Advice // Stress-busting Advice for Yummy Mummy Brides

Image: Stephanie Sunderland Photography {via Le Magnifique Blog}

Can you picture it; you’re gliding down the aisle on the arm of your father while your soon to be husbands gives you that look from the alter…you gaze lovingly into his eyes when you reach him and his whispers ‘you look beautiful’. That’s pretty much every bride’s idea of perfection, and something which we all want to achieve on our special day. But what if you throw a loud and energetic toddler into the mix? Can you wedding day take the strain and still be everything you’ve always dreamed it will be? Well, the answer is yes, but you need to be even more organised and flexible than the average bride in order for everything to run smoothly.

The subject of toddlers at weddings is something which is very close to my heart as I will have two very headstrong little girls walking down the aisle with me come December. I also attended a family wedding a couple of years ago where the bride and groom had a two year old daughter, a little girl who just so happens to be my goddaughter and the most beautiful princess in the whole world! Yes, I’m biased ok! Their wedding day was truly magical, and it was in no small part due to the presence of children.

Anyway, that couple coped very well with the pressures of including their daughter in their big day, and I’d like to share some advice with you to ensure that you’re big day is as successful as theirs. Oh, and remember not to worry too much about how your child will act. The unpredictability of toddlers is what makes including them so much fun…

Images: Loft Photographie {via The Knot} // Taylor Lord {via Style Me Pretty}

Ask for help during the planning stages!

Unless you are some kind of superwoman there’s no way that you and your groom will be able to plan your wedding on your own when you’ve got a child to look after. Ask your parents, his parents, your attendants (and anyone who offers their assistance!) for help with tasks such as researching themes, calling suppliers for quotes and searching for attire. Your friends and family will relish the opportunity to have some creative input in your big day, so let them help.

If you’re super busy you may like to consider hiring a wedding planning to take the majority of the strain. Check out my post ‘Should I Employ a Wedding Planner?’ for advice.

Organise childcare for supplier meetings:

Do yourself a favour and don’t take your toddler to any of your supplier meetings! There’s no way that you will be able to concentrate on what the supplier is saying with your little one running around and touching everything in sight, and you really need to give them your full attention to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want from them.

If you find yourself in the unlikely situation that you simply cannot find anyone to look after your toddler then make sure you take plenty of toys and a few snacks along to the meeting so that they can play while you discuss ideas and plans with your supplier.

Images: Rebecca Wood {via Style Me Pretty} // Aislinn Photography

Keep to their routine:

It is important that you keep to your toddler’s regular routine as much as possible. By this I mean sticking to their regular bedtime the night before the wedding, and allowing them to have a nap at the normal times where possible. Sometimes this simply isn’t possible as a wedding is a whole day event. If this is the case then try your best to get a nap time in as close to their regular time as possible.

Hand over responsibility:

If you can’t concentrate on yourself on your own wedding day then when can you? I urge all mummy brides out there to appoint someone (perhaps the mother of the groom) to look after your toddler while you enjoy your big day.

Make sure that your child knows the person who is caring for them during the wedding day very well to minimise the stress they feel by being separated from their parents. They should also be brought in to see you while you’re getting ready, but just for a few moments. This will reduce the chance of them getting upset at being away from you before the ceremony begins.

Make sure they are fed:

On the morning of the wedding it’s so important to charge someone with the task of feeding your toddler, and all other toddlers and children in your wedding party for that matter! Hungry children are less likely to be in a good mood during the ceremony, and for the rest of the day. For our wedding I have arranged to have some platters of food brought up to the bridal suite so that I can make sure all of my attendants are fed before the wedding ceremony begins.

Images: Nicole Berrett Photography {via Ruffled} // Juliet Mckee Photography {via Love My Dress}

Get them dressed last:

Ask whoever is looking after your toddler to get them ready at the last minute so that they have the least amount of time possible to get their outfit dirty. Make sure they have some play time, a nap, some food and are washed and dressed in that order.

