Tuesday 31 January 2012

Valentines Gift Ideas: Maison Loulou

Today we are continuing to look at wedding favours that double as fantastic valentines gifts for your loved one.

Maison Loulou is a local Somerset based company. It was founded by Louise Sturmey, who after several years in new product development for the food manufacturing industry, decided to follow her passion for chocolate. After experimenting for months on new flavour combinations and perfecting her skills, came up with these beautiful and tasty morsels that everyone is talking about.

Masion Loulou used fresh local ingredients like organic somerset double cream and plump strawberries from Cheddar as well as some more exotic flavours like vanilla pods from Bali and venezualean cacao beans.

Maison Loulou chocolates can be ordered as wedding favours in boxes of one, two or three and you can also order chocolate mountains or platters for your reception. They even come on a display plate or with a self assembly tiered stand. Single favours start at just 90p each if you order over 150, which makes them very affordable.

There are also some lovely valentine gift ideas on the site such as the Ultimate Valentines Heart Box for £18.00 and the Valentines Truffle Tube for £6.50.

Visit the Maison Loulou website now for some great favour and gift ideas

Monday 30 January 2012

Valentines Gift Ideas: Raw Chocolate Hearts

It's only two weeks until Valentines Day so time to think of some gifts for the one you love. This week we will be sharing some great products from local wedding suppliers that could either make fantastic valentines gifts or unique wedding favours.

Today we look at raw chocolate, with a guest blog post from Lizzie from the Raw Chocolate Parlour. Pop back over the next few days for more ideas including cupcakes, chocolates and love tokens.

The Ultimate Valentines gift, for all you love birds this Valentines day!

We make our Raw Chocolate Hearts from organic and fairly traded cacao from Peru. The hearts are freshly made and need to be devoured straight away or kept in the fridge to preserve the unique qualities and taste.

Raw Chocolate is delicious and nutritious. It is pure, unadulterated and not heated above 42 degrees c to preserve its three hundred nutritional compounds including many trace minerals and essential amino acids.

It is made from the cacao bean, also known as ‘Theobroma Cacao’, which literally means ‘Food of the Gods’. Raw chocolate is a potent aphrodisiac favoured by both 16th Century Aztec King Montezuma. In nature the primary source of magnesium is cacao. Magnesium helps the body to relax and calms nerve functions, balances brain chemistry and helps build healthy bones and nails.

The Raw Chocolate Parlour is a unique venue promoting the sensuous secrets of Raw Chocolate. We serve our homemade raw chocolates with champagne cocktails inside our pink yurts decorated with sumptuous furnishings and sparkling lights, a decadent space for you to indulge your chocolate fantasies.

Raw Chocolate Hearts are ideal wedding favours, treat your guests to a delicious treat.

Our signature cocktails include a love potion cocktail made with ten aphrodisiac herbs in a gogi berry syrup and 'Golden Kiss' is made with cacao infused black vodka and decorated with gold leaf. Perfect to share with your lover on Valentines day.

The Raw Chocolate Parlour will be at the Love Food Festival on the 12th of February. The Raw Chocolate Hearts are also available at all four
Thali Cafes in Bristol.

To place an order,
email Lizzie or phone 07816452080

Friday 27 January 2012

Last Chance to Win Free Wedding Photography

Don't forget that there's only a few days left to get your submissions in to win a free pre-wedding shoot as well as free wedding photography on your big day from talented local photographer Becky Male. Click here for more details of how to enter.

There are also lots of great special offers that expire at the end of January on the  Offers Page ranging from 10% to 25% off lots of fantastic local wedding services. Take a look at the page now to take advantage of these fabulous offers.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Bristol Marriott Royal Wedding Fair

We are currently in the midst of wedding fair season, with fairs taking place most weekends. You can keep up to date with all of the upcoming fairs on our useful  Wedding Fairs page.

The Bristol Marriott Royal on College Green is hosting a Wedding fair this Sunday, 29th January.

                               Bristol Marriott Royal - Exterior

The fair opens at 10:30 and admission is free. There will also be two fashion shows at 11:30am and 2:30pm. The Wedding fair ends at 4pm. Here's the hotel's website if you need any more information.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

A Page Full of Inspiration

There is now a brand new page on Bristol Wedding News, designed to inspire you on your big day, It features all of the trends, real weddings and venues that we have featured so far and will be regularly updated making it a great place to start exploring some of the great articles featured on the blog.

