Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Wedding Wednesday: How to choose your wedding favours

This week's Wedding Wednesday post is on the topic of wedding favours. The most popular and traditional favours in the UK are sugar covered almonds. Almonds as favours were historically used by the French aristocracy by the name Bomboniere, and five almonds were also used in Greece and the Middle East as a representation of health, wealth, fertility, happiness and long life.

Today wedding favours are still a common feature of most weddings, but couples are getting increasingly creative with favours. Favours can be almost anything, from sweet treats such as chocolates, to home made jam, cordial, plant seeds, and tea.

DIY favours are a great excuse for a bonding session with your bridesmaids or fiancé. They are also a good way to personalise your day. Favours can range from the expensive to the simple, but being on a budget doesn't mean you have to scrap favours. They are by no means compulsory, and for a while we considered not including them in order to cut down on cost, but after some research we discovered some great budget options that felt 'us' and suited our day. Below are some creative favour ideas that can be as expensive or as frugal as you like.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Wedding Wednesday: How to choose your wedding flowers

Ranunculus, peony bouquets

Choosing your wedding flowers can often be a bit of a minefield (albeit a very pretty one), particularly if you are on a budget. You may get lucky, in having a mother who loves flower arranging, or a florist or church-going friend who can help. For those of us who don't have these resources, here are some tips that may help you choose your flowers.

Think about the month you are due to get married. If you are due to get married in November and are dead set on peonies, you are going to end up disappointed. If you are keen on a particular flower, Google the month they are in season to see if they will be easy to get hold of. Here is a handy table which tells you when your flowers are in season.

The next thing to think about is budget. Some flowers are always more expensive, like orchids and lilies, but prices may vary dependant on which part of the world you live in. If you like the look of a particular flower but they are on the pricer end of the spectrum, it's often possible to get a similar look with a cheaper flower. For example, peonies are very popular choice with brides, but did you know you can get a very similar effect with ranunculus at a smaller price?

The colour scheme for your wedding is also important when choosing wedding flowers. You may think that you don't have one, but don't forget to take into consideration the colour of your bridesmaid and mother-of-the bride dresses and the colours of the venue. If the venue is already very multi-coloured, such as a brightly coloured modern hotel, you may want to choose flowers that are mainly white with green foliage. If your venue is plainer, such as a town hall or marquee, you may want a mix of bright flowers to bring interest to the room.

You should also have a think about how you want to use the flowers on your wedding day. Most brides have a bouquet, bouquets for their bridesmaids, corsages for their mother and grandmother, and boutonnieres for the groom, best man and ushers. Will you use the same flowers to decorate the church/ceremony room and the reception? Do you want flowers as centrepieces? Some brides also use flowers to decorate their wedding cake. You don't need to have all of these by any means but it would be very helpful for your florist to know what you need the flowers to do.

When choosing flowers for your bouquet, don't forget to take the style of your wedding dress into consideration. A large cascade bouquet may overpower a tight, slim fitting dress, whereas it would balance out a princess/prom style gown well. Likewise, a round bouquet would suit a modern city bride, but might look out of place on a loosely cut dress and boho bride.

If you'd like to see more wedding flower inspiration, you can check out my Pinterest board on wedding flowers here!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Wedding Wednesday: How to choose your wedding cake

One of the most fun parts of planning a wedding can be choosing the wedding cake. Having a white wedding cake is one wedding tradition that seems to have endured through the ages, and cutting the cake is often one of the first things you do together as a married couple. At the risk of sounding patronising, choosing the cake and going to tasting days can also be a good way to get the groom involved in the wedding planning- I know my groom has as many opinions on our cake as I do!

Professional vs Home Made

Most couples choose to get a cake made by a professional baker, as even if you are a keen baker yourself, nerves can get the better of you, and there may be difficulties in assembling, storing and transporting the cake to the venue. Your bakery / caterer will be an expert in these things so choosing a professionally made cake may take some of the stress out of your day. However, it is by no means impossible to make your own wedding cake! Lots of couples are increasingly choosing a tower of cupcakes as an alternative, (pictured below) and these would be a lot easier to make and transport to your venue.

Choosing your cake style

A fruitcake with marzipan icing is the traditional wedding cake in England, but this seems to be going out of style. It's rich, and isn't to everyone's taste, but keeps well. A common alternative is the traditional sponge cake, filled with jam and cream. A new trend in wedding cakes is the cheese cake- not a traditional cheesecake, but a cake of cheese disks piled on top of each other (pictured below). This allows for the layered effect but can often work out cheaper.

Increasingly common in the USA is the inclusion of a 'groom's cake'. This is an additional cake, usually smaller, and more 'fun' in that it isn't the traditional white colour or sponge flavoured, but more commonly chocolate. For our wedding, we are having the wedding cake chocolate, with a fudge bottom layer, with white icing, as we're both chocolate fiends but like the aesthetics of a traditional white cake.

Decorating your cake

This is often where you can really get creative with your cake. Most couples still opt for the traditional white icing, but a quirky alternative is the 'naked' cake, where the cake sits un-iced, its fillings on show (pictured above). This works well for a rustic themed wedding. Other popular ways of decorating a wedding cake range from the use of flowers, fruit, bunting, to a variety of cake toppers. Cake toppers can be a fun way of incorporating some of your personality into your wedding day. I should be doing a separate post on these so look out for that soon.

How many are you feeding?

Don't forget your guest list- numbers are crucial in knowing how large to order your cake. Make sure there's enough cake to go round, and don't forget to include yourselves! I've included a handy cake sizing chart below to help you to size your cake. It's always better to have too much than too little cake- don't short change your guests, especially if you are serving your cake as pudding, rather than in addition to a pudding course, as we are!

For more cake inspiration, check out my Pinterest board here!

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