Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Eye Candy #4: Emily London

Here's a little gem I tucked away a while ago and rediscovered-Emily London. As a young and fresh designer, Emily is making her mark in the world of millinery, having graduated from the London College of Fashion and worked for the likes of the Royal Family. Her gorgeous ready to wear collections already grace Fenwick stores as well as select London boutiques and with her vintage and contemporary creations, no girl should be without one. I am totally obsessed with pillbox hats right now-perfect for an individual bride or fashion conscious guest, make sure you snap one up quick!

Image Credits:
Top: 1940s vintage applique pillbox
Bottom: Claret twist pillbox with velvet spray
*all taken from Emily-London

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Wedding News: Join The Mailing List

It's always great to hear from any readers out there, so to make sure you're up to date with all the latest news make sure you join the mailing list.

Exclusive to subscribers, you will receive tips, offers and expert advice. Sounds like an opportunity too good to miss eh? 


An Interview with: Antonio Sanzari Wedding Photographer

As a special birthday treat today, I thought I'd share an interview with a good friend of mine, photographer Antonio Sanzari. We met last year while I was looking at photographers for my wedding and he ended up doing the vintage shoot which is now on my website-gorgeous images! 

Tony is quite the whirlwind-hates being idle, is always off shooting interesting subjects (weddings in particular) and more recently has become very popular amongst Miami/LA brides and Asian weddings. What sets him apart from others is the attention to detail, not just in his photography, but in the relationship he builds with his clients...

I really love the unique style of your approach to photography. How would you describe your style to those who aren't familiar with your work?
My style is a fusion of fashion and lifestyle heavily influenced by American photographers who keep things more edgy and contemporary  than the traditional wedding images. My brides tend to book me for my vision of their day, and leave much of the artistic interpretation to me. 

What prompted you to become a wedding photographer?
I have been shooting various subjects for many years, 20 plus in fact, and a few years ago I did a favour for some friends as we always do. I came back and was fired up and really enjoyed it. Many photographer friends don't understand the passion and the draw, but my personality, my love of people and the raw emotions of the day I feel honoured to be a part of. Some weddings, I find myself pausing to hear the vows or the odd speech. That tells me I am really part of their special day, then three seconds later I am back in the zone.

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
There are many great photographers out there with similar styles of shooting. What sets us apart from each other is if the bride and groom connect with our work. If they look at my images and can imagine themselves in the photos, then that is just the beginning of the relationship. I have been told my gift is to feel the heartbeat of the wedding and be able to predict what is coming. This helps with the flow of a wedding and capturing those intimate moments. I tend to work longer hours to capture the whole story and offer more of myself to my clients. 

You spend a lot of time in Miami shooting weddings there. How do they differ from British weddings?
American weddings tend to have a lot more detail to capture, it is more of a show and certainly the brides I am lucky to shoot with are really into photography. The photos tend to be more photo-journalistic which is the current "it-phrase" for leaving the art to the photographer. Also in America the clients in general value the photographers input more. They spend a fortune on flowers, details, dresses etc. and then want it all captured as I would. British weddings tend to be more formal, want the traditional shots to please the crowd and the market here is happy to settle for low cost options. I know photographer friends who have shot weddings for less than the cost of the cake. Not everyone has thousands to spend on weddings but I do think UK brides are told what they can have rather than asked what they would like.  My approach is more the US way and I am lucky enough that brides I book appreciate this approach. On some occasions I will turn work away as I know I will not be able or willing to provide what they want. It is better all round this way, sadly not all photographers think this way. 

Every photographer has their own tool kit. What do you like to shoot with?
First off, I started to use one brand and in recent years switched to another. I spend fortunes on my equipment, far too much probably, but it enables me to stretch the boundaries of the art and put myself in situations that are more risque. Often the best shots and most memorable ones come during these times. A famous landscape photographer once said if there are no bad images, then you are not trying hard enough. Using the best lenses and unique technologies means my images have an edge. I love prime lenses-they are fast. I love grain from my film days and I love Nikon, their service, support and equipment is amazing. 

What is your favourite part of a wedding to capture?
Now that is not a fair question. The answer should be all of it right? Actually, I love the moment mum or dad see their daughter for the first time in her dress. I also love the private moments I get with the Bride and Groom to shoot my style of fashion lifestyle images that I tend to be booked for. My all time favourites are probably tears, these tend to bring back the emotion and memories of the day which I love the most. 

Describe the best wedding you've attended so far...
Each wedding is unique and defining best is often subjective. I have loved the simplicity of some weddings, the beauty of some of the Indian weddings, the relaxed nature of other weddings. My best wedding is actually more of one of my best moments from shooting weddings. I was booked short notice by a bride to shoot the wedding in London and then the party in Italy the next day after a short ceremony. It was all of a blur and what I thought was going to be a straight forward town hall party turned out to be a castle in the hills of Rome where my breath was taken away at every moment. I only wish the wedding would have taken longer as the day was perfect in every way, and in a place I will treasure forever. 

