Real Wedding: Victoria & Paddy’s Rustic Garden Party Wedding

I think I must spend about 99.9% of my life wishing it was summer. Sure, all the other seasons are great in their own way, but summer is definitely where it’s at for me. Especially when there’s a wedding involved.

For some reason, this summer was probably the busiest and, dare I say it, prettiest I have seen in the three years I’ve been styling weddings. And Victoria and Paddy’s day was no exception to this unwritten 2014 rule – not only was it set in one of the most beautiful locations EVER, but everything about it was so unbelievably on point – the flowers, the food, the dress, the marquee. Even the weather was on side.

The couple’s brief for the day was a relaxed garden party with a rustic twist – think picnic blankets, apple crates and vintage crockery mixed with gorgeous, hand tied bunches of wild looking flowers, favours wrapped in kraft paper and Victoria sponges all round. The colour palate of mint green, lilac, purple and blue complemented the whole theme perfectly. And don’t even get me started on the moss table runners or stunning paisley-esque print on the roof of the marquee; I died several times over looking at it all that day.

Big thank you to Jenny from Bellaboo and Beau for having me tag along again and get my hands dirty (quite literally – we were sweating perspiring like there was no tomorrow) with this one, it was a total beauty…

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Just how stunning is this wedding? As usual, my attempts at capturing it don’t do it nearly enough justice, so if you want all the extra details about the dress, bridesmaids, food, speeches and even how the couple’s dog, Reggie, got in on the act then head on over to Boho Weddings, who were kind enough to feature it in all its beautiful, rustic glory this week. (And if all of that wasn’t enough to lure you in then there’s also a totally epic pair of shoes – a pair that were, in fact, very nearly my own wedding shoes of choice!)

A big thank you must also go to these super suppliers (and some of our most favourite wedding chums!):

Rebecca Dougals Photography

Joanne Truby Floral Designs

LPM Bohemia

 

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9 ideas for an Autumn wedding

There’s just something about an Autumn wedding. And, strangely, there’s just something about purple at the moment. And eucalyptus. And wreaths made of berries. And teeny tiny little gold pumpkins. I could go on and on about how much I love an Autumn wedding, or I could simply sum it up like this and let the pictures do the talking…

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1. I’m swooning over bouquets like this at the minute. All dreamy flowers and long ribbons. Amazing!

2. Burgandy. Yep. I used to hate it too. But now it’s the stuff my Autumnal wedding dreams are made of. Perfect for grooms or ushers.

3. That table. That stationary. THAT GOLD CUTLERY. I need it, I need it all.

4. Purple. A colour that can so easily go wrong. Unless it’s done right. And these bridesmaids are SO right.

5. I’m majorly lusting over plain white wedding cakes at the moment. All covered in buttercream and dripping in foliage, just like this one.

6.  A tiny gold pumpkin. That is all.

7. If I could trust myself long enough not to eat this within 10 minutes then I’d be nailing one on my door ASAP. Sadly, I don’t.

8. I adore this idea for decorating the Bride and Groom’s chairs at the wedding breakfast, so unique!

9. Lace, orange roses, feathery foliage and ribbon everywhere; perfect bridal styling for Autumn.

Vintage wedding flowers: teacup blooms

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So after three years of constantly swooning over every bouquet, buttonhole and centrepieces I’ve laid eyes on through my work in the wedding industry (and possibly annoying several florists in the process with my, um, constant questions), I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and get some proper floristry training. It’s become more than an addiction for me now, and seeing flowers just isn’t enough anymore – I want to be the one brining them to life!

However, my course doesn’t start until January 2015. And even though I know the time will fly by, it still seems like WAY too long to wait. So when I heard that a branch of St. Michael’s Hospice close to me was holding a vintage fair last weekend, and that as part of the fair there would be vintage flower arranging workshops, I was there. With big flowery bells on.

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It goes without saying that St. Michael’s Hospice is just an incredible organisation. I’ve long supported their work and they are by far one of the best and most influential fundraisers in the area. Their Fabulously Vintage Fair was more than a testament to that. But anyway, back to the flowers…

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I arrived just after 11am and joined the first workshop of the day (there were 2 in total, both focusing on arranging flowers inside vintage crockery). After a brief introduction, the workshop kicked off with a demonstration from one of the two florists on hand…

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At this point, I panicked slightly; a LOT more work goes into these arrangements than I’d first anticipated. It’s all about colour, composition and contrast – your blooms need to all be different, yet still be able to work together at the same time. Which sounds ridiculously easy, in theory.

