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Here at The Wedding Dolls HQ we’ve been busy doing lots of final planning with our Summer couples.

The final few weeks can be a heady mix of hectic running around, growing excitement and flashes of nerves. To help make sure you feel ready and prepared some list making is a must!

Here to help are our top five tips for the final weeks of planning:

1. Planning Timetable

Make sure you have a timed plan of your day. Include every hour from set up right through to the last dance. Email it to all of your suppliers. The more they all know the easier it will be for them to set up on the day and get themselves prepared. It will help the day run smoother if everyone knows when everything is happening.

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2. Mobile Mission

Make sure you have a list of all your suppliers along with their mobile phone numbers on the day itself. Give this to one of your ushers to look after just incase there are any last minute changes and you need to get hold of them. If you can give your suppliers a mobile contact number for the big day itself – again this can be one of the Ushers if you don’t have a Wedding Doll on hand!

3. What to do and when

Include in your preparations a list of everything you need to do in the week before the wedding, the day before the wedding and the morning of the wedding. List out all the jobs and put next to it who is going to do them. Be logical and realistic about what you can achieve in the time available. Don’t expect your Bridesmaids or Best Man to be able to do lots of running around the morning of the wedding – they’ll be busy enough getting themselves ready and getting to the Church too!

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4. In and Out

Make sure you know what time you can access your venue and let your suppliers know. Some venues will let you deliver items the day before but don’t just assume that you can. They may well have another wedding or just don’t have the storage space. Also check when you need to remove all of your items so you can work this into your plan as well. It’s a good idea to nominate someone to deliver and collect and have a list of everything that should be dropped off and picked up just to make sure nothing is forgotten.

5. Photography Timings

Make sure you give your photographer a list of all the shots you want taken on the big day. Listen to their advice about how many shots you can have and when is best to take them. It will help if you can have an Usher on hand to round up family just before they are needed – it will make things feel less rushed and certainly less stressful.

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The more preparation you can do in the lead up to the big day the better. Getting your plans down on paper will make it easier to see what needs to be done and when. It might seem daunting to do so but it will make it clearer and easier. We promise!

Happy Planning x

 

 

 

Well it’s the last day of our Christmas Countdown and what a way to finish.

During the summer it was my absolute pleasure to get to know Janice, who was Mother of the Bride to Jemima. Janice contacted me to help in the run up to Jemima’s big day. I had not been booked by the Mother of the Bride before and so had not totally appreciated just how much our services benefit the whole of the bridal party, not just the Bride and Groom.

When so much effort and money goes into planning a big family event naturally those close to the couple also want to be able to enjoy the experience too. Taking the pressure away from them makes it easier for everyone to really savour the atmosphere and spend time with their guests.

Janice runs her own very successful business and so when she found herself becoming the main wedding planner for her daughter Jemima’s big day she needed some help. She called us towards the end of the planning when she simply had run out of time. Booking some Dolly Hours with us meant we could source the last few suppliers for Janice. She then also hired us for our Dolly on the Day service so we could look after all the little details, keep an eye on timings and manage suppliers. This meant she could really enjoy her efforts to give her only daughter the special day she dreamed of and what a dream this wedding was.

This picture was taken during the drinks reception at the fabulous Hever Castle, by the very amazing Danni Beach.  Janice and Jemima both look so relaxed and happy. Their smiles say it all….

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We first met Carol when she attended one of our creative wedding workshops with her mum. Carol was really into her DIY details and we knew that giving her guests a fun filled time was a very important factor in her wedding plans.

Wanting a relaxed atmosphere the couple booked the very gorgeous Goudhurst Village Hall.  With no on-site manager and lots of elements to pull together Carol needed us to make sure all the set up was done perfectly and all the things she had planned happened at the right time. She booked our Dolly on the Day co-ordination service and together we became a great team.

As with many village halls Carol found herself with a blank canvas to work with and her creativity was just brilliant. Paper pompoms, garlands and bunting made the hall look fantastic, whilst friends and family brought along homemade cakes, a Mexican band serenaded guests on arrival,  Czech fizz was served, garden games kept everyone giggling and the fun of their singing bridesmaids made this wedding a dream to work on.

