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FREE Covering Bath, Bristol, Gloucestershire & Somerset Winter 2011/12

How to write

The keys to the castle Historic Venues

A best man’s speech

top designers

✓ Justin Alexander ✓ Phil Collins ✓ Sassi Holford All in our gown Gallery

A hazy shade of

Real wedding stories Cadbury House has a warm welcome for our vintage and modern wedding p.53

GOWNS | MENSWEAR | PHOTOGRAPHY | VENUES | JEWELLERY | inspiration Winter2011 _Cover.indd 1

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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!

To celebrate our 12th birthday, you will receive 12% off from 1st Dec- 12th December. present this advert to claim

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: Anna Behrmann, Kirsten Butler, Hannah Chapman, Jennie Crombie, Sharon Diamond, Holly Dimes, Helen Dorritt, Adriana Dorsett, Louise Jarndyce, Jemima Owen, Oli Pool and Steven Webster. Design: Sarah Malone, Sarah Clark and Cath Evans 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: DISTRUBUTION 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 as westweddings and check out our blog at www. westweddings.blogspot. com.

Cover gown is Tierny, by Romantica of Devon, £600, from White Lace and Promises.

Welcome to

West Weddings Winter 2011/12


inter is an increasingly popular season for marriage. Not only are venues happy to offer their facilities at lower rates than at the height of summer but the idea of a cosy reception in a country estate with a roaring log fire has eternal appeal. What’s more every bridal supplier has plenty of colours, accessories and favours which look utterly gorgeous in the colder winter light. This issue we have recreated a winter-style wedding in the traditional splendour of Cadbury House, taking a vintage and modern theme to reflect the venue’s own combination of historical elegance and contemporary pazzazz. Thanks to all the suppliers who helped us put this together – you’ll find all their details in our centre-piece feature starting on page 53. As ever, the experiences of real couples form a large part of our coverage and this issue we have couples enjoying beautiful views (and howling gales!) from a Cornwall cliff top, a fairy tale wedding for Bath bride Jemima Owen and a wedding with global significance. For anyone wondering what entertainment to have at their reception, we interview a DJ and a musician on page 70, while we also explore centuries of tradition in our feature about a Jewish wedding on page 67. As ever, I hope we’ve been able to offer you hundreds of useful ideas for the wedding of your dreams and, if you approach anyone you’ve seen in these pages to help with your nuptials . . . tell them you saw it here first!

Mike Gartside, Editor

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contents winter 2011/12


45 REGULARS 6 Wedding news Bridal fairs, winter flowers, gown offers, the Wedding Works and much more 10 News feature Lara Lockwood on make-up techniques 13 Ask the experts Your questions answered 18 Real Weddings Four couples share their big day: from cliff top spectacle with Rachael and Simon to a global gathering with Bonnie and Matthias 50 Online Keep track of our presence on the web with 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 reception-only invitations


Winter Style Hot ideas for chilly winter weddings Gowns Top designers including Justin Alexander, Sassi Holford and Phil Collins display their wares

45 53


Menswear Grooming the groom. Plus, accessories for the chaps and how to write a best man’s speech. Cover Shoot Cadbury House helped us create a dream come true

Be inspired 61 62 64 68


How to Recreate Kate Middleton’s hair In and Out What’s up and what’s down with our wedding wasp Jenny sweats the small stuff Final preparations for the big day Lara Lockwood Beautiful jewellery looks

Venues 73 Making history The West’s grandest locations

competition 17 44

Win a wedding dress At Special Day and Appletons Win a Bright White Smile and more

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gowns Planning colour

made up leap the last

hurdle The long term planning of a wedding is the easy part, according to wedding planner Christine Alecci. Because a lot of couples plan their wedding one or two years in advance they often think that everything will fall into place once the church and venue have been chosen. But they’re wrong, says Christine, who frequently sees couples’ plans start to unravel six weeks before the big day. This is when stress kicks in, as the couple realises that so many fine details have been forgotten. This burdens them, and often their families, as they find there’s much more to co-ordinate than they had previously realised and all within a horribly short timescale. Christine is well used to being called in by frantic couples to manage those last minute

but vital arrangements. Dressing the venue on the big day, keeping track of the caterers and DJ, arranging the rehearsal and ensuring the wedding runs smoothly are just some of the services she offers. Christine co-ordinates all the details that go into making any wedding day special, enjoyable and stress free for all. CHRISTINE ALECCI T: 0117 961 2599 M: 07564 790456 E: CHRISTINE@CHRISTINEALECCI.CO.UK W: WWW.CHRISTINEALECCI.CO.UK

Nineteen lucky guests enjoyed a stylish time this autumn, courtesy of Bristol hair salon Seanhanna, which laid on champagne and canapés before treating them to a bridal pampering session. Visitors were shown an array of wedding hairstyle ideas to suit all tastes, ranging from classic chic to more avant-garde looks. Model brides also demonstrated fabulous hair styles created by Seanhanna stylist Tomasz Sadowski. Seanhanna also invited other wedding specialists to offer advice for guests. Travel company Kuoni was on hand to talk about honeymoon options and local florists offered designs for floral arrangements and decorations. The Sanctuary Spa provided ideas for wedding day make-up while also giving guests lessons and tips to create their perfect look. Salon director Adam Vincent was delighted with the event. “The team was fantastic in their professional approach, and everyone who attended had fun.” SEANHANNA 13 QUAKERS FRIARS SQUARE, CABOT CIRCUS, BRISTOL BS1 3BU T: 0117 934 9393 W: WWW.SEANHANNA.COM

MARRY-MAKING Wedding days are all about glamour and what could be more glamourous than starring in your own music video, with a supporting cast including your entire family and friends? Marryoke is the latest in wedding entertainment, featuring the happy couple and guests miming to a song, which is then edited to look as though they recorded a video during the day. Spoolfrog is a Bristol-based video production company which specialises in marryoke. For Oliver Pool, who runs the company, marryoke should focus on the guests and the fun they’re having, in order to capture the atmosphere of the day. “I cringe at marryoke videos that are just about the bride and groom,” says Oliver.

“You think, ‘Why were they spending an hour shooting a video when they should have, been having fun with their guests?’ ” Spoolfrog’s effort certainly went down well with Andy and Louisa Burnell who got married at Coombe Down, Blagdon in July. “We went for ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ by Phil Collins,” says Louisa. “The oldies loved it! All our guests are still talking about it saying it was a highlight of the day - and the outtakes were hilarious!” SPOOLFROG T: 07976 621438 W: WWW.SPOOLFROG.CO.UK

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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

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

18 High Street Keynsham Bristol BS31 1DQ

Wedding Works of course!

• Chair Covers & Sashes • Centre Pieces • Wedding and Table Stationery • Wedding Film Maker • Wedding Cakes & Wedding Flowers • Photography • Candy Buffet • Favours • Swarovski Crystal Hand Embellished Bridal Shoes NEW IN Hair Accessories NEW IN Wedding Decorations & Balloons

All Under One Roof

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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experience Have you seen and shoes, accessories some classic lace and jewellery, lingerie, touch or a piece crockery, fantasy cakes, of vintage jewelflorists and photogralery you crave but phers and a vintage don’t know where hair and make-up to find it? There’ll salon with pre-bookbe heaps of antique able appointments. wedding goodies New this February will to delight you at be unusual modes of the Bristol Vintage transport. Wedding Fair in “The fair will give February. Following prospective its successful event couples an this March, which opportunity had over 1,000 visito see everytors, Bristol Vintage thing on offer, is returning to one of the for a comcity’s most exciting wedding plete vintage venues, the Clifton Pavilion wedding or to at Bristol Zoo Gardens, to choose those few provide a fabulous showspecial touches,” case of vintage wedding says Ali. “It will Beehive Brides and wares. also appeal to Chocolate Delores Both visitors and anyone with a taste creation at Bristol exhibitors can discover some for vintage and an Vintage Wedding Fair. of the treats in store through the eye for something event’s wedding blog. Ali Cook from a little different with one-off classics Bristol Vintage explains, “Our blog and unusual and distinctive items. We has had over 12,000 hits, with lots hope to inspire and excite our visitors of clients expressing interest in our with the amazing diversity the vintage exhibitors even before the event. It’s a market has to offer.” great way for prospective visitors to see BRISTOL VINTAGE WEDDING FAIR SUN 26 what will be on offer.” FEBRUARY, BRISTOL ZOO GARDENS, BRISTOL, The fair will again feature the cream OPEN 10AM-4PM. W: WWW.BRISTOLVINof vintage companies, including TAGEWEDDINGFAIR.BLOGSPOT.COM vintage and vintage-designed dresses

burning issue Every new season brings its challenges and one experienced wedding professional has seen the best and worst that a change in the weather can bring. Stylist Sue Bide has run The Bridal Make-up and Hair Room in Bath for 14 years and can help you avoid seasonal bloopers. “I have seen lots of trends come and go,” she says. “During the summer, brides love to adorn their hair with flowers but, as the colder months draw in, there is a return to the classic tiara and veil. “Most brides are keen to look natural but realise that they do need to wear make-up, which must last all day. So it’s essential to use good quality. I have an eclectic mix of brands from Chanel, Estee Lauder, Christian Dior, Mac, Laura Mercier and many more. Eye shadow colours tend to be neutral, such as taupe, brown and some purple. Depending on age we may use shimmer or glitter.” The colder climate is always tough on skin but Sue advises against last minute facials. “I always advise my brides, if they’re going to have a facial don’t have it in the week before the wedding if you’re not used to them as you don’t know how your skin will react. If you get a spot, don’t pick it. It’s easier to cover a spot than a scab. And, in particular, don’t have your eyebrows waxed just before wedding. I’ve seen two brides ignore this advice and end up with burns.” THE BRIDAL MAKE UP & HAIR ROOM T: 01225 444769

Twinkle, twinkle For brides searching for the perfect accessories, new specialist boutique Bridezillas is set to become your new favourite shop. With tiaras, jewellery, shoes, gifts and more on offer, this Keynsham emporium is full to the brim of beautiful trimmings to make your day even more special. Bridezillas is the brainchild of Amanda DavisHarrison and came about after she was making arrangements for her own wedding. “I spent far too much time trekking around department stores, high street shops and searching the internet for the right accessories. It was then that my dream of Bridezillas was born. I want to give brides a wonderful experience

and provide them with somewhere they can bring their maid of honour and bridesmaids to relax, have fun and take time to try on and choose their accessories,” says Amanda. For the full special experience, brides can also book a VIP appointment and benefit from having the entire shop to themselves and the undivided attention of Amanda and her capable staff. Bridezillas stocks ranges from designers such as Amanda Wyatt, Ivory & Co, Fifi and Paradox, and opened its doors for the first time this November. BRIDEZILLAS 18 HIGH STREET, KEYNSHAM, BRISTOL BS31 1DQ W: WWW.BRIDEZILLAS.BIZ E: AMANDA@BRIDEZILLAS.BIZ

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The perfect 12

dial M for

Marriage Love Actually Weddings will be holding another of its extremely popular wedding fayres on 12 February 2012 at the M Shed on Bristol’s Harbourside. This is the first ever wedding show at Bristol’s newest landmark and should prove to be very popular. “The M Shed has rapidly become an important part of Bristol and it’s great to be associated with it,” says Emma from Love Actually. “It is also a licensed venue for weddings and has great facilities, including a balcony overlooking the water.” Since opening in the summer, the museum has already had its first wedding, which was

on the same weekend as the Harbourside Festival. “They had some great views out across the festivities!” reports Emma. The fayre is the perfect opportunity for couples to meet with a range of wedding suppliers from the region, including photographers, cake makers and dress shops. It also provides the chance to visit the M Shed itself, meet its dedicated wedding team and enjoy a glass of bucks fizz on arrival. LOVE ACTUALLY WEDDING FAYRE M SHED, HARBOURSIDE, BRISTOL, SUN 12 FEB, 11.30AM-4PM, FREE. W: WWW.LOVEACTUALLYWEDDINGS.CO.UK

This December sees the 12th birthday of popular Bristol bridal shop Anne Harding, who will be celebrating in style with a range of offers for brides. Kerri Foster, the proprietor, says, “It is quite a milestone. It’s great when you see people who got their own dress here coming back to accompany other brides - it gives us a really special feeling.” Anne Harding is having 12 days of birthday celebrations over the first 12 days of December, where all visitors to the shop will get a glass of bubbly. Kerri is also offering 12 per cent off any bridal gown, bridesmaid dress or menswear ordered and for which the deposit is paid on these days. Anne Harding stocks a wide range of designers, including Essense, Dessy and Martina Liana. It also has the new line of beautiful Justin Alexander dresses, as well as a Kate Middleton replica dress which is proving popular with Bristol brides. ANNE HARDING 90-92 SHIREHAMPTON ROAD, BRISTOL BS9 2DR T: 0117 968 3074 W: WWW.ANNEHARDING.COM

The CALL of the west Engaged couples should keep Sunday 26 February 2012 free for the spring West Weddings show at Ashton Gate, as this bi-annual event is the perfect opportunity to meet the best of the region’s wedding suppliers. The last West Weddings show in August proved lucky for two brides-to-be. Hannah Kelly from Kingswood in Bristol was the winner of a wedding dress from Special Day and Appletons, which she will wear to get married to husband Chris at Orchardleigh next September. Nicole Woodward was another winner, bagging herself a reception at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bristol. “I was in shock – I didn’t believe it!” said Nicola. “I wasn’t at the wedding fair myself and my friend entered for me, so it was a bit of a

surprise. I’m delighted to be chosen as the winner – I’m over the moon.” Event organiser Siobhan Walsh says, “The autumn show was another success with a really interesting range of exhibitors. We had a good mix of the ‘essential’ service providers such as photographers, bridal houses and venues but also more unusual services such as a photo booth and an ice cream machine for receptions. Visitors really can book everything they need for their big day at the West Weddings show.” 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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News Look into my eyes

You don’t need to use harsh black eyeliners to make your eyes look larger - use a bright eyeshadow instead. We’ve used a beautiful green shade on and around the eyes to create drama. This would look superb next to a winter bouquet and green bridesmaids’ dresses. The key to wearing a strong colour on the eyes for your wedding is to keep the rest of your make-up very neutral. Gently highlight cheeks and keep lips simple with just a brush of sheer gloss.

Luscious lips

Short days in the depths of winter mean that winter wedding make-up can have a more glamorous evening feel than in the summer. With the current fashion for evening weddings, winter is the perfect opportunity for an opulent party look. Try a rich berry lipstick and a similar shade of sheer colour on the cheeks. Enhance eyes using a matte mauve/grey eye shadow underneath, over the eye lid and into the socket line.


Barely there

This season the catwalks focused on a ‘barely there’ look – make-up that looks minimal, with nude tones on both eyes and lips. This winter bridal look embraces this nude trend. To create a dewy and radiant base, use a siliconebased foundation and apply with an airbrush. A number of products on the market offer this ‘second skin’ texture, such as the wonderfully rich Sheer Skin Tint by Liz Earle. Add healthy colour in the winter, but carefully. Avoid heavy bronze and brown-based products which can look gaudy and orange. Try pale gold, pale brown and peachy colored bronzing products. Keep colour on the cheekbones as this helps to contour the cheeks and looks great in photographs. To finish, pat a thin layer of nude caramel gloss on the lips, which complements the eye colour and ensures that your natural features stand out.

looks ffor cold days

Winter demands changes to your skincare and makeup regime. Professional make-up artist Lara Lockwood offers advice .


reparation is everything, and it’s no different with your make-up. Winter can be harsh on your skin, with the drop in temperature demanding a change from your normal skin care routine. To keep skin hydrated, drink plenty of water and eat foods rich in Omega 3. Skin tends to dry out in colder weather, with exposure to central heating, so it is important to use a rich moisturiser or dry oil. Rosehip oil is a good choice, rich in natural essential fatty acids. Buffing away dead cells will also help your skin to look smooth and glowing. Various options on the market include the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser from Liz Earle. Winter is a great time to experiment with new colours and textures, but bear in mind that winter light is bluer, which changes how make-up looks. Harsher light can make skin look pale and features less defined. It works better to leave the skin pale and brighten up features with crisp colour rather than trying to warm up with bronzing products, which can look overly orange on winter-pale skins.

