Our Bridal Muse - Claire

This dress has it all - stunning lace , high low hem, separates and a matching lace floral crown. I love that my job is to make a brides vision come through and Claire trusted me with that task. Isn’t she stunning.

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What is your best memory of your wedding day?

We got married in No. 5 South Leinster Street at the National Gallery. It was a small wedding with just family and close friends, 28 guests in total. So my best memory is walking into that room with my dad, towards Dermot, surrounded by all the people I love most in the world. The emotion of it all just hit me like a tonne of bricks! It was lovely and I’ll never forget it.

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What is your advice to a bride to be?

My advice is to make the day as personal to you and your partner as you can. Don’t feel pressure to do things because you are “supposed to” or someone tells you that you “have to”. The only things you really “have to” do are the legal bits! We had a humanist ceremony and our celebrant, Eithne Dempsey, was amazing. Instead of readings during the ceremony, we had each of our dads sing a song which was really special. We included our mammy’s in a sand ceremony. We were lucky to have extremely talented friends to take part, one performing beautiful acoustic guitar and one to take amazing photos. It all felt truly personal to us.

Also, don’t sweat the small stuff! It’s a happy day and everybody is there to celebrate with you. It doesn’t matter if things don’t go exactly to plan, just go with the flow! We had a small reception at the Gallery with some nibbles and drinks before a dinner reservation in Eden Bar and Grill. However the nibbles ran out about an hour before the reservation so we just headed across the road to Lincoln’s Inn and had a drink in there. It was really relaxed and great fun with strangers coming up to congratulate us and offer best wishes.

 

What was your biggest worry about getting your dress made?

My biggest worry was that people would think my dress was odd! I had a few definite ideas about what I wanted – separates, one high-low skirt and two tops, one for the ceremony day and one for the party on the following day. Whether or not they would work together I had no idea. But I could not have been in safer hands with Sarah. Sarah took my disjointed ideas and made them whole, she created a look better than I could have imagined and I couldn’t have been happier with the end result.

What part of the process was most fun for you?

Having your dress made means you are there for every part of it. Getting the sketches at the very beginning, picking the fabrics and lace, and seeing it all come together through each fitting. It was all fun and exciting. And because you are there for each step, you can see earlier on if something works or not. I bought a flower crown to wear on the day and brought it with me to a fitting. As soon as I had it on with the dress, we knew it wasn’t right. Luckily for me, Sarah was able to create a beautiful flower crown that worked perfectly.

 

How relaxed and comfortable does Claire look? One big tip for finding the dress, be sure to be comfortable - you need to wear the dress not the dress wear you.




Our Summer In Pictures

I am back at the computer finally this week after a hectic summer season of creating one of dresses for our one of a kind brides. Finishing August off in style with the arrival of my new baby son Conor. So in between new born cuddles I have some new exciting posts coming this way. First up, my favourite pictures of the summer in studio. 

It was a summer of accessories. Along with our custom made gowns we designed some of the most fun capes, veils, cover ups and our show stopper gold wedding dress. Creating our own embellishments is what makes us unique - it is also my favourite part of the whole process.

To finish of the summer as a finalist at the Wedding Journal Reader Awards and getting the hubby into a tux was an added bonus.

So whats to come in the following months? Well our summer brides are sending in their stunning images so watch this space for more bridal muse interviews and chats with our favourite wedding suppliers.

Ask the designer - what questions have you about choosing your dress? What can you not get your head around? I have a couple of ask the designer pieces coming up on the blog so drop me an email with your dilemma - info@sarahfoycouture.com

Finally, I will share one last picture of my little treasures as you can imagine this was my highlight of the summer

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Ethical Bridal Choices

Is it possible to shop ethically for your wedding dress? Is it even something you have thought about? As we start to see customers and designers taking a more thoughtful approach to purchasing and designing, can we shop ethically for our wedding attire? Today I’m giving you some ideas to approach your dress shopping with an ethical eye.

