Wedding Planning Series – HEN PARTY PART ONE!

The Hen Party – this proved a tricky event to arrange and being completely honest there were a few sleepless nights worrying about arranging something that would be memorable and worthy for my bestie.

Now I’m sure the bride to be wont mind me sharing, and I’ve mentioned it before, but she is pretty laid back and well, this was a little problematic from a decisions point of view.

Well what to do…. i went through ALOT of lists of options – I mean the variety of things you can do for a hen weekend is vast. Now it was really easy to come up with ideas but differences in ability and with some travelling to attend we were constrained by budget and date. The date was the main factor and this was only agreed on 4 weeks prior to the hen so it meant alot of options were no longer viable.

After much thought, and i cannot take credit for Part One of the hen as it was the brides choice. Sarah has always wanted to do GoApe… who’d of thought it! Always up for adventure i couldn’t wait to be ‘swinging from the trees’

We decided upon the Adult course at Mallards Pike in the Forest of Dean, booking was easy through the website and it was the mother of he bride who engineered a great deal for us, thank you Jane.

Plenty of parking, an onside cafe and toilets it has all the facilities and being in the heart of the forest of dean and next to Mallards Pike lake it was beautiful setting.

Following our safety equipment put on and talk, we tried out the practice course under the watchful eye of the instructors and then headed on to cover 5 of the different courses that they have available – including zip wires, tarzan nights, and courses spilt into normal and difficult paths. Each course getting progressing harder and higher.

As none of us had attempted goApe before it was nice that would experience something all together, but it wasn’t for a hens so we had to have a Part Two!

A thoroughly fab afternoon was had and in terms of something different this hen idea hit all the spots, even a few achy muscles the next day – perhaps a great way for some pre-wedding body tonning! If your looking for activities that are alittle more adventurous or physical for your hens then this was perfect. On completion of the course you get a certificate (who doesn’t love a certificate!) and this gives you 15% of your next booking….. why not use it on the Segway tours that also operate from the lake through goApe? We ran out of time but it’s definitely on the list of hints to try 😉

Here’s some pictures of our day:

Happy planning

Sophie & Sarah

xx

Our Chosen Charity… Wish for a Wedding

I have thought long and hard about wanting to be able to give something back… weddings is a costly and time consuming business but how could I give something back … now I could have chosen Cancer Research or any number of pet charities, I mean who hasn’t donated to these wonderful causes.

But I wanted to be able to make a difference to something not so well know and I came across Wish for a Wedding.

Get your tissues ready NOW….

Wish for a Wedding was set up by Racheal Kirkwood after her own wedding in 2015. And it has one simple function…. to enable those couples where one or both partners are terminally ill, the chance to get married.

Often these weddings are arranged hastily, and heavily rely on donations and the goodwill of suppliers to ensure the special day for these are couples can go ahead.

In keeping with all things wedding we are proud to support Wish for a Wedding and you can donate below by clicking on the link or alternatively by attending any of our events in the future where will be donating a % of our profits from each event to this fabulous cause.

DONATE

 

Alternately you may wish to support Wish for a Wedding in a different way and they also except:

  • Donate your wedding dress for reuse
  • Donate your wedding service/products
  • Fundraise

 

I will support this charity through A Cotswold Wedding and affiliates, we hope you’ll help us to support them too

 

Sophie

xx

 

Wedding Planning Part 6: Flowers

So things are rumbling along nicely – most of the ‘biggies’ have been planned, booked or in the pipeline for finalizing feeling like we are #weddingbossing it!!

Flowers were next on the agenda. Again the abundance of suppliers meant this was looking to be another difficult choice. However recommendations where the key here and after seeing Donna from The Flower Studios work it was a done deal (provided she had space!)

All we had was a single pinterest photograph – the one in which we had based the entire wedding colour around – this beautiful image of a blue and peach/orange bouquet. The bride simply showed Donna and this and said – this is what we want! Absolutely fine was the reply.

