Friday 27 April 2012

FRIDAY I'M IN LOVE: QBride rounds up this week's loveliness

What a wash-out week! For those of you who've missed the kidnapping of springtime, here's a little Friday wedding-style shot of sunshine and shiny things to chase those (grey) clouds away...

This time last year, we were all collectively sighing and tearing up over the Royal Wedding - the only time the team at Quintessentially Weddings have been so moved since was at that John Lewis advert. A wedding that was true, romantic, with just the right nod to nostalgia, and oh, that lace. Thanks Kate, for giving us demure, fantastical lace back and to Mary Portas for carrying on surely the prettiest crusade. Get in on the lacy action with this beautiful number, Bella by Monique Lhuillier Bliss at Browns Bride.

Getting ready to start my bridal bucket list with a trip to see illustrious make-up artist Karen Beadle who has made up the likes of Kate Beckinsale and Thandi Newton.

Be that girl with the golden touch. Remember Kate Moss' frock? Well, (whisper it) this is the high-octane verison I'd fight tooth and nail with you for to rock that aisle in. Dress, price on application, Roberto Cavalli.

Starting to think about wedding music with my love, I still can't quite get over the idea of twirling around to this as our first dance. Gets me going every time.

Love the idea of little maids lined up in these oh, so pretty dresses from

Ridiculously lovely cakes from Rosalind Miller

On a scale of one to ten, these are off the richter. We love them covering coral for breezy beach weddings, flower heads and vintage treasures for table centrepieces. Glass bell jar, £28 from

I can't, and I literally mean can't get over how beautiful the pictures of Jonas Peterson are. Thank you to my lovely friend and aspiring wedding photographer Emma Butcher (who is now on Pinterest!) for introducing me.

Happy weekend, lovely ones!

Tuesday 24 April 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: The best of Bridal Fashion Week

Any wedding planner worth their salt will tell you - the dress is at the heart of the wedding. Not just as a once-in-a-lifetime beautiful take on the fairytale all grown up, nor simply as all eyes will be on you in your dreamy frock (before very likely shedding a few tears), but as the linchpin of the style, mood and feeling of the big day itself. Lace will inform the flowers, skirts of spun sugar speak of pure fantasy and romance, sleek chic styles inspire clean, fresh lightness but can equally carry pops of colour, gold and fantastical detail to contrast to such simplicity.

Which is why this past week's New York Bridal Fashion Week is such a treasure trove of wedding inspiration, and why I'm so excited by all of the wedding style it will surely translate into! This is about so much more than just the dress or one big swoon: after all, choosing your dress comes down to a matter of gut instinct, feeling and heart - a little like falling in love and finding your 'one' (you know, that lucky chap you're going to marry). Prepare to fall head over heels many times over, and whilst you're at it - find your wedding style, too.

Like an exploded glitter ball smattered over the sheerest silk voile topped sweetheart bodice, Monique Lhuillier's Spring/Summer 2013 collection played out every bridal fantasy.

We loved the sweetheart styles cinched with a stiffened bow at the waist and the whipped cream folds of puffed skirt dresses paired with either a low-cut gilt-beaded lace bodice with bracelet sleeves or a strapless gathered style.

Blush rose-point lace fishtail gowns and a nod to the demure trend kick-started by a certain Royal bride last year (as also seen at Oscar de la Renta and Amsale in sweet lace cap-sleeves) also marked these dresses out as ones we would fight tooth and nail for.

Oh, Oscar! You had us at hello with what can only be described as dresses that make the heart stop.

From siren trumpet silhouettes with pulled tulle detail and tulle capes no less, to little Chanel-esque natty suits straight from the Betty Draper and Grace Kelly style book, or Oscar's trademark princess-line ballgowns with their teeny tiny bodices erupting into lashings of millefeuille skirts: every dress made my head spin with moodboards before the bride had reached the end of the catwalk.

One jaw-dropper gown of forget-me-not blue tulle pannier skirts framing a tiny guipure lace worn by a model who resembled a young Liv Tyler (which helps every time) should come with a warning to asthmatic guests, it's that likely to take the breath away.

