Pleased to present…. British Bridal Boot Sale

So this evening I am pleased to announce the arrival of ……. British Bridal Boot Sale.

Our aim will be to hold bi-yearly Bridal Boot Sales focusing on allowing past couples to sell on their wedding paraphernalia to those getting planning a wedding.

From dresses and accessories to venue styling items and more.

Stay tuned to find out when we shall be launching our first show in the Autumn!

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

DIY Wedding Florals with The Homemade Wedding Company

On a beautifully warm day I was lucky enough to join The Homemade Wedding company at equally beautiful wedding and events venue Twyning Park. Nestled quietly next to the River Avon it was the perfect location to learn how to create your own bouquet and buttonholes whilst the sun glinted of the slow moving river.

The Homemade Wedding Company is the brain child of Jess Watson, who when planning her own wedding was dismayed at the lack of DIY wedding flower guides/tutorials and workshops. Combing her love of the creative with her passion for flowers Jess created her own wedding florals and honing her skills now offers couples the chance to learn how to create beautiful bouquets and flower crowns in her intimate workshops

After a meet and greet, (I finally got to meet handbag queen @harrietshandbags!) Jess introduced us to the flowers we would be using – roses, gerbera, gypsophilia and alstromeria.

What is great with the flowers Jess uses in her workshops are that they are readily accessible – utilizing supermarket flowers where ever possible although details of local wholesalers that do allow members of the public to purchase were great too if you wanted to use specific flowers or where looking for something that wouldn’t necessarily be in season at the time of your wedding.

Her advice for keeping these flowers fresh was another great tip and i am sure the brides on the workshop will be heavily using their baths in the run up to their day!

Each section was broken down into easy bite sized chunks – first watching Jess demonstrate the technique and them having a go ourselves – Jess was there for every step often stepping in to help out if needed. As someone who has the knack of wiring sugar flowers to a fine art I’m not afraid to share that my ‘twineing’ skills leave a lot to be desired.

from creating a simple hand tied buttonhole to the starting arrangement of your bouquet it was thoroughly covered. I had a fantastic time and have come away confident that I could recreate florals for a wedding.

…and just in case we couldn’t remember the details there was a handy crib sheet at the end to take away along with the beautiful florals we had created.

Here are my finished florals:

More pics from the workshop:

Happy planning

Sophie

xx

What to find out more:

Disclaimer

Whilst Jess kindly #gifted a place on her popular workshop all opinions and views are my own.

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

The ultimate guide to Gemstone shapes: what’s best for you or your loved one?

There is such a wonderful variety of gemstone cuts available to the bride or groom to be, there really is no excuse for just sticking to the classic round brilliant cut solitaire if you do not want to.  This blog will help you to decide which one suits you or your fiancé or fiancée’s personality the best.

The name of a diamond cut is not determined by its shape alone, although in the case of the heart, round brilliant and pear shapes it is. Diamonds form naturally under a huge amount of pressure within Kimberlite (handy considering my business and last name 😉) rock and appear generally although not always in an octahedron shape.  Once mined, they are cut into the shape that makes the most of the octahedron of diamond with as little waste as possible whilst creating the most beautifully cut gemstone. The shape that they choose is the overall form description of the diamond, such as pear, cushion or round, while the cut is the diamond’s facets and proportions—basically the element that make them sparkle so beautifully.

Here are a few pointers to help you decide what shape diamond is most suited to your loved one and most suits their character – it is an interesting way to choose if you really have no idea what to go for!

Round Brilliant Cut = Classic & Elegant

Commonly known as the round brilliant cut, round diamonds are without a doubt the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings, accounting for more than 75 percent of all diamonds sold. This is the most classic of all the cuts.  Round diamonds have 58 facets, which refracts the light which bounces from the bottom of the diamond back through the top, creating that unbelievable sparkly effect. The shape is extremely versatile, elegant and timeless, looking clean and modern in simple settings, yet equally as wonderful in more elaborate styles – you really cannot go wrong.

Emerald = Glamorous & Art Deco

If you’re all about Art Deco glamour, this is the diamond for you. A rectangular shape with long, angular facets but it’s the large table that shows off the diamond’s clarity better than any other cut. What it lacks in brilliance, it more than makes up for in undeniable elegance.  Think Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly who wouldn’t want to follow in those icons footsteps, I know I would!

Princess = Refined & Sparkly

The name says it all! The princess cut is a classic, elegant choice that’s similar in vibrancy to the round brilliant cut but with a more modern, linear look.  Flirty and fun, the princess cut is most commonly set as a solitaire and is the second most popular shape. It’s experienced a revival over the past few years. Because the additional facets add brilliance and increase the diamond’s inherent sparkle, flaws may be less noticeable which is a definite plus point.

Asscher = Vintage & Glamourous

The asscher cut is striking and dramatic, evoking a very 1920s-1930s, art deco feel. The asscher cut is a beautifully simplistic cut with a classic elegance. It shares similar characteristics to the emerald cut, meaning colour and clarity are important factors if you decide to opt for a diamond in this shape.  The only real difference between the asscher and the emerald cut is that the asscher is square and not elongated.

Cushion = The Romantic & Whimsical

For the woman who knows what she wants, it’s probably the romantic cushion she’s craving. Cushion cuts can either be square or look rectangle with rounded corners and have larger facets to increase their brilliance, so they are rarely cut in smaller carat weights and sizes. One of the most popular diamond shapes a century ago, cushion cuts reflect and era of romance and elegance.

