I say short for two reasons; namely because the focus of today’s piece is all about big-day barnet inspiration for you lovelies with cropped locks but also because the length of this post is somewhat…well um…condensed compared to the usual post that appears here every Monday afternoon.
“But why?”, I hear you cry. Bear with me folks, I’ll come onto that in a moment but first I want to address something with you.
How many of you have experienced the age-old ‘wedding day hair’ quagmire in the run up to your nuptials? The ‘I must grow my hair for the big day’ phenomenon so that you have more ‘options’ on the day itself? Hmmmm, I thought so….there’s a fair few of you out there aren’t there.
I’m not judging you ladies, I too succumbed to the imagined (?) pressure of growing out my mane for my wedding or more specifically my fridge – a decision made exactly one day after the boy proposed just so that I’d be able to ‘do more’ with my tresses without being hampered by any length restrictions.
I’m still not convinced it was the right choice. As it happened, I wore the majority of my hair down on the day so I’m not exactly sure that having a fringe would have made much difference. What will I think in five years time when I look back at the photos? Well that remains to be seen…
Here at RMW HQ we often receive impassioned cries for help from our dedicated RMW-ettes on a variety of different topics. But the one issue that keeps rearing its hairy head (sorry couldn’t resist!) time and time again is that of bridal ideas and inspiration for brides with barnets of the short variety.
And so I set out on a mission to assist you lovely lot by hunting down the best barnets this side of short-haired town…which brings me onto the reason why this particular post is so concise.
It seems, folks, that inspiration for those girls with shorter do’s is somewhat thin on the ground. In fact, what you can see here is the culmination of two full days of searching the interweb for gorgeous images of bobbed and pixie cropped brides.
Pitiful isn’t the word.
In fact I was dismayed that there weren’t more gorgeous images of short and chic bridal hair; which probably goes some way in explaining why so many of you choose to grow your hair out for your wedding. Despite looking like a street urchin myself with a bob (trust me I still haven’t got over the psychological scars caused by my mother taking me to the hairdressers to have my tumbling locks cut off whilst I was rendered mute by tonsillitis) I admire those women that can carry off a shorter haired look. In fact there’s nothing quite so chic as a wide-eyed bride with a pixie mop – see Audrey for the ultimate in sophistication.
So why is this so?
Is there an unspoken expectancy that a bride should have long hair on her wedding day in much the same way as we assume that she’ll be wearing a white frock to say her vows?
Is it purely a case of practicality in that it’s just so much easier to curl and tong and twist and pin when there’s more hair to play with? Do you feel more feminine, more comfortable when your tresses fall past your shoulders? Does your other half prefer you with a tumbling mane and are you influenced by their preferences?
I’m hoping we can have a bit of a discussion this afternoon as I’m really interested to hear other folks’ thoughts on the whole short-haired debate.
By my reckoning, short-haired do’s are the way to go particularly if you’re a bride that’s keen to integrate a statement headpiece into your outfit. Rather than your hair taking over the show you can allow your glistening pins, feather garnishes and glitzy circlets to shine against a sedate yet coiffed background. Plus a supersized veil against a gamine cut always looks a little bit twiggy, a little bit 1960s doesn’t it…
And you can’t beat the sixties now can you?
So are you a perfect pixie girl or a bobbed beauty?
Do you know how you’ll be styling your barnet on your big day or are you still at a loss for ideas?
Have you decided to grow out your mane for your big day and will you be lopping it all off afterwards?
I want to hear all about it!
All my love Lolly xxx
P.S. If you’re looking for hair inspiration for your big day why not check out our Pinterest board for your barnet right here. We promise you’ll find something to love.
Every so often I feel compelled to pull together an inspiration post based on a specific colour scheme. Initially there was purple rain and then not so long back a raspberry romance but lately I find myself irresistibly drawn to tangerine hued affairs.
Admittedly an orange sorbet soiree can be overwhelming, brash even if not handled in the right way, but if integrated delicately with just the right of detail then it can be a feast for the eyes.
Festive enough for Autumn celebrations, bright enough for Summer parties yet possessing the chic factor for modern nuptials, opting for this colour palette provides any discerning bride with that crucial element of flexibility.
I should point out that this inspiration is less about the coral and more of the tangerine, not so much peach as more shades of nectarine.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, I’ll begin.
These citrus beauties will add a pop of color to any wedding party.
Granted the majority of brides (myself included) are much too in love with the idea of presenting themselves as a vision in white to consider any other shade. However having seen this gorgeous grecian inspired bride clad head to toe in this vibrant orange I’m inclined to be persuaded otherwise. Add the dip-dyed cream and nectarine gown into the mix and I’m sold.
If you’re still not convinced then why not consider these hues for your maids instead. I love a daring pink and orange combo – it just screams fun and femininity especially when ultra luxe fabrics are utilised too. Softer hues look their best during the colder months whereas colour pop tones are perfect for summertime weddings.
Grooms can look equally dapper too! I love the nectarine toned paisley tie against the soft blue corduroy waistcoat – perfect for chaps who are afraid of sporting too much colour. Add a colour-themed buttonhole for the perfect finishing touch.
P.S. I need that pink and orange dress in my life…
The key to a successful ‘Tangerine Touches’ theme is to use the colour sparingly. This principle is crucial folks and marks the difference between a chic wedding reception and a party that looks like it’s been sponsored by the lady from Orangina.
Think accents and you’ll be well away. So what should I use as a background colour I hear you ask? For a truly modern feel I love the combination of blue-black, particularly stripes – against blood orange but I realise that this can be a little intense for some folks.
So why not opt for a neutral palette instead. Blush pinks, soft taupes, champagne yellows, and muted greys all look exquisite when paired with oranges and nectarines. It speaks of elegance and understated glamour – what’s not to love.
If you love metallics, then mixing copper and golden elements in with your citrus hues is a fantastic way of introducing a luxe feeling into your big day. Old copper urns and gold rimmed glasses are two simple yet effective methods of adding glitz into your table set-ups . Perhaps you’re keen to channel a rustic vibe instead. Try integrating lots of natural textures like birch bark, fruits and moss into your table settings to capture an organic vibe.
