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A special hello this morning to any green brides and grooms. I have a guest post for you from the very lovely Harriet Wild from the Eden Project in Cornwall. I’m an eco-friendly wedding blogger (English Wedding Blog‘s laptop, lights and baking machine are all powered by Ecotricity, did you know?!) Needless to say I’m all for weddings which consider and help our world and environment so I am proud to have this guest blog post on the blog today. (Check out the wedding favours – Seed Bombs! Fantastic!)

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An ethical wedding venue – wedding reception at The Eden Project. Photo credit Tom Griffiths

How to plan a green wedding

Gone are the days where the word ‘eco’ means hippy, tie-dye and poor quality. Having a low-impact wedding is a great way of saving a bob or two, while at the same time treading lightly on the planet. A ‘green wedding’ means that consumption, sustainability, creativity and careful sourcing are at the forefront of decisions.

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Hello there! I have a great, helpful and chuckle-full wedding advice post for you this morning. Are you trusting your best girls to organise your hen do? Or are you wondering how to suggest exactly what you’d like to do for that particular celebration?! Here’s a guest post from one of the experts in hen parties – hope you like it!

Organising your own hen party – in five easy steps

organise your own hen party image (1)
Breaking news for all the organised hens out there, it’s not just control-freak bridezillas who organise their own hen do’s! As it turns out, more hens are deciding to put the wedding folder aside (just for a minute or two!) and check out hen party activities themselves, and why not?

We know best what we’d love to do and there’s always the worry that the MoH will make it a little TOO raunchy (and yes there is such a thing!) As well as that, Bridesmaids, while being hilarious, has highlighted the stress we can put on our nearest-and-dearest, so at the very least we’d like to be around to lend a helping hand.

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This isn’t pretty! Unusually for a wedding blog I suppose… I was having a bit of an email chat with the lovely Wendy Bell from WBD Designer Wedding Stationery this week, and she asked if I photographed my wedding calligraphy myself, and how / where I did it.

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Place name doilies with calligraphy from www.Calligraphy-for-Weddings.com

I try and make sure all the photography I show on my calligraphy website and blog is up to a decent standard: for a wedding product which is all about looks, photography is really important. I’ve seen plenty of wedding supplier websites and facebook pages where the product photography lets the site down.

I don’t have any special equipment for photographing my work, so I thought I’d share a very honest view of my usual setup! Scuse the paws… they’re banished from the room when I’m photographing orders; only allowed in for samples!

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A finished wedding calligraphy photograph: cropped, exposure tweaked and resized for the web

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I zoomed out a little to show you the limited spot of sunshine I was using, and my two little assistants…

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wedding photography by CG Weddings in Cheshire

Wedding planning: can you be too organised? Photo credit: CG Weddings, Cheshire www.cgweddings.co.uk

I have admiration and astonishment in equal measure for couples – and let’s face it, mainly brides-to-be – who plan their weddings. Co-ordinating everything from guest lists to menu choices, sending invitations and remembering to order everything from top hats to garters… I can’t even begin to imagine how you do it.

It takes 18 months to plan your perfect day… or does it?

The average time to plan a wedding in the UK is 18 months, I believe. Wedding magazines, websites and books offer wedding planning checklists and guides telling you what needs to be done when: have you taken out wedding insurance? ordered buttonholes for the ushers? Do you know when to order your wedding invitations?

Can you plan your wedding too far in advance?

I read a thread on the Hitched wedding forum this week, asking how early was too early to book a wedding photographer. My experience tells me that the very best get booked up anywhere from two years in advance.

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saving money for your weddingI get a lot of emails with suggested features for my blog. Some are OK, some are great. This little feature is a quick read, but stood out from the crowd because the advice here is so good. Simple, easy – and really sound advice about money. Although as a wedding calligrapher I’m not sure about a paper-free wedding!

Wedding Planning Tips – save money on your big day

1. Reuse floral pieces: Using flowers for your ceremony decorations? Think about designs that will easily translate from ceremony to reception to cut back on floral costs. Many pieces that you have for the ceremony can easily be used into the reception décor, such as your bridesmaids’ bouquets and aisle flowers.

2. Try DIY: The possibilities for DIY projects for your wedding are endless. From invitations, to programs, to iPod playlists, think about what you can do yourselves before you shell out dough. If you’re not as crafty, enlist the help of a few family members or bridesmaids to help with you get the projects done well ahead of the big day!

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Hello there, dearest readers. Welcome to my personal hell… the question which has my mind spinning in circles all the time: as a UK wedding blog owner and wedding business owner (separately) I know the answer is Yes. Wedding blog advertising works.

Wedding photography by Rob and Sarah Gillespie

Photo credit: Rob and Sarah Gillespie. Click to see the full wedding feature

However…

Here it comes! Hot on the heels of that resounding ‘Yes’, comes the qualifier: sometimes. And if you get it right. And that’s infinitely harder to define and explain and share – much as I’d like to share the secrets of wedding blog advertising with suppliers on a daily basis, it simply ain’t that simple.

Wedding blog advertising works if you push it!

