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Despite being watched by 2 billion people worldwide, there were touches thoughout the royal wedding day which made it personal.

Take history down the aisle. Make Granny’s day and borrow jewellery or accessories to wear on your big day. There may not be a 1936 Cartier tiara in the family safe, but a delicate locket or earrings can complete an outfit and incorporate family history as your ‘something borrowed’. The silk bridal bag I carried was first taken down the aisle in the mid 1800’s, and my necklace was a gift between my husbands grandparents.

Write your own prayers or vows. They may not have had the liberty to write their own vows, instead opting for the traditional anglican wedding service, but during his address at the royal wedding the Bishop of London read out a prayer that William and Kate had written for the start of their marriage. A truly intimate act, in writing a prayer together you will discuss what your hopes and expectations are for the rest of your lives and your roles towards each other. Not only does it reveal your hearts to your guests, but you can read it over throughout your marriage to bring it back to basics.

Follow family traditions. Is there a flower that has been used in brides bouquets through your family? Perhaps not a family mertyl bush that Queen Victoria first used for her bouquet… Instead of laying your bouquet on the tomb of the unknown soldier is there a family grave that has been honoured by brides through the family. Ask your parents and grandparents about their big days and pick the aspects that you would like to start as a new tradition. It will be fun just looking through all those all photos and hearing the romantic stories over a cup of tea…

Annual reminder. The tree lined aisle from Westminster abbey will be replanted in Highgrove and the strawberry and Lily of the Valley plants donated to charity. Use trees or flowers in your decorations that can be planted afterwards and will remind you of your big day whenever they flower, or fruit! Give each guest a favour of a potted bulb that will flower during the season of your anniversary to remind them of your big day. Make sure you reserve some for your garden or window box too!

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Who said state occasions need be all gilt and flamboyance. With all the budget in the world it could be easy to try and fill every aspect of the day with all the frills, but the wedding of William and Kate was elegant with timeless style. Take some tips from the royal wedding to create your own day with elegance and style by keeping it simple and incorporating nature.

Image: Daily Mail

No frills. Echoing the wedding gown of Princess Grace, Kate’s dress flowed with clean lines. We may not all be able to afford a couture designer but a simply cut silk gown is a classic. If a lace overlay is too costly then a lace bolero over an elegant dress is a winner.
Perhaps if she had not been marrying a future king, the crepe cowl neck dress worn by bridesmaid Pippa would have been Kate’s wedding dress of choice, and would be a more wear-again wedding dress style, rather than it entering the Royal archives!

Clean lines. Instead of over the top ornamental floral displays, a line of trees framing the aisle creating a spectacle and bringing nature into the building. You don’t need to spend a fortune on blooms, as around the base of the trees were planted British wild flowers; Lily of the Valley and white flowers from wild strawberries. And rather than letting the flowers wilt or go to waste, the couple show their loyalty to their causes by donating the flowers (and fruit) to charity and replanting the trees in the grounds of Highgrove. If you have a long engagement you may have time to grow your own flowers or strawberry plants, but if not, you could hire potted trees for the occasion.
Image: Flickr

Spring fresh. Dress the church in displays of white and green. Traditionally royal brides have carried bouquets of white flowers, and Kate chose to keep the colours simple though all the flowers and dresses. Easy for any bride to emulate, foliage is cheap and creates a look that is fresh and perfect for a Spring wedding with a few choice blooms. Follow Kate’s example and choose springs of mertyl, ivy and eucalyptus with white flowers which are in season, not only saving money but means the flowers will be fresher and more likely to be locally grown.

The eyes have it. A simple area to save a few pennies for any bride is to take the task of beauty in-house. So with a budget to die for it shows how that Kate Middleton is a down to earth girl in choosing to do her own make-up, especially when an estimated 2 billion people will be watching, some in HD. There again, she had been taking lessons from bridal makeover expert Arabella Preston.

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Kate Middleton has only been a member of the royal family for a few hours but already she has made her mark, with her understated glamour in the dress, flowers and decoration of the abbey. Far from the pomp and circumstance of previous royal weddings, today’s occasion simply reflected the personal taste and interests of the couple. Fresh, natural and simple, classic yet modern.


The best kept secret about the wedding was revealed as Kate stepped out of the limousine outside Westminster Abbey. And she could not have chosen a better person to emulate, a hollwood icon turned princess with timeless style.

Grace Kelly, Princess of Monacco, is one of history’s great style icons and today we saw her classic wedding style echoed in Kate Middleton’s wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton, head of Alexander McQueen fashion house. The McQueen signature shillouette of narrow waist and padded hips blending structure and modernity with vintage style wedding dress. The finishing touch was the tulle lace veil edged in floral embroidery – a real fairytale princess.

