Tag Archives: something borrowed something roo

Something Borrowed, Something Roo: A Day With Katie

Allow me to start this post with a short disclaimer: this post is shameless. This post includes mentions of boobs, bottoms, and other jiggly bits. In this post, you’re going to see me in my undercrackers. This is a sight that few have dared to peek at – similarly; it’s a sight that I don’t dish out very easily. Like most women, there are bits of my body that I dislike for a myriad of silly reasons (“they’re too small!” – “it’s too big!” – “but that scar is so unsightly” – “overdue for a wax, much?”). For all of these reasons, and many more, I was beyond terrified at the idea of baring all at my first ‘public’ underwear fitting. The only other time I’ve ever let a professional handle my bits and bobs* was way back in my mid-teens, when I found myself crying in the middle of Marks & Spencer’s lingerie section because I couldn’t find a bra to fit my silly diddy boobs. My mum promptly marched me into a cubicle with a lovely member of staff who measured me properly, and I walked away with two beautiful new sets of underwear, and a whole load of new-found self-confidence. Such an ego boost! On the tube to Ladbroke Grove, I had a cheeky spritz of deodorant and tried to harness the emotions of that previous positive experience – hopeful that this one would be just as good, if not better.

* (N.B. Sorry, previous boyfriends – no offense)

Walking into What Katie Did exceeded all my expectations from the get-go. Kat and I were lead to a private changing area, offered cupcakes, and even gin cocktails in teacups! Our hostess, Vicky, chatted with us for a while about what it was that I needed – what my wedding dress looked like, what size I took, and what colours I preferred. We toured the shop floor, ogling cuts and hues, while Vicky steered me towards shapes that would best flatter my shape. We had the initial intention of finding the perfect underwear set for my wedding day – but after a lot of deliberation, we figured that going for a bra and brief set wouldn’t work, as my wedding dress was backless. Totally unexpectedly, Vicky offered me a beautiful pair of peach high-waisted knickers to wear with my wedding dress – plus a silky black bra and French knickers set to wear after hours… oo la la!

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: The Groom’s View by Lamb (AKA Mr. Roo!)

Lamb, by Feather Love Photography

When I started thinking about my special suit for our special day, I knew more about what I didn’t want, rather than what I did want. From the off we knew our wedding wasn’t going to be Royal Ascot; I definitely wouldn’t look right in a top hat and tails, plus Roo may have baulked at the idea. I also new that I didn’t want to rent a suit; as is evident with most things we’ve chosen for the wedding, we aren’t fans of the (con)temporary. We’re given more to the robust, the long-lasting, and sentimental. This suit was going to be mine, forever. The material chose itself – robust, long-lasting, sentimental? It had to be tweed.

But what colour? This was the easiest bit. The general colour scheme for our wedding was never a conscious decision; it just seemed to evolve out of natural choices we made in regards to the flower arrangements (mostly moss), table décor (cacti and terrariums) and even our invitations. Luckily, the decision for the colour of my suit was just as natural. It was always going to be the colours that have become apparent as reflecting us both – dark grey/greens and ashy browns – really earthy.

Probably the biggest factor that affected the search is that I’m not particularly flush with cash, so I was after something of very good quality, but with a budget of £200. I’ve never been able to do things the easy way. To get a general idea, Roo and I set around Brighton and we found that, for my price range and for the type of suit I wanted, vintage was the way to go. When asking in shops for their tweed range I was surprised to find that there were hardly any in stock, with it being summer. Being the least likely fashionista, I had no idea that suits have seasons (naïve, I know). My wardrobe tends to be identical all year round, the changing of the seasons marked by the addition of a solitary jumper. We found a lot out of my price range, so one idea we had was to buy a jacket first (as there were some great individual jackets at reasonable prices) and then to find the trousers separately. However, towards the end of a whole day of trawling Brighton, the prospect of finding my suit in two halves felt like it could have been too time consuming. I kept the idea as a back up but carried on with finding a whole suit as the plan.

I arranged for my best man, my younger brother Kevin, to come down from Liverpool so that we could have a look together. You may be aware of Roo’s obsession with listing; well I’m a seasoned addict of lists myself. We set out to London, armed with a comprehensive list of second hand/vintage shops that stocked suits, which we compiled the night before by fishing through general review websites (I’ve listed them at the bottom of this post). We hit upon a problem before we even left; Roo was working that day, so was unable to come. Kevin and I are both horrendous shoppers; fearing the crowds, harsh lights and our inability to choose one thing from the other; this was going to be more difficult than we anticipated. One thing I did personally like by taking the vintage route, rather than visiting tailors, is that you’re left to your own devices, to trawl through the mass of vintage clobber, rather than being hounded.

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: The Rings

So Roo‘s been a busy bee for the past few months. Not only has she been planning her wedding but she’s been up to her cute little eyeballs (can eyeballs be cute? I think hers can!) studying for Uni exams and turning in coursework. So she’s had a little break from writing for the blog recently but I’m pleased to report that she’s back! And as she’s now on her summer break, wedding planning is ramping up full throttle as will be the blog posts. HURRAH.

