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Dear Bride- To-Be

Welcome to your very own free Wedding Ideas Kit, Jam packed full of ideas from flowers to dress trends, Reception decor to the hottest up-to-the minute colour schemes. Congratulations you’re engaged- This is where the real fun begins! Over the next few months you’ll have lots of decisions to make as you plan your dream day- this is where the Kit comes insay hello to your new best friend as it is bursting with ideas and the best of all, it’s for brides with realistic budgets In this Kit i have also included a price list of the services i offer if you want any more advice or my Planning services. A Little About Me I am a wedding planner based in Cumbria; I make each event spectacular and take on the personality of the couple while making each event a one of a kind experience for all those in attendance. From small-and-intimate to large-and-lavish our Castalias Brides have the knowledge and resources to help you create everything you have envisioned for the perfect wedding day. It is often said that a wedding day should be the happiest day of your life – however it is also a stressful and expensive event, requiring months ofmeticulous planning and organising.That’s why wedding planning services have become increasingly popular inrecent years, with many couples prepared to pay large sums of money in order to take away some of the stress and ensure that their big day goes smoothly. This is where CastaliasBrides come in; I am dedicated, hardworking, and meticulous, organised and have an eye for detail and great customer service without a huge fee to pay out. Why stress over your wedding day when I can do it for you hassle free whilst having the dream day you and your spouse-to-be both deserve and having fun in the process. I also offer my own Handmade wedding range from, tiaras and jewellery to favours and invitations if you don't want the hassle of going through so many different suppliers and at the back of this Kit there is a gift voucher worth 20% off any Handmade service just for you!(no obligation of course!) I understand all weddings are different and I will do my very best to make sure YOUR wedding is completely unique, after all everybody loves weddings! Happy reading, Sophie Ritson CastaliasBrides- Wedding Planner


Planning services price list Basic flat rate for full wedding planning services By CastaliasBrides All rates are billed as per hour with the exception of on the Big Day Price list 1. Basic flat rate All rates are billed as per hour Meetings First Assessment ................. FREE Non Refundable Depo............£200 Per hour.................................£15.00 Home Visit.............................£10.00 On the Big Day(full price) .... £250.00 After hours services ............ £20.00 Price list 2. First Assessment.......................FREE Non Refundable deposit.............£200 Full planning service.................£800 Price list 3. Professional consulting and expert advice only Meetings Per hour.............£18.00 Home visit...........£15.00 After hours...........£20.00 Free email support

Price list 4. Extras Non obligational extra services/ All handmade


Invitations/ per invitation and design ...............................£1.50 Tiara ..................................... £20.00 Bridal Jewellery ................................. £12.99 Flower girl/bridesmaid hair bands....................£8.00

25% of the balance is due 5months before the wedding day, 25% 6weeks before the wedding day and the final balance of 50% 2weeks before the wedding day. Monthly payment arrangements can be arranged if necessary Applies to all price rates with the exception of Price List 4


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Wedding Planner? A: Wedding Planners are people who know the steps to preparing for a wedding and the many details that need to be handled on the big day. They must be resourceful, organized and detail-oriented and can usually offer many creative ideas to personalize a wedding as well. Wedding Planners allow for the bride and groom to enjoy their special day knowing they have a professional taking care of everything else for them. Q: Can I plan my own wedding? A: Are you a creative, organized and detailed-oriented person? Have you planned weddings for friends and family? If so, then you have the potential to being a Wedding Planner so of course you can plan your own wedding. You will make sure everything is done properly; there will always be enough champagne to pass around, the food will be hot, the guests will enjoy the entertainment and everyone will have a great time. Everyone except you, because before you know it, your big day will be over and you spent all your time running around working. Q: Can my mom/best friend help me plan my wedding? A: Planning a wedding can be stressful, especially when the people doing it are involved emotionally. And what’s worse, many a times, friends and family take it so personally, they want everything perfect for you, or at least, what they think is perfect instead of what you would like. There are so many examples where best of friends turn worst of enemies because of conflicts while planning a wedding. And last of all, it’s your big day and you want to share and enjoy it with everyone you love. Do you really want your mom or best friend to run around all stressed out instead of basking together in your love and joy? Q: I don't like being told what to do, should I hire a Wedding Planner?


A: Wedding Planners are only here to help the bride and groom in any area they feel uncomfortable about and to act as a resource of information when there are uncertainties about the wedding. It is up to the bride and groom how involve they want the planner to be. Whether the Wedding Planner will plan every last detail from start to end, or simply being around for moral support is all up to the bride and groom. Q: Can I use a Wedding Planner Book instead? A: A Wedding Planner Book is a written guide to the steps required for planning a wedding. It is a cheaper alternative to hiring a real Wedding Planner and allows a bride to keep all her wedding details with her, wherever she goes. However, the book can only provide instructions and worksheets for keeping track of details the bride, or someone else, must still do the work.

Q: What is the difference between a venue co-ordinator and a wedding planner? A: A venue co-ordinator works for the venue. Their job is to answer your questions about the venue and assist you with your layout and tasting. It isn't their job to assist you with all of the details that go into planning your big day. As a wedding planner our loyalty is to you, our client. Our job is to assess what level of service you need and do everything we can to ensure your wedding reflects your unique style and taste. Q: Are wedding planners an added expense? A: A wedding planner is part of your budget, not an extra expense. In fact you often save money because a consultant suggests affordable alternatives that still enhance your wedding. The wedding planner will work with you to produce your dream wedding, including the consultant’s fee, all within your budget. Q: How far in advance should we book our wedding? A: We usually book weddings 4-6 months or even one year in advance. For larger weddings we recommend 6-9 months in advance. However, the earlier the better to guarantee the venue you desire


Q: Do I need a wedding planner even though my family and friends have offered to help? A: Yes, even though our families and friends have good intentions, your loved ones deserve to enjoy the day as much as you do and not spend it working. We are there to keep the day running smoothly and offer a high level of service Q: My reception venue has a wedding co-ordinator; do I still need to hire a wedding planner? A: Yes, a wedding co-ordinator is someone who will be contacted by a client if they want the extra reassurance of a professional there on the wedding day. A wedding co-ordinator will meet with a client, double check with suppliers, introduce themselves and finally attend on the day to make sure that everything happens the way it's supposed to. A wedding planner, on the other hand, will actually become involved from the very beginning of the planning process. They will plan everything from finding a venue and suppliers to actually being there on the day to make sure everything runs smoothly. This takes away a lot of the stress and worry from you


