Spring Fling – Wedding Magazine

Who has seen the latest Wedding Magazine?  I love this latest shoot Spring Fling.  ’A pastel palette will set the scene for a cool, country celebration brimming with seasonal blooms’.

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A selection of pastel chairs around the dining table, which included our painted Church Chairs, Windsors & Ercols.

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(please note, we do not have enough for wedding ceremonies and dining.  We are only planning a collection that will complement our upholstered furniture.)

We have a growing collection of pretty pastel tables, which as you can see look amazing with a selection of cakes.

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Something so simple, looks so effective!

When Cassy popped along to our barn to select products for the shoot, she spotted this pretty stool for sale.  I’m sure it will star in many more shoots!  We will have lots of furniture for you to buy through Vintage Style Living, the website is almost there!

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Gorgeous flowers by Euphoric Flowers.

Amy: Her flowers (although not as you know it!)

Another laugh out loud post from Amy.  Working in a barn next to the studio of the very talented Violets & Velvet, I appreciate the work of an amazing florist and the price they charge for the stunning arrangements they create. However, Sam will be the first to tell you that I am a forager.  Sifting through her bin for off cuts or buds, or dead things!  You see, it’s not just skips, bins too!  Without giving too much away, over to Amy!

I don’t really know if my wedding would count as ‘traditional’ or not. I’d like to think not, but then there’s going to be a ceremony, a reception, a white(ish) dress, and perhaps even dancing, so maybe I’m a little more conventional than I thought? Certainly, though, we’re not fulfilling every traditional element simply for tradition’s sake. So forget receiving lines, sit down meals, an evening disco, and staged group photographs; even the exchange of rings is being omitted! Certain elements, however,  are so ingrained within our wedding expectations- and bridal magazine pages- that passing them over is a tad difficult. So over the next few weeks I’ll document a couple of traditional elements we are going to include. Well, probably. This week, it’s flowers. Well, I did promise you a post about them!


Camille Florist

So I was doing a ‘What floral personality are you’ quiz in some bridal magazine recently. You know the sort, where you choose one slightly normal option out of four completely inane choices in order to decipher whether you’re more suited to roses or tulips. Or something along those lines, anyway. Well the question of what my budget for flowers was came up.  After three disgustingly expensive budget suggestions, I was very ready to pick number four- which at this point I presumed must be the reasonable budget option (£50? Ha)- and be on my merry way to finding out I should have a bouquet of baby’s breath. Well, option four was the cheapest suggestion of the four, but do you know what constitutes as a budget option for flowers? Five hundred pounds. I kid you not. Five. Hundred. Pounds. A month’s rent. One hundred and eleven Toblerones.

Or maybe I’m weird, maybe flowers are meant to be one of the high budget options for a bride to be. You’d certainly think so, for when I told prospective florists I’d like a few simple arrangements with a budget of £200, they stopped replying to me. Luckily for me, a November wedding doesn’t quite necessitate the same decadent floral arrangements as, say, a May celebration might. And with good old daylight savings, it’ll be dark before guests reach the reception, making candles more than ideal to enhance the Georgian elegance of the room. But it is a wedding, after all, and I couldn’t resist the temptation of a few floral details.

Succumb to the use of florals I did, however I am under no illusions that my nod to this decor tradition will go without a few raised eyebrows. My choices of flowers are, in fact, dead ones. And weeds. Dandelion clocks and dried peonies and roses, to be exact. The roses were first. I only bought them because they happened to be on sale whilst I was searching the shop for dried lavender. They’re gold, the buds are wrinkled, and the leaves withered, but they have a certain faded elegance about them, as if they were left in their vases at a long ago party. Quite fitting, really, with the rest of the wedding! Then there are the dandelion clocks. They are very much a ‘you have to see it’ kind of thing. They’re quirky, yes, but they are rather whimsical and lovely when bunched together. But I’ll keep them away from any conservative minded guests, just in case.


Milkweed & Mapel

Lastly there are the peonies. The barely opened buds of newborn peonies are irresistible. With bud, leaf, and splaying flower bunched together they epitomize bohemian decadence. If I was going to have a bouquet, I knew nothing else would quite do. Problem is, peonies aren’t cheap. And they’re only in season in late spring and early summer; and with most florists offering a starting price of at least £80 per bouquet, adding ten-pound-a-stem flowers to the mix made me feel a little queasy. Thankfully, my sister Sara who got married last month had her bouquet made by her friend’s company- TJ Cummins Ltd.; a wholesale florist. Being able to actually speak to a friendly florist, who didn’t even ask about my budget; and being able to look around a warehouse of flowers was so helpful, and made me even more certain that I wanted peonies. To combat the out of season price fiasco, I ordered the peony stems (about one hundred) in August and opted to oven dry them.


Bona Drag

Putting seventy pounds in an oven and hoping for something less than absolute destruction is a nerve wracking process, but it absolutely paid off. I chose deep maroon and blush coloured flowers in varying states. They emerged from the oven not resembling a burnt roast, as I had feared, but with their colours intensified and their petals delicately wrinkled. As I’m absolutely not a florist, nor do I possess to patience to learn any form of flower arranging skill, I bought an angled foam bouquet base in which is, basically, poke my flowers in to in a pretty way. All in all, it took around half an hour to create a flowing tangle of peonies, buds, roses, and foliage that I was (surprisingly) happy with. And, shock horror, I managed to keep my budget under the elusive £200 mark, even despite what prior-mentioned florists may have had me believe. I do have one teeny tiny little complaint though. Roasted flowers smell. Just a little bit. The scent is a little like parsnips. But on the plus side, it can only be an excuse for a gorgeous new perfume; Tom Ford, anyone?

Autumn Workshop Dates

September is here and we have set the dates for our Autumn workshops at Hammer Hill Barn.

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Vintage Styling
Includes styling your table and decorating your home inexpensively with flowers and items found around the house, transforming your dinner party or event or just because!  Practical demonstrations of table plans, flower compositions, guest book and dessert tables, ideal for brides planning their wedding.

Saturday 21st SEPTEMBER
Wednesday 2nd OCTOBER

10am – 4pm
Price £125 per person

Includes coffee & cake on arrival, a delicious lunch, refreshments throughout and all materials, including your bouquet of flowers to take home.

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Featured in Issue Thirty of Mollie Makes
“While Sam teaches you all about flowers, bouquets and buttonholes, Kate shares precious tips on creating effective moodboards, presenting sweet treats, upcycling frames and revamping objects with paint and wax in order to style them in a more contemporary way.”

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To book your place, email kate@vintagestylehire.co.uk or call 07875 667642. Spaces are limited to 10 per class, so book early!

Furniture painting
Mother and daughter Anne and Kate will show you paint techniques to transform the furniture around your home.  Dated or unwanted furniture can be turned into a unique piece within a few hours.

Saturday 5th OCTOBER

10am – 4pm
Price £95 per person

Includes coffee & cake on arrival, a delicious lunch, refreshments throughout and all materials and a small piece of furniture for you to take home.

DSC_0323LOErcol Duck Egg

To book your place, email kate@vintagestylehire.co.uk or call 07875 667642. Spaces are limited to 8 per class, so book early!

More workshops coming soon!  If there is anything you would like to do or if you teach something and would like to host your own workshop, give me a shout.

Photographs by Claire Naylor Photography

Mollie Makes

So, who saw us in Mollie Makes?  Sam and I were thrilled when we heard that Rosaria, a journalist from Mollie Makes was coming to our styling workshop along with Emma Nunn from Wedding Magazine.  Two titles attending our first workshop, no pressure there then!

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So we eagerly waited publication date.  Sam has a subscription so was first to see our names in print.  Sam even got her face in print, if slightly blurred to focus on a bouquet!

If you have got a copy, feast your eyes on Page 12.

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If you haven’t got a copy, read on …

Rosaria Sgueglia visit Hammer Hill Barn in Essex for some inspirational tips on the perfect vintage nuptials.

Woah there, single ladies – no need to skip this page.  You won’t have to be getting married anytime soon to attend a vintage wedding workshop by Vintage Style Hire and Violets and Velvet.  What you’ll learn from wedding stylist, Kate Fletcher and florist, Sam Cotterrell, will go beyond any nuptials and can be applied to any fancy shmancy shindig you’re planning.

We are in the middle of the countryside where a beautiful barn offers the perfect scenery for a heavily packed day of vintage activities including practical demonstrations of table plans, flower compositions, guest books, dessert tables and bouquets.

Within Sam and Kate’s breathtaking vintage studio – where most of the activities take place – we soon learn about their story.  After working together for years, the pair decided to leave London and start their workshops. “There’s so much accessibility here in Essex,” says Sam.  “The setting is so idyllic, it seemed perfect – especially now I have the opportunity to grow my own flowers.  It’s been a dream of mine for years, so I’m really happy that I’m finally doing it.”