Over to you sweet cheeks…

Oh yeah this photo of her and Lamb in the sea has nothing to do with the article but I stole it from her facebook because it’s ace

One thing that’s struck me as quite unexpected since getting engaged was the dismay I felt at choosing a wedding ring. Despite owning and wearing quite a bit of costume jewellery, I’ve never really worn anything expensive or precious before, and the notion of having to choose and buy something that I would wear for the rest of my life was daunting, to say the least. Couple someone like me – indecisive, picky, a bit scatty – with someone like Lamb, who’d never even worn any kind of ring before; we were quite the pair. Over the past six months we’ve gone on a few meanders around Brighton’s South Lanes (home to dozens of jewellers) and tentatively looked at the window displays, pricing up metals, shapes, and stones. I tried to explain that the best thing to do was to go in and enquire first about ring sizing services (since Lamb doesn’t know his size) and ask to maybe try on a few and see what suited and fitted. Lamb’s primary concern was that of the ‘hard sell’; that even after we stipulated to a shop assistant that we were only trying, not buying, we’d be expected to make some kind of purchase. Having next to no experience with jewellers, I couldn’t correct him nor agree with him. As silly as it sounds, it was actually a little bit scary.

Besides our shyness, there was also a matter of taste. I for one am all about statement over status – that is, that I’m not so keen on ‘bling’ or expense, I’d much rather have something unusual. This idea was further cemented during a conversation last September with Feather Love’s Noa, when I commented on how gorgeous her wedding ring is. She told me that it cost something like $20 from a market (correct me if I’m wrong Noa), and that when she saw it she just knew it was “the one”. I hoped and expected that the story of my wedding ring was going to be the same.

My engagement ring, vintage from A Second Time. Photo taken the morning after we got engaged on June 22nd, 2011, in Berlin.

This was, after all, how I’d felt about my engagement ring. The moment that I saw it on my finger I knew no other ring could have been mine. My engagement ring was relatively inexpensive, but in my mind I’ve never seen a more precious and priceless ring in comparison. Ergo, it didn’t ever cross my mind that our wedding rings should cost a fortune – I just wanted them to be ours. Besides, it’s not like we have a fortune to hand anyway…

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Help! My Fiancé & I Have Very Different Tastes – How Can We Style Our Wedding to Reflect Us Both?

Photography Credit: Sweet Caroline Photography (full wedding here)

Last week I received the following email from bride-to-be Tiffany…

Dear Rock n Roll Queen,

My name is Tiffany and I’ve been a quiet reader for a while. Reading your blog has always gotten me excited for my own wedding and I’m happy to say, that after 8 years, me and my fiance are going to get married. It’ll definitely be diverse since his parents are Scottish, mine are American and he is Canadian.

But, I digress.

You see, I have a problem. I look at weddings on your blog, admire how unique they are and can’t help but want mine the same way. After all, I’m a weird, unique dork. I wanted my colors to be neon green and hot pink, with glow sticks in my bouquet, splatter paint tablecloths, video game favors, lego bride and groom toppers and so much more. But my fiancé is so old-fashioned and ORDINARY. He doesn’t want our wedding to stand out and be memorable.

So I toned down EVERYTHING. Ordinary favors, ordinary toppers, light green and light pink… nothing unique. The problem? I don’t wanna be upset at my own wedding because there is nothing of me there. Me and my fiancé both LOVE video games but he’d rather decorate our wedding with flowers?! He said that weddings should be approached with maturity, but when I look at your pictures, it’s obvious that people are fine with letting your inner child out.

Anyway, I’m getting married in September and I wanted your advice. How should I approach Ian again? I already talked about compromising. I just figured, with your expertise, you would understand and know how to handle it.

Much love, Tiffany

So I mulled this over and emailed Tiffany back to ask if it was OK to share her email and offer some advice via a blog post. I figure that way, if any more of you are having similar woes you can benefit from this too.

I actually got chatting to the ever wise Roo about this topic as she’s had some experience with feeling like her wedding ideas were being stifled too, and so we decided that she’d address this subject. She’s good at that is our Roo…

♥  ♥  ♥

Dear Tiffany,

When Kat forwarded your message to me, my interest (and empathy) was immediately piqued. You see, I too am stifling my inner child for the sake of my wedding – for the most part, anyway. Like you, this blog has long been bookmarked as a constant source of fantasy wedding inspiration, and when Lamb and I got engaged I was beyond excited at the prospect of all my scrapbooking coming to life. I figured that our dreamy dream wedding would soon be a reality, but as luck (well, yours and mine) would have it, I was mistaken. Like you (again), there have been aspects of our wedding planning that I would say have been – for lack of a better word – hindered. Unlike you, however, the culprit isn’t my husband to be; the culprits are our parents.

We have had to compromise on a lot of decision-making surrounding our wedding – from what part of the country it’ll be in, to what kind of venue we’d like, what type(s) of entertainment we could have on offer – even down to the cake. As frustrating as it is, it’s important to remember that there are solutions; it just takes a certain amount of patience and a lot of forward thinking.

