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Mismatched Perfection… Part 1

Without fail the best days at Rock My Wedding HQ are the days we get thanked. We love your comments in the comments box below, (they come a close second,) basically we just like to hear from you!

However, when we got this email from Gemma before she jetted off for her Aussie big day, it was the first time I actually almost cried big fat tears of pleasure, that what we do here is worthwhile. It’s a such a lovely email, I struggled to cut it down, but I hope you don’t all mind… it makes us feel so proud. (And I think you’ll all laugh out loud reading some of it ;). )

Dear Charlotte and Rebecca,
I just wanted to email you girls before I head off to get married in Australia on the 13th of November. I’m a Tasmanian girl who moved to London in 2008 to do my masters in Fashion Journalism, but along the way fate intervened, I met Mr S, and after a heartbreaking 9 months of long distance due to visa issues (in essence, my visa was shorter than the length of my course and the law changed so I was pretty much deported…) he proposed on Boxing day last year. In his words – ‘I wanted to do it as soon as you were back on Scottish soil’ because he’s a Glasgow lad and we were there for Christmas. In his rucksack (he’d dragged me up a mountain in the snow) was a bottle of champagne, now frozen, and the tiffany schlumberger platinum, sapphire and diamond band I’d spotted in Selfridges months before we’d even talked of marriage, while buying a present for someone else.

Come January there I was, back in London, staring at my beautiful new ring, miles away from family and friends at home, and Mr S sprung on me that he’d booked the cathedral where my mother and father, and both sets of grandparents, were married. For the 13th of November. As in, within 11 months. And we weren’t going to be back in Australia before then, but surely it wouldn’t be a problem for me to plan a wedding? From here?

I’m blessed with a tight knit, lovely, ‘call in the middle of the night, ask them to do anything and they will without asking why’ group of girlfriends here in the UK but I’m not only the first to be engaged, I’m really the only one who’s even remotely at that stage. So much as they all joyously congratulated us, showered us with well wishes and love, and all offered to do anything they could – no-one really knew what that ‘anything’ was going to be. There was no ‘go-to’ gal who’d weathered her own wedding before to reassure me when the planning went awry, and as I lost my mum to cancer when I was 4, I didn’t have her support either. I wanted our wedding to be very DIY, not slick or formal – basically a repeat of like we had our school leavers deb dance – everyone there was in black or red strapless gowns and I wore a green and pink floral number and pimped out my shoes with ribbons.
Mr S really wanted to be married in 2010, for a number of reasons, and put it to me so sweetly and so heart-thumpingly romantically that he didn’t want a long engagement because he wanted me to be his wife for as much of his life as possible, that I agreed. I mean, he’s from Glasgow. Those guys aren’t renowned for flowery prose.

I put my head down and started the process of making our day via remote control, assessing reception venues I’d never heard of, let alone set foot in (one of them, when we looked at the photos, prompted Mr S to say ‘I don’t want to get married there, I think it’s where they had Tupac’s funeral’) and began the epic struggle of dealing with the main problem of planning something in Hobart from abroad: no-one, that’s no-one, from venues to florists to make-up artists to suit hire places, seemed to have websites which had been designed post 2002. The task would have been much easier when I was studying here and had a arts student’s free time (not to mention access to supplies like fixative, guillotines, paint, etc etc when hand-making our invites) but as it is I’m working for a big bank in the city to pay the bills until next September when I’m back to school. (Incidentally I have become a real aficionado of the ‘rock’ engagement ring – watching all the trading-floor girls out-do each other with diamonds has been a real eye-opener. One in particular would easily have doubled as a tin-opener.)

I decided on a floral-y, art-deco-y type theme, and after a myriad of disasters, we get on the plane next Thursday to fly out to Hobart – arriving a week before the big day to organise the final details.

I’ve just looked over this email and it’s massive, for which I apologise and hope that you two are schooled in skim-reading. The reason I wrote was to thank you both, so much, for Rock My Wedding. It has been the ‘clued up wedding girlfriend’ I’ve needed, and I check it, religiously, every day. I actually cried when Jenny married Duncan from blue. It’s been like reading notes from a big sister with the exact same taste who has done it all before, and I don’t know how I’m going to wean myself off it once I am Mrs C-S.

