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Left Of Centre.

Wedding Centrepieces Table Settings Inspiration

Blimey.

It’s been a while since I last shared some floral inspiration with you gorgeous lot, particularly of the table centrepiece variety. So it seemed right, fitting even, to share some flowery delights with you given that it’s summer.

Or at least it’s supposed to be. At least with this plethora of gorgeous blooms we can pretend that summer is actually here instead of staring pitifully out of the window at yet another downpour.

Just how important to you lovelies are the florals at a wedding – be it your own or one you’ve attended as a guest? From a personal perspective, big day blooms are a real highlight and a table doesn’t quite seem complete without a floral centrepiece sitting prettily amongst the place settings. I wonder why that is…

And so I couldn’t resist peddling my current favourite styles and inspiration this afternoon in the hope that some of you will opt for said trends on your big day.

Please say you will…

Smelling Of Roses

I love roses. Particularly the old garden varieties that are so intoxicating that you can literally get drunk on their heady perfume. In fact I love them so much that I’d choose them over peonies any day.

I know…controversial!

I’ve noticed, of late, a swing back to rose-based centrepieces which have been rejected in recent years in favour of less traditional blooms such as tulips, daffodils, dahlias and hydrangea and it’s so easy to see why.

Perfect for the summer bride who wants an extra dose of romance, I love how rosy centrepieces can look both traditional or ultra modern depending on how they’re styled and what containers are used.

Roses Wedding Centerpieces Centrepieces Romantic

If you’re searching for a romantic, otherworldly, midsummer night’s dream vibe then Damasks are your man, whereas Centifolias or ‘Provence Roses’ are just the ticket for ultra glamorous affairs.

Think about the colour palettes that you’re using too. Peachy pink hues compliment those nuptials held in the great outdoors from Summer through to Autumn whereas paler shades look fantastic in modern settings at colder times of the year.

Message In A Bottle

Milk bottles, medicine bottles, old jam jars and even beer bottles. This type of arrangement exudes style whilst being super kind on the pocket too!

Whilst combinations of different sized bottles have been popular for the last couple of years or so, it’s blue and green bottles – particularly old medicine and tonic bottles – that are experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment and it’s easy to see why. Their muted tones are the perfect backdrop for soft blooms and lush foliage making them pop against them.

Bottle Wedding Centrepiece Table Centerpiece Green Blue Organic Rustic

Simplicity is key to this look – single flower heads or branches and foliage look exquisite popped into a bottle or two. Remember to create interest by using vessels of different shapes and heights and then collate them together to create a single centrepiece. Don’t be afraid to use a restricted colour palette – says shades of blush or of greens as this only helps to create a more intense display.

Keep things loose and organic and don’t be afraid to be unconventional. I adore the fern fronds in the clear bottles in the middle of this board; elegant and chic you can guarantee that this particular arrangement won’t have broken the bank.

From The Garden

These arrangements are all about the organic, anything goes approach. Using greater amounts of foliage than the other styles and fewer blooms, these centrepieces are no less beautiful and perfect for romantic summertime nuptials.

Queen Anne’s Lace, Lamb’s Ear, trailing herbs such as Thyme and Rosemary, Limelight Hydrangea, Clematis, Wallflowers and Gardenias, Olive leaves, Mint and Poppies are just some of the gorgeous plants that suit this style perfectly.

Organic Wedding Centrepiece Table Centerpiece Wild Unruly Natural

‘From The Garden’ arrangements tend to be fairly substantial in size – it’s all about building one centrepiece up and out rather than displaying multiple smaller arrangements. Creating a sense of height is the key to this look, however it’s worth being conscious of about how you position these centrepieces on your tables for fear of blocking guests’ lines of sight.

Lastly I’d suggest paying attention to the vessels in which you’re placing your wild and unruly blooms. This style calls for vases with history and character – think trophy cups, antique urns, mercuried glass and textured porcelain and you’re onto a winner.

The Unexpected

And then there’s the unexpected. Think unusual containers and captivating vessels, natural elements and splashes of gold, even centrepieces that dress the entire length of the table and flow down the sides.