There are bridal designers out there that are paving the way in ethical sustainable bridal wear with out compromising on design . www.sanyuktashrestha.com is one such designer along with Minna http://www.minna.co.uk/ and company’s like reformation https://www.thereformation.com. Although the lovely Little White dress shop stocks sanyuktashrestha gowns you will have to do some research into designer and stockists or travel to the Uk to find your dress

Ask- when starting out on your dress hunt don’t be afraid to ask and research designers you like for information on there ethical practices. The ethical bridal industry is young and you may find it hard to find a 100% perfect company but any move towards a conscious purchase is good in my book.

www.butterflyphotography.ie

www.butterflyphotography.ie

Upstyling a wedding dress is a lovely thoughtful and sustainable way to find your dress. A heirloom gown or second hand dress can be reworked and made exclusively yours with the help of a good dress maker or designer. Taking a preloved dress either from a family member or wonderful sites like Once Wed can be the answer to both a budget and style conscious bride

Picking an Irish designer to produce an exclusive dress for you with ethically fabrics and sustainable practice in mind is another very good option for a conscious bridal. You would not only meet your ethical goals but have some input into the style and design you wish to have for your dream dress. Of course that would be a product I would happily undertake here at Sarah Foy Couture. But a quick google check will find you other great Irish designers that would happily help you create your dream dress

http://www.johannakingphotography.com/

http://www.johannakingphotography.com/

My own ethical journey has been sporadic at best on till this last 18 months. Between a house move and the onslaught of children’s toys into the house I turned firstly to a great podcast The Minimalists, which started me on a series journey to change my purchasing habits. Over the last year I have read and watched some great resources that really help me understand more clearly the effect fast fashion is having on the world. Still far from perfect, I have certainly had a big change in my attitude to everything I purchase. That mind set certainly doesn’t change when I think and purchase for my brides. As all of our dresses are designed and made in my home studio they are certainly ethically produced. However, the move to more sustainable fabrics may take a while longer I now have a select of organic silks options for brides to be and on the hunt for new and exciting alternatives for our fabrics.

As other aspects of our business evolve, I hope to continue to think and purchase as ethically as possible from our packaging to stationary. I also firmly believe that supporting other Irish businesses is essential to staying sustainable and ethical within Sarah Foy Couture.

 

Creatives at work - Moat Hill Photography

The importance of capturing moments, snippets of our life, freezing a moment in time really rings through to me. As the year flash’s before my eyes I can’t help feeling that I will miss something if I don’t take care to capture, freeze time and revile in life a little. This brings me to our creative at work Paul from Moat Hill photography. Finding a photographer that will capture the atmosphere, the mood of the day is so important and I think a deeply personal choice. Paul shares with us his inspiration and why he does what he does so well.

Who is your bride?

That is a kind of hard question to answer, like who is your favourite singer or whats your favourite movie.

We never really set out to target a particular type of person. I always feel our work reflects the personality of the person. So if you’re romantic then we’ll read that and your images will have that sort of feel.. if you laugh a lot then lets laugh. I think our work doesn’t impose itself on people rather we try to capture the personality of the people in our work. So when you ask who is our bride.. its everyone and anyone that can trust us to capture their wedding honestly and authentically

When do you feel most creative?

A wedding day is a full on affair. You have to be at 100% every time, you can’t have a bad day or a day feeling off. So gathering inspiration is something that learn as you shoot more and more. Photography has always inspired me and music too.. Fellow photographer friends can push you and compete with you to inspire you. But again its back to the people for me.. the conversations you have, the atmosphere on a wedding day and the people in it all provide the inspiration. The challenge of capturing that and doing the best job for each of our clients is inspirational. So on the day working to capture that is when I feel most inspired in this Job

How do you feel meeting a new bride to be?

I’ve always enjoyed meeting people and chatting with them. I love to show them our work and hear what they’re about and hopefully find a link or spark so we both know that we’re right for them and they’re right for us.

