Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NHS Staff Awards Event, Wycombe Hospital, Buckinghamshire

It's always a pleasure to work on events and we were really happy to be asked by Wycombe hospital to help with the venue decoration for their staff recognition event. We had a tight brief:  to create maximum impact with minimum budget. Always up for a challenge, we designed the rooms around a pink and blue theme to complement aspects of the room already in place.  In keeping with the celebratory nature of the event, we laid a lushious pink carpet and complemented it with warm lighting to create plenty of atmosphere. In the foyer where guests were treated to canapes and champagne, we hung drapes and used mood lighting to light the walls and cocktail tables to create a fun, yet prestigious feel. We also dressed the outside space to create an inviting area for guests to gather.

Sarah Klamut, HR Manager says “Thank you for all your hard work with dressing the rooms for our staff awards event recently. The rooms looked fantastic and everyone was very complimentary! I have been particularly impressed with your professionalism, enthusiasm and 'can do' approach. It has been such a pleasure to work with you. Many thanks.”

If you would like us to design your reward and recognition event, please call us now on 01296 663 726. We'd be delighted to share our ideas.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Get fit for your big day

Ok, so it's winter.  It's cold out there, it's December tomorrow and the rain is due to set in.  At times like these, there's nothing we all love more than to cosy up in front of a log fire, with snuggy socks, a big jumper and a bar of Cadbury's.  But for those of you with a wedding round the corner you might want to swap your socks for a pair of trainers and start thinking about getting fit for your big day.  Now we know it's tricky and you need huge amounts of motivation, but just think of the benefits when you slide effortlessly and elegantly into your gown this summer.

So what are we suggesting?  Well, how about a weekend at fit camp?  Now those of you who follow this blog will know we're not huge fans of the traditional 'boot' camp.  The name just makes us want to run for the hills, but we've found one with a difference!  Happy Bodies in Milton Keynes have introduced a weekend fit camp; great for those of you who have other commitments in the week.  The emphasis is also on diet and nutrition so you can keep up all your good work when you get home.

Check them out on
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Music at a marquee wedding

Marquee weddings are wonderful. You can pretty much start from scratch and personalise your design right down to the last detail. But don't get caught out when it comes to your music. If you don't plan everything carefully you could really upset your neighbours. We asked Susan Heaton-Wright from Viva Live Music how to avoid the pitfalls of live music in a marquee. Here is what she said...

“Last week I attended an event in a beautiful marquee. The venue and the catering was wonderful. There was also an excellent duo of musicians, but guests struggled to speak to each other despite the music being ‘background’. It was a shame because the musicians were great and it was a fabulous event. 

Marquees are particularly challenging for sound. The ‘walls’ don’t allow sound to bounce off them, and most marquees are quite large, so in order for guests to hear and enjoy the music, amplification and sound levels need to be higher. 

In addition to this, the sound does not remain in the marquee and neighbours can be disturbed by any entertainment: whether it be a DJ, band or just the sound of guests talking. Therefore noise levels need to be managed carefully, to ensure guests’ enjoyment and neighbours expectation is met. 

We heard that Paul McCartney’s wedding caused angry neighbours to contact Environmental Health in the early hours, and for them to visit the venue to have the music stopped. We don’t want this to happen at another wedding! 

Initially, I would seek advice from Environmental Health at your local authority. They have the power, ultimately, to have music stopped if an event is disturbing neighbours and no one wants this to happen at a wedding. They would be able to advise you on what time the music should be stopped (whether it be a live band or a disco) and also the sound volume (decibels). Local authorities vary with their systems, but it could be that you could register the event and agree on timings and sound levels (and remember to have a decibel meter), so if there are any complaints from neighbours, you will be able to prove you have permission. 

There are other tips regarding sound levels; 

  1. Make sure the musicians set up and sound check in plenty of time. Give them a deadline when they can do this BEFORE the event – don’t tell them on the day.
  2. Delegate someone in your party: a best man, father of the bride etc. who will monitor the sound levels.
  3. Choose musicians or a DJ that will respond to requests for sound levels to be managed. We always have a clause saying that musicians respond to requests for music volume to be altered by clients – I would recommend this is put in any contract.
  4. Be clear about whether you want the musicians or music to be ‘background’ or a ‘feature’ – eg After dinner cabaret or a band.
  5. As I mentioned earlier, marquees are particularly difficult to supply sound to; so often musicians only have two speaks at the front, and will put the volume of those high, so it is too loud in front of them, but the other side of the marquee can’t hear the music. A better solution is to have four speakers, one in each corner. The volume can be kept lower and more guests can hear it.
  6. It is worthwhile using the services of a sound engineer who will mix the sound levels correctly. A common mistake for DJs and musicians is to put the treble too loud, which in a marquee is particularly difficult for guests to hear each other speak as the sound cuts through the atmosphere.
In the end, it is about being informed; for the musicians or DJ working with the client to ensure the event goes well; listening to the client and also the client being prepared with timings for the supplier to ensure the event is a great success.”

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paige and Harish's wedding is featured on J Crew's website

We have very fond memories of Paige and Harish's Spring wedding.  Every detail was perfect, Paige looked amazing in her J Crew gown, and even the sun came out to play.  Paige just contacted us to let us know that her wedding has now been featured on the J Crew website. Take a look at these beautiful pics by photographer Helen Jones...


