Image by Matt Willis Photography.
We know our couples are always looking for more when it comes to their wedding venue – more flexibility, more details, more intimacy, more personal touches and more of an experience for their guests. With the latter point in mind, we’re focusing on wedding weekends; where to host and how to plan a weekend-long celebration.
Helen Hopkins owner of Pudding Bridge specialises in design-led country house weddings filled with creative details. She’s passionate about organising epic extended celebrations and she says “why limit yourselves to one day when the party could last an entire weekend?!”
We wholeheartedly agree, so Helen has some top tips for picking the perfect wedding weekend venue!
Notes from Pudding Bridge
I love a good wedding and in the industry, we are seeing more and more couples who want not one day but an entire weekend celebration. Extending your wedding means that you get to spend so much more time with your guests and really enjoy every minute.
The most common comment from couples after their big day is that it that the day went way too fast! By hiring a venue from Friday until Sunday you can fully maximize your time celebrating.
I love a country house wedding but there are so many options of venues that allow you to be there for the entire weekend. Perhaps a farm with glamping on site..? Or even a city celebration..? So if you’re planning a wedding weekend, here are a few areas to consider when picking your venue.
When you are planning a wedding which takes place on just one day, often couples want to find a venue in a certain area. Perhaps where they live or where they grew up.
The beauty of picking a space which is used over an entire weekend is that it can be anywhere. In fact, I recommend that it is somewhere that’s new to many or most of your guests. You don’t want people checking emails or dashing off to pick up the kids, you want your guests to totally relax and see it as a weekend getaway.
Think about picking somewhere you have spent a holiday or just somewhere you love!
Images by Rebecca Goddard Photography.
If you missed the first instalment of this three-part floral series then it’s a definite must-read and you can find it here. I urge you to take a peek if you want to learn all about wedding flower budgets! It’s an eye-opening piece and one I wished I had read when planning my own floral story.
Jay Archer is the author of this series and she’s beyond incredible in so many ways. Honest, creative and just a little bit magic, I had the pleasure of working with this lady at Pynes House last month on our latest editorial and it was such a joy witnessing this floral genius in action. What Jay doesn’t know about flowers probably isn’t worth knowing!
But what is worth knowing is today’s meaty topic – seasonality. What do the seasons actually mean to florists and how will this influence your choice as a bride…? Read on to find out, oh and don’t forget to pin the relevant seasonal bookmarks so you can return at a later planning date.
Notes from Jay Archer Floral Design
Seasonal does not mean British grown or local, nor does it mean cheaper. That is the biggest misconception when it comes to wedding flowers – all flowers I suppose.
Using seasonal quite simply means something is in ‘season’ – it is at it’s best now. English grown roses, for example, are at their best June – September whilst Peonies thrive in May – early July.
You can get most flowers out of season nowadays; Norway grows and stores peonies in snow but they definitely won’t look their best! These flowers will be poorer quality and probably won’t smell quite as beautiful. It’s like strawberries at Christmas which are often grown in Peru or Spain – they cost more and just don’t taste like a sweet, sticky, delicious strawberry so why would you..?!
Being clever with your budget means you can watch the pennies and have seasonal produce at the same time. If you love roses but cannot afford to use them throughout your scheme (at £3 per stem and up to £5 for David Austin’s) then consider using these in just your bridal bouquet.
Before seeing your florist, you need to work out what’s important to you. Write a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves, work with the seasons and ensure your floral ideas are complimentary to their natural surroundings and the choice of wedding venue. Being clear about your budget will mean your florist will recommend the right flowers for you.
British flowers are generally sold in smaller ‘wraps’ or individual stems, so if your florist doesn’t use British grown then this might mean they’ll be buying your flowers in bulk. Imports can come in ‘wraps’ of of up to 50, for example ranunuculus and anemones are always sold in large quantities so this will have an impact on your budget as you will need to pay for the full ‘wraps’ rather than just one or two stems.
Buying flowers in bulk can be cost effective when they’re in season – Spring bulbs, autumn foliage, aummer cornflowers/scabious, winter branches and amaryllis are all good, purse friendly options. So have a chat with your florist and make sure you’re armed with all the questions you might want to ask.
So, what’s is in season when..?
Ah, Spring – the most scented month! Think striking little spears of pale blue and ice white muscari, multi-tonal almost pearlescent hellebore and the tiny nodding heady scented bells of lily of the valley! This particular specimen is one of the most desirable wedding flowers and available all year from a chap in Holland at about £2 per stem!
