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BY COCO WEDDING VENUES

THE ANNUAL 2019/2020

Your Kind of Wedding Planning 1

T H E D E S T I N AT I O N V E N U E


© 2 0 1 9 C O C O W E D D I N G V E N U E S A L L R I G H T S R E S E R V E D .

No part of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed in any form without the prior written consent of the editor.

All images and text published in this magazine are the property of the respective owners. We have direct consent from the owners to publish their work.

We have made every effort to ensure the information and credits in this magazine are correct, but if you feel we have overlooked any specific details we urge you to contact us. Any amendments will be made to the digital downloads immediately and any print changes will be made prior to the next run.

C O N TAC T U S

The content for this magazine is curated and published annually, therefore if you would like to be considered for the next issue, have feedback to share with us, or just fancy saying hello you can contact the editor at emma@cocoweddingvenues.co.uk. www.cocoweddingvenues.co.uk Instagram @cocoweddingvenues

BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS

Front Cover by Rebecca Goddard Photography ‘A Curated Collection’ - Gyan Gurung Photography at One Marylebone

I would like to thank Hannah Duffy Photography, Rebecca Goddard Photography and Heart Full of Tea for their beautiful brand photography used throughout this magazine.

All other imagery used has been credited in situ. Magazine curated, edited and designed by Emma Hla.


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A Curated Collection...


WELCOME I guess my first words to you should be congratulations -you’re only blinking engaged! Too. Much. Excitement. My second sentiment is one of thanks. Thank you so much for putting your trust in us to guide you through this crazy adventure of planning your wedding. I may be biased, but I think you’re absolutely in the right place so give yourselves a pat on the back – you’ve already nailed step #1. Now, there’s a lot to consider when you first get engaged and there may also be a few opinions thrown into the mix, not to mention everyone asking you “when’s the big day?” but I’m telling you to take a deep breath and remain in that gorgeous just-engaged bubble for as long as you want. You’ll no doubt be feeling a mixture of emotions – if you’re a bit giddy and a whole lot daunted then that’s perfectly normal! But, when you feel ready to pick up that first magazine or sit down in front of the laptop to start your research, the first point on that to-do-list is without doubt the wedding venue. Your venue choice and style of wedding will influence your whole day – from the fashion and the food, right through to the entertainment. It’s at this very first step that www.cocoweddingvenues.co.uk can help. But what about everything that comes after that? Well fear not, this book-come-magazine hybrid is your lifeline, designed to be your trusted companion all the way to honeymoon. Inside you’ll discover tons of honest and real advice from our favourite wedding pros alongside beautiful inspiration to get those creative ideas flowing. It’s my heartfelt hope that by walking you through what to expect at each stage we’ll make your planning experience a little less daunting and inspire you to forge your own path to your wedding. It’s honestly thrilling to think that we get to hold your hand during this precious time in your life. So come, turn the page and start your magical journey…

Emma Hla Founder & Curator


Chapter One - First Steps 12 - 12 Month Wedding Timeline 16 - 10 Things to Do When You Get Engaged 18 - Wedding Day Timings 22 - Your Ceremony 26 - Planning Your Wedding Budget 28 - The Venue Budget 32 - How Much Do Flowers Cost? 36 - Defining Your Style 40 - Starting Your Research 42 - To Hire a Wedding Planner or Not? 46 - Wedding Fairs and Open Days

Chapter Two - The Venue 68 - Starting the Venue Search 70 - A Venue for All Seasons 78 - Planning a Marquee Wedding 80 - 10 Tips for a Tipi Wedding 84 - Sustainable and Stylish 88 - The Destination Venue 92 - Pets at Weddings 94 - Questions to Ask Your Venue 98 - 10 Things to Tell Your Wedding Venue

Chapter Three - Your Suppliers 136 - Choosing Your Wedding Suppliers 142 - Questions to Ask Potential Suppliers 148 - Photography - Finding Your Style 150 - The Engagement Shoot 154 - Questions to Ask Your Photographer 158 - Questions to Ask Your Videographer 162 - Questions to Ask Your Caterer 164 - The Wedding Cake Glossary 168 - Styling Your Wedding 172 - Hiring Props and Décor 176 - A Guide to Wedding Stationery 180 - Your Floral Glossary 190 - Wedding Gift Lists 200 - Contracts, T&Cs, Deposits & Insurance

CONTENTS

Chapter Four - Fashion & Beauty 208 - Starting the Search for the Dress 210 - Your Bridal Boutique Experience 212 - The Hair and Makeup Trial 214 - The Accessories Glossary 218 - Going Bespoke 224 - The Wedding Veil Guide 228 - Thoughts on Lingerie 230 - Dressing Your Bridesmaids 232 - The Groom’s Attire

Chapter Five - Before the Big Day 252 - Wedding Day Schedules 254 - Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities 256 - Self-care During Wedding Planning 260 - When Someone is Missing 262 - Tales From the Other Side

Chapter Six - On the Day 282 - Morning Rituals 286 - Your Emergency Wedding Day Kit 288 - 10 Things to Do on Your Wedding Day 292 - Being Present 296 - Family Matters

Chapter Seven - What Now? 304 - What to Do When Your Wedding is Over 306 - The Getaway 308 - Special Thanks 314 - Suppliers We Love


T I R E E DAW S O N P H OTO G R A P H Y


PA R T O N E

First Steps


PLANNING TIMELINE You’re engaged, you have that incredible bit of bling, you’ve celebrated with your family and friends, and then the realisation sets in... It’s time to start planning your Big Day! Here’s a little timeline to get you thinking about all the important aspects that lie ahead…

NOW Have a chat with your partner about the kind of wedding you both want – what’s important and what’s not. Set your budget and start a spreadsheet to keep track of spending. Get on Pinterest – It’s a smorgasbord of wedding ideas, but be careful not to fall down the rabbit hole and into wonderland. Keep expectations realistic. Start a folder where you can collate ideas from magazines - it will help you to keep all brochures, invoices and receipts in one place. Think about the seasons and which one you’re drawn to the most – this will help with the wedding date choice! Start browsing venues with your season/budget in mind and make a shortlist!

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PLANNING TIMELINE


9 MONTHS TO GO

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Start researching stationery styles and stationers. Confirm your choice of florist.

MONTHS TO GO

Order your wedding dress.

Hit the road and start visiting venues – some venues do book up 12-18 months in advance so this is a pretty big tick on the to-do list.

Send out save the dates to your confirmed guest list.

Choose your wedding party! People will want to know if they’ve got a role in your big day. With your budget in mind, write a first draft of the guest list. Book your officiant/celebrant or church and apply for your wedding license. Once your venue is booked, it’s a good idea to get that wedding insurance in place.

Register for a gift list – you can then provide details in your invitations to be sent out closer to the date. Book your hair & makeup artists. Think about what your groom will be wearing – high street, bespoke or hire? Book your honeymoon and/or mini-moon.

If you would like a planner, now is the time to get one. Start researching suppliers. Have an engagement party if you fancy!

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MONTHS TO GO

Book your photographer/videographer – the next important supplier(s) to nail! Just like the venue, photographers can book up a year in advance.

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MONTHS TO GO

Shop for bridesmaids dresses – if bespoke then you will need time to have these made and then altered. If high street, then think about when the seasons land instore and ask when the shops will have suitable options in stock. Confirm your catering.

Start the dress search - visiting boutiques around this time will allow you a good lead time. Most boutiques need at least 6 months to order your dress in.

Book entertainment.

Book your wedding accommodation for friends & family.

Transport (for either the bridal party or the wedding party, depending on your venue’s logistics).

Start researching honeymoons and mini-moons. You could defer your big honeymoon until a later date, but I recommend getting away for a night or two after the wedding! Mini-moons are your best friend post-wedding.

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PLANNING TIMELINE


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MONTHS TO GO

8 WEEKS TO GO

Buy underwear and shoes, ready for your first fitting. Confirm groom/groomsmen attire.

Attend first dress fitting (take your underwear, shoes and any accessories you have).

Send out your invitations – set up a spreadsheet to record RSVPs and meal options.

Finalise your music choices.

Order your wedding rings.

Confirm readings/order of service and send these to your officiant/celebrant or vicar.

Schedule your first dress fitting. Schedule your hair & makeup trial – remember to take a white t-shirt to wear if your dress is white/ivory. Have a menu tasting with your caterer.

Book an engagement shoot with your photographer! There’s nothing like a little practice in front of the camera ahead of the big day. It’s also an idea to book in a venue recce with your photographer if they’ve not worked there before. Chase any outstanding RSVPs. Reconfirm all suppliers who will be assisting you on the day. Book a haircut for the groom.

3 WEEKS TO GO Arrange a seating plan. Write your vows. Luxuriate in spa treatments (I recommend a body scrub, a facial and a massage to relax). Book your manicure & pedicure. Complete any DIY elements now – you don’t want to be having a Blue Peter style meltdown the night before the wedding.

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PLANNING TIMELINE

If you will be changing your surname, now is the time to start looking into the necessary paperwork. Especially if you want to travel with your new name in your passport! Buy gifts for the best man, ushers, bridesmaids and any family members. Should you want one, then now is the time to have your hen & stag parties – gives you plenty of time to recover!


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WEEK TO GO

Have your cut & colour (but remember - now is not the time to experiment). Enjoy the last of the beauty treatments – lash tints, threading, waxing etc. Have your manicure & pedicure – remember gel based polish will last and you won’t need to worry about any chips. Pick up your dress. Send out your on-the-day schedule to your venue, suppliers and bridal party. Ensure all items for the day of the wedding are packed up for delivery. Break in your wedding shoes! Get your engagement ring cleaned! Create your wedding emergency kit.

THE NIGHT BEFORE Enjoy a supper with your friends & family (but remember not to drink too much!). Set out everything you need for the morning. Make sure everyone knows their call time if they are having hair & makeup. Get an early night (and try to sleep!).

THE MORNING OF THE WEDDING Breathe. Hand over the supplier list of contacts and the on-theday schedule to your designated person.

Print out your on-the-day information (supplier/wedding party contact information and on-the-day schedule).

Relax and enjoy!

Confirm pick-up times with your wedding transport.

AFTER THE WEDDING Pre-arrange for someone to collect/return any props and décor items. If you’re leaving straight for your honeymoon or minimoon then plan for someone to look after your wedding dress or return any hire suits. Ensure you have your marriage certificate. Write thank you emails to your suppliers and, at a later date, you can write thank you cards to your guests.

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PLANNING TIMELINE


10 THINGS TO DO When You Start Planning Your Wedding W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

E N J OY B E I N G E NGAGE D This is, without a doubt, the first and most important place to start. Getting engaged is a huge and momentous occasion. It should be celebrated and enjoyed to the full before you get stuck into the endless hours of wedmin. There’s no rush to book and buy, so please, please, please take your time. You’ll only be newly engaged for a short time so make the most of it whilst you can!

SET YOUR BUDGET For most people, talking finances is one of the most unenjoyable parts of wedding planning but, my goodness, it’s one of the most important. My advice here is to rip off the bandaid and have a full and frank conversation with your partner (and your parents if they’re going to be contributing in any way) about money. How much can you afford and how much do you want to be able to afford? There’s no right or wrong amount but make sure that the headline figure for your wedding is realistic and achievable. Nothing takes the fun out of wedding planning quite like worrying about money.

DECIDE ON YOUR PRIORITIES Once you have a better understanding of your total spend, it’s time to start discussing the details, including your priorities. Is it important that you invite lots of people or serve great food? Do you want a stunning and impressive venue or would you prefer an all bells and whistles live band? Again, this is an area where only you can make the decisions and your wedding will start to come together from this moment onwards.

C H O O S E YO U R W E D D I N G PA R T Y I have no doubt that from the moment you announce your engagement, close friends and family will start angling for the top jobs! Whilst it’s super flattering that so many people want to be a part of your day, it’s crucial that you make the right decisions now to save yourself headaches further down the line. Look at exactly what you need and then decide who’ll be the best person for the job. Someone shy and nervous about public speaking might not want a role that includes standing up in front of everyone, so choose the right person or tweak those ‘traditional’ job descriptions to suit you. Remember, this is YOUR wedding!

H AV E F U N ! Right, it’s all getting a bit serious now so STOP! Take a step back from the wedding plans and have some fun as a couple. The entirety of the time from engagement to ‘I do’ can’t just be about wedding planning. Make sure that you take time to do all those things that make you happy, as individuals and as a couple. Trust me when I say that this point is one of the most important on the list!

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1 0 T H I N G S TO D O W H E N YO U S TA R T P L A N N I N G YO U R W E D D I N G


Getting engaged and starting out on your wedding planning journey is such an amazing experience filled with bubbles, love and excitement. It can also seem a little bit overwhelming and even scary in places. There are big decisions to be made and so many people expect you to have answers to questions you’ve never even thought about. With this in mind, here are my top ten things to do when you start planning your wedding.

S E A R C H O U T YO U R I N S P I R AT I O N This is the time that it starts to get really exciting (unless the design and details really aren’t your thing… and if they’re not then this is where you might want to enlist the help of a planner and/or stylist). Hit the wedding blogs, stock up on magazines and lose yourself in Pinterest. It’s time to get inspired!

DEFINE YOUR ST YLE Now that you’re inspired, you’re probably starting to visualise your wedding and you’ll be well on the way to defining your wedding style. Which of the fantastic Coco venue style categories attracts you? Which seem to most closely match all those images you’ve pinned? Every wedding supplier has their own style too, so knowing yours before you start searching for your A-Team of suppliers will help you find your perfect planning partners.

BOOK YOUR VIPS

PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

With your wedding style nailed, you can move on to booking your wedding VIPs. Start with your venue and secure your date, before moving on to the suppliers who can only work on one wedding a day such as photographers, planners, entertainers etc. Other ‘day of’ suppliers such as florists and cake makers come next and then move on to those who’ll have a deadline but don’t need to attend on the day, such as stationers.

GET EVERYTHING IN ORDER Once you’ve started making bookings, you really need to get everything in order and then keep it that way! Copies of contracts, terms and conditions and receipts all need to be filed safely, details of upcoming payments need to be recorded, money that you’ve spent HAS to be recorded against your budget and emails from suppliers have to be replied to in good time. Admin is never going to be as exciting as tasting cake or trying on dresses but knowing everything is in order will keep you calm right up until the big day.

A N D B R E AT H E … Throughout the planning process, remember to breathe. Be kind to yourself and keep your sense of perspective. Once you’ve made a decision, move on. Try not to keep going over details and second-guessing yourself. Remember that you’re marrying the person that you love and everything else is optional.

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W E D D I N G D AY T I M I N G S W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

BRIDAL PREP The time you choose to start your bridal prep and the amount of time you allow for this will ultimately depend on several factors including: ʼnʼn The size of your bridal party ʼnʼn The complexity of your hair and makeup ʼnʼn How much you prepare in advance ʼnʼn The time of your ceremony ʼnʼn The distance between where you are getting ready and your ceremony location ʼnʼn Whether you plan on having any photos with your bridal party prior to your ceremony The best starting point when it comes to working out how much time to allow is to ask the expert! If you’re having your hair and makeup done professionally then ask your hair and makeup artist how long they think they will take (as a general rule, I’d advise allowing at least a couple of hours for bridal hair and makeup and an additional 45 to 60 minutes for each member of your wedding party). Work back from the start of your ceremony and factor in travel, putting on your dress (this takes longer than you think so give yourself at least 30 minutes) and timings from your hair and makeup artist. This will give you a rough idea of your starting time.

TOP TIPS! Remember to factor in breakfast and lunch (and of course a glass of bubbles!) into your bridal prep. If your bridal party are doing their own hair and makeup, then ask them how long they think it’ll take them to get ready and then double it! Overexcited bridesmaids will always take longer to get ready than they think! Leave a margin of error of around 1 hour… This will ensure that you are ready in plenty of time and can enjoy the morning.

THE CEREMONY When it comes to your ceremony and timings, there are two elements to consider: Firstly, what time should everyone arrive at the ceremony? As a general guide I usually advise the following: ʼnʼn Groom, best man/men and ushers - at least 45 minutes before the ceremony ʼnʼn Guests - 30 minutes before the ceremony ʼnʼn Groom’s parents - 15 minutes before the ceremony ʼnʼn Bride’s parents and bridesmaids - 10 minutes before the ceremony ʼnʼn Bride (and your chosen aisle buddy!) - 5 minutes before the ceremony Secondly, how long should you allow for your ceremony? This will ultimately depend on whether you’re having a religious ceremony, a non-religious ceremony, or a civil wedding/partnership… ʼnʼn Non-religious ceremony - 20 to 45 minutes ʼnʼn Civil wedding/partnership - 30 to 45 minutes ʼnʼn Religious ceremony - 60 to 90 minutes

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TOP TIP! You may want to use your ceremony location for some group pictures and the confetti shot – if you do then remember to factor this into your timings.


Wedding day timings are possibly one of the hardest things to gauge, particularly if your wedding is the first large-scale event you’ve ever organised. Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all template, here’s a rough guide of how long to allow for each part of your Big Day with some top tips sprinkled throughout!

TOP TIP! If you want a longer drinks reception, then you’ll need to keep your guests entertained and provide plenty of drinks and canapés.

DRINKS RECEPTION Allow 1 ½ to 2 hours for your drinks reception as this will give your photographer plenty of time for group and personal portrait shots. It’ll also give you enough time to mingle with your guests and enjoy your canapés and bubbles.

P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y R E B E C C A G O D D A R D P H O T O G R A P H Y AT H O LY W E L L H A L L

TOP TIPS! Make sure everything runs like clockwork by asking your photographer to scope out some potential backgrounds in advance. GROUP AND PORTRAIT PHOTOS The number of group photos you want will ultimately determine how long your photographer will need. However, as a general rule of thumb allow 5 minutes per group photo and at least 30 minutes for your personal portrait shots.

Make a list of different photos and combinations of your family and wedding party that you don’t want the photographer to miss. Then arrange for the relevant people to gather at a designated spot right after your ceremony so that nobody goes AWOL when they’re needed. Give somebody trustworthy (and someone who knows the difference between your dad and your distant uncle) the job of rounding everyone up for group photos and chasing any stragglers. 19

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S E AT I N G G U E S T S Allow up to 30 minutes for guests to move from the drinks reception to the location of your wedding breakfast and for them to then find their seats.

TOP TIPS! Designate at least a couple of your bridesmaids or ushers to direct guests and speed up any loitering guests! This is also a perfect opportunity for you and your partner to steel some time together, whether that’s using the time for a little one-on-one time or indeed to capture those couple’s shots.

SPEECHES Allow no more than 30 to 45 minutes for your speeches with each speaker allocated up to 10 / max 15 minutes. It’s important to try and stick to these timings as speeches that take any longer normally result in fidgety guests and your evening may lose momentum as a result.

TOP TIP! If you ask your speakers how long they think they’ll take always double it! From experience I have never known a speech to run to time!

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W E D D I N G B R E A K FA S T The best starting point when it comes to working out how much time to allocate for your wedding breakfast is to once again ask the expert. 

As a general guide, allow around 2 hours for a 3-course meal.

EVENING RECEPTION Once the evening reception has begun, timings often go out the window! However, there are some key elements that need to be factored into your schedule as otherwise they can easily be forgotten in the excitement of the evening festivities! I therefore normally advise my couples to factor in their first dance, cutting the cake and throwing the bouquet no later than 45 minutes after the end of their wedding breakfast (this will also ensure that their photographer manages to capture everything before they leave).

P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y R E B E C C A G O D D A R D P H O T O G R A P H Y AT H O LY W E L L H A L L

Your caterers will be able to give you a guide on how long they think their service will take depending on the number of guests, choice of food, number of courses, number of catering staff and type of venue.

TOP TIPS!

If you’ve invited evening guests, ask them to turn up at least 30 minutes after your wedding breakfast – if for any reason your wedding breakfast overruns the last thing you want is to have evening guests turning up whilst people are still eating! Each wedding is unique, so timings will vary drastically between different celebrations. Please use these timings as a loose guide and don’t feel like you’re doing it wrong if you want to deviate – it’s your day after all!

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

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THE CEREMONY WORDS BY EMMA HL A

The ceremony part of your wedding, albeit the whole reason for the celebration, is going to be a little like Marmite. For some it will be your favourite part of the day and for others it will feel a little awkward and a whole lot of nerve-wracking having all eyes on you! For my own wedding, I sat somewhere in the middle. Without doubt, the butterflies will well and truly kick in just before you walk down the aisle (cherish this moment – it goes too fast!). The first time you catch a glimpse of your husband or wife-to-be will make you melt and the moment you say your vows to each other really is something special. There are several ceremony options for you to choose from, so it’s important to know what feels right for you. Civil ceremonies can happen pretty much anywhere that has a marriage license. You can even legally marry outdoors if your venue has a licensed pagoda, terrace or summer house. If you wish to marry somewhere that doesn’t have a license, such as a woodland, then a blessing or humanist ceremony is your best option. However, this isn’t a legal ceremony in England and Wales so you will need to have a ceremony at your registry office to make everything official. This can either happen before or after your blessing/humanist wedding. Another option of course are religious ceremonies in a place of worship. You will be guided through the particular steps required for your chosen location as some religions require meetings and counselling prior to the ceremony. If you fancy exploring the ceremony in more detail, turn the page to find some extra notes…

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THE CEREMONY


CIVIL CEREMONIES

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

To legally marry you need to give notice at your local registry office at least 28 days prior to the wedding date. You will also need to go through a little interview where they will ask you a few questions about your partner. You can go online and find out further information about what documents you will need to take with you to give notice. You will be guided by the venue regarding which county council you must contact to book your officiant with. Apart from a few specific words that you must say to make the ceremony legal, there are no rules when it comes to the order of service at a civil ceremony. So, you can really tailor the vows, readings and any music you choose. Although it’s important to note that any readings or songs you opt for can’t contain anything religious (for example; excerpts from the bible or religious hymns). You will also need to choose two witnesses at the ceremony for when you sign the register.

BLESSINGS & HUMANIST CEREMONIES With a ceremony of this nature, you have the opportunity to create the entire service yourselves, ensuring the focus is on nothing but you as a couple, your love, and your uniqueness. This option also enables you to get married in any location you desire, indoors, or out, however as mentioned you will need to have a legal service at a local registry office.

ELOPEMENTS Fancy eloping? We don’t blame you! This type of ceremony and wedding has become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. Whilst some couples embrace this intimate option and choose a small wedding, others will marry in a cool destination-style ceremony for two and then throw a large celebratory party with friends and family after the wedding. An elopement will usually follow the same rules as a civil ceremony, but just because you don’t have the large entourage it doesn’t mean you need to scrimp on style or details. There are several savvy venues now offering specific elopement packages where you can still have the fabulous florals, awesome photographer and decadent wedding breakfast. Just on a smaller scale!

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SCOTL AND

READINGS & MUSIC

Scotland is the only country in the UK which legally recognises humanist weddings. If that’s not your bag, and you would like something more traditional or religious, it is good to be aware that The Church of Scotland is happy to marry couples outside, welcomes divorcées and also couples from other churches.

A little note about choosing your readings and music.

For couples wishing to marry in Scotland, you do not have to be a resident. Therefore, citizens of any country can marry in any district they choose, provided there is no legal impediment to the marriage. All weddings in Scotland require some legal paperwork. You must post the completed forms to arrive 10 – 12 weeks before the date of the proposed marriage and certainly no later than 29 days before. Your venue will advise you on which registration office to send this to. If you’re travelling to Scotland from abroad then a marriage visa is not required to give notice of marriage, however it may be required to enter the UK. You can contact the UK Border Agency for advice about entry requirements to the UK under the immigration rules for marriage.

First of all, there are no rules saying you must have either, it’s a completely personal choice. Secondly, if you’re wondering about when and where to have them, then your officiant can send you an example order of service which you can then tailor. For our readings, we chose love letters written by two of our favourite writers and had a couple of (willing) friends stand up and read them out. Readings can be anything, from your favourite poem, to song lyrics, to a significant extract from a book. If you’re really stuck then you can find plenty of inspiration online. If readings aren’t your thing then perhaps a sing-along? Provide song sheets to your guests and belt out one of your favourite tunes! You will have a seriously energised and happy wedding party! The choice of music for our ceremony was probably more important than the first dance. There are plenty of options you can choose from here including live musicians such as a string quartet, a pianist or a guitarist. Some couples even choose a big brass marching band to escort them from ceremony to reception! If you want to save the live music for the reception the easiest thing to do is plug in an iPod and create a list of your favourite songs. Put one of the groomsmen in charge of this! You might want to consider music for these elements of the ceremony: ʼnʼn When guests enter the ceremony room and take their seats ʼnʼn When you walk down the aisle (processional) ʼnʼn When you are signing the register ʼnʼn When you leave the ceremony room (recessional) If you’re going down the playlist route just check your venue’s set-up and whether you’ll need additional speakers.

Photography Hannah Duffy Photography Creative Direction Emma Hla, Coco Wedding Venues Shoot Management Katrina Otter, Katrina Otter Weddings Creative Consultancy Coco & Kat Venue GreenAcres Woodland Weddings Florist Verity & Thyme Jewellery Zoe & Morgan Stationery & Signage Merrie & Bright Furniture Hire Hire Love Velvet Vows Book elmo PAPERSTORIES Bespoke Vows Tamryn Lawrence at Wild & Oak 25

THE CEREMONY


PL ANNING YOUR WEDDING BUDGET W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

All too often couples shy away from sitting down and budgeting because they find it stressful or they’re not sure where to start. But once you know how to do it, it can be easy and then, even exciting to decide where your money goes. So, to help you out, here’s a step-by-step guide on budgeting for your Big Day...

MAKE A SPREADSHEET

W O R K O U T H O W M U C H YO U C A N S AV E

If the thought of opening up Excel fills you with dread, then rip off that bandaid and whatever you do, DON’T put it off! It’s the quickest and easiest way to keep all your information together in an easy-to-scan format, as well as calculating and staying on top of your budget as you go.

Whether you have a date in mind or you’re waiting to see how long it will take you to save, you need to know how much you can put aside every month without compromising your quality of life.

W H O ’ S PAY I N G F O R T H E W E D D I N G ? The next step is to establish exactly who’s paying for your wedding. If your parents and/or relatives are contributing, now’s the time to find out so that you can include any contributions in your budget. Before you accept any money make sure you have an open and honest chat about what’s expected of you. While some parents are happy to consider the money as a gift, others might think of it as a stake in your wedding and may have some requests of their own. It’s essential at this stage to make sure that everyone is on the same page from day one to avoid any misunderstandings later on.

Write down how much you both earn every month and then make a note of all your bills, regular payments and any extras. Then see how much is left over and add in any parental contributions. Once you have that all-important figure, have a look at your outgoings and decide where you can reasonably cut back without having to live off baked beans until the wedding!

S E T A D AT E If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to set a rough date for your wedding so that you can work out how much you’d like to spend vs. how much you can reasonably save.

A L L O C AT E YO U R B U D G E T This is one of the hardest parts of budgeting for your wedding because most couples who are getting married for the first time don’t know how much things cost. This will mean sitting down as a couple and making some tough calls – what aspects of your wedding are most important? The food, the location, the venue, the music, the décor, the details? What’s essential and what’s nice to have?

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This may involve some compromise, but once you have your priorities in order, allocating your budget will be that little bit easier. PL ANNING YOUR WEDDING BUDGET


GET QUOTES Before you book suppliers, sign contracts or buy anything at all, make sure you get at least a couple of quotes from each type of supplier (and check whether or not they’ve included VAT in the quote, or if there are any hidden extras that can drastically alter the price). That way you can see if the day you’ve planned is within reach, or if your numbers are off and you need to rethink.

GIVE YOURSELF A CONTINGENCY Adding a contingency fund to your budget will ensure that if your wedding costs more than you thought it would, you have sufficient funds to cover this.

DOUBLE CHECK Now is the time to double check your budget… Have you forgotten the essentials? Are there any extra elements, suppliers etc. you’ve excluded that you think you’ll worry about later down the line? Have you underestimated how much the suppliers you really want might cost? Things can, and do add up! So, make sure that you’re not left short by double checking all of your figures.

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PL ANNING YOUR WEDDING BUDGET


THE VENUE BUDGET WORDS BY EMMA HL A

Venue costs can be a bit of a minefield and here’s why: Venues come in all shapes and sizes, from a woodland to a grand luxury manor, a tipi to a town hall. Then you have the additional variances in seasonal pricing and the small matter of which day you choose to marry. On top of this, you also have dry hire venues where they only charge for the four walls (or less), versus venues where they include everything! From accommodation for the happy couple, through to catering and all that goes with that (chairs, tableware, welcome drinks etc.), you also have the staffing on top and any additional extras such as marquees in the grounds and hell, some even throw in their vintage car as a fancy getaway! With the above in mind, I wanted to give you some advice about what to expect when it comes to navigating the wedding venue and the associated budget. When you shortlist those faves and you send them a message requesting their pricing and details, just keep in mind the following tips...

T H E S TAT I S T I C S Couples can spend approx 10-15% of their total budget on the wedding venue and yes, because this decision is usually at the beginning of the process it’s certainly the one to make that heart flutter (and not always in a good way!). If the average cost of a wedding is £32,000 then that means some couples will spend around £4,800 on a venue. Indeed, my own breakdown of costs put our venue at 11% of our total. BUT, remember folks, this is all “average” and most certainly doesn’t reflect how much you will actually be spending! To take our costs into consideration again, our original budget went up by 30% by the end of the planning, so think of all of these stats as a rough guide to assist with your initial planning.

You’ve got the ring, you’ve celebrated with loved ones, you might have even bought that first wedding magazine (*hello*) – now what? The panic sets in, that’s what. I totally get it. I was exactly the same and it’s only now with hindsight that I can try to offer some comfort by saying it will all be ok. Because folks, it really will be. However, initially this panic is brought on because there will be a resounding pressure to book a date and ultimately with this, a venue. But please stop, think and breathe. This is not the time for rushing ahead, signing contracts without consideration and becoming constricted by the very thing that should be the foundations of your joyous day! Take your time and keep reading…

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THE VENUE BUDGET

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

Stage One


S AV E T H E D AT E Peak season in the wedding world can differ from venue to venue, but as a rule of thumb you’re probably looking at any dates from April through to late September. Typically these months will command a higher charge versus the autumn/winter options. Wedding venues can be booked up a year in advance, so when searching for your venue please do keep this in mind as a certain level of flexibility may be required if you have your heart set on getting married next August! Also, do enquire about weekday weddings. If you’re happy to host your party mid-week, then you could save a considerable amount and get that summer wedding date you’re after!

VAT V I S I B I L I T Y Whether you’re requesting some information over email or you find yourself sitting in a grand country manor sipping bubbles with the owners, it’s always a good idea to have a handle on the costs being put in front of you. When discussing numbers with your venue (or any wedding supplier for that matter!) ensure the figures are inclusive of VAT. Inputting the correct figures into your trusty spreadsheet means there won’t be any nasty surprises a little later down the line. Before you’ve set your heart on anything, make sure you understand the real cost behind it. Once you’re emotionally sold, it’s very hard to back track.

C AT E R I N G C O S T S Catering costs are usually on top of any ceremony and reception hire fees, especially for those venues who have outside/preferred catering companies. If this is the case, once you’ve agreed your venue hire fee, you will then liaise with your chosen caterer regarding costs for your reception. Venues who have in-house catering will talk you through their packages which may have varying degrees of yummy extravagance. To help with your initial decision making, have a rough idea of how many guests you are considering inviting to your wedding; firstly, to gauge whether the venue is big (or small) enough to accommodate your party and secondly to start to get a rough cost per head. When requesting venue hire information, also ask about their catering options and whether they have a preferred/recommended list you can choose from. You can then do some research into these caterers to see who fits into your budget and style of wedding prior to booking the venue.There are many exciting catering options available to couples these days, just make sure that if you like the idea of street food vendors or pop-up style catering your venue allows this on site.

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THE VENUE BUDGET


CORK AGE & BAR COSTS Ok, let’s talk about the hard stuff - alcohol. We all want our reception to be a hit with our guests and for some this will equate to fuelling your loved ones with enough wine, beer and bubbles! However, this is another area to consider when booking your venue so do ask for a bar list or prices alongside these specifics; ʼnʼn Do they charge a corkage fee or are they a no corkage venue? ʼnʼn If they do charge a corkage fee, how much per bottle of wine and how much per bottle of Prosecco or Champagne? ʼnʼn If some alcohol is included, how much per head is offered? (Note: this may be one for the caterers!) ʼnʼn What are the options for your evening reception and bar? ʼnʼn Is there a bar in-house or will you need to provide this service yourselves? ʼnʼn If in-house, are they happy for you to have another mixologist/ supplier onsite? ʼnʼn Is there a minimum spend or do they offer a cash bar option?

Your venue’s in-house bar or caterers can offer advice on amounts per person required, so add this to the cost per head on your spreadsheet!

ST YLING YOUR VENUE Depending on the type of venue you hire, you will need to take into consideration a certain level of decoration. If you’re opting for a grand stately home then you may only need beautiful florals to compliment the surroundings. If however you prefer a dry hire barn or creative space where you need to customise and bring in everything from tables, chairs, crockery, lighting etc. then you’ll need considerably more help (and budget!) to create the wedding scene of your dreams. Always book a venue that you love and work with the décor, rather than against it to disguise any areas that niggle. Ask your venue what’s included when you visit. If you do want to style, then ask your venue what is and isn’t allowed, and ask to see images from previous weddings so you can see what other couples did with the spaces!

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THE VENUE BUDGET

When you enquire with a venue or visit in person, ask if they have a supplier list. Some venues are super flexible and allow the couple free reign, but others may have a list in place. This could be a preferred list where couples must choose from the suppliers listed, or a recommended list where the venue is suggesting incredible suppliers that have previously worked at the venue. I really valued a suppliers list because I was the first of my friends to get married, the world of weddings was very new, and it was the perfect place to start! For busy brides and grooms looking to tick those planning boxes, the suppliers list may also be the perfect time-saving solution. However, it’s not for everyone and it’s a really important deciding factor when it comes to your venue as too strict a list and the venue may not be able to accommodate your bigday designs. If this is the case, discuss it with the team and be open about your plans. If the venue’s terms & conditions are too restrictive for you, then simply move on. You want this journey to be as smooth as possible, the venue decision really has to be made with both head and heart. So bringing this topic back to the budget, a cost to watch out for here is if a venue has a preferred supplier list but does allow couples to bring in their own suppliers for a fee. Just make sure you’re asking the questions and fully understand the ins and outs. Also, if you’re intrigued about a preferred suppliers list (the one where you must choose) do ask the venue questions about how they curated their list. A fabulous venue will be all too happy to tell you the whys and whats and will exude passion about their preferred suppliers!

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

With regards to the latter, don’t be worried about having a cash bar in the evening, your guests won’t reel in horror and consider you poor hosts for making them buy their own G&T! But, if it does make you feel slightly uncomfortable and you still need to keep a tight grip of costs, then you can agree a set limit or specific drinks which you’re happy to pay for.

RECOMMENDED SUPPLIERS


AC C O M M O D AT I O N When considering a venue it’s always best to have an idea of logistics for your guests coming from afar. It’s also good to know if they have a bridal suite for your first night and if any of this is included within the venue hire price. Some questions to have up your sleeve are: ʼnʼn Is there accommodation onsite, if so how many can the venue sleep? ʼnʼn If there’s no accommodation, who can they recommend in the local area and is there an affiliated discount? ʼnʼn Is there a bridal suite or honeymoon cottage onsite and is this included in the venue hire? ʼnʼn If you take the venue exclusively, will you need to book a minimum number of rooms? With regards to the last question, some venues will say that you can sell rooms back to your guests. Now this is all fine in theory if you think this is helpful for your guests, but if you are covering an initial room outlay then ensure this is all within budget and doesn’t rely on your guests ‘paying you back’ so to speak! This could make for some awkward conversations later down the line if guests don’t want to take the accommodation. VENUE FIRST A whopping 89% of couples have the wedding venue search top of the planning list and folks, I couldn’t agree more!

