Win Your 20k Wedding right here in Glorious Gloucestershire

  1. The average wedding is now estimated to cost couples around 20k. That’s a sizeable chuck of moolah….. a new car, a house deposit, a year off work. So why not be in with a chance to Win Your Wedding. 

We’ve teamed up with Gloucestershire Live’s Win a Wedding worth £20k – @GlosLiveOnline @QueensHotelCheltenham
With a whole host of fabulous Cotswold Suppliers it really will be a day to remember! 

The bride and groom that win this year’s competition will win the wedding worth £20,000.

They will marry at the Queens Hotel in Cheltenham on April 13, 2018.

It will include rings, a dress, a hen party and much more.

Couples can enter the competition by visiting and the last date for couples to register is Monday, 6th February at 12 noon

The winning couple is simply the pair that collects the most tokens from the newspaper.

A supplement with all the participating couples will be published on Saturday February 4 along with the first token in both the Citizen and Echo.

Tokens will printed daily from Monday February 6 for four weeks until Saturday March 4.
All tokens must be received by 12pm on Wednesday March 8. The couple who collect the most tokens will win the wedding.
Here is a list of all the prizes that the winning couple will receive.

Venue: The Queens Hotel, Cheltenham

Complimentary menu tasting for the wedding couple

Red carpet in ceremony room

Room hire for ceremony

Room hire for your wedding breakfast and evening reception

Wedding breakfast menu for 50 adults

Evening buffet for 100 adult evening guests

Arrival reception in our idyllic Lounge area – with a glass of house wine or non-alcoholic fruit punch

Half a bottle of wine per person served with the meal

A glass of sparkling wine for the toast

White linen and napkins

Cake stand and knife

Evening Entertainment – DJ until midnight

Complimentary night stay at the hotel for the happy couple on the night of their wedding

Wedding venue prize value: £10,500

Don’t just take my word for it check out the supplier line up:

Wedding Dress- supplied by SJP Bridal

Suits- £500 towards suit hire, supplied by Tuxedo Junction.

Bridesmaids dresses- £500 towards two bridesmaids dresses supplied by Nina  Furness Couture

Wedding Cake- 3 tiered cake with set up and delivery to the venue, worth £400 supplied by The Cheltenham Cakery

Wedding Flowers- budget of £500 towards wedding flowers supplied by The Flower Bowl

Rings- supplied by Truscott Jewellers

Decorations- Up to 100 chair covers and sashes and 10 table centre pieces supplied by Sweet Beginnings

Photography- A full day’s photo coverage, including a personalised disk or USB of all the images. Supplied by Diamond Shots

Bridal Hair and Make up- Hair and make up for the Bride, 2 maids and 1 mum, supplied by Gloucestershire Hair and Makeup

Entertainment- Magician and other evening entertainment of the couple’s choice (fire performance etc) to the value of £2000, supplied by Ethereal Productions
Photobooth- 3 Hour photobooth hire and a photo album supplied by Party Foto Pods.

Chocolate Fountain or fruit tower- 3 different packages to choose from up to the value of £500 supplied by Maggie’s Chocolate Fountains

Ice Sculpture- Up to £640.00 to spend on an ice sculpture, table centre pieces or buffet sculpture, supplied by Ice Creations.

Stag Do- Activity day for up to 16 people, worth £800, supplied by West Country Games.

Wedding Car- A chauffeur driven luxury Rolls Royce or Bentley up to the value of £495, supplied by Azure Luxury Cars.

Hen party- 8 spa day passes (worth £200) for the bride to use before the wedding including a treatment for the bride and 20% for all others. A ‘together we spa’ day for the bride and groom (worth £92 each) to enjoy together after the wedding, supplied by Spa 6 at Cotswold Water Park.

Honeymoon Flights- A pair of return tickets from Bristol to a BMI destination of the winner’s choice: Paris, Milan, Aberdeen, Munich, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg.
Honeymoon accommodation- A budget of £300 towards accommodation in the location of the winner’s choice – HotelsCombined
You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Good luck everybody
Sophie xx

Why January need’nt be Blue – Financially Freedom Fight to the Wedding of Your Dreams

 Amongst the enthusiastic ‘Happy New Years!’ there are bound to be a multitude of  congratulatory posts as couples become engaged over the festive period. Once the snow has settled, realization kicks in – wowsers a wedding to organise and pay for, and with your credit cards looking a tad unhealthy after all the turkey they pilled on over the last few weeks it can feel abit daunting.

Fear not! Speaking to the queen of savvy that is The Financial Freedom Fighter, Fanny Snaith, here’s some tips on making the most of your available budget and how she had the wedding of her dreams without blowing the budget.

How to make sure that your wedding day is the best day of your life and not one big expensive headache!

