“Perfectly Imperfect – this is the phrase you need to remember – no wedding guest accepts your invitation to come and criticise your choice of partner/ venue/music/food; they’re all there to have a nice time with you and for you.” Such amazing advice from Bride Gudrun, definitely warms the soul and makes you remember what’s important.
And with that sentiment in mind, Gudrun & Alex planned their East London knees up at the fabulous Tab Centre in Shoreditch. Decorated with hand picked blooms in vases, cardboard cut outs of their cats and DIY decor and cakes made by themselves. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Accept for Gudrun’s gold sequin Badgley Mischka gown that is, such a fabulous find and so unique, just like this contemporary wedding captured by Babb Photo.
How gorgeous is Anabel’s dress by designer Hermione De Paula? The detail is incredible and you’ll have to look through the gallery to see what I mean. It truly is a one of a kind piece, created especially for her and just goes to show that if you do go down the bespoke route, you most definitely won’t be disappointed. Anabel looks absolutely beautiful and her dress fits like a glove.
This London based duo decided to hold their intimate wedding reception at a friends pub, filling it with bright blooms by The Flower Appreciation Society and marbled paper details by Jemma Lewis. The combination is amazing and just wait until you see the hanging floral display!!!
A truly fun and relaxed day from start to finish, Anabel and Struan certainly know how to get married with style.
Sharing inspiration shoots with you all is always fun, but this one is extra special. Firstly because it’s really colourful and full of gorgeous blooms, secondly because it’s been planned and styled by the wonderful Italian Eye team, but also because it was shot by our very own Adam. He was lucky enough to attend a fabulous workshop with the Italian Eye team and a whole host of lovely UK based wedding suppliers, and so the results of the shoot are a glorious mash up of British and Italian ideas, but with that extra dimension of fun that comes from enjoying time together doing creative things in the sunshine, fuelled by good food and wine of course 😉
The Italian Eye team plan and style some seriously beautiful weddings at the most incredible locations, one of those being the stunning Borgo Sant’Ambrogio, an historic Tuscan estate nestled in a nature reserve. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and the ultimate luxury venue for your destination wedding. If you’re planning on getting married in Italy, Borgo Sant’Ambrogio and Italian Eye would make a winning combination. It was certainly a fabulous venue for the workshop and for this shoot!
Oh and that Vespa…she belongs to venue Borgo Sant’Ambrogio too, imagine being whisked off into the sunset by your new husband on that. The epitome of romance and the perfect scene for some incredible photos!
We’ve got such a pretty wedding for you lovelies this morning. The Flower Appreciation Society did Liz proud with a beautiful array of pink blooms and the Bridal party look very pretty in pink too.
In fact, this whole wedding just reminds me why pink is the BEST colour.
In true London style, Liz and Chris transported their wedding guests from the ceremony venue to the reception in big red buses. Each guest was given a mini bottle of champagne and a bag of popcorn for the road. Don’t you just love that idea?
And I think Groom Chris definitely wins the award for ‘person most excited by confetti EVER.’
Enjoy the fun, the huge smiles and of course, all of the pink pretty…
Liv and Teddy’s wedding is an absolute corker. It begins with sophisticated elegance – the shimmering Eden by Jenny Packham and a smartly cut suit by The Kooples and ends with a rave in an underground exposed brick vault.
Such is the wonder of a good wedding.
What happens in-between you ask?? Well Liv the Bride is here to tell you all about it, along with images from fabulous Love Lust photographer John Day.
Our Home Town
Liv The Bride: Our wedding was on 22nd September 2012 at The Royal Society of Arts just off The Strand in Central London. Our given names are Olivia and Chris – but everyone calls us Liv and Teddy – hence the ‘L&T’ featured everywhere! We are both from London, our parents live here, we grew up here, met here and after a brief stint in Brighton, we’ve settled down here – so when it came to location, London was a no brainer.
We actually found the RSA at the National Wedding Show. It ticked all those boxes AND were undergoing an amazing renovation (pre renovation prices for post renovation beauty – bargain!) Teddy’s a designer and so we made our invitations ourselves to try and keep costs low – I definitely underestimated how long it would take but I would recommend it if you’ve got a lot of time to kill, we spent virtually nothing making them.
We went with really simple ribbed rustic brown card with our own font and vintage penguin postcards as the RSVP. Teddy also designed a website where people could RSVP, add songs to the evening playlist and find out everything they needed to know about the day.
In life I’m definitely a casual dresser – jeans, jumpers and converse make up most of my wardrobe, and black, lots of it, so when it came to finding a wedding dress I was overwhelmed. I struggled. Six months almost to the day and with time against me I headed to Jenny Packham with my mum. Now my wedding dress troubles mainly centred around my need to wear a bra with supportive straps at all times, which put me at a HUGE disadvantage and limited me to only a couple from her collection. Sigh.
