An Art Nouveau Inspired Wedding

Lets get today started with a super beautiful wedding.

Katherine and Nicholas were married in September of last year and their wedding drew inspiration from the Art Nouveau period.

Katherine looks so beautiful in her almost bohemian wedding day look, and her bouquet is simply incredible wow!! I love the glass bottles filled with blooms, the lavender place settings and those beautiful images of them with their adorable little girl.

Thanks so much to the brilliant My Big Day Photos for sharing their gorgeous images with us today, here is what they had to say about the wedding;

“This was a truly eventfull day from the start, Katherine had to get her eyelashes re-done first thing in the morning due to a very emotional night before, this put her behind schedule which in turn made the brides party 40 minutes late for the ceremony at All Saints Church in Mumbles, there’s nothing like being fashionably late!!! Despite this everyone remained calm and happy which was great for me and the photographs. We arrived at the reception venue, a marquee pitched on Langland cricket ground, and were welcomed by wind and rain, and it pretty much stayed that way for the rest of the afternoon with only minor breaks for us to shoot some outdoor pictures.

Inside the marquee however was a feast for the eyes. Vintage bottles and jars filled with a variety of wild flowers and peacock feathers adorned the tables, heather and handmade labels were used as name tags for the guests and Katherine had constructed a photobooth using a fake wall mounted with picture frames, complete with feather boas, hats, fake glasses and wigs.

The whole day was full of beautiful details and personal touches.!


NAMES…. Katherine and Nicholas

WEDDING DATE….  03/09/2011

THE PROPOSAL… Nick proposed to me on my birthday in April 2010, he had surprised me with a mysterious weekend getaway, which turned out to be to the most gorgeous little hotel, perched on the edge of a cliff in West Wales, with our window over-looking a stunning beach. We had our daughter Freya with us, (who was about four months old at the time), and we also had our little dog Rusty with us. On the morning of my birthday I took Freya up to our room for a nap and Nick said he would take Rusty for a walk on the beach. I settled in for a nice read in bed while Freya slept, putting my phone on silent in case anyone rang and disturbed her. After a while I began to wonder where Nick was as he had been gone a really long time, so I picked up my phone to ring him. I saw I had seventeen missed calls from him! Fearing the worst I rang him back, convinced something awful had happened. He sounded relieved to hear from me as I frantically asked him what was wrong, but he assured me it was nothing bad, he just wanted me to look at something out of the window. He asked if I could see him standing on the beach, and that he’d written something in the sand. I peered out but there was loads of sea mist and I couldn’t really see; I expected him to have written something daft that he thought I’d find funny. Eventually the mist cleared a bit and I started to make out the letters MARRY ME! I burst into tears, and Nick told me to look under the cushion on the window seat; there was a box with a beautiful ring inside. I really couldn’t believe it, as I hadn’t suspected a thing. It was the most romantic moment of my life.

THE VISION… We wanted the wedding be relaxed and informal, and most importantly for everybody to have wonderful time.

THE PLANNING PROCESS… I tried to plan the wedding the way I planned things in my job (before I had my daughter I worked as a prop buyer for TV and film); lists, lists and more lists. I tried to be as organised as possible as I wanted to do as much as possible myself to cut costs. Although I had done a TV wedding before, when I really started to get into the planning of my own wedding I realised just how different it was; there was so much more to do and think about. What I hadn’t realised was just how important your dress is to the rest of the planning process; I had envisaged my wedding dress as an empire line, vintage lace affair, and started to plan my wedding décor and themes around to that (think village fete meets Jane Austen tea party) but when I actually tried on dresses, I found that although I really loved the way those type of dresses looked, I just didn’t feel right in them. When I tried on a dress that was a complete wild card, and completely different to what I had envisaged, I totally fell in love with the style. As a result I realised I would have to change the style and theme of the wedding, as the one I had chosen really would not fit the dress. I had to go back to the drawing board completely. I was reasonably organised, but even the best-laid plans can be sabotaged by unforeseen circumstances. The day before the wedding was quite fraught in the end due to everything from the late arrival of the furniture for the marquee, to traffic accidents holding up vital helpers and false eyelash disasters! It was a shame that I was so stressed and had no time to pamper myself that day, but that is one of the risks you take when you choose to do everything yourself!

