It's been a while since I last ventured across to the Greek islands, but my next trip will be August 2019 for my cousin's wedding in Rhodes.
Greece is steeped in history with plenty to see and do, so this destination is definitely more for the budding tourist. If you don't fancy trekking round ancient ruins in the baking heat, then head to the beach! Regardless of what island you choose you will find sand to lay on!
Santorini is the go-to island for couples and a haven for honeymooners, with is clear waters white, washed buildings and sunsets out on the Aegean Sea, it's a popular wedding destination to tie the knot.
Where to stay
Vedema is in the village of Megalochori with the town square and village church only a minute walk away. The 45 rooms at this hotel have views of the village homes or the surrounding rolling vineyards. Vedma's sister property Mystique, is set in Oia. It has a secret wine cellar, and it's 22 cave-style rooms are terraced into the cliff face, providing that classic Santorini experience.
Vedema, Megalochori, 84700, Santorini; +30 22860 81796; prices start from €223 per night for a suite
Mystique, Oia, 84702, Santorini; +30 22860 71114; prices start from €648 per night for a suite
For July and August this place comes alive with revellers ascending in their droves for the night life! If all that hubbub isn't for you then sneak off to Hotel Kivotos, on Ornos Bay. Set on a hill with steps down to a peaceful rocky beach, it's an ideal refuge to refuel and recharge.
Hotel Kivotos, Ornos Bay, 84600, Mykonos; +30 22890 24094; prices start from €506 per night for a suite
What to do
Mount Olympus - I'm a big fan of Greek Mythology and Mount Olympus is probably one of the most famous mountains in the world and is not be missed off your itinerary. If you're up for the challenge then you can climb the mountain. You will need to travel to Litochoro where you can trek part way or all the way to the top. Don't forget it will be hot, so be prepared!
Dive with dolphins - Rumors say that they hang out in Halkidiki, in North Sporades, around Kythera and in some areas in Crete.
Scuba dive - You can more or less scuba dive anywhere in the world. This is a must and if I wasn't such a chicken, I would attempt it again!
Volcanoes - Go to Sousaki, Methana, Milos, Nisyros, Santorini.
Festivals - There are different traditional Greek festivals (Panigiri) happening all around Greece, especially during summer time, but also in Spring. Attend an Easter celebration in Greece in Corfu or mainland. Attend the Sardine celebration or the Tomatoe (or tomato) celebration and more.
My last post touched briefly on my trip to Paris and I promised to elaborate further on this one.
On our arrival, we experienced the hustle and bustle of the Latin quarter. It has music, people, food and a great atmosphere. Every narrow street leads off to somewhere new, which is probably why I almost got lost!
What to do
Eiffel Tower - Looks fantastic at night with all its lights flashing. We didn't bother going up it though as the queues are long and you can pretty much see the city from any high building or point.
Musee Du Louvre - I can't tell you how stunning this museum is. Its absolutely huge, but for all the beautiful pieces of art and sculptures it houses it has to be. If you like that sort of thing then you could easily spend all day, so wear comfortable footwear. Entry fee was about €15 and you get to keep your fancy ticket as a souvenir.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum - For a mere entrance fee of €10, you can do the tour in 2hrs, but as we were cramming a lot in one day, we did it all in an hour.
Sacré-Cœur - The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known simply as Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and a popular landmark. It’s located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city and you get a cracking view of the city! To appreciate this view however you do have to climb stairs. I don’t do stairs! I gave up after 6 steps, but persevered to the top........it was well worth the moaning and sweating!
We took a midnight walk on the Champs Elysées and got as close as possible to the Arc du Triomphe without getting run over by the ridiculous amount of traffic! Paris has such a different vibe about it on a night time, less tourists, but still has a buzz that makes you want to stay out until sunrise.
One of the main streets for shopping is Rue du Rivoli where we were able to appreciate the architectural beauty of Parisian apartment buildings. The city has a ton of history which you just can't absorb all in a weekend.
I would say Paris can be a ideal for both a short weekend and also a quick honeymoon break, all depending on what you intend to do whilst you're there. Either way you will have so much fun and won't want to come home. It rained whilst we were there (typical!) but that didn't stop us from enjoying the sights. A rainy day in Paris beats a rainy day in England hands down!