Wedding Timeline Organising a wedding can seem like a huge daunting task and it may make you feel stressed rather than elated that you’re a bride to be. With so much to organise where do you fit it all in? All you need to do is break it down and tackle each thing one step at a time.  Decide on a date  Set a budget  Decide on the number of guests and make a list  Send out save the date cards if needed  Research and visit possible venues  Book a ceremony and reception venue  Look into wedding insurance and decide on the best policy  Research and book the photographer  Choose the best man, ushers, bridesmaids, pageboys and flower girls  Start wedding dress and shoe shopping  Start looking for the bridesmaids dresses and shoes  Start looking for the bridesmaids’ dresses and shoes  Start looking for the grooms and ushers outfits  Research and book caterers and marquees if needed  Choose and book wedding cars  Book entertainment for the reception  Start getting paperwork in order  Send invitations six months in advance with your gift list information  Decide on your wedding flowers


 Order your wedding rings  Let your venue and caterers know the exact number of guests and any special dietary information  Start your wedding hair and make-up trials  Book your honeymoon  Book your wedding night accommodation  Decide on your table plan for your wedding breakfast and give a copy to your venue  Order your wedding cake  Arrange your favours if you’re having them  Start designing and making the table plan, place names and order of service books  Get married!  Go on honeymoon  Order the professional wedding photographs  Send out thank you cards  Relax....


The last word in style- invitations Never underestimate the power of the written word- or a printed one for that matter. And the spoken word is very important to! Think of the invitations as the wedding’s opening act- the clue to all the glory and drama to come- then follow with beautifully designed stationary at the reception. Before the first guest takes a seat at the ceremony, you can set the right impression for your big day by sending out the perfect invitations. Some Inviting ideas are: 

For a summer wedding send the invites out on small fans that the guests can bring to cool themselves down

Get a coat-of-arms expert to design you and your betrothed’s family crest and use the colours as a base for the invites a la Posh and becks

Grown up glamour. Black script on gold edged white card is timelessly elegant and will decorate anyone’s mantelpiece

Print the invitation onto personalised balloons- The party starts immediately!

Wrap the invites in the same fabric as the bridesmaids dresses and attach it with crystals and sequins

If you’re feeling handy, cross stitch or embroider your invitations, or at least the guests names

Design an invitation using your parents’ wedding photo, and, of course your new in-laws portrait, too. It will add retro glamour and please your parents, but perhaps not if they are now divorced. Alternatively how about using childhood photos of you two: The bride and groom

Go Olde English: use a rolled scroll of parchment, write your message with black ink (Quill optional) and seal with red wax. If a friend can do calligraphy, bribe him or her to do it for you. You’ll owe many drinks, remember

Cutting Costs Invites are expensive. If you don’t have a huge budget, use your imagination. You could: 

Send an email card, just get confirmation that all have been sent!

Get a favourite photo of you and your betrothed multi-printed, and place a sticker on the back of each with all the details

Buy blank cards, or wedding invites from your local stationers and make them a little more exiting by adding penny sweets or sequins.


Ask a creative friend to design and print something on their computer

Use plain card but write details in a fountain pen for an expensive finish.

Send hand written letters asking for guests’ attendance, rather than sending universal invites. This will be warmly received and make the guests feel special.

If you’re having a small wedding just invite people the phone and make sure they put it in their diaries. Family and friends will appreciate a call to hear your good news so this eliminates an invite anyway The traditional wording for a formal wedding is as follows: Mr and Mrs Charles Walker Request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Dianna To Mr Christopher Rawling At St Marys, Carlisle On Saturday September 22nd At 2.45pm And reception to follow at Blyton Hall. The wording above is the old-fashioned formal invitation, with the name of the guest written by hand in the top left hand corner. It is becoming increasingly popular, however, to set the invitation out as follows: Mr and Mrs Leonard Wilson Request the pleasure of the company of ( write guests name here) At the marriage of their daughter Elaine To


Mr Charles Edward Graham At St Georges Chapel, Onslow Square On Saturday 29th May At 12 noon And afterwards at Claridges

Wording Examples for Bride And Groom Hosting Miss Samantha Woodhouse and Mr Karl Richardson request the pleasure of the company of (GUEST NAME/S) at their marriage at St Marys Church, Carlisle on Saturday 3rd June 2014 at 1.30pm and afterwards at The Hallmark Hotel Carlisle

Samantha Woodhouse and Karl Richardson would be delighted if (GUEST NAME/S) would join them to celebrate their marriage at The Hallmark Hotel, Carlisle on Saturday 3rd June 2014 at 1.00pm (GUEST NAME/S) We invite you to join us to celebrate our marriage at our wedding ceremony at St Mary’s Church, Carlisle on Saturday 3rd June 2014 at 1.00pm followed by an Evening Reception at The Hallmark Hotel Carlisle


Favour box and Menu Card DIY Vintage is back in and if you want to incorporate this theme into your wedding this beautiful favour box and menu card are just the trick. We have used our new rose double sided satin ribbon but you could always try it with a colour to match your theme. You will need; Ivory pillow favour box 10mm rose double sided satin ribbon Cream ribbon rosebud Pearl bead string Adhesive tape pen PVA Craft glue For the menu card you will also need; Tall cream linen gold foil printed 'menu' card Ivory lace Insert For the favour box you will need to cut your ribbon into three different lengths, 1 x 3cms 1 x 8cms and 1 x (approx) 20cm. Firstly you will need to create a shoebuckle bow, instructions are on the next page. Now with the 20cm length of ribbon you need to run the adhesive tape pen along the entire length, then position the ribbon in the middle of your favour box and wrap the ribbon around it, making sure that it is being held down securely by the adhesive. Once you have done this you can apply the PVA craft glue to the back of your bow in a discreet place and firmly place in position on the top on your favour box. To get the pearl bead strings to stay in place you need to use your PVA craft glue and place the same adhesive under each side of the bow (so it cannot be seen) and on both edges of the favour box and a little on the back, you then wrap the beads around and secure them firmly to the adhesive and leave plenty of time for this to dry, don't worry if you can see the glue, when it dries it will be transparent! To finish off the favour box, add some PVA adhesive to the bottom of the cream ribbon rose bud and place firmly to the middle of the bow. Top Tip: squeeze the PVA onto a scrap piece of card first and let it dry for a few minutes before using - this stops it soaking into the fabric. For the Menu card, cut a length of lace that fits down the left hand spine of your card, then run the adhesive tape pen down the spine of the card and securely place the lace along it, repeat this process with the rose ribbon. For the finishing touch repeat the steps for the bow used on the favour box and you will have a beautiful set of vintage style stationery. Print your menu details onto the insert and attach inside your card


