For once I’m at a loss with where to start when talking about Clara and Cedric’s achingly beautiful big day. I’m like a Catherine Wheel spinning off in a hundred and one different directions wanting to tell you lovelies about each and every one of the exquisite details that make up their destination Italian wedding.
I actually feel like I’ve scooped the jackpot this morning by being able to share this ‘I Do’ with you and by the time you’ve finished pouring over all the images I can bet my bottom dollar that you’ll be pinning them to your heart’s content too.
I love Clara and Cedric’s supersized wedding party and their equally slick sartorial choices; Clara’s veil and flower crown are particularly heavenly. And then there’s the romantic Italian courtyard set amongst the backdrop of a historic villa and bucketloads of sunshine. And by jove these two know how to kiss – their portrait shots are filled to the brim with passion and love and laughter.
Those of you who regularly read my inspiration posts will know that I cultivate a somewhat unhealthy obsession with lingerie.
Yes folks, I’ll admit it…my name is Lauren and I’m addicted to frilly knickers and lacy bras.
I can’t really pinpoint when this appreciation of beautiful smalls began but I do know that I often accompanied my mum on a regular basis to the most glorious boutique in Royal Leamington Spa.
It was here that I was introduced to Aubade and Cotton Club, Agent Provocateur and La Perla, that it was of vital importance to have a bra that actually fitted. My vocabulary expanded…balconettes and Brazilian briefs, thongs and French knickers, garters and bustiers and so by a process of osmosis I guess an appreciation of lingerie was instilled in me.
And so, as you can imagine, it was important to have some beautiful underwear for my wedding day. In fact, there’s something to be said about the combination of wedding dresses with wonderful lingerie…I for one discovered a chest I’d never seen before.
But I digress. You want to see the pictures don’t you… so let’s take a look.
A Full Set
I know from experience that a lot of brides worry not only about the dress itself but also what to wear underneath it.
You want your lingerie to be sturdy enough to provide you with curves in all the right places but not so robust that your guests are privy to every piece of wiring and boning underneath.
At RMW we’ve noticed a movement towards high-waisted knickers, balconette bras and strapless bodysuits in glorious coloured silks ranging from baby pinks to the softest nudes. These styles offer the perfect compromise between receiving enough ‘support’ without sacrificing anything on the style front either.
More brides are opting for the ‘complete set’ with suspender belts and stockings too. Now RMW-ettes, I’m curious. How many of you are intending to wear stockings with your wedding dress?
And lastly a word of advice…just be conscious about any straps that might work their way free from underneath your frock. It’s not something you want your photographs to capture on the big day…I speak from experience.
Everybody loves playtime.
It’s the BEST time to be creative…to play make believe…to get your hands dirty.
Oh… I’ve gone all hot under the collar.
These midnight beauties are perhaps to be saved for night-time frolics rather than for your wedding breakfast with Great-Aunt Mabel. That said, I applaud any bride that takes the ‘Playtime’ approach with her wedding day lingerie.
I’m currently having a bit of a moment with bondage style lingerie and bodies. If selected in the right size they are utterly flattering and provide your body with sexy contours even when you have none…hell I know I don’t!
And what newly-wed groom can say no to a bride in fringed panties, or a velvet bodice I ask you? If you’re looking to spice things up further, then purchasing additional props such as this golden mask is the way to go.
I won’t lie to you girls.
I saw this corseted, lacy number from Agent Provocateur in the middle of all these images here and swooned. Then I decided that I had to have it but I haven’t quite managed to scoop it into my clutches yet though.
Aside from the coveting, the corset has inspired me to pull together this elixir of ‘sweet seductions’ for your perusal. Intended for the more romantic bride who perhaps doesn’t want to bare too much flesh, there are plenty of gorgeous details to keep you enthralled.
Dreamy and whimsical, you can just imagine wrapping these delicate two pieces into blue tissue paper and storing them away. We have dainty ribbons, whispers of lace, spaghetti straps and chiffon frills from arctic white to the softest of chamomile.
The beauty of this look is that you can wear these pieces under your wedding dress without worrying about a colour clash nor a VPL either.
