Wednesday 9 September 2020

Getting Married During a Pandemic

It's not an easy time to be engaged. With everything turned topsy-turvy by this pandemic, how can a bride plan the big day of her dreams? Right now couples have to face the tricky choice of a tiny wedding guest list, or postponing for the foreseeable future. In Britain the law is clear, as stated on the government's website.

"No more than 30 people should attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue. This is the maximum number for all attendees at the event, including the couple and guests. It also includes any third-party suppliers, such as photographers or security, but does not include staff employed by the venue or any third party catering staff.

From 15 August 2020 receptions and other celebrations for weddings and civil partnerships can take place, but only in a COVID-19 secure venue. Such events should not take place in people’s private homes (or adjoining outdoor spaces like gardens), given that these will not have the same COVID-19 Secure measures in place."

Thirty guests barely covers your closest family, and once you add in a photographer and a waitress to pour the champagne, you're down to 26 people. No wonder lots of couples are choosing to elope, and postpone the party until the pandemic has passed. 

What are you choosing to do? Tell me what you think, and chat with other brides on my Instagram page @beforethebigday. It's SUCH a hard decision. I feel so sorry for anyone getting married in 2020 or 2021. For those of you planning to go ahead, here's a few essentials for your wedding day... Many feature my favourite slogan for 2020 - 'Spread love not germs!'

{Clockwise from top left} 1. Sanitation Station Sign, 2. Spread Love Not Germs Personalised Mask, 3. Printable Hand Sanitiser Labels, 4. Wedding Sanitiser Stickers

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Sunday 21 June 2020

Five Favourite UK Boutique Wedding Stationers

Is there anything more exciting than receiving a beautiful handwritten letter? Or even better, a weighty brown paper parcel? I'm pretty certain that's why online delivery has grown in popularity. Yes, it's convenient, but who doesn't love getting presents in the post, even when you've sent them to yourself.

Your wedding invitation should create that same level of anticipatory excitement, a promise of what's to come. My favourite style is traditional, and admittedly expensive. The elegant card envelope should be filled with not just the invitation, but also a programme detailing timings, places to stay and route recommendations. Add in a stamped postcard for RSVP's, and perhaps a second invitation for a Rehearsal Dinner or Recovery BBQ. Tie them all up with candy-coloured baker's twine, and you've built up a sense of occasion, something that can never be achieved with an email invitation.

British stationers are among the best in the world, with historic printing styles and innovative card stock. Here are a few of the design houses you should consider for inspiration. You can either order your invitation set off the peg, or if you're a true stationery aficionado, you might want to work with your stationer on a bespoke design.

Gray Starling
White Olive Designs
{Top & Bottom Pictures:} Herbal Infusion Collection by A Little Pigment

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Wednesday 17 June 2020

Making Memories at Your Wedding

A wedding might be a year in the making, but passes in the blink of an eye. Ask any bride and groom after the event, and they'll agree that your big day disappears in a flurry of hugs, champagne bubbles and confetti, plus a few happy tears. That's why it's so important to book a brilliant wedding photographer to record all those hilarious moments you miss, because you're catching up with Aunty Mildred. 

Good photographers often get booked up a year in advance, particularly over popular weekend dates like Bank Holidays, so as soon as you start your planning, you need to start thinking about what style of wedding pictures you want. We actually chose our wedding photographer before we'd even decided on our venue, although we knew we wanted to get married in the South of France, so we found someone who was happy to travel.

Alexi Lubomirski/AP Images

Traditionally your wedding photographer would just take lots of formal shots of family and friends, like those they release after a Royal Wedding. There's even a list somewhere on the internet which you can tick off, so you don't miss anyone out. Nowadays most couples prefer reportage style, where your photographer drifts quietly around your wedding, taking un-posed pictures of your guests. These are often much more natural, and your finished wedding album is more likely to reflect the tone and atmosphere of your big day. I'd recommend choosing a photographer who can do a bit of both, because you definitely want to make sure you have a few group shots of your family aka 'the framers'.

