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Author Archives: Sheree

Ways to save on your big day without having to compromise

Weddings can be expensive. There, we said it. Finding creative ways to reduce the cost of a wedding without having to compromise on the things you dreamed of, that’s the challenge that faces many couples. Here are a few fabulous ideas to help you create a big day with a small budget:

The wedding car

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/TncriKEFStY

Turning up at your wedding in a vintage Rolls Royce is the image most will get when they think about the car, but you can have something just as beautiful, or quirky, within your budget. Take the VW Camper, for example – it’s a classic in almost everyone’s eyes and looks absolutely gorgeous with a bit of bunting, ribbons and a few flowers. You can see a couple of beautiful examples in Otis and Barbarella from South Coast Vintage. Maybe you had something else in mind? How about adding a green twist to make your wedding a little more eco-friendly and turning up in a Tesla? What about that friend of yours whose dad drives a Jag? Or that colleague from work with an open-topped sports car? You can still get the perfect car for a lot less than you probably thought.  

The wedding rings

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/8WODX7nO2JE

Possibly the biggest single purchase you’ll make for your wedding is the rings, or at least that’s how many people perceive them. They don’t have to be gold; they don’t have to be metal; they don’t even have to be rings at all, assuming you don’t mind joining the growing trend of wedding band tattoos! Neither do they have to be new. Many families pass down jewellery from one generation to the next, so maybe there’s something lurking in a jewellery box somewhere that could be just perfect.  

The wedding band

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/FuDKEwFLsQU

So you could save a bit by asking Auntie Carol if she’ll sing a few songs, but the chances are you’ll want something a little more professional for the big day. Everybody loves a bit of live music, and you can find some great live bands to hire all around the country. You get to choose the type of band and style of music you want, and your guests get to have a great time. One good tip to save on the cost of a band is to try to find one local to you; that way you’ll avoid too much in travel costs and accommodation. You should also make sure that the band is ‘self-contained’ in that they bring everything they need to perform. The last thing you want is for them to turn up and find they expect you to provide the PA system and microphones.  

The wedding flowers

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/iQVn40PdwW0

Flowers make up a big part of the wedding; if nothing else, the catching of the bride’s bouquet is a hotly anticipated event. Picking wildflowers is becoming more popular, especially for those looking at having more natural themes for their day. You can pick just the colours you want or create a multicoloured range, straight from mother nature’s palette.  

If you are looking to keep control over your wedding budget, these are just a few ideas to help you save some money without having to compromise on style. After all, who wouldn’t want to arrive in a classic camper, exchange family heirloom rings, enjoy the colours of nature and spend the evening listening to live music? No compromise at all.    

Local walks in Milton Keynes

Now that the sun is shining, it’s the perfect time to explore some local walks and, being based at MK Arts Centre in the beautiful grounds of Linford Manor, we thought we’d share some local walks in the Milton Keynes area. Milton Keynes is known for being a melting pot of urban and rural landscapes. As a result it has many green open spaces that flow with the original footprint the ‘city’ was built upon enveloping and preserving over 14 villages inside the grid road network. Some popular walking areas are Willen Lake, Ouzel Valley Park, Campbell Park and Caldecotte Lake, but there are always beautiful meadows, parks and little village pockets to be found.

milton keynes walks

The Parks Trust website lists many local walks in and around Milton Keynes including a 25 mile challenge, guided walks, self-guided walks, discovery strolls,  woof walks, health walks and information on the women’s walking network: https://www.theparkstrust.com/activities/walking/. Whether you’re walking for fun, fitness or just taking the dog for a stroll, there is plenty of truly beautiful places to explore. Ignore the old 1980s reputation Milton Keynes was labelled – get off the grid and look at what’s inside it – it’s beautiful!

