From England’s Knowsley Hall: 10 Secrets To Creating A Country-Themed Wedding

Today, we have a guest post from Ms. Zoe Williams at Knowsley Hall, a stately and sprawling venue situated between Manchester and Liverpool. Known for its incredibly scenic surroundings and stunning interior décor, Knowsley Hall is a gorgeous space for your wedding!

Check out these photos from the estate:

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Pretty stunning, right?  So without further ado, please enjoy:

10 Secrets to Creating a Country-Themed Wedding, by Zoe Williams

There’s something very homely about a rustic, country-themed wedding. Whether you host it in the back garden, a barn, or a marquee in the woods, a country ceremony can be truly magical. Get in touch with nature on your w-day with these tips:

Choose Your Flowers Wisely

You can’t really have too many flowers at a country wedding. Floral wreaths are a lovely bucolic touch, as is a bouquet made out of meadow blooms. Decorate your tables with china pots full of cheerful wildflowers and have the smallest flower girl pulled in on a posy-laden wagon. Archways laced with your favorite country flowers are a charming way to decorate your aisle space.

Get the Lighting Right on the Night

When the sun sets and the party begins, atmosphere is everything. Hanging lights give the venue an ethereal quality and fairy lights are also a touching addition to the décor. Candles and burning hearths create a warm ambience, which is ideally suited for winter, but works well in the summer months too. Roaring fires are wonderful for toasting marshmallows in the evening.

Our Favorite Country Favors

For a country wedding, favors usually work best when they are food-related! Homemade jams and pots of honey wrapped up in baskets work well. Also, the combination of scones, butter, and strawberries is a winner – who wouldn’t love it?

Arriving In Style

When you think of the country, what form of transport springs to mind? Turning up to your wedding in a trailer pulled by a tractor – or even a pick-up truck – definitely makes a statement. But if you think that’s a country step too far, perhaps riding up on horseback would do the trick?

Choosing Your Cake

A traditional wedding cake doesn’t always look right at a country wedding. Think about your favorite homely dessert and use that instead. Whether that’s apple pie or strawberry cream cake, don’t hold back!

Photo Ops

Get your money’s worth out of the photographer by setting up a photo booth. Choose a patterned fabric backdrop and get all your guests to pose for their own, individual pictures. Jazz it up by getting them to pull silly faces or pose in an interesting way. You’ll have a few giggles when you look through the wedding album later.

Drunk People Need Feeding

When choosing your country wedding food, simple dishes that can be served as a buffet always work wonders. Hog roasts usually go down a treat, but you could alternatively create a spread of your favourite dishes.

Ring Pillows

No detail is too small for your country wedding. Create your own earthy ring pillow, made from a circular cutting of a tree trunk. Soften the top with a layer of moss and place the wedding rings on top.

Ditch the Stilettos

When it comes to a country wedding, heels are not only optional, but they’re impractical! Cowgirl boots are a wonderful, whimsical touch to any outdoor wedding service.

Looking for a gorgeous, country-themed venue to host your special day? http://www.knowsleyhallvenue.co.uk is a stunning stately home based in Merseyside, and the perfect choice of venue if you’re looking to wow your guests with a beautiful backdrop.

Q&A With Bridal Designer Jaimie Sortino

jaimie sortino wedding gowns

Last week, we featured some dreamy gowns from Australian designer Jaimie Sortino. Receiving the honor of  Best Emerging Designer at the 2010 Adelaide Fashion Festival, Sortino is already making waves in Australia and is poised to impress the rest of world with his modern, textured gowns.

I was curious to have a look inside the mind of a bridal fashion designer and Jaimie was kind enough to indulge me in a little Q&A.

Here at Bon Vivant Bride, we love finding wedding inspiration from the runway. What designers inspire you?

I am always inspired by the classic designers such as Dior. Alexander Mcqueen’s creativity is such an inspiration. I also love Elie Saab for the soft romantic element. I tend to look at the designers that tend to dream with their fashion.

Outside of the fashion world, where do you look for inspiration?

