Honeymoon on a Shoestring

Honeymoon destinations will always be romantic just because you are together, so don’t feel you need to spend a fortune to have a wonderful time. With tips for how to spend less on your honeymoon, from all-inclusive packages to fabulous discounts to where to look closer to home, here are five fabulous honeymoon ideas in the UK and abroad

1. Olympic Lagoon Hotel, Paphos

All-inclusive honeymoons can be great value for couples looking for luxury without additional hidden costs. The Olympic Lagoon Hotel is a new and highly innovative five-star hotel in a truly fascinating resort. Featuring an array of sublime swimming pools and water features, this hotel has a premium all-inclusive programme with five fabulous restaurants and five bars to choose from. An island paradise and a unique hotel-within-a-resort concept featuring romantic facilities and services exclusively for adults.

2. Royal Palm, Mauritius with Beachcomber

The most prestigious of honeymoons can be booked for substantially less when you take advantage of latest special offers and deals. Said to be the finest hotel in Mauritius, Royal Palm is a tranquil haven ideally located on the sheltered north-west tropical coast. Stay in an elegantly decorated suite with a stunning sea view. This 6-star hotel by the sea is surrounded with pure white sandy beach, and offers the ultimate luxury honeymoon experience, boasting a choice of three pools, spa, sports centre and an award-winning chef for the finest in haute cuisine.

3. Greek Islands with Combadi

You could save hundreds of pounds by honeymooning for one week instead of two when you jet off to a hot climate just a short flight away. Combadi offers a holistic, eight-day honeymoon with a difference in a gorgeous coastal setting in the Greek island of Skyros. This is a honeymoon for couples who can choose to hide away from the rest of the world or join a vibrant community and take part in classes in yoga, paths to finding happiness, windsurfing and even trapeze. Courses are held outdoors by the sea, on stone terraces surrounded by pine forests. Enjoy the tranquillity of the bay during the hot daytime and then choose to attend local parties, lively discussions or events together each evening.

4. Wooldown Holiday Cottages, Cornwall

There are so many beautiful and historically interesting countries in Europe and surrounding areas, and while exploring far-flung shores can be wonderful, so is travelling closer to home. You could not only save money on travel but get an extra day or two of your honeymoon!

For those looking for a luxurious retreat closer to home with outstanding countryside and sea views, Wooldown Holiday Cottages offer cosy country cottages and ultra-modern apartment style barns with super-king size beds, spa baths, walk in rainfall showers, some even have copper baths in the bedroom to make your honeymoon that extra special!

Explore all Cornwall has to offer, from romantic walks together along part of the stunning south west coastal path, to the pretty fishing villages of Port Isaac, Rock and Padstow and take a stroll through the Victorian seaside town of Bude with Summerleaze and Crooklets beach. The world famous surfing beach at Widemouth Bay is not far away and offers the perfect opportunity to surf the waves before enjoying a candlelit dinner.

5. Gadlys Coastal Cottages, Wales

Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, near the beautiful Church Bay, Gadlys Coastal Cottages offer peace and comfort in a pretty rural setting near Church Bay in Anglesy, North Wales. A small delightful bay with rock pools and sandy beach and beautiful coastal walks it is an ideal place for relaxation or activity from boating, fishing, hiking, horse riding, windsurfing and more.

The newly renovated and extended Gadlys Farmhouse has gorgeous sea views, a traditional oak inglenook fireplace to enjoy a warming log fire, master bedroom with balconette overlooking the sea, relaxing spa bath, all within five minutes’ walk from the beach and fantastic seafood restaurants.

Under Your Wedding Dress

What are you planning to wear under your wedding dress? A pretty matching two-piece, sexy Basque lingerie or maybe shapewear to hold you in? Consider your wedding dress style, body shape and remember to factor in comfort. Here are some pointers to help you make the best choice when it comes to choosing underwear to wear on your wedding day and how to avoid doing what I did when I accidentally flashed mine at all my guests in church…

When you’re wearing a bridal gown, whether a heavy duchess satin meringue with layers of underskirts or a slinkier number, it’s important to find the right underwear. So where do you start?

