Back up plans

As far as big life events go, marriage is often touted as one of the most stressful.  When planning a wedding it take a lot of time and patience. It’s a once in a lifetime thing so it’s only natural to feel some weight on your shoulders during this time.

 

Whether it’s during the arduous planning stages or the task of keeping up appearances on the day, there’s a lot to think about. When it comes to initially booking your wedding entertainment or live band it can seem a little overwhelming with so much choice and information to take in.

 

In a stressful time you need helpful and stress free people – which is exactly what the entertainment experts at Red Masque can recommend. With all the other stresses that go hand in hand when planning a wedding, why worry about your entertainment when someone else can take the pressure off you?

 

Hire a wedding organiser.

Wedding planning is an easy process is. Not only that, you’ll feel safe in the knowledge that you have booked a professional and an experienced act that you can trust. This is huge in controlling your stress levels on your wedding day! An act or band of this calibre are well versed in performing at weddings just like yours and are prepared for any eventuality.

 

Guest Babysitting

Consider the general mood and atmosphere on your day and how you can manipulate this at key times. Bored guests get fidgety and frustrated easily. This happens most often during the drinks reception which is a common lull. Why not get your entertainment to ‘babysit’ your guests whilst you’re away taking photos? Doing this means you don’t have to worry about your guests well-being in your absence. Acts like magicians and caricaturists are perfect for this and are sociable enough to be able to keep everyone happy!

 

African Wedding

There is something special about African weddings with celebrations from jumping the broom to tasting four elements. To make it memorable and happy, here are some traditions that you can include in your wedding to personalize it so that it pleases everyone with unique experiences.

Jumping the Broom

This tradition reaches all the way back to slavery times. Today, this game consists of the bride and the groom jumping over a beautifully decorated handmade broom to publicly signify their commitment to one another. The newlyweds can hang the broom in their home as a reminder of their wedding day and commitment to one another.

Libation Ceremony

As a way to honour the elders in your families and to honour your ancestors, this ceremony has lots of meaning. To perform the Libation ceremony, use holy water or alcohol to pour on the ground in east, west, north and south respectively. Someone should be designated to learn and recite the prayers to say during the ceremony.

Kola Nuts

The Kola nut is given to the couple during an African wedding. With the nut symbolizing the happy couple and extended family, it means the couple is willing to help heal together as one. The Kola nut should be shared between the newlyweds and their parents.

Tying the Knot

With this ceremony, the bride and groom are tied around the wrists with a cloth or grass that has been braided for the ceremony. The braided grass symbolizes the unity of marriage. The ceremony is conducted while the wrists are tied.

Crossing Sticks

Use two tall wood sticks that represent life force among the trees and the couple will cross the sticks to represent the unity of their love and start their marriage on the right foot.

Knocking the Door

In this ceremony, the groom will knock on the door of his future in-laws and bring them gifts and requests permission to marry. This ceremony brings the families closer together.

Purple and Gold

Choosing these colours for your wedding colours not only adds fabulous and modern feeling, but it is also an African American wedding tradition because they represent royalty in many African cultures.

Feeding the Family

After the four elements tasting, it’s time to sit down and share a meal with the family. Joining the families is important in the African wedding ceremonies.

Ditching the Diamond

Because many diamonds have been mined in Africa, some brides choose to use a different stone as a symbol of their marriage instead. Ditching the diamond is becoming more popular today.

Kente Cloth

All brides want to have the Kente cloth as part of their wedding. This bright fabric is gold, green, and red in color and is made in Ghana. The groom’s vest can be made from this material or you may see it in the bridesmaid dresses.

 

Classic Traditions

Trends come and go. But, if you want your wedding to be more timeless than trendy, consider incorporating some of classic traditions that have been in hiding for years.

We think it’s time to bring these sweet rituals back!

  1. Tying The Knot

It turns out there is deep symbolism behind the phrase “tying the knot.” It refers to an old Irish and Scottish ritual called hand-fasting. The officiant ties the couple’s hands together with a brightly coloured ribbon or cord. The rope symbolises that the couple is bound together with an eternal bond. Hand-fasting is popular in European weddings—Prince William and Kate Middleton even incorporated it into their royal wedding ceremony.

  1. Wedding Bells

The church bells ringing at the beginning and/or end of a wedding ceremony was once thought to ward off any evil or negative spirits. As many wedding ceremonies have moved out of the church and fewer churches seem to have bells, this tradition has fallen by the wayside. But, don’t give up on this one yet. The original Celtic tradition involved a smaller bell that was rung at the end of the ceremony. The bell was then brought to the couples’ new home and whenever tensions arose (as often they do with newlyweds) the bell was to be rung to restore the marriage commitment and break off the negativity of the argument.