OTHER COSTS Some other costs to consider when booking your venue… ʼnʼn Exclusivity - is there a premium for taking the venue exclusively? ʼnʼn Late License - a late license can be requested at certain venues, however this may come at an additional cost so check out what this entails if you fancy partying into the night! ʼnʼn Insurance - always take out wedding insurance. A cost that you hope will never come into play, but if it does then you’ll be so pleased you thought of this little expense. ʼnʼn Pets at Weddings - is there a room charge for having your furry ones stay in the venue’s accommodation? ʼnʼn Service - are staff included in the venue hire fee? If not, is this covered by the caterers or will this be an additional cost. ʼnʼn Land - you might not think hiring some land could amount to much right? If you’re considering a marquee or tipi and want to place it in a field or within an estate, it’s probably best to look for the tent supplier first and then see where they usually pitch or if they can recommend venues and locations they work with. ʼnʼn Marquee & Tipi - when hiring this type of venue do ask what’s included - consider toilets, generators, catering equipment, heating, tables, chairs, flooring, lighting and staff. ʼnʼn Not required thank you! - make sure you are only paying for the items you want or need. For example, if chair covers aren’t your thing then do you need to be paying for them or are they an optional extra?

If you’re currently negotiating with a specific venue or there’s a possible sticking point, then ensure you have all of the terms & conditions ironed out, have agreed and signed contracts and are happy with all costs involved before you book any other supplier - particularly if they depend on your location and of course the date.

GUT INSTINCT Choosing a wedding venue is a very subjective process and it will be different for each couple. What one couple will love, another might not love. Therefore, if you’ve viewed a venue it’s really important to go with your gut. If you’ve fallen in love with the location but there’s something that doesn’t feel quite right, then delve a little further into what the issue might be, but don’t be frightened of walking away if it starts to feel too difficult. You take an important journey with your wedding venue and and it’s such a key relationship to a smooth planning process. Fall in love with the team as much as the venue.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY


HOW MUCH DO FLOWERS COST? W O R D S BY J AY A R C H E R

The flower budget… ‘’do we even have one?!’’  As a wedding florist, I meet couples every day who come to me for advice on their wedding flowers – what to have, what’s in season and, more importantly, what it will all cost? I try to be as helpful as I can but the thing is - and here’s the bit where people think I am being evasive - there really isn’t an average. People often think that if you say the word ‘wedding’ then the price doubles and this is especially true with the flowers. A groom recently said to me ‘’why does the bridal bouquet cost triple what a bouquet would in a shop?’’. The answer is that it’s made using a different method, with more select ingredients, with due care and is sometimes finished with trailing ribbon – I often use silk – instead of cheap cellophane wrapping! Layer on top of this that most people choose to marry on a Saturday, of which there are only 52 in the year, and it takes approximately 5 days of work to complete your wedding flowers; probably 2–3 prep days with additional staff, the day itself and the day after collecting, clearing and cleaning. For me, any one wedding from absolute start to finish takes 17 full days of work. You’re paying for all of that, not just the wedding day. Using ‘seasonal flowers’ doesn’t always mean cheaper either, for example; English-grown roses are bang-in-season in June, but they’re often double the price of cheaper imported counterparts. So why pay more? Because they’re scented, aesthetically very different and they’re British. To me it’s a no-brainer, but more on seasonality later. There are florists out there to suit every taste, budget and wedding style. When writing this I am certainly not speaking for us all, but rather sharing my experience of working on over 500 weddings and also the experiences of florists who have shared their thoughts with me when attending my Flower School.

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HOW MUCH DO FLOWERS COST?


PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

FINDING YOUR FLORIST Before you even enquire or look at suppliers in your area, make a list of your absolute essentials and wish-list items. Your essentials may include your personal flowers (bridal bouquet, buttonholes etc.), front of ceremony flowers, table centres and thank you gift bouquets. Your wish-list items may include *that* flower arch, marquee ceiling décor or cake flowers. As a general rule, the flower spend is usually around 10% of the final figure of the wedding. Some couples will spend less, some will spend more if the florals are a big deal to them. Many may choose to DIY their own wedding flowers, and there are artisan growers out there who can supply you with a ‘Buckets and Bouquets’ service. On that point, I strongly believe you get what you pay for - floristry is definitely a skill. I’ve had many a panicked client call me the day before, or on the day asking for help with wilted blooms. So perhaps think carefully about this DIY option if flowers are a new area to you. So, you have your lists and you’ve spoken to your partner about your joint ideas, expectations and must-haves; you can now start the search for your florist! I would recommend starting on social media platforms and use hashtags to identify suppliers in your area or those who will travel to you - Instagram is a great place for this! Your wedding venue may also be able to recommend people who you can follow for a little while on social media and get a vibe for their style. Many florists will work to all briefs and styles, but some are more specific. Once you’ve found a few florists you like the look of, take a good look at their websites - is there any pricing information on there? It’s not a negative if there isn’t, but it could help save some time if you have a big list of ‘liked’ suppliers! The next steps are to contact these florists. If you have an idea by now of your spend, and you really should, simply tell them. Many people think ‘oh if I tell them my budget they’ll spend it all’. Well, ummm, yes, is that not the point? There is no point wasting anyone’s time - yours or theirs - so be upfront!

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HOW MUCH DO FLOWERS COST?


THE COST OF FLOWERS W H AT N E X T ? Ok, so you’ve found the florist(s) you want to see and you all have a rough idea of budget, you’re now at the stage of meeting them! Following this initial consultation, the florist should be able to present you with a quote. Do bear in mind that at this early stage of planning, your table numbers, buttonhole requirements, bridesmaid flowers are probably not all confirmed so in the quote labour costs will not be 100% accurate as the full extent of work is still a little unknown. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation at this point, but an experienced florist will be able to give you a good indication of where you’re at money wise. Remember your essential and wish-list items - don’t penalise a florist for not being able to get your wish-list into your budget. It may be a case of compromising on certain elements if the budget cannot move.

Now you’re clued up and know what to expect outside of individual arrangements, but what do the flowers actually cost? I’ve done a lot of research on different flower prices around the UK. A bridal bouquet usually sits around £120 - £150 for a trailing design, or £75 - £90 for something handtied. Buttonholes are from £5 each and something simple such as a jam jar table centerpiece comes in at around £15 per table. If you’ve dreamed of an arch, whether it’s your ceremony focal point or to dress the church entrance you can expect to spend between £250 - £450. So that’s it… hopefully you feel a little more prepared with a few general pointers on what to ask your florist. Essentially, this article is about ensuring both you and your florist are working together, but I also hope it’s given a little more insight into what wedding florists do and the value behind their professional skills.

Similarly, if a florist comes back and their quote is too high, give them a chance to rework it for you when you’ve decided what you want to omit. If the quote is very low, it doesn’t always mean it’s the best value! A good business person will send a full break down of costs, as well as the individual flower arrangement costs. Here’s a little check list for your quotation: ʼnʼn Consultation fees ʼnʼn Set up fees ʼnʼn Break down/clear down fees ʼnʼn Labour ʼnʼn Travel (a pre-wedding venue visit may also be needed) ʼnʼn Midnight clear charges - Some venues insist we go back after the party has finished between 12 – 1am to clear down. Others will have an early morning deadline of 6 or 7am. To de-flower your venue, so to speak, does take time and sometimes we don’t get home until 4am. So a little cost to cover this time is required and hopefully understood ʼnʼn VAT - some florists will include this, some will add it on at the end and some businesses will not charge it at all, just ensure you understand which one is relevant for you and your quote! ʼnʼn Cleaning/preparation fees If your florist’s quote does not include these items, simply ask them why - many will build the above costs into individual arrangement fees so there will not be a separate section for them. Essentially, you want to ensure and confirm the figures they’re giving you before you book include ALL expected costs.

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HOW MUCH DO FLOWERS COST?


DEFINING YOUR ST YLE W O R D S B Y M I C H E L L E K E L LY, P O C K E T F U L O F D R E A M S

One of the biggest milestones for a couple is to create their dream wedding together. One that feels authentic and meaningful, whilst being full of stylish flair and personality. But it can also be a daunting task to combine the tastes and loves of two very individual people, so that the result feels truly personal to both. Your own wedding style is so personal to you. It’s all about creating an atmosphere and evoking specific emotions amongst your guests and your wedding party. Your style should reflect your individuality and tell your story, and most importantly, it should 100% feel like it belongs to the two of you and not just a mish-mash of Pinterest ideas. So how do you go about defining your own unique wedding style? Read on for my tried and tested formula.

WEDDING STYLE There are three main components that come together to make up your overall wedding style, these are:

AESTHETICS

YOU VIBE

SOUL

 Aesthetics

This is the most obvious aspect of your day, and often the only element people think about when designing a wedding. The aesthetics are typically the elements people can see, touch and feel. They are the beautiful details that create your overall look.

Vibe

This is more about the emotive feelings your day evokes. It’s when everything flows beautifully and there’s a great energy throughout.

Soul

This is your why. It is the passion and meaning behind your commitment to each other, it is who you are as people and how this is reflected throughout your wedding.

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DEFINING YOUR ST YLE


DEFINING YOUR OWN ST YLE Defining your style and ultimately unlocking your vision is the most VITAL step in the wedding planning process. Yet I see so many people skip this part or focus solely on the aesthetics alone. You’ve got to dive in deep to find the true heart and soul of your wedding vision before you engage suppliers or start building those pretty mood boards.

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY D AV I D J E N K I N S AT I S C OY D PA R K

Why? I hear you ask. Well the reason is simple, if you don’t know what you really want, or what’s important to the two of you, then you won’t know where you are headed with the design of your day. You won’t be able to articulate your vision to your suppliers and making decisions will be much harder as there is no focus. Think of it this way: would you set off in your car and just start driving without knowing the end destination first? Start with who you are The first step in this process is to go within to really define who you are, so start by thinking about your own personal style. Ask yourself what’s important to you in life? What’s your unique personality? What are your passions or hobbies? What do you do for fun? What do you enjoy doing together? How would your friends describe you? There are no right or wrong answers here, this is about you starting to delve deep into the heart and soul of the two of YOU and getting those creative cogs turning, so you can work through this process of creating a really personal and meaningful day.

Start at the very beginning moving onto getting ready, imagining your ceremony and then the party. Visualise your entire day until you reach the end, thinking about where you are, what you see, who is with you, how you feel, what people say to you and so on. Really immerse yourself in this visualisation exercise then write down the things you remember the most, including the specific actions and your feelings. It may feel a little silly at first, but spending time playing out the scenarios in your head, from morning to night, may give you a few surprising insights into what’s really important to you and what you are noticing as key moments. I bet it wasn’t the colour of the tablecloths that was most on your mind was it? Sure those finer details can help you create a really beautiful day, full of stylish touches, but they’re not the most important aspects. It’s crucial that you start with those that are core to your happiness as these will help you focus on everything else. What’s MOST important to the two of you? Having gone through these steps above it’s now much easier to focus in on what’s really important to you both. So, jot down your top 3-5 must-haves that have been uncovered through this process. The reason I limit this to 3-5 is because there will be a list of elements that would be ‘nice-to-have’ at your wedding and if you can make those happen then great. But your ‘must-haves’ are your absolutes, they are the no compromise elements that will make this wedding truly yours and special for you both.

What resonates with you? The next thing to do is to think about what’s important to you both for your wedding day and how you want to feel on the day? Do you want it to be fun, heartfelt, romantic, full of surprises, respectful of traditions or one-hell-of-a-party?

Let’s daydream

As your planning progresses you may come up against challenges, be that input from family, influence from friends, budget restrictions, or even just feeling swayed by all the choice and inspiration out there. This is when having a note of these top priorities is so important, it’s your guide throughout the planning, it’s your ultimate core purpose and reason, so if anything you are doing doesn’t feel aligned with that, then you know it’s time to revisit this process.

A good exercise is to sit back and play out your wedding experience in your head - and really allow yourself to daydream for a moment.

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DEFINING YOUR ST YLE


BE GENTLE AND TRUST THE PROCESS Keep communicating with your partner throughout, it’s not only essential to creating a well-designed wedding day but as we all know, it’s the key to a healthy and happy relationship too. So make sure each party in this relationship has their chance to be heard. Remember this is a gentle process and one that should be entered into with curiosity and an open-mind. Although you love each other dearly, this process may not be all hearts and romance. We’re all individual people, we like what we like and we’re pretty vocal about the things we don’t. You may discover something new about your partner; like they have very strong feelings about a particular aspect of weddings that you never expected, or there’s something that they really loathe that you didn’t know about. So just be open to discovering and exploring. It’s not about getting what you want or even starting to question how compatible you both are because you have different priorities for your day (seriously don’t go down that road!). This process is about finding the common ground between your priorities to create a day that suits you both. It may be some compromise is needed or you have to tweak things slightly, so have that open and honest, from the heart discussion without expectations as soon as you can. Then once you’ve done that, sleep on it. It may be you’ll think differently once you’ve had that discussion, I know I personally have to ruminate on something for a few days until I reach my conclusion, so give yourself the same time and space. There’s no rush here. 

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DEFINING YOUR ST YLE


“Compromising doesn’t mean that you are wrong and someone else is right. It means that you value your relationship more than your ego” 39

DEFINING YOUR ST YLE


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S TA R T I N G YO U R R E S E A R C H


Starting

YOUR RESEARCH

If you’ve taken the time to read through this first chapter then you’re probably in a really good place to start your research because a) you will have discussed and got a handle on your budget and b) decided on the style of wedding that suits you as a couple! This is the time that it starts to get really exciting because you can buy up ALL of the wedding magazines, hit the dreamy blogs, lose yourself in Pinterest and start getting out to wedding fairs & open days. A little later on we’ll guide you through the realities of approaching and choosing suppliers, but right now it’s all about soaking up as much inspiration as you want. On the other hand, if the thought of design and details are making you panic, then this might not be your thing and actually this is where you could think about enlisting the help of a planner and/or stylist.



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S TA R T I N G YO U R R E S E A R C H


The five W’s to HIRING A WEDDING PLANNER W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

01.

To keep this advice as simple as possible I’ve created a breakdown of the Who, What, Why, When and Where to hiring a wedding planner...

W H AT 

In a nutshell, a wedding planner is a professional who can assist and support you with the overall design, planning and management of your wedding. However, I don’t think this nutshell really does the profession justice because a wedding planner is SO MUCH MORE… A wedding planner is also: ʼnʼn An expert, confidant and mentor ʼnʼn Someone who will listen to you, support you and take away some of the burden and stress of planning a wedding ʼnʼn Someone who will work with you to understand your dreams and then deliver them ʼnʼn Someone who will create one of the most memorable experiences of your life ʼnʼn Someone who will work tirelessly throughout to ensure that every last detail is carefully considered and flawlessly executed A wedding planner can take on as little or as much of the organisation of your wedding as you want (for example, depending on how much you want to plan yourself, the areas where you require an extra helping hand or your budget for this service) and as such, most planners offer a range of tailored services to suit. As a wedding planner, my most popular planning services are full wedding planning and wedding day management, whereas other planner’s areas of expertise are slightly different, and so too are their services as a result. For example, some wedding planners will specialise in destination weddings or will have a particular emphasis on wedding design and styling, whilst others will be all about the logistics. Before I round up the WHAT I just want to touch upon the difference between a wedding planner and wedding coordinator because they’re often seen as the same role whereas in actual fact there’s a huge difference between the two. It ultimately boils down to the level of service - a planner will usually be for full or partial wedding planning, helping you throughout the planning process from start to finish; sourcing your venue and suppliers, budget and RSVP management etc. A coordinator on the other hand will generally come in towards the end to help you in the final few weeks; pulling together the time-line for the day, confirming the suppliers, tying up loose ends and being there on the day itself.

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THE FIVE W’S TO HIRING A WEDDING PL ANNER


02. WHY Every couple is different and so too are their reasons for hiring a wedding planner; whether it’s because they’ve got demanding jobs, a young family, live overseas, want to marry in an area they don’t necessarily know, lack the creative confidence to deliver their vision or simply have no interest in weddings or wedding planning! The commonality amongst them all is that each and every couple will benefit from hiring a wedding planner as a result of the following: ʼnʼn A wedding planner will save you a considerable amount of time ʼnʼn They’ll take away some of the stress and shoulder the burden of planning your wedding ʼnʼn They know the who’s who in the industry so will be able to recommend the suppliers that are the right fit for you, your wedding and budget ʼnʼn They may (with particular emphasis on the word may) be able to save you money as a result of existing supplier relationships, by thoroughly checking contracts or booking the right suppliers for the correct timings and service ʼnʼn They’ll help you bring your vision to life and if you don’t have one, they’ll be able to create one for you! ʼnʼn They’re there to set-up and pack-up on the day, oversee suppliers, manage your timeline etc. if you’ve hired them for this service (if you’re having a marquee wedding then they’ll also be there to oversee the set-up and de-rig) ʼnʼn They’ll work tirelessly to ensure that every last detail is carefully planned and considered ʼnʼn They’re expert behind-the-scenes firefighters! ʼnʼn They’ll allow you to let go, relax and enjoy your engagement ʼnʼn They’re dedicated to YOUR needs and are on YOUR team!

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

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03. WHO Thankfully, there are as many styles of wedding planner as there are styles of wedding! With planners coming from a whole range of backgrounds, you’ll be able to find just the right planner for you. So, where do all these wedding planners come from? Well, some of us have honed our planning skills in corporate events, worked as PAs or in other organisational roles. Others come from more creative and artistic backgrounds such as costume or stage design. Some have worked overseas and others have had high-flying city jobs. As every planner comes into the industry with a totally different skill set, each one will have different experiences and even different levels of training. You’ll find that some planners have taken one or more training courses before they launched their business and others won’t have. There’s no ‘right’ option here though, so qualifications or training courses should probably reinforce your feelings that someone’s right for you rather than being the only thing you look for. And what should you be looking for? How will you know WHO the right planner is for you? Well, here’s my take on things: ʼnʼn Does their website and social media speak your language? Can you imagine yourself having a conversation with them? ʼnʼn Do the images on their website correspond with the style or quality of wedding that you’re hoping for? ʼnʼn Are you excited by their portfolio? ʼnʼn Do you get a sense, from your first contact with them, that they’re on your wavelength? ʼnʼn Are their communications with you timely and appropriate? Everyone has different expectations here so only you know what’s right for you. ʼnʼn Do you like them? I know that last point might sound a bit OTT but it’s crucial that you like your wedding planner. You’re going to be trusting them and relying on them to plan and execute one of the most important events in your life AND you’ll probably get to a point where you’re communicating with them more than your friends and family.

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Rounding off the WHO is pricing! Of course, your WHO will be, in some ways, governed by your budget but let me just say two things here… Firstly, when you’re comparing proposals and quotations from planners, don’t simply look at the bottom line figure. Go through the quote to see exactly how much of your wedding planner’s time you’ll have before, during and even after the wedding day itself. Meetings, site visits, travel, calls and all that admin add up so consider the level of support that you’re getting for your money to work out whether your quote is good value for you. Secondly, I’m well aware that wedding planners are sometimes accused of being expensive but if you can, imagine us as a timesaving safety net. We’ve got the know-how, the contacts, the time and the experience to make sure that your wedding is everything you want it to be. We’ve got your back throughout the planning process and on the day, we’re totally on your side. We’ll save you time, stress and organisational headaches and we’ll rustle up ideas and suppliers that you’ll love. You’ll still get all the best bits of wedding planning without any of the worry and we’ll give you a day that you’ll remember forever.


04. WHEN So, WHEN should you hire a wedding planner? The honest and simple answer is as soon as you know you need one! If you know from the outset that you don’t have the time to plan your wedding and you’d like to hire a planner for a full planning service, then the WHEN is NOW, especially as wedding planners on average only take on 8 - 10 weddings a year and can, as a result, get booked up quite quickly, especially during peak summer months. Likewise, if you’re looking for someone to provide on-the-day support, then it’s best to get them booked in ASAP as it’s another item you can cross off your to-do list and once again, ensure availability. If you’re managing most of the wedmin yourself but need a little expert guidance, venue research or supplier advice on an ad-hoc basis, then the WHEN is much more flexible and can be tailored around you and your requirements.

05. WHERE And Finally, WHERE do you start when it comes to researching and finding the planner that’s right for you? There are a few official bodies for wedding planners in the UK and they will each have a directory of affiliated wedding planners. You can also look around online by googling planners according to their style or location. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are also great places to start and you can get a really good feel for a planner’s personality through their social media feeds. If someone makes you smile and regularly posts content that interests you then you’re off to a good start already! Wedding platforms like Coco Wedding Venues are also invaluable. When you see a real wedding or styled shoot feature that fills you with excitement and you end up on a Pinterest pinning frenzy, check out the credits to see if a wedding planner was involved and then take a look at their website. The same goes for wedding magazines and even regional lifestyle publications if you think you’d prefer someone based near you or your venue. You might also find a wedding planner as a recommendation from a friend or even your venue or another supplier. Recommendations from suppliers you’ve already chosen can be really helpful as suppliers tend to build up networks of like-minded contacts who share a similar style or aesthetic. Friends will hopefully have as much insight about you and what makes you tick to be able to give you a good steer too.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY ECLECTION PHOTOGRAPHY

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TO P T I P S F O R AT T E N D I N G W E D D I N G FA I R S & O P E N D AY S


TO P T I P S F O R AT T E N D I N G W E D D I N G FA I R S & O P E N D AY S W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

Wedding fairs and open days occur throughout the year, but there’s certainly a couple of key times for venues to throw open their doors - January in particular is a fab month to venue search and there will be venue showcases galore for you to attend! As for wedding fairs, spring and autumn weekends tend to be the most popular. With so many wedding fairs and open days now taking place in the UK it’s important to make sure you’re attending the wedding fair(s) that are right for you, so you can enjoy yourself and get the most from the experience So, here’s a step-by-step guide to attending wedding fairs and open days…

DO YOUR RESEARCH! How do you work out which wedding fairs and venue open days are right for you and are therefore worth attending? Well firstly, you need to know what’s going on and where! The Coco Wedding Venues’ Event Diary is a fantastic place to start; alternatively look online, in wedding magazines or start following wedding venues and suppliers on social media. Once you know what’s going on and where, look to see who’s exhibiting, whether there are any practical classes, demos and/or catwalks and whether there is a champagne bar (obviously essential!).


NARROW DOWN YOUR OPTIONS Now you know what’s going on and where, it’s time to choose the wedding fairs that are right for you and your wedding. In order to narrow down your list of options think about the following: ʼnʼn Where are you getting married? ʼnʼn What time of year? ʼnʼn Your wedding style/design? ʼnʼn What suppliers/inspiration you’re looking for? Armed with all this information you then need to ask yourself the following question – What can the event offer you that makes it essential to attend? Hopefully, if you take steps 1 & 2 into consideration you’ll now have a list of wedding fairs/open days to attend. So what next?

BUY A TICKET For larger national wedding fairs, buy your tickets beforehand. The last thing you (and your wedding party) want to do is queue to get into a wedding fair. You may also have to pay more for tickets on the door.

PRIORITISE! At some of the larger wedding fairs it’s difficult to get around all the stands. Before you attend, try to get a floor plan or list of exhibitors and prioritise who you want to see and take note of where they’re situated within the fair. The same also applies to any seminars or masterclasses that may be taking place. You don’t have the time to attend them all, so work out beforehand which ones are most relevant to you and ensure that you’re there at least 15 minutes before they start to guarantee that you and your wedding party get a seat.


MAKE A PLAN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ECLECTION PHOTOGRAPHY

Decide on a manageable and realistic number of aims and then set out to achieve them. For example, you might want to find a photographer and decide on a style of wedding cake. That way you’ll come out of the wedding fair feeling a greater sense of achievement and are less likely to become distracted, overwhelmed or run out of time!

THINK ABOUT WHO’LL BE JOINING YOU Think about who’ll be joining you. If possible, try to limit the number of people you take with you. If you take too many people, you’ll spend most of the time worrying about how they’re finding the experience rather than concentrating on what you went there for. Too many people and too many opinions may also end up confusing you and blurring your ideas of what you actually want. Once you’ve decided who you’d like to join you don’t then force them to go, after all you want to spend the day surrounded by people who are just as excited as you are!

P L A N W H AT TO W E A R / TA K E W I T H YO U Remember to take the following items with you (especially if you’re attending a national wedding fair): ʼnʼn Flat shoes! ʼnʼn Blister plasters (for anyone that forgets to wear flats!) ʼnʼn Suitable clothing and a pair of heels if you’re trying on any dresses ʼnʼn Swatches of your colour scheme and fabrics ʼnʼn Refreshments (a wedding fair headache is a common occurrence) ʼnʼn A bag (to carry all of the leaflets, samples etc. you’ll be picking up) ʼnʼn Cash and a credit / debit card ʼnʼn Your calendar (if you need to you can schedule appointments there and then)

H AV E A G L A S S O F B U B B L E S ! You’ve bought your ticket, made a plan, prioritised and you’re rocking the flat shoes. Now it’s time to visit your chosen wedding fair/open day! If the show is big enough to have a bar, then towards the end of your visit make sure you take time out to have a glass of bubbles! This is the point at which you can sit back, reflect on the day, decide if you need to see anyone else or go back and see an exhibitor for a second time AND get excited about your wedding.

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Unrivalled wedding decadence, pure indulgence, glamour and opulence, attentive service and nothing but the best for the pleasure-loving couple. A weekend long celebration at Pynes House was the perfect setting for this shoot. Not only does it have a grand façade to rival any country house, but the interiors are a wonderful mix of old and new that any style-savvy couple will adore.

We opted for an unexpected spring palette of black, biscuit, kale and pale dogwood. We wanted to show couples that spring doesn’t have to mean the obvious pastels and indeed when the darker shades of the season are mixed with the right paler shades and texture, it can unlock a more sophisticated palette.

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EDITORIAL


Halfpenny London provided us with the most glorious bridal fashion alongside luxe details from Tilly Thomas Lux and Gianvitto Rossi’s modern-day version of the glass slipper.

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REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY


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For this edgy vibe we wanted a bouquet that added something a little different whilst still maintaining maximum romance; Jay Archer says, ”The all rose bouquet was a modern take on the classic rose knot handtie” Jay continues, “With a modern shape, and the rose petals manipulated to look like a completely different flower, it’s a fresh approach for contemporary brides yet remains romantic and elegant”.


Jay Archer Floral Design created an all British flower ombre bouquet for this bridal look. The double tulips create a striking focal point but because they’re multi-coloured, they blend with the other, smaller flowers without looking too blocky. Scent was important here too - all flowers but especially wedding flowers should smell - it creates another layer of memory for guests and the happy couple.


Creative Director Emma Hla, Coco Wedding Venues Shoot Manager Katrina Otter, Katrina Otter Weddings Creative Consultancy Coco & Kat Venue Pynes House Photography Rebecca Goddard Photography Florist Jay Archer Floral Design Hair & Makeup Makeup by Jodie Bridal Dresses Halfpenny London via The Bridal Edit Jewellery London Rocks Yellow Sapphire Engagement Ring Cellini Jewellers Headpiece & Back Necklace Tilly Thomas Lux Loungewear Violet & Wren Stationery Bureau Design Lifestyle Pieces Prezola Cake Table Edible Essence Couture Cake Co. Table & Chairs Wedhead Model Agency Heloise at M+P Models

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REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY


PA R T T WO

The Venue


S TA R T I N G T H E V E N U E S E A R C H WORDS BY EMMA HL A

When you’re ready to start the search for a venue, here are a few questions you may want to consider before you start to shortlist… Once you know the answers to the following questions, finding your ideal wedding venue will be that much easier! Where geographically would you like to hold your wedding? If you have your location narrowed down, for example you’d like a wedding venue in the South East of England, then you can safely rule out anything further afield. What date would you like to get married on? If you have a special date in mind you may need to be flexible on the venue, or how much time you’re willing to wait to get married! Think about the seasons; high season months (July and August) will come at a premium, so certainly something to consider along with how it will affect the style of your wedding. What day would you like to get married on? Some venues only host weddings once a week or on specific days. What time do you want your wedding to start and end? If you’re dreaming of partying until dawn, you might want to consider if they have a late licence or not. Also check the flexibility on this, as some venues can extend their licence with prior consent. What kind of ceremony would you like to have? If you’d like a religious ceremony rather than a civil wedding, you’ll need to book your ceremony and reception venues separately. If you’d like your ceremony and reception in one place, then you need to check if your venue has a civil ceremony license, as well as where you can and can’t say your vows because only certain rooms will be licensed. If you’re having a blessing after your legal ceremony, then heck, the world is your oyster! Are you happy to use in-house or preferred suppliers, or do you want to bring in your own? Some venues have a preferred suppliers list or in-house suppliers, ranging from caterers and florists to entertainment. So it’s important to ensure you’re happy with the options on offer and that they fit within your budget. 68

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Do you want to bring your own alcohol? Check to see if the venue bar is in-house, external or whether they charge corkage. Do you want a blank canvas venue or one that comes pre-styled? And are you happy to plan, set up and style your wedding by yourself or are you hoping for help from the venue staff? While some venues are fully staffed, others are venue hire only, which means you’ll need to make all of your own arrangements and have people onsite to set up on the day. Do you need affordable accommodation onsite or nearby? If the venue can’t accommodate everyone, they will certainly be able to recommend local options for your guests, so take notes when you visit! Check out the local area for things to do and see, your guests may want to make a weekend of it. Do you want a marquee? Some venues have capacity for marquees and work with preferred suppliers, and some even have permanent marquees erected throughout the year. If you have your heart set on a marquee wedding then make sure it’s a) an option and b) the style of marquee you want. From traditional pole style tents, through to yurts and tipis – there’s lots of options!

Photography Gyan Gurung Photography Florist Gather & Bloom Venue Glynde Place


A VENUE FOR ALL SEASONS

Spring

WORDS BY EMMA HL A

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Ah spring… The perfect season for a wedding. These fresh dewy days are all about brightness after the winter months, life after a deep slumber and that thrilling flutter of hope as a new season begins. Whilst this a stunning time of year to marry, there are some logistical and of course styling elements to consider. S AV E T H E D AT E ! Just behind the halcyon days of summer, spring is a very popular time for couples to say ‘I do’. So, if you have your heart set on a blossom-filled day then you need to think ahead. The same applies to suppliers, and you don’t necessarily need to have all of your wedding day details planned at this point – your colour scheme, favours and even the dress can wait! But those key suppliers such as caterers, florists and photographers should be booked early.

L E T ’S C E L E B R AT E Spring is a wonderful time for weekend-long wedding celebrations! With a number of bank holiday weekends and Easter festivities, it’s a lovely opportunity to gather your family and friends and enjoy the party! There are lots of venues with fabulous weekend party options, including exclusive use and onsite accommodation for your guests. For those keeping a close eye on budget, then booking a Sunday may save you a little on venue hire. It also gives you a bit more flexibility if the venue of your choice is unavailable on those key spring Saturdays! Don’t be disheartened, consider this rather overlooked weekend option. We married on a Sunday and it was perfect!


R A I N I S LU C K Y, R I G H T ? It’s one of the only things we can’t control. Even the hardiest of brides will have to concede on this point. However, you can take control of your spring shower contingencies! Save the glittering Choos for the dance floor and consider something a little more practical if you’re having an outdoor reception on grass.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Have umbrellas available for your guests. If you’re having an indoor or marquee wedding there will be some guests who seek the fresh air, so ensure they’re not caught out by a little downpour. You can even find umbrellas to match your colour scheme! Cute or what?! Whilst warm sunshine, singing birds and hopping bunnies are the spring ideal, it can all be a little bit grey and chilly in reality. Think layers when it comes to you and your bridesmaids. Try long lace sleeves and snuggly cashmere shrugs. Also, look at slightly warmer dresses and leave the strapless chiffon for summer celebrations.

BRING THE OUTSIDE IN We’ve established that spring weather is unpredictable so consider the type of wedding venue very carefully. The indoor/outdoor options are vital. Look for a venue that can offer the flexibility of an outdoor ceremony or reception, but who can accommodate your party indoors at the last minute, should the weather Gods not be on your side. If you want to play it safe, look for venues with land or beautiful grounds where you can pitch a marquee. For indoor weddings or city affairs, look for airy spaces with large windows to let the spring light in. Also consider bringing the outside in when planning your wedding décor. Line aisles with blossom, give your guests potted bulbs as favours and group moss dappled logs for an alternative spring table centrepiece.

EMBRACE THE SEASON Yellows, pastels and pretty pinks are all classic springtime colours. But my absolute favourite has to be dark luscious greens, highlighted by fresh, creamy whites. I think any springtime wedding should reflect the natural scenery, which is especially important if you’re planning a rustic party – think organic elements. Look to nature when considering your bouquet, spring blossoms, dainty daffodils, hellebores, anemone and tulips are perfection. Oh and of course, the prettiest of wedding flowers – the peony is just coming into season. Talk to your venue or chosen caterer for their take on fresh, seasonal food. How about tasty poached duck eggs, spring lamb, fresh vegetables and a yummy elderflower and rhubarb sorbet?


Summe

These glorious months are the obvious wedding choice for a reason; longer days mixed with a better chance of sunshine is hard to beat, especially if you’re longing for an alfresco celebration.

OUTDOOR CEREMONIES Make the most of the blue skies and kinder temperatures and marry outdoors! From an elegant garden to a woodland glade, a glorious beach to a city rooftop terrace, there are so many lovely venues that offer outside spaces for your ceremony. However, ensure your venue has a fabulous plan B for you and your guests, just in case the weather decides to take a little turn on the morning of your wedding. If you plan for the worst-case scenario then this will minimise any stress you might feel if those blue skies suddenly fill with ominous dark clouds.

TENT APPEAL If there’s a season made for a tent, then summer is it! Your choices here are vast: traditional pole, Sperry tent, stretch tent, sail cloth, tipi, yurt, clear span and (whilst not technically a tent) glass marquees. We’ll talk about marquee weddings and all the logistics involved a little later in this chapter, but for now I’ll say prepare to plan! A marquee is a blank canvas and whilst this is absolutely part of the appeal, you definitely don’t want to end up partying in a white box. If your budget allows then go to town with the flowers and the décor!

STREET FOOD When it comes to dining, summer is the perfect time to experiment with something a little more casual. There’s a plethora of incredible street food suppliers out there for you to discover; from pizza ovens to burger vans, pie & mash to vegetarian meze. There’s even a self-service Prosecco bar… I know! If this is ticking all of your foodie boxes, then just make sure your venue allows this type of flexible catering.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

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KEEP YOUR COOL Praying for great weather is something every couple will do, however being ‘blessed’ with a heatwave isn’t exactly ideal either. Things to consider if the temperatures do start to rise: ʼnʼn Have water available to your guests at all times, whether it’s bottles on ice or flavoured water from drink dispensers. ʼnʼn If you’re choosing a summer’s day, then consider the time of your ceremony. Late afternoon will be much more comfortable in comparison to saying your vows under a blazing midday sun. ʼnʼn If your ceremony is indoors, don’t rush guests in too early ahead of the bride’s arrival. Have someone from your bridal party on alert, that way you can get everyone in place with time to spare and without causing any unnecessary discomfort. ʼnʼn Factor in fans and air-con units for your marquee if you know you’re in for a toasty day. ʼnʼn Have pockets of shade available to guests if you’re hosting an outdoor reception, they will thank you for a place to sit down under a parasol.

GOLDEN HOUR Ah golden hour how I love thee… This is the magical time of the day as the sun starts to set and your photographer desperately tries to tear you away from your guests for ANOTHER portrait session. But folks seriously, drop everything and GO! I missed out on our August setting sun and alas it’s one of the regrets I occasionally hurl at the now-husband. It’s a good idea to scope out some places at your venue for your golden hour photographs – fields, meadows and gardens are perfection. Just make sure you’ve factored this in to your on-the-day schedule as the golden hour times will vary throughout the year.

EMBRACE BRITISH Embracing British has never been easier… We have incredible suppliers across the land offering fabulous local produce, beautiful home-grown flowers and delicious tipples. Why not have a gin reception and serve your guests a selection of fabulous British gin cocktails. Be inspired by the quintessential English garden and have an abundance of big, blousy roses everywhere! Mix with sweet peas, astrantia, cosmos and tonnes of foliage! Also, why not make the most of the great outdoors and host garden games for your guests – croquet anyone?


