2 Reasons This Weekend Is Special…

This weekend is special. Not just because it’s the weekend (although that always gives me cause to celebrate!) – it’s a special weekend for me for two very important reasons.

Firstly, Sunday is my wedding anniversary, and this year me and my hubby Darren will be celebrating two years of ‘Mr&Mrs–ness’. I don’t know where that time went, but I like to think it’s flown because we’ve been having so much fun
 it certainly feels that way. So I wanted to take the opportunity to wish my Mr lots of love on this special weekend. I can’t wait to share more about things in my life through the blog this year, but I’m saving all the juicy bits for another day, as today I’ve got something else to talk about….

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It’s the second reason I wanted to tell you more about… this weekend is special because it marks A Whole Lot of Lovely’s first birthday! That’s right, one whole year!

**bring out the cake!!!!**

Well what an adventure it has been! For those of you who’ve been with me from the start, you’ll remember I chose to launch my website and business on the anniversary of my own wedding. You can go right back to my first blog post here if you want to reminisce.

I won’t lie, the first year in business has been hard graft
 it’s particularly hard when you’ve got a full time job too that takes up a lot of your time. Despite some long hours over the past year building the foundation of my little empire, I am so glad I took the leap to create something of my own.

My first year in business has taught me so much, and continues to do so. I’ve made new friends, learnt tough lessons, bamboozled my mind with new software and website skills, and I’ve really stepped outside my comfort zone and taken risks to build my little business to where it is today.

One of my favourite bits though has been getting the opportunity to help and work with such amazing people. I’ve helped lots of people create something really special for one of the biggest days of their lives or for a really special celebration. I can honestly say it’s been a pleasure to work with each and every one of you <3.

But I haven’t just enjoyed creating things for people who’ve ordered from me. When I started A Whole Lot of Lovely, I wanted it to be for everyone. That’s why a lot of what I post on my Facebook page isn’t just about me and my business – it’s there for you. To brighten your day, inspire you, put a smile on your face – I like to share a little bit of lovely from all walks of life.

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If you’re reading this, I want you to know that all of that is for you. You see, you don’t have to have bought a product from me to be my customer. Of course one day I hope you’ll stop by and buy something from A Whole Lot of Lovely, but I get real pleasure from being able to inspire everyone who reads my blog and engaged with the business on Facebook. Your comments, your likes, when you share something I post
 it all means you’ve found some value in it, and that makes me feel… well, really chuffed
 so please don’t stop! :-)

So what’s in store for the next year I hear you ask? Well I am really excited about what’s round the corner. At the minute I am working with some truly inspiring people to help build more free quality content for you to get stuck into. Expect to see lots more inspiring stories, tips from real people who have been exactly where you are, more pretty image inspiration and of course plenty more new designs and products to capture your imagination and treat those you love.

As a HUGE thankyou for all your support over the last year, I have two treats for you lovely lot…

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Firstly as a birthday celebration A Whole Lot of Lovely is offering 15% off all stationery orders placed between 17th and 31st of March 2014, for anyone signing up to my A Whole Lot of Lovely email updates. Just use the Code BIRTHDAY when you place your order and sign up for updates using this link.

Secondly, over on A Whole Lot of Lovely’s facebook page I am running a competition to win a fabulous ÂŁ100 voucher to spend on wedding or celebration stationery – head over to my facebook page to find out more, the closing date is 31st March 2014.

If you’re interested in either of my ‘birthday treats’ get involved – you don’t have to be planning a wedding, all designs on the site can be tweaked for birthdays, anniversary celebrations, christenings, hen parties, baby showers
 you name it, we can work it out!

If you know someone who’d benefit from this, don’t forget to share this with them using the sharing buttons at the bottom of this post.

All that’s left to say is a massive THANK YOU once again and a big “cheers!” to another year of A Whole Lot of Lovely!

