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Socially distanced hen party ideas

Socially distanced hen party ideas

2020 continues to force us to think of alternative and creative ways to celebrate milestone occasions. Weddings can now take place with up to 30 people (within government guidelines). Many weddings have been postponed or paired down.

Here are some alternative ways you could hold a socially distanced hen party in 2020 so the build up and preparations don’t get overlooked:

Host a virtual hen party from the comfort of your own home

Get all the hens online with a drink in hand and enjoy all the usual hen party games at home. Party game classics include:

  • Mr and Mrs game
  • Drinking games
  • How Well Do You Know The Bride quiz
  • Who in the room? party game
  • Cards Against Humanity (who now have an online game)
  • Cheeky charades

Other online activities can be done together such as:

  • virtual cocktail classes
  • virtual scavenger hunt
  • virtual wine tasting
  • online escape rooms
  • video chat quizzes
  • watch a comedy gig or film at the same time as each other

Send party bags in advance

If you’re meeting virtually, you can send the party bags in advance for activities to be used together on the night. Or send masks for hens to personalise in advance of the party or provide hand sanitiser for everyone.

In lieu of a memory book, put together a digital book of photos and memories or video messages from all the hens to play on the night or as a gift for the bride to be to treasure.

Weekend away

Quarantine rules when travelling abroad are changing regularly so big weekends away may be off the cards at the moment for some hens. If you do choose to travel in the UK or further afield then consider booking individual hotel rooms rather than cottages or shared facilities at the moment.

Private rooms

Private dining experiences for small groups with minimal contact may be an option at some point, although at present there are restrictions around booking numbers in restaurants.

Outdoor activities

Whilst the weather is still good, you could gather a small number of hens together outside to take part in a socially distanced activity including a visit to an outdoor cinema, zoo or theme park. Or why not try geocaching, footgolf, a scavenger hunt or a social distanced picnic.

Host a hen party in your own garden

Picnic parties have become the hottest trend in 2020 and can take place in a home garden. A party picnic is a take on the usual checked blanket and straw hamper, but far more luxurious. Think low level trestle tables adorned with fresh flowers, candles, place settings, scatter cushions and blankets, teepees and belltents.

A picnic party also involves home comforts since it can be hosted in your own garden. This allows a more personal celebration where older or younger relatives can be included, without the worry of age restrictions or mobility issues. A great option to celebrate without breaking the bank with prices from as little as £12 per person and everything you need (minus the food). Event planners like The Party Picnic Co will work with you to make your vision a reality. Matching the party perfectly to the bride – no matter how quirky.

about The Party Picnic Co

Event planners like The Party Picnic Co will work with you to make your vision a reality. The best thing about using a supplier is that you can opt for as much or as little involvement on the day. The Party Picnic Co will take care of the complete setup, planning and styling so all you have to do is turn up on the day.

 instagram logo@thepartypicnicco


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Alternatives to walking down the aisle with your father

Alternatives to walking down the aisle with your father

social distancing rules

Due to the current government restrictions for weddings during the corona virus pandemic, you may have to rethink some of your wedding plans. Unless you live in the same household as your father, you may need to omit the tradition of walking down the aisle arm in arm.

Photography by Squib Photography

walking down the aisle

In order to keep within social distancing rules, you may want to think more creatively with some novel ways to be given away:

  • walk yourself
  • walk with a pet
  • both have an entrance, one after the other
  • both walk down together
  • both enter from either side of altar
  • processional bridal party followed by guests
  • make the guests walk in with couple already waiting at the altar
  • walk around seats set in a circle or spiral
  • video montage played on a screen of those who can’t be at the ceremony
  • make a bouquet whilst collecting flowers from guests (one for when social distance restrictions are lifted)

Let’s rewrite wedding traditions. This is the chance to do things differently – your way.

I’d love to hear if you’re having a wedding in the next few months and to hear how you’ve creatively dealt with the restrictions.

Photography by Squib Photography

Images on this page taken by Squib Photography from Hanami Dream’s secret garden styled shoot at Cogges Manor Farm. See all the fabulous suppliers that were involved in this styled shoot.

