Charlotte Balbier

the big debate. engagement: the long & the short of it

May 27th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Whether you’ve been waiting for what feels like a lifetime for a proposal, or been whisked off your feet in a whirlwind romance, once that engagement ring is firmly on your finger exactly how long should you wait before getting hitched?

There is of course, no wrong or right answer to this, it’s a case of personal preference, but there are various planning elements that a couple should take into account when setting a date.

We see our creative readers planning their dream weddings over the course of a number of years, months and, in some cases, just weeks, and all do a fabulous job. But if you’re not sure how long to wait between saying “I will” and “I do” then today’s Big Debate could help you decide on the ideal time planning scale, as we discuss the possible pros and cons of a short engagement vs a long engagement.

Image by Alyssa Nikole Photography

Image by Alyssa Nikole Photography

rachel says: don’t feel the need for speed

I’m certainly not getting any younger and so can’t quite believe that I’m in favour of a longer engagement. However, one of my main reasons for taking such a stance is having seen first-hand the pressure planning a wedding in a matter of months can cause the bride and groom-to-be. Nobody wants a pre-wedding meltdown.

I’m not for one minute suggesting that the engagement be drawn out over the course of five or more, or even three or more years, really (or I might never get my man down the aisle!). But what I am advising is that couples take their time to ensure they are making the right decisions (weddings are a pricey business so nobody wants regrets) and that they also take the time to enjoy the planning process. As I see it the wedding day is just that – a day – so the run up to the event should be made memorable too – enjoy viewing venues, going to open days and tastings, and include your friends and family in the excitement also!

In most cases I’d say spend at least a year planning, though I think for me, 18 months to two years may be closer to the mark (sorry mum). Not only to save up (with a house move next on our agenda), but also to ensure we can secure the venue and suppliers that we want. Talented photographers in particular tend to get booked up a year or more in advance, especially if you are planning to wed on a popular date or in ‘peak season’, but florists, caterers and bands can also have super packed diaries.

The key is to make sure that you don’t go the other way and have an engagement that’s too long or you can run the risk of losing a little momentum on the way and you also face the danger of changing your mind about things as you have too much time to think things over.

So I say once he’s put a ring on it, set a date that’s achievable and that gives you enough time to think about what you want, secure your first choice suppliers and to enjoy the build-up. Just don’t take too long about it so that couples around you start to steal your thunder, or even worse, your ideas!

Image by Chris Rowland Photography

Image by Chris Rowland Photography

julia says: take your marks, get wed

It took me 18 months from proposal to “I Do” to get down that aisle. Factors such as cost (like, duh!), other close friends’ wedding dates and a general desire to enjoy every moment of the planning process contributed to this decision. However, if I was to do it all over again I’d give myself a year -max – or even go for a shorter still planning process.

Ok, in my line of work it’s easy for me to say, I know.  I have bridal contacts coming out of my ears, and would know my go-to professionals to pull off my dream day almost immediately.  In fact, I honestly reckon that I could plan a knock your socks off wedding in just a week (sample gowns at the ready of course)!  Anyone dare me to try?

However, I know that most people aren’t in the same position and in any case, might like to deliberate and enjoy the bride-to-be spotlight for just a teeny bit longer than that.  But come on girls, let’s keep our foot on the ignition.

To me, a shorter engagement is just that bit more lovely.  It says whirlwind, romance and “Sod the timescales for a bespoke gown, I just can’t wait to be married to you”! It takes the pressure off decision making (no time to deliberate for months about just the right shade of eau-de-nil), sorts out your true friends from the crowd (they’d be at your hen party at an hour’s notice, let alone a few weeks) and keeps the adrenalin pumping.

It might also save you a little bit of money if you are prepared – or forced – to be flexible and can take advantage of last minute deals. I’ll caveat this by advising that if there’s a very particular something – the venue and frock are usually the biggest deal breakers – or someone – like a band, photographer or officiant – that your wedding day will just be ruined without, book them as early as humanely possible and work the rest of the planning around that decision.

So I say, what’s the delay?  You put a ring on it, now just go get hitched already!

Image by India Earl Photography (1)

Image by India Earl Photography

what you said on social

Diane says: “Having waited eight years for a proposal I didn’t want to waste any time so chose a date that has given us just six months to plan the wedding. It’s been hectic but enjoyable, plus I find I work better under pressure.”

Lisa says: “We had our hearts set on a wedding during August Bank Holiday as it’s the month that we first met and thought we could spread the celebrations over the long weekend. Unfortunately our dream venue didn’t have availability for the date until 2018, which will mean that we will have had a three year engagement. I don’t mind though, gives us plenty of time to get all elements spot on – and some things are worth waiting for!”

