Author Archives: John

Isle Of Wight – Our Top Wedding Venue Picks

If you wanted to cross the water from the UK mainland, why not take a short trip over to the beautiful Isle of Wight.

With the coastline not far from any destination on the Island this makes the perfect choice for a wedding venue, and for those of you already lucky enough to live there.

Overlooking St Catherines Bay and the lighthouse sits The Enchanted Manor. With a reception and dining capacity of 60 guests, the manor offers a personal service catering to everyone’s themes and tastes for their wedding. To date, the Manor has even catered for a wedding party dressed in theme as the Groom rode in on a horse as Sir Gallahad to collect his bride. Here, no request is too big or too small.

Visit website: www.enchantedmanor.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/EnchantedManor

Twitter: twitter@EnchantedManor


In the famous part of the Isle sits Cowes and here you will also discover it is not just attractive for it’s boats. Northwood Park is nestled around Northwood House, a Victorian mansion that has been holding weddings for over 150 years. The catering at Northwood ranges from a simple buffet and hog roasts through to lavish banquets. The capacity for a reception is for up to 300 people or 170 seated for dining.

Marquees are available alongside the house if you require an outdoor reception with sheltered sunny lawns to make a perfect backdrop to any wedding photography.

Visit website: www.northwoodhouse.org

Facebook: facebook.com/NorthwoodHouse

Twitter: Not on Twitter


It has to be said the Isle of Wight holds some stunning wedding venues. If flowers and greenery are your ideal setting, Ventnor has the perfect place for you. Ventnor Botanic Gardens lies in the shelter of the Ventnor Undercliff, giving the venue an extended outdoor season for weddings beginning in early Spring through to late Autumn. There are five places to choose from here – The New Zealand Garden, The Garden Top Lawn Marquee, The Echium Room, The Meadow Marquee and Edulis Restaurant and Terrace.

What is so captivating about this venue is the 20 acres of garden, 6,000 plant, tree and shrub species from every continent, alongside secret tunnels that lead to the sea.

Visit Website: www.botanic.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/Botanic

Twitter: twitter@VentonorBotanicGardens


Of course the Isle of Wight is famous for its boats and sailing, so it proves only fitting to include a sailing club in our top ten. The Bembridge Sailing Club is one of the oldest establishments, founded in 1886 on the Solent. This gives a wide view of the harbour with a backdrop to the hills of Brading Downs. The club is able to host wedding and civil ceremonies and you have the choice of two rooms, The Library or the Dining Room. The menu of choice can be catered to suit your own tastes with a reception and seating capacity of up to 100 people. All the food is freshly prepared by a team of in-house caterers.

The club also offers a wide variety of red and white wines, and champagnes. There are options of wedding breakfasts, as well as luncheons and evening receptions.

Visit website: www.bembridgesailingclub.org

Facebook: facebook.com/BembridgeSailingClub

Twitter: twitter@bembridgesailingclub


Moving further into the Isle sits Shanklin, a popular tourist destination with it’s well known attractions. Here you will also find the beautiful Landguard Manor. The Manor is only a few minutes from the coast and set in four and a half acres of immaculate gardens and lawns. This stunning 18th century house is the perfect location for indoor and outside ceremonies. Guests are catered, for less than 30 or up to 150 people. There are various dining options and the marquee holds up to 350 guests.

Visit website: www.landguardmanor.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/LandguardManor

Twitter: Not on Twitter


What better way to choose a resort than going for an 18th century country house managed by English Heritage. Steeped in history and belonging to the Worsley family near Wroxall is Appuldurcombe House. Ceremonies can be held within the house or in a marquee on the front lawn. The Drawing Room and Great Hall are both licensed for ceremonies. The house is closed to the public on Saturday’s giving you exclusive use to the house on your special day. A large entourage is on hand to meet your requirements and you will also have a wedding planner to meet all your details.

There are many available choices for your day ranging from PA hire, photographers, florists, caterers and even a bouncy castle and magicians.

Visit website: www.appuldurcombe.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/appuldurcombe

Twitter: Not on Twitter


If you’re looking for scenic surroundings and 60 acres of privacy, Priory Bay will be your perfect location. With it’s grand estate and breathtaking rooms this is a wonderful setting for your special day and photography. You can choose a beach setting and have your ceremony in the bay where your guests can have the experience of arriving by boat or hovercraft. If you prefer to be high and dry you can have exclusive use of the house. The option exists of hiring the whole house for the entire weekend to suit yourself and your guests.

Just simply stunning settings and choices of backdrops to really make your day one to remember.

Visit website: www.priorybay.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/PrioryBay

Twitter: twitter@PrioryBayHotel


If you love the waterside and are searching for a location that brings you blue skies with matching sea views, Cowes Yacht Haven makes the perfect choice. Here there is a covered terrace giving the finest view of the Solent, with the capacity to cater for 150 people for your ceremony or reception. If you choose to have the option of a wedding breakfast, the main room holds 120 seated guests. There is a team of finest cuisine caterers to give attention to detail for your requirements and a world wide selection of wines to chose from.

This all gives you the confidence and reassurance your special day is in capable hands, leaving your guests free to enjoy your special day.

Visit website: www.cowesyachthaven.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/CowesYachtHaven

Twitter: twitter@CowesYachtHaven


The island holds a private, 4 star hotel for those requiring the modern touch to their day. Coupled with breathtaking views overlooking a tranquil lake sits Parkside park and Hotel and Spa. The beauty of this venue is the added benefit of the spa, offering yourself and your guests the opportunity to try health and beauty treatments, massage, reflexology and hydrotherapy. All guests receive a 10% discount in the spa.

