Inspiration // Wedding Cakes

Image: AndySeo Photography {via Style Me Pretty}

The most important element in your entire wedding day menu is your wedding cake. Other than the bridal gown your cake will be the creation that your guests simple cannot wait to see! The fact that the cake is so important to the overall look of a wedding day has led to many brides and grooms feeling pressured to come up with something completely unique and utterly breath-taking, as well as delicious. This need for perfection, and the time and effort it takes to achieve perfection has meant that the average couple are spending a large percentage of their overall catering budget on this one item. With this in mind, it is so important that your wedding cake is placed at the centre of your day, and that it is enjoyed to the fullest extent.

Images: Catie Barlett Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Amanda Wilcher Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Pinterest

It is true that you simply cannot have a big party without a lovely slice of cake, and your wedding day should be the biggest party of your entire life! The form which your wedding cake takes is totally up to you so treat your cake as your licence to be truly creative and to extend your wedding concept ideas into the realms of the sweet and naughty. Whether you fancy a traditional tiered creation made from boozy fruit cake, or a modern twist such as an ombre ‘naked cake’ made from light and fluffy vanilla sponge, or even a savoury alternative, you will find plenty of ideas and inspiration on wedding blogs, in bridal magazines, on Pinterest and by chatting to talented and enthusiastic cake makers.

Images: Jennifer Oliphant Photography {via Polka Dot Bride} // Moco-Choco // Call Me Cupcake // The Kitchen McCabe // Red on Blonde Photography {via Love My Dress}

Alternative cake flavours:

I must admit that I’m not a great fan of traditional fruit cake, despite the fact that I love the taste of the raw mixture and the smell of it while it’s cooking! I much prefer sweeter cake flavours such as white chocolate and champagne, red velvet, and vanilla bean. If you are like me (not a fan!) then perhaps you should consider looking into some of the alternatives to fruit cake. Have a chat with your potential cake makers and see what kind of cake flavours they can offer you, and make sure that you have a taste!

Images: Caught The Light {via Snippet & Ink} // Tealily Photography {via Ruffled} // Chaz Cruz {via Rock N Roll Bride}

Meringues, macarons, croquembouche…

While the traditional tiered cake is still the most popular type of wedding cake, an increasing percentage of couples are opting for something a little different. I’ve seen so many gorgeous creations which look perfect as part of a wedding day despite them being a little on the unusual side! Some of the most original and mouth-watering examples included a delectable meringue tower, a huge collection of multi-coloured and glitter-covered macarons, a croquembouche which apparently defied gravity, a glazed bundt cake covered in real flowers, and a stack of chewy and gooey brownies. The list goes on and on and includes some of the most delicious-looking concepts I’ve ever seen, all of which would make an excellent alternative if you’re looking for something a little more unique to wow your guests with.

Images: Pinterest // Amy Caroline Photography {via Bridal Musings} // EK Studios {via Colin Cowie Weddings} // Alicia Pyne Photography {via Style Me Pretty}

Budget friendly cakes:

As I mentioned above wedding cakes are expensive and you may find that you need to figure out a way to save money on this particular expenditure in order for it to come in under your budget.  There are two main ways of doing this and the one you choose will depend on whether your cake needs to stand up to a large venue, or whether you can get away with a smaller cake. If you need to display a large cake then the easiest way of saving money is to add a tier or two of ‘fake cake’ in the form of foam shapes covered in the same icing and decoration as the other tiers. If you’re getting married in very grand and imposing surroundings then you will need to go all out on your cake, however there’s no point in paying for a seven tiered cake if you’ve only got one hundred guests present at your wedding. Adding a few fake cake tiers will make for a very dramatic display which will cost far less than if the tiers were actually made from cake.

Alternatively you could save money by having a small cake decorated ornately which will be on display for your guests to see and for you to cut, while having a second large and plain cake created by your cake maker which is not for display. The large cake can be kept in the kitchen at your venue and sliced up when the time comes for it to be handed out to your guests. If you love this idea but you’re worried that your small cake will be lost against the rest of your decoration then discuss the option of adding pillars or separators to your cake with your cake maker. Placing separators between the tiers of your cake will add height and drama without adding cost.

