Monthly Archives: June 2014

Wedding Favours: The History and Modern Ideas

134_1507066Well what do we know about the history of wedding favours? Where does this idea of giving the guests a sweet treat come from? Here’s the history bit!

The tradition of the wedding favour goes back to French aristocracy centuries ago, and the original name for the favour was ‘bonbonniere’ (how cute!) It was a small and curious trinket box made from something gorgeous like crystal, porcelain or precious stones filled with something edible. Think Marie Antoinette levels of luxury and decadence. The edible element was generally something made from sugar or similar confections, symbolising wealth and royalty, as sugar was extremely expensive and only available to the very well-off.

As the price of sugar decreased over the years, this tradition became more widespread and meant that the lower classes could also afford to offer their guests this special gift of thanks. Bonbonnieres were then replaced with almonds which were coated with sugar, known as ‘Confetti’ or ‘dragée’, (which a very hard by the way, tried these at a couple of Italian and Greek weddings and very nearly chipped a tooth! Not a great wedding look) which them became known as sugared almonds, becoming the traditional and popular wedding favour that we are familiar with today.

Below: An example of an original bonbonniere


Traditionally, five Jordan almonds sit in the box to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. ‘Sugared almonds’ is meant to be a metaphor for married life: the bitterness (from the almond) of life and the sweetness (from the sugar) of love.

Jordan almonds originate back to Ancient Rome where honey-covered almonds were commonly eaten at festivities. When sugar became more readily available in the 15th Century, the almonds were coated in sugar instead. The Pelino family in Sulmona, Italy perfected the technique of creating the dragée almonds.

136_3960577As with all traditions, they fade and morph into something more modern. The idea of a well thought out favour can be really meaningful and a great way to thank the guests and help them remember the day by, and can even make a cute keep sake. One of my favourite wedding favours that I’ve received was at (my friends) Mr and Mrs Shrimpton’s Wedding. They filled a jam jar with as many strawberry flavoured ‘shrimp’ sweets as they could, with a lovely gingham lid and our names on each of the jars (similar to the image to the left, which also doubled up as a handy table name card!) I thought it was a really nice idea as this obviously had meaning to the bride and groom, and as a bonus we all got a little mini starter before the meal!

Favours obviously depend greatly on budget, amount of guests, and in a lot of cases, time! DIY favours for over 100 guests can prove quite a testing task for the wedding party to achieve! But we’ve put together a list of images with some ideas that we think you might like. These could also be further personalised (if you have the time and the patience!) but they are definitely cute enough as they are. Cute Maps love the Instagram photo personal coasters, and the bottles of bubbly (of course!)




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Room, Manchester: A Luxurious City Centre Venue

1_3738275Fab Local Business Alert!

Cute Maps are seeking out some gorgeous ‘wedding related’ (!) businesses in and around the Manchester area (because Manchester is so great), that we think our followers will love.

This time, a Wedding Venue in the heart of Manchester City Centre’s fabulous King Street, one of the most important thoroughfares in Manchester. Formerly the centre of the North-West’s baking industry, it’s now known for its luxurious high end shops and eateries.

‘Room’, a grade II listed building sits magnificently on the corner of King Street and Spring Gardens, in and amongst a hub of architectural bliss opposite the likes of Rosso, Vivienne Westwood and Jamie’s Italian.

Room offers three packages to suit various budgets and tastes, starting at £49.50 per person for the Silver Package menu, which sounds truly amazing, then up to £65.50 for the Platinum menu. They rightly state that “we are all different, so there is always room for personal preference”, which is great to know.

Room are able to accommodate for smaller parties of up to 58 guests for a sit down meal, and up to 100 for the evening drinks reception in the private function room: The Rose Room. And for those of you with lengthier guest list, they can sit 120 guests for the meal and up to 220 people in the main restaurant on an exclusive use basis.

