29 November 2011

Wedding #4 - Flowers & Decor

It is Wedding Wednesday yet again, and today, I am bringing you the visual feast that is Flowers 
& Decor, covering beautiful bouquets, buttonholes, arrangements, and room dress ideas.

If you are new to our blog, these wedding posts have been running for the last 3 weeks also, and they have covered The Venue, Attire and Beauty - why not take a look?

The following mood boards were created as a personal project during the planning of our wedding, 
and therefore, I was predominantly screen grabbing any images that I found inspiring. I have done my absolute best to go back through and locate their sources, but where sources, designers, stylists, artists or photographers are unknown to me (and if you find your work on here) please contact me and I will add a credit immediately.

Unlike my (mostly successful) previous attempts at image sourcing, I was unable to find the exact locations of where any of the following images were found. I can confirm that a lot of them would have come from Style Me Pretty, but I simply cannot account for which ones exactly, and where the others were found. My sincere apologies.

Bouquets & Buttonholes

When considering and researching my bouquet, the maid's bouquets, and the buttonholes, we were instantly drawn to pastel shades, big, blousy, romantic arrangements, and lots and lots of roses. 
It wasn't just the flowers and colours that we wanted to get right, but the binding of the flowers as 
well - details really mattered.

As you can see above, there are many ways to tie a bouquet, rather than just the normal bind of organza. Why not a big bow using fabric ribbon? Why not a special tie using satin? I for one didn't want to settle for what was the usual thing to do - I wanted to have something out of my dreams.


As a bit of an interior design fanatic, I was in my element when piecing together our room arrangements and dress. There are so many things that you can do with flowers - and as this is what we wanted to 
be the main focus in the room, we had lots to explore. From pretty vases, to vintage tin jugs, the containment itself is a big topic, and then there is the use of flowers - along the aisle, as table centrepieces, in tall vases, cascading down softly lit candelabra, or intertwined in tree branches 
- you can really get lost in the details, which put me right in my element!

To some florists, my vision may have been a challenge, but we were extremely lucky to come across what must be the best florist in the world! We met Jayne Pugh very early on in the planning of the wedding, and straight away she was aware of the level of detail I was dreaming of. Jayne is so full of passion for her work, and loves nothing more than helping brides to accomplish their vision for their big day. From flower arrangements, through to special details that she was able to hire out to us, she took 
it all on, and at a price that was extremely reasonable. Visit her website here - she comes very highly recommended by us.

Room Dress

Lighting, signage, table layout, coverings and ceiling details - you could get lost in this world! There really is so much that you could do, and it certainly is the little details that really make your theme work. 

The biggest challenge for us I think, was the chair covers. We were completely put off by the over-use 
of chair covers with big organza bows, and wanted something far more individual for ourselves 
- our vision just wasn't going to work without it. Alas, there does not seem to be anywhere on this 
planet that offers any other choice, so we ended up putting pen to paper and coming up with our own design (which luckily, we could rely on my dab-handed mum to create). This of course made for such 
a personal feel to the decor. I guess what I am trying to say is, don't be put off or deterred if you can't 
find something that matches your vision - if you can't find it, make it.

The sheer amount of details can seem quite daunting, and I was very nervous about forgetting something. This is why it takes so long to research things - the more inspiration you look at, the 
more ideas you see, and by the end of it, there is no stone left unturned, so you cannot possibly 
forget anything!

When we began our journey of planning our wedding, I desperately wanted to create the vision in 
my head, but I was grounded in the belief that none of it really mattered, because the day was about marrying Jay. However, it is very easy to get caught up in the details and the expectations. You see 
all of the possibilities and think, I could do that, and any time that thought crosses my mind, that is 
it, I am like a dog with a bone.

The year spent planning our wedding was definitely the most stressful and yet the most inspirational year of my life. I discovered so much creativity, I learnt more than I thought I would, and I ran myself into the ground in the attempt to make the day look just how I wanted. Who ever said dreams were easy to reach? I must remind you though, that I was of course running Leaff at the same time, so this certainly didn't help with the stress, or the amount of time I had to do things, but I do think it enriched my creative productivity within Leaff.