Images: Lissa Alexandra Photography {via Whimsical Wonderland Weddings} // Jose Villa Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Neil Redfern Photography {via Love Wed Bliss} // Greyeye Photography {via Rock N Roll Bride}

Savoury options:

But what if wedding cake just isn’t your thing? Well don’t worry because there are so many wonderful alternatives out there just waiting to be discovered by cake-phobic brides and grooms! Some of the most popular alternatives to wedding cakes come in the shape of cheese towers decorated with figs, grapes and flowers, ornamental fruit platters arranged beautifully on tiered bases, and pie towers made from a myriad of savoury pies. Pork pies seem to be the favourite for weddings, but any type of pie would do the trick. I even saw a smoked salmon and cream cheese creation once which blew my mind as it looked exactly like a tiered wedding cake until you were really close up. Get your thinking cap on and you’re sure to come up with something both unique and yummy.

--Lottie ♥

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 ♥

Inspiration // Wedding Invitations

Images: Etsy.com

Deciding on the style, design and tone of your wedding invitations can feel like quite a daunting task, especially when you’re big day is looming on the horizon and you have a million and one other things on your to do list. Many brides and groom worry about selecting their invitations because they want to get them completely right, but there’s really no need to get flustered. By the time you are ready to buy and post your invitations you will probably be at the stage where most of your wedding is planned out, your concept is decided upon and your venue and suppliers have been booked. With this in mind you should be well equipped to choose invitations which match and compliment the look and atmosphere of your wedding perfectly. Without giving too much away of course!

If you have a good idea of what you want in terms of colour, type of paper and what you would like to say, but you’re still agonising over the details of exactly what your invitations will look like, consider your budget, the size of your guest list, and the type of people on that list. If you’re having a formal wedding then the invitations must reflect this, if your guest list is large then it’s very important that you use recycled paper and if you’re worried about your budget then it’s prudent to keep things simple and elegant.

Images: Etsy.com // Rifle Paper Co. {via 100 Layer Cake} // Seaside Papery, photographed by John Schnack {via Green Wedding Shoes}

Invitations which have a floral, woodland or garden theme are perhaps my very favourite. Why? Because they just look so beautiful and so romantic not matter how simple or complicated they are. This type of invitation would be ideal for a spring or summer wedding which has an outside element, or an inside wedding where flowers, trees and natural materials will play a big part. 

Images: Heather Hawkins Photography {via Green Wedding Shoes} // Pond Photography {via Trendy Bride} // Paula Bartosiewicz Photography {via Burnetts Boards} // Sweet Paper, photographed by Bethann Greenberg {via Green Wedding Shoes

Bohemian wedding invitations are sure to impress your guests and sweep them off into a hippy dreamland, and all of this before they’ve even attended your wedding! Usually involving the use of feathers, flowers, dream catchers, and pops of colour; boho invitations are little works of art in their own right. If your wedding has a few boho touches then carrying your concept into beautiful bohemian style invitations is quite simply a must!

Images: EPLove {via 100 Layer Cake} // Jessica Burke {via Style Me Pretty} // Pitbulls & Posies {via Martha Stewart Weddings

Bold and bright invitations are great for weddings which will not be following the well-trodden path. If you’re special day is expected to be one big party with balloons, confetti, glitter and fireworks, then your invitations should reflect this. Take inspiration for your invitation from your venue decorations. If you are using gold sequin tablecloths and bold neon shapes, then be sure that both are represented in your invitations in order to maintain some continuity, and to tease your guests about what’s to come.

Images: Jen Fariello Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Charlie Juliet {via Style Me Pretty} // Southern Fried Paper, photographed by Ben Q Photography {via Green Wedding Shoes}

Pretty pastel wedding invitations are a very popular style as they are usually perfectly in-keeping with the colour scheme of most weddings. Plus pastel shades are just adorable! If you don’t want to give too much away regarding your big day, or if you have a tight budget for your wedding stationary, then pastel invitations are a good way to go as they are readily available and almost always look effortlessly chic.