If you'd like to see more of Tony's work then check out his website here. He also has a blog which is fab for all the behind the scenes gossip...

Thanks Tony!!

Image Credit: Antonio Sanzari 

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Eye Candy #3: twobirds bridesmaids dresses

It was while I was sat watching Martha Stewart Weddings on Wedding TV last year that I found these beauties. I can't tell you how excited I was! Why? Because this is no ordinary bridesmaid dress. This dress gives you a fantastic range of styles in one. They come in a huge range of gorgeous colours. The best thing? They're all one size and made of soft jersey. "What?!" I hear you cry, "you mean I DON'T have to trawl the shops stressing over colours and fabrics and styles???" Nope! 

So anyway, twobirds have created one dress with over ten ways to wear it simply by wrapping the shoulder straps to create different styles:

It also comes in calf and floor length with a great choice of colours and although they are a U.S based company, I'm pretty sure they can arrange international delivery if you ask them nicely. Definitely an investment piece-go get one!!

Image Credits: All images taken from twobirds

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Made In Heaven: Cosmetics with a Conscience at 'B'

Just before I went away to get married, I promised to tell you all about the lovely ladies at 'B', the sister company to 'Lush' who produce all those incredible smelling bath and body products. The best thing about them is that they are all vegan/vegetarian, all ingredients are sourced from suppliers who don't test on animals and everything is made by hand (and comes with a cute little label on the side which tells you who made it!) Because everything is natural, it smells all the more incredible, so make sure you invest in them!

Each store is like an Aladdin's cave of wall to wall pampering, decorated in a Boho/Vintage Chic style with packaging taking inspiration from Indian and Moroccan designs-beautiful! If you have time, check out the store in Covent Garden. 

It was while I was hunting around for the perfect gifts for my bridesmaids that I was put in touch with Jill and Wendy at 'B' to help me put together bespoke gift boxes. I was so impressed with the level of service and attention to detail that I had to tell you about it. Over the course of two weeks, they had contacted me to ask about my colour scheme, the style of packaging I liked, the type of make-up the girls liked to use-you name it. Before I knew it, they'd put together a fabulous collection of eyeshadows, lips creams as well as other goodies and had emailed me several gorgeous package designs (I opted for a blue and gold wrapped box with gold ribbon).  Two days later, they arrived very carefully wrapped in a funky Lush box with an extra special treat for me!! Needless to say, the girls absolutely loved  them, and the best thing is they can use the lovely jewelled containers the lip cream comes in as a trinket box afterwards!

The wedding service is still very new to 'B' and they're trying to promote their service to help new brides look for the perfect make-up, whether it be for themselves or as gifts and favours, so if you're interested, contact Jill and Wendy via the 'B' website.

Thank you ladies!!!!
Image Credits:

Top: 'Ballet' Lip Cream

Middle: 'Bubble' Pressed Eyeshadow

Bottom: 'Love' gift box.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Top Trend: Fabric Photo Booths

If I'd have thought of this before our wedding we'd most definitely have had one-what a brilliant idea!!

Choose the fabric of your choice as a backdrop and tie it up (preferably outside between two trees or another structure) and have an afternoon of fun with your guests! It's a great way to jazz up the group shots and gives your photographer something fun to work with too! 

See the full collection of photos here: Martha Stewart Weddings

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Mood Montage: Citrus Summer

                                    [click image to enlarge]

Yes, I am in denial and trying my hardest to cling on to what's left of the British summer...so in homage to the one we never had, I give you Citrus Summer...

I took a little inspiration for the colours from Megan and Matt's wedding and is based around a little presentation I did for a consultation back in July. The bride wanted to have a 1960s style day using her favourite colour green and I loved the idea so much I decided to immortalise it!

Season: This colour scheme is perfect for a Spring/Summer wedding with fresh zingy touches of lemon and lime and soft warm honey yellow. Great for a garden wedding with a marquee or something more clean contemporary in a modern hotel or bar for the reception.

Flowers and Decor: I LOVE the daisy pomanders on the bottom row which create sculpture and volume, really simple but very effective as centrepieces. Another great option for summer is a bouquet of big, beautiful sunflowers or parrot tulips for spring. Use anything bright and cheerful that the bees will love as we're facing a huge shortage at the moment. Bring back those bees! Opt for funky bright tablecloths or printed wallpaper runners to lift your tables and coordinate with plate chargers or coloured glassware. 

Dress: Go for something crisp, clean and tailored like the bride here, wearing a 60s style cocktail dress with birdcage veil and bridesmaids in the same style but contrasting yellow with wide headbands. For the gents, a sharp black mod suit is a gorgeous, dapper option for style conscious groom and groomsmen.