On the day itself, I woke up satisfied that we had done everything that we possibly could, to make everything just how we wanted, and it was time to refocus on the most important thing - marrying Jay. It is true what they say - with all the stress that you go through planning your wedding, you really couldn't care less about the details on the day, for your eyes are no where but on your new husband.

I hope that this lot has inspired you - both the rich visuals and what I have had to say on the subject. 
As ever, I would love to hear your thoughts on this post, so don't be shy, leave us a comment.

Next week is the last post on the planning, before the great reveal of our day in week 6. The next post focuses on 'Cake & Favours', and includes cake design ideas, a huge array of favour ideas and visuals, along with the details of our very own baker. Hope to see you here then!

25 November 2011

A tin of curious chocolates and a little festivity...

I really wanted to share a very special moment with you, involving a box of incredibly curious chocolates, and a beautifully festive evening.

We got the chocolates from our lovely German friend for our wedding, and after sitting by the sofa looking at us for a good few weeks, we decided that we could wait no longer; we had to see inside.

You see, the entire packaging is in German, so we had no idea what was inside. I could make out a
few words - marzipan, possibly hazelnut, pistachio and praline, but I wasn't even sure. The tin itself is stunningly beautiful, decorated in striking, rich red and gold, giving both a strong royal and festive feel.
A picture of Mozart sits on the lid and around the sides, with the title Mozart Kugeln and logo of the German master chocolatier, Reber.

So, with our wood stove crackling away, and the mulled wine warming up on top, we settled down for
the great unveiling.

We opened the lid to find the inside to be just as beautiful as the outside, with delicately embossed patterns, and the protective wrapping inside - substantial, and adorned in gold print. As we carefully removed it, both the size of the beautifully wrapped chocolates and the strong aromatic smell of rich chocolate, with a distinct note of liqueur, hit us all at once. They were honestly the most beautifully packaged chocolates we had ever seen - they oozed expense and quality.

We exitedly unwrapped the chocolates, despite the fact that I was supposed to be approaching with caution seeing as a have a little allergy to hazelnuts (mild as it is, it is still uncomfortable) but honestly,
I couldn't of cared less, I was on it like a robin on a fat ball!

We carefully unwrapped a chocolate each (they are so beautiful that they make you want to handle
them extra carefully) and sunk our teeth into them. The taste was unlike anything that we had ever experienced before - like the best chocolate I have ever eaten. To describe the taste is difficult,
and in fact, I am just going to have to eat one right now and describe as I go....

Ok, unwrapped and ready. Is it too early for chocolate?...Oh I don't care, I'm going for it...

Smooth, silky dark chocolate, thick and crisp on the outside, and as I bite in...soft, buttery textured, marzipan - the flavour is there; creamy and not too strong, with a kick of some kind of liqueur, a nutty flavour, and a secret cocoa centre. Intriguing.

There is no urge to gorge them all at once, because they are so rich and flavoursome that just one
at a time is enough. In my opinion, true chocolate quality.

You can find out more about these amazing chocolates at the manufacturers website, here, where you can also follow the link to the shop and purchase some of your own (highly recommended for Xmas).

Having now read a bit about them myself, I can confirm that they do contain hazelnuts, pistachio nuts and almonds, though I personally am lucky enough not to have reacted to these in this instance.
It is a good job, because I would be enduring a puffer face all Christmas otherwise. From reading the other ingredients online, they do not seem to usually contain alcohol, but ours definitely do, having translated it from the ingredients on the tin. So, allergy sufferers be safe, and check out the ingredients before you try and buy - do not rely on my experience, because as I said, my allergy is very mild in comparison to others.

Do let us know if any of you do purchase some, and what you think. We would be really interested to know!

23 November 2011

Wedding #3 - Beauty

Happy Wedding Wednesday! This week it is all about 'Beauty', covering hair and make-up, the veil / tiara / hair accessory situation, and details of what worked for me with my own beauty regime, leading up to our big day.

If you missed my first post on 'The Venue', you can catch it here, and if you missed my last post on 'Attire', you can also catch up on that, here.

I am sorry to bore most of you with this again, but I must do my bit for the people who brought us the visuals that you are about to see: The following mood boards were created as a personal project during the planning of our wedding, and therefore, I was predominantly screen grabbing any images that I found inspiring. I have done my absolute best to go back through and locate their sources, but where sources, designers, stylists, artists or photographers are unknown to me (and if you find your work on here) please contact me and I will add a credit immediately.