Images: Behance // Gemma Milly, photographed by Kerry Ann Duffy {via Bridal Musings} // Paige Newton Photography {via Bird Dog Wedding} // Pinterest

Rustic wedding invitations are ideal for barn, castle or hunting lodge weddings. As they tend to be a little simpler and more masculine than the average invitation, they are also tend to be very budget friendly and great for brides and grooms who don’t want anything too frilly and fussy. The most attractive rustic invitations tend to be made from slightly thicker or textured card, feature game animals and may have rough edges and a plain typeface.

Images: Summer Raine Designs, photographed by Mikkel Paige Photography {via Wedding Chicks} // Urban Rose Photography {via Ruffled} // Taylor Lord {via Style Me Pretty}

Watercolour invitations have been enjoying a great deal of popularity recently, and will continue to be a big trend for some time. The watery softness of the colours makes this type of invitation perfect for spring and summer weddings, especially those taking place on the beach or near a river. I adore watercolour invitations, especially those that come in mystical gemstone shades, and they can be an extremely elegant type of invitation when mixed with calligraphy text.

--Lottie ♥

Inspiration // Accessories for your Flower Girl

Image: Tindale Images {via Polka Dot Bride}

Many brides get a little confused when it comes to deciding who in their bridal party will be a bridesmaid and who will be a flower girl. Etiquette states that a girl over the age of eight should be a bridesmaid and should be given responsibilities which are appropriate for her age group, such as assisting the maid of honour and smoothing the bridal gown. For girls below the age of eight the term ‘flower girl’ is more appropriate as this signifies a role with the sole responsibility of walking down the aisle before the bride and the rest of the bridal party. As a general rule flower girls are usually above the age of four so that they are able to cope with the pressure of gliding down the aisle, sprinkling petals as they go, while all of your wedding guests look on.

Images: Pinterest // Emma B Photography {via Love My Dress} // KT Merry Photography {via Style Me Pretty}

While wedding etiquette is great for giving brides and grooms a starting point in the decision making process, you should not feel that you have to stick stringently to the ‘rules’ in any way. For our wedding we had four flower girls aged between one year and eight years old, and no bridesmaids! While some brides will go wide eyed at the idea of little ones toddling down the aisle, choosing very young flower girls was easy for us as they are all our nieces, and already had experience at performing this role. That being said I didn’t expect the tiniest flower girl to walk down the aisle scattering petals before her! Instead she was dressed to match the other girls and included in the bridal party photos.

There are numerous wonderful options when it comes to what your flower girl can carry down the aisle, so many in fact that it can be difficult to choose. Traditionally the flower girl would carry a basket filled with petals and scatter them before the bride and her father begin their procession, or even as the very first person down the aisle.

If you feel that you’d like to appoint some flower girls, take a look at the list of accessory option below and make a note of anything that inspires you, and fits well with your wedding concept...

Images: Elizabeth Anne Designs // Braedon Photography {via Ruffled} // The Nichols (via Style Me Pretty}

Baskets

Flower girls take their name from the basket of flowers or petals which they would traditionally have carried down the aisle before the bride and her father began their own procession. Recreating this is as simple as purchasing a basket, filling it with petals (preferably silk to avoid staining the bridal gown) and asking your chosen flower girl to scatter them gently as she walks. Giving young flower girls a job to do will ensure that they are concentrating on that task rather than worrying about being watched by your guests. We decided to give this job to two of our flower girls so that they didn’t have to walk down the aisle alone, and this seemed to work very well as both girls (aged three and four) successfully floated down the aisle like little fairies, leaving petals in their wake.

Images: Pinterest // Keith Riley Photography {via Love My Dress

Posies

If you don’t fancy making so much mess you could always ask your flower girls to carry small posies of flowers which match the bridal bouquet. Having your flower girls carrying something down the aisle will keep their attention fixed on holding the accessory properly, rather than on the faces of the people watching them. With little ones it’s all about distracting them! Our oldest flower girl (who walked down the aisle with my maid of honour) was given a posy rather than a basket of petals to signify that she is a little more grown up than the other girls.

Images: Clayton Austin {via Ruffled} // Pinterest // Melissa Schollaert Photography {via Southern Weddings}

Pomanders

Pomanders are a lovely alternative to posies if you’re looking for something a bit different. You could also use posies and pomanders together if you have a collection of flower girls and young bridesmaids. Have a chat with your florist if you like the idea of pomanders, and they should be able to show you some examples to inspire you. If you’re not sure what pomanders are, take a look at photos from Prince William and Catherine’s wedding and you will see that the two youngest flower girls are carrying small circular arrangements on loops around their wrists. Those are pomanders.

Images: Christina Diane {via Elizabeth Anne Designs} // Justin Demutiis {via Ruffled}

Teddies and other accessories

I trend which I absolutely love seeing is the use of teddies and other soft toys instead of floral accessories. Not only is it incredibly cute to see a flower girl carrying a teddy bear down the aisle, it’s also very cost effective and provides the flower girl with a gift which she will treasure for years to come! You could also ask your florist to create a floral accessory to pin to the teddy so that it matches perfectly with your bouquet. Floral crowns are also the perfect accessory to match whatever your flower girl is carrying, and will bring her entire outfit together seamlessly.

--Lottie ♥

Inspiration // Wedding Tablescapes

Images: Diana Daley {via Burnetts Boards

As a modern bride or groom it is highly likely that you will have spent many an evening and weekend dreaming up the design for your wedding breakfast tables. I know I did! I have to admit to hours spent on wedding blogs, Pinterest and Google gathering inspiration, and even longer spells sat at my desk with a pencil in hand, attempting to sketch out plans for our venue decoration team to follow. I agonised over my tables. I was determined that everything would be perfect right down to the smallest details like the type of ribbon wrapped around the jars, or the particular shade of the roses in the arrangements. But you know what; every single second was worth it when I saw the finished results for the first time, and that is a feeling that I want you to experience as well!

Images: Anika London {via Wedding Chicks} // Carmen Santorelli {via Style Me Pretty} //  Paula Bartosiewicz {via Burnetts Boards

These days wedding table designs are often known as a ‘tablescapes’, a term which I just adore! You can of course hire a design house to create your tablescape for you if you’re short on time or not very creative, however I truly believe that beautifying your tables yourself is the best way of adding a personal touch to your wedding day.

Table decorations are one of the areas which will have the biggest impact on how your guests rate your wedding, as they will be spending a large chunk of the day sitting at these tables enjoying your wedding breakfast and listening to the speeches. With this in mind you will need to make sure that the items you place on your tables fit perfectly with your overall concept, that they are attractive and interesting to look at, but that they don’t commandeer too much of the table space. Leaving your guests with very little room to enjoy their meal is something which you should avoid at all costs. It is always sensible to ask your venue for exact table dimensions and to keep them in mind while planning your tablescape. If in doubt leave it out, and give your guests an extra bit of room.

Images: KT Merry {via Style Me Pretty} // Paige Jones {via 100 Layer Cake} // Clayton Austin {via Green Wedding Shoes}

Not sure where to begin? Well, sit down and think about your colour scheme first. Try your best to have all of your chosen colours represented in your tablescape, whether in the form of flowers, candles, glass, wood, crockery, table linen or table stationary. This should get your plans moving in the right direction from the very beginning.

Including mismatched items of different heights within your tablescape will add depth and interest. For my own wedding I used mismatched glass jars, bottles, vases and tea light holders for a rustic apothecary look, and they looked amazing! Search for such items in charity shops and markets, you just never know what you will find!

Images: Jen Fariello {via Style Me Pretty} // Shannon Elizabeth Photography {via Elizabeth Anne Designs} // Meg Perotti {via Indulgy} // Ozzy Garcia

Make each table slightly different, but make sure that they all come together as a whole. Whether you are using a small number of long tables, or a large number of round tables it is easy to make each table just a little different from the last. Doing this will add an extra spark of interest to your setup, and will have your guests eager to view their neighbours tables as well as their own.

