Celebrate your original wedding date

Celebrate your original wedding date

Wedding plans on hold

What a strange few months we’ve been living through. A time when pretty much everything in our diaries has been wiped out. When plans have all been put on hold. It has all felt a little surreal, uncertain and apprehensive.

Obviously weddings have been greatly affected by current events with no sign yet on when they will be possible and in what format they will take when they are allowed again.

Celebrate your original wedding date

Meanwhile, wedding planner at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Stacey Puffer has put together these lovely ideas for how you can still celebrate your original wedding date whilst plans are on hold (featuring some tantaslising shots of food prepared by Clerkenwell Green).

Your wedding day is one of the most exciting and memorable days of your life. Having to postpone your wedding day due to COVID-19 can be very upsetting. If you’ve had to postpone your wedding due to COVID-19, don’t despair there are still several ways you can still celebrate your original wedding date!

Exchange your vows

No doubt you’ve probably already written your vows, don’t let them go to waste, share them with each other on the date or your original wedding day.

Celebrate virtually

Whilst it’s not the same, why not get together your closest friends and family on zoom or house party app, pop a bottle of fizz and acknowledge that this was your original date!

Write a love letter

This will no doubt be a difficult time for you both, it’s something you’ve looked forward to for so long, so bring out some of those emotional feelings about your partner, the excitement of marrying them and what it means to you.

Order cake

Whether it’s a wedding cake or ordinary cake from your local cake/coffee shop (many are offering ‘order online’ services) order cake. Cake always solves everything – even if it’s for a few moments!

Date night

Share a romantic evening with your partner, whether it is a romantic meal cooked from scratch or your local take away, throw in a few rose petals on the table and a bottle of wine (maybe it’s one that you had saved for your original wedding date), or make your signature cocktail (if you were planning on having cocktails at your wedding). Whatever you decide to do, make it a special occasion and memorable to you both. This will help lift your spirits.

Put a ring on it

Why not celebrate your original wedding date with a symbolic ring (we all love a little bit of bling) or even your actual wedding rings, there is no reason why you couldn’t start to wear it should you wish.

Car parade

Whilst your nearest and dearest can’t be by your side right now, seeing family and friends (from afar) with beaming smiles, wedding bunting, maybe your first dance song blaring from the cars radio, supporting you in this current situation is a perfect way of helping you celebrate and marking this occasion.

Remember #loveisnotcancelled, you will get to say ‘I do’ and you will have your wedding day to remember!

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Stronger together

Stronger together

Speechless

I’ve been quiet for a while. I haven’t really known what to say or do. Things are so hard to comprehend. It’s overwhelming. It’s scary. And it’s pretty much unbelievable.

What a year! Brexit, floods, Caroline Flack, storms and now a pandemic virus. Events that are happening now are completely unprecedented and will change our lives forever.  I keep thinking about how strong my grandparents must have been to live through the war.

Brave little fish

I read a book to my youngest yesterday called ‘Swimmy’ by Leo Lionni (originally published in 1963) and the message really hit home to me. It is a beautiful children’s picture book about a brave little fish that is left all on his own after his school of fish are all eaten. He has to find his own way around the ocean, meeting lots of amazing other creatures on the way. He meets new friends but they are too scared to come out of hiding to explore the wonderful world around them. ‘Swimmy shows his friends how–with ingenuity and team work–they can overcome any danger.’

Be kind

I hope that one thing to come out of this horrible year is that everyone is just a little bit kinder to everyone. To support one another. To keep it local and to help those in our community. Everyone is going to be affected by this and we need to stick together. We need to be more like Swimmy.

Come together

It is encouraging to see how companies are thinking outside of the box and diversifying. Adapting. Getting creative. Seeing what opportunities are now available to them. Taking a change of direction.

Technology, virtual solutions and social media are resources that our grandparents didn’t have in the war. Yes, they can be dangerous tools if used in the wrong way, but they are also amazing to bring people together, keep them talking and help them not feel so alone or lost.

Wonderful wedding suppliers

The wedding industry is getting hit hard. Everyone’s business is being affected. It got me thinking about what I could do to help the wonderful local wedding suppliers near me.

Stronger (virtually) together

So I’m offering my blog as a vehicle to local wedding businesses whilst this crazy scene plays out.

  • Please let me know if you’d like to place a free banner advert on the blog.
  • Or whilst your work load is possibly reduced, maybe you’d like to write a guest blog giving top tips from your part of the wedding industry – this would get shared across all my social media.
  • Or you’d like to submit a real wedding or styled shoot that you’ve been involved in.
  • Or perhaps you’d like to be involved in my next shoot (the April one has been postponed) and could start thinking about what you could produce.
  • Or you need help with virtual marketing, ideas on how to diversify or adapt to the current environment, or any other suggestions that you think I may be able to help you.

On hold

Wedding planning will (and should) still go on – it’ll be good to look forward to an amazing celebration when all of this is passed. 