Where to stay - Paris is a massive city and it's not until you arrive that you realise all the famous and well known tourist attractions are not close by! So you have to decide what you want to be closest to or better yet stay in a district that has regular metro links to other areas. We stayed in the 10th district and were only 100m from the metro/tube station (La Chapelle). Top Tip - purchase your tickets for the metro in advance for the length of time you are there, it makes it easier and less hassle when you need to get on the train. Plus you get a free map too!
I've listed other places we looked at through Airbnb and Booking.com, but note that you get what you pay for in terms of location, size of room and amenities.
Ibiza, Balearic Islands
Last visited in 2012, I learnt to appreciate the beauty of this island. It's not all just about the parties, Ibiza has some stunning places to explore and see. Ideal for more of a stag/hen parties if you go to San Antonio, but if you are looking for a more chilled out vibe, then the rest of the island is at your disposable from golden beaches, quite villages to yoga retreats. My aunty had her honeymoon in Ibiza and loved it! I do think another trip is in order for 2019!
Break from the nightlife and super clubs and head to Ibiza's south-coast capital Eivissa (Ibiza Town). There is plenty to do and see in Eivissa from sight seeing, shopping to fine dining. This town is full of history and architecture with museums and galleries hidden away down narrow cobbled streets.
Where to stay - There are numerous options depending on which part of the island you chose to reside in and how much time you think you will spend in the hotel.
*Mirador de Dalt Vila at Placa d'Espanya
*Cas Gasi, Santa Gertrudis
*El Corsario, Carrer Ponent
*Ses Pitreras, San Agustin
*Hotel Xereca, Puig d'en Valls
What to do - You can either make the most of the sunshine by laying on the beaches sipping cocktails or you could add a little culture to your trip. The choice is yours! Ibiza has some stunning views, so I would take full advantage of those whilst you're there.
*Museu d'Art Contemporani d' Eivissa
*Lips Reartes at Carrer Porreres
*Visit Dalt Vila (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
*Boat trips ( head to Es Vedra to watch the sunset )
*Beaches (Playa d'en Bossa and Talamanca)
*Scuba Diving (I've done this and it's a worthwhile experience!)
Thailand has become a popular tourist attraction over the years known for it's golden tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces and temples. With over 2,000 miles of coastline, 8,000 islands to choose from all with great photo opportunities, what's not to love about this place!
Bangkok is the cosmopolitan capital of Thailand bursting at the seams with life, buzzing with tuk-tuks and markets and fascinating sightseeing prospects. If you want to get to grips with Thai culture and history then this is your first pit stop. Head for the old town area, known as Ratanakosin for a dose of culture and temples.
Accessible only by boat, but just a 15-minute ride from Ao Nang, the busiest parts of Railay are sandwiched between Hat Railay East and Hat Railay West and Hat Tham Phra Nang. As it becomes more popular, it still remains much less-developed than Ko Phi-Phi. For all those thrill seekers out there if you love rock-climbing, then this is an ideal place for you as long as you don't mind the company of the wildlife on the way up. A back drop that you would expect to see in a film, Railay provides stunning scenery from the beaches to the jungle.
What to do - Hot-air ballooning, kite surfing, walking with elephants, nearly every imaginable activity can be done out in Thailand.
A Thai massage is not for the faint hearted, but if you don't fancy being contorted into various pretzel shapes then you can learn how to inflict the pain on others! There are training centres that you can register at in Chaing May (Northern Thailand) where you can sign up for 5, 2 or 1 day courses.
Fancy brushing up on your culinary skills to wow your friends back home? Then try your hand at a cooking school. A the most a lesson can cost is a £46pp (about 1950 Thai Baht) which includes a trip to Thanin market and instruction by a top chef. For a more budget option, check out the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School which offers hands-on, small-group classes. At £24pp ( just over 1,000 Thai Baht) this includes food and transfers.
Alternatively you can do something more therapeutic and head on out to the Elephant Nature Park some 40 miles from Chiang Mai. The park has been rescuing and rehabilitating elephants since the 1990s. Visitors can spend the day feeding, swimming with and walking alongside the herd in their 200-acre habitat. Now this sounds like my ideal trip.
