Invitations & Stationery

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!

WHAT IS FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY, AND WHY BOOK A FILM PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR WEDDING?

I first fell in love with fine art film photography when I met my now dear friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography, just under four years ago. She persuaded me to take part in a bump shoot whilst pregnant with Flora, and the light filled beautifully posed images made my heart skip a beat.

Fast forward to last year when we collaborated on a styled shoot at Barnsley House & Spa in the Cotswolds, as part of a fine art photography and styling workshop with the Illuminated Collective – the talent shown by the attendees blew my mind. I had no idea we had so many home grown incredible film photographers based here in the UK, and I adored how different each of their images were too.

So, I thought I’d showcase some of those amazing artists here on the blog – I hand picked five incredible photographers for you to admire, and asked them to choose their favourite three photos from the workshop, along with their personal thoughts on why a real bride should book a fine art or film photographer…

SARAH HANNAM

Sarah Hannam Photography provides natural light, documentary wedding photography services throughout the UK and internationally.

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine art photography is a combination of bringing all the details big and small together and creating a styled artistic aesthetic that brings cohesion to the whole wedding, as well as documenting the wedding day’s important moments. Fine art wedding photography is basically what you see in magazine spreads – it’s editorial, giving you a feel of the look of the day. Even within the genre of fine art photography, there are a lot of different styles. Some photographers go for very over-exposed, high contrast & heavily saturated colours or way out posing, but I prefer to keep things looking natural not only in terms of colour, but composition too. I suggest some informally choreographed poses for portraits but I limit it to what looks natural. For me, the most important thing is capturing a moment of real emotional connection.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film is wonderful for its softness on skin tones, luminosity and delicate colours, so lends itself perfectly to capturing weddings and portraits. Often digital images of a white wedding gown can overexpose and burn out the fine detail, which is not ideal if the bride wants to see that couture gown in all its beauty! Having your wedding shot on film is undoubtedly a luxury high end product, due to the unavoidable base costs, but with flattering tones and a timeless quality, in my opinion it is a wise investment and pretty trend proof, which is an important factor to consider. Clients can also feel reassured that their film photographer really knows their craft and can think on their feet, because there just isn’t the option to quickly view the LCD. Remember not so long ago the thrill of collecting your developed films and walking along the street excitedly looking at the prints? Maybe that’s just me but what is alarming today is that we hardly print off digital files and no longer enjoy the pleasure of holding a real photograph. This is why I always offer a full set of proof prints as well as a USB, so clients actually have a tangible product to keep and look at. I think it is so important to be able to have the physical photographs in your hands, plus sitting down looking through your wedding album in years to come with your children or grandchildren will mean so much more than searching through tens of thousands of files on your computer. After all the festivities are over, the only thing left you have of your wedding day are the photographs.

You can see more of Sarah’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop on her blog here and here, and where they were featured on 100 Layer Cake

RENATA FRY

Devon based beautiful fine art wedding photography and family portraits.

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I chose these 3 images as I feel they sum up what the Illuminated Collective Workshop meant to me; beauty, elegant styling and warmth. Everything about the workshop was beautiful. The venue, the models, the detailing and the other attendees images from the day. The styling was simply stunning, as evident in the photos I have chosen. The weather on the day of the workshop was perfect; a warm sunny summer’s day which meant the light was perfect for late afternoon portraits in the grounds of Barnsley House. I just love the warm palette of corals and peaches in each of the images.

What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine Art photography to me is all about capturing details, styling and romance. It’s about recording a moment through the eye of an artist, seeing things from a different view point and focussing on the little details that have been carefully chosen by the couple. My aim is to use natural light and soft tones to record those memories to cherish forever.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

I just adore film photography. The flattering skin tones, the use of natural light and the amazing palette of colours that film delivers are just simply stunning. When I look at images captured on film they remind me of impressionist paintings by great masters such as Claude Monet. The depth of colour is incredible. As a photographer I have to carefully compose each shot and I am more selective with what I photograph. I also have to think carefully about my camera settings to obtain correct exposure, so I am constantly learning and improving my own skills by using film.