 

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Get the bunting out!

Get the bunting out!

For centuries, ‘putting the flags out’ was the cue to celebrate something great that has happened and to really push the boat out.

And these decorative strings of paper or material triangles, often called ‘bunting’, have been used at many a street party commemorating a momentous occasion like D-Day, the Queen’s jubilees, royal weddings, and festivals.

The origins of bunting

The word bunting could have derived from the German word ‘bunt’ which means colourful.

Plus, bunting often refers to a collection of flags, particularly on the ships of the Royal Navy for communication purposes. A ship’s communications officer, who would’ve been responsible for raising the flags as signals, is still known as the “bunt”.

In addition, bunting was originally made from a coarse, loosely woven cotton fabric, with a very open weave, similar to cloth used to sift grain in the Middle Ages. The act of sifting was known as ‘bonten’.

Today bunting is used to describe strings of flags to decorate parties: inside or outside; made of cloth, cardboard, plastic or lace; in a variety of shapes and sizes; with or without patterns.

Take a look at these top tips from Doris and Tate to complete your venue with bunting.

Create a festival wedding

A hot wedding trend for 2020 is to recreate the magical feel of a weekend festival. Use colourful bunting fluttering across the tents and stages or from tree to tree. Serve hot food or ice cream from outside stalls or wagons, and light smoke flares to create wedding photos to remember. If your venue is inside but you’re still craving a festival vibe, try fanning long lengths of vibrant, colourful bunting from a central ceiling point out over the tables or dance floor. It’s an easy and quick way to create the ‘wow’ factor, and you can match the fabric to your wedding flowers for a Boho look.

More is more with bunting

The best thing about hanging bunting in your venue is that you can never have too much – in fact, more is more when it comes to hanging these cheery decorations. One the most impactful ways to hang bunting is lines of flags across the width of the room – this is particularly effective if you have a balcony or mezzanine so guests can look down on the bunting from above. If you’re using a venue with a high ceiling such a barn, using lengths of bunting strung across the room lowers the focal point of the ceiling and creates a more intimate space.

Make it personal

Make a length of your own bunting with fabric of sentimental value. Perhaps you have a special piece of fabric or an item of clothing (such as your mum’s old wedding dress) that you’d like to be part of your big day. Don’t try and take on the whole venue (you’ve got enough to do), but make shorter, more personal, lengths to hang on your top table, at the bar or over the entrance. Making a shorter length of bunting means you can use it in your home after the wedding, and you could even personalise it with letters to spell out your names.

Pick a colour scheme

If you have a smaller venue, choose bunting with a single colour theme for an ordered and coordinated feel. Forget twee union jacks, try darker colours for a more stylish look, jute tones for a natural feel or for the ultimate in timeless beauty, you can’t go wrong with pure white and ivory. Pick out coordinating colours from your bouquet and bridesmaids’ dresses to decorate the tables and the rest of the room.

Make it magical with fairy lights

We think bunting brings a venue alive and says ‘party’ all on its own. But for extra glamour and magic, think about draping strings of fairy lights over the top. This creates a twinkling layered look that provides a feast for the eyes, and ensures your bunting goes seamlessly from day to night.


about Doris and Tate

Doris and Tate is two cousins who are based in the village of Chalford, near Stroud, in the Cotswolds.

They make the ultimate in eco bunting – you hire it and it’s made from repurposed fabric – off cuts, fabric samples, clothes, chair covers –anything that is no longer wanted they transform into double sided, high quality, beautifully made eco bunting.

They love colourful, mismatched bunting but also adore a pure white swath of bunting draped from trees in the summer.

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Always the bridesmaid and never the bride

Always the bridesmaid and never the bride

Bridal party support team

When you tie the knot you want to make sure that you have the best support team around you.
Like the advice from one of the real brides in wedding day advice from real brides and grooms, you should ‘choose your team well’. Just the same as if you were putting together a project team at work, the people you choose to have around you at your wedding are crucial. So pick the bridesmaid that will keep you calm when you are stressed, offer advice when needed, and won’t complain when you ask them to make favours the night before the wedding!


5 times the bridesmaid

At one point in my life, I honestly thought that the film 27 Dresses was written about me! I thought I was destined to only ever be a bridesmaid and not a bride. I even thought about being a professional bridesmaid at one point!

I have actually been bridesmaid 5 times at different parts of my life: flower girl at just turned one and only just walking in the late 1970s, cute bridesmaid with orange dress with puffball sleeves in the 80s, and embarrassed tweenie bridesmaid in an unusual red bridesmaid dress in the 90s.

Probably the most influential and meaningful weddings that I was honoured to be a part of (prior to my own of course) were those of my two closest friends in July 2007 and August 2008 when I was a grown up.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride

Early Roman law required that there were 10 witnesses at a wedding (which has now evolved into having bridesmaids and groomsmen). Back then, the witnesses had to dress exactly like the bride and groom in order to fool any evil spirits in the room from coming after the happy couple.

The bridesmaid superstition about being ‘three times the bridesmaid, never the bride’ stems back to the 16th century. Back then people thought that if you’d been a bridesmaid 3 times and hadn’t caught the eye of a suitable partner then you were obviously destined to end up on your own.

Not to worry though, this curse could be lifted once you’d been a bridesmaid at 7 weddings. Or according to folklore, you can also reverse the curse by catching the bride’s bouquet.

The old saying could also be found in the title of the 1917 English Music Hall song ‘Why am I always the Bridesmaid?’ by Charles Collins and Fred W Leigh (who are famous for other songs such as ‘Any old iron’ and ‘Don’t dilly dally on the way’.)

Why am I always the bridesmaid
Never the blushing bride
Ding dong, wedding bells
Only ring for other girls
One fine day
Oh let it be soon
I shall wake up in the morning on my own honeymoon.

I was reminded of this song when I recently watched ‘Behind number 9’ series 1 episode 1 when they are all playing sardines and one of the characters sang it inside the wardrobe where they are hiding.

A more recent musical, ‘I love you, you’re perfect, now change’ from the late 1990s also featured a song around this superstition called ‘Always a bridesmaid’:

Well, I’ve walked down the aisle
As much as Liz Taylor
But I’ve always stood off to the side
Each bride has me dressed
In a gown I detest
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Role of the bridesmaid

For me, it wasn’t a curse though – it was wonderful to be one of their bridesmaids It feels so wonderful to share someone’s special day and be part of the wedding party. And I was lucky enough to play a number of these different attendant roles at weddings.

Chief bridesmaid

A chief bridesmaid (or maid of honour) is the principle unmarried attendant who acts as advisor, messenger and personal assistant to the bride. She often organises the hen party, holds the bride’s bouquet during vows, arranges the bride’s veil or train during the day, and helps with planning if required.

The chief bridesmaid offers moral support, advice and emotional support more than anything else.

Traditionally when the couple returned home from their honeymoon, the chief bridesmaid would wait at their home and welcome them.

Matron of honour

The Matron of Honour is a married female attendant.

Bridesmaids

A bridesmaid can be a girl or woman (usually one of several) who accompanies the bride on her wedding day. Bridesmaids help choose their own outfits, attend fittings, form part of the bridal procession, welcome guests, and offer cake around to guests.

Other duties could include acting as a witness if necessary, joining the receiving line, looking after the wedding dress during the honeymoon, or doing a reading in the ceremony.

Flower girl

A flower girl has less responsibility and is mainly there to look cute. Sometimes they might be asked to scatter petals ahead of the bridal procession or even hold a long wedding dress train down the aisle.

Ring bearer

With extra responsibility is the chosen one to carry a pillow down the aisle with the rings tied to it.

Bridal party

Whether male or female, the attendants you choose are the support network for the bride and groom, helping them to plan (and enjoy) the big day, and come armed with the wedding day survival kit.

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Top Fall 2020 colours from Pantone® for autumn weddings

Top Fall 2020 colours from Pantone® for autumn weddings

Autumn 2020 colours

After what seemed like the slowest and longest starts to the year, February now seems to be zipping away. And the blossom buds on the trees remind us that spring is just around the corner.

But I’m already thinking about forthcoming seasons later in the year, as Pantone® have announced the colours for the autumn and winter months of 2020/21.

With fashion weeks just kicking off in New York yesterday (before moving on to London on Valentine’s Day, Milan on the 18th and Paris on the 24th), Pantone® have predicted 10 colours that they think will be prevalent in Fall/Winter 2020/21. And it’ll be great to see these colours appearing in autumn weddings this year.

It’s no surprise to see half of the colours in earthy and typically autumnal colours. They are also joined by some rich jewel colours, some dusty pastel colours and a pop of statement neon.

Greatest hits of colours 

This line up feels a bit like the greatest hits tour for Pantone®, covering all their number one hits in the form of previous colours of the year (such as a peach for Living Coral from 2019, a purple for Ultra Violet of 2018, a strong green for Greenery in 2017, a pastel pink for 2016 and of course Classic Blue, the current 2020 colour of the year). And then there’s a new unheard of song that none of the fans know all the words to yet and don’t quite know what to make of it.

Pantone® Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman wants consumers ‘to feel at ease with a spectrum of colors’ and this season offers ‘traditional tones and surprising ones that offer plenty of room for experimentation.’

Potter’s wheel

Fitting with the current more sustainable ‘make, do and mend’ way of life, our nation’s obsession has gone from baking, sewing and now to pottery. (I can’t get enough of the Great Pottery Throw Down at the moment especially when the judge gets so emotional over the makes the potters produce).

So the earthy palette of the Fall 2020 colours reminds me of the range of clay colours you’d find in a pottery. With the brown Fired Brick and Sandstone being placed in the hot orange and red fire of Amberglow and Samba.

