My friend Anneka is expecting her first baby any day now, about a month ago a friend and me put together a baby shower for her and I’d like to share it with you today At the start of our planning process we divided our jobs into food, decorations, venue, guest list and invites. Due to the timing of the shower, late October, we went with a woodland theme, keeping the colours red, brown and green, this also fitted a gender neutral theme as we are yet to know what baby will be. We sorted venue, Granma-to-be’s house, and guest list first, sending out save the dates so we had more time to pull together the invites. Pinterest was a main source of inspiration, for decorations, food and game ideas, we actually planned more games than we even got round to playing on the day. We held it on a Sunday afternoon, one lesson learnt was that baby showers, although becoming more popular in the UK are still an idea from America, like gender reveal parties and Black Friday. So with hindsight the invite should have specified more details we assumed would be known, mainly the playing of games and the serving of a buffet lunch. We divided the tasks and everything came together nicely, we met up on evening in the week before the shower to pull all our resources together and make sure we had everything checked off and from the response we had it was a resounding success. The only thing left to do is share the photos from the day on here and with the attendees. I hope you all enjoy.
I had a haircut on Saturday, not the most exciting of events but it was a decent trim and root touch up to my ombre lob. I may be late to the party but since watching Beyoncé perform at the Grammy’s at the start of the year with a natural wave and ombre lob I’ve been obsessed. The prefect length to be manageable and not too boring and perfect for my naturally curly hair and since the start of the summer I’ve had my brown roots enhanced with a warm blond at the tips and I’ve absolutely loved it and still do. I’m normally scared to do anything too trendy or will change back after one hairdresser visit but this just works and is still working for so many celebrities, even the power house that is Taylor Swift got rid of her long locks for the look. What do people think to it? Is it getting a bit tired now, what will be the haircut sensation of 2015? Is anyone planning anything dramatic, any strong colour changes? I’m always tempted to go back red at this time of year. Let me know if you’re getting married soon and you’re having hair issues, are people still thinking of growing their hair before the big day to give them more styling option, I’d love to hear what you think.
When we got back from the holiday where we got engaged I met up with the girls I wanted as my ‘maids separately and asked them if they’d do me the honour of being my big day back up. It was all very simple and polite but I wish I had waited and done something a little more special.
It was only once I was in the planning internet whirl that I found loads of great gift ideas and ways to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids. They center around ‘I have the man but I can’t do it without my girls’ and ‘I can’t do it without you’. I wish I had taken the time and made a gift box which asked the question and given them a memento and a selection of things that have significance in our friendship. There are some beautiful eternity bracelets on etsy which are a lovely way of showing your friendship won’t change even when you become a missus or a bottle of something you enjoy together with a personalised note for your BFF. I think it’s lovely to make an occasion out of everything to do with the planning process even right from the start and I’m gutted to have missed out. Are any of you planning on going that extra mile for your girls?
Before I was engaged I thought I knew who I would have as my bridesmaids, women from different times in my life but all still with me and all quite different to one another, that wasn’t the important factor of my decision it was because they were my best friends, I loved them and I wanted them by my side. When I got engaged I asked them to be my ‘maids. The first I have known since I was 6, we spent our years growing up together and while our lives have taken different directions I feel like I can talk to her about anything and everything and there will always be laughter when we are together. The second I met at college and was a slow burner of a friendship as we were on the outskirts of each others circles but after some adventure holidays together and a mutual love of American high school dramas we became firm friends. The third was my room-mate through university and 2 years afterwards, in those 5 years we helped each other along a road of learning, DVD collections and abject poverty, we don’t see each other like we used to but I think we’ll always have a special bond. At the time of wedding planning maid no.3 was working in Africa and suffering family bereavement so as we didn’t know if she’d even be able to attend she was demoted to “cross everything I hope you can just be there. I had my two bridesmaids sorted. They are both very different to each other but that really helped, you need a calmer pragmatic person around, and you need a helper, someone to take your mind off things and encourage and make things easy and someone to take the reins of certain tasks, there’s no way I can thank them enough. When we knew maid no.3 would be back in the UK she was given a reading so I could have her be part of the day.
