Sona from Inspired by Love Photography in Ireland, had the fortune to attend the recent Feather & Stone workshop in Provence. Lucky right? Beautifully styled by Lavender & Rose Weddings, the shoot took place amongst the olive groves the region is famous for, and of course was bathed in that exquisite South of France light!
If ever there was a case for getting married in winter this is it! Gorgeous light, so crisp and fresh! Alexis Diack captured this beautiful wedding of Lauren & Guy’s on a beautiful winters day in the Natal Midlands, South Africa, close to where the stunning bride grew up. Lauren’s Mother made her dress for her and it became a really special journey for the two of them together. She got so involved in the process she even went as far as taking courses in couture corsetry! Lauren explains more about this part of their journey and more below…
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: “I’ve never really given much thought to what my wedding dress would look like, for me the most important thing was to have a celebration with our friends and family. All I knew going in was that it was important to me to have a dress that was made from pure natural fibres, and ideally out of pure silks and cotton, it also needed be the dress that would be an important part of a day that would create lasting memories that were full of joy and love. I’ve always loved lace because my mother and grandmother had beautiful French lace on their gowns (my mothers ancestry is French Huguenot) and I quite like that tradition. I only went to two dress fittings and I kept it simple by just taking my mother with me. We tried on several lace dresses from high end couture to mass produced budget brands and despite the varying (sometimes eye watering) price tags they all get made overseas, in a factory and at the end of the day they all use the same linings and materials to stitch it together.
Until you actually try on a wedding dress, you really don’t get the full picture of how it is in reality. The gowns were all really beautiful and I did feel quite amazing in them but for me, it was quite an impersonal experience which made me feel very vulnerable and that was against what I was trying to achieve from the start. In my heart I always knew my mother would make my wedding dress and somehow it just evolved into that. My mother made my sisters wedding dress and I have vivid memories of her sitting up late at night hand stitching pearls on my sisters gown and to this day when I look at my sisters dress, all I see is a work of art and pure love.
When I asked my mom if she could make my dress for me, she was very excited, so was I and I felt so much better about the whole thing. She took the ideas I had in mind mixed it with my personality and started by cutting a pattern from scratch and it snowballed into a project that was just for the two of us. We ended up researching couture techniques and fashion history and we followed quite a traditional dressmaking method. We just loved learning all these new things together it was a very special time that we shared. My mom also knew that I didn’t want to wear a strapless gown in the chapel so the design she created was a strapless silk taffeta gown with a diamanté beaded sash for the reception and for the ceremony the dress had a silk lace bolero with ¾ length sleeves that was topped by a very romantic and floaty three layer silk paj skirt overlay which had a small train. My mom also talked me into getting a cathedral length veil and I’m so glad I did because it was so much fun and those little touches added a bit of drama to my dress.
The bodice was lined with a pure silk and flannel lining and the skirt was also lined with soft cotton muslin, so it was incredibly comfortable and light. My mother even took some courses in couture corsetry using books from the London College of Fashion syllabus. It was an absolute labour of love and even though my dress is really quite simple, when you look closely, the detail is extraordinary, the seams are invisible and even the thread used to stitch it together was silk. It was quite humbling and she made memories for me that are full of love and laughter and those special moments that we shared would have never been experienced had she not made my gown. It is a one off and one of the greatest gifts she has ever given me.
What was the inspiration for your wedding? Friends and Family! Plus it was an excuse to just have one big celebration where we could catch up with each other. We very happily chose to have our wedding in South Africa, first because of family and second because of our budget, it costs a lot less to get married in South Africa than it does in London. It was also the perfect chance to get everyone in the same room at the same time for one big party – something that is hard to do when you live far away. For me personally, our wedding was the first time in over 10 years that I had all of my family in the same room at the same time so it was very emotional. The inspiration behind the decor was to bring some of our UK life with us. We never really had a theme but the key words were, crisp, clean, homemade and vintage English fete in Africa. All I knew was that I wanted lots of white bunting and flowers.
Our venue was at Granny Mouse Country House in the Natal Midlands and close to where I grew up. We chose it because the location is beautiful, the accommodation is excellent the chapel overlooks the Caversham valley plus their website was easy to use and had all the information we needed to know online without having to phone or email and it included all their wedding packages together well as info about detailed inventories and itineraries which covered every aspect of our wedding weekend – this was a huge deciding factor and its so important when you are arranging your wedding from thousands of miles away. Their onsite wedding co-coordinator Candy was brilliant and their service and food was above and beyond excellent.
