Advice // Dress Fittings – How To Be Prepared!

Most brides fall into one of two camps when it comes to dress fittings – either they are so excited to try on their dream dress they can barely contain themselves, or they are dreading the whole experience and are worried sick that their dress will never fit perfectly. Obviously the first scenario is preferable, so I am here with some advice on how to be prepared for your fittings, and how to ensure that you make the most progress as possible at each stage.

Regardless of whether you decided to opt for a read to wear, made to measure or bespoke wedding gown, it is likely that you will need at least two fittings to make absolutely sure that ‘the one’ fits you perfectly. Unless of course you have a perfect figure…well done to you if you do!

Below you will find my advice on how to prepare for your first exploratory visit to your chosen boutiques, as well as your first and your final fittings. If it takes more than two fittings (I myself had three), then keep in mind the tips I share for the first fitting…

Hitting the bridal boutiques:

Preparing yourself for your first visit to your favourite bridal boutiques marks a very exciting point within the wedding planning process. If you are a super organised bride then you may well have your lingerie and shoes chosen before you even start the big search for your dress, but if you don’t there’s no need to worry. Informally trying on dresses at boutiques does not require the correct type of lingerie or heel height, but you may like to pop a strapless bra, some seamless knickers and a pair of heels into your bag before you leave. Just so you can get a rough idea of your final height and shape.

Your first fitting:

When the time comes for your first fitting it is very important that you have your bridal lingerie or shapewear and bridal shoes with you as the boutique staff or your tailor will need you to be as close as possible to the shape, size and height that you will be on your big day. The type of bra and shapewear that you wear will have a big impact on how the dress looks, particularly if you have chosen to wear a boned corset. It really is important that you find something that you feel comfortable in and stick to it because changing shapewear halfway through the process will totally mess up the measurements.

It is true that many brides who are having bespoke dresses made do not want to purchase their shoes until the dress is finished in order for them to complement each other perfectly. If you feel this way then take a pair of shoes with the preferred heel height to your fittings and be sure to select bridal shoes with exactly the same heel height when the time comes to purchase them.

Your final fitting:

For your final fitting it is always a lovely idea to bring your veil or headpiece with you so that you can get a good idea of the overall look. You may also like to have your makeup professionally done for the final fitting, but be very careful not to get any makeup on your dress by only having a light application. Equally, if you intend to have a spray tan for the day, I would suggest against attending a fitting while your tan is brand new so that you don’t accidently transfer it onto your pristine dress!

Try your best to schedule your final fitting for your dress, regardless of whether it is ready to wear, made to measure or bespoke, exactly two weeks before the big day. If you have the final fitting before this time you may end up with a wedding dress which simply doesn’t fit, and if you leave it until closer to the day there may not be time to fix any last minute issues. Every bride will handle the stress of the final weeks prior to the wedding in a different way. Some will comfort eat and put on a few pounds, whereas others will lose weight through stress and simply forgetting to eat. Having your final fitting two weeks before the wedding will optimise your chances of fitting perfectly into your dream dress on the big day!

--Lottie ♥

 

// Get in touch with Lottie //

                  

Advice // Decorating Your Venue Without Assistance

Image: Danielle Poff {via Ruffled}

If you have opted for a backyard wedding reception, or if your big day will be taking place in a venue which does not offer a team to lay out and take down your rooms, then you may need to take on the responsibility of decorating your venue yourself. Quite often, more relaxed venues such as barns, isolated eco lodges and inner city warehouse will not have an in-house team on hand to assist you, so the task of coordinating your day will fall to you.

Image: Giuli Giordi {via Ruffled}

Now, this may seem like a daunting task, but if you remain organised and relaxed and put together a team of trusted assistants, it is perfectly within your grasp to pull this off! The best way of handling this situation is to set up your rooms with your near and dear the day before your wedding so that you can concentrate completely on yourself and your bridal party during the hours leading up to your marriage. Decorating your venue on the morning of your wedding should be avoided at all costs as it will undoubtedly lead to stress and the feeling of being pushed for time.

Images: Haywood Jones Photography {via Love My Dress} // Jessica Watson Photography {via Intimate Weddings}

If you simply cannot get around decorating your venue on the same day as your wedding, my advice is to ask your team of friends and family members to set everything up in the morning on your behalf. However, it is best to keep your maid of honour and mother with you while you prepare for your big day, so assemble your team from people who are not playing a key role in the day itself. It is also a good idea to appoint one person within the team as the leader so that decisions can be made without the need to bother you while you are getting ready.

