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Advice & Learning Inspiration

Practical wedding planning advice for COVID-19

I’m a wedding planner and also a recently engaged bride to be planning my own wedding during a pandemic. With both of those things in mind, I’ve taken some time out this week to write some practical planning advice for a post COVID-19 wedding.

I was lucky enough to be swept away on a romantic birthday weekend for a proposal from my long term partner mid-way through 2020, and it was just perfect. We loved every minute of the weekend, when we got back we excitedly started talking about our wedding plans before remembering we were living in a pandemic! 

So I set up a pinterest board and said I’d wait until the new year before starting to plan (as surely we’d wake up on Jan 1st to a new world.)

January has rolled around now and I’ll admit to feeling deflated about the whole thing. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this blog post that I realised I haven’t been taking my own advice. So instead of focusing on the activities and decisions that we can’t plan or do, let’s as brides planning through a pandemic get on and enjoy the things we can. 

Enjoy your engagement! COVID-19 doesn’t have to stop your fun.

Now this is a biggy, and I will be the first to admit that because I couldn’t have an engagement party or show my ring off to every passer-by that I moved past the engagement phase pretty quick.  I’m sad about that, and I don’t want you to be sad about it!  If your very recently engaged and really need something to look forward to, then plan that summer party (maybe keep it small though!)

Claire Graham Photography

Think ahead and book your wedding suppliers

If I had a crystal ball then I would say that 2022 and 2023 are going to be BUSY for weddings, which means confirming your favourite supplier on your wedding date might be trickier than usual. Wonderful engagements still happen every day, but more couples will be pushing their wedding dates into the next few years rather than late 2021, plus postponed weddings will make key dates very busy indeed. 

Prioritise suppliers that you really HAVE to have – this way you aren’t committing money to lots of different suppliers, when it feels really far away still but your securing the ones that you really must have. 

Megan Daisy Photography and Anna Lewis Cake Design

Try not to become overwhelmed with wedding planning

If your Instagram feed is anything like mine then it’s full of wonderful wedding suppliers and inspiration, it’s also easy to sit on Pinterest for hours scrolling mindlessly. You end up overwhelmed, thinking you must have everything you’ve seen online at your wedding with no idea how to implement it.

Or during this time especially you know what you want to book, but you’re worried about it being the wrong time to confirm.  Set days or hours that are fun planning time, relaxing with wine on a Sunday is usually my go to. Use this time to research a specific supplier and make approaches to some of your favourites before moving on to another supplier the next week.  

Megan Daisy Photography at Botley Hill Barn

Keep your planning timeline flexible and practical

I’m a planner, which means I have wedding planning timelines professionally and my own personal one and I like to stick with the plan as much as possible.

But recognising that this isn’t a normal year and that you can’t control everything right now will help to alleviate pressure. If you aren’t able to do venue site visits, menu tastings or hair & make-up trials then rearrange to a later date and focus on the things you can do. The planning experience doesn’t need to be any less enjoyable, just look at practical options. Lots of wedding cake companies with post you a cake box tasting, there are now letterbox wine tastings, and your future self will love you if you create a wedding website and write your gift list. 

Hannah Duffy Photography, Kalm Kitchen at Millbridge Court

Stay on track and keep focused during wedding planning.

Through all of the up’s and down’s we are experiencing right now it’s going to be easy to lose sight of your goals. Start with a really good styling and design concept, keep a good record of your budget and refer back to these regularly. Every time you feel a bit lost, start researching a new supplier or lose hope look back at these tools, refocus your mind and remember how awesome your day is going to be when you get there! 

If you need some help staying on track with your wedding planning and some practical wedding planning advice during COVID-19 then why not take a look at my services and contact me to book your free consultation call?

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Advice & Learning Inspiration Wedding Flowers

Statement Floral Arrangements

Statement floral arrangements are a great way to make a stylish decorative impact, there are lots of beautiful options and something to fit any venue and most budgets. Taking inspiration from your venue for a floral statement piece is one of my favourites, like this gorgeous marble fireplace at Balcombe Place. The best part is these arrangements and columns can be moved to another part of the wedding day.

