Friday, 15 July 2011

Tea Party Tips

Along with village fetes, and barn dances, tea parties are inspiring brides-to-be looking for a quirky, laid back feel for their big day.
Via VintageChinaParlour
As a nation of tea drinkers, we Brits love a good excuse to get out a teapot and some pretty china and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake. There's something very cosy and nostalgic about holding a tea party or attending a village fete, something that feels right for a special afternoon with family and friends.

There are lots of different ways you could incorporate a tea party theme into your wedding reception.

You could have afternoon tea instead of a sit down dinner, with fingers sandwiches of cucumber, smoked salmon, egg and cress, home made cakes and pots of steaming tea to sup and share.
(via tumblr - sorry not sure who's it is, let me know if you do)
Like your vintage? Who doesn't want an excuse to dress up flapper style? Then why not have a Twenties/ Thirties prohibition style party, and serve cocktails from tea cups - mine's a GandT. Check out this Twenties themed Wedding shot by Rosie Parsons (via ruffledblog)
Plants are a great fuss free option for a decorative touch and look great planted in tea cups - try using pansies or succulents.via elizabeth ann designs

Use cups and teapots to decorate the venue, mix and match crockery along long trestle tables, or have groups or a single pot on round tables.Ask your florist for their advice, as there are infinite ways you could adapt this to work with your theme.Via Pinterest - thebridescafe)
There's a glut of companies now hiring vintage china tea sets, and props from bunting, books, to suitcases and hay bales. Vintage China Parlour is one such company that I've just discovered.  They are able to provide lovely vintage tea sets and all the accoutrements necessary to make your afternoon tea party go with a swing.  As well as vintage they have chintzy Burleigh and more contemporary Emma Bridgewater designs in their collections. Follow the link for more details.

Tea cups and tea pots make really pretty centrepieces. I think they work especially well with wild country blooms, but they would look great with funky brights, like Gerbera, Dahlia and Anthuriums.
If you're going to have a go at arranging your own flowers, try not to obscure the handle or spout otherwise you lose the shape of the tea pot and then you might as well just use a vase...You could go wider and wilder, always my tendance, but I especially wanted the teapot to be visible for these shots.
Here I took my lead from the colour of the pots and used blues and pinks for this funky navy teapot.

Also think about the proportions - of the arrangement to the tea pot, and the flowers that you're using.  Using larger/heavier flowers and foliage lower down and smaller light flowers for adding height and span keeps a good balance to the finished arrangement.



I hope I've given you a few ideas and handy hints for your own tea party. All this talk of tea is making me seriously parched, only thing to do is decide which lovely brew to have Earl Grey, Assam or Oolong? 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Village Fete - Wedding Flowers Ctd

Back in May, I posted about this Village Fete themed wedding. I had taken a few snaps, but they really didn't do the day justice.  After a word in the shell like of decent chap and Brighton based Wedding Photographer Simon Fazackarly, now I too can say I do (I do have some decent photos that is!)

Bride Charlie had set me a challenge with the colours as the Bridesmaids dresses were a tricky coral pink, but pale pinks and cerises were also mixed through other details and decorations in the wedding. 

Avoiding blue toned pinks I sourced the most perfect sherbert pink rose called Miss Piggy to use in the Bride's bouquet, with Hydrangea, Sweet Avalanche, Bouvardia, Ranunculus and Astrantia. 

I used Sweet Avalanche, Hydrangea, Ranunculus and Astrantia in the Bridesmaids, and the Groom wore a Sweet Avalanche buttonhole which worked really well with his bespoke brown suit. 





Flowers were dotted around the venue in jam jars, and the tables were set with a trio of jars, with single colour country style flowers that looked like the could have been picked fresh from the garden. They weren't but a large helping of foliage and herbs from my uncle's garden didn't go amiss.







Friends and family all played their part on the day - The Groom's mother made reams of bunting to string up around the venue, The Bride's brother made a cake stand and seaside stocks, of the fat lady skinny man variety except that this was a bride and groom in a car, and friends and family brought along home made cake, and cup cakes. How great do these french fancies look?



I was lucky enough to be seated next to Simon during dinner (Simon had got on so well with the couple that they invited him to join them for the meal), and after nattering about weddings and blogs, I managed to collar him into taking a few shots of the bouquets.



At some point in the afternoon Simon snuck off with the Happy couple to this sweet little wooded area on the grounds of the village hall. Aren't these shots beautiful?  The couple look gorgeous, so happy, in love and relaxed. Working with a photographer who gets you and understands what you're looking for is really important.  I think you'll agree that Simon captured some special moments, that I'm sure James and Charlie will treasure for ever.



Friday, 1 July 2011

Fifties Style

Earlier this summer I worked with Kiera Buckley Jones on the Midcentury modern living room at the Royal Festival Hall.  Kiera's a big fan of the fifties and had pitched an idea to BBC Homes and Antiques to style a 1950's inspired home story, mixing vintage with modern in a period setting.  So early June we decamped to a gorgeous airy property in Elephant and Castle to set up and shoot for 3 days.

I love mixing old and new pieces, but balancing the proportions of the light fifties furniture in georgian rooms with very high ceilings, proved quite challenging.  Kiera, as always, worked her magic but its definitely something to consider when furnishing a large or for that matter small room. 

The full article is out now in August's issue of BBC Homes and Antiques but here are a few snaps I grabbed from the behind the scenes of the shoot and some tips on how to incorporate vintage pieces into your home: 


Display pretty vintage scarves in simple frames.  These ones are from Ikea, cheap as chips.


Mix old and new. This cute retro poodle lamp from Abigail Ahern sits happily alongside the yellow and brown tones of this vintage rose painting.


Vintage book covers and posters can be a great source of inspiration for design and decorating palettes.  These soft pastel shades are very fifties.


Its all in the mix.  Combining florals like this blind with bold retro print cushions keeps the look fresh and fun. Love the little woven chair.  


And not forgetting this little fella. Does anything says fifties more than a flamingo figurine? (Can an animal be a figurine...who knows?)  Actually he's a modern piece from Dwell, so he's more retro than vintage. What are your favourite elements of the 1950's and how do you mix new and old? 

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