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Advice from bespoke stationery designer Katie from Paper Bow

This week I have taken some time out to chat with Katie, Founder and Graphic Designer at Paper Bow London, a bespoke design studio based in Crystal Palace, South London. She’s shortly relocating to Manchester but I’ve caught up with her to talk all things wedding stationery.

How long have you been running Paper bow?

I set up Paper Bow London in 2016 after designing a friend’s wedding stationery. Some pictures made their way onto Pinterest and I was receiving a lot of enquiries off the back of that and so decided to go for it and set up Paper Bow! The design for Emmeline and Matt is still one of my most popular suites today showing that something bespoke and personal can stand the test of time.

What’s your favourite part of helping couples with their stationery?

I love hearing a couples love story – this gives me such an insight into them as individuals, as well as them as a couple. Getting to know my couples means I can incorporate details that are incredibly personal and truly unique to them, which is one of the defining factors of a bespoke design service.

What would you say is most important for couples getting married to consider for their stationery?

Ensure that your designer embodies your personal style. Your stationery is the first glimpse that your guests will have into your wedding, and therefore is a great opportunity for you to set the tone, look and feel, and style for your big day. 

Is there a particular style that is fashionable at the moment?

There’s been a huge shift to warm colour palettes in the past year – dusty pinks mixed with airy creams and rich terracotta tones. Eco and sustainable stationery has also become popular, with papers made from recycled coffee cups, or made with wildflowers seeds on the market.

However, as with your wedding day, I’d urge couples to not think necessarily about trends, but what feels right for them: Some couples love bold colours, others are after a more classic palette; some want intricate venue illustrations, others want a minimal typographic look; some want all of the luxury details like silk ribbon, envelope liners and wax seals, others are content with just a beautiful invitation…the list could go on and on, but I believe that the most timeless designs are the ones that embody the couple’s personal style.

If there are any couples who are unsure about the investment of beautiful stationery on the day of their wedding eg; menu’s how much of a difference would you say it makes to the overall experience?

Think about on-the-day stationery as your ‘finishing touch’. Stationery is a great way to bring your themes to life as well as help link together all the other elements of your day. If you’ve invested in a beautiful invitation suite, introducing some of those elements like monograms and illustrations really gives a seamless look to your whole day.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a whole range of stationery, think about some statement pieces instead, like a perspex order of the day or large fabric banner table plan that will really create the ‘wow factor’ – Lauren and Joe did this and had some incredible pieces for their big day, including a 2m long table plan which was a personal favourite of mine.

Photography by

What is your favourite design to do with a suite of stationery?

It’s so hard to choose as every design is so personal to each of my couples. I love doing bespoke monograms that can be used across multiple stationery items on their wedding day, but also beyond that as they embark on their lives together. 

Designing my own wedding stationery was also a real luxury – I got to create something that was so very personal as well as jam packing it with luxury details such as copper foiling, a double thickness invitation, marble vellum wrap and copper wax seal.

What is absolutely essential for a couple when they are choosing their wedding stationery and what they need?

Start early! Bespoke designs take time to craft and produce, and designers can only take on a limited number of couples – Even if you don’t have all the details yet, those can all be added at a later date… Once you have a venue and a date get in contact with your designer and they can book you into their calendar and will let you know their timelines.

If using a design that has already been created, draft out all your text and have all of your key items agreed. Get several people to proofread your text and only then go ahead – this will save on costly spelling mistakes and multiple rounds of changes.

What should couples be looking out for when choosing stationery?

The two parts that come hand-in-hand are pricing and style, and you are looking for the perfect marriage between these. There is a stationery designer out there for all styles and budgets, it’s just about finding that ‘sweet spot’.

If you love Katie’s work as much as I do and would like to chat about your wedding stationery then you can find her on instagram or her website below:

And as always if you are planning a wedding, need help with styling or on the coordination then get in contact with me!

Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure

Planning an intimate wedding

It’s been a turbulent year and many couples who were destined to be married in the first half of 2020 have been unable to have the wedding they planned. With lockdown being loosened and weddings of up to thirty people now able to take place safely more couples are able to get married in intimate ceremonies and celebrations. 

