Category Archives: Weddings

Choose your wedding entertainment

Wedding quartetOften, wedding entertainment can play a big part in your wedding day and the key is to choose the right entertainment that fits with you and your guests, be that a recommended DJ, live band, wedding singer or even a silent disco!

DJs, live bands and wedding singers
If you opt to go for a DJ or live band at your wedding, there are a number of questions that are worth asking before you go ahead and sign on the dotted line. After all, their music selection and announcements will truly set the tone for your reception so definitely set some time aside to interview prospective DJs and bands. So find out how long they’ve been going for and whether this is their sole job as this should give you a good indication of their passion for music and how serious they are. Having an assistant DJ is worth considering so check with your prospective DJs if they plan to bring one along to help with the setting up and breaking down of equipment and giving the main DJ a break during the evening.

Check to make sure you know what their contingency plan is if they are sick and unable to make your wedding. Often they will have DJs and bands they know who will step in if this happens. Another good piece of advice to ask to see photos of their set up so you are not unpleasantly surprised on the day, and check to make sure they are insured.

Guests will often ask for their favourite songs to be played so it’s worth ask the DJs and bands you’re interviewing how they handle requests. Many brides and grooms now ask their guests for the song requests before the day via their wedding websites or on rsvp cards so this might be a good option for you. A very important thing to remember is to give them a list of ‘must play’ and ‘do not play’ songs and always read through the contract and ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand.

String quartets and musicians
Music is definitely one way to really set the scene for a ceremony, wedding reception or wedding breakfast and having background music played by a string quartet, saxophonist, guitarist to name but few is worth looking into. Whilst a string quartet is traditionally known to play classical music, many will be open to suggestions and play modern songs if they have them in their repertoire.

Wedding singers
Wedding singer B & WWhilst some may think back to Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer and have a horrible misconception of what a wedding singer is all about, don’t be put off as times have changed and there is now a good number quality singers out there to choose from including opera singers, solo artists and tribute singers. You may even hear a busker on a street that you love the sound of, so why not ask them to play at your wedding?

Silent disco
For something a little bit different, and where noise needs to be kept to a minimum after a certain time, a silent disco is becoming a popular option. Whilst it might seem a little futuristic for some, it could end up being the thing that makes your wedding stand out from the rest.

View our list of preferred wedding partners to discover more

Planning a Wedding – Setting a Budget

WeddingRoses at The VineyardSo you’re engaged? Congratulations. Now comes the long and arduous (but ultimately fulfilling) task of planning your big day. Where do you start?

The first thing to do is to sit down with your partner and decide a budget figure. Deciding this as early as possible will help you avoid going over the budget later. If you and your fiancé are funding the wedding yourselves, assess your joint income, and how much you might be able to save up (e.g. by forgoing holidays, expensive birthday celebrations etc). It’s sensible to have a date in mind, even if it’s not the finalised date. If you and/or your fiancé’s parents have offered to contribute towards the wedding fund, find out from them how much they would be willing to spend.

Plan Ahead
Now, think about the kind of wedding you want. Do you want a large, lavish affair or a smaller, more intimate gathering? Don’t get too bogged down in all the little details at this point – the objective is to simply set out a vision of what you want your wedding to be, and work out how much (if not all) of your vision is achievable with the money you have.
If the parents are offering to pay towards the wedding, discuss your vision with them and ask them what kind of wedding they want. You’ll have your own plans in mind, but it’s only fair that they get to give some input on your big day, so find out exactly what input they actually want to give. They may well tell you that you’re free to spend the money on whatever you like – or they may expect more creative freedom over the wedding.

Choose Your Guests
Next, draw up a rough guest list – this doesn’t need to be too detailed in the early stages, so don’t spend your time arguing over who to invite! Just get a good idea of how many people you want at your big day, as then you can assess what venues will be able to cater for your party of guests and get a good ballpark figure of how much you can expect to pay for the venue.

