Our Gift List Picks for 2017

Yayyyy presents! Erm, we mean...that bonus thing that happens when your guests want to generously give you a gift to commemorate your marriage.

Choosing what to put on your gift list is a fun decision, and a lot of it comes down to whether or not you have already set up home together. If you've been living together for years, odds are you have everything you need - so this is an opportunity to get things you want. If you are new to the living situation, you'll be looking for essentials that will last you a long time, and look good.

We really love the gift list service Prezola, for its huge variety and options to add in cash, charity and honeymoon gifts, so we took a look through their catalogue to pick out our faves.

The JimbobArt range of illustrated plates are our actual faves - animals in ridiculous get-ups AND somewhere to rest your sandwich/biscuits/more biscuits.

Plus, for all those lazy weekends in bed just you and your coffees, this gorg so-on-trend coffee pot from Barista & Co

We're loving this Karlsson marble geometric wall clock for your new marital home. Not that you'll be watching the clock at all in your first few months of staring lovingly into each other's eyes...

We're so super into banners right now, hang this one from Old English Company over your bed to remind you to bear hug often. 

These gorgeous sheets from Bluebellgray will turn your bed into a work of art, bright pops of colour to wake you up better than coffee.

We're also loving this pretty pretty soap dispenser from Cosy Living. So no one will tell if you fill it with Sainsbury's own. 

What are you planning to add to your gift list? A mix of weird and wonderful, want and need?

8 Stunning Winter Wedding Bouquets

In the bleak midwinter...the bride and her bouquet were looking fierce.

There are so many great options for the colder months when it comes to your wedding florals, even if that means no florals at all.

Here's what we're loving for this season!

This gorgeous arrangement by Peony N' Pearl is full of dusty pinks, peaches and cool coloured foliage, with David Austin roses, mini white orchids and seasonal fruit. 

This rich and luxurious winter bouquet is brought together with silver eucalyptus ,mentha and velvet grand prix roses contrasted with scabiosa seed pods and elderberries, by the talented Fairleys Bespoke Floristry.

This refreshing bouquet was created by Jennifer Pinder, using thistles, grey foliage and white waxflower with muted purples and dusty pinks. 

BA__marg_0077-600x900.jpg

Who knew cotton would look so cool in a bouquet? Looks so snowy and fluffy, with white roses and earth foliage. Expertly put together by Maison De La Croix

How about just bold, green foliage to cheer up a gloomy month? Such a luscious, wild bouquet of fern and berried foliage. Put together by the incredible Type A Society

This black winter bouquet is seriously chic, using anemones and deep purple orchids, from The Flower Cannon

winter wedding bouquet

Loving this bouquet by Flower Power, with pine branches making it like carrying an awesome little Christmas tree down the aisle. 

winter wedding

A perfect silvery bouquet of artemesia, silver brunia, blue hhistle, rananculus, baby's breath, and stock.

Oh swoon!

Controlling Your Inner-Bridezilla - Stress-Free Planning Tips

Wedding planning might seem like fun when you’re tasting cakes but  most  people find it stressful and overwhelming. It can be a hard slog if you’ve never put together an event before, and why would you if you don’t work in the events industry. If you want to be more of a Bridechilla than a Bridezilla we’ve got four handy tips that will see you through the planning process.

1.       Break up your jobs into manageable chunks. Most couples allow at least a year for planning and yes, your to do list may look long, but if you break it up into the jobs you need to do per month you’ll find the whole thing a little easier to manage.

2.       Set out your priorities. Work out what’s important to you and make that your priority. I know it might seem like everything has an equal weight but it’s your wedding so you get to choose what to focus on.

3.       Do your research. Spend some time looking into suppliers and styles you like to narrow down what you want before you start the booking process. This will help give you a clear vision and avoid the stress of wondering if everything works together later down the line.

4.       Be realistic. Unfortunately planning a wedding is a lesson in compromise, a good way to start a marriage some might say. The compromise that normally takes place is between the vision in your head and the money in your purse. Be practical, think about what you and your guests actually need on the day and then decide on the things that are nice to have. You may think your wedding won’t be the same without them but your guests are more likely to remember going hungry over a perfectly decorated room.

Little Black Book | Wildflower Cakes

December is the time of year for indulgence, right? In that case we're right on track thinking about cake, cake, cake. For today's Little Black Book interview we're chatting to the lovely Arianna from Wildflower Cakes in London. Arianna has provided some amazing bakes for us at recent shoots (which you can see here) and we really wanted her to let us in on her secrets. So over to her!

