Monday 31 October 2011

Reasonable Whimsical Wedding Gowns from BHLDN

Right now, I'm wishing I could get married all over again. The new autumn wedding collections are hitting the high street, and there are so many incredible dresses out there. Whatsmore, they're reasonable! These gowns are from American store BHLDN, but you could order them online, or even take a sneaky wedding dress trip to New York to pick one up. With prices starting at $260, you could afford it! Here's a few wedding dresses from their new collection.

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My Wedding in Provence - The Star Suppliers

Before I got married, I used to read all the wedding blogs where brides gushed about how their wedding suppliers were 'fabulous' and ended up being 'like friends', and I never really understood. Surely the caterers / wedding photographer / florist were just good people doing the job you'd hired them to do? Now that I'm on the other side, I completely understand. I LOVE all my wedding suppliers. They were the BEST team ever, and this feature is all about gushing about their fabulousness. If you get married in Provence, or anywhere on the Riviera, you should definitely hire these people.

Kerry from Lavender & Rose Weddings
aka The Best Wedding Planner in the World. I can not gush enough about Kerry. She is amazing. I still don't think I have a full handle on how hard she worked on my wedding day, because she's like a swan - furiously paddling underwater, and magnificently smiley and serene above. Let's just say I had a lot of wedding details, and a very clear idea of where I wanted them to go, and she made everything perfect. And that's just the work she did on the day. In the months before my wedding she found us a caterer, a florist, a wine merchant and dozens of other suppliers {some of which I didn't use....hello synchronised swimmers for £5000 for one song??!}. She worked to our tight budget, and was unfailingly friendly and kind, even when things got tense. And when the Ash Cloud threatened to prevent all my guests from flying out from the UK, things really did get tense. I love her. You'll love her. Hire her. She's worth every penny.

Chloé Brown from Caught the Light
Another incredible human being. There's not many people in the world who are through-and-through nice people. Chloé is one of them. She's generous and charming and the perfect guest at your wedding. And she takes the best pictures ever. I'm still absorbing the fabulousness of our wedding photographs, and I'm thrilled we had two bites of the Chloé-cherry with our two weddings. Apparently some photographers clock-watch and charge you at every turn. Chloe is the opposite. Hire her too. She's based in London, but she's happy to travel.

Fantastic caterers found for us by Kerry from Lavender & Rose Weddings. She negotiated a fab price for us, and on the day they turned up with all the tables and chairs and everything else needed for our wedding feast. The food was incredible, the serving staff charming and attractive, and they would have stayed till dawn for no extra cost. Beat that!

Stéphane Tévenin
Stephan is a brilliant florist. He's charming and kind and happy to listen to a bridezilla speak broken French to him for hours. French florists are often old-fashioned and like to do things 'their way'. Stephan is the opposite - he designed the flowers exactly how we wanted them, and didn't even take offence when we chose to buy the baby's breath at cost from the market. I say we - that was another job that Kerry did for us.

Quatuor St Jean
Our lovely string quartet, who played their hearts out and made our wedding sound beautiful. They were so good that some of the guests in the church thought that we were playing a CD! They're run by the lovely Jenny How who is Australian {English-speaking, yippee!} and hugely helpful with music choices and suggestions. Jenny even recommended her hairdresser, who made me very happy and my hair very beautiful.

Joel at Kératine in Aix-en-Provence
A lovely man, and a talented hairdresser, he also tolerated my broken French, and made me feel gorgeous for my wedding day. Love him!

