Tag Archives: decorations

A stunning, shabby chic wedding – Elizabeth and Tomás

18 Sep

I love it when I get real wedding submissions that actually inspire me! This gorgeous US wedding took my breath away – and is the absolute pinnacle of what a DIY wedding can be! There are so many lovely ideas in here, but I’ll let Elizabeth tell you her story in her own words.

“The summer before my senior year of college, I went to Sevilla, Spain for a month to take a TESOL teaching course. The daughter of one of my mom’s coworkers had been studying there the previous semester, and this girl gave me the email address of a Spanish friend so that I could meet someone right away to practice Spanish with. That friend turned out to be my now husband! Tomás and I fell in love seriously in three days. We had a long distance relationship for the first year, seeing each other every three months in either Spain or Pennsylvania. After college, I moved to Spain for two years to teach and be with Tomás. Three and a half years after we met, Tomás proposed, and now we’re married!”

Elizabeth and Tomas opted for a shabby chic wedding theme

“A summer night in late July 2010, Tomás asked me to come outside–he had been outside all evening supposedly building a bonfire with my brother and he wanted me to see it. As soon as I got outside though, I saw that Tomás had actually been out there creating a beautifully romantic scene. He led me to my parents’ pool, where dozens of tiny candles were floating in the water. He told me we were going on a special walk, and let me to another part of the tard where I saw a pathway made by candles. Under each candle was a paper heart with a characteristic of our relationship written on it, like “respect”, “love for nature”, etc. After reading all the hearts, the candle path led us to the vegetable garden that we had built and been tending all summer. When we got to the garden, Tomás read me a poem he wrote comparing our growing love to the growing garden. Then he got down on his knee and proposed! My engagement ring was my great-grandmother’s ring that my grandmother gave me before she passed away several years before. My mom had been holding on to it until Tomás was ready to ask for it. It was such a lovely proposal!”


“I planned the wedding with lots of support from my mom and friends. I absolutely loved the way I decorated the tables. I spent our engagement year collecting glass bottles, vintage doilies, and lovebird figurines, and the way they all came together just looked so pretty and very shabby chic. It also meant a lot to me because I had put so much time and love into collecting these decorations.”

“As soon as we were engaged, I started combing wedding magazines and blogs and kept a notebook of photos I liked. It didn’t take long for me to realize that most of the pictures I was saving shared a soft, romantic, vintage style. Tomás and I both really love antiques and tend to like things that have a homey, lived-in style, so shabby chic was a perfect fit.”


If I were to give any advice to brides-to-be, it’s that making your wedding really about you and your future husband requires a lot of thought and planning, which takes a lot of time–especially if you want to DIY parts of it. But in my experience it was SO worth it, because on the day of the wedding, everything was just what I wanted, and it felt US.”

Why not hang pictures of yourselves together as decorations?

Wildflower seed favours will give your guests something permanent to remember your day!

Photos by Love Me Do, Dress by Eden Bridals 

Pick up a bargain at Bride2Bride

2 Aug

There’s nothing more inspiring to me than someone who is brave enough to make their dreams a reality. That’s why I was so thrilled to see the lovely Sophie Trinick doing just that and launching her fabulous bridal website, Bride2Bride, this week.

Bride2Bride is a unique online service that allows brides to be, like myself, to buy items listed by newlyweds who have been there and done that. From speaking to Sophie, I know how much this service means to her and how hard she’s worked to make it happen. I know so many brides out there will be thrilled to start using the site.

The site is run by Sophie and her husband John, who does all the design.

Sophie and John on their wedding day

The initial concept came about when Sophie ran into some frustrations planning her own wedding. In her own words:

“I wanted to make my wedding day perfect (mainly copious amounts of bunting, fairy lights and paper lanterns!)

I had to do some serious shopping around, and spent a small fortune having to buy it all new. As well as worrying about how much I was spending, I also started worrying about what on earth I was going to do with it all after the big day – there are only so many fairy light strings one small flat can take! I thought I could probably advertise it on Ebay (but get stung for selling fees), or perhaps on Gumtree (at least it’s free), but neither of these are designed specifically for buying and selling wedding items.

