Saturday, 24 November 2012

Real Bride: City Chic

Some of you may remember how I dedicated a previous post to my lovely friend Claire who was getting married abroad.  Before she and her gorgeous fiance Col flew over to the Emerald Isle for their stunning nuptials at Clarence's, Dublin, they had the legal ceremony in London with 40 close family and friends to witness it.

The ceremony took place in the stunning and romantic surrounding of Camden Town Hall.  Claire had asked me to be her wedding florist, and I could not have been more thrilled.  Claire asked for something simple, so I suggested an arrangement of Avalanche roses.

Roses are the traditional flower of romance and the creamy colour of the Avalanche looks great for a wedding.

As a nod to the couple's Anglo-Irish heritage, the green-tinted outer leaves were left on the roses and the stems were tied with a Union Jack ribbon.

The bride wore a 1950s style strapless dress with a cardigan to keep out the chilly October wind.  To complete her look, she fixed a gorgeous diamante clip in her hair.

The new Mr and Mrs Adams looked absolutely delighted as they stepped out as husband and wife for the first time.  After posing for photographs, they headed to the Betjeman Arms at St. Pancras Hotel for a sumptuous wedding breakfast.

One other thing I just had to show you: the adorable shoes that the couple wore.

Congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Adams!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Planning A Wedding, Preparing For Divorce - Would you consider a pre-nup?

You're looking at fabric swatches, invitation designs and centrepieces in haze of creative bliss, and then you get a rude awakening in the form of 100 page document from your hubby-to-be's lawyer, detailing down to the last minute point what will happen in the event of divorce.  It's hardly the romantic bunch of flowers most girls would be looking for.  Prenuptial agreements have long divided opinion: are they romance killers, or practical guides?

Given the high rate of divorce across the UK, Europe and the US, it is perhaps not surprising that more people than ever are considered signing one.  Prenups are useful documents that set out, before the marriage, how assets should divide upon the union being dissolved.  They are useful tools because the marriage breakdown leaves couples fraught, angry and unable to think clearly where their partner is concerned.

The biggest argument against such a document is that it destroys the whole point of getting married in the first place.  If you think you're going to split up in the end, why bother with the wedding to begin with?  Many legal reps involved with drafting prenups agree that the prenup puts added pressure on the relationship, making it more likely to fail before it starts.  This can be due to the outrageous clauses in them.  Peculiar examples include weight clauses (the disadvantaged party can claim financial recompense if the other spouse goes above their agreed weight limit), abortion clauses (all cases of pregnancy must be terminated) and cheating bonuses, where the disadvantaged party can claim an extra financial bonus if their partner is unfaithful.


The fact that prenups in the UK are not legal binding, in my opinion, is an advantage.  It can act as a useful guideline, but it still leaves room for manoeuvre or a dramatic change in circumstance in the lifetime of the marriage.  If you feel the need to have an agreement, my advice is to talk about it with your partner as soon after your engagement as possible.  Organising such a serious document in the middle of a wedding haze won't be good for you now or then.  Given the legal fees that drawing up such a document will entail, I do not believe it would be worth having one unless you believe that you would suffer a serious financial loss if the marriage were to fall apart.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Flower Me Pretty - the Rise and Rise of the Floral Headdress

The 80s were a cruel fashion decade in many respects.  Shoulder pads, big hair and jewellery so chunky you could demolish houses with it.  Wedding dresses were adorned with big puffy sleeves, gaudy embellishments and huge trains.  This was typified by the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales.  Her dress became iconic of the decade.

However there was one trend, typified by the Royal Wedding of 1981, that is make a comeback which I'm a teensy bit thrilled about: floral headdresses.  Along with shower bouquets, the floral headbands and wreathes that bedecked the hair of the brides and bridesmaids in 80s are coming back stronger than ever.

The trend started with last year's Royal wedding.  The younger bridesmaids had headbands of ivy leaves and white flowers while maid of honour Pippa Middleton wore a clip of lily of the valley.  Following on from this, many more brides have opted to wear flowers in their hair.

It's a style long advocated by the wonderful florists Spriggs and Miss Pickering.  It's such a great look because it lends itself to all kinds of occasion: casual, formal and themed.  Using seasonal blooms or tying in with your bouquet can really emphasise your colour scheme.  It also looks wonderful on all ages; from very young flower girls to brides entering their second marriage.  Even high fashion is getting in on the action.  Lady Gaga attended milliner extraordinaire Philip Treacy's SS13 show at London Fashion Week with colour and arty piece.

