Bridesmaids

SWEET BLUSH AND BLACKBERRY COTSWOLDS GARDEN WEDDING

This has to be one of my stand out weddings from 2015, as featured on Style Me Pretty recently – a small and intimate garden wedding at Barnsley House & Spa, which I designed and planned for the sweetest couple from Hong Kong.

The inspiration for this design plan actually started with the bride’s favourite scent – Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay – from wild berries in the florals, to fresh rosemary, lavender and rose petal confetti – even the bridesmaids crowns featured fresh herbs, all created by the super talented Georgia from Westwood Design. We almost didn’t have the outdoor ceremony thanks to good old British weather and spells of rain all morning, but at the last minute it cleared in time and we put the brollies aside for a candle lit affair in the gorgeous grounds. This followed with a reception where guests were treated to sweet treats, refreshing drinks and canapés, before inviting them to watch a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony in the late afternoon setting sun.

 

After the most delicious dinner served by the team at Barnsley House on long tables set with hundreds of rosemary & bay scented candles and flowers, the happy couple led their family and friends back into the gardens for signature cocktails, and cutting of the cake surrounded by sparklers. Faye at The Natural Cake Co creates insanely beautiful cakes whilst using all organic natural ingredients – I styled this rose flavoured cake with Westwood Design using fresh figs, flowers and herbs.

The Bride wore the most gorgeous sparkling evening dress for the first dance a little later on, before The Wedding Smashers kicked off a great night of dancing and entertainment for the newlyweds until the early hours of the morning.

A huge thank you to the cast of amazing artists and creatives involved in this wedding – all credited below.

Jessie

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Photography: Depict Photography | Event Planning, Design + Styling: Jessie Thomson Wedding Planning | Floral Design + Styling: Westwood Design | Cinematography: Mark Brown Films | Wedding Dress: Temperley London | Cake: The Natural Cake Co. | Stationery: Gemma Milly | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan| Hair: Kasia Fortuna | DJ: Wedding Smashers | Celebrant: Grace The Day | String Quartet: Arioso | Transportation: Alex Cars | Venue: Barnsley House | Desserts: Contemporary Cake Designs

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SOFT GREY & FRESH WHITE WEDDING STYLE: THYME AT SOUTHROP

“Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being. It’s a fundamental reaction to noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things, not the appearance. Minimalism is beyond time. It is timelessness. It is the stillness of perfection” ~ Massimo Vignelli

I honestly have no idea why it’s taken me quite so long to blog this editorial shoot in full – I published little previews from it here and here but seeing it all together again has made me realise just how talented this group of vendors was (see end of this post for full credits), and it was an absolute joy to curate the shoot for Katie Julia who produces such ethereal and gorgeous images from film.

It was featured by Magnolia Rouge magazine too, and the whole thing just looks even more luxurious in print.

This is a pretty long blog post, but I wanted to put it all in one place without you having to jump all over the place with links, and take you through my design and styling process a little more than I usually would. Hopefully brides-to-be will get little more insight into how I work together with them to create and curate weddings that are personal to them, but also fitting to the setting and the mood of the day.

TABLESCAPE 1

The first tablescape I created was inside the barn at Thyme in Southrop (such a gorgeous wedding venue for intimate celebrations). I commissioned the softest silk linen in a silvery grey which perfectly blended with the grey dining chairs, and I paired it with a slightly more textured greige linen napkin for contrast at each place setting. The fresh white flowers kept the table simple and elegant, with mini grey urns that I reused throughout the shoot. All cutlery and glassware was kept simple too – anything too ornate or pattered would have distracted from the minimalist look I wanted to achieve – yet still keeping it feminine and fresh. The calligraphy grey ink on an off white textured care stock – again, nothing cutesy or themed to the stationery elements. I used my own candles along the table (they actually smelt amazing – “joy” by St Eval if you’re interested!), and brought my own grey, clear and white crystals for the place settings to add a personal touch with individual flower blooms sitting pretty alongside them.

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TABLESCAPE 2

We then moved things outside as I wanted to show my clients how they could achieve a more relaxed al fresco dining style without compromising on the luxe detail that sets their event apart from the rest. You’ll see we installed huge garlands above the tables – which in real life may have wilted in that strong Summer sun, but since we used faux flowers and foliage, no problem there! I used a slightly more relaxed style linen napkin, and switched out the mini votive candles for tall straight edged glass hurricane vases with ivory pillar candles (my pet hate is bright white candles!).

