Thursday, 19 August 2010

Sparkle & Hay

One of the best things about wedding blogging is the sense of community. Ever since I started, and it's coming up to a year now {wow!}, I've been endlessly impressed by the kindness and enthusiasm of other wedding obsessives like myself. Some of the girls are still planning, while others caught the bug designing their big days, and have stuck with it thanks to a love of all things creative. Erin of the fab blog Sparkle & Hay is still in the early stages, and I discovered her blog after Style Me Pretty featured her amazing Save the Dates. I quickly discovered we have very similar taste, and we now regularly check out each other's sites for inspiration. I simply adore her Save the Dates, and Erin and her husband-to-be, Dan, have very kindly agreed to let me feature them here on Before the Big Day so you can see them too! Designed alongside Lucinda Wesson of Chocolate Creative Design and pictured by Anna Sawin, they hint at the wedding to come, with clues created to inspire the senses. Exactly what a Save the Date should do!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Real Wedding: Christine & Lee

Camellias are up there with my very favourite of flowers, not least because in the UK they bloom so early in the springtime, and remind us all that summer is coming. They also make for the most gorgeous backdrop to romantic wedding photographs, as you can see from these fab shots from Christine and Lee's big day. Their wedding was inspired by the marine elements, and they chose jeweled shades of green to complement the cobalt blue sea. Seagulls soared the skies, while lighthouses instilled the air with a colonial feel. The bride wore an elegant Enzoani gown while the bridesmaids looked dashing in J Crew (reasonable in price and totally glam). I'm seriously loving this super-well-designed event, with the subtle sea-side detailing and dramatic setting. Gorgeous photographs from the talented ladies at Simply Bloom.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

BBD Theme: BBQ Bliss

BBQ's are so hot right now! With the emphasis on outdoor living, and being at one with nature, more and more couples are opting for a BBQ wedding reception. Don't worry, they don't need to be messy DIY affairs involving burnt sausages and raw chicken! Hire in a chef, and stick to satay or steak, sizzled to order. The best thing? It'll work out way cheaper than a sit-down meal, with the added benefit of no waste. Check out these gorgeous accessories from Etsy, including fabulous ideas for stationery and favours.

Product Credits - {from top left} 1. SMC801, 2. K is for Calligraphy, 3. Sweet Wish Store, 4. Monkey Mind Design 09, 5. Blue Moon Studios {from middle left} 1. Shay Aaron, 2. Girlingear Studio, 3. Creative Chics Home {from bottom left} 1. Swanky Press, 2. Weddin Bee, 3. Love Knotes, 3. Miss Pickles Press, 4. Rock Paper Sisters Co

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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Little Treasures

My eye caught on this selection of gorgeous romantic jewellery, and I knew I needed to share! I love each unique piece, freshly designed in Sigal's Israel studio. My favourite pieces are the delicate rose headband and the knotted pearls. Both would be fabulous additions to a bridal outfit, and they're so reasonably priced, you could pick them up for your bridesmaids too! Check out Whimsy Treasures for more.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Save the Dates

My mind has been totally occupied by Save the Dates over the last few weeks, as I've tried to choose what we should have for our own wedding. Now that's settled, I can share with you all the lovely original ideas I found on my trawl through webland. Thanks to Etsy, there's no excuse for boring invitations!

Product Credits - {from top} 1. Invited Ink, 2. Paper Monkey Press, 3. Melangerie NYC

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS or click here for more stationery ideas.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

My Wedding - The Stationery #2

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.

You'll see from the title of this article, that I'm still obsessing about stationery. It's got to the stage where I really need to get our Save the Dates out. We're not getting married till 28th May 2011, but I'm keen for everyone to be able to pick up the cheapest Easyjet flights, so we need to be organised.

After endless agonising and pondering, I've finally settled on stamping the Save the Date statement on a business card-sized piece of balsa wood, stamping the other side with my key symbol, adding a Mini Moo card with the details of our website, and pegging them together with a tiny peg. These will all go in a miniature brown envelope. Whew! Lots of fiddly bits, but I'd like to add intrigue to the invitations, and build the anticipation for the wedding. Originally I was going to use luggage tags, but I really liked the unusual, natural element of the wood, and it fitted in with my Secret Garden theme.

 Meanwhile, I've been a big fan of Mini Moo cards for a few years. They enable you to create your own designs, and the finished products arrive in these cute boxes, and are just the most desirable things ever. The added bonus is that because I get their newsletter, I get their discounts, so 100 of them only cost about £10 including postage - bargain! The balsa wood cards were a custom order from Perch Papiers, and I already had those from early in my planning, but choosing an ink stamp was really difficult. I spent hours and hours looking through Etsy for the perfect stamp, and then realised that if my stationery is going to look a professional package, then I'm going to need everything to be in the same font. 

If you're DIY-ing your stationery, then you've probably already figured this out, but if you're just starting out, my advice is to choose a font first. Now in my quest to be constantly original, I didn't want to use just any old Windows font, so I went in search of special free ones online. Be warned - there are thousands. And then there are thousands more that cost about $40 each, and they're even more beautiful. Prepare to spend several days choosing - I browsed DaFont, 1001 Free Fonts and Urban Fonts, but there's loads more sites. Eventually, I picked a free font called English, which looks just like the picture above!

It's a bit scrolly and a bit romantic, but not so fussy that my elderly relatives won't be able to read it. What do you think? The relief of having finally made a decision was huge - I felt I'd achieved something! Now it came to the fun bit - I designed the Mini Moo cards, and the Save the Date stamp and set about getting it all made. The Moo cards will have 'Hooray! A wedding in Provence' on one side {white on grey}, and 'Excited? Want to know more?' and the details of our wedding website {grey on white} on the other side.

Originally I wanted the Save the Date stamp to look like the picture on the left, but I got in touch with Purple Lemon Designs, on Etsy, and the lovely Kelly suggested a slightly different looking stamp, which I loved, so I decided to go ahead with that. All in all the whole package will cost about £65 pre-postage - bargain!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Real Wedding: Emma & Matt

I'm a little green with envy over this wedding. It's the shoes that started it. I'm obsessed with Christian Louboutin, and right there in the first pic is a seriously tasty pair of ivory stacked heels, fresh in their box. Be still my beating heart! Moving on to the happy couple {and mentally walking away from those shoes}, the gorgeous Emma and Matt celebrated their wedding last summer in London. They chose a church wedding, at Our Lady Help of Christians in Blackheath, followed by a fabulous flower-filled reception at historic Eltham Palace. I'm loving their wedding style; from the soft pink colour palette, the vintage car, the traditional morning suits and top hats, it's a quintissentially English affair. Stealworthy details include the Have And To Hold ribbon (from Cox & Cox), the tall glass flower displays {all the better for guests to be able to see each other}, and the cute little individual cakes - somehow so much more of a treat than a slice! Heavenly photographs as ever from the lovely Nikole Ramsay.

The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A - Emma was kind enough to fill in our bridal questionnaire, aimed at helping other brides with their planning process. Feast your eyes on her answers for helpful hints and tips from someone on the other side of her big day!

What was your thinking behind choosing the venue and the decoration of the reception?
The church was my local parish church growing up and I knew I wanted a Catholic ceremony there. Eltham Palace is an obvious choice in the area. It’s a beautiful place with a stunning mix of art deco and original medieval architecture. The grounds are also extensive and wonderfully kept. In terms of decoration, we didn’t need that much, because the Palace itself is so decorative.

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind?
I like soft pinks and my bridesmaids dresses were champagne with soft pink sashes. Also, the groom's and ushers' ties were pink. There was no exact theme, but I wanted a traditional wedding with an element of glamour. In the church, it was very traditional, but I knew I wanted very beautiful music and we had an amazing choir called the Blossom Street Singers.

Who made your wedding outfit, and how did you come to that decision?
My dress was made by Phillipa Lepley (custom made) – it was traditional but was quite fitted, my veil was from Blackburn of Blackheath. My shoes were Christian Louboutin.  I had some simple flower diamante slides in my hair, but I can’t remember where they were from!