ARIANNA, HELLO! TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WILDFLOWER CAKES AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED?

Hello! I was brought up doing lots of baking and experimenting in cake decorating with my mum and grandma. I only considered it as a career after I had left university and felt a bit lost. I started reading a lot of decorating and cake blogs and decided to study patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, it was a wonderful experience. I then worked for many high-end cake companies in London before starting my own. I wanted to make sure I was confident in my skills and knew what to do if things went wrong!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF CAKES?

I love flowers and nature, so the focal point of my designs is usually the sugar flowers. I adore modern, simplicity and believe less is more. A cake that has been beautifully executed with flawless icing and delicate sugar flowers is always going to be a show-stopper. I am definitely partial to metallics and usually can't resist adding a bit of gold or silver on there.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEW DESIGNS?

Quite a variety of places, I find Pinterest is a great place to be inspired. I often look at art, textures, patterns, colour palettes and real flowers.

HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH YOUR NEW FLAVOURS, AND DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITES?

I am a massive chocoholic and love anything with chocolate. My recent favourite is a cake I made for my Dad inspired by the "cherry ripe" chocolate bar, which isn't sold in this country but is very popular in Australia where he was born. It had a rich chocolate sponge, a coconut sponge and roasted cherry buttercream. I don't usually get to eat the cakes I make, so this was a proper treat!

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU'RE NOT BAKING?

I enjoy reading classics, Jane Eyre being my favourite. I have a long list that I'm working my way through. I also really enjoy eating out, I used to be a very picky eater and I'm now super adventurous and always try to order something that I have never tried before.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR COUPLES WHO AREN'T REALLY SURE WHAT KIND OF CAKE THEY WANT, HOW DO YOU START, AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION?

I think the best way to start is to book a consultation and bring along a Pinterest/mood board you have put together of the ideas you have for your whole day. The cake maker can then see your personal taste, an idea of colours and the feel you are looking for, to then put together a design.

It's useful for the cake decorator to know how many people you are looking to serve to calculate how many tiers you will need. It is also important to consider where the cake will be displayed in the room, as some are designed to have a front angle and sit well against a wall, while some will sit beautifully in the centre of the room and look good from all angles. The taste is very important, so make sure to try a variety of samples.

ANY TIPS FOR COUPLES WHO WANT THEIR CAKE TO MAKE AN IMPACT ON A BUDGET?

You could consider having faux tiers to boost the height of your cake, which usually comes with a small reduction in price compared to having the whole thing as real cake. Displaying the cake on a high pedestal cake stand will also create more height and impact, most cake makers have these available to rent for the day. It looks beautiful to style the table the cake will be on, even just some candles or flowers surrounding can really add to making the cake a focal point.

Check out more of Arianna's gorgeous cakes on her website and prepare to drool. 

Fictional Follies: Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski

If you grew up in the early 90s like us then you must have spent your Saturday mornings catching up with Zack, Kelly, Screech and the gang at Bayside High in Saved by the Bell. You may even have followed them to the not quite as good College Years and seen Zack and Kelly get married in Vegas in a TV special. 

Can I get a re-wind, time for the Revelry Events Saved by the Bell wedding special...

As a trend setter in her own right and with Lisa as a bridesmaid, who's one of the most fashionable girls in school, you can bet that Kelly will be as on trend as you can get. We're talking off the shoulder cuffs with softly tied bows, an elegant and romantic up to date fashion for Spring 2017 which was so favoured by Kelly in the 90s.

Next up the venue, and for pure nostalgia's sake the reception has to be an all American wedding breakfast of sliders and fries at The Max followed by drinks and dancing in the school gym. 

Photo credit:  Brooke Images

Photo credit: Brooke Images

Drawing on Kelly's cheerleading background you can expect the gym to be made over with tassles, ribbons and streamers with a playlist of early 90s classics.

The Mannequin Challenge may have taken 2016 by storm, but Zack was doing it way back in the 90s with his Time Outs. Giving it a millennial make over, the night would finish with a tableau of the gang together again.

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Venue

Nailing your wedding venue is perhaps one of the trickiest and most time consuming jobs of the whole planning process so while you're looking round trying to find something that fits your personal specifications, don't forget to also consider the list below, it could save you time and money and ensure that your dream wedding vision stays intact. 

