Tag Archives: bridesmaids

Thought for Thursday: Bridesmaids – how will you pick yours?

2 Aug

I finally got round to watching this film over the weekend with some friends and we couldn’t stop laughing as we all recognised ourselves in some way, shape or form. It got us thinking about what kind of Bridesmaid we would all make. I have been a bridesmaid 10 times (so by far the most experienced of my friends!) and have seen countless Brides, like in the film, make huge mistakes when it comes to their bridesmaids and what they expect.

 

As with the film, Bridesmaids are all individuals and therefore throw up all sorts of unique problems. There are “fantastic bridesmaids” who are fun, caring and nothing is too much trouble to make your day great. There’s the “it’s all about me bridesmaids” who don’t care what you want as long as they have their choice of everything, the “doesn’t really want to be there bridesmaid”, who only accepted because she couldn’t think of a good enough excuse and finally, but worse of all, the rogue bridesmaid.

The rogue bridesmaid will not turn up to appointments for fittings, will change all decisions at the last moment and then won’t care if she does a Gok Wan on her dress 10 minutes before you are due to leave for the ceremony.

So Brides please choose your Bridesmaids very carefully but, and this is really important, you have a duty to be realistic about your Bridesmaids capabilities. Don’t forget that on the big day Bridesmaids will need to be preened and photographed and will be nervous too – so don’t expect them to be able to complete a large to do list of extra jobs. They just won’t be able to fit it all in.

Equally don’t expect your usually unorganised best friend to suddenly turn into a super task ticking machine who can get your hen do sorted in three weeks flat and don’t make any of your girls pay for their outfits/hair/make up etc unless you’ve discussed this upfront with them when asking them to be involved. There’s nothing like money to cause resentment and everyone needs to know where they stand right at the beginning.

Think carefully about what you want from your Bridesmaids and who out of all your loved ones will fit the bill. Pick Bridesmaids who will be totally reliable and above all help you have fun. It is after all what us girls are good at.

Research material and image: Bridesmaids: The Movie

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Real Kent Wedding: Emma and Jon’s Downton Abbey Dream

11 Jul

Hi All. On the blog today is the totally gorgeous wedding of Emma and Jon at Bradbourne House in East Malling, Kent.

Here Emma tells us how they found their wedding venue and the details of the day. Over to you Emma!

“Jon was playing cricket one year opposite Bradbourne House and loved it, then when we got engaged he said “I think there is a place you’ll love” and I did! It was a chance to have a manor house all to ourselves as we love history and it was our real life Downton Abbey! The main reception room is tiffany blue so we chose a very neutral colour scheme – it was very elegant and very English. We had 100 people during the day and another 50 came in the evening.

We had a Church Wedding Ceremony as I was brought up a Catholic and wanted to be married under god. The Catholic church service was made extra special by having the Trinity Boys Choir sing for us. Jon’s cousin used to conduct them so we knew we wanted them to be part of our day.

We had Juliette Harrison as our photographer and she was amazing. We wanted a supplier we got on with and work well together – it’s so important.

To take us to our reception we had replica classic cars – we couldn’t afford to break down on the motorway! We used Shirley Car Hire who were brilliant and we would highly recommend them.

Our guests travelled on a bus from the Red London Bus Company. We stocked it with Pimms and Beer to get the party started as soon as possible!

My wedding dress was by Enzoani. I loved his designs and all the silk he uses. I knew as soon as I saw the huge long train at the back that it was the dress for me. I was looking for a vintage dress that was fitted and not too over the top, but I didn’t feel ‘bride’ enough in some of them so I ended up going for a fuller dress than I expected.

My shoes were from the Rainbow Collection. I highly recommend them as they were so comfortable. I accessorised my dress with a beautiful pearl necklace my mum gave me as well as a surprise gift from Jon, a pair of antique drop pearl and diamond earrings. I completed my look with a long veil, by Richard Designs. It had tiny diamantes’ sewn into it so when I walked down the aisle I twinkled under the lights. I also had a vintage headband from Vintage Head Dresses.

Jon hired his top hat and tails from Moss Hire, he got a discount as his friend works in head office which was very handy! We were going to get the suits made but it was too expensive. We just made sure we checked in good time that the hire suits fitted well and weren’t worn in places. A good tip is to check everything over yourself (or get a bridesmaid to do it) because the boys will not check it all through!

I had three bridesmaids and they all wore high street dresses from Kaliko.

Jon is a graphic designer and therefore really creative. Jon designed our wedding brand and then made all our wedding invitations using a simple form of book binding and elegant wallpaper. They were fantastic but took absolutely forever! He designed a motif of a J & and E intertwined and that featured on all our stationery. We had a wax stamp made of our initials and stamped the back of every invitation we gave out – they looked stunning. We used the same look for the table plan and name settings. The table names were all named after Italian Painters as I love the renaissance period and we got engaged in Tuscany, Italy.

