Monday, 27 June 2011

Just to finish........

Just to finish off my WOW factor wedding room here are another couple of shots.......and the lucky bride!

Photo credit....By Appointment Only Design

Thursday, 23 June 2011

WOW factor.....#2

In my previous post I was looking at the beautiful wedding room orchestrated By Apointment Only Design......what a stunning room....beautiful flowers.......the subtle lilac lighting behind the awsome each decoration there was just a splattering of lilac roses to catch the mood of the lighting. If you notice each table decoration was very different they just shared the overall scheme of the same flowers.  Everything about the room and what their clever team had achieved was subtle, easy on the eye and quite stunning!  Even the cake had pride of place before the main wedding table.....why hide it in a corner it was far too pretty to be out of sight!

This wedding obviously had a very large budget.......lucky them I hear you saying......having said that I would imagine the search for the venue was like any mear mortal, long and arduous even though they had the help of these talented two guys.......choosing the right venue FOR YOU is important.  Lets take my venue....Zucchini what has made it the choice of many brides and grooms over the last nine years.......without a doubt the view because this is the first thing that couples see when they look on the internet or walk through my door.  How many times have I heard WOW THAT VIEW ITS TO DIE FOR.......and it is so I have quite an easy job styling my venue to suit each couple!

I have spoken in previous posts about Mark of the finest wedding planners today.....I follow him on Twitter.  On Tuesday he had a very large wedding at a very well known venue in the UK......certainly a venue that you would expect to provide THE MOST amazing service......apparently not so Mr Niemierko tweeted that evening..... Sorry for my lack of tweets today but I've spent most of the day teaching the staff at C..........N all about 5 star service!  I was very surprised but it just goes to show 5 star venue isn't necessarily 5 star service.......but most definately it will be 5 star prices!

The moral of this story is research your venue well.......once you have found something that you think has that WOW factor go through it with a fine toothcombe.....leave nothing to chance.  If it's possible to dine at the venue do so.......if not arrange a tasting.......look at more than one menu....will they tailor it to suit your it seasonal produce that they're using.  How are drink prices compared to elsewhere....what brands are on offer.  It really is worthwhile sitting with your partner and compiling a list of questions before visiting the venue.....look for any hidden there a venue hire charge......if using more than one room is there a charge......remember to check what you are allowed to do with your room regarding decoration.......what is permitted within the venues guidelines!

I know in certain hotels in Paphos you actually get charged for every space that you occupy on that day......appalling and then you end up dining with the rest of the hotel guests later on.  I must keep off this enough said!  Have fun in your search for your dream venue......and shortly we will be looking at different types of venues and different styling options......and don't forget those of you in the West Country I will be available next year at Flora and Grace if you need some help with your wedding planning!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The WOW factor......will your wedding have it?

When I say the WOW factor I mean walking into a room and having your breath literally taken away with the picture that unfolds before your very eyes......thats the WOW factor......will your wedding have that WOW factor!  WOW doesn't mean spending hundreds and thousands of pounds on flowers and decoration......although this would be nice, in reality it isn't going to least not for the majority of on maybe I should eat this statement!  This will be my first of many posts on the Wow factor and how you can achieve this in every aspect of your wedding.......whatever your budget.  First of all we will look at this subject in general terms before breaking it down into individual sections of your wedding day.  The example I'm using below won't be everyones cup of tea.......but it's a fine place to start......and its most definately mine and heh I write this blog so I get to choose our first example!

I decided to write this post after literally having my breath taken away by a picture posted on Twitter by a lovely company By Appointment Only may remember I posted on their beautiful boutique back in March this year!  Javier and Tony (I don't know them personally) not only plan weddings but they have a very special boutique in London's trendy Chiltern Street where they operate a very exclusive wedding concierge service for their brides and grooms.  The boutique stocks beautiful blooms, bouquets, delicious chocolates, fragranced candles, gifts and unique interior pieces.......I love places like this just brimming with ideas!  The picture featured is sooooo very stunning a wedding that the guy's have recently been involved with.  It certainly blows my comment about not spending hundreds and thousands of pounds on flowers well and truly OUT OF THE lets break it down into bite size chunks.........what is it that I find so breathtaking about this picture and WHY does it have that WOW factor for me.......firstly take a look at what I'm rambling on about.......

Photo credit......By Appointment Only Design

I dread to think how much was spent on flowers........certainly more than most us could ever dream of spending......nevertheless it got me thinking!  You have to give it to the guys at BOAD this is first impression is the overall softness of the colours and how beautifully they blended with the room giving it this very serene, very easy on the eye look........and most definately the WOW factor! 

At first I thought what an awful carpet....but look how the gold on the plates and glasses complimented the gold in the carpet......whether this was a clever working of detail or not it worked for me......its all in the detail.......I keep telling you this!  Look at the very oppulent room.......beautiful columns dominating the room......crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, floor to ceiling windows dressed with wonderful drapes......what a fabulous backdrop.......think about it and just for a minute and go on......remove all the tables, chairs, have a bare room.......what would you do with it......where would you start you have a blank canvas.......I bet your still thinking........?

