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AFFINITY WEDDINGS MAGAZINE
Something Blue Fabulous real life wedding stories
Stylish shoes you'll love
Beautiful Bakes Elegant floral cakes
Honeymoon Dreams The latest products you can't be without
Just Couples - Just Right
Get Me to the Church on Time Watches, just for him
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My favourite picks……. 1
Hello and congratulations to all you beautiful brides to be and welcome to our sunny Spring/Summer issue. Starting with our front cover, full of bright blooms, it makes us want to smile just looking at it. Styled by a fabulous creative team who include: Model – Natalie Betts Photography – Sung Blue Photography (www.sungblue.com) Flowers – Stephanie Rose Flowers (www.stephanierose.co.uk) Bridal Two Piece – Love From Becky (www.lovefrombecky.com) Hair & Makeup – Belle’s Beauty (www.bellesbeauty.wordpress.com) Props and Styling – The White Emporium (www.thewhiteemporium.co.uk)
Last year we paid a visit to the gorgeous Thailand, Phuket to be more precise and experienced 3 hotels, all very different but all perfect for your honeymoon, and if you can’t decide what one you fancy, why not do the same as us and visit all three! (page 69). Dresses, one of the most important parts of your wedding day. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites (page 17). Whether it’s lace, long sleeve, strapless, full skirt, fishtail all of them will have you looking stunning on your wedding day.
If you can’t decide on what style or colour you want for your special day, then we’re here to inspire you, turn to page 37 for some woodland style inspiration and page 41 for some sunshine yellow. Cakes are all about flowers this season (page 34) and flowers are all about faking it (page36). Our next Affinity Wedding Showcase is on Sunday 4th June in the Marquee at The Bedford Blues Rugby Club in Bedford – Pop along and meet some amazing wedding suppliers who will give you even more inspiration for your special day.
Follow us on Instagram affinityweddingmag, Twitter @affinityWeds and like us on FB AffinityWed
1 2. 3. 4. 5.
Monnogrammed Ring Box, £60, thebox.com Wifey Swimsuit, £10 George at ASDA The Bride to Be Box, £18, bridetobeboxes.com Wedding Confetti Necklace, £60, Tatty Devine Jo Malone Star Magnolia Cologne, £46-£92, Jomalone.co.uk
Editor: Jane Fry
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All adverts are printed in good faith. Affinity cannot take responsibility for the content of adverts. Advertisements are accepted on the understanding that descriptions of goods and services are accurate. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. Printed in the UK by Regal Litho 01908 270400
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17 30 34 37 41 46 49
Dream Dresses Bag It Flower Power Woodland Wonderland Ray of Sunshine Fabulous Florals Crisp and Fresh
52 57 62 69 76 82
SUBSCRIBE 4 issues for only Â£16 firstname.lastname@example.org
A Fort Romance Pink Princess Picture Perfect Barn Paradise in Phuket A Magical Minimoon Wedding Fayres & Shows
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The Bride Here comes
Kenneth Winston Style 1645
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Charlotte Balbier Rosalie
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Rosa Clara Naira
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Lillian West Style 6464
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Mikaella Style 2116
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Rosa Clara Octubre
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So Sassi Angela
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These gorgeous bags are Just perfect for holding all your wedding day essentials
Barrbie Clutch £60 Dune
Dolce & Gabbana Daisy Embellished Clutch £3450, Harrods
Beaded Clutch £49 Accessorize
Lace Clutch £9.99 Deichmann UK
White Pearl Clutch £40, Rock my Vintage
Bianca Bead Clutch £59, John Lewis.jpeg
Embroidered Clutch £42 EAST
Glitter Box Clutch £17.99 New Look Sabrina Clutch £40 Dune
3D Floral Clutch £32 Accessorize
Pearl Clutch £60 Next
Emberrs Clutch £65 Dune
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Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Miracle Hydrating Mist (£21)
Tom Ford Soleil Eye & Cheek Palette in Warm (£98)
Bridal Beauty We take a look at the newest beauty products, that’ll have you looking gorgeous on your wedding day
YSL Luxurious Waterproof Mascara (£25)
Iconic London White and Rose Gold Complete Face Makeup Brush Set (£59.99) This Works Stress Check Face Mask (£32) Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion for Lips (£22)
Know Cosmetics No Bleeding Lips Lip Liner (£8.33)
Jane Iredale Mystikol Powdered Eyeliner in Smoky Quartz (£22)
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ESPA Restorative Balm (£15) Bodhi & Birch Desert Rose Facial Oil (£38)
Rosie for Autograph Sheer Finish Complexion Perfector (£16)
Katherine Daniels MultiTasking Eye Balm (£35.50)
Charlotte TilburyHot Lips Lipstick in Penelope Pink (£23)
Iconic London Limited Edition Illuminator (£29.99)
Givenchy Live Irrésistible Eau de Parfum Délicieuse (£66)
This Works Liz Earle Energising Body Scrub (£14)
Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist Intense Deluxe Edition (£45)
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Flower Power Donâ€™t just limit your flowers to your bouquet and dĂŠcor, have them included in your cake, they can tie in beautifully with your style and colour
Flower Cascade Wedding Cake
La Belle Cake Company Pink and Gold Flowers Wedding Cake
La Belle Cake Company Rosalind Miller www.thecakeillusionist.co.uk
Vintage Birdcage www.thecakeillusionist.co.uk
Marissa Wedding Cake www.thecakeillusionist.co.uk
La Belle Cake Company
Shades of Pink www.thecakeillusionist.co.uk
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Fake It Dahlia Bouquet, £45, QVCUK.com
Hydrangea & Boxwood Bouquet, £20.50 QVCUK.com
Artificial flowers are not what they used to be, they now look so real it’s hard to tell the difference. Whether it’s pastels or brights, hydrangeas or roses these bouquets will last long after the big day. Pop them in a vase and enjoy for years to come, bringing back all those happy memories.
