Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

well timed: make your wedding season selection

December 18th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Lead imge - by Martin Hambleton Photography

Martin Hambleton Photography

If you’re anything like us, you flit from one favourite wedding season to another as the various months of the year each have something different to offer.

Whether it be the possibility of a relaxed outdoor wedding in the height of summer taking your fancy, or the image of a cosy and atmospheric winter wedding that has you hooked, an epic choice of venues and hugely creative wedding suppliers means a show-stopping wedding is achievable all year round.

As such, deciding when to set the big day date for can be a little tricky, and so we’ve invited our lovely guest writer, Izzy Hicks of our media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine, to share the pros and cons of the options, so you’ll know which of the seasons is best for you to say “I do”…

winter

WINTER leedannphotography.co.uk CrippsStoneBarnWedding-Steph&Luke-0779

Lee Dann Photography

Pros

Winter, and in particular the holiday season, is a wonderful time of year for a wedding, as it’s already a time of getting together with family and friends to celebrate. It’s easy to create a cosy winter wedding theme, as around Christmas and New Year your venues are already likely to be decked out with fairy lights and extra decorations.

Depending on which month you opt for, winter can also be one of the cheapest times of the year to tie the knot. November, January and February are great months for bargain-hunters.

Cons

The weather is often a big drawback for brides considering a winter wedding. At best it’s likely to be dry yet cold – more likely, it’s going to be drizzly or raining. Although snow may look beautiful in photographs, it can seriously interfere with your wedding travel plans, so be prepared for this possibility.

You’ll lose the light quickly in winter, as the days are at their shortest, which can wreak havoc with your wedding photography. Choose a photographer who’s experienced in shooting in low-light conditions, and consider having your ceremony earlier rather than later in the day to avoid taking group photos in the dark.

spring

SPRING tomhalliday.com tomhalliday_THP_0465

Tom Halliday

Pros

If you want the potential good weather and beautiful settings of summer, but haven’t got the budget for peak season, then spring could be your next best option. And if you’re lucky with the weather you’ll still be able to get all those gorgeous outdoor shots.

Spring is all about new life, which means that you’ll have some of the best blooming flowers and fresh local produce to choose from for your big day. You’ll have your pick of ranunculi, hyacinths, daffodils and tulips for your bouquet, and everyone will be ready for a light and fresh wedding menu after the heavy excesses of winter.

Cons

Once again, it comes down to the weather. Spring is one of the most unpredictable seasons when it comes to the weather, so you’ll need to be prepared for all eventualities and keep your eye on the forecast. At worst, you may end up dealing with flooding due to the Spring rains, so make sure you’re protected against this.

With budding flowers comes pollen! If you or your fiancé suffer from sever hayfever or allergies, then you may want to reconsider marrying in a season when the pollen count is at its highest.

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setting & style: a wedding dress to suit your venue

December 5th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Photo credit Olegs Samsonovs Photography

Olegs Samsonovs Photography

A feature for those of you on the dream dress hunt today, as we welcome our lovely guest writer, Carrie Marsden of media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine, to the blog to discuss picking the right wedding dress, to suit not only your style but also that of your chosen venue…

carrie says: Be it urban, rustic, boutique, historic or coastal, your venue sets the tone for your special day, and so it helps to make sure that your dress style is in-line with the setting for all over harmony.

As wedding planning goes, what’s the first thing we brides-to-be think of mere moments after saying yes to that certain special someone? “What dress am I going to wear?” (if you’re anything like us, in fact, you’ve had an idea of ‘the one’ even before The (other) One popped the question). But consider: with many spectacular wedding venues now taking bookings of upwards of two years in advance of the big day, increasingly, securing the venue is becoming a couple’s number one on the ‘to do’ list. Many brides assume their choice of dress will set the tone for the entire day. But if the venue has been chosen first, where does that leave the dress?

It might seem obvious. The venue and the bride’s dress ought to be in perfect harmony; one complementing and completing the other, a beautiful simpatico symphony (much like the bride and groom themselves, in fact!). And in many cases, an overall theme will draw together and incorporate both. But occasionally, dresses and venues will clash -having been present at a beach-themed wedding in a tipi with the bride tightly bound in a heavily structured fishnet-effect gown, I can assure you, ‘twas truly a confusing affair.

