Hello fabulous readers of Love My Dress. My name is Tamryn and I would like to confess to you today that I am, indeed, a stationery addict. I adore all things paper – I write letters and send cards to friends and family for no real reason, I am drawn to stationery shops like a bee to a fully blooming flower and I can’t even begin to contemplate a new project until I have a new notebook to go with it. However, I know that I am not alone with this obsession.
I know that lots of you are just like me and the sight of some paper pretty will brighten your day in the same way it brightens mine. So rejoice because today, I’m so happy to introduce you to the fabulous work of British stationery company Hip Hip Hooray.
From their pretty pom-pom filled studio in heavenly Devon, husband and wife team of Jenny and Emiko and their small design team, design, print and provide gorgeous, stylish and affordable wedding stationery to couples right around the world.
They have both been in the stationery business for years but launched Hip Hip Hooray when they realised that there was a need for beautiful stationery that could be delivered quickly and at a price people can afford. “We knew first hand about good looking stationery,” says Jenny. “But we realised design can be a lengthy process and sometimes, timescales, budgets and design don’t align.”
And so Hip Hip Hooray was born – a stationery company that has lots of fun with their designs and also allows clients huge flexibility. You can print your own or order printed pieces, select wording, mix and match collections and even use innovative online technology to be able to customise designs instantly via the Hip Hip Hooray website.
I may be wrong, but I do believe we have a Love My Dress first. Today I bring you a wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, widely considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Many of us could only dream of such a grand venue and I imagine that, for bride and groom Alys and Simon, the sense of history inside those walls made the ceremony all the more magical.
The wedding of design manager Simon, and procurement manager Alys took place in March 2014.
“Our ceremony was held at the OBE Chapel in the Crypt at St Paul’s Cathedral, and we had our reception at the Assembly Rooms in Stoke Newington. As a London girl I can’t imagine anywhere more beautiful to spend your wedding day. We didn’t want a theme per se, but we knew we wanted to mix the elegance of St Paul’s with the quirky beauty of London town. We wanted a spring, vintage London wedding, with handmade elements and a North West twist – to ensure both of our roots were celebrated!
The day was more than we could have ever hoped for and our photographer Nicola Milnscaptured many magical (and some hilarious) shots to remind us just how wonderful our wedding was.”
“I fell in love with the TwoBirds bridesmaid dresses in charcoal grey and knew how stunning they would look on my girls. The flower girls looked like little princesses in ivory tutu dresses and faux fur ivory boleros with real flower circlets in their hair.”
“My dress was the first thing I purchased. The Stephanie Allin Bardot dress and Jasmin shrug were stunning. After seeing my Ma’s reaction when I first tried it on I knew it was the one.”
“I loved the deep ivory colour of the dress, it was so pretty and flattering. The lace was the finishing touch and made me look really beautiful and regal. I bought it from Stephanie’s London store in Chiltern Street and would recommend it to all brides – the girls are wonderful and so much fun! Stephanie herself was there for some of my appointments and really looked after me.”
Today we’re absolutely delighted to bring you an interview with Marguerite and Alan from iconic wedding label Alan Hannah. We ‘ve featured a lot of their work over the years on Love My Dress and it’s a real treat for us to be able to share this candid interview with you. There’s lots of behind the scenes stories, top tips and fabulous information here so without further ado, let’s hear from Marguerite and Alan as they answer the questions we’ve been wanting to ask them for ages!
Can you give, for readers who don’t know the story of the Alan Hannah brands, a little overview of how you got to your current position?
ALAN: Marguerite and I met in 1988 while I was designing headpieces and accessories and Marguerite was designing evening wear. I was already working with retailers as Alan Hannah and tried to convince Marguerite to design some wedding gowns for the label. She needed some persuading but eventually designed a small collection of bridal and bridesmaid dresses which we launched at Harrogate in 1990. There was a fantastic response and we gradually gained lots more retailers both in the UK and abroad. Marguerite went on to win the designer of the year award on 5 separate occasions. In 2010 we decided to launch MiaMia with the idea of having another collection which would have a more bohemian and less classic feel and to retail at a slightly lower price point.
The brand was named after 3 letters in Marguerite’s name. This collection has worked really well, and for Marguerite, a designer who doesn’t like to be pigeon-holed, an avenue to pursue a different direction without alienating our classic Alan Hannah bride.
I design a new range of bespoke accessories each season to complement the dress collections, so our brides can have something which incorporates the elements used on their dress. Separately, Alan Hannah Devoted is our jewellery collection which is produced in partnership with Jon Richard and is represented in all Debenhams stores throughout the UK and abroad. This collection offers a really affordable selection of beautiful jewellery and headpieces inspired by Marguerites dresses and something that is a wonderful keepsake to pass on to future generations. The new Alan Hannah and MiaMia collections were showcased at The White Gallery in London in April.
When you start to design a new collection, what is the process? Do you start with an overview of what you want the collection to be or a moodboard with the elements you want to include?
MARGUERITE: First of all, I am constantly sketching ideas, which can be inspired by existing designs and also completely new ideas. I try to edit these down to about 100 before I really start to work on them. I do this thematically, in each collection I like to have 3 broad themes which I split the designs into. I like to have a new collection of fabrics and embellishments to go with my initial sketches. When I have all these things around me I then like to start to drape over my mannequin and create, almost in a sculptural way how the dress is actually going to look.
