Inspiration Board: Zen Neutrals

Ah Friday. A thing of beauty. But before we all head off for the evening, I have another reader request inspiration board to share with you. This one came from a bride and groom – Andreas and Melanie – which is a first for me (love an involved groom!). They’ve chosen to have a simple, intimate wedding in McGregor at a fab venue I hadn’t come across before, Temenos, and are planning on a gorgeously subtle palette of silvery grey and earth tones. They want to create something casual but ceremonial, well-balanced spiritually and materially. I immediately thought back to this memorable wedding I featured a few months ago, including the bonsai trees that were on the tables (a simple, relatively hassle free, but very effective centrepiece that you can then give away or use in your home). I also loved the long tables and rustic Scandinavian feel of this wedding, including a teepee and a branch chandelier. Stone, feathers and wood are three more natural textures that add a bit of zen-like balance (as well as contemporary chic) to proceedings, and for an intimate wedding I really like the idea of lots of candles, creating an intimate glow. Dress bridesmaids in silvery grey goddess dresses, stick with creamy flowers, and use minimalist stationery. Finally, for an extra bit of zen, why not have your ceremony in the round? This is sure to be a beautiful wedding for a low maintenance couple – hope you like your board Andreas and Melanie!

Colours: Grey, taupe, stone, mocha

Top row (l-r): Dessert table {Oh, How Charming!/Mindy Rice Floral and Event Design/Aaron Delesie}; bridesmaid dress; balsa wood bouquet {Stephanie Williams}; stone candles; bride and groom {Iz Photography}
Row 2: Buddha; branch chandelier {Kate McLuckie}; bonsai centrepiece {Picture Me & U}; stationery
Row 3: Feathers {Arrow & Apple}; bonsai centrepieces {Picture Me & U}; ceremony in the round {Caroline + Ben}; white peacock.


Inspiration Board: Hollywood Masquerade

Inspiration board time, lovelies! I’m back with another reader request, and this one was so much fun to put together! Reader Shiree wrote to tell me about her wedding, describing it as “Old Hollywood meets Phantom of the Opera”. How. Cool. Is. That? She and her fiance have chosen silver, black and white as their colours, and are looking for “over the top elegance” and “masked ball opulance”. Oh my goodness, I have always wanted to go to a proper masked ball, and I just love the way that Shiree is planning to combine the glamour of Hollywood with the mystique of a masquerade. Usually when I’m putting concepts together for a board I’m aware of not including too many big ideas, but this theme is ALL about drama and statement and luxe. Shiree didn’t have a venue planned, but if possible, choose one with a dramatic staircase for the ultimate entrance! Otherwise, you can create that same sense of drama in just about any surrounding (although a high ceiling is a big plus) – I’ve even seen an amazing wedding where a parachute was used draped from the ceiling. Think big. I love the marquee pictured below, with what’s almost an installation of lanterns above the dancefloor – there’s that drama we’re talking about, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth – you can use relatively inexpensive materials, but think big and more (this one’s actually a DIY – see the image credits for the link). Fairy lights are another way to add visual interest – again the more, the better! I also love the idea of other luxurious focal points: bling on the bride’s dress, a cake mirroring that design, a brooch bouquet (the ultimately opulent bouquet, surely?) and a champagne tower (so old Hollywood!). Filigree masks are just my best, and I adore the invitation pictured here, which would then be reflected by a mask at each guest’s place setting (or pinned to a large board instead of escort cards). A good lasercut stationer like Doodles in Cape Town might be able to recreate this look for you. They’re not only the perfect favour, but ensure that when you all hit the dancefloor, it’ll look like a Venetian ballroom. Or just a very fancy party at Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s house. Hope you love your board Shiree, and I can’t wait to see the final results!

Colours: Black, white & silver

Top row: Staircase; ring; Old Hollywood cake {P: Kristen Weaver}; brooch bouquet {Brooch Bouquets on Etsy}; filigree silver mask
Row 2: Letterpress mask invitation {Chic Ink}; bride {Lazaro}; mask favour at place setting {P: T.H. Jackson Huang}; fairy light curtain {}
Row 3: Dancefloor with light installation; champagne tower {Martha Stewart}; masquerade ball {Vogue US December 1997; P: Steven Meisel; S: Paul Cavaco}.


