Saturday, 28 February 2009

The First Dance Song...With A Difference...

I bought Elbow's latest album 'The Seldom Seen Kid' because I realised I just couldn't ignore how absolutely wonderful they are anymore. Last night I stumbled across a couple of televised studio recording of the band with full orchestra and found it very difficult to pull myself together-the lyrics, that full, swelling sound, all just so perfect. 

So then I got to thinking that these two tracks would make the most gorgeous first dance songs.

The first is called 'Mirrorball', recorded here at Abbey Road studios. I hope you can make out the lyrics, they are just so spot on, all about the first flush of love...

And probably the more well known out of the two 'One Day Like This' recorded here with the BBC Concert Orchestra, which has a wonderful building climax. I love those strings...

Friday, 27 February 2009


Isn't this just a stunning shot? I met with photographer friend Antonio Sanzari a few weeks back and he stunned me with a new collection of weddings albums. He gets to attend the most beautiful weddings abroad, including this one in Stockholm. It was taken at 3:30pm and he used a video light to create this film noir look (he loves his gadgets)! It's got a real couture feel to it don't you think? Almost like the advert Baz Luhrman shot with Nicole Kidman for Chanel? I just love the movement in it, like a whole new exciting start for the Bride and Groom...

To view more of Antonio's work, see his website.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

A Beautiful Boudoir...

Since we married (six months ago today!) we've been hoarding some of our wedding donations ready and waiting to have our bedroom decorated. Mr Riley's dad just happens to be a very accomplished builder and as we live in an old house, we're having a complete overhaul- re-plastering, dipping and stripping of the woodwork-you name it. 

I NEED your help. Having wanted some gorgeous wallpaper in our room for a very long time to make a feature of, I've finally fallen in love with two designs by Nina Campbell. Problem is...I don't know which. 



We have a very small bedroom, so we can't get away with dark colours very well, but I just love how light and airy these are, and obviously vintage! It will only go on one wall rather than all over and the rest will be painted but I can't choose the paint until I've got the right paper. Please help me decide, I have approximately two weeks before D-Day!

Top Trends at The National Wedding Show

Yesterday I made a short visit to the National Wedding Show. Luella's Boudoir have taken a last minute stand there for the weekend so I went to show some support before meeting with florist Mathew Dickinson later in the day. 

Luella's have a fantastic sale of their bridesmaids dresses and designer shoes there-make sure you pop to Olympia and back yourself a bargain before they all go!

I like to get to a show in Spring and Autumn to seek out the latest trends in bridal fashion and there are some very popular styles emerging for 2009...

Trend No.1: Statement Headpieces. 
I saw a distinct lack of veils on the catwalk with accessories leaning towards gorgeous cocktail hats in soft vintage shades, headbands, floral wreaths and ribbons (worn across the forehead in 1920s style). With the amount of choice available for brides now, there is no need to feel obliged to wear a veil if it's just not your style. 

Trend No.2: Gowns with Sleeves. 
Sleeves are no longer outdated and they've been given a make-over. Loose fitting and airy, designers such as Alice Temperley and Ellie&Charlotte create a mixture of Edwardian and Deco glamour and are ideal for brides wanting to wear a less structured gown still formal enough to wear in church. And the best news is you needn't spend extra on a bolero! 

Trend No.3: Gowns with Colour.
Coloured gowns were all over the catwalk, harking back to the 1950s when pastels were all the rage for first, not just second time brides. From metallic golds and silvers to blush pink and baby blue, designers such as Ian Stuart are making tints and tones desirable again. 

Trend No.4: Blue/Grey is the Shade.
I couldn't count the number of bridesmaids dresses coming down the catwalk in this beautiful shade of blue/grey. I'm not even sure what you would call this colour-gun metal blue? slate blue? It's such a gorgeous, subtle shade which works beautifully with any type of fabric and suits any pastel accessories. 

Trend No.5: No Fuss Hair.
Structured, coiffured hair has taken a back seat in preference for much softer looks. Effortless curls and waves create real vintage glamour along with chignons worn at the nape of the neck.