Willow Crossley Grimaud Peony £182, oka.com
Hydrangea Bouquet £45, Peony at QVC
Summer Garden Bunch, £99, oka.com
Roses Bouquet, £35, Peony at QVC Summer Flowers £45, oka.com
Willow Crossley Chatterpie Iris £134, oka.com
Peony Bouquet, £45 Peony at QVC
Anemones & Peonies Bouquet £25, QVCUK.com
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Woodland-themed weddings are just perfect for summer, surrounded already by natural scenery, and beauty youâ€™ll only have to worry about the finishing touches to make it look magical.
Photography Heidi Ryder
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Five jar Wooden Flower Box, £57.66, Rainy Sunday
Emerald Forest Cake Rosalind Miller
Personalised Wedding Vow Booklet, £3.50, notonthehighstreet.com
Floral Arch Invitation, £1.00, notonthehighstreet.com
Wire Bride & Groom, £75, The Letter Loft
Light Up Flower Cake Topper, £35, The White Bulb
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Rose Gold String Lights, £6.99, Ginger Ray
Seed Packet Favour, £1.25, Wildflower Favours
Table Numbers £5.99, Ginger Ray
Wild Meadow Bouquet, £35, notonthehighstreet.com
Wedding Favor Tags, £0.99, Manta Makes
Wooden Crate, £5.99, Ginger ray
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Little Ray of Sunshine Such a happy colour, yellow will bring a sunny and fresh look to any wedding style, whether used on its own or together with another colour palette.
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Interflora Baroque Wedding Cake Nevie Pie Cakes
DIY Mini Limoncello Favors
Daffodil Pop Cakes
Wedding Cake, Peggy Porschen
Yellow Flower Buttonholes
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Yellow Flowers Table Settings
Birdcage Flowers Yellow Rose Cupcakes, Sugar Ruffles
Yellow & White Flowers Wedding Stationery Â£0.75, Tigerlily
Lemon Filled Jars
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Fabulous Florals Look blooming beautiful in a floral inspired dress
Fascinator £149, Pretty Eccentric
Chelsea Slingback, £85, Dune
Floral Print, £70, Little Mistress Dress, Monsoon
Ellie Wilde Bathilda Clutch, £70, Dune
Pink Floral Dress, £65, Little Mistress
Printed Dress, £90, Very
Esmie Floral Dress, £35, Pretty Little Thing
Ring, £10 Accessorize Jenny Packham, £280, Debenhams
Jennie Packham, £220, Debenhams Oﬀ the Shoulder Dress, £65, Very
Florentine Dress, £139, Monsoon
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Mint Green is gorgeous whether it’s on it’s own, or accessorised with other colours
Kimberley Dress, £139, Coast
Imogen £139, Hobbs
Lace Dress, Monsoon
Ellie Saab Le Parfum L'Eau, £48, Debenhams
Peppermint Dream Earrings £18, Glitzy Secrets
Roland Cartier Clutch, £33, Dune
Embelished Dress, £85, Very Lace Dress, £79, Marks & Spencer
Desi Shoe, £225, Badgley Mischka
Evelyn Dress, £159, Pretty Eccentric
Beaded Dress, Monsoon
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Whatever the weather add some sunshine to the day by dressing in one of these elegant dresses.
Brocade Dress, £65, Wolf and Whistle
Button Dress, £200, L.K.Bennett
Lucas Sandals, £45, Faith
Maxi Dress, £75, Little Mistress Pronovias
Sienna Dress, £78, Lipsy
Dress, £82, Little Mistress Lemon Drops Hair Comb, £19, Glitzy Secrets
Crochet Dress, £60, Paper Dolls
Sunshine Bracelet £24, Glitzy Secrets
Dhole Clutch, £55, Dune Pencil Dress, £55, Paper Dols
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Get Swept Up in the Romance at
For couples looking for something luxurious, private and utterly romantic for their wedding, then look no further than Spitbank Fort (part of the Solent Forts). Located off the coast of Portsmouth, it is the ultimate venue for your wedding celebrations. Providing a beautiful and magical setting, this exclusive-use venue that can only be reached by a private boat transfer, offers you a personal wedding manager, your own head chef as well as breath-taking panoramic views, making your wedding day one, which you will treasure for a lifetime. There are eight stunning bedrooms in an array of admiral and commodore suites, complete with beautiful modern facilities. As newlyweds, the incredible Churchill Bridal Suit is just perfect, luxuriously decorated in a modern fashion, but still maintaining its historic charm. Spitbank Fort can accommodate up to 60 guests, with different packages available, Lace, Satin and Silk. Every couple is different, whether you want to arrive by helicopter or tie the knot under the stars, the dedicated team is there to make sure your wedding day is a day as unique as you are and one youâ€™ll never forget. For more information or to discuss your requirements please visit: www.solentforts.com
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Magical Memories Pam and Dan were married on 2nd July 2016 at Houghton Lodge in Stockbridge, Hampshire.