Winter sparkle

A touch of seasonal sparkle can look sophisticated and opulent, and create a magical winter wonderland feel. Use an ultra fine eyeshadow dust in silver hues around the eye and under the brows. As the eyes are highlighted by the frosting, keep the lips a pale matte pink and brush cheeks with a transparent rose blush. Remember that bright blushers look healthy in the winter. Try apricot, coral and pink rather than brown, and place on the apples of the cheeks for a fresh winter glow. No-one blushes brown, so if you don’t have a tan avoid brown based blushers. If your skin is dry you should also avoid powderbased products and use a cream blusher.

Contacts Make-up artist Lara Lockwood T: 07872 305 474 W: E: lara@ Photographer Jack Willingham Photography W:

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all wrapped Adriana Dorsett reports on an Aladdin’s cave of wedding expertise under one roof.


nevitably, out of every 10 hours planning your wedding, one and a half of those will be spent trying to park the car, 15 minutes finding the correct change for the meter and 10 minutes chatting to a traffic warden. However, in the last year this has changed for the lucky couples who’ve discovered The Wedding Works. Founded in October 2011 by designer Peri Said, the company brings 10 compatible but independent wedding businesses under one roof. Couples are free to pick and choose from the services on offer, meaning that your brother-in-law can still do the cake and Auntie May can still take the photos if you so wish. Alternatively you could use all The Wedding Works businesses to supply or style your event. These include floristry, cakes, candy buffet, photography, chair cover and sashes, favours, stationery, shoes, videographer, tiaras (by Jill Hatton, who lovingly handcrafts beautiful, unique hair accessories from vintage jewellery), wedding decorations and table centres. Because the focus is all about the décor of the bride and the venue, you won’t find gowns or grooms’ outfits at The Wedding Works, but you will find shoes. “We sit and talk with brides-to-be,” says Peri. “We have a sample table in the store. We get our colour swatches out and decorate the table for them. There are cakes on show or a candy buffet – it’s very cosy.” The Wedding Works has many testimonials from satisfied newlyweds talking about the buzz and excitement they experienced. “It’s the ultimate ‘One Stop Wedding Shop’,” say Jon and Nicky.

“We spent many hours looking at different chair cover companies, stationers and table design. Most offered little difference. Thankfully, we then found Peri and The Wedding Works. It fulfilled a large chunk of our needs and we solved lots of problems all in one place. Peri is not afraid to be adventurous and is happy to start with a blank canvas, along with being a pleasure to work with.” Fellow customer Sarah was also delighted. “My husband and I first discovered these very beautiful wedding ideas at a wedding fair,” she says. “The creative designs caught our eyes and we knew that we didn’t need to look any further for ideas on our wedding reception.” Jill Hatton of Port Out Starboard Home (POSH) says, “We love the concept of The Wedding Works, It is fantastic to have so many talented suppliers under one roof. Brides and their families are thrilled to find help and advice in one place which saves valuable time when planning their wedding.”  Starting with four suppliers a year ago and now boasting 10 businesses, The Wedding Works has been such a success that, in spite of opening mid-recession, it has helped 79 couples fulfil their wedding plans. After all, it’s a solid concept that can create savings where they’ve never existed before – look out for Peri’s ‘Wrapped Up’ offer on chair covers and sashes for 80 – 100 guests, which includes centre pieces for free. And don’t forget the additional savings on coordination, delivery of service, shoe leather, parking fines and, ultimately, stress levels.

The Works: ( from left) Sweet treats from The Candy Buffet; a warm wedding welcome; and a spectacular cake creation by The Icing Centre.

Contacts Chair covers & table centres PERIdesigns M: 07931 859986 Photography Studiowise M: 07833 115331 Cakes The Icing Centre M: 01934 624565 Flowers Kimberley’s The Florist M: 01934 875736 Candy buffet The UK Candy Buffet Company M: 07512 303641 Wedding Stationery & Glass Favours Littlemizzthingz Ltd M: 07757 420681 Videographer white villa films t: 0117 3300238 W: Shoes Glass Slippers by Kellie M: 07500 068500 Hair accessories POSH M: 07703 544345 Decorations & bunting Debangé M: 07725 849914 The Wedding Works 20 Filton Road, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0PA T: 07931 859986 E:

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Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall Hotel 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 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

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 February 29th 2012 Bondend Lane Upton St Leonards, Gloucester GL4 8ED E: events.mercuregloucesterbowdenhall@ T: 0844 815 9077 W:

Wedding Open Days 12th January – Open Evening 5th February – Open Day 23rd February – Open Evening 4th March – Open day 22nd March – Open Evening 5th April – Open Evening 22nd April Open Day Day event times 11am – 2pm Evening Events 6.30-8.30pm

Wedding Fayre 19th February 2012 11am - 3.30pm Bowden Hall’s Biggest Ever Wedding Fayre FREE entry and Goodie bags. Please contact Idyllic Creations for more details

Professional Catwalk Fashion Shows at 12pm and 2pm By Willowstone Photography

Pictures by kind permission of Blenheim Wedding Photography.

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Late blooms, perfect spaces, wrinkle-free gowns

you need to ask the experts...

A cosy glow can too easily become a chill wind on your wedding day if you haven’t taken seasonal factors into account. Industry insiders answer your questions.

Choose winter blooms I’m getting married this winter and am struggling to choose flowers that won’t break my budget. What kinds of affordable flowers make the best wedding arrangements? Xanthe Ivory of Ivory Flowers says: I would definitely recommend going seasonal. Flowers that are naturally in bloom will be the best quality and in plentiful supply, keeping down the cost. People tend to think there isn’t much around at this time of year but this is definitely not the case. There are plenty of different varieties to choose from that can all make gorgeous displays and bouquets. For example amaryllis, alstromeria, holly and roses all bloom in the winter months and are perfect for weddings. There is also an abundance of foliage around this time of year that should be incorporated into your designs. It not only looks great but boosts the volume of your displays without boosting the price. Choosing seasonal flowers is a great way to ensure you come in on budget without having to compromise on quality. Ffi:

Go with your heart We are finding the process of finding a wedding venue overwhelming. What are the key things we need to focus on? Rachel Gough at Clifton College, Bristol, says: Searching for your perfect wedding venue can be a daunting process. Before starting, ask yourselves some key questions. Where would you like to get married? In a city or countryside location? In a church or at the reception venue? Do you want to stay in one location or do you mind your guests travelling? Once you have an idea of what you want, do some research on the internet, you will get a good feel for the venues on their websites. Narrow your search down before looking around venues; you will be given lots of information so try using a spreadsheet to compare. And lastly, go with your heart, you will know when it is the right one! Ffi:

No spills, more thrills I’ve picked my dream wedding dress and am having my final fitting in the next few weeks. What’s the best way to ensure that my dress still looks perfect on the day? Suzanne at Just for you Bridal, Bristol, says: Ideally you should leave your dress at the shop for as long as possible as they will usually have room to store it. The bridal store should have your dress steamed and packed into a breathable clothes bag ready for your collection. It’s important that the gown is stored in a breathable bag and not a plastic one as you will need to allow it to adjust to changes in temperature. I always suggest to brides that once they get their dress home they should allow the train to hang out of the clothes bag. If you have a particularly large dress you can swap the clothes bag for a duvet cover, keeping the dress covered but also giving it enough space so it’s not crumpled. To avoid any mini disasters on the big day make sure that someone from the bridal party has a packet of baby wipes to swiftly remove any stains (we have found that Pampers are the best) and also a needle and thread in case of any accidental tears or pulls to the dress. Ffi:

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AutumnStyle WinterStyle

Carrie had her ‘something blue’ in the form of a beautiful feather headpiece.

Fire and ice ‘A Winter’s Tale’ wedding over a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’? You can have both, says Katie Deighton.


inter opens up colour palettes, venues and fashions that expand beyond the Little White Dress. In 2011, all of these will be following the rule ‘out with the new, in with the old’. Although they married in April, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has inevitably influenced wedding trends throughout the following seasons. Winter will no doubt be the same, albeit a slightly more covered-up version. Kate’s dress has sparked off a new love of vintage-style lace in bridal studios, further fuelled by Lily Allen’s long-length, elaborately laced number, plus Kate Moss’s ethereal and intricate hemline that harped back to the 1920s. For weddings taking place when the temperature falls below 10°C, carry on with Kate’s long-

sleeved option, and for extra warmth, throw on a faux fur stole. Searching for something blue, both for good luck and to keep in with the winter theme? Incorporate it visibly into your big-day outfit. Not only do blue tones complement the cool colours of a cold winter’s day, they also add an innocuous individuality to a wedding dress; see Carrie’s fascinator worn before being jilted in 2008’s ‘Sex and the City’. Sheena Holland does an impressive selection of headpieces along this theme, as does accessories brand Johnny Loves Rosie. Charlene of Monaco went further and proved this June that blue can work for a whole outfit, wearing aqua palazzo pants and matching top for the civil part of her wedding to Prince Albert. If head to toe blue isn’t for you, a subtler option is to experiment with make-up. MAC

‘Cocktail X’ platinum, tanzanite and diamond ring by Biegel Design at Platinum Guild International

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AutumnStyle WinterStyle

Cosmetics Pigment in Cornflower is a loose eye shadow which can be layered to create as understated or intense a look as you prefer. Another option is to try metallic liquid eyeliner with a blue shimmer. Mulled wine is a warm winter replacement for ice cold Pimms, or, staying true to West Country roots, a vat of mulled cider would keep most happy at a wedding. When it comes to food choice, winter weddings are not limited in the way a summer wedding may be; ice cream, chocolate and anything that melts are all firmly back on the menu. The cake? Keep it light: your guests will be eating a heavy fruit cake on Christmas day in any case. The language of flowers is again fashionable, flowers native to Britain even more so. Picking a fresh bouquet in winter that not only matches your colour scheme but speaks tomes about yourself is difficult, yet by keeping it small and relatively simple you can carry a bouquet which will be unique to your wedding. Not au fait with your winter flowers? Snowdrops mean hope, primroses mean eternal love and the amaryllis means radiant beauty. Many florists such as Ultraviolet Flowers now have a British-grown-only ethos, so seek out these for a eco-friendly, stylish bouquet. For a location, a heated indoor venue will be the best bet; even better, pray for a crisp snowy day and book a site which has great views. Goldney Hall in Clifton provides a reception room in the form of a glass Orangery which overlooks the 18th century grounds. If a wedding under the stars is your dream but the temperatures force you to rethink, the planetarium in At-Bristol offers a truly unique ceremonial space. Yet if you think your immune system can handle it, outdoor weddings – à la Phoebe from ‘Friends’ - summon up romantic and memorable visions of matrimony. A great lighting company, a hillside location and outdoor heaters will mean the ideal outside wedding can be achieved in winter… although an indoor reception area may be needed to avoid contracting hypothermia!

Clockwise from top left: At-Bristol’s Planetarium; Lily Allen in her lace gown; amaryllis and mulled wine are great winter wedding details; Mac’s vibrant range of make-up.

contacts Sheena Holland Johnny Loves Rosie MAC Ultra Violet Flowers Goldney Hall weddings At-Bristol

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Happy feet

Ice to meet you It’s a long way off, admittedly, but when the sun’s high in the sky and temperatures are blazing, a tasty icecream might be the answer to parched weddingguests’ needs as they wait for the photographer to finish. Why not add a touch of vintage style with Daisy the 1970s ice cream van, operated by owner Tara Cole, complete in 1950s get up? Daisy is fast becoming a regular fixture at the coolest weddings. Adorned in bunting and fresh flowers perfectly matched to the colour scheme of your choice, Daisy is sure to inspire childlike excitement among your guests. So much more than your average ice cream van, it comes well stocked with retro sweets, fruit drinks, handmade chocolates and biscuits, Pimms, mulled wine and hot chocolate. “Daisy is designed to bring glamour, excitement, imagination and creativity to weddings,” says Tara. “You can choose the treats that you would like on board for your guest and we do the rest.”

Shoes tend to be the forgotten accessory at a wedding, so often hidden away under the gown. But when they peek into the limelight, they too need to look wonderful. Available from Exeter-based Rainbow Club, a new collection of shoes from designer Diane Hassall promises contemporary luxury, style and detail. Made in Italian silk satin, embellished with soft tulle, lush velvet, elegant lace and intricate beading, these beautiful shoes are inspired by Diane’s love of vintage styling, with an emphasis on floral themes. Each shoe is hand made with the option of having the date of the wedding inscribed on the leather sole. New styles this season include Bon Bon, covered in embroidered organza and finished with whispery chiffon pleats and a plush velvet flower and Blossom Time, a spotted tulle peep toe with hand beaded velvet flowers. “This collection is truly feminine in style and design and reflects the romantic trend of the moment,” says Diane. “I have played with floral features in many forms and hope brides will fall in love with these everlasting designs”. RAINBOW CLUB W: WWW.RAINBOWCLUB.CO.UK Bon Bon (left), with chiffon pleats and velvet flower, £225 Blossom Time, delicate peep toe with beaded velvet flower, £210


late flowering

Winter may be with us but there’s no reason why a hibernal wedding should lack colour. Bristol-based floral designer Lisa Elliott has been helping brides celebrate their special day for over 12 years and knows more than a little about seasonal celebrations. “Rich reds are always popular for winter,” she says. “Try experimenting with texture. Roses are popular and there are some fabulous varieties in red hues, like Grand-Prix, Baccara and Naomi roses. Mix these with other flowers, Amaryliss, Helebories and berries, to create a beautiful and seasonal bouquet.” For decoration of the venue she suggests a mix of Amaryllis, Ilex berries, trailing Amaranthus and greenery like ivy and mistletoe. “Ivy, mistletoe and holly can even be used on their

own to create a fabulous statement. Mixing your flowers with candles and candelabras are also incredibly festive and popular at this time of year.” The bridal industry is a big part of her business. “I love being part of the bride’s day and seeing their ideas come together,” she says. “Every wedding is so different and each bride is so individual, we recommend that couples book a consultation with myself to discuss what they want, their ideas and budget. We will provide flowers for the bride, her bridesmaids as well as the decoration of churches, venues and reception.”