90s inspired neon

I’m pleased to see the pop of the neon Green Sheen appearing amongst the colours. Neon signage, perhaps with a personalised pun, is popular at the moment as wedding décor, along with a nostalgic nineties injection of vibrant colour.

Lots of nineties babies are tying the knot. So nods to the nineties will be found in holographic stationery, glow in the dark elements, as well as lace seeing a revival.

And it’s all about unique lighting with vintage lampshades, statement chandeliers and 90s inspired neon.

Rich jewels

The inclusion of some rich colours in the mix are almost tactile and velvety. Ultramarine Green, Magenta Purple and the colour of the year, Classic Blue, almost feel regal and would be very fitting for a medieval banquet style wedding.

Muted pastels

In addition, the subtle Rose Tan and Peach Nougat are lovely transitional pastel colours to lead us in to spring next year.

Fall 2020 colours

The top ten colours for Autumn/Winter 20/21 are:

  • Amberglow PANTONE 16-1350
  • Samba PANTONE 19-1662
  • Sandstone PANTONE 16-1328
  • Classic Blue PANTONE 19-4052
  • Green Sheen PANTONE 13-0648
  • Rose Tan PANTONE 16-1511
  • Ultramarine Green PANTONE 18-5338
  • Fired Brick PANTONE 19-1337
  • Peach Nougat PANTONE 14-1220
  • Magenta Purple PANTONE 19-2428

Neutral basics

Pantone® have also updated the Classic Colour Palette. These are a group of neutrals that are core basics, this time in the form of a white, navy blue, grey and olive green. The bonus classic neutral colours for Fall 2020 are:
  • Almond Oil PANTONE 12-0713
  • Blue Depths PANTONE 19-3940
  • Sleet PANTONE 16-3916
  • Military Olive PANTONE 19-0622

Fall 2020 extra colours from LFW

They may have different names but in the main the colours are repeated at London Fashion Week, along with a couple of additional colours (instead of the pastel pink and purple colours) to round off the colours for Fall 2020. There’s also a bit of a rejig of whether some colours sit in the neutrals or the main set (as Military Olive gets promoted at LFW) along with a purer white in the neutral basics. Here are the extra red, white and blue shades:

  • Mandarin Red PANTONE 17-1562
  • True Blue PANTONE 19-4057
  • Jet Stream PANTONE 11-0605

Colour themes

It’ll be great to see how couples incorporate these colours in to their weddings later this year. I can see how the classic neutrals will play a big part in coupling up with some of the more vibrant choices.

Pantone® is the world-renowned authority on colour and the Pantone® Color of the Year is always really influential in any popular colour themes in fashion, interior design and weddings.

See some of my wedding styling trends for weddings in 2020.

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Unique ways to capture wedding day memories

Unique ways to capture wedding day memories

Wedding days are amongst the most special events of our lives. We enjoy every minute, and want to ensure that our amazing memories are captured to last a life time and even for generations to come.

What a picture, what a photograph

It’s hard to imagine a wedding without photographs and videos. There are many ways to use your photos other than simply putting them in an album. Some people frame or print their wedding photos on canvas, or you can use your photos to make a calendar for next year. You can design your own photo book and have it printed. (Take a look at these top tips on getting your wedding photographs picture perfect).

But if you are looking for something less traditional and creative, then take a look at these more unusual ways to make your wedding day memories last from Wedding Sketcher.


Framed bouquets

One of the most popular item to preserve is the bridal bouquet or flowers. There are a number of options including getting it dried and framed, getting the flowers preserved in jewellery, Christmas baubles or a paperweight, turning it in to pot pourri, or using dried flowers to dye fabric or clothing. (And take a look at these alternative wedding bouquet ideas using much more than just flowers that will make wonderful wedding keep sakes.)


Flower preservation in resin

Another beautiful way of preserving flowers from your bouquet or wedding decorations is having them set in resin. The flowers are dried, arranged and cast in the resin creating a beautiful piece of art that will last for ages. You can chose various shapes and sizes, such as wall piece, heart, freestanding square, necklace, beads, letters and many more. Such as flower preservation by Sophie May Floral.

Shadow box

If you are creative, you could have a lot of fun with creating a memory collage, putting in items like flower petals, confetti, something old, new, borrowed, and blue. You can include one or two photos; your wedding vows; you can print and cut out your names, writing, scrabble letters, parts of your wedding invitation, and so much more. Your special objects will be protected from dust and damage in a beautiful shadow box on your wall. Or you could create a wedding scrapbook using any of these items as well.

Wedding messages

Having a guest book for your guests to write in is not unusual, but what about having your friends and family sign Jenga game pieces. They could use a gold or silver metal sharpie to sign a bottle, glass or ceramic items. Your guests could write their signatures on little paper hearts or butterflies that you can use to create a piece of wall art with (the shadow box is ideal for this). Your guests could write their messages and seal them in an envelope, so you could open one (or a few) on each of your anniversaries. And take a look at these other alternatives to wedding guest book ideas.