These are arrangements with the wow factor.

If you’ve decided to channel a particular theme on your big day then this style is for you. Accessorising your table settings with centrepieces that reflect your overall concept is both effective and savvy and caters for all tastes and budgets too.

Having a coastal beachside theme? Why not replace traditional florals with vases of beautifully coloured shells, arrangements of driftwood or even perfect pieces of coral. I love how this arrangement at the top also incorporates candles for the softest of illumination.

Unusual Wedding Centrepiece Table Centerpiece Pumpkins Succulents Coral Coastal

t’s worth thinking outside the box about seasonality too; for example groupings of gourds and pumpkins or spray-painted gilt leaves are perfect for Autumn weddings. Equally, I love couples who utilise everyday objects in different ways – the succulents planted in these silverplated candlesticks not only look fresh and vibrant but double up as the sweetest favours and the watering can centrepiece is simply genius.

I’ve yet to attend a wedding that has trailing foliage down the centre of the tables but lovelies this is on my wishlist for sure!

So does ‘Smelling Of Roses’ float your boat or are you more of a ‘From The Garden’ kind of gal?

Whilst roses tug at my heartstrings my inner magpie can’t help but be captivated by the glass beakers full of oversized sequins at the bottom here. Just perfect for New Year’s Eve festivities don’t you think?

Perhaps you’ve chosen not to have any florals at all, what will you be opting for instead? I have to say that the coral and candlelit creation near the bottom here has my heart aflutter. What do you think?

And I’d love to hear more about your big day themes. Anyone care to share?

All my love Lolly xxx

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Cocktail Hour.

If there’s one thing I’ve gleaned during my time within the wedding industry it’s that there’s much we can learn from our cousins across the water.

Sure enough, the Yanks have taken the simple wedding and raised it to an art form with so many different components that us traditional Brits don’t quite know where to put ourselves.

Whilst sometimes this can feel overwhelming, I actually think their ‘go big or go home’ attitude can be pretty exciting. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask. Because it forces us to rethink the parameters of what constitutes a ‘wedding’. Indeed, the modern day bride and groom possess an unprecedented amount of freedom in their wedding related decision-making.

When RMW exhibited at the National Wedding Show earlier this year, mums informed me time and time again that they’d never had this much choice when they were getting married. Their big day was almost pre-determined for them so they were thrilled that their daughters were experiencing a different reality – the chance to do things their way.

I fear I may have become a little philosophical for what essentially is just an inspiration post. You want the pretty don’t you….

Bear with me.

Essentially what I’m trying to say is try not to be intimidated by the amount of choice open to you. You don’t have to do everything. The beauty of having such choice is that you are free to choose what you want to incorporate into your big day.

For me, one of these things was the American-inspired ‘cocktail hour’. Admittedly in the end, for financial reasons, it just wasn’t to be but I so desperately wanted to include this into my big day.

Instead I’ve settled for sharing some ideas with you lovely lot in the hope that one of you will host a spirited soiree and I can live vicariously through you.

Party Tricks

Chic and sophisticated, the ‘cocktail hour’ is the perfect ‘filler’ between the end of the speeches and the beginning of the evening entertainment.

It signifies the end of the daytime activities and precludes the beginning of naughtier nighttime activity all under the guise of civilised fun. Plus it gives something for your guests to talk about too – what’s not to love?

Now every girl needs a pretty dress for a cocktail party.

Granted if you’re the bride then you’ll already be wearing a bobby-dazzler but seeing as it’s Christmas there’s bound to be a fair few of you looking for frocks for works parties and the like.

So we thought we’d spoil you by sharing some of our top picks and favourite cocktail dress images.

Which is your favourite?

Will you dare to bare or take the sophisticated covered up approach?

Deck The Halls

If you’ve decided that you are going to host a cocktail hour (lucky you!) then I’d really recommend going for it on the decor front. Not only does it help to set the scene for your guests thus enhancing their experience but it also signifies that the wedding schedule has moved on to the next stage. Remember, the cocktail hour should be an event in itself, not a bleary memory consigned to oblivion.