Aside from the obvious edible interpretation of this theme… think clementines, tangerines, oranges… you can actually introduce this colour palette in other more creative forms too.
Refresh thirsty guests with wedges of cantaloupe melon or slices of orange during your champagne reception or after the obligatory game of french cricket or rounders on the lawn. Alternatively, warm up wintry nights by serving hearty bowls of butternut squash with drizzles of truffle oil and hunks of rustic bread.
Think about the decorative accompaniments to your food and drink. Serving within theme glasses of Pimms is one thing – paying attention to the vessels in which it is served is another. I adore these gold-rimmed glasses at the bottom here as much as I love the blood-orange and gold polka dotted napkins underneath those frothy cocktails.
Lastly I’m having a bit of a moment with orange ombre cakes. The muted frilly creation is elegant and romantic without being overly twee and I can’t get enough of those fun, flowery decorations on that tiered affair. If you find these a little bit girly for your tastes then displaying your cakey treats on a slice of wood adds an element of rustic masculinity into the mix.
Flaming indeed…from burnt umbers through to flamboyant shades of tangerine there’s literally a bloom for every shade in this colour spectrum. Be it cheerful sprigs of narcissus sporting orange centres in the Spring, deep tangerine poppies at the height of Summer or dahlias mixed with hypericum accents at Autumn nuptials.
I’m in love with this soft flower crown at the top of this board – it makes me think of wood nymphs by gently trickling streams during late Indian summers. The muted mustard yellows really make the deep orange spray roses pop without them overwhelming the entire piece.
If you’ve opted for a wedding theme using this palette then I’d suggest really going overboard on your table centrepieces. Ask your florist to cut your blooms at varying lengths so that a loose symmetry can be achieved. Mix blooms that have large heads such as garden roses and begonias to create volume with smaller blossoms such as ranunculus, spray roses and freesias for that bit of texture.
Lastly using a range of shades is paramount to prevent your arrangements from appearing too blocky and overwhelming. Creamy whites, muted yellows, coppers and soft greens complement tangerine shades perfectly – don’t forget to add oodles of foliage into the mix either.
So have you fallen head over heels for Tangerine Touches or does this whole colour palette terrify you?
I can’t help but smile at these cheery colours – perfect for this sunny afternoon. And just because you’ve opted to deck your venue in these shades doesn’t mean that you have to go down the ‘you’ve been tangoed route’ if you don’t want to. In fact the whole look can be so very very classy.
Come on grapefruit girls – I want to hear from you.
Much like the Purple Rain inspiration post we showcased a couple of weeks back, red themed weddings seemed, up until recently, to have fallen out of favour with you lovely lot.
And it’s a blinking shame, because approached in the right way an all-red colour scheme can look nothing short of spectacular. And you needn’t be marrying near Valentine’s nor Christmas to utilise such a vibrant palette either.
In actual fact, using cherry and berry hues in your wedding decor is fresh, exhilarating and invigorating; there’s nothing quite like a bold colour statement to say the party starts here.
And so I am determined to prove to you just how wonderful this shade can look…after all red is the colour of love is it not…
Nothing quite packs a punch as a fistful of crimson blooms. Romantic and eye-catching a raspberry bouquet just screams love and romance.
Don’t necessarily think that you have to opt for thick heads of red roses if you’re going down this colour route however. The beauty with red flowers is that there’s just so many varieties to choose from – from anemones, tulips, dahlias to ranunculus, clematis and even poppies.
I’d recommend using a spectrum of red hues rather than colour blocking with a single shade. This breaks up floral arrangements bringing them slap bang up to date with the 21st century. Add foliage for a wistful feel or if you’re looking for something more contemporary stick with thick heads of roses and peonies albeit in different tones.
I particularly love the pop of the splashes of purple of the grape hyacinths against these scarlet peonies at the top here. You wouldn’t think such a colour combination would work but it so does. Equally the contrast of pink hues against red tones looks equally gorgeous too.
Yes, yes and more yes.
Nothing warms my heart more than seeing a bevy of beautiful maids dressed in scarlet frocks. Be they mismatched or coordinating there’s a real wow factor associated with such bold shades.
I’ve yet to see a maid dressed in red lace but I’m desperate to see a bride use this material in such a modern way. Opting for frocks in shorter lengths looks more contemporary than longer versions too. If you’re choosing to dress your girls in cherry hues then let the dress do the talking and opt for nude shoes and subtle bouquets as a finishing touch.
It’s worth bearing in mind that red gowns which err on the pinkier side rather than at the orange end of the spectrum suit a wider range of skin tones. It’s something to remember particularly if your best girls don’t look alike; this way you can be sure that they all look beautiful.
Whilst most brides won’t probably want to sport a red frock themselves, there’s no reason why you can’t dash on a slick of pillarbox red lippy or the sweetest strawberry heels as the perfect nod to the wider colour theme. Finish off with lashings of the blackest mascara.
Patisserie & Paper
When I was pulling together the inspiration for this post, I got more than a little peckish. It’s surprising just how many of our favourite fruits (and sweet treats) happen to be red so it was only fair that I shared this plethora of goodies with you too.
We’ve seen the popularity of layered Victoria sponges increase lately and it’s no wonder. They look beautiful and taste just as gorgeous to boot. If you’re looking for a subtle twist on this classic why not serve up individual portions in sweet glass jars for guests as dessert.
For a healthy alternative, why not offer bowls of luscious cherries and fecund berries in large bowls to be passed between guests – perfect for a rustic summertime wedding. Think about how you serve your sweet treats too – presentation is always key and a neutral background will always make your red delicacies pop against it.
And I couldn’t resist throwing some paper pretty into the mix as well – choose luxurious cardstock in pale hues and literally let the ruby toned calligraphy do the talking.
This plethora of titian delights firmly proves that an all-red colour scheme can look breathtaking gorgeous whilst ultra modern too.
Why not serve bespoke raspberry or cherry cocktails with customised napkins in the same shade? You could add a monogram or a favourite saying of yours and your beau’s to make it a little bit more special.