Any DIY/Budget elements? Our wedding had a very strict budget so Guy and I had to prioritise where to spend and where to save. As a result our whole wedding was DIY, we wanted a party but we didn’t want to waste our savings on one day when we have the rest of our lives to get through so it forced us to prioritise where we would spend and save. Having a wedding on a budget was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had and it made me come up with all sorts of creative solutions to things I never thought possible.
We chose to get married in the winter because packages cost much less which would give us more room to spend on important things for our guests enjoyment like quality wines and good food. We hid a lot of budget cuts in our décor that we did ourselves and we streamlined our flowers to choices that would add lots of volume and softness to the space but without breaking the bank.
Most memorable moment? The chapel doors opening and looking at my husband at the end of the aisle, seeing all our guests and family looking absolutely stunning and my dad squeezing my hand when he walked me up the aisle.
Anything other details that help tell the story of your day: My parents gave me a 1945 solid silver sixpence for my shoe which they bought from the Royal Mint, it was presented in a beautiful white box with the royal mint emblem on it and inside it had lovely card explaining the ‘sixpence for your shoe’ tradition – a real family heirloom in the making.
Photographer | Alexis Diack, Videographer | Michelle Rabe, Cake | Lana Joubert, Cupcake Couture
Florist | Kerrys Flowers and Decor, Ceremony Venue | Granny Mouse Country House, Dress Designer | Bride’s Mother
Shoes | Benjamin Adams London, Hair & Make-up | Bronwyn Louise Make-up and Hair, Bridesmaids Dresses | Dessy
Grooms Attire | Made to Measure – King and Allen, Cufflinks | Mulberry, Caterer | Granny Mouse Country House
DJ | Topjocks, Dave Ward, Chapel Music | Brides Aunt, Additional printing | Cassandra Kidson Design
My goodness I’m excited to showcase this incredibly gorgeous shoot from fellow kiwi (but now living in Vancouver) Lani Elias. She’s one talented lass I tell you!! And together with stylist Ashley Nicole they create a whole lot of beauty as they’ve done here. The juxtaposition of Claire Pettibone’s feminine gowns set against the natural dune backdrop is so picturesque, and I love that perfectly simple headpiece of greenery. All in all, a pinable feast. Makes me think how lovely it would be to escape to the dunes and have a private celebration in this setting!
Photography | Lani Elias Fine Art Photography, Styling and Art Direction | Ashley Nicole, Make-up | Jessica Kmiec
Hair | Prep Hair, Flowers | Academy Florist, Dresses | Claire Pettibone - Style ‘Peace’, Model | Kelli, Swish Model Management
You can never go wrong with classic black and white in a elegant setting with fresh greenery abound! And with the incredible Odalys Mendez behind the lens it’s captured to perfection! Kristy from Momental Designs designed a beautiful hand painted invitation suite, and the model wears the most gorgeous Claire Pettibone gowns. Speaking of the model, her hair and makeup is sooo lovely… thanks to Claudia Mejerle! You can see more of this shoot in the latest issue of Magnolia Rouge Magazine.
Photography | Odalys Mendez Photography, Design & Planning | Sarah Chancey Charm, Linens | I Do Linens
Floral Design | Lindsay Colletta Designs, Cake | Sweet Sensations, Stationery | Momental Designs, Gowns | Claire Pettibone
Venue | St. Regis, Jewellery | Tassels, Hair & Make-up | Claudia Mejerle, Groom’s attire | Guffrey’s, Rentals | Goodwin Events
Pizelles | Bella Cucina, Transport | Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Atlanta, Cigars | La Casa Del Tabaco Cigar Lounge
There is something about the Australian Bush - the stillness and silence – and it seems like such a special place to have a first look which is exactly what Erin and Sean did as captured by Maz Pedersen from LiFe Photography. This couple put so much preparation into their wedding, as did the bride’s Mum who not only made Erin’s dress and headpiece, but also the bouquet, boutonnieres, corsages and most of the desserts! Now that’s dedication… but then Mum’s are good like that aren’t they?
“Sean and I met on Australia Day in Sydney in 2003. He proposed on the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan just outside of Mexico City on Easter Sunday 2010. He proposed using a simple silver band that he bought in Taxco, Mexcio (where we had just been) which is famous for it’s silver. I wanted to incorporate Mexico into the day somehow and was inspired by their ‘Papel Picado’ bunting to make our ‘doily bunting’ (I love doilies too!). The pinata was obviously a little touch of Mexico too! Maps were quite a feature, they appeared in the invites (which we handmade), and followed in to the day. They seemed to fit well seeing as Sean and I are from opposite sides of the globe and we have travelled a lot together. The luggage tags which hung above us during the ceremony fit with that idea as well. I loved the idea of everyone’s wishes and words of wisdom hanging over us as we shared our vows. There were even some family and friends who were unable to be there who were able to send the tags, so they were there in spirit. I found the puzzle of a map of the world in a charity shop and knew I needed to incorporate the pieces. As far as the puzzle pieces meaning anything – they didn’t start out that way, but then we liked the idea of ‘the pieces of the puzzle’ (our life) coming together, it just seemed to fit nicely. The lamp shade by the photo wall was also made using pieces of maps from around the world). The photo wall was important to us as a way of involving family and friends who were unable to join us on the day. Sean’s Sister Sonia and his Brother Kieran who were unable to fly over from Ireland along with a pic of a few of our mates from Ireland who were unable to make it too. The other pictures were of all of our grandparents both Sean and mine, who are no longer with us and most importantly Sean’s sister Fiona who lost her battle with cancer 2 years ago and was so greatly missed on our day.
