Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Mood Montage: Secret Garden

[click on image to enlarge]

As we're into the summer season now, I decided to design a warm and natural colour scheme, loosely based on the Midsummer Night's Dream wedding at the weekend.
I imagined an informal, relaxed and bohemian affair with a reception in a large marquee in a meadow or private gardens somewhere. Warm oranges and peach work beautifully within the flowers along side a sage green colour which could be picked up somewhere in your cake with a ribbon or your napkins.
Billowy David Austin roses, olive leaves and lavender would work beautifully for a floral scheme.
Soft lighting is key in creating this soft look and I always love the usage of paper lanterns strung from the ceiling for this. Utilize the structural poles in the marquee by winding soft tulle or ribbon around them with fairy lights.
Imagine soft cream tablecloths laid with chintz patterned crockery, gold cutlery and vanilla scented tea lights glowing in mini jam jars. 
The bridesmaids could wear light and summery printed maxi dresses, teamed with jewelled gold sandals and dressed up with vintage jewellery. Younger bridesmaids and page boys could wear cream cotton outfits with sage green satin or velvet sashes.
As the party moves into the evening there is an area with hay bales rugs and large scattered cushions to relax and recline on...a real haven in a secret garden.

Top Row: Burnt orange bouquet: Housemartin Inspired Home and Floral Blog, Rose Place Setting: Instyle Weddings, Paper Lanterns: Brides Magazine US
Middle Row: Model wearing Claire Pettibone: Brides Magazine US, Cream maxi dress with butterfly print: Frocks Online, Floating rustic rose centrepiece: Martha Stewart Living
Bottom Row: Page boy and flower girl in Little Bevan at Brides Magazine, Port Sunlight rose: David Austin Roses, Mini tea lights with olive leaf wreaths: Martha Stewart Living, Lily of the Valley stationery: Cartalia at You and Your Wedding

The Menu: Wartime Fare

Image taken from 20th Century Sparks

This week I wanted to take the time to talk about the bride on a budget and how to realize the perfect day without breaking the bank-and what with the credit crunch, it's always good to be savvy. 

When I plan a vintage wedding for a client, one of the best ways to draw from the era is to bring those elements into the menu-what was popular to eat at the time? how was the meal served and at what time etc.

The 1940s is an absolutely fascinating time from many different view points. As a keen cook, I love to read and try the various recipes the 40s housewife made in her kitchen during rationing. The period of rationing spanned from 1940 to 1954 and all meat and dairy products were heavily restricted with a weekly adult allowance of:

100g of bacon, ham and other meats
50g cheese and butter
3 pints of milk
225g sugar
1 egg a week (dried was also available in packets)
50g of tea

I could go on but you can get an idea of what they were up against in the kitchen. The best part of the war effort on the food front however, was the sheer abundance of fruit and vegetables which weren't rationed and therefore you could 'Dig for Victory' and eat as much as you liked. 

Image taken from Home Sweet Homefront

The numbers of couples marrying increased between 1939 and 1945, indicating that life was lived for the moment in very uncertain times. Weddings were kept incredibly simple (often arranged at the drop of a hat) and receptions were kept to a small celebration, perhaps with a little cake and wine. 

If you want to inject a 40s feel into your wedding breakfast, you needn't stick exactly to the rationing rules, rather take inspiration from it. If you can find it, get hold of a copy of Marguerite Pattern's 'We'll Eat Again' published in association with the Imperial War Museum. Packed full of popular recipes and government advice, you really are spoilt for choice and what works well is that everything is easily achievable on a shoe string-perfect for the budget bride.

Opt for a V.E Day style street party with a finger buffet. A typical party for adults and children would include:

A selection of sandwiches-cheese and dates, cheese and carrot and egg mayonnaise.
Cakes, tarts and biscuits-ginger honey buns, chocolate cake.
Jellies, trifle and sometimes ice cream.
Beer, cider and orange and lemon squash.
Good old fashioned tea!

Tea party wedding receptions are really popular at the moment with this explosion of vintage. They allow your guests to mingle and chat while indulging in the communal act of eating and the abundance of choice means there's something for everyone. Collect or hire vintage china, hang some bunting and choose some floral or lace tablecloths to decorate your tables.

I hope you've found this piece inspiring enough to help with your own wedding plans!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Wedding News: Leah Woods and Jack Macdonald Marry!

Well. They kept this one quiet! Leah Woods, daughter of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, married her sweetheart of 11 years, TV producer Jack Macdonald yesterday.

The ceremony was held at Southwark Cathedral, attended by the usual red carpet selection including Kate Moss (apparently arriving 10 minutes later than everyone else...)

Leah chose a rather formal, glamorous gown with a 1970s/pre Raphaelite touch. Rather reminds me of what a friend of my mother's wore on her wedding day in 1977 (click here)
It's nice to see a bride wearing a juliet cap, there just aren't enough of these around anymore.
Still, I love the combination of blush roses, purple lisianthus and what looks like orange blossom in her hand tied bouquet. I was also pleased to read that her mother, Jo Woods (a keen organic gardener and cook) made sure the wedding fare was all organic and environmentally friendly. Their reception was held at the family home in Kingston and was based on a Midsummer Nights Dream theme...I feel another mood montage coming on!!!

Please Note: All images are taken from the Daily Mail website.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Mood Montage: Blue Mood

[click image to enlarge]

Blue and purple is set to be huge this summer whether it be flowers, table wear or bridesmaids dresses. In fact, I loved the combination of blue so much, we're using it for our own wedding this summer-can't wait to show you the photos!
Be really bold and make the most of the rich, deep blues and purples available. You can create an opulent feel using touches of bronze and gold if you wish-taking inspiration from the peacock feathers. 
The bride wears a stunning dress by David Fielden (one of my favourite designers) with lace shoulder detailing and layers of tulle. The dress is simple yet ethereal and would look incredible next to a bridal party dressed in peacock blue silk. 

