What will your wedding be: Reflective wedding or Pinterest Pinned?

Channel flicking I came across Sex and The City reruns – and it got me thinking to Carrie’s Wedding…. you know the one where she puts a bird on her head and an oh so fabulous Vivienne Westwood bespoke bridal gown on her yoga toned bod.

If you’ve been a fellow Sex and the City fan (it was the theme for my hen do) they you’ll know the history between Carrie and Mr Big and the unglamorous way he left her almost at the alter only to reconcile and marry in the way that worked for them.

I couldn’t help but wonder are we being led into having big glossy Pinterest weddings or are we choosing bigger is better?

Whilst we’ve seen a huge revival in alternative weddings, when it comes to wedding planning are we just ‘picking a style’ to appease everyone else?

From my own nuptials I will always remember the disapproving mutterings when I announced that I wouldn’t be having a wedding car and I wanted to walk to church (the journey from family home to. Church being less than 40 metres!) . But what if it rains I was constantly asked alongside relatives readily offering up a variety of modes of transport to ‘help me out’.

Or the idea that I had in my mind for my bouquet – which was alittle out there at the time, ‘well that will never work, here have you seen this’

Yet with both details (and a ton of stubbornness on my side to forge ahead) they remain a happy memory today. Recently my granny who was not too impressed at my initial idea, remarked on how lovely it was you walked to church!

Take Carries wedding dress for example, she found a beautifully cut vintage tailored suit in her favourite charity shop and swoon worthy designer shoes, yet her friends felt this wasn’t ‘bridal’ and as the film went on she see her gently pressured into organising a day that isn’t reflective of them as a couple as those closest too her try and model her day on their own expectations. Don’t get me wrong the Vivienne Westwood gown that was gifted is to die for but it wasn’t reflective of her.

So my advise stay true to yourself, stay firm. Whether it’s al alternative wedding dress, a black diamond engagement ring or unconventional reception do what works for you.

It’s YOUR wedding so make sure you do it YOUR way! Surround yourself with those who know and will respect your wishes.

Here’s some more swoon Worthing SATC wedding pic:

Happy Planning

Sophie

Xx

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Wedding Sustainability: because #thereisnoplanetB

As the real threat of climate change is never far for the fore, just look at the horrific out of control bush fires that Australia are currently suffering; it falls to each and every one of us to take responsibility for our own choices and actions. This includes wedding planning and the wedding industry as a whole.

I make no apology for my love of weddings. Some may argue a unnecessary tradition in today’s modern world.

But I cannot ignore that as a whole the wedding industry can be a fairly wasteful one. The majority of items can be classed as ‘single use’ and with the average cost of weddings rising each year couples look to source the cheapest items, which are often mass produced, aren’t sustainabley sourced and have poor recycle ability. For example are you aware of how plastic is in your wedding dress??

As a bride working within a fairly stringent budget myself I understand the need, pressure and stress associated with organizing the ‘perfect’ wedding.

But at what cost to the environment not to mention your wallet?

Having taken part in Tent:Talks at the Spring Showcase earlier this year on collaboration with Timber and Canvas and Cotswold Field of Dreams, there seemed to be equal measure of those wanting to purchase everything sparkly and new and those who were happy to source preloved items.

Its those that aren’t comfortable utilising preloved items that I want to challenge – why the unease? and what do we need to do as an industry to break this taboo?

Equally we need to make it easier for couples to source sustainable and preloved items – I’m hoping the launch of our new online marketplace will help with this!

To reiterate a common hashtag – #thereisnoplanetB and we all have a duty and responsibility to care for and nurture this planet regardless.

Stay tuned to find out how we plan to do our bit in the Wedding Industry and hopefully encourage other both couples and suppliers to do the same

Happy planning

Sophie

Xx

 

Real Wedding: Sarah & Andy at Manor by the Lake, Cheltenham

It’s here, it’s here….. FINALLY I hear most of you say.

Following on from our Planning a Wedding series last year, here’s the real wedding in all its glory and a very Happy 1st Anniversary to my fabulous friends!

Sarah & Andy met at work, although it took some time for Andy to get Sarah to agree to a date. His perseverance won and two years later they became engaged… although it would be another nine years before they got round to getting married.

For their wedding the couple were fairly relaxed, wanting an intimate day with their nearest and dearest.

If you followed the blog series last year you’ll no that the biggest stumbling block was the colours for the day – already having an ideal palette in mind the bride wanted to have something different to her brother who had used the same main theme colour. All in all it came down to one photo… thank you Google! So from this inspiration the colour palette for the day took shape:

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The venue was gorgeous Manor by the Lake in Cheltenham, a Victorian mansion set within its own grounds including picturesque lake. Its a hidden gem location wise and easily accessible to the main routes in and out of the town with plenty of nearby accommodation – ideal with so many family members travelling in for the special occasion.