There is an array of facilities with sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and an ‘Experience’ shower. This is before your special day even gets underway.

Visit website: www.lakesideparkhotel.com

Facebook: facebook.com/LakesideParkHotel

Twitter: twitter@LakesideParkHotel


If you’re searching for a venue with a sea view of the Island, sitting in Shanklin Bay is Bourne Hall. This 1860s house was originally built for Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting. There are two rooms on offer for your ceremony – the drawing Room which holds 40 guests or the Cameron Room which holds 120 guests. To cater for your bespoke wedding there is a flexible wedding package to suit your taste and needs.

There is the freedom to chose from your own style of menu and evening buffet. A wide variety of facilities are on offer here to accommodate you and your guests during your stay. There are a range of rooms to chose from including family rooms and suites. Health and leisure facilities are also available and a well a presented restaurant.

Visit website: www.bournehallhotel.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/BourneHallHotel

Twitter: Not on Twitter

8 Small Wedding Details That Make A Huge Impact When Done Well

When it comes to your wedding day, the excitement for what is supposed to be one of the most memorable days of your life can often be overshadowed by feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. It’s understandable – whether you are having a garden wedding in Dubai or a city wedding in Glasgow, you have a lot to deal with!

From choosing a venue to finding the right dress, from personalised décor elements to the tunes the band will play, there is a lot for you to think about. But while you are organising the big things, don’t forget to pay attention to the smaller details — these will make your wedding day really, truly yours.

Read on for eight small wedding details that make a huge impact when done well.

1. Entrance

Oh, the entrance! This is the first thing your guests will see as they step into your wedding world and you want to ensure that they immediately feel the vibes of your big day. An inviting entrance-way will make all members of the party feel welcome and will set the tone for the rest of the event.

2. Lighting

Similar to the entrance-way, the lighting you choose will help to translate the mood you want to set. The kind of lighting you need will vary based on your location, but if you are working with a large space, the right lighting will still make it feel intimate. If there are certain special décor elements that you want everyone to notice (hey, it is your day, you decide), then plan for lighting that highlights these spots — and don’t forget the band!

Just as importantly, make sure there are enough spots with great lighting for everyone to take photos that they look good in.

3.  Chairs

You want your chairs to match the overall style of your wedding, whatever that may be. You also want there to be enough places to sit, so plan to provide extra seating at the ceremony — just in case.

In many scenarios, it isn’t practical to think that you can smoothly move the chairs from the ceremony to the reception, so take those logistics into consideration and acknowledge that you may be better ordering two sets.

4. Allergies

Well before the day, make sure to give a list of which guests have food allergies and eating preferences (whether it be gluten-free, vegan, nut allergies, etc) to your caterer and then follow-up with a list of where they will be seated.

Your caterer will be overjoyed, your guests will get their suitable food, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not your hippie Aunt will make a scene when chicken is placed in front of her!

5. Cake-Table

In the midst of trying to organise everything, don’t forget the importance of how you choose to display your cake. It sounds obvious now, but often brides fail to remember that this is where their cake-cutting photos will be taken.

Not only you, but many of your guests will want to take photos around it (as well as just enjoying it), so spend some extra time on the presentation and design of both the cake and the cake-table.

6. “Managers”

After all the planning you have put into this day, the last thing you deserve to be doing is managing anything else. Ask someone to keep your cards and gifts safe, until you have slept off your potential hangover. Ask someone else to be a photo manager — their job will be to round up the important people who need to be in group shots.

If you are providing transportation for guests, have someone else who will be on the bus or in the car to make sure they arrive at the correct destination. In other words, have different people managing the various strands of your event. So you can focus on enjoying.

7. A Rain Plan

Let’s all hope that this doesn’t happen, but sometimes (no matter how hard you wish), Mother Nature has another plan. Save yourself a full-on anxiety attack by having a solid rain plan that can easily be put into action and that you will still be happy with. Whether you are using luxury wedding planners in Dubai or doing your own thing in London, having a Plan B never hurts.

8. The Exit

Last but not least, you can’t forget about your exit! While guests will remember lots of highlights from throughout the day, how you and your new partner leave will be the taste that is left in their mouths. Make it as dramatic, as elegant, as funny, or as classic as you want — do I need to remind you one more time that it is your day?!

With all the bridal magazines on the market, Pinterest and your-soon-to-be-mother-in-law’s advice, all the details of planning a wedding can seem utterly paralysing. However, if you take these eight little details into account (along with some of the bigger stuff), then you are guaranteed to have a standout celebration. Oh, and remember to enjoy it, will you?

AUTHOR BIO

Dora Helmeczi
From 2008, with the creation of Budapest Wedding, Dora has successfully organised hundreds of destination weddings in Hungary. The agency is now one of the biggest in the Hungarian market and is considered the country’s only high-end wedding planning office. Dora’s partner Gabriel Gilbert came onboard in 2015, and working intently to extend their offices, in 2016 they launched Dubai Wedding — their bid to become a globally recognised name in planning outstanding weddings.

Cornwall – Our Top Wedding Venue Picks

Cornwall is a beautiful country surrounded by waves and a landscape full of beautiful countryside and sandy beaches . Here we have chosen a selection of idyllic venues to get married at.

