Friday, 31 October 2008

Make-up and veil trial...


Veil, make-up and eye-lashes by me
Image by the BestMan's girlfriend
Inspiration: Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Bridesmaid Dress Ideas (continued)

Dress by Monsoon (images on mannequin by them, others by me)
Shoes by Aldo

Thank you all for your kind words of support regarding the bridesmaids dresses. I have decided that out of all the dresses I have seen on the high street this one above by Monsoon is my favourite and have made plans for the bridesmaids in this country to try it on asap. I went last night and tried it on myself - they didn't have an 8, hence it looks a bit big - but I loved the way it looked and felt.

The ribbon tie at the halterneck echoes the ribbons that I have planned to tie around our bouquets and I think that the dress is close enough in colour to my shoes that it will look deliberate and not coincidental.

And perhaps not with those silver shoes but similar ones, so as to echo the shape of my shoes and to be the opposite colouring pairing to my outfit. And I am making them each a peacock feather headpiece to wear in their hair.

Now, just as long as they fit them all and they have the right sizes available, I think we might finally be moving forwards!


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Honeymoon Daydreams

Image from US Vogue June 2008 via A Desert Fete via This is Glamorous

This is what I am hoping the first week of our honeymoon will look like...

Monday, 27 October 2008

Bridesmaid Dress Ideas: The High Street

Images (clockwise from left)
Dresses by Oli, Whistles, Topshop, Monsoon & Topshop
Shoes by Dune
By far and away my biggest challenge so far has been finding a solution to my bridesmaids outfits. For a bride with a large budget, not so much of a challenge. There are plenty of places where you can buy some beautiful and admittedly, some less than beautiful, dresses. But I do not want to spend hundreds per dress. We have a budget and from that budget the church and our reception venue were where we chose to spend. This means that there is a lower budget in other areas: not a problem, just somewhat of a challenge.
I am having three adult bridesmaids - my two sisters and my sister-in-law-to-be. All three are quite tall (all taller than me) and all of them are curvier than me. I would like them to wear blue or green or a peacock-y colour and the dress must be fairly simple (as my own is). The budget I have at present is £50 per dress. I may be able to find more but I would be pleased if I didn't have to.
I have posted before some designer options which I very much like but clearly they are way over budget. So I have instead scoured the high street and these dresses are the best that I can come up with. And yes, some of these are over budget too. Much as I like the colour of the Whistles dress, I do not think it works: it is too short and too tailored and I do not think it will complement my dress. Unfortunately the Oli one on the left is sold out, as I think it is the nicest shape of the whole lot.
The Monsoon one on the right is very close to the colour shoes I am going to be wearing and will match the ribbons I hope to tie round the bouquets* (I don't care whether it is supposed to be bad luck, I am looking forward to doing my own flowers...).
Shoes wise I think I am going to leave the girls to pick their own. I cannot decide if they too should wear blue, or whether they should be the exact opposite to me and wear white/silver shoes with a blue dress. I love these Dune ones (full marks to anyone who recognises which recent bride wore these herself but in a different colour) but I think they are too high - I don't want the bridesmaids overshadowing me too much!
Of course, the other option is to make the dresses, based on a pattern of a dress of my choice. Given that one sister can make her own clothes and sister-in-law-to-be is a fashion designer, perhaps that would be the obvious choice. But I saw how stressful that process was last year when I helped make my own bridesmaid dress for sister-in-law-to-be's wedding and I just don't know if I can willingly do that to myself. We shall see...

*which will be, I think, white roses like my own bouquet but a smaller bunch with shorter stems.


Saturday, 25 October 2008

Marriage Preparation Course 1

Because we live in one place and are getting married in another, we had to think creatively about our marriage course. We have ended up doing it in two parts: the first, a course for couples, is held at our local church. The second, the actual preparation part, we are doing with our chaplain at the church where we are getting married.

We attended the first session this week and I was more nervous than I thought I would be. Yes, parts of it are annoying, but both M and I agreed that there were a couple of useful things we could take away. This session was based on the foundations of marriage and whether we were in agreement about the state of our relationship at present. We both scored roughly the same which was pleasing, as it showed neither of us thought more or less than the other about things.

