Thursday, 29 December 2011

Xmas Kisses - does getting married tie-in well with Christmas?

It's the time of year when people are naturally inclined to party. The year is coming to an end, and what a better time to catch with friends and family to look back upon the past and look to the future.  Since this is what weddings seem to be a lot about, it seems to be a natural move to have a wedding during the festive period.  But is that really such a good idea?

Author's own

When author Marian Keyes tied the knot with her husband Tony on December 27th, she records in her book Under The Duvet that this was not a popular decision with her family.  Her mother put everyone on a diet so that they would look their best for the big day, but that meant no chocolate or biscuits or treats of any kind at Christmas!  For brides planning to slim down before their wedding, planning a date around Christmas may not be the best idea.
Source unknown

When it comes to suppliers and venues, Christmas week might as well be the third week in June!  They get booked up months in advance and are likely to put their prices up too.  Specific wines can be in high demand and hard to come by, venues are hosting corporate events and Christmas parties, and florists will having orders flooding in.  (Second only to Mother's Day, Christmas is THE busiest time of year for florists.)

Author's own

Weather is an unpredictable factor.  For three years straight, heavy snowfall dogged the Christmas period across the UK.  And yet this year has taken everyone aback by it's comparative mildness.  You just never know what you might get.  Snow can cause havoc for those who need to travel to your wedding, yet if it's a White Christmas Wedding you're dreaming of, you can be just as easily be disappointed.

Author's own

On the upside, Christmas can lend itself well to small, intimate, candlelit weddings full of festive cheer.  Mulled wine or cider is a wonderful (not to mention cheap!) alternative to serving champagne on arrival at reception.  Cakes made of mince pies rather than cupcakes looks rather Christmassy.  Personalised crackers are great as favours and provide amusement at the table.

Source unknown

Parties are going to happen around Christmas and New Year's Eve whether you like it or not.  If you want to make your wedding one of those parties, why shouldn't you?  Go on - it's Christmas!

Author's own
A very Merry Christmas to all my readers.  x x x

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Please Mr DJ, Don't Upset the Bandman - live versus piped music

It's not often discussed, and yet it is an issue that people seem to have very strong opinions on: live versus recorded music at weddings.  There is a big stigma attached to having a CD play your recessional rather than having a full-blown orchestra there to do it instead.  But would the orchestra really provide a better solution?

When Big Brother 5 star Michelle Bass walked down the aisle, she did so to the strains of  Water Shows The Hidden Heart by Irish music star Enya.  She loved how pretty the tune sounded.  She could have chosen to have some musicians come in and play their version of the song.  But she didn't want that; she wanted the version she knew and trusted - the Enya original.  Any event musician, no matter how talented, would have struggled to recreate the tune given the level of studio tuning the song has.

Louise Raynham

The main nub of the matter is often cost.  Those with money have the live bands; CDs provide cheap alternative for those who have to watch the pennies.  Even in churches, organists can cost upward of £200.  Most places of worship and civil ceremony venues are fitted with decent sound systems these days.  This is something you can take into consideration when deciding between live or recorded music.  Always ask to hear the sound system play something if you want to be sure.  (This rule is also true of any musician you consider, be they organist, chorister or band - always make sure you hear them perform live before you book.)
For evening receptions, the classic choice has always been between live band or disco DJ.  Nowadays, with the advances in music technology, you could always create a digital playlist (on iPod, MP3 player etc) to play all your favourite tracks to party the night away to.  Downsides include hire charges for amplification equipment and asking someone to stay sober and keeping an eye on the music all night long.

Ultimately you must remember to stick within your budget and any other constraints on entertainment you might have.  We can't all be like Petra Ecclestone, who hired the Black Eyed Peas to do a private show at her Italian nuptials.  Given that the final wedding bill came to around £12m, we're guessing they didn't come cheap!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Don't Tell The Bride - Good TV, Bad Influence?

The 5th series of BBC3's hit show Don't Tell The Bride has just come to an end.  It's been lighting up our screens for 5 years now (hard to believe, isn't it?)  It certainly makes for fascinating viewing on a dull Tuesday evening.  Twitter lights up whenever it's on. #dttb  But when it comes to wedding planning, is the influence of Don't Tell The Bride and other reality wedding shows a positive one?

When you watch DTTB, the determination to outdo everybody else, to be memorable, is ever present.  But in a bid to be original, there ends up being a lot of copycatting between brides and grooms.  I've lost count of the number of helicopters I've seen feature in DTTB, for example.  Neither can I recall any of the names of the couples taking part.

Other shows such as Channel 4's Wedding House encourage couples to think big.  They bring couples from all walks of life to a glamorous hotel in South East London and promise them the wedding of their dreams.  Except that they don't, not really.  They give them an outrageously over-the-top themed ceremony and then send them outside to have their pictures taken on the lawn with only a PLASTIC (yes, that's PLASTIC) glass of bubbly.  Parties and receptions elsewhere, if you don't mind.

Perhaps I'm judging reality TV too harshly.  After all, one could say that the royal wedding was one lived in the spotlight.  For all the publicity and audience figures these reality shows tend to pull in, I don't think there is yet to be single 'trend' or influence over wedding style that can be attributed to them, which is not true at all of the royal wedding.  Trees, lily of the valley, bridesmaids in white, floral headdress, sleeves...  The trends that have sprung for Wills & Kate's nuptials are endless

Mostly these shows end up with couples talking about what an amazing day they've had and how it was better than anything they could have imagined.  It's all a bit same old same old to me (call me cynical, it's been done before).  It's seems a bit of a shame that the brides and grooms spend so much time trying to wow each other and their guests, not the mention their audience, that they often miss the point of what a wedding is really about: Two people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together.  Now if BBC3 did a series on what happens AFTER Don't Tell The Bride, now that I would watch!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Bye Bye Bare Arms - the sleeve is back!

When the announcement was made over a year ago now (my how the time flies!) that Prince William and Kate Middleton were engaged to be married, we all knew that whatever gown she chose for her big day it would be a trendsetter.  And we were not wrong.

Hello Magazine!
Resplendent in Alexander McQueen couture, Kate has certainly buoyed up the bridal market for lace and white bridesmaids dresses, but also for sleeves.  For more than 10 years, strapless arm-bareing gowns have been in vogue, but it seems that the tide may be about to turn.  Kate's dress alone would not a trend make, but the second most hotly anticipated gown of the year bears many of the same features.

Summit Entertainment / Alfred Angelo
Bella Swann (played by Kristen Stewart in the Twilight movie series) married her long-term love Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson) in a long sleeved Carolina Herrera gown with striking lace detail on the back.  So much hype was focused on the dress, the movie trailer deliberately only gave teasing, tantilising glimpses of it.  Only now that the film has been released.
Summit Entertainment / Alfred Angelo

The design has proved so popular, women and girls are claiming to be engaged just to be able to get into Alfred Angelo stores, where replicas of Bella's dress are being sold, to try the dress on.  I've been rooting for the return of the sleeve for years - perhaps this could its turning point.