Where to start: Your wedding style

Where to start: Your wedding style

As part of our ‘Advice from the Experts’ feature, venue stylists Pebble in the Pond have joined us as our style experts, giving you the advice you need to think through and develop your wedding style. Here’s Emma to give you the spotlight on getting started.
“When we sit down with our bride and grooms for our initial ‘get to know’ you meeting over a cup of coffee or two, we like to get under the skin of who you are as a couple – the best weddings in our view are when every detail reflects who you both are, creating that individual, unique day that no other couple could host.  We, being extremely nosy, like to get to know the following…

How much is the day about you two and how much about your family and friends?  Bringing touches of your family and friends into the day is a lovely way to make everyone feel welcome.  The family will love sweet peas from your grandma’s garden in vintage style tea pots to decorate the tables or dad’s home grown lavender sprigs tucked into a napkin.

What do you as a couple love doing?  Music fans, why not recraft old music sheets into cones to hold real petal confetti.  Teenage sweethearts?  How about some old school nostalgia with small, reclaimed blackboards to display table numbers and your table plan and recycled glass platters filled with old fashioned sweets – 80s disco optional!

Think about where you are getting married and how you can make your day empathetic to that.  Getting married in a place piled high with history?  Transport your guests back in time by having a high tea served upon vintage crockery with china cake stands laden with goodies.Ivy from the garden is wonderful around candlebras and as a napkin decoration.  If the venue has a kitchen garden or fruit trees, would it be possible to offer some wonderful produce as take home gifts?  ‘Grow your own’ seed packets make gorgeous favours.  Getting married by the sea?  Decorative driftwood can make interesting tablecentres or why not use pretty shells at your place settings?
In planning a ‘greener’ wedding obviously seasonal is key and something we always bear in mind – there’s nothing more refreshing than arriving at an early spring wedding to be greeted at your table by ribbon wrapped, terracotta pots filled with scented narcissi after a long, dark winter.  Likewise at an early December wedding, we can’t resist throwing in a touch of the ‘C’ word – cinnamon bundles tied with organic cotton lace, fragrant dried orange slices or vintage style tea cups filled with soy wax candles….”

How the Pebble in the Pond service works

Here at Pebble in the Pond, we can help you with as little or as much decoration and detail as you require – we pride ourselves on working with you to develop your own ideas, as well as throwing in a few of our own, to make your wedding as unique as you are.

We are a wedding venue stylist and have a wide assortment of beautiful accessories to compliment your day.  These range from organic cotton tablecloths and vintage style print and lace table runners through to recycled glass centerpieces, vintage style crockery (tea cups and saucers, tea pots, cake stands etc), candlesticks, baskets – the list goes on.

All the items are for hire however we also offer a styling service where we can come and set up your venue the day before or the morning of your wedding so that you can enjoy your day, confident that when you arrive at your chosen venue it will look fantastic.

We also offer a wonderful range of unique and individual handmade favours which can be personalised to you.

In everything we do we try to be as environmentally friendly as we can.  As many of our materials as possible are organic, reclaimed, fair-trade or locally sourced.  We support local artists in the creation of our wonderful pieces and we give 5% of our profits to charity.

How To Get The Perfect Skin For Your Wedding

Tips for Wedding Perfect Skin

Here is a top tip countdown to help you achieve the flawless skin you deserve for your special day, put together by the guys at Organic Surge – they know their skincare!

Remember, planning is everything – think ahead and don’t get caught out!
1. Banish Those Blemishes Early. If you are troubled with mild – or severe blemmishing seek some advice from your GP. If the problem is a more severe one such as adult acne or acne rosacia, it may be worth while to seek out a respected dermatologist. Skin problems do not always go away overnight. Timeline: 6 months to 1 year ahead

2. Avoid The Burn. Don’t get too much sun exposure before the big event. Sunburns, peeling skin and tan lines can sabotage your special day because they’re difficult to cover up completely!

