How to get Married without Breaking the Bank

Marriage costs infographic

We all know how expensive a wedding can be.

It’s one of the biggest days of your life and can often come with the heaviest price tag, and catering to all your long-forgotten family and closest friends in a celebration of your special day can place a dent in your finances for years to come – no matter how worthwhile it may be!

There are, however, simple and savvy ways to save on your wedding without having to cut back on all the frills and fun of the day, with some common sense and some curveball options allowing you to chip away at some of the spend on food, locations, and other elements of your booking.

So get that dress for less and bag a bargain on your meals with the help of Vouchercloud – and have the wedding of your dreams at a price that can let you sleep at night…

 

Marriage costs infographics

Fantastic locations to pop the big question this Valentine’s Day

Sopwell House hotel pictured at night

The most romantic night of the year is almost here, so cue the endless bouquets of red roses and the sound of the champagne cork popping. But if you’re planning to pop something else (the big question) this Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up five of the top hotels which promise an exciting engagement night you’ll never forget.

♥ Contemporary: The Arch London (www.thearchlondon.com)
Five-star hotel The Arch London is the perfect location for lovebirds seeking the ultimate romantic night in the city, being a stone’s throw from Oxford Street and Hyde Park.

Exterior, The Arch London

The Arch London’s Valentine’s package offers an overnight stay for two in a luxury suite with a bottle of Champagne, an indulgent Valentine’s dinner with a glass of Champagne, as well as English breakfast and late check out. The package is available from 10 until 19 February 2016 and is priced from £559 per night. The Arch London will also be serving a sumptuous three-course Valentine’s menu and a Valentine’s Afternoon Tea.

1. Royal Afternoon Tea at The Arch London

♥ Cool: K West Hotel & Spa (www.k-west.co.uk)
Formerly the BBC Building Kensington House in the 60s, an endless list of Rock ‘N’ Roll royalty has stayed, played and misbehaved at K West. For Valentine’s, the hotel has created a mix-tape of perfect packages.

Executive Room 3 at K West

Just as Bob Marley sang, the Saints Valentine’s Package is perfect for couples with ‘one love, one heart’. The romantic package includes a Champagne welcome, an Executive Bedroom adorned with rose petals, gifts from K Spa and breakfast. Alternatively, get your kink on just as The Kinks would want you to: all day and all through the night with the Sinners Valentine’s Package. Guests will enjoy a giant Porn Star Martini upon arrival, Executive Bedroom seductively dressed with feathers, the gift of an F Box and breakfast in bed. The packages are available from 10 until 19 February 2017 and are priced at £219 per couple.

Love Potion at K West

♥ Country: Sopwell House, St. Albans (www.sopwellhouse.co.uk)
Sopwell House is a stunning countryside Georgian manor house in the city of St. Albans. Located only 20 minutes from London St. Pancras, the hotel is an idyllic romantic getaway just outside of the hectic capital.

Sopwell House (front)

Sopwell House is the perfect place to have an intimate dinner looking out on 12-acres of beautiful gardens. There are a wide range of dining options exclusively for February 2017; The Restaurant is offering an indulgent five course tasting menu, The Brasserie has launched a Valentine’s Day three-course menu, and the traditional afternoon tea has been given a romantic makeover.

The Brasserie at Sopwell House

♥ Classic: Lancaster London (www.lancasterlondon.com)
Lancaster London is an iconic mid-century hotel located opposite Hyde Park. The 18-storey hotel offers unrivalled panoramic views across London’s skyline.

HeART Tea at Lancaster London

The hotel has reinvented its much-loved ARTea Afternoon Tea to offer an exclusive Valentines edition. HeART Afternoon Tea includes oysters with salmon caviar and adorable heart-shaped white chocolate and strawberry macaroons. Island Grill will be offering an exclusive Valentine’s 9-course tasting menu of sharing dishes. The menu will feature divine dishes plus speciality cocktails like the Love Potion Martini.

Dessert Heart-Island-Grill at Lancaster London

♥ Coastal: The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey (www.theclubjersey.com)
Situated within walking distance from some of the island’s most breathtaking beaches, The Club Hotel & Spa boasts a sought after St Helier location. Enjoy romantic strolls on the beach before indulging in Michelin-starred dining at Bohemia Restaurant & Bar. The glorious Roof Garden Cocktail Bar is the perfect location to enjoy a pre-dinner drink whilst admiring the ocean views.

Bohemia restaurant The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey

Why not treat your other half to a couples’ treatment at the luxurious Club Spa before diving into the outdoor heated pool? The Club Spa’s private Rasul Mud Treatment for two is one of the Spa’s most popular treatments and comprises an exfoliation followed by therapeutic mud being applied to the body.

Bohemia restaurant at The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey

Tips for Healthy Winter Skin with K Spa Manager Lyudmyla Nagirnyak

This would make an ideal hen party day out or just as a treat for the stressed out bride leading up to the big day…

As the warm weather draws to a close, so too does our bronzed summer skin. In the midst of the chilly weather and low humidity levels, one area that seems to suffer most is our face. Fortunately K Spa Manager, Lyudmyla Nagirnyak (shortlisted for Hotel Cateys Spa Professional of the Year 2016), has lent her top tips on how to keep our faces looking fresh this winter season.  Below, Lyudmyla advises us on how best to achieve a rosy winter glow.

K WEST HOTEL SHEPHERDS BUSH

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle

A nutritional diet plus regular exercise is the recipe for good skin. If you take one away, the equation is ruined. Doing regular exercise means your blood circulation is boosted and a good diet means your body receives all the essential nutrients you need to keep your skin healthy.

  • Chapped lips

Interestingly, your lips are the first place that dehydration presents itself. Use this as a tell tale sign of when you should be more attentive to your skin!

  • Treat yourself

In order to get rid of those old skin cells once and for all, it’s worth booking in for a facial treatment at the beginning of the season.  It might be expensive, but your face will thank you for it. Pick up an exfoliation glove and make sure you use it regularly.

  • Water, water, water

This is a well recognised trick to achieve great skin. You should drink about 2 litres of water everyday. It gives you a radiant, healthier, younger looking complexion by keeping your skin hydrated from the inside.

  • Pay attention!

It’s important to pay attention to how your skin reacts to the change in climate over the winter season. It may well be that you have to alter your products to suit different seasons, as what works for you in the summer might not work in the winter.

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a natural sun protection which can be used in different ways. Either stock up on citrus fruits such as oranges and kiwi, or apply the miracle vitamin directly to your face. This allows for a more concentrated target area thus resulting in a more noticeable change for your problem areas.

SMC - February 2010

SMC - February 2010

Awarded ‘Best Spa in London’ at the Good Spa Guide Awards 2015, K West’s holistic spa offers a range of exclusive treatments.  K Spa introduced the first ‘Snow Paradise’ to London, which mimics the Finnish experience of alternating between freezing and steamy environments.  The spa also features a twinkling hydrotherapy pool, sanarium, sauna, dry flotation tank, aromatic herbal steam room and the fully equipped K Fit gymnasium.

SMC - February 2010

SMC – February 2010

K West Hotel & Spa, Richmond Way, London W14 0AX

For reservations, please call: 020 8008 6600 or visit www.k-west.co.uk

Should you buy your wedding dress on the high street?

bridesmaid tying wedding dress up

More and more high street retailers and online stores are dipping their toes in the bridal market, either simply selling stunning dresses perfect for wedding guests and even bridesmaids, or creating actual wedding ranges with gowns for the bride to wear at a fraction of the cost of a bridal shop.2016 is definitely the year for brands expanding their ranges with everyone, from ASOS and Missguided, to Needle and Thread and Ted Baker, putting out ranges for brides to pick and choose from. There has, of course, always been budget high street ranges. BHS and Monsoon are good examples of this, but they weren’t always the on-trend designs brides are looking for.

Should you buy your wedding dress on the high street? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:

Pros
Price – it’s safe to say a dress bought from a high street store is going to be much cheaper than one you’ve selected from the racks in a bridal wear shop. Most are retailing from around the £70-250 mark, which for many brides-to-be means they can spend more on the food or the photographer.

On trend designs – if you want your wedding dress to reflect the latest trends (Bardot dresses are very popular at the moment, for example) then the high street might be the best place to shop. As well as dresses, jumpsuits are also proving popular for brides, who are looking for a more casual look on their big day. Enormous skirts and figure hugging bodices aren’t for everyone!

Ready to wear – dresses from high street retailers are created to fit regular UK sizes. However, it’s a good idea to order a couple of sizes and see what fits best before you commit.

Cons
Fit – while we’ve noted these dresses are usually made in UK sizes and are ready to wear, you may need to get them altered to fit perfectly on your big day – for example, the length of the skirt or fit around the chest are common alterations required on dresses. This could cost more than the price of the dress itself!

Watch out for knock offs – if you decide to deviate from the high street and perhaps start browsing the realms of eBay, be careful! There are some companies based abroad that attempt to replicate those stunning designs you see on Pinterest, without much success. Save yourself the heartache – and the cash – and only buy directly from a reputable brand.
When it comes to buying your wedding dress, the high street is definitely a great option if you are trying to create your big day on a smaller budget or really want to wear an on trend style – take a look at what they have to offer before committing to a bridal wear shop.

bride in wedding dress

You might be surprised at what you find!

Cruising with Silk Flowers

crusie ship picture

Having a destination wedding is beautiful and will create memories that last a lifetime. One up and coming trend is to have your destination wedding on a cruise ship – a wedding weekend and holiday all in one, what could be better?

Planning a wedding far from where you live can be a challenge, especially when it comes to ordering live flowers. If you are planning a cruise ship wedding, the best way to incorporate floral arrangements into your big day is to purchase artificial flowers.

Silk flowers provide the same style and design as fresh-picked flowers, but without the hassle of maintenance.  First and foremost, there is no stress that comes with artificial flowers that there is with taking care of living flowers. Artificial flowers do not need to be watered, and are not as fragile as live flowers. This means there’s no fear of accidently knocking off a few petals or breaking any stems.

Cruise-Ship-inside

The life span of living flowers is short, and if you don’t plan on having your wedding ceremony the first or second day of the cruise, there is no guarantee how those flowers will look the day of your wedding. There are florists on-board cruise ships, however their selection is limited, and the price range can be much much higher than floral arrangements purchased on land. Plus you may not be able to take your living flowers off the ship.

Artificial flowers are easy to pack and ship. That means they will be bundled up and ready for your wedding. There is no risk of petals drying up or falling off or stems breaking in transit. What you see when you order is what you will get – no chance of brown flowers or arrangements that are too unappealing to use.

To save headache and wedding day stress, the best decision for your cruise ship wedding floral arrangement is to go with artificial silk flowers. Guests will marvel at how you were able to get such great arrangements all set up and in one piece for your wedding. They’ll never even know that they’re not real.  The best part is, you can even take them with you after the wedding (still intact and looking as great as they did on your wedding day)!

cruise ship room

Guest blog by Emily Rochotte

A Wedding Bouquet as a Lasting Memory

Ivory rose and orange sunflower bridal bouquet

Nothing adds a pop of colour to your wedding day quite like your bouquet. Bridal and bridesmaid bouquets are gorgeous focal pieces that are also a memento of your big day. For most brides, floral wedding bouquets are a must-have but, unfortunately, they don’t last long. You spend all this money on a piece that is so beautiful you wish you could keep it forever, but within a few days or even hours on a very hot day, this work of art has wilted, shriveled up, and turned brown. That beautiful symbol of your wedding day, gone forever.

Brides Cerise Gerbera, Ivory Rose, Veronica & Purple Freesia Wedding Bouquet

Your bridal bouquet should be a keepsake from your wedding the same way your guestbook, jewellery, or other items will remind you of your wedding day for years to come. You can dry or press your wedding flowers to save them, but the only way to guarantee your bouquet looks the same as at your wedding and every anniversary is to opt for silk flowers.

Grooms Green Silk Hydrangea Wedding Buttonhole with wooden Groom Embellishment

Artificial flowers are the best way to keep your bouquet as beautiful and pristine after your wedding as it was the day you got married. The best part is, no one will know they weren’t picked from the ground that morning! Silk flowers are a long-lasting alternative for wedding day décor, and the best part is, they can be incorporated into every floral facet of your wedding—from matching bridesmaids posies, buttonholes, corsages and cake toppers, the possibilities are endless! Any gorgeous arrangement you choose can be passed on to future generations, making it the perfect way to incorporate your parents’ wedding memories into your own without having to wear your mum’s wedding dress.

Purple silk wedding flowers

If you want the money you spend on your bouquet to be a lasting investment and not just rot away and be thrown away shortly after your wedding, you can’t go wrong with a stunning, silk bouquet.

And for that extra little touch, why not add one of our silver year charms to remind you of the special day even more.

2016 silver year charm tag

Guest blog by Emily Rochotte

How to Style Jeans for a Spring Wedding

Wear jeans at your wedding

Your wedding, your rules..

You might consider jeans to be too casual to wear to a wedding – but there are many people who would respectfully disagree. Obviously, if you’re the bride or groom, the best man, one of the ushers or bridesmaids, or a close family member there’s no way you should rock up to the ceremony in denim.

But that’s not to say jeans should be completely ruled out. For evening guests at a spring or summer time wedding, or for a more relaxed occasion, they can be part of a perfect outfit – worn by gents or ladies. Providing a few golden rules are followed, it’s possible to pull the jeans look off at a wedding – and look uber stylish in the process.

Make them smart
Not all jeans are the same, of course. Don’t even think about turning up in loose fitting jeans, or those with rips through the knees, or stone-washed types. They’ve got to look smart enough to carry the rest of the outfit – be that a crisp white shirt and waistcoat for men or denim jacket over a dress for women. Superdry jeans are among the classier versions available and certainly won’t look out of place.

Choose the right colour

It’s safe to say those blue jeans are a big no-no when it comes to a formal event such as a wedding, but you can definitely get away with a dyed pair or even white (although again, this is a bit risky considering the occasion).

Go for a fun, bright colour such as purple or green, which you can pair with a smart top and blazer for comfort and style. Alternatively, black jeans with a pretty blouse and heels is another look you could perhaps adopt.

Avoid anything baggy

Those boyfriend jeans just aren’t going to cut it for such a special day, so it’s best you opt for either skinnies or cropped jean styles that fit your figure and could pass as trousers.

Wear a feminine top

A peplum top or an elegant embellished blouse is the perfect addition to your jeans and can help ensure your look for this spring wedding is stylish and smart. Avoid anything blouse wise that you would wear to work or at the weekend. It needs to be something special that’s going to look good in photos if you’re close to the bride or groom.

