Advice // Tips for Sticking to your Budget!

Image: Colin Cowie Weddings

If you think that working out a reasonable and all-encompassing wedding budget is difficult, it’s nothing compared to the pain you will go through trying to stick to it! No matter how hard you try to stay within the total number of pounds set aside for your big day, it is inevitable that most of us will sneak over the line in the final months of planning. As a result of this very annoying fact I always advise brides and grooms to set aside an emergency fund which is made up of ten to fifteen per cent of the budget total. Having a contingency plan and a lower budget total will give you the best chance of reining yourself in from purchasing impulsively, and if you don’t end up needing your emergency fund, you’ve got a bigger pot of money to blow during your honeymoon!

Below you will find a few more of my top tips for sticking to that dreaded budget. Some of these ideas may not make a great deal of sense to you right now (especially if you are in the very early stages of planning your wedding), but keep them in your mind (and in your wedding planning folder!) for later down the line…

Images: Jose Villa Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Nicole L Hill Photography {via Bridal Musings} // Love by Serena {via Ruffled}

  • From the moment you set your budget keep your eyes peeled for sales, offers and vouchers. It’s simply amazing how much you can save if you shop intelligently!
  • Feel free to spend some time searching high end stores and websites for inspiration, but remember that Etsy, eBay, charity shops and discount stores will stock plenty of cute or one of kind items which will not break the bank
  • Consider hiring some of your venue decoration if you’ve opted for something very dramatic
  • Using potted plants taken from your garden and/or borrowed from your friends and family as decoration will save you a small fortune in cut flower arrangements, and are more eco-friendly to boot!
  • Shop for a wedding dress during the end of summer sales, so in August and September. Many boutiques will be selling beautiful dresses a lower prices in order to make way for the autumn and winter collections
  • Really shop around before booking any suppliers, don’t just book the first person you come across because they have an eye-catching website or seemed friendly over the phone

Images: Twah Dougherty {via Style Me Pretty} // Cakes & Kisses Wedding Photography {via Frosted Petticoat}

  • Prioritise! If you simply cannot do without professional hair and makeup then make sure that you prioritise it. Spend a bit of time looking at how you could slim down your budget if it looks like it’s getting out of hand. Do you really need those Jimmy Choo heels, or that diamond-encrusted garter? You will be surprised how much money you can save by looking critically at your wish list
  • Consider hiring a DJ rather than a band, as DJs tend to be much cheaper
  • Discuss buying alcohol wholesale with your venue. Some venues do not allow you to bring in alcohol from an outside source, some charge high corkage fees, however some will allow you to do this and will only charge a few pounds corkage fee per bottle. Look at the options and do a bit of maths. Also, consider serving sparkling wine rather than champagne as most people cannot tell the difference anyway!
  • Order two cakes; one small and ornate cake for display and cutting by the bride and groom, and one large plain cake for slicing up and eating. This way you can keep the cost of your cake down while still ensuring that everyone gets to try a piece

Images: Heather Hawkins Photography {via Green Wedding Shoes} // The Proper Pin Wheel // Half Orange Photography {via Ruffled} // Love By Serena {via Ruffled}

  • Keep your wedding day catering simple and go for chicken or pork dishes rather than beef or lamb as they tend to be a bit cheaper
  • Request that your venue serves your wedding cake for dessert and save money on an entire course!
  • Hold your wedding late in the day so that you only need to feed your guests once
  • Hand-making some of your decorations and stationery is such a wonderful way of making your wedding truly unique and personal to you. It’s relatively easy (and cheap!) to make your stationery such as place cards, a seating chart and menus by hand, and table decorations incorporating reused glass jars and tin cans looks charming!
  • If you’re flexible on time of year, book a winter wedding instead of a summer one as many venues drop their prices substantially for the winter months. Steer clear of December though as prices can rise during the festive period. If you look at dates in January, February, March, October and November you could be onto a winner!
  • Ask your maid of honour, bridesmaids and your mum or guardian to do their own hair and makeup
  • Keep a handle on your guest list! It can be so tempting to add a few extra names to your list as the big day approaches, however this is a sure fire way of breaking your budget. Once you’re list is written up, try to stick to it

--Lottie ♥

Love Heart Feature // The New Charlotte Mills Bridal Collection Additions

Charlotte Mills Bridal, one of the most exciting luxury bridal shoe brands to be launched in 2014, now has 14 stockists all over the UK, and her original collection with some gorgeous new additions is now available to buy from her very own online boutique.

