Seaside themed weddings in Brighton

Weddings in Brighton

Weddings in Brighton

Ok so maybe the kiss-me-quick and candy floss look might not be for everyone, but I adore Brighton and the diversity it offers for a truly spectacular wedding destination. Actually, talking of candy floss, bringing elements of the traditional British seaside actually works really well for a summer wedding, as does customised rock for your favours – just had to snap this advert to share with you! I am also loving retro ice cream vans serving classic 99’s and of course the Nation’s favourite – fish ‘n’ chips – to follow the theme through onto the table. The real treasure of Brighton of course is it’s natural ambiance and this really is something to treasure…

Sunrise in Brighton

Sunrise in Brighton

I recently spent a weekend at The Steine Hotel courtesy of my friends over at BuyAGift and what a gorgeous retreat it was. My converted loft room was so homely and everyone welcoming. As was breakfast, delicious in fact, and all locally sourced. Brighton in general has to be the most eco and food conscious town in the UK  – offering a vegan option is the norm for example. Finding guest accommodation or a little retreat for a pre-wedding getaway on the other hand takes a little research and can be more challenging. It’s not the cheapest place to stay in the UK, but this little nugget – as with Brighton itself – is worth every penny and I am more than happy to recommend to you.

Steine Hotel Brighton

Steine Hotel Brighton

And on that note, here is my top 10 rundown of favourite wedding venues in Brighton for you to check out too:

The Royal Pavillion

The Tempest Inn

Brighton College

Hilton Brighton Metropole

Brighton Music Hall

Proud Cabaret Brighton

The Grand

Blanch House

Drakes of Brighton

The Old Market

Click here for more brilliant ideas from

*Background image by Child Friendly Brighton

Luxury destination weddings in Marrakech

Worlds Greatest Wedding Venues


When I was invited to review Es Saadi Palace Gardens & Resort in Marrakech it really didn’t take me long to say yes. In fact, one visit to the website and I was hooked! To be fair, anyone in their right mind would hop on a plane tomorrow to soak up such luxury, and luxurious ladies & gents I assure it is. To hit the top spot of my Worlds Greatest Wedding Venues series you need to be pretty spectacular and this venue truly deserves it’s position at the very top of the A-list pile.

Designed in 1966 by Jean Bauchet, the Palace has been passed down through the generations and is now run by his grandson, Jean-Alexandre Bauchet and his wife Caroline. Known as the most glamorous venue to be seen at in Morocco, the venue certainly lives up to it’s reputation and has played host to icons including: Princess Margaret, The Rolling Stones and more recently Leonardo DiCaprio. Even our very own Kate Moss has graced the casino. Quite simply, Es Saadi oozes sophisticated fifties star-style glamour that is near on impossible to replicate. An authentic Moroccan experience that guarantees to deliver a memorable celebration unlike any other.


My adventure began with what I can only describe as one of the most spectacular of welcomes I have ever experienced in my life – a poolside party at one of the Palace’s 10 private villas. Not only a sensational location for a private dinner, but an incredible space to choose for a pre-wedding celebration with loved ones, or even a wedding breakfast. Something I always treasure in a venue is a flexible approach to hosting parties and this is where Es Saadi Palace delivers a first class service. The food btw, was to die for! The traditional lamb Tagine with all the trimmings I sampled on this particular evening was something not to be forgotten in a hurry!

Es Saadi palace breakfast

After the night before it was time to explore Marrakech, kicking off with a gorgeous breakfast with my fellow travellers. The view poolside from this location is just stunning and again, makes a gorgeous spot for hosting a drinks party on your big day. To be fair, you could pick any spot within the grounds to say ‘I do’ and it would be incredible. On that note, my room was rather fabulous too, with lots of lovely personal touches including handmade truffles on arrival and an indulgent body scrub to delve right in to. Hello I am in heaven!

Biggest pool in Morocco

An aerial view pool side – The 2400 metre swimming pool is the largest in Marrakech &
includes a swim-up bar!


