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Elegant Spring Spanish Country Villa Wedding

When one of our very own Little Black Book members ties the knot, you KNOW you’re in for a bevy of beauty. Case in point? This villa celebration bursting with flowing chiffon and foraged olive branches. From hand-sewn velvet bow ties to the picturesque scenery, Sarah Hannam has got it all waiting for you in the gallery.


From Sarah HannamWhen Little Black Book photographer Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography booked me to photograph her Spanish wedding in May, I knew it would be a creative affair plus I knew the warm Spanish light would look beautiful shot on film. Ashlee was marrying Spanish doctor Miguel and after a small city wedding in Ashlee’s native England, the following weekend the main celebration took place at Mas de Cigarrer, a villa nestled in amongst the vineyards and almond groves on the borders of Aragon and Catalunia in North Eastern Spain.

Ashlee’s background as a fine art photographer served her well, as she knew what style of wedding she wanted from the start and then worked very hard to cleverly create most of the details herself, so the whole thing was a real labour of love.

Ashlee learned how to do calligraphy and then with the help of her future sister in law, turned it all into a fantastic stationery suite. Her future mother-in-law, a wonderful seamstress, designed and made the beautifully flowing blush chiffon and tulle bridal gown, which suited Ashlee’s skin tone so well. Early on the day before the wedding, Ashlee took floral designer and stylist Bo Boutique out to a family member’s field in a tractor to forage olive branches and wild thyme. From hand-sewing the teal velvet bow ties and making the bridesmaid’s gifts to the enormous task of collecting jars in all sizes to light up the dancing area and painting their bases gold, nothing was too much for Ashlee and all her huge efforts really paid off to produce a very stylish and personal occasion.

Photography: Sarah Hannam | Floral Design: Bo Boutique | Stationery: Ashlee Taylor & Morello Graphics | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Zara | Groom's Attire: DKNY | Groom's Shoes: Massimo Dutti | Groomsmen's Attire: Zara | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Mas Del Cigarrer | Flower Girl's Dresses: Zara

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5 Tricks to Keep Your Flowers Fresh Longer

One of the best things about hiring a great florist is that they know all the must-have tips and tricks to ensure your flowers look their absolute best on your big day. Worried that your flowers will lose their vibrancy before you even hit the aisle? Don’t be. Becca from Petal Floral Design shares some secret pro tips for keeping your flowers fresh longer in the video below!


Florals: Petal Floral Design | Film: Elysium Productions

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SMP Blogger Bride: Makeup Artist Questions with Carl Ray

One of the best parts about being engaged is planning the big day. I remember being overwhelmed with ideas and questions for myself, but before my fiancé and I selected a date, decided on a budget and picked a venue, I was sure to book one vendor that ranked much higher on my priority list at the time—my bridal makeup artist. I mean I am a beauty blogger after all!

There are a bevy of great makeup artists, but my go-to bridal makeup professional is Carl Ray (you may have seen his work on the cover of Vogue or Glamour). You see, outside of his outstanding bridal artistry career, Carl Ray is personal makeup artist to First Lady Michelle Obama and I got the opportunity to ask the man behind the beauty to dish on all things bridal and FLOTUS while he primped me for my engagement shoot. Read on for the answers to all your beauty questions!

Why should a bride have professional makeup applied on their wedding day?

CR: Hiring a professional makeup artist is essential just like any other vendor for your wedding because their knowledge and expertise will have you flawless and camera ready. Also, it will help subside your wedding day jitters.

How far in advance should brides book their makeup artist?

CR: Brides should start the search for a good makeup artist when they get engaged and have a wedding date locked in. Personally, I can book up to a year in advance.

What should brides look for when searching for a makeup artist for their big day? What types of questions should they ask?

CR: Brides should look at a makeup artist’s portfolio or website to get a feel for their aesthetic. It’s great if the artist comes highly recommended. Find out how many years of experience the artist has in bridal makeup and look up reviews online!

Why is scheduling a bridal makeup trial so important?

