John Hearn, executive head chef at Tapenade, one of the UK’s top caterers, talks us through this year’s biggest wedding food trends.
Gourmet comfort food
Couples want to serve guests foods they’ll love so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more people swap a la carte in favour of classic comfort foods made with gourmet ingredients. We created a truffle mac ‘n’ cheese for one recent wedding and served an indulgent game pie and mash at another.
Photography: Jessica Grace Photography [one of our suppliers!]
Traditionalists may shy away from the idea of meals on wheels at a wedding but this festival-inspired food trend is going from strength to strength. Whether it’s for a reception, late-night bites or complete catering, the possibilities are endless with mobile food vendors. We often create street-food stands and vintage ice-cream vans which always delights guests.
DIY food & drink stations
Everything is more fun when you make it yourself and we’re seeing more couples taking a hands-on approach when it comes to catering. Our ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ bar is always a firm favourite for a drinks reception with flair.
Pairing & sharing
Swap traditional canapes for fun mini pairings of your favourite food and drink. Classic combos such as tacos and tequila or oysters and bloody Mary’s never fail to impress our guests.
Wedding planning can get really overwhelming. Newly engaged brides and grooms to be start all excited and often quickly realise they have no idea where to begin! Nina who runs Occasion Queens and professionally helps couples make their day the best it can be, created a list of 10 basics to remember when planning your wedding.
There are so many ways to go about planning your wedding but I really do feel that there are 10 things that you should keep in mind from the beginning to keep things on track…
Money, money, money!
Whether it be £10, £100 or £10,000, you need to know how much you can spend as this will dictate so many different aspects of your wedding planning. So work out what your maximum budget (plus a little bit more!) and start that spreadsheet so you can easily keep on top of where you’re at and how much you still have to play with.
Who will be there?
This is easy (no really, it is): list everyone you want to invite. This may be influenced by your budget and it will probably be one of the elements that influences your budget the most so you may have to be a bit ruthless! But remember, this is your day, no one else’s so make sure you are surrounded by the people you want, love and care about and who will still be in your lives in 10 years’ time.
Research! Look at what is important to you, whether that be décor, natural light or nice loos! Use venue finding websites and go on a few visits to your favourites. It may be a hotel or warehouse; it doesn’t matter so long as it is right for you. Make sure you don’t miss the important things though, like can it hold the number of people you have attending or the type of wedding you want to host? What are their rules on catering and drinks? Make sure you get answers to the questions you need and you feel comfortable with who you are dealing with.
Venue: Nurstead Court [one of our suppliers!]
Think you can sort out music for your wedding with an iPad and Spotify? Our friends from RedLine DJs will give you 19 reasons you should re-think it and get yourself a real DJ.
Almost all soon-to-be-newlyweds have been there: you’ve been planning the wedding for months, if not years.
The cake’s been taste tested by the entire family, the dress has been fitted (three times), the canapés and wedding breakfast confirmed and your dad has already done the booze cruise to Calais (obviously you’ll have bought five times as much as you need, and will be drinking that bottle of ‘wedding day red’ until 2020). You’ve just about recovered from your stag or hen weekends, and virtually everything has been organised apart from one crucial thing: the music.
At this stage of the planning – with costs snowballing and budgets squeezed – one question is inevitable. Do you really need to spend money on a professional wedding DJ? We all know how to make a good party playlist on spotify, right?!
Wrong! Skimping on your dj is a fast-track to an empty dance floor, and here are some of the reasons why you should book a professional wedding dj.
Weddings are a special day and they require specialists
You want your wedding day to be perfect in every single way. It’s why you spend hours making sure your wedding breakfast menu is just right, rather than just asking your local chippy to supply some battered sausage and chips (nan would never approve).
Regardless of how much we love fish and chips, the point still stands – the best weddings are all about employing the best people to do each specialist job. Your DJ should be seen not just as the provider of music but also as your evening reception specialist – get the right one and your night will be one to remember, get the wrong one and it could be one to forget. After all, no-one wants an accidental YMCA as their first dance.
Professional DJs know how to build – and keep – a dancefloor
People like to think that being a DJ is easy. After all, isn’t it just playing good songs?! Not really. Everyone will have a story of a DJ that completely messed up that wedding, party, or club night.
DJing a wedding is a much harder job than it appears. But the best DJs are able to pull together all of your song and genre requests and mix them in with the inevitable requests from your guests. They are able to use their experience to add their own selections, successfully keep a broad cross-section of people happy for the entire night and most importantly, they know how to build a dance floor and keep them there ‘til the very last bars of New York, New York.
Professionals are invested in their own business, and you
The professional wedding DJ cares about their business – every single client is important to them because word-of-mouth both online and in person counts for everything. They are therefore highly motivated to provide a superior level of customer service and attention to detail to ensure that they are recommended and reviewed in glowing terms.
In the case of amateur DJs, the opposite is often true – you are likely to be dealing with someone without a business name, their own website and an online presence. With so little motivation for them to treat you with the care you deserve, do you trust them to handle something as important as your wedding day?