Hairstyle Board

I am having real trouble remembering where I found these pictures. I think a lot of them must have been from Style Me Pretty, but I can't be sure so I have put 'unknown' for the most part. From top to bottom, left to right:

1  Image source - unknown (stylist / photographer unknown)
2  Image source - unknown (stylist / photographer unknown)
3  Image source - unknown (stylist / photographer unknown)
4  Image source - unknown (stylist / photographer unknown)
5  Image source - unknown (stylist / photographer unknown
6  Agnes Obel - 'Just So' music video still (stylist unknown)
7  Image source - unknown (stylist / photographer unknown)

When researching what hairstyle I wanted, 90% of my focus went on curls - the right kind of curls. I didn't want tight, 'sausage shaped curls' as one hair dresser put it, but big, natural curls, that were soft and feminine. I hoarded picture after picture of curls that had that look and that volume, some of which I have shared above. The other 10% of my search was on style. I knew that I wanted something simple, and above all, 'me'.

My search for a hairstylist that I could both afford and that I thought could give me what I wanted, was extremely difficult. Towards the end of my seemingly hopeless search, I headed out and got some heated rollers to try out, to create the look myself. After numerous watches of You Tube's 'How to..' videos, I was all set, and me and my maids tried them out at my hen celebration...it didn't exactly go to plan, seeing as our hair was poker straight within an hour. So, the search was back on and I finally, finally found someone two weeks before my wedding, who so kindly agreed to save the day! Her name was Laura, and you can find her salon here.

Yes it was tight, no I didn't have time for a trial, and yes I was nervous. However, at that stage, I was utterly exhausted from worrying about every single little detail, that I think I just threw in the towel and decided to not worry. Fate would determine what I would turn out like on the day, and all that mattered to me was that I was marrying Jay.

Make-up Board

Again, I am having real trouble remembering where I found these pictures. I think a lot of them must have been from Style Me Pretty as well, but again I can't be sure so I have put 'unknown' for the most part. From top to bottom, left to right:

1  Image source - unknown (make-up artist / photographer unknown)
2  Image source - unknown (make-up artist / photographer unknown)
3  Image source - Wedding Dream (make-up artist / photographer unknown)
4  Image source - unknown (make-up artist / photographer unknown)

My make-up was a lot more straight forward, as I found a brilliant make-up artist pretty much immediately, who I was really happy with. She was local, a professional, trained by MAC, and was very reasonably priced - she ticked every box. Her name was Vanessa, and you can find her here - she comes highly recommended, and you will hopefully see why in week 6 of these posts.

I wanted a very natural look, as I don't usually wear too much make-up, so I was looking to enhance my features only. I had a vision of pale, luminous foundation that left my skin dewy; delicate pink blusher adding a flush of feminine colour; framed soft eyes that were subtle and smokey; and supple shimmery lips with a whisper of colour.

I had a colour palette in mind to match both mine and the maids dresses, which you can see above. The dark brown is representative of the mascara that I wanted used - I never wear black as it is really too harsh on my fair complexion.

The Veil / Tiara / Hair Accessory Situation

I think that I have done a little better on these picture sources, though the first two and last but one are an issue - possibly Style Me Pretty again. From top to bottom, left to right:

1  Image source - unknown (stylist / photographer unknown)
2  Image source - unknown (stylist / photographer unknown)
3  Image source - Wedding Splendor (stylist / photographer unknown)
4  Image source - WedImpression (stylist / photographer unknown)
5  Image source -  unknown (stylist / photographer unknown)
6  Image source - Wedding Hairstyles (stylist / photographer unknown)

Sweeping full length veils that pooled on the floor; glittering crown tiaras that oozed that royal feel; staggeringly beautiful flowers, that intertwined in the hair... how could I choose?

In actual fact, all I had to do was just look at my dress. It told me everything that I needed to know, and I immediately set to work on researching how I could incorporate my flowers into my hair. Having said that, how beautiful the veil and tiara are above.

