Monday 31 January 2011

Before the Big Day Black Book - Videographers

Have you discovered the latest go-to wedding resource? The Before the Big Day Black Book contains all the contacts you need for a great British wedding, and every supplier comes with the Before the Big Day stamp of approval. If you've got a supplier to recommend, get in touch!

Introducing Videographers
Only the best videographers make it to the Before the Big Day Black book, and they all come personally recommended. If you've got a supplier to recommend, get in touch!

Monkey Puzzle Pictures
Name: Angus Piggott
Location: Based in Majorca and the UK, available all around Europe.
Brief Blurb: Angus worked for 15 years in the UK film industry until he fancied a change and moved to Mallorca where he joined forces with wedding photographer Patrick Butler-Madden. His style is a departure from the traditional long wedding video - instead Angus provides an accessible snapshot of the day that can be easily shared with friends and family.
Contact - {UK} 0794 101 6528 {Spain} +34 697 979 841 /

White Dress Films
Location: Around the UK and Europe
Brief Blurb: Your Perfect Day offers a contemporary, fun and non-obtrusive style of wedding video. With 10 years of experience, our filming style of filming is fresh, unobtrusive and natural, we follow as the events unfold discreetly, without interrupting, all seeing but unseen observing every little detail … it really is the little things that make a big difference!
Contact: 01279 861760 /

Location: Around the UK and Europe
Brief Blurb: We are two professional videographers making the most of the job we love - film making. We specialise in contemporary European & Asian wedding and event videography.
Contact: 07930 162998 / 020 8932 0239 /

Don't miss the rest of the Before the Big Day Black Book.

Sunday 30 January 2011

Exquisite Fabric Wedding Bouquet

Eco-friendly brides are finding ever-more inventive ways of avoiding cut flowers for their wedding bouquets. One option is to carry a bunch of fabric flowers, handmade to suit your wedding style and colour palette. I've discovered this gorgeous studio in London, where Gabrielle Louise creates one-of-a-kind, vintage inspired bouquets. Each one is unique, decorated with vintage trimmings, buttons, brooches, pearls and rhinestones. They're heirlooms of the future and totally gorgeous!

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email, and click here for more bouquet ideas for your wedding.

Friday 28 January 2011

Real Destination Wedding: Laura & Chris {Part 2}

Time for part two of this delicious Italian wedding. Laura and Chris celebrated their big day twice, once with a civil ceremony and then again with a church wedding followed by a fabulous reception at Il Borro. You can see their first wedding here, but this one is just as packed with wedding ideas, and Laura has very kindly filled in the Before the Big Day Bridal Questionnaire, so you can snaffle all her suppliers. If you're a DIY bride, you're going to feel super-inspired by Laura because she not only made one of her wedding dresses {yes, she had two!}, but she also handmade her bridesmaids' gowns. Incredible! My favourite wedding inspiration shout-outs are the Laduree macaroon favours, Laura's simple but stunning pearl jewellery and that amazing vintage car. Truly stunning pictures published with thanks to Patrick at Butler Madden Weddings.

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The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A - Laura 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?
We had a civil ceremony on Friday September 11th 2009 at Arezzo Commune and a ‘traditional’ wedding ceremony and reception on Saturday 12th September 2009 at Il Borro, both in northeast Tuscany, Italy.

What was your thinking behind choosing the venue and the decoration of the reception?
We got engaged in Italy and knew we wanted to get married there as we love the wine, the food and weather. Luckily my husband is also fluent in Italian. We planned a venue-hunting trip a year before the wedding and it felt like we visited every castle we saw on the journey from Rome to Florence! When planning our trip we’d seen Il Borro on Luxury Link, a site which we’d used to book other holidays and it had formed the idea that we were looking for a venue where we could host a wedding but also where our guests could all stay on site. When we arrived, we were taken on a tour of the estate by Gianluca D’Angeli and fell in love with the rustic yet luxurious venue, complete with a restored medieval village. We felt very welcome there, but most of all, at home. Whenever we drove through the gates, we felt restful. Eating dinner that night at the restaurant cemented our decision; the style of food was exactly what we wanted and the restaurant team became our wedding caterers.