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New rules for weddings during a pandemic

New rules for weddings during a pandemic

Fourth of July

We’ve now been in lockdown for over 100 days, due to the Corona virus (COVID-19), and things are beginning to slowly ease to allow the economy to kick start again (for now at least).

The fourth of July will be a monumental date for most of England as more things open up. But rather than a focus on independence, the day also marks the time that couples can start to tie the knot again.

Since 23rd March, weddings and civil partnerships have been banned in England due to lockdown. But from 4th July they can now take place again. However there will be a number of restrictions in order for these to be able to go ahead, providing they are safe and follow guidelines.

Photography by Squib Photography

The new guidance from the government on weddings and civil partnerships in England includes:

No more than 30 people in total at ceremony

This not only includes the couple, family and friends but also any suppliers, officiants and witnesses (but not including staff at the venue). Venues will keep a register of every visitor for at least 21 days for track and trace purposes. Some venues will be also be able to help with remote participation at home for those guests that can’t be there in person.

Photography by Squib Photography

No wedding receptions

At most, couples can hold a very small reception after the ceremony. Although this can be with only two households indoors, or up to 6 people from different households outdoors. Face to face seating is being discouraged. On the adverse, this could be a real money saving aspect as the reception is often the most expensive part of a wedding.

Photography by Squib Photography

No food and drink

Nothing is supposed to be consumed as part of the event. Meanwhile, there is some discussion at the moment about reducing vat on the hospitality industry sector (to only 5%) to encourage spending. All this will help the wedding budget and will help couples save up to possibly have a sequel wedding or separate reception next year or at another time.

Photography by Squib Photography

Not too long

The advice is to keep things to a minimum and mainly keep to the legal bits. The official bit is actually only about 10 minutes long. Any order of service should be one use and guests will be encouraged to take their sheets away with them.

Photography by Squib Photography

No walking down the aisle

Unless you live in the same household as your father, you may need to omit the tradition of walking down the aisle arm in arm. However, lockdown has certainly got people thinking more creatively, so I’m sure there will be some novel ways to be given away within social distancing rules. Look out for my alternative suggestions for this part of the ceremony coming soon.

Photography by Squib Photography

No singing

To avoid the spread of the virus via droplets, you can’t raise your voices to say your vows and one person is to speak at a time (or you may need Perpspex clear screens). Singing will not be allowed and instruments that are blown into aren’t permitted either. You are able to have organ music or you can use recordings instead. But you can not play loud music, as this would mean that people may need to shout to be heard or lean in to hear.

Photography by Squib Photography

Hand washing

On top of the usual advice, handwashing will be especially important before and after exchanging rings. And rings shouldn’t be handled by too many people either.

Photography by Squib Photography

Social distancing

Staying apart from people is still the key message and guests are advised to keep to the 2 metre rule (or 1 metre plus extra safety measures such as face masks or screens). Venues are being encouraged to improve their ventilation and to tape floors to help people keep their distance. Whilst you won’t have the stress of the seating plan at a reception, you may want to think about how and where people sit in the church or ceremony venue. Household/family groups could sit together closer than 2 metres, whilst others will need to be socially distanced from other households.

Photography by Squib Photography

No certainty

The biggest concern at the moment is the uncertainty of how long these types of measures will be in place. Lockdown could return (nationally or locally) at any time or restrictions could ease further. There is no knowing how long we will need to live with these rules. Some couples may be nervous and so may want more transparency and flexibility when booking. Couples need to have confidence to pay deposits and understand how contingency plans will be handled by venues and suppliers.

Photography by Squib Photography

Weddings during a pandemic

Weddings will look and feel very different for a little while and may not suit everyone. They will certainly be more intimate and personal. A limited guest list may ease some couples’ stresses whilst some of those with large families may be at a disadvantage.

Perhaps some will find weddings more clinical and less celebratory. A church service could feel more like a registry office style wedding, with just the legal bits and no singing.

Unless this is your only chance (due to ill health, work, forces or travel commitments) then what is a few months or a year to wait in the grand scheme of 40 or 50 years together? But if you are desperate to get married, then these are the types of restrictions that will have to be considered as the current norm.

