Friday, 28 May 2010

Vintage twee party picks

I love these party picks from etsy shop vintage twee and think they would be perfect for my evening dessert buffet, to incorporate the theme of the day into the food! They cost $5 for a pack of 8, which I think is pretty reasonable if you are looking to take the easy option and buy everything ready-made. However I am very lucky to have a crafty family, and armed with toothpicks, a luggage tag shape cutter (I know it sounds bizarre but my mum has one, I know it exists!) and clever printing, I am going to have a go at making these myself.

Love, Tor xx

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

More on Bridesmaids dresses

Don't you just hate the phrase "online exclusive"? It implies that your getting something better than you can get in store, but really it just means that you have to order bridesmaids dresses without any of the maids having tried the dress on, and invariably, it means you have to send it back!!
This duchess silk dress from Coast is an "online exclusive". It costs £125, and would be perfect for my maids as it's a slight A line skirt: such a flattering shape! Its also the perfect colour, and I have been finding it so hard to find bridesmaids dresses in the perfect shade of blue. The taffeta sash is very "alice" and is also removable, which means the girls can lower it or change it: basically adjust it in such a way that it is flattering to their figures. I just don't know if i'm brave enough to order them online without knowing if they'll fit, only to have to risk the hassle of braving the post office and sending them back!

Love, Tor x

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Stationary money saving tips part one

Today on folksy I fell in love with these gorgeous Alice in Wonderland place cards:
However at £5 for just 5 cards, they were a little over my stationary budget (I need 75 cards plus there is all the other stationary to get too!)But i'm not one to be deterred, and a little research found the exact same stamps used on these cards from Kaycee Crafts and each stamp cost just £3.25 and you can use it as many times as you like!!

Obviously there is a little more work involved in making them yourself, and it's lovely to be able to pay someone to do the work for you, but I am looking forward to doing some of the wedding stuff myself! You can buy the blank place cards on ebay for£2.99 for 100, which means the total cost of creating my place cards will be just £9.49 (plus the cost of the ink), leaving me with 25 cards left over in case of errors, and the best thing is, i'll have the stamps to use again to really bring the Alice in Wonderland theme to the fore. It's all starting to get very exciting!!

Love, Tor xx

Monday, 24 May 2010

More on Cake....and what is in a name?!

...I'm becoming even more cake obsessed than usual lately, as not only am I thinking about cakes the usual amount (which for me is alot!) i'm also thinking about cupcakes for our dessert buffet and wonderful elaborate Alice in Wonderland wedding cakes.

My nan (my mum's mum) has wonderfully offered to buy us our wedding cake, so I immediately set about looking at designs, so I could show her the kind of thing I had in mind. At first I thought I wanted something really elaborate with vibrant colours and tea cups incorporated:
But then Mike and I sat down, and discussed our very different tastes and ultimately we chose this one, but in powder blue. Its everything I wanted: slanted tiers, alice in wonderland blue, mismatched tier decoration, a little unusual. I did have a picture of this in blue, and with a slightly different design but I can't find it anywhere! Still, this is the basic idea. Although more subtle that I originally thought I wanted, it isn't a compromise cake: I love the shape and the details, which we want to emphasise a little more. What do you think?

Speaking of compromise, Mike and I spent an hour having the Big Name conversation yesterday. I knew it would be difficult, because we have such opposing views. I love Mike with all my heart, and cannot wait to be his wife. But my name is such a massive part of my identity, and I don't feel comfortable just shaking it off. I'm proud of being a Brierley and, especially in my career, i'm proud of everything that i've achieved as a Brierley. I've done so much, so quickly, and i've done it all as me: with the Brierley tenacity that I also see in my mum and dad. I'm not ready to let that go. I can see why Mike would want me to take his name (so if we have kids we all have the same name, and because he's a traditionalist and an old romantic at heart) and the romantic part of me likes the idea of being a part of him, but the feminist in me hates the assumption that I should abandon my name and be "taken" by a man. So the compromise is that for my career: my job, my freelance work, my blogs, I will be Tor Brierley. And in my personal life I will be Tor Hampton. Anything that crosses over into both categories (My passport for example) will stay as it is! It's a funny old compromise, and I might change my mind: but for now it works for us.