1. How much dressing does the venue need?

Dressing a venue is one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding, its an opportunity for you to put your own stamp on your day and create something amazing. But don't be fooled, those beautifully adorned ceremonies and receptions on Pinterest didn't dress themselves and they didn't come cheap. Even if you DIY a lot of stuff the materials are going to come at a price. Do think about how much dressing a venue needs before you book it and put an allowance in your budget for those items or for a wedding stylist to source and style it for you. Shameless plug, we style as well as plan!

2. Does your venue have preferred suppliers?

The venue is likely to be pretty upfront about this and let you know if they have a list of suppliers that you have to use. In most cases this tends to be caterers and sometimes florists and production companies for lighting and sound. Generally suppliers are on these lists because they're good and they've worked at the venue so they know it well, but if you've got your heart set on someone or something specific that isn't on the list the chances are you'll have to pay a fee to get them in and you'll need to factor that into your budget. 

3. What do the chairs look like?

Yes I know this might sound a bit crazy and its probably not your first priority to think about chairs but trust us it makes a difference. You don't have to use the venue's chairs and you don't have to use chair covers. There are loads of great hire companies that offer a wide variety of different chairs that can really make or break the style you're trying to create.

If changing all the chairs is too pricy have a look at swapping out the seat pads. Here's an insider tip, most seat pads are stuck to the chair with velcro so they're easily removable. If you've got a venue with red seat pads that clashes horribly with your carefully thought out colour palette then swap them out for something more neutral like ivory. Obviously check with the venue first, but its a quick job for their staff and they're likely to have somewhere to store both seat pads and unused chairs.

4. Can you have a naked flame?

A lot of the historic buildings don't allow a naked flame, so if your mood board is covered in romantic pictures of candlelit ceremonies and dining you may want to rethink your style or venue. You can of course get battery operated candles which is one way round it if you're in love with the venue and still want to keep the candles.

5. How hot does the room get? Followed by, Can we open windows? And do you have fans?

We know the British summer doesn't have a great reputation but it does have its moments and even when it doesn't if you've got 80+ people in a room all eating, drinking and chatting, it's going to get warm. Be prepared for this and plan accordingly. Check that windows do open and perhaps don't seat people prone to the cold near them so you can have them open throughout. Find out if there are fans available as an additional precaution. They may be too noisy for speeches but they'll keep the air circulating during dinner and in any chill out areas you might have. It might not be something you'd usually have on your venue tick list but its worth considering that weddings can get warm and you might want to have a plan in place.

Little Black Book | PapaKata

It may well be cold and miserable outside but in our line of work, we're already thinking a few seasons ahead to Summer weddings. And that means beautiful weather (fingers crossed), outdoor ceremonies, lawn games and most of all, marquees and tents. We love working in outdoor structures like these because it really is a blank canvas and you can let your imagination run wild around those poles.

Who better to talk to and get the low-down on wedding tents than one of our favourite suppliers, Papakata! Today, we're talking to the lovely Kate Wilson, Event Planner at Papakata.

Credit: John Day Photography

Credit: John Day Photography

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PAPAKATA! HOW DID THE COMPANY COME ABOUT?

PapaKåta was founded in 2006, when looking for a unique venue for their own wedding, Directors Amanda and Richard Monaghan fell in love with the beautiful giant Scandinavian teepees. Fast forward to 2016, we’re now one of the most experienced providers of teepees and the exclusive provider of Sperry sailcloth tents in the UK. Over the past 10 years PapaKåta have delivered over 2,000 events - a portfolio of fabulous and memorable celebrations that we’re hugely proud of. More recently we’ve been working on extending our offering of premium products for the events industry.

WHAT MAKES THE PAPAKATA EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER MARQUEE SERVICES?

Here at PapaKata we take pride in delivering more than just a tent, we create celebrations and in turn help to make those happy memories that last a lifetime. We’re always on hand to help with the planning and happy to answer any questions and requests that our thrown our way, no matter how weird or wonderful!

Credit: Helen Abraham Photography

Credit: Helen Abraham Photography

TIPIS HAVE BEEN TRENDING FOR A GOOD FEW YEARS NOW. HOW DO YOU SEE THE TREND DEVELOPING AND EVOLVING OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Formerly the choice for bohemian weddings and parties, the tipis seem to evolve with the times and the trends...you can do as little, or as much to the tents as you like! When it comes to our in-house styling and accessorising, we take our cues from fashion and interior design. Both feed into the event styling, over the years we’ve seen rustic-luxe, minimalist, old school glamour and more recently geometric and carnival inspired events, to name a few, the sky really is the limit!