Image Credits:
Floral wreath: Brides
Cocktail hat: Janie Lawson
Sleeved gown no.1: Ellie&Charlotte
Sleeved gown no.2 & 3: Temperley London
Belle Epoque pastel gowns: Ian Stuart
Bridesmaids dress: from a collection at Luella's Boudoir
Amanda Seyfried & Naomi Watts: Instyle Magazine

Friday, 20 February 2009

Friendly Ghosts-a follow up...

You may remember I posted a piece on the bizarre moment I found what I believed to be a photograph of my grandfather in the Imperial War Museum. I hadn't gone looking for it and had virtually no idea who he was whatsoever, but had a very strong feeling that the man in this photograph (back row in the middle with his clarinet) was him. The following weeks were spent digging up as much as I could on Freddy Grant and I discovered he had worked with some of the greatest calypso and jazz musicians of pre and post war including Humphrey Lyttleton and Lord Kitchner. 
Last night I received the most wonderful email from my aunty by way of my cousin, who confirmed that yes, the man in the photograph was him! His name was Frederick Josiah Grant, the youngest of 13 children who grew up in British Guyana and moved to Britain in the early 1930s before joining the war effort in 1941...and playing as much jazz as he could in between, injecting his own unique style of calypso jazz which became a focus of the Humphrey-Lyttleton Paseo Band in the late 40s. I even found a recording of him playing his clarinet with the band!

Freddie Grant pictured next to Cyril Blake (with guitar) playing his clarinet on a recording with Lord Beginner (in his dapper suit).

So now I know it's him, I'm going to dig deeper to try and understand the man behind the big smile. It may be difficult to trace as he left my grandmother and his children behind to pursue a life in New York, so deciphering fact from fiction may be tricky...but I can't wait to find out more! Oh, and if anyone happens to have any Sir Freddy Grant calypso records-send them my way, they're rare! 

Monday, 16 February 2009

Up North

I was lucky enough to be able to escape for the weekend and head up to Yorkshire with my mum and baby sister, staying with my great aunt and stopping by at Lincoln to see my brother too. It did mean I missed the Designer Wedding Show, but as this is an incredibly busy week for myself and Luella's Boudoir, we will be at the National

Cute raspberry cupcakes Meggy made to take as gifts...they rather resembled nipples though!

Snowy Lincolnshire...

A gorgeous Victorian style carousel we found in the centre of town. I just love those colours!

Lincoln Cathedral-we even happened to glimpse a wedding here too!!

My sister Meggy, Aunty Mavis and me. We spent the night before going through some very old family photos, some as old as 100 years. It was a wonderful evening, reconnecting with family history. 

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Bring Life to a Blank Canvas

If there's one thing I've noticed recently, it's that more and more brides are opting to hold their reception at a village hall or at home in their gardens. While this isn't necessarily a budget saving option, it can provide you with a wealth of wonderful design options. At the same time this can leave you in a bit of a quandary when it comes to dressing your space and making the most of it.

For those lucky enough to have an large outdoor space, you could opt for a a real statement structure. Forget the marquee. Hire a stunning Grand Pavilion and really wow your guests. Made almost entirely from ash wood, this beautiful creation really sets the standard for your reception, giving you the the scope to transform the vast amount of space into something entirely your own.


A key factor in designing a space is to consider the lighting. What will the room look like at different times of day? Are there any defining features that would benefit from highlighting? A room takes on a totally different vibe in the evening and is a perfect opportunity to bring in lanterns (these look fabulous unlit in the day time) which bring a different point of interest later on. Alternatively you can use carefully positioned fairy lighting, candles and coloured uplighting (see image above). 

Village halls can be the perfect basis for a bespoke wedding reception depending on the type of hall you hire and Megan and Matt's reception last July is the ideal example to show you (see image above). As an ultra creative lady, Megan had spent months in the lead up to the big day creating homemade bunting to compliment their theme, along with soft netting drapes to replace the existing curtains in the hall. The couple also hired in wooden folding chairs to give more of an organic vintage feel-the hall's own chairs were rather heavy and imposing. As the decor in the hall was totally neutral, your eye was completely drawn into their soft village fete theme, with posies of roses, lilacs and sweet peas in jam jars and wallpaper table runners candles.  

