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Last Sunday we held one of our DIY wedding workshops at the fabulous Bake and Crafthouse in Cranbrook. Crafting expert Kate took our workshop attendees through their paces setting them to work on bunting, stationery, place cards, pom poms, favours and table settings.

Here is just a little taster of what we did on the day. You can also get instructions on making the cute favour bags and edible favours by clicking the links.

diy workshop

 

All our Brides-to-be and their Mums and chums had a great time and we absolutely loved having them. I helped the Brides with some advice on how to plan the perfect DIY wedding with our insider hints and tips. Here’s are our top three DIY tips that we talked about more at the workshop:

1. Be warned DIY doesn’t always mean cheap

As much as I love DIYing I do sometimes have to admit defeat and realise that actually I can’t make it any cheaper than buying it in from a professional – especially not when I add my limited time into the equation. Suppliers can buy in bulk, have all the right equipment and can do a professional looking job. Hobbycraft and your old glue gun sometimes just won’t measure up and it’ll cost you more in the long run.

2. The Clock is Ticking

You’ll need lots of time and energy if you’re making everything from scratch. Do a reality time check. If you work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week then things might get a tad stressful for a novice DIYer especially in the run up to the big day. If you don’t think you can fit it in think about getting help and plan accordingly.

3. Fail to Plan Plan to Fail

Now even if you have managed to get everything done on your DIY schedule do think about the big day itself and how much setting up will be needed. If you have lots of DIY elements from bunting to pom poms or table settings, photo booths and sweet tables you’ll need to schedule in how you are going to get it all to the wedding venue and how long you’ll need to set it up. Check with your venue when you can get in to start your decor and when you’ll need to clear them all out by. Plan accordingly and make sure you have enough pairs of hands to get everything done in the time allowed.

If you would like to go on the waiting list for our workshops in early 2014 then please email hello@theweddingdolls.co.uk and we’ll be sure to let you know the exact dates very soon.

If in the meantime you need any help or advice with your DIY wedding, styling or how to go about setting up on the big day do give us  a call – we love to chat DIY weddings!

Happy Planning!

Emma x

P.S Kate at the Bake and Crafthouse does fantastic craft hen parties – get those hens to help!!

We’re totally over the moon this week as we received a lovely email confirming we’re finalists in the Kent Wedding Awards for Wedding Planner of the Year. It’s lovely to be recognised within your industry for the work you do and the great service you provide to your couples.

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Our aim when we set up the company was to run a boutique wedding planning service that would help couples organise a wedding that’s fun, fabulous and full of personality. Years later I’m still amazed that people always seem to ask “what is it exactly that you do” and really don’t understand the role of a wedding planner. Firstly I’d start by saying most couples will WANT to plan their big day and we don’t in anyway “take over” the planning. We’re there to offer a complete wedding guide from engagement through to the big day and our services include venue searching, sourcing suppliers, designing wedding style guides, themes and decor, venue decoration, workshops and full or partial planning.

By far our Brides tell us our most stress-busting option is our Dolly On-The-Day co-ordination service. It leaves you free to enjoy your wedding day, whilst we worry about all the details, fix any problems, manage suppliers and look after the needs of you and your guests.

We don’t take over the whole planning of your wedding without you. Ever. It’s totally up to you how much we do and you can use our service as much or as little as you need, from Dolly Hours at just £35 to on-the-day co-ordination from £450. There’s an affordable and flexible option for all budgets.

So if you’re still not sure what we do and how we can help you the short answer is …… save yourself time, money and loads of unnecessary nail-biting by giving us a call today for your free consultation.

Emma x

Ps Keep your fingers crossed for us – we find out if we’ve the award won next month!

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Whoohoo today on the blog we have a brilliant giveaway all thanks to fabulous local hamper company, Spicers of Hythe. You can get your chops round a chocolate feast hamper worth £25 simply by popping over to our Facebook page and sharing this post.

There’s something really quite British about a hamper and we love their vintage charm with oodles of lovely delights inside that make them a perfect wedding thank you gift. From booze to biscuits and velvety chocolate treats – there’s a hamper to suit the whole bridal party from the in-laws to the Ushers and good old Mum and Dad.

Local firm Spicers of Hythe have over 85 years in the fine food industry, starting back in 1926 when Great grandfather Percy opened the first Spicers store. Today they still handpick the best produce sourced from local and international suppliers and wrap it all up in beautiful baskets. Check out their website to see the full range.

Good luck and if the winner needs someone to share all that chocolate with, The Wedding Dolls office is always open…….