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT TENTS AND MARQUEES IS THAT IT'S YOUR VERY OWN BLANK CANVAS SPACE, YOU CAN LITERALLY DO WHATEVER YOU WANT IN THERE. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN WHEN IT COMES TO KITTING OUT YOUR TENT?

We couldn’t agree more! The beauty of the teepees and the Sperry tents is that they can be transformed to create a party space that’s unique to those who are celebrating inside. Our current favourite design is Farmhouse luxe – the focus is on texture and warmth, something that our tents have in the bucket loads. Whatever the style inside, our aim is for magical and unforgettable, that way we’re always on trend!

 

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING, BOUNDARY-PUSHING, AMAZING BUILD YOU'VE WORKED ON TO DATE?

We’ve been so lucky in that we get to travel the country delivering our fabulous tents. We find ourselves in some fabulous locations and love the challenge that comes with it, you rarely hear of us turning down a job! This does however mean our imaginations are pushed to the limit to create ever more memorable events. Ones that stick out in my mind are roof top teepees and swimming pool spanning Sperry tents, to name a few!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE COUPLES LOOKING AT HOLDING AN OUTDOOR WEDDING, PLANNING TO USE A TENT OR MARQUEE?

Planning is key! Take a look at the bigger picture first rather than the details. Once you’ve found your perfect venue, we encourage site visits to check that it really is the venue for you, and the place where your wedding day dreams can be brought to life. The British weather has a lot to answer for, good and bad! It’s important not to fixate on that outdoor drinks reception, but rather to have a contingency plan for all occasions. Also, remember to embrace whatever the elements throw at you. Some of our most memorable events have been made all the more magical by the unexpected - be it rainbows, sunsets and even April snow!

 

Credit: Ed Peers Photography

Credit: Ed Peers Photography

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT ANY EXCITING NEW FEATURES OR IDEAS YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR 2017, WHAT'S IN THE WORKS?

We look forward to sharing our first bespoke scent in the form of a luxury candle. The idea being to embed precious memories through scent, and transport those who’ve partied with us back to their magical PapaKåta event.

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

Credit: Anne Marie King Photography

We’re also always looking to complement our beautiful tents with a collection of furnishings that create the warmth and luxury that has become synonymous with PapaKåta. Watch this space for new and exciting products to accessorise your events in 2017!

Wedding Ideas: Bridesmaids

5 of the Best Bridesmaid Options

Dressing your bridesmaids can be tricky. Chances are they're different shapes, sizes and colouring and you want them all to feel happy on the day and comfortable with what you've chosen. But of course it is your wedding and that often means matching a colour scheme or style. Sometimes finding the right bridesmaid dresses can be more of a mission than finding your wedding dress!

1. Best for different fits : Two Birds Bridesmaid

Lots of designers have cottoned on that wearing the same dress doesn't always work if it doesn't flatter every bridesmaid's shape. Many now offer the option to have the same material and colour but with a different fit. What Two Birds do which is slightly different is offer lots of ways to wrap the straps of same dress so each outfit looks individual. 

Photo credit; Alex Newton

Photo credit; Alex Newton

2. Best for ready to wear: Maids to Measure

A great online service which allows you to select your length, design and colour, and the dresses are delivered to your door. Brilliant for bridal parties who prefer a more no fuss approach and don't want to spend hours at fittings. And remember, you can always get a seamstress on board or even a helpful family member of friend to improve the fit if needed.

Photo credit: Maids to Measure

Photo credit: Maids to Measure

3. Best for high street: Asos

Not everyone has the budget for designer dresses but bridesmaid fashion doesn't have to be pricey. Asos has a great range of options, it's well worth checking them out. Buy up a bunch and get your maids to do a mini fashion show for you to whittle down the favourites and return the rest. Again if further fitting is needed you can find a seamstress to make sure everything fits to perfection and no one can tell it cost you £40 a dress

4. Best for 1950s: Honeypie Boutique

Giving the option between ready to wear and custom made, this boutique offers reasonably priced 1950s style swing dresses in a variety of colours, material and necklines.