My Beauty Regime

Firstly, I want to start with something that I really wanted to cover here, because I feel really strongly about it - and that is skin colour. With a family of olive skinned sun-lovers, I have always felt like I have had to fight my fair skin tone. However, when I met Jay 5 years ago, who loved my skin tone just the way it was, I soon realised that what I had been feeling was pretty silly.

When it came to my wedding, with my skin not having seen a sun holiday in 4 years, I was probably at my fairest. Therefore, a lot of people presumed that I would be getting a spray tan or hitting the sun beds - not because they were being rude, but because that seems to be the done thing. I think I actually shocked a few people when I stated that I would be embracing my colour, and going for a full on 'english rose' look. I was having an english-country-garden themed wedding after all!

I wanted to share my thoughts on this, because I am betting I am not the only one with fair skin, who faced the pressure to change it. I hope that my photos, when revealed in week 6, will prove that it does not look wrong or unattractive to embrace your pale skin, as our culture seems to think... at least I don't think so.

So, it was full steam ahead with the tlc when it came to my beauty regime. Being as busy as I have become with owning Leaff, I didn't actually have a huge amount of time to do this, so it was a case of fitting it in where I could....

Through the summer months, Jay and I skipped in our back garden 3 times a week to keep fit - no I'm not talking about girl skipping, I am talking about boxer skipping. It took some time to learn but I got there and it was such a great work out.

As the cooler months drew in, I switched to my pilates/yoga routine indoors, which I still do now. This is such a great form of exercise for toning and strengthening your body, and simultaneously calming your mind. I have always done yoga on and off, but I invested in a really good DVD some years ago, which mixes pilates and yoga with dance, and I love it. It means that I can fit it into my day, and it saves me money on classes too. Find the DVD here.

Food / Drink
Obviously, the key is lots of water and a balanced diet - as we all know. However, we have always eaten a lot of fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, so there was no change in diet needed, we just carried on as we were. I must confess however, that towards the end of the planning, I began to crave cake in a really bad way, but we won't say any more about that.

Drink-wise, aside from wonderful water, I found green tea to be great at cleansing the system and helping to keep my skin clear - as is good old fashioned lemon in hot water if you can't bear the taste. It was recommended to me by a friend who had gotten married just a few months before, along with A Moment of Calm (camomile & spearmint infusion), which I found extremely good at doing what it says on the box. I drank it before bed, and sometimes during the day if I felt my stress levels rising. You can pick a box up from most supermarkets.

Body Care
I have always looked after my body well, but being as busy as I am nowadays, there has been some neglect in recent years. So, for the duration of the year planning the wedding, I had allowed myself a set routine of a pamper night on a Wednesday and Sunday. Regular body brushing, exfoliation and soaking in essential oils; full facials & pedicures, and a lot of moisturisation, ensured that I felt healthy and glowing on my big day.

Top recommended products:

• Anything by Liz Earle
  (I used a lot of the face care products)

• Essential oils range from Neals Yard 
  (I used Clary Sage oil, mixed with Lavender oil and a base oil, 
  see one of my previous posts on recipes for relaxation, here)

Well I think I will stop there, but if there is anything that I have just touched on that you want further information about, just let me know and I will endeavour to help.

Next week, it is all about 'Flowers & Decor', which I have to say, took a lot of my attention and I really enjoyed, so be prepared for some seriously beautiful mood boards. The post will cover bouquets, buttonholes, arrangements and room dress. Furthermore, because next week will be week 4 of Wedding Wednesday, we are just two posts away from the big reveal in week 6. Eeek!

16 November 2011

Wedding #2 - Attire

Welcome to the second of my 7 posts, sharing with you our journey of planning our wedding. If you missed our first (which focussed on our venue) you can catch up here.

This week I am sharing with you our mood boards for 'Attire'. This pretty enormous post covers bridal dresses, suits, bridesmaids dresses, shoes & accessories, and a brief summary of my thoughts and ideas.

Before I get started, I want to make clear that these following mood boards were created as a personal project during the planning of our wedding, and therefore, I was predominantly screen grabbing any images that I found inspiring. I have done my absolute best to go back through and locate their sources, but where sources, designers or photographers are unknown to me (and if you find your work on here) please contact me and I will add a credit immediately.