I think it’s as important that we choose the right people as much as they choose us, to be sure that we all fit and so when we produce what we do it’s what they’re expecting.

Fundamentally we try to keep our style candid and relaxed, how we like it but from time to time a couple might ask if we can do something a little outside or scope and that’s fine with us.

What do you like to hear from a bride?

Can we book... its the biggest compliment we could get.. they like our work, like what we do and want us to be part of one of the biggest days of their lives so far... what more can I tell ya!

How did you find your calling? Get started in your industry?

I’ve always loved music and photography but worked as an Engineer for 12 years. Finally in 2006 I decided that I wanted to go back to college at night and study photography. I loved the film aspect of photography but being a techie sort of person I was really interested in the move to digital that was happening at the time. After 2 years in Griffith College I was asked to shoot a friends wedding. It was nerve wracking but from the start I knew I wanted to shoot it in a very relaxed and candid way. I didn’t really like the idea of setting things up. I never mind doing the family photos and a few portraits, I think they’re important to the couple but always felt the rest of the day should be a flow or narrative of images.

After that I started to get a few more weddings here and there and eventually setup a website and having the background in tech helped.

A year on from that we decided to go full time as things really took off and we haven’t really looked back since. We’ve been doing this now for 10 years and have shot and met hundreds of great people looking forward to many more!

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A big thank you to Moat Hill for sharing insights into their business and work. Check out more of their wonderful work and see the passion that is injected into their images.

 

Website : www.mhphoto.ie

Instagram : Moathillphotography

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Moathillphoto/

Twitter : Moathillphoto

Tumblr : moathill.tumblr

Creatives At Work

Michelle O'Halloran

 Watching Michelle work her magic is something to marvel, she is a sculptor of hair but manages to transform hair into this effortless but elegant style. I always feel so lucky to have met some of the best people in the wedding industry. True creatives that have only passion for what they do - Michelle is one of these people, a pleasure to work with and to know. 

Who is your bride?
The effortless, chic bride. She prefers the more natural, casual and even ‘messy’ styles on the red carpet.
I love hair that isn’t ‘trying to hard’. It’s got a natural, effortless feel. It’s pretty, soft to the eye and in good condition. Obviously, when it comes to wedding styling, I have to apply techniques that make this type of hair last all day and look fresh in photos from the morning to night.
 
When do you feel most inspired?
Trust is major factor when it comes to being creative. On photoshoots, I am given free reign to be creative, with only a few guidelines and restrictions.
Of course, working with a bridal client is a different process, the more open the client is to suggestions, the more options she will have.  I want my clients to be honest about what suggestions they like and don’t like. It is this collaboration that makes sure the bride leaves the trial happy and satisfied.
 

How do you feel meeting a new bride to be?
This question has a couple of answers for me
- Excited and curious! Usually by the time I meet a bride, we have been in touch over email for a number of months. It’s lovely to finally put a face to the name.
- Cautious! Most brides are excited about their hair trial.  However, some are nervous and a little overwhelmed. By the time we meet, there can be a lot of wedding details to juggle.  Getting married is EMOTIONAL. I need to tread lightly to help the bride enjoy the experience. I regularly find, that brides are much more relaxed on their wedding day, than at the trial.
 
What do you like to hear from a bride? 
It is so important that the bride has thought about the hairstyle she wants before meeting me i.e. only the individual bride can know whether she feels most confident with her hair up or down. I like brides to do their research and collect inspiration pictures. A picture speaks a thousand words. Everyone’s definition of ‘soft’ or ‘casual’ is different and I need reference pictures to understand yours.
 
Best questions – Do I have the right haircut for this style? How can I prepare my hair? Most people don’t realise that without the right layering and condition, curls can fall flat more quickly. Wisps and tendrils look better when shorter and texturized (cutting technique). Artificial colour often gives better shine/gloss, than natural hair colour. There is a reason the model in the magazine and the Hollywood star on the red carpet looks so amazing - preparation is key.