I get it, everything has to be perfect on your wedding day right?  But think about what “perfect” actually means.  What is perfect?  Is it the biggest and the most expensive everything of everything?  I don’t think so.   Some of the best days I have had in my life have been the cheapest and the most unplanned.  So what was the recipe that made them so great?  The people, the love and the chemistry.   So what are the ingredients for the perfect wedding day?  Easy – the person you are marrying, the people you invite and magical chemistry that simply cannot be bought.

My wedding was perfect – we married in a very pretty registry office, then took a short journey to a small hotel in Lincolnshire that we had booked out. The twenty-six of us spent the day and night there eating, drinking, singing songs, dancing and telling stories.  It was close, personal and magical.  Everyone said so.  We went off to India on a three and a half week backpacking trip and came back to a massive get together in our local pub in London – where, this time we went wild and partied until dawn.   Lots of sore heads and smiles!

That was the year 2000.  I know it was cheaper back then but we did the whole thing on £5000.  Yep – that included everything – clothes to cake, party to photographs and honeymoon to hats!

Getting married on a budget can be a challenge – but it doesn’t have to be.  Why not follow my tips below and see if you can create the magic to give you the day of your dreams, without busting your budget and buying you a  one-way ticket to Struggle Street!

  • Decisions, decisions – it takes two.

So you have said “yes” to THAT question – now it is time to start thinking about what sort of day you would both like.   Scratch the individual thinking, and talk TOGETHER to discover who has what wedding dreams.  Think carefully… together, about how much you are comfortable spending.  Make priorities and stick to them.   If you both have very different ideas and can’t seem to agree, try writing down each of your top three priorities for the day – you might want a live band, he is set on a fab venue.  One of you is keen on a free bar, whilst the other wants delicious food. Then look at the list and use them as a starting point so that both your ideas are included.  Think about the mood of the wedding – the look, the style and the emotions you want to conjure up with your guests.   A picture will start to appear – capture it and use it to help you with the unavoidable budget.


  • With a Little Help from your Friends part 1.

Whilst you are brainstorming your wedding ideas, get your closest friends to join in.  Often they will have great budget slashing ideas that can save you not only money, but time too.  Neil’s sister suggested the venue, and as she knew the owner she bagged us a great deal.  Good friends and family are always there to help so why not ask them?

  • Buddy up with your Budget.

Once your picture has taken shape, it is time to do some serious number crunching.  Downloadable wedding lists and budgets found on line are brilliant.  They breakdown everything you need to think about a list – and they even put that list in clever sections to help it all make sense.  Go through each line item and put a figure in the box.  Is there anything missing?  This is the place for every cost item to be listed, from stamps for the invitations (often forgotten) to hair pins!  Get to be buddys with your budget as you will find this list invaluable in so many ways.  Yes, yes – it may seem unglamorous putting numbers into boxes now, but it is far better than feeling uncomfortable and full of regret for a spend that wasn’t planned.


  • Wedding Gifts… with a little help from your Friends part 2. Putting the gift list together can be stressful – deciding what you would like and where from…  We had a small wedding list at John Lewis but we also had friends who were willing to offer their services in lieu of a gift.  Our wedding day photographs were the work of a dear friend who did a great job. It saved us a packet.   Cousin Sally made the cake for us, Neil’s Mum was chuffed to bits to be asked to organise our flowers and my brother in law donned a cap and acted as wedding driver in a very smart car he was able to borrow.  All these things helped to keep the price done massively and we truly benefited from the personal touch.


  • Know what you DON’T need. Napkins personalised with your picture?  Personalised Love Heart sweets?  A hen party in Vegas? Ice sculptures?  Personalised finger print rings – really?  These things all mount up and honestly…… do you need them?  Think about the invitations too. Do you actually need an expensive print job that, realistically guests are most likely to chuck away?  Back in 2000, options were expensive print or DIY.  I bought a ream of red paper and did DIY.  Nowadays there are so many options – maybe try an online invite?  We received one recently and it was lovely – had an online envelope too!  Try


  • Guests – how many? Tempting as it is to invite everyone you know – this isn’t always a good idea.  If you have decided on a free bar, a bloated guest list can sky rocket the budget.  Keeping the guest list small might allow you to make it extra special for the intimate crowd.  Our guests were treated to a full sit down three course lunch with an open bar all day.  Not possible with 100! We mingled with all our guests and everyone felt included and cherished.


  • What to wear? I dreamed of my wedding since I was a little girl.  The bit floaty white dress – looking like a princess walking up the aisle on my father’s arm.  Funnily enough though, my dress search began in a second hand retro shop in London, coupled with a very decisive friend to help!  She picked out a great dress which was only £25!  Ok, it needed a nip and a tuck but again, a friend offered her services instead of a gift.  She also made a matching bag and wrap to compliment the dress in a dramatic red velvet.  Second hand gold and red jewellery was the icing on the cake and I looked stunning – even if I do say so myself!  I actually spent more on my wedding lingerie than I did the dress!  Not too much detail – but it was money well spent!  So – advice note – think outside the box.  Think different, think second hand – maybe with a twist, think – well anything that could keep the cost down and the effect dramatic!