We are all about being your self and organising a wedding exactly the way you want it, no matter what magazines or blogs say. However inspiration is a wonderful thing and we will always do our best to show you what is out there to spark a bit of creativity.
What if you have a venue, want your wedding to be beautiful but have absolutely no designer skills? Then quickly get yourself a stylist – like our guest author today – Chenai of by Chenai . She prepared for you a round up of what will light up the 2018 wedding scene from fashion style to venue selection. We hope it will give you some amazing new ideas (we are loving these grazing tables!!).
Whilst it’s always important for personal style to dictate your wedding planning and styling decisions, we can’t ignore the influence that art, design, and fashion play on the choices we made in society & culture. With this in mind, here’s my big 8 themes for 2018 weddings.
The Grazing Table
It genuinely surprises me that this has yet to permeate wedding culture in Britain. No, really, I mean it. Australia has been ahead of the curve on this front as evidenced by the number of platter companies offering the service. The beauty of the grazing table is that it lends itself to an informal setting and when styled creatively and (depending on size and scale) is an affordable option for feeding guests. It can be a show stopper between acts, instead of canapes between ceremony and reception for example and thanks to likes of Grape and Fig, the first platter company in the UK, I guarantee you, many a summer and outdoor wedding will feature grazing tables next year.
Photo from Grape and Fig
Royal Wedding Style
Unless you’ve been living under a very large rock, you can’t have missed the engagement news of our favourite royal, Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. Every single detail from her dress to who will serve has her bridesmaids has been written about in blogs in publications everywhere but undoubtedly the so called ‘Meghan Markle ‘ effect will influence bridal style from Spring 2018 onwards.
Village Hall? Check. A field at the back of your dad’s friend’s neighbours house? Check. A cosy pub? Check. Railway arches? Check.
You get the picture. Traditional venues often satisfy the requirements of lovely views, gardens or rooms and make for wonderful photos. However, great value and flexibility is to be found in non traditional spaces. Increasingly, couples are getting bolder in their thinking where venue search is concerned and and as long as it has basic facilities, you know like electricity and running water (or at least access to) we’ll continue to see couples opting for everything but the country manor house.
Image from Shoreditch.com
Photo: Royalty free from Equalli
Choosing you wedding rings is a big decision. To help you, today we have some advice from Roland Dean of Equalli – a company specialising in beautiful and high quality jewellery, serving LGBTQ+ community.
Love is a wonderful feeling and it’s only natural to want to celebrate it by making an official engagement. And what better way of saying I love you to the person next to you than with a beautiful wedding ring?
Even more, due to the legalization of same-sex marriages in so many countries across the globe, nowadays everyone has the possibility to freely celebrate their feelings. However, this freedom didn’t bring too much change in jewelry stores and there are not that many brands to consider the needs of a same-sex couple.
This is why we put together a short guide to help you out.
1. Choosing the style
With traditional man and woman weddings, the style is clear: the man gets a thick band while the woman can choose something more delicate and refined. However, with LGBT wedding rings, the options are limitless.
For instance, some couples decide to choose completely different styles, but with a unifying element. This way, both partners show they are unique, but united by their love for each other.
2. Wedding band or engagement ring?
This is a choice you’ll have to make, but there is also the option of going with a matching set. This means that you can get a wedding band and the matching engagement ring and decide who wears the one and who the other.
3. Matching rings or not
This is a legit question and it shows up in both heterosexual and LGBT couples. The answer is no, there is no rule that says the rings must match. It’s just a tradition that was designed to allow people around to identify you as a married couple.
A lot has changed in the wedding videography world. The times of two hour long films with cheesy music are over (hopefully!) and now you can get a beautiful, moving videos that will be a pleasure to watch. Hiring the right video company is really important but you can also help them to get the best results on the day.
Confetti & Silk is a video company that creates an award – winning, cinematic, discreetly shot wedding films. The managing director of Confetti & Silk, Stuart Kinghorn, shares with us some tips on how to make sure you have the best wedding video.
Tips for choosing your video company
Watch previous example films from a range of videographers, see what’s out there. Most couples simply don’t know if they’ve not been married before or work in the video/ film industry. Try to find someone with a style which you could see yourself as the couple fitting into. This will in turn mean you should trust them to get on with it on the day and their decision making during the edit. It’s no secret if a client treats you better and with respect you will work harder for them, no matter what industry in the world.
The basics should be choose a professional. Do they have a website? Do they respond to emails without you having to follow up? Are they available on the phone? Will you have to pay a deposit and sign a contract? If any of these things are absent, be careful.
Can you find their business across multiple platforms such as social media? These will tell you what the videographers are really like to work with aside from the carefully constructed blurb on their website. Google and Facebook reviews are powerful points of reference. We once worked with, well they didn’t show up so we didn’t work with them, a photographer who had a 1 star review on social media, for not showing up! The bride had missed this but through a little more due diligence it shouldn’t have come as a surprise on the day.
With more than 15 years stage management experience in the West End, Ever Ever After’s husband and husband team, James & Sam Hayden-Harler, have a unique and unparalleled attention to detail, experience of making everything run smoothly and of course, the eye to make your wedding day uniquely memorable. Today they are sharing some golden tips for planning your wedding.
Top 5 tips for planning your wedding
Planning your dream wedding takes lots of time, effort and organisation. If you’re not sure where to start or are struggling for inspiration, here are our top five tips you’ll need to consider when planning your wedding.
1. Budget and allow 10-15% extra for little surprises
Setting a budget may be boring, but it is an essential that you set this first, as this will influence every decision you make for your wedding. Do plenty of research and set a rough budget before you start planning. It can be quite daunting when you make a list of everything you need and you’ll be surprised how quickly it all adds up. When shopping around for quotes confirm with the retailer or supplier whether they include VAT. If not, you may find you’ll be hit with an invoice for more than originally quoted. If you are finding your budget is going over, make a list of priority items you must have, as well as another list for ‘would like to have’. This will make sticking to your budget much easier!2. The Personal Touch
Use the skills of your friends and family to help you make your day individual and special for you. Once the big things are sorted, think about the details that will make your day special. What do you enjoy doing as a couple? How did you meet? Where were your first dates? Let the inspiration for your day come from the journey you have already taken together. Guests love a wedding that has a really personal touch. For instance, you may have a mutual love of a particular band or holiday destination.
Planning a destination wedding can be very overwhelming and many couples decide not to follow their dreams of a wedding abroad purely because of the amount of work it may take to organise. But let’s remember you can delegate most of this work and enjoy a fun elopement or wedding in our dream place. That is what wedding planners are for! Author of our advice article today is Claire – a UK based wedding planner behind Wed in Central Park, who specialises in organising weddings and elopements in New York City’s iconic park.
For the past five years I have been planning weddings for couples who want to get married in New York’s Central Park. When couples make first contact with me, they can be anywhere in the range between knowing exactly what they want, and when and how, and really only being in the very first stages of considering a destination wedding. Many couples are just looking for advice on where to start. I have planned around one hundred and eighty destination weddings or elopements to date. Here is a brief overview of how I would guide a couple who were in the early stages of considering a destination wedding. Whether you think a Central Park wedding would suit you, or you are interested in marrying in another great city of the world, or you are considering getting married on a beach, or somewhere else outdoors I hope this will be of use to get you thinking.
There are a few really big questions that need to be answered early on. Firstly, is this a destination wedding with a group of friends and family, or is this an elopement for just the two of you? Either way, you should discuss your tentative plans or ideas with your loved ones. They may have been assuming you would get married at home, or they might not want to travel, or they may not be able to travel for various reasons. Also, they might have some great ideas themselves, and they might be able to help.
On Sunday I wrapped myself in a nice warm scarf and headed to my beloved Camden to visit a Gay Wedding Show at the Holliday Inn Camden Lock. Honestly I got there late so missed all the best fun and a happy crowd, but still managed to have a glass of bubbly, take a look around and chat to some lovely wedding suppliers.
Here’s couple of companies that caught my eye.
Rings offered by Josef Koppmann are so beautiful I want to get myself an engagement ring now! He makes fantastic cufflinks as well. You can drop into his shop at the OXO tower Wharf and see for yourself.
Beautiful weddings planned by Bee Weddings
Michael Gordon writes and conducts bespoke services for life-cycle ceremonies: weddings, civil partnerships, vow renewals, handfastings, baby-namings etc. He takes pleasure and pride in crafting a unique, bespoke ceremony together with his clients – a ceremony which will be just the way they want it.
Today he shares some advice on non traditional wedding ceremonies.
Does the idea of making your civil ceremony stand out appeal to you? When you don’t want a standard, safe ceremony, but one that is memorable and personal?
Yes, a tailor-made service is absolutely possible – although the official, legal ceremony is still compulsory.
What is the normal procedure?
A civil wedding must be legally registered. There are two ways.
1. You can do it before your ceremony. Book an appointment at your local register office. Just go down (in your jeans!) with two witnesses, and, in a matter of minutes, you will be technically married. Then you can go on to your reception, relaxed in the knowledge that you have done the legal bit. Go out there and enjoy yourselves!
2. Alternatively, if you are marrying at a venue licensed for weddings, then the registrars will come across and conduct their service.
Either way, their ceremony will be totally non-religious and will be standard for each couple.
Taking things further
However, once you’ve done the legal bit and are at your reception, you can have the ceremony that YOU want. This will be the wedding of your dreams! The wedding that reflects your personalities and beliefs, and which will be everything you want it to be!
No extra paperwork is required. Instead, you’ll be working with a civil celebrant, who’ll give you all the ideas and guidance you need, and will prepare a unique ceremony for you.
How will this be special?
Of course, the venue is down to you, and can be very creative!