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Let’s face it weddings aren’t cheap. If you’re the Bride & Groom you’re expected to fork out to make your day perfect but now even attending a wedding can be an major exercise in budget control. From the present, to the new outfit, a possible overnight hotel stay and then attending the stag or hen do and you’re looking at a whopping £500 plus just to turn up. So as your guests have really gone to a lot of effort before they arrive try to avoid these five things that will strike fear into their little happy wedding hearts:

1. “I’m Hungry”

Think about the timing of your wedding and when food and drink will be available. Starting a wedding between 12noon and 2pm will mean guests have probably been rushing to make it there and not had much time to think about lunch. If you can provide a little snack or at the very least a drink on arrival or directly after the ceremony then do it. It doesn’t have to be alcohol or canapes! Use your imagination and check out our previous post for hints and tips.

2. “I can’t afford an Xbox”

Expensive wedding gifts always grind with guests. No-one likes a greedy pants and putting personal gifts like the latest games consule or GHD’s on a wedding list can look a bit off, as does a gift list with a minimum present price of over £100. Make sure you mix the list up a bit with gifts of varying prices or use a Honeymoon payment scheme so guests can donate what they want and help you to have fun as you start your married life.

3. “I think I’ve missed the last train”

If your wedding is out in the sticks or a long way from public transport then you will need to think about making sure your guests can have a good time and get home safely. Hiring a bus (red or otherwise) to take guests on mass back to a town centre or local hotel would be fantastic but if your budget doesn’t stretch that far at the very least make sure you book some cabs in advance. That way guests aren’t left without a ride home as sleeping in the Church generally isn’t an option.

@Michael Cockerham

4. “Urgh how do you spell C-o-n-g-r-a-t-s”

It never fails to raise a quiet chuckle when you pass around the “Guest Book” and see the looks you get. It ranges from a ‘kill me now I have literally nothing to say’ to ‘yes I’m taking it from you but I’m going to pass it on quickly when I think no-one is looking”. There’s nothing worse than having to write something heart felt and witty into a book once you’ve drunk half your body weight in wine. There’s loads more options out there now from Polaroid Camera Pictures hanging on a washing line, to finger print trees and Quiz books about the Bride and Groom to help your guests along a bit. Much more original and much more fun.

5. “I’ve think my feet have frozen off”

This is a pet hate, maybe because I should only really ever live in the Caribbean, but I hate being cold. To be MADE to get cold is even worse. If you’re having a Winter wedding make sure your venue won’t shove your guests outside in the driving rain or snow whilst rooms are being changed around. If you’re having your ceremony in a Church check with Father George that it’s alright to have the heating on so your guests feet don’t get frozen to the floor. English Summer weddings will also have the chilly evenings to contend with so how about having some wraps or blankets on hand. That way your guests can get nice and toasty and still feel the warm glow of your wedding long into the night.

 

Remember if you look after your guests first, everything else will fall into place and your suppliers will also be more than happy to bend over backwards to make sure your guests get the best service possible.

Happy Planning!

signature emma

Featured Image: Frank Amodo

Sweets and cakes are a big feature in The Wedding Dolls office and so whenever we’re meeting up with Little Gems we keep the previous days calorie intake to an absolute minimum!

Gemma’s latest cake designs, captured beautifully by James Grist at a recent wedding fair, gave her the chance to show Brides first hand her range of styles, flavours and designs. All were bespoke to her Bride’s requests and should inspire you for your wedding colours. We love the mix of peach and taupe as well as that lovely deep aubergine.

And her talent doesn’t stop at cakes, Gemma also makes beautiful biscuits and provides sweet tables that really are good enough to eat. Don’t mind if we do!

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Image Credits with thanks to www.jamesgristphotography.co.uk

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If you managed to get your tongue around that blog title you’re probably already in need of a stiff drink. So read this, do a taste test and you’ll soon have one less wedding planning option to worry about….or a hangover….

1. Bubbles: If you are serving Champagne make sure it’s a decent one and that everyone gets to see the bottles, otherwise frankly it’s a bit of waste of your hard earned cash. If Moet isn’t an option try an alternative instead. Prosecco can outshine cheap Champagnes and we sourced a fantastic one through James Rogers & Sons Wine Merchants in Wadhurst High Street, which we need no excuse to roll out at every occasion. Just finished a blog post don’t mind if we do…..