An incredible hand-painted dress Photograph above and below taken by Naomi Kenton for Love My Dress®
I also make the first pattern for each dress and I know from experience what is going to work and what isn’t. Gradually the designs start to appear as real dresses and some work and some don’t. As I work, I constantly reappraise the sketches which I have edited and discard some and add some new ones. The collection grows in an organic way and sometimes takes unexpected twists and turns until after months and months a new collection is born and ready to show on the catwalk.
What part of the design process do you enjoy most?
MARGUERITE: I love actually handling the fabric and using it to sculpt the dresses. It’s so exciting to see an idea that was only a sketch coming alive in 3d form and hopefully working as I imagined it. I love the art of drapery and my biggest influences are Madeleine Vionnet and Charles James, hardly household names now but real geniuses of couture who matched an artistic flair with a mathematical exactness which is crucial in creating form on the human figure.
Happy Monday morning all, hoping you are well rested after the weekend and that the sun will be shining for us all this week. Noorin, the owner and designer behind Outsider Fashion married her husband Albert, on 15 March this year at Glandyfi Castle in Machynlleth, Wales.
Their day was fuss free with a focus on family and friends and elegant deco style.
“We both like 1920s and 1930sArt Deco style, and within my own design work I like minimalism with a twist. I wanted the overall styling of our wedding to be timeless.”
This beautiful dress can be found gracing the pages of the 1920′s chapter in my book, Style Me Vintage Weddings. Here, Noorin explains what led her to designer Sally Lacock and why she chose this particular dress.
“As an ethical/sustainable fashion designer these were key considerations as well as vintage/timeless styling when I was looking for a dress. I didn’t want to make it myself as I didn’t want the wedding to feel like an extension of work. Plus it’s nice to be the one being fussed over, usually I am doing that stuff for my own clients. Initially I was looking for a vintage dress but I couldn’t find anything quite right, finally I discovered Sally Lacock’s beautiful work.
This was the first dress I tried on at my fitting, I fell in love with it! I think the empire line is really flattering, it’s got a vintage inspired look, made from 100% silk in her studio in London so it ticked all the boxes. I really wanted to ensure my wedding dress was made of sustainable materials and was ethically manufactured. This dress even has vintage lace and button details which made it even more special. Sally is also great in the fitting, making adjustments as required and nothing is too much trouble.”
“My vintage tiara hair accessory I purchased from a selection Sally Lacock has in her studio.”
“Albert and I initially met through friends in April 2009, I was just starting my business and Albert was moving away from London so we stayed in touch as friends. Then in late 2011 we met up and fell in love all over again. Albert proposed while we were on holiday in Krakow in July 2013, so we were engaged for just over 6 months before we got married.” Noorin wore the most beautiful, Grecian inspired gown by designer Sally Lacock.”
Hello everyone! Are you ready to be dazzled? Today’s wedding is quite simply amazing, the most strikingly colourful affair, an absolute delight in hot pink, vibrant green and shimmering, glittering gold, with the stunning backdrop of a fort on the rugged and beautiful Cornish coastline. An exquisite beaded gown, bright blooms, twinkly sequined ‘LOVE’ words and some pink wellies too!
Jenny and Emiko’s beautiful wedding celebrations took place in the exquisite Polhawn Fort in Cornwall on the 2nd March 2013. Jenny is the very talented director of Hip Hip Hooray wedding stationery, and designed all the fun and colourful stationery for their own big day. Emiko is a Design Engineer in the defense sector, rather apt perhaps then to have their reception in a Fort! The couple have created a day that combines their shared love of the sea and the groom’s African heritage. The results make for the most dazzling, eye catching wedding with a super sophisticated, contemporary and glamorous feel, that really conveys them as a couple.
“Emiko is Nigerian and we wanted to bring a little bit of the colour & vibrancy of West Africa to Cornwall, and as a stationery designer, I really wanted to incorporate an unusual colour scheme (which turned out to be chartreuse green, pink and gold) with striking patterns. The gold & glittery elements were a really nice contrast to the exposed brick of the fort.”
“We hired Sama at Utterly Wow for on-the-day co-ordination and she was fabulous. It’s a ‘DIY’ venue with no staff on site, so we definitely couldn’t have done it without Sama.”
Jenny wore cute flat shoes from Debenhams and she cleverly adapted a necklace from Accessorize to create her elegant headband. All other accessories were Jenny’s own and her gorgeous natural looking make up tousled up-do were created by Milly at No. 4.
The venue décor & styling was by Elle at Inspire Hire including the unusual ghost chairs which give the sense of being invisible and uncluttered and allows the table decor to really stand out. In keeping with the influences of the day each guest received West African suya spice blends via Pepper & Stew as favours. The gold sequined ‘LOVE’ sign was by the lovely ladies at Pocketful of Dreams who create the brilliant monthly mood boards here on Love My Dress.
Jenny and Emiko’s venue was draped with pretty fairy lights, candles, stunning english garden blooms in striking and vibrant pink and greens to compliment the gold decor and african inspired stationery.
“I designed all the stationery myself which is available on request through our company Hip Hip Hooray; The laser cut round menu & order of the day fans were a big hit, they looked lovely on the gold charger plates, and so many people used them later to keep cool on the dance floor.”
“I’m not going to lie, I don’t know anything about flowers. I had worked with Jenny at Jenny Rose Flowers before on photo shoots, and had always loved what she produced. I chose her as our florist as I knew that with minimal input from me, I could trust her taste and experience impeccably. We loved what she came up with, which complemented the rest of the details perfectly.”