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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Weird and Wonderful Wedding Venues

Do hotels and fancy surroundings not really relate to you and your partner? Sometimes choosing a wedding venue can seem like an endless stream of coffee meetings with people offering you all inclusive packages, catering options, seating chair covers and a million and one other things you really have never even thought off, never mind cared about. Don’t worry, you are not alone, and in recent years wedding venues have been transformed from the standard hotel deals to people getting creative and having their weddings in all sorts of places; boutique hotels, outdoor spaces and even at home. Here is a list of some of the weirdest places to tie the knot, to encourage you, as with all wedding decisions to think outside the box.37_1789734_orig

  • Underwater wedding: Have your ceremony underwater! Many couples have chosen this option with one even doing it in a shark tank (yikes) cold feet will be the least of your worries.
  • Rollercoaster wedding, Coney Island, home to one of the world’s most famous roller coasters; an 83 year old wooden Cyclone where you can now get hitched; usually ceremonies take place on the boarding platform and then the whole wedding party can enjoy a spin on the cyclone.
  • A Doughnut Shop; Voodoo doughnut shop in Portland. You can have a choice of ceremonies at this prime location including a nonbinding “intentional commitment” ceremony (one of which involved two cats getting hitched), or the “Whole Shebang,” which includes an in-house Universal Life minister, coffee and doughnuts.

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  • In the air: Forget the church, marriage in the sky offers a 20-seat, platform hoisted 164 feet into the air. This marriage mobile can anchor wherever there’s 5,000 square feet of secure surface area, so the sky’s the limit for location as long as your preferred landscape sits in one of 15 countries where the company has an operating license. Bungee jumping afterwards is optional.
  • Wedding on the road: Reverend Darrell Best pimped out his 1942-edition American La France fire engine into a mini chapel on wheels. The holy matrimony ride is complete with stained glass windows, pipe organ and even an altar for the special occasion. He charges $200 fee plus $2 per mile for the ride and ceremony. Head to Illinois for this opportunity!
  • Or for a destination closer to home, head to Cornwall where you can get married in a mine; a delightfully quirky venue for a civil ceremony.

Real Life Wedding, Carol and Bob

This beautiful wedding is definitely an ode to doing it your way. Carol and Rob got married in May last year in a chic London ceremony with a reception at Trinity Buoy Wharf. I love the way they’ve decorated this industrial warehouse, making it a beautiful wedding venue while still retaining a cool edge. Also this venue gives plenty of space for a dance floor, a definite necessity! Let’s hear from the bride shall we:

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Rob and I wanted to get married in London and discovered Trinity Buoy Wharf: a warehouse with dry hire on the river opposite the o2…  It meant we could avoid the packaged deals and organise our own food and drink without being restricted by the venue’s choices.  Perfect!

I found my David Fielden dress on the first day of the sample sale in January 2013.  I loved the dress and am pleased that I went with a fairly simple look as it really suited the venue and the vibe we had on the day.

 

 

 

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My hairdresser (Stan Watts, The King’s Canary) came to my flat to make my hair look gorgeous on the day, as well as my bridesmaids’, my mum’s .. and my dad’s(!!).

We did the flowers ourselves – roping in my mother in law for a trip to Covent Garden Flower Market at 7am on the Friday before the wedding on the Sunday.  My mum and friends, as well as my mother in law and her sister all helped out me out the day before the wedding to put the flowers (peonies, ranunculus and lady bombastic roses) in the sherry glasses and medical bottles I had collected from eBay.  Rob, my dad and my father in law helped put up lanterns to make the warehouse less bare..  Exhausting but fun!

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35_762256The weather didn’t allow us to have our bellinis and canapés outside to enjoy the urban views of Canary Wharf and the o2 but it didn’t matter. We loved every minute, especially the “Jewish nods” we included to reference Rob’s cultural heritage.  We would love to do it all again – and we wouldn’t change a thing!  I would have loved to have been a guest!

