Tag Archives: shabby chic bride


30 Sep

I’ve reached 1000 followers on Twitter. Which means I get to announce the details of my first ever COMPETITION! I’m so excited I can barely contain myself, because my incredible mother and her business partner have donated the most awesome prize imaginable.

Lorraine and Morag have over 25 years of complementary therapy experience between them. Together, they form L&M Pampering Parties – the ultimate girlie night in. With a mixture of facials, aromatherapy, reflexology, indian head massage, reiki and a touch of luxury, L&M brings the pampering experience to your home.

SO the prize! One lucky winner will receive a pampering party for up to six people in their own home. They can choose from a menu of delicious, relaxing treatments and will be spoiled with bubbly and a girlie DVD to match the treatments they’ve chosen. Whether it’s your hen party coming up, your birthday or you just feel like relaxing, this prize will make for one lucky winner!

The runner up will receive a 30ml bottle of Lorraine’s popular signature perfume “Seduction”.

All you have to do is fill in the form below telling me why YOU deserve to be pampered. The best entry will be chosen by Lorraine and Morag (and will be posted here). The competition closes on Wednesday, 5th October 2011 and the winner will be announced shortly after! Prize valid for six months from today. Your details will only be used to get in touch if you’re a winner and will not be used for promotions, put on a database or passed on to any 3rd parties.


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 

Shabby Chic Bride invitations tutorial on Love My Dress

16 Sep

You may remember a while back I wrote this little post on how to make your own shabby chic wedding invitations.

Since then, the lovely Annabel from Love My Dress put out a request for real brides to send in their DIY tutorials – and I couldn’t resist sharing with a wider audience!

So I took some more photos and to my delight, here they are up on Love My Dress in all their glory – complete with instructions!

Here’s a little sneak peek… a small sample of the finished products! Once they’re all done I’ll somehow take a photo of all of them together.


How to write your wedding vows

5 Sep

Lots of couples are opting to alter, or even ditch altogether, traditional wedding vows. But what happens next is sometimes a struggle. While they might be bursting with feelings, many find themselves frustrated, staring at a blank piece of paper and willing adequate words to magic themselves onto the page.  If you’re stuck writing yours, I’m sorry to disappoint but this post isn’t going to tell you what to say. It might, however, provide you with some tools to get the creative juices flowing – and to unlock what you truly feel about your future husband, wife or life partner.

Some of you might know that, while I’m the Shabby Chic Bride by night, I’m a writer (of sorts) by profession. As such I’ve found a few techniques and tricks really helpful in finding the right words to express myself.

1. If you can’t write, borrow. You might not be Shakespeare – but guess what? Shakespeare is. If writing isn’t among your talents, then choose the words of others that resonate with you. After all, there’s no such thing as truly original material – and you can’t beat some of the best lines of the classic poets… or have a flick through Love Letters of Great Men and Women to see how the pros pour their hearts out!

2. If you can write, don’t try to make it perfect. Nobody’s expecting award-winning prose, and sometimes the most heartfelt vows are the ones that are raw, simple and real. Don’t lose the heart of your vows in complex language – just tell it as it is.

3. Make them personal. Write down all the things you love about your other half – not generic qualities, but the little things that make your relationship unique. Keep it PG-rated though! Every relationship has its own challenges and every couple has unique promises to make to each other – so make yours relevant!

4. Think back to the beginning of your relationship – it tends to reawaken old feelings of excitement and anticipation that sometimes get forgotten in the rush of everyday life. Remember those butterflies? They’re still in there – and if you listen really carefully, they might just tell you what to say!

5. Do something that inspires you – take a walk and clear your head or have a bath. And carry a notebook everywhere – sometimes inspiration hits when you least suspect it.

6. Write them together. Your vows are about your commitment to one another. Unless you’re set on surprising each other, why not talk about your relationship priorities together. That way your vows will really unify you – and they’ll be important to you as a couple.

7. If you’re funny, use that strength in your vows. Now, when I say this it comes with a big disclaimer: USE WITH CAUTION. If you’re the kind of person whose jokes tend to be met with rolled eyes, don’t attempt this. Also don’t make any jokes about sensitive issues such as weight, ex partners or anything that could upset anyone. However, including some lighthearted references in your vows can help you ease nerves. Just keep it at a minimum as you don’t want your vows to turn into a bad comedy show.

8. If you’re close to your parents, here’s a unique way to honour them: ask them each to write one wish for your marriage, which you can read out as part of your vows. This brings together generations and is a nice way for them to give you their blessing.

9. This is certainly not for the conventional couple – but you could write each other’s vows! Perhaps not as a final draft, but it will be revealing of the commitment you’re each looking for from one another.

10. And if you can’t think of anything, simply say “I will love you” – it’s simple, timeless and Carrie Bradshaw promises she won’t take credit for it.

Did you write your own vows? If so, where did you find your inspiration? Leave me some comments!

A cautionary tale

28 Aug

I’ll let you in on a secret. I wasn’t always the sacred font of wedding knowledge you erm… read before you today? (OK, maybe I’m not now either!) Once upon a time, I was a confused and, quite frankly, clueless newly engaged gal with NO idea where to start.

Start with the venue, I was told. So what did we want? Well, given my enormous Jewish family and our many friends scattered worldwide, we needed to accommodate a reasonable (and flexible) number of people. We also wanted to get married outdoors, if possible, in some beautiful surroundings with a rain contingency plan and a nice indoor area for the reception. We wanted to do everything in one place and we wanted the venue owners to be easy to work with, laid back and willing to go with what we wanted.

After visiting a couple of lovely, yet unsuitable, venues, we landed on a place that seemed perfect. In the interests of not being a cow, I won’t name the venue, but at the time we were blown away. It had a beautiful rose garden, a little gazebo under which we would marry and a stunning, yet rustic, reception space. Perfect.

As I said, this was well before the Shabby Chic Bride was even a concept, and I was somewhat naive and unaware of how much things cost. We were already aware of venue costs, which were pretty standard. However, at the initial meeting when the venue was booked, we made it quite clear that a sit-down three-course meal was NOT on the agenda for us.

“You have to use one of our four caterers” she told us, “and there’s a ten pound corkage charge per bottle, so you can use our bar to avoid that.”

At this point, we explained that we didn’t have the biggest budget in the world and that our catering allocation was humble. “Don’t worry,” she replied, “our caterers can offer a bespoke service to suit any budget.”

Great, so after going away with le fiance to check out the websites of the various caterers, and to our delight discovering that a basic BBQ started at £10 per head, we booked a June wedding.

Straight away, we began ringing the four caterers to decide between them. The first took an age to get back to us, and when they did had none of the information we’d requested. The second was the eye opener. When h2b rang them, he was put through to an extremely snooty head chef. Explaining that we had our eye on the £20 per head vegetarian buffet, we were met with absolute scorn. “No, no, we can’t do anything less than £35 per head!”

“OK, but your website said…”
“That’s for an evening meal, not a wedding breakfast!”
“OK what’s the difference?”
“The evening meal is a second meal.” (Second meal?)
“OK, well the venue said you could offer a bespoke service to suit any budget. Is there any way we could reduce the amount of options on the menu and lower the price per head?”

Now, at this point, it’s important to bear in mind that we’re locked into a contract and have no choice but to use one of four businesses. While the suggestion of £25 per head might shock some of the caterers out there, bear in mind at this point we were planning for around 150 guests, canapes cost extra and drinks weren’t included. You can probably do the maths. Never mind the cost for us, our business was still worth THOUSANDS of pounds to them.

That’s why his response was somewhat baffling:

“No, no that wouldn’t work at all. Any fewer options and the mix of colours won’t be right. We can’t have people complaining that there aren’t enough colours – it’s all about presentation and our reputation can’t suffer.”

After attempting to explain that our friends and family would just be happy to be fed, and that surely there was some deal we could reach whereby nobody would complain, h2b ran out of patience and tried the remaining two caterers. Same story.