Well that’s one less thing to worry about isn’t it.
The Final Flourish
Despite my love for lingerie, I can’t say that I’ve ever owned a silken robe or a decadent kimono.
This makes me sad – in fact I spent the majority of my wedding morning sporting… wait for it…double denim.
Looking back I wished that I’d bought something more alluring to lounge around in because if there’s ever a time to splash out on seductive ‘loungewear’ then your wedding day surely has to be it.
‘The Final Flourish’ is one trend that you’ll really get some long-term wear out of as well as providing a solid basis for several really gorgeous photographs too. I’m always slightly envious of those brides who choose to be shot in their gossamer light briefs with nothing else but their veil draped lovingly around them…they just look so beautiful.
Try thinking outside the box. If a voluminous robe isn’t really your thing, silky body suits, chiffon-light maxi-dresses and satin slips are equally as beautiful and transfer easily from wedding morning to night and all the way into your honeymoon too.
My particular favourite is this goddess maxi-dress from Ell & Cee. Isn’t it just delightful and so versatile too. You could even wear it over your bikini by the pool.
In fact, I’m wondering if the boy is reading this as I’d really like this for Christmas….
So folks, just how important is your wedding day underwear to you?
Are your smalls geered towards the structural support camp or influenced totally by frippery fancy?
Have any of you purchased something special for your wedding night?
As always girls (and boys) we want to hear what you have to say.
Sarah and Jon met at university in Bath ten years ago and despite living in London together ever since, Somerset was their chosen location for a relaxed summer celebration. Court Farms‘ relaxed ethos gave them the opportunity to make the day exactly how they wanted it.
I was amused to read that Sarah often refers to Jon as “Sweets” as he is made up of 95% Haribo.
I’m not far off that myself – at last count I was 72% fizzy cola bottles.
Photography today is by my unashamed man crush and camera master, Mister Phill.
It Fit Like A Glove
Elizabeth Avey saved the day! Me and my Mum had been to a couple of shops before but I had left them feeling cold and very worried that I would never find something I’d feel comfortable in. I’m not much of a figure hugging/glamorous/sophisticated/‘look at me’ dresser and I just felt silly in all the ones I tried on. There seemed to be rails of stiff white satin and diamante ruffles that whilst being a lot of fun to peruse, just weren’t up my street.
I spent a lot of time drooling over the American websites like Saja and was frustrated that you couldn’t get the more laid back girly (and a lot more affordable) dresses here. I did at first panic buy a similar ethereal Monsoon number but my heart wasn’t in it and I resold it soon after!
Having come across the lovely Elizabeth Avey online, we made an appointment to visit her North London studio. Good job we did. Looking at the rails, my eyes lit up. It was a treasure trove of inspirational vintage lace and it felt a bit like being allowed behind the scenes at the V&A. ‘The’ dress had just been put out that morning and hadn’t even been steamed yet. But it fit like a glove and made my Mum cry. Definitely the one. Sourced from L.A, it was a 1950s beauty that had just the right amount of simplicity and classic old-school glamour I was after. The bow at the back and the unique ribbon detailing was a sweet little twist that made me smile too!
Once In A Lifetime
I knew I wanted to wear a veil as it’s the only time in your life you get to! My Mum has kept hers in the attic for the last 38 years and it just happened that the aged flowers & and colour of the netting matched the dress perfectly. Being so close to my Mum, it felt very special to be wearing it on the day. We did shorten it slightly so that the proportions were right with the dress. At the suggestion of Heidi the hairdresser, my Mum also removed some of the flowers and attached them to a satin covered pipe cleaner that could be intertwined with my plaits (to be revealed later in the day when the veil was removed).
Jewellery wise, I wore my Nain’s (Welsh for Grandmother) engagement ring and a delicate bracelet I bought from Gillian Million in Teddington to add a bit of sparkle. I’m pretty minimal in my jewellery wearing and felt that a necklace would interfere with the scalloped neckline of the dress.
