What’s In My Bag – Wedding Guest Edition

What's in my Bag - Wedding Guest Edition. Chanel handbag with Coco Chanel, shoes, red lipstick, iPhone, jewellery, and purse

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So, let’s face it, when you’re putting together your outfit for a wedding, style nearly always comes before practicality. Many a time, I have worn a pair of shoes that murder my feet, and wear an outfit that starts to feel slightly snug after the wedding breakfast. When it comes to handbags, things don’t get much more sensible either, but at the same time, you don’t need the huge tote that you probably carry around day-to-day either, here is a little ‘What’s in My Bag’ round up of what I think are the wedding day essentials if you’re going as a guest.

1. The bag itself

You don’t want to go with something teeny-tiny, unless you’re staying in the same venue, and can pop upstairs if you need something. You need something that is easy to hold, preferably hands free, so that you can hold a glass of champagne and a canapé at the same time! I love an over-sized clutch, that looks stylish, but you can tuck it underneath your arm, or a cute little bag with a long strap that you can wear over your shoulder.

2. Your phone

Which is great as it doubles up as a camera too. Most phones these days are pretty slim so should slot easily into your bag. If you usually use a phone case, take it off, to make more room, and just be extra careful after you’ve had a few cocktails! If, like me, you struggle to keep your battery going throughout the day, switch it to airplane mode, you can still use the camera, and you shouldn’t really need it for much else throughout the day, and then just switch it back later on when you need to call a cab to take you home.

3. The makeup BASICS

And I mean basics. I am definitely guilty of taking too many things, and then using one or two of them throughout the day. I think the fear is that it is such a long day that you will need constant touch-ups later on. All I really think you need, is your lipstick, a little sample size of the perfume that you are using and maybe one more item – for me it would be a brow pencil as this is the thing that generally doesn’t stay on me all day, but it will be different for everyone. If you have a good skin care routine and use a decent primer most thing should stay put. I have also recently been using the Urban Decay ‘All Nighter’ makeup setting spray, and swear by it, it really sticks everything in place for hours. When it comes to it, you’ll probably be having far too much fun to worry about your makeup anyway.

4. A bank card and a couple of notes

You don’t need to take your whole purse (and let’s face it, they are usually full of receipts and other rubbish and ridiculously heavy!) Take out the card that you need, and maybe draw out some cash beforehand, especially if you think you are going to need to take a cab anywhere, or if you need money for the collection plate at a church ceremony. Most handbags have a little zip pocket somewhere that you can stash this stuff in so that it is secure.

5. Sunglasses (optional)

If you’re going to a summer wedding, you’ll all be praying for sun in the weeks leading up. Check the weather forecast and if you think it is going to be nice, pop a pair of sunnies in your bag, you don’t want to be squinting all day, especially if you’re going to be caught on camera!

And finally…6: Tissues!

Maybe you’re not as emotional as me, but I always get a lump in  my throat and a tear in my eye whenever the music starts and the bride begins to walk down the aisle, but I definitely need my tissues at a wedding. Again, you only need a couple, so take them out of the packaging and stuff them into the empty space in your bag.

And on one final note, I don’t know about you, but wherever we go (wedding or otherwise) my husband always asks me to put his wallet and keys into my bag. On a normal day, I am more than happy to carry his various bits and pieces (despite all of my suggestions, he is not that keen on purchasing a ‘man bag’), but on a wedding day, we have a strict, carry your own possessions rule.What do you think? What do you carry in  your wedding handbags? I’d love to know in the comments below.

A xx

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Bridal Beauty by Alexandria Events

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Recently I have been loving Kylie McMichael’s Beauty Classes and it has got me thinking about bridal beauty. Everyone wants to look their best on their wedding day and the bridal beauty world can seem quite intimidating to begin with, so here are my top tips (and top products) to help you out.

1. Choose your makeup artist and hair stylist and have a trial early

I learned the hard way that sometimes, people can’t live up to what they claim, and I actually had to sack my first MUA as she let me down more than once and it became increasingly apparent that, while her skills were excellent, she wasn’t going to be able to cope with the number of people that needed makeup and hair on the day. Even when I pointed out that she was going to need an assistant, she flat out refused, so I just lost all confidence in her, she then failed to turn up to an appointment we had made, and for me that was the final straw. Luckily I found the AMAZING Dena from Makeup by Miki and Stacey Austin and just fell in love with them both. They are both just really calm and cool, fun, and talented, exactly the kind of people you want around on your wedding day!

They also both listened to me, found out exactly what I wanted for the day, asked sensible questions about what my dress was like and the overall style of the wedding day. You need people to care about more than just their portion of the wedding day, and understand how everything needs to gel together.

Alexandria Events own wedding day, Dena Naji is doing Alexandria's makeup

Image by Mark Seymour 

You also need to listen to them too though, good MUAs and hairdressers seriously know their stuff, and even if you think you know what you want, be open to suggestions. The most important things on your wedding day, in my opinion, are:

– That you feel gorgeous
– That you feel like ‘you’
– Comfort
– That everything stays put ALL Day

2. Choose a special fragrance for the day

I decided to buy a brand new perfume for our wedding day and I am so glad that I did. Smells really evoke memories for me and now, every time I wear that scent it transports me back to that day. I went to Jo Malone to have a consultation before our wedding and actually decided upon a scent pairing of Grapefruit and Oud and Bergamot. I love both fragrances separately, as well as together and it has kind of become my signature scent now and it is easy for my husband to buy me presents now as he can build up my collection, with the accompanying body washes, dry oils, lotions, candles – the list is endless!

Jo Malone perfumes for wedding day memories

Image from Bloomingdales

3. Get prepared!
This can mean different things to different people but for me, this meant:

Teeth Whitening
Obviously this isn’t a priority for everyone but it was something I had wanted to do for a while and thought, what better time to get sparkly white teeth! I started my whitening treatment about 6 months before our wedding date. I did the Zoom At Home programme, where your dentist creates bespoke molds for your teeth and then you wear them with the whitening bleach for 2-3 hours each evening for about two weeks. I then did a ‘top up’ a couple of weeks before the wedding and just did 2 or 3 days. I would say that this can make your teeth (and gums actually) really sensitive so make sure you don’t do it too close to the date. Even if you’re not into teeth whitening, but want to add a bit of sparkle, you can have an appointment with your Hygienist a week or so before the wedding so that they can give your teeth a good scrub!

Regular Hair Appointments
I am the kind of girl that usually gets their hair cut once or twice a year but I thought, if my hair is going to look its best on our wedding day, I need to give it a bit more love! I made sure I had a trim every six weeks and I did really notice the difference. It definitely had more bounce and shine, and overall just looked so much healthier.

Facials
Again, this is definitely not an essential, but I decided to have a few facials in the months leading up to our wedding. I have such dry skin and it is an absolute nightmare to look after sometimes so I thought I would give myself a fighting chance by letting the experts work their magic on it. It was also just a lovely little luxury in the lead up to the wedding when I could just relax and stop thinking about table plans and orders of service for an hour! I find that facials are really expensive and I can’t really justify them to myself now that the wedding is over, so I like to have little pamper sessions at home with lovely relaxing bubble baths with my favourite oils and bath bombs, whack on a face pack and grab a good book.

Skincare in general
Facials can only do so much, and what is more important, is that you look after your skin on a regular basis. Cleansing, and taking your makeup off every night is so important and there are so many easy-to-use products now that there really is no excuse not to! That brings me onto moisturisation – at the moment, I am trying out Philosophy products and I have to say, so far, so good… I start a spritz of rose water (not from philosophy, just a cheap brand I found on Amazon), then follow with the ‘When Hope is Not Enough’ facial oil and rub really well into my face, concentrating on my driest areas (usually nose and in between my eyebrows) and then follow up with their ‘Hope in a Jar’ which I love! It is quite thin but this means that it goes a long way. I used to think I needed much thicker, richer creams for my dryness but actually, this is brilliant and I suppose the ingredients are more important than texture? Let me know if you have any miracle products for very dry skin – I’d love to know!