Accept that they won’t sit still during the ceremony:

Once you realise that toddlers don’t sit still for very long, your wedding day stress will half. If you’re expecting a two year old to sit on a chair and remain quiet for 30 minutes or more, you’re dreaming. If you don’t like the idea of little ones toddling around the church or ceremony room while your marriage is taking place, then consider hiring a wedding day crèche service, just like I have. The price of such a service is surprisingly reasonable!

Keep them entertained:

Bored children tend to get disruptive and destructive, so keep them busy by providing goodie bags, a craft table or their own entertainment. I’ve written extensively on the subject of goodie bags here in my ‘DIY Goodie Bags for Little Wedding Guests’ blog post.

--Lottie ♥

Love Heart Feature // The Original Wedding Tea Towel

Eco brides take note! Today’s Love Heart Feature is especially for you to enjoy as it features a charming and earth-friendly alternative to the traditional paper wedding invitation.

While planning her own wedding, Karen decided that she wanted to send her guests something a little bit special, something unique which would stand out from the multitude of paper invitations the average person receives each year. Following Karen’s beautiful wedding she decided along with her new husband Ben that their idea of creating wedding invitations on tea towels may just be attractive to other couples, especially couples who were planning an eco-friendly wedding. Perhaps others would appreciate the opportunity to invite their guests to their own weddings in such a memorable way. Well, as it turned out they did, and The Original Wedding Tea Towel was born!

The Lace & Love Hearts blog is dedicated to discovering and promoting eco-friendly alternatives to the norm, and you can’t get much more eco-friendly than forgoing paper and card invitations entirely in favour of something which will be used again and again! ‘Reduce’, ‘reuse’ and ‘recycle’ are the buzz words right now, and by opting for wedding tea towels you will reduce the amount of paper invitation in people’s bins, your lucky guests will reuse their tea towels every day, and once they are spent they can be recycled along with other bit of fabric at your local recycling centre. You really cannot get any greener! Oh, and no one is likely to forget your anniversary if there’s a tea towel bearing the date hanging around their kitchen!

There are currently twenty three eye-catching designs to choose from over at The Original Wedding Tea Towel’s dazzling website, and they also provide matching evening invitations, info cards, favours, save the dates and RVSP cards. The great thing about these tea towels (as well as being super green!) is that you can customise each design to fit perfectly with your overall wedding concept by changing the wording and matching the colour used on the fabric to your own pallet. The Original Wedding Tea Towel also offer a bespoke service if there’s something very specific that you would like to include. Karen and Ben will work with you to design and create a product which is completely unique to your wedding!  

So if you want to make a big impression on your guests from the very beginning and leave them with a lovely keepsake, check out The Original Wedding Tea Towel!

--Lottie ♥


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Advice // How to Prepare Yourself for the Big Day!

Image: Pinterest

After eighteen months of passionately planning my big and beautiful family wedding, I found myself only eleven days away from the main event! As a fiercely organised and hardworking bride I believed that I’d got everything under control…well, almost. A few issues had been causing me sleepless nights (whether the cake pops and cupcakes I made for the dessert table would be yummy enough, and whether the stress would cause a breakout the night before the wedding!), however I was happy to give myself a pat on the back for mastering my to-do list like a pro. That’s not to say that it had been easy and that I was not suffering the effects of dedicating so much of myself to a single weekend, but that’s the name of this crazy game we call wedding planning!

For most brides the last few weeks before the wedding will be stressful, busy and emotional. There’s no way of getting away from it; planning and preparing for a wedding takes a lot out of you, both physically and emotionally. With this in mind it’s more important than ever for a bride to put time aside for herself so that she can properly prepare for her big day when that big day is only days away. Below you will find my tips for ensuring that your body and mind are relaxed, full of energy and fully prepared for what is to come…