I mustn’t forget to mention the incredible surprise Jonny had planned on our big day. During the morning preparations, there was a knock on the bedroom door.. I opened it to find a giant Sylvanian squirrel looking up at me, clutching a beautiful handbag. As if the giant sylvanian wasn’t enough of a surprise (who knew they existed?!), inside the dreamy tan leather shopper, was a hard backed, dust jacketed book of our travel blog that he’d worked his socks of to produce in the months before. I had wondered why he’d suddenly have to do lots of late nights and early starts at work… He actually took my breath away with it’s lovingly crafted detail and I’m sure you can imagine the amount of squealing six bridesmaids can achieve at such a romantic gesture. If you’re wondering what the deal is with Sylvanian squirrels – I was rather a big fan as a kid and when we were first dating, he’d given me one as a gift for my birthday. Inside the little creature’s satchel was again, the most unexpected surprise of a diamond ring. What can I say, he’s good at suprises!
What led me to that story was that alongside the treasured book, was another squeal inducing Kate Spade giftbox containing a stunning pair of pearl bow studs that couldn’t have complimented my dress more perfectly. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
As I said before, I don’t have the most sophisticated of wardrobes and high high heels aren’t my thing. I needed something to give me a little bit of height and elegance but still wanted to have to reach a little bit to kiss Jon (we’re both pretty short). I ended up going with a pair of suede dandelion coloured pumps that I ordered online from J Crew. I did have shoe wobbles in the final weeks before the big day which led me to late night dazed frenzies in Selfridges after work trying to find another more classicly weddingy pair. I shouldn’t have worried as I wore the yellow ones in the end and received lots of compliments! Doh. I also had a pair of gold glittery flats for a bit later on when I was tired of sinking heals in the grass.
A Right Of Passage
Heidi Vince did my hair, who I found online. She did a great job on the day. I wanted something loose and natural, as I’m not one for wearing my hair up.
We did our own makeup. I was extremely lucky that my bridesmaids had treated me to a suprise girly night in, complete with champagne, cupcakes, sushi and a professional makeup artist a couple of months before the big day. As with my hen do, I was completely blown away by their meticulously thoughtful planning and generosity. I also had a few tutorials at Mac and Bobbi Brown counters, so doing my own makeup was a good excuse to treat myself to some nice new kit and to learn the proper ways of doing things. Hopefully I did ok..
With 6 of us, it was good fun getting ready! I had imagined that I’d be a quivering bundle of nerves, completely unable to wield an eyeliner wand with any degree of accuracy but it turned out to be a magical morning with my bestest friends that I will remember forever. Having grown up with a lot of them, it felt a like a bit of a right of passage having them there and I’m really glad they were all part of it.
We used The Walled Garden in Mells for our florals. They were brilliant. We went for a selection of white wild flowers with little accents of mustard/golden yellow. They delivered the buckets the day before and gave us a quick lesson so that we could arrange them in our own Habitat vases. They understood exactly what we were after from the chats we’d had and moodboards we’d provided. We were very happy when the bouquets and button holes arrived on the big day – the sweetpeas and mint smelt incredible and they were put together just as we’d hoped.
So Very Dapper
What a hottie. Jon/Sweets was more handsome than I ever could have dreamed of. He wore a gorgeous suit from Reiss, which was the perfect shade of bluey grey for a summers day. As he never needs to wear a suit for work, it was quite a treat seeing him look so very dapper. All the men in the wedding party wore our invitations, (which were printed on handkerchiefs) in their breast pocket. It was nice little detail to bring them all together, along with their navy ties.
The moment I saw Jon I felt completely at ease after hopping about and taking the obligatory deep breaths outside the ceremony room. When I was little, I hadn’t wanted to get married for fear of having to stand up in front of everybody and I was a little bit terrified in the weeks before! That fear and shyness evaporated as soon as I was standing next to my husband. It felt like just me and him (apart from the bit where I had to fight the giggles because I noticed that my little niece was posting leaves from the bouquet into my Mum’s mouth). It makes my tummy flutter thinking of him standing there holding my hand.
The incredible (and now infamous amongst our friends) Mister Phill was our one and only choice when it came to capturing our big day and the first decision we made. We’re not the best at making decisions and it turns out there are lots to be made when planning a wedding, but that one was unquestionable. Luckily he was available and willing to help!
Phill had been my brother’s tutor at university and had shot his winter wedding a couple of years ago. We knew then that we’d never want anyone else responsible for documenting every little detail. Being visual people ourselves, the style of photography and the way the day that we’d put so much into, would be captured for eternity was a big deal.
It was such a weight off to have complete faith in somebody to take care of it. He really is a magician and never ceases to amaze in the work that he does in such a sensitive, accommodating, visually awe inspiring and incredibly witty way. Genius.
There was certainly no shortage of sweet treats. We had a three tired, triple flavoured wedding cake made by Bath Baby Cakes, decorated with wildflowers picked from the garden that morning and toppers we’d painted from Goose Grease on Etsy (me, Jon and Buddy our cat who featured in quite a lot of the décor, namely Buddy’s Bar).
We also invited guests to take part in a bake off, to which the response was totally magnificent! The creativity and talent displayed amongst our friends was fantastic and very touching indeed. From a green tea flavoured Mount Fuji, a German Friendship Cake, to the winner – a Giant replica Tunnocks Teacake. Mary Berry would have been proud.
Mosh Pit Mayhem
Entertainment was tricky as our budget wasn’t massive but we really wanted a band. We love going to festivals and felt that the barn was begging for it. We came across Rockit online and decided to go with them despite never having heard them live – they had a set list that we knew would get our friends on the dance floor without the cheesy wedding classics we wanted to avoid. The gamble paid off as the guys made our day complete, with a mosh pit and many an encore that led to me and jon being hoisted onto friend’s shoulders to a soundtrack of Sweet Child of Mine – an end to the night we will never forget!
Tickets To What You Need
The band very kindly learnt our first song, which was Badly Drawn Boy ‘Tickets to what you need’. We played it a lot in our first year at Bath University and will always remind us of those early days. It just seemed very apt.
We didn’t have favours as such but did get lots of little pin badges made up, each featuring the illustrations from our invitation. Everybody had one of these stuck to their place cards at the meal and they also filled bowls on the bar. They went down a treat.
Making And Planning
As we’re graphic designers, we felt it was super important to have every little detail reflect us as a couple – from the ceremony to the shape of the confetti. Between us, we had a lot of ideas and had a lot of fun doing all the making and planning together.
There was no end to Helene and James’s (the owners of Court Farm) generosity when it came to transforming their grounds into a wedding venue. We loved the way that it had lots of little areas that we could use for different parts of the day. It felt just right for us and enabled us to put our stamp onto every element – from the highly personal ceremony (we got ‘officially’ married at Chelsea Old Town Hall two days before with just my brothers as witnesses), to the twinkly Dawson’s Creek style lighting.
We had trawled the internet for different locations and as soon as we stood in the blank canvas of the old barn with it’s dramatically framed view of the rolling hills meeting the wide Somerset skies, we knew it was the place for us (they even arranged for a double rainbow to be added to that equation on the day).
The blank canvas also meant that we had LOTS to do. We both turned into recluses in the months before the big day, as we had great visions of what we wanted to achieve to fill the vast spaces. We didn’t buy a lot in terms of décor apart from reams of paper and cloth in varying shades of white. We nailed together wooden signposts, cut up metres of ribbon, folded hundreds of origami cranes, painted giant banners, stitched garlands of circles, printed order of ceremonies with their secret envelopes of bird shaped confetti and all manner of other paper ephemera. My Mum was incredible, wiring up jam jars for tealights and sewing the invitations… not to mention MAKING THE BRIDESMAID DRESSES! We couldn’t have done it without her and also the help of our friends and family with all the putting up and taking down. Hopefully they agree that all the hard work was well worth it.
It was small, intimate and lots of fun – just how we wanted it and a true celebration of our marriage with the people we love best. Having it in a venue that our family could stay at made it extra special. We were really pleased that we took the opportunity to serve the pies at dinner, it meant that we had a proper chance to speak to our day time guests without the formality of a receiving line. Also, we wanted to take the pressure off the guys a bit and have quite informal speeches, gathered in the barn before dinner. They were hysterical; Jon, Neil and my Dad did themselves proud and it was definitely one of the highlights.
