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It’s a question that crops up a lot when planning your guest list; do you invite children to your wedding?

It may come down entirely on the type of wedding you are having and how much budget you have to play with. Extra bums on seats cost you money. Whether it’s a small bum or a big one if you are short on guest list space then leaving the kids at home seems as easy way to cut down on numbers. However, some of you do actually want to include the children in your family on the guest list but are just a bit nervous about how to deal with them.

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Fear not. If you are having small people at your wedding there are now loads and loads of ways to keep them entertained at a really reasonable cost.

Create Make & Share is run by two Kent mums, Zoe Wright and Kathryn Handy, who organise children’s party entertainment. Being mum’s themselves means they are well practised in looking after children and have a whole range of ideas and activities to entertain all ages. They will design a bespoke package to suit the needs of your day depending on how many children you have, their ages and the set up of your venue.

The types of activities on offer include face painting, glitter tattoos, themed party and garden games and a pirate and princess activity play which involves lots of dressing up, story telling fun and a treasure hunt. As part of their package they also include party bags and favours especially designed for the little ones. Zoe told us that “all our entertainers are fully insured, CRB checked, reliable and most importantly have bundles of energy and enthusiasm!”

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If you need a babysitting service and your hotel or venue doesn’t offer one then try Bearsted Babes. They offer this and more and are great if you have lots of little ones that need one-to-one care away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding. Vicky Cruickshanks who runs the company says “we understand how important it is to feel secure in the knowledge that your children are being cared for in safe, stimulating and familiar surroundings, especially when you want to relax and have a good time”.

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So if you are having little ones at your wedding then the best advice is just to plan ahead and where possible give them some entertainment to take the pressure off and make sure everyone can relax and have a good time.

Is it really Sunday again? Where does the time go!

So Vijay and Leanne have been Mr and Mrs for a whole week now and we hope they are having an amazing honeymoon! We’ve had quite a week telling you about some of the suppliers that worked on their amazing fusion wedding and all this recapping is making us very impatient, we are dying to see the official photographs by N Photography, Hurry back Mr and Mrs B!.

In the meantime here’s a look back at their first week as newly weds.  First we shared the venue, the gorgeous Nettlestead Place, we’re still thinking about the views across the kent countryside, the perfect venue for those wanting exclusive use and a beautiful setting.

This week we also shared the fab Dream Days for You team headed up by Darminder Cheema. Dream Days specialise in Indian, Gujarati and Halal menus but do offer traditional English catering as well. Their portable catering service is great if you have a unique venue in mind as services can include catering staff, cutlery, crockery, linen and waiting staff. We were able to sample some of the menu and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Then in other wedding news we showed you our frock of the fortnight, one of our favourite designers Johanna Hehir has launched her new diffusion collection, Mae by Johanna Hehir. This gorgeous new range features soft georgette, silk crepe and vintage style lace in the dress designs. Dresses range in price from £1000 to £1500in our frock of the fortnight feature.

Our Real Kent WeddingInspiration came from Chris and Katie’s Wedding Safari at Port Lympe, with photography once again by the amazing Kerry Anne Duffy.

 

Finally we finished up with a fantastic vintage photoshoot at the very lovely Upnor Castle, Kent. The shoot was set up by Margate based photographer, Robert Marriott with the help of Maxine Gregory of Tea-licious and Sandra Andrews of Vintage Curves.

 

Here’s hoping for a hot and sunny July!

Make sure you pop by next week, we’ve got lots more inspiration to share with you .

 

Welcome to Sunday! This weekend has seen some peace and quiet in the Wedding Dolls households as our other halves are occupied with Le Mans 24 hour racing and Euro 2012 – it does leave you wondering who makes more noise, kids or husbands…. It’s been just what we needed really as the next few weeks for the Wedding Dolls is pretty full on. With trips abroad, exhibitions, the launch of our new blog, as well as the small matter of organising weddings to get stuck into, we are so glad there are two of us on the case!

On the blog this week was the new bridal range from Topshop which seems to be dividing opinion in the wedding world! See what you think right here.  We also took a look around one of our favourite boutique hotel wedding venues in Kent, Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells. If you want understated luxury, fabulous food and gorgeous rooms to round off your wedding day this promises to make it onto your shortlist as well.

Next up was the Wedding of Kelly and Scott with a classic purple colour scheme and gorgeous detailing all set in the beautiful grounds of Turkey Mill, Maidstone. To round off the week we posted some of the most popular and alternative first dance songs that we’ve seen over the last year. If you don’t ‘have a song’ then this might just help narrow down the choices.

We’re super excited too as it’s countdown for our next Bride and Groom, Vijay and Leanne, and their gorgeous indian fusion wedding at Nettlestead Place on Saturday. We’ll share a little preview with you on Sunday but other posts coming up on the blog this week include our designer of the week, an overview of how to set your wedding budget plus a beautiful wedding at Cooling Castle Barn.

