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Morning everyone! We’re about to hit what I’m calling ‘proper Christmas’, and most of you will be thinking about non-wedding stuff for a while – so with that in mind I’m sharing some wonderfully bookmarkable posts from now on. Read now if you’re feeling weddingy, or save for later if you’re rushed off your feet with Christmas prep!

glamorous winter wedding hair

Scott and Daniella’s luxury Saddleworth Hotel wedding, with Pixies in the Cellar Photography

Today the English Wedding Blog is all about wedding hair. I’m no expert (think of me as an expert on anything carefree and windswept!) but I know someone who is! We all know winter can trash our hair on a daily basis so here are some brilliant tips to help you avoid the wild, snowy look on your wedding day.

Getting your hair right for a winter wedding isn’t as easy as it sounds. As well as having to deal with the wintry weather and central heating, you also need to think about the thicker, more luxurious fabrics you’re likely to wear and the design of your dress.

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It’s fascinating to see winter through the eyes of a photographer: today we’re talking about nature’s palettes and early sunsets – and you won’t want to miss this post if you’re having a winter wedding. There are practical considerations I’d never have thought of – as well as some lovely ideas (perfect excuse for a cashmere shawl?!) which will make your winter wedding everything it should be.

good winter wedding photographer UK Sue Kwiatkowska (2)

As a wedding blogger I see a ton of photography from weddings throughout the year. I also see the very best – and the very worst – photography. Some photographers can’t cope with winter weddings – and that’s a fact. My personal advice is to choose your photographer very carefully. Find someone (like today’s feature writer Sue) who can shoot in low light, without ruining your photos with flash, and who can capture the atmosphere of your winter wedding.

If finding a good wedding photographer is important for summer, it’s super essential for winter – trust me.

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No? Good. Because you’re about to read an article which flies in the face of everything you’ve ever been told about your wedding colours having to match. They don’t. In fact, the more variation you have in the colours of your wedding styling, the better!

rainbow colour wedding

Holly and Paul’s rainbow of colour wedding style – I love this! Image credit Tracy Morter Photography (click to see the full wedding)

Back when I started out in the wedding business – and that makes me sound reeeally old, but it was less than 10 years ago – everything had to match. If a wedding was purple, it had to be Cadbury. Or royal. Or lavender. You’d never dream of using two slightly different purples – or at least, you’d never see such a travesty in the wedding magazines.

We used to joke on a wedding forum about the best man’s socks matching the bridesmaid’s knickers… and while I’ve never known of a wedding going quite that far, colour matching was a real worry for some brides.

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Wedding discount websites make me sad. Very occasionally they also make me angry… and a few weeks ago I promised on my facebook page I’d share the full text of an email exchange I had with a new wedding discount site called Bridea. First let me explain why wedding discount sites should be avoided.

Three reasons to avoid wedding discount sites

  1. They give the impression you can afford more ‘things’ for your big day.
    But if you’re on a budget, it’s always better to cut down on the things you need. Rather than having a cheap cake and cheap flowers, choose one or the other and do it well.
  2. You really do get what you pay for.
    If it looks too good to be true, it is. Trust me!
  3. Discount sites harm small businesses.
    In the wedding industry most suppliers are sole traders and independent crafters. We’re not Aldi: we can’t afford to slash prices.

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Higher gorges make a man look longer, apparently. Oh, and you should always tuck your vest in. Preferably into your pants…

These are just two of many fascinating things I’ve learned from TM Lewin this morning. Another is that if I had to buy a wedding suit I wouldn’t have the foggiest where to start. I didn’t even know for sure what ‘made-to-measure’ and ‘bespoke’ really meant. So while I don’t often feature this kind of visual blog post, today is a worth exception. Buying a bespoke suit? You’ll need 2 months, at least 2 fittings, and an idea of the style you’re looking for…

How to buy your groom’s suit

wedding suits guide

With thanks to TM Lewin for sharing this guide with The English Wedding Blog today. Buy suits, shirts and accessories online at www.tmlewin.co.uk

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There are two things I look for in wedding dresses above everything else: unique, handmade designs and independent boutiques. Mass market bridalwear isn’t for me. I’m the same with music: I look for something incredible and creative, beautiful and just a little bit different, something most people haven’t discovered yet…

Handmade designer wedding dress boutique UK Rachel Burgess (2)

One Welsh boutique is leading the way with bridal design that breaks the mould

Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique attracts brides from across the UK and is fast becoming a hub for beautiful handmade dresses. The boutique stocks exciting and creative local designers Amy Mair Couture, Angharad Mullooly, Claire Hill Designs, E&W Couture, Kate Barlow and Helen Rhiannon.

Handmade designer wedding dress boutique UK Rachel Burgess (1)

Amy Mair Couture offers a signature style of subtle glamour. Her dresses offer a sharp execution in fit and a structure with a balance of flowing movement in fabrics, with a bohemian or alternative charm. E&W Couture is also committed to offering something a little different for the alternative personality. With a signature style that combines simple cuts with elaborate embellishments she creates elegant, flattering and fashion forward designs.

