Category Archive: Wedding

Feb 04 2015

Haute Couture SS15: 10 Beautiful Wedding Gowns

zuhair-murad-ss15-coutureThe beauty of Haute Couture is the glamour, the knowledge that the garments take hundreds of hours to produce, mostly by hand, nearly all bespoke, and always with no real budget in mind, it is why I love it so much as it is basically pure fantasy, and it’s the wedding gowns that inspire the most.

I think this has been one of the best Paris Haute Couture Week’s for a while, truly inspiring craftsmanship that really showcased the best in forward-thinking designs, and the bridal gowns were just exquisite. Elie Saab always inspires brides with his beaded beauties, but I’ve also included gorgeous, dramatic and sexy gowns by Zuhair Murad, Ralph & Russo, Versace, and a contemporary, quirky gown designed by Jean Paul Gaultier that if I had seen it before my own wedding I think I would have totally fallen in love with that tiered tulle skirt.

So if you are currently on the hunt for your perfect wedding gown, why not take inspiration from these 10 gorgeous bridal gowns:

Jean-paul-gaultier-SS15-Cou SS15-Couture-bridal-2 ralph-and-russo-ss15 SS15-Couture-bridal-1 stephane-rolland-ss15- SS15-Couture-bridal-3

Do anyone of these gorgeous wedding gowns come close to the dress you have pictured for your big day?

[Pics: Vogue]


Jan 07 2015

My Wedding: The UK Celebrations & Another Gorgeous Gown

My-wedding-downhall-7It’s been two months since the most amazing week ever, I get to say a week as I was a spoilt bride and I got to do my fabulous day twice, in two different countries, and in two incredible wedding gowns. I have already shared with you New York, it was truly magical, everything I could have wished for and more, I don’t think it could have gone any better, but right from the start we knew that New York was for us, quiet, intimate and romantic, and we’d need a UK celebration to party with our friends and family.

It was the UK side of our wedding that pilled on the stress, from finding the right venue, organising flowers, food, and entertainment, as well as last minute nerves about my dress, well you’ve seen my New York beauty – I was worried that the UK gown just wasn’t special enough, but I think this is so normal for brides to worry about, as on the day I felt absolutely beautiful and I think this Ellis Bridal gown was perfect for dancing the night away at a country manor hotel.

The gown, like for any bride, was very important to me, I wanted something simple, yet stunning, with a little bit of bling, and something that was timeless, which was very important to me as I want to look back at these images and still love my dress, and I think it really does tick all those boxes and more, especially after my amazing seamstress at Fleur de Lys Bridal worked her magic and made it perfect.


Unlike our New York wedding we weren’t bless with great weather, instead there weren’t any blue skies in sight, so we only had a short window to take our snaps before the torrential rain came down and the light was lost. I think we pulled it off, just, I have to be honest looking at wedding photos really does make you self-conscious, sometimes all I can see are my flaws, and I have shed a tear or two over the UK snaps. But looking again at them with a more positive outlook I really can see the beauty and fun in the day and the gown, it really was such a happy occasion, and I hope that comes across.

What I love most about this gown is the tulle skirt, I just couldn’t stop twirling, and it really did help me dance the night away, as it was super light, very comfortable and even though there was a lot of dress it didn’t get in the way of anything, which was helped as there was no train as I had the seamstress cut it all off and make it more into a ballgown, more Old Hollywood, and a lot easier to walk and dance in.

Accessories were again kept to the minimum, I kept the same Kate Spade clutch from New York, the same Jimmy Choo heels, which I didn’t take off until I was walking up the ten flights of stairs at the end of the night to the bridal suite, the same diamond stud earrings, and even the same bracelet, the only real difference was a switch up on the vintage necklace. For New York I went with pearls, I just think it fitted the vintage dress and city, but for this tulle beauty I thought my Mum’s vintage crystal bead necklace would work better, and I am so glad I did as they sparkled beautifully.


The day was such a giggle, and I have to really thank my fabulous hair and make-up team, the wonderful Mercedez who did an amazing job making me look beautiful as well as doing the most perfect nail art, and Amy who put together a fabulous hair-do, that was modern and fun with the side braid, while still having that Old Hollywood feel about it. I can’t recommend both ladies enough, they were a calming influence on the day, I think we had a lot of fun getting ready, and I love how my look turned out and it definitely helped me feel more relaxed on the day.