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Weddings inspired by Autumn

Once again we are delighted to feature in the October/ November issue of Your Herts and Beds Wedding magazine.  Here's the question and what we have to say about it!

Q. I'm in the early stages of planning my wedding, which is set to take place next autumn. I've chosen a lovely venue but apart from that I'm a bit clueless. I've heard that selecting a colour scheme is the next step as it's a good base to work around. What colour combinations work well at this time of year?

A. Clare Beckwith says: Look at the trees at this time of year and you will see them change from green to yellow and red and then to brown. Rosy red apples are ripening on the trees, orange pumpkins are fit to burst and golden corn is being harvested from the fields, I can't think of a better time of year to take your inspiration from nature.

It's such a vibrant season that you might want to choose a combination of complementary colours, or even contrasting ones. Pick one or two main hues, and then use a couple of accents to add interest, perhaps for the ribbons on your bouquet. Popular autumnal colours include red, burgundy, orange, peach, rust, gold, mustard yellow, dark green, and brown. Create a mood board by cutting out pictures from magazines and using colour swatches to see what colour combinations work best for you.

That said, if you really are a fuchsia pink kind of girl and want to add turquoise accents, don't let the season stop you. It's your wedding and you should have it just the way you want.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Choosing the perfect...... wedding venue

The other day, a friend asked me which wedding venue I’d recommend in their local area.

As a wedding planner, I am familiar with quite a few venues and it’s really easy to just list all the beautiful ones that look good and have capacity for the number of guests you are inviting. But for me, the perfect wedding venue has to have so much more.

You might have an idea in your mind that you want to get married in a particular style of venue. You might like the idea of a barn reception, or saying ‘I do’ in a Highland castle for example. Maybe you’ve got your eye on an English country manor house. But take it from me, there’s more to choosing the right venue than just looking at the bricks and mortar.

The Bingham Hotel, Richmond, Surrey

For me, it’s mostly about the people.

Everyone you come into contact with at the venue will be critical to your enjoyment of the day, so it’s really important to choose one with exceptional customer service.

Depending on the size of venue, you will often come across several of the venue’s staff. Larger venues have sales staff that show you round, talk you through the benefits of a wedding at their venue and eventually take your booking. Different staff from the operational team will then manage your wedding day. Smaller venues are likely to have one or two people who cover off both these areas.

My advice would be to spend some time at the venue beforehand to get a real feel for the people. If you are thinking about having a civil ceremony and reception at a hotel for instance, book a meal or an overnight stay well in advance so that you can sample the customer service for yourself.

Is the receptionist courteous? If you’ve been for a visit once or twice, do they recognise you and welcome you personally? How is the service at dinner? Was the food inspirational and well prepared? Do the staff smile and look happy? All these things will impact on your day.

Bisham Abbey in Buckinghamshire

I’ve been married for nearly a decade now. My husband and I return to our wedding venue every year. Why? Well, the staff at the hotel were true professionals in the run up to our big day and were nothing but outstanding on the day itself. We remember their amazing hospitality and I can hand-on-heart say that they have been consistently outstanding every year since.

If ‘customer service’ features highly on your list too, you might be interested to know that in the coming months I will be revealing some of my favourite wedding venues that tick this all important box.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Jenna and Graeme's Pre-wedding shoot in Brighton

Jenna and Graeme from Buckinghamshire chose sunny (and windy!) Brighton as the backdrop for their pre-wedding shoot.  Pre-wedding and engagement photo shoots are becoming more and more popular.  They absolutely loved theirs and think that there are lots of reasons to make them part of your wedding plans …

1. It’s a great way to get to know and feel totally comfortable with your photographer, before the big day

Our wedding photographer is Phil Bourne, owner of e.motion images. He’s a brilliant photographer but he’s also an old friend of mine, so for me and my hubby to be, it was really important to feel confident and relaxed with Phil … not as mates, but as photographer and bride.

A pre-wedding photo shoot was a brilliant opportunity to do that and we think it worked pretty well!

2. It’s a great way to express yourself and your personality

We love all things vintage and fun … so straight away we knew we’d have a vintage photo shoot. After some thought and chat with Phil, we also knew Brighton would be the best venue for this. Not only was it an excuse to have some fun by the sea, we also knew it would really suit the vintage theme.

I’ve also seen some lovely picnic shoots, beach parties for two, and tea parties used as engagement themes. Some carefully selected props make the pictures stand out too!

3. Photos can be a great way of injecting personal touches in to your wedding day

We’ve used our pictures on our invites, order of service and in other little touches to be revealed on September 1st! (our wedding day!)

4. We’ve also made our own album as a keepsake and some as presents for family and friends, which they love!

The only piece of advice I would give anyone doing a pre-wedding photo shoot is to ‘be prepared’! When we did ours, the weather was absolutely freezing … and as you can see, very, very windy!!!!

To check out Phil’s work, have a look at contact him

If you would like your wedding or your pre-engagement shoot featured on our website, please email your details to and send us a few sample shots to look at.  We especially like to see your unique weddings with lots of special touches as these are most likely to be published.
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