Charlotte Balbier

party on: winter wedding guest high street haul

December 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Rousseau Dress by Maje, was £280 now £224

With the festive spirit well underway, we’re enjoying shopping on the high street more than ever with lots of glitz, glamour and texture in the stores.

As such, we thought now would be a good time to offer a little inspiration to those of you fortunate enough to be attending a friend or relative’s wedding during the upcoming party season.

Cue shimmering tops, festive florals and an embellishment overload that may well lead to an impulsive shopping spree. And if you don’t have a winter wedding in the diary, surely with Christmas and New Year fast approaching, there’s a need for new outfit!

the threads

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Amore Sparkle Embroidered Tulle Dress, £195, from French Connection – Usually floral patterns are associated with the warmer seasons of the year, but this winter we are seeing an array of pretty petals in bold hues that are sure to make you stand out at the party.

Maneela Jacquard Dress, was £169, now £119, from Coast – We just love a bargain and as the Christmas sales are starting earlier and earlier, you can already be reaping the rewards of discounted seasonal gems such as this stunning dress from Coast, with on-trend Bardot neckline and insanely beautiful pattern.

Rocco jacket £245, and trousers, £130, from Reiss – If you’re not keen on dresses this super smart and stylish co-ord will do just the trick. Team with a lace or shimmering top for added texture and a pop of colour.

Jacquard top, £19.99, from Zara – The perfect accompaniment to a cool trouser suit, this gorgeous, slinky top is perfect for when it’s time to shed the jacket and hit the dancefloor!

Lois Pleated Dress, was £195, now £115, from Whistles – Another bargain and a failsafe, the little black dress. We love that this design from Whistles has lots going on and ticks more than one trend-box, with pleat and lace detailing.

Supernova Cropped Embellished Tulle Top, £150, and Tulle Maxi Skirt, £120, from Net-A-Porter – Be the belle of the ball in the utterly beautiful top and skirt combo, featuring both lavish sparkling detail and dreamy layers of tulle.

Zig Zag Crinkle Jumpsuit, £42, from Topshop – Another dress alternative, and a particularly good choice for an evening wedding reception, this bold pattern and festive colour hue screams “party”.

Tilly Faux Fur Coat, £80, from Oasis – Baby it’s cold outside so be sure to treat yourself to a stylish winter cover-up too, such as this gorgeous faux fur number.

the accessories

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Bowwe Glitter Clutch Bag, £99, from Ted Baker – Did you ever see such a cute bag? And it’s just the right size for a phone, lippy and card. Arm-candy perfection!

Burgundy Velvet Court Heels, £68, from Office – Featuring both an on-trend colour and fabric of the season, we will definitely be bagging some of these burgundy delights!

Cincilla Faux Fur Tippet, £25, from French Connection – If you feel that a big jacket would hide your outfit too much why not go for a smaller cover-up but that still emits elegance like this super-soft French Connection design.

Gold-Plated Oscar De La Renta Clip Earrings, £225, from Net-A-Porter – If you are going for a fairly plain outfit you can afford to go all out with your accessories, starting with these fabulous floral earrings!

Pearl brooch courts, £140, from Ted Baker – The perfect festive staple, these black beauties with brooch detailing will last you for many festive seasons to come making them a top investment this winter.

Feather Fringe Cape, £65, from Topshop – An alternative to the classic faux fur capes for all you fashionistas out there!

Valentino Rockstud Metallic Textured-Leather Pouch, £470, from Net-A-Porter – The perfect accessory for toughening up girly, girl outfits and injecting a pop of festive metallics.

Statement Stud Earrings, was £15, now £20, from Warehouse – We just love jewellery that looks far more expensive than what it is. Serious steel alert!

V-Shape Ring Pack, £9, from Topshop – As the current fashion world would have it, the more rings the better, so stack ‘em up ladies!

Love Cuff, £20, French Connection – All we need is… this oh-so-sweet bangle. Says it all really!

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style sheet: winter wedding alternatives

December 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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As we find ourselves in the coldest yet most magical season of the year, we’ve been turning our thoughts to winter weddings.

Some brides and grooms may be put off marrying at this time of year due to the increasingly unpredictable British weather, but with some careful planning and fabulous styling a winter wedding can be a real treat for all the senses, and in turn, more memorable for you and your guests.

Think scented candles for fragrance and ambience, warm comfort food to evoke nostalgic memories and winter tipples to help get the party started and you’re part way there.