 Photography Credit: The Rogue Magnolia (full wedding here)

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Undercover Bride: The Wedding Dress Boutique

So Roo and I came up with a new blog series idea…she’s going undercover. Many wedding blogs who review the places they visit only write about the good stuff – the glittering service, the elegant decor and the impeccable attention to detail…but you know we’re not like other wedding blogs. Sure, when the service is good we’ll be telling you about it, but similarly when it’s shocking, we ain’t holding back!

And judging by Roo’s experience on her first assignment it’s going to be a very interesting series indeed!

This post was originally intended to be my Bridesmaids post for a multitude of reasons – mainly, because my SILI (Sister-in-Law-Ish) Louise had concocted what we all thought would be a funny, silly, lovely day together, doing the one thing we weren’t expecting to do as a bridal unit: visit a wedding dress vendor and ogle as I tried on all manner of meringues and a plethora of puffballs. We all presumed we’d forego the opportunity because I didn’t want to buy my wedding dress from a shop; I wanted my mum to make it for me. With that in mind, the cogs in Louise’s mind started whirring and she suggested that we go ahead and do it anyway – what better excuse to get together and act up a little before we get serious?

Lamb and I had planned a very short visit up north to finalise our venue arrangements, so Louise offered to book us in somewhere fancy where we’d be treated like royalty, and I’d feel like the (rock n roll) princess that us brides-to-be are supposed to when finding our dream dress. Neither of these things happened, and so here we are.

Unfortunately for the vendor we visited, I can smell a ring-bearing rat a mile off, especially since I have tried wedding dresses on before (with glittering service), and six years of on-off retail experience have taught me a thing or two about how to treat a customer, potential or otherwise. My experience in this bridal shop made me feel undervalued and altogether a nuisance – who you gonna call? My fairy weddingmother, of course. When I told Kat, she was as dumbfounded as I was. My dismay and her brainpower concocted this new series of posts, in which we hope to educate, reassure, and warn you (where appropriate). This is not a witch-hunt, nor is it a promotional feature. I’m simply a budding bride, just like you, and I don’t want you or I to be left jilted or jaded by the experience.  This should be one time in our life when we feel particularly invincible, so this is purely an educational exercise in marital mystery shopping. Without further ado, I present to you: Undercover Bride.

NB: As I had originally envisioned that I would write this experience up as a fond memory shared with most of my bridal party, I had asked my sister Jo to bring her camera along. When we arrived at the bridal shop, Jo asked the vendor whether we were able to take photographs, and we were told no. Jo took all the photos that appear in this post covertly, and I want to make readers aware that omitting any image of the vendor’s face in these published shots is a deliberate decision, as Kat and I agreed that it would be unprofessional to make her identity known. Anyway, on with the show!

♥  ♥  ♥

As we walked through the door of the shop, our vendor exclaimed, “I wasn’t expecting so many of you!” – this might have been a throwaway comment, but I was instantly unsettled by it. In all, there were only 7 of us; I could have taken it a little to heart, but to my ears she made it sound as if the number of us was a problem for her. She called out, “who’s the bride?” and I raised my hand, introducing myself. Instead of offering her name, she just asked me what kind of dress I wanted. After telling her I wasn’t sure (not a lie) I took to the rails with Rea and Louise. I think we half-expected for a barrage of monstrosities, but I was surprised to find a few little gems that ticked my proverbial boxes – admittedly, they weren’t really to my tastes, but this place had some genuinely “WOW” dresses on offer if feeling like a Disney princess is your bag.

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: Choosing My Bridesmaids

I’ve been thinking it over a lot this past week, and I figure that we know each other pretty well by now. There’ve been ups and downs as far as our wedding journey goes – so far – and you’ve been there through it all. I reckon I’m right in saying that you all know what makes me tick, but I realise that I’ve neglected to tell you about some of those who make me tick. In this instance, I am talking of course about my bridesmaids.

It wouldn’t be right for me to write this in the usual style of a how to, because the decision to pick (or not to pick) your bridesmaids/best man is such a powerful, personal decision that no one can make it but you. There was a time when I thought that not picking certain people would ultimately offend them or others, but in the end I went with my gut and I chose the people who’ve always supported me and my decisions, and will certainly be a huge part of my life forever.

I feel extraordinarily lucky to know these girls, and luckier still to stand beside them through one of the most important journeys of my life. This isn’t just an introduction for you; it is also a tribute to them, and a public thank you note to express how grateful I am that they’re a part of me, a part of my day, and a part of everything I stand for. I love you girls.

Emma

There is so much of who I am that I owe to Emma, and her unrelenting friendship. She’s like listening to Björk, and eating roast dinners, and falling over in the snow. She’s my identical, and she’s everything that I could want in another person. She’s beautiful and terrifying and on more than one occasion, I believe she’s saved my life. I once stayed in Emma’s house for a whole week watching TV documentaries about dragons, and she taught me that it was okay to cry at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Emma is the single other person on the whole planet who loves CocoRosie as much as I do, and if there’s such a thing as a soul mate or an other half, then Emma is it (sorry Lamb).