Over the last six months we have featured four gorgeous real weddings, ten top trends and 14 fabulous local venues. Visit the page now for some great ideas for your perfect big day.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Top Hats and Teacups Vintage Wedding Fair

On Sunday 11th March, The Mansion House will be hosting a fabulous vintage wedding fair organised by Marry Me in Somerset. The fantastic venue is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Bristol, set in the heart of desirable Clifton the show will celebrate some of the best Vintage Wedding Suppliers in the Country.

Still one of Bristol’s best kept secrets, The Mansion House integrates the romance and grandeur of the Victorian era with the luxury, style and service you would expect from Bristol’s most prestigious address.


There will be 30 vintage suppliers on site for you to meet from stunning cakes to yummy vintage candy buffets, award winning stylists, gorgeous vintage dresses and lots of quirky and individual ideas to make your wedding fun and unique, like sampling champagne and raw chocolate hearts in a pink yurt.

                                  Top Hats & Tea Cups - Vintage Wedding Fair

The fair begins at 11am and ends at 4pm and it will be well worth popping in both to visit the venue and to meet all of the top wedding suppliers who will be in residence. You can learn more about The Mansion House here.

Admission costs £5.00 and includes a complimentary glass of bubbly and a goody bag.

See our Wedding Fairs and Event page for more great local fairs.

Image courtsey of Wedding Venues

Monday 23 January 2012

10 Top Wedding Budget Tips

January is a long month following the excesses of Christmas when we all have to tighten our belts slightly. If you are planning a wedding you are probably looking for ways to reduce your budget without compromising on style.

There are lots of ways to knock thousands of a wedding budget with a few clever DIY tips and by using the talents of friends. Here's some top budget busting tips from How 2 I Do.

  • Keep the day guest list down to close friends and family only
  • Look at prices for mid week or Sunday weddings as they are often far cheaper
  • Serve processo or sparkling wine instead of champagne
  • Swap a 3 course meal for a hog roast, cream tea or fish and chips
  • Use candles, lanterns and rose petals instead of large floral displays

  • Get ready at the venue instead of having expensive wedding cars
  • If you have a friends who can sing, ask them to perform during the ceremony
  • Buy cake tiers from M&S, stack them and add fresh flowers to decorate
  • Make your own stationary on your PC and print onto good quality card
  • Look in Ikea or The Range for reasonably priced venue decorations
  • Keep floral displays small in tea cups, jam jars of bottles and display in clusters of 3


Areas where you should never scrimp are,

  • Wedding insurance is crucial and could save you thousands if things go wrong
  • Good photography is essential as you will be never have the chance to retake those key shots
  • Don't scrimp on food quality but it's fine to make clever substitutions as above
  • Make sure you have a good DJ or band in the evening as this will create a great atmosphere
Floral Image courtesy of Splendid Stems Floral Design and The Knot

Budget Tips courtesy of How 2 I Do Wedding Planning

Friday 20 January 2012

20% Off Cupcakes with Cupcake Cabaret

Cupcake Cabaret currently have a great offer where you can save 20% off any 2012 wedding cupcakes booked in January. Having tasted the deliciously moist cupcakes on several occasions, I can promise that they will taste just as good as they look.


Cupcake Cabaret's owner Helen also loves to experiment with new flavours and offers great varieties like cherry cola and cookie dough. You can follow her blog for some great recipe ideas and to see her try out some amazing flavours such as bacon and peanut butter cupcakes.

Standard cakes start at £1.70 each and are available in Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Carrot and Coffee.


 Luxury cakes start at £2 each and are available in flavours including chocolate Guinness cake Baileys frosting, Malibu & coke, chocolate fudge and traditional fruit cake with marzipan and icing.


Helen is also making boxes of 6 cupcakes for valentines day for £9.00, which can be ordered on her website now.


Thursday 19 January 2012

The National Wedding Industry Awards 2012

The National Wedding Industry Awards took place in a glitzy ceremony in London last night with the national winners being picked by a panel of expert judges, based on Customer Testimonials.