3. Super Skin Rejuvenation. Every two weeks, make sure you use an effective exfoliating dermabrasion which can help combat shiny, taut facial skin, making it a perfect palate for makeup. With a more even skin tone with diminished lines and wrinkles, you are half way there to your flawless look. Don’t forget the neck, chest and back areas if your dress is low-cut. Peels can do wonders for spotty, rough skin! Timeline: 2 months ahead up to day before

4. Plan your colour scheme… Pick out your shadows and foundations early, and practice with them. If you are going to use a make-up artist, have a practice run-through to make sure you like it. Brides should choose a lip colour in a warm, fairly bright shade. Roses, pinks and reds look great in photos and keep teeth and wedding whites clean and fresh. Timeline: 2 months ahead

5. Luscious lashes – it’s all about the eyes! Tinting your lashes elimates the inevitable racoon eyes that plague so many happy occasions! Don’t forget your eyebrows – a tint and reshape will ensure your eyes will be perfectly framed. Have a few trials with a quaified beautician to ensure you acheive the perfect color match. Timeline: 1 month ahead, with a retreatment 1 week ahead

6. Treat Yourself to a relaxing Facial! You owe it to yourself to relax, clean and nourish your skin. Timeline: 1-2 weeks ahead

7. The Wonder Of Waxing! If you decide not to go the longterm route with laser hair removal, have a professional therapist wax your legs, bikini line, underarms and brows. Timeline: 3-4 days ahead

8. Expect the unexpected and be prepared. If something can go wrong, it will, so make a “911 Skincare Kit” with some essential quick fixes to help on the all important day.

9. Keep Your Face On… Give your foundation staying power by using a gel foundation primer before you apply your make up. Add a light dusting of loose powder to prevent any unwanted shine.

Most important, have a sense of humor. This is your day, and no matter what happens, you are special and your beauty will radiate from within.

Budget Wedding Dresses At Oxfam

Buying Bridal on a Budget

There are now so many options for buying a wedding dress, and buying on a budget doesn’t have to mean second hand.

If I say the word charity shop don’t think granny jumpers, but gorgeous designer bridal – and all brand new! Oxfam Bridal are dedicated bridal boutiques all over the country, such as the store in Heswall, Wirral, where they have up to 200 never-worn wedding dresses in sizes from 8-24 in stock at any one time. They usually sell these wedding dresses donated by top designers, which are often worth over £1000, for between £100-200, with the rare high-designer piece going for up to £300 – what a bargain!

At the Big Green Wedding Fayre the fashions shows from Oxfam Bridal were stunning, and I really couldn’t believe the prices, just because the designs are end of line.  My favourite was a long bridal coat from designer Neil Cunningham worth £5000, but this one Oxfam dont sell, they rent it out to brides so they don’t have to fork out so much to be able to wear it.

How do Oxfam get never-worn dresses?Oxfam are receiving donations all the time so the stock is constantly changing as a result. The gorgeous dresses in these photos are ones that have been sold previously in Oxfam Bridal shops, but numerous other styles and sizes and sizes are always available. So just find your closest store, pop along and see what you fall in love with – you can’t afford not to! The great thing is that the Oxfam bridal shops are staffed by volunteers so all the money for your dress does straight to charity – double bonus!

When the new collections come in, bridal boutiques donate their unsold dresses from the prevous season to charity so they can claim back the VAT. One of the winners of this is Oxfam who have a dedicated warhouse set up to receive the donations and distribute to their shops throughout the UK.

Remember, no-one is going to know where you got your dress unless you tell them. And even if they do, does it matter?

Glamourous, wear again dresses

Glamourous, wear again dresses

Sweet jars filled with colour coordinated threads adorn the shelves in Sabina Ali’s East London studio where she creates her line of evening & cocktail style wedding dresses, Motasem dresses. When we meet, she is preparing for a sample sale where brides-to-be and fashionistas alike will be hoping to snap up a dress which is just as perfect for a bride as for an evening occasion.

After jobs as fashion designer for the high street stores Jigsaw and M&S, Motasem was born in 2005 when Sabina received her fifth comission for a cocktail style wedding dress. Further research showed that brides were looking for dresses priced between £500-1000 and felt that they were lacking choice. The Motasem collection provides a range of dresses that are affordable and are for the glamourous bride rather than the fairytale princess.

Not simply an off-the-peg dress, Motasem dresses can be customised from a template. Brides can choose the length of the dress and add sleeves, add a puddle train and choose the colour of the ribbon detail. Eco conscious brides can also have the dress made in organic silk.


How does Motasem contibute to an ethical wedding?
The range is created in ivory silk which is the natural colour, not dyed, so brides can feel comfortable even if they don’t choose the organic option which has no chemical finishes, but can cost 15% more. The dresses are made in the UK and can be worn again as the style is so versatile, rather than hanging it in a wardrobe for years. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing white as a guest at a wedding or evening occasion, then there is the option to dye it after your wedding. The Lotus dress has been designed so there is no stitching on the outside meaning it dyes really well.

The collection is championed by the professional woman aged 28-45 who doesn’t want to look frumpy. The most popular dresses are Cecaelia and Alaya. The perfect way to style the dress is with a vintage hair piece and feather shrug – Chanel with an edge.

