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Top Ten Tips for Hiring a Wedding Band

You’re getting married, you’ve got your heart set on hiring a live wedding band, but you don’t have the foggiest where to start. There’s no need to develop a case of wedding-induced stress, Entertainment Nation are here to offer 10 expert tips on how to hire the perfect wedding band at the right price.

wedding entertainment

  1. Make sure you book your wedding band with a trusted wedding entertainment agency. Working with an established wedding entertainment agency has a number of benefits. First and foremost, reputable agencies only offer acts they know to be talented and reliable, so you can be confident you’re getting a band who can do the business on the biggest of big days.

Booking through a trusted agency gives you the peace of mind that contracts, PAT-Testing certificates and PLI insurance are all taken care of and that any payments you make are made securely.

Wedding entertainment  agencies also know a thing or two about what works well at a wedding reception, so can offer you expert advice and guidance on everything from potential band choices to working with sound limiters (more on which later).

  1. Hunt down independent reviews. Given that your choice of act can make or break your wedding reception, you only want to hire recommended wedding bands. As well as the reviews you find on the agency or band website, search for independent reviews through sites like Facebook, Google and Trustpilot, where you’ll get the unvarnished truth about the wedding band you’re about to book.
  1. Don’t wait around! All of these tips are important, but if there’s one we’d rate above all the others, it’s this one. Simply put: hire your wedding band as early as you can. Just like with in-demand wedding venues, the most popular wedding bands get booked for peak dates up to 2 years in advance. The peak wedding season seems to kick off earlier each year too, so don’t risk missing out on that whimsical folk band you’ve got your heart set on, get them booked ASAP!

wedding entertainment

  1. Book out of season. This is more of a general wedding planning tip that’s also applicable to hiring your wedding band. If you’re on a budget and want to get the most for your money, then opting for a date between October and April will leave you with more room to negotiate on prices. Sure, you aren’t guaranteed good weather, but then you wouldn’t be during the Great British summertime either! Another benefit to booking out of season is the larger selection of available bands to choose from.
  1. Book a date during the week. If you simply must have a summer wedding, but don’t want to pay the earth, then choosing a mid-week wedding is the perfect solution. As with booking out of season, you’ll save money and have a bigger selection of bands available to you. Your family and friends may be a bit put out that they have to dip into their annual leave to attend, but they’ll get over it once they see the bargain of a wedding band you managed to snap up!
  1. Leave booking your wedding band until the last minute. Yes, this is the complete opposite to what we said a few expert tips ago but bear with us. If you’re the kind of bride or groom who likes to fly by the seat of their pants, then booking a wedding band a few weeks before the big day could be a great way of securing a hefty saving on the total fee. You won’t have the same amount of choice as you would if you’d booked early and, if you’re getting married on a Saturday in August, there’s a chance ALL the good bands will already be booked. But if you’re a bargain-hunting thrill-seeker, the saving you’ll make is worth the risk.
  1. Go local. While most bands happily venture up and down the country every weekend, if you’re keen to keep costs in check it’s a good idea to hire a wedding band that doesn’t need to travel too far to your venue. Every mile on the road is money out of your pocket, so the closer the better. Plus, you’re saving the environment. Win win.
  1. Make sure your wedding band is self-contained. Self-contained? Like, the band comes in a capsule or something? No – a self-contained band is one that supplies everything necessary to put on a top-notch show at your wedding reception. This includes (fully-insured and PAT-tested) equipment such as PA and lighting, as well as a DJ service to keep your party in full swing while the band is recharging between sets. Most good wedding bands bring along everything they need to perform to a high level, but it’s worth making sure.
  1. Be clear about when you want your wedding band to arrive (and to leave). Individual wedding bands may vary, but the unwritten rule is that a wedding band will arrive at your venue and start setting up at around 5pm or after, and then finish playing at midnight. The price you are quoted will be based upon these standard timings. If you want the band to set up early for any reason, or you want them to play on until the early hours, you need to arrange this with the band at the time of booking or well in advance of the event. Early starts and late finishes incur a fee to cover the extra working hours of each band member.

wedding entertainment

  1. Check whether your venue has a sound limiter before you hire your wedding band. This may be our final tip, but it’s a biggie. Before booking a band, make sure you’ve spoken with your venue about any restrictions on live music they have in place, whether the venue is fitted with a sound limiter, and at what decibel level the limiter is set to. Most professional wedding bands are able to work with sound limiters, but they need to know in advance, so they can bring appropriate equipment.

Some bands are unable to work within tight decibel limits, especially larger bands with live horn sections. You don’t want to be faced with a wedding day disaster of hiring a band who are unable to perform to their full potential (or at all), so be certain to check.

