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!

 

Entertainment that’s up close and personal

It’s a sad fact that many people who attend your wedding may not be in the best of health. This may be because of an injury, general sickness or complications related to age but that is not a reason to exclude these attendees from the fun! It’s true that your Great Grandmother might not be able to dance to an Ed Sheeran track any more, but she can still enjoy some wedding entertainment! How? By booking strolling entertainment of course, where the performers come to you!

Living Topiary

If you’re booking a summer wedding then hiring Living Topiary is an absolute must! Perfect for weddings taking place at stately homes like Eltham Palace, or a natural fit for venues like Kew Gardens, Living Topiary are a fun act that will have everybody smiling as they arrive for the ceremony. Perfect for photo opportunities and surprising guests as hedges apparently come alive, they are a hit no matter where they go and are sure to be the most talked about part of your wedding day… Until the vows and speeches of course!

Eyecon Art

Here’s something a little bit different to offer your guests on their wedding day – a high resolution photograph of one of their eyes. We admit it may not seem like a standard form of Wedding entertainment to feature at a wedding, but Eyecon Art is certainly interesting. Not as mobile as a number of other acts, this is still a fascinating and high-tech form of wedding entertainment.

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!

 

Cosy up in these amazing Hotels

Couples can cosy up in some of the UK’s most romantic spots. From Shakespeare’s birthplace, to the town which inspired a royal love story, Macdonald Hotels are the perfect place to spend time together for your wedding venue or just after the wedding for the perfect break.

Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Lake District

On the shores of Lake Windermere has unrivalled views over mature lawns to private jetties and moorings on the lake. The luxury four-star hotel proves a popular choice for romantic getaways and weekend breaks. The hotel is offering a proposal package for guests looking to pop the question. Couples will be able to stay in a suite where they will be greeted with a chilled bottle of Prosecco and chocolates in the room on arrival. The Macdonald team will also be on hand to surprise loved ones with an engagement ring hidden inside Champagne glasses, and beds will be strewn with rose petals as an extra romantic touch.

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, Bath

For couples seeking 5-star luxury, this Hotel offers a romantic getaway in the heart of historic Bath. With landscaped gardens, four poster beds, and a ‘bath butler’ this town which was home to Jane Austen, can create a weekend that even one of the world’s best known romantic fiction writers would be proud of.

Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa, North Berwick

Just half an hour from Edinburgh by train is the beautiful seaside town of North Berwick; renowned for its dramatic coastline as well as independent boutiques and ice cream vendors. This hotel is housed within a glorious 19th Century building; reflecting a time when Romanticism swept through the British art world. Guests can take a windswept walk along the beach or stay cosy indoors and watch the coastline from behind the windows of one of the hotels’ 83 individually styled, luxury rooms. For couples looking to be pampered, the award winning thermal spa boasts a heated indoor pool as well as an outdoor hydro pool.

 

Have a break from Wedding Planning

When planning a wedding, 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.

Here are some of our favourite places to take wedding breaks;

The Scarlet

Perched on a cliff top 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. Prices start from £180 B&B in low season – worth every penny!

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.

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.

 

Polish weddings

In Polish culture, weddings are preceded with engagement celebrations. Those are usually small parties held for the closest family members of the groom and the bride and are meant to get the two families meet and get to know each other better. The engagement dinner party means that both families accept the engagement.

In the past, the engagement ceremony was the time when the future bride received a ring from her beloved partner before the entire family gathering in a very official way, which resembled to some extent the wedding ceremony itself. In recent years, however, that official note has been largely abandoned and a ring is delivered when the future groom pops the question for the first time in a more private setting. The family gathering is just a nice way of informing the family members about the mutual decision once it has been made.

The Polish Wedding Ceremony

For many years, preparations for the Polish wedding ceremony and reception were largely concerned with finding a place for the wedding, organising food, drinks, making guest-list and inviting people to the wedding. In some regions, especially in the countryside, the custom was to invite family, friends, and neighbours in person, so the future groom and bride would devote a lot of time to visiting people before the wedding day. In the modern day, although the tradition prevails in some places, open-minded Polish younger generations and celebrities copy the western examples and some Polish brides and Polish grooms like to hold Hen and Stag parties shortly before the wedding day.

Most Polish weddings take place on Saturdays and continue through Sundays. The marriage ceremony and wedding reception for all guests are held on Saturday, while a smaller, more private party for close friends and family is continued on Sunday. There are no weddings during the 40-day Lent before Easter and during the Advent before Christmas. Those periods of year are believed to be the time dedicated for penance and preparation for the most important Christian holidays, so there is not space for public celebrations and dancing parties. Interestingly enough, there are very few weddings in May as well. This is mostly due to superstition, as many people believe that persons who marry in May are not going to be happy and won’t live together long.