Autumn

I should have been an autumn bride. I love the change in the air, subtle at first as the dreamy light starts to seep through, the now-fading summer sun fondly waving farewell; the crunch underfoot of freshly fallen leaves, the back-to-school excitement and of course the dramatic and vibrant explosion of colour and richness that is beauteous. It also happens to be my favourite time of the fashion year, when all of those scrummy new silhouettes, buttery leather bags and cosy knits start to appear. Yum.

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W H AT K I N D O F V E N U E ? For me, the perfect venues during the autumn months have to be beautiful country houses with galloping countryside and sweeping parkland. If I was to marry in the autumn then I would lust after a long romantic driveway with a canopy of rusty red leaves. This would make quite the entrance as your guests excitedly make their way to the ceremony. Do think about the weather, as although the autumn graciously allows for outside receptions, make sure you have plenty of space to accommodate your party inside and outside at your venue.

COLOUR SCHEMES Contemplating your colour scheme? Then look to nature. Autumnal tones are a feast on the eyes with bronzy rusts, jewelled jades, deep purples and berry pinks all there for the picking. Ensure your venue will complement your chosen tones. Your setting should harmoniously blend with your wedding dĂŠcor and vice versa.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

T I M I N G S O F T H E D AY Think carefully about the time of day you marry and the setting you are in. If you have chosen a beautiful country house with epic gardens and grounds, then you’ll want to try to capture some of that dreamy al fresco late afternoon light. But, marry too late in the day and you might be leaving the photographer tight on time for your couple’s portraits.

LET THERE BE LIGHT Lighting is so important for an autumnal celebration, think twinkling candelabras, glittering tea-lights and festoon lighting for a cosy, romantic feel. However, do check out the venue’s T&Cs as some will have a strict policy on candles and naked flames! Always chat through your ideas and visions with the venue before making any firm decisions. The ultimate in lighting statements would be a firework extravaganza, the perfect send off for the newly-wed couple. Again, check in with your venue to ensure fireworks and even hand-held sparklers are allowed.

HARVEST FEAST Contemplating an alternative to the traditional sit-down wedding breakfast? Then make it an autumnal harvest feast! Think delicious seasonal veg, wholesome pies, and a smattering of home-made desserts. Why not serve something warm and tantalising as well as the usual Champers… Apple cider? Soft mulled wine? Oh, and how about a cheese cake, there’s something so very hearty about a good lump of cheese and a glug of port!

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Winter Winter… A time of romance, luxury and sparkle.

Whilst the autumn months are hearty and wholesome, winter is most definitely a time for luxurious pleasures. Think cashmere and velvet, twinkling lights and lip-smacking cocktails.

W H AT K I N D O F V E N U E ? The world really is your oyster here as there are so many gorgeous styles of wedding venues that lend themselves beautifully to this icy season. From barns to country manors even through to a tipi, your aim is to create a warm, welcoming and comfortable setting. First things first, you need to ensure your wedding venue is weather proof, has good heating (or with the option of bringing heaters in) and can provide that cosy, dreamy scene. Have a chat with your wedding venue about candles and lighting. If you spot a gorgeous fireplace, ask if it’s a working fire and get that baby going! The ultimate festive luxury. Tipis are still a practical and flexible option for winter weddings. Some tipi suppliers can lend a helping hand with the décor – from log fire pits, wooden benches covered in cosy pelts to storm lanterns. Oh, and the obligatory glitter ball. Don’t rule out a luxury winter boho shindig!

G E T YO U R S PA R K L E O N Who doesn’t love a dash of metallic? This season can carry them all, but my personal picks would be silvers mixed with cool blue-greys and fresh whites. This fairly neutral scheme can be painted onto most canvases, so even if you choose a country house with chandeliers and classic interiors, this scheme will complement beautifully. Lighting is always important, so look at creating a warm welcome for your guests by lining long driveways with lanterns, eat your wedding breakfast by the glow of extravagant candelabras and serve your festive signature cocktails in front of that roaring fire.

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TRANSPORT This seems a fairly dull subject line, but it’s actually a really vital planning point when considering your winter wedding venue.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

The picture-perfect winter wedding day would be a snowy painting, but in reality, if you have a dumping of the white stuff the day before your wedding you could have some logistical issues for both your guests and your suppliers. Check out the transport/road links to your venue and have some contingency plans in place as a just-in-case.

CLICK CLICK! When considering your wedding venue, have your wedding photographs in mind. If your venue has beautiful grounds and stunning parkland, the reality might be it’s just a little too cold for those outside shots. Shivering bridesmaids and mums with blue noses aren’t exactly ideal. So instead, focus on the interiors of your wedding venue. Grand staircase? Elaborate wallpaper? Fancy fireplace? This is a much friendlier option for your portraits.

N A U G H T Y T R E AT S ‘Tis the season of indulgence, so indulge! Why not serve macarons trimmed with edible gold leaf? Or the classic combination of warm mince pies and mulled wine. Look for signature flavours such as orange, cinnamon, spiced sugar and warming brandy for your yummy, naughty treats.

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PLANNING A MARQUEE WEDDING W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

Marquee weddings hold a very special place in my heart. There’s something really rather charming and romantic about the concept of creating your own wedding venue, to your own specifications and making it a real reflection of your own style and personalities. Also, marquee weddings aren’t what they used to be as couples now have some seriously stylish options available, including traditional canvas marquees, contemporary clear span frame marquees, yurts, Sperry tents and the rather unique Pearl Tents. But not one for style over substance, we still want to arm you with all the considerations and practical elements behind this outdoor wedding choice.

The first thing to find is the site. Where are you going to hold your marquee wedding? Some wedding venues allow you to put up a marquee on their lawns whilst still being able to use the main house for your ceremony and accommodation, whilst others will let you use their land only, with the buildings themselves forming the perfect backdrop. Obviously, there’s likely to be a cost consideration here too, but the good news is that you’ve got options. (On a side note there are also venues that already have permanent or semi-permanent marquees, which in turn eliminates some of the following word of warning operational challenges and cost considerations!) Of course, some couples also opt for a marquee wedding so that they can make use of their own gardens or land. This is a wonderfully personal option but you need to go into it with your eyes open – you’re going to have a week or so of comings and goings in the run up to your wedding and in the days afterwards too, so please be sure that everyone this will affect is happy about this! Consider the design of your marquee. What works with the style of wedding that you’re planning? Do you want one big space or would you like to keep the dancefloor hidden until after dinner? Have you got your heart set on long and impactful tables or would you prefer round guest tables? Do you prefer carpet or coir? Each and every one of your choices will have a cost implication so it’s worth thinking through your options in advance and then being prepared to be flexible or agree to compromise on things that aren’t a top priority. You’ll also need to think about the style of the actual marquee structure as well. There are so many marquee and tent options available so please take some time and do your research before you start requesting site visits and quotations. Other marquee design and structural considerations you’ll need to think about include… Lighting, flooring (is the site flat or will you need to level the floor?), décor, hanging points (for any floral or lighting installations), wet weather contingencies and your back of house area for suppliers.

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Be nice to your neighbours! It’s very likely that you’ll need your neighbours on your side for an at-home marquee wedding, unless you’re in the position of being miles from anywhere! Let your neighbours know the times you’ll be partying and make it really clear what time everyone will be arriving and leaving.

Then you need a marquee company! Once you’ve done your research and have narrowed down your style and options, enquire with the companies who are on your shortlist and give them the basics, including dates, guest numbers and your requirements. Some companies might want to come and perform a full site survey to be able to give you a quote, whilst others might provide a package that includes most of the elements that you need. Personally, I’d insist on a site visit before committing to any marquee company or paying a deposit, it’s not uncommon for a marquee company to charge for this visit BUT for the peace of mind it provides, it’s worth every penny. Check your quote with a fine-tooth comb and make sure that it includes everything that you need. If something doesn’t make sense then question it and even ask to see images, after all, if you’ve never planned a marquee wedding before then how should you know what the difference is between the various linings or uplighters proposed? Put your caterer in touch with your marquee company as this will save you being the go-between when the inevitable questions arise! If your caterer wants to check access times, power or the dimensions of the catering area, they can do so directly with the professionals rather than having to go via you! The same applies to florists if you’re thinking of hanging any form of floral installations as your florist MUST discuss hanging points and weight bearings with your marquee company in advance.

From making cups of tea for the crew that are setting everything up to adjusting furniture, welcoming suppliers, dealing with questions and queries, clearing up after the event and a myriad of other tasks, you’ll need a kick-ass schedule and willing helpers who you can trust. Having a professional wedding planner to call on during the whole planning process can be an absolute life-saver but I understand that we’re not for everyone. If you’re taking on the planning yourself, then absolutely go for it but make sure that you’ve got someone who’s there for you on the day i.e. a caterer, colleague or sober friend! You don’t want to be working or worrying on your wedding day when you should be enjoying the amazing party that you’ve planned.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Get your helpers together and your schedule A-game on well in advance of your wedding. Because as I’ve already mentioned, there’s a LOT to do with a marquee wedding, a LOT to consider, a LOT of components, elements and suppliers to account for and the set up WILL take considerably longer than you expect (however long you’ve allowed for – double or even triple it!).


PHOTOGRAPHY BY ED BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

10 TIPS FOR A TIPI WEDDING

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10 TIPS FOR A TIPI WEDDING WORDS BY JODIE BIDDER, SAMI TIPI

This one’s for all of those couples out there considering a tipi wedding. Whether it’s a rustic shindig, a boho festival or something a little more vintage, it all comes down to the same thing - budget and logistics!

01. When you’re planning your wedding, the first consideration always needs to be your budget - even though no one likes to talk about money. Your tipi structure and catering will be the two largest items on your list, so allocate your budget and stick to it.

02.

Write your guest list as this will dictate how many tipis you will need. The tipis interconnect to create one event space and each configuration has its own capacities.

03. Once you have your guest list, consider what else you will want in the space. Write a wish list – you might want room for the amazing band you love or space for a bar and photo booth etc. These things will also influence your tipi space so share these details with your tipi provider.

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04. Armed with your guest list, get yourself a bespoke tipi quotation, including all of the additional items you might want. It’s better to have a quotation that you can scale down rather than one you need to scale up. Include walkway matting, fairy lights, the biggest dance floor suitable for your tipi space – ask your supplier what options are available. Now you have a good idea about your tipis, you need a suitable site. All tipi/marquee companies will be able to recommend locations that they have worked with previously, but if these don’t hit the spot, ask family and friends if they know of any local fields, holiday cottages or sports grounds. Speak to your local council as they may have land that they hire out and check out the tipi & marquee venues on Coco Wedding Venues. The tent provider will need good access into the field and they’ll need to check if there are any overhead or underground services. You definitely need an area large enough for the tipis to sit in plus space to pull the canvas over. The land also needs to be relatively flat, but a slight slope or undulations are ok. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ED BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

05. Once you have found the perfect field, it’s time to consider how to make it work for you. If you don’t have power or toilets, it’s not a problem as a generator and luxury toilet block can be hired in. Get an estimate from your tipi company on the toilet and generator hire and add this in to your budget. These don’t need to be booked at this stage, just keep the figure in your budget. Your tipi supplier may book these in for you or alternatively, ask them for recommendations of companies they have worked with.

06. Now you have your tipis and site, next you need to feed your guests! The great thing with a tipi wedding is there are no rules, so consider what food you both enjoy and speak to a few local caterers and see what menus they can come up with. When booking a caterer, consider where they will be cooking. Will they need a catering tent hired in from your tipi supplier? If so get this added on to your tipi quotation, but some caterers will have their own tent or van to cook from.

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07. Another point to consider is whether the site be dark at night. How will your guests see their way to the toilets and to their cars? Garden solar lights or battery-operated tea lights are one option plus you can use these post-wedding. Festoon lighting is also another great choice. This could be something that your tipi company can provide or you may choose to buy some for the outside areas that you can later enjoy in your own garden.

08. When you tell your family you are getting married in a field, in a tent, they may think that you are crazy, so take advantage of attending the tipi open events and bring them along! Once they see it all come together, they’ll understand your awesome decision.

09. If the idea of getting married in a field with no event management scares you a little, help is at hand. You can work with a wedding planner who offers on-the-day management. Although it is called ‘on-the-day’, you’ll want them there one or two days before the wedding so they can be the ones to communicate with your suppliers and be there to accept deliveries.

10.

Most of all enjoy planning your outdoor wedding. Enjoy the preparations, the days leading up to the event and most of all ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY!

Photography Ed Brown Photography Tipis Sami Tipi Venue Bawdon Lodge Styling Tickety-Boo Events Flowers Twisted Willow Stationery & Signage Polly & Me


PHOTOGRAPHY BY XANDER & THEA

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S U S TA I N A B L E & S T Y L I S H WORDS BY LIZZIE JONES, WEDDING YURTS

Before I leap into sustainable and stylish tips and tricks, perhaps I should explain a little bit about Wedding Yurts and how we try to tread as lightly as possible at all of the amazing weddings we’re part of. Because if you’re looking to soothe your eco-conscience when it comes to your own wedding, you might be able to take a few ideas from us: Wedding Yurts is a one-of-a-kind travelling wedding venue. Our handcrafted yurts (all made from local, sustainable woodlands) are lovingly built the old-fashioned way with hand tools and time-honoured techniques. The canvases that cover the wooden frames are made from natural cotton and the yurts themselves are all finished with eco products. We’re always keen to work with and promote like-minded, environmentally conscious wedding suppliers. As we travel around, literally bringing everything you need for your wedding to you, we work really hard to leave no trace. We leave places and venues just as we found them and we recycle everything we can. We also buy as much as possible in each locale so we’re supporting small local businesses and suppliers as well as making the most of each region we visit. I also LOVE styling our yurt weddings and coming up with new and fabulous ideas for our couples, all of which are luxurious and sustainable. My style is, as you might expect, really down to earth and natural with huge seasonal influences. There’s something very special about creating the extraordinary from the things that surround you and here are just a few thoughts for your own wedding...

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEMMA MICKLEBURGH


LOCAL, BRITISH & SEASONAL FLOWERS I’m a massive fan of flowers because they work so well in our yurts and, of course, florals are an integral part of any wedding. In my opinion, wild and natural arrangements are always the most beautiful and they bloom with character in a way that the hybrids that are flown half way around the world just don’t. With so many flowers being airfreighted in to the UK or shipped overland from Holland, wedding flowers can sometimes hurt the planet as well as your pocket. Instead, when you choose seasonal and local flowers, you’re supporting local growers and getting the best, fresh blooms for your big day. When I’m working on styling plans for our weddings, I always include seasonal flowers because nature and the great outdoors plays such a big part in every celebration. Also, think about ways that you can make the most of your flowers. Could you use your ceremony flowers again at your reception? Could your bouquet be used to decorate a cake table? At the end of the night, could you give your flowers away to friends and family so they’re enjoyed for as long as possible rather than being thrown away? All the little things make a big difference.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEMMA MICKLEBURGH

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PLANTS Moving on from flowers, I have to talk about plants because as sustainable beauty goes, it really doesn’t get better than this! I love the botanical style of plants and they instantly liven up a space. Not only that but they’ll also last forever if you look after them! Old terracotta pots filled with herbs also look great and make your space smell lovely. I’ve created seasonal tablescapes with pots of the sweetest-smelling herbs alongside potted plants and the effect was fabulous – the scents and colours were so lush and vibrant.

S U S TA I N A B L E & S T Y L I S H


PROPS Over the last few years, it’s become more and more usual for couples to use large-scale props as they style their weddings. Ladders, shelves, chairs and lights are just a few of the options and that’s before we even start talking about glasses, crockery and cutlery. However, buying everything you want for just one day isn’t always the best idea. Instead, work with stylists who’ll let you have access to their own prop collection. I love delving into my stores for couples and then continuing to reuse items time and time again.

FOOD & DRINK A great feast is the ultimate wedding luxury and again, it can be sustainable and delicious if you plan ahead. Look for caterers who source their ingredients locally and create menus based around the seasons. Do you really want lamb on your wedding menu when it’s been shipped from New Zealand? We’ve worked with some fabulous caterers who’ve conjured up the most delicious menus from food that’s given the wedding guests a real treat as well as providing them with a sense of the region and the season. At Wedding Yurts we’re also really well known for our signature cocktails and our rather spectacular bar. We go out of our way to search out local craft beers, ales and ciders as well as juices and non-alcoholic options and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same for your wedding too. Local producers will be happy to help and farm shops often love to get involved with weddings. Lastly, under the food and drink category, I want to mention wedding favours and, in my experience, it’s best to give your guests something that they can eat or drink on the day. Small bottles of homemade liqueurs to pimp their bubbly, local chocolates or even biscuits to snack on work really well and can also double up as place names. Favours that have been bought for guests to take home all too often get left behind, unintentionally I’m sure, but after dancing and cocktails, it’s easy to forget them at the end of the party and those little gifts you’ve thought so much about are just wasted.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY XANDER & THEA

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIREIA CORDOMI PHOTOGRAPHY


T H E D E S T I N AT I O N V E N U E WORDS BY CL AIRE WHITE, BUTLER & WHITE WEDDINGS

Congratulations, you’ve chosen to catapult your wedding into one amazing adventure - destination wedding here you come! Celebrating your wedding day over a weekend or a week-long stay in a wonderful destination location with your family and friends is an experience you will all treasure for a lifetime. Destination weddings are becoming a popular choice for couples looking to create a lasting wedding experience in a foreign land. Often drawn to the promise of sunshine, budget is also an influencing factor for couples seeking to host their wedding abroad as your guest list is often greatly reduced. Depending on exchange rates, your Great British pound can also go further when heading abroad. The nature of a destination wedding makes for a slightly more relaxed event. You are choosing to opt for a different experience for your wedding day, and by making a break from traditions you don’t have a template to follow and are free to create your own idyllic celebration. But with no traditional path to follow where do you start?

01.

10 things to do when you start planning your destination wedding

GUEST LIST

Before getting carried away with the idea of heading off to Bali, Mexico or Thailand, think about who you both want to be with you on your destination wedding day. Establishing who is on your ’must be there list’ is crucial to avoid disappointment and stress at this early stage. If elderly relatives are on your A-list then considering closer destinations, with shorter flight times and milder climates, is wise.

02.

BUDGET

I have met very few couples who like to talk openly about budget, but it’s something that has to be discussed when planning a wedding, and a destination wedding is no exception. Fluctuating exchange rates can have an impact on your budget so it is important to keep an eye on rates, especially if you’re booking your wedding a couple of years in advance. Be realistic with your budget, and bear in mind that the supplier prices in Europe are similar to the UK. 89

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03. RESEARCH Just like you would plan for your annual holiday, you need to do some research to get the most out of the experience. Thinking about the style of wedding you want will sway you to one country or another and with your ’must be there list’ in mind, you will be able to consider the suitability of the destination for your entire wedding party. Make use of online resources and explore the wonderful Coco approved destination venues to get you started!

04. L O C A L L AW S & C U LT U R E S We are so fortunate to have so many amazing countries practically on our door step and with quick and affordable flights France, Italy and Spain are all popular choices for destination UK couples. Europe doesn’t come as a complete culture shock, but it is still important to consider local laws and cultures. When researching your chosen destination make sure you are aware of these and marriage license requirements. Many couples choose to do the legal marriage license in the UK before jetting off, with a blessing ceremony and celebration at their chosen venue.

05. VENUE With your guest list in hand you can find that dream venue. Obviously aesthetic beauty will be at the forefront of your mind, but when considering a destination wedding venue it’s also important to consider the venue in terms of your guests’ needs. Whether it’s easily accessible with a good range of accommodation options close by are factors to consider. Visiting your chosen venue is a must! Try and visit at the same time of year that you are planning to wed - a spring-time venue visit will feel very different to an August wedding in Spain. Aim to visit your chosen venue 3 times if you can: the initial viewing at the time of booking, followed by a second to review designs, layouts, menu tastings and supplier meetings. The 3rd and final visit will be to walk through your planned wedding day, and this can be a few days before the wedding.

06.

S AV E T H E D AT E

Get those save the date cards out early! 8 –12 months before your wedding date is ideal, as this will mean your guests can save, book time off work and take advantage of better flight and accommodation deals. Including a list of nearby accommodation for all budget ranges is really helpful and your guests will be grateful for all the information you can give them at this stage. Follow up with the official invite once all details are confirmed, a minimum of 3 – 4 months before the wedding. Include details of any pre and post wedding events that you have scheduled along with any dress codes so your guests can pack accordingly and also so they know what to expect in advance of the wedding. 90

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07. PRO SUPPORT

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY M A R G H E R I TA C A L AT I P H OTO G R A P H Y

The most idyllic destinations can sometimes mean limited resources on the ground. Having the help of an experienced planner is a sensible investment, as they’ll be someone who has supplier connections and experience to bring your vison together. Don’t get caught out by language barriers or the distance between you and your idyllic venue. The professional help of a planner to support and ensure everything is where it should be on the wedding day is vital to the success of your overall experience and dream wedding abroad.

08. DRESS

When heading out dress shopping keep your destination at the forefront of your mind and choose a dress that is appropriate to the climate and style of your wedding.

09.

EMBRACE THE SETTING Enjoy the local magic of your chosen venue and allow your wedding style to embrace the culture and vibe of your chosen location. Make the most of local produce and regional specialities when choosing your menu, and this will enhance the authenticity of your experience while being kinder on your budget.

10. YOUR PRESENCE IS A GIF T Your guests are already investing heavily in your celebration and most destination couples don’t expect guests to travel with wedding gifts. You probably won’t want to travel home with unexpected gifts either, so it is wise to include your gift expectations on the invite.


ANNELI MARINOVICH PHOTOGRAPHY FOR CUPID COLL ARS

P E T S AT W E D D I N G S

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P E T S AT W E D D I N G S WORDS BY EMMA HL A

We absolutely recognise that some of you will want to have your furry friends be witness to your big day… Thankfully, quite a few of the venues in our collection get this too! We have a rather healthy pet friendly selection of venues and with this in mind we thought we’d share just a few tips if you are considering having your fur babies present! For the purpose of this exercise, I’m using ‘man’s best friend’ as the obvious example. First of all, discuss it with the venue. Even if the venue states it’s pet friendly it’s always best to check in and give them plenty of notice. Especially if food, water and a place to sleep needs to be arranged. Consider the day’s events and understand where your gorgeous pooch is going to be spending most of his or her time. Weddings can be quite a long day and, much like children at weddings, you’ll need to think about the practicalities of who will be looking after your pet when they’re not by your side. Give some notice to your guests that your dog will be present, just in case there are any friends who may have allergies or a slight aversion to your guest of honour! Likewise, give your photographer a heads-up if there are any photographs you would like so that you can factor in this time. Remember, whilst it’s a Pinterest perfect idea to have your pet at your wedding – the reality doesn’t always match up. Think about your dog’s personality and how they will react to large, excited crowds. How are they with children? Are they happy to be stroked? Do they need plenty of attention or prefer quiet spaces? It’s important their health and comfort is put first. Whilst dressing your dog in cute outfits might be your jam, on a hot summers day he/she might not be thanking you very much. Stick to simple collars or leads that match your colours or wedding style. We’re big fans of Cupid Collars (pictured) and these guys create gorgeous silk and faux floral collars.


QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR VENUE WORDS BY EMMA HL A

To help you get the most from your wedding venue visits, here’s a list of questions and tips to help you along the way...

The Basics QUESTIONS TO ASK ʼnʼn Is the venue licensed for civil ceremonies? ʼnʼn Can the venue hold both the ceremony and reception? ʼnʼn Which local authority does the venue come under? ʼnʼn What is the venue capacity for both the ceremony and dinner? ʼnʼn Does the venue have a specific suppliers list they would prefer you to work with? ʼnʼn What is included in the hire price? (Hint: catering, coordinator, accommodation etc.) ʼnʼn If the venue has its own caterers does the price include a tasting? ʼnʼn How flexible is the catering to suit your wedding style? (Meze boards, sharing platters, hog roasts, BBQs, formal dining, street food?) ʼnʼn Will your wedding be the only wedding at the venue on the day? If not, how many weddings do they hold in one day? ʼnʼn Can you hire the venue exclusively? What is the difference in cost and what extras are included? TIP Be happy with the entire space - see all rooms available for your wedding party and make sure each one suits your wedding style.

Logistics QUESTIONS TO ASK ʼnʼn How long is the venue hire and when will you have access from? ʼnʼn What time will you need to check out the day after your wedding? ʼnʼn Will there be a turnover time of rooms and where will your guests go during this time? ʼnʼn Is there a policy about children attending and at any time does the venue need to be child-free? ʼnʼn Will you be able to hold a walk through on the day prior to your wedding day? ʼnʼn Is there ample parking for your guests? ʼnʼn What is the local transport like? ʼnʼn Do they have an approved taxi list? ʼnʼn What is the closest city / town / village? (If you find yourself hiring a field!) ʼnʼn Are there any local events happening on the date of your wedding? ʼnʼn Can the venue give you an example of a wedding day timeline? ʼnʼn What information does the venue need from your suppliers who will be working on site? (Public Liability/PAT testing etc.) ʼnʼn When can you come back for a second visit? TIP Spend some time getting to know the area. It’s great to make recommendations to your out-of-town guests wanting to make a weekend of it!

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Accommodation QUESTIONS TO ASK ʼnʼn Is there accommodation for guests? If so what is the capacity? ʼnʼn Will the venue offer any discount on hotel rooms taken by your guests? ʼnʼn If the venue does not have accommodation then where does the venue recommend locally? TIP Always see the bedrooms offered for your wedding party and guests. Your photographer will no doubt be with you when you are getting ready, and should you be staying in the venue the night before, you want the rooms to be gorgeous (and of course functional! Long mirror for the bride and groom anyone?).

Planning the Details QUESTIONS TO ASK ʼnʼn Do they have an in-house wedding coordinator? ʼnʼn Does the venue hire include tables, chairs, lighting, dancefloor? ʼnʼn Are they happy for you to use an external wedding planner/stylist? ʼnʼn Does the venue allow confetti to be thrown? ʼnʼn Are lit candles allowed in the venue? ʼnʼn Does the venue have a noise limiter fitted or can you turn the music all the way up? ʼnʼn Can you have a professional firework display at your venue? ʼnʼn Are you allowed sparklers (hand-held) at your wedding? ʼnʼn Does the venue have landing permission? Should you want to be fancy and have a helicopter whisk you away! TIP Ask to see photographs of previous weddings and the kind of style/level of detail they had at the venue. If your venue is a blank canvas this can also start to help you see and feel your own wedding.

Indoor/Outdoor QUESTIONS TO ASK ʼnʼn What are the weather contingencies at your venue? ʼnʼn Is there an option to get married outside? ʼnʼn Marquees - do they have a recommended supplier or can you hire your own? ʼnʼn If your venue has gardens what will be in flower at the time of year for your wedding? Ask to see photos so you can visualise, especially if you are visiting out of season. TIP If you are considering a venue that is flexible about which kind of marquee you have, ask the marquee company that you wish to hire from if you can see one of their marquees up at your chosen venue, or at another one if they haven’t got any booked.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY


PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY


T&Cs QUESTIONS TO ASK Check the fine print - try to take a copy of the venue’s T&Cs away with you on the first visit so you can consider the venue with your heart and your head. Think about things like what happens if you or the venue cancel the wedding? What protection/insurance do you and the venue have? Venue Costs - ensure you both understand the costs for the venue before signing on the pretty dotted line. Does the price you’re seeing include VAT? Also ask about payment terms and what their schedule of payments looks like.

Get Organised QUESTIONS TO ASK Create a spreadsheet of venues to visit - I think four in one day is the max as it can become overwhelming. Be careful not to take an entourage on the venue visits - remember this day is about two people. However, feel free to talk to people - it’s a great way of sorting through your own thoughts about each delicious venue you’ve seen!

Be a Team QUESTIONS TO ASK I’m hoping there’s two of you reading this, because of course the venue decision should absolutely be a joint task. I think every groom wants to be involved in this part of the wedding planning process. This and the cake. Whatever your team looks like, enjoy these precious moments folks... and have fun on your super romantic road trips!

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P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y R EJBUELCI A CN A P GAOUDLD A R D P H O T O G R A P H Y

10 THINGS TO TELL YOUR WEDDING VENUE

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10 THINGS TO TELL YOUR WEDDING VENUE WORDS BY EMMA HL A

Now that we’ve covered what to ask your wedding venue prior to booking, what about what you need to be telling your wedding venue ahead of the big day? Communication with your venue is absolutely key to ensure a smooth wedding day for you and your guests, so here’s 10 things you should be telling your chosen wedding venue.

01. GUEST NUMBERS The guest list is integral to the feel and indeed the flow of your day. Whether you want an intimate ceremony for family and close friends, followed by a full-blown party; or a lavish gathering of 200 for a full day of celebrations, make sure your wedding venue is aware of your planned numbers for each part of your day.

02.

LITTLE PEOPLE If your guest list includes children, it’s always a good idea to inform your venue. They may have certain restrictions or indeed have information for you to pass on to your guests. Also, some wedding venues may be able to put you in touch with local crèche management companies and children’s entertainers!

03.

FURRY FRIENDS You will find some wedding venues (those without livestock in surrounding fields!) are now welcoming the idea of brides & grooms incorporating their pets into the proceedings. However, rather than just rocking up with the pup in tow, it’s always a good idea to discuss the possibility of having your pets present on your wedding day and if they have pet-friendly rooms to accommodate your furry friends.


04. S U P P L I E R D E TA I L S & L O G I S T I C S Make sure you send your wedding venue a full list of the suppliers who will be setting up or delivering items on the day. Include their business name, contact details, what they will be supplying and the time they would like access. The venue can then get in touch to discuss logistics and any formal paperwork that may need completing by your chosen suppliers (including PAT testing certificates and liability insurance).

05. T H E B R I DA L PA R T Y To take the pressure off you and your bride or groom-to-be, ask a few members of your bridal party to liaise with the venue and suppliers on the day. Ensure your venue has telephone numbers for the groomsmen and bridesmaids. Doing this will enable you to relax and enjoy the day!

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06. A R R I VA L T I M E S A F T E R T H E C E R E M O N Y If you’re having your ceremony at a nearby church or town hall, then make sure that one of your tasks for the aforementioned bridal party is to call the venue when you’ve left your ceremony! A glass of chilled champers waiting for you on arrival will kick things off nicely…

10 THINGS TO TELL YOUR WEDDING VENUE


07. RUNNING ORDER At most venues, the wedding coordinator and/or caterers will make sure the day runs to plan and most importantly, runs to time! But always remember, the day is yours so if there are certain things you want to include or not include, then ensure your venue has a copy of your running order for the day!

08. EVENING GUESTS If you are having evening guests join the party then inform the venue of how many guests are arriving and at what time. This way, the venue can ensure your guests are greeted and welcomed. This is especially important if your wedding breakfast is over-running slightly! Guests who are well fed and watered won’t mind waiting for the happy couple to make their grand entrance.

09. GUESTS WITH SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS Whether it’s guests with dietary requirements, elderly relatives wanting a ‘chill-out’ room, or disabled access needed; discuss these requests with your venue in advance so arrangements can be made.

10. THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE You may not be the only one with a post-wedding hangover! Your venue may also be in need of some TLC the morning after the night before. If you have suppliers visiting the venue the day after the wedding to assist with clear down or to pick up supplies then inform the venue. Most venues will have a specific time that the venue must be ‘returned’ so make sure you have considered this in your running order and plans.

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F E AT U R E D V E N U E

BARTON COURT Herefordshire, West Midlands

Hidden for a century, Barton Court has now emerged as an exclusive venue hosting a select number of intimate weddings during 2019. Once the exciting refurbishment of the beautiful ancillary buildings is complete, 2020 will enable the capacity for these stylish limited-edition weddings rise to 300.

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BODLEIAN LIBRARIES Oxfordshire, South East

Set in the heart of the dreaming spires, the Bodleian Libraries is a historic venue steeped in romance and elegance. The Bodleian now offers the chance for couples to enjoy the magnificent rooms, whether it be an intimate ceremony or jubilant celebration, on the most magical and memorable day of their lives.

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CASWELL HOUSE Cotswolds, Oxfordshire, South East

Caswell House is a beautifully restored 15th century manor house nestled in the Cotswolds. Couples seeking something uniquely exclusive will discover exquisite medieval barns, picturesque grounds, and walled gardens bursting with blooms all year. Whether bathed in sunshine or sprinkled with snow, it is an unforgettable location for one of the most important days of your life.

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C H Ă‚T E A U D E L I S S E France, International

Your wedding day is unique. At Château de Lisse, it becomes an unforgettable experience. An enchanting setting for intimate or larger weddings with its own estate wine and chapel on-site, a romantic and an impressive historic backdrop for you to celebrate your wedding day, with the assurance that it will be meticulously planned with their in-house wedding team.

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CHISWICK HOUSE West London, London

Chiswick House & Gardens is a hidden gem in the heart of West London, 65 acres of glorious landscaped gardens where your wedding will be truly unique and memorable. Whether you dream of a stylishly simple occasion or an elaborate party with every trimming, they have multiple venues that can be tailored and matched specifically to plan your day to perfection.

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FFOREST Wales

fforest is the perfect location for a relaxed, informal, weekend celebration with family and friends. Enjoy the simplicity, pleasures and beauty of outdoor living in an area of unspoilt natural beauty. Multiple different spaces - a giant hat tipi, garden pavilion, dining and party barns, an ancient tiny stone pub, firepits, secret woodland sauna and stylish accommodation.

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F E AT U R E D V E N U E

HOTHORPE HALL East Midlands

A grand country house wedding venue, set in 12 acres of gardens, with a wonderful mix of traditional features and luxurious comfort throughout. Hothorpe Hall exclusive use wedding venue offers a wealth of space in which to marry, celebrate, dine, party and stay the night.

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F E AT U R E D V E N U E

L APSTONE BARN South West

As an exclusive use venue, every inch of Lapstone Barn is yours to use as you wish for your perfect day. Be pampered in the bridal Hayloft before your civil ceremony in the stunning 18th century stone barn. The courtyard garden and lawns are perfect reception spaces before enjoying delicious food prepared by the in-house chefs.

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F E AT U R E D V E N U E

THE COPSE Oxfordshire, South East

The Copse, set in 22 acres high in the beautiful Chiltern Hills, is an exclusive use, residential, self-catering venue with a wedding licence near Henley-on-Thames. When you stay at The Copse, you can get married in your own unique style - with nine bedrooms, up to 18 guests can stay with other accommodation within walking distance, so you can enjoy your weekend together with your closest friends and family.

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F E AT U R E D V E N U E

THE WOODLANDS East Midlands

Nestled among trees in a stunning countryside setting, The Woodlands is perfect for a relaxed, boho or festival-style celebration. With a license for ceremonies both inside and out, it truly is an all-weather woodland wedding venue. Woodland accommodation enables guests to stay over, while the happy couple enjoy a luxurious night in the treehouse.

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ALMONRY BARN Almonry Barn’s reputation as perfect for couples looking for a laid back, stylish, rustic romance kind of day is unrivalled. It’s believed to be the oldest wedding barn in England, so what better way than to celebrate surrounded by history, whilst enjoying all the modern-day charms of twinkling fairy lights, a fully stocked artisan bar in the old stables and high-end statement furnishings throughout.

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AS WA N L E Y Aswanley is a secluded venue on the edge of the Highlands in Aberdeenshire. The fortified house and gardens provide a magical backdrop for your wedding and the barn the ultimate space to celebrate. The venue can be styled as much or as little as you want; includes everything you need, as well as the help of an in-house wedding coordinator.

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C H AT E A U D E R E D O N A unique liaison between nature, authenticity and luxurious modern design, high upon a hill in the French countryside.

Have your ceremony with an amazing view on the valley, enjoy the French cuisine and dance the night away.

For a perfect wedding they just add your personality and lots of love!

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VENUE ADVERTORIALS


COMPTON VERNEY Compton Verney is a Grade II listed Georgian Mansion nestled in 120 acres of Capability Brown Landscape. The unique art gallery setting provides six classic yet contemporary licensed spaces for civil ceremonies including its very own chapel. Its award-winning events team and catering services will help you to realise your wedding dreams and create m  emories that last a lifetime.

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DEWSALL COURT Dewsall Court, an idyllic, one-of-a-kind destination that offers splendid seclusion, luxurious escapism, delicious food and outstanding service is set among the exquisite Herefordshire countryside. Set amongst 15 acres of private gardens their 2-night stay includes: stylish accommodation for 20 guests, a party barn, an after-party den in the cellar and there is even a little church at the bottom of the garden!