At the time of the wedding, we would have probably said that we’d taken on too much doing it all ourselves with full time jobs, a never ending Teux Deux list of things to make (that App was indispensible), no event planning experience and nobody helping to coordinate between suppliers (apart from hugely supportive parents), especially on the day itself. It was daunting and quite stressful at times! However, looking back, all that disappears into insignificance. Thanks to the help of Excel and my Dad, it was a hiccup-free and better than all the site plans, spreadsheets and Pinterest boards we could have envisaged. A paper engineered day of love and laughter and truly the happiest time of our lives.
Love the fact that the bride and groom served up pie and mash for all their guests – What a great way to ensure that you get to speak with all of your loved ones, whilst making sure they get fed at the same time.
Chris Barber told me that this wedding was one of the most fun weddings he’s ever shot! The Barbers like a bit of insanity, so I guess if there was ever going to be a wedding where the boys had to complete a series of crazy challenges before the girls would let them into the house before the ceremony could take place, you’d fancy that The Barbers would be the photographers to choose.
These challenges, by the way, included having to eat what appears to be a mountain of rice out of a massive metal pan and having a nose hair removed in the most painful way imaginable…
We have already shared the immense engagement shoot that Ann and Phil had (check it out if you haven’t already), and so let’s hand back to them for the follow up.
I had three dresses throughout the day (It may seem a lot but that is the bare minimum for Chinese brides). I started off with the traditional red Chinese dress, known as a ‘qwa’. It’s a vintage piece as it was borrowed from my aunt who wore it over 30 years ago for her wedding. Others in the family, including my two sisters have worn it since so there’s a lot of history with it.
For my main wedding dress I had no real idea what I wanted but after only visiting a few bridal shops and finding nothing that I even wanted to try on. In the end I decided to get one custom made which was a saga in itself but worth it in the end and I couldn’t have done it with out my handy designer friends Sing Yee and Grace. It was a silk bandeau dress with French lace bodice.
For my evening gown I had been looking around and couldn’t find anything suitable within my non existent budget. I ended up having to make a last minute decision to have a custom made ivory coloured ‘qi pao’ which was literally done two weeks before the wedding by giving my measurements to my cousin in Hong Kong. It turned up on my doorstep in the suitcase of my Aunt the week before the wedding! Luckily I only had to have minor alterations done on it.
As part of customary Chinese tradition, we both received lots of gold jewellery such as ‘dragon and phoenix’ inscribed bangles, gold chain and pendants and rings from close family members. They were given to us on the day, during the tea ceremony and I wore it with my traditional red Chinese dress.
I had a red hair piece to go with the red Chinese dress and a gold hair piece with the evening gown. With the wedding dress, I wore a long veil which was borrowed from my sister and I only got the chance to try it on the night before the wedding! My pearl necklace was a surprise gift from my two darling younger cousins who knew it was the final touch that I had been looking for.
So High It Hurts.
I think I may have spent more time looking for my shoes than anything else. I drove everyone around me insane and gave a brief of what I wanted to bridesmaids and friends from America to Hong Kong looking for me. I knew I didn’t want anything white/ivory and wanted to add a bit of edge to my look.
My problem seemed to be that anything I did like was way too high for my comfort. In the end after 10 months of looking, I found a pair of black suede peep toes with a bow detail by Peter Kaiser a month before the wedding. I don’t know if I chose them because I was panicking but in the end I really liked the overall effect and the bonus is I’ve worn the shoes again.
A Family Affair.
My hair was done by my cousin Eva at Mak Hair. I had one trial and was keen on two different styles but actually only made my mind up on the morning! I guess I was relaxed about it because I knew both styles would have worked fine and Eva is a real pro.
My make-up was done by my sister and as she flew in from New York a couple of days before we didn’t get to trial it but I just wanted to keep it natural so completely trusted her to do her thing.
Our flowers were by Andi and Wendy at Floral Decorations. I’m not much of a flower person so didn’t really have any specific ideas or requests so I just looked around on wedding blogs and found that Craspedias (Billy Buttons) really struck us, and fitted with our yellow theme too.