Image: Britt Chudleigh {via Once Wed}

Once you have your team assembled get together with them a few days before your wedding and run through your plans in detail. Draw diagrams and create a decoration spreadsheet listing every item of decoration and where it should be place. Be sure to explain everything carefully so that everyone is fully informed on what needs to go where. If your team have questions on the morning of the wedding itself, ask them to be directed towards the team leader or your maid of honour. Trust in your team and remember to have your new husband thank them during his speech.

Image: Carmen Santorelli {via Style Me Pretty}

If it is required, you should also appoint the same or a different team to deal with the take down the day after the wedding. It would not do for you and your new husband to be packing up when you should be enjoying your first day as a married couple! My advice is to charge your team with packing everything away and transporting it to your desired location, however it is best to book a professional cleaning company to take care of any leftovers once the important items have been removed.

The very best of luck!

--Lottie ♥

Advice // The Bridal Bouquet

Images: Amanda Suanne {via Style Me Pretty}

The bridal bouquet is often the basis for the design of every floral arrangement and adornment included within a wedding day setup, and it should be the largest and most elaborate bouquet in the bridal party. Brides have been carrying bouquets down the aisle for generations and a fantastically dynamic and innovative industry has grown up around wedding flowers. The best way to think about the bouquet is as the bride’s most important accessory! The bouquet needs to match her dress perfectly, to compliment her body size and shape, to invoke her personality and to continue the wedding concept. Once you have approved your florist’s design for your bouquet, the rest of your wedding flowers will flow from, and be inspired by it.

There are many shapes of bridal bouquet to choose from including posy, nosegay, cascading and arm sheaf, and your florist will use images or sketches of your dress, your body shape and your own preferences in the design of your bouquet. As a general rule a dramatic wedding dress such as a ball gown or empire line dress will stand up well to a large bouquet, whereas a more close-fitting dress such as a mermaid or sheaf dress, or a bride with a petite frame, will probably warrant a smaller bouquet to avoid the dress being overpowered. As a general rule your bouquet should be narrower than your waist if you do not want it to hide your beautiful curves.

Images: Anushe Low {via Style Me Pretty} // Michelle Boyd Photography {via Love My Dress}

Many brides worry about how to correctly hold their bouquet as most will not have had any experience with this in the past. It is very important to resist the temptation to clutch your bouquet tightly with both hands at your waist as this will lift your shoulders and cause your collarbone to protrude. Instead, try to hold your bouquet in a relaxed but secure grip in one hand and to position the bouquet across your hips. You may also find that the hand holding your bouquet will start to rise, apparently with a mind of its own, until your bouquet is held much higher than your hip. Try to concentrate on relaxing your arm if this begins to happen, and try not to worry about dropping your bouquet.

As the bridal bouquet is such an exquisite and utterly unique creation, it is so important to show it off as much as possible. If you’re having a civil ceremony you should consider placing your bouquet on the registrar’s table during the ceremony so that your guests can admire it before and after the ceremony. Another lovely idea is to place your bouquet at the front of your top table as another piece of floral decoration, and you could even place your maid of honour’s and bridesmaids’ posies next to it for a dramatic look.

Images: Ellie Gillard {via Ruffled} // Naomi Kenton

You probably won’t have given the idea of drying your bouquet much thought up until now, but if you do intend to preserve your bouquet in this way then you may like to request that your florist creates a ‘dummy’ or ‘tossing’ bouquet. A tossing bouquet can be used in place of the bridal bouquet, and will generally be a much simpler version of the bridal bouquet. By paying a bit extra for a tossing bouquet you can ensure that your bridal bouquet will survive your wedding day intact and ready for drying.

--Lottie ♥

Advice // Could A Winter Wedding Be Right For You?

Image: Arina B Photography {via Ruffled}

Winter wedding season is finally upon us and I have to say that, for me, there’s nothing quite like a festive wedding to add a spark of magic to winter’s dark and cold days. In fact, I love winter weddings so much I had one myself!

There are many benefits to hosting a wedding in the winter which I’d like to draw your attention to, aside from the intrinsically enchanting atmosphere of celebrations held at this time of year. Take a look at the points below to see if a winter wedding could be right for you…

Winter weddings are often a little more budget-friendly:

Many venues have cottoned on recently to the upsurge in brides and grooms choosing to host a winter wedding, however some still charge far less during the colder months. As long as you stay away from the Christmas period, it is likely that your venue will offer you a reduced price that can be anywhere from ten to fifty percent lower than the summer prices. You may also find that wedding suppliers and planners lower their prices in the winter to ensure a constant flow of clients year round.