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F I E S TA F I E L D S Fiesta Fields represents a portfolio of beautiful outdoor spaces dotted across Surrey and Sussex. With a variety of scenic venues, each offering something different, one of them will be perfect for your wedding. Run by a team of experienced outdoor wedding planners, they’re here to help you as little or as much as you like on your journey to creating your dream outdoor wedding.

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HOUSE OF HUD Renowned for their attention to detail and stunning wedding tents, unique wedding decoration and for Rye Island, their festival-wedding venue in Sussex, House of Hud are passionate experts in the wedding industry and your new best friend when it comes to planning your wedding. As two-time Wedding Industry Award winners, House of Hud understands what the discerning bride needs.

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HUNTSHAM COURT Huntsham Court is unique. An exclusive use country estate with stunning grounds and a 19-35 bedroom manor house sleeping up to 82 guests. You can host a private 2-night wedding for 130+ guests. No hidden charges, no corkage and includes complimentary banqueting set and free event planning. Bring your own caterers or use one of their award-winning suppliers. Complete flexibility.

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H U N T S M I L L FA R M This newly converted barn, picturesque grounds and intimate courtyard setting means Huntsmill Farm is the perfect space for you to hold your dream wedding. With the ceremony, reception and accommodation all in one location you and your guests can relax and leave the world behind you while you enjoy a magical weekend saying ‘I do’!

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NOBU BERKELEY STREET Combining traditional Japanese dining with a hint of Peruvian, Nobu Berkeley ST provides the ultimate setting for your special day. The Lounge Bar is perfect for intimate ceremonies and receptions whilst exclusive venue hire combines both the lounge bar and restaurant floors for larger celebrations ideal for dinner, drinks and dancing. Immaculate, classic dishes from world-renowned Chef Nobu Matsuhisa ensure a highly memorable day for all, amongst beautiful contemporary interiors.

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ORMESBY HALL Imagine arriving into the grounds of a National Trust property, which is yours exclusively for the day. At Ormesby Hall, Teeside, exclusivity comes as standard, with no-one other than your guests at the venue and wedding packages created with each individual couple in mind. The marquee and gardens provide the perfect blank canvas to tailor your special day to you.

W W W. N AT I O N A LT R U S T. O R G . U K / O R M E S BY- H A L L

PA PA K ÅTA As the most established Teepee company, the UK’s exclusive provider of luxury US Sperry Tents, 13 Years of experience and over 3,000 bespoke events behind them, it’s fair to say that PapaKåta know a thing or two about tents. Their dedicated event planning service and luxury portfolio of furnishings will ensure your wedding or party is an atmospheric, magical celebration with memories that will last forever.

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P E N TO N PA R K Penton Park is a sophisticated, elegant family home which opens for just 20 weddings a year, with an in-house events team to support your every need. Presently listed on the London Evening Standard top 30 venues for 2018, and rated TWIA best Countryside Venue in the South and Central region, Penton Park has earned its place on the map as one of the best venues in Hampshire.

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PLAS DINAM Set in spectacular scenery in Wales, Plas Dinam is a beautiful family home with an amazing Old Stables wedding barn. You have exclusive use, the freedom to choose suppliers and party the night away in the stables. Outdoor ceremonies enjoy the backdrop of wild flower meadows and mountains. Plas Dinam has 15 bedrooms and the option to self-cater, creating a unique wedding weekend.

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S TAT I O N E R S ’ H A L L Dating back to the sixteenth century, history and tradition are at the heart of London’s Stationers’ Hall. The Grade I listed building is located close to St. Paul’s Cathedral and offers a seamless blend of welcoming warmth and arresting grandeur. Stationers’ Hall has four magnificent interlinking rooms, making the Hall suitable all year round for weddings. They also have a beautiful, secluded garden, perfect for drinks receptions and photos.

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THE KINGS ARMS Nestled in the heart of Christchurch, Dorset located next to the Avon River and surrounded by Normandy Castle Ruins, The Kings Pavilion boasts a tranquil setting for your wedding ceremony. Their exclusive use Priory Suite is the perfect setting for your wedding breakfast and evening celebrations. Its neutral blank canvas works for any wedding styling. They have a number of wedding packages available and as experts in the industry can help tailor these or create a bespoke quotation.

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THE TYTHE BARN The Tythe Barn, in Launton, is an incredibly beautiful 14th Century thatched barn on a working farm. Entirely exclusive and wonderfully private, this country wedding venue flaunts a stunning rural setting. The family-run business is well-known for its faultless attention to detail and is loved by couples for its flexibility and relaxed atmosphere. It really is perfection in the countryside.

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THURNING HALL In the heart of the Norfolk countryside lies a beautiful 18th century Georgian mansion… A magical place for bohemian banquets, whimsical woodland parties, eclectic extravaganzas or relaxed garden vibes. The house offers an authentic period backdrop for your ceremony; the sprawling gardens provide an expanse of hidden charms for a memorable reception. Thurning Hall is the ‘dry hire’ venue to design the wedding of your dreams.

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When it came to the venue, we wanted somewhere that felt modern, classic and that we could make our own – but that wasn’t a huge project to take on. Morden Hall in London was the perfect venue for us, with beautiful grounds, small or large spaces to suit your wedding party needs, a beautiful orangery and a modern almost barn-style wedding breakfast area. The staff, particularly Emma, were incredible in the run up to the day and everything ran smoothly – we couldn’t have asked for more.

We held the ceremony at Morden Hall in their Willow Room, which opens out into the beautiful grounds. We walked down the aisle to ‘Angels’ by The XX and as Christina works in the film industry we chose readings and adapted vows from some of our favourite films.

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REAL WEDDING


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I wanted to keep my dress simple and I fell in love with a Martina Liana figure skimming ivory gown made from bellagio crepe fabric, light vintage lace and buttons leading up the entire length of the dress.

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY B E AT R I C I P H OTO G R A P H Y

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REAL WEDDING


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A traditional wedding cake wasn’t important to us so we bought cupcakes and Krispy Kremes from our local supermarket. Christina’s awesome 90 year-old Nana also made some of her famous cherry and dark chocolate rock cakes, which meant the world to us.

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REAL WEDDING


As a very camera shy couple we knew finding the perfect wedding photographer to put us at ease was key. We found Alline of Beatrici Photography and fell in love with her natural, unobtrusive style.. It felt like having a friend take our photos as we felt completely at ease and Alline was such a positive and inspirational person to have as part of our day.


Venue Morden Hall Photography Beatrici Photography Florist RoCo Dress Designer Martina Liana Bridal Boutique Love Bridal Bridal Shoes Gianvito Rossi Wedding Band & Engagement Ring Annina Vogel Hair Stylist Victoria Ralph Makeup Artist Amalie Russell Grooms Suit Gieves & Hawkes Grooms Shoes Cos Bridesmaid Dresses Warehouse via ASOS Bridesmaids Hair & Makeup Blow Ltd Drapes Bows Hire Stationery Papier Band The Hares Catering Galloping Gourmet 133

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R E B E C C A G O D D A R D P H O T O G R A P H Y AT H O LY W E L L H A L L


PA R T T H R E E

Your Suppliers


PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY


CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING SUPPLIERS W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

Choosing your wedding suppliers is one of the most exciting parts of the planning process. But, it can also be very time consuming, overwhelming and you may even go a little off track without careful planning and consideration! With this in mind, here’s my step-by-step guide to choosing your wedding suppliers.

01.

TA K E YO U R T I M E

Whilst it’s important to book your suppliers as early as possible, it’s just as important not to rush the process. If you panic book the first suppliers you see, you’ll run the risk of second guessing your decisions later on – especially as there are so many amazingly talented suppliers out there...

02.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

The majority of couples in the UK find their wedding suppliers via internet searches, recommendations from friends and family, wedding directories, articles, real weddings/inspiration shoots, wedding fairs and advertisements on blogs or in magazines. With so many options available it’s important to remember that this can and will take time, but the time you spend researching now will be worth it in the long run. So, do your research and make sure you consider the following: ʼnʼn The style of your wedding: are you having a casual or formal day, an intimate party or a lavish celebration, a city chic wedding or a classic and elegant affair? Taking this into consideration, do the suppliers you’re looking at complement your style and vision? ʼnʼn Your budget: It’s easy to get carried away and spend more than you can afford, but remember, if you splash out here you’ll need to cut back elsewhere. ʼnʼn Location: While some suppliers are willing to travel, others may not.


03. SEND AN ENQUIRY If you’re sending an enquiry make sure you include the following information: ʼnʼn Your name (and the name of your partner) ʼnʼn Your contact details (if you’re sending an enquiry via their website) ʼnʼn The date of your wedding ʼnʼn The wedding venue(s)/location ʼnʼn The service and/or product you require (i.e. if you’re looking for a wedding planner do you want them to plan your entire wedding, parts of your wedding or assist with on the day coordination only?) ʼnʼn A quick overview of your big day! In terms of the enquiry itself you’ll also need to ask the following questions:

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

ʼnʼn Availability ʼnʼn Price/packages and optional extras ʼnʼn Deposit and payment terms ʼnʼn Terms and conditions ʼnʼn Booking procedure

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04. MAKE A SHORTLIST Based on the responses you get at Step 3, make a shortlist of no more than two or three suppliers in each category that you love.

CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING SUPPLIERS


05. I F R E Q U I R E D , A R R A N G E A C O N S U LTAT I O N With some suppliers, a phone consultation or email correspondence should be enough to get an idea of whether or not you’d like to work with them, but with others (a wedding planner, stylist or photographer, for example) it’s important to check out your chemistry as well. If possible, try to meet up in person or arrange a Skype call depending on locations and availability.

06.

DO EVEN MORE RESEARCH!

Check out your shortlisted suppliers in more detail: ʼnʼn Have a good read of their websites, brochures and blogs (if they have one). ʼnʼn Look at their social media accounts - Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Are they active on these accounts, who do they interact with and are other brides engaging with them? ʼnʼn Look to see if they have any work featured on wedding blogs or in wedding magazines. ʼnʼn Read through any reviews/testimonials from past couples. By doing all, or even just some of the above you’ll ultimately have a better idea of what kind of person/company they are.

07.

MAKE YOUR DECISION

Follow your gut and once you’ve made a decision, break the good news to your chosen suppliers and start to iron out the details. Make sure you read through the contracts and terms carefully so that you’re happy with everything included. If there are any question marks, then don’t be afraid to query something you’re not sure about. Now is the time to ask, as you don’t want to end up with any regrets. Lastly, do let the other suppliers you’ve spoken to or met with know that you’ve chosen your supplier. Trust me, they’ll appreciate your honesty and courtesy.

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CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING SUPPLIER


P H OTO G R A P H Y BY L U C Y D AV E N P O R T P H OTO G R A P H Y / B O U Q U E T BY W I L D S P I R I T


A Note on PREFERRED VS. RECOMMENDED SUPPLIERS WORDS BY EMMA HL A

When you enquire with a venue or visit in person, ask if they have a suppliers list. Some venues are super flexible and allow their couples free reign, whilst others may have a list in place. This could be a stipulated list, where couples must choose from the suppliers listed (usually called a preferred suppliers list), or a recommended list where the venue is suggesting suppliers. For me, I really valued a suppliers list. As the first of my friends to get married, the world of weddings was all very new so this was the perfect place to start. For busy brides looking to tick those planning boxes, a suppliers list may also be the perfect time-saving solution. However, it’s not for everyone and it’s a really important deciding factor when it comes to your venue because too strict a list may mean that a venue is unable to accommodate your big-day designs. If this is the case, discuss with the in-house team and be open about your plans. If the venue’s terms & conditions are too restrictive for you, then simply move on. You ideally want this journey to be as smooth as possible and therefore your venue decision should ideally be made with both head and heart. Do also ask your venue questions about how they curated their lists. A fabulous venue will be quite happy to tell you and will exude passion about their preferred suppliers! As a bride or groom-to-be, I would want to know that I’m receiving the very best recommendations from my venue and not just being presented with an undisclosed commission based list.

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A NOTE ON PREFERRED VS. RECOMMENDED SUPPLIERS


QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

The following questions are just a guide and whether you choose to ask them all, or just a couple, will depend entirely on the supplier, product or service you’re researching, how much information you’ve already managed to find out and how much time you have at your disposal!

The Questions

Think of it as a pick ‘n’ mix menu to finding, fully understanding and booking your dream team of suppliers!

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Do you have availability on our wedding date? A bit of a no-brainer BUT you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget to ask this question! This should be your first question; after all you don’t want to waste anyone’s time, especially your own, if they’re not free. Are you able to send us a copy of your brochure / price list? If you’ve started researching suppliers then you’ll already know that a lot of suppliers only provide an overview of their services on their websites, with prices either being guideline costs or absent entirely. This makes requesting brochures, price lists, lists of services or bespoke quotations essential. Once you receive these, they should provide you with a more detailed picture of what’s included, helping you in turn with the decision of whether or not the products or services are exactly what you’re looking for, are within budget and whether or not the supplier is the right fit for you. Obviously, the feasibility of this and how much information can be provided varies between suppliers and services. For example, a florist can only provide guideline costs as the specifics are entirely dependent on a whole host of factors and questions, answers of which you may not yet know - for example; types of flowers, style of arrangements, number of tables, size of wedding party. Are your prices plus or inclusive of VAT? Some venues and suppliers are VAT registered whilst others aren’t, some make these costs clear in initial quotations and invoices and others only add them on at a later stage of the planning process. As VAT can make a HUGE difference to the total cost, the safest option is to ask this question from the outset and check/double check contracts before signing on the dotted line. What are your deposit and payment terms? Payment terms are always useful to know as they allow you to forward plan and manage your budget and outgoing expenses. If you’re currently saving for your wedding, then a supplier that requests a large deposit payment or even full or upfront payment may not be the right supplier for your budget and cash flow. Alternatively, if a supplier doesn’t require a deposit payment then this also needs to be taken into consideration, after all PAYING A DEPOSIT = SECURITY & PEACE OF MIND.

QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS


Do you travel and if so, do you charge extra for travel and accommodation? I for one love to travel and, as a result, plan weddings throughout the UK. The same applies to a whole host of different wedding suppliers so if you love a supplier’s work but know they’re not local to you or your wedding then you’ll need to ask this question, including how far they’re willing to travel, in order to understand total costs. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JADE OSBORNE PHOTOGRAPHY

Are there any other additional fees or costs we need to be aware of? Travel and accommodation are just one example of additional costs that need to be taken into consideration when researching and comparing suppliers. Other examples include on-the-day subsistence and damages and hire deposits, all of which will have an impact on your budget. If you ask the question from the outset, you’re much more likely to be able to compare like-for-like and there’s also less risk of surprises later down the line. Do you have insurance? It’s ESSENTIAL that you check that potential suppliers have their own insurance (public and employer’s liability) to cover the work they do for you and any errors they make or accidents they or their staff may cause. Any reputable supplier should have their own insurance and it’s OK to ask to see a copy of it. What happens if you’re unable to provide the product/service we’ve booked you for? Think about the importance of key suppliers such as photographers and videographers and carry out due diligence by asking them what would happen if they were unable to provide the product or service you’ve booked them for. If they have a plan in place to cover all eventualities, then at least you know. If they don’t, do you really want to run the risk of booking that supplier?

How long have you worked in the wedding industry? If you want to work with a trusted and experienced team, then wedding specific experience is a must! You can normally gauge the level of experience from a supplier’s website and portfolio but if you can’t then it’s 100% worth asking the question and whilst you’re at it you might also want to ask to see some examples of recent, real weddings and corresponding testimonials. Have you planned any other weddings at our venue/site? This question isn’t necessarily essential as most professional suppliers can easily adapt to any venue, site or environment! BUT, where a venue requires you to work with one of their recommended suppliers this is a must! And where wedding setup/turn-around timings are tight, experience is preferable as it means that the supplier in question is much more familiar with layout and logistics, which in turn can help things go more smoothly and ensure that everything runs according to plan.


Will we be working directly with you, including on the day itself? When working with any supplier, it’s important to know upfront who your main point of contact will be in the lead up to your wedding and especially on the day itself. Are you full time? Personally, I think this is a crucial question to know the answer to. It might not necessarily sway your decision but if, for example, you’re booking a wedding planner and you’d prefer to have day-time consultation meetings, then a planner that has another job and can only meet up in the evenings or at weekends might not be the right fit for you. Can we meet/arrange a Skype call before we decide whether we want to book you? For the key suppliers, especially those that are a large investment and/or will be working with you very closely throughout the planning process, it’s always nice to put a face to a name! Additionally, arranging a meeting or Skype call will give you the opportunity to ask more questions and further gauge suitability. Will ours be the only wedding that day? Some suppliers such as caterers will work on multiple weddings on the same day, whilst others SHOULD be focused solely on you and your wedding. Depending on the response you receive, you can always dig a little a deeper and ask further questions. For example; if a cake designer has more than one booking on the day of your wedding, do they have a delivery time slot that works with your schedule or separate delivery teams to manage multiple deliveries.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

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QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS


With a little bit of tweaking and careful selection, this pick ‘n’ mix menu of questions should cover the majority of your suppliers, with the answers allowing you to make more informed decisions. Obviously, some suppliers will require slightly more in-depth and specific questions which you can find further into this chapter.

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QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS


A Note on

PHOTOGRAPHY & FILM WORDS BY EMMA HL A

The choices you make when it comes to your photography will be one of the lasting memories from your big day. As the details start to fade and you’ve packed away all your treasured mementos, it will be the images that help to recreate your wedding over and over again. From a beautiful thankyou card sent to your guests after the celebrations, to the obligatory portrait on the mantelpiece, to the treasured album that you’ll share with future family – a photograph really does speak to the heart. So, I wanted to take a moment before you read the next few features to say please take your time when choosing your photographer and videographer. It’s vital that you love their style, enjoy being around them as a person and that they fully understand what you both want from your imagery. Whilst we LOVE our own wedding images, in hindsight, I would have asked my photographer about the delivery of our images and the options for albums. I’ve since seen photographers deliver their images to couples in truly beautiful and stylish ways and we just didn’t have this. In fact, our printed images are still in ‘that’ top drawer in the brown envelope they came in. We also don’t have an album. I’ll stop here for fear of balling my eyes out. And film… Oh gosh please have one. It captured our day in a way that the imagery couldn’t and I promise you won’t regret squeezing space into the budget to accommodate this cost. Again, the same rules apply - take your time to find the right videographer. There are some fab suppliers out there all with varying styles - from utterly epic feature films, to romantic Super 8 Cine films and cool and alternative films with a rock ‘n’ roll edge.

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A NOTE ON PHOTOGRAPHY


FINDING YOUR ST YLE WORDS BY HANNAH DUFF Y

There are so many different styles of photographer out there that it can seem really overwhelming when you first start browsing for your wedding photographer. Here are some top tips for finding the style of photographer that will provide you with t he images of your dreams.

DO YOUR RESEARCH You’re already reading The Annual so you’re making a great start! Look at the imagery here and on blogs online and start to make a note of the kind of imagery that really resonates with you. You could even start a Pinterest board or scrapbook of your favourite photos to get clear on what kinds of images stand out to you. For example, do you love light and bright images or are you looking for darker images with a little drama? Once you can see a pattern in the images then you will be able to search for a photographer with confidence.

COUPLES PHOTOGRAPHS Are images of the two of you as a couple important to you? Do you want a photographer that will whisk you away at the perfect time of day to create some beautiful images? Or, would you rather hire a photographer with a documentary style who focuses on capturing real moments as they unfold? L O O K AT H O W T H E Y C A P T U R E M O M E N T S If you want those big belly laughs, tears of joy and first looks captured, then investigate how your chosen photographer approaches these moments. Some photographers will prioritise these and others won’t. So, if it’s important to you, make sure your photographer knows it and make sure that they’re going to do it well.

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L O O K AT H O W T H E Y C A P T U R E D E TA I L S PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

If you’ve poured your heart and soul into creating a day that is styled in a way that’s personal to you then you’re going to want to hire a photographer who’s going to capture all of those little details that make it unique. Look at their portfolio to see if this is important to them too.

GROUP SHOTS Not all photographers offer group shots. This might not be clear when you first look at their website. For example, some photographers say that taking time over these images will affect the momentum of the day, so it’s always worth checking that your photographer is happy to provide this service if it is important to you. Group photographs can take up a large portion of your reception time. I typically recommend to clients allowing 3-5 minutes per family formal group image to ensure that they are able to schedule accordingly.

TA L K I T T H R O U G H Talk with your favourite photographer before you book them to understand how they like to work. Chat through their their process and ask to see full galleries of former weddings. By asking to see some gallery examples of weddings they have photographed in the past, you are able to get a real feel for how they cover a day from start to finish. Make sure they produce the imagery in a style that’s consistent with what you expect from their website, so you can be sure that you’ll fall head over heels in love with your own finished gallery after the big day.

Remember that you’re hiring a real person who’s going to work their socks off to create something magical for you. You have to fit as people which means that if you’re a fun couple looking for a photographer to capture the fun and joy of your day, then you should be looking for a photographer that’s fun too!

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JULIE MICHAELSEN PHOTOGRAPHY

THE ENGAGEMENT SHOOT

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THE ENGAGEMENT SHOOT WORDS BY JULIE MICHAELSEN

As a wedding photographer, I’ve had the pleasure and honour of witnessing numerous special days. However, I can’t help but notice that the best images come from the weddings where the couple have had an engagement shoot with me before their big day. This may sound like a bold statement, but here are 7 reasons behind why I think you should book an engagement shoot with your photographer:

01. Couples who’ve had an engagement shoot are more relaxed in front of the camera on their wedding day. This means that instead of worrying about being photographed, you can just enjoy your wedding day, which is surely all that you want!

02.

Couples trust me more because I’ve already given them a preview of how I work, so you’ll know for sure that I’ve got the photos covered. Once you’ve had an engagement shoot with me, you know what to expect and that’s one less thing to worry about. You’ll also know that I’ll make you look great without any unnatural posing.

03. An engagement shoot gives us an extra hour or so in each other’s company so that I know you better as individuals and as a couple. This is so important to me as a photographer because it means that there is an established connection and to me, that’s integral to successful wedding photography. I understand how you connect as a couple, whether you connect on a ‘touchy feely’ level or if you’re more jokey. I’m extremely intuitive and can sense whether a couple feel comfortable or not. After an engagement shoot, you can be sure that I’m not going to make you feel awkward on your big day because this really is the one day in your life where you just want to feel comfortable and confident. Once we have this connection, I can use more of my energy on the actual wedding day, creating beautiful imagery as opposed to trying to make you comfortable in front of the lens - we’re already past that hurdle and everything is so much more relaxed for all involved!


04. I really do believe that in life generally, and also during the wedding planning process, taking time out to appreciate the one you love is so important. Life can be short and fleeting so take some time out from to-do lists and just be together. Looking into each other’s eyes, kissing and embracing, living in the moment and celebrating that you have found each other… So many of my couples come away from their engagement shoot saying they feel even more loved up and appreciative of each other. Being asked to stop, close your eyes and hold on to each other is an excellent excuse to be present in the moment together.

05. From a practical perspective, I encourage my bridesto-be to arrive at the engagement shoot after having had a hair and make-up trial so that you’re able to see how your style looks on camera, which may be helpful in making some decisions for the big day. A bride recently decided on an ‘up do’ after a loose blow dry felt unmanageable and went everywhere during our engagement shoot!

06. They really are fun! None of my engagement shoot couples have come away saying it was a bad experience! Why must everything in life be so serious? Where is the frivolity? Where’s the fun? Getting married is of course serious business but it’s also one of the most exciting times in your life and I believe firmly in celebrating that!


PHOTOGRAPHY BY JULIE MICHAELSEN PHOTOGRAPHY

07. An engagement shoot is a great idea because couples these days so often don’t have beautiful photos of the two of them together (apart from their wedding photos) and I think that is such a shame. Photography may seem like an indulgent expense but it’s so much more than just a few pretty photos because these images document your lives, your journey together. Your engagement photos, as well as your wedding photographs, can become family heirlooms that future generations will treasure. As a Dane, the concept of ‘hygge’ has been deeply ingrained within my upbringing. It refers to a feeling of cosiness, of contentment, of celebrating the ordinary and there is nothing more ‘hyggelig’ than the thought of my couples showing their future children these photos and their kids seeing their parents or grandparents ‘when they were young and cool’ and in love…

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QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER WORDS BY HANNAH DUFF Y

I’ve worked in so many areas of photography in the past, but there is nothing quite like the challenge of photographing a wedding day. It’s such a fast-paced day that employs a wide range of photographic techniques; from still life to photojournalism to portraiture. It’s a challenge for the most experienced photographer. It’s also an unregulated field which means that absolutely anyone can decide to call themselves a wedding photographer and put together a website. So, just because you’re paying someone to cover your day, it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get ‘professional’ results. I’ve had a think about what key questions I would ask if I were to book a wedding photographer for myself and made a list of them here. I hope that they will help you…

CAN WE ARRANGE A SKYPE CALL OR PHONE CALL BEFORE WE BOOK YOU? Photography is such a large investment AND you’ll be working together throughout the planning process and all the way through to the wedding day itself. A face to face Skype call is a great way to have a chat through any and all questions that you may have before proceeding with a booking. If you’re booking a local photographer, see if they have time to meet for a coffee. I’m always delighted to have an informal chat with potential clients to get to know a little bit more about them and their plans for their day.

H O W L O N G H AV E YO U W O R K E D I N T H E I N D U S T R Y ? If you’re looking for a photographer that you can trust then you’re looking for someone that’s experienced. You can ask them how many weddings they’ve photographed before and also look out for testimonials from previous clients.

CAN WE SEE EXAMPLES OF YOUR WORK? You’ve looked at their website and seen some images that you really love, but is your photographer skilled enough to consistently produce work of this calibre on each and every wedding day? Ask to see some full online galleries that your photographer has presented to former clients to see the true standard of their work and get an idea of the kind of gallery that you will presented with after your wedding day.


W H AT I S I N C L U D E D I N YO U R S TA N D A R D PAC K AG E ? Each photographer might have a different level of service or offering, so it’s worth comparing what a standard package looks like if you’re meeting with several photographers. Some questions you might want to ask are: What’s included in the package? Do you offer engagement shoots? How many hours coverage does the package include? How will you receive your images?

D O YO U H AV E I N S U R A N C E ?

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOANNA BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Additional extras might include engagement shoots, pre-wedding or post-wedding events and albums.

It’s essential that you check that your photographer has their own insurance to cover the work they do for you and any accidents that may happen or any errors that they or their staff make. It’s totally ok to ask to see a copy of their insurance cover too.

W H AT W I L L H A P P E N I F YO U A R E U N A B L E TO C O V E R M Y D AY ?

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

This one is so important to think about. The last thing that you want to happen is for your photographer to be unable to work on your wedding date because, for example, they’re really poorly. Does you photographer have a contingency plan and if so, what is it?

DO YOU WORK WITH SECOND SHOOTERS?

You might want to ask if your photographer works with second shooters. A second shooter is a second photographer who will capture elements of the day alongside your main photographer. This is particularly handy if you want images of both you and your partner getting ready but you’re in separate locations.

W H AT E L E M E N T S O F T H E D AY D O YO U C O V E R ? Get an idea of what hours your photographer will work and what elements they will be capturing, this is also key to your on-the-day schedule. You don’t want your photographer missing the first dance because it falls outside their coverage!

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W H AT E X P E N S E S D O I N E E D TO C O N S I D E R ? If your photographer doesn’t live locally to you or the venue, you may need to consider accommodation costs on top of their fee. Ask if they’ve included this into their cost or if this will be an additional expense.

H AV E YO U W O R K E D AT O U R V E N U E B E F O R E ? If your photographer has worked at your venue before then great! Ask them if you can see some previous weddings at the venue.  If they haven’t worked there before then it’s not an issue, but it might be an idea to schedule in a recce so you can scout out some suitable places for your portraits and share your plans and logistics for the day.


HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY IMAGES?

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

Think about what happens after the wedding day has been photographed. Different photographers provide a different end product. For example; I currently provide a gallery of hand edited images via a password protected online gallery and on USB too. Once the couple have received their images they can then decide if they want to purchase an album. Find out what their system is and make sure that it works for you. The two key questions are: Will all of the images be edited? How will you deliver the files to me? Finally, any professional photographer will have some kind of contract or agreement. Make sure that you read it and check it against the information they told you when you’ve talked face to face, ensuring you’re happy with it before proceeding!

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QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR VIDEOGRAPHER WORDS BY L AURA & AL AN, THIS MODERN REVELRY

We started This Modern Revelry in 2016, knowing that there are a LOT of awesome couples looking for a film with a vibe that’s more at home in a music video than a party political broadcast. We get to work with some of the coolest couples around and so many great photographers. From warehouse bashes to the coolest destination weddings, stylish shindigs to modern minimalist weddings - that’s what we’re all about. So, when you’re looking for a videographer to suit you and your day, here are the questions you really should be asking:

I S I T A D AT E ? First, and most obviously – do they have your date free? We usually book between 9-12 months ahead so make sure you get in early if there’s someone whose work you can’t stop day-dreaming about.

W H AT ’S YO U R V I B E ? It’s a really good way to get a feel for your videographer. Definitely watch a few of their films before you speak to them and if their vibe fits with yours, then you’ll get all the feels. This should totally be your second question and is by far the most important – style is EVERYTHING.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOANNA BONGARD

MAKE LIGHT WORK Your videographer (and photographer) will be able to help when you’re putting together a timeline. There will be certain times of day when it will be much better to shoot, and certain locations within your venue that can be harder to shoot than others. Just check in with them, sooner rather than later – to make sure you’ve got your couple/bridal party session scheduled at a time when the light isn’t too harsh or too dark and that your speeches (if you’re having them captured) will be somewhere that will work for everyone.

GETTING AROUND

BE HONEST If there’s something specific you like about their work – definitely tell them – it will help your videographer know what you want. Equally, tell them if there’s something you don’t like. We want everyone to get a wedding film that they’ll love, even if it means pointing you to someone who we think you’ll love even more than us.

On the day, if your wedding isn’t all taking place on one site then you’ll just need to chat about how your videographer will travel too. If they can travel with you or your bridal party they’ll be able to get those all important last moments before you leave. Don’t forget though, the more time you spend travelling between locations the less time you’ll have to enjoy the party.

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Tips

S O M E T H I N G S D O N ’ T M AT T E R Particularly whether your videographer has worked at the venue before, or with your photographer. Whilst there are both venues and photographers we’ve worked with before and LOVED (and do ask if you want to know!) we are always really relaxed and chilled about everything. A lot of the time we prefer working at new venues as we get inspired to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the place and shake things up.

HOLD ON TIGHT Holding hands, arms round each other’s waist, high-fives, fist bumps – make sure you’ve got some kind of physical connection when being filmed! If you’re walking around this gives you a great chemistry (and looks awesome!).

MOVEMENT IS OUR JAM Try to grab 5 or 10 minutes with just your videographer – we can get great footage from your portrait session with your photographer, but we just want you to relax a bit and have your own private party. That way your film will have awesome dynamics and capture more than you guys staring off into the distance or into each other’s eyes.

HEAR ME OUT Audio is key – if you’re having your vows and speeches captured your videographer will likely give you a small recorder that slips in your pocket and a tiny lapel microphone that you won’t really see so they can capture nice, clean audio. We’ve got a number of different recording options so we can work with whatever you’re planning to wear and wherever you’re planning to be. 160 Q U E S T I O N S

TO ASK YOUR VIDEOGRAPHER


THE BEST INGREDIENTS There is literally nothing better than a confetti shot. Don’t be afraid to have some fun and get into it – spin round, kiss part way down the tunnel of people, pick each other up, run up and down giving high-fives to your adoring fans – the more fun you’re having the more into it your guests will get!

ROLL WITH IT Just go with the flow and let your wedding unfold as it happens. Sometimes the weather doesn’t play ball, nobody can find your leather jacket or things run late – but trust us – be spontaneous and chilled and your wedding will be everything it’s supposed to be! We’re light on our feet and can keep up with a change of plans no problem!

HELL YES TO SMOKE BOMBS Anything you see while you’re planning and go OMG YES include it in your wedding. If that’s glittery jackets, disco balls, neons, smoke bombs (they make an AWESOME ceremony exit), saying hello to the local alpacas or having your first dance outside under festoon lights. DO IT.

SECRET SECRETS ARE NO FUN Make sure your videographers (and photographers) are in on any secrets or surprises – if there’s something happening that other people don’t know about then we can be prepared to capture some hilarious/emotional/meaningful reactions.

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Q U E S T I O N S TO A S K YO U R C AT E R E R WORDS BY EMMA HL A

Whether you’re picking from a list of preferred caterers at your venue, or going it alone and choosing your own supplier, it’s best to have some questions up your sleeve for those initial enquiries and meetings. Hopefully this feature will offer some guidance and ensure you’re comfortable and confident when you finally book your caterer.

THE ESSENTIALS ʼnʼn Is my wedding date available? ʼnʼn How many weddings will you cater for on that day? ʼnʼn Have you worked at my venue before? ʼnʼn Do I need to acquire a special food/alcohol/event permit for my venue and can you assist? (This question is important if you’re choosing to have your wedding at home or in a private estate that isn’t an event venue). ʼnʼn How many weddings do you cater for each year? ʼnʼn How long have you been catering for? ʼnʼn Can I see your license/permit/insurance?

My biggest tip on this subject is for after you’ve booked - make sure everything you’ve agreed with your caterer is in writing, right down to the smallest detail. Then prior to the wedding, just go through all of the agreed points again so everyone is happily on the same page. Your caterers are a huge on-the-day factor and this is one part you want to run smoothly.

FOOD & SERVICE

IMAGE BY SWEET ICE CREAM PHOTOGRAPHY

ʼnʼn What kind of cuisine do you specialise in? ʼnʼn Can we create menus with you or are there set menus to choose from? ʼnʼn How do you do food tastings – private, at our home, in groups? ʼnʼn Will you be there on our day, or will you have a designated coordinator? ʼnʼn Will you provide the necessary waiting staff? If so, what is the ratio of staff to guests? ʼnʼn What will the waiting staff wear? ʼnʼn Can we work with you on our schedule or do you have your own we need to follow? ʼnʼn Do you provide the tableware, linens and chairs? If so what are our options? ʼnʼn Are you happy for us to hire in our own tableware, linens and chairs? ʼnʼn Will your team be responsible for setting the tables (Think about who will place your favours, light the candles, add the table numbers and place-cards etc). ʼnʼn Can you provide menus for children/guests with dietary requirements/on-the-day suppliers? ʼnʼn When do we need to confirm menus by prior to the wedding? ʼnʼn When do we need to confirm guest numbers by prior to the wedding? ʼnʼn What brands of water/tea/coffee do you use and can we specify? ʼnʼn Can I see pictures of previous weddings you’ve catered for? ʼnʼn What happens to the leftover food? What are the options for leftover food? ʼnʼn What information do you need from me before the wedding day? ʼnʼn Are you responsible for the clean-up and returning the venue?


THE MONEY STUFF ʼnʼn Do you work on a set fee or a cost per head? ʼnʼn What is your average cost per head? ʼnʼn Do you charge for food tastings or is this part of the price? ʼnʼn What does your price include? (Think about VAT, gratuity, hire of tableware, linens and chairs, refreshments for guests such as water, tea and coffee). ʼnʼn How much do additional meals cost for your on-the-day suppliers? ʼnʼn Are there additional costs for guests with dietary requirements? ʼnʼn How much do you charge for children’s meals? ʼnʼn If we use our choice of cake-maker, do you charge a cake-cutting fee? ʼnʼn What are your payment terms? ʼnʼn How much of a deposit is required?

ALCOHOL ʼnʼn Do you provide alcohol or can we bring in our own? ʼnʼn What brands of alcohol do you serve? ʼnʼn Can you guide us on quantities per head? ʼnʼn Can you create signature cocktails? If so, is there an additional charge? ʼnʼn Can we use other suppliers during the reception? (If you would like to bring in a separate bar supplier such as a prosecco van or gin specialists, then check this is OK with the venue and the caterer, there may be an additional fee). ʼnʼn Will your staff serve alcohol during the wedding breakfast? ʼnʼn Will you provide bartenders for the evening reception? ʼnʼn Do you include a Champagne toast? ʼnʼn Are we charged for the number of bottles ordered, or the number of bottles opened? ʼnʼn Can you operate a cash bar?

