Choosing my wedding ring at Mirri Damer, Falmouth
One of the first decisions made for our wedding was made solely by John when he purchased my engagement ring. It was a decision that could only have been his, as the romantic in me always believed the engagement ring should be the proposer’s choice. In choosing an engagement ring by Mirri Damer, he inadvertently chose the designer of my wedding ring too.
Ironically traditional to begin with, we’re now starting to break away from tradition when it comes to choosing our wedding bands, but (eventually) I’ve decided to choose the same designer as my engagement ring. Starting my search early, I had casually visited high street jewellers, boutique jewellers and even tried on the wedding rings of my friends – just to discover my preference. No ring ever suited the style of my engagement ring, or felt unique enough for my taste.
In the midst of this search, my parents offered me my grandmother’s wedding band. Made from Welsh gold, it’s a striking contrast to my white gold engagement ring when placed beside it. In its current form, it’s mismatched in style but perfectly matched in sentiment. After a phone call with Mirri Damer’s studio, I was convinced of a solution and a visit to Mirri Damer, Falmouth, was on the cards.
Stepping into the cocoon of Mirri Damer’s studio shop, on Falmouth’s High Street, we entered to see mid-century furniture juxtaposed with mustard furnishings and flanked with yellow roses: my favourite colour and flowers. We had time to browse the collection before Mirri arrived and introductions were made.
Mirri, an internationally acclaimed designer and Libertines fan, relocated to Cornwall to start her business in 2005. She now works from her shop, in a studio adorned with Frida Kahlo. After discovering we both share a love of cinnamon buns and coffee, we sat down to discuss the design of my wedding band. I explained how John had chosen her rosebud design in 2014 and showed Mirri my favourite pieces from her current collection.
We also discussed the heirloom rings that I had brought: my grandmother’s wedding ring and my mum’s engagement ring, from her first marriage to my father, which I inherited on my 21st birthday. Mirri and I discussed how the heirloom rings could be reinvented to make a set of two new wedding bands that would fit perfectly and nestle my engagement ring between them. Calling on John to help me make key decisions, we eventually decided on the two bands and surprisingly, it was easier than either of us expected.
I know what you may be thinking, two new wedding bands? Well, I did mention that we’re starting to buck tradition. One wedding band will be timeless, made from heirloom jewellery and able to be worn alone, or with my engagement ring or the final ring. The third ring will be a stylish choice to add extra emphasis to the stack. Each will be able to be worn alone, or together, or in different combinations.
I’d like to think John and I’s approach is true to our personal style, but incorporates my belief in being sustainable. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience when choosing my wedding rings and I’m so excited to see the end designs!
Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester
Like any bride to be, one of the first tasks on my agenda was to visit a wedding show to gain inspiration, meet suppliers and generally, be carried away with wedding excitement. In March, I visited The National Wedding Show in Manchester and came away feeling uninspired, underwhelmed and fearful at the suggested scale of a modern wedding. Six months later, Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester , was the perfect antidote.
Previously named the National Vintage Wedding Fair, Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester , claims to offer artisan, creative wedding inspiration for the free-thinking bride. This resonated with me as a bride to be trying to avoid convention and also the label of alternative, or vintage. So far, my wedding inspiration has been a result of poring over back-issues of Rock n’ Roll Bride and hopping from one wedding Instagram feed of inspiration to the next. So, I decided to complete the holy trinity and purchase two VIP tickets.
Located in Manchester’s historic Victoria Baths, the venue for Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester was any sentimental blogger’s dream. Original, antique green tiling paired with stained glass windows greeted us on arrival. Our VIP tickets granted us each a glass of fizz and myself, as the bride to be, a goody bag. Captivated by the charm of our surroundings, we decided to take in the first sight of the fair by climbing the stone steps to the balcony. We were greeted by a bustling hall, filled with exhibitors and most importantly for me, colour!Breaking my reverie, the event’s compare announced the imminent start of a floral crown workshop with Charlie’s Flower Boutique. Floristry is something I’ve never turned my hand to before, but it’s something I was interested to try. With half-drank glasses of Prosecco, we immediately made our way downstairs to find a class of patiently waiting ladies and a table filled with blooms.
Charlie, owner of the flower boutique and leader of the class, began by naming each of the flowers laid on the table in front of us, described their properties and explained where a creative bride-to-be could source her own bridal flowers. With only one hour set aside for the class, I listened intently and set to making a floral crown adding my personal style as I went. I predominantly selected greenery, only adding flowers when necessary. Interestingly, my mum was very methodical – accurately interspersing flowers with greenery. One hour later, we’d each created two very different crowns, different but perfect for us with each of their imperfections. Of course, I had to photograph mine on my return home.