An intimate wedding isn’t just for lockdown though, and I think we might see a rise in smaller celebrations in the years to come. Here are my top planning and styling tips for a gorgeous intimate wedding that doesn’t have to break the budget. 


Having a wedding under 50 people is a great option if you have a smaller budget, or you want to splurge on things such as a destination venue , food, décor. Less stress and complications also comes with fewer guests and In the right venue it can create a warm intimate feeling. 


A smaller wedding means that you don’t need such a big venue and you can get creative with your spaces. There are some lovely private family homes that you can hire for a weekend or dining rooms in character filled restaurants. How about a show stopper roof top cocktail bar? 


The most important thing to remember when you are choosing your wedding venue is that you don’t want it to be so big that guests get lost. You need a space that is small enough to fit everyone in but to also create intimacy. 

For me one of the best things about smaller weddings is that you have more options for personalisation. With less guests, there is more opportunity for guests to be wowed and their experience can be made so very special and you are able to highlight what’s important to you as a couple. 


You are able to spend more of your budget in areas such as personalised place settings for guests, gourmet food trucks and premier entertainment. 

When you start to introduce more details it can become a little bit more complicated so don’t underestimate the need for a wedding planner or on the day coordinator to ensure that you have the very best suppliers on board and that you don’t need to worry about a single thing on the day. 


A smaller wedding brings so much opportunity for creativity and personalisation. You can have your nearest and dearest close to you on the day and not skimp on any of the important details.

For more information and help on planning your perfect elopement or small wedding in the UK, Surrey, Sussex or Kent then let’s chat!

Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure

Everything you need to know as a bride to be from an expert hair and make – up artist!

This week I have the lovely Jennifer Hawkins a bridal hair and make-up based in Sunbury on Thames, Surrey. I first met Jen at a shoot at the Cherry Barns in East Sussex and most recently we worked together on the spring shoot I planned and styled in the rolling surrey hills and beautiful Botley Hill Barn. Jen mostly works in Surrey and the surrounding counties but also travels to pretty much anywhere she’s needed – the furthest she’s travelled for a hair and make-up job is Beijing. 

I caught up with Jen to ask questions all thing bridal hair and makeup.

Jen you’ve been in the business for a few years now, you’ve seen everything so what is fashionable in bridal hair and makeup now, and what do you foresee for the future? 

“Right now, the most popular styles for hair are definitely loose, romantic, boho-type styles like half-up-dos with beachy waves or a low curly bun with plenty of face-framing pieces left out.  However, I am starting to see a lot more red-carpet style inspiration coming through from my brides, with the classic ‘Hollywood wave’ being a firm favourite of those wanting a timeless look for their wedding day. 

I have found that bridal makeup tends to be less affected by the pressure of changing trends (for the most part!), with most of my brides opting for a natural, ‘best version of myself’ type-look.  This style of makeup is a safe bet because it relies on colour theory and enhancing your best features which never really goes out of fashion!”

Let’s start at the beginning, what are your top tips for finding a good hair and make-up artist for your wedding day? 

Recommendations are always a good place to start, check with anyone you know who has married recently and ask what their experience was with their hair and makeup artist.  Most venues also have a list of recommended suppliers, usually those who are closets to their location. 

Searching using Instagram ‘hash tags’ is also a great way to discover suppliers you may not have found otherwise.  Try and keep them relevant to your location and remember to use the things like ‘#HMUA’ and ‘#MUA’ too as many stylists use these abbreviations for ‘hair and makeup artist’ and ‘makeup artist’ (e.g. #surreymua #bridalmakeuphampshire #hmualondon). 

Also check out wedding blogs and magazines, see who they’re featuring and if you like a particular style you see, look the artist up on Instagram!

And so once our lovely brides have shortlisted a hair and make-up artist, how far out to the wedding should brides be booking a hair and makeup artist?

