#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 http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/category/traditions/ #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.

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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
www.farrowphotography.com

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
www.farrowphotography.com

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.

SIZE
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.

FLAVOUR
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
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:

1. CONSULTATION
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.

2. EXPERIENCE
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.

3. AVAILABILITY
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
.

4. BOOK IN ADVANCE
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).

5. DEPOSIT
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.

6. DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
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.

7. ACCESSORIES
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.

8. DELIVERY
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
http://www.nordicpics.co.uk

  • 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 www.nordicpics.co.uk

Photography by Neil Hanson www.nordicpics.co.uk

  • 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
www.farrowphotography.com

  • 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 www.nordicpics.co.uk

Photography by Neil Hanson www.nordicpics.co.uk

  • 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 www.nordicpics.co.uk

Photography by Neil Hanson www.nordicpics.co.uk

  • 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 www.nordicpics.co.uk

Photography by Neil Hanson www.nordicpics.co.uk

 

Photography by Neil Hanson www.nordicpics.co.uk

Photography by Neil Hanson www.nordicpics.co.uk

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.

twitter-1@Prettycakeco

facebook logo@The-Pretty-Cake-Company-Witney-Oxfordshire

instagram logo@theprettycakecompany

 

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 21st December 2016 – weddings traditions quiz

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 21st December 2016 – weddings traditions quiz

#UKWedLunch – Wednesday 21st December 2016

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 was the original meaning of the word ‘bride’? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 2: Which is said to be the unluckiest day to get married on? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 3: Tiered cakes emerged from a game where couples tried to do what over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 4: If the younger of 2 sisters marries first, what must the older one do at the wedding or risk not finding a partner? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 5: In Denmark, what would couples dress up as to confuse evil spirits? #UKWedLunch

QUESTION 6: What do Czechs throw at newlyweds instead of rice? #UKWedLunch

Hope you’ve had fun! Here are the answers: A1= cook, A2= Saturday, A3= kiss, A4= dance barefoot, A5= each other, A6= peas #UKWedLunch

Congratulations if you got all the questions correct. See more wedding traditions on Hanami Dream blog http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/category/traditions/#UKWedLunch

Look forward to seeing you again in 2017 from Wednesday 4th Jan 1-2pm for more wedding planning chat #UKWedLunch

All the very best for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! #UKWedLunch

Having a break from wedding planning chat next week, but there will be a round up of top posts from 2016. Feel free to tweet yours to #UKWedLunch on Wed 1-2pm

Wedding traditions: Language of flowers

Wedding traditions: Language of flowers

In Victorian times, it was popular for people to use hidden gestures to communicate their feelings and often they would covey these with flowers as they connected them each with it’s own meaning. It was an elaborate code for lovers or suitors to send messages to each other.

Another custom is to spell out the name of your future spouse using the initial letters of the flowers. Even Kate Middleton had Sweet William flowers in her wedding bouquet to Prince William.

Nowadays, you could use the meaning of flowers to help narrow down your selection for your wedding flowers. (Don’t forget to also consider what is in season, traditions and the colours of flowers too).

Photography by Farrow Photography

Here’s a list of some meanings of flowers to help with your wedding flower decision:

  • Acacia: friendship
  • Agapanthus: secret love
  • Apple Blossom: good fortune
  • Aster: contentment
  • Azalea: abundance
  • Carnation: fascination / love
  • Chrysanthemum (red): I love you / sharing
  • Chrysanthemum (white): truth
  • Daffodil: regards
  • Dahlia: dignity and elegance
  • Daisy: innocence
  • Forget Me Not: true love / remembrance
  • Freesia: trust
  • Gypsophila: innocence
  • Heather: luck
  • Honeysuckle: generosity
  • Hyacinth (white): loveliness
  • Hydrangea: vanity
  • Iris: faith
  • Ivy: good Luck / eternal fidelity
  • Jasmine: amiability
  • Lavender: distrust
  • Lilac: first love
  • Lily: purity
  • Lily of the Valley: return of happiness
  • Lisianthus: calming / appreciation
  • Magnolia: perseverance
  • Marigold: grief
  • Orchid: beauty
  • Peony: bashful
  • Rose: love
  • Snowdrop: hope
  • Sunflower: adoration
  • Sweet pea: pleasure
  • Tulip: love
  • Violet: faithfulness

This is by know means an exhaustive list but just a starting guide to begin thinking about what meanings are associated with flowers for your big day. Take a look at some other blog posts on colours, seasonality and tradition of flowers at weddings.

Wedding traditions: What colour to marry in

Wedding traditions: What colour to marry in

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.