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Now THAT’s got to be the first non stressful/thinking/decision making choice right there. Really looking forward to seeing Donna’s handiwork on the day and actually a tiny bit excited too! As we have no particular preference for what types of flowers are included we have chosen to go with mainly seasonal  – it is always worth discussing with your florist what flowers are and are not in season as this may effect the final cost of the bouquet.

Happy planning

Sophie & Sarah

xx

 

About The Flower Studio:

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Donna is able to provide flowers for all occasions but specialises in wedding and funeral design. Since opening the studio in 2009 business has blossomed and was awarded the SOUTH WEST REGIONAL WINNER OF THE WEDDING INDUSTRY AWARD BEST FLORIST 2012!

Website: https://theflowerstudio.squarespace.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flowerstudio21/

Mobile: 07789 625 453

Phone: 01242 704 134

#britishbridalbootsale is HERE!

So the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed…. pleased to present #britishbridalbootsale is here and we are launching our first show this Autumn:

This preloved show is exactly what it says… a preloved wedding fayre for eveything wedding and preloved.. whether your a newlywed wanting to declutter and pass on some of your wedding paraphernalia or one of our specially handpicked preloved wedding suppliers (preloved/sample/ex hire/ex display/seconds) you’ll find everything you’ll need here for an affordable wedding….. note i haven’t used the word cheap, because it is not cheap or tacky but good quality preloved items at affordable prices so that you can have that luxe wedding for less!

Date for the diary:

Sunday 21st October 2018

 

Details to book can be found here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/british-bridal-boot-sale-cheltenham-tickets-49223279153?aff=Website

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If your after a newlywed table to book be quick – early bird prices are only available until 31st August 2018.

Want to register for your free place to include goody bag and glass of fizz – click the link to book – in our first 24 hours of being live, 45% of our VIP places have been taken!

 

Look forward to seeing you all very soon!

 

Happy planning

Sophie

xx

Wedding Series Part 5: Bridesmaid Dresses

Next up was the Bridesmaid dress but this makes me feel abit weird – I feel to old to be called a bridesmaid but perhaps not old enough to be MOH. Being a smaller wedding the bride and groom decided from the off that they weren’t keen for flower girls and Page boys.

I’ve always coveted the Annabelle dress from The Cotswold Wedding Company, and judging from their social media it’s one of the most popular designs they offer and when you see it you’ll understand why!

Naturally, like all good bridesmaids I sent a photo to the bride. Now I’d like to point out i’m definitely not a #bridesmaidzilla but preliminary discussions between us meant we’d decided that any dress needed to compliment the brides choice – which without revealing too much this dress does . Never the less we looked at lots of options and different styles but kept coming back to this one. The beauty of online browsing.

After booking a free 1hr consultation online we headed to the Cheltenham studio.

With 8 styles of dresses available, with most designs offering knee and floor length, and in a staggering 150 colour choices you would be hard pressed not to find something you and your maids love in a suitable colour choice.

The dress has arrived today and it’s beautiful – the lace up back means a few pounds lost (or gained!) between now and the wedding won’t matter – yay!

Unfortunately you’ll have to wait for the final Wedding blog post to see it in all its glory!

Happy planning

Sophie & Sarah

Xx

Wedding Series Part 4: Photography

Photography….. one of the biggest spends and decisions that you will make along with the venue and the dress. And yes just to prove we’re human and we booked stationary before the photographer!

Wedding photography can be a mindfield. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful wedding photographers in the Cotswolds and as with many wedding suppliers once they are booked they are booked – so how to find one our happy couple clicked with, shot in a style they loved AND was available?!

First a short list was made – photographers i’ve been fortunate to work with or come to know personally via my alter ego – The Cheltenham Cakery. This was a substantial list! Next we added to this list after visiting a few wedding fayres. If I’m honest I chickened out here and let the couple go through each supplier, their photography style and packages to find their perfect fit.

The groom took the lead on this one and decided that whilst having a smaller, intimate wedding they liked the option of having a second photographer to ensure their special day was captured in full – this narrowed down the list. Next came looking at the portfolios – to find a ‘style’ of photography they both liked.