2. OOOh lets get fruity: Adding a raspberry or strawberry to a glass of something sparkling really gives it a lift and adds a twist to an old classic or you can try adding a fruit cordial for a bigger punch.

champers

3. Summer classics like Pimms are always on budget which is why it’s such a popular wedding drink. Just don’t water it down with too much lemonade and leave out half the fruit otherwise they look a bit miserable and are flat on the tastebuds. The only thing is though that one is never enough so make sure you double up the servings and have an alternative drink, such as bottled beer, available for guests who ‘don’t do’ Pimms.

4. Water is one of life’s necessities so give your guests a treat and liven it up. Water should always be on hand at any event and in plentiful supply especially on hot days and when guests are standing around for any length of time. Try adding some cucumber ribbons, mint or lemons to jugs of water along with lashings of ice. Sparkling water is also great for guests who don’t drink alcohol. Leave Sparkling water bottles on the water table and include some cordials including Elderflower and Ginger & Lemon or mix them in large glass containers and let guests help themselves.

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5. A Signature Cocktail is a perfect way to bring out your wedding personality. Mixology Events in London run cocktail masterclasses where you can learn to create your own cocktails in a fun environment, plus you get to drink what you make. Go with a group of hens and stags and get your wedding cocktail off to a flying start!

6. When picking wine to go with a meal keep it simple. One white wine (either a Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc) and one Red (our choice would be Pinot Noir). At this point it’s well worth checking if your venue charges corkage as this may be the difference between sourcing your own wine or going with their options.

Poppy & Pearl Co

Poppy & Pearl Co

7. Never EVER serve drinks in plastic cups. Even if they’re the ‘posh’ variety. Not only do they feel cheap they also take away from the taste of the drinks and what they are served in make such a difference. Most supermarkets do free glass hire or for a really cheap and DIY alternative collect small jam jars to use as water glasses and add paper drinking straws.

8. Go local: If you’re sourcing your own alcohol try independent wine merchants and local brewery’s first. They are super knowledgable about the best option for you as well as being experts in local produce and will be able to save you the cost and stress of hopping over to France to get a duty free run of rough vino.

Everyone loves food. Whether you’ve just had your breakfast and are already dreaming about lunch or are debating the benefits of a chicken roast over a home-made pizza for dinner, food will ultimately play a big part in your day. Therefore my friends it makes sense that your wedding day is no different. Catering plays an essential role that needs to be top notch if your wedding is going to be a success but fussy canapés and Fillet Steak don’t have to be the order of the day to impress your guests. Here’s our top six trends to give your wedding that happy big love full up feeling.

1. Seafood: Kent has the unique position of being surrounded by gorgeous seafood. Whether it’s Native Oysters and dipping sauce, Cockles, Winkles or Mussels, followed by fish and chips there’s an abundance of choices including catering vans and caterers who work with the best fish suppliers around.

2. It’s all Gone Street: Catering vans are popping up everywhere and many with a vintage twist that look very cool parked in a field alongside a festival wedding theme. From Crepes to ice cream vans and more besides there’s lots to choice to give your guests a sweet feast that Willy Wonka himself would be proud of.

bertie catering the_wedding_dolls

Cripes It’s Crepes Vintage Catering Van

3. Go Global: As the world gets smaller the options just get bigger and now loads of couples go global for their catering choices. Asian catering in general is ever growing in popularity and it goes down a storm with all wedding guests. From chicken tikka to lamb jalfrezi there’s a wide variety of dishes to keep everyone happy and is a fabulous option for mass catering at it’s best.

4. Proud Pasta: Bowl food is big in corporate catering but it’s set to get even bigger this year as many couples choose not to do the whole sit down meal routine and prefer to mingle with guests. Bowl food allows you to give guests small portions of food and just keep it coming until you can’t eat no more. It’s great for serving foods such as pasta or risotto for weddings with an Italian flavour. Guests with a bit more room left can then grab a plate and fill up on the huge cheeseboard and dessert table to keep them ticking over until dancing commences.

Home Gurr'own Catering

Home Gurr’own Catering

5. Go Wild. Game catering is now becoming bigger and more well know as restaurant menus serve up more in the way of Game including rabbit, venison and pheasant as well as the more usual hog roast and Wild Boar sausages. It’s rustic Kent catering at it’s very best that will both surprise and delight your guests.

6. Burgers: Ignore unhelpful jokes about horsemeat and Ikea meatballs. Get your burgers from a local butcher (who will make them onsite and to order) so you can just concentrate on whether you give guests ketchup or home-made relish. Hand cut chips or wedges are a great accompaniment and there’s always the “bean” variety for any veggies. Kids love this option too!