I also had two other close friends take a reading. One of these friends got married a few years ago and reader no.2, maid no.2 and myself were her bridesmaids. I don’t go in for “I was yours so you’ll be mine” theory to bridesmaids and best men, everyone holds their own friendships up to a different light and nowadays people have such wide groups of friends you need different people for different things. I guess back in the day when you had smaller groups of friends and relatives this kind of decision had much less pressure to it. Has anyone out there felt pressured to have someone be part of their day they had rather not? If you have siblings, has anyone decided not to have them as part of the wedding party and what was the fall out? What I did do, is do it all wrong. I asked my maids to be my maids and they said yes and I was sorted. I didn’t say anything to the girls who might have thought they would be included that they weren’t. I didn’t want the confrontation, awkwardness and weirdness of it all, I don’t know if they did expect to be included or not, there was never anything said or remarked upon, it came out in conversation who would be the maids and that was that. But that was all wrong. When they were asking questions in the early days of engagement I should have said “oh and I’ve decided on my bridesmaids but once were further along with planning I like you two to be part of the day hopefully with a reading but we’ll decided nearer the time”. But I, for once, stayed quiet and it was spineless and I will always regret it. I took the opinion that you don’t tell someone that they’re not doing something, and I while I still think that is true, it’s just an excuse to stop me from feeling bad for being a wimp. What do you guys think? Was I a bad person? No friendship has suffered (I hope not anyway) so no harm, no foul? Have you been in a similar circumstance and do you regret not telling someone they wouldn’t be your maid or do you wish you hadn’t had that conversation?
I wanted my favourite girls to have something comfortable, something they would wear again and something they would look fabulous in, but isn’t that any brides list of requirements when they pick the bridesmaid dresses?
I have always liked the idea of either a SATC look, 3 rich bold colours or black. When one of my bridesmaids took a job in Africa and we didn’t know whether she’d be able to get back for the wedding let alone be accessible for bridesmaid duties the idea of different colours was out of the question. I love to see a spectrum of hues but with only 2 girls it wouldn’t work, you need a troupe.
Our colour theme was purple but I never wanted it to take over everything and have chairs, bridesmaids, groommen’s accessories and all the flowers looking like Cadbury’s wrappers, so black made sense for the girls. I spent a while looking around seeing if anything in particular caught my eye but we went shopping for their dresses with a fairly open mind, as we were an autumn wedding a long to the floor number was a vague front-runner though. We had an appointment at one bridal shop which stocked Mori Lee bridesmaid dresses and pretty much every style of dress you can imagine. There was to be no satin, nothing heavy that they wouldn’t wear again and then I got them back for making me try on a million dresses when I looked for my dress, and got them to try on loads. One little black number caught my eye and it was between that lace number and a long purple strapless gown. We then went to Debenhams and had some lunch and they tried some off the rail dresses on, some were nice but not as good quality as the Mori Lee ones. Again if I’d have had more than 2 bridesmaids I think I would have been more inclined to let them get what they wanted, so different style but in the same colour or different range of colours in whatever style they wanted. It came back to the two in the original shop and the black one won out. I got a bit nervous about not doing the traditional thing but then my mum reminded me of two things, I’d always mentioned black as a dress colour before I was even engaged and I wanted something they would definitely wear again, this ticked both boxes. It was great to have a girly day out so I would recommend making an event out of it. My girls were so helpful giving me a spec of “we’ll wear whatever you want us to wear” and “they’re all comfortable we’d be happy to wear either”. A dream, I hope you can all be as lucky. Despite ordering the dresses just over 6 months before the wedding day we didn’t have them until the weekend before. I had contemplated ordering them from the internet and saving some cash as I knew the design and designer but had decided that through a shop would give me more security, was I wrong. The shop didn’t chase the dresses and relied on the fact they’d never had any problems with their suppliers before. While the shop were helpful in every other aspect, on two occasions when we thought the dresses would be in it took my phone call to prompt them to chase and in my opinion that’s bad customer service. I was never worried there would be something wrong with the dresses or that they’d need much, if any, alteration (and one of the girls in fact needed none) it was that will less than 10 days before your wedding you expect things like this to be sorted and you want to be as organised as you can be. There were loads of little things to do and chasing after 2 dresses should not have been on the list. All was well in the end and not only we they happy with them they looked stunning in them too.
I can’t believe we are fast approaching the end of the year, looking back through 2014 there have been a fair amount of celebrity weddings this year, all quite different but with lots of steal-able ideas and dress inspiration. When it comes to dresses the stand out contributors have to be Angelina Jolie-Pitt’s family orientated doodled dress, a beautiful simple satin front and then embroidered with family doodles on the veil and back. Lots of brides have their own dresses made so as long as you find a trusted seamstress this is something the ordinary bride could achieve. I loved the sentiment of making their wedding something that included the whole family and the children being part of the ceremony as cake makers, ring bearers and bridesmaids.