Food - I'm not much of an adventurous eater, so I think I would struggle a little out in Thailand, but I'd be prepared to try at least one exotic food as long as its not bugs!
The main food of Thailand is Khao niao or sticky rice which is traditionally steamed and is eaten as a staple food both in the northeast as in the north of Thailand.
If your staying in the capital then head to China Town ( also known as Yaowarat to the locals) Khao gang (curry rice) is a fixture on Bangkok’s streets. A popular breakfast and lunch option for diners on the go, curry rice is a selection of curries and stir-fries, any combination of which can be piled on to a plate of rice.
Most of the food in Thailand you would be content with eating, its just with an extra spicy kick of flavours!
Be warned, bugs are eaten as snacks and can be found on numerous market stalls, but once deep fried and heavily salted, I'm sure they taste just like Ready Salted crisps! You only live once so bite the bullet and snack on a few grasshoppers, giant water bugs (huge btw!) crickets and silk worms! It will be something to tell the grandkids one day!
Where to stay - A vast amount of places to chose from, all depending on which part of the island you are staying at. Hosts on Air bnb offer some great accommodation, prices and availability vary on the time of year you travel. Again depending on location, you can opt for apartments in the capital, hotels by the beach or tents in the jungle (not your average tent may I add!)
If you really want to go all out and splurge (it's your honeymoon why not!), then treat yourself to a 5* luxury stay at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. The pictures don't do it justice, so it's definitely a place to go on my bucket list.
Some how I was convinced by friends that Croatia was the place to be. Initially I wasn't sold on the idea and for some reason I was adamant it was an 8hr flight, so I certainly wasn't going! Eventually she twisted my arm and we packed our bags and headed to the airport on our way to Zadar. Both times we've gone have been for festivals, but we ensure that we always take in the local culture and sights before coming home.
Flight times - Firstly it's not an 8hr flight it's less than 3hrs. Depending on which part of the UK you fly from, the airline and which part of Croatia you chose, flight times there and back can vary.
* Manchester - Zadar 2hrs 50
* Manchester - Zagreb 4hrs 20 mins with 1 stop.
* London Gatwick - Dubrovnik 2hrs 45 mins
* London Heathrow - Split 6hrs 1 stop
We stayed in the old town of Zcre which is not your typical old town my I add. it is a bustling HUGE town surrounded by the old walls and fortresses. On the other side you have the sea and a view to die for. There is so much to do in and around the town, I even found time to go to the Museum of Illusions. The Sea Organ is a must to see and hear. The Sun Salutation draws a big crowd round about sunset so get there early to get a good spot you won't be disappointed! Amazing food and the locals are so nice and accommodating. There's no pressure in to buying things or eating in restaurants you are just left to enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful town. Friends have recently come back from sailing around the islands in Croatia and say how beautiful and clean the water and beaches are. Even more reason to go!
Currency - Although in Europe, the local currency is Kuna. We got a really good exchange rate when we first went (£1=10 kuna) They will still however accept Euros, but you get more for your money with their currency. Everything is cheap, food, wine, excursions. I think my friends paid £1.50 for a large glass of wine, which is a bargain and it tasted nice! Whatever you do, don't try the Black Wine, apparently it's an acquired taste!
National Parks - Before we left England we planned ahead on what excursions we wanted to do. On the top of our list was visiting one of the 5 National Parks (Croatia also has 3 Nature Parks). To be honest, we typed in google 'National parks in Croatia' and went with the one that had the best picture! They are all stunning, but we opted to see Plitvice Lakes. Its an 1hr 20 mins ride and slightly higher up in the mountains so take a jumper. We went ready for the beach and had to purchase bright green jumpers to stay warm! Wear sensible shoes as this guided tour consists of lots of walking.Our guide was brilliant and ensured we had a fantastic time whilst we were out there. I took 100's of pictures of waterfalls, trees, mountains. It's breathtakingly beautiful so my pictures don't actually do it any justice!
Miami Beach is the best area in Miami for soaking up some rays on a sandy beach and it is something of a legend in the city. The beach itself technically outside of the Miami municipality as it is located on an island. Aside from the beaches, the area is also known for its Art Deco district and the odd but beautiful buildings within.