A Senior Deluxe Suite at Es Saadi Palace & Gardens

Now clearly I couldn’t come all this way without checking out the World famous souk markets & ancient Palaces of Marrakech. Abdul our knowledgeable guide gave us a whirlwind tour of the key sights and even managed to throw in a few beauty treatments along the way too! Morocco is renound for its incredible mix of herbs, spices and healing oils. And I guess ultimately all these Ancient Moroccan traditions are the true Wonders of Marrakech – beyond the fact it is only three and a half hours from London and the sun is always shining – that and Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle which was honestly a highlight and worth a visit in it’s own right.

Exploring Marrakech

Exploring Marrakech with our brilliant tour guide Abdul

Jardin Majorelle in the summer

A view of the spectacular Jardin Majorelle – home of the late Yves Saint Laurent.

Next up, it was time to hit the five star spa at Es Saadi Palace – the perfect way to relax, unwind and prepare for a party! Showcasing the very best in luxury treatments, the spa boasts a cutting edge mix of hydrotherapy treatment systems, one of only two Dior Institutes in the World offering professional make-up services and an in-house salon to get you big day beautiful before the wedding. At the heart of the spa is a 100 year old eucalyptus tree that symbolises renewal and transformation – everything this incredible spa stands for. And the best bit? Well, I am thrilled to be previewing an exclusive first look at the new couples spa treatment room, which is due to open at the end of 2015 and quite honestly, is out of this world…

Couples spa at Es Saadi Palace

Es Saadi Palace couples spa room

So, all dressed-up and ready to go post spa indulgence, it was time for a big night out with a sumptuous dinner and a cocktail or two at the stunning L’Epicurien bistro & lounge bar. And to really get the party started we hit the dance-floor post meal and popped some bubbles to celebrate Es Saadi style! A dream location to toast any occasion – especially a post wedding party – that guests can continue into the early hours at the TheatrO nightclub. Literally all your entertainment needs are fulfilled and exceeded on-site to the point you don’t ever have to leave the resort! You can move between the various spaces on offer at Es Saadi and each one feels like you are somewhere different. When it comes to the wow factor, it doesn’t get bigger than this. And without doubt, this is what really makes Es Saadi stand out above and beyond the rest. The Palace even plays host to Africa’s very first casino too. A hugely popular attraction for both residents and tourists alike. When I said, everything is catered for I wasn’t joking!


L’Epicurien bistro & lounge bar

TheatrO nightclub Marrakech

TheatrO nightclub – the best in Morocco

Diamonte camel Marrakech

How was I ever expected to resist a snap with a sparkly camel?!

Kate Moss outside casino Marrakech

More importantly, how could I say no to a quick swing in the cage outside the casino? Granted, I may not tick all the boxes of a traditional showgirl, but hey, when they told me Kate Moss had a go on a swing at the casino, not even security could hold me back! What a backdrop and what a night to remember.

Luxury destination weddings in Marrakech do not come bigger than this, in all honesty, I think you will be hard pushed to find such a treasure anywhere globally offering so much variation under one roof. It’s not a brand, it’s a family home and that’s what truly makes Es Saadi so special for a wedding. Steeped in a glorious history, there is an air of both majesty and mystique – a thrilling combination that is rarely found and cannot be faked. Es Saadi is the real deal. A place to make your own, where memories to treasure for a lifetime are made and dreams really do become a reality.


Getting ready for a party – table setting for a Christion Dior dinner

To discover more about hosting a wedding or event at Es Saadi Palace Resort & Gardens simply click here to connect with their wedding team

Luxury castle wedding in Ireland

World’s Greatest Wedding Venues



Nearly 20% of British couples now opt to say ‘I do’ outside the Kingdom and as this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon… I decided to pack my bags and hit the road to see what all the fuss was about. And yes, the options are endless if not a little overwhelming, but my quest in uncovering The World’s Greatest Destination Wedding Venues could not have started in a better place. And yes, there is a reason why they call it ‘The Emerald Isle’ – this is one adventure I am never likely to forget…


And like any trip to a foreign land nowadays, it all kicked off with an early morning flight a la Easyjet. All aboard for a skylark both myself and trusty partner in crime Al McLeod proclaimed. We were having a ball already, pole dancing our way to the terminal gates. After all, when you’re not flying you should be dancing right?! In all fairness, I think the double shot latté had kicked in twenty minutes previous and perhaps the other passengers were not quite so enthralled with our early morning exploits as we were, but hey, you’ve got to try your best to entertain the troops right? I am a wedding fairy after all.