Happy Sunday!

x

What an eventful and exciting week its been, with our spring bride and groom relaxing on a beach in the Seychelles we turned our attention to our sparkly new website.  Now in its final stages we met with our fab designer Ali of Pad Creative to look over her latest ideas.  It’s all coming together nicely and we can’t wait to share it with you later this summer.

To celebrate St Georges Day on Monday we showed you our England Wed in Red inspiration board, fabulously bright and colourful on whats been another wet and cold week!

We shared another fantastic find with you later on in the week, the very talented and creative Rachel Hudson.  We love finding fab wedding suppliers on our very own doorstep.  Rachel is based in Tunbridge Wells and she told us why she loves to photograph all things natural, we love her work and hope you took the opportunity to find out more about the 15% discount she offered Wedding Dolls followers.

Then we took you behind the scenes of Philippa and Billy’s English Country Garden Wedding.  We wanted to give you a little insight into what we do ‘Backstage’ to make sure our weddings go without a hitch – excuse the punt.  We hope you found parts one and two  helpful if you are planning a wedding at home this summer.

Finally, we bought you part two of the Planning your Vintage wedding series, showing you how you can create your own vintage hair and make up. With the help of professionals Christina Jessel, Powder and Glow and Simply Beautiful Wedding Hair we showed you how to create the look you are after. Next week we’ll be talking vintage wedding shoes, and they are just gorgeous….

We hear there’s sunshine promised for tomorrow, enjoy!

Wow what a week! It was major planning this week as we got ready for our first marquee wedding of the year and all thoughts turned to the torrential rain that just kept on coming. With our wet weather contingency to hand we dug out our wellies and was determined it wouldn’t rain on Philippa’s and Billy’s wedding parade.

On Monday we brought you our designer of the week Stewart Parvin. With a beautiful range of dresses to choose from we recommend you visit Froufrou Bridal if you are still dress hunting.

Also this week we were thrilled to share our latest discovery, Prettywild Design. Kent based stationery designer, Suzanne Osborne, has a gorgeous range of designs we know you will simply love so take a look without delay!

Thursday we pitched in to help promote the Charity Wedding Auction. You can bid to win a wedding with a value of up to £11,000 and it’s all to help local charity, Pilgrims Hospices. The auction has already started and will run until 27th April.

On Friday we had our business planning meeting with our mentor, NVW Solutions, Neil is great at helping us work out our goals and think about want we want to achieve next – we always come out fired up and ready to go. We also shared on the blog our tips for planning your wedding day schedule, if you love writing a list you’ll be in your element!

Next we kicked off our five week look into planning a vintage wedding. We started with a swing and next week will be talking hair and make-up.

And so to the main Saturday event. With pink peonies, acoustic guitars, fairy lights twinkling and candles flickering, the rain simply added to the gorgeous English country garden wedding yesterday and the bride and groom were so happy and relaxed.  In typical british fashion the rain didn’t stop play (or the spit roast from cooking) and a fantastic day was had by all. Here’s just a little sneak peek of the beautiful setting. Full wedding coming soon.

A massive congratulations to Philippa and Billy x

Our designer of the week is Stewart Parvin whose new collection is available in Kent at Froufrou Bridal in Tunbridge Wells.

Nicole at Froufrou tells us that “this new collection is a real favourite and the Hang onto Your Love dress is the one that many brides have fallen in love with (see image below). All the dresses are just so beautifully made and the team at Stewart Parvin are just fantastic to work with.”

Stewart Parvin first launched his bridal collection in 1999 and in 2007 was awarded the Royal Warrant of Appointment to HM the Queen in recognition of his work, having designed for Her Majesty for a number of years. Keeping it in the family he also designed the wedding dress of the Queen’s Granddaughter, Zara Phillip’s for her wedding last year.

So to get a wedding dress with the Royal seal of approval make an appointment at Froufrou and prepare to be thoroughly spoilt.

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I just love a London bus.  Perhaps it’s because they remind me of all the exciting places they took me when I was little, or when I was a tad bit older, how they always managed to get me back home again! But even if you aren’t a Londoner I bet you still can’t look at one without feeling bright, cheery and full of fun. Perhaps this is why the London Bus has become the transport of choice at many weddings and continues to grow in popularity for the best way to get your guests from A to B and back again.

To book your bus go to The London Bus Company, based near Dartford in Kent. They have buses in all shapes and sizes and will make your big bus wedding the most fun ever!

Many thanks to fabulous photographer Michael Cockerham for the use of his images.

Photos © Michael Cockerham

A few months ago we hurled ourselves into a challenge set by one of our followers. She had a really tight budget for her wedding and didn’t know where to start sourcing outfits that were not going to blow every penny.

So instead of seeing a large chunk of budget go on a designer wedding dress we jumped ship and went in search of available high street bargains. Two weeks later we had three outfits ready to go! Not quite designer, but what do you want for around £70 a pop!

Outfit 1: White Lace and Chiffon Dress by Primark £12.99, Veil from eBay £15.60, Hunter Wellies from eBay £36.00, Hair Flower by Accessorize £6.99.