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Modern Miss Havisham at The Photography Farm

Last week saw the third Photography Farm organised and hosted by wedding photographer Lisa Devlin. I was super excited to be invited along again to talk about blogging, to help style the shoot which we asked Roo to model for.

Lisa, stylists Hannah and Jayne and myself have been planning this spooky Miss Havisham-esque shoot for a few months now so it was seriously exciting too see it all come together! Hannah and Jayne did an amazing job of creating a indoor/outdoor sets in the woods behind the farm. Roo also had a lot of input into the feel of the shoot as one of the great things about The Farm is that we try to make each theme relevant to the models. It would be a bit ridiculous plonking Roo in a vintage picnic set with cupcakes and balloons for example as that just isn’t her!

I was tasked with the fashion styling and as soon as we’d decided on the brief, I knew there was only one woman for the job of creating the perfect wedding dress – Jo (& her assistant Sally) from The Couture Company. These girls are masters of corsets and are well known for their gorgeous and huge tulle skirts. I just knew with Jo’s flair for design and Sally’s genius and intricate eye for detail that we’d have the perfect dress. Jo didn’t flinch when I told her we wanted the dress to look ‘kinda decayed and covered in, you know, fungi and stuff…’ and she created this beauty for us from scratch. She added antique lace to the dress and my veil (yes from my own wedding) to complete the look. We even borrowed a crown from Elisabeth Armstrong. Isn’t it amazing?!

Lisa called me a few days before The Farm to ask if I’d like some diamonds to go with the outfit…erm, like she needed to ask me twice! Especially when she texted me a photo of the ridiculous (in a good way!) necklace below…

And yes those are real multi-coloured sapphires and diamonds. I dared not ask how much it was worth. We sure don’t do things by half at The Farm!

“Our collective Farm plotting had begun some time ago, when the six of us decided to take to our latest addictive medium, Pinterest, and brainstorm our ideas for the shoot,” Roo explains. “Lisa and Kat had already concocted the idea of a Miss Havisham (á la Great Expectations) theme, and from the word go I felt like everything everybody wanted and expected from the shoot was of a mutual understanding. We were all absolutely on the same page, and when it came to the morning of the shoot I didn’t feel nervous at all. More than anything I was excited to see all our collaborative creativity come together – I was both thrilled to see some familiar faces and honoured to be working with a few new ones. The whole day didn’t disappoint (aside from it being over, that is!)”

“I do wonder whether it was because I’d already experienced being professionally photographed before; I felt more at ease with hearing the trademark click-click-click-click-click every couple of seconds, I was certainly less shy at meeting all the wonderful photographers, and I was able to relax throughout the whole two-hour shoot at the full direction of everybody, because I knew I could trust them to get my “best side”. After all, they were trusting me to give them my best side, too. Match that with an other-worldly dress, outrageous jewellery and stunning hair and make-up, and you’re good to go. The results all speak for themselves – I don’t know if anyone was nervous that day or if anybody needed a confidence boost, but I think we all earned one anyway! Pats on the back all ’round.”

“The shoot itself was wonderful. Sitting in a nook not-so deep in the woods of the Farm, I immediately felt like we’d been transported somewhere else, somewhen else. I felt so detached from my real life and standing there alone in shot, I really thought I was alone, just like I was supposed to. It was odd – I don’t want to say that I felt abandoned but I certainly felt like I was in some kind of bubble, like everything about the costume and the set and the natural surroundings all helped to pertain to this idea of Miss Havisham’s life literally stopping and freezing, and becoming a snapshot. It was creepy, and ethereal, and a little sad. It was wonderful.”

“P.S. Lisa Devlin is a marvel. There is something in her that you only ever find in very few people, let alone photographers. In a parallel universe somewhere I reckon she’s probably my dream man, because she kept telling me I was nailing it and rocking it and that I looked like a stone cold fox – and you know what? I believed her. If you ever get the opportunity to work with her, hire her, or even buy her a cuppa then I highly recommend you do, because she’s one of those little diamonds that I’m realising are rare in the wedding industry – and life in general.”

Seriously…what a pro.

It was actually nice to not be the one modeling for once. I even got to have a play with my camera and learnt some tricks myself. I’m certainly no professional photographer but I’m pretty proud of what I managed to snap under Lisa’s tuition! Roo’s getting pretty good at the old posing thing too right?

Yes, I took this photo (and the last 5 in the gallery below!)

One of my favourite things about The Photography Farm is that we have a whole three (OK well 2 and a half) days together. Sometimes at photography workshops there is SO MUCH to take in in just one day, but being there for an extended time not only allows us to all really get to know each other, but it gives us all more time to take things in and ask questions. Dinner is one of my favourite times, not just because of the yummy food (!), but because we can all ask questions, learn and grow together without a daunting classroom environment!

More images and info about booking on to the next Photography Farm after the ‘jump’!

