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Gary

Choosing your Wedding Florist

By | Florist

One of the most beautiful things on show at a wedding, are the flowers, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of thought, time and effort that goes into making them.

I have the pleasure today of being able to interview a professional Florist who runs her own business in Chippenham.

I asked Judy Ward from Blooming Chic if she would share her experience in the industry, as well as what her business has to offer clients.

Q – Hi Judy, thank you for taking the time to allow me to spend some time with you, and show me around your workshop and design studio. The first question I have is how long have you been trading as Blooming Chic? 

A – I opened Blooming Chic in September 2014, but I have been involved in Floristry since I was 19.

Q – How did you first get into Floristry?

A – In my late teens, I initially looked through the Yellow Pages and applied to every florist for a trainee job, and eventually got a job working in Teddington, Middlesex. I then worked for other florists in Berkshire and Devon.

Q – Have you ever undertaken any qualifications to be a Florist?

A – I attended the Norwood Hall Agriculture College when I was younger, but I keep up to date by attending different workshops each year.

Q – Have you ever arranged flowers for any Celebrities?

A – I was lucky enough to make some buttonholes for the Morecambe and Wise show, as well as a presentation Bouquet for Petula Clark at the Talk of the Town.

Q – Have you ever won any Awards for your flower arrangements?

A – I won a Silver award from Bridebook two years running, also I was nominated as a finalist for both Muddy Stilettos and Guides for Brides.

Q – What area of the UK do you cover?

A – I do not limit myself to set areas, but most of my business comes from the Wiltshire, Gloucester, Somerset and the Cotswolds areas. 

Q – How far in advance of the wedding day do you normally get enquiries from potential clients?

A – Normally I get contacted around a year before, however it can be much closer to the wedding. I would recommend, once you have set your heart on your chosen florist, to plan your flowers 9-12 months in advance of your wedding, to ensure that you are able to get the flowers you want, and any additional hireable items.

Q – How does a typical consultation work?

A – I will meet up with the client and have a cuppa and a chat, then I will show them around my workshop and design studio. We will then discuss their likes and dislikes, what the colour scheme will be, I will show them previous examples of my work to get an idea of what they are looking for. We will look at any ideas they have put together and discuss any hireable items I can offer (e.g. flower arches). From this I will then send a quotation to the client and put together a flower board based on the discussions we had.

Q – What flower arrangements would be purchased for a Wedding?

A – I will normally do flowers for the bridal party, the groomsmen (buttonholes) which have included flowers made into pocket handkerchiefs, venues, churches. I have even made flower crowns for dogs.

Q – Does the time of year affect your advice on flowers?

A – If I see a client up to a year in advance, I can show them the types of flowers that will be available around the time of their wedding. However, as flowers are seasonal, this can’t always be the case. I have a good array of suppliers in both the UK and abroad, so in some cases I can get the flowers that are out of season in the UK from abroad. Obviously, this costs a bit more money, so it will need to be allowed for within the couple’s budget.

Q – How much do the couple rely on you for ideas?

A – The client will come to me with their own ideas, generally from places like Pinterest. I then sit down and have a chat with them, to find out their personality (likes and dislikes). From this I will then offer advice on what flowers would suit their personality as well as their chosen colour scheme.

Q – Do you charge for a consultation?

A – I do not charge anything for a consultation, there may be a small charge if the client would like a gift sized version of any of her flowers made.

Q – What are the qualities a couple should look for in their florist?

A – They should get on with their florist and feel comfortable talking to them. As I try to treat them like a friend, I have ended up having so many invites to the wedding itself.

Q – What is the most bizarre flower arrangement you have ever done?

A – I did the flowers for a Star Wars themed wedding which were lovely, but the most bizarre would be a wedding at Arnos Vale Cemetery where I hung a wedding dress from a tree and wrapped it in flowers, then wrapped some trees in flowers. What was lovely about this was when you caught the wedding dress at a certain angle, the trees looked like her bridesmaids walking in front of her.

Q – Do you offer a contract, or how does this work once you have taken a client on?

A – I do offer a contract, this is put in place as soon as the client chooses me to do their flowers, I ask for an initial deposit, and then the remainder is paid before the wedding day. I am also fully insured.

Q – How do you deal with the ecological impact your company has on the environment?

A – This is an important aspect of my business, and I am almost plastic free, I am currently running at 95% plastic free. However, for my funeral flowers, everything used is biodegradable.

Q – Do you just do Wedding Flowers?

A – No, I also do gifts and special occasions, and I hold workshops to cover a number of arrangements, and of course funerals. Particularly specialising in natural funerals.

Q – Tell us about the Workshops, that sounds interesting?

A – It is, and can be fun, these can either be at my workshop, or at a client’s home. These can range from hen parties, Xmas parties. Some of the items we look to make can be seasonal flower arrangements, botanical jewellery and Xmas wreaths. I do advertise these every so often, so please look out for these on my website.

Q – How does your typical wedding day go?

A – I will initially deliver to the bride and instruct them on how to hold the flowers. I will then deliver to the groom and help them pin the buttonholes on. I will set-up the venue and the church. In some cases, the flowers used in the church will then be moved to the venue, so once the ceremony has finished, I will quickly take the flowers over to the venue. Once everything is set-up, I will then come back and clean up everything the following day.

Q – How key are testimonials/referrals to your business?

A – I believe that they are crucial to any business, I get lots of referrals from previous clients and it shows that you have done a good job when they pass your details onto friends and family.

Q – If you had one piece of advice to give to a client what would it be?

A – I would say to be honest and upfront with your florist about your budget. There could be a lot of time spent planning ideas for certain flowers and arrangements to find out that the costs are way outside of the budget set. If the budget is known from the start, it is much easier to plan the best flowers available.

I hope that the advice shared by Judy will help you in your search for a florist for your special day.

I have published Judy’s business details below, should you wish to contact her. I have also put together a short video on my YouTube channel showcasing some of her work. Please click here to watch the video.

Business Name

Blooming Chic

Contact Name

Judy Ward

Contact Numbers

01249 248317 and 07813 886801

Website

https://www.bloomingchic.co.uk

Email

judy@bloomingchic.co.uk

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/bloomingchicflowers

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/blooming_chic_judy

Twitter

https://twitter.com/bloomingchicbyj

If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list, and you will be emailed when the next post goes live. I’d also be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Social Media.

Thank you!

A Rainy Wedding

By | Wedding Information

In today’s blog post, we talk about Rain, or more precisely A Rainy Wedding Day.

The Great British weather is so unpredictable, so whether your wedding is in the middle of July or the middle of January, the threat of rain on your wedding day is a reality.

Many couples get nervous about the possibility of rain ruining their special day.

There’s nothing any of us can do to stop the rain on your wedding day, so you have just got to embrace it. You can still get some stunning and fun photographs.

With these simple steps and a little forward planning, you’ll be sure to eliminate any additional stress on the big day and keep spirits high. Should the heavens open!