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Hi everyone, and happy Tuesday to you all! I have a helpful feature up my sleeve today – rather than bringing you ideas every day I like to share useful and practical advice to help you plan your day. So let’s talk about wedding entertainment planning. To be honest, I’d never considered there’d be more to it than booking a band, telling them what time to arrive and where, and paying them afterwards. If that’s your approach, then this article is for you…

wedding entertainment

Image credit Alexis Jaworski www.alexisjaworski.com

Written by experienced and dedicated wedding DJ Richard Porter, today’s blog feature includes advice on pre-wedding meetings, timelines and contracts and the preparations you’ll need to make for truly personal and unique wedding entertainment. I hope you find it really helpful!
Richard Porter’s website is https://discosmobile.com/

wedding entertainment

Image credit Paul Underhill Photography www.paulunderhill.com

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Expert advice is invaluable when you’re planning a wedding. I had an email a few weeks ago from a bride who’d booked her venue and then realised it wasn’t big enough for all of her guests for both the ceremony and reception – she was desperately looking for a ceremony venue at the last minute, and I did my best to help. So I’m hugely grateful to lovely Gabrielle of Blue Bouquet Bride, who works at a luxury wedding venue, for writing today’s feature. Searching for a wedding venue – and getting everything right – isn’t easy. Gabrielle knows all the questions to ask, and shares her advice with us here today. Her list of 15 essential questions could be invaluable for you if you’re deciding on your wedding venue.
claire gould calligrapher signature

sperry tent weddings uk

Sperry tent weddings by PapaKata – Image credit Dominic Wright Photography

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If Simon Cowell got in touch with a list of the UK’s top 50 wedding bands, I’d be less than impressed. He’s no expert on music if you ask me… just a very shrewd businessman. When I see a list of ‘the top 50‘ or ‘the UK’s best‘ I’ll sit up and pay attention if it’s compiled by an expert. Otherwise, I’m at best disinterested and at worst alarmingly cynical about these sorts of things.

real English wedding

Image credit http://www.duntonsphotography.co.uk/

Who knows who’s best?

I was included in a list of ‘the UK’s top 25 wedding bloggers‘ back in July. Nice to be noticed, I guess. I wonder how GoHen compiled the list – from Google? or by looking on UKWed.com maybe.

A list of wedding bloggers is harmless. But a little while later I noticed they’d published a list of the top 50 UK wedding photographers (here). Uh-oh… The article is written by GoHen – “the dedicated hen weekends division of StagWeb – the event specialists, established in 2001”. Their ‘about’ page gives no mention of any expertise in wedding photography.

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So… over the summer my calligraphy business was wonderfully busy with wedding orders, and yet I have taken a bit of a leap and begun selling something totally different to the usual place names, table plan cards and invites. Basically I took a big step sideways and changed the face of my wedding business.

bread board calligraphy

“Will you write on my board?”, asked Emma, amongst other wonderfully creative ideas! Calligraphy by Claire Gould | Styling by Tebbey & Co.

Having sidelines doesn’t mean your core business has to be sidelined!

Have you ever done this?

My core business is still wedding name tags for place settings and favours. I sell invitations and on the day stationery to hundreds of brides and grooms and I LOVE IT.

I’ve diversified this year in two ways: first I took a step back to school with personalised calligraphy pen sets. And then I took another sideways step towards crazytown… I’ve been writing on anything I can find from old windows to huge mirrors, home made blackboards and even an oversized bread board. (Don’t get me wrong: this is my most favourite thing ever!)

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I adore the natural look when it comes to wedding flowers. Rustic flowers just look as though they’ve been lovingly put together… for me I think the appeal is seeing flowers which don’t look manufactured. Do you know what I mean? As though they’ve been carefully gathered by a nice person who loves flowers and creating beautiful things (vs. uniform bunches wrapped in cellophane by Interflora or stabbed with diamantes…) with rustic, natural flowers it’s easier to love them back.

rustic wedding flowers UK (1)

Image credit Katie Laura Flowers | www.kl-flowers.com

www.kl-flowers.com

I stumbled across the loveliest blog feature by Katie Laura Flowers last month. Katie is a Yorkshire lass who launched her floristry company “so I could delve into the world where design meets nature with flowers & foliages.” She loves twigs, writes with real passion and has a talent for creating textured, luxurious wedding flower designs with a fanciful twist! Katie writes about natural, rustic wedding flowers and shows how she creates a gorgeous bouquet with more character than you can shake a twirly twig at! I love this… over to Katie!

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I’ve read so many generic guides to buying wedding stationery on the internet. Some are outdated, many ignore DIY brides and there’s no single article out there which considers all the options – so I’ve put together a simple guide to help you work out when to order your wedding stationery, whatever style you choose and wherever you’re ordering it from!

wedding invitations (1)

Designer wedding invitations, made in the UK by Claire Gould… but when should you order your invites?

A comprehensive guide to ordering wedding invitations: when, what & why

Save the Date?

Save the Date cards are an optional extra. You don’t necessarily need them, but they can be nice if:

  • you’re getting married abroad
  • or in holiday time
  • or just to send to key people who absolutely have to be at your wedding!

Send Save the Dates up to a year in advance. Any longer and you risk guests forgetting all about them.

Invitations

Send your invitations between 3 months and 6 weeks before your big day. The important thing is to remember you’ll need to buy your invitations weeks beforehand: