Monday, 24 November 2008

Crafty Bride #7: Have that Hermes Bag!'s true, you CAN have your own Hermes bag for free...if you download and print it anyway! Pop over to the Hermes website and select 'travel the world of Hermes' and find the printable bag in one of the thumbnail images. There's a gorgeous selection of prints to choose from and would make excellent gift bags to occupy the kids, or the bigger kids too. If you can, definitely print onto a thick card which scores with a Stanley knife but won't crease too much.


Image Credits:
**all images from Hermes via Creature Comforts

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Eye Candy #12: Bonzie

I am SO excited to show you my latest find! Whilst having a little blog stalking session earlier, I came across Bonzie, an EVER so talented Ireland based fashion designer whose work reflects the regal style of Victoriana. Just look at those boleros. If I had a pound for every time I've been asked where to find the perfect one for a bride...(you finish the rest). At least now, I know exactly where to find one and what a choice there is too! She also creates beautiful bags, lace collars, dresses, corsets and jackets, using recycled materials as much as possible, from silks, tulle, velvet and satin.

Bonzie not only has a shop on Etsy but she also showcases some of her bespoke pieces for her clients (Imogen Heap amongst her faithful admirers) on her blog which you can find here

Image Credits:
**all images from Designs By Bonzie

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Crowning Glory

Another Etsy gem, I couldn't resist sharing this with you. Every now and then I come back to Which Goose and try and justify buying one of her beautiful creations-really looking forward to the next wedding so that I can! That said, she prefers not to post out of the U.S because her headpieces are rather delicate and won't necessarily survive the journey, but it's always worth the risk I say!

The perfect piece to turn heads, Emily takes inspiration from flora and fauna, with a real touch of magic-a cross between A Midsummer Night's Dream and...Narnia!

Each design looks like it belongs to a fair maiden who has woken in the clearing of a magical wood, wearing a crown made by fairies. Have I gone too far? Take a look for yourselves and you be the judge!

Image Credits:

Lobster and Swan Table Design

Oh my. I just stopped by Once Wed and nearly fell over myself when I found their latest entry by Jeska at Lobster and Swan, who has created a breath taking table setting. 
Not only does it oooooooze vintage charm with lace and button detailing, blues and silvers, but it would make THE perfect setting for a winter wedding or Christmas table.  

Beautiful posies of rosemary, tied with lace and buttons...

Vintage cutlery and votives...

Cool silver metallics warmed up with magical fairy lights and paper postcard bunting...

And finished off with a sweet treat. Beautiful.

Image Credits:
**all images from Lobster and Swan via Once Wed. Thank you ladies!

Made In Heaven: Elizabeth Arden Goes 1950s

As a faithful devotee of Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour cream, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw these babies. This multi-purpose cream works wonders on dry and chapped skin and I often use it as a moisturizing lip gloss when I've been nibbling away a little too much on my smackers. The first in their 'Celebration of the Decades' series, they've brought out limited edition 1950s style packaging and would make a great edition to your make-up bag or as favours for your bridesmaids-wow. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Keeping Mum

When you're busy being swept away in all the excitement of planning your big day, it's easy to over look mum in the process. Some mothers can be really difficult and want to take over completely, whilst others can become withdrawn and remove themselves from it all, leaving their daughter wondering if they're at all interested. It's all about trying (and I mean trying) to find that happy medium. Mummy Grant never had a big dream wedding day as it were and believe it or not, weddings (until now) just weren't a big thing in our family. Hence why, when we got engaged, I wanted to make sure we made it a real family occasion, including everyone as much as we possibly good wherever possible. I wanted to make sure my Mum was a real part of it. 

During the final few months in the run up to the wedding, my Mum became Imelda Marcos incarnate. I had tentatively accompanied her on a shopping trip to find her outfit and I knew how much she'd been dreading it as she was worried she wouldn't look the part. After a surprisingly stress-free few hours, we found her a gorgeous dress. All she needed after that was the shoes. She bought one pair...thought they might not be dressy enough, so she bought another...and another...until five pairs later I persuaded her to wear the first. Typical! 

My Mum made the most amazing contribution towards our wedding-she poured her heart into sewing my wedding dress. Although we missed out on going shopping for the dress together, we had our teary moment in our studio the week before the day, standing in my nearly finished dress in my shoes and veil while she pinned the hem.  On the morning of my wedding day, she was there to help me get into it, zipping me up and tying the sash at the back. It was a real mother/daughter moment, however nervous or pushed for time we were. She came with me in the car on the journey to the ceremony, keeping me talking (I was a wreck!) and she was there throughout the day, tying up my bloody sash when it kept un-doing!! 