Carolina Herrera kept it pure American Sweetheart in her pretty, feminine way with one-shouldered  and strapless evening gown styles in Duchess silk satin or matt taffeta with fluted skirts through to those classic, lovely ballgown dresses she's known for.

Dispelling once and for all the belief that brides can only wear white, Vera Wang has been shaking up bridal wear with increasingly grand and startlingly gorgeous hues. For her Spring/Summer 2013 outing, she showcased dresses in (wait for it) jewel like crimson, velvety plum, red straight from a Velasquez portrait and deep ruby.

If you're a truly free-spirited bride, this is one knockout way to rock the aisle, and are actually surprisingly wearable and not an inch short of the bridal fairytale when it came to style, cut and Vera's signature romance of texture in flange skirts, clouds of the finest honeycomb tulle, horsehair stiffened architectural flourishes and Chantilly lace applique.

But the good news is, these beauties are also available in ivory and traditional white too, and lose none of their impact or supernova style. Oscar de la Renta also showed a scarlet gown featuring ladders of silk against gauzy tulle layers, as did Romona Keveza too.

Which are your favourite big apple bridal styles? And what wedding visions do they inspire in you? We'd love to know....

Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera stocked in the UK at Browns Bride

Friday 20 April 2012

FRIDAY, I'M IN LOVE: QBride rounds up this week's loveliness...

Rather later in the day than I'd hoped (but just in time for the weekend!) here's all the ideas, ravishing frocks and inspirations I've fallen head over heels for this week...

Why not get your something new and blue in one beautiful Oscar de la Renta package?
(At a push, you could claim that there's enough Golden-age of couture Dior references in this number to render it your something old, too...)

I'd like tonnes of these vases, candlesticks and pretty decor accessories from here, please to dress my tables

Revisiting this beautiful, rock and roll wedding

With 5 months to go until the big day, this weekend I'll be getting onto the invites double quick, with a little help - or should that be intimidation, it's all so incredible? - from the hands of Paul Antonio

Starting to think about the bridal beauty battle-plan, I'll be trying a hit list haul from John Lewis of the new Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator, Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask and some Creme de la Mer goodies. It's what I like to think of as investment beauty-banking...

Gearing up for a forthcoming wedding here

Finally getting pinning on my personal and company Pinterest pages...I know, I know - but that old adage about better late than never.

And mostly eating little heart-shaped Neufchatel cheeses from Sourced Market (all in the name of cheese-cake research, you understand). Nom nom nom.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday 18 April 2012

SHE SELLS SANCTUARY: Daylesford's Hay Barn Spa

No pain without gain goes the saying: but after months of surprisingly arduous and - as you lovely regular readers of this blog will know - at times bruising wedding planning I find that some real TLC is in order. Not just a generous glass of wine having cracked the whip over the wedmin again, or a slab of mum's finest cake post negotiating like a fiend (all in a bid to shave a few pounds from the budget that's so overstretched, it's practically Lycra).

Oh no, I'm talking restorative, fortifying, recharge-your-batteries-to-Duracell-bunny-standard soothing. The kind that can only come from the Hay Barn Spa. The setting alone is placating, nestled among the rolling hills and vales of lovely green Englishness that are the Cotswolds.
I'll confess a little something here, but prior to my time as a bride, I was a spa novitiate. I'd barely stepped in a sauna, let alone one of these temples of calm I'd heard so many effusive things said about. But the further into planning our wedding I've gone, juggling the day job and stresses so many brides shoulder the more I've felt this unmet need for something more. And a whole jumble of new knots across my back that have me hunched and aching, too. So I decided to listen to the sage advice of my pro wedding planning peers, who urged me to head to a spa, pronto.

Under pressure: stress gets a good seeing to.
Thank goodness I did, because my therapist's way with shiatsu energy massage and healing hands worked near miracles. In just 60 minutes, she had pinpointed precisely where the trouble lay (shoulders like a board, apparently) and pushed every last inch of tension out from me. She seemed to intuit my mood, and eased me into the treatment with warm, light conversation and assurances that the wedding would turn out just fine, she could tell - and this was before she'd even touched on my rock-like back, made rigid with all the planning that would get me such lovely nuptials. Using botanical infused aromatherapy oils - the herbs and flowers plucked from local farms - she swept and palmed, rhythmically kneading away that worn-out, yet bristling feeling I hadn't been able to shake. I won't pretend it was always the comfiest of massages, but needs must and it certainly packed a calming punch. My head felt clearer than it had done in weeks, and there was a new lightness in the way I moved, freer perhaps than I had ever been.

