Tag Archives: venue

Real wedding: pink cupcakes, garden roses and a whole lotta love

19 Jul

Every now and then I come across a wedding too cute to ignore! And it should definitely win an award for the most creative use of jars in wedding history- fabulous stuff. And I’m a little bit in love with those cupcakes – anyone else?

Allison and Joseph Micali got married on the 29th of May 2011 after a year and a half engagement. The wedding took place at a Chapel at Sandy Hook, NJ, USA.  The venue was chosen not only for its rustic feel, but for the sentimental value to Allison, who grew up in Sandy Hook.

Allison knew she wanted pink flowers so, after researching different types of flowers, she decided on the beautiful peonies and the two different types of roses. The planner picked up flowers from a local wholesaler and decorated each table with mason jars filled with pink peonies, garden roses and spray roses.

She then scattered mason jars with candles all around the arrangements.  The top table was outlined by the mason jars and with 4 mugs (L O V E from Anthropologie) in the centre, next to the couple.

“Our wedding was very different in many ways,” says Allison. “I wanted to stay really far away from anything traditional. We had our ceremony outside overlooking Sandy Hook Bay. We then had our cocktail hour in a restored chapel that had beautiful golden lighting. Our reception was in a tent overlooking the bay. We had a front table with the wedding party decorated with LOVE mugs and a Sweet Love Banner. We had chalkboard table numbers, the planner wrote the menu on a full length mirror.  Our favours were mason jars with chalkboard decals and CDs filled with our favourite songs.”

As it turns out, Allison loved the planning process so much that she has decided to start up her own planning company – with a fab blog to kick start her new career (Skinny Love Designs).

Credits: The cupcake with hot pink frosting and the cupcake toppers were supplied by Pink Studios. The bride wore a strapless metal taffeta Nicole Miller gown. The wedding was captured by Kella MacPhee, in the bride’s words, an absolutely amazing and quirky photographer.  Merri-Makers caterers supplied the food. The “best DJ in the world” according to the lovely bride was DJNYC

Everything was put together beautifully by wedding planning service, Lulu’s Inspirations.


Shabby chic wedding decor – top touches

10 Jul

It’s been a week or so since I blogged about shabby chic weddings and in that time I’ve seen quite a few inspiring things. I’ll do a few of these shabby chic wedding decorations posts, but for now, here’s the first! Enjoy:

Wellies aren’t just for the rain

You may have seen my last real wedding, provided by the gorgeous Hannah Stevenson. She filled yellow wellies with flowers as a tribute to the footwear she was wearing when her groom proposed. But wellies don’t need to have a special meaning for you to incorporate them in your day. Filling wellies with flowers is a cute and quirky touch that everyone will notice! You can either leave it to a florist or re-pot a potted plant into the wellies yourself.

Vintage bird cages

Like this one from Wedding Direct at Amazon. There’s very little you can’t do with them! Fill them with flowers for your centrepieces, or hang them around the room at different heights to decorate the venue. Put a candle in them. Decorate them with clip on butterflies, do what you like with them. It’s very very difficult to make a bird cage look bad. If buying so many is a bit steep, you can rent them from many vintage crockery and decoration companies.

Bird cage by Weddings Direct at Amazon

Vintage luggage tags

Use them as place settings, hang them up to form a unique table plan, tie them to a vintage suitcase and let people write their honeymoon going away wishes instead of a guest book, tie them to favours, or even write a special message to each of your friends on them, if the wedding is small enough for you to do that! You can get 6 for £2.50 from The Wedding of my Dreams.

6 for £2.50 at The Wedding of my Dreams

More vintage decorative touches to come over the next week. Enjoy!