Here’s what to consider;

How to support and make the most of your bust whatever size you are

Where to find the right bra if your gown is strapless or backless

Whether to wear tights, stockings and suspenders or hold-ups

What style of knickers for comfort and/or style

How to flatten your tummy and shape your hips to create smoother lines under your gown

How to narrow your waist to create more of an hour-glass figure

Whether to wear a garter or not

Bra and knickers

A bra and knickers (or just the knickers) is likely to be the most comfortable option. It’s worth trying on several different types of bras with your wedding dress before you decide on one, considering how it feels as much as how well it supports and how pretty it looks.

The good news is there is an underwear solution for every gown, whatever the cut. You can find strapless, backless, multi-way, low-front and low-back bras, bras to support, maximise or minimise or push-up breasts to create cleavage. You don’t have to wear white either; with the right dress you could wear a pastel shade or even a darker shade of underwear, only to be revealed on your wedding night.

Strapless and backless bras

Strapless dresses are still very much in vogue and many are gorgeous and flattering but they do differ greatly in their construction. Some are made with inner support for your bust while others will need a good strapless bra to be worn underneath.

Backless or low-backed gowns can be worn without a bra for the few of us who are brave enough but a clever multi-way bra is, for most of us, a much better option.

Knickers or G-string

The knickers you choose have to be comfy. Don’t be tempted to try something different on your wedding day such as the delicate derriere dental floss fashion’ of the G-string, just to impress the man you have already impressed

If you’re used to G-strings then fine but if not, trust us, this is not the day to try one out for the first time.

Basques and corsets

A sexy alternative to the separates is a one-piece Basque or corset. Some will support your bust and pull in your waist and tummy but not all so it is worth trying these on with your gown, ideally before buying. Most come with suspenders attached, just add knickers and stockings. You could look stunning in the right corset or Basque.

Shapewear

If you want a flatter tummy, slimmer hips and/or a lifted bottom then consider shapewear. It can make a real difference and doesn’t have to look like a Bridget Jones wet suit. Shapewear is not all beige, some is now silky, lacy and sexy as well as shaping.

Garters, stockings, tights and hold-ups

You don’t have to wear anything on your legs but nylons can make your shoes more comfortable. There are pros and cons as tights can be hot (and arguably unsexy at the end of the night) while sexier stockings can be fiddly with suspenders and hold-ups can feel tight and don’t always hold up all day.

If you don’t mind suspenders then stockings are a good option and one your groom will enjoy helping you take off at the end of the night. Wear a garter if you want to – when will you ever get to wear one again?

Why brides wear a garter

Are garters a thing of the past? A recent poll had a mixed reaction. It seems some of you love them, while others think they should be consigned to the dustbins of history.

So how do you wear them and what should they look like? Garters are often ivory and blue silk, satin or lace – ivory to match your dress and the pale blue to be your ‘something blue.’ They come in old fashioned lacy Edwardian or racy contemporary styles in all colours and widths, with ribbons or crystals or, if you’re superstitious, a lucky 6pence in a matching bag stitched to the garter. You can even get edible candy garters for the naughty child in you! Garters should be worn mid-thigh and were originally designed to hold up silk stockings by tying a length of silk or cotton around the top, before the invention of elastic, or nylon, or tights for that matter!

Garters for every size of thigh

For slim or sexy thighs they provide an ideal photo opportunity for the wedding album. And for sexy plus-size brides there are plus-size garters out there to fit every thigh. About a Bride offers plus-size bridal garters in dress sizes from 18-54. Yes 54! So there’s no excuse if you want to wear one!

Embroidered keepsake garters

Sweet Nothings Lingerie and Silk Garters both offer a bespoke service where you can have a garter made in your chosen style, colour and fabrics. A biker bride could have a leather garter made, another bride may prefer to have a personalized garter embroidered with her new married name and the date of her wedding to have as a keepsake long after the wedding.

