A LumberJack and Jill themed bridal shower party

Thinking about having a couple's shower? After all, it shouldn't only be the bride who gets to bask in the love of friends and family celebrating the upcoming big day. 

If you want your bridal shower to be a really good party (and in fact morph into an engagement party of sorts) then why not have a bridal shower with your other half? 

It's not exactly a traditional idea but it certainly has its advantages.

  • Maybe you're not keen on all-girl events
  • Maybe your other half wants to have a groom's shower
  • Maybe you didn't have an engagement party and this is the perfect way to combine it with a shower party
  • You've had a really good idea for a party (like the couple here) and you just have to host it
  • You've too many friends to invite to a single bridal shower so why not make it a combined event anyway?
  • You love sharing stuff with your other half in any case and wouldn't want them to miss out

If you thought bridal showers were just pink and feminine then think again. This joint bridal shower party had a lumberjack and jill theme - complete with red gingham. 

It's a bit like the classic old movie: "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". (Watch this clip to get some more inspiration if you fancy having a lumberjack and jill theme. Maybe you could even host a barn dance in a barn - now that would be different!)

I've found this Lumberjack and Jill themed couple's shower from Frilly Milly Events via Eat Drink Pretty that is sure to inspire you with its creativity. I love the unique theme and food, and the photobooth shots are priceless!

The food shots are certainly worth looking at for inspiration. Hearty and substantial - fries, corn cobs, burgers, baked beans.  And for the health option we have fresh fruit on skewers. All beautifully presented. 

Also like the silhouettes of the bride and groom here. That's something you could organise yourself too. 

Dress code for your guests is easy - it's lumberjack shirts all the way - plus a bit of gingham. Should be a fun party! 

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Photography by IGC Photography

How to find the best wedding photographer for YOU

You don't get a second chance at wedding photography. Whilst you can have a rehearsal in the days leading up to your big day, you can't retake your wedding pics. So you need to make sure you're going to get them right.

Which is all about choosing the right wedding photographer.

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Photography is big business 

The wedding photography business is a big one. With every wedding in need of a professional to capture its precious moments, there is an endless array of photographers in the field. It's important to hone in on what you really want out of these keepsakes and pick a photographer that can give you just that.

Questions to ask a potential photographer

To help you pick the right person, read through these key questions to ask before you book a photographer's services. 

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How long have you been photographing weddings?

Don't feel the need to have a complete interview with your potential photographer, but do get a sense of their experience. Just because a photographer has been capturing weddings for 10 years as opposed to one doesn't mean they're necessarily more talented. However it does probably mean that they are very efficient in photographing under pressure, and know how to get the most shots per time allotted. If you don't want to be hanging around having photographs taken when you could be with your guests then that is something really worth considering. 

What's your style?

Your number one to do is to check out a photographer's portfolio in detail before even chatting with them. You'll want to be sure that their artistic style matches the theme of your wedding. For example if you notice their portfolio features mountain landscapes and bohemian portraits, but your wedding is in a church with classic details, you'll want to pick someone who is experienced at shooting more traditional weddings. When speaking with the photographer for the first time check that your vision and their style align. You can even send over some inspirational photos so that the artist can see what you have in mind! We really stress that you get this one right from the beginning. If you have different tastes stylistically, there is going to be a devastating crash at some point. 

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Digital, film, or both?

Most photographers nowadays shoot on a professional digital cameras, however film can present a different stylistic touch. If you are planning a vintage-inspired celebration, opt for a photographer that's a pro shooting on film. Plus, the old school medium lends itself to timeless prints. 

How will you coordinate with the videographer?

Sometimes photographers and videographers can come in a package deal if you are working with a well-known studio. Make sure you get the two of them together before your big day or better still, choose a couple that work together in tandem. They'll know how to complement one another's medium so that you've got the whole day covered.

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What's included in your package?

When your photographer produces an estimate for their work, be sure to get the full list of everything that's included in that. For instance ask specifics such as are prints, albums, or proofs included in that? You'll also want to get a sense of roughly how many photos you should be expecting by the end as well.