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: The Guest List

Photography Credit: Bluebird Vintage

After enduring the heartache of finding (and losing) our wedding venue, I’m sure you can appreciate that we felt as though we’d fallen off the horse a bit in terms of planning our wedding; trying to accept something so stressful wasn’t easy, and I’m sure that I don’t speak for myself when I say that it made me a little anxious to think about other wedding-related things for fear of tripping up again. However, as with all horses that one might fall off of, it is often said that’s important to get back on again – and we could only do that if we put faith in our planning again.

I must say that I wasn’t really sure where to start in the grand marital scheme, especially without 100% confirmation on a venue – we couldn’t exactly book anything for a specific date in case the date had to change, and equally I couldn’t get started on our invitations (which I intend on designing myself) in case some or all of the details had to change. Realistically, the only thing we could do (correct me if I’m wrong!) was to think about our guest list. This in itself was a little daunting because I’d always heard that compiling a guest list and/or seating chart (which we’re going to leave until much later) is one of the hardest parts of wedding planning, particularly if/when it comes down to avoiding feuds, rifts, exes, and so on – for example, “if we invite Dave we can’t invite Sandra but if we don’t invite Dave then Martin won’t come”, and so on.

Still, this wasn’t an aspect of our wedding that was going to just sort itself out, so we uncorked a bottle of wine, opened up a Word document and set our minds to task. Before we started to think about our guest list in any great detail, we had to consider what the constraints of our venue might be. The CUC had originally quoted us a 60-person capacity for the ceremony, with a 150-person capacity for the reception, so until we had confirmation back about the constraints of The Florrie we thought it was best to work with these initial figures.

Considering the ceremony first, we started by jotting down the crux of the wedding party: our parents, bridesmaids (my two sisters, Lamb’s sister, and my best friend), and best man (Lamb’s brother). We then added “obvious” immediate family, like my ninna (grandmother) and our close aunts and uncles, (we also contacted our parents to ask which members of their respective families they would like to have at the ceremony). The rest of the list consisted of our closest of close friends, whom we wanted to share our vows with.

Guest list genealogy chart – available from Mélangerie Inc.

It wasn’t until we’d polished off our list that Lamb noticed something we’d previously overlooked; we hadn’t thought about whether the 60-person capacity included us. That might sound a little silly, but it’s worth paying attention to particularly if you’re at a latter stage in your “guest-listing” and want to avoid any nasty surprises! After contacting The Florrie for further confirmation, we were surprised to hear that their capacity for the reception was actually 200 for the ceremony and 250 for the reception (providing we dropped a few of our dining tables after the meal). This was a really welcome piece of news purely for the fact that it meant we could create a more balanced ceremony list – in our original list it was decidedly “Lamb-heavy” due to the fact that a few of his friends have long-term partners, and inviting them as couples soon swallowed up the numbers. Lamb had suggested only inviting their partners to the reception, but I insisted that they come to the wedding together in order to celebrate their own relationship as well as ours.

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Roo’s Favourite Finds: Fabulous Favours

Photography Credit: Caroline Tran via Ruffled Blog

As the rest of you Rock n Roll Brides will be aware, there are certain age-old wedding traditions that we love and want to uphold, whereas others leave us looking a bit glassy-eyed. The beauty of the contemporary wedding is that we’re free to do away with the stuff that doesn’t make sense to us pretty much without question – for us, I naturally just assumed that we’d be forsaking the wedding favour.

Now, I’ve only been to three weddings in my time and I received a wedding favour at just one of them – so you’ll forgive me for thinking that there was no real “meaning” or general substance to the idea. In fact, the tradition apparently dates back to as early as the 16th century, when wedding guests were given what is known as a bonbonniere – a small trinket box that held sugar cubes/confectionary. Sugar was then somewhat of a luxury, and to give it as a gift was indicatory of the bride and groom’s wealthy standing. As time went on and sugar became more of an affordable commodity, the tradition became popular with lower classes of bridal parties – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Although I am a traditionalist in lots of ways, there’s something about this that doesn’t really appeal to me. In my defence, for any hard-core favour enthusiasts, it’s only because I’ve seen some truly tacky examples. Moreover, I felt like a lot of the ones I saw were highly impersonal, and I don’t know why. That was until I saw Alix’s handmade stuffed animal favours:

Photography Credit: Photo Pink, full wedding on Rock n Roll Bride here

These incredibly thoughtful, endlessly original gifts got my brain into gear and we figured that favours could be something we’d get on board with. Now, having quite hectic work/university schedules, I was pretty certain that we wouldn’t be able to create something as bespoke as Alix’s stuffed animals – so what could we come up with that had the perfect balance of creativity, personality (as in, personal to us), and manageability?

