Saturday, 9 July 2011

Before the Big Day Wedding Theme: Bicycles

With the Tour de France pedalling its way across the continent, it seems the perfect opportunity to draw your attention to a hugely popular wedding theme. As we all become more eco-friendly, urban dwellers are embracing the bicycle, and cycling off into the sunset together. Creating this wedding theme couldn't be more simple - add a tandem bicycle motif to your stationery, a miniature penny farthing to top your wedding cake, and encourage your groom to cycle up the aisle. Decorate your bikes with flowers and ribbons, and they'll make great photo props for your wedding pictures. You could even walk down the aisle to "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do".....{okay maybe that's a step too far!}.

{Photo Credits} Top: Fotographica, Left: unknown (please get in touch if you know), Right: Brookelyn Photography via 100 Layer Cake

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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Real DIY Budget Wedding: Katie & Josh

Budget brides and DIY brides are going to love this fabulous wedding, submitted by a Before the Big Day reader! Katie got loads of her wedding inspiration from this wedding blog, and I'm thrilled to be featuring her gorgeous big day. If you're worrying about your wedding budget, take heart in the fact Katie and Josh only had £7k to spend, and every detail was gorgeous. From the butterfly theme to the moustache and tiara favours, and hugely realist fake flowers {eco- and budget friendly}, it's a fabulous flurry of wedding perfection. Don't miss Katie's top tips in the brides questionnaire below - you'll be making notes! Stunning pictures published with thanks to Sarah Janes Photography.

The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A - Katie was kind enough to fill in our bridal questionnaire, aimed at helping other brides with their planning process. Feast your eyes on her answers for helpful hints and tips from someone on the other side of her big day!

Where and when did you get married?
We got married on May 7th in a beautiful small town in North Wales called Llangollen. We married in the Llangollen Methodist Church and then moved to the White Waters Hotel down the river for the reception – but not before playing a round of crazy golf!

What was your thinking behind choosing the venue and the decoration of the reception?
Llangollen was the obvious choice of location, it’s just so beautiful. We looked around three venues before calling in to the White Waters on the off-chance for a wedding brochure and they offered to show us around the whole hotel. The staff were so friendly, we decided to book, although we checked four more times before putting a deposit down!

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind?
We had a strict budget in mind of £7,000 for the day and we managed to stick to it more or less ({that amount definitely didn’t include the honeymoon!}. Josh and I met at Leeds Met University and the University colours are aubergine and grass green, which just happen to be my favourite colours too. Purple was my underlying colour, but I was careful not to surrender myself to purple overload…I also love butterflies, I found in the lead up to the day that I seemed to be collecting more butterfly items. So the butterfly theme just kind of emerged over time…

Who made your wedding outfit, and how did you come to that decision?
My dress was from a great shop called Confetti & Lace in Harrogate, and was made by Ellis Bridals.  My dress was around number 11 that I'd tried on and when I first tried this one on I loved it, but I kept looking just in case something else was out there. I couldn’t choose between two pairs of shoes from Schuh, so I ended up buying both! My necklace, bracelet and butterfly ring were from Debenhams. Sparkly, reasonably priced chic!

What about your husband’s outfit? Where was it from?
We hired suits from Cameron Ross via Yorkshire Menswear. My dress hunt took a fair few months, his suit hunt took thirty minutes…where’s the justice?!

And how about your bridesmaids’ outfits?
We lucked out here! My three beautiful sisters were my bridesmaids and we all got together in January to go shopping for dresses. All I had in mind was that I didn’t want them to look exactly the same; they are all totally different people and I wanted them to be able to express themselves. We walked in to Monsoon and I saw it! A strapless purple and grey cocktail dress reduced from £130 to £60. I left the bridesmaids to choose their own shoes and accessories, and they customised their own dresses, adding straps or a ribbon waist. My little niece wore a flower girl dress from BHS.

What type of cake did you go for, and how did you come to that decision?
We kept it simple and went to Marks and Spencers! I’d seen the butterfly cake on Before the Big Day, and ordered the butterflies from Etsy and assembled them myself. I also ordered two cupcake towers from M&S and bought some edible butterfly wafers from Ebay to decorate them.

