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En Provence.

French Header

You may have noticed over the last couple of months that we’ve showcased a veritable display of French Weddings. From Cecile and Kevin’s chic Parisian soiree to Olivia and Marc’s dreamy provencal do, we’ve really been a little bit spoilt with all this loveliness.

Spoilt and inspired too…

Which is why this week’s inspiration post is inspired by the chic nation that is the French.

Rather than taking the luxurious route reminiscent of Versailles fashion, the moodboards below are suggestive of a simpler, more understated provincial charm.

Les Belle Dames

Lighthearted and bright, ‘Les Belle Dames’ is all about adding a modern twist to elegant classics. Simpler silhouettes are the watchwords here with the look less about the volume and more about finely crafted materials and tailoring.

French brides prefer freer flowing fabrics with silk and crepe being the most popular materials of choice. Add a touch of lace draped softly over the shoulders and down the back and the look is pure elegance.

Les Belle Dames

One or two key accessorises are all that’s needed to compliment the look. I particularly love a knotted veil, a string of small seed pearls knotted down the back or a delicate headpiece. Beauty looks are simpler too with a soft rosy hue and neutral eyes being the order of play.

Top off the look with a soft chignon or a loosely woven fishtail plait.

Campagne Chic

Campagne chic is all about looking as if you’ve spent a lazy Sunday afternoon at a Paris flea market and picked up a a few glorious finds in the process.

From forgotten watering cans to flaking washbowls and loved, worn tables, it’s all about finding understated charm in simple everyday objects. If this is your style then it’s so easy to integrate these props into your home decor after the big day is over too making them a real investment for your married future.

Props always help to really bring a theme to life; scrawl French phrases onto decadently shaped blackboards, prop up village bikes complete with baskets full of baguettes or opt for calligraphried invitations in a style similar to French script.

Campagne Chic

Channel Marie Aintoinette by creating salon styled seating areas for your guests using elaborate chairs, French cushions and sweet love seats. Finish the look like stringing reclaimed chandeliers from the ceiling or even from nearby trees.

I particularly love the idea of gifting padlocks to coupled up guests as wedding favours inscribed with their initials and finished with a ribbon flourish. Leave them a key so they can secure their love locks somewhere close to their hearts.

Les Jolie Fleurs

Did you know that it’s a French tradition to offer sprigs of lily-of-the-valley to your loved ones on May Day. Now that’s exactly the kind of tradition I adore so I couldn’t resist including a sweet posy of this flower as part of this moodboard.

If lily-of-the-valley doesn’t float your boat or if you’re looking to inject a bit of colour into your day then Lavender just screams French provencal charm. Try adding it to your table centrepieces to add both a visual punch as well as a beautiful scent to your surroundings. Alternatively why not place a few stems at each guest’s setting for them to take away as a keepsake of the day.

Les Jolies Fleurs

Try thinking outside the flowerbox when it comes to housing your beautiful blooms. Sourcing antique milk churns, bike baskets and old planters or even wrapping plant pots in brown paper and string are all fantastic ways of achieving this look. I particularly love the idea of a ‘flower table’ pictured in the moodboard above full to bursting with a myriad of different jugs, pots and vases. You can just smell those blooms from here can’t you.

Lastly, why not wrap the ends of your bouquet in antique French velvet ribbon as a subtle nod to your ‘something old’.

Sur La Table

This concoction of pretty was influenced by an image that I’ve been cultivating in my imagination for some time. You see for me, a French wedding revolves mostly around the culinary delights offered at the reception so I wanted to recreate a scene that I feel epitomises a perfect Gallic knees-up.

Think rustic chairs and tables scattered outside under the trees adorned with mismatched plates of cheese and wine. Candles or festoon lighting providing the perfect amount of illumination and the prettiest of napkins to lay on your lap.

Sur La Table

If you’re after a more luxurious feel opt for opulent chairs, exquisite tableware and lots and lots of flowers. Leaving gifts at guests’ settings adds to the luxe look too – squares of dark French chocolate, a exquisitely wrapped mini baguette or handmade soaps all work equally well.