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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 Imogene, Demetrios, Sottero & Midgley, Cosmobella, Ellis Bridal, Raylia, Bonny Bridal and Impression 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 13.02.2012. The prize winner will be notified by 29.02.2012


..................................................................................................................................... ...........................................................................................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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Afternoon tea by

the sea Journalists Rachael Sugden and Simon Davies were married on a July day in Cornwall. Here Rachael reveals all about their big day.


rganising a wedding in Cornwall when you’ve moved over a hundred miles away to Wiltshire is not easy. We spent many Friday nights sitting in traffic on the M5 en route to whistle-stop weekends with my parents to meet potential suppliers and check out venues. I grew up near Newquay while Simon, who’s from Weston-super-Mare, spent all his summers in the Cornish town so the area meant a lot to us both and we decided to marry at St Carantoc Church in the nearby village of Crantock. The priest was very accommodating in

allowing a family friend, a retired vicar, to marry us. With a guest list of more than 120 people, finding a venue within an hour’s drive of the church - and on a budget considerably less than the average £15,000 shelled out on a wedding - was tricky. We also wanted to be able to see the sea on the day, which meant our options were even more limited, even when we looked at venues on Cornwall’s North and South coasts. Eventually it became clear we could only meet all our requirements with a greenfield setting, so we tracked down a brilliant marquee hire company in Cornwall. We also found an

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Realweddings realweddings

dont rain on my parade The weather couldn’t dampen the fun at Rachael and Simon’s wedding.

amazing location, thanks to a farmer friend who offered the use of a field on the Beacon at St Agnes, which had breathtaking views down the North coast all the way to St Ives. My mum and I toured Cornwall’s wedding shops looking for the perfect dress – and I mean all! I found the dress, plus the veil, at Bliss Bridal in Goonhavern. Owner Wendy was amazing and her by-appointment-only shop at her home was heavenly. I bought earrings and a hairpiece online and found sandals in the sale at House of Fraser. My sister’s bridesmaid dress was bought near her home in America and the boys’ suits were hired at Moss Bros. Simon’s three-piece suit was bought from M&S and finished with an antique pocket watch bought on eBay (and given to him as a surprise on the morning). For our wedding car, Simon had his heart set on a Rover P5B. I tracked down a West Country owner through the UK owners’ club, who offered to drive us in return for petrol costs. One budget-driven decision taken early on proved a highlight of the day: afternoon tea. A friend of my mum made cakes and scones and we hired dozens of vintage china tea sets, teapots and cake stands from a firm in St Austell. They were topped up with old family china and we used tablecloths embroidered by both my grandmothers. The embroidery on these tablecloths ended up inspiring the stationery we designed ourselves (invites, orders of service, place cards and menus), which we had printed in Newquay. Another family friend, a retired chef, did an evening buffet for us, with fabulous South African salads inspired by his wife, huge pieces of ham and beef from a local farmer and a big basket of hot pasties delivered by our local butcher after dark. Another budget decision meant we did all of our own flowers for the church and marquee, with flowers and foliage from Tesco and my parents’ and their neighbours’ gardens. We

ordered bouquets and buttonholes to be delivered on the morning from a florist in Perranporth. I knew it was the little touches that make a day special, so we ordered real-flower confetti online and made dozens of tiny origami magazinepaper envelopes to hand out after the church service. The favours were stick-on fancy dress moustaches, paper fans and bubbles or candy bracelets for the children. There were also umpteen ribbon-trimmed jam jar candles around the marquee and we made our own seating plan and table names, named for beaches around the world we love. We had howling winds and torrential rain all afternoon, but we’d planned for it. We were on one of Cornwall’s highest points, right on the cliff edge, so there were lots of huge brightly coloured umbrellas for guests to use when the rain inevitably arrived. We’d optimistically hired outdoor chairs and tables and a bouncy castle, but they weren’t needed! The weather’s only impact was forcing everyone inside the marquee to mingle and party all day – which was brilliant. We asked everyone we knew if they could help in some way and were overwhelmed by the offers of time and support from family and friends – we simply would not have had the wedding day of our dreams without them. We’ve both got so many wonderful memories, from the church service, to the afternoon tea, to the dancing. We were warned by fellow marrieds that the day would fly by - which it did. And we were told it would be the most amazing day of our lives – and it was.

Details Bride’s dress Bliss Bridal, Goonhavern, Cornwall W: Accessories Glitzy Secrets W: Photographer Simon Burt T: 01872 321221 W: www. Marquee Trevarno Marquees, Helston, Cornwall TR13 0BN T: 01209 831333 W: Wedding car Rover P5B W: Vintage china Cornwall DMC W:

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A family

affair The April showers stayed away for Emma and Stephen Pick’s wedding last spring. Helen Dorritt finds out more.

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bright & beautiful: Emma and Stephen enjoyed beautiful sunshine on their wedding day.


ne of Stephen’s main wishes for his wedding to Emma in April was for good weather – and that was certainly the case. Emma puts it down to some lucky umbrellas. “My friend bought some pretty wedding umbrellas for her wedding in April 2009, when I was her bridesmaid and she had beautiful weather. The umbrellas have since been used at several friends’ weddings and the rain has stayed away, so we now regard these as lucky.” After getting engaged on Christmas Day 2009, the couple knew immediately where they wanted their wedding to be held. “Steve and I loved The Grange, in Winterbourne, after we went to a close friend’s wedding there in April 2009, when I was her bridesmaid,” said Emma. “The wedding co-ordinators are great, and the venue has beautiful grounds. The Grange also provided the toastmaster Peter York to help co-ordinate the day.” At first, Emma was worried about what her grandparents thought about not getting married in a church, but her nan put it perfectly when she said, “It’s not where you’re getting married that’s important, but the commitment that you are making to each other. ”Photographer John Holbrook was responsible for capturing the events of the day. The couple picked him after seeing him in action at Stephen’s brother’s wedding in 2009, liking his relaxed yet authoritative style – necessary with over 100 guests. The all-female car company England’s Finest Cars, run by Jayne Hobbs, provided transport for the day, first taking the bridesmaid and Emma’s mum to the Grange and then returning to take Emma and her father. Emma and Stephen also went for a ten minute drive in the wedding car after the ceremony so the couple could spend quality time with each other before re-joining their guests. “Jayne made us all feel relaxed and was a great help arranging my dress for photos by John,” said Emma. “John and Jayne worked as a team on the day, and this really showed from the fantastic photos. “The couple had 100 guests at the ceremony and day time celebrations with a further 40 joining in the evening. Harpist Claire Dibble played during the ceremony as well as entertaining guests while they enjoyed canapés and Pimms afterwards. DJ Daryl Hanson got the party started for the evening part of the

reception, which is one of Emma’s favourite memories of the day. “For our second dance, Daryl played (as we had requested) ‘Waiting for a Star to Fall’ by Boy meets Girl and the rest of the bridal party, friends and little cousins all came up to join Steve and I dancing. ”Emma wore an Amanda Wyatt ‘Charlize’ dress and accessorised it with a tiara and a 72” veil. She also wore a ring that had belonged to her great grandmother, and pearl earrings which had been a gift from a friend from when Emma had been her bridesmaid. A cheeky touch was added with a garter handmade by Emma’s mum. The personal approach was important for Emma and Stephen so they added additional vows to their civil ceremony as well as some special readings. “My sister Rachel read the poem ‘Once in a Lifetime’ and Steve’s mum read a poem she had written herself about us as a couple, which was beautiful.” The wedding was a family affair with guests pitching in to help with various elements of the day. “My friend Claire made our beautiful wedding cake, my cousin Jim filmed the day for us, my sister Rachel made the jewellery for the two bridesmaids, my sister Joanna wrote the place names and my mum made the beautiful bridesmaid dresses and my garter – very clever indeed!” said Emma. Friend of the family Denise Cannon was responsible for the beautiful wedding flowers which featured cream freesias, roses, lisianthus, demi-orchids and eucalyptus leaf. Emma made all the stationery herself, using turquoise fair-trade skeleton leaves, mulberry paper and turquoise ribbon.

After the wedding, Emma and Stephen unwound with two weeks at the Riviera Maya in Mexico and managed to watch the Royal Wedding on TV by waking up at 5am! On their return the couple visited Stephen’s grandparents, who had not been able to make the wedding, taking with them the top tier of the wedding cake, Emma’s wedding dress and lots of photos.

Details Venue Mercure Bristol North, The Grange Hotel, Old Gloucester Road, Northwoods, Winterbourne, Bristol BS36 1RP. T: 01454 777333 W: NB The Grange has been acquired by the Mercure hotel group since Emma and Stephen’s wedding. Dress ‘Charlize’ by Amanda Wyatt from Anne Harding, 90-92 Shirehampton Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. T: 0117 968 3074 W: Groom’s outfit Anne Harding (see above) Cars England’s Finest Cars W: www. Photography John Holbrook Photography W: www. Harpist Claire Dibble W: DJ Daryl Hanson, Hansonite Entertainment W:

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realweddings a day to remember Jemima’s wedding to Mike was everything she had dreamed of.

Dreams can

come true West Weddings contributor Jemima Owen shares the details of her own fairytale wedding in July.


ou know how the story goes; the princess finds the prince, they fall in love and plan their dream wedding together. The princess is clothed in a stunning white gown, her hair styled elegantly and her smile as bright as the sun. Not everyone believes in the perfect fairytale, but I do because, for one day, I was that princess. The morning of the big day arrived and the nerves gave me goose bumps all over my body: not because I’d be walking down the aisle within hours, but because my mum had burnt her hand, my brothers wanted to put their rented suits on before eating and the florist was running an hour late. My bridesmaids were on the ball as they grabbed a bottle of bubbly and poured me a glass. As the hours flew by, thankfully, the florist arrived and the burnt hand cooled. I was also enjoying the attention of a professional hair dresser and makeup artist, pleased we’d spent the money on it. Once the photographer made an entrance with his camera, we had little time before my special day really got underway. With an hour to go, I got into my big white dress, my diamante shoes and posed for photographs in the garden. In the 18 months that I had been engaged, I was terrified at the very thought of walking down the aisle. But as soon as I stood at the top linking arms with my dad, all nerves were washed away. The string quartet played effortlessly, the purple satin bows looked sleek and the church was full of all the people we loved. The ivory roses and purple freesias looked spectacular, all thanks to a friend who decorated the venue. Walking out of All Saints Church, Bromsgrove, with Mike, my new husband, filled me with joy. As our

guests followed us out, I knew I wasn’t going to move from the same spot for a while. There were camera flashes everywhere, hugs from all directions and a few newlywed kisses in between. We drove off in a silver Beauford Tourer, waving through the back window with champagne in our hands. It was overwhelming how perfect the day was going; you worry about so many little things in the run up to the day but when it catches you up, and you say ‘I do’ to each other, nothing else seems to matter. The reception danced to the sound of string music and thronged with smiling guests. The West Midlands venue, Hillscourt Conference Centre, even laid a red carpet out for us. It was a spectacular setting, arranged magnificently by the venue manager. The location was the result of lots of research, making appointments and weighing up the decisions and I’m glad I took advice from other brides. The sit down meal was beautiful but, as I was wearing a tightly boned dress, there was no way I could eat much food. Instead I prepared for the toasts. “They’re going to embarrass me, surely?” I thought. “What if they’re too nervous, or they throw up? Or worse, they stand up and can’t say a word?” Clearly, these were my own worries. But when Mike said, “Look at my wife . . . she could have made an effort,” or the best man mentioned that I once said there was a 99.9% chance that I would never marry him, I realised I was right to worry! Nonetheless, the atmosphere was full of chatter, laughter and dancing - everything I could have wished for. Holding hands with my beloved, we greeted long distance relatives and caught up with old friends. The day was a blur, but everything I remember was perfect and

everything a princess could ever dream of.

Details Gown & accessories Clifton Brides, 11 St James Parade, Bath, BA1 1UL T: 01225 447 878 W: Bridesmaids’ dresses Debenhams, 17 Southgate Place, Bath, BA1 1AP T: 0844 561 6161 W: Venue & caterer Hillscourt Conference Centre, Rose Hill, Rednal, Birmingham, B45 8RS T: 0121 457 6100 W: Hair & Make-up Bliss Hair, 12A Red Lion Street, Alvechurch, Birmingham, B48 7LF T: 0121 445 5009  Photographer Atp studios T: 07914 048866 W: Flowers Interflora, 4 Mill Lane, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B61 8AG T: 0844 453 5600 W: Suits Moss Bros, 22 Milsom Street, Bath, BA1 1DE T: 01225 461 650 W: www.mossbroshire. west weddings 23

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A global

gathering With relatives from Poland in the east to Ecuador in the west, Bonnie and Matthias’s wedding had to cater for all tastes.

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realweddings diy details Bonnie & Matthias filled their day with thoughtful homemade touches.


onnie Curran thought Matthias Mueller was rummaging in his bag for an apple as they gazed over Bristol’s harbour side. Instead, to her great surprise, he produced a ring. The couple, both 29, had been together for eight years having met at university in London and decided to tie the knot in Bath on what turned out to be a beautifully sunny August day. When it came to planning the wedding, Bonnie was keen not to conform to standard expectations. She and Matthias went to great lengths to add their own creativity and personal touch to the day. A self-confessed ‘groomzilla’, Matthias was in charge of most of the planning. Nearest and dearest happily volunteered their services and the wedding was largely DIY affair from start to finish. As the couple advised, “Don’t underestimate the skills of your friends and family!” Matthias’s sister made metres of beautiful bunting that, “We’ll be bringing out at parties for years to come,” according to the couple. Bonnie’s brother is a chef and so catered for the evening buffet, which was so tasty that people confessed afterwards they had been stealing the pies. Matthias adds, “Getting people involved really made it what it was.” The wedding was also an international affair as the couple have Irish, Polish, English, German and Ecuadorian relatives, and wanted the wedding to reflect these elements. Bonnie’s stunning dress came from Brides of Bath, which sells as new and sample dresses. “I got a ‘preloved’ Stewart Parvin dress,” said Bonnie. “It needed some alterations but was just what I was looking for. I shopped around and went to some of the bridal shops in Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas but this was also the nicest of shopping experiences.” Matthias had a very definite blue colour in mind for his suit and found it in a perfect light, summery version of mohair wool from Ben Sherman. He matched it with a dark blue waistcoat and completed the look with Tom semi-brogues from Grenson, an old pocket watch, a John Smedley grey wool bow tie, Paul Smith cufflinks and some funky socks. After a ceremony at the beautiful Guildhall in Bath, guests hopped on a London Routemaster bus to the reception at Oriel Hall in Larkhall, Bath. Bonnie and Matthias chose this venue for its flexibility, which meant that they were able to put their own stamp on the reception. Their key priority was to make it personal, intimate and informal. As far as possible, the couple sourced local and independent suppliers for the catering, photography, flowers and other details, and were extremely happy with the range and quality on offer in the South West. Bristol photographer James Koch provided a visual record of the day. Matthias said, “Formal

Details Gown Brides of Bath T: 01225 420605 W: www. Photographer James Koch Photography W: www.

portraits were not our priority. We were more interested in artistic, candid shots. I was aware of James’s local street photography through Twitter so we approached him. We love the pictures we have of the day, as he photographed some beautiful moments we did not get to see and really captured the essence of the day.” For the flowers, the couple were keen to be as green as possible and managed this through using Organic Blooms, a community business growing seasonal cut flowers sustainably and without the use of artificial chemicals. Family members also grew flowers for decorating the reception venue, which were then assembled by a florist. Further creative touches included inviting guests to write little cards to the couple and sealing them in mini envelopes, which led to some interesting reading the next day – a mix of lovely sentiments as well as the kind of material that they had feared might make it into the speeches. Bonnie said, “One of my criteria for success was that people danced, and they danced until we kicked them out!” There was also a short lived, impromptu ceilidh, which was a dance floor disaster but very