Whatever catering option you choose make sure it’s the best that you can afford and don’t scrimp. They are your guests and it’s your job to feed them properly and make then happy – then you’ll find you are just as happy too!

I’m off to see what’s in the fridge….

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Cakes & Catering

Our fantastic find today is a caterer who has a unique country creative style  that is perfect for a rustic Kent wedding.

Owner of Home Gurr’own and Chef Nicci Gurr has been a chef for over 20 years. Starting out at Albert Roux of Roux Fine Dining in London she worked in many restaurants in and around London before heading out to sea and working on private yachts. Eventually settling down in Cranbrook and starting Home Gurr’own with her husband Julian.

When it comes to cooking they love finding the freshest finest local produce and using ingredients grown on their smallholding as well as fish from Hastings and freshly ground wholemeal flour from a local windmill.  Nicci says “our Cranbrook kitchen is my pride and joy. We’re a creative farm caterer who uses lots of fresh garnishes, chalk boards, picnic hampers and anything else that creates a farm, country feel. Our kitchen is perfect for keeping all our produce fresh and still leaves enough room for my home made Elderflower Champagne!”

Sounds perfect to us! For more info about menus and prices take a look at their website.

 

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Photography by Steve Wood of Cap2ure.com

 

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Now we’re not usually ones to chat about old bones at the Wedding Dolls HQ but with the discovery of Richard III this week it’s got us thinking about how Castles bring with them a unique mix of history and new beginnings. For us today’s real wedding is the perfect example of mixing old and new and all that’s great about England and it’s historic castles and manor houses. Bevan and Melissa were married in August 2012 at Chiddingstone Castle, Kent with 60 guests at the ceremony and wedding breakfast and a further 50 guests for the evening reception. Here Melissa tells us about their big day.

“We wanted a venue that was in between my home town of Forest Row, East Sussex and Bevan’s home town of  Gillingham, Kent. We looked at lots of venues across Kent on a really rainy day and fell in love with Chiddingstone Castle. It’s country vintage style suited our wedding theme and the exclusive use of the castle was just what we were looking for. It looked perfect even in the pouring rain!

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“I wanted a dress that was grand enough for the castle setting while still fitting our traditional English vintage theme so I chose a Sassi Holford dress which suited my figure perfectly and I loved the simple design with delicate lace embellishments. My shoes were my extravagance. I’d looked at millions of pairs but once I saw Blush Bloom’ by Freya Rose they were the only ones that would do! Melissa Morgan Designs created both mine and the Bridesmaids jewellery. My favourite was my headpiece that Melissa designed and made for me using a vintage brooch I bought in a local antique shop.

“Our theme was Traditional English vintage with touches of a classic afternoon tea, we used accent colours of pale pink and green. The theme can together perfectly and I was so delighted with it! I snuck into the Great Hall while we were getting ready and had a peek at the tables – I nearly burst into tears!

“We are big big tea drinkers so all of our tables were named after types of tea – the top table was our favourite, English breakfast! As soon as we got engaged I started collecting vintage tea cups and saucers from antiques fair, car boot sales and charity shops. I filled each of these with pale pink wax to make tea cup candles for our female guests and the men and children had tea pot shaped cookies. The centre pieces were hired vintage tea pots, cake stands and tea cups filled with beautiful country style floral arrangements. We knew exactly what we wanted for our stationery but neither wanted to spend ages making the save the dates, invitations and seating plan so we enlisted the help of Frances Symes. I ordered a tea cup and tea pot paper stamper from America and Frannie did the rest!

“Our photographer, Martin Briggs was listed on the Castle’s list of trusted suppliers. We looked at his work online and loved his pictures and when we met him we could see how talented and passionate he was. He also used to live in Chiddingstone Castle so knew exactly where all the best spots for pictures were! We didn’t really need a wedding car but I absolutely love Morris Minors so Bevan hired a 1961 white convertible for me from Alfred’s Wedding Cars to get to the venue.