We planned a lot of things ourselves.  We got Cute Maps to prepare the digital invite which we sent out by email via Greenvelope.  I made the picture frames for the table plan and the guest’s polaroid photos using old frames and vintage maps and I made the name tags myself using a simple ink stamp and brown parcel tags.

Advice to future couples is to take time out on the day to be with your new husband / wife to look at all of your guests enjoying themselves. The day passes so quickly and it is nice to try to slow it down by observing the events as well as taking part in all of them. Also, when planning, remember to take a step back and make sure you are only doing things because you want them or they have a meaning, we didn’t have a wedding cake (instead we had Italian cannoli delivered late in the night) and we didn’t have a first dance. Nor did I have a bouquet – I found the thought if walking down the aisle with flowers in my hand too weird!

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Photographer: Jonny Donovan
Music: The Gold Diggers during the service and canapés;  The Belles for the reception
Food: Tasting Plates – delicious Mediterranean platters and sharing plates
Bride’s dress: David Fielden
Bride’s shoes: Chie Mihara
Groom’s suit: Spencer Hart
Flower girls’ tutus: Bob & Blossom
Late night cannoli: (delivered by vespa at about 10pm) Arancina, Notting Hill
Venue: Trinity Buoy Wharf, East India Dock

Guest Book Ideas

I used to think with dread about the guest book at weddings, flashes of Charlottes wedding in Sex and the City when poor Miranda is dismayed at being ‘in charge of the guest book’; chained to the least fun location, unable to go mingle at the bar, having to offer all those fancy, glamorous guests a pen and repeating the failing slogan ‘would you like to sign the guest book’ like a poor salesman who knows nobody wants to buy.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way! Guest books can be cool, quirky, unique and provide the perfect keepsake form your wedding day. They are also a form of entertainment for your guests, something to talk about and keep them busy during part of the day, when you’re having your photos taken for example.

Here are just a few fantastic ideas to have your guests leave their mark in a personal way. No bridesmaid will turn her nose up at being left in charge of these.

  • Provide chalkboards and encourage guests to take photos with messages for you.
  • Set up a photo booth at the reception. with a camera and a blank background, provide props and costumes for guests to take funny photos
  • Have triangles of different fabric designs for your guests to leave messages on and make into bunting after your wedding
  • Globe guest book, especially good if friends from around the world; get them to sign at home towns, where you met, where their favourite place to holiday is.
  • Print out pretty paper squares for your guests to leave messages on, then have them bound into a guest book. Or do the same with postcards
  • Have a photo of each guest set up on a wall somewhere, have them leave their well wishes on the back of the photo and create an album you’ll cherish forever.
  • Provide come vintage records and have your guests leave messages on them with a paint pen.
  • Fans of Jenga? Have your guests sign jenga blocks and get some good advice next time you play
  • Finger Painting; have a drawing of a tree and ask people to leave their fingerprints as leaves. Do this in different colours to create a unique piece of art.

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Real Life Wedding, Meg and Pete

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Today we have the beautiful wedding of Meg and Pete to share with you. It is enchanting. Never have a seen such smiley, happy photos; shot after shot those smiles don’t fade! Clearly they had a wonderful day. I love their table plan idea too, each one had a rustic wooden sign and is named after a mountain; perfect for this outdoorsy couple. Their gorgeous day was captured by Lana from Love Photography, www.love-photography.co.uk

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The vision for the dayWe are both countryside loving, outdoorsy people and wanted a wedding that was full of personal touches that felt like a relaxed country garden party.
The Planning Process: Very few wedding magazines, lots of online blogs and frequent reminders that we don’t have to fit to anyone else’s preferences but our own! Planning took 11 months and it was a great opportunity to spend time together as we’d only met 3 months before Pete proposed!
Budget: Pete is an accountant who occasionally requested budget discussions and maintained a very complicated looking spreadsheet. Meg just wanted a wedding that reflected who we are, without going overboard on cost…and tried to ignore the spreadsheet wherever possible! We stumped up more for what we felt was important, and tried to save on everything else.