Catering Aniseed Catering, Unit 7, St Gabriel’s Business Park, Bristol BS5 0RT T: 0117 954 2251 W: .Thoughtful Bread Company, Home Farm, Farrington Gurney, Bristol BS39 6UB T: 01761 239074 W: www. Cake Matilda Says T: 07880 703773/07917 541684 W: Flowers Organic Blooms, the Allotment, Latteridge Hill, Latteridge, South Gloucestershire T: 07849 065551 W: Transport London Bus Bristol, 48 The Reddings, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 4SA T: 0117 377 8092 W: entertaining – the couple described it as, “Irish relatives herding cats.” Sadly Matthias’s father became unwell a few weeks before the wedding so his parents were unable to be there on the day. Matthias and Bonnie therefore decided to relocate the honeymoon to Panama so that his parents could be part of the celebrations. The couple were thrilled with how the day went. Bonnie summed it up well, saying, “The best thing was that I got married, and I got to celebrate with friends and family from down the road and all over the world.” west weddings 25

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top designers bridesmaids’ dresses pregnant brides all white on the night

gowns GownInspiration


in the air For some of us the name Phil Collins conjures thoughts of not hurrying love and gorillas playing drums. But for the discerning bride an entirely different Phil Collins is known for his romantic dress designs, full skirts and beautiful silhouettes. Lucy Carter, of Solitaire, says, “The nice thing about Phil’s dresses is that he’s really catered for everybody. The gowns all come with a fitted corset and petticoat. Brides can buy a dress without needing to buy the extras. The shapes of the dresses are so flattering, it’s a lovely collection.” So whether it’s flirty 50s fun, classic A-line skirts or full on romance, Phil Collins has a dress for you. (Hannah Chapman) Local stockists include: SOLITAIRE 60 HIGH STREET, MIDSOMER NORTON, BA3 2QD T: 01761 416699 W: WWW. SOLITAIREBRIDES.CO.UK

With its shorter length and lace panel, this dress oozes 50s charm. Lucy says, “Vintage and lace are big right now. For brides wanting an even shorter skirt and fuller silhouette, our seamstresses can create the perfect fit.” The dress is also available in a full length for brides wishing to keep their toes covered. Model no. 1901, £690 (Tea length), £720 (Full length). west weddings 27

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GownInspiration GownInspiration

For any bride wanting to capture the mood of times gone by this regency style dress is the perfect option. The fabric drapes flatteringly from underneath the bust, meaning all eyes are drawn upwards; perfect for any bride conscious of her hips. Model no. 1918, ÂŁ720

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Clockwise from top: When you make your entrance you’ll be complimented for your understated elegance and poise. But the compliments won’t stop there; with a bustle straight out of a period drama and its magnificent lace train, this strapless number will be the talk of the day. Model no. 1920, £897 When picturing classic simplicity, this dress surely fits the bill: strapless satin, A-line skirt and subtle sparkly embellishments. What more could you ask for? Model no. 1926 £840 This floor length gown, with its full skirt, soft fabrics and sweetheart neckline, is enough to make any bride weak at the knees. Lucy says, “Brides wanting to add even more wow factor can opt for a hooped petticoat adding size to the already gorgeous skirt.” Model no. 1374, £735

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Sassi by name... Effortless elegance is the byword for Sassi Holford. Three years ago this West Country wedding gown designer created the dress for Autumn Kelly, bride to Peter Phillips, the Queen’s eldest grandson and things haven’t looked back since. Her current collection includes the Andrea, the Bronte, the Helena, the Mia and the Tallulah. Local stockists include: SASSI HOLFORD 6 THE BRIDGE, TAUNTON, SOMERSET, TA1 1UG T: 01823 256308 W: WWW.SASSIHOLFORD.COM CARINA BAVERSTOCK COUTURE 11 SILVER STREET, BRADFORD ON AVON, WILTSHIRE, BA15 1LJ T: 01225 866 610 W: WWW.CARINABCOUTURE.COM DRAGONFLY 15 SUFFOLK PARADE, CHELTENHAM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, GL20 2AE T: 01242 224466 W: WWW. DRAGONFLYCONTEMPORARYDESIGNS.CO.UK

The Andrea by Sassi Holford, a full skirted halterneck with fitted bodice which combines simplicity and intricate décor.

With its saucy, Flamencoinfluenced look and chunky pleats, the Tallulah is a must for brides with attitude.

The Helena’s flattering sweetheart neckline is set off with delicate straps – ideal for a bride who likes the strapless look but still needs the support.

The Mia’s fishtail train will wow guests, while its lacey overlay is contemporary and classic.

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15-17 St Mary Street, Thornbury, Bristol, BS35 2AB

T: 01454 411210 M: 07788 411598

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

Alison Miles Couture

A Class Brides Your wedding day is all about you! A Class Brides have a fantastic range of gowns to suit every shape, size, style and budget. Stockists of True Bride Ronald Joyce Ella Nicola Anne Jasmine Annais



Image courtesy of

Contemporary and Traditional Wedding Contemporary and traditional Wedding Gowns individually designed and made Gownstoindividually designed and made measure in the most beautiful silks to measure in the most beautiful silks Enquiries/appointments Tel: 01225 336805 Email: enquiries/appointments tel: 01225 336805

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

11/3/2011 5:00:50 PM


Ice cool in alex Oh happy day! Images of dresses by Bridal Buyer’s best bridal wear designer of 2011, Justin Alexander, are here and what a festival of sumptuousness they provide. From lacy elegance to sassy, informal attitude, Alexander brings us confident designs which are sure to infuse the bride with swagger on her wedding day. For timeless appeal with bang up to date style, look no further. Local stockists include: ANNE HARDING 90-92 SHIREHAMPTON ROAD, STOKE BISHOP, BRISTOL. T: 0117 968 3074 W: WWW. ANNEHARDING.COM WHITE LACE & PROMISES 246 MILTON ROAD, MILTON, WESTON-SUPER-MARE, SOMERSET, BS22 8AQ T: 01934 647934 W: WWW.WHITELACEANDPROMISES. CO.UK

Another sweetheart neckline, but this time on a stunning tea length gown that flares out from the hips to create a beautiful silhouette. The crisp skirts are complemented by intricate lace flowers, and the dress is finished off with an ivory ribbon belt and bow. Model no. 8555

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Clockwise from left: This V neck dress with its empire line and capped sleeves features delicate lace over soft satin, with tiny crystal beads picking out the flower pattern in the lace. The dress glides out past the knees to create a beautiful flared mermaid skirt. Shown in ivory/alabaster and also available in white. Model no. 9694 An intricately beaded strapless floor length dress with a beautifully draped mermaid skirt that is guaranteed to turn heads as you walk down the aisle. Shown in gold and also available in silver. Model no. 9690 This mermaid-style gown hugs over the hips to then softly flare out into a draped skirt with puddle train. An oyster coloured wide ribbon belt provides a touch of soft complementary colour and draws attention to your fabulous figure. Shown in ivory/oyster and also available in ivory/alabaster and white. Model no. 8596

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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.

Solitaire are Solitaire g their celebratin thday

10th Birvisit the

please omotions shop for pr offers l and specia

69 High Street, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Somerset BA3 2QD Tel/Fax: 01761 416699 •

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Maid to

measure Hannah Chapman looks at the options for dressing your favourite ladies.


one are the days of dressing your bridesmaids in a hideous gown. It used to be commonly known that if you were asked to be a bridesmaid the dress would be terrible. But not anymore. Brides and their ladies are getting savvier and the dresses ooze style and sophistication. Move over ushers, here come the girls. Kerri Foster from Bristol bridal shop Anne Harding describes a typical trip to choose bridesmaids’ gowns. “Once a bride has chosen her own gown she’ll typically start looking for the bridesmaids’ dresses. The group will come along for a fitting and experiment with colours and styles. We are increasingly seeing brides going for a uniform colour but mixing up the designs, because a group of bridesmaids all tend to have different body shapes. Sometimes they play with the length of the dresses too, some going for the full length maxi, others for shorter tea length dresses.” The material of bridesmaids’ dresses is also changing. “Satin is a lot less popular than it once was,” says Kerri. “Bridesmaids are opting for off the shoulder maxi dresses in floatier fabrics than before - think swathes of chiffon drifting in the breeze.” Anne Harding offers bridesmaids’ dresses from the ever-popular Dessy Group, which incorporates the Dessy Collection and Alfred Sung. Dessy’s website is a treasure trove of photos and inspiration that won’t fail to provide you with inspiration for dressing your maids. With gorgeous colours and hues and more styles than a girl could wish for, it’s easy to see why Dessy bridesmaids’ dresses are so popular. By offering dresses in a variety of styles and colour Dessy has freed up bridesmaids’ fashion on the big day. Sure about the colour but not about the style? Match your bridesmaids’ dresses to the colour scheme of your day but let them choose the most 36 west weddings

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flattering silhouette for them. Dessy’s versatile twist wrap dress is a great example of this. This innovative dress comes in either full length or cocktail length, and can be wrapped and twisted into an infinite range of styles, from cap sleeve to halter neck to one shoulder, ensuring that your bridesmaids can select the one that is the most flattering to them. Or, if you’re leaning the other way, choose one style for everyone and pick a complementary colour for each of your special ladies. By working with world colour authority Pantone, Dessy ensures that its dresses can be easily colour matched with other aspects of your wedding. The versatility doesn’t stop there. Dessy also offers a range of accessories and shoes that can be ordered to match the exact colour, or complementary colour, of your bridesmaids’ dresses, meaning you won’t have any last minute stresses on the day if the colours don’t quite match. For next season, Kerri predicts seeing lots of yellows and oranges. “Everything from burnt oranges and pale peachy tones to pastel lemons and bright daffodil are going to be popular.” You heard it here first.


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GownInspiration GownInspiration

Pure silk Sophia gown, £495 by Tiffany Rose

Blooming lovely

There may be more kicking around inside you than wedding nerves as you approach your big day. Adriana Dorsett looks at options for brides and mothers-to-be.


nce upon a time there was only one attitude to marriage and pregnancy. The first came very much before the second, ideally with a respectable period of time in between. As ‘Downton Abbey’ viewers will testify, get it the wrong way round and the bride (but rarely the male half of the relationship) faced being socially ostracised, with traumatic or even tragic consequences. Thankfully attitudes have changed. For a host of cultural and social reasons, including medical advances, society has relaxed enormously its attitude to sex before marriage and having a baby before or soon after the wedding is a choice that every bride is entitled to make. These days the arrival of a new family member and the wedding of its parents (or even, occasionally, just one of them) are usually celebrated whichever order they come in. After all, a lot can happen in the year between booking the venue and reaching the ceremony, whether that’s a conscious decision to ‘try’ or a happy accident. “Some couples wait to marry until after the birth and will have a variety of offspring in at the wedding, including those from previous relationships.” says Roz, a representative of Redcliff Church in Bristol. She adds, “If the couple find the issue too sensitive we simply don’t ask. These days the emphasis is on family, and if that means that the bride is pregnant or children of the couple are in attendance, it’s OK. What is good for the family is a commitment to a lifelong union, and that’s what we care about.” Despite relaxed attitudes about the actual ceremony, marriage in the later stages of pregnancy poses challenges for the mother-to-be in the wardrobe department. With an expanding tummy and an approaching wedding day, how does she look blooming and elegant at the same time? “The age of a first time pregnant bride can range from 18 to 45,” says Alison Miles, a couture wedding dress designer maker. “As people’s working and home lives have transformed, so have their expectations.” With 27 years in the dress making business, Alison has worked with mums-to-be from 6 to 36 weeks and so has plenty of experience in this area.

A wonderful flowing creation by Alison Miles

Alison emphasises the importance of planning, which is equally important whether you buy off the peg or bespoke. The increase body size throughout pregnancy is unpredictable, with the most likely body parts to gain some extra inches are the cleavage, back and stomach. And while for some ladies having bigger boobs might be a dream come true, overflowing cleavage can be distracting. Many a girl who sorted the dress on day one has struggled to squeeze everything in on day 100. There are ways around this. “You can have a panel added or have lacing put in,” says Alison. “Having your dress made to order is also a huge advantage if you’re pregnant, as couture dress makers will create a toile or calico version first and only make the real dress two weeks in advance. “ Tiffany Rose, founder of maternity wedding dress design label Tiffany Rose, has dressed celebrities including Emma Bunton, Holly Willoughby and Myleene Klass. Her label currently offers a choice of over 30 different styles. She advises that you try to leave an off the peg purchase between eight to 12 weeks before your big day. As you grow, you may change your initial

ideas about what style or fit you’re looking for so leaving it late means you won’t buy something you regret. “A maternity wedding dress includes hidden stretch and fastenings to accommodate last minute growth spurts,” adds Tiffany. The style of dress “has much more to do with whether the bride is into revealing her curves, than where those curves are,” says Alison. Shiny fabrics such as satin will accentuate everything, so bear this in mind depending on whether you want to show or camouflage a growing bump. An empire waist design works brilliantly for pregnancy and offers a great fit at any stage.” So with relaxed attitudes and specific maternity dresses, there is no longer any need to hold back if you want to try for a baby before your wedding day. But, when choosing your honeymoon destination, you may need to be within reach of a maternity ward!

Contacts ALISON MILES T: 01225 336805 W: www. TIFFANY ROSE T: 0844 448 0123 W: www.

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Hire Our Photo B ooth For You r W edding Day Get in tou ch through our website


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All white on the night(almost) London’s The White Gallery held its regular bridal fashion show earlier this year, showcasing some of the most exciting new and established gown designers in the market at the moment. We particularly liked the energy and creativity of Matthew Williamson, Johanna Hehir’s classicism, Maria Karin’s bold statement and Lusan Mandongus’s aplomb. details: White Gallery International Design Fair 20-22 May, 2012, Battersea Park, London W: www.

Portuguese designer Maria Karin broke a few taboos with this daring black gown with crepe-style skirt and asymmetric linked fabric sleeves. Wear this on your wedding day at your own risk!

Globally successful designer Lusan Mandongus weighs in with this layered spectacle in tulle, proving that experience can still teach the new kids a trick or two. The high necked, chiffon mesh over the sweetheart neckline is a touch of genius.

Matthew Williamson brings an inventive boudoir feel to the catwalk as these floaty chiffon sleeves and the flowing, natural skirt create a comfortable ensemble with a hint of the ‘40s.

Johanna Hehir displays calm elegance with this satin-look creation, featuring a deep V neckline and fur-style stole. The relaxed fit and movement in the skirt will not only flatter the bride but provide comfort throughout the day.

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This Matthew Williamson feather dress will turn heads as you come down the aisle


the wow factor Hannah Chapman goes in search of the perfect wedding dress.