Since launching in April 2014, the Charlotte Mills Bridal brand has gone from strength to strength, with Charlotte's debut collection receiving a fantastic response from bridal magazines, bloggers and retailers alike.

As the collection continues to grow, Charlotte is staying true to the brand ensuring that all of her new styles feature the signature love heart design, with each style incorporating this in an individual and unique way. Charlotte has also added some colour to the collection, for brides who want something a bit different to the traditional wedding shoe.

All Charlotte Mills styles are hand finished with a silver sixpence in the left shoe, and the leather sole is embossed with the phrase “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”  Charlotte has incorporated each of these traditions in to every pair of her shoes. The sixpence is also the something old, the something new is the shoe, and the something blue is detailed on the insock and on the beautiful packaging. Not forgetting the something borrowed of course, which is a little surprise inside the shoebox. Brides love these old traditions and this detailing is totally unique to Charlotte Mills Bridal shoes.

Charlotte Mills Bridal now offers a bespoke service which means brides can order any of the styles available in different colours and materials to suit their wedding theme. To enquire about Charlotte's bespoke service please email

Charlotte's exciting new collection of styles will be launching in October/November 2014!


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Love Heart Feature // Brides The Show Autumn 2014 Ticket Giveaway

The UK’s most stylish and luxe weddings start at Condé Nast Brides The Show

3rd – 5th October 2014 | Business Design Centre, Islington | London


Brides The Show, the UK’s most sophisticated, luxury bridal show returns between 3rd and the 5th October 2014, held for the first time at The Business Design Centre, Islington.

Housed at a new venue, just a few steps away from Islington’s bustling Upper Street, Brides The Show has everything - and more - discerning brides-to-be and their bridal parties could hope for to make their Big Day truly unforgettable.

The event, in association with Condé Nast Brides, Britain’s leading quality bridal magazine, treats visitors to an experience like no other: featuring over 130 of the most prestigious bridal and lifestyle brands, from designers and florists to photographers and venues, the industry’s biggest names will be on hand to help, advise and inspire. These include Le Manoir aux Quat’Saison, Wedding Shop by Selfridges, Blenheim Palace, John Lewis, Mary Jane Vaughan Flowers, Zita Elze Flowers, Elizabeth's Cake Emporium and Twobirds Bridesmaids.

Visitors will also be treated to a series of stunning live catwalk shows, curated by Brides’  fashion director, Bryony Toogood, and showcasing the latest collections from some of the best UK and international designers, including Ian Stuart, Stephanie Allin, Naomi Neoh and Kate Halfpenny.

And this year, brides-to-be can get even closer to the action by booking their Gold Catwalk ticket (priced £35). This VIP experience will enable ticket-holders fast-track entry, to pre-book their seats in the first front two rows, a complimentary glass of champagne and luxury gift bags. Standard tickets, priced £20, are also available.

For added inspiration, visitors can also get hands-on, with the return of the hugely popular Imagination Room. With live DIY workshops on everything from bespoke invitations to personalised favours – hosted by the best in the business – The Imagination Room is designed to help brides-to-be realise their wedding look down to the smallest details.

Brides and their parties can also enjoy beauty tips, makeovers and hair consultations at the Bridal Pampering Sessions while On The Sofa – the show’s popular programme of interviews, presentations and Q&As – is the perfect way to stay ahead of the trends, and gain advice and tips from leading industry experts.

Claudia Waterson, Brides’ acting editor, says: ‘Creating the wedding of your dreams is closer than you think! The countdown is on to Brides magazine's third – more luxe, more exciting, more fabulous than ever! – Brides The Show, this October. Over three days, we will be showcasing the very best in bridal, all under one roof – from cake couturiers and florists, to dress designers and luxury travel gurus – and so much more! With hundreds of luxury exhibitors, you can tick every “to do” off your big-day list! Check out our DIY masterclasses ­– including bouquet-making and cake decoration; get a one-on-one with your favourite bridal designer; and why not treat yourself and your bridesmaids to Gold Catwalk tickets, for the ultimate VIP treatment? Over 6,000 brides-to-be came to our spring edition and created the day of their dreams, and now you can too.’

