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Emma & Ali

Emma & Ali tied the knot at Emma’s parents’ vacation house in the south of France. I mean what could be more perfect than a French farmhouse wedding? Bride Emma looks simply stunning in Leanne Marshall, with loose curls of dreams.

Flourishes of sentiment are what makes this wedding extra special. Every detail is personal, well planned and is dripping in guest satisfaction, full of laughter, sunflowers, beautiful sunsets, and lots of French wine!

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Natasha & Matthew

Well this morning’s beautiful couple are one stylish pair. Bride Natasha wears the stunning Eden Jenny Packham gown and looks absolutely incredible in it and Groom Matthew looks equally dapper in his mixed tweed Ted Baker suit & bow tie.

Cleverly fusing their love for their urban city life and their country roots they stumbled across a beautiful rustic barn in an industrial location. And I have to say it’s the most fabulous venue and couldn’t be more perfect for them. Scrolling through the pictures you’ll see perfect portraits captured with picturesque rural backdrops and raw industrial beauty. It’s kinda of like getting two weddings for the price of one!

I haven’t even mentioned how absolutely amazing all the array of high street pastel Bridesmaid dresses are yet and the hand picked meadow bouquets are just beaut!

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What Shirley Did… Contemporary Cool. (Part 2)

If you missed part one of RMW Real Bride Shirley’s W day report then don’t hang about, check it out right now!

And now prepare for a seriously big pop of contemporary colour as we join the party, complete with more singing and dancing than you can shake a hugely talented stick at!

Photography is by Ben at Touch Photography and make suere you check out the video at the end of Shirley’s report which was shot by Jeff at Jeff Woods Visuals.

Ok, for the last time, Shirley… Over to you.

Count On Me

As we entered the reception room, my daughter sang ‘Count on Me’ by Bruno Mars – this was incredibly special to us as she has an amazing voice and really wanted to contribute to our day with music. It’s not a love song but the lyrics talk about how you will be there for each other no matter what and this really sums up a fundamental part of our relationship. We were so proud of her and everyone still talks about how beautifully she sang and how talented she is. I’m a proud mummy!

Everyone is a DJ

For the rest of the wedding breakfast we played an iPod playlist compiled from our guests suggestions on their RSVP cards plus some chilled out tunes that we chose. In the evening we also had an iPod playlist as my one requirement was that the music could be danced to. In hindsight, compiling the playlists took an inordinate amount of time and became a really stressful chore. It was a cheaper option but there were many times when we wished we’d just paid for a DJ and primed him on what songs to play!

Gluten Free Treats

As I can’t eat wheat or gluten, we worked with the venue to try and ensure that the food was as gluten free as possible. We had canapés served immediately after the ceremony which were provided by Truly Scrumptious – Tania was an absolute angel as we only booked her 2 weeks before the wedding and she still managed to rustle up a whole feast of gluten free canapés which went down a storm.

For the sit down meal, apart from the Yorkshire Pudding on the roast beef, everything else served was gluten free and I don’t think anyone even realised. For our evening guests we had a buffet of bacon rolls (including one gluten free one for me!) and chip cones plus a sweetie bar.

Cheese Cake

The cake was always going to be difficult and a traditional cake was not an option. We considered many alternatives, but were put in contact with Rebecca from Rebecca’s Cakes and assured that she could offer a gluten free choice. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I can tell you that Rebecca is totally brilliant. We decided on a gluten free cheesecake and she gave us lots of samples in a variety of flavours and recipes as well as being willing to try out recipes that I’d found from my google searches.

In the end we chose an orange flavoured cheesecake with chocolate orange curls on the top. We had one big cheesecake (to cut) plus individual cheesecakes to serve and they looked amazing and tasted even better. The venue plated them and drizzled a bit of coulis around the plate. Unfortunately we forgot to use the cake topper that we’d spent ages sourcing, but only realised the next day and it was too late by then. For our evening guests, we ordered some cake pops from Pop Bakery in turquoise with orange drizzles. They were very popular!

