Wedding Planning

Wedding Destinations, Wedding Idea, Wedding Planning

10 Ideas For A Garden Wedding Party

By Debs Cass on July 18th, 2013

This is the wedding season to take advantage of the great British outdoors and host a beautiful garden wedding party. OK granted, this may also involve some tarpaulin (or back-up plan), nonetheless, it’s the simplest ideas that can be the most heavenly and romantic.

Transform an everyday garden into a magical setting, choosing from themes such as sublime Victorian floral to a quintessentially English Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. A garden wedding party conjures up images of twinkling crystal chandeliers hanging from branches of orange blossom and vintage glass jars full of wild flowers on tables draped in lace. All this can be created on a budget, and with an imagination that can run wild!

The other massive advantage is the cost to produce a magical outdoor venue can be a snip compared to hiring most venues. Here’s some garden wedding party decoration ideas to get started with.

Driftwood Wedding Arch £1,300 by Free Range Designs

Picture 1 of 11

Perfect for garden (or a beach ) wedding to set the scene. This bridal arch is made from durable materials so also can be kept in your garden afterwards. Free Range Designs

Feature, Gallery, Venues, Wedding Planning

10 of the UK’s most unusual Wedding Venues

By Debs Cass on June 21st, 2013

Finding THE wedding venue can be the hardest nut to crack on your wedding plan. Proximity to home/elderly relatives; ambience; cost; capacity; funny little rules venues dictate, can be enough to put any bride/groom into a spin. As more and more weddings these days are becoming less corporate hotel chain affairs, couples tying the knot are increasingly on the hunt for a venue that fulfills big dreams. Not necessarily of the princess variety, but of a personal, meaningful to the newlyweds kind.

This ‘holy grail’ can also entail the need for unique, never-done-before and a wedding people don’t stop talking about. High ambitions require some pretty far-out options, and for those of you quirky, adventurous and non-conventional types out there, here’s our top ten unusual wedding venues around the UK.

The Lodge, Scotland

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Nestled between the shores of Loch Goil and a majestic backdrop of mountain scenery, The Lodge is an intimate luxury wedding venue in Scotland. Built in 1864 and exuding the elegance of a bygone era with lovingly restored interiors and gardens. Offering a magnificent Tree House for a unique wedding ceremony and the Summerhouse, a secluded self-contained cottage on the shores of the loch, for the ultimate honeymoon retreat. A ceremony for 2-24 guests can be held in one of the world's only licensed tree house with a wedding feast afterwards in the Victorian dining room; whilst a ceremony for up to 60 guests can be held theatre-style in the dining room with the wedding celebrations moving through to the conservatory afterwards. The Lodge's on-site wedding planner, can coordinate everything from entertainment and local accommodation for non-resident guests to wedding cakes, cars and anything else to make the day special. The Lodge Scotland

Accessories, Columns/ Opinion, Dating & Relationships, Engagement, Groom, Mother of the Bride, Real Brides, Relationships, Wedding 101, Wedding Answers, Wedding Idea, Wedding Planning, Yay or Nay?

The Wedding Bill: Who should pay for the modern wedding?

By Cecilia Rydberg on March 1st, 2013
Will Kim be copying Kate's dress too?

We’re not all lucky enough to get the groom’s parents (via the tax payer) to pay for the happy day!

By Cecilia Rydberg

Along with being one of the happiest days of your life, a wedding is an occasion for moral dilemmas, financial woes and two or ten tantrums. When a marriage was a matter of economic opportunity and yes, also often a matter of love, it was standard that the family of the bride pay a dowry to the groom and his family – a payment of sorts for the bride’s future habitation with the man in question.

However, in more contemporary times, the dowry has evolved to a responsibility shift in the form of the parents of the bride paying for the wedding and all the costs that go along with it. 
Yet, why should the parents of the bride dole out the cash? Well surprisingly, this tradition is no longer in the majority in the UK.

Pass the Buck

In the UK it is found that roughly 52% of couples nowadays pay for the expense of their wedding festivities, and this change, head of commercial at John Lewis Insurance says “may have come about because weddings are getting more expensive, meaning people are less willing to burden the bride’s parents with the whole cost.  It might also be that the increasing age of marrying couples has given them greater financial independence.”

Average Cost of a Wedding

According to the popular go-to website, the average cost of a wedding lands on around £11,000. “My husband and I paid for the wedding ourselves and I’d say the average cost is between 5000 to 7000 for a ‘normal’ wedding,” says Wiveka Eklund, a native of Sweden.  “But in Sweden I think the trend is much the same as in England, it is about financial stability and whether you have the means to fund your own wedding or if you fall back on tradition, and let the parents of the bride (or groom) pay for the party.”