Tossing the garter

These days many brides have two garters, one to treasure as a keepsake of the wedding, the other for her new husband to (ahem) ‘toss’ to the male guests at the reception. Traditional folklore has it that the groom removes the bride’s garter and throws it to his single friends after the wedding in much the same way that his new wife throws the wedding bouquet, but this strikes a startling image of a hapless male struggling to get the darn thing off. No, once slipped onto a sexy thigh, we think it’s better left there for your new husband to peel off later, much, much later.

All About Accessories

From the bride’s bouquet to the groom’s boutonnière, the couple can enjoy wonderful embellishments on their wedding day. A lot of couples strive to have matching designs or colours across their accessories too, which makes for a wonderful harmonized look. So here are some of our favourite traditional wedding jewellery and accessories for him and her.

Headwear

Traditionally, the bride tends to have far more choice concerning headwear. Wedding veils seem to be the norm, for they come in a range of lengths and styles depending on fashion and culture. Similar to the veil is a decorative net or art deco style bonnet, which also come in an array of designs. But many brides also opt for headpieces such as tiaras, headbands, hair clips and combs. For the groom, there does not tend to be any jewellery headwear pieces available, so the groom and his groomsmen typically wear hats.

Head-wear for the bride and groom, including veils, tiaras, hats, and headpieces.

It’s safe to say that the style of headwear depends on your desired theme. In truth, the bride could wear a hat if she wished, but the wearing of hats and fascinators are usually left to the mother of the bride, the mother of the groom, and other female wedding guests.

Face and Neck

For the face and neck, the groom is well-known in western culture to wear a classic necktie or bowtie, and no other jewellery. Ties, coming in all manner of colours and materials, will fit any wedding. In other cultures there is also the option of wearing a cravat.

Often the bride completes her look with a pretty set of earrings and a necklace and in some cultures facial jewellery like nose piercings are common too. Like with headwear, the chosen wedding theme (and personal taste) goes a long way in helping the bride decide on the style—some pieces of jewellery are rather discreet, and others are far more overt. Some brides even wear a garland around their neck.

Torso

On the torso, grooms can wear pocket squares and handkerchiefs. Depending on personal choice, these can be purely decorative or intended for use. Pocket squares and handkerchiefs are available in a variety of colours, designs and patterns and are an ideal way to inject personality and personalisation into grooms wear.

For more of a traditional look, the bride may opt for a brooch. Brooches come in all shapes and sizes, and can fit any theme or colour scheme. They can be used for anything, be it accessorising a jacket, the wedding dress, or the bouquet. Also, some couples dress in bright, rich fabrics covered in gems and sequins, which makes for a truly striking wedding look.

Arms, Wrists, and Hands

On his wrists, the groom traditionally wears cufflinks, and such a small and simple accessory works wonders to add style and decoration. Available in a range of styles and materials, from plain silver or gold to intricate engraved, bejewelled or rhinestone studded options. The groom might also wear a wristwatch as a finishing touch, but the more traditional wedding watch option for a groom is a classic pocket watch.

Wrist wedding accessories for the bride and groom, including bracelets, corsages, cufflinks, and watches.

The bride often wears a bracelet, and these too come in numerous styles. You may want a simple band, or a chain with pretty dangling charms. A growing trend is to wear a corsage as well.

The most important wedding accessory of them all: wedding rings!

But the most important accessories for the bride and the groom are the wedding rings! The giving of rings is a traditional part of the wedding ceremony! No doubt a lot of thought and consideration has gone into choosing your engagement rings and your wedding rings from deciding on the optimum metals, gems, engravings, etc. Steeped in tradition, the practice of giving rings can be traced back centuries.

Tips for Wedding Shoes

Every girl loves a new pair of shoes, especially if it’s the pair she will be wearing on the day of her wedding! Whilst the dress is usually the most exciting part of your bridal look, we believe your shoes are just as important. We take a look at 8 wedding shoe tips to ensure your shoes are comfortable and perfectly complement your wedding dress and personal style!

