Keeping Children Entertained – Effortlessly & Stylishly

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.

Take a look at www.hedgerowcircus.co.uk or follow on Facebook or Instagram for more details…

Happy planning

Sophie

Hedgerow Circus:

✉️ hello@hedgerowcircus.co.uk

📞 01993 220778

https://www.hedgerowcircus.co.uk/

Bridal Confidence – The elephant in the room

Weddings are a source of excitement and enjoy, admittedly there may be tense moments, families are a rich and diverse collection of people and on occasion may not blend together, but on the whole its against the grain to think that for some their wedding day just doesn’t conjure up quite the same thoughts of eternal elation.

The thought of posing in countless positions for photographs, to speaking in public about their undying love is enough to bring about a cold sweat and thoughts of eloping or in extreme conditions ‘calling it off’! Even the most confident bride can experience a wobble and may need alittle help to channel the beauty from within, because yes brides to be… you are all beautiful.

So whether you need a pep talk to get you going or to talk through how to stand or pose for the best pictures we have the experts on hand to help.

Two such ladies who understand the pressures of wedding planning and more importantly women are Susie Mackie and Dawn Swinley.

Susie Mackie is a wedding photographer who is passionate about photographing people. However Susie’s passionate goes deeper than just capturing your perfect day. Recognizing a need that some Brides needed a little boost she created My Sensuality  – a boudoir experience that she originally created for brides to be which revealed the beauty within, whilst giving brides an experience that they found liberating, confidence building, empowering and fun!  For some it has changed their lives forever, and for others they simply see themselves as others do – beautiful.

Susie says:

My style is timeless, emotional, and genuine; I capture your natural sensuality revealed through your eyes and body language, talking you through your poses and enabling you to feel truly liberated. To me, people are unique “living art” – the texture and tone, character and curve – and I celebrate this through my imagery.

My mission is to give you the confidence to feel good about all of you – from the inside out! If a very brief encounter with Penny and me at a My Sensuality shoot can empower you to feel good about yourself and love your images, then we have achieved what we set out to do!

Dawn Swinly is a nutrition and wellness coach , her business Mode-De-Vie provides a variety of solution’s to today’s modern women’s issues and her aim is to help you enjoy all that life can offer without you being burdened with unattractive and unnecessary body fat or health issues that drain your energy, ruin your looks and diminish your self-confidence.

Dawn says:

‘Many people don’t understand the power of nutrition and its impact on their mind, body and spirit. Or they think to be healthy, you have to live on rabbit food or starve yourself or not enjoy any treats. No Faddy Diets or Finger Pointing Here. What you will get is someone who is a qualified Nutritionist who understands what you need to feel amazing and it’s not starving yourself, being scolded or trying to sell you the next “Magic Bullet” to being slim.

So what have these two fabulous ladies who understand women been up to? and more importantly how can they help you!

They bring you – Complete Bridal Confidence

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The ultimate in boosting your Bridal confidence by dedicated experts in a relaxed, warm environment with of course complementary fizz. Helping you to look and feel fabulous both inside and out and allow the best possible version of you shine.

Susie and Dawn will be introducing their amazing new concept CBC – Complete Bridal Confidence on 8th May 2017 at The Greenway Hotel and Spa, Cheltenham.

There support network includes a private Facebook group called Brides United, you can join it HERE. This is a place of sanctuary where you can ask questions, find out information and discuss your wedding with other contributors.

Be sure to join them and enjoy a glass of fizz, soak up invaluable information, ask our experts for advice, and enjoy our short but enlightening presentation when we will outline the concept of CBC – and share a super special offer for the first 5 brides to book a CBC package!

By the time you leave, we are confident that you will be happy in the knowledge that we are all there to hold your hand during your wedding planning, and will help make your dream wedding a reality, because as the L’Oreal adverts say ‘you’re worth it’.

Get your tickets for the launch event here:   Complete Bridal Confidence Tickets

It promises to be a fun, informative and enlightening experience, why not book tickets for mother of the bride and your maids too?

Happy planning

Sophie xx

Supplier Spotlight: The Cotswolds Event Planner

This weeks Supplier Spotlight is for wedding and events coordinator Louise Pritchard.  With her trademark bob and love of sparkles, this lovely lass is just the gal you need planning your wedding – find out more about Louise, her experienced hospitality background and passion for planning below.

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Tell us about you

Hi my name is Louise Pritchard and I am The Cotswold Event Planner.

I help businesses and individuals save time, money and stress when planning their events by using my industry experience, my network of the very best local suppliers and some good old fashioned hard work! On the day itself, my clients can relax and really enjoy the event, knowing I’m on site making sure all the well planned details run smoothly and any loose ends are tied.