Food and favours: Think outside the box and have a cocktail reception with canapes with a difference. Serve them on sweet little spoons or in mini cups and for a sweet treat, lay on a gorgeous candy bar with lemon, orange and lime flavoured sweets complete with mini bags and scoops. Before your guests leave, present them each with a jar of local honey (Manuka or lavender is a favourite of mine!) to enjoy with their breakfast.

Image Credits:
Top Row: Green bouquet: The Knot, 'Meant to Bee' Honey Favours: The Knot, Candy Bar: Elegant Bride at Brides.com
Middle Row: Bride and bridesmaids: Brides.com, Sunflowers: The Knot, 
Bottom Row: Table decor: Instyle Weddings, Daisy Pomanders: Brides.com, Bridesmaids with parrot tulips: The Knot

Monday, 15 September 2008

Real Weddings: Gingham Country Charm (the official pics!)

As promised, here are the official photos from Meg and Matt's wedding back in July. There were just too many to put them all up, so I had to choose my favourites. 

Meg used to work at the Little Venice Cake Company and her style and flare certainly came into its own for their beautiful summer fete style celebration. 

Many thanks to photographer Lucy Hackett and her partner Ben for creating such beautiful shots and for being excellent company on the day!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this shot of Meg, taken just before she left for Arundel Town Hall...

and of course, one of my favourite moments of the day-the confetti shot. I spent a good few minutes looking like a monkey trying to pick all the marigold petals out of Meg's hair afterwards. Matt got off lightly!

The reception room was absolutely stunning, with yellowed striped wallpaper used for table runners and posies of country flowers in jam jars. It was refreshing to see the banquet style layout for the tables too and the simple folding chairs added a real village fete touch. 

Taking a break after the group shots...

Meg's brother's partner just happened to be a professional belly dancer and they put on a surprise performance to kick off the evening's festivities.

Eye Candy #2: Lulu B

I thought I'd start off the week with something very beautiful to look at. Last week I was wandering around the web looking for something pretty and I came across Lulu B - Brides and Vintage, created by dress designer Lucy Brown.

With over 12 years in the fashion industry, Lucy creates bespoke vintage dresses using a beautiful selection of lace and french fabrics. She clearly has a real eye for vintage and I'm head over heals in love with her work, just look at the detail. I absolutely adore her Veronica and Rita designs and the best thing is, she produces bridesmaids dresses too-enjoy!




Image Credits: Lulu B

Sunday, 14 September 2008

My Pride and Joy!!

I know my blog is for weddings, but my hubby took me "antiquing" (as we call it) in Islington today and whilst we were wandering around we stumbled across this little beauty. I am a huge admirer of Lloyd Loom pieces and had been looking for the perfect "lusty" chair for yonks-in their original form they have a deep gold lustre on top. Many got painted as times changed and so finding one in good nick can be difficult. However, we strolled down Camden Passage and suddenly there it was begging me to buy it...and now it's in pride of place in our living room with our cat Moe-Moe well and truly snuggled on it!

This one dates from 1950 as the markings underneath suggest and it even has the original utility mark (CC41) which was introduced during WWII. The idea of the Civilian Clothing mark was to help aid the economy and keep a standard whereby any scare materials weren't being used frivolously in order to keep a hold on the war effort. The mark went on clothing, furniture, all sorts. In other words, it was like a Kite Mark and stayed in use until 1952.
The weave of the chair is created using sturdy wires which are tightly wound with paper, thus giving it a wicker type effect.
Anyhow, I shall stop boring you about my chair now, I just love it so much!!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Something for the Bridesmaids: Dresses with a Difference

The days of dressing like something out of Gone with the Wind are over for bridesmaids (although a popular trend up to the 1950s). Brides are starting to be a little more creative where the girlies, as I call them, are concerned. It's now popular to mix tones and styles to create more individual looks and there is a much wider selection of colours and materials than there used to be.

I love to take a gander round the pages of Frock Online when I'm looking for an outfit, and any of their dresses would work beautifully for bridesmaids, especially for an informal Spring/Summer wedding with bold prints, floaty cotton and chiffon and jewelled necklines. For Autumn/Winter...


you can bring in luxurious satins and velvets in deeper shades. This 50s style cocktail and Deco/Nouveau dress would look gorgeous at a snuggly winter wedding teamed with a wrap and some lace pattern tights.


I can't wait for the party season!

Image Credits:

all by Rene Derhy at Frock Online:

Diamante Chiffon Print dress
Floral Print Jersey dress
Ruched Neck Satin dress
Embellished Devore Tie Back dress

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Bridal Fashion: Short n Sexy Crops

Why is it so many brides with gorgeous short hair embark on a hair growing ritual in the belief that a beautiful bride can only be that with longer, polished locks? I'm the first to admit that I did just that, my reason being that I wanted a 1930s set curled style which required some length...that and my cathedral veil would never have stayed put otherwise. 