5. Best for jumpsuits: House of Ollichon

OK technically these are bridal jumpsuits but that's not to say they couldn't work for your bridesmaids as well. You can also find jumpsuits on the high street at numerous shops, you've just got to grab them up when you see them as they don't hang around for long!

Kay Jumpsuit

Kay Jumpsuit

 

 

How to Find Your Wedding Style

In the age of Pinterest and Instagram, brides and grooms have more options than ever when it comes to wedding day ideas. Visually accosted on the regular with amazing wedding style ideas, new colour palettes and trends. It can be very easy to lose yourself in all the options. We've lost count of the number of brides who come to us and say 'Please help, my Pinterest board is a mess of 1000 different style ideas, I'm going mad from all the choice.'

So how can you wade through all the tulle and the saved pins and find your true wedding day style? How do you find that all important design that makes your wedding day yours?

Where you at?

Have you booked your dream venue already? If not, what kind of places call out to you? Where have you pictured getting married for, like, ever? Barn, ballroom, greenhouse or garden - it doesn't always have to define the design of your day but it can help with setting the tone. Play with a design that either contrasts or complements your venue, but that doesn't clash. 

If you're opting for a country manor and a marquee, you could make it a winner with an English country garden design of teacups and pastel florals to complement, or go for an all out contrast with a Moroccan inspired tent with rich colours and fabrics. Perhaps your formal London venue has an neon, geometrical twist to contrast, or a vintage glam design to complement.

We contrasted an opulent London listed building with bright neons and wild arrangements at a recent shoot, to inspire couples that they don't have to be dictated by the venue when it comes to design. --->

Casual or Formal?

Your design choices can be narrowed down when you think about whether you imagined your wedding day formal or casual. What kind of atmosphere speaks best to you both as a couple? Are you the kind of couple who likes to host dinner parties and get dressed up for an all night party, or are you the kind of couple who prefer a beach BBQ and chilling out with friends?

Whichever option you go for, that level of formality will carry through all the aspects of your wedding, from the invitation to the place settings.

Think Seasonal

The time of year you're getting married in can have a big impact on your wedding design, with flowers in particular. Before you get too wedded to a specific bloom and style, think about what will be available in your wedding month. Winter weddings and deep plum peonies might look like a match in heaven but peonies are notoriously hard (and expensive) to find outside of Spring. Consider also choosing hardier flowers for an outdoor summer wedding, like daisies and roses, instead of flowers like tulips and hydrangea which will wilt at the first sign of heat.

Look outside the wedding world

The most original, awesome wedding designs come about when couples look outside of the wedding world for inspiration and focus on their shared passions, interests and favourites. Take inspiration from your favourite film, or the city you fell in love in, your first holiday, a shared hobby or a combination of two of your hobbies. 

Colour and Motif

Colours are the bedrock of wedding design. It's the easiest way to thread all the elements of your wedding together. At its most basic, you could choose a main colour, an accent colour and a few complementary shades. Have a few or many but never stick to just one colour! Add neutral or metallic accents to make your palette look dynamic and thoughtful. Seasonal colour families can look really stunning too and mean you don't have to go to matchy-matchy - a Spring wedding could look gorgeous with colours side-by-side on the colour wheel like navy, violet and green. Or an Autumn celebration of burgundy and deep red. 

A motif is another design element that can pull your whole look together. Whether its a monogram, a pattern or a shape that means something to you, it can show up anywhere from the cake to the dancefloor to the invitations and the menus. But don't go mad with this kind of design choice, it's easy to slap it everywhere and it loses it's impact. Choose 3-4 key places to show it off.

Don't copy, be inspired

More often than not, couples use Pinterest as their blueprint for their wedding suppliers. If you find the perfect bouquet or table set up, you can hand it to your supplier and say 'copy this'. It's fantastic if you have found the exact thing you wanted in a picture you can use as your guideline, but consider using it as that - a guideline. Take inspiration from other people's weddings but put your own twist on it and make it yours. Let your suppliers - whose expertise you have paid a fair amount of English pounds for - dazzle you with their experience and talent by taking your Pinterest images and adding a few special touches to make it an original and not a copy. 

Don't limit yourself

Even when all these questions have been answered and you've now got a better idea of what you want, don't feel like you have to pick one style. Your wedding can be a mish-mash fusion of a few of your favourite things. Because why not? If you like 'glam' you don't have to just stop there - is it old Hollywood glam or modern luxury glam? 