For the place cards I bought silver bables and used handmade paper from Cox & Cox, which I then wrote the guest names on. We had long tables for our reception and for the centre pieces I had candelabra, with the candles lit and lovely white flowers and greenery. In between was little silver gilt vases with three roses and scattered rose petals down the middle. It was amazing!

The overall look was so stunning that when Jon and I sat down at the top table and looked at what we’d created we were completely lost for words. I had tears in my eyes. All our hard work had paid off. We thought long and hard about our favours. My auntie died of cancer and my grandmother was diagnosed the same year as our wedding. We wanted to give a donation to Cancer Research rather than buy favours so we gave out pin badges, pink for the ladies & blue for the gentlemen. These pin badges were then put into black velvet pouches with a little tag Jon designed to say that we’d donated in honor of our wedding.


We had a mixture of roses and lillies as our wedding flowers as they are both so elegant and classic. Son Flowers did our church flowers which were absolutely beautiful. As I came down the aisle they were all I could smell. Our reception flowers were by Nicola from Florian Designs, she was such a lovely lady and the flowers were stunning.

We used Bradbourne House’s own designated caterers, Sanderson Catering. When guests arrived they were greeted with Champagne cocktails and lovely canapes whilst listening to a String Quartet.

For starters we had pan-roasted chicken and pancetta with seasonal salad leaves, finished with balsamic and olive oil. Then for main course was Scotch fillet of beef with roasted potatoes, seasonal veg, creamed courgettes and an enriched merlot jus. This was followed by a gorgeous dessert of sticky toffee pudding washed down with lots and lots of wine and champagne! Sanderson were really professional and excellent throughout. From the white glove service to the delicious food their style suited our theme perfectly.

Guests then had a piece of the four tier chocolate wedding cake which was designed by Purita Hyam Cakes.

To kick the evening off we did a choreographed dance to Nat King Cole’s, Love. We both love the track as it’s such a classic. In the evening we had DJ Rudy from Rock Box, at one point he was break dancing – top man! We partied until 12pm and then had a few drinks in our hotel bar when we got back, which was a lovely way to round off such a fantastic day.

Thanks to Emma and Jon for sharing their big day with us. And so do they have any final words of advice for our Bride and Groom’s to be?

“I would say just enjoy every minute of your wedding day. It’s sometimes it’s too easy to get sucked in by all the planning, the details and family politics to really remember why you are getting married. I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding as it really all did go perfectly…..oh apart from the fact that we forgot to put a bottle opener on the bus for the beer!!!

One final piece of advice would be not to let suppliers give you the hard sell…make sure you try everything you want and pick companies you know you can work well with – it makes such a different to the day! “

Images by Juliette Harrison

Frock of the Fortnight: Madeline Gardner

2 Jul

Fishtale wedding dresses are making a serious comeback and we just love this gorgeously detailed dress from Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner. Designing for Mori Lee for over 20 years, Madeline comes from New York and is well known internationally for her timeless and elegant designs.

In Kent the range is available at various Bridal Rooms including Jacqueline’s House of Brides in Dartford and Teokath in Canterbury.

Real Kent Wedding: Chris and Katie’s Wedding Safari

26 Jun

Today on the blog we are sharing with you the wedding of Chris and Katie, who got married back in May at Port Lympne. The lucky couple had lots of friends to help out and so we asked Katie to tell us about their big day.

Katie tells us “Port Lympne was the only venue we looked at and we fell in love with it. I had been there previously for work and thought it would be really different and unique to get married there. Erica at Port Lympne helped us so much and was brilliant.We had 72 guests for the daytime, with another 130 coming in the evening. We wanted quite a traditional wedding but with a few personal touches. We had a VIP safari trip as part of the wedding day so we all got on big safari trucks and spent an hour going round the park seeing the animals.

Our wedding photographer was Kerry Ann Duffy. I had heard about her through some friends and then when we looked on her website we knew she was our photographer!


My dress was from Brocades Bridal Studio in Sittingbourne. They were really helpful and had some beautiful pieces. As well as my dress I also bought there my veil, hairpiece, a necklace and earrings. I borrowed my sister’s bracelet for my ‘something borrowed’. My shoes were from BHS – they were comfortable enough to wear all day and all night!

Chris’ suit was hired from Slaters in Canterbury. It was grey with a white shirt and purple cravat. The bridesmaids dresses were also from Brocades and the flower girl dress was from Next.

 We had a motor racing theme for the reception as Chris is a mad motor racing fan. For our table centres we had flowers in tyres instead of vases and our table names were the names of Formula 1 drivers. Our favours were Air Ambulance scratch cards as it’s a charity close to our hearts. For the children’s favours we got party bags from All About Party Bags which contained activity books, stickers, sweets and bubbles.

