Monday, 30 May 2011

Horses for Courses

The week before last I had the pleasure of spending time individually with both of my sons. On Thursday I was getting to know the pony my youngest son has a half share in, a not so young grey gelding by the name of Rupert. We happily got grubby grooming him, and as I used to teach riding I ended up giving Toby an impromptu lesson. This coming Friday has his first dressage test and I'm looking forward to spending a few hours with him at the stables beforehand helping him to get rid of the inevitable grass stains on Rupert's legs!
On Friday I spent the morning with my eldest son with a different kind of horse! Charlie passed his driving test at the end of December last year and afterwards attended a county council subsidised skid pan course. Part of the incentive to do this course, which after the icy roads this winter is a brilliant idea, was to have a drive in a Ferrari around the circuit at Goodwood. After registering and signing all the relevant paperwork we were led out to the car he would be driving, and I watched my 17 year old drive off in a hugely powerful left hand drive car! I managed to completely muck up the video function on my mobile phone so unfortunately I don't have that to show for our morning out, although we did get some good photos.
What's this got to do with weddings? Well both activities got me thinking about hen and stag do's. Some do's are held over a weekend, quite often abroad, why not do something different in this country instead? If clubbing and drinking to excess is really not your thing then do something different and memorable! Find an activity that everyone in your group of hens or stags will enjoy (or at least will agree to have a go at!) and get booking!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Balloon Lady

Today on our blog we welcome Lucinda, The Balloon Lady, with some advice on venue decoration as well as some gorgeous photos of her work.

Decorating a room for a wedding

Decorations for your wedding reception are essential – they set the mood for the day and if done correctly will bring your colour scheme and theme in to the venue and transform it making it unique to you.

Your florist/balloon decorator should always be able to advise you on what works best in any room, as they will have worked there in the past, and they should be able to make suggestions of various styles and designs that will suit both the room and you.
After 17 years in the business I find the following advice essential when working out how to decorate any room and I do hope it helps you.

If you are in a tall room I would always recommend using tall arrangements – whether you want to have flowers or balloons – as these will fill the ‘empty’ space above peoples heads and draw the eye through the room. There are so many styles that you can chose from, including tall candle sticks, cocktail glasses and vases filled with masses of blooms – or even displays of tall balloons in your colour scheme – which can look very elegant – but also add a slightly more relaxed atmosphere to the day.

In rooms with lower ceilings it is important not to over fill these – as they can then end up feeling cramped and over decorated. Perhaps look at lower arrangements of flowers – such as the popular gold fish bowls, cubes filled with roses and traditional round arrangements of flowers – and in balloons look to the smaller designs, such a pretty topiary trees, or single balloons with little balloons inside – floating on pretty tulles.

Colour schemes are also very important to consider. Many venues keep their walls to neutral colours, which means that you can chose any colour scheme or theme and it will always go in the room. However there are some venues that have very distinct wall colours, such as dark reds, or browns and in these rooms, I would always advise you to either chose your colours to match – or have the bridesmaids and accents in your chosen colour scheme – but include lots of neutral creams and whites in your centrepieces so that they don’t get over powered by the room.

With colour schemes remember that some colour schemes are very easy to co-ordinate with in flowers, such as shades of pinks, purples, reds, oranges and yellows – where as greens – turquoises – blues and browns are more difficult, as there aren’t as many flowers available in these colours. With these colours its worth either considering a contrasting flower colour or using balloons that are made in hundreds of colours and can be custom matched in thousands more, these will really pull your scheme together an should blend your dresses and the bridal bouquets to create one overall theme.
Have a think about all the areas you want to decorate, and make a list to discuss with whoever is decorating for you. Don’t forget the entrance, this is so forgotten and over looked, but it is the first impression visitors will get of your day, so something simple like an arch of matching coloured balloons will lead guests in. 

Everyone remembers their guest tables – but don’t forget yourselves, so often the top table is looked at as of secondary importance– but so many pictures will be taken here that you need to remember to frame it beautifully – weather you have balloons floating over it or at either side, or ribbons or fresh flowers swaging the front of the table.
Finally you must consider your budget, it’s very easy to get carried away decorating your wedding and you really must prioritise the most important areas first. Remember that tropical flowers will always be more expensive, where as seasonal flowers will be more reasonable and that balloons will always give you more impact and inject more colour in to a plain room than a simple floral arrangement.

Many thanks to Lucinda, take a look at her website for more inspiration and ideas, and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hummingbird Vintage

Hummingbird Bridal is a collection of gorgeous vintage wedding dresses all under £100. I love vintage wedding dresses but I have found so many of them to be way out of mine (and I imagine other brides) price range so I wanted to create a collection of vintage wedding dresses that would be affordable to everyone.

