Charlotte Balbier
Festival Wedding Exhibitions

the big debate: first look or grand entrance?

April 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Image by Helen Russell Photography

image by Helen Russell Photography

As couples continue to bend the ‘wedding rules’ in order to have a big day that’s done their way, we are seeing more traditions fall by the wayside.

Previously through The Big Debate we’ve discussed whether or not couples should stick with tradition by spending the night before the wedding together or part. It’s a contentious issue as superstition has it that it’s bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony. But for some couples it’s all about feeling comfortable and at ease, rather than running scared of marriage day myths.

This desire to feel relaxed on the day of the wedding has now also led to some couples opting for what’s known as a ‘first look’ prior to the ceremony. So instead of setting eyes on each other as ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ for the first time at the altar, the couple share a private moment together ahead of taking their vows where they can see and speak to each other, calming any pre-wed nerves. In most cases the couple’s photographer would join them for the first look moment to document the ‘big reveal’ emotions, just as they would usually capture it at the beginning of the ceremony.

So today we discuss if ditching tradition in this case will make that big reveal moment more, or less, special?

Image by JPRShah Photography (2)

Image by JPR Shah Photography

rachel says: save it for the ceremony

During our previous debate on the night before the wedding I said I was willing to risk the bad luck factor of spending the night with my hubby-to-be in order to get a good night’s sleep ahead of the big day. However I stipulated that I’d still want to go our separate ways on the morning of the wedding in order to achieve that highly-anticipated entrance at the ceremony, in front of both the groom and the guests, and I stand by that.

I’m certain I’ll suffer wedding-morning nerves, as in case you didn’t know I’m a worrier by nature, (I worry about worrying!) but I fear that seeing the groom just minutes before the ceremony would turn me into even more of an emotional wreck than I’ll already be.

Also, I’ve found that the brides we feature on the blog often say their favourite part of the wedding day was meeting their partner at the altar – the expression on their face and perhaps any words they exchanged is what they remember most. I realise you can still get this with a first look, but I think the big reveal is one of the most memorable parts of the wedding for guests too, and something that they feel blessed to be a part of. For example last year when my cousin got married, she cried as she reached the front of the church and watching the groom wipe away her tears, put a tender arm over her shoulder and make her laugh and smile instantly showed us onlookers how perfect they were for each other – and that moment is now etched in my mind!

There’s no doubt that emotions will run high, but that’s all part and parcel of a wedding day and I don’t think the bride and groom need to keep such moments to themselves. So along with not walking under ladders, smashing any mirrors or putting up umbrellas indoors, I’ll be avoiding bad luck by saving the first look for the ceremony!

Image by Sarah Brabbin Photography

image by Sarah Brabbin

julia says: just the two of us

Prior to my own wedding day, I wouldn’t have been game for a sneaky peek, or “first look”. I was firmly of the opinion that the arrival of the bride should be met with awe and wonder at the end of an aisle… veil down, music high, anticipation huge.

That’s until I learned that my nervous new husband had spent the best part of the wedding morning literally almost throwing up with nerves. Worries about marrying me? Never! Slight hangover? Possibly. Crowd shy? Very.

When we got hitched waaaaaay back in 2010, the whole wedding scene was still pretty traditional compared to now. A first look wasn’t even mentioned, let alone properly discussed.  If it had been, I probably would have discounted it (hey, it was “my moment”!) but in retrospect, it might have worked very nicely for us – him especially – whilst also allowing us a special photo opportunity and a lovely moment of togetherness and anticipation before the ceremony itself.

Some might think that its bad luck to meet before the service, but it’s hardly cheating if it’s on hallowed (or licensed!) ground, is it? For me, a first look only ups the excitement factor, is cute and romantic and is all about togetherness – a stolen moment for just the two of you to cherish.

And hey, if you still want to do the whole big entrance thing, your partner can always sneak in the side-door as The Bridal March starts up.  In fact, no one need ever know it happened at all…

Image by Laura Calderwood Photograph

image by Laura Calderwood Photography

what you said on social:

Natalia says: “We are only having a very intimate wedding of 20 guests so I don’t see the need for a first look ahead of the ceremony as I will be comfortable with everyone that will be present.”

Jenny says: “I’m not good at being centre of attention so we’ve decided to have a first look to help ease my nerves. I know seeing my partner will calm me down and give me the confidence I need to make a good entrance.”

Clare says: “I’m totally superstitious so won’t be taking any chances! I’ll be spending the night before away from the groom and then won’t see him until I get to the altar. I think doing it any other way would lessen the magic and excitement that builds while you are apart!”