Now let’s have a little champagne cocktail to celebrate! ;-)

Emma – Owner, Designer (& lover of all things pretty)
xox

{Image Credits: Cake via Pinterest; Invitations via A Whole Lot of Lovely; Champagne Cocktails via Pinterest}

A New Year Guide to A Whole Lot of Lovely

guestsI thought I’d kick off the New Year with a little post to wish you a very happy 2014 and give any of you newbies to A Whole Lot of Lovely a peak at what my little business is all about.

First things first, a HUGE Happy New Year to you all. I hope you’ve had some really fantastic festive celebrations and are now ready to leap into 2014 headfirst and make it your year! If you’re newly engaged or a recently new visitor a particularly sparkly hello from me {she waves a little crazily} and thanks for joining me in my quest to share with you all A Whole Lot of Lovely from the world of weddings and special occasions!

You’ll find more about how A Whole Lot of Lovely started over on my home page - take a look at my story here to see why I devote a lot of my time to helping create that personal touch through beautiful stationery and special decorations and gifts.

So how can you get the most from A Whole Lot of Lovely? facebook-7First up, be sure to follow A Whole Lot of Lovely on Facebook – my Facebook page is where I share regular inspiration for your special celebrations from both my business and lots of other fantastic suppliers, including styling ideas, colour schemes, real weddings and celebrations, planning tips, links to super sweet DIY ideas and gift ideas. My page is here – be sure to change your settings so you don’t miss out on any of the lovely…

If you love your Twitter, follow A Whole Lot of Lovely there to catch up on some more of the above, and to hear the ramblings of a crazy lady {yep, me!} in pursuit of all things lovely. My twitter page is here.

Finally, if you’ve not already become addicted to Pinterest like me, I would definitely recommend it – it’s like a virtual pin board of your favourite things, Pinterest is perfect for inspiration and for storing visual information and ideas for future plans or projects you might have {watch out for my forthcoming blog post about using Pinterest when planning a special occasion}. You can find A Whole Lot of Lovely on Pinterest here – select follow to keep up to date with all my lovely pinning.

Most importantly, if you want to get the most from A Whole Lot of Lovely, pop by on my website like you have today. My blog is updated every couple of weeks with a new post. I always keep a good mix of planning tips for weddings and special occasions, feature best bits from other lovely suppliers and providers, and share with you stationery, decorations and gifts that are available to order directly from me. You can subscribe to my RSS blog feed here. If you’re new to my site, or didn’t spot some of my 2013 posts, below are a few you can take a look at!

So, it’s lovely to have you with me for our 2014 journey! Grab a cuppa, put your feet up and take a little time to browse my Wedding Stationery collections, the decorations, gifts, wedding lovely and seasonal goodies in my Little Shop of Lovely, and if you have any questions, if you want to buy any items on the site, or if you’d like to book a stationery order in my diary, just drop me an email to enquiries@awholelotoflovely.com

Last but not at all at least, one thing to know about me is that I love to hear from you! Whether you’ve been with A Whole Lot of Lovely since 2013, or if you are a new visitor, come say hello in the comments below! Tell me what special occasions you have this year, and where you’re up to with your planning. Is there something you’d like to see covered in a blog post? … I can’t wait to hear from you!

Here’s to a very Lovely 2014… good to have you with A Whole Lot of Lovely for the ride!

Emma xoxo

{Image Credit – Wedding Party Celebration:- Photo Love Photography}

Lots of Lovely Best Bits – w/c 09.09.13

A Whole Lot of Lovely has been super busy this week. Amongst the orders I have been busy finishing off and shipping a fabulous Glorious Gatsby order for a Gatsby themed American Wedding, and some beautiful Save the Dates with a Vintage Beetle twist! Keep an eye on my facebook pages for pics after the couples have shared them with their guests.

