Tag Archives: UK

Hannah & Tom’s Shabby Chic, English Charm Wedding

Hannah & Tom’s shabby chic, English country garden wedding had so many adorable details that I simply couldn’t turn down the opportunity to feature it. I love how the term ‘Rock n Roll’ can be applied to so many different styles of weddings don’t you? ‘Rock n Roll’ is an all encompassing love of expressing yourself and your individual quirks though your wedding (well, and real life too!) Anyway, mini-morning lecture over, let’s get on with sharing all these beautiful touches shall we?

“Getting married was obviously something I have hoped to happen but I was not ones of these girls who had the whole day planned,” bride Hannah told me. “So when Tom and I got engaged we both knew 2 things… 1st we didn’t want a long engagement, after 11 years together what is the point of waiting? And the 2nd thing was we wanted a relaxed wedding! I then started to build the ideas in my head of what I envisaged the day to look like and Tom and our parents didn’t get it at first, so I started a mood book, it became my bible.”

“I entitled it “English Charm” when people asked what my theme was, I replied with ‘rustic, relaxed and the thrown together look’. 
 We had viewed quite a few country houses and golf clubs but I just hated the fact you were just on a conveyer belt of weddings, stuck in one room. We wanted our own stamp and personality to come though in our wedding, which is then why we decided to go fro the marquee option! As it was spring I loved the idea of having loads of our own flowers around which is a great/relatively cheap way of having the impact of colour.”

“We had talked about hiring in the vintage crockery, then we found a few bits in charity shops and decided that it might be just as cheap to buy it all ourselves and Tom and I and my Mum loved buying all the bits and pieces, we went to car boots, charity shops, relatives cupboards and we then come across this Aladdin’s cave of vintage crockery in south Wales were we ended up buying a lot of our bits from. I then sourced all the fabric for the floral runners, which Tom’s mum made up for us.”

“I didn’t enjoy the whole wedding dress shopping experience at all, I thought I would as I love clothes and fashion but there was nothing I liked around, they were all to safe and same looking. I decided to keep my eye on eBay and Tom was actually sat next to me when I was bidding on my dress (although he was completely unaware of this fact!)  I found this vintage dress on there and brought it for just £40. I then decided because it was a bit tatty around the edge to have the exact dress re-made after choosing my own lace, pearls etc by my dad’s Cousin who is a dressmaker. When I walked into that church and I heard gasps and murmurs of “wow” I knew I had definitely got the right dress. I also loved the fact it had a split up the front so was perfect for dancing in the evening.”

“When we went out to quote for the catering of the wedding, we had a very clear idea on what food we wanted, for starter we had a picnic hamper per table with cold meats, pork pie, scotch eggs, pickled onions, gherkins, rustic breads and much more. This just got every one on the tables talking. For main course we went for a traditional British food – local bangers and a colcannon mash which went down a treat with everyone. For the desserts we wanted people to be able to get up and have a wonder around before they sat again for another hour or so for the speeches and due to Tom being a tree surgeon we thought it would be a nice idea to use tree trunks as cake stands and it worked brilliantly. It all felt very rustic with the summer berry parabola, lemon tart and chocolate brownies. The catering team really exceeded our expectations and did such a fantastic job.”

“We have had so many comments from friends and family since all saying the same thing, what a relaxed and unique wedding to remember which was exactly the wedding I wanted, we couldn’t have asked for much more.”

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That 70’s Show – A Retro Flower-Child Bridal Shoot

The 1970’s are well and truly BACK. I don’t know about you but I’m seeing the styling of this decade everywhere at the moment – from the rails of the high street to the lookbooks of the high end. Even kitsch 70’s décor is back in vogue (apparently…not sure about the whole avocado bathroom thing making a comeback …)

So needless to say, I didn’t expect it to be long until someone brought this iconic styling into a bridal shoot. Photographer Catherine of Lily & Frank Photography and florist Steph from Fairy Nuff Flowers worked together to bring this concept together.

They set out their goals from the outset as they were keen to make this shoot stand out from the crowd. They wanted the flowers to take centre stage to the styling, to echo the ‘flower-child’ movement of the 70’s I’d suppose, so they make a conscious decision not to use any jewellery or hair accessories on the models. They were also very keen to make it a retro style, rather than the oh-s0-popular vintage styling of the moment – therefore bold pops of colour and strong statement pieces moved to the forefront. Finally, an obvious British feel was imperative as was a vibe of laid-back, fun and alternative-ness.

“We were both inspired by the 70s look and feel and wanted to incorporate the 2011 fashion trend of antique lace and crochet,” photographer Catherine told me. “We also wanted the styling to be very simple, no jewelery only flowers as the accessories. Having fresh flowers in the hair, daisy chains and also keeping the models bare foot for most of the garden shoot.”