Firstly, on the south coast of Cornwall, with Plymouth nearby and within easy access of Devon lies Polhawn Cove. This particular area of the Cornish coast is worthy of a mention, as it stands out as one of the most prominent eye catching coves in Cornwall.

An aerial view of Polhawn Fort

An aerial view of Polhawn Fort

Set on the coastline is the breathtaking views of Polhawn Fort, it’s setting looks like a romantic scene from a Shakespearean play. Inside the Fort there seats up to 120 guests or you can take it outside into the Summer House and have a reception in the Marquee.

The Fort also boasts of the secluded beach, Polhawn Cove, which comes with exclusive access. If your guests fancy braving a walk the following day, footpaths run both ways from behind the grounds. You can visit Mount Edgcumbe or go further afield to Looe, Polperro, Fowey and Mevagissey.

Visit website: www.polhawnfort.com
Facebook: facebook.com/polhawnfort
Twitter: @PolhawnFort


The Headland is a beautiful Hotel and Spa which were both finalists in the 2016 South West Wedding Awards. The hotel offers a number of amenities with its Golf Course, Spa and Surf School. The stunning view from the private cliff top encapsulates the Cornish coast with Fistral Beach and it’s crystal blue waters. The packages offered here cater for Hen Parties, Weddings and Civil Ceremonies.

Visit website: www.headlandhotel.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/HeadlandCornwall
Twitter: @HeadlandHotel


Nestled along the beautiful Cornish coastline with its renowned blue waters and soft sandy beaches you will find a number of perfect venues to hold your wedding. Hidden inside one of the bays you will find the Carbis Bay Hotel.

Tucked away within the 125 acre estate you will discover the hotel that comes with a privately owned 25 acre beach to accommodate privacy for yourself and your guests on your special day.

There are a team of wedding coordinators available to advise you on flowers, the menu, photography and entertainment.

Alongside the wedding packages, there is also included the romantic Proposal Package where you will be assisted with anything from hiding a ring in a glass of champagne, through to writing a message in the sand and hiring a yacht.

Visit website: www.carbisbayhotel.co.uk
Facebook: Facebook.com/CarbisBayHotelandEstate
Twitter: @CarbisBay_Hotel


Take a wander around Cornwall and you will find Bodelva, St. Austell. In the rolling hills you will find the world famous Eden Project, where as well as conservation, outreach projects and future plans for a hotel, you can also get married.

In 1995 the Eden Project began as a giant hole in the ground building up to today where you can have a wedding day to remember.

There are two choices of venue, the first is the Mediterranean Biome filled with bright blooms and the aromas of citrus trees and herbs. The second is the Rainforest, the world’s largest indoor jungle.

The food and flowers provided on your special day are sustainably sourced with 81% of them from local producers.

As a gift from you both for your guests, each one will receive a voucher to allow them to return the following day to gain the full Eden experience.

Visit website: www.edenproject.com/weddings
Facebook: facebook.com/TheEdenProject
Twitter: @EdenProject


Another jewel for Cornwall away from the coast is a location for those searching for something a little different to add to their wedding day. In Mevagissey we have found just the place.

Lower Barns caters for something a little out of the ordinary, from those who want to elope, to those who want just a few close friends to attend their special day.

Packages cater for bespoke wedding ideas, such as Runaway for 2, Elope for 2 or a Few and Small Weddings just for 20.

The Barns began as a derelict building in 1998 and has been converted into three different venues, The Wed Shed, The Shack and The Lounge. Each one has been decorated with its own quirky character giving the Bride and Groom a touch of originality to their special day.

Visit website: www.lowerbarns.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/LowerBarnsGuestHouse
Twitter: @Lowerbarns


Venturing across the River Tamar in Cornwall you are about to discover a family estate steeped in history for over 300 years and tucked away from the general public if you are after a private day away from the hustle and bustle.

Pentillie Castle is locked inside a 2000 acre estate to give the most of escapism for yourselves and your guests.

There are various locations inside and out within the grounds. Inside you have the choice of The Morning Room or the Dining Room. Spilling outside you are greeted with the Victorian Bathing Hue and the Loggia South Terrace.

PentillIe Castle is  5* establishment with fabulous grounds and interior to add the finishing touches to your photography.

Visit website: www.pentillie.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/PentillieCastle
Twitter: @PentillieCastle


Dotted around the beauty of the Cornish coastlines you will find various picturesque locations. In the perfect little bay of St Austell you will find on the cliff tops a hotel that encaptures scenic views of the area taking in the breathtaking sights of the sealine and beaches.

Set within 250 acres of private grounds sits the Carlyon Bay Hotel. Sitting on the cliff top gives you a private view of the surrounding area within picture perfect grounds to set a background to your photographs to match up to your perfect day.

There are wedding managers on hand to assist you with every detail needing planning for your magical day, from anything to seating and name cards through to flower arranging, menus and entertainment.

The bride and groom are received straight away with special treatment, being greeted on a red carpet to start your day off with a real Hollywood feel.

Visit website: www.carlyonbay.com
Facebook: facebook.com/TheCarlyonBayHotel
Twitter: @CarlyonBayHotel


Venturing further into mid Cornwall you will find the secluded hamlet of Trelion which overlooks the stunning Fal Valley. Cornwall is not only sought after for its coastline but also what lies further inland is just as adored, by the locals and visitors.

Here we have a small, personal venue of a beautifully converted 19th century engine house called The Stack. The interior has a very rustic, natural feel to it consisting of wood and stone.

