Monday, 3 February 2014

A Hollywood ending...

With everything in the wedding industry being saturated in all things vintage, when I was approached to work on a different era it was so refreshing! Enter the Hollywood bride Niki....

Niki,  had a clear vision as a bride of what she wanted from the start, her Hollywood Glamour dream was lit by candlelight and accented with crystals. She wanted to take her wedding back in time, to the nostalgic era of the Hollywood icons of old, such as Marylyn Monroe. She started by sending inspirational pictures of how she would like the end result to be, and describing her more personal idea’s. She settled on our bespoke service, and we embarked on designing the wedding she had dreamed of.

Working with a bride like Niki is a real change of pace, she knew exactly what she wanted, and only needed a little direction from me. She had each area of the venue mapped out in her mind, and had plans for everything. My job was to source & clearly define everything we needed for the final designs, and of course make sure logistically it was all possible.

The ceremony area was in an open plan area of the venue,  so we constructed a tall white draped area to enclose the ceremony, giving her privacy from prying public eyes. We kept everything in black and white, from the love seat they were married under hung with black & clear crystals, to the pedestals covered in candles. 

The entrance to the reception was to be a red carpet affair, with giant gold statues and a personalised clapper board. This was to lead through to the drinks area, complete with brand new white chesterfield chill out area, away from the main room to relax in, completing this Hollywood VIP vibe. Niki wanted to reveal her main reception room to the guests in style, so we specially made some huge Hollywood screen style red curtains, at the given moment, they were to be opened with a flourish revealing the main room.

Niki had envisioned romance, so we were sparing on the fairy lights, and professional lighting solutions, and went for pure candle light. The result would be a truly romantic setting, with Art Deco inspired drapes and back drops to complete the look.

After dinner there was to be a second reveal, we decided to construct a separating white voil archway down the centre of the room, giving the illusion of an intimate soirée. Once dinner was finished we were to draw back the archway revealing a starlit room, complete with old school Hollywood photo scene and black and white dance floor.   

Niki’s finished wedding had developed and grown since our first meeting, the end result was truly a Hollywood romance.  Each area of her day was designed with thoughtfulness and care, to insure each reveal to the new section was seamless and stylised. I was so happy for Niki and her groom Anton, they embodied their chosen theme on the day and looked like Vintage Hollywood stars. They walked the red carpet like pro’s and partied the night away, so much so that I think even Frank Sinatra would have been impressed!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

A Fairy Tale Wedding

A while back we started a competition to give away a themed wedding to promote what we do. We really wanted to help a bride who had a truly unique idea for her wedding come true. After reading hundreds of entries, stretching from Disney ideas through to race car themes, I fell completely head over heels for Maria's idea, she wrote to me about a magical enchanted forest dream she wanted for her wedding, and I knew this was absolutely the wedding I wanted to take on.

Below is an excerpt from her entry......
“I'd love an enchanted forest theme.  Lots of greenery by way of trees or bushes.  Twinkly lights for stars, discreet animals peeking out (butterflies, birds, squirrels (not real!) lots of flowers on the tables, birdcages and lanterns hanging from branches of the trees, maybe some toadstools and mushrooms to sit on for funky pictures, grass table tops perhaps or maybe on just one table with some flowers made of sweets growing out of the grass...... it works in my mind I'm just not great at explaining it! (Or I'm a bit crazy!)”

Challenge accepted, and so the design began!
After speaking with Maria she explained she had written this while recovering from surgery, and was a little surprised at what she had written. I sensed a sudden wave of uncertainty from this bride at taking on a fully themed wedding, what would her friends think, would people think it was funny instead of beautiful, would it be too “much”!

It was then I explained to Maria that I would only take this on if I thought I would be able to create something that would take her breath away, in every magical and beautiful way. And luckily for me, she put her worries behind her and we both threw ourselves into the design. Now I just needed to deliver a fairytale ....

I wanted to incorporate everything Maria had mentioned in her original plan, but slightly tone it down for her. I wanted to create an elegant decor with lots of traditional white, and gently bring in touches of forest as if it was bewitched and just creeping in to peak at the wedding.

