Thursday, 29 December 2011

Reflections of 2011

Wow. It's hard to believe how quickly this year has flown by (doesn't it always?) and what an epic year it's been for us at Grant-Riley HQ. Here's some of the highlights...

The Intern
Trying to juggle full time motherhood with full time wedding planning was proving to be a total nightmare. Wedding season was about to hit and I knew I couldn't do it alone. Cue Charlie...

She's the one playing Groucho Marx next to that weirdo Sara Thomas
© Devlin Photos

In short, she was our life saver. She helped me keep my head when it was all getting a bit much (and saved Rob from the onslaught of female wrath). She turned up every day for several months without fail, ran errands, kept me going with macarons, and best of all she was my right hand girl at all our weddings this year. This was also the year she graduated and became a proper grown-up. It goes without saying that you are an utter gem Charlie Batchelor, and we wish you all the best in your new job in 2012.

The Newbies

He's technically not a newbie as he's been with me on this rollercoaster journey from day one, but more of a behind the scenes kind of guy. So back in September, the husband decided it was time to step up and take a more active role in Grant-Riley Weddings. He deals with the day-to-day boring technical stuff generally (he builds and maintains our beautiful website amongst other things) and is my sounding board. We also recognised that the grooms need a guy's perspective from time to time, as much as I try to do both, so Rob has and will continue to support our grooms in future should they need him.

Harriet! Joining us at the end of the summer, her design and styling skills are second to none. Did you know she's in charge of styling London's Anthropologie stores? Yep. We only work with the best ;-) If you're an industry pro you may have met her already, but if you're one of our couples (or would like to be) then you'll get to say hello next year. Harriet has also started writing weekly inspiration pieces for the blog so be sure to check them out. I cannot WAIT to shake it up with you next year lady! 

The Weddings
It's been an incredible year for weddings, and I've worked with some wonderful couples over the last 12 months who have become friends along the way. Truly the best kind.

© Devlin Photos

© Emma Case Photography

© Devlin Photos

The Shoots
There were SO many shoots to style this year, from pre-weddings to conceptuals to high fashion...

© Emma Case Photography

© Devlin Photos

Snow White

To see the shoot in full and a complete list of credits, please click here

Boardwalk Empire

To see the full shoot and complete list of credits please click here

Be Beautiful 

To see the full shoot and complete list of credits please click here

My Baby Turned One...

Mini Monsieur threw a big bash to celebrate his first year and all his baby friends turned up to help him celebrate. I even managed to fit in the time to make his cake...

A Most Curious Wedding Fair
The lovely Becky of A Most Curious Party  launched her first wedding fair up in Norwich in spring which we were delighted to exhibit at. I took intern Charlie, photographer Sara Thomas and my sister up for the day and met some fabulous brides and suppliers...

We'll be at the next one on March 31st 2012 at York Hall, east London-watch this space for more details!

The Curiosity Project
At a time when the London riots were kicking off, moral was pretty low and we all needed a pick-me-up. So in August I launched The Curiosity Project and, now into our 2nd worldwide gift swapping project, with over 560 participants and a new site that since November has received almost 100,000 hits, it is growing stronger every day. There's lots of exciting new developments for the project in 2012 and if you'd like to join future projects, find a DIY project or just fancy having a nosy, check out the site!

And Now For The Thank Yous...

We'd like to thank all the wonderful suppliers who have helped make our 2011 weddings the events they were and of course our couples for letting us be a part of them.

Thanks also to our industry friends who continue to support us both in person and in the Twitterverse and Facebook.

Lots of Love & A Happy New Year!



Friday, 23 December 2011

Inspired.By.Harriet #6

This week I'm starting to feel really Christmassy! So I was inspired to create a 'Winter Wedding' mood board. Most weddings are in the spring or summer, so I think there are more opportunities in the colder months to make your wedding feel really unique. If it is around Christmas you can add a hint of festivity to your decorations, such as hanging groups of glass baubles, or making your own garlands and wreaths. I love the idea of getting married when it is cold and icy - it allows you to add a few glamorous accessories that you might not normally need, like a fur cape or collar, long elegant gloves, or even some white laced boots! You may also want to mirror the weather by opting for a pale colour palette - I think whites, pale blues and metallics can look really subtle and sophisticated, but at the same time allow you to add a bit of sparkle! 

Image Credits:

Top Row: Shoes via Ruffled, fur collar by BHLDN, glass baubles via Not Martha

Middle Row: Sequinned gown via BHLDN, paper wreath via WestElm, Chapel via Meggie Lynne

Bottom Row: Bride in coat unknown, gloves and pine cone unknown, white Victorian boots by BHLDN

Grant-Riley Weddings

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Inspired.By.Harriet #5

1930s Silhouettes

This week I am looking at the 1930s silhouette. It was such an glamorous era, the golden age of Hollywood. I am particularly inspired by the the actress Ginger Rogers, whose long, flowing dresses elongated and streamlined her figure, creating a lovely, elegant silhouette. To recreate a 1930's look, choose luxurious silks and satins cut on the bias to highlight your waist and lengthen your figure. Metallic details such as silver shoes or beading add a touch of glamour. A really nice touch is to have your hair set in Marcel waves, and for some real Hollywood glamour - scarlet lips!

Image Credits:

Top Row: 1930s model via My Vintage Vogue, Great Gatsby Ballroom Wedding via Pet Dog Online, beaded shoulder via Love My Dress, dress patterns via Past A La Mode
Middle Row: 30s wedding dress via Credit Crunch Bride, bride and groom via Pet Dog Online, 30s evening shoes via Ye Olde Fashion, Ginger Rogers via It Had To Be You, dress with train via Antique Dress
Bottom Row: Gingers Rogers via The Musings of A Kitty Cat, Jenny Packham gown via Ritzy Bee, Floor length skirt BHLDN, Kate Bosworth via My Style.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Cake Parlour Turns 1!

A whole cabinet dedicated to ruffle cakes! J'adore! 

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting cake designer extraordinaire Zoe Clark's boutique The Cake Parlour on the eve of its 1st anniversary. Since its opening, Zoe literally hadn't the time to organise a launch as she'd been inundated with clients for weddings and parties (oh, and writing fabulous books too) so it was a treat to finally view her beautiful shop and have a good old catch up!

Guests were treated to a delicious and sweet selection of confections to try and goodie bags were on hand to stock up with (yes, I took home plenty of cupcakes, biscuits, meringues and fancies and can confirm that they were indeed exceptionally good). 

In between sipping on my sparkling wine and mouthfuls of cake I managed to take a few photos of my favourites just for you...

Simple, yet so chic...

Macarons that Zoe & her team make by hand.

Delicate sugar flowers

Mini cakes

Zoe's creations often take inspiration from bridal gowns as the fabrics and embellishments really spark her creativity. I love the idea of a couple's wedding cake reflecting elements of the bride's dress, it's a great way to tie everything into a cohesive design.

Exquisite piping.

If you're planning on surprising your guests with a dessert table Zoe's team can design and create everything for you which takes the inconvenience away from sourcing everything separately too. Perfect.

Thanks for a lovely evening Zoe and I'm very much looking forward to coming to play in the kitchen in the new year!

Grant-Riley Weddings

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wedding News: Harriet Wilde Sample Sale

With all the gloom and drudgery about the Euro Zone and the current financial situation we're starting to think about tightening our belts again as Christmas approaches. But fear not! For there IS good in world and where there is good there are shoes...

My good friend and shoe designer Ruth of Harriet Wilde got in touch to ask if I could spread the word about a fabulous end-of-line sample sale she's holding next week...

Tube: Archway on the Northern line, 5 min walk
Overground: Upper Holloway, 5 min walk
Bus: 390, 124, 43, 271

There are brand new samples in sizes 5 and 7, and bridal end of line styles in all sizes, handbags and other little vintage bridal surprises for you from Elizabeth Avey.

Please note payment is cheque or cash only, grab yourself a bargain, with prices ranging from £30-£100.

This event only happens once a year, please come early to avoid disappointment.

What could be more perfect in time for Christmas ladies?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Inspired.By.Harriet #5

The images I have collected this week are inspired by the film 'Chocolat'. Like the film, I have tried to combine the 1950's silhouette with a bohemian French feel. There is a scene in the film where they have a party in a traditional french courtyard - a feast is spread out on a long table and everybody helps themselves. I love this idea for a wedding, the table filled with colourful flowers and lights strung up for when it starts to get dark. Bright colours work really well with a 1950s theme - if you want to wear white you can still add dashes of colour through your shoes, sash or flowers. 




Image Credits:

Top Row: 50s dress via Pinterest, Armande's party via Hooked On Houses, Juliet Binoche via Hooked On Houses, Dried roses via Female Version of a Hustla
Middle Row: Bride and bridesmaids via Vintage Indie,  VW Beetle via Flickr, Groom and groomsmen via Ruffled Blog
Bottom Row: Chocolat inspired table dressing via La Bella Vita Events, outdoor party via Honestly WTF, 50s dress via Flickr. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A Tribute To A Beautiful Friend

Yesterday I lost a friend to cancer. She was brilliant and I mean that in every sense of the word. Despite the significant age gap we had so much in common and it was a friendship that was nurtured through our love of samba.

I first met Diane when I travelled all the way down to London from Ipswich one gloomy Sunday night for a work shop at the London School of Samba. I'd never danced samba before, let alone been to an escola and yet, being welcomed on the door by this lovely lady suddenly put my mind at rest. I knew I was in the right place and there I stayed for a few years thereafter. 

Diane was a real go-getter. She played 2nd surdo (those are the large, deep drums for those not in the know-much like Di, they are the heart of the samba). She took no nonsense and boy did she know how to have a good time. 

Stormin' Norm & Di in 2007 

A few years ago she decided, alongside her wonderful partner or "significant other"  (now husband) Norm to pack up and retire to Mallorca. It was like losing a member of the family for the school where she'd been such an integral part for the 25 years since it started, but she knew it was something they'd wanted to do. She started up her own blog to keep us all informed of their antics and escapades and called it 'Two Crumblies And A Cat'. If you get the chance to read some of it, it really is very good, her sense of humour really shines through. It was also on her blog that most of us found out that she'd been diagnosed with bowel cancer-that didn't stop her taking time out to be glammed up for a photo shoot though!

We followed her journey through her various treatments and experiences of Spanish hospitals before she was told in no uncertain terms that it was terminal. Within weeks she and Norm has sold their apartment and moved back to Suffolk to be closer to her children, they got married, found somewhere new to call home by the sea and were very happy despite it all. 

Earlier this year I did the Race For Life 10K speed walking with my best friend in Di's name and it felt really good to be raising money and helping to get one step closer to finding a cure.

The last time I saw her was a few months ago now with Norm. She met my son, we talked about antiques, drove past many an Art Deco house swooning on our travels down the coast and had a wonderful day full of laughter. Of course she seemed tired, but that wasn't going to stop her living. She'd even had a piano delivered up several flights of stairs the day before-her latest steal from a local auction that she was over the moon with and delighted to be able to start playing again.

Thank you for being my friend Diane. Thank you for welcoming me into a world that meant so much to me for many years. Thanks for the laughs. I promise to look in on Norm as much as I can.

And yes, I can already hear you telling me to "pull yourself together and get on with it", so here it is, my tribute to you, Beth Carvalho's Vou Festejar (I celebrate).

Rest In Peace my friend.


Image Credits

'A Celebration Of Women' calendar by Samantha Hemsley Photography

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Eye Candy #26: Papilio

It's extremely rare that I see a Russian bridal label and fall in love with it instantly. It might be snobbish of me but when I think of Eastern European wedding dresses I think of something out of date, tacky even. Sorry!

But anywhere, that was before I stumbled upon the delicately beautiful Papilio collection. Love, love love. Such a stunning selection of silhouettes, lace and detailing with some gorgeous vintage inspired designs. Seriously, check them out for yourself...

Unfortunately this collection isn't stocked anywhere in the UK, but you can find them in France, Germany, Poland and other European countries as well as the US.

Image Credits
© Marina Danilova for Papilio

Grant-Riley Weddings