Its that time of year again when the air is thick with the heady scent that is Lavender. Lavandre, derived form Old French means Lavender. This botanical plant with its natural perfume (a fav of your grannys i’m guessing) is as English as it gets. But does the inclusion of Lavender in your celebrations mean your old before your time? Modern meanings for lavender include purity, calmness, devotion and serenity – nothing could be more fitting for a celebration of love.
We are so fortunate in the Cotswolds to have access to some pretty spectacular Lavender fields, rows upon rows of vibrant colour ranging from the palest lilac to rich purple as they stretch across the Cotswold landscape.
All the way back when in Greek and Roman times the Lavender plant was used for its medicinal properties as a complete first aid kit and today we predominately use it to relieve stress and soothe irritation – just imagine how relaxed and carefree your wedding day will be if you use lavender! So why am I telling you this? Because scent is as important as the dress – an often forgotten element in wedding planning coming last after visual elements such as colour, styling and location. More on this under utilized sense later.
So how do you incorporate lavender into your celebrations? From sprigs here and t.here to scented confetti or inclusion with its delicate flavour into cakes or cookies as favours. Why not use the distinctive flower heads as adornments to cocktails or place cards?
Although not set in the Cotswolds here’s a luxury wedding in France exclusively shot at the lavender fields at Sault, in Provence.
For an experience closer to home why not check out these local Cotswold Lavender Farms and Fields:
Reposting from the archives today….. as couples look for ways to make the budget stretch further, would you skill swap your wedding? Here’s what happened when one bride did…..
I am always intrigued behind Brides planning processes and how they choose to go about planning their wedding. When I saw a post on Social Media from a Bride asking suppliers to skill swap my interest was immediately pipped! Do people really do this? How does this work?
After contacting the Bride to be and asking if I could chat to her about her Social Media post and to discover what this actually entailed I met up with the lovely Nina. This is her story.
Nina Jenkins is the owner and therapist at Yin-Yang Therapies, her story begins back in 2009, after trying her first Reiki treatment and the immediate health benefits she experienced Nina was inspired to learn Reiki and after studying became a qualified practitioner which saw the birth of WakeyReiki.
After combining her Reiki with Swedish massage, Indian Head Massage and Holistic Facials, Wakeyreiki has evolved into Yin-Yan Therapies where Nina says ‘ More recently I have been mixing up my treatments and tailoring them for my clients, this tailored ethos makes my offering very different to others. Yin-Yang treatments are about you and finding your optimum balance. Whilst you can sample each signature treatment as it is… I can also mindfully blend them so they are perfect – just for you’
Getting back to the Skill Swap, I asked Nina how the idea to Skill Swap elements for her day came about and how it had been received by suppliers.
How did you come up with the idea to skill swap your wedding?
I think we need to take a leaf from the old days. Bartering (or skill swapping) goes back centuries and as long as both parties are benefiting then why not? The average cost of a UK wedding is escalating beyond what modern day couples can actually afford sadly. Many are taking out loans to be able to fund large and elegant weddings and putting themselves under great pressure and some newly weds are actually paying off the debt for years after. I’m a believer of using your resources where you can, and if that’s a positive for all concerned then why not skill swap at least some of the things you would like for your special day?
How has the idea of skill swap gone down with suppliers you’ve approached?
Some have been very receptive and some have not been as enthusiastic. I think there are some grey lines with swapping, ie. are you both getting an equal share. For example, how much effort would someone need to put in to recoup the value of their services to £100? This differs with each service and product provided by suppliers so sometimes it can make it tricky.
Have you come across any difficulties with the skill swap set up?
Some suppliers haven’t totally understood the concept and this has lead to some difficulties regarding who was offering what. I was offered a swap for photography but the higher value services would have meant many hours of holistic treatments which made it unfeasible sadly. But I have found a great photograher who has offered to capture my day informally for an amazing deal.
Would you recommend it to to Brides on a budget?
Yes I would as it can help cut costs and help others. My advice is to think about a fair deal between both parties (not just in terms of money but time and effort) and set out the guidelines so there are no grey lines before agreeing to a skill swap. I know that every supplier that has offered to swap with me is benefiting from receiving some lovely holistic treatments that will make them feel much better, help them to relax, de-stress and restore themselves, which makes them more happy and productive in work and in general life. And that makes me happy.
If you hadn’t of skill swapped some services, how would this have impacted on your wedding day ideas/designs/atmosphere?
I would not have been able to splurge as much on some things that I really wanted too. I have managed to skill swap flowers, bridesmaid presents, hair styling trial and hair styling on the day, wedding nails and some essential beauty treatments in the run up to the wedding, these really eat into your budget. For example, 2 months prior to a wedding it is recommended you get regular facials every 2 weeks so you can look your absolute best on the day, so if a facial is £45 that really adds up and many brides don’t factor nails, regular facials and hair into the equation when budgeting.
Any other tips for Brides looking to cut costs?
I would also recommend offsetting any crafty DIY wedding tasks to bridesmaids and close family to help even further. For example, do you have an Aunty that can make your bouquets or an uncle who can MC on the day? Can you make anything yourself? Asking for support from those close to you can often mean you don’t have to spend quite as much from the budget.
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.
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
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.
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 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!!!
it’s one vote per person and we’ll keep you posted if we get through to the final stage – fingers crossed we do because I sorely missed out on attending the glittering awards ceremony when I was a finalist last year and I have THE most beautiful Gino Cerruti gown I’d like to wear 😉
Always a tricky subject….. are you inviting children and if you are how will you keep the little darlings entertained?
For every couple who couldn’t imagine a wedding without children being involved or in attendance there is another couple that’s dead set against having children there for fear of disrupting the day.
Involving children means that having a flower girl or page boy in attendance is possible. It may allow the parents to come as they won’t need to make alternative arrangements for childcare and if it’s someone you really want to attend this can be a huge factor in them saying no!
However the other side of the coin is that children are unpredictable – from toddler tantrums to teenager moping.
And if you do both agree to allow children to your day who do you invite?
Only invite children in the immediate family?
Do we invite all children of guests? Or will they be offended or unable to attend if we don’t invite their children?
And if we have several children to cater for, will they be bored?
What will they do all day? And no, we are not having a bouncy castle or a mountain of brightly coloured plastic strewn across our wedding venue! Aggghhhhh………..
However, with the right planning, involving children in the celebrations can be fantastic fun without compromising on a stylish and stress-free day.
Hedgerow Circus is a local company based in the Cotswolds, hiring beautiful play areas set up at weddings and events, and their teepee play corner complete with toys and art pack can be courier delivered to any UK mainland addresses.
We’re talking aesthetically pleasing displays that will have children entertained for hours and with nearly all the activities focusing around the teepee set up it won’t take up too much space if your short on it!
So whether your for, against or undecided you can rest safe in the knowledge that Hedgerow Circus can help.
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!
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.