Top ten ways to make your summer wedding a little different

3 Jul

Sick of cookie cutter weddings? If traditional really isn’t your style and you’re a bit more laid back, then here are my top ten ways to personalise your summer wedding – in no particular order:

  1. Can’t afford champagne? Just don’t like the stuff? Serve Pimms and Lemonade instead! Perfect for an after-ceremony toast – top off with chopped fruit, ice, stirrers cocktail umbrellas, slices of lemon and serve in colourful jugs and glasses. A fraction of the cost of champagne and far more original.
  2. Does the thought of a seated wedding breakfast make you shudder? Pick up some cute picnic baskets, some pretty floral rugs and cushions and, weather allowing, have a wedding breakfast picnic instead. You’ll also massively cut costs by having a cold picnic buffet.
  3. If you want a hot meal without the sit down three course cliche, why not have a BBQ? Cut costs by buying the food in bulk and having friends takes turns in cooking.
  4. Ditch the Macarena and go for a barn dance! A folk band, some hay bales and well-placed bunting will create that old-fashioned feel.
  5. Hot day? Give out vintage fans as favours. It will help keep people cool and be a great gift for people to take home.
  6. Don’t like perfectly manicured flowers? Hand tie small bunches of wildflowers, put them in jam jars and place them around the venue. If you make enough, tie luggage tags with peoples’ names on them and let people take them home as favours at the end of the day. You could even go one further and use them as place settings.
  7. Hire a vintage style ice cream van, like this, from Vintage Scoops, for the day to cool your guests down – much more original than a traditional dessert table.
  8. Worried about your guests getting hot and tired feet? Make flip flops your favours – everyone will appreciate the opportunity to take off hot and uncomfortable heels.
  9. They say attention-to-detail is everything. If you want your venue to smell as summery as it looks, spray some Cath Kidston rose room spray around the venue before the guests arrive.
  10. Not sure what to do with kids (or big kids) at a wedding while photos are being taken? Why not invest in some giant board games to play outside? Giant connect four or even Twister for the more informal wedding will go down a treat.

A Sussex village shabby chic wedding

1 Jul The famous yellow wellies!

When Hannah Stevenson went on holiday to New York to visit a friend, she had no idea she was about meet her future husband! Jason Clark had a stopover in the city for a few days on his way back from a holiday in Peru – and happened to visit that same mutual friend.

Over six years later, Jason brought Hannah back to New York to propose at the place they first met. However, not everything went to plan. Jason had intended to propose in Central Park – but the park was evacuated due to adverse weather conditions before he had the chance. His plan B was to take her to the top of the Empire State Building – how very Sleepless in Seattle! Sadly, that plan was also scuppered by Hannah’s rather baffling reluctance to climb the building in New York’s worst blizzard in twenty years!

Third time lucky, Jason ended up getting the proposal really right – by proposing outside of Tiffany’s – echoing the classic movie and the first DVD Jason ever bought Hannah, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and making her feel like a real-life version of her all-time icon, Audrey Hepburn. Ahh!

After over a year’s engagement, the couple laughed in the face of superstition and married on Friday 13th May 2011 at St Marks Church in Staplefield, West Sussex.

Hannah and her father at the church

The beautiful bride

Lavender was a simple decoration that helped give the day it's vintage country feel

The reception was held in a marquee on Staplefield village common and was planned by the couple themselves. In true country village tradition, they wanted it to be a relaxed day, informal but still in-keeping with tradition. The picturesque Sussex village location provided the perfect setting for a shabby chic / vintage wedding.

The happy couple outside the marquee

The day was a real family affair. “We got married in the village where my parents live and where I was brought up,” explains Hannah, “Staplefield is a very small quaint picturesque Sussex village, with the common in the centre of village, the shabby chic theme just fitted the whole setting perfectly.” Hannah walked from her parents’ house to the church with her family (dad, mum, sister, oh and the family dog Winnie!) Winnie accompanied the mother of the bride down the aisle.

It was Hannah’s décor that made the day something truly special and unique. All 125 metres of bunting in the marquee was handmade by her best friend and family, giving it that extra special touch. Extra special was actually the order of the day. With the decorations hand-chosen by Hannah, many had a unique meaning to the couple. The tables were named after places in New York – the place it all started. A friend of the family created framed pictures rather than plain table numbers – which Hannah and Jason now keep as mementos of the day.

New York themed table numbers

For the favours, Hannah’s mum, sister and friend made homemade fudge, and Hannah tied luggage tags to them so they doubled up as place settings.

