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Wedding Jewellery fit for a bride

Paula McGarry

Your wedding might be one of the only days in your life when you can be bathed in an array of beautiful lace, delicate diamonds and a tiara fit for a queen. Luckily, bridal jewellery has become increasingly popular and more finely designed in recent years, meeting this sparkle and shine bridal prerogative. This rise in popularity means that it is now possible for brides to find the perfect balance between luxurious sparkle and highstreet glean without having to compromise along the way. Although an excess of choice is better than having limited options, it is worth narrowing down your search based on some of our favoured principles below. 



Make ordered decisions

If there is one thing that you shouldn't do when buying wedding jewellery is buy it before you have chosen your dress. Your wedding dress might be the most critical indicator as to what pieces you should wear on the day. Similarly, your veil is another crucial deciding factor. You might already know if you want to wear one or not, but this decision will also have an impact on what jewellery you should wear. Birdcage style veils look beautiful with jewelled or embellished headpieces; however, long lacey and intricate veils won't be as compatible with a lot of additional detailing around the face. Instead, you might prefer to wear a bracelet or a statement belt or sash around the waist instead. 


Make just the one statement. 

When picking your wedding jewellery, decide which piece should be the statement piece and then ensure that anything you choose after that is understated and demure. You don't want to make a lot of individual statements on your wedding day, you are the statement. Find one thing to compliment that with and then build around that. When you have found your focal item, picking the rest out should become more relaxed and more straightforward. 




Blend 

Planning a wedding and designing a theme and aesthetic requires a lot of effort, thought and dedication. Avoid a magpie mentality and remember to select jewellery that blends in with the broader look. You don't want your jewellery to become the focal point; instead, it should be there to serve you, compliment you and add another dimension to your beauty, not overpower it. For some brides, perhaps those wearing dresses with detailed necklines, this may mean opting for less individual pieces; choosing a simple pair of earrings and an ornate hairpiece instead of a necklace. For other brides, it may mean picking intricate pieces that counter the simplicity of their dresses, for example, brooches, elaborate necklaces or dropped earrings. Whatever it means for you, don't commit to anything until you have seen it on with your dress, shoes and veil. If it isn't adding something special, then you would better off forgoing it altogether. 




Colour Coordinate 

Your wedding and engagement ring may be made of the most beautiful platinum with clear-cut diamonds, but that doesn't mean that your wedding jewellery must necessarily be made of the same. After all, your ring is its own entity. White dresses, it is correct, do suit platinum, silver and pearl jewellery best. However, if your dress is ivory, you can explore alternative colours such as gold, and antique or family heirloom pieces that will compliment the creamy hues of the ivory. Your wedding day isn't necessarily the right time to try something new, stick with shades that you know work with your skin tone and overall style so that you don't risk feeling uncomfortable on the day. It is also wise to avoid fashionable or trendy jewellery that might be at risk of looking cheap or dated when you are flicking through your wedding photos in just a few short years. 




Switch it up 

Remember that you can wear different jewellery for your evening party or reception after the majority of your photos have been taken. Feel free to mix it up, experiment more with different styles or larger pieces that will be free of conflict from your veil. Many brides have their makeup redone for a more dramatic effect or change dresses for the evening reception. It is the perfect excuse to try out two looks that just couldn't choose between. 





Our favourite bridal jewellery designers right now:

Tilly Thomas Lux 

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Owner and designer Sally uses the most exquisite materials to design bespoke pieces of jewellery for brides, taking into account their individual style, personality and budget. From decadent earrings, hairpins and crowns to unique headbands and combs, Tilly Thomas Lux has everything a bride could dream of. Their bespoke service is also perfect for brides that have a distinct vision in mind that needs complete personalisation. 




Bario Neal 

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Unlike many a jewellery brand, Bario Neal has made a strong and determined effort to create an entirely ethical brand void of any harmful mining activity. Their designs are influenced by stories, designed in-house and made with reclaimed precious metals. Bario Neal might be one of the most perfect options for brides looking for colourful gems or bands that veer away from the traditional silver, platinum and pearl. For something extra special you can explore their bespoke and one of a kind ranges that will be just for you, forever. 



Katherine Swaine 

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After designing her own wedding jewellery, Katherine took it one step further by launching her collection for sale online. Her designs are inspired by vintage pieces which evoke a feeling of nostalgia and old glamour for brides to be. If you are looking for your 'something old', then you can take refuge in Katherine's one-off and real vintage pieces. The budget-friendly price tags on this jewellery won't make you baulk if you only wear these items on your wedding day, but the beauty of them might. 



