Wednesday Inspiration:Black OR white? Would you ever consider wearing a black wedding dress?

This week we are focusing on the ‘black and white’ wedding theme that comes and goes every now and then. I must say my immediate reaction was – “NO; Black wedding dresses are for the Red carpets & fancy dress parties and definitely not for weddings”. What is your first reaction?

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Are your immediate thoughts also in the lines of Goths or Rock when hearing ‘a black wedding dress’? If so, then maybe this article may entirely change your vision of this non-traditional bridal choice.

With that being said, when mentioning black wedding dresses, Vera Wang is the first bridal designer to come to mind. Her Fall ‘12 bridal collection were seasons ahead as Vera always knows the latest trend 2 or 3 seasons ahead of time, but it didn’t all start with Vera’s black sachet on pearl-white wedding dresses.

The fact is that history does tend to repeat itself, bringing back old traditions. Prior to the Victorian era, brides were primarily married in the best dress they owned, colour played no role; be it a black, brown or yellow. In Scandinavia, black wedding dresses were especially popular and as far as white was concerned, in the 1500’s white was considered as the colour of mourning for French Queens, (therefore the ‘black is for mourning’ argument was not valid before).

Centuries ago black wedding dresses were worn in different cultures, but this all changed when Queen Victoria wore a white dress to her wedding ceremony in the 1840 and sparked the trend of white wedding gowns. First white dresses were exclusive to the elite, but after WWII the middle class caught up to the trend. Nonetheless, black was still often worn by brides, especially by those who recently lost a love one. Interestingly enough, in Spanish Cultures, Roman Catholic brides wore black to symbolise their devotion to marriage till death.

In the late 1800’s black took on a very negative connotation and people started associating the colour with death and mourning. The mother of the groom or bride didn’t wear black as it was seen as a huge taboo, a symbol of regret to the marriage or choice of spouse. In today’s day and age one can clearly see the symbolic meaning has faded as black is the most elegant and sophisticated shade for women to wear.All brides are different and like different styles and so if they want to hide some non-flattering body curves to look their best on their big day, black works magic while white visually enlarge.monique-lhuillier-

Looking back now, it could have been predicted that it was only a matter of time before the modern bride toppled over the ‘all dresses in white cliché’ and opted for a dress with colour. I love the idea of surprising everyone with a black dress. It would be unexpected, unique and dramatic to say the least.  Although… I don’t think black is for my big day.

So, we are definitely going to see more black wedding dresses soon with the likes of Avril Lavigne making a huge fashion statement in her black wedding dress, but it might take a few more centuries before you see the average brides taking the black option. This is mainly because of the negative connection black carries and the fact that society mainly sees the lighter shades as a symbol of purity, beauty and virginity.

This leads me to ask you again… would you wear a black wedding dress?

Atelier Aimée:
Elegant Black:
The knotty bride:

Engagement shoot Competition

February has arrived, and as you all know it is the month of love.
We at Newton and Strauss would like to make it special and memorable by making you and your partner the WINNERS of a 2hour Engagement shoot.

win a shoot-01

All you have to do is simply like our  Facebook page (, post a picture of you and your fiancé together with your engagement story. Get your friends to like your post and our page. The couple with the most likes win.

T&C’s Apply:
Couples need to live in the Western Cape.
The prize may not be redeemed for money.
Closing date: 1 March 2014
The winner will be announced on facebook on the 3rd of March 2014.
The photoshoot expires on the 1st of June 2014
Have fun
Kind regards

Rustic table centerpieces

Hi everyone, keeping up with our Eco week I thought I would show you something fun I found on OnceWed, this was created by the author herself.

Here is a great, inexpensive way to really bring Eco design to your wedding…

Have fun!



What you will need:

· slice of wood ( 11′ diam x 2.5′ h)
· glass cylinder vases ( 11′h, 9′h, 6′h x 3.5′ diam)
· pillar candles ( 3 varying heights to fit in each vase)
· ribbon & yarn
· fabric, wood, or dried flowers
· double sided tape
· scissors




1. Cut 3 pieces of ribbon/yarn (one arms length per piece). Wrap each vase with ribbon/yarn. Attach ends of ribbon/yarn with double sided tape to surface of vase. I chose to wrap with a knobby yarn, satin ribbon, and grosgrain ribbon to create a variety of textures. I also wrapped the ribbon/yarn at different heights on each vase to create more interest.

2. Attach fabric/wood/dried flower to a piece of ribbon and tie around tallest vase.

3. Insert pillar candles into vases. arrange cluster of vases on wood slice, keeping the sides with the tape facing the center.

4. Arrange fabric/wood/dried flowers on wood slice around the vase cluster. Light the candles and enjoy your rustically elegant centerpiece!

FYI: The wooden flowers shown are no longer available for purchase. I would suggest creating fabric flowers or heading to a local craft store and picking up some dried botanicals. If you are interested in creating these centerpieces in large numbers, I would suggest ordering the vases in bulk.

Table decorations at weddings have historically been just flowers. But a great alternative if you don’t want to use flowers is a project like this. Using recycled materials (in this case reclaimed wood), you can really have lovely centerpieces that ooze style and can be made to fit your overall theme. For example, I’m not using wood, but instead my mother’s antique lanterns as our table centerpieces- our overall decoration will be “beautiful light” since everyone is eating at outside at night. I’ll post pics of my vision as I get closer to my wedding date this October.

What about you? Will you be using flowers as table centerpieces at your wedding?

Thursday cake day: Cheese Wedding Cakes

Images (left – right): 1, 2 & 3 from The Fine Cheese Co.; 4 from Martha Stewart

Images (left – right): 1, 2 & 3 from The Fine Cheese Co.; 4 from Martha Stewart

Today I have something different for you. Have you ever thought of cheese for your wedding cake?

These days you’ll find that not many guest eat cake at weddings as they mostly have too much wine. So why not a cake made from cheese to go with the wine? This will be something new and exciting that will have your guest talking – infact long after your wedding!

That being said, I have a surprise/treat for you…

DIY cheese wedding cakes:

Images: Just Judy

Images: Just Judy

I’m sure you can find a company that will create a cake from cheese for you, but I think it’s more fun and personal to build your own. So, here is how!

To start, you will have to find a good and cost effective cheese supplier. Try out your local cheesemakers and give your guest a taste of the region. It’s important to source a variety of cheeses, like you would for a good cheese board. Finding a hard cheese and maybe a blue cheese might be a good place to start. Depending on your wedding theme bear in mind the colour of the cheese, you should also try to find similar shapes of cheese with different strengths that comes in wheels and are suitable for stacking, (wet or fruit flavoured cheese’s are a big no-no as they might melt). You will need about 100g of cheese per guest or a minimum of 4kg per 50 guests.

To get the traditional wedding cake you would ideally need three to five layers of cheese, graduating from large too small. Small goat’s cheese pieces could be added between layers if needed.

Let’s get stacking! To create a rustic look use a wedding cake stand on top of a trunk base. Perhaps have your local sawmill sand and wax the base for you?
Stack each layer directly on top of each other, (you could put grease paper between layers).
Now for the fun part: use fresh or dried fruit, herbs, crackers, ribbon and/or edible flowers to decorate your cake. Honey could also be drizzled over your cake to create an extra bit of decadence.
And there you go, a personalised unique wedding cake made from cheese.

Today I was inspired by a
n article that appeared in the February Cap Classique newsletter and featured on the southboundbride’s blog: Here are the links:

Sources (top to bottom, left to right): 1- Aaron Delesie/Kelly Oshiro Design via Style Me Pretty; 2- James Melia/Flourish and Prosper via Whimsical Wonderland Weddings; 3- Stephan Marais/Fairview on SBB; 4- Caught the Light/Forever & Ever Events /Tastes Delicatessen via 100 Layer Cake; 5- Stellar Photography via Style Me Pretty; 6- via My Wedding Thing; 7- Tasha Seccombe/Fairview via The Pretty Blog; 8- Nicole Cordeir/Woodside Cheese Wrights via Hello May; 9- Cypress Grove Chèvre  via The Knot; 10- Harrison White Photography/High Weald Dairy via You & Your Wedding; 11- Ocello; 12- C’est Cheese via Hitched; 13- Tasha Seccombe Photography via The Pretty Blog; 14- Eliza Claire via Rock My Wedding; 15- Ann-Kathrin Koch/Fine Cheese Company via Rock My Wedding; 16- I Heart Weddings/Cathrin D’Entremont Weddings/The Black Truffle via Polka Dot Bride; 17 (left & right) – Rensche-Mari van Dyk/La Marina via The Pretty Blog; 18- As Sweet As Images/Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij on SBB; 19- via Southern Living; 20- C’est Cheese

Eco designer: Celia Grace

Newton&Strauss bridal design studio Celia-Grace 2

Celia Grace is a Eco wedding dress company using a fair trade system to empower their women’s sewing group and their surrounding communities.

