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The next Quaint Queer Weird Wedding Alternative Wedding Fair is being held on Saturday 15th March 2014 from 12pm until 4pm at the Corn Exchange in Brighton. This fair is a celebration of everything alternative, Retro, LGBT and quirky vintage on offer in wedding world.

Exhibitor - Victorian Gothic Photo - Silverstar Photographic

With a theme entitled ‘Bygone to Bondage’, this event is 18+ is obviously not your standard wedding fair but great for seeing alternative and daring designers displaying their stunning and most unusual wedding fashion, accessories, photography, cakes and much more. Throughout the day, there will be burlesque dancing and risqué entertainment, but if you think you’ll just go and hide in the corner at this event, think again, as guests are encouraged to ‘dress to impress’.

Sponsors include: Two Brides, The Butch Clothing Company and Crown and Glory.

Tickets are £5 from Dig for Victory on the door. Find out more here.

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS!!!!  To win a pair of tickets simply email joanne@theweddingdolls.co.uk by midnight on Wednesday 12th March 2014. The winner will be drawn at random from the entries received and notified by email the following day. 

Back at the beginning of the year we styled a shoot at The Swan in West Malling to showcase how getting married in a pub or restaurant doesn’t mean forsaking any glamour on your wedding day. Choosing your favourite local pub might not seem like the obviously choice but The Swan itself is a fantastic venue and can cater easily for different events, whether it’s a small gathering in one of their private rooms to large events in their peak-season marquee.  We brought together a fantastic team of suppliers for the shoot including the brilliant photographer, Rebecca Douglas and set about using the Swan’s brand itself to inspire the shoot. Using a simple black and white theme we used feathers and touches of pink and purple to soften the look and make the most of the Swan’s elegant backdrop.

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Thanks to all the brilliant suppliers:

Brides Hair  by Annabel The Crop Shop West Malling

Brides Make up: The Beauty Aisle

Dresses: Isabella Grace Bridal Boutique

Stationery: Pretty Wild

Flowers & Props: Florist in the Forest

Cakes & Sweets: Little Gems.

And a special thanks to our four models Jessica, Ria, Sarah and Jodie.

If you’re getting married over the summer and have DIY elements in your big day now is the time to start planning them. Whatever your level of creative skills you can’t go wrong with some basic edible favours and here our DIY expert Kate from the Bake and Crafthouse shares three simple ideas with you. Over to you Kate!

1: Shortbread or Ginger Biscuits

Shortbread is so simple to make, tastes delicious and is not at all expensive. You could cut shapes to match your theme, hearts, flowers for a spring wedding or bunnies at Easter! The recipe is easily multiplied up to make whatever quantity you need as it is just equal parts of butter and plain flour to half the quantity of sugar and rice flour. You can add chocolate chips or lemon zest to the basic recipe or drizzle with chocolate after they have cooled.

A mix using 50 grams of butter will give you about 10 biscuits so if you need 100 favours then you would need 500 grams (2 packets) of butter.

Ingredients:

50 grams unsalted butter
50 grams plain flour
25 grams caster sugar
25 grams rice flour
Pinch of salt

 

Ginger Biscuits Ginger Biscuits 2 Shortbread

Method:

  1. Weigh all the ingredients together in one bowl.
  2. Rub together using your fingertips until evenly combined and resembling the top of an apple crumble.
  3. Continue to mix, rubbing the ingredients together an eventually it will form a ball of dough.
  4. The dough is quite crumbly and delicate but you should be able to gently roll it out to about ½ cm thicknees and cut your shapes.
  5. Place on a baking tray greased and lined and bake for 8-10 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius until light golden.
  6. Cool on the trays and they can easily break while still warm.
  7. Store in an airtight container until needed.

If you make a firmer biscuit dough (usually with egg in the mixture) then you can cut out more complicated shapes or print lettering into the top of the biscuits that will still be visible once they are baked.

