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When it comes to making your wedding arrangements, one of the most important factors to consider is the transport – how are you going to arrive? There are plenty of different options, depending on how much of an entrance you want to make and how much you want to spend, but the key is making sure that you choose somebody reliable, as you don’t want the groom to be waiting, wondering whether you’re just late or you’ve left him at the altar! Here are some of the choices you might make for your wedding transport:

Chauffeur Driven Limousine

A classic choice. On the day, you’ll have a smartly dressed chauffeur who’ll hold the door of a stylish executive car, decorated with flowers and ribbons, and inside you’ll be able to enjoy champagne to toast the special occasion – or settle those last minute nerves. Visit www.chauffeur-vip.co.uk to read about the extra services they can offer.

Horse Drawn Carriage

If you want a fairytale wedding, then this is the choice for you! Beautiful, majestic horses pulling an elegant carriage will ensure that you make a memorable entrance. Make sure you choose a supplier who can offer open carriages or covered ones (in case the weather tries to spoil your day) – like the family-run www.whiteborough-carriages.co.uk.

Your Dad

If you’re saving your budget for other areas, you can of course simply get your dad or another relative to drive. Invest in a car valet service like that offered at www.premium-valet.co.uk to make sure that you still make a great impression.

Something Completely Different

If you want to make a real entrance, you can choose something entirely unexpected for your wedding transport. It’s possible to hire all sorts of vehicles for special events – New York taxicabs, monster trucks, and more. The classic fire engines from www.classicfireengines.co.uk are stylish and dignified, and are particularly appropriate if either bride or groom has a connection to the fire brigade.

Whatever you choose, make it a personal choice that reflects you and your personality – after all, this will be the first ride of your married life.

With less than three weeks to go before Valentine’s Day, now is the time to start preparing so that you can show the one you love – whether that’s your long-term partner or a secret crush – how you really feel. For a true romantic, shop-bought just isn’t personal enough – to really express the depth of your love you need to put something of yourself into it. With that in mind, here are some fantastic ways to handcraft your way into a loved one’s heart.

Pretty Parchment

If you’re eschewing shop-bought Valentine’s cards in favour of something personal and hand-made, then parchment craft or Pergamano is the craft to get into. It’s really easy, and you can make a beautiful and delicate card in next to no time. All you do is follow the guide pattern and, using special tools, trace or pierce the vellum to create a lovely lacy effect. You can get everything you need online, including the vellum, tools, mats, and guide patterns.

Tempting Truffles

Chocolate is, of course, the direct route to many a woman’s (and man’s) heart. What could be more entrancing than the gift of a beautifully presented box of chocolate truffles which you made yourself? You may be surprised at just how easy they are to make – check out this recipe from BBC Good Food, which only takes half an hour’s actual work (plus four hours to chill) and makes a whopping 50 truffles.

Simple Silhouettes

This is something that is really easy to do, but incredibly personal and artistic at the same time. All you need is a profile picture of the subject – for a Valentine’s present you might choose yourself, or you might choose another subject close to their heart like a pet – a printer, some card, black paint and a frame. This step by step guide makes it really easy, and then you have a striking and personal gift which can be treasured forever.

Whatever you choose to do for your loved one this Valentine’s day, with a little thought, a little creativity and a little time, you can create a handcrafted Valentine that anybody would be utterly delighted to receive.

Although not a typically English tradition, throwing a lavish engagement party can be an incredible way to announce your marriage. If you love the idea of an elaborate theme, but do not want to sacrifice a traditional English wedding, the perfect solution may be to out your personality into an engagement party. Similarly, if the lavish wedding is for you, the engagement party is the perfect way to begin that theme. Here is how you can achieve the ultimate multicultural engagement party, and truly show off your personality.

The venue

When it comes to choosing a venue to host your engagement party, there is no need to be elaborate; this is best saved for the wedding day itself. One of the best options is to hire out your favourite local restaurant or bar for the evening, and perhaps add a few personal touches with some creative decorations. Your choice of venue will entirely depend on your taste, but if you do want something a bit exciting or exotic check out these venues offered across the south of England from This Is Funky.

The Food

Any good party involves a great selection of food, and this is a great opportunity to set off a multicultural theme. For something a little different why not opt for a buffet style feast featuring foods from around the world. As it is your night, you should not be doing any worrying about whether people are receiving the right food, and a buffet is a great way to eliminate this. If this suits you, have a look at the website of Pan Global Catering who specialise in providing buffets of exotic foods from around the world.