Wedding venues often display decorations for the festive season, so the amount of money you need to set aside for decorations and flowers could be lower if you choose to incorporate or rely entirely on existing items. Just be sure to double check when the venue decorations go up and when they come down.

Images: Betsi Ewing {via Style Me Pretty} // Pinterest // Gideon Photography {via The Frosted Petticoat}

Something a little different:

As the vast majority of weddings take place in spring and summer in the UK, it is likely that your wedding will be the only one within your immediate circle scheduled during the winter months. If you want to distinguish yourself from the other weddings planned in a given year, then choosing to host your special day during the wedding ‘down-time’ could do the trick. It’s also lovely to give your loved ones something bright and sparkly to look forward to as the nights draw in.

Greater availability of wedding suppliers:

Sometimes the best wedding suppliers and venues are so busy during the popular spring and summer months that you need to book them two years or more in advance! For brides and grooms who do not want a long engagement, it would be that you simply cannot get anywhere near them if you choose to get married during their busiest periods. However, you may be able to book a popular supplier or venue during the winter months when they are a little more quiet.

Gorgeous winter wedding attire:

I am a huge fan of wedding dresses, particularly ones designed for winter brides! But as well as gorgeous dresses, winter brides also have the option of adding a faux fur stole or cape, or a cozy cardigan to their outfit to keep them warm during the journey to the venue. There’s just something so romantic about fur placed against lace!

Images: Whitewall Photography {via Atypical Type A} // Valerie Busque {via Style Me Pretty} // Pinterest

More of your guest list will be able to attend:

Most people schedule their main family holiday during the summer, so you may find that lots of the people on your guest list are already busy with a prior engagement if you host a summer wedding. Scheduling your wedding for the winter months may mean that more of your guests are able to attend your big day.

The cons of a winter wedding:

While there are plenty of great reasons to host a winter wedding, there are a few negative points to consider. The first and most obvious being the chance of bad weather! Snow just before the wedding takes place could mean that some of your suppliers and guests cannot make it to the venue. There really is no fix to this issue, however I would suggest that you buy wedding insurance if you decide to go for a winter wedding, just in case.

Another con is to do with flowers. You will probably find that your choice is a little restricted in the winter, and the flowers that are available could be expensive when compared to their summer price. This will be due to the need to import flowers from warmer climates. If you are on a tight budget or if you are hosting an eco-friendly wedding, then you may like to consider paper or silk flowers.

--Lottie ♥

Advice // Keeping Little Wedding Guests Entertained

Image: Style Me Pretty {unknown photographer}

As you can imagine, it is incredibly important to keep little wedding guests as busy and entertained as possible throughout your big day. Most brides and grooms are not keen on the idea of having every single guest’s attention shifted away from them and onto a bored and disruptive child. If you agree then you should spend a bit of time and money on making provisions for them. Entertaining children can take many forms, including professional event nannies, a full on wedding day crèche, children’s entertainers, a craft station, and activity packs full of things to keep little fingers and minds busy.

A short note of caution before we continue. Including children on your guest list isn’t for everyone, so I would advise you to sit down with your fiancé and talk the idea through in detail if you’re leaning towards permitting children to attend. You may find that they do not agree. Adding children to your guest list will make your wedding more expensive due to increased catering costs and the cost of keeping them entertained. On the flip side, excluding children is also a fantastic way of causing offence if it is not handled carefully and sensitively. However, while including children will add a few tasks to your to do list, there is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a wedding where children are welcome. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but children add a certain sense of magic, wonder and youth to a wedding which is noticeably lacking without them.

Image: Bodie & Fou

Event nannies and wedding crèches:

If you’re on the lookout for a service which will provide your younger wedding guests with games, crafts and entertainment for the duration of your wedding, then event nannies or a mobile crèche should be your first choice. Generally speaking, a wedding crèche will take place in a separate room and will act as a place to drop kids off before the wedding ceremony, and to collect them at the end of the night. The best wedding crèches will include a slumber zone (where children can have a nap), and a private and comfortable breast feeding area for nursing mums.

