How to Choose the Right Venue

August 5, 2012 in Julie Dawson - Wedding Planning Expert, Wedding Tips by JenniBush


Look around and Ask Questions.

  • Walk around the venue and get a feel for the atmosphere. Most brides I have spoken to feel really comfortable and at home in a venue as soon as they walk inside. You and your new husband will be spending the very first hours of being married here with the most important people in your life so it should definitely be a place you feel comfortable in.


  • Ensure you get a warm welcome and that the person who sees you is on time and expecting you. This will give you an idea of their customer service and organisation. Timing is important on your big day so you want to know that the staff in the venue appreciates that.


  • Is everywhere clean and well kept? This will give you an idea of how the venue is maintained. Check out the toilets too!


  • Does the decor fit with your theme? Contemporary modern furniture may not be acceptable if your vision is classic and traditional.


  • The venue staff should be professional but friendly and approachable. You need to feel they will look after you as well as your guests.


  • If your guests are likely to be staying at the venue ask to be shown the bedrooms to check their suitability.


  • Will they offer a group discount you can pass on to your guests? If so how long will they hold the rooms before they need to be booked? Also they should give you a reservation number or ask them how to let your guests know what to ask for when they call to book a room. (You can put this information in the invitations.)


  • Check to see if they have a dedicated wedding coordinator on the day. Many venues use events coordinators to help book the wedding but often they do not work at the weekends. There will be a duty manager and whilst being excellent their main aim is to look after the food and drink. You may need to consider someone to help you set up tables, place favours and liaise with suppliers in the run up to the wedding. On the day then you can relax and enjoy the whole day without worry.


  • Check out the gardens and facilities on offer if your wedding is going to take place over a weekend. Your guests may want to make use of the facilities and you need to know if they have to be booked prior to their arrival.


  • Is there enough parking for your guests? If not ask where the nearest car park is.


  • Are there any restrictions on photographs being taken?


Think about Your Budget.

What packages can the venue offer? Will they be flexible? For instance, to reduce costs you may want to serve your wedding cake as a sweet instead of paying for desert. Will they allow this?  If so will they charge you for cutting the cake and serving it?


Is there the possibility of bringing your own wine? If so what is the corkage price?


If you are planning to stay at the venue do they offer a bridal suite within the package? This can be quite an expense and if you can negotiate this to be included it’s quite a saving. During this credit crunch period you may very well get a good deal, but you have to ask.


Here are few more things to ask and think about regarding what is offered.

  • What exactly is covered within each package? Be sure you are crystal clear.


  • Check if wine is included within the package, can you upgrade to different wines if you want to? What is the corkage cost if you can bring your own wine. They are often more expensive so do beware.


  • Can you use your own caterers? If not ask which company they want you to use.


  • Is there an extra hire fee for the ceremony room? Try and get this rolled in within the package. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
  • Is it extra to hire a cake stand? Cake knife or the board and easel for the table plan? Or are they included?


  • What table linen is offered? Tablecloths, chair covers?


  • If you get married mid week ask for the charges, they should be lower. It’s a thought if you really love the venue but can’t afford the weekend costs.


  • Are there any flowers or decorations within the package? Often the in house florist may be able to match the flowers that they are doing for the hotel to your theme.


  • Is the price quoted with VAT? Will there be any inflationary costs if you are booking a year in advance?


  • When do they need a deposit and when is the final payment? – Make sure it comes in line with your savings if you need to add to them for the venue costs.


  • What are the cancellation terms and conditions?


Restrictions – You need to know and understand these.


  • Will there be more than wedding on the day. If so how does the venue manage this?


  • Are there any restrictions on entertainment, check out the size of the rooms to ensure a live band can fit if you are planning on having one?


  • Do they allow chocolate fountains, candles, confetti and fireworks?


  • What time are last orders at the bar and what time do you have to stop playing music.


  • If exclusive use what time does it start and finish?


  • Is there any additional charge if your guests fall below the minimum numbers?


  • Is there wheel chair access if you have disabled or older guests?