0 it’s time to shop for the dress. That’s right. The big one. The one everybody is asking about. Your wedding dress. But with so many styles and so many fabrics, the world of wedding couture can often be an overwhelming one. Luckily, the sheer number of styles out there means you have the freedom to express yourself and show a little of that great personality. Go on, be brave! With vintage refusing to budge, it would be easy to think that the only options a bride has these days were short dresses with a full skirt and nipped-in waist, but if the thought of a beehive barnet and pillar-box red lipstick have you quaking in your boots, the retro trend is not compulsory. “Brides don’t want to be bland any more,” says Carina from Carina Baverstock Couture. “Today’s bride wants to express her uniqueness and personality and, above all, ‘relaxed elegance’. Gowns are less structured than, say, five years ago; these dresses now appear stiff, awkward and unnatural. Brides want pure lines enhanced by good cut tailoring. Simplicity is the keyword – think Pippa Middleton – with stunning embellishments of feathers or chantilly lace. Colour is changing dramatically from classic ivory to soft hues of honey, golden champagne and moonlight silvers – fabulous for pale English complexions.” If you’re a Kate and not a Pippa (sorry but we’re still not over that dress), then think lace and classic lines. Kate’s skirt was full but by no means gypsy wedding size, so don’t be put off by acres of material. In order to achieve some

shape to the skirt why not pile the pleats on the back and rock a bustle? That’s what Kate did and the narrower silhouette would also work well with a longer train and veil. If flowers are your forte, then blousy blooms and floral hairpieces are for you. Designer Claire Pettibone (available through Carina Baverstock Couture) uses flowers in many of her designs with a 70s-inspired print, floral embroidery or a statement corsage. But if vintage really does have you salivating quicker than a slice of cake, don’t be afraid to go for it. With celebrities such as Lily Allen and Kate Moss giving vintage the nod of approval, it’s sure to be a favourite style for brides this winter. All you need to do is pick a period; they’re all there from floor-sweeping silks to feather-trimmed micro minis or full skirts and bows. For the full effect match hair and makeup to the decade of the dress, or add a contemporary edge by matching it with something ultra sleek and modern. Designers such as Matthew Williamson and Jenny Packham (also available through Carina Baverstock Couture) have pulled influence from the past to create their latest collections. Regardless of what style you go for, there’s always something about having a dress that has been designed with you in mind and with you making changes to it along the way. If you can find a designer who understands exactly what you’re looking for, then you’re onto a winner. Alison Miles, a wedding dress designer, is adamant that a bespoke gown is the way to go. “Brides are always looking for good value and having a dress made to measure can represent

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excellent value. Made to measure means made to flatter. The fabrics used are often of much better quality, which give a wonderfully rich look. Highquality craftsmanship means strapless dresses don’t slip down and individually made inner corsetry is very comfortable to wear. The level of service is often much higher and fittings can be arranged outside normal working hours to make life easier for a busy bride. The designer will often dress the bride on the wedding day to ensure ‘the look’ is exactly as the bride and designer had planned.” When choosing the fabric for your dress Alison recommends softer, more romantic materials, which are popular at the moment. “Pearls and rhinestones being used alongside soft, flowing fabrics such as tulle, organza and soft crepe satin. Lace is popular but as part of a dress, rather than all over, as lace can be very expensive. Texture is increasingly important, with ruching and pleating swathing the figure then falling away into extravagant trains. It can also be added with flowers scattered onto the dress – over the skirt or shoulder.” Alison is also a firm advocate for wedding dresses with sleeves. Not only do they leave brides free to dance without the fear of a dancefloor wardrobe malfunction, they provide cover up in the cooler winter months. Alison says: “Fewer dresses that I make are completely strapless, with many now having cap sleeves or shoulder coverings in lace, chiffon or georgette.” Whether it’s floral bohemia, Royal-influenced or a full-out vintage treasure, the important thing is that you love your dress. There’s something to be said for a bride wearing a gown that really means something to her. Don’t be swayed by what you think you should wear. It can be hard at times if someone else is paying for the dress or suggests styles you wouldn’t necessarily go for but, as Carina says, brides can afford to be a little more daring these days – you can too.

Clockwise from above: a bride wearing an Alison Miles bespoke design; Claire Pettibone ' Mystere'; Claire Pettibone 'Luna'

A version of this article was previously published in Folio magazine’s Wedding Supplement, October 2011.

Contacts Alison Miles 110 Southdown Rd, Bath, BA2 1JJ. Ffi: 01225 336805, Carina Baverstock Couture 11 Silver St, Bradford on Avon, Bath, BA15 1J7. Ffi: 01225 866610, www.carinabcouture. com

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WIN A honeymoon

in an americanstyle RV


t’s the stuff of Hollywood dreams, living on the open road in a state-ofthe-art motor home, enjoying new experiences in your own time and at your own pace. Bristol company Family Travel Centre is offering one lucky couple the chance to hold their honeymoon in an American-style recreational vehicle (RV). If you want to drive it, you’ll need the appropriate licence, but it will available at several UK locations with a plethora of beauty spots to visit and romantic opportunities available for your nuptial holiday. Even static, it offers a terrific and unusual way to honeymoon.



Which American actor played a retired man travelling across the USA in an RV to persuade his daughter against marrying the wrong man in the film ‘About Schmidt’? a) Clint Eastwood b) Robert Redford c) Jack Nicholson Send your answer in an email marked FAMILY TRAVEL CENTRE COMP, to the editor, Mike Gartside, at, not forgetting your full contact details (name, address, mobile phone and landline) by Sunday 15 January 2012. (T&C’s available on request)

to be won


dazzling smile is always a wonderful asset but on your wedding day it’s a must. West Country clinic Bright White Smiles is offering a £249 voucher for its “Beyond White Spa” teeth treatment, which uses laser technology to brighten your teeth between five and eight shades in a single, hour-long consultation. Bright White Smiles has two treatment centres, The Orangery Laser Clinic in Bath and one at St Brandon’s House on great George Street in Bristol. “Our treatment is safe and effective,” says Donna Brown of Bright White Smiles. “It increases confidence, and turns dull or brown teeth gleaming white. We offer a free, no obligation consultation.” Ffi:


a) Up to 20 shades b) Between five and eight shades c) One or two shades

For a chance to win this wonderful experience, simply answer the following question correctly:

Five private themed dance parties

bright white smile

For a chance to win this treatment, simply answer the following question correctly: Bright White Smiles can brighten your teeth by how much in a consultation?


If you’re racking your brains for a hen night idea, national dance school Pink Kiss might have the answer. The company organises burlesque parties, cheerleading parties, pole dancing parties or parties with themes from ABBA to Thriller. It’s offering five lucky West Country brides-to-be a free party in Bath or Bristol for up to 10 people, worth £250 each. The winner will also receive a bottle of bubbly, a sash, a box of chocs and certificates for all participants. Ffi:

Send your answer in an email marked BRIGHT WHITE SMILES COMP, to the editor, Mike Gartside, at mike.gartside@, not forgetting your full contact details (name, address, mobile phone and landline) by Sunday 15 January 2012.

HOW TO WIN For a chance to win this fabulous prize, simply answer the following question correctly: The type of party Pink Kiss organises include:

a) Burlesqueparties b) Political parties c) Extreme sports parties Send your answer in an email marked PINK KISS COMP to the editor, Mike Gartside, at mike.gartside@venue., not forgetting your full contact details (name, address, mobile phone and landline) by Sunday 15 January 2012.

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Kate Moss experiences the quality of Jamie Hince’s grooming on their wedding day (although, sadly, we’re not privy to the secrets of his dressing table).

grooms Grooms

celebration hot trends inspiration


the groom

All eyes will be on you as you walk down the aisle… no ladies, we’re talking about the groom! Helen Dorritt on fine tuning the man.


en, you may feel that the attention is going to be focussed on your beautiful bride. She’s hunted high and low for the perfect dress, spent hours on her hair and make-up and chosen her accessories with care. But despite feeling your appearance will be under the radar, it’s just as much your day as hers and you are definitely not going to go unnoticed. While we’re not necessarily advocating that you start using ‘guyliner’ or foundation (although more power to you if you do give these a go), it’s definitely time to get groomed. Starting at the top, make sure that your hair is at its best. Bristol barbers RSR are experts when it comes to making grooms look good. Owner and lead stylist Rachael has been at the razor’s edge of men’s grooming for 15 years, and has a wealth of ideas for men wanting to rock a stylish haircut on their wedding day. “It’s fashionable at the moment for men to not look overly styled,” says Rachael. “The most popular cut is a short back and sides but longer on top, similar to the way men wore their hair in the 1940s. The main difference nowadays is the products. Dry and matte waxes and creams create texture and movement but without look-

ing overly wet or greasy.” Rachael recommends American Crew Fiber wax or Fudge Matte Hed texture paste. For your wedding haircut, preparation is key. Rachael advises coming in a week to ten days before the wedding for a cut. “It takes about three days for hair to settle down,” she says. “So you want to make sure that you give it enough time for any sharp edges to soften.” RSR can also wash and style your hair on the day, ensuring that your new cut is shown off to its full advantage. When it comes to your skin, don’t think that moisturiser is just for your bride - men’s skin needs as just as much care as women’s. There are lots of products on the market now that are designed specifically for you, with big names such as Nivea and L’Oreal creating whole ranges based on the specific needs of men’s skin. If exfoliator and eye roll-on gel seem a bit too much effort, however, at least take the time to use moisturiser on a daily basis to ensure your skin looks smooth and in tip-top condition for the photographs. If the thought of walking into a shop and buying male moisturiser causes you to shudder with horror, a more cunning option is to buy a cream that both you and your new wife can use. Eternal Skincare’s aloe super hydrating moisturiser is unscented, meaning it’s suitable for both men and women. It also multitasks as a face cream, body moisturiser, after sun and massage lotion, so you’ll have more room in the suitcase when you go away on honeymoon. A visit to a spa is also an option for some body TLC – after all, why should pampering be just for the ladies? Robin James Aveda spa in Bristol offers a number of treatments tailored specifically for men. These range from stress-relieving massages and facials to more adventurous options including eyebrow shaping, manicures and pedicures. There is even a back and chest wax for those of you who can handle the pain! Robin James has a ‘groomsmen’ package, which combines a number of treatments for you and your best men plus lunch or afternoon tea and champagne. This is the perfect chance to relax and unwind before the big day. You’ll be looking at your wedding photos for years to come so it’s definitely worth investing some time and effort into your appearance. After all, your wedding suit might date but a good hairstyle and clear skin never go out of fashion.


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HOT to trot

You’ve got the suit for your wedding but it needs something to set it off. Helen Dorritt explores the world of men’s accessories.

Just like fred astaire On 17 February 1797 John Hetherington from London was the first gentleman to be seen wearing a top hat. Since then this fashion icon has become synonymous with formal wear and weddings. Although silk top hats are no longer manufactured, it is possible to track down an antique one to buy or hire for your wedding, or to buy a new one made from felt. Oliver Brown in London specialises in top hats for sale and for hire, as well as selling opera hats and top hat boxes. If the Mad Hatter from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is your style icon, the shop even has an extremely rare gold beaver fur top hat from the 1830s. OLIVER BROWN 75 LOWER SLOANE STREET, LONDON SW1W 8DA T: 020 7259 9494 W: WWW.OLIVERBROWNTOPHATS. COM

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Missing links No longer just silver or gold, cufflinks can be personalised to complement your wedding theme or reflect your interests. For bespoke wedding cufflinks, try sites such as Etsy and Folksy, where there are a massive range of sellers making every type of cufflink possible. Our favourites include the Lego bride and groom cufflinks from Bristol-based Urban Eye, the vintage map set from Sherry Truitt Studios and the intricate watch mechanism cufflinks from Off the Cuff. OFF THE CUFF W: WWW.FOLKSY.COM/ SHOPS/OFFTHECUFF SHERRY TRUITT W: WWW.ETSY.COM/ SHOP/SHERRYTRUITT URBAN EYE W: WWW.ETSY.COM/ SHOP/URBANEYE

watch out For that certain je ne sais quoi, why not go all the way and accessorise your wedding suit with a fob watch or a cane? There won’t be many occasions in your life when you get to wear such extravagant items so you should use your wedding to its full advantage. You may be lucky and have a fob watch in the family already but if not, antique shops and websites like eBay should prove useful in tracking one down. A fob watch would also make a good gift for your groomsmen. With Love From stocks a silver version that can be personalised with their name and date of the wedding. When it comes to canes, Anne Harding in Stoke Bishop has a range that can be hired for the day, which are a part of its larger menswear hire section that also includes suits, fitted shirts, waistcoats and cravats. Rocking a cane on your wedding day will add a nice

touch to formal wear, particularly a morning suit, as well as providing infinite poses for the photographs. You could even make like Gene Kelly and use it as a prop for your first dance. WITH LOVE FROM W: WWW. WITHLOVEFROM.COM ANNE HARDING 90-92 SHIREHAMPTON ROAD, STOKE BISHOP, BRISTOL BS9 2DR T: 0117 968 3074 W: WWW.ANNEHARDING. COM

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Bride and groom enjoy a joke in the best man’s speech. Pic: Mark Simmons


please be upstanding A light roasting and heavy toasting . . . Adriana Dorsett asks what makes a great best man’s speech?


he ceremony was beautiful, family and friends have been fed and watered and the wild card is about to be played: it’s time for the best man’s speech. No wedding would be the same without one, for the best man does much more than break the remaining ice or highlight the reason for the gathering. The formal purpose of his speech, according to age-old wedding etiquette, is to respond to the father of the bride’s announcement on behalf of the bridesmaids, but it has a far greater symbolic meaning for the groom and his new wife. The traditional ribbing of the groom by the best man marks a break with the excesses of bachelorhood, wiping the new husband’s slate clean and clearing his path into the next stage of life – his marriage and the responsibilities that come with it. It also marks a break with the past as the best man recognises he is no longer the groom’s closest human companion and pays tribute to his friend’s new relationship. “Revealing embarrassing shared intimacies for the amusement of those gathered is not only a duty but an honour,” says David Evans, a professional speechwriter. “It marks the depth of shared friendship. But it is probably better if granny doesn’t receive information that will make her change her will during this process.”

Subject matter will vary enormously dependent on the age and personality of the groom, the bride and their guests, but certain areas remain taboo even for the most ruthless best man. Past relationships are a no no, although recounting the events that led the groom to meet and propose to his bride can be a fertile source of anecdotes, especially if they tell the story of his search for the perfect woman and his journey in learning to appreciate her. A whole host of devices can be used to entertain, from those aforementioned uncomfortable revelations, good, old-fashioned jokes (there’s an infinity of source material to plagiarise and adapt on the internet) and spoof congratulations messages. But they need to be pitched at the right level for the audience to avoid those tumbleweed moments. Write out the speech in full and rehearse it front of a friend who has at least some understanding of the families’ sensibilities. If possible, commit it to memory but don’t worry if you have to refer occasionally to a bullet-pointed list. In case of nerve-inflicted paralysis, keep a full print out of the speech in your back pocket as a last resort in case you have to read it out. Then there’s that other source of paralysis at a wedding, the free flowing alcohol. Don’t touch

it until after your oratory – there’s too much at stake. The best man’s speech plays a crucial role in the rite of passage that is marriage. It marks the moment where the groom wins his girl away from her family, while the bride wins her man from wasteland of bachelorhood. And we can all drink to that.

Try structuring your speech like this: Open with a funny remark Thank the bridesmaids and ushers and compliment the bride Introduce yourself and how you know the groom Allude gently to his full life experience Offer advice to the couple, some of it spurious Offer some emotional and sincere insight The final toast

Contacts David Evans W: Stags and hens W:

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COMPETITIONS Entering our fantastic competitions online is a piece of cake! Simply log on to and click the competitions link to take your pick from a selection of great free prize draws. And the best bit is that you can enter them all with just a click of a button. This issue has thousands of pounds worth of prizes to give away - including a wedding dress.

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.

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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

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A Hazy shade of Vinatge and modern styles come together at Cadbury House. Words Mike Gartside & Holly Dimes Photography Dee Richards

1 Jessica wears Tierney by Romantica of Devon. Their ivory and silver creation has a ruched bodice with drop waist with diamantĂŠ crystals at hip and shoulders; ÂŁ600. All dresses provided by White Lace and Promises. west weddings 53

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2 Jessica and Matt pose by Cadbury House's impressive internal cliff feature. 3 Jessica models a Justin Alexander creation in ivory with fishtail design in vintage lace; £1,030.