You see not so easy!   How would these tables look with just a small vase of flowers on........maybe a fish bowl........lets face it this ain't going to work it?  The answer is most definately NO but what you have done for a couple of minutes is have you given your venue......wherever it maybe that amount of thought?  Or have you just gone ahead with whatever scheme has taken your fancy and put it in regardless?  For some of you who are having your reception at my venue won't have seen the place unless you were lucky enough to have a visit to Cyprus prior to your wedding.  Zucchini is very much a blank colour.....low ceiling, neutral floor......white chairs this was intentional so that you could put any colour scheme into the room without having anything to dominate.  I guess not all venues are fortunate enough to have this blank canvas setup so you need to give your venue a great deal of thought.....I promise you it will be worth all your efforts.

In my follow up post......later we will look at the room above in more detail before we go on to looking at other venues choices.......every wedding needs a venue.......make sure your's is right for you!!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

I just love a happy ending......

We receive lots of emails and thank you cards this one came this morning........made it all seem very worthwhile on this lovely Sunday morning......I'm going to miss all this!

Dear Kim and Alex

We want to thank you for making our wedding day amazing! Every bride wishes that their wedding looks like its out of Hello magazine well ours did. The food was fantastic and Zucchinis itself with its spectacular views,flowers and decoration was breathtaking and the Greek dancers made our evening go with a bang.

All our guests have said it was the best wedding they have ever been to. We cannot thank you enough for our amazing wedding reception and giving us and our guests such a fantastic day,one we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Many Thanks

Colleen and Dean Armstrong
7th June 2011

Thank you guys!!!!! a Cupcake

I love cupcakes and they are so versatile and easy to make......although they have to taste yummy they also have to look beautiful!

On my travels looking for stock for Flora and Grace I've found some lovely cupcake wrappers that I'll be definately stocking in the shop.......and they're re-usable if washed with a little tender, loving care!


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Flora and Grace.....who are they?

Flora and Grace is the name of our new long awaited business which will eventually be back in the UK hopefully by Spring 2012!  The name actually came first before the business idea emerged.......I was really just playing around with names one day at work in Zucchini.  I love the name Scarlett and Violet who are a fabulous florist in London and it got me thinking what would I call a shop if I had one......what sort of shop, I had no idea?  I love the name Flora and I wanted to put a name with then came Grace.......voila the name was born for a retail business.......but what was that going to be?

I played with the name for many months.......still no idea what I was going to use it for.....but I just loved it all the same.  We hadn't even decided by this time to move back to the UK so the name just sat at the back of my mind for future reference.  If you've ever wondered how on earth we came up with the name Zucchini (which was a restaurant initially) here you go?  Again everbody in the family played with names Greek, English but nothing that really struck a was all getting really boring and was going to end up with a Greek name that none of us could pronounce.  Luckily I have an amazing collection of cookery books.....being a chef.....I have collected some wonderful books over the years.....great bedtime reading!  One evening I took to bed the River Cafe book.....the very first page I opened in the book said Zucchini Fritters......that was it Zucchini....the name was born.......the rest is well and truly history!

So Flora and Grace my beautiful English country name.......what was I going to use it for?  Gradually the plan of a retail business emerged very slowly.....each bit broken to Alex in little bite sized chunks.....he takes a while to think about things and come round to my way of thinking.......I'm the ideas person, he's the works incredibly well as a team and after all we need different skills to have a successful business.  I realised our combined skills were both in weddings..... after nine years we must know something about weddings......I would hope so by now!

So weddings it was but where......we couldn't afford London where we both previously lived.......what about Bristol my home town where my son and his family fact most of my family so it seemed a good it was decided Flora and Grace would be in it.  We are still looking for premises although I have my eye on two shops at the moment......location yet to be revealed.......Rents and business rates are very high as we expected and the floor space isn't we expected.  No surprises there at least we fully understand the pitfalls.  Next step is what products are we going stock to make enough money to pay these very high rents!

As you know I love my flowers and a wedding wouldn't be a true wedding without them in one way or another......Although I don't want a traditional florists my boutique will be doing bridal flowers and reception and event styling and decoration.  This part of the business will aslo include some lovely ideas for valentines, mothers day, kiddies parties and so forth as well as having some unique packaging, beautiful wrapping papers, ribbons everything you need for buying a gift and wrapping it! 

Then there will be 'The Wedding Room' at Flora and Grace where every week we will style a stunning wedding table and theming the wedding room with different floral decoration, namecards, menu's, glassware, linen and table dressings, plates, sprinkle, favours.  In our room we will have matching stationery from save the dates, invitations, table plans, namecards, liitle signs for cupcakes, drink stirrers, tags, hundreds of different bespoke favours, a large array of boxes for dresses, keepsake, petal cone holders the list is endless.  I will be showcasing cakes and cupcakes although I shall get these made outside of the boutique.  In an nutshell I want to stock wonderful wedding related, artisan goodies that you can come in and see, touch and get advice on.....Good old fashioned shopping.....I'm not knocking the internet in anyway I use it is the way forward but you can't beat looking, touching and getting ideas in the to speak now can you?