  • Is there going to be any structural upgrades or decoration before your wedding? If so when and what will they be?


Checking the details will ensure you have the perfect venue without hidden costs or surprises. Most of all feel comfortable and have a good relationship with the venue staff. If you not fully satisfied or your instincts tell you that something is wrong walk away.


I hope this helps you choose your dream venue. Next week pop back for everything you need to know about choosing your perfect wedding dress.


Until next time, happy planning.


Written by

Wedding Planner – Julie Dawson – The Wedding Genie



Wedding Planning

Julie Dawson – aka “The Wedding Genie”

Julie has been wedding planning for over 3 years, “My philosophy is to provide the very best support, inspiration and service to my clients.” Planning a wedding isn’t all glamour, generally it’s the tedious tasks like, finding suppliers, budgeting, liaising etc. Julie will be sharing her best tips and expert knowledge to help you plan your perfect Wedding.




Perfect Pre Wedding Preparations

July 30, 2012 in Michele Paradise - The Bridal Coach, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

So the big day has arrived and you are giddy with excitement. All those months and years have preparation have finally arrived and the big day is NOW! But have you thought about preparing the room that you’re going to get ready in so that you feel most calm and confident before you walk up the aisle? Well I have and I’m going to give you some of my best tips to ensure that your big day is fabulous from start to finish.


Imagine the room that you are getting ready in is like a fabulous cocktail party. Fill the room with aromatic flowers or scented candles to create a beautiful, calming aroma.

Have some beautiful photos to look at, especially ones of you and your fiancée so that every time you look at one, you smile and relax.

Create a playlist of upbeat, happy songs and play them while you’re getting ready. Sing, hum and get others to join in. In addition to making you all feel good, it will ensure that you breathe and brides forget to breathe!

Eat small, high protein and low carbohydrate throughout the day as if you are at a cocktail party and they are canapés. This will keep your energy level up and not stress out your digestive system. Eat things like smoked salmon, cocktail sausages, egg mayonnaise on toast and maybe even some caviar if that is your thing! Eat them in small, bite-sized pieces so that you keep yourself and your bridesmaids going.

If you are going to drink some Champagne, make sure that for every glass you have, you have a large glass of water. This will slow down the intake of alcohol and keep you from getting intoxicated.

We filter the world through our 5 senses so if you follow these great tips, you will positively stimulate all of your senses and feel really good!

I have hundreds of good tips so come and visit my website and upload my Free 30 minute 7 Steps to Your Successful Wedding on


The Bridal Coach – Michele Paradise

Michele has trained models, actors and presenters in deportment, posture and movement for over 10 years. She has worked with most of the top agencies in London and has appeared on several TV programmes as an expert and judge such as Britain’s Next Top Model, Model Behaviour, Make Me A Supermodel, ASBO Teen to Beauty Queen, Britain’s Missing Top Model and the BBC Clothes Show.

Wedding Make-up Lessons

July 14, 2012 in Beauty, Kelly Hollands - Wedding Make-up, Make-up, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

Are you getting married abroad and in need of perfecting your bridal look before your wedding day? Are you a complete novice when it comes to make-up and its application? Or maybe you have been using the same products and colours for many years and are in need of a complete overhaul of your make-up bag. If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, a make-up lesson is a must!

Make-up novice

A make-up lesson is ideal for anyone who is a complete beginner when it comes to cosmetics and their application. With lessons tailored to suit your individual needs and with step-by-step instructions and guidance you will become more confident each time you pick up a brush!

Stuck in a rut?

It is so easy to use the same products and colours day to day and to shy away from experimenting. But the great thing about make-up is that it can be wiped away if you make a mistake! Maybe you aren’t making the most of your best features and are unsure of how to disguise others? By booking a make-up lesson you will learn many new techniques and styles, all within the comfort of your own home.

Why book a lesson with a make-up artist?

Many brides-to-be tend to think of beauty and cosmetic counters when it comes to bridal makeovers and lessons.

Whilst this is a great way to find out what look suits you, you won’t necessarily try more than one look and you may also be encouraged to purchase products. The majority of make-up artists will use various cosmetics rather than one individual brand and you won’t have the worry of having to purchase at the end. A lesson is a great way to copy the make-up artist’s techniques under their watchful eye. You will have the opportunity to try many different looks until you are happy with the results and feel confident to re-create the look on your big day.

Not everyone feels comfortable with the idea of having their make-up applied by a make-up artist on their wedding day. Some people may feel that only they know the products that suit their skin and know that they would feel happier applying them. If you are one of these brides-to-be, then that is fantastic! However, a make-up lesson will show you exactly what products to apply where and how much of each product to use to gain stunning, long-lasting results.

Photography plays an important part in any wedding day and make-up should be applied to ensure you won’t look ‘washed out’ and ‘colourless’ in all photographs,

whether they are black and white or colour. This does not necessarily mean applying more make-up than you would normally wear, but more to do with what you apply. There are a number of products on the market which are not suitable for flash photography and should be avoided on your wedding day at all costs. Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat Radiant Touch is a good example. This is a fantastic product which banishes shadows and signs of fatigue from the eye area. Great for everyday use, but a complete no-no when it comes to flash photography as its light-reflecting properties will cause panda eyes. Not a good look for any bride on her wedding day!

As a make-up artist, my job is to make you feel and look beautiful and confident on one of the most special days of your life. It is also about giving out advice and tips on make-up application and technique. So whether you are getting married abroad and need advice on products to use for a hot/humid climate, want to know how to achieve a smoky eyed look or just simply would like to learn some essential tricks of the trade, why not book a one-to-one lesson and achieve that look you desire!


Wedding Makeup

Kelly Hollands

As a professional make-up artist, Kelly understands that every bride wants to look radiant and beautiful on her wedding day and with her experience, your entire bridal party can look picture-perfect on your special day.

Kelly has worked as a freelance make-up artist for a number of years, having trained at Jemma Kidd Make Up School, Airbase Airbrush Make-up, Brentwood Academy and Essex School of Beauty.


Preparation is the Key

June 23, 2012 in Sarah Fisher - Photography Expert, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

If the idea of having a photographer at the bridal party preparations brings you out in a cold sweat, you’re not alone. Of course it’s totally your choice and I’m not going to try and persuade you one way or the other, but here are a few things in its favour for you to consider.

• If you want a storybook / magazine style album, then preparations make a great start to telling the tale of your wedding day.

• ‘Preparations’ doesn’t mean from the minute you wake up – it’s normally just the hour and a half before you leave for your ceremony – so make up, finishing touches and getting into your dress. I’m with you that it would be a bit weird and creepy to have someone telling you to smile when you’ve just got out of the shower 

• It doesn’t have to be formal, you can just have someone there blending in and capturing things as they unfold.

• A good professional photographer knows when to lay back and disappear for a bit, they won’t stalk you if you are feeling stressed. Plus they’ve been to lots of weddings so they can be quite handy – I’ve advised on dress lacing techniques, made up orders of service, done up shoes, retouched nails and taken the groom’s buttonholes with me to the church amongst lots of other things.

• It’s a good chance for your bridal party to get to know your photographer and get used to having a camera around. This is especially true if you have younger bridesmaids / flower girls / pageboys

from our Photography Expert -Sarah Fisher

I specialise in providing relaxed reportage coverage of weddings in West Sussex & the surrounding area.  I always aim to give my clients a set of images that really capture the atmosphere as well as the events of their big day. Find out more at


Modern Marriage Ceremony Musings – From Celebrant Paul Burrows-Gibson

June 21, 2012 in Other, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

As i write this article, I am making the most of a very hot summer afternoon in May, sat in my gardens with its stream running down the end of the garden and the bids perched in the trees singing away and the smell of someones BBQ is wafting across in the breeze, a perfect summers afternoon in sunny Hampshire.
A few weeks ago, i had the pleasure of attending a church wedding of a friend, more out of curiosity really on what the ceremony was like compared to the couples informal attitude to life and how I can re-invent these services that make then welcoming, friendly and more adaptable to modern society.

