One of the things that I’ve found the most exciting about planning a wedding is definitely looking around the venues. We got engaged just before Christmas, which is a very popular time, meaning that a lot of venues will have open days and showcases to give you a taste of what they could offer you for your big day.

When we first started venue hunting, I had my heart set on a Christmas wedding, which was great because a lot of the places had their decorations up still so you could see what would be there on your wedding day; but after some considerations, we decided to push it back by a few months to spring. If you had a couple of years before you wanted to tie the knot, I would recommend going to the venue in the month you are considering so you can have an idea of what the lighting will be like, whether the flowers will be in bloom and generally how warm/cold it will be.

We looked around a number of different venues from country manor houses to barns to golf clubs to hotels – we even toyed with the idea of getting married abroad at one point – and each of them had their own special features. If I’m honest, I found hunting for the perfect venue to be one of the hardest decisions as it sets the tone for so much of the rest of the day from the food, to the flowers, to the colour scheme and everything else in between.

One of the great things about some of the venues that we looked at was that you had exclusive use for the whole day; that means there are no other weddings on at the same venue on the same day, which let’s face it, nobody wants.

If you’re based down south or want something a bit different from everyone else in your hometown who is also getting married at a similar time (a real problem that we had!) then I would definitely recommend going further afield. One of the venues that I’ve seen that struck my eye was the gorgeous Silchester House on the border of Hampshire and Berkshire. This country house is situated within an estate, surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. Click here to see more about the venue.

Not only is this place easy on the eyes, it also boats an interesting history, being one of the first country homes to hold a licence for civil marriages almost 20 years ago. Since then, the stunning backdrop has been cared for by the Bijou team: It has been transformed into a beautiful wedding venue with light and airy interiors with exclusive use for couples.

Even though the venue itself is quite the spectacle, the overall feel of the place is incredibly intimate, which is just what you want for your big day. Take your keepsake photos in the library, drawing room or music room and take advantage of the original features.

I hope you have found this post interesting and it’s given you some food for thought if you want a slightly different feel to your wedding.

xx

This post was written in collaboration with Bijou Wedding Venues.

When it comes to our wedding, a lot of people have mentioned how organised and on the ball I’ve been with organising it, from looking at venues days after becoming engaged, to going to numerous wedding fairs and even researching our honeymoon (by far my favourite part) but for me it’s come naturally.

Day to day I’m a painfully organised person and because I’ve worked in the events industry previously, I’m well aware of how fast places fill up even 3 years in the future so I wanted to get a move on as soon as possible – plus, planning a wedding is meant to be fun, and I knew that the more time I gave myself, the less stressed I would be.

A wedding isn’t ever something you should try and plan last minute or even a few months before if you have particular suppliers in mind, but there are definitely things that I would suggest doing as far in advance as possible, the first being the venue. Once you start looking into wedding venues, you will soon be aware of how far in advance people plan their weddings, and if you want to get married within the next year, there may only be a couple of dates available so it’s best to start looking as soon as possible.

If you get engaged around Christmas or Valentine’s, a lot of places will hold open days and evenings around these popular times to showcase their spaces and what they have to offer. This is a great time to have a look around, meet the teams, and more importantly, try as many caterers as possible.

Your next job should be to start looking for and hiring the professionals in charge of running the important aspects of your wedding. This could include your photographer, caterers and any entertainment whether it be a DJ, saxophonist, or a live band. These suppliers are likely to be in demand, especially if you’re getting married in summer, and booking early allows you to shop around as much as possible, which takes the stress out nearer to the day. 

Although you might have told your nearest and dearest the date of your wedding, I’ve learnt from experience that people forget, so getting a save the date sorted as soon as possible is important. People usually send these out about a year in advance and there are some great templates online.

Sending out invites is usually a 2-stage process: Doing the save the dates as far in advance as possible allows you to design, order and post out your official wedding invites about 3-6 months before your big day. My advice would be that if you want to get married in the week (meaning that people may need to take the day off work) give them as much notice as possible. 

One of the steps I want to get out of the way next is choosing our wedding rings. Whilst you don’t have to buy these until nearer to the day, it’s worth shopping around early so that you can find the cheapest prices and settle on a design you like. As I mentioned, Christmas and Valentine’s Day are often the most popular times for people to buy wedding rings so plan to buy before or after these periods and take advantage of sales if you find them. If you’re ordering a ring online, make sure to give yourself enough time for delivery, as well as time to try on the ring and return it if it turns out to be wrong – planning is key.

I hope you have enjoyed all of my tips for trying to be as organised as possible when it comes to planning your wedding, and although it might seem like a daunting task, I’ve really enjoyed it so far and I’m sure you will too!

Have you got any tips for planning the big day?

Looking your best in your wedding photographs is a dream of most brides. Your photos represent one of the happiest days of your life, so looking natural and happy is a big must. 

Personally, I’m not a fan of having my photos taken, never have been, and probably never will be – but I’ve been thinking of ways to ensure that I feel comfortable on our big day and not like a plank of wood.

Smile

It’s a given right? But the world needs to see your smile. Wedding photographs can be your most beautiful possession in the world, but if you’re not smiling or expressing love and happiness they might not be what you were after. 

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of my teeth, so for that matter, I’m going to practice looking natural as much as possible. You shouldn’t have to fake it, and it might be quite obvious if you are, but allowing yourself to feel free enough to bare those pearly whites can help the end photographs radiate with happiness, and can make you look back with pride.