Maria and Dan were amazing throughout this process, and gave a wonderful amount of trust and faith to me to create this for them. So slowly the plan came together....
Maria wanted to give her guests an element of falling down the rabbit hole, or walking into Narnia, so we set up a huge wardrobe door for the guests to step through into Maria & Dan’s wonderland.

They then walked through an enchanted garden complete with wishing well, into the main reception room which had officially turned into a forest. The centre pieces touched the ceiling, and tiny feathered birds & butterflies looked down on the guests. Handmade sugar flowers surrounded the base which guests were encouraged to snack on!

Real moss was added upon the tables to really give that textured forest feel, and spirals of tall birch stretched high, draped with glints of crystal. With the chairs each having their own dress, and ivy wrapped around to complete the look, it really came together. The top table was crowned by a stunning pink blossom tree while the dance floor was framed by two enchanted tress complete with toadstools!
For some added fun I created a really loud and out there photo room, complete with dressing up box for everyone to enjoy in the evening. This went down extremely well, and everyone got into the spirit of it.

I was so nervous before Maria arrived, I think this was the most nervous I have been in years! However when Maria and Dan stepped through the wardrobe and saw everything for the first time I was delighted at their reaction. Maria said instantly “it looks like the inside of my head!” I think one of the strangest and yet most delightful comments I have ever had from one of my brides!
And the rest as they say is history, the couple went on to enjoy a wonderful day, and they lived happily ever after! 

Supporting cast....

We would like to offer special thanks to,
Rick Lehmann for the amazing photo's, at

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Real Wedding: Vintage Barn Wedding With A Rustic Vibe

"George and I are both so grateful to theme-works weddings for making our special day an even more beautiful and memorable experience. The professionalism and support shown by both Philippa and her team made the wedding theming process an enjoyable and fulfilling journey, to take a vision from us and then make it come to life like they did with such enthusiasm really was incredible - it was better than I ever could have imagined. "

.... The are the words of one of the most wonderful couples I have ever worked with. You may have seen this bride mentioned a couple of times on our blog, and this was the final result. It's almost sad when a journey with one of our brides come to an end, but what a day to remember this was!

Starting from scratch
Pam came to us with her venue already booked, and she wanted to use her venue as inspiration to create a magical wedding theme. When Pam and I sat down I soon realised that our bespoke option was best for her, we looked through our packages and nothing really fit her vision. So after a site visit we settled on our plan of action for Pam’s big day.

With Pam’s wedding I really wanted to capture her personality. She used to work in the theatre so I wanted to add an air of the dramatic, she also is an avid reader and collector of romantic literature anything from Shelley’s poetry or the scripts of Shakespeare. She also has a love of all things vintage so this was an obvious choice for a theme. 
Pam’s venue was set in grounds of a beautiful old boarding school, with glorious grounds, the ceremony and reception was to take place in a stunning old barn with the added extra bonus of many garden areas to take advantage of. With all this in mind we settled on a main vintage barn theme.

Poetry & Plays

For centre pieces I decided to use vintage style crockery, filled with flowers, each centre piece was to be its own scene. Laid upon a hessian runner, with tree trunk slice base, the crockery was laid under and around a vintage style bell jar. I wanted to tie in vintage books, so Pam and I went on a hunt through boot sales to collect up a lovely collection of poetry & plays each book carefully chosen. We then creating table numbers out of the books adding to the personality of the theme.
There were some very un-sightly carpeted basis to glorious wooden beams holding up the barn, and Pam was keen to cover them up it some way. So I decided to try and blend them into the vintage barn environment, I settled on using hessian wrapped round the outside of the base, and covering the top with green moss. 
The entrance of the barn was huge, it had arched beams and stone steps leading up into the barn, so we designed huge white draped curtains reaching from top to bottom to soften the entrance but also create that dramatic feel. 

Flora & Fauna

The flowers were designed to be soft and simple, with the main flower being baby’s breath and the scent of rosemary and eucalyptus in the air. The bride’s bouquet was elegant with soft roses and vintage touches with the adorable flower girl carrying an orb of baby’s breath on a length of sage green satin ribbon. 
We set about creating various chill out areas in the garden and grounds, such as fountains, seating areas, and giant games of chess and croquet. Pam & George were a huge influence on the design of the wedding, George’s grounded nature, and Pam’s love of the theatrical. 

