Destination weddings around the world

Today we have a guest blog from Fairmont Properties who've hosted weddings from Shanghai to The Plaza in New York. With all the weddings the planning staff see, they're perfectly placed to tell us about wedding trends and ideas.

What chic couples around the world are doing

Destination weddings have moved past the days when the wedding party dons their finest formal tuxes and gowns only to dress down with bare feet or flip flops. Wedding parties that don't want to compromise on couture but still want to take advantage of the beauty of the beach can get creative with ceremony set-up. Brides can keep their Louboutins for a ceremony on the sand by creating custom catwalks - turning the walk down the aisle into a walk down the runway.

"Nature and fashion are perfect partners", said Stephan Miller, Director of Catering and Special Events at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. "We essentially built a runway for one particularly stylish bride who wanted a beach wedding, but whose heart was set on wearing her designer shoes. The same strategy also works on grassy areas like our Turtle Pointe venue, which features a lovely gazebo surrounded by beautiful greenery."

#Bestweddingever

"Facebook may be great for sharing photos after the Big Day, but a number of couples have figured out that making a social media hashtag for their wedding makes it easy to connect with guests, share photos in real time, and end up with a huge trove of candid shots. There's no need for disposable cameras on the tables when guests are online with Instagram and Twitter. As an added bonus, they never run out of film!

"We've seen couples include hashtags on everything from save-the-date cards and invitations to actually displaying it on signage at the event", said Jennifer Zajac, Internet Marketing Coordinator at Boston's Fairmont Copley Plaza. "Twitter lights up when certain weddings are in house, not only does it make it super easy for friends and family to share the fun, it also means that people who couldn't make it to the event can participate from wherever they are in the world."

Ditch the Bar & Free the Bartender

Wine or Champagne may be the beverage of choice during the wedding reception, but once the speeches are done, the party begins. Some couples are avoiding tedious cocktail lines by having mobile bars roaming the venue on carts or even attached to roving waiters. Drinks and shots with fancy names add life to the wedding, and having the bartenders rove around the festivities keeps events fun and lively all night long.

"Mobile bars can come in many shapes and sizes, and don't just have to consist of waiters walking around with pre-made drinks," says Monique Garcia, Associate Director of Events at Fairmont Makati, Philippines. "They can be stylishly imagined and offer a surprising variety of beverages. One of my favourite ideas is to make cocktails named not only after the couple, but their bridal entourage as well!"

decorated chairs at wedding

The trend of small weddings is going strong, with some receptions becoming more like intimate dinner parties for 10-20 guests. These luxurious affairs allow hotels to produce amazing plated dinners, and also allow the couple to share the day with just the people who mean the most to them.

"Small weddings allow for a lot of flexibility, and can offer a unique kind of grandeur that you just can't get with an enormous event", said Heather Courtney, Wedding Coordinator at The Fairmont Palliser in Calgary. "Especially common for people getting married for the second time, we've put together intimate affairs around regal King's Table concepts that are simply stunning."

"Smaller, more intimate weddings events are still on the rise", said Ann Renneker, Director of Catering and Conference Services at The Fairmont Dallas. "We've had requests for varied course options and table-side culinary demonstrations that simply wouldn't be possible with large groups. Couples often request several choices for selection and we now even offer a choice of appetisers, which are served according to guest response cards."

(Gold bridesmaid dresses by Dessy)

Go for the Gold

Trends are often dictated by recent events, fashion, interior design, and the vast world of print and social media. Gold has never been more popular across the board. The opulent accent adds drama to all kinds of décor, and lends an unmatched level of sophistication to everything it touches.

"If I had to pick one trend for 2013, based on my own upcoming client weddings, and London Fashion Week, it would be the use of gold as an accent colour", said Bruce Russell, London Wedding Planner for Weddings at The Savoy by Bruce Russell. "I am seeing gold accents in all kinds of décor whether it's linen, candelabras, cutlery or stationery. Florists are also being asked to create arrangements with more neutral colours, with some blooms being dipped in gold."

Tea Time Instead of Cocktail Hour

As weddings gravitate toward heightened elegance and sophistication, a new way to bring style to an event is by including teatime. After a stunning ceremony, smart couples don't let guests mill around with passed canapes and cocktails, they go all out with exquisite pastries and a fully formal afternoon tea before the reception.