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How did you meet? We met in 2011, through our mutual friend “Stumpy” (who later became the DJ at our wedding). He organised for a group of us (we didn’t all know each other) to go skiing to Chatel, France. I’d been seriously injured in a car accident a couple of years before, and had to learn to walk again. When I was invited on the holiday, I spent several months with a disability ski instructor who assured me I was ready and should go. Nonetheless, I was quite apprehensive about skiing again and meeting new people. My friend and I were the first to arrive at the chalet and opened a bottle of red wine. By the time I was introduced to Dan, any inhibitions I had about the holiday had long gone, and we enjoyed a fantastic week together. How did the proposal happen? It was November 24th 2014. Dan and I went on a romantic break to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. We were watching these amazingly beautiful lights when Dan dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. It was a complete and wonderful surprise. Where did the wedding take place? I wanted to get married at Houghton Lodge, Stockbridge because of its gardens, flowers and specialist orchid greenhouse. Orchids are mine and my Mum’s favourite flowers. You can get married at different locations around the grounds, but we chose the Chinese Dining room in the main house for our ceremony. It has gorgeous hand-painted silk wall paper and large French doors overlooking the gardens, lawns and what is said to be ‘The most romantic river in England’, the River Test.
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What did the bride wear? I wasn’t hooked on the idea of an expensive designer dress for my wedding day. I’d only just started looking and went to Wed2Be in Southampton. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be successful. I tried on a few dresses picked from the rail, and then happened to find my dream dress. I absolutely loved it! What did the rest of the Bridal party wear? My friends and family were so instrumental in my recovery after the accident. I really wanted my bridesmaids to be noticeable and not melt in to the background. We chose a vibrant coral for the dresses, which complimented our colour scheme, that Dan had chosen of orange, fuchsia, green with pops of purple thistle perfectly. What was your theme? Bright beautiful flowers – specifically orchids.
Describe your cake The cake was made by the tea rooms at Houghton Lodge Gardens called Daisy’s of Houghton. It was three different tiers – Fruit, Chocolate and Victoria sponge and was decorated with Orchids from the greenhouse. Dan says the cake tasting was one of his favourite parts of planning our wedding! something Blue? My mother’s garter.
What were the highlights? The location and relaxed atmosphere of the day. Dan arriving in a helicopter, Stan the Owl as our ring bearer and the tree swing. Our photographer, Kim Collins, really captured the spirit of the day. Your best buy? It has to be my wedding dress.
How did it end? We had a disco in the evening. The song ‘Feel the Love’ by Rudimental is not only ‘our’ song, but also a massive favorite with our friends. It was the last song we played that evening and the yurt dance floor erupted as we all sang and danced. is there anything you wish you’d done differently? Not a thing…. everything was perfect.
Where did you go on honeymoon? We had a weekend mini-moon in St Ives straight after the wedding, which we both really needed and enjoyed. I’m a native Australian, and we both wanted to visit the Great Barrier Reef. We decided to delay our honeymoon until September, and spent a month touring Australia’s east coast, which was as amazing as we’d hoped.
Photography: Kim Collins (www.kimcollinsphoto.com) Dress: Wed2be Venue: Houghton Lodge in Stockbridge, Hamps (www.houghtonlodge.co.uk)
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Use your bridal shoes to add the ‘something blue’ to your look Ana Suede Shoes, £250, Charlotte Mills
Betti Shoes, £80, Dune
Catelyn Shoe, £85, Dune
Shoes, £49.50, Marks & Spencer
Claudie Suede Sandal, £235, L.K.Bennett.jpeg
Haskell Satin Shoe, £79.99, Badgley Mischka
Bow Detail Shoes £89.99 Irregular Choice Hangisi £745, Harveuy Nichols
Jewel Shoes £795, Okkato Athena Shoe, £80, Dune
Esta Shoe, £89, Pretty Eccentric
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Picture Perfect Barn
Jessica and Chris were married on 18th September 2016 at Bassmead Manor Barns, Cambridgeshire.
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How did you meet? A mutual friend set us up on a blind date.
How did the proposal happen? We had on several occasions gone for a bicycle ride around Milton Keynes. On a few occasions we would stop by the Peace Pagoda for a picnic and just lie in the sun and enjoy the surroundings, so this seemed the perfect place - all Chris had to do was get me there. On the fateful morning he told me a few white lies to get me there. He then got down on one knee, pulled out a temporary ring from Argos and asked me to be his wife - it took a while for it to sink in but eventually and very emotionally I said YES!!!
Where did the wedding take place? The stunning Bassmead Manor Barns in Staploe, Cambridgeshire. We wanted exclusive use for our wedding and Bassmead Manor was picture-perfect for that. We both loved the rustic feel along with the chic and contemporary elegance the venue gave. The added bonus was the stunning surrounding country side. Truly magical. 63
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What did the bride wear? My dress was a Justin Alexander 1950’s vintage-inspired V-neckline tea length gown. I visited the lovely Nicola Harris at George James Bridal boutique in Bedford. As soon as I tried it on I just knew it was the one – it was so me! I felt amazing in it. Only my mum saw the dress before the big day. My bridal shoes were from Rainbow, a vintage T-bar in ivory satin with a mid-height heel and classy pleated detail on the upper. I wore small pearl earrings from John Lewis. My birdcage veil along with vintage slide was purchased from the bridal boutique.
What did the rest of the Bridal party wear? Groom and Best Man wore a royal blue lounge suit with tan shoes. My Ladies of Honour each wore a Biba deep-v full skirted maxi dress, champagne colour, finished off with a delicate gold sparkling necklace and shoes. Mother of the Bride wore a stunning Ispirato (Condici Group) spearmint lace dress with a satin jacket and hat to match. What was your theme? The venue itself was already beautiful so we didn’t feel it needed lots of décor. We wanted a beautiful feel with elegance and we definitely achieved this with the help of Kelly Jeffries from Greycourts Florist in Kempston. We chose white and ivory flowers with lots of foliage. I felt these colours were sophisticated and complimented the wonderful surroundings we were in.