“As soon as you can!  I receive enquiries for bookings up to a year and a half in advance.  If you’re planning for a weekend wedding between April – September, it’s best to start thinking about booking your hair and makeup artist as soon as you have confirmed a date with your venue.  Off-peak and week-day weddings (December – March, Monday-Thursday) are far more flexible as these dates get booked up a little slower but it’s still best to get your booking in early to avoid disappointment. “ 

What is the biggest mistake brides make with regards to hair & make up and most importantly what advice would you give to overcome this? 

“I’d say the most common mistake is not coming prepared to your trial.  You want to make sure you have at least a rough idea of the style you want, and reference pictures to show your stylist so that you can get the most out of your appointment.  If you’re struggling to decide, have a chat with your stylist before your trial, send them some pictures of yourself, let them know what type of dress you’re going for and how you usually style your hair and makeup.  Your stylist will be able to help narrow down your options by suggesting what would work best!

Also, when looking for reference pictures, try and focus on finding images close to your own skin tone and hair type/colour.  Hair and makeup styles can look very different on varying features!”

We hear a lot that skin care is import but how important is skincare prior to the wedding day? 

“It’s really important to have a regular skin care routine in the run up to your wedding, particularly if you have ‘problem skin’, suffer with dryness or have acne-prone skin.  Your makeup artist may be able to recommend specific skin care products if you need suggestions for a particular type of product (like a face mask or moisturiser), but making an appointment with a dermatologist and getting regular facials will make a huge difference if have no idea what your skin needs and/or are need of a complete skin care overhaul.  How well your makeup sits on your face depends entirely on the skin care prep and it can take months to see real results to be patient and stick with it!”

So skin care is important, what are your 3 top tips for skincare? 

“Identify your skin type.  

Scrutinise your skin care regime – make sure your products have all the best, hardest-working ingredients for your skin type and if in doubt consult a dermatologist!  

Drink plenty of water and try to stay away from foods and drinks that upset your skin!”

And lastly what is your favourite part of this job? 

“The wedding morning for sure!  Everyone is so excited and happy, the atmosphere is always so positive and seeing the bridal look come together once hair and makeup is done and the dress is on, witnessing the reactions from those in the room is always an emotional one!  I also love hearing back from my brides after the wedding and seeing their favourite photos from the day!”

A huge thank you to Jen for answering all my questions and sharing all her top tips and advice for brides to be. Jen is fabulous and so easy to work with so if you’d like to get in contact with her you can find her here: 


Instagram: @jenhawkins_hmua 

Ways to make your wedding day more personal to you

Trends come and go, but you will never be out of style. All the small details in your wedding day will be the extra special touch and those that you remember most! 

Have your guests enjoy a day that was tailor made just for you. Perhaps there is a family member missing that you’d like to pay tribute to in some way or a memory that you’d like to feature in some way.

I’ve put together some of my ideas for adding your own personal touches to your wedding day along with some great suppliers! 

Hannah’s veil by Bespoke Veils

Have your veil embroidered. There is no denying that when Hayley Baldwin had her veil embroidered when marrying Justin Bieber we all suddenly thought, what a great idea! Have a look at Bespoke Veils to have your veil embroidered with something personal to you. 

Personalised place setting napkins for Weddings by Emma Louise, embroidered by The Embroidered Napkin Company

Personalised napkins that act as name settings for your guests to take away with them. Luxury linen looks so lovely at your wedding breakfast, and whilst it is an extra expensive to have it embroidered The Embroidered Napkin Company creates beautiful monogrammed pieces that you or your guests can keep as a memento as well as your favourite quotes.

Personalised place setting napkins for Weddings by Emma Louise, embroidered by The Embroidered Napkin Company

Have a bespoke stationary suite created that speaks about you as a couple and also ties the elements of your day together. It can really set the tone for the day, link through to your table plan and your menu’s. 

Personalised and bespoke stationary suite created for Weddings by Emma Louise by LouPaper

Ask a special family member or friend to do a reading during your ceremony. Perhaps a poem to wish you well on your new journey together as a couple. 