So, here’s our guide to making sweet, sweet music and harmonising two of your most important big-day elements: your venue and your dress…

boho bride

Boho Bride

Cherry Williams | Lilian West

Rustic weddings are playful, outdoors-y affairs, full of a kaleidoscope of colour and with the emphasis on a celebration of the beauty of nature. The details and decor don’t typically include anything too structured or deliberately ‘matching’ so mirror this more relaxed and carefree attitude in your dress of choice. More bohemian styles with lose, tousled hair work well here, as do soft frills and flowing tulle.

urban-chic

Urban Chic

Clockwise from top left: Modeca | Rita Colson | White Rose Bridal | Elbeth Gillis

Love the idea of marrying in iconic style? If you’re joining the glitterati and marrying in a sophisticated city setting, reflect this slick, polished and uber-cool vibe in your dress. Think subtle sparkle, a seriously structured silhouette and even a sharp trouser suit. For an ultra-glam effect in a town setting, opt for monochrome and ask you guests to wear black tie.

boutique hotel

Boutique Hotel

Clockwise from top left: Special Day | Peppermint Love Photography | Eliza Jane Howell | The White Garden Collection

The great thing about a boutique hotel venue is that they tend to be unique, curiously quirky and inimitable in their own sense of style. This gives you free license to choose a gown that best reflects the venue’s holistic ‘feel’. Tea-length dresses work well here in the summer time, or, if the venue calls for it, chose a vintage-inspired or even ‘indie’ dress to suit the individual surroundings.

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maids made easy (ish!): bridesmaid dress shopping tips

November 14th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

4.Olegs Samsonovs Photography

Olegs Samsonovs Photography

A post for you and your #girlsquad this afternoon as the focus is on finding the perfect outfits for your leading ladies. Here to suggest how to shop smart and keep everyone onside in the process is our lovely guest writer, Carrie Marsden of media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine.

carrie says: So, the day of choosing your bridesmaids’ dresses has finally arrived. Everyone has assembled excitedly for brunch somewhere uber-chic first (the flowergirls and smaller bridesmaids are meeting you later). There’s a free prosecco fountain in the middle of the restaurant and, obviously, in the background, Bradley Cooper is setting the mood on the harp. You get down to business and brainstorm some dress ideas and are delighted to find your bridesmaids in unanimous agreement on your style of choice – even more surprisingly, they suddenly break into a rousing burst of spontaneous applause. Bradley Cooper is so moved by this show of female solidarity that he sweeps you off your feet and then…you wake up!

Real talk, it’s more likely that the day will begin with your maid of honour calling to say she’s fallen out with the other bridesmaid over hemlines; one of your maids will casually let you know that she can’t possibly wear any shade of pink… or blue; your best friend will reveal she’s pregnant and will be eight months’ gone by the time of the wedding, and your flowergirl lets you know she’s not coming if you try and put her in a dress. Bradley Cooper is nowhere to be seen.

As unlikely (and borderline depressing) as it may seem ladies, choosing your bridesmaids was the easy bit. Whether you’ve gone big and love the thought of fifteen girls of all ages accompanying you down the aisle, or have chosen an intimate and select group of your very closest two besties, there are still potential minefields to navigate. To help ensure nothing but smooth sailing ahead, read on for top tips for dressing your bridesmaids and be ahead of the game when that day of shopping arrives…

twobirds

twobirds bridesmaid

parameters

Being honest with yourself about what sort of a bride you are and your vision for how the bridal party will ‘look’ is paramount. And this is information that needs to be shared with your bridesmaids from the outset. If it’s important to you that all maids wear a particular and uniform style in a colour that you’ve been dreaming of since you were ten (and there’s nothing wrong with this approach whatsoever; in many ways, it makes life easier!), then tell your maids before you go dress shopping. If they’re worthy of the bridesmaid banner, they’ll respect that this is your day and that your wishes are the only thing that matter.

budget

Again, a frank and candid discussion with your best girls about who you anticipate paying for the dresses is needed at the very beginning of the whole process. Bear in mind the overall expense of your wedding for your bridesmaids, including travel, and accommodation etc. Many brides negotiate this often awkward conversation by offering to pay for the dress but ask their maids to cover the cost of shoes. Do also consider the budget for hair and makeup too – will your bridesmaids get their hair and makeup done with you on the big day?