  • When… a long engagement can save you a heap of money.  Booking venues early secures the price, also you have time to take peruse the offers on sites like Groupon and Living Social.  There is more time to research and more time to save up!  End of season or off season weddings are often cheaper too, as are non-Saturday weddings.  Alternatively, a quickie can also save you a pretty penny as there simply isn’t enough time to plan a huge day costing the earth!  I have heard it said that the last minute minimalist weddings have sometimes been the best – worth considering!


  • Honeymoon you will need some time away after the big day, but don’t make the mistake of doubling the wedding budget if you can’t afford it. You will be in love where ever you go. Again, talk together about your priorities and stick to them.  Booking a villa can be cheaper than a package and there is no need to search honeymoon specific holidays either – as these can prove unnecessarily costly. You could also save money by getting married abroad, but this does not always impress the guests, whether invited or not!


  • Don’t let your wedding… make you feel guilty.  Guilt is rubbish and has no place here.  There is nothing worse than spending years feeling guilty for any part of your wedding day – going over budget, not inviting auntie Sheena (sorry Sheena!), wishing you had bought the “other” dress. Don’t compare your wedding to anyone else’s.  Please, don’t design your wedding to others expectations.  It is your day – have it YOUR WAY.


If you discuss, plan and budget your wedding in good time, openly with your partner, you will get your wedding recipe right.  This is a day that is for you both to enjoy together – so plan it together, live it together and love it together – feel the magic.  We had the best day – we really did.  I hope you do too!

If after all of that you yearn for some of those additional extras, Fanny can help you whip your finances into shape, freeing up spare cash from your daily spends and helping you make informed decisions over any future purchases.

About The Financial Freedom Fighter

Fanny Snaith proves coaching sessions with individuals and couples helping them to  financial literacy and freedom. With clients all over the UK Fanny can help you  become buddies with your budget and find ways to free up cash by spring cleaning the deadwood from your finances.

The Financial Freedom Fighter.

A Cotswold Wedding is a Wedding inspiration blog of eclectic venues and unique suppliers. Our aim is to  showcase the very best that the Cotswolds has the offer. 

Can You Have a Child Free Wedding?

So I know this is going to be a contentious subject but is it bad etiquette to request your guests leave their little darlings at home?

My personal view is ‘it’s your day have it your way’ but whichever way you swing how do you manage your decision?

A friend recently got married and herself and now hubby had decided exactly this – a child free wedding. They also felt that with two years between engagement and wedding,  family and friends had plenty of time to get to used to the idea and find arrangements for their loved ones, they had been pretty clear at the outset that it was a Child Free Wedding, no exceptions. The reason behind this…. they didn’t want children crying, making a mess or those in the bridal party feeling torn between wedding duties and their maternal instinct. Some may say that’s harsh but when you’ve saved up and are spending it on the day of a lifetime do you want the video of your wedding vows interrupted by a child shouting out?

So what happens when one of your nearest and dearest doesn’t think this applies to them? In this case it qued much stress for the Bride and an almost belligerent attitude from the bestie in question.

However if your wanting a child free wedding but feel that this isn’t going to sit well with your guests there are ways to minimize the ‘damage’.  It seems your not alone with many couples now hiring ‘Children’s Entertainment’ dedicated and qualified nannies that entertain the little darlings in a separate area away from the main wedding celebrations but close enough for parents to go and check on them. They provide a range of activities and sitting services to cater for all needs and age ranges. 

Rock Up and Play are one such company who can dive to the rescue, specializing in providing child care at events for a range of ages they offer a flexible service. ‘We will plan the crèche to fit around your day, allowing parents to include their children at special times during the day’. 

They can take care of the children, provide fun activities for all or parts of your special day and supervise meals if required. Some of the options for supervision they offer include :

  • the getting ready period before the ceremony (nobody wants abit or sticky fingerboard on their dress!)
  • during the ceremony (for the picture and word perfect video you’ll be cherishing for ever)
  • during the photographs and drinks (ensuring children turn those frowns up side down!)
  • during the meal and speeches (no food fights or I need a toilet screams!)

This means couples are secure in the knowledge that no child related dramas will interrupt their day whilst parents have the opportunity to relax, knowing that the little darlings are in safe hands and enjoying themselves

So can you have a child free wedding and not feel guilty! Yes you can.