If, however, what’s putting you off is the somewhat ‘go-to’ styling of winter nuptials, we’re here to change your mind. For we’ve come up with three alternative winter wedding themes that steer clear of crimson red and sparkling silver schemes, plus there’s not a reindeer or bauble in sight!

Ladies, we give you both comfort and class…

very berry

very-berry

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Alyssa Turner Photography| image source, photography by Peaches & Mint| image source| image source, photography by Jonathan Ong Photography| image source, photography by Mandy Evans Photography| image source, photography by Awake Photography| image source, photography by Jenn Hopkins| image source, photography by  Eyelet Images| image source, photography by Matilda Rose| image source, photography by Dan and Melissa Photography.

Just a small diversion from the traditional red winter wedding colour palette, a winning mixture of purple, pink and burgundy shades can give a wedding an instant hint of opulence.

Such tones also work beautifully with the flowers and fruits of the season making these a great way to project your chosen colour scheme.

Big, bold and blousy bouquets and floral decorations add to the luxurious feel that the rich hues emit and will help to provide striking focal points. For further plushness, metallic accents, particularly in gold, work in perfect harmony with the beautiful berry tones and give a small nod to the festive season without being at all OTT.

Beyond the blooms, mercury glass tealight holders and metallic vessels and vases look fabulous with the palette.

To remain on theme berries can be used in the bouquets and button holes as well as within the food and drink menus and the cake.

When it comes to the bridesmaids, brides can go with just one of the berry tones that suits her maids best, perhaps magenta, indigo or violet, or alternatively can have her leading ladies in a full spectrum of the hues.

grey dusk

grey-dusk

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Svetlana Strizhakova| image source, photography by Kendal Riley of Ostara Photography| image source| image source| image source, photography by Taylor Lord Photography| image source| image source.

Possibly one colour scheme that works all year round, grey is both a classic and elegant choice of palette.

For winter weddings the hue can be ‘warmed-up’ by introducing different textures and shades providing both interest and depth.

Brides and their maids can easily layer their look with grey cover-ups; whether it be a faux fur jacket, feather shrug or lace overlay. Meanwhile groomsmen can opt for a tweed or woollen suit with coordinating pocket squares, dicky bows or ties in varying fabrics creating a stylish wintery feel.

Texture in tactile fabrics and finishes can be carried through to the décor too, with velvet ribbons attached floral arrangements or holding cutlery and napkins in place. Roaming foliage across tables can also help to break up the grey and works in line with on-trend botanical themes too.

Candles at various heights in pillars, tapers and tea lights will also help to set the wintery scene as will luxurious stationery in enchanting designs.

winter blues

cool-blues

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Charlene Schreuder Photography| image source| image source| image source, photography by Emily Delamater| image source, photography by Shane and Lauren Photography| image source| image source, photography by E Schmidt Photography| image source| image source, photography by Gideon Photography| image source.

Though often thought of as a ‘cold’ colour, when accompanied with rich metallic accents blue can bring element of warmth and glamour to winter celebrations.

The trick is to use a deep shade of blue and not to get carried away with the glitz and glitter, instead giving the proceedings just a sprinkling of sparkle. This could be achieved through styling and stationery choices, but also through the bride and bridesmaid attire too. So, for example, brides could add a hint of shine to their outfit with metallic heels while maids can glam-up their look with delicate gold jewellery or accessories.

The table settings are perhaps the element that will require the most care in not overdoing it. For a look of understated elegance, keep things simple by adding gold-edged glassware and cutlery to a dark blue tablecloth base. For further interest and texture use rustic touches in foliage and tree slices, and perhaps even the odd pine cone (note the “odd” there).

Meanwhile for those wanting to take the sparkle up a notch, sequin table runners and cloths are an accessible and effective option. Further additions can include metallic candle holders, stationery and plate chargers but just be sure that the overall look is class rather than brash!

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woodland wonderment. stewart parvin for a luxurious winter wedding at colshaw hall – luisa & peter

November 9th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s real wedding is just perfect for the snow flurries that we are seeing up and down the country today.  We hope you are all safe and cosy with a steaming cup of something chocolately on your desk or on your knee!

Luisa and Peter pulled off the impressive feat of a Christmas wedding without a can of snow spray or a gilded pine cone in sight. Instead, their big day at Colshaw Hall in Cheshire, was led by an organic woodland theme, full of warm earthy tones and plenty of grown-up black-tie glamour.

