Weddings through the decades: 1970s

Weddings through the decades: 1970s

The current guidelines for weddings are making couples re-evaluate what is important to them for their wedding. In some ways, it is stripping the wedding back to just the ceremony and the legality about becoming married. It has actually made me consider whether there is maybe too many extra frills added to weddings in this day and age. Are couples putting too much Instagram-ready stress and Pinterest-perfect pressure (both physically and financially) on themselves to have the ‘dream’ wedding day? Maybe stripping back the wedding will bring things back to basics and focus on what really matters.

weddings through the decades

During lock down I’ve felt quite reminiscent. It has certainly been a time to look back and reflect. So whilst weddings are going through a transformation, I am taking a look at some real weddings over the decades to see if there are some things that we can take inspiration from and use to help with wedding planning in the future.

Rewind over 40 years ago to my parents wedding in 1974 and it wasn’t the norm to have a big wedding reception. The ceremony was the main event. There’s more than a few other similarities between then and now to take note of too:

Britain in 1974

Seems like times were tough in 1974 too, in some ways like what we are facing this year. Britain was in its first post-war recession; they faced months of the Three-Day Week; two general elections and major government reorganisation; a state of emergency in Northern Ireland; many IRA bombings; lots of large companies struggling; plus oil shortages.

My Mum often speaks about the fact that during the 3 day weeks they were finally allowed to wear trousers to work as it was so cold when this ran between January to March. These measures were introduced to conserve electricity, due to the oil crisis and industrial action by coal miners. Aside from key services, people were limited to three days in a row of consumption each week and were not allowed to work longer hours on those days. TV stopped broadcasting at 10.30pm to conserve electricity. It was finally lifted on 7 March 1974.

In addition, new speed limits were brought in to help to curb fuel usage.

Bombings in Britain included the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, Birmingham pubs, M62 coach, and even the former prime minister’s London home. It was scary and uncertain times.

When my parents got married, Harold Wilson had just taken over as Prime Minister on 4 March, a labour leader of a minority government, from Edward Heath (Conservative). There was another election again later in the year. It was a time of huge change and turmoil.

highlights of 1974

Meanwhile, excitedly the Eurovision song contest was held in Brighton in 1974, the one when Abba won with the song ‘Waterloo’. Liverpool won the FA Cup adding to their trophy cabinet, a bit like this year.

Ceefax started, though I wonder how many people planned their wedding or booked a honeymoon using this sure predecessor to the internet. And McDonalds opened their first restaurant in Woolwich.

Princess Anne’s first wedding

Whilst a dramatic kidnap attempt on Princess Anne was the focus in 1974, her wedding at the end of the previous year had brought royal wedding fever to the country, albeit a bit more subdued compared to more recent ones. The wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips took place at Westminster Abbey in London in November 1973. She wore a high necked, high-waisted, embroidered Tudor-style wedding dress, with a high collar and medieval-influenced sleeves. Anne had her trade marked beehive up-do.

I’m not sure that Anne’s wedding had the same impact as the modern royal weddings of William or Harry. However, she was the first of the Queen’s children to wed and the event was televised. Much of my parent’s wedding had been already organised by the time of Anne’s but there are still some influences in hair and dress styles that can been seen.

wedding trends in the 1970s

Regardless of the decade, every wedding photo is a time capsule for dresses (material, styles, length and colours) along with bouquets, veils and hair styles. They are an exaggerated example of fashion trends of their day and epitomise moments in time.

Some decades certainly have common trends. In the 1970s, this could be seen with two distinct looks: hippy style, long sleeved, high necked, longer length dresses. Or trouser suits with big floppy hats. First and foremost, the bridesmaids never outshone the bride.

Weddings were intimate and not frivolous or extravagant, often with the reception held down the pub. Typical food could have included prawn cocktail, fondue, vol au vents, pineapple and cheese on sticks, chicken kiev, or steak Diane and chips if you were splashing out. With arctic roll or black forest gateaux for dessert.

But money was tight, with an average weekly wage of only £34.64. Families helped couples pay for their big day and a wedding in the 1970s cost just £1,850 on average. (Compared with an average spend now around £27,000 on a wedding before lockdown).

weddings in 1974

In 1974, there were 384,389 marriages in England and Wales (compared to 40 years later of 252,222 in 2014). In 1974, there were 69 men marrying per 1,000 unmarried males and 53.7 females, compared to 23.0 and 20.9 in 2014. The number of weddings has steadily declined over the years.

The average age of men getting married in 1974 was 28.8 and 26.2 for women (compared to 37.0 and 34.6 respectively in 2014).

