10 reasons guests will love your Cotswold wedding

10 reasons guests will love your Cotswold wedding

Wedding venues in the Cotswolds

Hanami Dream is based in West Oxfordshire and there are some truly beautiful wedding venues to choose from in the surrounding Cotswolds. Whether in a barn, a manor house, a marquee or a hotel, there are some amazing places to hold your wedding or special occasion. Take a look at the venues with wedding licences where you can get married in West Oxfordshire.

Places for your guests to visit in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a relaxing escape from the big cities, with rolling hills, acres of lavender fields, historical towns, stately homes and picturesque, chocolate box villages with their honey coloured limestone buildings.

So it is no wonder many couples choose to say ‘I do’ in this area of outstanding natural beauty. Your guests may have travelled far and wide for your big day so may wish to stay overnight (or longer). After the wedding, here are some places that your guests may wish to visit in and around Witney to make a proper get away of their trip (and five of them you can get married at too!) As featured on travel blog Twenty Six O Two.

1. Historical Witney

Witney is famous for 3 Bs: blankets, bread and beer. The major one of these is it’s woollen mills and blanket industry. Blankets were first made here in AD969 and there was a working blanket factory until 2002. There are old woollen mills around the town (although most are converted to offices or flats now).

A walking tour of the town takes in most of the relevant locations such as the Market Place, The Blanket Hall, Weavers Cottages, The Buttercross, Corn Exchange (where you can have a civil wedding ceremony) and the River Windrush (which would have provided clean water for cloth making and was a good stream to power the mills). Witney and District Museum is worth a visit for history buffs and there are awesome monthly pie nights held at The Blanket Hall.

Witney also has a history of brewing since 1841 and the Wychwood Brewery is sited here brewing the legendary Hobgoblin beer and offers guided tours and tastings.

2. Cogges Manor Farm

Cogges Manor Farm is a local museum and farm attraction which puts on lots of events throughout the year. It is a haven and wonderful place to escape with the children.

More than just a farm museum, it was a set location for a lot of the interior shots of Downtown Abbey, as well as featuring as the childhood home of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette in the film Colette, released in 2019 and starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West.

With beautiful grounds, animals and a manor house, it also has two stunning seventeenth century barns which provide a wonderful setting for weddings and celebrations.


Photography by Squib Photography
3. Witney Shops & free parking

Witney boasts a great number of unique and independent retailers (like Rapture and the Old Pill Factory) as well as some major big hitters (such as M&S, Debenhams, Next, Fat Face and White Stuff). With two main shopping areas at either end of the High Street, people flock to shop in Witney. Even more so as the parking is free throughout the town.

4. The Leys

At the bottom of the High Street, is Church Green which is great to sit and take a rest from shopping. Or just the other side of St Mary’s Church is The Leys, a spacious recreational ground.

The Leys makes a great day out with the kids, complete with amazing park equipment, a splash park, crazy golf and toilets. You can take a picnic or eat at The Coffee Shed. During the summer months it is used as the perfect place to host Witney carnival and numerous music concerts.


5. Ducklington Lake

Witney Lake (known locally as Duck or Ducklington Lake) is a picturesque spot for a leisurely walk just a short way from the town centre.

Good for relaxing walks, bird watching, fishing or feeding the ducks, it is exactly a mile to go around the lake. If you fancy a slightly longer walk you can go across fields towards the neighbouring village of Ducklington, home of the elusive Fritillary flower.

6. Old Swan & Minster Mill

Not far out of Witney is Minster Lovell, an idyllic and remote Oxfordshire village. You can walk to the Minster ruins from Witney if you’re feeling spritely. Where you could reward yourself with a refreshing drink at the Old Swan and Minster Mill, or better still enjoy their spa facilities to completely unwind. A 5-star country inn set on the River Windrush surrounded by 65 acres of Cotswold wildflower meadows and riverside gardens. This is a destination to get away from the hectic, crowded city to a stunning and tranquil setting.


Photography by Farrow Photography

7. Crocodiles of the World

A short drive towards Brize Norton, will bring you to the UK’s only crocodile zoo, Crocodiles of the World. There are over 150 crocodiles there from 15 different species including crocodiles, alligators and caimans, as well as other reptiles.

Feeding time is always exciting to watch and the knowledgeable staff give really in depth and interesting talks at different times of the day, plus you might even get the chance to hold a baby croc.

8. Cotswold Wildlife Park

There are so many reasons to visit the nearby town of Burford including the immense garden centre, its medieval bridge, old stone houses and attractive frontage. Burford is quite rightly called one of the most picturesque towns in England and just simply walking around the town can happily wile away an afternoon.

In addition, Cotswold Wildlife Park (just outside of Burford) is well worth a visit with so many amazing animals to see including lions, giraffes (where you can go on to a platform to be face to face with them), rhinos (and even a baby rhino), zebras, penguins, birds, reptiles, primates, as well as a farmyard, train and adventure playground.

9. Eynsham Hall

The opposite way out of Witney, set in rural Oxfordshire lies Eynsham Hall which, despite its name, is actually in North Leigh (on the road between Witney and Woodstock) rather than in Eynsham itself. After driving through wooded areas, you come upon some impressive gates that lead the way to the estate. The half-a-mile, tree-lined, driveway escorts you until the Hall slowly comes in to view.

You can certainly spoil yourself at this country house hotel and enjoy a lavish afternoon tea at Eynsham Hall.

10. Blenheim Palace

You can’t come to this neck of the woods without a visit to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. Birthplace of Winston Churchill, steeped in history with absolutely phenomenal grounds, palace tours, butterfly house, maze, miniature train and adventure playground. Not to mention all the events and shows that are put on throughout the year, as well as being able to get married in style here.


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Wedding traditions: Toasting the happy couple

Wedding traditions: Toasting the happy couple

There are many traditions, rituals and customs that people uphold and perform in connection with weddings. Some of these have now lost their relevance in modern society and sometimes we are not even sure why we undertake them. However we continue to perform them for fun, family tradition and superstition, especially as many of them have derived from efforts to bestow the happy couple with good luck.

After the ceremony, one of big focal points of the wedding reception is the speeches and toasts. Here’s a quick guide to toasting the happy couple on their wedding day.


Why do we make toasts at weddings?

Traditionally toasts were a way of checking your drink wasn’t poisoned. This custom harks back to the Middle Ages to check that you hadn’t been poisoned by your enemy. A small bit of wine was poured into each other’s glass, clinked so that the wine splashed into the other person’s glass, and then tasted. This is also why often the toast is joined by the phrase ‘to your health’.

Some say that the clink sound was to keep evil spirits at bay. And back in Elizabethan times, an actual bit of spiced toast was put in drinks to flavour it and to soak up the dregs (with the person being honoured receiving the saturated piece of toast).

Nowadays, a toast is used to express and share feelings in words at a special event.


Photography by Farrow Photography

Who makes a toast at weddings?

Traditionally, there are a number of speeches with each ending in a toast. The first of these is a welcome toast performed by the host (often the father of the bride) who concludes his speech by toasting the bride and groom.

The second speech is often by the groom, who finishes by toasting the bridesmaids and attendants. The best man replies on behalf of all the attendants and ends with a final toast to the bride and groom.

Photography by Thomas Phillips

Photography by Thomas Phillips


When do you make toasts at weddings?

Toasts generally follow after the speeches which brings the formal part of the wedding day to an end and is a signal for the informal part to begin.


Champagne coupe glasses and gold cutlery | 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

What do you use to make toasts at weddings?

Traditionally a different drink is served for the speeches at a wedding. Guests have their glasses charged and ready to take a sip after each toast. This can be with champagne, sparkling wine or Prosecco. Alternatives for drinks to accompany the toasts could include a shot for each toast, a signature cocktail, sparkling elderflower or have your guests choose their own drink.

Photography by Squib Photography

How do you make toasts at weddings?

Originally a toast would be raising your cup as a drink offering to the god(s). This translates now with an arm outstretched with a glass in your hand and saying either: please be upstanding, please raise your glasses, or join me in toasting. Followed by a sentence for everyone else to repeat like ‘to the bride and groom’, ‘to the happy couple, ‘to your health’ or something else as equally poignant.


Photography by Farrow Photography

Whichever customs and traditions you decide to incorporate into your big day, Hanami Dream wish you health, wealth, happiness and all the very best in your married life.

Take a break from tradition with this handy guide to modern alternatives to personalise your wedding.

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Inspiration: bright contemporary museum wedding

Inspiration: bright contemporary museum wedding

Modern museum wedding 

For some absolute wedding goals, take at look at these images from a recent photo shoot at the Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology in Oxford. The photos are picture perfect, with a modern and bright, walking work of art vibe to showcase this stand out classic wedding venue. 

Ashmolean Museum wedding venue

This venue is a beautiful hidden gem of a wedding venue. From the outside you don’t know the expanse of options that are available inside The Ashmolean Museum. It provides a truly wonderful labyrinth of options to hold a wedding or special occasion. See my wedding venue review of the Ashmolean Museum.

Decadent décor

The Ashmolean Museum gives you maximum impact with minimal effort, as the backdrop of this venue needs no help in packing a punch – the wow factor is there for you already! This is a venue which is quiet, personal and intimate, yet very much on the grand scale.

There are many options and different ways you could use a combination of the galleries for all the elements of your wedding day. Each one has it’s own character, atmosphere and capacity that can be suited to your number of guests and requirements. This shoot has images taken in: the Grand Forecourt; Ceramics Gallery; Randolph Sculpture Gallery; Grand Staircase; and the European Art Gallery.

Contemporary bridal wear

This wedding photo shoot shows modern Charlie Brear outfits including a Carson Jumpsuit; separates in the form of a Luna top and skirt; plus a low V, effortlessly cool, boho Nyika Dress.