You really can get creative with shapes, installations and styles and totally transform a space. Sue’s top two tips for floral arrangements that not only pack a punch but also come in within budget are:

Choose a statement piece that is moveable and has a multi-purpose. The costs to move the arrangement will be less than creating new and several pieces. (always better if your florist moves the arrangement so that it remains it’s integrity and still looks it’s best)


To maximise not only your budget but also to ensure the florals have the biggest impact your better off having one or two large arrangements. Your guests are more likely to remember and appreciate one stand out arrangement than several smaller ones.

With this in mind let’s dive in the some of the most popular arrangements and a few tips and along with some advice.

There are pedestal arrangements, like urns or plinths which are moveable. These can come in many different sizes and will look beautiful at your ceremony, dressing a doorway and can be moved if not too heavy to your wedding breakfast.

Then there are column flowers which are also moveable but it has to be a professional florist who installs it and moves it. They will be easily damaged if handled by someone who isn’t sure what they are doing. It’s definitely worth paying for your florist to stay all day and make the most of this tope of arrangement. They are fabulous picture opportunities, and I just love it when they are moved outside and become part of the natural environment.

You also see arches a lot on pinterest and as beautiful as they are they are not moveable and are usually on heavy frames. Sue says, they aren’t considered timeless but they are fashionable at the moment and can work with many styles. Make sure that where they are placed is going to make the most out of it. A ceremony backdrop, a backdrop for pictures or a feature in the wedding breakfast room.

There are many options including hanging installations. You’ll need to check the mechanics of the piece with the venue but if it can’t be hung from the ceiling and you are set on a installations above the head then it is possible to create something with poles.

That was a whistle stop tour of statement floral arrangements, i’d love to hear what you are planning to have at your wedding. If you have any questions for either Sue or I then please do get in contact.

The next blog will be our last on ‘floral fortnight’ and I’ll be giving you some budgeting advice for your flowers.

You can find Sue here:

www.brambleandbelle.co.uk

www.instagram.com/brambleandbelleflorist

Until next week

Emma x

Let’s Talk

Photographers:

Claire Graham Photography

Suzy Elizabeth Photography

Anna Marie Stepney

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Advice & Learning Inspiration Wedding Flowers

Choosing your wedding table flowers

When it comes to choosing your wedding table flowers, there is so much choice that it’s hard to narrow down where to start. We’ve decided to split this into two with big rooms and smaller rooms and give you a few tips to get you going in the right direction.

With any type of decor and styling it’s important to consider the venue and opt for things that make sense. For example if your room has very strong prominent colours then you won’t want to choose anything which clashes but instead works harmoniously.

Cornwell Manor | Suzy Elizabeth Photography

FLOWER CENTREPIECES FOR breakfast rooms with high ceilings

For a big room then Sue recommends choosing taller floral arrangements to fill the space. For big rooms like this you also want bigger, taller arrangements that are going to get noticed and not disappear.

Taller, larger arrangements can be more expensive because you are going to need more flowers to create an impact. If you are looking for a budget friendly option then you could speak to your florist about mixing in lower arrangements. Don’t worry about this looking odd as you could opt for similar style tall gold stands and lower gold bowls for example. Also it’s going to be a good idea to as your florist to set the arrangements up on the tables in a way that keeps the room balanced.

Make sure there aren’t any tall arrangements blocking the top table, everyone will want to be able to see the Bride & Groom!

Smaller rooms or lower ceilings

If you have a smaller room or lower ceilings then choosing low floral centrepieces is going to be the best option. It’s also a good idea to think about how many tables you have as you don’t want to overcrowd the room with lots of tables and lots of flowers.

With lower arrangements Sue’s advice is to still keep them a reasonable size with impactful flowers so that they don’t get lost. Choosing a larger focal flower is recommended so that the arrangement is really present in the room.

Low bowl arrangements | Kelsie Scully Photography

You’ll see in all of Sue and I’s work together that we always add candles to the table. Adding stylish dinner candles in interesting candlesticks is a favourite of mine to elevate the table. Tea lights are also great for filling any empty space, and in the right glass container will dance glittery light across the table. They probably won’t be necessary at a marquee wedding but if your venue allows them then they can also help when there is a lack of natural light.