The course emphasised the very real need to spend time as a couple and to schedule this every week. (It suggested actually writing this in the diary, but that is not for us). I think M and I are lucky as we do have plenty of time to spend with each other: we live together yet have no children, so outside of our work commitments the rest of our time is either spent together, with friends or, occasionally, on our own. I know that sounds obvious, but what I mean is that our default position is to spend time together, rather than other things taking priority and spending time together being shunted down the list.

I used to be obsessed about us spending time together. Before we lived together I spent 7 months in a house share with two people I didn't know. They sold it to me as a house share, but when I moved in they had just returned from their honeymoon and my role in the house was more akin to lodger. M on the other hand was living with his best friend. Despite the fact that they lived together, every week they reserved one night for them to hang out together. I used to find that every week I was fighting for attention with all his other commitments and my favourite whine was that I never got to spend any time with him. But then we moved in together and slowly I have learnt that I do not need to be obsessed about this any more. In fact, in recent months, I have been able to let go of this obsession entirely and bingo we have started to spend one or more evenings a week together. Now all I have to do is stop obsessively using the computer every evening and the time might actually qualify as time together as per the Marriage Course guidelines (discovering how much of this you have together is our homework this week...)


Friday, 24 October 2008

Style Me Pretty Little Black Dress Competition

{Image Credits (L-R)
Eudoxia Dress by Ted Baker
Embellished Heeled Shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti via Net a Porter
Black Aves Tea Cup and Saucer by Royal Crown Derby via Liberty
Black and White Wedding Cake by Iced-Online
Portia Mini Bridal Combs by Glitznglory via Etsy
Vintage lace mantle card with ivory ribbon by Two by Two Weddings}

Style Me Pretty is asking it's readers to come up with their own image board styling a little black dress with a co-ordinating palette. Here is my attempt, although I don't think I have got the sizing quite right as I don't know how to make it at least 600 pixels wide...


Thursday, 23 October 2008

HeadPiece Ideas

Daphne HeadPiece by Sweetsnlo via Etsy

I was thinking I would make something to wear in my hair, but maybe I will just wear this instead! I am finding it impossible to reach a decision, about anything...


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Photo of the Day


Hop over to Little Miss Rachel for the others. Back soon with more wedding based posts but after the weekend I should think, as we are off to Yorkshire for my Grandmother's 80th birthday. What a week!

Image by me

Monday, 20 October 2008

Wedding Vendors

I eventually heard back from the wedding vendor who I had been having problems contacting, although I don't know what to believe.

In the absence of hearing from her, I contacted another vendor who I know works with her on occasion and they said she was still in business and they would see what they could find out for me. I got an answer-machine message from them on Saturday to say that her computer system had gone down so she wouldn't have received my e-mails and she had also been on holiday.

I then finally received an e-mail from her, in response to my e-mails, saying she had been abroad for a few weeks and her out of office response had obviously not activated.

So, having made the decision to find another vendor, and failing, I now wonder if I should give her another chance or get out now...

Oh, and it is my cousin's boyfriend's funeral tomorrow so there will be a pause in posting, as I do not really feel like writing about weddings at present. Back soon though, I promise.


Thursday, 16 October 2008

More Bridesmaid Dress Ideas


Satin Long Dress by Oli

I know, this search for a green or blue bridesmaids dress which doesn't cost the earth is getting tedious. This is the best I can come up with available in this country for under £100...

And news flash - one of the bridesmaids "loves it"!

News flash 2 - Out of Stock and discontinued...!

Back to the drawing board then.


Wednesday, 15 October 2008

For the Groom - Tie

Images by Toybreaker via Etsy

I have written about what I am going to wear, but what about the groom? Well, he would like to keep his outfit somewhat of a secret (although, if he wants it to be a proper secret he should not be using my e-bay account to watch things!) but I am putting my foot down. His shoes, socks, suit and so on can be a surprise for the day, but I need to know the colour and I need to know what tie he is wearing. (He needs to match the bridesmaids, although that is another story altogether).