I am inspired by nature, colors, and fabrics.

What do you love about making wedding gowns in particular?

The element that is special about doing bridal wear is that every bride is different. Their ideas are different and inspiring. Doing bridal is such a joy to do. Building that connection with a bride and designing her dream dress is just so special.

What would you say sets you apart stylistically from other designers?

I am a textile based designer, so i would probably say that style of texture and using laces and hand dying laces with natural elements just adds that something special to a piece.

Did you study Fashion Design formally or are you self-taught?

I studied modern textiles for 2 years while i was at high school. After that, I went to a fashion school and studied fashion design, but left after a year and half due to creative differences between teachers. Since then I’ve just taught myself and soaked up as much as I could along the way.

What advice do you have for brides who are trying to find that perfect gown?

Something I’ve learned over time is don’t be scared to try on different styles or shapes. Make the process fun and enjoyable. When you come across that perfect dress, you just know.

Where can brides buy your dresses?

I am based in Australia but can ship worldwide. I can be found online through Facebook and Twitter.

Email Jaimie at jme_sortino@yahoo.com.au

A Storybook Country Wedding

The glorious country wedding of Lara and Oliver comes from our friends across the Pond in the UK and I couldn’t be happier to share it with you. Held at The Barnsley House in Gloucestershire and shot by brilliant London photographer, Aneta Mak, this wedding could very well have come directly from a storybook. An imposing castle bathed in white sunlight, stolen kisses, a meticulously groomed garden, a pair of exquisite horses grazing in meadows of emerald green - you couldn’t make this stuff up.

The bride wore a textured Vera Wang gown and carefully designed each detail of her special day to create the most beautiful feast for the senses. Gorgeous flowers from Cut Flower Garden were simple and understated and a splendid collection of sweets included Red Velvet and Chocolate Guinness cakes by The Sugar Box.

I am especially fond of the little sliders and mini mac & cheese hors d’oeuvres. Don’t they look divine?

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In Search of the Perfect Bridesmaid Dress

The perfect bridesmaid dress is an elusive thing. Finding something that isn’t cartoonish, poofy or too much like a bad prom dress can be excessively difficult.

Your choice should fit in with your artistic vision, but it should also make your ladies feel comfortable and beautiful as well.

When weeding through all the options, keep in mind that your ‘maids are likely willing to please you in any way they can, but this is not a reason to take advantage. Keep their feelings in mind at all times and try to find something that is the least offending to all parties involved.

Here are 10 dresses that I think are fresh and fun for spring. Which is your favorite?

BHLDN Bridemaid
BHLDN
alice_and_olivia_lolliepleatskirtembellishedcollardress_pinkmulti_big
Alice & Olivia
Saja Bridesmaid
Saja
BHLDN Bridesmaid
BHLDN
 
alice and Olivia yellow dress
Alice & Olivia 
BHLDN Bridesmaid
BHLDN
Ruche Pink dress
Ruche
Watters
Watters
BHLDN Bridesmaid
BHLDN
Ruche Blue Bridesmaid Dress
Ruche

Choosing the Perfect Veil From BHLDN

With a history spanning thousands of years, veils have endured the test of time as a romantic and iconic wedding symbol. Despite the ephemeral nature of fashion trends, this wedding day staple never seems to go out of style. Whether it’s a long cathedral length piece for a traditional wedding or a more flirtatious blusher for the modern bride, there is a stunning array of possibilities. When choosing the perfect piece, navigating the options can be a daunting task.

Luckily BHLDN has published a clever little primer for the veil shopper!  With loads of info concerning length, placement, color choice, etc., it’s a great place to start.

Also, shop some of their fab styles. These are a few of my favorites:

Luella
From designer Catherine Deane, this dual-layered fingertip length beauty is adorned with lovely embroidered  silk roses. This veil is ideal for a somewhat traditional and classic look.