53% of weddings took place in a religious ceremony in 1974 versus 27% in 2014.

real wedding from 1974

My parents, Barbara and Gary, married on Saturday 16th March 1974, over 46 years ago.

To quote my mother, weddings were not so ‘flashy’ back then, without extras ‘like today’. There wasn’t any money then – they didn’t have any and neither did their parents. The groom even had to borrow money from his father in order to buy the engagement ring.

Weddings were very traditional, almost following a formula or cookie cutter approach.

formal invitations

My parent’s wedding invitations were very formal and sent from the bride’s parents. They were simple, classic and from a stock suite including silver embossed bells. The same style was used for the Order of Service too.

full length attire

The bride wore a Pronuptia A line dress with high neck and long sleeves and a long veil, along with some white platform shoes. She carried a bouquet of freesias (her favourite flower) and roses.

Whilst there wasn’t a specific colour scheme or theme that went throughout the wedding, the 3 bridesmaids all wore lilac coloured dresses (which was a copy of the bride’s dress) that matched the flowers. They all had their hair the same – up like Princess Anne – and the bridesmaids had lilac flowers in their hair.

Meanwhile the groom and best man just wore their own best suits and wore carnations as buttonholes.

The bride was driven in a car hired from a local firm, whilst the bridesmaids were just driven by a friend of the family in his own car.

local ceremony and reception

As with the majority of weddings in the 1970s, they had a church service at Burnham United Reformed Church starting at 2pm. Afterwards, they had their reception at a simple village hall, Burnham Park Hall, that cost them £8.80 to hire the hall and kitchen from 10.30am – 6pm. After the meal, the speeches followed the usual order and focused on the father of bride, best man, plus the groom.

minimal decor

They didn’t decorate the hall. There were only tables with white tablecloths on them. But the curtain material in the background of photographs gives away the era completely. It would have been hard to compliment them with many colour schemes!

cost efficient food

The guests ate a buffet by The Barn Restaurant, Salt Hill Park, Slough. It may have been a beige buffet typical of the time although it obviously wasn’t too memorable as my mother isn’t sure what they picked. The accountant in her can remember that the prices started at a mere £0.85 per person. And their drinks bill cost £29.61.

traditional cake

The wedding cake was an incredibly traditional square 3 tier fruit cake made by a family friend. There weren’t any added extras like favours at the wedding.

shared entertainment

My parents didn’t have any entertainment or music at their wedding. However, there were 2 other couples from the same village as my father who also got married on the same day as them. So they all had a joint disco in the evening but it was not the norm to have anything other than a reception after the service.


These pictures have been both wonderful to look through and also rather poignant, as my parents’ marriage sadly ended. However it is lovely to see how happy and carefree my mother is in these photographs. And I raise a toast to absent friends who we have unfortunately lost since this happy day.

There’s certainly many things couples of today’s circumstances can take from the weddings of the 1970s. If our parents/grandparents can make it through tough times, then I’m sure we can get through the craziness we’re experiencing right now. It might mean tightening our belts or reevualting plans but going back to basics may not be a bad thing. 

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Always the bridesmaid and never the bride

Always the bridesmaid and never the bride

Bridal party support team

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

5 times the bridesmaid

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

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

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

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Role of the bridesmaid

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

Chief bridesmaid

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

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

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

Matron of honour

The Matron of Honour is a married female attendant.


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

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

Flower girl

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

Ring bearer

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

Bridal party

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

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Wedding traditions: Toasting the happy couple

Wedding traditions: Toasting the happy couple

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

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


Why do we make toasts at weddings?

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

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

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


Photography by Farrow Photography

Who makes a toast at weddings?

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

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

Photography by Thomas Phillips

Photography by Thomas Phillips


When do you make toasts at weddings?

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


Champagne coupe glasses and gold cutlery | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography

What do you use to make toasts at weddings?

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

Photography by Squib Photography

How do you make toasts at weddings?

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


Photography by Farrow Photography

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

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

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Changes in marriage law for outdoor weddings

Changes in marriage law for outdoor weddings

Today could mark the start of some exciting changes to where couples can get married in the future in England and Wales. I’m looking forward to hearing about changes in marriage laws today when Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announces the Budget later. He is expected to announce relaxed rules around wedding venues.

the cost of weddings is rising

One of my first marketing jobs was working for a firm of accountants and around budget time we’d need to update all the marketing material that concerned tax rates etc. So since then, I’ve always kept a bit of an eye on the budget. But my ears pricked up more for this annual budget (the last one before Brexit negotiations in November) as there has been lots of talk around the government trying to help couples getting married to keep wedding costs down with a view to the end of austerity.

current marriage laws

Not wishing to get too political, it is interesting that this proposed change could help with the rising costs of weddings and marriage laws could change to bring England and Wales more in line with modern living and other countries.