Bows are beautiful embellishments and with a little practice you can creat a whole range of stylish decorative bows. Here are the ones that work best on cards and stationery. Single Bow

To tie a small single bow 

Leaving a length of about 4cm loose to your left make a loop in your left hand

Make a loop of the same size next to it with your right hand

Tie these two loops in a knot

Pull the loops and the ends to create the size of bow you want.

Tighten the knot to secure the bow and trim the ends on a diagonal - this looks good and stops the ends fraying.

A single bow in a wider organza ribbon will look beautiful when embellished at the knot with a ribbon rose or paper flower head secured with a mini glue dot. You may also want to tie a single bow around the stem of a flower, or to finish off a ribbon that wraps the spine of your card. Tie the ribbon in a knot at the place where you want it. Then tie the bow as before. If you find your bow comes out upside down, undo it, turn the flower or card 180 degrees and tie it again. Knot Bow

The knot bow is not actually a bow at all, it is a double knot.


Wrap your ribbon length round your card

Tie a single knot by moving the ribbon left over right and under

Now tie a second knot on top again moving the ribbon left over right and under

Either cut a V into the ends of the ribbon or trim on the diagonal to stop fraying

When tied in a wide ribbon the loose ends lie at right angles from the main ribbon, making a simple and stylish bow. Shoebuckle Bow

The shoebuckle bow is elegant and looks complex but is surprisingly easy to make once you realise it is not actually tied like a bow at all! Instead it is made from 3 separate lengths of ribbon. To make a medium bow with 10mm ribbon: 

Take an 8cm length of ribbon and place a mini glue dot halfway along it.

Fold the ends in to stick to the glue dot

Take a 3cm length of ribbon and wrap this around the middle of your first part to create the bow, again fixing with glue dots

Place a long strip of ribbon where required on your card and attach the shoebuckle bow.

If you can tie shoelaces, then you will be able to make beautiful bows. Try experimenting with different ribbon types and widths and you will be able to create a distinctive look that matches your event perfectly.


Gatefold Order of The Day A gatefold card is not always practical for a church wedding Order of Service where you will need space for hymn wordings etc. But for the Order of the Day for a civil ceremony, it's a great alternative to the traditional single fold card. This chocolate brown and gold design is made using an A5 gatefold tapestry broderie card with 3 separate panel inserts inside. You will need: 

A5 gatefold card blank in tapestry brown

1 x Insert for A5 gatefold card (197mm x 144mm) for the central panel

2 x Insert paper cut to 197mm x 70mm for the side panels

23mm organza ribbon in cream

gold glitter butterfly

adhesive tape pen

Set up the text you require using the insert templates provided. We put the main order of the day in the centre with the names, date and location on the left panel and the details of the wedding ceremony on the right. There are no fixed rules for an order of the day, so you can include whatever you wish. Print the inserts - we used a chocolate brown shade for the text to match the card. Fix the inserts inside the card using the tape pen. Run a line of adhesive across the centre back of the card to hold the ribbon in place and attach the ribbon. Tie in a bow at the front and trim the ends to neaten. Attach the butterfly (or other embellishment) in the top right corner.


Pure and simple white wedding invitation This wedding invitation uses a single colour (in this case white) to create a card which is simple and elegant without being dull. The secret is in the use of differing textures - card, textured paper, satin and pearls. You will need: 

A6 linen white card blank foil printed with Wedding Invitation

Linen white card

White mulberry paper

15mm double sided satin ribbon

Pearl mini open heart

Insert & envelope

PVA glue

Adhesive tape pen (optional)

3D sticky foam craft pads

Cut 4cm x 4cm squares of white linen card and white mulberry paper and attach the paper to the card using PVA glue or the adhesive tape pen.

Cut a 7cm piece of ribbon and wrap around the square, gluing the ends at the back. NB: the mulberry paper should be at the front.

Using PVA glue (not too much) attach the pearl heart to the ribbon Once everything has dried, stick the little square onto the card blank using the 3D sticky pads so it stands out slightly from the card. Print your inserts using your PC and printer, attach inside the card and it's ready to send. You can adapt this principle to other colour themes. The keys to success when working with a single colour are : 

use different textures to add interest

use light and darker variations of your colour

With stronger colours your items need to be either exactly the same shade or clearly different. Shades which are very close but not identical will look odd together.


At The Reception With all of the stress that goes into planning a fantastic wedding, have you thought about doing something a little less traditional? Why not throw something fun and whimsical into your special day? Have some laughs and relieve some of the pressure. Here are some fun, unique ideas:

This is a great ice-breaker that will make it easy for your guests to strike up a conversation and have them laughing at the reception. Set a single flower at each place setting and wrap a ribbon around each stem with a small note. Type out a funny quote or joke specifically related to weddings. This will make for easy conversation, especially if a lot of your guests have never met.

Instead of the traditional bouquet and garter toss meaning, put your own meaning behind it and be sure to announce it first. For instance, you can have a prize for whoever catches the bouquet, like a gift certificate or wrapped present. This way everyone can get involved! Or, you can tell your wedding guests that your bouquet was made with a new special meaning, like fame or prosperity instead of the bride passing on her fortune in marriage. You can also ditch the bouquet toss all together and replace it with another amusing game.

If you plan on having a lot of children at your wedding, set aside a separate, fun area for them. At my sister’s wedding she sectioned off a part of the reception hall just for the kids, with bean bags, books, snacks, games, bubbles and so forth. This kept them happy and occupied, giving the adults a chance to mingle.

