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Sunday Summary: Wild Wedding Weather

13 May

This week has been full of up’s and downs. In the name of research we have been out and about looking at potential new wedding venues and getting rained on in the process. However it didn’t stop us getting very excited by some of our fabulous finds for our special venue feature coming up later this month.

kent country wedding scene

Another up was that my hand is recovering well so I managed to get my hand splint off and am now typing this post with two hands – sort of. Hurrah! However I wasn’t able to do my Moonwalk last night (read about my training here) but here’s hoping my team mates had fun – well done girls!

On the blog this week we started with a Butterfly Inspiration Board to get the creative juices flowing. We featured the new Ghost dresses available at John Lewis and shared our top five Bridal clutch bags from the High Street.

There was also the fourth part of our vintage wedding planning special with Vintage Tea Kent who showed us their gorgeous tea sets to help style any vintage event to perfection.

We were also really excited to showcase the Real Kent Wedding of Danielle and Chris. The couple celebrated their day with a fabulous Country Fair theme so take a look if you are planning your own country wedding for more inspiration.

Look out next week for part five of vintage wedding planning with the bit you’ve all been waiting for – the dresses! Plus two fantastic supplier finds and news of a designer dress wedding sale – what’s not to love!

Happy Sunday folks!

Emma x

Image credit: Kerry Ann Duffy

Danielle & Chris: A Kent Country Affair

10 May

Chris and Danielle Parish were married in a civil ceremony on 8th April 2012 at Little Silver Country House Hotel in Tenterden, Kent. Here they share with us their big day.

Danielle tells us “We wanted a small and fairly informal day for our 70 guests, with an English country fair theme. We wanted our guests to feel relaxed and entertained so I knew at once Little Silver was for us because of the way we were greeted and made to feel so comfortable. The hotel is small and pretty, which made it much more intimate. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff and they were really professional. It was also great that we could have the ceremony inside or out – especially as the English weather is so unpredictable!

I had an Enzoani dress and veil from Abigail’s in Headcorn. When I tried it on I felt incredible!  It is so romantic with light tulle flowing layers and was different from the usual styles I had seen. It made me feel truly unique and special. It was fairy like! My shoes were from Next and I had teardrop stud earrings, a present from my parents. I also wore a ring given to me by my Nan which had a blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds for my something blue and old. I wore a vintage style headband with detail to the side and a small pearl hair clip which matched my bridesmaids. My bag was an ivory hard clutch bag from Accessorize. My hair was done by Ahead of Beauty and as I recently started my own small make-up business, Bridal Make-up by Danielle Gear, I did my own make-up using mostly Dior and MAC products.

The adult bridesmaids wore dresses from Coast and the flower girl a dress from Monsoon. Shoes were a variety of BHS and Next!

Our florist was Amora flowers based in Leeds Village Maidstone.  They did an amazing job in capturing the theme and were really helpful in the lead up and planning process. My bouquet was a mix of Eucharis, Lily of the Valley, Cally Lily and Roses. We also had Daffodills, Tulips and purple and white Iris’s.

Chris wore a black herringbone Prince Edward suit hired from Slaters in Canterbury.  He wore a purple paisley patterned tie with matching handkerchief from Moss Bross in Canterbury.  His shoes were brogues from Dune.

The theme was Spring English Country Fair with Spring yellows and purples. I love spring as it represents the start of longer days, new life and exciting times and our theme represented this.  It was also Easter Sunday so we had Easter eggs and various easter baubles including easter bunnies and chicks. It was fun and pretty. My mother-in-law made us yellow and purple gingham bunting and on the top table we had large glass lanterns filled with flowers, Easter eggs and a wooden heart and ribbon garland. To decorate the rest of the room we had small vases with flowers and large wicker wooden hearts with fresh flowers tied to them. Our matching menus and invites were from Vista Print.

For the table centre’s I bought small white enamel jugs from Homebase, small lanterns from Hobbycraft and small egg cups filled with mint imperials. They sat on a mirror and were decorated with yellow gingham ribbon. Table names were Romeo and Juliet characters written in chalk on small chalk boards pegged to the jugs.

