I don’t squeal. I’m calm, collected and simply love being a wedding blogger. No hysterics. So when top UK wedding dress designer Charlotte Balbier herself emailed me I didn’t squeal*. At all.
*I jumped four foot in the air and did a quick lap of the ceiling in my excitement.
Last month Charlotte Balbier did a sneaky peek preview day for her boutique owners of the new 2012 ‘Candy Kisses’ collection at www.greatjohnstreet.co.uk. The event was to give the boutiques a preview into the new 2012 collection and also to have a time to meet fellow boutique owners, relax, chat, network and be spoilt with champagne, yummy canapés and afternoon tea.
Who’d have liked to be a fly on the wall for the event, hey ladies? Tell you what, who’d like to play along RIGHT NOW and pretend we have front row seats for the exclusive wedding industry only event? Hmm?**
**I’m on the edge of my seat, hand in the air shouting ‘Meeeeeeeeee!’
Join me. Grab a canape and some pink fizz, and get a first look at Charlotte Balbier’s 2012 Candy Kisses collection. It’s so exciting… Charlotte and her team saw it first, then the boutique owners… and now we get a peek for ourselves. Yay!***
***Just fell right off the edge of my seat. So exciting.
Charlotte Balbier Candy Kisses 2012 Collection Launch
Set the scene – a bunch of gorgeous VIP guests, some of the leading UK bridal boutique owners from around the country meet for a very exclusive event in a prestigious Manchester venue. It’s the 11th of July 2011 and we’re at Great John Street Hotel, Manchester. On the roof terrace!
It’s a stunning day with beautiful sunshine which adds a party air to the event. The guests are beautifully dressed – today’s Dress Code: a touch of pink for the ladies and casual lounge suits for the gents.
I love seeing the behind-the-scenes pics of everyone getting ready. It looks like happy chaos with hair and make up underway and the cameras running to record all of the excitement.
Charlotte Balbier is involved in all the preparations for the event and has all the models’ attention. She looks amazing in that dress!
Top UK bridal designer Charlotte Balbier looks stunning in a full length hot pink Alice Temperley gown as we join her to see 31 new wedding gowns modelled on the catwalk by 6 professional models.
Charlotte Balbier (right) and Nicola Ward (left)
Amanda Wyatt (Charlotte’s Mum), Charlotte Balbier & Alan Wyatt (Charlotte’s Grandpops!) – 3 generations from the Bridal Industry working side-by-side
The food is as exclusive and appetising as you’d expect: Canapés including Cornish crab and sweetcorn fritters, seared sirloin & mini Yorkshire puddings & king prawn & coconut curry. Then afternoon Tea, including finger sandwiches, chocolate brownies and scones with all the works!!
We’re politely sipping delicious pink fizz: Pink non-alcoholic fruit punch & Perrier Jouet Pink Champagne!
Nicola is on hand with the sun cream…always prepared!!!
The moment we’re all waiting for arrives. With catwalk music including “Gotta Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn, “Love Me Do” by The Beatles, and “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones. For the Finale, “Marry You” by Bruno Mars sets the perfect tone.
Welcome to the 2012 ‘Candy Kisses’ bridal collection!
The models make an entrance in some of Charlotte’s most thrilling wedding gowns for 2012. There’s instant impact: the elegant shapes of the dresses, the sumptuous fabrics and delicious flattering shapes are to die for. Have you ever seen professional models looking so happy? No, of course not!
The White Closet in West Didsbury, owner Nikki Graeme said: “We were blown away by the Candy Kisses 2012 collection; Charlotte Balbier has once again delivered and showcased a collection which had The White Closet ladies very excited! We adored the fabrics and laces she has used with her signature feminine charm that we all know and love – we’ve already earmarked our bestsellers!
“The day itself was so well organised and we felt truly spoilt with out-of-this-world lovely canapés, vintage afternoon tea and pink punch all enjoyed on a roof terrace in the glorious sunshine of one of Manchester’s most stunning hotels – it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.” www.thewhitecloset.co.uk
Above: ‘Dora’ gown from the Candy Kisses collection by Charlotte Balbier. I love the shoulder strap with delicate flowers: pretty gerbera bouquet to go with this one, do you think? Swooooon…
Above: ‘Thelma’ gown from the Candy Kisses collection by Charlotte Balbier. A beautifully sophisticated wedding dress with the most elegant detailing to the very edge of the hem as it moves along the catwalk.
The Wedding Company in Plymouth, owner Kelly Palmer said: “The Wedding Company are delighted to be stocking a very large selection of the amazing Candy Kisses collection by Charlotte Balbier, there really is a dream dress for everyone! They are simply stunning gowns and our brides will love them. The launch on the 11th of July at Great John Street was a fantastic experience for us and the catwalk really showed the dresses off in all their splendour! We were really glad we made the effort to fly up from Plymouth! PS. The goody bags were fab! So glad to be a Charlotte Balbier stockist!” www.the-wedding-company.co.uk
Above: ‘Tutti Frutti’ gown from the Candy Kisses collection by Charlotte Balbier. My personal favourite – a shorter wedding dress, cute as candy (see?!) with flattering shoulder detailing and a plunging neckline… so many gorgeous details and a contemporary dress for the modern bride.