Love vintage but also want to incorporate tech? Do it! Want a techno band but kind of really like the idea of a Speakeasy after party? Go for it. Your wedding day isn't a prescribed format or design, and your venue doesn't have to define the style of the day. To truly be your wedding, it must be reflective of you - the things you like as a couple and who you are as a team. The key to going down this route is to find a thread that pulls it all together and helps your event look and feel seamless, but still individual.

Wedding Trend Alert - Hygge

scandi wedding hygge

No, we don't really know how to correctly either, but we still think that 'hygge' may be the newest trend to hit the UK wedding scene.

The UK's newest obsession is a Danish word that doesn't even have an English translation - but is the Scandinavian concept of making the most out of winter. Hygge means lighting candles, eating good food with friends, drinking wine and generally feeling happy and cosy. Doesn't that sound like most people want for their wedding days to you?

Hygge is the perfect inspiration for fresh, contemporary winter wedding designs. It's not just about rustic barns and fairy lights, it's about Danish minimalism and a focus on what's important - food, community and good lighting!

scandi wedding

It takes style inspiration also from the Kinfolk-trend - slow living simplicity, unfussy celebrations. Foraged finds to decorate your tables and soft candlelight to warm your guests. It's heavy with greenery and foliage, branches and natural elements, no colour. It's DIY but it's less origami paper cranes and more artisan woodwork! (No pressure, Etsy will have something)  

hygge wedding
scandi wedding

Hygge at its core is about cosiness, which could mean forgoing a skimpy bridal shawl in favour of some bridal knitwear.

It's family style dining with comfort food over haute cuisine. Masses and masses of good food, good drink and good conversation. 

A hygge wedding would be a stripped back vision of a wedding celebration - taking out all the stress and just putting together an unfussy, cosy event where you and your loved ones can enjoy the start of a new chapter. With pastries. 

Head over to our Scandi Pinterest board for more inspiration, and for links and credits for images!

Little Black Book | Stormont

We've had a great time this summer seeing all our lovely couples tie the knot. Along the way we've met some amazing suppliers and so with that in mind we'd like to introduce you to Mark Stormont of Stormont London. The most high quality entertainment agency we've had the pleasure of working with.

Tell us about Stormont London, what do you do?

Stormont London is a passion project that is rapidly growing into the UK’s most perfectly formed event entertainment agency. For our clients we dip into a hand-picked roster of acts and artists across music, magic, dance, circus, illustration, photography and film to create the perfect cocktail of entertainment for their wedding or corporate event.

How are you different to other entertainment agencies?

Careful curation and spotless service if you want a sound bite! Our tag line is “expertly curated entertainment” and this really does sum up precisely who we are and how we help our clients.

You only have to start Googling entertainment options for 10 minutes before you want to hide your laptop under a pillow and hope that the problem of finding a band, magician or photo-booth will just solve itself. There’s too much choice and not enough selection out there and that is the problem we solve.

We have done the searching and profiling, we know the performers, we have lived on the front lines of events and entertainment for the best part of a decade. When clients come to us looking for some entertainment options they know that for every act we suggest there are 20 that didn’t make the grade or just aren’t quite right.

We also advise, manage and plan to perfection to a much greater degree. We work to a greater level of detail and looking after our clients better than any other agency we know. We don’t just ask people to sign a contract and then leave them to it.

A lot of couples typically want a band or DJ at their wedding, what advice would you give them to pick the right one?

Er...call us? I’m kidding of course but I do suggest calling bands and DJs in general. On the phone you can get such a good impression of the level of professionalism that a supplier up-holds. We would also suggest sending the same brief (in as much detail as you can muster) at the same time to multiple providers / bands / DJs and agents so you can directly compare response times, tone of email, clarity of communication and so on. That will help distinguish the pros from the hobbyists.

If the question your clients are asking themselves is if we should hire a band OR a DJ then they should definitely read our article 7 of the best reasons to hire a live band for your wedding.

We would also say don’t get frustrated and book an act because you are bored of looking, you are looking for something specific or you are just not enamoured with the options you’ve found, seriously, call us ;-).

Stormont London — Magicians for weddings

What suggestions do you have if a couple wanted some really original entertainment at their wedding?

Our best advice here would be to balance your Googling time with some thinking time. Don’t spend all of your time searching for “original wedding entertainment ideas”, you may find it overwhelming and could lose sight of what you really want in a forest of options.