But how can you maximise on collecting as many memories as possible from your wedding day? One way to encourage your friends to take lots of relaxed group shots is to hire a photo booth, like the one in the picture above. These come in all shapes of sizes, and most provide paper and digital copies of the photographs. Add in a box of silly accessories and signs, and you'll end up with a brilliant collection of your friends having the time of their lives. Just make sure you check the quality of the booth, as the right lighting and camera setting can make all the difference. 

{Top & bottom pictures} 
Blush and Pose Photography

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Monday 15 June 2020

Top Twelve Hen Party Accessories

Is it possible to have a classy hen party? If that's what you want! Sometimes there's nothing better than properly letting your hair down, and dissolving into a cackling mess with your girlfriends, but if that's not up your street, then here are a few ideas for hosting the perfect hen..... with not a willy straw or 'Bride to Be' sash in sight.

What are you planning to do on your hen night? Leave a comment in the box below. I'm a huge fan of some sort of activity, whether it's crafting a flower crown or paint-balling, a fun-filled afternoon can really gel your various groups of gal-pals together. Then finish the day with a slap-up meal and lots of fizz.

1. Blush Hen Rose Gold Ring Photo Booth Frame, 2. Miss to Mrs Bunting

1. Hen Party Nail File Favour, 2. Hen Party Photo Booth Props (x10)

Personalised Eco Face Mask Party Kit Gift

1. Personalised Hen Party Cocktail Wine Charm, 2. Personalised Hen Party Confetti

1. Pink Diy Flower Crown Headband Making Craft Kit, 2. Personalised Bridesmaid Butterfly Short Dressing Gown

1. Personalised Hen Do Wooden Memory Book, 2. Personalised Hen Party Metallic Champagne Flute

Top picture: Hen Party Drinks Stirrers

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Wednesday 10 June 2020

Wedding Favours your Guests will actually want

Whether it's a hand-sewn lavender bag, or a homegrown potted succulent, the reality is that most wedding favours get left behind. Once your guests have danced and drunk themselves silly, they'll never remember to pick them up at the end of the night. 

{Top Picture} Personalised Shot Pots {This Picture} Label Pack for Drinks Shots

So save yourself the time and money, and make your wedding favours part of the day. Sweet treats or shots are a great pick-me-up at the end of a long meal, and will give your friends and family the energy they need to make shapes till midnight. We love these cute personalised pots by Hearth and Heritage, with their pretty foil printed tags and ribbons for you to fill with pink gin or limoncello.

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Tuesday 9 June 2020

The Must-Have Accessory for Your Beach Wedding or Honeymoon

Only an optimist would plan a beachside wedding in Britain, and the weather is one reason why so many of us get married abroad. Some statistics suggest up to one in four couples arrange their big day in another country, and they're attracted by the prospect of perfect sunshine, a stunning location and usually a shorter guest list. 

Personalised Flip Flops by Flipside Flip Flops
If you do plump for a beach wedding, promise me you'll buy these flip-flops. For around £20, they come in a variety of designs, and they make for the best bridesmaids' and ushers' presents. If you're feeling flush you could buy them for all your guests as wedding favours, plus they're the perfect honeymoon accessory.

Looking for other items to add to your suitcase? We love this high-waisted bikini, this Just Married Leather clutch pouch, and this monogrammed beach bag personalised with your new initials.

Top picture by Anthony Tran

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Monday 8 June 2020

An Achingly Cool London Wedding on a Budget

This incredible London wedding needs to come with something of a disclaimer, as it's my best friend's big day. Tamarisk has never been a cookie-cutter kind of girl, so it's no surprise her wedding to Ryan was uniquely awesome. From her glittery gold Badgley Mishka gown, to her practical attitude towards budget and theme, Tamarisk created a wedding which focused on feasting, family and celebrating love. If you're planning your big day abroad, or returning home as an expat, you'll find her attitude super-inspiring. It turns out there's no need to obsess on the details, or the stationery or the favours, when you've got an atmospheric venue, and great DJ, lots of champagne and a truly brilliant photographer in Joanna Brown.