Grey and red table settings are perfect for a chic, city soiree whereas distressed wood and soft cotton red and white striped napkins complete with soft strawberry coloured napkins is a wonderful combination for more rustic settings.
For some inexplicable reason I find myself drawn time and time again to weddings utilising an all-white colour scheme. I can’t explain why but I find the soft layering of chalky whites against buttery ivory hues immensely soothing.
Whilst more colourful soirees have that instant wow-factor, and look amazing on film, weddings employing a neutral colour scheme are, for me at least, balm to the soul in their effortless grace.
It’s less about the instant gratification and more like a love affair that sinks its teeth into you and never quite lets you go.
If I had to pick an icon that represents this colourway then Grace Kelly would be Alabaster and Ivory, a subtle yet timeless overlay of white on white that we keep returning to again and again.
But… I hear you shout how do I ‘do’ this colour scheme without it appearing pallid, flaccid and well…boring.
Don’t fret, we’ll show you how…
We’re seeing quite a few brides opting for gowns that feature cotton lace in some shape or form and this hot trend looks set to continue through to 2014 and beyond. If you love the idea of a neutral colour scheme but don’t know where to start then it’s worth considering linens in this fabric for your tables too. Broidery Anglais is another wonderful material that translates very well.
I’d recommend introducing several different alabaster tones to your table settings not only to add depth but also interest. Mixing up your florals is one way of doing this but getting creative with your tableware and stationery can produce a truly stylish look from contemporary cool to classic elegance. I love napkins with lovely finishes, edged plates and these amazing calligraphied linen menus!
Touches of gold can also help to warm tables up if you’re worried about them appearing too cold – look for old gold metallic votives, flatware or gold-rimmed glasses. Equally I adore these vintage books where their hard covers have been ripped off to expose their bindings. Balance them on top of one another to add height to your table settings.
Don’t underestimate the beauty of candlelight either. Pairing basic white candles with hired candlesticks in an unusual shape is a cost-effective way to add impact.
Perhaps the easiest area in which to employ milky-white colours, this amazing cake below by Maggie Austin is proof that an all-white colour scheme is anything but boring. She just gets it so right.
Choosing alabaster-toned treats gives you the freedom to play with texture and composition without the worrying about the cake appearing too sickly on the colour front. Whilst I love the rustic appeal of a lightly dusted sponge bedecked in strawberries, I predict that we’ll see a return to the more traditional iced affair albeit with an abstract twist.
Pretty and romantic, all of the cakes pictured here have one thing in common – their use of pattern and texture. Whilst they don’t instantly power-punch you in the face, their chic qualities places them firmly on my coveted list. Try experimenting with form too – I really love a narrow but deep tier especially on the topmost levels.
Can I just throw something out there too. Really think about your choice of cake stand. It’s not something that immediately springs to mind but a fantastic cake stand can elevate your sweet treats to new heights both literally and on the style front too.
Favoured by K.Middy and super HOT Pippa, white maids dresses are here to stay.
We’ve noticed the rise of organic textures and simple designs reminiscent of the young Tess of the D’Urbervilles before she fell into Alec’s devilish clutches.
What do you mean you haven’t read Tess? Hop to it, go and read it now!
Some of you might feel apprehensive about dressing your favoured girls in a similar colour to your beautiful self but have no fear. Choosing a simpler design with sleeves in an off-white hue will clearly mark out the difference between bride and maids. If you’re still anxious I particularly love the idea of adding a plaited belt or a coloured sash around the waist for a modern twist.
And no lovelies, white stilettos need no longer be the reserve of Essex girls. I love this classic slingback by Emerson Fry pictured here – perfect for summer parties once your big day has passed.
Set the scene for your all-white affair with some classic stationery. Go rustic with simple letterpressed invites tied with twine or opt for a luxe suite printed on linen finished off in an opulent font.
Dressing your venue in alabaster tones is super easy too. White paper poms in different shapes strung from ceilings and doors is perhaps one of the easiest way to achieve impact. If you’re looking for something a little different why not make your own from off-cuts of blanched cotton or tulle.
No longer the reserve of the ever popular photobooth, homemade ‘backgrounds’ can be used behind the head or dessert table to create atmosphere. I’ve seen backdrops made from super-sized ivory sequins that just screams modern luxe but large chalk-white sheets printed with quotes look just as fantastic.
Lastly it’s worth looking on eBay for large vintage letters or even old pieces of furniture that you can spruce up with a lick of white paint to form wonderful pieces of wedding decor.
Those of you who read this post will know that I could wax lyrical about white bouquets all day long.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, white blooms exude a sophistication that is hard to surpass whilst being wonderfully versatile too. We most commonly see the gloriously blousey heads of chalky hydrangeas in the clutches of brides and maids alike but white centrepieces look wonderfully chic on tables too.
Since you can find white florals at pretty much any time of the year, the hue translates well to weddings held in all seasons. Try Tulips and Narcissi in the Spring, Ranuculus in late Autumn and a combination of Roses and Peonies in early Summer.
Since white hues are so unassuming you’ll be sure that all your florals will work harmoniously with each other rather than fighting for the spotlight. Try mixing different neutral tones and flowerheads to prevent centrepieces and posies appearing too flat.
And one day folks, I’ll be rich enough to have the sheer amount of lily of the valley in this bouquet at the bottom here…one day.
Have I convinced you then or are you waving your flag at me from the colour camp?
What colours will you be integrating into your big day?
I’m now off to create a whole new Pinterest board devoted to alabaster – who’s with me?
Granted the Christmas and New Year festivities are now over and many of us are feeling the pinch on the pocket but somehow there’s just so much to look forward to.
A brand new year lies ahead, full of promise and excitement, the nights are finally getting lighter and I’m guessing that quite a few of you got engaged over the holiday period – congratulations and hello!
Perhaps most exciting though is the appearance of lush green shoots poking out of the soil – it’s like Nature is saying ‘hold on, Spring is just around the corner and it’s going to be wild’.