Do you have assistants or associates to help you?

Depending on the studio of the photographer, they may have associates under them to help out or even stand in for the wedding. If you're expecting to have the head photographer there on the big day, make it clear that you trust them to be the creative director. You also need to ask them if they will be around the whole time - you don't want them handling over your precious wedding to an inexperienced assistant. You are paying for their services so make sure you get them.

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How long after the wedding will I receive photographs?

 Most couples want that instant gratification to see and share their wedding photos right away. However, depending on their workload some photographers can take months to deliver the finished products! Manage your expectations by discussing a deadline from the beginning. Most couples will have photographs to look at when they get back from their honeymoon and if you're marrying at a very busy time of year (say mid-summer) then be prepared to wait a while.

Are there copyright restrictions to using your photos?

If you're a social media fiend, then copyrights and watermarks can sometimes get in the way of your Insta wedding. This comes into play when discussing exactly what's included in the package deal. Will you have to pay extra for the copyrights of the photos or are you part-owner once they are delivered to you?

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Photos by Mia Domenico, Rebecca Hollis, Vasilis Lagios Photography, Southern Jewel Photography, and Brandy Angel Photography

How to create your perfect wedding music list

Of course, you want your big day to have just the right atmosphere - and a big part of achieving this is organizing and choosing your wedding music list. 

Music is a massive part of our everyday lives and is a personal self-expression tool for you and your partner on your wedding day - right from when guests begin to arrive at the ceremony through to the final dance. If you're having a traditional wedding then your music can veer towards the traditional. If it's a bit more bohemian, then you will want to choose more contemporary sounds. 

 

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As for creating a particular mood, then music is an almost instantaneous way of doing it. It can make you feel happy, sad, nostalgic and want you to get up and dance. Think about your guests. You won't be able to appeal to everyone all of the time, but there are some time-honoured beautiful pieces of music that will make people feel happy. 

So here are some music ideas for your wedding day. 

As guests arrive

Have some music playing in the background as everybody starts to arrive and take their seats. Don't choose anything too loud and too strident. Remember a lot of people will probably be seeing one another again for the first time in a long while - so they will want to chat.  Pachbel's Canon is a popular choice with good reason - it's classical, calm and moving and would work well for either a religious wedding ceremony or a civil service. 

Signing the register and walking back down the aisle

That's it. Congratulations! You're now married and it's time for the celebrations to begin. Here's some music that we think would be just perfect for showing how you're feeling!

Don't forget that there's a difference between the reception and the ceremony. The kind of music that you would play during a ceremony, particularly if it's being held in a church, should be different than the kind of music held at a reception. Ceremony music should be much more elegant and respectful of the union of marriage while reception music is more celebratory and usually played by a DJ. 

Your first dance 

 

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Traditionally this is when the two of you can come over all misty-eyed and dance romantically together. It's always worth having a few dance lessons beforehand so you can show off some good moves (and finally learn to waltz properly). 

And if you want to do something v non-traditional, we've included a version of Boom! Shake the Room! from Strictly! 

Getting the party started

You want your guests to hit that dance floor running. So here are some options that will certainly do the trick. We've thrown in the perennially popular 'September' as that's one that is sure to get the oldies feet tapping, remembering their Seventies disco days! 

 

3 popular wedding cake traditions

The wedding ceremony has many different traditions - walking down the aisle, wearing a veil, throwing a bouquet.

Your wedding cake is just one such tradition and it's interesting that many different cultures have some form of cake as part of the wedding ceremony.

3 popular wedding cake traditions

 

The chances are that your wedding cake is going to be on display at your reception, possibly with a table all of its own and you're likely to have a cake-cutting moment too captured on camera. You may also have spent a substantial part of your budget on a beautiful wedding cake so you'll want to show it off before it is eaten and enjoyed. 

Here are a few wedding cake traditions you might like to be thinking about ... 

