Friday, 11 November 2011

Real Beach, Succulent & Dahlia Wedding: Aubrey & Kyle

Vintage themed weddings and rustic themed weddings are two of the hottest wedding trends right now. So imagine how exciting it was for this wedding blogger to discover a gorgeous real wedding that combines a mix of the two! The lovely Aubrey and Kyle planned their romantic wedding on the shores of Lake Michigan, with their ceremony on the beach, and reception overlooking the water. And it's packed with tonnes of fabulous wedding inspiration. I'm loving the succulents and the dahlias, and would you believe that Aubrey and her bridesmaids put all of the bouquets and buttonholes together themselves? Such a professional job. Aubrey and Kyle chose to have 'First Look' pictures taken, which is an American trend, fast becoming popular over here. It means you see each other before your wedding ceremony, which slightly spoils the surprise walking down the aisle moment, but means that you can get some fantastic pre-wedding photographs, and not miss out on a second of your guest time. Also loving the release of the sky lanterns after their first dance, and the DIY jam-pot favours - such a well-put-together wedding! Stunning pictures published with thanks to Amy Carroll Photography.

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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

100 Ways To Personalise Your Wedding

Prepare yourselves for 100 incredible hot tips on how to make your wedding stand out from the crowd. Too many weddings are same-y and unoriginal, and this Before the Big Day mega-list is your way to make sure your wedding doesn't fall into the same trap. It's a mixture of my ideas and those from the fantastic UKAWP wedding planners, who answered this wedding blogger's call with a storm of wedding ideas and inspiration. UKAWP promotes professionalism in wedding planning in the UK, so if you're thinking of hiring a planner, you know where to go to find a good one. There's tonnes of incredible wedding inspiration in this list, so do share the love and forward it to all your engaged friends. So.... what are you waiting for?.....Scroll on down for a wedding ideas overload!!

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

♥ Wedding Details  ♥

1. Think about what you love to do together and build that into your day. If you love to read, stack old hardback books on the tables to create mini-stands for your flowers, if you love chocolate {and who doesn't} how about sending out Willy Wonka inspired 'gold tickets' as your wedding invites? {Victoria Gordon, Without A Hitch Wedding Consultancy}

2. Turn the wedding day on its head. Instead of starting the day with the ceremony, have it in the evening before dinner. This way you get to greet all your guests, and you'll feel much more relaxed as you walk down the aisle. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

3. Put together 'welcome packs' for out of town guests, giving information on the area together with a little gift. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

4. If your guests will have to walk from the ceremony to the reception, consider providing them each with a single coloured helium filled balloon that matches your colour scheme. The vision of dozens of balloons all 'walking' their way through a country lane or a town centre (great way to make sure your guests don’t get lost!) is fantastic and makes for great photos. Once all of your guests have arrived at the reception, you could have someone ready to arrange them into two rows for you to walk through and as you reach each guest, they release the balloon into the sky, again fantastic for your photo album! {Ruth Hunter, Finesse Planning}

{Photo Credit} Jonathan Ong

5. Set up a craft area where guests can make something to take home (e.g. a brooch or bow tie). {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

6. Choose a signature cocktail and give it a memorable name. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

7. If you're having a Christmas wedding, ask each of your guests to bring a bauble for a Christmas tree. You'll use them on your tree every year, and it'll be a fantastic annual reminder of your wedding. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}   

8. Consider alternatives to the traditional wedding car. Many of my brides this summer have opted to walk to the venue when staying locally in the town. For those not so keen to risk the great British weather, I have had brides arrive in an array of vehicles from vintage Minis to a brand new Range Rover, thanks to a kind and generous friend/family member who was happy to act as chauffeur. {Claire Davies, Simply Perfection Weddings}

{Photo Credit} Mario Testino

9. Arrange family wedding photos, going back as far as you can, in vintage frames and display them at your ceremony or reception - it will provide a talking point for guests and create a lovely decorative feature. {Nicola Jones, Brighton Wedding Planner}

10. Ask your guests to circle words in a dictionary to remind you of their wedding day. Then ask them to write a message on a bookmark to explain why they picked each word. You'll always need a dictionary in your home, and you'll cherish this one forever. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