Make up for it with your accessories

Weddings are fun affairs so make up for your casual legwear with some strong jewellery and accessories. A statement necklace or a cute hat or fascinator are perfect additions to your outfit and can make anything with jeans appear more formal.

A bold clutch bag can also help enhance a look, opt for an oversized style that will draw attention away from your jeans. Dressing your outfit up with fancy accessories will always ensure the attention is taken away from the jeans you’re wearing.

Try to wear heels

It’s safe to say that if you want to wear jeans to a wedding, you’re probably not a huge fan of heels but it’s a good idea to do your best to include a pair in your outfit. Higher heeled shoes add a certain elegance and smart vibe to any outfit, so throwing on a cute pair for the wedding you’re attending will ensure you don’t look too casual.
Although we’re much more casual these days when it comes to our outfit choices – as offices enjoy a relaxed vibe and clubs let you in wearing trainers – weddings are still an occasion where dressing up is the best idea.

Looking for the Perfect Engagement Ring?

engagement ring

Here are some things to consider

If you and your partner are ready for the next step in your relationship and you’ve sneakily spoken to your partner’s parents about what you intend to do, it’s time to locate that perfect engagement ring. If you’re not sure where to even start with such a mammoth task, then here are some things to consider:

Remember, they have to wear it forever more

This means avoiding buying a ring that will go out of fashion over time (yellow diamonds won’t be popular forever and don’t go with everything) and choosing something you know they’ll love. Take all your personal preferences out of your decision – it’s not you who will be wearing it!

Opt for something timeless and if you really can’t find anything that ticks all the boxes a jeweller such as 77diamonds offers you the opportunity to create your own ring, choosing everything from the metal used to the shape of the diamond.

Remember the 4 Cs

The four Cs are important to consider when picking out your ring; they stand for cut, colour, clarity and carat in terms of the stone you choose. They are especially important when choosing an engagement ring that has to last. The higher quality stone you choose the longer the ring will stay wearable and look good. Here’s a great guide on what to look out for.

Be prepared to stretch your budget

After snooping in their jewellery collection at what they already like you might discover that the budget you set aside might not stretch to pay for something that matches their tastes. Obviously don’t go overboard but simply expect to always pay a little more than you anticipated – you don’t get coupon deals for this sort of thing!

Think about your partner’s lifestyle

Are they active? Can they wear jewellery at work? This will impact on how they wear their engagement ring and your decision on what to purchase for them. If she works with food, ensure she has a ring that is easy to clean or if she works in a profession where she has to care for people, elevated diamonds and prongs should probably be avoided to remove any chance of injury. Jewelry wise offers some great insight into what to consider when it comes to your partner’s lifestyle.

Find out their ring size

There’s nothing more disappointing than being presented with an engagement ring that doesn’t fit correctly, whether it’s too big or too small (the latter is the most crushing). Sure, it’s relatively easy to have a ring re-sized but that means heading to where you purchased it and then handing it over to be adjusted for a potentially lengthy period of time when you just want to show it off to the world.

Use jewellery they already own to work out what size they require and press their ring into a piece of blu tac to take to the jewellers with you. However, if they don’t take their jewellery off try out these sneaky ways of discovering their ring size:

  • If one of their friends is also recently engaged ask them to share their engagement ring round when the group is together and report back to you if it fit.
  • Tie a knot round her finger with a piece of string, either carefully while she’s asleep or find some way of jokily doing it and use this to workout her ring size.
  • Attend a festival market or craft fair and try rings on together and take note of which ones fit.

Finding the perfect engagement ring needn’t be stressful, keep these things in mind and you should be able to present a beautiful ring they will treasure forever.

How to get in the best shape of your life before ‘The Big Day’

The 8-week countdown

Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life. On top of the wedding planning hysteria, every bride will want to look and feel her absolute best. Many brides however find it difficult to control their weight as the big day fast approaches. To help you stay on track we look at five changes that you can make at the eight-week mark, at which point we believe you can make real positive changes. We may not be able to guarantee a drop of three dress sizes, but this is the time during which you can shift those stubborn pounds, achieve the pre-wedding glow and get a spring back in your step.

Work with a personal trainer

Many brides choose to work with a Bridal wedding fitness before their wedding day. With a clear vision, and a tight timeframe, this is the perfect time to get motivated and work with a professional who will help you to achieve your ideal weight. If you lack the knowledge or willpower when working out, a personal trainer can help you to get results safely and far more quickly. It also acts as a major stress reliever to schedule a one-hour session away from wedding planning to focus on you, and only you!

Don’t skip meals

The most dangerous thing you can do ahead of your wedding is to skip meals. We understand that life as a bride to be is often manic and overwhelming but missing meals and eating irregularly will cause your weight to fluctuate. Skipping mealtimes often results in binge eating and filling up on the wrong food types when the hunger does finally catch up with you.  Eat for energy and strength, and you won’t go wrong.

chef in hotel kitchen prepare vegetable food with fire

Get your beauty sleep

It is inevitable that you are going to have some sleepless nights before your wedding, but it is important that these are anomalies and not the norm! If you are struggling to get enough sleep, try and address this directly. You don’t want to feel and look exhausted during your wedding. Develop a pre-bedtime routine that will help you switch off. Try having a hot bath, reading a book or having a cup of hot milk. Don’t do any wedding planning late at night, and just in case you do reel off an endless list of to-do’s during the night, keep a pen and notepad by your bed so you can jot these down and deal with them in the morning.

Ditch the sugar

Sugar is a huge contributor to weight gain and many brides rely on their sugar rush for energy during the eight-week countdown. Cutting sugar out of your diet will help you to lose excess weight, improve the appearance of your skin and it will normalise your energy levels. Eating sugar late at night can also disrupt your sleeping patterns.

Make a meal out of it

We advise our brides-to-be to ditch the takeaways for simple home cooking in preparation of the wedding day. The advantages of this are endless. It helps our budgeting brides to save money, it helps them to control the foods that they are eating, and cooking is a free activity, which helps to distract the mind and can often be therapeutic. It will help you to consider all the foods that you are eating eight weeks before the big day, much more carefully, and avoid mindless munching!

Closeup of fresh farm raised strawberries

How to add a personal touch to your big day without breaking the bank

Bride and bridesmaids

Wedding days are one of the few occasions that a couple can be as self-obsessed as they wish, and tell the story of their lives, their present past and future. Creating the perfect wedding for ‘you’ can be as elaborate as you wish – anything from aisle runners to confetti can be used the way you want  – but the more you put in, the more is taken out of your account. Here are a few simple ways to personalise your nuptials in style without overreaching:

Invitations
The first stage of the process, and one which the internet has changed beyond all recognition. Once a time-consuming and costly exercise, you can now create and buy personalised wedding invitations in any style from rustic to retro and Wild West to Wonderland. One word of advice; try to match up the invitation with the eventual theme of the wedding itself.

Go second-hand
The cost of stylising each table at a wedding can be extortionate if you buy everything new. However, if you know the style of the wedding early in the process (perhaps when you sent out your invites) then you can pick up bits and pieces from car boot sales, auctions, eBay and other sellers in plenty of time. Finding pieces for a Victorian/80s/holiday/Irish theme, to name but a few, will be easy tasks. Alternatively you could hire items from various site.

Photograph wall
A great idea for the entrance or walls of the venue showing self-printed pictures of the bride and groom from throughout their lives. Another option is to create a specific wall showing guests who are attending or absent friends, created from pictures found on social media. The ink costs might not be too cheap, but will still be miniscule compared to professionally-printed efforts. Pick up cheap frames for the pics or just mount them on stiff card and watch everyone enjoy trying to find pictures of themselves.