40 Years

We didn’t have a special song for our first dance and actually found it quite difficult to choose something that we could dance to, that we liked and which didn’t have ‘break up’ type lyrics! We chose ’40 Years’ by Tone Damli after I heard it while out dancing one night and fell in love with the track. It has really beautiful lyrics and the right sentiment. What was more special though, was that Rog spent 4 months coming along to dance classes with me just so that he could dance our first dance.

My dance friends were seriously impressed by him dancing as not many of them knew that he’d been learning (and the dance was freestyle and not choreographed). We didn’t want to dance on our own for too long though, so we primed a few friends to cut in on us when we gave the nod, and then more friends cut in on us again so that by the end of the track the dance floor was full.

Musical Therapy

I decided not to have favours and instead arranged a secret surprise for Rog by sponsoring a teen through a music therapy course run by Winston’s Wish. Winston’s Wish are a charity who support children who have suffered a bereavement of someone close to them, often a parent. Music therapy is a cause close to Rog’s heart and we already support Teenage Cancer Trust plus Rog’s dad died when he was a teen, and so it was really appropriate for us to support Winston’s Wish.

I’d been up to Cheltenham to visit them and also arranged for them to make a video message which was played on the day but it was a real challenge keeping it all secret as I didn’t tell a single person what I was up to! I was nervous about springing the surprise during my speech but it was very emotional for the whole room (in a good way!) and Rog wiped a tear away when I told him so I knew I’d done something that was very personal for him.

A Contemporary Look

The room decoration was a bit of a challenge to be honest – I wanted a very contemporary look and this is incredibly difficult to achieve as most wedding companies are focused on classic, traditional or vintage styles. The spherical shape of the flower balls ended up setting the tone for the rest of the décor.

I chose giant balloons (although 2 of the 5 helium canisters we ordered arrived empty and it was too late for us to get more) as well as spherical lanterns and paper balls hanging from a mesh system provided by StressFree Hire The ceiling in the venue was really high and I wanted to make it feel more intimate. They also supplied uplighters in orange and turquoise and some disco lights which helped make the evening feel very different from the daytime. Berkshire Wedding Hire https://www.berkshireweddinghire.co.uk/ supplied table linen, chair covers and sashes. Both décor companies were really professional and worked a long day to get everything set up and taken down on the day – I don’t envy them!

Bespoke Stationery

Our table stationery & plan was designed by Amy Adams who I found on Etsy. She created all our bespoke stationery designs from invites to menu wrappers and I really can’t recommend her highly enough. She worked patiently with me and my hair brained ideas to produce a stunning and contemporary set of coordinating items which got so many positive comments from our guests.

Make It Happen

After a lot of thought, we decided to get an ‘on the day’ wedding co-ordinator because I was worried that all my forward planning would be for nothing if there wasn’t someone there to make it all happen properly on the day. I found it hard to find someone who understood what I mean by a contemporary wedding and so I took a chance and asked fellow RMW Contemporary Cool entrant Rachie from achichiaffair if this was something she would consider doing for us. Luckily she said yes, and it was one of the best decisions we made.

She worked her socks off and was the first to arrive and the last to leave. She spent a long time in advance making sure she understood what I wanted and how everything should look, contacted my suppliers, visited the venue … I could go on! If you’re considering having any kind of wedding co-ordinator, I would have to wholeheartedly recommend the experience in general and Rachie in particular. Go for it!

Make A Top Three

What made our day special to us ultimately was trying to stay true to what was important to us as a couple. We spent half our budget on photography/videography and a good chunk on decoration, then everything else was fairly budget. We also decided to keep numbers small which meant we could add little touches like personal handwritten notes to each guest on the back of their name-cards. Different things are important to each couple so my advice would be to work out what your top three important things are and stick to them.