We offer a Hummingbird Bridal Package which includes a visit from us with dresses in tow, styling session (as we all look better with nice hair and make-up and it gives people a chance to see what the full look would look like), and cupcakes and fizz. Once you have picked a dress we will help you find the right accessories to go with it.

If you like the idea of affordable vintage but we don't have anything in-stock then let us know and we will scour the streets to find it for you. We have great alteration people so if something isn't quite right we can sort that for you too...!!

As the wedding dresses in Lucy's store are unique and constantly turning over I recommend that you visit her website to view a sample of them, and contact her to discuss what it is you're looking for.

Hummingbird Boudoir lingerie is made to make girls feel good about themselves...we all have days when we pull on our sexy undies to find that the don't quite fit as nicely as the used to (frequent occurrence in my house) and this can put you in a bad mood and make you swear off chocolate for the rest of the day. stop women feeling like be honest we already have enough to worry about ....we have created really gorgeous boudoir underwear that is totally adjustable at the sides, bra straps and the front of the bra so you can wear Hummingbird Boudoir at any time and still feel sexy.

Each piece is handmade and embellished with luxurious ribbons and vintage buttons and come in a range of colours. If you are looking for something extra special let us know and we can make it happen.

If you feel like treating someone else as well as yourself then these make great gifts and are also perfect for weddings...and wedding nights...!!!

We also have created a range for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer as we have experience in this and know how hard it is to feel sexy when you are going through treatment. The bras are specially designed to be able to hold a prosthetic if need be and are also made from high quality fabric so are comfortable to wear.....yet still damn sexy!!

Prices are £15 - 20 for a bra and £8 - 10 for knickers and come beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon.

You can contact Lucy through her website, keep up with her on her blog and follow her on Twitter.   

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Cakes By Sugar

Sugar is a cake design company based in South West London.  Designer Andrea Freeman creates beautiful cakes, cookies and cupcakes that taste as good as they look. Specialising in ways to make your celebration stand out from the crowd with dessert tables, upside down cakes, cookie place names and cake towers.

As a small company Sugar promise you a friendly and personal service with guidance through all the steps from initial consultation and tasting through to delivery and set up. They also promise that you will never feel part of a 'production line' and that you'll be delighted with your unique creation!
After careers in finance and teaching Andrea has found something she has a passion for - creating beautiful goodies for birthdays, christenings, weddings and corporate events, or just because!  Her aim is to create beautiful cakes which taste delicious using top quality ingredients, including organic eggs and flour.  She cannot guarantee a nut-free environment due to requests for carrot cakes etc. but can cater for special diets such as gluten and dairy-free.
Delivery is included within a 5 mile radius of Kingston-upon-Thames, and further afield by arrangement.
You can contact Andrea through her website, Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.  

Monday, 9 May 2011

Rich Reds and Golds

To be able to do a job I love is a privilege and a pleasure, and it's taken me a while to really relax and enjoy myself - sounds strange? Perhaps, but after years of working for various companies in largely financial and administration roles, the fact that doing things like putting together inspiration boards is actually now part of my 'job' takes a bit of getting used to! I hope that somewhere along the line they help someone to have the wedding of their dreams. Today I have indulged my love of strong, rich colours.

Cupcake Tower from Cakes By Beth
Invitation from LilGuys Mhendi Range
Wedding Gown from Kekopean Stitches
Red Dress from My Evening Dress
Bouquet from Stylehive
Shoes from Crystal Couture
Styling from Sweet Days and Roses
Paris at night photo borrowed from Janey Butler's Facebook page!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Pink Rose Cakes

You may remember back in February I wrote about Mrs LGs addiction to Twitter. Not only does she like to chat to her Tweeps on-line but sometimes she gets to meet some of them too. Earlier this year she combined a shopping trip to Brighton with meeting Fay Millar who runs Pink Rose Cakes. Fay promised Mrs LGs a blog post and today she shares French Macarons with us. 

The Rise of the French Macaron 

Not so long ago if you mentioned macaroons to somebody it would conjure up an image of a thick almond-flavoured confection with rice paper stuck on the bottom. The rather more delicate French macaron (and yes I write it deliberately as the French would!) was something only seen across the Channel and rarely on British shores.

But recently these delectable shiny domes of almond meringue filled with flavoured ganaches have been gaining popularity in Blighty. As people increasingly look for something different from the standard three tiered white wedding cake, the once esoteric macaron has suddenly found its place as a chic and fashionable alternative.