Hope in a Jar by Philosophy

Image by Philosophy

Scrubs
As I mentioned before – I have dry skin, so in order to get close to silky smooth skin, I need to scrub and polish like there is no tomorrow! My favourite body scrub is the REN Morrocan Rose Oil but there are so many out there to choose from. For skin like mine, I always prefer an oil based scrub, so that it moisturises and exfoliates at the same time. You can even make up your own at home with olive oil and sugar or salt. I try to scrub at least once a week anyway but made an extra special effort in the lead up to the wedding, and then followed it up with a body oil – I especially like the Garnier Body Ultimate Beauty Oil (and it is really reasonably priced too!)

Lemon body scrub

Nails
So, if you’re engaged already, you will already know that people want to see your hands, or more specifically, your left one! Pretty fingernails are a must on your wedding day. I went for a french manicure, using Shellac, but actually, I wish I had gone for a colour, maybe even a bold pink or red. I also find that Shellac french manicures never last as long as a block colour and even chipped a bit on my honeymoon which was really disappointing.

French manicure

Image from Pretty Designs

Fake Tan
This is going to be a contentious one because I know that not everyone likes or wears tan, or you might wear it now and again but the idea of wearing it alongside a white dress fills you with dread! I am naturally very pale so always like to have a bit of colour, but was terrified of a) looking too brown (or orange) against my ivory gown, or, even worse, a bit rubbing off onto it. I toyed with the idea of having a professional spray tan but all of the ones I tested were just wayyyy too dark for me and after a few days, although they faded to a more natural colour, they became a bit patchy (that bloody dry skin again!) despite all of my moisturising efforts. Eventually I decided to just do a light layer of Dove Summer Glow for about 3-4 days in the lead up to our wedding, making sure that I gently exfoliated and moisturised every day too. It was definitely the best decision for me as I was exactly the colour that I wanted to be on the big day.

I hope this post has been helpful and do let me know your bridal beauty must-haves in the comments below!

A x

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Spring Styled Shoot at Oakley Hall

Hello everyone!

I am really excited to share this shoot with you. It was such a fun project to work on, and I met some great suppliers, not only because of their talent (which there is buckets of!) but were also lovely, friendly, and professional to work with. We held the shoot at Oakley Hall , a beautiful wedding venue and hotel, in Hampshire. Their grounds are fabulous and our photographer Jacques was spoilt for choice with shoot locations.

I wanted to create a fresh, floral, and floaty overall look for the day. Originally I was thinking of all pastel and ice cream colours, but when Paul, our florist, said he could get bold blue hydrangeas – I knew that we needed to incorporate them somehow, and they really became the focal point in terms of flowers. This is one of the reasons it is sooo important to talk to your florist about what you would like for your big day. They truly are experts, and can help you choose the perfect blooms for your colour scheme, and the time of the year.

Here are some of my favourite images from the day, and check out my Portfolio page for more, as well as a list of all of the suppliers involved:
You can see more images on my Portfolio page as well as a list of all of the suppliers involved and links to their website. We were also lucky enough to get it featured on the English Wedding Blog – click here to see more:

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The Quintessentially Wedding Atelier

 

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the fabulous Quintessentially Wedding Atelier at Two Temple Place. Having been to the event before, no rx at Somerset House, I already had high expectations, but I have to say, it was truly spectacular.

 

On entry we were greeted by the very cool team from Holy Water, who create the most incredible bespoke cocktails that would be perfect for any event. The drinks below are a combination of gin, pomegranate, and another secret ingredient, topped off with an edible rose petal, a blueberry, and apple sherbet.