Candelabra & tea lights at Marden Park Mansion | Kelsie Scully Photography

I said at the beginning there was loads and loads of choices with table centres and then I haven’t written a lot but that’s because I would really recommend that you speak with your florist, your wedding planner and/or stylist and of course use Pinterest to find inspiration and create something that is truly YOU and works with your wedding. Here is some more inspiration for you!

Balcombe Place photography: https://www.clairegraham.co/

If you have any questions then please do drop myself or Sue a message and if you are looking for detailed styling help for designing your wedding day then take a look at my styling services and see how I can help you.

You can find Sue here:

www.brambleandbelle.co.uk

www.instagram.com/brambleandbelleflorist

Until next week,

Emma x

Let’s Talk

Balcombe Place photography: https://www.clairegraham.co/

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Advice & Learning Inspiration Wedding Flowers

Your guide to wedding bouquets and personal flowers

The first in our ‘Floral Fortnight’ series with Sue from Bramble and Belle is an important topic and one of my favourites. Read on for a guide to wedding bouquets and personal flowers that will help you find your style and speak to your florist.

The moment the bouquet arrives and is delivered to the bride is one of the best! As the most photographed floral pieces at your wedding it’s got to be pretty special. We’ll be talking through colours and styles to consider for your bouquet and of course Sue’s best tips. Let’s dive in!

Choosing wedding flower colours

First off, remember that your florist is your best person for advice on where to start with choosing colours for your bouquet and types of flowers. They know what complimentary colours are going to look the best and what is going to be in season on your wedding day. Plus your flower colours should work with your overall wedding colour palette, if you need help putting together your own bespoke, comprehensive wedding design then take a look at how I can help you do this.

Let’s start with deciding on the colours for your wedding bouquet or your personal flowers throughout the day. You might have already chosen your colour palette so it’s a good idea to bring this and a mood board to the meeting with your florist. When I’m styling and creating a colour palette I take inspiration from lots of places including the venue but I also always consider the flowers that are going to be available and recommended by the florist.

You should think about how the colours are going to look in photos, darker colours like burgundy can become black in the camera. By adding different shades and steps through the colour wheel they can blend nicely.

Wedding bouquet styles

Hand tied bouquet; these are very popular and on trend at the moment, you might be thinking they are too loose and wild for you but there is a huge scale to choose from and they can be tight and formal right through to completely loose.

Front facing hand tied bouquet with a definite front and flatter back. | Suzy Elizabeth Photography

Shower bouquet: traditionally these wedding bouquets are fully wired and structured in a teardrop shape with a handle underneath. They need to be created by a skilled florist as each flower in individually wired and once it’s in place there isn’t any going back. A bouquet like this is going to take your florist time and skill so they can cost more but the overall effect is quite beautiful.

Kjerstin’s fully wired bouquet | Joab Smith Photography
Fully wired bouquet with roses

If a formal cascade bouquet isn’t quite you or in your price range then it is possible to create a similar style and shape with a cascade bouquet that is hand tied. The piece is created using an armature and chicken wire, which makes this type of bouquet more flexible. A hand tied cascade bouquet has more movement than the traditional shower, it’s still elegant but less formal and more natural. It’s best to leave the choice of florals to the florist for this one though so that they can carefully create the exact look you want.

Elisabeth & Michael | Simon Stewart Photography

Don’t scrimp on your wedding bouquet, it’ll be the most photographed floral piece of the entire day.

Sue’s bouquet tip

What flowers should you have in your wedding bouquet

You might have a favourite flower and know that it’s going to be in season at the perfect time of your wedding day, if so then make sure to mention it to your florist. This way they can plan the bouquet around it. Lot’s of flowers can now be bought out of season but this might cost more if they need to be imported from Europe.

