Saturday, 29 October 2011

Introducing...Mr Grant-Riley Weddings

Who Am I?

I'm Rob Riley, the husband of Tiffany and co-founder of Grant-Riley Weddings. In addition to my involvement in the aforementioned, I'm an IT consultant, programmer, musician, karate student and father. I play guitar a lot and am learning Italian. Busy? YES! Tired? Sometimes. Bored? Never. I genuinely wake up excited 7 days a week.

What's my involvement in the company?

I'm responsible for GRW's web site and anything technical related to web, email, computers and other technologies. I also assist with company administration, accounts, contracts and general decision making. With regards to actual weddings, I assist with administration and logistical planning and generally act as a second pair of eyes and ears for Tiff's creative flow. I'm also an expert at car-loading which, on the big day, is a priceless skill. If there was a record for the most cake stands ever (safely) packed into a Volkswagen..

Do I attend dress fittings and floral consultations?

No. (Well not unless you want me to.) I don't touch the creative stuff at all. But I do, amongst other things, assist in the meticulous construction and management of your wedding budget and timesheet which, if you didn't know, are the two most important documents involved in ensuring your wedding day is a success.

Why, after nearly 5 years of GRW am I only introducing myself now?

In the beginning, we decided to promote Tiff as the sole face of the company. Until now, this has worked for us and there's very few people in the UK wedding industry that haven't heard of her. But as things continue to grow we decided to re-visit this and now feel it's important for current and prospective clients to understand that there's actually a team of people supporting them and managing their day.

So administration and car-loading. Big whoop. Why should that make you want to book with GRW any more?

It's simple. Wedding planning is just that. The clue's in the title. The creative element is only part of it. The rest is meticulously planning the running of a wedding day to the exact minute. And in the unlikely event that the clipboard queen herself should leave a box un-ticked, I'm the one who will be breathing down her neck and (smugly) pointing it out. Ok, this has never actually happened but you get the idea. My enthusiasm is for doing good business, client satisfaction and generally doing the best job possible. I'm the guy who, whatever the job, goes that extra mile to ensure it gets done properly. Hypothetically (but sometimes literally), I arrive before everyone else to get the kettle on and I stay after everyone else to sweep the floor. 

Do I share my wife's level of enthusiasm for vintage?

For shoes and dresses? No. But show me a '69 Dodge Charger...

via HowStuffWorks
via vintageguitarandbass
or an original Gretsch Country Gentleman and watch me squeal like a prepubescent girl in the front row of a Justin Bieber concert.

Do I live in a house with too much vintage paraphernalia and not enough storage space?

Of course.

Up next:

The Wedding Industry, A Man's Perspective.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Top Trend: And The Bride Wore...Two Tone Blush

© Christopher Dadey
This weekend Vivienne Westwood unveiled (excuse the pun) her 2012 bridal collection at The Luxury Wedding Show and we were not disappointed. Without doubt this subtle yet theatrical graduated blush number stood out most for me amongst a sea of ivory. It got me thinking about the 2012 trends and the reintroduction of colour. We're seeing a lot more colour next year in subtle ways, be in dip dyed, layered in graduation or toned sections.

The idea in itself is not new. Remember Gwen Stefani's dip-dyed custom John Galliano gown?

Serenity Gown at One Vintage
I love the draped blush tulle over the teal blue underlay here. Grecian romance with a twist. 

Graduated blush tulle gowns by Basil Soda

via Wedding52
After all, who says the bride has to wear white? 

Inspired.By.Harriet #2

I recently went to Kempton Antiques Market, where I came across a stall full of old antique lace. There were piles of it folded up, all different shades of white, cream, oyster and champagne. There is something so beautiful about antique lace, it is often softer in both colour and texture than the more modern variety, which I find can sometimes be stiff and overly white. What I loved about the lace that I saw at Kempton, was that each piece had its own history. There were baskets full of lace trimming that had been saved from old dresses, blouses, tablecloths and hankies, obviously too precious to throw away.

Lace is frequently chosen by brides as it is both delicate and intricately detailed. Antique lace is so lovely as it is usually handmade, and I believe more beautiful and interesting because of its history. It can also be really exciting hunting for the perfect piece, whether it is a vintage gown or veil, or smaller bits used for details such as bunting or invitations. 

Image Credits

Top: Arabesque dress, BHLDN,  lace bunting by Brighton Photo via Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, bride with lace veil via 100 Layer Cake
Middle: Bride wearing Alberta Ferretti dress via, lace wrapped stationery
Bottom: Gypsophila bouquet by via Ruffled Blog, lace shouldered dress via Junkaholique, guipure lace on spool via Ironstone and Pine

Friday, 21 October 2011

Hopelessly In Love With...Christmas Hall

A few months back, whilst visiting family up in Suffolk I had the pleasure to be invited by the lovely Helen of Affinity PR (who spookily happens to be my bestie's mum's work it out!) for a show around at Christmas Hall in Bildeston.

With mum and baby in tow we parked in the quaint village square to see this shining example of Victorian architecture and Helen waiting in the driveway to welcome us. No sooner had I stepped through the door I knew this would make the most spectacular venue for an intimate wedding. Christmas Hall is an exclusive venue, owned by Hazel and Jeff Gadsden, both with a background of interior design and property development, who know how important it is to provide those personal touches and a high quality experience for their guests. They are always close at hand whilst giving their guests the space they need (they live over the garden wall in the coach house).

The Dining Room

The dining room is literally bathed in light from the tall windows at the front and french doors leading onto the decked area into the garden. The hall can cater for up to 26 guests in this room around the grand dining table and is also licensed for ceremonies.

Christmas Hall boasts a stunning walled garden beautifully planted and complete with outdoor seating and BBQ area, perfect for summer events.

One of my favourite bedrooms

This venue also sleeps up to 20 guests, meaning that you can accommodate all if not most of your wedding party. Each bedroom is just divine and you get a real feel of the history of the house through the hidden servant's staircases and the nanny's quarters and dormitory at the top of the house on the 3rd floor. As you explore the house you'll find all sorts of original Victorian features, including the range in the kitchen and the winding main staircase.

The Dorms
Master Bathroom-my favourite room in the house
The Kitchen
The well equipped kitchen makes self catering easy and you are more than welcome to bring in your own caterers for the wedding reception. If you can't be bothered to cook during your stay, then you couldn't be in a better place, as Bildeston's award winning pub The Crown is just a stone's throw across the road. 

Intimate venues are very hard to find and this is a hidden gem, well worth a look for hen parties, family bookings and more. The surrounding area boasts some of the most beautiful views in Suffolk and there are plenty of good country walks and other activities to get stuck into.

The Living Room
If you'd like further information about Christmas Hall, you can enquire here or call 01449 740740.

Thank you to Hazel and Helen for showing us around and I wish you all the best in your new venture!

All images © Christmas Hall

Grant-Riley Weddings

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Planner's Guide: In-House & Independent Planners

The latest instalment of The Planner's Guide centres around the role of in-house and independent planners, the differences and similarities of their respective jobs and how they work both separately and together.

In-House Coordinators

via Martha Stewart Weddings

The vast majority of wedding venues across the UK will now have their own dedicated coordinator, be it on their own or within a rotating team. The general day-to day tasks of in-house staff are to provide support to the venue be it through showing round potential new clients, keeping up to date with existing clients' wedding plans from ensuring all the catering is arranged, liaising with other suppliers, to putting together the final schedule for the day and of course overseeing the weddings that take place.
It is also usually your venue that will contact the registrar to preliminarily book in your ceremony for you as your registrar will need proof that your venue of choice is legally licensed. They will also have a good relationship with the superintendent registrar in the area.

Independent Planners

A stand-alone planner is jack of all trades. To give you an example, my work includes sourcing venues, managing the budget, sourcing and hiring suppliers, liaising with venue staff and suppliers, designing and dressing, providing general day to day support to clients and of course the day itself (and sometimes afterwards too). It's like asking how long a piece of string is when it comes to what I do for my clients, the list is potentially endless!

Why Should I Hire A Planner? 

Whilst your venue has its own coordination team on hand to ensure your day runs well, it is worth noting that generally (and I say generally so as I don't step on anyone's toes!) your coordinator is there for the venue and what goes on within those boundaries. Beyond that point, it's your responsibility, meaning that you can't call them out of hours to discuss chasing those RSVPs or to change the shade of rose in your bouquet. They have nothing to do with your arrival at the church, nor is it their responsibility to chase your hair stylist if they're late. This is where an independent planner comes in-they are there entirely for you to ensure every single aspect of your day is looked after, even if you choose not to have one to guide you through the planning process it is most definitely worth considering one for the day itself.

©Devlin Photos
How Do Venues & Planners Work Together?

I've been really lucky in that the venue coordinators I've worked with have found working with me nothing but helpful. I deal with the front line issues with the bride and groom, liaise with their suppliers and prepare all the wedding day documents to be sent over to the venue meaning they don't need to spend time chasing answers and can focus on ensuring the venue works like clockwork on the day. It also means that by the time the day arrives, we're all on good terms working as a team and know exactly who does what and when. It takes some of the pressure off their team and in turn takes the pressure off me.

A typical day might start with me checking in on the bride/groom whilst they prepare before I head off to the venue to dress it whilst the staff lay up for service. Once I'm at the ceremony (if they're in separate places) I can then call ahead to inform the venue once the wedding party are setting off for the reception so everyone can be ready to stand by. Throughout the day I look after my bride and groom and ensure all the little details are taken care of, and it there are any concerns or requests I can feedback quickly to the venue staff. Simple logistics that make all the difference.

I hope this post has helped clear up those differences and that they've helped you to consider hiring someone, regardless of where you are in your planning.

If you're recently married, did you hire a coordinator or wish that you had?

Grant-Riley Weddings

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Curiosity Project Has Moved!

You may have noticed the announcement of our exciting new project a few months back, in fact, you may even be taking part by now. Over the weeks following the announcement a total of 232 of you signed up to be a part of it and we took it worldwide! It got so big, in fact, that we had to dedicate its own blog to it, given the realisation of the number of boxes that'd be featured by the time the project came to a close.

So if you're sitting here waiting for updates and wondering why you've not heard anything...check the new blog instead and have at good nose at some of the boxes our lovely participants have received so far.

Also keep an eye out here for announcements on our next project, which will open when the current one finishes (early November). You'll be able to sign up and get involved as soon as we open the flood gates!

In the meantime, we're looking for sponsors for our new blog (we've got to move it again) over the period of the next project which will last for approximately one month. Sponsors will also enjoy a featured post designed to inspire our participants meaning you can reach a wider audience in time for Christmas. The best news? It's very affordable! If you make/design or sell gorgeous products to the value of £20 or under that would appeal to our participants, please do drop us a line and we'll send you more information!

Stay Curious ;-)

The Curiosity Project

NEW! Inspired.By.Harriet

Happy Monday morning to you all and it sure is a wonderful Monday, as we're kicking off the week with our lovely creator/maker Harriet's first inspiration post in her very own series, Inspired.By.Harriet. Each week she'll be bringing plenty of sumptuous wedding inspiration to your fingertips, so show her some love...

Tiffany has asked me to pull some images together that I find inspiring (and that I hope will inspire you too!). I am very excited about my first post!

I have created a moodboard around the theme of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby'. There is something so elegant and graceful about the 1920's, I love the decadence and glamour of the era, with its heavily beaded gowns and delicate sheer fabrics. 

 When pulling together a look, I like to pick and choose particular elements that I find most inspiring to create a unique style. A feature of the 1920's bride that I especially like is the head piece - a close fitting veil usually incorporating one or two oversized flowers. By hunting around vintage fairs, I have found these are often the best places to find lovely antique lace and trimmings, silk flowers, and other gems! If you choose to have embellishments on your veil, a really nice way to bring the look together is to mirror these details on your gown, such as beading or embroidery. It is also a nice idea to pull these ideas through to smaller details, such as lace on your bouquet, or as part of your favours. 

via Esvie  

I noticed that both Kate Moss and Lily Allen wore 1920's inspired veils at their weddings. And with the new 'Great Gatsby' film coming out soon, it will be all the rage!
Creating a vintage look can be really fun - poke around car-boot sales and antique shops, you can find some real treasures that will make your wedding individual.

See you next week!

Harriet x.

Image Credits:

Top: Kate Moss wedding style: via Shine, Sparkle, Glamours, 1920s wedding illustration
Centre: Bouquet via WeddingChicks, headdress by BHLDN, vintage flapper dress via Vintage Textile 
Bottom: Art Deco cake via Project Wedding, dressing hanging in the window by Josh Goleman via Cotton Candy Sugarrush

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Wedding News: The Luxury Wedding Show

This weekend sees the launch of a brand new bridal show, one that reflects all the high end luxury of the bridal industry, aptly named The Luxury Wedding Show. Taking place at the ultra chic Saatchi Gallery on the 22nd and 23rd of October, brides can expect a boutique experience featuring some of the best of British fashion designers including Vivienne Westwood, Amanda Wakeley and Temperley London, as well as some of our industry favourites By Appointment Only Design, Jane Taylor Millinery, Vintage Tea Sets and more.

I will be on the Luella's Boudoir stand over the weekend heading up our wedding planning services, so come and have a chat if there's something I might be able to help you with!

You can expect catwalk previews of the latest collections from Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Marchesa, David Fielden and more whilst you sip on a chilled glass of champagne, enjoy lunch expertly prepared by one of the UK's best caterers Rhubarb (I know, I've worked with them!) and leave inspired and ready to plan your wedding with a premium goody bag. Sounds like a great day out for the girls, right?

For information on purchasing tickets, please click here and make the most of the 2 for 1 ticket offer.

See you there!

Grant-Riley Weddings

Friday, 7 October 2011

Alternative Buttonholes

Image Credits:

1. Felt pom pom boutonnieres by Fairyfolk
2. Keepsake pocket watch via Emmaline Bride, Charm pins via DelaneyJewelry
3. Wood Guitar pin by Braggingbags at Etsy, Tick Tock Boutonniere by Frittsrosenow
4. Chalk flowers via Bridal Snob
5. Feather & pussy willow boutonniere by The French Mouse. Key and feather boutonniere © Love Me Do Photography via Elizabeth Anne Designs

Grant-Riley Weddings

Monday, 3 October 2011

Boardwalk Empire, Season Two Premier

A few weeks back I got an extremely excited DM over Twitter from close friend and Love My Dress blogger Annabel Beeforth to say she'd been invited by Sky Atlantic to their season 2 launch party of Boardwalk Empire and would she be interested in attending with some friends. The party was, in true prohibition style, to be held in a secret location where guests were to be treated to a variety of cocktails and other intoxicating liquors, entertained by ungodly dancers and the devil's swing music. You can imagine what both her and my answer was. Y. E. S.

Given the close bond we'd created throughout our pregnancies, we knew we couldn't go without asking 1920s enthusiast Vicky Rowe of Vintage Tea Sets, Clara Bows and, most recently, LeLuxe Clothing UK.

Photographer Kirsten Mavric, who I'd previously worked with on a Boardwalk Empire inspired shoot joined us for the ride and kindly documented the evening for us. Thanks Kirsten!

All of us being huge fans of the hit U.S drama, we couldn't wait to see what was it store for season two-would Jimmy and Al Capone gain the upper hand over Nucky? How would Margaret Schroeder battle with her morals in order to give her children a better life? Just wait and see ;-) 

The Hotel

The girls and I got ourselves into the party mood at the uber chic Trafalgar Hotel whose staff looked after our every need. I love this place, it has it all-attentive staff, great food, the most comfortable beds and did I mention the view?

Views from the roof

Getting Ready

Vicky has recently become the UK supplier of US based company LeLuxe Clothing, meaning we got the pick of the most stunning selection of beaded flapper gowns I have ever seen. The choice was a tricky one, but I fell in love with the Garcon. Vicky also stocks some beautiful designs in ivory, perfect for a 20s bride.


My trusty wedding shoes.

Up On The Roof

Before heading out we soaked up the evening sun up on the Vista Bar for pre-party drinks and dinner. Oh...and a bit of posing too...

Legal Documentation

Here's the invitation subpoena Annabel received calling us all up to play our part at the speakeasy that night (hush-hush n all that).  How amazing are they?!

The Speakeasy

We arrived by taxi at the brilliantly well hidden Candlelight Club, the perfect hot spot for all sorts of illicit activity. The ladies on the door ushered us through a small iron doorway through to a courtyard and in we went...

"Steppin' out with ma baby...!"

The 'Ritz Cocktail' after Nucky's resident hotel in Atlantic City

My Boardwalk Breeze. My oh my, tasted just like saltwater taffy!

The incredible band. Boy those cats could swing. 

Before the screening, the band got the party going as guests arrived and warmed up with a drink of two, followed by some deliciously naughty burlesque. 

The VIP Room

Annabel was whisked off whilst we waited in the bar sipping cocktails to be made up in 1920s style. Kirsten took some cracking shots of the space-utterly drool-worthy as you'll soon see...

Annabel with her stylist

How utterly divine is this shot?!

The Big Screening!

Finally the moment had arrived and eagerly the crowd made their way upstairs to the screening room. Each with a goody bag of refreshments on our laps we settled down to kick off the 1st episode of series 2 of Boardwalk Empire!

Excited much?!

The verdict? We were very impressed. And we liked that the first episode recapped a little of the last series and gave a real flavour of what was to come. It was funny, too.

When do the rest of you mere mortals get to watch it? October 8th my pretties. October 8th, 9pm, Sky Atlantic.

Thanks to:
Annabel Beeforth of Love My Dress for her friendship and of course, a brilliant night out!
Kirsten Mavric for her beautiful photos
Vicky for the giggles and the glamour. I felt like Josephine Baker!
Yvonne Otley and her staff at The Trafalgar Hotel
Sky Atlantic and The Candlelight Club for a swingin' good time. 

Grant-Riley Weddings