Bridal Dress Board

All of these pictures were found at Style Me Pretty. From top to bottom, left to right:
1 Image source - the 'inspiration boards' (designer & photographer unknown)
2 Image source - the 'inspiration boards' (designer & photographer unknown)
3 Image source - the 'fashion look book', designer J.Crew
4 Image source - the 'fashion look book', designer Saja
5 Image source - the 'fashion look book', designer Saja
6 Image source - the 'fashion look book', designer Saja

After getting an eyeful of these beauties on the fantastic American wedding inspiration site, Style Me Pretty, I had a sureness that I was going to find my dress quickly. I was very taken with both the big, full, romantic dresses, and the elegant, understated gowns - disappointingly, neither of which I could find anything remotely like on the high street, as the majority of shops seemed to stock mostly a-line shaped dresses.

It was on our second shopping trip that I found my dress (6 shops later), in a shop that was packed to the rafters with dresses (and funnily enough, where I least expected to find it). But there it was - I saw it from across the room, and my heart skipped. It was as if someone had made it just for me, and when I put it on, I had the first proper reaction from my mum, as she whispered through tears that it was 'the one'. When I looked in the mirror, I saw myself - not me in a dress that would've suited someone else better, or one that wasn't quite what I had in mind, but me. All me.

So what was it I hear you cry? A full, romantic dress, or a delicate, romantic gown? I shall let you speculate for now.

Suit Board

All of these pictures were found on Google image searches, but I have done my best to locate their sources. 
From left to right:
1 Image source - Robert Ellis
2 Image source - a wedding chat forum (designer unknown)
3 Image source - Tango's Dress Hire
4 Image source - Sandys Menswear

I really wanted Jay to choose a suit that he felt a million dollars in before we began nailing down the exact colour scheme, and all the other bits. Most people thought this was odd, because a lot of ladies like to let the bridesmaids dresses lead, but I think it is the Groom's day as much as it is the Brides, so I thought that he should feel as good as I felt in my dress. And of course, he agreed.

So with that in mind, we went off to search for suits, initially liking the idea of chocolate brown and gold. Chocolate brown because it was luxurious, rich and warm, and gold for the same reason, but also because we wanted to follow the colour of our rings.

After trying the chocolate (along with every other possible colour option, in order for Jay to figure out which he felt most special in) it was navy with gold that we both fell in love with. We were astonished. Not on your nelly would we have thought of picking navy, but as soon as he put the suit on, a transformation occurred, and it was just like it was meant for him - just like my dress was meant for me, and most importantly, he felt very special in it.

Now that my dress and the suits were sorted, we were beginning to piece together the colour palette.

Colour Palette

My dress was a funny colour; called 'pale gold', and when you put it next to gold or yellow, that is exactly the colour it looked, but when you put it next to ivory or let it stand alone, it had this warm, peach blush to it. The most stunning colour I think I have ever seen.

The top, far left colour is not too far off from the colour of my dress, and then you've got the navy and gold from the suits. 

I really didn't like the colour gold for the bridesmaids dresses - it is so rich, I think it needs to be paired with the exact right skin tone to work, and I was after a far softer look. Not wanting to mismatch the groomsmen and the maids however, we decided that a warm, buttery yellow was the way to go, and settled on 'Maize'. It was pale, soft, pretty, and maintained a very close match to the gold.

The colour palette for the attire was as strong as we had hoped it would be, and all that was left to decide then, were the other colours that I wanted to bring in with the room detail, to give the scheme some depth. I had a clear vision of a soft, feminine, romantic look, and my dress inspired me to look at peach, which is also one of my very favourite colours. With the flowers in mind as well, we also decided to add a very soft pink to the palette, which completed it for us, giving us lots to work with.

Bridesmaids Dresses

From left to right:
1 Image source -  Bari Jay
2 Image source - the 'inspiration boards' at Style Me Pretty (designer & photographer unknown)
3 Image source - Elderberry Bridesmaids
4 Image source - The Dessy Group

From my dress, the suits, and the soft, romantic theme that I so desperately wanted to create, I knew just what style I wanted for the maids. Elegant and pretty.