Emma x

Chocolate Hamper

Chocolate Hamper

 

The Small Print: The competition is open to individual Facebook entrants only and not business pages. Winners will be notified through Facebook and a UK delivery address for the prize will be required from the winner. The winner will be picked at random on 14th October 2013 and notified on Facebook. No correspondence will be entered into, prizes are as stated, are not transferable and there is no cash alternative. Prizes may be substituted for equal or greater value if the stated prize becomes unavailable. If you are a winner, you must claim your prize within 28 days of being notified otherwise the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen. The prize will be sent directly from Spicers of Hythe to the winner. Please allow 28 days for delivery of your prize from the date you contact us to claim your prize.

 

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

It’s all going to be a bit quiet on the blog this weekend as we’re having lots of fun at the Wedding Fair, Bluewater. We’re here on our stand helping couples with their wedding worries and lots more besides.

Here’s a little peek at our stand chalkboard wall designed by the fantastic Suzanne of Pretty Wild Wedding Stationery. Pretty special and very gorgeous huh!

CHALKBOARD BACKDROP

If planning your wedding is getting a tad stressful and you feel like you need a little help then you’re in the right place. Here at The Wedding Dolls we’re like an extra pair of hands that come with a big dose of experience to make your wedding journey so much easier.  From finding the best suppliers to guidance on styling and inspirational ideas, we’ll work together to create a wedding that’s totally unique and all about you.

Our popular packages include “Dolly Drama but Calmer” for help in the final stages and all those last minute preparations, “Dolly-on-the-day” so you can relax and enjoy your big day whilst we make sure everything runs smoothly and our “Dolly Hours” which allows you to use our expertise as much or as little as you need, just when you need it most.

Take a look at our portfolio page to see some of our work and watch out over the next few weeks when we’ll be blogging about some of our summer weddings and giving you all lots more advice and inspiration.

In the meantime we hope to see some of you at Bluewater and have a great weekend!

Emma x

 

So following on from the start of our countdown yesterday to the Wedding Fair at Bluewater, part one of our wedding worries special kicks off with choosing your photographer. Always a toughie so click through and have a look at this guest blog post, by Kent photographer Rebecca Douglas, who talks you through the process. A must read for anyone still debating who will capture their big day.

Lisa & Owen E-shoot by Rebecca Douglas Photography 0614-the-wedding-dolls Kent wedding planner

Credit: Rebecca Douglas

Oh and we do love an engagement shoot. They are a great way to get to know your photographer and get a feel for the type of images you want taken on your big day. Have a sneak peek at Love in Paris and Bluebells and Fairytales for a bit of engagement shoot inspiration. If you’re still not sure read this useful post from Offbeat Bride which gives you some darn good reasons why you should partake in a shoot, especially if you’re a bit camera shy. Also check out their engagement shoot ideas board.

Plus if you’ve ever wondered how your mate always looks great in pics whilst you’re sporting a double chin and red eye then read this article on iVillage. This way you might actually get tagged in a wedding Facebook picture where you look half human, although after years of trying I’m still yet to perfect that one…..

Happy Posing!

Emma x

PS Don’t forget to book your Wedding Fair at Bluewater tickets with our special discount code and come visit our stand where we’ll help you banish those wedding worries!

Today on the blog we have another fantastic find to share with you, Kent wedding photographer, Helen Schryver of Schryver Photography. Here Helen tells us a little more about her work…..

“My wedding photography is largely documentary-style, with unobtrusive coverage typically lasting from bridal preparations to well into the evening. I believe the best photos come from capturing people unaware as very few people actually enjoy posing for photographs! I make it my mission to seek out all the hundreds of special moments that take place on a wedding day and love taking creative shots of all the little details. I want to make sure I have really captured the whole feel of the day.”

the wedding dolls photo IMG_1208aS600 IMG_1323aS600 IMG_1385aS600 IMG_1576a600 IMG_3467aS600 IMG_8310aS600 IMG_8426aS600 IMG_9449aS600 IMG_9996aS600

Helen is offering all Wedding Dolls readers a 10% discount on her Classic and Premium wedding photography packages if you book before the end of October 2013.

For more information about pricing and to view the gallery visit www.schryverphoto.com

Happy Planning!

Emma x

Images by www.schryverphoto.com

 

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Today we have a fabulous new business to showcase on the blog from a brilliant Kent supplier. Amanda, the designer and creator of Brooch Bride, is originally a northern lass from Newcastle but has been in Kent for nearly 10 years. Amanda started out as a florist and was in the trade for over 2o years until she launched her new business creating bridal bouquets and accessories completely from buttons and brooches.

