With Bells On - Wedding Stationery - Gay Wedding Blog Supplier Directory


    With Bells On! is an indie stationery company – I design and craft wedding stationery suites for alternative couples who are looking for something a bit offbeat. I usually work from scratch, getting to know each couple and creating something just for them, but I have some customisable collections to choose from too!


    I feel like the wedding industry can be archaic and not very inclusive, rife with under-representation of whole groups of people. And I love to create bespoke, unique and fun stationery for people who might be not be able to find what they like elsewhere – something that is meaningful to them as a couple. So I started With Bells On! because it balances of my love for vibrant, joyful design and it allows me to be an open-minded, friendly ally to people who don’t want ‘traditional’ or ‘expected’ to rule what they do with their big day!


    Every day is different, which I’m sure every small business says! My first port-of-call is to check emails, Instagram, Etsy and my listings to make sure I quickly get back to anyone who’s reached out. The rest of the day is a mix of designing, researching, chatting to people, printing, cutting, sticking, popping down the Post Office…! I love the variation of tasks and I work from a little corner of my home!


    Today I have wise words for you from people who are specialists in words – Great Speech Writing, a website that helps people write amazing things for their loved ones’ wedding days.

    Picture of two brides listening to a speech at a wedding - Gay Wedding Blog
    Photo by Eva Photography

    So there is a downside to a marriage.  Someone has to stand-up and give a wedding speech!  And it’s no secret that public speaking brings on a whole raft of anxieties even when there isn’t a wedding to arrange.

    We receive so many calls from couples asking where to start.  Is there a template for a gay wedding speech?  Who speaks and what do they say.

    Fortunately, the answer could not be simpler. There are no rules.  No obligations.  No century-old traditions.  We have crafted hundreds of wedding speeches and all that matters is that they are warm, relevant and sprinkled with love.

    That’s isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, and it requires time, patience, and skill. While no two speeches are the same, and each begins with a blank page, every single one will follow these fundamental principles.

    Black and white picture of two brides giving a speech at a wedding - Gay Wedding Blog
    Photo by The Dignums

    Say hello to Cat – one of our recommended suppliers and wonderful wedding photographer. She tells us a little bit about herself and her photography business.

    Wedding photographer - Cat Stephens in the forest with her camer a- Gay Wedding Blog


    Oh blimey, how do you make this not sound cheesy?! OK here goes! I’m Cat, I’m a late thirties something Mum of 3 and military wife. I have a small studio in the Cotswolds village of Bampton which is about half way between Oxford and Cheltenham (and yes my real name is Cat Stephens, and I promise you that you don’t want to hear me sing!!)


    I have had so many different jobs, and spent all of my twenties wondering what I should do when I grow up! From a high level sales career – where I insisted on being a burlesque dancer on the side, to training as a florist, to owning a livery yard and running a large events and conference centre my work life has definately been varied!

    In Spring 2007 whilst working as a florist I happened to be next to a photographer at a wedding fair. I was a single Mum and keen to get some extra work and she needed someone to help carry her bags and equipment at weddings that coming season! After a couple of weddings I was fascinated and truly caught the bug – by the end of the season I had a one of the photographers cameras in my hand at every wedding and learnt on the job whilst carrying bags. The rest as they say is history!


    I am not sure I have a typical day! Unlike a lot of wedding photographers I am 100% a full time photographer, but that can mean wearing many hats. Some days I am in the studio with new born babies, some I am out doing commercial work on someone else’s premises, and other times I am jet setting off to photograph lucky couples in beautiful locations across Europe! Most of the time though it really isn’t that glamorous and I am sat behind a computer editing, either in the studio during the day, or at my dining room table late into the night.


    Another fantastic supplier from our Directory Of Wonderful Suppliers! Today we are chatting to a wedding photographer – Case of Eames Photography.

    Eamer Photography - a portrait of a wedding photographer


    I’m Case. I’m a wedding photographer with crazy big hair. A sucker for romance. I love tea! Love to travel and try new things. I’m a bit of a foodie. And I live in a cottage in Hertfordshire with my wife, our two cats (yeah, yeah) and our dog. We are very happy!


    Photography has always been an interest of mine. I spent 15 years working full time on West End shows, 6 nights a week with very little family time and lots of missed adventures so turned the hobby into a business. I knew I’d made the right decision the minute I left and already bagged an award nomination gaining a ‘Highly Commended’ nod from the EPA awards. I’m now able to do so many things I’d previously missed out on (just saw Kylie at Pride!) and get to work on the happiest of days. It’s such a buzz!