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THE WEDDING CAKE GLOSSARY WORDS BY JENNIFER WELLS, EDIBLE ESSENCE COUTURE CO

Choosing the wedding cake is one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, mostly because you’ll be eating way more cake than you have ever eaten before!

WHICH CAKE? How about a modern twist on the cupcake! These new, trendy mini-naked cakes are decorated with beautiful flowers or seasonal fruit for a modern relaxed look which provides a personal chic treat for each of your guests.

There are so many wedding cake options available to couples these days, so throw out the big ol’ dusty rule book when it comes to your sweet treats.

We LOVE the delightfully fun drip cakes that invitingly tempt your guests! The tiered cakes come dripping in caramel or chocolate sauce, or some are even dripping in gold for a more luxurious look!

Here’s a little overview…

Maybe you want to keep it natural and romantic with a delicious semi-naked cake with layers of yummy sponge peeking through, dressed with beautiful statement florals or gilded in edible gold leaf to make it even more dramatic and exquisite. Buttercream wedding cakes are by far the current leading choice of wedding cake chosen by couples. Having such an abundance of techniques and textures to choose from, no single buttercream cake is the same. The buttercream gives the cake more protection and stability than the completely naked cake, keeping the cake fresher for longer. You can dress them with fresh fruit, flowers, succulents or sweets - the possibilities are endless. The huge popularity of the naked cake and buttercream cake and the desire for your wedding to be different from the rest, means we are seeing the traditional iced cakes making a significant comeback. World class designers are reinventing the traditional wedding cake by creating contemporary modern designs using edible metallics, marbling, hand painted illustrations and statement hand crafted sugar flowers to give that much more opulent luxe feel which will certainly WOW your guests! Alternatively, you can opt for something completely different! A towering centrepiece of macarons, a brownie stack, profiteroles, a selection of bundt cakes or even a doughnut wall - better still create a dessert table including all of the above! For a more intimate wedding why not try a waffle stack with fresh cream and ripened berries or a Scandinavian Kransekake. With such a vast array of styles and designs to choose from there is most certainly a cake for every stylish couple.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY EMMA BARROW PHOTOGRAPHY

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY LIBERT Y PEARL PHOTOGRAPHY

C O N S U LTAT I O N S & TA S T I N G S If you decide to have a professional cake designer they will guide and help you decide the right style for you. They’ll design your very own unique cake using their expertise, knowledge and creativity. All good designers will offer you a tasting and design consultation, some charge for this service which is usually taken off the final cost upon booking. Most couples choose to have a different flavour for each tier of their cake so expect to sample 4 - 6 different flavours at the tasting. Be sure to take along a look-book or Pinterest details showcasing your chosen styles in bridal flowers/table settings/stationery/colour palette as this will help your designer plan your perfect cake. The consultation will usually last around and 60 - 90 minutes. Some designers will finalise the cake design during your initial consultation so you can leave with a finished sketch, chosen cake flavours and final quote. Others will choose to email the final design and quote after the consultation once they have gathered all the information from you. Always ask about their process before your consultation.


F L AV O U R S & P O R T I O N S Most designers will offer a selection of classic flavours including vanilla, lemon and chocolate alongside more unusual flavours like rose and pistachio with saffron buttercream, lavender and lemon or elderflower and wild strawberry which is a twist on the classic Victoria sponge. Any good baker will welcome new flavours on request. If there is a flavour you love that isn’t on their menu, always ask if it’s possible. Consider the dessert flavours you are having with your wedding breakfast - if you are having a chocolate dessert you might want to choose a different flavour for your cake. I often get asked “Can you only have certain flavours on the bottom tier?” You can in fact have any flavour on any tier. Cakes of today are all supported with a strong sturdy doweling structure to support each individual tier. Another popular question is “How long will the cake last?” and I always advise couples to consume sponge cakes within 3 days for maximum freshness. The sponge will stay fresher for longer if kept whole rather than sliced into portions, so you may want to speak with your caterers to see if they would be willing to portion 2 tiers at a time. You can also discuss this with your designer at the consultation as they will advise you on the size of cake you will need for your guest numbers. I am seeing more and more couples having a weekend wedding celebration lasting 3 days and they’re wanting extra cake for an afternoon tea with family and friends on the day after. So, let your designer know your wedding plans. If you are fortunate to have some cake left over but won’t be eating it immediately you may want to freeze the cake. I advise to triple wrap in cling film then place in a sealed freezer bag and consume within one month.

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY TA R A S TAT TO N P H OTO G R A P H Y

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY EMMA BARROW PHOTOGRAPHY

TRANSPORTING YOUR CAKES Generally, your cake will be delivered on the morning of the wedding before your guests arrive. However, if your ceremony and reception are taking place in the same room, this will involve a room change so your cake will be scheduled to arrive within this time slot. Ensure your designer is aware of the order of the day and the logistics at the venue. Most designers will offer personal delivery and set-up on the day, so ask if your cake will be delivered in person or by a third party. There may be an extra delivery charge depending on the location to cover fuel and time. As a rule, I personally deliver cakes deconstructed and then assemble at the venue which gives peace of mind to my couples. It does mean the designer could be onsite for up to 1 - 2 hours if the design involves dressing the cake with flowers etc. Always check they have enough time allocated on the day. If you are having a naked or buttercream cake in a marquee or outside in high summer, ask for delivery as late in the day as possible. They’re pretty sturdy cakes, however in a heat wave it may mean you need to reconsider your cake placement.

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ST YLING YOUR WEDDING WO R D S BY P H I L I P PA & ST E P H A N I E , F L E U R & F I G

Wedding stylists are growing in popularity with the modern couple. A stylist’s role isn’t quite the same as a wedding planner, instead of all the nitty gritty budget and spreadsheet elements that a planner manages, a stylist will purely work with you to design the look and overall style details of your big day.

THE ROLE OF A STYLIST The role of a wedding stylist is to help you curate a beautiful and personal style for your wedding day, that both suits your tastes but equally, reflects you both as a couple. At Fleur & Fig we take on many different roles as a stylist; from wedding designer where we help you bring your dream wedding colours together in a cohesive palette and design all those tiny details, to working with your florist to ensure your wedding style is always at front of mind. We’re also there on the day to set up all your wedding décor. Our job is to work alongside you and your plans, or indeed your wedding planner, to ensure all those pretty and carefully thought out elements of your day come together around all the logistics.


WHY YOU MIGHT NEED A ST YLIST So, why might you need a stylist?

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JADE OSBORNE PHOTOGRAPHY

ʼnʼn Are you overwhelmed by all the creative ideas on Pinterest and are not sure where to really start? ʼnʼn Do you have certain colours in mind but aren’t sure how to bring them together or how they’ll look in your venue? ʼnʼn Your venue may be a blank canvas leaving you all the creativity and freedom to transform it into your own but you’re unable to visualise how anything creative will work? ʼnʼn Or perhaps, your venue is already quite grand with lots of its own features, so how can you make it ‘yours’ ensuring everything blends in well with what’s already there? ʼnʼn Most importantly, who will set up all your beautiful décor and ideas, ensuring they all come together exactly how you imagined? With wedding venues having back to back bookings over a weekend, it’s very rare that you will be allowed into the venue the day before to set up, so wouldn’t it be nice to know that on the morning of your wedding day, while you sip bubbly, laugh with your friends and have your hair and makeup done, someone else has everything under control and all your wedding details are being lovingly looked after? For us at Fleur & Fig, it’s not about whether you can afford a stylist, it’s about whether you can afford to not have one.

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FINDING THE RIGHT ST YLIST FOR YOU Finding the right stylist for you is definitely important. Some stylists may prefer to focus on rustic and vintage weddings, others may specialise in fine art styling, some may adore urban chic looks and others may be more about minimalist and modern styling. Seek out stylists on Instagram, follow their work and see if their style suits your vision for your wedding day. Pore over portfolios and gather inspiration from their styled shoots.

A STYLIST’S SERVICES

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY P H I L I P PA S I A N P H OTO G R A P H Y

Each stylist will have their own services and packages, but if I talk you through what we offer our couples then it’ll give you an overview of what’s out there…

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At Fleur & Fig we specialise in all things pretty and offer a few different styling services, including a more bespoke service which you can build yourself so that we can swoop in to help with the elements where you feel you need the most guidance. We also offer a simple visual service, including colour and texture design for couples needing help with initial ideas, brought together in a lovely styling pack which can be given to other suppliers including your florist and venue manager. For brides looking for full visual styling right through to on-the-day styling, we also help with creative direction. This includes paper details and design, floral design, tablescape design and selection of crockery, linen, décor hire, suggesting our trusted suppliers along the way who we believe would be the perfect fit for you and your wedding. All stylists offer their own services and everyone likes to include different elements for their clients. It’s important to know what you need help with so that you can shortlist stylists who can give you just what you need.

ST YLING YOUR WEDDING


T I P S F O R C R E AT I N G A B E A U T I F U L D AY We believe that it doesn’t always take much to give your wedding an extra special WOW-factor. It’s not ground breaking, but sometimes the simplest of things can be over-looked when actually, they can make the biggest wedding transformations. Five key elements that will transform your wedding ‘look’ are: 1. Charger plates - they will instantly transform your tablescape from plain to gorgeous. 2. Beautiful chairs - from clear ghost chairs to rustic farmhouse chairs, a chair upgrade will transform your wedding breakfast room in an instant. 3. Atmospheric lighting - whether you prefer candlelight or festoon lighting, this type of décor can instantly transform spaces in your venue and create a beautiful mood. 4. Coloured linen - who said weddings had to be ‘white’? How about elegant grey table linen or beautiful blush silks? Lovely linen can turn your wedding from standard to stylish in an instant. 5. An abundance of beautiful flowers - we truly believe that there can never be enough flowers at a wedding! Don’t forget there are many clever ways you can reuse ceremony flowers for other parts of your day.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JADE OSBORNE PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography Philippa Sian Photography Planning & Coordination Charlotte Nichols Design & Styling Fleur & Fig Venue The Matara Centre Floral Design Floribunda Rose Furniture Hire Classic Crockery Chairs Blue Goose Hire Silk Ribbon & Liners Silk & Purl Bridal Boutique Heart A Flutter Shoes Harriet Wilde Accessories & Jewellery Tilly Thomas Lux Engagement Ring The London Victorian Ring Co. Stationery De Winton Paper Co. Cake The Vanilla Pod Bakery Hair & Makeup Alison Jenner Name Tags Made in 57 Calligraphy Conkers Blum Calligraphy


P H OTO G R A P H Y BY K AT H I L L P H OTO G R A P H Y

HIRING PROPS & DÉCOR

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HIRING PROPS & DÉCOR WO R D S BY P E N N Y B A L D R Y, T H E L I T T L E L E N D I N G C O.

When you’re considering your big day décor, I’d ask you to start by thinking about your own relationship story and what’s brought you together as a couple. Did you travel the world together or were you long time drinking buddies? Maybe you have a similar passion or perhaps there’s a hobby you share? Whatever you love doing together, your wedding day should be a reflection of this. If you would hate a boozy dance floor then there’s no reason why you can’t transform the space into a super cosy, relaxing lounge space so you can chill with your loved ones. Or, if you love to party, double the size of the dancefloor and deck it with lights, disco balls and all the glitter you can muster. Whatever you love doing in life, let your décor choices on the day reflect that and your friends and family will feel your personalities throughout the whole celebration.

Practical Tips On Hiring Décor PLAN A VISIT If you can, definitely meet with your prop hire company and, if you have booked a wedding designer or stylist, they may like to meet you there to see the props too. Meetings really help to visualise all the elements you might need to book to bring your look together.

COLLECTION Collecting props yourself can often be one way to save a little if you’re planning to go DIY with your décor completely. If you would like an expert on hand, it can be helpful to book someone to deliver and set up the pieces for you. Most hire companies offer delivery and collection and this can take out all the stress of doing this yourself.

BOOKING HIRE PIECES As with all wedding suppliers, props can get booked up early. Start researching larger props and décor at least 12 months ahead of the wedding day if possible. As well as looking at your hire company’s website, look to their social media too. Often with very busy summer seasons you’ll see some of their latest props and set-ups showcased on their social feeds first.


RESEARCH If you find the prop hire company of your dreams but they don’t have exactly what you need then always ask if they can recommend another supplier or offer a sourcing option if you pay a little more. We are a closeknit community and suppliers are likely to have lots of other contacts for hiring props around the country.

MEASUREMENTS Ask your venue for a floor plan with measurements including heights if you plan to go big on décor pieces. It’s much too costly to find your furniture doesn’t then fit in the space on the day. Florists will often ask for measurements too so these are always worth having. P H OTO G R A P H Y BY K AT H I L L P H OTO G R A P H Y

VENUE RESTRICTIONS Check with your venue what restrictions they might have on décor pieces. As examples, naked flames aren’t always permitted so candles may have to be inside a holder, hanging décor may be at your own risk or there might be areas you aren’t allowed to decorate so talk to your planner or venue first. Look at existing hooks at the venue before you set your heart on having something in a certain place. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to put in your own fixings unless they are temporary. Electrical items, including lighting, usually need to be PAT tested and the certificate sent to the venue before the day.

HIRING PROPS FOR OUTDOORS

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If you are planning an outdoor celebration and hoping to hire outdoor props it’s worth asking your prop hire company how flexible they can be. With Little Lending, I allow couples to change their orders up until 14 days before the wedding so you can adjust your plans depending on the weather. If you do have props planned for outside and the weather is looking changeable on the day it’s worth asking your planner or a member of the wedding party to take any props inside to avoid rain damage and replacement fees.


Styling Tips H I R E E X T R A TA B L E P I E C E S A top tip is to hire additional pieces that can be used for table décor. Additional candleholders and flower vessels can be dotted through the other spaces at the venue to help keep the décor looking considered.

GROUP YOUR DÉCOR PIECES Grouping décor pieces at your venue will add the WOW factor you’re looking for. Don’t try to ‘fill’ the space but instead group décor together for real impact and to create the biggest reaction from your guests.

MOST PHOTOGRAPHED Think about the most photographed areas at your venue throughout the day. The ceremony, top table and dance floor are most likely to be shot the most so this is where I would say to go big on the décor you choose. Aisle style is everything and you and your wedding party will definitely be photographed here. The top table is where lots of shots for the speeches are taken so consider making the table décor more impactful or go for an interesting backdrop, because these look fab in photos!

MAKE MORE OF YOUR PROPS Lots of your aisle décor can be moved after the vows to your top table or you could use the ceremony focal piece as a backdrop for a modern photo wall later. Talk to your wedding stylist or the in-house team at your venue about having pieces moved to make the most of your props.

THE GUEST EXPERIENCE Consider the full wedding day from the view of your guests from walking in and knowing they have arrived at your day with gorgeous décor until the last thing they see as they leave at the end. This will all help you decide on the props you book and the placement and impact they will have on the day.

Photography Kat Hill Photography Tent Hire The Raj Tent Club Wedding Dress Rue de Seine Jewellery Grace Loves Lace Florist Grace & Thorn Furniture + Props The Little Lending Co. Bride Toria, Grape & Fig


A G U I D E TO W E D D I N G S TAT I O N E R Y W O R D S BY TA N YA J AG O , B U R E A U D E S I G N

You’ve set a date, booked your venue and spent many an hour on Pinterest. Next up, how to tell everyone! The role of stationery in weddings is often underestimated. But from the initial invitations to letting your guests know where to sit for dinner, and saying thank you afterwards, stationery communicates all they need to know. It sets the tone for your day, helps it run smoothly and equally enables you to gather the information you need from your guests. If you embrace stationery it can really help to bring your celebrations together. As with many of the wedding planning decisions you will face, stationery may feel overwhelming. The sheer amount of choice available coupled with this likely being the first time you’ve ordered stationery in these quantities, and the etiquette surrounding it, can all feel daunting. So here are a few thoughts on where to start to ensure creating your stationery is the enjoyable experience it should be.

THE FIRST STEPS Firstly, as with all aspects of your wedding, establish a budget. Know what you can spend on your stationery and be aware that different printing methods, papers, quantities, number of accompanying pieces and the stationer’s experience may all have a bearing. You’re already likely to have an idea of your guest list, having made sure your venue can hold them all, but now’s the time to start collecting their details. A spreadsheet can help here and doubles as a place to keep track of replies, gifts and thank you notes later on. Next, consider your interests and style as a couple, and that of your venue and day. Take inspiration from online, magazines, your venue and anything you are drawn to, it doesn’t have to be from the world of weddings. Try to narrow it down to a mood board of images and perhaps a colour palette (easier said than done I know!) as too much can be confusing for both you and your stationer. But, whether your plans are relaxed or formal, modern or traditional, make sure your stationery is ‘you’.

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W H E N A N D W H AT TO S E N D ? One of the most commonly asked questions is about when to send your stationery. Every couple and wedding are unique and the decision is yours. But there are a few guidelines that may help you and your stationer will offer advice knowing the unique style and circumstances of your wedding. In the first instance you may want to consider sending a save the date. The further in advance you can do this the better, especially if you have guests travelling a long way, you’re celebrating in the summer months, around Christmas, or, from personal experience, over Glastonbury weekend! Sending them up to or even over a year in advance is fine, but no less than four months before. Less formal than the invitation, the save the date should include your names, the date/s to be kept and a line to say invitations are to follow. You may also like to include the location of your wedding, but not necessarily the venue, and a website if you have one. Remember you are likely to need to order less stationery than the number of guests you are inviting as many will be couples or families in one household. But always order at least 10% more than you think you need, to cover any changes and to keep a couple for yourselves. P H OTO G R A P H Y BY G YA N G U R U N G P H OTO G R A P H Y

Next come your invitations! If you’ve sent a save the date the style should be consistent, but if not this is your chance to set the tone for your day. Your stationer will be able to advise you on wording your invitation but generally, along with the design and quality, it should suit the style and formality of your wedding. Typically, an invitation would include the wedding hosts’ names, the couples’ names (you don’t need to repeat this if you are the hosts!), the date, the time of your actual ceremony, the venue and post ceremony details. Keep it clear, concise and beautiful. Evening invitations should only mention the reception venue and please, no mentions of gift lists on invitations, ever! Think about what accompanying pieces you would like for your invitation suite. See my guide on the next page for the definitive list, but the most common are RSVP and information cards. The latter may include the venue’s full address, dress code, transport and accommodation details, directions, gift list, a note on whether children are invited or not, and your contact details. Beyond confirming attendance, the RSVP card can also ask for transport and menu choices if appropriate, and any dietary requirements. It should be sent as a card or with an addressed envelope, preferably with postage. RSVP dates should be no later than four weeks before the wedding and ideally around two months if you are planning on ordering on the day stationery. Also consider what finishing details you would like for your stationery suite; ribbon, wax seals, beautiful envelopes and calligraphy can all add an extra touch and personality. There are so many differing opinions on when invitations should be sent but, as before, do what feels right for you and your wedding. Traditionally they should be sent around eight weeks before a wedding, although the majority of couples now send their invitations much earlier, at around four to six months. You will also need to take into consideration the ordering process. Ask your stationer how long the design, print, assembly, finishing and addressing of your stationery will take before you can send your stationery out.

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O N T H E D AY S TAT I O N E R Y Once you start to receive your RSVPs, use that spreadsheet and finalise your guest list so you can begin to think about on the day stationery. These pieces help continue the look and feel of your day, as well as again giving vital information to your guests – from an order of service, to the cocktails on offer! Ordering in good time is especially important here - you have a fixed deadline! Leave ordering any stationery too late, but especially on the day pieces, and it may be more stressful than it needs to be. No less than 6-8 weeks and your stationer will love you!

BEYOND THE WEDDING Beyond your wedding day it’s lovely to have thank you notes to tie in with your stationery. These should be sent out within two months of your wedding. And lastly, remember – your first anniversary is paper (hint: your stationer might also be able to help you here!).

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Before you panic, this isn’t a list of what you MUST have, but rather a comprehensive list of what you might want to consider:

Your Stationery Checklist

BEFORE THE WEDDING ʼnʼn Engagement announcements ʼnʼn Engagement party invitations ʼnʼn ‘Will you be my...?’ cards for the wedding party ʼnʼn Save the dates ʼnʼn Hen and stag party invitations I N V I TAT I O N S U I T E ʼnʼn Invitation ʼnʼn RSVP card with addressed reply envelopes ʼnʼn Information card ʼnʼn Map ʼnʼn Evening invitation ʼnʼn Itinerary (for a wedding weekend) ʼnʼn Invitation to a welcome dinner and any day after events O N T H E D AY ʼnʼn Reserved cards for ceremony seating ʼnʼn Order of service or day ʼnʼn Welcome sign ʼnʼn Direction signs ʼnʼn Table plan or escort cards ʼnʼn Place names ʼnʼn Table numbers or names ʼnʼn Menus ʼnʼn Welcome notes ʼnʼn Favour tags ʼnʼn Guest book ʼnʼn Other little touches – transport tickets, door hangers; anything you can think of! AFTER THE WEDDING ʼnʼn Thank you cards ʼnʼn Change of name or address cards

Photography Gyan Gurung Photography Styling One Stylish Day Florals Catherine Short Floral Design Stationery Bureau Design Crockery Classic Crockery Venue Glynde Place Rings London Victorian Ring Co. Table Runner and Napkins Silk & Purl Tablecloth Just 4 Linen Furniture Wedhead London


PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY


YOUR FLORAL GLOSSARY W O R D S BY J AY A R C H E R

We covered the wedding flowers budget in chapter one along with some notes on the kind of questions you should ask your potential florists, but to help you further we’ve pulled together a seasonal floral glossary! This should help you discover the types of flowers available for your wedding and allow you to open the style discussion with your florist like a pro…

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Spring

Ah, spring - the most scented season! Think striking little spears of pale blue and ice white muscari, multi-tonal almost pearlescent hellebore and the tiny nodding heady scented bells of lily of the valley! Also in spring: ʼnʼn Blossom – Apple, quince, cherry, magnolia, prunus, spirea and others. ʼnʼn Tulips – French tulips are a real treat, with their long stems and peachy heads. Parrot tulips and English tulips are available in every colour you can imagine! ʼnʼn Wallflowers – Available from local growers only usually. Their petals have the most amazing colour variations which remind me of a Turner sky! ʼnʼn Ranunculus – Peonies are not quite about yet so ranunculus are the next best thing and beautiful in their own right. ʼnʼn Anemones – The much-desired navy-eyed variety are more expensive than their white centred counterparts. I think the white ones are pure and classic. ʼnʼn Narcissi and paper whites – The scent of these little flowery fireworks is quite something! Strong and heady, they can be overwhelming when used in table centres but good for bouquets. ʼnʼn Forget-me-nots – Tiny, delicate dots of sky blue. Dreamy. ʼnʼn Fritillaries – Beautiful little nodding heads of dusky purple with a chequered pattern. Working to a palette of pastel pinks, creamy whites, vintage dusky pinks and soft blues, I’d suggest mixing spring flowers with catkins, twigs and senecio foliage.

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THE FLORAL GLOSSARY


PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

THE FLORAL GLOSSARY

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Summer Peony season! The ones brides all go mad for!

Summer is bright, bold and energetic, lots of people marry in outdoor ceremonies and marquees so think about colour. White flowers look great on the day but may not show up in your photographs at all. Using a base of beech, birch and hazel think jewel tones of pinks, deep midnight blue and oranges. Delphiniums and roses are at their best now, along with: ʼnʼn Stocks – Scented spears of lilac, purple, pink, fuchsia, white or nude peach. ʼnʼn Foxgloves – Now available in peach, blush and violet. ʼnʼn Sweet peas – An English garden classic. ʼnʼn Flowering herbs such as mint, rosemary, bay and sage. Mixing these with your arrangements adds to the multi-sensory experience and frankly, are delicious. And could tie in with your cocktails? ʼnʼn Campanula – Pretty bells of white and lilac. ʼnʼn Snapdragons – Bright and bold! Do you remember playing with them as kids? ʼnʼn Scabious and zinnia – Other cottage garden favourites. Using accent colours of gold or champagne works well with bold summer tones, or keep it simple with pretty cut glass. Late summer sees hops become available which are great for dressing big spaces.


Autumn


Autumn

Autumn is hands down my absolute favourite season - to be in, to work with and create for! It’s a great month for colour and if you’re on a budget you can cut back on flowers and use the readily available foliages all around. Berries, fruiting branches and dahlias come into their own this time of year and bloom (larger headed) chrysanthemums are to die for: Viburnum berry – A steely blue hard berry, with dark green foliage. Cute in buttonholes. Blackberries, sloe and apples – Arching, great branches of laden fruit, luxurious and typically English. Hydrangea – Available throughout the summer, they’re at their best now, especially the English ones. In a range of colours, the pink and deep reds are ever popular with brides and the natural foliage is a winner. Roses – Soft English rose bushes have a second flush around September/early October and can be great additions to bud vases and bouquets alike. Spindleberry, albeia and pheasants bush – There are some beautiful fruiting and flowering shrubs around at this time. Gourds and squashes – What’s not to love? Working with your florist to create foliage-only displays means you get the best of the season, which is easy on the purse too! Red, gold and coppers are all classic autumn colours but you could opt for a modern twist with wine, puce and blush pinks with the natural golden tones of dried grasses.

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W

TO R E C A P; Seasonal doesn’t always mean cheaper! Whatever the season, there are colours for you – essentially you can get any colour at any time, but working with the season gives you a greater selection.


Winter Clients are often concerned there’s not a lot about at this time, but there is! Although not English, most of the spring flowers are available at market with ranunculus, anemones and tulips - all firm florist favourites. ʼnʼn Amaryllis – Huge, majestic heads of velvety lushness in deepest reds to palest pink. ʼnʼn Flowering viburnum – The berries are available too. ʼnʼn White heather – Again, there are some beautifully unusual shrubs around at this time, both English and imported. ʼnʼn Euphorbia – Available in peach, salmon, red, pink, orange, yellow and white. ʼnʼn Skimmer – Dainty dark red berries with glossy dark green leaves. ʼnʼn Genista – Scented blossom. ʼnʼn Wax flower – A great alternative to gypsophilia. ʼnʼn Brassica – Ornamental cabbages! ʼnʼn Hypericum berry – Winter is all about texture, and mixing these colourful little pops to bouquets and buttonholes works really well. Whatever you do in winter, add candles! Warming up all those textures with soft candlelight is the way forward. Long dining tables work well at this time of year and dressing the space with moss and buried candlesticks is a quirky and original touch. Dark reds and winter whites work well as this time.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY HEART FULL OF TEA


TO GIF T LIST OR NOT TO GIF T LIST W O R D S BY A L I B E AV E N , P R E Z O L A

Pondering (read arguing) about the BIG question? Yep, ‘Why have a wedding gift list at all?’ seems to be a big topic of conversation during the wedding planning process. While you’re swimming in spreadsheets and Pinterest boards and everything else that comes with planning your big day, a gift list can often end up being a bit of an afterthought that only crosses your mind when you’re putting the wording of your invitations together or when your Gran enquires about it. But from your guests’ point of view especially, it’s a must-have. Do not, we repeat, DO NOT, feel awkward or uncomfortable about sharing details of your gift registry at all. Your friends and family love you and want nothing more than to help contribute to your married life together with useful, beautiful items you want, that you’ll treasure for years to come.

CHANGING ETIQUETTE Gone are the days when the only option was to open a generic gift list with a high street department store, sometimes filled with items you weren’t really all that fussed about but felt you should have on your registry. Thankfully, it’s perfectly acceptable nowadays to include gift list details in your wedding invitation pack, and ask for whatever items the two of you want and need on your list. From brands and independents you like to shop with, there are options for every type of guest, young and mature, traditional and more modern. It’s all about making it as easy as possible for everyone involved, and your guests will thank you for it. It feels great to know you’ve marked the occasion by giving a couple exactly what they wanted for their home together, doesn’t it? What was once a minefield of wedding etiquette has eased and we’re now generally able to put a day together that breaks with the norm here and there – or everywhere! – to create our own very special occasion that’s a true reflection of us. Your gift list is just the same.

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FUTURE HEIRLOOMS At Prezola, we have upwards of 50,000 gorgeous gifts supplied by 500 top homeware brands, including favourites like Wedgwood and The White Company together with specialist boutique brands such as Soho Home, OKA and Graham & Green. You can fill your list with everything from future heirloom pieces such as quality cutlery, ovenware, linens and glassware to artwork, fun kitchen items and interior décor accessories at lots of different price points to suit all your guests. There can be choices for both the traditional sorts you know and those who’d prefer to break with all that completely and get you something really personal. lso, you can add honeymoon funds, cash A contributions, charity donations and custom gifts of your choice to your list as well. It’s easy to make it an experience you and your guests will enjoy without any pressure or awkward envelopes being passed to your parents and best man on your big day!  here’s also another added bonus - your guests T don’t need to lug a large gift to the venue either. At Prezola, we collect, wrap and courier all your gifts to you in one big delivery after your honeymoon whenever it’s convenient for you so you can set some time aside to have your very own special present party. It’s a simple, enjoyable process resulting in happiness all round, just as it should be.

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1 0 M U S T H AV E S F O R YO U R G I F T L I S T WORDS BY EMMA HL A

So, you’ve decided it’s a resounding YES to having a gift list. Good shout. You’re already winning at life. But what should you include?

01.

Here’s 10 top picks to get you started with your own gift list shopping…

T H E D I N N E RWA R E S E T

Getting married means it’s time to update your dinnerware to include a fancier, more grown-up everyday set, along with a more expensive set to bring out at special occasions. Dubbed ‘the wedding china’, this present really makes dinner time special – because you can say things your parents did such as “Honey, can you get out the wedding china? Your parents are coming for dinner!”

Murmur, The Charcoal Ceramic Collection, From £10

T H E Q U I R K Y WA L L P R I N T

02.

Whether it’s a map of where you first met, your favourite quote or a piece of art that makes your heart sing, everyone loves a good print in the home. It’s also oh-so-Instagram-able, plus it’s the perfect excuse to create a gallery wall in the home.

Mind The Gap, Inhale, Black Framed Print, 90 x 90cm, £250


03.

THE HEIRLOOM

While it’s completely fine to add that cute wall print for the bedroom to your list, make sure you’ve also added gifts that will be used for years to come. A serving dish brought out at special meals, a vase to hold all future bouquets or a photo frame to display your wedding photo – all of these heirloom-style gifts will be the first to be snapped up by your guests.

Le Creuset Cast Iron Oval Casserole Dish, Marseille Blue, £230

04. THE CL ASSIC - KITCHENAID You knew this was coming so let’s get it out of the way early on; the KitchenAid is a classic wedding gift because it will last a lifetime. It’ll be there to bake all your future birthday cakes, special anniversary desserts and weekend goodies. Many people have had the same KitchenAid for decades and it’s a trusty gift to stand proudly in your newlywed home. Not only this, but it’s the type of gift you wouldn’t buy yourself so a wedding gift list is the perfect time to snatch this up.

KitchenAid, Copper Artisan Stand Mixer, £789

05.

T H E N E W LY W E D P R I D E

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You’re getting married… that’s huge! Celebrate it with pride by adding a gift to your list that celebrates your new status. Whether it’s a Mr & Mrs print, Hers & Hers mugs or Mr & Mr salt & pepper shakers, guests will love to buy something with your new title because everyone loves love.

M U S T H AV E S F O R YO U R G I F T L I S T

‘Mr & Mr’ Word Frame, Vintage Playing Cards, £55


06.

T H E T R E AT – T E C H

Once you’ve got all the usual stuff out of the way such as dinnerware and heirlooms, why not have a treat on your list? If there’s something you’ve always wanted such as a Sonos music system, Dyson vacuum cleaner or Apple iPad then don’t hesitate to add it to your list. Guests honestly love to help you out and want to buy a gift to commemorate your marriage.

Sonos, PLAY:5 Wireless Speaker, £499

T H E F U T U R E D AT E N I G H T

07.

You’re going to rock at this marriage stuff, so get a head start on the romance by adding some date night items to your wedding gift list. No, not that stuff – we’re talking about a picnic hamper for a cute picnic in the park, or maybe a breakfast in bed tray to spoil your partner on Sunday mornings. Another great idea is adding a bottle of Champagne to open on your first anniversary – romance nailed.

The White Company, Porto Stoneware Heart Oven Dishes, From £25

08.

T H E PA R T Y P I E C E

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Being married means hosting dinner parties, right? Go ahead and add something quirky that your guests will love such as a mini pizza oven to let the creative sparks fly, or even a set of shot glasses for when things get a little crazy. Don’t forget to add a party game like Twister or Trivial Pursuit M U S T H AV E S F O R YO U R G I F T L I S T to your list – people go nuts for one of those cheeses…

Graham & Green, Round Drinks Trolley With Marble Shelves, £363


09. T H E TOA ST ( C H A M PAG N E ) Along with the fancy dinnerware, you’ll need some proper grown-up glasses to toast all future occasions and hold drink at special dinners. This could be Champagne flutes, wine glasses, martini glasses or all of them. Gift lists are a great chance to match your glassware too, so don’t forget about tumblers and hi-balls.

Culinary Concepts, Silver Plated Hammered Lover’s Flutes On Heart Stand, £74.95

THE BIG EXPERIENCE

10.

Getting married is an unforgettable experience, so why not make it truly memorable by adding a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Could be a hot air balloon flight, a white-water rafting trip or if you’re feeling fancy a business class upgrade for the honeymoon. Adventure is out there, and available to add to your wedding gift list!

Mr & Mrs Smith, One Night at Halcyon House Hotel for Two, Australia, £420.00

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I N PA R T N E R S H I P W I T H P R E ZO L A


CONTRACTS, T&CS, DEPOSITS & INSURANCE W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

STOP and take a moment to consider the following... The “what ifs”, the potential consequences and the added layer of stress as a result of not reading, understanding or even having a written contract with your wedding venue or suppliers. The “what ifs”, the potential consequences and the added layer of stress as a result of not securing your venue or suppliers by paying a deposit. And especially the “what ifs”, the potential consequences and the added layer of stress as a result of not having the adequate level of insurance cover OR any wedding insurance at all. For example: ʼnʼn WHAT IF you’re forced to cancel or postpone your wedding due to illness? ʼnʼn WHAT IF your wedding venue goes out of business? ʼnʼn WHAT IF one of your suppliers has to cancel or doesn’t show up? ʼnʼn WHAT IF one of your suppliers takes another booking on the same day as your wedding? ʼnʼn WHAT IF your wedding photos or video gets damaged? ʼnʼn WHAT IF there’s a personal accident on your wedding day?

If you want to reduce or eliminate the risk of those “what ifs” and remove that added layer of potential stress then you absolutely need to take the time to research, understand and include the following as part of your wedding preparations…

CONTRACTS AND TERMS & CONDITIONS Contracts and terms & conditions with your wedding venue and suppliers are there to help protect you and your wedding. If you DO receive a contract or written agreement from your wedding venue and suppliers, then before you sign or pay a deposit you should ideally do the following: ʼnʼn Take the time to read and fully understand what you’re signing. ʼnʼn Check that the contract/written agreement contains all of the relevant information regarding your wedding, including services provided. ʼnʼn Make sure that you’re happy with the contract/written agreement, including cancellation policies, payment terms and the small print! ʼnʼn If you’re not happy then don’t be afraid to ask questions or query terms. If you DON’T receive a contract or written agreement then the safest option is to ask and insist on one, even if it’s just an outline email. If something should happen, questions arise or those “what ifs” crop up then you absolutely need some form of paperwork as without written proof you have absolutely no security or guarantees.


DEPOSITS PAYING A DEPOSIT = SECURITY AND PEACE OF MIND. And sometimes it’s even the difference between having a supplier OR having a no-show on your wedding day. Paying a deposit to ALL of your wedding suppliers is an absolute necessity because if you don’t (because you want to help your cash flow, the supplier didn’t ask for one etc.) where’s the guarantee that the supplier won’t take another booking or as I’ve just mentioned, will even turn up on your wedding day? As with contracts and terms & conditions, if your supplier doesn’t ask for a deposit then insist on paying one because there’ll be significantly fewer “what ifs” as a result.

PERSONAL INSURANCE Personal wedding insurance is the easiest and ultimate way to minimise multiple “what ifs”. However, more often than not, wedding insurance is either seen as one of those extra expenses that can be easily cut from the budget (if things are looking tight) OR is overlooked entirely. The truth of the matter is that such a small investment (between £39 – £350) can actually save you multiple times more than its own cost if things do go wrong. No matter how organised you are and how much planning has gone into your wedding, you can’t control everything and things can and DO go wrong. So what kind of thing could go wrong? Well, some of the most frequent claims to wedding insurers range from lost or damaged wedding attire to cancellations due to illness or bereavement. There are lots of potential scenarios – big and small – for you to insure yourself against and to give you ultimate peace of mind. Many policies will also give you the option of insuring your honeymoon too. If flights are delayed, luggage stolen or your hotel burns to the ground before you get there (dramatic I know, but it paints a picture) you’ll be covered for the cost of reimbursement. Taking all of this into consideration, the best piece of advice I can give you is to GET WEDDING INSURANCE as soon as you possibly can.

SUPPLIER / VENUE INSURANCE

Once you have your venue and/or marquee booked and have drawn up a guideline budget, your wedding insurance should be the next thing on your to-do list… so shop around for the right level, check the excess and check what’s included to ensure that you’ve put the ultimate fail-safe plan into place.

In addition to your own wedding insurance it’s also critical that you check that your venue AND suppliers have their own insurance to cover their operations, the work/services they’re providing and any errors they may make or accidents they or their staff may cause. Once again, you’ll be reducing those “what ifs” if you take the time to double-check that your venue and suppliers are covered for all eventualities. 201

CONTRACTS, T&CS, DEPOSITS & INSURANCE


PHOTOGRAPHY BY JADE OSBORNE PHOTOGRAPHY

GARTHMYL HALL

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GARTHMYL HALL WORDS BY GARTHMYL HALL

Garthmyl Hall is a unique, relaxing, flexible, friendly, accommodating and beautiful wedding venue in Powys Wales. We adore the eclectic charm of this country house. The house is licensed for weddings in many of the rooms, including the amazing light filled rustic summer house so there is plenty of opportunity to create your own unique vibe for your wedding day. A real hidden gem is the stunning and rather large, yet almost secret walled garden.

They offer total exclusivity at Garthmyl Hall; it’s your home for the weekend (or midweek) to do as you wish. They want to give you their full 203 F AGarthmyl M I L Y M A T THall E R S attention and when you choose you will be the only couple marrying in the house & grounds. You will have one person dedicated to you throughout who will go above and beyond to ensure every element is thought of.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY JADE OSBORNE PHOTOGRAPHY


The Hall has 10 stunning en-suite bedrooms and they can sleep up to 23 guests. The Honeymoon Suite has its own dressing room and two bathrooms! There is a beautiful ballroom that can seat 85 for a ceremony or 60 for dinner and joining onto the ballroom through three large French windows is their marquee with clear sides and lovely garden views, which can seat up to 170. There is a gentleman’s bar which is stocked with the best gins in town, a cosy living room and a large dining room that will seat all your guests for breakfast.

When you hire the Hall, you have full exclusive hire for 2 days, so you have ample time to set up the day before and you have time the day after to enjoy with your loved ones. They don’t have set suppliers so you can choose the ones you want. They are extremely flexible and relaxed and want you to have the day YOU want, not what they want.

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T H E H E N D R Y S AT S TO N E B A R N


PA R T F O U R

Fashion & Beauty


S TA R T I N G T H E S E A R C H F O R T H E D R E S S W O R D S BY L A U R A S H E P H E R D , P E R F E C T D AY B R I D E

First Steps

We know that you can totally rock research AND you know just where to look because you’ve got The Annual! So, if you’re at the stage in your wedding planning when you’re starting to think about THE DRESS, then you need to stop what you’re doing because this feature is absolutely what you need before you even think about venturing into your bridal boutique.

Now I get that when you’re planning your wedding, there are probably far too many people telling you to be practical, to do your research and not to jump into things too quickly. Well, I’m here, and I’m kinda sorry to say it, to tell you exactly the same thing. Please don’t label me as boring because once you’ve done the background work, you can relax and just enjoy all the excitement that comes next. So, put thoughts of trying on dresses to one side, just for a little while, and let’s get the basics right. Every single bridal boutique is different. Even boutiques that stock that same designers will have a different ambience and approach and, in the same way that you’ve found the love of your life to marry, you need to find the perfect boutique. Buying your wedding dress isn’t like buying anything else. It’s supercharged with emotion and meaning and let’s not forget that it’s also a large financial investment too. Put all those things together and the whole experience needs to be special, secure and personal. And that all comes down to your bridal boutique. Before you start making appointments and planning your diary around wedding dress shopping expeditions, here are the things that you need to do, check and tick from your list with a rather bold and brilliant flourish.

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Budget – Again, not the most joyful word when it comes to wedding planning but you absolutely must, must, MUST set a budget for your wedding dress before you go shopping. I would heartily recommend that if your budget is £1,500, you look for a dress that costs less than that because your gown will need altering to fit you perfectly and these alterations cost money. Know your budget from the start so you don’t daydream over dresses that cost way more than you can spend. Research – With your style of venue and dress budget in mind, get yourself online. Browse wedding dresses by designer or style on Pinterest, click through to designer’s websites and check out their lists of stockists. Wedding blogs and magazines also have a plethora of bridal fashion and will often be showcasing designers you can easily find in UK boutiques. More Research – Now you’ve got a little shortlist of boutiques by your side, you need to do a bit more research. Take some time to browse the boutiques’ websites – does their look and feel suit you? Do the photos of the boutique interior look good? In short, does the boutique seem like somewhere you’d like to be and does the boutique’s brand and approach tally with your own? Then check out their social feeds and check that again, you’re getting all the good feels. If you’ve done all that and you’re still smiling, it’s time to take things to the next level…


GET OUT THERE Armed with your stylish ideas, it’s time to get out there and actually hit the boutiques. From the boutique’s website, check out their policy on appointments. Is there a charge for appointments? When are they open and when suits you? Chances are that it’s going to be easier for you and your bride tribe to start the dress search on a Saturday but weekdays are often much quieter in boutiques. Saturday appointments can book up months in advance so get organised and be prepared for a little wait. We also have a few words of wedding wisdom for you too when it comes to arranging those all-important appointments. First up, be true to your budget. Of course, it would be downright fabulous to go wedding dress shopping with a blank cheque but that’s just not how it works. Everyone has a budget to work with so as tempting as it might be to try on ALL THE DRESSES, it’s beyond heart-breaking to fall in love with a gown that’s out of your price range. Keep it real.

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY TAY L O R & P O R T E R

Secondly, let’s just talk a bit about those appointments shall we? Wedding dress shopping should be fun, enjoyable and a kinda beautiful experience so don’t turn it into a military exercise. Book a couple of appointments per day max and avoid packing your dress days so full that you end up tired, confused and hating the whole thing. That’s not the stuff that wedding dress dreams are made of.


YOUR BRIDAL BOUTIQUE EXPERIENCE W O R D S BY L A U R A S H E P H E R D , P E R F E C T D AY B R I D E

YOUR APPOINTMENT An appointment at a bridal boutique is a big moment in your wedding planning journey. Stepping through the door is a little bit like entering a whole new world and because of that, there’s a whole new language you need to learn to make sure that you’re feeling totally comfortable from the word go. Appointment – Bridal boutiques operate by appointment only so that they can give you dedicated attention and individual advice. Don’t expect to just turn up to a boutique, making an appointment is vital. Some boutiques will charge for appointments (which is usually refunded if you purchase your dress) and some don’t, so be clear on your boutique’s policy when you contact them to arrange a time to visit. Lead times – You’ll need to allow at least 6 months from ordering your dress until it arrives at your boutique and then you need time for alterations too. Most brides start shopping with around 12 months to go and this does give you a decent amount of time to make sure that everything arrives in plenty of time. If you’ve not got that long before your wedding, speak to your boutique about the possibility of express orders with designers although you need to be aware that these will incur additional costs.

Alterations – No one is a standard size and just like on the high street, bridal designers’ sizes are all a bit different. Your gown will be ordered to a standard size and then when it arrives with your boutique, it will be altered to fit you precisely. Hems might be taken up, seams might be adjusted and once everything is done, your gown will be yours and yours alone. Pay no attention to the sizing on the label, these numbers aren’t important. How you look and feel in your dress is all that matters. There are a few other things that you need to know about your appointment too. Firstly, however tempting it is (and however many times you get asked), don’t take a huge entourage with you. Too many people equals too many opinions and you might well find that your own thoughts get crowded out in all the noise. You need one or two super trusted friends with you and even then, your opinion is always the one that matters most. I’d also urge you to leave your phone in your bag. Don’t take photos of yourself in the boutique even if you’re able to do so. How you’ll look on your wedding day is a world away from how you look in a sample dress without accessories and your bridal hair and makeup. Rely on your memory, not what is, at best, an average photo. You’re better than that. Don’t worry about how you look. Yes, your bridal stylist will be in the changing room with you but no, they won’t be judging you or your body beyond trying to work out what gowns will make you look you amazing. If you have nude underwear, wonderful. If you don’t, don’t worry. You’ll also score major brownie points with your boutique if you don’t wear too much makeup or fake tan that could stain their gowns. Keep an open mind during your appointment too. The dresses that you’ve fallen for online might not do it for you in real life. Or, you might see something on the rail that makes your heart skip a beat. Ask your stylist for advice because they’ll know just what makes you shine. Lastly, remember that you’re the only person who can decide whether this dress, this amazing, gorgeous, achingly beautiful dress is the one for you. Listen to opinions for sure but ultimately, this is all about you. Your day. Your choice. Your style and your personality. Keep that in mind and whatever you choose will be perfect.


O R D E R I N G , A LT E R I N G A N D C O L L E C T I N G Now I’m not here to tell you how to choose your dress because everyone’s journey here is different. Some people love the first dress they try on and others take a little longer and slowly fall for a dress without having that ‘oh yes, this is the one’ moment. There’s not a ‘right’ way to choose your dress. But, however you decide on your wedding gown, ordering takes pretty much the same format in all boutiques. You’ll be asked to pay a deposit (usually around 50% of the price of the gown) when you commit to your dress and then your boutique will order your dress with the designer. You’ll be given an approximate lead time and then, you can relax while your gown is made. Once your dress arrives with the boutique, you’ll be contacted and asked to pay the balance of the cost. You’ll also be invited in to begin the alteration process. P H OTO G R A P H Y BY H E A R T F U L L O F T E A AT H A L F P E N N Y L O N D O N

For your alterations, you’ll need to have your wedding day shoes and underwear. This allows the gown to be adjusted to exactly the right length and fit so it’s pure perfection on the big day. You’ll probably need two fittings and these alterations will cost extra. Your boutique will be able to give you an estimate of costs when you order your dress so don’t forget to ask and then budget for adjustments. Your boutique will then agree with you when you need to collect your wedding dress and everyone offers slightly different services here, so do check when you’ll need to take your dress home and consider where you’ll store it. The gown will be steamed and packed for you to take away and the majority of boutiques will give you your dress in a suitable dress carrier to protect it on its travels. Finally, when your dress arrives home with you, look after it. Hang it from a suitable height so that the hem and train doesn’t crease. If you need to remove it from the carrier it was supplied in, a duvet cover makes an ideal dress cover but whatever you do, don’t leave it uncovered and resist the temptation to keep trying it on! And that’s it. The search is over, you’ve got the gown and the wait for the big day is ON.

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THE HAIR & MAKEUP TRIAL W O R D S BY J O A D A M S , T H E H A I R & M A K E U P AT E L I E R

On your wedding day, you want to feel like the most gorgeous version of yourself, and your artist will want the finished look to encapsulate your own unique, personal style. If you’ve decided to book an expert to help with your hair and makeup, then there are certain steps to take prior to thinking about both elements. The dress really is the key to unlocking the rest of your big day look – so get this bit nailed first.

F I N D I N G I N S P I R AT I O N Once you’ve got your dress, then get inspired by looking at how similar dresses have been styled and what kind of accessories you fancy. There is so much inspiration online for your bridal beauty look and if you find you like elements of a couple different hairstyles or makeup looks, start to create a moodboard so your stylist can use them to build one cohesive vision. Also bring along photos of what you don’t like, because looks such as a smoky eye can be subjective. Your artist might want you to send through your ideas ahead of your appointment along with photos of your dress. Even if you can’t find the exact style you are envisioning, a collection of images will give your stylist a ‘feel’ of the look you’re going for. Images of your dress, colour swatches, specific flowers and even any venue styling can also help with the final look.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

When doing your bridal look research think about:  ʼnʼn How do you normally wear your hair? There are no rules – if you feel comfortable wearing it down then wear it down. There are so many clever things your stylist can do to make it look special. ʼnʼn When do you get the most compliments? When wearing a smoky eye or just a natural, barely-there makeup? When do you feel your best? ʼnʼn How much makeup do you wear day-to-day? ʼnʼn Is your venue dramatic and dark or light and airy? You can get away with a more intense makeup look in candlelight and at later timed ceremonies. ʼnʼn What’s your dress style? Is it young, fresh and romantic or glam and structured? Is the detail around the neckline or at the back? Wherever the detail is, you might want to show that off. This all helps guide your hair and makeup look.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JADE OSBORNE

AT T H E T R I A L ? W H E N S H O U L D YO U H AV E T H E T R I A L ? Scheduling your hair and makeup trial after you’ve bought ‘the’ dress is pretty helpful as it guides the whole look and focuses the mind as to how you’d like your hair and makeup. Your dress will dramatically affect the style you choose for hair and makeup - a ballerina bun would look a little off with a boho-inspired dress and a stunning back might call for an up-do instead of cascading curls. I recommend having your trial three months before your wedding date as this will give you and your artist plenty of time to experiment with your look before the big day. If for example, you change your mind on accessories, you might need time to schedule a second trial and so it’s good to have this buffer. H O W L O N G D O E S A T R I A L TA K E ? We usually suggest a time frame of around two hours for just a makeup or hair rehearsal and around four for both trialled together. If you might be testing out a few looks, discuss this with your artists so they can be sure to schedule enough time for your appointment. Don’t make plans for directly after your trial. Whilst our suggested time frames are a guide, sometimes trying your favourite looks can take longer and we would hate for you to not have the time to explore further. If you’re heading off on an engagement shoot on the same day as your first trial, just be aware that your final look (especially if you’ve been experimenting!) might not be the one you’re going to choose. I’d recommend booking this in as a separate appointment. BEFORE THE TRIAL Know what you want. Your trial will go much smoother if you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. And as mentioned before, know what you don’t want, too - that can be just as helpful! We usually suggest narrowing your favourite hairstyles down to two that you want to trial on the day and perhaps a quick alternative such as down versus up if you’re unsure; trying too many styles can end up a little bewildering. For makeup, perhaps look for a more natural and a stronger version of similar looks so that your artist can work through in stages. Any waxing or threading should be carried out at least seven days prior to your make up trial. These services affect the application and longevity of your makeup look and waiting seven days allows any adverse reaction to calm in advance. In the week before both your trial and the wedding, I recommend stopping the use of any hair oils (such as Moroccan Oil, Argan Oil etc.) as these cause the hair to drop and make it less reactive to hot styling.

It’s best to have clean dry hair. Either wash it the night before or in the morning, but don’t use straighteners or any tongs as this affects the hair shaft and make it harder to re-style. If you need to wash it every day then come with it washed and rough dried and the stylist can still prep it successfully. It can be really helpful to have a photo of yourself with your favourite hair and makeup for a night out, so we can get an idea of how you look every day and what kind of makeup you feel comfortable with. For the makeup trial, continue your typical skincare routine. Don’t put on any highly active products before your trial, just a little moisturiser. A clean face will hold makeup better. Pick the right outfit. If you plan to repurpose your look for the rest of the day, wear clothes that are easy to change out of. Select a top that is a similar colour and has a similar neckline to your dress - you’ll get a better picture of your big-day look. If your artist is coming to you then they will no doubt have a very large kit bag, so do prepare a nice, large surface area such as a dining table or kitchen surfaces (nowhere too low) so that they can set up easily. If you have any hair accessories or a veil already purchased then these are helpful to have, but we’re used to working without them so don’t worry if you haven’t decided on them yet. Bring a camera (or your phone). Your stylist will take pictures for their records, but do feel free to take any photos of the finished look. Bring along a friend or family member, they can offer much-needed support and encouragement. C O M M U N I C AT E ! The trial should really be an organic, two-way process where you get the chance to give your thoughts. Your artist will ask for your opinion at several points, so it’s important to communicate any likes or dislikes to ensure that you feel like ‘you’. Sometimes the look you had your heart set on may not feel quite right when you try it and it’s important to use this as a constructive starting point. It can be a good idea to wear your hair and makeup ‘look’ for an hour or so afterwards and take a look at it in different mirrors to get used to it. It can help you make that final decision and you may then have further thoughts on adjusting your look.


THE ACCESSORIES GLOSSARY WORDS BY SIU COLL, LIBERT Y IN LOVE

Accessories - for some an exciting part of the planning and for others the thief of joy! If it’s all a bit too daunting and you find yourself falling into the latter category then fear not as we have an easy guide to choosing your accessories. I think the first and only real thing to worry about is ensuring you do ‘you’ on the big day. What do we mean by this? Well consider your personal style and taste and ensure this comes through in your choices. If you’re a magpie then follow the glitter, if your day-to-day vibe is more minimal then listen to this. When you walk down the aisle, you want to feel the best version of yourself and you certainly want whoever you’re walking towards to see you instead of any one accessory. So, let’s start with a list of dos and don’ts… THE DOS AND DON’TS ʼnʼn Don’t forget your personal taste when choosing accessories. ʼnʼn Don’t think it has to be ‘bridal’. ʼnʼn Don’t leave choosing your accessories to the last minute. ʼnʼn Don’t be frightened of colour, if you have a signature hue then wear it! ʼnʼn Don’t worry about mixing metallic colours. ʼnʼn Don’t think you need to follow every accessory tradition. ʼnʼn Don’t feel you’re limited if you have a short hairstyle! There are so many options for everyone. ʼnʼn Don’t feel that fine hair will limit your options either. An experienced hairstylist, clip fittings on hair accessories and pins for securing everything in place can work absolute wonders. ʼnʼn Do consider your style of venue and wedding vibe. ʼnʼn Do have one statement piece – whether it’s a necklace, a pair of earrings or a headpiece. ʼnʼn Do be comfortable, you don’t want to be fidgeting all day! ʼnʼn Do remember less is more. ʼnʼn Do future proof, it’s OK to buy a pair of shoes that you want to wear again! ʼnʼn Do budget and add your accessories as a separate cost to your spreadsheet. ʼnʼn Do have an idea of how you would prefer to wear your hair. ʼnʼn However, do experiment with hairstyles and hair accessories. ʼnʼn Before shopping, do have an idea of what you’re looking for. ʼnʼn Do consider the style of wedding dress you have chosen. ʼnʼn Do consider your dress if you’re choosing to have a garter - a slinky or mermaid cut will need a simpler garter design. ʼnʼn Do have your accessories for your final hair and makeup trial (if you’re having one), it will ensure everyone knows the what’s and how’s on the morning of the wedding. ʼnʼn Do think about switching your accessories from day to night. ʼnʼn Do think about the fabric of your dress, ensure any bracelets or cuffs are not going to tear delicate fabrics if caught! ʼnʼn Do consider any heirloom or ‘something borrowed’ pieces and ensure your additional items complement. ʼnʼn If in doubt, do ask for help – from your bridal boutique to experienced accessory suppliers we can assist with piecing together your big day look.


SHOES Your wedding day is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a special pair of shoes! But, there’s no need to put your shoes away after your wedding and, if you’ve chosen a stunning pair, why would you want to? You might like to consider shoes that can be dyed for future use, or coloured shoes you’ll wear again or indeed classic sumptuous leathers and suedes that will last for many years. It sounds obvious, but it’s worth stating - always buy shoes that are comfortable from the start and that fit you correctly. Comfort is absolutely paramount because your wedding day will be a long one and you want to reach the end of it still feeling amazing. If you’re not used to wearing sky-high heels then choose a more moderate heel that will still look glam but keep you and your feet happier! Also consider concealed platforms and gorgeous flats as super comfortable options. You’ll need to take your shoes with you to your dress fittings to ensure that any alterations take the heel height into account so that come the big day, you won’t be tripping over the hem of your skirt or looking anything other than perfect. EARRINGS

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LUCY G PHOTOGRAPHY

When it comes to your earrings, you need to love them and feel like ‘you’ in them! After all, they’re worn right next to your face and will be seen by everyone. Thankfully, there’s a vast number of earrings to choose from, from glitzy crystal chandeliers to simple pearl studs. If you’re totally stuck on where to start, teardrop drop earrings are universally flattering and elegant on everyone. If you don’t generally ‘do’ earrings on a day-to-day, but you want to wear them for your wedding, look for ones with fishhook or leverback fittings. They still look just as special but are less ‘heavy’ in appearance than their stud fitting counterparts. Always try on your earrings with your headpiece and/or veil to make sure everything works together. Don’t forget that all of your wedding accessories, when worn together, should be balanced. So, if you want to wear a glamorous pair of statement earrings, don’t rush to wear lots of other accessories. On the other hand, subtle wedding earrings are great if you’re wearing lots of other pieces. Before choosing your own earrings, decide if you’d like your bridesmaids or maid of honour to be able to wear earrings that coordinate with yours. Lots of designers provide similar styles in different designs so you can all have a similar look without matching completely.

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BRACELETS, CUFFS AND NECKL ACES Bracelets, cuffs and necklaces come in so many beautiful styles and metal colours, from large statement designs to subtle pearl pieces, in silver, 18k gold and rose gold. Your personal style, dress and other accessories should guide your choice of bracelet and necklace. Consider layering delicate pieces together for a more eclectic look. Bridal accessory designers often design their bracelets and cuffs to have a neater fit, which is both flattering and more practical for the wedding day. If your bracelet is longer in length, consider having it resized so that it’s absolutely perfect. If you’re wearing a necklace, the neckline of your dress is one of the most important considerations. For example, a deep V-back dress is perfectly accessorised with a delicate backdrop necklace, whilst a sweetheart neckline looks great with a shorter necklace or choker-style piece.

B E LT S Embellished belts bring sparkling definition to your waistline and are a great way to customise your dress, making it truly your own. They’re also a fabulous option for switching up your day look. Just think how you’ll shimmer as you dance the night away! Belts are typically supplied on a ribbon sash, but if you prefer a more pared-down look, then do consider requesting the belt detail without the ribbon.

COVER-UPS Fluffy feather or luxurious faux fur are both gorgeous options for when the temperatures fall. A neatly cropped cover-up is eternally flattering, and will offer warmth without covering up your beloved dress too much. For a vintage-inspired look, a cape or wrap will add instant style and glamour. Keep the look simple to keep the focus on your dress. For winter weddings, a cover-up is an absolute essential! Consider a piece that offers more coverage, such as a feather jacket with sleeves or a collared cape. These will help keep you warm and comfortable when outdoors. Alternatively, non-bridal options such as leather jackets and cashmere jumpers give a quirky twist to your big day look. They can also add a gorgeous pop of colour, which we love.


HEADPIECES Your hairstyle is a key part of your bridal look, so do take time to consider whether you want a gorgeous up-do, flowing tresses, lots of detail in your hair or something more minimal. From styled shoots to real life wedding inspo on Pinterest, there’s a whole world of dreamy gorgeousness out there to get ideas from! Taking time to think about your overall desired look, and what styles you’re drawn to will help to pin things down. Once you’ve decided on your hairstyle, as with all accessories, do take the style lead from your dress. Although you certainly don’t need to have everything perfectly match, it’s a good idea for the details and tone to complement each other. And, as always, the key is to aim for a balanced look. With the vast array of stunning hair vines available, from delicately organic to heavily detailed, there’s truly a design for everyone. We love how they’re so versatile. In particular, they work perfectly with soft wedding up-dos the low folds of soft up-dos are absolutely beautiful and give you lots of options for embellishing with a hair vine. Hair vines are also a great match for deconstructed or braided hairstyles. Headbands can be dainty or dramatic, depending on the one that you pick. They’re also more versatile than you might imagine, and can offer a different look depending on where it’s worn. As well as in the classic ‘Alice band’ position, they can also be angled on the top of your head in a royal-worthy fashion, or worn at the back of your hairstyle.

BAGS A beautiful bridal clutch is definitely one on our must-have list, and we love bags that combine pretty and practicality in one package. Go for a bag that complements the overall wedding aesthetic in ivory or a subtle hint of colour. We love our ivory satin clutch bags emblazoned with ‘Mrs’, ‘Bride’ or ‘I do’ in sequinned letters - cute and fun!

Combs and clips create a point of interest to most styles including high buns, chignons and braids. Mid-sized and smaller combs are ideal if you want some detail in your hair but not too much, while large combs make a bigger impact. Some designers have matching jewellery, giving a highly coordinated and polished look. Hair pins are perfect if you’re nervous about wearing any hair accessory, and detail can be easily built up using multiple pins throughout your hair. Although they’re considered to be timeless and subtle, they’re not just for formal up-dos either, we love them placed in bridal braids for little pops of sparkling detail when you move.

Pack it with essentials only to avoid too much bulk or weight.

Photography Lucy G Photography Bridal Dresses Shikoba Bride and Stelfox Accessories Liberty in Love Hair & Makeup Zoey Stirrett & Nancy Spencer Flowers Living Colour Floral Design


GOING BESPOKE WORDS BY SIENNA VON HILDEMAR

It’s really happening! You’re getting married! And now comes the time you’ve quite possibly spared a thought or two for, well, even before you met your perfect match. It’s time to find your wedding dress. Your Pinterest board is growing and you can’t even remember half the designers you’ve started following on Instagram. You’ve maybe even started visiting some boutiques to try on dresses. Some you’ve liked, some you thought you’d like more than you did but you’re not quite finding the one. So, this begs the question, are you a bespoke bride? All over the world, different cultures have different habits when it comes to how a bride will choose her wedding dress. In Eastern Europe and Asia, hiring your dress is most common, while in South America, brides almost always have something made. The US sits somewhere in between a custom-made option and what we’re used to here in the UK, where there is more of a culture of ordering an existing style from a designer through a bridal boutique. So why don’t more brides choose to have a bespoke wedding dress created? A dress that is so unique and personal to the bride for what is the most important dress she’ll ever wear. Often this is because the process is unknown and possibly considered daunting, unattainable and expensive. The reality is that it’s actually something quite magical, and for most of us, the one time we’ll ever experience anything quite like it.

W H AT I S A B E S P O K E D R E S S ?

W H AT A R E T H E B E N E F I T S O F H AV I N G A B E S P O K E W E D D I N G D R E S S C R E A T E D ? Many of my brides have looked to having a bespoke dress created after trying on dresses in boutiques and not being able to find ‘the one’. Perhaps they’ve liked the shape of one, the material of another, the neckline of something else, but there hasn’t been a dress that’s stood out and felt completely right. They’ve worked out what looks good on them and what features they want to include but the dress that starts to appear in their mind doesn’t exist yet. Working together, we then build on this vision and bring the dress to life. Other brides have known quite clearly what they’ve wanted from the beginning and that they want to have a bespoke dress created that is unique to them.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOANNA BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

The word ‘bespoke’ comes from the adjective ’bespoken’, meaning ’spoken for’. In manufacturing terms, something that is bespoke is spoken for the individual, made to their requirements, designs, measurements and details. A bespoke wedding dress is a one off, custom made dress for the individual bride.


W H AT TO E X P E C T O F T H E B E S P O K E P R O C E S S FIRST DRESS FITTING Every dressmaker is going to have a different process that they work through with their clients, but I’m going to take you through how I work when creating a bespoke wedding dress for a bride to give you an idea of what to expect.

I N I T I A L C O N S U LTAT I O N This is the first time we’ll meet and is completely obligation free. Here you’ll tell me all your wedding dress dreams and ideas. I’ll give my input on how this can be achieved, as well as discuss materials and possible design features. We’ll also discuss your budget to make sure that the design is possible within that.

FIRST FITTING Here we’ll go over the designs one more time and your feedback on the sketches to decide what our starting point will be. I’ll take your measurements and from there I’ll create the pattern and first sample.

FIRST AND SECOND MOCK UP

This is the first time you’ll have the dress on in the finished fabrics. It’s a very exciting time and I always love the happiness in brides when they see their dress made in their chosen silk for the first time. In this fitting, we’ll check for any alterations that need to be made and look at placement of design embellishments such as lace applique.

FINAL FITTING Now your dress is almost ready! We’ll just check for any further fit changes, such as if the bride has lost weight, mark the hem length and finalise trims and embellishments.

COLLECTION The work is complete and you can now take your dress home, ready for your beautiful wedding day!

For a bespoke design, I’ll usually make two mock up/samples (also known as toiles or prototypes). These will be in a fabric that have a similar weight and structure to what the finished material will be like. The purpose of these mock ups is to refine the fit and design of the dress. There will be some changes required, which I then make to the paper pattern, before making a second mock up and checking once again to refine it further ahead of cutting the finished dress. We’ll also make final decisions on fabric and trim samples that I will have sourced.

W H AT ’S I N T H E C O S T ? A bespoke wedding dress is costed based on 2 things: 1. The cost of the materials that will be used. 2. The time it will take to make the dress, including any fittings, sourcing, production, etc. The more detailed the dress, the longer it will take to create and the higher the make charge will be. Following the initial consultation, I’ll put together a design proposal based on what we’ve discussed which will include sketches of the design and a quotation. If you decide you love what you see, we’ll move on to the really fun stuff!

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Top tips for making the most out of your bespoke journey CHOOSE THE RIGHT DESIGNER If you’ve decided to explore the option of having your wedding dress custom made then you’ll need to find a dressmaker to work with. Your first consultation is key. Be careful not to just go for someone with the best price but choose someone with whom you feel a connection. You’re going to work closely with this person and you want to make sure you can communicate your opinions. You also want to feel confident that they’ve understood your ideas clearly and that you’re going in the same direction.

C H O O S I N G YO U R S T Y L E – K N O W I N G W H AT ’S R I G H T F O R YO U I always suggest to brides that they start off looking in their own wardrobe first. This might sound strange as you’re obviously not looking to walk down the aisle in jeans and a cami-top, but if you look at your favourite pieces to wear you’ll find that they are things that make you feel the best because they’ll be the most suited to your shape. So look at what necklines you prefer to wear, do you wear dresses that hug you at the waist or that have a straighter fit over your hips? This will give you a good starting point to what shape you should go with.

KNOW YOUR BUDGET Earlier, I mentioned the two parts that make up the cost of a bespoke dress. Usually, the highest portion of your bespoke dress price is going to be time. Dresses sold in a boutique will often be made with a lot more machine finishes whereas making a one-off garment will have a lot of hand finishes. There is also the time involved in creating this garment just for you, rather than a standard dress being made multiple times in a production line. When you first meet with your dress maker, it’s important to communicate your budget so that they can advise you on style details and materials that will work within your budget.

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BE OPEN MINDED

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOANNA BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

I always tell my clients that the sketches I provide and the design we start with is always that, a starting point. As we go along and they see the shape on their body and we start to choose materials and laces there can be elements of these that might dictate certain design features. Not being too stuck on a certain design will allow the dress to develop organically along the way.

ALLOW ENOUGH TIME While there can always be room for movement, allowing 9 months to a year for your bespoke dress process is recommended. As you’re creating a one off dress, you might not always be using house fabrics and trims. Sourcing new materials can take time and you may want to see more options. Allowing enough time for bespoke fittings, sourcing of materials, and even enough time in between fittings for you to make decisions on design options will make it a much more relaxed experience. Another point to make regarding time is to schedule your fittings when you can relax and enjoy them. If you’re rushing after work and arrive tired and hungry to your dress fitting, you’re not going to be in the right headspace to visualise the mock-up of your dress made in silk fabric and fitting perfectly. So, if Saturday mornings before your yoga class are better for you, choose that time to schedule your fittings. You want it to be a process you can enjoy rather than become stressful and exhausting. Whatever way you choose to buy your wedding dress, whether it be a bespoke gown or falling in love with a dress in a bridal boutique, I hope you enjoy the process. Share it with your mum and your best friends and have fun. The fittings I have with my brides is one of my favourite parts of my job as it’s so wonderful to see them happy and enjoying the experience. Those are memories they’ll keep forever.

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WORDS BY EMMY SCARTERFIELD, EMMY LONDON

The Shoes

Emmy London is renowned for its innovative shoe and accessory designs that encompass undeniable beauty, a timeless elegance and delicate femininity with an attention to detail that has become iconic to the brand. At Emmy London bespoke plays a key role in our offering. Working closely with our styling team customers can create something truly one of a kind to be treasured forever.

Elements to consider when opting for bespoke; Going bespoke is perfect for a shoe loving bride keen to design a bridal shoe that is totally unique and personal to her individual style. Have fun throughout the process! Designing from scratch allows brides to run wild with their imagination and create the wedding shoes of their dreams. Don’t worry if you can’t draw - that’s what our styling team are on hand for, taking you through the process step-by-step. Timing is key - it’s best to allow 10-12 weeks for the bespoke service so bear this in mind, it’s never too early to start the shoe shopping. Go armed with as much information as possible to your appointment regarding your style, the dress and the look you’re aiming to achieve. We love seeing swatches of dress fabric and lace. This all helps to ensure your bespoke shoes complement your overall look perfectly. Whilst you won’t see your final shoes until they are finished you will see each of the individual elements that make up the shoe - for example the heel height, shades of fabric and embellishments. The final reveal will unveil your hard work and the finished product - all ready for your big day!


PHOTOGRAPHY BY CL AIRE GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY

The bespoke service step-by-step: The first step of the process is to make an appointment at our beautiful boutique. Our bespoke appointments last an hour and take place in our dedicated bespoke studio - a beautiful oasis of calm, creativity and absolute shoe heaven. During the appointment a member of our talented styling team will be on hand to talk you through the process and suggest a range of styles for you to try. Our service always starts with finding the ultimate fit to ensure complete comfort. This is where you get to have fun trying on a range of styles, shapes and heel heights until you find the perfect pair. Once you are set on your shoe shape the next step is to choose your fabric and colour choice. You can choose from our range of fine suedes, leathers, and silks in a selection of beautiful colours until you find the best combination for you. The final stage is without doubt our favourite part of the process - choosing the finishing trims from our selection of exquisite embellishment options. All of our trims are hand beaded using delicate stitching, ornate glass beadwork, mirrored glass, Swarovski crystals and bugle beads. Our trims are a true labour of love and it is this attention to detail that is so iconic to Emmy London. Once you are happy with your design choices, our workshop in Portugal will begin creating your bespoke shoes - this process typically takes 10-12 weeks. When your shoes are ready, we get in touch to book your collection appointment to try on your finished pair. We check everything is perfect before you take them away for your big day and beyond!

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THE WEDDING VEIL GUIDE W O R D S BY S A R A H B AT E S , B R I T T E N W E D D I N G S

The veil: surprisingly controversial, perhaps misunderstood and oh-so romantic. When it comes to the veil and whether it’s for you or not, some of you might know the answer instantly. If that answer is a no then I urge you just to try one on, once. You might change your mind. If it’s a resounding yes, but you haven’t a clue where to start then that’s OK. As this isn’t everyday attire, this means that few are familiar with them. Hopefully this veil guide will help you find all the answers to questions you might have!

What are the different types of veil? Single Tier Wedding Veils - These are what most people imagine when asked to picture a veil. Single tier means that the veil flows from its attachment point (normally a comb) down the back. There is no ‘blusher’ (a section of veil in front of the face). Two Tier Wedding Veils – This means that the veil includes a ‘blusher’ which can be pulled forward over the face. This is raised during the ceremony for the first kiss or at the exact moment you are married and is then swept back over the head to form a second layer at the back of the veil. Remember you may be carrying a bouquet, so would you like the veil to finish above the bouquet or drape over it? Drop Veils - This is a two-tier veil with no gather. They are often held in place with a headband or hair pins. If you don’t plan to wear any other accessories then an invisible comb can be sewn in. Mantilla Veils - This is a single tier veil with no gather. We sew a comb to the top of the veil so it can be worn at the top of the head. They are sometimes described as Spanish veils. Juliet Veils - A ‘cap’ of material holds the veil in place. This is a traditional vintage look, dating from 16th century England. It is believed the design dates to actors performing as Juliet in the original performances of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’.