Last week I bought him a dark green silk tie from e-bay. It is by Liberty and has a jacquard print of peacock feathers. It is beautiful and cost the grand sum of £2.45. I would love him to wear it but for that to happen we need to find two more matching ones (or the same but different colours) for BestMan and HeadUsher. I will be doing my best, but then I found the silk screen printed ties on Etsy...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Hair Ideas


Vintage Pearl Labrinth Headdress


This is very similiar to the headband (and is by the same designer) that I liked so much at the wedding show. No, she hasn't sent through any photos but I finally managed to get the website to work properly. Gorgeous, isn't it. Would absolutely fit with my vintage theme and eco-credentials as the pearls are recycled 1940s ones...

Close up of the Vintage Pearl Labrinth Headdress


Wedding Vendors

I wrote before about a wedding vendor that I was having potential problems with. I listened to your advice, I e-mailed them again, I got M to call them and finally today, after three weeks without hearing anything from them, I was forced to send them an e-mail detailing my disappointment and requesting that they contacted me either way as if they couldn't help me I needed to make alternative arrangements.

I am really sad that I have had to do this but three weeks without response is, to my mind, unacceptable. There is no 'out-of-office' response to the e-mails (which might explain an absence or a delay) and there is no recorded message which sheds any light on the situation either.

All I can do is hope that they come back to me. And soon, as if we are giving up on the idea, I need time to find something equally fantastic to take its place.


Designer Wedding Show (again)

Designer Wedding Show - Reasons for Being Disappointed:-

  1. The people manning the stands were, by and large, rude. With one or two exceptions they seemed uninterested and unhelpful. I wanted to ask questions about orders of service covers, but once the stationery people heard that was all I was after, they couldn't care less. Price lists were presented and backs were turned.
  2. Cost - I know it was the designer show but that still doesn't mean I want to spend £600 on a net tulle veil. Not even silk tulle, net.
  3. I was offered a teeth whitening brochure.
  4. The one stand I found where I seriously liked her headpieces and veils and was stood there wearing said headpiece and veil, and she wouldn't let me take a photo to remind myself what I looked like. The headpiece cost almost £300 and yet she refused to let me have an image of myself in it. An image which I would have uploaded to my computer and gazed at, because it was so beautiful, and possibly convinced myself that the money was worth it. Now all I can think about is how she wouldn't let me take the photo. (Nor did she send me an e-mailed image which is what she promised she would do instead).
  5. Realising how self obsessed some brides are, and some women too. M overheard one girl saying to another "well, you've got everything sorted now, all you need is a boyfriend".
  6. Realising how brides-to-be can be made to feel so inadequate if they don't have every last whatever for the wedding. Really, who needs cards printed up with the names of your bridesmaids-to-be, to ask them if they will be your bridesmaid?

Designer Wedding Show - Reasons for Being Pleased:-

  1. Walking around the show, we realised how much of the planning we have already done and how happy we are with the way we are doing things. Sure, the Amanda Wakeley lady might have made a face like I was a bad smell when I said that I bought my own Amanda Wakeley gown from Oxfam, but I am pleased with where I purchased it. Sure, the invitations lady looked at me horrified when I said we were handwriting our invitations, but we are pleased with our choice. And yes, the florist might have snapped at me that making my own bouquet was bad luck (but I think she was more annoyed that she told me all about New Covent Garden Flower Market and how cheap the flowers were, and how easy it was to make a simple bouquet of roses and was then forced to admit she charged £75 for her own, whereon she asked who was doing my flowers, I said I was, she realised her tactical errors and thought rudeness was the way out of the situation).
  2. Knowing that we are pleased with our choice of photographer.
  3. The afternoon tea we ate together was very tasty.
  4. Not having paid for the tickets - they were free due to an offer in the Telegraph.