If you don’t have any must have types of flowers in mind then it’s always better to let your florist decide. Your florist is the expert and will have your best interests in mind. Nearer the time of your wedding, when they are buying the flowers it’s best to have flexibility so that they can purchase the best flowers in the current market. Florists with the flexibility to choose flowers nearer the time will also be able to choose flowers that are in season, with a good head size and quality that is going to withstand the summer heat.

What’s on trend in wedding bouquets and personal flowers?

I’m not really one to recommend going with a trend, just because it’s in fashion now. If it’s not really YOU then don’t do it. But it can be interesting to see what is on trend, see if you like it and take inspiration.

Natural cascades are being requested a lot at the moment. Moving away from the rules is becoming popular, loose and mixed with different flowers. Garden style is particularly sympathetic to the loose bouquet styles and means your florist can choose british flowers.

Should you consider your dress when choosing a wedding bouquet?

You might consider the details on your dress because a large bouquet might hide the details like sequins and lace. It’s also a good idea to consider your size and choose a proportional size bouquet.

As a florist Sue isn’t sure that you should or should not choose a bouquet just because of your wedding dress. Don’t compromise on what you really want.

Cornwell Manor | Suzy Elizabeth Photography

A quick note on personal flowers

Bridesmaids bouquets should be smaller versions of the bridal bouquet. This will create continuity making for cohesive pictures. Practically it also helps with buying the same flowers making it cheaper for you.

Buttonholes are created using the same or similar flowers as the bouquet, but you can get creative with bold statements such as a large floral single stem. It’s also a nice idea to create a slightly larger, different or more special buttonhole for the Groom.

I hope that this has helped you feel confident about meeting up with your florist and choosing your bouquet style. There really isn’t anything to be worried about, the only problem is there is too much choice! Really trust in your florist, take their advice and make sure you choose what you love.

If you have any more questions about bouquets or personal flowers then feel free to book a 30 minute discovery call with me, email me, or drop me a message on instagram. You can also find expert advice from Sue HERE.

Emma x

BOOK A CALL WITH ME! WE CAN TALK ABOUT WEDDING BOUQUETS, PERSONAL FLOWERS AND ABOUT HOW I CAN HELP YOU

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Advice & Learning Inspiration

Three places to start when putting together your wedding colour palette.

Continuing with my theme of the month, giving you all of my design and styling tips for putting together a beautiful wedding. This blog post is all about choosing your colour palette, it’s key to a cohesive design that flows throughout the day and in usual fashion starting with looking outside is my favourite place!

There is a lot of theory around colour’s, and lot’s to consider. It can be really easy to end up in a complete confused mess of swatches not sure whether the different shades of lilac will match. Here’s my top three places to start before you consider which tones and textures to use.

One

When helping a couple narrow down their colour options my first place to start is to be inspired by nature and in particular the season the wedding is going to take place in. Or you could choose your favourite time of the year. There is so much changing colour outside, and not only just the season but also a location. The wood’s yield rich yellows, auburns and oranges during autumn whilst being near the ocean in summer is all about twinkling blues, and washy whites.

This gorgeous lamppost pillar that Sue at Bramble and Belle created gives just enough wow factor whilst also feeling like it has always been part of the building. The rich autumnal colours and wild, loose styling are inspired and recreated with the season in mind.

Beautiful autumnal blooms by Bramble & Belle photographed by Claire Graham at Balcombe Place

Two

Look at what you already love! Look around your home and how you’ve decorated your home, do you have rich blue suedes or grey neutrals. This can be a great steer on what you already like to be surrounded by.

I used the interiors of Balcombe Place to help me narrow down colour choices, it’s a gorgeous grand venue, steeped in history and ready to transport you to a different era. It oozes luxury, and all of little details elevate the rooms. There is lot’s of dark wood within the venue however I really wanted to flip this on the head and champion the lightness that there was and brighten up autumn.

Three

Be inspired by your wedding venue, now this is a place that you LOVE and it can be a great steer for the style and colours of your entire day. A blank canvas is always lovely, but if you’ve got a ceremony room with a strong colour already in the decor then sometimes working with it to create a colour palette around it will be your best option.