Amongst all the pretty paper fun, I’ll be heading up north to Newcastle for the Great North Run this weekend, so today’s post has been scheduled ready for you as I watch the start of the race… I’m sure I’ll be pretty jealous that I couldn’t take part this year – it’s such a fantastic atmosphere up there and the feeling of achievement when you cross that finish line can’t be matched!

So hopefully whilst I’m stood in the cold, you’ll be nice and warm at home, so sit back with that Sunday brew and have a look at some of the best bits I’ve picked out to share with you this week. Enjoy!

- Emma xoxo

 

Finding Ideas that are Totally YOU

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Morning you lovely lot! This week I want to share some super words of wisdom to help you think about where to find your inspiration from planning your special celebration.

If you weren’t with us over the last two weeks, you may have missed some of my pre-planning thought provoking exercises that will help you make your special day unique . If you missed them, have a read as they will help make sense of today’s post:

With blogs, magazines, the internet in general and social media applications like Pinterest, you certainly won’t be struggling to find images and ideas for your special day and celebrations! But with the sheer volume of content out there, how do you make sense of it all and most importantly ensure the ideas you collect are the right ones to wow your guests and create those lasting memories you’re after? That, my lovely readers, is exactly what we’re looking at today.

In this series of posts, I can’t say it enough… it has got to be all about YOU. So first things first go back to your answers to the seven questions from week one to remind yourself of what you decided was important for your day, and also have a read of the words you came up with when you were thinking of your unique wedding concept last week. What was important to you, and how did you want your guests to feel? Use these ideas to guide you when collecting your ideas and inspiration.

Home-Emma-CaseOk, so now we have our concept as our framework, where should we look for ideas? My first rule of idea hunting is to look outside of the industry that represents what you’re doing. It is very easy to get sucked into the trap of only looking at wedding pictures and ideas to inspire you when planning your wedding day. If you do that you will find some lovely ideas, but the chances are that a lot of these things will be someone else’s unique ideas, and not your own. To create something meaningful to you, I would suggest you cast your net wider…

1. Your Lifestyle – There is no better way come up with fantastic personal ideas than drawing them from your own lifestyle. What type of fashion do you go for? What interests and hobbies do you have? Think about your home… what look does it have, what dĂ©cor do you like? You can even stretch this as far as the colours and textures in your home. In my design work I often find prized possessions and family heirlooms can also be a great source of inspiration to bring into ideas for your special day.

2 – Your Venue – If you have already decided on where you want to hold your special celebrations, or even if you have only decided on the type of venue you are looking for, look for inspiration and ideas that are shaped by it. If your venue is a country hotel with beautiful gardens, look for English Country Garden ideas… if you have decided a fun filled outdoor celebration, keep an eye out for rustic country touches or fun fair ideas.

Your venue may well have some history or unique features that you could draw ideas or inspiration from, like this stunning floor from Emma Case’s photograph. I am thinking immediately how this could be worked into a motif on invitations and stationery for the day! When you know your venue, consider the room, look for ideas that will tie in with the colours, textures and space already in there.venue-floor-emma-case

3 – Design Trends – Use current trends to inspire you – colours, textures, and popular styling are all areas you can get ideas from. The key here is not to draw on ideas purely because they are in fashion. Challenge yourself around these – do they fit with your seven questions? Do they fit with your wedding concept? Are they you? If so, go for it! (If not, steer clear!)

4 – Nature - Get yourself outdoors to pick up some ideas and inspiration! You can turn this one into something fun with your other half… have a day out or a nice long walk either somewhere you enjoy being together or somewhere new. See what colours and textures spark your imagination. You might even come across something on your little day out that might feature on your big day.

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5 – Blogs, Magazines and Pinterest – Now I know I said before that we need to cast the net wider, but it’s ok to indulge in this if we do it the right way. If it’s a wedding you’re planning, then you will naturally gravitate towards this type of content… and enjoy it because there are so many fantastic photographs and images out there! A few of my personal favourite blogs for wedding inspiration are Rock My Wedding; Boho Weddings; Rock n Roll Bride; Elizabeth Anne Designs; Style Me Pretty; Emmaline Bride and Magnolia Rouge. I love to browse these on a Saturday morning with a cuppa to keep up to date on what’s happening in wedding world.