It has a real house party feel to it if you are wanting something small and personal. The Stack boasts of the most comfortable beds you’ve ever had to pleasure to sleep upon and there is the Princess Bathroom to prepare yourself in for the big day.

Outside there is a hot tub available for those daring enough for a dip after the service. The Stack houses up to 40 guests, and there are choices of food ranging from a sit down meal which can be hosted outside under a marquee, or if you prefer to take it outside to basque in the scenery, a BBQ or pizza cooked in pizza ovens.

Visit website: www.rockmywedding.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/RockMyWedding
Twitter: @RockMyWedding


In North Cornwall and just 5 minutes from the coastline resides Cornish Tipi Weddings.The venue is easily accessible from Newquay airport and the train station.

Tipi really is a wedding outdoors, no manicured lawns or hedges, real grassland and hedgerow, a lake with little wooden bridges and a dell. There are camping facilities if you want to really get out and sleep under the stars.

The pavilion is constructed of willow and canvas to tie in with the surrounding 16 acres of private land. Expect a very earthy natural experience and setting for your private day. The venue houses from 20 to 220 people where you will be enveloped by Oak and Ash trees.

Food comes in various choices with a vintage picnic or wedding breakfast up to a 3-4 course meal or hog roast with full waitress service and a wide selection of vegetarian options.

Visit website: www.cornishtipiweddings.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/CornishTipiWeddings
Twitter: @OutsideBride


Moving in central Cornwall, just downhill from Bodmin Moor, you will find a beautiful wooded valley, inside is a private estate surrounded by orchards, meadows and a lake, looking like something from a movie set. Here is a place called Upton Cross which carries within it a place called The Green.

The Green began life originally as a dairy farm which has been converted into a ready made wedding village. The array of options in where to wed in this venue is astounding, ranging from the 5* house to two locations in the grounds.

There is a range of accommodation for up to a 3 day stay and to house your wedding guests on your day there caters from 32 to 120 people. You can opt for a large scale wedding down to a country celebration or festival style party.

The Green is also close by to the Eden Project, Padstow and Fowey, so plenty to keep your guests amused the following day if they chose to stay on after your day.

Visit website: www.thegreencornwall.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/TheGreenCornwall
Twitter: @TheGreenCornwal

12 Unconventional Entertainment Ideas for your Wedding

Your wedding day is as much about your guests as it is about you. Bringing together your family and friends to celebrate your union and your new life together shows them that you value their role in your life.

If you want to show them how much you appreciate them, give them a reception they will remember. The perfect wedding reception has outstanding catering, a venue with trained, professional staff and great entertainment for your guests.

If you have a good idea of your wedding theme and have your catering and venue picked out, then it’s time to think about the wedding entertainment. Keeping your guests occupied and engaged with a variety of fun activities is the best way to ensure that they have a great time throughout the day and into the evening.

We put together a list of 12 unconventional ideas for your wedding entertainment. This should give you some options for entertaining your guests by getting them involved with some fun-filled activities on the big day.

  1. Add in some Wedding Sparklers

Bring a sparkle to your wedding reception. Wedding sparklers are a great way to replace traditional accessories like confetti. Forming a sparkling welcome tunnel, or adding a few sparkler candles to your wedding cake you can bring up the visual component of your reception and catch the attention of everyone in the room.

To get your guests involved, leave them personalised packets of wedding sparklers on the table with instructions on when to use them. Everyone loves the mesmerising effect of a sparkler just remember to include a few safety tips on the reverse of the note!
Entertainment ideas

  1. Hire a Caricature Artist

Having a personalised caricature drawn is a hilarious way to keep your guests busy. A caricature artist works quickly and gets their subjects involved with the artistic process, this keeps your guests engaged.

The final picture always brings smiles and laughs and it makes for a great piece of your wedding that your guests can take with them. When you hire your caricature artist, make sure that you get some references of their work to make sure that you are getting an artist with talent.
Entertainment ideas

  1. Mr and Mrs Reception Contest

Everyone dresses to the nines for a wedding reception. Make the most of everyone’s stunning wardrobe by having your emcee host a best dressed Mr & Mrs, or Ms for the singles. To get everyone involved, have them vote for it and then tally the votes up and have the emcee announce the winners.

Make a mini fashion show of it and as a prize, offer a bottle of fine champagne, chances are they will just share it at the table between their friends making for the perfect prize that gives plenty of value to everyone.
Entertainment ideas

  1. RSVP your Soundtrack

This is a fantastic way to keep the dance floor going all night long. Ask your guests for their favourite songs, ask them to stick to a certain genre, like love songs or modern rock. Get them to send you their selection when they RSVP.

Chances are, your guests will likely choose similar songs, so you don’t have to worry about a huge list and it will give you an idea of the most popular songs to play. Take your guests choices, compile them into a spreadsheet and speak to a wedding band such as Soul Fresh or your DJ about including them in their set.
Entertainment ideas

  1. Hire a Comedian

This is a great way to get everyone in a great mood. A comedian can spread the laughs and get your guests involved with some funny anecdotes. Hire them for sets before your band starts in the evening and before the speeches, they make for a great ice-breaker that gets everyone in an upbeat mood.

As a tip, make sure you mention to the comedian that you will need a clean set, they should keep the adult humour in check.
Entertainment ideas

  1. Hire a Celebrity Impersonator

Another fantastic and affordable idea to bring some humour and smiles to your wedding reception. Nothing beats listening to ‘Billie Jean’ while a Michael Jackson look-a-like moonwalks across the dancefloor, what a spectacle.