Take some time during the reception to play a few games and get your DJ involved. My favorite is the Couples Quiz Game. Get at least four couples involved including the bride and groom. They are each given a small dry erase or chalk board. The DJ will ask a question and each participant will write it down. The couples with the same answers will get points for that round. No Cheating! Whichever couple has the most points at the end wins a prize!

Another laugh-out-loud game is with the use of Barbie and Ken dolls. This is a fun, not-soserious compatibility test. Have the bride and groom stand together, back to back so that they cannot see each other. They will each hold a Barbie bride doll (representing the bride) in one hand and a Ken groom doll (representing the groom) in the other. The DJ will ask several questions, such as “Who is most likely to pay the bills on time?”, and the bride a groom will both lift the doll that they think is the best fit. It’s fun to watch what they think each others’ roles will be.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a memorable wedding reception. Get creative and make it your own!


A-Z of wedding reception ideas

A is for Afternoon Tea Refined, elegant and quintessentially British, it’s set to be the hottest alternative to a formal wedding breakfast in the Queen’s Jubilee year. Cucumber sandwiches (no crusts), scones, cream cakes and lashings of Champagne are just the start. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it! B is for Budget Blooms Gypsophila is the budget bloom for 2012 weddings. It makes a significant, stylish impact, whether used on its own or to bulk out larger arrangements. The tiny delicate white flowers are perfect for a vintage theme and will never date in your photographs. C is for Ciné Cameras Capture your day in classic style with a wedding video shot on Super 8 film. Magical and timeless, this medium creates a very flattering, soft light that gives an ultra-romantic, vintage feel. D is for Disguises Fun disguises are the latest addition to the photobooth trend, so visit a fancy dress shop and stock up on oversized glasses, fake moustaches and beards, plastic noses, feather boas and top hats for your guests to adorn themselves with for their snaps! Ask them to stick their pics into your guestbook for a fun-filled memento, too. E is for Eton Mess With its crushed meringue and bright red strawberries, Eton Mess is the epitome of summer desserts. Serve yours with lashings of cream, custard or ice cream for a truly yummy homemadestyle dessert. F is for Finger Food Finger food is a great alternative to formal dining, and suits laid-back receptions down to the ground. Rather than waiters serving guests individually, they deliver large dishes of food to each table so people can help themselves then pass them along. G is for Gramophones The guys from vintage78dj can get the party started with classic 78s from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. From Louis Armstrong to Glen Miller, they’ve got the perfect tunes to create a vintage rock ‘n’ roll vibe at your reception. H is for Home-time treats Don’t leave your guests feeling hungry at the end of the night. Send them away feeling full, either with a late-night snack of cheese and biscuits or a goodie bag filled with sweets. Include a little personal thank you note and you have the perfect favours. I is for I-Spy Put disposable cameras on each table, along with a printed sheet of things to spot (bride and groom


kissing, bride admiring her ring and so on), with the promise that once the photos are developed, you’ll award a prize to the person who ticks off the most. Your guests have a giggle, and you get some fab unposed shots at the same time. J is for Juice Bottles On arrival at the wedding reception, give each guest a retro-style glass bottle of freshly squeezed juice, with a tag round the neck bearing their name and table number. Pretty and practical! K is for Katas No, we didn’t make it up – Katas are a funky alternative to a marquee for your under-canvas reception! These stunning Nordic tipis can accommodate up to 300 people seated, and ooze festival chic. Just the job for a boho wedding. L is for Layered Cakes Tiered wedding cakes are making a comeback after being overshadowed by cupcakes in recent years. This year’s brides are mixing it up by combining tiers of different shapes, sizes and flavours. Watch this space! M is for Monograms Monograms are just the ticket for a chic, contemporary wedding – after all, if they’re good enough for Chanel and Louis Vuitton… Design a distinctive icon that incorporates your initials, and use it to personalise reception details such as place cards, menus and favour boxes. N is for Non-Matching Centrepieces A key trend for 2012, eclipsing traditional matching floral arrangements. You could use the same blooms on every table, but in different vessels (tall vases, goldfish bowls), or use different flowers for each table, tied together by their colour scheme. O is for Ostrich Feathers Whether you use them to decorate your chair backs, table centres, pew ends or even your wedding bouquet, ostrich feathers are a glamorous addition to any 1920s-themed reception – a hot trend for 2013 weddings (you heard it here first!). We also love large vintage ostrich feather fans – the perfect prop for your wedding photobooths. Fabulous! P is for Pegs. A practical and purse-friendly way to hang all manner of things around your reception, pegs are the latest party must haves! They look especially pretty in classic wood or painted pastel colours, and can hold everything from old photos and table plans to guests’ hats! Q is for Quiet Areas Give guests a relaxing area where they can escape the hustle and bustle of the evening party. This could be a suite at the hotel, a library, a small bar area – anywhere where they can catch up with family. R is for Retro Sweets Whether it’s the pretty pastel lilac of Parma Violets or the rich-looking golden wrapper of a


Werther’s Original, retro sweets can really help tie a table’s colour scheme together. Think back to your childhood and make a sweetie bar with your favourites. S is for Scent Think about the scent your guests will smell as they walk into the reception venue. Whether you use fresh flowers, scented candles or essential oils, choose a calming and relaxing scent that will always remind you of your special day. T is for Tapas Want to save on your food? Ditch the sit-down meal for a contemporary tapas menu. Traditionally made up of Spanish foods, your tapas reception can feature dishes that fit in with your theme, or the time of year. U is for Unique Transport. Let guests send you off in style with unique transport that they’ll never forget. We love transport that fits with the theme of the day like tractors (for a country wedding) or helicopters (for a glam Bond-style do!) V is for Visual Effects It could be as simple as using spotlights to highlight focal points or a colour wash over the entire room. You could even get custom lighting that complements your theme, like snowflakes for a winter wedding. W is for Windmills The sort found in garden centres and at the seaside – windmills will bring a bit of childhood nostalgia to your reception. Indoors, they make stunning table centres, grouped in bunches of three or four in a tall vase. Outdoors, plant them in the ground to whirl in the breeze. X is for Xtended party Your wedding is the best day of your life, but as any bride will tell you, it’s over in a flash. Why not extend the celebrations by holding your wedding midweek and having a follow-up barbecue at the weekend? Y is for Yellow Yellow is set to be the colour of choice for stylish wedding receptions. Less is more when working with such a bright shade, so combine a few popping accent pieces with a soft, neutral background like grey, ivory or taupe. It’s all the rage in the US! Z is for Zero Carbon Eco-friendly receptions are growing in popularity. Okay, so it might not be totally carbon neutral, but why not opt for organic or locally sourced food, give seed packets as favours for guests to plant when they get home, wrap cutlery in sheets of newspaper tied with brown string? You’ll be starting married life with some good green karma behind you!