Piper Perabo and Jessica Simpson went for sparkling numbers, Piper also opting for a yellow veil which worked perfectly with the dress and certainly stood out as different. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting kept the coloured dress a popular option following in the footsteps of Jessica Biel and Gwen Stefani with a pink gown something I’d love to see ordinary brides styling with more often. In July Fearne Cotton also went for sparkle with her ethereal but relaxed summer dress, so hopefully all this sparkle will start a trend.
In terms of style the whole Kimye extravaganza with walls of flowers certainly impressed even if your local florist and your bank balance might not be able to stretch to their level. Perhaps just a floral arch or smaller backdrop for your own big day? Theirs and the Clooney-Alamuddin nuptials at the end of the year certainly made Italy a popular wedding location. Is there anything more romantic than Venice?
I loved the flower headband of Ashley Tinsdale and her relaxed bouquet, along with the lace used by Kelly Clarkson and she also sported beautiful headwear and who can resist a sunflower bouquet. There also seems to many a groom wearing black suits and thin black ties for a classic timeless look through these celebrity nuptials.
There’s still no sign of pictures from Ginnerfer Goodwin or Cheryl Fernadez-Versini weddings yet but there’s still hope something might appear soon. Hope these have given you some inspiration on this rather grey Sunday. Let me know if there was a particular celebrity wedding you loved this year.
We are now into Movember so it seems a good a time as any to discuss mens faces. Well more precisely their facial hair.
You may have noticed from some of the photos on here that The Boy, or should that be The Husband, had some stubble on our big day. He didn’t want to be completely clean-shaven and baby-faced to avoid looking like a 12-year-old. The in-laws offered him a special cut throat shave and spa experience for the big day but he wanted to keep things low maintenance, as is his style.
From a male point of view just as much as a woman’s the stylings you have for your big day needs to have an element of timelessness, I feel anything too trendy will not stand the test of time in your photographs and memories. I had red hair pre wedding and have since gone for an ombre style since but consciously thought about keeping my hair colour to a more natural look for the big day. In the same respect for his facial hair The Husband wanted to look like himself, the best version of. Post honeymoon though he took his low maintenance approach to grooming one step further, and started to grow a beard, it was shaved back for a friend’s wedding in the new year but since then has had almost 11 months of growing. It seems to have coincided with a very trendy time for beards, it looks as though The Husband belongs in a chunky cardigan in the Next catalogue. The longer it grew the more upkeep it has needed, his hairdressers have changed to one including trusted beard trims and shaping and his drawer in the bathroom now consists of a beard comb, oil and wax (much fun has been had shaping the moustache part of the beard into curly tentacles). This low maintenance accessory has gone the other way and there doesn’t appear to be any letting go anytime soon, not when it provides him with many conversations with strangers in bars (mostly men) who admire this statement of manliness. Does your other half have a beard or considering growing one for the winter months and have beards being the subject of debate when wedding days approach? I think if your man has had a beard for a significant time and is very much how he is perceived then wedding beards are a go but if it’s a brief trend or gimmick then he may regret his choice in years to come but is there anything more handsome than a beardy man in a suit?
I’ve been through my wedding dress finding adventures now I want to get into the sparkle of the bride’s outfit. Due to the neckline of my dress I didn’t think a necklace would sit right, so for me it was all about bracelet and earings and I wanted my hair half up and half down so thought maybe a veil would sit nicely at the back of my head. On wedding dress expeditions the mum-in-law kept asking if I would wear a veil, but I had no set thoughts on the idea and thought it would depend on what dress I picked first. When the dress was decided upon it had lovely detail at the back, so surely a veil would just get in the way and hide it all? On the other hand when I was given one to try on at the dress fitting it did look nice, quite thin flowing down the back to match the length of the dress and let’s face it when else would I get to wear a veil? The Boy’s thought were also fairly indifferent as long as I didn’t come down the aisle with it over my face, what would be creepy apparently. The veil in the dress shop was around £200 which is obscene for some plain tulle material in my opinion but I got a similar looking number for £30 on eBay instead. I didn’t think much of it after that, I took it to one dress fitting to get the full effect but didn’t take it to my hair trial and it was rarely mentioned. On the day of the wedding my hairdressers was leaving before I was into the dress and we suddenly remembered about the veil, but it would be difficult to put into the hair now, but it could be done and instructions were about to be passed onto a bridesmaid. When it was in situ I stood up and realised it felt quite heavy and I would be paranoid about it being stood on and how it would now look in my beautiful hair, so I made the executive decision and went without the veil. Did I miss it? No. Did anyone mention it until half way through the day? No and that was only mums who were expecting to see it. So I was glad to have one less thing to think about on the day to be honest, something that couldn’t go wrong or get in the way. Who’s planing on wearing a veil on their big day? Maybe you have a family heirloom to wear or you have very strong opinions about them? Let me know. I’m all about keeping fuss to a minimum which is why I opted for no hair jewelry or bands. Having worn a headband and such adornment as a bridesmaid, while obviously looking awesome they move because my hair is fine and I wear glasses, so often there’s rubbing or something being dislodged behind my ear. This will probably be just me but I’ve got ready for a glam night out, a ball, wedding or been a bridesmaid and had too many things to deal with regarding my outfit and accessories. I can never seem to do seamless, carefree, gorgeous and have everything just work. Something slips, or rides up or rubs and something will catch on something else or I’m just plain thinking about something and it distracts me the whole evening. I know, I’m a mess, but in my 29 years I have learnt, so for the most important day of my life I was keeping it simple, stupid.