Peggy's Diner Ireland

Not one to shy away from a spot of spontaneity, we decided to road trip it from Belfast to Donegal. And what a hoot that was. A chance to take in the scenery, explore the sights and take a pit stop at Peggy’s Diner – still a highlight for us and probably our finest find en route to the castle! Turns out I am a MASSIVE fan of the Irish cuisine and it all kicked off with one of Peggy’s breakfasts. And some much needed mapping advice. We were a little lost at this point and only about 30 mins into our mission. Possibly I am more suited to a schedule rather than a free-stylin approach! Anyhoo the pic below was the snap that really got us excited… we were nearly there!

Lough Eske Castle route

The Wedding Fairy descending on a real life Fairy-tale castle sort of felt like it was meant to be. There was a majestic vibe in the air, although I suspect this was more down to the breathtaking scenery, rather than letting my imagination run wild with me. And who could blame us, the Lough (Irish spelling of Loch) totally blew us away en route! We hadn’t even arrived at the castle yet, made it up the drive in fact, and already it felt like we had arrived somewhere seriously magical… I am rarely lost for words, but the landscape of Lough Eske totally left me speechless.

Lough Eske scenery

And yes, we were a little giddy with excitement at this point!

Outside Lough Eske Castle

Yay! We’ve landed. From Weston-super-Mare (home of Dismaland just in case you haven’t heard of it before!!) to Donegal via taxi, plane, hire-car and foot… done and dusted in 8 hours! Yes, a mild bout of hysteria may have kicked-in at this juncture. But we made it and my goodness we were glad we had.

Inside Lough Eske Castle

Booking-in completed, we headed to our suite where I promptly stripped and slipped into the gorgeous set of slippers and cosy robe that awaited me. Our room was utterly gorgeous and the little basket of fruit, hand-made truffles and delicate fancies that greeted us really was the icing on the cake. The heated floor in the bathroom was a proper treat too! You could not ask for a warmer welcome and for me, this is what really excels a venue from fine to fabulous – beyond the luxuries and natural beauty of a space. There was a sense of pride about the castle from all the team members we met actually and I think that is a really important touch when considering a wedding venue.

Lough Eske Castle bar

Next up it was onto the important stuff – hitting the bar! And a pretty impressive cocktail list it was too! I must say, having never been to Ireland before, the food in general was right up my street. Home-made, wholesome and utterly fabulous. I sampled a Donegal fish chowder earlier in the day next to the Lough, teamed with my first official pint of Guiness in Ireland – a pretty special moment. But I had no idea what was to come later in the eve… my first Irish lamb stew at the castle was to die for! As you can probably tell from said picture, the party started early and finished late for us. A proper Irish knees up. Just as it should be.

Lough Eske breakfast

Good morning! Yes the morning after the night before can often be a rather delicate affair, but on this occasion, all that was needed was a hearty Irish breakfast and a beautiful welcome courtesy of the restaurant team. We were totally set up for the days activities and put it this way, there is no fear of being under-fed at this particular hotel! The breakfast buffet was hands down the best I have ever seen. More of an event than a breakfast. You name it they had it. The freshly smoked salmon was simply divine. Breakfast done, I promptly headed back to said boudoir to slip back into the robe ready for my morning spa treatment. And again, the spa itself really was a treat. I have sampled many and am quite often left a little disappointed by the treatments in hotel spas, but on this occasion, my deep tissue massage really hit the spot. Actually it was up there as one of the best treatments I have ever had. And yes, a little dip in this beauty below was also very welcome to round off proceedings.

Lough Eske pool

Post lunch we hit the road again to explore the area and boy I am glad we did. The coastline is World famous and for good reason too. The stunning scenery draws tourists from all over and makes for a pretty sensational set of picture perfect postcards. I had a bit of a moment below and as you can see… I am certainly not over emphasising the point, which for me, is pretty unusual.

Donegal views

Back at Lough Eske Castle post road trip, it was time for us to dress for dinner, which for me always proves to be a highlight when away. I just love popping on my finest for a gourmet treat and that it really was. The relaxed approach to dinner was also a winner for me too. Quite often, fine dining can be a little stiff, but the ambience at Lough Eske Castle hits a really lovely balance between the two and for me, that really ticks all the boxes and is quite hard to find actually.

