Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Good News

After a couple of emotional weeks, I'm glad to report that my Dad has pulled through his ordeal and is now back home. Still poorly and he will probably never be the same man again, However, he is still here and making progress all the time.
I truly believe that the world is full of good people and that the not so nice ones are a tiny proportion of the population. This last few weeks have proved this theory correct. I have had so many messages from people sending my Dad good wishes that they have made the last few weeks a little bit easier to cope with.  Thank you to all of you who sent me emails and tweets. I am genuinely touched by your kind words. x

I'm hoping to get back to normal over the next week or so and start bringing you some more inspiration for your weddings and events and will be sharing some of the details of an upcoming ball I have been working on with the Calvert Trust.
Watch this space.

Monday, 25 July 2011


There will be no posting for a while as my Dad is on Life Support in Intensive Care after falling ill on holiday.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Tikki -Tastic

It seems like a lifetime ago that I last wrote a blog post! When you are self employed there are never enough hours in the day for you to get through all of the things that you'd like too!!
I have had a hectic couple of weeks dealing with some events and enquiries from potential customers. The latest event was an end of term party for a School. The theme was Hawaiian Luau and I have to say that it all went off fabulously well.

The Headmistress had kept everything a secret so no one knew what to expect. All of the doors were blacked out whilst we were setting up so the whole evening was clouded in secrecy so as to create a buzz of excitement. All of the pupils turned up in Hawaiian dress (grass skirts, leis, etc) and all were amazed when they entered the school hall which had been completely bare a few hours beforehand.

The ceiling had been draped in lots of tropically coloured lanterns that contained tealights (battery operated ones of course) the doors were strung with coloured flower curtains and the walls were transformed to look like the inside of a tikki hut on one side and a beach scene on the other. The focal point was the Tikki bar that had been specially constructed by a local joinery company which had been strung with lanterns and fairy lights. All of the pupils were served "mock" tails with garnishes and umbrellas by the teaching staff and there were gammes and dancing galore.

Candy Handfuls boutique bakery created a fantastic centrepiece cake of a tropical island, cupcakes and fabulous Tikki Head biscuits that all of the children were given to take home at the end of the evening. A BBQ was provided by Jacksons Catering which went down exceptionally well with the pupils and the teaching staff.

A tikki King & Queen were crowned and at the end of the proceedings all of the pupils took part in releasing balloons that had been tied with wishes for their future.

It was a truly fabulous evening and everyone had a great time. I will post some pictures of the interior asap, I'm just trying to get hold of some that don't contain images of the children. In the meantime here are a couple of pictures of the cakes provided by the Gorgeous Helen at Candy Handfuls ......
Island Cake by Candy Handfuls

Tikki head biscuits by Candy Handfuls
not only did they look brilliant but they tasted divine too. watch this space for more pics soon. x

Monday, 11 July 2011

Sew Nice

I know that everyone is watching the pennies these days and many brides are keen to look for ways to save money without sacrificing on style. There are numerous ways to save cash from choosing a small wedding, though to getting stuck in and making lots of your wedding elements  yourself. This can be anything from having a go at making your own invitations through to sewing your own dress! Now granted that making your own wedding dress isn't for the fainthearted and you need some sewing skills to begin with. But isn't beyond the skills of the most basisc sewer. There are lots of pattens available out there and if you feel that you need some tuition before you atempt anything fancy, there are lots of local and national courses that you can sign up to, where you will be able to acquire some nifty sewing skills.




And even if you feel that you're not up to attempting to make your own dress, you just may feel able to have a try at making your own viel or bridesmaids dresess ...

....or you could even attempt to make tablecloths etc for your reception. The choice is limitless. Whatever your skill level, have a go you'll be amazed at the results you can get with just a few lessons and a bit of practice.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Wedding Ideas Wednesday

Image from the cotton bunting co

There are a few things that I absolutely love. Weddings of course is one of my obsessions along with chocolate which goes without saying!! However, I must admit that I have a passion for... bunting! yes you heard me right, bunting. Those little triangular pieces of fabric all strung together on a piece of ribbon or tape. I love it. Just the sight of those little pennants of ditsy prints flapping about in the breeze or strung across a room makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  
Whatever the occassion, a few well placed strings of little flags will cheer up the most drab interior. It's a really cheap and easy way to transform the look of any room or party, whatever the occasion. You can buy it in just about any colour combination and some companies such as the cotton bunting company even do a wedding range. Bliss! Some may say that it's quite a sad obsession? But what the heck, I'm not harming anyone.