A dress that felt comfortable, decent underwear and not much jewelery and defiantly nothing in my hair, not even a fancy pin. It does mean I missed out on some beautiful pieces though (but it was worth it because I didn’t give a second thought to my outfit once the day was in full swing). I’ve created a Pinterest board with some sparkly pieces that would have been great to wear. Have you already picked your jewellery, anyone opting for a floral crown or a full on Gatsby inspired head of glitz and sparkle? Let me know what you think is there anyone out there who would stress that much about not wearing a headband?
I like to make an occasion of things (in case you hadn’t noticed already) when we got our official wedding photos back we got both sets of parents round for a full slide show extravaganza. The photos are amazing and if you follow me on social media you’ll know that Ed Godden was our man and we can’t rate him highly enough.
We had bubbly and nibbles for the parents big screening and for Christmas presents last year they got personalised photo books and the whole blooming lot on a memory stick to do with as they please (along with some scrummy hampers). I loved getting them back on a memory stick (partially to do with the cost of the beautiful albums) as it meant we could take our time to choose our prints and make an album. This still hasn’t happened yet but I plan on asking for some lovely photo albums to fill from Santa this year. I particularly like Aspinals of London, I bought our friends a wedding gift of photo albums from them, they can be personalised, so they have one for wedding and one for honeymoon and I do like the idea of creating an album that you can add all the tickets and mementos from the trip or day alongside pictures. Snapfish come highly recommended for prints and I used Optimal Print for our thank you cards, excellent service, sent through the next day and really good quality, I would use them again.
There are loads of companies that will print your digital photos for you, I loved the fact our wedding photographer sent our pre wedding shoot to us via drop box and our big day photos came on a USB stick. We have a Canon printer at home, only for 4×6 but we have a few of those multi-frames on the walls of our lounge for that size so we can get our photos up on the wall as soon as we want, and we can change them whenever we get bored too. I am strangely nostalgic for the days when you took your film capsule into a photo shop and had to wait for it to develop and then stand outside looking through all the terrible shots you hid at the back of the pile. Yes you didn’t know if you took a duff shot but you physically had them to re-print and frame and place in photo albums. How many of you have hundreds if not thousands of digital photos on a hard drive right now but not in an album to be able to share and enjoy? A little sad I think. As we approach Christmas a time for friends and family, and the new year, for new beginnings, take a trip down memory lane, get out the album you haven’t looked at in years or create the one you’ve been meaning to for months, but don’t forget the bubbles and enjoy.
Finding a photographer was a very difficult process for us because we like photography ourselves and we got quite picky. The choices are endless and the more you search on the internet the more you are comparing prices and packages and how they compose group shots and do they do silly ones and is it a bit more reportage, and none of this was helped by the fact The Boy is surgically attached to a Canon SLR 90% of the time.
I didn’t do what every bride seems to do when I read blogs and ‘we saw the site and knew immediately they were for us’. Maybe it’s because a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The Boy could have done our photos if he was not going to be slightly busy on the day. Did anyone out there have similar issue? A graphic designer with way too much pressure to produce the stationary? Someone who’s done a flower course and is torn between cracking on yourself or being picky about people’s work? There’s saving money and making a bridge for your own back I think and ultimately you should be enjoying the day.
There was certain criteria for our photographer, their website had to be clear and easy to look through and give a price list so we knew where we stood, if they haven’t put the effort into a website what hope should you have for the rest of the service and a black background with a difficult to use gallery just won’t cut it. They then had to fall into our budget, but photography isn’t something you should be tight with, this is your lasting memory of the day, all that time and effort to get it just as you want but then have a poor quality memento of the whole thing, not really what you want is it? Then we obviously had to like the work, this is complete personal preference but not too many staged shots, but the flexibility to give us some family shots and the rest a record of the day as it ran, no messing with standing a colour out or putting a dinosaur chasing us in the background, and definitely no over produced shots in Photoshop. We eventually got a short list of 3 photographers and went to meet them, this seems to be another factor than some people neglect, but even if it’s a long phone conversation or Skype spend some time getting to know your photographer and for them to get an idea of what you want from the day, that way you’ll get it.