Currently, the Marriage Act that is primarily in use is the Marriage Act 1949, with some amendments. This requires that a marriage must take place ‘either in a register office, approved premises or in a place of religious worship that has been officially registered for marriages by the Registrar General for England and Wales’.

Therefore, the general rule is that it is the place not the person that is licensed to perform a legal ceremony and it must take place under a solid structure (with a permanent roof). Plus the register must be signed indoors.

Photography by Farrow Photography

changes in where you can legally get married

Many laws surrounding marriage remain unchanged since 1836. The last big change around wedding venues was the Marriage Act 1994 which allowed legal marriages to take place in certain “approved premises”. (Before this amendment, marriage ceremonies could only be conducted in churches and register offices.)

The government is set to propose that the Law Commission reviews the legislation on wedding venues. This could mean that couples could get married outdoors, on beaches, at home and under temporary structures such as marquees. It may also open things up for smaller hotels, restaurants and pubs to boost this part of the hospitality sector.

Photography by Squib Photography

marriage laws around the world

This proposed change has been discussed before in 2013 but didn’t come to fruition at the time. This proposal (pardon the pun!) is already the case in Scotland where ceremonies can be legally held outdoors, not just by a religious leader or registrants but also for humanists to conduct legally binding ceremonies.

In the US, you can be married by anyone who has been authorised by that state to perform weddings. Couples do not need to have a separate civil and religious wedding ceremony.

Likewise, in Australia a civil ceremony can take place in any location. They are conducted by a registered celebrant and both religious and civil ceremonies are legally binding.

So it could mean that the general rule is that it is the person not the place that is licensed to perform a legal ceremony going forwards.

Meanwhile I wonder if people will put a Brexit 50p in their wedding shoes instead of a silver sixpence in the future too?!

marriage law changes over the years

Here are some other significant changes in marriage laws that have shaped how, where and when couples can get married in England and Wales:

  • Until the middle of the 18th century, marriages could take place anywhere provided they were conducted before an ordained clergyman of the Church of England.
  • In 1753, the Marriage Act declared that all marriage ceremonies must be conducted by a minister in a parish church or chapel of the Church of England to be legally binding.
  • The Marriage Act 1836 allows marriages to be legally registered in buildings belonging to other religious groups if a Registrar and two witnesses were present. It was prohibited to get married during the evenings and at night.
  • The Marriage Act 1949 requires that a marriage must take place either in a register office, approved premises or in a place of religious worship that has been officially registered for marriages by the Registrar General for England and Wales. Hours of marriages increased to take place between the hours of six in the evening and eight in the morning.
  • The Marriage Act 1994 allows marriages to be legally binding in certain “approved premises”. Prior to the act, marriage ceremonies could only be conducted in churches and register offices.
  • The Civil Partnership Act 2004, granted civil partnerships to same-sex couples in the United Kingdom with rights and responsibilities identical to civil marriage.
  • In 2013, Parliament passed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 which introduced civil marriage for same-sex couples in England and Wales which same the first same sex marriages in March 2014.
  • In April 2019, all couples in England and Wales will be able to choose to have a civil partnership rather than get married.

Photography by Squib Photography

Take a look at other top tips on planning the major elements of your guest list, venue and budget (or the who, where and how much of what I term the ‘holy trinity of wedding planning‘).

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 11th April 2018 – wedding traditions quiz

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 11th April 2018 – wedding traditions quiz

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 11th April 2018

As well as general wedding planning chat, this week there’s a wedding traditions quiz (just for fun!) Tweet your replies (answers at the end of #UKWedLunch)

Here we go… QUESTION 1: What did brides from the east often shave off for their wedding? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 2: What do Swedish people traditionally do any time the bride and groom leave the table? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 3: What do German newlyweds have to do in front of their guests? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 4: An old Scottish wedding tradition is to do what to a bride on the eve of her wedding?#UKWedLunch

QUESTION 5: In English folklore, it is good luck if a bride meets this person on the way to the wedding #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 6: What is placed on top of a wedding cake in Bermuda? #UKWedLunch

Hope you’ve had fun! Here are the answers: A1= eyebrows, A2= kiss, A3= saw a log in half, A4= wash her feet, A5= chimney sweep , A6= cedar sapling #UKWedLunch

Congratulations if you got all the questions correct. See more wedding traditions on Hanami Dream blog #UKWedLunch

Thank you for all the RTs, follows and likes! Hope to see you again next Wednesday 1-2pm for more wedding planning chat #UKWedLunch

