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DIY Wedding Manicure Hacks on a Budget

Bridal BeautyBethComment
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As well as being a social media QUEEN, Beth (my new team member) is also a total beauty pro. SRSLY, I've learned so much from her already. And she always has the best nails - so today I asked her to share her top tips with you for getting a perfect DIY wedding manicure on a budget. There are some total bargains in here, and some great advice on nail care, so enjoy!

Have you decided on your wedding nails yet? Manicures can get expensive, especially if you want all the trimmings (which of course we do). I have tried and tested lost of different nail products just for you, to help you get the perfect DIY manicure for your wedding. Here are my favourites and how to use them...

Nail Care

Wedding Manicure
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1. Makeup Gallery Cuticle Oil

2. Makeup Gallery Nail Hardener

3. Cuticle Pusher (I, again, got mine from Pound Land, but it's not available on the website, but this amazon alternative is pretty much identical.

4. Nail File (sadly not the same that's on mine, but the product functions the same - try your local Pound Land store to see what they have in stock)

The first step to beautiful nails is to take care of them! Although this is slightly time consuming, the outcome is definitely worth it. So here's what to do: apply a generous amount of cuticle oil around the cuticle of your nail and on the nail surface each day (I do this before bed for optimum results). Believe it or not, I've found the best cuticle oil is the one from Poundland (see picture 1), but an even cheaper alternative is to use coconut oil, which is also amazing. 

The second step, which is especially important if you have brittle nails, is to use a nail hardener. This will make it super easy for you to grow your nails long and strong, without worrying about them snapping. I'd advise to only use this once a month, just to make sure your nails don't get too hard, otherwise that will also make them snap easily. It's a happy medium you're after. My favourite product for this is again from Poundland - what a bargain! 

The third step is cuticle care, which can be painful if done wrong, so please be careful, and avoid cuticle nippers - they're the reason cuticle care gets a bad rap. Instead, I prefer to use a cuticle pusher to gently remove any excess cuticle, which will make your manicure last way longer, as well as making them generally look neater. I'd also suggest a good slather of cuticle oil before doing any cuticle work, just to make it easier to remove/tidy.

The fourth and last step of nail care is to file your nails. Before we even start this segment, I need to stress the importance of only using a nail file on the edges of your nails - never buff your nails with a file. If you do this, your nails will become really brittle and un-do all the work we've just done! Instead, file the tip of the nail gently and only one way, so not to disrupt the grain of the nail, which will then lead to breakage. 

Top and Base Coats

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5. Revlon Ultimate Shine Top Coat

6. Maybelline Gel Effect Top Coat

7. Collection Matte Top Coat

8. Boots Base Coat  (Available in Boots Stores only)

Just like I stressed the importance of priming your face before makeup in my natural beauty blog post, priming your nails is super important. This will stop your nails turning yellow, as well as making your manicure last twice as long! My favourite is Boots' own brand base coat, because it's super thin and dries really quickly. This can be hard to find though, so a dupe for this would be Barry M's base coat.

Top coats are also super important, not only do they leave your nails glossy and smooth, but they add an extra layer of protection and make your manicure last longer. One of my favourite tricks for a long lasting manicure is to add a new layer of top coat every few days, I've managed to make my nail polish last up to two weeks by doing this, so definitely worth a try. My favourite picks are featured in the 5th picture. 

Another really fun top coat option would be a matte top coat, which is bang on trend, and generally just a really cool effect. I especially like making glitter polishes matte, as it gives such a unique look. Be careful with matt polishes though, they do tend to take a little while to dry in comparison with 'normal' top coats, so make sure to leave them for a full 20 minutes.

Most of all, avoid two in one top and base coats AT ALL COSTS, these are such a waste of money (in my opinion, if they work for you then that's great). 

Colour Polishes

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9. Shade Pink Sherbet - Pound Land

10. Seventeen - Shade White Lady

11. Shade Bambino Blue - Pound Land (in store only)

12. Shade Lavender Cream - Pound Land 

13. Shade Mint Milkshake - Pound Land (in stores only)

14. Shade Pink Soda 8 - Pound Land (in stores only)

15.  Rimmel - Shade Green Dragon

16. Maybelline - I Love This Sweater

17. Shade Latte - Pound Land

18. W7 - Shade Matte Sludge

19.  Shade Lunar Haze - Collection (in stores only)

On to nail polish colours (yay). There are so many different types and textures of coloured nail polish, so I've included a huge selection for you. So first, a classic french manicure is perfect for a more traditional wedding, my favourite products for creating this look are listed above. However, for you brides to be that prefer something a little more daring, here are some other fun options for you...

Pastel colours are perfect for weddings, you can even match them to your bouquet or buttonholes. My favourite pastel colours are once again from Poundland, and yes, they are super cheap, but they're also really pigmented and apply really smoothly, they're definitely one of my holy grail products, I own every single colour they have to offer. Rimmel also have a gorgeous mint green which is linked above.

Nude colours are great if you're having a super minimalistic or rustic wedding, as they create the 'barely there' effect. Of course you could also create this with a simple clear coat, but nude colours create an overall more polished (no pun intended) look. There are so many different nude shades on the market, so definitely to in store to see which best matches your skin tone. My favourites that match me are featured in the links above.

Matte polishes are, again, great to create a unique look on your wedding day. If you'd prefer just one bottle rather than having to buy a matte top coat too, then w7's matte collection is fabulous, Barry M also have a great selection of Matte colours.

Iridescent barely there colours such as Collection's Lunar haze are great for creating a more natural look. These can be worn on the nail with just a base coat to create a sheer effect, or over the top of a similar shade to create an iridescent sheen (I do this a lot, and it looks amazing).

Glitter Polishes

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20. W7 - Shade Multi Dazzle

21. Essence - Shade Crashed The Party?!

22. Shade Silver Treasure 34 - Pound Land (in stores only)

23. W7 - Shade Cosmic Mauve

24. Rimmel - Shade Disco Diva

25. Rimmel - Shade Disco Ball

Everyone loves glitter, and this is the perfect, way to include glitter in your big day without being over the top. These glitter polishes vary in price, but are all really affordable. Each one can either be worn over a coloured polish as a finishing touch or by itself for a subtle sparkle. If you want to wear just the glitter polish, but don't want a sheer coverage, try using a latex free makeup sponge and applying the polish to the sponge and then dab it onto your nail. The sponge will absorb the liquid part of the polish, leaving you with just the glitter, that you can build up to create your desired look. Make sure to use a thick topcoat if you're using this technique, otherwise the glitter will flake off your nail really easily. 

Extras

 http://www.stonesgotstyle.com/2013/11/

http://www.stonesgotstyle.com/2013/11/

26. Liquid Latex

27. Elegant Touch Nail Polish Drying Spray

If you find painting your nails tricky, I have the perfect solution for you - liquid latex. Paint a small barrier around your nail with the liquid latex and let it dry completely. Then, paint your nails as normal (I recommend no more than 3 strokes of the brush, otherwise the polish will go thinner in some places and thicker in others). As soon as you've painted your nails, peel the liquid latex barrier off, while the nails are still wet, and you will reveal perfectly neat nail polish. It can take a few attempts at getting the liquid latex right up to the edge of the nail, so keep practising, and check out some youtube tutorials on the best methods. 

So, now your nails are wet, but you're a busy person and have stuff to do. I have a solution. Nail drying sprays are great as a quick fix if you've done your nails in a rush, or always smudge them, no matter how hard you try not to. However, these sprays only dry the very top layer of your polish, so make sure you're still careful not to smudge them. This definitely isn't a trick to do just before you put your dress on!

Follow these tips and create gorgeous wedding nails that last all day and make everyone wonder which salon you went to. If you have any questions, be sure to comment below and I'll do my best to answer them for you. 

6 Unique and Fun Wedding Food Ideas

Wedding Planning AdviceRachel WaringComment
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Let's be honest, we all have a love/hate relationship with wedding food. Sometimes it can be really really good, and sometimes people just get it wrong. Hours and hours waiting around at your table just to be served the tiniest portion of dry chicken? No THANKS. While there are obviously lots of ways to get a traditional sit down wedding breakfast right, today I'm sharing some fun alternatives for you for a more chilled wedding vibe. 

 Pizza oven weddings are the best!  Image via.

Pizza oven weddings are the best! Image via.

PIZZA OVEN

Who doesn't love pizza? A pizza oven is a great novelty talking point at a wedding, and it's a very low maintenance option too - no cutlery needed am-I-RIIIGHT?! Unless you're one of those weird people that eats pizza with cutlery, and if so I don't know what to say to you. 

 Homemade barbecue sauce is a must for a garden wedding right? Image via.

Homemade barbecue sauce is a must for a garden wedding right? Image via.