Here at Cute Maps we have fortunately designed quite a few walk maps with many local businesses, organisations, charities, parishes and MK Council. ‘A dog walkers guide to Milton Keynes’ compiled by Debbie Greaves and Rob Angell has 14 different dog walks that Cute Maps designed. One of our favourites is Dog Walk 2 that meanders around Loughton and Great Holm. Highlights on this walk are lakeside views, ancient hamlets, the 13th century All Saints Church, one ancient village green and one new village green. Another favourite walk of ours is Dog Walk 8, which takes you through the ancient villages of Woolstone, Woughton and a portion of the scenic Ouzel Valley Park which runs the length of the city. This is an hour and a half walk taking in pubs, riverside and canal towpath sections, historic landmarks, children’s play parks and a village green. All walks in this book have nuggets of useful information that’s perfect for every dog walker, such as dog-friendly pubs, poo bins, parking & grazing areas and the length of road walking. The book can be purchased here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/550547534/a-dog-walkers-guide-to-milton-keynes

Another walk we designed was for dance group MOTUS’ event Pedalling the Tracks https://www.motusdance.co.uk/about. Although designed for cycling, walkers were also encouraged to the event and it makes a great walk suitable for all types of walkers, predominantly along the old train track the ‘Newport Nobby’ which ran from Newport Pagnell to Wolverton and includes the preserved train station platforms complete with retro station signs. Featuring the Cute Maps studio building, which was formerly an old gatehouse to Linford Manor in Great Linford, we really recommend this pretty walk to locals and visitors.

Recently Cute Maps also designed the ‘Wolverton Town Trails’ boards, whose walks can be found on the app of the same name in the Apple App Store, Google Play store and on Milton Keynes Councils’ website. There are four trails – here’s a peek of the ‘Walk in Railwaymen’s Footsteps’ walk. Look out for the boards in Wolverton planned to be erected later this year!

 

First Picture- from left to right, top to bottom.

Great Linford Manor- https://discovermiltonkeynes.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/great-linford-manor/

Ouzel Valley Park- https://www.theparkstrust.com/parks/ouzel-valley-park

River Crossing- https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MTE2OTkz

Peace Pagoda- Instagram @errazti_93

Something different, but still cute

It’s been a wonderful few months filled with some out of the ordinary maps and requests. Amongst many wonderful ideas were a Cute Path version of a table plan, a wedding map inside the fascinating Eden Project biomes and a table plan full of pubs…

July18_Something Different

Tasteful Tiaras

 

Some brides think that tiaras are going or have gone out of fashion with only footballer’s wives or real royalty sporting them these days. However, I believe that a tiara can add the most incredible drama to your wedding look and can turn even the simplest of dresses into something completely unforgettable.

retina

Samantha Walden

The first designer I wanted to focus on is Samantha Walden who has only been selling crowns and tiaras on Notonthehighstreet.com since March 2017. These tiaras have a particularly fantastical edge; they wouldn’t look out of place on the head of Belle or Cinderella. The gold leaf and floral details “compliment the classic fashion of days gone by; the simple elegance of the Georgian age, the glitz of the Roaring Twenties and the delicate beauty of the Victorian period.

original_Vintagevineroyalheaddress_650pounds_HermioneHarbutt2

Hermione Harbutt

You will never see as dramatic and impactful designs as those of Hermione Harbutt and she if often the designer of choice for prestigious bridal dress designers. Although they have the same vintage appeal as Samantha Walden, they have a more modern twist with a more individual and personal service. These pieces or made by hand and are made by freshwater pearls, gemstones and Swarovski crystals with each piece being completely unique.

original_woodlandtiara

The Real Princess Company

For something which is a lot more whimsical and is made of more glass or with more Avant guard colours, The Real Princess Company will be perfect for you. These are more traditional and what you would imagine a bridal crown would look like. They would suit a simple or a spectacularly bejewelled dress.

original_blue-jay-guineafowl-crystal-tiara

Holly Young Millinery

For something truly unique, the beautiful accessories hand made by Holly in her Cornish studio will be perfect for your big day. She takes inspiration from traditional British heritage and nature to produce elegant and classic designs with an amazing modern twist. Her love of lace pearls and anything shiny or delicate, particularly feathers, makes every piece unique and personal.

original_delicate-bridal-mother-of-pearl-leaf-tiara

Cherished

Cherished focussed on the creation of luxury bridal accessories. The designer is called Abby Gadd and founded the brand as an extension of her love of craftsmanship and a range of inspiration, from nature to vintage style. These tiaras and hair adornments are for the quirkier bride or for the bride who would like a more nature inspired look.