As well as general wedding planning chat, next week will be about wedding photographs #UKWedLunch

JOIN US EVERY WEDNESDAY! on Twitter between 1-2pm GMT

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 20th December 2017 – wedding traditions quiz

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 20th December 2017 – wedding traditions quiz

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 20th December 2017

As well as general wedding planning chat, this week there’s a wedding traditions quiz (just for fun!) Tweet your replies (answers at the end of #UKWedLunch)

Here we go… QUESTION 1: What did early Roman brides carry instead of flowers? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 2: In what year was it first possible to marry in a licensed venue in England and Wales? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 3: What is not allowed at a civil ceremony? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 4: What is a traditional French wedding cake? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 5: What is an Ascot? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 6: The Wedding March from Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin” is better known as what? #UKWedLunch

Hope you’ve had fun! Here are the answers: A1= herbs, A2= 2000, A3= hymns, A4= croquembouche, A5= cravat, A6= here comes the bride #UKWedLunch

Congratulations if you got all the questions correct. See more wedding traditions on Hanami Dream blog #UKWedLunch

All the very best for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Look forward to seeing you again in 2018 from Wednesday 3rd Jan 1-2pm for more wedding planning chat #UKWedLunch

Having a break from wedding planning chat next week, but there will be a round up of top posts from 2017. Feel free to tweet yours to #UKWedLunch on Wed 1-2pm

JOIN US EVERY WEDNESDAY! on Twitter between 1-2pm GMT

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

Top local wedding transport suppliers in the Cotswolds – get me to the church on time!

Top local wedding transport suppliers in the Cotswolds – get me to the church on time!

I’m gettin’ married in the morning
Ding-dong the bells are gonna chime
We’ll have a whopper, pull out the stopper
Get me to the church on time

I’ve got to get there in the morning
Spruced up and lookin’ in my prime
Pull out your compass, kick up a rompass
Get me to the church on time

Photography by Farrow Photography

As the old Frank Sinatra song says, it’s important to know where and when you’re getting married so you can get there in plenty of time. It’s worth thinking about how far away you live from the venue/s as well as the distance in between the ceremony and reception locations too. Think about how far the venues are not only in terms of miles but also timings. Depending on what time of day you’re getting married it may conflict with rush hour or school runs that could affect traffic and people travelling between locations. (See more about when and where in my Holy Trinity of Wedding Planning series.)

Traditionally, couples used to walk to the church together (and then on to the reception too) or splash out on a horse and carriage (just like in the famous Daisy Daisy song below). Then before people owned cars the ushers were responsible for organising transport for all guests.

Nowadays, here are some of the wedding party that you need to consider transport for:

From home to ceremony

  • bride and giver-away
  • bride’s mother & bridesmaids
  • groom & best man

To reception

  • bride & groom
  • bride’s parents & bridesmaids
  • best man & other guests

From reception

  • bride’s parents
  • bride & groom
  • best man

Another tradition of tying cans or shoes to the back of the going away car stems from the old tradition of throwing boots at the newly weds. It was considered lucky if you managed to hit the carriage as they rode off. Before then, shoes were given to the groom by the bride’s family to symbolise handing over the responsibility of the bride.

Nowadays couples choose to have at least one special mode of transport to make a statement for the bride’s entrance (and again for after the ceremony). Whether that is horse drawn carriage, an old fashioned car, a limousine, a vespa, a big red bus for your guests or something a little more unusual.

Photography by Farrow Photography

Here’s my pick of some brilliant local suppliers in and around Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds that can help get you to the church on time:

2CV Wedding Cars

If you are looking for something truly unique for your wedding day then look no further than our 3 beautiful Citroen 2CVs.

Established in 2011 and having just celebrated our 5th Anniversary, we are a family run business with bases in Hereford and Leicester supplying our iconic Citroen 2CVs to weddings across England and Wales.

These chauffeur driven cars are available for hire exclusively to yourselves for the day, we do not book more than one wedding per car a day.
They are decorated with Ivory ribbons and bows as standard but can be requested in any colour to match your theme, just married sign in the back window following the ceremony and vintage style bunting in the car if requested.

So whether your wedding be classic, vintage, French themed or something completely different we will be happy to discuss all details and options with yourselves.






Bainton Bikes

Bainton Bikes is an independently owned cycle hire and tours company with a shop in Oxford and self-service hire hubs throughout the Cotswolds & Cheltenham. We have been operating since 2009 and we specialise in offering cycle hire, tours and holidays for all ages and abilities providing a safe, fun and memorable experience for everyone. Take a look at our reviews on Trip Advisor.

Here is where you get your bicycle made for two!




