Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Real Bride....goes dress shopping

Got a new instalment from Sarah B for you this week for Real Wedding Wednesday. Enjoy.

My hunt for the perfect wedding dress began with a couple of visits to traditional bridal boutiques. My favourite by far was Miss Bush in Ripley. The shop is cosy and intimate, and the staff were impeccably helpful. I enjoyed trying on some amazing Jesus Peiro dresses (simple, yet structured), but with prices at £2,500 and up they were wildly beyond my budget and lacking the illusive 'wow factor'.

However, I knew I was looking for something a little different and so, brimming with excitement, Mrs Ross (aka PIP) and I set off for the legendary Fur Coat No Knickers (FCNK) on
Carnaby Street. We'd both heard awesome things about the shop and seen some stunning FCNK frocks on other people’s blogs - frankly, we weren't disappointed! The shop is like a huge dressing up box, with rails jam packed full of vintage dresses and pretty accessories … it was heaven!

We were greeted by lovely shop owner Emma, who started proceedings with a glass of fizz and a chat about what I was looking for. She then handpicked a selection of dresses for me to try in a range of styles and colours (!) and, with each one, explained the alterations that her team of seamstresses could make - a sleeve here, a bow there – to ensure that it was exactly what I wanted. Emma’s vision and attention to detail are second to none. She carefully pinned the hem and neckline of each gown, as well as whipping up tulle sleeves, ribbon sashes and extra petticoats, to give me a fabulous sense of how it could look on the big day.

Because each piece is unique, the FCNK experience is very different from trying contemporary dresses and might not be for everyone. Prices start from a very reasonable £500, but if you find something you love you have to be prepared to make a quick decision about it before another bride snaps it up (although the girls will hold an item for a few days while you sleep on it). Also, any alterations or changes to the dress won't happen until you've purchased it, so you have to commit before seeing the finished article. Emma also explained to us that the majority of their styles are short, since floor length gowns tend to get torn or dirty and do not survive well over the years.

Did I find 'the one'? Well, you'll just have to wait and see. I certainly had a lot of fun looking and perhaps my favourite moment was taking the Best Man back for a second opinion! It's true what they say, as soon as I tried it on it felt right - the perfect mix of glamourous, quirky and fun - and I can't wait to walk down the aisle in it.

What about you ladies? Have you found 'the One'? FCNK was a fabulous day out and I'm honoured that Sarah B invited me along for the journey. She's right about their knowledge and attention to detail, Emma looked after us very well and I'd fully recommend a visit to brides-to-be out there looking for a little bespoke vintage glam. Check out their blog for previous beauties

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Congratulations! Emma and Paul

I don't know about you folks but I had a lovely long weekend. So lovely I thought i'd share some gorgeous details from Emma and Paul's beautiful wedding on Saturday. More to come when they are back from their honeymoon I hope!

Beautiful birdcages were scattered around the lawn and marquee with roses

White hydrangea hung from buckets in the lawn

Bunting on the table plan

Very well measured lanterns in the colour scheme

A fab bouquet

Beautiful bridesmaid bouquets in white

hello, sweetie bar!

I hope you had a sweet long weekend

Friday, 26 August 2011

Friday Finds

Morning folks, are you all looking forward to the long weekend? I am, we are off to a friend's wedding in Suffolk, a county I have never visited before. Looking forward to a nice couple of nights away with the beau. Then we have visitors for the second half of the weekend, what are you lovelies up to?

I've got a lot of pretty pics coming up for you guys today, Enjoy!

How fabulous is this cake? Nevie Pie Cakes make exactly that, stunning unusual cakes. This stunner above was made at a class, imagine painting your own cake as part of a hen do? Check out the blog for more information and dates. 

Cute doily envelopes via DayDreamLily.

What a wonderful wedding or anniversary gift these would be from Jessica N Designs.

I have a bit of a thing for doilies at the moment which you will spot if you check out my PiP board, these lovelies are from Memento Designs

And to start the weekend in style a little vintage Dior via A Lovely Being

I wonder if Emma this weekend's bride will be in a bit of vintage? modern glam? classic chic? or traditional....can't wait

Good luck Emma and Paul

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Nearly Friday Finds!

I wonder how many of you lovely brides-to-be have come across this feature in Wedding Ideas Magazine this month?
Have a peek, it's only me and my beau on our epic honeymoon!
Stay tuned for a bigger post on this in the future.....

That's Amore

Newly weds Natasha and Will married in Agriturismo Sant'Alfonso on the beautiful Italian Amalfi Coast this June. The gorgeous wedding was photographed by Elton Mogg. This bride is a very stylish lady in her day to day life so i'm not at all surprised at her stunning statuesque dress, this is one wedding I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall for, so beautiful.

