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My birthday this year was even more special than usual. As well as a dinner with friends followed by a night out, I had my wonderful bridal brunch in the first half of the day. It was a perfect occasion for my six bridesmaids and bridesman to spend some time together and get to know the members of the bridal party they hadn’t met until then.

My Bridal Bunch at Chiltern Firehouse

All I knew about the bridal brunch was the date and time: everything else was a surprise. It was a beautiful affair in a private room at Chiltern Firehouse that the girls had lovingly decorated with rose gold balloons, bride props, customised photo marshmallows and tiny mason jars filled with flowers. Instead of name cards at each seat, there were framed photos of a memory I shared with each person there. A beautiful birdcage cake sat on the sideboard, which I would discover later was actually a piñata cake filled with Smarties!

My Bridal Bunch at Chiltern Firehouse

I was blown away when I stepped into the room, not because of the things in there, but because of all the love and affection that filled it. Brunch was delicious, made even sweeter by the speeches that peppered it and the kind words from my nearest and dearest. During the meal, each member of my bridal party filled out floral printed cards of advice for when I’m married: words which have made me both laugh out loud and bubble with joy. We also played a ‘Who Said It First’ quiz, with even me having to rack my brains for some of the answers!

My Bridal Bunch at Chiltern Firehouse

My bridal brunch was such a wonderful day and very ME. Seeing this table full of people that have entered my life at different points, I couldn’t help but feel a rush love, knowing that they were accompanying me on one of the most important occasions of my existence. But more than that, they are there for me daily, in the mundane as well as the exciting.

My Bridal Bunch at Chiltern Firehouse

I can’t wait to have my hen party next year in Marrakech and for all these fabulous people (and more!) to share it with me. There are so many opportunities to celebrate my wedding other than my actual wedding day and gather the people I love, so you’d better be certain that I’m going to do so!

My Bridal Bunch at Chiltern Firehouse

Looking for some wedding inspiration for your very own special day? Then take a look at the La Fête blog here.

Hiring a wedding planner is a difficult task, but equally one of the most satisfying. This could also extend to event planners in general, but the nature of a wedding and the intimate, symbolic act of getting married makes it that more essential to get it right.

Why You Should Hire A Wedding Planner

Many brides choose to plan their own weddings, for personal reasons, budget reasons or simply because they think they can handle it. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get external help of some kind, whether it’s a professional wedding planner, app (such as the La Fête Planner) or a reliable and efficient family member/friend. So many things add up, details that you never could have imagined would come up and that can make the lead up to the wedding and the big day filled with anxiety. If there’s anything I know, it’s that a bride deserves to enjoy her special day without a care in the world, savouring every instant, and not fretting over whether there’s enough champagne and canapés for all the guests. Even though I’m a planner, I took the decision to hire two wedding planners: one for each of my destination ceremonies in Spain and France. I know both places like the back of my hand and speak the language, which is an undeniable advantage, but I wanted in a way to ally myself with local planners who can more easily coordinate the festivities and allow me to truly cherish both occasions.

Why You Should Hire A Wedding Planner

The key thing for me when choosing a wedding planner was connection: did these people get who I really was? Did they also understand my fiancé? Would they be okay with the fact that my role would be hands on, creative and very decisive, meaning that their habitual creative input would take a backseat to mine? Fortunately, I found two wonderful women who understood exactly what I was after and provided me with the best curated options for us, advice, administrative and logistical details, as well as local knowledge that I could never have come across had they not informed me of it.

Why You Should Hire A Wedding Planner

Efficiency isn’t the only criteria. Sure, it’s an important one, but feeling at ease enough to be brutally honest and being able to joke, as well as being serious is essential. This person is accompanying you on a major day of your life, they need to know your likes and dislikes inside out. You need to be comfortable enough with them to share concerns over the number of toilets at the venue to allergies, general worries, etc. I understand just how important it is to get right as I’m in the process of wedding planning right now, especially with two destination weddings, as you can’t have a coffee appointment or catch up with your planner whenever you feel like it. That’s why you need to trust your planner, but simultaneously don’t be afraid to question anything: you know yours and your partner’s needs better than anybody. Ultimately, it’s about striking the right balance of trust; communication; honesty and compatibility. Just like with your partner!

