I’m currently lying in bed in my East Village apartment (well, I wish it was mine!) with Nubby the day after the first ever Blogcademy. It’s 7am and we’re both bolt upright excitedly gabbing about the events of the past 48 hours. It was a weekend of magical, unexpected, positivity and excitable exhilaration. Loving, learning and inspiring each other – all in our own imitable fashion. I feel mentally exhausted and my feet hurt like hell but it’s oh such a good feeling. Our 30 attendees were just what we hoped & prayed for and more, and I honestly feel we’ve all made some new BFFs for life.
When Lisa & I sit down to plan the Photography Farm styled shoots our criteria is simple – will it be fun and will it fulfill a current obsession? Well I can safely say we hit both those things with this one! Ice Cream Dream was born from our unwavering obsession with rainbow colour palettes and the fact that Hannah, our props stylist, has her own vintage ice cream cart (that she hires out at weddings – don’t you just I love this idea!?) Plus the gorgeous Elbie, who we’d roped into modelling for us, is as cute as an actual button and has the most rampant sweet tooth, like, ever. Our plan was for her to look like a sugary sweet treat herself and I think we managed to achieve that pretty well actually! I also can’t get over how good she looks with lilac hair. Jealous much?!
I have a bit of an obsession with candy coloured wigs, and this lavender creation from Annabelle’s Wigs was perfect for the job. We then called upon our gal Jo at The Couture Company to see if she could whip up (see what I did there!?) a dress with an ice cream influence. Jo suggested her Polly gown, which is handmade from silk with embroidered detailing, alongside some fluffy multi-coloured petticoats. It turned out to be a more than perfect combination! She also handmade us a cute bird brooch which added some quirky detailing to the overall look.
With the gorgeous dress, fashion stylist Laura & I teamed some ombre pink tights (which were a gift to me from Roo) some mental Jeffrey Campbell shoes, my Sparklebeast necklace (worn as a belt) and some Crown and Glory head candy… and yes, I totally stole both the flower crown and the giant pink bow afterwards – how could I not?!
“We didn’t want a run of the mill wedding”, explained newlywed Fiona. “Ben’s a bit of a control freak and likes things done his own way. We both love anything vintage so enjoyed lots of weekends trawling through flea markets and car boots collecting bits and bobs to decorate the barn. We really wanted a party atmosphere with all of our family and friends. We collected/ borrowed lots of hats, sunglasses and various other items of fancy dress for the evening and encouraged people to be a silly a possible – our guests fully embraced the dressing up and pretty much everyone was wearing some kind of fancy dress at the end of the night.”
“It was very much a DIY wedding,” she continued. “The barn was an empty shell when we arrived on the Friday to set up. I made all of the bunting, tea cup candles, and collected vintage bottles, table cloths and made hessian runners for tables. Ben is a graphic designer and made all the signs, artwork for the walls and all the paper goods (order of service, table plan etc). With the help of our wonderful family and friends we managed to turn the empty barn into a wedding venue.”
Ridge Farm, a working farm and ex-recording studio in Surrey, proved to be the perfect location for Holly & Karen’s May wedding. “What made our wedding Rock n Roll? Definitely the venue!” Holly told me. “Aside from being a beautiful farm that we fell in love with instantly, Ridge Farm is also a recording studio where so many of our musical heroes have recorded albums and stayed – so our wedding guests were partying in the very same place that Queen, Whitesnake, Muse, Roxy, Rush and many more have partied! We hired the farm for the entire long weekend – Karen is Irish and it’s Irish tradition to hold 3 day long weddings so we had a big meal on the Friday for family and friends then the wedding on the Saturday, followed by a pool party with live music and a hog roast for everyone on the Sunday. The farm sleeps 24 plus there is a camping field so all our hungover guests could just crawl out of bed on Sunday morning and stumble over to rejoin the party. By Sunday evening everyone was in the jacuzzi swigging prosecco from the bottle, even Karen’s mum!”
“We wanted to fit a lot into our 3 day wedding but we were also determined not to start married life with a ridiculous amount of debt so we decided to try and swap our skills as web designers with various wedding suppliers,” she continued. “I would definitely recommend doing this, Karen posted an ad on Gumtree and we had over 20 bands offer to play for free! We also had offers from florists, entertainers and videographers. We chose 4 of the bands and they played in a mini festival on the Sunday in return for either website help or just a few beers! The bands were all lovely and we’re planning to go and see some of them when they next play in London.”
“Our friends and family also helped out massively – our ceremony was conducted by a friend, she was even ordained especially for the occasion! My mum made over 90 metres of bunting, a friend made us origami cranes, my aunt made our cake, my dad, best woman and Karen’s sister made all of the cupcakes and canapes – which were all served on large slates provided by my brothers roofing firm.”
“Karen made a sweet table to keep the children happy, although it was the adults that ended up eating most of them! It was the adults that had the most fun with the space hoppers we had too! We also made a lemonade stand and our page boys, my little brother and Karen’s nephew, served homemade lemonade to guests on arrival. We made a huge batch of rum and elderflower punch for after the ceremony and the caterers topped up glasses using a watering can.”
“We didn’t really have a specific theme,” Holly responded when I asked about it, “we kind of just picked all things that we liked. We wanted our wedding to feel more like a big party or festival than a wedding so we kept everything relaxed and tried to avoid anything that we felt was too wedding-y. The most important thing to us was that everyone else had a good time, so big sharing platters of food, loads of rum and wine and lots of music were the main things we focussed on.”