11. Rather than getting your guests to sign a traditional guest book, you could get them all to sign some pottery such as a large platter. This will give you a lovely and unusual keepsake of your day which you can display in your home afterwards. {Kerry at Snap Dragon Weddings}

12. Tuck handwritten notes into the napkins for your guests - write about your favourite memory together or simply tell them what they mean to you. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

13. What is your favourite book or film? Could it work as the basis of a wedding theme? I've seen fantastic weddings themed around the film 'Up' and 'Alice in Wonderland'. We themed our wedding around The Secret Garden. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

14. Instead of a traditional guest book, you could leave a card and pen at everyone’s place setting, with each one having a different sentence to complete such as, love is…, top tips for a happy marriage, or asking them to jot down a favourite memory of you both. {Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings}

15. Include your pets in your big day, either in person {doggy ring bearer?}, or as a motif on your menus? You could give dog-shaped chocolate wedding favours, or name your wedding tables after your pets. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

♥ Wedding Favours ♥

16. Create personalised fortune tellers for each guest. Instead of telling fortunes, write them up with fun questions about you as a couple. Then on the back, print the menu. DIY tutorial here. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

17. Get school-style name tape printed with your names and the date of your wedding. Then wrap up all your favours and bouquets with it! {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

18. As an alternative to favours {which can become costly as the guest list rises}, donate to a charity which is close to your heart. Charities will often send pin badges and cards for each guest explaining that money has been donated in replacement of a favour. {Claire Davies, Simply Perfection Weddings}

19. Personalised button badges and old-fashioned 3D glasses make great favours, and fantastic photo props too! {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

20. Ask your florist to design the table centres with multiple mini vases which guests can then take away with them at the end of the night, so they double up as favours and a lovely memento of your wedding day. {Stacey-Marie Chalk, Cherry Topped}

{Photo Credit} Marianne Taylor Photography

21. If the two of you love cooking, then why not create a little pamphlet of your favourite recipes, as a wedding favour. Or a list of your favourite restaurants? You could add little notes like 'This is where X proposed'. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

22. Only invest in favours if you really love them. Guests will only remember the truly great ideas. To save money, how about having a hen night at home making favours such as home-made jam, flapjacks or chocolate truffles? You can save money and have fun with your favourite ladies at the same time! {Kim Price at Roseberry Weddings}

23. Give your guests fancy-dress favours. Stick-on moustaches and silly glasses will raise a laugh, and get your guests talking to each other. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

24. Make your favours - bake cookies, make jam or brew up lemonade, and bottle it with personalised labels. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding

{Photo Credit} via Ritzy Bee

25. Horse shoe wedding favours represent how lucky you feel to have found each other, and every guest goes home a little luckier. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

26. If you can't get going without a cup of coffee in the morning, give each guest a mug containing a little bag of your favourite grind. This works for tea too. Ikea sells mugs for about a £1 each. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

♥ Wedding Decorations 

27. Decorate your venue with hundreds of paper lanterns. They're cheap and cheerful, and you can always sell them on after your wedding. If you tie in tiny LED lights, they'll even glow after dark. Friends of mine bought all of theirs from here. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

28. If you're getting married on a farm or in the countryside, use straw bales as seats. If you cover them with old tablecloths, it'll fit in with a vintage-themed wedding.  {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Nikole Ramsay

29. Using unusual containers for flowers, such as old fashioned bottles, jugs and glass jars, can add a lovely kitsch look and can be picked up for a bargain at charity shops or boot sales. {Victoria Gordon, Without A Hitch Wedding Consultancy}

30. Bright table cloths can make a real splash at your wedding reception. Choose a colour to contrast with the flowers and napkins. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

31. Use fruit instead of flowers to decorate your wedding tables. Paper bags filled with cherries, or baskets filled with apples make a fantastic display, and your guests can either eat them, or take them home as favours. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

32. Children's blackboards are a great way to communicate with your guests. Write little messages like 'Love is Sweet' or 'All You Need is Love'. You could also use a large one for the menu. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

33. Have you considered getting married at night? You could say your vows by candlelight, and then lead your guests in for an evening reception. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