If you can brave the brand new jumble sale that is Primark, then they have some fantastic dresses for all types of wedding. This one looked fabulous on and would be great for a festival style bride, complete with Hunter’s and flowers in your hair.

 

 

 

 

Outfit 2: Black Prom Dress by H&M from eBay £5.30, Shoes by New Look from eBay £8.10, Necklace on loan from Cherish Jewellery.

This outfit was a complete bargain, with an extra net underskirt, this dress is perfect for a bridesmaid at a black and white or Hollywood style wedding. We’ve seen more and more black being used as an accent colour at weddings to really set a glamorous tone and it works beautifully for bridesmaids.

 

 

 

Outfit 3: Dress by Next (Geri Halliwell Range) from eBay for £22. Original Retail Price £89, Headwear from Oxfam £3.50, Shoes, models own.

What promised to be a great bridesmaid dress wasn’t the result we thought when we actually got our hands on it. Any wedding dress designer will tell you that satin has to be treated with great care and fit perfectly unless you are going to look like a used sweet wrapper. And well it sort of did. We were nervous about this one but for the bargain price of £22 it was worth a try and a lesson to trust your first shopping instincts!

 

 

So if you are short on budget then don’t be afraid to go second-hand as you can get some really good bargains – you’ll just need to be prepared to shop around. There’s also plenty of designer sample sales to watch out for where you can get a fantastic dress at much less than usual.

And so for now our challenge is complete! Happy bargain hunting!

Photography Credit: Kay Young Photography

The snow is here! To celebrate we have an extra special post about the winter wedding of Kent artist, Hayley Restall.

Winter weddings have that little extra sparkle that you just can’t get at any other time of year, and so when Hayley and husband-to-be Ant started to think about inspiration for their big day they didn’t hesitate in choosing a date in December. “I love red” says Hayley “so having this colour in Winter, especially just before Christmas, felt like the perfect choice”.

Stationery for the wedding was designed by Hayley’s bridesmaid, Veneta Hooper, using Hayley’s own brilliant illustrations which added a really personal touch to the wedding.

When choosing her outfit Hayley says “I wanted to look like a film star, but it was important that I still looked like me. I didn’t want to look as if I was dressed up as someone else, so I stuck with the 50s look I’ve always liked but I was a posher, more polished version of me”.

 

Hayley got her dress from Fur Coat No Knickers and after seeing it once she  says “I just knew it was the one!” A girl after our own hearts, Hayley splashed out on some silver sparkly stunners from Christian Louboutin. She also wore her diamond and ruby vintage engagement ring, pearl earrings and her nan’s pearls which she tied around her wrist. She completed the look with a little bag (from eBay) and a big red flower in her hair (also from Fur Coat No Knickers).

Hayley would also advise other winter brides not to worry about being too cold when it comes to choosing their outfit, “I had my photos taken in my dress, outside on a freezing afternoon. I couldn’t feel the cold at all. The post-wedding bliss is all you need to keep you warm! Although I did have a stunning cape that my mum and sister made which I wore to get to the ceremony – it completed the look perfectly”.

 

Ant and Hayley had a civil ceremony at the The Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich, London. Hayley says “From the start we really wanted to get married in a pub but couldn’t find one big enough as we had around 120 guests. Eventually we found the Trafalgar which has a gorgeous big room upstairs and was in a perfect location on the River Thames, which meant we got our pub wedding – but with lots of added glamour!”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little bridesmaids wore red dresses from Monsoon, with the adult Bridesmaids wearing red 50’s style dresses from Vivien of Holloway

 

To decorate the venue, alongside a beautiful big Christmas tree, Ant and Hayley collected hundreds of different candlesticks from charity shops. They lit up the ceremony and were then grouped on the tables during dinner to add a really cosy and romantic light in the room.

 

 

Guests drank Champagne and sherry and ate the Londoner’s favourite, Pie and Mash. This was followed by trifle and traditional wedding cake made locally.

 

After the sit-down meal there was singing alongside the piano, played by Hayley’s bridesmaid, with christmas carol song sheets for everyone. All the guests got really into it and sang along loudly. Then the party got into full swing with the band, The Cortinas. “It was brilliant” says Hayley.

 

 

For their photography Hayley and Ant chose the fantastic award-winning photographer, Emma Case. Hayley and Ant (himself a keen photographer) told us that Emma’s style was just what they were looking for – a documentary of the day with a really alternative feel.

Thanks to Hayley and Ant for sharing their day with us and giving other winter wedding couples lots of ideas and inspiration.

For more information about Hayley’s artistic talents take a look at her website.

Image credits: Emma Case Photography

 

Well done to all the winners of our latest competition, who each win a pair of tickets to the Wedding Fair at Bluewater for the February 2012 show.  They are:

Hayley Oliveri

Ria Saunders

Vicky Durant

Jessica Coleman

Dionne M

Kelly Worcester

Sonia Verga

Jo of MitziandMilo

Make sure you check your emails girls later today for details of how to claim your prize!

Thanks to everyone who entered and if you are going to the Bluewater Wedding Fair we hope to see you there!