Beach themed weddings

Many absolutely adore heading to the seaside as a relaxing day out away from the troubles of modern life. Be it diving head first into the waves or sprawling out on your towel, it’s fair to say that we as a nation love going to the beach – we even spend money to sit on the sand abroad – but have you ever considered a seaside themed wedding?

You can’t actually get married on the beach in the UK without jumping through a few hoops. As such, it might be better to merely theme your wedding around the seaside instead, opting to exchange vows at a cliff-side stately home.

Strolling entertainment

A strolling musical act is a very popular act of all – For example you could book a strolling act comprising two guitarists and a saxophonists, the group have a pre-prepared repertoire that they hand out to guests as they stroll about your wedding venue. Like the look of a song on their sheet? Request it! A bit like a live walking jukebox. We can readily assure you that guests will not stop talking about your wedding day for many months to come!

Acoustic Band

An acoustic band is perfect for the beach because let’s face it, electronics and water don’t really mix. Or rather, they do mix a little too well and that is very dangerous for all concerned. A summer party down on the sand after your wedding ceremony might just be the order of the day and with this in mind, they can stroll around with your guests and everybody can have a marvellous time!

Mermaids

Let’s be honest, a wedding is often a somewhat magical affair and to that end, why not take it from the realm of reality by hiring a mermaid or two to swim elegantly in the waves? At first, guests won’t be totally sure of what they’ve seen but after getting a glimpse or two of the tail, we are sure they’ll absolutely love the surprise! A fascinating act that is performed by experienced aqua performers, your wedding photos will be a sight to see, keep this in mind when planning your wedding entertainment.

Ice Cream Van

What’s a trip to the seaside without an ice cream? No trip to the beach is complete without a Mr. Whippy with 99 flake or a few scoops in a cone and your wedding is the perfect timing to hand one out to everybody! With the sun beaming on your wedding day and the sea breeze cooling everybody down, an ice cream will surely make a welcome change from the bottles of fizz doing the rounds!

 

Original places to get married in London

You might be thinking that you and your bride or husband-to-be want something a little bit different from your wedding venue. Out with the church or marquee wedding and in with… Well, some inspiring and incredible London wedding venues that you never knew were available to you! Thespians, animal lovers and more will adore this quick feature on amazing places to get married in London!

London Zoo

Are you a fan of animals? If you’ve ever wanted to get married amongst reptiles,

mammals and various other members of the animal kingdom then getting married at London Zoo might be the thing for you! A unique venue in the heart of central London’s Regent’s Park, there’s nothing quite like getting married at a zoo and all profits from your celebration go directly to helping critically endangered animals.

Fortnum & Mason

Did you know that there are a number of private wedding venues you can book at Fortnum & Mason for a dinner and that you can actually celebrate your wedding within the world famous building? You can! From the tiny but exclusive Crypt to the luxurious splendour of the Boardroom (don’t go thinking about the Apprentice!), there really are a number of high end spaces to choose from for your wedding venue.

The Globe Theatre

Imagine walking down the aisle in a building beloved by tourists and theatregoers all around the world? Imagine the footsteps that have walked on the very spot where you say your vows, reciting various lines from Shakespeare, perhaps even berating him for a line change. Yes, you can get married in the Globe Theatre on London’s Southbank and for those that love theatre and the arts, we can’t think of a better location. Met your better half at drama school? This is the wedding venue for you!

The Gherkin

If you’re a fan of heights and iconic London architecture, then the Gherkin has to be a top choice for your wedding shortlist! The very top is completely off limits to the public so if you’re a person who’s a little put off by the hordes of people at the Sky Garden or The Shard, this is definitely the venue for you. With a stunning 360 degree viewing area, it’s less “I do!” and more “I view!”

 

Romantic honeymoon ideas

There are many wonderful places to go on honeymoon why not make it as romantic as you can:

Make the most of your honeymoon and explore your beautiful holiday island taking you to wonderful places of interest where there are sunset bars or take a catamaran cruise, or a classic gondola. You can both experience the most beautiful sunsets in the world, together.

A romantic meal for two;

Don’t scrimp on this, enjoy fine dining and experience tastes that you have never tasted before, from a selection of both elegantly casual and formal restaurants, where service is attentive yet unimposing, where creativity and presentation of gourmet cuisine is proudly supervised with passion by the world’s most celebrated chefs.

If you don’t fancy dressing up and want to give the fine dining a miss, go bohemian and have a barefoot chic evening! From a Beach Grill, throughout the night you can have casual dining and be being served delicious local specialities and the catch of the day.