That wraps things up for our top ten wedding band hire tips. We hope you’ve found it useful. If you need any further advice or you’d like to get on with the fun of booking a band, visit Entertainment Nation and give our friendly team a shout. They’ve helped hundreds of happy couples find their dream wedding entertainment and are around from 10am until 10pm every day of the week.

Guide to buying engagement rings in 2018

Buying engagement ringsWe’re sure you’ve already heard it a lot recently but, congratulations! You’ve found the one, mission complete. Level 2 – buy an enchanting engagement ring that will dazzle the mind of your soon-to-be fiancée or fiancé.

We’ll go through what the four main terms used for diamonds mean and how to know if they are of high quality or not.

Carat

The carat is a way of measuring the value of the ring you decide on. It can give you a price tag because it’s actually a weight. The heavier the stone the more expensive it’s usually going to be. Hence, the higher the carat of a ring, the more it will cost.

So, as you can imagine, the larger the stone is the higher the carat it’s usually going to be. With this said, some diamonds may seem larger but weigh less than a smaller one. This will be because the cut is shallower than the smaller yet heavier one.

Cut

This doesn’t describe the shape of the diamond, it’s referring to the way the stone has been cut. The better the cut, the better the sparkle, the better the diamond.

If you’re unsure then hold the diamond to the light and see if it reflects the light internally and externally well. You just want to see how bright it shines, to put it in other words. The cut also tells you how deep or shallow in shape the stone is.  

Colour grade

If you’re set on buying a diamond ring, you should consider the colour grade. Each diamond is rated on a scale starting at D to Z. A diamond grade D is the most popular because they are considered colourless.

The Z grade means the diamond is a light-yellow colour. Though you can also buy diamonds of green, red, blue, yellow and pink, clear is the most popular for engagement rings.

Green and red diamonds, however, are extremely rare so if you see one that’s in your price range, snatch it up while you still can.

Clarity

The clarity pretty much tells you if the diamond has any inclusions, imperfections and specks. No diamond is perfect, so don’t expect a completely clean clarity. But doesn’t that make each stone so much more precious and unique?

The style of the ring

If they love all things antique, you could choose from antique rings London. An antique ring usually is gold and often has a more unusual engagement stone, like an emerald or ruby for example.Buying engagement rings

The shape of the stone

There are 12 main shapes you can buy for an engagement ring:

  • Round

A round diamond is the most traditional shape for an engagement ring.

  • Radiant

Along with a beautiful name, the radiant shape is truly unique. They are square-shaped with flat corners.

  • Oval

Oval shaped diamonds allow light to reflect through easily, which effectively makes it sparkle more.

  • Emerald

The emerald shape is called this because it was once only used to cut emeralds specifically, however, you can now get diamonds and other stones shaped the same way.

  • Princess

This shape is square and sharp, though they look elegant and princess-worthy.

  • Pear

Also called the teardrop, it takes the form of a perfectly even droplet of water.

  • Trillion

Trillion cut diamonds are triangular and usually are used as accent stones to the main stone. With this said, they do also look stunning as the main-show stone.Buying engagement rings

  • Baguette

Baguette diamonds are rectangular and thin, so they are the best choice for those who have a minimalistic style.

  • Heart

Of course, you know what a heart shape is. This is the most symbolic shape for love.

  • Cushion

Similar to the princess shape, the cushion is square but has softer edges.

  • Asscher

These diamonds have more step-cuts than radiant diamond shapes, which allow the stone to sparkle extremely well, but the overall shape is very similar.  

  • Marquise

Also referred to by the name navette (little boat), the marquise is shaped like a small boat – hence the name.

Did this help you decide?

We hope it did! Let us know what engagement ring you decided on in the comments.

This is a sponsored post.

Guide to sorting out your reception without breaking the bank

Wedding receptions. The most fun part of any wedding. The time to relax, enjoy and stuff your face with scrumptious food. Oh, and enjoy your first dance as a married couple – that’s the most important part, clearly.

How do you plan to sort your wedding reception out without it costing an arm and a leg? You finish reading this article, that’s how!

An inside reception

wedding planningYou’ve decided on an indoor reception, perfect! Now, how do you chose the venue? Of course, you’ll want it close to the wedding ceremony so that people don’t have to travel. Some places that specifically cater for weddings will have a reception hall or an area for your party after the ceremony.

However, more nontraditional wedding venues may not. Hence why you should find a local hall or indoor space to host your ceremony, before you book the wedding venue. You don’t want to book a venue then later find there’s no indoor room near to hold a party.  

Money-saving tip

Ask your friend or family member who has the biggest shed or barn (if you know any farmers) if you can hold your reception at theirs. You can offer them money to rent it out too, which will cost less than renting out a hall.

An outside reception

So, you’d prefer your reception out in the wilderness? Well, not quite wilderness, probably more like in a large garden or park, but you get the picture. As long as the weather is decent, an outdoors reception is a brilliant idea!