Lough Eske dinner

In all honesty, we didn’t want to leave the next morning! I was last seen grabbing onto the reception desk for dear life, before finally being evicted from the property by security. I am of course joking, but parting with my comfy robe and heated bathroom flooring was an emotional moment. But luckily our adventures didn’t just end there, we took the coastal route back to Belfast airport, catching the famous Giants Causeway before finally boarding our Easyjet for the flight home. Yes it was a whirlwind tour, but one I will truly treasure. And as for Lough Eske Castle, well, if you are looking for a 5 star service without a 5 star attitude, this is most definitely the destination wedding venue for you.


Built in the 17th Century and steeped in Gaelic history, Lough Eske Castle is licensed to hold civil marriage ceremonies and operates a one wedding per day policy which I love. Nobody would want to share such a space on their special day! The venue can cater for up to 280 guests, with food prepared by Donegal’s award-winning and Michelin trained chef, Philipp Henkes. There are a range of packages you can choose from, or tailor make your own. You can even do a castle take-over and exclusively hire the entire venue for your celebration… including the spa! For more on weddings at Lough Eske Castle just click here to visit the relevant pages on their website. Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed.

Mary & Darragh

5 star service without the 5 star attitude GUARANTEED

Lough Eske dinner

First wedding couple at Dismaland

First Dismaland wedding couple

Introducing the first wedding couple at Dismaland…

In all fairness you really couldn’t make this up! I was en route to a family soiree in Devon, but annoyingly the dramatic weather conditions in the West Country put stop to that, so in traditional Somerset fashion, we re-grouped for an epic Sunday lunch spread to re-stratagise the days activities and when you are from Weston-super-Mare, there really is only one option right now… Dismaland!

George Watts family
With the family en route to #Dismaland

Now in my business, a wedding fairy is never off duty. I have met some of my best clients in the most random of circumstances (I shall park that one for another blog post!!), but even by my standards this one was pretty out there! At first I thought Si & Rachelle Christie-Irwin were actors employed to add a little sparkle to proceedings at Banksy’s fairy-tale castle, but as my brother-in-law got chatting, suddenly all became clear – this was the real deal. Dismaland’s first official wedding couple had landed at the bemusement park! This was ridiculous and clearly a fatalistic moment. Ultimately I was mildly hysterical and riddled with excitement (as per pic below), but luckily Rachelle recognised me from an interview I did in ‘You & Your Wedding’ magazine last month, and thus they didn’t hail for security in fear of their lives!

The Wedding Fairy with Si and Rachelle Christie-Irwin
Poor Si just wanted to eat his pizza in peace… Rachelle and I on the other hand had other plans!!

Si and Rachelle married last week in Newcastle in what they described as a ‘wedding in the woods’… sounds mysterious and rather fabulous doesn’t it? And the theme? Till death do us party. My kind of people! Time to order a pint and really get the party started :-) The venue of choice was actually Sweet Hope Lough – a gorgeous lakeside setting in Northumberland. Originally the couple had opted for a festival themed ‘I-do’ at Glastonbury, but Rachelle didn’t turn up, so Si proposed again 5 years later whilst a band banged out ‘I touch myself’… the rest as they say is history. Falling slightly in love with this fabulous duo at this point fyi.

Dismaland wedding couple

‘So where was the honeymoon going to be’ I asked? ‘Cancelled’ the couple replied. ‘Why’ I asked? ‘To be here of course’ replied Rachelle and Si in harmonious union. Yes their three week getaway to Cuba had been cancelled to be at #Dismaland instead. And they have no idea of how, if, or when they will get any money back or an alternative date set. Bonkers I know – and that’s exactly why I love them! Yes, clearly it might be an understatement to call them #Banksy superfans, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity after all to visit the Worlds most exciting contemporary art exhibition… Cuba can happen anytime right?

George Wedding Fairy Rochelle Wedding Dress Protection
Rachelle protects her wedding dress from the elements!

So what were our couple looking forward to seeing the most? The Dismaland castle of course! Si told me Dismaland was like being at their wedding day anyway, so for them, they got to re-live their nuptials all over again for the bargain price of £3 a ticket! What a steal… and they even got a wedding fairy thrown in for free too!! :-)

For details on visiting Banksy’s mind-blowing ‘Dismaland’ just click here!