Our wedding favours were jars of homemade Apricot or Strawberry jam made by Chris’ mum.  They had either yellow or purple gingham material on top of the lids tied with brown parcel twine.  I added a luggage label with guest’s names on which doubled up as place names. All napkins were tied with purple gingham ribbon with a butterfly conversation starter placed in it and our purple chair covers were from Your Beautiful day.

I made my own table plan from a distressed style blackboard from Merchant Chandler in Maidstone. I stuck small wooden heart pegs on from Hobbycraft and pegged small luggage tags to them with the table names on. Each luggage tag had a small gingham ribbon attached.

Our pre-dinner drinks were Pimms and lemonade. To eat we had Cheese and red onion tartlet, Lamb with seasonal veg and then Eton Mess for dessert. Our cake came from Waitrose and had two tiers, one sponge and one fruit. It was a plain cake but was decorated with fresh purple and yellow flowers.

For an alternative guest book the florist made us a contorted willow wishing tree. We asked guests to write their messages on luggage tags and tie these to the tree. My friend made us a collage of photos of us in a frame which matched the table plan chalk board.  We put this next to old suit cases which were Chris’ mums as a child and people put their cards and “desert island discs” in them.  We asked people to put their three favourite songs on a CD so we could take them on honeymoon. We got a great selection!

In the evening we wanted a good party with plenty of dancing and a lively atmosphere. Our first dance was “You and Me” by The Wannadies from the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. We had a band called the Redfords and they also DJ’d inbetween their three sets.  The dance floor was packed all night, the atmosphere was electric!  The band manager also takes photos throughout the night and they really captured the fun of the evening.  The party went on to midnight and guests had their ties on their heads by the end of the night!  My uncle also sang a song with the band.

As part of the evening we had a home-made sweet table. We collected Kilner jars to fill with sweets, one’s I loved as a kid, including cola cubes, flying saucers and sweet bananas as well as mini eggs of course! Each jar had a luggage label tied to it. To decorate the table as well as bunting I had old bound books, with a vintage style teapot and cup and saucer.  From the teapot I had a stream of sweets coming out into the tea-cup. I also had a wooden “love” sign sitting on a box with a flower print. In a vase were sticks of rock from Brighton.  Brighton is special to us as this is where Chris asked me to marry him!  I had a heart-shaped chalk board with Fancy a treat?  Take a sweet!

Our wedding photographer was Kerry Ann Duffy. We chose her because she had photographed two of our other friend’s weddings and absolutely love her style. Kerry creates vintage, softly romantic and natural images. She made us feel completely at ease, especially in the morning where it can get a little frantic! The photos were beautiful and reminded us that we didn’t stop smiling all day.”

The couples last bit of advice is “Enjoy every minute! We absolutely loved finding all the accessories over the year of planning. Don’t get worried about the weather, it rained on our day but it didn’t matter, if you have a good photographer like we did the photos will still be amazing.

A good tip is to make lists for your venue of how you want things to be when setting up. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – wedding venues and suppliers have heard it all before! Make sure you have a list of all the suppliers with their numbers on for the day. And finally take moments throughout the day to take stock of what’s going on around you.”

Thanks so much to Danielle and Chris for sharing their day with us.

Images credit: Kerry Ann Duffy

Pre Wedding Shoot: Danielle & Chris

4 May

Today we can share with you a little taster of a pre-wedding shoot by fabulous photographer and all round talented gal, Kerry Ann Duffy. The shoot was on the Downs in Thurnham, Kent, with engaged couple Danielle and Chris, who got married last month. They will be sharing their gorgeous English Country Fair wedding with us next week. Don’t miss it!

Our Sunday Summary

29 Apr

What an eventful and exciting week its been, with our spring bride and groom relaxing on a beach in the Seychelles we turned our attention to our sparkly new website.  Now in its final stages we met with our fab designer Ali of Pad Creative to look over her latest ideas.  It’s all coming together nicely and we can’t wait to share it with you later this summer.

To celebrate St Georges Day on Monday we showed you our England Wed in Red inspiration board, fabulously bright and colourful on whats been another wet and cold week!

We shared another fantastic find with you later on in the week, the very talented and creative Rachel Hudson.  We love finding fab wedding suppliers on our very own doorstep.  Rachel is based in Tunbridge Wells and she told us why she loves to photograph all things natural, we love her work and hope you took the opportunity to find out more about the 15% discount she offered Wedding Dolls followers.