Exasperated, we rang the venue and politely pointed out that her “any budget” statement had been extremely misleading, given that we had told her how small our catering budget was. When the coordinator took our deposit, she must have known there wasn’t a single caterer whose services we could realistically afford. Without missing a beat, she replied:

“Well, you’d better find another venue, then.”

Thankfully, our deposit was returned (with an extremely uppity email, charitably letting us know that due to our “financial circumstances” they would make an exception and give us our money back),

So there we were, back at square one and feeling somewhat bruised and humiliated by the whole experience.

Now, I’m not saying that £30 per head is excessive, by many accounts it’s quite reasonable. But at the first meeting, we made it quite clear that was out of the realms of possibility for us. Instead of leading us into a trap, the coordinator should have been straight with us then and there. The caterers can suit any budget – if you’re wealthy. Oh, and wedding novices, the prices on the website only apply if you spend a bunch more earlier in the day. It doesn’t SAY that anywhere, but you should KNOW that!

So brides to be, heed this warning. If you’re on a budget, sense the tone of a place. Our current venue is allowing us to do whatever we like and providing help where it’s needed. If a venue’s “reputation” is more important than helping you to have YOUR perfect day, it may be time to find somewhere else.

Farewell Cosmo Bride

25 Aug

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a wedding magazine addict. OK, a full on junkie. I read all of them religiously, devouring the real weddings, jotting down ideas and cutting out pictures for my wedding scrapbook.

Today is a bittersweet day. Like any other wedding magazine publication date, I’m excitedly anticipating the latest copy of Cosmo Bride. But I’m also sad because I don’t want to read it. Once I read it, that’s it! No more Cosmo Bride for this Shabby Chic Bride. Sad face.

So I just want to pay a little humble tribute to my dear friend, frequent train companion and provider of some of my favourite ideas (for which I will give full credit on my wedding day – of course!) You taught me how to take vintage decor to a whole new level. And the wonders of peach – now my must-have colour. You showed me the true meaning of homespun chic. You were the first wedding magazine I anxiously plucked off the shelf, still half feeling like a fraud as a newly engaged gal! Thanks for everything. I’ll look forward to reading the last issue – you may be gone, but in the scrapbooks, weddings, hearts and minds of thousands of brides, you’ll live on!

Top 5 quirky accessories for a shabby chic wedding

25 Aug

Here at Shabby Chic Bride HQ it’s all about the quirkiness. When I was a little girl I used to love putting on plays – and my love of cool and individual props has followed me into adulthood and all the way to my wedding day!

So here are my top five quirky, shabby chic props which can be used for photo opps on your big day:

1.  A vintage-style mannequin. Just think how pretty your dress would look for those getting ready wedding photos hanging on (or over) a stunning vintage mannequin. Alternatively, if any of your elderly relatives have kept their dresses, you can use vintage mannequins to display them! Try this one from vintagestylegifts.co.uk – there’s a whole selection to suit any colour scheme:


2. A retro bicycle with a floral display. OK, so your romantic vision of riding along in your wedding dress with a flower basket may be impractical, but a vintage bike with a cute floral display makes for a great talking point – and you can always pose convincingly for your wedding photos. If you don’t fancy spending a lot of time and money finding one, you can rent one from Event Prop Hire.

image sourced from http://www.dreamstime.com

3. While we’re on Event Prop Hire, why not get ready in real shabby chic style with a gorgeous chaise longue for getting ready photographs? Available in several different colours, it takes pampering to a whole new level… now all you need is someone to feed you grapes and you’re good to go!

4. DIY vintage photo booth – I’ll do a longer post on how to make one of these – but I can assure you they’re great fun! These booths don’t need to cost a lot to make and will give you lasting memories, as well as breaking the ice on the day.

5. OK, so I just HAVE to go back to the amazing Event Prop Hire! Roll up, roll up! Who wants a fairground-themed wedding? I’m in love with these various themed stalls – and I’m sure you will be too!

Do you have any vintage or shabby chic prop ideas that I’ve left out? Leave me some comments and let me know how you plan to make your day a little different!