Outside the Dismaland castle

Any yes, the Worlds most exciting bemusement park was pretty fabulous too!
Thank you to Jason Smith my brother-in-law for picture contributions :-)

Wedding dress styles through the decades

The Wedding Fairy - A Change of a Dress image

Wedding dress styles through the decades… The Change of a dress

When planning a wedding, everything from the venue to the guests can be extremely overwhelming. Not knowing where to begin can sometimes be the most daunting part. One of the most important things to consider, for most brides of course will be ‘the dress’.

We’ve seen some truly iconic wedding dresses throughout the years. From Grace Kelly’s sweetheart neckline and lace detailing of the 1950’s, to the modern day detailed embellishment – as seen on The Duchess of Cambridge. The dress you choose will reflect your style and personality, but most importantly should be something you feel completely comfortable in – especially if wearing all day. You should consider what design will best fit your shape, but don’t stifle your creativity right at the beginning of this process, make sure you hit your local bridal stores to play dress up and see what you fall in love with. Quite often, the dress you really think won’t work for you can be the perfect fit!

If you’re stuck for inspiration, Buyagift have created a great interactive guide on The Change of a Dress. It’s full of fun celebrity facts and trivia, exploring the different styles of dresses that have evolved throughout the years.

Have fun ladies! twf x 

Top 5 wedding planning tips

Top five wedding planning tips

Top 5 wedding planning tips!
The most important things you need to know when plan a wedding

Once the question has been popped and you start getting down to the wedding day detail, it certainly can feel a little daunting at first, but fear not, your wedding fairy is here with a rundown on all the fundamentals needed, to get you going on your big day prep – hassle free…

Here’s my top five quick-fix wedding planning tips…

Money talks!
How much cash have you got to splash?! Calculate a running total and break down the costs for each element of your big day. Take out 10% of your overall budget to act as an emergency fund for any costs that may crop up along the way or, to top-up cash allocation for specific elements such as the cake and flowers.

Big Day Bible
An essential bit of kit for any wedding planner to be, The Big Day Bible is your personalised a-z checklist of what to do and when. From securing the venue to selecting the dress, a concise countdown of jobs-to-do, is a total must-have piece of kit for anyone planning a big day celebration. Investing time in this plan right from the off, guarantees to ease your overall journey to the aisle of love, whilst at the same time ensuring you have everything effectively in place ready for the wedding itself – without stress levels reaching boiling point. Check out – a brilliant online resource for managing your big day effectively.

Get in the mood – for romance…
Every wedding needs a clear style or theme to bind the celebration together and knowing where to start can be a challenging task. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but the best approach is to start with a blank canvas, so you can build a unique picture of your celebration organically. Do not stifle your creativity with too many set ideas right from the beginning, start with an open mind and see what evolves. The true genius of a person is often bubbling subconsciously… here’s what to do:

Spend an afternoon grabbing a ton of wedding, food, home design and celebrity magazines highlighting your favourite dresses, interiors, menus and hairstyles. Rip out the pages you love and pop on a big board to create a montage of imagery. This we know in the business as a mood board, which you can then use to identify your favourite themes, styles and colour-ways to slowly build an overall concept for the wedding. This mood board is also really handy for taking to supplier sessions – especially the cake maker and florist, to inspire and steer their creativity.

And for those who prefer a more modern approach, remember is now one of the world’s number one online sites to pick up inspirational wedding ideas. Build yourself a digital board via an Ipad or similar device and use this to take along to supplier sessions. Many of the National wedding magazines also have Pinterest boards now, so it’s definitely a great place to start getting those creative juices flowing!

For many brides-to-be this is where the pressure really kicks in – unearthing the one! And I am not talking about your man! The hunt for a dream dress can often be a stressful affair and knowing where to start can be just as bad. Heading straight to your local bridal store can sometimes be a bit of a gamble and often means you settle without fully investigating all options. So, before commencing all that legwork, why not start on the sofa and check out my four fabulous online finds to get an idea of what might work for you. Yes, these little nuggets of gorgeousness are buzzing with bridal fashion, direct from the coolest catwalks on the planet and offer a stunning array of glitzy artisan accessories that you just won’t find on any standard high street. We are talking A-list here people, but not necessarily with the A-list price tag! These little black books of fashion heaven are teaming with originality and are updated hourly to ensure you are kept abreast of what’s hot and happening – literally as it happens!  Here’s my official run-down Ladies:  – I just adore this site for sourcing super sassy accessories and discovering new designers most of us would never hear of otherwise! – From Vera Wang to Valentino, if it’s on the catwalk it’s in wedding-gown-town! I love this blog for identifying new trends and pointing out upcoming styles for the season ahead.  – A joyous homage to bridal fashion, with Bride Chic we also get some really fantastic out-of-the-box ideas and distinct styling themes – ideal if you are looking for a strong non-traditional big day look.  – And finally with Lovely Bride we uncover some edgy classics alongside a wonderful mix of real life weddings – perfect for seeing how a dress truly comes to life on the day itself.

The Venue

Whether you are looking for city chic or a rural retreat, there really is something for everyone. I always advise every couple I meet to choose a space with character that represents their unique relationship and personalities. Now for some, this can be quite extreme.  Getting hitched down a coal mine or on the wings of an aeroplane is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly is unique! For most of us though, the day itself is about cementing a union between two people and the venue of choice should represent that union. Wow, I am getting quite teary already!

Ok, so where do we start? Well, generally the geographical location is the best place to begin. Once this has been decided you can work with the venues located in that area. Even if you have an ideal place in mind, I always advise to view at least 5 other spaces to spark ideas and inspire you both.  The amount of people that have a venue in mind and then choose another is incredible so make sure you don’t limit the possibilities.

During the first viewing make sure you go as a couple to ‘feel the space’ and probe the wedding co-ordinator for all the info you require including: menu options, wedding packages available and on-site accommodation. Try to get a real feel, as to how the day itself will unfold. Make a list of questions beforehand and do not be afraid to ask. It is their job to make your day a reality. If you are concerned about the costs involved, tell them and see what they can offer. Summer bbq’s or sharing foods, such as home-made pizzas with all the relevant accompaniments, are all the rage at the moment and can often be much lighter on the budget than a traditional evening buffet. A great coordinator generally has a solution, but of course you must be realistic!

Selecting a wedding venue is a bit like buying a house for the day. Make sure you ask lots of questions and trust your gut feeling. Sometimes if it just feels right then that is the venue for you! And if you are not sure, book a menu tasting session in the restaurant. Some venues offer this as a complementary service once booked, but don’t take it as red – some don’t. And if you want/need input from others or need some re-assurance then feel free to take key family members or friends on the second visit.

And finally, once the decision has been made, make sure you put some thought into the actual day itself. Don’t just let the wedding coordinator put together a generic day for you. Ensure you add those personal little touches and have some fun! Maybe you want to create your very own ‘wedding breakfast cocktail’ or invent a pudding in honour of your new surname! Whatever you do, remember my three p’s ‘personalise, personalise and personalise some more’ oh and enjoy every second!


Proposal Expert

Wedding Planning Book

For more ideas, tips, inspiration and a complete rundown on planning a wedding, check out my wedding planning book -

Awkward wedding day dilemmas answered

Wedding day dilemmas

Awkward wedding day dilemmas answered

A wedding would not be a wedding without a few dilemmas to solve along the way and let’s face it, a few challenging situations here and there keeps us on our toes. As Ronan says, ‘life is a rollercoaster’. Never has a finer word been spoken. But anyhow, fear not. All those pesky questions lurking in the back of your head are answered right here, right now! Yes, here’s a rundown on the most popular big day dilemmas I get asked to answer…

How can I stop my interfering Mother in Law?

Give her a job to keep her occupied! The cake is always a good one or even elements of the venue decoration. If you are going for a summer fete or vintage theme, get the M-I-L on bunting production! In all seriousness though, it sounds like she is just keen to get involved, so give her a big task to focus on.

My parents are divorced and do not get on. I don’t want to sit them together on the top table, any advice?
Opt for a more relaxed setting instead of the formal layout. Maybe sit with all your best friends and then spread family members across the venue, so you don’t have to worry about any awkwardness. Setting the space with round tables and positioning yourselves centrally would work really well.

