Wednesday 30 June 2010

Silver Spoon

Vintage and romantic, this gorgeous silver-plated cutlery will make that first mouthful of wedding cake taste all the sweeter. Hand-engraved by a beach-living Etsy crafter, these mismatched pieces are given a new lease of life as charming future heirlooms. Team them with hammered spoon table signs or cake toppers, and start your married life as eco-friendly upcyclers. Buy them from the Beach House Living boutique and surprise your fiancé as you sit down to your first meal as husband and wife.

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My Wedding - The Stationery

This is where I tell you all about planning my own wedding. After all, if I'm publishing all these Real Weddings, it's only fair I share my trials and tribulations. Read the rest of my wedding diary here.

All the bride-guides tell you that stationery is super-important because it's the first indication your guests get of your wedding style. Now it's really easy to just put that down to gumph, and say to yourself that no one really cares what the font looks like on your invite, but I LOVE stationery, so I'm choosing to believe this particular bride-guide rule. As a consequence I have spent hours and hours looking at the various different styles and colours and fonts. I've considered the wonderful world of letterpress, and quickly turned away from it on account of expense. I've looked into DIY, I've searched Etsy, I've looked at the US stationery blogs Oh So Beautiful Paper and Paper Crave, and I still haven't decided what I'm going to do. There's just too much good stuff out there. My brain is full to busting of paper, and I'm still only halfway to deciding. On my good days, this is all part of the pleasure of planning a wedding. On my bad days, when I'm feeling broke, it's just another thing to stress about. Today was a bad day {£600+ on a plumber's bill - ouch!}, so I'm deliberately writing this to get my creative joy back.

I quickly decided against the generic British wedding invitation. They're gorgeous, they're classic, but I'm all about being original, so I'm in the market for some serious creativity. Letterpress stationery uses heavy card, and presses the font into the paper, before filling it with ink. It creates the most gorgeous effect and looks expensive, mainly because it really is super pricey. We're talking £6 an invite. So that was out. I love the idea of lots of little tags and accessories and stamps, so that opening the invitation is a bit like unwrapping a present. Check out the pictures {above} from MaeMae Paperie, and you'll see what I mean.

My emphasis is on a natural, garden feel to the wedding, so I'm drawn towards the more rustic, eco-friendly paper. However, I also love sage green, and the shutters of the Chateau are green, so stationery in that shade would be a hint towards the location. Wood is a major trend this season, and I'm all for using different materials to keep your guests guessing. You see - too many choices already!

Follow Studio {below} is probably my favourite stationery boutique right now. It's an Australian outfit, and they use these glorious sludgy colours and organic fonts. The only problem is the expense. It works out as £4 an invitation, and that's before all the extra stationery. But then again, it would be a beautiful collection designed by a talented graphic designer. Indecision-agony!

The budget alternative is to print my own. Or at least, to print some of the accessories. I'm really keen to create a welcome pack for my guests, with an info booklet and other bits and pieces, like a personalised Do Not Disturb sign for their hotel door the morning after the wedding. Along those lines, I recently purchased my first printer - an HP OfficeJet 6500, and I'm going to be having some fun practicing. If printing is easier than it looks, then I may well buy a DIY invitation set, and go it alone. I've been looking at Download & Print for their free invitation suites, and Mae Mae is planning to do her own collection too. My article for Before the Big Day on printables is here, if you want to find out more.

I'll leave you with my two wild cards {above}. They're nothing like my other ideas; one is purple, and the other startling blue. They don't fit in with my theme, but I love them too much to let them go right now. I'm super-keen on the wax seal - wouldn't it be exciting to receive an invitation in the post with one on the back. Exactly the sense of anticipation I'm trying to create for our wedding.

Have you chosen your stationery yet? Please do leave a comment about how you made your decisions! What did you go for? Send me a pic, and I can put it up on the blog, or big up your stationer here.

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Tuesday 29 June 2010

Real Wedding: Lucy & Paul

Don't hate me, but I spent yesterday by the sea-side. Yes, I know it was a Monday, but we were lucky to have the day off, so we sunbathed on Sandbanks Beach - bliss! So with memories of the sea, it's not surprising that this gorgeous Brighton Marina wedding caught my eye. Lucy and Paul celebrated their big day with the scent of salt in the air, at The Seattle Hotel, which made for some super-glam photographs with yachts in the sunny background. They kept with the kiss-me-quick theme, choosing a Punch and Judy show to entertain the younger guests, and a cool Modish scooter as their wedding transport. Lucy looked fresh and funky in her gorgeous Cymbeline Paris gown, and simple silk-edged veil. My favourite detail has to be the luxurious pink tea roses Lucy chose for her signature flower. They're exquisite, and set off the colouring beautifully. These stunning pics are by Brighton-based photographer Lisa Devlin, don't miss her website. Also, scroll down for a message from the bride about how she planned her Big Day.