The ultimate in romance is the intimate, private dining experiences on the beach, with just tiki torches and stars twinkling down on you whilst being served by your personal attentive waiter. Combine that with your favourite cocktail, wine, or a glass of champagne while you listen to the Caribbean gently welcoming another stunning sunrise, and you’ll know you’re in paradise!

Spa treat;

And don’t forget to book a pampering day for the two of you.  There are many holiday packages that have this included; massages, hot tubs, facials, this would be such a wonderful intimate thing to have together.  Just maybe, this could be the last relaxing holiday you have for a while before the patter of little feet will take up much of your time!

So, when planning a wedding don’t forget to plan a honeymoon to remember..

 

Original British Weddings

Choosing a quirky, unique and statement Wedding Venue is a fundamental ingredient if you want to make sure that your big day stands out. To ignite your imagination, we’ve picked some of the UK’s most exciting, original and quirky wedding venues to inspire you.

The Caves, Edinburgh

Deep in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, weddings of 65 to 130 day guests and up to 450 evening guests can be held in the Caves, licensed for civil, humanist, religious and handfasting ceremonies. This unique wedding venue makes up the sub-structure of the 18th Century South Bridge: remains of the houses that pre-date the bridge, with the original terracotta floor tiles still intact, can be seen here. Steeped in Scottish tradition, there was once so much whisky stored in the Caves that it became known as “Whisky Row”.

Christie’s Bistro, Manchester

Christie’s Bistro is set in a Manchester city Centre building dating back to 1890 when it was constructed as the new Study of Education. For much of the 20th century it housed Manchester University’s principle science library. Now converted into a bistro, it is still steeped in the institution’s history and character, with portraits of previous vice chancellors gracing the walls and endless rows of original books and documents. A hugely popular wedding venue, the bistro is still used frequently by university staff and students.

Spitbank Fort, Portsmouth

If you want to feel absolutely exclusive — and a little out to sea — Spitbank Fort could be the ultimate choice. The definition of “quirky venue”, Spitbank is a gun emplacement built to protect the British fleet when Britannia ruled the waves. Today it is described as a “luxurious cocoon of indulgence, privacy and exclusivity”. With nine bedroom suites, a rooftop hot pool and sauna and a stylish Officer’s Mess for dining, the imaginative restoration offers wedding parties a unique taste of life at sea.

Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Liverpool

For fans of British music — and the Beatles — this is the ultimate wedding party venue: but Fab Four aside, this contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of Liverpool is worth considering even if you’re not Beatle maniacs. Couples can marry in the “Two of Us” wedding suite, celebrate in a private themed bar and function room, and — for a luxurious wedding night — you could book the McCartney Suite, which pays tribute to Sir Paul’s work in music and the arts, or the Lennon Suite, which features a stunning white piano against a white backdrop.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London.

One of London’s most exciting venues, St Pancras Renaissance offers the romance of a golden age of rail travel. A celebrated destination, on the lovingly revamped St Pancras station site, it sets the stage for “a wedding day laced with historic charm”. Embracing Victorian style and tradition, the passion that went into the hotel’s creation and restoration envelops wedding ceremonies here, as does the venue’s gracious version of contemporary London hospitality.

Altitude 360, London

If you want a wedding with a view, Altitude 360 could be the one. Based in Westminster, across five floors of Millbank Tower, you and your guests can savour 360 degree views of London. The venue is licensed for wedding ceremonies and receptions across all event spaces, and the views that will mesmerise your guests are just part of the experience; by day, sunlight pours in through wrap-around windows and glitters across white marble floors; by night, the shimmering lights of London create a spectacular backdrop.

 

Wedding and festival season

Here’s our quick guide, to create a Glastonbury festival themed celebration for your own big day. It’s ideal for laid-back couples who favour fun and characterful touches over outdated traditions.

Plan a Glastonbury festival themed wedding and it won’t just look great, it’ll be the most fun wedding your guests have ever attended! So book your tipi and let’s get planning…

One of the beauties of throwing a Glastonbury festival themed wedding in a tipi or yurt is that you get lots of ceiling height for hanging decorations. Cluster colourful pom poms together for a fun, festival vibe. Then, add atmosphere as night falls with endless strings of festoon lights, both inside the tent and outdoors too…

Illuminated oversized letters are a trend that took the wedding world by storm and never really let up. They’re also big news at festivals, so we think purchasing some giant letters for your own Glastonbury festival themed wedding is a must! For a twist on the theme, you could always try letter balloons, or go pint-sized with a letter block guest book.

