Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Exclusive Use Venues

Now a days you can marry all most anywhere and places which before where off limits to the public are opening their doors and allowing us to marry. Many of these old castles and manors are offering couples exclusive use. This is very appealing to many people, imagine your own castle for the day! Being Lord and Lady of the Manor for a day no other hotel hotel guest, being able to roam round the castle out of hours. I don't normally stare stories from my wedding, as it was almost ten years ago and let face it you are not here to hear about my wedding. But I got married in a castle with exclusive use, and one of the best memories I have, of that day, is my husband and myself, alone, standing on the battlements, looking over the foothill of Stirling sipping a beautiful Chablis. To coin a phrase it was a Kodak moment!!

There are many advantages and disadvantages to exclusive use venues. The main advantage, as I am sure that you can see is that you have the venue all to yourself. You and your guests can relax and enjoy your venue.

And the main disadvantage is of course the price tag. Many exclusive use venues have facility fee that start at £4,000 and that is before you have looked at over night accommodation, drinks and the catering.

If you do decide to have an exclusive use venue then there are a few questions you need to ask the venue before you book.

1) Does the venue have a marriage licence or do you have to apply for one
2) Are you restricted to the venues caterers or can you provide your own
3) Is the venue licenced, if they are not will they apply for one for you. If they are licenced and you want the licenced extended will they be able to do this for you. and are they going to charge you for a liquor licence.
4) Is the accommodation included in the hire fee or is it over and above.
5) Are there any restrictions with regards to the other suppliers you can use ie florists, cars, photographer. I would ask this when you are looking at your budget as these venues tend to have agreements with the suppliers at the higher end of the pricing scale.
6) Do they have an in house co-ordinator and how exactly will they help you? Will they be there on the night or will the wedding be run by some else.
7) Will there be any time restriction, ie when will you get access. If you can not get access till 5pm then this will effect the timing of your service.
8) Have they placed restriction on the amount of time that you have to hire the venue for. Some exclusive use venues if you wish to have a Saturday wedding will require you to hire the venue for 2 nights. This will of course double your hire fee!!
9) Make sure you are aware of all extras before you book. Make sure that there are no surprises. Some venues will advertise at one price and then add tax on top. Just be sure you know about all charge you will have.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Create your own wedding cocktail

Creating you own wedding cocktail, this is a growing fashion. Many brides have a champagne cocktail during their drinks reception (this is a great way to make to go further)and are adding their own twist to them. There are companies out there that will create your own personal wedding cocktail tailored to your own tastes and requirements. They can Create a cocktail to match your theme, could you imagine having a drink that matches the colour of your flowers, bride maids dresses etc!!

Of course (and this is my preferred option) you can create your own. It could be a great girls night in. And of course you will have to try it several times before the weddings.

I think legally I now have to remind you to drink responsibly.

Your Wedding Planning Checklist

Many Wedding Planning Websites detail their Wedding Planning Checklist in a very regimented manner. By this I mean that state 18-12 months before you must ... 12-6 months you must... and so on. Having spoken to many brides to be ,I have found that this stresses you out!! Especially if you have pasted the 12 month stage, and have not done everything they say you should do 18 months before!!

I have helped, and seen, brides pull their wedding together in a matter of months. I would not stress too much about the time lines, these are not set in stone. Your wedding will not be a disaster because you have not picked out your flowers 6 months in advance!

Having said that there are certain suppliers , who do have booking on their books as far as 18months-2 years in advance. So if you are planning your wedding on a tight timeline you may find things like venue or photographer slightly limited. Again my advice would be not to panic, there are always options. IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS DROP ME A LINE and I will do my best to help you. If I can not I have a large number of contacts worldwide who are all very resourceful and creative. I should mention that of course for group members this service is completely free!!

Back to the Wedding Planning Checklist. I , as you may have guested. am not going to do the 18-12 months... 12-6 months thing. I do not want to stress you out. A STRESSED OUT BRIDE IS NOT A PRODUCTIVE BRIDE!! So I am going to give you a guide to the order you should aim to start things. If you start in this order your planning should flow quite smoothly.

1)First things first!! Find a Partner (only joking!)
2) Set a date
3) Decide on type of ceremony, civil, religious etc
4) Decide if you want to host the whole event at one venue or two. Perhaps you may want many, it is up to you.
5) Once you have decide where you want your ceremony, book your celebrant.
6) Decide on the requirements for your venue. For more detail refer to past post Venues part one
7) Choose your bridesmaids and the Best man.
8) Find your venue
9) The Dress... This does not have to be one of the first things you do but it is the best!!
10) Photographer, more detail see past post Your Photographer and how you decide
11) Stationary for more detail see past post Wedding stationary and how you decide
12) Decide on the Grooms wear
13) Decide on the type of bridal car you want
14) Think how you will dress the room, order any extra linen you require ie chair covers etc
15) Your Florist see past post wedding florist how to decide
16) Decide on your cake, see past posts, bakery vs store bought
Wedding cakes, something different
17)Decide on the type of meal you want ie a sit down dinner, a buffet or even a BBQ.
18)Decide on your drinks package
19) Decide on Music for reception
20) Decide on Music for service
21) Decide if you will have any friends reading at the service
22) Gifts for Bridesmaids and best man

I have given you a rough idea to think about your Wedding planning. Following this, your planning should flow in a smooth order. I have not gone into too much detail, anything which I have not covered yet I will cover in future posts.