Reception Dresses

A great way to have your perfect extravagant dress for your wedding, look great in photos and being able to dance the night away is to invest in a reception dress. When the dancing starts, you can change into your shorter and more comfortable dress and still be able to keep your bridal impact. With these dresses I have made sure that they could be worn outside of your wedding, to formal occasions or even as incredibly chic summer dresses.

Reception Dresses

  1. This is the Olara dress by Ted Baker. The whimsical use of simple daisies and embroidery keeps the dress looking fun and flirty. The crew neckline keeps it demure while you’re able to show off those fantastic legs. The small side pockets also give a casual look to the dress with the simple fit keeping you comfortable all night. This dress costs £195.
  2. The French Connection Hesse Broderie Dress is made from anglaise cotton which will keep you cool all night look. The perfect reception look for your summer wedding and a cute summer dress for timeless style. This dress costs £160.
  3. This is the Coast Dee Dee Lace Peplum Dress which is a sophisticated and fun take on traditional bridal style. The use of embroidery and lace will be a talking point and the peplum hem will flare out beautifully as you dance. This dress cost £129.
  4. For a very different look that won’t break the bank this Miss Selfridge playsuit would be perfect. The lace cold shoulder makes the dress modern and fun with a 70s edge, and you’ll be able to dance with complete abandon and you’ll never have to worry about a skirt flying up. This playsuit costs £59.
  5. A dress with exudes complete sophistication is the Xanthia Artwork Dress by Coast. This dress is perfectly cut and is figure flattering with a modern twist. The round neckline and embroidered overlay keep this dress mature and not looking like a dress for a festival. This dress costs £149.
  6. The dresses by Chi Chi London are always beautifully layered creations which always have a totally unique look. The embroidered tulle is flirty and soft which keeps with that beautiful bridal image. As well as this the button back gives the dress simple detail which contributes to the simple illusion back. This dress costs £65.
  7. For a dress with a more vintage style the Adrianna Papell printed organza midi dress. The dress is incredibly romantic and is cut to a demure length which will be perfect for your reception. The organza overlay is printed with delicate roses for a beautiful and lightly textured finish. This dress costs £112.
  8. The final dress is a simple Ralph Lauren Sheath Dress in Ivory which has a racerback. The racerback gives the dress a slight sportswear look which is very typical of the designer. The scalloped cuff and hemline ties in well with the sportswear style and keeps the design looking fresh. This dress costs £210.

Alternative Dresses for the Bold Bride

There are those of you out there who feel that the white dress isn’t for you, that the traditional silhouette and patterns aren’t what you envision for your big day. So, I have compiled a list of the most gorgeous alternative dresses on sale today. Enjoy!

 

  1. Suzanne Neville: Rembrandt
  2. Suzanne Neville: Blush

Alternative Suzanne Neville

  1. Ian Stuart: Broadway
  2. Ian Stuart: Pracatan
  3. Ian Stuart: Chiquitita
  4. Ian Stuart: Forget Me Not

IanStuartAlternative

  1. Jenny Packham: Jolene
  2. Jenny Packham: Apache
  3. Jenny Packham: Age of Elegance 2014 Collection (There is no link for this dress, however similar dresses can be found at Jenny Packham)
  4. Jenny Packham: Lilya (Bridal Campaign 2016)

Jenny Packham Alternative

  1. Watters: Edlin
  2. Watters: Palm Springs
  3. Watters: Starla
  4. Watters: Camilla

WattersAlternative

  1. Ateliér Eme: Nanette
  2. Ateliér Eme: Keira
  3. Ateliér Eme: Wilma 002
  4. Ateliér Eme: Winnie
  5. Ateliér Eme: Mirta
  6. Ateliér Eme: Deiva

AtelierEmeAlternative

Hi-Low Dresses

This style of dress will give you the best of both worlds, it’s a bold and modern approach to the traditional ball gown, especially if you want to show off your perfect wedding shoes. They will also help you have the perfect first dance as you’ll be able to move and dance a little easier during your reception. If you can’t decide between a long or a short dress and you wish for the movement and practicality of the mini dress, but you still want the beautiful train, then this selection of dresses will be perfect for you.