One of the most important elements of any Glastonbury festival themed wedding reception is the wedding entertainment. Make sure guests are clued up on all the food and festivities to come with an illuminated chalkboard. This line-up of fish and chips followed by fireworks and dancing has us tempted…

 

The Best Places To Wed

BEST BARN VENUE

Cruck Barn, Arley Hall, Cheshire

When planning a Wedding; Barn weddings are perennially popular, and the Cruck Barn at Cheshire Arley Hall is hard to beat if you’re looking for a venue that blends history with contemporary style. The Grade-I listed, timber-framed barn dates back to the 1400s and is set in 18 acres of formal gardens with a lime tree avenue, arboretum and woodland walks. The atmosphere is warm and intimate, over owing with charm and character.

BEST OUTDOOR WEDDING VENUE

Sheene Mill, Royston, Hertfordshire

This 16th-century watermill is set on the banks of the River Mel in beautifully landscaped gardens. Take your vows in the picturesque outdoor gazebo, and relax over wedding reception drinks on the lakeside decking. The grounds are spectacular year-round, with banks of snowdrops in winter, bright seasonal flowers in summer, and vibrant autumn leaves. The Garden Conservatory overlooks the millpond, populated by families of wildfowl, including Will, the venue’s resident trumpeter swan.

BEST COASTAL VENUE

The Alexandria, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Prepare to be blown away by the incredible views from the Alexandra, renowned as one of Dorset’s best boutique hotels. The Alexandra looks out across Cobb Harbour to the world heritage Lyme Regis bay and the Jurassic coast beyond, the inspiration for many a romantic story, lm and TV series…

There’s road-free access to the beach: a stunning backdrop for wedding photos. The hotel itself is a haven of English style and charm and has racked up an impressive portfolio of awards and accolades from the press and tourist boards.

BEST SETTING

Blair Castle, Pitlochry, Scottish Highlands

If you’re looking for a venue within a setting that’ll take your guests’ breath away, you’ll be hard pressed to find better than Blair Castle. For over 700 years, it’s carved a fascinating history that even involves Queen Victoria and Bonnie Prince Charlie… The 13th-century castle is now a five-star wedding location – offering an array of historic interiors, contemporary spaces and spectacular gardens. On the outside this authentic Scottish castle is surrounded by extensive grounds and gardens, lochs, rivers and glens.

BEST LARGE SCALE VENUE

Hylands Estate Chelmsford, Essex

Struggling to whittle your guest list down? It’s not a problem at Hylands, which can host weddings for up to 300 people. The Grade-II* listed mansion has a wealth of spaces for your celebration, including the majestic Banqueting Room with its silk lined walls, gold plated detailing and views over the Serpentine Lake. If you’re looking for something more modern, check out the Grand Pavilion, a contemporary space with oor-to-ceiling windows and courtyard views, ideal for large receptions.

 

Short UK Honeymoon breaks

Wedding breaks are fast becoming a must for newlyweds. They’re not a minimoon for a few days or a honeymoon or a week abroad. Wedding breaks are a post-wedding, pre-honeymoon getaway for a night or two, somewhere nice, near home.

When you’ve kicked off your Wedding shoes, here are some of our favourite places to take wedding breaks;

The Scarlet

Perched on a clifftop overlooking the stunning beach at Mawgan Porth, The Scarlet is a luxurious hotel perfectly positioned on the Cornish coast. Cornwall is filled with pretty villages to visit and views to swoon over, but if you fancy something more active, it’s the perfect place to learn to surf. The hotel can arrange private lessons or why not join the surf school?

Not to be missed during your stay is The Scarlet Spa, where total indulgence awaits. The Spa focuses on wellbeing as well as beauty, offering a fab range of eco-friendly treatments. With chic interior design and furniture, plus the comfiest beds around, you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep here. They have 37 stunning bedrooms in the hotel spread out over five floors. Each room boasts its own outside space, from private terraces to balconies – perfect for watching the sun go down together. Prices start from £180 B&B in low season – worth every penny!

Radisson Edwardian Heathrow

Just two miles from Heathrow airport, the Radisson Edwardian Heathrow is the perfect stop-over for early-morning honeymoon flights and wedding breaks. This slick West End-style venue has a lively atmosphere that’s buzzing until the early hours. The Pegasus Health Spa and Gymnasium is the perfect place to begin unwinding after your big day. Expect to be pampered with a huge variety of treatments on offer, ranging from herbal saunas to massages and facials.

