Thursday, 29 March 2012

Custom Bridesmaids Dresses: The Amanda Archer Collection

As I type I'm on a ruthless hunt for the perfect set of bridesmaids dresses for my best friend's wedding. Well, it would be ruthless if there was anything in the right colour and budget. It's a typical case of sod's law-the bride settles on a colour scheme she's happy with after much deliberation and then (surprise, surprise!) you can't find a single option that hangs well, isn't a belt or covered in diamante. Would you listen to me!

Then it occurred to me that I ought to see what Etsy has to offer, after all if you can't find what you want there then you're never going to find it! I instantly fell in love with Amanda Archer's Collection.









Amanda's dresses are created using natural and eco-friendly fabrics and trims and won't be left hidden at the back of the wardrobe after the wedding. Not only am I a sucker for a pleated neckline but I LOVE a dress with pockets. Stylish and practical!

Image Credits:
© Amanda Archer

Friday, 23 March 2012

Inspired. By. Harriet #7



Our lovely Harriet is back from her wanderings and adventures around South America! Looking forward to catching up with you in the coming weeks and hearing all about your travels!

But in the meantime, my amazing styling partner in crime has thrown together an inspiring spring board for you, using this seasons hot colour collection, pastels. I've been crazy obsessed with the Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 campaign which is, funnily enough, all based on pastels but giving them a proper update with candy and ice cream colours. No longer are they considered baby-ish and washed out as Harriet shows us...



"This month it has started to feel like spring is almost here. So, inspired by the (slightly) warmer weather, I have been looking at pale pastel tones. The word 'pastel' can can sound a bit sickly, but this depends on the tone and fabric. If the pinks are less sugary and more peachy, and the fabric is silk or lace, then you can create a more vintage look. This colour palette feels really fresh, and can compliment both your flowers and your decorations."

Image Credits:

Top: 30s embroidered dress via Persephone Vintage | Floral fabric, Fabricut Daugherty Duck Egg | Lace nighties, Junkaholique
Middle: Bride & bridesmaids via OnceWed | Hanging cups via Crush Cul De Sac | Mint green dress, Fancy Treehouse
Floral centrepiece via OnceWed
Bottom: Muted wardrobe, Junkaholique |  Bride & Groom via OnceWed | DIY Posies in glasses via Once Wed

Friday, 9 March 2012

Spotlight On...Olofson Designs

Nude Painted Cake

Phew! Just poking my head up over the parapet after last week's epic Oxfam Wedding shoot (#oxfamweddingshoot on Twitter if you fancy checking out some of the live tweets on the day) and I just couldn't wait to share our next Spotlight On supplier with you. Ceri Olofson. A rising star in the world of cake design, Ceri is such a sweetie and let me tell you, having tasted her creations she provided for the Oxfam shoot, I was blown away. I've never tasted cupcakes like them. I kid you not. So here we are...'Olfoson Design'...

Feather biscuit favours

Ceri spent some of her childhood growing up in France and it's clear from her designs that she was heavily influenced by French patisseries. 

Gold Botanics Wedding Cake


 Each design is a custom piece created especially for the client, taking inspiration from their wedding design, venue and personalities.

Ivory Anthropologie Teapot Cake

Ceri continues to experiment with new flavour combinations and I just love the sound of lavender, rose, cardamom and vanilla chocolate marble. I can also vouch that the zesty lemon sponge is out-of-this-world spectacular. Fact. 

Marie Antoinette Rococo Cake


You might also like to know that before she founded Olofson Design, Ceri used to spend her days piping biscuits for The Biscuiteers, so she knows a thing or two about a good cookie. If you fancy learning how to create your own beautiful cupcakes and biscuits, we recommend you check out Ceri's classes here.

Ruffle Cake (with brassicas!)

If you appreciate the amount of skill and attention that goes into these eye-wateringly beautiful creations, do leave a comment, she'd love to hear from you!

Grant-Riley Weddings

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sweet Sounds

I realised it'd been some time since I'd written a post about wedding music, which is silly really, considering, well, music holds importance for most of us in some shape or form. So today I'm talking about  music without words, film scores to be precise. My love for film scores seems to be growing all of the time, it paints a thousand pictures, adds life to the emotion you watch on screen. I want to share with you some of my favourite composers and inspire you to introduce touches of film score into your day, be it accompanying you down the aisle, in the background during dinner, or even using it on your own wedding film afterwards....

Big Fish (Titles) by Danny Elfman

This is in my opinion is Tim Burton's finest hour and one of my top 3 favourite films of all time. A story of enduring love, I actually can't listen to the opening titles of this film without tears streaming down my face! Despite having watched it a thousands times I just can't help myself. A MUST watch for those that haven't.




