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FREE Covering Bath, Bristol, Gloucestershire & Somerset Spring 2012

Gowns galore

Special Day: fitting for a princess

Allison Jayne Ian Stuart Kate Sherford Essense

romancing the stone


Who chooses the engagement ring?

Grandeur in the countryside

Brides of


The Grange leaps into action as our team of experts brings the West’s spring wedding fashions to life p.53

GOWNS | MENSWEAR | PHOTOGRAPHY | VENUES | JEWELLERY | inspiration Spring2012 _Cover.indd 7

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Anne Harding

Bristol’s only Bridal Specialist that offers you the option to hire, design or buy your designer wedding gown. Ask us for more information on our exclusive hire options and our interest free monthly payment plans. View our range of bridesmaids dresses and don’t forget our mens formal hire, offering the best service and styles for miles!

Essense Designer Day - Saturday 17th March By appointment only

Preview the 2013 collection before its in the shops 10% off all purchases on the day. Stockist of award winning Dessy Bridesmaid range p2-3.indd 2

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One of the largest showrooms in Bristol, with an endless choice on waistcoats, cravats and designer suits new for 2012 If you are looking for the very best of service and the highest of standards – you need look no further! View our huge range of formal hire, from the traditional to the contemporary - look no further.

90-92 Shirehampton Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol Tel. 0117 9683074 •

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THE TEAM CONTRIBUTORS Editor: Mike Gartside Group Editor: Dave Higgitt Sub editor: Helen Dorritt Writers: Kirsten Butler, Hannah Chapman, Jennie Crombie, Sharon Diamond, Holly Dimes, Helen Dorritt, Francesca Gibbens, Louise Jarndyce, Dan Ryan. Design: Sarah Malone, Sarah Clark and Cath Evans Advertising manager: Becky Davis ADVERTISING To advertise in future editions of West Weddings contact: Jacqui Lewis T: 0117 934 3136 E: EDITORIAL To contribute to future editions of West Weddings contact: Mike Gartside T: 0117 934 3742 E: DISTRIBUTION To have a regular free delivery of the magazine to your business contact: Simon Butler T: 0117 934 3741 E: PUBLISHER West Weddings Magazine is published by Venue at Bristol News and Media, 4th Floor, BN&M, Temple Way, Bristol BS99 7HD Telephone: 0117 942 8491

Follow us on Twitter at westweddings and check out our blog at www. westweddings.blogspot. com.

Cover gown is by Pronovias, supplied by Allison Jayne, Bristol. Photograph: Chris Williams, Mango Photography.

Welcome to West Weddings Spring 2012


here’s little to beat the feeling of the first few days of Spring, as the first warm rays chase off the winter blues. The season is rich in promise, which makes it one of the most popular and symbolic times of the year for couples to make their pledges . . . and organise their accompanying celebrations. The weather can’t be absolutely guaranteed, of course, which is why the host of our wedding photo special this Spring, The Mercure Bristol North, The Grange, has a fantastic range of indoor and outdoor options to cover all climatic bases. In traditional West Weddings style, we have gathered together some of the West Country’s most exciting wedding specialists to present exactly what they would do at a wedding, with their wares wonderfully showcased by a lovely couple, Dagmara and Phil, put in touch with us by Room 3 Agency. Gown retailer Allison Jayne has very kindly provided the gowns for the shoot, marking the fact that it opens its new shop in Bristol this year, following many successful years of business in South Wales. Other exciting features this issue are: a wedding dress fitting by Hannah Chapman, at Keynsham’s very accommodating Special Day and Appletons (p.36); a fabulous opportunity to win a hen/ stag photo session with photographer Richard Andersen (p.44); an insight into how three grooms-to-be see themselves on their wedding day (p.45) and the many heart-warming real wedding stories that our readers are kind enough to share with us (p.18). We hope that will put a spring in the step of any couple planning their wedding this year.

Mike Gartside, Editor

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contents Spring 2012


48 REGULARS 6 Wedding news Wedding fairs, unusual and new venues, Irish dancing, award-winning cakes, leap year proposals 11 News feature Portishead Wedding Network 13 Ask the experts Your questions answered 18 Real Weddings Four couples share their big day: including Lizzie and Dan’s teenage wedding 50 Online Keep track of our presence on the web with bloggers Hannah and Helen 51 Budget and countdown Keep track of those facts and figures 84 Photo Gallery Fantastic photography from the best in the West 88 Directory Lots of local contacts 90 Last Word Different opinions on how couples should choose the engagement ring

FASHION 14 Spring Style Look blooming lovely this season 27 Gowns Top designers including Ian Stuart, Mark Lesley, Essense and Kate Sherford display their wares


45 Menswear Three grooms reveal what their outfits say about them. Plus, cufflinks should not be an afterthought 53 Cover Shoot The Mercure Bristol North, The Grange, helped us create a dream come true

Be inspired 61 How to From hen nights to cakes to watches . . . some great ideas from the West and beyond. 62 In and Out What’s up and what’s down with our wedding wasp


Venues 69 Making history The West’s grandest locations

competition 17 Win a wedding dress At Special Day and Appletons 44 Win a stag/hen night Photographic Parlour party

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discounts • elegance • romance

Look to the

Future Future Brides, on Chipping Sodbury High Street, has just opened a third floor showroom for its discounted gowns. The store is branching out from its more

pricey options to provide beautiful dresses at the lower end of the price range. Tracey Veal, the owner of the shop, said, “The new floor will be great for anyone looking for a dress on a quick turnaround. We can help them get a lovely gown without spending too much.” The discounted bridal gowns will sell for £100, £150 or £200 and there is also a range of bridesmaids’ and prom dresses. The sale room will become a permanent feature of the store so there’s no need to rush to catch the winter sales. Although you might need to hurry to get the best gowns! Future Brides 42 High St, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol BS37 6AH T: 01454 311722 W:

Full Steam Ahead For those couples wanting to hold their wedding somewhere a little different, the ss Great Britain certainly qualifies. The Victorian iron steam ship docked in Bristol’s harbour has been refurbished with elaborate state rooms and makes a unique, romantic setting for a wedding. The ss Great Britain holds a Wedding Evening on Thursday March 22nd from 5.30pm to 8.30pm and its own dedicated events team will be on hand throughout the evening to talk through every aspect of your big day. The event is free and no ticket is required.  Tours of the ship and event spaces are available as well as a chance to sample the menu and meet wedding suppliers who will ensure your day really is ship shape and Bristol fashion!   SS GREAT BRITAIN T: 0117 926 0680 W:

To the Manor wed With its rural setting, old-fashioned English charm and a nightclub worthy of the international jet set, one South Gloucestershire venue is already making memories for many happy couples passing through its doors. Old Down Manor, formerly the home of musician Mike Oldfield, prides itself on offering a beautiful environment for your ceremony and reception, with a level of service second to none. Set in an idyllic location with breath-taking panoramic views across the River Severn to the Black Mountains and beyond, Old Down Manor is approached via a tree-lined avenue, the magnificent Victorian house at the heart of a 60 acre estate complete with formal gardens, grazing land and age-old woodland. Launched at the end of October 2011, the manor has seen a £4m renovation with chic bedrooms and bespoke reception rooms, including a stunning orangery with a capacity of

120 seated for a wedding breakfast and up to 200 guests in the evening. Old Down Manor also has a magical atrium with crystal chandeliers and a sweeping Bath stone staircase with a romantic gallery landing. The venue hosts only one event at a time, ensuring that you and your guests get the highest quality service. You also get use of the fantastic facilities such as the indoor pool and tennis court, along with 13 bedrooms.  For those who enjoy dancing, one of its most interesting features is the cellar night club. With a red Russian theme, this is the perfect spot for a unique evening reception.  The in-house team of chefs is skilled at providing the perfect menu for your wedding, which you can plan in detail at your bespoke tasting. Whether its canapés or a six course meal, you won’t be disappointed.  Luxurious and elegant, Old Down Manor has

all the ingredients needed to provide the bride and groom, friends and loved ones with a beautiful wedding in an amazing setting and, most importantly of all, a day to be treasured forever. OLD DOWN MANOR FOXHOLES LANE, TOCKINGTON, BRISTOL BS32 4PG. T: 01454 414081 W: WWW.OLDDOWNMANOR.CO.UK

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Your Wedding is 4-6 weeks away... is so much to organise Thanks forThere this, looks great, the only thing I’m in those laststill. fewIt’s weeks. Asan not sure about is the font definitely improvement theday onesapproaches I supplied in the draft theonbig many version butpeople the mainexperience body and contact details are anxiety and not as legible as I’dcaused like themby to the be. Iworry think it’s stress of because the font too narrow maybe, or a bit too co-ordinating all the details that ‘Wild West’ style... It’s really difficult to know go into making your day very what to go for, the two main concerns are legibilspecial. ity and keeping with the stylish theme of the photo booth. Some fonts that seemed ok in Photoshop AtGeorgia a smalland cost I can were: Didot, Goudy Oldalleviate Style... all the stressful issues making

The Sub heading ‘Photographic you feel confident Performance that your day Space....’ iswill a bitbe too“perfect” cartoonishinperhaps... Again, every way something mildly elaborate in a kind of Victorian leaving you completely stress theme would be great! I know this is vague, but free and fully relaxed ready to if you find something you think fits that would be wedding great! Likeenjoy I said,your the main concernday. is legibility when it’s printed, beacuse it’ll be quite small, if you find something that also has a bit of flair that’s what I’m looking for...

0117 9612599 / 07564 790456 email:

When planning your wedding... we’ve got the whole package

• Wedding concept / Ideas • Budgeting • Catering / Menus • Invitation Designs • Transportation • Venue Selection • Wedding Cakes • Photo / Videographer

The Photographic Performance Space for Stylish Weddings and Events

Pamper yourself and your guests with our indulgent photo booth experience. Have your wedding immortalised with stunning professional photography in a sumptuous setting where everything is provided. The Photographic Parlour can be styled to the theme of your wedding. Please contact us for a friendly and free consultation. 07748150161

The Wedding Works It’s your day... not ours!

Imagine the amazing day to come, your Wedding Day! Then imagine all that has to be organised... phew, where do you begin? At The

Wedding Works of course!

• Chair Covers, Sashes & Centre Pieces • Wedding and Table Stationery • Photography & Videography • Wedding Cakes & Wedding Flowers • Candy Buffet & Favours • Hair Accessories • Wedding Decorations & Balloons NEW IN Fire Shows

All Under One Roof Your one-stop shop for all your wedding requirements. Meet all our vetted and approved members at our Spring Wedding Fayre at Old Down Manor, Tockington on Sunday 19 February 11-3pm. Visit our website for all future wedding fayres.

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The Wedding Works 20 Filton Road Horfield Bristol BS7 0PA T: 07931 859986 W: E: Open: Tues – Thurs 10.00am – 5.00pm Fri & Sat 10.00am – 3.00pm Sun & Mon Closed

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fear of

falling Because most couples plan their wedding one to two years in advance, they often fall into the trap of thinking that everything will fall into place. After all, the church and venue have been chosen, the guest list drawn up, the cake ordered, the caterers, cars and the photographer booked . . . what can possibly go wrong? According to wedding planning professional Christine Alecci, however, it is often during the last six weeks or so before the big day that the plan starts to unravel. Stress kicks in big time as the once-happy couple realise that there remain so many fine details that have been forgotten. As a highly experienced wedding planner, Christine is well used to

being called in by frantic couples to manage these last minute but vital arrangements. These, in her professional opinion, are the main checklist of final actions that often unhinge the best laid wedding plans because they have been left to the last moment. From guest invitation management and seating arrangements, to making sure flowers are delivered and everyone gets to the venue on time, Christine specialises in the co-ordination of all these details and much more, ensuring that any wedding day, large or small, is special, enjoyable and stress free for all. Christine Alecci T: 0117 9612599 or 07564 790456 W: www. christinealecci. E: christine@

Icing queens Eighteen-month-old Somerset company Ice Maiden Cakes has reason to celebrate after winning two prestigious awards at 2011 Cake International last year. One of the world’s largest cake and sugar craft events, the competition exhibits the work of entrants from across the globe. Ice Maiden Cakes scooped a silver ‘sculpted cake’ award in honour of its Chinese dragon cake, and a merit award in the wedding cake category for an art deco inspired creation (pictured). Julie Gibson, founder of the company says, “This is the first time I have entered a cake into a competition so I am thrilled to achieve not one but two awards with designs that strongly represent our unique style.” Each Ice Maiden cake is custom-made after close consultation with the client to ensure they achieve their dream wedding cake. Julie says, “At Ice Maiden Cakes we love the colourful and the quirky but we also believe in giving the customer what they want.” Ice Maiden Cakes W: www.

Happy feet If you’ve ever secretly yearned to jump up and join in with Irish dance shows such as Riverdance, then you’ll be pleased to know that bringing some of that magic into your wedding is easier than you thought… The O’Malley School of Irish Dance is a Bristol-based school led by Kate O’Malley TCRG, a world champion Irish dancer. The school not only provides classes for aspiring dancers but also runs an Irish dance troupe who performs at events around the country, including weddings. “Weddings are so much fun,” says Rachel Gough, the troupe organiser. “We provide entertainment for the reception, using traditional Irish music mixed with

more modern songs. As well as traditional dance dresses, we have more contemporary troupe costumes and dresses.” Once the display is over, the school can introduce your guests to tapping their toes themselves. “After we perform, we can teach everyone some steps, which is great if you’re having a ceilidh,” says Rachel. “Everyone can join in with this type of dance and most don’t stop laughing – especially if they’ve got a couple of drinks in them.” O’Malley School of Irish Dance T: 07934 444877 W: E:

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Word on the Beep

fayre stood the wind With the sounds of the Bath Spa Spring Quartet wafting through the entrance hall of Old Down Manor, Tockington, near Bristol, the Annual Spring Wedding Fayre hosted by the Guild of Professional Wedding Services this February is sure to be a stylish experience. A guild member itself, this beautiful venue (see also, News P6) welcomes over 25 other members of the organisation, offering a showcase for their dedicated, high quality services. Workshops and demonstrations are held throughout the day, incorporating bridal hair by Milano’s and bridal makeup by B-Lush with a wonderful selection of wedding dresses and bridesmaids’ attire from Bride at Home plus menswear from The Original Mobile Menswear.

Wedding cars will be on show at the entrance to the house, with flowers by Jacaranda, Bus Station Florists and Tiger Lily and photography by Aston Hue Photography, Studiowise Photography, Simon Barnes Photography and Photography by Sarah Cameron. Chair covers, balloons, chocolate fountains, stationery and a dove releasing company, plus many more, will be on hand. Guild of Professional Wedding Services Annual Spring Wedding Fayre Sunday 19 February, Old Down Manor, Tockington, Bristol BS32 4PG, 11am-3pm, free W: www.

Anne Harding of Stoke Bishop, Bristol, is one of the latest shops to join the ‘BeepTreat’ marketing revolution. BeepTreat is a mobile phone app which can be downloaded for free and enables the user to receive discounts and offers from participating stores. Potential customers can find deals using the BeepTreat directory, or can scan a poster in the shop window to find the latest offer. When they accept the Treat they instantly tell their friends on Facebook and each of their friends that visit and take the offer also tell their friends. This process means the shop’s offer is continually reaching an expanding network of people. Anne Harding is currently offering a 12 per cent discount with a BeepTreat app, and with such a wide range of dresses and suits to hire, buy or design it’s an offer that no future bride or groom can afford to miss. Anne Harding W: BeepTreat W:

West’s wedding fever Twice a year, in autumn and spring, west country brides and their grooms-to-be discover an unlikely mecca for all things nuptial in the shape of Bristol City Football Club. More precisely, the club’s Dolman Exhibition Hall hosts the West Weddings fair, one of the largest such events in the region, giving brides and grooms the chance to meet and talk with some of the area’s top suppliers. Exhibitors include the usual mix of essential services such as dresses, photographers and venues, as well as some more unusual suppliers, such as Capture Booths, a photobooth hire company. There will be five of the region’s best bridal houses taking part in the fashion show, displaying not only gowns but a large selection of bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories.