As the service started the couple had been railroaded into a very traditional musical entry to the Church, miles away from what was expected or indeed wanted. They wanted something more modern that reflects their lives as individuals and also as a couple, but tradition dictated that this is how it always happens and heaven forbid if we make a change now!

For anyone who has recently sat through a wedding ceremony in a church, the long introduction to marriage is enough to send you to sleep ready to wake after the signing is complete, its archaic and needs updating to make it more inclusive and user friendly, something radical to grip the feelings and imagination of the couple and their guests, rather than the old adage of – The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together in the delight and tenderness of sexual union and joyful commitment to the end of their lives. Lets be realistic here, this was surely written in the days before sex before marriage was written !

Whats wrong with wording that signifies entwining two lives together to form a unique partnership full of love, understanding and commitment- simple and easy understandable words for all people.

As the service progressed, you could see the couple cringing with the words of the ceremony coming out of the mouth of a young priest who by the look of things wasn’t too comfortable with an out of date service either.

In fact, after the ceremony, I had the opportunity to speak with the priest in some detail over a glass of juice and he shares that same thoughts as I do, the ceremony in church is outdated and is in need of radical reform.

Anyway, back to the service and luckily the couple had a choice on the vows they could use, and obey had been dispensed with…one wonders whether it should remain just to lighten the ceremony more sombre mood. Anyway, I digress yet again and then comes that response on the vows – with the help of God I Will!.

Am I the only one who thinks that its the work between partners that makes marriage work, so lets say that clearly in the vows and act of commitment and let God take some chill out time instead.

Well the formal part is over, they are married, a quick 15 minute sermon on the church and marriage and then sign your life away hidden away from everyone else, whilst the guests partake in idle chatter amongst themselves.

Then its time for the final piece of music…oh there we go- The Wedding March yet again, apparently the organist has a preference rather than learning something new! Obviously he either single or sees marriage as a life sentence that is rekindled during the wedding march at each wedding.

The happy couple leave the church with smiles all round and ready to head to the reception and enjoy the real celebrations.

A few weeks later, I assisted at a Religious Ceremony for another couple locally in a different church and was given more of a free reign on the style of the service and how it was delivered and the local priest attended for the purposes of the legalisation of the ceremony and to ensure that I didn’t have anyone swinging from the chancel lights or cartwheeling down the aisle.

Before the service, I had persuaded the couple to have some more traditional wedding music to set the scene for what was going to be an entrance that no one was going to expect and one that would bring marriage into the modern world…after all that’s my role, creating ceremonies that are unique and special for the couple and the guests and the style of ceremony that people go away from talking about for days on end as it is an important part of the day, rather than rushed through so we can all get to the bar quickly.

Anyway, dead on time..well lets say the brides time as we were 20 minutes late! The bridal party arrives and the music starts…the wedding march from the Sound of Music including the Nuns Chorus- afterall the brides name is Maria!

This sets the scene for the ceremony that I had designed for them, exploring the inner thoughts and love that is shared by the couple, my words of introduction as always began with – Do you remember when you first met? Do you remember when you first kissed? Do you remember when….can’t as children present! Do you remember when your two loves were turned upside down by each other?

This is what the introduction is about, bringing a couples past together to create the future and getting ready to bring two families together as one.

The readings are modern and vibrant, read by children and adults alike, I let their ideas run wild to find something that matches the couple and their hopes and dreams for the future, they also choose that famous reading from Corinthians – Love is patient and kind – their perfect choice and brings everything in context.

We had spent a lot of time looking at the options for the vows and also ways of including everyone in various stages of the ceremony and this worked well. From the assent to marriage through to the support of family and friends, the service involved everyone, there was no time to fall asleep and woe betide anyone caught napping in the corner..and of course we all know that the guy with the loudest tie was going to end as an unofficial bridesmaid, holding the brides bouquet for the duration of the service and not daring to put it down.

We didn’t have hymns as such, but the couple felt that music was an important part of their lives and they loved sing-a-longs at the pub- so chose unchained melody as the music before the signing and everyone sang along to this- even slightly out of tune, but it worked for everyone.

Once the couple had been pronounced partners in love and life there was spontaneous applause around the church and I found this the perfect time to add The Peace and get out and shake hands with guests as some music played in the background.

The signing took place on the altar so that everyone could see what was happening. and the Choir sang the Marti Pellow song..Love is all around.

I choose to give a short homily on where the couple met, how their lives developed, hopes and dreams for the future and how through the service they had welcomed God into their lives through words and prayer and in a way that is welcoming and acceptable for all people.

After the final blessing given by both myself and the parish priest, the couple turned to face their guests and leave the church to – a time of our lives – from Dirty Dancing.

Once outside the church, the couple and their guests enjoyed a glass of bucks fizz before photographs in the grounds of the church.

In the evening at the reception, I was approached by lots of guests who had enjoyed the ceremony immensely, by the Priest from the church who openly said that he wished that he could get away with being totally modern with the ceremony as he enjoyed it greatly.

and finally by the couple who had a church wedding several weeks before who were guests at this wedding- they had wished that they had chosen a ceremony that was written and designed by me, rather than the church dictated ceremony that they endured several weeks before


From Wedding Celebrant – Paul Burrows-Gibson

Personalised Ceremonies:

Guest List Dilemmas? you need to read this

June 5, 2012 in Julie Dawson - Wedding Planning Expert, Other, Planning, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

“If you’ve been struggling with your guest list, then fret no more our expert Julie Dawson has some great advice – If you r dilemma isn’t solved though, add it as a comment below and Julie will give you her expert tips just for you.”

Please help with our guest list!

I thought it might be useful to answer some of the queries that my couples ask. A wedding planner can become quite an agony aunt from time to time and we accumulate experience and solutions that are tried and tested.
Bride Academy is the ideal place to pass on this advice. Sometimes you can ponder a problem so long it really does keep you awake at night. An outsider can often look at a solution with a lot more objectivity. Check this out from a bride who promised everyone they could come to her wedding and then realised her budget just won’t cover that huge list of people.


1. My fiancé and I threw a huge party when we got engaged three years and I told everyone that they would be invited to our big day. Since then, however, we have realised that we can’t really afford to invite even half of the people that attended our engagement bash. Now that we are finally tying the knot, I’m nervous about have to explain the situation to people. How can we soften the blow?

Unfortunately there is no easy way around this but you can soften the blow by being very tactful to start with. Three years is a long time and since then we have come through and are still in, one of the worst recessions ever, everyone is aware how tight finances can be, especially when it comes to weddings. You have to explain that your budget is just not what you thought it might be and things cost much more than you anticipated. This has made your guest list much smaller so you are only able to invite close friends and relatives.

It maybe that your venue you fell in love with just can’t accommodate those large numbers anyway and you can explain that too. If it is possible I would suggest inviting some of these guests to the evening celebrations. People do understand as long as you are open and honest with them.

You can reduce your guest numbers by not inviting children. If your friends you would dearly love to come to the wedding have children then your list can quickly escalate. If you do decide to do this then you have to make a rule for all children. Of course you may allow your close family to bring their children but friends and more distant relatives can’t. Surprisingly you may find your friends would love to have a childfree weekend anyway.

Unfortunately there are always some people that will be offended by not being invited but that is the way it goes when organising a wedding. The wedding is all about you too and your special day so strive hard to have the day you both want with the people you most care for.

Having a guest list issue? Add a comment below and ask Julie.



Julie Dawson – aka “The Wedding Genie”

Julie has been wedding planning for over 3 years, “My philosophy is to provide the very best support, inspiration and service to my clients.” Planning a wedding isn’t all glamour, generally it’s the tedious tasks like, finding suppliers, budgeting, liaising etc. Julie will be sharing her best tips and expert knowledge to help you plan your perfect Wedding.




And the Excitement Begins………..

June 1, 2012 in Claire Baggott - Photography Expert, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

I love the moments you capture of the bride and her bridesmaids getting ready on the morning of a wedding day. It is a very special time, filled with excitement and nerves. Most of my clients opt to have this included in their photography package, as this is the moment you transform from a fiancé to a bride.

Firstly, let’s get one thing clear – no one wants to be photographed having just got out of bed, before their first coffee (or champagne!) and without a scrap of make up on. When I photograph a bride getting ready, I usually advise that I be there for no more than one hour before her departure for the ceremony. This means your hair and make up will be underway, and you will be well on the way to looking your gorgeous self. For me, the images from this time should capture the final preparations: touching up of make up, putting on of jewellery, fastening the dress, etc. It is also a great opportunity to get some of the finer details shots, such as the dress hanging in anticipation, jewellery in it’s pristine boxes, flowers and gifts.

Apart from the excitement that is captured at this time, the biggest reason I am a huge fan of the getting ready photographs is that after the big day, you get to share these images with your new husband. This is a time that the groom is really none the wiser about, and to be able to share that with him after the wedding day is something very special.

This is a time for very natural and informal photography – I just let the morning flow as it would if I was not there. Blending into the background, I capture those emotional glances in the mirror, exchanged smiles between friends and all the special elements that bring you to the point of being ready to leave for your ceremony.


From our Photography Expert - Claire Baggott

Your wedding day will be as unique as you are as a couple, and your wedding photography should reflect this. With a relaxed and friendly approach, my images capture the true story and emotion of your day. I understand that stunning images are just part of what my clients are looking for, and I always go above & beyond to ensure your beautiful photographs are captured and delivered with exceptional standards of service. My packages are always tailored to your exact needs, ensuring maximum value for money. For more information please


3 Ways to Add Instant WOW factor to your wedding!

May 25, 2012 in Jenni Bush - Accessory & Wedding Expert, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

Photo Courtesy of photography by Anson

Your wedding is more than just the run of the mill cookie cutter same old same old wedding.  No two weddings are alike!  And you want your day to be memorable and stand out for all the right reasons.

Now we’ve all been to the weddings where we loved everything about them, but there is no way on this earth you want to copy those details otherwise they will all feel like you are a copycat and that’s a big no. So what do you do?

Here are my 3 killer tips to make your wedding WOW now!

1. LIGHT – when adding ambience and wow factor lighting is essential.  Now don’t go rushing out for the neons or strobes honey, simple things like tea light in jars lining the path, fairy lights ect. will all do the job just lovely.

2. PERSONALITY – you have one don’t you? so add it to your wedding (I’ll tell you more in my free book the Experts Secret Guide to your WOW factor Wedding! get it free when you enrol in the academy) Right down your loves, quirkyness etc and use it!

3. ACTION – Make sure you think about your guests and include them in what you do!  Now you may love punk metal, but that doesn’t mean entertain your guests with a Punk Metal band! unless they are all hardcore rockers especially you Gran! so make sure you spend a little time focusing on what they will enjoy too! Don’t spoil your day with guests leaving early because of the noise!

I hope you found these tips inspiring for more enrol at the academy now!

lots of Love


the Award Winning Wedding  Jewellery & Accessory designer from Bespoken For & Bride Academy Founder.

Jenni is the wedding magpie, nicknamed “the sparkly fairy” by her wedding pro friends. She is passionate about making sure you are informed about all things wedding so your day can be all you desire – see more on her wedding blog



How to Choose the Best Wedding Entertainment

May 21, 2012 in Julie Dawson - Wedding Planning Expert, Receptions, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

Entertainment – All you need to know to choose the right kind of entertainment for your wedding.

Enjoy the Entertainement at your Wedding - Photo Courtesy of Derek Anson -

When choosing entertainment for your wedding think about it carefully. What type would suit you best and which parts of the day do you think you should entertain your guests? How much do you have to spend? This will a big deciding factor on the type of entertainment you can provide.

Bored guests are never happy ones so the parts of the day that you should cater for are, the drinks reception whilst you are having your photographs taken, the wedding breakfast if you have a long time before the evening event and of course the main evening party. In my opinion the evening entertainment is where you should concentrate your effort if your budget is limited.