A quick stop off at the Daylesford farmshop and its infamous room of cheese later (worth a visit for alone) and I skipped back to my wedmin a bride refreshed and raring to go.

Upper-body massage - £65 (60 minutes) at the Hay Barn Spa.
Book yours at or call +44(0)1608 731 703

So, what are your Keep Calm and Wedmin On tricks? We'd love to know....

Monday 16 April 2012


Today we have a whole lot of pretty thanks to the lovely team (and Nell!) at Fast becoming a go-to for everything wedding, they house everything from unique personalised stationery to wedding cakes, those pom poms that fill a room with bountiful texture, wedding dresses and more innovative favours than you can shake a stick at....

If you’re a bride-to-be I would find it very hard to believe that you haven’t turned to the wedding blog world for wedding inspiration (well, you must have… you’re reading this!). Cyberspace is literally brimming with wedding ideas, keeping brides to be up to date with the newest wedding trends, DIY creations, unique suppliers and a plethora of wedding pretty, in the form of brides that have been there, done that and tied the knot.
There is nothing we like better than sitting back and admiring every aspect of other peoples’ wedding days. It’s the real wedding features that really make it genuine and bring the seemingly endless wedding to-do list and wedding mood boards to life. The most real thing of all is that this inspirational and very enjoyable activity doesn’t actually get anything done, planned, bought or styled! May I be so bold as to say: this is where I like to think we come in!
A brief history… is an award-winning online marketplace that was founded in 2006 by Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish. They dreamt of creating a beautifully-designed virtual marketplace for shoppers to browse and buy from a wide range of constantly updated, innovative and well-made products. Most importantly, though, they wanted to create an environment to support small creative British businesses.
Our offering of beautiful wedding styling products came about completely organically and continues to
grow and develop as each new seller joins us and as our current creative talents develop their products in-line with wedding trends. This is how we ensure our styling offering - whether it’s wedding stationery, favours, decorations, wedding props, bridesmaid fashion, jewellery or wedding party thank you gifts - caters to a multitude of tastes and wedding budgets and remains fresh, unique and personal.

Carnival Fair tickets from
£3 for 50 tickets
Wish tickets from
£8 for 100 tickets

These fun, original reels of paper tickets would make beautiful favours, place names or table decorations (clipped to wine glasses as place names, draped around a colourful floral centre pieces, attached to a table plan or tied to chairs).
They are versatile products, both in purpose and with what sort of wedding theme they are implored to bring to life; vintage, retro or country garden. They cater to different wedding budgets and also lend themselves to wedding-DIY beautifully. This sort of item can be used in DIY-wedding invitations (for less hands-on brides, you could just slip a ticket inside the envelope for each guest – no glue required!) and then in styling on the actual day, helping you to weave your theme and style through every aspect of your wedding.

Little Brown Favour Bags from

These personalised favour bags come in sets of ten, equating to just £1.50 each. You can fill them with anything your heart desires; from penny sweets to rose petals or small token gifts.
Alphabet hearts from
These personalised rustic heart favours come in so many colours! It would be impossible not to find a shade that wouldn’t make the perfect match for your wedding day. Priced at £4.50 they are a favour and token of the day that each guest can keep and cherish.

Personalised name badge favours from
These badge favours are great for couples looking for simple, budget-friendly, original favour ideas. Not only will guests love to wear and takeaway their own personalised, vintage-inspired name badge but they will also help to merge and introduce new family and friends. The badges can also act as place settings too - pretty and practical.

Love Birds personalised Save the Date cards from
These vintage inspired ‘Love Birds’ save the date cards are only 85p each. Personalise with your wedding details for a lovely gem embellished card to tell your guests when your special day will be.