I thought I'd leave you with some inspiring images to take forward into your own planning...


Image Credits:
Grand Pavilion-LPM Bohemia
Green and yellow village fete theme-Megan and Matt. Lucy Hackett Photography
Outdoor reception with lanterns: Theresa and Jon at Martha Stewart Weddings 
Green scene: Brides 
Megan and Scott in Kiawah Island: Brides

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

My Valentine's Wish...

looks like this...

Such a mouth-watering shade of pink, buttery, soft leather and gorgeous rose corsage detailing on the front. I may have dropped a tiny hint to Mr Riley last night...he said: 

"I could find MUCH nicer bags than that for that price" (£175.00). 

So looks like I won't be getting a DKNY Rose Nappa bag for Valentine's Day. Chocolates it is then!

Image Credits:
DKNY Rose Nappa bag at House of Fraser

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Hopelessly In Love With..Halfpenny London

One, two, three......siiiiiiigh. Yes, they are gorgeous aren't they. Stunningly so. I thought I'd share some of Kate Halfpenny's designs with you. She designed and created Emelia Fox's beautiful gowns (yes, I said gowns) for her own day and she writes:

"Working from her studio, you can always find Kate surrounded by trims and laces, mannequins adorned with the most beautiful gowns and rails of vintage dresses from the late 1800s to the 70s that Kate renovates, repairs or reworks to make the dress you have dreamed of, a dress that brings a flavour of the past to the present..."

Couldn't have put it better myself really. And it seems her talents don't just stop here, but she also has her own range of jewellery and is rather a dab hand with interiors! 

Image Credits:
**all copyright of Halfpenny London

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Dress Your Girls...

Dress Your Girls

in pastels. These shades can be tricky to wear for some skin tones, so makes sure you check your bridesmaids' complexions before you decide to go with this one. The safest way to go about this colour scheme is to introduce it in small touches. The dress for example has a light pale pink wash, but by bringing in deeper shades of peppermint green and dusky pink (picked out in the rose corsage and shoes) you don't risk a wash-out. 

There is plenty of texture in this outfit too which I love, patent shoes with ribbon ties, a soft cotton cardigan and a lace parasol. Also note that you don't always have to have bouquets for your girls-they can carry a parasol as an alternative (although not a great idea for indoors!) or wear wrist corsages instead. 

Happy shopping!

Image Credits:
Please click the image for a full item breakdown.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Wedding News: Find Us in Wedding Ideas Magazine...

Make sure you grab your copy of this month's Wedding Ideas, packed with the latest trends, real weddings and top tips (including a little something from yours truly!)

Image Credits:
**taken from Wedding Ideas

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Made In Heaven: Pushing Daisies' Chuck

Friday saw the highly anticipated start of Pushing Daisies Series 2 and we were not disappointed! I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how much I love this program-the story line is genius, the set is incredibly fresh and vibrant (not to mention vintage kitsch), the pie maker could make me pies any day of the week, but ultimately, it's ALL about Chuck. 

I've not seen one outfit yet that I haven't drooled over and wanted for my I've picked out a selection just for you. 

With an emphasis on femininity with floral fabrics, crocheted cardies and tailored designs with cinched in waists, Chuck's style works beautifully for both brides and bridesmaids...

So if anyone is planning a Pushing Daisies themed wedding, PLEASE give me a call and I'll even do it for free!! By the way...did anyone notice them touch?!

Wedding News: Introducing....the 'Mimi'

Last week the girls at Luella's got a brand new delivery of Rachel's Simpson's bridal range and amongst a beautiful collection arose these stunners. Mimi. It started out perfectly civil, we admired them on the stand...took them off to take a closer look...but soon we were trying them on and it was all over-every women for herself in the quest for her own pair! Four women fighting over a pair of shoes is never pretty, right?

Image Credits:
**All images from Rachel Simpson