There are lots of places where you can buy bunting, some of it off the peg, some of it bespoke and some you can even make yourself. It isn't hard to do if you have a few spare hours. However, if you are short of time why not opt for some ready made bunting. If you don't want to buy it you can hire it for your special event. The Big Beautiful Bunting Co have some of the most gorgeous designs that you can hire.  Below are just a few of my favourites. Enjoy

English Country bunting from the cotton bunting co

floral cottage garden from the cotton bunting co

English Country bunting from the cotton bunting co
Carnival from Beautiful Bunting

Cath Kidston from Beautiful Bunting

Rosalie white from Beautiful Bunting

Gypsy charm from the big beautiful bunting co

mad hatters tea party from the big beautiful bunting co

vintage tea party from the big beautiful bunting co

Pastel florals & spots from bunting queen

Wedding bunting from Little-Bundles

Trish x

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tuesday Etsy Finds

I love browsing Etsy for unique an unusual items. I can guarantee that there will always be something that catches my eye and my credit card comes out!

If you're looking for stylish neckwear for you or your bridesmaids you should check out this gorgeous number from JLRY Designs.
 And if it's something gorgeous and unusual you want to decorate your wedding reception with check out the vintage paper flowers from LBC

Pop on over and have a browse through. If you're anything like me you will spend hours drooling over the gorgeous things on offer. Enjoy.

Trish X

Monday, 27 June 2011

Monday Inspiration

Whether your planning to decorate a room or planning your wedding,  mood boards are a creative tool that allow you to focus your ideas in one place and develop and share the visual direction. 

When planning any event it helps to have a refrence that you can keep coming back to, to make sure that you are on the right track. Lots of event planners create "mood" boards so that potential clients get an idea of what their event could look like.
There are thousands of beautiful  images out there on the internet. There's no need to feel guilty about being influenced by others or by the things you see in the internet or in  magazines. The truth is everything is constantly evolving and everything is inspired by something else. Your mood board is a starting point for your design process and will be used as inspiration rather than following and recreating a particular look
There are basically two ways to make your mood board. The first is using either poster board or something similar, and decorating it with photos, glossy magazine cut-outs, etc. that you cut and literally paste onto the board.The second is using digital software or a similar program to cut and paste photos, phrases, etc. into a digital collage. Personally I use the digital method first and then create a actual board with images and fabrics so that my clients have a point of refrence thoughout the process.

Anyone can make a mood board you don't need to be an artist or a designer. simply start by collecting images that appeal to you (you will start to notice a pattern) and then arrange them till they please you. Easy peasy.

Style me pretty have a brilliant online tool where you can start creating digital boards for your wedding. What are you waiting for... have a go yourself
Here are a couple of the gorgeous boards created at stylemepretty.com

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Beautiful Bouquets

A beautiful Bridal Bouquet is almost as important as The Dress. All eyes will be upon it as you gracefully waltz down that aisle in all your finery. The choices nowadays are endless, no longer do you have to settle for a standard bouquet of roses, the world is quite literally your oyster.
Many brides look for something beautiful and unusual to carry with them. The recent trend for heirloom bouquets is still huge and many stunning creations can be found at the brilliant Tiny Gems.
However for those brides that are looking for something out of the ordinary I have come across these stunning examples....

Though they may not be to everyones taste, they are brilliant examples of how to think outside the box when deciding on what to include in your bridal bouquet. The stunning succulents bouquet would be great for a Mexican Hacienda themed wedding and the candy bouquet looks so fun that I don't think I would ever manage to carry it without having a nibble! The Blackberry Bouquet too is a step away from the norm and would look stunning for an Autumn wedding.

personally, I love these stunning button bouquets from The Patchwork Bride at  Misi.co.uk. They're gorgeous.

button bouquet from www.misi.co.uk
Springtime bouquet from the patchwork bride at www.misi.co.uk

sea breeze button bouquet from the patchwork bride at www.misi.co.uk

 Also available is this beautiful wrist corsage.. and it's only £10!
Wrist corsage from www.misi.co.uk

What would be in your fantasy bouquet?
Trish X

PS I don't know where the top photo's came from. If you know get in touch and I will happily add a credit.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Thank You

Well today saw Zumbay Dance Party take to the golden sands of Whitley Bay beach. Lots of people turned out to raise funds for the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal, and enjoy a couple of hours of dancing on the beach in the sunshine .

The weather was good and we finished just before the rain started. Everyone was in good spirits and the band ensured that all those participants were kept on their toes. Many spectators of the event were so engrossed in the music that they too were dancing along to the rhythm.

The event was the brainchild of Ms Carol Alevroyianni who co-ordinated everyone and many thanks must go to all those who purchased tickets for the event, those who donated in the many collecting tins and most importantly to those people who gave their time and services free of charge
  • Aggi, Nikki & Leo for their fantastic instruction and never ending energy
  • Mr Steve Keys who provided the Music and PA System
  • Paul of First Aid North who provided the First Aid Cover
  • Mr Alex Tustin and Worldbeaters  band for the wonderful live music
  • Helen McCookerybook for her illustration for the posters and tickets
  • Mark at the Boardwalk Cafe for the power needed for the event and the printing of the posters and tickets
  • Marcus Jackson of North Tyneside Council for the loan of litterpicking equipment
So many people loved the event and many have asked for a larger event to be organised for next year which I know that Carol is keen to get going. Watch this space for The Great North Zumba 2012!
Once I know the total raised I will let you all know

Thursday, 9 June 2011

.....In other news today..