Then we took you behind the scenes of Philippa and Billy’s English Country Garden Wedding.  We wanted to give you a little insight into what we do ‘Backstage’ to make sure our weddings go without a hitch – excuse the punt.  We hope you found parts one and two  helpful if you are planning a wedding at home this summer.

Finally, we bought you part two of the Planning your Vintage wedding series, showing you how you can create your own vintage hair and make up. With the help of professionals Christina Jessel, Powder and Glow and Simply Beautiful Wedding Hair we showed you how to create the look you are after. Next week we’ll be talking vintage wedding shoes, and they are just gorgeous….

We hear there’s sunshine promised for tomorrow, enjoy!

Fantastic Finds: Rachel Hudson Photography

24 Apr

Today we are pleased to share with you Tunbridge Wells based photographer, Rachel Hudson.

We caught up with Rachel who told us about the style of photography she likes to take. “I love nature and everything natural and like to photograph things in a natural way. My portraits and wedding photos are relaxed, timeless and have been described once like a fondant fancy! I like people to look at my images and feel the emotion and spirit of the moment. I love natural light, a dreamy and romantic feel, soft light and airy colours and beautiful black and whites”.

Say I do big bus style

13 Mar

I just love a London bus.  Perhaps it’s because they remind me of all the exciting places they took me when I was little, or when I was a tad bit older, how they always managed to get me back home again! But even if you aren’t a Londoner I bet you still can’t look at one without feeling bright, cheery and full of fun. Perhaps this is why the London Bus has become the transport of choice at many weddings and continues to grow in popularity for the best way to get your guests from A to B and back again.

 

 

To book your bus go to The London Bus Company, based near Dartford in Kent. They have buses in all shapes and sizes and will make your big bus wedding the most fun ever!

Many thanks to fabulous photographer Michael Cockerham for the use of his images.

Photos © Michael Cockerham

Real Winter Wedding: A London Bride

5 Feb

The snow is here! To celebrate we have an extra special post about the winter wedding of Kent artist, Hayley Restall.

Winter weddings have that little extra sparkle that you just can’t get at any other time of year, and so when Hayley and husband-to-be Ant started to think about inspiration for their big day they didn’t hesitate in choosing a date in December. “I love red” says Hayley “so having this colour in Winter, especially just before Christmas, felt like the perfect choice”.

Stationery for the wedding was designed by Hayley’s bridesmaid, Veneta Hooper, using Hayley’s own brilliant illustrations which added a really personal touch to the wedding.

When choosing her outfit Hayley says “I wanted to look like a film star, but it was important that I still looked like me. I didn’t want to look as if I was dressed up as someone else, so I stuck with the 50s look I’ve always liked but I was a posher, more polished version of me”.

Hayley got her dress from Fur Coat No Knickers and after seeing it once she  says “I just knew it was the one!” A girl after our own hearts, Hayley splashed out on some silver sparkly stunners from Christian Louboutin. She also wore her diamond and ruby vintage engagement ring, pearl earrings and her nan’s pearls which she tied around her wrist. She completed the look with a little bag (from eBay) and a big red flower in her hair (also from Fur Coat No Knickers).

Hayley would also advise other winter brides not to worry about being too cold when it comes to choosing their outfit, “I had my photos taken in my dress, outside on a freezing afternoon. I couldn’t feel the cold at all. The post-wedding bliss is all you need to keep you warm! Although I did have a stunning cape that my mum and sister made which I wore to get to the ceremony – it completed the look perfectly”.

Ant and Hayley had a civil ceremony at the The Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich, London. Hayley says “From the start we really wanted to get married in a pub but couldn’t find one big enough as we had around 120 guests. Eventually we found the Trafalgar which has a gorgeous big room upstairs and was in a perfect location on the River Thames, which meant we got our pub wedding – but with lots of added glamour!”.

The little bridesmaids wore red dresses from Monsoon, with the adult Bridesmaids wearing red 50’s style dresses from Vivien of Holloway

To decorate the venue, alongside a beautiful big Christmas tree, Ant and Hayley collected hundreds of different candlesticks from charity shops. They lit up the ceremony and were then grouped on the tables during dinner to add a really cosy and romantic light in the room.

Guests drank Champagne and sherry and ate the Londoner’s favourite, Pie and Mash. This was followed by trifle and traditional wedding cake made locally.