You’ll be a living statue and your own work of art on your wedding day at this venue.

Fun florals

The stunning flowers in the bouquet, crown and arm cuff made a real statement alongside the cool architecture and simple white outfits with: Red Snaps, Astilbe Gloria, Avignon Blooms, Red Euphorbia, Brown Lisianthus, Protea, Cafe Mocca Rose, Hot Pink Lace Rose, Parvifolia, Red Robin, Mimosa and Long Ruscus.

The bright and colourful florals made this the Ashmolean and their amazing technicolour dream wedding venue.

images credits:

Venue | Ashmolean Museum | https://www.ashmolean.org/weddings
Photography | Matthew Pattimore Photography | https://www.matthewpattimorephotography.com/
Hair & make up | Rachael Capocci | https://www.rachaelcapocci.com/
Dresses | Ellie Sanderson | https://elliesanderson.co.uk/
Flowers | Flowers by Kirsty | https://www.flowersbykirsty.com/
Planner | Stacey Puffer | https://www.instagram.com/staceypuffer_weddingplanner/
Model | Andrea Taverni

As featured in OX Weddings Winter 2019 edition | http://oxweddings.co.uk/the-magazine/

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Wedding venue review: Millets Farm

Wedding venue review: Millets Farm


Millets Farm wedding venue

After a three year hiatus and some fantastic renovations, Millets Farm have reopened their Lakeview Suite to hold wedding receptions.

With amazing views of the lake, the farm on hand to entertain the whole family and a big versatile space, this is more than just a function room – this has wonderful charm and character.


Millets Farm location

I have visited Millets Farm many times as a parent and enjoyed the vast and ever growing facilities and attractions that it has on offer. We’ve enjoyed the maize maze, pick your own fruit, the garden centre, the new play barn and the delicious wares of the farm shop.

However I had never been upstairs, above the Farmhouse Kitchen, and seen the Lakeview Suite – a private space with it’s own access and outdoor balconies across some great views of the farm.

The restaurant building was built in 1990 but the Lakeview Suite has recently returned to weddings with a renovated, vaulted ceiling, wooden beams and panoramic views.


Spacious function room

It surprised me how much space this room has to offer. And the light pours in to the room. Don’t let one big open space be daunting as you can easily partition the room to act as different areas for your big day.

Plus it has a cosy bar and seating area to provide excellent places for guests to unwind and mingle.

The room hire includes 120 chairs plus round or trestle tables for your wedding reception. It is a great space to be able to decorate and make it your own.

Not only that but the whole space is remarkably quiet and peaceful even with it’s proximity to the farm and restaurant.

The facilities are great and this is brilliant value for money.


Catering partners

For one less thing to worry about organising, there is exclusive in house catering with some high quality food packages provided by catering partners, Oxford Farm Weddings. They create delicious, bespoke wedding menus at Millets Farm.

Plus look no further than the on site bakery for celebration cakes, whether that be a traditional wedding cake or perhaps a cake of cheese.


Far from just farm facitiies

Whilst this wedding venue isn’t currently licensed for ceremonies yet, it is something that they are seriously considering and is likely to be available in the not too distant future.

They also have plans for a beautiful pier by the lake to have your wedding photographs.

There’s also a boutique on site (Beauty within Millets) to get ready before the big day. 


Millets Farm is a family run business and they have lovingly renovated this space – using the three year break to refine their wedding packages. Lakeview Suite at Millets Farm feels like it’s a new wedding venue on the scene because they’ve returned with a space that is a bit different than the rest.  It is great value for money, with great facilities, amazing food packages and beautiful views.

Type of venue:
function room
Find out more: https://milletsfarmcentre.com/what-s-here/for-weddings.html
Location: Lakeview Suite, Millets Farm Centre, Kingston Road, Frilford, Oxfordshire, OX13 5HB
Wedding season: year round
Guests: 120-150
Marquee option: n/a
Ceremony: not licensed (yet!)
Venue hire: from £2000
Nearest church: St John the Baptist, Abingdon Road, Kingston Bagpuize, OX13 5AY
Wedding breakfast: packages from £60pp with Oxford Farm Weddings
Accommodation: local hotels and b&bs
Wedding fairs: Wedding Open Day 26th January 2019
Other things worth a mention:  a great family day out

image credits:

Photography | Matthew Pattimore Photography | https://www.matthewpattimorephotography.com/
Flowers | Flowers by Kirsty | https://www.flowersbykirsty.com/
Styling & décor | My Taylor Made Wedding | https://www.mytaylormadewedding.co.uk/
Chair bows | Bowtique Chair Covers | http://bowtiquechaircovers.co.uk/





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Top tips for a gin filled wedding

Top tips for a gin filled wedding

Gin filled wedding

The gin renaissance is still going strong and continues to be the on trend drink of the moment with flavoured gins being on the rise.