 

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Save some for your first wedding anniversary

The top tier of a wedding cake is most often never cut at the wedding. Instead the bride and groom take the top tier home and freeze it. The idea is that on your one year anniversary you should defrost the remainder of the cake and eat it as a celebration for your commitment to each other! Tip: don't freeze any of the extra trimmings with your cake as they might catch freezer burn and will just take up extra space. Some couples also like to use the top tier as a christening cake for a new baby.

 

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The cake cutting ceremony

A number one tradition in the realm of wedding cakes, is the ceremony that comes after dinner when it's time to cut it. In a traditional ceremony the couple uses one knife together to take the first slice of cake. They then proceed to feed each other bites of cake to signify their commitment to each other. As a more contemporary tradition couples decide to surprise each other with an attack of cake to the face. The smashing cake tradition surely brings a few laughs from the guests but isn't for every bride and groom. So don't feel you have to do it - you may want to remain a bit more dignified ...

Cake toppers

Classic wedding cakes usually picture decorative figures of the bride and groom on the top, known as cake toppers.  Today we still see the traditional toppers but there are certainly a lot more options to either tie in the theme of the wedding in some way, or to play up a comedic factor. We like this silhouette idea here shown above.

The Top Wedding Color Schemes For Spring

The Top Wedding Color Schemes For Spring

Spring is in the air and we can't stop swooning over things like fresh cut tulips, the sound of birds chirping, and of course a new round of gorgeous color palettes. When beginning to plan for your special day, consider that you should start with a color story. Colors are the perfect way to provoke a certain mood for your event. Spring should have a sense of playfulness, softness, and freshness about it. We love the idea that colors much like flowers, tend to be very seasonal. Take the time to look around to find inspiration in the natural colors of this new season. Check out our top spring color picks for any beautiful springtime ceremony below:

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Shades of Green

Shades of green mixed with cream and ivory makes for a color palette that adds a formal air to a spring event. If you are going all in on a green palette, then be sure to include plenty of live greenery too! You will want the greens to stand out much more than the flowers. Opt for plants like succulents to create a statement that's quite unique. We also love a mismatched array of green bridesmaids dresses to play up the different shades of the versatile color.

Shop our green bridesmaid dresses.

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Peachy Perfect

Nothing says spring quite like pale shades of peach and coral. If fun but refined come across in your visual mood board, then this color combo might just be it! These two colors match up perfectly for ceremonies that are outside amongst the fresh spring air. Remember to stick to the faded pastel shades rather than vibrant hues of the colors to radiate a look that's feels utterly enchanting.

Shop our peach bridesmaid dresses.

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Ethereal Lavender

Lavender always manages to feel feminine and whimsical in formal event settings. When using lavender for your wedding, opt for soft fabrics and dainty details to provoke a light and airy feeling. Other colors that match best with lavender include deeper shades of purple, grays, and white. Try adding in actual sprigs of lavender to places like centerpieces and cocktails at the reception for an added aroma of tranquility.

Shop lavender bridesmaid dresses.

Paper Lantern Lighting

Are you thinking about a wedding full, and I mean FULL, of colour? Like, having your bridesmaids dressed in jewel-coloured gowns, and your flowers in bright, vibrant tones like these joyous ones from Helen Jane Floristry?

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Then I've found just the marquee interior you need to follow that theme through for a really brilliant wedding reception party, one that has loads of colour and dancing and energy. And it comes in the form of paper lantern lighting. Hanging clusters of different coloured lanterns from the ceiling of a marquee can transform it into an Aladdin's cave of dazzling, magical beauty, especially if they are set against a backdrop of twinkling lights on black cloth, as shown below.

Paper lantern lighting

Tops Marquees in Berkshire introduced me to this fabulous marquee interior idea and I just love it. And with such vibrant paper lantern lighting stealing the show, you wouldn't really have to go mad on the flowers for the tables - after all, all of your guests will be too busy marvelling at the lights to pay any attention to the table decorations! But if you want to keep the lighting a surprise until the first dance, just ask your marquee provide to put up a revealer curtain separating the dance floor from the rest of the marquee, so that you can unveil the lanterns when you're ready and start your married life off in a riot of colour!

 

 

Rules For Keeping the Love Alive Before the Wedding

Rules For Keeping the Love Alive Before the Wedding

Getting married is one of the most exciting moments in your relationship, but it can also cause quite a bit of stress on the both of you. It's important to focus on keeping the little fights to a minimum and maximizing the love in the air. Its's natural for the romance to fizzle during the long stage of wedding errands, however you don't have to wait until the honeymoon to rekindle that fire. From pre-engagement talk to wedding day events, follow these simple ground rules to deal with the changes to come in your love life.
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Be Open

Naturally, there are certain things about your partner that are going to bother you, and it goes both ways. From the beginning, establish a sense of honesty in your relationship. Go into the wedding planning process with the idea that you should both be able to express how you feel in certain situations. With an open line of communication, you will likely feel less lasting resentment.

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Date Night is Important

Talking about wedding plans at a local coffee shop does not count as a date! Carve out time in your busy schedules to actually go out and enjoy yourselves without thinking or conversing about the wedding at all. It's necessary to take a break from all of your to-do lists and focus on the true meaning of your marriage.
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Motivate Each Other

Stress does so much to our bodies and minds. When stress levels are high, it's the most critical time to focus on your health. Help each other stay active by going to the gym together, or taking a hike. Plan out nutritious meals and make a date out of cooking for each other. Not only will it keep your bodies in tip shop shape for the big day, but studies show you will feel less of the effects of stress when you are abiding by a proper diet and exercise routine.
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Get Away

Repeat: don't wait until the honeymoon to unleash the romance! Plan a weekend retreat, day trip, or even staycation to prelude the honeymoon. Think of your "mini moon" as an opportunity to unplug and just be together. Taking this time away will help your relationship flourish and also eliminate those pre-wedding jitters.
Logan-Cole-Photography-Wedding-Kauai-Hawaii-066Simple Reminders of Love

We tend to forget that whisper the simple words "I love you" really means so much. Especially when tensions have been high, stop to just show your love towards each other. Small things make the difference, like leaving a note out before your lover goes to work to simply remind them. Verbalizing those three words can negate all those harsh feelings that have been slipping into your mind.

Photos by M&J Studios and Logan Cole Photography.

Artificial Blossom Trees

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 fabulously uplifting 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 and not just because of its visual allure. In Japanese culture, cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life - "a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short" as Japanese chef Homaro Cantu wrote.

And not only is cherry blossom exquisite in colour and form, its appearance is always a sign of better things to come. How more appropriate could it be to have at your wedding? I'm not talking about the odd sprig in your bouquet either, I'm talking about re-creating the Kyoto Cherry Blossom extravaganza inside your wedding venue:

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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. There are two options to choose from: the avenue of artificial blossom trees as shown above within a marquee or room, or using the fake cherry blossom trees as table centres:

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So if you want to have one of the most romantic wedding receptions ever, do contact Crescent Moon and enquire about their artificial blossom trees  - it really would give you a Wedding Day that you and your guests would never forget.

What to wear at your Engagement Party

He popped the question, you said yes and now you're celebrating the fab news at an evening soirée with your nearest and dearest. So the burning question is...what to wear at your engagement party?

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If it's an evening do, I'd definitely go for something dark, figure-hugging and elegant; after all, you've taken a pretty grown-up step getting engaged, so why not go the whole hog and wear a grown-up outfit? And steer clear of anything remotely bridal - the time will come for that!

I love this Perseus dress (left) from Monsoon (Perseus was the brother of Helen of Troy, who was so beautiful that her face famously launched a thousand ships after she eloped/was kidnapped by Paris, thus beginning the Trojan War).

And I think that if you wore this dress, you really would feel and look incredibly beautiful and quite the radiant bride-to-be.