Is it ok to invite guests to the wedding ceremony and not the wedding breakfast? We can’t really afford to pay for everyone during the day, but would invite back in the evening.
I don’t think so. It’s important to remember that the average full-on wedding guest invests around £500 in attending a wedding, when you consider the hen party, gift, outfit, travel and accommodation. The list is endless! Instead of having both a traditional wedding breakfast and evening celebration, why not consider a later ceremony and opt for a more relaxed buffet style early-evening reception. This option would be much lighter on the budget and means everyone can attend.

We don’t need anything for our home and want to ask guests to contribute to our honeymoon. We don’t like the idea of just listing our bank details in our invites, or asking for cash on the day, feels a bit cheap. Any ideas?
Thankfully there are now many tasteful options available such as the traditional Royal Mail styled red post boxes, that you can install at your venue and then invite guests to post their prezzies to you. Many travel companies also offer gifting solutions, whereby everyone can purchase experiences for you to enjoy whilst honeymooning, from cocktails on the beach, to a day exploring a desert island. And there are also some really great ‘honeymoon cash gift registry’s’ you can sign up to online and invite guests to contribute that way. I agree, the idea of listing your bank account details on the invite feels a little tacky! Why not go for one, or a mix of these solutions and then breakdown the options to your guests in the invite.

Wedding day worries

Is it reasonable to ask my bridesmaids to pay for their bridesmaid dresses, shoes, jewellery, plus hair and make-up? Do I need to buy them a thank you present?
Personally I would always allocate a budget for the fundamental elements (such as the bridesmaids dresses) and a thank you gift is an absolute must! Again, this is all really down to personal circumstance. If the budget is limited, be upfront right from the beginning about what you can/cannot cover, so that each individual can make an informed choice as to whether they can afford to take on the role or not. In my experience people are always happy to support financially if you are clear from the beginning and give them plenty of notice to save!

Is it ok to not offer a free bar?
The simple answer is yes. Most guests do not expect a free bar nowadays and you definitely do not have to be embarrassed about not having one. It’s very well documented how expensive it can be to host a wedding and very few guests would expect drinks to flow for free all night. I also think it can be a dangerous move to offer an open tab at the bar, as I can guarantee, you will always have a few guests that get carried away and take it too far. And let’s face it, your cousin Mike chucking up all over the back of your dress on the dance floor and picking a fight with some bloke trying to chat up his missus is never going to be a good look for the wedding video. A pre-reception welcome drink is desirable to set the tone for your celebrations and some wine for the table is also preferred, but a free-for-all is definitely not necessary.

Just say no to kids!
This is probably the biggest dilemma of them all. How to get around telling people that you want a child friendly wedding. And why not I hear you cry, it is your celebration after all and you should be able to party the way you want to. Now for some, a wedding really is not a wedding without the little ones sparkling on the big day, but for others, the idea of a troop of kids rampaging through the ceremony and reception is just a total nightmare. So what’s the solution then? Well, for me, the easy option is to be honest and upfront about your predicament right from the beginning. You can even twist a little, with a bout of reverse psychology, to make the guest feel included in the decision, by making it all about them! Obviously, you were thinking it would be fun for them to have a child-free day, to enjoy a few drinks and let their hair down without the worry of child care duties right? If you give guests enough notice and explain you want the day to be a distinctly adult affair, well, only a bad friend would go up against you. And I have had situations where couples have felt they want to invite direct family, ie little nieces and nephews, and that is fine. In fact, in some ways it can make things a little easier. Simply advise that you are having direct family members as bridesmaids/page boys and no others. I would not go down the road of numbers for the seating plan being stretched, or budget restraints being a problem, as people can get a little offended by that. Remember it is their child, so be sensitive to the situation! 

Do you have a question or big day dilemma that needs answering? Ask The Wedding Fairy by clicking here!

V&A Wedding Dresses Exhibition 2014

V & A Wedding Dresses Exhibition 2014

For the love of bridal

At last the wait is over! All hail the V&A for giving us this opportunity to celebrate and pay homage to the incredible World that is Bridal fashion. And what a wait it has been. All too often the wedding dress is overlooked by the fashionista elite, or considered a lesser form, to say seasonal high fashion collections being paraded on the catwalk. This lack of respect for the wedding dress has always been a real bugbear of mine, as I have always considered it one of the most exciting and creative arenas of the Fashion World. So, you can imagine my delight at being asked to attend the V&A Wedding Dresses Preview. #IWasHysterical – perhaps I am exaggerating a little here, but I was definitely excited and let me tell you, it certainly did not disappoint!