Next up, it was our turn. We chose our teacups carefully and were guided through the best way to work with oasis. And then we were pretty much off. Here’s how mine turned out…

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And back at home, here’s how it looked in the kitchen. Considering this was my first ever attempt at something like this, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. And although I do work with faux flowers a lot at work, working with fresh flowers is a completely different ball game. The great thing about this is that once you’ve got the knack of styling the flowers in the teacup, the same principals can be applied to styling them in pretty much anything else – jam jars, teapots, vintage vases, etc. My house will never be the same again.

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Want to create something similar? Here’s what I learnt:

1. Foliage is your best friend. And the key to holding this particular look together. We were advised that to make something like this, you need roughly 3 different types of foliage.

2. Condition your flowers. And your foliage. Anything you cut or buy should be soaked for 24 hours before you arrange it.

3. Same goes for the wet oasis. Ideally, soak it for 24 hours before using, but if time’s particularly tight then just a couple of hours in a sink full of water should suffice.

4. Invest in a decent pair of sharp scissors. Everything you use should be cut at an angle before it’s inserted into the oasis as this increases the surface area of the stem, allowing more water to be absorbed.

5. With this type of arrangement, you need to start with the foliage and build it around the edges. Make sure when you insert it that it’s at an angle and pointing in towards the centre, not dead upright.

6. Cut your stems short. Even if you think it’s a crime against flowers, it needs to be done.

7. Once the foliage is in, choose your main flower. I chose a white rose for mine, to complement the white on the teacup. Insert the main flower next and then build around that with your smaller, supporting flowers. Choose around 3 flowers, all in contrasting colours, or colours which match the crockery you’re working with.

8. If you have to, remove some petals from larger blooms. It’ll shorten their lifespan slightly, but will keep size more manageable.

9. Remember not to make something of this size too round – vintage teacups are so small that you need to keep the height in proportion.

10. Once all your flowers are in, check to make sure all the oasis is covered. Add in extra foliage where there are any gaps. Give your arrangement one last drink of water and keep topping up every other day to ensure it lasts (something like this should last roughly a week, give or take the conditions you expose it to).

 

Thank you so much to St. Michael’s Hospice for organising such a thoughtful and interesting workshop, I loved every minute of it!

Charley & Pete’s Spanish Fiesta Wedding at High Hurstwood Village Hall

 

 

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The end of the wedding season always brings with its some mixed feelings; on the one hand, sleep can become a regular part of my weekends again. On the other, I know I’m going to miss the mad rush and excitement of it all. This year’s season flew by faster than any other I’ve ever experienced. It’s been total madness. And while I’m mourning the end of it in one way, I’m also reeling from being able to go out on one MASSIVE last high.

If you’ve been reading for any length of time then you’ll know that for the past year or so I’ve worked closely with Jenny from Bellaboo and Beau on several wedding-related projects – we’ve styled shoots that have ended up gracing the pages of Love My Dress, Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and Rock ‘n Roll Bride, as well as making and creating all sorts of quirky things for real life brides who want something that little bit more unique and untraditional. And Charley and Pete, Jenny’s last official summer ’14 clients, were no exception.

The brief for this wedding was really simple – bright, colourful and fun. Charley wanted to capture the essence of a Spanish street fair with lots of food (paella), lots of drink (Sangria) and LOTS of dancing. And man, if I could have been an actual guest at any of this year’s weddings, this one would have been it.

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Amazing! You can read more about the creative process behind Charley and Pete’s big day over on Jenny’s website here, where she explains how the overall look came together. Here’s to summer 2015!

Ashlee Simpson’s wedding: it’s rocking my world

Yep. Whilst anyone and everyone is seemingly swooning over Angelina Jolie’s wedding dress today (or not, as the case may be – talk about the Marmite of the wedding dress world), I for one was mostly dying a thousand little deaths over THIS lady’s epic wedding:

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Oh Ashlee Simpson, how I love thee. She made an beautiful bride the first time round (gothic Alice in Wonderland amazingness, in case you’d forgotten), but this time? There are no words. It’s THAT good. I can’t get over how beautiful her wedding was – and I love everything about it: from the white bridesmaids dresses and beautiful all-white blooms, right through to her daring lace two-piece gown. And don’t even get me started on that headpiece. I want.