Other than that, we weren’t too particular so just showed Andi and Wendy some Craspedia based bouquets and buttonholes that we liked and let our florists decide. They produced a gorgeous mix of Peony, Craspedia, Eustoma, Viburnum and Eucalyptus which worked so well together.
Our five bridesmaids’ dresses were from J.Crew Neither my bridesmaids nor I wanted anything that was really girly or ‘bridesmaidsey’ so we went for charcoal grey in silk chiffon which I find much cooler and less traditional than satin. The groomsmen were just asked to wear their own grey suits and their ties were from Tie Rack. Phil and the groomsmen’s ties were grey/silver to tie in the bridesmaids dresses. Our three nieces wore white pouf dresses with yellow sashes from J.Crew and our two little nephews wore waistcoats and a bowtie.
Phil always said he didn’t want to wear anything traditional. He had three outfits for the day to complement my dress changes. He wore a black tux with a bow tie and a red checked shirt for a splash of colour to tie in with my traditional Chinese dress. For the ceremony he wore a fitted two buttoned grey suit and stood out a little from the groomsmen by adding a white waistcoat. He also refined his look with some classic gents accessories, a tie bar, tie-clip and cufflinks from Agnes B.
To complement my ‘qi pao’ he wore a classic tux and bow tie. Both the grey suit and the tux are bespoke as Phil has monkey arms and finds it difficult to get high street suits to fit well. I thought he looked very ‘dapper’ and on the day he still felt completely relaxed and comfortable and didn’t feel like he was in a ‘costume’.
Fetch Me A Barber.
The Barbers – Dani and Chris Barber were our photographers. They were exactly what we were looking for and our engagement shoot photos proved that we had made the right choice. We completely trusted them to do what they had to do to work down our endless list of traditional shots with family and relatives. The thing with Dani and Chris is that they’re great at communicating with you in the run up to the wedding and really take the time to get to know you and vice versa so you can just see their amazing work ethic and quite naturally they become friends you can trust.
Thankfully we still managed to spare a little bit of time for The Barbers to exert their creative flair with some fun bridesmaids and groomsmen shots. We still feel guilty for not affording more time to them though.
Sweet Treats Times Two.
We had two lots of cakes, a three tier Chinese fresh fruit cream cake at the reception and then the fun and tasty cupcakes by Dali and Maz from Kiss Me Cupcakes. We decorated the vanilla and mint choc cupcakes with different handmade DIY toppers which were designed by our good friend and bridesmaid Eve from Dunbyme, the creative genius and graphics whiz who also designed our invites and other stationary.
Dancing On A School Night.
We used Sonic Light and Sound a DJ recommended by the venue, having realised that a band was out of our budget and really not worth it as our wedding fell on a week night so we expected that many of guests wouldn’t stay on too late. We didn’t have a first dance but walking back up the aisle together, we used Amos Lee’s ‘Sweet Pea’ as it was playing in a shop we were in in New York, shortly after Phil proposed.
Silly Spaces and Sweet Shops.
The highlight was a ‘silly space’ booth that our Photographer’s set up. Our guests had a laugh taking photos using random props that were supplied. Nothing but silliness, just the way we like it. We didn’t have favours as such but we did have a yellow themed ‘Sweet Shop’ with plenty for guests to take away along with the cupcakes.
East Meets West.
We loved that our wedding entailed aspects of our Chinese culture with the Western touches and the whole day was just like a big family and friends get together.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help as involving loved ones is great for bonding and making everyone feel part of the day. It also helps with control freak brides, like me to be able to delegate everything to people who know what’s going on.
Set a realistic budget (with a contingency) and don’t deviate from it at every opportunity with the saying ‘you only do it once’. At the end of the day, it is being married that is most important; not the fifty details that people may not even appreciate. Remember, you two are the ones who have to live with the costs and although weddings as expensive, they are only as expensive as you allow them to be.
No Time For Myths.
I think it’s a myth when people tell you have to plan your wedding years in advance. I think it works two ways; the more time you have, the more you dwell on things.
Lastly just have a good time and try not to sweat the small stuff!