The mansions stunning architecture was simply styled with fresh florals, with the only other styling being light up letters.l of their initials.

Florals were provided by Donna at The Flower Studio, all designed from the original inspiration picture, and with her own twist.

I think you’ll agree these bouquets are just sublime.Manor-by-the-lake-wedding-426

As a testament to this laid back bride the wedding dress was sourced after most of the big items had been organised. After a less than dreamy visit to find her dream dress, her stunning gown was found in bridal boutique Enchanted Brides, Cheltenham. Kaci and Jeanette are experts at putting brides at ease, and their no rush appointment, no maximum number of dresses to try per appointment approach was a refreshing change to what had been experienced before.

Enough talking for now, enjoy these pictures from their day:

If you want to catch up on the suppliers chosen please see the links below.

Lastly a huge thank you to my Bestie Sarah and her new hubby Andy for allowing me to share everything from their special day from concept to planning to real wedding.

You guys rock! Love you.

Happy Planning

Sophie & Sarah

xx

 

The Team

Wedding Invitations: Louise Rowles Design
Place cards/seating plan: Handmade by the Mother of the Groom

Dress: Enchanted Brides
Makeup: Make Up by Natasha Louise
Hair: Lady Amy Hair Design
Shoes: Rainbow at John Lewis
Accessories: Enchanted Brides
Photographer: Capture Every Moment Photography
Ceremony Venue: Manor by the Lake
Reception Venue: Manor by the Lake

Cake: The Cheltenham Cakery

Entertainment: Playlists put together by the groom

How to Wedding Fayre and why you should

If your currently planning your wedding and wondering why everyone is taking an age to get back to you its because many suppliers are in the last deep throws of wedding season, being one myself i can assure you there are LOTS of late nights at the moment helping guarantee that my clients dreams become reality.

Its now September, and the start of Autumn, will be here and with it brings Wedding Fayre Season.

Now from experience Wedding Fayres are like marmite…. you either love them or hate them. I am definitely in the love side of this relationship (hubby was definitely on the hate side, perhaps its a bride thing?)

So heres a guide on how to Wedding Fayre, with the pros (and cons) and find out how to get the most out of your experience.

The Wedding Fayre (fair, inspiration day, showcase, open day) are often held at a wedding venue, if there a venue your interested in its a good way to see how your day will ‘look’ – tablets will be dressed for a wedding and with lots of people milling around it will give you an idea of what space you will have available for your guests. If the weathers not great it will also showcase the use of the indoor space!

Wedding Fayres can be themed ie a Vintage Wedding Fayre, these are perfect if your looking to create this styling as all the exhibitors will fit this brief and save you time looking at suppliers that may not fit.

Definite Dos

  • Wedding Fayre like a pro – plan your fayres, make a list of what your after, are there suppliers you’d like to meet in person at a fayre before moving to the stage?
  • Register for the event – although nearly all fayres are free these days be sure to register – you often get perks of a goody bag containing exclusive offers, early entry and a glass of bubbly!
  • Choose comfort over style – believe me comfy, sturdy footwear is a must, you’ll totally underestimate the amount of walking that you’ll do.
  • Do bring a spare pair of hands for all the goodie bags you’ll get – I mean that’s what bridesmaids are for, right? But be sure to bring someone whose opinions you completely trust and value
  • Check out what suppliers are offering for on the day bookings – many suppliers run ‘Fayre only offers’ and a small deposit will secure potentially larger savings later on – helping your budget to stretch a little further
  • Equally you’ve got to be in it to win it – some suppliers will run competitions on the day, this is a great way to win a total or partial product or service or a free upgrade
  • If you’ve found the ‘ONE’ supplier – BOOK. In demand suppliers can often get booked up 2 years in advance, don’t end up disappointed because you didn’t deposit

 

Definite Don’ts

  • Be a fair weather Wedding Fayrer – heaven forbid but this is England and it may, just may rain (sleet, snow, hailstone or occasionally sunshine 😉 on your day. If the fayre is at a venue your interested in it will allow you to scope out the rainy day options
  • Avoid leaving it until the last minute – if you’ve turned up with 15 minutes before the close of the event, you may not get all the information you’ll need as you scan the suppliers. Plus suppliers will be looking to start packing up and this can take quite a while!
  • Don’t assume that the larger the fayre the better, by all means the larger fayres will have a much larger number of suppliers and with most organizers limiting the number in each category you can be sure of a diverse selection however don’t discount more boutique fayres if your planning an eclectic or more personalize day – they may have that one eclectic supplier you’ve been looking for!
  • Its not the place for bartering – whilst we all love a bargain, a wedding fayre is not a bazzar, its not the place for haggling with suppliers to obtain the price you want to pay.
  • However if you love a bargain then head over to #britishbridalbootsale– a Preloved and Ethical Wedding Fayre

For Wedding fayres coming up take a look here

Happy fayreing!