34. Paper is a great way to decorate your wedding venue. Not only is it cheap, but it's incredibly versatile. DIY your bunting, pompoms, and streamers. For tutorials, search the wedding blogs. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

35. Christmas weddings can allow couples to be more creative with décor and centre pieces by using Christmas decorations in the shops and incorporating these into the day. Often with winter weddings, couples can spend less on flowers and maximise the offerings already in place in the venue. {Claire Davies, Simply Perfection Weddings}

36. Use ribbon or lace to decorate your ceremony and reception. Wrap ribbon around candles and napkins, or use it to decorate the aisle and canapés trays, etc. {Erikia Unbehaun, Flutterby Events}

♥ Wedding Flowers 

37. Instead of carrying a bouquet, ask your florist to make you a crown of flowers. It'll give your wedding a pagan feel. Bridesmaids could be given corsages instead of bouquets in another twist on the norm.  {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Caught the Light

38. Make use of your mother or grandmother’s jewellery by pinning it to your bouquet. It'll make your posy so much more personal, dress it up and act as your something borrowed. {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

39. Instead of the usual fresh cut flowers, how about using herbs or unusual pot plants to make a nice arrangement. Guests can then take parts of your display home with them at the end of the day. {Victoria Gordon, Without A Hitch Wedding Consultancy}

40. Make your bouquet personal to you by choosing a flower that has a special meaning. {Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings}

{Photo Credit} Martin Hambleton

. If you're worried that your wedding flower budget is getting out of control, keep things simple by just picking one cheap bloom. Clouds of carnations or baby's breath look just as beautiful as more expensive mixed bouquets of roses and peonies. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

42. Choose flowers that are in season to keep the cost down. If you have plenty of time and some garden space available you could even think about growing some English country garden style flowers yourself. Not only would they look lovely, but the garden would then be a fantastic reminder of your wedding day too. {Kerry at Snap Dragon Weddings}

43. What about an alternative wedding bouquet? I've seen them made from butterflies, buttons, paper, flowers created from coca-cola drinks cans, lollipops and more.... {Victoria Gordon, Without A Hitch Wedding Consultancy}

44. Try to be clever with the decoration pieces that you are using for the wedding to maximise their use. Can the flowers be moved from the church and repositioned? Are there vases that could be used for the bridesmaids bouquets in the wedding breakfast room?  {Caroline Hale, Pomp and Ceremony Planning}

♥ Wedding Venues 

45. If your wedding is going to span the whole day, your guests will appreciate a separate space to the revelry, where they can relax for a while. Personalise this area by having a screen showing you and your partner's favourite romantic movies. {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

{Photo Credit} Caught the Light

Choose an unusual venue for your wedding - from steam trains to aquariums, there's a world of choice out there for something completely different. Or you could hold your reception in a stylish restaurant for a sophisticated and unusual wedding celebration. {Nicola Jones, Brighton Wedding Planner}

47. Consider a weekday or Sunday wedding. Venues often offer lower rates for these days and it may just enable you to afford that perfect venue that was previously just out of budget! Dont worry so much about people taking a day off work, those who love you will do it in a heartbeat. {Kim Price at Roseberry Weddings}

48. If you're worried about having to invite large amounts of family members, choose to have a destination wedding. It'll immediately bring down the guest list to only your nearest and dearest.  {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

49. Hire your local village hall for a vintage, old-school feel. Dress the room with family and friend or you cut costs even further and go outdoors…providing blankets for people to sit on and have a wedding picnic. {Jane, Planned for Perfection}

50. For a truly unique wedding, the best setting is a dry hire venue – one where you literally just rent the four walls. You can then fill it with things you have chosen yourself – right down to the cutlery, meaning your day will be a true reflection of you and totally different to every other wedding. This type of wedding takes a lot more organisation and shopping around, especially if you are on a tight budget, but is well worth the effort. {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

51. Consider making yours a winter wedding. Venues and suppliers often offer lower rates for off-peak weddings. Not only will you save money across a lot of areas, but you're more likely to get a higher turn-out for your celebrations, when you're not competing with the rush of summer weddings and holidays. {Kim Price at Roseberry Weddings}

