Well here we are, into Spring & the 4th chapter of a 12 chapter book (I love that way of describing the year, so positive!) We've had a good year so far with January to March's shows being cold but popular with visitors & suppliers alike & many connections being made. Which warms my heart I must say! After all, I only do this job for YOU.
So, April, what does that hold in store for us? It's the start of wedding season & you can just feel the excitement building - the days are getting lighter, the weather is getting brighter, & everyone is feeling that little bit more positive. Happy days!
We have just the 1 show this month, back at one of my favourite wedding venues (Wait, I'm sure I say that about all the places I work lol). Sunday 14 April finds us at the STUNNING Grand Hall in central Bedford. As the name suggests it's a beautifully grand hall, which packs a serious punch as you walk in - your eye can't help but be drawn upward to the beautiful blue ornate ceiling, then you notice the height of the room, the balconies (one of which has a beautiful pipe organ on), then there's the dark wood floors... if you're looking for the wow factor, then this is it.
As always the wedding show will be free entry & family friendly, but this time I want to inject a little more interaction than we usually see. The suppliers will be creating more inspirational spaces, giving out samples, showing you examples, giving demos... you can find your wedding dress, try wedding cake, hear a live band, meet photographers... A full list of suppliers can be found here, it grows by the day though so make sure to keep checking back!
I hope to see you there, if you pre register your attendance with me on email (email@example.com) I'll even pop a little extra something into your goody bag. Aren't I good to you?? As ever any questions, let me know. I can't wait to welcome you to the wedding show.
Thanks Chris from Moonlight Blue for this guest blog, which gives you an insight into the important role that music can play at your wedding day. Contact details for the band are included at the bottom of this post, along with a video of the guys in action. Enjoy! Beckie xx
YOUR WEDDING AND MUSIC
Everybody loves the romance and sparkle of a wedding. And which bride and groom wouldn't want their wedding to be magical?
One key ingredient to creating that special atmosphere is music. Music can lift the soul and conjure up emotions that make life so special. Music can be the thread running throughout your wedding, creating a canvas during events like drinks or the reception, or playing a more active part, like a performance from a soloist during the breakfast.
Here are some of the key moments of a wedding that can really be enhanced by a musical contribution.
-Guest arrival: some light and cheery music helps guests to relax and might help to encourage conversation. Choices often include organ music or lighter options such as a flute, cello, harp or even bagpipes!
-Entrance of the bride: this key moment could feature a piece loved by the bride (and groom!) that is both positive, uplifting and why not, triumphant. A solo instrument like piano, organ, harp, or a duo can suit the moment.
-Signing of the register: music can play a role here too as it can entertain guests while they wait for the bride and groom to complete the formalities, avoiding a bit of a dull moment.
-Exit of the bride and groom: this is the height of the ceremony: the bride and groom are officially married, the formalities are over and celebration awaits! There is so much to choose from but a joyful, celebratory and anthemic piece loved by both bride and groom should work well. This is one of the highest points, so make sure that the music reflects this! Songs range from classical music to easy listening or even more up-beat choices like Happy feat. Pharell Williams!
IDEA: Why not choose some special music beforehand, just for you, the bride and groom if you are travelling to a different venue for the reception?
-Arrival of guests/drinks: light but up-beat music suits this moment, helping guests to relax and enjoy conversation. A live jazz band, quartet or a duo can work well.
Moonlight Blue are available as a duo (piano and vocals), covering tastefully selected covers, arranged in a jazz, soul or lounge style. Great for drinks and canapé receptions.
Both recorded music and live acts can work for this part of the celebrations. This can be a chance for the bride and groom to play their favourite playlists. It can also be an occasion for music to take centre stage in the form of solo performances (eg violinists, saxophonists, harpists), comical acts, singing waiters, etc. The performers may wish to work from a specific place in the room or more adventurously move between the tables.