“Our wedding breakfast was wonderful! For canapés we had Rare roast beef in mini Yorkshire puddings with horseradish cream, Pork belly on creamy apple dauphinoise, with cracking and applesauce, Cornish crab fritters with avocado mousse and Beetroot rosti with whipped goats cheese and truffle honey – gorgeous! Then to start we had Scallops with parsnip puree and crispy pancetta, for main course Confit duck leg with slow roasted garlic mash, garlic sprouting broccoli, spice duck filo parcel and a pickled plum sauce and to finish we had Hot chocolate fondant with vanilla sour cream. The food not only tasted fantastic but it looked amazing – we even have photographs of it in our wedding album!

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“In the evening we partied along to a live band called ‘Twist’. They played at a friends wedding and we knew we had to have them! Bevan chose 1,2,3,4 by the Plain White T’s for our first dance which was completely perfect and the band did a great rendition of it.”

Sounds like the perfect end to a fantastic day! Thanks to Melissa and Bevan for sharing their day with us.

Contact Book

Photography: Martin Briggs

Brides Dress by: Sassi Holford from Pantiles Bride

Catering by: Kalm Kitchen

Flowers/Styling by: Karen Woolven – Karen interpreted my theme and colours beautifully.

Entertainment by: Twist

Groomsmen: Penguins of Chatham

Bridesmaids: Dessy through Jodi of Maidstone

Drinks reception entertainment: Greenwich String Quartet – they were incredible.

 

OOoh as a blanket of snow covers most of the UK there’s just time to share with you our latest Mood Board for a Wintery Wedding in Silver. For more ideas and inspiration head over to our Pinterest Board where you’ll find loads more pics for sharing. It’s definitely the perfect day for pinning!

artboard 12boxes

1. Rock My Boutique

2. Dessy Group

3. Style Me Pretty

4. A Diary of Lovely Blogspot

5.Pretty Wild Wed

6.Wedding Chicks

7.Notonthehighstreet.com

8.Wedding Chicks

9. Arkansas Bride Magazine

10. Wedding Salon

11. Arkansas Bride Magazine

12.The Wedding Dolls

Featured Image: Jared Wilson Photography

 

 

January is definitely a month of cutting back on the food portions here at Wedding Dolls HQ so we can fit back into our Spring wedding outfits sharpish. So if like us, you’re on any kind of enforced diet then look away now. Well actually don’t because otherwise you’ll miss the completely new and fantastic business that is Cripes It’s Crepes.

Husband and wife team, Martin and Lindsey, with chef Steven, are cooking up a storm from their vintage Citroën H Van called Bertie, who helps them serve up delicious crepes in loads of fantastic flavours. There’s sweet and savoury on the menu including the lush sounding goats cheese, land cress and sweet onion chutney to my personal favourite sweet option of banana and nutella.

The van is definitely a unique way to feed your guests with lots of fun thrown in. Bertie will be fantastic for barn, festival and vintage weddings. There’s a bit more info on the leaflet below or click through to their website for lots more on Bertie.

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Another fabulous offer for you today from cake maker Emma Buchanan of Array of Cakes. Emma is offering a 15% discount off a Tiered Cake and 10% off a Cupcake tower, including free stand hire, if you book before the 31st January 2013.

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Emma offers a free consultation service at her kitchen in Tunbridge Wells, where you can try some of her delicious cakes so don’t hang around – book your appointment today!

For full details of the discount offer check out Array of Cakes.

 

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Giving your guests a fabulous feast at your wedding will be sure to bring in smiles all round but catering for large numbers and covering all tastes can be difficult. This week’s fantastic find is family run, Pop Creative Food, who are fully experienced in catering at weddings and large events. We’ve sampled their food on a number of occasions and have been really impressed. Mass catering can be really tricky to pull off and so you need to make sure you have a caterer you can rely on and know will be first class on the day.

We caught up with Pippa Ward from their events team who talked us through menu options. She said “our menu’s are inspired by modern, British ingredients and is food we love to cook and eat. Nothing at Pop is frozen or microwaved, we’re really proud of the fact that we produce everything on the menu ourselves and personally source the best ingredients from local suppliers. We can produce anything from delicate canapes to lavish three course meals, Hog Roasts and BBQ’s.”


Prices per head for a three course meal start at £38 (which also includes all staff, crockery, cutlery, kitchen equipment and management costs -depending on venue).  The menu includes Wedding Dolls favourites such as Pressed pork belly with apple and Beef Fillet with dauphinoise potato. They also doing options for evening food such as Beer Battered Fish & Chip Cones served with Ketchup & Tartar Sauce which are £10.00 per head.

Their sister company is The Poet at Matfield so if you fancy a Christmas meal out in the name of “wedding research” you know where to go.