CR: Bridal trials are important for both the artist and the bride. During the trial, the bride should express their thoughts and feelings on the inspiration of the ‘look’ she is going for on her wedding day. Brides can see and feel how they will look on their wedding day while the artist can get to know you and your personality. Together you can both tweak the look to exactly what you envision.

How can SMP brides prep for the big day skincare wise?

CR: To start, lightly exfoliate your skin one or two times a week. Drink plenty of water, exercise and make sure to get your Z’s. To keep your skin in tip top condition, I recommend using a creamy cleanser, SPF, face and eye cream or serum appropriate for your skin type.

What should brides avoid doing/wearing before/on the day of their wedding?

CR: Brides should avoid getting deep cleansing facials so close to their wedding day because you run the risk of breakouts.

What products should a bride keep on-hand for touch-ups after the ceremony?

CR: Carry a pressed powder or blotting papers for touch-ups throughout the day. Also, keep a lip color handy since you will be eating, drinking and kissing!

What’s it like being THE makeup artist to First Lady Michelle Obama? How do you balance a busy schedule between working with FLOTUS and being a go-to bridal makeup guru?

CR: It’s an honor to be FLOTUS’ personal makeup artist. FLOTUS is rarely busy or traveling on weekends and I know my White House schedule at least three months in advance.

Photography: Elizabeth Fogarty | Makeup: Carl Ray | Hair: Anna Fazio | Venue: Private Residence | Blogger Bride: Kara Manos | Like A Boss Print: Lucy Darling Shop | Robe: Plum Pretty Sugar

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Glamorous French Riviera Wedding

Purple with a purpose, that’s what I’m dubbing this gorgeous Lavender And Rose Weddings fete. One seriously glamorous affair straight from the lens of Greg Finck, it’s as if a fairytale has come to life. From the lovely ombre cake to the red carpet romance (complete with bubbles!) – it’s all waiting for you in the gorgeous gallery!


From Greg Finck… Diana and Jason are a sweet couple from Vancouver, who had decided to choose the warmer climate of the French Riviera to tie the knot.

Lying on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Le Château de la Napoule is a medieval castle full of French charm and elegance. Beauty is everywhere there, from the patios, to the gardens, and the amazing terrace looking down on the Bay of Cannes. This elegant venue just calls for summer laziness and easy breeze lifestyle.

For the occasion, the venue had been covered of purple and pink, thanks to the amazing job of Yeoman’s Flowers. Owned by the bride’s uncle, Yeoman’s Flowers has nailed floral design by emphasizing the beauty of the venue with sprays of amazing lilac and cherry tree branches.

The day has been perfectly planned and designed – as always – by the superstars of Lavender&Rose. Attentions and details for the newly weds were everywhere, with a special mention for the couple custom cocktail : a Champagne and Blueberry treat, perfectly matching the color palette of the day. And please don’t start me on the Ladurée gift box of macarons that I have used to shoot the bride’s amazing engagement ring.

The outdoor ceremony was held in a private garden just nearby the shores, under an amazing late afternoon light. This was such an intense moment when everyone has been overwhelmed by the couple perfect vows. The cocktail hour and dinner were led by one of the most prestigious French caterer Potel&Chabot. Canapés and courses were truly amazing both by the taste and presentation, and I still can’t believe in that smoking blue cheese and purple endives plate.

The elegant dinner was held in one of the castle’s indoor room and ended by an amazing dancing party led by DJ Thomas Dusseune. What a beautiful Spring day on the French Riviera. All my congratulations go to Diana&Jason for having us shared such an amazing moment.

Photography: Greg Finck | Floral Design: Yeoman's Flowers | Gown: Tara Keely | Wedding Cake: Debbie’s Cake Boutique | Bride's Shoes: Prada | Catering: Potel & Chabot | Hair: Gérard Darby | Calligraphy: Studio French Blue | DJ: Thomas Dusseune | Assistant Photography: Camille Marciano | Château: Château De La Napoule | Event Planning And Design: Lavender And Rose Weddings

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