Isabelle says: “We got engaged five years ago after having our first child together – we couldn’t afford the wedding that we wanted at that point but wanted to show that we were committed to each other. I’m just in the early stages of planning now and it will be another 18 months until we actually tie the knot but I’ve got lots of inspiration over the past few years and we are now in a position to have the wedding we’ve been dreaming of.”

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our love story: yasmin & jordan

May 26th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Our Love Story Yasmin & Jordan (c) Amy & Omid Photography (19)

This afternoon on the blog we’re sharing the beautiful pre-wedding shoot and love story of newlyweds Yasmin and Jordan.

Captured within autumnal leafy surroundings and beautiful gardens in Liverpool, these images literally pop of the page and the true, natural feelings that these two have for each other simply beam through. Just stunning!

With images by Amy & Omid Photography.

Our Love Story Yasmin & Jordan (c) Amy & Omid Photography (4)

yasmin says: We got engaged in April last year, we had a beautiful weekend with both of our families in Norfolk. It was characterised by lots of singing and good food! We both felt ready to get married and once we consulted our parents and had their approval, we were engaged!

Our wedding was at Northbrook Park in January 2016, on a beautiful, bright day. Our families contributed in every aspect and helped us to create an unforgettable atmosphere of love.

Our Love Story Yasmin & Jordan (c) Amy & Omid Photography (9)

We first met back in August 2012. We had both volunteered to help facilitate a week-long Bahai workshop for young people striving to better their communities through service to others.

We then started a beautiful process of getting to know each other and finding out about each other’s characters, on both an emotional and spiritual level. For a year we were apart when I lived in Zambia, but we used the time to establish a deep lasting friendship, which became the foundation of our love.

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blushing beauty. antlers & heather for a countryside wedding at chatsworth – clare & tom

May 26th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Country Wedding at Chatsworth (c) Shoot Lifestyle Photography (55)

From the moment we set eyes on today’s real wedding we instantly fell head over heels.

As if bride Clare’s beautiful blush dress wasn’t enough to makes us go weak at the knees, we also found ourselves majorly swooning over the stately venue, stunning styling and beautiful blooms. What we’re trying to say is that we love everything about it – and we’re pretty sure you will too!

With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.

A Country Wedding at Chatsworth (c) Shoot Lifestyle Photography (16)

clare says: We got engaged while in Split, Croatia. We were in the Old Town in a square on the last evening of our holidays and Tom asked me if I would do him the honour of being his wife. Not massively original, but perfectly low-key!

Our wedding took place on 13th February 2016. We wanted a winter wedding and as I’m a teacher we wanted it to be next to a holiday. We also thought that February is generally a bit of a ‘not much happens’ time of the year, so we thought it might be nice for our guests to have our wedding then. Despite the timing, it was nothing to do with Valentine’s Day!

A Country Wedding at Chatsworth (c) Shoot Lifestyle Photography (48)

We chose Chatsworth Stables near Bakewell, Derbyshire, as our wedding venue. I’m from Sheffield and have been going to Chatsworth since I was born with family and on school trips etc. Now my parents have moved even closer to Baslow, we visit most times we’re up to see them, and so it seemed like an obvious choice.

There was a bit of an antler and heather theme to the wedding. This came from an idea of my sister’s as there are deer on the Chatsworth Estate, and also, it felt like a good wintery, countryside theme. My mum collected and dried lots of heather from the moors above their house during the summer so we could use it for the wedding. We didn’t want too strong of a theme because we didn’t want to draw away from the beauty of the venue, but it was featured on all of the wedding stationary (designed by my brother-in-law) and Zara, from Chatsworth, did the most beautiful table centres incorporating them too.

We had a colour scheme of navy, pinks and white. With it being a winter wedding we avoided pastels. Also, Tom wanted to wear a tweed three-piece suit, which was a lovely dark blue shade so we picked it from there really.

A Country Wedding at Chatsworth (c) Shoot Lifestyle Photography (44)

My wedding dress was a big one – completely not what I’d thought I’d go for – from Surrey Brides in Weybridge, where we live. I’m pretty pale (and it was going to be in February!) so out of all of the shades of white/ivory, the blush seemed to work best with my skin tone. It was totally un-beaded, but the bodice was made up of folds of blush satin and with the big skirt – I just fell in love with it!

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chasing waterfalls: a dreamy styled shoot at puck’s glen, scotland

May 25th, 2016 | Julia Braime

An Ethereal Styled Shoot in Scotland (c) Roma Elizabeth Photography (41)

Following on from our ethereal style sheet feature yesterday, we have more captivating woodland wedding inspiration for you, courtesy of Roma Elizabeth Photography.