There is grandeur with Balcombe Place and choosing a very grown up, yet modern colour palette was important. I went with brightness and lightness in the table linen, stationery and some of the florals with complimenting darker plums, almost browns to create a warm vibe and gel with the dark wood in the venue.

It’s also helpful to look at other colour influences around you like fashion, art, and what’s on trend that you love.

Once I have the main two to three colours in place for a wedding, the ones that I know the couple want to feature I will start to weave in variety and dimension with complimentary colours and neutrals. This was the finished palette for the shoot at Balcombe Place, but it went through lot’s of changes and edits before becoming this and it can change dramatically once speaking with the florist who can really help narrow down what florals will be available at the time you are due to get married.

Don’t be afraid to get stuck in with choosing colour, you don’t need to stick with just one and your florist really can be a great source of knowledge when you are thinking about mixing shades and tones.

I love hearing from you, so if you need any help choosing colours and you more questions then drop me an email or message! I even offer a bespoke styling service if you’d like me to help with your wedding you can find out more here

Emma x

Photography: https://www.clairegraham.co

Venue: https://www.balcombeplace.com

Florist: https://www.brambleandbelle.co.uk

Cake: https://www.cakesandleaves.com

Stationery: https://socalligraphy.co.uk

Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure

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5 ways to bring together a cohesive design at your wedding.

Having an idea for how you want your wedding day to look and feel is one thing but to help each element you’ve chosen really shine and work with the day you want the design elements to flow seamlessly and be cohesive together. Like a great roast dinner, each little piece on the plate should taste amazing but work when teamed together!

For cohesiveness there needs to be consistency, and that’s consistency throughout the day. From the ceremony, drinks receptions and through to the last dance make sure similar colours and styling features in each space.

Here are my 5 top tips for creating great foundations of cohesiveness!

Be inspired by nature and the seasons. Each different season brings it’s own colour palette. Using inspiration from around you on your wedding day also creates a sense of belonging. You can use apps like Adobe Capture to take a picture of your favourite autumn walk and it will create a colour palette for you. Alternatively I like to look at which flowers are out at the time of year to get inspiration. 

Kelsie Scully Photography

Decide on an accent metal, this could be gold, rose gold, silver, or antique silver – maybe even a gun metal. By keeping your cutlery, candlesticks, frames, vases and any other accessory in the same or similar metal you won’t have to worry about anything not matching and working together throughout the day. 

Kelsie Scully Photography

Choose a neutral that your colour scheme works with, grey has been very popular in recent years but whites and creams also work well. You can use this for your table linen, stationery paper colour and the basis for your floral colours. It will help your primary colours to pop and been seen. 

Kelsie Scully Photography

Create a curated inspiration and mood board. Gather inspiration from places like Interior Design, Art work, being Outdoors and so much more all in one place with Pinterest and once your lots of ideas, start to edit and delete pictures that you don’t absolutely love. Eventually you’ll start to narrow down your ideas, you can swap images in and out to create a cohesive group of ideas and inspiration that work together. 

Share your inspiration with your suppliers but also share each suppliers ideas with your other suppliers. For example your stationer will be able to create something truly unique to you and perfectly suited to your day if they know what sort of florals and colours your florist is working with. 

Megan Daisy Photography

Follow me over on instagram for more wedding planning and styling help, or get in contact to see how I can help you on your wedding day.

Emma x

Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure

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Advice & Learning Inspiration

Advice from bespoke stationery designer Katie from Paper Bow

This week I have taken some time out to chat with Katie, Founder and Graphic Designer at Paper Bow London, a bespoke design studio based in Crystal Palace, South London. She’s shortly relocating to Manchester but I’ve caught up with her to talk all things wedding stationery.

How long have you been running Paper bow?

I set up Paper Bow London in 2016 after designing a friend’s wedding stationery. Some pictures made their way onto Pinterest and I was receiving a lot of enquiries off the back of that and so decided to go for it and set up Paper Bow! The design for Emmeline and Matt is still one of my most popular suites today showing that something bespoke and personal can stand the test of time.

What’s your favourite part of helping couples with their stationery?