Monica Vinader 

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The wedding collection from Monica Vinader is perfect for classic brides who are intent on not letting the jewellery steal the show. The pieces are timeless and elegant, well balanced and affordable. The subtle designs make this the go-to jewellery brand if you are keen to continue wearing these items at future events. What's more, the collection features many different metals and colours meaning you can find something perfect for you, no matter the style and fabric of your dress. 



Lark & Berry 

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While not cheap, Lark & Berry have set out to create stunning pieces of jewellery without the diamond price tag. They have made it clear that their vision of expense surpasses that of pound notes spent and also includes the vast cost of environmental damage. There is no doubt that Lark & Berry are selling 'fine' jewellery, the only difference is you can have a clean conscience when you wear it. Colours, designs and prices are varied at Lark & Berry which is a good thing for all of us. 

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The Best Flat Shoes for Brides

Paula McGarry

One of our favourite things (after stationery) is admiring the beautiful choices brides make for their head-to-toe look on their wedding day. From ornate veils to delicate lacing on intricately designed dresses, the details are mesmerising. Coincidentally this month, the heat wave in the UK has steered our thoughts towards combining style with comfort and how you can avoid overheating during your ceremony and celebrations. 

Of these thoughts, the one that stood out the most was transitioning from heeled shoes to beautiful flat shoes for your wedding day instead. Wearing flat shoes might sound less indulgent, but with both designer and high-street stores creating stunning styles, you will be hard pressed to not consider some of these brands and styles as a fantastic option. 

 

1.    Jimmy Choo 

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Jimmy Choo has long been a favourite of brides around the world. Their classic, understatedly luxurious designs mean that you can wear your shoes in the days after your weddings without receiving a raised eyebrow from passers-by. They have a range of different sized heels available, but their flat wedding shoes and micro heels are just as enviable. 

Unlike a large number of designers, Jimmy Choo have avoided the one size fits all model by offering a made to order service. You might find this particularly convenient if you are looking for a specific style and colour. 

Opt for the Romy Flat for some understated sparkle (£495) or the Romy Flat in lace (£495)  which is a more delicate version of the same shoe. 

 

2.    Manolo Blahnik 

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If you have had your eye on a pair of iconic Manolo's for some time, then your wedding day might be the perfect excuse to take the plunge. Manolo Blahnik has replicated their famous design in a flat shoe so that you can maximise style and comfort simultaneously. What makes Manolo an even better choice is their variety of open toe, closed toe and micro-heel options. 

Our favourite was the open toe, slip on bridal shoe 'Martamod Bride' (£745). Not only is it intricately put together with Swarovski crystals and silk, but it is also the answer to garden or beach weddings where a combination of heat and unlevelled ground are likely to challenge your poise. 

 

3. Aquazzura 

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If variety is what you need to choose your wedding shoes, then you will not be disappointed at Aquazurra. They have the most extensive selection of flat bridal footwear we have seen from designer brands, each with a distinct wow factor. 

From crystals to floral embellishments and subtle strap details, Aquqazzura has captured the epitome of a luxury flat shoe in their designs. Although the options are predominantly open-toe, they would be perfect for weddings that have guaranteed (or close to it) good weather or an indoor service and reception. 

The Mustique (£640) was one of our favourites. Both eye-catching and comfortable which is a sure win for your wedding. 

 

4. L K Bennett 

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Without a doubt, one of the most exciting wedding collaborations was between L K Bennett and Jenny Packham. The collection hosts both open and closed toe flat shoes as well as micro block heels which are another comfortable competitor to a standard heel. 

Most of the styles are strappy, delicate and feminine. Unlike some other designers and shoes, these look and feel like a wedding shoe. They are unapologetically occasional without the high-end designer price tag. 

The Cari Ivory Satin flats (£245) stole the show for us. The shoe has everything you would want in a higher heel and is dressed up enough to work for day and night at your wedding. 

 

5. French Sole 

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French Sole is perhaps one of the most subtle and practical brands for flat wedding shoes with their bridal offering comprising a range of decorated ballerina pumps. 

One of our favourites in this category is the Henrietta (£120), an ivory lace shoe that will do its utmost best not to distract from your dress while simultaneously keeping you comfortable and able to dance the evening away. 

With a regular refresh of styles and detailing, French Sole is on a revolving mission to produce the next best Bridal flat pump at a reasonable price.  

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Seating Plans - our top tips

Paula McGarry

Of all of the wedding planning, you will do in the run-up to your big day, the seating plan can be undoubtedly one of the most trickiest. Traditionally, wedding receptions have consisted of a 'top-table' containing your immediate family and several other tables for the rest of your guests. However, like everything else in life, sometimes seating plans aren't that simple. Blended families, divorced parents and wildly different sets of friends can make organising the attendees into groups a complicated affair. 

If a seating plan is on your list of things to worry about, then read our top tips for getting it right and staying sane along the way. 