More than anything it’s about creating an atmosphere rather than a specific look. If you’ve got the right ambience then nothing else really matters.

La Patisserie

If there’s a nation that raise cakey treats to an art form then it’s the French.

You name it, they’ve made it – macarons, fruit tartlets, gateaus and the piece de resistance – the croquembouche. There’s literally something for everyone.

Why not serve small portions of gateau for dessert or even small fruit tartlets with a pot of lavender infused cream and a rustic napkin. If you’re looking for something that pushes your feminine buttons then choosing a sweet cake stand piled with macarons in candy shades topped with a bow is a surefire way to tick that box.

Presentation is just as much a key to this look as the savoury delights of your treats so allocate a portion of your time to styling the look. Garnishing the cakes themselves as well as their surroundings with florals in keeping with your wider theme is one way to do this; sourcing antique French cake knives and slices is another.

La Patisserie

I love the idea of sourcing vintage cake knives for each of your tables, allowing guests to serve themselves whilst engendering that community feel at the same time.

So folks, what do you think?

Does the Gallic way of doing things float your boat?

Interestingly, I read an article not so long back written by the BBC which discussed how the French were looking to the Brits for inspiration for their big day. Apparently they like the fun and light-hearted elements that British brides incorporate into their nuptials and are beginning to emulate it themselves.

Who knew? If the beeb says it’s true then who are we to disagree…

All my love Lolly xxxx

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A Smattering Of Pattern.

Patterned Wedding Inspiration

When I’ve talked about wedding themes in the past it’s typically followed two lines of thought – either that of a particular colour palette or that of a specific concept such as ‘Bohemian Chic’ or ‘Nautical’. 

But something niggled at me. There was something missing, something I hadn’t addressed with you lovely lot. 

My lightbulb moment arrived when my eyes alighted on Amy and Ric’s wedding last week and their magnificent table runners that matched oh so perfectly with the groomsmens’ ties. 

Pattern. 

Yes pattern

I admit, I’ve taken this particular decor theme for granted, an oversight on my part but I’m here to rectify things, to put it right.

So folks, the rest of this post is dedicated to spots, stripes, polka dots and floral prints and I’ll even throw in a bit of lace inspiration for good measure.

Shall we get started then.

Polka Dots And Spots

Girly and fun I don’t think I’ve met one person who doesn’t love a good dotty print. 

Polka dotted weddings have made their presence known for a little while now and I’m not really seeing any signs of them disappearing. Perhaps this is because it’s just so blinking easy to integrate them into your big day; from spotted straws and stationery to dotty cakes and photobooth backdrops.

Polka Dots And Spots

I’d really love to meet a Winter bride that chooses to wear polka dots tights underneath her gown; they’re so pretty they make my heart ache. Add a dotted tulle veil on top and I think I could faint from cuteness overload.

And I haven’t forgotten the boys either. Why not complement your bride to be with a spotted pocket square or tie and forgo the traditional buttonhole by choosing a dotty feather like the one pictured here instead.

You’ll look sexier than a girl in a yellow polka dotted bikini!

Feeling Stripy

Sophisticated and classic, stripes are often associated with nautical affairs but you don’t need to be a coastal bride to use this type of design in your big day decor. 

I love the subtle masculinity that stripes bring to a wedding setup – a preppy vibe if you will. And nothing quite beats a bridesmaid in bold bands – they just look so fun!

The trick to avoiding a beachside atmosphere (if you’re keen bypass this look) is to use colour palettes that don’t fall into the navy and sea green spectrum. Peaches, pinks, greys, golds and silvers are all wonderful alternatives and bring with them a luxe feel to the proceedings.

Stripes

Equally try experimenting with different widths and contrasting materials to make your stripes interesting as well as playing with multiple angles like on both of these table settings displayed here.