When I first moved to Brighton, my parents bought me a set of mini cactus plants. They’ve come with me everywhere, from home to home, and before we decided to get a kitten, I think they were pretty much our adopted children. There’s just something so aesthetically pleasing and comforting about cacti – not to mention that the cactus flower symbolizes a heart burning with love (or so the world wide web tells me). All in all, you could say we’re pretty attached to our mini cacti family, so when our pesky kitten kept knocking them out of their simple plastic pots, I decided to take action and find them some new housing. As ever, I was able to rely on my friendly neighbourhood charity shops:

Pair of eggcups, £1.50 from PDSA

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Something Borrowed Something Roo: When it all Goes Wrong…

When I got a text from Roo just before Christmas saying “erm…I think we might have to cancel our wedding…our wedding venue is being shut down” my heart skipped a beat. You know when people say “oh I know exactly how you feel…” but actually, really, they don’t? Well in this case I could reply those words with utmost sincerity. Our wedding venue pulled out of our wedding just three months before our day. That’s a story for another time, but I did have 100% confidence in my reply “Roo, everything with be OKAY. You won’t have to cancel your wedding”…

Photography Credit: internet k-hole

You know that phrase “rollercoaster of emotions”? I hate it. It’s up there with countless other overused phrases that initially sound incredibly profound, but actually they’re just unbearably hollow and totally meaningless. When you have a hatred for something that burns as deep as mine does for this, then you can imagine my turmoil when suddenly, out of nowhere, I found that it actually applied to me. A bitter taste, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Now, I won’t be offended if you’re sitting there and thinking what on earth is she rabbiting on about? – because really, I get that all the time. So I’ll tell you: after all the fussing and fighting of finding our wedding venue, we all sank comfortably into the cushions of wedding planning bliss, and looked forward to enjoying a real family-orientated Christmas before we thunder-bolted into the new year with the rest of our arrangements.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how you always remember where you were when you received bad news? It was a dull afternoon on December 2nd, 2011, and I had just come home to show Lamb some of the Christmas gifts I’d managed to pick up. My phone chirruped with a text message from my friend and bridesmaid, Rea, and I glanced to read it almost absent-mindedly (my attention span is mortifyingly weak) until I saw what it said. Simply, “have you heard about the CUC?”

You know when you just know? Well I just knew. My fingers sort of became haunted with this ghost that wanted to text back and ask the question that I already knew the answer to: what about the CUC? – but the truth is that I already knew in my heart of hearts that what it was about was that it was no longer our wedding venue. To read her reply, “it’s closing down” was no more illuminating than my intuition, which had supposed that our gorgeous venue had either been washed away by a flash flood or had been completely overrun by mean and scary ghosts – two perfectly understandable reasons for closure that I absolutely could not have argued with no matter how much I was crying. And I was crying a lot. Buckets, you might say. Rea told us to look online, and sure enough in black and blue it was there for all to see on their website:

 “CUC TO CLOSE ITS DOORS 3RD JANUARY 2012

They cited public sector cuts as the reason for their closure, but as a bride on the receiving end it did not compute; all I could see in my mind’s eye was that room; flashes of that iron spiral staircase and those Chesterfield sofas and how we cried when my dad put our wedding deposit down because we realised that we had actually set a date. The Contemporary Urban Centre was not just a wedding venue to me, it was the wedding venue that had helped us over the hurdle we felt we’d fallen at, it was the wedding venue that finally made our wedding seem real – it was our wedding venue, and now it was gone, and it didn’t matter how many times I read it or re-read it – it just didn’t make any sense to me.

Contemporary Urban Centre

It also didn’t make a blind bit of sense to me that this press release had gone public without us being notified first. I had the CUC on redial, ready for a kick-off, when eventually their wedding co-ordinator, Adele, returned my messages. I started to spit out my complaint when I heard that she was crying, just like me – not only had we lost our venue that morning, she’d lost her job, too. It suddenly became apparent that it had been an absolute shock announcement, with 28 other couples in the same position as us – some of them due to hold their wedding just days after the closure date. Adele insisted that she’d tried to speak to us all before 12pm when the press release was published, but that it had been impossible. We started to understand, but it was by no means any easier. Things had already been so hard for us and now we had to face it all over again, in even more of a daze.

Contemporary Urban Centre

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Roo’s Favourite Finds: The Tattered, The Broken & The Not So Shiny…Plus How to Haggle

This month, the fabulous Roo shares her ideas on what to do with less-than-perfect charity shop finds. I love love love her diy fix-up ideas so much and I know you guys will too.

Over to you Miss Roo…

♥   ♥   ♥

Now, even after seeing what treasures can be found if you look hard enough in the right places, you would be forgiven for presuming the following formula:

 Charity shops = tat

… Because, quite frankly, quite a lot of the time it’s proven to be true. Whether you’re a tried & true charity shop scavenger or a recent disciple following this series, you’re sure to have had a “dud” run, and that can be disheartening. When you’re perusing for the fun of it it’s not so bad, but if you’re committed to the cause for the sake of your wedding it’s easy to get blindsided by the dud run and head home feeling dejected. This month I’d like to focus on spotting the potential in otherwise “useless” items: the tattered, the broken, and the not so shiny.

On the whole, I would identify myself as someone who is creative, with an active imagination – yet despite being able to conceive of good ideas, I often find myself falling short when it comes to executing them, due to a distinct lack of “know-how”. This, among a menagerie of other reasons, is why the Internet is such a useful tool to have at our palms. Blogs such as Tokketok and Mermag boast incredible tutorials that take everyday items and transport them into the world of the fantastical – widening the scope of possibilities for objects that we’d otherwise overlook, or “make do with” – like these beautiful monogrammed glasses, just when you thought plain ones would suffice.