While Sam teaches you all about flowers, bouquets and buttonholes, Kate shares her precious tips on creating effective moodboards for your big day; presenting sweet treats; upcycling picture frames and revamping objects with paint and wax in order to style them in a more contemporary way.

From jars and biscuits, to cakes to die for (plus complimentary sweet treats throughout the day) you’ll certainly leave Hammer Hill Barn on a sugar high, as well as a feeling of cosy nostalgia for the good ol’ days – not to mention a serious craving for Kate’s yummy macarons (fear not, you’ll find a selection in your goody bag).

Just a couple of amends:
1. I have never lived in London
2. Whilst I am very protective over any macaron that enters the building, they are infact made by the gorgeous Sarah from Chateau Macaron.

A few links to the images featured.

1. Sam from Violets & Velvet demonstrating a hand tied bouquet
2. Lemonade sign by Russett & Gray
3. Cakes by Love Little Cakes on a Vintage Style Hire dresser
4. Emma Nunn from Wedding magazine painting with Annie Sloan paint.
5. Macarons by Chateau Macaron
6. Nila Holden in an attractive Wizard of Oz pinny and Emma Nunn - it was particularly cold that day – the barn is now heated and insulated, fear not!
7. Our favourite cheap vase – a Sanpellegrino can.

All these gorgeous images were taken by Claire Naylor Photography, thanks Claire.


We are planning more workshops in the Autumn, which include:-

Styling Workshops – £125 per person
Includes styling your table and decorating inexpensively, transforming your dinner party or event.  Learn how to make your own hand tied bouquet. Ideal for brides planning their wedding.

Dates: SEPT Sat 7th, Wed 11th, OCT Wed 2nd Sat 5th

Blogging Photography – £140 per person

From styling, through to what camera settings to use and basic photo-editing for your blog or instagram. Can be customised to your own business needs.

Dates:  SEPT Wed 4th, Sat 14th, OCT Sat 19th

Furniture painting – £95 per person

Mother and daughter Anne and Kate will show you different paint techniques to transform the furniture around your home. Includes a small piece of furniture.

Dates:  SEPT Sat 21st, OCT Wed 16th

All workshops will be held in our stunning new second floor studio, 10-4pm and include coffee & cake on arrival, a delicious lunch, refreshments throughout and all materials.


Book up to EIGHT friends on a course and get your place FREE!
We can tailor make courses to suit your requirements such as half day painting/half day floristry, half day styling/half day painting – you choose!


If you are interested in booking on any of the courses, just drop me an email kate@vintagestylehire.co.uk.  More detailed information will follow.

We look forward to seeing you at the barn soon.

The Provence Shoot

This shoot was all about the cakes.  Lau from French Made had organised us all together on one of the coldest days in living memory.  How we got Titus to raise a smile in those conditions, I will never know!.  Not that you would notice, I am personally thrilled with Naomi Kenton’s amazing images.

Titus 1

Naked Cake 1

Naked Cake

How gorgeous did these two look together?


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There was lots of delicious cake …


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Apple Cake

the most stunning flowers …

Bouquet Lilac

Bouquet Duck Egg


and lots of other gorgeous things inbetween!

One of my favourite photographs of all time …


The best bit, we were featured on Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book, head on over HERE.

I could talk about everyone in great detail, they were all amazing.  I hope I see you at the barn again soon.  Maybe this time we should meet up in Summer?

Photographer: Naomi Kenton Photography
Cakes & dessert table: French Made
Furniture & props: Vintage Style Hire
Florist: Wonderosa
Styling: Ginger Weddings
Dresses: Wilden Bride
Veil: Kelly Spence
MUA: Sabrina Lily
Stationery: Sigh! Bespoke Designs
Accessories: Bijou Bijoux
Button bouquet: Beaubuttons
Venue: Hammer Hill Barn, Vintage Style Hire
Models: Real couple Niina & Titus

Hayford & Rhodes Website Launch

I first met Hayford & Rhodes on the Oxfam Weddings shoot.  They remembered me from this photograph.

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It was actually the floral screen they remembered, not me!  Story of my life!

Before I knew it, I was meeting with Events Manager Fi in Shoreditch chatting about their plans for their website launch. If you haven’t seen their gorgeous new site, you must do so right away!

Hayford & Rhodes

The Hayfords – William Hayford founded the company in 1924 and built an enviable reputation as one of London’s finest florists. The reigns were handed to the Rhodes sisters in 2007 and ‘Hayford and Rhodes’ was born.

The Rhodes – Amy, Joanna and Laura Rhodes, three sisters who made a pact in 2004 to change their careers and pursue their mutual love of floristry.