If you want to buy canapes for the reception it’s a good idea to read up on reviews of the types the shop has. This will allow you to get the best canape for the predicted weather and one that will comfortably fit you and your guests.

It also helps to price check because they can be expensive depending on the size, material and quality. Reading others reviews gives you a clearer idea of what the canape will be like too, seen as their responses will be from experience.

Money-saving tip

Host the reception at a public park (some may require permission, so check before).

Food

wedding planningFor vegans or vegetarians, you can make skewers using tofu from Clearspring as an alternate no-meat option. As for allergies, you could make a ‘nut-free’ zone and a ‘lactose-free’ zone etc. for all the main food allergies.

You don’t need to go overboard with this though, just a few ‘free-from’ food zones would add an inclusive touch to your wedding reception.

Money-saving tip

Cook the smaller dishes/snacks yourself with the help of family and friends. It would be stressful and too much to do for you to do all of the food, but the small stuff can easily be done by yourself and will drop the food catering cost down.

Hiring a caterer

wedding planningIf you’re planning a fairly large wedding reception, hiring an organised caterer will take a lot of stress off your shoulders. Caterers can sort out the food menu for you and suggest ways to keep the costs down but quality up.

Again, reading customer reviews for all the caterers you are interested in hiring is the best way to go about this. Plus, it helps if you know people who have recently hired the same caterers so that you can get a realistic view of what they experienced with the company.

Money-saving tip

Shop around! If another place offers a cheaper catering service, but you really want the more expensive company, mention to them that the other place is less expensive but offers the same service. You never know, they could drop the price a little!

What’s your opinion?

Do you have experience with planning a wedding reception without spending a ton of money? Please share your experiences and tips for our other readers to adopt at their own wedding.

This is a sponsored post.

Finding the perfect wedding gift for a friend

So, your mates getting married. That’s great news, but what do you get them? If they opted out of a wedding gift wish list, then it can be tough to find something you know they’ll want and something that another person won’t gift them too.

wedding giftAll is not lost, so don’t threat! With this idea-list, you’ll gain inspiration and begin to think of ways you could put a personal touch on each gift idea.

Luggage sets for their honeymoon

Although this isn’t a traditional gift idea for weddings, it is extremely practical and thoughtful. Buy them a decent long-lasting luggage set that they can use for their honeymoon, and for any other holidays in the future.

You can always check out Gear Hungry and read their guide to buying luggage sets. It’s recommended to read reviews before making a decision to make sure you get a set that’s worth the money and of great quality.

Or, you know, they could take it the completely other way and use the suitcases to run away from each other. But that wouldn’t be your fault, you just provided the case!

In all seriousness though, in any circumstance, a high-quality luggage set will provide them with lots of use and practicality – whatever that use may be.

Photographs

PixaPrints have a wide range of photo printing services. Phone cases, canvas prints, mugs and more. Printing out a photograph of the couple is a nice way to remind them of an old memory.

If you’re very close with the bride and groom you could even print out an embarrassing photo you have of them. That way you can reminisce about funny memories and humiliating times – as long as you’ve got a close enough relationship for it to be funny, of course!

Just don’t go buying a drunken photo of the bride and groom if one of them also happens to be your boss, that would just be awkward and inappropriate (or hilarious if your boss would find it funny).

Wedding wish jar

wedding giftsFor the couple that love sweet gestures and simple but thoughtful gifts, a wedding wish jar is perfect. Fill it with your wishes for them and get their other friends and family members to add to it too.

It’s a lovely way to show them how much you care (a lot). Plus, they can look back on all the wishes you made to them years later. It could become a keep-safe jar which anyone can add to at the wedding.

A nice way to make it even more personal is to add small photos in the mix too. You can easily make a DIY wedding wish jars and decorate it as you please. All you’d need is a glass mason jar, small pieces of paper to write on and any decorations you want to include.

Unless you’re too busy or aren’t very crafty, in which case you can buy a wedding wish jar ready made with little wish tickets at almost any online gift shop.

What did you buy last time there was a wedding?

Think about the last wedding you went to. What did you gift the couple then? Was it something that you can buy again for your friends this time around?

Best wishes to you for finding the perfect wedding gift for your friend. Tell us what you ended up buying in the comments. And if you managed to grab a photo of the bride and groom’s reactions to the gift, share with us the funny or heart-warming pictures too.  

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15 Alternative First Dance Songs You Might Not’ve Considered

The first dance is as important to your wedding as the cake, the best man’s speech, the vows – everyone looks forward to it, and it just wouldn’t be the same without it. And much like all of these, you’re going to want your first dance song to reflect your relationship. There have been some wild cake designs, unheard of tales and truly touching sentiments at weddings over the years, so why not make your first dance a little different too? Here are some beautiful songs with meaningful messages behind them that’ll make a refreshing change from Ed Sheeran:

 1 I Believe in a Thing Called Love – the Darkness

Hard rock fans with a sense of humour find it hard not to smile when this track kicks off. The lyrics are pure romance, and the exuberance and energy of the music will make a believer out of anyone who sees you dancing to it.