Happily Ever After

The overall effect was wonderful, a really intimate feel with the happy couple marrying in front of the candle lit fire place, with hand carved ring box made out of a copy of Jane Austin’s Emma, a gift from George to Pam years ago recycled to be part of their day.  

Pam was stunning in vintage lace and the happy couple enjoyed the day in a haze of French champagne and Scottish traditions. I haven’t seen a happier couple in long while!

Supporting cast 

Special thanks to....
The Brighton Flower Company
Jeff Carrigan Wedding Photography

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Real Wedding: Traditional Jewish Wedding With a Vintage Vibe

"Thanks so much. It was just the most incredible day, it  was more than I could have imagined.You & Kate were just amazing and we were so grateful for her hard work to make it perfect for us."

 ... These are the words of one of our beautiful brides, Amanda. Her Jewish wedding got a hint of classic elegance with accents of vintage styling in the hands of our fabulous team.

Starting from the Scratch
Amanda wanted a traditional Jewish wedding with all the trimmings, but with a glamorous vintage vibe. She decided Theme-Works Weddings was a good fit to bring her vision to life after meeting with our one of our special account managers Kate. Amanda opted for our bespoke design package, this means designing her wedding from a scratch instead of choosing one of our set packages. Bespoke styling makes each wedding very personalised, creating something unique for the bride. It was perfect option for Amanda who had a clear goal on what she wanted for her big day.

Candelabras and Hand Made Chair Covers

After having a clear vision on what Amanda wanted, Kate and  I started designing a perfect wedding for her. As with every wedding, attention is often in the details and smaller accents. Amanda's wedding was no exception, a true example of this was the oversized candelabras. The glossy black finish teamed with the floral design was a perfect harmony of glamour & vintage, the extra height enhanced the visual experience as guests enter the room. Rather than using our own, we out sourced for the perfect candelabras to fit brilliantly into this theme. And the result was absolutely stunning! Dashing candelabras with elegant flower décors were totally eye-catching.

To encompass Amanda's theme, we also worked on a chair design. Together with my team we hand made 300 new sashes for Amanda, with a vintage embroidered satin ribbon fastening. This really enhanced the styling, chairs in our book should not be an afterthought any more than accessories be an afterthought for an outfit.

Tying all the flower designs in was very important, Amanda had a clear idea of what she wanted, and we wanted to bring this together for her. After working closely with our florist we put together a simple & timeless design with hints of colour & understated sparkle.

The most important thing for me as a wedding designer is to never loose site of the bride's original ideas while developing a wedding design, only work towards her vision & support her as much as possible.

Happily Ever After
The end result came together perfectly, even the weather was on our side. The clouds parting only minutes before the outside ceremony started, and the sun shining down on the risen chuppa we bravely put in place in the drizzle! Amanda of course looked stunning, along with her handsome groom, and the two of them & their friends and family celebrated in true style. What an amazing day!

We would like to give a special credit to "The Brighton Flower Company" who bought our styling ideas to life with their floral flourish. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Once Illusive Gay Wedding

Introducing Leni Donnelly

This blog is written by one of our event interns, Leni. She gives us a view into the current topic of gay weddings which - despite the element of mystery it holds - are not so different from any other wedding. Leni writes about her friends' big day full of magical surprises, happy tears, and, as Leni's picture reveals to us, a couple of tequilas!

"The words ‘I’m going to my first gay wedding this year’ are about to be uttered a whole lot more now that the UK Government have dragged themselves into the modern century and realised that a gay marriage is actually OK.

But a gay wedding still holds an element of mystery and intrigue for some people. I’m not sure that I can be considered anywhere close to an authority on this matter, having only been to one in my life, but I will go on record now as saying this...there is no difference! Family, friends and loved ones gather in a special place to witness promises between two people in love. Isn’t that what a wedding is all about? It’s purely a celebration of love?

