Don’t be conventional

1. Walk Down Memory Lane
Make the guest feel like integral parts of the day by incorporating them into the décor — in a gallery of meaningful photos. Why not hang pictures of the bride and groom with friends and family along the walk from the ceremony to the reception. It’s a fun cocktail party conversation starter.” As guests take a leisurely stroll and find pictures of themselves with you, they can reminisce and socialize.

2. Break the Ice Creatively
When you enter your reception for the first time as husband and wife, don’t just take a conventional arm-in-arm stroll. “Run. Skip. Dance. Swoop in on a rope swing! Brainstorm with your groom about the most creative, appropriate way to make a big impression. This is a great way to break the ice and set up for a fun vibe for the rest of the event.
3. Play Party Games
How about the menus being puzzles, so each person got one piece of the puzzle at their place setting, then everyone had to put the pieces together to get the full menu description. Crossword puzzles are fun for the back of a program or if you have guests going on a long bus ride to get to the wedding reception venue.

4. Be Entertaining
Guests always love the energy of a live band but tend to want to hear the original artist sing their favourite tunes. As a compromise, a bride may hire a dance band but also play DJ music during the breaks, or she’ll arrange to have live music during some parts of the event and recorded music during others.

5. Surprise them!
Love poems from a book makes a wonderful, lasting guest favour that’s much more meaningful that a bag of sugared almonds! If you buy in bulk, you might get a discount — contact your bookseller directly. And don’t forget to add a personalized bookmark thanking your friends and family for sharing your big day with you.”

Guests Dos and Don’ts

Brides often worry about some guests that may not behave and are worried about how to approach the issue of the Grooms (or her) relatives or others that may not behave well. Here is a list a do’s and don’ts for guests. We dare you to include a print-out in your wedding invitations!

1. RSVP on Time

Hi guest! You’ll notice on your wedding invitation there’s a date for RSVPs to be in by. That deadline is there for a reason, so please make sure you get back to us by then. The seating plan is hard enough to sort without all of the RSVP’S!

2. No Kids Means No Kids

You might notice your wedding invitation is addressed to just you and your partner. As much as we love little Cosmo and Chrysanthemum, we’ve decided to have a child-free wedding. No exceptions. Not even for children as delightful as yours. Don’t ask. (This goes for everyone – if the name isn’t on the invitation, they NOT invited.)

3. Don’t Wear White

Or ivory, or cream. Steer clear of those colours, and even more so if lace is involved too. You can wear your nice white lace dress to any event of the year. Brides get one day to wear their nice white lace dress. Don’t ruin it.

4. Don’t Wear Black

Black is a bit funeral-esque, and traditionally wearing black was a way to protest against the marriage. So unless you not-so-secretly wish the bride was marrying you, put your black tie back on the rack and pick out a more jaunty floral one.

5. Just Obey the Dress Code in General

Unless the wedding invitation states that there’s an informal dress code, don’t assume there is one. That means no jeans! Yes, they’re comfy and you can do an awesome slide-across-the-room-on-your-knees in them, but it’s not the time or the place.

6. No Last Minute Change of Plan

If you’ve said you’re going, unless it’s a serious emergency or you’re horribly, contagiously ill, do not even think of cancelling. Likewise, if you said you’re not attending, don’t even think about rocking up to the wedding breakfast unannounced. Even if you bring an awesome gift. Come to the evening party (with the gift).

7. Switch Your Phone Off

Picture the scene, the registrar is guiding the couple through their vows, the bride is delicately wiping tears of happiness from her eyes and…what’s that? ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears starts blaring out. Oh, that’s your phone? TURN IT OFF.

8. Don’t get in the Photographer’s Way

So you have over 500 followers on Instagram? You’re still not the photographer the couple hired for their big day, so don’t get in their way, wielding your iPhone. Or iPad. But no one would actually bring an iPad to a wedding, right…?

9. Think about Your Hat

If you’re wearing a hat to the wedding, good for you. More people should wear hats. But be considerate when choosing it – a tall hat will block views at the ceremony and a wide hat will eclipse guests during the group pictures.

10. Don’t Smuggle in Alcohol

You’re not going for a night out in Oceana. You’re going to a fancy wedding, where the couple have paid a considerable amount to host you, and may be limited by corkage charges. Don’t risk getting them fined or getting yourself thrown out for the sake of a few Malibu miniatures in your clutch bag.

11. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol

There’s a fine line between dancing with your friends and taking some hilarious photo booth pictures, but if you start to cry, swear or be sick, you’ve gone too far. No one wants to be the person who wrote a rude message in the sentimental guest book after one too many Sambuca’s.

12. Behave Yourself

You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and decide to steal some of the décor (at least we hope not), so resist the urge to make off with one of the carefully assembled centrepieces or inhale the helium from a giant balloon before giving an impromptu speech. Unless you’re invited to, in which case, knock yourself out

13. Do Not Touch the Seating Plan

I know Uncle Jerry is a bit boring, but if you’re sat by him – tough luck! The couple have spent hours working out their seating plan and you can’t even begin to imagine the logistics. If you switch place cards for whatever reason, all hell could break loose.

14. Try Not to Sulk

There’s a thing about wedding season – lots of wedding tend to happen. If you’re marrying at a similar time to a friend, don’t be upset if they, like you, have gone for a rustic theme or a similar dress. It happens! No one will notice, unless you point it out.

15. Consider the Environment

Everyone loves the confetti shot – it’s so much fun! But be considerate and choose biodegradable confetti. It’s nicer for the environment and avoids the happy couple getting whacked with any fines for flouting the venue’s rules.

16. You get what you’re given

Don’t moan about the menu choices to the couple. It’s their wedding and they’re footing the bill, so it’s only fair they’re allowed to eat their favourite wedding foods. As long as they’ve catered for any dietary requirements, you can’t complain. And don’t try and ask for different food on the day anyway. It won’t happen.

17. Try Not to Be an Entertainment Hog

It’s fine to request a song or two, but be wary of being the guest who hassles the DJ or band with an endless stream of requests, or commandeers the iPod playlist to introduce everyone to your favourite experimental jazz band. It’s quite likely the couple will have a playlist worked out – now is not the time for experimental jazz. We’re not actually sure there’s ever a time for experimental jazz.

18. Have Fun!

It seems like a lot of rules and diva demands, but really it’s just courtesy and common sense! Be happy for the newlyweds and enjoy yourself!

Church Wedding

With more UK wedding venues available than ever, saying your vows in a church is no longer the norm. But for many couples, 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.

NB: Marriage and Civil Partnership laws are changing from March 2015 when it comes to giving notice. Find out more!

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 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.

Do I have to be religious to have a church wedding?

Not necessarily. The Church of England says anyone is “welcome to have a Church of England wedding, regardless of your beliefs… as vicars understand that spiritual beliefs are complex and varied”.

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.

How much will a church ceremony cost?

The legal fee for marrying in 2015 costs £486 in England and around £500 in Wales, which covers expenses for calling the banns, the certificate, vicar and church. Extras such as having an organist, bells, choir or flowers — as well as heating — will incur an additional cost. In Scotland and Northern Ireland there are no fixed costs.

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.

Can I decorate a church with my own flowers?

Yes. Most churches will be able to recommend someone, but you can also use your own florist. It’s worth discussing any plans for large displays with the vicar to check they won’t cause any problems during the ceremony.

What happens during a church wedding rehearsal?

The rehearsal is a chance for the bride and groom, as well as bridesmaids, the best man and any family and friends who are involved in the ceremony, to run through the service and make sure everyone knows what to expect.

Will my guests be allowed to throw confetti outside the church?

The rules on throwing confetti vary from church to church so it’s worth asking whether or not confetti is allowed so that you can inform your guests in advance. If confetti is not allowed then the church might allow a natural or bio-degradable substitute.

Can I have my reception in the church hall?

Yes, although it depends on the individual church and their facilities. However you can also arrange the reception at another venue if you prefer.

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.


Wedding Planners

There are a million incredible wedding and party planners, so when planning a wedding and hiring wedding planners, make sure that your planners do all the the things listed below. This will enable your big day and the run up to the big day to be as stressless a possible:

Certain criterias on your checklist should  include…

- Optional services, like day of planning, wedding PA’s, and complete planning. Making your planner available to fit your unique needs.

- Boutique and high style planners who have an artistic eye and stay current with the newest trends in weddings. No taffeta and puff sleeves for you!

- LGBTQ+and denominationally friendly and experienced services. Your wedding is all about you, your traditions, and your lifestyle.

- Openly communicative. Readily adaptable, with a wide range of vender relations. It’s important that your planner have good contacts so you can get the vendors that perfectly fit your vision.

- Easy to book and not so busy that your needs will come second to anyone else. Experience is necessary, but you have to be sure that you and your wedding is the main priority of the planner.

- Good value for money. Weddings aren’t cheap, but the right planner can save you quite a bit of money.

All of these criteria make perfect sense when choosing a wedding planner in London. It’s important that, ultimately, your day is stress free, fun, beautiful, and exactly as you’ve pictured it since you were a little girl. So here are our favorites to help you celebrate your special day in style!


Bridal Accessories

Mix and match

Wedding Hair accessories can be a big outlay for something that you will only wear once. Instead of one expensive tiara, why not opt for a lower cost small bridal comb and a few pins or clusters of grips? These can be arranged in groups to create a high-impact look for less. Mix and match the styles to create an elaborate big day finish.

Make an investment

Why not spend your wedding accessories budget on a few key pieces of bridal jewellery that you will wear again and again long after your wedding day? Even a statement and more expensive piece of bridal jewellery will effectively cost less if you wear it lots of times!

Perfect presents

It is wonderful to include family members and friends in your wedding planning. So why not ask them if they would treat you to your bridal jewellery for your next birthday or Christmas present? People are often stuck for gift ideas and love to be part of your wedding preparations.

Double up!

Make your bridesmaids’ accessories their thank you gifts. Simply tell them you have their jewellery sorted and give them a wonderful surprise on the big day. It also ensures that your girls will be wearing accessories which fit in with your wedding theme.

Shop wisely

Make your pennies go further by shopping carefully. For the money you are spending on a particular piece of jewellery, is there another supplier offering something similar but with higher quality components such as real pearls instead of faux or glass ones?


A perfect wedding experience

Planning a wedding can be a stressful time and the last thing you want the night before the big day is a bad night’s sleep as excitement and nerves run high. Hotel Venues usually try to give wedding guests a perfect wedding experience, and ensure everything runs smoothly  – even if it does mean giving up your trousers from time to time!”

Some wedding requests that Hotel members have been asked to do are:

  • The night porter lending his trousers to the best man who left his at home
  • Taking the lead in a wedding band when the original singer lost his voice
  • Helping the best man write and practice his speech
  • Transforming the lobby into a hairdressers for two elderly wedding guests who couldn’t get to the local salon in time
  • Lending wedding rings for the ceremony after the bride and groom left theirs at home
  • Teaching the groom the fox trot in the corridor the night before the big day
  • Becoming the official wedding photographer of the ceremony after the original photographer was stuck in traffic
  • Concealing and escorting a bridal party from the hotel to the venue without any of the family seeing
  • Chauffeuring the couple from ceremony venue to reception venue in a team members Ferrari
  • Making the perfect bouquet for the bride using flowers from a team members own garden after the wrong arrangement was delivered by the florist

If you book reputable Hotel chain for your wedding venue we are sure that any request can be catered for, and will be happy to help (whatever the circumstances!!!)


The Best Man

Many years ago, pre medieval times, the groom’s best man stood beside the bride at the altar. He assumed his position at the side of the bride as protection throughout the wedding ceremony. What was the meaning behind the protection? Is it not the best man’s’ job just to throw a huge bachelors party, and say a few kind words at the reception?

The best man was traditionally a friend of the groom, and asked by the groom to be the chief guardian of the bride during the time preceding the wedding. He in turn would appoint mutual friends to help with the duty of protecting the bride and seeing to it that she got to the wedding on time and unscathed. This is the origin of the best man and groomsmen, or traditionally called “The brides knights”.

Of course, scandal wasn’t uncommon in the Anglo-Saxon days of Great Britain. And on occasion it has been told that the Best Man with the assistance of his groomsmen would kidnap the bride. Some could interpret this as being an act of selfishness or unkind, others might detail a different story. Most marriages in the dark ages were still arranged and courtship was granted by the father of the bride to better the family status. Thus, potential suitors would be pitted against each other; similar to applying for a job. Your letter to the father would outline your traits, qualities and suitability to wed his daughter.

Of course, the daughters were still given a lot of freedom and allowed to marry in most instances where they too consented. But in the cases where the parents did not approve, they would see their daughter kidnapped by the groomsmen and guarded until married.