It is true that event nannies and wedding crèches are the most expensive way of looking after your little wedding guests; however you will be able to enjoy your day to the full while the kiddies have fun in another room. Also, mums and dads are guaranteed to appreciate some time to enjoy the wedding properly while their little angels are cared for by a professional company. It’s a win win situation!

Image: Paul Underhill

Children’s entertainers:

If you’re not sure that your budget can stretch to event nannies or a wedding day crèche, but you still want the children to be entertained, you could consider employing a children’s entertainer. Children’s entertainers will occupy your children for between one and two hours so that their parents are free to attend your marriage ceremony without worrying about their children getting bored. Popular options for entertainers include clowns, princesses, magicians, fairies and pirates, and they should be stationed in a separate room from your wedding reception so that the children can concentrate on and hear the entertainer properly.

Oh, and while I adore face painting, my advice is to steer clear of this form of entertainment on this occasion as parents may have spent a lot of money dressing their little ones for your big day.

Image: Trent Bailey Photography {via The Knot}

Craft stations:

Craft stations are an excellent way of keeping children busy and stimulated, while allowing them to be part of your wedding day activities. Crèches and entertainers usually look after children in a separate room; however with a craft station it’s easy to set one up in the main reception room as it won’t take up too much space. Craft stations will provide a focal point for children to be creative, to exercise their artistic flare and to engage with the other children present at the wedding. Popular items to place on a craft station include pencils, crayons, paper, card, tissue paper, colouring books, stickers, safety scissors, glue sticks, glitter, bubbles, glow sticks, novelty toys, balloons, pipe cleaners and pompoms. Steer clear of paints and felt tip pens as they can make a real mess of fingers and clothes! Remember to encourage the children to take their artworks home with them at the end of the night.

Image: Helen Lisk Photography {via Whimsical Wonderland Weddings}

Activity packs:

Perhaps the most simple and cost effective way of keeping your youngest guests happy is to create and hand out personalised activity packs. All of the items listed above in the craft stations section can be placed in activity packs, and activity packs can be taken home at the end of the night if the child hasn’t finished playing with the contents. Simple!

--Lottie ♥

Advice // Designing your Wedding Invitations

Image: Pat Furey Photography {via Green Wedding Shoes}

Invitations serve not only as a way to spread the news about your wedding and to request the presence of your dear and dear,  they also serve as an introduction to your wedding’s style and tone. It is great to give your guests a sneak peak of your big day by reflecting your plans for your wedding day in these important pieces of stationery. Think about the colours you will be using in your decorations, the types of blooms in your floral arrangements, and the materials in your wedding dress. Draw inspiration from this! If you like a bit of sparkle, then research embellishments that will fit with your theme. If you are a fan of calligraphy, then buy a kit and get practicing, or locate a reputable artist.

When I use the term ‘invitations’ in the following post I am referring not only to the piece of card or paper which invites your guests to your wedding, I am also referring to the RSVP card, and additional information card (such as accommodation options and a map), and the envelopes. So to reiterate, a standard wedding invitation may include the following…

  • Invitation card carrying all essential information
  • RSVP card including space for any dietary requirements/allergies
  • RSVP envelope (always addresses, sometimes carrying a stamp)
  • Additional information card (directions, accommodation info, a map and taxi numbers)
  • Envelope carrying the names of the guests who are invited and a stamp

Images: Salutations // Calligraphy Store {via English Wedding} // Design Mill & Co // Intimate Weddings

Invitation card:

The invitation card is the most important document from the above list as it includes all of the relevant information concerning the names of the bride and groom, date, time and location of the wedding, as well as which part of the day the guest is invited to. The invitation should be the first thing you design, and every other piece of stationery at your wedding should be designed using elements from it, in order to tie the day together seamlessly.

If you would like to state the dress code, do so on the invitation itself by saying ‘formal’, ‘black tie’, ‘cocktail attire’ or ‘casual’.

RSVP card and envelope:

The RSVP needs to be large enough to include space for your guests to tell you if they are or are not able to attend (‘accept with pleasure’ or ‘decline with regret’), as well as space to jot down any dietary requirements and allergies. It’s a good idea to include an envelope carrying the address of the person who will be processing the RSVPs, but it’s up to you whether you’re willing to take on the extra cost of including a stamp. Personally I feel that it’s expensive enough to send invitations, and if someone can’t be bothered to buy a stamp to RSVP, they probably shouldn’t be taking up a space at your wedding!