Photography Credit: Merrilee Liddiard, full tutorial at Mermag

Many online tutorials are a breeze (almost so simple that you wonder, why didn’t I think of that!?) and some are a little more intermediate, but a task that is too tasking for one person is less tasking when halved – which is where your bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, children or betrothed can come in handy. Some of my most favourite weddings featured on wedding blogs everywhere are the ones where I read the words “everyone chipped in!” because really, there’s nothing more celebratory and wonderful than everyone you love claiming a share of your big day. So, if you’re reading this and thinking but I’m the kind of person who glues their fingers together, do not despair. Bear with me, and I promise by the time you reach the end of this post, your creative lusts will be hooting.

Over the past couple of months we’ve tried terrariums and collected clothes, and this month I had the bright idea of looking at turning “trash” into treasure.

Photography Credit: Ramsey Amaoot

Now since I can tell that you’re wondering, I’ll tell you: the thought came to me following two separate, poetic incidences. Lamb and I have been on the hunt for furniture for our room over the past couple of weeks, so my charity shop trawling has extended to charity furniture shops. We’re fortunate enough to live next door to a YMCA furniture store, and regularly keep our beady eye out on the street outside for their delivery van. The only downside is that our obsession with second-hand furniture shopping has lead to us trawling the Internet for new places to leaf through, and this has been a little too time consuming when trying to juggle work/university on the side… oops!

Unfortunately, our search for more furniture shops run by charities has proved a little fruitless in and around our local area – despite this, we’ve managed to find some really wonderful flea markets dotted around Brighton, and this month I’d like to shift our attention to flea markets as well as charity shops as great sources for all manner of wedding paraphernalia. As usual, we’ll take a look at my favourite finds of the past month, and leaf through some tips I’ve jotted down along the way.

My secondary source of inspiration for this post was the stumbling across an absolutely phenomenal tutorial by Jason Hull. Remember how I said in my last wedding-y post that Pinterest was an outrageously effective way of finding and documenting ideas and inspo? If you didn’t believe it before, then I pray you believe it now – Pinterest boasts a whole host of “pins” dedicated purely to tutorials, focusing on everything from hair/make-up to homemade fashions; from home décor to party favours. It was whilst simply perusing the people I was following that I found the most delightful thing… vintage camera nightlights.

Photography Credit: Jason Hull

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: How to Pick a Wedding Theme

This month, Rock n Roll Intern Roo discusses about how to pick a wedding theme, and more importantly how to pick a theme that’s authentically you.

♥   ♥   ♥

Photography Credit: Wolftea

Optional (and recommended) prep work before reading this month’s post: go around your house and make a little mental (or physical, I’m easy) note of what you can see in the following hiding places: your wardrobe; your shoe collection; your fridge/pantry, and your cosmetics cupboard/dressing table. No matter how bare or brimming these areas of your nest are, I hope that you’ll begin to notice certain themes lurking in each. For example, although I’m a bird who doesn’t subscribe to wearing a lot of makeup, I do have a penchant for fabulous nail varnishes. My collection isn’t vast, but there’s an obvious trend; namely understated nudes, pastel pinks, and darker, cold hues with a hint of shimmer. There is no hint of neon to be found. Moving to my overly extensive wardrobe (which I am always ungratefully bored of) I see lots of natural tones – tans, browns, greys (the odd plum sweater, maybe) – splashes of velvet, cheeky peeks of Breton stripe, trimmings of lace and a few impractical “statement” pieces. Similarly with my shoes, I find cherry red (faux) snakeskin ankle boots nuzzling up next to my Vans Old Skools, who in turn drape a shoelace around my Melissa Lovefoxx sandals.  When asked to describe my style, I say it’s “Whatever”. It’s whatever I feel like, whatever the weather, whatever I want. In turn, I try to live my life by the mantra of my wardrobe, which becomes glaringly apparent when you look in our kitchen cupboards: scotch pancake ingredients, stuffing mix, cloudy lemonade, cinema sweet popcorn, potatoes, and tomato soup (we haven’t done our weekly shop yet, can you tell?).

To surmise, I’m not massively fond of abiding by things that are just supposed to be; when I eat a steak I like to lavish it in mayonnaise and I don’t care who sees, and if I want to wear Dr Martens with a tea dress then I will, because why should it matter? Some things are the way they are for a reason, but some things are the way they are because we’re told that they’re supposed to be.

Photography Credit: Sean Flanigan. Full wedding at RuffledBlog

If you’re a bride to-be and you’re reading this, then you and I are in very similar, very lucky positions. You’re at a fork in the road of your pre-married life where you could either get lost in a world of meringue corset dresses, organ music and “Boring Bride Monthly” magazines – or you could skip down the Rock n Roll brick road, and pick up a little courage, heart and know-how along the way.

Think about it, who do you live your life for? When we’re alone we live for ourselves, but being blessed with a partner means that you get to live for yourselves, together. When I think of my life with Lamb, I think about amazing music and good, honest food, warm blankets and Berlin, seahorses and cheap incense. I think of lots of other things, too, and some things work in harmony and some things don’t make a lot of sense together (we were both once chefs and yet we love takeaways) but this is our life and we have a lovely life together. It works because it works for us – so are you starting to see where I’m going with this?