Festival Flowers personalised stationery from
These invites are designed with a festival theme in mind and would be perfect for a sunny summer wedding. Priced at £2.60 this includes the RSVP cards too.
Paula contemporary invites from
Announce details of your wedding day in style with these contemporary, stylish yet quirky wedding invitations priced at £75 for 30. This modern design can be adapted to match you colour theme and include your own choice of wording.

We believe that the finishing touches are integral in creating a pretty, unique and ‘blog-worthy-wedding’. The finishing touches are about getting creative and sprinkling a bit of your personalities on your wedding day – it’s where you can make it ‘you’, the new collective, plural ‘you’. The original finishing touches you choose not only make for a beautiful, personal day but they are very much about guests’ experience too.
Vintage-style wedding direction signs, £39 each from
Personalised wedding favour mini bags £2.50 each from
Tiny beach hut label holders, perfect for place names or sweets stations! £5 each from
So, go forth and find finishing touches that define you and the kind of wedding pretty you want for your wedding day. The best advice we can give is to use magazines and wedding blogs as inspiration, but don’t let them and the choices other people have made mark out your planning path. A wedding is about the joining of two people in love who want to spend the rest of their lives together, so don’t forget to infuse parts of your personality or life experiences together into your special day so it truly becomes a celebration about the two of you.

Thank you lovely Nell and the team at - see their blog for my guest post HERE

Tuesday 3 April 2012

LET THERE BE LIGHT Six months wedmin to go!

Oh, time! You haven't been kind. You've made me neglect this blog, and our lovely readers - what's more, you've tricked me out of my wedmin duties with all of this wedding book writing, house renovations (thank you, This is Glamorous - I love you, but I lose so many minutes gazing wistfully at your stylish bounty that it's getting to be a bad habit) and this so called life filled with planning and styling other people's weddings. Not that I don't adore it really, but how about playing nice?
The (nearly) naked truth about wedding planning - it's tough! Image courtesy Elizabeth Messina
I've been yearning to get back into organising our September nuptials, creeping up in just 5 months and 19 days encounting. But I've fallen so far behind the wedding planning juggernaut I'm not really sure where to start again. I'm supposed to have confirmed all of the biggies by this point, started a course of facials to look after my stressed out skin, found the bridesmaids outfits, chosen the flowers... I suspect many brides (and grooms) feel like this at some point, where you just want a wand-wielding type to rescue you. The idea of just letting it be the ramshackle wedding our lack of coherent plotting no doubt deserves has never been more appealing. If guests are well-fed, well-watered, in fairly idyllic (but bare) surroundings and I've got a fabulous frock on, surely that will suffice?

But then I saw the light. Thanks to the lovely, lovely work of Aneta Mak and Elizabeth Messina, I got a grip. Yes, wedding planning is so much tougher than anyone ever tells you it will be; perhaps because the end result is so dazzling, a veritable wedding planning amnesia-come-blackout descends post the big day. But it is also the closest most of us get to breathing life into our dreams and revelling in this magical little thing called love.

So when I found myself postponing the planning yet again with more distracting flitting around my favourite wedding blogs, a chance click onto the ravishing Reverie website (if you haven't visited, then do, it's like a one-hit wonder of everything that makes weddings so special, swoony and heart-stopping beautiful) made for a eureka moment. This wasn't going to happen by itself. And having as amazing a wedding day as we possibly can imagine and make happen on our shoestring budget does matter. As a testament to my Love's and my romance that spans nine years, the odd bit of star-crossing I like to think, and general air fist-pump in celebration of our love. It is the best excuse in the world to play out every last fantasy we've ever had (including my arriving by a classic Bond-girl worthy Aston Martin DB6 from, with tin cans and bells on!). I encourage you to do likewise: the situation, your wedding, positively demands it.

Whenever you feel lost in wedmin or wedding not-so-wonderland, just look at this treasure trove from Elizabeth and Aneta Mak for inspiration. There's light at the end of the tunnel.

So, how are you feeling DIY planning brides and grooms? I'd love to me at [email protected] (and this isn't just another ruse to get out of the wedmin, promise)
Aneta Mak...
A Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall catered green-wedding - what's not to love? Images kind courtesy of

Now that's what I'm talking about. Crazy, beautiful love.