After the sit-down meal there was singing alongside the piano, played by Hayley’s bridesmaid, with christmas carol song sheets for everyone. All the guests got really into it and sang along loudly. Then the party got into full swing with the band, The Cortinas. “It was brilliant” says Hayley.

For their photography Hayley and Ant chose the fantastic award-winning photographer, Emma Case. Hayley and Ant (himself a keen photographer) told us that Emma’s style was just what they were looking for – a documentary of the day with a really alternative feel.

Thanks to Hayley and Ant for sharing their day with us and giving other winter wedding couples lots of ideas and inspiration.

For more information about Hayley’s artistic talents take a look at her website.

Image credits: Emma Case Photography

It’s like rain on your wedding day …

19 Jan

White umbrellas against the door

Howling wind and torrential rain are to be expected as part of  the great British weather, and that’s just in July.  So if you are planning a wedding in the UK then you need to make sure you have a Plan B in case the weather turns nasty. However it’s not all bad news.

Sounds easy for us to say, but getting married on a wet day can be nothing to worry about. Rain can actually add to the artistic look of your photographs, and here Wedding Dolls friend and fabulous photographer Kay Young tells us why.

“Being a wedding photographer is an amazing job and to be part of a couples special day is a real privilege. I become so involved with the running of the day and always get caught up in the emotions (I have been known to shed a tear or two during the speeches), but photographing a wedding also comes with a big responsibility. My job is to create the best images possible that will last a life time, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Raining archway

So before the big day I do a pre-wedding venue check to spend time planning out different backdrops and suitable areas for shots as well as the all important backup plan in case it rains. The light is always amazing when it rains and can make for some moody and artistic images. Wet tiles on the ground create reflections, textures on wooden doors look fabulous and everything looks greener.

Umbrellas make fabulous props and I always bring a few along to each wedding.  Most venues, have lots of doorways, arches and porches and these can make for some intimate romantic shots with the rain falling in the background.”

So even if it is forecast to rain on your wedding day you shouldn’t let it dampen your spirits (see what I did there…) just be prepared, check out some gorgeous umbrellas from Olivier Laudus and take cover in the most stylish way possible!

Venues: Mountains Country House and Penshurst Place, both in Kent.
Bride and Groom - a wet wedding marchBride and Groom with rainbow

The Wedding Dolls “Cherish the Dress”

16 Jan

At the end of last year to make the most of the gorgeous weather and the Kent countryside, we had a Wedding Dolls photo shoot. The day was mostly spent organising our models in their cheap and chic wedding wear (more of that to come in later posts), but in honour of our new blog we couldn’t resist getting involved ourselves. It seemed the perfect excuse to revisit our own weddings and think about what made our day’s so special. Seven years on and four kids later our wedding dresses had faired rather better than us, but then you can’t stay young forever (that’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it) and anyway there’s always plastic surgery on expenses…..

Now you might think that once your wedding is out the way that’s the decision-making done, but oh no.  Now you have to decide what you are going to do with your dream dress. There’s the all out “trash the dress” where you basically ruin a perfectly good dress by jumping in an algae pond or diving in a barn full of cow poo. This option will save you room in your loft as you can basically just chuck your dress out straight after.  If you are hyperventilating now don’t worry – there’s the next step which is ‘Rock the Dress’. This basically means you find a new way to wear the dress whether it’s adding your hunter wellies and trudging through a field or donning your leather jacket with Prada sunglasses and leaning moodily against a graffiti wall.  But if, like us, you are too OCD to get your perfectly dry-cleaned wedding dress dirty again, you can go for a “cherish the dress”.

We had a ball cherishing them again and made the most of it by adding gorgeous accessories. Back in our day reportage and relaxed wedding shots were only for slebby types so we wanted to give those a go. Maybe next time we’ll be brave enough to get our dresses on and chuck ourselves in the sea or go paintballing…… but in the meantime how let us know what you are going to do!

Our photographer for the day was Wedding Dolls friend and all round creative lady, Kay Young, and the super stylish Caroline from Powder and Glow was on hand for all our make up needs. A massive thanks also goes to Cherish and Pantiles Bride for the loan of the headwear and accessories.

Here’s just a small selection of our favourite shots. Take a peak whilst we hide under our desks……..