After expressing our gratitude for our newfound skill, we vowed to complete a Christmas wreath making class in December and left Charlie to prepare for her next class whilst we continued to the main purpose of our visit – to see the exhibitors, of which there was a real variety. After the National Wedding Show, I knew to expect a bombardment of questions and so, I was prepared: Slovenia, August next year and yes, we’ve found our venue.
As I’ve yet to find a dress, or even envisage my perfect dress, one of the first exhibitors I was drawn to was a seller of vintage wedding dresses. The stallholder explained how she takes vintage pieces and lovingly restores, sometimes customises, vintage dresses ready for their next bride. Perusing the rail of dresses brought along to the fair piqued my interest, but only because of my love of vintage clothing, unsurprisingly for me, I did not find my dream dress here.
Flower crowns in hand, we found this to be the perfect ice-breaker at Knot & Bloom’s stall – a small company that specialise in headpieces for the vintage modern loving bride. Without a wedding dress, we could only admire the headpieces and so, as we weren’t serious buyers, we moved away and continued around the hall.
From pop-up bars, to wedding photographers, we found quirky ateliers and eye-catching stalls but not many that were appropriate or relevant for John and I’s Slovenian wedding and as we were approaching the end of the hall, I found Lost Heritage, a small company specialising in traditional and modern print, cutting and fabrication techniques.
So far, our plan is to send traditional ‘Save the Dates’, but as there’s lots of information to tell our friends and family, I’ve chosen and bought the domain name ‘Wed in Bled‘ which I plan to update closer to our wedding date. It’s no secret that I love stationery. So much so, I’ve been trying not to buy it (my office has an entire shelf of unused notebooks I’ll eventually get to) but wedding stationery – well surely that’s a necessity? I adore the simplicity of their previous commissions.
While there wasn’t many stalls relevant to our wedding plans, ironically, this wasn’t an issue. Both my mum and I enjoyed Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester because we felt it was an experience. One of our final activities of the day was to enjoy a catwalk show of both vintage and reproduction wedding dresses, set to a soundtrack of live music from the Nat O’Brien Band (a wedding band playing modern and classic hits.)
Carried along with the excitement of the day, it wasn’t until I arrived home that I had chance to look through my VIP gift bag – I was pleasantly surprised. I’d chosen the VIP package for the glass of Prosecco on arrival, it was an extra £3 to upgrade, each ticket costing £7 each. I wasn’t expecting to receive a bag filled with treats: beautifully scented rose petals, English Breakfast tea, a bridesmaid request card and my favourite piece, a beautiful macrame key ring from The Attic.
I could not recommend Magpie Wedding _ The Show for any vintage loving, or unique bride to be. Don’t worry, if you missed Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester, you still have chance. The show is touring the country, with different exhibitors at each fair. You can buy tickets here for Bath, Leamington Spa, London or Chester. Alternatively, you can pay on the door. If you do choose to visit, I’d love to know what you think.
No gifts, no flowers and certainly no romantic meals- and that’s fine with her. You see, in Japan on Valentine’s Day, it’s the women who are gift givers. Whilst gifting homemade chocolates is the traditional way to confess your true love, male friends and colleagues also expect different types of chocolates on the day. (Don’t worry, men get their chance to return the favour a month later on White Day.)
I’m a sucker for anything related to Japanese culture – Tokyo has been on John and I’s travel bucket list for the longest time- so when UncommonGoods, a company with sustainability at the heart of everything they do, got in touch they gave me the chance to join in with this tradition and choose a Valentine’s gift for my fiancé, John.
Long time readers of Polkadot Pink will know that John is the reason I became interested in experimenting with photography and it won’t surprise you to find out that he has a serious love of film and cameras. So much so, a couple of years ago he bought me my first lomography camera, a DianaF+. Now, we’re not the type to get smushy in public or buy Valentine’s gifts (I don’t think we’ve ever bought each other Valentine’s gifts, but if you are seeking inspiration check this section out) However, this year, I felt different.
You see, John has been my rock this year. Since leaving full-time teaching, my income took a severe nose-dive which meant no more trips to our beloved Berlin, or even cities in the UK. Every penny was pinched and our idea of date night turned into watching Netflix with a chippy tea. I felt like a right bore but he always reassured me that time together was worth more than money.
So, what did I choose for a photography enthusiast? A Lomo’ Instant camera, of course. As soon as the parcel arrived, John couldn’t wait to start experimenting with it. Luckily, I had some Instax film handy (earmarked for my Diana F+ but, whatever) and off we were, conducting our own instant photo shoot in the garden. Glamorous.
So what did John think of the camera?