"We are seeing lots of brides move beyond cutesy cupcakes and cookies", said Christo Van Wyk, Wedding and Function Coordinator at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort in South Africa. "Couples still love the idea of a variety of small bites instead of one big wedding cake, but don't want to compromise on style, so we've found that a classy tea service is the perfect segue into the reception."

"We're also seeing the trend of wedding tea in Bermuda", said Kimberley Terceira, Conference Services & Catering Manager from Fairmont Southampton. "Sometimes it's hosted en lieu of a cocktail hour, but it can also be great for pre-wedding formalities, often with brides hosting afternoon tea at Jasmine Lounge with the ladies before the event."

"We love tea for bridal showers, said Dana Schroader, Weddings Specialist at The Fairmont Olympic in Seattle. We have done several ornate showers in our Kensington Room, and with the Roaring 20s history of our hotel, the tie-ins with the hugely popular 'Great Gatsby' theme are a natural fit."

Buying Out the Banquet Space

Some couples are taking advantage of luxury resorts by booking several banqueting rooms taking up entire wings of conference centres and event spaces for their big day. Not only does this ensure exclusivity and complete privacy, it allows guests to go back and forth between a quieter, lounge-like atmosphere and a lively dance floor.

"Couples looking for an immersive experience can make an entire area seem like their own private and exclusive enchanted palace", said Katie Rae Kugler, Wedding Coordinator at Scotland's Fairmont St Andrews. "We've seen couples offer one suite for the dinner, one for dancing, one as a relaxing room to get away from the music, and an open patio area to drink and be out under the stars. It feels like your party is the only thing happening in the whole world!"

"Lounges are popular as a way to get some respite from lively dance floors", said Meaghan Tiberio, Catering Sales Manager from Fairmont Pittsburgh. "You can create these comfy spaces right in your reception area for a more casual atmosphere, or host it in a space nearby. Couches, ottomans and pillows that match your decor create a great vibe."

Small Bites, Big Impact

Sliders, small bites and comfort food are old news, but savvy foodies know that guests still love the ease and convenience of bite-size nibbles. The sophisticated solution - Mini buffets and delectable canapes that wouldn't be out of place in any fine dining establishment.

"The most prominent trend for us is mini food buffets that offer a stunning presentation and a variety of haute cuisine options", said Kathy Robineau, Senior Catering Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs. "Guests still prefer the variety available with smaller portions, so we're presenting stylish options on glass pyramids and even floating in the air, suspended from the ceiling."

"In Cairo, candy stations are still popular, but crepe stations with chocolate, maple and honey flavours are a classier addition", said Rehab Youssef, Conference, Events & Social Sales Director at Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers. "Elaborate juice fountains where guests can fill their own glasses from freshly squeezed fruit are another great way to keep guests fuelled and ready to party all night long."

Picture Perfect

Many brides and grooms have done away with the traditional guest book and are coming up with imaginative keepsakes that they can treasure year-round. Signed photos, scrap books and more have become creative ways to bring the event home.

"We've seen many recent couples bring a picture frame with a white matte for guests to write congratulatory notes and well wishes", said Polly Xiong, Weddings Manager at The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. "Alternatively, couples will bring a picture book that includes photos with family and friends for guests to sign. One recent couple brought a scrapbook and Polaroid camera for guests to take photos and then tape their photo in the scrapbook with a note!"

Time to Talk

Weddings are a time for old friends and new to get together and celebrate. So, encouraging conversation is an important responsibility for any couple. Whether you've sat two guests together who may not be acquainted, or the couple themselves are trying to make it easier to mingle, there are multiple strategies for getting people talking.

"To ensure couples can enjoy all of their guests during the wedding banquet, we suggest keeping two free seats at each table", said Hane Cabarrus, Conference Service Manager at Quebec's Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. "Not only can the wedding couple switch tables throughout the evening instead of being isolated at the head of the room, guests can wander to other tables to chat with friends and family who may not be seated with them."

"We are also seeing more Family Style Dinners", said Kourtney McKercher, Director of Conference Services at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler. "When guests share platters of main dishes instead of individual dinner selections it creates a warm, conversational dining experience."