First, nail down the basics. 

1. RSVP's

A seating plan is impossible if you don't collect all of your RSVP's. Send out your invitations as early as possible. It will give your guests ample time to plan, configure the logistics, arrange for pet or babysitters and give you plenty of time to schedule your RSVP chaser texts. By sending out your invites in advance (our favourites at the moment are the Emily and Felicity invitations available on our website), you will gain a good idea of who is attending from the outset and hopefully a steady stream of 'yes' responses that you can filter into your seating chart without having a meltdown. Smart websites such as Riley & Grey make an excellent addition to your paper invitations by providing your guests with a digital facility to RSVP and a valuable database for you to keep up to date with responses instead of manually keeping on top of texts, emails and phone-calls. Alternatively,mMost of our invitations are designed with an RSVP postcard style where all your guests have to do is affix a stamp to the back of the card.

2. Keep your audience in mind

Identifying your guests that have specific requirements is an easy way to build the base of your seating plan. For example, if you are allowing children to the wedding, you will need to decide whether you would like a children's table or whether children should be sat with their parents. Elderly relatives may be more comfortable sat closer to the exits where they can come to and from the bathrooms more easily. You might have friends with dominant personalities or more care-free tendencies that would do better sat away from conservative family members or colleagues. When you have found a place for these sets of guests, you will be in a better position to seat the more flexible, lower maintenance guests around them.

3. Understand your family politics

Blended families with stepparents, half-siblings, or divorced parents can be complicated to configure at weddings. You won't want to leave anyone feeling dejected or disheartened by your seating choices for them because they are likely to be your nearest and dearest. Instead of having a top-table you might want to explore a series of VIP tables with yourself in the middle, and 'buffer' family members in between those with difficult relations. Keeping the tables hosting your VIP family members the same size and decorated in the same way as each other will also make everyone feel included rather than excluded. Whatever you decide, having candid conversations with your family will help them understand your choices

4. Heed requests with caution

You will likely have friends or family making specific claims for where they are sat or who they are placed next to. In an ideal world you will be able to please everyone, but at weddings, this is rarely the case. Unless there is a glaringly obvious consideration you should be making, do not let the whims of your guests dictate the configuration of your plan, you can't please everyone, and the only people you really should be aiming to please are you and your husband or wife. 

Choosing your layout

After clarifying the basics in your mind, more thought can go into the design of your seating plan. For this, it is a good idea to have a firm hold on what vibe you want for your reception. Is your wedding going to be a formal event or something more laid back? Do you want all eyes on you throughout the day and evening or are you happy to blend in?

Formal

If you have decided you would like a formal wedding, then the ideal seating arrangements for you are likely to include the traditional top-table or tables configured into a large rectangle or U shape. The vibe of your wedding will be more focused on the order of the day and will likely keep your guests in the mind-frame to behave sensibly throughout. Generally, these types of layouts make for less socialising and mingling, but you can work around this by adding a cocktail or champagne reception to the order of the day before the dinner. 

Tip: Show your guests where they are sitting with stationery from our Emma or Elegance ranges. 

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Laid back

You might have decided that you would like a laid-back party atmosphere where you are in the crux of the action. If so, you could explore the idea of having circular tables with yours in the middle, tables built around a centrepiece dancefloor or ditch the formal dinner all together in favour of relaxed seating, food stands, stalls, bars and entertainers. If you want to find a mid-way point, then you can reduce or increase the sizes of your tables accordingly depending on whether you want to create a more intimate or vivacious setting. Having this flexibility is also helpful for weddings with children and weddings where there is one side with many more family members than the other. 

Tip: Show your guests where to head to with our Shine and Stardust stationery ranges. 

Tricks to remember

1. You can't please everyone, try, but not too hard. 

2. If you are concerned that people on the table won't get along very well, use tall centrepieces and sit them opposite each other. 

3. Some people are more social than others, an excellent way to even out the atmosphere is to provide menu cards for guests to mull over and discuss, a smart way to break the ice. You could also supply quizzes and dinner table games for when the conversation becomes a bit stale. 

4. Last minute changes happen, but at that point, you should be focusing on enjoying your day and not picking up more wedding admin. Accept that there may be a seat free on one or two tables and use it as an opportunity to let guests make their own decisions and shuffle around if they are desperate. 

5. Sign-up to a website that allows you to digitally arrange your seating plan by uploading your list of RSVPs to the database. Drag and drop features, scaling, design and venue layout features make this a fantastic way to visualise the plan. You will also be able to export the list and send it to us to make your seating plan for the guests, arrange the place cards and allow the wedding venue to be kept in the loop too. 

One final thing, if you give your guests enough fizz, they won't care where they are sat anyway. 

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