Here are some ways to include the nation’s favourite drink in to your wedding day courtesy of Liz Beswick, Co Founder of Collagin. She married on World Gin Day in June 2017 and had her business partner Cam Brown running the Collagin bar on the day. This, paired with insider tips and feedback from other brides she has helped, means Liz knows a lot about making a wedding a gin filled event!

Whether you are looking for ‘ginspired’ wedding décor, table pieces, wedding favours or a stand out bar, Liz shares her top tips from her personal and business experience below.

Make it personal

Everyone loves the personal touch at weddings and this is often what people remember about the big day. Put gins on the tables or behind the bar or even as wedding favours that you know your guests love. For example, place a mini bottle of Salcombe gin for Jack on table 9 to remind him of his childhood holidays but put a Cotswolds Gin for Julie on table 4 to remind her of THAT drunken hen do. The guests will be so touched by your gesture and the effort gone into knowing and thinking about your guests.

If you don’t have budget for personalised wedding favours, place gin bottles behind the bar with note tags on them explaining why you chose the gin. Or even better, create cocktail lists based on names of your guests or on your favourite places or memories as the bride and groom.


Use gins that compliment your colour scheme

Do you have an obvious colour scheme? If so, let the gin add to it! Bridesmaids in pink? Then only include pink gins at your wedding. Pretty pinks include Pinkster Gin, Collagin Rose or Malfy Rosa. Violet flowers? Make the centre pieces even more spectacular by including violet gins in the display. Good ones include Whitley Neill Parma Violet or Violetta. Continue your colour scheme through to the smallest touches and it will make a huge impact.


Make it unique

Everyone has seen all the major gin brands at weddings, so to get people talking, and to make your wedding décor or bar look different and to stand out, feature gins that people don’t see every day. This will grab attention and intrigue. Plus it will be very funny to get photos of Auntie Carol doing shots of Collagin with bridesmaid Beth after discovering the new tipple at your wedding. It might then become her favourite gin and will always remind her of your special day.

Make it different

Make the gin theme different – I am not talking about just the gin brands you use, but also how you display the gin bottles. Put fairy lights in empty bottles or use them as reed diffusers – get creative! Also, choose different tonic water brands to create a distinctive gin bar. We love Lixir tonic water as they are made by two lovely British lads. Again, the tonic water doesn’t need to be your everyday tonics so choose something unique or with a story.


Make it worth an Instagram post

Stack them into pyramids, decorate them with glitter, relabel them with your initials or wedding logo. Whatever you do to your gin, make them Instagrammable! If you are getting your invites designed, the same designer could create labels to stick on to gin bottles featuring your wedding design and initials or your wedding date and use them as table numbers.

Email the gin or tonic water brands about your big day

Collagin LOVE getting emails from brides. If they know you are using Collagin for décor or behind the bar at your big day, they will offer trade prices or save up their empty bottles and send them to you. Tonic waters might do the same (the smaller the brand the more likely they are to help or be less rigid with prices!)  Just explain you are a bride to be and see if they can offer reduced prices for a larger order or in exchange for lots of pictures from your wedding album. There is no harm in trying! This also works for hen do orders.

Most importantly, make sure YOU the bride and groom get a drink. It is amazing how everyone assumes you are catered for but are often the last to get their food and drink at their own wedding. So, if you are looking to drink on the big day, ask your Maid of Honour to make sure you are saved a glass of your favourite G&T.

About Collagin

Young In Spirit is the world’s first alcoholic drinks company to combine spirits with collagen, with the first drink being Collagin – gin with added collagen. The people behind the idea are gin and beauty lovers and Oxford based ‘Gintrepreneurs’ Camilla Brown and Liz Beswick who recently snared two Dragons’ in the Den.


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Top Fall 2019 colours from Pantone® for autumn weddings

Top Fall 2019 colours from Pantone® for autumn weddings

Autumns 2019

I’m always excited to see the next Pantone® announcement for their predictions of colours that will dominate the scene for forthcoming seasons. So with the fashion weeks kicking off (this month is New York, London, Milan and then Paris) we start to think about this year’s autumnal months.

This week saw Pantone® showing their hand for the Fall/Winter colours to look out for later in 2019. And it’ll be great to see which colours will appear in autumn weddings this year.

There’s an array of rich vibrant earthy colours. Out of the 12 main colours, 8 of them are from the red palette. There are 3 orange colours and 5 reddy/browns, with some of the peach colours paying a slight nod to Living Coral, the colour of the year. What is great is that a juicy green has made it alongside the neutral and core basic colours too.

Seventies festival vibe

Perhaps to match the festival and eco friendly vibe on trend at the moment, there is a plethora of reds, oranges and browns that dominate the Fall 2019 colours.

There’s a real sense of being grounded and at one with the world. With the feeling of the warmth coming from Chili Pepper, Biking Red, Peach Pink, Rocky Road, Fruit Dove, Sugar Almond, Dark Cheddar and Orange Tiger.