Oval = Innovative & Creative

Right up there with the round brilliant cut diamonds, oval diamonds have a wonderful brilliance. Even and symmetrical, this shape looks well balanced as a solitaire among those with smaller hands or shorter fingers (I fall into this bracket!), because the oval’s elongated shape gives the illusion of length to the hand (there is hope!).  The oval is often set with side stones, sometimes smaller diamonds, sapphires, emeralds or other gems, appealing to a wide range of tastes and making for a very personal and unique design.

Marquise = Dramatic & Striking

Like most things interesting, the majestic marquise is swathed in dramatic history. Legend has it that this cut was invented during the 18th-century reign of Louis XIV, allegedly named for his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, and inspired by her smile. The unique cut, essentially an oval with rounded sides and points at each end, is distinctive and dramatic.  The marquise cut can look larger than it actually is, and due to its elongated shape, can make fingers look more slender….now that’s a winner! It’s ideal for those looking to maximize carat weight, and for those who like a little opulence and are after a statement piece of jewellery rather than following the crowds.

Pear = Unique & Feminine

A winning combination of the marquise and the oval, this cut resembles a twinkling teardrop. Popular for pendants and earrings, the pear shape is also a unique and excellent choice for engagement rings, and can be “fatter” or more elongated, depending on your preference. Due to its unbalanced shape, it’s not usually set with elaborate accent stones however it does look wonderful with a diamond halo surrounding it or complimenting diamond set shoulders.

Heart = Sentimental & Soft

This cut is the ultimate symbol of romance and sentimentality. Often more of a novelty and not commonly used for engagement rings, a special and select few do choose a heart shape.  The way they are cut is similar to the pear shape they can be “fatter” or more elongated, and it’s the skill and precision of the diamond cutter that defines the sparkle and beauty of this shape.

Radiant = Stylish & Confident

This cut can be hard to find but most definitely not impossible.  The radiant marries the elegant glamour of the emerald cut shape with the brilliance of the round, resulting in a rare sparkly square with trimmed corners. Its extra special sparkle is the result of the way its underside is cut, with 70 facets to be exact.  I personally love the fact that this shape isn’t worn by many, so if you are after something totally different to your friends this is the perfect option.

I hope that this helps all of you engagement ring purchasers out there…if you are still confused there are professionals out there, like myself, who can point you in the right direction contact a designer for more information on how to set your perfect cut, my details are linked below.

Hannah xx

About our guest blogger:

Hannah Kimber is the creative director and talent behind Hannah Kimber Jewellery.

Hannah specialises in bespoke commissioned pieces of exquisite jewellery using the finest ethically sourced gemstones and precious metals. With expertise in diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and a huge range of precious and semi-precious gemstones, Hannah is highly respected in the jewellery industry throughout the UK and

She prides herself on quality craftsmanship and attention to even the tiniest of details, however it is her instinctive flair and creative brilliance that sets her apart from the rest and has led to her numerous awards and accreditations.

http://www.hannahkimber.com/

Hannah@hannahkimber.com

01242 574468

Supplier Showcase: The Cheltenham Cakery

Today’s Supplier Spotlight is for Cakery Queen and multi award winning cake artist Sophie Liggat from The Cheltenham Cakery.

We caught up with Sophie to find out more about her love of sugar craft

Tell us about you

Hi my name is Sophie Liggat and I am the owner and caker at The Cheltenham Cakery. Originally creating anything in cake I started to specialise in Wedding and corporate Cakery along with cupcake bouquets and I’ve not looked back! I love the creativity that my job has and the ability to create realistic flowers out of sugar always gives me a real buzz of joy. There’s nothing better than watching my clients faces when they ask you ‘are they real?’ And you tell them they are made from sugar paste!

How long have you been in business?

I started The Cheltenham Cakery in October 2011, but I have been home baking my whole life and my recipes are hand me downs from generations before me, I’ve just given them a Modern ‘cakery’ twist

How and why did you start your business?

I began baking more when my now hubby started working nights and I was getting bored of an evening, and if I’m honest a little lonely. I’d baked one to many cupcakes one evening and had to take them into work with me…. people loved them and it wasn’t long before I was being asked to bake. The rest they say is history.

After a few years I decided to concentrate on specialising in Wedding and corporate Cakery.

For you what is the best part of running your business?

I pride myself on creating unique and delicious Cakery – Too often I have couples come to me after searching Pinterest with designs they like to copy – I adore helping them explore and find their creative sides and incorporate this into their cake.

The wedding cake experience from tasting to designing and the end result is just as important to me as the final finished product.

It’s also a great feeling when you get the professional shots of your cakes come through – I’m always like ‘I made that?!’

Additional information:

To ensure the highest standard of work I only take on one wedding order a week and as such do get booked up quickly – if your interested in a Cheltenham Cakery design drop me a line and let’s start talking cake 😃 🎂

Contact details to find out more:

Website: www.thecheltenhamcakery.co.uk

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thecheltenhamcakery

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thecheltenhamcakery

Twitter: www.twitter.com/thecheltcakery

Email: info@thecheltenhamcakery.co.uk

Tel: 07766346788

Here’s some more works of edible art: