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Post-Wedding Images from Provence

This past weekend, I was in Provence, where I was the event designer for Aneta‘s wedding.  From the second I woke up on that blissfully sunny and warm day, it was nonstop action, so much so that I had absolutely no time to take any photos and thus can’t share a sneak peek of the day.  But do not despair! – renowned photographer Leo Patrone was on hand and we will soon see all of his beautiful film images!  I just have to say now that Leo worked his tail off to ensure that he got every single shot that the client and family wanted, as well as every single editorial shot you could think of (without a single complaining peep about long lists of photo requests, or refusing to do things that aren’t his way).  It was such a pleasure to work with someone I consider to be a rock star photographer, without the rock star ego.  He was also extremely generous, acknowledging that his photos are not just reflective of his work, but reflective of other people’s work as well (after all, the genre of wedding photography documents the work that event designers, planners, florists and caterers have all created for the wedding, and therefore not entirely just the beautiful images that photographers take).  To hear such a skilled and reputable photographer say that his work will be pretty because of the design work that I’ve done meant so much.  :-)

Not just Leo, but every single supplier at Aneta’s wedding went the extra mile to make it perfect – the incredible stationer Paper+Cup Design (whose paper creations were just beyond perfection), the coordinator, the band, the caterer, the DJ, the venue.  The wedding was oozing excellence everywhere.  I think the fact that the client gave us all such complete and utter trust pretty much ensured that all of us would work that much harder.  Not just the bride and groom, but everyone – including the suppliers – were happy.  And not only could you see it, but you could feel it.

Even though I absolutely adored my event design and styling on the day, my favorite part of the wedding was the First Dance.  All of us, including suppliers, were cheering for the bride and groom, who segued from a romantic slow number to a sudden electronic guitar riff, with the bride throwing off the top detachable layer of her dress with a dramatic flourish to reveal a white mini dress, electrifying the crowd who all hooted, cheered and whistled.  The couple continued to dance in sync in a hilariously choreographed fast dance to the beats of house music, and when the choreography was done and the music still blasting, the couple motioned for all to join them and naturally the crowd all instantly hit the dance floor.  There were fists pumping the air and the DJ was bopping his head feeling the music.  It was seriously awesome.

Since I was so incredibly busy on this wedding day (and managed to stub my toes on iron chairs and rocks, resulting in two bleeding broken toenails!), I can only share some post-wedding images, taken the next day after dismantling and strike.  At the very least, it gives a small sneak peek into the surrounding landscape and some of the wedding’s design.  So, without further ado…

A pile of ribbons taken off chairs and the ceremony altar…

Some scenes of the romantic Provencal venue… (with colorful pieces from lawn games still on the lawn)…

Everything in France is just so pretty.  They just know how to prettify everything, including and especially gates and window shutters.

As you can see, it was so warm.  The sun was blaring down on me while I set up – and the fact that I tan so easily – I think I am now five shades darker.

The perfect post-wedding activity for a bride? – relaxing in the pool on a hot summer’s day with your friends… Look at how effervescent she is!  Love her!

Aneta, you are amazing.  An amazing person, client, friend, colleague, and, of course, bride.  But, to see her as the bride, we’ll have to wait for Leo‘s photos… Can’t wait!!!

MLH x

{Photography by Forever & Ever Events}

The New York Times | August 14th, 2011

The New York Times interviewed Mary Lee Herrington of Forever & Ever Events in its article “Maybe It’s Time for Plan C”.  Journalist, Alex Williams, discusses the pursuit of dream careers, and features Mary Lee Herrington’s path in building the wedding design & planning firm, Forever & Ever Events.  The full article can be viewed on The New York Times website by clicking HERE.

The New York Times interviews Forever & Ever Events

 My reaction when Alex Williams from The New York Times contacted me about a piece that he was writing for the most influential paper in the US much less the world? – my heart literally skipped a beat before I went running to and fro in my flat with fists pumping the air!  Actually, I didn’t really do that (I SWEAR), however there was definitely a string of “ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod”.

Americans may have seen the printed article in The New York Times yesterday.  Others around the world may have read it online.  I read the online version, which went live on Saturday – you won’t believe how many people had already read it and sent me emails in just a few hours of publication!

So on Sunday, my husband and I went on a quest to find an actual printed version of The New York Times at London newsagents.  This proved to be quite a challenge and we learned that the few newsagents that do stock the actual New York Times will get it a day late (in recent years, with newspapers facing their own economic troubles and in order to save costs on print, The New York Times distributes a thinner version overseas called the International Herald Tribune).  So, alas, none were to be found yesterday, plus we got distracted by the beautiful weather and ice cream trucks and sort of abandoned the quest to sit with our puppy in the park with ice cream cones!