Hi-LowDresses

  1. This is the Letty dress by Enzoni, the dramatic cut off creates a modern take on the traditional lace dress, the traditional silhouette is flirty yet sophisticated and will show off your gorgeous legs and shoes. This dress would suit an outdoor or country style wedding, as the lace would match the traditional yet fun setting.
  2. The 9818 dress by Justin Alexander is a much more modern and subtle take on the Hi-Low dress, the illusion neckline with larger lace patterns is much more stand out. The fit and flare style of the dress will flatter all body types and make you feel like a queen when you walk down the aisle.
  3. This dress is a separate corset and skirt; the corset is called Dita and the skirt is called Lola and is made by Halfpenny London. The simplicity of this dress would be a great way to show off shoes and accessories, it would also be perfect for many different themes or venues. Having a separate corset and skirt would make the ensemble a little cheaper and would also help to create a more comfortable dress. Having separates also means that you can mix and match the different parts of your wedding dress to create your perfect look.
  4. The first of two Nicole Spose dresses, is part of the Colet collection. This is the most over the top of the different Hi-Low dresses, the flower embellishments and the layered skirt creates a strong statement, making this dress perfect for a grander theme or just to make you feel like a queen on the big day.
  5. The second of the Nicole Spose dresses is part of the Jolies collection, it is a much more modern dress and includes a pop of colour in the flower at the side. The illusion neckline gives a more modern look which keeps up with modern trends, and the asymmetrical skirt with multiple layers of tulle gives a light and airy feel.
  6. The final dress is made by Atelier Emé and is called the Sacha dress. The drop waist is more couture than all the other dresses and the lace boned corset creates an underwear like style. The skirt is also asymmetrical with one side being more layered and ruffled than the other, tulle is airy whilst still giving a strong statement.

Dance the Night Away – Flat Shoes for Your Wedding

Not all brides want to stay in high heels their whole wedding day, we all know the feeling of starting a night out and wished you could swap fashion for function and wear your favourite pair of flats. The worst day to think about this is your wedding day so here is a list of the chicest and cutest flat shoes to dance the night away.

Flat ShoesPicture

  1. For the big budget brides who love a little sparkle, the Christian Louboutin Follies Strass Rete/Patent pointed toe pumps would be perfect. The £695 price tag is for brides who are looking to splurge a little more, however the classic red sole and the nude colour would make these shoes instant classics. The Swarovski crystals give these shoes an almost dreamlike allure. The finishing of the patent leather heel give a sophisticated finishing point to these jewels for the feet.
  2. For a lower cost yet no less gorgeous pair for flats, these two-part silver pumps from John Lewis for £55 would be gorgeous with a silver dress or contrasting with a bright white. These shoes would also be perfect to wear after your wedding, meaning that these shoes could be your soulmate not just a one night stand
  3. For the bohemian bride, you will never be comfier than in a pair of Natural Moroccan Crochet Toms priced at £41.99, also vegan which make them even more perfect for a bohemian style wedding. They would also contrast with a simple sophisticated dress, making them the centre of attention, or a short dress for dancing until dawn. As they are beach style shoes you wouldn’t be able to choose better for your destination wedding, no more sand in-between your toes!
  4. For a more traditional bridal look, or as a vintage style shoe, you could get the Dune Briella Jewel Ballet Pumps, priced at £85 which come in ivory. These embellished flats are a practical alternative to high heels for your wedding, they would also work well for bridesmaids if you wanted them to be in pumps or look a little more casual.
  5. A quirky style and brand which is a wedding staple for the alternative bride is Irregular Choice, their Casa Blanka Flat Pumps, for £99, are gorgeously embroidered slipper style flats. They are fanciful and have cream fabric uppers with embellishments and glistening glitter heels. They would be the perfect unique bridal style for your wedding day.
  6. A flat pair of sophisticated of bridal shoes are the Next Nude Bridal T-Bar Sandals, priced at £46. The nude colour could go with any colour dress and is a great way to add subtle sparkle to a great dress. At £46 these shoes would make a great addition to any bridal wardrobe, even for your bridesmaids.
  7. Truly classic pumps are hard to find but if you want to pay a little more for your flats, a great pair are the Jimmy Choo Romy Flats for £475. The delicate detail on the nude base would suit any dress, the softer point also has an updated look. The leather lining and leather sole will give you a great quality show, finished off with the white lace upper, to make the shoe sophisticated and sweet.
  8. You can get a pair of gorgeous handmade shoes from Etsy, a pair of Wedding Ballet Flats for a perfect wedding day. Whether it be a beach wedding, winter wedding at a beautiful old building, this simple but elegant pair will make your day and you can dance longer than all your guests! There is a soft lining and made the ballerina flats comfortable and long lasting. You can always keep the ballet flats after a special event and use it as an evening or a day pair. You can also personalise your own bridal flats which will make a great addition to your day. They are sold by a shop called thewhiteribbon and are called Wedding Ballet Flats, the price is £82.
  9. These flat shoes exude glamour when often finding a flat shoe can feel like an impossible task. However, the Lottie shoe by Westerleigh is often a favourite with many brides, the beautiful ivory lace slipper has a playful ballet shoe like quality, the shoes have a signature foam padding and soft leather insole to make these shoes comfortable from your first dance to your last! These shoes are priced at £73.90.