{Photo Credit} Laura Babb

♥ Wedding Entertainment 

52. If you need a performer or an artist, why not call upon your local drama academy or art school. They will be much cheaper and they will so appreciate the opportunity. {Rachyeta Singh, RS Wedding Consultants}

53. If you want to have some unique touches at your wedding, allocate some money in your budget for it. There are a lot of things you could have, but do you really need a chocolate fountain, ice cream tricycle, caricaturist, magician, candy bar, fireworks and a photo booth? Just pick one! {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

54. To help break the ice at dinner, why not have your Best Man host a quiz about you both? Each table would work together as a team, and you could offer a prize for the winner. {Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings & Ruth Hunter, Finesse Planning}

55. Make the arrival of the wedding cake an event, by asking your caterers to turn down the lights and bring it in decorated with indoor fireworks. At our wedding, we even asked the DJ to play 'Eye of the Tiger'! {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Martin Hambleton

56. Set up a guest booth with personalised props and/or boards for your guests to write messages to you on. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

57. Instead of a DJ, get all your guests to choose 3 or 4 'floor fillers' that they love and collate them into an iPod playlist. That way you can have purely music you love, and know everyone will enjoy. {Rachyeta Singh, RS Wedding Consultants & Nicola Jones, Brighton Wedding Planner}

58. To help introduce guests to one another and add an element of cheeky fun, write a short but funny 'one liner' about each guest on the back of their place card. People will then ask what their 'one liner' means and it works brilliantly at breaking the ice. Alternatively, if you have a group of friends on one table, they’ll all understand the little jokes and it really gets the atmosphere going. {Ruth Hunter, Finesse Planning}

♥ Wedding Food 

59. Maximise your wedding cake by incorporating this into your wedding breakfast and serve as dessert. If your venue is happy to allow this, you can save considerably per head. In addition to this, you could also ask the venue to 'dress' the plates so the cake is served with fresh berries and cream at a fraction of the standard dessert price. Cupcakes also work well for this option too! {Claire Davies, Simply Perfection Weddings}

{Photo Credit} Nikole Ramsay

60. Consider having your speeches during your drinks reception when the champagne or prosecco is flowing, this has the double benefit of helping your wedding party to relax for the rest of the day, and means that you can save on an additional glass of bubbly during your wedding breakfast. {Stacey-Marie Chalk, Cherry Topped}

61. Rather than having a traditional wedding cake you could decide to serve chocolates and your favourite drink as a night cap later on in the evening. You could also set up a tasting bar for guests to sample different varieties. {Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings}

62. Dessert tables are a hugely popular trend right now. If your budget won’t stretch to having yours professionally catered, why not ask 4 or 5 friends who are handy in the kitchen to bake some goodies as your wedding present. You can then put your own DIY decoration skills to use to create a stunning – and much more personal – display. {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

63. Cocktails are actually cheaper than straight champagne. So choose a Bellini as your signature cocktail, and mix it with prosecco. No one will ever know the difference. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}  

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

64. What's your favourite late-night snack? Serve it at midnight to all your guests. Hello mini-pots of Haagen Daas!

65. Instead of having a traditional wedding cake, why not ask your guests to take part in a Cakey Bakey! Each guest can bring any type of cake, the more extravagant the better, and the bride and groom will judge the cakes on the day. They can then hand out awards/rosettes during the speeches and have different categories. The winning cake is then used as their cutting cake! {Ruth Hunter, Finesse Planning}

66. Food and beverage is a large percentage of your wedding budget, so if you're struggling to cut down on guest numbers then why not have a later ceremony followed by an elegant black tie affair with cocktails, canapés and bowl food instead of a 3 course sit down meal. {Stacey-Marie Chalk, Cherry Topped}

67. Keep it seasonal - from food to flowers, this will reduce your costs and ensure your wedding is in keeping with the weather and time of year. Hold a BBQ in the summer and have an open fire with marshmallows in the winter to make the most of your day. {Nicola Jones, Brighton Wedding Planner}

68. Instead of a dessert or sweet table, you could have a fun DIY station to decorate your own cupcakes. There could be a variety of different and more usual flavours with a selection of icings and toppings.{Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings}