1. Quality

It is understandable that many brides opt for cheap wedding shoes especially if they are trying to stick to a budget. They usually feel it’s a waste to spend money on something that won’t really be seen under a long dress and that you will only wear once. However, you are going to be on your feet all day so we highly recommend investing in a good quality, comfortable pair of shoes, which won’t ruin your day with sore feet. It really isn’t worth it! Good quality shoes don’t have to break the bank. Inquire at your local bridal shops about sales or ex samples or check out sites such as eBay, Preloved and Gumtree for a second hand pair.

2. Heel Height

This really depends on what you’re used to. Some brides wouldn’t leave the house without their favourite 4 inch heels, whereas others are happier sticking to a heel height of just a couple of inches. Whatever your preference don’t be tempted to go much higher than what you normally wear and what you’re used to. You want to glide down that aisle with elegance and grace, not hobble awkwardly and trip!

3. Shoe Size

There’s always that dilemma if you are in between sizes. Do you go up or down a size? We’d always recommend going up. Your feet will swell as the day goes on, which means they will begin to pinch if you opted for the smaller shoe. Shoes that are slightly too big can easily be amended with insoles and heel grips and can be removed later in the day when your feet swell to fit.

4. Wear Them In

You’ve probably done it before. Gone on a night out with a fabulous new pair of shoes, but within a matter of hours if not minutes, they are rubbing your feet. Even if your wedding shoes felt comfortable when you tried them on in the shop, we recommend breaking them in before your big day. Wear them around the house, to help soften them up and practice that all important walk!

If your wedding shoes are particularly slippy it may also be worth gently sanding the soles with sand paper to add a bit of grip. Think of all those first dance ‘You’ve Been Framed’ video’s you’ve seen…

5. Shoe Accessories

Make sure you have these must have shoe accessories for your wedding day!

Heel grips – if your feet keep slipping out the back

Gel insoles – to reduce the pain you get on the balls of your feet from standing up or dancing, for a long period of time.

Shoe protector spray – to protect your shoes from water marks and stains.

Clean heels – to stop you sinking in the grass!

6. Try on With Your Dress

There are a couple of reasons to try on your wedding shoes with your dress. Firstly you want to ensure that the colour and style suit the style of your bridal gown. If you have already been wedding dress shopping you will have come to realise that wedding dresses don’t just come in ivory or white. There’s diamond white, pale ivory, alabaster, blush, light gold…the list goes on! If you are matching your shoe colour to your dress you want to check that one of them isn’t significantly paler or darker than the other, as one of them may end up looking dirty. Obviously carrying your dress around with you whilst you shoe shop isn’t exactly convenient, so try and get hold of a swatch of the fabric that matches your dress. Either ask the bridal shop where you purchased your dress, to send you one or see if there is something small from the dress you can take such as a sash or removable strap.

Secondly it is important that you try your shoes on with your dress to check if the hem needs altering. Ideally you want the hem to sit just off the ground to ensure you don’t trip. Bare in mind that when you are walking down the aisle, you are going to have a bouquet in one hand and the person that is giving you away in the other. You won’t have hands free to hold up the front of your dress too.

On the other hand you don’t want your dress swinging around your ankles because your heels are too high. If you are concerned that the length of your dress might be too short with your heels there are a couple of things you can do. If you haven’t purchased your dress yet or you ordered it quite recently, ask your shop if there is the choice to order it in a longer length. If this isn’t possible, did you try the dress on with a hoop petticoat? If so this slightly shortens the length, so try it without. Your final option will have to be to rethink the height of your heels.

7. A Second Pair

If you just can’t resist those sky scraping heels, get you’re self a second pair of lower, more comfortable shoes for the evening. From pretty pumps, to flip flops and customised Converse, there are styles to suit everyone. Bare in mind however, that if you choose to lower your heel for the evening and you are wearing a full length dress, it will drag on the floor, so be careful not to trip!

We also love the idea of filling a box full of flip-flops for your guest to slip into in the evening, so that they are free to dance the night away in comfort!