Cocktails for a Travel Themed Reception

A fantastic way to add a personal touch to the drinks at your reception is to create travel inspired cocktails, these can be tongue in cheek or long loved classics. You could pick a drink inspired by your favourite country or city, or a drink which originated in that location. Your guests can have the experience of you and your partners favourite places through perfectly coordinated cocktails.

Travel Themed Cocktails

  1. If you and your partner are avid surfers or adventurers a perfect cocktail would be the Blue Hawaiian, a tropical flavour with the stunning blue colour of the ocean. It was invented in 1957 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Hawaii, after the bosses of the distillery creating Blue Curacao liqueur wanted a cocktail to showcase their new drink. You will need:
    • 45ml Light Rum
    • 45ml Blue Curacao Liqueur
    • 30ml Cream of Coconut
    • 60ml Pineapple Juice
    • 60ml Club Soda
      • Mix together the rum, blue curaçao, cream of coconut and pineapple juice and shake. Pour into a cocktail glass and fill with ice, finishing with club soda and garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cocktail cherry
  2. For the more cosmopolitan couple the perfect cocktail would be a New York Cosmopolitan. As the famous favourite drink of the Sex and the City girls, it will be an instant classic which will represent New York City glamour. The dainty glass and bright pink colour would feel incredibly sophisticated and ladylike, particularly if you are wearing a blush dress. Tart, fruity and with a bit of a kick, it will represent you and your partners, fierce city side. You will need:
    • 35ml Vodka
    • 10ml Grand Marnier
    • 45ml Cranberry Juice
    • 10ml Lime Juice
      • Mix together the vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and lime juice, and shake with ice. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a lime.
  3. For a fun and fruity cocktail with inspiration from the east, the Singapore Sling would be an interesting and talking point drink for your guests. Invented at the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore at the hotel’s Long Bar in 1915, this cocktail was originally the famous Gin Sling, the cocktail was soon named after the hotel it created in. You will need:
    • 50ml Gin
    • 25ml Cherry Brandy
    • 25ml Lemon Juice
    • 1 Teaspoon Grenadine
    • Crushed Ice
    • 100ml Sparkling Water
    • Lime Peel
    • Cocktail Cherry
      • Mix together the gin, brandy, grenadine and lemon juice and shake. Put some ice in a tall glass and pour the cocktail through a strainer and top up with the sparkling water. Serve with the lime peel and a cherry on the side.
  4. While the fashion for wedding cocktails is often Manhattans or Martinis, it’s often the classics which you and your guests love the most – glace cherries, umbrellas and the rest. You always think of a hot climate when you think of the Pina Colada. The coconut, pineapple and rum are about as tropical and fun as you can get, so if you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain, this will be the perfect cocktail for your travel themed wedding. You will need:
    • 50ml Spiced Rum
    • 25ml Coconut Cream
    • 3 Chunks of Pineapple
      • Mix all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and then blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and add your own cheeky cocktail umbrella and glace cherry.
  5. For a wedding inspired by the city of love a perfect wedding would be the French martini. Although it was invented in the 1980s in one of the Keith McNally’s New York City bars it still screams French sophistication. It also appeared in McNally’s Balthazar in Soho in 1996 and was an instant hit. The cocktail was produced during the 1980s-1990s cocktail Renaissance. The peach colour will create a sophisticated look which will not look as feminine as the cosmopolitan. You will need:
    • 50ml Vodka
    • 15ml Raspberry Liqueur
    • 35ml Fresh Pineapple Juice
      • Place the vodka, raspberry liquor and pineapple juice into a cocktail shaker with some ice and shake vigorously and strain the mixture into a Martini glass and serve.
  6. Although it is not technically of Russian origin it will still be a fantastic way to represent the country at your wedding, it gets its name due to the main ingredient being vodka, a spirit often associated with Russia. The original cocktail was called the Black Russian and first made an appearance in 1949, then became the White Russian with the addition of cream; however it is unclear which came first. You will need:
    • 60ml Vodka
    • 2 Tablespoons of Kahlúa
    • 1 Tablespoon of Cream
      • Mix the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, put some ice cubes in a small tumbler and pour the cocktail over the top