Consult with the Venue – the thing to do if you have planned for an outdoor wedding, is to speak to the wedding co-ordinator. They will be able to advise on all the options for the day (rain or shine). They will be familiar with this situation, and will be able to advise you on a Plan B. A common option is to hire a marquee (if the venue and space allows), this allows you to shelter from the rain, and still have the outdoor wedding you planned. They will also be able to advise on suitable indoor spaces to take photographs.

The Ceremony – you might have your heart set on a lovely area on the lawn for your ceremony, with all your guests lined up behind you. Ensure that there is a room big enough for all your guests, should your ceremony need to be moved indoors.

Consider your Guests – when looking for a venue, think about how any indoor space can be utilised in case of rain. You need to have somewhere for your guests to go.

Always have an Umbrella – hopefully it will not be required, but it’s better to have one just in case. Check with your photographer, as any decent one will have one to hand, and it will be a pretty one that looks good in the photos.

Waterproof your Make-up – make sure you wear waterproof mascara as it is both good for those happy tears and those rainy days. Make sure you discuss this with your make-up artist. Also wear lip balm, as your lips tend to dry out in cold weather.

Hair Styling – It’s also worth taking a hair dryer and good quality hair spray to touch up throughout the day should you get caught in the rain.

Wrap Up Warm – to ensure your dress doesn’t get completely soaked, make sure you have a cardigan or jacket to hand (just in case). Make sure you get a hot drink between photo sessions to keep warm.

Footwear – if you are looking to wear heels, make sure you have a pair of flat shoes or even wellies that you can use outside. You don’t want to make walking on wet ground harder than it needs to be.

Tissues – make sure you pack a pocket-sized pack of tissues, just in case your eyes water or your nose runs. Let your bridesmaids or other half look after them for you.

Check the Weather Forecast – keep an eye on the forecast right up to your wedding day. You may find out that it will only rain during certain times of the day.

Changes to the Plan – don’t be afraid to switch around your plan/timeline. Rather than taking all your photographs in one go, you may need to pop out in short bursts when the weather lets up.

Trust your Photographer – never let the rain stress you out, there is nothing you can do about it. Smile for the photos and most of all, enjoy your day. You may need to get the formal photos done inside the venue, and then go off for a short period of time to get some shots in sheltered areas with your other half and smaller groups. You may be surprised by what fun photos you can get in the rain.

Getting Wet – occasionally the best wedding photos, are the ones in the rain, when the umbrella goes down and the happy couple start to dance in the rain.

I hope that these steps will help you with your wedding day planning and take away some of those worries about a rainy wedding day.

If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list, and you will be emailed when the next post goes live. I’d also be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Social Media.

Thank you!

Wedding Planning Checklist (Part Two)

By | Wedding Information

Welcome back for the second part of the Wedding Planning Checklist, this week I cover from 3 months before your Wedding Day right up to your Wedding Day and beyond.

Don’t forget to drop me an email for a FREE printable copy of my Wedding Planning Checklist.

Here we go!

3 Months Before

  • Research and Order Table Favours/Decorations

Whether you’re looking for cheap and cheerful or you want to get creative with some D.I.Y wedding favours, now’s the time to start thinking about them.

  • Wedding Dress fittings

With three months to go, it’s time to make sure your dress fits perfectly!

  • Hair and Make-Up Trial

Explore your options and discover what suits you by going for a trial with your hair and makeup artist – if you can, arrange it so it coincides with a night out, so you can really put your makeup to the test,

  • Write your Wedding Speeches

If you’re giving a speech or know someone who is, now’s the time to nudge them. Firstly, you must decide on who will be giving the speeches. Speeches take time to perfect and the more you can practise them the better they’ll be. Write it from the heart, and then practice, practice, practice…

  • Menu Tasting

Narrow down your wedding breakfast and canapé choices to a few options and then attend a tasting to see which ones you like the most.

  • Initial Table Plan Layout

When creating your table plan, figure out who can sit next to who, and who cannot sit together, you don’t want anything to ruin your day. Just don’t have a singles table.

  • Start having Facials

To ensure your skin is healthy and glowing on your wedding day. Think of all those wedding photos!

  • Send out Invitations

Traditionally they are sent out 6-12 weeks before the wedding, but you can send them sooner if you prefer. Include information for your guests on overnight accommodation, transport, parking and any dress code if appropriate. Include reply cards to ensure they all RSVP and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements.

  • Choose your Wedding Vows

The little words that marry you and your spouse give meaning to everything else that happens during your wedding day. Additionally, the promises that you make to one another during the ceremony set the tone and parameters of your marriage. You want vows that are perfect for your big day.

  • Choose your Wedding Music and Readings

By choosing some poems and readings to be performed it will add to your whole wedding ceremony. Also consider any music you want to be played. Speak to your minister/registrar as they will be able to advise further.

  • First Dance

The first dance between the bride and groom is the most awaited moment for the newly-weds as well as the guests. It shows the love and unity between the new couple. Whether you go for a song that you both love, or a style of dance that maybe nobody has ever seen you perform (due to those secret lessons you have both been taking), make sure you plan it out and enjoy every second.

  • Create Song Lists

Your chosen DJ should be able to cater for whatever songs you want playing at your evening party, put together a list of the main songs you want played, and sent it over to them with enough time to incorporate them into their set list.

  • Purchase Gifts for the Bridal Party

As well as bouquets of flowers for the mothers of the bride and groom. Personalised gifts with your own message engraved make very special keepsakes.

  • Have your Stag and Hen Parties

There was a point when the stag and hen parties took place just before the wedding. Now it’s wise to get your celebrating in a few months before – this allows more time to focus on the last-minute details ahead of the big day and gives any bruises/shaved off eyebrows/embarrassing anecdotes time to disappear.

2 Months Before

  • Confirm Ceremony Details

Finalise all the important details for the order of service, then you can get them designed and printed.

  • Buy a Guest Book

Purchase a guest book so that all your guests can write a personal message to you both, you will then be able to look back at the book in years to come and reminisce over that special day.

1 Month Before

  • Arrange Final Wedding Dress Fitting

Bring along your mum, sister or best friend too, and then don’t lose any more weight!

  • Arrange Final Fittings for the Bridal Party

Get the final fittings done for all your bridal party, make sure everybody is happy and ready to go.

  •  Choose your Wedding Day Perfume

Your wedding day scent should be a natural extension of your signature fragrance, enlist your mum or a close friend to come with you, this will double the available body surface for testing—and follow your nose to pick up a fragrance you like.

  • Confirm all Supplier Bookings

Speak to them personally and make sure you have confirmation of dates, places and times in writing from them.

  • Confirm Honeymoon Booking

Check the booking and timings with your travel agent and ensure everything is paid up.

  • Confirm Wedding Day Schedule with your Venue

Make sure that you get the timings of the day in writing, so you can pass this onto the photographer/videographer, if you have the ceremony in the same room as the wedding breakfast, there will be time needed to alter the layout, this will give the photographer a set amount of time to carry out the wedding photos. Also check out what types of confetti can be thrown and where on the premises (ensure that you pass this detail onto the photographer).