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There are so many styles of photography and its essential that your chosen photographer will recreate the shots and feel of photography that you are expecting.

After much ‘research’ and chatting to photographers they decided to enlist the fabulous work of Capture Every Moment. Based in Cirencester, they are a lovely father and daughter team. Having worked and shot extensively at the couples chosen Venue and with the groom declaring ‘theres only one photo that i’ve seen that I don’t like’ (this was HUGE praise indeed!) i am looking forward to meeting Paul and Carissa this time at a wedding not just a wedding fayre  (don’t worry i’ve already begged for them to capture my best side)

Here’s hoping the couples complimentary pre-wedding shoot goes well and I am very much looking forward to seeing the final pics 🙂 if these pics taken by Carissa and Paul are anything to go by.

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Happy planning

Sophie & Sarah

xx

 

Capture Every Moment – http://captureeverymoment.co.uk/

Fb: https://www.facebook.com/CaptureEveryMomentPhotographer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ciren_studio

Wedding Planning Series: Part 3 – Stationary

Apologises I’ve been alittle lack at keeping you all informed and updated on how the wedding planning is going! Ekkk it’s T minus -27 days!!!

It’s all been abit crazy and time has flown by, not too mention being flat out with wedding cakes in my other role.

So here’s part 3 – all about Stationary. With so much choice available and only 8 months to go this was one part of the planning that was more difficult than we thought it would be.

I guess being so open minded to what was available meant we didn’t have a firm choice to chase down.

For my own wedding I DIY’d our invites as I had a particular idea and style in mind. Sarah wasn’t hugely keen to go down the DIY route or how she wanted the stationary to look we turned to a professional.

Thankfully we had Louise from Louise Rowles Designs to help us navigate the mind field of wedding stationary.

Louise is based in Stroud and after years working as a designer for a card company branched out into creating personalised wedding stationary under her own name. Using her creative flair to design and produce stationary that is reflective of you as a couple but also working within your budget.

All Louise had to work with was our theme colours of pale blue and peach/orange. As this is a small intimate wedding the bride felt that she didn’t want a massive pocket fold of information but something simple and classic but didn’t feel old fashioned.

Louise was patient and after a chat about the type of day and things the bride liked along with what her expectations where for guests – did they need a detailed map to find the venue or accommodation options listed? What did the Bride need from her guests – where menu choices required along with the standard RSVP?

Picking a small select handful for her gorgeous range Louise narrowed down styles that matched our expectations.

We’ll reveal the final design after the wedding and we’re sure you’ll love it but for now a literary teaser – think think creamy paper with a slight texture, beautiful modern calligraphy writing set in an edging of pale blue detailing and soft gold pearlescent….. beautiful!!

Louise also Has set collections available to purchase which may be a more budget friendly option.

Happy planning

Sophie & Sarah

Xx

The Rise of the #bridesmaidzilla

Up until a few days ago I hadn’t even realised this was a ‘thing’.  A chance message in an online support group and well it seems to be a growing problem. There’s a new breed of bridesmaids out there – the bridemaidzillas. From subtle snubs to the outright rude, Brides seem to be getting a rough deal from those nearest and dearest to them – their bridesmaids.

An article for Marie Claire has given the best definition of this new rare breed:

Bridesmaidzilla – A lethal mix of frenemy and Mean Girl wrapped in a sash

and the’re coming to a wedding near you!

Some real life examples of Bridesmaidzilla antics, think of the film Bridesmaids and your on the right track:

  • A bridesmaid who knew her bestie wanted a child free wedding – but turned up with her baby as this ‘didn’t apply to her’
  • The bridesmaid who didn’t RSVP to the hen weekend or show any interest – pulled out last minute
  • The bridesmaids who didn’t like the brides choice of dress so ganged up and made her change it – this resulted in several other wedding changes due to the colour’s the new dress was available in
  • The bridesmaid who had a heated discussion with the bride on whether the groom was right for her or not – as she was to walk down the aisle

So what has precipitated this rise in maids that should be having your back, not stabbing it?