Do you think when she was little she would have imagined wearing a vintage 1930’s diamond Cartier tiara owned by the Queen of England…

Tradition and history were echoed through Kate’s delicate bouquet of Lily of the Valley, the flower of choice of Grace and the Queen Mother; a nod to the family she has joined. Lily of the Valley are only open in April and May, so a truly seasonal choice.Perhaps the sprigs of Sweet William were for her husband! The fresh green and white colours of the bouquet were echoed throughout the decor.

Many eyebrows were raised as the English Maple trees were brought into the abbey this week, but they created a dramatic but softened effect with the trees contrasting with the architectural  lines of the gothic cathedral. What a spectacle, as Kate glided down the tree lined avenue of the aisle to marry her prince. So romantic.

Far from being a day of excess and waste, William and Kate’s personal interest in the environment have been entwined in planning, with wild strawberries growing round the base of the trees and their request that after the big day the trees be planted in Highgrove (Charles’ residence) as a lasting memory of the day.

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The launch of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold in time for Valentines Day in February was a great leap forward in the development of trade in the jewellery industry. Hollywood stars, celebrity jewellers and our favourite names are embracing the new status and showing it has the lux appeal.

Historically the allure of jewellery has been the mystery surrounding how beautiful stones and metals are brought together to make glittering jewellery to adorn our bodies as they were worn by only the richest. However, now we understand more about the production processes of the products that we use day to day, transparancy has become the key factor as we want assurance that out luxuries are not at the expence of anothers life.

No longer simply indulging inthe world of luxury, the celebrities we look up are embracing these issues and bringing injustices to light. Livia Firth, the wife of Oscar winner Colin Firth, is a Fairtrade ambassador. She told the Telegraph: ‘We associate gold with love and beauty but there is often nothing beautiful about the way that gold is produced. Tens of millions of small-scale gold miners risk their lives in often appalling conditions and get a raw deal for their strenuous efforts.’

Most of the world’s gold is collected by small scale miners, often in dangerous conditions and exploited by middle-men. And in the race to keep costs low mines are simply abandoned when finished with leaving a large blot on the landscape. Gold certified as Fairtrade and Fairmined (a dual certification) ensures fair working conditions and wages and a guaranteed price for gold despite market fluctuations, and a premium on top of pay to benefit the community.

When CRED jewellery started the idea of fairtrade gold over 10 years ago, they dreamt that one day it would be worn on the red carpet. Luckily Livia Firth backs up her beliefs by living them out. She wore the first ever Fairtrade Fairmined Ecological gold jewellery at the Oscars 2011 ceremony, a set designed and hand-made by goldsmith Anna Loucah in collaboration with CRED Jewellery. Over the awards seasons of 2010 and 2011, as she accompanied husband Colin to pick up his numerous awards for ‘A Single Man’ and ‘The Kings Speech’, she wore only ethical or eco dresses and accessories for her Green Carpet Challenge

Meanwhile, in the USA, actress Brooklyn Decker (wife of tennis pro Andy Roddick) hit the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in a Joy Cioci dress accessorised with conflict-free and fair trade jewelry from Diamond in the Rough.

Jeweller to the stars (Christina Aguilera and Madonna are both big fans), Stephen Webster announced that both his label and Garrard, the renowned house he oversees as creative director, will be among the first 20 jewelers in the world to launch Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold. Like longstanding ethical jeweller, CRED, he is starting with wedding and engagement rings, but he hopes that soon his brands will be 100% Fairtrade.

Crown jewellers Garrard have been associated with the Royal jewellery collections since 1700’s, making royal jewellery commissions including Queen Victoria’s diamond crown, many coronations crowns and the Sapphire and diamond ring made for Princess Diana’s engagement ring that Kate is now wearing. Will Wills and Kate be commissioning them to make their royal wedding rings in fairtrade gold?

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Eco fashionista Livia Firth has once again teamed up with fair trade jewellers MADE to design a stunning heart creation just in time for Valentines.

Livia designed the necklace to be worn as a choker with the chain and heart tumbling down the spine. And we think it is a perfect as a statement bridal necklace for a backless wedding dress.

Livia says: “I love everything about Made: the country where they produce their products, the community project they’ve set up, the sustainable materials they use to create their collections and the “trade not aid” ethos of the company. The design of this necklace combines a desire to be feminine with a twist of mischief, to tease with elegance. Who could resist the tingling feeling of the heart as it cascades down your spine?”