♥ Wedding Ceremony Ideas 

69. As part of your wedding ceremony, seal love letters and a bottle of wine in a box. You could even hammer it closed! The idea is that if you're having trouble in your marriage in the future, you can open it up and be reminded of what brought you together. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

70. Write your own vows, keeping it relevant to your life together. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

{Photo Credit} via The Loveliest Day

71. If you've got page boys, give them flags saying 'Here Comes the Bride', and encourage them to walk down the aisle ahead of you and your father. It'll get everyone smiling, and take the focus off you a bit.  {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

72. Not everyone gets married in a church, but you might want to create your own 'alter' as a focus for the wedding ceremony. There are tonnes of ways of doing this, from hanging multicoloured ribbons, or crepe paper, a gorgeous piece of fabric, or lots of paper pompoms. I've even seen it with birdcages and lanterns hanging from a tree. Anything to create a focal point. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

73. If you're not working down a traditional aisle, why not create a circular, snail-shaped one. That way all your guests get a good look at you as you walk down the aisle, and you'll say your vows in the centre of all your friends and family. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

74. Create a fun and unique ceremony procession. Walk down the aisle to one of your modern favourites then mix up the running order a bit so guests are left surprised and stunned! {Erikia Unbehaun, Flutterby Events & Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

75. If you already have children try to involve them in the ceremony. Many celebrants can adapt your wedding ceremony to include a blessing for you all becoming a family as well as the marriage. You may find that they will include this in the price too! {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

{Photo Credit} Martin Hambleton

♥ Wedding Stationery 

76. I love seeing personal touches at weddings so how about making your own invitations and hand writing them? The hand written word is very rare nowadays and your guests would really appreciate the personal touch - and you might even save some money in the process! {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

77. Have an engagement shoot and use the photos for your 'Save the Date' cards and/or table numbers {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

78. Toss out traditional save-the-dates and create a home made video with information on your upcoming wedding. Send a DVD to each prospective guest. {Erikia Unbehaun, Flutterby Events}

79. Your wedding stationery sets the tone of the day, but unique creations are rarely economical. You could look at creating a 'wedsite' instead – a totally personalised wedding website which allows you to send your invitations, track your RSVPs and gift list as well as keep guests informed of the travel and accommodation details. Not only will you save money, but you’ll get extra environmental kudos for going green! {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

{Photo Credit} Stone Crandall Photography

80. Think outside the box for how you print your wedding stationery. Why use paper, when you could use plywood, fabric or even balloons {the invitation appears as you blow up the balloon}. Some of my favourite Save the Dates have come printed on tea-towels and magnets. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

♥ Wedding Budgeting Tips 

81. Budget! Budget! Budget! Budgeting may be the least fun, and most difficult part of planning to face, but budgeting early and honestly will mean you steer clear of exposing yourself to ideas you can't afford. Establishing a sound budget that reflects what is most important to you as a couple will ensure you get the most out of every penny you spend! {Kim Price at Roseberry Weddings}

82. Let your guests send you packing with honeymoney. Honeymoon gift list sites can be a smart way to have guests contribute to your honeymoon fun. This can save you money on what could be a very pricey trip, but you can also personalise your web page and have your guests contribute to different parts of your trip, making this more unique. {Aimee at Aimee Dunne}

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

It's the personal touches that can make a wedding unique, so why not think about a workshop activity for your hen do. You could have a fantastic afternoon learning how to arrange flowers or make stationery and then put your new skills to good use for your wedding. {Kerry at Snap Dragon Weddings}

84. Hire a planner! Most brides think that they cost the earth, but we save you time, money and stress as well as working with you to make your wedding day unique and ensure that it’s about what you want rather than what your family think you should have! {Jane, Planned for Perfection}

85. Beg, borrow or steal (ok maybe not steal!). Bridesmaids and friends may have already been married and may have anything from a veil or tiara, to something more unusual or unique that you could ask to use on your day. {Aimee at Aimee Dunne}

86. Hire Don’t Buy. It's possible to hire beautiful pieces to create unique and quirky decorations, for much less money that it would cost if you bought them yourself. Vintage china looks great for a relaxed tea party theme. {Caroline Hale, Pomp and Ceremony Planning}