Our brilliant stationery was made by a friend of my sister, Tomarty, and included invitations, table names, table plan, post box and guest book. A friend, Jo Tantum, did our wedding flowers. We met up to discuss the flowers but I had no idea what to pick apart from the colour so we left it in her hands as we trusted her to do a beautiful job. I had no idea what they were going to look like until I saw them on the day but I was over the moon with them! My bouquet was a mixture of ivory and lilac roses, purple lisianthus and eucalyptus. There were also button holes for the men and corsages for the ladies as well as flowers for the tables.  The wedding room didn’t really need much decorating as there are gorgeous animal murals all over the walls so we didn’t have flowers to decorate the room.

Our menu was by the in-house caterers and we gave our guests choices so we had starters of Pate, Garlic Mushrooms or Melon & Parma Ham followed by Salmon in chive sauce, Chicken in mushroom sauce or Romney Marsh Lamb. Dessert was Apple Pie, Chocolate fondue with strawberries or Lemon tart. It was all delicious! Throughout dinner we had some table magic by a friend who is a magician.

A friend also make our wedding cake – we had chocolate and vanilla cupcakes decorated with purple and ivory icing, with hearts and flowers as well a top layer of fruit cake.  In the evening we had a big party and it was great to see people on the dance floor all night.  Our first dance was to Elton John’s ‘Your Song’. We have just always loved the song and the words.We had a fantastic band, Marylebone Jelly, who we had seen at some local events and knew we had to have them at our wedding – everyone love them!”
Katie planned her wedding in just under a year and says “accept help from friends and family where you can as it all helps and don’t worry about what other people want – it’s your day so have things as you want them!”
Thanks to the couple for sharing their day and big congrats from us! x
Image Credit: Kerry Ann Duffy

Real Wedding: Spring Purple with Kelly and Scott at Turkey Mill

13 Jun

Today we can share with you the lovely spring May wedding of Kelly and Scott at Turkey Mill in Maidstone. Here we meet the bride and groom and get them to tell us all about the big day in all it’s detail. Kelly says “I fell in love with Turkey Mill straight away. It was everything that we were looking for. The grounds are amazing and our guests could walk round the gardens and find a little quiet spot throughout the day. We wanted a traditional wedding but very simple and relaxed. We had Emma Knapp Photography and as soon as we met Emma and started telling her about the kind of day we wanted I knew she was the right photographer for us”.

wedding venue

When it come to picking her dress from The Bridal Chest, Kelly told us “I always knew I would go for a fitted dress but when I put my one on I found myself smiling from ear to ear and I just knew it was the dress that I wanted. I had used Audrey Hepburn as my inspiration as I wanted something classic and simple – I loved how it was elegant and different with the one strap. I accessorised the dress with pearl detailed peep toe shoes and tiara from Confetti & Lace, a full length veil from The Bridal Chest and simple earrings and bracelet from Swarovski.

page boys

flower girl and page boy

Scott wore an outfit from Bride and Groom which was a black morning jacket, grey striped trousers, waistcoat and a purple cravat. My daughter was a flower girl, her and the other younger bridesmaids dresses were from Debenhams and the two page boys, one my son, had outfits from John Lewis. The three adult bridesmaids had dresses from The Dessy Group.

My wedding bouquet included Freesia, Lisianthus, Delphinium, and Hydrangea tied with darkest purple satin ribbon and pearl pin detail. Creative Flowers arranged this along with the centrepieces for the reception tables including Fuscia pink freesia, pale pink lisianthus and dark purple delphinium. When I met them they were really helpful and advised us on the flowers that would work best for the look I wanted.

bridal party

bride and groom in grounds

The main wedding colour was purple with touches of lilac and fuscia pink. Kelly says “I was very happy with the overall look and relieved that the colours and layout of the room had all come together. We named each table after the people most important to us, parents, brothers and sisters and our twins. We had cupcakes with our guests names on as place cards and had a lottery ticket for each guest as a favour. All our stationery was from Confetti.

Our caterers, aFORM, created our menu. We had Lobster Bisque with parsley croutons or Feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and red onion salad. Followed by Knuckle of  Lamb served with red wine sauce or Confit of duck with thyme, rosemary and garlic served with plum ginger and rice wine sauce. All mains were served with parmentier potatoes, baton carrots, fine beans, cauliflower and baby corn.

The meal was completed with Chocolate Cube for the ladies and Lemon Cheesecake for the men. Our wedding cake was made for us by Kate Penfold of Sophisticakes.

We had always wanted a big party in the evening and danced to guitarist Nick Woods and our DJ. We found it very hard to choose a song that we both agreed on for our first dance but when we heard David Gray ‘Be Mine’ we knew it was the right song choice. Our reception finished at 12 but most people were staying at the Hilton so the party continued back at the hotel bar!”