Inspiration Board: La Boheme

Good morning, wedding belles! Sorry for the late start this Monday, but I’m sure you’ll grant me a bank holiday lie-in. Anyway, I’m super excited about today’s board, which was a request from lovely reader Cara. It just makes my day when I get unusual themes and ideas for inspiration board requests, and ever since I read Cara’s email I’ve been dying to put this one together. Cara and her fiancé are planning a French bohemian style for their Johannesburg wedding. They hadn’t chosen colours yet, but were looking for something rustic, hippy and down to earth, but classy. I also didn’t start out with a colour scheme, but this evolved into a palette of rust, copper and green, and I think it has just the right amount of French country boho charm (although, as an alternative to neutrals, I’d recommend purple, including lots of lovely lavender). A headband (or a crown of flowers) for the bride is a must, and bridesmaids should be put in a range of lacey dresses with mismatched accessories (matching bridesmaids is a definite no here). Flowers are rustic and slightly wild, and I’d probably incorporate fruits as well, like figs and grapes, into the mix. Heavy urns with overflowing greenery, whimsical adornments like feathers (love how these just sit in the groom’s pocket instead of a boutonniere), long tables, rugs and scatter cushions. To some degree, anything goes. Hope you like this Cara – I am sure it’ll be absolutely beautiful!

Colours: Copper, rust and green

Top row (l-r): Boho bride {Johanna Johnson}; glasses {S: Jessica Sloane of lovebird style; P: Brooke Boling Photography}; door handle {P: Tamiz Photography}; centrepiece {P: Scott Clark Photo}; feathers in place of boutonniere {P: Nancy Neil}
Row 2: Decor {P: Tamiz Photography}; bouquet {F: Panacea Event Floral Design; P: Chloe of Mike Larson Inc}; champagne on tray {S: Davia Lee Events; P: Danielle Capito Photography }; bridesmaids’ dresses {P: Josh Goleman}
Row 3: Tables {Scott Clark Photo}; cherub with crown {P: Braedon Photography}; rustic door {via}; table decor {D: Lace and Likes; P: Swoon by Katie}; wedding reception {P: Tamiz Photography}


Inspiration Board: Love Comes Softly

I’m sneaking in a last bit of inspiration before the weekend! This super soft and romantic board is another reader request, this time for Yvonne, who is getting married at Zorgvliet wine farm in summer. She loves whites, creams and soft colours, as well as classic elements like lace and pearls. And I have to say, I think the results are just beautiful! I’ve taken my inspiration from the palette of the invitation I chose (bottom left), and used a majority of whites and creams with just a little hint of the palest blush creeping in. This would be a great wedding to wear a blush dress, in fact, as it would stand out just that little bit against the white on white. I’ve included lots of lovely lace – in the cake detailing, the bride’s accessories, the place setting (just can’t get tired of this glass plate and doily combo – it’s so simple and affordable, but definitely has the wow factor), even that stunning lace-wrapped branch (which was used as a ceremony arch – amazing, no?). Other elements are classic – chandeliers, candelabras, peonies, tall white table arrangements, a chic updo. And then there’s that sweet little touch with the vintage key escort cards. All in all, it wraps up very, very pretty. Hope you like it, Yvonne!

Colours: White, cream & blush

Top row (l-r): Pavillion with chandeliers {Turtle Pond Photography}; bride with bridesmaids and lace branch detail {C: Joy Thigpen; P: Jose Villa}; place setting with doily; bouquet {F: Studio Blush; P: Katie Slater Photography}
Row 2: Wooden sign {Sweet Rose Studio}; blush Claire Pettibone dress {S: Be Inspired PR; P: This Modern Romance}; lace shoes; classic twist updo {}; lace garter
Row 3: Invitation {I: Momental Designs; P: Amelia Johnson Photography; S: Dana FitzGerald}; table decor {F: Karen Tran; P: Pam Scott}; lace detail cake {Call Me Cupcake}; vintage key escort cards {Kate Headley}.