Also in Spring:
- Blossom – apple, quince, cherry, magnolia, prunus, spirea and others.
- Tulips – French tulips are a real treat, with their long stems and peachy heads. Parrot tulips and English tulips are available in every colour you can imagine!
- Wallflowers – available from local growers only usually. Their petals have the most amazing colour variations which remind me of a Turner sky!
- Ranunculus – peonies are not quite about yet so ranunculus are the next best thing and beautiful in their own right.
- Anemones – the much-desired navy eyed variety are more expensive than their white centred counterparts. I think the white ones are pure and classic.
- Narcissi and paper whites – The scent of these little flowery fireworks is quite something! Strong and heady, they can be overwhelming when used in table centres but good for bouquets.
- Forget-me-nots – tiny, delicate dots of sky blue. Dreamy.
- Fritillaries – beautiful little nodding heads of dusky purple with a chequered pattern.
Working to a palette of pastel pinks, creamy whites, vintage dusky pinks and soft blues, I’d suggest mixing spring flowers with catkins, twigs and senecio foliage.
Images by Hannah Duffy Photography.
It’s Katrina here (resident wedding planner for Coco Wedding Venues), taking over the introduction reigns from Emma and stepping away from my usual features about budgets, timelines and my love of all things schedule related!
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing the first of a practical and pretty three-part series about wedding flowers and all in collaboration with one of my biggest wedding supplier crushes – the phenomenal, inspirational, award-winning Jay Archer Floral Design.
As a Wedding Planner, I think it’s vital that I’m constantly learning new skills and fully understanding the industry that I work in. In previous years, I’ve freelanced for caterers and worked back-of-house as well as stepping in to support venues with their on-the-day management. Last year, as I stood outside a Church desperately trying to construct an emergency button hole for one of my Groom’s, I realised that it was about time that I added wedding flowers to the learning agenda!
Jay Archer and her Floral Design Flower School was the obvious place to start so off I headed on a road trip to Hampshire (alongside the lovely Hannah Duffy who was there to capture the experience) to expand my horizons and learn more about the ins and outs of wedding flowers.
The result is a three-part ESSENTIAL series breaking down wedding flowers and hopefully shining a light on an area of wedding planning that isn’t often fully understood, especially when it comes to today’s feature – wedding flower budgets (you know I said I was stepping away from my usual features about budgets well, I lied!).
The reason why today’s feature is so vitally important is because very few people understand the true cost of wedding flowers and as a result, allocations for flowers within wedding budgets is very rarely realistic. SO, if you’re in the throes of pulling together your budget or allocating your expenditure then reading the below first is a wedding planning MUST!
Just as a heads up… Part II is all about seasonality and colour palettes and in Part III I get to tackle the practical side of bouquets and buttonholes!)
Your Wedding Flower Budget
The flower budget… ‘’do we even have one?!’’ Ugh… where to start.
As a wedding florist, I meet couples everyday who come to me for advice on their wedding flowers – what to have, what’s in season and, more importantly, what it will all cost…?
I try to be as helpful as I can right from the off, giving people advice on typical spends for marquees and, say, the church. But the thing is, and here’s the bit where people think I am being evasive or difficult, there really isn’t an average. There are so many variable factors when thinking about your flowers.
Hopefully, if I do my job right, I’ll wipe out some of the myths with this post and actually provide some information that’s useful for the couple planning their wedding.
Feature Image by Mister Phill.
I love today’s planning piece by Katrina Otter – it’s honest, fresh and really quite personal.
Katrina and I both had elements of our day that went against the usual wedding format; For starters my Mum walked me down the aisle. My Dad’s sadly not with us anymore and whilst I know that on the day I missed his presence terribly, I couldn’t think of a better person to have by my side in that moment. She was a legend and steadied me as I made my way towards my future husband. So a big wave to all the amazing Mums out there!
I was also heckled into making a speech. Whilst I’d actually prepared one I felt like one more speech might have sent everyone over the edge a little so I quietly bowed out. I judged the crowd wrong! So yes, I made an off the cuff speech, straight from the heart and I think I did OK.
As for Kat… Well she’s a one-woman-warrior for breaking the wedding party roles! She had her Victorian Bulldog Betty act as her Maid of Honour, she firmly held the microphone and addressed her guests in her own bridal speech and she’s also been a Best Woman for her brother’s wedding at the gorgeous RSA in London.
So folks, it really is up to you to decide what’s right and what’s not quite right when it comes to your own wedding party.