The lady that worked in the shop was pretty awesome though, her no nonsense approach was exactly what I needed and she told me in the nicest possible way to stop mopping and dwelling on my limitations because she had the perfect dress for me. And perfect it was! I felt like me when I put it on, not silly or huge or uncomfortable, but pretty amazing. The Eden. One last visit with the bridesmaids and it was done – and with 10% off. Cheers Jenny!
A Pain In The Veil
I went for it with my veil (there was no stopping me, I was going to be BRIDE) and got one that was long, and if I’m honest, a massive pain. People tug on veils when they hug you, they snag on stuff, you trip on them, they get stuck to your lipstick, and I actually preferred my pics without it on. Ah well, at least it didn’t cost me a fortune – a friend of my mum’s copied the Jenny Packham satin trimmed veil down to a T – it was an exact match, and an absolute bargain. My accessories I kept to a minimum – the dress kind of speaks for itself!
A headdress passed down from my nan, to my aunty, to me, was reworked and simplified and it was a perfect accompaniment to the dress and had extreme sentimental value. Those pearls had sat atop my nan’s head when she married my granddad over 60 years ago, and they are still going strong , a pretty good omen!
On the day the boy gave me a beautiful bumblebee necklace from Alex Monroe which I chose to wear wrapped around my wrist. The bee has become a symbol for my Aunty who passed away nearly 3 years ago – he couldn’t have chosen a more thoughtful and meaningful gift.
Now shoes were tricky – I had a beautiful beaded dress to compliment after all, converse just ain’t gonna cut it! I don’t wear heals, ever, I’ve just never been able to walk in them so I wanted to try and get a cheap and cheerful pair. However it was during my daily perusal of RMW that I discovered these amazing Alexander McQueen shoes with skulls on them (Dom & Elizabeth’s wedding ‘At The Water’s Edge’ – just wow).
After being immediately shot down by the boy at the mere thought of buying them I gave it up and moved on. Well, almost. I bought a cute pair of gold T bars from Dune and my mum had the genius idea of putting on our own skulls – £15 in Topshop on some earrings and a handy best man later and voila! My very own skull shoes for a snippet of the price. Win.
Calling On Friends
Luckily for us we have a lot of talented mates. My brother’s best friend, Scott who works at Daniel Hershesons, did my hair (and my bridesmaids, mum and nan – such a trooper!) I always wear my hair down when I dress up so that’s what I wanted for my wedding day. We went with a subtle blonde dip die a month before and on the day he created beautiful soft waves – simple.
My makeup was done by another friend, Olga, a former Mac makeup artist turned advertising executive who I met at work, she worked miracles! We went for a reddish lip, side lashes, black eyeliner and a strong brow – basically my daily makeup but amped up. I loved it and it lasted the entire day – I was still looking immaculate at 2am, not a lash out of place. Girl done good.
Both of them were amazing and it was so lovely having people I knew with me that morning – and as they were also guests they were there to touch me up for the rest of the day!
The Flower Appreciation Society
My bridesmaid, Emma, found our florists in a local magazine – two illustration and textile design students who turned their arty hands to floristry when they graduated, what could be more perfect for a couple who met studying art? Anna and Ellie from the Flower Appreciation Society – what absolute babes. We went for tea, had a chat about the kind of flowers I liked, discussed our budget and the styling and that was it!
From that moment on we exchanged a few emails but I left them to it, what do I know about flowers anyway? We went for wild flowers in pastel colours, with the obligatory hydrangea of course. The ladies even provide their own vintage vases for a tiny fee and style the venue for you. I had absolute faith in them that they would make the place look amazing and they did. I was there at the end of the night swiping arrangements off tables for my guests to take home!
A Stroke Of Luck
I have to say my groomsmen outfits were a stroke of genius. After putting Teddy and then my bridesmaids in navy I had to come up with something else for the boys and they ended up wearing burgundy slim cut ‘Camden’ suits from Ben Sherman. I basically got lazy and left it a bit late so when I finally dragged them out shopping I had 8 weeks to go and EVERYWHERE was in sale, not normally a problem but both my boys are a 32 reg. Panic. I raced home and mass ordered loads of different suits online – by a stroke of luck the burgundy looked amazing and the lads were happy.
People proper raved about them on the day and I couldn’t have been happier with how they looked – white slim shirts, black knitted ties and personalised tie bars topped off their look.