Cocktails by Kalm Kitchen created for Planning Redefined and photographed by Hannah Duffy

Have a signature cocktail. Ask your venue or bartender to create a signature cocktail that your guests can sip on at the drinks reception or can order at the bar. Alternatively service up that cocktail which you once drink one too many of on your favourite holiday. 

Whatever you decide and however you decide to incorporate it, just have fun! 

If you’d like a hand planning, styling or setting up your wedding day then please do get in touch! 

Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure

5 ways to be more eco-conscious on your wedding day

Weddings are an investment, it’s going to be one of the biggest days or weekends of your life. You want to start it right and waste might be a concern for you from the beginning. 

With all the different elements that go with a wedding you are never going to be 100% eco-conscious, and it can become stressful trying to be, you might even begin to compromise on what you really want.

Having a more eco-conscious wedding has been increasingly popular amongst couples planning their weddings and I really believe that being as sustainable as possible is important. Weddings are typically quite wasteful, the carbon footprint can be quite large even without going abroad and there is often a lot of single use items which sadly end up in the bin. 

As much as I think it’s important to take steps towards being more sustainable, I don’t think you have to compromise on style. Here my top five ways to be more eco-conscious when planning your wedding. 

The Dress

Wedding dresses are an investment, but once you find ‘the one’ you just have to have it! Either sell your wedding dress so that it can have another glorious day or purchase a second hand dress. 

  • Websites like are fabulous for purchasing designer wedding dresses at a fraction of their rail price – dresses which have been used as samples or someone else’s special day. 
  • Alternatively if you’ve found the dress of your dreams but you’re worried about if only ever being worn once, why not give it another go on the dancefloor and recoup some of your investment by selling your dress after the wedding day. 
  • If you are thinking of buying a preloved dress then going vintage could be the way to go. 
  • Hiring suits for your Groom and groomsmen’s is quite common but you can also hire your bridesmaid dresses and wedding dress. 
Stationary suite created by LouPaper for Weddings by Emma Louise at Botley Hill Barn


Stationery is an investment and there ways to approach it whilst being more eco-friendly. 

  • Why not send a e-invite to your guests? You could have an artist design a beautiful piece of artwork just for you which creates a PDF to email your guests. 
  • If you are still leaning towards sending traditional invites then make sure to choose a supplier who uses recycled paper. 
  • If it fits with your styling, why not send invites which are filled with flower seeds and can be planted in the ground to grow something lovely. 
Puddings created by Kalm Kitchen for Planning Redefined, photographed by Hannah Duffy


Everyone wants to eat great food at a wedding, but have you considered food-waste?

  • Make sure to use a sustainable caterer who sources as many of their ingredients locally. 
  • Use a local caterer to cut down on travel.
  • Ask your caterers if they do things like compost their food waste and use compostable plates, cutlery and napkins.
  • Make sure to use items that aren’t one time use, you can hire some beautiful tableware.
Floral arrangement by Jessica Eliza Florals for Weddings by Emma Louise at Botley Hill Barn


I love a wedding which features lots of flowers, I think they really make the day. However they can be one of the biggest waste’s at a wedding which is super sad. There’s a few ways which you can approach this. 

  • You could ask your florist to feature florals which are in season and sourced locally. 
  • Make sure there is a plan for your florals at the end of the night, have your wedding planner or trusted party member divide the bouquets & table centre pieces between Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom, Bridesmaids and other special people. 
  • If it’s possible to reuse florals from your ceremony into your wedding breakfast then not only will this save you money but they’ll also be less waste. 
  • Make sure your florist isn’t using items like floral foam to arrange your flowers as this is basically plastic and single use. 
  • Why not have some dried floral arrangements? This way you can keep a decorative part of your wedding day at home for a long time to come.
Model Chloe at Botley Hill Barn, photographed by Megan Daisy Photography and dress by Debbie Rees Bridal

The Venue

Venue, finding the right venue for your wedding day is so important. It needs to fit with you and your guests and offer everything you want to feature in your day. 