  1. Champagne Pyramid

To bring some class and a stunning visual, have your venues waitrons build you a champagne pyramid. The golden bubbly bouncing from the lips of the crystal flutes is just an amazing sight to behold, capturing everyone’s attention.

This can be an inexpensive or horribly expensive affair depending on the brand of champagne you choose, so be sure to include it in your wedding budget.

  1. Midnight Meals

After a hard night, your guests will probably want something to eat before they leave. No one likes being left hungry at the end of the night.

Solve your guests hunger pangs and hire a takeaway van that can make kebabs or burgers for your guests. This will make you a legend to all your guests that are starving for that midnight snack.
Entertainment ideas

  1. Make a live Wedding Video

Today’s world of compact digital technology puts the power of video recording in a very small package. Buy a Go Pro camera and pass it around to your guests. Have them leave a video blessing and then pass it on.

The bride and groom can also strap one to their chest with a lightweight harness. This collects the footage from the whole day in a first-person view, you will never forget a moment! (just remember to turn it off when you go to the loo!)

This is what memories are made of and it will bring you to tears and break out the smiles when you edit the footage.
Entertainment ideas

  1. Photo Booths for Fun

Let your guests make their own memories at your wedding reception. Set up a photo booth and fill a box with props for them to use on their shoot. Goofy masks, glitter, and fake moustaches all help to make hilarious photos.

If you decide to hire a professional booth, then your guests will be entertained for hours with the variety of filters and templates that they can add to spice up their photo shoots. Make sure to keep a digital record of all of the shots, these will do well in your wedding scrapbook or memory journal.

  1. Surprise first dance

Why not shock your guests into hysterics with a planned surprise first dance? We have all seen the hilarious Youtube videos, your first dance with your spouse could be the next one to go viral.

It takes a bit of planning to get the choreography right but it’s a great way for you and your partner to spend some time with each other leading up to the big day. You will have hours of laughs together as you prepare to embarrass yourselves in front of your loved ones.

  1. Keep it going with an After party

Venues usually have time limits on your reception. It’s not uncommon for them to ask you to leave when the clock strikes twelve, or even sooner. For those younger crowds that like a good night out, arrange a VIP limousine service to take you all to a nearby club so you can party till the sun comes up.

Pre-arrange a VIP area with the club and have a couple of bottles of chilled champagne ready for all of you when you arrive.
Entertainment ideas

The Final Thought

Your wedding reception is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring together both of your families and your friends together in one venue. This probably won’t happen again for a very long time and you should be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.

Hiring great wedding entertainment will ensure that you give your reception the edge it needs to keep your guests smiling, laughing and dancing the night away as they celebrate your love and your union.

Great Wedding Gift Ideas For Ushers and Bridesmaids

A gift for your ushers or bridesmaids should always be thoughtful and a gesture of appreciation for the efforts they will have put in during the course of your special day. Hopefully the brief tips below will help you when choosing what to do

How much to spend?

What you really need to consider here is how much budget you have to spend on the whole wedding and how much you want to allocate for your bridesmaids gifts and groomsmen gifts.

Also, if you are asking a lot financially from your team of helpers, such as travel and hotel, you may wish to consider a more expensive gift.

What to give?

This will need some careful thought. What may be adored by one bridesmaid or usher may not be by the other. You don’t need to get everybody the same present. You may wish to buy them each a personalized wedding gift to show your appreciation.

Also, try to make sure your gift is timeless. Wedding jewellery may work perfectly well on the day of the wedding but but may never be worn again.

In this present time it is good to consider the environment when making your purchase. Companies such as UncommonGoods are committed to featuring products that contain recycled and handmade components and don’t use leather, feathers or fur.

When to give the gifts?

Usually the gifts are handed over during a rehearsal dinner or get together before the actual wedding. They can also be given during the speeches at the main event when all who have helped out are toasted.

Newlywed Paradise: The 5 Best Beach Honeymoon Destinations

Best Beach Honeymoon DestinationsBeach holidays remain the most popular type of holiday.

But this presents a problem.

Choosing a beach honeymoon destination in a world full of incredible places is hard. You are spoilt for choice, so how do you pick the right destination?

You don’t want your honeymoon to be second-rate; you are looking for only the best beach honeymoon destinations.

If you’re yearning for a bit of sun, sea and romance on your honeymoon, then keeping reading. To help you find the best beach destination, our luxury travel experts have put together their top five beach getaways from around the world.

The Maldives  Best Beach Honeymoon DestinationsThe Maldives are to beach holidays what Usain Bolt is to sprinting: unbeatable.

Found off the southern tip of the Indian Ocean, this exquisite tropical nation is made up of over 1200 islands — some large enough to host towns and villages, others so small you’ll find nothing more than white sand a few lonely trees.

The Maldives have become synonymous with beauty and luxury in recent years, with the biggest attraction being their sublime white beaches.

Days spent here are days spent in paradise.

You and your partner could spend weeks just laying on the soft, sandy beaches, snoozing beneath palm trees and relaxing in hammocks with a cocktail in your hand — and the time would never feel wasted.

However, there are also plenty of opportunities for adventure. The Maldives has incredible scope for experiences like snorkeling along coral reefs, diving with manta rays and whale sharks, hopping between islands, discovering local culture and plenty more.

When looking for the best beach honeymoon destination, you’ll be hard pushed to beat the Maldives. Although, you could consider…

Tahiti, French PolynesiaBest Beach Honeymoon DestinationsWhat is not to love about Tahiti?