Alternatively, if you know somebody who is willing to provide their own catering you can still create a multi-cultural feast by buying specialist ingredients online. This way you can choose exactly what cuisines you want, and even personal details such as how they are seasoned. One of the best places for Indian supplies is this website of Shop Spicy, where you can buy many exotic items you will not find in typical British supermarkets.

The Dress

As the bride, it can be very difficult to decide what kind of wedding dress to opt for, especially if you wish to incorporate a mixture of cultures into the event. The engagement party however is the perfect opportunity to really reflect the feel of the event into your outfit. This exquisite range of Indian wedding outfits from Sonas Couture is perfect if you really want to make a lasting impression.

The Entertainment

For the entertainment for your party, there is no need to invest too much time or money, and the best ideas absolutely should be saved for the wedding itself, but to create a celebratory atmosphere some music will always be appreciated. The simple yet effective formula of a sit down meal and then a disco is great for engagement parties of any size. Either make a playlist or hire a DJ to play songs from around the world to keep with your theme, and for some added excitement, buy one of these karaoke machines from EM Karaoke.

Taste of what’s to Come

To finish things off, the main thing you need to remember when planning an engagement party is that there are no real rules, and however you choose to celebrate, as long as you pick something to suit your personality it will go well. The evening should be solely about you as a couple, and it is great to combine both of your interests or values to create a memorable theme which tells your story so far.

Hampshire is arguably one of the most beautiful locations for a wedding in the UK. It has a range of environments to choose from, whether you prefer the pretty seaside, or a tranquil and historic stately home, set in vast and impeccably kept grounds. If you are currently planning your big day in Hampshire, here is a guide to some of the best and most beautiful services on offer if you want something classically romantic and scenic.

The Venue

One of the first things you will probably want to consider when planning your wedding is the location, as the character of its setting will probably form a basis for your overall theme.  If you are hoping to go for the traditional countryside theme, you will not be short of options as there are some incredibly beautiful country wedding venues in Hampshire. A really fashionable option at the moment is to opt for a historic barn, converted in a luxury style. There are plenty of these available in the Hampshire countryside, and can be decorated perfectly to fit with a natural theme.

The Theme

If you want a countryside wedding, chances are you will be going for a classic theme. This is the perfect opportunity to go for the kind of woodland fairytale theme you may have dreamed of as a child. Whatever season you are holding your wedding, natural materials such as flowers, wood and leaves combined with additional delicate wedding decorations such as fairy lights can create an extremely romantic setting.

When it comes to the outfits, if you are unsure, classic is probably always the best way to go. You can find a luxury bridal boutique in Winchester which stocks delicate, classic and vintage inspired dresses which will flawlessly compliment any classic countryside theme.

Create Lasting Memories

Once you have all the main factors of your wedding organised, you need to think of the smaller details, as it is often these which will make the day truly incredible and cohesive.  To compliment your classic theme, a vintage car will surely fit in well, and there are plenty of these wedding cars for hire in Hampshire, so you can take your pick whether you would prefer a Rolls Royce or a Bentley.

Finally, after going to all this effort to plan your special day, photography is not something to skimp on, as your wedding photographs will probably be with you for life. Hire a specialist and highly rated wedding photographer in Hampshire to ensure that all of the most precious moments of the day are captured in their best light. This way you will be able to share your perfect countryside wedding with future generations, and look back with fond memories.

Weddings are described as ‘the happiest day of your life’, but truthfully they can be incredibly stressful; on the day itself and in the planning. In short this shouldn’t be the case. You are entering into a commitment with the person that you love the most in the world. It should feel wonderful, magical and not at all stressful. You’re probably thinking that it isn’t achievable, well it is, so here is how you can experience a stress-free wedding.

Plan well in Advance

It may be obvious, but it is amazing how many people leave some parts of the planning to the last minute; and that can turn a beautiful blushing bride in to a little bit of a ‘bridezilla’. In order to stay on top of everything and keep yourself from losing composure you need to plan everything well in advance. Give yourself at least 12 months and then not much can go wrong. A great way of organising yourself is by creating a wedding checklist. You can find an excellent example from Your Wedding.

Get Away from it All

Instead of having a hen-do that will leave you with a hangover and hazy memories, choose something that you will remember and leave you feeling entirely at ease about your wedding day. A fabulous idea is to have a spa day with all of your girlfriends, or even better if you have the time try to get away a week or two before the wedding. Spanish Detox Retreats can offer you an escape that will leave you looking (and feeling!) fantastically refreshed and ready for your wedding day. Relaxing and enjoying the sunshine is a much healthier way to enjoy your hen-do than a typical, unclassy trip to Blackpool!