I love hearing a couples love story – this gives me such an insight into them as individuals, as well as them as a couple. Getting to know my couples means I can incorporate details that are incredibly personal and truly unique to them, which is one of the defining factors of a bespoke design service.

What would you say is most important for couples getting married to consider for their stationery?

Ensure that your designer embodies your personal style. Your stationery is the first glimpse that your guests will have into your wedding, and therefore is a great opportunity for you to set the tone, look and feel, and style for your big day. 

Is there a particular style that is fashionable at the moment?

There’s been a huge shift to warm colour palettes in the past year – dusty pinks mixed with airy creams and rich terracotta tones. Eco and sustainable stationery has also become popular, with papers made from recycled coffee cups, or made with wildflowers seeds on the market.

However, as with your wedding day, I’d urge couples to not think necessarily about trends, but what feels right for them: Some couples love bold colours, others are after a more classic palette; some want intricate venue illustrations, others want a minimal typographic look; some want all of the luxury details like silk ribbon, envelope liners and wax seals, others are content with just a beautiful invitation…the list could go on and on, but I believe that the most timeless designs are the ones that embody the couple’s personal style.

If there are any couples who are unsure about the investment of beautiful stationery on the day of their wedding eg; menu’s how much of a difference would you say it makes to the overall experience?

Think about on-the-day stationery as your ‘finishing touch’. Stationery is a great way to bring your themes to life as well as help link together all the other elements of your day. If you’ve invested in a beautiful invitation suite, introducing some of those elements like monograms and illustrations really gives a seamless look to your whole day.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a whole range of stationery, think about some statement pieces instead, like a perspex order of the day or large fabric banner table plan that will really create the ‘wow factor’ – Lauren and Joe did this and had some incredible pieces for their big day, including a 2m long table plan which was a personal favourite of mine.

Photography by https://www.richardskinsphotography.co.uk/

What is your favourite design to do with a suite of stationery?

It’s so hard to choose as every design is so personal to each of my couples. I love doing bespoke monograms that can be used across multiple stationery items on their wedding day, but also beyond that as they embark on their lives together. 

Designing my own wedding stationery was also a real luxury – I got to create something that was so very personal as well as jam packing it with luxury details such as copper foiling, a double thickness invitation, marble vellum wrap and copper wax seal.

What is absolutely essential for a couple when they are choosing their wedding stationery and what they need?

Start early! Bespoke designs take time to craft and produce, and designers can only take on a limited number of couples – Even if you don’t have all the details yet, those can all be added at a later date… Once you have a venue and a date get in contact with your designer and they can book you into their calendar and will let you know their timelines.

If using a design that has already been created, draft out all your text and have all of your key items agreed. Get several people to proofread your text and only then go ahead – this will save on costly spelling mistakes and multiple rounds of changes.

What should couples be looking out for when choosing stationery?

The two parts that come hand-in-hand are pricing and style, and you are looking for the perfect marriage between these. There is a stationery designer out there for all styles and budgets, it’s just about finding that ‘sweet spot’.

If you love Katie’s work as much as I do and would like to chat about your wedding stationery then you can find her on instagram or her website below:

https://www.paperbowlondon.com

www.instagram.com/paperbowlondon

And as always if you are planning a wedding, need help with styling or on the coordination then get in contact with me!

Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure

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Advice & Learning Inspiration

Planning an intimate wedding

It’s been a turbulent year and many couples who were destined to be married in the first half of 2020 have been unable to have the wedding they planned. With lockdown being loosened and weddings of up to thirty people now able to take place safely more couples are able to get married in intimate ceremonies and celebrations. 

An intimate wedding isn’t just for lockdown though, and I think we might see a rise in smaller celebrations in the years to come. Here are my top planning and styling tips for a gorgeous intimate wedding that doesn’t have to break the budget. 

@HannahDuffyPhotography

Having a wedding under 50 people is a great option if you have a smaller budget, or you want to splurge on things such as a destination venue , food, décor. Less stress and complications also comes with fewer guests and In the right venue it can create a warm intimate feeling. 