Above: ‘Lavender’ gown from the Candy Kisses collection by Charlotte Balbier.
Above: ‘Harriet’ gown (back view) from the Candy Kisses collection by Charlotte Balbier. How stunning…. the spaghetti strap over one shoulder, the sexy and feminine waist detailing at the back of the dress. Pippa Middleton eat your heart out! This is a stunner.
Above and immediately below: ‘Candykisses’ gown in rose pink, from the Candy Kisses collection by Charlotte Balbier. A luscious, playful and opulent wedding gown for any bride who really wants to revel in her day – the sheer luxury of this dress is a dream. I adore this pretty, uber feminine and exciting wedding gown.
The model is loving this one as well, you can just tell! Who can blame her! It’s going down a real treat with the bridal shop designers as well – a dress guaranteed to be the centre of attention at any 2012 wedding if you ask me!
What had this lady out of her seat and on her feet??!!!…
Above: ‘Ava’ wedding gown by Charlotte Balbier. Charlotte’s own interpretation of the dress we all loved so much in 2011 – the perfect creation for a princess bride. Feel very very special in this elegant and classy wedding dress: with luxurious lace and flattering detail from the narrow sash waist and full skirt… if you loved the royal wedding you will adore this Charlotte Balbier gown.
Above: ‘Dolly’ from the 2012 Candy Kisses collection. Another exciting and playful wedding dress design by Charlotte, the ruffles of this dress are so much fun – the elegant figure hugging shape of the wedding gown is pure sophistication. A dress for the young at heart, a dress to fall in love with and a dress you’ll have the time of your life wearing!
Bliss Bridal Boutique in Dorset, owner Michelle Williams said: “I was delighted to receive the invitation to an exclusive preview of the Charlotte Balbier 2012 Bridal Collection on July 11th. The excitement was immense as I knew Charlotte would, once again, create a beautiful collection of bridal gowns.
“It was a lavish celebration of her most recent ‘Candy Kisses’ collection; a sumptuous collection of vintage inspired dresses using the most finest fabrics from silks to beautiful laces touched with delicate crystals and beading. I was overawed at the catwalk show which took place on the roof terrace at the chic boutique hotel ‘St Johns Street’ in Manchester. The backdrop was simply perfect, the sun was shining, and fruity cocktails were in hand and gorgeous cupcakes ready to be eaten!
As the models sashayed down the catwalk the feminine cuts of the dresses looked fabulous, styles that will accentuate curves and flatter all figures. As I sat there I could visualise every dress from this collection in my boutique as I know my brides will absolutely adore them. Well done Charlotte for creating such a stunning collection of dresses.” www.blissbridalandoccasionwear.co.uk
The Grand Finale – Gowns from left to right – ‘Layla’, ‘Pearl’, ‘Polly’, Charlotte Balbier, ‘Pearl’, ‘Ellie’, ‘Bonbon’
The White Dress Boutique in Leamington Spa, owner Catherine Fitzgerald said: “Thank you so much from the team at The White Dress Boutique for the most fabulous day viewing the new Candykisses collection – it really is as sweet as it sounds! The amazing fabrics we expect and love from Charlotte Balbier with that classic vintage twist. After the amazing success we have had with the English Tea Party collection, we can not wait for Candy Kisses to arrive!
Charlotte’s designs have quickly become favourites with our brides and we are both extremely excited and very proud to house such special gowns.”
Emily Bridalwear in Sheffield, owner Emily Pavitt said: “With such a fabulous collection these dresses are sure to appeal to any bride. With Charlotte Balbier impeccable design and fit go hand in hand. But I have to admit that the Candy Kisses collection is better than I could have imagined. Truly stunning dresses, fab shapes and very flattering finishes. I cannot wait to get them in the shop for my brides to see how perfect they are.” www.emilybridalwear.co.uk
Above: wedding gowns from front to back – ‘Clementine’, ‘Bonbon’, ‘Martha’ & ‘Penny’
Charlotte Balbier told English Wedding, “Every year I strive to develop a collection that is fresh, creative and current for the bride of today, as well as combining charm, classical elegance and of course a sprinkling of Charlotte Balbier signature vintage lace that I have become so well known for.
“I would be lying if I said each year I am not nervous when launching a new collection and ‘Candy Kisses’ was no exception! Not only did the collection take months of preparation but so did the preview day in July. Months of careful thought and planning to ensure the 11th July was a day I could celebrate, not only the launch of ‘Candy Kisses’ but also a celebration of the partnerships I have developed with my the boutiques over the years.”
If you love Charlotte Balbier vintage inspired wedding dresses and the intricate detailing of these stunning gowns you absolutely have to see the Mini movie made by Tom @ Silk Weddings (www.silkweddingvideos.co.uk) – featured on the English Wedding facebook page as a quick preview on Wednesday night. Watch the movie here now! https://www.facebook.com/EnglishWedding/posts/240067079367324
My huge thanks to Charlotte for letting us all share this gorgeous behind-the-scenes exclusive today. What a treat! My friend and eternally generous and inspiring Manchester wedding photographer Jonny Draper is responsible for the fab photos of the event – www.jonnydraper.co.uk – and you can see him in action on the mini movie too.