  • Confirm your Witnesses

Both civil and religious ceremonies require two witnesses, you need to decide who you both want, and don’t be swayed by others in the decision. You are not going to upset anybody by choosing your best friend over your sister.

  • Arrange Church Rehearsal Day

A few days before is ideal and you could make an evening of it by inviting all your bridal party along to a dinner afterwards too.

  • Chase up Guests who are yet to Respond

The venue and the caterers will need to know final numbers at least 1-2 weeks before.

  • Finalise the Seating Plan

Pass on your table plan details and food requirements for the Wedding Breakfast and supply a copy to your venue and the caterer, and other suppliers who need to know.

  • Create & Order Place Cards and Table Plans

Get those place cards and table plans designed and on order, now you know the final numbers of those attending, and where they will be sitting, you can put the final touches to the plan.

  • Agree a Date to pick up the Suits

Also make a note of when they need to be returned – assign that task to your best man.

  •  ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue’

Ask your mother or grandmother for something old, the rest is easy also a Silver sixpence is meant to bring good luck.

  • Make your own Favours and Table Decorations

If you are making your own favours and decorations, now is the time to get them finished.

Two Weeks Before

  • Supply your Photography Shot List

Ensure that you have fully discussed what shots you want on your wedding day, but don’t make everything too formal, as you will spend more time in front of the camera than enjoying your day. Let the photographer offer you advice on what will also work with the venue chosen.

  • Arrange Final Payments

This is crucial if you want all your suppliers to turn up as expected! And it’s also a satisfying feeling to have totally paid off your wedding.

  • Wear your Wedding Shoes

Don’t wear bridal shoes outside but do wear them around the house to make sure they’re comfortable on the day.

  • Go through your Wedding Day Plan with the Bridal Party

Make sure all your bridal party know where they need to be and when they need to be there – including any hair and make-up times for bridesmaids.

  • Arrange any Vaccinations

If required for your honeymoon.

  • Order Foreign Currency

Don’t leave this until the last minute, and then cause you a mass panic.

One Week Before

  • Create Emergency Kit

Include make-up, a compact mirror and powder, lipstick, tissues etc – anything you think you might need on the day. Ask one of your bridesmaids to carry your emergency kit for you.

  • Have your Beauty Treatments

Go for pre-wedding and honeymoon waxing or fake tanning in good time before the big day. Get eyebrows shaped and anything else that needs attention done the week before, not the day before. 

  • Groom Haircut

Make sure that groom gets his haircut a week before the wedding, so that it is how you like it for the day, and he doesn’t come with any surprise on the day.

  • Pack for your Honeymoon

You’re going on the holiday of a lifetime!

  • Issue the Final Wedding Day Schedule

Give the list of all the wedding suppliers involved in your wedding day with their contact details and times they are meant to arrive, in case they need to be contacted, to your best man. Also add the running order for the day to the list.

  • Purchase Honeymoon Items

If you need any last-minute items for the honeymoon, ensure that you get these the week before the wedding, do a checklist for everything you need to take so that you do not forget anything.

  • Write Thank-you Cards and Wrap Gifts

Make sure that you have written the thank-you cards to bridesmaids, best man, groomsmen, parents etc. and then wrap any presents you have purchased. Give the responsibility of taking them to the venue to your partner.

  • Finalise Timings with Hair Stylist/Make-Up Artist

Make sure that the timings for when the hair stylist/make-up artist will arrive are agreed, as well as the running order for each member of the bridal party. 

  • Bride Hair Trimmed and/or Coloured

Only do as planned in your hair trials – this is not the time to experiment with a new colour or drastic style changes!

  • Wedding Rehearsal

This will help you know where to stand and when to speak and will prepare you, so you don’t feel nervous on the day.

  • Pick up your Wedding Dress

If you haven’t already, it’s finally time to bring your wedding dress home. Make sure you don’t show your partner, so it might be worth leaving it at a family member of friend’s house.

  • Collect any Hired Items

Do not leave this until the morning of your wedding – especially the grooms wear. Make sure you check each item to ensure it’s what you’re expecting too.

The Day Before

  • Drop off Essentials at the Wedding Venue

Look to drop off any accessories like the guest book and pens, decorations, table favours etc. at the venue the day before the wedding, this will also allow you to check that everything is in order for the big day.

  • Withdraw Cash

If you must pay any of your suppliers on the day with cash, make sure you have enough cash to pay them, you might want to let your best man or a family member sort this out for you.

  • Give Rings to the Best Man

Give the rings to the best man to look after (as long as you know he won’t lose or forget them).

  • Double Check Suitcases and Passports

Make sure that all your cases are packed, ensure that you have all your documents in place, especially your passports and travel money. 

  • Have Everything out Ready

Get everything out ready, have your wedding dress hanging up in its storage bag, then have all your accessories in place so you know that everything is there and ready.

  • Get Pampered

Book a manicure for the afternoon to avoid chips and breaks. Make sure your hands are wedding ring ready.

  • Relax

Don’t go to work, spend the day with friends or family and don’t do anything too exhausting.

  • Set the Alarm

You might want to remember to set your alarm, although it is highly likely you will wake up early.

Wedding Day

  • Eat Breakfast

Make sure that you both have a good hearty breakfast on the morning of your special day. This will help to settle your stomach.

  • Check the Wedding Flowers

Get one of your bridesmaids to oversee that the flowers have been delivered and everything is in order.

  • Check the Rings

Make sure that your other half doesn’t let his best man forget the rings. Although I’m sure he will try and wind him up beforehand and say he has forgotten them!

  • Practice the Speeches

Have a trial run through your speeches so you are more confident when it comes to the main event. If you can say them without reading from a piece of paper, it will keep your guests more engaged.

After the Wedding

  • Return Hired Items

Pass this task onto your best man, as you might be on the beach in Barbados when they need to be returned.

  • Write Thank-you Cards

Once you get back from your honeymoon, get those thank you cards ordered/written so that you can thank all those people that gave you such beautiful presents while your special day is still fresh in their memory.

  • Clean your Wedding Dress

Get your wedding dress cleaned before you decide to pack it away. That way it will look like brand new when you decide to bring it out of the closet again to reminisce. 

  • Order/Choose your Wedding Photographs

By the time you get back from your honeymoon, your photographs will be ready to view, and you will be able to decide on which images you put into your album, or what images you would like to purchase to make your own album.

  • Enjoy Married Life!

Finally, now everything is done, it is time to get on with married life, enjoy every minute of it.

That’s it for part two, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog, and hopefully the information shared over the last couple of posts, will make your wedding planning go that little bit easier.

Don’t forget to email me for your FREE Wedding Planning Checklist.

If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list, and you will be emailed when the next post goes live. I’d also be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.

Thank you!