Love, Tor xx

Friday, 21 May 2010

Present from my mummy....

I am in love with this butter-soft cream leather wedding planner. It's small enough I can carry it in my handbag, but has everything you need in it: there's a tab inside to help you plan your entire wedding! I particularly like the budget planner and the monthly planner sections for ultra organisation: I can't wait to start filling it in.

Aren't mums brilliant!??

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Hello Lover - Seven Favourites

I've been tagged by teawithonesugarplease to reveal seven pairs of my favourite shoes. However, as tea herself says, this would be like asking a mother to reveal which of her children she likes best. (Unless my mum is reading in which case the answer is me) So, because it's too hard to choose, and because this is a wedding blog, not a blog about my wardrobe, i'm going to cheat slightly: so here are the seven pairs of shoes I would most like to wear when I get married

1. Vivienne Westwood Melissa (Lady dragon) in Pearl/Red
Actually when I had decided on my theme I immediately thought of these shoes. They have the perfect whimsical 'Alice' feel, they aren't too high so i'd be able to dance in them all night, and the peek of red would look great when I flashed it from under my wedding dress! They're only £90, but for the next 2 weeks Vivienne Westwood has an offer on all it's summer Melissa styles: 20% off. I've been toying with going to pick them up (Even if they don't end up matching my dress, they're great summer shoes!)

2. Lanvin satin shoes
I saw these on the outnet, reduced to £468 from £780, and thought they were everything you would expect from a good wedding shoe: diamante detail, metallic heel, lovely satin detail, and the extra fashion detail of the black ankle strap.

3. Carvella Guess shoes

I wanted to throw in a high street option, and also something on a really high stiletto: i'm not the tallest girl in the world, and toy with wearing stilts under my dress so that I look tall and lean on my wedding day! These beauties are probably a little too disco-y, but I love the heel and the angles.

4. Chistian Louboutin sparkly heels
You can't put together a wedding shoe list without two things: diamante, and Christian Louboutin. This pair encompasses both. At a wince-worthy £1,225 they are well out of my budget but I don't think a single girl wouldn't want to wear these on her wedding day.

5. BHS Bridal, £24.99
I've put these in because they're pretty, and to show that bridal shoes don't have to cost over a thousand pounds. I think it's important sometimes to take a step back and remember that why you're doing it is important, not how much you're spending!

6. Dune Jezzy
These shoes are gorgeous and just £99 - In fact, Dune has a really good collection of wedding shoes. If you're looking for something traditional but with an interesting twist then I would really recommend Dune as a place to look - I find their shoes suprisingly comfortable too!

7. Diane Hassall, Buttercup

I really love the vintage shape and feel of these shoes, as well as their sensible heel. They're great for a wedding, but I cant help but think that if i'm spending £189 on a pair of shoes, i'd like to be able to wear them again. And I don't think you could with these.

Of all the pairs, I think its the Vivienne Westwood ones for me! Which is your favourite? And what kind of shoes did you/will you wear to your wedding?

Love, Tor xx

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Our dream venue: Dunston hall

Mike and I met at the beginning of my third year at University in Norwich. Two years later I went back to Norwich to study for my Masters degree and Mike was a regular vistor: they were such fun times and we have such happy memories of being in Norwich together. We decided almost immediately that it was where we wanted to get married. And almost as quickly after than we both knew our dream venue: Dunston Hall.

They say a picture says a thousand words, and I think these pictures probably explain why this is my dream venue more than I ever could: it's breathtakingly beautiful, slightly gothic, has been lovingly restored and the grounds couldn't be more perfect. I'm already imagining having our photos taken by the lake with the hall in the background. It has one of those long sweeping drives that awes vistors when they see it for the first time, the food is exceptional, and inside it looks just as gorgeous as it does from the outside.