How did you find your calling?
Hairstyling started out as a hobby for me. After finishing university, I felt a little lost and unprepared for the working world. I took a leap of faith, changed paths and signed up for a private hairdressing course. I loved it immediately and took to it very naturally. I started out doing photoshoots and met make up artist Emma Farrell (EF Creative Studios). She just kept giving my number out to brides. It was a bit of an accident, that turned out to be the best thing that could have happened!
 

Thank you so much Michelle for sharing your wisdom with us today. Your passion and love of your job shines through.

Check out more of Michelle's Work

http://www.michelleohalloran.com/

https://www.facebook.com/michelle.o.hairstylist

https://www.instagram.com/moh_hairdesign/

Timeless pieces, handcrafted with passion.

I have been very lucky to have inherited some beautiful jewellry from my great grand mother - a seamstress and my own much loved nana. Two simple rings, beautifully crafted pieces that I cherish dearly. I have come to see them as part of my history, something to pass to my daughter that will tell her a story, connecting her with these amazing women.

Captured by Paul from Moat Hill Photography 

Captured by Paul from Moat Hill Photography 

Somewhere in those first hazy months of new mother hood a spark of an idea came. I dreamt of designing a collection of very special pieces. Garments that would become heirlooms. Irish designed and crafted, that would be worn again and again. Wearing them would bring back memories of a special day, a moment in time to be cherished.

This spark grew into my first accessories collection. I have designed accessories for my brides over the years but this gave me the opportunity to explore new ideas and create something to treasure. These statement pieces are designed to complete a brides wedding look whether to highlight their dress or add the finishing detail. But also to be worn again and again.

So it may have taken longer then expected - thank you baby Niamh for keeping me busy. But 2 years later I finally launched the first of my accessory collections. Each piece will be made to order through our online shop, hand crafted with passion and loved well past the wedding day.

Amazing picture of our Super Star Cape by Johanna King Photography 

Amazing picture of our Super Star Cape by Johanna King Photography 

Ask The Designer

It is ask the designer time at SFoy HQ and this week it is all about time scale.

Image by Paul Kelly Photography

Image by Paul Kelly Photography

"How much time do you need to have a design made? I'm worried I haven't left enough time to pick my dress and feeling under pressure to make decisions now!" - This is the most commonly asked question and statement to pass through my inbox, so today we give you all the information on time scale and when best to get started

Every designer works differently and every bridal store will have their own order policy. However, I like to have 6 to 8 months to design and complete a gown. So how does this break down for you the bride? The first appointment with us is a simple chat to get to know you and the ideas you have in mind for your wedding, two weeks after that you will have received sketches from me detailing ideas for your wedding dress. When you have had time to look over them we have a follow up consultation to help finalise the details. This whole process can take between 4 to 6 weeks.

Next step is to custom make your pattern and create your mock up. We book you in to check size and fit. Allowing you to get a look at the style and shape. Now it's order time, we calculate how much fabric will be needed. Ordering in your beads and embellishment. When everything arrives we cut and make your dress. We will now see you every 3 to 4 weeks. At these fittings we will be concentrating on getting everything fitting beautifully, then we add the little details particularly embellishments .

At the final stages we help you to get the overall look, encouraging you to try out different hairstyles, nail polish, lipstick and of course a veil or head piece. Most brides have their final fitting about 2 weeks before pick up day. This fitting is usually just to double check that you are 100% happy.

Every bride, every dress, every day is different. We often do commissions 18 months in advance or in off peak season a dress can be completed sooner but the general rule we give our clients is 6 to 8 months.

Have you a question about your dress you need answered. Email me today and we will tackle it on our next Ask The Designer blog piece .

Pinterest Fun

I love Pinterest. It is heaven for a creative like me, composing mood boards and dreaming big. While I loved cutting and sticking old style mood boards this more high tech approach is spectacular and fun.