If you are in the midsts of planning your wedding, congrats and good luck, but remember that with all the stress and worry is an amazing day that you will remember for ever, just allow yourself to have fun and enjoy the moment. I sure did, and even though everything didn’t go according to plan, not that anyone noticed, I don’t think we could have plan it any better and I am so pleased that it was the party we wanted to celebrate our marriage and huge thanks to our friends and family who came – you guys made it a day to remember.

So what do you think – do you prefer my UK or New York wedding gown? It is hard for me to choose as they are both so beautiful and different from one another, I’m just so lucky to have found two amazing dresses that were so perfect for me.

My-wedding-downhall-5 My-wedding-downhall-3 My-wedding-downhall-8My-wedding-downhall-14My-wedding-downhall-9[Pics: Spence Frederick/Fashionista Barbie]


Jan 02 2015

My Wedding: My Two Little Cats Bakery New York Cupcake Tower

My-Wedding-Cake-20littlecatsbakeryDeciding on a wedding cake was hard, especially as we had already chosen to go with a dessert station filled with our favourite cakes, think gooey chocolate cake, black forest gateau and a raspberry and white chocolate number that was to-die for, but I just felt without a cake that it wouldn’t feel like a wedding but just a regular party, and basically I like any excuse to eat cake!!!

The last thing I wanted was traditional, nothing else about our wedding had been and I think having a traditional tiered wedding cake would have looked plain wrong, but I knew that I needed something that could act as the centrepiece to the dessert bar. So after a marathon Pinterest session I decided that a cupcake tower would be perfect, and that having a New York theme would really tie-in with our destination wedding.

I had thought that going down the New York route was going to be easy, I was wrong, so many bakeries just want to do traditional and aren’t really interested in thinking of something creative as well as delicious, well that was until I found Two Little Cats Bakery, thanks to the wonders of Twitter, and even more miraculous they were local in Cambridge.

What I loved about Two Little Cats Bakery, other than the fact their cupcakes are heavenly, has to be their creative approach to each project they take on, they really took my ideas and used our wedding invitation to create something so cool, I nearly, I say nearly didn’t want to eat any of my cupcakes. They created little mini hotdogs, statue of liberty’s, big apples, as well as placing the New York skyline from our invite onto the top cutting cake. Stunning isn’t enough of a word, I was so blown away by the craftsmanship of our cakes.

As well as them looking magnificent they tasted amazing as we picked all our favourites from their extensive list of flavours, which I love as they are twists on classics. Like the lemon meringue, it is more than just a lemon cupcake it has lemon curd, crushed meringue pieces as well as the most dreamy lemon buttercream, oh my I am getting hungry just thinking back to this beauties. We wanted to offer our guests some variety so we also went with vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, Neapolitan, and cookies and cream, which everyone loved. To top it all off them we went for a carrot cake as our top cutting cake as it is the groom’s favourite.

With most bakeries I spoke to my order was considered so small that they didn’t really want to put the effort in, which is the last thing you want to hear when you are planning your special day, Two Little Cats Bakery was the complete opposite as they were so excited about being part of our celebration, and I really thinking that shows in their work as all our guests only had positive things to say about our cupcake tower.

If you are bride in the Cambridgeshire or Hertfordshire area you should totally head on over to Two Little Cats Bakery and check out their amazing gallery of work, which I love includes my wonderful tower, and trust me your guests will be pleased you did as their cakes are so incredibly tasty, I kind of wish we had given them our whole dessert bar to cater!!!

I know it is the New Year and I am suppose to be thinking healthy but I think after all that reminiscing I might have to order a cupcake box to keep the memories alive!!!

My-Wedding-Cake-2 My-Wedding-Cake-3[Pics: Fashionista Barbie / Two Little Cats Bakery]


Dec 31 2014

Bye 2014: You Really Have Been An Amazing Year


2014 – Where shall I start? This year has definitely been one of my best, if not the best, and a lot of it can be summed up in this one photographed from my New York wedding in November.

2014 really has been a year of fairytale love, pure joy and lots of laughter, nothing is ever perfect but I think it came pretty close. Paulie and I have been together for over 11 years, we haven’t had a bad one, but this year really has given years to come a tough act to follow, but I really can’t wait to give it a go.