 

 

From there, we were spoilt for choice with the likes of Phillipa Lepley and Vivienne Westwood, showcasing their stunning array of bridal gowns, to spectacular floristry from Wild At Heart, Juliet Glaves, and of course, the wonderful Paula Rooney. There was even an a carpet of real grass, that took you down to the Gina Conway Salon. As well as delivering relaxing hand massages and hair styling, the team were also launching their Privé service which offers hair, beauty and make up, as well as yoga and Pilates at your home, office or hotel room – amazing!

 

As Paula, and Nicki Macfarlane, were both involved in my own wedding, it was lovely to have a catch up with them, and share some images of our special day.

 

Image by Mark Seymour

 

It was especially nice to meet more unusual suppliers, such as Sammy Aki, The Groom Style Consultant, who focuses on putting together exceptional outfits for men on their wedding day. It is about time the guys got a bit pampered I think! This kind of service is something that I think could really take off, grooms want to impress as much as the brides on their big day!

 

I was also blown away by the delightful cocktail and petit four pairing from Caper and Berry – I could have spent my whole afternoon sampling their creations. My particular favourite was the Bellini/Profiterole combination – simply stunning!

 

 

I could go on (and on and on) about how lovely the whole day was, but instead, I would just encourage you to go yourselves! A must for any bride (or groom!) to be! The next event will be held at Somerset House on 10th and 11th of April – tickets are available on request by emailing atelier@quintessentiallyweddings.com  See you there!
 

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Back to School…The Life of a Wedding Planner

Cute Pencils with hearts, <a href= viagra 100mg Back to School Blog, visit this Alexandria Events Luxury Bespoke Wedding Planner” width=”900″ height=”900″ />

When I decided to set up my own wedding business, I knew the best way to learn more and improve, was to spend time with the experts – people who had already established successful careers in the industry. 

I have been doing this in a variety of ways, from assisting top wedding planner, Andri Benson, from Always Andri, to developing relationships with other wonderful wedding suppliers and coming together to plan a very special styled shoot (we will reveal all soon….)

But as well as hands on experience and learning by example, I do love to sit in a classroom and learn. I’ve always been this way, my husband actually calls me a nerd, and even though he says it to tease me, I actually quite like it!

So off the back of that, I started researching the different courses and opportunities out there for Wedding Planners, and the first thing that I realised is that there are A LOT! I’m sure all of them have their own merits, but the one the appealed to me was ‘The Life of a Wedding Planner’ Course, run by Dominique Douglas, owner of Stylish Events. This was because:

a) it seemed excellent value for money (£99 for a whole day’s workshop!) 

b) I liked how it was described – ‘the life of a wedding planner’ seemed to be exactly what I wanted to know about, all of the ins and outs

c) after looking at the Stylish Events website, it looked like the kind of successful company that I wanted to know more about and learn from. 

So I hopped on the train to Canary Wharf, with my notebook and pencils, ready to absorb every snippet of information that I possibly could. I was not disappointed…It was such a valuable day from start to finish. There were only five of us in the group, which made it really friendly and intimate, and the way that Dominique had formatted the day meant that we spent a good chunk of the morning getting to know each other, finding out everyone’s motivations for being there, and where they were up to in their wedding career ‘journey’. We then went on to discuss all aspects of wedding planning, from how and where to get clients, to how create useful spreadsheets, invoices, and contracts. Everything was covered, and if it wasn’t Dominique was more than happy to answer any of our questions, and made us comfortable to ask them (even the silly ones!).

Overall it was a great experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about becoming a planner, whatever stage you are at, it’s worth it! I left feeling really inspired and confident that I am capable of achieving my dreams! 

Audrey Hepburn quote, Back to School, Life of a Wedding Planner, Alexandria Events Luxury Bespoke Wedding Planner

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