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:
If there is one regret I have from my wedding, it is not preserving something, anything of the gorgeous florals that my fabulous florist created. The bouquet I designed in my mind that she lovingly created for me lives on in my memories and of course photographs. I shall not forget the scent or the vividity of colours and in deed my flowers are still one of the memories that my guests still talk about today (my bouquet was a work of art!)
But the one thing I truly wish I had factored into my planning was how to preserve this segment of our special day – sadly i was not organised enough to arrange to have them whisked away to be dried and captured in frame, or set into a paperweight (i’m really not a paperweight kind of gal anyways)
So after a Sunday morning scroll with a latte through Instagram I came across this gem, Buttonsy Jewellery, now it has to be pretty special for me to spill a drop of liquid gold, but I did, and here’s why.
Buttonsy Jewellery provide couples with the alternative to freeze dried frames and paperweights they can set your wedding florals in jewellery – think bangles, necklaces and rings (please consider cuff links tho for the guys!) What I love about this idea is that the flowers do not in any way resemble the ‘dried flower’ look, no muted tones and flakey petals here! They look almost as real captured in the resin designs as they will have done on your day. Its the perfect memento, thank you gift and perhaps future heirloom
Here’s the dried bouquet and the finished bangle piece……….. perfection
So if your getting married or just want to check out some serious swoon worthy jewellery head on over to Buttonsy and be amazed and in awe of Anna’s beautiful craftsmanship. In fact i’m heading over now to browse (swoon) some more.
Anna Buttonsy runs and owns Buttonsy Jewellery alongside her husband Travis. Their beautiful pieces can be found over in their Etsy store or why not contact Anna for a bespoke custom made piece.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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
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’.
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?
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
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.
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
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’
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.
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!
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 😉
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.
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.
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
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.
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!