We were offered a pre-wedding shoot and if you have doubts about these, don’t. Definitely take advantage of them because it’s another way to get to know your photographer and if you’re not very comfortable in front of a camera, or even if you’re a regular Kate Moss it means you get used to what will be asked of you in posing from your photographer and they’ll get to understand what you’re comfortable with.
We quickly felt comfortable around ours, Mr Ed Godden, Aside from my fringe dying on me due to the humidity, and feeling silly posing for someone we understood what he wanted and fell into it, and we now have some lovely couple photos, not something we have enough of, we’re quick to take pictures of things and places we visit but not us together.
The Boy likes his camera, his first SLR was all the way back in September 2009 not that long after we’d got together so our relationship has been punctuated with late night star trail shots, weird and wonderful ideas for 365 day challenges and experiments with off camera flash and me trying to understand a whole new language of apertures and shutter speeds. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and I think I have an eye for capturing things, but The Boy definitely has the patience and technical ability I lack with a fancy camera, so between us we make a decent photographer. Due to his skills family members began to pester that he should try to do it full-time. We know our wedding photographer is getting booked up to 2016 but that’s because he has 18 years of experience, and from the days trying to find a photographer we know that the market is saturated with people vying for your business, it would also take a decent outlay of cash to upgrade his current equipment, but it is a nice idea. What a lovely job it must be to share people’s special days with them and to be able to give them their lasting memories from it, a lot of pressure but a job filled with love.
Do we all have hobbies and enjoyment that we’d like to become our job, I think those that actually do are in the wonderful minority, if we all did it then who would work in Barclays anyway?! From planning my wedding I’d love to move into event planner and hopefully from this blog and some upcoming events I’ll share with you I can make something of it, but will the reality ruin my enjoyment, would taking photographs full-time ruin The Boy’s love for it, I guess you don’t know unless you go for it.
In this spirit when our friends wanted some nice pictures at the request of a mother for Christmas we went on a simple walk with them and came back with around 20 couple shots for them to choose from. It was a nice way to spend an hour, all quite painless and a rather nice selection came from it. The mum approved. See my favourite below.
If you’re interested in some family or couple pictures taking, whether you’ve got engaged or just realise there’s a gap in your photo album for this time in your life, then contact The Boy on firstname.lastname@example.org We’re in the Yorkshire region and as he’s building a portfolio it’s very reasonable and relaxed. You might be getting married soon and you’re not sure how you feel in front of a camera. The Boy (with me usually tagging along) is building up his experience behind the camera, perfect arrangement, eh?
I love the colours of this season, the oranges and auburn of the leaves, the nights getting darker with the excuse for more candle light than might be humanly necessary. What I especially love at this time of year is the bold pop of a super colourful wedding; to be honest a bright wedding colour theme works with the onset of spring and in the heat of the summer. There’s further finds on our Pinterest board for Colourful Weddings but below is some my favourites for some big day inspiration. Bridesmaids in a bold mix of colours, bright shoes for the bride and a selection of chair decorations, balloons and confetti. I hope it brightens up your dark autumn evening and mornings.
It seems to me quite an American tradition to have a wreath on the front door for a holiday celebration, not something you see much in the UK but I really like the concept. Letting your neighbours and visitors know the mood and celebrations happening in the house and brightening up your front door. So I decided to construct my own for Halloween. I coincided a wire frame and using burlap to create a base but I found the pre-made twig effect wreath and thought that would still be an ideal base to change the wreath for Christmas and Spring. I bought a garland of fake autumn leaves, dried fruit and some little cute plastic pumpkins.
I started by threading the garland round the wreath frame then I began to add the detail. I was tempted to add felt flowers and ghouls but as it’s exposed to the elements I stuck with items which would be more robust. If your front door is more sheltered then perhaps add fake cobwebs for a more spooky look or fresh flowers for a more seasonal feel. I bought florist wire to attach the dried fruit and secure the garland more confidently to the frame.
Now it’s up on the front door waiting for the kids to knock for sweets on Friday night, I love how it’s brightened up our plain white PVC door and I’ll update the blog in the coming months when I change the design on the frame to fit for Christmas and Easter holidays and I’ll go into more detail of how I put them together.