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In addition, bunting was originally made from a coarse, loosely woven cotton fabric, with a very open weave, similar to cloth used to sift grain in the Middle Ages.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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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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A guide to eco-friendly wedding rings

A guide to eco-friendly wedding rings

Your wedding ring is probably the most important piece of jewellery that you’ll ever wear. Not only does it play a symbolic part of your wedding day but it is also a long lasting keepsake that will stay with you for ever. So choosing, making or buying a wedding ring should be an important part of your wedding planning journey.

Things to consider when choosing your wedding bands include:

  • the metal
  • the shape
  • the width
  • the weight
  • the size
  • how it compliments your engagement ring
  • whether you want to include any gemstones
  • if you both will wear a wedding ring
  • whether the two wedding rings will match or differ

How your wedding ring looks and feels is only one part of the process to think about as you may also wish to consider the impact that your decisions have on the environment.

Holly & Locky made their own wedding bands | photo credit R Pugh www.rpphotographybydesign.co.uk

Here are some top tips from Charlotte Berry Jewellery on having wedding jewellery with love at its heart:

wedding ring tradition

It is said that the wedding ring is worn on the left hand, because the ring finger is connected directly to the heart and will allow love to flourish.

Through the centuries the symbolism of the wedding ring has not changed. The circular shape represents the never-ending nature of eternal love. However, attitudes towards wedding jewellery are rapidly changing, and today many couples are not only looking to show their love for each other, but also their love for the environment by investing in eco-friendly, responsibly sourced and ethical wedding rings and jewellery.

ethical and responsibly sourced jewellery

Only jewellery that has been produced with no negative impact on people and their human rights, or the environment can be classed as this. Being able to trace jewellery back to its source is vital. For example:

  • the materials used in the manufacture can be traced back to source to ensure that they have come from certified sources (eg. Fair Trade mines)
  • the manufacturing process has not polluted or impacted the environment in a negative way
  • using eco-friendly materials such as recycled precious metals and gemstones
  • using synthetic gemstones or diamonds to ensure that stones are ‘conflict free’
  • no human rights have been violated in the production of jewellery such as no child labour in mines and fair working conditions and wages

eco-friendly 18ct gold wedding bands made from customers heirloom jewellery

tips to ensure that your wedding jewellery is responsible, ethical and eco-friendly

My top tip is to research. If you are buying your wedding jewellery or wedding rings from a high street jeweller then ask about the provenance of all materials used. If they can’t answer, walk away!

A greener alternative to the high street is finding an independent jeweller who will be able to make your dream rings/jewellery to your exact specifications and design. You can ask for recycled metals, reclaimed materials and ethically sourced stones. Anything you like! Many bullion dealers now sell an ‘eco’ option for silver, gold and platinum, and many jewellers only work in these materials now.

If you are lucky enough to have family heirloom jewellery which has been passed down to you, then why not use this as your green alternative to buying new. There are lots of different options which a jeweller will be happy to discuss with you. Old wedding bands can simply be resized, or they can be melted down and made into new rings. And not just rings; old chains and other items can be melted and re-purposed too.

recycled star sapphire and diamond engagement ring made from customers heirloom jewellery

make your own wedding rings

To make your rings that little bit more magical and personal, you can always make your own. If getting crafty and creative is something that inspires you, some jewellers offer ‘make your own wedding rings’ workshops where you can choose your design, materials and any additional personalisation.

If you are worried that your jewellery doesn’t cover all of the points raised, my answer is: Don’t worry! So you can’t trace the source of your grandmother’s wedding band. Well, reusing or repurposing the metal makes your ring recycled/eco-friendly, and re-using antique diamonds is eco too.

Small changes add up to a BIG difference.

about Charlotte Berry Jewellery

Founded in 2007, Charlotte Berry Jewellery creates bespoke ethically sourced and sustainably crafted fine jewellery in beautiful rural Oxfordshire.

Using traditional techniques, she creates ranges of wearable and stylish contemporary jewellery; which she hopes “will be worn and passed down from generation to generation. One day becoming someone else’s treasure with new meaning and sentiment. Part of the beautiful humanity of daily life.”

Charlotte also offers one day wedding ring making workshops for couples to design and make their dream rings.

@cberryjewellery

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A (Brides)made to measure wedding dress

A (Brides)made to measure wedding dress

Wedding dress shopping can feel like a fairy tale to some but can also be a little overwhelming. Oftern bridal dress shops have a sea of (generally) white dresses laid out before the lucky bride to be which can leave some feeling a little daunted.