Although I have mentioned the politics already I do not want this in any way, shape or form to become a political monologue about a gay marriage. However, I do want to try to help dispel any misconceptions, apprehension, or myths that surround the illusive gay wedding the only way I know how. Sharing my experiences; yes, sharing is caring!

The memorable event I allude to, took place on a balmy September day in Hull. Now I’ll stop you there, ‘Hull?’ I hear you protest, Yes, Hull everyone. Weddings take place there too, and yes it can be beautiful. Having lived in this little northern city for over seven years, I feel the need to defend it from sometimes unfair bad press. OK, it’s not Venice, but it has a lot of charm I tell you. You just have to search a little bit harder to find it that’s all.

Anyhow I digress...apologies.

So like I said; it was September. The couple in question were my long term friends Rachel and Emma who had been together seven years at this point, and planning their big day for almost two of those years. Rachel had been the one to propose. She was not the manlier or the ‘butch’ in the relationship as I know some people presume there must be. She just always knew that she would be the one to propose, because she wanted that honour.

I asked her afterwards; why then? She gave me this look as if to say ‘it was the perfect place you fool! It was a sunset on a secluded beach paradise in Thailand’. Yes I am aware that does make me sound foolish, but that wasn’t really what I was asking. I just wondered why at that point in their relationship she decided to do it. The simple answer was ‘I couldn’t wait any longer to make her my wife’. Words I’m have been uttered by many a person who is ready to take on that commitment, male or female.

So the day finally comes around and this is all we have been talking about for what seems like forever. I felt like I was the one getting married and the excitement was tangible. I got to know all the little surprises they had planned for each other. Like the cream VW combi that Rachel had paid for Emma to arrive in and the surprise honeymoon back to that proposal spot that Emma had so meticulously arranged for Rachel. So many magical secrets were kept in the run up to that day!

Then we’re in this beautiful hotel, Emma is gliding down the aisle towards her future wife, in a sleeveless,  off white, unbelievable gown . Rachel is standing next to her ‘best men’ all decked in a half tux, half hipster get up, looking just the coolest I think I have ever seen anyone look. They are both in tears, and as I glance around through blurry eyes, I see everyone is in tears, including me!

The rest of the day was just as I described, what I deem any wedding should be, a celebration! It was a mash up of both of their personalities exploded into a traditional & untraditional event, their perfect day.

There were no roles that I could see that differed from any other wedding I had been too, (apart from the overly tearful best friend, that just couldn't seem to stop telling the happy couple how amazing it all was) I’ll let you decide who you think may have played that part...

There were no awkward moments by any of the guests young or old, in deciding who they thought was the "bride". All everyone saw that day was two people in love saying ‘I do’...magical!

So I put it to you now. Is a gay marriage really that illusive? I must admit that I was wrong (It does happens you know!)
The difference about "The gay wedding" is...well every wedding is different! You may have been to fifty weddings or none at all, but you will see that no two are the same. So my advice is the same as it would be if you were going to any wedding...

Just enjoy it!!!! ...What? I said advice, not rocket science!"

A big thank you to Leni for giving us glimpse into this lovely wedding. Nothing is better than seeing a happy couple in love enjoying their big day. I really love the VW camper and the rainbow flag, very retro and unique!

For more on what our interns are up too, why not check out there twitter, or their own blog!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Wedding planning from the man’s perspective

Introducing Andrew Coates 

This is a new blog by one of our event interns, Andy, who took his first view into the world of weddings in his blog. Most men spend more time thinking about football than weddings, but Andy doesn't want brides to shut the grooms out from any decision making. Men want to have fun with planning too, and have their own opinions, even if its just what beer is served.

"When I was first asked to write a wedding blog, I have to admit I maybe wasn't as keen as I could have been. As a 22 year old guy, weddings aren't exactly my forte and I can’t say I've ever really thought about them too much. My friends got engaged a few months ago and when they told us the news, the girls in our group of friends went crazy. They started firing out hundreds of questions about everything from themes, to table centers and chair covers, to cake.

It was slightly different with the guys. I think there were 2 questions asked. ‘What are you doing for the stag do?’ and ‘is there an open bar?’ Yes was the answer to the second question and we suddenly got a little more interested.

With not much of an idea on what to base this blog on, I had a quick Google search to see what other wedding bloggers were writing about. There was plenty on dresses, food and themes, but only a handful for what men think about / might want at their wedding.

And as I was searching the internet, I started to realize how little input into the wedding the groom seems to have. Is this true or is it just because the blogs are directed to the bride-to-be’s? I imagine it’s a bit of both.
Therefore, I think it’s important that future brides realize that as a gender we probably do think about our wedding more than we let on. There are definitely areas that we don’t really want to get involved in (flowers all look alike to me), but at the same time there are areas that we do have an opinion on.

I found myself questioning the layout of some venues, loving the ideas of some wedding themes, choosing what music I would like and I've never cringed so much at some of the wedding photos I saw. Seriously, if the photographer at my wedding get’s me to jump with my best man for a photo, or to pick up the bride horizontally, then I will tell them where to go....

My advice to any future brides out there planning a wedding would be keep us well away of certain details. I don’t think I would be much help with the seating plan for example, but then let us have some fun on other areas.

I think as a gender we could shine when it came to choosing the car that we left in, organizing the alcohol, and for me personally, I think I would get very involved in the music we had.  If your fiancée is passionate about cars for example, then let him take charge of transport. I bet he would love to be responsible for choosing the cars you arrive and leave in, and it might mean he would stop being a hindrance to you as you got to grips with something he has little interest in. If you start to get fed up with how much he keeps going on about the cars, remember he’s probably thinking the same about the colour scheme!

I of course, am not suggesting that you were planning on shutting him out from any decision making, but I think I would be a lot keener in getting involved in the organisation if I had less responsibility on the table centres for example, and more on what beer was available. The day is for both of you after all. Whilst I think in most cases the bride has been thinking about the day for longer, a lot longer most probably, I bet the groom has a couple of ideas he would love to have on the day, and the wedding would benefit if it showed both sides of the couple.

This is by far the most I have ever thought about a wedding and my brain is starting to hurt. I’m the first to admit that a 22 year old male isn't the best person to ask for advice on weddings, but I’d like to think there are some valid points in my ramblings. I am also quite glad that my male friends will probably never see this blog as I am sure I would get some serious banter. I now feel I need to go and do something very manly so I am going to check the ashes score, see if there is anything interesting happening in the world of football and organize some beer and poker for my Friday night"

I love this perspective into the male psych on the topic of weddings, girls, lets perhaps relinquish some of the control, and get the grooms in on the fun! A big thank you to Andy for taking on a daunting topic, keep up the hard work!

For more on what our interns are up too, why not check out there twitter, or their own blog!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

DIY Wedding Ideas

After a little thought I decided to do our next piece on how to do it yourself. This may sound strange as we are a theming company, and would like nothing more than to do it for you! However I really wanted to show you how, with a little creativity, you can achieve a lot, from not that much.

So here we are, the following Items I have made completely from scratch, at little to no cost.....

1. Vintage style vase or candle holder

I am sorry to say that I am a complete coffee addict so this one was a tad selfish, as I got to drink lots of coffee to complete the task! Take an empty coffee jar, or another similar jar (to be fair it doesn't have to be coffee) clean it and remove all the labels.
Raid your craft supplies and find.....

  • A length of lace 
  • length of ribbon
  • Super Glue

Cover the outside of the jar with glue, enough to make all sides tacky, and then roll the length of lace round the jar. Leave to dry for around 30 mins, and check it is all secure, touching up if any segments that are loose. Once dry, tie the ribbon round the top of the jar to hid the lid rings.
And there you have it, with a candle inside the light glancing through the lace looks beautiful and romantic, it also can act as a vase if you prefer. Or if you are doing it in an office environment (as I am) a very fancy pen pot!

2. Unique table numbers

This one was a lot of fun, the first thing you need to do is find a girlfriend and split a bottle of fancy wine, the kind that comes from a really nice shaped bottle! This is the hard part, you must finish the whole bottle.....
Once you have an empty bottle you may want to wait until the next day to start the real crafty aspect, depending on how wobbly you feel after drinking the bottle. I did not wait and a happy 15 minutes was spent making an absolute mess, but the end result was pretty good so I wont complain!
Raid your craft supplies and find.....