Stripes are best incorporated into wedding decor through clothing and through linens but that doesn’t mean that you can’t introduce such a pattern in your wedding stationery, your favours or even your tableware.

Perhaps one of my favourite weddings I attended presented the most beautiful plates which were emblazoned with a bold band of colour across the centre that guests could take home with them. They looked gorgeous lined up against each other and created a focal piece of decor too.

Floral Fancies

Perfect for the rustic bride or for the bride that still has fond memories of her blue floral junior school uniform (just me then?), floral prints are gorgeously pretty without being twee and saccharine. 

Flora and fauna inspired prints are perhaps the easiest to integrate into your big day in part because there’s just so many to choose from; there’s literally something for everyone. 

From delicate designs to bolshy blooms, colour pop flowers to pastel beauties, floral prints cater deliciously for both vintage inspired affairs or more modern soirees. It’s all about which print you decide to use.

Floral Fancies

If you’re looking for something contemporary I’d recommend opting for larger prints on table linen for example or simplistic leaf-like trails like that which appears on the napkin below and on the place card at the top here.

If vintage glamour is the name of your game then I’d suggest mixing it up…literally. Handpick mismatched flowery plates or gift antique floral handkerchiefs as wedding favours – this will add impact as well as serving a purpose too.

Let your wedding party form the theme too by dressing groomsmen in floral shirts and maids in floaty blossoming dresses. If you love the idea but prefer a subtler touch for fear of looking like the Von Trapp Family singers why not adorn your envelopes with a flowery motif or your wedding cake with a floral garnish instead.

A Trace Of Lace

I love lace.

In fact, I love lace so much that if I hadn’t been focused on channeling the preppy, ‘A Weekend In The Country’ vibe in my decor then I think I would have headed down a lace inspired route.

Ethereal and feminine, I love the versatility that lace possesses, in part because it can take on so many different forms, be that intricate and delicate or large and bold. And it’s this variety that makes it interesting.

We’ve seen the popularity of wedding cakes that resemble the material of a bride’s dress boom and so I anticipate that reflecting materials and textures in the wider wedding decor will be popular too.

Evoke a lace inspired feel by utilising lace runners or overcloths on your reception tables or write on lasercut wedding stationery and throw confetti in a similar pattern to your dress. For a lace inspired wedding that’s easy on the pocket, use doilies as plate chargers calligraphied with guests names at each setting or string them together to make homemade bunting.

Lace Traces

The key to making lace ‘work’ within your decor is not to go over the top with it. Pare it down with rustic, mismatched tables or wholesome centrepieces such as cotton branches.

The trick really is to let the lace do the talking.

Does pattern make your heart sing? Are you a stripy bride?

Perhaps you’ve got your heart set on some polka dotted tulle? I could go gaga for a dotty veil!

Have you ever attended a soirée where pattern is the theme of the day? What was it like?

I can’t wait to hear all about it. 

All my love Lolly xxx

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Cocktail Hour.

If there’s one thing I’ve gleaned during my time within the wedding industry it’s that there’s much we can learn from our cousins across the water.

Sure enough, the Yanks have taken the simple wedding and raised it to an art form with so many different components that us traditional Brits don’t quite know where to put ourselves.

Whilst sometimes this can feel overwhelming, I actually think their ‘go big or go home’ attitude can be pretty exciting. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask. Because it forces us to rethink the parameters of what constitutes a ‘wedding’. Indeed, the modern day bride and groom possess an unprecedented amount of freedom in their wedding related decision-making.

When RMW exhibited at the National Wedding Show earlier this year, mums informed me time and time again that they’d never had this much choice when they were getting married. Their big day was almost pre-determined for them so they were thrilled that their daughters were experiencing a different reality – the chance to do things their way.

I fear I may have become a little philosophical for what essentially is just an inspiration post. You want the pretty don’t you….

Bear with me.

Essentially what I’m trying to say is try not to be intimidated by the amount of choice open to you. You don’t have to do everything. The beauty of having such choice is that you are free to choose what you want to incorporate into your big day.