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style sheet: pantone 2016

February 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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For some couples giving their wedding day a theme makes it feel a little gimmicky, and so they prefer to keep things simple by coordinating the details to a chosen colour scheme instead. But which hues to choose?

Some brides will simply go with their favourite colour(s), while others will pick shades which complement the season of the year in which they will wed. Those needing inspiration meanwhile can always turn to colour experts Pantone, who forecast the top colours each year based on a snapshot of what is taking place in our culture.

For the first time ever, Pantone has introduced two colours for 2016 – rose quartz & serenity – both of which make dreamy wedding colour schemes, either alone or when combined together. So today we’re giving you, our lovely brides-to-be, ideas on how to pull off the perfect Pantone palette for your big day…

rose quartz

Rose Quartz

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Masha Golub| image source, photography by Laura Gordon Photography| image source| image source, photography by Matthew Morgan Photography| image source, photography by Elizabeth Messina| image source, photography by Ryon Lockhart| image source, photography by Sarah Mellor| image source| image source.

Described as a warm tone that reflects wellness by Pantone, this stunning dusky shade of rose pink is particularly elegant and would suit various styles of weddings, from classic to contemporary.

Sweet and soft in its appearance this shade is the epitome of love and romance and is also gentle on many skin tones, making it an ideal choice for bridesmaids. It’s also an option for brides looking for a subtle alternative to ivory, with a growing number of designers introducing blush gowns to their collections.

Brides sticking to tradition however can still incorporate the rosy hue into their attire through their shoe and accessory choices; whether it be a blush garter, pink pearl necklace or dusky stone drop earrings.

Thankfully when it comes to flowers, there are plenty of pink blooms for brides to choose from, such as peonies, lilies, astilbe and anemones. In addition to bouquets and button holes, such blooms can be incorporated into the décor and even the cake design. It would also be a nice play on the colour scheme to feature roses in the theming, both in terms of the flowers and design of elements like the stationery.

Weddings that are light, soft and delicate in their appearance will work best with this girly hue so just be sure to keep things simple, clean and classy.

serenity

Serenity

Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, photography by Ben Yew Photography| image source, photography by Fuller Photography| image source, photography by Anastasia Belik| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Amaranth Photography| image source.

Every bride needs a something blue for her big day, so why not choose Pantone’s serenity for an on-trend and elegant colour scheme.

Described as tranquil and soothing by the colour forecasters, this is an ideal choice for those wanting a laid-back yet loved-up feel for their wedding.

Though not the most popular choice with brides, we have seen an increase in the number of steely blue dress designs hitting the bridal catwalks, notably from top designers such as Ian Stuart and Monique Lhuillier. Brides wanting to play it safe meanwhile could go for the classic something blue in the form of their shoes, adding a pop of colour to their attire.

For bridesmaids the cool tone could be a little tricky to match to varying complexions and so a mix of differing blue tone dresses might work best, whilst also adding depth and interest.

Grooms can also get in on the blue colour scheme for their attire. Though serenity is a mid to lighter shade of blue, which many men might not feel comfortable in, there is the option of a navy suit matched with a tie or dicky bow in a similar shade to serenity, whether it be plain or patterned.

Elsewhere blue can be reflected through flower choices such as hydrangeas, thistles, eucalyptus and iris. Cake designs can also feature the hue, with watercolour, ombre and wedgewood styles lending themselves particularly well.

As to not make the overall look too cold and controlled, try to keep to the powder side of blue and soften décor with the use of pretty petals and bows.

blue & blush

Blue & Blush

Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Into the Light| image source, photography by Loft Photographie| image source, photography by Natalie Bray Photography| image source, photography by Rebecca Amber Photography| image source, photography by NJ Wedding Photographer Kay English| image source, photography by Eve Photography| image source| image source, photography by Tiffany Hughes Photography| image source, photography by Caroline Tran| image source.

Finally for a complete colour contrast, couples can fully embrace Pantone’s picks of 2016 by incorporating both blush rose and serenity blue into their big day.

Focusing on gender equality, Pantone points out that bringing the two shades together creates something of a gender blur, though for weddings it could be seen as both a reflection of the bride and groom through both a feminine and masculine colour combination.

Working in perfect harmony Rose Quartz and Serenity are particularly appealing for those wanting a sweet, surgery and elegant look to their wedding.

Bridesmaids can be mixed and matched in the two colours, or alternatively kept in one shade for their dresses and then have the contrasting colour for either their bouquets and/or heels.

