Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and should be one of the most enjoyable too. There’s no denying, however, that planning your big day can get a little stressful. So here we take a quick look at some top tips for ensuring your wedding planning experience is as stress-free as possible, so you can make the most of the experience.

Plan Your Budget

Getting your budget planned and sorted early on is key, and with the range of wedding options out there, whether you have £1000 or even £100,000 to spend you’re sure to be able to find the right option for you. For some handy hints and tips take a look at this useful guide on how to plan a wedding on a budget.

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Get Organised

When it comes to planning a wedding it’s best to start as early as possible, and you can never really be too organised. Start by making a to-do list and pick out the most important items on this list, such as your choice of venue, so you can prioritise these.

Guest List

One of the first jobs on your list should be to write a guest list so you can get a pretty good idea of the number of people likely to be attending you wedding. This will help you decide on other important factors such as your venue choice and catering.

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Pick the Right Venue

When it comes to planning your wedding, picking the right venue is one of the most important decisions you will make. Firstly you need to decide on the theme of your wedding, as this can really help make things easier.

For example if it’s a more traditional country style wedding you’re looking for, then venues such as the Crouchers Hotel located in the stunning West Sussex countryside can be ideal. Venues such as this are also able to host both your wedding and reception, and when it comes to planning your wedding, deciding if you want to hold your wedding and reception in separate venues is crucial. Whilst this can make things easier from a logistical point of view, ultimately this is also a matter of personal preference and it’s important to make the right decision for you.

For more contemporary themes, modern venues such as a stylish hotel can be the perfect choice. Boutique hotels such as The Midland Hotel, a contemporary venue with an Art Deco twist, located on the North West coast, are also becoming an increasingly popular option for weddings with a more modern theme.

You’ll find that once you get your wedding venue sorted the rest of your wedding options will start to fall in to place.

Treat Yourself

After all that hard work and planning you have the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a little pampering. Why not reward yourself with a spa treatment or break, to ensure you are as relaxed and stress-free as possible before your wedding. This website gives a guide to some of the best spas in the UK so you can find the perfect destination.

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Hopefully this quick guide will help you to take the stress out of planning your wedding, so you can get on with what’s most important, enjoying it!

When it comes to wedding catering there is always a risk that people won’t like your chosen food, or even worse that people have allergies or specific dietary requirements – you really don’t want people suffering at the hands of your chosen food on your day! That is certainly not the type of thing that you want your wedding to be remembered for.


Food is definitely an important part of the wedding day; it’s the one thing that involves all of your guests…well other than witnessing you getting married. So let’s take a look at a few options that will ensure that your wedding reception’s food is as inclusive as possible.

Go Gluten-Free!


Gluten intolerances are on the rise, which is why you should contemplate using gluten-free caterers on your wedding day. Organic buffet provide gluten- free and wheat-free catering for weddings at an exceptionally high quality. You shouldn’t feel limited by the gluten-free catering option; there are so many alternatives and it’s hard to tell the difference between products that contain wheat or gluten and those that don’t!

The Vegetarian Option


It is always important to have a vegetarian option, but if you’re a vegetarian yourself why not make the whole wedding a vegetarian event?  The Bear, vegetarian wedding caterers, work throughout London and can provide exquisite meals of such an outstanding quality they will ensure that nobody misses meat! By providing exceptional vegetarian cuisine, you can include everyone, meaning nobody feels like they are a nuisance by having special dietary needs.

The Desserts Dilemma


When it comes to desserts the best thing to do is to have a wide range of dessert options, especially some dairy-free desserts (for lactose intolerant people).  It is important to have an array of sugar-free options if you are diabetic or any of your guests are; remember to make sure that they are clearly labelled! Take a look at the range of sugar-free desserts that are out there, there really are LOADS of fabulous ideas! A great idea, if you want to add a little bit of personality to your day is to make a few desserts yourself.

The Cake


The cake is the centre piece to your wedding day…after your dress of course! If you suffer an egg-allergy or are vegan, don’t worry, as there are many egg-free cake options out there and caterers who can create them for you. Kool Cakes for instance are a highly sought-after firm who create exquisite cakes. Eggless cakes are light, fluffy and exceptional on the taste buds.