This is the most relaxed and laid-back moment of the celebrations. The formalities have been completed, speeches have been given and most guests have enjoyed good food and drink.
It is vital that keeping with the flow, the music is taken to another level.
A live band or DJ can help achieve this. Live bands bring a great atmosphere (we all know there is something special about a live band!) and it's often so much more than simply the music, with the singer acting as an MC and interacting with the crowd.
DJs offer a reliable form of musical entertainment with more chances for the bride and groom to select their favourite tunes (and even take guests' requests beforehand or during the evening). Some deejays may be able to act as an MC, offering links between key moments like the first dance, announcements or a late cutting of the cake!
Ceilidh dances, line dances and ethnic-inspired performances can be a way to involve people on the dance floor.
Live equipment from the DJ or band mean that this can be used by the wedding party for things like speeches, announcements, etc
IDEA: why not have a wedding set-list? This could be used for specific moments or been on hand just for when there is a dull moment, when that proverbial ice needs breaking?
All these milestone moments are a chance to let music be the support for the moment, and a chance for the bride and groom to leave their mark on the day by selecting a piece of music that is uniquely theirs.
-Always check the wedding venues (church, hall, reception venue, etc) for available audio equipment, including whether there will be someone there to operate it on the day. If possible, ask to hear it in operation to get an idea of quality and power potential. Remember that the equipment's volume will be absorbed by people in the room and having some margin can always be handy.
-Ask if there are any restrictions on sound volumes and timings. Some may be set by the venue, local authorities or even based on informal agreements with neighbours!
-Try to get a written agreement with the music supplier(s). It may be appropriate to pay a deposit in order to guarantee their attendance.
-Requests may be optional with a band. If you are planning on having special songs performed by a live band at your wedding, check that they are able to perform this and if this involves an extra fee.
For ideas on music at your wedding, Hitched offer a comprehensive list of ideas, divided by key moments.
Moonlight Blue Band are a professional band that offer a unique jazzy or soulful wrap to great hits and popular tunes. These are a great relaxed theme tune for drinks and receptions. Alongside this, they offer funky and soulful dancefloor classics, ideal for the party!
Contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org
Good morning! Our latest wedding show has been & gone, how we're halfway through January already I have NO idea.
Sunday 13 January saw us at The Thatch Barn in Yelling, St Neots. It's a beautiful barn wedding venue set in the Cambridgeshire countryside, with views of rolling countryside from the terrace & gorgeous, carefully refurbished features inside.
For our wedding show & venue open day, we brought just 10 of Cambridgeshire's top wedding specialists to the attention of visiting couples. Wedding cake, wedding flowers, wedding DJ, wedding decor, wedding dresses, wedding planning & wedding photography, all set against the backdrop of this lovely barn.
We had a wonderful day talking to couples about their plans & all came away with a warm glow - which was helpful as the weather was pretty bloomin' chilly! A few pictures are below, or see our Facebook page & Instagram pages for some more information.
Hope to see you at an event soon, let me know below how your plans are going! Beckie xx
Sunday 6th January, we started our new season of wedding shows, this time back at our old favourite The Grand Hall in Bedford. With 20 local wedding specialists lined up at this beautiful wedding venue, we threw open the doors to welcome engaged couples from in & around Bedford.
The weather was cold but as always, the atmosphere was warm & welcoming, with all visitors spending a long time chatting all things wedding. With such a lot of talent on offer, who can blame them?!
Wedding venue, wedding catering, wedding cake, wedding flowers, wedding cars, wedding entertainment, wedding DJ, wedding decor, Love letters, magic mirror, wedding photography, photobooth, wedding dresses PLUS wedding planning all under 1 roof - I love seeing it all come together!
A few photos are below, plus more info on our Facebook page & Instagram account too. Thanks for reading, let me know below what you think.
Choosing your wedding venue is probably the most important part of the wedding planning process, but it doesn't just stop at how the venue looks. Once you've met the manager & had a look around, you'll be wanting to sit down & discuss the details of your wedding day & how the venue will create your magical day. But what should you ask?
