Thursday, December 23, 2010

Who will be at your side when you walk down the aisle?

In the latest issue of An Essex Wedding (Jan/ Feb 2011), we were asked by a bride whether she could have both her real dad and her step dad at her side when she walked down the aisle. 

Here is our advice:

Q:  My parents divorced when I was five and I have always been closer to my stepfather than my biological dad.  However, while I would prefer to have my stepdad walk me down the aisle, I feel as though this would break my real dad's heart.  Is there any way I can have them both at my side or should I ask my mum to walk me down the aisle instead?

Clare Beckwith Weddings:  It's common for brides and grooms to try and make everyone happy on their big day, but I'm a firm believer in having the wedding that you truly want, rather than trying to please everyone else - even if that means parting with tradition.  Therefore, if you would like both of your dads to walk you down the aisle and they're happy to do so, there's no legal reason why this can't happen. 

Why not have a chat to your registrar or religious minister to see what the possibilities are?  It all depends on the type of ceremony you're having and where you are having it, as every district has its own set of rules. 

However, if having both fathers walk you down the aisle isn't possible, perhaps it would be wise to ask your mum to step in and give each dad another important role in your day instead.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A White Wedding...Dreamy backdrop or a planning nightmare?

It’s been snowing quite heavily here at Clare Beckwith Weddings HQ for a quite few days, but last Saturday we did venture out to a wedding at the 5 * Hanbury Manor where we have been invited to help out as Wedding Concierge.

With the forecasters predicting snow, we packed the car full of sensible essentials (spade, food, water, high vis. jacket etc) plus lots of warm clothing, and set out early.

It started to snow heavily after we arrived and the snowy backdrop of the Garden Court was picture perfect. It was everything you could ever dream of for a white wedding.

But white weddings can cause havoc with your plans too, as we were about to witness when the live 5 piece band call in to say they couldn’t make it, and the photographer turned up red faced and hassled, half way through the ceremony.

It wasn’t a wedding that we had designed and organised ourselves, so all we could do was watch and learn.

As a wedding planning business, we always think ahead and put contingency plans in place, and if you are organising your wedding yourself you should too. It’s essential, even on a normal weather day!

We’ve spoken to a few of our wonderful suppliers to help compile these 10 top tips to help you think of everything if you are facing a snowy, crisp weather wedding.

1) In the planning process, make sure you get good wedding insurance and have a written contract with all your suppliers containing a cancellation clause.

2) A few days before your big day, watch the weather. Yes, boring we know and much like watching paint dry, but very necessary if you want to avoid nasty surprises. Try

3) As soon as you hear of weather warnings, contact your suppliers to alert them, and to see what their travel/contingency plans are.

4) If snow is forecasted, encourage suppliers to drive up the day before and stay in a B&B.

5) Make sure all suppliers know where they are going and what time they need to be there for. Provide maps and rough estimates of drive times between venues. It might seem like spoon feeding, but some people aren’t as sensible as you!

6) If you are planning a winter wedding, try to hold it all in one place, or within a very short distance from ceremony to reception venues. Make sure staff are prepared for the winter conditions and that guests are kept happy and not standing around in the cold.

7) If you are booking a live band, try to do so through a reputable agent. Try
They only have musicians and bands that have been interviewed and auditioned. The musicians are trustworthy and won’t let down clients. In the unlikely event that someone is ill in the band, they will organise other musicians – giving you additional peace of mind.

8) If you are let down by any of your suppliers, check with your venue. They should have a list of local suppliers that could be contacted in an emergency. Alternatively, they might have other musicians on-site for residencies or other events that might be able to provide some entertainment – even if it wasn’t what was originally planned.

9) Contact suppliers via local business websites that might be able to assist. Even if they can’t, they might know someone that can. You would be surprised how everyone helps in a crisis!

10) If you find yourselves without a photographer, ask one of your guests with a decent camera to stand in for a bit until they arrive. You might even discover a hidden talent!

And to keep everyone comfortable and warm...

1) Make guests aware of the conditions so that they can dress appropriately, wearing suitable footwear, coats etc. Read my last blog post by Isobel Kershaw for some stylish ideas!