The wedding really was a huge focus this year, well I did only have nine months to organise it on both sides of the pond, but it really was such a fun experience and I am so glad that I threw myself into it as I am so pleased with how everything came together. Granted it didn’t all go smoothly, I will tell you about that more when I share the UK celebrations, as I finally have the professional pictures back, but one thing this year has taught me is that you can’t regret, you have to be happy how it went and trust your feelings of love and happiness that it was a good day, just one of the many things I will be taking away from wedding planning.

The other thing a wedding brings into your life is the confidence to love being you. This is more than just the fact that everything is about you, even though that helps, but knowing that someone unconditionally loves you really puts a new perspective on how you look at yourself. I have never felt as content as I have done this year, especially the last six months, and I just hope that this new found self-confidence and feeling can keep on going into 2015.

Planning a wedding though does take up a lot of time, more than I thought actually, which has meant that Fashionista Barbie, which I might add isn’t my full-time job has taken a little breather this year. You will have noticed less posts, less trips, and generally a quieter feeling, and I promise that this is going to change for 2015.

Fashionista Barbie is turning five at the beginning of February, so crazy that I have been blogging on here for five years, and I think it is time for a refresh. You are going to see a new look, new categories as I really want to feature more travel and interior posts, as well as more detailed features such as costumes from the movies, fashion history, and opinion posts, areas that I can do some research and get a little stuck into with my writing.

There will also be more regular features cropping up, fingers crossed more interviews, I would love to do a how did you get into fashion series as I love hearing people’s career stories, as well as weekly shopping wishlists, sharing my fashion library as I am addicted to fashion books, a wedding planning series sharing my wisdom and love for pretty things, and of course with award season coming up you can expect a lot more red carpet action. I even promise to do more style blogs, I had lots of lovely feedback this year so I am going to think positive, try and be less awkward and just enjoy it.

I have loads of ideas, a year focusing on something else really has made me hungry again to make this the best blog I can possible do, and I can’t wait to share them all, as well as the new-look which fingers crossed you will all love and will be ready in time to celebrate my Fashionista Barbie blogging anniversary.

How has your 2014 been and what would you like to see on the new-look Fashionista Barbie?

[Pic: IHNY Photos]

Dec 09 2014

My Wedding: My Purely Diamonds Wedding Ring


I didn’t know how important my wedding ring would mean to me until the love of my life placed it on my finger during out vows, it was at that moment I was so pleased that I didn’t go with a plain band and added some sparkle as it really represents what a beautiful moment we both shared.

I love jewellery especially bracelets and necklaces but rings I find hard to choose, I am not sure why, but the wedding band worried me a lot. My worries tripled after visiting numerous high street jewellers and trying on lots of bling rings that I just felt weren’t right for me and didn’t complement my engagement ring. I was so please when Purely Diamonds got in touch about their bespoke design service as it really did make the wedding ring search so easy.

My-wedding-IHNY-26What I loved most about Purely Diamonds was that they really understood that I was looking for a ring that didn’t overpower engagement ring, they took my concerns, my dreams and wishes, and truly designed a gorgeous ring that thankfully didn’t have any round or square diamonds, which was a big thing for me as I wanted emerald cut just like my engagement ring.

During the process I don’t think I was much help, all I knew was the shape of diamond, the colour – it had to be platinum, and it had to be a similar band size to my engagement ring. I think they would have loved for me to say what carat weight and clarity but I have no clue on that sort of thing, but lucky for me the team really know there stuff and were super patient with me and I loved that they even photoshopped the ring design next to my engagement ring so I could really see that it complemented it impeccably.

I love that it adds to the beauty of my engagement ring that Paulie designed with a subtle-yet-beautiful line of diamonds, which really do twinkle perfectly when the light catches them. Separately my rings are beautiful, together though they really are divine and Purely Diamonds really did capture our love perfectly.

Using an online jeweller might worry some people, but once you scroll through their rings, be warned there are a lot, you will see the quality and beauty of their designs, and don’t worry if you don’t see something that isn’t quite right, trust me they will be able to design it for you.

Did you struggle to find your perfect wedding ring?


Want to see more from my New York wedding? Well check out my becoming a Mrs post, a close up look at my gorgeous vintage wedding gown, and the Priv team behind my stunning hair and make-up.

[Pics: IHNY Photos]



Dec 08 2014

My Wedding: A Priv Makeover

My-wedding-IHNY-12One of the main stresses about getting married in New York, after figuring out how I was going to pack my amazing wedding dress into a tiny carry-on case, had to be who was going to do my hair and make-up. Unlike my search here in the UK, I didn’t have friends in New York who do hair and make-up, I didn’t have anyone to recommend wedding make-up artists, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a trial, so it would have to be do-or-die on my actual wedding day.

I was freaking about it until at least a week before I flew out until I got an invite to the launch of PRIV, an incredible beauty and wellness service at the top of an app, which was launching in London but was already huge in New York. PRIV literally offers everything from haircuts, blow drys, make-up, manicures, massages and even personal trainer sessions. Oh and did I mention it isn’t crazy expensive, we are talking £38 for a blow dry and style or a manicure with nail art, and their stylists will come to you. Super easy and I really don’t know what I would have done without them.

I was lucky, the PR pulled a few strings and got me the full monty nails, make-up and an up-do, basically a wedding makeover, and I was treated to the best that PRIV has to offer, and I was truly looked after – thank god they launched in London and came on my radar.

I had my nails done the night before, the lovely India came to my hotel suite, dealt with the moody Soho Grand lighting like a pro, and worked my vision of having blush, pink nails with a glittery silver tip with ease. I wanted something fun that would compliment my vintage wedding gown and its heavy beading, while still being girlie and romantic. I was so pleased with the result, the colour was perfect and the silver had just enough sparkle.

My-Wedding-PRIV-nailsMy-Wedding-PRIV-hairWhen it came to my hair, I had a vision, I knew I wanted my fringe down, apparently this isn’t a popular wedding option, I wanted a braid, I am a little obsessed – see my Pinterest, and I wanted a chic ponytail, but I have to be honest I was worried that my look wouldn’t be bridal enough for my gown, and if I had anyone other than Michael I am not sure it would have turned out as gorgeous as it did.

I loved the contrast between the drama in the side braid, which worked perfectly with the pearl pins I picked up on eBay, and the modern-chic vibe of the ponytail. I just felt it was perfect for a fun, elopement in New York City. My worry when looking at wedding hair inspiration was that I would look old, stuffy and not myself, and I was so pleased that Michael worked his magic with my very untraditional bridal vision and produced a truly unique look.

What also made this look perfect was the fact it lasted all day, honestly there wasn’t a hair out of place when we got back after a great day, and it lasted through hours of shooting our wedding photos, most of which were outside and it lasted for champagne shenanigans and dinner. I was seriously impressed.

My-Wedding-PRIV-makeup-For my make-up the only thing I had shared with Mariana before she arrived was that I wanted bold eyes, as when you wear glasses you need to go bolder for it to stand-out and be noticed. Mariana did a wonderful job, she didn’t make my foundation too heavy, while still making me feel gorgeous and covered, she didn’t go crazy with the blusher, one of my biggest worries when getting my make-up done, and she made my eyes really pop.

I love that she came prepared with options, not that she needed them that she thought about adding individual lashes to work with my glasses, and that she prepped my skin to perfection so that my wedding look stayed put all-day long.

My transformation didn’t take long, the PRIV glamsquad are masters of their trade and I was super impressed with their skill, their personalities, we really did have a giggle, as well as everyone understanding what a big day it was for me, I felt like they went above and beyond what they needed to do and they certainly made me feel and look fantastic, as well as create looks that matched my vintage wedding gown.

PRIV has just launched in London, in selected areas for now but I am sure it will grow in the coming months, so why not download the app on Apple and Android, it is free, and treat yourself – why not just before a big date for a work event, or just because – trust me you will feel a million dollars afterwards.

I am really pleased with my wedding looks – do you think my vision worked with my New York wedding?