For me, one of these things was the American-inspired ‘cocktail hour’. Admittedly in the end, for financial reasons, it just wasn’t to be but I so desperately wanted to include this into my big day.

Instead I’ve settled for sharing some ideas with you lovely lot in the hope that one of you will host a spirited soiree and I can live vicariously through you.

Party Tricks

Chic and sophisticated, the ‘cocktail hour’ is the perfect ‘filler’ between the end of the speeches and the beginning of the evening entertainment.

It signifies the end of the daytime activities and precludes the beginning of naughtier nighttime activity all under the guise of civilised fun. Plus it gives something for your guests to talk about too – what’s not to love?

Now every girl needs a pretty dress for a cocktail party.

Granted if you’re the bride then you’ll already be wearing a bobby-dazzler but seeing as it’s Christmas there’s bound to be a fair few of you looking for frocks for works parties and the like.

So we thought we’d spoil you by sharing some of our top picks and favourite cocktail dress images.

Which is your favourite?

Will you dare to bare or take the sophisticated covered up approach?

Deck The Halls

If you’ve decided that you are going to host a cocktail hour (lucky you!) then I’d really recommend going for it on the decor front. Not only does it help to set the scene for your guests thus enhancing their experience but it also signifies that the wedding schedule has moved on to the next stage. Remember, the cocktail hour should be an event in itself, not a bleary memory consigned to oblivion.

And there’s a plethora of inspiration out there to help you do this.

The obvious place to start is with the cocktails themselves. Adding glitzy swizzlers and straws or utilising unique containers such as these test tubes pictured here elevates the average cocktail to something a little bit special.

Whilst I couldn’t fulfill my cocktail hour fantasy I did ask my venue to provide champagne saucers rather than flutes at the champagne reception for more of a unique touch. The guests looked rather fabulous clutching their coupes and many commented that they felt that they were in an episode of Downton with such fantastic glasses.

Designing cocktail-focused paper pretty as part of your overall stationery suite is one way of really integrating the event into the overall wedding schedule. Think about designing bespoke drinks menus or even opting for coasters that double up as a wedding guestbook.

Equally paying attention to the overall decor of the area in which you’ve chosen to host your cocktail hour is a surefire way to make an impact. Covering high tables with gorgeous linen and topping them off with pretty florals, painting cocktail signs, and ordering monogrammed napkins are all economical ways of transforming a space into a designated cocktail venue.

Festive Spirit

Ok so this board is really just an assortment of delicious cocktails. But we all need something pretty to look at on a Tuesday afternoon.

I suppose the point I’m trying to convey here is that you can create cocktails that are absolutely in keeping with your wedding colour scheme.

Hosting an Autumn wedding? Why not serve berrylicious cocktails…

Perhaps you’re having summertime nuptials…provide your guests with something light and refreshing instead.

You could even opt for your a cocktail using your favourite flavours and ingredients such as Earl Grey tea or rose infusions.

If you’re really stuck for some cocktail inspired inspiration then you can rely on a RMW favourite which uses copious amounts of both gin and champagne…

A RMW Inspired Tipple

You Will Need:

2 shots of gin – we recommend Bloom London Dry Gin for its floral flavour
Champagne
1 shot of sugar syrup
1 shot of lemon juice (preferably fresh)
a twist of lemon peel
ice cubes

Shake the lemon juice, sugar syrup and gin together with the ice cubes until chilled. Strain this lemony, gin goodness into a champagne flute and top up with champagne.

Add the lemon peel as a final touch. TA DA!!

Now drink!

So what do you think?

Do you feel under pressure to host the wedding of all weddings? Does the plethora of wedding inspiration out there motivate or terrify you?

Do you welcome the big day trends that filter across the big pond or shudder in horror?

Will you be hosting a cocktail hour on your big day? Perhaps you see this as a gratuitous waste of money that would be better spent elsewhere. If so, what features highly on your list of priorities?