For me, it’s like someone has opened a door on the décor of my childhood house with memories of all the orange and brown on wallpaper.

Mouth watering food

There are lots of culinary references in the colour names that make my mouth water just thinking about them. Perhaps this in light of the importance that we are being made more aware of nowadays to cook fresh and sustainable food.

There are strong flavours in these colours that pack a punch both to taste and also visually. This plays on the trend to appeal to all 5 senses at a wedding or any event. Such as Chili Pepper, Crème de Pêche, Peach Pink, Rocky Road, Fruit Dove, Sugar Almond, Dark Cheddar (plus Vanilla Custard and Guacamole from the neutrals).

This evokes amazing memories of seeing guacamole being prepared by the side of our table in Mexico – the fresh, spicy and warming flavours produced by one small dish of food.

Succulent foliage

Alongside these earthy colours are greens conjuring up an amazing garden image with the forest green of Eden. Plus the bluey green of Bluestone makes me think of amazing succulent plants accenting and dotted about on the dry earthy ground.

The blues will certainly make good transition colours to next spring too.

Fall 2019 colours

The top colours for Fall 2019 are:

  • PANTONE 19-1557 Chili Pepper
  • PANTONE 19-1650 Biking Red
  • PANTONE 12-1110 Crème de Pêche
  • PANTONE 15-1530 Peach Pink
  • PANTONE 19-1234 Rocky Road
  • PANTONE 17-1926 Fruit Dove
  • PANTONE 18-1155 Sugar Almond
  • PANTONE 15-1150 Dark Cheddar
  • PANTONE 19-4055 Galaxy Blue
  • PANTONE 18-4217 Bluestone
  • PANTONE 16-1358 Orange Tiger
  • PANTONE 19-6050 Eden

Fall 2019 extra colours from LFW

Plus a couple of additional colours (instead of the peach and orange colours) from London Fashion Week round off the colours for Fall 2019: 

  • PANTONE 16-0840 Antique Moss
  • PANTONE 18-3211 Grapeade

Neutral basics

Pantone® have also created a Fall 2019 Classic Colour Palette. These are a group of neutrals that are core basics in the form of cream, navy, grey and the addition of a green.

The bonus classic neutral colours for Fall 2019 are:

  • PANTONE 12-0815 Vanilla Custard
  • PANTONE 19-3815 Evening Blue
  • PANTONE 16-0000 Paloma
  • PANTONE 17-0530 Guacamole

Colour themes

It’ll be great to see how couples incorporate these colours in to their weddings later this year.

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 trend predictions for weddings in 2019.

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Inspiration: coral and gold festival wedding

Inspiration: coral and gold festival wedding

A laid back celebration in August 2016 saw the relaxed festival wedding of Verity and Paul at The Isis Farmhouse in Oxford.



Relaxed and laid back vibe

This wedding was a real break from tradition with loads of beautiful handmade touches and a ton of personalisation. It fully embraced the festival trend and utilised the truly creative skills of the bride to diy many elements of the day. It seems like the perfect time to share this casual wedding – not only is the theme bang on trend but it also features the summery coral colour that is the Pantone® colour of the year in 2019.

Above everything else, this was a true celebration of love and family. It was a chilled out day with friends, less about structure and more an informal and fluid affair. Not overtly lavish but heaps of fun. With the focus on the people who were there.

Rural remote meadow view

The festivities began in the centre of Oxford where the happy couple officially tied the knot at a ceremony at the Town Hall. This was a day of two halves though. From town to countryside. After the ceremony, the whole wedding party walked together through the city centre. Then had a lovely drinks reception whilst on a boat ride down the Thames to the Isis Farmhouse. A stunning rural setting in Oxford’s flood meadows alongside the river was perfect for the wedding reception. You can only reach this venue by foot, pedal power or by boat. Around the back of the Farmhouse is a covered barn and a meadowside garden which was great for this relaxed celebration.

Rustic festival décor

The barn was set up with long trestle tables laid out in two lines. Along the centre of each table was linen, which draped off each end, with an array of brightly patterned mismatched vases containing wild flowers. The displays were mirrored by the flowers and plants hanging in macramé holders (made or collected by the bride) above the tables. These flowers were provided by a lovely friend who grows cut flowers in her garden and were arranged by the bride.

The bride made the place names which were cut out gold glittery lettering, plus a nice ice breaker card containing things to spot and capture was placed on each table. In addition, the bride had designed the napkins herself which contained drawings of important places and things throughout the couple’s history together.

Gold accents

The bride wore a gorgeous end of line strapless fitted fishtail satin dress with a chiffon capelet with bat sleeves. She accented this with Betty Ballroom gold high heel shoes, a gold hair vine and gold belt. Her hand tied wild flower bouquet in coral and gold colours was from an amazing flower farm near Wallingford who arranged the bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets. She also held a vintage beaded ivory clutch bag. The chief bridesmaid wore a gold sequined dress to match the gold accents beautifully and the flower girls wore ivory dresses with gold bodices and ribbons (also made by the bride).