Message from the bride: “We chose The Seattle as the venue for both the ceremony and reception as it had a great trendy low key vibe and the added bonus of the balcony making you feel like you on holiday in some glamourous resort. We looked at loads of other places but only the Seattle seemed to fit our personalities and style. Our flowers were by Pollen. Donal did an amazing job for our budget and I just loved them. He came over to our house and was so enthusiastic when I showed him my stash of pictures and then a photo of some Illusion Roses from a book he got really excited and just ran with the idea - he told me it would be beautiful and he was right.

My Big Tips: Enjoy the planning and accept you can't have everything you want. Nude seamless underwear is best, keep the lacey basque type stuff for the honeymoon! Get a good photographer - there is nothing nicer than looking back over your photos to give you a lift. The day goes by in a bit of a blur so it's good to remember. We really wanted to give everyone a good time so spent the bulk of our budget on good food, good wine and good entertainment. Friends and family still talk about it now so we know we chose well. Being the centre of attention isn't for everyone and at times I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and pretend my name wasn't Lucy. So take time out for a kiss with your husband or quick breather with your mates.

Make-up: Sylvi du Sauzay, Suits: Del Tailors, Rings: John Harrington, Cake: Louby Lous, Childrens' Entertainer: Mark Wild, Music: Imagine The Beatles

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Sunday 27 June 2010

Divine Sweetness

Yummy! Don't these look incredibly edible? I'm a huge fan of French macaroons - I love their pastel colours, their crispy chewiness, and the fact they're super-chic right now. Add them to your big day for a touch of je ne sais quoi. But wait! There's a secret to these tasty treats. They're actually replicas made of polymer clay by the clever artist at Divine Sweetness. Perfect as place card holders and wedding favours, they'll act as a sweet souvenirs of your big day. Flavours include raspberry, strawberry, pistachio, lemon-meringue, bubblegum and cacao. Good names for your tables, non? *Update* Diving Sweetness have just offered 10% off their macaroons for Before the Big Day readers {fabulous!}. Just type beforethebigday at check out.

Friday 25 June 2010

Independent Bride

Ladies looking to be original, listen up! If you really want your dress to be one of a kind, and you don't want to make it yourself {gulp!}, then I'd really recommend heading over to Etsy. It's one of the best sites for handmade and vintage gorgeousness, and it's chock-a-block with talented dress designers from around the world. The best news? Their prices are tiny compared to the big names. *Plus don't miss exclusive offers for Before the Big Day readers detailed below.*

Product Credits - {clockwise from top left} 1. Wedding Heaven, 2. Magnolija Dress, 3. For Your Wedding, 4 & 5. Claire LaFaye

Product Credits - {clockwise from top left} 1. Cow Girl Heaven, 2. For Your Wedding, 3. The Peppermint Pretty, 4. Tutus Chic, 5. The Peppermint Pretty

We Offers
Cow Girl Heaven are offering free shipping with the code Big Day

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Thursday 24 June 2010

Real Wedding: Amy & Jonny

You're going to love this wedding so much that you're going to want to eat it up with crumpets and honey. It's a classic English countryside affair, with lots of sweet floral accents. Amy and Jonny's chose the charming St Peter’s Church in Ightham for their ceremony, and made it extra special with singing from members of the City of London Choir. This was followed by a reception in Amy's family garden, held in a marquee decorated with stunning florals and white lanterns, plus loads of personal touches. Check out the cute lavender bags made by Amy’s mum and the Cabbages and Roses fabric napkins handstitched by the bride herself. Also loving Amy's gorgeous Amanda Wakely Sposa dress and veil, and her peony hair-clip, designed by Yasmin Rizvi. Great bridesmaid dresses too - midnight blue is such an elegant colour. Gorgeous photos, as ever, from the lovely Marianne Taylor.

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Tuesday 22 June 2010


A little bit kitch, a little bit cutesy, but a lot cool, I love these lamps! Unearthed by uber-cool style-boutique Caravan in Shoreditch, and available online, they're the latest in lighting. Decorate your rural themed wedding with a couple, and add a smidgen of forest fantasy. Alternatively, put them on your wedding list, and welcome them as low-maintenance pets into your home. Not just for Christmas, but for weddings too!

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Monday 21 June 2010

Real Wedding: Alison & Rob

Vintage, feminine and totally gorgeous. That's three words to describe Alison and Rob's exquisite English wedding last autumn, but I've got a lot more! Pretty pink and baby blue were their signature colours, and they themed their wedding in an old-fashioned style with mismatched antique tea-cups, cupcake-stands, rose-studded lavender bag favours and minature luggage tags as place-markers. It poured with rain on their big day, but it didn't spoil their reception, which the happy couple hosted in the beautiful Sun Pavilion, with its stained glass, domed roof. I love how Alison and Rob chose a flowering plant on each table, instead of cut blooms - so much more eco-friendly, and fitting with their English garden theme. Other stealworthy ideas include the bridesmaids' corsages, the simple scrolling font on their stationery, and the Elvis song table names. All these gorgeous pictures published with thanks to Olivia Brabbs Photography.