There are a few routes to take when thinking about finding the perfect wedding dress:

  1. buy a new wedding dress off the peg
  2. buy a second hand wedding dress
  3. borrow a wedding a dress
  4. have a wedding dress made to measure


Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emma Goodwin Hair & Makeup | Yurga Makeup Artist

Here are some top tips from Susie Grist Couture on having a bespoke wedding dress made for your special day:

a wedding dress made just for you

By having your wedding dress made you can create the perfect gown with all the elements that you love. You are part of the design process, so you get to choose the style of it, the fabric, the colour, the type of lace, and any adornments. This means that the dress becomes part of you and will reflect your personality as this will influence the choices that you make. It will be a unique dress and no-one else will have exactly the same one, unlike if you bought one from a high street shop.

Another advantage of a bespoke wedding dress is that it will be tailor made to fit you, no matter what size or shape you are, so that you will feel confident on the day. When you buy a dress from a high street shop they come in standard dress sizes. As most people are not a standard size you will most likely have to pay a seamstress to have some alterations made for it to fit you properly.


Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emilee’s Hair

designing a wedding dress just for you

Inspiration can come from many different sources such as bridal magazines, Pinterest, royal weddings, red carpet events, television and films. Or perhaps you have a favourite dress or top that you like the neckline or sleeves, or a favourite style of skirt. Or maybe you’ve tried on some wedding dresses and like certain elements about them but not the overall look.

To start the design process, it is helpful to collate your ideas and take them to an initial design consultation. By talking things through with your wedding dress designer you can pinpoint the best ideas and amalgamate them into the perfect design. Through asking the right questions, the designer will guide you through the design process even if you are a bride who is not quite sure what you want.


Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emma Goodwin Hair & Makeup | Yurga Makeup Artist

wedding dress designer

The relationship between the wedding dress designer and the bride is a collaboration and it is important that you get along as you will be spending quite a bit of time together.

As you go through the various stages of making your bespoke gown ,the design will evolve and may even change as ideas progress. If at any stage throughout the process something is not how you envisioned, or you have a new idea it is important to tell your designer as soon as you can. They will help talk through the ideas and changes with you to see if they would work. After all, they are there to bring your dream dress to life and want you to love it.

You will have to make quite a few decisions along the way, but the designer is there to help point you in the right direction so don’t be afraid. It is a very exciting, satisfying and worthwhile experience.


Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emilee’s Hair

made to measure costs and timescale

One of the first things everyone thinks about is the cost of a bespoke wedding dress. It may not be the cheapest wedding dress option, however it doesn’t have to be wildly expensive either. And it will be made to fit you exactly.

It is a good idea to research bespoke dress makers in your area and talk to them. You will need to know how much they charge, what is included in the charge and what is extra, when each instalment will be due for payment and how long it will take to make your bespoke dress.

Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emma Goodwin Hair & Makeup | Yurga Makeup Artist | All About Flowers

fitting of a made to measure wedding dress

Just as with any wedding dress fitting, it is a good idea to buy the shoes and underwear you will be wearing as early as possible to wear to your fittings as this can influence the fit and length of the dress.

It is also nice to bring along accessories to your fittings so that you can try them on to see if they are working with your dress design.

If your size changes in the build up to the wedding, then having a bespoke dress is ideal as you will have several fittings throughout the making process and at each stage the dress will be altered to reflect your size.

About Susie Grist Couture

Susie Grist Couture specialise in designing and making individual bespoke wedding gowns. Based in Abingdon-On-Thames working from a home studio.

She has over 18 years of professional sewing experience and has been designing wedding dresses for nearly 6 years. She makes bridal gowns, bridesmaids and flower girl dresses and even outfits for mothers.

susiegrist

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image credits:

Dresses | Susie Grist Couture | http://www.susiegristcouture.co.uk
Venue | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court, Clanfield | www.silverpearweddings.co.uk
Photography | Dale Stephens Photography | www.dalestephensphotography.com
Hair (purple lace dress & aqua blue with ivory lace dress) | Emilee’s Hair | www.emileeshair.co.uk
Hair (blush & ivory dresses) | Emma Goodwin Hair & Makeup | www.emmagoodwinhairandmakeup.co.uk
Make up (blush & ivory dresses) | Yurga Makeup Artist | www.yurgamakeup.co.uk
Flowers (ivory dress) | All About Flowers | www.swindonflorist.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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winner UK Blog Awards 2018