We had two maids, (one of them had not long given birth) and it was important to me that we got dresses that they would feel confident and princess-like in, like they deserved. The above images are some very inspiring dresses that helped me to pinpoint just what was going to work, and allowed us to make our final decision.

What that decision was, you will find out soon enough.

Shoes & Accessories

From top to bottom, left to right:
Image source - Rainbow Club
2 Image source - the 'inspiration boards' at Style Me Pretty (designer & photographer unknown)
3 Image source - Monsoon
4 Image source - Rainbow Club

As Jay is around the 6 foot mark, and I am around the, erm, 5 foot mark, I had an understandably strict aim to get as high a heeled shoes as I could cope with. The shoe hunt was a bit of a nightmare. If they weren't too low, they were just so uncomfortable, and I really struggled.

Rainbow Club had an enormous range of the most beautiful shoes that I could find, but unfortunately there was only one local stockist and I had to order them in each time just to try them. I actually blogged about Rainbow Club on discovery of their treasures, which you can read here if you missed it - really worth a look, they are extremely beautiful.

Eventually, I sank my feet into a beautiful pair that I thought I might be able to bear. This may of had something to do with the sheer amount of love that I had for them, but it worked for me.

Most of these pictures were found on Google image searches, but I have done my best to locate their sources. 
From top to bottom, left to right:
1 Image source - the 'inspiration boards' at Style Me Pretty (designer & photographer unknown)
2 Image source - the 'inspiration boards' at Style Me Pretty (designer & photographer unknown)
3 Image source - the 'inspiration boards' at Style Me Pretty (designer & photographer unknown)
4 Image source -  Liberty In Love
5 Image source - Marc Jacobs
6 Image source - Charnos
7 Image source - Bridal Shapewear
8 Image source -  Precious Bags
9 Image source - Monsoon
10 Image source - Mary Norton

From special details like handkerchieves, garters and underwear, to the finishing touches, like jewellery, handbags and perfume, I explored it all. Unsurprisingly, a lot of what I found was extremely lovely but extremely expensive, and so as any thrifty lady would do, I either found a cheaper match, or took on the help of my dab handed mum to make me things, and I think we did pretty well with that.

All of these pictures were found on Google image searches, but I have done my best to locate their sources.
From top to bottom, left to right:
1 Image source - Deals Coast
2 Image source - unknown; unable to connect to originators website (designer unknown)
3 Image source - Berketex Bride
4 Image source - Ali Express
5 Image source - Magic Wedding Dress
6 Image source - Bridal Gowns Plaza
7 Image source - Alibaba.com

As we were having an October wedding, I had to turn my attention to the possible weather situation if I was to stick out our drinks reception in the beautiful gardens of The Swan, which was a real must for us.

I dreamed of an ivory cape that pooled on the ground at the back - I could be snow white for the day. But realistically, most were in excess of £200, and that would be on a whim that it would actually be that cold. With our mild Autumns in mind, I was looking for something that would provide me with a bit of warmth should I need it, that was reasonably priced considering I'd hardly wear it, but that I would feel really special in if I did.

As you can see there were lots of options to look at - and very beautiful ones at that. Deciding wasn't that difficult in the end, as I was led by my dress on what would work best, and my sensible budget too.

So, I think that pretty much sums up the subject of 'Attire'. I hope that it has given you lots of inspiration if you are planning your own wedding, or indeed, lots of pretties to admire if you just fancied a peep anyway.

Next week, I will be posting about 'Beauty'. This will cover hair and make-up ideas, and also the veil / tiara / head accessory situation, along with details of what worked for me with my own beauty regime leading up to my big day.

Lastly, I wanted to pop a mention in of a wedding planning site that I discovered quite far into the planning of our wedding, called The Wedding Community. They offer lots of wedding planning tools, ideas and advice, and have lists of suppliers from all over the UK, so you are sure to find some near you.