Thank you girls, really. I probably won’t get a chance to thank you in my wedding speech, but then again, I just might. I always knew I had the perfect man in Mr S, and RMW has helped a lot in planning what may not be the most perfect wedding the world has ever seen (or even of a comparable RMW standard) but will be utterly perfect for us.

So lets get on with showing you what came out of Gemma’s ‘pimped out shoes and floral-y art deco-y theme’ with a little RMW magic…

I am Gemma and I am a self-confessed RMW addict. It actually became a bit of a running joke at the office where I used to work that I constantly had the website open, even if it was sneakily minimised in the corner of my screen. Raymond and I were married on the 13th of November, 2010. Despite the fact that we met and were living in London, Raymond is Scottish and I am Australian, and we decided to get married in my home town of Hobart, Tasmania.

Flawless Face

One of my biggest pre-wedding fears was that I’d have a bad breakout and I really wanted a fresh, natural look that I didn’t think I could manage myself, however as we flew in just a few days before our wedding, I didn’t have time to do any trials and my original hair and makeup artist fell through.

Enter Rosa, whose business is called ‘Simply Flawless’ – and she was. She gave me a makeup trial the night before, called in another hair and makeup artist to help with my maids and family, and managed to do the full makeup for another wedding in the morning before coming to ours.

No ‘Tizzy’ Tiaras

Once I had the dress, I wanted an art-deco style headpiece, but I didn’t want it on a headband, and I didn’t want a ‘tizzy’ tiara. (I wanted to look like an Alphonse Mucha girl, not a my little pony) I nearly gave up and then I saw it on Glitzy Secrets – exactly what I had been searching for high and low, and sold out. I looked elsewhere for similar things but nothing matched up and so one day on a whim, I called the Glitzy Secrets phone number. The lovely man who answered told me that, in a stroke of complete and total serendipity, there were 3 of the sold out headpiece I wanted, coming back to the GS headquarters that very afternoon.

He said they’d be up for sale on the website at 5pm that night, and that they’d been very popular, so it was first come first served. From 4.30 onwards I sat at my desk at work, credit card in hand, clicking ‘refresh’. At 6 minutes past 5 I had the perfect headband in my shopping cart . When it arrived, it was very art deco and vintage, so much that it was too heavy to pin into my hair! I ended up weaving thin strands of pale blue, pink and beige ribbon together and winding it through so I could get my hairdresser to tie it in my messy updo.

Grecian Gorgeous

My dress was Maggie Sottero destinations, style RD1044. I bought it from Sarah Louise Bridal in Glasgow, and found the girls there very helpful and understanding – they worked around me because they knew I had an 8 hour ‘Megabus’ journey from London for fittings! I’ve always like Grecian style gowns, but originally I had seen a dress that I thought would be the one, and it was nothing like the Maggie Sottero. The dress that wasn’t the one was a heavy silk, structured, high fashion, Sarah Jessica Parker-esque creation from Halo Bridal in Australia, and when I finally tracked one down to try on in the UK, I looked, well, a bit like a giant piece of whitebait to be honest, and nothing like the statement bride I’d hoped to be. The RD1044 on the other hand looked fairly plain on the hanger, but once I had it on I knew it was perfect, feminine, floaty and quite timeless.

The train was long enough for our cathedral wedding but the dress wasn’t going to make me look like an out of work cocktail singer in the bright daylight of the garden floral reception we were planning. The other one, really, probably would have. I also bought a cream sundress with pale gold spots from Anthropologie to dance our ceilidh in (I had visions of the last of the Tasmanian evening sunlight catching the golden threads as I flitted about in the garden barefoot in between the dinner and dancing stages, and of course it rained.)

Shoes for your Wedding or your Marriage?

I had originally decided on Loubotin Fortitia sandals in cream. I thought I had justified the expense, and then one day had a moment of realisation of precisely what else could be done with the shoe fund, namely, quite a lot of travel and aid work in Asia: and for me it was a simple equation – the Loubotins were for our wedding day, but the aid work would be part of our marriage.

My nieces-to-be, who were also our flower girls, dragged me into Barratts one day to look for their shoes, (naturally they were hoping they’d get high heels, and equally naturally, they didn’t) and I emerged with not just my shoes but shoes for my bridesmaids (my two gorgeous sisters) as well. I have to say too that the assistant in Barratts was beyond helpful, and far more imbued with the spirit of ‘wow you’re getting married that’s wonderful’ than a lot of other people in other, far more expensive and ‘geared towards weddings’ shops.

Mismatched Beauty

The Bridesmaids dresses came from Oasis, and were reduced to £18 in the sale! They were just what I wanted, wedgewood blue with a vintage lace trim. I ordered their headpieces from Etsy (seller Bethany Lorelle) and their shoes were from Barratts. The little flower girls wore dresses from Debenhams, and wore mismatched ballet flats due to a delivery mix up with LaRedoute.

As it turned out the jumbled pastels looked better with their wraps, which we had made, last minute, the night before the wedding because we had heard the weather might turn. With all the girls with floral shawls on and the little boys in matching kilts (which we bought from the Glasgow Vintage Co. on Great Western Road) It all looked a bit like we were the Von Trapp Family singers in the cut up curtains – I loved it.

If we were going to have a ‘film moment’ in the day better to have The Sound of Music than National Lampoon do a wedding – in the morning when there were 30 odd people at the house trying to get ready, I commented to our photographer that the latter was a distinct possibility!

Daper Gents

We looked into hiring suits for our groomsmen, but in the end it was easier fit and logistics wise to buy them. If we’d been able to hire kilts we would have, but that wasn’t an option in Hobart, and the charcoal suits from Marks and Spencers were cut beautifully and the grooms looked incredibly dapper.

Raymond found some waistcoats in Uniqlo in London with a very faint red check in the wool – and both grooms also wore pale blue silk cravats the same as his which came from McGregor and McDuff in Glasgow.

Raymond got his kilt, ‘Prince Charlie’ style jacket, cravat, sporran, kilt hose, flashes and shoes from McGregor and McDuff in Glasgow. He chose Ancient Douglas tartan and wore a double cuffed shirt from Zara with some cufflinks that were a present from close friends who were unable to be there.

Photography – Lisa Kuilenburg

Gown – Maggie Sottero RD1044

Headpiece – Glitzy Secrets

Shoes – Barratts

Make-Up Artist – Rosa @ Simply Flawless (Australia)

Maids Dresses – Oasis

Maids Headpieces – Etsy (Bethany Lorelle)

Flower Girls – Debenhams

Grooms Kilt and Cravats – McGregor and McDuff

I’m going to go right out there and say it… I have never seen such a cute and amazingly styled bridal party including the little ones… I am in LOVE with those shawls!

Lots more DIY and rustic-chic pretty coming right up tomorrow lovelies!

Yours Truly,

Rebecca
xoxo

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Concrete Cool…….. Part 2

After a city chic ceremony at the National Theatre Sarah and Paul enjoyed a laid back garden marquee reception at Sarah’s Mum’s in Barnet.

Some really really beautifully captured moments courtesy of Charis and Owen at O & C Photography, look out for the “kissing in the lift” series…..

Absolutely wall-worthy.

Gorgeous Blooms

For the reception as well as bunches of flowers in borrowed mismatched vases each table had an assortment of white, cream and blue plants with flowers on. I hated the idea of the flowers ending up rotting, and Emily from Urbanstems came up with lots of suggestions before settling on the lovely flowers & plants we had. She also did the small posie we had on top of our wedding ‘cheese’ cake. All gorgeous!


Capturing The Day

Paul found Owen and Charis whilst we were away travelling. We really liked their online portfolio and approach. We met a few photographers before making our final decision, and some of them weren’t exactly the kind of people you’d want to spend any time with, let alone your big day. They had lots of great ideas for pictures and we’re really happy with the work they did.

I Love London

For favours we the guests all had London red bus keyrings to take home, as well as the plants on the tables. They travelled between the National Theatre and Barnet on a vintage routemaster bus.

Delicious Dairy

We had cheesecake/key lime pie on a stand for the pudding, but the cake we cut was all British Cheese from Neals Yard dairy. Perfect for us.

Contemporary and Traditional

Paul is an architect, and once we’d decided it would be a London wedding we realised that the National Theatre would be a really special place to have it, you don’t get much more London than looking out onto St Pauls.

It was really special to have the reception in the family home, and it allowed us to have it all just the way we wanted it. There we had a traditional marquee and paper bunting, and heaps of fairy lights up the king poles.


Memories Are Made Of This

We had a squeezebox and fiddle when we first arrived back in Barnet, then after the meal (hog roast) some friends did a fantastic DJ set.

Dean Martin – memories are made of this was our first dance. We had no idea of what to dance to, but loved this when we heard it on the radio whilst we were planning the wedding. We liked that it was short(!) but also had a great retro positive cheery feel.

Making It Magical

We were really pleased that we had everything just the way we wanted, the sun even came out! Just as everyone will tell you, it is magical having all of your favourite people together, and it really does fly by. We had planned to have all sorts of extra things that got missed on the day but it didn’t matter at all. You do have to allocate jobs to people then let go of things & let people get on with stuff.

Photography – O & C Photography

Blooms – Urbanstems

Cheese “Cake” – Neal’s Yard Dairy

I would like a big red bus keyring please….

And some images like those lift ones of Mr O’Shea and I, delicious.

With thanks to Sarah, Paul and O & C Photography for sharing the pretty.

Big Lift Kissing Love

Charlotte xxx

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Concrete Cool……Part 1

I love nothing more than a never-seen-before-on-RMW unique venue choice for W-day and Sarah and Paul really pulled out all of the stops with the National Theatre for their July ceremony.

Think statement backdrops and breathtaking views of the city, think stark urban architecture dressed with delicate fabrics and feminine florals, think complete concrete cool folks….

All of the amazing images are courtesy of Charis and Owen at O & C photography.

A Last Minute Fix Of Fancy

My mother lent me some jewellery that my Dad had bought her, which was very special. I was still finishing making my birdcage veil on the morning of the wedding! Getting ready at the hotel whilst getting my fingers covered in glue trying to attach the blue feather (for the something blue bit!!!), I was thinking ’this probably isn’t what most brides do on their wedding morning’…..

Sparkles And Symmetry

My shoes had a 2 inch heel, but I don’t often wear heels so was very glad I hadn’t gone for anything more skyscraper. They were from Next, and were absolutely the nicest appropriate shoes that I’d seen.

I don’t understand why shoes that are designed for weddings look like shoes no one would wear at any other time? Like really big kids shoes, why?! I liked their colour which matched the dress almost perfectly, the dangling sparkles which I hadn’t seen anywhere else, and their symmetry.

Informal Blues

The Groom, groomsmen and bridesmaids were all in blues. We didn’t want to be too prescriptive as it wasn’t a very formal wedding. One of the bridesmaids (matron of honour to be precise) was actually wearing her wedding dress.

Understanding What Suits

My hair and make up was done by someone who’d done my friend’s hair and make up. I was really lucky that she was able to do it as she’s really busy. She completely understood what would suit me & was a beacon of calm.

Boutique Chic

My dress was designed by Magic Moments in Southgate, North London, made from Thai silk in Edmonton. This was pretty handy as we only got back from 8 months away around the world 3 months before the wedding. A lot of the dress shops I went to were amazed that I was making appointments to try on dresses in May for a wedding in July that year.

There were lots of other dresses that I quite liked, some samples which were also a lot cheaper, but none that gave me the Cheshire cat grin the one I chose did. My Mum also found it, we were just leaving the shop when she said ‘what about trying that one’? It was on a mannequin so I hadn’t seen it. Magic Moments is a really nice little shop, I hated the production chain feeling at the bigger bridal stores.

I loved the corset and bustle, and whilst all the dresses I tried felt to an extent like there were from a ‘dressing up box’, that one made me feel special.

A Western Feel

Paul wore a blue suit from Reiss. Although he didn’t know what my dress looked like they were both a bit ‘wild west’ . I helped him choose the suit, and am glad in the end that he didn’t go for cream/oyster!

Although it was fun checking out the tailors on Saville Row, the suit from Reiss was actually the nicest, and he will get much more use out if it than me of my dress! It was adjusted by a local tailor, so it fitted him perfectly on the day.

Phlox in London did the flowers for the National Theatre, the button holes and the flowergirls posies – we wanted English country style flowers with a touch of blue and they were great.

Dress – Magic Moments

Groom’s Suit – Reiss

Venue – The National Theatre

Bloooms – Phlox

Bride’s Shoes – Next

Photography – O & C Photography

And in direct contrast to such urban delicious you can see all of the gorgeous garden reception details tomorrow……

Who said you couldn’t incorporate both city chic and back yard pretty into the Big Day?

We certainly didn’t 😉

Big Concrete Love

Charlotte xxx

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