Creative catering

Food was served at the tables and consisted of a hearty lasagne or moussaka with healthy salads, plus a rustic buffet for the evening guests. The venue catered perfectly for vegetarian and vegan diets to ensure all guests were content. The two cakes (one lemon and the other chocolate) were also made by the venue and incorporated fantasy and action figures in lieu of a bride and groom topper (that the couple decorated themselves).

Entertainment for children of all sizes

The main focus of the day was to encourage guests to mingle and keep children (big and small) entertained with colouring, wands and a bubble refill station. There were postcards for guests to sign which would be sent to the couple and polaroids were taken of all the guests for a pictorial guest book. The day ended with guests dancing along to crowd pleasing classics on the dance floor.

Practical favours

The gifts for guests echoed the vibe of the whole day. They were handmade, low key and had purpose. Guests could pick which soap to take home, with a choice of either lavender or rose and geranium. These were boxed, branded and served in a vintage case. Plus there were some seeds to take away too, in order to sow in your own garden, share the love and remember this charming day in years to come.

Venue | The Isis Farmhouse | http://www.theisisfarmhouse.co.uk
Photography | Kitson Photography | http://www.kitsonphotography.com
Hair & make up | Lauren Wheeler | https://www.laurenwheeler.co.uk/
Shoes | Red or Dead | https://www.redordead.com/
Bouquets | Green & Gorgeous | https://www.greenandgorgeousflowers.co.uk/
Flower arrangements | cut flowers from a friend’s garden | arranged by bride
Favours, place settings & stationery | handmade by bride
Cakes | The Isis Farmhouse | http://www.theisisfarmhouse.co.uk

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Dates for your 2019 diary

Dates for your 2019 diary

Happy New Year! And huge congratulations if you’ve got engaged over the festive period.

Telling people your big news and flashing your new piece of jewellery is such an exciting time and it won’t be long until you’ll be asked (again and again) when is your big day.

So 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).



Before you rush to send out your save the date cards, here are some things to bear in mind when setting your wedding date:


Superstition often forces couples to avoid the 13th of the month (especially if it falls on a Friday and there’s two in 2019), 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. 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.


Which year are you thinking? This may seem like a basic question but if you want to do something soon then suppliers and venues may already be booked up. So, think about how long you have /want to plan the wedding. The more notice you give then the more likely you are able to have your first choice of date.

Time of year / season

This could affect what the weather is likely to be like which could 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 will your key guests or wedding party be available in school holidays?


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.

Day of the 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).

Day or 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.

Rest of the world

Make sure you think about what else is going on in the world such as national, local and annual events including:

  • Public holidays
  • Sporting events
  • Other people’s occasions (like birthdays, wedding anniversaries and religious festivals)

Gold stacking rings | 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 England) in 2019 that could influence your choice of dates:

  • New Year’s Day 1 January
  • Epiphany 6 January
  • Orthodox Christmas Day 7 January
  • Orthodox New Year 14 January
  • Burns Night 25 January
  • Chinese New Year 5 February – year of the pig
  • Valentine’s Day 14 February
  • St David’s Day 1 March
  • Mardi Gras 5 March
  • Shrove Tuesday 5 March
  • Mother’s Day 31 March
  • St Patrick’s Day 17 March
  • First Day of Spring 20 March
  • Clocks go forward 31 March
  • April Fool’s Day 1 April
  • Grand National 6 April
  • Boat Race 7 April
  • Good Friday 19 April
  • Passover 19 – 27 April
  • Easter Monday 22 April
  • Earth Day 22 April
  • St George’s Day 23 April
  • London marathon 28 April
  • Cinco de Mayo 5 May
  • Ramadan begins 5 May – 4 June
  • May Day Bank Holiday 6 May
  • Eurovision Song Contest 14-18 May
  • FA Cup Final 18 May
  • Chelsea Flower Show 21 – 29 May
  • Monaco Grand Prix 23 – 26 May
  • Spring Bank Holiday 27 May
  • Cricket World Cup (England) 30 May – 9 June
  • Women’s World Cup (France) 7 June – 7 July
  • Trooping the Colour 8 June
  • Father’s Day 16 June
  • First Day of Summer 21 June
  • Royal Ascot 22-23 June
  • Glastonbury 26-30 June
  • Wimbledon 1 – 14 July
  • Henley Regatta 3 – 7 July
  • Independence Day 4 July
  • British Grand Prix 12-14 July
  • Eid 11-15 August
  • Summer Bank Holiday 26 August
  • Friday 13th September 2019
  • Rugby World Cup (Japan) 20 September – November
  • First Day of Autumn 23 September
  • Diwali 27 October
  • Clocks go back 27 October
  • Halloween 31 October
  • Guy Fawkes 5 November
  • Remembrance Day 11 November
  • Thanksgiving 28 November
  • St Andrew’s Day 30 November
  • Friday 13th December 2019
  • Hanukkah 22-30 December
  • First Day of Winter 22 December
  • Christmas Day 25 December
  • Boxing Day 26 December
  • New Year’s Eve 31 December

Plus other upcoming ‘unlucky’ dates of :

  • Saturday 29th February 2020
  • Friday 13th March 2020
  • Friday 13th November 2020

And not forgetting the Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo 24 July – 9 August.