BUDGET…. My budget for the wedding was fairly strange in that it started out quite small but grew and grew the further I got into the planning. What initially started off as a small, relaxed affair ended up being something on an altogether larger scale once I realised how many people would be coming. I quickly found that the guest list could easily snowball; I was very lucky to have incredibly generous parents, otherwise I would have had to be fairly ruthless about who came, which I didn’t really want to do! I will say though that the majority of money was spent on food, booze and the marquee; there was very little left over for everything else. It was important to us as a family to have all the guests liberally supplied with good quality food and drink; we really wanted everyone to have the best possible time. However it was equally important to me for the wedding to a) look good and b) be what I wanted it to be. Luckily my professional experience helped me do things on very tight budget; just knowing where and how to get hold of stuff cheaply was very useful. I did a lot of buying and research on the internet, as well as using car boot sales, antique shops and wholesalers. However one of the biggest money savers for me was having so many wonderful and creative family members on hand; my mother in law particularly was amazing, I couldn’t have done it without her. She made my wedding dress, plus all my bridesmaids dresses. She also helped me with all the planning, especially the flowers. She paid for all the fabric, which she got whilst on holiday in China and flowers (which we got at the wholesalers) too, which was a big help. All in I don’t think we spent more than £1500 on décor, dresses, flowers and stationary.

THE VENUE… Choosing a venue was one of the hardest parts of the planning process for me. I thought I would save money on a venue by using a marquee, but I soon saw that wouldn’t be the case; I think that there are many much cheaper options out there. However, the benefits of having a marquee were firstly, a great location, and secondly it provided me with a blank canvas to do what I wanted with. After much prevaricating I decided on a marquee on the pitch of the local cricket club in my home village of Mumbles, Swansea. The pitch provided a brilliant site for the marquee, and I envisaged all the children running around outside in the sunshine, playing croquet and skittles and blowing bubbles. Unfortunately the weather put paid to that idea (though some more determined little cousins still played croquet in rain!), but that is one of the perils of getting married in the UK I suppose!  The cricket club is very close to my sister’s house, where my daughter would be staying on the night of the wedding, so that was convenient for me and all the various Grandmas/babysitters who would be looking after her. I felt much better knowing that I was close at hand if she needed me. The Mumbles Cricket Club proved to be a brilliant venue; the pitch was immaculate, the marquee looked lovely on it. Plus it was great to have the bar and loos in the club to use, and the charges were very reasonable. The guys there could not have been nicer or more helpful. Mumbles is such a beautiful seaside village, and very close to my heart; I was also able to get married in the church where several generations of my family have married and attend, which meant a lot.

THE DRESS + ACCESSORIES… My dress was a kimono style full-length gown, with ¾ length sleeves and a wide, beaded belt. It was made from a silk satin under-dress, with silk georgette on top. Its style was clean and simple, but elegant. It was extremely comfortable to wear; I loved it. I couldn’t bear the thought of being trussed up in creaking corsetry all day long, as nice as that hourglass silhouette is! The dress’s simple lines meant that it wouldn’t take over accessorising, so I just wore an antique teardrop moonstone necklace that had belonged to my late grandmother, and the seed pearl and turquoise daisy ring that she had left to me in her will. The ring originally belonged to my great-great grandma and is very old and delicate; even though I loved it I had always been too frightened to wear it in case it broke, but I always said I would wear it on my wedding day. It was my something old and something blue, and both the ring and the necklace were beautiful ways of helping me feel that my grandmother and great-grandparents, who I was very close to, were close by. I had a few white orchids in the back of my hair too. My shoes were a bit of bling though, crystal studded strappy sandals by Benjamin Adams. They were very pretty and delicate and complemented the dress well I think.

FINDING THE DRESS… My mother in law offered from the start to make my dress for me, which was incredibly kind of her. She used to do it professionally years ago, but gave it up; after the amount of hard work and sheer hours she put into making mine I can see why! I went to one dress shop and tried on some dresses to get an idea of what suited me, and as I said above, all my ideas of antique lace and empire line style were completely blown out of the water. I tried on a dress which I normally would not have taken a second glance at had I not seen a picture of it looking beautiful on a model on the shop’s website; it really didn’t look like much at all on the hanger compared to all the lacy and frothy delights around it, but once I felt that cool silk slip over my head, I was in love. When I tried on all the other dresses, I was fidgeting and fussing around all the time, but with this one I felt completely relaxed and comfortable. Gloria (my mum in law) then made me a similar dress but with a few things moderated or added; the belt was slightly thinner in order to fit better, and we added a train, which the original dress didn’t have. Gloria really was amazing; she hand stitched thousands of beads onto the belt, and got the cut of the dress just right. The cut really was vital to making the dress look as it should, and even though the silks were very hard to work with, slipping and puckering all the time as she sewed them, the end result was beautiful. I was so lucky to have her.

GROOM’S ATTIRE… Nick is really not a formal attire kind of guy; he is a surfer so he likes all the casual surfy type clothes and he because of the type of work he does (he is a prop-maker for TV and film) he wears scruffy clothes to work. He isn’t particularly comfortable in a suit, and to be honest I prefer him in jeans, flip-flops and t-shirts too! I really just wanted him to feel comfortable, and we talked about him wearing linen trousers and a shirt in neutral colours at first, but then he thought he might feel even worse being the only one at the wedding not wearing a suit! (Even though I had told the guests they could wear whatever they felt comfortable in too.) The colours of the wedding were mostly blues and greens, to tie in with the antique bottles and peacock feathers that we were using for the décor. In the end Nick found a really cool blue striped suit from Ted Baker, which was beautifully cut and looked great on him, and I think in the end he decided he actually quite liked suits after all! He wore it with a complementing blue shirt and tie, and a green cymbidium orchid boutonnière.

THE READINGS + MUSIC… Being Welsh, we all love to sing, so I chose two of my favourite hymns, ‘Calon Lan’ and ‘Cwm Rhondda’ (which also happen to be two songs that are often belted out in the rugby stadium!). I really wanted everyone to join in the singing so I thought it would be good to have songs that most people know and love. The readings were 1 Corinthians, which I’ve always liked, and “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways….’’, a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, which has always been one of my favourite love poems. My Great Auntie read the first; it is her church and she often does readings there, so she did a great job. The poem was read by my sister, Hannah, who was nervous but did amazingly. By amazing luck my sister bid on, and won, a performance by an amateur string quartet called Cwmtawe Strings at a charity auction a few months before the wedding, and they very kindly agreed to play on the day. They played a selection of tunes to keep people entertained while they waited (which ended up being a long time!) and Pachelbel’s Canon in D to accompany me down the aisle. They played us out to Handel’s Arrival of The Queen of Sheba.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS… My only adult bridesmaid was my sister Hannah, which gave us free reign to design her dress exactly around her colouring and figure, without worrying about it suiting anyone else. Again I wanted her to feel comfortable, and wanted to style the gown as much as possible around what she liked and what suited her, whilst still tying in with my dress, and the style and colour schemes of the wedding as a whole. As with my dress, we tried on a few to see what she liked and what suited her, but in the end between Hannah, Gloria and myself, we came up with something that was pretty unique. Again Gloria did an amazing job making a stunning dress. Hannah’s dress was a floor length, one shoulder gown, with a structured body and a straight skirt with a slight train. The under-dress was peacock blue satin, with navy-blue chiffon on top. This gave the dress a wonderful iridescence when she moved, and mirrored the peacock feathers perfectly. It had a slightly Grecian feel to it, with a brooch pinned to the shoulder and draped fabric hanging down either side. She wore navy satin Kurt Geiger shoes and a peacock feather headpiece in her hair. My daughter Freya, who was about 20 months at the time, and my identical twin step-daughters, Jess and Polly, aged 7, made three adorable little flower girls. We decided to keep it simple and comfortable for the girls; Gloria made their dresses from similar fabric to my dress, with pretty little ivory cardigans to go on top. The dresses were all empire line, but the twins’ dresses were styled very slightly differently to Freya’s to suit their different ages. All three wore ivory satin ballet slippers, and Gloria made sweet little headbands for them from ivory fabric roses.

THE FLOWERS…. After I decided on my dress, I began to style the wedding to follow. My initial thoughts were an art deco style, but I found the colour palette and geometric lines too restrictive. My next thought was to go a little earlier to the art nouveau period, which I have always loved. The flowing, organic lines and varied colour palettes were brilliant for floral and décor inspiration. There are many flowers that are synonymous with the art deco period, lilies, irises, and poppies for example. Once I decided on a colour palette of mainly ivory, blues and greens, I decided on trumpet lilies and ivory roses as the focal flowers for the marquee, and green hydrangeas and green cymbidium orchids for the bouquets, boutonnieres and posies, with a mixture of all for the church flowers. I used peacock feathers in all the floral arrangements, as they are gorgeous and very art nouveau, with a lovely range of colours to gain inspiration from. As I was using vintage bottles and glassware to make the table arrangements, I needed flowers that would work in the narrow necks of the bottles, and lots of small delicate flowers to put in the tinier bottles. I wanted an unstructured, informal look to the flowers. The budget was pretty tight, so after choosing some larger, more expensive flowers that would make the focal point of the flower arrangements, we then went round the flower market and chose bunches of smaller flowers and greenery in the appropriate colours (such as gypsophila) that would fill the rest of the space. My very clever sister in law made my bouquet and my sister’s flowers; my mum in law made the boutonnières and posies, as well as the pew ends. My great aunt and I did the church flowers. I did the flowers for the marquee, with help of various relatives, particularly my step-mum, who was great.