Unintentional 30s Glamour
Now for the ladies – I’m obviously biased but my two bridesmaids, Niamh and Emma, looked exquisite. Both absolute stunners it was easy to make them look amazing – their silk navy 30s inspired Ghost dresses were the first thing we bought for the wedding on an impromptu shopping trip and the easiest decision I made. I loved them, they loved them – above all I wanted them to feel comfortable and happy.
We went with 30s style hair and the same makeup as mine to compliment the dresses. It ended up being a bit of a 30s Hollywood glamour affair – quite unintentional as I’m not really one for a ‘theme’…
Navy, Burgundy And Gold
Teddy wore a navy tux from The Kooples, a burgundy spotted pocket square from Gieves and Hawkes with matching socks and a pale gold skinny tie from Topman. Topped off by an antique gold and pearl tie bar found in Camden Passage market and black brogues from Office he looked so handsome.
Shopping for him was actually really easy – one trip to Selfridges (where we spotted the suit) and another to The Kooples to try on his size and we were done. I have to say the guys at the Kooples were pretty great – they offer a tailoring service and did loads of little nips and tucks to make him look his absolute best, and that he did. I thought I would be a ball of nerves walking down the aisle towards him but I just felt calm and happy, so happy. Too happy to even shed a tear – although he did, such a girl!
One Of The Gang
John Day was an absolute ledge. On our first meeting he rocked up to see our swanky venue in flip flops and we both liked him instantly. I found choosing a photographer quite hard, we really wanted a mix of someone who was extremely talented and produced great shots and someone who you could easily see yourself going for a beer with. Some friends of ours got married recently and although their pics were stunning they were both left reeling at their photographers bossy and at times rude approach. Nah, most certainly not what we wanted.
I think I found John on RMW and after a couple of email exchanges with the boy (yes ladies that was one of the only things he helped organise!) he was ours. John’s style is exactly what we wanted – lots of natural pictures of people looking happy. What more could you want really? I hate having my photograph taken but John made me feel instantly at ease and he slotted into the gang pretty easily. He even stayed on after the first dance to nab some amazing pictures of the band! He was honestly just a really lovely guy and a pleasure to have around.
Priceless Memories Captured
Originally I hadn’t really thought about a wedding video – my budget just didn’t stretch – but when my brother, Matt, suggested getting one of his mates to do it for free I thought, why not? He’s a camera man by trade and him and his mate Keith film weddings on weekends, luckily for us Keith was kind enough to shoot it, and my brother painstakingly edited all 14 minutes of it.
I was quite blasé about it at first but I’m so glad he suggested doing it because the memories it captured really are priceless – I absolutely love it and every time I’m having a bad day I watch it and it does wonders to cheer me up.
Bake It Yourself
Me and Emma are both very fond of baking and after visiting lots of vintage wedding fairs came to the realisation that we could probably make the cake ourselves. I always wanted something pretty rustic and informal looking so we wouldn’t need to worry ourselves with creating a immaculately iced cake – just a tiered Victoria sponge affair. After researching endless recipes Delia informed us that we could freeze sponge. Epiphany.
The only worry about making your own wedding cake is the stress of devoting the entire day before to bake, but now that was out of the way we were on a roll! After baking and freezing a lot of back up cakes we went for a vanilla sponge with buttercream and fresh fruit filling for the bottom layer, then chocolate with a chocolate and raspberry filling for the middle, then lemon with a lemon curd filling for the top. We then crammed all the available ledges with fresh fruit and dusted with icing sugar.
After defrosting the cakes overnight on the Thursday the assembly process took 2 hours tops and we were done – the hardest part was delivering it to the venue! Emma is a master illustrator and so hand drew us a ‘Liv & Teddy’ banner to go around the middle, it was stunning. I would recommend anyone who likes baking to make their own cake, such a money saver and we were so proud!
The Rolling Stoned
We tried to save as much money as we could by calling on favours and hand making things with the sole purpose of saving money for the band. My family are massive Rolling Stones fans – which means after 8 years together, Teddy is too. Every time The Rolling Stoned – a Stones tribute band – play in and around London we go, so when it came to the decision of having a band, there really wasn’t one.
They didn’t disappoint – they rocked it. We chose our venue for its beauty of course, but the evening venue – the underground exposed brick vaults that we could have til 2am cinched the deal. The atmosphere was amazing. They were followed by a good friend of ours blasting out tunes all evening, including a DJ set by my dad (yep.. he insisted). The evening part of the wedding was one of the most important to us – we just wanted everyone coming to have an amazing time and to party into the early hours with us – hopefully the band and endless flowing booze helped them along!
My Mind’s Telling Me No
Our first dance song was a bit of a quandary. If we were being honest we probably should have danced our way into married life with ‘You should let me love you’ by Mario, the song we had our first kiss to all those years ago. But I just couldn’t do it. The choice then was impossible – we didn’t really have ‘our song’ that was appropriate for parents/grandparents etc to dance to.