In terms of décor, coordinating and contrasting blooms and vases, jars or bottles work well, as do pretty paper pompoms or lanterns in the two shades. Crockery and glassware can also be mismatched to reflect the scheme, and in pastel shades can work particularly well with vintage and afternoon tea style settings.

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wedding planning 101: saving for your wedding day

February 12th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Honeymoon Fund

image source

It’s mid month and we’re all feeling the pinch, right..? When payday feels like such a long time away, it’s often easy to worry about how you’re going to be able to afford that dream day that everyone keeps mentioning.

We’re huge advocates here of doing things your own way on your wedding day, and achieving the perfect day (your version of it!) within your own budget, whatever that might be. Yes, its a super important day in your life, but it really is just one day – don’t give yourself a lifetime of debt to furnish 100 guests with the perfect wedding favours! Unless you’re very comfortable financially or The Bank of Mum & Dad is paying out big time, we think it might be time to get saving.

Luckily, our sponsors at TSB have come up with some handy tips for saving for your wedding without breaking the bank. Take a look, and here are some of our favourite tips, combined with a few of our own…

set a budget

It’s important to be realistic and set a budget for the big day, but also all the smaller elements of it too.  Be strict, because if you go over budget on each part, you might find yourself in trouble when it comes to paying the registrar! TSB advise that setting a limit on the amount you can spend on your dress is a good place to start.

“Budget before you go and be realistic by only trying on dresses that are within your budget,” says Phil of Phil Collins Bridal. “You don’t want to be disappointed by falling in love with a dress you can’t afford.”

limit the numbers

Yes, obviously, less bums on chairs will bring the overall cost down, but you might like to consider the number of people in the actual wedding party very carefully too.  The cost of six adult bridesmaid dresses can really add up.  Consider keeping the number of attendants and groomsmen on the smaller side, or ask if they would mind contributing to the cost of their outfits if you are prepared to give them some flexibility in the style stakes.

double up

TSB suggest cutting costs by using your flowers and decorations at both your ceremony and reception venue, if they are separate (ushers at the ready)! It’s wise to make sure you have factored in absolutely all costs – as well as the cost of hiring the venue, remember any decor you may wish to use; flowers, the photographer and transport.

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something blue. a stylish inspiration shoot in santorini

October 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (44)

First up, we are so very sorry to be doing this to you on a chilly Monday afternoon! But oh, the pretty!

We’re sun seeking on the wedding blog today as we join Brides Up North Sponsor Lisa of The Bridal Consultants for a dreamy destination wedding styled shoot in Santorini.  Pinterest fingers at the ready destination brides (or those planning the most beautiful honeymoon, like, ever)!

Images by Nathan Wyatt Photography.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (64)

lisa says: Santorini is one of the most highly desired wedding locations in the world, due to the exclusive selection of beautiful unique venues and the incredible views.  With our inspiration shoot I wanted to create something simple yet beautiful that any bride could recreate. I advise my Santorini brides not to ‘over design’ their wedding as the view is really the main attraction that guests will be focusing on.

We chose to host the shoot at the most popular venue on the island, Dana Villas. Nathan then took our model to some of the most scenic spots on the island to show the different landscapes and charming ancient villages this gorgeous destination has to offer for adventurous brides willing to stray off the beaten track.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (40)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (21)

The wedding dress was by the amazing Sarah Janks, I was so excited when we found it. It is clean and elegant with simple detail and a modern edge. It was also really exciting to use a relatively new designer to the UK. The dress had a tulle overlay with flower beading and lace which danced beautifully in the breeze. The veil which we planned to use for just a few shots was so effective it became one of the highlights of the shoot!

I wanted to keep the model’s hair simple and neat to make sure the attention was all on the dress, Helen Savva on hair and makeup knew exactly the look I was going for so I know I could leave her to it after sending her my ideas. We work with Helen on almost all of our weddings so I had complete faith that she could interpret my vision.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (33)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (24)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (27)

The flowers by Wedding Wish were just perfect. Simple, stylish and beautiful! They provided a lovely contrast to the blank white canvas of Dana Villas. I wanted to include a range of soft blues, from the deep blue of the Aegean to soft pastel we gained with the Hydrangea.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (46)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (68)

The stationery was very simple and stylish in soft shades of blue. The table plan is one of my couples biggest concerns as most like to bring theirs along from home, I chose to use small cards that were easy to transport and then used a flower arrangement to display them in, very simple and effective.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (39)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (16)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (6)

For the favours I went for something different, my couples like to get away from the norm and having a favour you can enjoy on the day is very popular right now and what’s better than a couple of delicious macaroons! Getting them in the right blue colour was a challenge and my decision to use one of my regular suppliers in the UK meant I had to take the macaroons in my hand luggage. Not something that I’d recommend for a stress free wedding experience… besides, there are lots of amazing bakers on the island that can make these for you.