09 November 2011

Wedding #1 - The Venue

Welcome to the first in a series of 7 wedding posts running all the way up to Xmas week. Each wedding post will be released on a Wednesday, which I have now adopted as 'Wedding Wednesday'. Each post shares our journey up to our big day itself - thought processes and mood boards, all from my wedding file. To kick things off for week 1, I am covering 'The Venue', and here is the week structure for the other 6 weeks to come:

Week 2 - 'Attire' (dresses, suits, accessories, palette, purchase details)
Week 3 - 'Beauty' (hair & make-up, artist's details)
Week 4 - 'Flowers & Decor' (bouquets, arrangements, room dress ideas and visuals, florist's details)
Week 5 - 'Cake & Favours' (cake design ideas, favour ideas and visuals, baker's details)
Week 6 - 'Our Big Day' (an array of pictures from our day, photographer's details)
Week 7 - 'Our Honeymoon' (an array of pictures from our honeymoon, destination details)

Our venue hunt was pretty straight forward, as we already knew exactly where we wanted to get married. In our first year together, Jay whisked me away to a charming little village in the Cotswolds called Bibury for the day. He had done his research and found that William Morris had declared it the most beautiful village in Britain...and boy was he right. We spent a cool September day there, where the sky was clear, and the leaves were perfectly autumnal; it was a a day that I will never forget. As we strolled along the river, we fantasised about one day marrying there....

4 years later, and there was Jay down on one knee at the top of the Malvern Hills - our special place for walking, thinking and relaxing as the sun goes both up and down. It was perfect. And through bleary eyes, and sniffles, the image of Bibury sailed into both my head and his, and it was the very following weekend that we ventured off to Bibury for the second time.

The Swan Hotel, Bibury

As we rolled over the little bridge, greeted by The Swan Hotel in all it's glory at the other side, I could hardly contain the butterflies that were eagerly waiting to burst out of me. With old cotswold stone cloaked in ivy of the richest autumn shades, it couldn't of looked more picturesque and warm, on what was a bitterly cold day. Inside the log fires roared and we had a spectacular lunch in the cafe area after being shown around by the most welcoming and accommodating staff. Another perfect autumn day....

Top to bottom (left to right)
The Swan Hotel; the gardens of The Swan Hotel; Arlington Row; a walk around Bibury. 
(All pictures by Leaff)

Top to bottom
The Bridal Suite; The Lounge; The Bar. 
(Top 2 pictures grabbed off google - author, please feel free to identify yourself - last picture by Leaff)

From the very beginning when we were viewing The Swan, right through to the end, the staff were absolutely outstanding. 

All in all, we visited the venue around 5 times - most of the time asking to take measurements and photos for this and that - and each time the staff could not be more helpful and accommodating. Julia, our wedding Co-ordinator at The Swan, was on hand through the entire 12 months of planning, answering my obscene amounts of emails with such ease. And on the day? They did us very proud.

For pictures of The Swan on the day of our wedding, you will have to wait a while longer, until that post is revealed in week 6.

The Swan Hotel, Bibury, Gloucestershire, GL7 5NW.
Visit: www.the_swan_hotel.co.uk
Email: jhearnden@cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk
Call: 01285 740 695

To read about and see our wedding invitations, follow this link to an earlier blog post.

Don't miss next week's post on Attire. Includes dress visuals, suits, accessories, palette ideas and purchase details!

07 November 2011

New name, new age, new energy...

As some of you may already know from our tweets or Facebook updates, I am back, and Leaff has now officially re-opened.

For those of you who are utterly confused by our last (very delayed) music post, it was meant to be published just after I closed Leaff in early October, but obviously something went wrong somewhere (technically). I wanted to release it anyway, as it was a great post about a great artist - I hope that you felt it was worth the wait too.

After an amazing wedding, a completely rejuvenating honeymoon in the Maldives, and with my new age (yes, today is my Birthday) I really couldn't feel more ready and excited to get back into things with Leaff. During our last few days in the Maldives, I allowed myself to have a little think about Leaff and reflect on all that is to come. I even left a little piece of it there on the beach...


So what is in the pipeline for Leaff and where are we going to be focussing our energy?

We have lots coming up before the new year - new projects to be released into our portfolio, the build up to the launch of our shop in the new year, and the exciting series of wedding posts that I am set to release weekly over the next couple of months. From these I aim to give you an abundance of inspiration, information and advice on planning a wedding, complete with contact information for all of our own suppliers, and finally, I will be sharing our own personal wedding with you.

Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for all updates and any offers that we have running, if you are not already linked up with us on there. All blog post releases are also posted on both Facebook and Twitter, so you will never miss out.
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