Lets find out a little bit more from Amanda…..

“Each Brooch bouquet I make is entirely unique and very much a one off, no two pieces will ever be completely the same. I handcraft the brooch bouquets as a reflection of each Bride. From gothic and dark to colourful or sparkly, the intricacy within the brooch bouquets uses amazing detail taken from the wedding theme itself or simply whatever the Bride loves.

I’m really passionate about my designs and love the fact that a brooch bouquet could become a treasured family heirloom, passed down through generations to use time and time again. Brides can incorporate their own jewellery and family stories as well into the design. From using a loved ones photograph in a locket to adding silver buttons from a cherished coat – it’s so fulfilling to create something that is completely bespoke and highly original.”

Wedding Photography Wedding Photography Wedding Photography Wedding Photography Wedding Photography Wedding Photography Wedding Photography Wedding Photography Wedding Photography

See Amanda’s designs first hand at the Vintage and Unique Wedding Fair at Scotney Castle in September or visit the website to see the full range and order online. Amanda is offering all Wedding Dolls readers an exclusive 10% discount when you pay the deposit before December 2013. Just quote “The Wedding Dolls” when ordering.

Happy Shopping!

Emma x

Photography by Penny Young.

Today on the blog we have an absolutely brilliant competition that you won’t want to miss. The Rainbow Club has a stunning range of gorgeous wedding shoes and accessories with stockists all over Kent and the UK. For one lucky lady, they are giving you the chance to win accessories of your choice up to the value of £150.

All you need to do to win is whizz over and “Like” The Wedding Dolls and Rainbow Club Facebook pages, then share the post and you’ll be automatically entered.

For the lucky winner there’s so much to choose from including hair accessories, veils and handbags. Here are just a few of our favourites….

Anemone, £125

Orchid, £125

Chinita, £125

Cristobal, £149

Pinto, £85

Doria, £65

Visit their website to see the complete range of sparkling and pretty bridal shoes and accessories and to find a local stockist.

And don’t forget to enter the competition today – good luck!

Emma x

 

The Small Print: Please note that shoes are not included, the prize is for accessories only. The competition is open to individual Facebook entrants only and not business pages. Winners will be notified through Facebook and a UK delivery address for the prize will be required from the winner. The winner will be picked at random on 6th September 2013. No correspondence will be entered into, prizes are as stated, are not transferable and there is no cash alternative. Prizes may be substituted for equal or greater value if the stated prize becomes unavailable. If you are a winner, you must claim your prize within 28 days of being notified otherwise the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen. The prize will be sent directly from the Rainbow Club to the winner. Please allow 28 days for delivery of your prize from the date you contact us to claim your prize.

 

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With a busy wedding season now in full swing, we’ve been working on very different types of weddings. From village halls to golf and country clubs, followed by barns and a castle, they all have one thing in common. These couples have decided that they want to have fun on their big day knowing that their plans are in place and they can relax and enjoy the whole experience with friends and family.

We often get asked what exactly it is that we do as an on-the-day wedding co-ordinator and here’s what we say!

With our Dolly on the Day package we’re there throughout the wedding day to do all those things that need to get done, from overseeing deliveries to setting up tables, styling the venue, being a general timekeeper and keeping the day running smoothly. We assist the bridal party so no-one forgets what they need to say or do and are generally on hand to deal with any problems that may possibly arise. From early morning until usually just after the first dance we’ll be keeping everything flowing as it should.

Many couples choose Dolly-on-the-Day if they have lots of DIY elements to come together or have multiples venues to organise. Dry-hire venues are also perfect for this service as we can set up and clear away, deal with deliveries and help others suppliers on arrival. Even if your venue has an on-site co-ordinator many couples still like to know that they have someone there the morning of the wedding to make sure the Bridal Party are all ready on time and relaxed plus assist the photographer with getting pre-wedding shots of the Bridal party.

As one of our couples recently said “We knew we needed help and assistance on the day but didn’t really know where to turn. We didn’t think our budget would allow for a wedding planner but when my friend told me about The Wedding Dolls they sounded perfect. Joanne helped us pull a schedule together straight away and with her advice in the run up to the wedding everything was calm, considered and way more fun! Previously I had long to-do lists for my parents and friends and was worried about how they would manage it all. Handing it all over to Joanne instead was a huge relief. Come the wedding day we didn’t have to worry, we knew everything was in place and could enjoy ourselves, along with our families to the max!”.

So if you think you need some help but are not sure where to start give us a call!

Emma x

vijay and leanne wd's at work

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