Gatsby vintage wedding at Crockwell Farm, images by Jodie Cooling Photography (26)
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A guest article from Weddings By Mary

Weddings give couples the perfect opportunity to express their unique & individual personalities. Adding personal touches to your day makes it so much more unique and memorable. At Weddings By Mary I completely understand that every wedding is unique and although I offer wedding planning ‘packages’, no wedding I plan is the same as another, as none of my couples are the same. I really encourage brides & grooms to express themselves in whatever way makes them feel like, well, them!

Over the years I have seen so many individual and personal ideas come to fruition, from the homemade touches of Scottish shortbread, lovingly baked and wrapped by the bride, to parents who tenderly nurtured and grew all the flowers in their own garden from which they created beautiful table centrepieces and displays around the wedding venue. Don’t be shy in expressing your wedding day desires. It is also a lovely way to get family and friends more involved in the planning, build up and excitement of your special day.

Documentary wedding photographers in Dorset, Linus Moran Photography, Kings Arms Boutique Hotel (1)
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A guest article by English Wedding Directory members Last Minute Musicians

At Last Minute Musicians, we asked ourselves a question – what are the most popular cover songs being played by the wedding bands on our directory? As such, we recently carried out a survey of over 2500 bands to find out what was on their wedding set list.

We came up with a list of 60 of the most popular Rock/Pop hits, and 40 of the most popular Jazz and Classical pieces and it’s from this list that we’ve picked out twenty favourite cover songs other brides and grooms have requested, to help you with the process of selecting music for your big day!

  1. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  2. Rolling In The Deep – Adele
  3. At Last – Etta James
  4. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  5. Aint Nobody – Chaka Khan
  6. American Boy by Estelle
  7. Dancing In The Street by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
  8. Good Times – Chic
  9. I Feel Good – James Brown
Beautiful English summer wedding with Richard Skins Photography (17)
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Fashion is a big thing in weddings – dresses change from year to year (and with huge influences whenever there’s a royal wedding!) – as do suits (we’ve recently shifted from bright blues to softer shades and a focus on luxury fabrics. But cars?

You wouldn’t expect it, but wedding car trends are huge. When the English Wedding Blog was born it was all about the stately old English cars – the Jaguars, Rolls Royce and Bentleys – big old granddaddies of cars full of luxury and upper class upholstery – to go with the traditional mansion wedding venues, obviously.

Now we’re getting married in urban spaces and converted barns, and in festival style tipi celebrations. And our wedding car choices have shifted, subtly and brilliantly, to fit.

Beautiful English summer wedding with Richard Skins Photography (18)

Top two images by Richard Skins Photography – this fabulous wedding will be coming to the English Wedding Blog over the summer!

English Wedding Directory member BookAclassic has been looking closely at its wedding bookings across the UK and has found that couples now favour the Ford Mustang over more traditional transport choices.

ethical diamond engagement rings by MiaDonna London
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A guest article by Anna-Mieke Anderson

Anna-Mieke Anderson, a mother and consumer turned philanthropist and entrepreneur, is the CEO and founder of MiaDonna. In 2006, Anna-Mieke had the vision to create a conflict-free diamond and has led the evolution of the lab-grown diamond industry. Even before the technology to create diamonds was perfected she knew that the only way to combat conflict diamonds was to grow them in a modern day lab environment.

The MiaDonna story started in 2005 when a 7-year-old boy named Ponpon living in an African diamond mining community told me, “I had a great summer because only one of my classmates was killed.” Those words changed my life forever. While I was on bed rest during my pregnancy, I realised my diamond engagement ring that represented love most likely orphaned children. I took off my ring and began sponsoring Ponpon, who spoke those resounding words.

West Mill wedding in Derby with images by Mike Plunkett Photography (36)
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A guest article by Anthony Horner

She said yes. Congratulations! Now you’re tasked with planning your perfect wedding. Flowers to be ordered, venues booked, invitations written — weddings take a lot of preparation. With so many things to consider for the big day, shopping for your wedding suit can feel like a burden. Where to begin?

Your wedding suit is probably the most important outfit you will ever buy, so it’s essential to get it right. Think of your bride’s face when she first sees you on the day, or the many photos that will document the occasion. You want a wedding suit that is classic, timeless — something you can look back on with pride and fond memories. Yet, for many of us, the old wedding suit shopping ritual can become both stressful and expensive.

Colour, cut, design, rented or bought, tailored or made to measure; the list of choices goes on and it can be overwhelming.

Follow this guide to make shopping for your wedding suit as easy as possible.

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English Wedding Directory member Ross Willsher is a professional photographer based in Essex. His book, “How to have a wedding as individual as you are” is brilliant, inspiring, down to earth, reassuring and beautifully written. So many of us – me included – get a little nervous in front of the camera. While I’d worry about my chin (both my chins) and my tummy, the way I was standing, how to get my hair to stay in the right place, and what to wear, I know in my heart that being happy and confident makes for the best and most beautiful images. But confidence is probably the hardest thing to have! You can’t pluck it out of the sky, and it’s way harder to fix nerves than flyaway blue hair…

I imagine ten minutes with Ross would set my nerves to rest. Even from his book I can tell he has a way with people, is a listener and understands our anxieties and quirks. This article is an extract from How to have a wedding as individual as you are” (available on Amazon).

Bellini Jazz vintage wedding band with Entertainment Nation
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A guest article by Steven at Entertainment Nation

If you’re planning on filling your wedding day with vintage details or you’ve got a passion for music from days gone by, then you’ll love this selection of amazing bands for vintage weddings.