Wedding sketching

A very creative and novel way of capturing your memories is wedding sketching. All drawings are created live, during the event, depicting various parts of the day. After the wedding the sketches are bound into a hand made, personalised hard cover album, matching your wedding colour scheme. Items from your wedding can also be used to personalise the cover to make it even more special. It can be made with various types of fabric or hand made paper.

The sketches are not meant to replace your photos and videos, but to complement them. It’s like having your own, fun, illustrated book of your wedding. They capture the essence, the feel, energy and atmosphere of what is happening, rather than just recording a particular split of a second. And as a bonus, your guests will enjoy seeing the artist at work.

about Wedding Sketcher

Jana grew up in Prague, Czech Republic, but has lived in the UK since 2013.

“I love sketching people. There is something about capturing the movement, the characteristic of a person with just a few lines and adding a splash of colour that brings it to life. I always prefer to draw on location, sketching from photos would defeat the point, it’s missing the spontaneity and energy of the occasion. I capture the very essence of what’s happening.

I have studied book binding/restoring for 4 years full time. I make sure the album I create for you is of the best quality, done on a professional level and if handled well it should last for many decades.

Wedding sketching has all the ingredients I like and I love the thought my sketches will bring happy memories to people years down the road.”

@eventsketcher

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Wedding venue review: Caswell House

Wedding venue review: Caswell House

Caswell House wedding venue

Caswell House is a wedding venue that almost needs no introduction due to its overwhelming popularity. A beautiful one stop wedding shop, where you are taken in hand and don’t need to worry about anything.

The day I looked round started as a cold and extremely wet autumnal day, however despite the dismal weather this beautiful wedding venue still managed to shine through.

Wedding venue in the picturesque Cotswolds

The enticing signage from the main road instantly guides you in to the stunning grounds and the anticipation builds as you make your way down the long manicured driveway. You can tell that this is a venue that cares about details and how it looks after its surroundings is a clear indication of the level of care that they give to each couple who have the pleasure of getting married at this venue.

The grounds are breath taking, complete with weeping willow over the pond, the infamous bridge over the moat, all surrounded by beautiful trees. On top of these, there are walled gardens, orchards and a field for private photographs with the couple. Even the car park is beautiful, big and newly tarmacked, adorned with old-fashioned streetlamps.

It feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere and have completely escaped to a Cotswold retreat. Despite being less than 4 miles from the centre of Witney and a stones throw away from an exit off the A40 (which handily connects them with couples from London escaping the city for a country wedding).

Naomi Kenton Photography

Licenced inside and outside

There are 3 interconnecting medieval barns (all named after family members Joslin, Wenman and Bartlett) which help with the flow of the day from drinks reception, chilled out area, ceremony and wedding breakfast.

Whilst many choose to have their ceremony in Wenmans Barn (complete with stylish trough and manger), there is also the option to have your ceremony outside in the immaculate courtyard under the stone archway.

Quality suppliers

What makes this venue stand out is the quality of food served – exclusively by Indulgence. They also have a number of tried and trusted suppliers who deliver the same level of standards.

Lighting in the barns and outside is there permanently. Caswell House also has its own bar, and what is more, if you bring in your own wine then there is no corkage charge.


Luxury accommodation

In addition, this venue is set apart because of the spaces available to wrap around your big day. Such as a dressing room and stables to get ready. And then the luxurious accommodation to stay in after the wedding.

Currently boasting 8 rooms, they have been doing additionally conversion of surrounding barns in order to launch new bedrooms at the beginning of 2020. This will provide a brand new Honeymoon Suite plus 13 guest bedrooms for exclusive use by the wedding party on the night of the wedding.

Not only can you can stay over but then enjoy a sumptuous breakfast the following morning to extend the celebrations with your guest.

Well orchestrated service

But what you can’t do is to linger too long. You’ll be subtly and seamlessly ushered along each part of proceedings. As whilst you’ll have exclusive use for your wedding, in peak times there will be back to back weddings of 3 or 4 over a weekend.

Fear not as this is such a slick operation that you and your guests would be none the wiser to this out of sight activity. Like an amazing theatre production, this wedding venue has fantastic behind the scenes ‘stagehands’ to turn the ‘stage’ round for each act, with your wedding as the show stopping play.

Caswell House is a finely tuned, well oiled machine. Each act is carefully orchestrated to ensure that couples don’t ever bump in to next wedding party.

The venue will have been going 10 years this March and the family feeling is still evident. Their impeccable service makes sure each couple is made to feel like part of the family. You’d have one point of contact and the small team acknowledge that your wedding day is more than just a day – it’s the whole experience, the build up, the planning and the excitement.

You’ll also have someone to hold your hand on the day for the smooth running.


Summary

Caswell House is a stand out wedding venue with top service. You certainly pay for what you get at this slick, one stop wedding venue. Quality.