Wedding Planning Checklist (Part One)

By | Wedding Information

You can plan a wedding in a few weeks, but do you really want that much stress when planning the event of a lifetime.

As soon as you set the date, the countdown begins.

Due to the amount of stuff covered in this feature, I have decided to split this blog post into two parts so as not to overwhelm you, today’s post will cover from now until around 3 months before your Wedding Day, then next week’s post will cover right up to your Wedding Day and beyond.

I have put together an easy to use checklist to make things go that little bit smoother. If you would like a FREE printable copy of my Wedding Planning Checklist please drop me an email.

Take a Breath, here we go!

12 Months in Advance

  • Set the date

Aim to start your wedding planning as soon as possible to ensure you get to book the venues and suppliers of your choice at the very best prices.

  • Are you Planning your own Wedding?

Will you plan your own wedding; or look to hire a professional wedding planner.

  • Send out your Save-the-Date Cards

This is key, if you want to make sure your guests will be able to come and do not miss your special day.

  • What type of Ceremony will you have?

Will you be having a religious wedding ceremony or getting married in a civil wedding ceremony? This can shape your choice of venue – you could go for a wedding venue with a church nearby, a venue with a chapel onsite or a venue that is licensed to hold a civil ceremony.

  • Wedding Theme and Colour Scheme

You need to agree on a wedding theme, whether it be related to something you both have in common or a favourite hobby, the colour scheme may come from your favourite colours.

  • Agree your Wedding Budget

Be sensible when it comes to your Wedding budget. Make your budget realistic and only spend what you can afford, so that you will not go into debt, also ensure that you add in a contingency as well. Decide who is going to pay for what, so you know where the money for the wedding is coming from.

  • Set-up a Dedicated Bank Account

So that you do not spend your wedding budget on other things, open a wedding bank account that you can then put all your money into and pay suppliers through, this way you do not get caught out when you have already spent the money elsewhere.

  • Research Venues

The sooner you book your venues, the easier the rest of the planning will be. You’ll need to book a venue for your ceremony (either a church, registry office or other licensed civil wedding venue) and a venue for your reception (if different to your wedding venue). Make sure you consider the seating capacity, room hire costs, catering options, both indoor and outdoor settings for photographs.

  • Wedding Insurance

It’s not that costly but don’t scrimp on it, and it could save you thousands of pounds, if a supplier suddenly lets you down. It’s worth it just for peace of mind when wedding planning! It helps to have peace of mind that your money and wedding are protected.

  • Book the Reception Venue

Once you have decided on your wedding venue, make sure you book the date and pay your deposit, to ensure that you have it reserved.

  • Meet with the Minister/Registrar

They’ll be able to answer all your questions about the ceremony, and help you find suitable readings and music

  • Book Church and Registrar

If you’ve decided on a church wedding, you’ll need to book the church, and if you’re having a civil ceremony, you’ll need to book the registrar. Make sure they’re available on the same day you have your venue booked for!

  • Give Notice at Registrar Office

Notice for all marriages must be given in the 12-month period before the date of the marriage. You must send your notice early enough to allow the registrar to make sure both parties are free to marry one another. Normally, notices should be with the registrar about eight weeks before the marriage. But if either of you have been married before, the notices should be with the registrar 10 weeks before. The minimum period is 28 days before the date of the proposed marriage, but if you leave things as late as this you could be faced with the need to postpone your marriage.

  • Start a Wedding Scrapbook

Put together a scrapbook or mood board, which can contain all of the ideas you both have for your wedding, you can also start to gather photos up of things you want at your wedding, along with ideas for how you want your hair and make-up to look, the type of dress, style of photography you like.

  • Prepare a Draft Guest List

Planning your guest list can be a bit stressful. Aim to make your guest list equal so you keep both families happy. Aim to break up your guest list into two categories – people you absolutely must have there, and people who you’d like to have but are not essential. Have a separate evening reception guest list if you want to invite additional work colleagues or friends of the family to come but you don’t know them well enough to invite them to the ceremony and the wedding reception.

  • Decide on Bridesmaids, Best Man etc.

Make sure you have your very best friends or close family, who will be able to help you plan – no one wants to deal with a bad bridesmaid who they asked in haste.

  • Look for your Wedding Suppliers

Start to look for your wedding suppliers, you should do as much research as you can on each one, including looking at testimonials from previous clients. There are going to be quite a few suppliers, so you might want to put together a spread sheet with all the details on for quick reference.

  • Start Wedding Dress Shopping

Let the fun begin! If you’re having a custom wedding dress made, then you’ll need to start this process now. If you’re ordering a designer dress then you should allow up to 6 months, and if you’re buying an off-the-peg or a second-hand dress, you can get away with up to 6 weeks before. Assemble your closest friends and family and head to the bridal boutiques and start trying on gowns. Give yourself plenty of time when it comes to dress shopping – this will allow you to take your time making the decision and allow for any alterations that might be needed.

  • Start Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

When you know what style of wedding dress you’re having, you can start shopping for bridesmaid dresses to complement it.

  • Book your Photographer

Popular Wedding Photographers book up quickly. Find a Wedding Photographer who offers the style of photos you are looking for (traditional, contemporary, reportage style or a combination), meet them personally, ask to see their portfolio.

  • Book your Videographer

Find a Wedding Videographer who offers the style of video you are looking for, again meet them personally, and ask to see examples of their work.

  • Book your Wedding Entertainment

You might want to book a DJ to dance the night away, you may also look to hire a live band for the evening party, as well as classical musicians for your reception. Some couples like to book magicians for their wedding just to add a sense of fun! The best bands and DJs will be booked up a year or two in advance so make sure your party doesn’t suffer by getting in there early to book them up.

  • Book your Wedding Caterers

If the reception venue you have booked is not doing your catering then you’ll need to consider hiring outside caterers or, if your budget is tight, you may ask a family member or friend to sort out the catering for you

  • Book your Wedding Transport

If you’re not hosting your wedding day all in one place, you’ll need to book one bridal car for you and your father, you may also want to book further cars for your mother and bridesmaids. You may want to consider making it fun by booking a Wedding Bus to take your family and friends to the venues.

  • Book your Florist

Decide what flowers you would like and where. Make sure you have a good discussion with your florist and take their advice especially on what flowers will be in season at the time of your wedding.

  • Book your Toastmaster

You might think you don’t need a Toastmaster (also known as a Master of Ceremonies). They’re worth their weight in gold for ensuring everything goes to plan at the right time, in the right place and with the right people.

  • Book time off work (Honeymoon)

Make sure that you book time of work for your honeymoon. Don’t leave it too late, and then you have your holiday request declined.

  • Healthy Eating and Exercise Programme

Whether you want to lose weight or simply tone up for your wedding day, why not start NOW! Going to the gym together as a couple will help you spur each other on and help you with your wedding day goals.