Sunday, 12 October 2008

Designer Wedding Show

Temperley London Veil (Image by M)

Popped down to the Designer Wedding Show this afternoon to have a look for some ideas. Rather unimpressed by the whole thing really; a few good ideas but mostly filled with people trying to interest you in things you didn't want.

There was one thing which I did very much like though, and she is supposed to be sending me some images. If she does, I will post them, as they are an unusual but lovely idea.


Friday, 10 October 2008

At the moment, I can't remember where I found these but I will update the credit later on. I love the light, so gorgeous, so peaceful, so American. Will be back with the shoe post soon but not today. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Rupert Sanderson

I was hoping to write this post tonight and mention the talk I went to on Tuesday night, An audience with Rupert Sanderson. I was going to take some photographs of the shoes and post some that I took at the event. Sadly I heard late this afternoon that my cousin's boyfriend had died, unexpectedly, and it rather shocked me. Despite never meeting him I feel terribly sad, especially as there is no real explanation for this sudden, tragic, turn of events. I also feel extremely guilty that I am upset, for him, for my cousin, for her family. So I am not really feeling like writing about shoes tonight. I hope you understand, and I will write it just as soon as I can.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Emily London: Couture Milliner

When I first started looking for my wedding dress I thought I would wear a vintage gown so I went straight to my favourite vintage shop (and old neighbour in my beloved Primrose Hill): Shikasuki. As you know by now, I didn't end up buying a vintage gown but I did fall in love with the millinery on exhibition there... hats by Emily-London. Emily offered to make me a hat/headpiece for my wedding which I could commission to include peacock feathers and I am seriously considering taking her up on the option. That or commissioning a hat to go with my going-away dress which I could wear to the many weddings we are attending later in the summer.
Oyster apostrophe with feathers and diamant├ęs
I wanted to share with you some of her designs - I have chosen some of my favourites - but she also does custom made commissions (see the butterflies below) and hires vintage pieces for weddings as well. Enjoy.
Chocolate lace beret with metallic flower and quills

In fact, Emily says: "Having a bespoke hat or headpiece privately commissioned, particularly for your wedding day, is a wonderfully enjoyable process from the initial concept to the final stitch. It is a delightful and original way to have a unique and special piece designed and made exclusively for you. As a milliner, private commissions are my most enjoyable pieces to make. They enable me creatively to interpret the client's concept and then engage with her throughout the making process so that the end result goes beyond even her first hopes and expectations. The feeling of a customer taking her hat or headpiece away, knowing that she absolutely adores it and that it will be privately treasured forever, brings with it for me a wonderful sense of pride and creative energy".

Chocolate brown felt twist with pheasant feather
(A/W 08 preview)


So, if you are interested in having a hat or headpiece made for your wedding, or to wear to someone else's wedding, or to Ascot, or just because you fancy a gorgeous hat, get in touch with Emily by e-mailing her at the address on her website.


Vintage white fur hat. Available to hire.


Hackle and stripped coque feathers with velvet flower


butterflies custom made commission
(photo by Ian Kelsall)

Claret twist pillbox with velvet spray


All images by Emily-London with the exception of the butterflies which is by Ian Kelsall

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Things to cheer me up at lunchtime...

Image by Duttson Rocks

Stones and set chosen by my boy in conjunction with Neil Duttson


Save the Date

image by me
So, with 8 months left until the wedding we have sent our save the date e-mails (see above, without the blue crosses, obviously) and have attended our formal, family, engagement party. It went really well and all sides of the family present got on very well, which was somewhat of a relief.

8 months is a long time, but what a lot there is left to do. Aside from booking a venue and photographer we have yet to physically book a marquee, caterers (although we have decided who), crockery, tables and so on, transport, bridesmaid dresses, groom's attire, honeymoon, wedding night accommodation... the list is endless and I must stop now before I descend into panic.

Actually, the thing that is panicking me most at the moment is my hen party. I have two sisters and one sister-in-law-to-be. All three are my bridesmaids. One is in Australia, one is in her final year of university, one is a full time fashion designer. All are very busy. Having researched some places I know we need to book asap as many places are already booked for April and May next year. We had an idea. That idea will not work - wrong time for one, too expensive for some, my teaching friends can only come for 2 nights - so it is back to the drawing board. I am starting to wonder if I even want a hen party.