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind?
The only real direction that we had was that we wanted muted tones. The theme evolved as a friend and I put together the invitation design using a Victorian style acanthus motif from istockphoto and when we chose the bridesmaid’s dress fabric. We accented the bridesmaids dresses with silver ribbons on the invitations and flower arrangements.

Who made your wedding outfit (dress, veil, shoes and accessories), and how did you come to that decision?
I made my own dress for the civil ceremony as I was unable to find what I had in mind within budget. I tried on several dresses for the main ceremony but again, was unable to find the fishtail design in lace I was looking for, so I contacted designers who made dresses to your own design. I met Emma Hunt who shared my passion for fabrics and draping. She made several toiles of the design which evolved slightly during the process, before making the final gown shortly before the wedding. It was a great process and the dress fitted beautifully; it was amazing knowing the no one else could wear the same dress and that I’d help design it. Emma edged a cathedral veil with lace to match my dress and I wore a pair of gold Sergio Rossi kitten heel sandals. I had a bracelet of my grandmother’s made into pearl jewellery in Hatton Gardens to complete the outfit.

What about your husband’s outfit? Where was it from?
For the civil ceremony, he wore Ferragamo shoes and an Aquascutum suit which, by chance went beautifully with my dress! We hired suits for him, the ushers and our fathers for the Saturday’s celebrations from Hire Wear Direct. He also bought a waistcoat from Favourbrook which made his outfit different from the others. My mother in law made all the men cravats from the same fabric as the bridesmaid dresses.

And how about your bridesmaids’ outfits?
I made both bridesmaid’s dresses from James Hare heavy crepe-backed silk, with a little help from my mum, using Vogue patterns. I knew I wanted them to be long and although the colour choices were a little limited, we found a dusty pink that worked with their colourings.

What type of cake did you go for, and how did you come to that decision?
The caterers, who ran the restaurant at Il Borro made us a traditional Italian wedding cake (Millifoglie). We aren’t great fans of wedding cake and were happy to embrace the Italian tradition!

Did you have any favours? What were they? Was there any particular reason why you picked them?
We love Laduree macaroons and one of our best friends offered to buy them for us as a wedding present and flew to Italy with them in her hand luggage! We bought little plastic boxes from eBay and friends helped put them all together on the morning of the wedding.

Who was your florist, what flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
When we did our initial venue hunt, we saw photos of Noosheens’ designs and decorations of various events at a venue in Rome. Although we looked at other florists, her styles always kept coming to mind as they were exactly what we were after. We contacted her and she was happy to come to Tuscany and did an amazing job; the flowers were rustic, yet beautiful.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
Someone who worked with my husband knew Patrick at Butler Madden Weddings and had worked with him on other commercial commissions. Following their recommendation, we met with him, really liked him and saw some of his photographs which had a real brightness and energy to them. He did an amazing job and was very accommodating to all our requests, including translating at the local hairdressers as he’s fluent in Italian (and lots of other languages!). The photographs are simply amazing - we’ve had so many compliments and several of our friends have engaged him since.

Did you enjoy planning your wedding?
I loved it, it was stressful at times, not least because we took on a lot to do ourselves (making invites, sewing dresses etc). But when someone compliments the day; the details and the great time they’ve had, it makes everything worth it. You should definitely take up all offers of help!

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
Although your wedding is about you and your spouse, you are also organising an event to remember for your guests. It’s really important to think about timings and the flow of the event; we’ve all been to weddings and learnt what works and what doesn’t. When deciding about where to spend money and where to cut back, think about what will make it a better event. A few years before we married, I’d read about wishes in the sky and loved the idea for a wedding. We found the lanterns on eBay and they are brilliantly interactive and were a real high point for us and our guests, though I would recommend not using them when it’s windy! They made a great alternative to traditional fireworks and provided an excuse to get our guests on their feet before moving to the dancefloor.