  1. Sixpence In Your Shoe

Most of us are familiar with the rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” But, not as many are aware of the last line, “and a sixpence in her shoe.”  The sixpence was given by a father to the bride to symbolise all the blessings he had for her. By giving her the sixpence, he was symbolically wishing her great health, wealth and happiness that could be passed down with the coin from generation to generation. So sweet!

  1. Decorating The Car

The ritual of decorating the bride and groom’s wedding car with flowers on the bonnet and ribbons streaming from the side mirrors or ariel began in Germany. The newly married couple would lead a procession to their reception, and guests would beep their horns all the way there to get the party started!

  1. Money Dances

This is a custom that comes in several different forms depending on the culture of the bride and groom. In Poland, the bride will dance with different guests as they take turns pinning money to her. It is sometimes called the apron dance as brides would wear aprons in order to save their gowns from holes. At an Italian wedding, you may see the bride carrying a silk bag and when guests come to dance with her they put money into the bag. The Phillipines, Mexico and several other countries also have their own version of the money dance.

  1. Love Letters

In traditional Icelandic wedding ceremonies, the future bride and groom would write love letters to each other the night before the wedding. They would use the letters to express their feelings about the upcoming day, as well as their hopes and dreams for their future together, or to recount the story of how they fell in love. Oftentimes, parents of the bride and groom or the officiant of the ceremony would also write a letter to the couple. The letters would then be sealed in a box to be opened on the couple’s first anniversary. What a beautiful and meaningful tradition.

 

Artificial Flower Guide

Even the least green-fingered of brides can discover a penchant for florals as they work with their florist to create their bouquets and centrepieces.

While it’s pretty tough to beat the fragrance of fresh flowers, choosing faux flowers does bring many benefits. From budget to dates to décor, here’s seven reasons why you should to choose artificial flowers for your wedding…

If you’ve been dreaming of a blush bouquet of barely open peonies but set the date for September, your first thought will be disappointment. Do you really have to give up one dream in favour of another?

Choose from high quality suppliers for realistic replicas for all of your favourites – whether that’s ranunculus, delphiniums or prized peonies – and you can carry bouquets, wear buttonholes or choose table centres with any blooms at any time of year, allowing you to have your day as you dreamed it while also taking advantage of off-peak dates if you wish.

When you’ve got a venue to set up and decorate as well as getting ready on your wedding morning, we’d forgive you for feeling just a little over busy. Give yourself the relaxing morning you deserve by planning and setting up in advance.

That’s the beauty of working with artificial flowers – you needn’t worry. Not about them wilting in the warmth of your marquee or the flowers fading and crumpling or even how you’ll find the time to arrange them.

They can all be arranged into vases weeks in advance, making the final few days before the big one much more blissful.

If you choose a fresh flower wedding bouquet and want to keep it after the wedding, you’ll encounter the challenge of preserving the petals and flower heads perfectly. This challenge is only compounded by the fact that you’ll probably be jetting off on honeymoon soon, so there’s very little time to get these kinds of tasks done.

With an artificial wedding flowers bouquet, though, you can simply wrap them in protective paper and stow them in a box, forming a lasting memento of your perfect day without half of the fuss.

You might have heard of couples gifting their floral centrepieces to family, friends or perhaps members of the bridal party as thank you gifts. It’s a lovely touch, but with faux flowers to gift the present will last so much longer.

In general, purchasing artificial flowers usually works out cheaper than buying them fresh from a florist. This means that for some couples, going faux can facilitate far more in the way of flower walls, garlands and canopies, and standout table centres, making all the difference to their overall reception décor.

 

Intimate Wedding Venues

Intimate Venues for Small Weddings

Bingham, Richmond

A chic riverside hotel with a restaurant that glows over the Thames come twilight. The Bingham in Richmond is made of two Grade II listed 18th-century houses and run by a mother and daughter team. While its event space allows for up to 100 seated guests, the hotel has 15 bedrooms allowing for up to 30 people to stay overnight. Hire the whole hotel and choose from a casual barbecue by the water or a formal five-course wedding breakfast.

Lower Barns, St Austell

In the Cornish countryside near St Austell, Lower Barns brings together one-of-a-kind furnishings and a bold maelstrom of textures. The hotel creates an upbeat feel in their rural home and a fun and quirky environment for small and intimate weddings. The quirky bedrooms with freestanding baths or a custom-made breakfast bars are real conversation starters. Spend the evening before your nuptials stargazing from the outdoor hot tub and unwinding in style.