In the church, the bride and the groom walk up the aisle together preceded by their groomsmen and bridesmaids. The parents and other guests are usually already seated when the couple enters the church. Whether the ceremony takes place in church or at a local magistrate, there must be two witnesses of the marriage, who sign the documents alongside of the bride and groom. During the religious ceremony, the traditional in the Western movies kiss basically does not exist. Civil ceremonies are less solemn and usually only the bride and groom, and the witnesses are allowed in the room, so whether they kiss or not, very much remains their private venture.

In Poland, weddings in the countryside are usually much bigger than weddings in the city. The reason for that is simple; in the countryside all people know each other, so most get invited to the wedding unless there is some conflict going on between the families. Thus, weddings in the country are longer and more extravagant because more people attend, and more guest return on the following day to celebrate, eat, drink, and dance some more.

A special moment on the first day of Polish wedding celebrations is when the Polish bride is taken the white veil off and an apron is wrapped around her waist. This symbolizes that she gives up her innocence and accepts her duties as a wife, a hostess, and a mother. Once this tradition is satisfied, the wedding guests give presents to the newlyweds. In most cases, those are congratulation card with money, but other useful household objects are also quite common.

 

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.

 

How best to choose your entertainment

When it comes to choosing wedding entertainment, many have absolutely no idea where to begin. Very few newlyweds have ever been married before so to expect the bride and groom to know how to choose wedding entertainment is ludicrous. Thankfully, we are here to help!

What’s most important to you?

The bride and groom are often exceptionally busy on the wedding day itself so tend to ‘miss out’ on a lot of what’s going on by virtue of having other things to do. While your guests are sipping at champagne, the happy couple will often venture off to have their wedding photos taken. As everybody is enjoying their wedding breakfast, the couple often have to walk between tables as each guest wishes to congratulate them on their day. So what matters most to you? If you’d prefer to have attendees chatting to one another, a magician can help break the ice. If you’d like a fun photo album of your day, booking a photo booth is a must. Have a think and we are certain you’ll be able to prioritise accordingly!

Inside/Outside

Booking wedding entertainment definitely varies depending on whether your wedding is inside or outside. In the summer, you might want to book a strolling acoustic act, but always have a backup idea in place if it starts to rain! If your event is taking place mainly indoors, there will naturally be a few types of wedding entertainment that won’t necessarily work.

Consider your budget

The final consideration to make when it comes choosing wedding entertainment is your budget. Newlyweds don’t want to start married life with a mountain of debt but it does happen so please only book what you can afford. At the end of the day, a wedding is a marvellous celebration of a couple’s love for one another and nothing should get in the way of that. If you can’t afford a function band, then perhaps look at booking a DJ. There are a multitude of options available for any budget so there really is something for everyone.

Restrictions

It’s best to start by looking at the wedding venue you have chosen and working backwards from there. Are there any restrictions in place that might immediately cut down your list into  a more manageable size? Many wedding venues are very old or are situated close to public areas. In this case, they may have a sound limiter which means you probably won’t be able to book that Metallica tribute band you had your eye on. Others might prevent wedding parties from having jugglers or acrobats indoors due to the highly expensive art on the walls. So ask your wedding venue whether they have any restrictions in place before booking wedding entertainment.

Taste

The important thing to remember about your wedding day entertainment is that it is all about you! The bride and groom! There’s no point booking a harpist if you can’t stand the harp (though in all honesty, we not sure any harp haters actually exist) and if you absolutely love card tricks, feel free to book a magician if it’s what you want. Your wedding day is exactly that: your wedding day. Make sure it’s everything you first envisaged after getting engaged!

 

Country weddings

When planning a rustic wedding or a country wedding most brides usually get control over the venue space, the wedding gowns and a few other key details but one thing no bride has control over is the weather. If you are planning a rustic or country style wedding you might find yourself checking the weather in the weeks and days leading up to your wedding. We thought it would be the perfect time to give a few ideas on rainy day wedding must haves! With a wedding, especially one that is planned for outside it is always best to play it safe and have these items on hand

Wellies

You probably will not be able to provide Wellies or rain boots for all your guests but you should check the forecast and if rain looks like it may happen buy some lovely rain boots for your bridesmaids, your flower girls, your mother and fiance’s mother and of course a white pair for yourself. Wellies can look great in your pics and are easy to switch in and out of as you move from one location to another.

Hay

Hay can be a last minute savor for a wedding that has been hit with rain. Adding a layer of hay to an outdoor location like a garden wedding or a rehearsal dinner can soak up the water and help to prevent mud from forming. You can’t exactly break out the hay if the clouds open and rain comes unannounced but it is something you might want to think about in the days before your wedding if you have had some weather come through.