The Bride and Groom beamed from ear to ear all day and their guests loved every minute. The dancing didn’t just start in the evening at this wedding, oh no, there were guests up on their feet during the wedding breakfast thoroughly enjoying the music and the fun filled atmosphere. Carol loved every minute of her planning and her stunning DIY details were testimony to the loving care she put into making sure her guests enjoyed her day just as much as she did.

With yet another team of great suppliers from Martin Briggs Photography, DJ Lucci, Dine Thyme, The Charcoal Pig, Paladins Classic Car hire, Juliets Catering and Jubilee Hire this wedding was a joy to be a part of.

 

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As it’s St Georges Day today what better way to celebrate than share with you a gorgeous English wedding. Sharon and Nigel were married last summer at the Lost Village of Dode and the red colour scheme matches the military uniforms perfectly.

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Thanks to the team at Howling Basset Photography for sharing the wedding with us.

Happy St.Georges Day!

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Today’s wedding shows just how a small intimate venue can be the perfect backdrop to a gorgeous summer wedding. Danielle and Scott were married last year at The Artist’s Beach House, near Whitstable. Right on the beach this venue makes a romantic and unique backdrop for your wedding ceremony. We just love the happy and ultra relaxed feel of this wedding captured so beautifully by Howling Basset Photography

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Real Weddings

Today’s wedding is the summer nuptials of Gary and Hollie, who were married at luxury hotel, Sundridge Park Manor in Bromley, Kent. The Grade I listed Manor is set in 6 acres of terraced gardens and has 23 en-suite rooms which have views of the gardens and golf course that surround it. Hollie and Gary first saw the venue on a TV programme and went to take a look and it’s no wonder they fell in love with it. It’s elegant charm was the perfect backdrop to Gary and Hollie’s Champagne and Ivory colour scheme. Here Hollie tells us how she began to plan their big day. Starting with the all important dress!

Hollie says “I felt like an absolute princess and I knew by my mum and friends reaction when I stepped out of the changing room that it was “the one”. It’s not every day you get to wear a princess dress! I accessorized it with High ivory sandals from Dune and stud earrings that were a gift from my Chief Bridesmaid. I also had a veil, hair slide and an ivory box clutch bag that my Chief Bridesmaid held on the day.

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“We didn’t really need loads of decoration as the venue was absolutely beautiful – we let it speak for itself. Cinderella Dreams did our flowers and styling which was simple but really effective. I had a White Rose bouquet, with the three bridesmaids having smaller versions. The two flower girls had cute little wands. We also decorated the top table with Ivory Roses and “Mr & Mrs” wooden letters. The centerpieces were tall hurricane vases with candles and on the tables were disposable cameras and simple ivory name place cards. We had scratch cards in a wallet for the favours, which were colour co-ordinated and from eBay.

I got nearly all my ideas and inspiration from Google images! I had an idea of what I wanted and used the images alongside a few tweaks of my own. It was definitely less stress though having someone set up all the tables and arranging all the different style elements on the day – I would recommend it to every bride!

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“Our photographer was James Grist. He had photographed our friends wedding and so we knew we wanted to have him.

For our wedding breakfast we had a hot buffet from the in house caterers, with a dessert table and cheese board for after. This was served with White and Red Wine on the tables but other drinks were available from the bar. Our wedding cake was a three square tier ivory cake with champagne ribbon around the bottom of each tier. The tiers looked like they were ‘floating’ and we had fresh white roses between each tier. A friend called Sian Howard made it. The three flavours were lemon, marble and chocolate. To kick off our evening entertainment my step dad, Barry Fox, sung our wedding song, Michael Buble’s Crazy Love. Our DJ Ben Phelps played the tunes, with Barry singing some more songs throughout the evening. It was a really fantastic party.”

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Contact Book

Venue & Catering: Sundridge Park Manor

Brides Dress by: Allure Bridal from Orange Blossom in Blackfen

Flowers/Styling by: Cinderellas Dreams

Entertainment: Barry Fox (07984 465622)

Stationery: Made by the Bride from Pure Invitation

Groomsmen: Moss Bros

Bridesmaids: BHS

Wedding Photography and Images with thanks to James Grist Photography

 

Thanks to Hollie & Gary for sharing their day with us and massive congratulations.