If I were to do it all again then a white colour palate would totally be on my radar. And in an Ode to Ashlee, here’s what I’d be dreaming of…

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1. Hippy style headpiece

2. Maids all in white

3. White lace two-piece gown

4. Wild blooms

5. Dream catchers in trees

6. Wooden tables with floral runners

7. Mismatched white flowers in vintage bottles

 

 

Jo & Dom’s Retro Wedding at The George in Rye

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For as long as I can remember, Rye has always been a popular place – come summer or winter, people seem to flock here. And for the most part I’m actually semi-oblivious to the quirkiness and charm of the town, seeing as I live here and all. But one thing I haven’t failed to notice is just how popular our biggest hotel, The George in Rye, has become in recent years. Especially when it comes to weddings.

I’ve been itching to work on styling a wedding here for a long, long time – so naturally when Jenny from Bellaboo and Beau contacted me asking for some help styling a wedding here for one of her couples in July I said a Big Fat Yes.

Jo and Dom were planning a traditional wedding ceremony at St. Mary’s Church in the heart of the town, followed by a reception at The George. They wanted a retro style for their wedding, incorporating Jo’s love of colour and prettiness and Dom’s love of music, so Jenny and I met a couple of times to discuss how to roll both these requirements into one and this is what we came up with…

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So while the Church might have been a traditional setting for their wedding ceremony, Jo and Dom’s specification for decor was not. And I loved it. We started by blowing up six giant helium balloons (much to the vicar’s actual horror) and attaching our hand made tissue paper tassels. These made a beautiful walkway for the bride’s entrance and could later be transported down to the reception – an added bonus.

The ballroom at The George in Rye is stunning. And as the quirky vintage wallpaper in here is so beautiful, decorations can be kept fairly minimal. Jo and Dom’s choice of florist did an amazing job in creating wild, rustic style centrepieces for their day – and we loved how she decorated the mirrors entirely with foliage.

We started in the Benson Room, setting up a confetti pop table and scattering some giant tissue paper flowers around the room to add pops of colour, as well as setting up the Pozaroid photo booth.

In the Ballroom we set up the table plan, which consisted of a vintage gramophone (courtesy of the lovely Frida & Sophia) with a pull out drawer full of old records, onto which was printed the names of each table and the corresponding guests – the idea being that you had to flick through the records to find your table, mimicking the sense of being in an old style record shop.

Once everything inside was perfected, we headed outside to finish off with one of Jo’s quirkier ideas – a gold glitter arrow leading the way from the ceremony to the reception. I’ve seen these on Pinterest a fair bit but have never seen one done in real life – and to be fair there are very few places where this would actually work (especially given that by this time, it was pouring with rain. Glamorous.), but it looked perfect here against the brickwork.

Sometimes, keeping it simple really does work – congratulations Jo and Dom, your wedding looked so perfect!

Honeymooning in Malta

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What no one tells you about getting married is that the best part is yet to come. The honeymoon. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED our wedding and the planning/hours of indecision I put myself through. But those 7 days afterwards where we did absolutely nothing and got drunk every night? Now THAT’S what it’s all about.

This time last year we’d just arrived home from seven days in Gozo, Malta. A completely last minute effort by us (we booked it two days after the wedding. Yep. Really.) but one that was much needed and appreciated after the full-on Week of Wedding we’d just had. And for some reason, I took hardly ANY photos whatsoever for the entire time (and I’ll document anything given the chance – just see my Instagram feed for regular examples of flowers, cats and my dinner). Admittedly I slept solidly for the first 3 days, but I also think I was all photoed out by then and just wanted to experience everything in real life, as opposed to through a camera lens the whole time.

But, in an effort to make sure I do have some kind of record of our honeymoon – and because it’s raining and I actually have nothing better to be doing on what’s supposed to be the last bank holiday of the summer – I’ve put together a little montage of our time in Malta…

champagneWe checked into the Kempinski Spa Hotel after what was officially known as The Longest Flight On Earth. Malta is four hours from England. Except when you have to change flights in Germany, catch a connecting ferry and then take a 2 hour taxi ride. Then it’s 10 hours away. A 15 hour journey from door-to-door – or the ‘snag’ in us getting the 5* luxury hotel for the price that we did, if you will. Man was that champagne needed when we checked in.