4 Play it again, Matt. Jessica relaxes on Cadbury House's grand piano with a gorgeous bouquet and table decor by Tiger Lily Flowers.


adbury House looked wonderful in the late autumn sunshine as we all pulled up outside its impressive entrance, which combines modernity with a historic 18th century frontage. Fantastic views and enchanting architecture – a mix of old meets new - would surely be a perfect setting for West Weddings’ winter photo shoot? The suppliers taking part bustled into the venue as they gathered for a day of romance and glitz, photographing our glamorous couple in some of this season’s most intriguing wedding designs. Given the venue’s combination of contemporary facilities and traditional settings, the “modern” theme of the shoot was flexible enough to embrace a wealth of creative possibilities. Today’s photo shoot was particularly special for models Matt and Jessica. Not only are they are a genuine couple (quite rare for modelling shoots), but they are planning their own wedding next September. Like a true bride, Jessica admitted to being a little nervous before today’s shoot, worrying that Matt might see her in her dream dress, which might preclude her wearing it on her own big day! Such concerns were far from Matt’s mind, however. He spent the day beaming with pride for his bride-to-be. The entire day had a relaxed atmosphere, the envy of any wedding photographer.

The venue

Cadbury House, more correctly known as ‘DoubleTree by Hilton, Bristol South, Cadbury House’ has been one of the hottest wedding destinations in the South West for over 40 years. Complete with its own Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, it’s not hard to see why. Couples are spoilt by the breath-taking views that overlook the picturesque Congresbury countryside, as well as the charming onsite focal points such as the dazzling lake and fountain and the enchanting gazebo, all adding to the luxury and exclusivity of the venue. Cheryl Redfearn, events manager, explains, “Cadbury House is extremely well known within


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5 Matt wears a mohair grey tail coat from Anne Harding with white satin waistcoat and royal blue cravatte. Jessic's hair is up in a funky, avant garde style created by Tomasz at Sean Hanna. west weddings 55

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6 Cadbury House's rolling grounds offer many beautiful settings for photos. 7 Jessica models an Amanda Wyatt creation in ivory, Palma, with a drop waist beaded bodice and tiered skirt; £1,100.


6 the South West as a great wedding venue. We have a number of brides who choose to hold their wedding here as they have fond memories of the hotel and country club as children. It works really well in all seasons as we have great settings both indoor and out.”

The couple

Models Matt and Jessica from Mustard Models were keen to have fun with today’s shoot as a practice run for their own wedding. Jessica explained that deciding on a wedding venue for her own wedding was proving rather tricky. “I think we’ve been on information overload the last few months - there are so many decisions to be made! We have narrowed it down to either having a traditional English wedding or an overseas wedding in Ibiza or Cypress.”

The gowns

The dresses for the big day were provided by bridal boutique White Lace and Promises. Jacqui, the owner of the boutique, selected a stunning selection of dresses to use on the shoot. “Brides are becoming increasingly aware of style over fashion and, rather than picking something that follows all the current fashion trends, they are choosing dresses that suit their own personality and body shape,” she said. “Even though the economy has taken a bit of a

dip, brides are still looking for the ‘wow’ factor when purchasing their dress, and it seems they are leaning towards luxury and glamour more than ever now.” The first dress Jessica wore was by Romantica of Devon (£600) in taffeta ivory and white with diamanté crystals at hip and shoulder. The bodice boasts a ruched styling with drop waist. Her second dress was an Amanda Wyatt creation in ivory with a drop waist and beaded bodice rose detail at hip and tiered skirt (£1,100). "The skirt really adds the wow factor to this dress; the tiers create texture without that slightly 80s meringue look,” said Jacqui. The third dress was by Justin Alexander (£1,030), and featured a fishtail design with vintage lace detailed front, plus detachable train and vintage rose details. The whole team fell in love with this creation, as its overall look was so feminine and elegant.

The photographer

Dee Richards of Images by Dee covers weddings across the whole South West, and beyond. With a second base in the South of France, she is also ideally placed to cover weddings on the French Riviera and Provence “I find that most modern couples prefer the natural approach to their wedding photography and love the idea of documentary style images

Details Venue DoubleTree by Hilton, Bristol South, Cadbury House, Frost Hill, Congresbury, Bristol BS49 5AD T: 01934 834 343 W: www. Photography Dee Richards, Images by Dee, T: 01626 872 876 M: 07717 003571 W: www. Models Mustard Model Agency, The Media Centre, 1 Riverside, St Anne’s Road, Bristol T: 0117 903 0327 W: Gowns White Lace and Promises, 246 Milton Road, Milton, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset BS22 8AQ T: 01934 647934 W: www. Jewellery Clifton Rocks, 100 Queens Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1NF. T: 0117 973 1342 W: Groom’s outfit Anne Harding, 90-92 Shirehampton Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. T: 0117 968 3074 W: Hair Tomasz Sadowski at seanhanna, 13 Quakers Friars Square, Cabot Circus, Bristol BS1 3BU T: 0117 934 9393 W: www.seanhanna. com/salons/bristol-hairdressers Make up Lara Lockwood T: 07872 305 474 W: E: lara@ Flowers Tiger Lily Flowers, 3 Chelford Grove, Stoke Lodge, Bristol BS34 6DD T: 01454 856737 W: west weddings 57

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photoshoot Photoweddings

8 Jessica accessorises with Hannah Bedford silver berry earrings and necklace; £43 and £139 from Clifton Rocks. 9 Matt has changed into the royal blue waistcoat and silver cravatte. Cufflinks are by Clare Chandler, from Clifton Rocks. 10 Flowers in the bouquet were white Naomi roses combined with the vintage lilac Ecuadorian coolwater rose. By Tiger Lily Flowers. Details see page 57


8 where they can re-live every emotion throughout the day,” she said. “But most couples still want some traditional posed shots of close family and friends. If I cover the wedding with a full day’s photography, the only time I stop taking photos is when people are eating. There is nothing worse for guests than to see themselves with a mouthful of food. I only ever book one wedding per day to ensure couples get my full attention and will visit the venue prior to the day, normally with the wedding couple. “I love to capture the whole day, from bridal preparations through to first dance, as this is the best way to tell the whole story of the wedding day. However, I do offer a flexible service so that couples do not pay for any service that they don’t actually want, as can happen with ‘one price fits all’ packages that some photographers offer."

first was a soft look designed to emphasise her natural beauty. Tomasz achieved this using tongs to curl sections of the hair, back combing it into an off-the-face style. “Jessica has a face that works with a lot of styles so she can pull of this look,” Tomasz said. “My advice to brides before their big day is to really make sure they look after their hair. There are a number of treatments that work to rebuild the fibres as well as nourishing the hair to give it a really strong healthy glow.” The second look was much more avant garde using hair extensions and horizontal rolls that would match up to the more statuesque style of the final dress. “I used a doughnut ring to make the hair stand up and plaited it from the back area from bottom to top,” he says. “Plaits are very fashionable and I’ve created a new, modern look for her.”

The groom’s outfit

The make-up

The hair

The jewellery

Matt was resplendent in a mohair grey tailcoat from Anne Harding (£120 to hire), who also supplied several waistcoats, including one in white satin with blue cravat and one in navy blue satin with white cravat, plus cufflinks. “Grey is very popular at the moment,” says Kerri Foster, proprietor of Anne Harding. “Men are increasingly asking for the tailored styles. At your initial appointment we will talk through options, playing around with different colours and styles. If we’re doing the whole male party, we’ll pick out the colour for the groom and more neutral tones for the rest of the guys – if you hire five suits, the sixth is free. The groom’s outfit traditionally matches the bridesmaids’. We then organise a fitting, and they’ll be ready a few days before the wedding.” Suit hire includes trousers, shirt, waistcoat and cravat.

Tomasz added his own glamour to the day by creating two different hairstyles for Jessica. The

Make-up artist Lara Lockwood gave Jessica a winter make-over with two distinct looks. “Some brides have really set ideas about what they want for their make-up, whereas others need much more guidance,” she says. “It’s often a case of just trying out different colours and seeing what works on the bride and what will fit in with her dress and hair. For Jessica’s first look I’ve gone for a wintery look of frosted, silvery eyes and warm, pink/coral lip colour, toned in with the cheeks to match the flowers. She has even, dewy skin which I’ve achieved with silicone based foundation. I’ve used Temp Tu Pro foundation and blusher, Mac lipstick, Lime Crime eyeshadow and Kryolan eyebrow powder. For the second look I’ve gone for Nude Lips with a slight gloss, which was very ‘in’ at London Fashion Week this year."

Clifton Rocks supplied a gorgeous range of jewellery to make Jessica and Matt sparkle on the


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11 Matt and Jessica perch in Cadbury House's gazebo. Jessica is in the Amanda Wyatt dress while Matt's ring is in silver striped titanium by Feniom, from Clifton Rocks. 12 Tomasz puts Jessica's hair up ready for the avant garde look. 13 Lara applies those pinky coral lip tones. Details see page 57


11 day. Among the wedding rings were a Feniom creation, in titanium and 14ct gold centre (£179) and titanium with a silver-striped ring (£195), while necklaces included a Hannah Bedford silver necklace (165), Kevv Smith Designs silver and gold-plated necklace (149) and a Sarah Preisier silver and gold plated necklace (£120). Jessica wore an exquisite pair of Sarah Preisier silver drop earrings (£85). Matt had a wonderful range of cufflinks to choose from including Clare Chandler’s silver dome cufflinks (£75).

The flowers

“The flowers in the bouquet were a new, modern variety of white Naomi roses, which I chose for their crisp fresh look,” said Tina of Tiger Lily Flowers. “I teamed them with the unusual, slightly vintage lilac of the Ecuadorian cool-water rose. They both fit with next year’s berry-muted, wine-lilac, almost shabby chic theme. The table centre had the same white Naomi rose but I used dramatic matching purple in green hydrangea and the strong dark green foliage of aspidistra leaves and hydrangea foliage with dark green nolina tree foliage. Overall it created a smart, stylish modern look, with a twist.”

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Sunday 15th January 2012 The Cheltenham Wedding Show Mercure Queens Hotel

Sunday 22nd January 2012 The Bristol Wedding Show Mercure Holland House Hotel

Sunday 12th February 2012 The Heart of the Cotswolds Wedding Show Frogmill Hotel, Nr Cheltenham

Sunday 19th February 2012 The Gloucestershire Wedding Show


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Sunday 26th February 2012 The Swindon Wedding Show Madison Hotel & Conference Centre

11/3/2011 5:02:47 PM

be inspired beInspired

honeymoons fashion fabulous dresses

Chris gives step by step instructions on how to create Kate’s royal look

The locks

of love W hile the world of fashion held their breath over Kate Middleton’s gown when Prince William married the now Duchess of Cambridge in April, a significant number of hair professionals were equally eager to see how her hair and make-up would turn out. As the veil, literally, was lifted, stylists the world over saw that Kate had chosen a classical half-up hairstyle which her London hairdresser called the ‘demi-chignon’. The look was finished with an antique tiara holding a lace-edged veil. Many people have asked me how to recreate Kate’s wedding day look and the good news is, you don’t need a personal hairdresser to copy this style at home. Not only is it easy to reproduce but it’s perfect for a wedding. First, I added a styling spray to the hair. A wedding day can last up to 12 hours so the hair needs plenty of product to hold it in place. Then I dried the hair quickly with a hair drier, before placing heated rollers in the hair, taking small sections and securing each roller with a clip to hold it in place. I left these in for

Leading hair stylist Chris Fordham explains how Kate Middleton achieved her look.

approximately 30 minutes to cool down as this helps the curl to form. Once the rollers had cooled I removed them and added some serum through the hair to break up the curl and give the hair a soft wave similar to Kate’s hair on the day. Serum adds shine and is a light product so shouldn’t weigh the curl down but, if you have naturally oily hair, try using a styling cream wax which is less greasy. Back combing around the crown area creates a flattering shape to the style and gives an area in front for the tiara to sit comfortably, so I gently lifted the hair around the crown and teased the root of the hair with a bristle brush. I then smoothed the top hair over to hide the teased root area while leaving the lift and body. The next stage was to take the hair at the sides back away from the face. Using hair grips I pinned it just below the crown area, then spritzed with a fixing hairspray to hold it in place. Kate was given one of the Queen’s antique tiaras for her wedding day, but if you don’t have a royal grandmother-in-law on hand to lend you one, bridal shops have huge selections of similar looking tiaras without the price tag. I chose a

Swarovski crystal tiara which gave a similar twinkling effect to Kate’s original diamond tiara. Placing the tiara onto the head I checked that it looked balanced before fixing the veil into place behind it. I used a lace edged veil which complemented the lace detailed dress as well as replicating Kate’s look. If you want a lighter look you could use a veil edged with crystals instead of lace. So there you have it: simple steps to create a look fit for a princess. This style is flattering and classical, and has enough detail to it to look elegant on a bride’s special day.

Contacts Hair Chris Fordham for Fordham Hair Design T: 07735 055146 W: Make up and photography Clare Bryce W:

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ue, l b r u o l o c e h t , s p a r Loving:Twitter, w and tea dresses double decker buses

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


witter The wellorganised bride’s best kept secret, Twitter is the place to source those all-important suppliers. Blue As the temperature falls, embrace the colder weather by dressing your bridesmaids in shades of teal, turquoise and powder blue. Look stylish and fulfil the wedding superstition with blue shoes or incorporate it into your look with sapphire, moonstone or topaz earrings. Double decker buses If you need to get your guests from the ceremony to the venue, do it in style with a bright red London Routemaster double decker bus. All aboard!


The bun Seen on every catwalk this season from Dolce and Gabbana to Sonia Rykiel, the bun is the perfect wedding hairstyle to provide cool, timeless elegance. Team with a mantilla-style veil for the ultimate chic wedding look. Wraps Tap into the 1940s glamour so in this year and accessorise your dress with a faux fur stole. Or stay snug but still show off your dress with Rainbow Club’s diaphanous wraps. Tea dresses Another winter trend; unleash your inner Vera Lynn in a stylish tea dress. Accessorise with pearls, t-bar shoes and a feathered hairband.

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verseas hen and stag dos With the average wedding guest paying out £250 for new outfits, travel and gifts for your wedding, don’t put further financial pressure on them by holding an extravagant hen or stag do abroad. Keep it local and affordable. Diamond engagement rings Newly-engaged Liz Hurley is rocking a sapphire ring, as is our newest member of the Royal Family. Express your individuality with a coloured stone and move away from run-of-the-mill diamonds. Expensive skin creams They promise you the moon on a stick and dazzle you with scientific words, but do they actually deliver? It’s high street products all the way for us this winter.

monds, ia d , s o d n e h & g a t s Loathing: Foreign ncing a d d r a w k w a , s m a e r expensive c

‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ BBC3’s ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ is our current TV wedding favourite. The strapless wedding dress The Duchess of Cambridge sounded its death knell last spring and then the combined fashion force of Zara, Other Kate and Lily officially killed it off over the summer. As well as looking stylish, sleeves also offer a practical advantage in helping to keep you warm on a chilly winter’s day. Unplanned first dances All eyes are on you as you take to the dancefloor for the first time as husband and wife… and then you spend three minutes just shuffling from side to side as Boyz II Men croon in the background. Your guests, and you, deserve better. With ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ as your inspiration, invest in some lessons to make sure you have a first dance to be proud of.


