A Colourful, Nature-Inspired Headpiece For A Stylish Bride And Her Glamorous French Countryside Wedding
I have to start with a small warning before you read on - I’m more than just a tiny bit in love with the riot of style, colour and all-out 1920s opulent glamour that you’re about to feast your eyes on. Today’s gorgeous Tilly Thomas Lux real bride is the über-talented and totally beautiful Samantha, aka Sammy Aki, The Groom Style Consultant. This amazingly talented creative force is one of the UK’s most respected groom style consultants, so it’s absolutely no surprise that both she and husband Anaël look staggeringly cool.
Samantha and Anaël wed on 27th August this year at Anaël’s family home in France, a hotel which has been in the family since 1936. La Gentilhommière is nestled in a spacious and idyllic park in the Ardèche region and provided the most stunning backdrop to the couple’s marriage celebrations.
“Our family and heritage is very important to us and we really wanted to reflect this with our wedding. Getting married in the house where Anaël grew up was a real privilege so we used this as a start for our colours and themes. We wanted everyone to feel at home.”
When Sammy first contacted me about creating an Art Deco style headpiece with pops of jewel-bright colour, to say I was excited was a tiny bit of an understatement. With one of her style icons, the fabulous Josephine Baker in mind, Sammy and I worked together to create a 1920s inspired showstopper to complement her flowing floral gown.
“I saw some of Tilly’s pieces on Instagram and loved the Art Deco feel of them. Anaël and I met at a prohibition party so 1920s style is really special to us. He has always said he loves me in headpieces so I knew I had to have something special. I honestly travelled the world looking for the perfect piece (and working) and couldn’t find the right one. So when I saw Sally’s work and she explained she made bespoke pieces too, I took a train to her home and studio and we started creating.”
“It was the best to work with Sally. It was seamless and fun and I enjoyed getting to know her while she enquired about my style, likes and dislikes. I create bespoke wedding suits for my clients so it was only natural for me to explore this option for myself and I enjoyed her approach. I also visit my clients’ homes for fittings in order to see the subtleties of what they like, so on the flip-side it was really interesting to see where and how Sally creates her exceptional headpieces. We share a love for colour pairing which I may not have gathered from her ready to wear collections alone; that’s the beauty of bespoke.”
As Sammy and Anaël tied the knot in the gorgeous French countryside, surrounded by nature and all manner of animals grazing in the fields, we played on one of my existing nature-inspired designs featuring jewelled, embellished insects, adding flourishes of hot pink and sapphire blue.
“I’m a city girl so his family always have a giggle when I’m incessantly running away from bees and flies. However, with regards to design, I really am drawn to nature and all of its colours. Sally had a striking piece with bugs that triggered something. We created something truly unique yet classic, especially when paired with my Ellis Bridals gown which had an ethereal floral design.”
“Annonay is where the Montgolfier brothers invented the hot air balloon as well as the home of luxury paper, so I wanted to incorporate this with my Ghanaian heritage. We had baskets hand-woven in Ghana and I bought paper and glass balloons from the Conran Store (reflecting my British side). I love working with colours so I relished creating our palette of French blues with hot pink.”
Lucky Sammy had exclusive access to the Ellis Bridals 2017 collection, and during this wonderful sneak peak she fell in love with two very different dresses; a romantic sweetheart neckline gown for the church ceremony, with swathes of tulle and floral appliqué; followed by a slinky beaded number for the glamorous cocktail reception. And good lord this lady has seriously amazing taste in shoes.
“We created my headpiece as soon as I had selected my dress. In the evening I wore a beaded Jenny Packham, whilst Anaël wore a Sammy Aki bespoke midnight velvet evening suit, channelling our love of the 1920s. Our shoes were very important to me, so I indulged in Italian Miu Mius whilst Anaël wore British Mr Hare and then G.J Cleverley.”
Luca Meneghel is responsible for these stunning images; he’s managed to capture Samantha and Anaël’s 300 guests in such an intimate, personal way. I absolutely love the stunningly editorial style shot of the newlyweds in front of the fireplace, it’s like a scene straight out of The Great Gatsby. And Sammy is so beautifully graceful in her flowing beaded dress with her beyond amazing hair. Anaël’s suit is pretty blooming incredible too - the coolest couple ever!?
“Luca is a fantastic fashion, food and event photographer who I have worked with on other occasions. I knew it would be a challenge for most photographers to capture everything, so I wanted to go with someone I already knew was hard working, dedicated and very talented.”
“The day was a whirlwind of excitement and what I loved the most was that even though I had prepared everything, there were so many beautiful and touching surprises that I had zero idea about; our families are truly wonderful. From the hot air balloon organised by Anaël’s father and brothers, to finally sitting down and receiving the bespoke macaroons (mojito and rose flavours) from his cousin, it really was magical.”
Anyone else just a tiny bit in awe of this gorgeous bride and her incredible wedding!? Sartorial elegance at its very best. Please do check out Sammy on Instagram at @sammyaki - she loves tailoring, flowers and cake so she’s now pretty much my ultimate girl crush.
Are you all gearing up for Christmas? I’m so excited that so many of you beauties have been in contact for that little bit of extra festive sparkle. And our 2017 collection will be launched any day now, I’m just giddy with excitement to finally be able to share it with you all! Merry Christmas bridal babes!
With love and sparkle,