I've wanted to head out to South beach for years, but each time another holiday takes precedent and I end up not going. I think I have done enough research online to last me a life time! It's on my 'To do' list, I just need to convince a few more of the girls to go and SAVE SAVE SAVE!
Friend who have visited Miami, have gone at different times of the year. Some have gone for Spring break (May) others have gone later on in the year (November) Al have said that 10 days is plenty , but take plenty money as it's not cheap!
Ocean Drive is a popular tourist destination night and day and offers a great opportunity for those with a special interest in the unique skyline and scenes Miami has to offer. What I love about Miami are its art deco buildings which give the feeling of being on a Hollywood film set! The mixture of old and new architecture is what makes it exciting and gives it that glamorous edge!
Where to stay - As I've mentioned, I have been planning this trip for ages, so I had already decided (if funds allow) where I want to stay when I do finally go. I fell in love with the Mondrian - I have champagne taste and rola-cola money btw! It sits just on the water front and has the most stunning view. The décor inside the hotel is out of this world and may not be to every one's taste but I love it. Failing that if I can't stop there, then my 2nd option was renting a villa/ apartment through AirBnB. I've used this site before and find the whole process pretty straight forward. As long as you read the terms & conditions of each host, house rules etc, then you are good to go! Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are wanting to go. If you do opt for a rental and are not really going for your honeymoon, I would suggest going with a few others to cut down on the cost.
Things to do - Apart from soaking up the sun and sipping cocktails , there's plenty to do and see whilst in Miami.
The design District is known for its sleek modern architecture, luxury boutiques and art galleries.
Take full advantage of the epic views at lounges like the Mondrian's Sunset Lounge where you can take in the panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and Miami's downtown skyline.
If you're not interested in paying expensive club entry prices, then head down to Miami Beach’s infamous Jazid, a jazz club hosting an impressive selection of local bands and talent seven nights a week. best of all entry s free!
There are also a lot of free events that take place through out the year, from street festivals, fashion shows and art fairs. Depending on when you decide to go on honeymoon, check out what will be on when you get there.
So your wedding is booked, venue sorted, save the dates have gone out, all there is left to decide is where to go on honeymoon.
Now there are no hard and fast rules as to where newlyweds should go, it’s entirely up to you and your budget. Some chose to spend it relaxing, soaking up the sun and doing nothing. Others prefer to spend it sightseeing, taking in the local culture (depends where you've gone) mixed in with a bit of relaxation. Then you have those adventurous thrill seekers who love nothing more than exploring, being spontaneous, and doing various activities on land, water or sky!
I've picked my favourite top 10 destinations (in no particular order). It’s a mixed bag of places I've been myself vs. my bucket list faves that I'll be posting over the next week or so! I've included images (courtesy of Google and my trusty iphone) as well as links to articles on line that can provide more info and where to stay. Enjoy :)
I've some how managed to make this my regular trip 3 years running! First time was for a hen party and I've not looked back since! Each time I go, I see something totally different that I missed before. It's a beautiful city with lots of culture, history and good food. Guaranteed sunshine if you go in August, but I've been in February and enjoyed 20 degree heat. As it's more of a city break, I would recommend doing a Tuk Tuk tour, that way you get to see more of the stunning city without wearing out your feet! Nightlife is great and no one goes out before midnight! We usually find ourselves by the harbour watching the sunrise just before we head back home to get some shut eye and do it all again!
We visited A LOT of sights in the 4 days we were there. If history, architecture and striking views are your thing, I suggest checking these places out:
* Ajuda Palace (Palácio d'Ajuda)
* Mosteiro de Jerónimos
* Jardins de Belém
* Torre de Belém (Belém tower)
* Mercado de algés
* Cascais waterfront promenade
I'm a bit of a foodie, so when my friend suggest we go to the indoor market for food, I was totally convinced! My experience of indoor markets are fruit and veg stalls, smelly fish and butchers shouting out the latest deals on meat...........total opposite at this market! Well it was evening, so the food stalls had shut, but this food court was impressive! Rows of tables and high benches, a plethora of different types of delicious food to chose from (dirt cheap too!), a bar and live music. It was a great atmosphere ! I highly recommend visiting the indoor market (see link below).