Fairmont Hotels

Friday Festivities

Increasing numbers of couples are selecting Friday as the day for the wedding celebration. They are able to book a venue of their dreams at a value driven pricing structure and still enjoy all of the ruffles and flourishes of a Saturday evening celebration.

"The added benefit of a Friday event is that it adds an extra day of celebration for out of town family and friends", said Robert J. Mikolitch, Director of Catering at Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown. "Couples can plan to host a BBQ or post-celebration party on the following Saturday evening for friends and family who want to celebrate all weekend long."

Some interesting new ideas here from Fairmont. Future brides and grooms interested in more information on holding a wedding at Fairmont should visit Fairmont Weddings online.

Images via Fairmont Hotels

How to use Spotify at your wedding reception

(Photo by The Nichols)

It's becoming more and more popular for playlists to replace DJs at wedding receptions. It cuts costs and allows the bride and groom to fully control the mood...

But on the flip side, the bride and groom (or whoever they bestow the musical duties to) has to fully control the vibe of the reception. That's a lot of pressure to get family & friends busting a move and to keep it going (that's the hard part).

How can Spotify replace your wedding music?

Spotify, the music streaming super system has been around for a while now and it's single-handedly changed the way most people listen to music.

If you're not so familiar with Spotify, it is music app that also allows users to create playlists. You might be thinking to yourself, "I can make a playlist on my iTunes account. So what?" Well... Spotify is not a one-note, but it's a well thought out program that operates more lists an orchestra. Trust me, you'll never want to make an iTunes playlist again.

SPOTIFY RADIO - 1

So what's different?

What makes Spotify so unique are two distinct features.

First off, the interface allows you to follow other users and to access their playlists. Vogue has a pretty epic mix in Vogue Radio and everyone from DJs to artists create open playlists that users can follow. Spotify also has their own playlists that meld together the best tunes by genre - Hip Hop Monsters is among one of my favorites. This type of easy access proves to be very useful when you're trying to fill up hours with some serious dance jams. It's also the best insurance policy for a good time. If, heaven forbid, your song selection is falling flat, there's no need to worry - just search out the Top 100 playlist or look for 90's Best Dance Music and you're saved from yourself.

A post shared by Ryan Keller (@_rk010_) on

Suggesting songs


The second feature that makes Spotify truly unique is their Discover tab... It showcases new releases and suggest songs, artists and playlists based on your previous history. This function can be a very helpful resource when there's so many options.

In addition, Spotify has the ability to share and playlists, favorites and suggestions to other users. Imagine sending the whole wedding party a "Getting Ready to Get Hitched" playlist for the day of the big event? Or ... How touching would it be to share some of the nights biggest moments (father/daughter, first dance, etc) with all of the guests?

Check out Spotify for yourself and for just dollars or pounds a month you can have the world's music at your fingertips - with or without an internet connect and commercial-free.

Start warming up those dance moves...!

That in-between age for bridesmaids (and how to deal with it)

(Dessy styles Alfred Sung D699FP, JR536FP)

What's the difference between a flowergirl and a bridesmaid?

Well, a flowergirl is usually young - under the age of 10 probably. Flower girl dresses are a little girl's delight - full skirted, in pretty colours with co-ordinating sashes and Dessy offers them in sizes 2-12

But when a girl hits 10 she doesn't want to look like a flower fairy. She's looking for something a little more 'grown-up', a little more sophisticated. If you've got older bridesmaids she's going to want to be like the 'big girls' and hold her own with them.

Flower girl style FL4055

That's why we introduced our Junior Bridesmaid Dresses. Specially designed to suit and fit younger figures which haven't yet got grown-up curves. Our Junior Bridesmaid line is a perfect choice for pre-teens. Check the styles and you'll see that many of the features - spaghetti straps, one shoulder styles, waist details - are similar to those on the adult bridesmaid version - it's just that these are cut to fit less mature figures.

Junior bridesmaid style JR534

If you're looking to dress your girls all in one theme - from flowergirls through to your girlfriends in their twenties, then you'll find it very straightforward as many of our bridesmaid dresses are available in a on-trend fabrics and colours - like these shimmering sequins and florals.