How long have you been in business?

I have been The Cotswolds Event Planner for 8 months, although my entire career has been in hospitality and events.

From my very first weekend job at 16, it’s always been about hospitality.  My university years and also those that immediately followed were spent getting to know event and wedding planning in hotels.

I followed that with an incredible couple of years working for an Event Management company in Swindon, as account manager for 2 large clients. My work took me across Europe and further afield with planning and on site event management of events from 10 to 250 delegates. My knowledge and understanding grew exponentially.

A wedding and a relocation brought my husband and I to Cheltenham. After a few years in a beautiful country events and weddings hotel, an opportunity to be part of the opening management team for the Montpellier Chapter – now the Malmaison, Cheltenham – came along and was simply too good to pass up. It was a thrilling time at an amazing venue that I will never forget.

How and why did you start your business?

The time just felt right. Working in the events industry  can be unforgiving and isn’t always easy with 2 small children- the hours don’t necessarily suit family life, but I missed the buzz organizing and planning gave me. So I decided to work for myself, this way I can control my work life balance, and I’m thrilled I did.

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

There is just nothing like the feeling of being at an event you’ve planned, watching the guests having a fantastic time, grins all round, knowing that you’ve been part of that. It gives me goose bumps!

Contact details to find out more:
Additional info you’d like to share:

I offer prospective clients a 30 minute, free of charge, no obligation meeting. With a range of services I can provide feel free to get in touch if you’ve got an event to plan. I offer event consultancy at an hourly rate, with full, partial and on the day packages, making my services accessible to small businesses and individuals.

Here’s some pics of Louise and her handiwork:

Happy planning!

Sophie

xx

Real Wedding: Wayne & Clare, Win a Wedding in Association with Gloucestershire Media, by Sophie Flowers

Friday the 13th might be unlucky for some, but for one couple from Gloucester the day was a dream come true.

Wayne Cox and Clare Phillips, of Kingsway, were the lucky winners of the Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen’s Win a Wedding competition 2017.

Their prize was a magical wedding on Friday, April 13 at The Queens Hotel Cheltenham – Mgallery by Sofitel.

The couple have been together for six years after they met while both working at Tesco in Quedgeley.

Wayne, 38, said: “It was absolutely fantastic.

“The whole day was amazing, it all fell into place on the day.

“Luckily we’re not superstitious and Friday the 13th was lucky for us.

“Friends and family being there was the important bit.”

Clare was given away by her son Ben, 16, while her daughter Paige, 27, was a bridesmaid dressed in the colour theme of the day of Cadbury’s purple.

Clare with her son Ben, who gave her away

The couple are especially thankful to all of their friends, colleagues and customers at Tesco Quedgeley, who helped them collect tokens for the competition.

Clare, 44, works on the customer service desk while Wayne now works as a store manager at the Tesco in Kingsway.

The groom and ushers wore traditional morning suits from Tuxedo Junction, Westgate Street, Gloucester, while the bridesmaids were dressed in gowns from Nina Furness Couture, in Cambray Place, Cheltenham and Clare wore a beautiful gown.

“She looked beautiful,” said Wayne, of Clare.

(Image: Diamond Shots Photography)

The ‘fantastic’ flowers in the purple colour scheme were designed by the Flower Bowl, in London Road, Gloucester.

The whole day was captured by Diamond Shots Photography.

And the finishing touches, such as the purple chair covers and sashes from Sweet Beginnings, St Oswolds Road, Gloucester, and the photo booth from Party Foto Pods, in Staunton, really added a sense of occasion.

“The guests loved the photo booth,” Wayne added.

The wedding also featured a traditional ice sculpture of two swans by Ice Creations, and Chocolate Fountain from Maggie’s Chocolate Fountains, Pershore, which the couple would highly recommend.

Guests were kept entertained by a magician from Ethereal Productions. Clare and her friends loved the hen party at De Vere Cotswold Water Park Spa while the newlyweds still have the couples’ pampering to enjoy at the spa.

The pair were whisked away to a five-night honeymoon in romantic Paris with flights from bmi regional and hotel from HotelsCombined, where for the first two nights they stayed in a hotel overlooking the Eiffel Tower before arranging their own accommodation for the remainder of the trip.