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Thursday 27 January 2011

Reduced Exquisite Wedding Dresses

There's nothing that gets a wedding blogger more excited than cheap and chic wedding dresses, particularly when that blogger actually has a wedding in May and still no dress! So when a fashion insider told me about the secret online discout store, The Outnet, I knew I had to share it with you guys. It's AMAZING. If you're looking for a designer gown to use as a wedding dress, or bridesmaid dresses or mother-of-the-bride outfits, it's the only place to go! They have 70% of Alberta Ferretti and 50% off Christian Louboutin - OMG!

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email, and click here for more wedding dress ideas.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Real Wedding: Laura & Chris

Getting married in Europe is often a double-whammy, where you have a civil and religious ceremony. I'm going to have to do much the same thing for my own wedding in Provence. We can't get married legally in France, so we're going to have a London civil ceremony, followed by our real wedding in France. Laura and Chris celebrated their big day in Italy twice, so I'm going to split the pictures over two days - a wedding blogger's idea of double the fun! Here are the pics from their civil ceremony, but don't miss tomorrow's installment, including Laura's answers to the Before the Big Day Bridal Questionnaire. It's wedding blog heaven! Plenty of stealworthy ideas from these pictures, not least Laura's gorgeous long-stemmed ivory roses, and her sophisticated dress, which she made herself {OMG!!!}. Gorgeous pictures published with thanks to Patrick from Butler Madden Weddings, who {by the way} is fluent in Italian, so perfect for your destination weddings.

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Before the Big Day - Original Wedding Themes

One of the best things about wedding blogs, is finding original themes and wedding ideas for your big day. We all want to make our wedding stand out from the crowd - after all, once your friends start getting married, the weddings come thick and fast. We've got 8 to go to next year {can't wait}! As a wedding blogger, you'd think it would be easy for me to choose a wedding theme, but it's been really hard. My brain is flooded with too many fantastic ideas from all the Real Weddings on the wedding blogs, and I was worried my big day would end up a big jumble of ideas. I did eventually pick a Secret Garden theme, which I love, but I still get occasional trembles when I see another fantastic theme and think, should I have gone for that instead?

So this post is all about the original wedding themes I've featured on Before the Big Day over the last couple of years. You might not have spotted the list that runs down the side of this site, and I just wanted to bring it to your attention! I'm adding to it every day, so if you're looking for a wedding theme, check it out!

Original Wedding Theme - Ladybird Ladybird

Original Wedding Theme - Feeling Fruity {Photo Credit: Amorology Weddings}

Original Wedding Theme - I do like to be beside the sea-side

Original Wedding Theme - Spot of Tennis?

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Tuesday 25 January 2011

Colourful Quirky Wedding Bunting

Bunting at weddings is my current obessesion, and I've actually just bought 200 metres of it for my own wedding via Ebay. I've gone for simple white, but if you were planning a colourful wedding, then you're going to adore these gorgeous handprinted Gocco flags. Created in London by Xtina Lamb at The Shop of Printed Wonders, they're custom-made, so you can pick your ink colour, cloth colour, size, shape, typeface or image. Now that's what I call good service! *Good news! Xtina is offering 10% off bespoke bunting if you mention Before the Big Day!*

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our free newsletter, and click for more wedding decoration ideas.

Before the Big Day ~ Wedding Blog Offers

One of the best things about running Before the Big Day is the discounts! The suppliers love BBD, we love them, you love them, it's one big cuddle-fest! Also, do check out Bride Tide for more wedding blog offers. Quite a lot of them are from the US, but it's still worth checking them out.

WIN! I'm thrilled to announce that My Love Story is offering FREE wedding photography {WOW!} for one lucky couple. Simply sign up on their website to be in with a chance. But you'll need to get moving - the competition ends at midnight on 31st January.

Get 5% off the amazingly effective nkd diet with the code bigday (exact spelling), and get a honeymoon-svelte body. Click here for more info on this bargainous deal! They say you can drop 2-3lb a week on the nkd diet. Sounds good to me.

