‘Advice & planning’ posts

Wedding accessories with Jon Richard jewellery

It’s often the case that should you attach the word ‘wedding’ to anything, prices rocket up. I imagine it’s due to this that it has become the norm to fork out thousands on a wedding day. Well, this doesn’t need to be the case!

Whilst there are a few things I wouldn’t like to scrimp on (namely photography and vainly my dress), there are other areas where cutting cost doesn’t necessarily mean cutting quality.

For example, you can get some lovely-looking accessories that would be just perfect to complement your wedding attire, without directing you towards wedding day debt. Jon Richard has an awesome selection offering the more traditional accessories with partners including Swarovski , Alan Hannah and Rainbow Club, as well as jewellery that, although isn’t traditional wedding fare, would work perfectly with the right event.

Americana Wedding Accessories

I was drawn to their Americana collection, influenced by vintage America…

Jon Richard Americana wedding accessories

Pieces from: Americana Look No. 3 and Americana Look No. 4

Not only do they look good, but they range in price from £2.40 – £6! Not spending a fortune on a wedding detail is a win in my opinion!

Boho beautiful

These bohemian-style pieces would go perfectly with a wedding of the same vibe. Something relaxed, perhaps on the beach, at a festival, or in the woods… maybe a wedding with Native American touches such as wigwams, feathers and dreamcatchers.

It could look a little something like this…

Americana wedding inspiration

Gifts for the bridesmaids

Of course, if this style of wedding would be perfect for you and your partner, you may well already have the ideal accessories for the big day. Your bridesmaids, on the other hand, may not! Therefore buying accessories for your maids would help them complement your wedding look without adding too much to the budget.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for the perfect piece for your big day or just some jewels for another occasion, head on over to Jon Richard; their neon jewellery collection is another favourite of mine that would go really well with this Neon Pink Pop wedding inspiration.

And remember, just because it’s a detail for your wedding, it doesn’t mean you have to fork out a fortune!


This post was sponsored by Jon Richard:
Jon Richard website
Jon Richard blog

Phone: +44 (0)161 945 8444

Wedding planning : digital vs. paper

In March I was invited to an event with awesome wedding planner Mark Niemierko, but sadly I couldn’t make it. Now, I’ve never met Mark myself but have only heard wonderful things about him and have seen many photos and videos of the incredible events he’s planned. For example…

NIEMIERKO WEDDING: Retro Chic at Battersea Power Station, London from Niemierko on Vimeo.

Mark is known as one of the best planners in the business, creating incredible weddings for couples, celebrities included!

Tech tools

During the event, Mark shared some of his planning secrets and one of them was the fact he deems Microsoft Office an essential planning tool…

“Technology is an essential part of planning a wedding these days, from managing the budget and timelines through to creating mood boards for inspiration and much, much more. I’ve used Microsoft Office for years and literally couldn’t do what I do without it.

Now, new technologies like Office 365, which can be used anywhere on nearly any device, mean brides and grooms can manage everything they need to do on the go – update their budgets using Excel, use Skype to do virtual venue tours, create inspirational and interactive mood boards using OneNote… It’s easier and more fun to plan a wedding than ever before.”

Wedding planning - Digital vs. paper - OneNote

Digital planning

In this technological world it seems highly likely that a computer will be, at some point, utilised in you planning your wedding. Using Excel, or Google Spreadsheets, is a fantastic way to keep track of the big day details and many wedding bloggers, along with Google & Microsoft, have released their own planning tools to speed up the process for you…

Inspiration boards

Mood boards also play a massive part in wedding planning. Whether it’s interactive mood boards with OneNote or the hugely popular virtual pinboards that are known as Pinterest, collecting images online is a fantastic way to create a vision for your big day.

Wedding planning - Digital vs. paper - Pinterest

Paper planning

But what about planning your nuptials on paper? Are you the type, like me, that despite all this amazing technology still scribbles down your to-do list on a piece of paper?

And do you think there’s still a place for wedding planning journals such as this Wedding Planner Bible by Sarah Haywood that has handy pockets to collect information, detailed checklists for all the finer details, a business card holder and a space to slot a 5×7″ photo in the front?

Wedding planning - Digital vs. paper - Wedding-Planner-Bible

Digital vs. paper

When it comes to choosing between storing my future wedding details on the computer or having them scribbled down on paper in front of me I honestly can’t choose. I believe computers are best for calculating budgets and are less likely to get misplaced than a scrap of paper (provided you back up your files that is – always remember to back up!)