 2 Never Met a Girl Like You Before – Edwyn Collins

This Bond-theme style hit from the 90s has a slinky, sultry feel punctuated by xylophones and ripped apart by screaming guitar solos. There probably isn’t a cooler way to tell someone how much they affect you.

3 Islands – The xx

Frank and minimalistic, the band whose name looks like two kisses set ruminations on what it means to be forever tied to someone to a dark, house-influenced rhythm. The soft, whispery vocals are reminiscent of a secret promise.

4 Stuck On a Puzzle – Alex Turner

This Arctic Monkey scored the indie flick Submarine, and in doing so captured the sound of sweet, confused teen romance.

5 Sea of Love – Cat Power

Ethereal and jazzy, Cat Power’s soothing voice will lap over you like waves in the sea she’s inviting you to swim in.

 6 Tainted Love – Marilyn Manson

 A darker take on a song made defiant by Gloria Jones and playful by Soft Cell, Manson’s rendition is slow, creepy and thoroughly entertaining.

 7 You’re Gorgeous – Babybird

 The chorus says it all – an uplifting rallying cry certain to get anyone who remembers the 90s singing along. Its mid-tempo, gentle feel will send you swaying.

 8 Two Doors Down – Mystery Jets

Indie fans’ trendy hearts will melt at this 80s-inspired track. It’s a plaintive, wide eyed love story with danceable rhythms, saxophone solos, plenty of ‘oohs’ and repetitions of the phrase ‘I think I’m in love’.

 9 Crazy For You – Best Coast

The title track from this dreamy surf pop outfit’s debut is a fun exploration of how irrational true love can really be – you’re up on minute, you’re down the next, but throughout it all there’s one person who’s your entire world.

 10 I’ll Be Your Mirror – the Velvet Underground

A song Lou Reed wrote specifically for Nico’s husky voice, this song is a sweet reflection on how sometimes all you need when you’re doubting yourself is for a loved one to remind you how they see you. The music itself chimes gently, as if reverberating off the glass.

 11 La La Love You – Pixies

A rather experimental performance piece featuring atonal guitar and wolf whistling, what could be sweeter than being told ‘I love you’ by each of the Pixies? The answer is: the chorus. Plain and simple – ‘all I’m saying, pretty baby…”

 12 Close to Me – The Cure

With nervous, breathy vocals and layer upon layer of random keyboard conversations, the sentiment of this Cure number is very sweet. The anticipation Robert Smith describes can easily be applied to this moment in your wedding, and the upbeat, positive music will crack many a smile.

 13 All Day and All of the Night – The Kinks

You’d struggle to find a guest who hadn’t heard this 60s classic before, but never were the song’s lyrics more applicable than right now. It’s fun, short and a beautiful declaration of love – the only time you feel alright might be by each other’s side, but it’s happening right now, and everyone can see how just how alright it is.

 14 Red Light – the Strokes

The track that closed the Strokes’ third and at the time most diverse album, Red Light features a irresistible skipping rhythm, some intricately smooth guitar interplay, and some of the sweetest lines Julian Casablancas ever committed to paper. When you’re both dancing to this, you really can believe two can be complete without the rest of the world.

 15 I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself – the White Stripes

Dusty Springfield’s version of this Burt Bacharach-penned masterpiece is beautiful, but Jack White’s intensity and desperation is so much more palpable, through both his vocals and his guitar playing. The slight, stop-start rhythm of the verse slowly builds into a four-to-the-floor fuzz fest as the singer seemingly descends into madness at the thought of not being with the one he loves.

 Written by Joe Hoten at Bands For Hire. Bands For Hire are a live entertainment agency in the UK offering a range of party bands, swing bands and more.

15 Popular First Dance Songs to Get You Started

The first dance is a pivotal moment in your ceremony. You’ve exchanged your vows at the altar, shared a kiss in front of your nearest and dearest, cut the first slice into your beautiful cake, and now, before all your friends and family finally let loose and party down, you’ve got one more opportunity to thrust your love into the spotlight. So you’re going to need a song that summarises all of these things and more, not to mention one that you both enjoy.

With every other song in music’s vast back catalogue being a love song, it can be tricky to know where to begin. It will, of course, be a far more special moment for you both if you and your beloved have chosen a song together that means something particular about your relationship. It could be a song from the first movie you watched together, or one that was playing in the background on your first dinner date, or a song that just reminds you of one another – whatever the reason, the two of you will have much fonder memories of your first dance if it’s to a song that’s of some significance.