Not surprisingly then, I started thinking the first blooms of spring – snowdrops and crocuses, daffodils and anemones and before I knew it I was compiling an inspiration board of the most glorious bouquets for you lovelies to pour over.
And I just had to share it…
Where best to start than with the floral delights that inspired this post. Admittedly there are some flowers that technically don’t make their appearance until the end of spring in this clutch of images but the colours are absolutely bang on.
Youthful and carefree, Spring Green bouquets are ideal for weddings hosted in the first few months of the year and even into early summer. Light yellows and greens are beautifully offset by blush pinks and lilacs. Try mirroring these hues in your wider decor choices to create a clean and fresh atmosphere for your big day.
Spring flowers are usually heavily fragranced – think hyacinths, narcissus, tulips and even daffodils so bouquets using these blooms offer up a double sensory experience for beautiful brides as they glide down the aisle.
I’m particularly in love with the hyacinth and tulip bouquet in the middle of this board. It’s like someone has watercoloured the head of each of these blooms – just dreamy.
Ferns and Foliage
I adore brides that think outside of the traditional flower box by opting for foliage and ferns, seedheads and succuluents in their floral arrangements. There’s an understated beauty about these forgotten plants so I’m thrilled to see the popularity of them is increasing.
Perfect for a rustic wedding or for those brides who aren’t so enamoured with traditional blooms, these natural elements really hold their own. For example they certainly aren’t going to be wilting at the end of the big day.
‘Ferns and Foliage’ bouquet elements tend to fall in the same colour spectrum giving you the freedom to play with texture and composition – an architectural take on the traditional bouquet if you will. If you’re worried about your posy appearing too flat, why not add viburnum berries into the mix. Their petrol blue iridescence adds the perfect amount of va-va voom.
If you love this look but want to add a element of softness to these somewhat masculine posies then I’d suggest wrapping the ends of your bouquet in a wide ribbon in a pastel shade or lengths of lace.
The perfect whimsical touch to a gorgeous posy.
Old School Beauty
Here at RMW HQ, we’ve noticed a comeback of late of some of the traditionally forgotten or once out of favour flowers. Blooms like Dahlias, Marsh Mallow and Violets – all wonderful and glorious in their own right so I’m glad to see them flaunting their wares again.
‘Old School Beauty’ is all about grown up glamour – these bouquets don’t shout for attention but they exude a seductive allure regardless. Often appealing to those brides looking for a more sophisticated feel they offer a sumptuous beauty without appearing too stiff or done.
With their muted palettes – I like to call it ‘tea-stained’ – blush pinks, creamy yellows and faded peaches you can’t help but see their romantic elegance. I love the contrast of these blooms against a darkly seductive ribbon wrapped about the stems.
This bouquet looks fantastic at late Summer and early Autumn weddings – it’s almost as if nature is singing its last hurrah before darker, stormier nights arrive.
Another bridal trend experiencing somewhat of a resurgence is the bold use of a pink colour palette. Fun and girly, ‘Think Pink’ is perfect for those brides who want a truly romantic feel to their wedding. Aside from decor choices, one way of subtly integrating pink and blush hues is by choosing blooms in this colour spectrum.
Perfect for Spring and Summer weddings because of the availability of pink blooms such as sweet peas, O’Hara roses, peonies and tulips, bouquets in this shade are both eye-catching and frivolous; hell if you can’t be frivolous on your wedding day when can you?
If you’re looking to create interest or are anxious about your bouquet seeming a little ‘intense’, try selecting flowers in a range of pink hues rather than adhering to a single tone of pink. Pairing hot pinks with candy shades and the briefest touch of lemon yellow or mint green is the key to a successful ‘Think Pink’ bouquet.
Opting for a really ‘full’ bouquet full of blousey headed blooms will ensure you pull this look off beautifully. If you’re keen to avoid a posy that’s too round in shape then ask your florist to leave some of the more delicate flowers slightly longer in length to create that looser handpicked look.
It’ll look blinking gorgeous!
So lovelies, which is your favourite? I’m torn between Old School Beauty and Spring Greens.
Perhaps you’ve opted for a different look entirely, if so we’d love to hear all the details.
Maybe you’re not having a floral bouquet at all. Did you see Celine’s bouquet in her Parisian wedding last week? She chose a bouquet of pink pom poms and it looked IMMENSE.
It was Vix’s post the other day that inspired me to write this post.
She shared quite candidly her quandaries over her flowers and her wider wedding decor choices. Trust me, from looking at the plethora of images in her post she has nothing to worry about!
But there was one question in particular she asked that struck a chord with me – is ‘things I like’ even a theme?
You’ll have noticed if you read the comments that I responded with a resounding yes. But actually Vix’s dilemma is something I hear about (and relate to) often. Equally I’m asked fairly frequently by both friends and you gorgeous lot for help styling your big day.
How do I create a theme? How big should a styling budget typically be? How much ‘themed’ decor is too much? Do I even need a theme? Where do I start?
If I had all the time in the universe then I’d happily sit down and talk to each and every one of you but unfortunately I don’t have this luxury. In reality the answer to each one of these questions is subjective – it totally depends on you as a couple and what you feel is of the most importance.
Instead I thought I’d take you through my own process for creating a theme – in particular for my wedding last month.
Before we go any further, it’s worth pointing out that the use of the word ‘theme’ should be taken lightly. I am not suggesting that your wedding should resemble a Trekkie convention nor the set of the Tellytubbies although if this is your bag then by all means go for it. No by using the word theme, I mean a sense of atmosphere that you are trying to create on your big day.
The best place to start is with images – moodboards are your best friend. Whether they be torn out shreds of paper in a scrapbook, a secret board on Pinterest or pulled together on Photoshop, this is one way of helping you to establish your wedding look.
Laying out all of your favourite pictures side by side allows you to pick out the common threads, to prioritse what is really important to you, a way of separating the wheat from the chaff if you like and you’ll find that your theme will begin to emerge.
I actually took inspiration from my wedding venue when thinking about my theme – Iscoyd Park epitomised what I named ‘A Very English Affair’. A harking back to times past, of jolly hockey sticks, polo players, gentlemen’s clubs (in a good way!) elegance and sophistication. Girls in long silk dresses, champagne saucers in hand clutching the arms of their cigar smoking, tweed-wearing other halves.