You can see more of Renata’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop on her blog here, and where they were featured on So You’re Getting Married.

THOMAS, BOWTIE & BELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Gloucestershire based fine art wedding photographers who travel the UK

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine Art Photography means different things to different people; but overall, I think that it is photography shaped with the photographer’s artistic vision. Fine Art photographers do not simply document, but take part in the creation of an image, be it film or digital. Our vision of fine art photography is to capture moments filled with light, creating dreamy airiness and elegant simplicity. Every image we capture is special, and being able to participate, shaping beautiful moments into beautiful images is what the fine art ethos is all about. It takes a unique perspective, involves emotion and therefore every photographer, and every image is different. A fine art style helps create romantic, classic and timeless imagery, capturing the moments that make memories, and the individual details that bring everything together.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Every wedding is special, unique and beautiful. When you choose your photographer, you want one that documents every aspect and truly captures the essence of you and your day. I think film is precious, and as a result, can capture precious moments. It’s creative, intimate and considered – capturing real emotion through thoughtful framing and beautiful colours. Film fits perfectly with a fine art style, documenting your moments of romance, joy and happiness; as a bride and groom you get beautiful shots that are delicate and real. It has a unique, soft look not found in digital with a real depth that brings images to life. To be able to shoot film well means understanding how to create and shape an image, film speed and light. Choosing a film photographer you can be confident they will be considered, caring and invested in creating timeless images for you, perfect to print for your album. You’ll get imagery conveying the emotion of your big day for years to come, every time you flick through the pages.

You can see more of Thomas’ images from the Illuminated Collective workshop here

CLAIRE GRAHAM

London based fine art photographer specialising in beautiful artistic wedding & lifestyle portrait photography.

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

I believe fine art is a way of storytelling with artistic and beautiful photographs, using natural light, soft gentle colour tones and styled pretty details.  Fine art is often a story being told by putting all the small pieces together to create a comprehensive story with detail shots being just as important as the portraits. In my opinion, fine art photographers have more freedom to explore unlimited visual opportunities and include more of their personal expression when crafting their work.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film has a softer focus and a less then perfect quality that many people are growing to love or/and appreciate.  I adore the colour, dynamic range, grain and little imperfection film gives to my photographs. By using film I can create a soft romantic look to my work. I think being a film photographer has made me more aware and pushed me creatively, as well as giving me new perspective as a wedding photographer.  I personally feel a better photographer by incorporating film into my workflow.

You can see more of Claire’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop here and where they were featured on Burnetts Boards

RACHEL JANE

Wiltshire based fine art and film photographer specialising in weddings & equine portraits

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine art photography to me is capturing even the simplest of detail and turning it into something beautiful; something you would expect to see on the pages of a magazine. When I’m shooting, I always look for the most beautiful light which can transform an ordinary image into something magical. I love to style every last detail, making sure nothing is missed and this helps me produce a coherent set of images with a very artistic feel to them. I concentrate on capturing real emotion. I do a few ‘posed’ shots throughout the day and even then, I only gently direct my couples. This is typically how a fine art photographer works- shooting with more of an editorial style.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film creates tones and colours that digital fails to capture which is the main reason I choose to shoot with this format. It also means I have to think more about each shot and this in turn has helped me develop my style further. I create soft, romantic imagery aimed at the modern day bride.

You can see more of Rachel’s photos from the Illuminated Collective workshop here.