Top Row: Hydrangea wreath: Martha Stewart Living, Purple anemone cake: The Knot, Bride wearing David Fielden at Brides Magazine
Middle Row: Bridesmaids in blue: Instyle Weddings, Blue escort card display Martha Stewart Living
Bottom Row: Lilac and blue rose cake: The Knot, Peacock feather buttonhole: The Knot, Table setting: The Knot

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Vintage Suppliers: The Utterly Sexy Cafe

All this talk of delicious cupcakes at the weekend got me thinking about the Utterly Sexy Cafe. When I'm looking for a cake maker for a client, I always look for a great eye for design, excellent reputation and a real imagination. Where vintage suppliers are concerned, Amanda Baird, founder of Utterly Sexy ticks all those boxes for me.
When you first meet her, she is full of bohemian charm-I imagine she'd be an incredibly cool mum to have (if I'm allowed to say so!) Her style is vibrantly kitsch with a sugar soft touch appealing to brides of all vintage tastes. 

The Kissing Songbird Cake

A cake making-vintage china hiring-catering company (phew!) The Utterly Sexy Cafe cover all aspects of your vintage wedding. I first contacted Amanda right at the beginning of our engagement before we launched to ask about the possibility of having her make our wedding cake. Unfortunately we had to decline as they are based in Wiltshire and too far from us which is a shame. Since then we've stayed in touch from time to time but it was only in February of this year when I finally got to meet her at the Designer Wedding Show. Of course, the meeting was brief as (as expected) her gorgeous stand which was draped in bunting and lined with some breathtaking cake creations was absolutely swamped with brides!

         Petit Fours and Jewel Box Cake with Fairy Cake Tower

Not being one to shy away from a piece of cake, I have to say some of the flavours on offer are to die for, from fresh tangy lemon (perfect for a summer wedding) to a very exotic Earl Grey and Cardamom with orange flower water butter cream. What I really love though, is the skill that goes into making all those sugar flowers and hand painted details. Brides and grooms are looking for a more personal touch where their cakes are concerned, much as Rachel and Jon did with their cupcakes and this is a perfect way to do it.

Rose Posy Cake

Anyhow, for any brides hunting for sets of teacups, cake stands, bunting-the list is endless, make sure you look up Utterly Sexy. Keep an eye out on the website for those catering menus too, I can't even begin to describe how delicious they sound!

Thanks Amanda!

Please Note: All images are taken from the Utterly Sexy Cafe website.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Real Weddings: Monochromatic Glamour

I had a wonderful day coordinating Rachel and Jon's wedding at the St Julians Club in Sevenoaks yesterday! Just over a month ago whilst chatting to a mutual friend (also their bridesmaid) she mentioned the couple's plans for a June wedding and that they were struggling on top of their very hectic working lives. So, I offered my services to help them get back on track and ready for the big day-and what a stunning day it was.

Here are some unofficial snaps taken before the wedding party arrived at the reception...

Rachel (a graphic designer) put together a striking theme of black and white , using black ribbon to tie round the napkins, black candles in silver candelabra and gorgeous white and cream roses with lisianthus in their arrangements, provided by Karen Warrior at Wild Thyme Flowers.

As the couple were big jazz lovers, they named their tables after their favourite artists-Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz being amongst them. The stationery, designed and produced by Rachel herself, was very classy with table names and place cards in matt black with names and a floral motif in white. 

The groom's very talented mother spent a lot of time making the stunning cupcake tower which the couple cut after the wedding breakfast. With vanilla, chocolate and carrot flavoured cupcakes, there was something for everyone and I have to say they smelt incredible!

The St Julians Club boasts a beautiful conservatory with a huge structure of wisteria, supported and hung from the ceiling. In the evening the heady scent of the vine filled the room and a soft hum of bees could be heard as the band, Ark Cubanos, struck up for the first dance.

I look forward to being able to show you some of the official photos, shot by Ian Whitington at Juliette Harrison Photography very soon. He played a blinder yesterday being everywhere at once for those perfect shots-thanks Ian!

A big thank you also goes to the staff at St Julians. The club is a family run venue and has been in the family since the 1950s, so it was a real pleasure to work with the family and their fantastic staff who really worked their socks off to create a truly magical day.

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Webb!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Real Weddings: East Meets West Chic

Eleena and Richard came to me last spring for some inspiration for their Spring 2008 wedding and were very keen to have an East Meets West theme to honour Eleena's Indian heritage and their love of Yorkshire!

I was so excited to be able to work with them during their planning as, having never planned a Hindu and civil ceremony together before, their wedding was set to be a truly colourful day. 

The design process was one full of possibility with a wealth of stunning colours to choose from and Gisborough Hall in North Yorkshire being the perfect backdrop. 

We opted for tropical flowers such as Bird of Paradise, Gloriosa and Calla Lillies and Cymbidium Orchids finished off with rich Peacock feathers. Eleena chose to pick out the blue of the peacock feathers in the bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen's ties which worked beautifully.

Luckily, we were blessed with some beautiful weather over the weekend in May which allowed for the Hindu ceremony to be held outside.

What I loved about this couple was their unconventional approach to their day-it was completely their style. Their theme was symbolic of the joining of their two families and their evening entertainment 'The Nerds'-a brilliant Indie band, played the couple's favourite tracks they loved at university, with Pulp's 'Something Changed' being their first dance.

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Bretton!