Thanks to the Win a Wedding suppliers:

Venue

The Queens Hotel Cheltenham- Mgallery by Sofitel

The Promenade, Cheltenham. GL50 1NN

Contact:

Ellie Murray

Conference & Events Coordinator

H6632-sb@accor.com

01242 514754

www.queenshotelcheltenham.co.uk

Suits

Tuxedo Junction

Westgate Retail Park, The Island, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2RU

Contact:

01452 380 066

info@tuxedo-junction.co.uk

Bridesmaids dresses

Flowers

Cake

The Cheltenham Cakery

Linwell Close, Cheltenham, GL50 4SD

Contact: Sophie

07766346788

info@thecheltenhamcakery.co.uk

www.thecheltenhamcakery.co.uk

www.facebook.com/thecheltenhamcakery

Photography

Diamond Shots Photography

Contact: Becky

07835 042 319

contact@diamondshots.co.uk

www.diamondshots.co.uk

www.facebook.com/DiamondShots2012/

Rings

Wedding Car

Azure Luxury Cars

30 Greenway Lane, Cheltenham GL52 6LB

Contact: David

(01242) 51 00 00 & (07714) 20 90 78

david@azureluxurycars.co.uk

www.azureweddingcars.co.uk

Chair covers and Sashes

Photobooth

Chocolate Fountain or Fruit Tower

Maggie’s Chocolate Fountains

Hill Furze, Pershore, Worcestershire. WR10 2NB

Contact: Maggie

07725 339209

maggie@maggieschocolatefountains.co.uk

www.maggieschocolatefountains.co.uk

Ice Sculpture

Ice Creations

Contact: Alan

0800 999 6555

info@icecreations.co.uk

www.icecreations.co.uk

Entertainment

Ethereal Productions

Contact: Joshua-James

07947369422

Productions.ethereal@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/EtherealPerformance

Hen Party and Couples Pampering

Stag Do

West Country Games

Gatcombe Farm, Weston Road, Long Aston, Bristol, BS48 3QT

Contact:

0117 370 0640

bookings@westcountrygames.co.uk

www.westcountrygames.co.uk

www.welshgames.co.uk

Honeymoon flights

bmi regional

Pegasus Business Park | Herald Way | East Midlands Airport | DE74 2TU

Contact:

0330 333 7998

customercare@bmiregional.com

www.flybmi.com

Honeymoon accommodation

About the Writer:

Sophie Flowers is agenda editor for Gloucestershire Live, leading the team that covers  the county’s big issue

Email: sophie.flowers@localworld.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Flowers_S

Phone: 01242 278076

Supplier Spotlight: Artrocks

Today’s Supplier Spotlight is for the very lovely Jane Gray of Artrocks. Supplier of  both contemporary and neon art.
Looking for a unique keepsake for your nuptials? Then one of Jane’s gorgeous neon signs is a must for your day! Why not use it as a cake topper and then reuse it by having it a home – Perhaps on the wall over the kitchen table? or as a feature in between the wedding canvas that you know you’ll be ordering! A permanent glowing reminder of the fabulous day that signaled the start of your married lives together.
Lets introduce you to Jane:
Tell us about you:
Hi i’m Jane Gray and i own ArtRocks.

Having lived in rental accommodation for many years, I struggled to find some affordable, yet unique and interesting artwork for my home.

I eventually sourced a hand-painted abstract painting  – with much relief when it arrived, it was of really great quality.  From that point, friends and family started asking me to order pieces for them and so the ArtRocks collection was born!

What does your business offer? 

I offer couples the chance to have something eclectic  and memorable for their wedding, special occasion or event, i have a range of Neon signs to rent as well as being able to sort bespoke neons such as married couples often go for their surname. They also made great prop backdrops too.

How long have you been in business?

Officially Artrocks has been going a year and loving it! But i’ve been sourcing artwork for friends and family alot longer

How and why did you start your business?

Having been selling a range of sourced art for a while, i decided to expanded into neons – this fitted my brand perfectly and naturally progressed into creating bespoke neons for clients and offering rental neons as well.

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

Giving a personal service, running my business around my family and the enjoyment of running my own business!

Contact details to find out more:

Additional info you’d like to share:

Get in touch for a quote to rent or buy a neon sign! currently 10% off when you sign up to the newsletter

Here’s some examples of Jane’s gorgeous works of art both neon and non-neon:

Happy planning

Sophie

xx

Venue Spotlight: Lapstone Barn

On a chilly February day i was thrilled to be invited to Lapstone Barns for a Champagne Lunch and exclusive look see around this new exclusive use events venue. Having heard about Lapstone on the grapevine for a while and how fabulous it was, meant it was top of my list of must see new venues.

I am always on the hunt for beautiful, unusual, eclectic venues to showcase to you and Lapstone Barn does not disappoint. Situated on the outskirts of Chipping Campden, and a stones throw from Broadway and Moreton-In -Marsh.