THE CAKE… The cake was a Marks & Spencer’s chocolate sponge with white icing, which we then decorated using the fresh flowers, peacock feathers and green ribbon.

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER… Our photographer was Martin Ellard ( I really dislike wedding photos that are posed group shot after posed group shot with everybody having fixed smiles on their faces. I wanted most of the photos to be just candid shots of everyone enjoying themselves, which Martin did absolutely brilliantly, along with some lovely shots of Nick and I. He was with us the whole long day from start to finish, and despite my extreme lateness and the awful weather he took some absolutely beautiful shots! He came highly recommended from several friends and did not disappoint.

THE DETAILS + DÉCOR… I really wanted the wedding to look a bit different, and not too formal but still elegant. After I had decided on art nouveau as my inspiration, I started to gather ideas and reference from the Internet and other resources, and made myself lots of mood boards according to several different colour palettes. I decided on soft greens and some blues, using the peacock feathers to tie in the different colours. I had seen, during my many hours of trawling the internet for inspiration, a picture of a tray with all sorts of little bottles and jars with a few simple flowers stuck in; it was not for a wedding but it got me thinking. In the garden of my Mum’s house where I grew up we would often dig up little Edwardian or Victorian chemist’s bottles in the garden, in green or blue glass, which I thought would look really nice in little groups on the tables with flowers in. So I started trying to track down and buy them anywhere I could; junk shops, boot sales, ebay. I needed over 200 bottles for there to be enough of an impact, so I had all sorts in there in the end; old lemonade bottles, sauce bottles, ink bottles, beer bottles, you name it! I used the work one of my favourite artists, Alphonse Mucha, (who did the most amazing posters in the art nouveau period) as a basis for my invitations, as well as using a different Mucha print for each table number, with a different one of my favourite love poems on the reverse. I also used Mucha pictures for the order of services. I designed the invitations etc myself (although it’s a cheating a bit to say that when you are using the artwork of your favourite artist!), and got a local printer to print them for me, which was a big saving. I fancied the idea of creating a bit of a ‘set’ where people could sit and maybe have photos taken. I found some very cheap bits of furniture at boot sales (I think I spent less than 20 quid) and arranged them into a little living room area. I used an old writing bureau to display the seating plans, which were just a few handwritten cards. My handy husband banged together an mdf ‘wall’, which we covered with some fabric, (which was end of line so nice and cheap) and then we put picture frames on it, some with some family pictures in and some empty. I put a bag full of silly dressing up wigs and hats and glasses behind there, so everyone could have fun messing about behind the empty frames. I thought it was a bit of fun and would make for some funny photos! I used lavender from my cousin’s garden and brown paper tags to write the place names on. I also had a table loaded with games, colouring and crafts (of the non-messy kind) to keep the kids entertained as I knew there would be a lot of children coming; that turned out to be worth its weight in gold. We made a couple of signs on some old driftwood to show people the way to the wedding too.

THE HONEYMOON… We had a week in staying in The Village at Watergate Bay in Cornwall. It was the first time that we’d spent any real time alone together since the birth of our daughter, so it was really special. It was a gorgeous place and even though the weather wasn’t great, we had a lovely time stuffing our faces with nice food and wine and relaxing in each other’s company.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS… Walking into the church forty minutes late and seeing the relief on everyone’s faces! The vows and how incredibly emotional I felt. The brilliant laugh and dancing I had in the evening, and the first dance and how romantic it felt. Having a very bad hair day from all the wind and rain!

ADVICE TO OTHER COUPLES… Make mood boards and do lots and lots of research, particularly if you are doing lots yourself, as it really help you get a coherent design/colour scheme in place. Think outside the box and compare prices to get the best deals possible. Invest in good quality food and booze. Find the dress before you plan the décor and flowers as it really helps everything else fall into place. Do what YOU both want, rather than what other people think you should do. Be as organised as possible; have a diary and plan to have certain things checked off by certain dates. Have a detailed budget and try to stick to it – you may find you can move money around as you go on as certain things may cost less or more than you expected. Most importantly, enjoy yourselves as much as possible; the day itself goes so fast, that you need to just stop, take stock and enjoy the moment whenever you can.


Wonderful food by – ej catering

Martin Ellard, photographer –

Mumbles Cricket Club –


Thanks so much to Katherine and Nicholas for letting me share their exquisite wedding with you today. Are you planning a wedding around a period of history? I’d love to hear from you below :-) XOXO Lou

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