  • Black board paint
  • wide paint brush
  • chalk

To start with make sure the outside of the bottle is clean and the labels removed, then paint the black board paint onto the bottle, covering it from top to bottom. Wait 30 minutes and then pop another coat on for good measure and leave it somewhere warm to dry over night. Once dry you can literally draw whatever you want onto the surface in chalk, my thought was to use it as table numbers. You could even leave a small pot of chalk on each table and ask guests to write messages or doodles as a keep sake. My only warning with this would be you may get addicted to black board paint, my partner is not impressed by the amount of items round the house and garden that have now become black boards!

3. Quirky vintage style ring holder

This may be my fave craft project although it was quite fiddly and time consuming. I would advice practicing this on a book you don't care about first, and then do the real thing with a book that has a little meaning. The first time is always the hardest and this project needs a little practice.
Raid your craft supplies and find.....

  • Old antique style book
  • Craft sharp scalpel (be careful please)
  • Gold Pen
  • Pencil
  • A piece of card
  • Glue

Once you have all your items, take the piece of card and draw a stencil of your choice, I am doing this for one of my brides next month, so I chose her wedding logo which is two love birds. My one piece of advice would be keep the shapes simple. Once you have your stencil open your book, and go about 10 pages in, pencil round your stencils onto the 11th page in a design of your choosing. This next bit is the hard part, and as I have said please be careful at this stage, take the scalpel and cut your shapes deep into the book.
Once you have reached about half way through the book, stop, and dig in a central line in the remaining depth of the book to create a ridge for the rings to sit in. I added a little hard shape, with a shallow depth and filled it in with gold pen for a little glam. Once all the shapes are finished glue the first 10 pages together, and leave to dry.
And there you have a lovely ring box to present to the bride and groom at that crucial moment. You can also, afterwards, glue into the book your order of service, any readings or pictures as a lovely memory book of the day.

4. Garland

So if you have made the ring box you may find you are left with a lot of shapes cut out from a book, and nothing to do with them. Well I am not a big fan of waste, so I decided to put them to good use. This is a quick and simple way to create a pretty garland.
Raid your craft supplies and find.....

  • A length of lace
  • A reel of cotton
  • A whole punch
  • Scissors

Take each shape and punch a whole into a central point, thread a length of cotton through the hole and tie it off cutting away the surplice. Once you have all your shapes on threads, lay out your length of lace, the wider the better for this use. Tie each shape in intervals along the lace in varying lengths, and cut away the surplice.
Now you have a garland, it looks lovely hanging in greenery, which is what I will be using it for at one of my weddings next month. But you can use it as your wish, and that, as they say, is that.

5. Fun chair design

If you are an avid reader of our social forums such as twitter, facebook and pinterest, you will know that I have a slight obsession with wedding chair designs. I recently had my whole team up until sillyaclock in the morning, hand sewing a sash design I dreamed up for a wedding we had earlier this year. One of my organizers asked why I have to make everything so complicated, which is what sparked my thought process for this particular design. I wanted to get an effect that was full of impact, but didn't take a year to make, or and arm and a leg to buy! So I came up with this,
Raid your craft supplies and find.....

  • Long scraps of material

This is so simple, but will only work in vintage style wedding with no particular color scheme, more a theme or style. Take a chair with a back made up of a ladder like shape, my fave to use is a Chiavari chair, but it can be any type even a simple kitchen chair. Take each length of material, and thread it through the back of the chair. With each new length of material, thread a slightly different way, to expose the wood at differing intervals. I made mine symmetrical because I cant have anything too haphazard (its a sickness!), however don't let me stop you from making it as mismatched as you like. You are left with a lovely effect, different fabrics will hang slightly differently, and the look would be full of impact with lots of chairs.

Well that is my inspiration for craft projects at its end, I have actually had a lot of fun putting this all together, and its quite satisfying seeing something come from a little effort! I'm not nearly as good as our prop maker, but I surprised myself with my crafty skills. I hope that reading this may inspire you to make something for your own big day, and surprise yourself, on the other other hand, you know where I am if you need help. As that is what we at Theme-Works Weddings do!