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:

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.

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.

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.