Make your day an impressive success by catering to a wide range of dietary requirements, and if you have any allergies make sure that the food suits you! Choose recommended caterers and high quality recipes so that you can be certain that your food is nothing short of spectacular!

hen partyPlanning your wedding can be pretty stressful, but at least you can look forward to taking your mind off all the minutiae of church bookings and caterers when your hen party comes around! One thing is for certain however – you shouldn’t let your maid of honour get away with just slapping L-plates on your dress and dragging you around the local pubs. There are so many fantastic activities for hens that you can make your party almost as memorable as the wedding itself.

The capital is a great place to take your hen party – whether you’re local or not. There are so many things to see and do with your bridesmaids, you’ll be bound to make some wonderful memories.

You can start with shopping – London has some of the best shopping destinations around, after all – take in a musical (we recommend Mamma Mia! over Les Miserables for the hen party experience, otherwise you may come out feeling a little depressed) – or hit the city’s nightclubs.

You can also choose from some more unique activities. If you’ve ever considered yourself a bit artistic, and fancy something a little on the racy side, you could actually book a nude life drawing day – your party gets to spend the day in the company of an art teacher who’ll guide you on the finer points of drawing the hunky male model provided!

If you want something more active, you could throw yourself into a Bollywood dancing party courtesy of The Cheerleading Company, or even go paintballing – the choices are almost literally endless!

Of course, travelling through the city can be a bit of a drag, and the attractions and activities you want to include may not be that close together. By booking Swift Travel’s party bus in London, you can turn the travel into part of the party. It’s big enough for 16 people, and even has a bar, dancefloor and karaoke system on board!

Although it’s traditionally up to your maid of honour to sort out your hen party, there’s certainly nothing stopping you from making a few suggestions, so have a look around for interesting ideas you’d like and drop some hints – that way you can be assured of a hen party that will suit your tastes and interests, and which your entire bridal party can enjoy!

We’re all familiar with those anniversary gift lists, telling you exactly what you should be giving for each year. However, it can take some imagination to find a good gift made from salt (the traditional gift in the UK for the 8th anniversary), and if gold doesn’t happen to be to your taste, you might be disappointed by your traditional 50th anniversary gifts.

If you feel that it’s time to move away from the traditional lists of gifts, and give your loved ones something they’ll really appreciate for their anniversary, here are some ideas to inspire you.


scrapbookAn anniversary is a moment to celebrate the time that the lucky couple has spent together, so what better way to commemorate it than with something that will evoke memories of that time?

For younger couples, you’ll find they often have a lot of pictures on social media sites. It would be really easy to use these pictures to put together a beautiful hand-made scrapbook. You can get scrapbooking kits online which include all the other parts you’ll need – pretty papers, ribbons, cutouts and of course the book itself.

For older couples, you might be able to restore some of their older mementoes for them. If they have old footage of their wedding day, their honeymoon, or even just their earliest holidays together, they may think that the march of technology has made them unwatchable. However, you can get cine film to DVD transfers to allow them to share those old memories with their children and grandchildren. If you’re technically minded and creative, you could even have them transferred to digital files and edit them together yourself into a celebratory film.


Senior Couple on the BeachAlternatively, you can give the gift of new memories that they can make together! This can be an excellent gift for a group of people to club together on. You could contact all their friends in secret, and get contributions from everybody to send them on that holiday they’ve always dreamed of, or to pay for them to revisit their honeymoon location.

If you can’t afford to splash out on a full holiday, you can also buy a wide range of experience days for couples which make wonderful gifts; hot air ballooning, chocolate making workshops, sightseeing flights – even secret agent experience days! If there’s something that they’ve always wanted to do together, their anniversary is a perfect time to make it happen.

Of course, whether you decide to stick to the traditional gifts or choose something out of the ordinary, what matters most is the time and thought you take to give your loved ones something special on their anniversary.

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.

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!!