A wedding Barbecue 

A BBQ can be a great, low cost option for a wedding, and brings a fun summer vibe along with it. Some points to consider: don't forget your veggie friends; be sure to get plenty of sides and salads to make it interesting; and get plenty of biodegradable plates and cutlery to avoid plastic waste. My advice would be not to DIY this, as tempting as it might be. Bring in a professional BBQ caterer to take care of it all for you - it might cost a bit more money, but you'll be glad of it when they take away all the mess with them at the end. 

 Food trucks will make you super popular with your wedding guests -  image via

Food trucks will make you super popular with your wedding guests - image via

Food Trucks 

Nothing brings a festival vibe to your wedding quite like a food truck. You could have proper pies, fish and chips, ice cream, pulled pork (if you want to be super hipster), or my how about my personal favourite, halloumi fries?! There are so many great street food options to choose from, and the best thing is that your guests can go up and grab their food whenever they want, which gets rid of that hungry waiting time all together. 

 

 Who doesn't love a potluck?  image via.

Who doesn't love a potluck? image via.

A potluck wedding

For those not familiar with the mighty potluck, it basically means that everyone brings a dish and adds it to the wedding buffet. This can be a controversial option, because some people don't like the idea of asking their guests to bring their own food to a wedding, but if you are on a tight budget it can be an amazing money saver. I also think it's really fun, because people can get quite competitive with their culinary skills and you get to compare amateur chefs. One thing to watch out for though is that you don't get loads of the same thing, you'll need to get a spreadsheet going and get people to give you an idea of what they're bringing in advance. 

 Picnics are a great idea for relaxed outdoor weddings -  image via. 

Picnics are a great idea for relaxed outdoor weddings - image via. 

A BIG PICNIC

A picnic can be a lovely option, especially if you want to bring a bit more of a relaxed vibe to your big day. Picnics are also super pretty to look at, which is a bonus for your wedding decor! Some top picnic tips: warn your guests before hand in your invitations so that they can plan their outfits accordingly, and be sure to include plenty of chairs for people who don't want to/can't sit on the floor (i.e Granny). 

 A homemade burger bar?! Yes please! -  image via.  

A homemade burger bar?! Yes please! - image via. 

DIY FOOD STATIONS

Food stations are a huge trend in weddings this year, and I can see why, there are so many fun possibilities! Build a burger, pimp your prosecco, taco stands, cocktail mixing.... there are plenty of ways to get this trend into your wedding - the most successful ideas include some sort of DIY element to get your guests involved and break the ice. We recently published a blog post with some inspiration on DIY stations for your wedding, so if you're looking for more inspo then look no further! 

 

What do you think, have I convinced you on any of these? Did I miss any out? For more fun ideas, tips and inspiration, why not join my mailing list - that's where I keep all my best pals up to date with my latest wedding goss. 

How to Include the Holographic Trend in your Wedding

Wedding Themes, Wedding Styling TipsRachel WaringComment
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It's no secret that holographic weddings are my fave, but it can be a pesky trend to get right. That's why I thought I'd share some ideas today for ways to get some of that HOLO LIFE into your big day. 

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TASSEL GARLANDS

Everyone loves a tassel garland right?! You can pick these up all over Etsy, like this one from Party Pieces Co in a beautiful iridescent rainbow of colours. My favourite places to use a tassel garland are things like drinks carts, cake/dessert areas, or even as part of a wedding arch. 

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Wedding Wands

If you have tiny flower girls, these star wands are a way cooler option than flowers (am I riiighhhtt?) - just imagine them waving them around while they walk down the aisle, you'll be the most popular betrothed couple ever. These are available in our shop, and you can choose the option of cake topper or wand. And hey there's no rules, if you want to use these for your grown-up bridesmaids too, I won't judge!

 

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GLITTER STATION

We talked about our love of glitter stations in our last post, and they are yet again relevant here (when are they not?). The best way to get holographic vibes all over your wedding is to get your guests covered in it. Bespoke Bride has a great DIY to make your own glitter station here.

 

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SHOES

I mean..... these shoes!! If you prefer to be a bit more subtle with your trends, then a pop of holo shoe under your dress is perfect. 

 

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CAKE TOPPERS

Our holographic leaves cake topper is a solid favourite, but how about the iridescent arrow? This newbie was first seen in The Un-Wedding's UV Wedding Shoot (which I highly recommend you peruse, the photos by Jason Williams are so dreamy.) The arrow is not available on the website yet, but it's coming soooooon. 

 

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WEDDING STATIONERY

My secret fave, the holographic Save the Dates are the best surprise in an envelope for your guests. They are simple and to the point, perfect for the minimalist with a bit of sass. How much more detail do you need anyway when they are so shiny? Get your own set personalised here

 

So what do you think? Would you try out some holo love in your big day? I hope so! 

DIY Ideas for Pop-up Stations at Your Wedding

Wedding Styling TipsBethComment
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Wedding decorations can be tricky, especially if you have a very particular theme to stick to (we’ve all been there!) One of my favourite decorative, yet practical and very fun, ideas is to make a pop-up station for your wedding. These are so versatile and lovely, so you’ll definitely be able to find something to suit your theme and budget. Here are a few of my favourites to give you some inspiration for your very own DIY pop-up station.

 

Pop-up wedding confetti bar station

Confetti Bar

Arguably the most practical in this list, these are a lovely idea to add some colour to your wedding, as well as being extremely handy if your guests have forgotten to bring their own. This is also particularly useful if you only want a certain colour or texture of confetti in your wedding, or your venue only allows biodegradable confetti. Personally, I also really enjoy the social element of this station, as guests who may not know each other can bond while filling their own confetti cone. We have a blog post on how to create a confetti bar, as well as a video, so definitely check those out too.

 

 Image via  Rock My Wedding

Image via Rock My Wedding

Pimp Your Prosecco Bar

 A wedding wouldn’t be complete without the embarrassing speeches and toasts, why not make your alcohol of choice customisable too? This obviously isn’t limited to prosecco (although it is definitely a fab option). One of the most fun parts about having a DIY prosecco bar, is you can stay on theme by picking glasses, paper straws or cocktail stirrers in your preferred colours or patterns. Different cordials are great to add to your prosecco (we’ve also heard a dash of gin is great).  

 

glitter mermaid pop-up wedding bar station

Glitter Bar

If you love glitter, which I’m pretty certain you do if you’re reading this, then you’ll love the DIY glitter bar. This is the perfect opportunity to socialise with your guests and have a lot of fun while doing so. Who doesn’t want to see their Granddad sporting full Coachella-eqsue glitter design? This idea is fully customisable with types and colours of glitter to fit with your theme, so it’s a really way to decorate, and all while being budget friendly. What’s not to love?

 

 Image via food heaven mag

Image via food heaven mag

Doughnut Bar

A huge wedding trend recently is to have these majestic looking doughnut bars in their wedding. This is perfect decoration for a wedding, as your guests can nibble on the doughnuts as and when they get peckish! The doughnuts themselves can also be easily DIY’ed by buying plain ones, and decorating them using colourful icing to match your wedding theme. If you’re feeling particularly brave, and don’t mind a bit of mess, why not let your guests decorate their own using tubes of icing? Either way, this is a yummy way to decorate your wedding.

 

Pop-up popcorn wedding bar station

Popcorn Bar

Everyone loves a sweet treat, this DIY station takes full advantage of that, with a twist on the classic pick and mix bar (which could also be a great option for your wedding). This is a fully customisable option for a station at your wedding, as you can have lots of different toppings for your guests to choose from, and have custom boxes created to match your theme. A great way to create these custom popcorn boxes is to use these templates from Etsy. 

If you would like custom signs for your DIY pop-up wedding stations, head to our shop and we can make one especially for you.

 

5 Hacks for Natural Bridal Makeup on a Budget

Bridal BeautyBeth1 Comment

Makeup shopping can be daunting at the best of times, with endless powders and sprays promising to work miracles, but choosing your wedding makeup seems almost impossible. You  need it to be long lasting, budget friendly, look good in your wedding photographs, and be suited to your skin tone and skin type. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, my brand new team member Beth is a super fancy expert on all things beauty, so I’ve asked her to start a bridal beauty series here on the blog. Don’t say we don’t spoil you!

For the first part in her beauty series, she’s created 5 budget friendly hacks to create the perfect natural bridal makeup look.

1. Prime your face to create the perfect base

A primer is essential if you want your makeup to last through your wedding. There are loads of different types of primers, but the most common (and most effective in my opinion) are sprays, creams and gels. Your choice in primer is completely up to personal preference, but a spray or cream definitely works better for a dry skin type, whereas a gel or silicone based primer is best used to minimise the appearance of pores. Here are my favourites to keep your makeup looking beautiful all day:

 

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Barry M Flawless Hydro Fix Primer Water - Putting the ridiculously long name aside, this primer is easy to use, it’s as simple as spritzing all over your face and letting it dry. This particular primer is extremely hydrating, so it’s great for dry skin, but for those with oily skin, this can still be used, just skip moisturizer and go straight to the priming stage.