Indeed this trend show absolutely no sign of dying out with more spectators at London Fashion Week wearing garlands in their hair, the Duchess of Cambridge joining in with local customs in the South Pacific and young bride Peaches Geldof carrying on the bridal tradition.

I for one am absolutely thrilled by this wonderful revival.  Tiaras are pretty in their place, but nothing quite says it like flowers.

For all your wedding flowers needs, please contact

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Beautiful Bride - how to manage your make up for your big day

It's just as important as your dress and how you wear your hair, but planning your make up is so easily overlooked.  Here are my top tips for making sure you look your best on your special day:

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Planning to do your make up yourself, a la the Duchess of Cambridge or Victoria Bracken, is fine, provided you known what you're doing.  I rarely wear make up myself, so I for one would be clueless!  However, if you're confident with a powder brush, save yourself a few pennies and create your wedding look.  If you know someone else who's good with the paint, why not ask them to do it?  It's a great way of allowing someone to be a part of your special day without having to make them a bridesmaid or a reader.

Eyes are always the trickiest part to do.  It's your eyes that people will be immediately drawn to when looking at your photos.  I advise brides to try and go lighter with the eye make-up, both in colour and quantity, simply because dark make up will look more smudgy and untidy if it starts to fade.  The last thing you want is look like you've got a black eye on your big day!  And let's not forget the most important wedding day make up rule of all: WATERPROOF MASCARA!

I always advocate getting a professional in.  Not only does it take the pressure off you, or someone in your wedding party, it also gives you a feeling of being pampered.  Hairdressers are good for recommendations.  If not, ask around.  Twitter and Facebook are great places to look for independent make up artists who are local.

Remember your nails too.  The other part of your outfit people will want to see is your ring.  It's really worth having a manicure, and that goes for the groom too!  Even just a good clean and light varnish will pay dividends.

If all else fails on the day, toddle off to your nearest Boots and ask one of the counter girls to make you up.  It's free!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Keep Calm and Marry On - how to calm those pre wedding jitters

They are perfectly normal and very few of us would expect not to get them.  However, that does not stop them from being a pain in the neck when they turn up.  No, I'm not talking about your in-laws, I mean pre-wedding nerves.

I was talking to a friend recently who told me that on the night before her wedding, her mother gave her sleeping tablets so that she could get some proper sleep.  Every time she woke in the night she took another tablet.  By morning, she was calmer than she'd ever been.  In fact, she was so calm she barely remembers a thing about her wedding day.  Apart from the fact that her mother seemed to have absorbed all the stress instead!

Whilst taking pills seemingly worked for her, it's certainly not recommended for everybody.  It's definitely not advisable if you've never used them before.  Here are some top tips for helping you relax:

1) 7 Days

Start your relaxation programme 7 days before the wedding.  Get in a routine.  Being in bed by the same time every night is vital.  This can be tricky with out-of-towners and people you haven't seen for years coming to visit you and spend time with you, so do push yourself.  The lead up to weddings is stressful and hectic, so why not ask the out-of-towners to hang around AFTER the wedding once all the pressure is off?

2) Delegation

If you can avoid doing it yourself, I strongly recommend you get someone else to do.  Ask them nicely, of course, and if they say No, don't harrass them to do it, but it's not outside the duties of a maid of honour/chief bridesmaid or mother-of-the-bride to run small errands for you, e.g. picking up dresses, shoes, double-checking readers have the right readings, accompanying you to hair/beauty appointments.  Try to take a couple of days off work before the wedding in order to pace out your last-days tasks.

3) Food and drink

Eating the right foods can definitely lower stress levels and help you sleep better.  Avoid carbs and saturated fats in the evening as these will sit heavily in your stomach until morning.  Cut out caffeine after midday.  Instead drink lots of water and caffeine free teas (N.B: Not all green teas are caffeine free!)

4) Exercise

5) Comfy sheets!