In the end we swapped and changed so much that the night before the wedding I text Teddy whilst watching Dirty Dancing in my hotel room with the girls to change it to Solomon Burke ‘Don’t You Feel Like Crying’– which was lovely but actually quite sad when you listen to the words. Ah well. It was just a filler song really as half way through, the music cut out and ‘Bump n Grind’ by R Kelly came on. Having both grown up in North London we had a touch of the chav about us in our youth, which means that we love some pretty terrible music (we obviously don’t think it’s terrible, but that view is widely contested) and luckily for us our friends share our views. When the song came on the room erupted! It was a great moment and one I will remember for the rest of my life.
A Pin For Everyone
We lost my Aunty prematurely to cancer almost three years ago now – she was such an important part of our lives and we wanted to remember her on our special day. We made a donation on our guests behalf to cancer research – providing everyone with a pin we wanted them to wear on the day. For us it was a way of including her in something that she would have been such an important part of had she still been here.
Thankfully our venue was so beautiful that we didn’t need much to make it shine. The place settings were luggage labels painstakingly stamped with our guests names and attached to old keys (most of which I ended up getting from an old insane asylum.. but I won’t think of that as a bad omen..) the menus were designed by the boy and stuck onto the back of postcards of vintage penguin books (each one selected to be relevant to each guest) and we had tea lights in jam jars, church candles and pictures of us dotted all over the place.
Our tables were named after Stones songs and the names put into gilded gold frames atop piles of old books collected from charity shops, tied with lace and fastened with antique brooches. My florists were the stars though and really brought the place to life with their stunning displays and beautifully eclectic range of vases that they let us use for a tiny charge! We had a polaroid camera that people used to take pics of themselves and paperclip into our guest book next to their message. Which was really lovely to look at the next day – especially as people and their messages got progressively more drunk as the night went on!
Don’t Get Bogged Down By Details
When planning our wedding was that we wanted it to be fun – and for people to have a really REALLY good time. That was our main brief. My advice? Try not to get bogged down by the details. Blogs like RMW are amazing for ideas – some brides do the most beautiful things but if you’re not that way inclined then don’t worry! We had a few nice touches dotted around our venue but I must admit that towards to end I got a little lazy with my planning, so enthusiastic at the start but that tapered off. A PA in life, there is only so much organisation you can do at work AND at home! Good people, good food, plenty of free flowing booze and a rockin band will see you through. Well it did for us anyway!
Everyone says it, but it’s so important to take time out with your husband. I don’t even remember being that loved up with him on the day because we were so busy rushing around and seeing everyone! John suggested going for a second little photo shoot at dusk and I’m so glad we did, we got some beautiful pictures and got to spend some time together wandering along the Thames, just us – with John 3rd wheeling us of course!
My final and most important bit of advice I have is to have fun and enjoy every minute. Things will go wrong, they just will, but there’s no point getting angry about it on the day – just try to relax and enjoy every second.
The tangy crisp air, the crunch of leaves under foot, the myriad of colours in tree canopies above, the first frost and… the new Autumn/Winter collections in the shops. FYI, Charlotte and I are obsessed, I tell you, with the latest Kooples collection.
Seriously though, I love Autumn for each and every one of the glorious attributes that I’ve listed above. But I love it even more because it means that one of my favourite seasons…Winter…is on the way.
I’ve never been to a winter wedding and it’s not something we see a great deal of here at RMW HQ either. This makes me sad because if executed properly, a winter wedding can be an utterly glamorous and elegant affair.
And we haven’t even got started on how much kinder a soiree held in the colder months can be on the pocket.
Some of you may already be aware of the wintery inspiration shoot that I styled in December last year which was photographed by the lovely Ann-Kathrin Koch. I confess, the inspiration shoot was a self indulgent affair, it meant I got to ‘scratch an itch’ that I’d been longing to creatively explore for some time.
However there are so many other wonderful interpretations of the winter wedding theme out there that I just had to share them with you. The following moodboards are a cherry-picked selection of my favourite images…honestly I was like a kid at Christmas curating them all for you.
Hopefully they’ll inspire you too…
We Scream For Ice Queen
Shorter days and darker nights lend themselves perfectly to chic black tie events with grooms in tails and romantic brides in slinky ice-queen style dresses lit up by soft candlelight.
It’s worth looking for inspiration in the great outdoors too when making sartorial choices for your big day. Winter whites and layered gossamer textures are reminiscent of voluminous snowdrifts; they just scream elegance whilst keeping you warm too. Accessorizing with glitzy, metallic heels are the perfect way to finish off such a look – it’s almost like having beautiful icicles on the end of your feet.