Kat’s here to guide you through it all…
A Modern Day Guide to Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities
Let me tell you a little story…
Rewind the clocks to the start of 2013 and the boy and I were in the final few months of our wedding planning journey. One evening we were discussing the traditional order of speeches (for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the Father of the Bride followed by the Groom and then the Best Man) when the realisation suddenly hit me… Hang on a minute, how are we going to factor in more than one Best Man, when does MY Best Woman talk AND what about me..?
This in turn opened a whole can of worms… Why couldn’t my Victorian Bulldog Betty be my Maid of Honour, why did the Best Men have to be in charge of our wedding rings; they lost their passports on the stag do so why on earth would I entrust them with our rings..?! You get the drift and from that moment on, I picked up the roles and responsibilities rule book, threw it out the window and haven’t picked it up since!
SO, if you were thinking that my latest feature in our collaborative wedding planning series was going to be like any other readily available and easily Google searchable guide on roles and responsibilities then think again!
(BTW if you do want to stick to tradition then there’s nothing wrong with this (I’m just shaking things up a little) but this feature is definitely not for you and you may want to look here instead!)
Even 4 years on from my own wedding, it’s safe to say that wedding party roles and responsibilities are still incredibly traditional. Weddings themselves have changed hugely over the past few years but we’re still working with the same lists and allocation of roles that we have for decades. Now I’m not sure why that is but I am sure that today’s feature is a modern-day guide to roles and responsibilities and I think / hope you’re going to like it!
Images by Freckle Photography.
Whether you’ve just booked the venue or are yet to discover the wonder that is Coombe Trenchard, this is a beautifully written piece by a bride who recently married at this eclectic Devonshire country house. But the thing is, Emily loved the venue so much she’s decided to stay as their new Wedding Coordinator!
Emily has some truly wonderful tips below, not just for those of you marrying at Coombe Trenchard but also for those embarking on the magical (and sometimes challenging!) adventure that is planning a wedding.
Here’s Emily’s tales from the other side…
Notes from a Coombe Trenchard Bride
Am I basking in the glow, or still completely exhausted..? This is the question I am still asking myself 4 months into married life. It feels the same but different; marriage is comforting presence in an otherwise familiar sea of work, Sunday food shopping and Netflix decisions.
Relief is palpable; the 18 months of my life spent considering, communicating, dreaming and pinterest-ing were utterly and totally worth it. Possessed of a certain surreal, dreamlike quality, our wedding day went exceptionally well; sunshine, happy smiles and our favourite people investing and involving themselves in a day that meant so much to so many.
With such a momentous build up, it is a strange sensation when the day is actually happening, but also when it has happened. That constant stream of wedding thoughts in your head cease and allow contemplation and fresh ideas to burst in, the future suddenly opens up like the first green buds in Spring.
In my new capacity as Wedding Co-ordinator at Coombe Trenchard, I have the honour of assisting and supporting our 2017 Brides & Grooms as they take this same journey. Wonderfully, Coombe Trenchard is incapable of holding the same celebration twice; it is possessed with too many unique spaces, has too much room for interpretation and allows its beauty to be channelled in so many glorious ways. My excitement at being involved as others create their ‘Best Day Ever’ is huge, my passion and true love of everything that weddings represent ensures that this responsibility feels safe and well placed amongst my positivity and enthusiasm.
Top Ten Tips
It seems fitting as I transition from Bride to Wedding Co-ordinator to reflect on my own experience and attempt to support those within the whirlwind and joy of planning their Big Day. So, here are the top ten tips from the new Mrs Colwill:
- Invest emotionally in Coombe Trenchard. This may seem obvious, but I almost see Coombe Trenchard as a being. Arranging meetings with Sarah, visits with Parents and seeing Facebook and Twitter posts gave me such warm feelings. I do believe this magnificent home is imbedded with its own character and arriving the night before the wedding felt like greeting an old friend. I highly recommended booking tastings, trials and cups of tea in the lead up to your big day; it feels like you are sharing your loved ones and memories with a place that holds a very special place in your heart.
- Use your time wisely. I remember the see-saw effect of wedding planning well. You go through hugely productive flurries, before focusing on normal life for a short time. Do try to book in a weekend a month or an evening a week to keep up to date though. I felt very organised but still found the fortnight beforehand hugely stressful. You do not want to be handcrafting signage or frantically buying bridesmaid’s presents in the grand build up. Make lists, involve friends and family and enjoy the time spent on your day in a measured and thought out way. Discuss the day in detail with Sarah and myself at Coombe Trenchard and give due thought to exactly how you want the day to flow and feel from the outset.