Thanks so much to our couple for sharing their day with us and what final piece of advice would they give to others getting married?

“Make your wedding personal to you so that your friends and family feel a part of the big day with you and don’t worry about the small things. The day goes so quickly and it’s very hard to make time for one another as you have so many people to speak to and many different things going on but try and make sure you have some time alone as a couple throughout the day. I think some of those times on our day are my best memories.”

Congratulations to Kelly and Scott x

All images by Emma Knapp Photography

Frock of the Fortnight: Topshop Says “I do”

11 Jun

If you are getting married on a budget then get down to Topshop on the 22 June to check out their new bridal range. Designer Richard Nicholl is behind the new collection called Tie the Knot. It features a range of six wedding and bridesmaid dresses with prices starting at a budget friendly £75.

They might not be to everyone’s taste but they certainly pack a fashionista punch. What do you think?

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

Five of the best: Wedding Clutch bags

11 May

Every girl needs a clutch bag (or two…) for a special occasion and your wedding day is no exception. Where else will you store your make up for touch up’s or that packet of tissues for a tearful moment!

If you haven’t added a clutch bag to your list of items to buy then fear not, there are so many to choose from online and with delivery within a week it’s one less thing to worry. Plus unlike other wedding accessories your clutch bag is something you’ll reuse for years to come.

Here’s our pick of the top 5 clutch bags online this week.

This lovely satin vintage style wedding bag has a detailed deep row of silver and diamante decoration along it’s front. It comes with a detachable wrist and shoulder strap.and satin lining. The reverse of the bag is rich plain satin. £29 from Catherine Mee.

This stunning all over embellished crystal bag is embellished with crystal and silver beads and has a silver frame and chain handle which can be tucked inside when not being used.  £85.00 from Monsoon.

A gorgeous diamante sphere fastening clutch bag with pleated detail.  £40 from Accessorize

A chic structured clutch bag embellished with elegant faux pearls. The bag has an optional chain shoulder strap and secure clip top fastening.£60.00 from Coast.

Perfect for dazzling your guests, this diamante and beaded clutch bag has a front fold over design with plenty of room for your must have items. £75 from Dune.
Happy shopping

Joanne x

Designer Bridesmaid Dresses by Ghost at John Lewis

8 May

Ghost who are a well-known London fashion house are now designing a range of bridesmaid dresses for John Lewis. They have developed a fantastic range of dye-to-order dresses that are perfect for weddings. You can choose from a range of colours and your order will be dyed specifically for you. Prices start from £145.

John Lewis says “the finished Ghost pieces are unstructured, soft, feminine and gently bohemian; perennial Ghost looks which are cut to flatter curvaceous or boyish bodies alike”.

So if you have bridesmaids of different shapes and sizes this could save you hours of pounding the high street for the perfect colour and cut.

Cheap and Chic DIY Wedding Outfits

10 Feb

A few months ago we hurled ourselves into a challenge set by one of our followers. She had a really tight budget for her wedding and didn’t know where to start sourcing outfits that were not going to blow every penny.

So instead of seeing a large chunk of budget go on a designer wedding dress we jumped ship and went in search of available high street bargains. Two weeks later we had three outfits ready to go! Not quite designer, but what do you want for around £70 a pop!

Outfit 1: White Lace and Chiffon Dress by Primark £12.99, Veil from eBay £15.60, Hunter Wellies from eBay £36.00, Hair Flower by Accessorize £6.99.

If you can brave the brand new jumble sale that is Primark, then they have some fantastic dresses for all types of wedding. This one looked fabulous on and would be great for a festival style bride, complete with Hunter’s and flowers in your hair.

Outfit 2: Black Prom Dress by H&M from eBay £5.30, Shoes by New Look from eBay £8.10, Necklace on loan from Cherish Jewellery.

This outfit was a complete bargain, with an extra net underskirt, this dress is perfect for a bridesmaid at a black and white or Hollywood style wedding. We’ve seen more and more black being used as an accent colour at weddings to really set a glamorous tone and it works beautifully for bridesmaids.

Outfit 3: Dress by Next (Geri Halliwell Range) from eBay for £22. Original Retail Price £89, Headwear from Oxfam £3.50, Shoes, models own.

What promised to be a great bridesmaid dress wasn’t the result we thought when we actually got our hands on it. Any wedding dress designer will tell you that satin has to be treated with great care and fit perfectly unless you are going to look like a used sweet wrapper. And well it sort of did. We were nervous about this one but for the bargain price of £22 it was worth a try and a lesson to trust your first shopping instincts!

So if you are short on budget then don’t be afraid to go second-hand as you can get some really good bargains – you’ll just need to be prepared to shop around. There’s also plenty of designer sample sales to watch out for where you can get a fantastic dress at much less than usual.

And so for now our challenge is complete! Happy bargain hunting!

Photography Credit: Kay Young Photography