It is a worthy rival to the much-vaunted cupcake, which though still extremely popular, sometimes lacks the delicate nature and sheer versatility of the macaron. The macaron begs to be experimented with, to be fun, to be different. A cacophony of colours, smells and decorations combine to give it its endless allure.

Great towers of multi-coloured macarons can be created in place of the traditional cake and they can be colour-coordinated to match bridal schemes with everything from rich dark chocolate to green pistachio or blue mint. And for those who still want some cake the tower can sit atop a single tiered cake decorated to match.

In addition, at a time when people are more conscious than ever about spending a lot on a wedding, macaron towers generally work out cheaper than a standard wedding cake - £150-£300 for a tower as opposed to £400 for the average three tier cake. Even if you still hanker after a white stacked cake blocked with fresh flowers you can still indulge your inner macaron gourmand by offering them as wedding favours to guests.

The only problem with macarons is they are a bugger to make and get right! They must have an egg shell-like shell but be soft like meringue inside, smooth across the top and have that all important little foot at the base.

At Pink Rose Cakes we have been practising religiously for the last few months and the number of batches that have cracked, spread, collapsed or generally gone awry (although they always still taste nice) doesn’t bear thinking about. However, we are planning to launch three different-sized towers soon and bring the le macaron Francais to Brighton.

To see more of Fay's creations visit her website, catch up with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. From traditional to creatively different Pink Rose Cakes will give your celebration a real WOW factor! 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Great Big Event Co.

Today we are pleased to introduce a company from Surrey who offer a variety of packages from planning weddings or a large party to a romantic dinner for two - they will even organise things that you are too busy to organise such as spa days with friends when you're not working!

Gilly shares with us her favourite Wedding of 2010 by The Great Big Event Co.

Site logo

The wedding of John and Annika looked like great fun, as the planner what was the best part of the day for you?
The best part of the day was when John and Anni arrived and just couldn't believe how amazing the setup was for them.  When they left me onsite the evening before they were slightly concerned because the weather had not been on our side and so we could not setup.  I called in all my local contacts to come to the rescue with gazebo, marquees and umbrellas so that John and Anni would then be able to really enjoy the outside as much as the inside!

How did you achieve the country fete feel they were looking for?
I listened to Anni about what she really wanted.  I spent numerous times talking through the styling, looking at her pictures and creating a styling storyboard of my own to 'translate' her requirements into the very rustic venue.  Then I just dug deep into my creative side and ....created!
For couples wanting a vintage styled wedding, what do you think are the 'must have' aspects to achieve the right look and feel?
Let go! Vintage has many style to it, so they have to be really clear what type of vintage they like.  Ritz/Shabby/Country/or something in between.  Talk to your planner/stylist and really let them get a feel for who you are and what you love.

'Vintage' is a word that seems to cover many eras these days, what does vintage style mean to you?
Vintage to me is really less about the authentic vintage feel and more about tradition, rustic, earthyness and family.  Having worked overseas and in the UK I love the tradition of English with a vintage twist.

John and Anni's wedding took place in the rural venue of Waverley Farm. Does vintage styling only work in certain venues or can you make it work in any space, old or new?
I am lucky enough to work in the country and so I think this look works so much better out of the major cities.  It's a personal view.  I also believe that my Vintage Days business comes from tradition of family/tea/sharing and the country rustic look and feel.  Equally put me into a venue in the centre of London such as Somerset Houes (which I had the pleasure of working in earlier in 2010) and I'll go mad on Ritz Tea style with vintage touches!

What about for 2011 - is vintage style still going to be big for brides and grooms?
Oh yes! We have 15 booked already and we have more enquiries coming in all the time!  Vintage Days is about tradition, community, family, sharing and really reliving those days when life was much sismpler, with your older members of your family.  It also lends itself so well to those all important new touches with an old twist to the new friends.

For more information on our vintage styling event service please visit Vintage Days  and The Great Big Event Co

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Peacock Inspired Mood Board

Peacocks are spectacular show-offs and to see one with its tail feathers fully fanned out and the iridescent blues and greens glinting in the sunlight is breathtaking. I'm a lover of strong colours and couldn't resist putting together this mood board after seeing the simply gorgeous Peacock wedding dress on Archibald Photography's blog back in March.
Peacock Wedding Dress by Lindsay Fleming Couture Photography by Archibald Photography
Hat by Esemee Fascinators  Photography by John Farrar
Bedroom at Peacock Pavilions (where else?!)
Invitation by Lil'Guy Stationery
Bouquet by Sarah's Flowers
Cupcake Tower by Blue Door Bakery
Shoes by Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaid Dress by My Evening Dress
Jewellery by Julieann Beads