Together with Brides The Show, I have a pair of tickets to give away to one very lucky reader! To enter simply contact me with your name, your email address, and whether you would like to attend on Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th or Sunday 5th October. I will choose a winner at random on Friday 12th September 2014. Please double check that you are able to attend the event before entering.

For a full list of all the show attractions and further general show information, please visit the website at:


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Love Heart Feature // The National Wedding Show Press Event

Image: The Lansdowne Club, photographed by Juliet Lemon

Last week I was invited to attend the very exclusive National Wedding Show press event in Mayfair, and was treated to a wonderful evening meeting some of the talented and passionate suppliers who will be in attendance at this autumn’s shows. Below you will find details of the suppliers and their creations or services.

Brides, you should be getting very excited about this one!

Oh, and congratulations to Lauren who won my National Wedding Show ticket giveaway on Monday. I hope you have a wonderful time at the NEC with your plus one!

Image: Donna Crain, photographed by Juliet Lemon

The National Wedding Show hosted its seasonal press preview at The Lansdowne Club last week. Providing a glimpse of what's to come at The National Wedding Show for autumn 2014, exhibitors showcased their best sellers and latest collections of dresses, accessories, groomswear, stationery, cakes and more.

Image: Freixenet, photographed by Juliet Lemon

As press gathered to discover what's hot this season, they enjoyed mouth-watering canapés courtesy of The Lansdowne Club, accompanied by a refreshing glass of Freixenet.

Images: Finiks LondonEmma Louise Bridal & Gullarn, photographed by Juliet Lemon

Revealing the latest trends in bridalwear, Finiks London, Emma Louise Bridal and Iselin Designs presented their latest collections of exquisite bridal gowns, while Gullarn showcased their sensational occasionwear.

Images: Donna Crain, By Harriet, HF CoutureAdrienne Shoes, photographed by Juliet Lemon

For the perfect finishing touches to any wedding day outfit, press perused glamourous accessories by Donna Crain, By Harriet and HF Couture together with fancy footwear from Adrienne Shoes.

Images: Aurus & Jon Kruger, photographed by Juliet Lemon

Aurus presented their sparkling collection of wedding rings, while London Tailor Jon Kruger was on hand to reveal the latest trends in groomswear as he displayed some of his key pieces for the season.

Images: Amie Bone, Ivy Ellen, PinkyMiki, With Love Wedding Stationay & Florenza, photographed by Juliet Lemon

For reception inspiration, florists and stationers worked together to demonstrate some of the seasons most popular wedding themes.

Amie Bone created a breath-taking Masquerade inspired table, with a centrepiece featuring a striking blue peacock nestled in a spectacular array of beautiful blooms. With eye-catching attention to detail, the look was complete with colourful tablewear, a shimmering gold table cloth and coordinating stationery from Ivy Ellen.

Encapsulating the Formal Elegance theme, florists PinkyMiki created a stunning centrepiece of wonderful white flowers accompanied by chic black and white stationery from With Love Wedding Stationery, the perfect look for those planning a traditional white wedding.

Capturing the essence of Rustic Romance, Florenza Floral created a beautiful arrangement of red and blush coloured roses, complemented by hand painted stationery from Tuppence Collective, which combines vintage florals with modern invitation design.

Images: Le Papillon Patisserie & The Whitty Cake Company, photographed by Juliet Lemon

Providing sweet treats for the press to enjoy, Le Papillon Patisserie displayed their collection of luxury wedding cakes, including the iconic Macaroon Tower and Croquembouche and The Whitty Cake Company displayed a colourful array of traditional tiered cakes.

Image: BspOak & Confetti, photographed by Juliet Lemon

Bspoak (formerly The Wedding Tree) showcased some of their most popular products including the personalised Oak Champagne & Wine Bottle Gift Box as well as launching their new Zebrano Drop Top Guest Book while Confetti provided inspiration for gifts, favours and more.

Image: Juliet Lemon

Photographer Juliet Lemon captured the evening on camera, while press could capture and take away their own memories of the night with fun photos from Jessops' photo-booth.

With the success and excitement of this season's event, The National Wedding Show autumn 2014 is set to be the best yet. The National Wedding Show will take place at London Earls Court from 26-28 September, Birmingham NEC from 3-5 October and Manchester Central from 11-12 October.