Let Everything Sink In

The other thing I would recommend is to take some time out during the day to just let everything sink in. We’ve both been married before and felt that our previous wedding days had passed by in a blur, so we worked hard to build in some time just for us on the day. We got Ben and Jeff to drop us off at a local pub after doing our portrait shots and we just sat for 45 mins talking about the day and sharing what we enjoyed so far before they came back to pick us up. We did get some strange looks walking into a country pub in wedding gear but it was fabulous to have some alone time.

And lastly, a piece of advice to suppliers … keep in contact with your couple – it costs nothing to drop them an email every so often checking in with them, making them feel special and that you’re as excited as they are about their wedding day. It sounds obvious but many suppliers don’t do this and for us, it made the difference between the suppliers we loved and have frequently recommended and those that we felt just did their job.

So there you go – now you know all about our day. All that is left to show is our wedding film that was shot by Jeff Wood.

Thank you for reading my blog entries over the last year and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the final result! Good luck to you all with your own weddings and enjoy every second.

Shirley x

Venue – Burnham Park

Boutique – Berkshire Brides

Dress – Marianna Hardwick

Headpiece – Victoria Allinson

Maids – Oasis

Make-up – Pippa

Flowers – Nursery Fresh

Photography – Touch Photography

Videography – Jeff Woods Visuals

Cake –Rebecca’s Cakes

Catering – Truly Scrumptious

Cake Pops – Pop Bakery

Stationery – Amy Adams

Co-ordinator – achichiaffair

It has been fantastic to watch Shirley and Roger’s plans unfold. Their contemporary wedding dream was well and truly realised and they succeeded in having one of the most colourful weddings to ever grace the RMW pages.

The reception looks like it was bags of fun too… It makes me want to go and dig out my old dancing shoes. If Only I had some.

Thanks to Shirley and Roger for sharing their big day with us and thank you to Shirley for sharing her plans from day one. Always honest and from the heart it has been a hugely interesting and entertaining account.

Best of luck for the future guys.


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What Shirley Did… Contemporary Cool. (Part 1)

We are starting the week off with something massive. It’s the wedding of one of our Rock My Wedding Real Brides.

Shirley has been sharing her W-day journey for almost a year now and today we begin the very final chapter.

Images are all by the hugely talented Touch Photography.

No April Showers

So here we are, almost 4 months after our big day in April and I’m finally able to tell you all about it and show you some of our amazing images. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and had one of the very few dry days in April!

A Bride On Foot

We got married at Burnham Park. This is the village hall in Burnham, South Bucks where we live. In fact we only live about 200m from the venue and this played a major part in our decision to have our wedding there. It proved invaluable on the day as ‘runners’ were sent back to the house quite a few times to pick up extra things which were needed or forgotten! It also meant that I could walk from home to the venue saving money on transport but also making it really personal. We got stopped by a few locals who wanted to congratulate me and also say how nice it was to see a bride walking to her wedding.

Cream And Strapless

I got my dress from a second hand bridal store called Berkshire Brides. This was the first ‘shop’ I went to, and I really only went for a look and to get an idea of what suited me so it was a huge surprise that I walked out about an hour later with my dress in hand! The dress was something I didn’t want to spend too much money on which is probably the opposite of most brides but I just didn’t see the point of spending thousands on a dress that I’d wear once.

I desperately wanted to be a Jenny Packham bride but after trying on a couple of her slinky numbers and feeling like I would be walking down the aisle in my best nightie, I came to the conclusion that it really wasn’t me. After that, I tried on all different styles (big ones, mermaid ones, straps, strapless, huge great pouffy ones!) and very, very nearly settled on a Benjamin Roberts number until Vivienne whipped out a cream strapless Marianna Hardwick (an Australian designer) dress with a triumphant ‘aha’! I’m not a crier but I definitely welled up when I tried this dress on and I didn’t want to take it off, so I figured it was ‘the one’! It was more expensive than I would have liked but after its been cleaned, I’m going to take it back for Vivienne to sell again, so I will make some of the cost back and that makes it affordable overall.