“fold the top layer down for your walk down the aisle, and let your future Mr. lift for the kiss!”

embroidered veilCurving Periphery
Created by Parisian designer Debra Moreland, this cascading cathedral length veil features a gorgeous embroidered scalloped edge.cathedral length veilBourbon Rose Veil
Two layers of translucent tulle attached to a floral trimmed halo band fastens with a metal comb. Another one from Debra Moreland, this lengthy veil lands at the ankles.ankle length veilDotted Voile Veil
For something a bit less traditional, try a fifties-inspired blusher. This cotton cutie is flirty and fun. By Debra Moreland.dotted blusher veil
All Images – BHLDN.com

Weekend Inspiration – Charcoal and Pink Wedding Theme

Wedding things and general awesomeness from around the web:

wedding inspiration

Happy Sunday!! Today I’m feeling inspired by shades of charcoal grey and peachy pink. How do you like the idea of a charcoal and pink wedding theme?

-Create interesting paper florals for your decor. Artist and designer Kelli Murray has designed this simple and arty DIY watercolor paper flower tutorial. They’re easy to make and stunning to look at.

-There is nothing quite like a little Chanel to get your creative juices flowing. Check out these dreamy creations from Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.

-I love these still life photographs from artist Kristofer Johnsson. They are creative and aesthetically pleasing collections of carefully selected objects placed together to create something new. It’s a great way to work with color!

-Grey and pink wedding invitations from Wedding Paper Divas are seriously unique. They’re a great alternative to plain old cream or white invitations.  Use promo code: FREEWED10 to get 10 free invitations through March 21!

Fall In Love with Jaimie Sortino’s Couture Gowns

jaimie Sortino

Jaimie Sortino’s gowns are couture gems made with the finest lace from Italy and France. Both dramatic and alluring, they exude a kind of Old World elegance with a modern twist. Handcrafted in Australia, each gown is made from only the best fabrics imported from Europe.

The designs are described as “a testament to Sortino’s dedicated craftsmanship, each handmade gown is treated  with care and hours of painstaking beading and embellishing, which results in an ethereal fusion of whimsy and romance, with the elements of bridal inspiration.”

Whimsical and romantic for sure, but also I get a hint of sultry Old Hollywood style. I can image Audrey Hepburn in one of these gowns, sipping champagne, charming her guests to death in a lounge dimly lit by vintage chandeliers and melting candles. Gorgeous.

What do you think?

Couture Wedding gowns from Jamie Sortino at bonvivantbride.comCouture Wedding gowns from Jamie Sortino Couture Wedding gowns from Jamie Sortino Couture Wedding gowns from Jamie Sortino Couture Wedding gowns from Jamie Sortino Couture Wedding gowns from Jamie Sortino Couture Wedding gowns from Jamie Sortino

Chic and Soothing Lavender and Champagne Inspiration Board

The mere thought of fields full of fragrant lavender flowing like waves in Provence is calming and serene.

In fact, the lovely bluish/purple plant has always been well-loved for its medicinal qualities and potent essential oils. Utilized to treat myriad conditions, lavender tends to produce a soothing effect and can be an effective combatant against sleeplessness and depression. The Romans used it for bathing and cooking and the Greeks would burn it for its relaxing scent.

While deep purple is the color of Royalty, lavender is more subdued and feminine. The flowers of the lavender plant are lovely for weddings as you can buy them affordably and in bulk. Tiny pale purple bundles of  flowers make great place cards or stuffed mesh bags full of dried buds are perfect for fragrant favors. Beyond it’s beauty and intoxicating aroma, as an added bonus, lavender is purported to be a competent bug repellent! Sounds like a pretty good method for keeping your outdoor affair pest free, wouldn’t you say?

I like pairing this pale shade of purple with champagne, lilac, and gold. Inspired by Ellie Saab’s gorgeous gown and the tranquil power of this tantalizing herb,  I’ve designed this very lavender board.

champagne_and_lavenderCupcakes – Kitchen delights; Gown – Ellie Saab; Lavender Image – Reel Dreamer; Chair Photo – En Point Photography

Stone Fox Bride’s Molly Guy Dishes on Dumb Weddings – the Puff, the Fluff, and the Phoniness

Stone Fox Bride

For all of those brides out there disillusioned by the mainstream wedding industry, Stone Fox Bride provides a stylish alternative.  Molly Guy opened her bridal atelier armed with the bold slogan “Fuck Weddings” and has a created a safe haven for those of us who know exactly what we DON’T want.