You arrive, by boat or plane, to an epic scene seemingly ripped from the silver screen. A striking mountainous island covered in luscious greenery, Tahiti offers an idyllic setting for an unforgettable honeymoon.

While the more adventurous amongst us might opt to spend time exploring the jungles and mountain peaks, most visit purely for the coastline that wraps its way around the island.

Pearly white, soft and warm to the touch, the sands of Tahiti border an impossibly blue Pacific Ocean.

Live a life of luxury and wake every morning to a world so glorious it could rival the heavens for the title of “most beautiful place in existence” — let alone for “best beach honeymoon destination”.

There’s no two ways about it: Tahiti is a magical place.

Lombok, IndonesiaBest Beach Honeymoon DestinationsMost honeymooners are familiar with Lombok’s big brother, Bali, yet few have ever heard of its sibling.

A short journey across the water from world famous Bali is the little-known paradise of Lombok, but why visit the lesser known of the two?

Lombok is far from being inferior to Bali and, when it comes to beach holidays, has the local legend absolutely beat.

Why?

Lombok is quieter and more secluded than its neighbour. The lack of a large tourist industry means it has stayed off many people’s radars, leading to deserted beach paradises, peaceful resorts and untouched surrounding natural beauty.

If you want a lively, family scene, Bali is your destination. If you’re looking for the best beach honeymoon destination and want a romantic, quiet, stunning beach getaway, book your honeymoon for Lombok.

St Lucia, CaribbeanBest Beach Honeymoon DestinationsSt Lucia: Come for the vibrant Caribbean lifestyle, stay for the exotic tropical beaches.

A stunning little island on the eastern edge of the Caribbean region, St Lucia is a country of immense natural beauty and rich culture. Known for its delicious cuisine and luxury accommodation, St Lucia is the perfect place for honeymooners to indulge in some of the finer things in life.

The most indulgent aspect of St Lucia though, has to be its beaches. Lined with lush palm trees and coated in silky white sand, the shores of this island feel like they’re the stuff of Hollywood — perhaps that’s why the island is so popular with A-listers.

Tulum, MexicoBest Beach Honeymoon DestinationsOn the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, just a short distance south of famous beach resort Cancun, is Tulum.

A stunning, unspoilt environment, Tulum offers a unique take on the beach honeymoon experience. It’s perfect for those looking for something a little different — a definite contender for best honeymoon beach destination.  

The area that surrounds the small town of Tulum is wild and free. Jungle engulfs the land, reaching all the way to the white sandy coasts. This opens up amazing opportunities for trail walking and exploring jungle caves and pools.

What really makes the beaches of Tulum special, however, is that they sit in the shadow of ancient Mayan ruins. Spending an afternoon lazing in the sand with the jungle to your back and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum on your side is an absolutely indescribable experience.

There is nowhere in the world like Tulum. Looking for an utterly unique beach honeymoon? Tulum might just be the perfect choice.

Find your perfect paradise with LuxTripper, a luxury travel company based in the UK. Try out our holiday-finder tool.

Planning Ahead From Your Pre-Anniversary

By Lauren Hayes, wedding co-ordinator at The Deckers Group  

If you’re a planner, then you will have certainly booked your wedding more than a year in advance to give you plenty of time to plan out the perfect wedding day.

And while it’s fabulous to go out and celebrate your ‘pre-anniversary’ with your fiancé there are actually lots of practical things you could be doing with this day.

wedding planningThis is the perfect opportunity to visualise your wedding day from start to finish, walking round your chosen ceremony location, and then your reception venue. Because you’re working a year in advance, this perfectly-timed opportunity means that you can visit your venues to see what they look like on the exact day of the year in terms of daylight and seasonality. This could be hugely helpful to your planning, when you could have booked your wedding in the depths of winter, or even in summer when planning a winter wonderland wedding.

As a wedding co-ordinator at Pennine Manor, near Huddersfield, I love people who plan their nuptials well in advance, and most importantly really enjoy the preparation and planning as part of the overall experience.

Here’s our best tips on what to do on your ‘pre-anniversary’ day – and yes, then you can enjoy a glass of champagne together!

  1. Go and visit where you will have your wedding ceremony
    It’s a great idea to help you visualise your day and decide what decoration or flowers will work best. It’s lovely to see where the sun hits the room at the particular time of day, as well as planning out the room layout.
  2. Speak to your photographer
    If you’re really serious about getting things just right, you could do a walk round the venue with your photographer to discuss the perfect shots, with just the right light. It’s massively useful for them to know what shots you really want, and what kind of wedding photography style appeals to you. Also ensure your wedding co-ordinator can do a walk-round with you, to discuss any changes that might be coming up with the venue, or any restrictions that might alter your photo plans. They will also be really well placed to come up with ideas for wedding photographs that you may not have thought of. They will have seen hundreds of wedding photographs being taken at the venue!
  3. Have a meal in your venue
    If it’s possible, go and have a meal at your reception venue. Not only is this a really special day, but it’s a great idea for you to get a feel of the service, the food and the overall atmosphere. It’s unlikely that you will have committed to which wines will be served at your wedding and perhaps even your menu hasn’t been chosen yet. Now is the perfect time to road test your wedding venue’s food, wine choices and service. If you have any queries and change requests, it’s a great time to get it sorted.