Creating boards for each and every part of my wedding day helped me to define which parts of the decor were required at each stage and clarified my lines of thought. It also meant that I could communicate my vision clearly to my wedding suppliers – my cake designer, my florist and to my bridesmaids and the boy’s ushers too.
Shall we take a look…
A Grand Entrance
Those of you who are regular readers of my inspiration posts will already be aware that I’m a big fan of the ‘entrance’.
No… not the bride’s grand reveal as she swooshes towards her intended, although I am partial to this particular moment of the day. Incidentally, I’m guaranteed to shed my first tears upon seeing the bonny bride at the top of the aisle…do any of you suffer from this affliction or is it just me?
No, the ‘entrance’ we’re talking about here is your guests’ first impression of the day on the day itself…a taste of things to come if you will.
In most cases, the entrance is actually a physical entity i.e. the front door to the venue or the reception hall where they begin to gather before the ceremony begins and is a perfect opportunity for you to make a real style statement.
When I ventured on my ‘English Affair’ journey, I was keen to integrate the front door of Iscoyd Park into the wider decor scheme – the steps leading up to the entrance made perfect shelves for theme-inspired paraphernalia and the door itself screamed out for a seasonal wreath complete with pheasant feathers.
Given that my wedding was only three days before Halloween, it seemed daft not to make the most of the gourds, swedes and pumpkins so readily available in the shops. Plus I loved the sort of Harvest Festival appeal that arrangements of these vegetables can make.
Lastly carefully displaying huge wooden boules, battered polo mallets and croquet sets along with old badminton and tennis rackets, a cartridge belt and a few crests are just some pieces that bring the rest of this set-up to life.
Here Come The Boys
Striped blazers, brogues and chinos form the skeleton of ‘A Very English Affair’ from a male sartorial perspective along with a blue through to brown colour spectrum. Bowties and herringbone shirts also have a huge role to play and beautiful pocket squares finish this look off nicely.
The key to a successful look is to ensure that the tailoring is spot on. The beauty of such a look is in the crispness and accuracy of the fit – if this is absent you’ll end up looking like an eccentric disheveled professor.
Not so hot on your wedding day.
Another tip to bear in mind is to not be too ‘matchy matchy’. Opting for different coloured chinos to a jacket looks particularly suave – equally having your wedding party in different jackets but with the same trousers retains individuality whilst being eye-catching too.
It’s all about getting the right mix of smart to casual. At our wedding, one of our guests swopped his jacket in the evening to a brand spanking new cricket jumper for a different look.
It was epic.
One thing I learnt on my own planning journey is how much the ushers appreciated being included within the decision making process for their outfits. Having shown them a moodboard of their ‘look’ they were confident enough to offer up suggestions for the ushers’ ensemble. They not only looked amazing but they felt utterly comfortable too knowing that they’d chosen it for themselves.
One word of advice I will offer you is if you do choose to describe your dress code as ‘country club’ you run the risk of stressing out your guests as they make their sartorial decisions – in particular the girls. There is also a chance that some may misinterpret country club and just go for plain country.
Yes folks we’re talking gilets and wellingtons. You have been warned…
Short of draping each chair with patriotic flags and placing a tennis racket and hunting horn on each seat, it was always going to be slightly trickier to convey the ‘English Affair’ theme within the ceremony.
Opting for a decadent urn filled with an organic clutch of foliage from the local hedgerows was a must, as was a runway of candles to light my way to my beau. Both of these elements were in keeping with the theme due in part to the sense of tradition that they evoked.
And then I took Vix’s approach… which is to pick and choose from the things you really like and integrate them into your day.
I don’t want to give too much away at this stage but I will say that there were specially selected antique bells (an Irish Tradition), the most wonderful order of service complete with Edwardian style silhouettes and copious amounts of confetti.
Dinner Is Served
A sumptuous dining experience like the evening soirees held at Downton Abbey is exactly what this theme is all about.
Using trophy cups for floral centrepieces rather than conventional vases as well as elaborate silverware, mercuried silver textures and cut glass are surefire ways to obtain such a look.
I’m a huge fan of decadent linen and this theme is really where tablecloths and napkins really come into their own. If you’re looking to create impact in your venue, then choosing striking linen as opposed to standard white cloths is cost-effective way of doing this and is bound to get your guests talking.
Dining by candlelight is integral to this set-up, since it takes the culinary experience to the next level. Try mixing different sets of silver candlesticks on each of your tables and use dinner candles in similiar hues to your linen. It’s worth mentioning here that it’s best to utilise a palette of no more than three colours to prevent unnecessary clashes.
Attention to detail is crucial to ‘A Very English Affair’; in fact it’s the subtle layering of different touches that will really ensure that you nail such a theme. For example hunting for period menu holders at car boots and on ebay will add an authenticity that perhaps more modern pieces lack. If it’s possible, try designing your table names and place names to reflect the theme too.
Whilst cigar favours for the boys and sugared almonds in antique champagne saucers for the girlies might seem a little outdated in theory, if enough care is taken and the right components are brought together then these treats can look irresistible.
Trust me folks.
A Floral Banquet
I’m not sure how many of you have seen the film Atonement – if you haven’t then hot foot it to your local DVD shop and rent it out sharpish.
There is a point to this…bear with me.
There’s so many elements that I love about this screenplay but it is the flowers that appear during the drama that stand out so strongly for me. There’s a heady, decadent, fecund aura that surrounds them, the last hurrah of summer if you will.
In fact it is the organic, unruly nosegays that the main protagonist in Atonement scoops from the garden that sum up ‘A Very English Affair’. Think soft English peaches and blousey pinks, teamed with rich plums and muted greens.
Old garden roses thick with aroma, berries and fruits scooped into urns and old kitchen jugs full of lush foliage are just some of the ways to describe this theme. You see this style shouldn’t be overly engineered nor too stylised. The success of this look depends also on the quantity of flowers that you use too – more is always more.