Natasha, how did the two of you meet?

We’ve known each other for about 10 years. I met Will’s flatmates on holiday in Greece, and once back in London we met up and all became close friends. Eventually the friendship turned into something else, and we’ve been a couple for the last three years.

How did the proposal go?

 I was writing a travel guide to the Amalfi Coast last year, and Will decided to join me on one of my research trips. He obviously spotted the proposal potential of one particular hotel we were staying at, in the hilltop town of Ravello. It was really luxurious and beautiful and romantic, so I guess he thought that might swing it in his favour! He proposed over dinner - in spite of the ridiculously romantic setting, my head was still full of work and it hadn’t crossed my mind that he might propose! I said yes, burst into tears and then was so excited that I couldn’t manage to eat another bite of the amazing food, so we went celebrating in the local bars instead, toasting ourselves with lots of limoncello.

What made you decide to marry abroad?

I lived in Rome for four years and have travelled back and forth to Italy ever since for my work as a travel writer. I’ve always felt very at home there, and Will, who has joined me on many trips, loves it too. Rome felt a bit too connected with work to get married there – we loved the idea of having the wedding somewhere that we knew well but that also had a holiday feel to it.
Getting married abroad also makes everything really relaxed because it’s not all about the day itself – we had dinners and drinks with friends in the few days before the wedding, and on the night before organised drinks in a bar in nearby Atrani so that everyone could meet each other; the day after the wedding, we put on a boat trip so that everyone could chill out and nurse their hangovers (with more drinks) on board.

Did you have a wedding planner in Italy? 

No we didn’t – we wanted to be in control of the whole process! If you want an out-of-the-way venue that’s not necessarily set up for weddings (like ours), or one that’s off the standard wedding-hotel circuit, wedding planners might not be for you, as they generally use set venues and suppliers. Having said that, organising a wedding in another country is a lot of work – and would be very difficult without a good grasp of the language – so I guess that’s where planners come in.

How did you arrange all the 'styling' the flowers and table plans?

We made most things and brought them over with us: we printed and bound the orders of service, sourced vintage postcards of the Amalfi Coast (from Italian ebay) and attached our menus to the back; for the table plan we mounted and framed our seating plans and attached them to the pergola under which we had dinner; the table numbers were papier mache numbers from Hobbycraft that we painted and suspended from the pergola; for the place names, I printed the names (letter by letter – it took ages!) on luggage tags using alphabet rubber stamps and ink; I made mini bunting to wind around the arches of greenery. The only things we bought in Italy were the 300+ jam jars for flowers and candles, and the ingredients for the welcome bags (clear cellophane bags filled with a mini-bottle of prosecco, Italian biscuits and a note and a map telling people about the plans for the weekend) that we delivered to our guests’ hotel rooms before they arrived.

What was your favourite thing about the Big Day?

The atmosphere: the great thing about getting married abroad is that everyone is in holiday mode and really happy, and that sunshiney, carefree feeling really infused the whole day. As for a particular favourite part of the day, it would have to be the ceremony. Having negotiated the steep steps down to the garden, I waited a moment to catch my breath at the end of the lawn and just took in the scene – a garden full of the people who mean the most to me in the world, all beaming and bathed in sunshine, the white bunting against the blue sky, the little sixteenth-century chapel at the end, and Will in front of it, smiling back at me.

Do you have a favourite item or product - bought or made?

 My dress. I tried on so many in bridal boutiques but I couldn’t find what I was looking for anywhere. I had a vague idea that I wanted it to look almost sculptural, like a Roman statue. I saw lots of floaty Grecian-style dresses, which weren’t quite right, and eventually I realised that for the dress that I had in mind, which had a focus on cut and fabric but that also had a very simple silhouette, I would have to get it made. I found the wonderful Jenny Lessin, who really understood my aversion to bling and frills and that the luxurious feel of the dress was really important (three layers of silk and georgette made it swish amazingly). She even didn’t bat an eyelid when I insisted on bright white, not ivory, which I knew would look beautiful against the Italian blue sky. It’s a great experience to have a dress (and such an important dress) designed and made to fit you like a glove (mine took four fittings) – and for about the same price as one you’d find in a wedding boutique.

What did your family and friends say was their favourite thing of the day?

They were all in awe of the setting – I’ve travelled all over Italy and it’s the most amazing view I’ve seen! Lots of people commented on the music too – we did our own compilation of Italian 50s and 60s tunes for the drinks, and had a brilliant DJ later on.

What were you most excited and nervous about in the lead up?

