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

Are you ‘Getting Married’ or ‘Having a Wedding’?

Contentious Post Alert……… the cost of Weddings is always a tricky subject and if you believe the multiple media articles that have been written on the subject, mention the W word and its curtains. But have we created a false impression?

According to glossy mag Brides Magazine the average cost of a UK wedding is £30,000 (September, 2017) up from £20,500 in 2015 (You and Your Wedding)

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Having experience from both sides of the fence, as a Bride planning a DIY wedding and a Wedding Supplier I can appreciate and understand the misguided frustrations that sometimes surround the cost of products and services associated with this special day. I mean we can’t all afford 200K on a Givenchy haute couture bridal gown now can we?!

So with the costs rising were do you start?

Spoiler alert: The thing is – your wedding is as expensive as you choose it to be.

I know you’ve probably heard all this before and guessing your eye rolling right about now. This post isn’t going to tell you have to DIY like a pro or how to barter for wedding services but hopefully will help you put into perspective what is important for you to gain from your wedding day (vows aside) so that you can prioritize your finances.

We all want the same thing, a beautiful day surrounded by those we love and who love us, celebrated in a way that reflects the personality of the couple tying the knot.  So the obvious aside: The dress, beautiful pictures, stunning florals, wow factor cake. Why are you getting married? And more importantly:

Are you getting married? OR having a wedding?

Wow now that’s a game changer!

By breaking it down: getting married, its actually pretty straightforward –  the saying of vows and becoming legally bound to one another. A necessity if  you want to get married and have that all important piece of paper.

Having a wedding, is all the extras that are associated with getting married, the dress, stunning venue, gorgeous florals, wow factor cake etc.

So rather than why are weddings so expensive? Think of it as how much do I want to spend on celebrating getting married……….. after all you are choosing to cater for an all expenses paid party for a number of guests albeit with a ton of things that you wouldn’t normally do if you were organising a birthday party.

Lists will be your friend

Try and list everything that you think you’d need at your wedding or perhaps you’ve seen at other weddings – then go through and prioritize (i used a traffic light colour system: green – definite must have, orange – would like to have if budget allows and red – definite don’t want/not going to have) Try and be as thorough and detailed as possible ie catering to table confetti! Try our version here

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With your list of whats important to you be mindful when chatting with suppliers about your requirements –  understand the VALUE, SERVICE and EXPERIENCE that is each supplier is offering along with the service/product cost. As with most things and party planning – there will be things that you will want which you will find non-negotiable, and there will be other things that will hold little value to you and your celebration….. this is absolutely fine and many suppliers understand this.

But please do not expect suppliers to undervalue their product because it holds a lower value for yourself. Would you haggle with the sales assistant at Chanel or Christian Dior?

Want something but can’t quite make the budget work?

Remember whilst your wedding day will always be a special day its the journey and experience of getting to that moment – think outside the box if you need to- are you creative or perhaps you have creative friends and family that may be willing to lend a hand.

With DIY being hugely popular and ‘on trend’ right now check out local courses or you tube to find ways to ‘do it yourself’ everything from flowers to cakes, favours to stationary are covered. Why not check out our workshops page for what on and the nest bit your learning a new skill.

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So as a final thought: Creating memories to last a lifetime…… What price do you put on this and more importantly what memories do you want to cherish the most and do you really need all the ‘extras’ to have these memories.

My advice: be sure to secure the capturing of these memories for eternity

Happy Wedding Planning

Sophie

xx

Supplier Spotlight: MakeUp by Natasha Louise

Our Supplier Spotlight today is for Natasha Davies, the businesswoman and make up artist extraordinaire behind Natasha Louise. Natasha and her handpicked team of artists are just want you need on your wedding day or special event to ensure your are looking your absolute best.
We caught up with Natasha to find out more about her, her business and of course the make up!
Tell us about you
Hi my name is Natasha Davies and i am chief make up artist and owner at Makeup by Natasha Louise.
My business ethos is to ensure our brides/ clients look the very best version of themselves whatever the occasion, i have now expanded the business and developed a team of professional make-up artists, and we make it our responsibility to put our clients mind at ease, leaving them free to treasure every moment of their special day.
How long have you been in business?

4 years, including a relocation from Herefordshire to glorious Gloucestershire.

How and why did you start your business?

Since suffering with teenage skin, I had to become the master of cover up and quickly loved how makeup made me look and feel. I started formal training 10 years ago and soon after I got asked to help out with friends and family weddings. I then realised how much I LOVED being part of a someones special day. My hobby quickly turned into a business, and after a move to the Cotswolds the decision was made to pursue Makeup by Natasha Louise full time. With a handful of stylists in my team we’re now able to accommodate bookings across the three counties.

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

I love the flexibility that self employment brings. I can do a job I love and spend quality time with my children without the ‘mum guilt’

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

Your wedding day is one of the most wonderful days of your life, which is why you should look the very best version of you.

You can expect your trial to last between 2-4 hours. This gives you plenty of scope to try as many looks as you need to until you are 100% happy with your bridal makeup. The trial can take place at your home, or if you’d prefer your makeup artists home. 

Some more pics to swoon over:

Happy planning
Sophie
xx

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

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.

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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

#UKBA18 Finalist

What a fantastic start of he year we are having over at ACW!

I found out on New Years Day that ACW was a shortlisted finalist in the UK Blog Awards Events and Wedding Category!

Just to prove it here’s our Finalist Badge!

Happy New Year (Again!) folks!

Happy Planning

Sophie

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

We’re Planning a Wedding

If you recently got engaged…. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

It’s inevitable when your bestie finally (it’s been a long engagement) sets a date and your asked to be Maid of Honor that planning fever sets in! I actually think I’m more excited than her – but that’s because I get to help plan a wedding all over again, it certainly wasn’t all smiles when I planned my own and you can read about that on Engaged? Why your planning needs a plan

Now the big days September 2018 – not long at all (9 Months! Ekk) and the couple have already chosen and booked their venue but that it! what about the other weddinphernalia? There’s still so much to do!

So join us and follow our exciting journey as we delve into the depths of wedding planning through the highs and lows for those hidden gems, hilarious outtakes and of course some of the best DIY’ing tricks we’ve come across

We can’t wait to share our planning journey with you

Sophie & Sarah

Xx