The fair really is the perfect opportunity to find everything you need for your wedding, all conveniently under one roof. WEST WEDDINGS SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY, EVENING POST AND DOLMAN EXHIBITION HALL BRISTOL CITY FOOTBALL GROUND, ASHTON GATE, BRISTOL. T: 0117 934 3547 W: WWW. WEST-WEDDINGS.CO.UK

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web pic credit: Dawn Wilkins

From gowns to cars to flowers and venues, Portishead Wedding Network has the whole range.

West Weddings looks at a new wedding network designed to make planning easier.


lanning a wedding can take up to 200 hours of online research, discussion with suppliers, sourcing flowers, writing invitations, booking a venue and, of course, finding that perfect dress. It will come as a relief, then, to couples throughout the South West, that one group of wedding businesses has teamed up to make their work a lot easier. The Portishead Wedding Network is a new collaboration of over 20 local companies serving the region. “We’re showing local brides that there are recommended local services who can provide quality and reliability,” says Georgina Hunter, of wedding planner Inspiral Parties and chair of Portishead Wedding Network. “Couples no longer need to fear their services will not be delivered on the day.” The network has pooled together a range of professionals including wedding planners, venues, a photographer, a florist, a gown designer, a stationers and more to cater for every aspect of your wedding. Suppliers are only invited to join the network after they have demonstrated they can deliver quality, time and again. “Getting married is such a personal thing, it’s vital couples go for suppliers they can trust,” says Wendy Thorne, of network member Spirit Wedding Cars. “The whole ethos of the network is that we are small family run, reliable businesses.” So, she insists, the group is willing to go the extra mile, and without breaking the bank. The Portishead Wedding Network holds its first ever Wedding Fayre this February in Portishead. All the network’s members will be in attendance, showcasing all the bridal goods you’ll need. Two fashion shows are compered by BBC Points West weather presenter and former

Portishead resident, Jemma Cooper. The Portishead Wedding Network has big plans for the future. When you can get a top to bottom service, by picking and choosing from a suite of recommended providers, why waste time and money trying to go it alone? Wedding Fayre St Peter’s Church, Church Road South, Portishead, Saturday 25 February, 11am-4pm, free (plus goodie bag). W:

Details Winford Manor Hotel W: St Peters & St Nicholas Churches W: Little Wedding Helper W: Jo Ashman Weddings W: Wedding Works W: Luna Music Services E: Katherine Jo Design W: The Hat Studio W: Perception Photography W: Pat Cooper Photography W: Dawn Wilkins Photography W: www.dawnwilkinsphotography. Procam DVD Weddings W: Spirit Wedding Cars W: Portishead Wedding Flowers W: www.portisheadwedding Inspiral Wedding Planning Services W: Paul Maltby – Professional Toastmaster W: Jay Gees Nails & Beauty W: west weddings 11

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Hire Our Photo Booth For Your Wedding Party Get in touch through our website

or email us: Weddig Ad with text.indd 1

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you need to ask the experts... It’s always exciting to see nature burst into life in Spring but don’t let the green shoots trip you up. Industry insiders answer your questions.

More beautiful than I imagined

Bird cage walk

Different needs

I can’t find my “dream” wedding dress in the shops so I am thinking of having it made by a designermaker. What happens if I don’t like it when it’s finished?

How best do I accessorise my short, 50s-style wedding dress? I’d love a veil but a long style wouldn’t suit the dress. Can you recommend anything?

I want a wedding cake that everyone will enjoy, but my husband has a nut allergy and I’m vegan. What would you suggest?

Gown designer Catherine Miller replies:

Amanda from Bridezillas replies:

Cake designer Marie Jones of Top Tier Services replies:

Having a wedding dress designed and created for you is a special and unique experience. I begin with a consultation to discuss your ideas and dreams. I will interpret this and suggest my thoughts on a style and silhouette to enhance your figure. You will get a very good idea of the basic overall shape when we fit the ‘toile’ or mock-up of your design in calico. The advantage of having your dress designed and made is that you will see how it evolves at each fitting. This flexibility gives us the opportunity to alter any aspects of the design as we progress, thus eliminating any potential problems as they arise. This is a partnership of designer and bride. After all, we are working towards the same goal - perfection on the day. The comment I hear most is, “It’s far more beautiful than I ever imagined it would be!”

A 1950s dress would look absolutely fabulous with a bird cage veil. We recommend pairing this with a simple string of pearls plus matching earrings and bracelet. Alternatively we would suggest a short, two layered veil worn at a high point on the head, making it puff out for maximum statement, accessorised with a chunky pearl and crystal necklace. If the neckline on your dress is high we recommend not wearing a necklace but instead a larger pair of earrings. If you have bare arms and shoulders you could also add some gloves for elegance. As for shoes, we love the idea that your shoes are totally on show, so why not choose a fun style? We recommend high heels with a peep toe front and a bow.



Choosing a wedding cake for a couple with allergies and different needs can be daunting, but don’t despair. A three tier combination is the answer to your problems. The largest one can either be a fruit or a sponge, which means there’s ample quantity for the guests. Both the bottom and middle tier can be made of nut free sponge or fruit cake and both will work well even if you choose two different flavours. The top tier would be kept a vegan cake, both dairy and egg free. The alternative may be to have cup cakes in two different colour cases to match your colour scheme and to distinguish between cakes. FFI:

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With the new season, a fresh palette of colours, flowers and fabrics is flowing into the bridal fashion scene. Francesca Gibbens reports.


pring can be a difficult season to plan a wedding. You’re far from the deep red and forest green shades of a winter wedding and yet that summer sunshine can’t quite be guaranteed. But it’s the perfect metaphor for your new life and there are so many ideas you can incorporate into your big day to embrace the season.


Think about your colour scheme and take your lead from spring flowers. Bright yellow lillies and pale olive greens will give your spring wedding that vibrancy needed to shake off memories of winter. If you aren’t a fan of the classic pastels, then an intrepid hot pink or toned down aqua adds vitality. With such a host of colours to choose from there are an endless range of combinations. Yellow and grey is stylish, fresh and easy to pull off, as many grooms are wearing grey at the moment. Bright yellow daffodils are seasonal and make great bouquets – which can be cost effective, too, if you create your own.


The influence of the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress last year is still very much with us and those long lace sleeves are ideal for spring – elegant, sexy and practical if the weather’s still a little chilly. The beauty of this sleeve is that it suits a range of styles, be it an A-line skirt, a fishtail or an empire waistline.


In homage to Reese Witherspoon’s dress at her March wedding last year, designers such as Vera Wang and Oscar De La Renta presented blush pink wedding gowns in their 2011 collections and they’re still popular for spring 2012. A pink dress may seem quite 14 west weddings

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daring but a muted rose tone can add a rustic, romantic look, and spring is the perfect season to pull this colour off as every detail of your wedding decorations can be co-ordinated with your dress. This high street version by KooTure reflects those designer influences.


Whether you do choose to think pink, or decide to go with daffodil yellow, pale olive green or soft lilac, La Maison du Chocolate macaroons will match any spring theme. They are a gorgeous party favour, presented in elegant gift boxes and can be used as colourful centrepieces or as an accompaniment to your champagne. The flavours include passion fruit, lemon and raspberry to keep your taste buds alive and each macaroon is infused with their distinctive ganache.




Continue the pink theme with the drinks and serve rosé Champagne, a perfect romantic accompaniment to the day. Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé is a sweet salmon colour with silver tints. Refreshingly dry but containing enough flavour to work well with your evening meal, the blend offers up aromas of blueberry, blackcurrant and raspberry.


An integral feature of your wedding is the cake and with so many designs available, it is a real chance to reflect your personality. Although a bright yellow cake may seem as daring as a pink dress, subtle tones of yellow can look tasteful, and icing sculpted into daffodils will match your seasonal flowers. The rustic look is gorgeous, and icing can create a lace inspired appearance with flowers, butterflies and ribbon, selected in muted pink, adding a real ‘wow’ factor. This cake is by Sandra Monger but you could also try Lemon Sky Cakes in Bath.


While British summers aren’t the most reliable, our springs are even more unpredictable. Keep the rain at bay with vintage umbrellas. Classic white with embroidery, like this one from Spider, is the obvious choice, but for colour detail try a subtle pastel shade or floral pattern.

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contacts Beyond Retro W: High Society Bride W: Koo-ture W: La Maison du Chocolat W: Lemon Sky Cakes W: T: 01225 808691 Nicolas Feuillatte W: Sandra Monger Cakes W: T: 01225 340832 west weddings 15

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Eastwood Park


help is at


From disaster to relief . . . no fewer than five couples who were planning their weddings at Chewton Place, the venue run by Bristol-based business Aspire Venues which went into liquidation last year, have been able to put their wedding plans back on track thanks to Eastwood Park in South Gloucestershire. The former hunting lodge, set in the heart of a 200 acre estate, was able to offer its services when it heard how the collapse of Aspire had derailed the wedding plans of many couples. “We became aware of the situation just before Christmas as a number of brides made contact to see whether we could help,” says Peter Jordan, general manager of Eastwood Park. “Our venue offers many similarities to those previously owned by Aspire in that our weddings take place in a mansion house full of character. We are being as flexible as possible with our pricing under the circumstances and have done everything we can to find alternative suitable dates.” Fellow wedding venue Bath Racecourse has also been able to relocate some of the weddings, while Chewton Place is now under new management. Eastwood Park T: 01454 262805 W: Bath Racecourse T: 01225 424609 W:

p all wrapped u Since its formation in 2005 by two former brides with an eye for detail, Southwest Chair Covers has gone on to become one of the premier suppliers of chair covers and sashes for West Country weddings. The service provided by the company ensures that your tables and chairs are the perfect complement for your other reception decorations. Chair covers come in white, ivory, black and white damask, and other colours are available on request. For the sashes, Southwest Chair Covers has a huge range of colours to choose from, including two tone ribbons in eye-catching shades. It also has a great selection of accessories such as flowers and wired butterflies to add that special touch to the chairs, plus table cloths, runners and napkins in co-ordinating shades. Each of its products is made from the finest fabrics and are cleaned and pressed before each wedding to ensure they look their absolute best. Southwest Chair Covers T: 07765 228695 W: www.

A giant

leap While tradition might have taken a bit of a battering over the last few decades, it’s still considered the norm for men to propose to women, rather than the other way round. But tradition also gives women a window of opportunity to take matters into their own hand and propose to their chap, once every four years on 29 February, the extra day of the leap year. One hotel in the West is taking advantage of this curious phenomenon, offering women two free glasses of champagne (presumably to share with their betrothed to be) if they take the opportunity to go down on one knee (if that is the appropriate etiquette . . . West Weddings’ readers are invited to share their thoughts). The Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Bay, Dorset, believes it has the perfect spot for the great moment, The Lookout Tower, a secluded location in beautiful gardens overlooking the gorgeous Jurassic Coast. The tower can also be used as a dining venue ‘à deux’ and offers a discrete personal butler as part of the experience. To take advantage of the offer, email the hotel with Proposal Offer in the subject line. Alexandra Hotel T: 01297 442010 E:

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WIN A Wedding Dress

Special Day and Appletons is giving away a wedding dress worth up to £1,000 to one lucky bride!


pon winning the competition, our blushing bride will be invited to an appointment with Special Day and Appletons’ first lady, Jackie Sweeting, to try on a selection of the stunning dresses on offer. The winner can choose any dress up to the value of £1,000. Of course, she can always ask her dad nicely to contribute if the dress she falls in love with happens to cost a little bit more! Special Day and Appletons of Keynsham offers a fabulous selection of gowns by designers such as Sottero & Midgley, Ellis Bridal, Impression Bridal, Mark Lesley, Bonny Bridal, Opulence by Natalie M & Lou Lou Bridal. Special Day has a wonderful reputation for warm hospitality, helpfulness and professionalism, as well as an array of dresses that are second to none.



To be in with a chance of winning a wedding dress up to the value of £1,000, follow these simple steps:

Bride’s name:................................................................................................................

• Answer the following question: Where is Special Day and Appletons based?


• Fill in your details and the competition question on the entry panel and send by post to: Win The Frills, Bristol News & Media, Temple Way, Bristol BS99 7HD. Alternatively, you can enter online at or by emailing your answer plus details to please mark your subject Competition Entry. • All entries must be received by 12 AUGUST 2012. The prize winner will be notified by 2 SEPTEMBER 2012


..................................................................................................................................... ...........................................................................................Postcode: .......................... Email address: . ............................................................................................................ Telephone no: ............................................................................................................. Wedding date: ............................................................................................................. Terms and conditions apply. Please see page 87 for full terms and conditions or visit The prize provider ONLY may contact entrants with offers or discounts. Please tick here if you do not wish to be contacted ❏

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Love on a mountain


Adventure lovers Ellen and Neil Sanders had expert help at the start of their biggest journey yet. Hannah Chapman talks to the bride.

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2/7/2012 12:18:45 PM

Realweddings realweddings

a winter’s tale Clockwise from left; Ellen and Neil on their big day; Ellen’s Manolo Blahniks; Ellen’s bouquet; Candelabra centrepieces; their winter fruit themed cake.


t was a beautiful crisp winter’s day when Ellen and Neil tied the knot at their December wedding and, while guests were warmed up with hot chestnuts outside the church, the mother of the bride had left a little something inside the car for the happy couple to enjoy on the way to their vintage-themed reception . . . Rewind a few months, though, and it was clear that this would be a match made in adventurous environments: while she enjoyed Go Ape! in the Forest of Dean, he would travel to Valencia in Spain for the famous tomato throwing festival. Indeed, they even managed to include their favourite ski runs in their wedding. “It wasn’t quite love at first sight,” says Ellen. “I don’t remember meeting him on the first social occasion we were together. Friends had to work on a bit of matchmaking before we had our first date. Neil had to check with them whether it was usual for me to talk so much. When they said ‘Yes’ he decided he still wanted to hear more, thankfully.” On a romantic night after dinner at a restaurant in Clifton, Bristol, Neil encouraged Ellen to take a photograph of them both, with the camera outstretched in one hand. As she extended her arm, he pulled out the ring and proposed. “I forgot to take the photo with the shock of him asking,” she laughs. The bride’s gown, a dream in satin, with a lace overlay, was made to order by Alison Miles Couture in Bath, who also made Ellen’s mother’s outfit. Her groom-to-be had a rival, that day, however, as Ellen also expresses passion for . . . her shoes. “They were my ‘something blue’ moment,” she says. “On a trip to London, I saw these Manolo Blahnik creations and I just fell in love with them.” Earrings were from Passionate about Vintage, and she wore an antique diamond solitaire necklace from her mum, which went so well with an infinity charm bracelet Neil gave her on the morning. The ceremony went like a dream and afterwards it was off to the wedding breakfast at Kingscote Barn, Gloucestershire. The couple enlisted the help of The Little Wedding Helper to theme the reception, which was decked in a colour scheme

of cream and pearls with teal and purple. The table centrepieces were cream candelabras with decorative jewels and candles. Mother of pearl hearts were scattered on the tables and vintage silver votives were filled with roses and tea lights. A garland across the balcony was filled with teal and purple baubles, with fairy lights adding a festive touch. The table place name holders were mercury glass baubles from Cox and Cox, while tables were named after ski runs in Courchevel and Meribel where the couple learnt to snowboard together. As they were honeymooning in the USA, an old US mailbox was used as the post box for the couple’s wedding cards. “I had worked with The Little Wedding Helper in the months leading up to the wedding,” says Ellen. “They decorated our reception in the morning and put all the final finishing touches to the day. It was so reassuring having someone to do the things you would want to do yourself. It also meant not having to rely on friends or family who could enjoy the day. “Becoming Mrs Sanders was the best thing on the day, of course,” Ellen laughs. “But I spent great quality time with the bridesmaids in the hairdressers on the morning. Our journey from the church to the reception was also wonderful as it was just the two of us in the car and Mum had put together a basket of goodies including a little bottle of Champagne for me, a hip flask of espresso vodka for Neil and some biscuits and nuts... she must have known we’d be peckish!”

Details Dress Alison Miles Couture T: 01225 336905 W: Suits Moss Bros W: Venue Kingscote Barn, Binley Farm, Kingscote, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8YE T: 01453 861161 W: Photography Dimond Photography T: 07884 003183 W: Flowers Aqua Wedding and Event Flowers T: 01285 821990 W: Hair McQueens, Park Street, Bristol T: 0117 925 4864 W: Venue stylist The Little Wedding Helper T: 07726 911951 W: www.thelittleweddinghelper.

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2/7/2012 12:19:27 PM


Our day in

the sun After documenting her wedding preparation with us over the past year, Jenny Crombie now shares the details of her wedding day.

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2/7/2012 12:16:28 PM


Autumnal bliss Clockwise from left; Jenny and Dan share a wedding day kiss; the Longhouse in Bruton; Jenny and Dan enjoy the autumnal sunshine; Jenny and her bridesmaids; a showering of confetti; the 120 strong wedding party; Dan having fun at the reception.


here’s nothing like two hours’ sleep to set you up for the biggest day of your life. And that’s roughly how many zeds I managed to catch on the night before my wedding. Despite going to bed sleepy my brain resolutely refusing to settle down and do what it was told. However, by the time I was sitting down to an outlandishly early breakfast, guzzling coffee with one of my bridesmaids, all that mattered was the day ahead. We had decided at an early stage of the planning to marry in the afternoon, and a 3pm ceremony turned out to be perfect, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the day. My own leisurely preparations began with a trip to The Sanctuary hair salon in Bruton for a spot of primping and preening with the bridal party, and a bottle of Champagne to get the party started. Leaving the salon in golden autumn sunshine, I couldn’t believe our luck. My partner, Dan, and I had both prepared ourselves for the worst, but the day was even brighter and better than we could have hoped for. Our venue, the Longhouse in Bruton, was bathed in sunshine as I arrived. Booking this lovely, eco-friendly venue for our ceremony and reception was one of the best planning decisions we made – not only is it beautiful (both building and surroundings) but the organisation and interaction with Matt, who runs it, had been a joy from start to finish. Excitement building (and still not a hint of sleepiness to mar proceedings) it was time to head up to our suite for make-up, lunch and to be laced into my Mori Lee dress by my patient bridesmaids, to my mantra of “tight as it will go!” Our fantastic photographer Caroline Wood arrived to start snapping the preparations, dividing her time between us and the groom’s party, who had arrived downstairs. The minutes flew by, the lunch was nibbled, more Champagne was quaffed, and I finally got to see myself with dress, hair and make-up all together for the first time and breathe a sigh of relief that it had all come together, pretty much dead on schedule. All the times over the past few months that I had worried about tripping over or weeping as I came down the aisle proved to be utterly without foundation as I stepped out to a sea of smiling faces, rays of sunshine through the huge glass doors and, best of all, my handsome groom waiting at the front. The ceremony passed by

Details Venue The Longhouse, Mill-on-the-Brue, Trendle Farm, Bruton, Somerset BA10 0BA T: 01749 812307 W: Bride’s dress Mori Lee 2189 from The Bridal Room, 40 High Street, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS9 T: 0117 908 9010 W: Men’s suits Moss Bros W: Catering Taste (Southwest) Ltd (also offers B&B in Bruton) T: 01749 812022 W: www. Photographer Caroline Wood T: 01458 833565 W: Hair The Sanctuary, 15 High Street, Bruton BA10 0AB T: 01749 814992 Flowers Young Blooms, Hartley Farm, Winsley BA15 2JB T: 01225 580271 W: in a wonderful blur of vows, smiles and camera flashes, and in what seemed like moments, we were stepping back outside, hand-in-hand and beaming, now Mr and Mrs. With a guest list of 120 we were overwhelmed by hugs, kisses, and compliments as we greeted friends and relatives post-ceremony in the crisp autumn air, over ever-crisper glasses of Champagne. After the obligatory photo shoots and finally admitting that I might be a little on the chilly side (adrenalin and alcohol can only do so much) we were back inside for a slap-up wedding breakfast. The cheese tart, pork belly and sticky toffee pudding were off-the-scale incredible – and for me marred only by my inability to polish it all off, thanks to my desire to be laced so tightly into the dress and the resulting

corsetry issues. No regrets, though. The bridal look may have suffered somewhat had I changed into jogging bottoms for the meal. The evening disco saw the floor packed out for several hours of energetic dancing, and the bar abuzz with guests indulging in similarly enthusiastic drinking. Amid all of this, and all that came before it – the vows, the food and drink, the general outpouring of happiness and, of course, marrying the most amazing man in the world – there wasn’t chance to spare even one thought for my two hours’ sleep the night before. There is something in the magic of a wedding day that makes everything else cease to matter, and which bestows all the energy and radiance of a twelve-hour sleep fest. It was just perfect. west weddings 21

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2/7/2012 12:18:18 PM

A fabulous range of “Wedding Gowns to go” from £150.

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Or visit our website Appointments recommended 40 High Street, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

2/3/2012 10:34:10 AM


Teenage dream Clockwise from left; Lizzie and Dan travel in VW style; the couple share their first dance; floral centrepiece; Lizzie’s autumnal bouquet; live entertainment;

It was a teenage


. . . but, as the song goes, the old folks wished Lizzie Armour and Dan Staley well. Natasha Loader talks to the happy couple.


izzie and Dan first met at Sunday school. “When Dan and I were about 14 we started going to the same church youth group and got to know each other there,” Lizzie remembers. “I noticed Dan before he noticed me. We started dating after a few months when we were just 15 and chatted about getting married when we were about 18. The chats got more serious and we ended up measuring my ring finger, so I knew it was going to be soon.” Dan proposed to Lizzie under a lone tree on an autumn day. Little did he know, Lizzie had already suspected his proposal was imminent. “I had been to Westonbirt Arboretum with my family and told Dan how nice it was. He suggested we go again, which I thought was strange, so soon after my last visit. But we went, anyway, on the afternoon of bonfire night. It was a beautiful sunny day and all the leaves were lovely colours. While sat down, talking, he got onto one knee to propose with a ring. It was a lovely moment, sitting under golden leaves with the sun shining through.” Lizzie needed little help in planning her dream wedding. “I was so excited! We did lots for ourselves as we had strong ideas of what we wanted: a fun celebration for our family and friends which reflected our personalities and involved the places we had grown up. I made a sketchbook of printouts and cuttings from magazines which reflected what I wanted to do,” says Lizzie. Dan had strong opinions about the dress. “He made it very clear that he hated shiny

dresses and described a friend’s dress as a white bin liner,” she laughs. “But I wanted a traditional white dress, so we met in the middle.” She chose a Maggie Sottero dress from Just For You Bridal, in a warm white shade. Its chiffon over satin gave it a matt finish – not a bin liner in sight! On the day of the wedding, Lizzie overcame the inevitable nerves. “When the big day came I was fairly relaxed - I even had a lie in! It was only when I was waiting to be taken to the church that I got butterflies. A split screen pale green VW campervan took me to the church.” The aisles were bedecked in dried leaves and fresh flowers, including cream roses, deep orange-red lilies and gold lanterns, to capture the essence of when Dan proposed in the autumn. “The church looked beautiful. It was completely packed,” she says. The celebration continued at The Barn at Berkeley. “We also hired out the fun park at our reception to keep the children entertained and to have some fun ourselves after the serious speeches!” laughs Lizzie. “On a more serious note, the setting was wonderful, especially for our photographs and we had a lovely wedding breakfast. Later we had a log fire and a hog roast, which was a great way of feeding lots of people.” For Lizzie, her wedding day was a brilliant celebration of her relationship with Dan. “I am proud to say that this was my wedding, it was perfect and I will always remember it. I couldn’t stop smiling all day!”

Details Venue (ceremony) Thornbury Baptist church, Gillingstool, Thornbury BS35 2EG T: 01454 419118 W: Venue (reception) The Barn at Berkeley, Berkeley Heath, Gloucestershire GL13 9EW T: 01454 512920 W: www.thebarnatberkeley. Photographer English Rose Weddings W: Dress Maggie Sottero from Just For You Bridal, York House, Bond Street, Bristol BS1 3LQ T: 0117 942 9800 W: Flowers Berkeley Flowers, 7 Salter Street, Berkeley, Gloucestershire GL13 9BS T: 01453 811061 W: Car Kernow Kampers W: www.kernowkampers. west weddings 23

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2/7/2012 12:15:53 PM


The big


Bianca and Mike Rossetti show that you can have an amazing wedding day on a budget. Natalie Burns reports.


ike Tyrrell and Bianca Rossetti met at the halls of residence in Bangor University, and while Mike knew it was love at first sight, it took Bianca a little longer to be won over. After having been good friends for a while, however, they fell in love. Fast forward a few years and when Bianca, a publishing assistant, decided to go travelling, she knew she and Mike would miss each other. But Bianca wasn’t expecting Mike to fly to Canada and surprise her with a proposal on the beach! Luckily she thoroughly appreciated this romantic gesture and said yes. From the outset, Bianca and Mike both knew they didn’t want an over the top, expensive wedding, but something unique and low key to show their closest friends and family just how committed they

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2/7/2012 12:10:56 PM


Meeting of minds: Scenes from Mike and Bianca’s wedding at Redland’s Quaker Meeting House, plus dancing at The Prom.

are to each other – as well as an amazing party and lots of dancing afterwards! With this in mind their theme was simple, beautiful and non-traditional, with the décor, catering and make-up all done by the couple’s friends. “It was such a help having friends do the catering – I would recommend it to anyone,” said Bianca. “We got a much better selection of food, bigger portions, and everyone felt involved. It also cost under £500 to feed all the guests, so we saved loads.” The ceremony was held at the Redland Quaker Meeting House in Bristol, with the evening party held at the Prom Music Bar on nearby Gloucester Road. Bianca explained: “We wanted to keep it simple, so everything was within walking distance. I was driven to the ceremony by a friend with a bow tied round his car!” The couple broke with tradition and had a woman in place of the best man, and in another twist on convention, Mike also agreed to take Bianca’s name. The theme of the wedding was sunflowers. The bride carried a bouquet of sunflowers and white roses, arranged by one of her bridesmaids. The cake followed this theme and was a sunflower covered cupcake tower made by local cake specialists Special Iced. Bianca’s dress, a Grecian style silk and chiffon one shoulder with beaded detail, was designed and made by Rosanna Ford, a close friend who graduated from Central St Martins. Bianca teamed it with Clark’s shoes and a handbag from Accessorize. The groom wore an outfit from Ted Baker with a waistcoat from Re-Psycho, an independent retro clothes shop on Gloucester Road. All the nine bridesmaids wore whatever they wanted, adding a splash of individuality to the day. Bianca also took up her make-up artist friend Maddy’s offer to do her hair and make-up. Bianca

explained: ‘It was lovely having a friend do my hair and make-up. The salons I visited didn’t really understand what I wanted, and the styles were often quite 80s and over the top. Maddy did a much better job, and I didn’t have to leave the house!” Bianca described the big day as nerve racking in the morning, but by the time they got to the ceremony, she was on cloud nine. “I knew it was going to be one of the most important days of my life, but I had no idea how emotional it would be. I cried during my Dad’s speech, and everyone just looked so happy. It was beautiful.” The ceremony itself went without a hitch. The only thing that didn’t go to plan was when Bianca forgot to put Mike’s ring on, and then put it on the wrong hand! “We hadn’t actually planned the day with military precision as many couples do, yet everything came together perfectly - except the rings!” said Bianca. “The hair and make-up worked really well despite not having tried it out, the ceremony was perfect without a rehearsal and the music at the evening party was brilliant. We had three live bands playing on the evening, and everyone had an amazing time. We got to dance with all the people we love most in the world - it’s really the only day you get to have them all in the same room.” Bianca has some good advice for other brides; “Just relax! Don’t worry about all the little details - you’ll be so happy you won’t even notice. And do be cheeky and ask friends and family to help. They love getting involved, and it makes the day more special.”

Details Venue (ceremony) Redland Quaker Meeting House, 126 Hampton Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6JE T: 0117 974 1923 Venue (reception) The Prom Bar, 26 – 28 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8AL T: 0117 942 7319 Cake Special Iced T: 0117 957 4988 W: www. Hair and make-up Madeline Saffron T: 07758 259005 E:

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2/7/2012 12:13:16 PM

MARK SIMMONS PHOTOGRAPHY Tel: 0117 9140999 Mobile: 07778 063 699 “The photo’s are amazing! Thank you so much for capturing so many great images, they are awesome. You brought out the best in everyone, your B&W’s are especially stylish - we’ll be recommending you!”

Natural Weddings

Joby & Zoe


Tell us about your big day or wedding plans; let us know all about the gorgeous dress you discovered or about that perfect venue. Ask us any questions you have about planning for your nuptials or share some useful tips of your own. Email the editor at and you could be gracing the pages of our next edition.


2/6/2012 3:40:23 PM

allison jayne new store dress fitting designer day kate sherford

gowns GownInspiration

A queen in waiting

Ian Stuart has an extraordinary record of success with collections including Revolution Rocks! Paramount and Belle Epoque, scooping Bridal Buyer’s UK Bridal Designer of the Year Awards in 2010 and Outstanding Contribution to the Industry in 2008, to name but a few. His latest collection, Killer Queen, combines natural curves with a touch of fin de siècle decadence. The West Country is lucky to have a new outlet to show off his wares with the opening of Allison Jayne in Bristol (see overleaf). Local stockists include: Allison Jayne 47 Queen’s Road, The Triangle, Bristol. T: 0117 934 9426. W:

Constantine: A tightly ruched gown that flares into a multitude of soft ruffles. Cascading cream roses add a flamboyant finish. west weddings 27

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2/6/2012 4:38:54 PM


fit for a

princess New Allison Jayne store opens in Bristol.


hoosing a bridal gown can be a tough but exciting decision and now there’s more choice than ever as the South Wales-based bridal retailer Allison Jayne arrives in the South West, opening its new outlet on the busy shopping area of The Triangle, Clifton, Bristol. The beautifully laid-out store has a wonderful selection of top international designers, including Pronovias, Maggie Sottero, Ian Stuart, Mark Lesley, Justin Alexander and many others. Brides-to-be will feel like royalty as they enter the marbled emporium, complete with an impressive set of steps that allow you to swoop gracefully down into the shop in whichever creation you choose, rehearsing that all important entrance on the big day. “Opening the Bristol shop was a natural progression for Allison Jayne,” says the company’s co-director, Andrew Morgan-Rees.

“The market is buoyant and we’ve had our best three years yet. We think this is due to the choice we offer, the labels we carry and our customer service.” He insists that service doesn’t stop once you’ve bought the dress. “We provide good after service, we’re very friendly and nothing is too much trouble.” Ffi:

From left: A selection from Ian Stuart’s ‘Killer Queen’ collection. Fontana: An unusual tiered skirt of crystaledged tulle, topped with a strapless sweetheart bodice, gives a period, peasant feel to this luxury garment. Tiger Lilly: The influence of Kate Middleton is visible in this lace gown. Capped sleeves and stand up collar create an interesting tension with the fishtail bottom of the gown. Cadillac: For the bride that wants to rock around the clock this tae length full circle dress evokes the ‘50s.

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2/6/2012 4:39:52 PM

bristol | cardiff | swansea | mumbles

Bristol & West major stockist of Maggie Sottero Pronovias Ian Stuart Justin Alexander Mark Lesley Anouska G 47 Queens Road The Triangle, Clifton Bristol, BS8 1QQ 0117 9349426 p29.indd 1

2/6/2012 3:41:23 PM

The Bridal Make-up & Hair Room Bridal make-up & hair by BBC make-up designer Call Sue on 01225 444 769 07774 791 210

Sense of Occasion Chauffeur Driven Cars For Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Proms and Other Special Occasions. We provide an affordable, friendly and professional service with fully liveried chauffeurs to ensure that you arrive in style and on time. We are the ďŹ rst (and currently only) company in the south west offering these extremely spacious four-door Fairway cars; and their unique design means we can cater for wheelchair users.