 

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Maybelline SuperStay Primer - This is a silicone based primer, so works great for filling in the appearance of large pores. The slightly watery gel texture makes application with a brush or sponge quick and simple. Alternatively, you could use your hands, but this might be a little more messy. It’s extremely long lasting, and doesn’t crease throughout the day, so it’s perfect for dancing the night away at your wedding. Due to the gel texture, this primer is geared towards a normal/combination skin type, but could work for all skin types.

 

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Rimmel Match Perfection Fix & Perfect Primer -  This is one of my favourite budget primers, without a doubt. It applies like a moisturiser and creates a smooth base for foundation, as well as lasting all day and keeping oily skin at bay. I find this is great in the summer too, as it helps to stop my makeup melting off my face.

2. Glow with the help of highlighter

A major part of natural makeup is having a healthy glow, especially on your wedding day. Highlighter is an extremely versatile product, and can create an extremely dramatic, or extremely subtle effect. Highlighters come in a stick, powder, cream or liquid format, and it’s completely down to personal preference, although creams and sticks tend to be the most natural. My top picks for budget friendly highlighters are:

 

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Natural Collection Highlighter Stick - This highlighter stick is really creamy and glides on to the skin easily, as well as blending really nicely. They offer three shades, so there’s something to suit all skin tones and the coverage is definitely buildable. Application is a breeze too, just glide the stick over your cheekbones, tip of the nose, brow bone and tip of the chin, then gently tap with your fingers until you’re happy.

 

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Revolution Strobe Highlighter - If you’re after an extremely subtle highlighter, with more of a glow than a shimmer, then this is perfect for you. They also offer an array of shades to suit your preference. You can add some setting spray onto your brush and apply this product wet too, if you’d prefer a slightly more dramatic look, so it’s definitely versatile.

 

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MUA Strobe and Glow Highlight Kit - This kit is pretty unique, it has both a cream and a powder highlighter included, which can be used separately for a more natural appearance, or use the cream first and top it up with the powder, to create a more dramatic look. The texture is more shimmery than glowy, but looks beautiful when it catches the light. There are two shades available, but both shades would work on every skin tone.

3. Loose setting powder for a natural finish

Instead of using a pressed powder on your wedding day, opt for a loose setting powder, which gives you the matte finish of a pressed powder, but without the danger of your makeup looking cakey. It’s important to stay away from any loose powder that is white, instead of a light pink, as these powders have a tendency to flash back in photographs, which you definitely don’t want on your wedding day. Here’s a few of my favourite loose powders that don’t have flashback:

 

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Rimmel London Match Perfection Silky Loose Powder - Due to the pink tone of this powder, and its sheer nature, it’s suitable for all skin types, as it doesn’t add pigment to the face, it just sets the product already on there. The pink shade also means there won’t be any flashback in your wedding photographs. It’s good for all skin types as it doesn’t cling to dry patches, but keeps oil at bay.

 

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No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder - This powder, unlike the rest, is available in 4 shades, so it should suit the majority of skin tones, and will add some pigment onto the skin. The powder is also finely milled, so can be applied with a brush or a sponge, depending on what you prefer. Overall, the powder is long lasting, so you won’t need to touch-up very often either, making it the perfect choice for your wedding.

 

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ARTDECO Fixing Powder Box - This powder, again, has a light pink colour, so it’s perfect for all skin tones, and won’t produce flashback in your wedding photographs. It’s also a dupe for Laura Mercier’s translucent setting powder, and is half the price, so this really is a great powder.

4. Set your face makeup with setting spray

Setting spray is the final step to ensure your makeup lasts all day, plus the majority of setting sprays add a gorgeous glowy appearance to the skin, so what’s not to love? If you have dry skin, you could use a setting spray instead of using lots of heavy powder to set the skin, or if you wanted a really natural finish in general. The best setting sprays to use if you’re on a tight budget are:

 

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Technic Setting Spray - As the name suggests, this setting spray is pretty simple, it sets the face without leaving a matte or glowy appearance to the skin, so your skin will look extremely natural. The product is also 100% vegan, which is amazing! If you didn’t think this product could get any better, it does, it also has a subtle, yet lovely, scent. The spray itself comes out in a fine mist too, so your makeup won’t get ruined as the spray is applied, which is always good!

 

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W7 Setting Spray - This spray is the happy medium between a matte setting spray, and a glowy setting spray. This means it’s perfect for all skin types!  It comes out in a fine mist, so your makeup remains intact, and dries it almost instantly.

 

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Revolution Pro Supreme Hold Finishing Spray - Once again, this spray produces a fine mist that won’t disrupt your makeup underneath. Once the spray is applied, the powder will blend into the foundation, leaving your skin looking flawless and set for the entire day. This spray is also a dupe for Mac’s Fix Plus setting spray, which is double the price.

 

5. White eyeliner to make the eyes look bigger

A really useful hack when creating a natural makeup look, is to use a white pencil eyeliner on the waterline, rather than using a black pencil, which can make the eyes appear smaller. This is specifically useful for bridal looks, as the white eyeliner will compliment a more neutral shimmery eyeshadow look perfectly. This hack is mainly for the waterline, but feel free to experiment with the lash line and tightline to create your preferred look. My favourite eyeliners to create this look with are:

 

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MUA Intense Colour Eyeliner - This eyeliner has an extremely smooth application, without tugging on the waterline, and the pigment easily transfers from the pencil. The pencil is extremely pigmented, and long lasting, so very few touch ups will be needed, which is essential on your wedding day. A unique point to this pencil, is that there is a sharpener in the lid, making the occasional touch up even easier.

 

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Rimmel Soft Khol Eye Pencil - This eyeliner pencil is really pigmented, and lasts all day without smudging or running. The application is mess free and quick, as the pencil is really creamy and smooth.

 

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Barry M Khol Pencil - Once again, this pencil is extremely long lasting and creamy to apply, without making a mess. You also get a lot of product for the price, and the thin pencil allows for a precise application, as well as being able to be kept with you on your big day, as it can easily fit into a clutch bag, or one of your bridesmaids can look after it for you.

 

So good right?! I’m definitely normally a straight to foundation girl and then get annoyed when it all slips off my face, so I’ll totally be checking some of these products out for myself - thanks Beth! If you have any questions or requests for future posts in the beauty series just leave us a comment/wave at us on instagram.

10 Tips to Make your Wedding More Ethical

Wedding Planning AdviceRachel Waring1 Comment
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If you're reading this, I'm pretty sure you’re a big hearted soul who cares about the world and your impact on it. You try to live as ethically as you can, so why shouldn’t your wedding reflect those lovely values of yours? 

There are loads of ways to bring a bit of conscience into your wedding, and most of them end up saving you some money and faff too - extra bonus! 

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1. Check your suppliers for ethical standards. 

The best way you can make sure you have an ethical wedding is to work with ethical suppliers. In your checklist of questions you ask suppliers, male a point of asking them about their process and sustainability policy. For example, do they make everything in house with sustainable materials? Do they treat their staff well? Do they make a bigger impact in the world by pairing with causes they believe in? These are all ways to give back while hiring someone for your wedding. 


2. Ditch the plastic crap - buy stuff you’ll want to keep. 

We’ve all seen those tiny plastic champagne bottle bubbles as favours.... do you really need them? Aside from the fact they look naff, most of them will end up in landfill - along with all those disposable cameras that seemed like such a fun idea at the time. My advice? If you want favours for your table, skip the extra stuff you’re adding just for the sake of it, and instead go for thoughtful things people will actually want to keep. This goes for anything else you buy for the wedding, try to think about where it will end up afterwards, if the answer is “in the bin” try and give it some more thought. 

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3. Go for ethical jewellery 

There are some amazing designers that use fair trade and recycled gold and silver in their jewellery. Going for ethical jewellery means you know that everyone involved in making it has been treated fairly - what’s not to like? Wild Fawn has some beautiful designs, especially if you like a delicate minimalistic style for your jewellery. 

4. Upcycle as much as possible 

Think about ways you can buy things second hand, whether that’s going for a vintage wedding dress, or scouring boot sales for furniture to decorate your wedding tipi. The bonus of this is you’ll get a really cool eclectic look for your wedding, and save money too - win win!  

5. Support small local businesses 

Your wedding is the perfect opportunity to support local small businesses. Your business means the world to small biz owners, and buy buying something local you are helping them live their dream! Buying local also means you know that there are no horrible sweatshops involved, and everyone who had a hand in your lovely wedding thing has been treated like they should be. 

6. Choose an ethical venue. 

Be sure to ask plenty of questions on your venue visits. What's their sustainability policy? Do they recycle? Do they work with ethical suppliers? Working with a venue that's focused on sustainability is one of the most important first steps in having an ethical wedding. 

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7. Is your stationery sustainable? 