However, I love the idea of a keepsake after the wedding and I doubt very much I’ll revel in revisiting an Excel spreadsheet ;)

A bit of both

Therefore I’d probably do both. A combination of Excel to track the budget and Pinterest to provide me with loads of inspiration would do the trick for me. But then I’d like to print out a few of those Pinterest pictures and stick them in a scrapbook like the good ol’ days. I’d like to copy over my budget notes and wedding vendor details into the same book… and then I’d be able to get it down for the grandkids and show them all the dreaming & planning behind what I’m sure will be one of the most magical days of my life.

How about you? Digital or paper for planning a wedding day? Are there any planning tools or books that helped you in the process? If so, please comment below and share a link :)


P.S. To find out more about Mark Niemierko read this awesome interview over on Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride.

I was kindly gifted a year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 & the Wedding Planner Bible by Sarah Haywood

Money Saving Marriage : Advice for brides on a budget

One of the very first things to think of when planning a wedding is the budget. Ideally money would be no object and we could dream up grandiose plans without having to think about the cost… but this is the real world and things aren’t cheap, especially wedding things. Determining your wedding budget at the beginning is a must and for those with a small wedding budget it’s time to get creative.

When Moneysupermarket emailed to ask if I’d like to join other bloggers in their Money Saving Marriage competition, by sharing money saving wedding tips, I thought it would be a great topic for a post. True, I’ve never been married nor am I even planning a wedding, but I’ve been immersed in the wedding industry for 3 years now and hope I can offer something useful for brides that have a small budget for their big day.

For the post we were asked to make a list of ten things, with number 10 being what we’d be most likely to save on, and number 1 being what we’d be least likely to scrimp on. So here’s my list with tips, advice and tutorials included…

1. Photographer

Easily, the bulk of my budget will go on a photographer. I’ve seen the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer. I’ve seen why some charge a lot more than others. And I know that the cost of a photographer isn’t just based on the hours they’re at your wedding, it also includes the expensive equipment (and back-up equipment), the behind-the-scenes editing after the event, not to mention paying for the skills they’ve acquired over years… I’m fully prepared to pay upwards of £2k for my photographer and I know it will be well worth it.

If you save too much in this area (with perhaps the exception of nabbing an incredible photographer that’s just starting out) then it’s likely it will be reflected in your photos. It’s not as importrant for everyone but with it being what you’re left with after the wedding it certainly means the most to me.

Money Saving Tip: Whilst I wouldn’t suggest going for a cheap photographer (unless you’re thoroughly happy with their work), costs can be cut by hiring a photographer to cover only a few hours of your wedding. You could also save by picking a disc of images over an expensive album and then make your own photobook using one of the many online services available.

Money Saving Marriage Photography Ideas

2. Honeymoon

Yes, it’s not on the day itself but it’s definitely a part of that wedding budget. And whilst I dream of a beautiful big day I also want to remember that it is just one day. What’s more important to me is who I will be marrying on that day, and spending the rest of my life with them. And I’d like the rest of my life to start with an awesome honeymoon for just the two of us!

Money Saving Tip: Avoiding peak season, and holidaying for a few days over a week or two, can cut costs on your honeymoon. You don’t have to have it straight after the wedding either, better to wait a little while and save for a honeymoon you’ll love than go when you can’t afford and spend the time you should be relaxing fretting over how much it’s costing! Also if you’re anything like me backpacking and camping are actually more appealing than an all inclusive fancy beach stay, it would also mean I could go for longer as it’s much more affordable!

3. Entertainment

If your wedding’s stunning but you don’t provide some decent entertainment for your guests that’s what they’ll remember! I intend for my wedding to be a big party; a real celebration of the ceremony that came before. So I’d be happy to spend on booking a good live band.

Money Saving Tip: Do you or your friends know anybody that plays in a band? Chances are you do and those that haven’t hit the big time may be an affordable choice. Even an iPod with a well thought out playlist and a good set of speakers can be enough to get the party in full swing though, and it definitely won’t eat into your budget either.

4. Attire

Perhaps it’s vain to put how I look rather high up the list but, as a Northern lass that prefers an old man’s pub to a fancy bar, and someone who has never even seen an invite to a floor-length-gown event, it’s probably the only time I’ll be wearing a stupidly pretty dress! Therefore I’m prepared to spend a good chunk of the budget on it, as well as the groom and maids having lovely outfits too of course.

Money Saving Tip: If budget is tight the high street is amazing these days for bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. And remember, any dress that suits your wedding look can work… it doesn’t have to be labelled as bridal attire; attach wedding to anything and the cost rockets so if you can avoid it you’ll also avoid spending many pounds! Sample sales are also a great chance to get designer dresses at more affordable prices.

5. Decor

As someone who’s obsessed with art and craft, I’ll definitely be decorating the venue myself. That being said, craft suplies aren’t always cheap and as someone who’s also obssessed with lights and will need them everywhere come wedding day I imagine my wedding decor will cost more than other items lower on this list.