  • Finalise your Guest List

Re-look at your draft guest list, now you know how many guests you can have to the ceremony, reception and evening party, you now need to whittle the numbers down. Try to avoid getting caught up in family politics…

  • Research Guest Accommodation

You might have guests coming from afar, so consider whether they can stay close to the wedding venue, or if there are hotels within a short taxi ride.

  • Book your Hair Stylist/Make-Up Artist

Start researching hair stylists and make-up artists to make sure the one you like the most is free for you to book for your big day. When you book them for your wedding, check that a trial is included so you can test the look you want before the big day to make sure it suits you. Then book a hair and make-up trial complete with your tiara and veil if possible.

9-12 Months Before

  • Order your Wedding Cake

Picking your wedding cake is a fun part of planning a wedding. You may only decide to include cupcakes or other cake ideas you may have. Make sure you taste some examples of the cake bakers work, to ensure that you like the taste of their cake.

  • Order your Wedding Dress

Make sure that wedding dress is officially ordered now – it’s decision time! This will leave you plenty of time for any tweaks and alterations that might need doing.

  • Book Honeymoon

Whether you’re planning just a honeymoon or whole wedding abroad, book it in your maiden name and use your existing passport, then change all your documents to your married name when you return. Ensure that you also get your travel insurance sorted if you are not using the travel agents.

  • Book additional Wedding Entertainment

You might want to look at Magicians, comedians, or just centre pieces like Chocolate Fountains, Ice Sculptures amongst other ideas.

  • Check your Passports

If you are either having your wedding abroad or going oversees for your honeymoon, ensure that your passports are valid.

6-9 Months Before

  • Arrange Suit Fittings

Once you’ve got the dresses sorted for the bride and bridesmaids, it’s time to start thinking about the grooms wear. Will you buy off-the-peg, commission a tailored suit or hire an outfit?

  • Order/Make Wedding Invitations

Don’t forget all the other wedding stationery that will include orders of service, place cards, table layouts and thank you cards.

  • Purchase your Wedding Shoes and Accessories

Once the dress is officially yours, it’s time to accessorise. Get your shoes in good time for your first dress fitting, and your tiara and veil in time for your make-up and hair trials. Also look to choose what jewellery and any other accessories and underwear you might wear.

  • Purchase your Wedding Rings

Make sure they are both the right size and that your wedding ring will sit comfortably alongside your engagement ring if you plan to wear them together.

  • Plan your Stag and Hen Parties

With the help of your best man and chief bridesmaid respectively.

  • Finalise and Set-Up your Wedding Gift List

Choose what kind of wedding gift list you want and where you will host it (make it available on your wedding invitations), and then start setting it up. Put in a range of products so there’s something for all budgets if you’re going for a traditional store based one.

  • Discuss the Order of Service

Start thinking about what’s going to happen in the ceremony based on what time it will start, by knowing your order of service, it will help everything run smoothly on the day. Discuss this with your vicar or registrar.

  • Book the First Night Accommodation

Lots of wedding venues will have accommodation for you and potentially for your guests too, but if you’re marrying at a venue without accommodation, make sure you’ve sorted out somewhere to stay on the night.

That’s it for part one, don’t forget to email me for your FREE Wedding Planning Checklist.

If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list, and you will be emailed when the next post goes live. I’d also be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.

Thank you!

Ice Sculptures at Weddings

By | Evening Party Ideas

Are you looking for a stunning centre piece for your Wedding evening party?

Have you ever considered an Ice Sculpture?

I photographed a beautiful winter wedding where the happy couple had a set of ice swans as their centre piece. It looked beautiful and certainly got the guests talking.

I have the pleasure today of being able to interview a professional Ice Sculptor who offers such an amazing service that you might want to add this to your Wedding wish list.

I asked Alan Barlow from Ice Creations Ltd if he would be willing to share some details about his business.

Q – Hi Alan, thank you for taking the time to contribute to my blog. The first question I have is how long has Ice Creations Ltd been trading?

A – Ice Creations became a limited company in 2004, however we have been trading since 1998.

Q – What other types of events do you cater for apart from Weddings?

A – Apart from Weddings we also cater for Birthday parties, Corporate launches and Exhibitions. We also attend Live Ice Carving events, we are continuously entering International competitions.

Q – What area of the UK does Ice Creations Ltd cover?

A – Ice Creations Ltd covers the whole of the UK as well as Ireland.

Q – What sets Ice Creations Ltd apart from others in your industry?

A – The main things that set us apart from our competition is firstly the Ice Creations Ltd Team, we also have two Robot CNC machines, as well as our ability to make 6 tonnes of ice per week.

Q – Are there any qualifications you need to undertake to be part of your carving team?

A – No, there are no qualifications within the industry.

Q – Have you or your team, ever won any awards for your ice sculptures?

A – We have been named the Winners of the Tatry Icemaster in Slovakia, in both 2015 and 2018.

Q – How could a couple benefit from an Ice Sculpture at their wedding?

A – An Ice Sculpture is a massive talking point, and it allows the couple to bring strangers together, it truly does break the ice!

Q – Do you ever get asked for some really off the wall designs, and if so, what is the most memorable design you have commissioned?

A – I would say that the most memorable sculptures we’ve ever built include, a vibrator for Anne Summers, a watch for Rolex, a car for Porsche, and we carved 80 tonnes of ice in 10 days for Cousins Ice Rinks.

Q – What are the top 3 designs you are asked to commission for a wedding?

A – The top 3 designs we get asked to make would be, Hearts, The Bride & Grooms Initials and Swans.

Q – How far in advance of the wedding day do you normally get enquiries from potential clients?

A – I would say it works out around four weeks as an average.

Q – What does the client do with the sculpture at the end of the night?

A – Generally the couple would throw it away, although we have heard of one couple, who used it to ride it across the dance floor.

Q – How does the booking process work?

A – We ask all our clients to complete an emailed Order Form, which includes all the details we need for the event (including customer details, venue details and times, requirements for the ice sculpture, and any extras needed).

Q – How key are testimonials/referrals to your business?

A – I do believe that testimonials and referrals are one part of a trust process although there are many more, but they are important.

Q – Do you offer a contract, or how does this work once you have taken a client on?

A – At Ice Creations Ltd we allow cancellations up to the point where we have started the carving.

Q – If you had one piece of advice to give to a client what would it be?

A – It would have to be to use a dark background, there’s a reason that Diamonds are displayed on Blue or Black.

I hope that the knowledge shared by Alan will give you some sound advice on what to expect from your Ice Sculptor.

I have published Alan’s business details below, should you wish to contact him. I have also put together a short video on my YouTube channel showcasing some of his work. Please click here to watch the video.

Business Name

Ice Creations Ltd

Contact Name

Alan Barlow

Contact Number

07956 387291

Website

https://www.icecreations.co.uk

Email

info@icecreations.co.uk

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/icecreationsuk

Instagram

@icecreationsuk

YouTube Channel

IceCreationsUK/AlanBarlow

If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list, and you will be emailed when the next post goes live. I’d also be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.

Thank you!