 What is Fair Trade?
“Almost half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 per day and poverty kills hundreds of children every hour. Fair Trade is a global movement to end poverty by giving you the ability to vote with your dollars for the kind of world you want–one where people are paid a living wage, work in safe and fair conditions, and can break the cycle of poverty. Celia Grace is proud to be a member of the Fair Trade Federation.”

Each dress is made with great care, exquisite craftsmanship, light-as-air silk heirloom and vintage-inspired lace to create a fun, gorgeous, flattering and comfortable wedding dresses.

As the norm goes, wedding dresses are usually made from highly polluting petroleum based polyester, but this is not true for Celia Grace’s company as they…
 • uses natural silk woven on a no-electricity loom
• minimizes use of chemicals by colouring fabric with safe, non-toxic dyes when needed
• uses very little water and energy in silk making and colouring
• uses silk local to where dresses are produced to minimize shipping
• Most of our fabrics are hand woven on traditional wooden looms in rural villages. This means your wedding dress is made out of gorgeous, heirloom silk like nothing else available on the market today. It also means that Celia Grace is putting money directly into the hands of rural women (who live far from electricity, good schools, or hospitals) so that they can keep themselves and their families healthy and strong, send their girls to school, and increase their self-confidence and respect in the community.

– Ansunel Strauss

Newton&Strauss bridal design studio Celia-Grace 1

Referenced: (

Eco-Designer: Adele Wechsler

Newton&Strauss bridal design studio adele-wechsler

With six Eco couture collections so far, Adele Wechsler is capturing timeless beauty while focusing on nature to inspire her. She also has a plus size Eco collection.

Adel is able to offer her brides an Eco-friendly option with all the luxury of couture gowns by infusing elements like certified organic silk and hemp, remnant lace and fabric, vegetable dyes and hand cut designs; all produced using fair trade labour.

These materials might seem primitive, but the designs are thoroughly modern and appealing. From traditional gorgeous to minimalist chic to bohemian whimsy these gowns are lightweight and ethereal. Her Eco couture collections can be described as “breezy, windswept and free flowing’ evoking feelings of feminine romance.

This South African designer is making gowns “for the bride who cares about the world in which she lives” in Canada where the company is based.

Here are some tips on how the groom’s attire can be Eco-friendly too.

 “The groom can wear a vintage suit, or one he already owns. If he is going to buy or order a custom suit, have it made in breathable hemp and silk blends. If the groom is planning on renting a tuxedo, check that the rental company uses an Eco-friendly dry cleaner.”

-Ansunel Strauss

References: Adele Wechsler

Eco-designer: Leila Hafzi


Leila Hafzi started in Norway back in 1997 while a few fashion brands talked about globalization, empowerment of women and Eco-conscious products from developing countries. Thus a new voice and leading lady was born in the ethical and Eco-conscious trade inspiring the fashion industry into a global shift.

Leila’s designs can be recognized by their romantic, feminine, and bohemian look combined with an innovative fusion of themes inspired mostly by Norway, Persia, Greece, Nepal and different cultures.

Ansunel Strauss

Referenced: Leila Hafzi (

Eco designer: Katherine Feiel

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Being an advocate of the slow fashion-movement, Katherine Feiel creates nature inspired designs in her studio on a small island in Nova Scotia for her own business called Fairy Fashion Wedding Gowns. She currently design under two labels. Katherine collects … Continue reading

Eco-design: The Cotton Bride/Kris Cole

homeKris Cole and the VCD collection.

The VCD collection was specifically designed for a relaxed, nature-inspired wedding with a lightweight, airy and stylish collection of dresses to choose from. These dresses are designed to harmoniously blend in with the natural environment and are virtually free of sparkle.

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Designer, Chris Cole, constructs classic silhouettes using only 100% natural silk, cotton and linen fabrics under the highest standard of couture workmanship. Now, almost 5 years later The Cotton Bride continues to stand alone as a beacon of innovative design and creativity.

So, be it a farm, vineyard, mountain or sea wedding. I hope you can find some inspiration for your exquisite, subtle and sophisticated Eco dress…

– Ansunel Strauss
The cotton bride (
Kris Cole or visit The Cotton Bride page on Facebook.