A great way to access blog content easily is to subscribe to a Blog Reading platform like Bloglovin – these sites pull all material together in one place to make it easy to browse ideas and inspiration in a simple format without having to trawl the internet yourself. To make life even easier for you, here at A Whole Lot of Lovely you will find a summary of some of the best bits from around the internet on my blog on a Sunday – keep up to date by subscribing for updates at the bottom of the page if you want weekly access to some particularly lovely posts from key wedding and lifestyle blogs.

There are also plenty of monthly wedding publications to choose from through from Brides to Wedding Ideas – many of these also now have a decent online presence too. The overriding thing to remember with the content that you will find online and in publications is that you need to stick to your wedding concept. A lot of the content you will see will be other people’s unique ideas, and whilst it’s great to be inspired by the colour palette’s and how other people’s days have been put together, if you find something you like challenge yourself before you save the link / cut out the picture / pin it… is it you? Would it create the feeling and emotion that you decided you were after? How would it make your guests feel? Do you have any personal connection to it? Seek out those ideas that really work with your wedding idea and reflect your personality.

So with a ‘Take me Out’ Paddy McGuiness style sound and lighting… the power is in your hands! I’ve armed you with some pointers on how you can make sense of everything out there, and how you can avoid the trap of merely repeating other people’s ideas. Now it’s over to you to peruse the pretty and find ideas and inspiration that fits with the wedding concept you have decided on.

Next week we’ll be looking at how we can collect these ideas and inspiration… from old fashioned scrapbooking through to getting the most out of Pinterest. For this week I’ll leave you with your keepsake card for the week for you to cut out or Pin using the pin button below.

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If you want to keep updated from A Whole Lot of Lovely on planning and lots of other pretty, you can subscribe to my updates at the foot of the page and you will receive a free Planning Guide just for signing up!

For now let’s share – I’d love to hear where your favourite places for inspiration and ideas have been… drop me a comment below and share with me and my other readers your favourite spots for inspiring content!

Emma xoxo

{Image Credits: all photographs used are done so with the kind permission from the talented Emma & Pete over at Emma Case Photography who captured these beautiful shots.}

Bringing Personality into your Planning

 

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Hi and welcome to this weeks instalment of Lovely Planning Top Tips! I’ve designed this series to help my readers and clients plan a truly meaningful celebration with lots of personality and memory making quality. To give you some fab planning tips I’ll be drawing from my experience in helping my clients pull personality and the real ‘them’ into their celebration stationery.

Last week on the blog we looked at the seven questions to think about before you start the planning process.  If you didn’t catch it, have a read here, as your answers to the questions will help you with the next step of our planning.

This week we’re looking at the next steps and how to come up with a unique wedding concept that is all about you. Feel free to replace wedding with ‘baby shower’ or ‘hen party’ or ‘birthday party’ as each of the planning top tips I’ve created for you can be translated into planning any special celebration. Yep – you can thank me later!

If you want to plan a really personal celebration, read on to join me and take the next step on our planning journey


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So you’ve thought about the vision for your special celebration – the what’s, the where, the when, the who and the why (it’s all here if you still need a read!). Next up is time to start focusing on the concept of your celebration itself.

So what do I mean by concept? I mean the ideas that bind all those finer details of your day together. I always try and get a feeling for my customer’s wedding concept when I start working with them. We explore what’s important to them right at the beginning, and when I work that way with a client, the end result really wows their guests, and gives meaning to their special day.