emma-janephotography.co.uk

Emma Jane Photography

measure of the maids

If you see your bridesmaids in styles and colours that are tailored to suit them but loosely coordinate under a general theme, approach dress shopping collaboratively. That picture of prosecco-fueled fun with all your best girls need not be out of the question (sadly, we fear Bradley Copper’s presence might). We women of the world have some incredible insights; get your maids involved with the process! Consider hosting a ‘mood board’ party. Give your best girls some general guidelines then ask them to do their research and bring two or three dress ideas to the party. Put everyone’s ideas up on the wall to pack a visual punch and let the creative juices flow! Out of the mix, a sharper sense of clarity could well emerge, as well as fostering a truly positive dialogue that helps everyone empathise and understand one another’s hopes for, or anxieties about, the big-day look. Plus, this mood board will make an excellent memento for you afterwards!

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spot-on setting: top tips for picking your wedding venue

September 26th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Andie Freeman Photography

Andie Freeman Photography

This afternoon we’re handing over the blog to our lovely guest writer, Izzy Hicks of our media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine, to share her wedding-planning pearls of wisdom with you lovely brides-to-be!

For today’s post, she’s talking venues, and offering advice on the various elements to take into consideration when searching for the perfect place to host your big day celebrations…

LaraFrostPhotography-55

Lara Frost Photography

izzy says: Your wedding venue is one of the most important parts of creating your day, as it can totally change the feel, size and style of your wedding depending on what you pick. As such, here are my top tips for choosing the perfect setting for your special day…

Peppermint Love Photography

Peppermint Love Photography

style in mind

When discussing your ideal wedding, you and your partner have probably got an idea of how you want the day to feel, and may have started thinking about colours and décor. How formal would you like it to be? Which season are you considering? Are you thinking rustic or glamorous? All these factors can help you narrow down which venues you view, and find the picture-perfect setting for your wedding day.

wedding season

Your chosen wedding season will have a big impact on your wedding venue, and therefore the look of your day. If you’re dreaming of a winter wedding, then don’t let the rose garden or the outdoor ceremony space sell you into a venue, as it’s likely it won’t get put to use in the colder months. Instead, opt for rustic spaces that will look elegant lit by candles or fairy lights. Equally, if you’re planning a summer celebration, then make the most of venues with natural light and garden features, but ensure there’s enough indoor space for all your guests if the weather turns sour.

Shane Weber Photography

Shane Weber Photography

size matters

The size of your venue (and of your guest list) can make a real difference to the feel of your wedding. If you love the idea of an intimate wedding with all your loved ones close by, then picking a smaller venue can help you get that feeling – think about a beautifully-decorated restaurant, wine cellar, or pub if you want a wedding day with a cosy feel, rather than booking a larger space that will feel empty. Alternately, brides with masses of friends and family attending may prefer a large, glamorous ballroom with high ceiling, which won’t be overwhelmed by a large group, or even a festival-style wedding outdoors with plenty of space to spread out.

what’s important

Focusing on areas that you know you and your partner want to make the most of on your big day can help you find the perfect setting. For example, if you’re live music fans and want a rocking dancefloor all night, then be on the lookout for venues with raised stage areas and generous noise allowance. If you’re both foodies who are dreaming of a wedding feast, find a venue with lots of outside space for food trucks, or built-in pizza ovens or outdoor fire pits. If you know you’ll have elderly relatives or lots of young ones at your day and your priority is making your family comfortable, keep your eye out for easily-accessible rooms, comfortable seating or children’s play areas.

Daz Mack Photography

Daz Mack Photography

go non-traditional

You may feel that stately home, barn and marquee are your only venue options, but these days plenty of couples are thinking outside the box when it comes to their wedding setting. Consider a zoo or aquarium, quirky museum, art gallery or warehouse. If you want something meaningful to you both, why not ask the school where you met, or the place you got engaged if they can do weddings?

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lovely littles: keeping your flowergirls sweet

July 13th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Flowergirl 5

image source, photography by Lucy G Photography

It’s that time once again when we hand over the blogging reins to our lovely guest writer, Carrie Marsden of our media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine, to offer her top wedding advice, inspo and ideas.