Clear Plastic Tarpaulin

For a very reasonable fee you can get a large clear plastic tarpaulin and keep it on hand to place over items such as your wedding chairs, wedding flowers, your aisle runner and just about anything else that might be wet. Hardware stores stock this at great prices.

 

Would you spend £1,000+ on wedding photography?

The simple answer is £1,200, including your album and disc of images. How much you spend on a wedding photographer really depends on how important the photos are to you. If photos aren’t a priority, don’t be afraid to go for a less expensive photographer or perhaps only get coverage for part of the day. Just make sure you understand the risks!

It’s hard to compare photographers based on price, because so much of what you’re paying for is about the quality of service and personality of your photographer. It’s worth investing in someone who’ll not only take great pictures but help you have a fantastic day, and so we think it’s important to meet them before you book.

If you’re having an overseas wedding, make sure you can communicate with your photographer properly – whether this means getting a translator to be the go-between for you and the photographer, flying a UK-based photographer out to your chosen destination, or choosing an expat who’s based locally.

The last thing you need to be worrying about is whether your photographer knows exactly what you want from the day because there’s a communication issue. 2,000 euros are about the going rate.

When it comes to costs, it’s a simple equation, Wedding photographers can only fit in so many weddings per year while maintaining good customer service, professional development and a smoothly-run business. It’s impossible to pay the bills unless you charge in the region of £1500 a time.

Some will charge slightly less and some a lot more, but a photographer charging under £1,000 must be either an up-and-coming talent or one of the many wedding photographers of whom we hear horror stories from couples who contact me for help after being disappointed with their budget photographer.

There are many talented ‘weekend warrior’ photographers who work a regular nine-to-five job during the week, but who still do a high-quality job at weekend weddings, However, you need to ask if they have invested in the back-up facilities for your images, professional gear and lenses that can shoot in very low light, and public liability and professional indemnity insurance should the worst happen.

Certainly anything less the £1,000 a day is often a recipe for disaster. A full-time wedding photographer with upwards of 200 weddings under their belt should probably be around £1,500 for a full day’s coverage.

Many of the top wedding photographers will be charging more than £2,000 and sometimes over £3,000 for their services, and in my experience, the £2,000 cut-off is quite a telling price point. The most important thing is to check out their portfolio and their coverage of at least three full weddings.

1,000 a day seems to be a ballpark amount to set aside for high-quality photography that you’ll cherish forever.

 

Planning tips for the savvy

Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure. Planning a wedding at the last minute can put you into a bit of a whirlwind of activity, in a good way though. Follow our savvy planning tips and you’ll avoid confusion and stress and enjoy each stage to the max!

Don’t lose sight of your budget

Don’t panic if you’re on a short timescale and overspend, hoping that it will create solutions. If you’re on a tight budget and have very little time, then consider hiring a wedding planner who is likely to pay for themselves anyway. State exactly how much you can afford for a fee and stick to your budget. A wedding planner will be able to negotiate discounts and special rates for you anyway and is more likely to be able to come up with some amazing last-minute solutions for you.

Do it yourself

If you’re having trouble finding a florist who can do your flowers at short notice, then visit a wholesale florist locally to choose your own blooms. Don’t attempt any sort of formal flower arrangement. Instead go for a shabby-chic, rustic sort of look by arranging your flowers and greenery in mismatched vases and bottles.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork

If you’ve decided to rush off and tie the knot abroad then make doubly sure you have all the legal documents you need in place to make this happen. Your passport needs to be valid, with at least six months left before it expires and you’ll need your birth certificate too. In New York we’ve heard of weddings being organised in under a week but in Italy they take about three months!

Finishing touches

These absolutely don’t have to be elaborate, sometimes the simplest thing is best and there’s less to go wrong that way, too. If you’re having a spring or summer wedding you could just sprinkle blossoms or rose petals on the tables to add the wow factor. In winter, put tealights on a mirror in the centre of every table to add a sparkle.

Bridesmaid dresses

Gone are the days when you had to dress each of your bridesmaids in an identical frock, regardless of whether or not it suited them. Now it’s very popular to let your bridesmaids wear different styles of dresses in different shades of the same colour. Let your maids choose their own style of gown that reflects their best features and they’ll be your friends forever and look much more smiley and happy in your photographs.

Getting married last minute is possible – but just keep the above in mind, especially our words on documentation. A lot will depend on the destination in which you’re getting married, so check local requirements and make sure you’ll qualify in time.

That said, getting married last minute is very romantic and very duable. Plus, you’re going to be Mr & Mrs just that little bit sooner!