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When it comes to planning your wedding day, choosing your venue is perhaps the most important decision you have to make. It’s almost up there with choosing the bride’s dress! There are so many facets that make a venue right for your big day and it can be difficult to find one that satisfies every requirement.

There is so much to think about, so I am sharing this interview with you today to set you thinking about your wedding venue: what to look for, questions to ask and how to choose the right venue for you as a couple. With thanks to Yorkshire wedding venue Wentbridge House for the interview!

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Wentbridge House is quite unique in that it has a church next door – do you work alongside the church?

Although religious wedding ceremonies are less common than in years gone by, a large percentage of couples still wish to get married in a church.
Of course, this adds another factor to consider, as you search for a suitable venue that has a perfect church in close proximity.

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A recent wedding blog post had me chuckling – fondly! – at the mention of an awkward shuffle in lieu of a flashy, choreographed or extrovert first dance. I’d be an awkward shuffler, and quite happily. But I’d still be nervous as the centre of attention. So when today’s guest blogger Amy got in touch with her secrets of a confident first dance, I was so pleased. I’m sure plenty of you will find these tips inspiring and useful. Enjoy…

First dance 2012

Photo credit Phil Bourne www.e-motionimages.co.uk

The secrets of a confident first dance

As with most things in life, a little confidence goes a long way, but if the thought of your first dance fills you with dread, finding your confidence is easier said than done.

Why is a first dance so nerve-wracking?

Dancing badly, being embarrassed and feeling a fool are all typical concerns. It’s completely understandable seeing as there will be eyes staring, cameras poised, camcorders at the ready and the possibility of an unwelcome YouTube appearance….

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Wedding discounts websites annoy the hell out of me. I know I’m not alone in this – sites like Vowscher peddling cheap-as-chips wedding deals are misleading couples and harming small businesses. Please don’t use them!

Cheap wedding discounts and the damage they cause

Oooh… “she’s a bit ranty today”, I hear you say. But not without reason, I promise! Cheap wedding deals are all very well in theory, until you understand the mechanics of wedding discount websites. And the stories I’ve been hearing about how they work have turned my stomach, to be honest.

So what’s so terrible about cheap wedding discounts sites?

1. You get what you pay for! If something is cheap, it’s cheap for a reason. Items may be poor quality, or there may be a catch. Always check the small print before you buy, and always, always ask for a sample when buying wedding stationery or similar items online.

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Hello there! I hope you’re having a wonderful day so far. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you – from the heart and from my own experience this last few weeks.

I know so many people who are nervous about having their picture taken, especially brides and grooms. It’s very easy to see why – it feels quite strange sometimes to be the centre of attention, especially if you’re not used to being photographed.

How to love having your picture taken!

love being photographed

If you’re not looking forward to having your picture taken on your wedding day, then I really hope this article will help you embrace the prospect and enjoy the experience of being photographed at your wedding.

As I type (this post was scheduled a little in advance!) I’ve just come back from a photoshoot at the seaside with my lovely friends Chris and Claire Hanley (www.ChrisHanleyPhotography.com). It’s the third shoot Chris has done for me – and this time while I was nervous I was also really excited about having my picture taken.

Rosaln Lace Weding Shoes by Rachel Simpson
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Once again I have some brilliant advice to share with all of you brides-to-be from my lovely friends at Queens & Bowl. Choosing the perfect vintage wedding shoes can be a Big Decision (capitals intended!) so for shoe lovers everywhere, here are some top tips to make sure you’re tottering beautifully in the right direction!

Rosaln Lace Weding Shoes by Rachel Simpson

Rosalyn Lace Wedding Shoes by Rachel Simpson

Some women would argue that shoes aren’t a matter of life or death; they’re far more important than that! This is especially true when it comes to choosing wedding shoes. A bad pair of shoes can throw off an entire bridal ensemble, not to mention making the best day of your life extremely uncomfortable.

As most married women will tell you, choosing wedding shoes is hard but it could be argued that picking vintage wedding shoes is even harder. Not only do you have to consider all of the usual factors that will determine which shoes you buy, but you also have to match your wedding shoes to the era you’ll be evoking in your ceremony!

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From castles, dinosaurs and dancing unicorns (step one) to a realistic and sensible way of creating the wedding you will love, and in budget (step three) – think you can do it? I’m sure you can, and it’s all about having a vision and knowing what you really want as a couple.

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Wedding photography credit: Georgi Mabee. Click to see the rest of this gorgeous wedding on the blog!

Rachel has written today’s guest article for you, and it’s brilliant. Follow her advice and you’ll be well on the way to saving both money and stress as you plan your big day together.

Sticking to your guns: The art of prioritising when planning your wedding.

Every couple planning a wedding (unless they happen to be extremely rich with little or no family) will have to make compromises. This is a fact. But don’t panic! Here is a simple guide to working out your priorities early and then sticking to them with a steely determination in the face of dream venues, pushy mother-in-laws and dwindling funds.