'White Dress',  Under The Tuscan Sun by Christophe Beck

Another from my top 3 films-yes it's cheesy and I love it. But the point is, it's about a woman who on a whim ups sticks and moves to Tuscany. Just like that. Nevermind that I want to do the same! It was this film that sparked my love affair with Italy, drove us to explore Tuscany for our own wedding and, despite it not happening for us there, we did play this soundtrack as our guests arrived before our ceremony and I still cannot listen to it without conjuring up thoughts of our adventures in Italy...

P.S if you have no idea who Raoul Bova is, you will after watching this movie! 



'Sophia',  How To Make an American Quilt, by Thomas Newman

Thomas Newman, a score composer for the 21st Century. God, I love him. His signature style is unmistakable and he has written for films such as The Help (most recently) Revolutionary Road, American Beauty, Fried Green Tomatoes (also in my top 3) and too many more to mention. This piece comes from a gorgeous movie I saw many years ago (in fact, it was one of those lesser known titles my step-dad discovered hidden at Blockbusters) but the story is so heartwarming. In short, a group of women get together to create a giant quilt, and whilst they sew, they tell of their experiences of love. Oh, and Winona Ryder and Jared Leto are in it...




I could go on all night posting up my favourite pieces of music, but most of those aren't wedding appropriate and I wanted to illustrate how music from your favourite films can be included in your own day. I hope you feel inspired to do it!

Monday, 20 February 2012

A Carry On Camping Love Shoot

Last year I teamed up with photographer Lisa Jane offering a 'love shoot' to one lucky couple on Love My Dress. All they had to do was send in a mood board which described how they would style their own love shoot. We chose winners Chelsea and Chris who went for a tongue-in-cheek 'Carry On Camping' theme.

Time flew by along with the warm summer months and before we knew it, it was January. Clearly, the cheeky bikini and badminton shots were not an option but in its place came a gorgeous wintery afternoon, a 1970s tent, knitted bunting, jumpers, snuggly blankets and hot chocolate with marshmallows...
















Harriet and I had the best time playing camping in the woods and styling our couple, drooling over Lisa Jane's variety of cameras she used to shoot with (I was about to steal the Holga but she caught me) and we couldn't believe how well Chelsea and Chris took to the camera, despite the freezing cold! I think it's safe to say they are the very best of friends and very much in love.

We wish you both the most spectacular wedding and an even better marriage!

If you'd like to find out more about Lisa Jane's love shoots or even her wedding day coverage, drop her a line here, she's such a softie ;-)

Grant-Riley Weddings

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Top Trend: Barely There Bridesmaids

1. Elenor Soft Cappuccino Dress, Reiss    2. Nude Sleeveless Skater Dress, Miss Selfridge
3. Spell On You Flared Dress, French Connection   4. Alysa Full Skirt Dress, Ted Baker
5. Bike Lane Dress, Anthropologie


Nudes, neutrals and naturals are still everywhere this spring, despite the overload of bold colour and clashing prints emerging on the runway. For a classic, timeless look, consider neutrals for your bridesmaids. We love it.

Grant-Riley Weddings

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Spotlight On...The Biscuiteers


This week we thought we'd show lots of love to our favourite biscuit company The Biscuiteers. Masterminded in the same year we launched in 2007 by husband and wife team Harriet Hastings and Steve Congdon their mission statement reads:

"Why send flowers when you can send biscuits instead?"


Indeed. All the ingredients that go into these bad boys are natural and made in the good old fashioned way, by hand.


We've loved watching their amazing company grow over the past few years, seeing the new collections come to life and even enjoyed sending and receiving a few. Friends of ours sent us a little champagne bottle when our son was born, and yesterday we were surprised with a little something we received from this fantastic team ahead of Valentine's Day...

The cutest box EVER.



Thank you!

You'd be hard pushed not to have seen or heard of The Biscuiteers these days given that they're stocked in Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Harrods and their book of iced biscuits has also graced our stack of gifts under our Christmas tree for a few of our friends.


Custard Creams & Bourbons. Brilliant. 

There is a biscuit for every occasion and there's also the option to personalise. We love the idea of having piped place names for weddings or perhaps laying on a variety of designs on a dessert table. Since launching we've also noticed a number of newbies have made their way into their superstar line-up including custom cakes, sweets, choccies and these hilarious Jolly Gingers!

"Ever fancied a ginger?" 

Keep up the good work guys and I hope to get round to visiting you soon, I might even give it a go myself?

Image Credits:
©The Biscuiteers

Grant-Riley Weddings

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Runway Bride Spring/Summer 2012

 2012 is tipped to be the year of the statement dress, whether it's volume, colour or the length you choose, we've selected some of the hottest trends to grace the runway from some of our favourite designers...


Vera Wang set tongues wagging at the end of last year when she revealed her Fall 2012 collection which featured seven black gowns. We loved them and can't wait to see who will champion the black gown this year. For Spring and Summer however, she's concentrating on muted, nude tones, plenty of draping and glorious pin tucks and pleating. Beautiful detailing is also hidden under draped tulle at the back of some of her gowns which display pleats and ruffles underneath. Utterly breath-taking. 



♡ ♡ ♡

A red carpet favourite, Saab's designs are purely romantic. They are dreamy, sensual and extremely desirable. If Elie Saab made gowns to do the washing up in...
It was exciting to see several short dresses making their way onto the runway this year, using the traditional ivory as well as pinks, greens and pastel blues. Each of the shorter designs have been teamed up with a thin leather belt and the dresses themselves are embellished with beading, with geometric tapering to the waist and a choice of three quarter length or sleeveless. Swoon. 


♡ ♡ ♡

Although much of de la Renta's collection focuses on applique and ruffles, we picked out two designs which take their inspiration from flowers, namely Lily of the Valley (a nod towards the Royal Wedding perhaps?) and the rose. 



♡ ♡ ♡

Volume is of-the-moment in bridal fashion for 2012. It's a high-fashion, contemporary look for a bride wanting to make a real statement. We love it. Romona Keveza's latest collection is all about texture and the attention is focused on the skirts with beautifully sculpted bodices. Divine. 


Getting married this year or 2013? Is your gown inspired by any of these trends?

Grant-Riley Weddings

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Spotlight On...Lottie Emile


This weekend we're shedding light on another hidden gem, bridal designer Lottie Emile...

A graduate of the Wimbledon School of Art, Charlotte has worked with some of the most prominent names in the bridal industry, including Jenny Packham, Marchesa (the holy grail!) and Terry Fox as well as the vintage lovelies Belle & Bunty...

"I studied Costume and History of Fashion at University, so I have quite a knowledge of historical cuts, and can achieve something quite realistically vintage. It’s a great challenge to modernise vintage styles, and making them suit the modern bride, while also reflecting a golden age. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with mixing vintage eras within one look, changing silhouettes and decorative techniques. If it looks great, then that should be all that matters!"


A lot of your bespoke designs are vintage inspired, was this a conscious direction for you?

"It was never my intention to specifically make ‘vintage’ wedding gowns, it’s simply the design movement of the moment. Brides are continuously pushing the boundaries of vintage, coming up with new ideas, and there are so many vintage avenues to explore. The 1920’s are currently having their renaissance, so I’ve got some exciting designs planned for this year involving lots of sequins and roses! I think that vintage weddings is a big trend that is set to continue for a long time to come!"

Talk us through your design process...

"Once an idea has been spun in my mind, I get tangled in a web of research and inspirations. It is very likely that I will get more excited about a dress than a bride, so I have to work extra hard, to make that her excitement levels are high too!
Brides often nervously show me ideas they’ve seen which look amazingly complicated and difficult, but I really love a challenge, and a smile will spread across my face when I am faced with a decorative project! Getting to push my limits and discover new things along the way is what draws me to bridal! It’s often the one chance a woman will get to go ‘all out’, and I love that my job is to create her dress!"

And on to the dresses! 


Linnea's Dress

I just LOVE this dress. Very 60s chic! 

"As a creative set and prop designer, Linnea was never going to want a traditional wedding gown for her winter wedding in Sweeden! Instead she came to me with a very vivid design idea for me to make for her!
Linnea wanted the miniest of mini dresses I have ever seen! Not only that, but it needed to contain 100 layers of tulle to create it’s flair, all hand cut, and sewn at intervals onto a lycra body suit! And finished with a delicately pleated grosgrain ribbon trim.
Though it looks a very simple dress, it took a little bit of master-minding!!"

Laura's Dress




"Laura runs a vintage shop in beautiful Suffolk, so the vintage style stakes were high! Laura had one main inspiration - Elizabeth Taylor - but had lots of other elements that she wanted to include too. ‘Swish’ was very important, as well as a giant bow!
I made Laura an historically accurate 1950’s corset, to give her an amazingly cinched waist, and all the little violets were hand cut in two sections, and placed individually, securing each one with a little cluster of silver glass beads."

And finally, an little exclusive of a yet unseen design...

Amber's Dress



Photos by Jessica


"Amber's dress is a relatively modern style, with a star-burst pattern design on the bodice.
Her vintage story is all in the waistband. Amber really loved the idea of using a vintage lace, and then her mum stepped in with her veil from her own wedding, which was a piece of delicately embroidered tulle. The tulle had six large flowers chain-stitched, along with lots of vines and tiny daisies too. I cut out each individual flower, and positioned to create the waistband decoration of the dress, and embroidered the centres with sparkling clear and silver Swarovski crystals. The background of the lace had a polka dot, which we managed to utilise too! Amber was keen to have a token swallow on the dress too, so I searched for the perfect little brooch, and pinned it to her shoulder as her little mascot on the day."


Photos by Jessica

Using elements of your mother or grandmother's wedding dress is a meaningful way to honour them on your wedding day. The embellishment on Amber's dress is absolutely beautiful!

If you'd like to collaborate with Charlotte on your very own gown, her fees start from £1,000.00. She'd love to hear from you!

Grant-Riley Weddings