Sophie xx

 

Wedding Diets… DON’T EXIST!

Yep you heard it here first…. Wedding Diets Do Not Exist.

Following on from the uproar caused when this week a large UK Wedding Inspiration Blog haplessly used the hashtag, #loseweightgainahusband i write this post from the comfort of my soap box. There is no science behind what I’m about to write (rant!) just 34 years of personal experience with a healthy dose of common sense and a dollop of reality.

WEDDING DIETS DO NOT EXIST

When this first popped up on my insta feed I did a double take – no one could be that insensitive, Could they? I’m appalled that in this day and age this old fashioned and quite frankly outdated view is still out there, why?

Put simply, this came across as body shaming – the ideology that you won’t get (or hold onto) a husband if your not skinny or less than you are now. Don’t get me wrong if your all for getting into shape for your wedding and wanting to tone up or shape up then fine…

What is NOT FINE is the pressure (and body shaming) placed on brides to be (and bridesmaids to be) to be stick thin and too look a certain way….

So please join me in saying that beautiful is beautiful and love is love – size has got nothing to do with it!

When your partner proposed or if you proposed to your partner did you say ‘I want to marry you but please lose X amount of weight first’ – NO!!

Just a rough guess here 🤔 but reckon it might be because they love you for who you are?? You know the personality, little quirks and idiosyncrasies that we all have, the things that make us individual and unique unlike a generic size 10 – I mean anyone can be one of those.

For those of you currently trying on wedding dresses this can be a scary and vulnerable time, especially as we have a current gap in the market with many designers only making wedding dresses up to a size 12/14. I still recoil in horror recounting an experience i had trying on wedding dresses – i was not body confident, a size 12 which wobbled in the slightest breeze. To undress in front of a total stranger and then have them try and help you get into a wedding dress is embarrassing enough – but when the design you really want to try on and your both struggling to pull it up your body and the assistant then remarks ‘well it is a size 8, do you want to come back at a later date’ – I was mortified. I walked out there and then.

Its also no secret that weddings are stressful….. the downside of being a woman is this:

Stress increases the level of Cortisol AKA the stress hormone. Increased levels of Cortisol can cause higher insulin levels which in turn means your blood sugar drops causing you to comfort eat. And where do those extra calories go?… yep the hips, thighs and bum. Its true what they say, a moment on the hips a lifetime on the hips!

My own wedding dress had a lace up back, whilst a pain to get on and off I will be forever grateful for the chance to go up and down thanks to this clever design… why? Because i put weight ON in the run up to my wedding, not amount of clean eating, exercise and water helped – probably all due to the stress hormone mentioned above, I even attended an intense 6 week bootcamp to shift those extra pounds, I was unsuccessful. Happiness is to do with the person inside not their dress size.

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Here I am on my own wedding day. What size do i look like? 

It is our duty to be empowering our brides to feel fabulous no matter what size or shape they are and to put their best wedding foot forward as they embark on the next chapter of their lives

So whatever your size, shape or inclination – beautiful is beautiful and love is love, size has NOTHING to do with it so be happy in own skin.

Sophie

xx

Cover image taken from Rock the Frock

 

Thank You to our Wedding Giveaway Sponsors

Our first 12 Days of Christmas Wedding Giveaway was a whooping success over on Instagram and 12 lucky winners who either bagged themselves an item/product for their wedding or a couples and hen/stag party experience that were up for grabs.

I just wanted to give our wonderful Wedding Suppliers a shout out to thank them for their generosity. Over the 12 days we gave away OVER £1150 worth of prizes:

Day 1 – 10x Wedding Advice cards from Precious Times (£3.99) and Rhinestone ‘I Do’ Shoe Stickers (£3.99) from Dymonds Shoes

Day 2 – £25 voucher to spend in store at Infinity Dresses

Day 3 – £45 voucher to spend at Keepsake Corks

Day 4 – £27 Mini Cupcake bouquet from The Cheltenham Cakery

Day 5 – £80 voucher to spend on your bespoke paper bouquet from Stems from Paper

Day 6 – 2 hour inspiration planning session with The Homemade Wedding Company (worth £100-£120)

Day 7 – £100 to spend on veil or hair piece at Willoughby and Wolf as well as a bottle of bubbly

Day 8 – One bridesmaid dress from The Cotswold Wedding Company (up to the value of £100)

Day 9 – x1 Wine tasting session for 6 from Glenfall House (worth £125)

Day 10 – Fabulous Favours Workshop for 6 from The Cheltenham Cakery (worth £180)

Day 11 – Bridal hamper of luxury candle, ivory stock wedding shoes, bottle of bubbly AND the chance to make them an offer on your dream wedding dress at The Cotswold Frock Shop/The Bridal Gallery (worth £200++)

Day 12 – Supper Spa Day for 2. Evening spa from 5.30pm including 1 course dinner and wine, 1x 25 minute treatment each courtesy of Hatherley Manor Spa (worth £160)

So from me, the prize winners and all the readers THANK YOU, here’s to the Christmas 2019 giveaway!!!