Drape Veils - These veils have two combs and a ‘drape’ drop between them. These are beautiful for showing off a back necklace. Cape Veils - Not really a veil at all but a cape. These can be tulle or lace or a combination of the two and are a great alternative to a traditional veil. Bandeau Veils - These have a more vintage feel and attach either side of the head. Some makers use this term interchangeably with ‘birdcage’ veils. They are technically wrong but the terms are beginning to merge somewhat so check images to be sure! Birdcage Veils - These are attached at the top of the head (similar to the way a birdcage hangs).


What are the length options?

The names imply the setting they are expected to be used in but don’t be put off by this. If you want to make a dramatic entrance to a small chapel then go for it and order the cathedral length; by contrast if you are getting married in a huge church or venue but wouldn’t feel comfortable in a long veil then ignore the names and order what you like! For longer veils we normally recommend they are about 20-30cm longer than the end of your dress. To work this out measure from the top of your head where you plan on wearing the veil straight down your back to the end of the train of your dress. If this measurement was 220cm then a church length (250cm) would be perfect for you.

Cathedral length – This veil is usually 300cm long and trails beautifully. Church length (also called chapel) - 250cm long, this veil still trails like the cathedral version, it’s just a little shorter. Floor length - 200cm long. This should touch the floor with a small trailing edge that will vary according to your height. Floor length veils move more freely as you move. Ballet length - 150cm long, they fall to about mid-calf length. Fingertip length - As the name implies this should fall somewhere around your fingertips with your arms at your sides. At 122cm long, there will be some natural variation depending on your height. Elbow length - These veils are 72cm and generally fall around the elbows.

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P H OTO G R A P H Y BY L U C Y D AV E N P O R T P H OTO G R A P H Y & H E A R T F U L L O F T E A


Other considerations Colour is of course one of the main considerations. As with any of your accessories, it’s important that the veil complements your wedding dress. Ivory, off-white, white and champagne are the usual suspects but you can of course go bespoke! We’ve created beautiful veils in soft blue and blush before and the result is super romantic. The tulle colour doesn’t need to match your dress exactly, they just need to tone in well together. Veils have a number of edging options and again, rather than match to your dress perfectly you just want to ensure that the edging complements your style of dress and the fabric. Full lace – A lace edge runs all the way around, right up to the comb. The delicate lace frames the face and gives the most dramatic effect possible. Semi lace - A combination of cut edge and lace edge - a great option if you don’t want a full lace edged veil. You can have the lace start and finish anywhere you like. Satin edge - A satin edge runs all the way around the veil giving it more structure. Pencil edge - A very fine line of stitching runs around the whole veil. Cut edge - A cut edged veil is very much lighter and more delicate than edged versions. For this reason, it allows other accessories more attention and moves much more freely in light breezes; it’s a beautiful effect. Soutache edge - A soutache braid is somewhere between a pencil edge and a satin edge, it gives the veil a lovely finish and slightly more structure than pencil edge. Horsehair edge - A horsehair edge gives the veil a great deal of structure and the veil almost bounces! It is a fabulous effect! Lace motifs - Lace motifs are stitched to the veil at various points to create different effects. Bespoke – the recent trend for veils has been to have bespoke and personal elements stitched into the fabric. From wedding dates, your initials, to a line from your vows, it’s a really lovely personal touch and a heartfelt heirloom.

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THOUGHTS ON LINGERIE WORDS BY EMMA HL A

You’re either a lingerie girl or… you’re not. I think I probably fall into the latter category. Whilst I dream of wearing pretty lace bras and delicate knickers, the reality is all a bit more, well… real. THE DRESS FITTING I can only come at this from my own personal experience, but I can probably take a wild guess that each and every one of us about to embark on the first ever dress fitting will feel those insecurities start to creep in. Even if we resemble a model from that well-known lingerie brand. What underwear should I take? Will I be judged? What will the assistant think of my scantily clad bod? Do they really come in the fitting room with you?! That first ever appointment is quite a nerve-wracking thought. I remember booking an appointment at a boutique in London because I had my heart set on a grey Vera Wang number. But I choked. I felt like I needed a practice run at the whole getting naked and trying on dresses thing, so I booked an appointment at a local and very lovely (but not Wang) boutique to get rid of those flutters. The whole experience - but this may be down to the amazing service and expertise I received at said boutique - was not as bad as I thought. You soon forget that you’re basically half-naked in front of a stranger you met 10 minutes ago and start to enjoy the excitement of each new frock waiting to be tried.

Here are some things I learnt: ʼnʼn First of all, make sure you’re comfortable in the underwear you’re wearing and are happy to be seen in it! ʼnʼn When people think of what underwear to wear to a dress fitting, they immediately assume nude and strapless. While a nude colour is probably best, it’s more important that you are wearing underwear that fits you properly and supports you. So, when was the last time you were measured? Start here. ʼnʼn With so many dresses now having sleeves or wider straps, don’t think you only have to take a strapless bra. I would take your best fitting bra in both styles.

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ʼnʼn Now the pants – a simple seamless boy short was what I felt most comfortable in. However, if you feel the need to wear support/control underwear then of course do. I understand that for some of us, they’re like a security blanket. But honestly? In a dress that is well-fitted and flatters your natural shape, they shouldn’t really be necessary. You also want to be comfortable on the day, so think about how long you can actually survive in your spandex. A wedding is a long day my friends.


B E F O R E T H E W E D D I N G D AY ʼnʼn Make sure that at your final dress fitting, you take the underwear you plan on wearing on the wedding day. ʼnʼn Once you have the dress at home, it’s also a good idea to try it on again a few days before the wedding, just to make sure everything is still feeling the same. I had planned to go sans-bra in my strapless dress, but in that final week I seemed to lose a few pounds and actually, on the day, my dress was too big around the top – so not ideal. In hindsight, I wish I’d tried the dress on at home again as I may have decided to wear a bra, but on the day, you just don’t have time to make these kinds of decisions. Plan ahead and save any dress/underwear related regrets!

THE WEDDING NIGHT

Our reality aside, I think it’s lovely to have something ‘special’ for the wedding night, the mini-moon or the honeymoon. The garments that you wear under your dress aren’t always the prettiest, they need to be supportive and invisible all at the same time, so save the luxury for when you’ve stepped out of your gown. However, don’t feel guilty if you don’t quite manage to slip into something more comfortable.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JADE OSBORNE PHOTOGRAPHY

I thought I was so fancy with my cami-set and matching dressing gown all ready for my first night as a married woman. I imagined seducing my newly acquired husband in silk and lace, however our reality was we got into bed, recounted tales of the day and ate 4 slices of cake… each.


DRESSING YOUR BRIDESMAIDS WORDS BY EMMA HL A

When it comes to the topic of bridesmaid dresses, I have been on both sides of that fashion coin – a bride looking for the perfect dress to make her maids look and feel HOT, and on the other side, a bridesmaid wanting to please and assist. I am about to impart my own wisdom on bridesmaid dress shopping; tips for both the bride and the bridesmaid, should you want to leave this lying somewhere surreptitiously!

TIPS FOR THE BRIDE Research – It is in fact a bride’s prerogative, to spend hours poring over beautiful inspiration and wedding ideas galore. Especially when it comes to such an important decision as your bridesmaid’s fashion. I believe you have a duty of care to ensure your girls look and feel beautiful on your wedding day… After all, a happy sidekick makes for a relaxed bride! For me, I had three main areas of inspiration – wedding magazines, Pinterest and wedding blogs!

ʼnʼn Pinterest is an amazing source of information (and as we’ve probably established by chapter four, also slightly addictive!) Why not set up a joint board where you and your girls can pin together. It’s a great way of making them feel part of the journey as well as giving an overall feel for your colour choices and styles. The best thing about Pinterest is that your boards can also be secret so you can keep the fashion hush hush until the big reveal! ʼnʼn I’m a lover of wedding blogs! Obviously. So, my top advice would be to look at featured real weddings for ideas and inspiration on styles and colours. ʼnʼn I personally discovered my dresses at a wedding show! Yep, with my mum in tow we trawled a big fair in London and we actually found a beautiful designer with an array of designs and colours. So, flick back a few pages and take another look at our article on open days & wedding fairs, they really are fab places to discover suppliers that may not be on your radar.

Do think about: Colour - if you’re going for a slightly challenging colour scheme do think about what you see your girls wearing. Also, be considerate of palettes, just because blush and nude tones are on-trend it doesn’t necessarily make for an easy colour to pull off! Think about skin tones and hair colourings if you have an array of beauties. Season - look to seasonal flowers for wedding colour inspiration. Be open to the option of having a selection of colours from the same spectrum. Variations of berry and purples for example would create a gorgeous picture-perfect palette. As well as the time of year, ensure your dress colour and style reflects the time of day you’ll be marrying, a ceremony at dusk followed by an evening of champagne and celebrations might be better suited to a sparkly number rather than a floral maxi. Length and Shape - make sure your bridesmaids feel comfortable about the length you see them wearing. Also, be open to the idea of different shapes to suit their individual figures. This is a 100% guaranteed confidence boost and of course you’ll be bang on-trend with the mismatched look!

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY D E M E T R I US WAS H I N G TO N

ʼnʼn Wedding magazines are great and most of the big mags will do special features on maids fashion and allow you to view a mix of names and budgets, from high street to bridesmaid specific designers. Whilst all very pretty, the torn pages that littered my lounge started to get a little overwhelming and disorganised, so I turned to the online wedding world.

What’s your style – Your bridesmaid dresses will naturally be a reflection of your own dress and style of wedding. Are you going for a romantic lace gown to suit your rustic shindig? A chic and sleek number for your city do? Or full on classic princess for your truly elegant affair? Choose your style of wedding, venue and dress first as this will ultimately influence the wedding party fashion… Including the boys!


Planning – It’s a difficult task organising a group of girls to be free on the exact same date at the exact same time. Trust me, I know and I only had two bridesmaids! Try to plan in advance to ensure you can go en-masse but be prepared for the odd separate trip and don’t be disheartened or upset. Other things to consider:

TIPS FOR THE BRIDESMAID

ʼnʼn Make sure you book appointments with your chosen boutiques in advance as weekends will prove popular, especially in the run up to summer!

Whilst the bride-to-be has all of the aforementioned points to consider, my advice for the bridesmaid is short, sweet and to the point.

ʼnʼn If you’re going high street, make sure you think about what will be in stock at certain times of the year. For example, in February, you might be hard pushed to find a suitable seasonal frock for an August wedding! But if you have time on your side shopping the high street can prove to be an easier, cheaper and a more fashion forward option.

Make an effort – This may sound silly to some but do make an effort with your appearance the day you are trying on dresses! Freshly washed hair and a sweep of lip balm (or full on make up if you’re like me!) really will make all the difference, for both the bride picturing you on the day and for your overall opinion on what suits you!

ʼnʼn Also, whilst not quite on the same level of lead time as a wedding dress, there will be a sizeable waiting time for your bespoke, or made-to-measure dress. Approx. 6 – 12 weeks is a pretty good guide but the designer or boutique will inform you of ordering times. Budget – Have a good, clear indication of your budget before you hit the shops. If you are visiting a bridal boutique or bridesmaid specific designer, a realistic budget to have in mind would be £200 – £300. But do think about other factors such as does the price include alterations and if you will be buying shoes and accessories to finish the look. It’s ok to ask your girls to contribute if it’s a dress they will be able to wear again, but make sure you have this conversation early on if you’re thinking along those lines. Make a day of it! Whether it’s an organised group outing, or a one lady at a time mission, do make the trip special. Yes, this might be another big tick on your to-do list but this is also a beautiful riteof-passage you take with your friends. Enjoy it, have lunch, grab a coffee, discuss the options over a cocktail but most of all just enjoy that time you have with your closest friends.

Be on time – Most appointments are usually for one hour slots so be on time for your bride! Plan ahead, print off directions, addresses and telephone numbers of the boutique or have them stored on your device (should your internet connection let you down!) Be flexible but honest – You’ll know your bride’s own style so assume that the wedding, theme and dresses will all be a reflection of her personal taste. Be open and try on as many styles, shapes and colours as she so desires! Ultimately, it’s the bride’s decision but it’s important you’re completely honest about how you feel in the dresses. Hate your arms? Then don’t be forced into a strapless number. Want to cover your tummy? Then suggest a style that will flatter your curves. Come prepared – If you know you’ll be wearing heels on the day then bring a pair along to the fitting. Also, if you have any undergarments such as strapless or multi-way bras then ensure these are packed and ready to go! It’s amazing what good structure can do for a form-fitting dress. Be supportive – Lastly, be there. It can be a little overwhelming organising a wedding and tempers can flare under the strain. Remember that as a bridesmaid, part of your role is to help ease some of that pressure. Not add to it.

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DRESSING YOUR BRIDESMAIDS


T H E G R O O M ’S AT T I R E WORDS BY EMMA HL A

Just as important as the bride’s fashion, the groom’s sartorial choices should be a carefully thought out process, rather than something to tick off the to-do list. While some grooms may want to keep the final look a secret (you’re absolutely entitled to your own big reveal!), it’s definitely important to have a chat about the style of wedding, your venue, the season you’re marrying in and how your look will complement your partner’s. Basically, anything goes these days so don’t be pigeonholed by tradition. You can be as smart or as casual as you want – think anything from a classic black tie look for a seriously elegant celebration to chinos, tweed and braces for a rustic garden party. From your choices, your wedding party style will also follow, so do you want your groomsmen to match or simply complement your look?

YOUR CHOICES There are plenty of different options to suit your style and budget: Hire in general is best if you want to try something a bit different without committing to buying it, or if you need to dress a large wedding party while keeping an eye on costs. However, don’t be fooled by the common misconception of hire retailers, they actually carry a wide range of styles from traditional morning suits to contemporary lounge suits by brands you’ll know, so you’re bound to find something that’s right for you. The high street is great if you’re wanting to purchase something you can wear after the big day, and actually this is where my own husband-to-be found his suit. As he doesn’t wear suits to work, anything too expensive felt like a waste of the budget to him, so we found a rather lovely (and very reasonably priced) 3-piece navy suit. I did manage to persuade him into a slightly more luxe shirt and he was always going to treat himself to a lovely pair of brogues – Grenson if you want to know. Then there’s the ultimate in shopping experiences – the bespoke suit. There are some wonderfully cool and contemporary bespoke outfitters and this is one extravagance that can absolutely be justified – it’s your wedding day!

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THINGS TO CONSIDER Before you embark on your shopping really think about:

Whatever your shopping choices, you must ensure the size and cut of your suit is perfection. Whether it’s a high street bargain or a spendy designer treat, do allow for some tailoring tweaks in the budget.

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY I R E N E YA P P H OTO G R A P H Y

ʼnʼn What’s important to you? ʼnʼn What’s your personal style day-to-day? ʼnʼn How much of the budget do you want to allocate? ʼnʼn Do you want to wear your purchases post wedding? ʼnʼn Do you want to splurge on your big day look?

ACCESSORIES Have fun with your accessories! Think braces, an heirloom watch, colourful socks, a bow-tie, pocket squares in a crazy print, cufflinks engraved with your wedding date, a personalised hip flask… I could go on! At our wedding, my husband wore a tiny little badge of a swallow on his lapel, given to him by one of his groomsmen. The swallow signifies ever-lasting love and loyalty, it was the perfect touch.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY


The aim of this shoot was to showcase a modern take on minimalist bridal style. Featuring clean, uncomplicated lines and simple but stunning fabrics, we highlighted how bridal style can be as slick and fierce in real-life as it is in magazines and online! The Little Lending Co. decorated the space with hanging cube structures and suspended stems, washed soft pink linens and oversized fan-like tone-ontone florals from Swaffham and Fakenham Florist.

The colour palette was muted but made an impact, with softer lilacs and dried Norfolk reeds mixed with too-good-to-be-true orchids and copper sprayed foliages. Our second set-up also featured this super textured floral mix, where giant sylvan bundles of peach tones, whites and golds sprung from the floor amongst white pillar candles.

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We styled liquid silk Sassi Holford slip dresses with bold organic-shaped gold earrings and loose, laidback hair, whereas Velvet Johnstone’s sumptuous wide-legged jumpsuit was paired with playful bubble plaits and Ritual Unions’ cutting edge lace designs were given effortless updos.

CAMILL A ANDREA PHOTOGRAPHY

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A bouquet made of only a couple of orchid stems and some reeds emphasised the slightly surreal minimalist editorial look, so as not to detract from the outfits. Shimmery warm tones on the eyes and lips for the makeup worked for each style, which we kept building and adding to for a more dramatic almost, day-to-night feel, finishing in a striking oxblood lip.


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We needed a jaw-dropping backdrop to really bring the considered, editorial feel to life. The Fire Pit Camp in Norfolk certainly delivered, giving us the perfect modern warehouse vibes with its corrugated metal walls. The Fire Pit Camp is in the heart of Norfolk and available to hire out privately so you can have your very own beautiful festival and outdoor wedding.


Styling, Concept and Prop Hire The Little Lending Company Venue The Fire Pit Camp Photography Camilla Andrea Photography Flowers Swaffham and Fakenham Florist Hair & Make Up Leanne Moralee Bridal Dresses Ritual Unions, Velvet Johnstone via Rock the Frock Bridal, Sassi Holford via The Bottom Drawer Bridal Silver Jewellery Lennie Beare Boots Models own Stationery Nat’s Paper Studio Linen Mia Sylvia Cakes Sugar Buttons Cakes Wooden Stool Rustic Hire Model Connie Robinson

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REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY


PA R T F I V E

Before the Day


W E D D I N G D AY S C H E D U L E S W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

01. D E C I D E O N A F O R M AT Before you do anything, you need to decide what format your schedule should take – should you create a Word document or Excel spreadsheet? The honest answer is what programme do you prefer using? Just remember, there’s no right or wrong way of doing this!

02. I N C L U D E A C O N TAC T L I S T A N D V E N U E D E TA I L S If you’re delegating roles throughout the day then you need to include a list of key contacts (wedding party and suppliers) and their mobile numbers. It’s also worth adding your ceremony and reception venue addresses. Taking it a step further, you could even add in a handy map just in case someone doesn’t have Sat Nav. By including a contact list and venue details you’re effectively creating an essential go-to-guide for anyone involved in your wedding.

03. ADD YOUR KEY TIMINGS Start off by chronologically adding the key timings for your wedding. Your ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast, speeches etc. Once you’re happy that you have these in place you can then start filling in the gaps and adding as much or as little information as you want. Whilst some people share only the key timings, others like to add a minute by minute breakdown of the day. I’ve seen wedding day schedules that fit neatly on to one page and schedules that easily end up being at least 20 pages long and not only include contact lists and maps but also floor plans, seating plans, lists of group photos and menus. Once again – totally your call on what feels right for your day and how much detail you want to share with your wedding party.

04. T I M E , AC T I V I T Y, L O C AT I O N A N D RESPONSIBILITY Once you’re happy with the overall timings, start addressing each block at a time. Highlight what needs to take place when (from and until), where and by whom (whose responsibility this is to manage, for example; the venue, caterer, bridesmaids or best man).

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Whilst wedding day timings are possibly one of the hardest things to gauge, putting them into a schedule can prove just as difficult. If you don’t know where to start or you’re dreading the thought of putting together a detailed schedule (and it keeps on moving to the bottom of your to-do-list) then hopefully the following step-by-step guide will help make that process a little easier for you. Please don’t go attempting to do this on the actual day! This will need to be done well in advance and shared with your team. Then, on the day, it will be your life saver.

05. INCLUDE THE SET-UP If you’re using your wedding day schedule as a go-to-guide then it’s also worth adding key pre/post wedding day timings, especially if you’re able to set-up in advance. Always remember what needs to be done the day after too! If any props need returning or your venue needs de-flowering keep to the key times you’ve been given.

06.

REVISIT YOUR PL ANS

You’ll almost certainly need to revisit your wedding day schedule, making alterations and additions along the way. P H OTO G R A P H Y BY R E N ÁTA A D R I E N N

Try not to concern yourself with getting it perfect the first-time around, after all it’s a working document.

07. C R E AT E A S U M M A R Y If you’ve gone to town on your schedule and included a minute by minute breakdown, then you’ll also need to create an easy-to-read simplified version of key timings to share with your suppliers.

08. ASK FOR FEEDBACK Once you’ve circulated your wedding day schedule follow this up with an email or phone call to make sure your suppliers have received it, and if it makes sense! They can then let you know if you’ve missed anything but it’s also a great opportunity to finalise any questions people may have. 253

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W E D D I N G PA R T Y R O L E S & R E S P O N S I B I L I T I E S W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

Weddings have changed and evolved dramatically over the past few years, but for some strange reason we’re still working with the same lists and allocation of wedding party roles and responsibilities that we have been for decades. Now I’m not sure why that is but it’s all about to change with my modern-day guide to roles and responsibilities. So, let’s start with a blank piece of paper… You know who your best friends are. You know who you’d trust with something as important as your wedding plans, who’s your rock-solid wing-man/wing-woman and who’s that go-to friend that you’d call in the middle of the night if you ever needed someone. On the flip side, you also know who’s a great person but a little bit flaky when push comes to shove. Be honest about your friends’ and families’ strengths and weaknesses and don’t be blind to their flaws (after all, their flaws are probably why you love them!). With this super honest list in front of you, it’s time to start matching people to wedding responsibilities.

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY D AV I D J E N K I N S

Now grab yourself one of those lists (from a book or online) with the neat headers of Bride, Groom, Best Man, Chief Bridesmaid, Bridesmaids, Ushers, Parents, Master of Ceremonies and CHOP IT UP until you’ve got a pile of little bits of paper that list what needs doing, rather than who needs to be doing it. Start allocating these jobs to people that you want to be a part of your wedding day. Forget the traditional list of jobs that every bridesmaid has to perform and instead, allocate tasks to the right person, regardless of their gender or whether they would have traditionally taken on this job.

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P H OTO G R A P H Y BY G E N E S S A PA N A I N T E

If your best friend in the entire world isn’t an organiser then it seems really rather unfair to give them the task of arranging your perfect hen weekend, doesn’t it? If your partner’s lifelong friend is amazing at everything but terrified by the thought of standing up in public and delivering a speech, then why make them? If they are, in all other respects, a dream best man, why not play to their strengths instead of stressing them out over their one weakness? You see, these wedding job titles can be nothing short of restrictive and downright unhelpful and when weddings become more and more personal and less and less likely to follow a set formula, it seems a little behind the times that we’re still going along with these age-old lists of who does what for whom. There’s also a bit of an issue with sticking with the status quo because it doesn’t take our complex lives into account either. In my case for example, my best friend lives on the other side of the world so wasn’t able to accompany me to my wedding dress appointments and only flew into the country the day before my wedding. Instead of being my best woman (which was instead my bulldog Betty) she took on the role of master of ceremonies. So, let’s shake it up a bit. Let’s make things easier for everyone involved and just a bit more modern, shall we? Your bridesmaids can share all the jobs between them, each can play to their strengths and no one will have to take on far too much as a result. You can transfer a job to a mum or a friend who loves you but doesn’t want to have such a visible role on the day. There’s no rule that says your best friends have to do anything for your wedding either so if you just want them to show up and enjoy the day then they can. You’re the boss so you can choose! Your groomsmen could do a joint speech, share the work when it comes to welcoming guests or all stand with you during the ceremony. It’s even possible to have a male bridesmaid and female best man and I can tell you that being there for my brother in this way on his wedding day goes down as one of the biggest honours of my life. I didn’t care about the job title, I just cared about doing the best I could for my brother and he knew that I was the perfect person to handle everything he needed me to. People just don’t fit into neat little boxes and when it comes to wedding party roles, it’s about time that we moved on.

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SELF-CARE DURING WEDDING PLANNING W O R D S BY N ATA L I E F E R N B AC H AT & S I S T E R , P O U N D O N H O U S E

So you’re engaged! Congratulations, this is a really exciting time for you both, but if you’ve read any of the planning features then you’ll know that it’s not all going to be smooth sailing. Planning a wedding is a lot of work, from venue visits and booking suppliers to creatively deciding how you want your day to look and feel and designating jobs for family. How do you go about organising a huge event like a wedding and feeling the best you’ve ever felt on your wedding day? I’ve been helping couples to plan their wedding days for over 10 years at Poundon House, and I have also now co-founded a wellbeing events company, &Sister yoga retreats, where we get to help people with self-care and wellbeing. So here are some tips that I’ve learnt through our retreats which can help you too with your planning, as well as everyday pressures.

01. SLEEP To feel your best, I’ve learnt that sleep is key. If you are a good sleeper, you are one of the lucky few as most people struggle with sleep. With work and life commitments, you will need to feel refreshed and energized to do the planning on top of everything else. We work with lots of great people from Neom to Root & Flower and thanks to them, I have finally accepted that sleep is key. Simple things like a bedtime routine, a cup of Pukka night-time tea, sleep balms and wands all work wonders.

02. GOLDEN TIME My husband and I have an expression we use - golden time. This is time spent together, without distraction, just us. This is when we connect. Spend lots of golden time together, turn off phones and go off-grid, relax and recharge. It’s not always about going away for holidays, but instead it’s about making sure you do lots of little special things together and for each other. From going for a coffee together, heading out for a date night, or just cooking or running a bath for the other half. All these gestures really make you feel valued and show your appreciation.

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05.

D E D I C AT E D W E D D I N G P L A N N I N G T I M E

Reduce the stress from planning by dedicating dates in advance so you know when you will be working on certain elements. Write a realistic list of what you want to achieve from each planning session. It’s easy to start to feel like you should be planning all the time, and you absolutely should not. Time together not talking about the wedding or the planning is really important.

03.

06.

SCREEN TIMES

TIME WITH FRIENDS

Limit TV and screen time. Book in times when you will do this and set the duration to avoid lurching down the black hole of Instagram and Pinterest. Never do screens before bed. Instead of watching TV, go and have a bath, do a class or try something new!

Spending time with your closest friends, not only talking about the wedding, but sharing an experience that you can all enjoy, is great. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen will be looking out for you on your wedding day, so book something in with each one and make them feel special in the run up to the big day so they know how grateful you are for their support. We have brides and bridesmaids coming on our retreats just to hang out and relax. It makes a wonderful gift for someone.

04. EXERCISE Exercise might be on your list as it’s only natural to want to feel your best, but we say strong not skinny! Try to do some strength building exercise like yoga or Pilates, as well as mind-calming practice like meditation and Yoga Nidra (translates as yoga sleep!).

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N N I E S P R AT T

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P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N N I E S P R AT T


07. PA M P E R YO U R S E L F Pamper yourself, put yourself first, look after yourself, mind, body and soul. We often feel guilty about putting ourselves first, but don’t. Treat yourself to some pampering, whether it’s a massage, or a trip to the nail bar and feel good about life!

08. MANTRAS Write yourself a mantra on a Sunday evening as a positive reminder for the week ahead, focus on something other than the wedding.

09. E AT W E L L Eating well is pretty key to feeling great, especially in winter when things like low magnesium levels can affect sleep. Eat lots of fruit and veg to build your immune system - you don’t want to be having a cold on your wedding day!

10. LOVE

This is your wedding day, it’s the start of a new chapter in both your lives, to celebrate the love you have for each other, so don’t forget this is all about LOVE. Remember that everything else doesn’t really matter, it’s all about fuelling the LOVE you have for each other to make sure the fire burns bright through the good times and the tough times that may lie ahead.

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WHEN SOMEONE IS MISSING W O R D S B Y K E E LY T H O M P S O N , G R E E N A C R E S W O O D L A N D W E D D I N G S

Planning a wedding is supposed to be a joyful, wonderful and dreamy time. You should be feeling the love, having fun and generally adoring every minute. However, that’s not always the case. Complicated families, difficult decisions and any number of personal issues can make the build-up to the big day less than easy. But planning a wedding when someone is missing can be even tougher. If you’ve lost a parent or parental figure, or someone else significant to you, then the wedding planning process can easily open old wounds and bring back all the grief and emotion that you might have thought had passed. If this is the situation that you’re facing right now, we want you to know that you’re not alone, even when articles on the subject are notably few and far between. As someone who straddles both the wedding and funeral industry as a marketing manager, and who incidently has also planned their own wedding following the death of a parent, I know all too well the pain and at times isolation that can be felt as you ride the waves of grief. Getting married can be one of the most stressful events of your life, so planning a wedding following the bereavement of someone significant is not only difficult, but it can also be emotionally distressing and quite painful.

Whether it is a mother, father, sibling, child or friend, the whirlwind of emotions that you’ll feel can overshadow a typically joyous occasion with a depressing dark cloud, particularly in the lead up to the event. You know that you should be excited, everyone else is talking about how great it’s going to be and yet you are angry, upset and at best underwhelmed by the whole event. This is, of course, not because you no longer want to marry the love of your life, quite the contrary it is because that special person, now departed, will no longer feature in that day as planned. Perhaps they were your confidante and you know that any of the stresses leading up to the day would have been quelled by their humour, wisdom or friendly ear. Perhaps they also wanted to see you get married or you simply loved them unconditionally and would always have had them at the top of your guest list. But, however much you wish it wasn’t so, the reality hits you. Your special person has not been simply passive over the past few months. They have actually gone and will never return. I remember perusing websites in my grief seeing gifts for ‘mother of the bride,’ and thinking well, they’re not applicable to me. When I read articles and viewed images about ‘mothers of the bride,’ it actually made me want to stop whatever activity I was doing and just give up. A friend of mine, who was also grieving and planning her wedding focussed all her energy on organising her big day which to her was a welcome distraction. I on the other hand, decided to take a week off work prior to the event so I could allow myself to focus solely on the wedding, something I was struggling to do at the time. During this time seldom did I see any article that articulated or resonated with how I, or indeed my friend, felt leading up to the big day. The truth was who would want to publish about two diametrically opposed emotions in a wedding blog and who would read it? Who wants to read about sadness, grief and heart-breaking emotion when planning a wedding?

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Well, I thought, there must be others who have or are going through grief while planning a wedding, so I decided to start typing. This was my therapy. I could make sense of my feelings and express everything I needed to. Words help, and words can heal. Thankfully, when the big day finally arrived, all I could think about was marrying the love of my life. I was also reminded of how lucky I was to be surrounded by all the lovely people who came to support us both. Of course, I thought about my missing person on my wedding day but that’s how it should be. It’s a day for love. If you’re in a similar situation, here are some helpful tips that I found useful on my journey. I appreciate that everyone is different, and they won’t appeal to you all. But, one or two points might just get you thinking about how you can keep the people that you’re missing involved in planning for your wedding and the big day itself.

01. MAKE YOUR SPECIAL PERSON PA R T O F YO U R W E D D I N G D AY I had some of mum’s ashes made into jewellery/ items we could wear on the day. I chose a pendant for myself and my daughter and cufflinks for my son.

03. D E L E G AT E I didn’t accept help initially as I kept telling myself my mum was supposed to do this with me, so I will just do it alone now. Only at the end did I realise how much easier and nicer it was to share some of the tasks with my fabulous bridesmaids and their enthusiasm soon started to rub off on me.

04.

TIME WITH FRIENDS

I didn’t have it in me to even begin to think about a hen do - my mum died three days after Christmas, her funeral was in January and my wedding was on the 4th of June. Thankfully, my bridesmaids and amazing friends knew me well and decided to throw me a surprise hen party, even roping my hubby-to-be in to keep it secret from me.

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P R E PA R E A R U N N I N G O R D E R A N D THEN GIVE IT TO YOUR MAID OF HONOUR You will get phone calls from suppliers about times and who is arriving when on the morning of the big day and it can be very overwhelming when all you can think about is your loved one not being there. Set time aside to write a running order for the day or ask your wedding venue co-ordinator to help and pass it to your maid of honour.

02.

GO EASY ON YOURSELF

The last two months before my wedding were very difficult. I became ill on a regular basis and realised I was run down. Take time off as and when you can, get early nights and plenty of rest. Eat healthy meals and exercise to give you a boost mentally and physically.

My advice would always be that wedding days are such a blessing and create memories that will stay with you forever, cherish every moment and remember why you said yes! Finally, enjoy the day and remember people want to help. We hope that if you’re planning a wedding when someone is missing that this feature might have reassured you, made you feel less alone and given you advice, ideas and hope in equal measure. Please also remember that if there’s anything we can do to help you when you’re planning your wedding, you only need ask.


TA L E S F R O M T H E OT H E R S I D E W O R D S B Y E M I LY C O LW I L L , C O O M B E T R E N C H A R D

A Coombe Trenchard Bride’s Top Ten Tips… Am I basking in the glow, or still completely exhausted? This is the question I am still asking myself 4 months into married life. It feels the same but different. Marriage is a comforting presence in an otherwise familiar sea of work, Sunday food shopping and Netflix decisions. Relief is palpable - the 18 months of my life spent considering, communicating, dreaming and Pinterest-ing were utterly and totally worth it. Possessed of a certain surreal, dreamlike quality, our wedding day went exceptionally well; sunshine, happy smiles and our favourite people investing and involving themselves in a day that meant so much to so many. With such a momentous build up, it is a strange sensation when the day is actually happening, but also when it has happened. That constant stream of wedding thoughts in your head cease and allow contemplation and fresh ideas to burst in, the future suddenly opens up like the first green buds in spring. In my capacity as a wedding co-ordinator at Coombe Trenchard, I have the honour of assisting and supporting brides and grooms as they take this same journey. Wonderfully, the venues hand-picked by Coco Wedding Venues seem incapable of holding the same celebration twice - there are too many unique spaces, too much room for interpretation and a plethora of swoon-worthy beauty to be channelled in so many glorious ways. My excitement at being involved as others create their ‘Best Day Ever’ is huge, my passion and true love of everything that weddings represent ensures that this responsibility feels safe and well placed amongst my positivity and enthusiasm. It seems fitting as a wedding co-ordinator to reflect on my own experience and attempt to support those within the whirlwind and joy of planning their Big Day. So, here are the top ten tips from the new Mrs Colwill…

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Invest emotionally in your venue. Arrange meetings and visits with parents and be sure to follow your venue’s feeds on social media for excited heart flutters. I highly recommended booking tastings, trials and cups of tea with your venue in the lead up to your big day. It feels like you are sharing your loved ones and memories with a place that holds a very special place in your heart. Use your time wisely. I remember the see-saw effect of wedding planning well. You go through hugely productive flurries, before focusing on normal life for a short time. Do try to book in a weekend a month or an evening a week to keep up to date though. I felt very organised but still found the fortnight beforehand hugely stressful. You do not want to be handcrafting signage or frantically buying bridesmaid’s presents in the grand build up. Make lists, involve friends and family and enjoy the time spent on your day in a measured and thought out way. Discuss the day in detail with your wedding venue and give due thought to exactly how you want the day to flow and feel from the outset. Know when to stop. We all know that there is no limit to how much money, time and obsessive Pinterest-ing can be spent on your wedding, but you do have to attempt to keep a level of perspective. Make it your dream day, go for what feels right and works for the two of you, but not at a cost to your happiness, stress levels or future financial prospects. I can hold my hands up and say there are a few projects that I didn’t have the strength to complete as the wedding loomed closer and they did not have any bearing on just how incredible the day was. Keep the balance between creating a magical day and holding onto your sanity!