Check with your stationery designer if they use FSC-certified paper, which means it's approved by the Forest Stewardship Council. Making sure your supplies are FSC-certified means you can have beautiful invitations with confidence that the paper is not damaging our forests in the process. Pssst, the paper I use is always FSC certified. 

8. Donations to charity instead of gifts or favours 

Do you have a cause you're passionate about supporting? Why not ask for donations to charity in place of your wedding gifts, or you can even substitute favours for a small donation on behalf of your guests. Don't forget to leave a little card on the tables though letting them know - it spreads warm and fuzzies, AND raises more awareness for your charity in the process. 

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9. Hire furniture instead of buying 

Anything you can hire instead of buying is always a great shout. Logistically it helps you not be left with piles of stuff that may end up in a skip, and it can also save you money too!

10. Make your food veggie /vegan  

This can be a touchy subject in some families, but especially if you are veggie/vegan yourself, it makes perfect sense to bring those values into your entire wedding, not just an option. Think of it as a chance to allow your meat preferring guests to try something new, or if not, use caterers that supply organic, ethically sourced meat. Another great idea is to donate your leftovers through apps like Olio, so nothing goes to waste. 

Did you like these tips? I hope this gives you some ideas, but there are loads more ways to be ethical and sustainable while also having the best time ever on your big day! My best advice is just to stay informed, ask questions of your suppliers and most importantly stay true to your values. That's pretty good advice for life anyway right? 
 

Tips for Attending a Wedding Fair

Wedding Planning Advice, Events + FairsRachel Waring1 Comment
Tips for attending wedding fairs

As wedding season is officially upon us, lots of you might be attending wedding fairs in your local area to get ideas and suppliers for your big day. There are definitely ways to get the most out of your visit to a wedding fair, and there are also some mistakes to avoid, so today I'm sharing my six best tips with you so you can get the most out of your trip. 

1. Look up the exhibitors before you go

Most good wedding fairs will have a directory of exhibitors on their website. Make sure you check this out before you go, so you know who to look out for on your way round!

2. Go with ideas

The more specific you are about what you are looking for, the more likely you are to find it. While it is also good to keep an open mind incase you find something you would never thought of before, having a rough idea of the kind of suppliers you want to find will help you fight overwhelm on the day. 

3. Don't take ALL of the leaflets 

Wedding fairs can be a little bit of a paper overload, and you might find leaflets being handed to you at every turn. What's the point in accepting leaflets that you are only going to throw in the bin because you're not interested in them? My tip is to be selective about the leaflets you take - this helps you manage your options when you get home, and also saves paper - win win. 

4. Chat with the suppliers you like the look of

Don't be shy! I know that wedding fairs can sometimes get a bad rep because people feel pressured by pushy/salesy vendors, but the good ones aren't like that. Most good suppliers just love weddings and people, so feel free to chat to them and ask questions, they are not out there to swindle you. 

5. Leave your email address

If you really like the look of a supplier, join their mailing list so they can follow up with you afterwards. This is the best way to make sure you get to work with the people you like, and often they might have deals for people they met on the day.

6. When you get back....

On the same evening, go through all of the leaflets, business cards and pictures you took, and write notes on anything you liked the look of or ideas you had. Also remember to follow the suppliers you liked on social media, because believe me if you leave this task until later you will most likely forget all about them! 

I hope this was useful, if you are off to a wedding fair anytime soon then have fun, and don't forget to grab a cocktail while you're there - you're celebrating after all. 

Amethyst Wedding Inspiration

Wedding Styling TipsRachel Waring1 Comment
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from top left: 1// 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

I'm not gonna lie, I have always been a fan of crystals. I love them around the house, in jewellery, and I think I especially love them as part of a lovely wedding theme! Amethyst and other crystals are a big trend in 2018, and are a big YES in my book. 

There are so many ways to bring a bit of amethyst goodness into your wedding design, whether it's using dusty lilac hues for your bridesmaids dresses, or using the actual crystals as part of your table decor. If you are an amethyst fan like I am, I've put together some ideas for how you can incorporate this trend into your own wedding. 

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BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES 

Bridesmaids dresses can be a great way to incorporate your wedding colours into the day, especially if you go for a few different shades so it's not too overwhelming. I love the gorgeous amethyst inspired tones in these bridesmaids dresses, paired with the floaty fabric - total winners. 

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Themed cocktails

Cocktails are always fun (obvs) but they are extra fun if you tie them into your wedding theme. Why not give your cocktails appropriate names? Bonus points that it makes them sound extra fancy. Your guests remember little details like that, and it really helps to bring the whole wedding together cohesively. If you'd like details like this geode shaped cocktail menu made for your wedding, you might want to have a look at my styling services - I can design something similar for you!

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GEODE CAKES

I am OBSESSED with geode cakes! Clever cake makers are turning crystallised sugar into these works of art, and not only are they beautiful and modern looking, they would be perfect for an amethyst themed wedding. I especially love this design with the edible gold detailing, too perfect to eat right??

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TABLESCAPES

Your tablescape is the best place to bring your theme to life at a wedding in some ways, because it's often where your guests will be spending a good portion of the day sitting on one place where they can really soak up the atmosphere you've made for them. Bring in those dusty purple hues again, and you can even add real crystal details like geode place cards to finish it all off. 

 

What are your thoughts on an amethyst wedding theme? Are you convinced? 

8 Apps to Make Wedding Planning Easier

Wedding Planning AdviceRachel Waring1 Comment
Best wedding planning apps.jpg

I don’t know about you, but I love a good life hack. I am all about finding ways to make wedding planning easier, less stressful, and more organised, so hopefully this round up of super handy wedding planning apps will appeal to you as much as it did to me! I am seriously kicking myself that I didn’t find some of these while planning our wedding. But I’m passing on the time saving to you instead - you’re welcome!

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1. Pinterest

I almost didn’t include good old Pinterest because it almost seems too obvious, but then I thought - what if someone out there isn’t using it, and therefore isn’t experiencing its brilliance?? So here we are. Pinterest is probably the number one resource for wedding inspiration. You can set up your own wedding pin board, invite your partner, bridal party or family to it (if you want), and use it as your online hub for your wedding inspo. I even use Pinterest as a search engine even over Google, because the results tend to be higher quality and more relevant to me. It comes with a set of challenges: comparison and inspiration fatigue being some of them, but really you can’t beat Pinterest for the ability to find amazing ideas and collect them all in one place.

Cost: Free

TOP TIP: Read my blog post on how to avoid pinterest fatigue to really maximise your use of the app.

2. Trello

I can’t imagine my life without Trello. Well I can, but in that imagined life I am much less organised! Trello is a task management app, which can be utilised amazingly to plan your wedding. You can write and organise lists, set due dates, add attachments, and generally use it to keep track of all of your wedding related tasks.

Cost: Free

TOP TIP: I love Trello so much that I even made a video that shows you how to use it for wedding planning, which you can watch here.

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3. Postable

Does collecting all of your guests addresses for their invitations fill you with absolute dread? Postable is the answer for you! This amazing free app acts as an online address book. You get a custom link which you send by email to your guests, they then click through and add their details, and that’s it. You can even export the addresses to excel, so if you love a good spreadsheet then that’s an extra win for you.

Cost: Free

4. Top Table Planner

One of the most stressful and down right annoying tasks while planning your wedding is arranging the seating plan. With all the politics involved in where people are going to sit, there is inevitably a lot of swapping and changing involved, it’s like a big game of human tetris! Top Table Planner is a great drag and drop tool, which helps you to visualise your seating plan and rearrange to your heart’s content. It is slightly pricey for the full version at approx $20, but you can use the free trial if you don’t need to save the plan - which is great for just planning it out.

Cost $20 (approx £14) but with a free no sign-up trial.

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5. Wedpics

A super easy way to collect all of your guests photos from your big day in one place. Gone are the days of having to individually chase everyone up for photos when you get back from honeymoon - with Wedpics, you can direct your guests to download the free app, and they can even add their pictures to it on the day while they’re waiting for their meal. You can also now add videos - which is an exciting development and a great way to experience the day again through your guests eyes.

Cost: Free (with premium upgrades available)

6. Etsy

The number one handmade marketplace, Etsy is a one-stop shop for everything you need for a beautiful wedding. From personalised favours, gifts for your bridesmaids, to even wedding dresses (fun fact, I got my wedding dress from Etsy!) - the range really is limitless. Also, bonus points for supporting handmade businesses, and helping creative people live their dreams - isn’t that a lovely feeling?

Cost: Free

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7. Appy Couple

This app seems to top all of the wedding app charts. The ultimate hub for all of your wedding planning needs, Appy Couple allows you to create a wedding website for your guests, collect RSVPs, manage timelines, collect your photos and loads more. You can keep all of your information handy in one place, and your guests can even book their travel through the app! It’s not cheap, but this is one of those ones that I WISH had been available when I was engaged, it really looks like the bee’s knees of planning apps.