But, for a myriad of reasons – like, if the run up to your wedding becomes a little too hectic, or if you simply have too many favourite songs between you to choose from – a list such as this may come as a relief. We do tend to notice trends in this business, and even if these suggestions aren’t quite your cup of tea, they may well help to spark off some ideas. At any rate, at the time of writing, these are some of the most popular first dance numbers from our wedding bands and musicians:

1. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
Cast all doubt aside – your gentle, slightly reggae-flavoured moment is here, courtesy of Mr Mraz! These playfully romantic lyrics would be a lovely follow up to your vows and best man’s speeches.

2. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
This may have been a one-hit-wonder for these 90s alt-rockers, but it hits pretty hard. For a swaying song with a rock-tinted edge, you can do no better.

3. At Last – Etta James
An enduring classic, these soulful jazz vocals sit perfectly over a wistful dreamscape of music. Celebrate finally finding your soulmate in style with Miss Peaches herself!

4. Wherever You Will Go – Charlene Soraia
Swapping out the guitars for tentative piano, this cover brings a new tenderness to the Calling’s monster hit, and its catchy chorus promises to make this moment unforgettable.

5. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
The Twilight film franchise may have divided the opinions of cinema-goers, but it’s hard to deny the power behind this song’s message. Undying love that stretches across millennia isn’t just for vampires.

6. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
A study conducted by VoucherCodesPro showed that an estimated 1 in 7 couples would tie the knot to a song penned by this lovable redhead, and this schmaltzy modern take on 50s love songs goes some way to explain why.

7. Halo – Beyonce
A confession of vulnerability from a figure as strong and independent as Queen Bee is all the more meaningful, especially as it’s a vulnerability rooted in love. A pop ballad as powerful as this is really going to highlight to you both how important you are to each other.

8. Toothpaste Kisses – Maccabees
A celebration of the minutiae that make our relationships unique, this is an upbeat indie alternative to the more pop-orientated choices.

9. The Luckiest – Ben Folds
A simple, quirky piano ballad, reminiscent of a modern Disney song, inviting you sway lovingly before each other whilst appreciating how fortunate you both are that things turned out this way.

10. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
This ubiquitous 2000s track creates a moment where everything else ceases to matter – it’s just you and your beloved. And when that chorus kicks in, everyone in the room will be reaching for the nearest dance partner.

11. I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Frankie Valli
This classic has everything – key changes, sing-along-able horns and a chorus to floor them all. Could you be any more frank with lyrics like ‘I love you baby’? Be sure to also check out Lauryn Hill’s fantastic cover for an updated, RnB feel.

12. All of Me – John Legend
The legendary purveyor of love songs strikes again! There won’t be a dry eye in the house as you dance with the partner you love with your entire being, down to the last atom.

13. Amazed – Lonestar
A well-timed left turn from these Country & Western darlings gave us this 90s gem – an ideal sentiment to share with the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.

14. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
This power ballad had us all weeping in Armageddon, and that wasn’t just because the world was coming to an end. Far from it, in fact: this song’s lilting tempo wraps us in a blanket of devotion that seems to last forever.

15. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
Here he is again! Good old Ed’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser, as his position at the top of every popular first dance song choices list would suggest, and Thinking Out Loud’s romantic music video proves that this earnest, mid-tempo ode to growing old together is destined to be the soundtrack of countless weddings to come.

5 Reasons Why a Saxophonist is Perfect for Your Wedding Entertainment

5 Reasons Why a Saxophonist is Perfect for Your Wedding Entertainment

Saxophonists are becoming increasingly popular when couples are looking for some live music and wedding entertainment to enhance their day. Here are 5 reasons why a saxophonist is the perfect addition to your live wedding entertainment.

Unique Entertainment

The saxophone is an amazing instrument and it’s unlikely that guests will have seen it played live many times before. Brides and grooms these days want to stand out and have something different at their weddings. Mixing up your live music is a great way to do this and a saxophone is sure to make an impact.

saxophonsist wedding entertainment

Effortlessly Cool

In the right hands, the saxophone is undeniably cool in both look and sound. It’s smooth tones and sophisticated ambience can do wonders for your wedding day. As soon as your saxophonist starts to perform it will set the tone immediately.

saxophonsist wedding entertainment

Versatile

A saxophonist can perform anywhere and at any time. Seriously. They are one of the most versatile wedding musicians around especially as they are able to mix and mingle with your guests on the dance floor whilst performing live simultaneously. They also work for any part of the day whether it’s your ceremony, drinks reception or evening entertainment!

saxophonsist wedding entertainment

Affordable Wedding Entertainment

Booking a solo musician is beneficial in more ways than one. When it comes to saxophonists they are definitely one of the more affordable options. If you’re on a budget but still want to make an impact with your live music then you can’t go wrong with a saxophonist.

saxophonist

Bigger Line-Ups

Saxophonists are incredible as solo musicians but are taken to the next level when paired with other musicians. The combination of Sax, DJ & Percussion has proved very popular recently with couples wanting that ‘Ibiza’ club feel on their night. Add LED saxophone options to this and your wedding will be a night to remember…

saxophonsist wedding entertainment

Article by Joey Burdon of Warble Entertainment

5 Best Bridesmaid Gifts for Your Winter Themed Wedding

A winter wedding is a magical affair. Full of white, bright, decorations and benefitting from all of the Christmas cheer that people can’t help but indulge in. Which means that you need magical gifts to accompany it.