Below are just a few questions that we get asked over & over at Flaxbourne Gardens, so I thought I'd share them with you & hopefully you'll find them useful for your own venue meeting. If you can think of anything that I have missed, please do let me know! Bxx
So, you've spotted a wedding show in the area, you've marked the date in your diary, you've convinced your other half &/or family & friends to come with you... but how do you get the most out of the wedding shows you visit? It can be a little overwhelming when you first visit one, so here's a few things I thought would help you. Of course if you think of anything else or want some more info, then please do pop me an email.
We're entering our 3rd year of wedding shows at The Grand Hall in central Bedford, & the love affair is still strong! Every time we walk into the room, we can't hep but gasp & the reactions on the faces of engaged couples echos this. Why not have a read, in their own words, of just what makes them the ideal choice for a wedding venue in Bedford?
The beautiful Grand Hall, Bromham Road, is located in the heart of Bedford town centre and is a fully licensed premises for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies for up to 160 guests.
The magnificent hall dates back to 1882 and is steeped in history. It was originally built for the Harpur Trust and from the beginning has been considered to be a notable landmark in the town, featuring in guidebooks and on postcards.
Benefitting from distinctive Victorian décor, The Grand Hall has lofty, ornate ceilings and impressive doors that provide a lavish and unique backdrop for the perfect wedding ceremony.
In addition, the Hall boasts an exquisite original John Broadwood and Sons piano that originates from the 19th century and has a stunning showpiece organ located on the overhead balcony.
Available to hire at weekends and during the school holidays, The Grand Hall is also an ideal venue for wedding receptions and special functions.
Your Wedding, Your Way
The Grand Hall welcomes outside caterers and mobile catering units, meaning that you can tailor make your special day and have everything you have ever wished for. Full use can be made of our onsite kitchens if required.
For those planning a small, intimate celebration for less than 20 people, the beautiful Boardroom is licensed for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies as well.
The Grand Hall
Bedford MK40 2BS
Tel: 01234 291192
Well hello there, congratulations on your engagement! You have the bling on your finger, so it's time to get planning & first on your list is finding the perfect venue to be the backdrop to your big day. However with dozens of venues per county, HUNDREDS across the UK (plus destination wedding venues) it can be a daunting task selecting even just a long list of potentials, let alone a short list! So I thought I'd give you some helpful hints to get you started.
Decide on the type of wedding you'd like as this will start the ball rolling on what type of venue to go & see. For example, if you're looking for a relaxed rustic day, then a large contemporary hotel won't suit you.
Make a realistic budget. This will involve both of you sitting down & being honest on what you can afford. There is no reason to get into mountains of debt just for 1 day, so be careful & realistic in your planning.
Decide roughly how many guests you would like to invite. This will determine a venue's suitability. If you're looking to share your big day with every one of your nearest & dearest, work mates, family from all over the globe... then a venue with capacity of just 50 probably won't be your best match. Unless you're looking for an excuse to pare down the guest list that is!
Once you have these 3 key points in place, then you can start searching. Google local wedding venues, arrange meetings or go to their open days, check out their website & online presence (social media etc) for pictures of real weddings...
Good luck! I hope you enjoy the search :)
Honey, I'm home!!! Oh my life what a fab day, honestly, could we be any more chilled at our wedding shows? No hard sell, just good honest passion for what we all do. Thanks to the wedding specialists who exhibited, the engaged couples who visited, all those who supported us, who brought us lunch... & generally ensured the smooth running of the day. As ever, you've been amazing <3 I'm now tireder than a small cat but still smiling, as always. If you need me, gimme a few days to get back on my feet but in the meantime, check the website for updates :) Big kisses all & thanks again. Bxx
I'm a qualified wedding planner dedicated to designing & creating weddings for alternative couples. Because everyone deserves a wedding as unique as they are