Any DIY/Budget elements? Maps were quite a feature, they appeared in the invites (which we handmade), and followed in to the day. They seemed to fit well seeing as Sean and I are from opposite sides of the globe and we have travelled a lot together. The luggage tags which hung above us during the ceremony fit with that idea as well. I loved the idea of everyone’s wishes and words of wisdom hanging over us as we shared our vows. There were even some family and friends who were unable to be there who were able to send the tags, so they were there in spirit. I found the puzzle of a map of the world in a charity shop and knew I needed to incorporate the pieces. As far as the puzzle pieces meaning anything – they didn’t start out that way, but then we liked the idea of ‘the pieces of the puzzle’ (our life) coming together, it just seemed to fit nicely. The lamp shade by the photo wall was also made using pieces of maps from around the world). The photo wall was important to us as a way of involving family and friends who were unable to join us on the day. Sean’s Sister Sonia and his Brother Kieran who were unable to fly over from Ireland along with a pic of a few of our mates from Ireland who were unable to make it too. The other pictures were of all of our grandparents both Sean and mine, who are no longer with us and most importantly Sean’s sister Fiona who lost her battle with cancer 2 years ago and was so greatly missed on our day.
Describe your wedding flowers: Bouquet – hand felted flowers made my mum with brooches and buttons sewn on. The bouquet also held my Granny’s brooch as my something blue and a favourite diamante brooch of my Nan’s (a bunch of flowers), that one of my bridesmaids Nat ‘borrowed’ for her wedding as well.
Apart from the wine barrels and the dance floor from Cape Marquees and the two wooden crates that the cocktail dispensers sat on and the ‘rustic heart stakes’ (that held up the handmade tag/puzzle piece archway for the ceremony) from the lovely Diane at Cape of Love, we sourced or handmade everything! Mum helped me out incredibly (as you can imagine!) but I want to make special mention of the wooden puzzle pieces (on the pallets) that Sean’s Dad Brendan Byrne made for us, and the ‘Photo Wall’ that my Dad, Graham McDonald made. I also have to mention the Pinata made with love by my Best Chick Nat! We had so much help from so many family and friends, we really couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help and it was all the more special because of it!
I also wanted to mention that I commissioned my cousin Jodie Lyndon-James to make Sean’s ‘eb sb’ cufflinks and my ‘eb sb’ earrings (our initials). My wedding ring was made by her jewellery studies lecturer, Jeweller, Peter Keep. My engagement ring was made using the gold from my Nan’s wedding ring and my wedding ring was made using the white gold from my Mum’s original wedding ring – she now has a yellow gold wedding ring.
Photographer | Maz Pedersen – LiFe Photography, Stationery | Bride, Venue | Aqua Resort, Busselton
Gown | Bride’s Mother, Shoes | ‘Monetta’ by Sojo, Hair | Bride’s Mother, Make up | Natalie Gleeson and Taneel Van Zyl
Groom’s Attire | Suit; West End by Simon Carter, Shoes; Peter Werth, Boutonnieres & Corsages | Bride’s Mother
Caterer | Cowaramup Food, Popsicle stand | Delish Ice, Celebrant | Anita Revel & Tim Wright
Cakes & Desserts | Bride’s Mother, and relatives, Jewellery | Bride’s cousin
I’m honoured to be featuring this beautifully styled shoot from the recent Erich McVey Workshop in Bend, Oregon which took place at the gorgeously rustic Brasada Ranch. This beautiful collection of images were taken by attendee Leslie Hollingsworth and offers loads of pretty inspiration! With styling genius Ginny Au at the helm of course you could only end up with utter perfection!! Add to that floral arrangements Holly Carlisle, gorgeous calligraphy by Abany Bauer of Brown Linen Design and hair and make up by Amy Clarke it’s pretty much perfect!! And I have to mention that the stunning model is none other than the super talented and very lovely photographer Laura Nelson and her hubby!!