A massive congratulations to Michelle Jetzer, who won the national prize for Best Wedding Coordinator at a Venue last night for her work at the Riverstation. We recently featured one of Michelle's weddings, and you can read about all of the gorgeous details in the full post here.

The regional winners had been announced back in November and some of the South West winners are based here in Bristol. This year Kirsten Butler, The Little Wedding Helper won the Best Special Touch Category for her fabulous Venue Styling. You can read Kirsten's hugely popular article for Bristol Wedding News on styling Village Halls here.


Congratulations also go to Kingscote Barn who won Best Regional Wedding Venue. Well done to all of the nominees, regional and national winners.

Learn more about the awards here.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Trend Alert: Rustic Chic

Today, Bristol Wedding Planner, Steph Allison shares another wedding trend with us. Today it's rustic chic and you can get more great theme ideas from her Pinterest inspiration boards here.

Rustic weddings seem to featuring more and more recently and it's a trend that is mainly coming from America. Modern rustic weddings combine natural elements like wood, linen and natural looking flowers with stylish design elements. For a rustic venue think farms, barns or an outdoor space like an orchard. This great venue is from my board on Pinterest.

                                      Pinned Image

Lighting is important for a rustic wedding and for this think strings of twinkly white lights, hanging lanterns or dancing candle light. Softly draped fabrics make a great contrast to rough wooden textures. Hessian, burlap and rough linen work well as does a softer lighter linen fabric to make floaty white curtains for a romantic feel.

I really love this rustic dessert table. The combination of floaty curtains, wood and fairy lights totally nails the key elements of the rustic look. This is from a goregous Californian wedding on the Ruffled Blog.

                            Pinned Image

The images below are from Bragginbags shop on Etsy that sells the wooden planters and lots of great rustic accessories, like the fabulous birch bark candle holders. The table also looks great with white cloths and burlap table runners.

                                      Pinned Image

                                     Birch Bark Candle Holders Rustic Home Decor

Rustic weddings have a certain home made, back yard feel. Drinks work well left in glass bottles or served in jam jars, as below. Home made favours also add to the charm like those shown below from Style Me Pretty.

                                    Pinned Image

                                     Pinned Image

When it comes to the cake, cheesecakes work fantastically as a change from the traditional fruit cake. Serve the cake on a log base for a truly rustic look. This cake by Kima Konfections was from a rustic farm wedding in Passadena, USA.


Bouquets like table decorations should look as though they have just been grabbed from the garden. This gorgeous rustic bouquet from A Mountain Bride Blog.

                                       rustic wedding bouquet

Finally these photos from a Style Me Pretty wedding demonstrate just how stylish rustic can look if done properly and they have got is spot on in this rehearsal dinner inspiration shoot by Tying The Knot Wedding Coordination as shown on Style Me Pretty. Click the link for more gorgeous images.

                                 Pinned Image

I hope this has given you some ideas for your own rustic wedding. There are lots of great barns and farms locally where this look would be fantastic. If you need any help planning your perfect wedding, please do get in touch.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Planning The Perfect Hen Party

Today we have some tips for planning a fun hen party from Party Pants.
1) Get the bride to give you a list of her best friends she'd like there, then keep all of the other arrangements a big secret until she arrives at the party
2) Make sure you have a great playlist ready of feel good songs to get the party going
3) Funny name badges are great for parties when not all the hens have met before - we recommend these in the shape of knickers
4) Nothing beats the sound of corks popping (cut costs and go for cava, add cassis liqueur and you've made a delicious girlie cocktail)
5) Book a Party Pants party to add some spice to the fun...2 hours of hilarious girlie creativity to get everyone in the party spirit
Learn more about Party Pants in our article here

Monday 16 January 2012

Wedding Ideas Awards 2012

Friday saw the cream of the Wedding Industry head to the Brewery in London for the 2012 Wedding Ideas Awards. Bristol was well represented at the awards with 4 nominees.


Local photographer Albert Palmer was a nominee in the Best Wedding Photographer category. Make sure to check out his blog for lots of swoon worthy local weddings.

Bristol Bridal Shop A Class Brides was nominated in the Best Bridal Retailer category.