Rooftop bars, for views, food etc ( Recommended by friends that are yet to take me there!)
* Sky bar
* Rio Maravilha
* Rooftop bar
* Memmo Alfama Terrace
Where to stay - As I stop at my friends family apartment when i visit, I've not had to think about accommodation, but I have been told that the below are the best places to lay your head for the duration of your trip.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Known for it's scuba diving and over water bungalows, Bora Bora is a popular luxury resort destination for many. The French Polynesia islands are home to 118 islands and atolls; including Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea and Papeete.
Tahiti and the capital of Bora Bora, Papeete are home to vibrant markets, culture rich museums and fantastic beaches.
When to go - November and April offer fine weather with temperatures ranging between 20- 30 degrees.
How to get there - As there's currently no airlines flying directly to Bora Bora from the UK you have to fly to Tahiti first. From there you can catch a flight using Air Tahiti. These run up to five times a day, and take 50 minutes. Expect to be travelling for some time, so I suggest that if you do plan on visiting this little gem in the Pacific Ocean, go for at least 10 days. That way you will still have 8 days to relax despite losing 2 days to travelling there and back.
Where to stay - With plenty options you can either stay at a resort, hotels or overwater bungalows.
While the best overwater bungalows are at the 4 and 5 star resorts, there are also some budget friendly overwater bungalows. To enjoy the true Bora Bora over water bungalow experience, you will want to stay in one of these. Be expected to spend a little bit more, but no doubt it will be worth every penny.
If being suspended over water isn't your thing then check out The Maitai Bora Bora. This hotel offers simple 'block' style of accommodation.The hotel has it's own small white sand beach, but it doesn't have a pool, gym, spa, or decadent sun-lounges to relax on. A well priced hotel for those on a budget.
The Conrad, the Four Seasons Resort and the St Regis Resort all offer world class luxury with dramatic views. Alternatively you can rent out a house or apartment. Make sure you check out the location thoroughly before booking, as most of them are not in the best locations for getting around Bora Bora.
AirBnB now advertises quite a few options for home-stays in Bora Bora. Before booking, make sure you check its location, and that the host offers help to get you around if it is located on a motu (little island). Otherwise you may find yourself stranded!
Every so often I lend a helping hand to my friends over at Hashtag Printing. Lots of people are intrigued as to what it is we do and how it all works. Its pretty straight forward once you get the hang of it and if you're a millennial then this is right up your street! Turn your smartphone, Instagram and Twitter pictures into Polaroid style pictures in seconds at your event (not just weddings!). The Hashtag Printer is simple and effective allowing all your guests to join in the fun whatever the occasion!
HOW IT WORKS
Take a picture on a smartphone (if you don't have one, don't worry we will be there on hand to take one for you)
Upload to either Instagram or Twitter with a hashtag designated by the event
Your picture will automatically be printed ready for you to collect
For further information & bookings contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Slightly over due blog as I some how picked up a dreaded summer cold and have been out for over a week now!
Despite feeling like death warmed up I've found the energy to rustle up a quick recap of my weekend break away with the girls.
PARIS WAS AMAZE!!!
There we have it! It was my first time in the capital, as I've been promising myself for years go and got distracted with other holidays! I finally went and I loved every minute of it, even the walking (those that know me well know that I detest walking or exercise of any kind!)
Where do I start........?!
As well as ticking this trip off my bucket list, I also went there for some inspiration for my next project. Paris is the perfect place for photo opportunities, so make sure your camera is at the ready!
I highly recommend seeing the Eiffel Tower at night (see pic below) words can not describe how stunning it is when it's lit up! A must see attraction.
Musee Du Louvre is also another amazing place. Such a beautiful museum (it's huge inside!) that takes you through the different centuries with various artifacts and paintings. I took so many pictures, but to be honest they don't do it any justice. I even managed to push my way to the front to see the Mona Lisa - she can attract a big crowd!