Why You Should Hire A Wedding Planner

Are you planning your big day? Then don’t forget to take a look at my services. Alternatively, find out more about the La Fête Wedding Planning App here!

In the north of Spain, wedged in a narrow Pyrenean valley and bordering France, you can find the Val d’Aran. An area that allies both history and nature in its most beautiful state, the Val d’Aran is very dear to my heart: part of my family originates from there and we still have relations living in the same village, even the same house dating back to the 17th century.

La Fête Travel Diaries: Val d’Aran

A narrow valley, it is famed for its ski slopes and hiking trails, dotted with chalets and flagstone houses, charming first-time tourists and recurring visitors alike. The last time I was there was May this year. My family and I travelled to Toulouse before driving the few hours necessary to the small village of Escunhau. Once there, we paid a visit to the small Romanesque church, Sant Pèir d’Escunhau, which is situated at one of the highest points of the village, facing the mountains and showcases traditional Romanesque sculptures and arches. Following that, we met up with our family and proceeded to drive to a mountain chalet for lunch, along a popular hiking spot: the valley of Era Artiga de Lin. Val d’Aran is a dream come true for outdoor sports fans, providing activities for everyone in all seasons: hiking, rafting, skiing, etc. And when the time has come to fuel up for more activities, Aranese cuisine is exactly what’s needed.

La Fête Travel Diaries: Val d’Aran

La Fête Travel Diaries: Val d’Aran

Whenever we visit, we always go for the same things: pan con tomate, the traditional Catalan bread rubbed with garlic, tomato, olive oil and a pinch of salt; fuet, a thin, cured pork sausage; as well as local lamb chops and blood sausage accompanied by potatoes. Hearty would be the best way to describe Aranese food. What I love about this area is the pride that people feel in their culture, which is firmly Spanish, but with plenty of French influences, as well as a strong historical anchor, particularly Medieval. Take their language, Aranese, which is still widely spoken and taught at school: it is derived from Occitan and an official language in Catalonia, as opposed to simply a dialect.

La Fête Travel Diaries: Val d’Aran

Our family there all speak it and switch very easily between Spanish, Catalan and Aranese. I can understand it quite well as there are a lot of similarities with French, but it’s equally as easy to get lost! After lunch all together, they took us to Uells deth Joèu, an impressive waterfall, with mountain water cascading over mossy boulders and into the river below. The scenery there is so removed from everyday city life and so peaceful, made even more beautiful by the fact that it is wild nature, complete with bears living in the forests, as opposed to neatly manicured man-made landscapes.

La Fête Travel Diaries: Val d’Aran

La Fête Travel Diaries: Val d’Aran

And despite what seems to be quite a remote location at first glance, it is actually within reasonable driving distance to more historic locations, including prehistoric caves in Ariège, holy sights in Lourdes and historic towns such as Carcassonne, making the Val d’Aran is a doorway to both Spanish and French history.

La Fête Travel Diaries: Val d’Aran

La Fête Travel Diaries: Val d’Aran

You can read about the rest of our travelling adventures on the La Fête blog.

It wouldn’t be a British summer without Pimm’s, barbecues, smatterings of rain and beach trips to the coast. But it certainly wouldn’t be summer without garden parties popping up all over the country, with the most notable hosted by the Royal family. Buckingham Palace is the backdrop to multiple garden parties each year, celebrating achievements of public service workers and people who have positively impacted their communities. Following custom, tea, sandwiches and cake are served, but in astronomical proportions: 27,000 cups of tea gives you an idea of how much us Brits consume, even in hot weather! As much as you may aspire or wish to host a Royal-inspired garden party, it is quite a formal affair and you can easily obtain a similar result, minus the Queen but adding more relaxed fun.