Gozo-night-lifeAfter drinking the free champagne we went for dinner at one of the hotel’s onsite restaurants (the Italian one, I think) then wandered into the local town. Tip to anyone else staying in Gozo – if you’re looking for night life then good luck. There is none. We walked into the town centre and found some sort of stand up comedy show going on. Which would have been lovely, had it not been entirely in Maltese.

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Breakfast here was So. Good. Anyone that knows me knows I’m 100% a breakfast person – I HAVE to eat first thing in the morning – however early I wake up. So naturally I loved the fact that there were about 15 different buffet tables all set up with practically any type of food you could imagine. Most mornings I went for some sort of fruit and granola as well as poached eggs, which were cooked to order outside on the patio and brought to your table. Every day the waitresses would bring a different fruit shot to the table as well – I think the one above was watermelon – which was amazing. Everything was so fresh and tasty. And even the tea here was good. On the second day, after breakfast, we walked back into the local town. Firstly to see what we’d missed in the dark (a whole load of nothing) and secondly to stock up on water and snacks for the fridge in our room – a holiday tradition we always weirdly get excited about (geeks). One of the weirdest things about waking up on the second day was waking up to gun fire. Neither of us had a clue what the hell was going on, but apparently every August there’s an annual summer festival in the local town which is celebrated with canon fire, gun fire and fireworks first thing in the morning and late at night. Possibly another reason the room was so cheap for the time of year – waking up with the fear of God pounding through you.

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The second night was Friday night. And so naturally we decided we deserved a night out. And by night out I mean night in, at the hotel, in their wine bar. The previous night we’d stopped in for a quick drink after dinner whilst exploring and somehow the bar man talked us into signing up for their weekly wine tasting night. By wine tasting, we assumed we would literally be tasting the equivalent of a mouthful of wine and, um, spitting it discreetly somewhere. So we went for drinks beforehand. There we were all liquored up and trying to act like we do this sort of stuff all the time when we were shown to our table. And it turned out that not only did we get full glasses of each of the wines we’d be ‘tasting’, but there were seven of them to taste. SEVEN. Needless to say, it got messy. But, looking back, this was by far my favourite night of the honeymoon; there was a band, the wine (which was delicious) was flowing and people kept feeding us cheese. What’s not to love?

Kempinski Hotel

The next few days were pretty much spent eating, sleeping, swimming in the pool and snoozing on our balcony. The food here was amazing; if I could eat mezze every day for every meal then I totally would. And I think every meal I ate every day for a month after our honeymoon was basically this, but a worse version.

MarsalfornoAfter nearly a week of eating, sleeping and fighting each other for the sunniest spot on the balcony, cabin fever started to set in. Don’t get me wrong, the hotel was amazing – there were so many onsite restaurants, cocktail bars, a gym and a spa but one thing we always make a point of when on holiday is getting out and seeing the local sights. And this was no exception. So on our second to last day, we booked ourselves onto one of the hotel’s daily bus trips to Marsalforno, a little fishing town about an hour away from where we were staying. Had we known how beautiful it was here we’d have definitely booked the morning trip and made a day of it. There were lots of bars, restaurants and touristy type shops here but as we only had 4 hours until the bus came back we just walked around for a bit, paddled in the sea and then had a drink and some dinner in one of the street cafes. And where my highlight of the honeymoon was getting trashed on wine on the second night, this was Troy’s. Awkward.

Malta-Sunsets

Without a doubt, the most beautiful thing about Malta was watching the sun rise and set every day from our balcony. I miss waking up to this and just having half an hour outside in the warm air drinking (the-surprisingly-good-for-instant) coffee.

I would, without hesitation, absolutely recommend the Kempinski Spa Hotel in Gozo to any couple considering somewhere a bit different (and a LOT off the beaten track) for their honeymoon, or even just a luxurious break away. I did miss the convenience of having shops and restaurants right there on our doorstep, as we’ve experienced with our other holidays, but as this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I’ll let Troy off on that one. The 15 hour journey each way though? Still a sore point.