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The Venue: The ceremony was held at Meg’s family church near Skipton on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. A beautiful traditional setting. The reception was held at Utopia at Broughton Hall in Skipton, a stunning timber and glass structure set in a walled garden. The transport was a classic Land Rover Defender, a tribute to our love of the countryside.
The Dress and Accessories: It was the first dress I tried on! A very classic ivory lace Justin Alexander mermaid gown.
Grooms Attire: I always said I wanted Pete to have just as special an outfit as me, so I insisted he got a fully tailored suit. He deserves to feel a million dollars too! We picked the blue-grey cloth together, then I didn’t see it until the wedding day. It was a 3 piece custom made suit from Michelsberg Tailoring, with a tailored shirt and an intricate Liberty floral print tie.

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The Readings: We found real inspiration in the words of Ruth 1: 16-17 and this was read by Pete’s Mum. Meg’s Mum took us back to our childhood days by reciting the whole of the Owl and the Pussy Cat, it ended up as a sort of bedtime story during the ceremony!
Beautiful Bridesmaids: I had 3 gorgeous bridesmaids who all played a massive part in making the day perfect. Gill, a friend I’ve known since I was 11, was one of our witnesses. Ashley and Helen are close friends from the first school I worked in. Ashley did my make up and Helen did my hair, they know exactly what suits me and getting professionals in was never something I’d wanted.

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Music and First Dance: Having Helen, a music teacher, as a bridesmaid made our job really easy when selecting music. She played the violin during the signing of the register, playing Romance from the Gadfly and Gabriel’s Oboe, leaving my Mum in floods of tears! As a wedding present she then gave us our drinks reception entertainment, which was a fabulous jazz singer and pianist. For the big party after the wedding breakfast we had an awesome band put together by an extremely talented musician friend of hers. The dance floor was never empty and they agreed to play our first dance song, ‘Everything’ by Michael Buble, live. Making the most of talented people your friends and family know really pays off. As does finding a wedding dance on You Tube that you can teach yourself in 4 weeks…nailed it!

 

 

 

 

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The Food: We had Pimms and canapés on arrival at the reception and opted to have no starter for the main wedding breakfast. We had roast pork with proper crackling, roast potatoes, vegetables and roasted apples. This was followed by a trio of small desserts made up of chocolate torte, lemon tart and rhubarb crumble.
The flowers: All beautifully created by Meg’s Mum (with the exception of the buttonholes) after doing a fabulous full day course on producing bouquets and wedding arrangements. The bouquets contained anemones, veronica and ranunculus and the church and venue had arrangements of tulips, daffodils (to represent Meg’s Welsh heritage) and white roses (for Yorkshire).
The cake: The cake wasn’t a priority for us and we even considered not having one at all, so we were reluctant to spend a lot of money. Thankfully a family friend of Meg’s makes amazing cakes and so she kindly created one based on our own ideas of what we wanted. We saved a fortune and it looked fabulous. We had chocolate, vanilla and lemon sponge tiers each surrounded by white chocolate cigarellos and topped with fresh fruit.

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The Details and Décor: I think even Kirsty Allsop would’ve been proud of our handmade personal touches! The place settings were hand painted giant ceramic Scrabble tiles of guest’s initials with favours of wild flower seeds. Jars wrapped in hessian held tea lights, vintage milk bottles full of loose bunches of flowers decorated the tables and the ceiling was hung with bunting handmade by Meg’s Auntie. Pete spent hours producing traditional carved footpath signs of mountain names for the tables and personalised hand painted bags contained toys and games for the kids. We covered the lawns with garden games, and outdoor heaters, fire pits and baskets of blankets drew people onto the veranda despite the cold. In the toilets we put a pamper basket packed with hand creams, hair spray, lip balm, nail files, hair brush, tissues and even condoms….and yes they were taken! The personal elements were what most people still comment on.