We got married in London at The Roost on 29th Sept 2018
. We live in Canada now, but we met in London and we miss it a lot. It felt like the right place for us to get married was where we met and fell in love. We aren't formal people, and besides, the exchange rate was not in our favour! We were looking for a venue that already had a ton of personality that we wouldn't need to do a lot too. We were both clear eyed about our appetite and aptitude for a "big project" that would span time zones ie: not at all! When we found The Roost, we knew it was perfect…all we needed to do was add a few touches, we didn’t need to go overboard. 

My husband got a beautiful, completely custom suit from his suit makers Suit Supply. Our wedding date is embroidered on the inside pocket and my nickname for him is under the collar – it says Meatball.  

I went to a big fancy wedding dress shop once and found the whole thing completely awful. It was all I could do not to break down sobbing in the changing room. The grubby, dirty dresses that are all too small…so depressing. I hated it. After trying to figure out why I hated it so much, I realised I had bought into the idea that you HAVE to wear a white dress and I remembered I don’t HAVE to do anything. That’s when I started looking for something really me. 

I landed on a Badgley Mishka gold sequin dress that I got for $800 off the retail price by finding it on eBay. I splurged on a pair Christian Louboutin rainbow striped heels though! 

I didn't enjoy planning my wedding at all. I am not a planner. Then on the actual day when you're trying to enjoy it and take it all in, people still keep asking you admin questions. This style of wedding is what worked for us – we decided what the big pieces were that really mattered to us and spent our money there. We decided not to care about almost everything else. We wanted the right venue, the right photographer and delicious food and drink. Planning a wedding from overseas, when we knew we’d be flying out for out mini-moon the very next day helped us to say no to anything that would add a complication or a big expense.  

When it came to my bridesmaids' dresses, I let them decide. One of my sisters got a dress she already owned copied in the fabric of their choosing in Dubai.

I found our photographer on Instagram when I was researching venues. One of Joanna Brown's shots turned up under a tag, and that was that, she was the photographer I had to have. I am not a fan of the romantic, dreamy style of typical wedding photography. Joanna has this amazing knack of catching the quotidian moments that are filled with love and joy but are grounded and real. She "interviewed" us to see if she felt like we were a fit and I have never wanted to impress someone so such! I wish I could just put her on a retainer to come and shoot all my big life events!   

For favours, we went with Caramel chocolate bars because I have always loved the red and gold wrapping them come in

. We got Disco Shed to DJ the party and they were outstanding, great tunes! I walked down the "aisle" to the Theme Song from Top Gun. We didn't have a recessional. Our first dance was Number 1 by Goldfrapp. 

Did you have a theme in mind? Is "cheap" a theme?! For our wedding flowers, we got a recommendation for a whole-seller from our caterer and ordered a load of baby's breath super-last minute to decorate the tables. 

I bought a plain chocolate tiered cake from a supermarket as a last minute decision because our amazing and bossy caterer told me I should. I asked her to throw a couple of punnets of raspberries on top to tumble down the layers and dust it with icing sugar, I didn't eat a crumb of it though!

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Monday 1 June 2020

Why You NEED Donuts at Your Wedding

Okay so maybe 'need' is a strong word, and perhaps we mean sweet-treats rather than just donuts, but the truth is that after a few hours, your guests are going to need a pick-me-up. Weddings last for HOURS, and while it'll pass in a flash for you and your husband, there might be a few moments that drag for your guests.

Rainbow Donut Wall by Belle Epoque Co
One way to avoid that, is to keep surprising them. Add an extra twist, whether it's food or entertainment. A massive dessert buffet is a fab grazing option, and a sugar rush is a great way to fill the dance floor. Fireworks literally add oomph to your big day, and sparklers are a fun budget option. 

Hire a magician to spice up your champagne reception, or create a series of 'rooms' for your guests to move through, as the day progresses. One wedding we attended had a secret curtain that dropped after the speeches, revealing an amazing night-club space complete with disco balls and revolving dance floor.

Ombre Donut Display Wall by Inspired by Alma
But if that all sounds a bit too expensive....go for a donut wall. Everyone likes donuts.

{Donut picture by Brooke Lark}

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