The stag party, of course, is hugely popular, everyone said yes to the proposed date and it is well under way to being organised. This makes me more stressed than ever.


Monday, 6 October 2008

I've Been Pseudo Tagged... Peonies, who extended the tagging to anyone that cared to join in.

Today I have:-

1. Gone to work and done lots of it;

2. Worn new shoes;

3. Gone to a powerplating class; and

4. Bought and watched Sex and the City the film.

To do:-

1. Sort out meeting with vendor of Whatevertheyares - she is now not answering the telephone either;

2. Backlog of laundry, some of which is left over from the sailing holiday. Was forced to put the heating on yesterday evening to get things dry - some clothes were still damp despite being washed at the start of last week. It's not good for the clothes, the house or my sanity...;

3. Thank you letters to friends and family for the engagement presents we received at the weekend;

4. Write a new to-do list, one that doesn't make me feel like I am about to explode.

Guilty Pleasures:-

1. Reading Vogue or Tatler stood up in the kitchen with a cup of tea;

2. Designer shoes from e-bay (top quality shoes at Topshop prices);

3. Sex and the City;

4. Facebooking stalking other peoples weddings (usually at lunchtime).

Random Facts:-

1. I am finding it hard not to wear my wedding shoes - I have had to hide them;

2. I would rather go barefoot than wear odd socks;

3. If I am early it is a surprise to everyone including myself;

4. My favourite drink is a cup of tea. Unless champagne is on offer.

I tag:-

1. CeeCee

2. Posies and Pearls

3. Red Frame

4. Baby, picture this

Friday, 3 October 2008

Posies & Pearls

News flash...! Hannah or The Cwtch has a new blog! Already a favourite vendor of mine, Hannah makes the most beautiful vintage inspired cakes and Posies and Pearls is her scrapbook behind her business - Iced Online. A few weeks ago I posted an inspiration board full of her cakes and I am so delighted that she has decided to share her inspiration with the world too - and what a fab name. It conjures up for me images of 1940s weddings - and guess what? That is what she is writing about at the moment...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Autumn to Spring

1 October: Autumn is here. To be honest it's felt autumnal for a while; that orangey, rather American light, which illuminates the branches of the trees in grains of amber sunlight; that slightly crisp chill to the morning air; the sense of new starts and back to school. I sat on a wall last week for a snatched lunch break in the afternoon sun and brown leaves drifted down from the tree above, landing all around me.

October is I think the most colourful month: the warmth of summer still just about remembered in the oranges and yellows and reds of the leaves, the cosiness of November coming more sharply into focus. Halloween, Bonfire Night, house parties and family birthdays.

And after autumn will come winter. The dying months of autumn will leave the dead of winter. But my spirit will not be dead and buried. No, for there is Christmas, Sunday roasts and chilled walks, mulled wine and spiced apple juice to drink in pubs, there will be carols to sing and board games to play. And after Christmas comes my birthday, celebrated with friends in London and then with family in the French Alps a couple of weeks later.

In February comes our anniversary, this time seven years. No seven year itch for us, instead marriage, a mere four months after. February should also bring the return of my long-lost beautiful sister A1, tanned and healthy from an Australian year, sewing machine at the ready to help her somewhat stressed older yet smaller sister with all the sewing that she still hasn't done.

And then to March, that long and beastly month, with cold rains and lazy winds before yielding to April, Easter, of daffodils, of trips northwards to Yorkshire and Shropshire. Of planning, of making, of cleaning and organising. My spring cleaning next year will be a watershed: I shall neatly shake out and fold up my single self and pack it away into boxes, carefully wrapped in tissue paper, to be opened and looked at by future children and grandchildren and in times of remembrance, by myself on a future lonely night. I shall store it on the top shelf of the wardrobe that we do not yet own and instead try on for size the life labelled wife.