@Kelsiescullyphotography

A smaller wedding means that you don’t need such a big venue and you can get creative with your spaces. There are some lovely private family homes that you can hire for a weekend or dining rooms in character filled restaurants. How about a show stopper roof top cocktail bar? 

@megandaisyphotography

The most important thing to remember when you are choosing your wedding venue is that you don’t want it to be so big that guests get lost. You need a space that is small enough to fit everyone in but to also create intimacy. 

For me one of the best things about smaller weddings is that you have more options for personalisation. With less guests, there is more opportunity for guests to be wowed and their experience can be made so very special and you are able to highlight what’s important to you as a couple. 

@megandaisyphotography

You are able to spend more of your budget in areas such as personalised place settings for guests, gourmet food trucks and premier entertainment. 

When you start to introduce more details it can become a little bit more complicated so don’t underestimate the need for a wedding planner or on the day coordinator to ensure that you have the very best suppliers on board and that you don’t need to worry about a single thing on the day. 

@kelsiescullyphotography

A smaller wedding brings so much opportunity for creativity and personalisation. You can have your nearest and dearest close to you on the day and not skimp on any of the important details.

For more information and help on planning your perfect elopement or small wedding in the UK, Surrey, Sussex or Kent then let’s chat!

Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure

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Advice & Learning Inspiration

Everything you need to know as a bride to be from an expert hair and make – up artist!

This week I have the lovely Jennifer Hawkins a bridal hair and make-up based in Sunbury on Thames, Surrey. I first met Jen at a shoot at the Cherry Barns in East Sussex and most recently we worked together on the spring shoot I planned and styled in the rolling surrey hills and beautiful Botley Hill Barn. Jen mostly works in Surrey and the surrounding counties but also travels to pretty much anywhere she’s needed – the furthest she’s travelled for a hair and make-up job is Beijing. 

I caught up with Jen to ask questions all thing bridal hair and makeup.

Jen you’ve been in the business for a few years now, you’ve seen everything so what is fashionable in bridal hair and makeup now, and what do you foresee for the future? 

“Right now, the most popular styles for hair are definitely loose, romantic, boho-type styles like half-up-dos with beachy waves or a low curly bun with plenty of face-framing pieces left out.  However, I am starting to see a lot more red-carpet style inspiration coming through from my brides, with the classic ‘Hollywood wave’ being a firm favourite of those wanting a timeless look for their wedding day. 

I have found that bridal makeup tends to be less affected by the pressure of changing trends (for the most part!), with most of my brides opting for a natural, ‘best version of myself’ type-look.  This style of makeup is a safe bet because it relies on colour theory and enhancing your best features which never really goes out of fashion!”

Let’s start at the beginning, what are your top tips for finding a good hair and make-up artist for your wedding day? 

Recommendations are always a good place to start, check with anyone you know who has married recently and ask what their experience was with their hair and makeup artist.  Most venues also have a list of recommended suppliers, usually those who are closets to their location. 

Searching using Instagram ‘hash tags’ is also a great way to discover suppliers you may not have found otherwise.  Try and keep them relevant to your location and remember to use the things like ‘#HMUA’ and ‘#MUA’ too as many stylists use these abbreviations for ‘hair and makeup artist’ and ‘makeup artist’ (e.g. #surreymua #bridalmakeuphampshire #hmualondon). 

Also check out wedding blogs and magazines, see who they’re featuring and if you like a particular style you see, look the artist up on Instagram!

And so once our lovely brides have shortlisted a hair and make-up artist, how far out to the wedding should brides be booking a hair and makeup artist?

“As soon as you can!  I receive enquiries for bookings up to a year and a half in advance.  If you’re planning for a weekend wedding between April – September, it’s best to start thinking about booking your hair and makeup artist as soon as you have confirmed a date with your venue.  Off-peak and week-day weddings (December – March, Monday-Thursday) are far more flexible as these dates get booked up a little slower but it’s still best to get your booking in early to avoid disappointment. “ 

What is the biggest mistake brides make with regards to hair & make up and most importantly what advice would you give to overcome this? 