Lapstone barn is an Grade II listed 18th Century Barn, which up until the 1980s was part of a working farm. More recently it was granted change of use status and a series of workshops and business were run from the site before the decision to renovate the barns and create the ultimate North Cotswolds events venue.

Situated in the middle of a field, with panoramic views over the cotswolds, the barn makes an eye catching sight in her traditional honey coloured Cotswold Stone hue, making it every inch the idyllic Cotswold stone barn

As with all barns, you usually expect that slight chilly feel when you step through the doors, the thick stonework either preventing the sunshine of summer to penetrate or allowing the chill of winter to escape. In their careful renovations of this listed beauty the owners Kate and Henry have taken every consideration to retain the barns identity, whilst ensuring that every luxury and modern amenity that today’s modern bride/guest could crave.

The first thing to note as I walked through the door was the warmth…. the barn is beautifully warmed with a state of the art heating system. What was also surprising was the space available for guests to move around in, so even in inclement weather you’d still be able to celebrate in style.

In house kitchens and bar complete with roaring log fire and snug ensures that all everything has been taken care of.

You’ll Love This Venue If

Your in love with the barn wedding craze, and looking for a aesthetically pleasing, spacious venue with panoramic Cotswold views that isn’t going to cause goose bumps! The barn also has its own well stocked bar and comfy snug area for the evening.

Lapstones also have a civil license meaning you can get married either in the beautiful barn or under the trees in the central courtyard. Before moving onto the larger space for your wedding breakfast.

Can my guests stay

Whilst there is no current accommodation on site, there are plans to renovate the adjoining Edwardian farm house into luxury accommodation. Lapstones location means there are plenty of local options for guests including Dormy House Hotel, Manor House Hotel along with a variety of smaller boutique establishments and B and B’s. Lapstones can provide a list of local places to stay on request.

The barn does have a hayloft suitable for brides and her maids to get ready in – containing a wet room and spacious lounge area.

How Many Guests Can It Hold?

The barn can hold up to 200 guests for the ceremony, and able to comfortably sit up to 250.

Should you need to, a marquee can be erected next to the barn to cater for larger parties.

Why Chose This Venue

If your after that perfect barn wedding or a venue with stunning views that is a completely blank canvas then Lapstones is for you. The experienced in house team are happy to cater for all whilst the beautiful hayloft is the perfect place for brides and her maids to get ready in or to use for a few quiet moments during the day to regroup.

Not too mention it’s exclusive use offering meaning you can party freely with everything at your finger tips.

The main draw for this beautiful barn is its light, spacious floor space and deliciously warm interior. Whilst a central inner courtyard gives the option to mingle outside and provides additional floorspace meaning you and your guests will never feel crowded.

More images to swoon over:

 

Contact Lapstone today to secure your wedding date:

Website: https://www.lapstonebarn.co.uk

Call: 01386 849024

Email: info@lapstonebarn.co.uk

Happy Planning

Sophie

xx

Snow Wedding or No Wedding?

The last few days here in the UK has seen a Siberian polar front collide headlong into Storm Emma – the result minus temperatures, heavy snow and ice. Just in time for those getting wed over the weekend.

So if an unexpected Siberian weather front suddenly threatens your big day what do you do? Do you cancel or do you embrace the change and spend your last remaining hours wedding planning pintrest’ing the perfect snow wedding pics?

Honestly….. it’s your call and you need to do what’s right for you. But I truly believe that only you can let bad (unplanned) weather ruin your day.

Here’s a few tips for when the weather doesn’t play ball and snow threatens play:

  • wellies – don’t leave home with out them
  • blankets and wraps – nothing makes you feel warmer than snuggling in a selection of cosy cover ups – think thick, textured fabrics to ooze luxe
  • Add a touch of colour to pop against the snowy backdrop – think faux fur coats, tweeds etc why not colour coordinate with your wellies!
  • warm drinks – it may be preferable to switch the welcome fizz for hot chocolate (with cream and marshmallows of course!) and luxury coffees
  • Transportation – the beautiful Rolls Royce may not be able to make your day, consider hiring or borrowing a 4×4
  • How will your guests get around?
  • Can you hire rooms closer or at the venue for your guests?
  • As unsexy as it sounds can you get away with wearing thermals under your dress – it’ll make the outside snow shots that little bit warmer to bare 😉

For more inspiration here’s a few snowy shots:

Happy Planning

Sophie

Xx

Wedding Planning Series: 1 – Wedding Venue Recce

Following on from ‘We’re Planning a Wedding’ post and the revelation that ACW are planning a wedding here’s the first post in our Wedding Planning Series.