Photography by Farrow Photography

There are many superstitions surrounding what the bride wears (see our post Wedding traditions: Don’t forget the silver sixpence in your shoe!) and it is often said that is unlucky for:

  • the bride to make her own dress
  • the groom to see the bride in her dress before the ceremony
  • the bride to wear her entire outfit before the wedding day

Bridal wear is really seeing a big shift in trends to provide new, innovative and unusual styles to make sure the bride makes a statement and is different to any other on her big day. Trends that are appearing on the catwalks include: mix & match separates, crop tops, high necklines, off the shoulder, asymmetric hems, backless dresses and plunging v necks on the back. For the more daring and alternative bride there’s fringing, jumpsuits, palazzo pants, peakaboo skirts or even capes.

Rather than a plain dress, some brides are opting for a floral one or even camo print (which is starting to be really popular in the US – not necessarily in classic hunting camo but more pink or snow camo, or accessorising the traditional camo with orange accents!) Plus the recent bridal fashion shows for Spring/Summer 2017 also saw a shift towards pastel and even black dresses.

This may seem like a turn away from the traditional white wedding dress, however, it’s not that long ago that white wasn’t the usual colour to wear for your wedding day either. White was actually seen as quite an impractical colour as it would show the dirt and therefore you’d probably only get one wear out of it. So it was seen as a colour worn by the wealthy and not common as a wedding dress colour. Whilst modern culture symbolised white as a pure colour, you nearly always see the Virgin Mary depicted in blue as it reflects calm and purity. In fact, until the 15th century in the UK, white was seen (and is still in some cultures) as a sign of mourning.

Until Queen Victoria in 1840, most British royal brides wore silver. However her beautiful white lace court dress influenced the trend for white dresses in all brides as before this time they would’ve worn their Sunday best dress. In fact, red dresses were often a popular choice and this colour remains popular (and lucky) in Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Korean cultures. Then during World War 2, brides wore nice tailored suits or even their uniforms.

As the wearing of white wasn’t such a common occurrence, it’s no surprise that there was a rhyme to determine which colour would bring the most luck:

Married in white, you have chosen alright.

Married in grey, you will go far away.

Married in black, you will wish yourself back.

Married in red, You will wish yourself dead.

Married in green, ashamed to be seen.

Married in blue, you will always be true

Married in pearl, you will live in a whirl

Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow.

Married in brown, you will live in the town

Married in pink, your spirit will sink

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

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

1910s wedding versus 2010s wedding

Imagine planning your wedding without the internet, without your smart phone, or without Pinterest! Goodness, imagine if you didn’t even have a ball point pen to quickly jot down ideas in a notebook! Rewind a hundred years and you’d be planning a wedding without technology and the advancements we are lucky to have nowadays.

However the 1910s did see the invention of some amazing things that we now take for granted like the bras that we wear and anything with a zip. Thanks to the inventions of that decade we don’t have to be without electricity in our homes, telephones, fridges, vacuum cleaners, plasters, stainless steel, tea bags, instant coffee, pyrex and pop up toasters. Transport wise the 1910s saw amazing firsts for flying machines and motor cars becoming more widespread. Plus for entertainment the first crossword puzzle came about in the 1910s as well as hand cranked movie cameras, neon lighting and fortune cookies.

I’ve recently been thinking about this era as my mother has been researching our family history and came across an amazing photograph of my grandfather’s parent’s wedding from 1911. We were amazed at the grandeur of their wedding considering that they both worked in service and so wouldn’t have been able to afford such a grand wedding.

Think Downtown Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs. My ancestors would have definitely been the ‘downstairs’! The 1911 census said that one out of every seven employed persons was a domestic servant. Yet despite their position, their wedding was quite a lavish affair. My Grandad often said he thought that the ‘upstairs’ helped with the wedding and also that the chief bridesmaid’s employer helped too.

Their wedding certificate said that they lived in Scott Ellis Gardens. This was a stone’s throw away from St John’s Wood in London, home of Lord’s Cricket Ground and near the famous Abbey Road studio. Scott Ellis Gardens was built on land owned by Lord Howard de Walden.

Their wedding took place on 5th June 1911 at St Mark’s Church, Hamilton Terrace, NW8. It was on a Monday, which according to the traditional rhyme was said to mean the bride would be healthy (watch out for more on wedding traditions and superstitions in future blog posts) and the bride was driven there by coach and pair (a coach drawn by a pair of horses). What struck me about the date is that it is almost exactly 100 years before my own wedding on 5th August of 2011.

1911 was a time before any world wars, when there was no NHS, no vote for women and you could’ve gone out to work at 13 years old. It saw the launch of the ocean liner RMS Titanic in Belfast (which we know didn’t enjoy the happiest of voyages), there was a big heatwave, as well as the Coronation of George V in June.

Wagstaff family tree

My Great Grandad, Albert Edward Wagstaff was 20 at the time of his wedding and worked as a woollen warehouseman at a large firm called Holland and Sherry in London. He married my Great Nan, Sophie Elizabeth Piggott who was 22. They were at least a decade younger than the age I was when I walked down the aisle, although they were relatively old to marry in those days.