Get 10% off stunning jewellery and hair accessories from Your Something Borrowed with the code Big Day. See something you like? Borrow it for a fraction of the purchase cost!

Get 10% off amazing vintage furniture and home accessories from The Vintage Wedding List. Simply call and quote the code Big Day. This is the best place for original items for your wedding list.

Want to become a Sponsor of Before the Big Day?. Click here for more information.

Sunday 23 January 2011

That Friday Feeling Wedding Web Links ♥ 8

Gosh, it's been a while since I've featured one of my Friday Feeling postings. If you're new to Before the Big Day, let me introduce you to the best of my web-finds this week. They're rich in wedding loveliness and bound to keep you inspired over the weekend. Of course I'm publishing this on a Sunday, but I'm sure you'll forgive me this once, as I'm on holiday!

♥ {Above} Gorgeous Kiss the Groom pictures showcasing Delpine Manivet's latest collection. I'm sorely tempted to buy the Anatole dress for my wedding day in May.

♥ Project Wedding has so many fantastic DIY ideas, it's hard to choose a favourite....but if you insist, try this stationery tutorial.

♥ Why pick a bouquet, when you can have one GIANT flower {via 100 Layer Cake}

♥ You are going to want to copy every detais from this amazing pink-themed boutique wedding {via Rock My Wedding}

♥ A gorgeous eco-chic wedding, you have to see {via OMG I'm Getting Married}

And now for a couple of Vintage Before the Big Day postings!
♥ Ideas for a Little Red Riding Hood theme
♥ Why not add a touch of Flamenco Passion to your big day

Plus don't miss this week's exclusive offers - 10% off your wedding jewellery via Diamond Thrills and 20% of quirky stationery and vintage accessories at Sepia Smiles

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Saturday 22 January 2011

Real Wedding: Catriona & Chris

The wedding venue is often the first thing you'll want to consider when you get engaged, and you're going to want to make sure it suits you as a couple. I spent months researching my venue in the South of France, but for you, it might be as simple as picking your back-garden. In the case of Catriona and Chris, they chose their home away from home, a venue called Lunga House in Scotland. The views are breathtaking, and I can't get over the beauty of Scotland in the winter. Now on to the details! I'm blown away by Chris' amazing uniforms, both look so striking, and I love the tradition of walking through the arch of swords. The red of Chris' dress jacket set the colour theme for the wedding, with berries and candles to add to the cosy feeling. Catriona's something blue was thistles for Scotland and her bridesmaids' dresses, and she found the best cake-topper in the world via Feats of Clay. Gorgeous photographs published with thanks to Elemental Weddings, this is their first wedding on Before the Big Day, and I hope for many more! Don't miss Catriona's answers to the Before the Big Day Bridal Questionnaire for all her suppliers.

The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A - Catriona 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?
27th November 2010 at Kilbrandon Parish Church on the Isle of Seil, Argyll, and had our reception at Lunga House in Craobh Haven, Argyll.

What was your thinking behind choosing the venue and the decoration of the reception?
The venue has been a special place for our family and friends to enjoy over the past few decades, as a private house which can be hired for exclusive use. It is like a home away from home.

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind? (e.g. green ivy leaves)
Wintery/autumnal with lots of candles, hurricane lamps and flaming torches to create a warm atmosphere.

Who made your wedding outfit (dress, veil, shoes and accessories), and how did you come to that decision?
The dress is a Suzanne Neville design called 'Antoine'. The veil was from Eleganza Sposa in Glasgow, as were the shoes. The necklace was a present from my mum.

What about your husband’s outfit? Where was it from?
Chris was wearing his Royal Marines No.1 dress uniform for the ceremony and then changed into his Mess Kit for the reception.

And how about your bridesmaids’ outfits?
They were bought from Anne Priscilla in Glasgow, and they were Dessy Bridesmaids dresses in midnight blue.

What type of cake did you go for, and how did you come to that decision?
We chose fruit cake, because Chris’s mum makes the most delicious fruit cake in the world. We chose ivory icing and simple flowers to decorate, and had a cake topper made from Feats of Clay.