A year before the wedding might seem like a long time, but it really does fly by. There’s always a lot of do, a lot to buy and a lot of decisions to make, so always ensure you really take your time making this the truly perfect day.

wedding planningFind out more about BEST WESTERN Pennine Manor Hotel: www.penninemanor.com

Five things to ask your Wedding Venue Manager

By Lauren Hayes, wedding co-ordinator at The Deckers Group  

Wedding venue

Finding your perfect wedding venue is one of the most important decisions to make when planning your dream wedding.

Just beginning the search can be daunting so it’s important to be thorough and ask the right questions.

It’s easy to get carried away and see yourself walking up the sweeping driveway or having photos taken on the top of the double staircase. However, it’s just as important to find out all the nitty gritty details about the wedding venue and how they will help organise your day so it’s as enjoyable as possible.

Here at Pennine Manor wedding venue, we speak with couples from all over Yorkshire and the North, and aim to answer all of their questions, as well as giving them as many practical details as possible.

So you can continue to enjoy your wedding planning as much as possible, we have put together five questions you may not have thought about asking, BUT are crucially important to the rest of your dream day.

 

  1. Can I see a copy of your bar prices?
    It is a legal requirement to display bar prices or make them available to guests, but many hotels and wedding venues do not always make this easily accessible. This could be because they see wedding guests as a captive audience to exploit. Make sure your guests don’t need a mortgage to buy a pint.
  2. Could you explain your service style?
    Service style differs dramatically from venue to venue. Some venues allocate one member of staff per table to specifically look after the needs of that table. Other venues group their employees into teams. A good venue manager will be able to describe how they organise their teams to best look after the needs of you and your guests.
  3. May I view the toilets please?
    This might seem like the most ridiculous question, but the cleanliness of the toilets will give you an idea of the standards of hygiene throughout the venue. Look for toilet check sheets on the doors, or in the communal area of the toilet. Make sure these are being filled in regularly. You are looking to make sure the venue has high standards and systems in place for managing all of their facilities.
  4. How many bar staff do you allocate per number of guests?
    We all know how frustrating it can be waiting to be served at the bar. You need to make sure the venue allocates enough staff to get your guests served quickly and efficiently. If the ratio of staff to guests is less than 1:40 then you need to think twice about the venue.
  5. Will you be here on the day?
    Establish how much time the venue manager will be spending managing your wedding on the day. It is unlikely that they will be with you from the moment you arrive, to the time when you go to bed. What times will they be available to you? Who will you contact if you need something when the manager is not on duty?

Remember, a stress-free wedding is all about the preparation! Think of as many of your own questions to ask when you go to look around a wedding venue before you make any decisions. And good luck with your planning!

Summer Cocktail Ideas For Weddings

By Joe O’Neil, events manager for The Deckers Group

Welcome drinks are so important when planning your wedding and are not a detail to be overlooked. Your guests will be thirsty after enjoying the wedding ceremony and ready to celebrate!

As bride and groom, you will also be very ready for your first drink as a married couple and to mark the official start of your wedding reception and party.

Very often reception drinks are classic tipples such as champagne or Pimm’s if it’s a summer wedding. However, here at our wedding venues near Rochdale, we have created a menu of very special wedding-themed cocktails especially for reception drinks this summer to make your wedding really stand out.

The Blushing Bride – aww, doesn’t she look pretty!The Blushing Bride cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 25ml archers peach schnapps
  • sparkling wine or champagne
  • 1 few drops of grenadine

Pour 25ml of peach schnapps into a champagne fruit, top up with the fizz and add a few drops of grenadine to the top to make the bride blush. We recommend using a light and fruity prosecco to keep this summer cocktail easy drinking.

Forenoon Fizz – the gin trend continues!
Forenoon Fizz cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1tsp orange marmalade
  • 50ml Hendricks gin
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • sparkling wine or champagne

Spoon some good quality marmalade into the base of your champagne flute. Add the spirits and mix gently with the spoon. Top the glass up up with sparkling wine or champagne. We recommend using a marmalade with all the bits in, so they look unusual in the finished drink. This is rather an adult cocktail, so we would suggest a drier style of bubbly to complement the gin.

Lagerita – one for the boys!
Lagerita cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 25ml good quality tequila (Don Julio Blanco)
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • 15ml lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • Corona

Shake the spirits in a cocktail shaker with lots of cubed ice. Strain into a long glass and top with the lager. Garnish with a wedge of lime. Choose your glass right and the boys won’t be complaining about having to drink cocktails. The tequila and lime counteracts the bitterness of the hops making this easy drinking on a beautiful summer’s day.

Planter’s punch – sometimes you can’t beat a classic. That doesn’t mean you can’t give it a twist!
Planter’s punch

Ingredients:

  • 200ml spiced rum, such as Sailor Jerry
  • 50ml grenadine
  • 200ml orange juice
  • 200ml pineapple juice
  • chopped fruit to garnish eg – orange slices, pineapple chunks, lime wedges

A traditional planter’s punch contains dark rum, but the more modern spiced rums give a lighter, more modern twist to the classic. You can vary the recipe to suit your taste and add more or less grenadine to change the sweetness. Maybe consider some mango or passion fruit juice, to change it up a bit! Add all the ingredients to a jug of ice and stir.

Our tips are to cater for 1.5 cocktails for each guest to ensure you don’t run out. Some cheeky guests will grab two drinks, and some guests might arrive a little later if they have to check into their hotel or wait for a taxi – so ensure they don’t miss out!

Wedding guests will always appreciate a thirst-quenching welcome drink to really kick off the celebrations in style.

Find out more about bespoke cocktails and menus from our Lancashire wedding venues: Crimble Hall and The Royal Toby.