Joining forces with talented supplier friends from across the UK, Roma, and her team, headed north to the enchanting Puck’s Glen in Scotland, to capture pretty bridal dresses and styling set against fit-for-a-fairy-tale surroundings.

Perfect for those that love the simple things, the shoot has a relaxed and undone feel, resulting in a romantic rustic look that offers an alternative to polished and glam. Here with all the details of the shoot is the lady that captured it all, Roma…

With images by Roma Elizabeth Photography. Model, Kathryn Halliday.

An Ethereal Styled Shoot in Scotland (c) Roma Elizabeth Photography (5)

roma says: The styled shoot was came together through a collection of creatives. I’d planned to travel to Dunoon, Scotland, to put together a shoot and mentioned the idea to a couple of friends. Two of the girls are based down south but were keen to come up and visit the locations and get involved. We teamed together with another friend from Scotland, between us bringing suppliers and accessories together from all over the UK, and decided to base the look around the dresses, with soft ivories and pinks creating the colour palette.

As the chosen shoot location had a wild and unruly look to it, we wanted to keep everything linked into this style; from the model’s hair being loose and wild, to the dresses in soft tulles with beadwork detailing. The stationery by Claire Gould Calligraphy for Weddings, and the flowers by First Blush Flowers, had a rustic look to them too, as we did not want anything too ‘neat’.

An Ethereal Styled Shoot in Scotland (c) Roma Elizabeth Photography (71)

I usually put together a few styled shoots a year and the details included are always based around the location. Scotland has so many stunning locations that I find inspiring, and after coming across Puck’s Glen I knew that I wanted one of the dresses featured in the shoot to be a beaded design to reflect the waterfalls and it also had to be an elegant shape to contrast with the wild woodland. The second dress we used was a two-piece with soft flowing organza and lace, which made a beautiful contrast to the first. Wendy from Flossy Dossy, provided both dresses. She designs and makes all the gowns herself and was keen to be involved. Her attention to detail and flare for classic gowns is beautiful and fitted in perfectly with the look we wanted. The pretty rings meanwhile, were provided by The London Victorian Ring Company.

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totally together. enzoani for a bright & cheerful wedding at slaley hall – kate & michael

May 25th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Bright & Cheerful Wedding at Slaley Hall (c) The Old Bakery Studio (29)

Having waited nine years for a proposal from her beau, today’s bride Kate more than deserved her big day, which took place up in the North East.

Keen to make the wedding a reflection of her and Michael as a couple, Kate simply picked their favourite things to incorporate into the wedding – right from the styling and décor, to the food and entertainment choices.

The result is a personal and happy day, full of laughter and smiles – just as a wedding should be!

With images by Chris Bishop of The Old Bakery Studio.

A Bright & Cheerful Wedding at Slaley Hall (c) The Old Bakery Studio (9)

kate says:: We had been together for nine years when Michael proposed – I was beginning to think that we would never get married. Michael had always made it clear from early in the relationship that no amount of dropping hints or talking about it would make it happen any quicker, he also made it very clear that he would never propose to me on any important dates like anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas etc. It would be when he felt it was right and when I least expected it.

Years went by and still no ring – then Valentine’s Day 2014 arrived. We always make a bit of a thing about Valentine’s, we go for drinks and Michael organises a lovely romantic meal somewhere and he always buys the best gifts, so I was looking forward to it. We woke up and I gave Michael my gift which he liked, but after opening it he rolled over and went back to sleep which annoyed me. When he eventually woke up he gave me my present – two candle holders with a love heart on the front, which were lovely but one of them had a big chip and the other one had a bit crack. Michael said I didn’t think I would mind and on the upside he got them for 70% off. I could feel my blood getting warmer! He then gave me a set of cupcake cases, and said, “I know you are on a diet but I thought you could make me some of your nice cupcakes”. I was really getting a little more annoyed by this point. I started to get ready, as I was in the bathroom I could hear Michael on the phone, he was saying “have you not got room for two? Ok no worries, thanks anyway” now I was really annoyed. I asked Michael make me a cuppa and he replied “oh can’t you make it, I’ve boiled it you just have to make them”. I was so annoyed that I stormed into the kitchen looked at the kettle, it had no water in it so I grabbed it and stormed back to the bedroom to explode at him. As I entered the bedroom shouting about everything I looked down and Michael was there completely naked on one knee! I dropped the kettle and started to cry! He said “will you marry me?”, I said yes and then he said, “I wanted to make it the worst Valentine’s Day ever so I could completely shock you, and catch you at a time when you were least expecting it”. And that he certainly did! Best Valentine’s Day ever!