Let us know your thoughts…

All my love Lolly xxx

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Taking Centre Stage.

If you read one of my very first posts for Rock My Wedding then you’ll know that flowers and all objects of the floral variety are my kryptonite. If I was asked to choose, then pretty florets would certainly be one of my desert island luxuries. Ridiculous I know but there we have it – I lose all sense of rhyme and reason when it comes to beautiful blooms.

I have also been known to spend a small fortune in the small hours at my local flower market. If you haven’t been then I suggest you go. Granted, it’s difficult getting up at that time of the morning but it is so worth it. I love talking to the market traders and getting their insights into the latest floral trends. You also get to walk away with truckloads of flowers at bargain prices too. Everyone’s a winner!

But this post isn’t about my forays into the horticultural world, nor is it focused on the more popular subject of the wedding bouquet. No, not so fast lovelies…

Where on your list of wedding-related priorities do centrepieces and reception flowers sit?

Are they important to you or are other aspects of the wedding day such as photography and videography paramount?

Perhaps flower related matters make you come unstuck or perhaps even freak you out. Or are you like a pig in mud and are chomping at the bit to have your first meeting with your florist so that you can show her ALL your ideas. Maybe you’re not even interested in anything of the floral variety…will you allow me to attempt to change your mind?

Luxe Appeal

These are the showstoppers, the jaw-droppers, the sophisticated centrepieces that ooze delicious scents and vie for your attention as you talk to your fellow guests over dinner.

We’re talking Luxe with a capital ‘L’.

Decadent concoctions such as these look best in dramatic vases with tall proportions as these allow the flowers to drape seductively as well as showing them off to their best advantage. I love how the strategic placement of a few sizable floral displays can dramatically change a venue within seconds. It’s almost like magic.

Using larger arrangements is incredibly freeing as multiple flowers can be used simultaneously without it being ‘too much’. In fact, it’s more like a sensory explosion but in a totally good way. The rich hues and luxurious textures remind me of an oil painting by the ‘Old Master’s’ and it seems that every time you take a look, you see something new.

It’s important to remember that arrangements such as these will come with a large price tag so investigate if you can use them in more than one aspect of your day – say for example at both your ceremony and within your drinks reception – if it’s practical to do so. Surely displays like these deserve to be seen.

Sometimes Less Is More

Don’t fret if your budget for ceremony and reception blooms is limited. Less really can be more and actually is so very beautiful.

Instead it’s worth considering larger blossoms, such as peonies and hydrangeas that have voluminous blousey heads and placing them in single vases. Providing them with individual cannisters gives them room to breathe and shine as well as allowing you the option of spacing them out for more affordable impact.

Look also to make a feature out of those flowers that are less popular, such as carnations. Whilst some of you may not favour this ‘granny’ classic, the bloom can be brought bang up to date by presenting it in a different way – through the use of oasis balls for example. They look quirky and chic all at the same time.

Your nan would definitely approve…

Larger focal pieces can also be interspersed with smaller bud vases as well as with candles and props such as books. Equally, planted table centrepieces can also double up as favours for your guests to take home. The beauty of using this type of arrangement is that it works with more subtle table palettes as well as louder ones.

Lastly, entice all of your guests’ senses rather than just relying on visual impact. Why not play with their sense of smell by using inexpensive scent laden plants such as herbs and lavender. You can even make it a fun day out for the two of you too by visiting a ‘pick your own lavender farm’ and go frolicking in the fields.

Fruits Of The Forest

Allow me to indulge in some heart-felt symbolism.

I love watching the yearly transition in nature from blossoms to leaves and then to fruits and seeds, so for me using brambles, foliage, seed heads and grasses in the place of flowers is equally as beautiful as the blooms themselves.

Fruits of the Forest is a perfect all-year round theme, because it caters for every season and for every wedding regardless of budgets and tastes.