What a week it has been!

There has been lots of running about for the forthcoming Charity Zumbay Dance Event that is coming up on 19th June. We have had some great press coverage in the Local regional paper today, The Evening Chronicle, but the story doesn't give credit to Carol Alevroyianni, who's idea it was in the first place. Carol first posted the idea on facebook and lots of people volunteered to help and all those who are participating have donated their time and services free of charge.

Evening Chronicle 09.06.11

Its great to get some publicity from the Evening Chronicle. I just hope that we manage to sell some tickets! They are on sale now at The Boardwalk Cafe in Whitley Bay and the Red Cross Shops in Park View Whitley Bay and Nunn Street Newcastle.
If anyone has difficulty in getting hold of a ticket please contact me and I will sort one out for you.
100% of all the cash raised will be going to the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal

I am working with a lovely local business owner on the re-launch of her business which will be coming up in the next few weeks. Kirsty is a local Buisness woman who has been serving the people of South East Northumberland for the last 6 years. Always keen to look for ways to improve customer service and satisfaction she is relaunching some new aspects of her business. Old customers don't have to worry as Kirsty is keen to maintain the same high quality level of customer care that her customers have come to expect. I'll keep you updated on what's coming up in the coming months.

I am also working with the Calvert Trust - Kielder whose aim is to enable people with disabilities, together with their families and friends, to achieve their potential through the challenge of outdoor adventure in the countryside. They do this through providing a wide range of adventurous outdoor activities, meaningful challenge and adventure within a framework of safety, with skilled, qualified and caring staff able to fulfil the needs of visitors. Accommodation provided is appropriate to the needs of the visitors and there are facilities for families and friends to share the enjoyment and experience.

The trust have Calvert Ball each year and this year they have asked if I would be involved. Of course I was delighted to accept and I will be working with the lovely Hazel over the next few months to make sure that the event is spectacular.

For those of you who would like to support this event, tickets are available at a cost of £75.00 each or you can purchase a table at £750.00 and can be purchased from the Calvert Trust Kielder. Contact 01434 250232 or e:mail hazel.munro@calvert-kielder.com.

The end of next month see's the end of the school term and students moving up to new schools. I am so excited about the Luau that we have planned at one of the local schools to celebrate the end of term. As it is the first time in three years that pupils have left the school, the Headmistress was keen to make it a truly special event. None of the children know about the theme and I know that they are going to be surprised and delighted when they come along on the night. We have a BBQ provided by the lovely Matt from Jacksons Catering and speciality cakes and cookies designed by the fantastic Helen from Candy Handfuls Boutique Bakery. I am really looking forward to the event. The teaching staff have put such a lot of extra curricular effort into it and we already planning next years party!

Phew I think that's it for the time being but keep your eyes out for some gorgeous paper flowers etc that I am going to be featuring in the next couple of weeks. These flowers can be used as place setting decorations floral displays, corsages.. in fact just wait and see you will be amazed.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Zumbay Dance

As I mentioned in my last post, I am helping to organise a Charity Event to raise funds for the victims of the Japan Tsunami. The event is the brainchild of Carol Alevroyianni who wanted to do something to help the victims of the disaster after watching the horrifying live webcasts shown as the tsunami hit Japan. 

ZUMBAY will feature Worldbeaters, the Latin band who led the opening carnival parade for the Vamos festival last weekend, and the dancing will be led by ZIN qualified Agnieszka Davidson and Nikki Fothergill will run a half hour warm up for participants with DJ Steve Keys.

Tickets for the event are available from the Boardwalk Cafe in Whitley Bay and the Red Cross shops in Park View Whitley Bay and Nunn Street Newcastle. 

Although Fathers Day I am hoping that lots of people will come along to the event and have some fun, dancing and listening to worldclass music.

Illustration donated by Helen McCookerybook

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Charity Event

Hello everyone. I'm sorry there's been no posting for the best part of a week. I am been poorly and I have had so much stuff to catch up on that there simply hasn't been enough time. However, I am feeling much better and am looking forward to sharing some inspirational tips and advice with you as well as details of some upcoming events that you can be part of.

I will be posting details of Zumba style dance event that is taking place on 19th June in Whitley Bay. Tickets will be available to purchasde for £5.00 each with all profits going to the British Red Cross to help victims of the Japan Tsunami. Live music will be performed from the brilliant Worldbeaters  and you can get fit while you give.

I will post further details soon and let you know when the tickets go on sale.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Wow what a hectic week its been! I have been busy working on the upcominmg year end party for a local school as well as meeting with a number of clients who are planning weddings for early next year. As well as that I am going to be launching two new websites over the coming weeks which is really exciting. There aren't enough hours in the day at the moment!

As I said in my last post I am going to be featuring a number of facts sheets on how to plan your events, which will cover events such as some ideas for themed parties.