Anyway, here are highlights from the article:

The full article can be read on The New York Times website by clicking HERE.  I’ve also included screenshots of the article below.

So many amazing readers have already emailed me about how the article resonated with them.  I am beyond thrilled that my little story has inspired people and hope that they will all stay in touch and fill me in on how their businesses are doing!

Finally, big kudos to Alex Williams for writing such an insightful article!  Alex’s wife, Joanna Goddard, also writes one of my favorite lifestyle blogs, Cup of Jo, and I’ve been a big fan of her work for quite some time.  I had no idea she was married to Alex when he contacted me!

Those of you in the US, please support print and buy The New York Times!

MLH x

A little sneaky peek: Lisa + Rory get hitched

These two lovebirds, AKA Lisa + Rory, were married just recently in Hurley, a tiny idyllic town in Berkshire.

Photo by Caught the Light Photography

The photographer extraordinaire for this 3-day wedding extravaganza was the one and only Chloé Brown from Caught the Light Photography.  Check out her website and blog – she is an artist! (plus a sweetheart, whom any bride would feel so comfortable having around on their special day).

Why do I call it a “wedding extravaganza”?  Because the festivities started on a Friday with a lunch picnic along the River Thames, followed by an evening barbecue with garden games.  The next day was the incredible wedding and reception, where festivities continued until dawn the next day.  Thus, on Sunday, hair of the dog was most advised, as guests relaxed under a marquee on the lawn and enjoyed another lunch barbecue.  That’s a wedding extravaganza, don’t you think? ;-)

I cannot wait to share more photos of this wedding with you – stay tuned for more from the fabulous Chloé!

MLH x

ps: the suit and dress were entirely bespoke!

{Credit: Image by Chloé Brown of Caught the Light Photography}

Someone in the States please buy these for me, thanks

I have to thank my parents for turning me onto the classics when I was a tween.  Reading Jane Eyre changed my life.  After reading that book, we stocked up on other classics: Wuthering Heights (swooooon), Les Miserables, Pride & Prejudice, to name a few – I loved them all.  I remember when reading Dracula, one of my uncles saw the cover and quipped that I shouldn’t be reading popular trash and instead read literature, to which I retorted “This is literature.”  God, I was a snob.

Next time I reread these classics for the umpteenth time, I would love to get these new hardback editions from Barnes & Noble.  They are gorgeous!  Not only would I read them, I’d display them!  The typographical leather covers were designed by Jessica Hische and were art directed by Jo Obarowski.

What a perfect cover for Jane Eyre

Heathcliff + Cathy… {sigh}

Might be my favorite…

How perfectly bloody goth is this?

My personal library needs these.  Someone in the US, please be kind and buy these for me and ship overseas.  Cheers.

Bringing it back to wedding world – a leather bound book like these would make for a gorgeous guest book.  Don’t you think?

{Credits: images via Wit + Delight via Allen Peters; typography by Jessica Hische for Barnes & Noble}

Catching the Light Forever & Ever!

Some silliness for you folks today…

I dragged Chloe from Caught the Light to test a photo booth with me at a wedding this past weekend in Hurley.  She may actually kill me for posting these!  Muahaha! ;-)  If anything, I look like a short sweaty munchkin in these photos, so she can’t really complain.

Chloe worked her camera magic for the 3-day extravaganza – I cannot wait to see her beautiful photos!  The wedding was all about the details, details, details.  I guarantee it will knock your socks off!

MLH x

ps: the handlebar mustache was made by Hello Lucky, as were so many other super charming pieces that filled the wedding.

A very musical Cotswolds wedding

You know that amazing feeling when you meet someone for the first time, when both of you click instantly and you just feel a natural ease talking to one another – and it’s so obvious that you’ve met a new friend?  I’m very lucky to have a job where this feeling isn’t exactly infrequent!  Not only have I made some great friends in the professional wedding world here in London, but also I’m truly lucky to have clients who become my friends in the process of planning their weddings. :) So, needless to say, I am beyond thrilled to share some images from one such bride and friend, who married an incredibly sweet musician/conductor at a beautiful wedding in the Cotswolds.