Cost: £45

8. Pantone Studio

Colour pallets are one of the first things people think about when planning a wedding - especially as there are increasingly less weddings with just one colour as a theme (thank goodness!). This app by colour masters Pantone allows you to test out colour pallets, extract colour matches from photos on your phone, and find complementary colours - all very useful tools when you are designing the look of your wedding.

TOP TIP: if you are still deciding on your wedding theme, I have the PERFECT blog post for you - there’s a workbook and everything.

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I hope that was useful for you happy couples out there! Don’t forget, I have a host of my own handy planning resources to help you with wedding overwhelm, and they are all completely FREE. You can sign up for the instant downloads here.

Nailing Hen Do Planning – Top Tips from Away With The Girls

Bridal Party, Wedding Planning AdviceRachel WaringComment
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Planning a hen can be a little daunting, as well as ridiculously exciting! Are you in the midst of hen planning overwhelm? I’ve spoken with Away With The Girls founder Paige, who has kindly shared her top tips to make sure the hen party is perfect for your best bride-to-be pal. I'm planning a hen myself this year, so I'm definitely pocketing some of these tips! 


Away With The Girls know how to plan hen parties. We know what women want and throw
them a hen party to remember! It certainly seems that the expectation of a hen party has
evolved over the last few years – we expect and want MORE! It’s about saying goodbye to L
plates and matching school girl outfits… and HELLO to sophistication and being different!
Here are our top tips to planning that awesome hen party! Planning is key, so follow these
tips and tricks and thank us later.

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Think about the bride

At the end of the day, this hen party is for her! Everything should be planned with the bride-
to-be in mind. What type of character is she? Ensure activities/locations compliment her
personality. What are her favourite sweets/drinks – these small touches are lovely personal
gestures to highlight through the hen party. Tailor the location, activities, and accessories to
her personal taste. Ask her if she has a loose idea on when she’d like to have her hen party,
and what she previously has liked/disliked about other hen parties she’s been on. This will
be really useful insight that will help you get on the right track from the beginning.

Save The Date – Easy Scheduling

So you’ve made your Bride Squad guest list, and are thinking ‘wow… that’s a lot of
people…this is going to be tricky’. Fear not! There are so many tools to help you pin
everyone down to communicate on one of the most important things: the date! We’d
recommend Doodle for finding out everyone’s availability. Simply create suggested date
options, and Doodle will send this polling calendar that can be sent to the group for
feedback. It’s visually easy to see which dates received the most votes, and therefore how
many people can/can’t attend. 

Once that’s done, head over to Facebook to create a hen group, or even a WhatsApp group
so you can easily send messages/give updates to the group as and when you need to! Trust
us – it’s so much easier than sending individual messages to everyone.

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Budget Brigade

Deciding on a budget at the earliest opportunity is always a wise idea. Be realistic! The
reality is if you want to go abroad for a hen weekend, it’s always going to be more expensive
than having a day hen party in the city for example. Consider what is more important for the
bride... Having a hen party abroad, or making sure as many people as possible can attend?
Once that’s decided, you want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for people to pay you
their instalments. Aside from online banking being super easy these days, there’s also some
great apps out there that make it even easier – hooray! PayM is a great app that allows you
to pay someone by providing the contact’s name and mobile phone number. The app has
partnered with 15 UK banks so the chances are everyone can use it.
If you’re hen party is abroad and you are dealing with foreign suppliers for activities, always
ask from the get go what their payment method is. If it’s bank transfer for example, take
into account there will be overseas transfer fees, so make sure you include that in your per
person charge so you’re not left with the bill!

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It’s in the detail

Microsoft Excel will probably become your new best friend. Use spreadsheets to keep track
of locations you have in mind and even important pieces of information such as guests’
dietary requirements. Tab the hell out that excel spreadsheet girl! If you’re relying on taxis,
save the local taxi numbers to your phone so you don’t have to worry about that on the day.
You can even take a guestbook to the hen party and ask everyone to write a special
message so the bride-to- be can enjoy reading through everyone’s messages after the event.

Final Countdown

Two weeks before the big event, spread the word to the group reminding them of times,
locations, etc. If there’s anything they need to bring, this is a good time to remind them. For
example, it may be that you’re doing an active activity so need to bring trainers, or you may
be going to a pool party and want everyone to wear black. Now is the time to spread the
word on those details!

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Break the Ice

It’s often the case that the entire hen party group won’t know everyone already, so it’s a
fantastic idea to kickstart the hen party with an ice breaker activity! You can do this in many
ways…. Ask everyone at the start to write down their best memory of themselves and the
bride-to- be (you can get cute cards on websites like Etsy) and this allows everyone to share their story and introduce themselves. Stories will often be hilarious, and probably happened
when they had one or two G&Ts, so it will no doubt get people giggling and be a great
conversation-starter!

Enjoy, Don’t Stress

Lastly, and most importantly… enjoy! It’s so important you also enjoy the hen party that
you’ve planned for the bride-to- be. Let your hair down, and don’t worry – all your planning
will have paid off. You may have found yourself becoming Monica Geller throughout the
planning process – which is totally acceptable – but by the time the hen party arrives, make
sure you relax and celebrate the results of your hard work! Create memories and capture
the moment with pictures/videos so you can reminisce with everyone after the event. It’s a
lovely way to round off the event and thank people for coming!

 

To find out more about Away With The Girls, visit our website or follow us on Instagram and Facebook @awaywiththegirls

What to Include in Your Wedding Invitations (The No-Fluff Guide)

Wedding Planning AdviceRachel Waring1 Comment
What to include in your wedding invitations.jpg

If you hadn't already guessed, I’m not really the formal type, and neither are my wedding stationery designs. A lot of the information out there on what to put on your wedding stationery is all about “etiquette”, and I don’t know about you but I find traditions and etiquette in weddings a tiny bit eye-roll worthy. Do what you like I say, as long as you make sure you have the info you need to get your guests to your wedding. So that’s what this guide is for, a no-fluff guide to your wedding stationery, so you can choose what’s right for you.


Things to think about before you start:

  • What style would you like your invitations to be in? Be sure to look at the stationery designers past work as that can often be a good starting place for your own custom design.

  • How formal would you like the invitations to be? Are you a “cordially invited” or a “YAY WE’RE GETTING MARRIED” type of couple? This is an important thing to decide right from the off because it will affect the tone of your entire stationery suite.

  • How many individual cards will you need? Would you like a simple one and done kind of invite? Or a full set with details, gifts and info cards? If you have a wedding website that’s a great way to free up some real estate on your paper invites.

  • How will you be collecting your RSVPs? This can be done paperlessly through a wedding website or by email, or you can go for the route of having RSVP cards with return envelopes. Completely up to you and your budget!

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And now, here are some of the things typically included in your wedding invitations:

MAIN INVITATION CARD:

This is the who, the what and the where - the essential details, and can include:

  • Your names (obviously)

  • The date of the big day

  • The time your guests will be expected to arrive for your ceremony

  • Your parents names (if they are hosting or you want to go down the traditional route)

  • The ceremony location

  • The reception location (if different)

  • “Carriages” or a less formal way of saying finishing time.

EXTRA INFO CARDS:

You can have as many of these as you need to get any of other information across to your guests. Do keep in mind though that the more extra information cards you have the more your invitations will cost. Things that can be included on an extra info card:

  • Directions to the venue

  • Accommodation

  • Gift list

  • Whether or not children are invited

  • Dress code (this is only really needed if you have a dress code that’s out of the ordinary for weddings - eg. do they need wellies??)

  • Local taxi numbers

  • Wedding website address

  • Anything else you feel like it’s important for your guests to know beforehand

RSVP CARDS

If you are collecting RSVPs by post, you’ll need a seperate RSVP card with a matching envelope for your guests to send back to you. Things often included on RSVP cards are:

  • A space for the names of your guests

  • Check boxes to say either yes or no (or a more fun way of phrasing those!)

  • Dietary requirements

  • Song requests (these are becoming more and more popular!)

  • The return address for them to send it back to you

  • A RSVP by date

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Of course, everybody's weddings are different (as they should be!) so you should feel free to add/eliminate anything you want in your invitations. Your wedding stationery is the first glimpse your guests will get of your day, so make sure that the wording and style of your invitations reflect the tone that you hope to have on your day. It’s always weirdly jarring if a fun-loving casual couple uses super fancy wording on their invitations…. Just be yourself, don’t worry about traditions and as always YOU DO YOU pals - your guests will love you for it!

Not Another Ultra Violet Wedding Shoot - with THE-UNWEDDING

Wedding Themes, Styled ShootsRachel Waring1 Comment
 Photography by Jason Williams for THE UN-WEDDING

Photography by Jason Williams for THE UN-WEDDING

 Photography by Jason Williams for THE UN-WEDDING 

Photography by Jason Williams for THE UN-WEDDING 

Earlier this month I had the absolute pleasure of working on this insanely amazing shoot with an all star cast of fellow suppliers of THE-UNWEDDING Book of Love Directory. This week the shoot went live and you NEED to see it. 