Dessy style 3002

So you can get a neckline and length to suit each and every individual - which will make for happy photographs of your maids.

Off to a prom?

Remember that your junior bridesmaids may also be attending a school prom at some time in the near future, so why not choose a dress that would be suitable for a prom too? Take a look at Dessy's prom selection, which hosts many styles in attractive colours, to flatter all shapes and figures.

Why you should consider having floral bridesmaid dresses

(Images above from left: Alfred Sung Style D699P and Jenny Yoo 534

Flowers and weddings go together like ... perfection.

One trend to consider is having floral print bridesmaid dresses. The other day we recommended the idea of just having your maid of honour wear a floral gown as a way of standing out from the other bridesmaids, but here I'll show you how stunning the entire bridal party can look if more of the maids are dressed in florals.

Floral don't have to be spriggy chintzes either - you can have delicate flowers or something larger and more splashy - as Dessy shows here.

(All bridesmaids dresses from Dessy. From above: Jenny Yoo Style JY533, Dessy 2828, Alfred Sung 699FP, After Six 6766)

And then below we have another beautiful interpretation (from Green Wedding Shoes via Pinterest) where the bride chose to use the hand-tied flowers to lead the visual impact with bold, striking colours and dramatic ribbons. This allowed the girls to mix and match their dresses with two pale pink floral on black (one high neck, one a deep V) and one solid black deep V; two pale pink floral on blush (again one high neck, one a deep V) and one solid pale pink high neck. Very cleverly structured so that the seemingly random selection of dresses is actually extremely well planned and perfectly balanced with the bride's stunning cross-over gown.

pink floral print bridesmaid dresses

Another beautiful example of pink floral print bridesmaid dresses is this image from Knotsville.com via Pinterest. This time the background of the bridesmaids' gowns is a delicate duck egg blue which is a brilliant foil for the coral pink floral pattern, adding a lovely depth to the overall effect:

pink floral print bridesmaid dresses

As you can see, there are many ways to make floral bridesmaids dresses a unique statement at your wedding. Just look at the floral options available from Dessy and you'll be immediately inspired by the variety of colour within the fabric which will allow you to pick out whichever element you want as a highlight (pink, coral, red, yellow, green), as well as the different bridesmaid necklines (jewel, strapless and deep V).

pink floral print bridesmaid dresses

From the left we have D707FP, centre is D724CP and right is D723FP, all from the fabulous Alfred Sung collection at Dessy for the perfect summer wedding. Happy picking!

Which necklines would suit your bridesmaids?

(Real bridesmaids wearing a selection of Dessy gowns)

We ladies, we come in all different shapes and sizes. No two of us are quite the same (not even if we're twins).

Some of us are small and curvy. Some of us are athletic and toned. Others of us are just skinny.

Changing features

One thing is for sure, none of us are 100% happy with the way we look - we all have bits we'd like to change.
So what you need to make sure is that onlookers focus on your good bits (while you disguise the rest).

And that's also important when it comes to choosing bridesmaid dresses.

Dressing your bridesmaids to flatter

I hope that you're not going to dress each of your maids in exactly the same frock regardless of their shape and whether the colour and style suits them - there are so many ways around this, particularly if you choose a bridesmaid dress designer like Dessy who offer styles in as many colours and shapes as you can imagine. And it's easy to navigate your way around the site - just tick whether you're looking for cocktail dresses, full length dresses, halter necklines ...

So today I'm going to talk about necklines and what suits different - erm - chests. Here goes.

Alfred Sung Style D697

Scoop necklines

If you're fairly well endowed but aren't given to flashing your cleavage about (and you need a bit of support) then a scoop neckline is classy, flattering and comfortable.

After Six Style 6742

Halter necklines

If you're less well endowed, but have elegant trim shoulders and upper arms then a halter neckline is the way ahead.

Alfred Sung Style D681

Bateau neckline

This is a higher neckline- so suitable when you want to feel quite 'covered' up. Again, good for girls with small bustlines.A V-neckline can look stunning on girls with boobs. (The one above is Dessy Alfred Sung Style D681)

If you're a well endowed kind of a girl, look at V-necklines and styles which have a defined waist - like the Dessy dress shown above. Go shopping for a really good bra that's going to support you - take your bridesmaid dress with you to make sure the two work together.