What about your husband’s outfit? Where was it from?
Matt hired his outfit from Austin Reed on Regent Street, and I would definitely recommend them.

What type of cake did you go for, and how did you come to that decision?
Our cake was made by Nazan Lewis of Daisy Cakes Bake Shop. It had soft pink flowers on it and had a top tier and then individual cakes for the rest of it.  I had some chocolate and some lemon cakes, but then the top tier was fruit, which we kept it for the christening of our first baby.

Who was your florist? What flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
We had soft pink roses and then some big displays. On the table, I had very tall vases, because the ceilings were so high – I really liked those. In the church we had ivy wound round the pillars – which was beautiful.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
Nikole Ramsay – she was recommended by another photographer and she was brilliant.

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
Try and stay within your budget – it is only one day. Just enjoy the day, whatever happens. If you are calm and forget about the mini details, it really will be the most amazing day of your life. 

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Thursday, 5 August 2010

Best Idea Ever

Does your future husband disagree with your wedding choices? Are you having trouble deciding whether his great-aunt makes the wedding list? Fear not! Because I've stumbled across quite possibly the best idea since sliced bread. This website could save your marriage. It's called Couples Spark, and it relies on the wonderful web-community. All you have to do is post your conflict, and sit back and wait for the world's verdict. Recent arguments include 'My boyfriend is still friends with his annoying ex' and 'He lost his wedding ring 3 months ago and we've only been married 6 months'. LOVE it!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

BBD Theme: By the Sea-Side

I'm off on holiday on Monday and I'm excited! Don't worry, I'll keep up with the blog, if anything, I'll have more time on my hands to seek out inspirational ideas. In the meantime, my thoughts are winging their way to the sea-side and all the wonderful motifs you could use to theme your wedding by the waves.

Product Credits - {from top left} 1. Beach Grass Cottage, 2. Lollipop Workshop, 3. Buddy & Bean, 4. Iris Jewelry Design {from middle left} 1. Nauti & Co, 2. Rapunzels Gold, 3. Timeless Paper {from bottom left} 1. Night Sky Products, 2. Sewn Natural, 3. Sanskripts, 4. Buddy & Bean

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Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Real Wedding: Sara & Jared

Rustic charm has got to be one of the best looks for a wedding. And if you're considering it for your big day style, then feast your eyes on this humdinger of a marriage. Sara and Jared celebrated their big day in their home town of San Diego, in a fabulous venue built in 1895. Nothing like a bit of history to add a touch of gravitas to the occasion! Jared's a photographer, so the lovely Sara France who took these pics, was more than a little nervous about doing the honours. But didn't she do a good job! Sara the bride {to avoid confusion!} picked a muted colour palette, with rich golden browns, creams and a soft dove grey; an original choice, which really flattered her colouring. I love Sara's bridemaids' dresses, with their elegant brocade detailing, and the vintage clasps on her bouquet. With a bride this beautiful, there was no need for any veil and statement jewellery, just a simple diamond pendant and ear-rings. A lesson in understated elegance. P.S. Don't miss the ice-cake! I'm not sure why they went for it, but it's certainly an unusual idea!

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Sunday, 1 August 2010

Hello and Welcome!

Exciting things are happening at Before the Big Day. We've had a huge influx of new readers and sponsors, and I want to welcome you newbies to our boutique wedding blog. As you know, Before the Big Day is here to inspire you with lots of fabulous real weddings and wedding theme ideas, to make your big day stand out from the crowd. But we're also really keen to start a bridal community, where you can talk to other brides about their latest obsession with pompoms, or giant balloons, or corsetry, or the agony of choosing your first dance. I've had so many brides come up to me and say things like, 'I can't stop thinking about the chair covers at my wedding, am I normal?'. The answer is YES, you are normal, even if your husband-to-be thinks you're mad, and your girlfriends glaze over with boredom. So my plan is to create a space where brides can stick together, and help each other out, and thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook, I now have a Before the Big Day Page. This is open to everyone - it's a place where you can post messages and pictures and advice, and share enthusiastic wedding obsessiveness. All you have to do is click here, and Like!

{Gorgeous cards from Sparrow Nest Script}

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