Things have changed here a bit over the last few weeks, with some venues no longer meeting my high standards and other exciting wedding venues replacing them.
So what's the portfolio look like now? Well, I can tell you, the existing 3 are VERY different from each other!
There's my longest standing venue - Stevenage Holiday Inn. This fantastic wedding venue offers everything you need all in 1 place. Licensed for ceremonies, they can hold from 40 -400 guests across a range of tastefully styled rooms. Their events suite has recently undergone a huge revamp and the results are beautiful - light & airy spacious areas, with muted tones which would suit any colour scheme. Added to this, the wonderfully helpful events staff, you have a winning combination. Our next open day with them will be Sunday 3 November, get in touch for more info.
Next up there's my second home - Flaxbourne Gardens, Aspley Guise. This stunning venue is based around the award winning gardens (which have also appeared on TV several times). Mixing features such as a waterfall, a secret grotto, a full sized windmill and several lakes along with a beautiful, bespoke marquee, this wedding venue is something else. From late 2019 they will be licensed for weddings, so you can have your ceremony onsite as well as your reception. The owner is an award winning chef, the wedding coordinator is myself & between us, we adore what we do. Our next open day is Sunday 29 September, get in touch for more info.
The latest addition to my portfolio is historic Cruck Barn, Milton Keynes. This lovely barn can accommodate up to 150 guests and is the perfect backdrop to any style wedding. They're a blank canvas venue, so you can bring in your own entertainment & caterers - so let your imagination run wild! They also have a licensed bar so you can be sure of a great party. Our next open evening with them is Thursday 26 September, get in touch for more info,
So, looking at this exciting list of venues, which one gets YOUR vote? Bxx
As a wedding show organiser, I am naturally passionate about wedding shows & the MANY benefits. This blog about how you can benefit from shows as a wedding supplier. If you run a business based in the wedding industry, then chances are you've considered exhibiting at local wedding shows to reach more couples & tell them about your wedding services.
It can seem a big step from just "shouting" with other wedding companies within the free confines of various wedding groups on social media, but shows can be a very good way to push your business to the next level.
So how DO you go about deciding who to give your hard earned money to, & then getting the most out of the experience? I hope the following pointers are useful to you. Once you've had a read, I'd love to hear from you & hopefully meet you at an upcoming wedding show.
So you’re planning a Hen Party? Shots all night and drinking games….? Each to
their own, as they say, but I’d quite like to be able to look back on my Hen do and
Hopefully my memories would be filled with laughter, togetherness and joy. I guess
this is my starting point when I plan a Linedance hen party booking. I’d like the Bride
and all her hens to be able to enjoy dancing together without having to impress
anybody. A Linedance session is a great way to bring together a group of girls,
particularly if they come from different areas of the Bride’s life and perhaps don’t
know each other very well.
Linedance is very easy to learn. You'll soon be dancing even if you've never danced
before, and it’s not all cowboy boots and yeehaa! My most popular tune at the
moment is Maroon 5’s ‘Moves Like Jagger’. When a Bride or her Bridesmaids book
me for a hen do, I make sure I ask if the Bride has a favourite pop song – there’s
bound to be a dance that fits it perfectly!
Now, cheese or challenge? Do the hens fancy a session of fun dances that they can
sing along to, or might they enjoy learning a more tricky dance? I know some of my
hen groups have even practised together afterwards and given a small performance
at the Wedding Reception – a lovely surprise for all the friends and family.
Some hen parties have been based in rented cottages. In good weather we’ve
danced in the gardens. In wet weather we just push back the furniture, just like
when the hens were teenagers! Other hen nights have been in church halls and
function rooms. Either way, it’s the people that count, not the venue.
A memorable Hen do should always be all about the bride, but it becomes a
wonderful time when she really wants to share it with her friends.
Also available to help happy couples create their First Dance – regardless of how
many left feet they have between them!
Naomi from DanceMatters (NB – there’s NO space between the words in the
Ah May, the month of my birthday, more weddings, more events, more wedding shows... exciting!
This month's wedding show is at my second home of Flaxbourne Gardens in Aspley Guise, on Sunday 19 May. Flaxbourne is something else, a real life wonderland, it's somewhere that once you've visited, you can't forget it. If you're looking for a blank canvas wedding venue that needs minimal decorating but gives maximum impression, then you should come along & meet everyone.
Have a read about this amazing venue here: http://www.beckiemelvinevents.co.uk/weddingnews/guest-blog-wedding-venue-flaxbourne-gardens-aspley-guise
At this event I hope to be able to take you on a journey, from start to finish you will be able to play out your own wedding day. You'll do the entire walk through with all elements covered, it's an exciting way to spend the day so I hope to to see you there!
For more info, email me on email@example.com
I wrote a blog on this last year but it's such an important subject that I wanted to revisit it.
There are lots of ways available for you to make sure that those you have loved and who have passed on can still be part of your big day.
Here are just a few suggestions, if you have more ideas I’d love to hear them! Bxx
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?”
I decided that April's theme on social media & blogs would be wedding flowers & have had a great time sourcing photos & information!
