Monday, February 28, 2011

Spring weddings

At about the time I press 'publish post' on my blog posts from Isobel Kershaw at the NHJ Style Consultancy, I get lots of my blog followers ask: "When's the next one?"  They are beginning to attract a huge following and are a 'must read' for all wedding guests hoping to wow with all the latest trends.

Spring is no exception, and I am pleased to introduce to you Isobel's thoughts for this season.  Here is what she has to say... 

It's the end of February and I can feel Spring in the air.  I have already spotted some blossom which is always a good sign and that means the busy wedding season is just about to kick off.

If you have been invited to a wedding this season, let me inspire you with some On-trend styles which will not only ensure you look fab for that celebration, but will also be versatile to use throughout the season.

Big Blooms

Prints always come to life in spring and just like your garden, you will also see bloom prints in the shops. So don’t shy away from them, embrace them whatever shape of height you are as, there are prints to suit everyone.

How about this very pretty Oasis dress aptly named 'Kew floral shift dress'.  At £65, it ticks all the boxes. Add your own skinny belt and finish off with a cute knit cardi or edgy jacket which will take you from day to dinner.


We have seen the 'Nude' trend before; and, if you are a little shy of colour, nudes may be the answer.

You may need to either add a vibrant tone to your accessories with this style or ensure your make-up is colourful. Either way, a spray tan may also be beneficial to avoid the pasty pallor look.

The texture of cream lace of a nude lining ensures this Reiss dress is stunning.

Add this LK Bennett Selina Dusk clutch for an utterly sophisticated look.


The catwalks have shown the most colourful collections in many years which hopefully reflects the positivity of the current climate. So ditch the black, navy and grey, and jump into colour – you can’t avoid it this season!

This colourful dress from FCUK does everything for you. Its V neck ensures it suits most body shapes, its sleeves mean no need for a cover-up, and the bead detail on the front accessories the dress for you! Fabulous!

That 70s show


I love the 70s look.  It’s so much fun and feels so carefree. If the wedding you are going to is not so formal, experiment with the new 70s vibe styles coming into the shops this season.  With wide-legged trousers and even wider brimmed hats, it can still be pulled off elegantly if put together in the right way.

This stylish BIBA print top is a great piece to add to the wardrobe and makes a perfect outfit for a spring summer wedding when dressed up with a white flared trouser such as these beautiful ones from Milly.

Credits:  Our thanks as always go to our beautiful guest blogger, Isobel Kershaw, from the NHJ style consultancy,

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A lakeside wedding venue with character

We were recently approached by the owners of Bellows Mill to take on the role of Wedding Co-ordinator at their beautiful wedding venue which is perfectly situated for Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire brides.

Bellows Mill is an idyllic old watermill nestling beneath the Chiltern hills and is a really stunning location for an English country wedding.  It has an attractively converted barn which can accommodate up to 60 people for a civil ceremony, and for larger weddings of up to 120 people, there's a marquee which sits beside a pretty lake.  The beautiful and extensive grounds provide the most perfect photographic opportunities.

We love this venue because with no staff, no fixed menus and no set ideas, you can build your wedding from scratch and shape the day you really want - with my expert guidance of course.  What could be more perfect than that?

If you would like to see it for yourself, or to check on availability, please give me a call on 01296 663 726 and together we can start to make your wedding dreams a reality.
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Romance in the air

February is well and truly here and Valentines Day is only five sleeps away.  To embrace the whole romantic vibe, we've put together some ideas to help you have a Valentine's Day to remember. 

Our friends at Viva Live Music believe music is the key.  They say:

"Recent research has identified that the brain secrets ‘feel good’ hormones when people hear music they know, or which they associate with happy memories. The impact is even more profound than tasting good food. 

Throughout history, serenading has been an important romantic gesture; the troubadour: a wandering minstrel, serenading a lady below her window is a classic gesture. But even now, there are ways of creating a romantic atmosphere or arranging a romantic gesture. Here are five ideas.

1) A singing telegraph is a fun way of arranging the delivery of flowers, chocolates or champagne. The singer bursts into song, serenading the person of your choice.

2) In true Casablanca style, ‘Play it again Sam’, you could arrange to have specific music played by a live musician when you go out to dinner. If you call the restaurant beforehand, they may be able to advise you on what's possible. Alternatively, on the day, ask the musician if a request or dedication could be made. Guitarists or pianists are ideal for this.

3) If you decide you want to propose, a solo violinist is perfect. They could set the scene, playing romantic music, whilst the most important question is asked.

4) You might also consider a private singer to either serenade you when the two of you are dining privately or to sing a special song during your meal.

5) It is also truly romantic to create your own playlist of songs; downloading songs from itunes to burn either a CD or ipod playlist. This is a lovely romantic gesture, particularly if you and your loved one have some wonderful musical memories that you have shared together."

Have a great day!
Credits:  Our warmest thanks go to Susan Heaton-Wright at Viva Live Music.

Photo credits:
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wine Glass Charms

These pretty wine glass charms caught our eye the other day. 

If you have ever been at a party and put your glass down only to find it lost among hundreds of others, you'll appreciate how useful these can be at a wedding.  You can personalise them by using the initials of each of your guests and you can order them in a colour to match your theme.  If you are really into the detail, you can also choose to replace the diamante with either a star, heart or flower.  Very sweet, we think!

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Something old, something new...