With that in mind, what are the best gifts you could get your friends for standing by your side on this special occasion? And how can you add a little winter magic into the mix?

1) Monogrammed

What you monogram depends on your preference and the interests of your bridesmaids. However, the truth is that something with a little personal initialed touch feels more personal.

This can have an extra magically winter touch by using winter-themed items to monogram. Such as hats, scarves and even mittens. The best part is creating a gift that your bridesmaids will love to use for years to come, making your wedding a warm memory every time they use the item. And every time you see them in it there’s the extra warm fuzzy feeling bonus for you as well. e

2) Personalised Gift Bag

This is a better idea if you only have a handful of bridesmaids, but it can be one of the most special bridesmaid’s gifts that you ever give. It helps to showcase your knowledge of the person and make them feel truly special.

Unique Christmas tree decorations, personalised cards and even a snow globe depicting their favourite movie. The sky’s the limit when it comes to your personalised bag, as well as just how well you know her after all. If you want a truly personal feel, then, it might be worthwhile to even craft your own gifts – adding an extra touch of love to the bag.

On a day all about you, making them feel like the most important person there can be a nice extra touch.

3) Chocolate

A set of luxury chocolate can be exactly what a bridesmaid needs at the end of a long wedding. With extra points for a warm and indulging set of hot chocolate, perfect to bring back the warmth after a winter wedding. Just think, it’s a naughty trip away from their regular diet and a great treat to say thank you for all their hard work.

After all, who doesn’t love chocolate?

4) A Charm Bracelet

Nothing says thank you quite like a beautiful piece of jewellery. Charm bracelets are all the rage at the moment and best of all, you can find unique charms to fit most occasions and commemorate your wedding in a beautiful silver charm.

Plenty of brands do gorgeous snowflake charms, including a Thomas Sabo Charm that is a stunning example of this. There are hundreds of different ones to choose from to suit your wedding, including the option to create your own if you truly desire.

5) Hair and Makeup

One of the best gifts you could potentially give to your bridesmaids is to try and offset their costs as much as possible. Being a bridesmaid can quickly become an expensive endeavour. What with the dress, hair, makeup, hen party and accessories to account for on top of a number of other things.

With Christmas right before or after your wedding, it can make this a very expensive season for your bridesmaids. So give them the gift of a little less spending for your wedding and watch their eyes sparkle!

Overall, a winter wedding is like any other when it comes to bridesmaid gifts. As long as it is from the heart then you shouldn’t have a problem with making them happy with your selection. Simply give it that little bit extra when it comes to Christmas cheer and you will have created a fabulous bridesmaid gift for your winter nuptials.

10 Unique Ideas For Your Wedding Reception Entertainment

Now more than ever, there’s room to personalize your wedding and make it your own special event, and closely following suit is wedding reception entertainment. So, if you’re planning to tie the knot dressed as a pirate or mid-air attached to a bungee rope (both actually happened, by the way), make your evening’s entertainment climactic with these unique live music ideas.

  1. Combined DJ and Musicians Act

You might be considering hiring a DJ as well as a live band – it’s not a bad idea; with the inevitable intervals between a band’s sets, the presence of a DJ can fill these awkward gaps and retain the electric atmosphere only a live performance can bring. But if the idea of booking two acts makes your pockets feel light, one trend that’s taking the wedding scene by storm is that of combined DJ and musician acts. Covering all bases, this kind of entertainment can incorporate DJ performance, sax, and percussion for a dynamic and varied live experience.

DJ and musician act

  1. A Spanish Guitarist

If the idea of a dance-floor, DJ, and some classic sing-alongs feels a bit too mainstream for your wedding, why not secure some live entertainment with a twist? Perfect for a moody and exhilarating atmosphere, the sound of twanging and tinkling guitar strings manoeuvred by an expert Spanish guitarist will transport your guests to another world. Wherever the reception, they’ll soon be seeing themselves in the sun-soaked streets of Barcelona.

Spanish guitarist

  1. A Vintage Themed Act

Retro-themed weddings have never been more popular than they are right now, and with internet sensations like Postmodern Jukebox and in-vogue genres like Electro Swing, there’s never been a better time to hire a Vintage style act. From glamorous tap-dancing 20’s singers to gritty 50’s rock ‘n’ roll groups, it’s a sure-fire way for everyone to hear their favourite songs with an innovative twist.