Create a spreadsheet and begin adding all the things guests will need (but don’t worry about including everything straight away, as you’ll end up adding more things as you go anyway). Find out what each of these will cost – don’t be tempted to estimate! – and multiply the cost by the number of guests.

If the cost comes in above your budget limit, make a note of the things you’d be willing to sacrifice (we recommend creating a digital spreadsheet, so you can simply highlight the things which you might be willing to drop). Talk about this together, and be prepared to compromise. If there are things on the spreadsheet that you absolutely need to keep, but you balk at the price tag, investigate cheaper ways of getting them – for example, rather than paying to have your invitations printed, you could potentially print them yourself for a lower price.

If you’re planning a wedding, look out for further tips and advice our blog, and take a look at our Weddings page to discover more about the wedding services we offer.

Winter Weddings at The Vineyard, Berkshire

WeddingRoseBlkIf you are planning your wedding no doubt people are throwing all sorts of well meaning ideas and suggestions your way… so here is one from us that you might not have considered - a Winter Wedding.

The season has warmth, spicy scents in the air and a feel-good buzz that helps set the mood for a very special occasion. Come November the nights are drawing in and the festive period is on the horizon, what could be better than starting the build-up by tying the knot and celebrating Christmas as husband and wife? There again, Christmas has to be one of the best feel-good times of the year so why not set your wedding date right in the middle of that? It is a great opportunity to bring both families together and with the seasonal decorations adding a perfect backdrop to your big day.

Be creative with your menu
When it comes to the menu you could be traditional with turkey and cranberry sauce or pick something from our winter wedding menu that will give your guests a completely different experience to a summer wedding.

Theming your wedding
The winter season also offers a number of unique advantages over the other seasons of the year, which can make your wedding day extra special. With the nights drawing in you can use lighting to great effect, imagine every table having candles and the guests sitting in pools of flickering light with warm glows on their faces.

Winter wedding photography
And the winter weather can create a truly picturesque, romantic backdrop for wedding pictures. The natural light and dramatic clouds are ideal for beautiful, stylish photographs, and in the evening the ambient light escaping from windows provides some great photo opportunities. There is also the potential for snow bringing new meaning to the phrase ‘white wedding’ and the romantic imagery associated with that.

Beat the January blues with a wedding
Post Christmas there seems to be a lull in people’s diaries and your wedding in January could be the event that brings light into their month – plus you will find that suppliers are less busy and keen to offer a favourable price. Or maybe you could hold until Valentine’s Day and make it a very romantic occasion.

Exotic honeymoon destinations
But probably the best reason for having a wedding in this period is a honeymoon somewhere warm! What could be better than leaving a wintry Britain and heading for sunnier climes? It’s the perfect time to book your honeymoon to a fair flung destination like the Caribbean or Thailand.

To find out more about the luxurious wedding facilities available here, and how we could host your Winter Wedding, call us on 01635 589407 or visit our weddings page

Tonic’s “I Do” Nutrition Pod

WeddingShoes_1

Blog by Anneliese Setchell – www.tonichealthboutique.com

Every bride wants to look and feel like a million dollars on their wedding day. But having to cope with mounting to-do lists, engagement drinks, hen celebrations, choosing the wedding breakfast menu and drink tastings can often lead to stress eating and eating on the run which can take their toll.

Anneliese Setchell, owner of Tonic Health Boutique in Hungerford, has developed a unique nutrition plan called the “I Do” pod to ensure you look and feel fabulous on your wedding day, leaving you to focus on planning the big event!

While many brides focus on reaching their target weight for their wedding day, the “I Do” pod also ensures they are energized, radiant and calm. They can look forward to having beautiful skin with no hint of bloating or puffiness as well as strong nails and shiny hair.

Nutrition plans and bespoke recommendations

The “I Do” Pod includes a 30-day cleanse to whip the body into shape and help you reach or maintain your goal weight with a nutrition plan written by Anneliese that has meal suggestions, beauty foods and a shopping list. Bespoke supplement recommendations help to combat specific health concerns such as constipation, skin problems, hormone imbalances, stress and poor sleep. A post-wedding strategy will help you avoid regaining the weight you have worked hard to lose and you’ll also receive a 45-minute telephone consultation with Anneliese that will create a bespoke plan that suits you.

The plan helps you with all kinds of mild digestive disorders which can compromise a radiant complexion and a flat tummy. It also helps with weight loss and to balance blood sugar levels so that you’re on top form throughout the busy pre-wedding period when you are likely to be flat out trying to combine a job with planning the biggest day of your life.

Combating sleepless nights and reducing stress levels

Beauty sleep is vital and will keep you feeling and looking calm and collected. Many brides suffer from sleepless nights as they are unable to switch off and so putting a good sleep strategy into place can work wonders. There is also help at hand to reduce those damaging stress-induced hormones steering you away from burn-out and the overwhelming pressure of the mounting to-do list.

Anneliese adds: “This unique package provides the necessary support to help you become the beautiful, radiant and calm bride you deserve to be. It enables you to reach the aisle without feeling worn out, full of cold and a few pounds heavier than you had planned.

“Don’t forget it doesn’t end on the day itself, as the plan will also enable you proudly unveil your bikini body for the honeymoon!”

Anneliese will be at The Vineyard Wedding Fair on Sunday 2nd March so pop over and say hello.

Discover more about The Wedding Fair

 

Wedding Flowers – Choosing a Florist

Countryside-Summer-Wedding_043 Blog by Karen at Allium Design
Photographs by www.kat-hill.com
After you have said ‘I will’… you and your beloved will walk an exciting path of joint decisions for usually several months until you can happily say ‘I do’.. It’s an exciting time and one of the most inspiring parts should be choosing flowers, finishing touches and small details to enhance your day, things that personalise and represent you as a couple.

I love my job, sharing flora, styling thoughts and ideas with my brides and grooms-to-be, but it’s an interesting economy with tighter budgets, and my clients want the day of their dreams at the right price.

946533_562944670418686_313252742_nSpolit for choice
Of course flower availability has changed dramatically, so many more flowers are available for longer growing periods. Blooms are bread to be more robust and florists can suggest flowers that we wouldn’t have dreamed of, even just a few years ago. We really are spoilt for choice and there is always something perfect for every colour scheme.
You’ll get lots of great ideas by looking on the internet and in wedding magazines. Couples usually come to see me once they have chosen their venue and often ‘the’ dress as they both play a large part in the style of the wedding.

A bouquet to remember
For me, flowers are all about the scent, something to evoke a memory of a wonderful day for years to come… A bride’s bouquet should be something that ‘wows’ her, something she will look at, love and always remember. Garden flower choices are as popular as ever for the coming season. Imagine a posy of rambling roses with bobbing scabious, scented sweet peas and a sprinkle of herbs with garden foliage, understated, yet elegant, bound in vintage lace, easy to carry and a joy to photograph for a summer wedding.

Countryside-Summer-Wedding_058Plan and ask questions
Start your flower planning twelve months before the wedding date, especially if you are holding a Saturday celebration, as good florists are booked up well in advance. Always see at least two florists and go to your meeting prepared with a list of questions about their services and ask see samples of their work. Also ask the following questions:

  • How many weddings do they cover in one day?
  • What do they charge for delivery on the day?
  • Have they worked at your venue in the past?

Go with the quote that ‘gets you’
At this initial meeting you will look at colour options and favourite flowers, talk about your day and your vision. This is often a learning process with your florist; who should steer you in the right direction and work with your budget. Once you have found the one that ‘gets you’, to quote one of my brides from last year, it’s often a style of work and an experienced, friendly one that will give you confidence.

Countryside-Summer-Wedding_065What to expect
There will be other meetings as the wedding gets closer, a venue visit, a church visit and always a final meeting a few weeks before the day to make sure everything is in place. On the day, your florist will deliver bridal flowers to you and your bridesmaids. If it is a church wedding, that will usually be decorated the day before, as will a private venue. Open venues will always have other clients to consider so access is usually on the day only.

The Vineyard Wedding Fair – 2nd March
Allium Design will be at The Vineyard Wedding Fair on Sunday 2nd March chatting about flowers all day, so please come along and say hello with your flora questions and I’ll be happy to give as much advice and guidance as I can on how to enjoy your flower planning

Discover more about The Vineyard Wedding Fair – www.the-vineyard.co.uk/weddingfair.asp

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday 2nd March.

Karen
Allium Design
www.alliumdesign.co.uk

 

Top Wedding Planning Tips

  1. Find and book your venue as soon as possible – weddings are generally booked 1 year to 18 months in advance
  2. Confirm your ceremony details as soon as you can, particularly for civil ceremonies as the
    Superintendent registrars look after a large local area
  3. Ensure your venue is flexible – it’s your day and the venue should work with you not for you
  4. The best weddings don’t just happen and have to be created – work with your venue for recommended suppliers
  5. Try to visit your venue when other weddings are taking place to help you with ideas
  6. Ask to see photographs of previous weddings.

These are just few top tips to help you organise your big day. If you would like a tour of The Vineyard or simply want to find out more, please contact our wedding co-ordinator on 01635 528770.

Royal Wedding Celebrations

Our first wedding open day happened on the 27th March and was organised by Julie Tooby from Essentially You who for the 3rd year running was awarded Wedding Ideas UK’s Best Wedding Planner, the day had lots of local suppliers with ideas for brides (and grooms) planning for their big day. One of the videographers who attended also works for the BBC and was delighted to advise that he will be filming the royal wedding. All details are top secret and he doesn’t know until the day where he will be filming, but I am sure you will agree it would be exciting to be part of the day. I did offer to carry his equipment but unfortunately he said he had lots of people offering already!

Kate or Catherine as she is now being referred, is from the nearby village of Bucklebury and the village is organising a Tea in the Park to celebrate the Royal Wedding for local residents and are expecting 1200 people. We obviously didn’t want our guests to miss out on the celebration, so we have also organised a screen to show the wedding over lunch in a private suite, followed by afternoon tea. We are also offering overnight accommodation, in case, like the royals you indulge in too much champagne! Please contact our events team for further information.

With an extra national holiday for everyone I am sure the country will celebrate in true style!

Will You Marry Me?

Valentines day means a flurry of proposals and we have been inundated with requests for weddings at the The Vineyard at Stockcross. Love is definitely in the air! Our restaurant was a hive of activity and it was lovely to see the number of flowers being delivered to the hotel over the valentines weekend. We lost count of the discreet and not so discreet proposals during dinner.

But just because the most romantic day of the year has passed it doesn’t mean the romance is gone. We now have the pleasure of organising the forthcoming weddings, putting our couples minds at rest on their special day.

We do have some unique requests from time to time. Last week we spoke to a bride who wanted to out-do her friend. Her friend had organised a ice-cream van during the reception drinks the request was to if we could hire a burger van to come at the end of the evening! We were pleased when our suggestion of a midnight feast of bacon sandwiches, a cheese board and port was going to do the trick.

Our wedding packages are tailor-made to the couple’s requirements. Our team is on hand to make suggestions such as offering unlimited champagne for your guests during the reception drinks. We think that if your guests are being looked after you can concentrate on enjoying your day. Some take the unlimited champagne as a challenge but none has ever beaten our sommeliers.

Come along to our wedding showcase on the 27th March. You will have the chance to meet our preferred suppliers, watch demonstrations as well as sample canapés and wine. It should be a fun day for all involved. Take a look at our website for more information www.the-vineyard.co.uk/wedding.asp