Inspiration Board: Beach Tinsel

Woohoo, we’re getting our sparkle on today! Reader Tracey sent me a request for help with her summer wedding at the Oyster Box hotel – she and her fiance were leaning towards neutal colours but weren’t yet decided. They’re a young couple, so they also wanted to add a bit of fun to the event, and make their design simple and fresh. I love the Oyster Box as a venue (it’s actually one of my all-time faves) and I thought neutral colours were a great idea as not only will they work perfectly with the hotel’s interiors, they’ll also play up the colours of the beach. Flat neutrals, especially with natural and linen accents, can make for a gorgeous beach-style do. However, with Tracey’s request for fun, I immediately thought of the metallic and shimmer trends we’re seeing at the moment – there’s just something about a few sequins that puts everyone in a good mood. And it’s so easy to bring a bit of New Year’s Eve spirit into your design. Start with a basic palette of lots of clean white, with ivory and cream variations, and a bit of taupe, and then metallics like gold, silver and bronze. Add in fun sparkly accents – shiny bridesmaids dresses, metallic garlands and (my best) a blingy pinata! Pair this with beachy touches like shells and cute ‘message in a bottle’ escort cards. Finally, have fun with the food (this is an easy way to delight your guests, and makes the whole thing a fun experience) – you could have an unusual cake (like donuts) or serve mini ice-cream cones instead of dessert. Tracey can afford to be daring in her wedding attire – I just love the idea of a single (or multiple!) bold statement necklaces. What makes this look easy to pull off is that it’s essentially a classic white wedding with selected over-the-top moments, that add a real punch. And my, but isn’t it pretty? Hope you like your board Tracey – good luck with your planning!

Colours: White, neutrals, metallics

Top row (l-r): Oyster Box foyer; gold sparkle dress {P: Shira Weinberger}; Eat, Drink & Be Married sign {S: La Fete Event Design; P:Jennifer O‘Donnell Photography}; bride with statement necklace look {S: Canvas and Canopy Events; P: Elizabeth Messina}
Row 2: Silver pinata by Confetti System; message in a bottle escort cards {S: Wed Perfect; P: Denise Bovee Photography}; silver sparkle dress {S: Ginny Branch Stelling Styling & Design; P: Harwell Photography}
Row 3: Shells {S: Wed Perfect; P: Denise Bovee Photography}; shell place card {Fairyfolk Weddings on Etsy}; powdered donuts {S: Alchemy Fine Events; P: Justin Lee}: silver accent bouquet {S: Imagine… Weddings and Special Events; F: Couture Flowers; P:The Youngrens}

Inspiration Board: Beach Tinsel | SouthBound Bride


Inspiration Board: Together in Perfect Harmony

Happy Monday, folks! Hope you had a lovely weekend! Today’s inspiration board is a reader request from Robin, who is planning a black, white and silver garden/farm wedding for April next year. Robin had already chosen her colour scheme and bought many of her decorations, but couldn’t find a suitable venue in her area, so in the end decided to host the reception at her in-law’s farm, where there is a beautiful garden. I’m not sure what sort of decor Robin has already purchased, so in creating the board, I focused on how you might translate an elegant, slightly formal wedding to an outdoor setting. In fact, the two work perfectly together! Robin already told me she wanted long tables (love this idea, especially with strings of lights in the trees – what could be more romantic) and was considering a collection of glass containers with white flowers in them, which I also think is a great idea. The key then is to balance out the rustic (as a nod to the farm) with the formal. One great idea is to hire at least one beautiful chandelier, and hang it from a tree as a focal piece of decor, which really sets the tone. Stationery can be quite traditional, and calligraphy makes a really lovely detail, especially at each place setting as with the menu cards below. I was going to suggest either white dresses or black ones for the bridesmaids until I saw the pic below – what a great idea to let them wear a combination! The bride can also wear a black or silver sash, depending on the style of her dress. Silver touches come from mercury glass (which you can easily DIY) and just LOOK at this silver cake – isn’t it gorgeous! On the rustic side, consider hessian/burlap table cloths or runners, twine-wrapped bouquets, and wooden or chalkboard details. Make use of pretty features of the garden, like a gate that doubles as a place to hang escort cards. Just because the venue has changed, doesn’t mean that your style has to – in fact, in this case, I think the indoor and outdoor elements work perfectly together. Good luck, Robin – hope the rest of your planning goes brilliantly!