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“A good, excited kind of anxious” Jenny Crombie sweats the small stuff in the weeks just before her wedding.

The final countdown: Jenny and Dan’s wedding in the last stage of planning


fter six months of fairly relaxed and leisurely wedding planning, the last two months before the big day somehow manage to catch us a bit by surprise. By the start of September, our October wedding has, quite suddenly, gone from being a distant event on the horizon to being a very real prospect… and at roughly the same time we realise just how much there is still to be done. It’s not the big things. No… venue, catering, registrar etc – they were all ticked off months ago. Now it’s the little details that we need to concern ourselves with, and these, bizarrely, all seem to take infinitely more time to arrange than the bigger decisions. We need to sort out table decorations, bridesmaids’ shoes, presents for the wedding party, table plans, place names and countless other details. And all the while I am still umming and ahhing over my own choice of accessories, seemingly paralysed from making constructive decisions on anything. Furthermore, as every week passes and the countdown ticks on and time seems to speed up, I am constantly trying to guard against becoming a stomping, ranting, weeping ‘bridezilla’ or getting hung up on those minor details that I had always insisted were unimportant in the scheme of the day. And I still maintain those tiny details are unimportant, but it gets much harder to put that into perspective as the day draws closer and it becomes more imperative that everything is perfect (right down to the colour match between the table decorations and table numbers). So, yes, I do begin to slightly obsess about the details, but I do manage to refrain from any stomping (so far, at least).

Thankfully, to stem the madness both Dan and I have the welcome distractions of our stag and hen weekends to enjoy. Good timing, eh? Dan heads for Berlin for a weekend of beer bikes, schnitzel and alcohol poisoning, while I gather my girls (and a few select boys) for a weekend in Bristol. I’d like to say it was a classy affair, but aside from a fantastically fun afternoon of charleston dancing courtesy of the Showgirl Academy ( it all passed by in a blur of brightly coloured cocktails, phallic straws and uncoordinated dance moves in a sweaty nightclub. All in all, just what we both needed to let off some steam at this busy stage in the organising process. Once recovered from our various festivities,

we get back down to the planning… my new hobby becomes list-making. A new to-do itinerary every day… most of the items on it simply get copied down onto the next day’s list as I realise just how little can be done in a day, and how good I am at procrastinating. And during this time, there are certain things that actually have to be done, such as paying suppliers, arranging accommodation and planning music for the ceremony (we thought this bit would be fun… it turns out it can drive you a little bit insane when you realise the perfect ceremony music doesn’t exist and spend hours trawling forums, YouTube and Spotify for inspiration). Although it seems like we’re getting precisely nowhere, suddenly it’s the week before, and then – incredibly – the day before The Big Day. And everything, somehow, has been taken care of. The lists have done their job. All we can do now is hope it all runs perfectly on the day, and that a glass or two of champagne will calm the nerves…. Oh, and that I don’t get overemotional in the ceremony… and that my dress still fits. We may have ticked off everything on the to-do lists, but there’s still plenty to keep me busy – well, anxious – even at this stage. But it’s a good, excited kind of anxious. The countdown is over, and it’s finally time to make my way down the aisle.

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11/3/2011 3:52:28 PM


Centuries of

tradition Rabbi Moshe and Melissa Baron offer a rare insight into a Jewish wedding. Interviews by Anna Behrmann.


ave you ever been invited to a Jewish wedding? No? That may be because the Orthodox Jewish community is tightly knit and its members tend to marry among themselves. Whether or not you have ever been present at such an event, you are now cordially invited to learn about one. Rabbi Moshe and Melissa Baron married in Canada five years ago, when they were 25 and 23 respectively. This may seem young, but Orthodox Jews tend to marry in their early 20s. Sometimes they meet their partner through a matchmaker, or at other times they simply meet and fall in love. It is important that the couple are compatible, but it is accepted that love may blossom after marriage. “For us, it was a love match,” describes Melissa. “Moshe was best friends with my brother, and I knew him for years before he proposed.” Following tradition, Moshe and Melissa did not see each other for a week before the wedding. This may seem extreme, but it is meant to prevent last minute tensions and arguments. “It heightened my anticipation,” Melissa explains. The last time Moshe and Melissa saw each other before the wedding was at their henna, or engagement party. The henna is a Sephardic tradition, upheld by Jews whose ancestors originate from Spain and Portugal. Melissa wore a blue kaftan at the beginning of the party and later changed into an ancestral dress, embroidered with gold thread. Moshe and Melissa’s guests carried them to the back of the hall on red thrones, where they then received baskets of gifts and their guests put henna on their hands. Finally the wedding day arrived, opening with the ceremony of Kabbalat Panim, where the bride blesses her female guests and the groom prays with the male ones. “It is the holiest day of a woman’s life,” says Melissa. Before the ceremony, the groom visits the bride and lifts up her veil, in a ritual known as the Bedeken, traditionally to check he is marrying the right woman. Moshe and Melissa held their wedding and after-party in a hotel, as a Jewish wedding can

Orthodox Jewish weddings are steeped in tradition and symbolism

take place anywhere. The ceremony itself takes place under a Chuppah, or canopy. A kind of makeshift shelter, it symbolises the couple’s new home. In common with a church wedding, Moshe and Melissa were led down the aisle by their parents. Once under the Chuppah, Melissa circled Moshe seven times, which symbolises how, just as God created the world in seven days, according to the scriptures, so the couple will build their life together. The Rabbi recited a blessing and Moshe and Melissa drank their first glass of wine. Moshe slipped the wedding ring on Melissa’s finger, and she bent it, signalling acceptance. The ketubah, or wedding certificate, was read out, and signed by the couple and two witnesses. The Rabbi read seven blessings and Moshe and Melissa drank their second glass of wine. Moshe stamped on a glass, marking the end of the ceremony. The broken glass symbolises the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, a significant event in Jewish history which is commemorated even at the most joyful events. Moshe and Melissa were finally married, and so cries of joy – “l”chaim! Mazel Tov!” filled the air. As with many Jewish events, there were mountains of food and lashings of alcohol. Only Moshe and Melissa were allowed to dance together. “Everyone’s attention is on the newly married couple,” Melissa explains. “If other men

and women danced together, it would detract attention from the bride and groom on their special day.” Moshe and Melissa were lifted up and down on their chairs, upon a sea of flushed faces. Their guests performed little shows for them, including some rather enthusiastic breakdancing. Somehow, Hawaiian skirts, balloonpopping and sparklers were involved. Many would see a Jewish wedding as otherworldly. It is hard, however, not to be moved by the centuries of tradition that underpin it. The bride and groom may play different roles, but each one acts their part accordingly. As with any wedding, the Orthodox ceremony revolves around the timeless tale of two people pledging their lives together.

Contacts For general information about Jewish marriage rites: religions/judaism/rites/weddings_1.shtml subdivisions/orthodox_1.shtml west weddings 67

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Clare Chandler’s yellow gold and diamond necklace (£360) combines delicacy and weight. Silver bud earrings by Donna Barry (£55) with gold and diamond ring by Jacks Design (£1,100).


Model Katy McGee positively smoulders with this elegant Pompon bouquet, setting off rings by Clifton Rocks: (from left) Clare Chandler’s yellow gold and pink sapphire ring (£495), Shona Carnagie’s yellow gold and diamond ring (£215), Jacks Design’s platinum and diamond eternity ring (£1,555), Angela Shakleton’s yellow gold and white topaz ring (£480), Donna Barry’s silver ring (£169), Jacks Design’s yellow gold and diamond ring (£1,100) and Donna Barry’s yellow gold flower stud earrings (£275)


Angie Boothroyde’s silver palm necklace (£159), ring (£155) and earrings (£99) set off the raven-haired allure of model Donatella Pegler.

bare accessories

Stylist Lara Lockwood and photographer Jack Willingham bring you some cool jewellery and warm looks to make you stand out on your big day. 68 west weddings

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Lara herself models Claire Chandler’s yellow and gold diamond necklace (£360) with Lucas Jack’s gold plate and acrylic earrings (£55).

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Elegant simplicity by Pomegranate. Donatella wears their yellow gold plate and green amethyst necklace (£115), yellow gold plate and crystal earrings (£120), yellow gold plate and silver ring (£60), yellow gold plate bangle (£60).


Donatella models a more exotic look with this gold vermeil pink opal and phrenite earrings (£135), plus gold vermeil and pink opal necklace (£80), both by Eastern Mystic.

6 8

From a distance . . . Katy looks to the future in these silver butterflower earrings by Donna Barry (£315) plus pearl and silver heart necklace by Clare Chandler (£65).

An exquisite look created with this semiprecious stone necklace in moonstone, citrine, rose quartz, pineapple quartz, smokey quartz, blue topaz and jade by Lara Lockwood (£750).


Heaven scent . . . Clare Chandler’s yellow gold and diamond necklace (£360) with Sarah Hutchison’s gold plate and crystal earrings (£120).



Although she’s wearing Eastern Mystic’s gold vermeil and moonstone necklace (£265) and earrings (£65) Lara is every inch the English rose.

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Photography Jack Willingham W: Jewellery Clifton Rocks W: www. Make-up and hair Lara Lockwood W: Flowers Pompon   west weddings 69

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Let me entertain you

Everyone loves to get up and boogie at a wedding. Louise Jarndyce takes a look at two entertainment options to get your guests’ feet tapping. The DJ

The live musician

Over the past three years, performer and musician Matt Bee has found that busking on the streets of Bristol has developed into a career singing and playing his guitar at weddings. Matt’s unique and engaging style has not only established him as a neighbourhood fixture, but has also led to work that goes beyond playing music to shoppers – he’s been asked by local people to play at weddings, as well as at private parties, corporate events and gigs in pubs. Matt attributes much of his success to being a local performer who’s put in the time to become someone that people recognise as part of the community. His passion for Bristol and his presence on the streets has given him a great opportunity to advertise his talents as a performer. “My busking spot is my second office where I’ve built up a successful music business from the grass roots: singing songs to entertain the people of Bristol. I see my busking as a walking CV for anyone interested in booking me.” Matt offers a diverse range of music to get guests on the dancefloor. “I play the classics such as Bob Dylan and The Beatles all the way up to Fleet Foxes and Adele, with a bit of Motown thrown in for good measure.” Newlyweds who have booked Matt for their special day have been really pleased with his style. Sarah Burns, who recently asked Matt to play at her wedding, said, “It really set the tone of the day – cool, relaxed and romantic. Asking Matt to play was the best wedding decision I made!” Lyndsey Wood, another recent bride, said, “Matt has a lovely indie/folk style that we both adored as soon as we heard it. There was something so quietly calming about his singing that gave me a good honest feeling inside.” With his performance portfolio going from strength to strength, Matt is looking forward to continuing to get wedding guests up on their feet.

Matt Bee, above, and below, Steve Burley’s horse spacehoppers

Contacts Matt Bee T: 07838 154 144 E: mattbee7@ W: Steve Burley T: 01275 880427 W: www.

Steve Burley takes his role seriously. “Lots of DJs turn up with laptop, speakers and flashing lights and call themselves a DJ – but there’s a lot more to it than that.” After a couple books Steve, he takes time to meet them in advance and find out more about their musical style. “With 30 years’ experience I know what fills the dance floor,” he says, “but I also make sure that I know in advance what songs the bride and groom absolutely don’t want to hear.” Preparation is key to avoid embarrassing moments. “One groom asked me to play ‘No Sacrifice’ by Elton John. On the night before the wedding, when I was working on the playlist, I suddenly realised it’s about a married man leaving his wife to have an affair - a definite no no for a wedding day. I immediately phoned the groom to let him know. He was very grateful!” In addition to providing the soundtrack for the night, Steve sees himself as a host, ensuring that guests are in the right place at the right time. He liaises with the venue so he knows the timings for the day: “There’s no point in doing the first dance at 9pm if venue staff start to serve the buffet at the same time.” By working closely with the venue, Steve helps things to run smoothly, such as making sure that the guests are aware that the cake cutting is about to happen or that the bride and groom are taking to the floor for their first dance. Steve is an active member of the South West Branch of the National Association of DJs, which requires all members to have public liability insurance and PAT-tested equipment. Some venues insist on insurance – “If the DJ can’t show them the certificate, they won’t let them in and you don’t have a DJ on your wedding night,” says Steve - so hiring a member of this association is one less thing to worry about. Steve offers more than just music. “I can add lighting packages to transform the venue into the wedding colour scheme. If there are a lot of children, I’m happy to run a junior disco, playing some fun music for them as well as doing magic and games. This works really well to keep younger guests occupied while adults mingle.” Recently there’s also been a crossover from his children’s activities with adults requesting use of his horse spacehoppers. “It’s something a bit different to get the party started.”

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Boost your immune system with vitamin-rich autumn produce such as beetroot and oysters



the limit Prague and Riga are so last year when you can go mountain-biking as a pink fairy in Scotland for your stag do, says Steven Webster.


y friend Paul and I got married within six months of each other and were each other’s best man, which meant a flurry of stag do planning and organising. When it came to choosing what to do on our last few days of freedom we both wanted to do something a bit different to the now-traditional booze soaked jaunt overseas, so decided that trips to Scotland were in order. My stag do was first and Paul pulled out all the stops to arrange a mountain biking trip to the rolling hills of Glentress in the Scottish Borders. We headed for the hills with all the gear, as well as decoration for me in the form of tinsel, a bell and basket – and a pink Lycra fairy costume. Sadly for my ego, Glentress is very popular with mountain bikers and visitors that day got to enjoy the sight of a 6’ 2” pink fairy zooming around on a bike. I did find, however, that the costume actually had a beneficial effect as I worked harder than ever before to prove my masculinity, which made my riding speeds reach new heights (professionals take note). That evening, after a refreshing dip in the river Tweed to cool off after our exertions, we took a taxi to Edinburgh. The city is only half

an hour from Glentress which meant we could enjoy some nightlife without having to travel too far. Luckily for us the Edinburgh Festival was also in full swing on the night we visited so we got to rest our aching muscles at the same time as enjoying a comedian or two, plus a beer or two (or three, or four – well, it was a stag do…) Once my wedding and honeymoon were all over, it was then my turn to arrange Paul’s stag do. He had requested the more rugged landscape of the Hebrides, and specifically the Isle of Skye, as he had always wanted to climb the peaks of the Cuillin ridge. As we arrived in Scotland it was dark and raining heavily. Despite the pouring rain we enjoyed a beautiful drive through the picturesque Highlands and over the bridge to Skye, before reaching our accommodation of a large stone house that overlooked the sea. The next morning we were anxious to get out and decided that an assault on the Cuillin peak, aka The Inaccessible Pinnacle, was in order. We started out in sunshine and were confident in our abilities to make it to the top, as well as our smugness in wearing the correct clothing (apart from one stag who was still wearing overly optimistic shorts). But as we ascended, the slope got progressively steeper

and the rocks bigger until we were picking our way up on hands and knees. Thicker clouds also necessitated more clothing, and the optimistic stag was bitterly regretting his decision. On reaching the summit we were greeted by a steep, smooth slope down the other side, while massed clouds obscured the promised fantastic views. Lunch was eaten on the peak while we debated the safest way down. The guidebook informed us there were several routes down the other side, but only one that didn’t involve a sheer drop. Wisdom dictated that we retrace our steps to get back down – we thought Paul’s bride wouldn’t be too pleased if we lost him on the mountain! My revenge for the pink fairy outfit was to dress Paul up as the tart to our more sober vicars, which amused us and the locals at the pub that night. The wig and skirt didn’t hinder Paul’s abilities to sample the local drinks though, and the night ended with us toasting married life in whisky and ale. All the people in the party complimented us on our choice of activities, an appreciated not having to fork out for a trip abroad. If planning a stag do is on the cards, consider keeping it local. After all, it’s always more fun if you don’t need to translate the sarky comments about your pink fairy suit…. west weddings 71