Ask friends to perform
Live music is always a great way to entertain the gallery, but not necessarily a cheap option if you’ve already got a DJ as well. So here’s where you call upon one of your performing friends (everyone’s got someone who can belt out a tune) and ask them to do a mini-set in lieu of a wedding present. Performances can also include magic and stand-up comedy, or perhaps caricature drawing.

Family favours
Borrowing from members of your family can save a huge amount of money, but also brings an element of nostalgia to the proceedings. Cherishing a grandmother’s wedding ring and an uncle’s vintage car as part of the day will bring pride to the whole family. You may even be able to re-use a wedding dress; for example, this writer’s wife wore a dress that had already been worn by two other members of the family (it helps that an aunt was a dressmaker who could make adjustments). If no family heirlooms exist, borrowing a sibling’s sound system or similar could save cash.

Is blue the new black in men’s formalwear?

If you only own a single suit, the chances are it’s probably black in colour. You’ve chosen sensibly. Black is sober, stylish, timeless and completely appropriate for all manner of occasions.

However, the status of black as the ‘go-to’ colour of choice for the male suit is being challenged. Blue is mounting a strong charge as colour makes a revival. Last year, the Independent reported a surge in sales of blue men’s suits among high-street retailers. Two of the UK’s big department store chains revealed a consumer preference for blue: at John Lewis, blue shirts outsold black ones by nearly four to one, and a blue suit was sold every four minutes. At Marks & Spencer, two blue suits were sold for every one in black.

There’s nothing new about blue suits – though the trend of wearing a blue tuxedo, or dinner suit, is relatively recent and is growing in popularity. This article by the Daily Mail reviewed the many celebrities photographed on the red carpet wearing navy blue – from Kevin Spacey to Chris Hemsworth and Ryan Reynolds.

Unsurprisingly, there might be a particularly well-known style icon behind the recent influence. Daniel Craig wore a midnight-blue tuxedo in the Bond movie Skyfall – it was the image on the film’s promotional poster and, as such, it swiftly gained huge recognition and visibility. However, the website The Suits of James Bond explained that the midnight blue dinner suit is far from fashion of the day for 007. Indeed, it states that Bond has a ‘long history of wearing midnight blue dinner suits’, – starting with the very first film, Dr. No.


If a blue dinner suit is worthy of belonging to Bond, it’s good enough for anyone. The Dobell formalwear range includes a ‘selection of timeless Bond tuxedos’ and true enough, there it is – the midnight blue textured tuxedo.

Blue has the edge over black in the fashion stakes and it’s easy to understand why. While a classic black suit will never lose appeal, a blue suit is brighter, versatile and more fun. There are shades of blue – from navy, which is perfect for a formal occasion, to petrol blue, indigo blue, cool blue, electric blue, and many variations in between. Because of this, there’s a new wave of grooms wearing blue to weddings, as men step away from black, which can be a little sombre on the happiest day of their life.

The ‘rules’ – for what they’re worth – are more relaxed with a blue suit. A white shirt obviously works very well but a contrasting blue, a lighter shade for example, or a pink shirt really brings the suit to life. For shoes, there’s more flexibility. Wearing anything but black shoes with a black suit still divides opinion but a blue shirt embraces both black and brown – as well as tan.

So, if you’re yet to buy your first suit, why not go for blue over black? And if the solitary suit in your wardrobe is good old reliable black, add a blue one as soon as possible!

Unconventional Uses Of Flowers In Your Wedding

Unconventional uses of flowers in your wedding blog

Today everyone wants their wedding day to reflect their own unique personality and tastes. This means everything is subject to change, from the most traditional elements through to the most individualised quirky and bespoke twists.

However, when it comes to the traditional “must have” aspects, flowers are certainly one of the things that will be vital for every wedding planner to get right.

Thankfully, today this offers far more opportunities than simply choosing a few buttonholes and a bridal bouquet.

Scene setters
From extensive arrangements that make for dramatic or colourful backdrops, through to ornate constructions such as a flower fountain, there are many ways to make a big style statement.

If any part of your wedding is taking place under canvas, draping garlands of flowers around the interior frame can create an otherworldly effect with great simplicity. Likewise, if a building has an impressive staircase feature it can be embellished by using flowers to turn it into a magical floral masterpiece.

Silk flowers
One of the easiest ways to make a statement when it comes to choosing flowers for use in a wedding scenario is to avoid one of the traditional routes altogether, and go for silk flowers. Doing this offers the chance to have truly unique designs and also means that you don’t have to worry about “on the day” freshness for flowers that might wilt, or at worst even look a little past their sell-by date.

Of course, any of the ideas already mentioned can be made more exotic and enticing by using silk flowers, but even the most traditional uses can benefit from going down the silk route. Everything from a beautiful handmade Domed Bridal Bouquet in Cream Chloe Rose, through to a silk take on a classic Red Rose Wedding Guest Buttonhole can add that individual touch and make your wedding day unlike any other.

Versatility
The almost endless possibilities offered by using silk flowers means that versatility regarding colour and shape combinations are limited only by your own imagination. However unconventional you want to be there will always be a way of getting the exact effect that you want from your flowers.

However, there are many other ways that you can stamp your own style on your wedding day.

Shutters
Wedding ideas come thick and fast these days from all kinds of sources, and this means designing the decor for your wedding is easier than ever.

There are lots of different ways you can incorporate bespoke shutters and screens into the overall presentation, from mounting them with pictures or images, or using them as holders for guest placement cards, buttonholes or other mementoes of the day.

Perfect day
Ultimately, your wedding day is exactly that – yours. Although the needs of guests always have to be taken into account, at the end of the day the two most important people are the bride and groom, and that means making sure every aspect turns out exactly how you want it to be.

What’s The Key To Wedding Planning Success?

Blog about planning your wedding

Wedding planning can quickly become a headache for any bride and groom when it comes to time scales and budget if it’s not gone about in the correct way. But what is the key to wedding planning success?Well, you can’t just take one key and hope it fits many of the locks you will metaphorically come across while planning the seating arrangements and times for the cake cutting. There are many keys to choose from, all of which will help make your big day a success; here are the most important ones:

Settle on a budget

The first thing to do is decide how much you can spend on the wedding and try not to stray from this amount. No one wants to enter married life with unnecessary debts under their belt.

Prioritise what to spend the budget on

It’s also a good idea to decide what you can save money on and where you can splurge a little. For many people the venue is one of the most important elements and swallows up most of what you have saved. A photographer is also something you shouldn’t skimp on when it comes to price – no matter how good your Dad reckons he is with a camera.However, you can actually save cash on table decorations and by being clever when it comes to bridal wear, skipping the high end bridal shop and heading to the high street for dresses that look just as good but don’t have such huge price tags. Here’s a great guide on what to spend and splurge on.

Inspiration

Bridal magazines are out to make money, so while their shoots look beautiful and offer some great inspiration they aren’t the only place to look for ideas – especially if you are looking to plan a wedding on a budget. Sign up for magazine subscriptions for some interior and food titles in the run up to the big day and take elements from these that you like, to incorporate into your wedding.

Don’t be afraid to change your mind

Something that you loved a year ago might not be your cup of tea now, so if you’ve agreed on a hairstyle or a particular kind of flower in your arrangement but really don’t want them now, speak to the person who deals with these as soon as possible. It’s an important day so you don’t want to just ‘put up with things’ if you don’t like them, especially if they are costing you money.