Did you have any favours? What were they? Was there any particular reason why you picked them?
I didn't want to spend money on items that would be left on tables - so we gave each man a moustache on a stick (idea taken from Before the Big Day too!) and each girl/lady/Nan got a tiara – 89p for four from Wilkinsons. I loved looking back over the photos and seeing everyone use these – we’ve got some excellent poses going on in them!

Who was your florist, what flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
As our wedding was in a small town, we didn’t have a wide choice of florists and I was left unimpressed by the town's main florist who wanted to charge for a second appointment to make her time worthwhile! So I decided to go fake! Sarah's Flowers have a huge range of flowers and they were around the same price as real flowers. My bouquet is going to be placed on my Nan's grave, and my sisters are keeping theirs, so I like the fact they were artificial.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
I found Sarah Janes Photography through a picture in the brochure of our wedding venue. They had used one of her sepia images of a bride and groom in the rain and I thought 'if she can take a picture like that on a rainy day, imagine how beautiful the pictures could be if the sun is shining!' so I'm only slightly ashamed to say that I gazumped another bride who had put in an enquiry for our date and booked her after meeting with her over coffee! I just loved her natural approach to wedding photography.
I must also mention the fabulous Mandy Rigby who did my make up on the day. Mandy and Sarah are my dream team as they’ve worked together before and really know what looks good on camera. I’d recommend them both to anyone!

Did you enjoy planning your wedding?
Absolutely! I'd be lying if I said it wasn't stressful at times, but seeing everything come together on the day was the best feeling ever! I've was so proud of everyone involved. My husband was great - if I ever started stressing about things not matching or my massive to do list, he'd point out that it didn’t actually matter if the napkins didn't match the petals on the tables…I still know he’s wrong about that but it did help to put it all in to perspective!

We had an afterparty the next day at my Dad's cottage, so that was a great chance to catch up again before we headed off to Mexico for our honeymoon and everyone headed back home – if anyone has the chance to do this, I'd totally recommend an afterparty!

Did you have any DIY projects?
I loved the DIY projects and my bridesmaids threw themselves into the DIY as well. We had homemade pew ends for the church pews, charms with our initials around the champagne glasses, handmade place cards and I wrote a memory I had of each guest inside to get the nostalgia flowing – cheap and cheerful! We also made moustaches on sticks, and we asked our guests to make a ten minute iPod playlist to be played during dinner. I also made a sign saying 'Thank you' so we could use that photo of us with it for our thank you cards. I put together photo board collages of every single guest at the wedding for all to laugh at and I also fashioned our table seating plan out of sticks from the garden, fairy lights and table cards to hang from the sticks – DIY-a-rama!

Who designed your stationery? What did it look like and how did you come to that decision?
My Dad, my maid of honour and I worked on it together! I’d seen plenty of ideas, but my Dad does this for a living so there's no one else I trusted more to design our stationery.

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
My main piece of advice is - don’t forget about the actual wedding ceremony! We had a church service and once I started choosing hymns and readings, I realised that I was really excited about the service. I'd also say, don't be afraid to both defy tradition, and embrace it, all on the same day! We couldn't figure out a way to incorporate both sets of divorced parents and new spouses, so we just had a sweetheart table for just the two of us and put our parents on an unofficial top table; it was a great way to make sure we actually talked to each other during the day and the speeches were carried out around us on different tables. I loved the whole day and want to relive it all over again!

To finish, my top tips based on my day would be:
1. If possible, give your Dad (or whoever gives you away) a kiss when you reach the top of the aisle.
2. Brides – do a speech! You'll always wonder if you should have afterwards! I did, and I loved it.
3. Have someone, anyone, video the speeches. They don't have to be a pro, but it's something I really wish I'd arranged.

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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Real DIY Budget Bride

About a month ago, I got this wonderful email from a fellow just-married bride. Katie had just celebrated her own wedding in Wales, and she wrote to tell me how she'd found tonnes of DIY inspiration from Before the Big Day, and would I like to feature her wedding? Well of course I would, with a cherry on top! So here's a sneak peak of Katie on her wedding day, with a promise that her big day will appear on the wedding blog tomorrow. Have a read of her email below the pic, and if you've got a wedding you'd like me to feature on Before the Big Day, do get in touch!