With the setting in the Cotswolds, the bride wanted this wedding to celebrate the natural charm of an English garden, with lush and romantic tones of antique rose, lavender and cheerful fruits.  In fact, we named each table after a fruit and incorporated illustrations of each fruit into the day’s stationery pieces.  The wedding day stationery was created by Hello Lucky, which you can see and read all about in this post and also on Hello Lucky’s blog here.  And the cute romantic calligraphy was provided by Dear Darling Calligraphy.

Embodying the Cotswolds spirit, the wedding took place in two neighboring villages.  The ceremony and drinks reception was held at Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, a very “Secret Garden” venue and one of my favorite grounds for an outdoor reception.  This was followed by an evening reception, a live musical concert, dinner and further celebrations at a private home in a neighboring Cotswolds village.

I especially loved the quirky details that popped up so playfully around Abbey House, including these bird talon door handles.

I despise most chairs supplied at wedding venues – they’re usually metallic and ugly (and I always make a point of pointing out the chairs to clients!).  Not the case at this wedding.  Check out these engraved wooden chairs!

Baby’s breath and fairy lights wrapped around the wooden beams.

It isn’t England without tea sandwiches… ;)

How much fun are garden games – especially, giant garden games?!

I was so loving the simplicity of the black + white chessboard on the luscious lawn and the capri marquee.

This is the beautiful bride, Anastasia, wearing an all-lace Pronovias gown.  Her “something old” included lace gloves and an exquisite antique jewelled bag from her grandmother.

The groom is a virtuoso cellist and conductor.  I just loved being a part of a wedding that celebrated music as an integral part of their lives.

The ceremony was filled with moving performances by their professional musician friends, including the Callino Quartet, who all rocked up dressed in hot pink dresses for the wedding.  Later, in the private home where the evening reception and festivities continued, guests were all treated to a musical concert, where many of the groom’s personal friends and colleagues performed.  It brought me back to my former days of learning classical music myself (nearly 15 years of studying the cello!) and how much I used to love being a part of creating music.  The musical celebrations continued late in the night with a raucous performance by the Cosmic Sausages and a chilled out live jazz band.

More of the Secret Garden and our giant garden games…

How cute and sophisticated are the bridesmaids?!  Not only that, they were both ever so sweet and lovely.  I loved how the bride chose the perfect dresses for both of them in antique rose, each dress perfectly suitable for wear on other special occasions after the wedding. :)

The evening reception was held at a private home in a neighboring village, where the grounds were just as inspiring as Abbey House.

As you can see, the musical theme carried on with two grand pianos and a beautiful antique harpsichord, waiting to be played by the virtuoso musicians.

For the evening reception, we wanted to create a wedding design that matched the natural charm of the private home with its wooden beams and antique musical instruments.  The wooden chairs that we hired in matched the floors and beams perfectly.  And the “rose garden” centerpieces were perfect accents with the antique rose colored tablecloths and gold-rimmed charger plates.

For a wedding cake, the couple opted for savory in lieu of sweet with this tiered “cheese cake” that celebrated local artisanal cheese from the Cotswolds.

And, finally, me with the beautiful bride :).

Photo by Freeman Photographics

Holy Mother, I look quite haggard in the photo, don’t I?!?  (I had been running around between two venues all day, so I guess it’s forgivable!?!)  And just when you’d think she couldn’t get any sweeter, the bride sent me the sweetest thank you note:

Dear Mary, I cannot thank you enough for everything that you did to make our wedding day so perfect! From the moment we first talked on the phone I knew that you were exactly what I needed- enthusiastic, understanding, reliable, bursting with lots of great ideas.

We are not the most organized couple ever and the fact that we had a baby 4 months before the big day complicated things even further. Despite this, you managed the situation amazingly- all the tasks were completed on time and to the highest standard. I really appreciate your patience with us changing our mind and leaving many decisions till the last minute. Knowing that I had your full support and understanding, made me feel really relaxed.

I have a lot of admiration for your immaculate taste and wonderful unusual ideas. We got lots of compliments on how tasteful and beautiful everything was, in particular the table setting which you have designed for us. In fact many guests came to me to say that it was the best wedding they have ever been to!

Our wedding was a wonderful and magical event, and preparing for it with you has been an utter pleasure. Thank you ever so much!

Isn’t that so sweet?!?  The groom even thanked me in his speech! :)  I must thank Barbara at Abbey House and especially the owners of the private home who opened their doors to me for this very bespoke and personalized wedding.  And the biggest thanks and hugs to Anastasia and Jonathan: both of you are so beautiful and kind, with the warmest of hearts.  I feel privileged to have worked with you on your wedding… and to now have you as my friend.

MLH x

{Photos by MLH of Forever & Ever Events}

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