Alfred Sung Style D691

One shoulder necklines

Va-va voom glamour alert. If your wedding is moving from day to night these are dresses that will look pretty and party on. Best worn by girls who have medium sized busts - if you're flat chested you won't really be able to carry off this look and larger girls will feel uncomfortable. Again, finding the right bra is crucial - so take your dress with you when you go bra shopping to ensure a really good fit.

Jenny Yoo Style JY536

Strapless styles

Look at shots of film stars in the 1950s (I'm thinking Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor) and you'll see that strapless frocks have never been out of style. Fabulous choice for bridesmaids but not for flat chested girls (or girls who are large up top). Make sure you're wearing supportive underwear and make sure your strapless gown fits you perfectly - resist the temptation to pull it up all the time, that's so not a good look. If you're going to wear a strapless gown then you've got to wear it with confidence.

All bridesmaids dresses featured available from Dessy.

Transform your wedding reception into a cherry blossom-filled forest

Every year when the blossom trees come out I am struck by the precious, delicate beauty of the flowers and find it one of the most beautiful of sights.

And of course, I'm not the only one! The cherry blossom season in Kyoto is one of the world's most glorious natural events.

A canopy of blossom for your wedding day

So how would you like to turn your wedding reception into a cherry-tree blossom filled forest, like this one here?

artificial blossom trees

I challenge anyone to find a more beautiful, show-stopping sight than this incredible set-up from the innovative venue styling, marquee decor experts, Crescent Moon.

This is a company that really knows how to decorate a venue beautifully. Of course, it could be said that Kate Middleton kick-started the wedding tree trend six years ago when the aisle of Westminster Abbey was lined inside with trees, giving her a forest-style walk to her prince.

Crescent Blossom have two options for brides wishing to replicate the look. An avenue of artificial blossom trees as shown above within a marquee or room, or using the fake cherry blossom trees as table centres as below.

artificial blossom trees

In my opinion, both look completely beautiful.

The blossom-filled forest would be perfect for a spring or an early summer wedding day - particularly if the wedding is uncertain and you're marrying in a marquee. By decorating the interior of your venue you really can bring the outside in, and not worry about any potential rain.

In winter, the bare trees decorating the table will give a winter forest effect.

So if you want to have one of the most romantic wedding receptions ever, take a look at Crescent Moon's website and see how the experts use blossom trees - it really would give you a wedding day look that you and your guests would never forget.

Why we love Barn Weddings

Kingsbury Barn, St Albans, England

Charming, stylish, bags of personality, bit of a history (in a good way) and dependable.

Okay - so we know your fiancé is all that and more! But the same description could also be applied to a wedding that's held in a barn.

A post shared by The Barn At Flanagan Farm (@thebarnatflanaganfarm) on

Unpredictable weather

To be honest, in the UK we never know where we are with the weather. Marry in the summer and you're not guaranteed a beautiful June day - it could be cold, chilly and wet. You could plan an autumn wedding and be blessed with glorious sunshine. You just never know.

A post shared by Earth Trust (@earth_trust) on

A rural countryside feel

Which is why holding your wedding in a barn could work perfectly for you, particularly if you want a slightly rural, countryside feel to the whole day.

You'll find that many barn venues are licensed so that you can hold your wedding ceremony there and then move straight onto a party (which is going to save you on transport costs for a start).

Barn decorations

Decorating a barn isn't difficult either. The whole rustic background will give your wedding a personality, even before you start decorating.

A post shared by Andy Li Photography (@andyli.photography) on

Add a few haybales, bunting and letters and styling your barn wedding is simple!

You can take the weather as it comes - if it's a beautiful day have drinks and canapes outside and then move under the barn's beams for dinner and dancing. Bring the outside inside with haybales and rustic-inspired flowers and decorations.

Twine fairy lights around the beams to give a touch of magical sparkle and atmosphere.

barn wedding decorated

A post shared by Style & the Bride (@styleandthebride) on

Dress up barn beams with lengths of inexpensive muslin and you'll really get the wow factor. You can use muslin for the tablecloths too.