DIY Centrepieces Stones and Rocks

Easy, natural, cheap. You can go super sparse for a Zen setting with just beautiful stones and candles. This is a beautiful ensemble, chic and simple!

When combined with other natural elements, as shown here, rocks can make for a nice organic feel to a table.

Sticks and Branches

Again: easy, natural, cheap. Bonus points if you make 2D birdshapes out of felt or add little fake birds (woodland forest theme?)


Critters abound in these table number centerpieces. These branch-like twiney-vineys definitely have an organic vibe with those faux flowers. Leaves

Dude, I'm totally sticking with my hippie theme here, aren't I? But check out this simple concept: vase, fall leaves, candles. Tada! If you're looking for a bit more interest with the leaves, consider pulling them from local trees, framing them on some nice card stock and adhering a label naming what type of tree it dropped from. Guests could also take them home as a souvenir! Great for an autumn wedding.

Here's another adorable centrepiece. This time we combined sticks with paper flowers and cut-out leaves for some origami-esque chic.

Leaves can be ultra-elegant, like in this simple, harvest-themed table decor. We lined them alongside wee pumpkins and apples. Lanterns

Photo by Amber Zagorski


Works best with an Asian theme, natch, but with a little creativity could be applied to almost any theme. Check out these batterypowered options of the paper variety. Another interesting option would be to do metal and glass lanterns, like the one above from . They would be stunning for a night-time wedding where a little romance is involved. For a homespun country-style wedding vintage lanterns would really set the mood.

I love this two-sided lantern idea It somehow looks totally Zen with a little bit of nautical thrown in.

This is cheating since I'm pretty sure this is solely a cupcake stand. But does it have to be? I love the creative book stacking and wonky angles. This could become a pretty amazing centerpiece if you had the books for it.

Ribbon-tied books, candies, and candles make for a sweet and stylish centerpiece. Makes me thirsty too. I wonder why. Medical Glassware


I've never actually seen this done, but the idea of Erlenmeyer flasks or Volumetric flasks is SUPER cutel. Add some coloured water and candles on a clean white table cloth and you've got a geeky, colourful, UNIQUE centerpiece! Some other filling options could include M&Ms or other coloured candy, semi-transparent beads, marbles, or dry ice!

We used glass beads in a medical beaker (with flowers, don't tell anyone) in a scientist-themed centerpiece. You can barely tell it's medical glassware until you look closely. Sneaky and cute!


Records?!

I'm convinced after seeing this shot that more could be done with old vinyl records at weddings. Kate used them as place settings, but it doesn't take too much creativity to imagine how they might be used as the awesome base of a DIY centerpiece. And again: cheap Or you can melt them into bowls (see pic) for your centrepieces. All you need is your oven and something round (or square, or triangular... your choices are endless!) to act as a mould, you can do this one of two ways you can set your oven on a medium heat balance the vinyl on top of the up turned bowl and pop in the oven (with the door open) for about 30 seconds (depending on how hot your oven gets) then take it out and start moulding straight away! But be sure to wear decent gloves such as an oven glove or extra thick industrial strength rubber gloves (they give your hands more freedom than bulky oven gloves) the other way is to again use a bowl and balance it on the open end then boil water in a kettle and slowly pour the water over it (again the rubber gloves are better to do this) whilst pushing down quite firmly on the vinyl, but be careful not too much pressure or the bowl may tip over. They are easily found at charity shops and incredibly cheap too!


Light Bulb Vase D.I.Y

What You Will Need: Clear lightbulbs in any shape Needle Nose Pliers Wire for hanging A base & glue if using them as standing vases Eye protection Remove the very bottom metal piece with a pair of pliers. Once it’s been removed use your pliers or a screwdriver to break the glass that’s located below the metal. Most light bulbs have a couple of layers of glass inside, so you might have to do a little bit of digging. Wear protective glasses in case of flying glass. For a standing light bulb vase, you can glue the bulb to a base, such as large washers, pieces of wood for a rustic look, or anything that is flat and supportive. For hanging light bulb vases, use wire to tie a handle and then use twine to hang. Voila, Easy and super cute flower vases!


Finding the perfect wedding favours to match your personality and wedding theme while sticking to a budget isn’t easy, especially finding something that is memorable and useful to your guests. The best personalized wedding gifts come from just doing it yourself, or at least adding your own personal touch. Here are some of my favourite unique wedding favour ideas as well as some easy DIY wedding favour ideas:

1. Tiny Apothecary Bottles Use petite bottles as flower vases to make a nice little wedding favor that also dresses up the reception tables. Although this idea might seem a little pricey, it is also part of your flower budget, and they double as pretty little place card holders. That’s 3 in 1! These would be particularly stunning for a vintage or rustic style wedding. You can also buy several different styles of small vases at wholesale prices and do it yourself!

2. Birdseed Hearts A truly unique and eco-friendly way to say “thank you” to your loved ones. These are fun and easy D.I.Y wedding favours that they will truly remember, but can also be done on a very small budget. It’s simple but oh so sweet!


3. Infused Sugar Canisters This is a fun way to personalize your gifts with your favourite ingredients or your regions specialty, such as an exotic fruit. You can also use ingredients like coffee or espresso beans, citrus fruits, or lavender. You’ll want to zest your fruit or fine grind the lavender or coffee beans and layer it with your sugar in a sealed glass container. The sugar has to sit for a week or so in order to absorb the flavors. Garnish it however you’d like, and voila! The flavoured sugar makes for a fabulous glass rim garnish or addition to a favourite cookie recipe to add a hint of flavour.

4. Homemade Cookies Wrapped With Love Have a favorite cookie or brownie recipe you’d like to share? Consider baking up some love to share with your guests. The trick to making it unique is in the packaging, like this cd envelope which showcases the cookie quite nicely. Use twine or ribbon with a nice tag to spruce it up. A recipe can be found in the D.I.Y section

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5. Rustic Favour Bags These are just so cute! You can fill them with your wedding favour of choice, anything from candy to tiny gifts. They are just perfect for an outdoor rustic wedding theme. You can buy burlap supplies wholesale and create your own unique designs, or even easier, purchase these already premade from the Trendy Cottage Etsy Shop.

6. Donut Holes After a night of eating, drinking, and dancing, there’s no way these wouldn’t be a hit! You can purchase them from your local donut shop, or make them yourself. I like how these ones are wrapped in paper doilies, making them seem like a little gourmet treat. You can find the recipe for these scrummy donuts in the D.I.Y section Formatted: Font color: Accent 4


7. S’mores Kits We all know the 3 ingredients that make up a delicious S’mores, now all you have to do is package them up in cellophane bags to make individual servings, and you’ve got a sweet little wedding favor!

8. Succulents One of the greatest little plants on earth! They are so hardy and easy to take care of, too. Consider planting your own individual succulents in the container of your choice and doubling them at the reception as place card holders.


9. Fresh Fruit It’s different, it’s creative, and it’s yummy! Choose fruit that is in season and you’ve got an instant hit.

10. Personalized Hugs & Kisses Everybody loves chocolate! Personalized kisses are a cute and yummy gift to send your wedding guests away with. You can package them up nicely in a jar, small bag, or wedding favor box, and then maybe attach a sweet little note.

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DIY Succulent Wedding Favours Tutorial: Succulents are probably one of my favourite things on the entire planet earth because of their unique beauty and incredible visual interest. Due to their wide variety of options in colour, size, texture and shape, you can create a personalized succulent wedding favour for each one of your wedding guests with a few simple steps. They can also double as a place card holder at your reception tables by writing the name of your guests on each one of the tags. They are also wonderful flowers to incorporate into your wedding bouquet and table centrepieces. 1. Purchase small succulent plants from your local florist or hardware store. You might also have luck finding them at a local farmer’s market. 2. Choose your containers based on your wedding theme. This can be anything from mini clay pots to small tins, mason jars, tea cups, or even miniature tin watering cans! I would even consider mixing them up a bit. You can choose a different themed container for every table. 3. Purchase card stock to secure your gift tags to. Be sure to leave room at the top of your tags for a hole punch. 4. Use twine, ribbon, or anything else of your choice that will slide through your hole punched tags and secure them around your succulent wedding favour containers. Another option is to glue your tags or place cards on a wooden stick and let them sit up right in the dirt. This idea actually works a little better if you’re planning on using them at your reception tables as place cards. 5. Now, just sit back and watch as everyone swoons over the impressive gifts that will surely be sitting in their kitchen windows for years to come. And, what an easy and fun D.I.Y project! Get the girls together and make an afternoon around it. Don’t be afraid to get creative with this project. You might even be able to find some unique succulent containers at a local charity shop or antique market. You can even use mini engraved glass vases and fill the bottoms with pebbles, gems, or other vase fillers before adding your succulent plant.


Delicious Cookie Recipe These delicious cookies are easy to cook and taste as good as the real Millies cookies, with a crisp outer layer and a gooey centre these treats are best eaten warm but last well...if they last that long!!!

Makes 12 cookies Preparation and cooking times

1. Preheat the oven to 180째C, gas mark 4 2. Cream butter and sugars, once creamed, combine in the egg and vanilla. 3. Sift in the flour and salt, then the chocolate chips. 4. Roll into walnut size balls, for a more homemade look, or roll into a long, thick sausage shape and slice to make neater looking cookies. 5. Place on ungreased baking paper. If you want to have the real Millies experience then bake for just 7 minutes, till the cookies are just setting - the cookies will be really doughy and delicious. Otherwise cook for 10 minutes until just golden round the edges. 6. Take out of the oven and leave to harden for a minute before transferring to a wire cooling rack. These are great warm, and they also store well, if they don't all get eaten straight away!


DreamLovers Heavenly Chocolate Truffles 

280g good-quality dark chocolate , 70% cocoa solids

284ml pot double cream

50g unsalted butter

Makes 50 (easily doubled or halved) Preparation and cooking times

Prep 30 mins

Cook 5 mins plus 4 hours chilling

Method 1. Chop the chocolate and tip into a large bowl. Put the cream and butter into a saucepan and heat gently until the butter melts and the cream reaches simmering point. Remove from heat, then pour over the chocolate. Stir the chocolate and cream together until you have a smooth mixture. Add any flavourings to the truffle mix at this stage (divide the mixture between bowls and mix in liqueurs or other flavourings, a tsp at a time, to taste. Try bourbon, Grand Marnier, coconut rum or the zest and juice of an orange), or leave plain. Cool and chill for at least 4 hrs. 2. To shape the truffles, dip a melon baller in hot water and scoop up balls of the mixture, then drop the truffles onto greaseproof paper. Or lightly coat your hands in flavourless oil (such as sunflower) and roll the truffles between your palms. You could also use a piping bag to pipe rounds onto greaseproof paper. 3. Coat your truffles immediately after shaping. Tip toppings into a bowl and gently roll the truffles until evenly coated, then chill on greaseproof paper. Try: crushed, shelled pistachio nuts; lightly toasted desiccated coconut; or roll a truffle flavoured with orange zest and juice in cocoa powder. To coat in chocolate, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Melt 100g milk, dark or white chocolate for 10 truffles. Allow chocolate to cool slightly. With a fork, pick up one truffle at a time and hold over the bowl of melted chocolate. Spoon the chocolate over the truffle until well-coated. Place on the baking tray, then chill. 4. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge overnight. To give as presents, place 8-10 truffles in individual foil or paper cases inside small, lined boxes tied with ribbon. Keep in the fridge until you're ready to give them.