Images: I Heart Naptime // Sally's Baking Addiction

  • For two weeks before the wedding you need to make sure that your bedtime is early enough to allow for plenty of restful sleep. Bags under your eyes and dull skin do not look good on a bride!  If you’re having trouble sleeping (due to wedding or other stress) then a warm milky drink, a warm (but not too hot) bath, a lavender pillow or room spray, and a pre-bedtime massage from your beloved should do the trick! Try not to watch TV or use any devices with a bright screen for an hour before bed as they tend to keep your brain too active. Swap your bedtime TV program for a bedtime read by the light of your bedside lamp only.
  • Stay properly hydrated by drinking lots of water or green tea, or any other non-caffeinated beverage. We are advised to drink 1.6 litres of water per day (that’s about six glasses), but remember that this doesn’t have to be just plain water. I find that consuming more fluids is easier if you mix glasses of juice or water with cups of flavoured green or herbal teas. Adding fruit to water is a great way to make water more interesting!
  • Alongside upping your fluid intake you should also make sure that you are eating plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, wholegrains and pulses to keep your strength up and your energy levels where you need them to be. A good diet will also give you radiant skin, strong nails and bouncy hair. Avoid making any big changes in your diet ahead of the wedding as you don’t want to upset your tummy.
  • Add extra shine to your hair by applying an intense moisture pack to your lovely locks once or twice a week. Alternatively you could visit the hairdresser and ask for a nourishing treatment. I’m visiting my hairdresser tomorrow for exactly this reason, and I can’t wait to see how lustrous my tresses are afterwards!

Images: Pinterest // Pinterest // Summer That

  • Relax! Easy to say, but not easy to do right? Relaxing during the weeks leading up to your wedding is so important as it will help to prevent anxiety, sleeplessness, ‘bridezilla’ moments and all-out war with friends and family. Allowing yourself to get too worked up may also cause the dreaded pre-wedding breakout. This is something to avoid at all costs so do all you can to keep that blood pressure down!
  • Try not to spend much time on public transport or places with a high density of strangers (such as supermarkets, gyms and bars) for two weeks prior to the wedding in order to reduce the likelihood that you will catch a bug. If you have to ride the tube, train or bus to work, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you are able. Likewise, if a friend or family member is sick try your best to stay away from them while they are infectious.
  • Don’t try to do everything on your own! Ask your fiancé, MOH, mum or another close friend or relative to spend a few days with you during the last two weeks so that you can ensure that everything is done and dusted. A fresh pair of eyes can look over what you’ve done and point out anything you’ve missed. They can also be your assistant in the kitchen, while making favours and while completing any little tasks which remain on your to-do list. Mix in a glass or two of fizz while you work to turn this into a joyful event!
  • And now the biggie….enjoy yourself! Hopefully you will only plan one wedding in your life, so enjoy every moment. The wedding itself will last for a matter of hours, whereas the planning stages can stretch over months or even years. Commit as much of it to memory as you can, and allow yourself to feel truly proud of your hard work when your special day finally arrives!

 --Lottie ♥

Love Heart Feature // Katya Katya Shehurina

KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA is a demi-couture bridal and ready-to-wear brand, defined by feminine silhouettes, vintage inspired craftsmanship, and opulent materials such as French lace and Italian silk. The brand was founded in 2007 by Katya after she graduated from the prestigious ESMOD fashion school in Paris.

Dress: Clara

Originally from Latvia, Katya has established herself as one of the leading bridal designers in Europe. Her background before launching KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA includes working for renowned French designers Nicolas Fafiotte and David Purves where she gained invaluable insight into the world of French couture and craftsmanship. Over the past several years, Katya’s pared-down, vintage-inspired aesthetics have gained a significant amount of international recognition and can be found in a whole variety of well renowned stockists all around the world.

Dress: Patrizia

Feminine cuts, tasteful vintage-inspired designs, and expert craftsmanship are the hallmarks of KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA’s distinctive style. Katya believes in using only the very best: gauzy Italian silks, delicate French laces, and relish in marvellous details such as elegant Swarovski crystal encrusted belts, to create a collection that is an exquisite blend of bold and chic refinement. She describes her dresses as being ‘uniquely stylish and exclusively feminine, with a vintage hint’ with most garments being hand-made.

Dress: Verdi

Katya finds inspiration in delicacy, femininity, and women’s role is shaping society, and admits to being particularly fascinated by the lavish 1920s. Her attention to detail and tasteful vintage influences are evident in each design, offering a blend of special vintage and delicate refinement with highly versatile and practical designs.

