DIY Birdcage veil

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Clean, Scottish and Stylish… Part 1

As Charlotte and I get asked more and more for our expertise or opinions on weddings, we are required to choose ‘favourites’ of every kind. Depending on the context, our favourites can be very different on each occasion, but it is through doing this that I have begun to appreciate the things that I really love. True to myself, my choices can’t be pigeon holed but I am starting to sense a theme of clean, pared back design, regardless of the references.

Todays wedding, despite the vintage vamp lip and birdcage veil has a decidedly modern slant, with clean lines and simple but effective style throughout. Needless to say, it is going straight to the top of my ‘favourites’ list. 😉 It’s all beautifully complemented by the strong photography from Elemental Photography. I could have stared all day at these images…

Katie and Stevie got married on 30th April 2011 in a ceremony outside at Chapel Green Earlsferry, a ruin which overlooks Elie Bay in the small coastal village on the East Neuk of Fife, where Katie grew up.

Make-Up Artistry

Sandra Cormack at SC Make Up Artistry did both my and my bridesmaids hair and make up. She was recommended by a colleague at work. Sandra was lovely, made us feel totally at ease and has years of experience having done London fashion week, film and TV work.

We had airbrush make up which has a much lighter coverage and suited me, as I tend usually not to wear heavy make up.

A Story of Two Dresses

I had two dresses as the first would have been impossible to dance in!

My ‘ceremony’ dress was from Emma Roy in Edinburgh and was Allure Bridal. It was a fishtail gown and was the first I tried on. Verity at Emma Roy had, in addition to the few I had picked out from the rail, chose 10 others so I had the opportunity to try on lots of different styles which I wouldn’t have chosen myself. It was a useful exercise in that I knew what I wanted and wasn’t swayed by any of the other, albeit beautiful gowns. As it turns out I think the style I chose is discontinued now. Subsequently, I only ventured into one other shop on the same day while looking for a dress. I had the dress customised by sourcing bridal buttons which were sewn down the back of the dress over the zip. The bustle was also arranged by the seamstress at Emma Roy.

Volcanic Rock

As we were engaged in Iceland beneath the Eyjafjallajökull volcano the preceding March, my ‘holding’ engagement ring which Stevie bought me there was silver and Icelandic kalcedon. I love chunky silver jewellery and Bethsy Gray (a lovely Danish lady) in Glasgow is my favourite jewellery designer. I contacted Bethsy and commissioned her to make some cufflinks as a surprise for Stevie on our wedding day in a similar style to my engagement ring.

In addition, I had bought a couple of pieces for my Bridesmaids as gifts (silver and boulder opal ring, necklace and opal earrings). We found the silver orb necklace which Steve wanted to buy as a wedding gift for me in St Andrews.

I made my birdcage veil myself – I had found a pair of silver 1950s Danish clip earrings from Abernyte antique centre, which Steve gave as a birthday gift. I sewed them onto some white widow’s veiling sourced online.
Being new to this wedding malarky, we had forgotten about wedding rings until about two months before the wedding! Thankfully several people recommended Claire McDonald from No. 5 in Cupar. She was so lovely when we visited her shop we knew we wanted her to make and source our rings.

Red Soled Love

I love shoes and I love red so it was an easy choice. I figured that this would probably be the only time I would buy a posh pair of shoes and I would want to wear them again after the wedding, so red Louboutins it had to be!

I had some difficulty sourcing them in Scotland as I was aware of only a few stockists, none of which had the shoe I had spotted online. After e-mailing the Louboutin London store the lady very kindly passed my details on to Selfridges who posted them up to me when they arrived in February.

Sculptural Succulents

I was very lucky that Steve’s mum used to be a florist and I knew I could trust her with the ideas we had. I knew I wanted quite sculptural flowers and as Steve has always liked cacti and succulents, I wanted to include those in the flowers we had.

My bouquet released my ‘inner goth’ and contained cream calla lillies and akito roses, cream lisianthus, white tanacetum, grey brunei, dried nigella seed heads, tillandsias, echevaria and semperviva.
Steve’s button hole had elements from my bouquet; semperviva and grey brunei.

