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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Barrow’s bride and joy

The Designer Wedding Show, which took place at Barrow’s Forum 28 yesterday, is the first of two annual wedding shows in the town that makes organising your special day as easy as saying “I do”.

From deciding who to invite, to where it takes place and what gifts to get the bridesmaids – the ‘to do’ list when organising your nuptials can sometimes seem endless. But with a host of specially chosen exhibitors under one roof, all eager to tell you more about their goods and services – a wedding show can make the whole experience simpler and stress free.

The good news is that the Designer Wedding Show, which took place at Barrow’s Forum 28 yesterday, is the first of two annual wedding shows in the town that makes organising your special day as easy as saying “I do”.

The show, organised by the North West Evening Mail and CN Event Management, brings together a wealth of exhibitors including photographers, bridal houses, venues, jewellers, beauty salons, florists and cake makers, as well as three spectacular catwalk fashion shows.

For those seeking inspiration when it comes to choosing their wedding gown – and let’s face it girls it is the number one priority for most brides-to-be – the catwalk fashion show at the event is a brilliant starting point.

During the first of three 50 minute catwalk shows models showcased the season’s latest stunning gowns from three of the region’s top bridal houses – Marrime and Frothimoon, both from Kendal, and Bells & Thistles of Ulverston. Models sashayed down the catwalk in a series of princess-like wedding gowns beautifully embellished with crystals, lace and embroidery and were met with rapturous applause.

But it was the winners of the Evening Mail’s competition for young models to showcase the season’s latest flowergirl and bridesmaids dresses who drew the largest rounds of applause. Looking pretty as a picture and every inch the professionals, tiny Mia McMurray, aged four, Jessica Leigh Barton, aged seven, and Natalie Niven, aged six, all from Barrow, along with Ellie Blowers, also six, from Askam, literally stole the show as they skipped happily down the catwalk in their beautiful dresses.

While outside the main hall, those waiting for the next show to start found it easy to occupy their time as they perused the stands in the main exhibition hall, while listening to the soothing sounds of talented harpist AnnaKate Pearson. Windermere’s AnnaKate, a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music is available to play at both wedding ceremonies and receptions. She says: “My music covers many different styles, from classical and traditional music through to contemporary pieces.”

Choosing a wedding cake – especially the tasting sessions can be one of the most pleasant duties for any bride and groom-to-be.

As well as offering couples the chance to taste their wares, Beaulea’s Cake Studio was showcasing a mouth-watering selection of their amazing creations on their stand. From an elegant square, three tiered cake in the season’s popular black and white theme, to a three tiered cake-stand featuring a selection of the studio’s handmade and decorated cup cakes – the studio’s marvellous cakes drew lots of attention.

Lea Rogers, owner of the studio which she opened in Bowness four years ago and which is named after her daughter Beaulea, was only too happy to talk about her business, which is also her passion.

She says: “All of our cakes are made on site at the studio by myself and my assistant Mary, a trained cake decorator. We use no additives or preservatives and never have.

“We don’t have a catalogue because each and every cake is bespoke – designed individually for each couple.

“But brides-to-be can come to our studio and see a vast array of cakes and can even organise a tasting session on Saturdays.”

She adds that prices for her wonderful bespoke creations start from £500.

If you are planning a Lakes wedding, an increasingly popular choice of venue for brides is the Victory Hall in Broughton, which works in partnership with the caterers at the Old Kings Head, who can also offer wedding party accommodation, to make a couple’s wedding day as special as it can be.

Karen Clarke of the Old King’s Head, says: “We’re here to highlight the attractions of a South Lakes wedding. Broughton is so close to Barrow – just a 20 minute drive and you are in the heart of the South Lakes.”

Another venue closer to home, keen to show off its wedding facilities was the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel on Barrow’s Abbey Road. Marketing manager for the hotel, Kim Robinson, says: “We finished our refurbishment in January and our stylish upstairs function room can easily cater for up to 120 seated guests and 150-200 for a buffet.”

Of course one of the most important parts of the big day for any bride is looking and feeling a million dollars and Faye Grafton and the staff at Ulverston’s Eden Beauty stall were busy showing ladies how it was done – carrying out live displays of their eyelash extensions and manicures which attracted a small crowd.

While, booking an appointment with a dentist may not be the first thought for any bride-to-be, Beverly Louw, the business manager at Ardent Dental Care soon put me straight. The dental centre on Barrow’s Oxford Street offers a number of cosmetic dental procedures to help give all brides the perfect smile on her special day – including teeth straightening and whitening.

Beverly explained: “We are here promoting our Invisalign tooth straightening treatment, where you simply wear a clear, removable brace over your teeth to straighten them over a time, anything from six months to 24 months.

“We also offer tooth whitening, facial peels, botox and derma fillers.”

While the treatments don’t always come cheap. Beverly adds: “We also offer 12 months interest free finance deals.”

While Ardent Dental Care can help to give every bride the perfect smile, Efflorescence based on Ironworks Road in Barrow can help brides-to-be bring their vision for their wedding venue to life.

Run by sisters Maureen Claydon and Pauline Wilkinson, the company not only provides flowers for weddings but chair covers, organza sashes, table swags and accessories for your big day.

Pauline says: “We are so much more than just a flower shop and we cover the whole of the South Lakes and into the Lake District.”

While the majority of visitors to the show were women, there was nonetheless plenty to catch the eye of any discerning groom-to-be.

Lindows Jewellers had plenty of gift ideas for ushers, the best man and the groom, as well as an array of beautiful wedding rings and jewellery.

Owner Ken Lindow says: “We offer a wide selection of interesting and unique rings and giftware and anyone who buys a ring with us can have it inscribed with a personal message free of charge as a gift from us.”

  • If you couldn’t make yesterday’s show the next Designer Wedding Show takes place at the Forum on Sunday, October 4, 2009.

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