This week’s post is a slightly selfish affair derived from my current obsession with all things menu-related.
You see folks, tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow brings with it a fairly momentous event in my wedding planning journey so far. Tomorrow is all about sampling the menu that will be served at my wedding and I am SO excited.
So, with this in mind, this week’s inspiration post is more of a discussion post if you will – taking its cue not only from the paper pretty that I present to you below but also an exploration of the different shapes and forms that wedding breakfasts appropriate in our modern age.
I want to know what you think, what your experiences of wedding day food have been, which foods turn you off as well as those edible delights that have made a wedding a roaring success for you.
You’ll also notice lovelies that today’s post is somewhat shorter than normal. You see folks today is also a #prettynaughty day. Eeek!
Yes it’s finally arrived (how time flies!) so we’re currently running around like headless chickens making sure that everything is tip-top for later on tonight. Don’t worry I’ll be back with oodles of inspiration for you next week.
As a guest at four weddings this year and as a bride to be, food (and drink) is definitely a vital part of the whole wedding day experience for me. I’ve been lucky enough to attend weddings where the food has been nothing short of scrumptious as well as adventurous.
Perhaps the best culinary experience was that of my best friend’s wedding last year where she hand-picked all of the wines and menu herself to ensure that her guests received the ultimate foodie experience.
I’m telling you folks, it was divine. But the element that really struck a chord in me was the care and pride she took in providing the very best for her guests and the way that it set the scene for the rest of the day.
We were nourished, spoilt rotten and and all of our needs were wholly catered for; this was her way of showing her love for her nearest and dearest on her special day.
I’m conscious as I write this that food does not feature so highly on every bride’s agenda. And you know that’s ok. We want to hear all of your culinary viewpoints – we like a healthy debate here at RMW towers.
From a personal point of view, the wedding breakfast is not so much about the functional practicalities of making sure that everyone has been fed. For me, it’s all about what the meal represents – the coming together of friends and family to laugh, talk and play around a single table.
Ultimately it’s about creating precious memories. Ones that you relish and revisit time and time again.
So with this in mind, I love how attitudes towards the wedding breakfast have become much more relaxed over the past few years. It’s possible, hell it’s even encouraged to deviate from the traditional three course meal and offer something a little bit different.
Want your guests to share platters of grazing food rather than opting for individual starters? I say go for it! How about skipping pudding and providing a huge dessert table for your nearest and dearest instead? You get to tick both the decor and food boxes all at the same time. You can’t really say fairer than that.
Alternatively, serving afternoon tea rather than a more conventional three piece affair is so much kinder to the pocket and offers your guests a slightly different foodie experience. Plus you can guarantee that children AND grannies alike will love it.
One of my favourite food related items ever though is an epic food trailer often found at the nuptials of our cousins in good ol’ America. Serving everything from fast food to ice-creams and slushy drinks, these trucks can be used to dish out the evening snack to hungry guests in a unique way or even the wedding breakfast itself.
And whilst I’ve been wittering on here about food, I’ve neglected to mention the all-important liquid refreshment that we indulge in on these big days. I ADORE customised cocktails as well as all the paraphernalia that goes with it. It’s just so blinking elegant.
Here at RMW HQ we’re also noticing one food trend that is undeniably gaining strength is of a demand for organic and sustainable produce that is locally available. Modern day brides possess a conscientiousness that brides in decades past perhaps didn’t place quite as much emphasis on.
Maybe you’re a bride who has chosen to have a seasonal menu? Food selections that pay homage to the passing of seasons is something I particularly admire. Think crisp refreshing greens and herbs for Spring and game and roasted root vegetables for early Autumn.
So what would your ideal menu be?
Perhaps you’ll take some inspiration from the menus displayed on these moodboards – I am particularly lusting over the roasted rack of venison with baby Autumn vegetables.
Is food even that important to you? Maybe providing your guests with some quality entertainment is a far higher priority.
Whatever you think, we want to hear your thoughts.
When I landed upon the image of these neon beaded beauties below, I was instantly transported back to my earliest days at school sitting with my playmates stringing simple wooden beads onto coarse woollen strands to make what can be best described as a ‘dog’s dinner’ (read tragic mess).
Obviously the epic bangles and necklaces below are of a far higher quality than my juvenile attempts – I would so rock one of these neon bracelets.
Anyone else care to join me?
The point is however, and I think I speak for most of us when I say that, it’s clear, even from an early age, that we like to adorn ourselves with decorative paraphernalia. Heck, we’ve been tattooing, crowning, encircling, festooning and garlanding our bodies since time began and it’s not likely to stop any time soon either.
It’s not surprising then that there’s a plethora of beautiful bridal jewellery out there. If there’s a day when a woman feels most inclined to bedeck herself with charming adornments then it’s her wedding day.
And whilst there is an abundance of style in traditional pieces, I love how the parameters of what constitutes bridal ‘jewellery’ are now far more relaxed meaning that there really is something for everyone.
My own bridal jewellery journey began when my future mother-in-law handed me her late mother’s prized diamond earrings when the boy and I were first engaged.
They are beautiful. Utterly exquisite. I even got quite emotional when she handed them to me.
You see, it meant the world to me that she decided to share something that clearly means so much to her. And whilst my boy’s grandma can’t be with us on the day, she’ll certainly be there in (twinkling) spirit.
Despite my renowned magpie-like behaviour towards anything shiny, I don’t really go all out on the jewellery front. Granted there’s my engagement ring, a couple of gold bangles and my dainty golden feather necklace but that’s about it. I reckon therefore I can push the boat out on my wedding day, what do you think?
So what are you lovely lot wearing on your big day?
Will you be appropriating some family heirlooms or sporting something more contemporary?
Or are you blinded by the dazzling array available to you? Can I help?
Walk this way…
All That Glistens Is…Gold
I’ve been a fan of yellow gold jewellery ever since I was young but I’ve always been aware that it isn’t everyones’ top choice.
Some of my friends for instance find it a little gaudy.
So, I’m thrilled to see that yellow gold is making a comeback both in the bridal universe and on the fashion runways along with golden semi-precious stones such as Beryl.