Choosing your Toastmaster

By | Toastmaster

Have you ever wondered what a Toastmaster (or Master of Ceremonies) would do at your wedding, or why you would even need to hire one for your special day?

I have the pleasure today of being able to interview a professional Toastmaster, who has been involved in public speaking for many years.

I asked Ian if he would be willing to share an insight into his profession and how you might be able to utilise his unique skills at your wedding (or other special events).

Q – Hi Ian, thank you for taking the time to contribute to my blog. The first question I have is how long have you been involved in public speaking and more importantly as a Toastmaster?

A – I have been a professional speaker for 15 years and I am now into my 5th year as a Toastmaster.

Q – Are there any qualifications you had to achieve to become a professional speaker?

A – I am a Fellow of the Guild of International Professional Toastmasters. This guild was established by the queen’s own toastmaster, Ivor Spencer.

Q – What types of events do you attend as a Toastmaster?

A – I attend many events, but the main ones include Weddings (most cultures), Civic Events, Corporate Events and Charity Events.

Q – If a couple are looking for a Toastmaster, what are the top 3 things they should consider when choosing their Toastmaster?

A – Firstly, I would have to say Qualifications, a good Toastmaster will have completed a guild course. Secondly, it would be Experience, knowing the correct way to do things, yet also knowing how to disguise problems and correct errors without anyone knowing it ever occurred. I compare it to being a human Swiss Army Knife i.e. handle any problem quickly, efficiently and without fuss. Finally, I would say Recommendations from previous clients.

Q – How far in advance of the wedding day do you normally get enquiries from potential clients?

A – It can be anything from 2 weeks to well in excess of a year.

Q – How key are testimonials/referrals to your business?

A – Testimonials and referrals are crucial, as I mentioned earlier, this is one of the three most important things a potential client should consider.

Q – What type of equipment do you normally take with you to an event?

A – I would normally take with me, a uniform of Red Tail Coat and dress trousers etc. a Gavel and Block. A schedule of events for the day. Emergency Box containing pins, safety pins, cotton, pliers, glues, stapler, buttons etc.

Q – I am sure every wedding is different. How do you change your style to accommodate the many different couples you could be working with?  

A – I start with an interview with the hosts, the Bride and Bridegroom should establish the style of wedding they want. Be it a traditional English wedding, a cultural event, or one of the many new variants. I always tell them, it is their big day, I will make it happen.

Q – What are the qualities the couple should look for in their Toastmaster?

A – I would expect a good Toastmaster to have experience, good rapport, sound knowledge and a very good sense of humour.

Q – What parts of the wedding will you take control of for the couple?

A – Before the Wedding Service, leading the Bride to the ceremony if needed, then everything after the wedding until the first dance or the happy couple leave.

Q – Toastmasters can be perceived as being quite bossy. However, all the weddings I have photographed, who have had a professional Toastmaster, have worked with the couple on how they want the day to go and not come across as bossy at all. What are your views on this?

A – The Bride and Bridegroom know exactly what is needed to control their guests. This will be established at the pre-wedding meeting where the style will be agreed. Good toastmasters know how to control a group, and with the information from the hosts, will use all of the tools in their armoury. Although this would be tempered with the overriding knowledge that this is a joyous day, and nothing should spoil it!

Q – Why should they have a Toastmaster?

A – To remove the stress from the client leaving them to thoroughly enjoy the day.

Q – On the Wedding Day, what is your typical schedule from start to finish?

A – I arrive at least 1 hour before the start. I check everything is in place and is ready. I confirm with the staff that I am on site and that they have no problems. I will then meet with photographer, videographer, DJ’s etc. I them commence to greet all arriving guests. Welcome the Bride and Bridegroom. Then I would announce the guests. I would then present the speakers as required. I will also ensure that everything remains on time. Finally, I will resolve any issues before they are noticed.

Q – Do you offer a contract, or how does this work once you have taken a client on?

A – Yes, I do offer a contract that will be discussed with the client at the booking stage.

Q – If you had one piece of advice to give to a client what would it be?

A – Enjoy the day comforted by the knowledge that everything is under control.

I hope that the knowledge shared by Ian will give you some sound advice on what to expect from your Toastmaster.

I have published Ian’s business details below, should you wish to contact him. I have also put together a short video on my YouTube channel showcasing some of his work. Please click here to watch the video.

Business/Contact Name

Ian Pugh Toastmaster

Contact Numbers

01225 768781

07749 789361

Website

https://www.toastmasterianpugh.com

Email

iann.pugh@gmail.com

If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list, and you will be emailed when the next post goes live. I’d also be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.

Thank you!

Choosing your Wedding Entertainment

By | Entertainment

Are you having trouble deciding on what type of entertainment to have on your Wedding Day?

With so many options available to you, I thought I would share the thoughts of a fast-growing company based in Stratford Upon Avon.

I asked Alex from Entertainment Nation if he would be willing to share some details about the company and what they have to offer.

Q – Hi Alex, thank you for taking the time to contribute to my blog. The first question I have is how long has Entertainment Nation been trading?

A – Entertainment Nation was incorporated in 2013 and has been growing ever since. In only a few short years, our dedication to providing the very best musicians and exciting talent to weddings, parties and corporate functions has seen us become one of the leading suppliers of premier live music and entertainment in the UK and abroad, and the future holds a lot of excitement for us!

Q – What type of wedding entertainment does Entertainment Nation offer?

A – We offer every kind of wedding entertainment you can imagine! Live bands are our bread and butter, and you’ll find everything to suit all tastes: mellow solo guitarists, thrilling pop and rock cover bands, serene string quartets, vintage swing orchestras and more.

We also host the finest wedding DJs in the country, and we’ve got tribute acts to some of the country’s favourite artists. Added to this is our enormous choice of alternative entertainers – singing waiters, magicians, comedians and caricaturists are all here to add some unexpected thrills to your big day! 

Q – Does Entertainment Nation cover the whole of the UK or just certain counties?

A – We cover the whole of the UK, and then some! Our stunning selection of UK and international acts all travel, and our website filters make it easy to find bands who are available to play in your region. Once we have your location, a date, and a budget to work with, we’re able to recommend all the bands that can travel to your venue, whether it’s in the UK or abroad. 

Q – What sets Entertainment Nation apart from others in your industry?

A – We’re always thinking about the experience for the bride or groom-to-be looking to hire entertainment for their wedding. We understand that most people are booking a band for the first time, so we do everything we can to make what may seem an intimidating process relaxed and enjoyable.

We’ve also got an incredible team of friendly advisers on hand every day from 10am to 10pm, so, there’s always someone to help when its most convenient.

We vet all our acts to make sure they’re talented and reliable. Our acts are professionals who perform full-time, ensuring a polished performance no matter who you book!

Q – What are the key things Entertainment Nation look for in the acts that they represent?

A – Before we even consider putting an act on our books, they need to have a proven track record of reliable, high-quality performances, and the testimonials to back them up.