{Photo Credit} First Light Wedding Photography

87. Search online for the cheapest suppliers. We found tissue paper for our DIY pompoms for a fraction of the price on eBay, and large round white balloons for much less too. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

88. Use your friends' talents. Think about any skills your friends might have, from being creative and crafty, having beautiful handwriting, floristry skills, or handy with make-up; you could put these skills to  good use you save on otherwise expensive suppliers. This also adds a unique and personal touch to your day. {Aimee at Aimee Dunne}

89. If your church ceremony is followed by another wedding, discuss with the bride whether it is possible to share flower costs and rental for other props etc. {Rachyeta Singh, RS Wedding Consultants}

90. Instead of buying expensive thank you gifts for parents, attendants and so on you could buy some lovely food and wine and host a dinner party to thank them instead. {Kerry at Snap Dragon Weddings}

91. Think about food miles. Ask your caterers to use only local ingredients from local suppliers when creating your menu. You will find that sourcing food locally cuts down on the food miles and ultimately cuts down the cost. {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

{Photo Credit} Rebekah Westover Photography

♥ Ideas for the Groom & Ushers 

92. Don't just match the ushers ties, buy them matching socks. It makes for fantastic pictures. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

93. Sew a message into the inside of your husband's jacket. He won't see it till he's getting ready, and it'll be a lovely way to get a message to him before you walk down the aisle. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

94. Write on the soles of your husband's shoes. If you're having a church service, when he kneels down for the blessing, the congregation will be able to see your message. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

95. Don't forget to remind your ushers to decorate your going-away car. Tin cans and an old boot are traditional, but ribbons and pom poms are the new fashion. You'll need a Just Married sign too. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Amy Carroll Photography

♥ Wedding Dress & Accessories 

96. Don't buy 'wedding' shoes. There are lots of companies that supply shoes specifically for weddings. Why not choose a pair from the high street? They'll be less expensive and you could choose a unique colour to match your theme. Who says your shoes have to match your dress?! {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

97. Don't buy a wedding dress. If you're looking for a really simple gown, then you might just find a white dress for a fraction of the price. Remember the word 'wedding' often adds 15% to the price. Also, consider buying your wedding dress second-hand, or from a sample sale. There's plenty of websites out there, just google 'second hand wedding dresses'. Get in touch with your favourite designer and ask them when they host their sample sale, or wait until just after Christmas when everyone reduces their prices. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

98. Line your wedding shoes with a pattern that fits in with your wedding day. Or stick lucky pennies to the soles. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

99. If you're a creative bride (or have creative friends!) consider buying your dress 'off the peg' and customising it yourself. Adding a few special touches can make your dress unique without breaking the budget. {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

100. Challenge the norm by wearing a non-white wedding dress. Soft blush and pastel shades are in fashion this season, and there's a suggestion soft patterns might be in trend for 2013!  Go on, I dare you! {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Elizabeth Messina via Once Wed

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Monday, 7 November 2011

My Wedding - Flowers & Pom Poms

Now that my wedding is all finished {sad face}, there's nothing I like more than helping other brides with their wedding details and wedding ideas. I can remember oh so clearly how important every little detail can feel. For me, our wedding decorations were really important, and I was really keen to have truly beautiful flowers. The only problem was our budget, which was seriously tight, and didn't allow for big, extravagant displays. I was also worried about the flower containers, and I became obsessed with vintage, galvanised watering cans. I seriously considered buying about 30, until I realised it would end up costing about £900. Then, while in a florist, I spotted their old galvanised flower cans, and I had my stroke of genius! I'd forgotten about this detail, until I got this lovely email from a Before the Big Day reader {see below}. If you'd like to get in touch, do send me an email, or leave a comment below this posting.

Hi Georgia,

Having fairly recently got engaged, I stumbled across your blog, and I have to say I am now hooked! If you don't mind, I had a couple of questions about your own wedding, some of the details are gorgeous! Firstly, the baby's breath in the ceremony room looks so good - where did you get those holders from (the metal ones with a handle)? And secondly, I love the pom pom idea (and the idea of getting my boy to do it!) What material did you use for yours and how did you find out how to do it? Hope you don't mind me getting in touch, Kate x


Hi Kate! Lovely to hear from you! I'm so pleased you're enjoying the blog!