  • Choosing somewhere local to you or to where the majority of guests live will mean less travel, and a smaller carbon footprint from travel. 
  • Choosing a venue that is a free standing building will also be more eco-conscious as you won’t need to bring in structures and items, it will also mean that recycling infrastructures are already in place. 
  • If your guests are already living scattered across the UK or the World, or if you have already booked an overseas wedding then your carbon footprint is going to be a consideration. You could look at planting trees with consideration for offsetting the pollution caused by travel.

There are so many eco-conscious and sustainable suppliers out there, who can create what you want from your wedding day without compromising on style.  Do your research and try to use suppliers local to your venue! 

If you would like some advice, or need a hand planning your wedding then please do get in contact!

Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure

5 tips to creating an insta-worthy wedding day style that reflects who you are

At the start of March when the dreaded ‘C’ word was only just beginning to plague us I was thankful to be able to carry out my first styled shoot. The headline piece for my portfolio, a fantastic opportunity to meet and connect with other industry suppliers and on a day of the worst storms we’ve seen in a really long time we had to say goodbye to the outside aisle I had envisioned. 

I wanted to share my inspiration and design process for this shoot so that you can learn more about how I work and also how to turn your ownoccasion, and what you’d like your day to say about you as a couple into a concept for your wedding day. 

The end of spring, turning into summer is one of my favourite times of the year and as a stylist, who is inspired by nature, and storytelling I knew that this first shoot was an opportunity to showcase my style, and bring this to life. 

I always start by thinking about the lovely couple that the day is for and what vision is going to suit them best. For this shoot I fabricated clients (who were a bit like me, let’s admit it!) and thought about what was going to be fitting for them and how best to tell their story. It doesn’t always need to be obviously in front of you, for the colour palette I knew it needed to be joyful, interesting and summery. I settled on these images, inspiration from a happy hot holiday and from the English countryside. 

I wanted to use a happy but sophisticated colour palette and an abundance of florals for a casual weekend wedding in the rolling Surrey hills. This is the beginning of an idea for me in my process of curating the perfect wedding style. 

I normally begin with a magpie approach, I put all of the directions I could go on a piece of paper, I go round the house collecting items that inspire me and see how they fit together before creating a pinterest board which ultimately forms part of my moodboard. 

I add in complimentary colours, a grey to anchor all the vibrancy and then tone the bright pinks and oranges down into pastel for a softer approach. I enjoy pairing opposites and added in the blues, a nod to the Pantone colour of the year. 

When looking at all the different elements and choosing suppliers it was important to think about the vibe and feeling of the day as a whole. I can speak about each element from the ceremony, to the wedding breakfast and next day brunch at a separate time but we want to make sure they all link and look cohesive. 

I chose textures like flowing and soft linen alongside textured ceramic dinnerware to convey a sense of casual cool. The flowing fabric also reminds me of loose linen dresses that you wear on hot days so it’s perfect for this type of style. Gold cutlery and candlesticks added brightness and luxury on the table. Even the bouquet was loose and flowing to convey a sense of unpredictable and easy- going beauty. 

Light is really important to me so I chose a venue with fantastic lighting as well as a photographer and colours that could create an overall bright image.

I can’t stress enough how important finding the right suppliers is for curating a design concept that is well executed and exactly how you imagined. The suppliers I approached for the shoot are true creatives and industry veterans.  You want people who understand what your vision is but can deliver it in a way that only they know how. 

Having an idea about the feeling of the day is really important to me, to know how casual or formal the vibe of the day is. The story of this shoot was about a couple who enjoyed being outside along with the company of friends and family. It was about creating a beautiful celebratory space which didn’t interfere with the actual celebration. A space to be a just married couple, laughing and dancing with family. 

In conclusion here are your five steps to creating a style concept, a blueprint if you like for making sure your décor represents who you are, what you want to say and of course looks beautiful. 