If there is a chance of rain or snow it is worth having a second pair of shoes to get you from A to B so that you don’t ruin your smart bridal shoes. Cue the wedding wellies!!

8. A Pair to Wear Again

If you are resenting having to purchase a pair of shoes you’ll only wear once, just buy a pair that you will get use out of even after your wedding day. Just because your wedding dress is ivory, doesn’t mean your shoes have to be! Pick a pair in a colour or pattern that you’ll wear again and that matches your wedding theme and colour scheme. This is the opportunity to have some real fun and show off your personality. They also make great photos and talking point between guests!

Alternatively, choose a pair that can be dyed in your favourite colour after your big day so that they can be worn over and over again to make the most of your purchase.

Bridesmaid dress dislikes

Being asked to be a bridesmaid for a close friend or relative is an honour. Being asked to publicly wear a bridesmaid dress you hate is not! Here’s how to decide on your bridesmaid dress and ensure everyone is happy on the big day!

Compromise is all about communication. Discussing the colours, styles, and costs in advance and then hitting the stores together goes a long way to making sure everything goes smoothly and both bride and bridesmaids are happy.

Safety in numbers

If you are really unhappy with what the bride wants you to wear, try talking to the other bridesmaids to get their view. If they are all happy, then you will probably have to grin and bear it. If not, try to find a gentle way to talk to the bride, and have alternative suggestions ready. Present possible solutions, not just problems. If you do get together with the others, make sure that the bride doesn’t feel as if you are ganging up on her.

Problems can arise if one bridesmaid is being difficult about the dress. It’s then up to the others, particularly the chief bridesmaid, to find out what the problem is and use some diplomacy to get things back on track.

Something to suit everyone

Choosing outfits to suit you all can be tricky if there are lots of bridesmaids, or a large age range. Adults won’t want to be dressed the same as children, and hopefully your bride will also bear in mind that the outfit(s) she picks need to flatter people of different ages (and sizes!) If she doesn’t, you have the option of dropping a few helpful hints.

It’s just one day…

While being a bridesmaid is a big deal, it is after all just one day. Before you risk falling out with the bride over her choice of outfit, you should ask yourself whether it is really worth upsetting her.

Friends help each other

Let’s face it, most brides want everybody to be happy on their special day, so it is unlikely that she will want you to wear something completely hideous. However, if you feel there is likely to be a clash then maybe you should think very carefully before you agree to be a bridesmaid in the first place.

On the other hand, if you think she is deliberately trying to make you look terrible, maybe she’s not quite the friend you thought she was…

While there are no hard-and-fast rules about bridesmaids’ outfits, the bottom line is that it is the bride’s day and it is likely that she will have some pretty clear ideas on the subject. So, how do you keep her happy and still get your point across?

Get involved

If you are worried that the bride might dress you like a meringue, get involved in the process from the outset. This doesn’t mean forcing your ideas on her, but why not suggest a girls’ night in with some wine and wedding magazines, and gently let her know what delights (and horrifies) you?

If there are to be several of you, arrange a shopping day early on (with the bride of course!) and try on a wide range of outfits. It will soon become clear what does and doesn’t work for you all. If one bridesmaid lives a long way away, email or text her pictures of different styles and get her opinion.

Another alternative you could suggest to the bride if you all live a long way apart is that she provides the material and you have dresses made in the same fabric, but different styles, which is actually the way bridesmaids’ outfits were traditionally made.

Be constructive

Think carefully about any objections before voicing them to the bride, and consider whether they are actually valid.

For example, a lifelong aversion to peach taffeta is really not a good enough reason to upset the bride. On the other hand, if you are allergic to a certain fabric it’s reasonable that you avoid an outfit that is going to cause you discomfort.

Equally, just because you live in trainers it doesn’t mean you should complain at having to sport stilettos for the day. However, if you really hate your legs but the bride wants you in a mini skirt, then it’s worth trying to reach some compromise.