2) Prime your ushers to help push cars in the snow and also make them aware they may have to remove snow in places for guests to get to the church. Give them spades to do the job!

3) Serve warm mulled cider in the church to keep guests warm and happy!

4) If you are having a church ceremony, give out hand and foot warmers to guests with their order of service. Churches often have no heating and are cold at the best of times.

5) At the reception venue, ask your photographer to set up lights in an allocated room to do all the formal family shots which will keep guests in the warm.

6) Lay out a red carpet laid for the bride to walk on in places where it is particularly snowy or icy.

Winter weddings are wonderful. Don’t let the snow put you off. Just be prepared!

Our sincere thanks go to the amazing Lord and Leverett and to Viva Live music for their contributions to this blog post.
Photo credit:
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are you a guest at a Winter wedding?

OMG - it's just 2 degrees outside at the moment - a comparatively warm mini-break from the really, really cold snap of the past few weeks.  The weather forecasters are telling us to prepare for another an arctic blast this week. That’s fine if your winter weekends are pretty free and you can embrace the snow and go sledging, but what do you do if you are invited to a wedding and want to look stylish?

To help you with your winter wedding style woes, I have done what I always do when I need style advice, and called the very lovely and incredibly stylish Isobel Kershaw from the NHJ Style Consultancy. She has these words to stop the onset of style panic...

Isobel says...
“The great thing about a winter wedding is that you don’t rely on the weather and can therefore dress to accommodate it, knowing that it will be cold!

And so with this in mind, here are a few inspiring looks to help you on your way to choosing a stylish outfit as a guest of a winter wedding.

A Church Wedding

Church weddings will be cold and you know that you will be travelling from the church to a reception venue, so how do you dress up warm, but still look like you are at a wedding as opposed to on a skiing holiday?


It’s big this season, and fake fur has never looked better.

This faux fur from FCUK will ensure you will stand out in the crowd and it will certainly keep you warm!

Or go for drama with this vibrant red faux fur jacket from M&S.

If you are not into the all over fur look, there are some great coats on the High Street which have fur trims to give that glamorous edge to any outerwear.

The other alternative for a bang on trend winter coat which is dressy enough to go to any event – is the cape! There are lots on the High Street including this one from Reiss with the military shoulder detail.

So with the outerwear sorted, what goes underneath? Here are a few dresses for different body shapes to inspire you.

For the Rhubarb shape, we have a stunning print dress from Karen Millen with long sleeves to keep you warm whilst looking very stylish.

Accessorise with statement earrings colourful opaque tights (red) and platform heels.

For the hourglass, we have a curvy and very sexy dress from LK Bennett.

This is a very versatile dress that can be used after and with the right accessories can be glammed up for a winter wedding. Add a skinny patent belt and sparkly cuff to ensure that you will turn heads! And to add to the appeal, it has been reduced from £195 to £115.

So for all you lovely pears out there, here is the dress for you.

A fabulous navy lace (again so on trend) dress from Whistles. Another feminine dress with sleeves which is so important in the winter. To style it up, I would change the belt for one of a contrast colour in red or cream or even a metallic to make it look more party.

Also accessorise it with colourful tights in orange or a more subdued purple.

And now for the Apples, let me entice you will a dress that will flatter and make you feel gorgeous.

This pretty print dress from Phase Eight will certainly brighten your day with its colourful flower print and is a very flattering with an empire line shape. This dress also doesn’t need too much accessorising as it makes a statement with its print and colour.

And so to finish off with a few more accessory ideas to ensure you individualise your look.

The hat – Many of you may think about wearing the classic style hat for a wedding whether it is winter or summer, but think outside the box and again think fur!

The Cossack hat from Debenhams at £18 will bring a bit of edge to your outfit, but sometimes you need to be brave to carry off such a hat!

Gloves will be needed and if you are wearing the cape, you will need long ones!

These long red gloves from Hobbs will really make a statement and are certainly a nice change from black!

At £69 though, you had better make sure you don’t lose them!

So if you have a winter wedding to prepare for, you may now be a little more inspired by what you are going to choose to wear and with lots of reductions already happening in the shops, you can splash out on a few extra accessories.”
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