Bridal parties are larger than ever and with it brings a higher intensity, the more people in your party the more heads to please and manage. Larger parties also mean people are likely to break away and form cliques.

The instant connectivity that social media brings us means as a population we collectively have more ‘friends’ than ever and that old saying ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’ has never been more apparent. Sharing of ideas and inspiration at the touch of a button will inevitably get your party interacting – but also providing opinions and allowing them to be vocal over their dislikes – in a public setting.

Bride resentment is also a factor with maids secretly judging on whether the dress is big/good enough, the size of the rock, choice of venue, how extravagant is the cake etc or comparing there friends wedding to their own – is this wedding going to be better than mine?

Then there are those bridesmaids who for whatever reason just aren’t interested in supporting you on the biggest day of your life even if they’ve supported you through everything else – perhaps there poor behaviour is a result of some misguided protective factor or they have underlining issues with marriage, who knows.

Lastly, the cash, money ALWAYS ends up being a problem doesn’t it? For bridesmaids it can get expensive and well they want bang for their buck – they don’t want to be left spending hundreds on a hen weekend if its not doing what they want. If your bridesmaids are paying for their own outfits they don’t want to wear something they don’t like or feel comfortable in (although this is generally more of an American trend than UK)

Put all of these factors, together and what do you get? a melting pot of opinions, grievances, and eventually the intensity and pressure of it all will boil over leading to bad behavior and passive aggressive antics.

Relationships like life, change and evolve and what was once great at the time may no longer be a perfect fit now – friendships develop, grow and thrive; they also fizzle out. Why not be adult about things?

For those brides who may be experiencing maids who are not minding their manners remember this:

  • If you can set ground rules from the beginning – a kind of ‘what you expect’ – a google search will throw up some lovely ‘Will you be my bridesmaid’ poems which have subtle do’s and don’ts
  • Talk to them and tell them how your feeling – it may be the case that they aren’t aware of how they are behaving and could have just been caught up in the moment
  • Yes you can be annoyed, irritated and even upset by their behaviour – you are human and this IS allowed – but don’t waste too much of your energy worrying about it
  • The behavior exhibited is reflective of them NOT of you
  • If its not working out having them on your team – rescind the offer – is is YOUR DAY and its needs to be done YOUR WAY, if your not happy with them being at your side tell them

Happy planning

Sophie

xx

Good skin is ALWAYS in

A chance glance in the mirror, you know the ones, that catch you off guard and result in you scrutinising every pore, blemish and shadow for the next 5 minutes and wondering what quick fix can help.

With my Maid of Honor debut just a few months away, it was time to get a skin check up.

As a self confessed lover of beauty treatments I’m always on the look out for something new. Enter Cygnini Clinic, based in the Suffolk’s, Cheltenham.

Cygnini Clinic specialise in non-surgical procedures using cutting edge technology to help clients get the very best results whether it be laser hair removal or to reverse the effects of sun damaged skin.

Having suffered with spot prone skin since my teens which duly disappeared in my twenties, I was horrified to find after having my children my teenage skin reappear. We’ve all heard the drink enough water, 5 a day and plenty of exercise is the key to great skin but what if you need something stronger to kick start the process?

……… step in Enerpeel, a revolutionary new peel.

The process itself is pretty quick and unobtrusive:

First an initial consult to discuss my skin, and what outcomes I was looking for. This allowed the therapist (Zoe – who was amazing throughout) to determine my skin needs and talk through the different options and peels available to me.

Problematic areas on my chin before treatment commenced

I choose the Enerpeel Salicylic Acid. As spots were a main concern this peel is designed to break down oil and surface debris in acneic skins, while also introducing the three key ingredients to control inflammation, kill bacteria, reduce oil production and normalise excess skin cell production.