We would recommend spending time thinking about what you want your day to be about, who you are as a couple, what your theme is, what kind of genres of art and music you are into and then go back to the search. It is not about novelty for the sake of it, your wedding should be about character.

Little tweaks and twists can make all the difference and working closely with planners like Revelry or entertainment agents like us can really help. For example, jazz bands. Dull right? Well no, not if you go for a wandering trio who can play Justin Timberlake tunes on the sax like Cocktail Club Trio, or a band that swings up songs by Pendulum like Swing Pop.

You're not just an entertainment agency though. What else do you do?

As of late 2015 we now have two new business that are very exciting. One is London Event Productions or LEP for short — a unique technical production agency.

What is a technical production agency I hear you ask? Well, we provide AV support for weddings and events like illuminated letters, audio systems, lighting, dance floors, staging and event furniture like circular mirrored bars and so on. We are also one of the few tech companies that can provide white audio/visual equipment.

The second additional service is event photography and filming (including wedding drone filming!). Working with the esteemed wedding and event photographer Bircan (“B”) Tulga, we have started a small company providing the most charming wedding photographers in the industry.

And finally because budget is always a concern with any couple, how do you work with people that might have a little less money to play with than others?

We are always very upfront with couples about budgets. For a start we feature guide prices on our website but we also like to raise budgets very early on in discussions for everyone’s benefit.

We do uphold a certain quality of service and only take on the best entertainers, but this is not to say that we are always expensive. There is cost effective talent out there and we do look for it. All I would say is that quality is our benchmark not price.

So, for those with lower budgets we have cost effective entertainment options and you can always expect the most transparent and impartial advice regardless of budgets. Our starter collection of small bands may also be a good help!

View the Stormont Photography brochure here

How to Choose Your Wedding Readings

Here at Revelry Towers we're big fans of doing things your way. Which means no rules when it comes to picking wedding readings - that's if you even want them at all.

With wedding readings anything goes so its best to start by narrowing down your style. It's common sense really, but if you're having a traditional wedding it will jar if you have a very informal reading during the ceremony and vice versa.

Once you've got your style nailed you need to decide if you want to pick a reading that's personal to you and your other half or just something you like the sound of. If you go for something personal, think about all the books, films, poetry, songs etc... that you both like. Is there anything you can pull from there to make it really individual? If you want to use an existing reading, think about what you want it to say. Are you looking for messages of hope, love, companionship or humour? 

So we've done the hard work for you. Here are some great places to find readings that would suit weddings of all shapes and sizes.

A library of options for poem lovers

A list of modern favourites

Readings for book worms

Young at heart Disney Lovers

Playing it for laughs

Some lovely alternatives you don't hear too often

The Truth about Festival Weddings

September is here, and we are winding down towards the end of another spectacular wedding season. This year has taken us from countryside stately homes, to urban warehouses, to Italian nunneries. And it's also taken us to fields.

Yes fields. Which is why today we're talking about festival weddings! A trend still going strong with so many UK couples. The appeal is obvious - a blank canvas, no restrictions, no pre-existing designs, no rules. Another appeal for many could be cost - there are no prescribed menus or formats so you can keep the costs down, right? Well, right and wrong.

As much as we love festival-style weddings, it is our planner duty to brides and grooms to get real on some of the pitfalls and hidden costs. So here's our brief tour of what to watch out for and what not to forget!

Bare Necessities

When you're visiting spaces to see if they might be the one to host your perfect festival wedding, you'll be expecting a blank canvas. But check whether you will have access to both electricity (some spaces might be handily hooked up with mains, most won't) and access to water (some may have taps installed). If there's no electricity already on site, your first unavoidable expense will be a generator or two. You'll need this for your caterers, lighting, DJ, photo booth, hairdryers, showers, and more. If you're hiring a marquee or tipi, they may be able to provide these.

Catering

Now this is where it really gets fun. You could literally do anything you want! Food stalls, ice-cream carts, burger vans, the world is your oyster (ooh, oyster bar?).

If you decide to forgo the traditional catering and instead go full-on festival with your food and drink, be aware of some of the gaps this might leave you. Having one caterer at your event means all bases are covered - they will provide the staff, the linens, the crockery, the cutlery, the tables, the chairs, whatever you need. But if you opt for a series of vans and carts, you'll need to figure out where all that other stuff is going to come from and make sure you don't forget anything. 