Photography by Squib Photography

A break from tradition

However, perhaps these restrictions will focus couples on what a wedding really means to them. They will need to think about what is the most important part for them – whether that’s the ceremony, the start of a marriage, or a party and time to celebrate with friends and family.

This could be the time that wedding traditions change. This will challenge wedding traditions and force couples to think in new ways to hold their wedding. Suppliers and venues will need to adapt in order to survive.

So what does this mean for the future of weddings? At the moment, I keep coming back to the last scene of the third Back to the Future film. Doc Brown explains that the future hasn’t been written yet. ‘No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one. Both of you.’

Photography by Squib Photography

This is the chance to do things differently – your way.

I’d love to hear if you’re having a wedding in the next few months and how you’re creatively dealing with the restrictions.

Photography by Squib Photography

Images on this page taken by Squib Photography from Hanami Dream’s secret garden styled shoot at Cogges Manor Farm. See all the fabulous suppliers that were involved in this styled shoot.

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5 reasons tiny weddings rock

5 reasons tiny weddings rock

Tiny wedding trend

Before coronovirus threw wedding plans up in the air, couples were already thinking about down sizing their weddings and decreasing wedding guest numbers. And now this could be a forced decision, so micro or tiny weddings are certainly a trend that will be at the forefront, especially when people’s planning can come off pause.

Micro weddings keep things small, personal and meaningful. Not always in the extreme of eloping but a step away from traditions and expectations. Making the day a wonderful experience for everyone, good value for money and would take possible social distancing guidelines into consideration.

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 (when/if allowed) 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 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.

They held a very successful Tiny Weddings Fair on Sunday 30 September 2018, 10am-4pm at Wycombe Swan Theatre, High Wycombe HP11 2XE.

Look out for the next Tiny Weddings Fair coming soon (hopefully in the not too distant future, all being well).

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.


facebook logo@TinyWedsFair

First published 17 September 2018. Updated 10 June 2020.

Celebrate your original wedding date

Celebrate your original wedding date

Wedding plans on hold

What a strange few months we’ve been living through. A time when pretty much everything in our diaries has been wiped out. When plans have all been put on hold. It has all felt a little surreal, uncertain and apprehensive.

Obviously weddings have been greatly affected by current events with no sign yet on when they will be possible and in what format they will take when they are allowed again.

Celebrate your original wedding date

Meanwhile, wedding planner at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Stacey Puffer has put together these lovely ideas for how you can still celebrate your original wedding date whilst plans are on hold (featuring some tantaslising shots of food prepared by Clerkenwell Green).

Your wedding day is one of the most exciting and memorable days of your life. Having to postpone your wedding day due to COVID-19 can be very upsetting. If you’ve had to postpone your wedding due to COVID-19, don’t despair there are still several ways you can still celebrate your original wedding date!

Exchange your vows

No doubt you’ve probably already written your vows, don’t let them go to waste, share them with each other on the date or your original wedding day.

Celebrate virtually

Whilst it’s not the same, why not get together your closest friends and family on zoom or house party app, pop a bottle of fizz and acknowledge that this was your original date!

Write a love letter

This will no doubt be a difficult time for you both, it’s something you’ve looked forward to for so long, so bring out some of those emotional feelings about your partner, the excitement of marrying them and what it means to you.

Order cake

Whether it’s a wedding cake or ordinary cake from your local cake/coffee shop (many are offering ‘order online’ services) order cake. Cake always solves everything – even if it’s for a few moments!

Date night

Share a romantic evening with your partner, whether it is a romantic meal cooked from scratch or your local take away, throw in a few rose petals on the table and a bottle of wine (maybe it’s one that you had saved for your original wedding date), or make your signature cocktail (if you were planning on having cocktails at your wedding). Whatever you decide to do, make it a special occasion and memorable to you both. This will help lift your spirits.

Put a ring on it

Why not celebrate your original wedding date with a symbolic ring (we all love a little bit of bling) or even your actual wedding rings, there is no reason why you couldn’t start to wear it should you wish.