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My treatment started with Zoe removing any oil and daily debris from my skin, placing cotton pads over my eyes and vaseline around the end of my nose to protect sensitive skin. She then applied the Enerpeel. A slight warm sensation but nothing more was felt and after a 5 minute application and soak in time the peel was denatured using specially soaked pads – these are live enzyme peels after all. My skin looked shiny and clean, slight redness in a couple of spaces but nothing overally noticeable.

During my second treatment – the white crystallization you can see is the peel working

Advised to not wash my face or apply make up for 24 hours was probably the hardest part but worth it.  By the second day I could start to see differences. My skin felt incredibly smooth.

The peel works deep down into the skin, unlike more traditional peels which remove the top layers of skin these peels work deep down – killing the bacteria before it is able to rise through the layers of skin to become a spot. It’s genius really and without the tomato red ‘ive had a peel’ face.

After my first treatment I saw a difference to how clear my cheeks were becoming, after three treatments (approx 2-3 weeks apart) my cheeks, forehead and chin i found noticeable difference were not only clear skin but positively radiant, larger break outs were visibly reduced.

I have learnt that your skin is the key to everything – if you have great skin then everything falls into place – your make up looks better, you smile more.

I’d highly recommend visiting Cygnini for a consultation. Why not check out their current special offers here

Zoe assessed that my skin needed to be well mositurised so in addition to the Enerpeel treatments I am also trialing the Obagi Hydrate Luxe mosituriser and Retinol – being new to use Retinol i’m intrigued to see the results!

Throughout my skin treatments i reduced my caffeine and sugar intake and increased  water intake to 2-3 litres per day along with increased exercise as I train for my first 10K run. #mustbemad

Want to see the change in my skin – keep peeled for the next post….

Enjoy

Sophie xx

Venue Spotlight: The Grange, Hyde Barn

Hyde Barn is def in my top 3 favourite Cotswold Barn venues. Ideally situated between Stow-On-Wold and Bourton-OnThe-Water it has a really Cotswoldy feel to it and due to its good access and central location a popular choice for those couples who have family and friends spread far and wide (the handy on site accommodation is a bonus too!)

When I was offered the chance to come and check out their new Ceremony barn, The Grange, how could I say no?

The barn has been expertly styled to complement Hyde House and Hyde Barn – beamed ceilings, bespoke chairs, gorgeous lighting and stunning panoramic windows. Other than the modernity of the slightly industrial lighting it carries every inch the atmosphere of a barn centuries older.

I particularly loved the styling around the gardens – its own courtyard garden and borders ensure this is a very private and separate space from the house and barn and with careful consideration for the brides entrance via the secluded walkway to the barn doors.

You’ll Love This Venue If

Your in love with the idea of a barn or rustic wedding with a modern twist, and looking for a aesthetically pleasing, spacious venue with panoramic Cotswold views that isn’t going to cause goose bumps!

The addition of the Ceremony barn adds a wonderful separateness that you won’t get at other barn venues – meaning no ‘turn around time’ for removing the ceremony chairs and allowing the wedding breakfast to commence.

 

Can my guests stay

Hyde House is the onsite accommodation with 20 comfortable rooms allowing the couple and guests to stay and with both Stow-On-wold and Bourton-On-water within a stones throws there are plenty of options available for guests.

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How Many Guests Can It Hold?

The new ceremony barn seats 150 with beautiful views across open countryside, the barn has bar and snug area, entrance/lobby area for mingling as well as the beautiful beamed dining hall  for your wedding breakfast. The dining hall in the barn can seat up to 175 guests.

Why Chose This Venue

If your after that perfect barn wedding with all mod cons complete with panoramic open countryside views of the Cotswolds. The experienced team are on hand to help with aspects of your wedding planning and the newly created The Grange, ceremony barn gives you the option of saying ‘i do’ indoors or outside under the bespoke Arbour which is also licensed.

This venue is light, warm and spacious with options for all eventualities weather wise. Along with stunning Cotswold views the outdoor space and gardens allow guests to mingle freely.

 

More images to swoon over:

 

 

Happy planning

Sophie x