Aside from what everyone is bringing, also consider what everyone is signed up to do. Caterers would normally handle set up and clean up too but if you're going for something different, make sure you have thought about who is in charge of certain areas. Who is going to set the tables? Who is going to pack away the glassware? Who is in charge of cutting up my cake to serve later?

If your event is going to be a series of trucks and stalls instead of a cover-all caterer, hire in agency catering staff to plug the gaps. They will do whatever isn't covered by your food providers and give you a lot of peace of mind.

On another note, if you are having more than a one-day event and you're asking people to camp on site, think about how and when you will be feeding your guests. Is there a way to cook food for breakfast on site or order something in for brunch the next day? Is there somewhere walkable your guests can sort themselves out?

Home Comforts

Whether you're throwing a three day weekend event or just a single day, you're going to need toilets. Luxury event loos are available far and wide - portaloos be gone - and you can stock them with all the goodies you'd expect at home.

Showers might also be necessary if you're asking your guests to camp for one or two nights before and after, and will be extremely gratefully received by all who use it.

We'd advise speaking with a local company or the shower/toilet providers about getting a cleaner in to spruce up the facilities after your pre-game Friday night or the morning after the big day. It's a small expense that is well worth doing for happy guests.

Weather or Not

Ah, the one thing we can't control. Our blessed English weather. The appeal of a festival wedding is of course that a lot of the day's events are held outdoors, with perhaps the exception of a sit-down meal. 

If you are planning an open-air ceremony, you're going to need to consider a Plan B in case of rain (or even serious sun!), and pray you don't have to use it. If the space you have chosen doesn't have a sheltered back up, consider your options. Would you consider decking everyone out with clear umbrellas, should the heavens open? Is there space in the dinner tent for you to move everyone inside for the vows, and would you be happy with that?

A back up tent may be the way forward here. What you can do with most tent and marquee companies is pay a little money to keep something on hold for your date, and then when it comes to the week of the wedding and you're looking at the forecast, you can make a call on whether you pay the rest of the money to put it up, or lose the deposit but can get married al fresco as planned. It's a little investment for a lot of peace of mind on the day.

Communication

As beautiful as our countryside is, the irritating reality of our fields and farms is that often there's not a lot of phone signal. This is just something to bare in mind when you're briefing your suppliers or if you know if guests get lost they aren't going to be able to get through to anyone.

For your staff working on site, old school walkies are the best (and most fun) way of communicating. And we're very much looking forward to using the ones we've just purchased for ourselves...

What are your main concerns about hosting a festival wedding? We'd love to hear your thoughts whether you're embarking on the planning or have just come out the other side - let us know!

And for the fun stuff, check out our Wed Fest inspo board over on Pinterest!

Geode Overload Wedding Trend

The latest wedding cake trend 'rocking' the industry is these stand out geode wedding cakes. Filled with coloured sugar crystals these cakes look like an amethyst is in the middle of it just waiting to be discovered. 

The concept was originally developed by Intricate Icings, sorry non US residents they're based in Colorado, but there are some great versions by other talented cake makers. Have a look at some of our favourites below and save a copy to show to your baker!

Trendwatch: Cactus

Ok, we're calling it. Cactus is the new fern.

From wedding design to homeware to fashion prints, and even your greetings cards - cactus is the new motif in town. It's the new pineapple, the new palm leaf, the new watercolour, and we love it.

You're probably thinking to yourself, "This is incredible, I love it, I'm so into cactus right now, thank you Revelry for alerting me to this trend to watch...but that's all very well for US brides who can just hop over to the nearest desert and make cactus work, but what about little old us in the UK?"

Well, never fear, because there certainly are lots of great venues and spaces that you can make a cactus design work for. 

One of our weddings from 2014 in Syon Park's conservatory

One of our weddings from 2014 in Syon Park's conservatory

Styled shoot from the talented  Vintage Floral Design

Styled shoot from the talented Vintage Floral Design

Conservatories like London's Syon Park are the perfect backdrop for your prickly design - or find yourself some gorgeous dunes somewhere on the coast like Camber Sands where beach sand can become desert sand with a little styling.

And the key with any trendy motif or theme is not to go overboard. A little touch here and there to tie everything together is perfect - no need to go ordering yourself 100 cactus chairs, cactus tablecloths and a cactus print wedding dress. Less is more and be smart with your wedding theming! 

Check out our Pinterest board for more ideas on how to work the cacti!