Doughnut Recipe

There's nothing quite like freshly cooked doughnuts - and you'll never be short of friends when you go to the trouble. Ingredients 

1 tbsp yeast

4 tbsp caster sugar

150ml/5¼fl oz milk, warmed

225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting

¼ tsp salt

50g/2oz butter, melted

1 free-range egg, beaten

300ml/10½fl oz vegetable oil, for deep-frying

jam of your choice

Preparation method 1. Mix the yeast with half a teaspoon of the sugar and two tablespoons of the warm milk. Place in a warm place to rest for 15 minutes, or until frothy. 2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in one tablespoon of the sugar. 3. Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeast mix, the rest of the milk, the melted butter and the egg. Mix to make a dough and then knead, cover the bowl and leave to stand for 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. 4. On a floured work surface, knead the dough for five minutes, then divide into 12 balls and place in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.


5. Heat the oil in a deep pan until it reaches 190C/375F, or a cube of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden in 30 seconds. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) 6. Gently lower the dough balls one at a time into the hot oil, in batches of two or three, and fry for 3-5 minutes or until golden-brown, and then carefully turn over. Remove from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. 7. Roll the hot doughnuts in the remaining sugar. Make a small slit in the doughnut with the tip of a knife, and fill with a teaspoon of jam. Serve.


Your Guide To Wedding Flowers Whatever month or season you have chosen to tie the knot there will always be a vast selection of flowers for you to pick and choose from. Popular choices, and some flowers that are available all year round are the Gerbera, which comes in a variety of bold colours, the lovely calla lily, and the most romantic of all flowers, the red rose. There are so many different arrangements and ideas out there that it is going to be hard to make a decision on just one style. If you are having a wedding in the Spring then you might want to consider tulips which come in a wide variety of bold and pastel shades. Tulips don’t tend to last long though so make sure you receive the flowers on the morning of your wedding so as to keep them looking fresh and vibrant. For a summer wedding pinks and purples are popular and either a hydrangea or a red sox lily would make your wedding reception tables look stunning. With an autumn wedding the colour orange springs to mind and there are so many different combinations of colours that do actually mesh well with this fall shade. Winter weddings as you may have guessed tend to favour red or white colours and flowers or plants with berries are a popular choice. I have noticed at quite a few clients weddings lately the flowers Gysophila, or more commonly known as Baby's Breath have been quite a big hit of the year, in a bunch on their own they can look rather stunning, it's one of those love it or hate it flowers but it's back in a big way. Make sure you use it en-masse and for impact most definitely don't mix it with other flowers. Lace - obviously its big news in dresses and cakes but add it to your flowers, vases and even use as table runners. Vintage it's here to stay but for autumn/winter take it down a notch to avoid the 'garden party' look. Herbs rosemary, mint, sage - it's the foliage de rigour and adds a beautiful scent. Metallic’s - gold’s for autumn, silver for winter. The rose continues to be the most popular and elegant bouquet flower. Lilies, peonies, hydrangeas, tulips and orchids represent the trendier choices. Arrangements with a just-picked and looser casual look have replaced the more tightly-bound bouquet shapes of previous seasons. Vivid flower colours will continue in popularity. Spring Agapanthus -- large, striking flowers, also known as African Lily. Anemone -- delicate flowers available in various colours. Anthurium -- waxy looking, exotic flowers. Aster -- daisy-like flowers on upright stems. Bouvardia -- clusters of small, tubular flowers. Calla Lily -- Striking lilies. Available in white and other colours. Not all colours are available throughout the year. Carnation -- long lasting and wonderful for using on their own in pomanders. Cherry Blossom -- delicate blossom - perfect for weddings. Cornflower -- usually available in blue, but other colours can be found. Chrysanthemum -- large, showy flowers. Cymbidium orchid -- striking orchids, up to 12 flowers on each stem. Delphinium -- tall flower spikes Forget-me-not -- tiny blue flowers on short stems. Freesia -- highly scented flowers in various colours. Genista -- masses of tiny flowers on straight stems.


Gerbera -- contemporary, daisy-like flower in various colours. Gloriosa -- bright yellow and cerise, dramatic flower. Heliconia -- tropical flower. Hyacinth -- beautifully scented and various colours. Hydrangea -- enormous flowerheads in various colours. Iris -- popular, but relatively short-lived. Lily -- lilies are available throughout the year, but not in all colours. Lily of the valley -- tiny bell-shaped flowers. Can be very expensive. Lisianthus -- popular and available in various colours. Muscari (grape hyacinth) Narcissus -- spring-like. Also known as daffodil. Nigella -- also known as 'love in the mist'. Delicate, papery flowers. Oncidium Orchid -- small yellow flowers along the stems. Phalaenopsis orchid -- large flower, perfect for a wedding bouquet. Phlox -- popular country garden flower. Ranunculus -- delicate, papery flowers. Wonderful for romantic weddings. Rose -- needs no explanation! Available in almost every colour. Stephanotis -- individual white, waxy flowers. Make wonderful buttonholes and bouquets. Sunflower -- striking flower usually in yellow. Sweet pea -- short lived. Wonderful colours and scents. Sweet William -- country garden flowers Tulip -- a very popular cut flower with many different varieties Summer Agapanthus -- large, striking flowers, also known as African Lily. Alchemilla -- common garden flower with tiny yellow/green flowers. Anthurium -- exotic, waxy looking flowers. Aster -- also known as a Michaelmas Daisy. Daisy-like flowers. Bouvardia -- clusters of small, tubular flowers. Carnation -- long lasting and wonderful for using on their own in pomanders. Cattelya orchid -- large, brightly-coloured orchid. Celosia -- crinkled flowers. Different varieties are available. Cornflower -- usually available in blue, but other colours can be found. Crysanthemum -- large, showy flowers. Dahlia -- dramatic round flowers. Delphinium -- tall flower spikes. Freesia -- highly scented flowers in various colours. Gerbera -- contemporary, daisy-like flower in various colours. Gypsophila -- tiny white flowers. Perfect as a filler or used on its own. Hydrangea -- enormous flowerheads in various colours. Iris -- popular, but relatively short-lived. Lavender -- Fantastic scent. Perfect for a country celebration with a lilac theme. Lily -- lilies are available throughout the year, but not in all colours. Marigold -- daisy-like flower. Mint -- mint has a wonderful scent and a feathery flower.