2. Homemade Fudge

Fudge Favours

Fudge is one of everyone’s favourite sweets. It also keeps really well so can be made well in advance of the big day and packaged up ready to go. It takes a little patience to make and you will require a baking thermometer but it is fun and easy to make in large quantities.

The recipe below will make a large tray full (25X25cm).

Ingredients

1/2pt water
8oz butter
3lb granulated sugar
2 tbs golden syrup
1 can condensed milk

Method

1. Heat the water in a large saucepan and melt the butter into it.

2. Add the sugar and syrup and bring to the boil stirring constantly.

3. Once boiling, stir in condensed milk and carry on simmering until you reach ‘soft ball’ temperature on the thermometer.

4. Remove from the heat & beat vigorously with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes. It will begin to cool and thicken.

5. Pour into a greased and lined tray & leave to set in the fridge.

Cut into squares and package up as favours or cut heart shaped using a cookie cutter and serve with teas and coffees.

3. Sugared Almonds or Sweets

If you really can’t make your own then you can cheat by giving the most traditional edible wedding favour of sugared almonds. Packaged up in handmade cute favour bags (see my previous blog on how to make them here) to add a really personal touch. Traditionally, five almonds are given to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated candy are a metaphor for the bitter sweetness of a marriage. If you don’t want to use almonds then buy retro sweets, heart shaped choccies or your own favourite confectionery!

Sugared Almonds

Happy DIYing!

Emma & Kate x

Last weekend we worked with the very lovely and talented Nicola Hall from Hall of Cakes. With a seven-tier wedding cake to manage there were nerves of steel required, but as usual everything went without a hitch. We got the chance to catch up with Nicola during the preparations and ask her about her work….

Nicola says “I have been making cakes for about 8 years which started with a christening cake for a friend. It just evolved from there and when I started Hall of Cakes I wanted to bring back the original skill and art of Sugarcraft, creating cakes with real grandeur. I wanted my cakes to be totally different and really deliver that wow factor.

“I absolutely love history and have a particular interest in architecture. We have amazing historical buildings in England and much of my inspiration comes from them through cornicing, fireplaces, ceiling roses and all their beautiful detailing. I’ve been to Buckingham Palace three times and find more and more to inspire me every time. Recently I visited Osborne House, the home of Queen Victoria, on the Isle of Wight, which was totally stunning. My notebook was literally full of ideas to try!

“The best thing about my job is when I receive a lovely thank you from a bride and groom – like I did this morning. It makes the sleepless nights, the anxiety of getting it to the venue and the long hours in the kitchen all worth while.

And finally we asked Nicola what her favourite type of cake is “without hestitation it’s got to be carrot cake” says Nicola, “which we double fill with an orange zest buttercream – it is totally gorgeous!”.

Sounds perfect to us! For more info about Nicola and her amazing cakes visit www.hallofcakes.co.uk.

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We’re really excited as we’ll be doing our Wedding Worries Workshops for as many couples as we possibly can at the Wedding Fair, Bluewater this September (20th to 22nd September 2013).

If you’re planning a wedding chances are you’re feeling the pressure to make your day stand out from the crowd and bring all your plans together within budget. Not an easy task, so at the fair you’ll get the chance to chat with us about how to make planning your big day that little bit easier. From queries about choosing suppliers, making the most of your budget, finding your wedding style to bringing an individual personality to your day, we’ll do all we can to find an answer that works for you.

If you’re stressing about something, however big or small, you can have a free one-to-one session with us at our stand where we’ll chat through your plans with you and try to banish those wedding worries!

We love the Wedding Fair at Bluewater as it brings together so many suppliers in one place giving you the chance to find inspiration and ideas for everything wedding related. It’s all there from cars to cakes, dresses to drapery, favours to photographers, bridal accessories to bands, styling, catering, venues and much more.

The catwalk show which runs at different times during the day is fantastic for seeing different styles close up, as dresses never seem to look the same in the flesh as they do in the magazines. You can also try on most of the catwalk dresses plus Bridesmaids and Grooms can also get in on “wedding dress up” fun as there’s a whole range of wedding wear available.