Describe your cake The cake was from Marks & Spencers, a decadent four tier chocolate cake which was smothered in chocolate ganache and hand finished with ribbons of chocolate and blueberries.
something Blue? Was a little keep sake from Nicola at George James Bridal.
What were the highlights? There are so many! Chris watching Jessica enter the Rickety Barn and walking down the aisle. For us both it was a special day to celebrate with all our family and friends which we won’t forget. The whole venue radiated an elegant charm with beautiful surroundings. We couldn’t have imagined a better place to enjoy our special day. Your best buy? Ladies of Honour dresses as I wanted to buy them a dress that they all felt comfortable and sophisticated in and would wear again. How did it end? When our wonderful day sadly came to an end, it was great to enjoy our first night as Mr and Mrs Zaremba in the gorgeous honeymoon accommodation, Dove Cottage, located just over the moat bridge. Our close family guests got to enjoy a luxurious stay at Appletree Cottage.
is there anything you wish you’d done differently? We have no wedding regrets and wouldn’t have done anything differently. However, our one wish would have been for both our late fathers to have been there but we know they were looking down celebrating our day with a glass or two of bubbly!
Where did you go on honeymoon? We escaped to the beautiful Greek island of Samos where we spent two weeks at the Proteas Blu Resort. A contemporary hotel with a chic pool scene and sea-view restaurants, right by the beach. Total relaxation!
Photography: Terri Holmes (www.summerlilystudio.com) Dress: Justin Alexander Venue: Bassmead Manor, Staploe, Cambs (www.bassmeadmanorbarns-weddings.co.uk)
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Vivienne Westwood Sotheby Watch, £355, watchshop.com
Chiswick Watch, £165, Henry, London
Conrad Watch, £985, heritorwatches.com
Fossil Grant Chronograph Watch, £72, watchshop.com
Hugo Boss Classic Watch, £150, Fraser Hart
40 Edition Watch, £165, freedomtoexist.com Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch, £1010, watchshop.com
Hugo Boss Admiral Watch, £199, watchshop.com
Regent L Chrono Watch, £750, Links of London
Kingsley Watch, £285, Farer.com
Vivienne Westwood Barbican Chronograph Watch, £395, watchshop.com
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Woodland Fairytale Lizy and Ben were married on 14th May 2016 in The Woods at Evenley Wood Garden
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How did you meet? Through mutual friends, became best friends, then realised we were meant to be!
How did the proposal happen? For my birthday Ben surprised me with a stay at Hever Castle in Kent (special place to us already), which was amazing! I was then blown away when he proposed to me in the Castle Gardens the same day! A lot of happy tears!!! Where did the wedding take place? In the Woods at Evenley Wood Garden in Brackley, Northamptonshire. What did the bride wear? La Sposa, Esien. Bought from Nicola at George James Bridal, who was amazing! As it was a woodland wedding, I went to her with this idea and she let me try lots of different options and I fell in love with this one. It was perfect. What did the rest of the Bridal party wear? The Groom, Best Man/Brother of the Groom and Father of the Groom all chose tweed suits, and looked perfect! We had a 10-year-old bridesmaid, Ben's Cousin Amber, who wore an Aquamarine Dress from Monsoon, and looked like a perfect woodland fairy!
What was your theme? Obviously the wood and nature mostly, but also aquamarine where we could. This is my birthstone and the stone in my engagement ring.
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Describe your cake Made between us! We wanted a natural looking 'naked cake' with flowers and fruit. Ben's Mum, Uncle, and Auntie all made layers of Victoria Sponge and Madeira Cake, we then put them on a tiered stand and decorated with sugar flowers, strawberries, blueberries, grapes and fake ivy. It was perfect!
something Blue? My Mum lent me a little blue butterfly necklace pendant that she wore on her wedding day. The neckline on my dress didnâ€™t suit a necklace, so she sewed it into the inside of my dress. So it was old, and borrowed too!
What were the highlights? We had always wanted to get married in the woods, so for our dream to come true was so special. The day went so fast, and was all so perfect itâ€™s hard to pick the best bits. I loved walking up the 'aisle' to Ben with our special music playing, amongst all the trees. I LOVED my dress to pieces and was so sad to have to take it off. My hair was styled beautifully by Natasha (Updo's By Natasha) and I felt like a princess all day! I loved having all my friends and family there too!
Your best buy? We tried to keep costs down as much as we could; one bargain was the solar lights! We bought so many throughout the year from all sorts of bargain type shops leading up to the wedding and on the night as it got dark it looked so lovely! Cheeky secret tip: all of the table centres and decorations were hand made by us very cheaply. We got lots of reduced flowers from a supermarket the night before and added them randomly with each other in glass jars we'd been collecting with aquamarine ribbons round. We also collected discarded wooden trunk 'slices' from our work and my dad sanded and varnished them to finish off the table centres. How did it end? We danced and had fun till late! We had decided it would be a great idea to camp in the woods that night to enjoy them a little longer and a few friends did too! It turned out to be a terrible idea - it was cold, and we were so tired after the long day, yet our friends were not ready to sleep and were so noisy till the early hours of the morning!
Photography: Nick Callaghan (www.luminexphotography.com) Dress: La Sposa, Esien Venue: Evenley Wood Garden (www.evenleywoodgarden.co.uk)
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ith its spectacular scenery, stunning tropical sunsets, warm blue sea, and rich culture, it’s no wonder Thailand is just perfect for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Such a vast island offering differing landscapes, provinces, and experiences, and no matter how many times you return you will still find something new to discover.
routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign trader’s ship logs. There is no shortage of luxury five-star hotels here; even celebrities think it’s the place to be with Beyonce (she owns a villa here), Kate Moss and Blake Lively being frequent visitors.