If you decide to advertise on a wedding blog, you can’t just send your ad and leave it at that. You have to make your blog advertising an active part of your wedding business promotion.

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A guest blog post this morning to make you smile. Fancy stepping in the hallowed footsteps of the floppy-haired secret-crush inducing naughtier-than-he-looks Hugh Grant? Here’s how…

Even if you don’t live in the same parish as the famous UK wedding venues mentioned in this list you could pull a few strings to try and stage your wedding at one of them. It might be a bit tricky to arrange a wedding at number five in the list though!

Luton Hoo Hotel wedding venue by Calotype46 on Flickr

Luton Hoo Hotel wedding venue by Calotype46 on Flickr

Luton Hoo Hotel as seen in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Photo by Calotype46 on flickr

1. Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire

This beautiful place, located just 30 miles from London, was a stately home when it featured as the hotel staging the second wedding reception in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Do you fancy yourself as the next Hugh Grant? You do? Then this is the wedding venue for you!

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This guest blog post brought a wry smile to my face this morning – so for any men planning to propose in the near future, here’s some advice to help you propose without a hitch!

engagement ring by wedding photographer Alison Groves

Photo credit: Alison Groves (click to see featured wedding blog)

Of course the first step in any wedding is the proposal, and what is a proposal without the perfect engagement ring? Taking that first step can be a frightening prospect as there is always some amount of doubt in the back of the man’s mind as to whether or not his proposal will be accepted.

It’s almost like a toddler taking his or her first steps when learning to walk. You see the baby standing there precariously, wobbling back and forth a little awkwardly, until enough courage is amassed to take that giant first step. This is probably what most men are experiencing when trying to find the perfect moment to ‘pop the question’ and one which would be great parodied on classic comedy hours such as America’s Saturday Night Live or the UK’s fabulously famous show of the late 60’s and early 70’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

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I’m going to show you an email, and then I’m going to say just what I think about a) plastic surgery and b) the idiots who think brides are their ideal customers for procedures.

This could get messy…

Here’s the email I found in my inbox this morning:
I can’t fault Bella’s polite approach, but it’s certainly a one-email-fits-all thing, so I don’t feel bad about my response. She’s only asking for a guest post about skincare… all perfectly harmless (I’ve nothing against moisturiser!)  – but the string attached would be a nice backlink to a blog about cosmetic surgery. Kerching?

My reply to the email (sadly it’s one of many)

I have strong feelings about anyone in the business of making money from people’s vulnerabilities… this is me explaining that quite nicely:

It’s a topic I find it difficult to be too nice about – that’s as polite as I wanted to be.

My opinions on surgery:

  1. I have no problem with surgery after an accident. Severe burns and scarring can be traumatic – if an operation or two will help, it’s a good thing.
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Pre-wedding season, I was peering through the tumbleweed at various wedding photography websites and genuinely surprised by a) the numbers of wedding photographers out there, and b) the lack of blogs!

A quick look at this as a little aside: I searched for ‘wedding photographers’ and got a map with chicken pox. There are so, so many photographers out there! (Even more if you zoom in). I knew that though…

wedding photographers map UK

wedding photographers - a rash across the UK?

I was on a bit of a mission to discover new wedding photographers – ones who hadn’t submitted to my blog before, so I could raise awareness of English Wedding blog. And I was looking for their real wedding features to get an idea of what they do.

Four out of five didn’t have blogs.

And I was surprised – in this day and age, surely a wedding business blog is as important for SEO and promotion as facebook, more important than twitter, on a par with having a presence at wedding shows and fairs?

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Some of the guest blog post ideas I’m sent for English Wedding are fabulous. This is one. Honestly written, funny and charming – and full of genuine advice for grooms. We’ve heard a lot about looking good in wedding photos from various blogs recently, but never a real focus on the groom. And I like to think I know what men need: practical advice, useful ideas and humour. The other thing men need is Tamara Kuzminski – a full of great advice. She’s the author of today’s guest blog post – so welcome, Tamara, and thank you!

When planning your wedding, most of the advice focuses on the bride. Unsurprising really, when statistically, it’s the brides who do most of the planning and the grooms have (perhaps an unfair) reputation of just turning up, looking smart and saying “I do”. But just because the boys aren’t necessarily as motivated when it comes to collecting ribbon and drying out petals, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to look their best.

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posting wedding invites UK advice (5)
Hello! For starters: I’m only cringing a little bit at the title. OK, so it’s not a dire warning about the Royal Mail. Your wedding won’t be flashmobbed by angry postmen; even postal strikes aren’t going to have that much impact on your day. So let’s not panic – this is a sensible blog post with wedding advice for couples and suppliers alike: a few things that can go wrong when you’re relying on our wonderful postal service, and how to make them go right instead. (PS do you like my pink stamps? I love Photoshop! Queen, take note!)

Pay the right postage; save on wedding invitation stamps

For anyone who didn’t know, the price of stamps is going up in April. It’s worth thinking about buying your stamps now to save lots of money. The bigger / heavier your wedding invitations, the more you’ll save by buying stamps before the 3oth of April.