We’ll also be running a special wedding competition and have discounts available for our full planning workshops so make sure you come over and say hello!

Happy Planning

Emma x

Catwalk Images by: Louise Bjor­ling from the Bluewater Wedding Fair Spring Show

Another superb Kent wedding supplier on the blog today and I couldn’t be happier as it’s all about cake – one of my favourite subjects!

Last month I got to meet the lovely Tina who is the baking genius behind Sprinkles & Swirls for a tasting session and a cuppa. Tina’s cakes were simply stunning and I could have quite happily stayed munching away in her kitchen. Forever. Here Tina tells us about her passion for baking……

“As you can see I love pretty and vintage styles, but I work on all different cake styles. My customers usually want something that is slightly bespoke, which is fantastic as it makes no two days the same for me. It’s such a compliment when people say the cakes are too beautiful to eat but of course it’s always about the taste as well. The best part is when you watch someones face as they see their cake – whether it’s a birthday cake or a wedding cake, it’s just a magical feeling. It makes all the late nights worthwhile!

“After an initial chat on the phone, I first meet my couples at a complimentary consultation when they come to my home kitchen, sample my cakes and talk through their plans. Each couple are unique – some bring mood boards, some have images on their phone and others have no idea where to start! With lots of cakes on display and with my design advice, by the end, I am able to follow up with a quote based on their exact requirements.

“Turning my passion into a business came about when I was made redundant and my sister and sister in law asked if I would make them cupcake towers for their weddings. The comments and positive feedback received made me think about starting professionally and so Sprinkles and Swirls was born! I love meeting new people and really enjoy creating something that brings happiness to others. It’s such a lovely moment when someone sees their cake or cupcakes and I know I have totally exceeded their expectations!

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Thanks so much to Tina for sharing her cakes with us and for more on info on Sprinkles & Swirls visit www.sprinklesandswirls.co.uk

Happy Planning!

Emma x

 

Images 1-5: By JMcSweeneyPhotography

 

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In part five of this Dream Jobs blog series we meet a cake maker who just adores designing and creating beautiful bakes. Emma Buchanan, is the lady behind the sweet treats at Array of Cakes and today tells us why she loves her job so much. Lets find out more….

How did you become a cake decorator?

I have always baked and studied catering as part of my college diploma but the idea of setting up as a cake making business first came to me when I made roses for my own wedding cake 6 years ago. I loved it so much that from then on I spent every spare moment making cakes and learning different techniques.

S

How would you describe your style?

My approach to each design changes depending on the requirements of my couples but my favourite style is definitely vintage. Whether I’m making a traditional wedding cake, something more extravagant or simple cupcakes, I love adding lacing, patterns and soft colours to give the cake an impressive, yet understated visual effect.

What personality traits do you need to be a good cake maker?

First and foremost you need to be a people person and be able to offer clear design advice so couples have a cake that exceeds their expectations. When it comes to actual baking tasks you must be well organised and methodical, especially when you have a number of orders over the course of a week. High standards are extremely important – each cake that leaves my kitchen must be top quality to ensure my customers are satisfied and that I maintain my reputation.

What are the best & worst parts of your job?

The worst thing is the long hours. I often find myself working into the early hours to make sure a cake is perfect, which can be quite lonely. I am very lucky though as I have a fantastic network of fellow cake makers who are always available to offer support and advice when I need it – there are often online chats at 3am to keep each other sane!  The best thing by far is creating a cake you are really proud of and that you have a very happy client at the end of it. It makes the long hours worth it.

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What’s the top three things that wedding couples ask about first?

No two couples are the same but most discussions start on the design, the budget and the logistics – my availability, delivery, etc. The design aspect is very important to get right. Some couples have very specific ideas about what they want, others will have seen my work and what something similar, or occasionally there are couples who’ve not given it any thought at all! Whatever position people are starting from I always take a collaborative approach and offer a free tasting and consultation.

S

What tips would you give your couples to help their day run more smoothly?