Delegate

You can’t do everything yourself, so it’s important that you and your partner delegate certain jobs to people in the wedding party. Your bridesmaids could be in charge of sourcing items for the table decorations and your mother-in-law to be could look into where is best to place your cake order. Relieving yourself of certain jobs will help you focus on the bigger picture and the more important elements of the wedding planning.

Leave yourself plenty of time

DJs, caterers, photographers and florists get booked up very early so ensure you look around nice and early to avoid disappointment. Many wedding planners online are a little tight with the times they suggest (looking into the hen party only four months before the wedding is risky business) so ignore some of the guidelines the ‘experts’ suggest and always get a head start on everyone else. If you live in a small town then you’ll be competing against other brides for venues and entertainment!
As you can see wedding planning isn’t a simple process but if you keep a level head, lean on your friends and family throughout and don’t let the little things get to you. You’ll only look forward to the day itself and those nervous butterflies won’t be related to you worrying about the caterer letting you down.

Putting a modern spin on a Downton Abbey themed wedding

Downton Abby cast and crew

When Downton Abbey’s final episode airs this Christmas, it will bring the curtain down on one of British television’s biggest success stories. The Julian Fellowes-penned period drama, which details the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants, has been a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic, sparking a loyal legion of fans.

The show’s six series cover the tumultuous period of 1912 to 1927, with world events such as the sinking of the Titanic, First World War and Spanish Flu forming the social backdrop to the events. Yet the drama in and out of the fictional Yorkshire country house has sparked a renewed interest in the lifestyle of the period. Website kate & toms reckons Downton Abbey has inspired a trend of couples looking to tie the knot at large estates while embracing vintage style.

So, if you’re a fan of the show and want to add a splash of vintage glamour to your big day, how do you go about it?

Venue: First things first, you need to get the venue right. As the kate & toms article rightly states, the ‘Downton effect’ has seen a spike in interest in the use of grand homes as a backdrop to a wedding. Many of these have built-in chapels for the ceremony and grand rooms to cater for your meal and reception, making them ideal to handle the whole day. Of course, for the ‘full Downton’ experience you could just go ahead and book Highclere Castle, the real life Berkshire home that doubles for the Crawley’s estate on screen. It costs about £20,000 to hire for the day.

Downton Abbey house

Style: Die-hard fans will remember the wedding of Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley and you could use that on-screen event for inspiration to faithfully replicate some of the details for your big day. From the expensively created silver-lace-tabard-on-silk dress to the Bentley & Skinner diamond tiara to the morning suits with grey gloves and top hats – there’s much to match. The flowers were a simple bouquet of long-stemmed white Calla lillies while a black horse-drawn carriage would ensure you arrive in the right style too.

Accessories: If you want to truly recreate the ‘Downton look’ then that means a lot of attention to detail. Plan well ahead and scour the pages of http://howtospendit.ft.com/ for high quality vintage items to kit out your venue. You’ll have great fun shopping for the right items too.

Music: The soundtrack to your day is an important – and underrated – part of creating the right atmosphere. Why not hire a band to play some of the music used in the show or, at least, from the same period? This could be a subtle way of adding some of the style to your day without having to go for the full experience.

Filming: Many professional companies can now capture your big day on camera – offering a much more professional outcome than the home movies of yesteryear. Why not get them to edit together a package in the same style as the ITV drama? Although, hopefully, life will go a lot more smoothly for you than it does for the Crawleys.

Fun: Perhaps you’d rather your love for Downton was just a small, fun part of the day? Many couples choose to hire photo booths for their wedding day to keep the guests entertained and this could be your chance to take inspiration from the Crawleys. Hire Downton-inspired costumes and encourage your friends and family to embrace the occasion with some memorable pictures using clothing and props. You could also name tables after elements of the show or incorporate the theme in your stag or hen parties.

Much depends on how much of a Downton flavour you want on your wedding day. You can embrace the clothing, venue, music or luxury accessories associated with the aristocratic lifestyle on the show, or you can have them all. You can have a fun Downton-themed photo booth or a period drama-style film of the day too.
Your wedding day should be special to you. Incorporate themes and mimic styles to enhance your experience – and Downton Abbey offers rich inspiration for this – but don’t lose sight of the fact that it is your day.

How to give your Wedding Invitations the Personal Touch

Your wedding is said to be the most important day of your life, so why not make your wedding invitations special too? It is easy to go out and buy a bunch of pre-made wedding invitations, but they won’t be unique and will have been used by countless other couples in the past. There are many ways in which you can give your wedding invitations a more original and personal touch, making them precious to you for decades to come. Here are a few tips that will help you along:

Homemade Invites

People always say that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Rather than choosing a website to give you a mediocre template, why don’t you design and make your own homemade wedding cards to send out to your guests? You can get appropriate craft supplies from home crafts and add personalised images and text that is meaningful for you and your partner. You can even add ribbons and make it more elegant by choosing a colour theme, which may help the card to look more professional.

Real Photographs

Nothing says personal like a real photograph of the happy couple. You can incorporate these so that they appear on the front of the wedding invitation, allowing everyone to see the happy couple before the big day. Choose an appropriate photograph of course and ensure that it has great resolution before you send it off to the printers because it could return blown out or heavily pixelated, destroying the quality and presentation of your invitations.

Tell your Story

One of the best ways to give your wedding cards a far more personalised touch is to tell your own love story on the invite. According to www.hongkiat.com, you can do this as an infographic, with the ceremony details presented in the back. This will give your card a vintage feel to it and will allow you to share one of the best experiences of your life in a more personal manner with friends and family.

Personal Envelope Liner

A way in which you can add an extra touch of personalisation to your wedding invitation is by adding a photograph or design to the inside of your envelope liner. This way, when your guests open it up, they will immediately see the unique design. This will show how much effort you have put into the design, of not only your invitation, but the envelope as well.

Personal Inscription

Once you have designed and created the outside of your card, it’s time to move onto the inside, which will hold all of the important information concerning the wedding ceremony. According to The Knot, you must include information such as whoever is hosting the occasion (i.e. the couple), the time of the ceremony, the location etc. There is always a request line following the host’s name, such as “request the honour of your presence,” which you can include if you like, or you can opt for something a little more personal to you and your finance

 

Invitation blog

That Special Wedding Present, Not On The List…

Do you know someone getting married this season and want to make sure they receive a gift that they will love? You might like to think about giving something a bit more unusual than the typical present of money or gift cards. By taking a little extra time and thinking about finding a special gift, you will give the happy couple something they will remember for many years to come and that they will always treasure.

Wedding gift

Money is always useful of course but many people often give newlyweds such a gift and it can be somewhat boring. Cash is quickly spent, and when you want to give them something they will remember, it will take a little bit of thought. One thing you might want to consider is a dinner service or other high quality crockery. You can be certain that such a gift will be used for a very long time. If you shop around you will be able to find something suitable at a sensible price. Very good glassware is always acceptable so consider purchasing some beautiful champagne glasses and wine glasses, perhaps in a presentation box. You will find a huge choice of glassware available in the shops and online.

 

Another gift option you might want to consider is making a charitable donation in their name. Many couples now request those interested in giving a gift to make a donation to a charity nominated by them. Even if the bride and groom haven’t specified which organization would be best or one that they are particularly interested in, you can still donate and let them know they have made a difference in someone’s life. You might want to research which charitable organization or non-profit you think would be the best – many couples will find this a thoughtful gift that they will really appreciate.