Supplier & Vendor Credits:

Workshop: Illuminated Collective | Styling: Jessie Thomson Wedding and Events | Venue: Barnsley House | Florals: The Rose Shed | Linens: Table To Dine For | Stationery: Juliet Grace Design | Cake: The Natural Cake Company | Engagement dresses: Maids to Measure | Wedding gowns: Johanna Hehir | Hair Accessories: Kelly Spence | Jewellery: Astely Clarke | Tableware: Helene Millot | Make up: Nina Norman | Hair: Nicholas White

ROMANTIC & RUSTIC LUXE WEDDING INSPIRATION {Alex Miller Photography}

So I recently shared Taylor Barnes Photography and Belle & Beau Photography‘s images from our styled shoot earlier this year as featured on the Style Me Pretty wedding blog, and I also promised one more amazing photographer feature from the day too (as well as a series of DIY tutorials which I can’t wait to show you!).

So I’m delighted to introduce Alex Miller Photography and his beautiful work. This gent really will go to the next level to get the right shot, I spied him climbing up trees, hanging off branches and creeping up on deer in just one day of styling!

As usual, jump to the end for all supplier credits. You want amazing florals and pretty stationery at your wedding too right?

Coombe Lodge, Somerset Wedding Venue

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unusual tree at coombe lodge

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grey and white floral stationery

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twine wrapped church candle

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twine and purple wool wrapped cutlery

pretty french rustic and floral wedding table

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deer at wedding venue Coombe Lodge

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diamante low back wedding dress

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romantic wedding veil in sunlight

{Photography: Alex Miller Photography | Flowers: The Rose Shed | Make-Up: Nina Norman MUA | Hair: Melanie Giles Hairdressing | Venue: Coombe Lodge | Gowns: The Mews, Clifton | Jewellery : Bees and Graves | Mensware: Clifton Suits | Stylist: Jessie | Tableware: Stylists Own | Vintage Furniture Hire: Virginia’s Vintage Hire}

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the three different styles, which photographer most appeals to your personal design aesthetic? Do you see a difference between male/female photographer’s work?

I love the evening light in the final shots, and always tell my brides to make sure they get some portraits at sunset if possible (even if it means sneaking out during pudding!).

Jessie

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Creating a Beautiful First Impression for your Wedding Day

I’m delighted to feature a guest post today, courtesy of pretty stationery supplier The Ink Closet, who wanted to talk you through the importance of creating a wedding “brand” and a few useful tips for you to think about when ordering your wedding invitations!

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Save the Dates and Wedding Invitations are at the start of every wedding – your first impression. I like to think of a wedding as a branding project, everything should be consistent and the invitation is usually the starting point for this.

Wedding Tree Invitation

 

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A common question that I am often asked, is when to send out the invitations. Preferring to edge on the side of caution, I say the earlier the better, but at a minimum I would suggest that you send your invitations in advance of your wedding by the following times:

  • Save the Date – 6 months in advance
  • Wedding Invitation – 2-3 months in advance
  • Wedding Invitation (No Save the Date) – 6 months in advance

And do make sure you give a realistic RSVP date!

It seems to be popular at the moment to plan weddings in less time to get the best deals etc, but don’t hesitate when it comes to getting the invites sorted. Even the most glamorous or budget-happy wedding won’t be the same without your nearest and dearest there.

Depending on how popular your potential guests are, they may have received a few wedding invites already – which is when only a quick scan of those they do receive starts to come into play. Therefore I like to make the key bits of information stand out within a design by using either different fonts or sizes. This rule ties in quite nicely with the typographic, vintage style that is very popular at the moment. A good design eye is invaluable, but don’t feel like you can’t have any input into the design. When speaking to the designer, give them swatches, images, invites you love, styles you like etc. I find the best places to get this inspiration in the first place are wedding blogs and Pinterest (@TheInkCloset).

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Another way of getting your invitation to stand out is to not only be playful with the design, but the format of the invitation itself. A standard A5-A6 piece shouldn’t be knocked, but don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas. I recently designed a ‘roll-fold leaflet’ style invitation on beautiful thick stock, and a fold out p­­­oster invite on another occasion.

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To get some more inspiration, or if you’d like to get in touch and have a chat about your ‘wedding brand’ – please visit http://www.theinkcloset.com/wedding-invitations

Katie

http://www.theinkcloset.com

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