Car parade

Whilst your nearest and dearest can’t be by your side right now, seeing family and friends (from afar) with beaming smiles, wedding bunting, maybe your first dance song blaring from the cars radio, supporting you in this current situation is a perfect way of helping you celebrate and marking this occasion.

Remember #loveisnotcancelled, you will get to say ‘I do’ and you will have your wedding day to remember!

instagram logo@staceypuffer_weddingplanner

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Get the bunting out!

Get the bunting out!

For centuries, ‘putting the flags out’ was the cue to celebrate something great that has happened and to really push the boat out.

And these decorative strings of paper or material triangles, often called ‘bunting’, have been used at many a street party commemorating a momentous occasion like D-Day, the Queen’s jubilees, royal weddings, and festivals.

The origins of bunting

The word bunting could have derived from the German word ‘bunt’ which means colourful.

Plus, bunting often refers to a collection of flags, particularly on the ships of the Royal Navy for communication purposes. A ship’s communications officer, who would’ve been responsible for raising the flags as signals, is still known as the “bunt”.

In addition, bunting was originally made from a coarse, loosely woven cotton fabric, with a very open weave, similar to cloth used to sift grain in the Middle Ages. The act of sifting was known as ‘bonten’.

Today bunting is used to describe strings of flags to decorate parties: inside or outside; made of cloth, cardboard, plastic or lace; in a variety of shapes and sizes; with or without patterns.

Take a look at these top tips from Doris and Tate to complete your venue with bunting.

Create a festival wedding

A hot wedding trend for 2020 is to recreate the magical feel of a weekend festival. Use colourful bunting fluttering across the tents and stages or from tree to tree. Serve hot food or ice cream from outside stalls or wagons, and light smoke flares to create wedding photos to remember. If your venue is inside but you’re still craving a festival vibe, try fanning long lengths of vibrant, colourful bunting from a central ceiling point out over the tables or dance floor. It’s an easy and quick way to create the ‘wow’ factor, and you can match the fabric to your wedding flowers for a Boho look.

More is more with bunting

The best thing about hanging bunting in your venue is that you can never have too much – in fact, more is more when it comes to hanging these cheery decorations. One the most impactful ways to hang bunting is lines of flags across the width of the room – this is particularly effective if you have a balcony or mezzanine so guests can look down on the bunting from above. If you’re using a venue with a high ceiling such a barn, using lengths of bunting strung across the room lowers the focal point of the ceiling and creates a more intimate space.

Make it personal

Make a length of your own bunting with fabric of sentimental value. Perhaps you have a special piece of fabric or an item of clothing (such as your mum’s old wedding dress) that you’d like to be part of your big day. Don’t try and take on the whole venue (you’ve got enough to do), but make shorter, more personal, lengths to hang on your top table, at the bar or over the entrance. Making a shorter length of bunting means you can use it in your home after the wedding, and you could even personalise it with letters to spell out your names.

Pick a colour scheme

If you have a smaller venue, choose bunting with a single colour theme for an ordered and coordinated feel. Forget twee union jacks, try darker colours for a more stylish look, jute tones for a natural feel or for the ultimate in timeless beauty, you can’t go wrong with pure white and ivory. Pick out coordinating colours from your bouquet and bridesmaids’ dresses to decorate the tables and the rest of the room.

Make it magical with fairy lights

We think bunting brings a venue alive and says ‘party’ all on its own. But for extra glamour and magic, think about draping strings of fairy lights over the top. This creates a twinkling layered look that provides a feast for the eyes, and ensures your bunting goes seamlessly from day to night.

about Doris and Tate

Doris and Tate is two cousins who are based in the village of Chalford, near Stroud, in the Cotswolds.

They make the ultimate in eco bunting – you hire it and it’s made from repurposed fabric – off cuts, fabric samples, clothes, chair covers –anything that is no longer wanted they transform into double sided, high quality, beautifully made eco bunting.

They love colourful, mismatched bunting but also adore a pure white swath of bunting draped from trees in the summer.

 instagram logo@dorisandtate

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Unique ways to capture wedding day memories

Unique ways to capture wedding day memories

Wedding days are amongst the most special events of our lives. We enjoy every minute, and want to ensure that our amazing memories are captured to last a life time and even for generations to come.