I tore off the back of the folded place name cards so that they’d lie flat on each napkin, and I used a spring of foliage at each setting to pull through the greenery in the setting.

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FASHION 1: GREY BRIDAL/BRIDESMAID DRESS

I adore it when my brides wear colour on their wedding day – whether a bold statement, or more refined in blush or champagne – I also wanted to show how beautiful soft grey can be for a bride, but also for her bridesmaids. This dress was designed by British duo Belle & Bunty and it just draped so amazingly in all the right places. We used a large hand tied bouquet of white flowers with foliage and trailing ribbons and lace. Oh and we couldn’t resist including Katie’s GORGEOUS chihuahua pups!

If you look closely you’ll see I selected natural diamond and gemstone jewellery that matched the simplicity and texture of the dress – the low back would have looked lovely with an up do, but I actually adored how different the softly curled low side pony tail looked with it

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FASHION 2: IVORY/WHITE LONG LACE SLEEVED WEDDING DRESS

Oh how I adored this wedding dress. Again, it has a beautifully low back (I have a thing about them, evidently!), a soft streamlined silhouette in silk with long face sleeve and gorgeous detail on the cuff. Perfect for a church wedding as it’s not too revealing, yet will please those brides not wanting to look too modest. I asked Heidi to create a soft and undone up do, with fresh flowers – though looking at this again it would have absolutely worked with a veil too.

Don’t you love how the lace ribbons mirror the lace in the dress, with the grey ribbons allowing a subtle contrast with all the white? Note too that we purposeful posed this dress against a solid white wall for maximum impact. Nothing detracts from the dress other than natural beauty of those amazing flowers in the bouquet.

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THE WEDDING CAKE

I commissioned this from Jennie as she’s one of my favourite cake designers locally to me in the Cotswolds – she manages to combine delicate detail with a modern touch, and she totally nailed this brief! I styled it against the softest grey painted wall with pillar candles in straight edged glass hurricane vases again. The flower on the cake is in fact made of icing…. stunning.

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THE DETAILS

From soft grey calligraphy on textured card stock, to ethereal jewellery, pretty ribbons in contrasting or tonal colours, candlelight and crystals… the success of any design plan for a wedding is to not forget the details. It’s what makes it personal, it ties it all together so the day feels coherent and the atmosphere flows from room to room. The bridal party looks perfect, and not one element looks out of place in the setting. When styling shoots I often use my own props and other vendors loan me their amazing products of course, but I also always try to work in the decor and furniture that already exists in the venue – it really helps give my clients an idea of how this will work in practice, and is the perfect example of helping couples to translate styled shoots into real weddings.

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I hope you enjoyed that little journey? I know it’s long but trust me, there were SO many more pictures I could have shared here. I think Katie just couldn’t take enough of it in on her cameras! Please do look through the list of vendors below – each and every one of them are amazing.

To see more of my real weddings and editorial shoots featured in blogs and magazines, visit jessiethomson.co.uk.

Jessie x

Photography KATIE JULIA / Styling, planning & coordination JESSIE THOMSON / Florals THE ROSE SHED / Gowns BELLE & BUNTY / Stationery GEMMA MILLY / Jewellery RUTH TOMLINSON / Linens TABLE TO DINE FOR / Hair & make-up HEIDI VINCE / Floral garlands FRIEND OF FAUX / Assistant stylist WESTWOOD DESIGN / Model AMY NEVILLE / Venue THYME AT SOUTHROP

To browse Jessie’s favourite products, visit the shop at Jessie Loves!

BRIDESMAID STYLE: PETROL BLUE DRESS & MESSY BUN

Whether you are a bride wanting something super chic, or you are looking for the perfect bridesmaid dresses to compliment your leading ladies – I always think dresses by British designer duo Belle & Bunty are a beautiful style choice, and the colour of this petrol blue dress totally stole my heart on a recent shoot I created at Thyme Barn at Southrop, in the Cotswolds.

I can’t wait to share more from the full shoot with Katie Julia, but this dress absolutely deserved its moment in the spotlight. Would you dare to switch traditional white for bold blue? Or would you choose something blue for your maids?


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CREDITS

Styling: Jessie Thomson | Photography: Katie Julia | Dress: Belle & Bunty | Hair & Make Up: Heidi Vince | Jewellery: Ruth Tomlinson | Flowers: The Rose Shed | Venue: Thyme Barn

As featured in Wedding Sparrow.