Let’s Face The Music

As dance is a huge part of my life, I also bought a second, short, dress for the evening so I could dance properly. It came from Oasis and was gorgeous but the week before the wedding I heard on the grapevine that my former dance partner was planning on throwing me in the air for some big lifts (we used to compete in the aerials category!). I got really worried that I was going to flash my knickers at all our guests. It sounds ridiculous now but I got really stressed about it. So on Easter Sunday after some intensive googling, I ordered a cream playsuit from Designer Desirables.

I’d never ordered or even heard of them before and after a frantic few phone calls to chase up the ‘next day’ delivery, I got the playsuit on the Thursday – 2 days before the wedding! I nipped round to my local seamstress Sarah (who I had primed ready for last minute alterations as soon as I’d ordered the playsuit as I knew it would be too long for me) and she worked her magic on it – 24 hours later (and less than 24 hours before I’d actually wear it!), it was finished and I went back to collect it.

I was so glad that I’d gone to all this effort despite it being stressful as I loved the playsuit on the day – it was comfortable, I could dance and it was still bridal enough.

Seed Pearls

As this was a second marriage for both of us, I knew I didn’t want a veil for our informal village hall wedding but I had my eye out for a gorgeous headpiece. I’d fallen in love with the Jenny Packham Acacia II headpiece but in the end it was too silvery for my dress and skin colouring so it was back to the drawing board. Whilst wandering around the National Wedding Show last October, I came across Victoria Allinson and tried on a few headpieces.

Victoria and her mum were so helpful and patient, suggesting many different styles and looks but the one that suited me the most was a seed pearl headpiece that was much fuller than I’d have gone for myself so it just goes to show that you should try on everything! Victoria and her mum Jayne were brilliant throughout the whole process and made changes to the design so that my creation was unique and balanced perfectly with my dress. I even took my dress down to Victoria’s shop so I could try everything on together to make sure it all worked. Victoria also made me a matching necklace as well. I thought matching earrings would be pearl overload so I ended up wearing my cousin’s wife’s diamond earrings which looked perfect. I added some Primark bracelets that I already had at the last minute on the day.

Style Over Comfort

I chose Monsoon shoes half price in the sale almost a year before the wedding. I had worn them around the house a little bit, but I never thought about wearing them for 6-8 hours to see how I’d cope! Boy do I wish I had!! By 5.30pm my feet were in agony and every step was an effort while we were having our portrait shots done. I really wanted to take them off but I knew if I did, then I’d never put them back on again and I needed them for our first dance so that my dress wasn’t dragging on the floor.

I persevered but the next day my feet were so swollen that I could hardly get my softest ballet pumps on and it took 2-3 days before my feet were back to normal. I love the way the shoes look in the pictures but I wish I’d gone for something lower and more comfortable! In the evening, I wore my battered but trusty dance shoes which were like putting on slippers.

Turquoise Maids

My bridesmaids wore dresses by Oasis in a beautiful turquoise blue. I wanted something that they loved but that they would wear again. It was a challenge to find something that would work for a 13yo and a 22yo but we managed it after getting the dresses altered by my seamstress. We looked at hundreds of shoes for them but nothing was the right colour or fit, so I ended up buying cream ones from New Look and matching their flowers to the shoes. I let them choose what jewellery they wanted to wear of their own, and also let them have free reign over their hair and makeup.

I felt Like Me

My hair was done by my usual hairdresser, Lisa. After a couple of trials of curls and waves, I ended up with a ‘pouffier’ version of my usual straight hairstyle. I was worried that this wasn’t bridal enough, but actually I was glad in the end because I looked and felt like me. While Lisa was doing my hair, her colleague Daniel did the girls and my best friend Liz’s hair. As well as doing a great job, he was apparently hysterically funny and had everyone giggling all morning.

For my makeup, I knew I’d need someone to do it for me as I’m not very talented in that area but after a disastrous trial at MAC, I was seriously disheartened. Fortunately my friend Pippa offered to do mine and the girls makeup. She used to work in film & TV doing makeup on set, and is now a freelance makeup artist so I knew I was in good hands. She gave me a natural fresh look with slightly more defined eyes – again I wanted to look like me so I didn’t want anything too heavy or thick. She made the girls and Liz look gorgeous too, so everyone was happy and as Pippa was also a guest at the wedding, she was on hand all day long to offer lipstick touch ups. She even repainted 2 of my nails while I was in the car talking to the registrar 10 mins before the ceremony!

Flower Balls

For our flowers, I’d fallen in love with the concept of flower balls which were contemporary and different to the normal flowers seen at weddings but the quotes I’d had were astronomical. So I decided to do them myself with the help of Liz and her step daughter who used to work in a florist. I ordered carnations en-masse from Nursery Fresh who were really helpful. Carnations get a bit of a bad press as an old fashioned flower but I thought they were a good alternative to peonies which were out of season, plus they were much cheaper and last for ages. If you’re doing your own flowers it can be a great way of saving money but don’t underestimate how much time it may take to prepare the flowers! We had to trim the stems, put them in water, fluff about 2000 carnations individually, sometimes more than once, to get the heads to open up, then trim to required length before they could be used in the flower balls!

It took 3 of us 2 days to do this immediately before the wedding. It was quite nice sitting in the sun chatting as we fluffed but not so much fun when it started to rain! And then we ran out of flower heads on the Thursday evening so I started driving around local flower shops trying to buy/source more carnations in the right colours. In the second shop I went to which was called Daisy Janes, the owner Jane was trying to help me when I just burst into tears with the stress of it all. She was absolutely fantastic, and ended up taking me herself to the flower market early on the Friday morning, letting me choose whatever I needed on her wholesale account, all so that I could finish off these flower balls!

The bouquets came from another local florist but they were expensive and much smaller than I was expecting so I ended up wishing that I’d ordered them from Jane. I got our vows printed on some orange ribbon by a local company which the florist then used to wrap the stems of the roses in. The buttonholes were cream roses to match the bridesmaids bouquets, except for Rog who wore an orange rose buttonhole to match my bouquet.

Suited And Booted

For the guys, we originally were going to have them wear their own suits but it turned out that everyone had a different colour – blue, grey, black, pinstriped! I couldn’t see how this was going to work, so we looked into hiring but that was so expensive that we decided to buy them all suits. We looked at lots of different high street retailers but ended up getting them from good old Marks and Spencer armed with a combination of a 25% off sale, buy 1 get 1 half price and a fistful of voucher codes. We couldn’t get everything in the right size at first, but Marks and Spencer were brilliant and told us to buy them anyway so that we could secure the discount, and then rang us as the right sizes came back into stock and exchanged at the original sale price even though they were now back to full price. That’s great service!

We teamed their dark navy suits with Thomas Nash burnt orange ties from Debenhams and I think the combination looked gorgeous. For my son, Ben, I got him some navy chino jeans and a turquoise, blue and orange check shirt from Next with some brown converse style boots (also from Next) which he declared were so comfortable it was like walking on air! It was important to me that he was dressed comfortably and wore something he would wear again rather than being constrained by the formality of a suit. He’s 7 and like all little boys, wants to run around which is exactly what he did (adding tackle slides to his repertoire in the evening when his friend arrived!)

Looking Good

Rog didn’t wear anything different from the rest of the guys – we decided that a bespoke suit was an unnecessary expense as he rarely wear suits for work and we thought the Marks and Spencer suits looked good on everyone.