I thought the blue drinks were a fun element that is easy to create, I always recommend my couples have a signature cocktail to serve to everyone after the ceremony! It’s a simple detail but incredibly effective and really delights the guests.

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (81)

A Styled Destination Shoot in Santorini by The Bridal Consultants (c) Nathan Wyatt Photography (86)

We introduced enough detail to give interest but made sure they complemented the view and not take away from it and think that these simple yet effective ideas can be copied by anyone.

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wedding planning 101: super stylin’

September 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Be My Bridesmaid

image source

Having set your budget, booked your venue, sent out your save the dates and secured your photographer and entertainment, it’s time to move onto tasks that many brides deem as the more enjoyable and exciting parts of the planning schedule.

This is because it’s time to start thinking about how to style yourself and your venue for the big day to come! So in today’s wedding planning post we’ll be talking blooms, bridal boutiques and bridesmaids.

Check out our earlier posts in this series by clicking here (the early stages) and clicking here (the next steps).

flower power

Today beautiful blooms tend to stretch way beyond bouquets and button holes with many couples opting to incorporate pretty petals into their décor too. From dainty pew ends to grand floral chandeliers, the possibilities are pretty much endless, though you will need to find a florist that shares your botanical visions in order for them to become reality.

When searching for the right florist, it’s important to look for a trusted supplier with good testimonials from previous couples. You will also want to view examples of their recent work to get an idea of the styles and arrangements that they can achieve. So it might be that you are looking for a florist known for loose, natural and rustic designs, or perhaps neat and elegant arrangements or those that can wow with modern, striking floral structures.

Once you have whittled down a short list meet up with the florist to see how you ‘click’ and if they share your visions on bouquets and floral decorations. They might even suggest great ideas you’d never even thought of.

the one

In many cases shopping for the dream dress is a bride’s favourite part of the planning, though it can be daunting and frustrating at times too with so many options to choose from.

Having done your initial wedding dress research using magazines, blogs and websites to get an idea of the type of gown you might like and to suss out which designers fall into your dress budget, it’s time to search for boutiques that stock your chosen designers and make appointments to visit.

When attending bridal boutique appointments it can be easy for brides to get carried and invite a small entourage to accompany them but it really is best to keep numbers to a minimum to avoid becoming confused by differing opinions. Take those who know you and your style best and will give you an honest opinion – so perhaps mum, sister and maid of honour.

Though it’s good to have an idea of the type of dress you might like, it’s also good to be open minded at your appointment as a style that you’ve never considered just might turn out to be ‘the one’. Bridal stylists know their stuff so if they make a suggestion to try a certain gown on, go with it but don’t feel pressured – the decision is ultimately yours.

leading ladies

Once your dress is sorted you can move onto finding the right gowns for your maids. Again, though most ladies love to shop, bridesmaid dress hunting can be far from retail therapy with bridesmaids clashing on what they would and wouldn’t want to wear.

To avoid shopping centre tantrums it’s a good idea to get together with/speak to your bridesmaids about what type of design and colour you were hoping to dress them beforehand, giving them an opportunity to express any concerns early on. If you have maids of varying figures you could dress them in one colour but different styles of dresses to suit their individual shapes. Alternatively, if you have maids of varying hair colours and complexions, you could ask them all to wear the same design but in varying complementary colours, to suit both them and the wedding styling.

Also, when picking suitable colours for the maids’ dresses think about the styles and tones of flowers you’ve picked and how they will work together.

#foodie

At this point in the planning process it’s also a good idea to get the catering search underway if the venue you’ve booked won’t be providing the food.

Over time wedding breakfast menus have been extended beyond traditional meat and vegetables, meaning that there are now lots exciting options to whet your appetite. Some couples base their food choices on their personal preferences while others make their decisions by the season of the wedding. There’s also the option to pick menus that complement the style of the wedding, so for example afternoon tea for a rustic, country themed wedding, or street food, such as pizza or Mexican, for informal outdoor weddings.

Whatever you decide look for caterers with good reputations and find out what is included in the price, such as waiting staff and glass/crockery hire, to avoid any hidden costs. Then it’s time to sample the goods with a tasting session so you’ll know exactly how the food will look and taste when it’s served up on the day.

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friday fabulous!

July 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime

I am very busy

The wedding planning just got prettier.

17 Month Classic “I Am Very Busy” Agenda by ban.do, £12.92

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