Not only is this grandiose Manchester architecture at its best, but the interior design is truly decadent. Oodles of traditional period features teamed with opulent wallpaper, dark woodwork and the amazing light that pours in through the arched windows, gives the rooms and incredibly rich, special yet cosy feel. We really think that this is the perfect location if you want that ‘city feel’ to your wedding day, a great balance between pure decadence and buzzing city centre excitement.

Check out some images below and for more info visit their website:




We Love Slattery’s Amazing Fantastic Wedding Cakes!

5_7925032On the Cute Maps blog we want to inform our followers of some amazing local businesses in and around Manchester. It’s so important to support local, and the businesses that we’ll feature truly are fantastic at what they do. We’re homing in on bespoke Wedding cakes today, which can be found at Slattery’s in Whitefield, Manchester.

Many of you from the area may have already visited this gorgeous building, for the purpose of experiencing it’s amazing café/dining area and splendid shop which first opened it’s doors over 40 years ago on Bury New Road, Whitefield. I, myself had a wonderful time in Masons Dining Room, supping one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had (and yes, I am a connoisseur! The glass mug is coated with melted chocolate and then filled with hot milk, yum!) and munching gorgeous moist chocolate fudge cake, surrounded by ornate Tiffany lamps and the Grand piano.

It’s a little slice of heaven.

6_9591701However, its not exclusive to chocoholics (although, it helps!) The Dining Room offers breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas as well as drinks and cakes.

What you may not be aware of is their vast selection of wedding cakes on offer, all bespoke, based on your own ideas or something that you have seen displayed in the shop or their extensive portfolio of images. They also have a viewing window into the production area so you can see the cake decorators in action!

The chocolate finished cakes are just simply incredible; they can even incorporate chocolate which can be coloured to match your wedding theme, so yes, they can pick out details in a pink, violet or even blue chocolate! Imagine! Some of our favourites are the Ruffle cake and the Blache with flowers (the stripy milk and white chocolate cigarillos). All the chocolate wedding cakes are created using the highest quality Belgian chocolate. Most designs can be created in milk, white or dark chocolate or even a combination of different chocolates. They are show-stoppingly wonderful, this certainly would be the centre-piece on the big day!





Traditional Iced Wedding cakes are of course part of the offering which can be altered and adapted to suit your colours and scheme, or a bespoke design can be created to cater specifically to your requirements. The novelty cakes are fabulous and just so skilfully crafted, as well as cupcakes, on-trend cake pops, edible wedding favours and cake toppers. There is a great selection of fillings too and you can mix it up within the layers, we like the sound of one chocolate filled, one vanilla with jam and butter cream, and one and lemon filled! (We’re not greedy at all.) See the images below to view some of Cute Maps faves.






Whether or not you need a fantastical wedding cake, Slattery’s is an absolute must-visit, this is artisan chocolate and deliciousness  at it’s best. The shop serves a whole host of splendid treats which make wonderful gifts too. Check out their website at



Vote for our Blog! For the 2014 Wedding Blog Awards!

15_4984447Wedding Magazine are offering you the chance to vote for your favorite wedding bloggers! Simply fill out the form on the below link to nominate, and everyone who fills out their details will be entered into with the chance to win a Diamonfire jewellery set worth £80!

You can nominate more than once 🙂

Nominations close on Thursday 26th June…so it would be great if you could support us at Cute Maps! Follow the link below to vote!

Blooming Marvelous Bouquets!

Finally some SUNSHINE in Manchester, which is making us think of summer weddings and gorgeous summer bouquets.

Whether it is delicate pastels, vivid brights or an alternative style, here are some of our favourite images to inspire you today. (A personal favourite being the Chanel inspired black and white bouquet, tres chic indeed!)

But how on earth does one decide?!

To help out we have researched a few meanings of flowers and which flower relates to your birth, (see below images) but honestly, we think that sentiment and personal meaning is the most important of all. Like the way we as individuals respond to colour, we have our reasons for loving the colour purple or disliking green, for example, the same goes with flowers. It might be a flower that he bought for you on a date, or how the sweet smell of roses takes you back to playing badminton in your grandma’s garden, the scent is just as evocative as the look at the colour.

