Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Introducing SeyVillas Seychelles Honeymoons

After months of winter, I'm really longing for some sunshine, and with my giant pregnancy bump {6 weeks to go and counting}, it's not like I can just jump on a plane somewhere hot. Instead, I'm dreaming about where we can go on holiday next, and there's nowhere more romantic than the Seychelles. I reckon we're due a second honeymoon once the baby is born, and I've been exploring the amazing options offered by SeyVillas. They've got all sorts of options, from small guesthouses and hotels, yacht-stays and personal villas. For true luxury and perfect privacy, I'd be really tempted to go for our own intimate island, although with options starting at just over £100 a night, there's plenty of choice for the post-wedding wallet! Take a look at SeyVillas' tailor-made island hopping packages, and fantastic advice on getting married in the Seychelles - the website will have you drooling, and reaching for that Book button!

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Monday, 18 February 2013

Five Ways to Fabulous Wedding Inspiration

Can I let you into a secret? When I started planning my wedding, I wasn't even engaged. In fact, it was about six months before my boyfriend asked me to marry him. I was so excited about the concept of planning a wedding - all the creative fun of it - that I had a secret file of ideas on my computer. That quickly turned into a less secret file when I started Before the Big Day wedding blog {three months before my engagement}, and by the time my boyfriend finally put a ring on it, I was stuffed to the brim with wedding ideas and inspiration. But what if you're not like me, and you're newly engaged, and you haven't got the slightest idea of where you're going to find your wedding mojo, and get inspired? Or, if you're more like me, and have too many ideas, and you're not sure which is really 'you'? Hopefully these five wedding tips will help you on your way, out of the wedding maze, and into the land of {almost} perfect wedding planning.

{Photo Credit} Ice-Cream Parlous Bistro Table & Chairs Set by The Atomic Attic

1. Find pictures that inspire you. They don't all have to be wedding pictures - for example this picture of two chairs and and a table got my creative juices flowing this morning. There's something about them that promises a future life together as a couple, sharing rose al fresco, and enjoying romantic trips to Parisian bistros. They'd start me thinking of a vintage French-themed wedding, maybe in the South of France, where you serve harvest-festival-style buffet tables of charcuterie, creamy cheeses and baguette. Your waiters could wear Breton-style t-shirts, and your wedding invitations could be reminiscent of bistro-style daily menus, with the table plan written in white ink on a vintage mirror. Wedding favours would be macarons, and you could have a photobooth stuffed to the brim with French-themed fancy dress; berets, strings of garlic, sophisticated moustaches and feather boas. Do you see what I mean? All that from just one picture!

{Photo Credit} M&J Photography - see the whole wedding..

2. Save the pictures that inspire you via Pinterest. If you haven't signed up yet, you really should! It's the best way to create mood boards for your different wedding ideas. My advice is to create one for every theme you're considering, and then one each for key extra items e.g. Favourite Wedding Dresses, Favourite Groom Looks, Bridesmaids Ideas. Take a look at my Pinterest boards to give you an idea. Once you've opened your Pinterest account, and added the Pin It function to your web browser, you can save every scrap of wedding inspiration in one place.

3. Have you discovered Etsy yet? It's a-mazing! Basically it's an online marketplace, where the most creative people in the world sell handmade or vintage items. It is chock-a-block packed with wedding ideas and inspiration, and I'd really recommend signing up for their weekly wedding emails, and reading the Etsy Wedding Blog. Folksy is another similar website which is quite a bit smaller, but more UK-based. I recently found these gorgeous botanical banners on Folksy, which completely inspired my friend's up-coming spring garden wedding.

{Photo Credit} Peony & Thistle bunting

4. Trawl the wedding blogs. I suppose I'm bound to think this, but honestly the wedding blogs are the best place for free wedding inspiration. Personally I recommend checking out the Real Weddings section of any wedding blog. That's where you can beg, borrow and steal other brides' wedding ideas, and keep up on all the latest wedding trends. My favourite UK wedding blogs include Rock My Wedding, Rock n' Roll Bride, Love My Dress and OMG I'm Getting Married.