Consider the height of your decorations. Would you like to create something low to the table which your guests can talk over, or something high which will sit above their eye line? In my opinion these are your only two options because while mid-height arrangements look lovely, they can block your guests’ view of each other. The wedding breakfast is all about your guests getting to know each other a bit more, which will not happen if they physically can’t see each other as conversation will be restricted.

Images: Ruffled // Maghan Sadler {via 100 Layer Cake} // Amy Wallen Photography {via Ruffled} // Jasmine Star {via Green Wedding Shoes}

Keep your budget in mind at all time when planning your tablescape. If you are on a budget then stick to the ‘less is more’ adage. If you commit yourself to intricate table decorations and tons of expensive flowers you may well find that you’re required to dip into money which has been set aside for another purpose. However, if you have a large budget for decorations then you really can create something which will wow your guests and keep them talking about your beautiful wedding for years to come.

Oh, and don’t forget about your little wedding guests! If children are included on your guest list then make sure you cater for them buy including something within the tablescape which they will enjoy. I’m talking here about little toys, bubbles, glow sticks, snow globes and the like.

--Lottie ♥

Inspiration // Wedding Favours

Image: Etsy.com

I think it’s about time that I created a post dedicated to one of the most charming aspects of planning your wedding, the creation of heart-felt favours for your wedding guests!

Below you will find tons of ideas for funky, cost effective, eco-friendly and unique wedding favours to wow your guests with. When it comes to your wedding favours you really don’t need to bust the budget by handing out expensive gifts. Something small, heartfelt and even handmade will impress your guests and show them that, despite having a wedding to organise, you still had time to put something charming together especially for them…

Images: Stacey Hedman {via Ruffled} // Matrimonio in Villa // Cosmos

Beautifully scented homemade soaps are a lovely way to thank your guests for helping you to celebrate your special day. Perhaps you could create a rose scented soap for women, cedar scented for men and fruity scented for the little ones? Adding dried flowers, dried herbs and glitter will really make your soap into something special!

Images: Etsy.com // The Lane // Homemade Serenity // The Sweetest Occasion

Another great way of giving your guests something which smells gorgeous is to make or buy scented candles. Three lightly scented beeswax candles in colours which match your concept can be tied together using twine and a name tag, and handed out to your guests as a simple, eco-friendly and romantic favour.

Images: Shannen Natasha {via 100 Layer Cake} // Blue Rose Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Taryn Rahl Photography {via Beloved Weddings} // Etsy.com

Have you ever thought of giving your guests a living favour? A plant or tree will continue to grow long after your wedding has taken place, and every time your guests care for it, they will remember what a fantastic time you all had together. Flower seeds are also a wonderful favour as they allow your guests to take them home, plant them, and watch them grow, while all the time reminiscing about your big day.

Images: This Love of Yours... {via 100 Layer Cake} // One Fab Day // Peaches & Mint {via Belle & Chic} // Pinterest // Pinterest

How about something sweet and yummy? Personally, I adore the idea of creating edible favours as they are so inextricably linked to weddings these days. If cupcakes, macarons and cake pops aren’t your thing, how about jars full of something delicious and homemade? This type of favour work particularly well at an autumn or winter wedding when you can fill them with preserves, chutneys and jams. I’m also very keen on giving jars of liquid sunshine (aka. honey!) during the balmy days of summer. Further ideas for edible favours include tea, home-brewed alcohol, flavoured oils, seasoned salt, mini jars of sweets and coffee beans.

Images: Rustic Wedding Chic  // Love Made Visible {via Eco Brides} // Etsy.com // Austin Warnock Photography {via Southern Weddings} // Pinterest

The most eco-friendly wedding favour has got to be something which your guests can take home for their garden wildlife to enjoy. Packets of bird seed and seed cakes are so easy to make and children and adults alike love placing them on the bird table or garden wall, running back into the house, and watching to see if anyone pops by to enjoy them.

--Lottie ♥

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