Bride's bouquet - I found SO many traditions & facts about the bouquet!
Throwing the bouquet - whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to marry.
Why does the bride carry flowers? - This tradition has its roots in ancient times. In Ancient Rome, brides carried or wore flower garlands, believing that flowers signify new beginnings, fidelity and hope of fertility.
In the Middle Ages, strong-smelling herbs and spices were thought to ward off and drive away evil spirits, bad luck, ill health and help mask the smell of body odour (of course in these times, people were only able to bathe a couple of times a year, so the more fragrant the flowers the better!). Often composed of herbs, not flowers, dill was especially popular since, being the herb of lust, its consumption by the couple during the reception was thought to increase sexual desire. Oo-er!!!
The Victorians, who were fascinated by the meanings of different blooms, popularised the wedding rose, which represents true love.
In Tudor England, brides carried marigolds dipped in rosewater and ate them afterward, since they were thought to be aphrodisiacs!
I also found this article on Brides website which lists the majority of wedding flowers & their meanings, pretty comprehensive info! https://www.brides.com/gallery/wedding-flower-meanings
Hope you enjoyed the read, don't forget to tell me what you think. Beckie x
PS My wedding flowers were Calla lilies (like the ones pictured below) & my favourite flowers are sunflowers. Just thought I'd personalise this a little bit :)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 email@example.com
Something I've been asked several times recently is "should I invite children to my wedding?"
Now of course, it's personal preference, but you should also consider the style of your day.
If you're having a relaxed, informal wedding (such as we hold at Flaxbourne Gardens) then chances are it will be a child friendly day.
However, if you're going for a more formal, glamorous affair then it may be best to ask your guests to leave the kids with a minder, & enjoy a few hours out.
If you decide to invite the little ones to your big day. there are lots of ways to make sure that they don't become bored & restless. Here are a few ideas to consider:
You can hire professional childcare professionals, to provide a child minding service & keep the kids entertained through a range of activities - they offer things such as crafting, soft play, etc.
You could hire a bouncy castle or similar outdoor play (space & budget allowing).
You could supply some craft items (pencils, colouring books etc), placed on tables for your younger guests. This will keep them occupied during the wedding breakfast, speeches, etc.
If you're worried about babies or little ones interrupting your vows & ceremony, you could consider asking parents solely to the afternoon & evening celebration. Or again, an activity bag should provide a distraction while you say "I do".
Of course, parents should also be able to put your mind at rest & keep their children from causing a disruption - I remember leaving several ceremonies when my son was very young, to avoid disrupting the proceedings.
I hope you've enjoyed this blog, please do get in touch with any further ideas you have!
Now, as a qualified wedding planner I may be a little biased on this subject! However you can't deny the value & importance of employing the services of a wedding planner. Below I've tried to outline a few of the reasons why we're so important to your big day, but believe me there's much more too. Let me know what you think?
I will take the stress off your shoulders, taking on the responsibility of scheduling meetings with wedding suppliers, day to day arrangements, leaving you free to enjoy your engagement
Talking of chasing people, still waiting on answers from Aunty Joan or your work friend Neil? Are you fed up of asking them whether or not they're attending? Here's where your I can come into my own. With patience & time on my side, those RSVPs will soon be received.
Budgeting & scheduling skills run through my veins. I *love* lists, being organised & will happily create budgets & timelines for you, so that you know what should be happening at any time. It doesn't matter how tight or fluid your budget, I can help you realise your perfect day without breaking the bank (or a sweat!) I have it covered for you.
Insider knowledge & access to tried & trusted wedding suppliers. OK hear me out on this one. I admit, I have favourite suppliers that I work with time and again, but I never get commission from any that I recommend to you. I only work closely with people whose businesses provide the best possible service &, well, who are decent people! No attitude, no fuss, just amazing wedding services.
Communication with your wedding suppliers - you don't have the time to be speaking to 15 different wedding suppliers in a week. You have more important things to do, like work & keep up with friends & family! Give the communication over to me, I'll still keep you in the loop but not trouble you with little admin details.
Introducing you to some new & original ideas, personal to YOU. Every couple wants their wedding to be unique, so they all read the same magazines & blogs & websites for ideas. Time to break the habit, & get myself on the case. With my experience in the industry, I guarantee I will have original ideas just for you - anything from outstanding photography shots, to unique floral ideas, & more.
Solutions to tricky situations - What are you supposed to do if your mum and mother-in-law disagree about hen party details? How much should you ask your bridesmaids to pay for their dresses? When should you send out your save-the-dates? I can safely say I've seen it all, so will be able to guide you through any tricky situations that arise during the preparations for your wedding day.
Invaluable assistance on your big day - right this is the BIG one, which is obviously why I've left it until last to address! A wedding planner is, as far as I'm concerned, essential to your big day. If any issues arise during the ceremony or reception, I'll be the first one on the scene, so you won't need to worry about anything except enjoying your special day with loved ones. You don't need to worry about logistics or timings or queries from suppliers - I have it covered, while you have a perfect wedding day.
I'm a qualified wedding planner dedicated to designing & creating weddings for alternative couples. Because everyone deserves a wedding as unique as they are