A Bright & Cheerful Wedding at Slaley Hall (c) The Old Bakery Studio (32)

We set the date for 26th August 2015, and got planning straight away. We have lots of family and friends that work in education so we wanted a date in the summer holidays, and we went for a weekday (Wednesday) as the price was so much cheaper than the weekends.

Our chosen venue was Slaley Hall in Hexham. We had been to look at a few other venues before this but nothing that blew us both away. We went to Slaley Hall when we were passing from another wedding venue on the off chance that someone would be able to show us around. As soon as we drove up the drive to the venue we both knew that this was it. We loved it from the minute we saw it and booked it that day.

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style sheet: ethereal metallics

May 24th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Metallics

image source

When asked to think of a metallic styled wedding, visions of a glitzy and glamorous celebration with lots of sparkling décor might well spring to mind. However, brides looking for a more muted palette should not instantly rule out metallics, as hues of bronze, gold and silver can be easily stripped back for a more natural and dreamy finish.

Particularly well suited to outdoor and ethereal style weddings, there is a clear trend emerging for muted metal tones that provide opulence without the OTT element.

We love to see elegant table set ups of mercury glass vases and worn metal candelabras mixed in with earthy foliage for an almost Midsummer Night’s Dream meets Lord of the Rings feel. And it’s not just the décor were these fanciful hues can be added to the big day – what about a gold embellished wedding dress, silver muted heels or bonze bridesmaid dresses?

So to help spread a little metallic magic here on the blog, today we’re sharing three swoon-worthy metal inspired mood boards…

beautiful bronze

BRONZE

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Katie Bryant Photography, Love Ya Jess| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Amy Fanton Photography| image source| image source, photography by Ashley Ludaescher Photography| image source.

Though associated with third place, bronze can be a winning choice of colour scheme, particularly for those wanting to incorporate lots of foliage into their big day as its darker tone sits beautifully alongside earthy greens.

Bronzes also have lovely worn qualities whilst still retaining an element of shine, giving a sense of luxury but that isn’t too polished.

For table settings think long timber tables with trailing centrepieces that creep along, interspersed with bronze candle stick holders and table wear. Elsewhere hanging decorations work particularly well with ethereal metallic themes and can easily be suspended from branches if marrying in the open air, or from beams if, for example, marrying in a barn-style venue.

In terms of attire bronze is a bold and untraditional choice for a bride and therefore those wanting to incorporate the hue are more likely to do so through accessories, such as shoes and jewellery. There is also the option of bronze bridesmaids, with its warming tones complementing many complexions and hair colours.

silver sophistication

SILVER

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Mi Amore Photo| image source| image source| image source, photography by Jen Wojcik Photography| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Conforti Photography| image source| image source.

To achieve an ethereal look with silver it’s best to mix varying finishes; from shiny silverware, to worn pewter and varying tones of grey. This way there is a good mix of depth, interest and texture, which will prevent the premium hue looking too glam.

The level of décor detailing is up to the individual with the option to strip things right back to bare wooden tables dotted with small shiny and muted pots of cactuses or succulents, or to go all out with large glass and mercury vases and urns over spilling with greenery and linked up with leaves and moss. Given that it’s done effectively the latter should look natural and uniformed rather than cluttered and messy.

Large pewter lanterns are an effective way to add ambience whilst remaining on theme and can look incredibly effective when used outdoors to line pathways, entrances or the aisle.

Dresses embellished with dainty detail in silver beads and sequins are not unusual on the bridal catwalks, giving brides the option to venture beyond traditional ivory for their big day. The men can easily be included in the theming too with grey being among the most popular choice when it comes to grooms picking their suits. For added interest the groom and his groomsmen can pick varying shades of suits as well as ties/Dicky bows.

To keep things simple those wanting metallic maids should look to dresses with simple shiny detailing, rather than top-to-toe sparkle.

going for gold

GOLD

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Conforti Photography.

Perfect for those wanting a stripped back outdoor wedding but still with a hint of elegance; simple touches of gold be the perfect way to add an opulent edge.

Similar to bronze, gold works well with leafy green plants as it provides a complementary contrast between raw and regal.

For the décor little pops of gold works best – so you might want to add metallic finished cutlery, glass wear or napkin rings. Also, stationery such as name places and menus can bring a hint of shimmer with gold leafing detail – as can the cake. Gold antique mirrors are also an excellent choice to create unusual seating plans and signage.

Just as we’ve seen silver embellished dresses grace the catwalks, gold detail dresses are no stranger to designers’ collections either, with the likes of Jenny Packham well known for her metallic creations. If however, that’s a little too glitzy for the bride, a simple gold Game of Thornes style head piece or botanical detail shoe or jewellery can be the perfect way to give a discreet nod to the theme.

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