Dear Georgia

I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for your amazing blog :) I hope you had the most amazing day yourself in France? I 'borrowed' so many DIY ideas from Before the Big Day that made our day (my day ha ha) the most perfect and special of my whole life so far! Our wedding was in Llangollen in North Wales. We had a church wedding full of upbeat hymns, then pictures down by the river, and then the bridal party went and played a round of crazy golf! When we got to the hotel reception venue, our friend was playing his acoustic guitar to our guests and I joined him for a song (McFly 'It's all about you!'). We had a receiving line of just me and Josh which meant that we got to hug everyone at least once!

We had our speeches before dinner which was the best decision as everyone was in high spirits and the men involved were so nervous. My husband's grandpa was part of the speech were he stood up and announced that we couldn't go on having an affair and that it was over - brilliant! Then a delicious hog roast dinner followed by MY speech...gulp...I hadn't told anyone I was doing it but I'm so glad I did :) I gave out trophies based on my hen weekend with different categories like 'best dancer'!

We then had a swing singer, cheesy disco, cake and lighting of paper lanterns (in the rain outside!), followed by a disco with our guests until 3am. Fab day.

Now it's all over, I still read your blog and I've already planned my little sister's wedding even though she only just got engaged...need to focus on other things than wedding.

Anyway, we did it all on a budget of £7k and it was the most fun and romantic day, we had 60 guests who all pretty much knew each other and I so enjoyed my crafty fun stolen from your blog! Thank you! We had moustaches on sticks, place names in apples, a wedding cake from Marks & Spencers with butterflies stuck in, tiaras for the ladies, picture boards all around the venue of all the guests, and my favourite of all, my table plan made from sticks, fairy lights and seating cards!

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Real Rock n' Roll Wedding: Emily & Jasen

Strong lust for this gorgeous wedding in the mist. Stunning couple Emily and Jasen celebrated their big day in autumn style with dozens of fabulous design-details worth stealing.  Lets just start with the cute badges, peg-cake toppers and Chinese lantern table arrangements, and move quickly on to the free candy-bar, table stationery and hilarious direction sign - I'm loving it all! A huge thank you to the team at Our Labour of Love for their beautiful pictures. So often wedding photography is predictable and formulaic, and I think you'll agree Whitney and Jesse totally break the mould with their brilliant work.

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Monday, 4 July 2011

Before the Big Day Paper-Bag Wedding Theme

'A paper bag?', I hear you cry. 'How on earth can paper bags be a good idea for a wedding theme?'. Well take a look at these pictures for some serious wedding inspiration. The humble paper bag can be many different things to many different brides. From menus to favour containers, the kraft paper bag comes in many creative guises. Add a touch of calligraphy and fill with special treats, and you've got an eco-friendly autumn wedding trend in the making. Pick up your paper bags at rock-bottom prices from Wholesale Paper Bags.

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Sunday, 3 July 2011

Real Sea-Side Wedding: Jamie & Adam

If you plump for a nautical theme, it'll carry you on a huge wave (sorry) of inspiration. There's almost too many motifs to choose from, starting with blue and red, moving through stripes and then anything fish-themed. The secret is to only pick a few details, or else your big day will end up feeling like a Brighton fish-and-chip restaurant - all theme and no substance. Quirky couple Jamie and Adam totally kept their wedding within the boundaries of chic, using only a life buoy and the lighthouse as props, and serving an amazing lobster lunch for their guests. I love how they've used lots of different flowers, while keeping the colour palette plain white, and their fab retro car is just the bomb! Big thanks to the team at Our Labour of Love for their gorgeous photographs.

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Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Best Wedding Invitation Ever!

Isn't this the best wedding invitation you've ever seen!  Definitely one to inspire long-distance couples.

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Friday, 1 July 2011

Location, Location, Location

One huge expense for every wedding is the venue - not least because they usually hike the prices on food and booze. One way to avoid that expense is to hire a marquee for your garden.  Worried about a naff canvas atmosphere and freezing breezes?  Well check out these pictures and think again - with the right accessories and lighting, you can turn your tent into anything you want, from a cosy Kazbah to a boutique boîte, complete with a sparkling starry-sky ceiling.

Photos above thanks to DP Marquees. Check out their website for their fantastic range of stunning marquees and bespoke interiors.  Also, try White Canvas Tents for their exclusive, lined range.

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