WEDDING VENUE FACTS

Type of venue: barn
Find out more: https://www.caswellhouse.co.uk/
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 140 wedding breakfast – 200 evening
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: from £375
Venue hire: from £5040 (Thursdays in February, March and November) – £8760 (Saturdays in May, June, July and August)
Nearest church: St Mary’s Church, Church Green, Witney OX28 4AW
Wedding breakfast: from £65pp
Accommodation: from £220 for a double room (honeymoon suite is complimentary)
Wedding fairs: March/springtime
Other things worth a mention: Caswell House also have a range of unique and stylish extras to hire for your special day including garden games and an ice cream tricycle

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Inspiration: african/english fusion garden wedding

Inspiration: african/english fusion garden wedding

A relaxed, family-oriented celebration in May 2019 saw the rustic fusion wedding of Rachael and Godwin at Worton Hall in Oxfordshire.

The energy and exuberance burst out of these images with pops of lavender wedding inspiration. What a jam-packed wedding full of colour, music and vibrancy. The African dancers stole the day, blowing everyone away with their epic singing, dancing and drumming.

 

Cotswold farmland venue

All members of the wedding party and families stayed at Worton Hall the night before. The groom and his family were in the main Farmhouse, whilst the bride stayed in one of the cottages.

handmade decor

Almost all of the décor was handmade by the bride, her friends and family. The bride and friends dressed the main hall the day before the wedding, and then 2 friends went out in the morning and put finishing touches to the décor. Simple, romantic and quintessentially english country garden styling.

English wedding ceremony

Rachael and Godwin got married in the wooden pagoda on ‘The Green’ in front of the beautiful old Farmhouse at Worton Hall. Oxfordshire’s registrars undertook the traditionally English ceremony whilst the guests baked in the lovely hot sunshine.

It didn’t take long after the ceremony before the champagne was flowing. Everyone enjoyed fizz on the lawns before throwing epic amounts of fresh lavender confetti over the bride and groom.

afternoon tea

Later, everyone headed into the main hall for a traditional cream tea. The English buffet-style afternoon tea was delicious, especially the freshly baked scones.

african traditions

Speeches were dotted throughout the afternoon. And in line with African tradition lots of friends and family members had the opportunity to stand up and speak.

And then after a quick outfit change for the bride and groom, they were walked back into the main hall by African dancers singing traditional African folk songs. The dance show was just epic.

An African Feast was then served with an out of this world peanut butter spinach dish.

dance the night away

The dancers came back and rocked the party again after everyone had finished their traditional African feast. Guests were given shots as favours and flip flops to wear to dance the night away.

Dancing, mischief, one hell of a fight over the bride’s bouquet and loads more dancing to end the night. What an incredible day.

Venue | Worton Hall | www.wortonhall.co.uk
Photographer | Charlie Flounders Photography | https://charlieflounders.com/
Dress | Wed2B | https://www.wed2b.co.uk/
Suits | Menswearr | https://www.menswearr.com/
Cake | made by bride’s talented sister
Entertainment | African Dancers | Shasheboys | www.shasheboys.com
Flowers | Sarah Horne Botanicals | https://www.sarahhornebotanicals.com/
English tea catering | Jo’s Kitchen | https://www.jos-kitchen.co.uk/
African meal | a family friend

Plus loads of other fabulous but low key suppliers who don’t have website links.

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Top wedding styling trends for 2020

Top wedding styling trends for 2020

[As featured on pages 65-67 of the October/November 2019 edition of Your Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wedding]

Couples are currently looking at ways to personalise their nuptials and break from tradition. Wedding styling is seeing an abundance of original alternatives that blend together cultures, creativity and lots of personal touches.

Mixing and matching seem a great way to compromise, as couples decide that they don’t have to settle on one particular style. This gives a great fusion of modern and vintage, along with contrasting textures, colours and mixed metals.

It’s why there’s an abundance of beautiful wedding styling trends to look out for at the moment. Here’s my top pick for 2020:

Photography by Farrow Photography
contemporary classic

Subtle updates to some traditional wedding styles include an injection of more vibrant colours. The use of colour is being used more subtly though and is often paired alongside neutral colours. And it certainly isn’t the case of everything having to match anymore.

Coloured linens are giving white napkins a run for their money, whilst cutlery is coming in different colours too. The best use of colour is with mix and match bridesmaids, where the styles and hues of dresses compliment each other or are in varying shades of the same colour.

Nods to Art Deco are appearing again in wedding themes, paying homage to the golden jazz age and The Great Gatsby era, with lace also seeing a revival. Scents are becoming important at weddings to appeal to ALL the senses, so more personalised scented candles are being used around the venue to enhance the atmosphere.

Couples are choosing to sit intimately on their own sweetheart table, whilst an array of cakes are being displayed on dessert tables. And whilst there is a move towards having less décor, some couples are supersizing their décor elements to make an impact.

Photography by Farrow Photography

country garden

The greenery trend is still going strong with couples wanting connections with nature. Weddings are bringing the outdoors in with an abundance of foliage, trees, enchanted indoor forest walks and floral arches. Banquet tables are being decorated with low florals (so guests can see one another across them) or hanging centrepieces above the tables.

And couples continue to use alternatives to real flowers such as pot plants, succulents and air plants that can be reused again after the wedding. But the biggest trend right now is the use of grasses, pods and dried flowers, with pampas grass seeing a huge surge in popularity. This is being used across all elements of décor from the big statement pieces (like ceremony backdrops, aisle runners and chandeliers), to fillers in bouquets (or big statement bouquets), table centrepieces and accents on the cake or table plan.

One plume or a huge arrangement, dried or fresh, pampas grass is proving to be versatile across seasons and marries well as a neutral with many colours.

 

Industrial banquet | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk
modern minimalism

Thanks to the Marie Kondo effect, minimal weddings are still popular and continue to exude sophistication especially when couples stick to one colour, such as white, to make an amazing statement.

To achieve maximum impact the minimal way, couples are keeping decor, florals and styling to a few key pieces.
The use of metallic decor, silverware and mirrors bounce natural light around the space, along with clear tables and chairs with no fussy table cloths or chair covers.

Use of geometric shapes such as hoops and prisms in different scales add to the modern styling. With free-flowing modern calligraphy on stationery items.

urban cool

Industrial venues often offer a complete blank canvas and statement backdrops to the traditional wedding elements. Couples can design the layout of the room, complete with make shift aisles and chill out lounge seating areas.

Old warehouses, city pubs, or disused factories with deteriorating brickwork, wooden beams and big windows, all provide a great contrast with a relaxed wedding vibe. These are the perfect venues for some New York loft styling and to mix modern and vintage elements together.

Décor is focused on concrete, stone and cement details such as marbled concrete pots, concrete coasters, concrete letters, and concrete table numbers.

And it’s all about unique lighting with vintage lampshades, statement chandeliers and 80s inspired neon.

Photography by Farrow Photography

quirky and personal

Personalisation is still the most prevalent theme in weddings right now. Couples are making their nuptials as individual as they are and are breaking from tradition. There is an abundance of original alternatives that blend together cultures, creativity and lots of personal touches.

Couples are going beyond paper stationery with different material types such as Perspex, denim, wood or agate slices. And printing invites on things their guests can use again. Likewise, guest books are things couples will use or see every day such as recipe books, furniture and artwork.

Alternatives to real flower bouquets include flowers made of fabric, felt, paper, sheet music or comic book pages. Carrying flowers in different arrangements such as pomanders, hoops and wreaths. Holding objects instead of flowers, using sparkly things to make a bouquet or using other natural alternatives to flowers. Plus, paper flowers are being used for décor and in ceremony arches.

Couples are considering new ways to wear flowers such as bow ties, corsages, floral rings, anklets and chockers.

Llamas seem to be the animal of choice to be a guest at weddings. Plus, the evolution from Chinese lanterns and sparklers has now moved on to super dramatic smoke bombs.

Photography by Farrow Photography

bohemian and vintage

It’s a sad fact that, by their nature, weddings can be quite wasteful. However, more couples nowadays are choosing eco-friendly and sustainable options to reduce the impact that their wedding day has on the environment.

Where possible couples are thinking about foraging, borrowing or hiring items, upcycling vintage décor, making their own items and considering how to pass on items afterwards. Food is more seasonal, local and vegan. With couples looking at how to make their wedding a plastic free event.

The other trend to look out for is Kintsugi. This is upcycling Japanese style – the art of repairing or recycling broken items in beautiful and artistic ways.

 

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Take the leap in 2020: save the date

Take the leap in 2020: save the date

Leap year proposals

There’s an extra day to play with this year as 2020 is a leap year. So we will have the pleasure of the 29th February for the first time again in four years. When it comes to proposing, traditionally a leap year meant that the tables were turned and women could have the chance to propose.

Unlucky leap year

Superstition suggests that 2020 may be a bit erratic. Many cultures believe that leap years are unlucky. Reportedly, the world goes a bit erratic with crazy weather patterns, additional suffering and a pretty gloomy outlook. Hence why some countries believe it is unlucky to make major decisions in a leap year like buying a house or car, or getting married. It is also traditionally seen as unlucky to get married on a leap day (29 February), though some people comment that you’d only have to remember your wedding anniversary every 4 years.

Whether you’re superstitious or not, before you rush to send out your save the date cards, here’s a little help with picking a date for your special day (and take a look at this useful guide to setting the date too).

Friday the thirteenth

There’s another two seemingly unlucky Fridays to avoid in 2020. Superstition often forces couples to avoid the 13th of the month (especially if it falls on a Friday). Other dates that are supposedly unlucky include your birthday, the day of a full moon, April Fool’s Day and it used to be forbidden to get married in Lent and Advent by the church.