Teal Maids

I knew I didn’t want my bridesmaids dresses to match but as it turned out although the styles were very different, both shades were pretty close.

I had spotted the shorter Dessy dress some time ago and loved the teal colour. The longer dress which my bridesmaid chose was from Reiss. I knew I wanted them in red shoes too which they chose themselves. And red fingernails were a must!

A 21st Century Kilt

Steve’s kilt was his own which he has had for 12 years in his family tartan, ancient Gordon. He contacted Howie at 21st Century Kilts who made a beautiful waistcoat and jacket which was lined in airforce blue fabric – the detailing on the jacket was very special.

Howie also detailed Steve’s existing kilt to tie in better with his jacket and changed the leather straps to brown. He bad brown brogues from Jones the Bootmaker. His tie was also airforce blue sourced online. The best man hired a kilt from Slanj and Steve’s brother’s who were ushers wore their own kilts.

Both our wedding rings are silver. My ring was inspired by Danish design of the 1950s and 1960s which I liked which Claire redesigned and made. Steve chose a simple silver wedding band.

Humanist Vows

During the ceremony, we had music played by friends who Steve has known since school and university. They had agreed to form a band especially to play at the ceremony. As we wanted full on electric guitars, we had to hire a generator and hide it behind the ruin! Unusually for Scotland, we had had a bit of a spring heat wave which allayed fears we previously had of torrential, horizontal rain, and thankfully our wet weather contingency was not required.

As we were having a humanist ceremony which we had written ourselves, our story was told well by our celebrant Duncan McKenzie. The guys played the first song Steve and I danced to in the Glasgow Garage the night we met, which was Buddy Holly by Weezer.

The second song they played was Everlong by the Foo Fighters. Given two of the guys stay in London, one in Glasgow and the other in Fife it was a huge effort on the guys’ part to make the performances so incredible.

Photography – Elemental Photography

Ceremony Venue – Chapel Green Earlsferry, Fife.

Make-Up – Sandra Cormack at SC Make Up Artistry.

Dress – Allure Bridal from Emma Roy in Edinburgh.

Birdcage Veil – DIY by the Bride.

Shoes – Louboutins from Selfridges

Maids Dresses – Reiss (long gown) and Dessy (shorter gown).

Kilt, (Grooms own) and Jacket – 21st Century Kilts

Are you not blown away?

Wait until you see part 2 lovelies 😉

Yours Truly,


You can find Elemental Photography on The Love Lust List, however, all real weddings are chosen on individual merit and no part of this post is sponsored.

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What Naomi Did… Veils, Vows and Very Close Calls!

I will begin by being honest… I have no idea what to write. Since finding out I would be posting for RMW, I have spent my spare time pondering potential posts. Sifting through the constant string of thoughts that have engulfed my mind since I said “yes” (or in my case “Take your f***ing sunglasses off, of course I’ll marry you”).
I rehearsed ideas so much that it resulted in a few embarrassing moments in the park. You know… when your thinking about something so hard that you get lost in your own little head, then before you realise it, your talking to yourself and people are staring? Yeah, well I do. It’s not nice. You feel like a weirdo.
But anyway, I have now decided that I’m not going to try to shine any kind of philosophical light on wedding related issues, nor am I gonna pretend like I know what I’m doing… I am just going to tell you all about it. As it happens. True story all the way because that is what I would like from a Real Bride.

So I’m making my own veil. In an attempt to save the pennies I have purchased some sinamay, bridal netting and approximately a million beads. It turns out that this is not cheap. However, I am stubborn and I will stick to my challenge. I’m going for Jenny Packham meets Flo & Percy by creating a heavily hand beaded headpiece with a detachable birdcage veil and after some lovely advice from Flo & Percy’s very own Kirstie, I have a vague idea and a few dodgy sketches. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to share these with you. So please be nice about my lack of photography/drawing skills.