Splurge or Spend

For the couple that do not or cannot rely on their parents to dip into saving for financing their wedding some necessary steps need to be taken to come to a conclusion on how best to save, what to prioritise in terms of dress, venue, catering and so on, and when to spend!

Ways to save can be asking yourself the question of what can you do yourself; is it an option to make the invitations by hand, with a little home-made creative flair, is that something you would as a couple be able to take on in order to save a few hundred pounds?  Do you need a traditional 7-tiered white cake?  “My bridesmaids paid for their own dresses, I do not know if this is unorthodox, but it is something they offered to do and my wallet was grateful,” says Chatz Fernando who had a beach wedding in Sri Lanka.

Priorities vary from couple to couple, the venue and dress may be the most important to some and therefore couples might be more willing to cut back on the material expenses in order to snag their dream location. Having a good plan of action for the wedding, might as unromantic as it sounds, help make the transition into the marriage smoother.


Vintage Wedding Style on a budget

How to cut costs on your wedding budget

Fit for a queen? The increasing cost of wedding celebrations throughout the Jubilee years


Honeymoon, News, Wedding Planning

9 in 10 couples rely on friends or credit cards to fund honeymoon

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 31st, 2013

beach-wedding-flickr-creative-commons-footloosietyWeddings can be an expensive experience and most of us will not have saved up thousands of pounds to throw a lavish affair once the question has been popped. Hey, we often struggle to make ends meet each month, let alone to save up for anything!

But if you are planning a wedding, the honeymoon still remains an integral part and is like the cherry on top, and something you of course don’t want to miss out on in that post-wedding bliss. But what do you do if your budget is pushed to the max?

According to a new poll by Unique Honeymoons magazine, couples are determined on having that all-important honeymoon and 94% of couples are finding ways to pay for it through friends as part of their wedding list (44%) or via credit cards (50%).

Have you opted for either of the two above or are you waiting to go on your honeymoon until you’ve saved up enough money for it?

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Footloosiety

Wedding Idea, Wedding Planning

Etsy find: Three unique wedding ring pillows for your ceremony

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 29th, 2013

Anyone who has ever planned a wedding will understand when we say it’s all in the details. Some of you may take a more relaxed approach to your wedding ceremony and the planning of it, but there are some elements that shouldn’t be forgotten about.

When it comes to your wedding rings, you don’t really want your ring bearer to keep them in his pocket, having to search for them when they’re needed. Make sure you include ‘wedding ring pillow’ on your mile long list of things to organise before the wedding.

We’ve had a little look on Etsy (as we normally do!) to see what unique handmade goodies are around. You can of course buy them from the sellers or attempt to make them yourself. If you choose the latter, just make sure you leave enough time!

For the rustic wedding

A green square ring pillow made of 100% natural materials. This is soft moss decorated with natural raffia ribbon which is personalised by a wooden heart with your initials.



{Buy it from VV Design Shop $27 / £17.64}


A small ring ‘pillow’ made from a 100% natural materials. The nest is decorated with natural moss, handmade paper roses and accented with natural ribbons. Perfect for a woodland or barn wedding.



{Buy it from VV Design Shop $21.90 / £14.31}


This cute pillow is perfect for a beach or nautical themed wedding. Dubbed ‘You are my lifesaver’ by the seller’, it is handmade with imported canvas and 100% wool felt


{Buy it from E and A Heritage $46 / £30.05}


Feature, Groom, Wedding Planning

A groom’s perspective: Choosing the suit

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 22nd, 2013

We write a lot about wedding dresses, bridal shoes and make-up where to spend the honeymoon. Most of it will be from the bride’s point-of-view – hey we’re girls ok! – but what about the groom? How is he experiencing the wedding planning process? To find out, we asked groom Max share some of his experiences and tips with us. Today we devote this space to the all-important suit.

“To some extent Grooms don’t get a look in when it comes to the sartorial expectation of weddings.”

Has she found a dress? Will she be wearing white? And so it goes on. No mention of… have you found your suit? Are you going 2 piece or 3? Top hat and tails? Tailor made or off the peg?

Grooms are the second thought for most but that’s not to say that there isn’t the same stresses in finding the right fit, the right look and a few extra pieces to lift a suit from looking like you are on your way to the office to wedding attire you can be proud of. It’s far from foolish vanity… it’s one the most memorable days of your life.