Hire Well

In my last wedding related post, I touched on the fact that a wedding photographer is not always guaranteed to be excellent, so I would always shop around until you are happy that they’ll be able to capture exactly what you want: The best photographers will be a professional service, with a portfolio and a list of testimonials to boast of.

A great photographer can help you look wonderful in terms of what angles and lenses they use, how they make use of light and what they do with the final edit. Not only that, but a good photographer will not be afraid to suggest when you smile, or to help bring a group together for an excellent photograph: They’ll be there to capture the natural moments that you may otherwise forget. 

Don’t Worry

Your wedding is your wedding, which means that once you have arranged everything, you can relax and enjoy the day as intended. You needn’t fill the role of micromanaging every little detail during the event, as most of it should have been taken care of already and hopefully you’ll get the natural photos you were after.

If you can, it’s worthwhile to belay that responsibility to your parents, or to someone you trust. This way they can manage the event from behind the curtain. This lack of worry on your part will translate into genuinely experiencing the event free from worry, and that will naturally show in your photographs.

Plan Your Aesthetic

You should never hire your makeup artist or hairdresser at the last minute – make sure you plan ahead. Sorting this out in advance will help you discuss your ideas and what you hope to look like with your photographer, and this can help them prepare for your big day. 

Do you have any tips for looking natural on the big day?

When it comes to a day like your wedding, everyone wants to be able to remember the event as best they can. To me, the photos of my wedding were one of the most important things about the day, and I spent the first couple of months of being engaged really doing my research. 

The truth is… a good wedding photographer isn’t going to be cheap: The price does range as with anything, but it is one of the things that you shouldn’t scrimp on. My advice would be to go to as many local wedding fairs as possible, have a look on Instagram and take the recommendations off married friends – that’s how we found ours, Sarah Horton – her light and airy style really stood out to me as exactly what I wanted.

I’ve rounded up a few tips on how to find the perfect one for you. Whether you are a fan of black and white photography, bold colours, or bringing out the pastels, there is definitely someone out there who can create exactly what you want.

Working Independently

The last thing you want when you’re getting married is to have to give direction when you have a million other things to think about. Professional wedding photographers know this and their portfolio will be able to give you an idea of what kind of shots they’re after on your big day. 

I would definitely recommend that you sit down with your photographer before the wedding day if you want something specific and maybe even have an engagement shoot to make you both feel comfortable around each other – I’m all about the natural shots on the big day.

In my experience, the best photographers are ‘invisible’ on the day, capturing the moments that you may not have remembered otherwise.

 

Equipment

In some cases, when you book a professional photographer, you will simply be paying for their time, and use of their equipment can cost extra. We’re really lucky with Sarah that everything is included in the price.

With the right research, you will be able to find a photographer which includes cameras and other gear in the price of the overall service. One of the things that we have opted for too is to have a second photographer there on the day to get a range of shots.

 

Be Comfortable With Their Level Of Experience

Photography is a skill, especially weddings. It falls within a vast and varied field, with loads of different areas of expertise which people can go into. As a big part of this, it is important to make sure that you choose someone with the right level of experience to work with your wedding who will get the shots that you will cherish.

You should be able to find reviews which help with this, along with using the existing portfolio which they have on display and taking recommendations from others. As I mentioned, Instagram is a great place to look to see the work that they are showcasing. 

 

Check Their Editing Style

As I mentioned, we really wanted a light, airy style for our photography, and Sarah was both recommended and her Instagram proved to be exactly what we were after.

If photography is important to you, it’s essential that you get the photos that are important to you. If you want a lot of family shots outside, then you need to let the photographer know in advance: If you want a lot of people on the dancefloor, make sure they know this before the day – the more clear you are then the more likely you’ll get the exact shots you want.

With this day being so special, it will be important to capture it all, and a lot of people will put huge amounts of effort into jobs like this. It will all be worth it once you see the results.

xx

Welcome to another instalment of my Wedding Talks posts, where today I’ll be talking about hair accessories. Since I’ve now found my dress, the next thing I wanted to think about what I would be having in my hair.

I’ve decided to have my hair done on the big day, firstly because that’s what I think I’ll be most comfortable with and secondly, I’m rubbish at keeping my hair up in dos as it usually falls out – so I thought I would make a wise choice and have it down and curled.

When I was trying on different styles of dress before I found mine, something that I knew I wanted was a long veil, attached to a hairpiece. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a full on circular hairpiece, or a slightly smaller one and started doing some research.

It was as if by magic that the lovely ladies at Lace & Favour got in touch with me around this time and offered me one of their stunning hair pieces. It took me ages to decide as their choice is so extensive: they have hairbands, hair combs, bows, tiaras, headpieces, flowers, hair clips – the lot – and they were all so delicate and beautiful.

After speaking to my Mum and a couple of friends, I narrowed it down to about three different pieces that I thought would suit the style of dress that I’d gone for before settling on the Ivory & Co floral pearl wedding vine which retails at £145.

The parcel arrived within about a week, in a gorgeous box. When I opened it, I was so taken aback by how true to the website it was, and how delicate and beautiful too. I’ve yet to try it on with my dress, but I know the two are going to look amazing together.

If you’re in the market for a hairpiece for your big day or maybe just as a guest of a wedding, I would highly recommend looking through their website as there are so many choices ranging from £30 upwards.

Have you got any recommendations for wedding hair accessories?