Contemporary Reportage

Photography was our number one priority as Rog is a music photographer and so high quality final images were seriously important to us. We chose Ben from Touch Photography because we loved his mix of colour and black and white images, the contemporary reportage feel to his pictures and because Ben is such a lovely guy! Ben ended up doing a family photoshoot for us as well as our engagement and wedding pictures so we knew him pretty well by the time our wedding day arrived.

I hardly noticed Ben snapping away all day and he truly couldn’t do enough for us both, even driving us around the local area playing love songs on the radio and dropping us off at the pub for half an hour and then coming back to collect us later. Somehow he was still smiling at midnight! In the evening, one of the young photographers that Rog has been mentoring came to take some pictures in our photobooth – armed with some silly props that we’d made and others that we’d collected, he captured loads of hilarious images which our guests could then print out and stick in our guest book. If they wanted, they could also take a copy of any images home with them.

The Secret Of A Good Marriage

As well as our photo guest book, we also had a poster from Not On The High Street that people could colour and write messages on. I’d filled in the middle part to say ‘The secret of a good marriage is ….’ and then left the rest blank for our guests to complete. We got a variety of suggestions ranging from the loving to the ridiculous and it’s been fun to read all the comments. We’re going to get it framed and hung on the wall at home as a lovely reminder.

A Story Captured

Videography was also high on our list, and we chose the amazing Jeff Wood to record our day. I had fallen in love with the emotional story telling that comes across in all his wedding films, so we knew that we wanted him to film our day. We were not disappointed! Again, Jeff and his second camera man Aaron couldn’t do enough for us on the day and have done an amazing job on telling the story of our wedding day through the finished film.

The Magnets

Through Rog’s photography work, we knew an Acapella group called The Magnets. They have performed all over the world and you may recognise them from the ‘T-Mobile Welcome Home’ advert where they surprised passengers arriving at the airport. We thought it might be really fun to surprise our guests with an unexpected performance during our ceremony, and asked The Magnets if they could help us out. I’m sure they thought we were bonkers but they were up for the challenge and we planted them in between our guests on the day. None of our guests realised what was going on, and the look on everyone’s faces when they started singing part way through our first reading (my friend Chris who was doing the reading was in on the surprise!) was absolutely priceless. One of my favourite moments that Jeff captured was the looks on people’s faces during this part of the ceremony – we didn’t get to see many reactions until the film clip came through but it was all we had hoped for and was well worth keeping the secret for a whole year!

The Magnets also performed one of their own A-Z compilations during the signing of the register. These are songs by bands starting with the letters A through to Z and can be seen here. On the back of our ceremony program cards, we had spaces for our guests to write the answers to the name of the bands and this proved to be an amusing interlude while we were having photo’s taken!

We read out the answers during the speeches and presented the winner with a bottle of champagne and some chocolates. The Magnets also sang as we walked back down the aisle and entertained our guests as they were leaving the room. We can’t thank them enough for providing us with some unique entertainment, for going along with our crazy surprise and for squeezing us in between their Australian and UK tour dates. Thanks guys, we love you!!!

Venue – Burnham Park

Boutique – Berkshire Brides

Dress – Marianna Hardwick

Headpiece – Victoria Allinson

Maids – Oasis

Make-up – Pippa

Flowers – Nursery Fresh

Photography – Touch Photography

Entertainment – The Magnets

And that is where we leave it for now folks… But don’t worry – we won’t leave you hanging on for too long 😉


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Mismatched Perfection… Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flawless Face

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

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

No ‘Tizzy’ Tiaras

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

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

Grecian Gorgeous

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

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

Shoes for your Wedding or your Marriage?

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

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

Mismatched Beauty

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

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

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

Daper Gents

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

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

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

Photography – Lisa Kuilenburg

Gown – Maggie Sottero RD1044

Headpiece – Glitzy Secrets

Shoes – Barratts

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

Maids Dresses – Oasis

Maids Headpieces – Etsy (Bethany Lorelle)

Flower Girls – Debenhams

Grooms Kilt and Cravats – McGregor and McDuff

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

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

Yours Truly,