British Classic Car Hire

From a life full of motorsport and petrol-headism, and a love of classic cars, British Classic Car Hire was born.  Angela, your chauffeuse, is owner-operator and see’s to it that every bride and groom get to enjoy the ride and feel extra special for their first wedded journey.

Angela’s “girls” are stunning examples from a different age… true vintage beauties, and having been built in Coventry are true British Classic cars.  “Hester” the 1935 Humber 16/60 is gorgeous in her Black and Old English White Art Deco styled splendidness! (and also featured in my Wind in the Willows shoot as seen above)  “Dolly” the 1938 EL24 Daimler is resplendent in French Navy and Old English White.   The young lady of the bunch is “Ruby” the pictured Classic 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I.  Travel in classic style with Angela and her “girls”.


Cotswold Balloon Safaris

We attend a lot of weddings but not in the capacity of transport. We provide a unique and fun entertainment for guests to take tethered rides and to go inside and explore what makes balloons work. We find what we provide works best in between the end of the wedding breakfast / speeches and the start of the evening phase. Most guests appreciate a chance to stretch their legs, get a bit of fresh air and the staff also enjoy being able to clear away and re organise the room ready for the evening’s events.



Cotswold Tuk Tuk

Cotswold Tuk Tuk was launched in 2017 by Chris Webb as an alternative form of wedding transport. The brand new Thai style tuk tuk is stunning blue with beautiful ivory seating. It can seat up to 6 passengers so is ideal for a range of options including bride and bridesmaids; groom, best man and ushers; or shuttle runs for guests between a ceremony and reception venue.

Chris can decorate the tuk tuk with different bunting and ribbon, or anything else you want to make your day bespoke. He takes great care to make sure it is looking on point, and if the weather does turn it has fitted rain covers. Discover the rustic charm of the tuk tuk for your big day.



Kushi Cars

Getting married in and around the Cotswolds? Looking for a totally unique way to get to your wedding? Well, you’ve just found our fabulous and ever so kitsch Indian Ambassador wedding car. Kushi means happiness in Hindi, and with our vintage Ambassador, our mission is to make you even happier on your wedding day. Reminiscent of a Morris Minor on the outside, our Kushi Car has bumpers festooned with exotic flowers and an interior decorated in rich fabrics of red and gold.

Established in 2010, we have been hired for weddings at venues all over the Cotswolds and beyond, including Cripps Barn, Kingscote Barn, Stone Barn and Pitville Pump Rooms to name a few. Previously a London Karma Kar, we changed our name to Kushi Cars in 2013.

Based in the regency town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, we travel throughout the Cotswolds. We also drive to Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, The West Midlands, Bristol and Bath. Further afield is possible on request.






Rusty & Roses – Classic VW Camper Wedding and Event Hire

Rusty and Roses is a vintage events and hire company. They have two restored classic camper vans, a campervan photo booth, ice cream hire and venue decorations services. Located in Thatcham Berkshire. Hiring unique split screen camper called “Rusty” and a VW Bay window “Roses”. Covering all areas and love to assist your wedding in any ways we can.




Quirky Gertie Vintage Caravan

Looking for something really special for your wedding day? Do you love everything vintage, and the classic English countryside? If so, meet Quirky Gertie!

Gertie is a 1968 Carlight Cassetta caravan, beautifully restored, and ready to be the part of your special day.

She will make a beautiful setting for your informal, behind the scenes photos. Pre-wedding or post wedding family and friends photo shots.

New for 2017, we can provide a photo booth option, with a photographer, and on site printing. Producing quality post card photos for your guests to take away on the day.

We can also provide bespoke catering with anything from a cream to one of our ‘Proper Hampers’ for sharing. All our food is locally sourced and home- made to order.

If it’s unusual transport to and from your wedding venue that you need, we have just added another 1960’s classic to our stable. Molly the Morris Minor, who can be hired with a driver for your special day.

If you are interested in hiring Gertie, or Molly please have a look at our website or any of our social media, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch….we are here to help make your day how you see it.


Quirky Gertie Vintage Caravan and Photobooth


The Wedding Chauffeur

Award-winning wedding chauffeur car hire in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Royal Forest of Dean, Worcestershire, Wye Valley.

1960s design British carriages of distinction including Rolls-Royce & rare 7-seater limousine

Tip – Dooooo book a car (or two or three), fabulous added value for memorable photographs (especially dare it rain) & that priceless time straight after being married, just the two of you.

Tradition – getting it right, being just so … alike the Butler in Downton, it is the expert chauffeur who ensures that the Bride, the priceless gem of the day, arrives suitably & appropriately late.

Trend – For quite a time now the in thing has been to choose something whacky, a Beauford, a Camper Van, a red London bus, a helicopter or a parachute, so the classic white Rolls has become the cool rarity, the head-turning wow-factor.

Tastefully done, The Wedding Chauffeur takes pride in being the quintessential English gentleman, immaculately turned out in tweeds, cravat, sober suit, your choice, The Wedding Chauffeur devotes time and attention to every detail, from brushing the sheepskin over-rugs to providing emergency needle & thread & confetti, ‘you name It’, getting it right for you is the rewarding challenge on your very special day.

It is not just driving a car that won The Wedding Chauffeur the ‘Best Transport’ Three Counties Supplier Award 2016.


The Wedding Chauffeur


And not forgetting these selection of other modes of transport too:

Daisy, Daisy,
Give me your answer, do!
I’m half crazy,
All for the love of you.
It won’t be a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage
But you’ll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a bicycle made for two.

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 12th April 2017 – wedding traditions quiz

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 12th April 2017 – wedding traditions quiz

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 12th April 2017

As well as general wedding planning chat, this week there’s a wedding traditions quiz (just for fun!) Tweet your replies (answers at the end of #UKWedLunch)

Here we go… QUESTION 1: Why are church bells rung at the end of a wedding ceremony? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 2: Which is said to be the unluckiest month to get married in? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 3: In Victorian times, what did brides use as a code to convey hidden meanings? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 4: What do Greek brides put in their gloves for good luck? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 5: In Holland, what is planted outside a newly married couple’s home as a symbol of fertility? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 6: What would happen if the single guests slept with a slice of wedding cake under their pillow? #UKWedLunch

Hope you’ve had fun! Here are the answers: A1= drive away evil spirits, A2= May, A3= flowers, A4= sugar cubes, A5= pine tree, A6= dream of future spouse #UKWedLunch

Congratulations if you got all the questions correct. See more wedding traditions on #UKWedLunch

Look forward to seeing you again in next Wednesday 1-2pm for more wedding planning chat and celebrating achievements. All the very best for a very Happy Easter! #UKWedLunch

JOIN US EVERY WEDNESDAY! on Twitter between 1-2pm BST

modern alternatives to wedding traditions

modern alternatives to wedding traditions

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

  • DRESS IN WHITE: Will your dress be white/ivory or will you break with tradition?
  • MATCHING BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Will your bridesmaids have matching dresses or will you mismatch styles or colours?
  • UNLUCKY TO SEE BRIDE BEFORE THE WEDDING: Will you opt to capture a ‘first look’ shot instead of following this tradition?
  • THROWING THE BOUQUET: Will you throw your flowers or give them to longest married guests after anniversary dance?
  • TOP TABLE: Will you sit your parents, best man and chief bridesmaid at the front or have your own table to yourself?
  • WEDDING GIFTS: Will you ask for things for the home or experiences  or honeymoon vouchers?

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

After you’ve decided when your special day will be and sorted the major elements of your guest list, venue and budget (or the who, where and how much of what I term the ‘holy trinity of wedding planning‘) then you’re in to the nitty gritty of things.

Sign up to receive the latest wedding planning tips, tools, trends and traditions straight to your inbox.

Have your (wedding) cake and eat it!

Have your (wedding) cake and eat it!

A topic very close to my heart (and sweet tooth) is cake!

Photography by Farrow Photography

When it comes to weddings, cakes are often the focal point of the wedding reception – proudly displayed, incorporating themes and colour schemes of the day, and featured in one of the main staged events of the day – culminating in a great photo opportunity when it formally gets cut.

There are many elements of a wedding that are steeped in tradition, superstition and symbolism. Here I unravel a little behind why wedding cakes are included in the festivities and then The Pretty Cake Company give their advice for the perfect ‘recipe’ to get the wedding cake of your dreams.

Even though some couples are picking alternatives to the humble wedding cake (such as ‘cheese’ cakes, cupcakes, giant porkpies, quiches tiers and pancake stacks to name a few), the evolution of this wedding element is nothing new as it’s seen many guises over the years including bread rolls and pie.

The custom originally dates back to Roman and Medieval times when bread would’ve been thrown at the bride. Thankfully this developed into the breaking of the bread over the head (symbolizing the bride losing her virginity).

Over time this progressed into guests bringing baked goods to the wedding and piling them up as high as possible. The couple would try and kiss over this high cake without it falling over and were deemed to have good fortune if they were successful. Not content with the instability of a baked goods stack, one clever baker came up with the idea of sticking the rolls together and the Croquembouche was born.

Today’s traditional wedding cakes have a rich fruit cake (a sign of fertility), often a gorgeous layer of marzipan (that I can’t get enough of! ) and white fondant icing. The white colour of the bride’s cake was again a sign of purity and also one of wealth as fine white sugar would’ve been expensive back in the day. The whiter the cake the wealthier you were plus the number of tiers showed extravagance too (although often some tiers could be fake ones to save money!) Plus an alternative ‘darker’ groom’s cake alongside (perhaps in chocolate).

Photography by Farrow Photography

Traditionally, the cutting of the cake (as well as being a staple photo opportunity) was done by the bride on her own (to symbolize losing her virginity) and she would hand out the cake to ensure fertility. Nowadays it is the first task performed together as a married couple. Some couples feed each other the first slice as a sign of commitment (or smash it in each others’ faces if you’re feeling cheeky!)

With the bottom tier for cutting, the middle tier for sharing, the top tier is often saved for the first anniversary or christening.

Meanwhile, symbolic charms placed in the cake attached to ribbons can be pulled out by the bridesmaids to predict their fortunes. Plus it was thought that single people who slept with a slice of the wedding cake under their pillow would dream of their future spouse.

There is so much tradition and choices to call upon to create your wedding cake and this element continues to evolve with emerging geode cut out cakes, crystalling detail, food walls and even wedding cakes with image projections on them. Take a look at some of my other trend predictions too.

Here are some top tips from the incredibly talented Samantha from The Pretty Cake Company with a cake designer’s insight into picking your cake and a look at current wedding cake trends to consider.

Photography by Farrow PhotographyThe wedding cake will be the most prominent centrepiece of your wedding reception with the potential to be a highly decorative work of art. So deciding on what form your wedding cake should take, is one that should be given very careful consideration.

An average wedding cake now is upwards of £500 and can go into the thousands, so your requirements will dictate your budget. The costing is primarily dependent on three things, size, flavour and decoration.

When contacting cake designers it’s important to give as much information as possible. Give your anticipated guest number as this will allow the cake designer to work out what size tiers would be most appropriate. If you would like to reserve the top fruitcake tier for a first anniversary or christening then do mention that as well.

I have had clients in the past who want very tall grand wedding cakes, but not necessarily all the cake that would come with it, so think about the option of using polystyrene dummies to add extra tiers as this would help reduce the cost.

Simple sponges such as vanilla and lemon tend to be the cheapest with other most popular flavours such as chocolate, carrot and fruitcake, being more expensive due to the ingredients cost and increased time taken to make them.

Ask your cake designer what other flavours they could suggest as other flavours can often be made by adapting existing basic recipes. Other popular flavours that I have done in the past are coffee and walnut, orange and almond, lime and passion fruit, toffee and salted caramel, champagne and strawberry, but with lots of good quality flavouring extracts on the market, it’s very simple to come up with some more original suggestions.

Sometimes you can make a simple flavour more exciting by simply making the filling a bit more interesting, like lemon cake with a passionfruit curd buttercream or chocolate with a salted caramel buttercream.

Decoration is by far the most influential part of costing the cake as this is what takes the most time and requires the most skill. Things like sugar flowers, texture work and intricate pipework on the cake, can take several hours and sometimes days, so if you are on a budget, then maybe try and avoid these.

Here’s the ‘recipe’ to get the wedding cake of your dreams:

Check with your cake maker if they offer a face to face consultation, if there is a charge for it and whether cake samples would be available for tasting. It’s important that you have confidence in your cake maker and that the cakes will taste as good as they look. Some companies do charge for consultations, which might be deductible from the cost if you book.

Most reputable cake makers will have a strong portfolio of their work which will be further substantiated with websites, social media pages and recommendations from previous clients and local venues. Do your research beforehand and choose a cake maker that has experience of the styles you like (such as elegant, pretty, floral wedding cakes versus novelty wedding cakes). Respect a cake maker who is honest with you and will tell you up front that they feel that there are better people out there who can create what you want.

With weddings occurring almost any day of the week now, cake makers can be very much in demand. Ask your cake maker how many wedding cakes they take on in one week and how many people will work on it so that you know that your cake will not be compromised

I always advise my couples that once they have a date secured with their venue they should book, pay a deposit and reserve the date with their suppliers as soon as possible. Consultations and finer details can be worked out much nearer the time. Generally it’s best to book 9-12 months in advance. Often the cake is one of the first things you should book but one of the last things you should finalise as it can incorporate so many aspects of the wedding eg colours, flowers, fabric, stationery (which will only be known towards the end of the planning stage).

Ask when the deposit is required which tends to be between 25-50%. It’s always a good idea to make a note of when the balance is due to be paid. This tends to be between a month to 2 weeks before the wedding although check with your cake maker on their policies.