Materials for the necklace are sustainable and locally sourced. Recycled brass is used for the chain and the soapstone used for the heart pendent is mined locally through a co-operatively run mine that provides jobs and a better standard of living.

Not only is the necklace made with fair trade materials, but it ticks all the boxes for being multi-use – created as a long chain with hook fastening you can wear it as modelled but it gives flexibility to be worn as many ways as your creativity will allow… So there is no need to pack it away in a wedding keepsake box after the ceremony, but wear it in a different way for the evening do and then make sure it goes into your honeymoon packing…

See Livia wearing it on the red carpet at the Critics Choice awards for her green carpet challenge. How many people can say they own a design that has been on the red carpet?

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We love the relaxed romantic style of Bond girl, Gemma Arterton, who married Italian Stefano Catelli in Spain this weekend. Her vintage style wedding ideas are worth noting, even if you can’t find castle ruins for the ceremony, or rely on the British weather to hold out!


Images: romantic bridal hair (via The Knot), Trailing white rose bouquet (via My Wedding Flower Ideas), paper parasols (via Aleit), Hydrangea floral displays (via The Knot), vintage car (via LisaDawn Photography)

Bedroom eyes – Gemma’s inspiration for finding the perfect dress was based on the fact that her finace loves her most when she wakes up first thing in the morning wrapped up in the bedsheets… If you don’t know where to start when choosing your dress, visit a Worn Once wedding dress showroom to try a selection of new or nearly new dresses for bargain prices.

Red carpet hair – Gemma’s vintage style wedding hair is pulled back into a loose chignon, a favourite with hollywood’s leading ladies – and finished with a long veil clipped low in her hair.

Play with light – Keep the colour scheme light and breezy to compliment the Mediterranean heat – displays of white and green are simple but effective, whilst hydrangeas create large dsiplays with just a few blooms.

Keep your cool – Help guests shelter from the sun at an outdoor wedding by providing paper parasols. If you have some white umbrellas to hand they will do come rain or shine!

We love that Gemma kept her wedding a personal family affair and was inspired by things personal to her and Stefano when designing her look. You can see photo’s of Gemma and Stefano’s wedding here

You can create your own wedding style mood board like the one above using the tools at Wedding Notebook. Register free here

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I love the glamour of the next few weeks with all the film awards ceremonies and to-die-for dresses. Last year we were wowed by the white red-carpet dresses which inspired many hollywood-style weddings.

Livia in her upcycled couture wedding dressWith a twist on this, at the Golden Globes this week Livia Firth, actor Colin Firths wife, wore a vintage Christian Couture wedding dress with a contrast black sash, wowing the press. What makes it more exciting, is that this dress was the first in a challenge that Livia has set herself to only wear ethical and sustainable fashion for the entire awards season, blogging about it on Vogue.com. (Photographs by Caroline Schiff.)

Sustainable fashion has come on in leaps and bounds in recent times, but has never before made it onto the red carpet. Livia, co-founder of Eco-Age, an eco homewares store in West London (take a trip for some inspiration for your wedding gift list) has set herself the challenge to wear sustainable, eco or ethical rags to all the events she goes to, accompanying her husband on his own quest to scoop awards that he really deserves.

With all the a-listers in couture dresses it could be really tempting to get new dresses made for all these events, but Livia has really stuck with her passion for sustainnability in all aspects of her life, not compromising on these, or style, for anything. With the Golden Globes already under her belt, and the Screen Actors Guild tonight, there are more opportunities for Livia to fly the flag for gorgeous sustainable fashion.

Livia says on the Vogue.com blog The re-purposed Christiana Couture wedding dress was a HUGE success in the sense that I don’t think I’ve ever had so many compliments for a dress in one night. But people here do not seem to understand the concept of ethical fashion – they loved the dress but when I revealed the origin they sort of switch off as if it’s not cool anymore because it was once a wedding dress. It’s made me realise that althought repurposing and vintage are great, we need to go one step further and make a really strong ethical fashion statement.’

Oh, and she kissed George Clooney on the cheek…

The great news is that it has just been announced that Colin is up for ‘Best Actor’ at the BAFTAs so we we will be seeing Livia’s response to the challenge much closer to home on 21st February.

I would really love to see her champion British design on the red (or green) carpet here – my wish list would be CRED jewellery, Beyond Skin shoes (already a favourite of Natalie Portman), clutch from fashion conscience and maybe even a gown made from recycled suits or shirts from Junky Styling

If you were Lupe Castro, ethical stylist to the stars, how would you style Livia Firth for the BAFTAs?

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