One of my personal favourite ways of guaranteeing a good night's sleep is some new bed linen.  That, and new pyjamas.  There's nothing quite like the feel of them.  Another tip is to fill your room with the gentle scent of lavender.  In aromatherapy, lavender is the a calming agent.  Put some dried bunches next to your spread, or sprinkle a few drops of lavender all on a hanky to slip inside your pillowcase.

Remember: Marriage is a tricky affair; the wedding is just the start.

Monday, 30 July 2012

On a Foreign shore... - The Ins and Outs of getting hitched abroad

Planning a wedding is stressful enough as it is.  Trying to plan one abroad adds another dimension to the process.  Would you consider taking that challenge on?

There are many reasons to hold your nuptials abroad.  Whether it is for reasons of sentimentality, or simply because the UK can't accommodate the kind of event you're looking for, you should research your destination as much as possible before honing in on the perfect location.  Whether that be on a tropical island or a snow capped mountain, it helps if you've visited the location before.  Maybe you've been there on holiday.  I would recommend visiting your selected destination, if at all possible, before signing any contracts.

As with any wedding, there are some very important points to consider:
  • The legal side of things: you need to create a record of your overseas marriage once you're back in the UK.  You can do this at any time after the ceremony.  If you marry outside of the Commonwealth, you will need to contact the Foreign Office about depositing your marriage certificates.  There is no provision as yet for those who marry in a Commonwealth country.  For more information, visit
  • You will be unable to sample items such as food, decorations and flowers ahead of time.  Most suppliers may be able to send you pictures, but while a picture tells a thousand words, it may not tell you the whole truth.
  • If you plan to purchase your dress/outfits ahead of time, you will need to make provision for them in your luggage allowances when travelling.  If travelling a long distance, you will also need to make provisions for them to cleaned/steamed/cared for once you arrive.

I've heard mixed reviews from brides planning their weddings in another country.  Some said it was the most stressful thing that they'd ever experienced; others said that putting their plans to into the hands of wedding companies meant all the stress was lifted from them.  One theme that came through loud and clear was trust.  You had to trust the photographs you were sent to be accurate; you had to trust other people's recommendations; you had to trust the hotels and airlines to deliver on time.

The most important thing with going abroad is to allow yourself enough time to prepare.  You may want to consider visiting the destination and talking to as many of your suppliers as possible before signing any contracts on 

This article is dedicated to the lovely Claire Arbon, who inspired it.  Claire is planning her wedding in Ireland.  Best of luck to her! x x x

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

All For One - Where do you stand on same sex marriage?

I do not generally use this blog to talk politics or take the world too seriously.  By and large, I try to offer advice about the wedding industry and I endeavour to keep the tone as light-hearted as possible.  But sometimes, there are topical issues that are too big to ignore.

The question of gay marriage has reared it's ugly head again.  (It's the question that's ugly, not the marriage.)  Today the Scottish National Party (SNP) announced plans to introduce gay marriage as soon as 2015.  Earlier this year, President Obama came out saying that he is in favour of it.  Everywhere you look, someone has an opinion on it.

The issue is far less contentious here in the UK.  We've had civil partnerships, granting equal rights to homosexual couples as  since 2005.  Religious groups cried 'Hell!' and 'Damnation!' left right and centre when it was announced, but to no one's great surprise, it hasn't caused the end of the world.  Life carries on pretty much as normal.

My position on the issue is this: I do not give one jot for semantics - marriage, civil partnership - the ultimate point is that so long as the legal rights are in place, the terminology does not matter.  Love is love is love, no matter who you are.  I also believe that the government are missing a trick with civil partnerships.  Marriage should be as it always is: two people entering into a contract with the state via a ceremony.  This is whether they are a man and a man, a woman and a woman or a man and a woman.  Civil partnerships would be exactly the same thing, except for the ceremony part.  Instead, a contract would be signed and agreed - in the presence of two witnesses and local official - and couples would sign a document, agreeing to do all the things that couples promise to each other when entering a marriage.  A civil partnership would in this way, I believe, cut out the one element of marriage that co-habiting couples would rather avoid: the ceremony.

Whilst I am all for weddings - in fact, my business kinda relies on them! - it's an inescapable fact that some people are downright allergic to them.  The thought of being obliged to spend so much money on one day just to keep friends and family off their backs is more than enough to put some people off the idea.  This is a shame because marriage has been proven to be legally, socially and scientifically better for you than co-habitation.