It can be difficult to customize your wedding in a way that reflects your personal style, but Stone Fox Bridal is here to help. Beyond stocking an awesome collection of non-traditional wedding dresses, Stone Fox provides brides-to-be with a wide variety of secret, albeit useful services.

Molly was kind enough to indulge me in a little Q and A and put all my queries to rest about what makes a Stone Fox Bride tick.

What makes a bride a Stone Fox?

A woman who says “I don’t” to dumb weddings. One who is totally turned off from the tyranny of the perfectly sanitized, storybook bridal world; synthetic hair and flowers, hysterical bridesmaids, insane mother in laws, the puff, the fluff and phoniness. A woman who looks to the runway for style inspiration, but who also has an innate sense of self. One who is totally skeptical of anyway or anything that tries to dictate to her how she should look or behave.

How would you describe the gowns/designers you sell at Stone Fox?

Think Valentino meets Jerry Garcia with some Isabel Marant thrown in for good measure

What was your own wedding like?

A mellow autumn soiree on a Sunday afternoon with a Jewish Buddhist ceremony, friends everywhere and a brunch inspired by my Nana’s famous brunch.

I’ve heard that you provide “secret services.” What’s that all about?

They’re an impeccably curated roster of people in New York who can help guide a stone fox bride-to-be through her marriage transition tastefully, gracefully and meaningfully. We are working with everyone from Betty Dodson, an iconic, 83-year-old sex educator, Kate Hanley, a renown downtown hair stylist, Laura Cattano, a professional organizer, to nutritionists, life coaches, editorial fashion stylists, healers, shamans, makeup artists, florists and more.  My goal is to provide as many resources as possible to make the transition into marriage as painless as possible.

 Do you have any advice for brides on a budget?

On the “weddings we love” page on stonefoxbride.com you can check out my friend Fanny who got married in white overalls and a flower crown. Another friend of mine wore a vintage slip, Chanel red lipstick and biker boots. sometimes the girl in the fifty dollar frock looks a hundred times for smashing than the one in couture. Its all about soul, baby. My mom got married in a mexican wedding dress and she’s the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen.

The sappiness and gaudiness of weddings basically paralyzed me when I started planning. It took me awhile to realize how (as you described it) “beautiful, stylish, and poetic” weddings could be. Everyone around me, however, just COULD NOT understand what was wrong with me. How should an “alternative” bride deal with the pressures of a rather “traditional” circle of friends and family?

- Shop for a dress WITHOUT friends or family

-Meditate religiously

-Zone out by searching your old boyfriend on facebook or purchasing isabel marant boots in excess of ebay

- Don’t act out and try to change anyone or prove a point. A wedding is, of course, ultimately about love. Be gracious and grateful for the wonderful turn your life is taking and dont listen to a fucking word that anyone tells you.

What is the best part about getting married?

LOVE of course!

Is there one ultra-glorious standout wedding moment for you (either at your own or someone else’s wedding)?

Going to the carwash in my wedding dress to get JUST MARRIED washed off our Aston Martin in shaving cream.

Spring Lookbook from Ruche

I am a bit smitten with the new spring lookbook from Ruche. Its tea party theme is just delightful and the looks are super cute. Candy colored pastels, polka dots, and feminine cuts all make the approaching of spring that much more exciting. Dresses pretty enough for a wedding partygoer or perhaps something charming for your bridal shower or rehearsal dinner?

Be sure to also check out their wonderful collection of wedding gowns, shoes, and accessories.

spring lookbook from ruchespring lookbook from rucheruche_04ruche_03ruche_05ruche_01ruche_06 copy093_Tea_for_Two