For the purposes of this article I will concentrate on paid entertainment. I know there is a lot of ways to DIY entertain but I am just going to concentrate on hiring entertainers.

Lets start with how much to spend out of your budget.

The average percentage is between 5 – 8% of your wedding budget. If you are a follower of the Wedding Genie then you know we believe in working out your priorities right at the beginning of your wedding planning. That way you will know right away if entertainment features highly. If so you can always spend more and cut back in other areas, but as a guide this is the average percentage.

How do you decide what kind of Entertainment you want?

I guess to a certain extent it’s down to your personal style, and what kind of atmosphere you want to create at your wedding. Do you want high energy grooving or a sophisticated jazzy feel? Are you a country music fan or a rat pack lover? Perhaps you want dancing but without the disco, such as a Ceilidh band.

Maybe your wedding has a particular theme that certain music and entertainment lend itself to. Think about what your friends and family like and how you want them to remember the evening. The more of an idea that you have will help you choose what type of entertainment is right for you.
Another factor that will help decide is the size of your venue; fitting an eight-piece band into a small intimate room is not practical, also you have to check if your venue has a license for entertainment. Lastly your budget will dictate but if you choose wisely you can still have really good entertainment, just shop around and think about it carefully.
Obviously the main part of the day to provide entertainment for is the evening reception, but if you have more in your budget then it’s great to have something going on to keep your guests entertained whilst you are having your photographs taken and throughout the drinks reception if you are having one.

Here are some suggestions of various entertainers if you are on a tight budget.

There are some brilliant DJ’s out there who can really make your party swing. Look around, don’t just go for the one that your venue suggests, ask your friends, look on the Internet. Check out what they bring with them in terms of lighting and decor. Often the DJ can put on a really good show and create a fabulous party atmosphere. Lots of the DJ websites nowadays show you what their style is and give you a choice of music to play. Don’t forget that if you want to involve your guests and ask them their favourite songs, be careful they are not all love songs. You could suggest they give you their favourite love song and their favourite dance track.

Ceilidh Band
If you want to dance but don’t like the idea of a disco, why not try a Ceilidh band? The music is lively and the caller, who is the chap that talks the guests through the dance, creates a great atmosphere, and encourages everyone to dance. It’s a fun thing to do and really involves your guests. The bride and groom can take to the floor and be totally involved in the evening’s celebrations. It is a great idea for a country wedding.

Live Singer/Jazz
The Rat Pack sound is excellent for vintage weddings. In between sets you can always fill up your IPOD so that your guests can dance and still stay in the party swing. That way you may be able to get live music for part of the evening. I have seen many weddings where this has been the case. It’s a great way of getting your party started and this type of music brings a little sophistication to your evening, the older relatives in your party will love it. Imagine your first dance being sung live whilst you glide round the dance floor.

If your budget stretches further think about a live band and entertainment for the drinks reception.

Live Bands
You can’t beat a live band for atmosphere and the wow factor. Often the band will play music to dance to in between their sets so no DJ required. You can work out the times they appear to suit the flow of your reception. Professional bands give out a great vibe and if they are really good the dance floor should be full all night. They will also bring lights and décor to give a great party atmosphere.

Mix and Mingle Artists
Using entertainers that mix and mingle such as caricaturists or a silhouettist is a good idea because your guests each get something to take home with them. Close up magicians and Mentalists can be extremely funny and entertaining too.
String quartets, guitarists, pianists, and harpists are fantastic for a classy drinks reception and also play during your ceremony if you wish. They create a lovely atmosphere and can play outside if the weather is gorgeous and your setting dictates. A stunning country mansion with beautiful gardens and guests spilling outside being wafted by lovely classical music in the sunshine starts your wedding reception in style.

Top Tips for Sourcing Entertainment Companies
There are many agencies on the Internet where you can find excellent entertainment, who specialise in wedding entertainers. Their websites should be informative, have pricing guides, question and answer areas and a good selection of entertainers to choose from, along with clips of sound tracks and choices of music. It’s a good idea to ask for references of past clients.

