Wedding Cake Alternatives

A wedding’s not a wedding, without a wedding cake – it’s one of the key components of a good wedding which we looked at in this article. But with so many designs and options, not to mention costs that can soon get out of control, how do you choose a wedding cake that wows if you’re on a budget.

You might think buying an ‘off the shelf’ wedding cake would be a compromise on quality and style, but major retailers are now offering some amazing cakes, that won’t eat into your budget.

Getting Ready For Your Big Day

wedding-preparationSometimes in the rush of wedding venues and menus, favours and what the groom should wear, the bride concentrates on her dress and jewellery but forgets about herself.

A big part of getting ready for the big day should start before the day comes around with a little perfect pampering. In fact, it makes a great idea for a different type of hen party! We spoke to the wonderful Bee Sugared salon to find out more.

Beauty treatments

There are some wedding beauty treatments that are practically mandatory on the lead up to the big day and should be booked in to ensure that there is no last minute worrying – think of those worry lines! Facials are one treatment and there are two ideas about them – either establish a regular routine if finances allow it or have one special facial the day before. Facials are more than just polishing up the skin – they boost circulation and make the skin more hydrated, restoring the natural balance and also meaning makeup looks better when applied.

Similarly to facials is body brushing, a dry technique that boosts the circulation to the skin and gives it a healthy glow. It also reduces cellulite and helps with lymphatic drainage, eliminating toxins from the body. It isn’t a long process either, taking only five or ten minutes so won’t take up big chunks of your day.

A massage isn’t just a beauty treatment, it’s an essential part of getting married. The whole process is very stressful and tiring and your body can easily tense up. Massages release this tension, help you feel good which means that you look good. Most people try to have regular massages in the weeks before the wedding or have one massage around seven days before.

Hands and feet are two areas of the body that will likely be on show in differing degrees on the day so don’t forget to include beauty treatments for them. Manicures and pedicures are best when done regularly, but the budget doesn’t always stretch this far so book one in either one or two days before the wedding.

Practise runs

Another important part of getting ready for your wedding day is having trials runs of all the little things that can go wrong. One such area is hair and makeup – whether you are doing your own or getting someone to do it for you, having at least one trial run beforehand is essential. You don’t want to get to the big day and discover that your hair doesn’t hold your chosen style or your makeup looks different on the skin than in the bottle.

Many ladies use an exfoliator regularly even before the wedding but in the lead up, if you plan to use something different or more comprehensive than normal, remember to test it beforehand. Should you be using a new product, the last thing you want to discover the day before the wedding is that is causes a reaction on your skin. Plus, regular exfoliation brings the best out of skin and is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to look your best.

The Perfect Wedding Ring

wedding-ringsAmid all the decisions to make for your wedding day, one of the most difficult can be for one of the smallest items – the perfect wedding ring. There are lots of ideas about how to find the ring that says I Love You best from matching it up with exotic-looking emerald and diamond and sapphire engagement rings to choosing something that reminds you of a special event or a shared interest. So here are some ideas to get you started.

The Basics

Before you set foot in a jewellery store or look at an online catalogue, there are a few basic ideas to discuss between the two of you. Firstly, do you want the rings to match? Some couples like the idea of having a ring that is suitable for both to wear while others aren’t so worried. Men often look at the metal of the watch that they wear for inspiration about the metal of the ring if the couple isn’t going for the matching look while the lady may want to consider diamonds or a gemstone in the ring.

The other main consideration for many couples is budget. Getting married isn’t cheap and there are lots of small items that cost a lot of money with rings potentially being near the top of this list. Set a budget that you can spend on the rings and stick to it. Don’t forget to look into insuring the rings afterwards whether part of your house insurance or as a separate policy depending on how much you spend.

The Search

Make sure you give yourselves plenty of time to find the ideal wedding ring – as soon as you have decided you are getting married isn’t too early! It’s one of those things that doesn’t want to be left to the last minute and end up with a ‘make-do’ ring that neither of you like. A minimum of two or three months before the wedding start going to shops and looking at what you like. You’ll have your basic principles in mind and can start fine tuning them with some actual pieces of jewellery. Give yourself as much chance as possible of finding the perfect rings. Look at what kind of jewellery your intended wears now, as you will need to get something that compliments it – vintage engagement rings don’t typically go with contemporary wedding bands, so make sure you think about how they’ll look together. After all, you could be wearing them for the rest of your life, so it’s important to get it right.

Something Different

Perhaps you or your partner have lost a loved one recently, someone very close to you and who you would have dearly loved to have had at your wedding. A unique ring with cremation diamonds would be a way for you to have them with you on your big day and for the rest of your lives.