As the venue played such a huge role in the look and feel of the wedding, the couple did have a slight musical theme with their table names being named after albums. “We named our tables after albums that had been recorded at the farm – and I made a table plan using old records with mini doilies covering the record label to show the table name/number. I also used some of the old records that had been recorded at the farm to make bowls for our sweet table – I put the records in the oven on a low heat and placed them on top of various bowls/containers with a tin of beans on top to weigh them down as they melted into the shape of the bowls.”
“For the table decorations, we scoured charity shops and car boot sales for old china cups and bowls, we then filled them all with wax and made them into candles for each table. We made vases from old glass bottles and jars that our friends saved for us, then decorated them with the fabric that was left from the bunting. We also used the leftover fabric to tie each persons cutlery together, to make table cloths and to attach name tags to the favours (personalised m&ms) and my Nan made aprons from it for the waiting staff to wear. Maybe our theme was leftover fabric! I also cut up strips of burlap fabric to make the table runners and scattered each table with butterflies punched from our invites, beads from broken necklaces and old badges. I loved styling our wedding so much that I’m considering starting up a wedding styling and catering company now!”
“We both dislike the term ‘civil partnership’ so we went with ‘Karen and Holly are becoming civilized…’ as the introduction on our invites,” Holly concluded. “Karen wrote our ceremony and it was conducted by our close friend in Ridge Farm’s beautiful orchard. Having a friend carry out the ceremony made it much less intimidating and really personal, Karen’s sister wrote an emotional poem that she read during the ceremony and another friend did a reading that included quotes on love/marriage from our flower girl and page boy.”
Are you pinning? I hope so, but if you are thinking, “what is she on about now?” then you need to check out Pinterest. Simply put, it’s an online pinboard for images found around the internet. You can start a board for just about anything but Pinterest has some suggested themes to get you started like Home Decor and DIY & Crafts. Lots of people and businesses are getting on board with Pinterest and it’s not surprising. It may be one of the newest social networking kids on the block but it was the fastest site ever to reach 10 million unique views in one week.
Some of the reasons why it has become so popular are it is incredibly easy to use and a great way to organise inspirational images into a visual feast. You can follow others and they can follow you and comment on or repin your images. To get started, you need an invite from an existing member or you can join a waiting list at the site and you will need an existing Facebook or Twitter account to log in. You can then happily skip around the internet lifting images that have pins on them, by installing a pin-it button as a tab in your browser, or by simply copying an images URL directly into pinterest.com.
Companies such as Gap and Boden have realised that Pinterest can be a great place to promote their products and more importantly to us, brides are using it to collate all their wedding planning ideas. It seems like a natural progression from wedding bloggers posting inspirational weddings to brides now being able to put together their own collections of the images they see on there. In return the bloggers are embracing Pinterest and most run their own boards, you can see Rock n Roll Bride’s here. Some wedding blogs including Once Wed, The Wedding Chicks, and Ruffled now have a pin graphic that appears when you scroll over the images so images can be pinned even easier, and Style Me Pretty has this week hit 250,000 followers for its boards.
Carina & Chris chose The Walled Garden at Cowdray, West Sussex as the venue to host their March wedding. “It was a fantastic venue where we were really able to personalise for our day,” the bride told me. “They were very relaxed and the venue’s informal spaces were perfect for us and our guests.”
“We spent the last year since getting engaged planning all of the details of the day”, she continued. “We spent our weekends rummaging in charity shops collecting china and glassware. We spent a long time making all of the bunting, menus, paper flags and lots of other items ourselves and needed someone to make it all look pretty on the day so that I could relax and enjoy getting ready! For this we worked with Lucy at Love Lane Vintage. We met her at the venue and she worked closely with our plans and our items, as well as my many sketches to style the venue! We also hired her vintage china teacups and cake stands to style the table and serve our mini afternoon tea – in place of canapés – for the drinks reception! The macaroons and mini scones looked stunning, as did the piles of teacups and teapots for guests to use!”
“Spriggs Florist in Petworth also immediately understood the vintage feel of the day – really relaxed, seasonal flowers arranged in the jars and a mix of vintage glass bottles we had collected – as if freshly picked and placed on the tables and around the venue. My bouquet had the 50s wow factor – full of sweat peas and big blousy peonies. Bridesmaid’s flowers complimented these using sweat peas again. Fresh rose petal confetti was supplied for guests to throw – handed out by our bridesmaid form a pretty vintage wicker basket.”
“Everything we used on the windowsills and sweetie tables we had collected, been given by family or friends or made ourselves. It was so much fun to see it all looking so beautiful! The cups, plates and bonbon dishes we collected looked amazing full of sweeties and flowers on the cake/sweetie table. As well as the bunting and vintage china, we designed and made all of the stationery for the day, guests really embraced the fabric covered badges and name tags on the tables and wore them during the evening dancing! It was great seeing friends and family collecting ‘souvenirs’ of the day to take home at the end of the evening!”
The bride were a short vintage-inspired wedding dress which she’d had designed and made by the fantastic House of Mooshki. “They make amazing vintage-inspired wedding dresses and they were fantastic to work with. Olivia, the designer, really understood what I was after and the dress was not only beautiful but and comfortable (amazing for dancing in the evening!)”
“We wanted a very relaxed day where friends and family could come along and fully enjoy the day without feeling formal,” Carina concluded. “We knew we didn’t want it to feel too ‘wedding-y’ with the same old things you see in a lot of magazines and wedding shows! We did exactly what we wanted to do at every step of the way and only worked with suppliers who ‘got’ this including the amazing Lisa Devlin. After we had seen her work, we knew she’d be perfect to capture all of the detail of our day.”