In fact, I couldn’t find any site that was dedicated to this, and surely a site like that would be so useful? From this point on the seed had been sown in my mind. I casually mentioned this idea to John, and to my surprise he said “uh, yeah – I could do that”. And so began the journey to where we are now. It hasn’t been an easy ride – we have spent many an hour inside huddled over computers when the sun has been shining and we were longing to go surfing with our friends, but we hope that all the effort was worth it, and that everyone who uses it is as happy as we’d hoped they’d be!”

I’m really excited about what this site has to offer and am confident that with Sophie and John’s dedication and enthusiasm, Bride2Bride will be a huge success.

Sorry to sound like an overexcited teenager, but there’s some seriously awesome stuff up already, so go on, get listing and buying!

Sophie and John are making their dreams a reality

Sambuca bottles, a transatlantic proposal and the world’s cutest flower girl

23 Jul

This Shabby Chic Bride is getting all misty eyed over this beautiful wedding – and the story of how it all began…

It all started when Tom met Poppy. “We met back in 2003 standing in a queue for the incredibly trendy and romantic (not) Camden club – the Underworld,” says Poppy. She asked him to take a photo of her with her friends and there was a spark – they went inside and danced all night (helped along by a generous amount of Sambuca). “As Tom lived and was studying in Ireland we had a summer fling and we went our separate ways.”

But the romance didn’t end there for Tom. Poppy explains: “Two years later I was living in New York and Tom flew from Ireland to declare he had not stopped thinking about me for two years. Within six months we were living together in London!”

The proposal…

Tom whisked Poppy off to Florence for 10 days. It took him until eight days into the trip to find the right moment.

“We were at a beautiful monastery in the Tuscan hills having just had a gorgeous meal. We were grabbing shelter before running to the car, as the heavens had opened. Suddenly I turned around to find Tom on his knee, ring in hand. We got the restaurant to re-open their doors so we could drink a toast.”

The couple got married on the 25th of June 2011 at St Mary’s Church, Cricklade. “Closest friends and family stayed near or at our reception venue, the Rectory Hotel, which we had exclusive use of. Everyone was impressed with how the venue combined a trendy boutique feel with real Cotswold charm and a home away from home feeling.”

Poppy created a heart-shaped “poppies & shamrocks” design to celebrate her name and Tom’s Irish heritage and incorporated it into the invitations (designed by bridesmaid Rachel Brunning) and into the order of service and menus, which Poppy made. The wedding cake continued the theme with fuchsia pink poppies and shamrocks on turquoise blue icing.

Turquoise, fuchsia pink and green made up the colour theme and this was reflected in the flowers, which were blue hydrangeas, fuchsia pink peonies and green alchemilla.

“Our florist (Scentiments in Tetbury) did a fab job of incorporating these flowers in the bouquets, buttonholes and the reception flowers which were arranged in blue vases I bought to tie in with the theme, the centrepieces were specifically supposed to look natural, just picked, which I loved. I was so chuffed that the local ladies of the church, for a nominal fee, decorated the church with these same flowers which certainly saved some money and was lovely.”

“During the signing of the register we had a soloist sing Panis Angelicus and at the end of the service as we reached the top of the aisle we turned back to our congregation as the choir sang ‘How Sweet it is’ and we all had a sing song.”

The day was made extra special by Poppy and Tom’s 16 month old daughter. “She was so delightful as our flower girl in her pretty little lace and organza dress. She welcomed everybody with daddy at the church and then came down the aisle with her godmother Rachel.”

Two white Austin Sheerlines called ‘Olive & Rose’ took the wedding party and from the church in style (supplied by AlexCars).

Poppy’s attention-to-detail really shone through during the reception. “To celebrate our first ever meeting I made little bottles of Sambuca with special ‘Tom and Poppy’s Sambuca’ labels which sat at each person’s place tied with the same blue ribbon I had used throughout. During my short speech I explained the relevance and asked everybody to join us for a shot from their bottle which raised a laugh. Also on the table we had matching blue ribbons tied around napkins, place cards I made at home, glass tea lights dotted around in our colours and the table names which all represented places that meant something to us such as Florence (engagement), Morocco (our first holiday) and so on.”

Tom and Poppy joined the growing number of brides and grooms opting for something a little bit different to entertain their guests. “We have a brilliant guest book that we will always look back at and have laughs at as thanks to the fancy dress box and Polaroid pictures we provided there are some great guest pics and comments.”