Additional information card:

You may like to provide your guests with additional information in the form of detailed directions, an annotated map, the particulars of nearby hotels, and local taxi company numbers. This is particularly important if your chosen venue is a little way away from where most of your guests live.

Your additional information card could also carry details of the childcare company you have employed to care for your little wedding guests.

Envelope:

Your wedding invitation envelope needs to be large enough to accommodate the rest of your invitation without splitting or scuffing the edges of the paper. Depending on which form you chose your envelopes will either include the full names of the guest(s) to whom the invitation is addressed, or it will simply carry their title(s). Be sure to check and double check the spelling of everyone’s names and addresses before posting.

Image: Ashley Sawtelle {via Wedding Chicks} // Pinterest // Smitten On Paper

A word on postage:

While it’s lovely to create and send invitations with embellishments, folded elements and wax seals you need to be aware of the current post office thickness and weight restrictions for posting envelopes. At the time of writing a small letter must be less than 5mm in thickness, weigh less than 100g and have dimensions no larger than 240 x 165mm. If you’re thinking of having extravagant invitations you need to be prepared to be bumped into the large letter or even small package category which will add a significant amount to your stationery budget. Consider swapping proud decorations and seals for flat decorations and foiling, and keep the thickness of the card to a minimum.

--Lottie ♥

Advice // Catering your Wedding

Image: Kate Nielen

As your wedding will probably be taking place over the course of a whole day, you need to ensure that your guests are treated to some yummy and refreshing fare at regular intervals. Food is about celebration after all! We cook complicated and time-consuming dishes when we have something to be thankful for or when we wish to mark a special occasion. Think about Christmas, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, new babies and graduations. These occasions usually revolve around the family sitting down together to enjoy a meal and a glass of champagne. Your wedding should adhere to this tradition of ‘breaking bread’ together, and your menu needs to reflect the importance of this extraordinary occasion.

Images: Weddbook // Intimate Weddings} // Flickr

In-house vs outside catering companies:

Perhaps the first issue which needs to be cleared up regarding catering your wedding is whether you are obliged to use your venue’s in-house catering team, or whether you are permitted to bring in an outside supplier to cater your wedding. This issue should have been mentioned while you were still in the venue viewing stage, but if you’re a little unsure, this is the time to look in detail at your catering plans with your venue. Larger and more exclusive venues tend to insist that brides and grooms use their in-house catering team, however smaller and more relaxed venues such as converted barns and farms tend to allow brides and grooms to book their own caterers if they wish. You also need to be clear on whether you can buy in your own alcohol, and whether the venue will then slap a huge corkage fee on top. A quick chat with the venue’s wedding planning or events team will provide answers to your questions, so pick up the phone and give them a quick call.

As I mentioned above some wedding venues will have a policy which states that brides and grooms must use the in-house catering team for their event, and this is usually non-negotiable. Our venue had such a policy so we knew from the very beginning that we would be unable to source our own caterers. Luckily our venue was well known for the high quality of its menu! The chances are that using the venue’s catering team will be the smoothest option as they will be well versed in catering a wedding with a similar size guest list to yours, they will feel completely at home with the kitchen equipment.

While using the in-house team was perfect for us, many couples prefer to have total control over exactly what is served to their guests. If you’re lucky enough to have booked a venue which is flexible in this regard then you need to weigh up the pros and cons of both options. Sit down with your fiancé and do the maths so that you can compare how much the in-house catering will cost compared to an outside supplier. Keep all of your notes safely in your wedding planning folder so that everything is recorded for future reference.

Images: Colin Cowie Weddings // Pinterest // Pinterest

Budget friendly tips:

Whether you decide to hire a catering company or to use your venue’s in-house team, you may be shocked at just how much it costs to cater a wedding, especially if you have a large guest list or have your heart set on something really special. However, there are a few tricks which you can use in order to keep the cost down. Follow the tips below and you’re guaranteed to secure at least a small saving…