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Sunday 20 June 2010

Love Lobster

So I'm not sure why you might want to theme your wedding around the symbol of a lobster, but for some reason, I've fallen in love with it. There's something so bold and red and nautical about it. My only defence is that lobster does taste good, and a lobster dinner would be a fantastic {if messy} way to celebrate your big day. Also...I'm not the only one - check out this wedding for evidence. All this is proof that you can pick whatever you like as a symbol of your wedding, even a whiskery, stinky crustacean, and it'll still be cool. *Update* Don't miss the exclusive offers for Before the Big Day readers below.

Product Credits {from top left} 1. Creative Ris, 2. D Dots, 3. Royal Kane {from bottom left} 1. Mad Meringue, 2. Becca Michele, 3. Royal Blue Papers

We ♥ Offers - mention Big Day at check-out to receive the discount
Royal Kane are offering 10% off their whole range, including t-shirts and pillow cases
Royal Blue Papers are offering 10% off their stationery.

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Saturday 19 June 2010

Badge Save the Date

In the constant quest to find an original angle to anything wedding, I stumbled across these fantastic Save the Dates. Created by Toast Events in their New York studio, these badge invites can be customised anyway you like. I love the idea of choosing four motifs for your wedding, what symbols would you choose? I reckon all your guests would turn up on the day wearing the badges, and they'd all feel part of your special wedding club! *Update* Toast are offering 10% off all purchases, exclusive to readers of Before the Big Day - just mention Big Day at check out.

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Friday 18 June 2010

That Friday Feeling ♥ 7

Ooo, lucky number 7. Huge apologies for missing last week, I went dress shopping at the Jenny Packham sample sale {naughty}. I didn't find a dress, but I did buy a gorgeous gold sequin shrug, which glams up any outfit. I've had a very successful web surf this week, check out my fabulous finds, starting with these two fabulous photographs which made me smile. I want a giraffe at my wedding! {Credits - Giraffe: Max Wanger, Confetti: Celine Chaplin}.

♥ When something blue becomes everything blue, and rocks! {via Once Wed}
♥ A masterclass in using fruit at your wedding, in this case orange {via Ruffled}
♥ It's all about textual relations at this stunning vintage wedding {via 100 Layer Cake}
♥ Our very own Marianne Taylor on Style Me Pretty, with a fantastic London wedding
♥ Love, love, love this bride's ruffled dress from J Crew, and the groom doesn't look to shabby either! {via Rock 'n Roll Bride}
♥ And the bride wore....yellow? {via Once Wed}
♥ I'm seriously thinking of sending this DIY bridesmaids' cards to my own ladies

And if you're looking for some vintage Before the Big Day features, you can't do better than these archive postings.....
Being British theme
Rubber Stamp your big day
♥ A gorgeous rustic eco wedding

Love these links? Check out more Friday Feeling features.

DIY Pom Love

Pompoms. I'm obsessed. They're something about their frothy loveliness and their vulnerable tissue petals that makes me want to hug them. Of course I can't, because that would crush them, but that just adds to their hugability. It's the same feeling I get when I see kittens, or pugs, or babies' fat legs. {Ahem, moving swiftly on...} Anyway, I'm seriously thinking of decorating my own wedding with hundreds of them, so I started to look into how easy they are to DIY. The good news is that they're incredibly simple. The bad news for my girlfriends, is that my hen party is now going to be a pom-pom making party. If you don't want to spend the next few months up to your elbows in tissue paper, you can buy them from Pom Love, but if you want a DIY tutorial...check this out! P.S. You can make confetti out of the leftover bits of tissue paper, if you buy a paper stamp from here.

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Thursday 17 June 2010

Real Wedding: Hannah & John

Kilts and feather boas are two things not often associated with each other, but when a Scotsman marries a fashion designer, you wouldn't expect anything else. This wedding is a tartan-fest! There's even a piper with bagpipes and sporrans a-plenty. Hannah and John chose Wiston House in Sussex for their big day, and celebrated in modern style with some simply gorgeous details to snaffle. My fav spots are Hanna's exquisite silky dress with lacy shoulders, and her beautiful flowing bouquet complete with Highland thistles. Love the dramatic dining room and the block table markers, named after their favourite tracks....including a Chesney Hawkes classic! A big thank you to Simon Fazackarley for his fantastic pictures, aren't the tennis shots brilliant!

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