{Photo Credit} Caught the Light - see more pictures of my wedding

5. Find wedding inspiration from your life as a couple
. Think back through your courtship, your first date, your first holiday together, where you got engaged, where you live, your hobbies, what you love doing together, eating together, watching on TV. Do you both love travel? Live in London? Love Chinese food? Did you both grow up in the countryside? Did you meet thanks to a shared love of music? All of these little details about the two of you as a pair, can grow into a big wedding inspiration idea. For example, on a trip to New York, a lady in a shop gave me a tiny vintage key. It happened to be one of the best days of our holiday, and the key always seemed a romantic talisman of that day. Two years later we celebrated our Secret Garden themed wedding, with a vintage key motif!

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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Caroline Castigliano Wedding Dress Sample Sale

Your wedding dress can be a huge part of your budget if you pay full price. Luckily there are lots of sample sales each year, and this spring is no different! For one week only, internationally renowned designer Caroline Castigliano is hosting a massive sample sale from 13th-17th March in London. With over 100 ex-display, catwalk and exhibition wedding gowns available, and up to 70% off, you don't want to miss it! Places are limited so book early on 020 7636 8212. For more upcoming sample sales click here, and sign up for my free newsletter or follow me on Twitter, so you won't miss a single one.

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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Real Persian London Wedding: Sarah & Sam

We love hearing from Before the Big Day brides! Lovely Sarah discovered her wedding photographer, PhotoMadly, via Before the Big Day, and I'm thrilled to now feature her beautiful wedding to Sam. With a wedding reception at historic Inner Temple and a Persian ceremony, this stunning big day is packed full of delicious wedding details. Sarah chose a peach and yellow colour theme for her wedding flowers, and carried the natural theme through to her {DIY'd} wedding invitations and wildflower seed wedding favours. Vintage wedding details included handmade place-markers, and the personalised memory table, decorated with Sarah and Sam's parents' wedding pictures and a vintage suitcase. With Sarah's exquisite Manuel Mota wedding gown, a naked wedding cake, and amazing deserts, this is definitely one of my favourite weddings of the year! If you'd like to submit your wedding to Before the Big Day, please do contact me.

I always thought my dream wedding dress would be made of white lace with ¾ sleeves! However when I tried a dress like that, it didn’t catch my eyes. I tried a few different styles and ended up with a dress totally different from my imagination! I tried a champagne satin gown designed by Manuel Mota, from Pronovias 2012 Collection

It was the only dress that increased my heart-rate and felt absolutely unique and special wearing it. However to make sure that was the best choice, I went to a few other designer shops in London and Paris, but in the end I went back to my original choice.

Our florists were the lovely Simon and Victoria from Euphoric Flowers. I chose peach and yellow as the colour theme for my bouquet, which beautifully matched my champagne wedding dress. The tuberose released an amazing scent around me all day and evening! Sam and the ushers had matching buttonholes with yellow craspedia added. 

My mum handmade my veil! Sewing has always been a hobby for her and she is great at it. I told her what style of veil I want and despite being in another country, she purchased the fabric and made a beautiful veil for me, with small sparkles towards the hem.

Finding the right suit for Sam wasn't too easy. In our search, we heard there was a guy called Ian who was 'the master of suits' based in Reiss Oxford Circus, who could potentially help with a made-to-measure suit! We found him, and he was indeed the master of suits! He helped Sam to design his three-piece suit from the scratch - from the material and colour to the lining, buttons and so many other details - Sam chose everything. He looked fabulous on our wedding day!

I was so lucky to find my shoes which were not only the right heel size and comfortable, but also had the exact colour and details as my dress. I found them in Dune in Covent Garden. Sam's shoes were from the same shop!