Emma  x

Today’s wedding is a lovely Winter warmer. Cheryl and Peter were married last year at Abode Hotel in Canterbury. Not even the rain and dark skies were enough to dampen the wedding colours as we just love the bright blue colour scheme.

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Wedding Photography and Images by: Howling Basset

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Real Weddings

As it’s Valentines Day tomorrow we couldn’t let the week pass without giving it a mention and sharing with you some big hearted wedding lurrvve.

Our real wedding today belongs to Emma & David who were married this time last year at Lympne Castle. We love the traditional Valentine’s Day red mixed with orange tones and the beautiful veil and fur cape. A sophisticated Valentines just the way we like it!

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All images by Catherine Hill Photography – thanks Catherine!

We start todays post by saying a massive thank you to everyone who came along to our wedding workshops over the weekend at The Wedding Fair, Bluewater. We’ve had lots of emails asking for a summary of the workshop content so we thought we’d share it here so all our readers can join in the fun. The sessions were a mini version of our three-hour workshops and looked at how you can get your personality into your wedding day. If you would like a copy of the template we used just drop us an email and we’ll be glad to ping you one over. So here’s a quick recap!

1. It Takes Two

When planning a wedding it’s kinda easy for some Brides to forget that there’s a Groom involved at all. Sound familiar? Well stop right there. To pack in the personality you need to make sure that both the Bride and Groom have their say from the very start. Work out TOGETHER what it is you want for your wedding day. Small and intimate with only your nearest and dearest or a huge festival affair with 200 guests? Whatever you decide start by making sure both of you have thoroughly discussed what you want for your wedding day and you AGREE!

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2. I absolutely, positively, must have…..

Here’s where you can go all Bridashian and demand the one thing you can’t do without and would be seriously upset if you didn’t get on your big day. Decided? That’s great but think about WHY you want it. What’s the motivation behind your choice and does it really reflect you and your personality? Think carefully about your one must have and if it really is about you or somebody else?

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3. Style Me Crazy

Now I love a super blog and sleek glossies but my advice would be to read them, bookmark them, digest them and use them to help give you ideas and inspiration but don’t take them literally or try to copy them exactly. I know you’re there going ‘hello wedding dolls you write a blog” but you need to take what you see on some blogs and in magazines with a big dose of reality. The actual budgets and stress involved in pulling some of these wedding days together are rarely, if ever shown. There’s a reason for this as no-one wants to read about a Bride who lost the plot a week before her wedding day and ran up a massive credit card bill in the process. Sort of spoils the illusion huh?

4. Your Gran Can Do What!?

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Involve your families and discover a huge talent pool that’s right there under your nose. Families like nothing more than getting involved in a wedding – you are after all the people they love the most and the day is about your happiness. If they can share in this it’s going to give them all a big cosy feeling and you get something unique that no-one else can buy for love nor money. If your Uncle can crack out a tune or your Aunt is a Blue Peter badge holder then find small ways to get them showcasing their talents on your big day. Note here I said SMALL ways. Don’t ask family to undertake huge tasks unless they are really up for it. They won’t feel like they can say no and they might have bitten off more than they can comfortably chew. Be realistic about what you are asking them to do.

5. It’s YOU, YOU, YOU and not ME, ME, ME

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Fairly obvious we know but think about things from your guests point of view. What will make them really happy on your wedding day? Being fed lovely food, being entertained, made to feel special and seeing you enjoying every minute. Yes. Seeing that the flower colour exactly matches the Bridesmaids dresses. Err No. If you are in any doubt about some of the last minute decisions you are making return to your original wedding plan and ask yourself – why do I want it, is it really me, what difference will it make, will anyone really care?

Happy Planning!

xxx

Ooh and if you want to experience our workshops for yourself then check out the dates currently available. There’s no need to come alone bring a friend (or mum) with you!

And one last thing! If you entered our Bluewater Wedding Competition over the weekend watch out for full details of the winners early next week.

Images from wedding photographer, Rebecca Douglas

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.

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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.

 

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