Also keep an eye out for a competition where one lucky winner can win a full co-ordination package .. but more details of that later ( I know I'm teasing, but I need to get the legalities rubber stamped first). Keep an eye out for how you can enter this fab competition and have your dream wedding planned to perfection soon.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Fact Sheets

I have been working on a range of fact sheets that will address some of the common questions I am asked when planning weddings, but they are transferable to any type of event. How to choose photographers, cakes, venue etc and how to plan your budget are just some of the topics covered, though if you have any specific requests I can draw up some facts sheets on a particular area that your interested in or need help with. You can either leave a comment in the box below, tweet me or call me on the number at the side of the page.

I am hoping to have them here and on my website in PDF format so that you can download what you need as and when.

Hopefully I will be able to have some of the PDF's embedded sometime next week. In the meantime, although it isn't a PDF here is an earlier "How to" from last month.If you want it in PDF you can e:mail me and I'll send it to you.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Charity Event

Just a quick update today as it's getting late and I am exhausted.

I am working on a couple of projects at the moment one of which is a Charity Event to raise money for the victims of the Japanese Tsunami. It's a Zumba Dance Party that is taking place next month in Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear. Tickets will be available soon and will cost £5.00 each.
I will post full details here soon once we have sorted the final details.

I'm also going to be making a few changes to this blog so keep an eye out for that too.

See ya later

Friday, 13 May 2011

Friday 13th

I don't think of myself as a superstitious person. I am happy to walk under ladders, I own a jet black cat, and I am the one person who is always happy to throw away those silly chain letters that you get. So why do I insist on putting the same lottery numbers on every week? Statistically I have the same chance of winning with any numbers that I choose. But every week I make sure that my poor Husband puts on the same numbers that I have had for years.

On the odd occasion that he has forgotten you would think I had just lost a fortune. "I bet my numbers come up tonight and I don't have a ticket and it'll be your fault" I wail (Well not wail but you know what I mean) I imagine all sorts of scenarios where I have the only winning ticket, that I have won the jackpot... if only he had remembered to buy my ticket( This has obviously never happened) So you would think that this alone would be enough to convince me that I don't have to put the same numbers on every week, that I don't have to buy a ticket because the statistics of winning are so unbelievably low...

But no. I still insist on putting on those blasted numbers. Off I trot to the newsagent religiously hoping that this will be the week that my numbers will come up.

I think I am a relatively intelligent person so why can't I stop buying a lottery ticket and save my cash so that I can buy something nice instead of throwing it away on a slip of paper with a few numbers written on it. I wish I could break this habit, that someone would release me from my lottery OCD Hell.

So today Friday 13th I am off to buy that winning ticket with the same numbers in the vain hope that this time tomorrow I'll be a millionaire. Fingers crossed.. It could be me!


Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Finally, I think I have my technology gremlins sorted!(keeping fingers crossed that I haven't spoken too soon)
This past week I have been super busy with a couple of events that are happening in the next couple of months. First one being a charity event to raise money for the Japanese Tsunami appeal and the second one being an end of year leaving party for a local school.

I am really excited about the leaving party as the school are bucking the trend to go for the usual end of year prom that has been so popular in recent years in favour for an event that parents won't feel obliged to shell out hundreds of pounds for.

My eldest Daughter has been to a couple of Proms over the years that quite frankly have cost a fortune. By the time we paid for a dress, shoes and accessories, a hairdresser, nail technician, limo hire etc the final cost has runs into the hundreds of pounds!

I know that most girls like dressing up (including me) and I think organising a leavers prom at the end of high school is a nice idea (when they are at least 16) but recently I have heard tales of leavers proms being organised for the end of every school year! How extravagant, how many parents can afford that once a year?

Anyway, the event that I am organising for a local school is an end of year Leavers Luau. Think of the party at the end of Grease 2 (Without the bad behaviour and motorbikes!)

We will be having  a Luau King and Queen voted for by the children's classmates. Hawaiian barbecue and party games, grass skirts and the whole place is going to be lit by lanterns!(battery powered ones obviously for H&S). I am so excited about it. I have spent hours researching and tracking down companies to supply decorations etc and will be working with some of the children over the coming weeks to make some costumes which is really great.

I love planning all types of events, but especially love the ones where the clients are so hands on and as excited as I am. The Headteacher and the other staff are all really keen to make this event spectacular for the children and have been working so hard for so long on making things perfect, I am in awe of how much work they have put in outside of the school day.

None of the children have any idea of what is planned and I am sure that they will be in awe when they see the finished venue, I can hardly wait to see their expressions!

I am also organising a Eurovision Party this weekend ( I love Eurovision!) and a Party for my Daughter who leaves school this year, (Her school isn't organising any events which i think is a bit mean but there you go, they obviously have their reasons ) So you can imagine that sometimes when it comes to my private life I just want to put on my PJ's and chill in front of the TV as I'm all partied out with work!

I will keep you updated on developments and post some pictures soon. Keep everything crossed that my technology behaves!
Till next time

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Due to a technology failure over the last couple of days I haven't been able to post anything, I am hoping that once everything is resolved I will be able to post properly by the end of the week.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

In Recovery

My name's Trish and I'm an addict! There I've said it, I am addicted to anything wedding related, much to the annoyance of my other half. And I have infected my daughters with my addiction too. They both like nothing better than flicking through the pages of a bridal mag to check out the latest fashions. And we cannot pass by a Church where there is a wedding going on, without stopping for a gander.
(I am the same with houses too I am probably the scary woman you see peering through your window trying to catch a glipse of your new sofa or fab wallpaper!)

So you will understand that yesterday was something of a treat for people like myself. A full day dedicated to a wedding! Now granted it was just the ceremony itself and didn't give us a glimpse of the reception (though I am sure if was FAB-U-LOUS) but for an addict like me and my girls it was a day filled with ooohing and aahhing over every last detail. We watched from the moment the coverage started until the very end (and we have relapsed today with a bit more from all of the papers which we have purchased in armfuls and will keep in pristine condition for my future grandchildren).

Why? I hear you cry. Well because I am a hopeless romantic I suppose. I want to believe that anyone can meet their Prince and live happily ever after (even if the statitics prove that it is highly unlikely)
I want my daughters to believe in marriage, though if they decide not to thats fine, and I want them to find someone that will love them for who they are no matter what. It doesn't have to be a real Prince, just someone kind and loving who will treat them well and put up with their mad mother! I know Prince William is taken, but there's always Harry to Marry!


Friday, 29 April 2011


Well It's finally arrived, The Royal Wedding! Today we will all finally see who and what Kate Middleton will be walking down the aisle in. No doubt it will be talked about for weeks to come and many column inches will be dedicated to it. Some will love it, others won't but does it really matter. This couple look genuinely in love and I hope that they are very happy.
All that remains to say for today is Congratulations your Royal Highness'. X
Image Mario Testino

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Art of Saying No

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been asked by a friend or relative to help them out in times of need. Growing up my Dad, who used to be a Roofer before he retired, was always getting calls to go round and help someone out in times of need which he always gladly did (much to the annoyance of my Mum). He always did the job for the cost of the materials because he liked to help people out and knew what it was like to be strapped for cash.
Maybe because I always saw him do so, it was a natural progression that I do exactly the same myself (much to the annoyance of my other half!) I am quite happy to help out friends and Family where I can and as my Dad did always do the job for the cost of the materials.
Because I can sew, knit, crochet, craft & bake I have always been in demand to create items for people’s homes, babies, parties and events. And to be honest, it was a brilliant creative outlet for me as I had a demanding job in local government where I was stuck behind a desk most of the day. So being asked to use my hands instead of my brain was a welcome break. I always used to joke that my hands got jealous of my brain as they had very little to do (apart from hold a pen and tap a keyboard). I would quite happily work into the early hours of the morning making stuff for other people for the reason that I felt like if the shoe was on the other foot they would do the same for me.
Since starting my own business I am still often asked to help out friends and family, which I do, but some seem to think that because I am self-employed I have all the time in the world to carry out the tasks they have asked me to help them with. They think that because I don’t answer to anyone I can just do things when I feel like it and drop everything when they need me.
Now I don’t want to sound mean and while I don’t mind helping out anyone in their time of need, especially close friends who have always been there for me, I feel it’s a bit unfair of them to expect me to make their curtains, bake their cakes, make their invitations etc.  (delete as appropriate) with very little or no notice.
As I am self-employed I often work into the evening (It’s now 11.30pm! and I have been at it since 9am this morning) because I don’t have a boss I have to do everything from the accounts to the admin and everything in between and I no longer have a regular income to rely on. Now while this was my choice and I love it (I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier) I just haven’t got the same amount of free time anymore to create all those things that I used to when I had a 9-5 desk job. My  so called free time is taken up with trying to earn some money to pay the mortgage (and support my ribbon obsession – I don’t know I just like it) and the constant requests to “bake me a cake, make me a card, make me a dress and now plan my wedding have had to be met with a firm “ I’m sorry I can’t.”
Now some have completely understood and been fine, others (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are) have been upset that I have refused to help and have gone off in a huff.
I am sad that they feel so upset and I’m also upset that they haven’t offered to help me with stuff that I’m struggling with at the moment. Part of me feels that I should do what they’ve asked and part of me feels like I should stand my ground, I’m torn. I hate feeling like this. How do you say no without offending people?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

DIY Diva!

I’ve had a mixed bag kind of a day.
While I have had some lovely comments from people about the film that I posted on you tube yesterday. I have also had one disturbing phone call from a rather angry wedding supplier who feels that I am trying to undermine the value of her and other wedding suppliers by encouraging people to make their own items for their weddings (namely cakes on this occasion).
The conversation started amiable enough with her telling me that she has been a cake maker for over 28 years and that she has made cakes for people from all walks of life, has built her reputation on being honest and providing value for money for her customers etc. (which I am sure she has), but rapidly progressed into a verbal attack on me personally!
I was accused of encouraging couples not to use the services of professional wedding suppliers and by doing so was taking business from legitimate companies. She added that I was also running the risk of ruining the wedding days of lots of couples, by making them believe they could achieve the same results as she could when they had little or no training!
Despite explaining to her that this is not the case and that while I have every respect for her experience and expertise (though not her manners, I have to add) I also respect that everyone has the right to choose (or not as the case may be) to pay someone for their services or try and do as much of it yourself as you feel comfortable with.
There are not many people who have pots of cash to throw around these days and many couples are getting very hands on when planning their weddings, either through choice or necessity. As a planner, I show them where they can make savings and how to do things themselves.
There are some couples who embrace the idea of a bit of DIY and get stuck in. There are also the couples who have no inclination to do anything themselves either because they don’t want to or they don’t have the time to do it. Those couples will still engage the services of professional wedding suppliers and they will chose to save money in other ways. This is their choice not mine.
Whilst I do show them techniques etc., it is they who do all of the actual hands on stuff. I do not earn any money from getting them to make their own invitation, favours, cakes or the likes.  Yes I get my fee that we agree at the initial consultation, but I don’t make any extra cash by encouraging them to bake their own cakes, which is what the caller seemed to believe and was so angry at.
It is a fact that there are, and always will be, people who cannot afford, or prefer not to engage the services of a professional wedding supplier for whatever reasons. I need to point out that those people may not even choose to use my services either.
To her and other suppliers who think that what I am doing is some form of heresy. I make no apologies for showing people how to save some money. Customers have a right to choose where and how they spend their hard earned cash and neither you nor I have the right to tell them that they can’t attempt to create some of the details of their wedding days themselves.
There are areas where I would never encourage people to have a go themselves, if what they wanted to create was complicated or they didn’t have the necessary skills; but generally many people can attempt to make some of the details themselves whatever their skill level, with a bit of guidance and support.
One couple I worked with recently saved £450 by making their own invitations and £300 because the Bride’s Mother made the Wedding cake. They were happy with the end results and they didn’t feel that they had been short changed or that they were settling for second best. They may have just gone ahead and paid a supplier if I hadn’t shown them what to do or made suggestions but… they may not have. The point is it was their choice. If (some) suppliers didn’t charge extortionate fee’s for their services some couples wouldn’t even think of doing a bit of wedding DIY.
During the course of the call, I must admit that there were moments when I felt like yelling back at her. But I’m glad I didn’t. At the end of the day I came out with my dignity intact. People like that never listen anyway!
I’d love to hear your comments on the matter.
Till next time

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lights, Camera, Action Mark II

Well as promised here is the fruits of the filming that I did a few weeks ago with Neil Atkinson. There are a few adjustments to be made for the final cut, but I thought that you may like to see it.

I'm planning to film some more in the future to show more ways of saving costs when planning a wedding.
(By the way the cake only cost £70 to create and the cakes came from Tesco all other supplies were from Dainty Supplies and Design a cake)

I'd love to hear your comments, good or bad below

Monday, 25 April 2011

Chocolate Overload

Well, I hope that you have all had a nice Easter break and that the bunny brought you lots of eggs. I know that our house has had more than it's fair share of chocolate, and we shall probably be eating it for some time to come!

We had our closest family over for Sunday Lunch and it was great to spend some time in each others company, relaxing and chatting, just like millions of other families were doing. Like other celebrations we just love to push the boat out and make a special effort for our guests. My daughters made a cake....

We made personalised eggs for everyone ...
Which even had bunny's bottoms on the reverse!

With name tags and flowers

Everyone loved them and it was a pleasure to see people so happy and enjoying themselves, and ultimately that's what its all about isn't it. Any celebration that you host should be about your guests and their enjoyment.
I am pleased to say that everyone went home smiling... and then I was left to do the washing up! some things never change do they? Well everything is back to normal for a couple of days at least and then we have our Royal Wedding Celebration Party on Friday, so there are lots of preparations underway for that.

I have also seen the first edit of the film that I recently made for my new website so I am really excited about sharing that with you very soon I hope!

Saturday, 23 April 2011


Well Easter is here. I can't believe that the first four months of the year have gone by so quickly. ( I think that must be a sign that I'm getting old!)
I hope that you are all enjoying the long bank holiday weekend and are indulging in eating some scrummy easter eggs. I know I have.
This weekend we are having our closest family over for lunch so there will be ten of us sat around the table on Sunday, eating, drinking and probably laughing way into the night.
Because of the Easter weekend, I am taking a couple of days of days break but I will be posting again from Monday, so watch this space. With less than a week to go before the royal wedding I am getting way too excited! As you know we are having a Royal Wedding get together to celebrate and I thought that I'd let you have a peek at the invitations I made.