Enjoy celebrating in 2019 and I wish you a very Happy New Year.

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Trend predictions for 2019 weddings

Trend predictions for 2019 weddings

Whether a religious, civil or humanist ceremony, a traditional or themed reception, these special days are about what is important to each individual couple.

Sometimes fashion, films, television programmes, interior design, celebrity weddings and even current affairs influence these trends.

So what does 2019 hold for the world of weddings? Here is a curation of some of the top trends to look out for next year:

Bridesmaid looking to side in garden | 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

Bridal wear is continuing to see a shift in trends to provide new, innovative and unusual styles to make sure the bride makes a statement and is different to any other on her big day. Fashion trends that are appearing on the catwalks (that will surely influence weddings next year) include:

  • Simple classic sheath dresses – this is the minimal look epitomised by Meghan Markle
  • Exaggerated volume and structured bows – to add a statement feature
  • A further move away from white wedding dresses – next year will see more blue dresses
  • Different neck lines – 2019 will see more halter neck

Photography by Farrow Photography


Not to be out done by the ladies, groomsmen will have some stylish updates to their wedding attire with:

  • Three piece suits becoming more popular again
  • Colours will be rich in burgundy, purple or blues
  • Cut will be slimmer
  • Tweed suits will continue to be on trend

Photography by Farrow Photography


Accessories will continue to shimmer and shine courtesy of metallic or pearl elements. Plus there’s a real turn towards silver and chrome away from rose gold. Other trends will include:

  • Alternatives to diamonds in engagement rings
  • Stars and 3D floral tiaras and crowns
  • Covering up with trench coats or sheer capelets
  • Floral accessories for brides like wrist flowers and floral hats for a festival vibe
  • And grooms will see an increase in florals such as floral cane toppers, floral bow ties and even bouquet beards

Bridal party laughing in garden | 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

Chosen few

Bridal parties are veering away from the traditional with:

  • Joint hen and stag dos
  • Bridesmen and groomsgirls – proving that friends can support you whatever their gender

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Colour and styling

Different arenas (such as interior design, architecture, graphic design, lighting, furniture and textiles) influence our daily lives which in turn spills over to the world of weddings. One part that overarches these elements is the importance of colour.

  • The Pantone® Colour of the Year always plays a big part in influencing popular colours and the colour of the year in 2019 is a warm and energising orange called ‘Living Coral’. Take a look at my report about the colour of the year 2019 and here’s my take on the other colours to look out for in spring/summer 2019. And why not use ALL the SS19 colours in your confetti for a real festival vibe.
  • Patterns will appear in some decorative elements including polka dots and tartan
  • Llamas see to be the animal of choice to be a guest at weddings in 2019
  • Geometric shapes such as hoops and prisms in different scales will be used
  • Eco conscious weddings are rising in popularity which will encourage plastic free events and foraging for decor
  • Scents will be important as weddings are now appealing to ALL the senses
  • Illustrated invitations showing the wedding venue are becoming popular

Take a look at my top wedding styling trends for weddings in 2019.


Floral and foliage provide an instant connection with nature and the greenery trend is still going strong with elements such as:

  • Bringing the outdoors in with trees or an enchanted indoors forest walk
  • Banquet tables with low florals so you guests can see one another
  • Grasses and dried flowers for an ethereal boho look 
  • Terracotta pots with house plants
  • Teepees and silver birch arches


Family style serving is still a great way to share the wedding reception which works so well on long, large banquet tables lining the room. Plus couples want their food to look amazing so that it is Instagram worthy. Other food and drink highlights to support emerging tends include:

  • Opulent and regal cakes
  • Grazing tables piled high for a proper foodie fest


The world of films and tv always influences trends and 2019 looks set to be a year of blockbusters to choose from such as:

  • Comic book films like: Captain Marvel, Joker and 2 new X Men films (Dark Phoenix & the New Mutants) 
  • Children’s classics including: Dumbo (for amazing vintage circus themes), The Lion King, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2 and Lego Movie 2
  • Sci-Fi movies such as: Star Wars 9
  • Action movies including: Charlie’s Angels, Glass (perfect for the transparent themes)
  • Fantasy movies: Cats, Rocket Man
  • Love stories like: Last Christmas (need we say more for a Christmas theme wedding!)
  • Period dramas including: Downtown Abbey, Colette (filmed at a local wedding venue and perfect for some French inspired themes), Mary Queen of Scots (to marry well with the tartan trends coming)
  • Plus big tv shows such as Les Miserables will also lend itself to the chic vintage French trends

Film and video will continue to be more prevalent at weddings with couples choosing 360 videos, virtual reality experiences and drones to capture their big day. Along with social media being a part of the day and a way to capture everyone’s pictures of the day (it’s just the modern version of the disposable cameras on the table!) with personalised snap chat geofilters and your own hashtags for the day.