It was wonderful to see her having such a wonderful time, to see her so proud. When it came my turn to make my speech I made sure to tell everyone how special she was to me (I think she liked that) and she signed the register after the ceremony along with my new brother in-law...

So, listen to mum, talk to her, keep her in the loop and make her feel a real part of things. Sure, she might drive you crazy at times but you're her little girl getting married, let her get excited about it!

I'll stop with the cheese now. Thanks Mum!!!


Sunday, 16 November 2008

Eye Candy #11: Yes! Yes! Yes! That Vintage Dress!

Evening wear and bridesmaid attire is taking a real nod in the direction of classic vintage design. I've selected a few of my favourites from Coast, Hobbs, Monsoon and Warehouse for you to drool over and arranged them in order of era from the 1920s Flapper, 1930s bias cut, 1950s prom dress to 1960s wiggle dress. Each and every one would be perfect for that going away outfit...try not to drool over the key pad. 

Maeve by Coast

Elliot by Coast

Garbo by Hobbs

Trailing Embellished Prom by Warehouse

Georgina by Hobbs

Marbury Dress

Crafty Bride #6: Stunning Spring Centrepiece

I wouldn't suggest even trying to find peonies and lilacs at this time of year as they're strictly a spring/summer flower, but if you're getting married in spring time and want some inspiration for centrepieces you could make yourself, then look no further...

You will need:
Two cube glass vases, one large (6") and one small (4")
One small square of floral clay (approx 4" by 4" x 3/8")
4" square flower frog
5 floral stakes
2 bunches of peonies (approx 10 stems) in two shades of pink
1 bunch of lilacs
1 bunch of miniature kale
2 bunches of thin asparagus
5 baby artichokes
2' pink and green ribbon

Cutting board
Pruning shears
An awl (or bradawl)
Chef's knife
Double sided tape

Place the floral clay in the centre of the larger vase and the smaller vase on top of the clay. Asparagus stalks should be cut to approx 5" before being placed in between the two vases. Use a pick or skewer to scoot them closer together. Add water to the outer vase so all stalks are covered by at least 1".

The flower frog (a heavy piece of lead with small spikes that sits at the bottom of the vase and holds the flowers in place) should be placed inside the smaller vase. 

Cut off the stems of the artichokes. Push the floral stakes deep into artichoke centres so their weight will be fully supported. If the artichokes are very hard, make an initial hole using the awl.

Fill the smaller vase halfway with water (2"). Cut peonies, lilacs and kale to 8" to 10" and slot them randomly into the flower frog so they stay in place - longer stems should be in the middle so they stick up, shorter stems on the side so they curl under. 

Artichoke stakes should be cut to 9" or 10.5" and inserted so they sit higher than the flowers. The arrangements should look very full.

Choose a ribbon that pulls together the colours used. Attach double-sided tape to the back on both sides and wrap around the square vase, assuring it is centred before affixing. 

Image Credits:
** all images and concept from Epicurious via DIY Bride

Friday, 14 November 2008

Hot On Your Heels...

and they're all on the High Street! Lots of brides feel they have to choose white or ivory shoes for their day (and before you start-there's nothing wrong with that!) but they end up spending a fortune on something that will more than likely end up in a box at the back of the wardrobe after the big day. 
One of my bridesmaids just wouldn't let me live it down and I was bombarded with "you HAVE to buy a pair of Jimmy Choo/Gina/Emmy shoes (delete as appropriate) it IS your wedding day after all!!" but she didn't contemplate what 'budget' actually meant!

I "ooooed" and "ahhhhed over various shoes, driving the girls at Luella's Boudoir crazy drooling over a pair of Emmy shoes that I could never afford but happily dream about...until I found my match made in heaven at Office online. A pair of metallic gold vintage style T-bars. Not only were they soooo beautiful, well within budget and comfortable, but I knew I could get some real wear out of them. True to my word, every special occasion or night out-you'll find them happily on my feet!

So I thought I'd treat you to a selection of what the High Street has to offer. Jewel colours and metallics are still going strong, but there are the more classic and understated designs using whites and creams. It doesn't matter if you're the bride or a guest, choose something individual and wear them with pride!

Image Credits:
Shoe 1: Side bow peep toe: River Island
Shoe 2: Teal gem sandals: Dorothy Perkins
Shoe 3: Art work court: Karen Millen
Shoe 4: Satin pink rose court: Red Herring at Debenhams
Shoe 5: Flirtatious ruffles and pleats: Karen Millen
Shoe 6: Scarlet Carbie court: Faith at Debenhams

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Mood Montage: Apple Plumble

Apple plumble? What kind of a name is that? I hear you say. Well, it was while we were at my in-law's for lunch that Mr Riley came up with the phrase for our pudding (plum crumble) combining the two into one word, hence "plumble". So now you know how weird my husband is! 

This concept is just so chic, using the deep tones of plum with black and the zing of apple green which really lifts it. 

A chic and modern hotel would suit this idea perfectly-especially somewhere like The Hempel, full of cutting edge design. 

Flowers and Decor...
Choose simple, structural arrangements such as the large purple allium heads with grass or the passionfruit flower-less is more, keep it simple. 
Crisp green tablecloths with black chargers in each place setting creates that chic boutique style to compliment the venue. 

To echo the minimal feel opt for something with real structure. I love this dress by Angel Sanchez with layers of stripped fabric-it could almost look like feathers, very big this season. With the bridesmaids, I chose an apple green cocktail dress to compliment the colour scheme. 

Image Credits:
Top Row: Dress by Angel Sanchez: Brides, Black and white cupcakes: LeCupcake via Flickr: Ritzy Bee, Bridesmaid dress: Jim Hjelm
Middle Row: Trio of cakes on stands: Brides, Arrangement of Alliums: Arome
Bottom Row: Save the date by  Invited Design: Etsy, Marquee lounge area: Brides, Flower girl dress: The Brides Cafe

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Crafty Bride #5: Rustic Wooden Centrepiece

The common misconception about reception decor is that you HAVE to have masses of flowers covering every surface. You don't. Despite the fact that it can save on the budget, it's actually a real breath of fresh air to see what else can be done with the centrepiece. As I'm often asked for alternative ideas by brides, I thought I'd share this one with you from Design Sponge.

I love the simplicity of this rustic arrangement, there's little involved in creating it, yet it creates a real impact. Above all, you can enjoy making it yourself which is the whole point-right?!

You Will Need:

• A slice of wood (11" dia x 2.5" h)
• Glass cylinder vases (11" h, 9" h, 6"h x 3.5" dia) look for these in homeware stores such as BHS, Ikea or The Range
• Pillar candles in 3 varying heights to fit the candles
• Ribbon and yarn
• Fabric, wood or dried flowers
• Double sided tape (or glue gun)
• Scissors

1. Cut 3 pieces of  ribbon/yarn (one arm's length per piece). Wrap each vase with ribbon/yarn. Attach the ends with double sided tape (or glue gun) to the surface of the vase. I chose to wrap with a knobby yarn, satin ribbon and grosgrain ribbon to create a variety of textures. I also wrapped the ribbon/yarn at different heights on each vase to create more interest. 

2. Attach fabric/wood/dried flowers to a piece of ribbon and tie around the tallest vase.

3. Insert pillar candles into vases, arrange cluster of vases on wood slice, keeping the sides with the tape facing the centre.

4. Arrange fabric/wood/dried flowers on wood slice around the vase cluster. Light the candles and enjoy your rustically elegant centrepiece!

Image Credits:

Eye Candy #10: Emma Embery

Emma is a great friend of mine. Having both started our businesses roughly at the same time we have been supporting each other ever since whenever we can. I used quite a few of her pieces for the 1930s photo shoot we did last year and I loved them so much I asked her to make my headpiece for my wedding day, which was based on the orange blossom garlands of the early 1900s. 
Emma's embroidery skills really are second to none having worked for the likes of Monsoon, DKNY and Laura Ashley to name but a few, but I've chosen some of her stunning lace necklaces this week. To view her exquisite wraps, camisoles and other accessories, visit Luella's Boudoir in Wimbledon or check out her website!

Image Credits:
**all Emma Embery images at Luella's Boudoir

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Love From Across The Pond

Late last night I received an email from New York based photographer Jen Huang asking if I would be interested in featuring some of her work as she hoped to be able to branch out into destination work. Would I?!!! 
Her work is absolutely spectacular, so full of vibrancy and movement. It really sums up U.S style with such attention to detail, capturing the essence of the moment. After careful deliberation drooling over her portfolio, I've chosen some real gems to share with you. 

Thanks Jen!

Image Credits
••all images copyright of Jen Huang Photography