Thank you card

You might also think about offering a unique gift that allows the couple to experience something exciting, such as a balloon flight. You can also help in many different ways, perhaps with travel costs or by helping them with their honeymoon expenses. If the couple have arranged a honeymoon, you could contact their travel agent and enquire if you could pay for some extras for them to enjoy. Talk to someone who has an idea of what is available at the honeymoon venue and you will almost certainly be able to arrange something very special for the happy couple.

 

Bride and groom drinking champagne

A wedding is a very special time in someone’s life and you will want to make sure that the couple receive a gift that they will both love and appreciate for many years. By putting a little time and effort into your gift idea, you can come up with something they will really appreciate and enjoy – a thoughtful gift will make all the difference.

The History Of The Engagement / Wedding Ring

Engagment ring styles

Wedding/engagements rings symbolise love and commitment, with many people opting for diamond varieties like the ones available here, but when did the tradition of giving someone a ring begin? Well, it can be traced back centuries to civilisations across the globe, so let’s delve a little further into this fascinating history.

Rings were offered by Ancient Egyptians as a symbol of love

It’s hard to pin-point the exact origin of the ring, but it’s believed the oldest recorded exchange of wedding rings comes from ancient Egypt, some 4,800 years ago. These were made from sedges, rushes and weeds that were carefully twisted and braided together to form beautiful hand decorations and other accessories that were mainly worn by women of the time. Rings were seen as the ultimate symbol of love with the circular shape representing eternity and the hole in the middle being seen as a path to new and exciting things.

Of course, rings made from plant materials didn’t last very long and were soon replaced by rings made from leather, ivory and bone. If the receiver was given a ring made from bone it was thought the giver loved them more than if they had received a reed alternative. What the ring was made out of also reflected the wealth/status of the giver. Rings were also made from copper; we know this because many Ancient Egyptian skeletons were found with rings of this kind on their toes.

Rings later became of symbol not only of love but ownership

Rings later became not only a symbol of love but a symbol of ownership. Roman men would quite literally claim a woman they took fancy to by giving them a band to wear on their finger. These were often made of iron and symbolised strength and permanence.

They would be lavishly engraved and called anulus pronubus, which is Latin for betrothal ring (the equivalent of our modern engagement rings). The ring would be placed on the left hand ‘ring finger’ as there was thought to be a vein in the finger, the Vena Amoris (the Vein of Love) which connected directly to the heart. While this isn’t scientifically true, the romantic theory behind the idea is too sweet to be ignored.

Rings entered Christian marriage ceremonies

Rings were used in Christian marriage ceremonies around 860 and were heavily adorned with all sorts of imagery including doves, linked hands, lyres and such like. The church eventually branded these elaborate designs as heathenish and by the 13th century they were a lot simpler – much like the wedding bands we often seen today.

Early Christians would also wear the ring on the third finger rather than the wedding finger. This is because during the binding part of the ceremony, the Priest would say “in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit” touching the thumb, the index finger and the middle finger in turn. He would then say Amen and place the ring on the third finger.

Diamond rings came into circulation

Even in Ancient Egypt, the material of the ring was of paramount importance symbolising power, love and wealth. Therefore, it’s perhaps no surprise that rings continued to become more and more lavish with the first recorded account of a diamond engagement ring being given in 1477 when King Maximilian I of Germany (1459-1519) proposed to Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482). This started a trend which is still thriving today and is just one of the many interesting facts associated with weddings.

The appearance of rings has changed considerably over the years but they remain a strong symbol of love and commitment today that we continue to exchange and use to represent the strength of a relationship.

A Real Man’s Guide To Wedding Day Nerves

Grooms ivory calla lily buttonhole

It’s the morning of your wedding day. How do you feel, nervous? Of course that’s how you feel. It’s only natural, it’s perfectly normal, and yet that won’t stop many of the guests you’ll mingle with over the course of the next few hours asking you that very same question, over and over again.

You’ll smile and pleasantly say, ‘Fine, I’m fine,’ and for the most part you will be. But there will still be a few worries rumbling away, deep in your soul. And while the bride – your betrothed – will be frothing over whether she looks fat in her dress (she won’t), whether you’ll turn up (of course you will, you’re punching well above your weight) and whether her best friend will upstage her with her own outfit (she’ll try), you, the groom, have a unique set of concerns. This is what they are – this is the real man’s guide to wedding day nerves…

The vows
There’s only one part of the wedding ceremony vows that worry you. It’s not saying ‘I do’ – that’s easy, that’s only two words – and it’s not repeating your own name – that’s easy, that’s your own name, you can manage that. It’s that bit when the priest asks if ‘any person present knows of any lawful impediment to this marriage, he or she should declare it now’. Beads of sweat form on your brow; there’s a girl sitting at the back of the church – you kissed her 15 years ago. What if she’s been holding a torch for you, all this time, waiting for this moment? And she stands up to tell all and sundry about your torrid little affair? It happens. It happened in The Graduate. Mind you, that was a film. In 1967. Grow up, man.

The suit
You want to look good – you know your brand new wife is going to look utterly gorgeous, a vision in white, and that she’ll be showered in compliments. The least you can do is look half-decent beside her, not some kind of scruffy shambles of a groom in a loose-fitting suit, jacket hanging down towards your knees and trouser hem bunched around your shoes. No – if you stick to the principles of wearing a classic suit in style and colour (navy blue and grey, examples here from Dobell, are sound bets), which fits perfectly, you can’t go far wrong. Relax.

groom with cufflinks on

The guests
Oh, joy – your parents divorced a decade ago and have barely been in the same room since. They can’t stand the sight of each other. However, they’ll be reunited at opposite ends of the ‘top table’ throughout the wedding breakfast and you’ll be fretting over the simmering tension for hours. Fingers crossed they’ll remain civil and courteous for half a day, and keep those fixed smiles in place. Then again, the alcohol will be flowing and it’s an emotional occasion – just hope things don’t escalate to the point where that incident during the family holiday to the Isle of Wight in the late 1990s is brought up (again)…

The best man
Your best friend of all time. Or your brother, the guy you’ve grown up with. Brilliant, brilliant blokes – but you don’t trust either of them in front of a microphone and a room full of increasingly tipsy guests. Yes, the best man’s speech can be a minefield. What’s he going to say? He has a duty to be funny, but there are boundaries, after all – he won’t go into the specific details of your lads’ holiday to Magaluf, or the unfortunate ‘accident’ in primary school, will he? He won’t make inappropriate jokes about your in-laws, will he? Are you sure? Might be best to go through his speech with him beforehand and veto anything that could cause offence or embarrassment. Make sure the wedding toasts are simple too – none of these dreadful examples here.

The booze
A dilemma – it’s going to be a great day, and you want to celebrate it properly. Not only that, but after all the nerves the least you deserve is a couple of drinks to relax. Glasses of champagne will be raised, wine consumed during the three-course dinner, beers thrust into your hand later in the evening. That’s a worry in itself – staying just the right side of drunk and not embarrassing yourself (this article says doing something stupid in front of people is one of the top ten wedding day fears for grooms, as is falling over). No-one wants to see those moves on the dancefloor, and you don’t want the evening to flash by in a blur. Pace yourself and make it a night to remember.

2015 Floral Wedding Stationery Trends with our Friends from Ivy Ellen

Ivy Ellen Stationery

Wedding trends in 2015 bring brides and grooms bold floral patterns and botanical fresh looks. As
award winning wedding stationers here at Ivy Ellen we take inspiration from all paths in the wedding
industry and fresh florals is definitely a must have. We have listed out 3 floral trends that work
beautifully and look picture perfect with Sarah’s Flowers.

 
 Ivy Ellens Millie Belly Band Wedding Invitation from £1.95 www.ivyellen.com
The first big floral trend for 2015 is rustic. Think of muted grey and brown undertones, with soft
floral accents. Rustic weddings can be anything from a little bit vintage to full on bohemian and both
work equally as well as the other. Traditionally rustic weddings include plenty of nature, low key
decoration and a large amount of brown Hessian with twine. For instance our Lavandula belly band
wedding invitation is soft, romantic and rustic. Lavender is great for floral arrangements and
stationery alike.

 
Ivy Ellens Lavandula Belly Band Wedding Invitation from £1.95 www.ivyellen.com
Another gorgeous floral trend for 2015 is bright and bold blooms. Warm and rich reds bounce off of
vibrant pinks and sunny yellows. These luxurious feeling colours create the perfect blend for a
modern floral look. Our Constance belly band wedding invitation is exactly the right tone for this
colourful blossoming theme. Created from an original artwork this invitation is far from boring.

 
2. Ivy Ellens Constance Belly Band Wedding Invitation from £1.95 www.ivyellen.com
Last but most certainly not least we have the botanical and organic florals. This natural effect is
beautiful for outdoor weddings all year round. Combining strong earthy tones with fresh greens
creates a visually enchanting look. By using naturally sourced decorations and ethically provided
suppliers your botanical theme also works great as an eco-friendly option. For example all our
invitations including our stunning new Hedgerow wedding invitations are printed on beautiful, high
quality board sourced from sustainable forests.

 
3. Ivy Ellens Hedgerow Belly Band Wedding Invitation from £1.95 www.ivyellen.com

 
You can see more floral wedding invitations online at http://ivyellenweddinginvitations.co.uk/
Written by Stephanie at Ivy Ellen.

What To Wear For Your Best Friend’s Wedding

Picture of a bridesmaid

Okay, we’re just going to address the elephant in the room. It’s your best friend’s wedding. But you aren’t a bridesmaid.There’s probably a good reason for this. Maybe she only wanted two and had to have her sister and her husband-to-be’s sister? Or she isn’t having bridesmaids at all? Perhaps she’s still mad about that time you were honest about how she looked in her prom dress, all those years ago? These are all good reasons. But they are beside the point, it’s your best friend’s big day and regardless of what you might be feeling about a perceived slight, you need to be there, looking great and celebrating with her. So here’s a quick run through on what to wear:

Rock a trouser suit

Oh yeah, get androgynous for the occasion. Some fitted cigarette trousers plus a sharp blazer and shirt combo will ensure you look super smooth in all the photos.
Be sure to go for bright colours though, so you don’t look like you’re off to a job interview or a fashionable funeral. Finish it off with a slicked back, wet look hairstyle – here’s some inspiration – and smoky eyes.

Swan in with a swing dress

One of the most simple dress styles works for every occasion, even weddings.
A pastel swing dress, jazzed up with some extra glittery jewellery (and heels will look great in the wedding photos). Wear your hair loose and curled, if you can, and keep make up fresh and natural. Take some inspiration from the range of party dresses from Blue Vanilla – we love their Felicia dress designs.

Mesmerise in a maxi

Maxi dresses are great wedding wear, just be careful with the material and make sure it doesn’t look too ‘bridal’. Take your Mum along when you try it on. She’s been to hundreds of weddings, probably, so is clued up on what is risky and what’s good to go. Keep the maxi dress itself simple, try to avoid lots of lace and embellishments and instead dress it up with some bright accessories.

Look sensational in a shirt and skirt

Pick up a fitted shirt in a fun print and team this with a skater skirt and heels for a comfortable but stylish wedding day ensemble. Use jewellery to dress up your look and a large clutch to hold all your bits and bobs in. Top off with a blow-dried mane and a bold floral crown for that slightly hipster/ethereal/bohemian look, without going over the top.

A wedding dress

Just kidding! Maybe.

Bonus round. What not to wear:

  • A plunging neckline
  • A bodycon dress or skirt
  • A bandage dress
  • A white dress
  • Anything that shows your belly button
  • Anything that shows your bra straps
  • Anything that shows your underwear
  • A hoodie
  • Head to toe black
  • Pinstripes

And for the love of God, do not wear that white and gold dress.

Wait, we mean blue and black.

6 Quirky Ideas To Craft Up Your Wedding Reception

Whether you’re on a budget or simply love arts and crafts, making your own trinkets and decorations for your wedding reception is a great idea and could save you some money as well. There’s a whole wealth of things you can do to brighten up your big day and with sites such as Craft Superstore providing a range of well-priced materials you’ll have everything you need and more to get started.
In need of inspiration? Then check out these six quirky ideas:

 

  • Make your own table centrepieces

    If you want to impress your guests and make your wedding the most-talked about event of the year, then why not make your own centrepiece? You’ll find plenty of great ideas online, but if you’re looking for something simple yet effective how about wrapping candles in the sheet music of your favourite romantic songs – you could even include your first dance tune? Hold it in place with decorative ribbon, display on a candle stand and you’ll have a simple yet effective design.

  • Create a romantic crescent moon and star photo booth
    Photo booths are popular at big events, but if you don’t want to pay a fortune for a professional service, you could always create your very own star and crescent moon photo backdrop? To do this, simply cut foam board into a large crescent shape, spray it with glue and cover the entire thing with gold/silver glitter. Do the same for around 3-4 stars and leave everything to dry before hanging with fishing wire.

 

  • Knock up some big day bunting
    Bunting is a great way to brighten up any party, but you can also transform a traditional decoration into something more practical – a vibrant and quirky seating plan. To do this, simply choose paper to match the colour-theme of your wedding and cut it into triangular flaps before securing to a long length on twine – tips on how to get things just right can be found here. Next, write the name of a guest and their table number on each flag (bearing in mind you might need to put several names and numbers on one flag if you’ve a large wedding party) and let your friends and family hunt for where they will be sitting.

    Bunting

 

  • Create personalised wine labels
    Placing wine on each table is common at most weddings, but you could always do something different by popping a personalised Mr & Mrs label on each of the bottles. There are many online sites that will customise a design for you or you could simply print off your favourite photographs onto sticky-back paper and take your guests for a walk back down memory lane, with a host of fun images. Customise each bottle to include snaps of the guests sat at each table and you’re sure to get a lot of laughs.

 

  • Pin the tail on the donkey
    Okay, so this might seem a bit off the wall at a wedding, but if you want to bring a bit of fun to your reception, this is a great way to do it. Both kids and adults alike will love this nostalgic party game and it’ll give you the chance to draw or paint a donkey onto cardboard and decorate it in any way you please. The wackier the better, so don’t be afraid to use beads, sequins, brightly coloured paper and anything else that takes your fancy.

 

  • Make your own guest chalkboard
    Many couples choose to have a guestbook at their big day, but if you’d like guests to record personal messages in a more unique way, think about laying down some adhesive chalkboard roll in a quiet area of your reception venue (i.e. not on the dance floor where people might get trampled) alongside a pot of chalk pens. That way, your nearest and dearest can take time out to write something special and at the end of the night you can roll the chalkboard up, take it home and display it at home.