Colours: Black, white, silver


Top row (l-r): Bride & groom {P: Jemma Keech Photography}; chandelier in tree {P: Leo Patrone Photography}; silver and white cake {Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes}; place setting
Row 2: Flowers in varied glass containers; mercury glass votives; invitation suite on burlap {D: JK Design; P:Karen McNeil Photography}; black and white bridesmaids’ dresses {P: Alyse French Photography}; twine-wrapped bouquet {F: Gild the Lily Too; P:Alison Mayfield for Christian Oth}
Row 3: Long tables {C: Meredith Commender; P: Stephen Karlisch}; framed chalkboard sign {P: Alyse French Photography}; gate escort card detail {P: Lisa Lefkowitz}; chair back calligraphy signs {C: Amy Kaneko Events P: Jose Villa}.


Inspiration Board: Pastel Protea

Happy Monday my friends! Sorry last week was a little quiet – I’m afraid it was just one of those weeks. Anyway, today I have a board that I am SO in love with. And even better, I got to create it for a friend. The lovely Louise came into my dear friend Sven’s life a little while back and he was immediately smitten, so we were all thrilled when they announced their engagement. They’ll be getting married in Natal next year, and are planning a brunch wedding (so fun!). When Louise described what she was after, I immediately knew what she was looking for, since it’s a look that I’d had in the back of my mind for ages, and I think it came together beautifully. It uses soft pink and green, proteas, brown paper (how much do I love the table plan?), chalkboard and watercolour, and I’ve added in a few pretty paper details as well. Isn’t it lovely? Oh, and look out for brunch ideas coming your way this Wednesday if you’re also planning a morning wedding!

Colours: Soft pink, green and neutrals

Top row (l-r): Bride with single bloom protea bouquet (Jose Villa); brown paper escort cards (Katie Stoops); pastel table arrangement (White Room Events/Pobke Photography); chalkboard pancake menu (Green Wedding Shoes/Lauryl Lane/My Bride Story/Birds of a Feather); wish jar (White Room Events/Pobke Photography)
Row 2: Tablescape (White Room Events/Jennifer Sando); watercolour wedding invitation suite (oh my deer); bride and groom with pancakes (Green Wedding Shoes/Lauryl Lane/My Bride Story/Birds of a Feather); papel picado decorations (Erica Velasco)
Row 3: Brown paper menu/favour bag (Nancy Liu Chin via Snippet & Ink); protea bouquet (White Room Events/Jennifer Sando); brown paper table list; doily details (source unknown); bride with bridesmaids (Jose Villa)

Inspiration Board: Ascot Opening Day

I’M BACK!! Hello lovely friends, I’m delighted to return to you this fine morning. This last morning of my old life, where I’ll make my last journey to Oxford on the train. (Boy, can I ever not wait to see the back of that train.) From tomorrow, I’ll be starting a new chapter, and Paddington will be just a bear and not the station I spend half my life waiting in. I’m terrified, I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m relieved. But most of all, I’m ready. And I can’t WAIT for the next part of the journey. In the next few weeks I’ll be starting to introduce some new features to you, I’ll be making some big announcements, and ultimately, I’ll be introducing you to the new website. This morning, as I look back on a great five years of my career, I honestly feel that the best is yet to come.

For today, we have some fabulous inspiration, in the form of a board inspired by one of my FAVOURITE movie scenes. (Well, sort of.) I mean, the black and white Ascot Gavotte scene in My Fair Lady is beautiful, not just because it has Audrey Hepburn being Audrey Hepburn in it, but because all the dresses and set were designed by the incredible Cecil Beaton. (Unfortunately, I hate musicals, so as long as it’s on mute, we’re all okay.) Add the lightest pearly pink, and you have a design that is thoroughly modern and absolutely perfect for an elegant (possibly vineyard) wedding. Don’t you just love it? Smashing. Positively dashing.

Don’t forget to come back later to see more yummy inspiration from our real life bride, Cheryl.