The weather! There isn’t enough shelter for 80 people at the venue and we had no plan B so we needed it to be sunny (and when 80 people have planned their summer holiday around your wedding, that makes it even more nerve-racking!). It was very rainy until about a week before the wedding, when it suddenly got very hot and sunny, and stayed that way.

Did you have any Bridezilla moments? 

No real Bridezilla moments but I did have a minor freak-out a day before the wedding: my veil got trapped in the zip of my dress carrier! There was no way of pulling it free so there was nothing for it but to get the scissors out! I was so nervous that I asked my sister to cut the veil free… luckily it was caught on the edge rather than the middle, so was easily trimmed down.

Any hints, tips or advice for brides to be?

Firstly, stay true to yourself and make sure that all of your wedding decisions really reflect you. Wedding magazines can turn even the sanest woman into an indecisive wreck by seducing you with so many beautiful images that you lose track of your normal taste. Don’t doll yourself up so that you’re unrecognisable from your former self (and consider options beyond what’s offered in bridal boutiques – an amazing Gucci gown will cost about the same amount as a standard wedding dress, and might reflect your personal style more); and if you’re not someone that relishes the thought of hand-making your own favours or sewing your initials onto napkins, then don’t! Focus on what’s important to you instead.
Also – when you’re working out the boring budget stuff, allow yourself to splurge on things that are important to you, and save on others accordingly. For example, I’m obsessed with nice stationery so invitations were really important – we commissioned a hand-painted map of the Amalfi Coast and had it printed it on lovely thick card – and music is important to us both so we splurged there too, in that we flew out our dj from the UK (sounds like an extravagance but if you’ve ever heard an Italian wedding dj in action you’ll understand!). To compensate, we economised on flowers by getting them from the local flower market the morning before and arranging them ourselves, we designed and made most of the decorative bits and pieces; and we chose a venue where they make their own wine and grow much of their own produce (making it a whole lot cheaper!)

Now, let's see some stunning photos shall we?

The night before the rest of their lives, a last kiss as Mr and Miss

Stunning views

Steep steps down to the agriturismo 


Will and best man Harry

Natasha's sister (in red) was on hand to keep Natasha topped up with prosecco


Will with Harry (best man) and Harry (Bride's brother). Looking rather like mafiosi in their suits and shades.

Natasha'a bouquet was lily of the valley, cow parsley, peonies and roses made by her sister-in-law's mother, Eleanor.

How's that for a backdrop to your wedding photos!

Singing 'That's Amore' during the service

Gorgeous photo, with Will's Uncle Phil leading the ceremony

Confetti was dried delphinium petals mixed in with rose petals from both parents gardens - what a lovely idea

Italian antipasti served buffet style was washed down with bellinis and prosecco

Adorable photo of nieces and flower girls Iris, Beatrice and Flora, aren't their headbands sweet?

The Happy Couple

Natasha says: 
I’ve always loved those strings of lights that you see in Italian piazzas, and had set my heart on having them at the wedding! They made the garden look magical, and dancing under the stars is one of my favourite memories from the day.

And to finish, nearly,  is Natasha's favourite photo, showing a reaction to best man Harry's hilarious speech. Will hides sheepishly behind his shades and Natasha looks like she's learnt something new about her new hubby!

And to close, my favourite image. They look so happy (and not unlike movie stars!) and excited about the adventure and new journey they are embarking on as husband and wife, love it.

What a stunning wedding. Elton Mogg did a beautiful job of capturing the sunshine and love that filled the day. It's got me super excited about a Tuscan wedding we're off to next month.
Thanks Natasha and Will for sharing your day with us!

PS. If you are having a sneaky peek at Elton Mogg's website while at work, turn the sound off your computer. I don't want you to get caught by the boss checking out all the fab images!

                          Monday, 22 August 2011

                          The House of Tammam

                          Welcome to a new week, some of you will recognise one of these dresses coming up from a past Friday Finds. These beauties are for the brides out there who want an eco and ethically aware dress for their big day without compromising on style. 
                          Inspired by the glamour of the 1930s the House of Tammam create fairly traded, ethically produced, sustainable, vegetarian and environmentally friendly gowns. The collection below includes the use of peace silks, organic cottons and hand-crafted vintage lace. What more good could us 'green' types want?

                          Gorgeous and simple 'Banana'

                          Check out the sleeves on 'Bustle'

                          Halter heaven in 'Sophie'

                          Vintage Glam in 'Lilly'

                          Fabulous full skirt on 'Kate'

                          My personal favourite 'Zipora'

                          Find your perfect eco-chic dress at the House of Tammam site. What do you think folks? Which would be your favourite? I cannot get enough of Zipora...too much for a 30th birthday do we think??