We represent bands who are not only great musicians, but masters of showmanship – that means our bands know which songs work to get your guests on the dancefloor and make everyone in the audience feel special.

They’re also great folk to work with, doing all they can to make your big day as special as it can be.

Q – How does Entertainment Nation vet their acts to ensure that the act will have the ‘WOW’ factor at a wedding? 

A – Our company was founded by live musicians with years of experience performing in high-end shows across the world. Their expertise is used to scrutinise everyone who comes to us, but we also make sure our acts have years of experience and a track record of great performances.

We also make sure every act offers something a little bit different – a hook that sets them apart from the rest!

Q – How does the client sample the acts work before making a decision?

A – Each band or entertainer on our roster has an in-depth profile, where you can easily find out if they’re right for you!

On each profile you’ll discover video and audio clips, letting you see and hear exactly how they perform. You can also read about the history of each act, learn what experience they have, the kind of clients they’ve performed for, and check out a repertoire of songs they cover.

Q – How far in advance of the wedding day do you normally get enquiries from potential clients?

A – It all depends on how a wedding has been organised! In most cases, our clients will aim to book a wedding band at least a year in advance – which is what we recommend, as the more popular bands’ diaries tend to fill up fast!

Many people have had to book just months, weeks, or even days before the wedding, and though it can be a challenge, we always do our best to match you with a band you’ll love and sort everything in time!

Q – Should a couple have their current act cancel on them at short notice, are you able to assist with last minute bookings?

A – Of course! We represent hundreds of acts and have close relationships with them to assist with last minute bookings. We have plenty of exceptional and trusted bands who know how to put on a great show at short notice to rescue your big day. Your guests will think nothing went wrong!

To avoid the hassle of a late cancellation, we recommend you book your entertainment through a reputable agency like Entertainment Nation, where you are covered by a legally binding contract between you and your act, which protects you in the very rare circumstance that your act must cancel at the last minute. As we only work with professionals, late cancellations are almost unheard of. Any acts doing so without good reason wouldn’t last long on our roster!

Q – How does the booking process work?

A – Typically, a couple will discover several bands they might be interested in, and so it’s a good idea to get in touch with our friendly team to help them decide!

The process is otherwise very simple – at the bottom of every band profile is a short enquiry form. Simply fill this out with a few details and hit “enquire”; our team will be in touch with your chosen acts’ availability. If your chosen acts are available, you’ll receive a comprehensive quote.

If you’re happy and want to go ahead and hire your wedding entertainment, we’ll secure your act and the arrangements are finalised.

The Entertainment Nation team will act a liaison between you and your chosen band until around 4 weeks prior to your wedding, when the band will get in touch to make all the final arrangements.

Q – What details does the client need to supply to you, about the venue that you will pass onto the act?

A – When it comes to venue details, we need to know a few things to pass onto the act to make sure they can prepare for the venue correctly and that they can perform to the best of their abilities. This includes the following:

  • The venue must offer a safe power supply. Acts will list their power requirements, so please make sure your venue can provide!
  • The venue must offer a safe, dry, and level performance area. Our acts have a lot of expensive instruments, lighting and PA systems, so you will need to ensure the stage or bandstand is safe for them to use and that neither they nor the equipment will be damaged!
  • The venue must hold relevant licenses required for live performances.
  • If your venue has a sound limiter in place, you should find out the decibel level it is set at and let us know. Many of our bands cannot guarantee their best performance with sound limiters in place if they are set quieter than an un-amplified drum kit, and some bands may refuse to play if it will severely compromise their performance.
  • Your venue should offer free parking to the artists, and if not, you’ll be required to cover this cost.
  • The venue should offer a changing room, but if this is not be possible, be sure to let us know before you confirm an act!

Q – Does the client need to supply the act with anything on the night (food, drinks etc.)?

A – Yes – we ask that the artist is provided with a free reasonable supply of mineral water or soft drinks for the duration of their stay. We also ask that the artist is provided with a hot meal or buffet, particularly if they are on site for 3 hours or more.

This not only seems fair to us, but it will also guarantee that they give their best performance – many acts won’t have had a chance to grab a decent meal due to all the travelling, setting up, and waiting around, and nobody wants to play when they’re hungry!

Q – How key are testimonials/referrals to your business?

A – We pride ourselves on the positive feedback we continually receive from our clients. Our Trustpilot ratings let you read genuine customer reviews and offer even more peace of mind when browsing our bands and deciding whether to book through Entertainment Nation.

Q – Do you offer a contract, or how does this work once you have taken a client on?

A – We do! Our contracts are what gives security and peace of mind between both the client and the artist. Once the contract is signed, legally binding terms mean both parties are protected from any unlikely eventuality. This makes booking with Entertainment Nation a safer option to dealing directly with different bands, as we act as an expert liaison between the band and the client to ensure all the details are correct and the performance goes off without a hitch. Anyone booking with us should read our terms and conditions carefully, to make sure they understand what’s required of both them and their band.

Q – If you had one piece of advice to give to a client what would it be?

A – We’d say, always think about your guests! We know the big day is about you and your significant other, but this is an occasion to be enjoyed by everyone you invite. There are a plenty of tips out there to make sure your guests make the most out of your wedding entertainment. One of our favourites is to avoid having the band start too early – most people want to have a few drinks, let the meal settle, and get in the mood before they get moving – and nobody wants an empty dance floor on your wedding night!

I hope that the knowledge shared by Alex will give you some sound advice on what to look for and expect from an entertainment provider.

I have published Entertainment Nation’s business details below, should you wish to contact them. I have also put together a short video on my YouTube channel showcasing some of their work. Please click here to watch the video.

Business Name

Entertainment Nation

Contact Number

0800 53 000 35

Website

https://www.entertainment-nation.co.uk

Email

info@entertainment-nation.co.uk

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/EntertainmentNation

Twitter

https://twitter.com/EntNationUK

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/entertainmentnationuk

YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaaHpP5ucBHMIn9w785d5sw

Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/entnation/

If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list, and you will be emailed when the next post goes live. I’d also be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.

Thank you!

How to Choose your Wedding Make-Up Artist

By | Make-Up Artist

Have you come to search for a local make-up artist close to where you live, and when you go on the internet it comes up with hundreds and hundreds of different suggestions?

You are not alone. When I speak to clients, unless they have used their chosen artist before, or a friend recommends somebody, who do they choose? More importantly, what questions should they ask.

Today’s guest to the blog is a dear friend of mine, who I have known for over 11 years, I had the pleasure of working with Lizzie at some of the weddings I have photographed, she also did my wife’s hair and make-up, and I also had the pleasure of photographing her own wedding.

I asked Lizzie if she would be willing to answer some key questions regarding her business, and hopefully Lizzie’s insight into her profession will give any brides-to-be some guidance when choosing their make-up artist.

Q – Hi Lizzie, how far in advance of the wedding day do you normally get enquiries from potential clients?