For today’s post, she’s talking flowergirls, and more specifically, how to keep the fine little helpers on form throughout the big day…

Carrie says: We’re besotted with the idea of a traditional wedding party, complete with the fairytale troupe of gorgeous little flowergirls. Inspired by Pippa Middleton’s recent nuptials and her pretty-as-a-picture party of little helpers, we felt moved to devoting some time to the cutest guests of them all. So, here’s our guide to keeping your precious flowergirls happy, entertained, and most of all, looking gorgeous!

Flowergirl 2

image source, photography by Miki Photography

dress to delight

Little girls love to be dressed as little princesses and as flowergirls, this is their moment in the spotlight! We have heard it on very good authority (from a four-year-old flowergirl, no less) that this was her day, never mind the bride’s! Make sure you factor in shopping trips and fittings with your little ones (if you’re brave enough, do them all in one go!). Absolutely make a day of it with them and share in their excitement – little girls are the best audience for getting excited with (and can talk about princess dresses for hours…).

if the shoe fits

Your princesses will need a pair of fabulous shoes to match that fairytale dress – and little girls’ shoes don’t come any more fabulous these days. Choose from colourful or sparkling options for a flowergirl that likes to stand out, or alternatively a pair of ballerina-style pumps in soft satin for a little lady that likes a touch of class.

Flowergirl 6

image source, photography by Photography34

get them involved

Little ones will love to feel a part of your day, and giving them a little responsibility, whether it’s in charge of holding your veil as you walk down the aisle or throwing confetti as you leave the church – they like to know they’re important! Treating your flowergirls like your main maids will keep them on board and make them feel loved.

Flowergirl 3

image source, photography by Stephen McGowan Wedding Photography

keep them entertained

It’s a brave bride who includes flowergirls in her day and then doesn’t cater for those moments when they get a little bored. Gone are the days when children were seen but not heard; today’s little girls will most certainly be heard if they want to, so make sure it’s for all the right reasons – because they’re giggling to the heavens above and having so much fun! We love the idea of photo booths with children’s dressing-up, as well as including games and sweet stands. A trusty grown-up maid in charge of the little ones is also a top idea (follow Pippa Middleton’s lead and ask your older sister to do it – if it’s good enough for royalty!)

Flowergirl 1

image source, photography by Emily & Katy Photography

say thank you in style

Your little flowergirls will love nothing more than being a part of your day and sharing in the excitement, though it’s nice to rewards their efforts with a gift. Trinkets that say thank you in style include engraved photo frames with you and the flowergirl on the day, as well as lockets and charm bracelets for when they get a little older. Perfect for on the day, however, is a ‘flowergirl teddy’ dressed in an identical outfit to your mini maid, or for that Disney-fairy perfection, a sparkling wand!

Love Our Wedding is stocked by hundreds of top bridal boutiques, venues and fairs nationwide. Visit loveourweddingmag.com to download or order your FREE monthly copy today!

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unique, unusual & unforgettable: wedding entertainment that wows

June 13th, 2017 | Julia Braime

2

Image source, photography by James Tracey Photography

This morning on our pretty pages we have suggestions on how to make your wedding entertainment both personal and poignant, courtesy of our guest writer, the lovely Carrie Marsden of our media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine.

carrie says: Your wedding day is a beautiful opportunity to play out your own personal love story. Now that you’ve found the dress, the venue, the caterer, the flowers, the transport (and, er, the man), thoughts may begin to turn to wedding day entertainment. But let this not be a final flourish, an add-on, or an afterthought. Here is where the magic of your story lies for you and your guests. Here is the place where the story unfolds in magical and memorable chapters. To that great, timeless, enduring and blissful love story – shared by many the world over – here is the chance for you to add into the mix your own unique experience.

The heart of your day belongs to the love you two share, but how that love is honoured, cherished and celebrated will find expression in your choice of wedding entertainment. Be authentic. The entertainment should reflect you both – what you enjoy, what you share, what makes you giggle, what moves you. Don’t be distracted by a ‘theme’, for how often is one person so easily defined, let alone two? Instead, go with what you love. Here are our favourite wedding entertainment ideas, which might just help inspire your choices:

3

Image source, photography by Peace Photography

love, actually

Inspired by our favourite Liam Neeson film (and a mandatory watch every December despite what that hubby says), we love the thought of making a grand entrance (or departure) in the ceremony itself. A regal fanfare troupe of trumpeters to walk you in or out will set the occasion off with a bang. Even better if your guests are the musical type and can surprise everyone and join in! (Don’t discount the groom’s talents either: one memorable wedding included the groom serenading the bride mid-way down the aisle after the service with a surprisingly pitch-perfect version of Bruno Mars’ I Think I Want to Marry You!).

line up, line up!