“We later transferred the models to a beautiful yellow rapeseed oil field and had some odd props, a lampshade, birdcage filled with gypsophila, suitcase, mirror and just had some fun with the colours, location and the collection of props (pretty much all from mine and my sister’s homes.) We wanted to show that simple styling can be just as beautiful if not more so, also great for smaller budgets.”

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Charlotte & Chris’ Bush Hall, Gig Wedding

Charlotte is the genius and super lovely lady behind Restoration Cake – my favourite cake maker – FACT. She is also someone I consider to be a friend so when she told me she was marrying Chris in March I was so excited. Unfortunately I was unable to attend as it fell on the same day as Emma Case’s wedding, but luckily for me (and you!) Charlotte was still really excited to let me share her day with on my blog…and before you ask, yes she did make her own cake!

The couple threw themselves wholeheartedly into planning their big day and groom Chris was particularly enthusiastic. Charlotte made me laugh when she would tell me that throughout their planning Chris would constantly email her links to things he liked on Rock n Roll Bride!

Charlotte & Chris were never going to have a traditional wedding. Both really into music, a gig wedding at the iconic Bush Hall in London was the perfect idea for them! “We had known for ages that we wanted to get married but could never quite figure out how to do it in a way that was right for us,” Charlotte told me.”We knew that we did not want the whole traditional nine yards but could not reconcile the idea of a Vegas elopement leaving behind all of our family and friends. In the Summer of 2010, we went to a gig at Bush Hall and fell in love with the venue. We decided that our Wedding would be a gig, with our friends’ bands playing, and a massive party. We booked the venue before we told anyone that we had decided to get married!”

“We met at a gig and regularly go to gigs. We seek out new bands and listen to all kinds of music from past and present. Music had to be a central part of our day. We decided that a DJ would not allow us the control that we wanted over the music so we spent the 5 months leading up to the Wedding working on a killer playlist. The playlist was even divided into sections to fit around our 4 performers of the evening. We even arranged a separate playlist to be played 15mins before the venue was due to close, so that we could ensure that Lovecats by The Cure and God Gave Rock n Roll To You by KISS were our final songs of the night.”

They had a number of performers at their monster wedding gig including electric cellist Jo Quail, singer Evi Vine, burlesque dancer Vicky Butterfly and The Mark Gamble Band (Charlotte’s Dad’s band!) “People were probably a bit sceptical about the Father of the bride’s band performing but he really was outstanding,” the bride continued. “The setlist was classic rock and blues. Loads of guests danced. Dad was even joined on stage by his sister, my auntie Angela, who he used to be in a band with when they were teenagers! As a part of Dad’s set, he played my favourite song from my childhood… Postman Pat, with the latter verses rewritten especially along the lines of ‘Mr. White has a brand new wife’. He also read out messages from all of our favourite rock stars, with their best wishes and apologies for not being there.”

“Then I got up on stage with Dad and we sang Crossroads together. It meant the world to me to perform with my Dad. I also play bass guitar so I played the next two tracks – I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders, which perfectly expresses everything that I would have said in my bride’s speech were I more eloquent, and Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, which I performed in a raw rock style.”

“I don’t get stage fright but I found it much easier to relax if I just focused on Chris. After all, I was singing to him and seeing him smiling at me let me know that the show was going OK! Lots of my friends have not known me as a musician – as I left my last band around 5 years ago – so lots of people were quite shocked. Chris knew that I was going to do the Gaga track but the other two songs were a surprise for him too.”

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Under the Spotlight – Adamo Bridal

Opened in November 2010 in the small seaside town Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Adamo Bridal is owned and run by Lauren Williamson. Although Lauren is only in her 20’s, she was able to fulfil her dream and open her own bridal boutique when she moved to Essex after gaining a lot of  experience in the industry working in Cheshire and Lancashire.

She wanted Adamo Bridal to have an intimate feeling so she decided to offer a select range of unique couture bridal gowns and accessories all from British and European designers including Alan Hannah, MiaMia, Cymbeline, Ugo Zaldi, Halo & Co and Freya Rose.

She also offers wedding planning services, styling advice and on the day dressing for brides.

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A Black & White Checked Couture Gown

There were two things that I loved as soon as I saw this shoot – the model’s gorgeous red hair and that dress! Very Vivienne Westwood inspired on both counts…and we all know how much I adore a bit of Vivienne.

The shoot was set up to promote dress designer Nicki Hill‘s new range of bridal gowns. Based in Southampton UK, Nicki is famed her stunning couture gowns. Dresses like this one are made to order and created in her own studio.