A – I would say on average I get enquiries about 6 months to a year in advance.

Q – How key are testimonials/referrals to your business?

A – Testimonials and referrals are incredibly important; the main source of my business is now through word of mouth.

Q – Do you find that clients will come along to the consultation with their own ideas, or in many cases, you must advise on a style that suits them?

A – Sometimes the client will have a selection of pictures, showing styles and ideas that they like, sometimes they’ll have little or no fixed idea. Either way it’s always the case that the trial enables me to work alongside the client and create various looks to suit them personally, and so that process is crucial for all my clients. I am always happy to demonstrate ideas and show them a variety of options and my number one rule is to ensure they feel comfortable and confident in whatever looks we achieve.

Q – If they have come to you with ideas, do you know where they research their ideas?

A – No, I’m just shown photos they’ve saved and that can come from a variety of sources. These could be from the internet, social media sites, or magazines.

Q – How far in advance do you carry out the trial with the client?

A – As a guide I usually recommend a Bridal Make-Up Only Trial to be done 1-2 months in advance of the wedding date, and a Bridal Hair and Make-Up Trial 2-3 months in advance of the wedding date.

Q – How does the trial work?

A – I’m a mobile service, therefore I would go to the client’s location for the trial. We would then talk through their requirements and ideas and then move on to me doing their make-up and/or hair. I always take photographs in natural and flash light for the make-up – as I like to get the balance of them looking great in the flesh as well as on camera, and photos from the front, back and sides are taken of any hairstyles they like. If they have any hair accessories at the trial (tiaras, veils etc) I would photograph them alongside the hairstyles too.

Q – What should the client wear to the trial?

A – I’d suggest just casual comfortable clothing which wouldn’t matter if any make-up or hair products accidentally fell upon it. I also colour match the foundation around the chest area so ideally, they’d wear something not too high or restricted in the neck.

Q – Do you take photos of the different looks you do, and are these passed onto the client for reference?

A – Yes, I take photos of all make-up and hairstyles which the client is happy with, then I email them onto the client within about a week of the trial.

Q – How should the client prepare their skin leading up to the big day?

A – I suggest they follow their usual skin regime and any facials be done far enough in advance so to prevent any break outs coinciding with the wedding day, although that said if there are spots and blemishes it doesn’t matter – that’s why we have make-up and clever photographers!

Q – On the Wedding Day, what is your typical schedule from start to finish?

A – I’m a one-man band as such, so I run a little production line on the wedding morning, where I do make-up and/or hair for each of the required bridal party members finishing with the bride, or sometimes the bride is done penultimately depending on timings restrictions. I always do final checks and never leave until everyone is happy and dressed. I also fit the veil on the bride and have been known to help with getting them into their dress if required as I can do corset backs.

Q – Do you offer a contract, or how does this work once you have taken a client on?

A – I don’t do contracts, I just reserve a client’s wedding date once they’ve confirmed they wish to book me, then all I ask is if they change their mind or wish to cancel then to let me know so I can free up the date again. My payment structure also supports this simple approach – I take payment for the trial on the trial date, and then the remaining balance is then due on/before the wedding date.

Q – If you had one piece of advice to give to a client what would it be?

A – Make sure you enjoy every moment of your wedding day – (it’s true what they say how fast it goes!) and remember it’s ultimately always about the two of you and nobody else.

Hopefully the information that Lizzie has shared will give you some sound advice on what to expect from your make-up artist.

I have published Lizzie’s business details below, should you wish to contact her. I have also put together a short video on my YouTube channel showcasing some of her work. Please click here to watch the video.

Business Name

Liz Parkins Make-Up

Contact Name

Liz Parkins

Contact Number

07912 784815

Website

www.lizparkins.com

Email

makeup@lizparkins.com

Facebook

www.facebook.com/lizparkins.makeup

If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list, and you will be emailed when the next post goes live. I’d also be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.

Thank you!

The Ultimate Wedding Guide for the Stressed-Out Bride (or Groom)

By | News

I get asked questions by my clients about different aspects of their wedding day, and whether I can pass on any of my contacts who could help them with their wedding planning. These questions got my brain rattling (believe me, there’s a lot of space in there!), about how I could assist them with making their wedding planning go that little bit easier.

I got married in 2011 and apart from moving to a new house and having two adorable children (when they are at school or out with their friends that is!). Planning our wedding was one of the most stressful times in our life.

You can ask your parents for advice on how they planned their wedding, but in some cases, they got married 25-30 years ago, and are not always able to remember much about it. You can ask your best friends, but do you want to have a copycat wedding, that the only talking point will be “Isn’t that the same Ice Sculpture that Samantha had last year” or “Didn’t Jessica arrive in a Limousine”.

Even if some aspects of your wedding are the same as another wedding you have been to. Maybe just having one thing on your wedding day that stands out from the rest of the crowd, will be what your wedding will be remembered for (not the other similarities).

It could be that your partner arrived in a Ferrari, your partner and his merry men wore pink suits. The list is endless, and in some cases, you do not need to spend a fortune to have that part of the day that stands out.

I look back on my wedding, and being a keen football fan, to have something memorable, I wish that I had invited Thierry Henry, but it turns out, for some reason he wouldn’t return my text.

I have been to friends’ weddings, who have had fire breathers to welcome the evening guests. I took photos at a wedding where they had the funniest children’s entertainer I have ever seen. The bride’s grandad nearly lost his teeth, he was laughing so much.

I decided to put together the ‘How to Plan your Wedding’ guide, that outlined all aspects of your wedding planning, from the engagement party, ceremony types, wedding attire, all the way through to the honeymoon. I wanted to give you some ideas on what to look for in each section, and just make the excited couples planning that little bit easier.

Once the guide was finished, I then thought. What if I could then share the thoughts and ideas of those companies or individuals who offer wedding services. Which included the make-up artists, hair stylists, venues, bridal boutiques, entertainment companies and the list goes on. Who could offer information on their specialist profession to help couples to make the right choices for each category.

There you have it; this blog was born! And I never moaned about the labour either, as my wife keeps telling me it is the hardest thing I will never face.

My aim with this blog is to try and cover the traditional areas of a wedding, but also the quirkier ‘off- the-scale’ ideas, which can help you find that one moment that will always be remembered. Rather than Auntie Jane throwing cake at Uncle Jeff because of his embarrassing ‘Old-Man’ dancing, it might be as simple as your table favours, the entertainment or even your first dance.

In my next post I will be carrying out an interview with a make-up artist who has been trading for over 11 years, with the aim of getting an insight into how her business works.

I hope that you will all enjoy this blog as it grows. Hopefully the information passed on, will go some way towards making your wedding planning go a little bit easier, and take a small amount of stress out along the way to the most beautiful, perfect day of your life.

If you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, ask them to get in touch with me through my contact page.

Please let me know if there are any wedding related subjects you would like me to cover in this blog, in relation to your up and coming wedding day, or if you are already married and there was something that you wished you had known about.

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Thank you!