The Wedding Rings

The Wedding ring is the symbol we carry with us after the wedding everyday to show our commitment to each other. The simple band of gold that links us forever.

There are so many styles and metals available. Going to pick your rings can be quite a task. I don't know about you but take me to a Jewelers and I just want to try on everything!! I know I keep saying this but you must remain focused. Here are a few tip on how to pick the right rings.

Make sure it compliments your engagement ring. If your wedding ring and engagement rings clash you may find yourself only wearing one, which would be ashame.

Try not to pick a fashion ring. Fashions change very quickly and you will be wearing the ring for ever. Don't pick something that you will hate in a few years.

There are some jewelers who will allow you to design and even make your own wedding rings. I love this idea it is so romantic and makes the rings even more special.

Children at Weddings

For many, child are an added delight at a wedding, for others they are just something they would rather not deal with. Which ever camp you fall into, if you have children coming to your wedding you have to address the issue of what do you do with them. There are long periods of time that you want them to be content and preferably entertained. there are a wide range of activities you can provide, depending on your budget.

If you have a large budget or a number of children coming then you may consider a mobile creche. In recent years these have been popping up all over the country. They come to your venue and set up a creche area, they are fully trained childcare professional. They will look after the children for as long as you, and your guests need.

If you are looking to have entertainment for the children and do not want a full creche service, you could have roaming magician. These guys are great not just to entertain the kids but they entertain the adults too!!

If you have a small number of children, you can put together a fun box for them at their place setting. Colouring books are always a favourite or cards, magic trick. It depends on the age of the kids what you put in the boxes. If you have the time you can create a box to suit each individual child. You can also personalise all the items in the box.

Weddings Abroad

In the big Freeze that we are suffering from at the moment, I have found myself looking to warmer climates. More and more couples are looking at the warmer parts of the world to host their wedding. Beautiful, silver sandy beaches, ancient Italian castles and for the ABBA fan in us all the Greek Islands.

Planning a wedding is a mammoth task and when you are looking to get married hundreds of miles away and you don't even speak the same language then it becomes ten times harder! If you are planning a destination wedding then help is at hand. I would like to give you some pointers.

Find out the legal requirements of the country you are looking to get married in.
Will your marriage be recognised in the UK.
Do you require a Marriage Visa
Do they have any residency laws Ie do you have to spend a certain amount of time in the country before you can marry
Make sure you can have all the legal marriage papers translated into English.

Once you have determined IF you can marry in your country of choice now the fun starts!!! The Planning...

Many venues, as in the UK, offer FULL planning which to many is very attractive. In many wedding hot spots you can book a full wedding package. This will include all your flowers, the cake, linen, the meal, the drinks and often your accommodation! This is a very easy and relatively stress free way to plan a destination wedding.

If you are not happy to pay the inflated prices in the wedding packages you may decide to plan and co-ordinate the whole thing yourself. Many brides find the thought of dealing with suppliers in another country very daunting. However with the help of the web, planning a wedding half way across the world can be as easy as planning a wedding just round the corner (Not that I would ever suggest that planning a wedding is easy!).

As a Planner I feel that this last option is the best.. You hire a local wedding planner. Any planner worth their salt are able to keep you within budget, find you the best deals. You will be able to sit back and relax knowing that your wedding is in good hands.


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Dress

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and Santa was good to all. I am sure you are now turning your attention to back to your wedding planning. I would like to look at "the" dress.

You have the perfect dress in mind, you can see yourself floating down the aisle in the perfect dress and you look wonderful! So how do you go about finding this dress.

Of course it can all come down to budget. If you have a large budget then you may like the idea of the original designer dress. gliding down the aisle in a one of kind dress. There are a number of designers who produce one off dresses, but for most of us these dresses are just out of reach. The best option is to have a chat with a local dress designer. A good designer will be able to pull all your ideas together. Go armed with a book full of cuttings. I would also recommend that you try on a few styles first so you have a very good idea of what suits you and what does not.

The Internet offers a great deal of choice and access to dresses. We can now buy form anywhere in the world. The prices can vary quite a bit, as can the quality. There are some great sites that offer lovely dresses a great prices. I would recommend that again you try on many dresses before you order. Also if budget is an issue you may also consider getting a few quotes from local seamstress if you dress needs any alterations.