For further details call Clare on 07771 296655 or email

We are here to help you find your picture perfect wedding jewellery and bridal hair accessories to reflect your style and personality, whether that be from classic, romantic, modern to vintage. With a vast range of products from carefully handpicked quality designers we are sure to find the right sparkle for you

We are always happy to help! Contact us: Telephone : 0117 904 3039

p30.indd 1

18 High Street Keynsham Bristol BS31 1DQ

2/3/2012 10:38:44 AM



gorgeous... Asking a wedding dress designer which is their favourite dress is a little like asking a parent who’s their favourite child. But Mark Monk, of husband and wife-led bridal design business Mark Lesley, fields the question with refreshing honesty. “We all have our favourites,” he says. “They inspire us and create a trend look. In the current market MLB 2173 is very vintage with a nice soft epaulette shoulder. It’s a semi-fishtail which takes a traditional idea and puts a new edge on it. A real fishtail is too severe for a lot of brides, but the semi allows a larger lady to look fantastic.” He also loves the colour on MLB 2151. The rather dry product numbers, he points out, are a necessity of the design and manufacture process and he encourages the stores that he supplies, such as Allison Jayne in Bristol, to re-name them something more poetic. This collection is so hot off the press, that you’ll have to get down to the store to find out what they’re called! Local stockists include: Allison Jayne 47 Queens Road, The Triangle, Clifton, Bristol T: 0117 934 9426 W: www.

2173 Mark Monk’s personal favourite from his own Mark Lesley collection, the lacedcapped sleeves are perfect for brides who prefer not to go strapless.

2140 A softly draped dress extends into a beautiful chapel-length train

2170 An elegant fishtail gown finished with embroidered, beaded flowers.

2151 Mark loves the colour of this dress and the black lace overlay contrasts with the white of the skirt.

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2/7/2012 11:01:29 AM


Dress D1241: Dolce satin and soft organza gown. Detachable beaded belt included. Colours available: off white, white. Available in lace-up or zip-up.

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GownInspiration Dress D1209: Lace over dolce satin gown. Detachable one shoulder beaded lace jacket included. Colours available: ivory and silver lace over oyster satin; ivory and silver lace over ivory satin; ivory and silver lace over pewter satin; white and silver lace over white satin. Available in lace-up or zip-up.

Dress D1238: French mikado gown. Colours available: ivory, white.

Essense and

sensibility The Essense collection at Anne Harding in Bristol is an array of beautifully detailed dresses in a wide selection of styles. Ranging from the simple to the extravagant, each gown is made with luxury fabric and gorgeous embroidery. Whether you want a fishtail with a train, a ball gown with ruffles, or an ankle length 50s-inspired skirt, there is a huge selection and every dress is beautifully crafted, elegant and timeless. Many dresses are available in different colours, with different accessories and plus sizes are available in a selection of designs. If you’re a bride-to-be with your finger on the fashion pulse, get a sneak preview of the new Essense 2013 collection before it goes on general sale at the end of the year. This March, Anne Harding opens its doors for future brides to preview and try on the new collection. There is an exclusive 10 per cent off for any orders placed on the day and bucks fizz is served to guests, so you can really make an occasion of it. This event is available by appointment only, and places are expected to fill up quickly so don’t delay in booking your place. Essense Designer Day Saturday 17 March, 9am-5.30pm, Anne Harding, Bristol. Local stockists include: ANNE HARDING 90-92 Shirehampton Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol BS9 2DR T: 0117 968 3074 W: west weddings 33

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2/6/2012 4:41:06 PM


So what’s the

A beautiful fusion of shimmering, bright colours, this jade and magenta lengha is for the bride who wants to turn heads.

This striking creation in raspberry, red, gold and brown shades is bold and vibrant

Gateway to India

This stunning apple green and gold lengha has intricately embroidered and beaded detail alongside delicate flashes of red, accessorised with a beautiful dupatta (scarf) in matching fabric.

From humble origins, Ekta Solanki set up her design house in 2005 and has grown rapidly, now having a growing global client list and two design studios in London and Delhi. Her designs are famed for marrying Indian opulence with western subtlety, using the best fabrics, embroidery designs and tailor-made cuts to match the individuality of her clients. Inspiration for Ekta’s new collection comes from jewellery, specifically the jewellery the mogul queens (ranis) of India used to wear. She wanted her bridal lenghas to be worn almost as pieces of jewellery rather than just clothes, featuring detail, crystal work and antique gold mukaish work, which is all a main element of this collection. Ekta celebrates her second successful year at the prestigious International Asian Fashion Awards, having walked away from this year’s show with an impressive two gongs for Best Wedding Collection Designer and Collection of the Year 2011. Ekta Solanki w:

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2/7/2012 12:28:15 PM

Trulyou Bridal Boutique 15-17 St Mary Street Thornbury Bristol BS35 2AB

T: 01454 411210 M: 07788 411598

 Bridal Gowns  Bridesmaid Dresses  Flowergirl Dresses  Men’s Formal Suit Hire  Accessories  Fascinators

~ Extensive range of stunning Bridal gowns ~ Bridesmaids dresses in 55 colours ~ Mother of the Bride outfits & headwear ~ Designers include Allure, Alfred Angelo & White One by Pronovias ~ Veils, shoes, jewellery & more ~ Prom & Evening wear ~ Affordable, quality, design ~ Open 6 days a week - including Sundays

Victoria Park Bridal 2 Cork Place Upper Bristol Rd Bath BA1 3BB 01225 471505

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2/3/2012 11:29:25 AM


Fit, shape and bridal

fashion Hannah Chapman indulges her inner bride with an afternoon of modelling wedding dresses.


or most brides the thought of trying on endless dresses and staring at themselves in the mirror brings flutters of excitement; for others, the sinking feeling of dread. It’s easy to see why the pressure of finding that ‘one’ dress can get brides down. But what can you expect when you arrive at the shop, ready to find the dress of your dreams? I visited Special Day and Appletons in Keynsham to find out exactly what is in store for brides. “We always recommend booking an appointment,” says Jackie Sweeting, the owner. “Each lasts an hour and you get our expert advice and opinions as well as the chance to try on the dresses. Brides are invited to browse the dresses and select six or seven styles that catch their eye. Once we have an idea of what they like, we make a few suggestions and help them try on the dresses.” After browsing through the shop’s fabulous selection of gowns, Alison the sales assistant and I picked some styles for me to try on, and I sallied forth into the changing rooms. The first dress, 101 by Bonny Bridal in French taffeta ivory (also available in platinum), was everything I initially thought I didn’t want. However, when I emerged from the fitting room all my worry disappeared. It had a laced back, sweetheart neckline, ruched skirt and was embellished with pearls and crystals. Alison recommended I try it with a large hooped skirt to create a more dramatic silhouette. Although it was much too big, I was still able to get an idea of its shape thanks to the laced corset. It’s important to remember when shopping for your dress: they will not always have the size you want. I tried on a variety of sizes; the smaller ones didn’t lace up properly and the larger ones were baggy enough to fit an extra bride inside, but I still got a good idea of how the right sized dress would look. The second dress was an off the shoulder number also by Bonny Bridal, style 106. The dress had statement crystals at the waist and shoulder, a full skirt, laced back and is available in either ivory or platinum taffeta. This dress managed to split opinions. Though

clockwise from above: The perfect excuse for vanity. Hannah admires her reflection in Bonny Bridal’s taffeta and crystal gown (style 106, £690); With lace, satin, tulle, embellishments and fabric flowers, Buttercup by Opulence is the perfect fairy-tale dress (£825);

lovely, it was definitely my least favourite, while others thought it was the most flattering. If this happens, then go with your gut feeling. You’re the one wearing the dress, after all, and if you don’t feel every bit the fabulous and confident bride, then it’s not the dress for you. The next pair of dresses were a little different to the first two. I wanted something puffy and pretty, I was thinking chiffon, lace, tulle and flowers. And boy did I get what I want. The third dress, Buttercup by Opulence, was by far my favourite. With its lace halter-neck, fairytale tulle skirt, satin waist, embellishments and fabric flowers, it was a dream come true. The final dress I tried, 1805 by Bonny Unforgettable, was ivory French taffeta with lace, pearl, sequins and crystal embellish-

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clockwise from LEFT: Jackie & Alison are on hand to help Hannah find ther perfect gown; Hannah loves the sweetheart neckline & sparkling embelishments of 101 by Bonny Bridal; what’s a bride without her accessories? Alison helps Hannah choose a tiara.

Hannah’s tips for dress fittings sizes – they can 1Tryorderonthedifferent right size later on. a camera – this way you 2youTake can have a good think before make a second appointment (but do check first because some shops would rather you didn’t).

try accessories. They make 3look,Doall theeven difference to the final if it is just a headband. ments. This was quite different from the first three, and with its head to toe lace made me feel incredibly regal and sophisticated. When I arrived I was sure I wanted slinky, sexy and siren-like. Sadly I don’t have those particular curves and needed something that could hold me in, hold me up and cover all my wobbly bits. The dresses I tried on weren’t what I’d had in mind but when I put them on I felt beautiful and, most importantly, comfortable. There’s a reason that certain styles are suggested for certain shapes. My morning at Special Day and Appletons taught me that, while I believe you should go with your instincts, sometimes those instincts can change.

Bridal boutiques will always have a selection of hair pieces, veils and jackets.

be your worst enemy and 4theDon’t let your body hang-ups get in way of a lovely day. Know the parts you’re most self conscious about and ask the sales assistant what they would recommend. It’s their business to make you feel good and they’ll know all the tricks of the trade.

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scrumptious! Trudy Lee’s new collection for 2012 is inspired by “romance for today’s modern bride”. It features a diverse selection of dresses, from sophisticated lace to classic princess styles. Each dress has been designed by the company’s new head designer to create a flattering silhouette, and is finished off with intricate detailing, including delicate hand-embroidered lace, beautiful florals, couture style highlights and stunning beading. Each dress also has the latest and enhanced superior structuring, making them extremely comfortable to wear. Affordability is also important to Trudy Lee, so these dresses will turn heads but not ruin your bank balance. Local stockists include: Frome Bride and Belles 10 Palmer Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1DS T: 01373 474822 W: www. Linda Grey Bridalwear Westgate House, Westgate Retail Park, The Island, Gloucester, Gloucestershire GL1 2R T: 01452 418880 W: Prima Moda Brides 14 Ditton Street, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0BQ T: 01460 54600 W: www.

This princess style dress in tulle is perfect for those dreaming of a royal wedding. A ballgown skirt flares out to create a beautiful shape and is complemented with a strapless, sweetheart bodice.

This dual-layered skirt combines crisp taffeta over a delicate underskirt. The ruched detailing on the side and the wrap around waist means all eyes will be on your fabulous figure.

The foaming lace overskirt on this ivory fishtail dress hugs every curve before sweeping out from the knees, draping beautifully over the satin underskirt to create a dreamy, ethereal look.

Another fishtail style but this time in smooth taffeta with crystal bead detailing on the strapless bodice. A cluster of flowers adds a delicate finish.

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A Class Brides Your wedding day is all about you!





0117 919 3007 67 Sandy Park Road, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 3PQ

The Clothes Horse Bridal Room @ Moss Bros, 22 Milsom St, Bath, BA1 1DE. Tel 01225 852626 A stunning collection of bridalwear, bridesmaids dresses, hat hire, shoes and accessories

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Email: Enquiries/appointments Tel: 01225 336805

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beautifully british

It’s good to know in this age of outsourcing to other countries that there are still some companies who create their dresses right here in the UK. Kate Sherford bridal design is an excellent example of this. Kate Sherford has an enviable 40 year tradition of producing the very best classic wedding gowns. Every dress is handmade by a dedicated team of skilled cutters, seamstresses and handbeaders in Somerset, and has a level of corsetry that requires a high standard of cut and fit. Most of the styles in the collection include an internal corset that delivers a couture fit while maintaining the flattering bodice shape throughout the wedding day. The design direction for 2012 adds a contemporary edge to the classic romantic look. Gorgeous bodice silhouettes with key skirt shapes - sexy fishtail, full fluid A-line and glamorous ballgown - flatter the female form. Luxurious silk fabrics such as duchesse satin, georgette and organza with design details, including bows, tails and diamante, provide the perfect finishing touches. The Kate Sherford collection retails from £1,000 to £2,000 and is available from an exclusive list of retailers in the UK and Ireland. For more details see Local stockists include: Sassi Holford 6 The Bridge, Taunton, Somerset TA1 1UG T: 01823 256308 W: www.sassiholford. com E:

Jemima This ballgown style dress will definitely create a stir as you walk down the aisle. The unusual tiered layers are created with silk organza and the dress’s beautifully soft dipped neckline also features a silk organza overlay. The dress is finished with a sweeping train and button back detail. ❯❯

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Clockwise from left: Marianne Make like a Hollywood star in the delicate Marianne dress. Timeless and elegant, your groom won’t be able to take his eyes off you in this full length lace gown. The bodice is adorned with gorgeous tulle detail and a detachable diamante brooch adds subtle sparkle. A button back and small train finish this off beautifully. Belle For those brides who want something less traditional, the tea length Belle dress is a perfect ‘50s-style statement. The full lace skirt has a pleated tulle overskirt which provides a gorgeous edging around the bottom. The strapless bodice with its sweetheart neckline is finished with a soft bow detail around the waist. Briar It’s the embroidered lace bodice with its cut away detailing that really catches your eye when you first see this gown. The elegant simplicity of the Briar is evident in its full ballgown tulle skirt, complimented with a generous train and button back.

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competitions WIN A Madame La Luz

Photography session for your hen or stag do!


edding photographs come in all styles and can raise a huge range of emotions. If you want to look back on the day not only with affection, but laughter and amazement, then Madame La Luz’s Photographic Parlour can offer you a playful experience inspired by the aesthetic of Victorian era portrait photography. Photographic Parlour creator Richard J. Andersen describes it as, “A modern, tongue-incheek throwback to an era when having your photo taken was an event in which everyone would dress up in their Sunday

best and proudly display to the camera.” Richard works collaboratively with each client to create a truly original portrait setting which can be as outlandish as you wish, with previous themes including, ‘Haunted Graveyard’ and ‘End of the World,’ the latter using decorations of urban decay and a scrap car as a centre piece. However, if you are looking for something more traditional, a Victorian or 1920s dress-up theme is ever-popular, offering the chance to mix decadence and glamour. The emphasis is as much on the experience as on the end product, and Richard says, “It

HOW TO WIN To be in with a chance of winning this unique prize, simply answer the following simple question:

also provides entertainment for the entire wedding party. Everyone’s inhibitions are lowered, people get the chance to play different characters and I try to make even the most camera shy feel comfortable. This is one reason why I use props; they act as entry points for the imagination and keep everyone from feeling awkward. Often people only need directing within a framework and their theatrical motivation to play will come out.”

Madame La Luz’s Photographic Parlour is inspired by the aesthetic of which historic era? a) Edwardian b) Victorian c) Georgian Email your reply with the subject line MADAME LA LUZ COMP, complete with postal address, mobile and landline numbers to the editor, Mike Gartside at by Friday 30 March. The first entry plucked at random from the editor’s darkroom processing tray will enjoy a fantastic evening of photo fun. NB: Entry to the competition indicates agreement with the following conditions. The winner will provide the venue for the shoot, using the venue’s existing decor. Richard J. Andersen will

Madame La Luz’s Photographic Parlour www.

supply a two hour photography session, plus set up and break down. He will also provide props for the shoot.






JUNE 2011 M No. 197



JULY 2011 M No. 198


Here comes

Our salon spy





18-page food & drink section!


A tea dress!

Swimwear you’ll want to be seen in...


Bristol Wine School course & lunch at Bordeaux Quay!


Shed museum of Bristol opens MNEW Monthly walk from Avon Wildlife Trust MFood for thought – why restaurants charge what they do

local MAGAZINE your other


Top family breaks to make that car journey so worth it


Are we nearly there yet?


F197 cover FINAL.indd 3




24/05/2011 22:29:26





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SEPTEMBER 2011 M No. 200

AUGUST 2011 M No. 199


Dress to impress



As Folio hits 200 (issues that is, not years…) we celebrate all that’s great and good about living in the South West




Tickets to Ladies Day!






OUR FAVOURITE family-run businesses


22-page food & drink section!

for the guys!