What a picture, what a photograph

It’s hard to imagine a wedding without photographs and videos. There are many ways to use your photos other than simply putting them in an album. Some people frame or print their wedding photos on canvas, or you can use your photos to make a calendar for next year. You can design your own photo book and have it printed. (Take a look at these top tips on getting your wedding photographs picture perfect).

But if you are looking for something less traditional and creative, then take a look at these more unusual ways to make your wedding day memories last from Wedding Sketcher.

Framed bouquets

One of the most popular item to preserve is the bridal bouquet or flowers. There are a number of options including getting it dried and framed, getting the flowers preserved in jewellery, Christmas baubles or a paperweight, turning it in to pot pourri, or using dried flowers to dye fabric or clothing. (And take a look at these alternative wedding bouquet ideas using much more than just flowers that will make wonderful wedding keep sakes.)

Flower preservation in resin

Another beautiful way of preserving flowers from your bouquet or wedding decorations is having them set in resin. The flowers are dried, arranged and cast in the resin creating a beautiful piece of art that will last for ages. You can chose various shapes and sizes, such as wall piece, heart, freestanding square, necklace, beads, letters and many more. Such as flower preservation by Sophie May Floral.

Shadow box

If you are creative, you could have a lot of fun with creating a memory collage, putting in items like flower petals, confetti, something old, new, borrowed, and blue. You can include one or two photos; your wedding vows; you can print and cut out your names, writing, scrabble letters, parts of your wedding invitation, and so much more. Your special objects will be protected from dust and damage in a beautiful shadow box on your wall. Or you could create a wedding scrapbook using any of these items as well.

Wedding messages

Having a guest book for your guests to write in is not unusual, but what about having your friends and family sign Jenga game pieces. They could use a gold or silver metal sharpie to sign a bottle, glass or ceramic items. Your guests could write their signatures on little paper hearts or butterflies that you can use to create a piece of wall art with (the shadow box is ideal for this). Your guests could write their messages and seal them in an envelope, so you could open one (or a few) on each of your anniversaries. And take a look at these other alternatives to wedding guest book ideas.

Wedding sketching

A very creative and novel way of capturing your memories is wedding sketching. All drawings are created live, during the event, depicting various parts of the day. After the wedding the sketches are bound into a hand made, personalised hard cover album, matching your wedding colour scheme. Items from your wedding can also be used to personalise the cover to make it even more special. It can be made with various types of fabric or hand made paper.

The sketches are not meant to replace your photos and videos, but to complement them. It’s like having your own, fun, illustrated book of your wedding. They capture the essence, the feel, energy and atmosphere of what is happening, rather than just recording a particular split of a second. And as a bonus, your guests will enjoy seeing the artist at work.

about Wedding Sketcher

Jana grew up in Prague, Czech Republic, but has lived in the UK since 2013.

“I love sketching people. There is something about capturing the movement, the characteristic of a person with just a few lines and adding a splash of colour that brings it to life. I always prefer to draw on location, sketching from photos would defeat the point, it’s missing the spontaneity and energy of the occasion. I capture the very essence of what’s happening.

I have studied book binding/restoring for 4 years full time. I make sure the album I create for you is of the best quality, done on a professional level and if handled well it should last for many decades.

Wedding sketching has all the ingredients I like and I love the thought my sketches will bring happy memories to people years down the road.”


instagram logo@wedding_sketching

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Take the leap in 2020: save the date

Take the leap in 2020: save the date

Leap year proposals

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

Unlucky leap year

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

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

Friday the thirteenth

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

Set the date

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

Think ahead

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

The four seasons

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

Gone till November

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

Eight days a week

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

A hard day’s night

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

Look outside your bubble

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

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

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

Public holidays

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

Sporting events

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

Religious festivals

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

Other occasions

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

‘Unlucky’ dates

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

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

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

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A guide to eco-friendly wedding rings

A guide to eco-friendly wedding rings

Your wedding ring is probably the most important piece of jewellery that you’ll ever wear. Not only does it play a symbolic part of your wedding day but it is also a long lasting keepsake that will stay with you for ever. So choosing, making or buying a wedding ring should be an important part of your wedding planning journey.

Things to consider when choosing your wedding bands include:

  • the metal
  • the shape
  • the width
  • the weight
  • the size
  • how it compliments your engagement ring
  • whether you want to include any gemstones
  • if you both will wear a wedding ring
  • whether the two wedding rings will match or differ

How your wedding ring looks and feels is only one part of the process to think about as you may also wish to consider the impact that your decisions have on the environment.

Holly & Locky made their own wedding bands | photo credit R Pugh

Here are some top tips from Charlotte Berry Jewellery on having wedding jewellery with love at its heart:

wedding ring tradition

It is said that the wedding ring is worn on the left hand, because the ring finger is connected directly to the heart and will allow love to flourish.

Through the centuries the symbolism of the wedding ring has not changed. The circular shape represents the never-ending nature of eternal love. However, attitudes towards wedding jewellery are rapidly changing, and today many couples are not only looking to show their love for each other, but also their love for the environment by investing in eco-friendly, responsibly sourced and ethical wedding rings and jewellery.

ethical and responsibly sourced jewellery

Only jewellery that has been produced with no negative impact on people and their human rights, or the environment can be classed as this. Being able to trace jewellery back to its source is vital. For example:

  • the materials used in the manufacture can be traced back to source to ensure that they have come from certified sources (eg. Fair Trade mines)
  • the manufacturing process has not polluted or impacted the environment in a negative way
  • using eco-friendly materials such as recycled precious metals and gemstones
  • using synthetic gemstones or diamonds to ensure that stones are ‘conflict free’
  • no human rights have been violated in the production of jewellery such as no child labour in mines and fair working conditions and wages

eco-friendly 18ct gold wedding bands made from customers heirloom jewellery

tips to ensure that your wedding jewellery is responsible, ethical and eco-friendly

My top tip is to research. If you are buying your wedding jewellery or wedding rings from a high street jeweller then ask about the provenance of all materials used. If they can’t answer, walk away!

A greener alternative to the high street is finding an independent jeweller who will be able to make your dream rings/jewellery to your exact specifications and design. You can ask for recycled metals, reclaimed materials and ethically sourced stones. Anything you like! Many bullion dealers now sell an ‘eco’ option for silver, gold and platinum, and many jewellers only work in these materials now.

If you are lucky enough to have family heirloom jewellery which has been passed down to you, then why not use this as your green alternative to buying new. There are lots of different options which a jeweller will be happy to discuss with you. Old wedding bands can simply be resized, or they can be melted down and made into new rings. And not just rings; old chains and other items can be melted and re-purposed too.

recycled star sapphire and diamond engagement ring made from customers heirloom jewellery

make your own wedding rings

To make your rings that little bit more magical and personal, you can always make your own. If getting crafty and creative is something that inspires you, some jewellers offer ‘make your own wedding rings’ workshops where you can choose your design, materials and any additional personalisation.

If you are worried that your jewellery doesn’t cover all of the points raised, my answer is: Don’t worry! So you can’t trace the source of your grandmother’s wedding band. Well, reusing or repurposing the metal makes your ring recycled/eco-friendly, and re-using antique diamonds is eco too.

Small changes add up to a BIG difference.

about Charlotte Berry Jewellery

Founded in 2007, Charlotte Berry Jewellery creates bespoke ethically sourced and sustainably crafted fine jewellery in beautiful rural Oxfordshire.

Using traditional techniques, she creates ranges of wearable and stylish contemporary jewellery; which she hopes “will be worn and passed down from generation to generation. One day becoming someone else’s treasure with new meaning and sentiment. Part of the beautiful humanity of daily life.”

Charlotte also offers one day wedding ring making workshops for couples to design and make their dream rings.


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A (Brides)made to measure wedding dress

A (Brides)made to measure wedding dress

Wedding dress shopping can feel like a fairy tale to some but can also be a little overwhelming. Oftern bridal dress shops have a sea of (generally) white dresses laid out before the lucky bride to be which can leave some feeling a little daunted.