Vintage themed act

  1. A Beatbox Group

Most people can’t help but be impressed by a group of musicians who have no need for musical instruments, so for some live entertainment to surprise and amaze, this kind of performer can act as a happy alternative to the traditional wedding band set-up. An effective way to work up a dance-floor frenzy, polished beatbox groups will make sure that no one’s left in their seat by the end of the set.

Beatbox group

  1. A Vocal Trio/Quartet

Another act whose only chords need to be vocal, captivate guests with the glorious harmonies of a talented vocal trio or quartet. Thanks to hit films like Pitch Perfect, acapella groups are enjoying a huge swell in popularity, and some even offer choreography and high production value to get the party started with a bang.

Vocal trio

  1. Solo Saxophonist

Becoming a regular sight at clubs across the world, solo saxophonists are versatile performers who can invoke both the mellow vibe of a downtown blues bar and the buzzing atmosphere of an Ibiza dance-floor. Have your family and friends hear the biggest dance remixes and sing-along pop tracks in a whole new way, wowing the most discerning of music aficionados with a dazzling performance to flood the dance-floor.

solo saxophonist

  1. Singing Waitresses/Waiters

The element of surprise is always a guaranteed way to intensify the excitement; all it takes is a chorus of gasps, a few dropped jaws and hurried whispers, and the energy of the room is changed for good. With this in mind, you might want to consider some singing waiters or waitresses to act as your reception’s live entertainment. Blending seamlessly with the crowd, these performers wait for the perfect moment to fling down their napkins and start singing. The night won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Singing waitresses and waiters

  1. French Café Style Duo

Want to take your loved ones to Paris but don’t have the cash? Well there’s nothing to stop you from bringing the Parisian vibe to your reception with the help of a French Café style act. Evoke sophistication and romance with a glamorous clarinet and accordion duo, and have guests jaunting across the dance-floor dreaming of the Eiffel Tower and the Moulin Rouge.

French cafe style duo

  1. A Tribute Band

Obsessed with The Beatles? Devoted to Bublé? Adore all things 80’s? Capture your dream sound with a professional tribute band to dupe guests into thinking you had the budget for the real thing. And if you’re worried that this kind of act might come across a bit corny, rest assured that there are plenty of stylish acts out there able to seize the precise atmosphere without needing to ham things up.

Tribute band

  1. A Gypsy Jazz Band

Again suggesting a slightly distant, escapist feel, Gypsy Jazz bands are perfect for adding some glamour and excitement to your reception. Most provide foot-tapping renditions of jazz standards with a modern twist, so they’re guaranteed to add a lively air to your reception without alienating your chart-loving family and friends. With a sparkling and unique style, these groups are equipped to accompany high-energy dance-floor peaks and slow-moving moments alike. To top it off, their look is just as encapsulating as their sound.

Gypsy jazz band

Give your guests something to write home about with one of these ever-so-slightly alternative acts. It’s important to secure a style of music that has everyone having fun, and these performers make for the means to safely do this without the threat of underwhelming. To explore these acts as well as some more traditional alternatives, check out Entertainment Nation for the most electric (and eclectic!) live entertainment.

Norfolk – Our Top Wedding Venue Picks

Norfolk has something truly beautiful sites for having a fairy tale wedding. Set in the most stunning views of the Ormesby Broads and 11 acres of private parkland gives you the real wow factor of the surrounding beautiful waterways of the broads and the outstanding venue.

Boathouse, Norfolk wedding venue

The Old Eels Foot Pub and Boathouse have been fully refurbished to offer a fairytale setting for a wedding venue. To offer on your special day is a choice of fine cuisine with luxury accommodation and fully equipped wooden lodges for your guests to reside in.

Wedding packages are priced according to season to cater to everyone’s budget.

Visit website: www.theboathouseormesbybroad.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/TheBoathouse

Twitter: twitter@TheBoathouse


Nestled in Norfolk lies the answer to “Downton Abbey”, within a private estate surrounded by parkland and formal gardens sits Somerleyton Hall. This is like escaping back in time with its large maze to lose yourself in while you take in the beauty of the scenery.

Somerleyton grows its own produce which will be included in your reception and there is also a choice of a wedding breakfasts.

Civil ceremonies are also licensed here so there is an overall emphasis on catering to everybody’s needs. There are various reception rooms to hold your service in and the option of being outside in the Winter Gardens. There is also an option to hire the main Hall for a 2 night house party or to have a more intimate experience there is the use of the boutique style State bedrooms.

Visit website: www.somerleytonweddings.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/SomerLeytonHall

Twitter: twitter@SomerleytonHall


Norfolk is the perfect place to escape to to find the English Gentleman’s countryside, here the backdrops are perfect for wedding venues and beautiful estates surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes.