Talk to your friends, family or your venue coordinator to see if they know of anyone or have recommendations. Word of mouth is always a safe bet. You may have been to a wedding recently where the band or DJ was fabulous. I chose our magician from a friends wedding. I swore I was not going to have one, it’s not one of my things, but hey this guy made me laugh so much I booked him on the spot.

Go and see local bands in your area. If you get chance to see the band that you think you may want to book then you will have first hand evidence they are right for you. The other answer is to use a wedding planner; we work with reputable companies and can vouch for their standard of service. We will also understand exactly what type of entertainment is suitable for you and within your budget.

Make sure you strike up a relationship with your entertainment provider

Its very important, the supplier should be able to understand what you want from your wedding day so that they can recommend the right kind of entertainment for your celebrations. If they don’t take time to talk to you and determine what would be the best recommendation go elsewhere. The entertainment is a big part of your wedding and you want to be sure that the money you are spending is directed at the best type of entertainer for you, whether it’s a DJ, band or magician etc. You should be crystal clear about what is included within the contract, how long the entertainment lasts for, what they need in terms of set up, and riders that are included of what you have to provide in terms of food, drink and rest areas.

The choice for entertainment is quite vast but I would urge you to choose what suits your style and personality. Choose what makes you happy and what you are comfortable with. I hope this goes some way to help you decide the perfect entertainment for you.

From Wedding Planning Expert Julie Dawson – aka “The Wedding Genie”

Julie has been wedding planning for over 3 years, “My philosophy is to provide the very best support, inspiration and service to my clients.” Planning a wedding isn’t all glamour, generally it’s the tedious tasks like, finding suppliers, budgeting, liaising etc. Julie will be sharing her best tips and expert knowledge to help you plan your perfect Wedding.




How to Choose the Right Wedding Stationery Styles for Your Wedding

May 14, 2012 in Stationery, Wedding Tips by JenniBush

When it comes to choosing your wedding stationer I think the best thing to do is find someone who’s work you love. If you love their existing designs but none are quite right for your wedding, the chances are they will come up with a design you like when you contact them for a bespoke service.

Many couples contact me with very little idea of where they want to go with their wedding and the stationery can be a great starting point for a whole scheme. When it comes to style I usually advise one of two things. Generally the easiest option for many people is to pick a colour scheme they like and let the style of their wedding build from there … often certain colours lend themselves very well to a certain style and you will find yourself naturally going down this route. Pinks & Greens are great for garden party style weddings whereas Blues & Whites often feel more beachy or wintery.

Mocha Candy Stripe Stationery - by Knots & Kisses

Alternatively often the style of the venue can lead you to the right decisions to how you want your stationery and wedding to look. If a bride contacts me with little idea of what she wants but I know she’s getting married in a barn in a relaxed and casual ceremony I will naturally go down a more rustic route with her stationery … perhaps tied in string.

There are so many ideas out there these days and so many styles of wedding … Festival, Classic Hotel Glamour, Fifties Rock And Roll … and there will always be a style of stationery out there to suit.

Provide your stationer with as much information as possible and they will generally be able to evoke the style of your wedding. This can be information in photo form … we love inspiration photos to get a really good idea of the look you are going for … pictures of your venue are also great, and providing swatches of your bridesmaids dresses fabric means we can try and get the best colour match possible when it comes to make your stationery.

Big Tip though : Try not to send stationers pictures of other peoples stationery as inspiration! They’ll always feel uncomfortable and like they’re copying anothers work, which is incredibly unethical, and you’ll never get the best work from them if they’re not basing their ideas on other inspirations and you as a client.


From our Stationery Expert – Nikki Ward

Nikki Ward is the owner and designer of Knots & Kisses Wedding Stationery, providing bespoke and off the peg stationery with a personal touch and feel. Nikki has been helping couples with their wedding stationery, reception items and general styling ideas for over 3 years now and can help you out with any queries you may have about ordering invitations and incorporating stationery into the style of your wedding.