If you are avoiding the whole Penguin look and top hat and tails are out, then there is a definite choice to be made between between tailor made or off the peg. If you are on a budget then off the peg with alterations could be the way to get the tailor made look for less. A suit with enough fabric to give can often be nipped and tucked to a better look.

A word of caution however. The likes of Paul Smith, Armani and Hugo Boss will set you back in the region of £800 upward depending on 2- or 3-piece and how many alterations are required, as you often pay per alteration. It can be the price of a tailored suit. You could get lucky, find a suit that’s pretty much fitted to you, but there’s always a nip and tuck that can be made to make it feel like it was handmade.

The tailored route is time consuming, with numerous fittings but the results are often rewarding. If you’ve got the time and the money it’s recommended.  An experience that will lead the least fussy dresser to consider the details of the weight, feel and shade of fabrics; of whether cuffs should be higher or lower and whether to make a bold statement in their choice of lining. The result is something that is bespoke, will last with care and is probably more comfortable than anything you’ve ever worn. Prices start from around £600 from a decent tailor for a two piece, adding £150 upward for 3 pieces, so while expensive is still relatively affordable.

Once you’ve got the suit there are touches other than a flower in the button hole to add your own stamp on the big day whether that’s antique cufflinks or a handkerchief. For myself, my grandfathers’ watch with chain to complement the three piece look and antique cigarette case were enough to add my mark.

Max is a freelance writer currently based in Australia. You can follow him on Twitter on @maxbrearley.

[Image: Moss Hire]

Wedding Planning

How to choose your bridesmaids – which personality traits to look for

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 21st, 2013

After the question has been popped, you’ve got that sparkly rock on your finger, and the excitement has died down ever so slightly, it’s time to start considering who to ask to be your bridesmaids and maid of honour.

The choice might be apparent: the girl who’s been your best friend since you were playing weddings with your Barbie dolls, your sister or future sister-in-law if you’re close, one or more of your closest friends from work, university or photography club (insert whichever hobby appropriate). Only you know who to choose and who you want to be sharing this special moment with you, but it would be worth keeping in mind which qualities your friends have as well. Here are some personality traits that you should be looking for:

The planner: You and your husband-to-be will be spending a lot of time planning and organising your wedding over the coming months. For some of you this will come naturally, but it can at times become overwhelming. This is when you want a good friend to turn to, who can help you tie down the last details and ensure everything goes according to plan on the wedding day itself. She doesn’t need to be a Monica Geller control-freak type (after all you don’t want her to take over the planning completely) but someone who can keep calm in case of a flower or cake emergency.

The listener: If you have someone who will willingly listen to all of your worries without judgement, she’ll be a great addition to the wedding party. This is the woman who will make you calming cups of tea to get you through your wedding planning journey.

The best-friend: Having your BFF there next to you as you exchange vows is priceless. This person (who said it had to be a woman) will have several good qualities that will be essential in the coming months. After all you wouldn’t call them your best friend if they were a horrible person, would you?

Which character traits are you looking for in your bridesmaids?


Wedding Planning

5 ways to keep children entertained at weddings

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 10th, 2013

If you’re not the first of your friends’ group to get married, chances are your friends might need a +child(ren) on their wedding invitations. Now we all love the little angels, but, depending on their age, they can be a bit demanding, have a short attention span and need constant looking after.

Exactly how can you plan your wedding to ensure the kids are kept happy and entertained during the ceremony and  reception? Here are five tips from us:

Create an entertainment room

Depending on where you’re having your reception and the space available, this might not be doable. But if you have the opportunity, why not allocate a room as an entertainment station for kids, and equip it with a TV that plays kids’ films on loop, perhaps has an iPad or two with games for the older ones (or Wiis) and lots of paper and colour pencils for artistic fun. Just make sure you hire someone to look after the tiny ones.

Hire a mobile crèche

Find a childcare agency that offers a mobile crèche service and get them booked in today! They will come prepared to do some if not all the things mentioned in the ‘entertainment room’ point above. This way you can be certain there won’t be any screams ruining the speeches or cake cutting moment.

Make party bags

If you don’t have the budget  or space to kit out a whole entertainment room, make party bags full of wrapped gift that will take them hours to open and explore. Games, comic books, and colouring in books are great, too many sweets not so much. Last thing you’d want are hyperactive kids running around.

Plan a photography scavenger hunt

If they’re old enough. give them a disposable camera each and instructions of ten things to photograph and send them on their way. Not only will they have fun finding what they need to snap, but you’re likely to get some unique and fun wedding photos.

Hire entertainers

A clown, magician or face painter will ensure the tiny tots are kept entertained for hours.

You can of course also choose to make your wedding an grown-up event, and kindly ask your friends and relatives to send their kids to grandmothers and aunts, so that they can enjoy a day off from parent duty.

What do you think? Children at weddings: Is it a yes or a no?

Image: Flickr / Creative Commons / Two Stout Monks

Celebrity Weddings, Wedding Planning

McFly’s Tom Fletcher beats nerves by singing wedding speech

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 9th, 2013

Public speaking: either you love it or hate it. So what do you do, when its your wedding day and you have to stand up in front of your friends and family and say some emotionally loaded words?

McFly’s Tom Fletcher did what he knows best to make sure his fear of public speaking not ruin his wedding day and sang his way through it.  And as expected, the song was received with applause, laughter and many tears.

“It’s possibly the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life (about the speech, not the wedding!),” Fletcher wrote on YouTube. “I got a load of ideas by watching other speeches on youtube so if there are any future grooms on here in desperate need of inspiration (like I was) then I hope this helps.”

Make sure you watch it right to the end. It just gets better and better.

Wedding decorations, Wedding Planning

Wedding DIY: Five table number projects

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 8th, 2013

If you’re a crafty sort, then chances are you’re already planning on how to make decorations for your wedding reception. Not only can making your own wedding decorations be a fun project, but it can also help reduce the overall budget. We can all do with saving a few pennies here and there, can’t we?

As with all major events, place cards and seating plans are a must for wedding receptions. As are table numbers. But how can you make the numbering of tables a bit more creative than your usual card held up by a metal stick?

We’ve browsed our place for inspiration Etsy (we’re sure you do too!) and here are some ideas that we think are pretty clever. And if you’re after that DIY feel for your wedding, but haven’t got time or will do actually do things yourself, we’ve included links to the people who have done it for you.

1. Recycle used wine corks


Not that we need to be persuaded to have more cheese and wine nights, but think about how much fun you and your friends will have collection corks for this project! Start early and keep all wine corks you come across – ask friends for donations as well.

2. You’re my jam!


Nothing says home-made as jam jars, so if you’re after a natural, shabby chic feel to your wedding using empty jam jars as table number bases will look fab. You can also fill them with little wonders for extra effect!

3. Give old books a new life


If you and your husband to be share a love for books, this would be a novel way to add some bookish fun to your wedding reception. We’d advise you to start practising your paper folding as soon as possible though at it looks somewhat time-consuming.

4. Rustic tree slices


This idea requires some wood and an engraver (or a strong permanent marker), but would look great at any rustic themed weddings.

5. Nautical knots


You’re tying the knot you, so why use nautical rope knots as your a base for your table numbers?

[Images: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 /5]

Venues, Vintage, Wedding Planning

Celebrate your wedding like a 1930’s lady with Brinsop Court Estate

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on December 19th, 2012

Downton Abbey may be on a break for now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t inject your life – and wedding plans – with some 1930’s high-life glamour. If you’re looking for a venue to hold your very own thirties style wedding, the newly transformed Brinsop Court Estate could make a suitable backdrop that would make even Lady Mary Crawley jealous.

The majestic manor house is a gem surrounded by an 800 acre estate set in the Herefordshire countryside, and new of 2013 Brinsop is available for a limited number of wedding celebrations. With a rich history, the estate was once home to Hollywood starlet Madeline Caroll, who during her time as lady of the manor is believed to have kept pink flamingos on the moated lake.

Weddings at the manor house will take place in the library with views that inspired the English poet William Wordsworth to write prose. Exclusive use weddings start from £4,950. If you’re interested in finding out more about Brinsop Court Estate as a wedding venue visit

As for the above mentioned Downton Abbey – the show returns with a Christmas special on Christmas Day.

Gown: Enzoani; £1,725 (Ginger)
Accessories: Gilda and Pearl; Britten weddings; Liberty in Love; Freya Rose
Decorations: Love Gemsy; The Crockery Shed
Hair: Peter Prosser hairdressing
Make-up: Jen Gilling
Photography: Gemma Williams



budget bride, Finance, Wedding Planning

How to cut costs on your wedding budget

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on December 14th, 2012

Unless you (or your parents) have been saving for this amazing day since forever, chances are that after that blissful moment of accepting the proposal, you’re faced with the harsh reality of how much your nuptials will cost. If you’ve been together for a while, you might have set aside some funds for the eventuality of a wedding. But for many young people finding a way to pay for rent (or mortgages if lucky enough) and simply living is priority number one, with no or very little money available for the celebrations.