Think outside the box when choosing your bouquet. Wintry posies of evergreen branches and berries such as fir, wild pine, aspen twigs and tree nuts swathed in natural fabrics such as hessian offers a seasonal alternative to conventional blooms.
If the weather is kind enough to allow you to have photographs outside then we recommend dressing for the elements. Choosing a luxurious cape or a furry hat will mean that you stay cosy and fashion-focused all at the same time. If you don’t want to cover up your beautiful dress with a cape then opting for a gown with long sleeves is a happy alternative.
Deck The Halls
You may have noticed that I’ve included a few wreath images in this particular moodboard. Granted, folks, they are a weak spot of mine but there is a solid reason for this indulgence.
Allow me to explain…
A seasonal wreath (and this applies to any month of the year) hung at the entrance to your venue is a wonderful decorative touch that not only pays homage to Mother Nature but also signals to your guests that the party starts here.
I love that the old customs of protecting woodland and tree spirits by bringing branches indoors has been passed down the ages to our modern society today. Try arranging snow-dusted branches and eucalyptus in tall vases to hint at a Winter wonderland without becoming too Narnia-esque.
You can also reflect the textures of the great outdoors by using soft palettes of greys, mauves, off-whites and ivory tones. Choosing these colours will add a sophistication to your nuptials without veering too far into winter wonderland territory.
Darker winter evenings also allow you to make a statement out of your entrances in other ways too. Why not garland doorways with fairy lights or place votive candles and oversized storm lanterns down steps and along paths to double up as essential lighting whilst looking pretty all at the same time.
If you’re looking for budget-friendly decor, filling glass jars with seed heads, fir branches and cloved oranges not only looks gorgeous but smells amazing too. Alternatively go foraging in your local parks and woodland for pine cones and string them up as festive bunting around your venue.
With the right elements, your winter soiree will overflow with decadent wintry textures and gorgeous rustic details; it’s all about bringing the outside in.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Because that’s what winter is all about right?
If there’s an upside to the darker nights and the freezing temperatures it’s that it allows us to feast!
We’ve got to keep our fat stores up, you know!
With decadent dining comes the most divine tablescapes bedecked with candles, crystal stemware, beautiful centrepieces and a little bit of mistletoe.
For the ultimate wintery tablescape, line candles along the length of of your table and keep main overhead lighting low. Go to town on your table linen by opting for metallic tablecloths to reflect flickering candlelight or layer up different swathes for material for a more textured look. Finish off the look by slotting placecards into pinecones for a touch of festive glamour.
Continue the theme by greeting your guests with mulled wine and hot chocolate as they arrive to warm them up from the chilly outdoors. Serving wintry cocktails such as Eggnog along with roasted chestnuts (on an open fire…) at your drinks reception is a wonderfully festive treat.
Lastly why not wrap baubles in fabric reflecting your colour scheme to hand to each guest as a favour to remind them of the day. You could even use them as an alternative to a guestbook by asking your nearest and dearest to write words of advice on them and hang them on your very own Christmas tree.
So what do you think? Have I seduced you into hosting a winter wedding or are you firmly and irrevocably a summer bride?
Perhaps you’ve already chosen to be a beautiful ice-queen bride…bravo for you! I want to hear all the details…
In the meantime I am desperately hoping that it doesn’t rain on my big day. I must be the only bride that is hoping that the sun stays away at her wedding. Instead I would like a smouldering low-lying mist to hover over frost-bitten ground.
Joanna and Dave we married over the Easter weekend earlier this year. Dave is from Southend on Sea and Joanna is from New Zealand and they both now live in London. Their ceremony was at the beautiful 1920s building that is Islington Town Hall. The guests were then whisked away to a reception at The Londesborough in Stoke Newington in a classic Routemaster bus.
Aparently there was a substantial amount of New Zealand bubbly on board to get everyone in the party spirit.
My dress came from the lovely ladies at Morgan Davies in Islington. It was important to me to have a dress by a British designer and I was delighted when I found ‘Heaven’ by Blue Bridal. When I tried it on, the pure silk fabric felt so luxurious and it fitted perfectly. I’d wanted a 1950s style dress from the start and was pretty sure that I wanted a ‘tea length’ dress. Being on the shorter side I thought it might be an idea to show off a bit of ankle! It’s such a buzz to twirl a full skirt with petticoats!
One of the most special pieces of jewellery was a silver filigree bracelet belonging to my late mum. My dad brought it over from New Zealand for me and it was a great feeling knowing I had a part of her with me. I’d been on the lookout for earrings for months, so I was delighted when I saw a beautiful pair that matched my engagement ring in a shop in Courmeyer, Italy. A very surprising find while on a ski holiday!