    Every day is different. Either the alarm goes and I’m up doing a quick workout before spending the day editing in my shed (don’t worry my shed is awesome.. apart from the odd creepy crawly) or I’m grabbing my kit and driving to somewhere beautiful to take photos of people doing pretty amazing things like getting married, playing with their kids or bringing their new baby home from the hospital. I get to be a part of that and it’s so amazingly special.


    Welcome back to the Supplier Spotlight series!! Today I’m introducing a wonderful person, fantastic and passionate wedding planner and, I’m not gonna lie, one of my favourite people – Olivia from the Nulyweds. 


    My name is Olivia Santos and I am a destination wedding planner creating colourful wedding days in Portugal for adventurous couples!


    I had been working in the UK for quite some time, with a mix of independent wedding planning and in-house venue coordination. But I felt very stuck living and working in London. I felt I couldn’t really make my mark in London with the style and scope of weddings I really wanted to create. Having lived in Portugal as a teenager, I knew the country well and felt truly enamoured with the potential here. Not only does Portugal have delicious cuisine, sunny summers and diverse landscapes, it is also home to some truly incredible creatives, who can do fantastic things. I saw the opportunity in Portugal to bring my English sense of customer service, my passion for all things colourful and my understanding of the Portuguese market to create a unique destination wedding planning service for couples from around the world!


    I’m not going to lie to you and say I wake up at 5am, medidtate for half an hour, drink kombucha and write in a gratitude journal, before starting my work refreshed and serene, conquering every task with precision and grace. Entrepreneurship is rarely so simple and orderly. To tell you the truth, my days are very varied but typically I wake up quite late (around 10am) because most of my couples are overseas, and therefore hours behind. I get ready, and plonk myself in front of my laptop to tackle the inbox before moving on to any big projects. Most of a planner’s work is done behind the computer whether that is scheduling a weding day, researching supplier recommendations for couples, devising a budget, creating moodboards, booking appointments, having Skype calls with new potential clients or anything in between. I finish my work day at around midnight.


    I’m super excited to indtroduce a new series on the blog – supplier spotlight, where members of our Supplier Directory will tell you more about themselves and their work. Opening the series today is the wonderful photography duo Phil and Toby of The Dignums.


    Hi There! We are Phil (he/him) and Toby (he/him). We are a husband/husband team of two fun and friendly wedding photographers, based in Wolverhampton, not too far from Birmingham. We met in 2010 and got married in 2015.


    Like many wedding photographers it was a case of photographing fiends’ weddings for them. Other couples saw the photos and liked them, asked us to photograph their weddings too, and the rest as they say is history.


    It all depends on the day. When we’re not wearing our big fancy wedding photographer hats, Phil also does some graphic design work on the side, whilst Toby is also a registrar. So some days Phil will be working at his desk editing photos, and creating designs, whilst Toby is performing wedding ceremonies.

  • Wedding planning: How to make a wedding website

    Hello, hope you’re enjoying your long weekend! Today we are talking about wedding websites. Even if it might seem like unnecessary work, wedding website can be a great resource for your guests and wonderful place to celebrate your big day. Today our friends at Hatton & Co share tips on the wedding website content.

    What should you put on your wedding website?

    Wedding websites are one of those trends that have been around for a while and most likely not going anywhere! A wedding website gives brides and grooms an easy way to communicate with the entirety of their guest list without having to call each one and talk to them individually. It saves time and the best part is it looks fantastic, so it’s bound to impress your guests. You’ll be able to keep each and every guest up-to-date and even feature a blog on there. But the big question is; what should you be putting on your website? There’s plenty of things you can include and here’s what we think you should know.

    Gay wedding blog - wedding website

    The location

    Having the location of the big day on your website is a great idea. You can even embed a map on there to show your guest what the surrounding areas look like. They’ll be able to let you know whether or not they’ll be able to get there on the day. Doing this means that they can attach the location to the calendar, so they don’t have to worry about finding the venue and panic in the morning.

    Where to stay

    Using a section telling people where they can book a room overnight is a nice little addition to the website. It’s a little convenience that shows your guest that you do actually care about them. If you haven’t booked everyone into a hotel or the venue already then this is a great idea. Doing the research for it won’t take long at all and if you call ahead and ask the surrounding hotels about possible discounts for the wedding party, they may have something for you. Letting the hotels know that with a discount, they’re guaranteed to have your guest list stay at the hotel, they’re more likely to offer the discount. It’s rare that a hotel will turn down a guaranteed guest list.

    The wedding day schedule

    Having the wedding schedule available on your wedding website will mean that you won’t have to pay the cost of printing it and sending it off to every single guest. What’s more, the fact that more or less everyone has a phone in their pocket, they’ll be able to simply go to your site and find the document instead of having to keep track of a piece of paper because let’s face it, someone will lose it.