For the rooms, try The Presidential Suite – it’s perfect for wedding breaks for newlyweds. The other 458 rooms and suites boast all mod cons plus rich fabrics and marble bathrooms. This looks more like a chic central London hotel than an airport stopover. Prices start from £125 for a double room.

Peak Edge Hotel

The Peak Edge Hotel is the gateway to the Peak District in Derbyshire. Aside from the panoramas of rolling dales from every window, there is great local food cooked to perfection in the adjoining 17th-century inn, beautifully designed décor and an extensive activities package to keep you busy here. There are 27 brand new boutique bedrooms with picturesque views and sumptuous finishes. Bathrooms boast double-ended baths, rain showers and underfloor heating. You’ll also find LED flat screen TVs, decadent bedding and Wi-Fi internet to enjoy inside.

Blakes Hotel

Blakes in London is the sort of hotel that makes you want to stay in your room, sipping Champagne, indulging in room service! Locally you’ll find shops galore on Kensington Church Street, and Harrods is a short taxi ride away, as are the V&A and Natural History Museums. Each of the 47 rooms is designed by internationally acclaimed designer Anouska Hempel, and each is daringly different. We recommend the Corfu Suite, which boasts a huge four-poster bed, a separate dressing room, huge bathroom, wooden floors and distressed white mother of pearl embossed furniture.

The Royal Scots Club

The Royal Scots Club is a members’ club situated in one of Edinburgh’s finest Georgian streets. It’s about a two-minute walk from the main shopping areas of Edinburgh, and it takes about 25 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport by car.

It’s quite a formal place to stay, oozing sophistication and class. It’s perfect for couples looking for privacy. There is no place for jeans and t-shirts here, especially at dinner time. The restaurant serves indulgent dishes, which are an absolute must try. The decadent decor, beautiful furnishings and the luxurious rooms create a cosy country manor house feel, despite their size. Accommodation prices start from £140 per room for bed and breakfast based on two sharing.

 

Romantic Honeymoons

When planning a wedding is over, make the most of your honeymoon and explore your beautiful holiday island taking you to wonderful places of interest where there are sunset bars or take a catamaran cruise, or a classic gondola. You can both experience the most beautiful sunsets in the world, together.

There are many wonderful places to go on honeymoon and some of the most romantic can be Italy, The Seychelles or The Caribbean.

A romantic meal for two

Don’t scrimp on this, enjoy fine dining and experience tastes that you have never tasted before, from a selection of both elegantly casual and formal restaurants, where service is attentive yet unimposing, where creativity and presentation of gourmet cuisine is proudly supervised with passion by the world’s most celebrated chefs.

If you don’t fancy dressing up and want to give the fine dining a miss, go bohemian and have a barefoot chic evening! From a Beach Grill, throughout the night you can have casual dining and be being served delicious local specialities and the catch of the day.

The ultimate in romance is the intimate, private dining experiences on the beach, with just tiki torches and stars twinkling down on you whilst being served by your personal attentive waiter. Combine that with your favourite cocktail, wine, or a glass of champagne while you listen to the Caribbean gently welcoming another stunning sunrise, and you’ll know you’re in paradise!

Spa treat

And don’t forget to book a pampering day for the two of you.  There are many holiday packages that have this included; massages, hot tubs, facials, this would be such a wonderful intimate thing to have together.  Just maybe, this could be the last relaxing holiday you have for a while before the patter of little feet will take up much of your time!

 

Church Weddings

With more UK wedding venues available than ever, saying your vows in a church is no longer the norm. But for many couples. When planning a wedding a church wedding is still an essential and traditional part of the big day.

So with around a third of UK couples still choosing a religious ceremony, here’s our beginner’s guide to booking a wedding ceremony in church:

What are the legal requirements for a church wedding?

Couples must be 18 to marry without their parents’ consent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or 16 with their approval. The ceremony must take place between 8am and 6pm, witnessed by two people.

In Scotland it’s legal to marry from 16 without consent and at any time of day, although you do still require two witnesses.

Most marriages require banns to be published before the wedding, signifying your intention to marry. These need to be read out in the parish where each of you lives, as well as the church where you’ll be married for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding.

If there isn’t enough time for this, you can apply for a license costing from £200, which you may also need if one of the couple isn’t British or lives outside England. In Scotland, you need to give 15 days’ notice with the local registrar.

Are the rules different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Yes — Scotland in particular has different laws than England and Wales, while there are stricter residency requirements in Northern Ireland. Catholic churches also differ, for example, needing a dispensation if one person is not Catholic but not requiring the banns to be read.