Feel present with no pressure. There are no rules as to how you should feel on your wedding day. It is hugely overwhelming, all kinds of wonderful and every person processes and deals with that differently. In the morning, I attempted a few calm moments of breathing, then put on some music and danced around the bridal suite in a haze of pure, unfiltered excitement. During the speeches though, I became completely overwhelmed and unable to cry, think or form words. Dreams coming true can do that to a person. Ten minutes of walking the grounds with my new husband remedied that and I could continue enjoying every second of a day that whizzes past in smiling faces and squeezy hugs. Vow to stay present, feel the moments and the love coming your way and let the day take you with it. Go on honeymoon straight away. I’m a planner, someone who copes with stress and pressure well and was lucky enough to have a wedding day that exceeded my own expectations, but I was not prepared for the wave of exhaustion that the aftermath brings. It’s happy, elated tiredness that requires you to fall asleep whilst looking at your friend’s pictures from the day for the thousandth time, but it’s best done on a beach in a bubble of joy with your new husband. Stick to your guns and be brave. Input and expectations from others can cause issues as you plan a day that carries a lot of weight to it. The road was not without bumps, differences of opinion and lacklustre comments but I’m extraordinarily glad we stuck to our guns and did it our way. Choosing to celebrate your love on your own terms and deciding how much tradition to include is personal and decisions that should be made by you and your partner alone. Understand how much the day means to your family and friends. I found that our family and friends respected and revelled in our unique take on wedding celebrations. On that day, your union and happiness takes precedence in your wonderful loved ones’ lives. It’s an incredibly special and moving feeling to feel that positivity and unbridled joy being aimed at you and your day. Remember it, treasure it and make time to talk to everyone after the wedding, you’ll be surprised at how much your family will want to discuss such a momentous occasion. Use this new found brain space to plan wonderful things to look forward to once you are married. After all, this is just the beginning of happy ever after…

Photography Freckle Photography Venue Coombe Trenchard Dress Needle & Thread Florist The Flower Mill Cornwall Hair Hannah Woodgates Hair Design Make Up Elle Hitchens


Vanilla Rose Weddings & Events: Christian spent his childhood years in North Norfolk, so it seemed fate that when I came across the perfect venue for them in my search, it was located just 5 minutes away from his family home in Holt. We spent several days touring the country looking at a variety of venues, but as soon as Jamie & Christian saw Voewood in person, they knew it was the only one for them. An Arts & Crafts style house, set in beautifully tailored gardens, with a feeling of grandeur whilst completely homely at the same time; it would be hard for anyone not to fall in love with the place!

Jamie & Christian wanted their wedding day to be captured beautifully, making the most of the natural surroundings that Voewood has to offer, whilst remaining unobtrusive throughout the day. Julie Michaelsen did just that, and her use of natural light to create flattering and soft imagery is perfection.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JULIE MICHAELSEN PHOTOGRAPHY

As the venue has the most beautiful architecture and gardens, I suggested that Jamie & Christian incorporate this into their stationery. Julie at Hollyhock Lane drew a lovely illustration of the wooden entrance doors into the house as a sneak peek of the venue for their save the date cards, without giving too much away, and then another illustration of the whole house to use for their main invitations, with added touches of greenery and florals to frame the wording. The order of service booklets, table names and menu cards all included a different element of the illustrations, and all looked beautiful on the day.

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Jamie & Christian were keen not to introduce too many flowers into their day as it wasn’t one of their top priorities. My design plan for them included an abundance of soft greenery, whites, and a hint of yellow (a colour they’re both drawn to!) and Donna at The Country Garden Florist was just the perfect person to bring our vision to life!

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Jamie & Christian opted for a trio of Gressingham duck starter, followed by a roasted whole sirloin of red poll beef with all the trimmings, and an incredibly tasty caramelised Sicilian lemon tart for dessert. Sweet canapÊs were a particular highlight later into the night, to soak up the alcohol from the superb signature cocktails served by Florentina’s sister company, Frizzante!

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Venue Voewood Wedding Planner & Props Vanilla Rose Weddings & Events Photography Julie Michaelsen Photography Catering Florentina Bar Frizzante Florist The Country Garden Florist Stationery Hollyhock Lane Wooden Signage Merrie & Bright Suits Walker Slater

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P H OTO G R A P H Y BY N AT H A N D U M L AO


PA R T S I X

On the Day


PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

MORNING RITUALS

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MORNING RITUALS WORDS BY EMMA HL A

The morning of your wedding, or as I like to call it… The Ritual. There’s something so sacred and special about these final moments of being a Miss and it’s with this in mind I want to give you my thoughts (or top tips!) on what to consider for your own wedding morning, to make it stress-free and memorable.

ʼnʼn Ok I know this is meant to be about ‘the morning of your wedding’ but ladies and gents, start the night before! Whether it’s a pampering sesh with your friends, dinner with family or even an early night and time for just you, plan a ‘Wedding Eve’ to extend the celebrations! Just be careful about how much Champagne is quaffed. ʼnʼn Be prepared, make sure all the necessary details and DIY are done well before W-day! Believe me, you will not want to be doing any lastminute crafting on this precious (and busy) morning. ʼnʼn Eat… Breakfast is so important so make sure you set some time aside to eat something. I had some yummy scrambled eggs and this was the perfect fuel. That and coffee. And Champagne! Ensure you have delicious treats and nibbles on hand for everyone on the morning of your wedding too, as well as plenty of water. You want to make sure people are well-fed and happy, especially if you’re going to be bossing them around! ʼnʼn Make sure you spend time with those special people, whether it’s your mum or your dad, siblings or friends, try to get just 5 minutes away from everyone else to take it all in. My mum was the first person I saw on my wedding day – I will always remember the knock at my door at 7am and, whilst everyone else was asleep, we swapped gifts and hugged it out. It felt quite magical. ʼnʼn Wear something super comfortable but make sure you feel special! Yes, your trusty joggers tick the first box but they might not be what you want to be photographed in? So, whether it’s a luxurious cashmere onesie, a beautiful silk dressing gown or your partner’s favourite shirt, make sure you feel confident and happy. Also think ahead and remove any socks or bra straps now so that you don’t have any lines in sight!

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ʼnʼn Set the right tone with a playlist! Whatever relaxes you or gets you in the festive spirit, music, much like scent, can transport you right back to a moment in time. ʼnʼn Have a timetable and make sure those who are helping you know of any special tasks they need to do. Scheduling the ‘prep’ will take the pressure off people asking you questions! ʼnʼn For the ultimate in stress-free mornings book a hair & makeup artist. Thanks to the trials in the lead-up to W-day you’ll know exactly the look you’ll be going for and how much prep-time to factor in for you and your bridesmaids. Your chosen artist will also let you know ‘call times’ for each person and how they should be prepared for their session. I found my own makeup artist so blinking helpful – having an objective voice should anything crop up (guests cancelling last minute, aunts requiring another corsage!) they will be the voice of reason. They’ve seen it all before and they won’t be panicking. PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

ʼnʼn As organised as you think you are, there will absolutely be a moment when it all becomes a bit too much! Whether that moment is getting into your dress, doing the final makeup touches or trying to get some shots with your photographer it will suddenly hit you. Make sure you’re not exacerbating the situation with overcrowding. Have the right people around you and only those that are necessary for the task at hand. If you don’t want to ask people to leave, then get your helpers to politely ask for some quiet time.

ʼnʼn If you have a complicated or time-consuming dress to get into, make sure you and your chosen ‘dresser’ have had ample time to practice ahead of the day. But on the day, make sure you’ve given yourselves enough time, also it’s probably a good idea to read the above tip once again! Flustered hands can make mistakes and brides-to-be trust me, it’s not just you who will be suffering with nerves! ʼnʼn Think about any detail shots you might want your photographer and/or videographer to capture and have it to hand. Whether it’s your dress hanging up, your shoes and accessories displayed or even your wedding stationery – make the most of this time. 284

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YOUR GETTING READY KIT We’ll talk about emergency kits a little later in this chapter, but there are some things you might need for the morning of your wedding, especially if you’re getting ready away from home! These are the things I had with me: ʼnʼn An electric fan (No matter the season, you need one!) ʼnʼn Baby wipes ʼnʼn Scissors ʼnʼn Plasters ʼnʼn Safety pins ʼnʼn Pain killers ʼnʼn Sewing kit ʼnʼn Deodorant ʼnʼn Breath-freshener One last mention, don’t forget the boys! Whilst the wedding morning is all about the girls getting preened, the men will absolutely have their own rituals to follow too. Whether it’s getting ready as a group, final bits of venue prep, a pint in the local or indeed a home-made pie and a beer like my boy, make sure their wedding morning is just as special and just as organised!


YO U R E M E R G E N C Y W E D D I N G D AY K I T W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

Wedding day emergency kits are a must-have for many reasons. To start with, no one knows your wedding plans quite like you, so you can absolutely tailor your kit to suit. If you’re prone to hay fever, stress headaches or blisters, make sure you have what you need to hand. Then there’s the fact that however well you plan, the fates can often conspire to cause a few hiccups. If you’ve thought ahead, that insect bite, garlic breath, late taxi or decorative disaster needn’t be a problem. Lastly, just having your emergency kit to hand will make you feel so much more relaxed and in control – trust me on this one! Think of it as another form of insurance. You might not use anything from your kit but even if you need just one item from it, you’ll be so glad that you took the time to prepare. So, let’s look at what you might need broken down into three areas – personal, guests and practical.

YOUR PERSONAL KIT Your personal kit is just that, everything that you need to make sure that you look and feel fabulous throughout the day. This kit is small but perfectly formed; you should be able to pop all of these items into a bridal handbag or small clutch and here are a few ideas to get you started: ʼnʼn Hair and makeup – Hair grips, a comb, hairspray, makeup touch-up kit (ask your makeup artist if they can assist with this), blotting sheets, mini perfume. ʼnʼn Personal Items – Nail file, eye drops, any medication that you need, feminine hygiene products, breath mints. ʼnʼn Practical Items – A (non-plastic!) straw (totally essential for smudge free drinking!), white chalk (to cover any marks on your dress), tissues (lots of them!), wet wipes, a copy of your speech if you’re making one.

YOUR GUEST KIT A kit for your guests will include items that everyone might need. These can then be placed in the guests’ cloakrooms so that everyone can access them with a little bit of privacy. You can then use these items if you need to without carrying everything around yourself: ʼnʼn Painkillers, indigestion tablets, tummy settlers, hay fever/allergy tablets ʼnʼn A comb, hairspray, hair grips ʼnʼn Mouthwash, mints, dental floss, lip balm, hand lotion ʼnʼn A small first aid kit with plasters and blister plasters ʼnʼn Heel stoppers ʼnʼn Insect repellent, bite soother, sunscreen ʼnʼn Sewing kit, hem tape, safety pins, stain remover wipes, lint roller ʼnʼn Deodorant, feminine hygiene products, hand sanitiser ʼnʼn A nail file, tweezers, scissors ʼnʼn Lots of tissues! ʼnʼn Phone numbers for local taxi firms and the hotels that you’ve recommended to your guests


YOUR PRACTICAL KIT Your practical wedding day emergency kit contains all the bits and pieces that you (or rather a bridesmaid, groomsman or friend) might need to deal with any other issue on the day. This really is the kit that you need to think through because your plans will govern what needs to be in here. If you’re looking for a solid start, this list will make sure you’re heading in the right direction: ʼnʼn Scissors ʼnʼn Blu tack/sticky tape/double sided tape ʼnʼn Clear nail polish (handy for re-attaching sequins etc. back to dresses) ʼnʼn Floral tape ʼnʼn Extra tealights/batteries/candles ʼnʼn Long reach lighters ʼnʼn Spare stationery, favours etc. ʼnʼn Contact details for all of your wedding suppliers and the wedding party ʼnʼn Copies of your wedding day schedule ʼnʼn Umbrellas ʼnʼn A phone charger/extension lead ʼnʼn Emergency cash If you have a little look around online, you’ll find some great ideas and printable downloads that will allow you to make your own kits for bridesmaids and friends. Of course, you can also buy pre-made emergency kits but always check that they contain everything you need and nothing that you’re allergic to. P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N N I E S P R AT T

You can also dress up your wedding day emergency kit in any way you like and add anything you want to – I’ve seen all sorts in an emergency kit! I would say however that your larger practical kit should be left with your wedding coordinator or in a place that is easily accessible throughout the whole day. As long as you know where to go or who to ask in an emergency, you’ll be absolutely fine.

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1 0 T H I N G S TO D O O N YO U R W E D D I N G D AY W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

As I’m sure you’ve already been told, your wedding day will pass you by in a flash. With all the celebrations, bubbles and emotions it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the final few weeks and especially on the day itself and understandably so! However, it’s also the time when some of your well thought-out plans may fall a little off the radar or you may forget to do things that leave you in a bit of a panic, or even result in a couple of post wedding regrets. The good news is that with a little forward planning this doesn’t have to be the case. With this in mind, here’s my guide to the who’s, what’s and where’s to remember.

01. PUT SOMEONE ELSE IN CHARGE No matter how much of a control-fiend you are, now is the time you need to delegate! Whether it’s getting a reliable bridesmaid to round-up your guests for wedding photos, asking the ushers to help with transportation or asking your mum to be in charge of your handbag – put someone else in control as this will help you to relax, as much as you can, on the day. When delegating roles try not to dump everything onto one person, instead take into account people’s existing commitments and then split out the roles according to people’s strengths.

02. BRIEFS & SCHEDULES Hopefully, in the lead up to your wedding you’ve been busy working away on your wedding day schedules, circulating to those that need to be in the know to ensure that everyone understands and fully acknowledges their role on the day. Time and time again I’ve seen wedding day schedules that have remained as PDF files or Excel spreadsheets on computers rather than actually being used! Today is the day when your wedding day schedules, in all their glory, can finally be put to good use! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you sit there on your wedding day crossing off items on a line by line basis (unless you have an urge to do so!) but instead, why not print off a couple of copies and have them lying around so that you and your wedding party can refer to them if you need to. This might sound like an extreme case of planning BUT it will ensure that your day goes according to plan and that nothing falls off the radar, allowing you to spend time on the things that truly matter.

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03. SORT YOURSELF OUT! Find an area of your house where you can start to stock pile any essential on-the-day items or nice to haves. This includes everything from THE dress, to your wedding perfume, to some comfy clothes to wear whilst you’re having your hair and makeup done. Having all of these items together in one place will hopefully minimise the risk of there being any day-before/morning-of hiccups or mad dashes to the shops to pick up those essential items that are safely stored (lost) at the back of a closet or under a bed. If you’re getting ready at a different location to where you’re spending your first night as a newlywed then also try to have your first night or honeymoon bags packed and ready to go in the morning so you can arrange for a friend to drop them off at the venue where you’ll be staying.

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BRING YOUR KIT

Make sure you’ve packed all of your top-up beauty essentials and emergency items in a handbag that can easily be handed-over to one of the wedding party.

05.

S TAY H Y D R AT E D

On your wedding day, you WILL be the centre of attention! As a result, you’ll be pulled from pillar to post by friends and family saying hello, goodbye, asking to see your ring, asking how you’re feeling… You get the drift. Before you know it several hours have gone by and you haven’t had a drink.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

It’s vitally important that you stay hydrated, especially if you’re getting married in the summer months, so keep drinking (water that is!).

06.

E N J OY T H E T H I N G S YO U ’ V E PA I D F O R

If you can, remember to take time to enjoy as many of the things you’ve spent all of those weeks, months and even years planning. If there’s something you’re particularly concerned that you may forget to experience then let someone know in advance. For example; if you think you’ll be too busy during your drinks reception to enjoy your canapés then why not ask your caterers to save you a selection that you can then help yourself to when/if you have a little more time.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY


07.

TA K E T I M E F O R Y O U R S E LV E S

Always try to remember what your wedding day is really about… Two people. Some couples barely get to make eye contact until their first dance, and even then, it’s with the eyes of 120 guests upon them. Try to take some time out together to let everything sink in. After all, you’ve just got married! As part of your schedule try to factor in some time for just the two of you – whether it’s driving between the church and reception, a moment of down-time between photos or a quick stroll after your wedding breakfast and before your first dance.

08.

THANK PEOPLE

This might sound like a total no-brainer but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget to thank everyone who has supported you in the lead up to your big day and on the day itself.

09.

In your speech or in person, it’s lovely to be able to thank people for coming and for their contribution to your wedding. The same goes for suppliers! A little thank you will go a long way and you’ll make everyone’s day!

H AV E A M O M E N T Carve out some time for the people that really matter to you and those who have helped you get to this point. Be it parents, bridesmaids, your best friends – take a few minutes to have a drink with them, pull up a chair next to them during the wedding breakfast or drag them onto the dancefloor. They have put a lot of love and effort into making this your special day, so make sure they get some love in return!

10. E N J OY I T! Most important of all, make sure you enjoy the day. Dance, drink, eat and be merry. Relax, breathe and take it all in. You have worked so incredibly hard to make this the best day of your life, so sit back and revel in what you have accomplished! 291

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY NAOMI KENTON

BEING PRESENT

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BEING PRESENT W O R D S BY TA M R Y N L AW R E N C E , W I L D & O A K

If there’s ever a day that demands all of you, it’s your wedding day. And if there’s one part of the whole day that you absorb totally and utterly, it’s your ceremony. So, you might have guessed, I’m ridiculously passionate about wedding ceremonies. As an independent celebrant, I have the joy and privilege of writing and conducting meaningful, personal and truly individual ceremonies for couples. Celebrant-led ceremonies are the exact opposite of the standard script service with the standard content. They are, in fact, anything but standard because each and every one starts as a blank piece of paper that’s then filled with your stories, your emotions and your love. I’ve felt emotional at every ceremony I’ve conducted and I never want to lose that. The ceremony is the moment when you declare your feelings to everyone you love most in the world. It’s an unrepeatable moment, a memorable moment so why miss one second? You see, it’s easy to be there but it can be much tougher to be present and the difference between the two states is, frankly, massive. Let’s be honest, most of us spend a large portion of our time just being there. Now I’m not criticising that because there are definitely days and weeks where being in the right place at (vaguely) the right time is a massive achievement so here’s a virtual high-five to everyone who’s keeping it together. But you know what I mean right? You know that it’s easy to turn up to meetings, get-togethers with friends and pretty much every part of our daily lives and simply zone out, even just a little bit. It’s easy to let our minds wander, to start thinking about the next thing on the list or worrying about what’s not been done. We all do it and don’t worry, I’m not going to take you to task because I’m no saint. I listen with one ear, reply with an ‘uh-huh’ when the question deserves so much more or convince myself that I’m actually great at multi-tasking when I’m not really.


I’ve also turned up to important moments, big milestone family events and I’ve been there but I’ve definitely not been present. Whether I’ve been too busy checking emails or taking photos, I’ve imagined that just being there is going to be enough. And it’s not. It’s not enough. Nowhere near enough, especially for things that you’ll never get to do again. So, whilst I’m able to go to another school sports day or another family reunion and grab another chance to be present, if your ceremony passes you by, you’ll never ever get to do it again. That once in a lifetime opportunity for creating memories, sharing love and celebrating your relationship will have passed you by and whatever you do from that point onwards, you’ll never be able to get it back again. So I urge you with everything I have to be present during your wedding ceremony. Forget about the management and the organisation of your wedding day, forget about any family stresses or worries, forget the details, the ‘what ifs’ and all thoughts of what you’re going to be doing next. Focus on the now and don’t let go. Look at your partner as you walk down the aisle, feel the flowers in your hand and the fabric of your dress against your skin. Smell the scent in the air, hear the music and the gasps of the guests when they see you for the first time. Experience the emotion and whether that makes you smile or makes you cry, it doesn’t matter because whatever the reaction, it’s honest, it’s yours and it’s entirely a result of being present. During your ceremony, hold hands, speak to each other, listen to everything that’s said and let everything else slip from your mind because if it’s not part of the ceremony, it doesn’t matter. At that moment, nothing else matters one bit. If you can, encourage your guests to be present during the ceremony because their engagement will really impact the atmosphere for everyone. Instead of viewing everything via a screen as guests try to capture the day on their phones, they can view it, for real and capture everything themselves. And I promise you that the human brain is a million times better at really recording what’s going on. When you walk down the aisle together, surely you’d prefer your guests to be looking at you rather than looking at their phones? You’ve invited them to share the day with you – share it, not watch it on a screen. So that’s my plea for today or, in fact, for the day. We speak of ‘enjoying every minute’ when we talk about weddings but to do that, you absolutely have to be present. Wholeheartedly, unreservedly and lovingly present.


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P H OTO G R A P H Y BY G U L K U R TA R A N


FA M I LY M AT T E R S WORDS BY ANONYMOUS

I would be shocked, almost jealous in fact, if you’ve come through to the other side of wedding planning without any kind of family issues or dramas… But today is the day to let it all go. Our own planning experience involved parents who didn’t like the venue, mother-in-laws with dress dramas, a brother who was disinvited and then re-invited and friends who utterly let us down on the day. This is life and life can be sucky at times. This isn’t a how-to-deal-with-this-and-that type feature, but rather a love note to you both. Wedding planning isn’t a picnic and you will cry many ugly tears in the process of getting to this moment today. But here you are, the day you’ve both been waiting for and I hope you’re bloody well going to enjoy it. Put aside the dramas because they really don’t have a place at the table today. This is a day for the two of you, to celebrate, love and dance with everything you’ve got. After the wedding, these issues will still be there. As in my case, you might even have fresh wounds if you’ve been let down by those you thought were your closest. You might also lose touch with people that you couldn’t have imagined not being at your wedding. Life moves at quite a pace and before you know it you’ll be celebrating your five year wedding anniversary looking back at the day through those glorious rose-tinted glasses. Because honestly, all you’ll really remember and care about are the good times - the smiles, the happy wishes and the heartfelt congratulations. So, soak them up in the here and now and give your chosen one the biggest, sexiest kiss for all to see. Now go get married you crazy kids…

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JADE OSBORNE PHOTOGRAPHY


WA LCOT H A L L WORDS BY EMMA HL A

Walcot Hall is a truly unique wedding venue steeped in history and it has an abundance of gorgeous period detailing, it was formerly residence to Lord Clive of India don’t ya know! The house is now very much a family home and so upon entering the hallway you instantly feel that warmth which is why this beautiful space, complete with marble columns, ornate ceiling and a sweeping staircase, is perfect for ceremonies for up to 125 guests.

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Without doubt, the WOW-factor of Walcot Hall is the ballroom. Firstly you have to make your way through the prettiest of courtyards (amazing drinks reception space folks!) before entering the bright aqua/teal room. This purpose built, free-standing building has 30ft high ornate ceilings, crystal chandeliers, open fireplaces, gilt mirrors, tall sash windows and the most incredible colour palette you ever did see.

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What does every good party house need? Somewhere to lay that weary head after the celebrations have ended of course! At Walcot Hall there is enough accommodation to house around 100 people through a variety of options from traditional holiday apartments to a converted Victorian tin chapel, yurts, gypsy caravan and even an old fire truck with a brass bed in the back!

I fell in love with this venue long before I had the chance to visit, but now I’ve witnessed the beauty of Walcot Hall I’ll be forever smitten. Not only does this venue have everything you could possibly want, no matter what your taste or style, the team are also super flexible and helpful so you can truly have a wedding that reflects you…

Photography Jade Osborne Photography Words Emma Hla Flowers Flowers by Breige


J A C A LY N B E A L E S


PA R T S E V E N

What now?


W H AT TO D O W H E N YO U R W E D D I N G I S O V E R W O R D S BY K AT R I N A OT T E R

Word on the street is that couples spend on average over 250 hours planning a wedding! Quite consuming right? So, whether we choose to admit it or not, wedding planning becomes an integral part of our life and can completely alter the status quo. So, when it’s all over, what’s next and how do you get back to ‘normal’ once you’re married? For two main reasons this is a rather essential feature and one that should be considered as part of your pre-wedding preparations. Firstly, when your wedding is over there are still several wedding related jobs to be done that can ultimately be overlooked or even forgotten. Step one is a little prompt to help you remember them! Secondly, time and time again I see couples so caught up in the planning of their big day that when their wedding and honeymoon are over and they are faced with the reality of a normal (wedding planning free) life, the post-wedding blues can and do set in. With this in mind, here’s my guide to what to do when your wedding is over, and in turn, how to beat the post-wedding blues…

W O R K YO U R WAY T H R O U G H T H O S E POST-WEDDING JOBS As soon as you’re back from your honeymoon it’s time to address all those items on your post-wedding to-do list. Your photographer will need you to choose images for prints and albums, your wedding dress will need to be professionally cleaned (although if possible, I’d advise doing this before your honeymoon), your gift list provider will no doubt have lots of presents to deliver and if you’ve planned to return or sell anything after the wedding then now, whilst you’re still in weddingplanning mode, is the ideal time to do it. Another post-wedding job that can seem like a chore is writing thank you notes to guests and suppliers. However, as someone who’s received her fair share of notes from newly married couples, I can tell you they mean the world. Saying thank you for gifts given or jobs well done is a kind and thoughtful thing to do. Whilst wading through a list of thank yous might not seem like fun, everyone who receives a personal note will absolutely love you for it. Whilst I’m talking about sending thank yous, I’d also urge you to stay in touch with people. Quite often, in the build-up to weddings, I’ve seen people renew relationships with old friends and long-lost family and make new friends with wedding suppliers. Stay in touch with these people – your wedding day is the start of a new chapter in your life so fill it with new or renewed characters! Finally, there are also some formalities to take care of. Changing your name with your bank, on the electoral roll, on your driving licence, with insurers, mortgage companies, vets, schools, work and everywhere else is an absolute must. Some places will need to see your marriage certificate, others will be happy with a letter or even a phone call but don’t ignore this if you’ve decided to change your name.

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PL AN YOUR SOCIAL LIFE

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY TAY L O R H E R N A N D E Z

Pre-planning your post-wedding social life in the lead up to your wedding will minimise the chances of any post-wedding slump. So, invite friends round for supper, get back into any clubs or activities that may have been side-lined in the busy period pre-wedding, book some days out or even a post-honeymoon minimoon! That’s a thing right? Your friends, family and work colleagues will want to hear about your wedding and honeymoon, see your wedding photos and reminisce, so use all of these opportunities to relive your big day.

T H I N K A BO U T A P OST-W E D D I N G P ROJ EC T ! One way to really take your mind off the post-wedding blues is to throw yourself into another goal orientated project. This can be anything from a post-wedding party to a spot of home DIY or baby making (!) through to travelling to all those far-flung destinations. Or, if you’re anything like Emma and I you could go all out and opt for a complete career change, which believe you me certainly takes your mind off any post-wedding blues! * THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF ALL *

M A K E T H E M O S T O F B E I N G A N E W LY W E D Once the excitement of your big day has died down use the wedmin free time you now have at your disposal to make the most of being a newlywed. Whether this means starting to plan your first married Christmas or a party to keep in touch with everyone, just do it! Submit your photos to your beloved wedding blog of choice, practice signing your new name over and over and again, show everyone your wedding film, or just enjoy being married. Your wedding day might be over but your married life, and all that it promises, is just starting.

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P H OTO G R A P H Y BY J U L I A N PA U L

T H E G E TAWAY

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T H E G E TAWAY WORDS BY EMMA HL A

Holidays are my favourite thing, and while I’d love to wax lyrical about far-flung destinations with you, I can’t… I have a magazine to wrap up! However, what I will say is that immediately after the wedding, you will absolutely need some time away for the two of you to just relax… decompress, if you will. But rather than give you a list of my favourite destinations, I thought I’d leave you with just a few simple pointers to get you thinking about your first trip as a married couple. If we rewind to the beginning, I recommended thinking of the honeymoon as part of your initial wedding budget. This will be so helpful when saving and allocating your money to this big spend. We didn’t book the big fancy honeymoon until a few months after our wedding, but we did book a mini-moon! The day after our wedding we hopped in our car and set off on a road trip to Somerset. Just a few days away in a country house was enough to restore our frazzled brains and take in everything that had just happened. A mini-moon is a great alternative for the days immediately after your wedding or as a little teaser before the main event. It will also give you a bit of a buffer to save some more money for that epic-once-in-a-lifetime trip. Plus, delaying the honeymoon will elongate the wedding celebrations, which is never a bad idea! If you’re considering using your gift list for your honeymoon then I would always recommend sneaking in a group gift such as a flight upgrade – it makes all the difference to those longhaul flights! Even if it’s just one way, it’s a really special way to travel. Lastly… take a step back from social media while you’re on your honeymoon. Now don’t get me wrong, take ALL the photos if that’s your thing! But perhaps don’t give everyone a minuteby-minute run-down of your escapades on Instagram. Firstly, I’m a little paranoid about the whole advertising your house is empty thing, so yeah, THAT. But secondly, this is a really amazing time for just the two of you, so soak it all up together… and then make everyone thoroughly jealous when you get home!

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SPECIAL THANKS This magazine is only possible because of the incredible suppliers who have dedicated their time and expertise to this project. I’d like to say a very big thank you to the following people.

B R A N D PA R T N E R S Katrina Otter Weddings Elegant design and flawless organisation, coupled with calm professionalism and impeccable attention to detail. www.katrinaotterweddings.co.uk @katrinaotterwed Prezola The UK’s leading independent wedding gift list service, designed for modern style-savvy couples who want the widest choice possible. www.prezola.com @prezola Perfect Day Bride Experts in bridal style, Perfect Day Bride is a luxe experience in the chocolate-box Wiltshire market town of Bradford-on-Avon. www.perfectdaybridal.net @perfectdaybride

BRAND PHOTOGRAPHERS Rebecca Goddard Photography Fine art storyteller capturing moments that will serve as reminder of a beautiful time in your life. Rebecca is happy to adventure anywhere for people in love and will endeavour to capture you in an artful and timeless way. www.rebeccagoddardphotography.com @beccygoddard Hannah Duffy Photography Timeless photography and contemporary romance. Hannah is a destination wedding and lifestyle photographer residing in Cambridge, UK. www.hannahduffy.com @hannahduffyphotography Heart Full of Tea Quirky Bath Photographer. Emma loves to shoot couples that are playful, dance like no-ones watching and ignore the pressure of the word ‘wedding’.

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SPECIAL THANKS

www.heartfulloftea.com @heartfulloftea


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams www.pocketfulofdreams.co.uk @pocketfulofdreams Jodie Bidder, Sami Tipi www.samitipi.co.uk @samitipi

Sarah Bates, Britten Weddings www.brittenweddings.com @brittenweddings

Lizzie Jones, Wedding Yurts www.weddingyurts.co.uk @weddingyurts

Jo Adams, The Hair & Make Up Atelier www.hairandmakeupatelier.com @hmu_atelier

Claire White, Butler & White Weddings www.butlerandwhite.com @butlerwhiteweddings

Natalie Fernbach, Poundon House www.poundonhouse.com @poundonhouse

Julie Michaelsen, Julie Michaelsen Photography www.juliemichaelsen.com @juliemphotos

&Sister www.andsister.co.uk @andsister_yoga

Laura & Alan, This Modern Revelry www.thismodernrevelry.com @thismodernrevelry

Keely Thompson, GreenAcres Woodland Weddings www.greenacreswoodlandweddings.co.uk @greenacresweddings

Jennifer Wells, Edible Essence Couture Co. www.edibleessencecakeart.com @edibleessence

Emily Colwill, Coombe Trenchard www.coombetrenchard.co.uk @coombetrenchard

Philippa & Stephanie, Fleur & Fig www.fleurandfig.co.uk @fleurandfig

Tamryn Lawrence, Wild & Oak www.wildandoak.com

Penny Baldry, The Little Lending Co. www.thelittlelendingcompany.com @thelittlelendingco Tanya Jago, Bureau Design www.bureaudesign.co.uk @bureaudesign Siu Coll, Liberty in Love www.libertyinlove.co.uk @libertyinlove_style Sienna Von Hildemar, Sienna Von Hildemar www.siennavonhildemar.com @siennavhildemar Emmy Scarterfield, Emmy London www.emmylondon.com @emmylondonofficial

With special thanks to Jay Archer, our floral genius.


Contributing Photograph Gyan Gurung Photography www.gyangurung.com @gyangurungphoto Tiree Dawson Photography www.tireedawson.co.uk @tireedawson Taylor & Porter www.taylorandporter.co.uk @taylorandporter David Jenkins Photography www.davidjenkinsphotography.com @davidjenkins75 Eclection Photography www.eclection-photography.com @eclectionphoto Ed Brown Photography www.edbrownphotography.co.uk @edbrownphotography Jemma Mickleburgh Photography www.jmaphotography.co.uk @jma.photo Xander & Thea www.xanderandthea.com @xanderandthea Anneli Marinovich Photography www.annelimarinovich.com @annelimphoto Beatrici Photography www.beatriciphotography.co.uk @beatriciphotography Lucy Davenport Photography www.lucydavenport.co.uk @lucy_davenport Jade Osborne Photography www.jadeosbornephotography.com @jadeosbornephotography


Joanna Bongard www.joannabongard.com @jobongardphoto

hers

Liberty Pearl Photography www.libertypearlphotography.com @libertypearlphotography Emma Barrow Photography www.emma-barrow.com @barrow_emma Tara Statton Photography www.tarastattonphotography.com @tarastattonphotography Philippa Sian Photography www.philippa-sian.co.uk @philippasianphotography Kat Hill Photography www.kat-hill.com @kat_hill_photo The Hendrys www.thehendrys.co @the_hendrys Lucy G Photography www.lucygphotography.co.uk @lucygweddings

REBECCA GODDARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Irene Yap Photography www.ireneyapweddings.com @ireneyapweddings Camilla Andrea Photography www.camillaandrea.com @camillaandreaphotography Freckle Photography www.frecklephotography.co.uk @emsfreckles Naomi Kenton Photography www.naomikenton.com @naomi.kenton.photography Luis Holden www.luisholden.com @luis_holden

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SPECIAL THANKS


LUIS HOLDEN PHOTOGRAPHY


SUPPLIERS WE LOVE Coco Wedding Venues is first and foremost a wedding venue directory - very simple and, we think, very important. However, along the way we have met and worked with some incredible suppliers and we want to share this personal list of talented professionals with you. From photographers, to bridal fashion, to styling, you’ll find our pick of the best listed here...

Photographers

Stationery

Amy O’Boyle Photography Amy Sampson Photography Anneli Marinovich Photography Barker Evans Bigeye Photography Charlotte Bryer-Ash Photography Dale Weeks Photography Eclection Photography Fiona Kelly Photography Gyan Gurung Photography Hannah Duffy Photography Heart Full of Tea Jade Osborne Photography Katherine Ashdown Photography Katy & Co. Lucy Davenport Photography McKinley-Rodgers Rebecca Goddard Photography Tarah Coonan Photography The Lou’s Weddings by Nicola & Glen

Bureau Design Calligraphy for Weddings Cutture Kate Ruth Romey Lynda Loves Merrie & Bright

Florists Amber Persia Flowers & Events Blue Sky Flowers Flowers by Breige Hiding in the City Joanne Truby Floral Design Moss & Stone Floral Design Verity & Thyme

Bridal Designers Anna Campbell Belle & Bunty Charlie Brear Kate Halfpenny Katya Katya Rue De Seine Sienna Von Hildemar Suzanne Neville

Bridal Boutiques Blackburn Bridal Coco & Kate Flossy & Willow Isabella Grace Luella’s Boudoir Miss Bush Bridal Perfect Day Bride

Bridesmaids Belle & Bunty Cherry Williams Maids to Measure Rewritten London twobirds Bridesmaid


PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFF Y PHOTOGRAPHY

Bridal Accessories

Planners

Britten Curious Fair Emmy London Feather & Coal Liberty in Love London Rocks Rene Walrus Sarah Brown Jewellery Tilly Thomas Lux Viktoria Novak Zoe & Morgan

Blue Fizz Events Butler & White Weddings Isla & Smith Katrina Otter Weddings Knot & Pop Liz Linkleter Matthew Oliver One Stylish Day Pocketful of Dreams Pudding Bridge

Hair & Beauty Love Moi Makeup Makeup By Jodie The Hair & Make Up Atelier Tori Harris Hair & Makeup

Styling & Props Duchess & Butler Hélène Millot Hey Style Hire Love Inspire Hire The Little Lending Co. Virginia’s Vintage Hire Wedhead London

Film Baxter and Ted Insta Wedding Jacob & Pauline Roost Film Co.

Celebrants Andri Benson Ceremonies Wild & Oak

Food & Drink Beautiful & The Feast Indulgence Boutique Catering Kalm Kitchen The Fancy Float The Travelling Gin Co.

Cakes Anges de Sucre Edible Essence Couture Co. JEMIMA Cakes Kate Burt Cakes Lily Vanilli

Gift List Prezola

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SUPPLIERS WE LOVE


“To have and to hold… always.”


W W W.C O C O W E D D I N G V E N U E S .C O. U K

The Annual 2019/20  

Over 300 pages of inspirational and practical planning features. The Annual is both beautiful and down to earth. It shows you just what's po...

The Annual 2019/20  

Over 300 pages of inspirational and practical planning features. The Annual is both beautiful and down to earth. It shows you just what's po...