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Your Photographer: Lana Davies, introduced to me by a friend and someone I’d known for a few years, ended up as more of a wedding guest than just a photographer. Her down to earth and genuine approach meant the guests and us were relaxed around her and at times she had people in stitches.
The Honeymoon: We had a week long mini-moon in Portugal straight after the wedding and then in the Summer holidays we spent 3 weeks in Kenya. It sounds rather extravagant but the mini-moon was a fairly budget stay in a yurt by a river in the middle of no-where with a compost toilet and outdoor shower. It suited us perfectly!

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Memorable Moments: The recessional out of the church was a closely guarded secret; Coldplay’s Viva La Vida played on the church organ. It sounded amazing and only having a short aisle, we made the most of listening to it by dancing around in a loop around the church before finally exiting. We forgot to warn the photographer who says she was terrified when we just started “running at her”!
Meg’s Grandparents share a gravestone next to the path up to the church door. I had an extra bouquet made and as we left the church we laid this on the stone. It was a really moving moment to feel like they were part of the day and celebrate them as we walked past.
Between sets of the band in the evening Pete revealed a big surprise as he mysteriously ushered everyone out onto the veranda as sky started to light up with fireworks! Such a perfect climax to the perfect day!
Advice for other couples: Let your personalities show in every part of the day. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to and such enjoyment came out of creating the tiny little touches that made it ours. oh and have fun, sing, giggle, dance and kiss….it’s your party after all!

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Credits:
Photographer: Love Photography by Lana Davies http://www.love-photography.co.uk
Reception venue: Utopia at Broughton Hall http://www.broughtonhall.co.uk/utopia/
Wedding night: The Tempest Arms http://www.tempestarms.co.uk
Catering: GFS Catering http://www.gfscatering.co.uk
Wine: Martinez Wines http://martinez.co.uk
Groom’s outfit: Michelsberg Tailoring http://www.michelsberg.co.uk
Dress: Brides of Harrogate
Hair piece: Liberty In Love http://www.libertyinlove.co.uk
Bridesmaids dresses: JJs House http://www.jjshouse.com
Transport: Land Rover Experiencehttp://www.yorkshire.landroverexperience.co.uk/Centre/Weddings
Invitations: Cute Maps http://www.cutemaps.co.uk

Wedding Ideas Awards 2014

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On the second Friday of January we swooshed off to the Wedding Ideas Awards for a night of glamour, dancing, and mingling with the best of the wedding industry. What a night. Champagne, a slow motion booth, ice sculpture giraffe luge, damn good DJs, and the hottest award winners and nominees in attendance. Hope you enjoy these fantastic photos from Thomas J Barnes Photography, www.thomasjbarnes.com.

The awards were held at the Tower hotel in London, a stunning location with a beautiful view of the river. The wedding ideas team were the most welcoming, gorgeous, glamorous hosts you could ask for and all the wedding industry scrubbed up impeccably well. Some unbelievable dresses being shown off.

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The whole evening was so enjoyable. It’s not often you can have such a fun time with people you’ve just met; but everyone was so friendly and the fantastic music, food and entertainment definitely brought everyone together. Dancing along to cheesy tunes is a sure way to bond, right?

When we arrived we were greeted with champagne with ACTUAL gold in it! Served by the fittest waiters who had thankfully forgotten their shirts. The awards were presented by the amiable Francine Lewis who lead the way with laughter at her fantastic impressions. The awards then followed and congratulations to all the fabulous winners! Best stationer went to Sarah Wants and the special recognition award was also to a stationer! The talented Lucy Ledger, just showing how important those invitations are for your wedding. A full list of winners can be found here: http://www.weddingideasmag.com/the-wedding-ideas-awards-2014-winners-are-revealed/

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Let’s go to the Beach…

Today’s post is all about the beach. Ah what a place. All the activities you can do appeal; sunbathing, swimming, sandcastles, walking, cocktails, picnics, surfing; everything is better with the sand in your toes and the sea air near. And if you want something truly informal and unique for your wedding, why not take it to the beach? Perfect laid back, holiday vibes and with so many beautiful décor ideas, you can make it totally personal to you. Now weather is obviously an issue, especially on a British beach; but there’s something about the charm of a beautiful beach that is almost worth the risk. This inspiration post is mostly focused on abroad beaches; think holidays, sunshine, relaxing; the perfect day.