Child Friendly Wedding

Often the cause of much debate but to invite (or not invite!) children to attend your wedding day does not have to be a daunting prospect; with careful consideration everyone can have a fantastic day…
There you both are saying your vows carefully chosen and delivered with heartfelt emotion and a little voice in the background says, “Mummy I need a wee”! But with a little thought and preparation it could be easier than you think to include children in your big day.

Some couples may well not have the budget to cater for children at the reception, or the chosen wedding venue may not be suitable, or have enough space – so the decision is already made for you! Sometimes a way of keeping costs down or overcoming this is to stipulate an ‘adult’s only day’. This point can easily be put across without offending anyone by way of a small carefully worded inclusion on the bottom of your invitations. This could be followed up with a list of adult activities available at your chosen venue to reinforce your message. Anyway, most couples like the thought of a child free weekend now and then with time on their own, so will probably jump at the chance of a day (and night) away from their little ones!

It is also worth considering the number of small attendants you want to include in your wedding party; your guests may be offended if you then have ten small flower girls and pages when the day is supposed to be child free.

There are so many great reasons to invite children to your big day, children can be brilliant “ice breakers” and bring some comical and magical moments to your day. With a little bit of thought you can keep everyone happy and have a great time.

1. Ask ushers to seat families towards the back of the ceremony room or church so if any awkward moments arise parents can slip out with their little ones unnoticed.

2. If you have the budget and a small room is available a children’s entertainer may be the answer to keep little ones happy throughout the ceremony.

3. Just providing a colouring book and crayons for each child during the service is a cost effective alternative

4. Ask a family member to provide small bags of freshly chopped fruit or boxes of raisins to keep hungry moments at bay.

5. It is always an idea to think of photography in advance. If you can sort the pictures with the bridesmaids and children first they are then free to roam for a while!

6. To prevent boredom setting in during the drinks reception hire a bouncy castle, or a giant board game such as ‘Twister’ or ‘Snakes and Ladders’. The adults will get as much fun out of it too!

7. During the reception think about where to seat families with children. Your child free guests may not be happy sitting next to a fidgeting two year old!

8. Safety also has to be an issue, think about table decorations. What will be child friendly, not towering candelabras or too many twinkling tea lights. A puzzle book or a small story book placed in each child’s place, perhaps with a bead set for girls and a small box of Lego for boys, will keep them entertained throughout the speeches.
Guests should always assume that children are not invited, unless they are named on the invitation (i.e. Mr and Mrs Johnson, Samantha and Rebecca).

If you are not inviting ANY children, it is sensible to include a note with the invitations saying “unfortunately we are unable to accommodate children” – don’t feel that you need to justify your reasons.

If you are only inviting children of close friends and family, it is tactful to telephone others with children before sending out the invitations to let them know or they may feel that their children have been singled out.

If you do have to invite children to your wedding, here are some tips and handy hints to try and keep “little ones” amused and allow the adults to have fun.

Hire babysitters or a crèche service.
Hire a children’s entertainer, clowns or puppet show.
Seat children together at a special “kids table”. Cover the tables with paper and put crayons or felt-tip pens in the middle.
Give each child an activity pack including games and puzzles, bubbles, crayons, colouring books.
Serve a kids meal consisting of chicken nuggets, pizzas, cheesy potatoes, pasta, fish fingers etc.
Give children jobs at the wedding reception i.e. asking guests to write messages in the Guest Book, passing around favours, handing out disposable cameras.
Have a special cinema corner set up for young ones, with comfy pillows, popcorn and juice showing tiny-tot favourites like Finding Nemo, Shrek, The Lion King etc.

It may seem like a lot of additional effort, but this day is one to remember for the rest of your life, and if having children at the wedding means you can ensure your closest friends and family can also be there, it’s well worth it!

5 intimate weddings

Modest guest lists lend themselves to unusual and exceptional wedding venues. Be inspired by our top 5 venues for small and chic weddings in the UK.

