Tuesday 31 December 2013

Real Secret Elopement Wedding: Crystal & Matt

Crystal and Matt eloped and got celebrated their big day in a secret ceremony without any other guests. Now how's that for an inspiration for couples struggling to edit their guest lists! They chose the most incredibly romantic location I've ever seen, unfortunately for us Brits, is all the way over in Atlanta Georgia. But we can still fall in love with idea of getting married near a tumble-down mansion, there must be hundreds in the UK - why not check out the National Trust for ideas. Other totally stealworthy ideas include Crystal's gorgeous simple strapless dress, the cute bright yellow of Matt's buttonhole, and the stunning sewn vow cards, created by Ashley of Dolci Odille. Best of all, I love the pics, and they're thanks to the massively talented team at Simply Bloom.

Friday 27 December 2013

Cute, Bright DIY Wedding Decorations

DIY brides who are looking for an original way to decorate their wedding venue are in for a treat. How about pom-poms? Not your standard wedding tissue poms, but woollen pom-poms like those you normally find on the end of a bobble hat! You could make garlands out of them, or add one to each table setting as  wedding favour with bags of playful personality. You could make them in every size or colour imaginable - all you need is wool, cardboard, a pair of scissors, this tutorial, and a lot of time on your hands! If you're not all that interested in DIY wedding projects, then check out these gorgeous garlands from Milla Love. All the beauty with none of the work.

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Tuesday 24 December 2013

Snowy Wedding Inspiration with Hot Pink Accents

Two of our friends celebrated their wedding in the show, and although it caused more than a few travel headaches, it made for one of the most romantic weddings ever. So when I stumbled across this gorgeous snowy wedding shoot by fabulous photographer, Amy Carroll, I knew I had to share it with my lovely wedding blog friends. Just check out how dramatic the hot pink looks against the snow, and the glamour and luxury of the furs. I'm also loving the gold details on the buttonhole, and the fabulous spotty bow-tie. Let's start a wedding mini-trend for bow-ties on grooms - they're such a fun detail, and they'd make your boy stand out from the crowd. Throw in a cute dog and a baby coat, and I'm in wedding-heaven!

Friday 20 December 2013

Cheap & Cheerful Wedding Favours

Sweetie bars and biscuit bars have become a hugely popular at weddings. Guests are usually encouraged to fill a bag with their goodies and take them home as wedding favours. It's a brilliant idea, because it doesn't cost much {you can even bake your own biscuits}, and people always appreciate favours they can eat! Add a splash of colour with these fun striped paper bags. They're a great way to package sweeties, and en masse, they look really effective. Just add twine. Pick up paper bags from eBay super-cheap.

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Thursday 19 December 2013

My Three Top Honeymoon Destinations

Right now I'm feeling sick with jealousy, as at least three couples I know are sunning themselves in either the Caribbean or Costa Rica. I almost can't look at Instagram, in the fear that another gorgeous shot of palm trees, will make me go green-eyed and grumpy. So I thought I'd get it all out of my system with a feature about the best beach honeymoon destinations. My husband and I were lucky enough to go travelling before we got married, so we've been to a lot of gorgeous places around the world. Here are my top three honeymoon hot-spots....I'll go back to dreaming now!

1. Bali - If you're looking for beauty on a budget, then Bali is your best bet. Balinese architecture is stunning, and nearly all their hotels have lush gardens, courtyards, and perfectly decorated rooms. Outdoor showers are a regular feature, and with the weather hovering at 30 degrees all year round, it's never too chilly to lather up among the greenery. Spend half your honeymoon in trendy beachside Seminyak learning how to surf, and half up in the stunning rice fields of Ubud, where you can start your day with yoga and a soya shake. If you're feeling more adventurous, then pop on a plane to nearby Lombok. Independent travel is easy, so book your flight, and research the perfect hotel on Trip Advisor.

2. Costa Rica - If your idea of the perfect honeymoon includes tropical beaches, lazy sloths and zipping through trees in pursuit of howler monkeys, then you'll L-O-V-E Costa Rica. My favourite resort is Santa Teresa, on the west coast, where you walk through the forest to a wild beach, studded with driftwood and the occasional giant turtle. Yoga and surfing are big draws here, and you'll love the boutique restaurants started by tourists-turned-locals. My husband and I spent a month here, practicing yoga every morning, eating delicious Thai curries and grilled fish, and reading a book a day. Bliss!