Remember that if you have a venue with character it's much easier to decorate and a barn lends itself perfectly to a boho style or vintage wedding theme.

Why You Should Keep An Open Mind When Shopping For A Wedding Dress

One of my girlfriends is getting married in December - she's had a bit of a whirlwind engagement - and because she knows I write about weddings she asked me to join her on a wedding dress shopping trip.

I was so honored. So at the duly appointed time, I met her and her teenage daughter at the wedding dress shop for the appointment she'd set up, at Ellie Sanderson's shop in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

Fixed ideas about a wedding frock

It was a real eye opener to me. My girlfriend had arrived with a moodboard and she had very fixed ideas about her colors, the style of dress she wanted and the fit. (Her daughter is quite involved in the wedding planning side of things and had a very efficient-looking file with her).

My girlfriend (I won't name names in case her husband-to-be is reading this!) had a look around at all the gowns, and then chatted to Ellie about the sort of wedding day she was planning, the time of year it was, where the ceremony was being held and the time of day.

Experts like Ellie Sanderson look at a bride's whole personality - as well as figure - and I was impressed at how quickly Ellie summed up my friend's being.

A post shared by The Dessy Group (@dessygroup) on

Dressing For Your Fiance

The bride to be is a bright, bouncy kind of a person - it's a second marriage - and she wants to look amazing for her fiance (no surprises there then).

Ellie pulled out a selection of dresses from the racks - talked about why she thought they would suit and the pair of them then went off to the changing rooms, whilst teenage daughter and I chatted and waited impatiently. At this point you should know that my girlfriend had arrived in jeans and a shirt - so when she swept back out again in a floor length full bridal gown, with her hair pinned up off her shoulders, there was a total transformation.

A post shared by The Dessy Group (@dessygroup) on

Play Up Your Good Points

My friend - let's call her D - has great shoulders, lovely skin and a good bustline. All of which were accentuated perfectly in an ivory, strapless frock with a hidden built-in corset which gave her a wonderful shape. The duchesse satin was pleated across the front (a confidence trick if you're less than perfectly happy with your tummy) and then the whole gown fell below to a wonderful full, sweeping skirt with a small train. D looked quite the princess. She immediately said 'this is the dress I want' but we persuaded her to try on a few more, which brought out different features. Each had their good points - but we all agreed that the dress she first tried on was The One. Which is interesting, because that's not always the case. Brides to be often arrive at a shop with a particular idea of a gown they've seen in a magazine and demand to try it on but are disappointed when it doesn't look quite right on them.

A post shared by MyWedding-TheArtOfCelebration (@myweddingmag) on

Listen To The Experts

If you think about it, the experts in bridal shops see so many different girls a year and know the different specialties of different designers - so with just a look at you they can sum up what is going to show off your good points and flatter, and what will diminish your not so good characteristics.

Anyway, about an hour and a half later, D went back to the original dress and put it back on. As it was strapless, she felt she needed more of a cover-up for the ceremony itself and has chosen to wear a delicate lace tie back top made by Sassi Holford which gives a perfect day to night look. (She also looked very pretty in it.lace bridal top

Lace top by Sassi Holford

Originally D had wanted a purple wedding dress - to introduce a note of purple I suggested that she wear some purple shoes instead - an idea she loved for the quirkiness of it. Of course, she's getting married in December so purple is a wonderfully rich winter color for flowers too.

So to sum up. When you're wedding dress shopping:

  • Take a moodboard with you so that the shop knows the kind of look you're after
  • Talk about the sort of bride you want to be and how you see the event going
  • Let the experts look at you, your shape so they can judge what will suit you
  • Choose some dresses yourself but let the experts also make suggestions - you may well be surprised and that may end up being the dress you wear!
  • Think about colored accessories like shoes
  • If you have teenage daughters and nieces, don't be afraid to invite them along. If you look good they'll tell you, if not they'll also tell you honestly!

17 ways to make your wedding a bit QUIRKY!

Are you the kind of girl who likes to do things her own way?

You don't mind a bit of traditional - but you'd like to shake things up a little. Add a few surprises. Make your wedding day a little quirky.

I've had a look through some real weddings and some suggestions made by brides and created the following list of 20 ways to add that special quirky.

