I’m not even sure I know where to begin with Keith and Hannah’s big day.
Do I start with Hannah’s oh-so-light-as-a-feather-yet-perfectly-bohemian flower crown or with their voluminous hydrangea floral arch at the end of their hay bale aisle?
Perhaps I’ll begin with the adorable flower girls who just exude personality or the sassy bridesmaids (I need their dresses in my life!). Actually I might just kick off with the beautiful wildflower arrangements and the motorbike and the portraits in the meadow and the super-fly Granny who totally rocks Hannah and Keith’s festival wristband favour.
Actually you know what…I’m just going to let you lovelies experience this heart-warming, life-affirming, hearty big day for yourselves.
I’ve always particularly loved those weddings which take place in the childhood home of one of the couple getting married; in fact it was an idea I toyed with myself when I was planning my big day back in 2012. So when I saw the beautiful destination wedding of Anne-Laure and Quentin which took place last year in Quentin’s parents’ house in France I was blown away.
For a start it really is the most exquisite building but when you combine the picturesque riverside location and all the love and attention that has been bestowed on the place, it warms you from the inside out.
I’m biased when I say that no-one does gourmet cuisine quite like the French but I’ve yet to see a more elegant evening menu than oysters and cocktails topped off with dancing until dawn.
There’s something about this time of year that makes me seek out a whole new look – a kind of spring clean on the fashion and beauty front so to speak.
Be it a wardrobe sort-out, a spree at the Chanel make-up counter or a new haircut, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be participating in a full on hair and beauty make-over as soon as the clocks have gone forward.
And so with the return of blue skies and sunshine and the feeling of warmth on your face (I know folks, Spring might actually be here!) I have no greater pleasure in sharing the latest (and hottest!) round of glorious inspiration for your big day bonce.
Hell, why even wait? Why not try out some of these chic looks in the run-up to your nuptials – at your hen for example or even down the pub with friends.
Which one will be your favourite?
Much like the popular return to more traditional wedding dress shapes and styles à la K-Mid,we’re seeing more and more brides revisiting classic hairstyles for their big day too…albeit with a 21st century twist.
Top knots were huge last year and whilst they’re still in vogue, the lower simplistic chignon is the updo making waves right now.
The key to such a sophisticated hairstyle is to keep things sleek and smooth with the chignon finishing at the same level as the nape of the neck. Avoid integrating a parting into the styling of this look for a truly modern feel – if you find you need to include one however keeping it to one side still looks utterly chic.
Remember to keep things soft rather than pulling it back into something restricting and I promise you’ll look like a modern day ballerina. Lastly, for added interest try braiding your hair before pinning it into the chignon style – this is particularly flattering for those of you with finer hair as it adds the illusion of thickness.
I was a bride who hung loose. Ummm…although the reality isn’t as rude as that statement sounds…
No ladies, we’re talking about locks left to cascade down your back as nature intended. Granted this particular look is more suited to those with longer hair but there’s no reason why those of you with mid-length or short hair can’t emulate this look either.
There’s something truly feminine about a bride with her hair down, like a medieval maiden or Robin Hood and his Marian. If anything though, this particular style is really very accommodating – providing your hair is in good condition. Make sure you get your mane snipped regularly in the run up to your big day so you can be sure that it’s in tip-top shape.
Essentially it’s worth working with your natural hair state rather than against it – I finally accepted my curly headed state on my big day albeit brushed out slightly for a sense of volume.
If you’re nervous about your bonce appearing too flat then I’d recommend creating volume at the crown – if you’re blessed with thick luscious locks I envy you completely. Lastly if you’re keen to add a bit of interest to your flowing locks, why not add a simple headband or loosely braid your hair into a fishtail plait. Either way you can add or remove throughout the day for a different look.
Short And Sweet
A platinum pixie-cropped bride to be visited our pop-up shop in London recently and Team RMW promptly fell in love with her. She looked absolutely exquisite in our Boudica Double Headband and I was secretly more than a little bit envious that she didn’t feel the pressure to grow her hair for her wedding day.
And so I just had to include some short-haired inspiration for all of you cropped beauties.
Statement headpieces look brilliant on brides with cropped locks. Intricate headbands, floral crowns and carefully placed side combs are given the space to do their thing without interruption. Think about wearing something that reflects either the tones or material of your dress to bring the whole of your outfit together.
If you’re an edgier bride who’s keen to avoid looking overly ‘pretty’ why not punk it up instead. I love the editorial vibe that this model at the top is emanating here fresh straight off the catwalks yet it’s completely translatable to bridal too.