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In Victorian times, certain flowers had specific meanings, probably because flower selection was more limited than today, so they were chosen more as a symbol to communicate a meaning. However today we have such a vast selection of gorgeous blooms, not just from the UK but all around the world, so we can afford to mix and match and choose something slightly more exotic creating an eclectic and unique bouquet for the big day.

The Duchess of Cambridge chose Sweet Williams amongst her bouquet, along with Lily-of the-valley, (meaning a return to happiness) hyacinths (meaning constancy of love) and ivy (meaning fidelity, marriage and friendship.)

Florists will guide you and introduce you to new ideas and styles, but trusting in your own intuition and ideas can create equally amazing results.

Birth Month Flowers:

January – Carnation

February – Iris, Violet

March – Daffodil

April – Daisy, Peonies

May – Lily, Lily of the Valley

June – Rose

July – Delphinium

August – Dahlia, Gladiolus

September – Aster, Forget-me-not

October – Calendula

November – Chrysanthemum

December – Poinsettia, Holly, Narcissus, Paperwhite

Meanings for some of our favourite flowers

Daisy – Innocence

Daffodil – Chivalry

Geranium – Comfort

Gardenia – Joy

Hydrangea – Perseverance

Iris – Inspiration

Ivy – Fidelity

Jasmine – Grace & Elegance

Orchid – Delicate Beauty

Sweetpea – Shyness

Peony – Healing

Real Life Wedding, Selena & Pete


This wedding is madness. AWESOME madness. It has taken me so long to edit these photos as so many of them are absolute gems! I love the emotion and sincerity of the ceremony followed by a beautiful dinner that then descend into full on party times. I think this is the first time I have seen a bride crowd surf and I hope it is not the last! Having the wedding party don wigs and costumes is a stroke of genius and makes for some of the most hilarious wedding photos ever! Love it ALL. Enjoy this epic barrel of laughs.


Names – Selena and Pete Callas

Wedding date – 19th October 2013

Vision for the day – Relaxed, fun, country style with some personal touches







Planning process – Collaborative with our families, no stress, nine months since our engagement

Budget – more than we originally thought but worth it!

Venue – church service at St Andrew’s Church, Irnham, Lincolnshire, with the reception a few miles away in a marquee in a field at my parents’ house (marquee from Events and Tents – The marquee looked great – clear windows across one side and up lighters across the view. Perfect location – should be a permanent wedding venue!





Dress and accessories – homemade by a dressmaker in London (I toured a few wedding dress shops in London and in Lincolnshire but then took the plunge at starting from scratch. I described what I liked, and the dressmaker sketched it out. A tailor made and affordable option, I’d really recommend); hairpiece, earrings and bracelet by Oliver Laudus.

Having been to a variety of wedding shops, I narrowed down my perfect dress to – soft fishtail, empire line, sweetheart, lace bolero, buttons on the sleeves and all the way down the back, lace over satin….I described this to the dressmaker and she sketched out just what I wanted.  And it turned out that way in real life too!



Hair – James White at – half up, half down with a hairpiece

Makeup – Leona Seymour at

They were not only great at hair and makeup but also great fun when we were getting ready – and managed all seven of us plus my mum. James had also done my hair as a bridesmaid before.

Groom’s attire – morning suit by Gieves and Hawkes; tie by Thomas Pink; shoes by Paul Smith





The Readings – three:
– Us Two from Now We Are Six by A.A.Milne (read by the bride’s sisters – a favourite from our childhood plays!)
– Romans 12 9-21 (read by a friend of the bride and groom)
– Ecclesiastes 4 9-12 (read in Greek by a cousin of the groom – the groom is half Greek)


– Lord of all Hopefulness

– Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

– Tell Out My Soul

Music sung and played by two of our friends during the signing of the register. Italian aria, It Had to be You, Can You Feel The Love Tonight from the Lion King. The music lasted longer than the signing but we loved this part – we were enjoying the moment and dancing with the bridesmaids and our families.