Perhaps the most quirky and personal touch was the flower-filled yellow wellies – Hannah happened to be wearing them the day she got engaged. In desperate need of snow shoes and lumped with the only colour left (bright yellow) “It became a bit of joke with friends that I was wearing yellow wellies in New York when we got engaged,” says Hannah, “I thought it would be fun to make a bit of a feature of them!”

The famous yellow wellies!


Hannah wore a gorgeous Jesus Peiro dress and was made even more beautiful by Jen Dodson, Hair and Make-Up. The flowers were by Bryony Billingham, a local independent florist, who was responsible for all the floral arrangements from lavender in the church, bouquets, table decorations and, of course, the famous wellies. The hog roast was provided by Three of a Kind Caterers.

All photo credits go to photographer, Carl Glancey, whose unobtrusive style helped the couple relax and take some fab photos.

Wedding tools #1 – Top Table Planner

28 Jun

This week I’ll be writing about some of the tools that have made my life easier while planning my wedding! The first is Top Table Planner. For just £10 for six months’ access or £15 for a year, this tool allows you to create your table plan and guest list. I have to say I absolutely love it – I use it to keep track of my guest list and it really helps me to carry on visualising the day.

To properly understand what I’m about to describe, take a look at an example plan on the website or have a glance at the above image. So in a nutshell what this net-based tool lets you do is:

  • Lay out all your tables / dancefloor / cake table etc. exactly how you’d like it to look on the day.
  • Choose the shape and size of your table – you can add and remove chairs once it’s up.
  • Name your table – so if you’re having a themed day you can see who would fit where.
  • Choose the gender of your guests, whether they’ve RSVP’d and whether they require a vegetarian meal. The gender thing is the most useful for me as it turns the seats pink or blue when they’re filled, so I can see the gender mix at any table at a glance.
  • Remove guests from the seating plan, but not from the list entirely. That means that you can still see evening guests if you have them or have people you want there ready should someone cancel or should you change your mind about the main guest list.
  • See at-a-glance stats of how many guests you have in total and how many are seated so you can keep track of numbers without any complicated spreadsheets.

The only thing I’d advise is keep clicking on “save plan” or you will lose your work, as there’s no autosave. I can see why this is, as people might just be experimenting with changes and then decide against them, but remember to save the latest version of your plan every time! Enjoy!

How to set a budget (and stick to it)

26 Jun

The first thing to do when you’re setting your budget is to be realistic about it. This blog post assumes you’re paying for at least some of your wedding, but if you’re not and you’re still responsible for planning the wedding, this still has some useful tips on how to allocate everything.

When I say “be realistic” about your budget, I mean down to the last detail. First of all, figure out how much financial help you’re getting and note that down. Then, depending on how you run your finances, work out how much you both earn per month (if you have a shared bank account) or individually earn (if you both manage your own cash) versus your outgoings: How much do you spend a month on bills? Rent / mortgage? Petrol? Insurance? Car tax? Pet bills? Children? Train tickets? Food? Don’t leave anything out, including luxuries.

Then figure out how much of your salary is left over after all these outgoings. If that number seems small, as painful as it might be, start looking at the non-essentials on your list and find ways to cut costs on them. Believe me, it’s possible!

How far away is your wedding or would you like your wedding to be? However much you can both put away per month plus any outside contributions in the months leading to your wedding is your wedding budget.

It’s time to be realistic again – if your budget is relatively small then you’ll need to keep costs down by generally saving money on venue, decorations, dress, catering etc. (see my blog post on a shabby chic wedding on a budget) by keeping the guest list down (see my post on choosing your guests) or by moving the wedding a little further away than you’d hoped in order to have the wedding of your dreams.

If your number is big enough that you feel you can start planning, it’s time to start allocating your budget. You can make this decision by sitting down with a generic list of things people usually invest in for weddings and rearranging it in order of priority or crossing things off if they don’t apply and adding them if they do – good luck:

– Venue(s)
– Food (from canapes to the meal and any other catering like tea or coffee)
– Dress
– Accessories
– Shoes
– Suit for the groom
– Suits for the groomsmen (if you’re paying for them)
– Outfits for the bridesmaids (as above)
– Musicians for the ceremony
– Musicians for the reception
– Other entertainment for the reception
– Decorations
– Flowers
– Crockery
– Cars
– Hair and make up artist (and for your bridesmaids / MOB)
– Favours
– Rings
– Pre-wedding beauty treatments
– Cake
– Booze
– Hen party
– Stag party (relationship advice – try to allocate these budgets evenly!!)
– Honeymoon
– Creche for kids
– Waiter / waitresses (if your venue doesn’t come with them)
– MC (again if your venue doesn’t come with them)
– Wedding planner (if you can’t see how you’ll possibly have time to do all of this)
– Thank you gifts for attendants / bridal party
– Insurance
– Invitations / Stationary for reception
– Wedding website hosting
– Ceremony fees
– First night hotel

A shabby chic wedding on a budget – top 10 ways to save money

15 Jun
  1. The venue. There are many cheap and cheerful venues that can still look effortlessly chic given the right finishing touches. For example, don’t rule out your local village hall.For a nominal hiring fee, you can have your reception venue sorted, just add bunting, sandwiches, vintage crockery and some well-chosen table decorations to get that country chic feel.If you do have your heart set on a pricier venue, consider having your wedding on a weekday. Saturdays during peak season will be most expensive (usually around May to August) but Sundays, weekdays and bank holidays may knock thousands off the price.

    It’s also far cheaper to have a winter wedding because of the less popular dates. This does make the shabby chic look difficult to pull off, but you can always opt for paler, frosty colours and keep your theme. Alternatively, winter wonderland weddings leave room for endless creativity.

    Try to book a venue that lets you choose your own caterer. That leaves you free to play around on the next point.

  2. The catering. People are there for you, not for a free meal. M&S and Waitrose do fantastic pick up services at low cost if you’re happy to have a cold buffet. You can pick up a feast at just a few pounds per head.
  3. If you do want to have a caterer, try a BBQ or hog roast option, although consider your guests’ various religious and dietary requirements before going down this path.
  4. The guest list. I’ll do a longer post on how to write up your guest list at some point soon, but long story short, you need to be ruthless. Does that friend really need a plus one? Are you inviting that old school friend to be polite or because you really value their presence on your special day? Cutting your guest list can dramatically reduce your costs, so think carefully about how you really want there before you start mentioning the wedding to people.
  5. DIY. Making your own bunting costs a fraction of bunting at retail sale and you can choose your own design.  Again, I’ll do a longer post on making bunting at a later date, but in the meantime, buy some vintage-style craft paper from Hobbycraft, make a template of a 6” perfect triangle, find a 6mm hole punch and 6mm ribbon and start cutting triangles.Jars can be useful in hundreds of different ways. The pasta jar you were about to recycle could instead be soaked in hot water, cleaned and made into any of the following:
    – Tea light holders (can also double up as place settings if you find a pretty and creative way to write peoples’ names on the jars).
    – Sweetie jars – to create that vintage sweet shop feel.
    – Jam jars – many brides have discovered that making personalised jars of jam can make great favours.
    – Pebble jars – fill with gold and silver pebbles for a seaside theme.

  6. The dress. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can buy a pre-loved dress from any charity bridal boutique. If your dress is part of the vintage theme, you can get truly unique dresses from Oxfam and Barnardo’s as they have specialist shops around the country and sometimes even get in unsold stock from designers.
  7. Car boot sale chic. We’ve sourced loads of fantastic mismatched vintage china as well as cheap bunting, lace tablecloths and other very cool retro household bits. You can pay next to nothing at car boot sales for vintage wedding decorations that would otherwise cost you a fortune on eBay or any traditional wedding shop.
  8. The flowers. Any volunteers willing to go to a flower market the day before the wedding? Send them with pictures of flowers that fit your theme and fill silver buckets with flowers on the day – or even calm your nerves by making your own bouquet.
  9. The gift list. Many couples live together before they get married and so have most things that would go on a traditional gift list. Perhaps discreetly ask people for donations towards your “honeymoon” fund to recover some of the costs of your wedding.
  10. The invitations. A wedding website is cheaper, and everyone is online these days anyway. Have everyone RSVP online, post their photos afterwards and then you have a handy place to post directions (via a Google Maps widget) and your gift list, if you choose to have one. If you’re not a natural web designer, customise a wedding website on Zankyou.