How different my dress looked compared to my Great Nan’s. Hers was a long sleeved, high necked and flowing gown versus my strapless, sleeveless, tight fitting dress. Her bridesmaids wore flowers on broad brimmed hats and wore their own Sunday best outfits, versus my bridesmaids with sophisticated chignons and custom made dresses for the day. My Great Nan had a floral crown, which wasn’t a trend when I got married 4 years ago, but is already having a revival now. One thing that I was keen to mirror was to have a big bouquet which my Nan in the 1940s also had on her big day.

The men were wearing their best suits (which didn’t match with each other) and we can see that the tradition of buttonholes hasn’t altered much in 100 years. However my Great Grandad does look particularly dapper. He handled very good quality materials at work (mostly in suitings for gentlemen and ladies costumes) and was often able to buy remnants. So he always had very good suits made for himself and beautiful costumes for his wife. Perhaps this is why they look so smart on their wedding day.

I love looking at how weddings have changed over the years and also how some traditions have continued to be upheld. (Take a look at our Wedding time capsule post for details of other trends.) Despite the technology and tools we have nowadays, our wedding photos don’t look too dissimilar to those of a hundred years ago and weddings remain constant events in our society with many common and recurring features. Maybe things haven’t changed too much in the last 100 years after all.

wagstaff wedding 1911

Back row (left to right): William (Albert’s older brother), the groom Albert Edward, William (Albert’s father), 2 ladies unknown, Frank (Albert’s youngest brother who went missing in the war)

Middle row: Avis (Albert’s sister), Jinny (Albert’s sister), the bride Sophie Elizabeth, Ruth (best friend and chief bridesmaid who was a cook at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton), Avis (Albert’s mother who my own Grandad was terrified of her and called the Countess!)

Front row: children unknown

This post is dedicated to my Grandfather who sadly passed away this month aged nearly 92. He was an inspirational man and played an important and influential part of my life. He was kind, generous, wise, fun loving and always thinking of others.

Over the years, Grandad’s moving speeches (and bright orange shirts) were always so poignant and he would always end a speech by saying how proud we had made him. On this occasion, I feel I’m allowed to say that Grandad did us proud.

 

Happy Wedding Anniversary!

Happy Wedding Anniversary!

The summer is a really special time of the year for me. Not only is it the height of the wedding season but it is also when I celebrate my own wedding anniversary with my lovely husband. We had such a beautiful wedding day spent with all our friends and family and we love to look back on the day with great fondness.

Celebrating your wedding day (and more importantly the passing commitment of your marriage) is often celebrated with a specific gift based on the number of years you have been married. This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages and the gifts relate to bringing luck to the couple. The gifts increase in value to reflect the time that the couple have invested in their marriage and each other.

To mark our anniversary my 87 year old Nan (despite being self-titled Mad Nan) always gets it right with our anniversary gift. She still relies on her trusting diary and with the aid of the lists at the back can easily identify which gift corresponds to which anniversary. This year she bought us a beautiful pot plant, last year was leather bookmarks, before that was a sewing kit with cotton reels in it and she gave us books the first year.

I’m truly lucky to have seen both sets of my grandparents reach their diamond wedding anniversary (60th). A feat that will be harder for our generation to achieve so readily. Until their passing, it was a joy to see my grandparents walking down the promenade holding hands, or squeezing each other’s knees and still so much in love. On my wedding day, my grandfather (he’s now nearly 92) gave me away and his advice to a long and loving marriage was good communication. He said to keep talking about everything and never to go to bed on an argument.

I remember going to many silver and ruby family anniversaries as a child and thinking that it was such a long amount of time to have spent doing anything. They were always amazing occasions and sometimes the only time we saw some of our distant relatives. One set of my grandparents always had big wedding anniversary parties. I went to their 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th parties and it was so special to celebrate with them and see how much everyone had changed every 10 years. When my grandparents had their 50th anniversary we put together a big food hamper and had great fun collecting together any food and other products with gold in the title (Gold Blend, All Gold, Golden Syrup, Golden Wonder, St Ivel Gold, Golden Grahams etc. You’ll be looking now next time you’re in the supermarket!)

Lots of couples nowadays are choosing to renew their vows more often and have another wedding celebration, as well as having anniversary parties to mark milestone years.

Meanwhile, some other popular trends include buying your new spouse an 0th anniversary present which is a gift to celebrate your wedding day such as cuff links, jewellery or a photo album.

Another way to celebrate long marriages might be with an anniversary dance at a wedding instead of throwing the bouquet. This is when you ask couples to all enjoy a dance together on the dance floor. One by one, the couples are asked to sit down during the song based on the length of their time together. The last couple on the dance floor will be the longest-married couple and they receive the bouquet. What a wonderful way to celebrate their togetherness!