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To be clear this is not a how to use Pinterest guide! This is a helping hand on how to find clarity when starting the search for your dream wedding dress. Pinterest is the ultimate tool to help you navigate you wedding dress hunt but it can get overwhelming when starting out. With so many options out there how does a bride-to-be begin?

Step one - Secret boards

You are starting this board purely to explore what you like and dislike. There will be plenty of time to add people you trust to it later. Keeping it closed at first will help to free your mind and worry only about what you like.

Step two - Pin, Pin, Pin

Explore Pinterest, start by pinning anything and everything. It could be just a simple detail on a sleeve or a back silhouette that you are drawn too. Try not to over think what you are pinning, the idea is to collect images, ideas to inspire your wedding dress shopping.

Step three - Follow

Now you need to get more specific. Narrow down and explore designers you like and have similar tastes. Find their boards on Pinterest or pin from their website

Below are some must follows for wedding inspiration to get you started.

Step four - Not just wedding dresses

Don't limit yourself to searching "wedding dresses". If for example you love deep v-necks -search through evening wear , day wear even lingerie you never know what may spark of an idea.

Step five - Curate

After loosing yourself in Pinterest for a few days pinning anything you are drawn too. It's time to curate. Go back through your board. Are you seeing any patterns? For example are all your back details pictures low cut or are you captivated by beading ? As you start looking for your dress, narrowing down you style and silhouette keep curating your board. It will help you be clear on what you love.

Above all else enjoy exploring, let yourself be inspired by Pinterest and stay away from overwhelm. Pop over to my Pinterest page to see what inspires me. Have you found a must follow person on Pinterest, let us know in the comments below.

Creatives at work

It was back in 2016 at my first Glitter studio appearance that I meet the lovely Jen. Full of energy and creativity, I could not help but be captivated by Cupcakes and Counting. So this week we chat to Jen about how CupCakes and Counting came to be, about inspiration and the ideal bride. 

Who is your bride?

My bride is anyone who loves stunning floral display. I have a deep affection for flowers and beautiful botanicals these are the main inspiration for my wedding cakes. I love decorating our wedding cakes with handmade, delicate sugar sculptures. I like to recreate nature’s blooms and turn them into edible art. 

When do you feel most creative?

It’s when the brides (and grooms, sometimes) tell me about their love story. How they met, their favourite story about each other,  a memorable holiday together. All these contribute to how I design their wedding cake. This is when the boost of inspiration and creativity just flows freely and allows me to create wedding cakes that uniquely and specifically suit my couple.

How do you feel meeting a new bride to be?

I am always full of butterflies before I meet a new bride-to-be but I am very, very excited at the same time. I cannot help but imagine that I might be the one making their wedding cake. You see, it’s not just business for me. Given the opportunity to make their wedding cake, it is wonderful to think that you become part of their fairytale, of their romance, of their happy ever after.

What do you like to hear from a bride? 

Each bride is unique and may come up with questions that are relevant to her and not so for others.  What’s important for me is that they are able to tell me what they actually want i.e. how her wedding cake should look like. A bride well equipped with a set of questions during cake tasting/consultation is always a pleasure to work with.

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How did you find your calling? 
Back in 2013, a very powerful typhoon had hit my husband’s hometown in the Philippines. The damage was so severe that the city was left with no power, no food, no clean water, and no proper shelter.  Our family survived the onslaught, however, the number of casualties raised to alarming heights. My husband and I decided to hold a bake sale to raise funds for our neighbours who got severely affected by the calamity. We sold cupcakes and we were able to send a considerable amount of monetary assistance to our neighbours who have been displaced and needing support. Our fundraising had finished but the orders didn’t. People were still asking for our cupcakes long after our bake sale ended. This is how Cupcakes and Counting was born.

Thank you do much to Jen and Jay for sharing their beginnings and photography's with us today. I can say that not only do their cakes look incredible they are delicious.

Check out www.cupcakesandcounting.com and their Instagram Account rocks

Share with us today your wedding cake questions