) – with my board of 187 cake pins my mind is buzzing with ideas. There is so much choice out there; you can literally have whatever you want. Right now the trends are all about the naked cake or vintage-inspired cakes but I think the traditional iced style is also making a comeback. As my dream cake was a £4500 work of art, it's no surprise I'm thinking I'll go big and make mine a feature!
Charlotte cake
I thought I'd found my expert baker back in April when I was driving through the pretty town of Knutsford with my mum and aunt and we came across a local cake studio, but unfortunately after meeting the lovely team of ladies there, indulging in a cake tasting with Teddy and choosing our wedding cake, the shop closed down! It's been my first real wedding drama, so I've now got the task of finding another bakery who can create our cake, with just four months to go until the big day. Fingers crossed that we don't come up against any other dramas in the meantime.

I have to say, although my plan A and plan B haven't worked out, cake tasting is great fun, not to mention yummy, and such a nice thing to do with your fiancé and family as part of the wedding planning. You just don't get the same experience when making your own or buying one ready-made from a shop so for me, whatever your budget, a professionally made cake is a must. Happy tasting!

Much love,
Charlotte xx

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Diary... Wellbeing & Weightloss

wedding wellbeing
'Just relax for a second and breathe…'

If someone gave me a pound coin every time this thought has crossed my mind in recent months I’d be super-duper rich! They say planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful things you can do and with just seven months to go until our big day, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't starting to feel the strain of organising everything – on top of my day job. I'm trying to keep calm and carry on, but I’m noticing that the closer the wedding gets, the more stressed I am starting to feel (and look!). Not ideal for a blushing bride-to-be.

So I think the time has come to start fitting some pre-wedding wellbeing into my planning schedule. It's only fair to spend a bit of the wedding budget on feeling and looking fabulous on the day, right? Already being a beauty junkie, I'm always on the look out for the latest products or treatments and I religiously read every beauty column out there. A few years ago I started using Clarins skincare products at home after indulging in one of their facials, and I have never looked back. I think every woman has one treat that always relaxes them, and a visit to my local spa is mine - it takes me away from my busy schedule and the stresses of running a bridal business – even if it’s just for a mere 60 minutes.

Spending my days working with gorgeous models and flicking through glamorous shoots in You & Your Wedding is bound to make any girl envious of those divinely gifted with blemish-free looks, so clear, glowing skin has fast become top of my priority list. The Clarins girls advised that I have one of their Tri-Active Facials every 3-4 weeks and, for the last couple of months leading up to the wedding, their Radiance Reviver Facial. I’ve been promised this will leave my skin looking fresh and dewy. Yes, please!

So that’s my stress levels and soon-to-be super glowing face taken care of but what about my body? From the neck downwards I confess I've never been great at keeping my beauty regime up. Believe me, I have all the products - cellulite busting creams, body brushes, skin oils, body scrubs. But most of them are sadly gathering dust and taking up space on the bathroom shelf. I promise myself that tomorrow will be the day I start my new at-home body beauty regime… but surprisingly tomorrow never comes! I did treat myself to a Body Polish and Body Lift Sculptor treatment but, like many women before me, I expected too much and wanted instant results. Sadly it seems you need more than one trip to the spa, and keep up the DIY treatments at home, to look like Elle Macpherson.

woman running
When it comes to hair, I do know a trick to glossy tresses which I’ll use more in the countdown to wedding day. It’s a homemade olive oil with vinegar potion. You heat them both together, apply to your hair, wrap in foil and then a towel and leave for 20 minutes. The oil replenishes weak hair and the vinegar adds shine. I read this in a beauty magazine years ago and it’s really effective.

And finally, I'm overhauling the diet. I want to lose some weight and get fit and healthy for my wedding but with such a full-on, stressful job I already know I'll need a little help to keep me focused. After hearing about the plan on the grapevine (read: the endless stream of brides I chat to every day) I looked into Soulmatefood where the food looks so yummy it doesn't even seem like a diet, plus the extra bonus is that it's delivered straight to your door. No more trips to the supermarket desperately trying to avoid the chocolate and wine aisle in favour of a lettuce leaf! Friends and brides I know have done the juice detox from Soulmate and others have followed the meal delivery option and they've all raved on about how amazing it is: easy to follow; healthy and delicious with great-lasting results; and a superstar following.

In terms of slimming down, I know food won’t cut it on its own, I need to up the exercise ante. At the moment I spend between 30 mins and an hour walking our dog Buster every day, so my plan is to start to incorporate some jogging into this time. It means I’ll aim to be running three times a week for at least 30 minutes, but I’m not against getting a personal trainer as time goes by. I think a lot of brides do this towards the end of their pre-wedding slimdown to keep them focused.

So I’m kickstarting the whole thing six months before the day. Six months of healthy food, regular exercise, lots of beauty treatments, plenty of sleep (and maybe the odd little holiday!) should do the trick. Which means, by my calendar, I have four weeks left of ‘wine o’clock’. So let’s make the most of it - someone grab me a drink and make it a double!

Until next time,
Love Charlotte xxx