It is certainly not place to tell you how to think or feel, but I would urge anyone considering their opinion on gay marriage to think carefully about the implications from all sides.  I believe firmly in love; love at all costs.  Marriage relies on love, and I believe if you crush opportunities for marriage, you crush love too.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Afternoon Tea - an alternative hen night

Hen nights can wild and rauscous affairs.  Thanks to Ann Summers, you can trot about the open roads and the various night spots, sporting L plates, tiaras, mini wedding veils and mini penises too.  But for those of us who prefer the more sedate things in life, why not celebrate the end of singledom with a traditional afternoon tea.

Afternoon teas are a brilliant way of involving your female friends of all ages, whether they're 9, 19 or 90.  Who doesn't like tea and cake???  Historically, they were started by the Duchess of Bedford as a way for her and her friends to gossip without their menfolk around, and to combat that mid-afternoon peckishness.  It became so popular that even men started to indulge.  Nowadays, it's fantastic little treat to yourself and your friends.

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Afternoon teas are great for making you feel sophisticated.  If you're having a vintage wedding, afternoon tea is a great way for getting into the spirit of the occasion.  Here are my top recommendations for teas to tantilise the tastebuds:

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The Cadogan Hotel, Knightsbridge

This hotel is one of my favourite spots for afternoon tea.  The quiet restaurant, attentive staff and vast selection of teas make for a wonderfully calm atmosphere.  It's a great place to chill out, and it's close enough to th Kings Road for a spot of shopping beforehand.

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The Park Lane Hotel, Mayfair

This hotel has all the decadence and glamour of its rival The Ritz down the road, but without the ginormous price tag.  Enjoy sumptuous sandwiches and scones, and why not try the Irish Cream tea with just a hint of whiskey.  The harpist  playing away in the corner adds a refined feel to the atmosphere.

Author's own

The Goring Hotel, Victoria

If it's good enough for Kate Middleton, it's good enough for me.  A favourite with the royal family for decades, it's easy to fall in love with the gentle old world charms of the Goring hotel's dining room, not to mention the charming crockery in spite of it being yellow.  Not a cheap experience, but a memorable experience nonetheless.

Beatons Tearoom & Bookshop, Tisbury, Wiltshire

Author's own

A tearoom with a twist: enjoy a delicious cup of tea and pick up a delightful read at the same time.  Part bookshop part teashop, this wonderful quirky place in the village of Tisbury is well worth the effort of getting to.  Why not have a walk around the wonderful countryside afterwards to burn those cheeky calories off?

You have any recommendations for a great afternoon tea, please drop me a line at 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Stay-cation - Honeymooning in the UK

Have you, or would you, ever considering honeymooning in the UK?  Yes, okay, I do know how mad that sounds, but hear me out...

As the adverts on TV say, why would you want to go abroad in 2012?  Around the country there are many events and festivals taking place to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee and the London Olympics.  There are a wide variety of museums and art galleries for all you culture vultures out there, including the newly opened Titanic Belfast museum.  

If you think that honeymooning in the UK is only for those who can't afford the Maldives or a Caribbean Island, think again.  Kate Winslet honeymooned in the Cotswolds with her first husband Jim Threapleton following her 'bangers and mash' pub reception.  Nearly every newly-wed couple in the royal family has spent part of their honeymoon in the UK.  You don't need to go abroad to have proper one-to-one time with your new husband.

One massive (and very romantic) advantage of travelling in the UK is that you can book your accommodation in your married names before you get there.  If you want to travel abroad using your married name, this will have to be changed on your passport before you're married.  The only way to do this is to change your name by deed poll ahead of the ceremony.  Not a problem if you don't need a passport.

The other great advantage of staying in the UK is that, by saving money on travel, you have more spending money to treat yourself to souvenirs and days out.  Have you always wanted to go to the opera?  Maybe you've dreamt of going to that fancy restaurant you've had your eye on for years?  Now's the time, seize the moment!


The honeymoon is often the part of a wedding that couples end up looking forward to the most. A lot of people do not appreciate just how stressful planning a wedding can be.  That's why having a honeymoon, or even just a few days away together, alone, after the festivities is vitally important.  It gives you a chance to reconnect as a couple and reflect on your special day.

Remember: Marriage is a tricky business and the wedding is just the start.