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?

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

I’ve really enjoyed creating wedding content recently, especially because it means I can research different venues and feel as though I’m doing the fun parts all over again instead of researching stamp prices…

A trend that I keep seeing, again and again, is weddings ‘in the wild’. This doesn’t mean going into the jungle or somewhere filled with animals (although each to their own, that could be pretty fun!) but a wedding outdoors to make it that little bit more unique.

The two usual wedding ideas in the UK are to have one abroad, or a traditional church one. But, it’s so much cheaper to actually do it outdoors, on a nice plot of land somewhere near the countryside. All you have to make sure you do is get permission and pay the person owning the land but some venues even offer this as one of their options.

Make It Comfortable

The thing that would put a lot of people off coming to a wedding that was outdoors would be the fact that it is outdoors, and the weather isn’t always the most reliable, especially in the UK. We looked at hiring a marquee such as Fews Marquees in case the weather didn’t play ball.

This is a company that has some of the most beautiful wedding marquees available to rent. They’re high class, high quality, and they look amazing when they’re all lit up inside. When it’s so beautifully decorated, it does create a beautiful atmosphere for you and your guests to be in. The weather isn’t always guaranteed to be the warmest (except hello random April heatwave – fancy coming a week early next year?) so you need to think about putting things such as heaters inside, to make your guests feel comfortable.

Finally, you want to make sure you’ve got plenty of flooring down in case the quality of the land isn’t the best. It could be something like hay, or vinyl flooring and you could always ask your guests to make sure they bring appropriate footwear for the evening. A few cute little things I’ve seen on Pinterest is to have a basket of cheap flip flops for people when they need them. 

Cover All Possible Situations

When you’re outdoors, the potential for disasters is real. One of the main ones is going to be something like a thunderstorm which can be quite common during the summer months in the UK. And the only way you’ll really know about the potential risk is to check the weather up to the big day.

Thunderstorms and being outside in a marquee do not mix well, so, when you’re picking the area that you’d like to hold your wedding in, you need to make sure there is some sort of backup building close by like a Church hall or a pub that you can give a heads up to if needed.

Get The Party Started

It isn’t hard to get the party started when you’re out in the open and having fun – sunshine or no sunshine! All you need to do is find the best DJ who is going to play songs that all of your guests like and take requests before the big day.

If you wanted to push the boat out a little, you could have a band instead. I’ve been told by quite a few different people that this is one of the main things that people remember from weddings. As for the food, something more rugged and rustic might suit this venue idea

Would you consider a wedding outdoors?

When you’re planning your big day, one of the most fun parts is thinking about the honeymoon. While more and more people aren’t necessarily taking their honeymoon immediately after the wedding, it is still something that is exciting and fun to look forward to when the day does come. After all of the stresses that come with organising a wedding, you deserve the time as a couple to completely switch off and enjoy married life. 

Planning holidays is one of my favourite things to do generally, and I’ve already started to have a think about where we could be a good option for us next year. We haven’t fully decided whether we’ll be going straight after the wedding or to do a mini-moon instead and save throughout the year to go at Christmas.

Seen as you’ll only be going on your honeymoon once in your life, it’s your excuse to splurge a little. While its completely up to the couple how they wish to spend the time, the majority usually go for a little bit of luxury, and with some incredible places to see, the world is your oyster. 

Today I’ve rounded up some picture-perfect honeymoon destinations.

1. Bali, Indonesia

Bali has been on my list for as long as I can remember. It looks like the perfect place for a honeymoon, and everyone I’ve spoken to who has been only has great things to say.

Despite it being quite a long flight from the UK, Bali is growing in popularity with honeymooners and it’s easy to see why. There are some really stunning resorts to choose from, as well as good weather basically all year round. There are water sports, snorkelling, beautiful beaches, that make it a picture-perfect honeymoon destination.

2. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka just sounds like the epitome of a tropical destination and somewhere perfect for honeymooners. It’s sometimes used as a stopover point for those going to The Maldives but is a great choice of destination in its own right.

Sri Lanka is known for its rich culture, wildlife, nature, and tea plantations: If you wanted to do something a little bit different whilst relaxing in luxury you could get hands on and help out at an animal sanctuary.

3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is a place that is really unlike any other. It might not be somewhere you’d consider for your honeymoon, but you’re guaranteed lovely weather, and there is so much to do. 

If you want to be a bit more active on your honeymoon, you can go quad biking in the desert, skydive over the palm or hit up one of the waterparks as well as visiting the tallest building in the world

4. St. Lucia, Caribbean

St. Lucia is just one of the many stunning islands in the Caribbean. It has white sand beaches, clear waters, and the ultimate in luxury. All of the Caribbean islands are a little different, though, with different things to offer.

If heading that way appeals, then you could think about a Caribbean cruise to see more than one place. There are many different ones to choose from but doing your research is my best piece of advice – whatever floats your boat (pun intended). Click here to find out more.

5. Orlando, Florida

If the two of you are adrenaline junkies, then heading off the Orlando can be a great idea, and what better place to pay a tribute to your childhood days.

There are so many hotels to choose from, but the ultimate in luxury would be the Disney World hotel, on-site at the park. You can even hire out Cinderella’s’ castle for a night if your budget is out of this world, and what better way to feel like a princess?!

6. Mauritius

Last but not least is the ultimate in luxurious holiday destinations – Mauritius: I don’t think there’s a person on this earth who wouldn’t like to visit paradise.

The group of idllyic islands that are dotted around the Indian Ocean and are a great place to relax and totally switch off. There are pristine beaches and cute little huts that are out on the water to stay in. 

Where would you go on your honeymoon?