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We Love Cake!

Italy is full of romantic destinations, especially in the north. Arrive in Rome and take in sensational renaissance architecture, wander the city, relax in gardens and dress up for a night at the opera. You can then get a train to Florence, the culture capital of Italy. Here you can visit Michalangelos David, take in numerous piazzas and churches; many of which offer free concerts and opera performances throughout the year. Enjoy delicious steak, fantastic wines and wander the Piazza di Santo Spirito, home to Florence’s hippest, liveliest bars and cafés. Aperitivo is a Florence tradition which happens at 7-9 in the evening, dress up to see and be seen at the cities trendiest bars. Extra points if you are mistaken as a local. With your drink you get to eat your fill from a buffet where food ranges from nuts and olives to bruschetta, salami and cheese, via couscous and cold pasta salads. From Florence you can travel by train to Venice; take a tour of the grand canal,soak up the contemporary art scene and savour the best ice cream in the world. The wine will continue to impress and you can even take a day trip to Verona and visit ‘Casa di Giulietta’- Juliet’s house. Be sure to do your own Shakespeare rendition before you return home, priceless!

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Honeymoon Destinations

So you’ve pulled it off. The caterers arrived on time, those missing chairs turned up and your great uncle contained his drunk dancing until well into the reception. Hurrah! You’re married. So now is it back to work, routine, post-wedding blues? No you get to go on honeymoon! Woohooo weddings are amazing; a massive party followed by a holiday, what a combination. Here are some ideas to help you plan your getaway, where literally you have the excuse to be as lazy, luxurious or adventurous as you like. Some couples find planning the honeymoon too much on top of all the wedding jazz and time off work might be an issue but you could always have a bit of a gap between the two and extend the good times. Your wedding should be all about bending the wedding rules to fit with you as a couple; planning your honeymoon should be loads of fun; not stressful. Do what suits you and make sure you get the trip you want.

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If you are planning a bigger trip, why not head to South East Asia: tropical climate, bustling cities, relaxing islands and a chance to see a completely different part of the world. Although the airfares for these honeymoon destinations are expensive, you do definitely save on the cheaper rates once you arrive in the country. So don’t rule out going for something more exotic until you’ve done your research!
In Thailand you could volunteer at an elephant sanctuary. Get the chance to help feed and bathe the elephants,while interacting with and observing them in their natural environment. You’ll also be helping support the organisations providing welfare, development and a home for these animals. Then head to Bangkok; soak up this vibrant, busy Asian capital where you can fill your days with temples, street food and lively bars. From here you could head to the coast and spend the rest of your trip relaxing on Thai islands; attending a few full moon parties if that’s your thing or simply relaxing on any number of the stunning beaches; heaven!
If you wanted to visit more countries, flights to Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia all go from Bangkok. Go trekking through the jungle, take a Vietnamese cooking course, and explore the dazzling beaches. South East Asia has it all.

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Or if you’re thinking about staying closer to home, why not visit Cornwall for your honeymoon? With serene beaches, coastal walks, and some of the mildest temperatures in the UK Cornwall seems like the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Accommodation options are plentiful with cottages, hotels and even camping options. A honeymoon isn’t complete without a beautiful sunset to gaze upon; and Cornwall will not disappoint. As many of its beaches face west this gives some of the best sunsets in the country. On top of this outstanding scenery Cornwall also has interesting towns to visit such as St.Ives, Penzance and Marazion. Penzance with its abundance of palm trees and gardens full of sub-tropical plants, presents a sure sign that you have arrived somewhere unique. All of this before we even mention Cornwall as a culinary destination, apparently one of Rick Steins favourites with its abundant seafood and of course Cornish pasties and Cream tea!