There are lots of other venues in Norwich and because Dunston Hall is quite expensive i'm sure we will consider our options (Mike loves considering all the options, he's so much more sensible than I am!) But Dunston Hall are having there annual open day on Sunday and we're going, along with our mums (the first time they are meeting, which is pretty exciting!). I know I won't be happy unless I come home with everyone agreeing that its the perfect place for us to get married: and then we can get on and book it, and hang the expense: after all, you only do this once!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Eat me cakes, trial one

Middle sis makes the most delicious vanilla sponge and regularly brings Mike and I cupcakey treats - I'm going to have to go a bit easy on the cupcakes if I want to look presentable in a wedding dress though. Flabby cupcake induced bingo wings are not a good bridal look! This weekends batch were a trial of the cupcakes for the cupcakes and candy evening buffet we're toying with. (Mike and I are both sweety addicts, so it seemed like a great idea!) Don't they look fab!?

These aren't the colours we will be using (as they were samples she just used what she had in her cupboards) and the writing needs some work (I know nothing about cake making, but i'm told she used a rudimentary writing pen from Sainsburys where usually she would use something more sophisticated from the specialist shop she usually frequents) but I thought they were gorgeous, and absolutely perfect for the theme too! It's so exciting to see something that we might actually use on the big day so quickly - I can hardly believe i'm already planning a wedding and everything feels like such a whirl, but I'm so excited. I'm sure i'm going to drive everyone I know crazy, but it's all I can think about at the minute.

As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and given that Mike has eaten all but two of the cakes shown above (and is now lying on the living room carpet with a greed-induced tummy ache) these are going to be a roaring success!

Love, Tor xx

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Dress: Love at first sight!

I haven't even started trying dresses on yet, but I know I want one that looks like this one! I'm not a traditional white dress kind of gal, and I knew straight away I would want something unusual: this is perfect and so in keeping with the theme! If they could change the band to a cornflower blue it would be my dream dress. I would team it with a short veil and white fur shrug. Perfection!!

Welcome to wonderland

Over the past week I have read a dozen wedding magazines: these things cost a fortune, but nothing could sate my insatiable desire for bridal information, so the money was spent. What I have been looking for is a theme: every wedding needs a theme, or at the very least a colour scheme, and until you've chosen that, you can't choose anything else! There were literally hundreds of them, but not a single idea floated my boat. Then, whilst I was sitting on the tube on Friday night, the idea came to me and i'm totally in love with it. I haven't read it in any magazines, and its perfectly us. Mike likes it too, though he says I have to sleep on it for a little while before making any decisions: I would like an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding: Photobucket

-I will do a reverse Alice, and wear a big white dress with a sky blue sash.
-The bridesmaids will wear sky blue dresses and alice bands with bows in their hair.
-The favours can be chocolates and miniture vodka bottles with "eat me" "drink me" on the labels.
-In the centre of each table after dinner stacks of cupcakes with eat me written on them could be placed.
-The flowers will be the queen of hearts red roses, mixed with more natural wild flowers.
-The tables can be names after royal card suits, and the decorations can be as quirky as i'd love them to be: rabbits, bird cages anything else that makes me think of alice!
-I will make all the bunting myself with scraps of alice themed fabrics (i'm going to try to make as much as I can myself both because its more personal, and to keep the costs down)
-We could do our champagne toast with tea cups. We could also serve the desserts in tea cups, instead of bowls.
-The stationary could say "read me" (for the invite) "follow me" (for the map) and "open me" (for the registry list)
-The boys could wear top hats and stopped pocket watches
-Everyone can wear fabulous hats!!