Nestling in the Andaman Sea on Thailand's Indian Ocean coastline is Phuket, 862 kilometres south of Bangkok.
For couples, Phuket offers an array of indulgent places to stay - From five-star hotels to beachfront retreats and private pool villas, the options are endless.
Previously deriving its wealth from tin and rubber, it enjoys a rich and colourful history. The island was on one of the major trading
We’ve rounded up three of our favourite places to stay whilst in Phuket so can you indulge in the ultimate honeymoon experience.
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The Rural Side of Thailand at
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Nestled just a stones throw from the white sands of Surin Beach, is the perfectly positioned Manathai Surin boutique hotel. With just 66 bedrooms, 2 small, but exquisite pools, an indulgent spa and signature restaurant, all combine together to make it a great base to enjoy the authentic quieter more rural side of Thailand. Walking into the triple height open-air lobby, with its dark wood, bright colours and fragranced incense, it’s hard not to notice how calm and serene it all feels. Our room, a Surin room was a bright and airy elegant space. With a King-sized bed, crisp white sheets, local artwork on the walls and a large balcony that overlooked one of the peaceful looking pools – not forgetting all the mod cons including wireless internet, TV and DVD player, tea and coffee making facilities, minibar and fresh fruit every day. The only decision you’ll have to make whilst you’re here is beach or pool? The pools are never crowded and are an ideal space to chill, swim, read a good book or just sleep – surrounded by lush greenery and aromatic flowers and dotted with loungers (but not too many so it can never get too busy – we actually had the pool to ourselves most of the time, so we were thoroughly spoilt), and if the effort of applying sun cream wears you out, then a cocktail from the poolside bar is sure to help! All meals are taken in the hotel’s beach facing signature restaurant ‘Pad Thai’, offering a range of enticing and delicious Thai dishes made from original recipes passed down through generations. Make sure you try the hotels ‘kway teow pad’ (stir fried noodles prepared in the traditional way), just add your favourite vegetables, meat or fish to individualize it to suit your taste buds. Breakfast is a less traditional affair with a buffet spread of cereals, breads, patisseries, fruit and salads – you can also order from the menu. Open plan,
with great views of the beach and open all day you can pop in whenever you like for something to eat or drink, whilst sitting on the small terrace at the front gazing at the beach and loosing yourself in people watching. A stay at Manathai wouldn’t be complete without a visit to their tranquil spa. Aromas of lemongrass and coconut hit you as soon as you enter, where the expert therapists use centuries old techniques to make sure you leave completely relaxed and rejuvenated. I floated out after the chillax treatment – a massage with warm aromatic oils that soak slowly into the skin, whilst soft strokes gently massage the contours of your body – it felt simply divine and I wanted it to go on forever. Everything at this hotel has a laid back, tranquil approach. Venture across the road to the beach and this same atmosphere continues. The beach is unspoilt, with just a few bars and restaurants dotted around, with of course, a few sellers thrown in for good measure. Grab a coffee or beer, sit under a shady palm tree, and just loose yourself in………well nothing! Food is suited to all tastes with Thai dishes, of course, on the menus but ultimately so are European and Mediterranean dishes. Thailand is renowned for it’s hospitality and the staff at Manathai Surin certainly live up to this reputation, with their warmth and charm, and nothing is too much trouble attitude. This hotel is a tropical sanctuary, the ideal place to enjoy the relaxed side of Thailand, with its stunning views, aesthetic refinement and heartfelt service, that’ll have you planning your return before you’ve even left. BOOK IT
Rates start from £68 a night for two people in a deluxe room including breakfast and transfers to and from the airport. www.manathai.com/Phuket
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The Slate Phuket
Industrial Chic and Luxury at
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Set beside the tranquil shores of Nai Yang Beach and surrounded by the protected Sirinat National Park is The Slate, a five-star luxury designed resort just a short tenminute drive from Phuket International Airport. The architecture and interiors are inspired by the islands tin mining history, with bold and quirky details evident everywhere you look, even down to the cutlery being made from spanners and ratchets! The moment you step into The Slate you’re whisked away to another world where everything seems just that little bit surreal, you almost feel like an A-lister stepping onto a movie set. The lobby is a mixture of blue coloured glass, coppery screens, dark wood, and plush sofas all with the most intricate of details. On arrival you chill on one of the comfy chairs, before being brought a cold towel and an iced herbal tea to refresh yourself. It’s then time to be whisked off to your room (a Pearl Bed Suite). A vast space with polished dark wood floors covered with handcrafted rugs, a huge bed that faces the private balcony, and a bathroom that leaves you in awe – Industrial chic at its best with the tin mine inspiration evident everywhere, incorporated into the taps, tissue boxes - even the toilet roll holder is a giant nut and bolt! Step outside, to sweeping views over the tropical flora and infinity pool and then the jewel in the crown, an outside bathtub! I couldn’t decide where to lie first; in the bath, on the daybed or by the pool! – the bathtub won. There is nothing more peaceful than lying in the water on your own private balcony listening to the soothing sounds of nature, whilst of course sipping a cool glass of wine! Whether it’s a honeymoon or romantic break this is a sure winner with couples who just want to get away from it all and spend some romantic quality time together. There are three swimming pools at The Slate, two adult only infinity pools and one family pool. We literally walked out of our door to a path that lead us through the palm trees directly to one of the infinity pools. Quiet and relaxing with pool butlers serving you as you lie on your lounger, listening to the seductively whispering palm trees. The turquoise blue of the pool tempts you in to cool down, and the view of the tropical landscape when you reach the edge of the water is stunning.