Set the date

Some people think that 7 is supposed to be a lucky number whilst 4 is deemed unlucky in Japanese and Chinese traditions, so dates with these numbers may be sought after or avoided by couples. Instead perhaps you want to pick a meaningful date to you such as the anniversary of the date you first met, a memorable date that you’ll remember like 12/12/12 or a nod to your heritage such as your grandparents’ wedding anniversary date.

Think ahead

Consider which year you will get married. This may seem basic but if you want to do something soon then suppliers and venues may already be booked up. So, think about how long you have to plan the
wedding. The more notice you give then the more likely you are able to have your first choice of date.

The four seasons

Depending on when your wedding is in the year could affect what the weather is likely to be like. It could also influence your themes, colours, venue, attire, transportation, food choice etc. Also, different seasons can have an impact on the price and availability of food and flowers. Venues may have different prices depending on the time of the year. And it’s worth bearing in mind whether your key guests or wedding party would be available in school holidays.

Gone till November

Old superstitions state your fate as a couple depending on the month you choose to wed. Some say it was unlucky for a couple to get married in May. Whilst June and other summer months are very popular and even December is gaining in popularity, presumably so that people can use holiday time around the big day. It is worth considering different months as popular ones are in demand so prices may increase and availability will decrease.

Eight days a week

Ironically in another old poem, it states that getting married on a Saturday is unlucky which nowadays is the most common day for people to tie the knot. However, it is also one of the most expensive days too. More people are now considering other weekdays as options and Sundays too (although this used to be deemed as a mark of disrespect).

A hard day’s night

A wedding after dark used to be considered unlucky but you could split your guests up to have some come for the whole day and others just join you for the evening part of the day so you don’t have to pay for all of them to have a sit-down meal.

Look outside your bubble

Make sure you think about what else is going on in the world such as national, local and annual events. Take in to consideration public holidays , sporting events, religious festivals and other key guests’ occasions (like birthdays or wedding anniversaries.

Blue engagement ring | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk

Here’s a list of some events in 2020 (in England) that could influence your choice of dates, that you may wish to avoid or embrace:

Public holidays

  • New Year’s Day 1 January
  • Good Friday 10 April
  • Easter Monday 13 April
  • May Day Bank Holiday 8 May (changed this year in order to coincide with VE celebrations)
  • Spring Bank Holiday 25 May
  • Summer Bank Holiday 31 August
  • Christmas Day 25 December
  • Boxing Day 26 December

Sporting events

  • Six Nations Tournament 1 February – 14 March
  • Super Bowl 2nd February
  • Boat Race 29 March
  • Grand National 4 April
  • London Marathon 26 April
  • FA Cup Final 23 May
  • Champions League Final 30 May
  • UEFA Euro 2020 12 June – 12 July
  • Royal Ascot 16 – 20 June
  • Tour de France 27 June – 19 July
  • Wimbledon 29 June – 12 July
  • Henley Regatta 1 – 5 July
  • British Grand Prix 17-19 July
  • Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo 24 July – 9 August
  • Paralympic Games 25 August – 6 September
  • ICC World Twenty20 18 October – 15 November

Religious festivals

  • Epiphany 6 January
  • Orthodox Christmas Day 7 January
  • Orthodox New Year 14 January
  • Passover 8 – 16 April
  • Easter Sunday 12 April
  • Ramadan begins 23 April – 23 May
  • Eid 31 July
  • Diwali 14 November
  • Hanukkah 10-18 December
  • Christmas

Other occasions

  • Burns Night 25 January
  • Chinese New Year 25 January (year of the rat in 2020)
  • Valentine’s Day 14 February
  • Leap day Saturday 29 February
  • St David’s Day 1 March
  • St Patrick’s Day 17 March
  • Mother’s Day 22 March
  • Shrove Tuesday 25 March
  • Clocks go forward 29 March
  • April Fool’s Day 1 April
  • St George’s Day 23 April
  • Eurovision Song Contest 12 – 16 May
  • Chelsea Flower Show 19 – 23 May
  • Trooping the Colour 13 June
  • Father’s Day 21 June
  • Glastonbury 24 – 29 June
  • Independence Day 4 July
  • Clocks go back 25 October
  • Halloween 31 October
  • Guy Fawkes 5 November
  • Remembrance Day 11 November
  • Thanksgiving 26 November
  • St Andrew’s Day 30 November
  • New Year’s Eve 31 December

‘Unlucky’ dates

  • March 13th 2020
  • November 13th 2020
  • August 13, 2021
  • Friday, May 13, 2022

Good luck on your quest to pick a date for your wedding day (and therefore your wedding anniversary date for years to come). I know a lot of thought will go in to answering the question of ‘So, when is the big day?’ Remember to pick a date that works for you.

Enjoy celebrating in 2020 and I wish you a very Happy New Year.

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