Five Reasons Why You Have to Go on Greek Island Honeymoon

Scattered beyond the striking shores of Greece sit thousands of beautiful islands, each with their own unique personality and opportunities for culture, adventure and romance. The ultimate destination for a honeymoon in Europe.

The perception of what a honeymoon ‘should’ be has changed. Gone are the days of being satisfied with the ordinary; newlyweds want something more exciting.

While there are plenty of popular honeymoon destinations out there, many just offer the same blasé experience of romance mixed with tourist culture. An experience that you could get from any typical vacation.

A Greek Island honeymoon, however, offers something far more unique and extraordinary, promising to elevate your escape beyond anything you have experienced before.

Relish in the Adventure of Island HoppingRelish in the Adventure of Island Hopping

The Greek Islands are a collection of over two-thousands islands — of which roughly 200 are inhabited —- that surround the Greek mainland. Set like jewels in the mediterranean sea, their lush green hillsides rise above the lapping waves, inviting you ashore.

The ultimate adventure to be had while on a Greek Island honeymoon is island hopping, an experience that takes you from one island to another, soaking up everything each has to offer, before jetting off to the next. Why accept only one opportunity for island exploration when you can have several?

There are a number of ways to island hop, but none better than chartering a vessel and sailing the Med yourself. Pick and chose your islands, not bound by flight schedules or ferry routes, and travel wherever and whenever you please. Go ashore and visit the highlights of the islands or take the route less travelled and explore uninhabited, desert islands.

Wherever your paradise may be, Greek Island hopping can take you there. If you and your new spouse are looking for adventure and excitement, how can it get any better than that?

Relax in Style on the Shores of the Greek MediterraneanRelax in Style on the Shores of the Greek Mediterranean

Despite a yearning to discover and explore, sometimes we all just need a bit of R&R. Whether you need somewhere to relax after a long day of adventures, or just feel like taking some time to unwind and do nothing, the Greek Islands have all you need. With a seemingly endless amount of coastline at your disposal, spread over thousands of picturesque islands, there is a perfect spot here for every couple.

Want to sit in a beautiful harbour-side cafe? No problem. Fancy sunbathing on a beach all your own? No sweat. Want to lay in a cabana while a waiter delivers cocktails straight to your hand? You get the idea.

Immerse Yourself in a World as Old as TimeImmerse Yourself in a World as Old as Time

The history of Greece is perhaps one of the longest and most illustrious in the world, and many of the structures that stood thousands of years ago still stand today.

The atmosphere of the island’s ancient sites can bring on a sense of awe unlike any other,  with ruins varying from magnificent palaces and once flourishing towns, to small and understated village ruins hidden on rustic hillsides.

The experience of wandering these peaceful ancient sites — the ruins found on the islands are far less tourist-centric than those on the mainland — is an immersive and wondrous one, propelling you and your partner back in time.

Exploring ancient ruins is perfect for couples who enjoy days in the sun, taking in life’s most fascinating details at a slow and relaxed pace. Or simply those who have always longed to see the ancient places of the world.

Take a picnic, sit amongst the stones of some coastal ruin and forget about the world beyond this very point. Just the beauty of the islands, and the awe of your location.

Discover a Rich and Diverse CultureDiscover a Rich and Diverse Culture

Modern Greek culture is much more lively than the relics of its past. Vibrant, friendly and boisterous, the personality of the Greek Island residents shines from every corner. Soak up the atmosphere of the colourful streets. noisy markets, beautifully styled architecture and striking displays of art. While most island residents share a love of food, wine and good conversation, the rest of your Greek cultural experience will depend on which islands you visit — and which towns within those islands.

In large towns, traditional and modern Greek culture tends to come to together. 21st-century ideas of entertainment, food, and art intertwine with classical examples of the very same.  Traditional Greek theatre is performed before patrons head off for a wild night in the clubs. Age-old food recipes are given a modern twist by experimental young chefs. Art from classical painters is displayed beside examples by modern artists. These towns are exuberant and exciting, packed with many opportunities for cultural awakenings.

When you visit smaller, less frequented islands and villages, the story is very different. This is where you can truly break away from the norm and immerse yourself in a completely unique way of life. Things have changed very little here over the years, and life is simpler, slower and more relaxed. Entertainment often revolves around stories and good, comforting food. Take the time to explore a small village, meet some people and see what life on the Greek Islands is really like.

Cultural experiences are a popular choice for honeymooners these days, and with good reason. Exploring and discovering a culture is very memorable, and often unique — a shared experience personal to your relationship.

Experience the True Romance of an Authentic Honeymoon in EuropeExperience the True Romance of an Authentic Honeymoon in Europe

Whatever reasons you base your honeymoon choice around, romance is always going to be a priority. This your opportunity to spend time connecting as a couple, forming lifelong memories that can be cherished forever.

The issue with most of the popular honeymoon destinations is just that, their popularity. It’s tough to feel the romance of a location you share it with hundreds of other people, yet this is not an issue for newlyweds who decide to take a Greek Island honeymoon.  

Some Greek Island towns — Corfu, Rhodes, Oia, etc — may be popular destinations for tourists, but you don’t have to go far beyond these places to break away from the crowds, and find a place where you and your new partner can really connect.

Open your eyes to this stunning destination, take in authentic Greek life with authentic Greek adventures, and enjoy the perfect honeymoon in Europe.

Content by Cliff Blaylock, an expert in all things Greece and owner of luxury yacht holidays company, Deep Blue Yachting.