We celebrated our wedding on Sunday 23 September at Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in London. Inner Temple is a beautiful historical venue in the heart of London with a three-acre garden overlooking the Thames, a 12th Century church, and lots of different halls and rooms you can use for different parts of your celebration. 

Sam's dad is a barrister and his family had a long term relationship with Inner Temple - having celebrated many big events in the Hall. Meanwhile, I loved the Englishness of the venue and I was sure my Iranian friends and family would love to experience the Britishness of the venue for our wedding!

Having a Persian ceremony meant our wedding was always going to be glamorous and full of details, so we didn’t need to worry too much about having a particular wedding theme. Plus we wanted the beautiful backdrop of Inner Temple to shine through.

Sam and I met for the first time at the birthday dinner of a mutual friend in a bar and restaurant in Camden in May 2009. We happened to sit next to each other and had a long chat about politics, languages, animals and ourselves.

Sam's plan for proposing didn't go exactly as expected! In November 2011 he took me out for dinner in a cute French restaurant in Hampstead, where we had lots of nostalgic memories of our early relationship, but according to him, the right moment never arrived to ask the big question that night! The following morning, I was still in bed, when Sam brought me a ring, went on his knee and said he couldn’t wait for another special occasion. 

Rather than the traditional wedding photography, I wanted a more modern approach into my wedding photos. I did a lot of research and came across Erika from Photomadly through Before The Big Day. Her photos were very creative but in the meantime very natural and didn't feel commercial.  Erika had a lovely personality and very pleasant to work with. She suggested a free engagement shoot to give us a chance to practice how to work together, before the big day! You can see our engagement photos via her blog.

There were days that I enjoyed planning our wedding, but there were moments of frustration and feeling this is all crazy and too much! I spent six months on the whole thing, from the day we decided on the venue and date, and I don't think I could manage to spend even one more day on it! 

My advice is, don’t let your passion and interest for any aspect of your wedding become an obsession for you! Do your research, but also be able to make a decision and tick it off your list. I didn't delegate enough and I was left with too much responsibility up to the actual day, so please delegate to your friends and family as much as possible. Finally be happy and relaxed on the day, even if it rains all day - what matters the most is the celebration of your marriage with all your loved ones, which is overwhelmingly incredible.

We had lots of DIY wedding projects. We welcomed our guests with a memory table of our parents' wedding photos, some pictures from our childhood, a hand-made guest book and a vintage luggage full of fresh flowers. I also created the order of ceremony, which explained what is the history of Persian ceremony the symbolism. I used a template from 
Vistaprint  and added Persian poems and our engagement photos.

I designed our wedding stationary, using a simple floral template from an online printing company {Vistaprint}, which we then decorated with lace and sheer ribbons to give them a bit of a glamour and a vintage look. My mum {who lives abroad} managed to visit me for a few days in London, and we made the cards together. She also helped me with other important decisions I couldn't make without my mum! 

We had lots of DIY wedding projects. I made all the table names out of luggage tags, glamorised with lace ribbons and vintage buttons, with our guests’ names in both English and Persian to highlight our multicultural celebration. I also made the table names, using stamps and images of the cities Sam and I visited or wanted to visit. Sam did most of the seating plans and put a lot of care and attention on how to mix and match the guests for everyone to have a great time and enjoy a nice chat over dinner.

To go with the natural theme of the wedding, I ordered personalised flower seed packages for our guests to take home and grow in their gardens, in memory of our wedding. I chose the seeds from Wildflower Favours, and ordered three different styles of packaging - all natural and vintage looking.

I discovered Euphoric Flowers via a wedding magazine, and Simon and Victoria worked closely with me, with lots of patience and experience. In the end the flowers were better than I imagined! I chose bright and colourful centrepieces and a vintage suitcase of flowers on the memory table, plus displays for the ceremony room and entrance hall.

In my wedding research I came across images of natural wedding cakes {cakes without icing} and absolutely loved the idea. Finding the cake-maker was allocated to Sam’s to-do-list and he did a great job finding the Abigail Bloom Cake Company. We had a 3 tier natural cake, with different flavours for each tier. It looked beautiful, with butter cream and raspberry conserve between each layer, and tasted absolutely gorgeous. 

Persian weddings normally have a charming cake cutting ceremony, when the knife is handed to the bride and groom, by their female cousins and friends, after lots of dancing!

{Wedding Credits}
Videographer: Karl and Nicole from Moment Media
Make-up Artist: Maryam Jensen
Hair stylist: Kassandra Rizzuto
Event Manager: Vicky Portinari
Music: String Quartet at the reception and DJ for the party - contacts by request

♥ Want to see DIY wedding ideas? ♥ Or how about more wedding theme ideas? ♥
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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Carnival Wedding: DIY Invitation Tickets

Making the Carnival Wedding Tickets was a little bit fiddly, but it's definitely do-able, even if you're not a professional graphic designer. The secret is to be adaptable, and use the computer programmes you understand. For me, that's Picasa, Word and iPhoto. Picasa is a free programme, which you can download from the internet, and it's seriously easy to use. This tutorial will help you adapt any free printable, so it's worth saving!

First of all I downloaded a free printable of a carnival ticket invitation that best resembled the look I wanted. I found this amazing template from The Burk Family Blog via Pinterest {right click, Save As onto your Desktop}. To find your own template, the best search to use is 'free printables' and then any other key word. If you can't find one on Pinterest, then Google Images is a great place to look as well.

Carnival Wedding Theme DIY Invitations

My birthday is fast approaching, and as it's my last one before I become a mother {eek!}, I've decided to go the whole hog, with a Carnival Theme. It's a style I seriously considered for our wedding, so I'm using my 34th as an excuse to use all my carnival wedding inspiration. As ever, my first obsession was styling the invitations - I think it's key to any wedding or party to build anticipation with fabulous stationery, and with the right kit, it's super easy to DIY. Take a look my Circus Bunting invitations below, complete with DIY instructions. And if you're looking for more Carnival Wedding Theme ideas, then definitely check out my Pinterest page.

Making the invitations was a two stage process. First of all I made the bunting cards, and then the carnival tickets to slip inside.

What you need
Hint: I find all my supplies via eBay to get the best prices!
* this Carnival ticket template {published with thanks to The Burk Family Blog}
white cards 4" x 3"
striped blue & white paper bags
washi tape
star squeeze punch
A4 red card 220gsm
* white address labels 100mm x 34mm
* plain white sewing cotton
* sharp scissors
* sticky tape
* glue
* a printer with black ink
* a guillotine {or be very good at cutting straight lines}

Friday, 8 February 2013

Vintage Wedding Dress Sample Sale

Massively exciting news! The Vintage Wedding Dress Company has just announced its annual trunk sale. Taking place this month, from 21st-23rd of February 2013, viewing is by appointment only at their central London showroom. This gorgeous boutique is renowned for its heavenly gowns, both vintage and vintage-style, and this is your opportunity to get your hands on them at discounted prices! For full information and to book an appointment, call 0207 907 7719.

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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Real Spring Vintage Wedding: Laura & Brandon

A truly stunning wedding for you this fine Thursday {one day to the weekend, yipee!}. The gorgeous bride, Laura, chose a library wedding theme, to reflect her own studies in libary science. Throw in a few vintage wedding details, including an old globe, a library card catalog 'guest-book' and vintage vases and you've got tonnes of fantastic wedding inspiration. I'm loving all the DIY wedding details - Laura's mother's friends filled little bottles with locally grown organic wildflowers, that they bought by the bucketful from their local florist. Another favourite is their blossom studded wedding cake, the candy bar, Laura's amazing Justin Alexander gown, and the gorgeous, chic green stationery.

More posts like this one:
Real Spring Snowdrop Wedding Video
Real Welsh Spring Wedding

♥ Want to see green themed weddings? ♥ Or how about more spring wedding ideas? ♥
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