  • Try to stay as flexible as you can with regards to dishes as your catering company will be able to make suggestions for keeping the cost down by using slightly different ingredients, or more seasonal produce. If a particular product is difficult to source at your time of year it’s highly likely that it will also be expensive! Eating seasonally and locally is not only cheaper it’s also far more earth-friendly
  • Consider the dishes which are suggested by the catering company itself as they are likely to have a great deal of experience in preparing these dishes. As we all know - practice makes perfect!
  • Try to keep it as simple as you can. Complicated dishes with lots of exotic ingredients will cost far more than fresh and simple dishes
  • Serve your wedding cake for dessert, thereby cutting out the need to pay for another course. This may not be possible if you are obliged to use an in-house catering team, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
  • Serve sparkling wine instead of champagne! We did this at our wedding and I don’t think anyone noticed. I know it’s a bit cheeky but most people cannot tell the difference between the two if you go for a good quality sparkling wine. You may even be able to source a lovely local wine
  • More guests equals more catering costs, so keep that guest list as small as you can if you’re worried about your budget
  • Make sure you find out at this stage whether waiting staff, cutlery and crockery will be included in your quote to avoid nasty surprises

Images: Colin Cowie Weddings // Judy Pak Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Graze Wedding Catering {via Lane}

Purchasing alcohol:

If you decide to buy your alcohol from an outside source you will need to spend a bit of time searching for a reputable high quality supplier who is fairly local to your wedding venue. Rather than being attracted by the promise that the merchant will buy back any wine which you don’t use, negotiate a better price for the bottles in the first instance. You will probably end up paying less for the wine overall and you’ll be left with a few bottles to enjoy as newlyweds! Also, don’t be tempted to book a supplier without first tasting the wine for yourself. All of the best wine retailers will offer you the opportunity to attend a wine tasting during which you can ask questions concerning how to pair wines to your menu. Relax, enjoy the process and discuss your opinions at length with your fiancé before signing on the dotted line.

--Lottie ♥

Advice // What You Need to Know About Wedding Ceremony Music

Image: Justin Marantz {via Style Me Pretty}

Music has the ability to transport us away from our immediate surroundings to a different time and place. It is almost as though the songs which mean a great deal to us are imbued with magical powers! Just as the smell of your favourite childhood dish cooking or a loved one’s perfume can kindle strong emotions; special songs can lift the heart and heighten the senses. I suppose that is why music plays such an important part in the average wedding day setup.

There are many ways in which your favourite music can be incorporated into your wedding day; you could walk down the aisle to the song that was playing when you met, you could have your favourite artist playing softly in the background during your wedding breakfast, and your band or DJ could be charged with a bespoke playlist including songs which stir up special memories. The options are many, so it is important to sit down with your fiancé to discuss your ideas.

Image: Tec Petaja {via Style Me Pretty}

As I cannot advise you on what type of music is right for you as a couple, the advice below is more of a practical look at wedding music which deals with the ceremony only. I have chosen to highlight the ceremony as this is the section of the day I get asked about most with regards to music choices and restrictions.

The music which will be played during your wedding ceremony will differ depending on whether you have chosen to have a religious or a non-religious ceremony. Certain restrictions exist for both options, so be sure to discuss your ceremony music ideas with your minister or registrar.

Image Howell Photography {via Bridal Musings}

Religious ceremonies:

If you have opted for a wedding ceremony which will take place in a church, you will need to speak with the minister who will be conducting your marriage to find out specific details regarding the type and amount of music which will be required for your ceremony. Different churches have different traditions and rules, so your minister should be the first port of call before you set your heart on something which may not be appropriate. Generally you will need to decide on the following…

  • Prelude music, to be played while guests enter the church
  • A processional song, which will be played as the bridal party enters the church
  • Three hymns to be sung during the service
  • Incidental music, to be played while you are signing the register
  • Recessional music, to be played while you and your groom leave the church as husband and wife

Popular choices for music during a church wedding include solo artists, organists and church choirs. I really do think that a traditional church choir is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world, and I urge you to utilise your church’s own choir during your ceremony, particularly if they have an angelic sounding children’s choir! A church choir will lead your guests during your chosen hymns, and they can sing alone while you sign the register. Most churches also have an organist who can provide a very traditional atmosphere for your ceremony. Organists are a goldmine of information with regards to choosing which hymns to include, so be sure to meet with your church’s own organist early on in the decision making process! You should also check the level of proficiency of the organist so that you can make an informed decision about the pieces you want them to play.

Regarding hymns it is important that you try to choose songs which are well known and easy to sing so that your guests are able to keep up. You should also discuss your favourite hymns with your fiancé to see if there are any pieces which you both adore. These pieces must be included in your ceremony as the sound of your friends and family giving voice to your favourite hymns can be a very inspiring and emotional experience.