There’s no reason why you can’t have the illusion of an updo either unless you’re sporting a super short do that is. Pin and twist shorter sections in on themselves like in some of these pictures here for a more delicate ethereal look. Finish the look off with a beautiful necklace or two – after all you wouldn’t want your neck to get cold would you.
This last collection of inspiration is all about embellishing your bonce.
We’re talking florals, precious headpieces, ribbons, grips and strategically placed pieces of jewellery. This is for the bride who isn’t afraid to shy away from the drama.
For 2013, floral crowns have given way slightly to different floral arrangements in hair – from small clusters of blooms around a half topknot like this peony and rose combination near the bottom here or swathes of flowers scattered across the back of the crown.
We’re also seeing floral inspiration in headpieces too – in a more concrete form. Be it delicate garlands of gold or supersized glitzy blooms, I just love a bride that integrates the natural element into her wider wedding outfit aside from her bouquet. If you’re going down this route then I’d suggest that you choose pieces that compliment your dress i.e glitzy pieces for sparkly dresses and more sedate headbands for simpler gowns.
Perhaps my favourite embellishment is the pinned lace caressing the head of this model at the top here. Elegant yet fashion forward at the same time, I mean just how perfect is this look – particularly for those of you wearing lace on your wedding day. I just wish I’d had the forethought to do this at my own nuptials.
If you’ve fallen in love with this look too then it’s worth asking your dress designer for a piece of material from which your gown is made to pin into your chignon. This brings a whole new meaning to the word dressed from head to toe in lace. Utterly gorgeous!
So which of the ‘do’s’ will you be choosing for your big day?
I so would have opted for the low chignon if I wasn’t the owner of an oddly shaped head – capuchin monkey anyone…
That said I particularly love the layered kirby grip look…it’s like art deco and fashionista all rolled into one. In fact I might just try this down the pub tonight…who’s with me?
Katie and Gianluca are also affectionately know as ‘The Beans’; a nickname that they first used as a term of endearment for each other but which has stuck for nearly seven years. This gorgeous pair first met in 2006 at a friend’s birthday party and got engaged five years later on New Years Eve.
Just wait until you see what we’ve got in store for you today lovelies.
Blue skies and sunshine. The sweetest bridesmaids. An ultra-luxe BBQ and the lightest of Victoria Sponges.
And did somebody say Wang?
Yes folks. Katie wore the fluffiest, dreamiest Wang dress I’ve ever clapped eyes on.
A Secret Enchanted Garden
Katie The Bride: Gianluca is half Italian, half Austrian and has lived all over the world. I am half Turkish, half Welsh and a born and bred Londoner. We toyed with the idea of getting married abroad and in the end decided on a bit of countryside close to home and fingers crossed for the weather! We got lucky! Our wedding was on a beautiful sunny day in September.
We had our marriage blessing at a gorgeous tiny church in Colchester. A friend of mine, Victoria sang three songs in the church, one of which she had written for us. It was such a wonderful moment and her voice is truly stunning. The reception was held at Westwood Park, the one and only venue I went to see only three days after getting engaged. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect place for us.
I wanted somewhere with a country feel and lots of greenery and flowers that wasn’t too far from London. We knew we wanted to have a marquee and lovely grounds. Westwood Park reminded me of a secret enchanted garden and was a great mixture of elegance and theatricality. It looked beautiful in deepest winter and in the sunshine, it was truly stunning. They had two dates left for the year so I picked one and got it booked. My parents surprised us with a beautiful vintage car to pick me up and then take us to the reception which certainly made those two journeys very special and memorable.
As an actress, I wanted a dress with a bit of drama. I saw a lot of pretty dresses that looked nice but none of them gave me much of a feeling. After three weeks of trying dresses in every wedding dress shop I could get to and not finding anything that bowled me over, my mum and I went to the one day sample sale at Browns Brides just to ‘look’. Being very bad at making quick decisions, there was no way I ever imagined I would get a dress in a situation like this.
However, after queuing for an hour and trying two very expensive dresses that weren’t for me, the lady brought me one more to try before leaving. I still wasn’t sure but as soon as I put it on, I knew it was everything I had been looking for. I felt like me in it, it was so delicate yet dramatic and made such an impact. It had the most beautiful mixture of materials, swirls of lace and tulle and from the back especially was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. It also happened to be designed by the one and only Vera Wang! I walked out the shop with it twenty minutes later! It is such a beautiful creation and I’m so glad it found me!