When planning a wedding, you’ll probably get lots of people asking you all about it, and some of them will be bound to ask about the T word… what your ‘theme’ is. A theme is a style choice that runs through each aspect of your day. It can be a colour or a particular look. I’m here to tell you… don’t worry about a ‘theme’! By jumping in and choosing details and a theme without creating a concept that is personal to you, you can end up with a disconnect between your celebration style, and you. Ultimately, you could really miss a trick in making something memorable for you and your guests. But you don’t need to make that boo boo, because you know now! Before you get involved in looking into the wealth of ideas and details out there and choosing a ‘theme’, I’m suggesting you revisit some of your answers to your seven questions from last week, and then follow the little brainstorming plan below, to create your own very personal concept.

1. Recap what you’ve decided so far. First things first, have a read of your seven answers from last week. You have an idea from those seven questions the type of celebration you are looking at planning.

2. It’s all about the emotion. The next thing for us to elaborate on is the first ‘what’ from last week – what feelings and emotion did you want your celebration to have? How do you want it to make your guests feel? As you think of these answers, write these words down.

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3. What’s your style? If you want to make this celebration personal it needs to reflect your own style. So what is your music taste; your fashion taste; the style of your home
 or the style you’d like it to be? What are your personalities like? If you’re not sure, ask your friends and family to help you – what is their perception? What words do they come up with? Don’t panic if as a couple you like different things
 dig down deep to unearth any common style interests, and make a note of pertinent words that describe all of these things.

4. It’s all about your relationship. If you’re planning a wedding, it makes sense that you focus on what is important in your relationship too. Maybe you have shared interests or hobbies? You may prefer to think more generally about shared memories or things that mean something to both of you or remind you of your relationship. Again, as you’re thinking of these things, write them down.

5. Word Perfect. Turning all of these elements into your big concept can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. All of the words you have written down give you a list of things you either want your wedding to be, or that you can incorporate into your day to make it all about you. First of all, have any words come up more than once? Highlight these, as these will be important to your concept. Brainstorm the words you have and make sure you understand what they mean. Different people can have different ideas so check the standard understanding with a thesaurus. You want to be confident if you ask for a ‘chic’ cake at your bakery, they have the same interpretation of word.

6. Perfect your Concept. At the end of your brainstorming, look to come up with several common words / special things to you, that encapsulate the concept of what you’re looking for, for your big day.

These things are all about you, and all about how you want your guests to feel. Yep, that’s right, you’ve gone and done it and created yourself a wedding concept! (Big pat on the back time me thinks – you definitely deserve a little glass of vino in celebration!) Stick with me because next week’s Top Tips will move onto looking at the best ways of sourcing inspiration and ideas for your special day based around your wedding concept. Don’t forget to drop by to check it out!

Don’t forget to pin your keepsake card onto your planning Pinterest board, or cut it out and keep it in your wedding planning book. You can just click on the Pin button below and choose the keepsake card photo.

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I’d love to hear whether you found this weeks tips useful
 leave a comment below or drop me an email to let me know how this has helped you in your planning. Or perhaps you have a question? I’m all ears


-Emma xoxo

{Image Credits: all photography images by Emma Case Photography - thank you to the lovely Emma & Pete for allowing me to share some of their beautiful wedding photography with you in this post. Check out their wonderful work over on their website.}

 

Lots of Lovely Best Bits – w/c 26.08.13

Morning lovely readers! I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. I’m pleased to share this weeks round up of best bits from across the blogosphere and social media world.

This week there are several beautiful real wedding features from some of my favourite blogs including Ratpack and Under the Stars inspired pretty, and some beautiful bright bold colours in Birmingham’s Fazeley Studios. Home Style and celebration DIY tutorials with a fab easy up do, DIY sequin placemats and crimp bead bracelets. This weeks planning and advice comes from none other than your very own A Whole Lot of Lovely, but also features a great article of styling your bridesmaids with their bouquets… some super pretty blooms in that particular shoot.

So I’ll stop rambling and let you get on to explore all the lovely from this week for yourself… enjoy!

-Emma