English Summer Garden Party Inspiration

A tradition that is ingrained in the very fibre of our country, garden parties merge tame chic-ness with old-school games, made even more entertaining with the addition of socially acceptable daytime drinking. You can’t go wrong with an iced jug of Pimm’s, but wine, especially a light rosé can set the tone and prove a popular choice.

English Summer Garden Party Inspiration

But first and foremost, the venue is key to a successful garden party. As the name indicates, a garden is usually the blank canvas needed. However, if you’re dying to host a garden party or if the weather ruins your plans, you can always relocate inside a barn or spacious room, allowing you to decorate adequately and play games.

English Summer Garden Party Inspiration

Decoration is usually floral themed and pastel, in which you can include porcelain cake stands, birdcages, bunting, lace table cloths and striped deckchairs. However, the beauty of the garden party is that you can theme it however you like: make it quirkier with an Alice in Wonderland theme; go fifties for a vintage party; fairytale and legends could work if you’re hosting children (or adults!); minimalist and stripped back with muted colours and chic floral arrangements, or even pet friendly with doggie treats and games!

English Summer Garden Party Inspiration

A good garden party in my opinion transports you to a bubble of fun and letting go of every day life. That’s why I’m partial to games that bring out everyone’s inner child. Croquet would be the first to come to mind, but incorporating a fun fair section, with a coconut shy; hoops and darts will delight your guests. A game that could be particularly successful is one I encountered at a fun fair in Surrey last year. Essentially, it consists of throwing palm-sized balls at shelves of plates, glassware and miscellaneous breakable items a few metres away. It may sound quite basic, but I can guarantee that it was the game that I preferred that day, trying to score points smashing the most things I could!

English Summer Garden Party Inspiration

In summary, my advice for hosting a memorable garden party is: have a theme and carry it through to everything, including food; have fun, easy games; enjoy the fanfare of dressing up and hosting a great group of people, but most of all, enjoy letting go and relaxing with a glass of rosé in one hand and a cucumber sandwich in the other. After all, what could top that?

English Summer Garden Party Inspiration

Image credits:

www.amywass.co.uk
www.whimsicalwonderlandweddings.com
www.vanmeuwen.com
www.weddingsparrow.com
www.fortheloveofvintage.co.uk
www.bridesmagazine.com
www.buzzfeed.com
www.housetohome.co.uk
www.youandyourwedding.com
www.samgibsonweddings.co.uk
www.eventbrite.co.uk
 For more wedding inspiration and event planning ideas, check out the La Fête blog here or take a peek at our Pinterest page.

All over the globe, engagement and wedding traditions can vary massively. A custom that I would like to share with you is the Spanish pedida de mano, or ‘asking of the hand’.

Our Engagement Story: Pedida De Mano

When my fiancé Antonio proposed to me last September, it was a magical moment in Real Alcazar, a palatial garden in the heart of his hometown of Seville. I was lucky enough to say yes to my soulmate surrounded by orange trees, Bougainvillea and antique Azulejos tiles. However, this was just the beginning of our engagement.

Our Engagement Story: Pedida De Mano

In Latin culture, the pedida de mano is a near-essential step of any couple’s trip down the aisle. Traditionally, the small ceremony brought together the core family members of each partner, with an emphasis on the groom and bride’s father. The former would ask for the bride-to-be’s hand in marriage, with the father of the bride assuring himself that his daughter would be properly cared for and either deciding to give her away or not.

Our Engagement Story: Pedida De Mano

Luckily though, the tradition has evolved and is today more symbolic than anything else, less intimidating for the future groom and reliant on the bride-to-be’s wishes rather than her father’s. It is often an occasion for both families to meet for the first time and get to know each other before the wedding, as well as for the traditional exchange of gifts: a watch for him and the engagement ring for her. Now if you’re thinking that Antonio therefore had to propose to me without a ring, that would be incorrect. He proposed to me with a diamond-studded eternity band, which is both my engagement ring and not my engagement ring. Allow me to explain.

Our Engagement Story: Pedida De Mano

The custom dictates that as a material welcome into each family, the fiancée receives a more lavish ring from her future family in law (the formal engagement ring to be worn with the eternity band). As for the fiancé, he receives a watch of equivalent value to the formal engagement ring from the bride’s parents, which traditionally is worn on the wedding day.

Our Engagement Story: Pedida De Mano

We had the official pedida dinner this May in Seville (usually the bride’s parents host it, but as the tradition is Spanish, it felt more fitting to plan it in Antonio’s hometown). The setting was a private room in a restaurant, housed in a historic building of the city centre: very fitting as my fiancé is an architect. There were moving speeches, the exchange of gifts and general getting to know each other better, with interjections from a marching band in the street below, as well as a religious throne procession, which we could watch from the balcony of our private room. We finished the evening on the roof terrace with drinks, making the most of the balmy weather before returning to the hotel.

Our Engagement Story: Pedida De Mano

The pedida can sometimes be dismissed as an old-timey Latin tradition that doesn’t have any bearing on the couple’s future together, but its evolution into a more family-oriented event focused on sharing memories has modernised and reaffirmed it as a stepping stone to wedded bliss.

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

Have you ever looked intently at the seeds of a pomegranate? Their almost sheer burgundy lustre surrounded by plump flesh. What about the deep blue of the sea or the ragged edges of the rocks? Or even the coarse hairs of a paintbrush? Natural Artiste is a celebration of these details and more, tying together Mother Nature’s creations and man’s creations: both equally artistic and both guaranteed to make a statement on your wedding day.

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

Recently, bridal trends have embraced the concept of incorporating nature more than ever, from ubiquitous floral crowns, to Pantone’s ‘Greenery’ Colour of the Year 2017. But what to do if a garden or traditional estate wedding simply won’t cut it for you? Natural Artiste blends both the elegant high fashion aesthetic of a magazine spread and the earthy, relaxed feel of the Ibiza coast.

Monochromatic Fornasetti-inspired plates contrast with the multi-coloured cut crystal glassware, yet somehow blend seamlessly thanks to the traditionally beautiful antique lace tablecloth, with lacework reflected in the bride’s gowns. The centrepiece is reminiscent of a deconstructed Arcimboldo portrait, with the essence of the décor reading as a portable museum, combining both modern features with a 19th century ‘nature morte’ aesthetic. The cake is naked: honest and simple, as well as being spot on with bridal trends.

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

Simple or rather, natural, was the key word when I put together this styled shoot in October 2016. I wanted to show that couples can achieve a nature-rich wedding day without scrimping on details and luxurious touches.

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

The advantage of this kind of wedding is that it can work for a couple who has chosen to elope or for a wedding with guests, with a need in that case to slightly adapt location and facilities in order to accommodate them suitably. Flexibility with this theme is paramount, and there is no question that it can be duplicated anywhere, from Ibiza to England: it’s all a question of setting the scene and creating a wedding space removed from the world in some sense.

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

Natural Artiste Wedding Inspiration

What I love more than anything for styled shoots is taking two concepts and merging them, creating a unique fusion. I believe that as an approach for events, it can often be the most effective way forward: completely bespoke, completely creative and completely memorable.

I had so much fun working on this styled shoot, from sourcing suppliers to setting everything up. It was a challenging day at times, especially with the rocky ground (!), but that made it all the more beautiful and worthwhile. I hope that you enjoy this Natural Artiste post and photos and that they might provide you with some wedding inspiration. I’d like to end this post with a quote by Honoré de Balzac, that sums up exactly what I was trying to show, “What is art? Nature concentrated.”

Discover more from the La Fête blog here.

Supplier Credits:

Planner & Stylist: La Fête Weddings & Events
Photographer: The Galaxy’s Edge
Videographer: AMS Love in Video
Stationery: Alma Guëll
Model: Anita Moreno at Dress To Impress Ibiza
Make-up & Hair: Jessie May
Florist: Flors Mercat Vell Ibiza
Cake: Cup Cake Collection Ibiza
Decorations: Remedio sin Receta and Beautifully Lost Studio
Vintage White Lace Dress: La Galeria Elefante