Court House Farm, Portishead

A beautiful medieval manor a stone’s throw from Portishead Point and Woodhill Bay. This venue offers plenty of space and the perfect rustic, romantic backdrop to any wedding. Only a couple hours from London or 30 minutes from Bristol, Court House Farm is very well connected whilst maintaining the perfect feeling of country escape. The venue is open all year round and the owners are more than happy to work with you to help create your dream wedding.

Cley Windmill, Norfolk

For something a little different on the Norfolk coast, Cley Windmill is a B&B with tonnes of character. It’s set in a 19th-century grinding mill surrounded by open fields and perfect for intimate wedding ceremonies.  It has a restaurant and a beautiful round Sitting Room too, which can hold up to 22 people. Given the intimacy of the space, it’s all about bespoke occasions whether you opt for a daytime or evening occasion. However, we’re particularly fond of the candlelight dinner option.

Pentillie Castle, Cornwall

In a timelessly elegant fairytale setting, surrounded by woodland and overlooking the River Tamar lies Pentillie Castle. Built in 1698, it has remained in the same family for more than 300 years. It is surprisingly spacious and classic, with 55 acres of gardens to roam in. It’s a wonderful place to feel like royalty and to welcome guests to a special occasion. Say your vows in the romantic Victorian Bathing Hut on the banks of the Tamar or on the Terrace if you prefer. You can furthermore tailor the rest of your day to suit you and your nearest and dearest as you please.

Romney Bay House, Kent

This beautiful 1920s mansion in a spectacular location amidst wild marshland scattered with ancient churches. Romney Bay House Hotel is a spectacular place for a small and intimate wedding reception. Plus, you can hire the whole hotel for up to 20 guests and take the whole hotel for an entire weekend from May to September.

Hever Castle B&B, Edenbridge

Hever Castle is probably best known as the home of famed and fated wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn. Today the magnificent 13th-century property is not only a spectacular attraction, but it’s also open for wedding hire. There are multiple spaces in this historic location so you can have a wedding of any size here. However, in the castle’s inner hall, there is the perfect amount of space for 60 ceremony guests and 40 wedding breakfast attendees. What could be more spectacular?

 

Hair & Beauty for the big day

Something old

Keep your hair healthy by trimming and conditioning regularly during the run up to your wedding, and don’t be surprised if your stylist wants you to wash your hair the night before. Just washed hair is often too soft and silky – hair behaves better for styling when it is a day old and means pins, veils and hair accessories grip better.

Flawless foundations

The prettiest bridal makeup always features flawless skin as a base, so your foundation must be a perfect match for your skin. You can add colour afterwards with bronzer, soft blusher and lipstick. Choose a lipstick and lip liner that will give your smile definition… especially with neutral or barely there shades. Contour and highlight carefully but don’t over do it – you can take a black and white photograph to check whether your contouring is too dark, if need be it can easily be toned down.

Eye it up

Your eyes are the most expressive part of your face and you’ll be amazed at the difference well groomed eyebrows can make since they quite literally frame your eyes. Neutral colours will enhance your natural eye colour, but don’t be afraid to use a little sparkle, which can look stunning on the most natural makeup. Individual eyelashes are great for lifting and accentuating the outer eye area, and don’t forget to add waterproof mascara!

Best of both

If you can’t decide whether to wear your hair up or down, why not have both? Ask your wedding stylist to add some curl or volume first, then create a soft, natural up style that can be easily let down later on in the evening. If you’re struggling to choose a hair accessory and have decided against a veil, a delicate hair comb or small spiral hair pins  can be added in to complement your hairstyle and add a subtle sparkle to your look.

On trial

Book your trial around six to eight weeks before your wedding. If you just can’t wait that long, ask your stylist for a consultation as early as you like so you can meet and discuss the look you’re aiming for. A Pinterest board reserved for bridal hair and makeup is a great way to show your stylist your ideas. Don’t wear black or bright coloured tops to your trial – a colour close to that of your wedding dress will mean you’ll get a much clearer idea of how your makeup colours will work on the day.

Flashy lashes

Eyelash extensions are becoming a really popular option and it’s something I often suggest to my brides. They can really open up the eyes and can look more natural than strip lashes, especially when applied so that they gradually increase in length towards the outer corners. The added bonus of these is that you get to keep them for your honeymoon!