The glitzy stuff is back with a vengeance, folks.
I love the versatility that gold gives to the wearer, be it delicate and pretty or gritty and proud. It’s also incredibly flattering on all skintones, offering up a warmth that only improves with age. There’s nothing better than popping to an antique jewellers and holding patinated pieces rich with memories.
Stacking golden rings and bracelets is one way of bringing this metal up to date if you’re worried it’s a little old-fashioned for you. The contrasts in the different pieces will make the metals both interesting and edgy.
Alternatively if this is a little intense then choosing a filigree piece is not only romantic but subtle enough so that you won’t feel overwhelmed.
Plus your nan would be proud.
This concoction of images is a mixture of pieces that have their origins in or are influenced by tribal jewellery, nature and Eastern designs.
Like the moodboard above, many of these beautiful items possess a golden hue but it’s the shapes, patterns and the positioning of them on the body that really do the talking.
Looking at this bevvy of beauties, I can almost imagine myself on African Plains or in a Moroccan Souk which make these pieces perfect for those brides choosing to get married abroad.
More angular pieces look amazing with column bridal gowns and chainmail and leather accents are reminiscent of tribal dress. This look is all about impact!
We’ve also noticed jewellery taking inspiration from natural themes such as florals and botanics. No longer the preserve of bouquets and gorgeous centrepieces, sprawling flower-esque jewellery is popping up time and time again and is set to gain more momentum next year.
This look is all about taking the ‘best bits’ from bygone eras and combining it into a glorious mishmash of ultimate luxury.
Whilst vintage wedding styles have been leading the way sartorially, we’ve noticed this look is now also translating across to jewellery choices too.
Think of the geometric patterns of costume jewellery and the long strings of lustrous pearls of the Art Deco era together with the subtle 1950‘s elegance of Grace Kelly’s classic style and the glamour of old Hollywood movie stars.
For some reason I always envisage brides who opt for this kind of jewellery in swishing gowns of lace….but it doesn’t mean that you have to go down this route. Pearls and diamonds do tend predominate here though.
This look is feminine and subtle. Less is more and wearing more than two pieces is often too much. A beautifully crafted necklace, or a single brooch of sparkling round cut diamonds is what this look is all about.
Granted, choosing this ‘look’ can be less budget-friendly than some of the other styles pictured here but investing in key pieces of valuable jewellery means that you have something to treasure forever and pass on to your children and perhaps theirs too.
I think I first fell in love with colourful bridal jewellery when I saw Emily’s beautiful sapphire-coloured blue earrings earlier this year.
In fact, I was more than a little bit smitten with them.
They framed her gorgeous face perfectly whilst bringing her whole bridal look smack bang up to date to the 21st century. It was at this point that I was determined to give coloured jewels a chance and I haven’t looked back.
And I’m not the only one.
From opals to tourmalines and from amethysts to moukite, semi-precious stones are gracing the necks, ears and fingers of huge numbers of brides this year. THE hot colour of the moment, the current hue to be seen in though, is…wait for it…coral.
Here at RMW HQ we’ve seen everything from coral-coloured necklaces to coral bracelets and rings on both brides and bridesmaids alike. This hue looks fantastic on all skin types, is utterly romantic and often slips seamlessly into most colour schemes.
If you can afford to stretch the budget that little bit further, then can I suggest coloured diamonds. My favourite hue are champagne coloured diamonds – rather apt for a bride on her wedding day, no?
Alternatively, you could leave this blog post open at this point and cough suggestively at your fiancé whilst tilting your head at said computer screen before you leave the room on an ‘errand’.
What? You’re helping him with his wedding present to you aren’t you?
Make A Statement
Bold and chunky jewellery continues to feature strongly in bridal jewellery thus continuing the trend of the last two years.
Hurray! The RMW Team (yes, even Mr Gossip Girl) loves a bit of statement action on modern brides. We are however seeing more of a pared down approach compared to previous years.
Ladies, we’re talking bib necklaces and shoulder-sweeping gemstone earrings, wide cuffs and hefty cocktail rings all crafted from bold materials and striking colours. I love brides who have chosen to travel this adventurous route, it absolutely reeks of confidence and luxury.
A note of caution however. This look tends to work best on those brides that have chosen a simpler dress. Gowns already covered in pearls, sequins or other twinkly bits are statement pieces in their own right. Adding too much jewellery on top can make one look like an overdressed turkey and we wouldn’t want that would we…
Where do I start? Well folks, I implore you to at least consider this crucial element (in my humble opinion) when planning your wedding decor.
I know what you’re thinking – that you’ve already got a seemingly endless list of items to fit into a rather stretched wedding budget and lighting really doesn’t feature all that highly.
I get it.
Honestly I do. In fact I’ve been there myself, frantically worrying that I’m going to bankrupt myself in the process of getting this wedding off the ground so that it will be absolutely PERFECT on the day.
Is adding the most fantastic light display that the world has ever seen absolutely essential?
Will it be the end of the world if I depend solely on the existing (and basic) in-house lighting at the venue?
Perhaps not. But what I will say is this…
A well-lit space, and by this I mean, a space that utilises a carefully thought-out lighting design, is key to successfully creating mood and atmosphere within your reception venue.
Lighting is your best friend – in more ways than one. It can actually complement your chosen pieces of decor whilst being an element of display in its own right. Luminary devices subtly help to influence mood and signify the beginning and end of different stages of the wedding day. Plus your photographer will thank you too.
I strongly suggest that you conduct a site visit at your chosen venue to really examine existing lighting facilities in detail. This will help you assess what you need and those elements which really aren’t that essential.
In case you’re stuck, a few items to look out for include overhead and fixed lighting. Look closely at light fixtures above you – can you dim it effectively so that it interacts appropriately with any additional illumination schemes that you might be integrating?
What about non-moveable luminescent devices – do they only highlight walls and ceilings or can the light be manipulated to focus it exactly where you want it?