3. Maldives - It doesn't get more romantic than the Maldives. White sand beaches, arching palm trees, and crystal-clear, lightly-lapping water. Splash out on a resort holiday, and take a sea-planeto your own private island. I'd chose a room on stilts over the sea, so you can laze on your balcony and watch the tropical fish, without even getting wet!

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Wednesday 18 December 2013

Before the Big Day's Christmas Personal Training Gift List

{Posting by Alice Cowen, Before the Big Day's Personal Trainer & Nutritionist} Happy Christmas from your Before the Big Day P.T! Here's my favourite health and fitness Christmas gift ideas for an exercise fan, or someone who needs a little bit of encouragement for 2014 to get into shape ready for their wedding! Remember you have to feel great in your training gear to get the most out of your workout, so start the New Year in style, and get some of these great garments and accessories under your Christmas tree.

{I want these!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. Addidas Women's Essentials Studded Tank, £40 - Designed by Stella McCartney, this top, with its bright, playful studs and a cutout design has a timeless casual style.

2. Bamboo Butterfly Cardigan, £67.50 - This great jacket keeps your warm, while allowing your body to breathe. Pretty, but packed full of useful details, like a mini iPod holder, it's a fantastic all-rounder.

3. Nike Air Max 1 SP 'Liquid Gold', £129 - how cool are these trainers! Go for gold!!!

4. Davina Aerobic Exercise Hula Hoop with HSB® Heartrate Watch & Gym/Shoe Bag, £33.50 - great for home training if you haven't got much space!

5. Speed-Tight Luxstream Run Tights, £88 - Cozy run tights with deep pockets and a wide waistband to prevent muffin top.

6. Nike Fuel Band, £129 - the smart, simple and fun way to get more active - this band tracks the intensity of your workouts and enables sleep tracking with Nike+ Sessions.

7. Sweaty-Betty Skipping Rope, £10 - Skipping is great for on-the-spot cardio.

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Tuesday 17 December 2013

A Welsh Countryside Wedding with a Pretty Pink Theme - The Reception

Brides planning a marquee wedding are going to L-O-V-E the inspiration they get from this big day. Instead of a shabby chic or rustic look, Pippa and Martyn chose to go for glamour, and created the most fabulous look for their marquee. They didn't spend money on favours or an expensive wedding cake, saving their pennies instead for the most incredible flower displays, designed by The Bay Tree. I love the luxurious elegance of the pink and white table arrangements, and the gorgeous glass roofed reception-area of the marquee. Other stealworthy ideas include the chalk-board labels on the wine coolers, which doubled as table names, and the pink fizz cocktails, in keeping with the colour theme. A big thank you to Lucy Wallace Photography for her stunning pictures!

We got married in Ewenny in South Wales. The church was right next to my parents' house, so it had a special place in my heart {it was also where my husband proposed to me}. Our reception was in a marquee in a field behind my parents house.

We wanted our wedding to have a strong sense of family, so a marquee close to the church and my parents house was a natural choice. The idea of having a blank canvas was really exciting, I could let my imagination run wild!

A Welsh Countryside Wedding with a Pretty Pink Theme

Is there anything more romantic than a horse-drawn carriage? The wedding transport is just one of the things that makes this big day stand out, along with the pretty-as-a-picture flowers, stunning Pronovias wedding gown, and dramatic marquee reception. Pippa and Martyn chose to make their wedding flowers their biggest wedding detail, and called in the talents of Bryan Bird, the florist at The Bay Tree in Cowbridge in Wales. The end result is a stunning array of blooms, including lily-of-the-valley, sweat peas, and roses. The bouquets are beautiful, but wait until you see the reception flowers in Part 2 of this wedding - they'll blow your mind! Other details-to-steal include the bridesmaids black Dessy dresses - as Pippa says - everyone looks good in black, and she let her girls choose their style of dress -making it much more likely they'll wear them again. I also love Martyn's bespoke three-piece suit, and soft pink tie. Huge thanks to Lucy Wallace Photography for sending through her gorgeous pictures from Pippa and Martyn's big day. Stay tuned for Part 2 - the Reception - coming soon!

We got married in Ewenny in South Wales. The church was right next to my parents' house, so it had a special place in my heart {it was also where my husband proposed to me}. Our reception was in a marquee in a field behind my parents house.

To find a wedding gown, we went to Teokath, a fabulous bridal shop in Wimbledon in London, where I tried on lots of wedding dresses. I knew I wanted it to be lace, but when I tried on the Pronovias dress I loved that the grey belt made it a little different.

Monday 16 December 2013

Before the Big Day's Sparkling Beauty Christmas Gift List

{Posting by Julia Bowden, Before the Big Day's Beauty Editor} What's one of my favourite things about Christmas? Seeing that stocking packed full to the brim with beauty delights! So I thought I'd share my Beauty Gift List with you, and there's tonnes to get you gooey-eyed. You could even be selfless and use these as present ideas - beauty goodies are always fab stocking fillers! Or simply email your other half this list, in hope of getting everything you always wanted {subtlety gets you nowhere!}. Enjoy those products and have a very happy {and pretty} Christmas! Julia x

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left 

1. Melvita Nectar Bright Brightening Cream, £36 – This is a great brightening cream that you use to get a luminous complexion. It has a lovely fresh floral scent, and gives your skin a dewy glow.

2. Laura Mercier Luxe Colour Wardrobe Makeup Set, £65 – Even though I'm a make-up artist, I always struggle to create a sleek handbag set. This solves all the problems, with a compact case containing the perfect products for eyes, cheeks and face.

3. Glossy Box Subscription - I was lucky enough to get given one of these at the Wedding Blog Awards. A great way for beauty enthusiasts to keep up to date with new beauty products. You get a selection of products each month for as little as £10 per month.

4. Monu Micro Exfollient, £15.95 – A great little find I discovered in my Glossy Box at the Wedding Blog Awards - this is a great dual-action microdermabrasion cream. It's not too harsh on the skin and smells dreamy

5. Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask, £29.95 - I got to meet with Rui Branco, the Global director of Education and Training for REN last month. He’s the REN Skincare guru and such a lovely man. He gave me lots of advice about my spot prone skin, and this is high on my hit list. It reduces visible blemishes and clears the skin – a great way to kick start a clearer skin regime for the New Year.

6. Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, £28.50 – For hair so dry you don't know what to do with it. Put it on before shampooing for 10 minutes, and it's like having a new head of hair.

7. Neom Organic Treatment Candle in Rose & Neroli, £39.50 – You can't go wrong with this little treat. Great to light in the bath for pure relaxation

8. James Read BB Gradual Face Tan, £22.50 – As it’s winter even more reason to give your face a little sun kissed glow and best of all you can tie it in with your skincare regime. I met with James Last month and not only is he the nicest man on the planet but his products are brilliant. I can’t sing the praises of this tanning range enough. All it’s products smell great, go on easily without streaking and have outstanding results.

9. ProGenius Nude Treatment Oil, £58 - If like me you also have dry patches {as well as spots – lucky me!} don’t despair. To some, it may feel odd putting oil on the skin, but this ProGenius oil nourishes and protects, and sometimes stops the skin from secreting too much sebum thus counteracting the blemishes. With Omega 6, 7 & 9 – it’s a treat for winter-battered skin.

10.  MAC Nocturnals Pigments & Glitter - Black & Gold, £25.50 – Last but not least we all need a bit of Christmas sparkle in our make –up bag. These 5 stackable jars will dazzle everyone for those special occasions and will last you forever.