Bressingham Hall

Photo credit: Gary Derbridge Photography

 

After a 2 years  Bressingham Hall and High Barn have been immaculately restored to its former glory and is a Grade 2 listed building.

The venue is set in 12 acres of land with a backdrop to collaborate with photographs for your wedding day. The Hall and Barn are full of countryside character to give that extra special feel to your already special day.

Visit website: www.bressinghamhall.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/BressinghamHall

Twitter: twitter@BressinghamHall


As picturesque as Norfolk settings can be, with all its history in various Churches and Abbeys in the region, there lies in a 35 acre estate a 14th century Pentney Abbey. This countryside holds a jewel in its crown with this timeless beauty ready to be shared on your special day.

The Grade 1 listed Gatehouse is the entrance to the estate  with giant wooden doors that open to reveal the courtyard which presents a rose garden and water fountain to make a perfect backdrop for photography.

If you are looking for a serene venue with accommodation and local places for your guests to stay this is the perfect stay and only an hour drive from Norwich so close enough for your guests to venture out to the city.

Visit website: www.pentneyabbey.com

Facebook: facebook.com/PentneyAbbey

Twitter: twitter@PentneyAbbey


In the centre of Norwich and literally a stone’s throw from the breathtaking Cathedral lies a beautiful Tudor building steeped in history and local folklore.

Here you will find the Maids Head Hotel, the exterior painted in the traditional Tudor colourings with ample parking space at the rear of the building.

A wedding planner is available to help cater for every bespoke need with the traditional wedding through to civil ceremonies, wedding themes and decor vary throughout the year including a tree and trimmings if you were attracted to a Christmas wedding.

Visit website: www.maidsheadhotel.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/MaidsHeadHotel

Twitter: twitter@MaidsHeadHotel


If you’re interested in a personal touch with a family run business, in the pretty rural setting of Crostwick, close to Norwich lies The Old Rectory Hotel.

A personal wedding co-ordinator is on hand to assist with all your needs and to show you around the various locations around the venue. Inside there is the conservatory restaurant which is available for receptions and civil ceremonies and holds up to 150 guests or 110 seated. For smaller parties there is the Victoriana suite which caters for up to 60 people.

A wedding Butler is also on hand for your special day to co-ordinate and announce events.

Visit website: www.oldrectorycrostwick.com

Facebook: facebook.com/OldRectoryCrostwick

Twitter: twitter@OldRectoryCrostwick


Throughout Norwich there is an array of historical buildings, one of the most important and renowned in the area is The Assembly House that dates back to 1754. This Grade 1 listed building is opened up by a sweeping driveway that leads you to this grand venue.

An in-house wedding planner is on hand to guide and assist with every detail of your day. There are a selection of rooms to choose from or you can book the house in its entirety.

There are picturesque gardens which make the perfect backdrop for your wedding photography, alongside many of the grand rooms available.

Visit website: www.assemblyhousenorwichco.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/AssemblyHouseNorwich

Twitter: twitter@AssemblyHouseNorwich


Nestled away inside the beautiful countryside of North Norfolk lies Gunthorpe Hall, an immaculate Georgian Victorian country hall.

The formal gardens, parkland and private lake cushion this stately home into the perfect setting for your special day.

As you enter the building you are greeted by a long carved staircase which leads you into the Oak Hall and Sitting Room for your choice of service. There is also the option of having your service in the gardens by the lake in a marquee, yurt or wigwam.

Catering for your guests are carried out by an in-house team using the halls own home produce.

Visit website: www.gunthorpehall.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/@GunthorpeHall

Twitter: Not on Twitter


If you wanted to be just on the outskirts of Norwich with just a 15 minute journey away and yet also be within the heart of Norfolk then look to Hockering House.

The real emphasis here is with the house is to have your day your way and for your every need to be catered for. The owners, Sam and Oliver Berney are there to assist with your bespoke wedding to ensure the day fits you and your partner perfectly.

Hockering House is licensed for both civil weddings and partnerships, duo ceremonies, vow renewals, naming and humanist ceremonies.

Visit website: www.hockeringhouse.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/HockeringHouse

Twitter: Not on Twitter


In the crown of Norfolk there are many hidden jewels, laying in the heart of the area is Hunters Hall. It consists of a beautiful stunning brick and wooden beamed Victorian barn, to which there is room to accommodate 120 guests for your ceremony or 70 guests for a wedding breakfast.

There are also other venue choices with the Park Room and the Marquee Lined Barn. Being set in such a specific rural location provides the ideal setting for capturing your wedding photography.

Only one wedding is booked per day so you have exclusive use of all the facilities at the Hall.

Visit website: www.HuntersHall.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/Huntershall

Twitter: twitter@Huntershall