The best weddings always have someone who is responsible for co-ordinating the day and can be contacted during the run up to the wedding. Whether it’s the venue, a wedding planner, or a trusted friend.  The event doesn’t have to be meticulously planned but the last thing you want to do on your own wedding day is deal with queries and have concerns about all those jobs that need doing, such as whether the room has been prepared properly or the cake has been delivered, etc.

What is your best piece of business advice to aspiring cake makers?

Make sure you have the support of your friends and family. Most cake makers these days are based from home and the business does tend to take over the kitchen so you will need a very understanding family who will support you and understand that they may not get dinner!

What has been your best moment as a wedding cake maker?

I had a wedding cake which unusually I had to deliver the day before the wedding. I dropped the cake off and a few hours later when I was back in my kitchen the Bride turned up in floods of tears with some flowers to say thank you for the beautiful cake. It was an amazing feeling that someone on the day before their wedding would go out of their way to do that, I was really touched.

Thanks Emma for sharing your job with us. Don’t forget to take a look at other posts in the series.

Part One: Wedding Photographer

Part Two: Wedding Planner

Part Three: Wedding Florist

Part Four: Bridal Boutique Manager

Last week I went down to sample the workshops at Bake & Crafthouse with the lovely owner and fabulous crafter, Kate Alsanjak. After years working in fashion and design Kate has set up a crafters paradise in the village of Cranbrook, with a beautiful workshop kitted out with everything you’d need to make … well just about anything!

Ideal for hen parties, all age groups are welcome and Kate will arrange a bespoke craft experience for you. This group of happy hens made cupcakes in the morning advancing onto a bit of sewing in the afternoon making some very stylish knickers. All very easy and great fun!

The Bottlers 2 Cupcake Decorating Cutting out the knickers Pop Up Cafe

 

Perfect for all Brides with a creative streak to hone their skills, Kate is a master in guiding you through, whether it’s making your own table place names to bespoke invitations, or favours and much more.

Watch out for Kate on the blog over the coming weeks as she’ll be posting some DIY masterclasses for you all to try at home and introducing new ideas for Brides who are itching to plan a handmade wedding.

Happy Planning!

wedding planner Kent

 

Hurrah it’s my birthday tomorrow! I’ll be celebrating with a glass (or two) of my favourite tipple, Hendricks with a splash of tonic and a slice of cucumber. But no G&T is complete without plenty of ice so big it up for Especially Cool who take their love of ice to the next level!

Especially Cool offers all things Ice for any occasion, from table pieces and sculptures to full ice bars and even live sculpting shows. We love their sculptured vodka luge that would really give your wedding guests a night to remember!

 

Ice Bar the_wedding_dolls ice_wedding Double Heart Swan Double Swan 2 LoveBirds Flower Block Vodka Luge

 

Based in Maidstone the team work all over the Kent and provide a tailor made, professional ice experience. They’ll be showing you exactly what they can do at Bleak House in Broadstairs this Sunday (14th April) so if you fancy making your wedding Especially Cool (sorry couldn’t resist) go see them.

Cheers!

signature emma

Knock knock! Who’s there? Doughnut. Doughnut Who? Doughnut forget the wedding cake.

Alright terrible I know but there’s something about a doughnut that just makes you feel fun, naughty and a bit of a kid again. So if you’re tired of the usual sweet table or sugar candy offerings at weddings then why not go all out for a doughnut finger licking feast. Whether you pile them high or arrange them neatly in boxes your guests will be in for a jam, chocolate, custard or apple treat, to name just a few of the flavours now available! Ooh yeah and don’t forget about the humble ring!

jelly modern doughnuts

confetti.co.uk

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I’ve ordered just over a hundred doughnuts for an event before from Krispy Kreme in Bluewater. The staff were really helpful but sadly they don’t do a delivery service in Kent. So you’ll have to phone your order through and just send someone to collect them who won’t park on the M25 and eat the lot. That reason alone is why Emma never goes……

Joanne x

Image Credits: A Beautiful MessAt First Blush & Co, Confetti, Bella Amour

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