Definitely my all time favourite has to be the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Out of all the things we wanted to see/ do I was adamant that I had to visit before I left. This place is fantastic (if you love fashion it's a must see) We didn't get chance to do some stuff as there was always a constant queue for some of the film showings of his work and we had so much to cram in whilst we were there. Just having the opportunity to get up close and look at his work and how much time effort and detail went into every single design and creation was truly breathtaking. I think at this point I had dusted off the cobwebs and started to be really inspired again. I had a tons of ideas whizzing around my head and was itching to get back home and start creating! It's highly unfortunate that this dreaded cold had decided to make an appearance during my stay and dampened my enthusiastic spirit when I got back to the UK, but I will be back on form......eventually!
If its a quick break with the girls that your looking for, then this is the place. Having a friend in the group that speaks fluent French and knows their way around, is always a bonus! Invest in one!
I would say that Paris is for all ages (for the kids and the big kids at heart,Disney Land isn't a million miles away and if I had the time I would of gone!) there is a lot of history, culture, good food and drink.
I can see why so many go there for romantic weekends and honeymoons, it is the perfect setting. I'm already making preparations to go back later this year.
My next post will be all about honeymoon destinations, so I will go into more detail about Paris on there.
In the meantime, I need to get some rest and some how figure out how I'm going to shake this cold! Any home made remedies are more than welcome as I'm running out of options and tissues!!
Every so often I come across a designers work that I love, admire and if my bank balance allowed, had all their gowns in my wardrobe! This time round I have stumbled across a few who's work I think reflects the modern day bride and shows that theres no hard and fast rules when it comes to wedding attire.
For a chic looks with a dose of glamour, One Day is the designer for you. Geared toward the bride who wants something "a little less bridal, a little more modern," One Day steers clear of the standard bridal look, but still remains wedding-day appropriate.
Alon Livne White
DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA!! My new found designer that i stumbled across a few weeks ago! With a range of designs to choose from, these are ideal for the woman looking to make a statement on the big day. Alternatively, the dresses can be worn for other occasions if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Downtown NYC based designer Meredith Stoecklein is all about keeping things simple, easy-to-wear and inspired by the key women in her life. With various styles and silhouettes to pick from, each look speaks to a different woman and celebration.
Sophie et Viola
With most bridal gowns chock-full of lace, embroidery, beading and appliqué, there usually isn't much options for the minimalist bride who wants to keep it simple and low key. Sophie et Viola creates the wow factor that every bride requires, but with a modernist slant, focusing on sleek, clean, standout silhouettes without the fuss. Mix and match or create your own bespoke look, there is something for everyone.
One of my favourite designers. There is nothing simple about this collection! Ashi Studio has a keen eye for innovative, architectural dramatic silhouettes and intricate embroideries. Definitely geared towards those that like to try something different.
Flamenco skirts, off-shoulder tops, bold ruffles and statement silhouettes are being brought to the aisle courtesy of Moda Operandi. If over-the-top glam isn't your thing, then this one is for you.
Designer Kate Halfpenny's line is designed to be styled by and for each individual bride, allowing them to mix and match separates and layer pieces until they've found their ideal look. Focused on real women's bodies with vintage inspiration, there is a wide range of well-priced options to choose from. Ideal for those seeking an effortless look without being restricted to a particular garment.
A boring topic, but one I think is worthwhile having! You insure your car, home, and pets so why not your wedding? Insurance is there for those 'what if' moments and hopefully you will never have to claim, but its better to be safe than out of pocket. The point of insurance is basically a backup if something were to go wrong during the lead up to your big day.
DO I NEED INSURANCE?
This depends on how much you are spending on your wedding and whether you believe you need added protection over and above any existing cover you might have. Venue cancellation and supplier failure are the two main reasons people buy wedding insurance. Insurance usually covers venue or supplier failure, key people falling ill, NOT cold feet!
WHEN SHOULD I GET IT?
Add it to your wedding to-do list from the beginning, or as soon as you start spending money on your big day.
WHAT DOES IT COVER?
Always check the small print first, as the price you pay will depend on what you want covered.
1. If the venue goes bust or cancels on you - If the venue for your wedding or reception were to flood, burn down, go bankrupt or have to cancel your booking, then you should be covered.