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Croatia provides a perfect place for a honeymoon.The Balkans have become increasingly popular in recent years as a cheaper alternative to Mediterranean destinations without compromising on beautiful scenery, glorious weather and stand-out cuisine. Croatia offers a gorgeous mix of Adriatic islands and beaches, fortified Renaissance towns and inland national parks with white-water rafting, hiking and boating on spectacular lakes. Dubrovnik houses a range of luxury honeymoon accommodation and offers a city break while still being able to relax on stunning beaches and take in sea views. Croatia also holds a lot of wineries and it’s oysters are supposedly delicious; perfect honeymoon fare!

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Italy is full of romantic destinations, especially in the north. Arrive in Rome and take in sensational renaissance architecture, wander the city, relax in gardens and dress up for a night at the opera. You can then get a train to Florence, the culture capital of Italy. Here you can visit Michalangelos David, take in numerous piazzas and churches; many of which offer free concerts and opera performances throughout the year. Enjoy delicious steak, fantastic wines and wander the Piazza di Santo Spirito, home to Florence’s hippest, liveliest bars and cafés. Aperitivo is a Florence tradition which happens at 7-9 in the evening, dress up to see and be seen at the cities trendiest bars. Extra points if you are mistaken as a local. With your drink you get to eat your fill from a buffet where food ranges from nuts and olives to bruschetta, salami and cheese, via couscous and cold pasta salads. From Florence you can travel by train to Venice; take a tour of the grand canal,soak up the contemporary art scene and savour the best ice cream in the world. The wine will continue to impress and you can even take a day trip to Verona and visit ‘Casa di Giulietta’- Juliet’s house. Be sure to do your own Shakespeare rendition before you return home, priceless!

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Wedding Trends for 2014

A new year, lots of newly engaged couples means lots of new wedding trends! Here is the low down of what to expect on the wedding forecast for 2014, whether you’re going be a guest, a bride or are helping plan someones wedding; here is all you need to ensure you are the coolest player in the bunch.

Wedding Dresses: arguably the most important detail of your day and this year there are a lot of exciting options to choose from. Although long white dresses are of course not going anywhere and there are some gorgeous options. If you’re feeling a little bit daring and feel long and white doesn’t exactly match your personality, why not try mixing it up a bit with one of these beauties. The main alternative wedding dress trends for 2014 are shades of pink; just have a look at the Vera Wang collection and you’ll be convinced! And shorter styles are also appearing; from above the knee dresses to ballerina skirts. I really love the relaxed, fun element this brings to the wedding and also perfect for dancing in. Have a look at some dress inspiration below.

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Ethical Weddings: This is a trend I definitely encourage! With so many great eco-friendly suppliers and options out there, having a green wedding is definitely not a compromise. So for all you bohemian, alternative types out there, here’s some ideas for your ethical wedding:
Glamping. Forget everything you know about camping, glamping is more like staying in a 5 star private wood with every amenity you can think of. Totally luxurious, natural and relaxed while giving you a lot more freedom than traditional wedding venues. Some of these glamping sites look incredible! Definitely a special treat for your wedding.
Handfasting ceremonies are also set to become even more popular in 2014. This ritual symbolises unity and oneness between the couple and could appeal either to couples wanting an alternative to a religious ceremony or added as an extra dimension to any traditional wedding.
All this feeds right back to the reception with barn venues, naturalistic details and a warm, rustic theme being the order of the day. Think bringing the outside in. So don’t be shocked if branches feature in the décor of any weddings you attend, this bride is on trend, it’s not a fire hazard.

Quirky Details: hand crafted, hand made, DIY details are all BIG this year. So grab your mason jars, get pinning and make your own perfect day. While thrifty details have (and hopefully will) always be popular for weddings, this year brings some new themes that will definitely excite:
Bunting is out tassels are IN
Marbling is also looking popular this year, with the marbelised style appearing everywhere from wedding cakes to balloons. A great way to work your color theme into the décor in a unique, captivating way.
Hand Painted Wedding cakes; these look incredible.
Feathers; in headpieces, in centerpieces and anywhere you can add them!