Image: Colin Cowie Weddings

Non-religious ceremonies:

As I mentioned above it is very important that you discuss any ideas you have regarding ceremony music with your registrar or celebrant. You need to make sure that you have the correct amount of songs chosen and that all of them are appropriate for a non-religious ceremony. You may also like to have a conversation with your venue’s wedding planners or events team to be completely sure that you know what is required as some venues has restrictions on the genres of music they will play. Most non-religious ceremonies require the following…

  • Prelude music to be played while guests enter the ceremony room
  • A processional piece, which will be played as the bridal party enters the ceremony room
  • Three incidental pieces to be played while you are signing the register
  • And finally a recessional piece which will be played while you and your groom leave the ceremony room as husband and wife

Popular options for non-religious ceremony music include hiring a pianist, a solo artist or a string quartet to play live during the ceremony, or if you’re on a tight budget you could simply use a good quality CD player or iPod speaker dock to play your own music. If you do decide to use a gadget of some descriptions to play your music, just make sure that all of our equipment is in good working order. If you have your heart set on live music then I always suggest requesting that venue staff have a CD player or iPod dock as a backup in case the musician fails to arrive.

I know I’ve mentioned this above, but I want to make the point again. If you are to have a civil ceremony then you must be careful not to choose pieces which have any religious connotations. Double check with your registrar if you’re unsure as registrars are bound by law to interrupt your ceremony if you play a piece of music which isn’t appropriate.

--Lottie ♥

Advice // Choosing Flowers for Your Wedding Day

Image: Kay English Photography {via Style Me Pretty}

In my opinion, flowers exist not only for the reproduction of plant life, but also, and quite simply, to make us happy. We give flowers to people when they need cheering up or when we wish to mark a special occasion, we bring them into our homes to add a bit of life and colour to our surroundings, and we nurture them in our gardens for their beauty and scent. Floral arrangements, accessories and embellishments stand out in the memory and make the whole experience of getting married a real celebration of life, of abundance, and of beauty. There’s nothing quite like an arrangement of exquisite blooms to calm the mood, lift the spirits and to make you feel that this particular occasion is really very special indeed. In short, flowers make us feel good!

Images: Lauren Fair Photography {via Ruffled} // Peaches & Mint Fine Art Photography {via Burnetts Boards}

It’s hardly a surprise therefore that flowers play a large part in the vast majority of weddings in the UK and that they are an element upon which we are happy to blow the budget. Getting your wedding flowers right is absolutely essential, as it is with any large expense on your budget spreadsheet! In times past the flowers and herbs included in the bride’s bouquet were thought to have magical powers and the ability to protect the bride from evil spirits. However, these days we tend to choose our flowers according to what we find attractive and what will work well with our concept. That being said, there has been a recent resurgence in brides being interested in the folkloric attributes of some of our most popular flowers. A bit of research online or a conversation with an experienced florist will provide you with information on exactly what each flower symbolises.

Images: Vue Photography {via Ruffled} // Kay English Photography {via Style Me Pretty} // Mint Photography {via Burnetts Boards}

Many brides and grooms will feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the flowers for their wedding. Unless one or both of you are experienced gardeners or have an existing passion for flowers, you will probably need to spend some time discussing what you both do and do not like. This conversation will often set you on the right track, however if you simply have no idea what kind of flowers you would like to include within your concept, grab a pen and paper and answer the following question…

  • Do either of you have a favourite flower?
  • Does a particular flower remind you of a special event in your life?
  • What flowers do you believe would go well with your concept? This will definitely change over the next few months as you meet with your florist and discuss your ideas, however it’s good to commit some ideas to paper
  • What flowers appeared at your mothers’ own weddings? Perhaps you would like to include some elements from their bouquets in your own.
  • Research the meanings of flowers and see if any of them speak to you
  • If you’re really struggling for ideas then take a trip to a garden centre or even arrange a day out at your local botanical gardens to gather inspiration
  • What season are you getting married in? Keep in mind that some flowers will not be available to winter brides and grooms

Images: Apryl Ann Photography {via 100 Layer Cake} // Lauren Fair Photography {via Ruffled} // Lauren Whyte Photography {via Wedding Chicks}

Once you have a collection of flower names, you will want to turn those names into a source of inspiration, both for yourself and for your wedding florist. The best ways of collecting images of flowers together is to start a mini scrap book, to create mood boards and to start a dedicated board on Pinterest. Just remember to take your scrap book and mood boards along with you when you meet potential florists.

--Lottie ♥

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