There are a few routes to take when thinking about finding the perfect wedding dress:

  1. buy a new wedding dress off the peg
  2. buy a second hand wedding dress
  3. borrow a wedding a dress
  4. have a wedding dress made to measure

Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emma Goodwin Hair & Makeup | Yurga Makeup Artist

Here are some top tips from Susie Grist Couture on having a bespoke wedding dress made for your special day:

a wedding dress made just for you

By having your wedding dress made you can create the perfect gown with all the elements that you love. You are part of the design process, so you get to choose the style of it, the fabric, the colour, the type of lace, and any adornments. This means that the dress becomes part of you and will reflect your personality as this will influence the choices that you make. It will be a unique dress and no-one else will have exactly the same one, unlike if you bought one from a high street shop.

Another advantage of a bespoke wedding dress is that it will be tailor made to fit you, no matter what size or shape you are, so that you will feel confident on the day. When you buy a dress from a high street shop they come in standard dress sizes. As most people are not a standard size you will most likely have to pay a seamstress to have some alterations made for it to fit you properly.

Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emilee’s Hair

designing a wedding dress just for you

Inspiration can come from many different sources such as bridal magazines, Pinterest, royal weddings, red carpet events, television and films. Or perhaps you have a favourite dress or top that you like the neckline or sleeves, or a favourite style of skirt. Or maybe you’ve tried on some wedding dresses and like certain elements about them but not the overall look.

To start the design process, it is helpful to collate your ideas and take them to an initial design consultation. By talking things through with your wedding dress designer you can pinpoint the best ideas and amalgamate them into the perfect design. Through asking the right questions, the designer will guide you through the design process even if you are a bride who is not quite sure what you want.

Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emma Goodwin Hair & Makeup | Yurga Makeup Artist

wedding dress designer

The relationship between the wedding dress designer and the bride is a collaboration and it is important that you get along as you will be spending quite a bit of time together.

As you go through the various stages of making your bespoke gown ,the design will evolve and may even change as ideas progress. If at any stage throughout the process something is not how you envisioned, or you have a new idea it is important to tell your designer as soon as you can. They will help talk through the ideas and changes with you to see if they would work. After all, they are there to bring your dream dress to life and want you to love it.

You will have to make quite a few decisions along the way, but the designer is there to help point you in the right direction so don’t be afraid. It is a very exciting, satisfying and worthwhile experience.

Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emilee’s Hair

made to measure costs and timescale

One of the first things everyone thinks about is the cost of a bespoke wedding dress. It may not be the cheapest wedding dress option, however it doesn’t have to be wildly expensive either. And it will be made to fit you exactly.

It is a good idea to research bespoke dress makers in your area and talk to them. You will need to know how much they charge, what is included in the charge and what is extra, when each instalment will be due for payment and how long it will take to make your bespoke dress.

Susie Grist Couture | Dale Stephens Photography | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court | Emma Goodwin Hair & Makeup | Yurga Makeup Artist | All About Flowers

fitting of a made to measure wedding dress

Just as with any wedding dress fitting, it is a good idea to buy the shoes and underwear you will be wearing as early as possible to wear to your fittings as this can influence the fit and length of the dress.

It is also nice to bring along accessories to your fittings so that you can try them on to see if they are working with your dress design.

If your size changes in the build up to the wedding, then having a bespoke dress is ideal as you will have several fittings throughout the making process and at each stage the dress will be altered to reflect your size.

About Susie Grist Couture

Susie Grist Couture specialise in designing and making individual bespoke wedding gowns. Based in Abingdon-On-Thames working from a home studio.

She has over 18 years of professional sewing experience and has been designing wedding dresses for nearly 6 years. She makes bridal gowns, bridesmaids and flower girl dresses and even outfits for mothers.


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instagram logo@susiegristcouture

image credits:

Dresses | Susie Grist Couture |
Venue | Silver Pear Weddings at Friars Court, Clanfield |
Photography | Dale Stephens Photography |
Hair (purple lace dress & aqua blue with ivory lace dress) | Emilee’s Hair |
Hair (blush & ivory dresses) | Emma Goodwin Hair & Makeup |
Make up (blush & ivory dresses) | Yurga Makeup Artist |
Flowers (ivory dress) | All About Flowers |


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wonderful wedding wares