A wedding with lots of unique features will always be memorable, so it’s well worth giving some of these fun ideas a go.

How To Plan And Organise The Ultimate Engagement Party

wedding party games

An engagement party is like any other get together but you could also use it as a clever way of testing out certain themes, décor, or food you are considering having on your wedding day. So here’s a quick guide on how to plan and organise the ultimate engagement party:

1. When?

The timing of your engagement party is important. Have your party at least a year before the wedding so it isn’t too close to the big day or as soon as possible if you want to surprise guests with the news.

2. Where?

Traditionally, engagement parties are held at the home of the bride-to-be’s parents but you could go all out and hire a venue. Your local pub, restaurant or even the hall where you are considering the reception are all good options.
Or why not be really adventurous and hire something unusual such as a party bus, where you are driven around as music plays, disco lights flash and you and your guests can have a dance and get to know each other?
It might not necessarily be the older generation’s idea of a party venue, but we’re sure your Aunt can postpone her trip to Mecca Bingo for one evening (you and your bridesmaids can take her for a more subdued hen party at a later date) and let her hair down.

3. What?

The logistics of planning a party can get on top of you so don’t over do it with the guest list.
In fact, as a general rule, only invite people to your engagement party, hen and stag parties and any other wedding related event if they are coming to the whole day. It will save any awkwardness later when you send out invitations.
Serve up mini cakes with flavours you are considering for the big day dessert.
Put together a playlist of you and your partner’s favourite songs; they don’t have to be love songs just ones that you both enjoy and that bring back memories.
Get guests to play the Proposal Game. Hand out cards featuring a story of how he proposed but with words missing for guests to fill in, you’ll both have fun reading their responses later. Find the instructions here.
Have plenty of champagne ready. Guests will probably bring some too but look into buying a case so the bubbly doesn’t run out half way through the night – you are celebrating after all!
Don’t forget to take pictures. If you know someone with a good camera get them to take some nice shots of you and your partner and of all your family and friends, or you could even hire a photographer for an hour when the party is in full swing.
Make sure you take a moment while partying to have a cuddle with your partner and remind yourselves that you are at your engagement party. You’re getting married! Congratulations!

Remember:

An engagement party is probably the first time your families and some friendship groups will meet each other so be ready to introduce people repeatedly and cringe when your Dad breaks out his signature moves after a few drinks.
Have some essential things on hand: tissues, aspirin, taxi numbers and bottles of water. It wouldn’t hurt to have some sleeping arrangements set up too, just in case people want to crash at your house if you are holding the party at home.
Finally, remember to have fun. Your engagement party is almost a test run for the big day, so see what works, who gets on (and who doesn’t) and let it guide you when it comes to planning the actual wedding.

Flowers and plants that say ‘I love you’

Purple silk wedding flowers

The language of flowers can be complex. It’s not enough to simply buy a bouquet of red roses and expect the recipient to instantly swoon at your feet. If you’re thinking of showing your emotions and expressing feelings of love, then don’t always go for the obvious choice.

Go back in time

The sentimental Victorians created a whole lexicon of love through flowers, and you only have to look at some medieval paintings to understand the powerful symbology behind the placement of certain flowers in paintings. If you get the language of flowers wrong, you could be insulting your beloved, and that’s never romantic.

Lily of the Valley from Spalding Bulb is a perfect flower for expressing love. With its sweet smell and delicate white flowers, this beautiful and subtle plant makes a perfect romantic present. The plant flourishes in May, but any good florist should be able to source lily of the valley, throughout the year.

Tulips say ‘I Love You’

Another less obvious choice is a tulip. With their wonderful colour range, from moody black to bright yellow, you should be able to make an arrangement that will compliment your love’s temperament. The Victorians used these flowers when they uttered the words of love for the first time, what they did during late summer is left to the imagination as tulips traditionally only flower in the spring months.

It’s not just humans who use flowers for love

According to an article in The Daily Mail dolphins express their love with presentations of seaweed. The gift of seaweed is an important part of dolphin courtship, and apparently male dolphins spend hours looking for the best strands of this underwater plant before presenting it to their chosen female. The males of the species aren’t renowned for their fidelity, so if you think that this might be an ideal plant for your partner, think again.

Picture of two dolphins

Camellias express love

If you’re looking to declare your passion, and want to do so with an unusual flower, then Camellias are a great way of expressing your feelings. A pink camellia will tell your loved one that you are longing for them, and a red camellia tells the recipient that they are ‘a flame in your heart.’

Remember to get the right flowers for an anniversary

It’s just as important to keep your lover happy as to woo her or him. White lilies will tell your partner that you love your relationship, and the humble daisy; given on a 11th wedding anniversary, denotes loyal love. If your relationship endures until a 60th anniversary, then give your spouse some orchids to signify love, beauty and charm.

Flowers are always a popular way of expressing love

In 2013 amorous Brits spent a total of £1 billion on Valentine’s gifts and gestures.
An article in the Huffington Post suggests that the popularity of flower giving at this time is still on the rise, with 2,745,000 floral gifts being bought across the UK in 2013. Roses are still more popular as romantic presents than any other plants.

How To Find The Perfect Wedding Car For Your Big Day

A woman has to make a lot of decisions for her wedding. Some decisions she makes by herself, and others with her husband-to-be. If you are about to get married, generally the first things you think about are: The wedding dress, rings, invitations, venue, and your entourage.
However, one of the biggest things to make an impact on your wedding day is the car that you are going to arrive in. This is usually one of the wedding decisions a couple will make together.
Here are some tips on how to help you find the perfect wedding car.

Size matters

When choosing your wedding car, size does matter. Why? Because it all depends on your wedding gown. If you are wearing a simple gown, you can choose just about any type of car you imagine. You could even ride a bicycle if you really wanted! However, if you choose a big gown with a train, you will have to think about the space within the car, as you don’t want to be cramped up, uncomfortable and arrive at your venue creased and disheveled.
Another reason size matters is because you have to consider the number of people travelling in the wedding car. For some weddings, it’s only the bride uses the car. For others, both sets of parents of the bride may ride with her going to the wedding venue. Remember also, that after the wedding, the groom will travel alongside his new wife.

Go with the theme of your wedding

You may want a retro car or a classic one, but make sure that it fits the theme of your wedding. The car will make a huge impact during your wedding day and you will have several pictures taken with it, so don’t want it looking out of place.
There are plenty of ideas that you can choose from such as vintage cars, classic cars, retro, minivans, and even tractors or trailers. The choice is entirely yours!

Color of the car

In addition to choosing the type of car you want, you also have to consider what color will be best. Again, you can choose according to the theme of your wedding. Some popular colors include white, black, or red. There is also a big increase in popularity of more unusual and unique colours, such as yellow, blue, or bright pink!

Make the decision together

When choosing the perfect wedding car, you have to make the decision together with your partner. You have to agree on the wedding car, as it will be special day for both of you. If you can’t decide on something, you may want to ask help from your wedding organizer to seek out the perfect car for you both.
Choosing a wedding car does not have to be a difficult experience. It may even be a fun bonding experience with your future husband. You can test out your dream cars. You might have a chauffeur, though if you don’t and have opted to drive yourself instead, be sure you know the road laws in whatever area you’re getting married. With the perfect wedding car and the perfect partner, you will have a wedding day that you will cherish for years and years to come. Happy hunting!

Aston Martin D5 Wedding Car