Flowers everywhere

If you love flowers, ask your florist to wire tiny buds and sprigs that complement your bouquet so that your stylist can work these into your hairstyle. This creates a timelessly romantic look and can be a fresh and pretty alternative to more traditional headpieces or wedding hair accessories.

 

Bridesmaid Planning

Assembling the dream team

When organising a wedding It can be tricky enough rallying the team together to find your dream dress, so how do you start shopping for them? We suggest a dedicated girls night in to begin the wedding planning.

We love an excuse to get together so what better way to shop than online at home with your faves and a few bottles of fizz?

Start with the flip of a laptop

Options online are now so vast; yes, even for bridesmaid dresses, even our favourite high street brands are releasing bridesmaid dresses. Make sure you shop them all, including Monsoon, ASOS and so many more.

Gathering the bridal party

Make this night a hen-initiation night. An evening of friendship, laughter and of course decisions. This is also an opportunity to discuss with your bridesmaids what it is you expect from them and what they can offer you in the build-up to the big day. And if you have ordered your bridal gown already, don’t forget to request a swatch of fabric for your dress to compare to the bridesmaids.

Make your other half scarce for the evening, get the team over, whack Bridesmaids the movie on and let the games/ dress trials begin.

Making the final selection

The day is, of course, yours so the theme and feel to the attire is ultimately your vision. However, don’t forget to listen to your bridesmaids too. The wedding photos from the day are going to last a lifetime and you want your bridesmaids to feel fabulous with you.

Each person is an individual and combining style, cut and colour is all the trend at the moment so don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit. Trust that you can work together as a team to create that beautiful look you’ve envisaged.

 

How to be a confident Bride

On your big day, you want to be a confident bride, not a bride that’s hiding away from her wedding guests and the photographer in the corner! Don’t think you can do it? We beg to differ…

Look the part

First thing’s first: if you’ll look the part, you’ll radiate confidence. It’s all about your posture, smile and eye contact. We don’t want to sound like your grandma, but stand straight and keep your head high! We doubt your hubby really had his imagination set on marrying the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Plus, it will do wonders for your back. And what’s more attractive than a gorgeous natural smile and genuine eye contact? Now, for how to actually feel confident.

Forget what the others think

Don’t go following trends or other people’s expectations just to make sure your wedding guests are happy on your big day. It’s YOUR day, and it’s about you and your husband getting married – you’ve got to show each of your personalities, not anyone else’s. Too many brides concern themselves too much with meeting other people’s expectations, from the wedding theme to that ‘dream wedding body’, which is extra stress that those brides just don’t need. If it’s not you, don’t do it!

Don’t overdo it

It’s not uncommon for brides want to take on as many tasks to do with the wedding as possible, if not all of them. You want to be in control of your perfect day, don’t you! However, don’t overdo it! Make the most of your hubby, your friends and your family – hand some tasks over to them to relieve yourself before it’s too late, and you start to resent wedding planning.

Take a break

No matter how much you think you have to do, it’s so important that you take a break from it all from time to time. We mean it! Don’t head home from work and head straight to your laptop to narrow down the different centrepieces you’ve got in mind – do something a bit different. Schedule in a date night for you and your hubby-to-be where wedding chat is totally banned. Nope, no mention of which colour napkins or what wine to serve. It’s will make you feel revived, refreshed and more ready to get back on it, we promise!

Get foody

Eating healthily is not just about losing weight, it’s about feeling great and at your best – aka feeling confident! A balanced diet, full of lots of goodness, is super important to your mood,  and we all want a happy bride, don’t we! Make sure you fight the bad binges that just make you grumpy and feel rubbish; pack your fridge full of good-for-you foods, and snack on fruit and nuts rather than that share bag of Doritos you’ve got in your cupboard…

Boost your endorphins

There are a number of ways to boost your endorphins, and yes, exercise is one. The idea of exercise might send a shiver down your spine, but we’re not necessarily talking hardcore cardio – even going out dancing with your friends can count! That’s not the only fun way to boost those endorphins either: laughter is a booster, music is a booster, and sex is a booster… even more reason to have that date night we talked about

Treat yourself

Just because of that wedding diet or wedding budget that you’ve got going on, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every so often. Yes, that means a little retail therapy or a sneaky Twix or Crunchie bar here and there. You should enjoy yourself now you’re engaged, not punish yourself by banning your favourite pastimes or treats. That’s no fun!