Happy Planning

Sophie xx



Rock Up and Play  was founded by Catherine Wasley and specialise in providing childcare and nannies for a wide range of events from small family gathering to weddings and corporate events. Catherine

Want to know more then contact them today:

Telephone: 01453 511677             07977 681192


Facebook – @rockupandplay

How to Nail Pantone Colour of the Year – Greenery

Greenery. I’m sure the majority of couples saw the Pantone colour of the year reveal and thought ‘what on earth?’ Whilst the wedding creatives would of dreamed up at least 5 different ways to celebrate its vibrancy and potential as a wedding colour.

Contrary to the previous year’s, joint colour’s of Rose Quartz and Serenity whose cool colours where reflective of dreamy and cool alittle like a Midsummer Nights Dream,  Greenery is a refreshing shade, Pantone themselves describe it as ‘a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew’.



The versatility of Greenery means it can be incorporated into any season :

For Spring it can hold its own, a mixture of textured foilage and delicate white flowers such a Lily of the Valley for the perfect Spring bouquet.

For Summer why not mix with yellow or orange flowers, Gerberas and sunflowers work beautifully with the yellow-green of the shade to create a stunning vibrant displays.

For Autumn use the shade with darker blooms – berry and plum shades

Winter bouquets can be lightened with the yellow-green of the shade giving contrast to the popular darker red and burgundy shades.

Here’s some Greenery inspiration to get those wedding planning juices flowing! After all they say Green Juice is good for you 🙂




This shade I predict will become a florist and wedding stylists dream! Its versatility means that it will work with any colour – so have fun and embrace this gorgeous shade.

Sophie xx

Date Night during Wedding Planning (or just for super busy people) – Because staying in IS the new going out!

Its not a New Years resolution as such but for the last few months Hubby and I have been making (trying to at least) a conscious effort to date night – I mean how hard can it be to get together once a month?

Whether your a high flyer, carer, parent or currently being consumed by the ‘micro business’ that is wedding planning, I’m not going to sugar coat it, modern living is intense, crazy, busy and at times stressful.

So how can you find a way to a) spend quality time together, b) keep this time together fun without it being forced  AND c) keep it innovative and fresh?

Ladies and Gents, Brides and Grooms, I give you………..DATE NIGHT

I came across Get Date Night on Instagram (I am a bit of an instamum/weddinginspro fiend, you can find us here if your so inclined ) intrigued I wanted to know more so signed up to their launch box.

Truthfully, Date Night had been pretty much none existent for the last 12 months (ok 18) so this box was going to be a vast improvement, plus I didn’t need to think of something to do, no need to book anywhere or try and and keep it within budget.

Well, wowsers!!!

From the gorgeous box to the goodies inside I was like a kid in a sweet shop. We settled down on our agreed night and our Date began. The personalized calligraphy welcome note made me feel that this experience was personal to us and  in a way it felt like someone had personally Date Night shopped for us.

Whats not to love… a different surprise each month and with everything you need in the box there’s no prep, just open the box and enjoy!

We started through the instructions, and I don’t want to give too much away as it will spoil your own experience but the box constituted of four interactive games. The first of which is a Chocolate Face to Mouth game, navigating chocolate from forehead to mouth without the use of hands became surprisingly competitive while the modern day version of  chocolate tiddlywinks provided the most fun….. who knew chocolate could fly that far!

Our second box was based on the Senses and this caused more hilarity and laughing but also left us relaxed with a closeness that we hadn’t allowed ourselves in a while. It is so easy to slip into familiar drudgery, when life becomes busy, and its even harder to get back the spontaneity the longer you leave it.

For a few hours each month we get to leave our parent roles and busy lives at the door, enjoy reconnecting and laughing and now cannot wait for our box to be delivered each month!

Only issue  – agreeing on when to Date Night.



Its easy to sign up, there’s a quick questionnaire – a few personal questions that to determine what your likes and dislikes are, ensuring that the boxes you receive are tailored to you and you will not end up doing/eating something you dislike. So go on give it a try and sign up! For us this wasn’t just ‘Date Night’ but has been a chance to get back our carefree days, you know the ones, in the early days of your relationship when its solely about being together and having fun, no pressures or worries just togetherness.

For those of you watching the pennies the cost of a box is £39.95, this  includes delivery and for an evenings entertainment  its cheaper than most date nights such as the cinema, a meal, tickets to a gig or sporting event, that’s without adding on the extras of childcare (if it applies)

Here at A Cotswold Wedding we have an exclusive use code for you to receive 20% off your first box. Contact GET DATE NOW  using code ACWNOV16.

When you order your first box why not take a snap and be sure to tweet or pop it on instagram with the hashtag #getdatenight – we’d love to see how your getting on!


Thank You Get Date Night – you allow us to feel like we’re back in our early twenties, for one night a month at least 🙂

Get Dating!

Sophie xx


Find us and follow us:

Instagram –

Twitter –