I am a total magpie and so, after many a day spent browsing RMW pages, a particular vintage crystal Jenny Packham headpiece kept catching my eye and I knew it would really complete the look and match with the embellishment on the dress. Knowing, there was no room in the budget to buy it, in the end I managed to hire it on eBay for a fraction of the price and paired it with a simple veil I got for £10 on eBay that I wore in the church. My earrings and necklace were borrowed from my Mum’s extensive collection.
At 5 foot 11 and a half with a groom of the same height, skyscrapers were never an option for me but neither were flats. After a lot of looking, I eventually went for a pair of Vivienne Westwood silver piped court shoes with a small heel that were cool and comfortable and a little bit quirky.
Make up artist Hayley Barr came to do our hair and make up on the day. I opted for a natural look with big lashes and a loose side bun for the church, which I then pulled out into loose curls for the reception. Not being good at decisions, I mostly went for both options rather than deciding on one!
The Best Of Both Worlds
Flowers were tricky as I love lots of different types. I absolutely couldn’t decide between classy pink and white blooms or a mixture of colourful country flowers. After lots of changing my mind back and forth, lovely Liz of Blue Sky Flowers decided I should have both.
We had pink and white blooms for the church and then a mixture of bright colours for the reception to bring the marquee to life, which meant I got the best of both worlds. The bouquets and pew ends were subtle and gorgeous and then walking into the white marquee and seeing the burst of bright happy colours was a great moment.
Let’s Play Dress Up
My bridesmaids were my best friend (since the age of four) and my two sisters who are identical twins and rarely wear dresses or heels. I was so excited about getting to dress them up ad make them girly but wanted them to love the dresses too. The second dress I looked at turned out to be perfect on all three of them. They were a fairly neutral dusky pink with intricate silver beading and came from Debenhams. I loved their delicate vintage look and how they made the girls look like fairies.
Gianluca was dashingly handsome in a traditional morning suit hired from Moss Bros with an ivory Hermes tie his mum gave him as a gift. The Groomsmens’ morning suits were the same as Gianluca’s and hired from Moss Bros.
It Must Be Fate
Anna Hardy took our photos. I looked at lots of photographers work but Anna’s photos were so brilliant and artistic and made me laugh and cry. No other photos had moved or impressed me in the same way so I got in touch. She was sadly booked up for our date but then fate stepped in and she had a cancellation. I’m so happy we got her. She was lovely to have around and we love the pictures as a reminder of the day.
A Perfect Summer’s Barbecue
Food was a big priority for us and we had Talbooth Catering provide a wonderful barbecue and hog roast which couldn’t have been better for the summers day. It was all delicious, not that I got to eat much. I was too excited and the dress was pretty tight! Again, inspired by RMW, we chose a three tiered Victoria sponge with strawberries that was made for us by Elizabeth at Betty’s Bakery. It was delicious and just perfect for a relaxed summery day.
For entertainment we went for an evening disco and used BlackJack DJs who had done a number of weddings at the venue. The dance floor was never empty which was exactly what we wanted. Our first dance was to ‘Turn Your Lights Down Low’ by Bob Marley ft Lauren Hill. We both love the song and the relaxed vibe. I took off my shoes and we got everyone up on the floor dancing with us.
The Bean Theme
We had beautiful stationery designed and made for us by Sharp Stamp Design. They helped us to create the classical/theatrical secret garden look we wanted to tie everything together and went for a Bean theme with the table names as most friends know us as ‘The Beans’. Our name places were designed as bookmarks tied with ribbon and a little blue glass evil eye good luck charm to reflect my Turkish roots.
As well as the beautiful colourful flowers, we decorated the marquee with coloured balloons and colourful bunting that I made with my hens as part of my hen weekend. It was so lovely to have something we all made ourselves decorating the marquee on the day and brought back memories of a great weekend. We had tea lights inside glass jars decorated with lace and filled with beans and crystal table confetti.
Kiss Your New Husband…Lots
We had such a beautiful day that was so full of warmth and love in every way. We were surrounded by family and friends from all over the world and it was so special. I think we achieved the balance of formal and informal, relaxed and sophisticated that we were going for and we were so blessed with the weather.
My advice to brides would be to savour and enjoy every day of your engagement and every moment of your wedding. I adored all the planning. It was so much fun and then so lovely to surprise Gianluca with some of the choices I had made and see how much he loved them. It goes by so fast and it is truly overwhelming to see all your planning come to life and to be right there in the moment you’ve been thinking about for so long. Advice for the day; relax, dance talk to as many people as possible, celebrate your love and kiss your new husband, lots!