Its amazing how much of this I can do myself too, which I find exciting: I do calligraphy, so I will write all the eat me/drink me labels. My sister has a sideline business selling cupcakes, so I will be able to assist her in making those look really special. My mum is a genius with anything crafty, so she'll be able to help with the bunting, and i'm hoping she'll be able to do all my flowers too. Lil sis makes cards, and has already made over 300 wedding invitations, so i'm sure she'll help me get the stationary just right! I'd even like to have a go at making home made chocolates, to give the favours an even more personal touch. That way we could give them really unusual "wonderland" flavours!

What do you guys think? I think getting the theme right is the most important thing. I also think i'm prone to going over the top: in this instance I just can't decide if that's a good or a bad thing!!

Love, Tor xx

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Bridesmaids dress ideas: true blue

I'm not the only Brierley sister (of which there are three) to get engaged this year: youngest sister was proposed to on New Years Eve, and like me, she said yes. This means poor long suffering middle sister (and unofficial chief bridesmaid, of which there are two) has declared dramatically that she will spend the next year surrounding by tulle and fluff, and is going to get herself an army of squirrels: apparently every spinster needs a trademark!

With such a defeatist attitude it was fairly easy to drag her, kicking and screaming aside, to Debenhams, and force her to try on every sky blue dress in the store. There weren't that many of them, which only reinforces my decision that it's the right colour choice: after all, who wants to be the same as everyone else. Here are the four we tried on:
My favourite was dress 3. MS (middle sis) preferred the slinkier dress four. There are still plenty of other shops to look in, and it will ultimately be decided what suits both of the bridesmaids as LS (lil sis) has a very different body shape. Still it was a positive start, and I like the idea of getting the dresses from Debenhams (mostly because I have a 20% discount card and I can save myself a fortune!) but i'm not buying their dresses until i've chosen mine: which I cannot wait to do!

Further notes on bridesmaids: I'm only having two bridesmaids for lots of reasons. The obvious one is cost, which is a good one but that's not my main concern. My two sisters are my very best friends, and I only want to be surrounded my by closest friends on the morning of preparing for the wedding: they also know me and love me enough that when i get demanding and neurotic (which I will!) they'll let me and understand, then help me. I would have liked Becky (official best friend) as well, but Mike has a sister (that I like very much), and it seemed unfair to ask B, who is unrelated, and not ask the sister. So in the interest of harmony, and my still having what I want, we are only having two, which will be perfect for me - I know i've got the best two I could hope for, and if pushed hard enough I can make them do the work of 10 anyway! (insert evil cackle here!)

You'll find out why blue is the colour of choice for the bridesmaids in the next post by the way......

Love, Tor xx

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Yesterday I got engaged: it begins

My name is Tor Brierley, I am 26 and yesterday (on my birthday) my gorgeous boyfriend, now fiance, Mike proposed to me. I know everyone says this about their own proposals, but it was so romantic and I had no idea it was about to happen!

It was a normal (lovely) birthday: I got a normal amount of presents (Mike gave me a beautiful brooch and my sisters and parents spoilt me as usual) and then we went to my favourite restaurant (Archipelago) for a decedant, yummy and rather expensive lunch of crocodile bites and kangaroo fillet, which is my favourite dish in the world (I really recommend it!) Mike then suggested we walk off our dinner and we ended up wandering down the mall and ultimately ending up in St James park: the place Mike and I had our first date (a picnic). I started reminiscing when I realised Mike had stopped walking and was reciting a touching (and equally humourous) poem he'd written himself. It was incredible: I think you'd have to know my not-especially-sensitive man to realise how amazing and out of character it was for him to put himself out there like that.

He dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. Only Mike could ask you to marry him whilst reciting poetry featuring the line "you're a nightmare"!! I always thought I would cry when the moment came, but I was so happy I didn't. I just said yes whilst a crowd of people watched on bemusedly! And here's the ring to prove it:
It feels like such an adventure to be getting married to "the one" and also daunting to have something so big and special to organise. To be honest I don't even know where to begin! This blog will be a record of my ideas, plans, colour schemes, themes and of everything that inevitably goes wrong, whilst I try to make our wedding day a perfect day we'll remember forever.

Love, Tor xx