Quality Services

One of the most common wedding worries is not having high quality food, decorations and music. The ultimate rule of wedding planning is to avoid the words ‘cheap and cheerful’, as this is a myth – it quite simply does not exist. Take the time to think about the theme and decorations that you choose, and don’t be rushed into anything. If you’d rather dictate what you want and have someone else do the physical decorating, then Wedding Creative can transform your chosen location into the venue of your dreams. Having someone else do the hard work is certainly less stressful!

When it comes to choosing your caterer you should research your chosen company thoroughly; try to arrange a few tastings if you can. Wedding guests can be fussy so ensure that you cater for everyone. You can ensure that quality food is served at your wedding by looking into where the ingredients come from or how any animals are reared. For example, caterers Elizabeth Caton only use free range eggs and meat, so it is more likely to be a quality meal that will be well received by your guests. Avoid the stress, strains and worries of inadequate food by hiring a superior caterer with good reviews and experience.

If you’re planning your wedding for 2014 or beyond don’t get stressed out about it; it isn’t healthy for you or your partner! Take the time to plan, research and, of course, relax. It is your special day, so your memories shouldn’t be blurred by inadequate decorations or less than excellent cuisine.

CaptureWhen it comes to your honeymoon, you want a getaway with a difference so when it’s time to start thinking about where you’ll be visiting for your perfect post-wedding escape consider the merits of these top 3 dream getaways that’ll provide you with a honeymoon to remember.

#1 Turtle Island, Fiji

For privacy, romance and stunning scenery Turtle Island is the perfect destination for any exotic honeymoon. With its stunning lagoons, lush greenery and aromatic flora you can truly escape the stresses of reality on this tropical island paradise. When you want intimacy and tranquillity Turtle Island offers you all the advantages of every other island in Fiji with the added bonus of seclusion, with a maximum of 28 guests on the island at all times allowing you and your partner the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company without having to worry about overcrowded beaches.

#3 Malindi, Kenya

For an amazing honeymoon with a difference, visit Malindi and experience amazing culture and stunning scenery. Surrounded by romantic coral reefs, the heavenly Malindi offers you an amazing retreat to remember, with a wealth of activities such as snorkelling available for you and your partner to try out making it the dream destination for an action packed honeymoon. Choose to stay in a stunning lodge such as The Driftwood, nestled right on the Kenyan coast for breathtaking views and great access to the beaches to fully appreciate the opulence of Malindi on your honeymoon.

#3 Kefalonia, Greece

Described as the jewel of the Ionian, Kefalonia is a stunning Grecian island perfect for a getaway for a honeymoon to remember at any time of the year. With stunning pine-clad mountains and idyllic beaches, Kefalonia offers a wealth of culture and spectacular natural features such as the breath-taking Melissani Cave, making it an unmissable spot for anyone experiencing wanderlust. Freelance Holidays have some beautiful holiday villas with pools where you can relax and enjoy the true beauty of Greece in luxury on this stunning isle.

Whether you choose to languish in luxury or strap on your snorkel and fill your honeymoon with action and adventure, it’s important to get your destination right for such an important occasion. When it comes to your honeymoon it’s not just another holiday, so treat yourself to the perfect escape that you won’t soon forget in order to create memories that will last a lifetime.

When you get chosen to be bridesmaid for your friend or family member’s big day, excitement sets in and everyone wants to help make the brides day as special and exactly how she wants. As bridesmaid this is definitely your role and stepping up, being the best bridesmaid you can, will be exactly what your bride needs!

Be the ultimate helper:

There are lots to do in the planning of a wedding and by being the ultimate helper; you will aid your bride to get things done both quickly and efficiently. When it comes to big jobs such as the invitations, or the table plans, gather all the bridesmaids up and make a girly night of it. Get the chick flicks on, popcorn and some wine, and you will not even realise that there is a job at hand. This allows for girl bonding time before the wedding, helping the bride with her worries and you can make future plans for what needs doing next. Check out www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/celebs/entertainment/girls-night-in/cosmos-top-10-chick-flicks for ideas of what chick flicks you can watch on the night.