The theme took Pantone's {slightly underwhelming} colour of the year Ultra Violet, and much like Melissa's well-loved upside-down heart logo, turned it on its head. To see the full shoot (which you simply must!) head over to THE-UNWEDDING and you can see the photos in all their glory there!

Also if you love a peek behind the scenes (I know I do...) then watch this video when you are done. 

 Photography by Jason Williams for THE UN-WEDDING

Photography by Jason Williams for THE UN-WEDDING

Full shoot can be found here on THE UN-WEDDING

Supplier Babes: 

Concept: Melissa Woods

Coordination & Styling: Ellie Kime

Photographer: Jason Williams Photography

Table styling, Props and Bouquet: Rachel Emma Studio

Hair, Makeup & Hair Accessories : Knot Your Average Bride

Bride's outfits: Poppy Dover

Bridesmaids: Maids To Measure

Cake: The Sparkling Spatula

Giant NeonsVowed & Amazed

Meringue Kisses Favours: Meringue Girls

Jewelry: Bloody Mary Metal

Venue: West Resevoir Centre

Models: BAME

9 Ways to Make Yourself Miserable While Wedding Planning (and how to avoid them)

Wedding Planning AdviceRachel WaringComment
9 WAYS TO MAKE YOURSELF MISERABLE.jpg

A lot of messages to couples out there in the wedding industry make planning a wedding sound like an amazing magical time full of rainbows, engagement parties and smiling shopping trips - best days of your life right?! And where that may well be true, there will also most likely be a few hiccups (ahem, tears in my case) along the way. The important thing is not to be surprised when things aren't always so rosy, and make steps to manage your mindset, workload and stress levels.

There are a few common things that trip happy couples up time and time again. From engaging in family politics, to taking on way too much DIY, these pitfalls can really derail you and make wedding planning a lot more stressful than it needs to be. Because I am all about less stress and overwhelm, I've laid out some of the most common wedding planning thought traps here in the hopes that this will help you avoid them. So without further ado, here are 9 ways to make yourself miserable while wedding planning (and how to avoid them). 

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1. Try to please everyone. 

The number one difficulty most couples face when planning their wedding is family politics. You'll be surprised the number of people who have strong opinions as soon as weddings are involved. It's YOUR wedding, and you'll need to make peace with the fact that not everyone will be happy with every decision you make, unless you want a day that's all about everyone else and not about you. You don't have to keep every single person happy, but what's important is the way you handle yourself during those difficult conversations.
There will always be someone who wished they were there for your "real" ceremony, or who will raise an eyebrow at your choice of flowers. It's especially difficult when family members are footing some (or all) of the bill, and this might mean that a few more compromises have to be made. The bottom line is you need to do what's right for you, and if you are always kind and respectful whilst standing firm in your decisions, your relationships will stay in tact and hopefully clashing opinions won't be too stressful.

2. Compare your wedding to everyone else's (and the whole of the internet).

It's so easy to get caught up in comparison when planning your wedding. Pinterest is a fantastic tool for ideas, but it can cause unrealistic expectations which result in disappointment. But comparison is the thief of joy my friends! Everyone gets married in different circumstances and with different resources at their disposal, so comparing your wedding to others is just a recipe for big day blues. Stay in your own lane, and prioritise the things that make you happy. 

3. Don't compromise with your partner.

So remember when I said you don't have to please everyone in your wedding planning? That doesn't count for partners. You're in this together, 50/50 split - don't go leaving them out. Even if they seem like they're not at all interested, your wedding should be about your relationship and life as a couple, and this might mean you have to compromise on a few things for a day that reflects BOTH of you. 

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4. Have unrealistic expectations.

BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE are my least favourite words used in the wedding industry. I'm serious. The amount of pressure this puts on your wedding day is unreal. Of course, I'm not saying that it won't be your best day ever, but go into it expecting that it definitely will be and you will risk feeling deflated. That pressure is overwhelming and can get in the way of you being present on the day. You might find yourself thinking "is this the best day of my life?" all day instead of just enjoying it. 
It's like when you go on a night out that you hadn't planned and end up having an amazing time, vs when you go out on New Years Eve. Think about it. 

5. Don't ask for help.

Trying to do it all yourself is a one way ticket to stress-town. Hire who you can and delegate the rest. Trust me, I know from experience that while you are running around trying to do everything, you're missing the important moments that you should be soaking in. 

6. Spend more than you can afford.

Managing a budget is hard, especially when you don't set out a proper plan before hand. Everything costs more than you expect, and extra things always pop up towards the end so you really don't want to be worrying about bankruptcy the week before your wedding. 
On this note, I've made a handy budget planning spreadsheet for you to download if you want to set yourself off on the right foot. 

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7. Expect your wedding to be everyone else's number one priority.

Ooof this is a tricky one. While all of your guests are no doubt over the moon excited for you, it's really important to remember that they have their own lives and their own priorities. Attending a wedding can be expensive, both financially and in time - especially if you are in the bridal party. If you expect too much of people then you are setting yourself up for hurt and disappointment. Be gracious and appreciative at all times and you can't go wrong. 

8. Leave it all until the last minute.

So easily done, but also so easily avoided. Did you see my latest video on organising your wedding planning through trello? If you follow the steps on there then you will not need to worry about this point, you will be the most chill and organised engaged couple ever. 

9. Expect nothing to go wrong.

And on top of this, expect to love every second of wedding planning. Confession: this was my personal downfall. If/when things get stressful while you are planning your wedding, it's ok not to enjoy it. I know that sounds obvious, but it can be easy to slip into feelings of guilt if you are not 100% enjoying every day of being engaged. It's a huge project, with basically everyone you know getting involved and sharing their opinion. It's ok if you don't breeze through it like a beautiful graceful swan having the time of your life. I just wanted to make sure you knew that. 


 

A Most Curious Wedding Fair 2018

Events + Fairs, VideosRachel WaringComment
Most Curious Wedding Fair 2018.jpg

I had the total pleasure of helping out the Most Curious Wedding Fair babes this month, and while I was at the show I met so many lovely fellow wedding suppliers! I thought I would do a little video tour of the fair, so if you couldn't make it down then you can ease your FOMO slightly and take a peek at all of the crazy amazing exhibitors. 

How to Stay Organised While Planning Your Wedding

Wedding Planning AdviceRachel WaringComment
how to stay organised while planning your wedding.jpg

Wedding planning can be overwhelming, so it's important to stay organised! Today I'm teaching you how to use my favourite free web based app Trello to help you plan your wedding. Watch the video below, and if you'd like to copy the board I use in the tutorial as a template I've made it available for you for free so you don't have to start again on your own. You can sign up for that here

WHAT IS TRELLO?

Trello is an organisation and collaboration tool that allows you to plan out your thoughts, ideas and to-do lists in "boards". In this video I'll teach you the basics of trello and how to use it to organise every aspect of your wedding so you have everything in one place and nothing will get forgotten.

By the way, I'm not affiliated with Trello in any way, I just LOVE the app so much, I use it every day for my business and also used it to plan my own wedding! 

WHY USE TRELLO? 

- There are so many components to planning a wedding, it's very easy to forget things or leave them until the last minute, which can be costly (last minute things are always expensive!). Trello helps to keep everything in one place and you can also add deadlines to things! Perfect if you need that little reminder sometimes. 

- Trello is a web based app and easiest to use on your computer, but as long as you have your phone and an internet connection, you can get on to your trello boards from anywhere. This means you can refer back to it on the go - on your shopping trips, when you're visiting your venue etc.. 

- You can assign tasks to different people! Perfect for delegating to your partner or family members ;)

- It's fun! Have you noticed I'm a serious geek about this kind of stuff...? 

Links mentioned in the video: 

- Create an account with trello.

- Sign up for a free copy of my template wedding planning board.

- More trello tutorials 

The Best Bridesmaid Proposal Ideas

Bridal PartyRachel WaringComment
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How would you pop the question to your girl squad? "Proposing" to your bridesmaids can be one of the most special (and emosh!) moments in your wedding planning rollercoaster. 

Having all of your best pals around you on your wedding day is such a lovely feeling, but it's also a big ask. You'll be expecting them to chat weddings with you a LOT, go shopping with you, listen to you complain about family politics, hold your dress while you pee, the list is a mile long. So it's only right that you pop this question in a way that makes them feel as special as they are to you. Here are some ideas to help. 

PERSONALISED FIZZ

This is a super easy thing to achieve and such a cute idea! You can buy printable personalised labels on Etsy, and then stick them on to the fizz or other beverage of your choice. Include a pretty paper straw and ribbon as an extra bonus, and of course don't forget to toast your new bride squad. 

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SWEET TREATS 

There's a donut pun for every occasion right?! A little personalised box with a sweet treat of your choice in it makes a great bridesmaid proposal gift. These donut boxes are available on Etsy by My Soapgrams. Bonus points if you add edible confetti!

