Dealing with difficult wedding guests

Dealing with difficult wedding guests

There will probably be some tough decisions to make with your guest list. Ultimately, it all boils down to who you want in the room with you and how well do you want to know the people that are there.

After the guest list headaches, chasing RSVPs and endlessly revising the seating plan, there may be some issues to consider so you can avoid any dramas with tricky wedding attendees.

Here are my top 6 tips for dealing with difficult wedding guests.

1. Think about your guest list from the start. Be specific on the invitation to avoid unexpected plus ones. Have a plan if an unexpected guest arrives.

2. Brief your attendants. Perhaps give them on stand by with a secret code word to intervene with difficult guests. Think about any guests that may need to be kept a part (or away from the free bar!)

3. Seat difficult guests near the back or side at the reception. Consider seating divorced couples apart. Think about having a sweetheart table if your parents are not able to sit together on a traditional top table.

4. Ensure guests are kept well fed (it helps soaks up alcohol) to avoid drunken antics. Happy guests are less likely to be tetchy or bored.

5. Ask for any dietary requirements in advance. Make sure there’s no surprises on the day.

6. Keep the children entertained to stave off boredom. Consider outside or an additional room for them to play.

Photography by Farrow Photography

 

 

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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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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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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:

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.

Year

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?

Month

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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Keep it local for an eco wedding

Keep it local for an eco wedding

It’s a sad fact that, by their nature, weddings can be quite wasteful. After all, it is often a lot of preparation, produce and packaging for just one day.

However, more couples nowadays are choosing eco friendly options to reduce the impact that their wedding day has on the environment.

Here are some tips and alternatives to help with a more eco friendly wedding:

Think green

The greenery trend has meant less flowers and more plants and foliage are appearing at weddings. Consider other alternatives to flowers such as pot plants, succulents and air plants that can be reused again after the wedding. As well as paper florals and other lasting alternatives to bouquets. Plus think about foraging for items such as moss, fruit, vegetables, feathers, cones and other seasonal items from the environment around us.

If you do go for real flowers that use foam free installations to avoid plastic. And have a plan for how you can pass on the flowers afterwards.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Tis the season

For any items (especially perishable bits like food, drink and flowers) try to use locally sourced ingredients and seasonal products. Not only will this keep costs down but will also decrease transportation. Plus ensure things are compostable rather than disposable.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Paper chase

If you choose to use paper stationery then try to use recycled paper and limit the glitter or embellishments on them as these are hard to recycle afterwards. Try and hand deliver as many invitations as you can rather than incur postage/transport costs.

Or instead of printing your invites, send electronic invites and manage your RSVPs online. Or perhaps print your invites on things guests can use  again like tea towels, mugs, magnets or Christmas baubles.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Keep your friends close

To reduce your carbon footprint, think about the transport surrounding your wedding day. Try to reduce how much you and your guests have to travel to get to your wedding. Hold your wedding nearby and consider shuttling guests together if you have to change venue between the ceremony and reception.

Or consider inviting less guests to a micro or tiny wedding. Not only does this keep things small, personal and more meaningful but less guests means less consumption, travel and cost.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

It’s the thought that counts

When creating your gift list, think whether you really need all the items you add and provide details for guests to make charity donations in lieu of buying gifts. Likewise, for thank you gifts and favours choose reusable or dual purpose items for your guests.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

What you see is what you get

Choose a wedding venue that has green credentials and think about what facilities are already at your venue. If you hold your wedding in a permanent structure then there is less need to bring in extra provision and utilities.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Go unplugged

If you hold your wedding in the daytime and/or summer then you can save electricity by using the daylight. Or perhaps use candles instead and your musical entertainment can go acoustic.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Beg, make or borrow

Where possible think about how you can use items that are not purpose made for your event. Hire items (from places like Mabel & Rose and Linda’s Vintage Hire) or upcycle vintage décor and see how you could pass on the items afterwards. Plus, great for any diy couples, is to make your own décor and bear in mind using any sustainable materials.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Something old

Rather than buying brand new outfits, consider hiring or buying a pre worn vintage gown (from somewhere like Heart Accomplice). And think about all the new heirlooms you’ll have to pass down to generations to come.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Reuse, recycle, reduce

Overall, with all your plans think about how you can reuse, recycle and reduce each element for an eco friendly wedding. Think about how you can donate any wastage to those less fortunate or offset any carbon footprint.

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Images on this page are taken by Cat Stephens Photography from Hanami Dream’s festival wedding styled shoot at Cogges Manor Farm. See all the fabulous suppliers that were involved in this styled shoot.

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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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