Ambience Venue Styling was nominated for their chair covers, venue styling and for tying "the best bows in the business". Ambience have a franchise covering Bristol operated by Kathryn King.

                           Chair covers with yellow, green and pink sashes by Ambience Venue Styling Bristol

Finally a massive congratulations goes to Bristol based I Do Wedding Films who won the Best Wedding Videographer category.

Well done to all of the nominees and winners. Over 10,000 brides nominated their suppliers and the winners were chosen by a panel of wedding industry experts. It's great to have so much talent on our doorstep.

For a full list of winners, visit the Wedding Ideas Magazine website here

Image credits: Wedding Ideas Magazine, The Local Data Company, The Wedding Community

Friday 13 January 2012

Win an Engagement Shoot and Free Wedding Photography

Today our amazing competition begins to win a free pre-wedding shoot as well as photography for your Wedding. Please spread the word about this great competition to give lots of local couples the chance to win.

The Prize

This prize is pre-wedding shoot and wedding photography from local Bristol Wedding photographer Becky Male. It's open for couples getting married between 1st April 2012 and 1st October 2012. The prize also includes a minimum of 10 shots from the pre-wedding shoot and approx 300/350 photos from the wedding day, these would be fully edited and mix of colour / black & white.

The Photographer

Becky Male is a local wedding photographer, living in North Bristol. She regularly photographs weddings as well as newborns, maternity shoots and family portraits. Learn a bit more about Becky...

"I describe my photography style as natural and relaxed, what’s important to me is that you feel comfortable having your photo taken and I produce photos you’ll love. I’m professional in my approach and promise I don’t stand around demanding you smile or say cheese! I am a member of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers. This provides me with ongoing training and networking opportunities, ensuring I stay up to date with the latest photography trends and news.
I am at my happiest behind the camera rather than in front of it and I love taking photos of people."

How To Enter

If you would like to enter this great competition, email Bristol Wedding News (enquiries@bristolweddingnews.co.uk) and include up to 250 words about your wedding and why you should win. Please include a photo of both of you, as well as details on your wedding date and venue. Ideally you should be planning a quirky or vintage themed wedding, have an unusual location or a cutting edge theme to make your entry stand out.

The top three entries will be shortlisted by Bristol Wedding News and Becky Male and then the winner will be chosen through a vote on Becky's facebook page.

Closing Date

The competition is open between now and the 1st February 2012. The three shortlisted entries will then be announced in early February, followed by a period of voting for the winner.

Terms and Conditions
  • Couples would need to be getting married between 1st April and 1st October 2012.
  • The prize includes a full day wedding photography, approx 350 fully edited images and a pre-wedding shoot.  There is no album included.
  • Travel expenses will be incurred for weddings further than 50 miles from BS36 and if applicable, overnight accommodation.
  • Online web gallery access for guests to view and purchase photographs after the wedding.
  • All entries will be shortlisted down to the final 3 and these 3 will be detailed on Becky's Facebook page.  Couples will be encouraged to receive support via comments on the Facebook page.  Final winner will be chosen by Becky Male and Bristol Wedding News 
  • Shortlisted Couples will be informed via email, telephone call and will also be announced on my facebook page.
  • Voting will be via each individual Facebook post only (one post per couple). No duplicate voting. If duplicate voting is suspected entries will be disqualified.
  • By entering couples agree that images from the pre-wedding shoot and wedding can be used on Becky's website: www.beckymalephotography.com and www.facebook.com/beckymalephotographer or in any future advertising.
  • Becky Male retains the copyright to all images.
  • No cash alternative available.
  • Becky Male will be the sole photographer on the wedding day.
  • Following dates are unfortunately not available April 22nd, June 16th, July 7th 2012.
  • Winners are free to purchase albums or produts such as framed prints, however this will be charged at extra cost.

So what are you waiting for, to contact Bristol Wedding News to submit your entry, just click here now. Good luck to all couples who enter.

All Images copyright Becky Male Photography

Thursday 12 January 2012

Competition Time

Have you seen our new Offers and Competitions page? It keeps you up to date with all of the latest ways to save money off your big day. Tomorrow we are launching an amazing competition to win your Wedding photography with talented local photographer Becky Male.