Shoes in Twos
Accessories are my weakness… I couldn’t have just one pair of shoes! For the ceremony I wore a pair of ivory silk Filippa Scott peeptoes, which went perfectly with the dress. I love to dance, so later in the evening the party girl was unleashed and I slipped into a pair of gold glitter Kurt Geiger peeptoes. I can’t wait to wear them again at another party, they are made for disco!
Half Up Do
Jaydean Allen was super at suggesting styles and advising on what would work with my hair and for the bridesmaids. To show off the dress I wanted a half-up do and went for a bit of lift at the front, then loose wavy curls at the back. I often wear hair combs, it is almost my signature look, so I really wanted to add a comb to my do. After trawling lots of vintage shops, I found the perfect one with a vintage vibe at Glitzy Secrets. Our make-up was created by Jane Weston, who did a fantastic job making me look like I’d had a full eight hours sleep! Jane had great ideas about lipstick and colours and even met me at Bobbi Brown to help choose a lipstick colour. When I saw my bridesmaids all dressed and done up, it almost made me cry – not good for my own mascara!
The Flower Appreciation Society
Our flowers were a real mix, roses, rununcullas, tulips, clover and so many varieties I can’t name! I saw the work of The Flower Appreciation Society and loved their style from the start. Ellie and Anna add lots of foliage and have wonderful country garden look. I went a bit mad and even sent them a ‘mood board’ of ideas and colours, but I left the selection of the flowers to Ellie and she captured the look perfectly.
After a few false starts on the colour theme, I decided on a coral colour for the Bridesmaids. I didn’t want an identical look, so left the dress selection to the ladies. Our one stipulation was no strapless prom dresses! The search produced dresses from Oasis and Warehouse and the girls looked stunning. Their bouquets contained bright coral anemones which brought the colour to life.
If only shopping for a wedding dress was as easy! Dave and his best man Rob went out one Saturday and came back with suits from Ben Sherman. Dave thought since he wasn’t able to see my dress, that he would leave his suit as a surprise too. I couldn’t bear this and asked one of my Bridesmaids, Bryony to ‘inspect’ it. Luckily it passed the test and I am pleased to say Dave looked amazing and without any of my style input! Honestly, my heart skipped a beat when I saw him turn around as I walked into the ceremony.
The Story Of A Wedding
Our photographer was one of the first things we decided on. I’d seen Joanna Millington’s work and loved the way she captured details and people. Jo really tells the story of a wedding and when I look at my photos now I get transported right back. On the day, Jo just fitted in like one of my friends, lots of laughs and a real calming influence in some of the more anxious moments! Jo does more than just ‘shoot’ the day, she really concentrates on spotting little details that make up a bigger picture.
Our cake was truly jet set! My stepmother, Jillian made the amazing fruitcake bottom layer in New Zealand and brought it over the week before the wedding. Jillian even contacted Defra (the UK food agency) to get a permit to bring the cake into the UK in her hand luggage! That’s dedication we are so grateful for! The top layer was an amazing chocolate mud cake. Jillian iced it all here and we decorated it with fresh flowers to match the bouquets and two little porcelain birds that I made myself at my pottery studio.
Swedish Death Metal
DJ Neville the Devil was our DJ of choice. On our RSVPs we asked everyone to fill in: “the song that gets me on the dance floor is…..”. We compiled all the answers (minus some Swedish death metal requested as a joke) and gave them to Neville. This meant that everyone, including the older generation had funk, soul and 80s tunes to dance to. Luckily most of our guests had good taste! Neville is an interactive DJ and got involved on the dance floor. Everyone loved it and I didn’t stop dancing all evening!
We also had a photo-booth section with all the crazy costumes we had collected over the years – the results were hilarious!
Baby Let Me Take You
Dave is the music brains in our partnership. He told me many year ago that ‘Baby let me take you’ by the Detroit Emeralds would be his first dance song. When we were planning the wedding I reminded him of that and nothing else came close!
I’d always wanted a few handmade touches at my wedding, so I made lots of vases in my pottery studio that we used to decorate some of the side tables. At the end of the night I told all the ladies to take one home with the flowers inside.
The fantastic team at The Londesborough did the hard part of putting up the 25 white pom poms, 8 pink honeycomb ball and 20 meters of handmade doilies bunting. It looked amazing and really transformed the venue into a celebration.
One part of the day I will always treasure is the special moments I shared with my Dad on the way to the ceremony. In the lead up to the wedding lots of people said “remember it is your day”, but it wasn’t until that moment in the car with my Dad that I really embraced that feeling.