My-wedding-IHNY-23 My-wedding-IHNY-22[Pics: IHNY, Fashionista Barbie, @nycbraun@marianabull74]

Dec 05 2014

My Wedding: A Closer Look At My Vintage Wedding Gown


I don’t know any bride, who doesn’t want an incredible wedding gown, but it is hard to get something unique, dramatic-yet-still elegant, with an Old Hollywood feel that is within some reasonable budget. Add on top the rest of my very long wishlist, not too white, a wow skirt, beading or embroidery and with romantic floaty sleeves – I thought it was more fantasy than reality.

I wasn’t against a modern, boutique gown, I would have loved the money to treat myself to a designer number like Vera Wang or Elie Saab, but I was realistic with my finances and I just felt that a vintage beauty would be more fitting to our elopement wedding in New York, and would possible give me that couture, red carpet feeling without the price tag.

I know vintage doesn’t mean cheap, but I was willing to hunt around for the one. Thankfully I didn’t search long for my gorgeous gown, to be honest I didn’t search at all. My gown came to me by chance, we had only been engaged less than a month when our friends who were with us in New York came to stay and we took them to Bury St Edmonds, we kind of took a wrong turn exploring the town and we found vintage store, House Of Huxster. I thought it was a long shot, but as soon as I saw it I loved it, I didn’t think it would fit me, but I loved it and thank god for stretch!


It needed a little work, it originally had spaghetti straps, which I felt didn’t really do the dress justice, and it didn’t have enough drama on the bottom, but I was introduced the incredible Irene, an amazing seamstress and she really did work her magic. She added floaty sleeves to add a touch of romance, more layers of pouf under the skirt, re-shaped the skirt, added a belt, and made more tulle ruffles that were so close to the original that you can’t even tell which ones are new. Irene basically brought my vision to life, held my hand through those wobbles of thinking I was too fat, the worry that it was too formal for what we were doing, and my last-minute panic that Paul wouldn’t like it, I should have known that he would love it.

The gown to me just felt like it was made for New York. I love everything about the gown and how it combined everything I wanted – the beading, the tulle, the sleeves and the unusual skirt, which is my favourite thing about the dress – it looks great in photos, but more than that it made me feel like I was floating when I walked. It was the most perfect gown and I am so pleased the professional pictures from I Heart New York have come out so well, the dress really shines.


As the dress makes such a statement I didn’t want to go too crazy with my jewellery so I went for pieces that I felt complimented it. The highlight being my great grandmother’s pearls, they are so gorgeous, I love the off-white colour and the fact that they are 80 years old I just felt that they belong with my vintage number, and when else can you get away with wearing the most exquisite pearl necklace.

I then went for Tiffany infinity bow bracelet that was a present from Paul a couple of years ago, which looked great with my silver heart bracelet from my friend Sarah, I just loved that she made Paul give it to me on the plane over to New York as she received one before her wedding, and the final piece of arm candy was my pearl and silver cuff from the Jenny Packham for Debenhams collection that I found in my jewellery box just before we flew out, I love how it has similar beads to my dress. The final touch were my Kenneth Jay Lane sparkly earrings, something simple that catches the light.

My-wedding-IHNY-21 My-wedding-IHNY-8

The last thing to mention about my New York wedding look are my shoes. My plan was to have navy blue, to match Paul’s tux jacket, the only problem was that my vintage gown didn’t have the height to take anything higher than 2 inch heels, which I am so pleased about now, and I just couldn’t find anything I liked. I wanted designer shoes without the price tag so I went on the sample sale hunt and that’s when I spotted these white Jimmy Choo with a tiny heel, they are super comfortable and I love the pointy toe on them.

My-wedding-IHNY-5 My-wedding-IHNY-11

The surprise addition, which looks like it was made just for me, was my Mr And Mrs clutch from Kate Spade. Paul actually ordered this beauty and picked up on our wedding day, it was such a lovely surprise and it seems I am not the only one loving it as it has been a bit of a hit on Instagram. Well if you can’t find statement heels you have to do a clutch!

It feels like an end of chapter finally showing off my amazing wedding gown, especially as I kept it a secret not just from Paul but nearly everyone as I wanted it to make a statement, which I hope it did. I know everyone has an opinion on wedding gowns and I would love to hear what you think of my choice, as I really couldn’t be happier with it.

My-wedding-IHNY-1-aMy-wedding-IHNY-9 My-wedding-IHNY-7My-wedding-IHNY-3

[Pics: IHNY Photos]
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