If you so wanted, the running themes of your life could either dictate the theme of your wedding, or rather poetically; your wedding theme could contradict them. What I mean is, your wedding can celebrate and accentuate the things in your life that you love, or you can compensate for the things you don’t get to regularly enjoy by featuring them in your wedding. Did you always want to be a zookeeper growing up? Throw an animal-themed fancy dress reception! – Tired of the humdrum of the inner-city office? Host a traditional village fête!

Photography Credit: Lehua Noëlle Faulkner  – Super Mario wedding inspiration, styled by Primary Petals. Full shoot at Green Wedding Shoes

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: How to Pick a Wedding Theme

Optional (and recommended) prep work before reading this month’s post: go around your house and make a little mental (or physical, I’m easy) note of what you can see in the following hiding places: your wardrobe; your shoe collection; your fridge/pantry, and your cosmetics cupboard/dressing table. No matter how bare or brimming these areas of your nest are, I hope that you’ll begin to notice certain themes lurking in each. For example, although I’m a bird who doesn’t subscribe to wearing a lot of makeup, I do have a penchant for fabulous nail varnishes. My collection isn’t vast, but there’s an obvious trend; namely understated nudes, pastel pinks, and darker, cold hues with a hint of shimmer. There is no hint of neon to be found. Moving to my overly extensive wardrobe (which I am always ungratefully bored of) I see lots of natural tones – tans, browns, greys (the odd plum sweater, maybe) – splashes of velvet, cheeky peeks of Breton stripe, trimmings of lace and a few impractical “statement” pieces. Similarly with my shoes, I find cherry red (faux) snakeskin ankle boots nuzzling up next to my Vans Old Skools, who in turn drape a shoelace around my Melissa Lovefoxx sandals. When asked to describe my style, I say it’s “Whatever”. It’s whatever I feel like, whatever the weather, whatever I want. In turn, I try to live my life by the mantra of my wardrobe, which becomes glaringly apparent when you look in our kitchen cupboards: scotch pancake ingredients, stuffing mix, cloudy lemonade, cinema sweet popcorn, potatoes, and tomato soup (we haven’t done our weekly shop yet, can you tell?).

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Roo’s Favourite Finds: Finding Clothing Bargains in Charity Shops/Thrift Stores

This month, resident charity shopping guru/icon Roo is talking all about finding clothing gems in charity, thrift and vintage stores. Enjoy darlings!

♥   ♥   ♥

The last time we spoke, I was floating on the high of a relatively warm autumn down here in Brighton (I’m not kidding; I went swimming in the sea at the end of October). I’m sad to report that the temperature tables have now rightfully turned, and as a result I’ve been honing my beady eye in on stocking up my winter wardrobe to accommodate for these chillier months.

Now, apart from being a little bit skint a lot of the time, it’s also worth considering that I have a Mother who is a dab hand with a needle and thread. This has meant that I’ve grown up understanding the value of clothes – I won’t breach onto designer territory just now, because that’s a whole different kettle of fish – but I will say that nine times out of ten I’ll step into a popular high street store and be blown away by the lack of quality for the relatively extortionate price tag. On more than one occasion I have been the victim of inexplicably frayed edges, missing buttons, and ripped seams, and altogether I find it quite disheartening. That said, I do like to buy my key pieces – jeans, plain t-shirts, jumpers, etc – from high street stores, because we can all wear these things differently. If I am ever conscious of looking like a clone, I would much rather go for second-hand.

‘Second-hand’ can cover two areas; charity/thrift shops, or ‘vintage’ shops. I am also acutely aware of value for money when it comes to these two areas of retail, obviously through being a bit of a thrifting fiend, and having a sister who owned her own vintage clothing business. I’ve seen more warehouses than I can count; inspected wholesale bundles a-plenty and generally sifted through the crap, and I’m always on to a rip-off. This time around, I’m going to share with you my best new purchases of the recent month, and as ever compile a list of do’s, don’ts, how to’s and why’s, so that you might find your own good quality bargains. We’re going to focus primarily on charity shops, of course, but I’ll also be indicating where tips can seep into the vintage business too, since I feel the line between the two business sectors are blurring.

Finding what you’re looking for

As per your household/decorative items, it’s advisable to work out what you want before you leave the house. Are you going somewhere? Is it a formal do? Fancy dress? Do you need to be weather-conscious (i.e. cardigans vs sun dresses?) It’s worth being aware that charity shops (and vintage shops) set themselves out differently, so knowing what you have in mind is paramount. I’ve never worked out what my merchandising preference is, so I’ll roll with my gut and say that it’s dependant on what I’m looking for. If I know I want a new dress but I don’t mind what colour it is, then I’ll prefer shops that set themselves out by category; dresses, coats, jackets, jeans & trousers, shorts & skirts, and so on. That means that I can look through all the dresses they have at once, and compare my options easily.

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