You definitely shouldn’t feel limited to what is available in the mainline jewellery stores. Perhaps you share a hobby or a passion for something – it could be anything from a favourite TV programme to a sport to a rock group. Perhaps something that links to this love would be a great symbol of your shared love and there are plenty of creative ring makers who make bespoke jewellery exactly to your specifications. Other people choose to have an inscription inside the ring to truly personalise an otherwise plain and simple piece of jewellery – something not even visible unless the ring is taken off but always there.

That said, remember the idea of a wedding ring is that it is something that will be worn for the rest of your lives so avoid choosing something too ‘trendy’ that in five years will look outdated and strange. Look at the ring and imagine yourself wearing it in ten, twenty or thirty years’ time and make sure it looks and feels as good then as it does now.

Choosing a Wedding Venue

Picture of a Wedding VenueWhen you announce to friends and family that you are getting married, the second question after when is usually where. For some couples, this can be dictated to them for one reason or another – where they work, where they live and so forth. But for most couples, choosing the wedding venue can be difficult because when it comes to venue hire London brides and grooms to be literally have no end of choice. So how do you find the right one?

Wedding Basics

Some venues will automatically be knocked off your list when you consider a few of the basics of the wedding. The first one is the biggest issue – how many people will be inviting? All venues have a certain capacity and if you need more than a place can offer, then they are off the list. Once you know the venue can hold the number of people you want to invite, you need to see if they are available on the date you want, if you have selected one.

Civil ceremony or church wedding will be another big factor. If you want to get married at a certain church, then how far is the venue from it and will it be practical for everyone to travel from one to another. If you want a civil ceremony then you need to ensure the venue has the licensing for it as well as the facilities to hold the event – though some places will let you use wedding furniture hire if you want a particular theme when you are saying your vows.

Technical Stuff

The next step is to look at the venue from the guests point of view to make sure it is going to work. For instance, if people want to drive to the venue, is there going to be plenty of parking for the cars? How many rooms are available if people are travelling further and want to stay with night? Are there local companies that can offer minibus hire or taxis for those travelling locally?

The time of year that you are planning to get married can also affect the choice. If you are going for a winter or autumn wedding, the venue may look great in spring but what is it going to be like when it snows? Or all the leaves have fallen off the trees? Will the weather conditions make getting to and from the venue a nightmare for you and your guests?

On the other hand in spring and summer weddings, are there facilities to enjoy the day no matter what the weather? So if you are planning a garden party style wedding but it rains, can the venue offer a marquee hire instead? Are there any other major events taking place in the area that could spoil your day and make get around difficult such as major sporting events?


Finally, you want to ensure that you feel comfortable with the venue and the people operating it. Talk to the wedding coordinator and the catering staff and ask plenty of questions. Many places will offer a taster meal beforehand so you and your partner can test your food options while most venues will have a portfolio of previous events to see what the place will look like on your big day.

The Perfect Wedding Reception

perfect-wedding-receptionFinding Your Venue

So you’re planning your special day, you want everything to go smoothly, and for everyone to have an amazing time; you’re going to need the perfect reception venue. A key difficulty is always going to be finding the ideal venue to suit the overall style of your wedding. A great place to begin your search is online, browsing through photos of nearby venues, and really exploring what your local options are. Obviously here in the UK we have a rich architectural history documented in the landscape of castles, manor houses, stately homes and rustic barns, and most of these sites will cater to weddings. A great way to open your options is to perform the wedding legalities in a registry office or church, and then your choice of venues is basically infinite, as any locations you look at won’t need to be licensed for weddings.

A key issue with renting a large country house or modern hotel is the fact that most couples will usually want exclusivity, with just their guests being there. This raises the problem of having to make it worthwhile for the venue to close down their hotel, tours or restaurant for the night. Basically you need to fill most of the rooms and all the restaurant with guests, especially if it’s a particularly popular place. It also ramps up the cost of hiring the site. A wedding party planner can really come in handy at this point.

Why Hire a Specialist?

Sometimes organizing the beautiful bonanza that is your wedding day can seem like a massively intimidating, myriad task, and you can be left feeling at a loose end with no clear plan and a looming date. That’s where wedding party planners come in. Selecting a great party planner can literally take a load off your back, and allow you to enjoy a vast chunk of your wedding a lot more, simply because you’re no longer worrying about mundane, unimportant logistical issues (Are there enough napkins?!) on the most beautiful day of your life.