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Thursday 12 December 2013

A Modern, Elegant Wedding with Quirky Vintage Details - The Reception

A little late-coming {I got horribly distracted with Christmas shopping}, but it's time for the delicious second half of this gorgeous wedding. Groom Adam set his bride the challenge of incorporating his football team, Manchester United, into their wedding. Laura managed it with aplomb, creating an incredible 3D table plan, complete with real grass. The red of their shirts proved a slight problem, as it didn't quite fit in with their cream, elegant wedding colour palette, but Adam compromised with cream shirts in the main dining room! There's plenty more stealworthy ideas to snaffle from the pictures - not least the personalised stamp made by BerinMade stationers. Laura used it to brand all their wedding stationery, and to create salt dough heart ornaments. Laura's mum even borrowed it to hand-stamp biscuits, in case any of the guests got peckish on the bus to the reception venue. I'm a huge fan of Laura's antique sapphire and diamond engagement ring as well! Huge thanks to Laura for filling in all her answers to the Before the Big Day Questionnaire, and to Lissa Alexandra Photography for her fantastic pictures. I've never seen such a fantastic array of wedding portrait shots!

We celebrated our wedding on Saturday 10th August, with a ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Nun Monkton near York, followed by a reception at The Old Deanery, Ripon.

Our wedding photographer was Lissa Alexandra Photography. Shortly after our engagement, I went to a wedding fair, and I fell instantly in love with her photography style. I knew I had to have her from that moment. I think she was the first thing I booked once our date was confirmed.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

A Modern, Elegant Wedding with Quirky Vintage Details

Ice-cream van? Check! Quirky character cars? Check! Fabulous vintage bus? Check! As you can tell, this gorgeous wedding has tonnes of simply fabulous details - many of them with four wheels, and a vintage personality! Laura and Adam were keen to host a classic, elegant wedding, which reflected them as a couple, without having too obvious a theme. Pinks and greens are the dominant colours, and there's definitely a vintage hint to many of the details. I've fallen for Laura's Audrey Hepburn inspired wedding outfit, and her stunning David Austin rose bouquet. Throw in the pretty-as-a-picture church, and historic venue near York, and I'm sold! Enjoy all the gorgeous pictures by Lissa Alexandra Photography - she captured every detail perfectly, and make sure you unashamedly steal Laura's wedding ideas from her answers to Before the Big Day Bride's Questionnaire! More from the reception published later today.

We celebrated our wedding on Saturday 10th August, with a ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Nun Monkton near York, followed by a reception at The Old Deanery, Ripon.

I wanted a venue which was a blank canvas and suited me. Bold green patterned carpets and massive drapes like you get in a traditional castle or stately home venue, just wouldn’t cut it. I chose The Old Deanery for its dark wooden floor boards and cream panelled walls.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Possibly the Best Hen Venue in the World

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to get invited to the launch of a rather special London venture. The Cheeky Parlour is the latest brainchild of the boss behind the uber-trendy Soho House Group. Based in Shoreditch, it offers mini-manicures {£10} and blow-dries {£15} at crazy-low prices, in a super-cool setting. As it's local to my flat, you'll find me propping up the incredible breakfast bar every Friday morning, where I nosh happily on muesli and yoghurt before getting beautified for the weekend. I honestly believe a decent blow-dry is even better than cosmetic surgery, and I always leave feeling super-glam, and that little bit cooler! If you're planning a hen weekend in London, I couldn't recommend it more. They've even got a special package aimed at groups, including my new tipple of choice, Babycham!

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Monday 9 December 2013

Wedding Trends of 2014 - Carnations

Unloved by many, 2014 is going to see the come-back of the carnation. Not just a supermarket cheapie, this {admittedly very reasonable} bloom looks FABULOUS en masse. In many ways a carnation is just a miniature version of a peony, but available all year round, and in a veritable rainbow of colours. Just like baby's breath, it's a flower saviour for brides on a budget. To make carnations work for your wedding, start with one shade per bouquet or display, and remember this trend is all about quantity over quality. Buy as many as you can, and bunch them together in extravagant displays. But remember it's all or nothing. Don't start adding other blooms, or things could start looking cheap not chic. For more ideas, take a look at my Carnation Wedding Ideas Pinterest board.

{Photo Credit} Unknown

{Photo Credit} Wedding Design by Jeffrey Caballero, picture by Taryn and Shelby of Joielala Photographie. More from this wedding on 100 Layer Cake.