DAZZLING DRESSES FOR YOUR SPECIAL DAY The best venues the West has to offer

Inspirational finishing touches

Tuck IN! Four local chefs share their signature dishes... PLUS Recipe from Marco Pierre White's Pear Tree Inn


Free Wedding Guide




Cover 4 (Wedd Supp

PM 8/24/2011 4:48:46




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For a list of outlets visit or to advertise in Folio call 0117 942 8491 44 west weddings

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grooms Grooms

celebration hot trends inspiration

With so many options available, it’s important to choose an outfit that represents who you are. Below: Cad and The Dandy offer Savile Row inspiration.


followers of fashion

What does a groom’s choice of outfit say about himself and his ceremony? Francesca Gibbens talks to three husbands-to-be.

our bride has had her dress picked out for months, the cake order has been placed, and even the table plan is written up. There’s just one detail left; what you, the groom, are going to wear. Maybe you know exactly what you want, or at least, exactly what you don’t want. If you’re in the latter category, there’s an almost overwhelming number of options available. For some it’s a day of tradition, for others it’s a chance to be innovative and assert their independence. On the one hand, we know that the bride’s dress is the most important feature of this wedding and nothing should distract from that, yet you don’t want to look like a washed up catalogue model next to her, and you definitely don’t want to look back at the wedding album with your future children and give them an excuse to laugh at your terrible fashion sense. Your wedding day is the most photographed day of your life and your chance to assert your personality, your values and your place in society through what you wear. James Winterson is getting married in March this year and claims he knew straight away that he wanted to emulate the charm of James Bond with a white tux. “Why should the bride be the only one wearing white?” he says, “I know it can be seen as quite outlandish, but for me, this is an opportunity to wear something a little different, I wouldn’t say it makes me particularly innovative or daring.” James wants to treat his wedding like the special occasion it is, as well as a chance to relax and be himself. “Perhaps people will think I don’t take myself too seriously, but for me this is a day of celebration, I wouldn’t want it to be plain and boring. I knew I wanted sophistication and a bit of old Hollywood glamour. I’m not one for embroidered waistcoats with matching cravats.” But what does his future wife think of this? ➻ west weddings 45

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Isn’t she worried about all the attention being turned on her groom’s choice of outfit? “She knows me and my style and so knew what to expect of my clothing choice, although she hasn’t had much of a say in it.” Although James has a very strong idea of what he wants to wear, he feels there is no need to get his suit tailor made and has chosen to hire from Moss Bros in Bristol. “I went for hire for a couple of reasons really; I know I won’t wear it again, so it feels like a waste of money to go all out and buy a suit, and I see nothing wrong with hiring, Moss Bros have a huge range of suits. We also wanted to make sure that we stayed within our budget and I wanted my fiancée to have the best dress she could, I know that’s more important to her than my suit is to me so it seemed logical to save a bit of money.” Brian Hunter is getting married in June and has taken this into consideration when choosing to wear a lightweight, but stylish suit. “I’m into following trends so I want to look back on my wedding day knowing I was up-to-date, but also

Whether you choose Mod, for an individual look, or a traditional morning suit with waistcoat, you send a message about the husband you’re about to become.

I want a really classic and fitted cut so that it won’t look completely outdated in 20 years’ time. I’m going with grey because it’s fashionable right now and I’ve chosen a really lightweight fabric for a summer wedding. I’ve also never been one to wear waistcoats; I like the relaxed look of an understated suit with a shirt and tie.” In relation to how much input his future bride Emma has had, he says, “I’ve picked out my own suit, rather than having Emma choose it. Obviously we have picked things like colour themes together so I know what will work, but I like the simple, stylish look, so she hasn’t got anything to worry about. Just as I wouldn’t expect her to let me have a say in

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Slater is an expert in highland wear.


Choose a grey lightweight suit and matching waitcoat to send a message of style and up-to-date fashion (this one from The Cad & The Dandy).

her wedding dress, I wouldn’t expect her to have a say in my outfit. I think that does speak volumes about the kind of relationship we have, we’re both very independent people and know our own minds. Her style is similar to mine and I know she will pick something stylish and beautiful, so I want to make sure I match her on that. It’s important that we take ourselves seriously and represent ourselves well. I wouldn’t want her to come out in a ridiculous ball gown with a horse drawn carriage like Katie Price. We’re having something toned down that guests will remember as classic and elegant.” Brian says that, although the look he is going for is popular and it would be easy to find a suitable hire suit, he wanted to get it custom made. “I wanted something that fits me well and the shop I have chosen is called Cad and the Dandy, based locally for me in London, which focuses exclusively on men’s tailoring so they really have the expertise I would want from the people making my wedding suit.” George Carwell is also getting married this summer and will be wearing a classic morning suit with tails and a waistcoat. “We’re keeping it all very traditional as we are getting married in a church. I didn’t put a lot of thought into what I was going to wear, I know there are a lot of options out there, but I was never going to wear anything other than a black morning jacket and trousers. I think the fact that we’re going very traditional shows that we’re making a serious commitment to each other and

have set ideas of what a wedding day should be like. “I’m hiring my suit from Young’s in Bristol because I wanted a specialist menswear store with a range of suitable options. I’m quite easy to shop for which is why I didn’t bother going to a tailor as it seemed added expense when I could simply hire a well-fitting and good quality suit. The only part of the outfit I’m getting custom made is the waistcoat as my bride has given me the fabric to match the bridesmaid dresses.” So, it’s clear there’s no right and wrong way for a groom to choose their outfit. From serious to flamboyant, the styles are out there and the choice is very much yours.

Contacts Anne Harding 90-92 Shirehampton Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol T: 0117 968 3074 W: Cad and the Dandy W: www. Moss Bros W:, Slaters 13-17 The Promenade, Cheltenham GL50 1LN W: www.slaters. Young’s W:

Groom Fashion The West’s experts keep us posted on this year’s tips If you like to keep up to date with your fashion, your wedding day should be no exception. “This year it’s all about the lightweight grey suit,” says Lee from Anne Harding in Bristol. “The current look is very fitted and tailored, with a grey waistcoat to match. Purple is very much the colour of the year in terms of ties and cravats.” Slaters, the formal hire specialist, is selling a lot of mid-grey suits and three piece wool suits in charcoal, both of which come either in tails or as a classic suit. Slaters is also an expert in traditional Highland wedding wear and offers a yearround deal in which you can purchase either five highland outfits or five outfits from their formal wear selection and receive it’s most expensive free. Visit its Cheltenham branch to find out more.

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Grooms Clockwise from right: These Cufflinks by Go British contain pieces of Concorde’s rudder; custom coastline cufflinks by Hannah Louise Lamb.

off the


Not only are cufflinks essential, they’re a great way of expressing your individuality, says Daniel Ryan.


he shirt is on, the jacket is hanging, immaculately pressed, on the back of the door and you’ve just perfected the knot of your cravat. Once those shirt sleeves are secure, you’re pretty much ready to go . . . uh, oh! Cufflinks. How often have you overlooked this apparently minor accessory, only to be left flapping around, perhaps asking your future father-inlaw for a spare pair. For the self-respecting groom, cufflinks cannot be an afterthought. But how do you choose the right pair? Inheriting a set from a family member is a common occurrence, but you can’t guarantee their taste will match yours. Do you go for novelty or sentimental? Traditional or contemporary? Elegant, subdued or something that makes a statement? An expensive pair oozes opulence but you might want These stylish Mac-themed cufflinks are £81 from Adafruit Industries; and below: amethyst and topaz cufflinks, £160 from Clifton Rocks.

to save your budget for the rest of your outfit. Most importantly, will your future bride like them? To play it safe and avoid a fashion eyesore, traditional is the best route. Make sure your cufflinks coordinate with the rest of your suit and accessories. As a rule of thumb, if your ring is going to be silver, pick silver. For gold, pick gold. Clare Chandler, owner of Clifton Rocks, makes simple, stylish cufflinks in different metals and her Mixed Dome range will set you back between £75 to £99. Silver or gold plated are the most common, but people looking for something a bit different could try a palladium link. In the same family as platinum, this metal is just as hard but less expensive. It’s possible to be sentimental and original. Jewellery designer Hannah Louise Lamb can engrave a section of coastline onto a silver cufflink for £130, maybe as a reminder of your hometown, a favourite holiday together or even the place where you’ll be married. You can even wear history on your sleeve. Go British sell cufflinks by TMB Artmetals, which use metal recovered from a Spitfire flown in the Battle of Britain or part of the rudder of Concorde. Considering the region’s aeronautical history, these could be perfect for anyone proud of their heritage or simply with an interest in planes. If computers are more your thing, there are a number of hi-tech options. Adafruit Industries sell the iCufflink, sophisticated aluminium pieces which contain LEDs emitting a pulse similar to the power button on a Mac. Or if you’re worried that you’ll be missing out on those all-important

emails during the reception you could go for the functional 2Gb memory stick and Wi-Fi hotspot from We can’t promise you won’t get in trouble if you’re found sneaking off though! For those on a budget, silk knot cufflinks can be a great solution as you can pick and choose the colour to match the theme of your wedding. We found some on US-based site retailing at $20. At the other extreme, if you really want to splash out and have $7,500 to spare, check out a pair of white gold cufflinks with mechanical watch parts and 1.55 carats of diamond from the same site. Your cufflinks might not be the most conspicuous or most important part of your wedding attire but they’re something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. With so much to choose from it may seem a little overwhelming but, as long as you put in a little thought, then you can find something that will have lasting meaning for you and create a memento of your wedding day. Or failing that, just get your bride-to-be to choose for you!

Contacts Clifton Rocks 100 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1NF T: 0117 9731342 W: Hannah Louise Lamb Coburg House Studios, 15 Coburg Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6ET T: 0131 554 6888 W: Go British T: 020 8144 7378 E: info@go-british. Adafruit Industries W: W:

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For that little bit extra... You can now get even more from West Weddings by visiting our enhanced new look website. Finding what you need for your special day couldn’t be easier - with our online directory and easy to navigate sections. Check it out today!

VIEW IT ONLINE If you are loathe to lend your copy to friends and family, just point them in the direction of our website - not only can they view the latest edition online, but they can browse through our old copies, which means nobody has to miss out!

COMPETITIONS Entering our fantastic competition online is a piece of cake! Simply log on to and click the competitions link to take you to the great free prize draw. You can enter with just a click of a button. This issue we have a dress worth £1,000 to win, from Special Day and Appletons.

PLANNING planning your day Need adviceDAY on where to start? If our handy YOUR

countdown and budget planner wasn’t enough, you can grab more helpful hints and ideas on speech planning, invitation etiquette, seating plans and much more.

STOCKISTS If you’re ever in doubt of where you can pick up your next copy of West Weddings, just log on to our home page and select your area from the drop down list. It’s as easy as that!

ADDRESS BOOK Find what you’re looking for with minimum fuss. We’ve got everything you’ll need for your big day - and remember, it can all be found locally. Our directory even has a new search facility so you can go straight to what you’re looking for.

50 west weddings

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the essential...


guide Use this page to plan your budget and organise the big day - without the stress of last minute panics.

budget planner I year to go

Decide on the date. Set your budget. Make an appointment to see the minister if you are marrying in a church, or the registrar if you’re having a civil marriage. Make a list of the guests. Book the florist and the photographer. Book the wedding reception and transport. Start looking for your dress. Decide on the best man, bridesmaids and the ushers. Confirm all bookings in writing.

6 months to go Order the wedding stationery. Send out the invitations. Arrange the first fitting for your wedding dress. Pick the bride’s wedding shoes and accessories. Choose outfits for the groom, best man, bridesmaids, fathers, mothers and ushers. Organise rings for the bride and groom. Look for a band or DJ to play at the reception. Take out wedding insurance. Book the honeymoon and check your passports. Consult your hairdresser about the day.

3 months to go Decide on your wedding list and circulate to guests. Order the cake. Confirm ceremony details with the registrar or minister. Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids. Discuss seating plan with the caterer. If your honeymoon is abroad, arrange necessary vaccinations.

Plan your hen and stag parties. Notify your bank, building society and relevant authorities of the date that your name will change.

1 month to go

Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress. Confirm the arrangements in writing with the reception venue, caterer, florist, photographer, transport provider and others. Confirm the honeymoon arrangements. Have hen and stag nights. Finalise the reception seating plan with the caterer. The groom, best man and bride’s father should write, time and practise their speeches.

1 week to go Arrange a wedding rehearsal. Collect your dress. Wear your wedding shoes around the house to break them in. Complete your final beauty preparations. Pack for your honeymoon. Think through the logistics of the day so everyone is clear what is happening.

on the day Have a relaxing bath or shower. Eat breakfast. Bridesmaids and page boys arrive. Hair and make-up. Bride and bridesmaids get dressed. The photographer arrives. Wedding transport arrives. Relax and enjoy the day.

Keep tabs on what you’ve spent, what you will need and how much money is left in the piggy bank with this handy guide. planner

estimated actual

Engagement ring Wedding ring (hers) Wedding ring (his) Dress Shoes Veil Lingerie Hair accessories Jewellery Hair trial and on the day Make-up trial and on the day Cosmetics Groom’s suit Groom’s shoes Attendants’ outfits Ceremony fees Flowers Reception venue Catering Drink Cake Entertainment Photography / video Transport Stationery Favours / attendants’ gifts First night hotel Honeymoon Going away outfit Honeymoon wardrobe Insurance Other

TOTAL west weddings 51

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A Day To Remember Mercure Bristol North, The Grange Hotel Congratulations on your forthcoming wedding! The Grange Hotel will be there for you every step of the way during this important and exciting time, to assist you with all your wedding needs and to ensure it is the wonderful day you dream of. This elegant country hotel, dating back to 1851, is set in 18 acres of attractive grounds, creating the perfect setting for your wedding. The Grange Hotel sits in beautiful gardens and really is the perfect backdrop for your wedding photographs. Why not have a string quartet on the lawn or a barbeque in the old English gardens, the possibilities are endless.... Facilities available to you: • Dedicated Wedding Consultant • Max capacity for civil ceremony: 150 • Max capacity for reception: 150 • Max capacity for evening reception: 180 • Civil wedding licence • 68 bedrooms • Four poster bed • Complimentary changing room for the bride • Beauty treatments • Sebastian Coe Health Club • Landscaped gardens • Free car parking for 150 cars

For more information or to book a viewing please call on 0844 815 9063 or email us at p52.indd 1

Special £3,000 offer on selected dated up until December 2012 Your £3,000 package gives you... • A Reception drink to welcome your guests • A three course Wedding Breakfast for 50 guests with tea and coffee • A glass of wine with the meal • A glass of sparkling wine to toast your future happiness • Evening room hire and a finger buffet for up to 75 people

Old Gloucester Road Winterbourne Bristol, BS36 1RP 2/7/2012 10:39:46 AM


The Grange opens its doors to couples as spring arrives in the west

Words: Mike Gartside & Holly Dimes Additional reporting: Kirsten Butler Photography: Chris Williams

1 Dagmara wears Vauderville by Ian Stuart, retailing at ÂŁ3,780. This fitted dress in silk, with handmade silk flowers, flares out in an elegant fishtail - guaranteed to wow guests. All dresses provided by Allison Jayne, Bristol. Phil's classic grey lightweight mohair suit comes from Anne Harding, Bristol. west weddings 53

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2 The Grange's ceremony room is an exquisite setting for a wedding. Phil wears traditional morning suit with pinstriped trousers. Chair covers by Just-So 3 Making an entrance - the red carpet treatment is standard for couples at The Grange.



4 Jessica wears Alcanor by Pronovias at £1,895. A gorgeous, classic A-line creation in Spanish lace on tulle.


e’ve heard a lot about The Grange, Winterbourne, here at West Weddings, and how it’s long been a favourite with local couples looking for a beautiful place to get married. So it was with mounting excitement that we drove up the winding driveway in rural South Gloucestershire and first set eyes on its neat lawns, magnificent cedar and stately but welcoming Bath stone frontage. With spring in the air we could think of no finer setting for some of the West’s leading wedding experts to get together and carry out a sample wedding of their own. We dressed, trussed and twisted two willing models, Dagmara and Phil, into the latest fashions to show just how splendid a couple can look on their dream day. At the hotel, we were lucky to have Chris Williams of Mango Photography behind the lens. He works regularly at the Grange and was able to guide us through the myriad wedding facilities, ultimately providing us with some glorious and artful images.