Who would you most like to dress?
Natalie Portman. She is gorgeous, but not a girly girl. She is independent and has strong ethical principles. Natalie has recently launched her own vegan shoe collection and wears Beyond Skin shoes in her film ‘V for Vendetta’

What trends do you see growing in weddings?
There is a grown in off-the-peg dresses. In the last 5 years we have seen a development in weddings from church to civil ceremonies, destination weddings, second weddings and older brides plus mixed culture weddings. There are many smaller civil ceremonies and weddings where there is less money available but couples still want the glamour. People want the bridal experience.

More brides are now planning their weddings in their lunch hour as they lead busy professional lives so we will be seeing a growth in online shopping for bridalwaer. Like Natalie Massey did for Net-a-Porter, we will be able to buy designer bridal on the web. Motasem would be perfect for this as the dresses are not structured so dont need endless measuring and re-fitting – just pick your dress size and go! The dresses just take 5 weeks to make from ordering.

What about bridalwear trends?
There is much less strapless and more drapery – using the fabrics to flatter the body in the style of Amanda Wakely. Style is also moving from catwalk to bridal very quickly and picking up inspiration from celebrity weddings. The Alaya dress combines hollywood glamour with catwalk style.

There is a trend for the recessionista – as has been roumoured for SJP’s character in the new Sex and the City film.

What inspires you?
This collection is Grecian and nautical inspired. They are timeless and classsic pieces with a contemporary edge.

What’s next for Motasem?
In her next collection Sabina is planning on adding a bit of sparkle. The range is now stocked in a few stores including Bridal Path &  Berkshire Brides where Motasem hangs alongside lines from Jenny Packham and Amanda Wakely.

Stay tuned for big news that Sabina couldn’t disclose but I could see she was bursting with excitement…

Picture Perfect

Ethical And Natural Photography

Picture Perfect

When planning an ethical wedding there is all sorts of information available about rings, dresses and flowers. But what about choosing a photographer? What is an ethical photographer? Is there a photographer out there who has a small carbon footprint?

Here are a few things to consider:

– On a simple level, do they do proof albums by CD, saving on printing and allowing you to choose your album shots in a digital format?

– It always pays, in anything, to follow recommendations from friends. If they have had a good experience then that is a top priority.

– Have a good look at the photographer’s website to check out their portfolio, but don’t skip the ‘about us’ page as this will tell you about their passions or their philosophy.

Photographers Cat and Suzanne from CTimages in Manchester really caught my eye as understanding the importance of their craft on a social level. From their background in fashion and social photography, as well as weddings they offer photo parties for young girls, which were initially developed to aid female youth groups discuss self esteem issues.

Cat & Suzanne wanted girls to understand the airbrushing that goes on in the fashion world, and the unique beauty that each one of them has. Cat says ‘Our aim was to inspire confidence in our clients by explaining and demonstrating poses and creating a relaxed and encouraging environment. We believe women, especially girls in their teenage years need good role models and lots of positive words said about them. The vision of the photo sessions is not only to have a fun experience and high quality pictures to take home, but to inspire young women to be an encouragement to one another and to celebrate each others uniqueness!’

I was recently shown the Dove campaign for real beauty which made me laugh, but really did hit home about what ‘role models’ we are measuring ourselves against…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

Photos from CT images will be used throughout the Weding Notebook website, so check back to see more when we go live in the Autumn.

Getting Married In Green

The hit US TV show ‘Get Married‘ give couples ideas and inspiration for their weddings, from Hollywood glamour to water themes and destinations.

Last night’s episode focused on the growing trend of Green weddings and you can check it out here (select Tue 5th May).

Keep your wedding eco chic by choosing aspects that create an impact with minimal effect on the environment.
– Using flowers such as hydrangeas mean you get a great display with just a small number of blooms (left)
– Use candles as a table centrepiece, which will be used after the wedding – just make sure they are soy wax, which doesn’t contain petroleum and so burns cleanly. You could collect wine bottles from a local restaurant (or collect your own if you have a long engagement) to hold dinner candles or single stem flowers.
– If you do use flowers, collect vintage vases from second hand shops or car-boot sales for a creative collection of different shaped pieces. You can give the centrepieces to guests who have helped with aspects of the day as their thank you.

– Choose flowers that are in season and locally grown to cut down on the miles they have travelled. Your florist will be able to advise you on what will work well for the season of your wedding. Remember you can create colour with foliage…
– There are some gorgeous silvers and red from leaves that can work with a minimal use of blooms – cutting your budget too.