Did you have any favours? What were they? Was there any particular reason why you picked them?
Our favours were a little box of matches from Cox & Cox which have a little piece written on the side about marriage, ending in the statement 'the perfect match'. I then tied 2 little gold heart sparklers to the boxes with 'to have and to hold, from this day forward' ribbon.

Who was your florist, what flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
Our florist was Angela from The Flower House in Oban, Argyll. I chose ivory flowers with a splash of blue in the form of thistles.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
We chose Elemental Weddings from Edinburgh. Jay and Christina, a husband and wife team, had photographed our friends wedding the year previously and we were so taken with the way the approached the day and the guests that they were a MUST! Their photographs capture such special moments which we love, rather than stiff portraits.

Did you enjoy planning your wedding?
We loved it. It was stressful at times, trying to feature everyones hopes and dreams into one final day, but in the end, the day was about Chris and I standing before the people we loved and making a promise to one another. The rest was a bonus.

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
Have an idea of what you would like for your day before everyone else tries to tell you what you want. Enjoy the preparations and if you are the artistic type, enjoy the creativity.

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Friday 21 January 2011

My Wedding - My Photographer

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.

My Photographer - Chloé from Caught the Light
A few days ago, I suddenly realised that in all my rambles about my wedding, I'd failed to mention an incredibly important person - my wedding photographer. After we picked the venue {more on that in March}, I knew that I needed to choose a photographer asap, because the good ones get booked at least a year in advance. As a wedding blogger, it was also going to be incredibly difficult to pick between all the amazing wedding photographers I feature on this site, and believe me - they're all hugely talented. So the real clincher came in the form of a coincidence. I'd already featured Caught the Light's work on Before the Big Day, and one day one of my mother's friends spotted one of the bridesmaids, and we realised we knew the family. It then emerged that Chloé from Caught the Light had photographed the weddings of all three sisters, which is a serious stamp of approval. A quick email and a coffee later, and I'd officially booked Chloe for a trip to Provence!

That makes it sound easy, but I understand that picking a wedding photographer is a serious business. At first I was so shocked by how much they could cost, that I seriously considered not hiring an official one. One of my bridesmaids, Jemma Harding {mini-ad: Do check out her new website!}, is a huge talented photographer, and she had offered to give me my pictures as a wedding present. But having been to lots of weddings, and seen how hard the photographers have to work, I knew that she wouldn't really be able to enjoy the whole affair if she was constantly clicking. So once I realised I knew I needed one, my search began.

Wedding blogs are definitely the right way to go about choosing a photographer, but make sure you look at their whole portfolio before you book, because you want to make sure every picture is fabulous, not just the ones they pick for the blogs. Don't miss the Before the Big Day Black Book for my recommendations! Ask around for any recommendations from your friends, but remember that your taste might be different to theirs. I had no sense of my preferred style of wedding photography until I started this blog - you'll probably need to do a fair bit of research to find what you want. Do try to meet your photographer before your wedding. If you don't like them personally, then you're not going to be able to relax around them, and relaxed = good pictures. If you want them to hussle large groups of guests, then make sure they have a strong enough character to boss them around, but if you want subtle, reportage-stye wedding photographs, then you'll want them to be a bit more laid back.

If all this terminology of 'style' freaks you out a bit, then keep it simple and follow these rules;
1. Check out the Before the Big Day Black Book for my recommended photographers.
2. Do you like the look of their work? You don't need to know why.
3. Can you afford them?
4. Do you like them?
5. Are they available for your wedding?

Lastly, even if you're a credit crunch bride {who isn't!}, my advice is don't scrimp on the photographer. Your wedding is an important day, and it'll pass so fast, you'll want the pictures to bring back the memories. If you're really struggling with the cost, consider getting married on a week-day, and only hiring a photographer for a few hours - they often do reasonable rates, it's just all about avoiding Saturdays.
{All pictures published with thanks to Caught the Light}

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