“I’d say the most common mistake is not coming prepared to your trial.  You want to make sure you have at least a rough idea of the style you want, and reference pictures to show your stylist so that you can get the most out of your appointment.  If you’re struggling to decide, have a chat with your stylist before your trial, send them some pictures of yourself, let them know what type of dress you’re going for and how you usually style your hair and makeup.  Your stylist will be able to help narrow down your options by suggesting what would work best!

Also, when looking for reference pictures, try and focus on finding images close to your own skin tone and hair type/colour.  Hair and makeup styles can look very different on varying features!”

We hear a lot that skin care is import but how important is skincare prior to the wedding day? 

“It’s really important to have a regular skin care routine in the run up to your wedding, particularly if you have ‘problem skin’, suffer with dryness or have acne-prone skin.  Your makeup artist may be able to recommend specific skin care products if you need suggestions for a particular type of product (like a face mask or moisturiser), but making an appointment with a dermatologist and getting regular facials will make a huge difference if have no idea what your skin needs and/or are need of a complete skin care overhaul.  How well your makeup sits on your face depends entirely on the skin care prep and it can take months to see real results to be patient and stick with it!”

So skin care is important, what are your 3 top tips for skincare? 

“Identify your skin type.  

Scrutinise your skin care regime – make sure your products have all the best, hardest-working ingredients for your skin type and if in doubt consult a dermatologist!  

Drink plenty of water and try to stay away from foods and drinks that upset your skin!”

And lastly what is your favourite part of this job? 

“The wedding morning for sure!  Everyone is so excited and happy, the atmosphere is always so positive and seeing the bridal look come together once hair and makeup is done and the dress is on, witnessing the reactions from those in the room is always an emotional one!  I also love hearing back from my brides after the wedding and seeing their favourite photos from the day!”

A huge thank you to Jen for answering all my questions and sharing all her top tips and advice for brides to be. Jen is fabulous and so easy to work with so if you’d like to get in contact with her you can find her here: 

Website: https://www.jenhawkins.co.uk

Instagram: @jenhawkins_hmua 

Categories
Advice & Learning Inspiration

Ways to make your wedding day more personal to you

Trends come and go, but you will never be out of style. All the small details in your wedding day will be the extra special touch and those that you remember most! 

Have your guests enjoy a day that was tailor made just for you. Perhaps there is a family member missing that you’d like to pay tribute to in some way or a memory that you’d like to feature in some way.

I’ve put together some of my ideas for adding your own personal touches to your wedding day along with some great suppliers! 

Hannah’s veil by Bespoke Veils

Have your veil embroidered. There is no denying that when Hayley Baldwin had her veil embroidered when marrying Justin Bieber we all suddenly thought, what a great idea! Have a look at Bespoke Veils to have your veil embroidered with something personal to you. 

Personalised place setting napkins for Weddings by Emma Louise, embroidered by The Embroidered Napkin Company

Personalised napkins that act as name settings for your guests to take away with them. Luxury linen looks so lovely at your wedding breakfast, and whilst it is an extra expensive to have it embroidered The Embroidered Napkin Company creates beautiful monogrammed pieces that you or your guests can keep as a memento as well as your favourite quotes.

Personalised place setting napkins for Weddings by Emma Louise, embroidered by The Embroidered Napkin Company

Have a bespoke stationary suite created that speaks about you as a couple and also ties the elements of your day together. It can really set the tone for the day, link through to your table plan and your menu’s. 

Personalised and bespoke stationary suite created for Weddings by Emma Louise by LouPaper

Ask a special family member or friend to do a reading during your ceremony. Perhaps a poem to wish you well on your new journey together as a couple. 

Cocktails by Kalm Kitchen created for Planning Redefined and photographed by Hannah Duffy

Have a signature cocktail. Ask your venue or bartender to create a signature cocktail that your guests can sip on at the drinks reception or can order at the bar. Alternatively service up that cocktail which you once drink one too many of on your favourite holiday. 

Whatever you decide and however you decide to incorporate it, just have fun! 

If you’d like a hand planning, styling or setting up your wedding day then please do get in touch! 


Lets chat over a glass of wine or just have a read of my brochure