The venue

Once inside the former manor house, we were impressed by the wide range of facilities on offer, which combined formality with cosiness. To give it its full name, The Mercure Bristol North, The Grange, Winterbourne, has undergone a change of ownership in recent months, following the collapse of previous owners Jarvis Hotels (owner of the Ramada chain) and is now solidly part of Accor hotel group’s Mercure brand. Most importantly, its well-established wedding team remains in place under the guidance of long-standing hotel manager Mehmet Kandemir. Set in 18 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, this 19th century house hosted 113 weddings last year, proving that it remains a popular wedding venue with an enviable word-of-mouth reputation. To be so close to key transport links in such a picturesque setting is difficult balancing act but the Grange offers this and a lot more. As Mehmet explains, “Couples are aware of our excellent reputation. As well as word-of-mouth, many of our wedding bookings comer from a couple who’ve


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5 Dagmara is back in the Ian Stuart, with a beautiful bouquet by Tiger Lily Florists. Accessories by Liza are from Allison Jayne: tiara, earrings and necklace all boast Swarovski crystals. Phil wears one of Anne Harding's more flamboyant waistcoats. west weddings 55

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Photoweddings 6 Dagmara relaxes in The Grange's bridal suite, in this billowing Maggie Sottero creation, Chadley. It retails at £1,429 and features fitted bodice with crystals and organza tulle skirt. 7 The Chadley in all its glory, in one of The Grange's dining room settings.



6 attended a previous wedding at the hotel. We don’t compromise on our standards and treat every couple to the same exceptional service. "We have three members of staff in our wedding team who are ready to deal with any concerns and are specially trained in organising truly fantastic weddings from start to finish.” Part of the venue’s service, if couples so wish, is the presence of professional toastmaster David Stallworthy. “I meet and greet guests on arrival, liaise with staff and carry out the formal announcements, making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time,” says David. “I’m the eyes and ears for the bride, the groom and the hotel.” The ceremony room at The Grange was transformed by beautifully fitted covers and sashes from Just-So Chair Covers, which really add an extra touch of elegance, making a wonderful day last long in the memories of your guests. Based at its new premises in Henleaze, Bristol, the company delivers all covers pressed and hung, ensuring that they look perfect when fitted by a team of experts.

a great choice of product, second-to-none customer service and selling trusted brands, such as Ian Stuart, Maggie Sottero and Pronovias. “The bride’s experience with the store is always smooth and faultless,” says Andrew, “with the added promise of knowledgeable aftercare advice.” Bristol store manager Sherri selected the new season’s stock for our shoot, and Dagmara first stepped into a gown by the Spanish brand Pronovias. The dress was simple and classic with an A line skirt that would suit most body shapes. Her second dress was by Ian Stuart, an awardwinning designer well known for stepping outside the box. This gown had a fitted bodice extending down to the knee, where it splayed into a fishtail skirt. Finally, Dagmara slipped into a Maggie Sottero dress offering a wonderful combination of classical lines with a modern twist. Its fitted bodice extended to just above the hips and a lace-up corset emphasised Dagmara’s figure. Allison Jayne also provided the jewellery, a necklace and earring set in Swarovski crystal and a pearl and Swarovski crystal silver headband.

The gowns

The groom’s outfit

Our rooms at the hotel were a whirlwind of taffeta and silk as bridal supplier Allison Jayne brought three modish yet contrasting gowns to the shoot. The South Wales-based store celebrates its 40th anniversary this year by opening a new shop in Clifton, Bristol. The family business, run by brother and sister duo Andrew and Allison, prides itself on offering clients

Bridalwear and menswear shop Anne Harding provided two looks for our groom. The first was a lightweight suit in mohair in this season’s favourite colour, grey. Lee from Anne Harding says this fabric is proving popular. “It’s 50 per cent lighter than traditional suits, so it works well for weddings in warmer weather.”

Venue Mercure Bristol North The Grange, Old Gloucester Road, Northwoods, Winterbourne BS36 1RP T: 0844 815 9063 W: Photography Mango Photography T: 0117 330 8699 W: Gowns and jewellery Allison Jayne, Queens Road, Bristol W: Models Room 3 Agency, The Old Chapel, 14 Fairview Drive, Bristol BS6 6PH T: 0117 944 1477 W: Groom’s outfit Anne Harding, 90-92 Shirehampton Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. T: 0117 968 3074 W: Make up Inma Azorin T: 07791 169223 W: www. Hair Tomasz Sadowski at seanhanna, 13 Quakers Friars Square, Cabot Circus, Bristol BS13BU T: 0117 934 9393 W: Flowers Tiger Lily Flowers, 3 Chelford Grove, Stoke Lodge, Bristol BS34 6DD T: 01454 856737 W: Car AJE Classics, Codrington, South Gloucestershire T: 01454 600072 M: 07748 117547 W: E: Chair covers Just-So Chair Covers, 158 Henleaze road, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4ND T: 0117 950 3333 W: www.justsochaircovers. west weddings 57

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photoshoot Photoweddings

8 AJE Classics provided the stunning opalescent blue Mark II Jaguar. As well as offering a stylish entrance and exit for the couple, it's a talking point for the fellas! 9 Phil ponders The Grange's country views as he models the purple and grey colours that are so "in" this Spring. 10 Make-up artist Inma Azorin went for a 'Spring Rose' look with Dagmara.

9 8 Phil’s second look was a more traditional morning suit with pinstriped trousers. “This will never go out of fashion and always looks good on grooms, as it’s cut and tailored so well, ” says Lee, who’s noticed a move towards a more tailored look for men, with his customers at Anne Harding loving the fact that the suits there fit so well. At the moment Anne Harding is running a special offer: hire six suits and you only pay for five – perfect for grooms with lots of ushers. Lee predicts that purple will be big this season, both for the men in the bridal party and also for the bridesmaids. To top off the look, why not go for one of Anne Harding’s canes, perfect for the more flamboyant groom?

The photographer

Despite the shaky economy, business is booming for Chris Williams who started Mango Photography about eight years ago. “Of course, I take beautiful photos which the couple will cherish for years to come,” he says. “But the skill in wedding photography is to really stand out from the other businesses out there.” Couples are treated to a special welcome when they contact Chris for the first time. “I invite them to my studio to discuss the style they’re looking for from their images. This way they really understand the service they are getting. We also run through the schedule before the wedding so there are no surprises on the big day.” After the wedding, the couple are invited back to the studio to view and pick their photographs in Chris’s specially built cinema, accompanied by a glass of bubbly.

The make-up artist

Busy with brushes, pots and blushers, make-up artist Inma Azorin spends an intense half an hour working on Dagmara before the start of the shoot. She’s gone for a ‘spring rose’ look, which emphasises the model’s cool, natural tones. “Make-up should encourage the skin to look glowing and warm,” explains Inma. “Dagmara has lovely light eyes so I’ve gone for darker make-up to create a contrast and really make the eyes

stand out. I’ve used a palette of greys and shimmering pinks by Lancôme to go with Dagmara’s blue grey eyes.” In spite of the trend for red lipstick at the moment, the artist has chosen a lighter shade. “I’ve used a soft pink-lilac colour on the lips because the dresses are quite ‘full-on’ and red might have been too much.” She uses Mac for the foundation, mixing in High Beam by Benefit to give extra glow to the skin. “Try to have a facial two to three weeks before the day,” she advises. “Exfoliate, scrub and really moisturise the whole body to get rid of the dead skin. "

The hair

Hair stylist Tomasz from the Bristol branch of seanhanna put his own stamp on the shoot by creating an avant-garde style that perfectly suited the theme of the day. He used a combination of techniques to sculpt Dagmara’s hair into soft waves and plaited ponytails, achieving an edgy new look. He and make-up artist Inma worked together with the other bridal suppliers to create a style that complemented the bride’s look, accommodating any hair accessories such as tiaras and veils. “Some brides have a clear idea about what they want on the day whereas others need a little more inspiration and guidance from the stylists,” he says. “Whatever style they go for, it is important that they keep their hair nourished and well looked after. Not only will it look so much better on the day but it will recover better from the heat and spray that the hairdresser will no doubt use.”

The flowers

Tina from Tiger Lily Florists embraced the spring theme by creating our beautiful bouquets and buttonholes in teal, blush and coral pink flowers. Tina makes around 120-130 bridal bouquets per year but, despite this, all her bouquets are unique. When a bride discusses the flowers with her, Tina likes to consider every aspect of the day. “A lot of brides are planning colour schemes of blue, green and teal at the moment,” she says. “These aren’t necessarily floral colours, so we need to think


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11 Tulips, Jaguar, groom . . . what more could a new bride want? 12 Tomasz works on Dagmara's hair up ready for the avant garde look. 13 Pink and white roses with plenty of greenery offer a beautiful, understated palette of spring colours. Bouquet by Tiger Lily Florists Details see page 57


11 creatively to ensure the flowers we use will go with this colour scheme.” Tina also enjoys creating elaborate arrangements to decorate the venue and tables. One of her favourites are large, floral candelabra. “These really create an impact when used as table settings and are very cost effective as you don’t need a huge number of flowers.” Perfect for brides on a budget!

The car

AJE Classics, run by husband and wife team Emma and Andrew Horrex, provided the stunning opalescent blue Mark II Jaguar used for our shoot. This classic car, made famous by TV detective Morse, is perfect for weddings, with its shimmering blue shade an eye catching alternative to the traditional white or cream car while still being subtle enough not to steal the show. The personal touch is important for Emma and Andrew, who like to meet with couples beforehand to get to know them and discuss the details of the day. As well as exceptional customer service, Andrew and Emma pride themselves on small touches that make the day even more special, from the “twinbrellas” in the car that provide double shelter on rainy days, to the white ribbons on the car. “The details of a wedding can be quite bridefocussed, so when our brides hire the Jaguar they remark how much their prospective husband or dad will love it,” says Emma.

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We will listen to your ideas and offer our ideas to help you create your dream individually styled beautiful wedding flowers. From a single bouquet to an army of bridesmaids and button holes. We will guide you through the whole experience and help you add the special details that make the difference between a good event and a fantastic unforgettable one. Friendly / experienced / helpful / professional staff that will take the stress away from you.

3 Chelford Grove Stoke Lodge Bristol BS34 6DD tel/fax 01454 856 737 email

JUST-SO CHAIR COVERS Transforming the ordinary 158 HENLEAZE ROAD, HENLEAZE, BRISTOL BS9 4ND 0117 950 3333

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Stunning classic Jaguars for weddings, blessings and civil partnerships. Covering Bristol, Bath, South Glos and North Somerset Tel: 01454 600072

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be inspired beInspired

honeymoons fashion details

Here come the girls! For the ultimate indulgent treat on your hen night get pampered with a ‘Girls Night in’ at Aztec hotel and Spa, Almondsbury, Bristol. This overnight stay includes accommodation in an executive room, a full English breakfast and use of the spa facilities, with a lot of extra girly goodies thrown in to the mix. You will receive a sharing platter, popcorn, ice cream, a selection of chick flicks and a goody bag full of toiletries and chocolates for each guest. Claire Nelson, duty manager, says, “We can fill the room with bean bags and make it really comfy. We have catered for as many as 25 people in the past and upgraded their booking to a meeting room. They were running around in their pyjamas and having a really great time.” If you fancy celebrating your hen night out on the town then the party can be catered to your needs and you can use your time in the hotel to get ready. You can also upgrade your package to the ‘Ultimate Girls’ Night In’ which includes champagne cocktails and an extra-large sharing platter. For brides deciding to stay the night before the wedding, they can experience the ‘Bride Night In’ package, which includes everything the other offer has plus champagne and breakfast in their room the next morning. Aztec Hotel and Spa W:

Crystal amaze We all know women who’ll go to any length to find the shoes she loves and here’s a collection that some might walk through fire to get hold of. At £2,300 these Aruna Seth Cinderella bridal shoes will probably only be found on the feet of the West’s A listers. But we can all dream. The 50s-inspired, mid-calf length skirts which are well and truly in fashion at the moment offer a great opportunity to show off a gorgeous new pair of heels like these, complete with satin wedges delicately hand decorated with 3,000 Swarovski crystals. If you’re going for a floor length gown and flowing train, take every occasion to show them off, lifting your hems to ensure they don’t get dirty or while sitting down, daintily, for dinner. If you’re not quite part a member of the jet set but the budget just stretches . . . well, if you can’t splash out on expensive shoes for your wedding day, when can you? Aruna Seth W:

A site for sore eyes We all know it’s the details which make something stand out; the decorations at a party or the accessories for a new outfit. With the cake, venue and dress sorted for your wedding, it’s time to focus on the particulars. A new website, The Last Detail, offers a range of items that you may not have even considered. With items to match all colour schemes you can really add that something special to your wedding day which will ensure you and your guests have lasting memories to share. Chocolate lollipops or cute buckets full of chocolates and other sweet treats come in an assortment of colours and are great party favours, offering an alternative to traditional gift boxes. To add a bit of class and romance to your tables, decorate them with organza rose petals. The Last Detail’s new ivory cones are perfect for holding confetti as your guests shower you in celebration, and it’s really the small details like this which show you’ve gone the extra mile. There are a huge range of products on the site, including ideas for table party games to help break the ice between your guests, and photo albums or keepsake boxes which will ensure you remember your special day in style. The Last Detail W:

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shoes, o w t y d o o g , y p ip l d Loving: Re ges ia rr a c d n a s n io t a c y sta

Our waspish queen of style Sharon Diamond takes a look at what’s hot and what’s not this spring.


ed lipstick Bridal fashion usually dictates a soft pink hue, especially in spring, but we’re loving a slash of dramatic red lipstick: with minimal eye make-up and an ice-white dress, it makes a brilliant statement. Two-shoe weddings It might seem a bit extravagant having two pairs of shoes, but with heels for the ceremony and then flats for later, you can ensure you look tall and elegant for the photographs before jiving away without fear of blisters or toppling over. Seasonal flowers Forget flying in flowers from far flung greenhouses. Choose blooms native to the UK which are in season and you’re still guaranteed a bouquet with a wow factor. The environment will be grateful too. With the arrival of spring, try daffodils in your bouquet for a

In burst of sunshine and sweet-smelling hyacinths for your table decorations. Non-traditional colour combinations Cerise pink and turquoise. Lemon yellow and grey. Emerald green and gold. Mix things up with colours that will make your stationery, flowers and wedding accoutrements really pop. Horse-drawn carriages With ‘War Horse’ the current film du jour, get in on the equine act by having a horsedrawn carriage to get to your venue. Staycations Make the environment even happier by honeymooning in the UK. You’ll also be contributing to the local economy which is never a bad thing. Whether it’s a yurt in Yorkshire, a palace in Powys or a cottage in Clackmannanshire, there’s no end of great British places for a memorable honeymoon.

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hannel 5’s ‘Celebrity Wedding Planner’ Jedward as wedding planners? No, just no. This is a rip off of the far superior ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’. Come on Channel 5, come up with some original programmes – it’s bad enough you took on the been-dead-for-years ‘Big Brother’ format. Fake tan Why do some ladies feel that Cuprinol orange is an appropriate hue? Against a white or ivory wedding dress this obsession for fake tan looks even more bizarre. A little tinted moisturiser by all means, as a means of lifting skin left pale by the winds of winter, but the David Dickinson look is most definitely out this spring. The recession ruining weddings From wedding venues going bust to guests not having enough money to attend, we’ve had enough. It’s just a shame that we’re

edding w ’s d r a w d e J , n a t e k Loathing: Fa ations l l e c n a c n io s s e c e r , ideas

not whizzy economists with brilliant ideas on how to fix everything. Straight hair For spring weddings we’re loving brides with clusters of soft curls. For those of us who aren’t naturally Curly Sues, that’s exactly what heated rollers were invented for. Dark-coloured bridesmaids’ dresses It’s spring, so banish any winter shades of deep reds and dark greens and instead take inspiration from Easter with pastelcoloured hues of powder blue, mint green and candy pink. To make your wedding even more colourful, accessorise the dresses with tights in a contrasting shade, which will also have the advantage of keeping your maids warm on those chilly spring evenings. Overuse of the word ‘vintage’ Stop it. Stop it now.