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I’m really not kidding… today I bring you five true stories which will have you gasping in surprise, possibly make you nervous, and maybe inspire you to try something very different. This is a fantastic guest blog from Pete – serial wedding gift-giver and whisky lover (see Petey McPete, below!) – enjoy!

wedding photography by Lucy Turnbull

wedding photography by Lucy Turnbull – click to see the full real wedding

5 strange, wacky and unique wedding gift ideas

We’ve all been there, you have a big wedding to attend, the sands of time are running out, and you’re yet to find the perfect wedding gift. Although it often feels like it, buying wedding gifts is not a competition, but if it was the ideas in this post would win hands down. Often the best wedding gifts are those wacky, unusual, original and unique ideas that become the talk of the day!

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Meeting with couples to chat about wedding stationery always inspires me. (You’re all brilliant, you know that?!) A question that came up again and again at the Muncaster wedding fair was “how do escort cards work?”.

apple escort cards

These wedding escort cards tied to apples are rustic, quirky and fun! A table full of decorated apples looks fab too. They were so popular at the wedding fair that a gorgeous little girl called Robyn even ate one! (not the tag)

I’ve written a quick post over on my calligraphy blog to introduce escort cards to anyone who isn’t familiar with them. They’re basically a more creative, cheaper, interactive and flexible alternative to a formal wedding seating plan. Find out more here: my wedding escort cards article

Enjoy!

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Are you buying handcrafted wedding invitations from one of those fabulous designers you see on Etsy, or at vintage wedding fairs? If you are, you’ll know how much more enjoyable and exciting it can be to buy from a small creative business than a corporate giant. It’s something I feel passionately about too.

The experience: buying handmade

There’s something really special about the personal relationship you’ll develop with your wedding invitation designer. From the first chat or email… “Can you make me something with a monogram / our venue in the design?” to the arrival of your first invitation proof in the post – it’s a wedding experience which builds up to the day and makes it special.

Beats nipping down to Marks & Sparks for 6 packs of 12 invites in a little plastic wallet thing, doesn’t it?

I’m passionate about supporting small businesses in the wedding industry. There’s so much creative talent out there: independent designers who are passionate about every design they create, and artists and graphic designers who turn their hands and talents to exquisite design for the couples they work with.

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It’s been said that details at weddings aren’t that important. It’s a fair argument and one I understand: the focus of a wedding should be the marriage itself, and celebrating with friends and family. However…

Dorset wedding by Simon Biffen Photography

Polly and Andy’s gorgeous Dorset wedding by Simon Biffen Photography – click to see the real wedding

Relatively speaking, the little details shouldn’t really matter… the stationery, wedding signs, accessories, ushers’ colour-coordinated socks and cufflinks. Or should they?

Little things hold their own special memories

Wedding blogs and magazines have been criticised for focusing on the minutiae of wedding decor. Our “real weddings” share too many images of DIY details – or so some have said. I’m referring of course to the infamous ‘Dear Wedding Bloggers, You Suck‘ on Mountainside Bride blog.

But for some reason, a year later this letter is still making me think. Why should we dismiss the little details which have taken couples so long to create or source from creative wedding suppliers?

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Are you new to wedding blogs? Just exploring, seeing what they’re all about? Then this post is for you. It’s all too easy for me as a wedding blogger to forget that not everyone reads blogs. But I’d like to explain why they’re so easy to fall in love with and so irresistible to keep coming back to!

Lifeline Photography on English Wedding Blog

Click to see more from Amanda and Anton’s gorgeous Thrumpton Hall wedding – Photo credit Lifeline Photography

Wedding blogs in the UK are bigger than the wedding magazines. The top blogs easily dwarf the official circulation figures of Wedding Ideas print magazine, You & Your Wedding and the other glossies. We feature real weddings almost every day, with a focus on details, ideas and inspiration.

Wedding blogs are free to read – they’re like magazines with no cover price! Forget paying your £4.99 to see inside the bag… with a blog you just click and explore all the real weddings, inspiration shoots, advertisers and ideas for your big day. For free!

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The longer I live by the seaside, the more I love it. The more passionate I feel about nature, being home and belonging to a place. The English coast is both an inspirational and romantic place – and it’s so very close to my heart (I dip my toes in the sea nearly every day). So when Jack asked me if I’d like to share his guest blog post about getting married by the sea, I jumped at the chance! I hope you enjoy it. More seaside escapism on the way soon… x

seaside wedding photography

Wedding photography credit: Simon Biffen | www.simonbiffenphotography.co.uk

Why not get married by the sea?

The sea has always been an important part of Britain’s heritage and culture, inspiring countless artists, writers and musicians down the centuries. Long associated with pleasure, romance and mystery, the ocean makes a stunning backdrop for a wedding, whether it’s the white cliffs of Dover, the pretty harbour of Torquay, or the gaudy arcades at Blackpool.