In search of design inspiration I decided to re-visit my dress last week. I swanned into Emma Roy in Edinburgh, prepared to give the assistant my I-don’t-have-an-appointment-but-just-want-a-tiny-peek spiel, however upon mentioning the name of my gorgeous gown she went white and told me that it had been discontinued. Scary biscuits. Now, it’s not that bad as my dress has already been ordered, so I’m safe. However, I am one lucky duckling as I placed my order on the very last day in May (pay day, naturally) and the dress was pulled in June. After much reassuring that my dress would still be arriving in December, the lovely lady showed me some examples of similar dresses that fired up my designers imagination. I did almost have a coronary though when she told me the sample had gone into the sale. However my memory kicked in good with the sample dress image, reminding me that it was rather skanky with a broken zip. All in all I left a happy woman.

After skipping home, delighting in the fact that my dress would never again be purchased by another bride, I had another conversation with the man himself. Gavin and I have a wee problem you see. It’s something that may be troubling some of you or that others may care to shine a little light on. It’s the small matter of vows. That binding verbal contract that’s supposed to scream love, loyalty and devotion in a way that will provoke a tear from those witness to it, and not a gag reflex. We went over the idea of keeping it simple and traditional, but no other part of our day fits that bill, which says a lot about us as a couple. So should the words that we will forever remember from the day share the same unique sentimentality? Or does the traditional “To have and to hold…” cover everything that binds you, leaving the romantic whisperings for the moments you share alone as husband and wife?

Ever the lucky duck


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Love and Literature… Part 1

This is a perfectly fitting wedding to be celebrating our birthday week with… Charlotte and I have a couple of cheesy phrases we like to come back to in times of need, and erm, well, really when we don’t need them at all but it’s just funny and I think they are particularly true today. ‘Innovate, don’t imitate’ (as we like to say) and your wedding will be what you truly want and completely reflective of you as a couple.

This wedding has it all for me, DIY a plenty, a nothing short of brilliant groom totally rocking a bow tie, (who has also been good enough to include his thoughts on their wedding planning) and one of the most obviously ‘all-about-them’ themes running through this wedding that I have ever clapped eyes on.

It’s a treat. Big thanks go to Lily and Frank Photography for allowing us to share the images.

About Us

Dunstan and I (Kelli) got married 24 July 2010 in Cambridge, England. The wedding ceremony was held at Emmanuel United Reformed Church, which we attended while studying there. We held the reception and dinner at King’s College Cambridge, where I was a student (Dunstan was at St. John’s and we got some lovely pre-wedding photos in the grounds of his college).

DIY Diva

I did my own makeup, most of which came from MAC. I went in for a consultation and bought some new stuff, so it wasn’t cheap, but it does last and it’s a great feeling to put on my ‘wedding’ makeup just to go to work. Also, there’s a level of sanity that comes when you do your own makeup – you know what you want to look like and you have control on the day. There are great tutorials for bridal makeup on YouTube. Go have a look, see what you like, then buy some cheap makeup and play around. If you find something you really like, go buy the nice stuff.

My hair – I found a picture of a vintage hairstyle that I took into the salon with me on the day. I didn’t have the time or the patience for a pre-wedding hair appointment. I was the first bridal hair up Zoe Psyllou (at Inspirations by Dipa, Mill Road, Cambridge) had done and she was fantastic, very flexible and happy to try something new. It was so nice to work with someone who was flexible (and also who didn’t cost a fortune!). I paid for my bridesmaids hair appointments so we were all there together on the morning. It was really fun.

Dunstan: Hair up is more practical for dancing. A lot of pins had to come out afterwards!

I made my headband myself out of a belt buckle and pearl beads sewn onto satin ribbon. It was inspired by the very fine work of Jennifer Behr. I love her pieces, but couldn’t afford it on our budget. I got my bandeau birdcage veil from the excellent Pishposhes, an etsy-seller (Maura) based in Chicago.

One Dress and One Father of the Bride

My dad watched Father of the Bride shortly after we got engaged and called me at the end saying he wanted me to be happy and so he bought my dress for me. It was from Pronovias and the bolero jacket was made by a seamstress in Michigan, where we were living for the year before our wedding.