“Like all lomography cameras, to get the best results you’re going to need light and lots of it. Compact and easy to carry with you, it’s fun and the Instax film will set you back less than rival brands. Fun and affordable!”
If you’ve never heard of UncommonGoods, they’re a company who believe sustainability is more than ‘being green’, they believe in integrity and paying a living wage. Based in Brooklyn, New York, their shipping fees include duties and tax, because no one likes to be hit with a customs bill.
We’re looking forward to taking this camera on our next city break, whenever that may be!
How are you spending Valentine’s day?
*Just incase you missed it, this post contains a gifted item*
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Meet John. Fiancé, better half and all-round good egg. You may know that John is chief photographer here at Polkadot Pink. Come rain or shine, it’s John who meticulously captures each and every one of my outfit shots, patiently but with gritted teeth; neither of us understanding the other’s point of view. Thankfully, over time, capturing the shots has grown easier So in the spirit of Valentine’s day, we felt a twist was in order. On this day of love, we decided to simply swap places for an outfit post with a difference. John in front of the camera, myself behind the lens.
// Coat :: Fjallraven //
// Mountaineer shirt :: ASOS //
// Jeans :: H&M //
// Desert shoes :: Clarks Originals //
// Watch :: Bradley by Eone //
Here’s what he said,
“One of the most important aspects of any outfit is a watch. I have always been a sucker for a well-designed watch. The Bradley watch by Eone is a tactile watch designed for the partially sighted. I first lusted after it when I saw it on kickstarter. Since receiving it as a Christmas present last year, it’s been the base of many outfits.
Buying jeans that fit isn’t just difficult for women. It’s a bit of a chore for men too, but jeans from H&M seem to do the trick. For many years I wore Levi engineered jeans but to my annoyance my favourite design and fit was discontinued. It’s definitely not about the price, the fit is unrivalled.
This Fjallraven coat is an absolute dream. Warm, Stylish and comfortable. This is the first warm jacket I have owned in years. Fjallraven has evolved into a hipster brand, but the functionality matches it’s hipster title.”
Let’s just say, after shooting the pictures for this post, I have a new found appreciation for the skill of taking outfit shots. No longer will the immortal words of, ‘How hard can it be?’ be uttered. Nor will I be offering to swap roles again soon, but it was fun…just for the day.
Would you swap roles? Just for the day?
As always, much love,
Donna & John
Life has a habit of surprising you when you least expect it. One minute, you’re weeping into your Assam tea then, in the blink of an eye, you’re crying with joy. On Friday, my life changed forever when John got down on bended knee, presented me with a beautiful ring and asked that all important question, ‘Will you marry me?’ It was so, so unexpected but the most wonderful surprise. So, of course, I said YES!
I haven’t stopped smiling since (it’s doing my fine lines no good) and already I have ideas for how I’d like our big day to look. Before I start getting carried away, there was one important job on Sunday that needed completing. Finding an engagement ring that fit. John had fit the bill perfectly, one gold ring with a solitaire. Unique, classy and timeless. It was what I’d always wanted, it was just a wee bit too small.
We woke early to make the journey to Saltaire Village, a Victorian model village within the city of Bradford, where John had purchased my ring. Named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001, the village oozed quirk. We happened to arrive on the final day of Saltaire Festival and so the heritage village was awash with colour and alive with the sound of music.
As it’s term time, sadly this visit was to be fleeting. We headed directly to Salts Mill as John had chosen my ring from a range by designer, Mirri Damer. Stocked at Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, we were merely there to have it re-sized… or so I thought. Once inside, I was given a different ring to try on for size. It was the perfect fit. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. When I discovered that this was the ring that John’s family had preferred too, I was swayed. This was to be my engagement ring. White gold and set with five diamonds, it sparkled as it caught the light. I was smitten.
It’s not easy choosing a ring that you’re going to wear for the rest of your life, so it has to be the right choice. To make sure I wasn’t acting on impulse, we decided to head to Salts Diner for a spot to eat and to mull over the choices. You see, my heart was tied to the ring John chose but my head was telling me white gold was more practical. I was torn.
I adore that my other half researched engagement rings and chose a designer he knows I will love for years to come. I adore that he chose a ring based on my tastes and preferences. But, life’s a funny old thing and sometimes the perfect ring is totally different to what you first thought. I believe the same is true about wedding dresses!
The weekend has passed in a blur of visiting family and speaking to so many people about my news. I’m so thankful for all of your kinds words and well wishes over on Instagram, I feel truly blessed. The Internet can be a funny old world, but a world I’m glad to belong to.
“Your hand in my hand is where it belongs.
Your hand in my hand as we walk along.”
Mark Sperring and Britta Teckentrup