As well as a whole boutique full of wonderful wedding bits and bobs I want this to be a place for brides to come into and get able to discuss their wedding with people that understand how a wedding day works.....what you need for your special day, whats nice to have but won't ruin the whole day if you don't have it.  Advice on colours, looking at colour palettes, matching the flowers, themes and table and room decoration, budgets and if you want someone to plan your wedding day.....look no further WE'RE HERE!

As part of Flora and Grace we will be offering our wedding planning services......Those of you who know me will know that I absolutely hate wedding packages with a passion......Zucchini never, ever had a list of packages......terrible how could you lump one bride into a silver package and the next into a platignum all singing all dancing package....sooooo wrong each bride needs a day designed to suit her purse and his or her tastes.....NO packages at Flora and Grace thank you very much! 

By appointment we will be sitting you down in a beautiful space with some very relaxing music, a yummy glass of something bubbly and planning your wedding to perfection.  Using only the finest suppliers and stunning venues we will be offering the Flora and Grace experience that you will remember and cherish forever....I promise!

I've produced an inspiration board on Flora and Grace I hope you like it.  The whole board is general just a look at the style of boutique I want to produce.  I still need to research all the goodies and will add further inspiration boards as and when I find the produce!  If you see anything on your internet travels that you think may fit in well at the boutique......maybe some things that you would like to see in Flora and Grace please email me and I will feature them on this blog!

Happily ever after......for Lily!

Congratulations to Lily Rose Allen and Sam Cooper who tied the knot in a beautiful English country wedding in Gloucestershire!

Lily has suffered a number of miscarriages announced at their wedding breakfast that she was just a tad over three months pregnant......what a beautiful wedding present for the radiant couple!

Lily arrived at the church in Cranham in Gloucestershire in a vintage Bentley sharing a joke with her father Keith Allen.  As the gorgeous bride emerged from the car she looked stunning in her Delphine Manivet gown and veil.  The whole look was very 1920's vintage inkeeping with her new clothing boutique in Londons Covent garden......Lucy in Disguise.  The gown had beautiful lace overlay matching her vintage style veil and a very similar lace bodice to the Duchess of Cambridge earlier in the year!

Lily carried a very English country look bouquet of very blowsy roses in peach with baby blue flowers......that at a glance look like hydrangeas!  My prediction for peach being the next IN COLOUR was founded in her adult bridesmaids dresses which were peach, whilst her younger ones wore white.

As you can imagine there was some humour in amongst.....after all this was an Allen family wedding......apparently the Save the Dates sent earlier in the year were a mock-up of Sam and Lily on the back of a tractor.....Yeayyyyyyy!

All the love and luck in the world to Lily and Sam with married life and a very safe arrival for the new baby!

Monday, 6 June 2011

At last some time for my blog.......

Back to work on my blog hurrah!  It feels like I've been away for weeks not updating my blog that I love so much......anyway I'm back......only 3 weddings this week so plenty of time to catch up on news......I've missed you all......and catching up with all my other blog readings and my never ending research on the internet!!!!!

After finally breaking the news about Zucchini I think we should talk forward planning and so many people have asked me about the new project......what is it going to be....where is it going to be.....I figured it would help me if I documented some more over this next week......time permitting I am going to attempt a mood/inspiration board on my new venture to see what you think?  It's definately called Flora and Grace (explanation at the ready shortly about the name) as you will be retail and it will be in Bristol......Oh and without a doubt very much wedding out BRISTOL are YOU READY...........for the Zucchini team?

One thing I've absolutely loved about this season so far is the can read on the internet and all the glossies about the latest colours but seeing these materialise and seeing if THEY get it right is another matter altogether!  I can happily say this years colour has been CORAL......and how beautiful is this colour?  Pink seems to have dissappeared making way for this stunning colour not quite orange.....not pink.....not quite peach.......very difficult to get ribbon to match but I love it!  Another adorable colour scheme is taupe teamed with blush fact taupe that almost has a hint of pink as well......I'm almost sure I put a picture of this colour scheme on the wedding gallery with one of the bridesmaids from about two weddings ago....anyway we will catch up on this later.

Pleased to be back....sooooo much to talk about this week.....speak later!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Just a quickie!

Just to say I hope you're enjoying the pictures that I'm managing to put on my little ole blog here!  Apologies if I don't manage to photograph all my weddings during the really does depend how busy I am and where I manage to get with the camera......please, please don't be offended if I don't manage to capture your wedding!


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Cox & Cox.....lovely little details!

Busy, busy rushing this morning.......marrying Alex and Brendan!  Just came across this lovely website courtesy of Lucinda Georges blog Cox & Cox take a look at their wedding section I thought they had some pretty bits and pieces!  Love the heart sugar on the rim of the coffee cup......pretty vintage cake boxes, little calico hearts.......enjoy!