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Finding the perfect wedding dress

Finding the perfect wedding dress

For many, picking a wedding dress may be the most exciting purchase that you make and, some may say, one of the best (and hardest) decisions in the wedding planning process.

wedding dress trends

Finding the perfect wedding dress is no mean feat and wedding dresses over the years are an example of fashion trends of their day (material, styles, length & colours). Pick a dress that you love rather than one that happens to be on trend now. Take a look at wedding dresses wedding through the years.

style of wedding dress

Think about the venue, theme and mood of your wedding and fit your dress not only to you but the style of your big day too. Also think about when you’re getting married – both the time of day and time of year will affect your wedding dress buying decision. Make sure you feel not only glamourous and gorgeous in your wedding dress but comfortable too (did someone say dress pockets?!)

Here are some top tips from Heart Accomplice on picking the perfect wedding dress:

THE wedding dress

Many dream their whole life of this one special day with the man or woman they love. This one moment when you walk down the aisle, your heart is beating and all eyes are on you. You just want to look perfect for the love of your life.

To find the perfect bridal dress, you not only need time but also to understand what kind of bridal dress you want. Do you opt for a new or a preloved one? A long or a short dress? White, ivory or a colourful dress? Do you want to look around in a classic bridal dress store or do you want to order online?

budget

Before you start to search for your dream bridal dress give yourself a price range and stick to it. If you don’t or can’t spend too much money, have a look at second hand bridal dresses. You can find a beautiful bridal dress, a designer trend or the newest collection for a fraction of the price.

research

Do some research and collect pictures from bridal magazines of the styles and colours you like. Visit wedding fairs to get inspired where you can see and feel dresses. Look online for styles that suit your silhouette.

shopping

Make an appointment with a bridal dress shop as soon as possible because sometimes it takes 4 to 6 months to produce a dress, plus once it arrives you might need some time for alterations. If you don´t have much time, you can order online and a few days later your bridal dress will arrive.

support

Make wedding dress shopping an interactive and inclusive part of the wedding planning process and involve your mother, maid of honour, bridesmaids or friends with you to enjoy this important day and get their valued opinions, in a shop or at home.

alterations

When you have found THE bridal dress, a bridal dress store can order your dress in the right size and you may need some small alterations (don´t forget to plan the costs in your budget).

If you decide to buy a preloved bridal dress I recommend to buy it in 1 or 2 sizes bigger and allow for alterations to fit it perfectly to you. Too big is better than too small.

final fitting

On your last fitting wear the lingerie and take the shoes that you will be wearing on your big day. Then you can make sure that the length and fit of the bridal dress is just right.

accessories

Often less is more. Too much detail and too many wedding accessories can detract from the wedding dress. Make sure that you match your accessories to your bridal dress in colour and material and don’t forget your ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’ nor the silver sixpence in your shoe.

About Heart Accomplice

Heart Accomplice is a second hand online bridal dress shop offering new and good as new preloved bridal dresses, ready to make a bride happy for her big day. They stock a range of different sizes, brands and styles, so there should be something gorgeous for everyone.

It is also possible to sell your bridal dress (on a commission basis) to Heart Accomplice when you have finished with your bridal dress (in good condition).

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image credits:

Venue | Sudbury House Hotel | http://www.sudburyhouse.co.uk/
Photography | Cat Stephens Photography | https://www.catstephensphotography.com/
Hair and make-up | Kamila Roberts for The Beauty Spot Cotswolds | https://www.kamilarobertsmakeup.co.uk | https://www.facebook.com/thebeautyspotcotswolds/
Dress | Heart Accomplice | http://www.heartaccomplice.com/
Flowers | Sophie Snow Floral | http://www.sophiesnow.com/
Accessories | The Wedding Fairy and Friends | http://www.theweddingfairyandfriends.co.uk/


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Children at weddings

Children at weddings

wedding guest list

The wedding guest list is often cited as being one of the top stresses for couples during wedding planning (whether you plan to invite children or not to your big day).

Who to invite is personal to each couple, as every family has different circumstances and it depends who is ‘hosting’ the wedding (and often who is paying for it). There may be some tough decisions to make with your guest list. Perhaps the reality of your budget means you have to rein in a few of your plans, or other people’s involvement means compromising on who you want to invite, including whether to have children at all/some/none of your wedding.

There’s no right or wrong answer on who to invite to your wedding. Nor is there sadly a magical formula that will work it out for you. Ultimately, you should invite guests that you want to share your special day with.

who to invite

It is said that the enjoyment of most gatherings can be made or broken depending on who is there. People do really make the party! So the all important guest list can dictate what kind of a day you (and your guests) might have.

To avoid confusion from the outset, it is often better to be really specific about who you are inviting, to which parts of the day they are invited to, and whether you are inviting their children (or not) so that they are not left in any doubt.

Take a look at ‘a guide to wedding stationery and how to invite your guests‘ and the first in my Holy Trinity of Wedding Planning series ‘Part 1: who‘ for a broad overview on the importance of wedding guest lists as a whole.

children at weddings

Meanwhile, here is a checklist to consider if you are inviting children to your wedding:

  • clear communication – set expectations early on about who is invited and give guests with children an idea of the running order for the day so they can plan naps, meals and their schedule accordingly around your day
  • consistency – make sure you say the same thing to everyone and be clear why there may be exceptions
  • contribution – get children involved with little tasks like confetti throwing, part of the speeches, ring bearer etc
  • crèche – consider childcare or a chaperone in a side room for lots of children
  • changing facilities – make sure there’s somewhere for little ones to ‘freshen up’
  • crafts, cinema, competitions, cartoons, colouring or just somewhere to run around outside – anything to help keep them entertained (how about a silent disco for them during the meal?)
  • catering – have food specifically with children in mind
  • chairs – make sure they’re comfortable, suitable for their age and close to their parents

entertaining children at weddings

One of the key things to keeping your wedding guests happy (whatever their age) is to keep them fed, watered and entertained! When it comes to children at weddings they may need a little more entertainment.

With the right planning, involving children in the celebrations can be fantastic fun without compromising on a stylish and stress-free day. Here are some top tips for entertaining children at your wedding, courtesy of Hedgerow Circus, to ensure a stress free day for all generations to enjoy.

1. Think about the flow of the day

Providing toys and games for your youngest guests can make a huge difference to the flow of the reception, as having the children happily entertained has the added bonus that the parents are free to fully enjoy the celebrations too.

2. Keep a space free in your venue for children guests

Every venue is different, but almost all have an area which is suitable to dedicate to some toys and games. This may be anything from an entire room which can become a fully stocked playroom if you have lots of children attending, to a quiet corner of a marquee where a simple white tipi with toys inside could be set up. Allocating a dedicated play area, however large or small, will prevent toys from taking over.

3. Involve children guests in parts of the wedding day

Consider any times that you can involve children in the proceedings, not only as flower girls or page boys but with responsibilities such as handing out programmes, confetti or gifts. If you have any older or more confident children attending, perhaps reading a short poem or announce cutting of the cake. It’s always a good idea to provide some quiet entertainment for the times you don’t want the children to be involved, such as during speeches. A speeches survival kit of puzzles, colouring or Lego usually goes down a treat (for parents too – who can relax and listen to the speeches).

4. Bring the generations together

Enjoy the chance to bring all the generations of your friends and family together in one place, to celebrate this new chapter in your lives together. You will be giving special memories to everyone to look back on.

About Hedgerow Circus

There is no need to compromise on style when including toys and games at your wedding venue; take a look at Hedgerow Circus, a local company based in the Cotswolds who provide a great range of attractive play areas to cater for groups of all sizes, delivered and set up at your wedding or event venue.


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5 reasons tiny weddings rock

5 reasons tiny weddings rock

Tiny wedding trend

On average, wedding guest numbers are decreasing and a lovely trend in micro or tiny weddings is on the rise; with couples wishing to keep things small, personal and more meaningful. Not always in the extreme of eloping but a step away from traditions and expectations. Making the day a wonderful experience for everyone and good value for money. Tiny weddings could range from having a dinner party in a private room, a picnic in a park, a weekend sleepover in a stately home or a destination wedding for your close friends and family.

Bigger doesn’t always have to be better. Here are 5 reasons why tiny weddings rock from Carly Straughan (from Epic Elopement) who, along with Claire Ady (Wed in Central Park), host Tiny Weddings – an exciting new style of wedding fair for small, intimate weddings and elopements.