We put lots of effort into heartfelt handmade touches, from the invitations, to the decoration, but it wouldn’t have been half as successful without the help of friends and family. I will be eternally grateful to my brother who repeatedly burnt his fingers while ironing doilies bunting!
Dave’s impromptu serenade to the Kool & the Gang song “Joanna” has to be up there with priceless memories!
A Final Thought
It’s an empowering feeling expressing your love in front of family and friends, so make it as personal as possible.
Don’t buy into other people’s expectations, stay true to your vision.
I love the fact that Stepmum Jill phoned up DEFRA to make sure she could get a wedding cake through customs… That has to be one of the most random stories to ever grace these polka dotted pages!
I really do dig the chilled and relaxed feel to this cool big city celebration… but I also love those little bits of fun and excitement. The celebratory spin in the hallway of Islington Town Hall is priceless and the couple shoots on the adventure playground can not fail to bring a smile to your face.
Thanks to Joanna and Dave for sharing their big day with us.
When I opened a few sneaky preview pics from the Grace & Gable winter inspiration shoot and started talking Charlotte through the images, it quickly became apparent that she wasn’t listening to a word I was saying…
Me: Ok… what is it?
Charlotte: Is that Bridesmaid wearing a woolly knit?… I die.
I’m fairly confident that this meant she liked the shoot. And this was before I’d revealed the trees, the tables, the taxidermy… in fact all the little details that makes for a truly inspirational piece.
It would be fair to say that not much work got done that morning at RMW HQ as we poured over the winter pretty before us.
Now it is the turn of you lucky, lucky people. Grab a mug of mulled wine and a hot mince pie in preparation for a tour of the forest.
The decision to direct the shoot came about whilst walking on a friend’s private land in the Wyre Forest. I’d always wanted to organise and style a bridal photo shoot but I hadn’t quite found the right venue or location to fit the bill. Five minutes of walking within the forest however and idea after idea came unbidden to me – visions of a bride and groom trailing through the shoulder-high ferns looking wistfully at one another, bridesmaids in woolly Christmas jumpers drinking festive cocktails and garlands of fairylights festooning the trees. From then on I was hooked and it was just a question of not if but when this shoot was going to happen.
Once the forest location had been confirmed then the choice of photographer was a no-brainer. I’d come across the work of Ann-Kathrin Koch at a recent bridal fair – The Designer Vintage Wedding Fair – and was blown away by both the quality and the creativity of her work. Her portraits are a particular favourite of mine as she is able to convey such a delicate handling of detail whilst still pulling an extremely evocative punch. One of her photo series includes several images of forests and trees and I loved the solitariness that these photos conveyed so I was desperate for her to photograph the shoot. When she responded that she’d love to get involved I will admit that I high fived the air and did a little jig. Ann and her partner Marco were amazing on the shoot, producing some fantastic images in some challenging conditions all whilst continuing to engage with all of the other suppliers and keeping everyone’s spirits high.
I believe strongly in working in harmony with a venue or a location to bring out its best attributes and make it work to your advantage. You could say that the forest determined the theme of the shoot to some extent being mostly fir. With this in mind and given that it was getting very close to Christmas I was keen to create a Christmas themed shoot that could offer inspiration to brides having a winter wedding.
It was very important to me that each of the suppliers had the freedom to create their own ideas for the shoot. From experience, people work best when they are not constrained by too many guidelines and conditions. Instead, the indispensable Pinterest was used to create a mood board that was then sent to each of the suppliers to give them some inspiration with buzz words of ethereal, glamour, glitz, vintage and Christmas.
I also approached the girls – Nina and Sonia – at Invitation Only to ask them if they would be interested in collaborating with me on the shoot. These girls are fantastic stylists with a copious amount of experience under their belts and I knew that their help would be invaluable on the shoot.
Having relayed all my ideas to the Invitation Only girls it was clear that when we started getting into the details a single table set-up and a static scene wouldn’t be enough. Instead the shoot would follow a series of scenes that created a story for the entire shoot, including an aisle set-up, a cake table, a fireplace scene and a fun panorama that included a huge wreath and a ladder! We also created two table set-ups – the first being a more luxurious table with a blush pink colour theme complete with bambi, beautiful linen and copious amounts of floral centerpieces accessorized with pearls. The second table was more understated and kept to a white theme with hints of green and silver above which hung an amazing chandelier of mistletoe. Lastly, I found a beautiful door frame which I was keen to use in the shoot because of the symbolism associated with carrying a new bride over the threshold. Cliché!
The Bride And Bridesmaids.
Deciding to use Debbie’s DC Bouquets hairpieces in the shoot was an easy decision for me having sought the opportunity to work with her since she designed a piece for one of my own brides this summer. If you haven’t seen Debbie’s beautiful creations then I suggest that you hot-foot it over to her site – once you’re done reading here of course. Debbie has recently launched a new range of headpieces which I really wanted to use as part of the shoot. Luckily for me and much to my delight she graciously agreed!