Other Star Suppliers - Wine & Champagne: La Cave Aixoise {Puyricard: 04 42 92 06 83}, Wedding Dress & Veil: Delphine Manivet, Bride's Shoes: Halston Heritage, Bride's Eyelashes: Lash Lab.
Picture Credits: All the photographs by Chloé at Caught the Light
Wedding Venue: Chateau Grimaldi near Aix-en-Provence

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Sunday 30 October 2011

My Wedding in Provence - Part 4 - The Evening

Another day, another set of pictures from my wedding. The last ones! We hosted dinner for our guests outside on the terrace in front of the Chateau, but we were worried everyone would be too cold for dancing. So instead, we ventured indoors into the basement, where we'd created a nightclub, with a bar and dance floor, and our incredible DJ, Sophie Callis. The large white helium balloons were originally intended to float above each table at dinner, but there was a bit of a breeze, and everyone was worried that they'd knock over glasses, so our wedding planner, Kerry from Lavender & Rose Weddings,, found a different home for them. They looked great against the ultraviolet light! We chose a traditional French wedding cake called a croquembouche, which was as delicious as it was dramatic. For more info about my wedding, do check out the Before the Big Day Questionnaire, which I've filled in below the pics! Gorgeous photographs published with thanks to the amazing Chloé from Caught the Light.

The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A 

Where and when did you get married?
On 28th May 2011 in a tiny French village called Puyricard, just outside Aix-en-Provence. We hired a private château for three days.

What was your thinking behind choosing the venue and the decoration of the reception?
We really wanted a garden wedding, where we spent most of the day outside. So a warm day was essential. I wanted the day to feel chic, but relaxed, with a touch of fun. Bunting and DIY'd tissue pompoms ensured the venue didn't feel too grand.

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind?
Yes! As a wedding blogger, I spent many days agonising over which theme to choose. In the end I chose a Secret Garden theme, and a colour palette of soft grey, dusky pink and sage green. We had a key motif which appeared on all the invitations, place markers, programmes and pashmina tags. My sister gave me a Tiffany key charm, which I sewed onto my bouquet, and The Boy had a vintage key tied into his buttonhole. 

Who made your wedding outfit, and how did you come to that decision?
My dress and veil were by Delphine Manivet, and I felt gorgeous. Shortly after buying the dress, I had huge buyer's remorse. I'd never intended to spend that much, but after trying on dozens of cheaper dresses, and even travelling to New York in my quest, I kept coming back to the 'Anatole'.  My shoes were Halston Heritage, a bargain buy from The Outnet.

And how about your bridesmaids’ outfits?
I was determined not to turn into bridezilla, and I couldn't afford to buy my 5 bridesmaids dresses, so instead I asked them to pick a dress of their choosing in soft grey. This was a fatal decision! None of their dresses were the same shade of grey, so it didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. If I had my time again, I would have insisted on the same dress!

Did you have any favours? What were they? Was there any particular reason why you picked them?
Every person had a vintage key and a fortune teller at their table place. The fortune tellers contained fun facts about me and The Boy, and inside was the menu. Everyone also had an envelope containing an invitation to the drinks party the next day, and a fake stick-on moustache. The moustaches were a hilarious ice-breaker - we had everyone wearing them by the end of dinner. All the female guests were given grey pashminas at the start of dinner to ward off any chill.

Who was your florist, what flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
Our amazing wedding planner, Kerry Bracken, found our florist for us. His name is Stéphane Tévenin, and he's the local Puyricard florist. He's wasted there, we should ship him to London!

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
I can't even remember how I found Chloé from Caught the Light, but she was our best decision ever! It's scary when you book your wedding photographer, because it's often one of the first wedding things you do, and it's an expensive step. Chloé was worth every penny.

Did you enjoy planning your wedding?
Honestly? No, not all of the time. I got really stressed at times, and we had some very difficult times. The evil Icelandic ash cloud nearly ruined the wedding by stopping all flights out of London, but luckily stopped spouting ash just in time. Also we had problems with the owner of our venue. Make sure you get everything in writing when you book a venue, as things can go wrong, and you don't want to have to threaten to sue someone 3 days before your big day. That said, planning my wedding was also a fantastic experience. I discovered a creative side to myself which I didn't even know existed, and The Boy discovered he is very good at making pompoms!