Right then, what are we waiting for. Let’s take a look at the plethora of goodies below…
All The Colours Of The Rainbow
Many brides are terrified about using vivid swathes of colour in their decor lighting. I don’t blame them – if done badly, this look goes from fantastically dramatic to downright gaudy.
And we wouldn’t want that would we…
But folks, successfully projecting colour washes onto key areas of your venue such as the walls, ceilings or dance floor is a really simple and effective way of creating instant impact and is comparatively inexpensive.
Good lighting exists to accentuate your design, not overwhelm it. Try to avoid blanketing your space with solid blocks of the same colour as this can feel overwhelming. Instead choose accenting and contrasting colourways that are compatible with one another – two of the wedding venues shown here demonstrate that pinks and yellows look blinking amazing together.
The same principle also applies also to your other wedding decor elements such as table linens and blooms, bar space and communal walkways.
The type of illumination you opt for should vary across the course of the wedding day too. Use softer coloured lighting during the meal and more intense and striking hues for the party later in the evening. This helps guests with the transition of the wedding as the day progresses.
Take it from me, if you’ve decided this is where your heart lies, then please call in some lighting experts. They know all about the technicalities of performing such feats and have the necessary skills and insurance policies in case anything should go wrong.
Lastly, if you’re still nervous about using tinted lighting in your reception decor, opting for props that incorporate this such as the large letter in this bundle of inspiration is one way to carry off the look a little more subtly.
Light strands are one of my vices. Honestly, my favourite part of Christmas is seeing folks deck their houses and trees with reams of fairy lights. If I had my own way, the tree would simply be dressed by the twinkle of little luminaries.
‘Starry Heavens’ are best utilised in spaces that are essentially blank canvases such as a marquee or in a barn or anything that is a dry hire. The majority of the inspiration pictured here uses LOTS of light strands in some shape or form.
Despite the fact that this type of illumination is just SO pretty, fairy lights create instant ambience whilst throwing out light left, right and centre. If you’re concerned that light strands don’t strike quite the right note of luxury for you, try combining them with chandeliers or Moroccan lanterns for variety and glitz.
Alternatively suspend your strands from a single focus so that they radiate down to the floor below – this also bestows any venue with a sense of depth.
If you’re smitten with this idea then I guarantee that your photographer will love you – it can be somewhat difficult to get the right lighting and thus good photos in marquees given the expanse of space without additional illumination.
Finally, amalgamating huge drapes of cloth with decadent chandeliers is the ultimate in tented beauty. I just wish I had pots of money so that I could re-enact the look at my own wedding.
At The Table
There’s nothing worse than going to a restaurant with poor lighting where you can’t make out what you’re eating.
For me it’s all part of the experience, drinking in the exquisiteness of decadent food displays. The last thing you want to hear is the sound of forks squeaking across dinner plates as guests try to prong pieces of meat that are actually on the other side of the dish because they can’t see properly.
And whilst much of the lighting options that I’m going on to talk about here aren’t fuelled by electrical means, they’re no less important.
You can never have enough candles.
And their benefits are threefold; they create the most glorious atmosphere whilst being easy on the pocket and instantly form part of your table decor, helping to illuminate the beauty of your luxurious floral centrepieces that frankly cost you the price of a small pony.
Is there anything more decadent than a chandelier hanging daintily above you as you dine with your nearest and dearest? No? Thought not…
For those of you used to reading my inspiration posts, you’ll know that I’m also slightly addicted to dramatic hanging centrepieces over tablescapes. A creative alternative to using flowers, is to suspend bundles of thin branches and hang bulbs or bud vases containing tealights from them for extra and dramatic pizzazz. Just make sure that they are secured properly – nobody wants to see Uncle Bob’s hairpiece going up in flames.
Think beyond the conventional and traditional. Just about anything can be used as a vessel for a tealight – I love the cut crystal glasses in the middle of the moodboard and the floating candles in the mason jars. Proof that style doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Play with different heights too – these extra long tapered candles create a focal point right along the table without breaking the bank.
For a really luxurious dining experience why not indulge in a bit of pin spotting. Pin spots are focused beams of light that are used to illuminate a particular feature such as a table centrepiece or wedding cake. Imagine shining your initials or favoured song lyrics onto the centre of each of your tables for an unusual twist.
The Great Outdoors
Granted, the UK hasn’t exactly got the best track record for outdoor events but if you have decided to host your big day at the mercy of the elements then I take my hat off to you!
Actually I’m a little bit jealous.
Regardless, if you are having an outdoor wedding then it’s paramount that you pay some attention to the lighting that you’re incorporating into your decor. Providing sufficient illumination allows the party to continue once the light starts to fade as well as a sense of ambience and heat once the warmth of the day is over.
Trees are your ally – they are nature’s answer to man-made support structures. Try looping strands of fairy lights around tree trunks or suspending lanterns and candles from their branches.
Such touches are reminiscent of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream – apt really given that you’ll be experiencing your own real-life fairytale.
Exterior lighting doesn’t have to be expensive. Spend the months running up to the big day collecting jam jars and equivalent glasses for an economical alternative to traditional hanging lanterns. Just pop in a tea-light and string up the vessel with some ribbon and you’re away!
Light The Way Before Me
I’m a sucker for a candlelit aisle. Yes I know it’s been done a million times before but I still smile when I see a wedding complete with a softly glowing pathway.
Ultimately this look is high impact, minimal effort. Don’t limit the success of this look by allowing your candle placement to become too regimented. Equally play with different heights and vessels and even add some electrical lighting into the mix for variety.
From a practical point of view, place candles in hurricane vases or similar where possible to prevent guest’s clothing from catching fire – you don’t want anything to detract from the ceremony itself.
Mirrored vases such as Mercury glass helps to reflect the light and are the ultimate in glamour luxe. Consider polishing it all off by adding a carpet of petals and turning the overhead lights down on low for a truly romantic atmosphere.
Now folks, I want to hear all about your lighting choices on your big day.
Is this something you’ve even considered or have you decided that you’re going to prioritise elsewhere?
And where are you lot getting married – we love to hear all about your venue choices.
I’m currently on the hunt for the most perfect grey dinner candles. Any suggestions?