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Themed Weddings: forget geeky costumes and awkward entertainment, themed weddings have evolved into something chic and stylish; you can either go completely all out with a theme and have your guests totally involved with some costume ideas or simply keep one theme running through the smaller touches of your wedding. Whatever you decide, stay true to yourself and have fun!
Great Gatsby/20s style weddings with Art Deco touches have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity since the film was released last year. Anyone who saw it can see why! That party was perfection. The upcoming tribute to 19th century fashion icon Charles James and shows like NBC’s Dracula are sure to inspire some brides to have an ‘old feel opulence’ motif at their wedding. And for the bravest among you, a Pop Art theme. Have a look at the board below for some ideas on how to incorporate a theme into your day.

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Wedding Traditions from around the World

Weddings have so many traditions that if you really think about, are weird. Wearing a white dress (any other occasion completely unpractical), Being given away by your father, wearing a veil. However in comparison to some other wedding traditions out there, these nuptial customs seem pretty mild. From elaborate costume changes, humiliating the groom and regimented weeping; worldwide wedding traditions are a varied bunch. Although some of them are a tad extreme, I think a few of these traditions could be incorporated to make a pretty awesome day! I present to you my multicultural wedding day schedule, would you adopt any of these for your wedding day?

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In India, a few days before the wedding, the bride is decorated with intricate henna designs on her hands and feet. Other females in the family and female friends also apply henna in a ritual that can take hours to apply and dry. The Bride and groom also exchange rings and sweets. This tradition is called a ‘menhdi party’ and sounds like a great excuse to extend the festivities and give all the females gorgeous henna designs for the big day.

A Russian tradition dictates that the groom must go to the brides house before the wedding and ask her family and friends for her. They naturally refuse until he has presented gifts, money, jewellery and sufficiently humiliated himself. Grooms are forced to do silly dances, answer riddles, and perform goofy tests of worthiness like putting a nappy on a baby doll. Once the crowd is satisfied, he may meet his bride.

Another great wedding tradition from China is to have 3 wedding dresses; one traditional, embroidered cheongsam that is usually red to represent luck and strength, then a white wedding dress not unlike what we are used to in the west and then a cocktail dress for the reception. Any excuse for a costume change sounds like a good idea to me!

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In Sweden, during the wedding reception, if the groom leaves the room all the other men can try and kiss the bride and vice versa! Think kissy-cats for grown-ups. This one sounds hilarious and is bound to keep everyone awake and alert during the reception. Although hopefully won’t end up with cheating rumours so early on in married life!

The final wedding tradition I’d incorporate comes from South Korea. Here the grooms friends beat his feet with dried fish before he is allowed to leave the wedding with his beloved, in an apparent test of strength and knowledge. Not sure how good a test this is of these qualities, but I do want to see someone getting beaten with dried fish.

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While these wedding traditions all sound like fun and games there are some I am so relived not to have to do, respect for betrothed couples in these countries, they must really want to get married:

In China the bride starts to cry for an hour DAILY a month before her wedding. Ten days later the mum joins her daughter for some tears, after a further ten days the grandmother joins in and by the end of the month every female in the family is weeping. I know married life can be tough but surely a month of regimented crying is a bit pessimistic, I think I’ll stick to the hen do thanks!

On the Maruesas Islands of French Polynesia after the wedding reception is over the relatives of the bride all lay side by side in the dirt, face down. The bride and groom then walk across them like some sort of human rug. Hmmm well this isn’t the worst tradition I’ve heard of, but pretty sure my family would not be up for it.

Charivari: In France the friends and family of the newlyweds congregate outside the newlyweds home on the first night of their marriage while proceeding to bang on pot and pans, yell, and just in general be as annoying as possible. Whoever thought of this tradition is just MEAN and also think of the neighbours!

In Malaysia newlyweds are not allowed to go to the bathroom for 3 days and 3 nights after the wedding to avoid bad luck. Yikes this painful tradition should definitely not be part of your wedding itinerary, although I guess if a couple can get through this, they can survive anything.