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Love Heart Feature // Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium

Today on the Lace & Love Hearts blog I will be featuring one of my favourite bespoke cake makers and decorators of all time, Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. Founded by Elizabeth Solaru back in 2006, Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium creates the most stunning wedding cakes, celebration cakes and cupcakes for luxury events nationwide and beyond! Adorned with expertly crafted sugar flowers, pearls, gems, delicate lace and edible jewellery, Elizabeth’s award winning cakes are second to none and have appeared at numerous high profile weddings and events.

As well creating exquisite and delicious cakes for brides and grooms across the nation and abroad, Elizabeth travels extensively and appears at events as a sugar craft and cake making expert. After appreciating her cakes from afar, Elizabeth and I became friends following our introduction at an exclusive bridal event in Central London, and it is my honour to feature her here on the Lace & Love Hearts blog.

As with all of the features I write for wedding-related suppliers I can personally promote Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium wholeheartedly, and I am lucky enough to have tasted her beautiful creations myself on more than one occasion. I’m really not sure what she puts in her cupcakes but my goodness they are good, and oh so moreish! Elizabeth’s cakes are beautiful of course, however she also places a great deal of importance on how they taste and offers her clients a multitude of flavour choices including triple chocolate delight, vanilla ripple, luscious lemon, red velvet cake, peaches & cream and pink champagne & strawberries to name but a few! A full list of her flavour options can be found here on her website, and if you have any food allergies to contend with, Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium produces cakes which are gluten free, vegan, eggless and suitable for diabetics.

The bespoke couture nature of Elizabeth’s cakes mean that every single one is unique to the bride and groom, however all of the cakes that Elizabeth creates are innovative, stylish and guaranteed to impress your guests. To see a full gallery of Elizabeth’s creations visit her website and her Pinterest account, and prepare to be blown away!

In order to ensure that brides and grooms get exactly what they want for their own wedding cake, Elizabeth will meet with them for a consultation to find out as much as she can about their wedding plans, and she will bring six different cakes for those lucky couples to sample! Due to the popularity of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium creations I suggests that you book your consultation a minimum of six months prior to your big day, however Elizabeth will do all she can to accommodate last minute cakes.

Take a look below for Elizabeth’s contact details and get in touch if you love her cakes as much as I do.

--Lottie ♥


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Inspiration // Wedding Invitations


Deciding on the style, design and tone of your wedding invitations can feel like quite a daunting task, especially when you’re big day is looming on the horizon and you have a million and one other things on your to do list. Many brides and groom worry about selecting their invitations because they want to get them completely right, but there’s really no need to get flustered. By the time you are ready to buy and post your invitations you will probably be at the stage where most of your wedding is planned out, your concept is decided upon and your venue and suppliers have been booked. With this in mind you should be well equipped to choose invitations which match and compliment the look and atmosphere of your wedding perfectly. Without giving too much away of course!

If you have a good idea of what you want in terms of colour, type of paper and what you would like to say, but you’re still agonising over the details of exactly what your invitations will look like, consider your budget, the size of your guest list, and the type of people on that list. If you’re having a formal wedding then the invitations must reflect this, if your guest list is large then it’s very important that you use recycled paper and if you’re worried about your budget then it’s prudent to keep things simple and elegant.

Images: // Rifle Paper Co. {via 100 Layer Cake} // Seaside Papery, photographed by John Schnack {via Green Wedding Shoes}

Invitations which have a floral, woodland or garden theme are perhaps my very favourite. Why? Because they just look so beautiful and so romantic not matter how simple or complicated they are. This type of invitation would be ideal for a spring or summer wedding which has an outside element, or an inside wedding where flowers, trees and natural materials will play a big part. 

Images: Heather Hawkins Photography {via Green Wedding Shoes} // Pond Photography {via Trendy Bride} // Paula Bartosiewicz Photography {via Burnetts Boards} // Sweet Paper, photographed by Bethann Greenberg {via Green Wedding Shoes

Bohemian wedding invitations are sure to impress your guests and sweep them off into a hippy dreamland, and all of this before they’ve even attended your wedding! Usually involving the use of feathers, flowers, dream catchers, and pops of colour; boho invitations are little works of art in their own right. If your wedding has a few boho touches then carrying your concept into beautiful bohemian style invitations is quite simply a must!

Images: EPLove {via 100 Layer Cake} // Jessica Burke {via Style Me Pretty} // Pitbulls & Posies {via Martha Stewart Weddings

Bold and bright invitations are great for weddings which will not be following the well-trodden path. If you’re special day is expected to be one big party with balloons, confetti, glitter and fireworks, then your invitations should reflect this. Take inspiration for your invitation from your venue decorations. If you are using gold sequin tablecloths and bold neon shapes, then be sure that both are represented in your invitations in order to maintain some continuity, and to tease your guests about what’s to come.

Images: Jen Fariello Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Charlie Juliet {via Style Me Pretty} // Southern Fried Paper, photographed by Ben Q Photography {via Green Wedding Shoes}

Pretty pastel wedding invitations are a very popular style as they are usually perfectly in-keeping with the colour scheme of most weddings. Plus pastel shades are just adorable! If you don’t want to give too much away regarding your big day, or if you have a tight budget for your wedding stationary, then pastel invitations are a good way to go as they are readily available and almost always look effortlessly chic.

Images: Behance // Gemma Milly, photographed by Kerry Ann Duffy {via Bridal Musings} // Paige Newton Photography {via Bird Dog Wedding} // Pinterest

Rustic wedding invitations are ideal for barn, castle or hunting lodge weddings. As they tend to be a little simpler and more masculine than the average invitation, they are also tend to be very budget friendly and great for brides and grooms who don’t want anything too frilly and fussy. The most attractive rustic invitations tend to be made from slightly thicker or textured card, feature game animals and may have rough edges and a plain typeface.

Images: Summer Raine Designs, photographed by Mikkel Paige Photography {via Wedding Chicks} // Urban Rose Photography {via Ruffled} // Taylor Lord {via Style Me Pretty}

Watercolour invitations have been enjoying a great deal of popularity recently, and will continue to be a big trend for some time. The watery softness of the colours makes this type of invitation perfect for spring and summer weddings, especially those taking place on the beach or near a river. I adore watercolour invitations, especially those that come in mystical gemstone shades, and they can be an extremely elegant type of invitation when mixed with calligraphy text.

--Lottie ♥

Love Heart Feature // Bubblegum Balloons

Today on the Lace & Love Hearts blog I am featuring Bubblegum Balloons, a company I first became aware of during a hectic visit to the National Wedding Show, where I stumbled upon their magnificent and attention-grabbing exhibit. My eyes were drawn towards the brightly coloured giant balloons they had on show. These products really have the wow factor and will add a touch of playful drama to any wedding or party!

Founded by three ladies, Sally, Laura and Meg over a glass of wine, which I have to say is how all of the very best of projects are brainstormed, Bubblegum Balloons provide that little spark of drama your wedding concept has been crying out for. With five little ones under the age of four between them, it was hardly a surprise that Sally, Laura and Meg chose to pool their talents into the creation of charming and playful balloons for any occasion.

All of the Bubblegum Balloons products are handmade using the highest quality materials and with real attention to detail. It’s quite simple; balloons make people happy, no matter how old they are! With so much choice on the Bubblegum Balloons website you can tailor your balloons to seamlessly match your wedding colours and concept. Each balloon will be handmade especially for your wedding, so they will be completely unique. There is an amazing collection of products to choose from, everything from super cute balloon table centres filled with confetti, to striking balloon bouquets and giant feather-filled balloons with long tassel tails!

Bubblebum Balloons also offer balloon letters and numbers, tassel garlands which can be used to decorate your venue, as well as the ability to post a balloon in a box to someone you love! I adore this idea and I think it would be a very cute way of thanking your young flower girls and page boys for their assistance after your wedding has taken place. You will also find ‘Will You Be My Bridesmaid?’ and ‘Will You Be My Maid Of Honour’ balloons which are the perfect way to pop the ‘big question’ to your best girls!

If you would like to see the Bubblegum Balloons products in action, take a look at the ‘inspiration gallery’ and  ‘weddings’ pages on their website, which are full of photos of the various ways in which these amazing products can be used to add a bit of fun, frivolity and drama to your wedding venue.

--Lottie ♥


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