For those brides looking for a more rustic feel, there’s an effortless abundance in using natural materials such as ferns and moss. For wedding belles looking for lashings of pretty, there’s something delightful about using tree branches as a focal point particularly in the Spring when they are dripping with the first flowers of the season.

It just makes you smile and feel joyful and that’s what weddings are all about, right?

These centrepieces look good enough to eat – literally. Integrating fruits into your table decor creates an interactive experience for your guests that engages the eyes and doubles up as a snack should they get a bit peckish during the speeches.

I particularly adore fruit and floral partnerships as it screams luxury and abundance to me. If you do choose to follow the path into the forest, make sure that you combine lots of different woodsy and earthy aspects to prevent it from becoming too dull.

Pitcher Perfect

Ok so I’m a little bit excited about this part of the post.

Why?

Well, if anything gets me going as much as flowers do then it’s the container that holds the glorious arrangements. You see it’s not only the blooms that are the focal points, the vase is just as much as a part of all the drama.

Buckets, old pitchers, glass bottles, trophy cups, bell jars, vintage tins, treasured vases – any hole is umm… a goal? Really it is – honestly, folks you can use anything. I’ve been known to use an old candlestick as a vase in the past and it was glorious.

This is the perfect opportunity to add your personality to the day and inexpensively too. You don’t necessarily have to rent vases or even purchase pitchers at an extortionate rate. Instead you can use objects that represent you as a couple.

For example, have you got a treasured family heirloom like your Gran’s favourite vase that you’d love to incorporate into your day? Or perhaps you and your other half are tea fanatics and want to share this passion with your guests by using vintage tea caddies.

Perusing Ebay or foraging around car boots is the best way to get your hands on some unique vessels and it doesn’t have to break the bank either. You can see how something as simple as wrapping twine around a plain jam jar creates a gorgeous custom piece whilst saving the planet too.

The key to a successful look is to create interest by varying the shapes and proportions of your pitchers/ containers. Try to unite all your vases with a common feature, for example by using the same colour palate or similar shapes in different sizes. Presenting your florals as museum specimens by enclosing them in glass cloches is just one way to add intrigue.

Frankly, I defy you to find me anyone who wouldn’t want vases wrapped up in their own woollies. Is it just me or does anyone else find them adorable? Now I just need someone to teach me how to knit….

What Lies Beneath

I’ve included this cornucopia of images to show you just how far you can go when it comes to floral magnificence. I’m definitely of the opinion that florists are engineers, magicians and architectural geniuses all rolled into one.

Seriously folks, take a look at some of these images and marvel…

Suspending blossoms is a really popular trend at the moment – single flower heads hung in multiple chains create the most amazing floral chandeliers and really pack a visual punch. Hanging centrepieces above the table is also the perfect solution when table space is limited – proof that the practical doesn’t always have to compromise the pretty.

The organic feel of dangling blooms is utterly enthralling too. We’re so used to seeing floral centrepieces pointing skywards so it’s intriguing to experience the different perspective of ceiling-hung arrangements. And don’t those balls of Gypsophila look like fluffy clouds – I just want to reach out and touch them…

For those of you smitten with the ombre bridesmaid dress inspiration last week, the fun doesn’t need to end there. No, ladies…you can have variated posies too! Talk about matching your handbag and shoes… or rather your dresses and your blooms.

Lastly, wreaths are not ‘just for Christmas’; in fact they are totally adaptable and can be used in a multitude of ways. Miniature circlets can denote VIP seats, whilst larger wreaths can define altars and act as a visual focal point in welcoming guests to a venue. Wreaths can also be dried and rehung after the day has passed as a memento of your big day. The possibilities are endless.

Seriously folks, these arrangements look so good I can practically smell their aromas from my computer screen. I also now want to purchase a barrowful of flowers and sing ‘who will buy my sweet red roses’ to anyone passing by.

I did say that I become slightly delirious around gorgeous buds and the like…

So have I persuaded some of you to invest in some wedding horticulture?

What are your favourite flowers and will you be using them in your big day?

Love Lolly xxx

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