A bride-to-be recently emailed us a question which we have answered, and we thought we'd share with you:

Jenna Myles, Bride-to-be in September 2011:  One thing I would like to know is do you have to have a separate piece on you that signifies each thing (something for old, something for new etc) or can you have piece of jewellery that's say, old and borrowed!  My understanding is the old, new, borrowed, blue all have to be worn by the bride too, is that right?

CBW:  Hello Jenna,  The saying goes "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe".  The last part is less well known but symbolises happiness and spiritual and financial wealth.

The bride wears something old as a symbol of her old life that she is leaving behind. Something new refers to the new hope in her new life. A borrowed item (usually a garter) from a happily married woman is believed to pass on good luck to the newlyweds. Blue symbolises purity, faithfulness and her commitment to her new husband.

It is definitely tradition that the bride wears all of these things, but we have scoured the internet and etiquette books and nothing seems to mention whether each of these items has to be separate. We don't think it would hurt to have the same item to signify two things. Your example of old borrowed jewellery for instance would be a symbol of the old life you are leaving behind and the 'borrowedness' of it would pass on good luck. That works for us. A very powerful piece of jewellery!

If you have a question about wedding traditions or etiquette, please feel free to email us.  The best will be published on our blog.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

1970's bridesmaids

1970s bridesmaids dressed in Biba

My mum sent over this photo of me and my sister as bridesmaids at a 1970s wedding.  Not a fairy dress or pink sash in sight!  Could this have been the start of my fascination with weddings?

If you've got a similar pic of bridesmaids in the 50s, 60s, 70's, 80s or 90s email them over and we'll post a selection of them.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Choosing the perfect...Wedding Cake

"A sprinkle of design know how, a spoonful of passion, a dusting of exceptional expertise and a bowlful of the finest ingredients". That's how the amazing Rosalind Miller describes herself on her website, and that's why she is the perfect choice of contributor for our next feature on how to choose the perfect wedding cake.

Her cakes are incredible - just take a look at the delicious images in this blog post. Anyone peckish?

How do you get the ideas for the design of your cakes?

Each cake is like a new canvas. The seeds of ideas come from the consultation. Then it's a matter of coming up with a design, one which is in my own style, but that expresses the couples wishes. There's a lot of thinking and doodling goes into it! Ideas come to me and I try them out till I find the 'right' one. I find inspiration in many places; artworks and illustrations, films, fashion, jewellery, the garden. I like to mix classic and contemporary and I'm always on the lookout for anything interesting that could be translated into a cake.

Who else do you admire in your field of work?

I love Peggy Porschen's work, it combines, timeless elegance and simplicity with a modern twist.

Tell us about the history of wedding cakes 

In ancient Rome, marriages were sealed when the groom smashed a barley cake over the bride’s head. In medieval times, newlyweds kissed over a pile of buns, supposedly ensuring a prosperous future. Unmarried guests sometimes took home a little piece of cake to tuck under their pillow.

One early British recipe for “Bride’s Pye” mixed cockscombs, lamb testicles, sweetbreads, oysters and (mercifully) plenty of spices. Another version called for boiled calf’s feet.

By the mid sixteenth century, though, sugar was becoming plentiful in England. The more refined the sugar, the whiter it was and so pure white icing soon became a wedding cake staple. Not only did the colour allude to the bride’s virginity, but the whiteness was a display of wealth. A wedding cake that had a lot of tiers and height was also a status symbol. Formal wedding cakes became bigger and more elaborate through the Victorian age. The queen's wedding cake in 1947 weighed 500 pounds.

With the huge choice of cake designers out there, how should a couple go about choosing the right one for them?

Use the internet. Most cake designers will have a website where you can browse their designs, and choose someone whose style you like. Then arrange to meet them for a consultation where you can usually taste their cakes.

Once I have chosen my cake maker, what sort of process should I expect from briefing to seeing the cake on the day?

Most of my customers contact me by email before coming for a consultation. The prospective bride and groom can taste different flavours of cake; a few of which are Madagascan Vanilla sponge, Banana, Carrot Walnut and Ginger, Raspberry, Chocolate, Lemon, Elderflower, Lavender and Rose, Red Velvet.

We discuss their preferences for flavours, and whether they want different flavours for each tier of the cake. We will talk about their own design ideas, themes and colours for their wedding, and together come up with a cake design they're happy with, either based on one of my previous cakes adapted in some way, or a completely bespoke design. This may involve an email conversation, where we discuss sketches, but it's usually sorted out on the day of the consultation.

How do I go about tying in the cake with the theme of the wedding?

It's best to have thought about this before the consultation, so you can bring along some colour and fabric swatches and images of the flowers you are having and any decorations.

Cakes can be inspired by any of these things, and we can incorporate colours, patterns from fabric or the invitations on the cake design.

What are the current trends in wedding cakes?

The Royal Wedding will obviously influence wedding cake designs in 2011.  Cakes will have lots of regal details, intricate piping, and majestic designs. A strong trend this year is for double height tiers, which can look very elegant. The vintage theme is still going strong, with lots of sugar flowers, butterflies and jewellery on the cake. There is also a strong trend for square cakes with offset tiers and strong graphic patterns.

A recent bride and groom said to us "We are not bothered too much about the cake. It's just a cake" - What would you say to persuade them differently?

I think guests still expect cake at the wedding and the cake cutting 'ceremony' is an important part of a wedding. It symbolises the bride and groom helping each other as they will throughout their marriage. Sharing the cake is like sharing the couple’s good fortune amongst their friends and family.

A beautiful wedding cake is an important focal point during the reception.

Our thanks go to Rosalind Miller for her contribution to this blog post.
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