Wedding Dresses 1775-2014

The exhibition traces the development and evolution of the white wedding dress from 1775 to 2014 and includes contributions from the World’s greatest designers such as: Christian Lacroix, Stefano Pilati for Yves Saint Laurent and the ultimate name in Bridal Couture – Vera Wang. But for me, the real stars were The best of British. I know us Brits can often be a little shy about blowing our own trumpets as they say, but we really do have some of the best bridal fashion houses in the World and this show proves it. Ian Stuart, Alice Temperley, Jenny Packham, Vivienne Westwood and superstar milliner Philip Treacy feature in all their glory. In fact British Designer Norman Hartnell, shines pretty early on, with this full-on show-stopper of a dress below, designed in London for the Duchess of Argyll back in 1933.

 Wedding Dresses Victoria & Albert Museum

Other stand-out features for me include this moment in history for TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Who could forget that divine head-dress designed by Philip Treacy and silk coat by Anna Valentine.


This gorgeous gown produced by DIOR for Gwen Stefani was also simply delicious. J-adore!


But for me, the No1 star of the show was…

Kate Moss Wedding Dress at V&A Wedding Dresses 2014

John Galliano’s insanely spectacular couture wedding dress for Kate Moss. Honestly, the pictures do not do it justice. I was utterly captivated and is without doubt, one of the most beautiful gowns I have ever seen. It’s up there with Sarah Burton’s wedding dress for the Duchess of Cambridge. It’s actually worth attending the show just to see the awe-inspiring attention to detail that went in to producing this dress. The near 200,000 sequins alone must have been exhausting and that’s before we even start to think about the diamonté and lace detail!

The V&A Wedding Dresses Exhibition 1775-2014 runs from 3rd May 2014 to 15 March 2015. Tickets for Adults are priced at £12 and you can find out all the detail by clicking here

Imagery copyright of The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Ascot Wedding Show

The Ascot Wedding Show Catwalk
The Ascot Wedding Show…Presented by Archant Bride Magazine

I recently attended and had an absolute ball at the very first Archant Bride Wedding Show at Ascot racecourse and what a show it was. The setting is of course iconic and made a perfect backdrop for the days super-glam action to unfold… the cakes, flowers and dresses were all totally stunning and bang-on trend as you would expect from a very carefully edited show, but for me, the real show-stopper was the catwalk. Not only were the dresses to die for, but the cast – especially the guys (guaranteed not to disappoint ladies), were super charged and could have kept me entertained for hours. And trust me, I sit through a lot of catwalk shows and most of the time it’s difficult to keep your eyes open twenty minutes in!

As I predicted earlier in the year, the general trends coming through for next season are what I can only describe as a sort of pimped up Downton Abbey vibe… timeless glamour with a contemporary twist. Here’s are a few of my favourite finds at the show…

Wedding cake


What a cake! Just when I thought I had seen it all, this dreamy delight came along and knocked me sideways. Yes this stunning installation of the sweet treat variety totally blew me away and stood out as something truly different in the World of the three tier. The incredible structure of this cake has really captured my imagination and got me thinking about how a wedding cake can often act as an inspiration point for theming an entire wedding. Visit Ultimate Cake Art for more detail.

Wedding Photographer Surrey


I actually met Colin a while back and again, was really taken by his photography and particularly loved this scene captured outside the church. Just goes to show how a pro can take a moment and turn it into something you can treasure for a lifetime. For more imagery visit Colin Mason Online

Wedding Taxi Hire


Oh and I just loved this set of wheels rocking it on the day itself too… what is it about a London cab?! And in white, it really is perfect for a romantic arrival your guests will never forget!

Rhubarb wedding catering


Listen, I was indulging in these heavenly treats all afternoon, it would be rude to not mention how incredible they are!



Talking of vintage styling, with a touch of glitz, also check out the offerings by Perfect Day Weddings… I am all over this bejeweled look right now.

 And that little lot is just for starters! If like me, you are keen to see more, simply check out the website for details and information on the next wedding show taking place near you. Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed.

Wedding Fairy SOS!

Introducing The Wedding Fairy’s new column in British Mode Magazine…

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