BRIDAL FASHION SHOOT AT BARNSLEY HOUSE – PART TWO

Did you see Part 1 of the gorgeous gowns featured in Cotswold Life and shot by White Room Images at Barnsley House and Spa? No? Well hop on over there now, because that first Sassi Holford dress is a stunner!

The lovely team from Dragonfly Contemporary Designs came together with top local Gloucestershire suppliers to showcase some of their beautiful wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses in a typical English country garden setting, with ethereal veils and pretty accessories to match.

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This gorgeous dress is “Lantana” from Alan Hannah’s MiaMia range, and the veil is by The Couture Veil, both available at Dragonfly Contemporary Designs.

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Again, I love how the look can be totally transformed by adding or taking away a simple veil. The bouquet is by Bloomers of Cheltenham and perfectly complimented the setting at beautiful Cotswold wedding venue Barnsley House.

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Dragonfly Contemporary Designs have also recently launched their own bridesmaid dresses in a variety of colour-ways and lengths – seen here in a blush pink shorter style and a navy maxi style.

navy bridesmaid dress blush pink bridesmaid dress

I love this next Sassi Holford dress called “Olivia” so much because of it’s versatility. The lace detail at the top with a more simple skirt is just the right amount of pretty. The glittery headpiece is by Polly Edwards, again all available at Dragonfly Contemporary Designs. The freshwater pearls are from Cheltenham based RJ Spicer.

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Thanks to the beautiful girls Nikki and Olivia for wearing these dresses so beautifully. I think they were in dressing up heaven!

Jessie

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Photography: White Room Images | http://www.whiteroomimages.co.uk

Bridal Gowns: Dragonfly Contemporary Designs | http://www.dragonflycontemporarydesigns.co.uk

Flowers: Bloomers of Cheltenham | http://www.bloomersofcheltenham.com

Hair: Gorgeous Hair | http://www.gorgeous-hairdressing.co.uk

Make-up: Alice Tenton | http://www.alicetinton.co.uk

Wedding Planner: Jessie Thomson | http://www.jessiethomson.co.uk

Models: Nikki Cooke and Olivia Pym

Wedding Venue: Barnsley House and Spa | http://www.barnsleyhouse.com

BRIDESMAID GIFT IDEAS

So as a wedding planner I am often asked for advice on what gifts the bride and groom should give to their main wedding party as a thank you gesture, so I thought I’d start a series of blog posts for each key wedding party member, first up some gift ideas for what to buy your bridesmaids.

Traditionally bride’s will buy their mades a gift as a token of their appreciation for being amazing in the run up to the big day – especially in these days of DIY crafty weddings where everyone pitches in. Sometimes a bride will fork out for the dress, shoes, hair and make up (plus bouquets), so perhaps don’t feel an extra gift is necessary.

However I think a personal gift is so lovely, and really doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve rounded up a few unique bridesmaid gift ideas to suit different budgets:

1. Jo Malone Fragance

I’m putting this one first as it’s one of the gifts I gave to my bridesmaids on my wedding day. I gave them each a 30ml bottle of scent that I felt matched their personality and style, but also so that they all complimented the one I wore too – no overly spritzed or clashing smelling bridesmaids for me! Also, I loved the idea that each of them would have their own fragrance that transported them back to that special day and the Summer that followed. Total romantic!

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2. Personalised Necklaces

Jewellery is always a lovely gift, either to be worn on the day or afterwards, but why not go one step further and personalise an item for each of your ladies? I found this design your own charm necklace set by J&S Jewellery that is friendly on the purse but still super pretty and on trend.

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3. Emergency Bridesmaid Kit

This is such a sweet and low cost idea for a practical bridesmaid gift. You can of course make your own, but this BHLDN kit is just over £10 and pretty as can be!

emergency bridesmaid kit

 

4. Hankies for Tears of Joy

I love the idea of giving your bridesmaids a sweet hanky for them to dry their eyes with (what girl doesn’t cry at a wedding? I’m a nightmare!). You can find some sweet designs on Etsy and you could even collect some vintage handkerchiefs in pretty designs and then stamp/print your own design on them. But I found these Moi Self hankies via Festival Brides and I think they are awesome

bridesmaid hankies 5. Personalised Stationery

I love… no I LOVE getting beautiful stationery gifts, and it’s something most of us don’t buy for ourselves. Why not get something personalised for your bridesmaids? A note set, letterhead or diary would be a lovely gift. Smythson are always a great choice, but how about asking your stationery supplier to make something extra special to match your wedding design?

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Have you made or bought your best girls something really special? I want to know!

Jessie

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