The traditional meet-and-greet line-up is making a bit of a comeback and I have to say, I love it. Whether you do or don’t go down this path (excuse the pun!), a common theme from guests themselves is that the wait around between the service and the breakfast can be, well, a little bit dull. Leaving guests the only option of drinking heavily, which is – and I speak from personal experience here – worth avoiding. So dazzle and delight to swerve a lull!

Perhaps a cocktail pianist tinkering away on the ivories, which lends the occasion a certain elegance, class and panache (even better if he or she will take requests).

Choose activities that work well inside or out: oversized Jenga, skittles and chess are great fun, weather-proof and age-appropriate. (I’d draw the line at Twister, though, unless you’re happy for things to take a decidedly eventful turn…)

Celebrity lookalikes who mix and mingle with the guests might liven things up, as will a caricaturist, although I’ve always thought a nice twist on this would be to employ a caricaturist before the event. Give him or her pictures of some of your friends/the wedding party and dot them around for people to giggle at! An organised and willing chief bridesmaid might be persuaded to rustle up baby pictures of the guests for a ‘Guess Who?’ board, too.

4

Image source, photography by Sally Eaves Weddings

for the kiddies (and the young at heart)

Children can be a wonderfully exuberant and joyful addition to your day, without whom, the day just wouldn’t be complete. But they can also become, a little restless. You want everyone to have an awesome time – parents and kids alike, so bubbles, face-painting and old-school sweet stalls with candy floss are brilliant ideas. Also consider enlisting the services of an older sibling (‘encouraged’, let’s say, by financial reward) charged with devising games, treasure hunts, making kids’ caves. If there isn’t a team of 13- to 16-year-olds out there offering this service somewhere, well, there should be (there’s a lucrative career here, one feels).

daytime fades into night

When the sun goes down, make sure nothing about your day fades away. The party is now in full swing and here’s how you keep the fire burning bright:

Send round a frameable card for your guests with the question ‘what should we call our kids?’ What a brilliant memento of the day for you and, when it comes to it, highly illuminating and informative! (Expect the exact science of alcohol-to-exotic-name-choice ratio, naturally).

For dancefloor fuel, hire an ice-cream van or ‘posh’ burger bar. Hog-roasts are also deeply satisfying in a very visceral way. Just think ‘meat’, and for all those 11.45pm munchers, you’ll fast become everyone’s favourite bride.

The stars should feature in some way. The thought of an outdoor movie screen on a warm summer’s evening – kids’ films on a loop as toddlers begin to flop, then a creatively designed ‘movie’ about the bride and groom, and even a late-night screening of, say, Casablanca, – warms the heart. Cushions, beanbags and blankets; popcorn at the ready. Whitewash a wall and set up a projector, or even a white sheet hung across a washing line. I’ve seen this done beautifully and cost effectively.

5

Image source, photography by Photography34

the end, or just the beginning?

Lots of newlyweds enjoy their quiet time together, retreating away at a sensible time in the evening, to reflect and bask in the warmth of the day. Others prefer the all-night approach and want to stay with their guests until the break of dawn. Whatever your choice, spare a thought to how you want your special day to officially ‘end’. Guests won’t be expecting over-the-top fanfare or a band of trumpeters to signal your departure, but it is worth thinking about how you’ll say goodbye. Should you want a grand farewell, have well-primed bridesmaids and ushers in on the plan to ensure guests are in the loop and where they are supposed to be.

No one will expect you to go out of your way on their behalf. Guests get that they are the guests. But arguably, they too have featured in this unique story that you and your partner share – and will continue to do so. They are celebrating you and you are acknowledging their role. Do it in style but do it your way!

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Image source, photography by Amber Marie Photography

Love Our Wedding is stocked by hundreds of top bridal boutiques, venues and fairs nationwide. Visit loveourweddingmag.com to download or order your FREE monthly copy today!

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