Beautiful Bridesmaids – six! The bride’s two sisters, the groom’s sister and three of the bride’s best friends from university. They wore long navy dresses, which looked the same but were a mix of Ghost and House of Fraser (Ariella)

Music and First Dance –
– one of our favourite ski resort bands from the Alps, now based in the UK, Doctor Bruce (booked via
– Bare Necessities – we wanted something relaxed and fun. We had a great time choreographing it for ten minutes the day before!
– and for after the band, the Cheese Playlist, perfectly created by our friend, Paddy

Food – – We chose canapés instead of a starter – which were delicious – and then a main course (lamb, dauphinnoise potatoes and vegetables) and a trio of desserts (our favourites – creme brûlée, crumble and chocolate mousse with pistachio)






Flowers – we realised that this could totally blow our budget and we wanted to prioritise other things. So, we focused on the church (arranged by some of my mum’s friends) and bouquets and buttonholes (arranged by Grantham Florists). All in a relaxed, country theme and with blues and yellows. We also hired topiary to line the route to the marquee from Seagrave Nurseries which we much preferred than fancy flowers!

Cake – we spared huge expense on this and ended up with something way more special and memorable. A chocolate cake – the one that my mum makes for our birthdays – with berries. Created by my mum and sister, Melissa, resembling the leaning tower of Pisa!

On the top of the cake, we had a topper of us skiing, wearing exactly what we wore when Pete proposed. Made by

Photography – George Powell, a friend of ours




Details and decor –
– table centrepieces made by one of our bridesmaids, Penny (with able carpentry support by her husband, Andrew!). They were piste markers in blue and yellow, our colour theme, with the number of a year of our birth. My sister, Amanda, then found pictures of us both from each year – hilarious childhood memories!
– favours – at first, we didn’t think we’d bother but then we (or Selena) became obsessed with finding knitted snowmen. Eventually, we found them on Etsy (Carrie’s Cupboard) and Carrie made them in rapid time, 10 days! We then sewed name tapes with our names and date of our wedding the day before the wedding day! They were on a few Christmas trees afterwards
– we love travel and maps (I studied geography at university) and had lots of people travelling from abroad so found large maps of the world, UK and London and encouraged people to take Polaroid photos and pin on where they were from
– advice for the couple cards for everyone to fill out, from
– our two fancy dress trunks – which everyone was wearing by the first dance, with blow-up microphones and guitars
– flip flops for painful feet
– a open trailer decorated with bunting, balloons, cushions and fur for the groom and ushers to travel to the church and the bridesmaids to join them afterwards to travel to the reception. We travelled in an amazing 1940s Rolls Royce – we discovered that someone in our village owned it
– silhouettes of us in blue, created into stickers and put on card for the placecards
– and, of course, Cute Maps for the invitations beforehand and menus on the day








Honeymoon – Sri Lanka, a perfect mix of beach, countryside and history. We usually create and book our own itineraries for our holidays but, given everything else with organising a wedding, we thoroughly recommend letting someone else do this for you. We used David Jones at Travel counsellors

Memorable moments –
– too many to list but a few highlights….
– the morning getting ready. We’d spent the night before in different places and both loved the morning getting ready with our friends and family
– the service – the real highlight. Everything from walking up the aisle, seeing each other and all the music and readings we’d chosen. Not forgetting the groom crying to Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’
– the first dance – we’d made it relaxed and fun and seeing everyone in fancy dress. Seeing the mother of the bride crowdsurfing!
– and, it’s cliched, but having all our friends and family together.
– and, finally, to be very British….the weather. The sun came out and shone through the church windows as we said our vows. And the rain stayed away throughout the drinks reception (which we had outside on 19th October) until we needed to sit down for the food.







Advice for other couples –
– for the wedding – don’t stress. Enjoy the planning. Involve other people.
– for the future – laugh together every day; don’t let time, money, effort stand in the way of your dreams (within reason of course!

And here are the details of our photographer:
– George Powell