Dealing with difficult wedding guests

Dealing with difficult wedding guests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photography by Farrow Photography

 

 

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Inspiration: bright contemporary museum wedding

Inspiration: bright contemporary museum wedding

Modern museum wedding 

For some absolute wedding goals, take at look at these images from a recent photo shoot at the Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology in Oxford. The photos are picture perfect, with a modern and bright, walking work of art vibe to showcase this stand out classic wedding venue. 

Ashmolean Museum wedding venue

This venue is a beautiful hidden gem of a wedding venue. From the outside you don’t know the expanse of options that are available inside The Ashmolean Museum. It provides a truly wonderful labyrinth of options to hold a wedding or special occasion. See my wedding venue review of the Ashmolean Museum.

Decadent décor

The Ashmolean Museum gives you maximum impact with minimal effort, as the backdrop of this venue needs no help in packing a punch – the wow factor is there for you already! This is a venue which is quiet, personal and intimate, yet very much on the grand scale.

There are many options and different ways you could use a combination of the galleries for all the elements of your wedding day. Each one has it’s own character, atmosphere and capacity that can be suited to your number of guests and requirements. This shoot has images taken in: the Grand Forecourt; Ceramics Gallery; Randolph Sculpture Gallery; Grand Staircase; and the European Art Gallery.

Contemporary bridal wear

This wedding photo shoot shows modern Charlie Brear outfits including a Carson Jumpsuit; separates in the form of a Luna top and skirt; plus a low V, effortlessly cool, boho Nyika Dress.

You’ll be a living statue and your own work of art on your wedding day at this venue.

Fun florals

The stunning flowers in the bouquet, crown and arm cuff made a real statement alongside the cool architecture and simple white outfits with: Red Snaps, Astilbe Gloria, Avignon Blooms, Red Euphorbia, Brown Lisianthus, Protea, Cafe Mocca Rose, Hot Pink Lace Rose, Parvifolia, Red Robin, Mimosa and Long Ruscus.

The bright and colourful florals made this the Ashmolean and their amazing technicolour dream wedding venue.

images credits:

Venue | Ashmolean Museum | https://www.ashmolean.org/weddings
Photography | Matthew Pattimore Photography | https://www.matthewpattimorephotography.com/
Hair & make up | Rachael Capocci | https://www.rachaelcapocci.com/
Dresses | Ellie Sanderson | https://elliesanderson.co.uk/
Flowers | Flowers by Kirsty | https://www.flowersbykirsty.com/
Planner | Stacey Puffer | https://www.instagram.com/staceypuffer_weddingplanner/
Model | Andrea Taverni

As featured in OX Weddings Winter 2019 edition | http://oxweddings.co.uk/the-magazine/

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Top tips for a gin filled wedding

Top tips for a gin filled wedding

Gin filled wedding

The gin renaissance is still going strong and continues to be the on trend drink of the moment with flavoured gins being on the rise.

Here are some ways to include the nation’s favourite drink in to your wedding day courtesy of Liz Beswick, Co Founder of Collagin. She married on World Gin Day in June 2017 and had her business partner Cam Brown running the Collagin bar on the day. This, paired with insider tips and feedback from other brides she has helped, means Liz knows a lot about making a wedding a gin filled event!

Whether you are looking for ‘ginspired’ wedding décor, table pieces, wedding favours or a stand out bar, Liz shares her top tips from her personal and business experience below.

Make it personal

Everyone loves the personal touch at weddings and this is often what people remember about the big day. Put gins on the tables or behind the bar or even as wedding favours that you know your guests love. For example, place a mini bottle of Salcombe gin for Jack on table 9 to remind him of his childhood holidays but put a Cotswolds Gin for Julie on table 4 to remind her of THAT drunken hen do. The guests will be so touched by your gesture and the effort gone into knowing and thinking about your guests.

If you don’t have budget for personalised wedding favours, place gin bottles behind the bar with note tags on them explaining why you chose the gin. Or even better, create cocktail lists based on names of your guests or on your favourite places or memories as the bride and groom.

 

Use gins that compliment your colour scheme

Do you have an obvious colour scheme? If so, let the gin add to it! Bridesmaids in pink? Then only include pink gins at your wedding. Pretty pinks include Pinkster Gin, Collagin Rose or Malfy Rosa. Violet flowers? Make the centre pieces even more spectacular by including violet gins in the display. Good ones include Whitley Neill Parma Violet or Violetta. Continue your colour scheme through to the smallest touches and it will make a huge impact.

 

Make it unique

Everyone has seen all the major gin brands at weddings, so to get people talking, and to make your wedding décor or bar look different and to stand out, feature gins that people don’t see every day. This will grab attention and intrigue. Plus it will be very funny to get photos of Auntie Carol doing shots of Collagin with bridesmaid Beth after discovering the new tipple at your wedding. It might then become her favourite gin and will always remind her of your special day.

Make it different

Make the gin theme different – I am not talking about just the gin brands you use, but also how you display the gin bottles. Put fairy lights in empty bottles or use them as reed diffusers – get creative! Also, choose different tonic water brands to create a distinctive gin bar. We love Lixir tonic water as they are made by two lovely British lads. Again, the tonic water doesn’t need to be your everyday tonics so choose something unique or with a story.

 

Make it worth an Instagram post

Stack them into pyramids, decorate them with glitter, relabel them with your initials or wedding logo. Whatever you do to your gin, make them Instagrammable! If you are getting your invites designed, the same designer could create labels to stick on to gin bottles featuring your wedding design and initials or your wedding date and use them as table numbers.

Email the gin or tonic water brands about your big day

Collagin LOVE getting emails from brides. If they know you are using Collagin for décor or behind the bar at your big day, they will offer trade prices or save up their empty bottles and send them to you. Tonic waters might do the same (the smaller the brand the more likely they are to help or be less rigid with prices!)  Just explain you are a bride to be and see if they can offer reduced prices for a larger order or in exchange for lots of pictures from your wedding album. There is no harm in trying! This also works for hen do orders.

Most importantly, make sure YOU the bride and groom get a drink. It is amazing how everyone assumes you are catered for but are often the last to get their food and drink at their own wedding. So, if you are looking to drink on the big day, ask your Maid of Honour to make sure you are saved a glass of your favourite G&T.

About Collagin

Young In Spirit is the world’s first alcoholic drinks company to combine spirits with collagen, with the first drink being Collagin – gin with added collagen. The people behind the idea are gin and beauty lovers and Oxford based ‘Gintrepreneurs’ Camilla Brown and Liz Beswick who recently snared two Dragons’ in the Den.

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Join me for my next Cotswold wedding styled photo shoot

Join me for my next Cotswold wedding styled photo shoot

Following the success of the recent Secret Garden and Journey to the Centre of the Earth bridal styled shoots, Hanami Dream are proud to announce their next styled shoot for spring time this year.

The shoot is planned for this spring in the Oxfordshire countryside of the Cotswolds and I’m excited to offer the opportunity for local suppliers to join with me. So let me know if you’d like to provide products to bring my creative ideas to life in a wonderful new inspirational shoot.

 

The beauty of styled shoots (versus a real life wedding) is that this is your opportunity to be a little more extravagant and really show off what you’ve always wanted to do. You can indulge your fantasies. Maybe you’ve got a new product that couples won’t have seen yet or you want to create something really unusual that you wouldn’t normally do.

Styled shoots are a collaboration of like minded people that can create great things together but perhaps don’t have the budgets to produce this kind of work if they all worked independently.

Everyone works pro bono, so it is just your products that you’d need to provide to be involved. Nicola from Hanami Dream organises and styles the shoots. And the rewards are amazing with great imagery of your products in an amazing lifestyle surrounding, plus inclusion in all my promotion of the shoot and a feature on Hanami Dream’s blog, which is a UK Blog Awards winner in 2018 and wedding judge of the UK Blog Awards 2019. So there’d be plenty of exposure of your beautiful products.

Hanami Dream styled shoots have been published in Bride Magazine; Your Glos & Wilts Wedding magazine; Your Berks, Buck and Oxon Wedding magazine; SoGlos Weddings.

My shoots bring together wonderful local suppliers. Together we showcase the amazing talent that our part of the UK has to offer the wedding industry and all benefit from the lifestyle imagery and promotion.

If you’re local and are interested in showcasing your products in my next shoot then please email Nicola from Hanami Dream and outline what your product is and how you think it would fit in and enhance the theme. I’ve put together a mood board I can share if you want to get an idea of the kind of things that I’m after.

I am looking for some of the following (although this list isn’t exhaustive – if you can offer something I’ve not thought of I’d love to hear from you too): 

  • Accessories (jewellery, bridal hat, shoes)
  • Bridalwear (separates with one part black – maybe dip dyed)
  • Cake (dark/black icing with fresh flowers)
  • Celebrant (and clothing)
  • Décor (dark, reflective and metallic)
  • Favours
  • Florist (wild flowers, dried flowers and grasses)
  • Hair & Make Up
  • Lighting (neon)
  • Suit (and dark floral tie)
  • Stationery (mirrors and bright florals)
  • Tableware (unusual crockery, cutlery, coloured glassware)

I’ll only be including one supplier from each category (ie only one florist will be used for the whole shoot) to provide clarity and clear communication.

You can see from my previous shoots that I really like close up detail shots which show off everyone’s products very nicely – it is all about the little details that bring any event to life.

I look forward to sharing more news as plans unfold for this collaboration.

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Inspiration: coral and gold festival wedding

Inspiration: coral and gold festival wedding

A laid back celebration in August 2016 saw the relaxed festival wedding of Verity and Paul at The Isis Farmhouse in Oxford.

 

 

Relaxed and laid back vibe

This wedding was a real break from tradition with loads of beautiful handmade touches and a ton of personalisation. It fully embraced the festival trend and utilised the truly creative skills of the bride to diy many elements of the day. It seems like the perfect time to share this casual wedding – not only is the theme bang on trend but it also features the summery coral colour that is the Pantone® colour of the year in 2019.

Above everything else, this was a true celebration of love and family. It was a chilled out day with friends, less about structure and more an informal and fluid affair. Not overtly lavish but heaps of fun. With the focus on the people who were there.

Rural remote meadow view

The festivities began in the centre of Oxford where the happy couple officially tied the knot at a ceremony at the Town Hall. This was a day of two halves though. From town to countryside. After the ceremony, the whole wedding party walked together through the city centre. Then had a lovely drinks reception whilst on a boat ride down the Thames to the Isis Farmhouse. A stunning rural setting in Oxford’s flood meadows alongside the river was perfect for the wedding reception. You can only reach this venue by foot, pedal power or by boat. Around the back of the Farmhouse is a covered barn and a meadowside garden which was great for this relaxed celebration.

Rustic festival décor

The barn was set up with long trestle tables laid out in two lines. Along the centre of each table was linen, which draped off each end, with an array of brightly patterned mismatched vases containing wild flowers. The displays were mirrored by the flowers and plants hanging in macramé holders (made or collected by the bride) above the tables. These flowers were provided by a lovely friend who grows cut flowers in her garden and were arranged by the bride.

The bride made the place names which were cut out gold glittery lettering, plus a nice ice breaker card containing things to spot and capture was placed on each table. In addition, the bride had designed the napkins herself which contained drawings of important places and things throughout the couple’s history together.

Gold accents

The bride wore a gorgeous end of line strapless fitted fishtail satin dress with a chiffon capelet with bat sleeves. She accented this with Betty Ballroom gold high heel shoes, a gold hair vine and gold belt. Her hand tied wild flower bouquet in coral and gold colours was from an amazing flower farm near Wallingford who arranged the bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets. She also held a vintage beaded ivory clutch bag. The chief bridesmaid wore a gold sequined dress to match the gold accents beautifully and the flower girls wore ivory dresses with gold bodices and ribbons (also made by the bride).

Creative catering

Food was served at the tables and consisted of a hearty lasagne or moussaka with healthy salads, plus a rustic buffet for the evening guests. The venue catered perfectly for vegetarian and vegan diets to ensure all guests were content. The two cakes (one lemon and the other chocolate) were also made by the venue and incorporated fantasy and action figures in lieu of a bride and groom topper (that the couple decorated themselves).

Entertainment for children of all sizes

The main focus of the day was to encourage guests to mingle and keep children (big and small) entertained with colouring, wands and a bubble refill station. There were postcards for guests to sign which would be sent to the couple and polaroids were taken of all the guests for a pictorial guest book. The day ended with guests dancing along to crowd pleasing classics on the dance floor.

Practical favours

The gifts for guests echoed the vibe of the whole day. They were handmade, low key and had purpose. Guests could pick which soap to take home, with a choice of either lavender or rose and geranium. These were boxed, branded and served in a vintage case. Plus there were some seeds to take away too, in order to sow in your own garden, share the love and remember this charming day in years to come.

Venue | The Isis Farmhouse | http://www.theisisfarmhouse.co.uk
Photography | Kitson Photography | http://www.kitsonphotography.com
Hair & make up | Lauren Wheeler | https://www.laurenwheeler.co.uk/
Shoes | Red or Dead | https://www.redordead.com/
Bouquets | Green & Gorgeous | https://www.greenandgorgeousflowers.co.uk/
Flower arrangements | cut flowers from a friend’s garden | arranged by bride
Favours, place settings & stationery | handmade by bride
Cakes | The Isis Farmhouse | http://www.theisisfarmhouse.co.uk

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Dreaming of a white christmas (wedding)

Dreaming of a white christmas (wedding)

This time of year often signals the end of the busy summer wedding season, though many couples are now seeing the benefits of having an off peak winter wedding.

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

There’s loads of great reasons why having a winter wedding will bring you comfort and joy:

Good for your pocket

Off peak weddings could be better on your budget plus wedding suppliers may have more availability at this time of year.

Bride looking down in front of moongate | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk

Decor taken care of

Some venues may already have their Christmas decoration up which could mean you don’t have to worry too much about decorating the space any further.

Chivari chairs wth chiffon drops and lavender | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk

Rich colour palette

The rich warm winter colours are luxurious and comforting plus lend themselves for extravagant textures of velvet and gold metallic décor.

Menu and floral display on table | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk

Dreaming of a white Christmas

Let’s be honest snow on your winter wedding would be the ultimate romantic weather scenario (providing your venue isn’t too hard to reach), so it’s exciting that there might be a chance of snow for some stunning wedding pictures.

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

Wet weather plans in hand

Contrary to a summer wedding, there seems to be less pressure about the weather for a winter wedding as you won’t be expecting it to be super sunny, so you’ll make inside plans regardless.

RSVP card on sheep skin rug | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk

Wrap up warm

No fear of fainting like in the summer heat or sweating in all your attire. Guys can go to town in a full three piece suit and ladies can keep warm in wraps, boleros and fake fur.

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

Embrace hygge theme

With the nights drawing in earlier and light fading quickly, there lots of opportunities for romantic lighting options like candles and huddling up round a firepit toasting marshmallows.

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

Holidays are coming

If you have a wedding around Christmas or New Year then your guests might already be off work anyway, so they won’t need to take any extra holiday to come to your big day.

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

Fresh wedding season

Your guests shouldn’t be too ‘wedding-ed’ out as they may not be going to as many other weddings at this time of year. Plus your wedding may look more unique as it will utilise flowers and produce from a different season to popular summer weddings.

Marble cake with sugar succulent cascade | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk

Fly off for some winter sunshine

There are some good rates around for honeymoons at this time of year and travel to some tropical countries is better as it won’t be during wet or stormy season.

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

Images on this page are taken by Squib Photography from Hanami Dream’s journey to the centre of the earth styled shoot at Oxleaze Barn. See all the fabulous suppliers that were involved in this styled shoot.

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Royal wedding part two

Royal wedding part two

Obviously, I love a good wedding and even more so a royal one. Well, if you wait longer enough then two come along at once and we’ve certainly been spoilt for royal weddings this year!

I was glued to the television once again on Friday to see Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank get married for the Royal Wedding part two. Yes, it may only be 5 months since the last one, and yes, it was at the same venue of Windsor Castle again, but this wedding sequel still offered new trends and insights.

Photography by Farrow Photography

Royal wedding trends

You can guarantee that a royal wedding is sure to be a lavish affairs and an exaggerated Pinterest fantasy that will influence trends and weddings to come. Who can forget the puff ball dress of Eugenie’s mother on her wedding day to Prince Andrew in the 1980s.

And the affect of Kate and William’s royal wedding in 2011 is still apparent now as couples continue to choose to have trees inside at their weddings. Likewise, Harry and Meghan’s wedding prompted further foliage and minimalist trends – here’s my Royal Wedding Fever report from earlier this year.

I love seeing emerging trends and things that may influence weddings in the future.

Photography by Farrow Photography

Fashion colours

Along with the happy couple, the (celebrity) guests arriving gives a glimpse of fashion colours and trends. This wedding called for traditional morning suits to be worn, which even Cara Delevingne sported. The other ladies had to keep hold of their hats as it was such a windy day.

Guests wore bold seasonal colours of bright pink, greens, navy and pastel pink. Whilst the mother of the bride and Princess Eugenie’s sister and chief bridesmaid wore emerald green and royal blue respectively. Princess Beatrice topped off her outfit with a royal blue alice band hat – another new evolution in the hat world and perhaps playing it safe consider the weather (and previous hat faux pas that this Princess has fallen foul of!)

Photography by Farrow Photography

Art & culture influences

You could see nods of the Princess’s love of the art world in a number of elements at the royal wedding including the green and blue sashes that the bridesmaids wore which incorporated the Mark Bradford artwork also in the Order or Service. Their sashes also brought together the outfit colours of Sarah Ferguson and Princess Beatrice.

Green also featured on the Bride’s Russian inspired tiara with emeralds, which was borrowed from the queen.

Additionally the jacquard print of the wedding dress, by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, contained symbolic emblems such as a thistle (to represent their love of Scotland) which was echoed in her bouquet; a shamrock (for the Ferguson family); a York rose; and trailing ivy (to symbolise their home) which she also carried in her bouquet.

The cut and style of the dress were elegant and simple with long sleeves, nipped in waist, full pleated skirt and a voluptuous long train. The beautiful portrait neckline, with a nearly off the shoulder look, provided a low back feature. Also with the decision to omit wearing a veil, the low back showed that the Princess was not afraid to her scars.

Photography by Farrow Photography

Seasonality

For me the star of the show was the flowers. Once again, I was blown away by the floral display up the steps and around the west door of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle where the royal wedding took place.

The theme of the wedding really celebrated nature and the season with leaves, berries, foliage and flowering branches foraged from Windsor Great Park. I love the immense autumnal vibe and the idea of using what nature has provided and going out to collect and bring back what you find. There were roses, hydrangeas, dahlias and berries in bright, bold oranges, pinks and purples. Plus those impressive liquid amber trees standing proud (albeit a little blowing in the wind) either side of the entrance.

The rich floral colours reminded me of a Wind in the Willows photo shoot that I did that encapsulated those deep autumnal colours.

Photography by Farrow Photography

Traditional versus modern

The wedding fell on the anniversary of the first Oktoberfest which originally celebrated a royal wedding in 1810. This wedding seamlessly blended traditional royal elements along with modern millennial thinking. It was a true celebration of the things and people that they love and wanted to be a part of their special day. As well as the pomp and ceremony of the ceremony, they had a two celebration with a festival and funfair themed party.

Their reading was far from traditional with an excerpt from The Great Gatsby and like so many brides nowadays, Eugenie chose not to obey her new husband.

It was good to learn that they had banned plastic from their wedding with the environment being a hot topic on everyone’s lips at the moment.

Plus they decided to shy away from tradition with their wedding cake, and enjoy a red velvet and chocolate wedding cake.

For me, Eugenie and Jack’s wedding conveyed some great messages: celebrating nature, embracing culture, thinking seasonally and considering the environment. Plus Princess Eugenie made a massive statement by not wearing a veil – to be proud of who you are and not to hide your scars.

Photography by Farrow Photography

Finding the perfect wedding dress

Finding the perfect wedding dress

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

wedding dress trends

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

style of wedding dress

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

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

THE wedding dress

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

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

budget

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

research

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

shopping

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

support

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

alterations

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

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

final fitting

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

accessories

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

About Heart Accomplice

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

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

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image credits:

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


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Children at weddings

Children at weddings

wedding guest list

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

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

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

who to invite

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

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

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

children at weddings

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

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

entertaining children at weddings

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

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

1. Think about the flow of the day

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

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

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

3. Involve children guests in parts of the wedding day

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

4. Bring the generations together

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

About Hedgerow Circus

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


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5 reasons tiny weddings rock

5 reasons tiny weddings rock

Tiny wedding trend

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

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

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

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

2. You will avoid the most common planning nightmares.

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

3. You can spend your money more wisely.

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

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

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

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

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

About Tiny Weddings

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

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

About Tiny Weddings’s hosts

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

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

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