This great prize could really help with your Wedding budget and mean extra money to spend on your honeymoon, dress or venue. Make sure to check back at 9am tomorrow for detals of how you can win.


Find out more about Becky Male on her website or facebook page.

                                                     Becky Male Photography

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Shoes Glorious Shoes

With some of the largest Wedding Industry Awards coming up shortly there has been a lot of discussion about outfits and particularly what shoes people are wearing. Inspired by this, here's a post on gorgeous sparkly Wedding shoes.

Benjamin Adams does a gorgeous range of Wedding shoes though they are at the higher price range. I love these beauties called Charlize.


This pair called Gaga are also stunning. Both are available at Bridezillas Boutique in Keynsham.


Paradox offers a great range of shoes at more affordable prices, their Pink range has some great ivory Bridal shoes like this pair called Girly. Check out their full range here


Emmy shoes has a truly stunning range for those with a larger shoes budget and the brilliant thing about Emmy Shoes is that you can buy from the ready to wear collection or choose bespoke shoes where you can choose your heel height, colours and fabrics.


So many shoes are sky high so this gives you the option to go for a more wearable heel, whilst staying stylish. The Alicia shoes (above) can be bought in heel heights of 5cm, 8cm and 9.5cm.

BHS actually do a very good range of affordable Wedding shoes. This Jewel Knot pair cost from £55.

                                                  Jewel knot front jewelled wedding shoe

Whichever shoes you go for, remember to wear them in at home first. A good tip is to wear some white socks over the top to protect them from spills and stains. You can also invest in gel insoles and padded inserts to make them more comfy. Make sure to have your shoes in time for your final dress fittings to ensure the length is correct with your heel height.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Wedding Marquees, Yurts and Tipis

If you want to enjoy the great outdoors on your Wedding day or add reception space to a smaller venues, then a marquee is the way to go. Traditional marquees have always been an expensive option but today there are lots more choices with a great range or tents, yurts and marquees available.

Yurts are a new concept for Weddings and can be a lot cheaper than the traditional marquee starting at just £350 for a small 12ft yurt from Wedding Yurts. They can also be podded together to create flexible spaces. You could have a 20ft yurt for the main reception with a 12ft yurt attached as a bar or chill out zone. Three yurts podded together can seat 40-50 or provide dancing space for 60-70.


However if you are having a large celebration, then the traditional marquee may suit you better as they provide space for up to 350 people, depending on the size. Large marquees can be very expensive but also look stunning and create a real air of luxury.

A tipi is another option for a relaxed outdoor Wedding. This one is from Tipi Events.


Top tips for marquee Weddings
  • Make sure you have a flat piece of land to put the marquee on
  • Get several quotes and recommendations
  • Remember to add in the cost of furniture hire, flooring, lighting and heating
  • Think about where the caterers will prepare food and serve drinks
  • Provide adequate toilet facilities for guests
  • Ensure there is enough parking for he guests
  • Provide carpeted and ideally covered walkways in case it's muddy and wet

Monday 9 January 2012

Getting Chewton Place Weddings Back On Track

Chewton Place have confirmed that  Weddings can now go ahead at the venue for new bookings and for those who have not already relocated  Weddings previously booked with Aspire Venues.

The venue had previously closed its doors after previous landlord Aspire Venues went into voluntary administration, sadly meaning many engaged couples deposits and payments being used to pay creditors.

Chewton Place have told us "The landlords of Chewton Place are in negotiation with a new company who are looking to take over the business at Chewton Place and with the intention of continuing to run weddings, special events and conferences from Chewton Place and talks at this stage look very promising.  We do understand this has been a very worrying a stressful time for the bride and grooms let down by Aspire Venues, all of whom have been contacted by the new company and are being constantly updated by them".

                             Image of Chewton Place, Bath

Every wedding is an individual and special event and all circumstances are different. All at Chewton Place are determined that all the brides booked will have their dream wedding, so all the brides are being individually invited to discuss them with us to see how we can make it happen for them, even if they are unable to claim on their insurance or credit cards for lost deposits. Where there is a will there is usually a way!