While we’ve combined them all under the vintage umbrella, the vintage wedding band scene is actually thriving with diversity. There are bands out there specialising in every nostalgic niche you can imagine: 1920s speakeasy swing, postmodern pop, Rat Pack crooning, 50s and 60s rock n roll and rockabilly, Latin jazz and more.

Whichever decade inspires your devotion, vintage-themed wedding bands are dedicated to evoking the sights and sounds of their specialist era. Dressed in authentic attire, performing on beautiful period instruments and giving spot-on renditions of retro tunes, vintage-styled wedding bands are the perfect way to bring your vintage wedding theme together.

This all sounds great, but what about if your guests don’t know any 1920s music? There’s no need to fear. Many vintage bands for weddings incorporate modern pop, rock and soul songs into their repertoire, giving them a vintage twist to make songs you’ve heard a thousand times before sound fresh and original again.

Peter Denness wedding photographer Cambridgeshire (3)
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Rachel, Wedding Co-ordinator at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, is engaged to be married to Peter in May 2019. Rachel spends her day advising other brides and grooms on how to make the most of their special day, but now it is her turn. Follow her journey, trials and tribulations, as she shares her experiences from the other side…

There are so many different elements that go into the creation of your perfect wedding, and choosing where you will get married is only the beginning. As soon as the venue is confirmed, the next step is to fill it!

All couples will organise themselves differently, but I advise my clients at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa to keep track of everything in a spreadsheet, or within a series of lists (or a mixture of both!). This is a great way to keep on top of what has been done (and paid for), what still needs to be arranged, deadlines, timelines and keeping track of costs! Although I encourage my clients to be as organised as possible, sometimes it is easier said than done and Peter and I have spent the past months working our way through our “things to book” list, and going back and forth to even make the tiniest decisions. We still have a long way to go, but it feels amazing when you get some of the finer details set in stone – and achieve that satisfaction of ticking something off the list.

Outdoor wedding at Priston Mill watermill, with images by Martin Dabek Photography on the English Wedding blog (26)
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I couldn’t get married without live music – it’s just a very personal thing, and if you’re a music lover you will totally get what I mean. Whether you love jazz or pop, indie, swing or soul, you’ll know that the buzz of a live performance is uniquely and beautifully suited to a wedding – so imagine booking your venue, only to be told you can’t have live music… it would be heartbreaking.

Before you book your venue, music lovers, here are 5 essential questions to run through with your band and your wedding venue. This article is a collaboration with the most experienced wedding musicians we know – Down for the Count have performed at well over 600 weddings in the UK and internationally, and at a huge range of venues. They say whilst the vast majority of venues are well suited to live music, they occasionally come across one that isn’t. Here are their 5 essential questions to ask your wedding venue  before you book!

Images by Bristol wedding photographer Martin Dabek Photography

Stoke Place wedding venue, image by Damion Mower Photography
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Feature image by Damion Mower Photography: Stoke Place in Buckinghamshire

When planning your wedding, you’ll inevitably develop a carefully curated checklist of everything you want and need for the big day. From something old and something blue, to the perfect table setting and of course, the cake, a wedding is unlike any other event.

One of the most important factors to consider is the venue. The perfect location will provide you with beautiful photos, all the right facilities and a setting for the day you have been dreaming of. However, it’s important to remember the criteria will differ slightly depending on the season. The summer months bring a unique set of requirements to consider, such as air conditioning, outdoor seating and summer refreshments.

The experts from Rivenhall Oaks, an Essex-based wedding venue, have provided a list of 10 things for the perfect summer wedding venue.

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It’s never really occurred to me to talk about same sex weddings on the blog any more than I would announce ‘Helen and John’s beautiful straight wedding in Devon’ as a title. A wedding is a wedding, with two people in love… and that aside, no two are the same, and they’re all beautiful and captivating for their own individual reasons. I find it genuinely odd that within the wedding industry there are people who expect ‘gay weddings’ to be different. I would love to see this change across the board, and particularly so for those couples who might not fit the too-often-expected ‘boy meets girl’ stereotype, and who have to experience suppliers’ well-meant but sometimes cringeworthy comments about what a same sex wedding ‘should’ be.

This is a guest article by Ross Willsher Photography

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I’ve been vegetarian for half my life, and I’m finding myself gradually taking more steps towards becoming vegan. It’s super hard. I don’t drink milk at home, or eat eggs… but when I’m dining out it’s almost impossible here in the Lake District to find dairy alternatives or vegan menu choices. So when these tips from Niki Webster, founder of RebelRecipes.com landed in my inbox, I was delighted! I would love to see more weddings even catering for vegans, and the idea of a fully vegan wedding is a wonderful thing to me.

I was at a family wedding last year, sat next to my vegan cousin. The wedding was amazing, the venue absolutely beautiful – we had the best day. But has anyone else noticed that vegetarian options at weddings turn up last? That’s generally after every guest, at every table, has been served their meaty starter or main. There’s an element of suspense… will it be goat’s cheese tart? (The answer is always yes, by the way.) and when the food arrives, it’s nice if not incredible. My vegan cousin had to wait at least another five minutes after my veggie main course came out, and his food kind of surprised me. His starter had been a plate of colourful fresh salad with carrots and beetroot and tomatoes and leaves – it looked delicious. His main… the same thing, on a bigger plate.