If you don’t have a paper diary with those handy reference pages then you might want to take a look below at our compiled list of both traditional and modern themes. Some of the gifts in the traditional column have options depending on which side of the pond you want to take inspiration from! There are also lists in my Mad Nan’s diary for which flowers to give as gifts depending on the wedding anniversary year, as well gemstone gifts per year. What a font of knowledge my Nan ends up being!

Year Traditional Modern
1st Paper Clock
2nd Cotton China
3rd Leather Crystal / Glass
4th Fruit / Flowers OR
Linen / Silk
Appliances
5th Wood Silverware
6th Iron / Sweets Wood
7th Copper / Wool Desk Set
8th Salt / Bronze Linen/Lace
9th Willow / Pottery Leather
10th Aluminium / Tin Diamond
11th Steel Jewellery
12th Silk / Linen Pearls
13th Lace Textiles/Fur
14th Ivory Gold Jewellery
15th Crystal Watches
20th China Platinum
25th Silver Silver
30th Pearl Diamond
35th Coral Jade
40th Ruby Ruby
45th Sapphire Sapphire
50th Gold Gold
55th Emerald Emerald
60th Diamond Diamond
65th Blue Sapphire Blue Sapphire
70th Platinum Platinum
80th Oak Oak

Whether you’re celebrating your 0th anniversary, 25th, 30th, 40th or planning to make a new anniversary then we wish you a very happy one.

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(Honey)mooning over the summer

(Honey)mooning over the summer

Friday 31st July, 2015 saw the rare occurrence of a blue moon. So named due to the frequency of the event rather than the colour of the moon. It happens every few years when there are two full moons in the same calendar month. The next one won’t be until 2018, so it really only happens ‘once in a blue moon’.

It’s interesting how the word ‘moon’ features in many common sayings and phrases. For example,’ once in a blue moon’ refers to something extremely rare.

Other ‘moon’ based idioms can mean striving for the best, longing for something, pining for something, extravagant promises, being extremely happy or can relate to the length of a lunar cycle (around a calendar month).

One common term based on a lunar month is ‘honeymoon’ (a word used a lot in conjunction with our favourite topic of weddings!) This word is said to come from the 5th century when a man would have captured his bride. The couple would hide for a full cycle of the moon after the wedding. During this month the newlywed couple drank mead (or honey wine) which is believed to have aphrodisiac properties.

Nowadays, a honeymoon is the holiday that newlyweds choose to take after the wedding to celebrate their marriage and spend time alone together (and recover from the wedding!) Traditionally the honeymoon was organised and paid for by the groom.

Honeymoon destinations vary wildly from exotic or far flung places to romantic or sentimental locations. The world really is your oyster! If you’re going abroad, don’t forget to consider whether you’ll be travelling in your maiden name or married name (if you choose to change it). Whichever you decide, make sure your passport and tickets have the same name on them. See our checklist of other documents and organisations to tell about your change of name too.

So whether you’re planning your honeymoon now or you went ‘many moons ago’, we’re sure you’ll be ‘over the moon’ as your partner ‘promised you the moon’. Don’t ‘moon over’ the places you haven’t visited yet, instead make sure you ‘shoot for the moon’ and ensure your holidays away together are not just ‘once in a blue moon’.

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked the moon had turned to gold

Blue moon
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart 1934

 

Wedding traditions: Don’t forget the silver sixpence in your shoe!

Wedding traditions: Don’t forget the silver sixpence in your shoe!

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.

One such tradition stems from an old English rhyme concerning items that the bride should wear or carry to bring her luck on her special day.

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.

The full version of the rhyme includes the line about a silver sixpence which sadly sometimes gets forgotten. The rhyme is said to originate in Victorian times although some of the traditions are thought to be much older.

Something old:
This represents the link with the bride’s family and friends from the past. The object is commonly an heirloom such as jewellery or a garter and is passed on to offer good luck from a happily married woman.

Something new:
This item symbolises a happy and prosperous new life. Often this item is the wedding dress.

Something borrowed:
This lent item is to remind the bride that her friends and family will be there for her whenever she needs their help. The borrowed object must be returned to ensure good luck.

Something blue:
This item symbolises faithfulness and loyalty. The colour blue often represented purity in olden times. Sometimes the bride’s garter is the blue item or you could add a pop of colour to your outfit in the form of blue shoes or blue nail varnish. This item usually leads to great levels of creativity!

And a silver sixpence in her shoe:
Then comes the last line that is so often missed out. This part of the rhyme is about placing a silver sixpence in the bride’s left shoe to ensure the couple have wealth in the future (both financial and happiness). It is thought that this tradition came about in Elizabethan times when the Lord of the Manor would have often given a sixpence as a wedding gift to any brides that lived on his land. It also harks back to times when the bride’s parents would offer a dowry.

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

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