And there’s a plethora of inspiration out there to help you do this.

The obvious place to start is with the cocktails themselves. Adding glitzy swizzlers and straws or utilising unique containers such as these test tubes pictured here elevates the average cocktail to something a little bit special.

Whilst I couldn’t fulfill my cocktail hour fantasy I did ask my venue to provide champagne saucers rather than flutes at the champagne reception for more of a unique touch. The guests looked rather fabulous clutching their coupes and many commented that they felt that they were in an episode of Downton with such fantastic glasses.

Designing cocktail-focused paper pretty as part of your overall stationery suite is one way of really integrating the event into the overall wedding schedule. Think about designing bespoke drinks menus or even opting for coasters that double up as a wedding guestbook.

Equally paying attention to the overall decor of the area in which you’ve chosen to host your cocktail hour is a surefire way to make an impact. Covering high tables with gorgeous linen and topping them off with pretty florals, painting cocktail signs, and ordering monogrammed napkins are all economical ways of transforming a space into a designated cocktail venue.

Festive Spirit

Ok so this board is really just an assortment of delicious cocktails. But we all need something pretty to look at on a Tuesday afternoon.

I suppose the point I’m trying to convey here is that you can create cocktails that are absolutely in keeping with your wedding colour scheme.

Hosting an Autumn wedding? Why not serve berrylicious cocktails…

Perhaps you’re having summertime nuptials…provide your guests with something light and refreshing instead.

You could even opt for your a cocktail using your favourite flavours and ingredients such as Earl Grey tea or rose infusions.

If you’re really stuck for some cocktail inspired inspiration then you can rely on a RMW favourite which uses copious amounts of both gin and champagne…

A RMW Inspired Tipple

You Will Need:

2 shots of gin – we recommend Bloom London Dry Gin for its floral flavour
Champagne
1 shot of sugar syrup
1 shot of lemon juice (preferably fresh)
a twist of lemon peel
ice cubes

Shake the lemon juice, sugar syrup and gin together with the ice cubes until chilled. Strain this lemony, gin goodness into a champagne flute and top up with champagne.

Add the lemon peel as a final touch. TA DA!!

Now drink!

So what do you think?

Do you feel under pressure to host the wedding of all weddings? Does the plethora of wedding inspiration out there motivate or terrify you?

Do you welcome the big day trends that filter across the big pond or shudder in horror?

Will you be hosting a cocktail hour on your big day? Perhaps you see this as a gratuitous waste of money that would be better spent elsewhere. If so, what features highly on your list of priorities?

Let us know your thoughts…

All my love Lolly xxx

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A Very English Affair.

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.

Plus you can have a bit of fun too…

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…

Aisle Style

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.

Lastly floral crowns and ample corsages for the bridesmaids finish this ‘theme’ off perfectly. Such arrangements pay homage to days of yore, of England’s golden era.

So what do you think folks?

Has this concoction of images helped you to pinpoint your own wedding theme or just muddied the water further?

Conversely, do ‘themed’ weddings make you want to run for the hills in horror?

And of those of you who have already married, how easy for you was it to select your wedding day decor? Were you working to a clear plan or was it something that you decided as you went along?

Lastly is it just me or does anyone else wish that the time-machine would actually be invented? Here’s hoping anyway…

All my love Lolly xxx

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Something Old, Something New…

….something borrowed, something blue.

Any bride worth her salt knows this mantra off by heart. As I romped my way towards my big day (and I don’t mean that in the naughty sense) this quatrain played on my mind endlessly.

What would my something blue be?

What should I borrow?

And from who?

Whilst I’m not superstitious, there’s something about getting married that compelled me to adhere to this age-old tradition. It wasn’t so much the ‘bad luck’ issue if I didn’t fulfil the stipulations of the rhyme but more a sense that I’d be missing out if I didn’t. And since I’m not intending to get married again I really wanted to make sure that I had all bases covered.

And so I did….

I’m not going to tell you lovely lot what each of these four tokens were as I want to save that for the great unveiling of the whole wedding later this year on these polka dotted pages. Instead I’ll be talking you through some other alternatives which will hopefully inspire you on your journey.

Something Old

Traditionally the preserve of Great Aunt Edna’s diamond broach or Granny’s emerald ring, modern day brides are taking a new direction when it comes to their ‘something old’.

Some are opting for classic scents whilst others are appropriating vintage lingerie. I particularly love the idea of wrapping the ends of your bouquet with an old handkerchief belonging to a favoured relative.That way you’ve also got something to mop up your tears too should you become a little emotional.

Something that’s becoming more popular is to use parents’ or even grandparents’ cake toppers on your modern day sweet treats. I love how kitsch they look as well as the fact they come laden with memories.

Lastly if you’re after something a little more discreet, why not take a small square of your mother’s wedding gown and have it sewn inside your own frock – it’s almost like wearing two frocks at the same time.

Well I did say almost

Something New

Frankly ladies this portion of the ditty relates to pretty much anything new that you purchase for your big day. For a start I’m guessing that the majority of you have bought a new dress, right?

Be it vintage or otherwise, it’s still ‘new’ to you and so that box is effectively ticked. So I have… ahem…taken the liberty therefore of putting together a wishlist of sorts for you gorgeous lot to enjoy.

The great thing is that every single one of these beauties is actually available to buy right now.
Yes you heard me…now girls form an orderly queue will you…

I’m currently having a bit of a rose gold/ copper moment.

Hell, when am I not?!

So I just couldn’t resist introducing an element of this hue into the board. The point being that there’s no reason why you lovelies can’t purchase that pair of earrings/ glistening bangle/ statement necklace that you’ve had your eye on for what seems like forever and introduce it into your bridal outfit.

At least you know that you’ll wear it after the day is over and it will bring back some amazing memories too.

Something Borrowed

Whilst traditionally the wedding rhyme relates solely to the bride’s outfit, I see no reason why in this day and age you can’t mix it up a little bit and apply this rationale to other parts of the wedding day.

Does a relative own an amazing vintage car that you’d love to drape tin cans from the back of and drive off in for your first journey as husband and wife? What about attaching a borrowed beautiful pocket watch to your bouquet to ensure that you arrive to the church on time?

Perhaps it’s a handed down antique veil that’s been in your family for years or a delicately embroidered garter; either way I love the memories that accompany such ‘borrowed’ items. There’s a sense of belonging to a wider collective, a story bigger than our own tale, a sense of family I suppose. And that’s what it’s all about.

Perhaps my favourite ‘borrowed’ item is an old pen to sign the register with. Imagine how many other marriage adventures have started with the same flick of the nib…

Something Blue

Those of you who read my bridesmaids inspiration post will already know that I love the colour blue. It’s immensely flattering and looks good year round regardless of the season and location.

I won’t bore you with historical references and the significance of the colour blue. Instead I’m providing a plethora of pretty to help you make up your mind about how to introduce it into your outfit without being overwhelmed by it.

Most of the brides I’ve known have either had a blue ribbon sewn inside their dress or a blue embroidered inscription stating something significant but your options are seemingly endless. Why not opt for blue shoes or a piece of jewellery with aquamarine stones? Perhaps you could kill two birds with one stone and provide your guests with favours in this hue…

There’s no reason why you can’t ask your maids to carry the blue mantel for you and literally wear the colour themselves. Personally if one of my girls asked me to wear this exquisite blue Elie Saab gown I would have NO objections.

If it all seems a bit much then asking your florist to introduce blooms with a slightly blue based tinge is a subtle way of injecting the colour into your day.

So how important is it to you to follow this ‘recipe’ for marriage success? Is it just superstitious nonsense or is it something that’s close to your heart?

What will you be borrowing for your big day? And I want to hear all about your something blue…

Also did you know that there’s actually a last line to this bridal ditty – ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’? My mum actually bought me one complete with Queen Viccy on it.

Now aren’t I a lucky girl…

All my love Lolly xxx

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