 

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JEWELLERY 

Including a little keepsake with your proposal is a lovely idea, especially if it's something they can all wear to the wedding! These clever little cards with matching bracelets are by Petal and Paperie and are available on Etsy - I love the little illustrated diamond that turns the circle into an engagement ring - so cute. 

 

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PERSONALISED CANDLES 

As a big fan of candles myself, this one gets my vote. I love practical gifts that can be used, and a personalised candle is another really easy but effective idea to make your bridesmaid proposal extra special. Again you can purchase a printable personalised label, and just stick it on to the candle of your choice - winner! 

 

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CLASSIC PERSONALISED CARD

Sometimes you just can't go wrong with a simple card. These blush and gold foil cards are available in my shop, you can just send me the names of your pals and I will personalise them for you. These could also be the perfect add on to any of these other ideas if you'd like to write them a little love note to go with their gift. 

 

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BRIDESMAID BOXES

A personalised bridesmaids box is probably one of the more time consuming ideas on this list, but they really are lovely. You can buy small hampers of goodies pre-made, or you could DIY it. Include little treats like bath bombs, nail varnish for the big day, face masks, chocolates, gin (gin is always a good idea) and be sure to add some personal elements too like some small printed photographs of you together and a handwritten note. 

 

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BE SILLY

If you're not the heartfelt type and big serious questions make you cringe, then you can always be lighthearted with your proposal. Etsy is a treasure trove for the silly / punny card, and this one is particularly excellent from Patterson Paper. 

 

I hope this helps you on your bridesmaid quest! Want to know how I asked my gals? Spoiler alert, I went for the box.... But I'll be making a video soon to show you how to make your own. 

Common Concerns About Hiring a Wedding Stylist

Wedding Planning AdviceRachel WaringComment
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It's very understandable to have concerns when you're hiring anyone, but especially when it's for your wedding. There are so many choices and things to remember, it's only natural to worry if you are making the right decision.

You might have wondered whether hiring a wedding stylist is the right choice for you, so I've laid out the most common concerns I often hear, and hopefully some helpful advice to help you decide. 

Concern 1: I don't really understand what a wedding stylist does!

Although wedding stylists are becoming increasingly popular to have on your bridal squad, a lot of people still don’t know what exactly we do! Why would you want to hire a wedding stylist? What’s the difference between a wedding stylist and a wedding planner? I’ve actually written a whole blog post on this topic, but in a nutshell a wedding stylist is a trained professional, usually with a background in design, that will help you with all VISUAL aspects of your wedding. From the initial concept, to the details like stationery and decorations, to making sure that you have a wedding that reflects you as individuals, I like to think of my role as a wedding bestie that can support you in the design of your wedding from start to finish, or as much as you need.

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Concern 2: We can't afford it.

I hear you, weddings are crazy expensive, and if you are trying to have a wedding on a small budget then hiring a wedding stylist is probably the last thing on your mind. However it's a common misconception that stylists are only reserved for huge super fancy weddings. I know this might sound a bit "yeah right", but hiring a wedding stylist can actually save you money in the long term.

Think about it, this is most likely your first wedding, but wedding stylists have done it all before. They know all the best tricks and have all the budget stretching knowhow to help you design the most beautiful wedding possible within your budget. The upfront investment of hiring a wedding stylist totally pays for itself with all the money and time (and not to mention stress) you'll save throughout your whole wedding planning journey. 

It's really important to me that my services are accessible, which is why I start off with a simple inspiration starter session. This alone can be enough to set your wedding planning off to a great start and can really help save you time and money along the line. Then if you do decide you want to continue working together, I price everything else in an itemised list, so you can pick and choose the items you want to suit your budget.

 

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Concern 3: I'm a DIY Bride.

As a past DIY bride myself, I totally understand this way of thinking. It's your big day that you have been dreaming about for years, and you want to have a hand in making every little detail. While this can be great, it also can be a recipe for stress and overwhelm.

I am definitely PRO DIY weddings, a huge part of the fun is hunting around for bargains and getting crafty with your bridesmaids, and I love working alongside creative brides to help make their dreams a reality. But trust me, and this is a tough love alert, if you take on every single thing yourself your wedding planning can turn into a total nightmare (unless you have unlimited time and money).

People often don't value their own time enough - you don’t get to be engaged for long in your life, and think of all the fun memories you could be making in the time you save by hiring a wedding stylist. Do you want to spend the night before your wedding drinking bubbly with your guests, knowing everything is ready and prepared for the morning? Or do you want to be up until 2am crying about table plans? 

Hiring a wedding stylist doesn't mean you won't get to do any fun creative projects for your wedding, it just means that you'll have a willing helper and guide that will make the process a whole lot easier. 

 

Concern 4: I have family and friends that I can delegate things to.

Working as a team with your family can be really fun in the run up to your wedding. But there are lots of things that come into play when delegating to family members that a lot of people don’t think about.

For example, if you give all the jobs to your friends and family then they are not as free to enjoy and revel in this exciting time with you. No one wants to be a cause of stress to their family, and delegating too much can cause guilt on your side or even resentment to start building up on their side.

Also, your family and friends are most likely not trained wedding professionals, so their level of skill and taste may not match up to exactly what you were hoping. We’ve all had those awkward moments when you get a gift you hate from your great aunty… imagine that but with your wedding details! No fun at all.

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Concern 5: I have no idea what theme I would want or what I would ask a stylist for.

This is a totally fine, if not great position to be in when hiring a wedding stylist. A good wedding stylist will be able to talk to you about your relationship and personalities, and come up with ideas and themes that will suit you perfectly.

Think of it like personal fashion styling. Some people find it very difficult to know what kind of outfits and colours suit them, but a personal stylist will be able to pick out clothes that flatter them and bring out their personality. A wedding stylist has similar skills, but for weddings. It’s all about you guys, and the details of your life that make you special.
 

Concern 6: I don't want someone else to design my wedding for me - I have my own ideas.

A good wedding stylist will NEVER make design decisions without working closely with you first. When I work with couples, I always start by chatting with you and getting to know your tastes, personalities and individual love story.

If you have really specific ideas already, great! That just gives me more to work with. A wedding stylist is there to make YOUR wedding design dreams a reality, not to force their own ideas on to you. This is your wedding, I had mine already.

Concern 7: I don't care what my wedding looks like AT ALL.

Ok, this one is the only one I can’t really argue with. If you really have no interest at all in what your wedding looks like then you probably don’t need a wedding stylist. And hey, no shade from me, I respect that and admire your chilled attitude!

 

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I hope that helps clear a few things up. If you'd like to hear more about the design services I have to offer you can find out more here.

If you are still on the fence, please feel free to drop me an email and we can chat about whether my styling services are right for you. Believe me I would never want to work with someone that I thought wouldn't need, want or love my services. I like praise way too much for that and I HATE disappointing people, it's my least favourite thing ever. So if I feel like you wouldn't benefit from hiring me I will let you know. Pinky Promise.

Styled Shoot - A Celestial Wedding Theme

Wedding Themes, Wedding Styling TipsRachel WaringComment

It's no secret that celestial weddings are my jam at the moment. That's why I'm so excited to share this video with you full of sparkly cosmic wedding ideas. 

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THE DETAILS

Table Runners 

- The cosmic pattern navy runners are available to hire and make the perfect base to build up a celestial table display.

- I used a mix of foliage for the greenery runner: eucalyptus, ferns, monstera leaves and some others. Greenery is a great way to complement a celestial theme because it doesn't distract too much from the sparkly details - plus it can work out a lot cheaper than flowers! 

Table Decor

- Mixed glass bottles and candlesticks are always great for adding some interest and texture to a table. I have lots of these glass bottles and candlesticks in a mix of colours available to hire, feel free to drop me a message about availability

- Are you a fan of that crescent moon table name display? Me too! I have some similar available here if your tables are numbered, but I can also make some custom ones with your own table names too. 

- The constellation pattern place cards are a staple for a celestial wedding - you can find them here. 

Other Details

- The table plan is again dressed with some simple greenery and displayed on a grey backing board which you can pick up at your local art supply shop. Silver table plan cards are a custom design to match the place cards, and you can contact me if you'd like some of your own. 

- The starburst cake topper is a brand new design which will be available to buy soon! If you'd like to be one of the first to get your hands on one then pop me an email. 

- Copper and greenery buttonholes can be found here. 

I hope this sparks lots of celestial wedding ideas for you! Want more personalised advice for your own wedding theme? If you'd like to chat to me about styling your wedding, then hop over to my services page to find out more. 

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Footage by Homer Todiwala of https://www.mrtodiwala.com/

The Coolest Wedding Venues in Derbyshire

Wedding Planning AdviceRachel WaringComment
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Are you on the hunt for a wedding venue? Yay how exciting! It can be a super overwhelming process with so many options, so I thought I would lend a hand by sharing some of my very favourite venues with you.

