Monday, May 30, 2011

Sweet Treats

Sweet tables are really popular at weddings at the moment.  There are quite a few companies that offer this service, but if you are on a budget it's really simple to set one up yourself. 

For this one, we hired the pretty vintage style jars from and sourced the sweets ourselves.  You can put them out in the evening for guests to enjoy. Or in this instance, the bride adorned the wedding breakfast tables with pretty vintage-style bags for the guests to fill up at their leisure.

Simple, but very effective!
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Take the lead from the Royal Wedding

If you were glued to the TV last month soaking up every last detail of the Royal Wedding, you have to agree that the organisers must be very pleased with themselves.  An undeniable triumph!  The beautiful lace gown. Pippa's incredible bridesmaid dress, the impeccably timed logistics (wouldn't have wanted that job!) and the beautiful music.

Of course, the happy couple had a rather large budget available, a unique venue, and some of the world’s best musicians to play. However, there are ways you can re-create some aspects of the wedding ceremony for your wedding.  I spoke to my music guru Susan Heaton-Wright ( for some hot tips and here they are...

Music before your wedding ceremony

The music played before the Royal Wedding was programmed and listed in the order of service. I always recommend that brides ask musicians to play music 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony; not only does this create a wonderful atmosphere, but guests don’t arrive in silence and are entertained. If you've booked a church organist, they could play a programme of music; similarly other musicians you might have booked, including a harpist, string quartet, pianist or even a singer, could perform at this point.

The musicians in this picture are who played outside on the terrace at Paige and Harish's wedding at the Bingham Hotel in Richmond.

Photo credit:
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Friday, May 27, 2011

All you need is love

I'm pretty sure blog etiquette says that I should write more than this, but what more is there to say?

I adore this cake!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wedding flowers that rock

If you want your wedding to be full of unique and quirky details that suit your own personal style, then you have to go the extra mile to hunt down stuff that isn't sold en masse on the high street.  All the time spent surfing on the web in the years, months and weeks leading up to your wedding will be totally worthwhile when you stumble across a lesser known supplier who has just what you want - they just take a bit of time to find!

Here's one we came across the other day - Bookworm Eats Flower.  They make beautiful bouquets, accessories, buttonholes and corsages using handmade paper flowers and the lovely Lauren who makes them is happy to create something bespoke for you too. 

Check out these little works of art...

Photo credits:
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Wedding Transport ideas

If you are getting married in a church and your reception venue is miles away, it can be a headache to ask guests to make the long drive.  Will it break up the flow of the day?  What if they get lost? Will there be enough parking?  But worry not, there are loads of things you can do to ensure the journey is as fun, and easy for guests as possible.

One idea to ensure that your guests arrive relaxed and happy at the reception venue is to hire transport to take them all from the church to the reception venue. That way, they can all travel together knowing that everything is taken care of and that they don’t need to worry about parking or finding the venue by themselves. You can also ensure that they all arrive at the same time. You could consider a vintage bus, or a perhaps a luxury modern coach.

If your church and reception venue are beside water, you could consider a hiring a boat as a really fun treat for your guests.

To make a 40 minute journey seem like just 5, you could consider having some kind of activity or entertainment on board. You might like to devise a quiz about the bride and groom that your guests can take part in. Or maybe you could set them a challenge of spotting key landmarks on the way. When they arrive at their destination, you might consider some organised entertainment to greet guests as they disembark and are waiting for other guests to get off the bus. A singer, a mix and mingle magician or a caricaturist would be the perfect welcome to your venue.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011


This is a cute idea - it's the small details that add personality to your wedding day afterall and these would be great photo props.  These little 'help' stickers are from and are only £5.99.  Snap them up, I say!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Have fun with your wedding photography

We have just come across this fabulous piccy by one of our favourite wedding photographers Lord and Leverett and it brought a smile to our faces.

We had plenty of fun the other day at Paige and Harish's wedding when we used a range of props to inject fun into the photos. This young bride had other ideas when she suggested doing cartwheels.  Brave girl - we have much admiration for you.  Please don't try this in a tight dress!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Your retro themed wedding

Retro themes are so popular nowadays, and you can have loads of fun planning every detail to ensure it's in keeping with the era you choose. If you have a lot of children attending your retro-themed wedding and want to ensure they have something fun to remember the day by, what better than to choose a wedding favour that keeps them entertained, and complements your theme.

There’s nothing more retro and iconic than a Rubics cube and this will keep them entertained for ages, as well as being a memorable game to take home. Try The kids might also enjoy other retro mini games like Twister, Connect 4, Operation and Etch a Sketch. You can find all these pocket-sized classics at

Continuing the games theme, why not treat each child to a 70s style space hopper. The younger ones might enjoy a mini wind-up version whilst I am sure the older ones will appreciate a full sized one.

If it’s a musical treat you are after, vinyl style recordable CDs would be perfect for the teens. They have the look of old vinyl records, and come in cases styled like 7" record sleeves. Despite their retro looks, each CD can store up to 700Mb of data, songs or pictures

For the younger ones, why not consider a retro harmonica from Heals. It’s great for beginners, as well as experts!

The little girls among your guests will treasure adorable Milly Molly Mandy books
Why not present them in retro ‘cut out doll’ party bags from

For the boys, and also available from Love the Little Things, is a pin ball game with a cool retro picture on the back of the tin. Again present in a retro bag adored with cars especially for the boys.

Pretty much all kids love sugary treats, so retro sweets are bound to impress. Try a mini gum ball machine or a mini gum ball slot machine This is an American website, but I have found they reliably deliver to the UK. Other ideas are classics like Love Hearts, black jacks, sherbet dib dabs and cola cubes For a retro funfair feel, you could go for candy floss, personalised rock, toffee apples or popcorn.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Paige and Harish's vintage wedding at The Bingham, Richmond

It was a complete treat to be invited to work with Paige and Harish on their wedding at the fabulous Bingham Hotel in Richmond.  Wonderful riverside location, wonderful ideas, completely wonderful couple. 