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Rainbow elation There’s always a slight nervousness, when sourcing online wedding supplies, that what you end up with won’t be quite what you expected. It’s reassuring to know, then, that web-based bridal supplier The Rainbow Club is South West-based, in Exeter, and easily accessible to help you with all your queries. The website has a great selection of satin shoes, bags, headdresses and veils. All shoes are designed in-house by Diane Hassall who trained alongside Jimmy Choo, and can be hand dyed, alongside your bag, to match the exact shade you’re looking for. There are a variety of shoes to choose from, with four unique collections ranging from the fashion forward Rainbow Club, which offers comfort and style, to the bespoke, hand-made Hassell collection, inspired by Diane’s love of vintage styling, which uses the finest silks, satins, velvet and crystal. Also available is Rainbow Couture, a designer collection using the finest trims and Swarovski crystals, and the Else collection, which offers youthful shoes at great value prices. Many styles are designed to mix and match. With soft satin fabrication and beautiful trims it’s the perfect way to get that groomed, top to toe look. Alongside the shoes, there’s a great range of eye-catching headwear. If you’re thinking of going traditional, there are a selection of veils, from the long and flowing to the short and chic. And if you’re more contemporary, visit the headdress section which has an assortment of tiaras and hair accessories which will really set off your fairy-tale appearance. The Rainbow Club W:

Five star taste If you’re planning for a luxury wedding but could do with a helping hand with the organisation, 5 Star Wedding Directory offers a comprehensive guide to every supplier you could possibly need. From couture dresses and five star venues to indulgent accessories and renowned photographers, all your needs are met in one place. Among the treats showcased on the site are the creations of awardwinning wedding cake designer, Rosalind Miller, whose recent Marie Antoinette wedding cake was inspired by the colours and opulence of the 18th century French court. The cake has an edible gold leaf covering, and gold ornate details, with flavours including, but not limited to; Madagascan vanilla, Sicilian lemon, Belgian chocolate, ginger and walnut, lavender and rhubarb. At nearly a metre high, serving 200 people and costing £2,500, it may be a little rich for most budgets, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t inspire more affordable creations. 5 Star Wedding Directory W:

Village people Last year Gloucestershire couples were able to explore a tailor-made wedding village in the historic setting of Berkeley Castle, an inventive way of showing off the services available to local people. It was the brainchild of a new group, The Cotswold Wedding Guild, established just over 18 months ago to promote wedding excellence in and around the village of Berkeley and the Cotswolds. The display, which saw models in wedding dresses and wellington boots encouraging visitors to visit the stand, won third place in the Best Dressed Large Stand category organised by event organiser, The Berkeley Show. That inventiveness continues this year as the guild continues to develop. “It was important for us to harness the local potential among the wedding suppliers around Berkeley,” says Pippa Springer, of the Veils of Berkeley bridal wear shop and co-founder of the guild. “We wanted to create the perfect one-stop-shop for couples planning their wedding in the Cotswolds,” The members pride themselves on producing quality products and services in conjunction with outstanding customer service. They include Adam Drake Photography, Berkeley Castle, Berkeley Flowers, Fisher Motor Company, Veils of Berkeley, Napier Catering, Archibald Edwards - Creative Wedding Stationers, Hyphun Entertainment and Liz Lane, composer and arranger. Cotswold Wedding Guild W:

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Southwest Chair Covers Covering Avon & Somerset

The Southwest Leading Chair Cover Supplier Over 100 stunning sash colours to perfectly match your theme and high quality chair covers in a selection of colours. Full delivery, set up and collection. Visit our blog to view over 100 local venues dressed by Southwest Chair Covers! Recommended supplier to many venues across Bristol & Somerset.

Tel: 07765 228695

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Knickers you can get in a twist If hen dos with L plates, strippers and dubiously-shaped straws aren’t your thing, then Party Pants could be an ideal alternative. The brainchild of Mary Forestier-Walker, a graduate of the London College of Fashion, Party Pants is an opportunity for you and your girls to make your own knickers. In this two hour workshop, guests are given expert guidance and the tools to create beautiful, sexy and above all, comfortable underwear in natural fabrics, for all shapes and sizes. It’s also the perfect chance for your hens to get to know each other – all inhibitions disappear as everyone works on crafting the perfect pair of pants! Since starting the business, Party Pants has grown rapidly and Mary has built up a strong ‘Brief Brigade’ to help her take on the rapidly growing number of bookings. Her team are all lingerie experts, from designers at Coco de Mer, bra designers at Rigby and Peller to bikini designers, all of whom are united in their love of knickers. Each designer brings a unique flare to the party to ensure the party girls are inspired, learn a new skill and ultimately enjoy themselves. Pant-tastic! Party Pants W:

Time springs eternal

Finding the perfect accessories to compliment your wedding dress can be difficult and although there’s a huge selection of sparkly diamond bracelets out there, they’re not quite the understated chic that everyone’s looking for. Maybe you want something extra special which is not only an item of decoration for the day, but also a practical and beautiful accessory for years to come. A bridal watch is perfect and will ensure you make it to the ceremony on time while also being a source of admiration for your guests. Christina Design London has a selection of beautiful and timeless bridal watches, simple enough to not distract from your gown. The Romance Pearls watch is a feminine mix of fresh-water pearl bracelet with a classic square watch face, a perfect complement to gold and pearl accessories. Or, for a sleek design with a splash of sparkle, the Elegance Style Diamond watch has an understated but stunning design with its white mother of pearl dial adorned with four diamonds. The soft genuine leather strap adds to the effortlessly modish look. And if you can’t find the watch of your dreams, then you can design it on Christina Design London’s website by following five simple steps. There are 11 on-trend strap colours to choose from or three bracelet types, while you can add extra sparkle with a diamond set bezel and up to 42 gemstones. Straps and gems can be changed by you in seconds so the possibilities for customising are endless. Christina Design London

Literary ambitions It’s customary to have photographic and even video evidence of your nuptials, but how about a written account of your big day? That’s something a little bit different, as Bristol-based Emma Woodhouse thought when she saw a gap in the market and set up The Wedding Reporter, a bespoke service offering the opportunity for a personalised, literary account of your wedding day. The aim of The Wedding Reporter is to capture the emotions, details and atmosphere of weddings. Emma will attend your wedding, chat with guests and get a feel for you as a couple, before crafting this into a beautiful account of the event. Presented either on its own or alongside images from your wedding, the report makes for a great keepsake as well as being a brilliant gift for friends and family. Perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to be immortalised in the pages of a novel. The Wedding Reporter W:

COMPETITION WINNERS Congratulations to Anna Price of Ross-on-Wye, who won the competition in our Winter 2011 edition for a Bright White Smile. Asked by how many shades the treatment could brighten your teeth, the correct answer was b) between five and eight shades. Congratulations to Natalie Pike of Trowbridge, who won our competition to win a honeymoon in a US-style recreational vehicle (RV). Asked which American actor played a retired man travelling in an RV to dissuade his daughter from marrying in the film ‘About Schmidt’, the correct answer was c) Jack Nicholson. And congratulations to Vesna Taylor of Bath, Maria Hawkins of Wotton-under-Edge, Sophie Townsend of Bristol, Justine Hopkins of Berkeley and Louise Bawdon of Yate, who each won a free hen night courtesy of dance party organiser Pink Kiss. The correct answer was a) burlesque parties.

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venues venues


location occasion service

Making an entrance The Grange is fully licensed for civil weddings and partnerships.


star T

he venue for our fabulous cover shoot, the Grange at Winterbourne really is a special place. Nestled in 18 acres of gorgeous South Gloucestershire countryside, this hotel is the perfect venue for your wedding. Business is booming, and general manager Mehmet Kandemir believes this is because of the venue’s high level of customer service. The Grange was recently taken over by the Mercure group to become Mercure Bristol North. As part of one of Europe’s largest hotel groups, it can offer the best of both worlds: the assurance of the name and prestige of such a global brand combined with the personal service and unique West Country charm that the long-serving team can offer. The first thing a couple enjoy when they enquire about a wedding, says Mehmet, is a glass of complimentary Champagne. Now that’s our kind of venue!

“We listen to a couple’s requirements and want to make sure our venue is the right one for them,” he says. “We go through every process to find out everything they’d like and to ensure that their day is as special as possible.” The Grange has a dedicated wedding co-ordinator, Valerie, who has been there for eight years and having overseen 113 weddings last year alone, it’s safe to say weddings are definitely her passion. “We believe we are one of the best venues in Bristol,” says Mehmet, “which shows in how many weddings we do.” The Grange holds a civil weddings and partnerships licence and so offers the convenience of enjoying your whole day all under one roof. Couples can get married in the conservatory bar and lounge which holds up to 70 guests, and which has the features of the original manor house. For your reception, the Park Suite seats up to 150 for a sit down meal and 180 for an ➻ west weddings 69

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y from dusk till dawn The Grange offers a complete wedding package including two beautiful bridal suites.

evening reception. The room has French doors which open out into the courtyard, so in sunny weather your guests can spill out into the grounds and enjoy the beautiful views. There’s no need to worry about where to stay after the day has wound down, since the Grange has 68 bedrooms including a beautiful bridal suite. There is also a popular health club with a sauna and Jacuzzi, where you can also enjoy a massage and some allimportant pampering before the big day. For the happy couple, the bridal suite offers a touch of welcome luxury - a refuge and a treat from hubbub downstairs. It’s also the little details which make the Grange such an enviable venue. In order for your day to run even more smoothly, wedding couples have complimentary use of a toastmaster. On your first wedding anniversary you can also enjoy a complimentary meal to toast the first year of marriage. The Grange is hosting wedding fairs in March and October 2012 so you have the chance to see the venue, meet the wedding co-ordinator and get a feel for this beautiful place.

Mercure Bristol North The Grange Old Gloucester Road, Northwoods, Winterbourne BS36 1RP T: 0844 815 9063 W:

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Wedding Fayres (11.30am - 4pm, unless otherwise stated) Thornbury Castle, Nr Bristol, Sunday 19th February Tortworth Court, South Gloucestershire, Sunday 4th March Homewood Park, Nr Bath, Sunday 11th March Cotswold Water Park Hotel, Nr Cirencester, Sunday 25th March Bristol Golf Club, Thursday 12th April (5.30 - 9.30pm) Hobby Horse Ballroom, Minehead, Sunday 15th April Bristol Zoo Summer Special, Clifton Pavilion, Sunday 10th June

ADMISSION is always FREE with loveactually For information of all our events, please visit

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venues effortless elegance You never know, your assembly rooms wedding may one day feautre in a great work of literature.



hen choosing a location for a romantic wedding there can be few places in the UK with more literary history than the Assembly Rooms, Bath. Festooned with intricate balconies, shimmering chandeliers and marble fireplaces, these are the very same rooms where the dramas played out by Georgian aristocracy were documented and parodied by Jane Austen. The Assembly Rooms have been at the heart of Bath’s social life since the 18th century and continue to offer an elegant and gracious setting for your event today. Now operated by Bath and North East Somerset Council, the venue offers remarkable choice for your wedding or reception. Comprising the Ball Room, the Tea Room, the Great Octagon, the Card Room and the Fashion Museum, the rooms can be hired singly or in combination, depending on the size of your wedding. The Tea Room with its beautiful crystal chandeliers is one of most popular venues for weddings. It’s licensed for civil ceremonies and can accommodate up to 100 guests for dinner and dancing afterwards. Taking its name from its unique shape

and symmetry, the Great Octagon is also licensed for ceremonies. It has four doors that connect with the rest of the Assembly Rooms, making it the heart of this stunning venue. Or if your guest list is a little larger, the spectacular 30m long Ball Room can accommodate up to 500 people. In addition to the three main rooms, the Card Room lies off the Great Octagon and can be used as a bar or a place to serve refreshments. Or for something a little different, you can hire the Fashion Museum downstairs for a pre-dinner reception, giving your visitors the chance to see the stunning collections of clothes from bygone eras. A version of this feature appeared in the Autumn 2011 edition of West Weddings with incorrect contact and website information. Our sincere apologies for the mistake.

The Assembly rooms Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset, BA1 2QH T: 01225 477782 E: W:

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Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall Hotel Wedding Open Days 23rd February – Open Evening 4th March – Open day 22nd March – Open Evening 5th April – Open Evening 22nd April – Open Day Day Event 11am – 2pm Evening Events 6.30-8.30pm

Bowden Hall Hotel is a Grade II listed Georgian Mansion built in the 1700’s and set in twelve acres of parkland which makes a truly beautiful location for a memorable wedding ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

The Compass Inn Flexible, Creative and Stylish Weddings

■ ■ ■ ■

Licensed for civil ceremonies Wedding Receptions for up to 200 guests Health Club and Spa 72 Bedrooms Dedicated Wedding Coordinators Affordable Prices Picturesque setting Professional 4 Star Service Complete Flexibility

Wedding Packages start from £2000 Discounts Available for all weddings booked before April 30th 2012 (quote ref. WW) Bondend Lane Upton St Leonards, Gloucester GL4 8ED E: T: 0844 815 9077 W:

Wedding Fayre

19th February 2012 11am - 3.30pm FREE entry and Goodie bags. Fashion Shows at 12pm and 2pm

01454 218 242

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Pictures by kind permission of Blenheim Wedding Photography.

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made to measure The house and grounds at Tortworth Court provide a beautiful setting for your wedding.



Louise Jarndyce adores the fairytale-come-true qualities of Tortworth Court.


ith the romance and splendour of a Victorian mansion, nestled in idyllic private gardens and surrounded by picturesque Gloucestershire countryside, Tortworth Court Four Pillars is a place so magical it could have been created for weddings. Tortworth’s experienced and friendly coordinators and expert banqueting staff will help make all your dreams a reality. The venue can cater for any type of wedding, from smaller, intimate celebrations to larger, lavish occasions. Whatever the number of guests, taste, requirements or price range, there will be something to suit, with service and attention to detail never compromised. There are a number of approved rooms within this four-star, grade two listed hotel which can host civil ceremonies, wedding breakfasts and evening receptions. Couples can choose the Moretons Library, which is steeped in grandeur and traditional character. Or perhaps you’d prefer the ornate glass panelled Orangery with its opulence and charm? There is also the newly refurbished and contemporarily-styled Westminster Suite, providing classical elegance as well as a beautifully blank canvas to bring any colour scheme to life. If you’re planning a summer wedding, you can enjoy the light, airy feel of Tortworth’s marquee, set in scenic gardens with splendid views with direct access onto the terrace. Available from

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April to September, it’s perfect for those balmy evenings. The delightful gardens provide exquisite backdrops to photographs, as do the beautiful lake and the arboretum. With 190 en-suite bedrooms full of period character, your guests can enjoy a restful night’s sleep following your wedding day and a sumptuous full English breakfast the next morning. Wedding guests enjoy a discounted accommodation rate which also includes use of Tortworth’s first-class leisure facilities. The hotel is currently undergoing further refurbishment to the Moretons Library and reception area, making this already luxurious space even more so. Tortworth Court is hosting a wedding fair on Sunday 4 March from 11.30am-4pm. With free admission and a fashion show at 1.30pm, this is an ideal opportunity to see for yourself how this venue could be the perfect place for your wedding. For more information on this event or to discuss your wedding in more detail, contact Kelly Pendry, Tortworth’s dedicated wedding co-ordinator.

tortworth court four pillars hotel Wotton-under-Edge, South Gloucestershire GL12 8HH T: 01454 263000 W:

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A view from the


Party at the park The formal gardens & beautiful vistas of Eastwood Park provide a wonderful backdrop for wedding photographs.