1. You get to spend the whole day with your favourite person.

When else do you and your future husband or wife get to spend a whole day just loving each other, celebrating your time together and thinking about your future? With fewer guests to entertain you will spend less time worrying about other people and more time with the person that matters the most. There are also some great studies that show the more intimate your wedding the more likely your marriage is to succeed (surely something to do with the stress of planning a big wedding!)

2. You will avoid the most common planning nightmares.

The hard parts of planning are almost always not related to making your marriage happen. The seating plan, the choice of dining options or what sort of music to play to please everyone during a 4 hour reception are avoided when you have a small group of close family and friends to entertain. Think of your celebrations as less of an operational ordeal and more of a larger dinner party and suddenly it all makes sense.

3. You can spend your money more wisely.

Having a small wedding or elopement may not even mean spending less than you would have spent on a big wedding. The difference is that you get to spend your money on the things that are important to you as a couple. Try making a list of things that you absolutely need to make your day work for you and then set your budget against that. If the dinner is a big part of your day then spend your budget on great food. Feeding 30 people caviar and champagne is much more affordable than serving 150 people a chicken dinner. If travel is your thing, a smaller wedding day can allow you to blow the budget on a mega honeymoon or even allow you to take your wedding overseas with a small party all expenses paid.

4. You won’t explain your quirks to anyone.

It’s much easier to share your plans with a smaller party and explain your choices to those who are invested in you as a couple. If you want the whole wedding party to wear a certain colour, travel to a remote location or do something seemingly random that brings you joy, it’s much easier to get buy in when you’re inviting only close family and friends. It’s going to be more difficult to explain your reasoning behind your choices if you have all your second cousins and great aunts chiming in. Spend your time and effort on the people and things that bring you joy, not arguing about chair covers with Sharon from work.

5. You’ll find suppliers who absolutely love their jobs.

If you’re looking to work with passionate individuals who will put as much effort into your wedding day as you do, then having an intimate wedding is more likely to help you find them. Larger suppliers need you to fulfil minimum orders, cover overheads for their venues and feed 100+ people to pay their bills. Small vendors usually have lower overheads, less staff costs and would be delighted to hear about a no stress wedding with under 50 guests.

About Tiny Weddings

Tiny Weddings is a joint venture between Carly Straughan (from Epic Elopement) and Claire Ady (Wed in Central Park). Having both had intimate weddings and working in the industry, exhibited and visited wedding fairs for years, Claire and Carly realised there was a space in the market for a fair dedicated to those who traditionally are ignored by the big wedding industry. Tiny Weddings Fair is the anti-dote to the mega fair that has grown up in recent years, bringing together vendors who specialise in intimate ceremonies and elopements around the world, whilst also hosting talks from experts in their field who can help couples find their own Tiny Wedding inspiration.

Get tickets for the next Tiny Weddings Fair on Sunday 30 September 2018, 10am-4pm at Wycombe Swan Theatre, High Wycombe HP11 2XE.

About Tiny Weddings’s hosts

Claire is a wedding planner, specialising in elopements and small destination weddings in Central Park, New York, for couples from all over the world. She has been doing this for over six years and has planned almost two hundred and fifty weddings so far. All of her weddings have had under fifty guests and most have between five and fifteen guests. She knows the tiny wedding market well. She knows what drives a couple to choose a tiny wedding and what values and priorities are popular for the couples that take this route.

Carly has been blogging about elopements since her own elopement in 2015. Beginning her career in wedding journalism, Carly moved into wedding planning and events management but always knew it wasn’t her scene. Carly has planned and executed weddings, fairs and events for some of the UK’s most recognisable venues and attractions and continues to work with events venues day to day as a consultant. When her own marriage was imminent she quickly realised there wasn’t much choice for those who wanted a great wedding without a huge guest list, Carly began seeking out suppliers of tiny wedding and elopements around the world and the rest is history.

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Keep calm and carry on…wedding planning

Keep calm and carry on…wedding planning

Keep calm and carry on…wedding planning

Huge congratulations if you’re currently planning your forthcoming wedding. Whilst organising a wedding is incredibly exciting, it can sometimes be a daunting challenge too. Especially as you’ve possibly never organised an event of this scale or importance before, you’re trying to please lots of people and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. So it would be understandable if you find that you can’t keep calm and are sometimes stressing over the small stuff.

Here are top tips from Stephanie Varda Bridal Coach on staying calm and dealing with stress during the wedding planning process and build up. Considering how to deal with conflict, compromise and comments from other parties.

Ten things to remember when (not if!) you get stressed while planning your wedding

  1. Get some perspective
    This is the first tip because it kind of shocks some brides.  So many people think their wedding day is the most important day of their lives.  Your wedding day is the first day of your marriage, so it’s worth keeping that in mind.  Your marriage and your partner will be very important to you as you go through life.  Remember what this is really about.  Now for the practical stuff….
  2. Do it together
    That’s what marriage is about – so don’t take responsibility for all the decision making involved in planning your wedding.  Discuss things as a couple – talk to your partner about what you both want from your wedding.
  3. Delegate
    Even better than planning together could be to ask your partner what they would like to take charge of and let them own that part of the wedding.
  4. Get help
    If friends and family offer help, then accept it.  As discussed above, you could either delegate some smaller tasks to them (or the tasks you don’t like so much!) or accept their advice where you need it.  Beware of unsolicited interference that presents itself as help or advice, though – say no to that!
  5. Be grateful
    Your loved ones will be spending lots of time, money and effort on your special day.  They might not agree with all of your choices, but they are doing this how you want it because they love you.  So, appreciate them.
  6. Take breaks
    Don’t live and breathe your wedding for the entire time you are planning.  You will just start to resent it all.  Take time out to do something else for a little while, perhaps with your bridesmaids or your other half.
  7. Adapt
    Things might not go exactly to plan, and plans may change.  Don’t get upset about things that you can’t do anything about, and stay flexible and open to change.  A wedding involves lots of people, and some of them won’t do exactly as you want them to.
  8. Prioritise
    Decide which parts of the day are most important to you and where you want to splurge, and which you don’t care so much about and those might be where you can save a little on costs.  This will help you to…
  9. Don’t sweat the small stuff
    Identify what is not that important and either delegate or just get it done and don’t think about it again.  Think about the whole day and the bigger picture of what you want from your wedding.  Don’t get caught up in worrying about the details – nobody will notice anyway, your guests will just want to enjoy the day, have a big party and celebrate your love.
  10. This is your day
    This one is last because this is the one you really need to remember.  This should be your mantra.  We all want our guests to have a great time on our wedding day, but you can never please all of the people all of the time and this is your day, so do it your way!

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Why you should take out wedding insurance

Why you should take out wedding insurance

Why you should take out wedding insurance

Here are some insights from the Wedding Insurance Group – they discuss what wedding insurance is, what it covers, how much it costs as well as some tips on selecting the best wedding insurance policy and what are the risks of an uninsured wedding.

The majority of couples will tie the knot this year without wedding insurance. The last time a study was conducted in 2010, Datamonitor estimated 3 out of 4 weddings in the UK go-ahead uninsured. We don’t have any recent national data, however, our friends over at the Wedding Insurance Group have reported an increase in the number of couples taking out wedding insurance in the last year. It is still arguable that the majority of wedding days and receptions go on uninsured. To understand more, we first have to look at how much weddings cost on average.

The average cost of a UK wedding

It’s no secret that the average cost of a UK wedding has increased over the years. In 2017, various sources reported different averages:

• £27,161 – Hitched
• £30,111 – Brides Magazine
• £17,000 to £27,000 – Bridebook

It’s understandable that many couples will be aiming for a cheaper wedding but at the end of the day, weddings usually are expensive and therefore may require insurance for the couple’s peace of mind. Here’s a scenario to put this in perspective.

Insure your wedding just like your other life assets

Imagine you bought an expensive piece of jewellery that was not covered by your contents insurance. Would you be comfortable leaving your property knowing that if something went wrong, you would not be able to recover its value? Chances are, you’ll ensure that such an asset is appropriately insured, just like your car and property. So why should a wedding be any different?

What does wedding insurance cover?

A good policy will protect your wedding ceremony and reception. Many top providers offer different levels of cover as packages. In this article, we will be using the various packages provided by the Wedding Insurance Group as examples. The following key covers are typical of a wedding insurance policy, however you should always read the Policy Wording to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Wedding cancellation

This protects irrecoverable deposits or fees paid up front if the wedding reception or ceremony was unavoidably cancelled due to reasons such as family or the couple falling unexpectedly ill, the venue experiencing a disaster such as fire or flood or the inability of the couple and majority of the guests to reach the wedding ceremony or reception due to adverse weather conditions.