See what you think and if you've any to add, please let me know! All suggestions welcome.

20 Ways To Make Your Wedding Day A Little Bit Quirky

1. On each guest setting, write a note on how they know the bride and groom. Eg "Met the groom at school aged 7 and have been friends ever since." Or "Live next door to the bride and groom." A great ice breaker for the tables and a sure conversation starter.You could also do the above as a wedding badge - but keep it shorter. Eg - "This is the bride's auntie Rachel". "This is the groom's Boss!"

2. As a wedding favor, get a little mini Lego figure made of each guest. You can do this via MiniFigMe.com. And even if you don't do it for the adults, it's a great idea for kids wedding favors!

A post shared by M A N D Y B O W L E R (@whitetulipphoto) on

3. Wear colored wedding shoes

A post shared by Queensland Brides (@queenslandbrides) on

4. Mis-match your bridesmaids necklines. Let them choose what suits them and they'll be happy. You'll be happy. And you'll get some great photographs if everyone is smiley!

5. Give the groom and his groomsmen mismatched buttonholes too.

6. If you'd rather have a buffet and you're having a country-style wedding then what about having different styles of food served festival style in different gazebos?

7. Have a break in the dancing and hold a Mr & Mrs Quiz for the bride and groom. Guaranteed to get your guests laughing!

A post shared by Hollywoods Golden Age (@hwgoldenage) on

8. Have a wedding photograph taken that's a pastiche of a famous movie poster image

9. Send out confetti with your wedding invitations so the guests can bring it along with them

10. Hand out DJ cards on the wedding tables and put a letterbox by the DJ so he knows what everybody would like played

A post shared by Jessica Rothy (@jessicakes54) on

11.Surprise your other half with a groom's cake as well as your joint wedding cake

12. Copy the bouquet your grandmother held at her wedding and take a then and now image

13. Get married at 6pm and have an evening party. The law has recently changed in the UK so you can do this and it'll actually help your budget as you'll be giving your guests one meal rather than two (or an evening meal and afternoon tea).

A post shared by Cocktail-Book.com (@signature.drinks) on

14. Serve a signature cocktail to your guests when they arrive.

15. Create a hashtag for your wedding day and give it to your guests so they can use it to Instagram pics, on Facebook, Snapchat or wherever. Then you'll be able to find everything. #KateandWilliamweddingday

16. Have a short video made up of your time together and use instead of a speech

17. Have a break in the dancing and play some kids games for 20 minutes so the youngsters can join in. I'm thinking games like musical chairs, musical bumps, musical statues or even pass the parcel ... all the stuff you played at parties when you were a kid.

Picking out perfect wedding accessories for your bridesmaids ...

(Breathtaking Dessy bridesmaids in our Dessy Collection dress style 2918)

My best friend always looks well-dressed and stylish. She hasn't got a big clothes budget either - she's just clever in the way she puts her outfits together. For example, she'll buy a chain store dress but swap the belt for something different or change the buttons. And so she's instantly created a look that nobody else will have - a look that's her own.

The same applies when dressing your bridesmaids.

I got to thinking about the way she accessorises and realised that the same applies with wedding accessories, especially when you're dressing your bridesmaids.

Wedding Sashes by Dessy

You could buy a dress off the peg and then embellish it with a sash. Maybe in a different colour, to contrast the whole effect. Think about the wedding accessories that will make a difference.

A georgette stole could also look very elegant - as a cover up for the religious ceremony and then to give the outfit a whole new look at the reception. (The stoles above from Dessy.)

Avoiding matchy-matchy for bridesmaids is very on trend right now. You can dress your maids in different shades, in rainbow colors or in variations on a shade (for example every color pink from the palest rose to the deepest magenta).

They'll love you for that because it means that every girl will be able to dress in a color that suits her complexion and flatters her figure. Some girls look fantastic in pastels - others look 'washed-out' and will be happier in a stronger color.

Dessy also does a tempting selection of glittery shoe clips to dress up plain ballet flats. There are mini handbags too.



The key to personalising your wedding and making it look original (and not off the peg) is to use accessories to alter an outfit. No two brides will do this in the same way. A good way to start is by looking at Pinterest and starting up your own board with accessory ideas.