Dress: Sabrina

In addition to the full range of styles (ranging from £900 to £2800) that can be found on the website, KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA offers a bespoke service that allows discerning clients to commission a truly one-of-a-kind dress that fits their individuality and lifestyle perfectly (prices start from £2500).

Dress: Floriana

KATYA KATYA SHEHURINA’s flagship London boutique is located in the heart of Soho at 7 Smiths Court, W1D 7DP


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Inspiration // Aisle Decoration

Images: Jo-Anne Stokes {via South Bound Bride}

Now for something very pretty indeed! Walking down the aisle at your chosen church or venue will be one of the highlights of your entire wedding day. For the bride, the groom and the guests it is a highly emotionally charged experience as it will be the first time the groom sees his bride in her dress. For some brides it can even feel like an out of body experience, an almost dreamlike procession which is difficult to recollect once the big day is over. I can’t remember much of our ceremony, other than the feeling of euphoria and the odd fuzzy flashback to my husband smiling, the look in one of my flower girl’s eyes as she watched the ceremony, and the thunderous applause we received at the ‘now you may kiss the bride’ moment. What I do remember vividly is how enchanting the ceremony room looked and how amazing I felt bring surrounded by such beauty.

Images: Smitten Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Jose Villa Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Wedding Chicks 

Despite the importance of this brief section of the day, many brides and grooms don’t place a great deal of importance on aisle decoration. Personally I think this is a mistake and a wasted opportunity to make a beautiful moment feel and look even more magical.

Aisle decoration can take any form and can be worked into your overall wedding concept. Just remember not to clutter the aisle too much and to take the width of the dress into consideration before opting for anything too dramatic. The last thing the bride wants to be worrying about is knocking over vases of flowers or catching her dress on a candle!

Images: Richard Israel Photographer {via Style Me Pretty} // Jose Villa Photographer {via Elizabeth Anne Designs} // Candice K Photography {via Jet Fete Blog}

The most traditional type of aisle decoration is, of course, flowers! Whether they are looped over the innermost aisle chairs, arranged casually on either side of the aisle, or positioned evenly down the length of the aisle, they look simply amazing. Petals scattered down the aisle itself can also look lovely, but remember to use silk petals rather than real to avoid staining the bridal gown. I just adore seeing big vases or urns full of flowers flanking at the entrance of the aisle, and placed near the alter or registrar’s table. If you are trying to be a little more eco-friendly then consider using high quality silk or paper flowers in your aisle arrangements, and remember to reuse all decorations you’re your church or ceremony room during the rest of your wedding day. Never ever use an item of decoration or a floral arrangement once!

Images: Eric Kelley Photography {via Oncewed} // Elizabeth Anne Designs // Erik Ekroth {via The Knot} // Wedding Wire

Lanterns or candles in hurricane vases or jars are incredibly romantic, especially in the winter when there’s not much natural light to play with. Just make sure that all candles are covered and are not in danger of being knocked over, either by the guests or by the bridal gown. Better yet, do what I did and get good quality electric candles! Your venue may well insist upon the use of electric candles for health and safety purposes, so be prepared for this. Using fairy lights also looks striking if it’s done in the right way. Stick to white or warm lights, and remember that less is more, unless you want your ceremony room to look like a fairy grotto!

Images: La Mariee en Colere // Beth Helmsetter Events {via Style Me Pretty} // Source unknown

If you’re looking for drama and the wow factor, then you can’t go far wrong with trees! The Duchess of Cambridge executed this to perfection on her wedding day, but you can still bring an element of that to your own wedding, even if you don’t have her budget. Hiring your trees is probably the most budget-friendly way of turning your ceremony room into an enchanted woodland. Potted trees and plants are also far more eco-friendly than cut flowers.

--Lottie ♥

Love Heart Feature // Sweet Campers

Sweet Campers, a North East-based wedding transport provider is not only a stunning Vintage VW Wedding Car, but also a sweet treat provider the like of which you probably won’t have seen before.

Sweets for all occasions are served from their inimitable VW Campervan named ‘Olive’, making for an eye-catching display as well as creating a great talking point for your guests. I guess you could say they are a cute Candy Cart with a twist!

Rachael Davies, owner of Sweet Campers says – ‘’we have a passion for sweets and old VW Campervans, so it seemed natural to combine the two together. Our first wedding was amazing and we loved the fact that guests young and old revelled at the mouth watering sweets from our vintage sweet shop set up from inside the campervan.’’

The nuptials of Tracey and Kevin Smith took place at Blackwell Grange Hotel in Darlington on 23rd August, 2014. Olive, a fully refurbished 1979 VW Campervan, first served as stunning wedding transport and then transformed into a stylish traditional sweet shop, which guests could visit and collect sweets of their choice, attended by delightful hosts.

The bride said – ‘’my brother- in-law booked Sweet Campers as a surprise for our wedding as he knew myself and my husband are big VW Campervan lovers. We couldn't have asked for a better surprise, the sweets went down a treat with all the guests, big and small. The drive too was such a great experience. After having photos with the van, Graham was kind enough to take us to a local park and sit and wait for us to have some photos taken. Graham and Rachael are the perfect hosts and we are so happy that they were able to be part of our big day and make it even more memorable. We will definitely be looking into hiring out the VW for a little holiday with the kids.’’

A variety of packages are available to suit all budgets, but more importantly a free consultation is offered to ensure that the bride and groom get exactly what they want. Sweet Campers are open to new ideas, as being different is key. Even if your wedding is not taking place in the North East, we encourage you to get in touch as Sweet Campers will travel! You can even hire Olive for your honeymoon, with their great self-drive hire package.

For more information on Sweet Campers visit their website, or call 01325 260 208


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Advice // Should I Employ a Wedding Planner?

Image: Bentin Marcs {via 100 Layer Cake}

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a great advocate for planning your own wedding, and many of my blog posts revolve around inspiring and advising brides and grooms towards crafting their own big day. That being said, I am also a huge fan of wedding planners, their services, and their ability to develop their client’s vision for a very personal and unique wedding day.

As a modern couple with busy schedules it may be the case that you are so busy with your day-to-day life that you simply do not have the time to plan your wedding on your own. I would wholeheartedly advise brides and grooms in this situation to seriously consider employing a wedding planner to share the load. A busy work life, children and other family commitments can all conspire to keep your attention away from planning your wedding, leaving you feeling like you’re spread too thinly. Believe me, planning a wedding can feel like a full time job at times, especially if it’s going to be a big affair!

No matter what you do you will start to feel a little anxious as the big day approaches. Worrying questions such as ‘have I confirmed all of my suppliers?’, ‘will my dress be ready on time?’, and ‘is my running order finalised?’ will be rushing through your mind, and that’s totally natural. What you don’t want to be doing is getting so worked up that you simply can’t enjoy the process. If you feel that you can avoid those little meltdowns by hiring a wedding planner, then by all means go ahead!

Remember that just because you’ve chosen to hand some responsibility over to a planner does not mean that you will lose control of your wedding day. The last thing that any creative and passionate bride wants to do is sit on the side-lines while someone else plans every detail of this very important day without consulting them. As long as you make it clear to your chosen wedding planner that you want to retain control over your plans, any reputable planner will ensure that they consult you and update you on a regular basis.

Images: Pinterest // Pinterest // Chic Vintage Brides // Brides

The benefits of hiring a wedding planner:

Below I have listed the main benefits of hiring a wedding planner…

  • As I mentioned above you may need to use a wedding planner if you are simply too busy to plan every last detail of your wedding on your own. Do not underestimate the amount of time and energy it takes to plan your big day, despite the fact that the whole event will probably be done and dusted within the space of a single day!
  • Experience is a huge plus point for employing a wedding planner. They have been there and done it all before, so they will be best placed to advise you and guide you through the entire process.
  • A decent wedding planner will also have a list of tried and trusted suppliers with whom they already have an established relationship. Having access to this list of suppliers is one of the number one perks of booking a wedding planner!
  • Wedding planners are great if you’re on a budget as they have the ability to get the best deals with reliable suppliers such as bands, caterers and venue decoration companies. A skilled wedding planner will also help you to stick to the budget by knowing what is essential, and what can be left out.
  • If you tend to get flustered easily you will benefit from having a wedding planner on hand to keep you calm, organised and moving towards the ultimate goal, your perfect wedding day!
  • Remember that you do not need to book a wedding planner for the entire process. Many planners offer an hourly consultation which you can utilise to polish your existing plans, or perhaps you simply need a wedding planner for on-the-day assistance. A short note of caution if you do decide to book a wedding planner to be at your right hand on the day; just make sure that you meet up for a in depth chat well before the big day so that you’re both on the same page. There’s nothing worse than an on-the-day wedding planner who doesn’t know anything about your vision!

Images: Alicia Lucia {via Style Me Pretty} // Nicole Cherie Photography {via Grey Likes Weddings} // Becca Borge {via Ruffled} // Kati Mallory {via Green Wedding Shoes}

  • Wedding planners are unbiased so they will be able to give you their true opinion on the themes and concepts you are thinking of going for. Chances are that your friends and family would not feel comfortable speaking out if they believe that something isn’t going to work.
  • An experienced wedding planner will have a well-practiced crisis contingency plan in place, so if something goes wrong on the day and you have a planner overseeing your wedding, you probably won’t even hear about the issue.
  • If you’ve got your heart set on a destination wedding then you will need a wedding planner as each country will have specific requirements which need to be satisfied before couples can get married there.
  • Once the wedding is over the wedding planner can oversee the packing up of the newlywed’s possessions and can return any hired decorations or attire. The last thing you want to be doing the morning after your wedding is boxing everything up, so leave this job to someone else even if you don’t hire a planner!
  • If you manage to land yourself an excellent wedding planner you may find that s/he has additional skills which could be utilised for your wedding such as qualifications in bridal makeup and hairstyling, flower arranging, personal shopping and speech writing. Always ask to see a list of a potential wedding planner’s extracurricular activities!

--Lottie ♥

Love Heart Exclusive // Boho Rock Collaborative Shoot by Pompadour Couture Lingerie

When photographer Dan Lord of Forecast Designs and Kym Chapman MUA started planning their own wedding they immediately began looking for inspiration that married both of their tastes and styles. After all, if a wedding is to be successful and memorable it must perfectly combine the passions and interests of both individuals, and it should do so with creativity and sentiment.

Boho flowers, leather, vintage hairpieces, and sophisticated full gowns were some of the ideas put forward for the creation of their theme, and this inspired Pompadour Couture Lingerie to put together a shoot that was a little bit different. This shoot is especially for brides who want to add an edge to her look, but also to remain classy and feminine.

Pompadour Couture Lingerie were in the process of putting together an exciting new collection of leather laser-cut garters and bridal sashes, when it was decided that they would partner with Forecast Designs/Memory Box Weddings in the creation of the shoot. They would pull together some great British talent and capture something Uber Chic inspired by both Rock and Boho styles, featuring Kym Chapman MUA centre stage.

The beautiful floral china tiara by Cherished Vintage was perfect for the concept, as were the breath-taking floral designs by Flowers By Breige.

Pompadour Couture Lingerie’s leather laser-cut garter and sash add an extra level of texture and interest, and both are perfectly partnered with exquisite leather laser-cut shoes by Harriet Wilde.

All of these elements are brought together beautifully to compliment the gorgeous and dramatic gowns by Ritva Westenius, and captured to perfection by Forecast Designs and Memory Box Weddings.



Concept, planning & styling: Pompadour Couture Lingerie & Forecast Designs

Photographer:  Forecast Designs & Memory Box Weddings

Venue: A beautiful and unnamed church ruin in Nottinghamshire

Bridal garter and sash: Pompadour Couture Lingerie

Bridal gowns: Ritva Westenius

Bridal shoes: Harriet Wilde

Hair adornment: Cherished Vintage

Flowers: Flowers by Breige

Model and MUA: Kym Chapman MUA

Hair styling: Katerina Zacharia


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