Invitation Front Cover


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Hidden Costs

You’ve got the ring, you’ve set a date and have hundreds of ideas for your Wedding; but do you have any idea of how much any of it is going to cost you? With the average UK Wedding costing around £22,500.00 it’s important to know that you are spending your cash wisely. Not many of us have limitless amounts of cash available that will allow us to have everything that we’ve ever dreamed of. So finding ways to make your budget stretch and work harder for you is paramount to saving some of your hard earned cash. I have met many brides who think they have it all worked out but have forgotten to add in the hidden costs associated with a wedding….
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it will give you an idea of what to look out for .


Surprisingly there are still couples who think that getting married in church is free! No. At the moment it costs £299.50 for a Church of England Wedding. This covers the church ceremony, the reading of the banns and your marriage certificate. If you want choristers, an organist or bell ringing then you will have to pay extra for this. Prices vary according to each church so you need to ask your vicar for a quote as soon as possible so you can factor in these costs.

If you want to have a civil ceremony the costs vary depending on where you live. It’s important to note though that the cost will be significantly higher if the registrar attends your chosen venue to conduct the ceremony, rather than marry you at the local register office. Presently the costs for getting married in Northumberland are £25.00 non-refundable booking fee, £33.50 notice of marriage for both parties, £43.00 for registry office marriage including certificate. A total of £135.00
By comparison you will need to add extra fees if you wish the registrar to conduct the ceremony at a licenced venue currently these fees are
£295.00          Mon – Fri
£350.00          Sat
£405.00          Sun
£455.00          Bank Holiday
You will still have to pay the booking fee and the notice of marriage fees so costs will range from £387.00 to £547.00.

Marriage Certificates cost £3.50 each before the wedding day, but that rises to £7.00 after the wedding and can go up to £9.00 once the register had ben archived. So be prepared; work out in advance who will need copies of your marriage certificates (banks, passport office, DVLA etc) and order them before the wedding. It’s not a huge amount of money but if you need a couple of copies each it’s better to be prepared and keep the cash in your pocket.
You may well have found the dress of your dreams within your budget; however, you need to remember that many brides will lose at least a little bit of weight prior to their big day, which often means that their dress will need to be altered. This can add at least £150.00 on top of your dress and can be significantly more if your dress is an intricate design. It’s not just your dress either, remember to cost in any alterations that need to be made to your Grooms outfit too!
Flowers can take up a large part of your budget but you need to remember to ask if there will be a charge for setting up at your church or venue, usually florists will charge a fee based on the distance they have to travel from their workshop to the venue, but you should check beforehand what their fees are. Also if you are having your floral arrangements moved from the church to your reception venue then you need to factor in this additional cost too. Ask your florist of the charges beforehand so that you know how much you have to spend on the actual flowers.
Choosing stationary for your wedding can be exciting. However, if you decide to have a bespoke design this is going to cost you extra. You will have to factor in the cost of the initial design as well as the cost of each item that you are having made. Remember too to ask if envelopes are included, I have heard of some brides to be getting a nasty shock when the prices of the envelopes were added to the bargain invitations! You must also remember to include the cost of the postage when sending out the save the date, invitations and thank you cards, for a wedding with 100 guests this can add another £54.00 if you send them second class, though this can be much more if you have a large or heavy invitations. If you are sending invitations abroad this will also cost you more so sit down and work this out before you chose your designs.
If you have a number of professionals that will be providing services throughout your special day such as photographer, videographer, musicians etc. you need to remember that they will need feeding too! You shouldn’t feel obliged to provide them with the same meal as you are providing your guests with but you should ask your venue to provide a basic meal for them which could be something simple that will cost about half of what you are providing for your guests. This needs to be added to the final bill.
You should also note that if musicians are being filmed as part of the proceedings they are entitled to ask for a higher fee. You need to establish if this is the case before you book them and get it in writing.
You may think that a booze cruise is a way of saving a fortune on your alcohol costs, but many venues will charge you corkage for bringing your own. Check out the venues policy before you book your ferry trip!
Check what services the venue supplies as standard. If you want something different this is going to cost you. Chair covers, linens, crockery & cutlery soon add up. If at all possible try and work with what the venue has to offer otherwise you will need to add these extra costs onto the venue costs.
Venues can cost you an arm and a leg, but you really need to check the small print to see what’s included in the price. I recently had one poor Father of the Bride who was in a state of shock when he realised that the room hire alone was going to cost £4000, he had assumed that as he was paying £125.00 per head for the guests that the room hire would be included in that price. So please do check. You also need to check if there will be a service charge added some venues can charge up to a 12.5% gratuity on top of the costs. It pays to be vigilant when going through your contract and if you are not sure then ask, ask, ask until you are happy with the answer.
Many venues have minimum price per person, so if say the venue holds 80 but you’re only inviting 70 your going to be paying for an extra 10 guests that aren’t there! It pays to choose a venue appropriate for the number of guests to avoid incurring any unnecessary charges.
If you are having a marquee for an outdoors wedding have you remembered to factor in the cost of securing it? Especially important if it is to be erected a day or so before the ceremony and if it’s somewhere other than your backyard! You should also factor in the cost of insuring the marquee against any damage, either to the structure itself or to the generator, fixtures or fittings, cover can cost from £75.00
Remember to add in the cost of lighting for your marquee? It can be quite dark in there even on a summer day!
Check that coat check costs are included especially if you are hiring an outside caterer.
It’s all too easy to forget to budget for things like underwear, jewellery and thank you gifts for all of your Wedding attendants and both sets of parents! You need to work out what you can afford to spend and include this in your budget.
You should also include a contingency budget of roughly 10% of your overall budget just to cover anything that arises unexpectedly (Yes there is always something you had forgotten to add) and if you are terribly good and don’t use it you can have a nice treat after the wedding !