As I’m sure you know by now, this is a no cookie-cutter wedding zone! So with that in mind, the venues I’ll be sharing all have something a bit different about them - whether it’s beautiful industrial architecture or a sweet blank canvas deal where you can really make it your own.

I’m starting off with my list of super cool Derbyshire wedding venues…

 Image by Rosie Kelly 

Image by Rosie Kelly 

HAARLEM MILL

This beautiful industrial style venue is one of the most exciting on the list because it’s BRAND NEW. So new that if you were to book your 2018 wedding with them you would be among the first couples to get married there. Set in the outskirts of the beautiful market town of Wirksworth, Haarlem Mill has the perfect balance of urban styling in a country setting. Concrete floors, exposed brickwork and beams, gorgeous windows and soon to be two floors of industrial beauty - this venue is one to put on your visit list for sure. 

 Image by  Rosie Kelly  

Image by Rosie Kelly 

Key Features:

  • Gorgeous converted mill, industrial aesthetic

  • Two floors (with the next phase opening in June 2018)

  • Beautiful surroundings in lovely market town of Wirksworth

  • Bar and catering, and a talented list of recommended suppliers.

  • Soon to be licensed for ceremonies. 

Location: Wirksworth, Derbyshire

Guests: Up to 150

Accommodation? No - but lots of great options nearby in Wirksworth

Licensed Ceremonies? From June 2018

www.haarlemmill.co.uk

 

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THE RIDING SCHOOL AT CALKE ABBEY

Run by the talented planning and styling team Honeysuckle and Castle, The Riding School at Calke Abbey is a breathtaking space, with high ceilings, perfect brickwork and beams to boot. Situated in Ticknall in over 600 acres of Derbyshire countryside, this grade 1 listed building has all of the charm of a country manor but with a cool edge.

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Key Features:

  • High vaulted ceilings with rustic beams

  • Exposed brickwork

  • White drapes to section off space

  • In house exclusive catering

Location: Ticknall, Derbyshire

Guests: Up to 240

Accommodation? Yes

Licensed for ceremonies? Yes

www.honeysuckleandcastle.co.uk/calke-abbey-weddings-derbyshire/

 

 Image by  Ian Daisley  - you can see more of this wedding in my styling portfolio soon! 

Image by Ian Daisley - you can see more of this wedding in my styling portfolio soon! 

YELDERSLEY HALL

Confession: The word “hall” in a venue title can sometimes put me off, because I have a preconceived notion that "country hall" weddings can be super grand and impersonal. But Yeldersley Hall has none of that. It has all of the best bits about being a “Hall” but still has a really lovely family feel to it. The best part of this venue is the on-site accommodation. The bridal suite is upstairs, with a gorgeous spiral staircase leading down to the courtyard and other cottage style properties all on the same grounds. It amounts to the feeling of a mini wedding holiday, and that’s a winner in my book.
 

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Key Features:

  • Beautiful grounds with a walled garden

  • Marquee reception

  • Very convenient accommodation, has the feeling of taking the whole place over for the wedding.

  • Victorian style greenhouse (amazing for pictures)

Location: Yeldersley (near Ashbourne) Derbyshire

Guests: 80

Accommodation? Yes

Licensed for Ceremonies? Yes


www.yeldersleyhall.co.uk
 

 

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THE WEST MILL

I couldn’t do a roundup of the coolest Derbyshire venues and miss out West Mill could I? Established in 2014, and set on the banks of the river Derwent, The West Mill is the bee’s knees in industrial chic. It’s a restored mill, with an impressive exterior and a gorgeous interior, with barrel vaulted ceilings and of course those ever popular exposed brick walls - the perfect canvas for decorating.

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Key Features:

  • Industrial aesthetic

  • On site catering company with a fab menu to choose from

  • No corkage venue

  • Accommodation nearby in the Mill House.

Location: Darley Abbey, Derbyshire

Guests: 160

Accommodation: Yes

Licensed for ceremonies? Yes

www.thewestmillvenue.com

 

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LOWER DAMGATE FARM

If you are looking for a rustic farm venue, Lower Damgate Farm is a really great choice. A total blank canvas nestled in the peak district countryside, with ponies, goats and alpacas - I’m sold! A big plus point of the farm is that you can take it over for three days, with plenty of accommodation for your guests, it’s perfect for a wedding with a mini festival feel.

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Key Features:

  • Fully blank canvas deal, you have free rein to do whatever you like with the space.

  • Great accommodation on site

  • Farm with cute animals!

  • 20 acres of gardens and grounds

  • Hot tub in the bridal suite

Location: Ilam, Derbyshire

Guests: 60-140

Accommodation? Yes

Licensed for ceremonies? No

www.damgate.com

 

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MASSON FARM

If you have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony, but you still want to combine that with your legal ceremony - Masson Farm could be the perfect solution! Their beautiful Swallow Barn is licensed for ceremonies, but has space for your guests to sit on the lawn outside, so you can have the best of both worlds. Plus, you get the beautiful backdrop of the Matlock hilltops too - what’s not to like?

 Image by  Samuel Docker

Key Features:

  • The ceremony space is a serious winner

  • Gorgeous countryside setting

  • Space outside for an outdoor marquee or tipi hire

  • Organic farm with a carbon-neutral ethos.

  • Located by the top of the Heights of Abraham, so you could arrive to your wedding by cable car!

Location: Matlock

Guests: 100

Accommodation: Yes

Licensed for Ceremonies: Yes

www.massonfarm.com

 

I hope that helps you get started on your Derbyshire venue hunt. My best advice for choosing your wedding venue is to set your priorities before you start looking, and list them in order of preference. Depending on your budget, it’s likely that you may have to compromise somewhere, so it’s always good to know which features are up for debate and which things aren’t.

Most importantly, give yourself time and assess lots of options. Go and visit venues and make sure you love them in real life, ask questions, take pictures and notes. Your venue is probably the most important choice you'll make during your wedding planning, so enjoy it and keep an open mind, you might find a perfect match that you never thought of before.

Good luck pals!

How to Make a Mood Board for Your Wedding

Wedding Planning Advice, Wedding Styling TipsRachel WaringComment
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MOOD BOARDS! My fave! Today I'm teaching you how to make your very own for your wedding. Watch the video for the full tutorial, or read the highlights below. 

Whenever I start designing a wedding, I always make a mood board first and they are really useful for wedding planning in lots of ways. They help you decide on what you like and what your tastes are - which will help you on your wedding shopping trips. They help to bring everything together in a cohesive theme, as well as being perfect for communicating with your suppliers. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain something in words, but a mood board will show other people the vibe you want instantly.

STEP 1: VISUAL INSPIRATION GATHERING

Collect everything that you are visually drawn to in one place. Don’t think about budgets or practicalities at this stage, just look around for things that inspire you. You don’t have to just stick to weddings, anything goes as long as something about the colours, tones or textures spark your imagination. You can always edit later. This helps tame any perfectionist tendencies and helps you discover things about your own taste.

Some great places to collect visual inspiration are:

  • Pinterest is the most obvious choice. What I would do is make a “secret” board and go on a 10 minute pinning spree. You can always edit the board and make it public later.

  • Books and Magazines - looking in real life printed media can be a nice break from your computer screen.

  • Look in your own house and wardrobe, are there any colours and textures that you go back to again and again? This can be a really great hack to getting to know your tastes as a couple.

  • Go window shopping - what colours are you drawn to time and time again? You can even visit DIY stores, fabric shops and places like IKEA (my personal happy place) for inspiration.

  • Look in unexpected places. Paint chips, wallpaper samples, fabric scraps, anything that inspires you, pop it in your pile. Different textures really help a mood board communicate atmosphere.

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STEP 2: EDIT

Now’s the time to go back over your mountain of inspiration materials and be selective. Take it off Pinterest and onto real paper - I recommend A3 size or bigger to give you enough space. Weed out your very favourite pieces. What do they have in common?

Notice if any themes are popping up again and again. This is a great way to choose a theme for your wedding!

STEP 3: ARRANGE

  • Start with your main images and lay them out on the paper - don’t stick anything down yet!

  • Then pick out your colour pieces like paint chips and swatches and arrange them on the board.

  • Add some texture with fabrics, ribbons and even dried flowers or foliage if they complement your theme.

  • Once everything is arranged you can go back and stick everything down. You can use glue, washi tape - or I like to use double sided tape runners because I am lazy and don’t like waiting.

Now that your mood board is finished you can put it up somewhere. That’s why I like to make a real one instead of just Pinterest, because being able to look at your inspiration images often will help you stay on track and keep everything cohesive in your wedding planning.

If you still feel like you are nowhere near being able to decide on your wedding theme, then don’t worry - I can help! I wrote this blog post on how to decide on your wedding theme, and there's a free step by step workbook to help you get ideas.