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In addition, bunting was originally made from a coarse, loosely woven cotton fabric, with a very open weave, similar to cloth used to sift grain in the Middle Ages.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

 instagram logo@dorisandtate

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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

instagram logo@wedding_sketching

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Take the leap in 2020: save the date

Take the leap in 2020: save the date

Leap year proposals

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

Unlucky leap year

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

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

Friday the thirteenth

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

Set the date

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

Think ahead

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

The four seasons

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

Gone till November

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

Eight days a week

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

A hard day’s night

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

Look outside your bubble

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

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

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

Public holidays

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

Sporting events

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

Religious festivals

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

Other occasions

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

‘Unlucky’ dates

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

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

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

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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

instagram logo@charlotteberryjewellery


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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

facebook logo@susiegristcouture

instagram logo@susiegristcouture


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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Keeping your wedding guests well watered

Keeping your wedding guests well watered

With World Gin Day this weekend, my thoughts go to wedding drinks.

Keeping your wedding guests well fed, watered and entertained is key to a really happy wedding day. Get this right and you’re on to a winner.

Remember everyone loves free things! If you can’t afford to pay for the bar all night then perhaps welcome drinks and some with the meal will be a nice gesture.

Here’s a quick guide to getting the drinks right for your wedding day.

1. Drink seasonally – if the weather is hot then you’ll need to make sure you’ve got plenty of cool drinks including non alcoholic beverages and possibly extra ice too. And vice versa, if it’s cold then consider offering a hot toddy, mulled wine or a hot chocolate to warm up your guests.

2. Service – if your guests are serving themselves then they may pour more than a bar tender. However they may drink less depending on the time of your wedding or on a weekday. So allow more or less accordingly.

3. Bar – the main alcohols to stock a basic wedding bar include: gin, vodka, rum, tequila, whisky, beer, wine, and champagne. And make sure you have a good selection of soft drinks, mixers and non alcoholic options too.

4. Drinks with the meal – roughly you can get 4 servings per bottle of wine (and 18 servings per bottle of liquor). Consider placing bottles of wine (and water) on the table for people to serve themselves during the meal.

5. Drinks with the toasts – allow 1 bottle for every 8 guests for the champagne toast and only pour half glasses (as most guests will just take sip and go back to their original drink).

6. Quick calculations – Here’s a quick sum to give you a rough number of drinks needed for your wedding = number of guests  x  1.5  x  number of hours of serving.

Cheers!

Photography by Farrow Photography

 

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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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