Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Real Wedding: Lois & Steve

Fairytale, feminine and frothy, three words that almost enscapulate this fabulous English wedding. Lois and Steve could not have been luckier with the weather, for their April big day, they even said their vows outside in the sunshine. The gorgeous couple chose Little Hermitage in Kent for their venue, and doesn't it look stunning, with a big green garden, and lots of Georgian features. Lois picked pink as her signature colour, and used it to fabulous effect with super-feminine bridesmaid dresses, armfuls of roses and a cute stick of rock at each table place. Even the boys got in on the look, with pink ties and buttonholes. I'm loving Lois' full-skirted dress and her simple pearl accessories, plus her taste in pink champagne - yum! Gorgeous photos from the ever-talented Caught the Light.

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Cup of Love

Save your pennies by using these super-cool paper cups instead of renting glasses! They wouldn't work for champagne, but you could definitely use them for short cocktails or soft drinks. They'd be a great addition to your table decor, imagine the bright colours adding zing, instead of boring water glasses. ABC cups come in 14 variations, including the alphabet from A to Z, and for under £10 you get 30. What words would you spell out? Pick them up here from the fabulous Papermash.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Lovebird Duo

These two belong together, aren't they the cutest! Just look at their gorgeous heart-shaped, feathery wings. I'd add them to a sweetheart table for a touch of rustic chic. Your guests could admire them as they added comments to your visitors' book, and then afterwards you could keep them by your bed where they'll lovingly look after your rings. Each little bird is unique and handmade by Elizabeth Prince. Check out her Folksy shop here and her blog here. Also loving the little heart dish, perfect for a ring-pillow on your wedding day.

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Monday, 14 June 2010

Real Wedding: Jennifer & Oliver

London is one of the most inspiring cities in the world, so it's not surprising that LDN weddings tend to rock my world. There's so many iconic images that can be incorporated into your big day, from black cabs to red buses, the River Thames, the tube, Big Ben and of course soldiers in bearskin hats. Jen and Olly managed to find a fair few of those details on their post-ceremony walk down The Mall, and it really adds to the atmosphere of their pictures. But the details don't stop there! Throw in Jen's Vera Wang dress, an orchid bouquet, and the breathtaking London Oratory, and you've got a wedding made in heaven. I particularly love the room in the The Waldorf Hilton where they celebrated their reception, it's so light and airy and elegant. Don't miss the last pics, as Jen and Olly performed a fabulously choreographed foxtrot for their first dance. A great idea for a couple who aren't that confident on the dance floor. Try Wedding Day Dance for your own lessons. Huge thanks to Lily & Frank Photography for their gorgeous pictures.

My Wedding - The Venue

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.

So we'd established we wanted to get married in Provence, now all we needed was a venue. SO much easier said than done! For any  newly engaged couples out there who haven't done this yet, there are two options. If you can afford it, I'd recommend hiring a planner to find your venue for you. They'll do a fabulous job of noting down all the attributes you want, and then they'll create a booklet of the best venues in the area, show you around all of them in one day, and bada bing, you're booked. No stress, no angst, no pain. I even found a company that would do this for me called Dites Moi Oui. They sent me an example of one of their booklets, and it was amazing, with every detail you'd want, including floor plans - I mean wow!

The downside is they charge you about £800 for the pleasure, and in our constant aim to spend less, not more, I decided to take on the challenge myself. It started off fun, at least for the first couple of months. Then it become less fun, as it appeared that what I wanted didn't exist. Or at least, we couldn't afford what I wanted. The budget monster raised its ugly head again, along with a nagging uncertainty of whether to go for a charming farmhouse with lavender shutters {unpretentious, sweet, cheap, unmemorable???} or a beautiful chateau with turrets {pretentious and expensive, but with a real feeling of occasion}. Should we take it for a week, or just one night? Where exactly should it be {Provence is quite a large area}? Many nights were spent surfing the net, and tearing out hair.

This lasted till April - yup, four months. I reckon I looked at every single edifice in Provence, from a shack to a castle. And then, with only four weeks till our recce trip to France, the political campaigning for the British General Election started, and I was swamped at work {my day job is at BBC Radio 4}. So when it came to two days before crunch-time, I'd only booked three venues to visit, and all of them were wrong in some way. That's when an angel in the form of Stephanie from Simply Chateau came into my life. I didn't know it at the time, because she seemed to be suggesting venues way out of my league, but she was determined I should visit two of her chateaux. So I gave in (with hours to go till our flight), and let her book the appointments.

Provence was gorgeous. It reassured us as to why we'd decided to celebrate our wedding there, and we had a truly fabulous weekend of food and wine, and a little too much driving. We visited my venues first {see the list below}, and in the end only one of Stephanie's chateau. As it happens, my discoveries had a lot going for them, and I'd recommend them to everyone, they just weren't right for us. But Stephanie's chateau was The One. At one point, we stopped to admire the view from one of the terraces {yes, it has many!}, and I might have got little tears in my eyes. But don't hold it against me, because the place really is perfect, and I promise, I'm not turning into one of those wet and weepy brides.

We decided to take it for three days, as it made more economic sense than one night or one week, and it means that we'll have the weekend wedding we always wanted. It's a private house rather than a hotel, and it has 11 bedrooms, which means closest family, and my bridesmaids can be on hand for moral support and on-the-day jobs! It was over-budget, but we've had no post-booking remorse, it was perfect, and we'll just cut back in other areas. No pics I'm afraid, because we want to keep it a surprise for our guests, but it has an onsite chapel, pool and tennis court. I'm so excited about it!

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Saturday, 12 June 2010

I'm A Little Tea-Pot

Perfect for a bridal shower, hen night or vintage-themed wedding, these gorgeous handcrafted tea pots are the cutest favour boxes I've seen in a long while. Handmade by Joanne in Manchester, and sold in her Etsy boutique Vintage Twee, they'd bring a touch of English tradition to your big day. Fill them with sweeties, lavender, or a handmixed tea-bag to make them your own, and sit back, safe in the knowledge you've added something truly original to your wedding.

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Friday, 11 June 2010

Real Wedding: Gemma & Steve

Are you planning a winter wedding? There's something about the light on a crisp and clear December day, and my photographer friends tell me that winter sunsets are truly magical. Definitely worth considering when you're scheduling your pictures. Gorgoues couples, Gemma and Steve, chose the stunning Wotton House in Surrey for their big day, and used the grounds to great effect. I'm loving the warm purples and mauves in their colour scheme and the bridesmaids look fabulous in their full-length silk gowns. Other stealworthy ideas include the chocaholic's dream cake and the use of eucalyptus, freesias and rosemary in the florals, which must have smelled heavenly. Inspirational photos from the fab team at Segerius Bruce.

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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Homemaker Favours

Can you bake? I can't cook for toffee, and that's why I love this idea that's winged its way over from the States. The idea is that you ask all your guests to write up their favourite recipe, and leave it as a favour on your wedding day. Not only does it make for a gorgeous keepsake cookery book, but you and your husband have a future of fabulous meals together. Now all you've got to do is figure out who does the washing-up. All the letterpress cards below are from The Petite Press.

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