1. Temple of Apollo, Stourhead, Wiltshire

Who for: Romantic couples who want a beautiful, classic and intimate ceremony. The garden temple will seat 30 guests to witness your wedding

What: A tranquil paradise. Situated in one of the finest landscape gardens in the world, the stone built Temple of Apollo, built in 1765, is truly stunning. Looks familiar? You may well have seen it in the proposal seen in remake of Pride and Prejudice. If it’s good enough for Keira Knightley Matthew MacFadyen…

Why: It’s timelessly beautiful and will provide a magnificent backdrop for your wedding photographs.

2. Millbrook Estate, High Bickington, Devon

Who for: Nature lovers who want to be married hidden away, in a breath taking valley. Millbrook specialises in weddings for up to 20 guests, they also do ‘Runaway Weddings’ for less than four guests…

Why: Stunning and very private, Millbrook is set within a valley location of 32 acres of beautiful countryside with lakes, wild flower meadows and mature woodland. Marry in the extremely intimate secret garden conservatory or in the summerhouse, which has enormous folding doors to let the outside in, and a huge fireplace for roaring log fires in the winter months. The venue even offers private dinning for true romantics.

3. Forter Castle, Perthshire, Scotland

Who for: The Bride and Groom who want a venue fit for a King and Queen. The castle can accommodate 16 for a sit down meal or up to 24 for a buffet and sleeps up to 12.

What: This16th century fortified tower is like something from a fairy-tale – it’s been lovingly restored from a ruin to retain its original character and charm, but with opulent modern-day comforts and even boasts its very own chapel. The surrounding highlands are unspoilt and sure to impress.

Why: It’s dramatic and intimate at the same time.

4. Nash Point Lighthouse, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Who for: Quirky couples looking for a unique place to tie the knot. The spectacular Lighthouse can hold 25 guests, over two floors.

What: One of the few operational lighthouses where you can get married, beautiful Nash Point Lighthouse is situated on one of the cleanest, sandy coastlines in South Wales and noted for its variety and birdlife. You’ll be treated to a spectacular view while you say ‘I do’ – a great choice for those with an affinity with the sea.

Why: It’s a deliciously different option and a real statement about who you are as a couple.

5. Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe, Devon

Who for: Couples who want to a beautiful, informal ceremony at the beach. Tunnels Beaches encourage weddings for up to 60-70 people, with the option of more even guests.

What: A network of hand carved tunnels lead you to a tidal Victorian bathing pool and stunning sheltered beaches, where this chic, contemporary venue lies. Get married in the Thatched Gazebo overlooking the sea, with a sublime view of the rugged coastline and the sound of the sea.

Why: It’s a stunning yet understated choice and the scenery will look fantastic in your photos.

Invite Your Mum to the Hen party

Have a great relationship with your mum and soon-to-be mother-in-law? Wonderful. But do you love your mum and she’s your best friend. She just called and asked if she can come to the Hen party – now what? Well, there’s no right or wrong answer here. It all comes down to your relationship with your mum and if you and your friends are comfortable with the idea. If your first thought is “Of course!” then the answer is really simple — invite her along! Traditionally, having mums in tow hasn’t been the norm, but recently, an increasing number of brides are having them along for the fun. Simply put, it’s your wedding and you should have whoever you want at your Hen party whether it’s going to be raunchy or relaxed.

But if you’re uncertain or downright against your mum attending, then you may need to handle the situation a bit more carefully. First of all, it’s totally okay to say “no” to this request (in the nicest way possible of course), even if you’re not having the heavy drinking, sex toy gift-giving, all-night clubbing kind of bash. Here are more tips for how to tell mum she’s not invited to the Hen.

Be honest.

This is our advice for just about anything where feelings and relationships are involved. Instead of giving a vague response like “We’ll see!” or putting a decision off until later, just be upfront about the fact that you only want your friends and bridesmaids at the Hen. She’ll probably be completely understanding if you list your reasons you’d rather not have her there. And if you get some pushback, try and talk it out and even offer an alternative. Which brings us to our next point…

Plan a two-part Hen party.