Of course the family would take action and try to dispel the marriage, even whilst the two delinquents were at the altar! Hence you will find that the Groom would stand to the right of the bride at the altar so his sword could be drawn quickly to defend his position in marriage. And the best man would guard the bride by standing on the brides other side until the vows had been completed.


DIY weddings

Menu Cards

Handwritten Menu cards are a perfect place setting piece of design and for weddings on a budget whether created by yourself or someone else, can be a cost effective way to stylise your order of day in a way that ticks the boxes of your theme and decor too!

Welcome/Introduction Boards

Whether on chalkboards, mirrors or wooden boards, welcome words at the entrance to your reception are great ways to give your guests directions, enforce style or simply share the love of the happy couple. Finish off with soft and silvery foliage with stems of flowers in your bouquet to carry through your colour and look.

Reception/Table Decor

Source vintage and unique decor pieces to frame romantic messages to personalise your reception venue and decor. Your Wedding is a beautiful day, adorn it with beautiful things!

Planning your own handmade wedding is deciding where and how you can add personalised touches. It’s so enjoyable to create your own pieces and its great for everyone to try it themselves.

Modern Signwriting creates a beautiful, simple effect, and once you have mastered the basics you can apply it in many ways and across many other occasions!

TOP TIPS Mastering faux calligraphy is essential to achieve beautiful Modern Signwriting.

Practice individual letters over and over before tackling words to get a feel for how the letters flow.

Lightly sketch your design onto your item first with a soft art pencil – This will be easy to remove afterwards and less likely to scratch your item.


The Night Before Your Wedding

The day is almost here! After all that planning, you’re going to be feeling a mixture of excitement and nervousness because your big day is actually happening… tomorrow!

To make sure you’re not feeling too lost in excitement, we’ve put together the things you should do the night before your wedding day.

Wash your hair

Whether you’re getting in a professional wedding hairdresser to do your ‘do for your wedding day, or if you’re keeping it in house and getting one of your bridesmaids to bring along their curlers and clips, washing your hair the night before will make sure your a lot easier to work with. Yes, freshly washed hair means it will still smell like your apple shampoo and conditioner as well as shine like the sun, but silky smooth hair can be a little too silky smooth for your hair styling appliances.

Honeymoon packing

If you’re off on your honeymoon or minimoon straight after the big day itself, it’s a good idea to, firstly, pack ahead of time, and secondly, double check it the night before your wedding. This way you won’t have that awful realisation mid wedding reception that you forgot to pack underwear for your trip. Make you and your hubby-to-be a checklist and use it to get packing in the weeks before the big day, then bring out the checklist again on the night before just to make sure you’ve packed absolutely everything you will need so you can quickly whisk yourselves away after the wedding…

Last minute beauty prep

Tonight is the time for the finishing touches! Manicure? Check. Pedicure? Check. Just completely spoil yourself with a totally relaxing beauty session with your bridesmaids to prepare for the day. Run yourself a bubble bath, play some chilled out music and have a good old gossip with your girls. But do remember, now is not the time for a facial. The night before your wedding is not the time to be introducing some new things to your beauty regime – it only risks the potential of waking up to an absolute corker on the end of your nose.

Step away from the spot

Talking of spots, if you’ve already got one or two – as annoying as they are – don’t pick them! Your wedding make-up will do the trick. If you’re getting someone in to do your make-up, they’ll know all the tricks in the book, or if you’re doing it yourself and you’re unsure on how to go about covering and concealing, YouTube it! YouTube has so many amazing hair and beauty tutorials to inspire your wedding look. But remember, it’s always a good idea to try out any new make-up techniques before the wedding day itself to get an idea of what suits you and your complexion.

Emergency kit

Round up all your big day essentials the night before to be ready – from kirby grips and safety pins just in case, to the essential lip gloss for topping-up before all the photos! That way you won’t be up all night thinking about what you’ll do if your hair goes out of place. Get it done and save the midnight stressing, and consequential lack of bridal beauty sleep – the most important kind of sleep!

Outfit checklist

If you’re all together, organise all the bridal party’s outfits ready for the big day. Lie them out on the bed and make sure everyone has got everything: the dresses, the suits, the ties, the accessories, the shoes. Only realising that one of your bridesmaids has got one shoe missing on the morning of the wedding probably isn’t the most ideal situation, right? There isn’t exactly a lot of time to schedule in an emergency jog to the nearest shoe shop on that specific morning…