It is estimated that that the average UK wedding will cost around£16,000 in 2013. The mere thought of could make many roll into a little ball of panic, but it’s not all doom and gloom. There are ways to save pennies and still have a wonderful wedding day experience. Here are some of our top tips on how to cut costs on your wedding budget.

Write your who to invite list and check it twice

The sheer size of your wedding party will have a massive impact on your costs. The more people to feed at the reception, the higher your outgoings will be – simple maths. As soon as you start thinking about planning your wedding, write down the names of those you would like to have present. The number might be higher than you expect, but don’t worry about this now. Leave the list for a few weeks, then return to it with a new look and remove those that aren’t essential. Repeat this again if necessary and you’ll eventually end up with a manageable list.

Think of alternative venues for your wedding reception

It really doesn’t need to be the fanciest town hall or ballroom; the most important about the venue is to find a place where you can feel comfortable and that can house everyone on your wedding invite list. Alternative venues could be your local pub, an unused commercial space (let’s start a pop-up wedding reception trend), or the garden at your parents’ or friends’ house.

Your dress

Yes, we know that most of you will already have found the perfect wedding dress already – or have a really good idea of which designer you’d like to go for. But if money is tight, head to your local charity shops to see if there are any to get hold of second hand. If they haven’t got any at the moment, pop back often or kindly ask the person running it if he or she could call you if a wedding dress comes in. Alternatively search for new and upcoming designers, you might be able to get a gown at a good rate.

DIY decorations

If you’re a crafty type, why not consider making your own decorations for the wedding. Shop around online for suppliers of things like tissue paper in good time ahead of your wedding – you’ll be surprised how many good deals are to be found – and make your own paperpoms (those are pom poms made from tissue paper if you’re wondering).

Go on a mini-moon

If you haven’t got the funds to go on a two-week honeymoon straight after your wedding, why not treat yourself to a weekend mini-moon close to home and save the real honeymoon for later. Or – if you already have everything you might want for the home – why not ask for contributions to your honeymoon instead of wedding gifts.

Any tips on how to cut costs on your wedding budget that you’d like to share?


budget bride, Feature, Wedding Planning

How much should you spend on your wedding? Average UK wedding costs 2013

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on November 7th, 2012

Brides-to-be (and grooms) in Britain are becoming savvier when it comes to budgeting for their wedding. Not only has the worldwide economic situation made us all think about where we can cut costs in all aspects of life, not just weddings, but the glorious internet is also making it easier to source and compare prices on items. With the average wedding expected to be just over £16,000 in 2013 (and who has that kind of money lying around?), reality is that most of those getting married will have other financial responsibilities such as mortgages, credit card debt or student loans to honour, and will be looking to reduce costs where possible.

Of course, each couple is unique and while some choose to go all out and make their day a lavish occasion, others will prefer a more low-key (and less expensive) event.  Do you really need the horse drawn carriage and the white doves?

Below is a breakdown of how the costs of ‘an average wedding’ is allocated. How does it compare with your wedding budget?


[via UK Wedding Belles]

Feature, Flowers/Decoration, Gallery, Wedding Planning

5 beautiful handmade fabric flower bridal bouquets from Etsy

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on October 31st, 2012

Flowers is an essential part of any wedding, from table decorations to the bridal bouquet. And for most brides their bouquet is one of the most important keepsakes from their wedding day, however dried flowers are a pain to keep beautiful as the years pass – not to mention dust free!

One trend is to opt for a bridal bouquet made from other materials such as brooches and fabric. You can even incorporate an old heirloom into it to make it extra special. We’ve taken a little look around our favourite online shop, Etsy, to see which floral delights were around.

Here are five gorgeous handmade fabric flower bouquets.

All for love LOVE

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Embrace Halloween with this white, orange and black bouquet from all for love LOVE, £159.61

Gallery, wedding dresses, Wedding Planning

Paris Fashion Week wedding dress inspiration: Elie Saab spring summer 2013

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on October 5th, 2012

How gorgeous is the Elie Saab 2013 spring/summer collection which was shown on the Paris catwalk during fashion week? And so many fantastic dresses for future brides to be inspired for their wedding dress.

The show was a display of elegant and feminine dresses in lace, some in calming creamy colours, others in royal blue, turquoise and fuchsia. We’re starting to save our pretty pennies for one of these gowns right now!

All images: Press Association

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