Let your cake maker know if there are any allergies that they need to be aware of. However, also bear in mind that, unless you are using a very large company with allergy safe environments, it could be tricky to completely eliminate the risk of cross contamination.

Think about how you want the cake displayed and how you’re going to cut it. A cake stand can dramatically change the way that a wedding cake looks and I always recommend the use of one. It adds precedence, height and is an added decorative feature. Most established cake makers will have a range of stands for hire. Some venues offer use of a cake stand as part of the package but always ask to see it beforehand, as they can be old fashioned silver stands which might not suit the style of your cake. It is generally the responsibility of the couple to return the stands within a couple of days of the wedding, unless this has been agreed prior and a collection charge has been paid.

Make sure you let your cake maker know where and when the cake is to be delivered or if you are going to collect it. Most cake makers will charge for delivery and this will also include the return journey. They will also need to know who is the point of contact at the venue as you may be otherwise busy. Plus think about where the cake is to be set up, being mindful that it shouldn’t be in direct sunlight, or have a cluttered background.

Logistics aside, the fun part is picking what it’ll look like and how it will embody the theme of your special day. Here are some current trends in wedding cakes to give you some inspiration:

  •  Chalkboard: Chalkboards are often used at weddings for place settings, order of events and direction signs, so why not follow the theme through onto the cake, and personalising with a monogram or favourite quotes and lyrics. It’s also the perfect opportunity to show off some pretty calligraphy fonts.

Photography by Neil Hanson

  • Semi naked cake: The naked cake has been around for a number of years now so it’s about time there was a new twist on it! The semi naked cake has a thin scraping of buttercream which allows the sponge to show through slightly. It gives an interesting rustic finish which looks beautiful decorated with fresh flowers and fruits.

Photography by Neil Hanson

Photography by Neil Hanson

  • Textured Buttercream: Lots of people love the thought of sinking their teeth into light fluffy sponge and a nice thick layer of delicious buttercream. So if you prefer buttercream to fondant then this is the perfect cake for you. Finished with fresh flowers, it gives an elegantly simple yet stylishly beautiful wedding cake.

Photography by Pretty Cake Company

  • Marble: Marble cakes are seeing a big revival at the moment and here is a cake which incorporates many on trend features. The marble tiers on the top and bottom are flecked with gold and the metallic drips on the bottom tier are also very fashionable. The chalkboard tier adds the opportunity for a bit of personalisation and the beautiful sugar flowers add a pretty feature which feminises the cake.

Photography by Farrow Photography

  • Ruffles/texture: Texture has been popular for a few years now and here is a cake which demonstrates texture in many ways. The vertical ruffles add an understated elegant texture; the gold sequins add sparkle and the pretty gold piping was inspired by a stationery design. Together with the sharp edge finish on this cake and the single garden rose on the top tier, this is a crisp, sleek and sophisticated wedding cake.

Photography by Neil Hanson

Photography by Neil Hanson

  • Metallic and opulence: Metallic decoration can be seen in many ways, be it, metallic leaf, metallic lustre, metallic sequins or simple enhancements with a paintbrush and edible metallic paint. Here is a grand 5 tier cake with a metallic gold leaf tier. Metallic leaf can leave a distressed finish as it is very difficult to apply, but this is part of its charm. The cake was finished off with patches of intricate lace pipework and gorgeous sugar flowers.

Photography by Neil Hanson

Photography by Neil Hanson

  • Floral romance: Cake and flowers often go together, whether the flowers are real or if they are made from sugar. Here is a selection of recent floral wedding cakes showing how diverse each one can be.

Photography by Neil Hanson

Photography by Neil Hanson


Photography by Neil Hanson

Photography by Neil Hanson

The Pretty Cake Company offers a friendly, personal and bespoke wedding cake design service to produce breath taking wedding cakes that will be remembered for years to come. They produce wedding cakes that are individual to the bride and groom – always focusing on the attention to detail that makes all the difference. They have over 10 years of experience in designing and creating wedding cakes and work closely with numerous prestigious wedding venues in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds.  They will work with you and take your ideas and inspirations in order to create a truly memorable wedding cake. They pride ourselves on using the finest quality and freshest ingredients available.

Unlike many other cake companies, they now specialise only in wedding cakes, as this is their true passion.  Now they are able to focus on keeping up to date with current bridal trends and ensuring that their clients receive expert advice in the wedding cake field.
Clients are guaranteed a friendly, efficient service where quality is never compromised. Consultations by appointment only. They are based in Minster Lovell, Witney, West Oxfordshire and can deliver to a wide area.


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