Can I get married in any church?

For a Wedding ceremony in England and Wales, you can marry in any church if you meet one of several conditions: that either of you has lived or attended services in the parish for at least six months, was baptized or prepared for confirmation there, that one of your parents or grandparents was married in the parish, or one of your parents has lived or attended services there for at least six months after you were born. If you’ve recently moved, you’ll be eligible to marry in your new parish too.

In Scotland, there are no residency requirements so you can marry in any church you choose. In practice, it may depend on availability and the individual minister who’s likely to want to meet couples who aren’t members of the church beforehand.

In Northern Ireland, one of the couple must be resident in the district where you plan to marry for at least 14 days before being eligible, unless you apply for a special licence

Do I have to attend church before I can get married there?

Not for a Church of England ceremony, although if your heart is set on marrying in a church where you have no connections, attending services for six months — even a single service each month — would allow this.

How far in advance should I book a UK church ceremony?

Churches can become booked up several months in advance, so ask the vicar or church office as early as possible, especially for popular dates. Many churches won’t arrange weddings during Lent, although this doesn’t apply to Catholic ceremonies.

Can I use my own vows in church?

Not in England and Wales, where legally no part of the wedding vows can be changed. However it’s possible to include poems, readings or songs which have a special significance in the service, depending on the individual vicar. In Scotland, you can vary the traditional forms or write your own with the minister’s approval.

 

Beautiful outdoor venues

When planning a wedding outdoor wedding venues give you so many more options when it comes to location and usually provides beautiful scenery. On the other hand, there are so many more potential problems and obstacles that can arise by having an outdoor wedding. This is mainly due to the fact that you never know for sure what on earth the weather is going to do. So here are some tips for planning an outdoor wedding.

Prepare for the Weather

Once you have chosen a location, you will need to set a date. While setting the date, keep in mind of what the weather is like there during that time of year. The UK is a little unpredictable we know, but although it may be raining in the summer it’s usually a nice temperature.

Prepare accordingly for the potential weather and have a backup location in case the rain tries to spoil your day. One item that can really save the day is a marquee. A marquee can save you from light rain and can help shade your guests on a hot, sunny day. A marquee isn’t the cure all for all rain though; if it is a downpour, the ground under the marquee will get soggy and muddy. You’ll still want to have a backup, indoor location just in case. Another weather factor you need to take into consideration is the wind. When choosing wedding hair and makeup, relate to your hairdresser that you’re going to have an outdoor wedding. The stylist will be sure to give you a fantastic look that won’t be blowing away in the wind.

Location

You will need to decide which location you want to have the wedding at. Have you had your heart set on a beachfront wedding at sunset ever since you were a little girl dreaming about your wedding? Or maybe you prefer a more rustic, woodsy setting. The options are endless: at the park where you shared your first kiss, in your back garden, or at the cinema, the list goes on and on!

Once you choose your location, go through the proper procedures. Be sure no one has booked the area for another wedding or event. If the site is public property, get a permit to hold your wedding. Most parks and public beaches require a permit. Also, check with the council on what the rules and regulations are on rubbish removal, and if you can have candles, etc.

Accommodating Your Guests

Be sure to take care of your guests. If it’s going to be a hot day, have fans and bottled water available to your guests. Be mindful of your guests when you’re setting up the seating, etc. Make sure they’re not blinded by the sun the entire ceremony. It’s also nice to give them some notice in the invitation what to expect. For example, suggest they wear comfortable shoes for sand or soft ground or to bring sunscreen or a sun hat for a bright day.

Keep your guests in mind on a few other notes as well. With an outdoor ceremony, you’ll discover a lot of extra noise all around, whether it be the waves coming ashore or the wind blowing through the trees. Work with your band or DJ to get a wireless microphone or some sort of sound system set up for you.

Don’t Forget!

Here are some things you may or may not think about while you’re planning, but are important to help your day go as smoothly as possible. Have ample seating for your guests both at the ceremony and reception. There are a lot of wedding suppliers out there, and most of them also offer linens, chair covers and marquees. Linens and chair decor are great ways to boost the overall look. If you’re holding the reception outdoors as well, you’ll more than likely need to rent a dance floor.

An outdoor wedding is a beautiful way to have your special day. Keep in mind these suggestions when planning. Also, take tips and advice from any of your vendors (photographers/ videographers) who have worked outdoor events. They have the experience and know about situations that can arise.