The event was going to be held at 195 Piccadilly.  He lives there!

At our meeting, we discussed five areas. The display for floral gifts, reception area, something for the Powderpuff Girls, a display for Rosalind Miller ‘s stunning cakes and a Sweet Table.  It doesn’t take much to get my mind into overdrive and once I’d seen the floral moodboard with bright oranges and yellows, I decided to paint one of my dressing tables Orange and the other a Minty Green for the Powderpuff Girls to complement their pink outfits!

My photographs aren’t the best - taken on my phone.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of the professional ones.  I met the very dashing photographer Darren Gerrish that night, along with Jenny & Theresa from 195 Piccadilly (BAFTA), Everton from The Wallace Collection, Branka from The Royal Exchange and Georgia and Virginie from the National Portrait Gallery.  I also finally met Rona from Flowerona and we both chatted to Charley from London Bride.

I’m sure you can imagine just how spectacular the other arrangements were.

And here are those dressing tables!

Apologies for the blur on the last one, I may have consumed a few of those pretty drinks!

The other suppliers that helped with the launch were amazing, Drinks Fusion of course and it was great meeting Kelly from Fisher Productions.  She made me feel very welcome and introduced me to lots of people.  I think she arranged for us all to have a reunion!!

I would also like to thank Pollen Crew who were so helpful and looked after everything for me at the end of the night.

I hope to see everyone again soon.


Jenny Rose Flowers

I received an email from Jenny Stone, owner of ‘Jenny Rose Flowers’ asking if I might be able to help her.  She was finding it hard to locate vintage props and items for the photo shoot she was organising and wondered if I might be able to help.  As she didn’t need lots of large furniture I didn’t see why not, so we discussed items for the shoot and I sent them on their way to Devon via courier.
Jenny Rose Flowers is based in Ashburton, South Devon.  “We use seasonal flowers and local foliage to create natural bespoke designs for weddings and special events”.

They also have a small cutting garden where they focus on growing fragrant herbs such as mint, sage, lavender and rosemary, unusual foliage such as Artemisia, Senecio, and Euphorbia as well as a small selection of cut flowers such as Alliums, Phlox, Sweet Peas and Astrantia. When combined with beautiful blooms from the flower markets, these can give their wedding bouquets a really unique and cottage garden feel.

It is great to be able to help clients furtherafield.  If you need smaller items for your wedding or photo shoot then I would be very happy to help.

Jenny’s website is coming soon www.jennyroseflowers.co.uk, but in the meantime, of you live in this gorgeous part of Devon, do give her a call on 01364 654479 or 07739 476927.

Shoot Credits:
Photographer Lucy Shergold
Venue Shilstone House
Dresses The Ivory Secret
Make Up Nicola Pettitt
Model Sarah Beaufoy

Violets & Velvet

Setting up my own business has been lots of fun and one of the main reasons it’s been so enjoyable is all the lovely people I have met along the way.  One of those inspiring people is Sam from Violets & Velvet. Our paths had crossed in my previous world of employment, but we met again much later and along with Hayley from Hayley Ruth Photography and Emma from A Bespoke Design, organised the first photo shoot for Vintage Style Hire.  I have always been so grateful they were all so kind and helped me on my way.

Over the past year, Sam has worked with me on quite a few of jobs, including an amazing styling job for Pitcher & Piano which saw us heading up north to Nottingham in a huge van I couldn’t drive!

We are already working together on a couple of weddings this year, including one for a gorgeous French/German bride who has some fabulous ideas, including little outdoor rooms in the garden with lots of boudoir chairs and tables and displays of flowers inside cabinets.  I won’t give too much away, but I’m so excited about styling this wedding which will be captured by the amazing Lisa Devlin.

Sam exhibited twice last weekend, on Saturday at English Heritage Venue Eltham Palace where I do believe two of my new Victorian Side Tables made an appearance along with ‘Marjorie’ , a very sweet chair named after her 104 year old owner (deceased!).

On Sunday, Sam exhibited in Saffron Walden.  A little closer to home, so I went to visit.  Her stand looked completely stunning.

Such amazing flowers and unique ways of styling them.  If you are after something unique for your wedding, please do give her a call.

Violets & Velvet 07886 754913 www.violetsandvelvet.co.uk

A little mention to other exhibitors:
Hayley Ruth Photography, A Bespoke Design, The Sweet Shop, Love Little Cakes, The Saffron Ice Cream Company

Photo credits: all taken by me!