I touched base that the venue was booked pretty early on – way back in September 2017. As this is the generally the one element of the day that is booked first I thought a quick blog post on what to look for venue wise was order of the day and the reason behind why the venue that the couple have chosen made the cut.

Your venue will be the largest spend item for your wedding day. Therefore its an investment that needs careful consideration and hence a sizeable chuck of time will be required researching to find your dream venue that isn’t over your budget. Things to consider are:

Style of Wedding day

Maximize your budget by choosing a venue that is reflective of your overall wedding style. If your planning a country, rustic affair then barn venues will be more suitable to your needs, if your looking for a modern wedding feel then check out boutique hotels.

Depending on your style and theme for the day it may be that the additional investment in a venue may mean that any venue styling is kept to a minimum, although personally I find that fresh florals always add that extra je ne sais quoi.

Number of Guests

Venues will have a max guest capacity  for the ceremony and reception, be sure to check that your shortlist can accommodate your required capacity. If your looking to cater for a large wedding say 150-200+ your options may be limited to larger chain hotels.

Exclusivity

Do you require exclusivity – be aware you will pay a premium for this and if the budget is tight might not be something you can accommodate. Also something to consider – many exclusive use venues have a list of suppliers that you must use – mainly caterers. Be sure that you are happy with the additional tie ins before you book to avoid a costly disappointment later.

Accommodation

Will you need additional accommodation at venue for guests? what are the accommodation options like near the venue? Whilst not a necessity, it is courteous to provide guests with options available should they need/wish to stay overnight in order to attend your special day

Ambiance

Its all well a venue looking the part but whats the atmosphere like? If possible try and visit your short listed venues at varying times to get a feel of the place.

Adverse Weather

Heaven forbid that it rains but what are the venues wet and adverse weather options? Can it comfortably cater for your needs if everything has to be brought ‘indoors’? How does it feel for guests – can they flow between reception rooms freely? Is there room to breathe?

When to Book

Unless you are happy to, and your venue has the capacity to share your wedding day with another couple, if you find the wedding venue of dreams, BOOK! A small deposit will often secure your date and prevent other couples from booking. Remember popular venues can be booked two to three years in advance!

So the ACW venue for our September 2018 wedding is…. Manor By The Lake.

manor1

This venue has been chosen for the following reasons:

  • its a gorgeous venue that the couple fell in love with and has it own lake and tree lined walkway perfect for those all important memory making photographs
  • onsite accommodation as guests will be travelling from varying locations across the UK
  • plenty of room for guests to mingle and move around – plus an option of a games room which I’m pretty sure got the grooms vote!
  • the classic styling of the manor house fits the couples ideal for wedding styling and minimal additional styling /props will be needed
  • plenty of onsite parking for guests
  • the food was delicious!
  • complimentary stay in the honeymoon suite or the option of staying in the private cottage on site

Happy Planning

Sophie & Sarah

xx

Pantone Colour of the Year 2018 – ULTRAVIOLET

Like all those eagerly awaiting a birth announcement; artists, stylists and creatives everywhere have been waiting for Pantone Colour Institute to release the Colour of the Year 2018.

And it’s…….

Since the announcement was made the Wedding industry seems to be evenly split over whether they love or hate this shade…. and I’m definitely on the love side of this fence.

As a self confessed purple fiend I actually jumped for joy at this announcement! Now I’m not saying go all out and violet your day – did any of you see the house on Rightmove that went viral on social media that was beautiful on the outside but everything inside was this shade (and I mean everything!) if you didn’t you can find it here

According to Pantone:

Inventive and imaginative, Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.

Well, I like the sound of that, don’t you?

Personally I find it’s a colour with soul – a great hue to mix up any palette and pretty versatile too blending equally well with pastels or brights in shades of pinks and lilacs as it does with the cooler palettes of blues and green – even adding in a secondary pop of colour such as yellow or orange this tone can still hold its own.

Wondering how to incorporate this colour into your styling, whether your after a bold colour scheme or looking for a deep accent colour, here’s some inspiration for you:

Happy planning

Sophie

Xx

Insta #bestnine2017 – the best is yet to come

**** Soppy post alert ****

Thank you to all you wonderful readers of the blog, supporters of the online directory and all those who have enabled me to continue blogging and sharing my passion for weddings with the wider world.

Our first year has been incredible and I am looking forward to what 2018 is going to bring.

We have visited some beautiful venues, met some fabulous suppliers and got to gorge regularly on all things pretty which i have loved sharing with you over on the blog.

Here’s a snapshot courtesy of #instagrams #bestnine2017 of what happened!

So lastly I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year, congratulations to all those engaged or newlywed the next act in the play of life has begun

Happy New Year

Sophie