Cherished Vintage also kindly provided a glitzy headpiece too for the shoot which worked a treat with the pink bridal gown. Go see for yourselves….
Clare from The Wedding Club provided two beautiful vintage dresses for the shoot which completely contrasted one another. A beautiful pink gauzy one-shouldered number was just what we were after for the playful elements of the shoot whilst the sleek 1930s silk number was set off perfectly against the backdrop of the bronzed ferns. Clare has a fantastic range of vintage dresses at her boutique which made it really quite difficult to choose which dresses would be used in the shoot.
The Dynamic Duo.
Special mentions must go out to Jade and Georgia, who were our wonderful make-up and hair stylists. Given that they had never met before, they worked with ease around each other to create looks that complimented the individual efforts of the other. Of particular importance to me was that each of the models had a distinctive look as I wanted to provide as much inspiration as possible for brides reading this post.
What I really loved was how Georgia was able to interpret Debbie’s beautiful headpieces in completely unique ways for each of the models. Thomasin’s backcombed style really brought the ‘Daisy’ headpiece alive in an edgy way whilst Imogen’s plaits added a softness to the ‘Clara’ headpiece. Lastly Emma’s side bun and ‘Bijoux’ headband really honoured the more traditional elements of the silk gown she wore.
Behind The Scenes.
I was really keen to have someone film ‘behind the scenes’ given the nature of the shoot and the huge number of suppliers involved. I’ve always found watching how a shoot/wedding comes together immensely satisfying and I also love the fact that this gives the viewer the chance to see the faces of those involved other than the models. The frankly brilliant Simon Clarke filmed and produced the video that you’ll find at the end of this post and worked side by side with Ann for the whole day to capture the magic. Simon was a treasure to have on the day and balanced the slightly female heavy group which I think Dave our groom was more than pleased about. Please take the chance to watch the gorgeous video – it’s fun, festive and makes you feel all gooey inside.
Seven Swans A-Swimming (well nearly…)
If you’re ever looking for Florists that don’t necessarily do things the conventional way then you need to see the work of the girls Ellie and Anna at The Flower Appreciation Society. Their website is a breath of fresh air and they are as gorgeous as the flowers they produce. They suggested that rather than using more predictable containers, that it would be fun to use a collection of swan vases filled to the brim of the most amazing white blooms with hints of green and pink tones.
The girls also pulled together a hand tied bouquet and a selection of beautiful buttonholes that smelt heavenly and included lilac, hyacinths, hydrangea, tulips, ranunculus, anemones, roses and gladioli.
Mae Mae Paperie.
The stationery was produced by an amazing American designer called Megan at Mae Mae Paperie. She did the most amazing job of producing stationery items including placecards, a menu and an invitation suite that complimented the table set-ups all the way from across the pond. Thomasin Gautier-Ollerenshaw created the intricate and beautiful Christmas tree card sculptures that were used as favours.
Caroline – like many of the people on this shoot is one of those people who you want to hug when you first meet them. Her creativity knows no bounds and she is able to work miracles with anything of the cake variety. Caroline’s Cake Company generously provided three beautiful cakes for the shoot which were all completely different but which actually worked very well together. The smallest cake – a two tiered profusion of gold glitter with a delicate white flower offered a delicious contrast to the largest cake which was a more subdued affair but still elegant nonetheless. The third cake provided a huge dollop of fun with its bright colours and gorgeous glitter baubles on top, which offered a twist on a more traditional cake topper.
In The Bleak Midwinter.
I can’t finish this post without mentioning the amazing team of suppliers who worked with us to bring the shoot to fruition. They braved freezing temperatures and a couple of torrential downpours in the great outdoors with unfailingly large smiles on their faces. They also worked tirelessly to help me produce the exact scenes and shots that I wanted to very high standards, all whilst having a blast at the same time. I’m not ashamed to admit that I felt somewhat bereft after they all went home having spent so much time in their wonderful company; any bride who chooses one of the suppliers involved in the shoot is a very lucky girl indeed and I hope that you all find some inspiration here for your own wedding day.
Feeiling Christmassy now?
I was stunned at how smoothly and seemlessly this ambitious photoshoot flowed together on the day. Especially for a team who largely had not worked together before, it was a marvel to see everyone muck in, get along and produce the fantastic results that we are sharing with you today.
I popped along to the Wyre Forest to meet the team during filming, under the premise of “helping out” but in fact all I did was stand around nattering, stole hot coffee from people who deserved it far more than me, and then on top of that I also managed to crash the video (result!)