This sounds like great news for some couples, however many couples with Weddings within the next few months have already relocated their Weddings to new venues. Lauren Lane was due to marry at Chewton Place and had paid £4,500 to Aspire Venues. She is hoping that her Wedding insurance will pay out but she is unlikely to receive anything before her rescheduled Wedding takes place on the 25th February.

Luckily for Lauren a lot of local Wedding suppliers have offered to help out by providing her with complimentary goods and services for her dream big day.She is now getting married at Rookery Manor in Somerset. Unfortunately she lost a lot of her original suppliers who weren't available on the new date.


Lauren still needs a make up artist, hairdressers, evening entertainment, suits for the children and shoes and hair accessories for 3 adult Bridesmaids. If any local Wedding suppliers would be willing to volunteer their time, please contact steph@how2ido.co.uk who is helping Lauren coordinate things.

Image Credit: Hotels.com

Friday 6 January 2012

January Wedding Fairs and Special Offers

January is packed full of Wedding fairs, events and great promotions from Bristol suppliers.

January Wedding Events

Designer Wedding Dress Sample Sale the Mews of Clifton. Appointments Neccessary

World of Weddings Fair: 75 stands at the Holiday Inn Filton, Sunday 8th January 10:30am- 4:30pm

Wedding World: 100 stands at the Bristol Marriott City Centre, Sunday 15th January 10:30am -4:30pm

The Bristol Wedding Show: Mercure Holland House, Sunday 22nd January 11am -3:30pm

Love Actually Wedding Fair: Berwick Lodge, Sunday 22nd January 11:30am- 4pm


Bristol Marriott Royal Wedding Fair: Sunday 29th January 10:30am to 4pm

January Special Offers

20% Off Bespoke Wedding Reports booked in January from The Wedding Reporter


10% Off Candy Buffets and Wedding Planning Services from How 2 I Do booked in January. Contact How 2 I Do and use code XMAS10

10% Off Weding Jewellery at Port Out Starboard Home. Quote code BWB11 when ordering


Wedding Photography Tayor Barnes £250 off any Wedding package booked in January or February 2012.

Image Credits: Berwick Lodge, The Wedding Reporter, How 2 I Do, Port Out Starboard Home

Thursday 5 January 2012

Where to Start Planning Your Big Day

Christmas is a time when lots of people get engaged, so many congratulations to anyone reading this who has recently given or acquired a gorgeous sparkler. Here's a few tips on where to start planning your dream Wedding.

The first step should be to draw up a rough guest list so you know if you have 50 people or 150 to invite. This will affect your venue choices and budget so it's a good place to begin. Next sit down and have some honest conversations about finance. The average Wedding costs around £15,000 but you can have a fantastic Wedding for a lot less, but you may need to incorporate a lot of DIY touches and avoid grand venues to make a smaller budget work.


Talk to family to see if they want to contribute a set amount or pay for something like the dress or flowers. It's great to get financial help from family but sometimes it does come with certain conditions, such as input into the planning or inviting certain guests so there are pros and cons to paying for the day yourself.

Next begin to look at venues. Bristol and the surrounding areas are packed full of gorgeous Wedding and reception venues. You can choose from farms, barns, hotels, restaurants, boats, country estates and even the zoo so do lots of research online and then make some appointments to view venues.  You can get some great prices by choosing a week day or Sunday or marrying out of the traditional summer Wedding season so don't feel you need to stick to a Summer Saturday. The image below is from the Riverstation, which is ideal for a contemporary Wedding.


One final very important tip is to ensure that you have Wedding insurance in place before paying any deposits as sadly several local couples have lost thousands as local venues have gone into administration. Sadly this is becoming more common and any money you have paid will be used to pay creditors and not returned to you.

If you need some additional guidance, why not consult a Wedding Planner for a free consultation. They can help in lots of ways and often their fees will be absorbed by the savings they negotiate and they ways they can suggest to cut your budget without compromising on style.

Words by Stephanie Allison, Wedding Planner and owner of How 2 I Do Wedding Planning. Steph would be delighted to offer any guidance to newly engaged couples. Visit her website for more information.

Photo Credits How 2 I Do and Howard Wedding Photography


Visit Sweet & Pretty Weddings