Relax

Planning a wedding isn’t all about running round and doing stuff – that’s just exhausting! You need the nights when you can run yourself a lush bubble bath, sit back and read your favourite wedding magazine. There’s no point in stressing and getting uptight over things that aren’t going to get done, or aren’t playing by your exact plan, because your wedding day will undoubtedly be the best day of your life – even if you’re getting a three tier cake instead of four.

 

The brides wedding speech

Plenty of brides are are grabbing the mic – or asking their bridesmaids or mother to do the honours.

In a recent survey*, it was revealed that more than a fifth of women were planning on giving a speech on their big day.

Whatever the running order, speeches need to be well planned. The good news is that women do tend, to be more organised.

Bride speech subjects

If a bride chooses to make a speech, the first thing she should do is discuss what subjects with her husband-to be, so they don’t go over the same ground in terms of their thank-yous.

So, after thank-yous, what should you be talking about? Your beloved, of course! Their quirks are a welcome topic, especially if it come with a healthy dollop of humour.

Things that should never be said? Never use it as an opportunity to air laundry. It might only last a few minutes, but people can remember speeches forever.

Although tradition dictates that the groom toasts the bridesmaids, it’s likely that a bride will want to talk about her friends too.

The most important thing to remember is to speak slowly, with poise and purpose. Dispel any anxiety by focusing on your new spouse; they’re the reason you’re making a speech in the first place.

And remember, you’re not an actor or comic – you’re you, on the best the day of your life. Speak from the heart and you won’t go far wrong!

The dos and don’ts of speech making

  • Don’t make ‘in jokes’ that are alienating to the majority of your guests
  • Do speak slowly and take your time
  • Don’t feel you have to make ‘gags’ with a punchline
  • Do keep your speech sub-10 minutes. No matter how good it is, you don’t want to run the risk of boring the wedding party and guests
  • Don’t just list people you’d like to thank – add texture to your speech with anecdotes

Planning a Jewish Wedding

There are many traditions to uphold, but they are also lots of fun! So don’t worry. From the kidushin to the chuppah, we’ve got you covered. In short, a Jewish wedding is all about love, family, and commitment. They’re a beautiful blend of tradition and romance, and end with a huge party.

The ceremony for a traditional Jewish wedding generally takes place after sundown on Saturdays, or any time on Sundays. The bride and groom are not allowed to eat until after the ceremony is over.

Before the wedding takes place, the ketubah is signed by the groom, in the company of two witnesses. This is a legally binding Jewish contract, and outlines what the groom is expected to give the bride in the marriage. This includes food, clothes, marital relations, friendship, love, and communication, and outlines that all of these things are necessary to a happy union. Many ketubahs are beautiful pieces of art and are framed and hung in the home.

Next, in a tradition known as badeken, the bride’s face is veiled (usually by the groom) and a prayer is said for her. The couple hasn’t seen each other in at least 24 hours (sometimes up to 7 days) at this point, so it’s usually an emotional moment for both the bride and groom.

The ceremony takes place under a chuppah, or wedding canopy, and is officiated by a rabbi. The chuppah symbolizes the new home that the bride and groom will build together. When the ceremony is starting, the groom is led into the chuppah by the two fathers, while the bride is led by the two mothers, in a tradition called unterfirers. Finally, the bride circles the groom seven times when she arrives at the chuppah. This may come from Jeremiah 31:22 which says “A woman shall surround a man.” The number seven is said to mean perfection or completeness in the Bible.

A traditional chuppah where the Jewish bride and groom will take their vows.

A traditional Jewish wedding has two distinct parts, with the first known as the erusin (betrothal) or kiddushin (holiness). First, two blessings are given before the betrothal. The first is over a cup of wine, which the couple then tastes. The second is the betrothal blessing. Next, the groom is required to give something of value to the bride (usually a ring). The ring should be a plain gold band, to symbolize the simplicity and purity of their love. Lastly, they both exchange rings and vows.

Finally comes the part that almost everyone is familiar with…the breaking of the glass. After the rings and blessings, the groom crushes the glass (usually wrapped in cloth) with his right foot and guests shout “Mazel tov!” which means “congratulations.” In some contemporary weddings, a light bulb is used instead since it’s easier to break. This signifies that the ceremony is over and is greeted with loud cheers and applause from the crowd.

In order to complete the ceremony, seclusion is necessary, so yichud is practiced. This means leaving the bride and groom alone for 10-20 minutes in a room. It can take place in any room, from the rabbi’s study to a synagogue classroom. Husband and wife take some time away from family and friends to reflect on their new vows and the ceremony.