Money Saving Tip: DIY! There are tons of tutorials out there that can help you transform a venue, and between Etsy and eBay you should be able to find all the supplies you need. I’ve even featured some tutorials on Belle Amour such as these paper garlands made from stitched together circles: simple to make and can transform a space. Also paper cranes are popping up in weddings due to the ancient Japanese legend that promises anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. A stack of paper, your maids and some wine for company… and a fun day crafting can lead to decor that’s practically an art installation!

Money Saving Marriage Decor Ideas

6. Food/Cake

Serve-yourself hot buffets and barbecues are a cheaper option than a three course seated meal, and would suit the casual venue I’ll be going for. I often find you get more food too! As for a cake it’ll most likely be a DIY bake or a simple cake bought from a pro that I can craft up.

Money Saving Tip: Provide a buffet yourself for a feast that doesn’t break the bank. If you’re worried about how it looks focus on the presentation; bamboo plates and cutlery tied with twine will make a big difference. As for the cake, buy a simple creation from a high street store or supermarket, place it on a pretty plate and decorate it with mini cake bunting. Or have a go at one of these three tutorials:

Money Saving Marriage Cake Ideas

Image at the top by Anna Hardy

7. Venue

As mentioned before a fancy venue wouldn’t suit me. Many of them are so beautiful but I’m more likely to be a ceremony-in-the-forest type of bride. Also, some of those fancy venues have terrible carpets that just don’t go with the look you’re trying to achieve! Instead a village hall would suit me just perfectly.

Money Saving Tip: A village hall is a perfect choice for the small-budget bride. My friend’s chosen a village hall for her reception and it’s only costing £150! And what’s even better is that it’s a blank canvas, ready and waiting for us to go crazy with the craft supplies. I can’t wait!

8. Flowers

I love the wild flower look and would save money by having a smaller bouquet with stems arranged myself. I’d decorate tables with just a few flowers in decorated jars such as this tutorial shows: simple yet pretty. There is always the option to craft the bouquet too: paper roses or a brooch bouquet for example; but I think I may have one too many craft projects if I attempt to make everything!

Money Saving Tip: Go for cheaper flowers, and bouquets with more greenery to save money. Even supermarket flowers could be dressed up by tying the stems with lace or ribbon…

Money Saving Marriage Flower Ideas

Image above left by Anna Hardy

9. Stationery

I’ll be DIYing the stationery too. Any opportunity to craft in my wedding I’m going to want to take! Maybe I’ll use my letterpress, or print onto wood… I’ll be experimenting when the time comes that’s for sure. If budget didn’t allow however I’d drop this before other items as it’s not on the day itself; yes it would be nice if it indicated the vision for your wedding to your guests, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t.

Money Saving Tip: If budget allows paper invites are preferable as to many they’re a memento of the day. However, if you’re really stuck on budget (pretty papers and stamps aren’t cheap!) and would rather invest what money you do have into the day itself then you can always email people, perhaps make a cute video to share, or even set up a Facebook page. Now, there’s a lot of snobbery when it comes to weddings and some people will scoff at those inviting people to a wedding on Facebook… rambling on about etiquette and what have you. Ignore these people. They’re more likely to be paying off their wedding months after it’s over, you won’t be ;) Provided all your guests get to the wedding, does it really matter how you get them there?

10. Accessories

I imagine I’m in a minority here but I’m not that fussed about accessories or the ring. The shoes will be hidden under the dress and, although a ring may be great at warding off unwanted attention from men once married, I don’t really need a ring to show I’m married (of course it is a lovely symbol though and I’m not denying that).

Money Saving Tip: Again, the high street is a great option for accessories. You don’t have to buy ‘wedding shoes’, straight up ‘shoes’ will work just as well! Or you could DIY a simple hair accessory such as this one. As for rings, if you can’t afford something super special for your wedding pick more affordable bands and upgrade at a later date; your anniversary perhaps?

Money Saving Marriage Accessory Ideas

Image above by Anna Hardy

So there you have it, from splurging to saving:

  1. Photography
  2. Honeymoon
  3. Entertainment
  4. Dress/outfits
  5. Decor
  6. Food/cake
  7. Venue
  8. Flowers
  9. Stationery
  10. Accessories

A few last money saving tips.

Transport: anything that gets you from A to B, and that’s been cleaned (don’t want to mess up that dress!) will do the job just fine.

Hair and make-up: many tips can be learned from YouTube and I’m sure your bridesmaids will be all too happy to help out. Just be sure to practice before the day itself.