Party planners are specialists within the industry, with a vast range of contacts that guarantee you the cheapest bars, catering, etc. as well as dealing with all the logistics, timing and arrangements of getting everything where it should be on the day. It takes a stressful role away from you, allowing you to enjoy yourself. They also know the best local venues, and will be able to negotiate better deals on them. Considering the money saved from their contacts and negotiation skills, the time and stress it saves you and the added benefit of letting you focus on yourself and the big day, it really is a worthwhile investment, and definitely worth thinking about.

Going It Alone

Some of you out there with a keen DIY, cost-cutting spirit will always be dead set on organising everything yourselves, and that’s great! Obviously this can make your wedding more personal to you and be something of a (literal) labor of love. If you’re going to take this on then there are a lot of things to bear in mind. Things to consider when choosing the right venue are capacity, privacy, lighting, acoustics (too echoey and your band can sound odd) and car parking. On top of these sorts of things it’s also best to have a plan B, in case anything happens to the original venue or the booking goes wrong for whatever reason.


Arranging Your Perfect Wedding

bride-and-groomFor the majority of brides, prior to getting to the planning, they can seem somewhat bemused by tales of stressed and tearful brides that are close to the matrimonial edge; and then the planning begins and they appreciate just a how complex a task they’ve got ahead of them. So here we talk you through the key elements for the perfect wedding, so you can get an overview of the tasks you have ahead (this list might be useful if you want a bit more structure and detail.)

Your Theme And Colour Scheme

Your theme and colour scheme is one of the very first tasks you have on your hands. Choosing a theme will help keep your ideas in check and ensure that your wedding looks unified. For example, going for a vintage theme would help you choose a colour scheme (generally pastels work well, with the exact colours being dictated by the season) and will mean that you have ideas for table decorations and other key factors.

The Wedding Photographer

When you’re getting married in London or the surrounding counties, choosing the best Surrey wedding photography should make for an important task on your list, and one that is not to be scrimped on. Wedding photographers can, and do, cost hundreds, often thousands of pounds, so be prepared to invest in this element. You may also want to look at some inspirational wedding shots online to talk to your photographer about, and take a look at these helpful tips for choosing your wedding photographer.

The Wedding Cake

Your wedding cake will make for a focal feature within your wedding, so choosing one that is unique is essential. If you can’t afford to go all out then check the major supermarkets for their budget wedding cake ranges.

The Venue

When choosing your venue you have a few options; you can have the ceremony and the reception at a venue, or just the reception, with the service undertaken at either a registry office or a church.

The venue will largely dictate how formal your guests take the wedding to be, so be sure to put any specific instructions on your invitation if you need to communicate key information (such as relaxed attire).

You should also consider how those that travel will be accommodated, are there enough rooms for them to stay overnight? Or hotels within walking distance? Do you need to accommodate visitors with disabilities, and if so is the venue accessible?

Thinking About Others

Wedding Favours For Guests
Wedding favours can range from the traditional (chocolates in a box) to the unique (such as instant photos of each guest, or potted flowers that can be taken home to grow). The budget you have for your favours needn’t cost the earth, and favours that follow a more memorable line are becoming ever more popular.

Gifts For Bridesmaids
It’s generally tradition for gifts to be given to the bridesmaids, which are typically handed out during the speeches at the wedding breakfast (although they can be given in private prior to the service). Your choice of gift will largely depend on your bridesmaids, you obviously know them best of all so choosing what’s suitable will be down to your judgement.

A Thank You is Always Nice
It’s easy to get so caught up in all the preparation for the big day, that you forget about what happens afterwards. Whether it’s simply saying thanks for coming and making your day so special, or a more formal, and proper, thank you for your wedding gifts, personalised wedding thank you cards are a great way to show how much you appreciated everyone being there.

More Information And Further Help

Books will be your best friend when you need a solid resource for working through your tasks and knowing what you have to do next. There’s plenty of fab wedding books around, from complete planners, to those that focus upon key elements such as entertainment.

Throughout your planning you’ll come across plenty of inspiration for your big day, using websites such as Pinterest is a great way of quickly getting ideas from dedicated boards that feature wedding photos on everything from table layouts to wedding cakes.

Wedding planner
Hiring professionals will certainly make arranging your perfect day a lot eaier, but if you want a little more help you could always look at hiring a wedding planner. Hiring a wedding planner is no longer the remit of just the rich and well heeled. Today they’re more affordable than ever, so if you’re considering the deal then you should at least get some quotes to explore the idea further.

We hope this has given you a few ideas and pointers as to what you need to bear in mind when you want to plan the perfect wedding, and that as we add more articles to our site, you’ll find even more helpful tips and pieces of advice.