If all this relaxing and being waited on sounds like hungry work, take a stroll through the extensive gardens, taking in the sights of the tropical plants and flowers – loose yourself in the paths that wind in and out and at night stare in wonder at the almost fairytale ambience created by all the beautiful lights and head to one of the resorts many restaurants. Black Ginger, Indigo Pearl’s Thai restaurant, is a foodies delight; authentic flavours created in a modern masterpiece of ancient Thai architecture. The restaurant floats MAGICALLY in the middle of a softly lit lily pond and is reached only by a wooden raft - this is a dining experience not to be missed. Each dish is a carefully crafted mix of flavours honed from centuries of the island’s multi-cultural heritage, served in an enigmatic setting, leaving you in no doubt you have experienced dining on a completely different level. Breakfast is served in the open-air Tin Mine restaurant, with fabulous views into the garden and a buffet breakfast that offers you everything you could think of, including fresh seasonal fruit, pastries, breads, cereals, nuts, meats and cheeses as well as a selection of traditional Thai dishes and a Mango station – you select a mango and it’s delivered to your table perfectly prepared and deliciously juicy. A walk around the grounds after breakfast, has you finding something new every time you venture out – there are eight restaurants and bars, as well as the Coqoon spa - a place where you can experience a day of pure pampering amidst an ambience of solitude and luxury, Straight out of the gates of the resort and you are on the white sandy beach, a great place to sunbathe, dip your toes in the warm water of the Andaman Sea, and come evening time watch the most wonderful sunsets. The Slate has it all, from its dreamy infinity pools, decadent dining experiences, white sandy beaches and a serene spa, all coming together to create the ultimate in romance and relaxation. BOOK it! Rates in a Pearl Bed Suite start from £125 per night for 2 people including buffet breakfast in June 2017. theslatephuket.com
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The Nai Harn
A Sanctuary by the Sea at
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High in the hills, with panoramic views overlooking Nai Harn bay, sits an icon of Phuket; The Nai Harn Hotel, a romantic sanctuary right by the sea that really does surpass all expectations. Here you can escape into your own private sanctuary within a hotel that is sleek and contemporary with fresh and vibrant colours dotted around, an exotic oasis to spend some quality time together in a resort that just oozes luxury. Everywhere in this hotel offers prime vantage points to take in the picture postcard perfect views over the soft white sands and turquoise blue waters of the Andaman Sea. Boasting 130 rooms and suites all with private terraces and stunning sea views, this luxury resort has two restaurants, a rooftop lounge bar, pool, spa and gym. Check in complete and we were whisked off to the 7th floor to our Grand Ocean View Room, beautifully decorated with neutral shades and light wood detailing, with plush fabrics and luxurious, high-tech amenities such as interactive TVs, built-in USB chargers and Wi-Fi. There is a lounge area with a comfy corner sofa, tea and coffee facilities and a plate of the most delicious melt in the mouth pastries just waiting for us to eat – Outside is a large terrace, thoughtfully laid out with a 4 poster day bed, with the most vibrant lime green cushions that blend with the blue sky’s and turquoise waters beyond perfectly. Back inside, the bathroom is equally as impressive; a large wooden door slides back to reveal an open plan haven, with a stand alone bathtub and a rainforest shower accessorized with Elle branded toiletries, shaving sets, toothbrushes, hairbrushes and more, and then there’s the finishing touches hidden away in the wardrobe; beach bag, mosquito spray, flip flops, slippers, yoga mat, incense and burner, the list is endless - they have thought of everything possible to make your stay just that little bit extra special. We could have spent all our time lounging on the terrace enjoying the tropical paradise surrounding us, but the temptation of a visit to the spa cabana for a massage was too great. Set in its own space near the pool and hidden behind fragrant Frangipani trees and Bougainvillea flowers is an open air wooden whitewashed waiting room. Here your journey begins fresh cooling fruit juice (carrot and apple), is served whilst you lie back and relax on the nautical striped cushions until its your turn to enter one of the treatment rooms. The Easy Breezy signature massage was a dream, just the right pressure,
with a calm and soothing ambience that had you drifting away to another world. Treatment doesn’t end after the massage though; you are then taken back into the openair room to enjoy some coconut tea at your leisure until you feel its time to move on. And move on we did, not too far though, just to the pool. This is another area that takes full advantage of its position. Loungers and day beds being arranged strategically around the pool so they are facing the glorious views. From the pool area there is also direct access to the beach. Sleeping, swimming and spa-ing is certainly hungry work, which meant only one thing - it was time to eat! Restaurant wise, the hotel offers two different options – The first of which is Cosmo, an expansive open air affair, with a wrap around balcony overlooking the bay, food is just as amazing as the view, and includes a collection of authentic Thai dishes, with some Mediterranean dishes added into the mix. Food and service is outstanding. All freshly prepared and a real treat on your tastebuds, the chicken satay was delightful (be sure to try some) and the Nai Harns Petit Fours dessert just melts in the mouth, add to this a cocktail whilst soaking up the spectacular views and you may never want to come home. The other restaurant Rock Salt combines mouth-watering fine dining with awe-inspiring scenery offering a fusion of world-class food and breath-taking views. At The Nai Harn you begin to take the inspiring views for granted, until you visit The Reflections Rooftop Bar, this takes the views and experience to a completely new level - seating booths in a crescent shape, that are in the middle of an area of water (like a small pond) can only be reached by the over water walkway. It’s here; the two of you can sip cocktails, elevated in the middle of the water and watch the sun set over the clear blue waters – a sight not to be missed and a truly magical experience. A stay here is all about romance and relaxation, which is why it is so perfectly suited to couples, you’ll come away with only one complaint – you’re not ready to leave!! BOOK it!