Aid her with her budget:

Weddings are expensive, that is no secret, so your bride may be struggling with her budget as it may not be large enough for her perfect day. Get all the bridesmaids together and consider buying your own bridesmaid dresses instead of coming out of the bride’s pocket. Check out www.ameliaclassics.co.uk/bridesmaid-dresses for a selection of affordable dresses that your bride can choose from and you can club together and purchase. Buying your own dress is a very big gesture and any bride would be truly thankful for the bridesmaids covering the expense.

Throw the best bachelorette party:

The hen do is without doubt the fun part of the pre-wedding plans. This is the brides last night out as a ‘single’ lady and, with the stress and build up before the wedding, is her chance to relax and go a little wild before married life. Plan well in advance to ensure that all members of the bridal party and who will be joining you on the occasion can attend. Decide on the length of time you will be away and the style of the party you will be having. If your bride is not a big drinker or enjoys quiet nights in, instead of mad weekends out, plan the party to suit her. Consider a relaxing spa holiday, or for the adventurous type check out www.arenapursuits.com/stag-hen-adults.aspx that has outdoor activities specifically designed for hen and stag parties. Also ensure that you have a sensible head so that you can aid the bride at any time during her bachelorette party which may even include carrying her home!

As a general rule the best thing you can do for your bride is to be there for her at absolutely any time she needs you. Weddings are stressful and you may see a not so happy side to your bride, but do your best to bite your tongue and understand it is only due to the stress of the wedding. Be the best bridesmaid!!

There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that jewellery plays a huge part in any wedding – where would you be without the rings, for a start? Every bride wants to shine on their big day, and the right jewellery can really make you sparkle. What’s more, it’s a great way to fulfil the requirements of that long-standing wedding tradition – Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue.

Something Old

Whether it’s an heirloom wedding ring or a beloved antique necklace, your “Something Old” can easily be jewellery. But what do you do if that special piece you want to wear on your big day is broken or doesn’t fit? Never fear – jewellery repairs are often easier than you think. Whether it’s a broken chain or a faulty catch, resizing a ring or finding a perfect match for a missing stone, a jeweller near you will be able to help. Make sure you choose a reputable company who understand how much your piece means to you, and who will offer the high level of service and peace of mind you need. Martins of Glasgow are one such company, offering repairs by fully qualified craftsmen – click here for details of their jewellery repairs service.

Something New

There’s no better way to ensure that your “Something New” is really new than to make it yourself. There’s a great range of online stores and local craft shops that can help you create a completely unique piece of jewellery that’s absolutely you. You can buy kits with all the parts you need, complete with easy to follow instructions, or you can mix and match beads and gems and let your imagination run wild. JillyBeads are a popular online company with a fantastic range to choose from, including pretty gemstones and Swarovski crystal beads– click here for their kits and design ideas.

Something Borrowed

Many brides get their “Something Borrowed” from a close friend or relative, but if their tastes don’t quite match up to yours then jewellery hire can be an excellent alternative – with the added advantage that you can wear the kind of statement jewellery you might otherwise only dream of. There are plenty of companies like Adorn which specialise in jewellery hire for weddings and special occasions, with a great range to choose from and your chosen pieces even delivered to your door – click here to find out how it works.

Something Blue

This one is something that you can easily combine with one of the other “Somethings”– and when it comes to jewellery in “Something Blue” you have so much choice it’s unbelievable! You’ll probably think of sapphires first, but did you know that diamonds can also be blue? Naturally blue diamonds are rare and very expensive, with the Hope Diamond held at the Smithsonian Museum being a very famous example- click here to see it and read about its history. On the more affordable end of the scale, you can also choose jewellery set with lapis lazuli, turquoise, aquamarines and blue topaz. It’s also said that wearing blue gemstones can promote truth, devotion and sincerity – and what could be more perfect for your wedding day than that?

Over the years we have heard many inspirational and amazing stories about people with special needs who have focused on their abilities and have accomplished some wonderful things in their lives. Some of the individuals have gone on to help and inspire others to look past their challenges and focus on the present, talents and abilities that they have. Therefore, here are 3 motivational speakers that are spreading the messages of happiness, compassion, and most importantly the message of Jesus!