A less structured but equally as beguiling dress from Phase Eight is this Prima Rosa Maxi Dress (below), perfect to wear as you sip your champagne and circulate round the room, excitedly talking to everyone about your plans for the forthcoming nuptials.

Engagement Dress Prima Rosa Maxi Dress from Phase Eight

 

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Alternatively you could opt for the understated beauty of this stunning full-length Dessy gown Style 6741 (left) with cut-away sides revealing a silver metallic bodice. The close-up is featured at the top of the page which enables you to see quite how alluring it is.

 

 

 

You don't have to wear long, of course. This high-lo dress (below) from Dessy is superbly glamorous, with its black fleur embroidery overlay, 3/4 length sleeves and deep V back. The modified circle skirt gives a glorious sweep as you turn and you'll feel the absolute Belle of the Ball.

What to wear at your engagement party

The floral jacquard Verdure Tapestry Dress from Hobbs (below) is the height of sophistication and is a perfect example of what to wear at your engagement party; simply cut, colourful without being garish, and classy - what more could you - or your fiancé - ask for?

what to wear at your engagement party

 

The Art of the Rehearsal Dinner

The Art of the Rehearsal Dinner

Traditionally the rehearsal dinner is a time for the bride and groom's families to bond and rejoice before the big event. It's meant to prepare the couple for the ceremony in a mellow and joyful environment. We like to think that there is an art to creating the perfect intimate setting for this dinner. To master the celebration and make it enjoyable for all, make sure you have these quintessential elements planned to a T.

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 The Guest List

Who to invite and who not to invite will simply be a question that haunts you throughout the wedding planning process. However, proper etiquette lays out a few rules for the rehearsal. Definitely make sure that everyone in the ceremony is able to attend, this includes the officiant, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and all parents. Make sure that both or your immediate families are present to share more of that personal time with you.  Additionally if you have guests that have travelled a distance to come to your wedding, then it's polite to invite most, if not all, of them.

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The Location 

A rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted in honor of the happy couple. The host could be parents, friends, or really anyone including the bride and groom themselves. However, the main responsibility of the host is to plan out the details. First and foremost this means where the dinner will be held. Many couples plan to have the dinner at the same location as their wedding, yet it is not required. Consider designing a  rustic backyard affair or even holding the event in a local restaurant.

Blute_Gordon_MarkDavidsonPhotography_TwoBrightLights0029_0_low The Decor

When deciding on a style for the rehearsal dinner, remember that it should not overshadow the ambience of the actual wedding. The dinner's decor should be much more casual and low key but definitely remained planned and precise. Incorporate candles and flowers on place settings to set the mood for an intimate gathering.

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 The Dress

The dress code of the rehearsal should match the formality of your location and decor. As a bride you'll want to invest a little extra time while shopping to find more of a cocktail-style dress for your pre-wedding rehearsal. Whether it's white lace sheath or a floral printed sundress, look for something that makes you feel elegant and beautiful. (Hint: look for one that you may actually wear again!)

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 The Food

The host is the person in charge of handling the budget and absorbing all costs for the rehearsal dinner. They should budget for a substantial meal with accompanying beverages for the attendees. Try staying away from a six course menu that is catered, because you will most likely be experiencing that the following night.

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The Timing

The night before the wedding is the most common time for couples to assemble the rehearsal. However, if your schedule doesn't allow the traditional route, try opting for a lunch or even brunch. Yet if it is a dinner, keep in mind that it should happen on the earlier side so that the wedding party get rest up before the next day's events.

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The Toasts

Toasts are often a big part of the evening, but they tend to be more spontaneous than at the wedding reception. Anyone is welcome to share a good story or give their warmest wishes to the couple during the dinner. It is also the perfect opportunity for the bride and groom to give a toast of their own, thanking all of their friends and family for making beautiful memories with them. At this time the bride and groom also have the chance to give gifts to their wedding party or anyone else they feel supported them along the way.

Photos by Arnau Dubois Photography, Mark Davidson Photography, Addison Studios, Petula Pea Photography, and Brandy Angel Photography.