Favours for Travel/Destination Wedding

It is often a topic which divides the wedding party, to favour or not to favour. For some of you, you’ll find the dinky gifts are a great way to show your guests thanks for being with you on your big day, and a small way to support the rest of your wedding theme. They can make a beautiful addition to the table and you have the opportunity to enjoy the process of sourcing great gifts for your guests. However there can be nothing worse than spending a great deal of time and money on finding the perfect wedding favour that get left behind once the reception is over. Hopefully I can provide some simple yet effective and fun wedding favours for your perfect destination/travel themed wedding.

Cutemaps Mood board

  1. So if you’re looking for something which is packaged for you, where you can have a gorgeous favour just buy ordering online you can get adorable aeroplane bottle openers with map box packaging for £2.20 each, great getting the party started and definitely not being left behind.
  2. If your wedding party has a sweet tooth, a great way to present them is in a miniature travel suitcase, as they are empty you can personalise them for each guest. Perfect as a low cost option for the larger guests list or as a sweet gift for a small reception.
  3. If you’re looking for something which you can DIY a handmade map box with a selection of you and your partners favourite sweet treats. To create an even more personal touch you could make the map on the box one of your most significant locations, such as your first date or the place of your engagement.
  4. A great favour which is a little more alternative is a compass, get a gold and black version on confetti.co.uk. They will definitely be something that your guests will keep and would be a great way to entertain younger guests with activities, such as a short orienteering exercise or a way to create a treasure hunt through the journey.
  5. Another DIY which is travel themed is a vintage suitcase favour box template which can be printed and then made with your own choice of paper, this gives you more flexibility when creating your favours and you would be able to fill them with whatever else you would like. This is also another great suitcase template.
  6. A simple yet effective ideas would be to bake (or ask someone else to bake) some love letter themed cookies, they could also be decorated like globes or aeroplanes
  7. A way to present your suitcases would be to get a small canvas and stand and write that its baggage claim this would keep them off of the tables so that they would be easily taken and you could put every name on different baggage tag.
  8. A favour which not only would never get left behind but also would help to keep your guests safe from the sun, would be pocket suncream. The suncream bottles can be personalised with the couples names and any colour or design that you would want. They also have a carabiner attached so that they can be attached to purses or pockets, you know there’ll be no sun burn at your wedding.
  9. A wedding favour which will bring a little light to your guests would be personalised candles. You can buy clear glass candle holders and then place cheaper candles into them, after this you can wrap a map around the holder, similar to the homemade boxes you could use a map location which is significant to you and your partner.
  10. A wedding favour which will keep your wedding in the mind of your guests for a long time is a compass bottle stopper. This could also be used for any of the leftover drink from the wedding and would be very useful for your guests in the future.
  11. Luggage tag favours are also perfect for a destination wedding as you can give them out at the end of your wedding and your guests will have something to use immediately. You can also add a small thank you onto the suitcase tag. You can also get more personalised tags for