Rates in a Grand Ocean View Room start from £344 for 2 people including breakfast in June 2017 www.thenaiharn.com
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A Magical Minimoon In the city of love
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Made famous by Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet and known as ‘the city of love’ Verona is the ideal place for a mini-moon. A place full of romance, poetry and culture with a stay at the luxury Palazzo Victoria made even more special with one of their romantic experiences. Encapsulating the very best of Italian culture and luxury living, Palazzo Victoria is home to 71 rooms featuring dramatic high ceilings and traditional Veronese décor and antiques. The hotel also offers both an outside courtyard and an internal garden, a vibrant lounge, a brasserie style restaurant ‘Borsari 36’, the Victoria Lounge e Café, and a theatre style conference room set against a backdrop of ancient ruins. Stay in one of their lavish suites and to make your stay even more special Palazzo Victoria will offer a number of romantic experiences, including: the Ultimate Bubble Bath*: One of Palazzo Victoria’s discreet Service Ambassadors will fill guests’ private bath to the brim with their favourite “bubbles” (prosecco, spumante or champagne). An additional chilled bottle will also be provided whilst scented candles will be lit to ensure the ultimate romantic experience. From €9000 (approx. £7743)
Chocolate Bath*: A “chocolate fountain” bath will be drawn by one of the hotel’s discreet Service Ambassadors. Guests can then luxuriate in the warm chocolate scent and smooth feeling of the chocolate, sipping crisp champagne from a complimentary bottle and savouring a selection of fresh fruit. From €2500 (approx. £2150)
Victoria’s serenade*: Reflecting the rich musical culture for which Verona is celebrated, couples staying at Palazzo Victoria can take advantage of a uniquely front-row opera experience with ‘Victoria’s Serenade’. An operatic tenor will serenade guests in the privacy of their own room or on their private balcony as drinks and canapés are served. As Shakespeare himself said, if music be the food of love, play on! From €1000 (approx. £860) BOOK it Suites at Palazzo Victoria cost from €364 (approximately £313) per night. *Experience available on a minimum three nights’ stay www.palazzovictoria.com
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Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City From
Your Ultimate Honeymoon Guide
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When most people think of honeymoons they think of secluded islands, white beaches, turquoise seas and perfect palm trees. But what if there was more to a honeymoon than just the beauty of beach and all-inclusive deals? Don’t get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to start your married life relaxing on a beach next to your new spouse, whilst topping up your tan with a cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other. But how about starting married life on a thrill-seeking adventure with a little luxury in-between? Queue Vietnam. Whether its culture, shopping or unusual food that gets you going, Vietnam has it all. So having visited this beautiful and diverse country as part of my own honeymoon adventure, I have put together some top tips for places to visit across the hidden gem of a country.
Hanoi An interesting mix of East Asian vibes with a western feel, Hanoi is one of the most interesting cities we visited on our trip with a huge amount of history that is well worth exploring. Once you learn how to cross the road and when to avoid the endless supply of mopeds that ride up onto the pavement, you will learn to love the buzz that hums through the filled streets. Hanoi is a city that is just as beautiful at night as it is by day with Hoàn Kiếm Lake becoming a hive of social activity. As locals take part in outdoor gym activities, teenagers eat sunflower seeds and listen to Asian pop music, tourists take pictures with Turtle Tower (Tháp Rùa) as the backdrop and Vietnamese women sell doughnuts on a stick, Hanoi is a place that is full of vibrant charm. travel tip: take off your shoes and grab a seat at Bun Cha Ta for Hanoi’s best fried spring rolls.
Halong Bay This is an absolute must see for anyone looking to visit Vietnam. With over 2000 islands to visit, a cruise on the serene waters of Halong Bay is not something to be missed. Sail through the multitude of small islands protruding from the turquoise waters, kayak through mystery caves and take a walk to the top of Ti Top Island where you can take in the romantic vistas from 100 metres above sea level. travel tip: Grab a Kayak and head out to explore the beautiful green waters, caverns, caves and monkey filled islands.
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Da nang If you are looking for beautiful beaches, rolling mountains, breathtaking scenery and...monkeys, then this is a must do. The main town is very popular with tourists for its long, golden beaches and array of bars, but the real treasures come up in the mountains. Winding your way up past the 67m high Lady Buddha statue you will arrive at the monkey mountains, where the scenery becomes peaceful and the sea reflects the deep blue of the sky. For an ultimate luxury experience stay at the Intercontinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort. This stunning hotel has not only been designed from the ground up with gorgeous dark wood, panoramic views and ornate furniture but also boasts four levels of honeymoon luxury as the suites and villas are separated into Heaven, Sky, Earth and Beach. The hotel is also famous for itâ€™s eateries, with La Maison 1888 being the only restaurant in Vietnam to host a three Michelin star chef. The restaurant was also listed in the top 10 of the World's Best New Restaurants 2016 by CNN. travel tip: Visit Da Nangâ€™s famous Dragon Bridge at 9pm to see the beautifully lit Dragon breathe fire.