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Tricky Guests

As a planner, one of the questions I am most often asked is how do I deal with a guest who is refusing to play ball and is making my Wedding Day all about them? We've all been there at some point. Wether it's Great Auntie Flo who refuses to attend because second cousin Michael and his new wife are invited or the Bridesmaid who is refusing to wear any of the dresses that you have chosen. Their bickering can suck all the fun out of planning your Wedding Day. But it doesn't have to be the case. I have put together a handy how to for dealing with those difficult guests....


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Technology Failure!

Phew! well I'm back after not posting anything for a week due to having technology problems. It's amazing how we have come to rely on technology for nearly every aspect of our day to day lives isn't it? Just being without a computer or internet access can seriously slow up your everyday routine when you have to rely on the old methods of pen and paper and using the telephone instead of e:mail! Hopefully my problems are sorted and nothing else will happen (I say crossing fingers) and I will be able to keep you up to date with what's happening!

It's made me all too aware though of the importance of backing up information from your computer regularly. Thankfully I have a clickfree hard drive that automatically backs up my computer every couple of hours so when my computer crashed I was able to restore all of my documents onto my shiny new machine.
This has been invaluable, if I had lost all of my personal stuff it would have been horrible, but if I'd lost business information it would have been a catastrophe! can you imagine having to tell some one that you'd lost all of the paperwork relating to their wedding. It doesn't bear thinking about.

If you use a computer you really need to back up your files. Yes you can get a compuer company to try and retrieve your lost data but this will cost you over a hundered pounds. My little device plugs in you set it and that's it. everything else is done automatically so you don't have to remember to back stuff up... it does it all for you. Magic!

My device is a Clickfree and cost me about £100 but there are lots of others on the market.  Be warned, don't back up and run the risk of losing all of your photo's bank statements, music, video's... the list is endless.

Anyway lecture over! I'll be posting some fab ideas soon.. I promise and fingers crossed all technology will behave itself!


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Neighbours... Everybody needs good Neighbours

I want you to indulge me a little... I want to post something today not about Weddings but about my lovely neighbours.

I have been very fortunate in recent years that in the last two properties where we have resided I have had the most wonderful neighbours that anyone could wish for. In fact despite my last neighbours Julie & Michael, moving to Australia some four years ago we are still in touch and I can't imagine Julie not being a part of my life. 

My current neighbours Angie and Keith have always been very good and taken in parcels, kept an eye out for the kids etc, you know the ususal kinds of stuff that neighbours do for one another, but Angie & Keith  went one step further than most neighbours and recently let me take over their home (well their very nice brand new extension and luxury fitted kitchen really) so that I could do some filming. Bearing in mind that my request was sprung on them at the last minute ( due to someone else pulling out ) they were so accomodating. Even allowing me to switch off their Fridge, as it made too much noise while we were filming (and it's a huge American Style fridge freezer that needed to be wheeled out so that we could switch it off!), and keeping their dog out of the way of the cameraman as he is allergic; not once did they complain! (Note you don't realise how noisy everyday items are until you need them to be quiet!)

Of course I have sent a card over and a little gift, but I just wanted to thank them publicly for being the most lovely genuine people and indulging their rather mad and exciteable neighbour. I don't know what I would have done without you. You went far above and beyond the call of neighbourly duty. Thanks, It goes without saying .. I owe you one.

Oh and I forgot to say that Keith also bakes us (and other neighbours) cakes how nice is that?  Lovely cakes too that we all fight over (That's me and the husband and kids, not me and the other neighbours!), not the horrible kind that mad old aunties bake that you chuck in the bin when they've gone home! Really lovely home made cakes that my mouth loves so much but my hips don't like so much.

And... while I'm on at thanking folk who have been helping me out recently I really need to thank my good friend Carol A who is always offering good impartial advice, boosting my confidence and getting out her little black book of contacts. I don't know what I would do without you. I love you even though you are not in the slightest bit excited about the Royal Wedding LOL x

I could go on as ther are lots of people that are always there for me... but I won't (phew I hear you cry, thank God for that)  after all it's not theAcademy Awards! However to all of you and you know who you are DT, KB etc... Thanks and I love ya. x

I am a lucky girl!


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