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location occasion service

The former home of musician Mike Oldfield, Old Down Manor has been lovingly refurbished.

to the manor



fter years of being closed the public, Old Down Manor is back in its rightful place as a jewel in the crown of South West venues. Set in 60 acres of prime Gloucestershire countryside with stunning views from the gardens of a wide sweep of the River Severn across to the Welsh mountains, this beautiful 19th century manor house is the perfect setting for saying ‘I do’! The manor was previously owned by Tubular Bells musician Mike Oldfield and closed to the public. After being bought by local businessman Arron Banks and his wife Katya, however, the manor has now undergone a tasteful redesign and refurbishment to create a remarkable new venue. The brief for architects Lewis Foster Lewis was to retain many of the original features of the mid-Victorian building while introducing contemporary elements into the design. The contractor, Biggs, employed many specialists such as stone masons and joiners to bring the manor back to its former glory with interior designers Design Direction adding beautiful finishing touches. General manager Olivia Mills says, “The venue is sure to be welcomed within the

community. It has been lovingly restored with the addition of a glorious Orangery, sympathetically designed to mirror what would have been there in the 19th century.” The manor is the perfect mix of traditional features with more contemporary finishing touches, such as an indoor/outdoor pool and tennis courts. In addition to private events and business functions, Arron and Katya had always dreamed of using the manor for weddings. Word quickly got around and couples started expressing an interest - even before the building work was completed. “We took prospective couples around wearing hard hats,” says Olivia. The venue’s first wedding fair in the autumn led to a further flurry of enquiries and there are 22 weddings booked in over the next few months, with the first happening at the end of October. Old Down Manor is a fully licensed venue and has a choice of five rooms for the ceremony – the Orangery, the atrium, the piano room, the Bernays room and the cellar. Wedding parties get exclusive hire of the venue, and the 13 well-appointed bedrooms ensure that the bride and groom and other guests can relax in style afterwards. The newly-landscaped

grounds, spectacular Victorian rose garden and rockery provide the perfect backdrop for those all-important wedding photos, as does the stunning interior Bath stone staircase and galleried landing. Award-winning head chef Manuel Monzon joins Old Down Manor from Orsett Hall in Essex. He specialises in fine dining and enjoys working alongside couples to create a bespoke wedding menu that uses locally sourced produce. As well as weddings, there will be a comprehensive programme of exciting events at the manor throughout the year including flower arranging workshops, fitness boot camps, an annual wedding fair and special events for Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday and Easter. There is also the first ‘Snow Ball’ on 3rd December, which Olivia says will

Old down manor Foxholes Lane, Tockington, South Gloucestershire BS32 4PG T: 01454 414081 W:

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castles Clockwise from far left: Make a grand entrance at Berkeley Castle; Thornbury Castle; a princess’s welcome at Berkeley; Thornbury’s Baron’s dining room; and woodstock chamber.


in the air

Your dream of being a princess for the day doesn’t have to stay a fantasy. Louise Jarndyce goes in search of fairytale wedding venues.


ome women dream their whole lives about being a princess in a castle, complete with a handsome prince on a white horse. Since getting engaged usually means you’ve found your prince, your wedding can be a chance to complete this fantasy by holding it in a castle. Luckily West Country brides don’t need to go far to do this. If you’re looking for the wedding wow factor, Thornbury Castle has it in spades. With its magnificent medieval architecture, impressive Tudor Hall, luxurious bedrooms and walled gardens, it’s no surprise that it was recently voted best small hotel of 2011 by Destination Bristol. Since it’s the only Tudor castle in England to be open as a hotel it would certainly be a unique venue for your wedding. The castle has an excellent pedigree when it comes to food and has won many prestigious awards over the years, which is perfect for foodie brides and grooms. Head chef Mark Veale uses locally-sourced, seasonal produce for his modern British menu, and can create a delicious bespoke wedding breakfast for you to enjoy. The castle also has its own vineyard so your guests can toast your nuptials in homemade wine. To relax before the day, the castle has an in-

house spa offering treatments such as aromatherapy de-stress, reflexology and Indian head massage. Brides can also arrange for a pamper package on the day which includes a massage, eyebrow shape, manicure and file and polish for feet, as well as your wedding day make-up. After the ceremony you can choose to stay in a variety of luxurious bedchambers including the Duke’s Bedchamber, where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once slept and which features an impressive antique four-poster, an open fire and a freestanding bathtub. You could also opt to spend your first night as a married couple in the Woodstock bedroom with its arrow slit windows and secret bathroom. Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire will also fulfil your royal fantasies. Made from warm pink stone that glows softly in the sunset, it is intimate in scale, with uneven battlements, small towers and arched doors. Berkeley survived being modernised by the Georgians and Victorians and has retained its Norman and medieval architecture. Its pedigree is assured as it is the oldest building in the country to still be lived in by the same family who built it. Your guests can take advantage of guided tours around the castle on the wedding day to find out more about the history of this fascinating building.

The castle is licensed to hold civil wedding and civil partnership ceremonies in six of the public rooms, with guests numbering from 30 to 150. In order to ensure exclusivity for couples, the facility is closed to the public on Fridays and Saturdays. Winter weddings are particularly romantic, with real fires in the Great Hall and the Long Drawing Room offering a special welcome and atmosphere on a frosty afternoon. Throughout the spring and summer, meanwhile, the gardens and grounds are a stunning backdrop for photographs, which include the Elizabethan terraces, the ornamental lily pond with high-jet fountain (originally the eighth Earl’s swimming pool!) and the mature pine and yew trees surrounding the lawns.


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Bowden Hall offers complete flexibility in its wedding packages.

hall of

plenty I

f you’re looking for idyllic grounds, period features and a picturesque setting for your wedding – and at an affordable price - then look no further than Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall. Recently acquired by the Mercure group of hotels, the grade II listed building is surrounded by acres of countryside which create an idyllic setting for a wedding. The hall’s history is evident in its beautiful 18th century period features, both inside and out, which provide the perfect backdrop for elegant, stylish and beautiful photographs. Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall offers complete flexibility in its wedding packages allowing you to tailor your requirements for your special day. The hotel is fully licensed for civil ceremonies, which means you can have the convenience of the whole day under one roof. There are a variety of stylish rooms available for all your needs, which can accommodate up to 200 guests. Booking the hotel also gives you exclusive use of the hotel grounds. And with 72 bedrooms and free parking, your guests can relax and party into the night knowing that they have a comfortable bedroom waiting for them upstairs. The hall’s wedding and events manager

Kaytie Pinder believes in great standards and service, while her staff are dedicated to creating a warm, friendly atmosphere which complements the facilities beautifully. When it comes to food and drink, Mercure will promise to impress with a wide selection of interesting and tantalising treats for you to relax with and enjoy. Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall also offers an impressive range of leisure facilities which include a Jacuzzi, a sauna, gym and an indoor heated pool. The hotel is situated in a convenient location directly between Cheltenham and Gloucester, which makes it even easier for your guests to come and celebrate with you. Why not give Kaytie a call to talk through your wedding needs?


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The Compass Inn Flexible, Creative and Stylish Weddings

01454 218 242 tortworth court four pillars hotel

Where Magic & Romance Meet a breathtaking venue...

Victorian splendour combined with comtemporary luxury

Friday & Saturday dates available for 2012 & beyond.

Winter Wedding Offers

To Warm The Heart! Licensed for Civil Ceremonies & Partnerships A choice of fantastic function suites catering for small, intimate weddings to large lavish affiars Exquisite and picturesque private gardens 190 en-suite bedrooms

Tel: 01454 263 000 Email:

p78.indd 2

...for the perfect wedding

Midweek discounts also available. Tracy Park Hotel & Country Club, Bath Road, Wick, Nr.Bath BS30 5RN 0117 937 1800

11/3/2011 4:08:11 PM


Tradition and versatility Dyrham Park’s wedding locations include the Orangery (below) and The Garden Room (bottom).



n the heart of rural South Gloucestershire sits an exquisite baroque mansion, former home of William Blathwayt, Secretary of War to William III. Situated in 274 acres of rambling parkland, Dyrham Park will provide you with the perfect setting for your wedding day. Couples have the choice of three different locations on the premises to hold their ceremony or reception, including The Garden Room, The Orangery or the Whitfield Marquee site. The Garden Room is the smallest of the three options holding up to 30 guests. This is an elegant space with period style features overlooking the West Garden, the ideal location for an intimate wedding. If you need a little more space, the Orangery holds up to 100 guests. This airy space with wonderful outdoor access is on the south side of the Mansion. It has full length windows and offers a naturally bright location. With the option of decorating the room to suit your taste, this is the perfect place to celebrate in style.

Pic credit: Rob Auckland


Dyrham Park’s extensive grounds also allow a third option, particularly popular for large wedding parties. If you hold your wedding ceremony and reception on the Whitfield Marquee site, you’ll enjoy 33 acres at the top of the park overlooking not only the house and its grounds but also the remarkable views over Bristol and South Wales. An ideal location to party the night away, into the early hours! James Curwen, visitor experience assistant at Dyrham Park says that the Orangery is probably the most popular choice of rooms purely because it’s such an unusual location. “The couple will have a series of meetings with the wedding co-ordinator where we go to great lengths to make sure the day will run as smoothly and happily as possible,” he says.


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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 increasing 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

best western SWAN HOTEL


Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BQ T: 01453 810332 E: W: CAPACITY: Ceremony & reception up to 128 & evening receptions up to 150 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

Upton St Leonards, Gloucester, GL8 4ED

Tormarton, Near Badminton, South Gloucestershire, GL9 1JB

Swan Hotel, Sadler Street Wells, Somerset, BA5 2RX

T: 01454 218242 E: W:

T: 01749 836300 F: 01749 836301 E: W:

CAPACITY: 26 Bedrooms

CAPACITY: Up to 90

FACILITIES: An 18th century coaching Inn with modern accommodation set in acres of beautifully kept grounds and gardens. Licensed for civil ceremonies.

FACILITIES: 48 individually styled bedrooms and a magnificently luxurious suite. Located in the shadow of Wells Cathedral. Licensed for civil ceremonies. 2 AA Rosette restaurant with the finest locally-sourced ingredients.

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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       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.


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.


Tracy Park Hotel & Country Club, Bath Road Wick, Nr Bath. BS30 5RN

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

T: 0117 937 1800 F: 0117 937 1816 E: W:

T: 01454 263000 E: W:

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

CAPACITY: Up to 280 CAPACITY: Up to 130 FACILITIES: 24 individually appointed bedrooms including our gorgeous bridal suite. Located ideally for both Bath and Bristol. Licensed for civil ceremonies. 2 AA Rosette restaurant and two18 hole champioship golf courses.

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.

call Jacqui Lewis on

0117 934 3136 west weddings 81

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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.

Purveyors of the finest hog and lamb roasts for weddings, parties, festivals and corporate hospitality

Email the editor at and you could be gracing the pages of our next edition.

All enquiries to:

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

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photo gallery PhotoGallery

reportage formal

ideas creative portraits group photographs

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Images by Dee Contact Dee Richards Telephone 01626 872876 or (France) 00 33 622 098188 Mobile 07717 003576 Email

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Blenheim Wedding Photography Ltd Director Jan McDonald Telephone 01531 822565 Email

Website www.blenheimweddings. Facebook BPSimplyWeddings Twitter @BlenheimPhoto

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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


The Town & Country Lodge

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

Wedding Receptions will take care of all the fine details for your Wedding Reception, leaving you to relax and enjoy your special day, Please contact our Wedding Co-ordinator for further details on how to book. The Town & Country Lodge, A38 Bridgwater Road, Bristol, BS13 8AG t: 01275 392441 e:




Call Jacqui Lewis on

Winter 2011


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 h.mottram@ 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 17.02.12 Winner selected at West Weddings Show on 26.02.12 The winners wedding date must be six months after 26.02.12 and within two years of the competition closing date. Special Day and Appletons will award the winner a wedding dress to the value of £1000. 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. All other competitions close on 15.01.12 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 Winter 2011 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 canapés, 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.

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Last word


for all?

Should guests be invited to both the ceremony and the reception? Helen Dorritt thinks so but Mike Gartside disagrees.


Let’s get the boring practicalities out of the way first. Budget and space impose restrictions on every couple. While churches can usually accommodate the all the guests, registry office options can restrict the numbers to 60 or 80. Likewise, larger parties at hotels and other venues incur higher charges. Most extended families and friends will perfectly understand that it’s simply not possible to cram everyone into that affordable, intimate ceremony and are happy to wait until the fizz is flowing before they congratulate the newlyweds. More fundamentally, a wedding brings together a host of disparate souls, with different expectations of the day. Elderly relatives will be delighted to see their grandson/daughter find happiness and are most likely to enjoy the calmer climes of the ceremony. With notable exceptions, they’re unlikely to be found boogieing to ‘Dancing Queen’ at 4am with a halfempty champagne bottle in one hand and a crumpled, tear-stained order of marriage in the other. For friends and similar-aged relatives, the mark of true affection for the happy couple (attitudes to alcohol allowing) is a bacchanal of booze-laden bonding. They’ll make all the right noises (and refrain from the wrong ones) when they’re invited to the ceremony, for sure, but many of that age group will find the formalities a seat-shuffling ordeal enlivened only by a the discreet scouring of other guests for like-minded souls with whom they know they’ll soon be partying their pants off. And, as we all know, there’s nothing like a wedding for inspiring other partnerships. Different age groups want different things from a wedding and all but the bestest of friends will fully understand (and may even be quietly relieved) to receive their reception-only invitation.


I’m lucky enough to have gone to a fair few weddings in my time. Without exception, I have been invited to the whole day and not been one of the dreaded “evening guests”, which is good as I think it’s a bit of an insult to not get a full invitation. When I got married last year, we decided very early on that we wanted all of our guests to be present for all of the day. For me, the actual wedding ceremony is the most important part of the day; it’s the pivotal event around which everything revolves. The food and drinks afterwards are the icing on the cake, to celebrate this momentous, life-changing thing you’ve just done. So when couples have a two tier wedding and invite some people only to the evening part, I always feel a little sad for these guests. If you like somebody enough to invite them to the party to cel-

ebrate your nuptials, then why don’t you want them to witness the event itself? Look at it from your evening guests’ point of view. You’re essentially saying to them “I like you, but not enough to let you watch us get married and then to have dinner with you afterwards. I’ll have a boogie with you, and maybe you can have a few sausage rolls but you’re not close enough to me or my partner to merit a full invite. Oh, but please do still buy us a gift.” If cost is an issue – and as someone who got married on a limited budget, I know exactly how it can be – then be creative. Have a fork buffet instead of a sit down three course meal. Forget the idea of an open bar and use the cash saved to pay for your extra guests. And since having evening guests tends to necessitate providing an evening buffet, having a two tier wedding can actually be a false economy. You really flatter someone when you invite them to your wedding. Don’t diminish it by making them a second rate guest not worthy of watching you actually get married.

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West Weddings Winter 2011  
West Weddings Winter 2011  

Wedding magazine for the SouthWest