Photography by Squib Photography


As well as the wonders of Pinterest, couples are inspired by seeing others doing something first. So it’s no surprise that details from celebrity weddings will influence wedding trends. Here are some famous engaged couples that could make it up the aisle in 2019 and their special days will be ones to watch:

  • Kate Wright & Rio Ferdinand (maybe some football inspired themes) 
  • Lady Gaga & Christian Carino
  • Ellie Goulding & Caspar Jopling
  • Idris Elba &  Sabrina Dhowre
  • Ed Sheeran & Cherry Seaborn (wonder what their first dance music would be?)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow & Brad Falchuk
  • Alexandra Burke & Joshua Ginnelly
  • Paris Hilton & Chris Zykla

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Current affairs

You may be living and breathing your wedding and everything else in the world is taking a back seat. However, things are still going on around you and some national, local and annual events may have an impact on your guests involvement, availability and enjoyment. Here’s some events around the world that could influence your choice of dates and could also influence wedding trends:

  • Cricket World Cup (England) 30 May – 9 June 
  • Women’s World Cup (France) 7 June – 7 July 
  • Glastonbury 26-30 June 
  • Woodstock 50th anniversary 16-18 August (can’t wait for all the festival themed weddings as a result of this anniversary!)
  • Rugby World Cup (Japan) 20 September – November


These are a few of my predictions for wedding trends in 2019. I’d love to hear what you think are going to be popular wedding trends next year.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all the best for 2019. Please take a look at more of my curation and inspiration on Pinterest.

Are you getting married this year? Is your wedding going to be following one of these trends? Let me know if you’d like to share the detail shots of your day on my blog to inspire other couples who are wedding planning. If you (and your photographer) are happy, then take a look how to submit your wedding.


Photography by Squib Photography



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Top wedding styling trends for 2019

Top wedding styling trends for 2019

[As featured on page 65 of the December/January 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.

Here are my top wedding styling trends to look out for at the moment:

Photography by Squib Photography
Bringing the outside inside

The greenery trend has meant less flowers and more plants and foliage are prevalent, with top tables awash with garlands running down the whole of the table and spilling off the ends to the floor, with gentle inclusions of white flowers. Think of the foliage arch that was around the door of St George’s Chapel for Harry & Megan’s wedding.

Couples are also thinking more seasonally with their choices and including foraged items such as moss, fruit, vegetables, feathers, cones and other seasonal items from the environment around them.

Photography by Squib Photography
Alternatives to paper stationery

Couples are thinking beyond paper and using different material types such as Perspex, denim, wood or agate slices for their suite of wedding stationery. For the transparent acrylic trend, the use of Perspex chairs, tables, menus and signage means that stationery doesn’t detract but blend in with the surroundings. Clear ‘stationery’ will continue to grow in popularity for a modern style and this is evolving further to iridescent details.

Photography by Squib Photography 

Minimal look and feel

On average, wedding guest numbers are decreasing and micro weddings are on the rise; with couples wishing to keep things small, personal and more meaningful. This vibe is also transcending to the look of the day, with plain, simple and minimal styling. This can be enhanced by using one colour for maximum impact such as white for an amazing statement with a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere.

Photography by Cat Stephens PhotographyFestival vibes

Outdoor or tipi weddings with macramé ceremony backdrops are seeing a massive upturn at the moment. Think hanging greenery, trees, dream catcher favours, festoon lighting, ribbon drapes, food vans, chill out areas and fire bowls.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Alternatives to real flowers are better for the environment and the pocket – make paper flowers or borrow house plants for a great diy wedding.

Moongate at the end of the aisle | 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
Statement backdrops

Move over flower walls and arches – the ceremony wreaths are here! Archways are being superseded by moongates, circular arches and other impactful ceremony backdrops. Couples are using them to walk through on their way down the aisle, a spectacular ceremony or photo backdrop, behind top tables, bars or dessert tables. The wreaths can be decorated with flowers and/or foliage, all over or partially covered.

Succulent bouquet | 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

Air plants

Another alternative to flowers is air plants, which are a brilliant evolution on the succulent trend. Their delicate tendrils give a wonderful contrast against the soft tulle of wedding dresses.

Green airplant in glass bauble | 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

Use them in bouquets, table displays or in glass suspended baubles.

Agate shard placename | 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

Gem stones rock

Shiny rocks will continue to see a place in wedding venue styling with agate (or hollow geodes) still at the forefront of designs in cakes and name settings, as well as the revival of marble details.




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