“My absolute personal favourite bit was the speeches, my mum, Tom and Paul – the best man, moved me to tears with their humour and loving comments.”

“A seriously funny part of the wedding was my gift to my new husband. Just before our first dance I surprised him with four little Irish dancers from a local school. Their dancing was amazing and the extreme curly wigs and make up was very entertaining.”

“Another definite favourite bit was that our phenomenal friend Machiel Van Der Aar ‘SaxSymbol’ really got the dance floor rocking with his brilliant saxophone playing in the evening.”

“A major part of our big day was the super calm and creative photography of Graham Young Photography who manoeuvred skilfully from one shot to the next unobtrusively and, having listened to our preferences, really captured natural and beautiful shots we will treasure forever.”

My dress was a soft organza gown by Ella Bridals. The food was provided by our fabulous venue, which has won many accolades for its superb food.

Real wedding: pink cupcakes, garden roses and a whole lotta love

19 Jul

Every now and then I come across a wedding too cute to ignore! And it should definitely win an award for the most creative use of jars in wedding history- fabulous stuff. And I’m a little bit in love with those cupcakes – anyone else?

Allison and Joseph Micali got married on the 29th of May 2011 after a year and a half engagement. The wedding took place at a Chapel at Sandy Hook, NJ, USA.  The venue was chosen not only for its rustic feel, but for the sentimental value to Allison, who grew up in Sandy Hook.

Allison knew she wanted pink flowers so, after researching different types of flowers, she decided on the beautiful peonies and the two different types of roses. The planner picked up flowers from a local wholesaler and decorated each table with mason jars filled with pink peonies, garden roses and spray roses.

She then scattered mason jars with candles all around the arrangements.  The top table was outlined by the mason jars and with 4 mugs (L O V E from Anthropologie) in the centre, next to the couple.

“Our wedding was very different in many ways,” says Allison. “I wanted to stay really far away from anything traditional. We had our ceremony outside overlooking Sandy Hook Bay. We then had our cocktail hour in a restored chapel that had beautiful golden lighting. Our reception was in a tent overlooking the bay. We had a front table with the wedding party decorated with LOVE mugs and a Sweet Love Banner. We had chalkboard table numbers, the planner wrote the menu on a full length mirror.  Our favours were mason jars with chalkboard decals and CDs filled with our favourite songs.”

As it turns out, Allison loved the planning process so much that she has decided to start up her own planning company – with a fab blog to kick start her new career (Skinny Love Designs).

Credits: The cupcake with hot pink frosting and the cupcake toppers were supplied by Pink Studios. The bride wore a strapless metal taffeta Nicole Miller gown. The wedding was captured by Kella MacPhee, in the bride’s words, an absolutely amazing and quirky photographer.  Merri-Makers caterers supplied the food. The “best DJ in the world” according to the lovely bride was DJNYC

Everything was put together beautifully by wedding planning service, Lulu’s Inspirations.

Distressed wood, metal hearts and a VW camper

17 Jul

It’s time for more of my favourite shabby chic wedding decorations. This Shabby Chic Bride is particularly fussy about decor – so here are more of my top detail ideas.

Distressed wooden or metal signs

I’ve fallen in love with distressed signs around the venue. For example, this sign from The Wedding of my Dreams is a perfect touch for any venue. Many suppliers will also sell signs that direct people around the venue.

And They Lived Happily Ever After sign from The Wedding of my Dreams

Metal hearts

There’s something about metal + hearts that brings out my inner magpie. Here are a few of my favourite metal heart venue details. You can find all of these at Spottybutton.co.uk

Ivory hanging heart from Spottybutton.co.uk

Light up your venue with this heart-shaped tea light holder

Hang these rustic tea light holders around your venue for that magic touch

And a VW camper van

There are loads of amazing, fun and original ways to incorporate a beautiful, classic VW camper van into your day.

For example, hand out ice creams at a summer wedding with Split Screen Ice Cream

VW Ice Cream Van from Split Screen Ice Cream

Or, if you’d like the fun to last a little longer, try Camper Booth for a VW camper van that’s also a vintage style photo booth. Complete with props. In my experience, photo booths go down extremely well at weddings, and create some incredible memories.

Finally, if you just want to enjoy it, use it a VW camper van as a chill out area during the wedding – then drive away in it! Snail Trail does some great retro rentals.

More of my favourite vintage / shabby chic decorations to come this week… why don’t you tell me yours? Leave me a comment!

Shabby chic wedding decor – top touches

10 Jul

It’s been a week or so since I blogged about shabby chic weddings and in that time I’ve seen quite a few inspiring things. I’ll do a few of these shabby chic wedding decorations posts, but for now, here’s the first! Enjoy:

Wellies aren’t just for the rain

You may have seen my last real wedding, provided by the gorgeous Hannah Stevenson. She filled yellow wellies with flowers as a tribute to the footwear she was wearing when her groom proposed. But wellies don’t need to have a special meaning for you to incorporate them in your day. Filling wellies with flowers is a cute and quirky touch that everyone will notice! You can either leave it to a florist or re-pot a potted plant into the wellies yourself.

Vintage bird cages

Like this one from Wedding Direct at Amazon. There’s very little you can’t do with them! Fill them with flowers for your centrepieces, or hang them around the room at different heights to decorate the venue. Put a candle in them. Decorate them with clip on butterflies, do what you like with them. It’s very very difficult to make a bird cage look bad. If buying so many is a bit steep, you can rent them from many vintage crockery and decoration companies.

Bird cage by Weddings Direct at Amazon

Vintage luggage tags

Use them as place settings, hang them up to form a unique table plan, tie them to a vintage suitcase and let people write their honeymoon going away wishes instead of a guest book, tie them to favours, or even write a special message to each of your friends on them, if the wedding is small enough for you to do that! You can get 6 for £2.50 from The Wedding of my Dreams.

6 for £2.50 at The Wedding of my Dreams

More vintage decorative touches to come over the next week. Enjoy!

Bringing home that Mediterranean feel

9 Jul

I’m blogging from an amazingly beautiful part of Turkey. Brightly coloured flowers hang in their multitudes from every house, grapes, olives, lemons and fresh vegetables are growing in pretty much every garden. The food here is phenomenal – flavours of seasoned vegetables, spreads and dishes you could only dream of in the UK.

I can see why people would choose to get married here, in Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Spain etc. But that’s not an option for everyone. If you have lots of friends and family that you’d be sad not to see at your wedding, a destination is pretty much off the cards (unless EVERYONE is very wealthy).

So how can you bring that Mediterranean feel (apart from the weather, sadly) back to good old Britain?

Which venue to choose

First of all, in my opinion, an outdoor or marquee wedding is essential (of course you’ll have to have a rain contingency plan. For example, a venue like The Walled Garden at Cowdray in West Sussex or a completely customisable venue out in the sticks, like Wise Wedding Venue in Tunbridge Wells, Kent would be perfect.

Food to serve

For a proper Mediterranean feast, serve a big buffet meal. For example, Turkish bread, borekas (cheese pastries), pita bread, hummus, fava (broad bean puree), acili ezme (a Turkish-style tomato dip), babaganoush, sliced aubergine, seasoned vegetables, shakshuka, mixed olives, feta cheese, mozzarella (best served with tomato and basil, drizzled with olive oil and dark balsamic vinegar), goat’s cheese, haloumi, any dishes including Spinach, cauliflower, cucumber, roast carrots, artichokes, fresh tomatoes or avocado, stuffed vine leaves, rice pilav and if you eat meat then roast lamb or chicken, if not then a big vegetable casserole or stuffed peppers for the main.

For dessert serve a buffet of baklava, fresh fruit (especially watermelon) and perhaps consider having somebody making and serving up pancakes with different sweet toppings.

Decor

For a really special, intimate feeling, try floor seating on carpets with low tables (it’s more of a Middle Eastern thing but is adopted in some parts of the Mediterranean so I’m putting it in here!).

Brightly coloured flowers are a must, best in hanging baskets or as sprawling and natural as possible. Strings of coloured lanterns hanging over the table and tea lights around the venue will give the reception a really romantic feel.

These are just a few ideas for inspiration based on my knowledge of different traditions from Mediterranean countries – if you guys have any suggestions or comments please leave them!