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A Day in the Life…At The Wedding Magazine Cover Shoot

Ruth wearing Candy Anthony

So last week I was invited by Catherine Westwood, editor at Wedding Magazine, if I’d like to go hang out at a cover shoot with them. Ermmm… let me think about this for like two seconds…YES PLEASE! Before you go getting all excited, no I wasn’t asked to model! It will probably be a cold day in hell before any wedding mag can have a pink haired chick on the cover. These publications have to appeal to the mass market and I feel that a neon-headed, inked bride might alienate a rather large proportion of their readership!

I was up early last Thursday and on the train to London, excited and honoured to have been invited…even though a little (no, a lot) tired. I arrived at the shoot at 9.30 to be greeted by a familiar face in hairdresser Sev of The Hepburn Collection who had been invited to do the hair, and Julia Ford, art editor of the magazine. I also got to hang out with the rest of the team, many of whom I’d met briefly before at various wedding shows and events. Alison from Pollen Nation (who I worked with on The Big Fat Wedding Bloggers Photo Shoot) was even there to supply some of the gorgeous flowers.

Stylist Claire puts the finishing touches to Ruth’s first look

The models, Ruth (check out her beauty blog, A Model Recommends), Kirstie, Rose and Polly were all unsurprisingly stunning…and lovely. It was so fun to hang out with them and see them do their ‘thing’. Unlike some of those reality TV shows you see, their was no model-to-model bitchiness (yeeey) and they were all completely charming and adorable…and Polly even brought cakes. I liked her instantly.

Model Polly is getting married in June and making 200 of these for her guests. How cute?!

The magazine intern Billy and press agent for Butler & Wilson, Jo, showed me the dresses and accessories for the shoot. They’d brought what seemed like enough to fill a whole bridal shop as Julia, Catherine and stylist Claire were deciding on which looks and dresses to go for then and there. It was all very organic and a total team effort went into how each style and shot should look. There as certainly no ‘Devil Wears Prada’ feel about the day! I even got to give my input into which dresses and accessories I liked (for the record Ruth’s Candy Anthony number – pictured above – was my favourite.)

The beautiful and adorable Rose – it was her first time wearing a wedding dress!

Catherine told me that unlike wedding blogs, the styling and content of magazines has to be appropriate to appeal to the mass market, but that she was keen to push boundaries in whichever ways she could. For example one of the models, Rose, had a super short pixie crop hair style and they’d never had a bride with such short hair on the cover before. Also for one of the shots (each model had 2/3 outfits) Sev styled Kirstie’s hair with a plait going across her forehead – again, something that to you and I might not seem completely ground-breaking, but for a mainstream wedding magazine this was a style that again, had never been put on a cover before.

Kirstie was stunning (and really did look like Reese Witherspoon)

I’ll be honest, when people criticise the mainstream wedding mags for being to ‘boring’ or ‘traditional’ or ‘samey’ it really does upset me. This small team work tirelessly and to horrific deadlines to try and produce a magazine that will fly off the shelves (hell, blogs have it easy – we don’t have to obsess over how many copies we sell!) This is why I am so excited that I’ve been asked to work alongside the magazine. It just proves that opposites really can work together and give a fully-rounded (traditional and alternative) view on weddings. Everybody wins.

OK I’m off to clamber off my soap-box now, hang on…

I sneaked a look at how the final shots were looking…

Editorial photographer Seb Winter worked quickly with each girl. As with any shoot I’ve been on, it’s the hair, make up and styling that takes the most time. As you can imagine (especially for such a high profile shoot as this one!) they all need to be perfect. As I mentioned, each girl had 2/3 outfits. Catherine told me that they shoot nearly a year’s worth of magazine covers in just one day – a time and money saving exercise. Well, there would be no point in hiring the studio, getting the whole team out of the office and acquiring all the dresses, accessories etc to just to do one shot! It was funny, because Julia showed us all the cover for the next issue (out in June) which was shot this time last year and with one of the same models who was with us that day!

Polly. I wish I could hate her but she was too lovely for words!

The day was a long but awesome one. I had such fun hanging out with everyone and they really did make me feel like part of the family. I was honoured to have been asked by Catherine to attend, and I’m loving the fact that Wedding Magazine are realising the influence and power of wedding blogs and that they are keen to work closely with us. It’s a very exciting time in this industry of ours, and I’m over the flipping moon to be a part of it.

Intern Billy and I checking out the Twitter response after I posted a few pictures

And finally…I wanted to create my own Wedding Magazine cover…luckily for me the models (and the magazine editor!) all had a sense of humour.

Dresses pictures (top row)
Candy Anthony
Olivia Couture (supplied by Blackburn Bridal Couture)

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