{Photo Credit} 1. Unknown | 2. Flowers by A Hana Design, picture by Closer to Love Photography. More from this wedding on Style Me Pretty

{Photo Credit} 1. Flowers by Brown Paper Design, picture by Docuvitae. More from this wedding on Style Me Pretty | 2. Picture by Orange Turtle Photography, more from this wedding on One Lovely Day

{Photo Credit} Flowers by A Hana Design, picture by Closer to Love Photography. More from this wedding on Style Me Pretty

{Photo Credit} 1. Picture by Mr & Mrs Photography, more from this wedding on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings | 2. Flowers by Michelle Edgemont, picture by Stacey Simpson for Levi Stolove Photography. More from this wedding on Michelle's blog

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Thursday 5 December 2013

Real Misty Winter Wedding with a Gorgeous Short Dress

This incredible winter wedding is proof you can organise a fabulous big day in under a month! Keri and Bill originally planned to marrry in June, but they decided to bring all their family together for the holidays and celebrate both happy occasions. I've fallen for the gorgeous misty moodiness of these lovely pictures by Amy Carroll, and all the charming details. Scroll down for classic winter wedding inspiration, including DIY felt pom-poms and ring-pillow, the owl cake topper, the ruffled cake and the particularly cute 'smitten' mitton-shaped favours. Also loving the silvery and while flower arrangements by Gail VanderLaan and Keri's 50's style mid-length dress, and furry stole. Shorter wedding dresses are so this season!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

DIY Bride - Spray-Painted Sheep Cake Topper

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have spotted a flurry of DIY pictures about a month ago. It was all in aid of my friend's last-minute plan-it-in-a-week wedding. Her big bash is actually this weekend {excited!}, but for family reasons, she had to bring the ceremony forward. After much chatting about themes, she decided on a rich gold detailing, and I took the opportunity it get my spray paint on! Not just for graffiti artists, spray paint really is the most versatile of tools. It can turn the most everyday items into a wonderful wedding details. My friend works as a shepherdess, and wanted a cute sheep-style cake topper. I'd spotted this project on Once Wed many years ago, and thought it a genius idea, so tried it out.

I bought toy sheep from Amazon {but I imagine you can find second-hand on eBay}, and lined them up in a shoe-box, took it outside, and got funky with my gold spray paint!

It took a couple of coats, but it was so effective, I did a little satisfaction dance! I reckon if you bought tonnes of them, you could use them as little place-markers, and obviously, you could spray them in any colour to match your wedding theme. I've also seen fruit sprayed gold, and take a look at my jam-jar DIY project. Click for more Before the Big Day DIY bride ideas.

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Tuesday 3 December 2013

Real Purple & Lace Themed English Wedding

This wonderful English wedding ticks every one of my boxes. Childhood sweethearts; check. Gorgeous gown; check. Fabulous pink shoes; check. From the colour palette to the gorgeous laser-cut cupcake covers, I'm loving every single detail. Isn't it the quintessential English wedding? There's a reason why so many brides and grooms choose a church wedding followed by a marquee reception - it's a tried and tested template that allows you add your own personal touches. Fantastic pictures, as ever, by Yana Photography.

Monday 2 December 2013

Introducing Fiona Kelly Wedding Photography

There's a handful of photographers in the UK who I consider up there with the best. They've got a fantastic eye for the easy-to-miss moment, but they're fantastic at formal and detail shots as well. Fiona Kelly is one of those wedding photographers, and that's why I'm delighted to introduce her as Before the Big Day's newest sponsor. Fiona's lovely reportage style means you and your guests will be captured at your most natural - looking your best, with your emotions mirrored in your face. You can see from her gorgeous shots below how good she is at being in the right place at the right time for the perfect shot. What's more, Fiona is super-friendly and a massively relaxing influence on your big day - in the tumult of relatives and friends, you can be sure she'll be calm in the eye of the storm. London-based, Fiona works across the UK and Europe - wherever the wedding calls her! Her packages start at a very reasonable £1795, and include full day coverage {preparations to your First Dance and a bit more}, and your pictures on a USB to print yourself. Of course, if you want beautiful albums, then Fiona can help you with those as well! Take a look at Fiona's wedding photography website to see more of her gorgeous work.

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