Thursday 30 September 2010

Good Will Bunting

Wedding decorations can quickly add up, particularly if you've got a penchant for cut flowers. But how's this for a brilliant idea? Bunting is cheap and cheerful, and adds a gorgeous vintage element to your wedding. Plus it comes in every colour, so it's bound to fit in with your theme. My favourite supplier is Heidi Adnum, but you can make your own with this tutorial from Knit, Sew & Grow, or rent extra large penants from Big Beautiful Bunting.

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Wednesday 29 September 2010

Real Wedding: Mo & Kent

Vineyard weddings are the best! Not only do they make the best backdrop to a beautiful big day, they also provide endless wedding ideas. From cork placemarkers and grape table displays, to personalised bottle labels and the homegrown wine itself, it's a fantastic theme. Mo and Kent {okay, mostly Mo} put a lot of work and thought into their wedding, including plenty of stealworthy ideas and DIY touches. Read more about her planning process on her blog Pink Argyle. My favourite spots are the multi-coloured lanterns, the Sprinkles cupcakes {peanut butter chocolate flavour...mmmm}, the rosehip buttonholes and polkadot ring pillow. If you check out the pics you'll see Mo and Kent had a table for two at the reception. Known as the sweetheart table it's really common in the US, and the trend is coming here. The thinking behind it is that the bride and groom barely ever sit through the whole of the meal, busy greeting guests, so it's better to have their own little spot rather than leave two empty places on the top table. Good idea? What do you reckon? Many thanks to the lovely Jessamyn Harris for these gorgeous pictures.

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Tuesday 28 September 2010

Real Wedding: Marguerite & Chris

This might be one of my favourite weddings of all time. It's not so much the details, although there are plenty of stealworthy ideas, it's more the mood of the all affair. You can tell all the guests are having a wonderful time, and photographer Annie Beedy has really captured the love and warmth of the day. Marguerite and Chris celebrated their big day at a friend's estate high in the hills of Santa Barbara. The wedding party all wore white, which made for some fabulous 'together' pictures, and the ushers wore matching red shoes. Other details to copy include the photo line, the bridesmaid's crown of roses, the simple white tableware teamed with bright florals, and Marguerite's heavenly Miu Miu shoes - yum! Plus my favourite aspect - instead of confetti, the guests all tossed paper airplanes through the air as they came down the aisle after saying their vows. Don't miss Annie Beedy's gorgeous website for more details of her work.

The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A - Marguerite was kind enough to fill in our 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!

Where and when did you get married?
Santa Barbara in California on May 22nd, 2010

What was your thinking behind choosing the venue and the decoration of the reception?
We were inspired by our family and friends so we chose to get married at the beautiful home of a family friend. Decoration was inspired by the beauty of the venue. We wanted to add small touches, like our pots of lavender that lined the ceremony aisle. They were simple yet gorgeous and worked well with the garden. We were also inspired by pictures of Provence in France.

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind?
Our theme was participation. We very much felt that the people that we asked to join us on that day were people that taught us, laughed with us, learned with us and shared so much with us. Their involvement in our lives brought my husband and I to the place where we met and were ready for each other. We had help from all sides, both before and during. We had the groomsmen play in a band for pre-ceremony. We had the my aunt's and uncle's lemons and limes from their trees to make the pre-ceremony cocktails, and during the ceremony there was a whistling solo that everyone joined in on! Ha! that was fun....! The bridesmaids chose their own dresses...and we sent out an email to our guests encouraging them to wear clothes that made them happy. Also the words "dapper" for the men and "gloves and hats" for the ladies, were used. We wanted our guest to feel very much apart of our wedding and we were thankful that everyone wanted to join in and make the creation and execution of this day a group adventure. The colors were white, lavender and natural elements.

Who made your wedding outfit?
Dress - Carolina Herrera, veil - borrowed from friend, shoes - Miu Miu, wrap - Nordstrums, earrings and rings - Ara 24K in Santa Barbara.

What about your husband’s outfit? Where was it from?
Suit - Ted Baker, shirt - Thomas Pink, tie - Ben Sherman, cufflinks - recycled Toronto transit tokens (from the groom's home town), custom made by Zukerj, shoes - Calvin Klein.

And what about your bridesmaids dresses? Where did they come from and how did you choose them?
I chose white because I thought it was the most flattering and it read "typical bridesmaid dress". I wanted my girls/and guy to choose clothes for themselves that they loved and they would wear again. I found a few photos that were the inspiration, gave those to the maids and we all went from there. The process was an evolution from where we started and I love how it turned out. Some of the dresses were from BCBG, some were made to order, another I have no idea where it was from.

What type of cake did you go for, and how did you come to that decision? Who made it?
We chose a small token cake to cut because we wanted to have desserts for our guests that resembled our family holiday get-togethers so we had chocolate chip cookies, lemon bars, and a bunch of different pies and brownies. The small cake was from Crushcakes Cupcakery in Santa Barbara

Did you have any favours? What were they? Was there any particular reason why you picked them?
We had jelly beans in ice-cream favors for sweetness and for savory, we had bags of Ketchup Chips. Chris is Canadian and so we had one of his groomsmen bring them down, because you can't get them in the States and I love them! My idea was that as our guests went home a bit tipsy, I wanted them to enjoy a late night treat...we also had parasols for sun cover and a photobooth for...self expression!

What flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
I chose a palate of white for our bouquet flowers. I threw some yellow roses into my bouquet at the last moment because they have always inspired me and made me think of sunshine. For the men. we chose simple herb-a-licious boutionieres of rosemary and lavender.

Did you have any entertainment at your wedding (DJ / Band / Magician)?
Our four groomsmen rocked out the guests, pre-ceremony, as well as two of them who also sang/contributed during the ceremony. We had a terrific gypsy jazz quartet play during cocktails and dinner called the Gonzalo Bergara Quartet. For the 5 hours of dancing that ensued we found DJ Tony via Red Shoe LA. Chris, my husband, searched for months before coming to me, very serious, saying, "I found the man who has to DJ our wedding." Well, who can question that assuredness? And DJ Tony was fantastic. He encouraged our input, went above and beyond with his availability, he kept the crowd going and was overall fantastic to work with. We are a group of marathon dancers and he did not disappoint.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
Chris found Annie Beedy online and we both fell in love with her style. We met with her, had a latte and that was that. Partnership formed. We love Annie.

Did you enjoy planning your wedding?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. We very much enjoyed being able to make our own invitations, (which were printed by Flora and Fauna Press with in letterpress), website (via, save-the-dates, and thank you cards (printing by Gotham Press), as well as creating our own ceremony. Plus, the help from our families was amazing.

At the same time, there was so much work to be done that sometimes we had to just walk away from it for periods of time. That said I have a closer relationship to both his and my family for all the interaction the planning demanded of us. My mother and I had never done any sort of project together before so we had to keep reminding ourselves of that, as we worked to make this puppy happen.

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
One of the best pieces of advice I received was to not show anyone the seating chart. I listened to that and it made the whole process pretty stress free. Also, don't over think it - give it a few revisions, make sure the mothers are not facing a wall and move on. Also, everyone talks about the lead up to the wedding and there is not much out there on what to do just after. After the wedding, if you cannot go on your honeymoon right away, try to find some quiet time for yourself during the week after your wedding. Try not to do too many household chores... take some walks, or baths, where you can slowly unwind, where you can daydream about how it all felt. Savor it. Enjoy it. Otherwise you are liable to find yourself lost, unsure of what to do next and end up creating an insane project for yourself like scraping the paint off the window sills because you are having a hard time slowing down from going going going....

Monday 27 September 2010

Wow! Wedding Cakes

When it comes to wedding cakes, there's no excuse for being boring. You want to rock it with a unique cake, and with designers coming up with ever more clever ideas to make sponge beautiful, you can have the cake of your dreams. Funky new designer, Jessica Taylor, trained in London in Cake Decorating and Patissierie, and recently started her own company, called Cakelife, specialising in creations for every celebration. Based in Brighton, she's happy to make cakes for anyone and everyone, and I'm seriously loving her work. Just check out the cute Peter Rabbit vegetable garden, and the stunning sugar orchids. P.S. Jessica promises the cakes taste just as good as they look!

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Saturday 25 September 2010

Real Wedding: Hannah & Archie

If you're planning a vintage wedding, you're going to love the whimsical mood of this beautiful rural affair. Hannah and Archie have a real eye for rustic detail, and their big day is a huge source of inspiration. Just check out the burlap table clothes, traditional bunting and hand-drawn menus. I love how they used old sacks as chair covers, and mismatching napkins, and the informal long dining tables. The barn makes for an exciting and atmospheric venue - perfect for a family wedding. Hannah's darling vintage wedding dress and beaded headband make her a truly unique bride, and I'm adoring the Laura Ashley-style fabric used for her bridesmaids' dresses. The best thing? They all look like they had a fabulous time with barn-dancing late into the night. Fantastic photographs from the super-talented Peter Buncombe.

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Friday 24 September 2010

HighStreet Bridesmaids

Choosing bridesmaids dresses is a complete minefield. I've got two maids of honour and four bridesmaids, and we're all over 30, so it's not like I'm going to be able to dress them in cutesy Bo Peep outfits. {Although I could....evil laugh!}. They're all completely different heights and shapes, so I'm toying with either a colour scheme, or just letting them wear what they want. However, if you're looking to choose dresses, you can't go wrong with the good old British high-street. Here are just a few of my favourite finds....

Thursday 23 September 2010

Real Wedding: Billi-Jo & Lee

Winter weddings are often the most romantic. All your guests are snuggled under one roof, and if you can find a venue with an open fire, you're in for a treat. Lovely couple Billi-Jo and Lee celebrated their wedding on a chilly day in February at Himley Hall, a traditional eighteenth century listed building. Billi-Jo picked the most gorgeous lacy dress from Brides By Appointment, and it suited her blonde colouring perfectly. I'm also loving the teal bridesmaids dresses, which set the tone for the colour palette of the day. Everything matched, including the ribbons on the wedding cake. Billi-Jo chose feathers to add an Ice-Queen feel to the bouquets, and as ever, I'm a huge fan of black-centred, white anenomes. Keep your eye out for anenomes - they're due to be a super-trend next spring, and they come in every colour. Gorgeous photographs published with thanks to the talented team at Chris Barber Media.

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