Did you have any DIY projects?
Tonnes! We were on a budget, but I was determined to have as many wedding details as possible. The wedding stationery, the fortune teller menus, the white pompoms, the place cards, the programmes - everything! The Boy's brother made all our wooden signs, and our lovely wedding planner, Kerry, arranged the clouds of baby's breath for the chapel. My family and bridesmaids and their lovely boyfriends helped decorate the venue, and I'm eternally grateful for their pompom pouffing, candle placing and bunting hanging.

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
Read the wedding blogs! Scroll through tonnes and tonnes of real weddings and save pictures or make notes about your favourite wedding ideas and details. Then try to narrow them down to one unifying theme or colour palette. Then get creative! You'll be amazed at how much fun it is doing wedding DIY projects. Rope all your friends and family in to help you out, and try to stay organised. Finally, have a real think about how to make sure you enjoy our wedding day. You don't want to have a headache or a tummy-ache, or to be worrying about when the caterers are going to arrive, or to forget to eat. If necessary, hire someone to coordinate your wedding day. But make sure you enjoy yourself!

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Saturday 29 October 2011

My Wedding in Provence - Part 3 - Reception

Day 2! If I haven't exhausted you already, this is the second half of the pictures from my wedding in Provence. If you're into wedding details, this is going to be the posting for you, as you can see all the little extras that I added to personalise our big day. We chose a Secret Garden theme, as we hosted our reception in a walled garden. Our colour palette was soft grey, pink and sage green, and I chose a key motif, which appeared on all the stationery, place-markers and we gave each guest a vintage key as a wedding favour. The tables were named after vegetables {as a private joke}, and we used vintage postcards as labels. The menus were printed on fortune-tellers DIY'd by my husband, which also included facts about us as a couple. Our lovely wedding planner, Kerry from Lavender & Rose Weddings, handed out pashminas to all our female guests as the sun went down, and we encourage our friends and family to take pictures of themselves with a polaroid camera and sign our guest book. We decorated the garden with reams of white bunting {bought from eBay} and DIY'd white pompoms, plus florists' vases of baby's breath, which our planner Kerry bought wholesale the day before the wedding. Huge thanks to the fabulous Chloé from Caught the Light for our wonderful wedding pictures. More to come tomorrow!

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Friday 28 October 2011

My Wedding in Provence - Part 2 - Portraits

During the reception of our wedding in Provence, we snuck off with Chloé from Caught the Light to have our portrait pictures taken. As luck would have it, there was a gorgous field just outside the Château's grounds, with tonnes of poppies, which made for a beautiful backdrop. My dress and veil were by Delphine Manivet, and my sister gave me a silver Tiffany key-charm as my 'Something New', which I sewed to my pink peony bouquet. The Boy's buttonhole was made out of baby's breath, and carried a vintage key kept for years by my grandmother. His shirt and tie were from Start London. Come back to the blog on Saturday for the reception pictures - if you're a wedding detail fanatic, you're in for a treat!

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My Wedding in Provence - Part 1

Deep breath... It's time for me to feature my own wedding in Provence. Today, it is our five month anniversary {already!}, and it's taken me months to narrow down the hundreds of gorgeous Caught the Light and Jemma Harding Photography pictures to these blog postings, so I hope you won't mind me putting up quite a few photographs. It's SO hard to edit your own wedding. Next week, I'll also do a posting with all my fantastic wedding suppliers, so for the next few days it's going to be all about me. {I hope that's okay!}. So, here goes.... We celebrated our big day, at the end of May, near Aix-en-Provence. We hired Chateau Grimaldi for three days, and hosted the bridal party in the house, with the wedding on Saturday and a drinks party on  Sunday. We were SO lucky with the weather, as the sun shone for the whole three days, only to pour with rain on our honeymoon! By that time though, we didn't care. As you can imagine, for a wedding blogger, it was all about the wedding. Here are the first set of pictures, more to come later this afternoon.

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