Additional costs of rearrangement

Imagine the couple paid £5,000 for a wedding venue, which then experiences a disaster such as a fire or flood. As a result, the wedding is moved to an alternative venue that costs £2,000 more. The cancellation cover protects the initial £5,000 cost whilst the additional cost of rearrangement cover protects the extra £2,000 to move the wedding in the event of a valid claim.

The financial failure of suppliers

This provides cover if suppliers have gone out of business due to bankruptcy or liquidation. For example, the cake maker or photographer end up closing their business and are unable to deliver their services. Irrecoverable deposits and the additional costs of arranging alternative suppliers are covered even if the deposit was paid before you bought the policy. Certain wedding insurance policies also contain a specific cover for wedding cars and transport in the instance of breakdowns or accidents.

Additional covers

The policies provided by the Wedding Insurance Group also cover additional important aspects of the wedding such as:

  • Wedding gifts
  • Rings
  • Flowers
  • Wedding cake
  • Attendants gifts

Wedding liability insurance

This is essentially public liability for the couple that covers accidental injury to third parties or accidental loss of or accidental damage to third party property. Certain policies such as those provided by the Wedding Insurance Group offer the option to increase public liability to cover all guests. Certain venues will not take on a wedding booking unless the couple has public liability cover of £2 million or more. Some insurance providers do offer the option of liability cover only.

Optional covers

As with most insurance policies, there are optional covers to ensure any bespoke preferences are protected such as:

  • ceremonial sword cover
  • extending public liability to £5 million
  • extending public liability cover to all guests
  • marquee and mobile WC cover

Overseas wedding insurance

Many wedding insurance providers offer overseas wedding insurance containing the key covers detailed above with additional cover for essential documents such as passports, birth certificates and visas.

Excess and policy wordings

Some wedding insurance providers like the Wedding Insurance Group do not require excesses on any of their policies. It’s always a good idea to read your policy wordings so that you are clear on the exact cover you are purchasing and any additional costs. You may wish to avoid a policy with complicated wordings. Certain providers use ‘Plain English’ and shorter wordings which make it a lot easier for you to understand.

When can I take out wedding insurance?

The accepted period of time between purchasing wedding insurance and the big day itself varies amongst providers although you can purchase a policy up to 2 years before the wedding. It’s a good idea to get cover in place once you start paying deposits and making arrangements. There may also be limits between the date of the ceremony and reception. For example, non-Asian Weddings and Civil partnership ceremonies and receptions insured by the Wedding Insurance Group are required to occur within a 21-day period. There are policies for Asian weddings detailed below.

Asian wedding insurance

There are specialist policies available that are specifically designed for Asian weddings or Shaadi. These policies cover up to 6 events over a period of 94 days and are also delivered as different packages that include the key covers detailed above.

Travel & Honeymoon Insurance

The Wedding Insurance Group offer policies specifically designed for Honeymoons offering single or annual multi trips and long stays. In addition to the usual covers such as emergency medical expenses and cancellation, features such as no age limits or discounts for families (kids go free) are available on single trip policies.

How much does wedding insurance cost?

Costs do vary amongst providers but typically you can arrange cover for less than the price of a bottle of champagne. You can pick up a policy starting from as little as £25 for wedding insurance or £59 for Asian wedding insurance. Naturally, you will want to shop around and you’ll notice many providers display convenient tables that compare different levels of cover. Again, we recommend you read the policy wordings that may contain clauses not displayed in the summarised tables so you are clear about the insurance you are purchasing.

What is the best wedding insurance?

This is solely dependent on the ceremony and reception plan. As detailed above, tables that compare different packages and optional extras make it easier for you to find a level of cover suitable for your wedding and planned expenditure. It’s best to finalise all plans, ensure all suppliers are booked and  have an idea of your total costs before purchasing wedding insurance so you are not spending more than you need on a policy.

What are the risks of an uninsured wedding?

Without insurance, the possibility of suppliers failing to deliver their services, the venue going out of business or burning down and the probability of family or the couple falling ill all threaten the harmonious running of a wedding. There are many news stories online about cancelled weddings and other wedding-related disasters that serve as examples of how things can go wrong. Likewise it’s just as important to make sure you are adequately covered and don’t leave yourself underinsured.

Concluding thoughts

As detailed in the introduction, the number of couples taking out wedding insurance is increasing due to greater awareness and recommendations from wedding professionals. Planning a wedding already requires a lot of focus and attention, therefore, it makes sense to ensure all that hard work and financial outlay is protected so you can get on and enjoy one of the happiest days of your life.

 

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