I toyed with keeping it short and going for a funky fascinator, but for some reason I was looking forward to having locks to play with. Needless to say, I'm going back to short and choppy next week and can't wait!

Anyway, this is a tribute to brides with sexy short hair, taking inspiration from the Audrey Hepburn pixie crop, recently modeled by Mrs Beckham-watch as the whole nation follows suit...

Don't be afraid to work with what you've got. Short hair, if it works for you, is wonderful if you have angular features. 
You could try wearing an alice band-great for a 60s theme, or for 40s and 50s, go with a fascinator or pillbox hat with birdcage veil. 

So make a statement, be creative and be confident with it!

Image Credits:
Feather Comb: Leah C. Couture Millinery, image at Brides.com
Straw pillbox hat: Leah C. Couture Millinery, image at Brides.com
Audrey Hepburn: Starspage.com
Audrey Tautou: About.com
Victoria Beckham: PopSugar

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Eye Candy: Urban Rose Jewellery at Etsy.com

It's official. I am an absolutely hopeless Etsy addict. If there's something else I need to be doing, like cleaning the house, weeding the garden or boring paperwork, you can guarantee I'll be procrastinating on Etsy. What a great way to waste time! 

Each week I will be featuring some juicy wedding eye candy and I thought Etsy would be the perfect start...

I first met Rebecca, creator of Urban Rose Jewellery whilst browsing the pages, looking for something a little different for my bridesmaids to wear. Based in Oz, she breathes life into old vintage pieces by creating stunning new designs. Here are a couple of my favourites to get you going...ahhh how beautiful!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

It's All in the Music...

Music, although often overlooked by couples when planning their wedding, is one of the most important aspects of the whole day. A song can evoke a thousand memories and there's nothing more heart warming than hearing the song you had your first dance to playing on the radio while you're sat in a traffic jam...

Being a very musical couple, my husband and I (still getting used to that!) made it a priority to pay particular notice to how we designed the music throughout the day. As self confessed musical snobs (yes, it's true) we ruled out the cheesy disco from the off, knowing there was only one option- to have a sizzling hot live band in the evening and a daytime soundtrack sprinkled with the finest jazz, blues and neo soul artists around. 

What meant the most to me was the processional song that I chose, made all the more meaningful because it was performed live by a close friend Vula Malinga and her creative partner in crime, Ben Jones. Vula has been performing with Basement Jaxx for the past three years, with a stream of self penned hits such as 'Oh My Gosh' (which she sang for us in the evening) and 'Hush Boy' and is currently touring with Sam Sparro of 'Black and Gold' fame. 
I chose an Ella Fitzgerald song 'The Man I Love' to walk in to, as it was a song personal to us, but we kept it a secret from my other half so he could hear it for the very first time and connect with it. Needless to say, Vula and Ben did the most beautiful job despite their nerves-turns out performing to several thousand people on stage is much easier than a small, intimate group!

Whilst signing the register, we had 'Little Wing' by Jimi Hendrix playing in the background, something a little different and romantic in an unconventional kind of way. Hendrix was one of the first things we connected on when we first met, so again, a very personal song for us. 

To complete our beautiful ceremony, we chose a funky, upbeat number 'Back To Love' by the Brand New Heavies for the recessional-and if we weren't being showered in confetti at the time I'd have danced down the aisle!

In the evening, Vula and Ben regrouped with some of London's finest musicians to entertain our guests with some smooth grooves, funk, soul and Motown classics. Rob got up to do a few tracks on his bass and they even dragged me into the equation for a song...mainly because Vula forgot the words!! What a night!

Don't be afraid to get creative with your music. As with what you wear, the stationery you choose etc, the music is just as important in reflecting your style and personalities. If you have a musically talented friend or family member, get them involved! It's your day, so make it exactly that. 

Friday, 5 September 2008

Real Weddings: 1930s Opulence: We Did It!!

The rings were exchanged, the register signed, confetti was thrown and the cake was cut...and now we're back as Mr and Mrs! What a strange feeling to have spent all those years before that day as a Grant, to suddenly become a Riley, something it'll take a while to get used to I think.

We were blessed with the most glorious weather all day which was amazing considering there was rain and cloud either side of that day. The deer were out in force in Richmond Park and it was absolutely perfect, wonderful to be a bride!

I normally like to write a short report on each wedding I do, but I think in this case the photos speak for themselves. Our very talented reportage photographer Matt Faber delivered them to us yesterday and we spent all day pouring over them. So I've put up a selection of my favourite to share with you, and I hope you enjoy them...