Sophie

xx

On the twelfth day of wedding giveaway…..

On the twelfth day of Christmas……

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This Christmas we are celebrating the best of the Cotswolds Wedding industry.

Every day in the run up to Christmas we are featuring an awesome prize from one or more of our Cotswold Wedding suppliers.

To be in with a chance of winning be sure to LIKE this post, LIKE @acotswoldwedding and @hatherleymanorhotel_spa .

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and tag friends or family who’d like the prize(s) – ONE COMMENT is ONE ENTRY so get tagging.

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Today’s prize:.

Supper spa day for two

Use of facilities from 5.30pm

1 x 25minute treatment each

1 course dinner and a glass of wine in the hotels main restaurant.

Valid until 30th June 2019. Available Monday – Thursday.

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Prize value £160

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UK entrants only, winner picked at random and will be notified by Direct Message.

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This giveaway is in no way associated with Instagram.

Head to the grid to enter:

Good luck

Sophie

Xx

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On the eleventh day of Wedding Giveaway….

On the eleventh day of Christmas……

This Christmas we are celebrating the best of the Cotswolds Wedding industry.

Every day in the run up to Christmas we are featuring an awesome prize from one or more of our Cotswold Wedding suppliers.

To be in with a chance of winning be sure to LIKE this post, LIKE @acotswoldwedding and @cotswoldfrockshop .

and tag friends or family who’d like the prize(s) – ONE COMMENT is ONE ENTRY so get tagging.

Today’s prize is a 2 parter:

Firstly @cotswoldfrockshop are allowing you to MAKE THEM AN OFFER on your dream wedding dress (this is a one time only offer!)

Alongside your confirmed wedding dress order you’ll also receive:

👰🏻 One free pair of ivory stock wedding shoes during December.

👰🏻 Our signature fragrance candle and hand balm x 1.

👰🏻Hamper of goodies worth over £200.00

Total Prize Worth: £200++

T& Cs:

No cash alternative or change given.

Please contact the Cotswold Frock Shop for full terms and conditions .

UK entrants only, winner picked at random and will be notified by Direct Message.

This giveaway is in no way associated with Instagram.

Head to the grid to enter https://www.instagram.com/acotswoldwedding

Good luck

Sophie

Xx

On the tenth day of wedding giveaway…..

On the tenth day of Christmas…..

This Christmas we are celebrating the best of the Cotswolds Wedding industry.

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Every day in the run up to Christmas we are featuring an awesome prize from one or more of our Cotswold Wedding suppliers.

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To be in with a chance of winning be sure to LIKE this post, LIKE @acotswoldwedding and @thecheltenhamcakery .

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and tag friends or family who’d like the prize(s) – ONE COMMENT is ONE ENTRY so get tagging.

Today’s prize is a Fabulous Favours workshop for 6 people. Learn how to create your own wedding favours simply and easily using a range of fondant techniques along with packaging ideas and personalisation techniques. Perfect hen idea.

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Prize value £180

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T& Cs:

No cash alternative or change given. .

Booking dates are subject to availability.

There is a 48 hour cancellation policy with this voucher.

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UK entrants only, winner picked at random and will be notified by Direct Message.

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This giveaway is in no way associated with Instagram.

Head to the grid to enter: https://www.instagram.com/a cotswoldwedding

Good luck

Sophie

Xx

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On the seventh day of wedding giveaway…..

On the seventh day of Christmas……

This Christmas we are celebrating the best of the Cotswolds Wedding industry.

Every day in the run up to Christmas we are featuring an awesome prize from one or more of our Cotswold Wedding suppliers.

To be in with a chance of winning be sure to LIKE this post, LIKE @acotswoldwedding and @willoughbyandwolff.

and tag friends or family who’d like the prize(s) – ONE COMMENT is ONE ENTRY so get tagging.

Today’s prize includes:

The prize is: A bottle of champagne and a choice of either a veil or hair piece up to the value of £100.

T&Cs:

Winner must be over 18.

Photo for illustration purposes only, winner will be able to choose from in store range.

No cash alternative or change given.

Winner must visit the store to collect their champagne and choose their item, which will be ordered new for them.

A publicity photograph for social media will be taken at the time of collection, which will be used for this event, however, the winner has the right to request not to be named in the photograph.

UK entrants only, winner picked at random and will be notified by Direct Message.

This giveaway is in no way associated with Instagram.

Head to the grid to enter https://www.instagram.com/acotswoldwedding