    Contact info

    Putting your contact information on your wedding website will mean that even those that don’t have all your details. You’ll be able to direct your guests to your preferred method of contact if they have any questions. Creating an email address for your wedding will also mean that you can give these details to your vendors and organisers so that you don’t have to search through your personal emails to find them. You’re less likely to miss updates and emails from everyone.

  • Wedding planning: How to plan a dog friendly wedding

    Would you like your fur baby to be in your wedding? It’s absolutely doable! And Nina from Occasion Queens has some great advice how to do it!

    More and more, we’re seeing modern couples incorporating elements of their personalities, loves, and quirks into their wedding – and thankfully, their pets are no exception! Which is good, because we absolutely LOVE dogs at weddings.

    In particular, dogs are now welcome at an increasing number of venues’ ceremony and reception spaces (especially if you’re looking at marquees and barns), and doggy care businesses are starting to offer wedding-specific services to allow your four-legged VIPs to join the rest of the family at the wedding, but also be safe and looked after (have a look at the lovely wedding package offered by Barking Mad for example). This kind of chaperone service means the dog won’t be left unattended, and will get the right amount of rest, attention, and exercise, all the while giving you the peace of mind that a qualified professional is dedicating full attention to their wellbeing during the celebrations.

    There are definitely a few things to consider when planning a canine-friendly wedding. Firstly, think about what you know about your little pup: how does he behave and feel in crowds of people and children, for example? If your dog is still a little fearful or not used to these types of situations, make sure you create some safe, familiar, quiet spaces for him to relax in, like a crate he knows with some toys, treats, or scents he’ll recognise. Also, how much does temperature and weather affect him? If your wedding is during a warm summer month, make sure you plan for some rest in the shade and away from hot pavements; similarly, in winter, think about options for keeping him dry and away from drafts.


    Today we have a great advice on newest stationery trends from Ananya Cards

    What will be the top wedding trends in 2019?

    • Destination inspired
      We are seeing more of our couple host weddings abroad, with smaller guest lists and a focus on the multiple day holiday-like experience. This echoes in their stationery through the incorporation of maps, travel inspired visuals, and even scents or flowers local to the country.
    • Illustrations
      We’re seeing more clients commission hand-illustrated designs of their party venue or venue area, and even use this as a unifying narrative throughout the decor. This can be used throughout the suite, and completely customised to the style that suits the theme of the wedding – for example including watercolour or foiling.
    • Sustainability
      Increasingly we’re seeing couples trying to incorporate natural materials, and have plastic-free weddings. This is not a passing trend, but is becoming a global movement, with all suppliers recognising the damaging effect of the wanton use of plastic.
    • Non Traditional Materials and Shapes
      We’re seeing non-traditional materials, like wood, plastic, agate, or translucent mediums definitely entering mainstream popularity. We’re also seeing a departure from the traditional square and rectangular format, with a trend towards thinking outside the box in both shape and container.
    • Deep and bold palettes
      Rich navy and purple hues seem to be the new black, as a formal but modern option design. We love that more couples are opting for bold colours, and aren’t afraid to balance unusual combinations of dark, neon, jewel tones, and neutral hues for balance.
    • Pared Back Luxury
      We’re seeing an increase in clients looking for this understated luxury look, with organic cotton, hand died bamboo silk textiles, and unfussy, tactile calligraphy. Stationery is often minimal with the use of calligraphy on deckled edge handmade paper. Visuals are unstructured and natural, with palettes in subtle and neutral tones.
  • Wedding planning: 6 Laid Back Entertainment Ideas for Small and Relaxed Weddings

    Want to keep your guest list on the small side? Not all weddings have to be big, lavish affairs.

    A lot of couples begin their wedding planning, only to realise that a large, traditional wedding isn’t for them. In many ways, planning a small and informal wedding celebration can be much easier to manage and allows you the opportunity to personalise your day.

    So what can you do at a small wedding to keep guests entertained? Here are some more reserved wedding entertainment ideas that won’t overshadow your day.

    Rob The Guitarist

    Solo Guitarist

    A solo acoustic performer such as a guitarist offers you enormous freedom in terms of where your musician can set up to perform. As versatile as they come, solo acoustic guitarists are amazing at providing background music to set the scene.

    An accomplished wedding guitarist boasts sophisticated and elegant tones that stay relevant all year round, making it a perfect addition to any wedding – big or small.

    Steel Pan Specialist

    Steel Drums

    Just because you’re having a small wedding, it doesn’t mean you can’t be unique with your music ideas. Steel drums are perfect for summer weddings to bring that Caribbean atmosphere and soundtrack to your day.

    Better yet, they are a really cool talking point without being too overbearing on a low number of guests. Sit back and relax with your close friends and family with this amazing feel-good music in the background.

    The Wolves