  1. Weave in elements of your story and who you are. Do you love travelling, being outside, fashion, art or being with family? 
  2. How can you represent this in your day and colours? Think about elements like colours, images, textures and florals to bring yourself to life. 
  3. Decide on a vibe, or a theme if this helps you. How do you want your guests to feel, what sort of cocktails will you serve, is there a strict dress code? Are you going for an all-out party, something casual but sophisticated or maybe glam. 
  4. Contact and work with great suppliers. Explain your vision, and choose people who understand what you want to achieve.
  5. Link your textures, colours, florals and fabrics together throughout the ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast and photographs for a cohesive look and feel. 

And remember to HAVE FUN!

Redefined 2019

I’m writing my first blog post and I thought the best place to start would be at the beginning. For me that’s the beginning of my business, when Weddings By Emma-Louise stopped being an idea that I thought about in the small hours the day and became a serious business that I have thrown myself into. One that will build my future but also help couples realise the celebration of their dreams.

In November of last year, I took the leap of faith and registered myself for Planning Redefined’s two day residential course ‘Redefined 2019’ – and let me tell you it was one of the best decisions I have ever made! 

I knew I had the skills it would take to become a professional wedding planner, however I wanted to find myself a support network of likeminded people and some advice for running a business. I could attend any business course or forum, but having the advice and support from a  wedding industry specific course was invaluable. 

When I met Kat & Louise at a Planning Redefined 2019 coffee morning at The Savoy, I was swept away with their infectious passion for the industry and felt like I had found the community I belonged in. 

Of course I had been silently stalking and fan-girling over Kat’s wedding of Katrina Otter Weddings for a number of months, and was already hooked on working with her. Meeting Louise of Louise Perry Weddings really convinced me that Planning Redefined would be the best course for me, her people centred approach and business mind meant that I knew the course would be the best mix of drop dead gorgeous pretty things and business lesson’s that I would need. 

I left that day, calling my partner and just saying this is it, this is where I belong and this is what I want to do. 

Dessert bar by Kalm Kitchen

The setting for the course was Millbridge Court, and walking into the welcome room is like a fresh, but cozy hug. Millbridge Court for anyone that hasn’t visited (you really should) has two chapel like rooms with floor to ceiling windows that pour in light and present vistas into the gardens and fields beyond. It also has eight rooms for guests staying overnight and a secluded hideaway for the married couple.

Bountiful floral displays were arranged by Linz at The White Horse Flower Company. Flowers organically sprung from all directions, creating a tiered display of beauty. Linz’s arrangements were the star of the styling throughout. The two days were catered for by the wonderful Kalm Kitchen, who create inventive food which not only tasted amazing but were also visually stunning.

The course was impeccably planned as you would expect from industry leading wedding planners. The agenda for the two day residential was jam packed with practical workshops, inspiring industry leading speakers and open honest conversations which covered a variety of subjects. The course was focused around the business of planning weddings, the budgeting and styling. There was also an aspect of branding and marketing a wedding business. It really opened my eyes to all the aspects of not only working in the business, but also on the business. 

There was talks from Matthew & Bertie of world renowned destination Matthew Oliver Weddings. Styling lessons from Emma of Coco Wedding Venues and a workshop with Linz of The Whitehorse Flower Company not forgetting invaluable advice from branding & marketing agency Chapter.

In summary if you are looking for a deep dive into this industry and what it takes to become a wedding planner, then I couldn’t recommend Redefined, or any of Kat and Louise’s courses enough. There was a wonderful mix of practical learning, open honest Q & A’s, academic learning and networking. If you wanted a better idea of what to expect then please do reach out to me or better still get in contact with Kat and Louise.

Until next time


2 days captured by the glorious Hannah Duffy Photography

Tablescape styles by @weddingsbyemmalouise

Share the love – List of suppliers for Redefined & contact list

Venue / @millbridgecourt

Hosts – @planningredefined

Kat, / @katrinaotterwed & Louise, / @louiseperryweddings

Photography / @hannahduffyphotography

Food / @kalmkitchenltd

Stationary / @natspaperstudio

Flowers / @thewhitehorseflower

Guests / @matthew_oliver_weddings & @bertie_matthewoliver / @cocoandkat / @chaptercomms

Event hire / @88eventscompany / @couverthire @wedhead_london / @theweddingshopuk