The food and the playlist were particular focal points for this Manchester music-loving pair, and the following day saw the festivities extended with an aprés-ski extravaganza. So get comfortable, perhaps with a glass of Malbec or a mulled wine – go on, Luisa would definitely approve!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography

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luisa says: Peter and I got engaged in Barbados. One night we went down for dinner and, instead of heading for our usual table in the restaurant, we were led down a path lined with candles that took us to a private beach and a table for two. When we sat down and opened the menus, I saw all of my favourite foods and champagne. Then a steel band appeared playing Elvis Presley’s I Cant Help Falling In Love With You. When I looked around, Peter was down on one knee; it was a truly magical moment. He made a beautiful speech and, of course, I said yes. We spent the rest of the week celebrating and relaxing; it was just so perfect!

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We chose to get married on 19th December 2015 because it was the closest Saturday to the Winter Solstice – a date important to me and my mum. We wanted a winter wedding as we felt that there were lots more options to explore in terms of the decorations and the vibe that we could create.

For the venue, we chose Colshaw Hall in Cheshire. We wanted to make sure that the event was totally private and this was the huge bonus of Colshaw: the venue and all of its grounds are hired exclusively so we wouldn’t be sharing our special day with anyone else. Secondly, as Peter’s family are based in Suffolk, we wanted to make sure that there was accommodation onsite to ensure that the wedding weekend was as easy as possible for those travelling. Having looked at quite a few venues in the area, Colshaw’s accommodation was, we felt, the most beautiful. Each room has its own stunning theme and beautiful view over the grounds. Colshaw’s Peel Suite also offered a beautiful blank canvas; no wedding looks the same there. We had hired the main house for the drinks and canapés straight after the service and this offered a unique, cosy, Christmas drinks party atmosphere.

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Theme-wise, we wanted to create a natural and organic winter forest. Peter and I love walking our dog Digby up on the Edge and we wanted to recreate that same earthy, woodland environment. I wanted my wedding to be just that little bit ‘out there’, and having the trees as the centrepiece certainly achieved that goal. As our wedding was the weekend before Christmas, I think people expected us to go down the more conventional festive route and it was truly lovely seeing their reactions to the chapel and the main room. We’d focused on lots of earthy tones, such as dark greens and ambers, making sure that everything was lit by candles to create warmth.

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I had chosen quite a traditional and simple gown designed by Stewart Parvin with the lace detail as a nod to my Italian heritage. My dress was bought and styled by the incredible ladies at LOVE Bridal in Cheshire. They helped accessorise my gown with a Stewart Parvin veil, lace jacket and honey-toned belt which contemporised it perfectly. My shoes were Hangisis by Manolo Blahnik; I just loved their quirkiness. In the evening, I removed the lace jacket and added a thin sparkly belt to liven it up for the dancing. I visited several bridal stores and LOVE Bridal’s service surpassed all the London boutiques. From the beautiful little cakes they serve to the ‘grand reveal’, the wonderful Emma and Clare have it covered.

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white lace. a winter wedding in york – stacey & alex

October 4th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Have we mentioned that we love all things Christmas? So with less than 12 weeks to go until Santa visits us once again we thought it was high time for another festive themed big day on the blog.

Taking place in the charming city of York, we adore how Alex and Stacey’s stylish wedding gives subtle nods to the season without a single piece of tinsel in sight!

We’re also big fans of the atmospheric venue and choice of simple white blooms and cake. The star of the show for us though just has to be Stacey’s gorgeous bespoke, lace detailed dress, complete with floor-length veil and glamorous red lips. Pure perfection!

With images by Photography34.

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stacey says: We got engaged on the beach at Alnmouth, in Northumberland. We’d been staying in a cottage nearby and had gone out for a walk when Alex asked the question. It was 5th November in 2014, and a really crisp cold day with blue skies and very few people around.

We set our wedding date for 28th November 2015, as we liked the idea of getting married in the same month that we got engaged.

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Our chosen venue was Merchant Taylors Hall, in York. We live in York and wanted somewhere central that our friends and family could easily travel to. We looked around several venues and loved this one. The beamed ceilings and open fire seemed to be perfect for a winter wedding. The layout of the hall was also great for the number of guests we wanted and allowed us to have both the ceremony and reception all in the same place.

We initially didn’t really have a theme to the wedding but then we discovered that the week we were marrying would be when the Christmas tree would be put up in the Merchant Taylors Hall. We therefore decided to with a bit of a festive feel, adding lights in the hall and having Christmas crackers as favours.

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We didn’t set out to have any specific colour scheme either, at first kept it simple with everything in white. However, we then decided on a deep blue/purple colour for the bridesmaid dresses and so incorporated that hue into the wedding and matched the ties, invitations and table names.

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get set, sparkle. ian stuart for a winter wedding at armathwaite hall – emma & mark

September 20th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today on the blog we have some beautiful inspiration for those of you planning winter weddings as we share the details of Emma and Mark’s big day.

Following an Ikea proposal (don’t worry, he made up for it), Emma and Mark set about planning an atmospheric November wedding, complete with lots of soft candlelight and sparkling décor.

Going all out on the opportunity to wear a big dress, bride Emma chose a stunning Ian Stuart gown with accents of shimmering silver to match both the colour scheme and season. Now that’s what we call a dress with the wow-factor!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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emma says: We got engaged in Ikea over meatballs! Honestly! But then we had my engagement ring specially made and Mark surprised me with a trip to London to see the Lion King (I love Disney). He got us box seats and had champagne and chocolates put in the box. It was amazing!

As we loved the idea of a Christmas or winter wedding we set the date for 28th November.

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Our chosen venue was Armathwaite Hall in Keswick. We both love the Lake District and when we went to look at venues Armathwaite felt really personal. I like modern venues and Mark likes old fashioned and Armathwaite had the perfect blend of both.

To fit the time of year we went for a sparkly wedding theme (with a hint of Disney!) As we knew it would be dark outside we thought lots of sparkles and candles would look great.

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When it came to the colour scheme we knew that we didn’t want everyone in the same colour as we had an unconventional bridal party in that the maid of honour was male and we had female groomsmen. I also wanted each of the bridesmaids to have dresses that suited them, rather than sticking to a certain theme. In the end we went for pale pastel colours accented with a silver shimmer.

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I chose to wear an Ian Stuart dress from Ava Rose Hamilton. I instantly fell in love with it. I’d tried on about seven or eight dresses beforehand but none of them made me excited, or felt quite so special. I knew I wanted a big dress – the sort that you can only ever wear on your wedding day – but also wanted something that really suited me. I loved the silver woven into the lace of the dress and that it had a huge skirt but fitted silk body. I never thought I would get a strapless dress but the minute I tried it on I knew it was right.

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cranberry & tweed. a romantic christmas wedding at the racquet club, liverpool – louise & jonathan

March 31st, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Festive Winter Wedding (c) Rachel Victoria Photography (41)

We’re spoiling those of you planning a festive wedding with another Christmas celebration – this time the stunning big day of Jonathan and Louise, which took place in Liverpool.

Deciding the festive season would be the perfect time to tie the knot with family and friends being in high spirits, Jonathan and Louise planned a stunning wedding around a cranberry red and tweed theme for a very classy day of romance.

We love the sensational seasonal blooms, elegant wedding transport and all the twinkling fairy lights!

With images by Rachel Victoria Photography.

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louise says: We got engaged in Italy in a little town called Geta. We had been out for a meal and lovely wine. Jonathan suggested we went for a walk around the hotel grounds and then said “I have something to ask you…” I turned round and he had gotten down on one knee and produced a ring in a box and asked me “will you marry me”. Of course I said yes!

We decided to set the date for 23rd of December, as we wanted a festive wedding. This day seemed a perfect choice as we knew that everyone would be excited and in the festive spirit in the lead up to Christmas.

A Festive Winter Wedding (c) Rachel Victoria Photography (39)

Our ceremony was at Saint Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool, as this has been Jonathan’s parish and church since he was a young boy. It is a beautiful church and Kip (the rector) and Graham are the most helpful and loveliest of people. My uncle gave me away as my father sadly passed away when I was young. We felt very lucky to have been married at this monumental and timelessly beautiful church. Our reception venue was The Racquet Club in Liverpool.

We chose to a theme of rustic Christmas. It fitted perfectly with the venue and the time of year as everyone was in the festive spirit already! Our colour scheme was cranberry red and tweed. We chose this again to fit the time of year and a Christmas wedding theme with a rustic twist.

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