Favours: Something as simple as a lollipop with a ‘Thank You’ tag attached can be an affordable offering for your guests, if you’re feeling adventurous you could DIY some cookie pops! But forgoing them completely is an option if you’re on a strict budget, I’m sure your guests won’t mind :)

The date: One of the biggest ways to save money can be the date you marry. Picking something mid-week and off-season could save you thousands!

Finally, remember that what’s important to you may not be to other people, and vice versa. What you and your partner want from your wedding day is what ultimately matters. If you have a healthy budget then spend what you want; if others think it’s extravagant that’s irrelevant. On the otherhand if your budget is tight, don’t let anybody or anything push you into a wedding you can’t afford. You should be able to look back on your wedding as a day filled with happy memories, not as the day you got into debt.


2013 Wedding Trends

I’m back! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas; I definitely did! But today I’ve waved my brother off, packed away all the Christmas decorations and just about recovered from a lovely long dose of flu… so it’s back to blogging! And to kick start 2013 I thought I’d mention five of my favourite predicted wedding trends for the year.

Now I do believe that having a wedding ‘trend’ is an odd concept, mainly because I believe weddings should simply be a reflection of the couple. But there’s nothing wrong with a little inspiration, and hey if you like one of the trends then that’s enough for you to use it in your wedding! I personally believe the running trend from year to year should be ‘doing your wedding your way’ ;)

1. Gorgeous greens

Emerald has been named Pantone’s colour of the year, but for brides looking for something a little more subtle, mint may well be a big hit. With sparkle and glamour also being tipped to trend in 2013, this board I created a while back could provide some inspiration…


2. Camping

If you’ve been reading this blog a while then you’ll know I’m a big fan of camping. Whenever I see a wedding that’s in a woodland setting, or has tents and teepees, it makes me want to get married immediately! This IS the dream for me. I love the cosiness, the rustic charm, the relaxed nature of it all…


Awesome images courtesy of Heidi Lynn Photography via Ruffled

Glamping could be one of the big hen do ideas for 2013 too. Also awesome!


Awesome images courtesy of Glamping Holiday

3. Beer & fast food

I love the idea of the food and drinks at weddings getting more relaxed. I’ve never been one for fuss or fancy and a lot of us prefer these simpler foods anyway (we just get carried away come wedding day!) Why we feel the need to have a sit down three course meal if our favourite food is pizza is beyond me. If you love pizza, have pizza! Or burgers, or beer…


Awesome images: Via Kelsey Hinton and Maggie Harkov Photography via 100 Layer Cake

4. Text

I’m a sucker for sexy stationery design and neon lights so the growing trend to incorporate text in your big day is one I say ‘YES!’ to…


Awesome images: via Once Wed, Tiffany Hughes Photography via Southern Weddings and Our Labor of Love via Snippet & Ink

5. Patterns & print

Patterns and prints on dresses, tablecloths, altar backdrops… colour and creativity can shine through with this one so I’m loving it…


Awesome image via Pink Loves Chocolate

All you need is love

I love looking at wedding inspiration (I imagine that’s obvious otherwise why on earth would I have been blogging about weddings all this time!), but really if a wedding has two people in it, and they’re madly in love, then I’m a fan. Trends come and go and everyone has different taste… but provided you have a wedding that’s true to you, at that time in your life, it’ll be bloomin’ perfect. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!


Crap carpets

If there’s one thing I cannot stand it’s crap carpets. And a lot of wedding venues seem to love crap carpets. No matter how beautiful the wedding venue, if it has a crap carpet I would have to write it off instantly. I believe, unless you style your wedding to fit with the dodgy decor it’s just going to ruin all the effort you poured into the vision for your dream day.

Case in point…


Awesome images courtesy of:

And another…


You could spend hours putting together a beautifully styled wedding and then the carpet goes and ruins it all!

Apparently there is a reason for the awful carpets with the loud patterns. It makes it easier to hide stains. I don’t think they’re talking about stains from wounds inflicted by upset brides, when they realise their wedding photos are going to look considerably less pretty, because of the crap carpet. I’m guessing they’re talking about red wine spillages and the like. Understandably it costs a lot to change a carpet. So just do away with them all together I say! What’s wrong with wood? Wood is beautiful and complements any colour choice…


Wood image via: Archi Expo

Of course if you’ve completely fallen in love with the venue then the carpet could possibly be overlooked (perhaps have your wedding at night when it’s darker?), or covered. In my case it would have to be covered although I’d make this a deal-breaker. I’d want the venue to pay for covering the crap carpet or I’d be looking elsewhere…

Wooden floors, grass or sand. That’s what I’d want :)


P.S. Anybody else that would say no to a venue just because of the carpet? Hoping it’s not just me ;)

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