Dinner, a cooking class, spa treatments and crafts are just a few of the family-friendly of the ways you can start off your Hen Party. Then that night or later on in the night, plan to do all the things you’d want to without your mum. This way, she feels like she’s part of the gang and you can still have a parent-free night later on. This is also a great idea if you have underage family members you also want to include.

Schedule a mother-daughter date.

Think about the reasons why she might be asking to come — maybe she feels like she hasn’t had the chance to spend enough time with you lately and is feeling left out. If that’s the case, you could set aside some time for just you and her to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.

Unique Weddings

Here are some top ideas to make your wedding a standout celebration.

A Luxurious Reception Lounge

Give guests a place to mingle between dance breaks by creating a lounge area at your reception. Fill the space with couches or chairs and plenty of pillows to sink into. It’s the perfect way to keep everyone in on the party even when they’re resting. Really want to wow? Close off the area with curtains to create a VIP vibe.

Ushers

You may already be planning to have your ushers escort guests to their ceremony seats, but consider having reception ushers. These “live escort cards” walk guests to their tables for an upscale restaurant experience. Ask your reception venue or caterer if its waiting staff can do this double duty, or assign a few ushers to the job.

Guest Transportation

If you’re planning on shuttling your guests from the ceremony to the reception, make the journey part of the fun by renting some seriously cool mass transportation. Take wedding transportation to new heights with a hot air balloon ride. Or, if it’ll suit your wedding style, get nostalgic with some charming buses. And for extra flair, customize the ride by playing fun music or decking out the wedding bus with a sign that reads, “Wedding Guests”

Pre ceremony cocktails

Your guests won’t be expecting any drinks until the reception, so give them a pleasant surprise by setting up a table of light beverages on the way into the ceremony. Just don’t serve anything too strong — think: mimosas or fruit-infused iced teas they can sip before taking their seats (and don’t forget to have non-alcoholic versions too!). Have your caterer or ushers collect any stray glasses to make sure the space is tidy before the processional begins.

Welcome Bags

Make your guests feel like VIPs with welcome bags that go beyond a map and a few snacks. Stuff personalized tote bags with mini bottles of bubbly or a six-pack of a local microbrew, a gift certificate to your favourite local coffee shop and an individual “Welcome!” note from you.

Make your guests feel like VIPs with welcome bags that go beyond a map and a few snacks. Stuff personalized tote bags with mini bottles of bubbly or a six-pack of a local microbrew, a gift certificate to your favourite local coffee shop and an individual “Welcome!” note from you.

Wedding favours

Keep your guests comfortable all day by thinking ahead. Out of town guests will appreciate a custom scented soap so they don’t have to rely on the standard hotel samples. Planning on dancing until the next morning? Put out baskets of flip-flops (in your wedding colours, of course) so guests can take their shoes off. Having an outdoor reception that might get breezy? Make sure guests keep warm by offering up some cosy pashminas. And for a summer outdoor ceremony in the afternoon, provide a station with spray-on sunscreen and a stack of inexpensive sunglasses.

Convenient Child Care

Hire a babysitter (or two) and set her up in a room so your youngest guests have a place to go when they tire out. If it’s possible, pick a room near your reception location so parents can stop by to check in on and then return to the party easily. Stock the room with snacks, games and a portable DVD player to keep them entertained, and make sure there’s a soft sofa and blankets for those inevitable naps.

First Dance Confetti Drop

Your first dance will be one of the highlights of your wedding, so add this extra-special touch to up the entertainment factor (and make for some serious photo ops!). If your song is slow and romantic, have fresh flower petals instead of confetti dropped from the ceiling. Your rental company and florist can work together to make this happen — and don’t forget to make sure the reception waiting staff will be standing by to clean up.

Show stopping ceremony exit.

If you play it right, your ceremony exit will be one of the most heavily photographed moments of your wedding — so forget the rose petals and birdseed. Jazz up your exit by passing out small bags of colorful confetti, paper airplanes, mini beach balls, or even lavender buds for everyone to toss your way. Even better: Stage your own mini parade by passing out parasols and noisemakers for your guests to escort you to your getaway car.