  • Joel Osteen. Joel Scott Osteen is an American preacher, televangelist, author and the Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His ministry reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers weekly in over 100 nations around the world! According to a recent article on ‘Charisma News’, available here, Joel Osteen is the most watched inspirational figure in America. In 2004 his first book ‘Your Best Life Now’ was released by Time Warner debuting at the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List and quickly rising to 1#. It remained on the New York Times Bestseller for more than 2 years and has sold more than 4 million copies. Most recently, Joel was named as one of Barbara Walters’ “10 Most Fascinating People of 2013″ and he was selected as the “Most Influential Christian in 2013″ by the readers of Church Report Magazine.
  • Chris Byrd. Chris Byrd, 1992 Olympic Silver Medallist and Two Time Heavyweight Champion, has shared his story all over the world, whether it is in small towns, big cities, or different countries. Chris loves to share his life of growing up in a boxing family of eight brothers and sisters, where boxing was all he knew. He shares how all he wanted was wealth, fame, and the world at his feet, but when God brought Chris to his knees he had an immediate transformation. He shares his very influential and emotional story of his personal salvation and living his life for Christ in the dark world of boxing. His climb to winning titles, having to box friends, his ups and downs, and God’s leading through every season! According to many Christian communities, click here for additional information, Chris’ message never fails to encourage, challenge, and inspire the audience while pointing them to the saving grace of Jesus Christ!
  • Keith Deltano. Keith Deltano is a dynamic Christian youth speaker with a comedic, interactive, edgy style. His shows promote sexual abstinence, Christian apologetics, and drug free living! According to a recent publication on ‘Winterfest’, available here,  Keith Delano has served and worked with youths for many years in various roles, including as a military police officer, public school teacher, youth leader, private counsellor, and educational comedian. He draws on this varied background to reach out and share with the youth of today!

 

In summary, the speakers mentioned above are just some of the great motivational speakers and self-help gurus that have inspired people around the world to take control of their lives and achieve success!

Far be it from anyone to dictate what makes a good wedding, but the music choice at the reception can dictate whether people actually get up and dance at all. My sister recently got married and the whole day was spectacular. Everything was planned to the utmost intricacy; the venue was perfect, the ceremony went off without a hitch (pun intended), the decorations were beautiful, but the DJ let me down. The whole point of a wedding is to celebrate the union of two people in love, and we celebrate best when we’re dancing. You want everyone to be relaxed at your wedding reception, so what makes a good wedding mix?

Stock Photo

Everybody Dance Now!

Wikihow posted this guide on wedding ceremony music (http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-Music-for-a-Wedding-Ceremony) which takes into account things like live performances from friends, and planning enough music for the whole event. There’s nothing worse than everybody sitting down when the DJ/band strikes up – even if you try to set a good example yourself, the music choice may dictate how people feel by the end of a long day.

If you want a great example of what I mean when I say we celebrate best when we dance, the BBC covered this fantastic idea for a wedding flash mob (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23027209). Notice that people who aren’t in on the stunt get up and participate anyway. You can see more detail into the psychology of music from this rather handy infographic from the University of Florida (http://visual.ly/psychology-music).

Liven Things Up

DJs are a must for when the party goes on into the wee hours, but a live band is a sure way to bring everyone to the dance floor. World of Wedmin (http://www.worldofwedmin.com/) are a fantastic new ‘wedding supplier’ – the equivalent of an online wedding yellow pages – who started off in the music industry. Weddings and good music go hand in hand, so a company founded on this principle understand the importance of a good musical presence at a reception.

One of the more unique approaches to music and celebration can be found in Music Wedding Videos here (http://www.musicweddingvideos.com/). A genius idea: hire an unobtrusive camera crew to put together footage of your big day to your favourite soundtrack! When you go back through your wedding day memories, I guarantee the music will be one of the more prominent features that you remember.

Scratchy

One thing I will caution you on: your own music taste. Choosing the reception music/set list should be a generous process. Yes you want to hear your favourite tunes, but a 2 hour Metallica tribute might not go down as well as you’d hope. The DJ at my sister’s wedding played a whole 2 minutes of my Led Zeppelin ‘Rock & Roll’ request, but I did understand why.

Avoid tunes that you simply believe should be played at a typical wedding; this is not a typical wedding, it’s your wedding. Just because ‘Love Is In The Air’ features in every rom-com known to the civilized world doesn’t mean it has to make an appearance at your do. I’m surprised Cher’s ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ didn’t make it on this top 10 worst wedding songs of all time from Jezebel (http://jezebel.com/5288684/top-10-worst-wedding-songs). Be selective: your guests will thank you afterwards.

 I have no doubt that everyone will get up and dance at some point, they basically have to. Ideally you want people to get up and celebrate with you of their own accord, so pick your tunes carefully and let your hair down!