Nerine -- clusters of delicate flowers. Nigella -- also known as 'love in the mist'. Delicate, papery flowers. Oncidium orchid -- small yellow flowers along the stems. Peony -- soft, papery, large flower. Available in May and June. Phalaenopsis orchid -- large, striking orchids. Wonderful for bouquets. Phlox -- popular country garden flower. Rose -- needs no explanation! Available in almost every colour. Stephanotis -- individual white, waxy flowers. Make wonderful buttonholes and bouquets. Sunflower -- striking flower usually in yellow. Sweet pea -- short-lived. Wonderful colours and scents. Zinnia -- a similar flower to a dahlia.

Autumn Acacia -- also known as Mimosa. Tiny yellow flowers. Alstroemeria -- also known as a Peruvian Lily. Popular and long lasting. Amaryllis -- large, trumpet-shaped flowers. Anemone -- delicate flowers available in various colours. Anthurium -- waxy looking, exotic flowers. Aster -- also known as a Michaelmas Daisy. Daisy-like flowers. Bouvardia -- clusters of small, tubular flowers. Calla Lily -- Striking lilies. Available in white and other colours. Not all colours are available throughout the year. Carnation -- long-lasting and wonderful for using on their own in pomanders. Cattleya orchid -- large, brightly coloured orchids. Celosia -- crinkled flowers. Different varieties are available. Chrysanthemum -- large, showy flowers. Cymbidium orchid -- striking, with many flowers on each stem. Dahlia -- dramatic round flowers. Delphinium -- tall flower spikes. Echinops -- globe-shaped, prickly blue flower. Euphorbia -- curving stems with a lot of tiny flowers. Various colours. Freesia -- highly scented flowers in various colours. Gerbera -- contemporary, daisy-like flower in various colours. Gladiolus -- traditional flower used in large arrangements. Miniature varieties are also available. Gloriosa -- dramatic yellow and cerise flower. A type of lily. Gypsophila -- tiny white flowers. Perfect as a filler or used on its own. Hydrangea -- enormous flowerheads in various colours. Hypericum -- the berries are a popular autumnal filler. Iris -- popular, but relatively short-lived. Lilac -- popular with a lovely, strong scent. Lily -- lilies are available throughout the year, but not in all colours. Lisianthus -- popular and available in various colours. Marigold -- daisy-like flower.


Nerine -- clusters of delicate flowers. Oncidium orchid -- small yellow flowers along the stems. Phalaenopsis orchid -- large, striking orchids. Wonderful for bouquets. Phlox -- popular country garden flower. Rose -- needs no explanation! Available in almost every colour. Stephanotis -- individual white, waxy flowers. Makes wonderful buttonholes and bouquets. Sunflower -- striking flower usually in yellow Winter Agapanthus -- large, striking flowers, also known as African Lily. Amaryllis -- large, trumpet shaped flowers. Anemone -- delicate flowers available in various colours. Anthurium -- waxy looking, exotic flowers. Bouvardia -- clusters of small, tubular flowers. Calla Lily -- Striking lilies. Available in white and other colours. Not all colours are available throughout the year. Carnation -- long-lasting and wonderful for using on their own in pomanders. Chrysanthemum -- large, showy flowers. Cymbidium orchid -- striking orchids, up to 12 flowers on each stem. Euphorbia -- curved stems with lots of tiny flowers. Freesia -- highly scented flowers in various colours. Gerbera -- contemporary, daisy-like flower in various colours. Gloriosa -- bright yellow and cerise, dramatic flower. Hyacinth -- beautifully scented and various colours. Hydrangea -- enormous flowerheads in various colours. Iris -- popular, but relatively short-lived. Lilac -- popular with a lovely, strong scent. Lily -- lilies are available throughout the year but not in all colours. Lisianthus -- popular and available in various colours. Muscari -- tiny clusters of blue flowers. Also known as grape hyacinth. Narcissus -- spring-like. Also known as daffodil. Peony -- wonderful flower. Can be found in November. Phalaenopsis orchid -- large, striking orchids. Wonderful for bouquets. Phlox -- popular country garden flower. Rose -- needs no explanation! Available in almost every colour. Sunflower -- striking flower usually in yellow. Tulip -- a very popular cut flower with many different varieties.


DIY: Gorgeous Chiffon and Tulle Flowers

To make a stencil first free hand a rose petal shape and cut out. Then retrace it five times on a larger sheet of paper to create a full flower shape. This will help you get an even pattern. Cut out pattern.

Take some fabric and fold it into a square a little larger than your flower pattern. Pin the pattern to fabric and carefully cut out. Repeat this process until you have enough layers to make a full flower the number of layers will vary depending on the weight of your fabrics and the size of your flower. The example shown here uses 26 layers.

Stack flower cut outs, alternating fabric types and staggering petals. Use a needle and thread to secure them together at the centre

Pinch together the centre of the flower (from the bottom) and secure with stitches to create volume and give the flower an authentic look If desired you can sew decorative beads in the inside centre of the flower.


DIY Mini Florals Supplies Scissors Floral foam Small vessel or decorative bowl One large bowl filled with water Hydrangeas and other fresh flowers with small to medium size blooms

Step One Cut down a piece of floral foam to fit snug inside the vessel or small, decorative bowl.

Step Two Once the foam has been cut to size, drop it into a large bowl of water and let it sink to the bottom. After letting it soak for about a minute, place it back into the small vessel, and begin cutting down your fresh flowers. Each


stem should be cut at a sharp angle to ensure it can pierce through the foam

Step Three Starting in the centre and working your way out, begin adding short stems of hydrangea clusters to the arrangement.

Step Four Once the entire bowl is filled, add additional flowers and fillers. Depending on where they are placed, some stems will need to be slightly longer than others. Add finishing touches with your favourite blooms and fill areas that look sparse.

Styling Tip When the seasons change, so does floral availability. Just remember, hydrangeas are a key factor for keeping this project simple. The stems are nice and hearty and hold the surrounding florals in place. These miniature arrangements can also be displayed on a place card table with paper flag table numbers or dispersed with small votive candles along the centre of a long banquet table.


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Wedding Ideas Kit