The metal containers for the baby's breath are standard florists vases - the types that they have in the shops. I actually borrowed them from our French florist, but you can buy them in the UK. If you search for wholesale galvanised florist vases, they usually come up. Here's one example. The only thing is that they're often a bit shiny and new, so if you're going to buy them, it might be worth buying them early, and then leaving them outside, for the vintage look.

The pom pom idea is one of my favourites! We recently did black ones for our Halloween party, which worked out really well. They're surprisingly effective. Here's a link on how to make them! They ended up in nearly every picture!

Good luck with all your wedding planning - do stay in touch! xGeorgia

Picture Credits {top two} Caught the Light, {little bottom one} Jemma Harding Photography.

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Saturday, 5 November 2011

We ♥ Sample Sales

Good news ladies! I'm always getting emails from lovely Before the Big Day brides who are worried about the cost of wedding dresses. We all want to look our most gorgeous on our wedding day, and in my view bridal designers prey on that insecurity and charge MUCH to much for their wedding dresses. The good news is that occasionally they also offer huge reductions at secret sample sales. As a wedding blogger, I'm always on the hunt for these sales, and I'll always keep you up to date, either via the wedding blog {check out the Sample Sales tab at the top of the page}, or via Twitter {follow me here}. Autumn is a big season for sample sales, and there's a very exciting one coming soon.....the UK's first ever Super Bridal Sample Sale hosted by Brides magazine on Friday 11th November. Yes, that's THIS Friday, from 5-10pm at the Langham Hotel. For one night only, the ballroom of The Langham Hotel in London will be transformed into a mammoth bridal boutique with hundreds of dresses, bridesmaids dresses and accessories to try and buy, and all at a fraction of the price. I'm excited and I'm not even getting married! Please pass on the word to all your friends who are getting married - after all, in this day and age, who doesn't want to save their pennies. For more information, click here, tickets cost £10 and booking is essential.

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Friday, 4 November 2011

Before the Big Day Wedding Theme: Glittery

Sometimes a huge wedding trend grows out of a more mainstream fashion fad. This season, the powers that be in the fashion world, have gone doolally over these glitter Miu Miu boots, and kicked-off a love for glittery weddings that will last long past the Christmas season. I'm seriously excited about glitter as a wedding theme - the secret is to add only a little bit, otherwise your wedding could end up looking like the Christmas Department at Harrods {a very scary place}. For more glittery fabulousness, check out my Pinterest board.

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Thursday, 3 November 2011

My Relaxing Hen-Night Recommendation

Feather boas and learner plates - urgh! I hate them on hen nights, even as an ironic joke. Much better are classy spa breaks, or cocktails and dinner at a smart restaurant. If you're making preparations for your hen night, then make sure you drop some pretty heavy hints about what you want to your Maid of Honour. The last thing you want to do is find yourself spraying whipped cream onto a stripper, if your idea of hen-heaven is relaxing massage. My maids of honour got my hen night just right - two lovely ladies came to the flat to give us manicures, and then we headed out for dinner at a local restaurant. Why not recreate a spa in your own home, or look for spa day deals, and then you can use the pictures below for invitation inspiration from One Charming Party. I'm loving the idea of hen's receiving an eye-mask and a bath-hat as a hint of what's to come.

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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Real Colourful 3-Day Morrocan Wedding: Stephanie & Anand

Prepare yourself for a blast of colour with this incredible destination wedding in Morocco! Stephanie and Anand celebrated their big day in Marrkech, in a three-day extravaganza, which included two wedding dresses and a camel, plus some serious partying. Stephanie arrived at the wedding in a litter carried by four robed men - way to make an entrance! It makes walking up the aisle look passé. I'm also loving the pink awnings and red carpets, plus these incredible two green thrones. Throw in all the wonderful traditional garlands of flowers, beautiful saris and a macaroon cake, and I'm in Moroccan heaven! Fantastic planning by Boutique Souk, and huge thanks to Joe Lasky Photography for his beautiful pictures.

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