f stunning views, a building soaked in history and grandeur, and a formal yet relaxed setting are what you want for your wedding, then you need to visit Eastwood Park in South Gloucestershire. Renowned for its beautiful setting, excellent reputation and friendly atmosphere, Eastwood Park is growing in popularity as a wedding venue every year. This is one of those venues that has to be seen to be believed and appreciated! Nothing can beat the experience of the approach as you come down the long winding drive, enjoying the countryside views from the terrace and the warm and distinctive character of the main country house. Formerly a hunting lodge, Eastwood Park is superbly positioned overlooking a 200 acre country estate. Deer can often be seen on the main lawn of the formal gardens enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Last year Eastwood was voted one of the top wedding venues on Living TV’s popular battle of the brides programme, ‘Four Weddings’. It has also been rated highly in a recent customer survey that praised the venue, the quality of its dining and the friendly efficient service. Furthermore, it has a large portfolio of endorsements from satisfied couples. It’s no secret that planning a wedding can be stressful at times. Having to juggle invitations, menus, decorations and entertainment can lead to some bridal meltdowns! At Eastwood Park, however, the dedicated weddings manager, Claire O’Shea, is well known for her professionalism and warm approach with couples. She guarantees to help at every step of the way, whether it’s planning what dishes to include in the wedding breakfast or picking the right music for the first dance. Eastwood Park is fully licensed for civil ceremonies, allowing you to celebrate your ➻ west weddings 79

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entire marriage in this beautiful location. You can compose your own ceremony, selecting music, poetry and readings personal to you and can choose to hold it in the drawing room or the study for up to 90 guests. The venue is also available on an ‘exclusive’ basis to ensure absolute privacy for you and your guests. As for the wedding reception, Eastwood Park can accommodate for up to 110 guests for a sit down meal and up to 180 for an evening reception. A marquee is also available for hire to cater for larger parties. Eastwood Park prides itself on its delicious food, and the head chef will ensure that the team comes up with a menu that works perfectly for your day. Many of the ingredients used by the team are sourced from the estate itself and the rest comes from local suppliers. If you’re looking for a three course wedding breakfast the venue has a number of sample menus with dishes that complement each other perfectly. These can also be customised if there’s a particular dish that you’d like to have. For an evening buffet there are a tempting array of dishes to choose from including mixed cheese and fruit kebabs, salmon brochettes and vegetable dim sum. Your younger guests aren’t forgotten either, with a special children’s menu for 3-12 year olds. After all the festivities, you and your guests don’t need to worry about driving as the venue has 69 en suite bedrooms. You can relax in comfort after all the eating, drinking and dancing, and then enjoy a hearty breakfast and a walk in the beautiful grounds the following morning. The main house is currently undergoing a refurbishment programme but will be open for visits throughout 2012. If you are interested in seeing the venue for yourself, the dates of Eastwood Park’s next weddings open evenings are published on the website, or call Claire O’Shea for a brochure.

it’s all in the details Eastwood park is full of exquisite settings that add the perfect finishing touch to you wedding.

eastwood park Falfield, Wotton-under-Edge, South Gloucestershire GL12 8DA T: 01454 262805 W:

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venues Aztec Hotel & Spa


Bath racecourse

Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4TS

Racecourse, Lansdown, Bath, BA1 9BU

T: 01454 201090 E: W:

T: 01225 424609 E: W:

CAPACITY: Up to 150 for Wedding Breakfast and 250 for Evening Reception.

CAPACITY: A variety of Suite available to accommodate up to 300 guests.

FACILITIES: At the Aztec Hotel & Spa, we’re proud of our four-star approach to everything we do and we’re confident you won’t find a warmer reception anywhere in the South West. This stylish hotel is a clever mixture of old and new. Striking timber beams blend with contemporary artwork and stone flagged floors adorned by brightly coloured feature rugs. Our approach to events is a simple one - there is no one size fits all, every event is as unique as you are and the day of your dreams doesn’t have to cost the earth.

FACILITIES: Situated in stunning scenery overlooking the picturesque City of Bath, Bath Racecourse is a beautiful and unique place in which to hold your wedding ceremony, reception or both. Fortunate to have it’s own fully lined luxury marquee, the venue is becoming increasingly popular for affordable wedding receptions. The staff expertise, wide range of facilities, gorgeous food and stunning scenery means that your special day will be a memorable occasion for you and your guests.

best western COMPASS INN


Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BQ T: 01453 810332 E: W:

T: 01454 218242 E: W: CAPACITY: 26 Bedrooms FACILITIES: An 18th century coaching Inn with modern accommodation set in acres of beautifully kept grounds and gardens. Licensed for civil ceremonies.

Brunel’s ss Great Britain Great Western Dockyard, Bristol, BS1 6TY T: 0117 9260680 E: W: CAPACITY: Up to 150 FACILITIES: Beautiful, unique and romantic. Licensed for weddings and civil partnerships. Perfect for receptions and evening parties. Multi award-winning venue and events team. Perfect for weddings all year round. Fully accessible.

FACILITIES: One of the most remarkable buildings in the country and possibly the most outstanding example of Mediaeval domestic architecture in Britain. A fairytale castle with a warm pink stone that glows softly in the sunset. Inside the courtyard the building is very intimate in scale, creating a wonderful atmosphere for any special occasion. Berkeley Castle offers an exclusive and unique service in a stunning location.

Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall

Image: Graham Wyles Tormarton, Near Badminton, South Gloucestershire, GL9 1JB

CAPACITY: Ceremony & reception up to 128 & evening receptions up to 150

Upton St Leonards, Gloucester, GL4 8ED T: 0844 815 9077 E: events.mercuregloucesterbowdenhall@ W: Capacity: 160 Wedding Breakfast and 200 Evening Receptions. Facilities: Grade II Listed Georgian Mansion set in 12 acres of private parkland. The Picturesque Hotel is an ideal location for your wedding celebrations and is fully Licensed for Civil ceremonies. We offer complete flexibility in all of our wedding packages allowing you to tailor your requirements to your special day. We have a wide range of facilities including 72 Bedrooms, Health Club and Spa, exceptional food and remarkable surroundings, all at unbelievably affordable prices, with Bowden Hall possibilities are endless.

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ry House Hotel th Club & Spa Doubletree by Hilton Cadbury House


old down manor

Foxholes Lane, Tockington, Bristol BS32 4PG

Congresbury, Bristol, BS49 5AD

Falfield, Gloucestershire GL12 8DA

T: 01934 834343 W:

T: 01454 262805 W: CAPACITY: Up to 350

FACILITIES: Beautiful 18th century house with a modern twist, offering first-class facilities for large or smaller intimate weddings with 72 bedrooms, health club, spa and hair salon on site. Licensed for civil ceremonies and partnerships.

mercure bristol north the grange hotel

CAPACITY: Wedding breakfast 110. Reception 180 (more with marquee). FACILITIES: Magnificent country house within 200-acre private estate with valley views. 69 bedrooms. Licensed for civil weddings and partnerships. Available exclusively.


Mercure Bristol North, The Grange Hotel Old Gloucester Road, Winterbourne Bristol, BS36 1RP

Tortworth, Wotton-under-Edge South Gloucestershire, GL12 8HH

T: 01454 771403 E:

T: 01454 263000 E: W:

CAPACITY: day 150, evening 180

CAPACITY: Up to 280

FACILITIES: This elegant country hotel, dating back to 1851, is set in 18 acres of attractive grounds, creating the perfect setting for your wedding. The Grange Hotel sits in beautiful gardens and really is the perfect backdrop for your wedding photographs. 68 bedroom four star hotel.

FACILITIES: 190 bedrooms. Luxury country house hotel set in 30 acres of picturesque parkland, overlooking the lake. Also offers the 2 AA Rosette awarded Orangery Restaurant, spa and leisure club.

T: 01454 414081 E: W: Capacity: Up to 120 for a wedding breakfast and 200 for evening reception Facilities: Unique brand new venue within the South West with an investment of £4million, Old Down Manor is an exceptional wedding venue, with the added benefit of being exclusive to your party. With 13 well appointed bedrooms, beautiful reception rooms and a license for civil ceremonies, the magnificent property is yours for the duration of your wedding day.

DO PEOPLE KNOW YOU’RE A LICENSED VENUE? To advertise your venue in the next issue of

call Jacqui Lewis on

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photo gallery PhotoGallery

reportage formal

ideas creative portraits group photographs

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David J. Brewin Photography Telephone 0845 427 7847 Mobile 07977 126281 Email Website

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Mango Photography Contact Chris Williams Telephone 0117 330 8699 Mobile 07816 783836 Email Website

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directory BRIDAL WEAR

Call Jacqui Lewis on 0117 934 3136 to advertise in the next issue of West Weddings




Athene String Quartet

Amazing Eric Entertainments Professional Magic at its best

Chocolate Nirvana What better way to thank your guests for sharing your special day than choosing a chocolate fountain from Chocolate Nirvana Contact: Eric 07812399467



Contact Karen and Martin on: 0117 9503825 All major credit and debit cards accepted


Music for special occasions: Weddings • Birthday Parties • Anniversaries • Corporate Functions Live string quartet music to suit your personal tastes.

0117 9730935 / 01454 610056


Sur Les Ailes D’Amour (Meaning: On the Wings of Love)

Luxury Chocolates and confectionery • Favours • Wedding stationery • Celebration cakes • Cake Decorations • Partyware • Online and postal service available 12a Hill Road Clevedon Tel: 01275 878978



‘Pure White Dove’ Release for Any Occasion For That Extra WOW Factor Weddings • Engagements • Funerals Memorials • Christenings • Birthdays Anniversaries • Valentines Corporate Events...

Whatever the occasion Contact - Jacqui 01453 832736 I 07772 210 742 Email:



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directory TRANSPORT



Get yourself noticed by the Bride-to-be’s!


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Call Jacqui Lewis on

Spring 2012


Tell us about your big day or wedding plans; let us know all about the gorgeous dress you discovered or about that perfect venue. Ask us any questions you have about planning for your nuptials or share some useful tips of your own. Email the editor at mike.gartside@ and you could be gracing the pages of our next edition.

COMPETITION TERMS & CONDITIONS The winner will be the first entry drawn at random, from all eligible entries. The draws will take place on the following dates and the winner will be contacted accordingly. WIN A WEDDING DRESS: Postal and online entries to be received by 12.08.12 Winner selected at West Weddings Show and notified before 2.09.12 Other competitions close on 30.03.12 The winner’s wedding date must be six months after 2.09.12 and within two years of the competition closing date. Special Day and Appletons will award the winner a wedding dress to the value of £1,000. No other items (i.e suits, hats, shoes) can be redeemed as part of this prize. Only brides-to-be can qualify to win the competition but entries can be made on behalf of a bride-to-be by third parties. Data protection: The data supplied to us will not be used for any other purpose than the administration of this competition and for the prize suppliers to contact you. TERMS & CONDITIONS: A. General terms and conditions relating to all competitions in West Weddings Spring 2012 edition: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Arrive in style with a


White Diamond Chauffeur. For a stunning wedding car, White Diamond Chauffeur’s gorgeous white Audi Q7 and stylish female chauffeur ensure that you get the luxury you deserve. Your 7 seater luxury vehicle promises more than just a grand entrance, the luxury treatment continues with free soft drinks and canapÊs, free champagne for wedding parties and lunch on request. Contact White Diamond Chauffeur today for a free quote. 18 Palmers Close, Barrs Court Warmley, Bristol, BS30 7SD

07979 918 661

0117 934 3136

to advertise in the next issue of West Weddings Magazine


10. 11.


13. 14.

No employees of Bristol News and Media or any company associated with a particular competition, promotions, game or any member of their family may enter. Unless otherwise specified, all entries must be made using the entry form(s) printed in West Weddings or provided at our wedding fairs and shows or online at No photocopies will be accepted. Only one entry per competition per person is permitted. Prizes are as stated and no alternatives cash or otherwise are available. All entries must be received by the specified closing date (Please refer to relevant competition terms and conditions). West Weddings accepts no liability for any loss, damage or injury caused by any prizes won. Publicity will be given to any competition winners and/or entrants and their names and/or photographs printed across the Bristol News & Media portfolio. By accepting the prize you are agreeing to allow Bristol News & Media the use of at least one of your wedding photographs showing yourself and the relevant prize. The determination and decision of the Editor on all matters will be final no correspondence will be entered into. The Editor reserves the right in absolute discretion to disqualify any entry competitors, or nominee, add to, or write any rules, or to cancel the whole or part of any competition, game or promotion at any stage withough prior notification. Where Bristol News & Media offers prizes on behalf of an associated company these prizes are provided in their entirety by these associated companies. Bristol News & Media cannot be held responsible for any failure to provide prizes as specified and all enquires in reference to such prizes will be referred to the associated companies. No purchase/payment is required unless stated. If you have agreed to be contacted by Northcliffe Media regarding our products and services, we respect your data privacy; you may modify your preferences and get further information by writing to us at Data Protection, Promotion Dept, Bristol News & Media, Temple Way Bristol BS99 7HD. If the prize you choose exceeds the value stated you may contribute the difference at the discretion of the prize provider. If the prize you choose is less than the value stated no cash/credit will be offered. Standard Bristol News & Media terms and conditions apply. Visit competitionrules Individual prize terms and conditions may apply; please see the competition pages for details.

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Last word

Put a

You shoul d have

ring on it

Was Beyoncé was right? Mike Gartside thinks the engagement ring should be chosen together, while Louise Jarndyce likes the element of surprise.


Ah, the proposal. The day many of us have dreamed about for years. Your partner goes down on one knee (maybe), turns to you with a look of love (definitely), holds up a velvet box, gently easing it open to reveal… nothing. Kinda ruins the dream, doesn’t it? While I am definitely for equality and all that jazz, this is one area where I’m resolutely old-fashioned: if you’re going to propose to your partner then I think you should have sorted out the ring in advance. It’s part of the romance, the surprise, the overall beingswept-off-your-feet-ness. When you announce to family and friends that you’re engaged, the first thing they want to see is the ring. When you have to admit that you’ve not yet got anything to show for the most amazing night of your life, the event loses a little of its lustre. I admit, the sheer amount of rings out there means that it can be a bewildering minefield of baguette cut v. emerald cut, diamonds v. rubies, platinum v. rhodium plated white gold. But as with most things in life, preparation is everything. Do some research: chat to jewellers, look at your partner’s existing rings, ask their mum or best friend. You can even discreetly ask your partner in a roundabout fashion. A little bit of effort beforehand will make choosing the ring a lot easier. Plus you will earn major brownie points from your partner when they realise you spent so much time thinking about them to try and find the best ring. “But I have absolutely no idea what my partner likes!” some people will cry. In response, I say just this: if you’re at the stage where you want to commit yourself in a legally binding ceremony to one person, you really should know what their tastes are. If you don’t, maybe it’s time to rethink proposing…

Romance versus surprise: would Kate have preferred the choice of ring?


There are some areas where you should never presume you completely know your partner’s views, even if you think you do. Politics. Religion. Smooth peanut butter versus crunchy. And most definitely what engagement ring they would like. You can have lived with someone for years and known them for much longer, and therefore think you’re justified in believing you know every element of their likes and dislikes. When it comes to jewellery, however, you’re entering dangerous territory. For example, your partner may wear a lot of silver jewellery and so you think, great, let’s go with a silver ring so it matches. What you may not be aware of is she’s always had a hankering for a gold band like her mother’s. So you pick silver and await their happy reaction, only to be disappointed by a crestfallen expression, perhaps followed by one of those awkward “No, no, I love it really”

conversations. Unless engagement rings are something you’ve discussed before, how on earth can you pre-empt someone’s taste for the most important piece of jewellery they’ll ever wear? The requests from family and friends to “show us the ring!” will be greeted with a reluctant flash of the hand in the onlooker’s general direction, whereas a ring that has been chosen by them will be shown to all and sundry, even to strangers in the street who didn’t ask about it in the first place. She may be fictional, but Carrie Bradshaw in ‘Sex and the City’ is an excellent example of what can happen when the wrong ring is picked. Aidan chose a pear shaped diamond on a gold band, only for Carrie to vomit after accidently seeing it in his bag and declare herself not ready for marriage. If Aidan had taken her on a trip to Harry Winston’s in the first place, all of that would have been averted and maybe they would have actually made it down the aisle. Take heed, fellow proposers.

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For further information or to book an appointment please call

Tel: 01225 345 101 439 Bath Road, Saltford (on the A4 between Bristol & Bath) email: info@

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West Weddings Spring 2012  

Wedding magazine covering Bristol, Bath,Gloucestershire & somerset.