Colours: Black & white, blush pink

Top row (l-r): Parisian stripes ceremony arch (Simple Splendor Photography); blush pink bridesmaids’ dresses (Anastasia Photography); oysters (Flory Photo); ceremony chairs (Adam Barnes Photo)
Row 2: Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady; blush pink, black and white invitation suite (sugar paper); crowd from Ascot scene in My Fair Lady
Row 3: Black & white macaroon tower; shoes (Studio Impressions); wedding dress with stripe sash

Inspiration Board: Burlap & Blueberry

Good morning! How was your weekend? I spent mine on a massive organisation kick – moving into my new office, and trying to implement a system for getting things done. Although the To Do list is massive, it’s actually really empowering to feel more on top of it all! One thing on this weekend’s task list that didn’t take me very long to complete was this little inspiration board, because I’ve been dreaming it up for ages. I am totally smitten with navy at the moment, and while I do adore a nautical wedding, there are so many other ways of using navy as a wedding colour. One of my favourite is to combine it with burlap or hessian for a stylish cross between preppy and rustic that I am just crazy about. And of course blueberries make the perfect country motif. I am dying over the blueberry bouquet below (okay, those are probably choke or elderberries, but they have the right look – your florist may be able to achieve something similar with ivy or similar, and make sure to have them wrap it in twine for the perfect rustic detail) and the blueberry cups – such a sweet dessert, or leave one at each place setting. Printed burlap elements give that extra preppy edge (don’t you just love the date ring pillow?), as do the striped navy napkins. Kraft or corrugated paper also work really well here alongside the burlap. And of course, what would a farm-style celebration be without strings of bunting and fairy lights? (Best news – the bunting invitations come from this free template!) As always, it’s the tiny details that make a big difference – matching burlap rose and boutonniere for the bride and groom, and navy nailpolish for the bridesmaids (where do I find that? sign me up). You could introduce other colours – a soft pink, coral, yellow, or green would all work, but I like the cleanness of this simply stylish palette.

Colours: Navy, white and beige

Top row (l-r): ; Blueberry ring shot (Jamie Delaine); burlap place mat (Amy Karp); blueberry cups
Row 2: Burlap Save the Date ring cushion (Shawn Connell for Christian Oth); navy and burlap garland (Domestic Construction/Max Dworkin); blue bunting love birds invitation (EE photography/Wedding Chicks); striped navy napkin and 3D glasses (Domestic Construction/Max Dworkin)
Row 3: Bride & groom (Jodi Miller Photography); blueberry bouquet (Oasis Flowers/Sakura Photography); barn (Stone Crandall Photography)

Inspiration Board: Burlap & Blueberry

Inspiration Board: Berries & Stripes

I’m just going to go ahead and say it: I LOVE today’s inspiration board. It started with the image top left, and has grown into a board I want to put on my party best and climb inside of. Because how can you not love the marriage of city sophistication and wine farm charm? Classic elements like swirly calligraphy invitations, white roses, chandeliers and a gleaming getaway car mix perfectly with softer country touches – hypericum berries, a wedding signpost, dining under the vines. Serve guests a choice of champagne or this swish gold take on mason jar cocktails during pre-dinner drinks, and wow everyone with a beautiful, sophisticated cake (from local caketress Roxanne Floquet). I love the way that the grey pinstripes bring everything together, and the palette of grey, black, white and gold with little pops of berry red smacks of sophistication. Of course, a swish bride deserves a swish dress, and I’m totally obsessed with this one! Like I say: I love all of it. Hope you do too!

Colours: Grey, black, white, gold and red

Top row (l-r): Red hypericum boutonniere (Andy Duback); wedding car with gifts (Jose Villa); wine bottle table numbers (Missy Cochran); grey striped ribbon bouquet wraps (Cari Photography)
Row 2: Calligraphy letterpress invitations; gold shoes (Jose Villa); wedding signpost (So Happi Together/Gabriel Ryan); gold mason jar with stripey straw; champagne with berries
Row 3: Bride & groom (Yvette Roman); rose bouquet with red hypericum berries (Stephanie Hunter Photography); cake with ribbon and crown details (Roxanne Floquet); vineyard chandelier tables (Jose Villa).