I didn’t want a strapless dress because they pull so tight under the arms that by the end of the night, women tend to look like they’re being squeezed out of them. After trying a few of my ‘favourite’ dresses (that weren’t terribly flattering as it turned out) the woman at Pronovias in London suggested I try something completely different from what I said I wanted. I had an open mind and the moment I saw myself in the mirror I knew it was the right dress even though it didn’t have any of the features I thought I wanted –it was strapless, and had no lace, but it looked great on me and still had the vintage/architectural feel I liked.

It also was cut in such a way that I never had that squeezing problem and I’m not a small girl. Basically, it was a matter of trusting my own instincts and those of the people who make this their business. I also didn’t agree to take the dress that day; it was and is important that I have time to consider the options.

Dunstan: I had no part in the buying of the dress – I knew Kelli would have her own ideas. I didn’t see it until she came down the aisle and it was lovely! It was not the only vintage-inspired element of the wedding; I even proposed to her in an art-deco restaurant in Glasgow.

Beg, Borrowed or Vintage

My engagement ring was all my husband’s doing – he picked it out without any help from me (although he did consult with my mum and she tried to get me to help her, to no avail). It’s perfect. Our wedding bands were from Juhas & Sullivan, a local jeweller in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

My other jewelry/accessories were all inherited or handmade…

I borrowed earrings from my mum. My necklace was a graduation gift from my ‘adopted’ mother – the woman who welcomed me into her family as a first year student at Uni, living 2000 miles away from home. My purse belonged to my grandmother and she gave it to me years ago to keep for my wedding.

Teal Treats

Shoes were the hardest thing to find because I had a specific colour in mind and they also had to be comfortable – there was no way I was going to spend my wedding day walking around barefoot because my feet hurt (I did finally take them off during the last 15 minutes of dancing because it was easier to move and jump around without them on – I also ended up tying layers of my dress around my waist so I could keep dancing!) I ended up with this beautiful pair from Frye that were the right colour, comfortable and again had a vintage feel to them. I tried to make sure I bought things that weren’t so ‘weddingy’ that I couldn’t repurpose them. I now wear these all the time.

Dunstan: The shoes were the colour Americans call ‘teal’, i.e. dark blue-green. This matched the cloth flowers worn by the groomsmen, as well as one of the colours on the save-the-date cards, invitations, wedding ceremony programmes and dinner seating chart. The other colours were cream and dark red, plus some yellow here and there.

Chic and Simple

I’ve been a bridesmaid enough times to not wish even the slightest discomfort on my closest friends so I asked them all to choose a black, knee-length dress of their choice for the wedding. We also wanted the groomsmen to be comfortable so we also told them to wear a black suit and a white shirt. Partly this was also to keep costs down because people were travelling from the US or just finishing uni.

As a gift to my bridesmaids, I gave them all matching fascinators and clutch bags (we were all travelling abroad after the wedding and wouldn’t get to enjoy bouquets so I didn’t want them to go to waste). The guys all got REAL silk bowties (and an impromptu lesson in tying them!).

Dunstan: Impromptu is right. We had to teach ourselves from an online guide. The photographer got a great series of pictures of this!

Rat Pack Charm

My husband is tall and very slim so it’s always difficult to find a suit that fits him correctly, especially in the rental and off-the-rack market. It was important to me that he felt good, so after some research (recommended by the blog East Side Bride) we ordered a custom-made suit for him from a wonderful company called Indochino. They have fantastic videos to show you exactly how to measure for your suit and then you send in the details online and get the suit about 5 weeks later. They offer a great guarantee – including reimbursement if you have to get it tailored, or an easy return policy. We didn’t need any of that, though, because the suit (and custom shirt) fit beautifully. It was slightly more costly than a rental but about the price of a normal suit and now he can wear it a lot! He also got to customize it with a racy red lining!

Dunstan: The suit fit perfectly and was very comfortable. I also liked being able to leave the bow tie undone after dinner for dancing – it’s the sleazy Rat Pack look!

Loving the male input here – thanks Dunstan!

Just wait for part 2, so much personality and history packed in.

Yours Truly,