Paige, originally from New Jersey, USA and Harish met at St Andrews university just over 6 years ago, when Paige popped a valentines card under Harish's door. Brave move, and it clearly bowled him over! 

Their guests flew in from all over the globe and were treated to the amazing Bingham hospitality.  They could not have had a more perfect day for their celebrations as temperatures soared to an unseasonal 26 degrees on Easter Sunday.

I've been excited to see their photos - mainly because they incorporated so many really interesting details - a wedding planner's dream.  Take a look.

Wedding planner - Clare Beckwith Weddings
Photographer - Helen Jones photography
Brides's dress - J Crew (USA)
Bride's sash - Marisa (USA - handmade in New Jersey, where bride is from)
Bridesmaids dresses - David's Bridal (USA)
Bride's shoes - New Look
Groom's suit and groomsmen's waistcoats/cravats - Moss Bros
Flowers - Conservatory Florist, Richmond, Surrey
Wedding cake (birdcage) - The Cake Parlour, Wimbledon
Groom's cake and cupcakes with St Andrews crest - The Cake Parlour, Wimbledon
Favour bags - Handmade by groom's mother with fabric bought in USA
'Something borrowed and something old' - Vintage birdcage charm from Ireland (a gift from Paige's bridesmaid Grace - pinned to bouquet)
'Something blue' - Ribbon monogrammed with bride's initials and date of wedding - J Crew (pinned to bouquet)
'Something new' - Bride's necklace - Baccarat
Invitations and placecards - Vera Wang
Orders of Ceremony, table numers and seating plan - Ruth Springer Design
Frame for seating plan - Not on the High Street
Tall Birdcages - Wedding Day Hire
Double sided picture frames - John Lewis
Oversize Balloons - Signature balloons
Ivory lace for balloons - John Lewis
Ivory satin ribbon - The Ribbon Company
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A family affair

Question: Two years ago my partner and I were forced to cancel the wedding of our dreams because I was made redundant. Since then, we’ve scrimped and saved for the big day and finally have the funds to make it happen. The problem is, a few family members are being a bit too generous, insisting that they hand-make favours, bake the cake and even help with the entertainment. Both my partner and I have politely refused their offers because we’d rather hire professionals. However, because of our past money problems, they’re not taking ‘no’ for an answer. What can we do to get the wedding we want without hurting anyone’s feelings?

CBW Answer: Why not take a different tack and try to channel their energies into an area of the wedding that you would appreciate their help on.

Maybe they could save you time, rather than money and help collect and return suits or arrive early and help set up the reception venue, for example. Maybe you could allocate them important roles so that they still feel they are making a valuable contribution. Ask them to do a reading or poem during the ceremony, be a witness, make a speech...

That said, I really can’t help feeling that you are blessed with having such a lovely family who are willing to go the extra mile in making your day so special. In my experience as a wedding planner, some of the wedding cakes and hand-made favours created by ‘gifted amateurs’ in the shape of mums, aunts, sister, dads and other family members are some of the best I’ve seen, and they give your wedding a really personal touch!

Photo credit:
Favour bags hand sewn by groom's mum, with pretty fabric sourced from the USA.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Invite Betty to your wedding

If you want to bring a bit of retro style to your wedding, why not invite Betty? 

Betty, owned by Hayley of Vintage Scoops is a 1973 Bedford cf who has been lovingly restored and decorated in beautiful shades of pale blue and cream. To complete the authentic 50's feel she is decked out in Cath Kidston oilcloth and festooned with bunting.

We bumped into Betty while we were Easter egg hunting at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, and thought what a perfect addition to your wedding she would be.

The ice cream comes locally from Beachdean Dairies and is free from artificial flavourings, colourings and additives.  The flavours are to die for.  There are all the usual ones you'd expect like rum and raisin, double chocolate, sticky toffee fudge.  But they also have a selection perfect for weddings such as Champagne Sorbet, Bailey's or Pimms and Lemonade. They also have a range of lollies. I expect any kiddies at the wedding might enjoy the bubble gum flavour. And the men-folk? Well, what better than the lager and lime, or cider varieties?
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Weddings on a budget

We are often asked to contribute as a Wedding Expert to County Wedding magazine's range of local  glossy wedding magazines.  Here is one of the questions we were recently asked:

Question:  My partner and I got engaged five years ago, and at the time we threw a massive party and told everyone there that they would be invited to our big day bash. Since then however, we’ve both had money troubles and can no longer afford the lavish wedding that we promised – in fact we can only afford to invite half of the people that attended our engagement party. Now that we’re finally tying the knot, I’m nervous about having to explain our situation. Is there anything we can do to soften the blow?

CBW answer:  Five years is a very long time, and a lot can change in that time. If the current economic climate is affecting you, you can be certain that it is affecting the people who attended your engagement party too. If they are good friends they will completely understand and be happy for you both and the love that you have for each other. After all ‘love’ is the fundamental reason to get married, not the wedding itself. Sometimes situations like this are for the best, and you can turn them into a positive. Just think how expensive it might have been for your guests to attend your wedding: to buy a new outfit; a wedding gift; overnight accommodation. They might be quite relieved not to have to spend money they can’t afford either! They are ways that you can still keep your day special and allow everyone to share in your happiness. Before the wedding, why not craft a handwritten note to explain your change of plans – remember, well thought out, heartfelt words cost nothing. To soften the blow further, you might want to consider sending them a mini montage of the photos of your day so that they can treasure your special memories too.
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