Hoi an Beautiful and historic Hoi An is not a place you will forget in a hurry. This breathtaking beauty of an old town was possibly one of the most atmospheric places we visited on our whole trip, with a great mix of historic allure and modern charm. The town boasts a traditional market, but is most famous for its plethora of tailors and jewellers, showcasing their ancient crafts. The river separating the two sides of the town is also a great spot for a short boat ride or to spend a moment people watching and taking in the atmosphere. Be sure to visit during the full moon in order to take in the full beauty of the Hoi An lunar lantern festival. For the Vietnamese the night of the full moon is prime time to pay respects to ancestors by making offerings and lighting lanterns to promote luck and prosperity. As the night descends, the town closes off to motor vehicles and electric lights, brimming with orbs of natural light lining the streets and the river, making for a stunning sight.
travel tip: Donâ€™t forget to buy your ticket at the entrance to the old town, which gives you access to all the main sights and temples. However if you just want to look around, shop and eat you do not need to purchase a ticket, even though they may insist that you do.
Ho Chi Minh City This famous city, otherwise and frequently known as Saigon, is bursting with history, food and a mix of traditional and modern Vietnamese culture. And with 7.5 million mopeds this place is certainly an eye opener. For thrill seekers looking to see Vietnam from the back of a moped, this is definitely the place to do it, taking in the sights, smells and eclectic range of food as you go. Travel tip: Book a moped tour with a reputable organisation. It is a fantastic way to see the sights and amazingly great fun too! We used XO Tours and took part in the half-day sightseeing tour. Gemma Farmer, neo Pr
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An Early-Moon in
Following a rise in pre-wedding getaways for bride and grooms to-be (thanks to the lovely Pippa Middleton), the newly refurbished Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel has partnered with B.LOVED, (award-winning luxury wedding and lifestyle platform). To mark the start of their partnership and following a significant increase over the past six months in requests to B.LOVED for prewedding getaway recommendations, the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane has launched the Early-Moon In Mayfair package – a luxurious and relaxing experience ahead of the couples big day.
The Early-Moon in Mayfair package includes an overnight stay in the hotel’s Grand Suite overlooking the iconic Green Park. Inside the sprawling suite, elegantly designed with Art Deco details, the couple will be treated to the hotel’s Golden Age of Cocktails menu, served by their own dedicated bartender in the comfort of the suite. The Bride and Groom will also have the option to add further indulgent treats, including a one-hour professional photoshoot with B.LOVED in Green Park, a wet shave at a local barber, Jack The Clipper, and a manicure or pedicure at local nail salon, Nails & Brows. The hotel is ideally located in the heart of Mayfair, a leafy and up-market neighbourhood in Central London. Across from the hotel, Early-Mooners can take a romantic stroll in Green Park or visit some of the capital’s best bookshops, galleries and fashion boutiques, only a stone’s throw away. BOOK it!
Starting from £800 based on two people sharing, the Early-Moon in Mayfair package is now available to book online for a limited time only. www.sheratonparklane.com/early-moon-package
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Monday 1st Nether Winchendon House Wedding Fair Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0DY 11am – 3pm www.netherwinchendonhouse.com
Sunday 7th Kingsthorpe Lodge Wedding Showcase Polebrook, near Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 5QE 11am – 3pm www.eventsinabox.org.uk Sunday 7th Hitchin Priory Marquee Wedding Open Day Tilehouse Street, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 2DL 12pm – 4pm www.chartridgevenues.com/hitchin-priory Thursday 11th Novotel Stevenage Wedding Open Day Stevenage, SG1 2AX 5pm - 8pm www.novotel.com/stevenage Sunday 14th The Bull Wedding Showcase Oxford Road, Gerrads Cross, SL9 7PA 11am – 3pm www.sarova-bullhotel.com
Sunday 14th Brickendon Grange Golf Club Wedding Fayre Hertford, SG13 8PD 11.30am – 3pm www.bggc.org.uk Sunday 14th Bisham Abbey Wedding Fair Bisham Village, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 1RR 11am - 3pm www.berkshireweddingfairs.co.uk
Sunday 14th Great Hallingbury Manor Wedding Show Bishop’s Stortford, Essex, CM22 7TJ 11am – 3pm www.maineventweddingshows.co.uk
Sunday 14th Huntingdon Town Hall Spring Wedding Fair Market Hill, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 3PJ 11am – 3pm www.huntingdontown.gov.uk Sunday 21st Charmed Wedding Fayre Holiday Inn Luton South London Road, Markyate, AL3 8HH 11am – 3pm www.charmedevents.co.uk
Monday 22nd Chicheley Hall Open evening Chicheley, Newport Pagnell, Bucks, MK16 9JJ 6pm – 8pm www.chicheleymiltonkeynes.co.uk Sunday 28th The Priory Centre Wedding Show Priory Lane, St Neots, Cambs PE19 2BH 11am - 3pm www.thepriorycentre.com Sunday 28th Wycombe Swan Wedding Fair High Wycombe, HP11 2XE 11am – 4pm www.wycombeswan.co.uk
Sunday 4th Affinity Wedding Marquee Showcase at Bedford Blues Rugby Club Goldington Road, Bedford, MK40 3NF 11am – 3pm www.affinityweddingsmagazine.co.uk
Sunday 4th Devere Latimer Estate Wedding Open Day Latimer, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, HP5 1UG 11am – 3pm www.devere.com/de-vere/latimer-estate Sunday 11th Missenden Abbey Wedding Open Day Great Missenden, HP16 0BD 11am – 3pm www.missendenabbey.co.uk
Sunday 25th Grovefield House Summer Wedding Fayre Common Road, Burnham, Bucks, SL1 8LR 12pm - 4pm www.classiclodges.co.uk
Sunday 2nd MK Wedding Show at MK Dons, Stadium:MK DoubleTree by Hilton, Stadium Way West, Milton Keynes MK1 1ST 11am – 4pm www.centralexhibitions.co.uk Thursday 20th Novotel Stevenage Wedding Open Day Stevenage, SG1 2AX 5pm - 8pm www.novotel.com/stevenage
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