Bridal accessories can be a daunting task – with so much choice, so many styles and the arduous task of matching those perfect accessories with the dress, navigating your way through the wedding maze to find that perfect piece can be a real challenge. Here at Chosen Wedding Fair, we feature many types of jewellery and bespoke pieces that will help you find exactly the right piece to bring your vision to life! Today we feature one of our most popular Bristol artists – Amanda of Abigail Grace. The time and patience that Amanda puts into creating her beautiful and totally bespoke pieces is a real testament to our shows. Her passion to create something unique for your day shines through just as much as her infectious laugh and personality!
My passion in my work life is to design bespoke bridal accessories for the bride who is looking for something a little different to what she can find in bridal shops on the high street. My other passions in life are my family and my two furry doodles aka my dogs! I love to travel, drink wine, read in my spare time and I get a buzz out of helping people. P.S I loath sprouts!
Can you tell us a little bit more about the story of how you got into designing your bespoke pieces.
In 2011 I set up my first bridal accessory shop, Bridezillas based in Bristol. I was basically selling everything but the dress, which involved me selling lots of well-known designers, and then discovered I was frequently altering manufactured pieces to suit the brides needs. This then led to me making my own pieces and I discovered I had a real flair for it and also loved doing it. I have always loved creating things since I was a child, and I value the artistry that goes into every designers’ work whether that be anything from dress making to web design. Its amazing how many creative people we have here in the UK, I feel so honoured to be a part of that creative community.
Does you work have a particular style and are there any particular designers that inspire you?
Does my work have a distinct style? Yes I believe so! I know who my ideal client is and she will always love the versatility that choosing one of my designs has. My work is very much wire work based using only the finest quality components. Designers that inspire me are people like Stella McCartney and Vivian Westwood, because you instantly recognise their work as they don’t usually conform to safety and like to be acknowledged for their work being a little different.
For yourself do you have a dream brief?
That would be a bride coming to me wanting something completely unique made for her. A Bride who knows that she has something a little bit special just for her on her wedding day! I believe I create future heirlooms that can be passed down to future generations which fills me with such a sense of joy to know that I have created that piece.
Do you have any particular materials that you tend to gravitate towards?
A personal favourite I tend to use a lot of are freshwater pearls and mother of pearl. This is because of their lustre and individuality – the tones for each pearl is totally unique giving glows and shimmers of pinks, peach and ivory. They are so romantic I don’t think I will every get bored of working with them! Recently I have loved working with a touch of rose gold, especially the pieces made for the styled shoot we did together.
Can you tell us a bit more about the process you go through with your Bride on the journey to creating their bespoke accessories?
Brides usually come to me with no vision of what they want in a headpiece because the process of being a bride is all new to them. I book them in for an appointment where we discuss the details of the look as a whole. From the dress, their hairstyle, the look that they are aiming for and the comfortability factor of wearing a headpiece, we then sit down and choose a framework together. We work through what gems would suit the dress and then discuss how we could make this headpiece special for each bride. My showroom has the added luxury of showing brides the vast amount of gems they can choose from, however I now want to offer a service to brides at their home to try some products on during their hair trial so they can get a feel of the finished look before the big day.
Are there any issues with creating your pieces that you have to overcome at all during the design process?
In all honesty I find I don’t face any problems with the bespoke element of it, that is the beauty of bespoke they can all be altered to meet all different hair styles and types whereas manufactured pieces can’t because of the lack of flexibility.
We can’t talk about bridal style without mentioning the royal wedding, what do you think will be the key influences future brides will take away from this occasion?
I feel that with the demure simple look of Meghan’s dress (which was beautifully designed by Claire Waight Keller for Givenchy) means we may now see a spike in very long veils and tiaras being a thing for 2019 brides, as it did when Kate Middleton set a trend. The simple dress definitely leaves room for statement accessories and I am excited by that. Also weren’t the floral arrangements by Philippa Craddock AMAZING! I believe we will defiantly see a trend in tradition again but with a modern twist. Just like Meghan herself.
Throughout history which public figure brides really stand out for you?
Throughout the ages one of the most beautiful brides that stands out to me is Audrey Hepburn and her timeless fashion which I believe has reflected on Meghan Markle in todays current society. Both looks gives me goose bumps – such elegance! We also know Audrey was a very close friend of Hubert de Givenchy so you can definitely see similarities between the shoot Audrey did with Irving Penn in 1964 and Meghan’s look for her wedding day.
Finally what’t the best piece of advice you can give for anyone getting married?
For your overall choices when choosing your wedding look my advice is simple – be yourself! You just want to be the best version of you and you don’t want to look back on your wedding photos in 10 to 50 years time and not recognise yourself in those wedding photos. Don’t go changing too much about yourself so don’t suddenly dye your hair, or wear it up if you never wear it up. Be you!
Come say hello to Amanda this Sunday at Paintworks Events Space where we will be holding our Bristol Wedding Fair – it’s going to be a hoot!
And did you know if you pre book your tickets online before 11.30pm on Saturday 20th October you get to save 25% on entry! To take advantage of this saving click HERE
All Images by Venetia Norrington Photography