2. If a supplier lets you down - If one of your pre-booked suppliers, such as those supplying your flowers, cake, transport, photos or music, lets you down (ie, you don't get the item/service, or it's damaged) you'll be covered for any deposits you've paid out and any additional costs you incur. This only works if you've got a written agreement or contract with the supplier – and not all insurers cover the same suppliers, so check.
3. Death/ illness - You will be covered if you have to cancel or rearrange your wedding because of illness, death or accident to the couple getting married or someone in the wedding party (close family, the bridesmaids or best man) as long as the illness wasn't caused by a pre-existing condition.
4. Lost, stolen or damaged items - Depends on the item
Ring - These should be covered if you lose, damage or have them stolen, but only usually from a week before the wedding and up to 24 hours afterwards, although this can vary by a day or two so always check the small print. Engagement rings, which are often more expensive, will not be covered so you should add these to your home insurance.
Cake - Usually covered up until the start of the wedding reception if it's lost, stolen or accidentally damaged. If you pick it up from the shop but it isn't packed properly while transported to the wedding and is ruined, it won't be covered. Similarly, if it's stolen from an unattended car and it's in sight you won't be covered.
Flowers - Covered until the start of the reception. They need to be packed properly while they're being taken to the wedding and if they're stolen when left unattended, it's unlikely you'll be able to claim.
Wedding Attire - You'll be covered if the wedding attire – the wedding dress, suits and other outfits – is lost or damaged beyond repair while in your possession. The items are usually covered from the date you buy the policy if you have bought them, or 24 hours before if they're being hired. The insurer should pay for repair or replacement clothes, plus hire and alteration charges.
Gifts - If your gifts are lost, stolen or accidentally damaged during the wedding – either those brought by guests for you or presents you've bought for those at your wedding – they will be covered as long as they haven't been left unattended.
WHAT'S NOT COVERED?
Honeymoons are not covered as standard, although some providers will bundle yours in (at extra cost, of course). So bear in mind that you might have to buy separate honeymoon cover or take out a travel insurance policy.
Having that peace of mind can make all the difference and it's one less thing to worry about. Shop around for the best deals. Work out how much you are going to spend on each wedding item, then find a policy that covers everything on your list at the right amount for each individual item.
Probably one of the most exciting elements of planning a wedding is the dress shopping! Back in the day when I was a bridal consultant, it was always interesting to watch the bride to be and her family/friends embark on the store in their droves! Saturdays were the busiest and the only time you could get everyone together! Guaranteed there were always tears of happiness from someone (usually the mums!) or tears from a bridesmaid that didn’t like the dress that she had to wear!
There was always that bride that knew what they wanted and weren’t going to be swayed in changing their mind, and then you had the bride that was open to ideas and didn’t know what suited them best. I learnt a few tricks of the trade and useful tips on what to do when deciding on the dream dress:
Shopping too early
Many couples are opting for longer engagements these days, but don’t start shopping more than 12 months in advance. Styles change and so can your taste. Don't be in a rush to buy the first dress you see. If the store allows, take pictures so that you can look at them later and decide.
As tempting as it is to bring everyone dress shopping or to your fittings, the best thing to do is book a few appointments at different stores and take various members from the bridal party. As I said before Saturdays tend to be the busiest day for most, so expect the shop to be full with other brides and their families. Most stores do late nights, so if you can take advantage of that do so. Once you have found the dress of your dreams, take no more than 2 people to your first proper fitting (mum and maid of honour) that way there is an element of surprise on the big day for every one else!
There is nothing worse than being forced to wear something you don't like, doesn't suit or fit right. As much as its your big day, your bridesmaids are on show too and want to look their best. Consult with them on styles and colours and have a day or two when you all go dress shopping.....for them! What suits one may not suit the other! When my bestie got engaged, us bridesmaids tried on numerous dresses. We were all different shapes and sizes and had different taste. I remember trying on what could only be described as a banana yellow dress........I looked horrific! Safe to say we didn't end up with that one, but it is important to include your BM’s throughout, especially if they are paying for it themselves. Being a bridesmaid didn't come cheap, so I made sure I got my monies worth from my dress and shoes!
I still come across brides that think they can order a dress at the last minute. You can......if you want it straight off the peg! Depending on the designer and the store, dresses can take anywhere between 6-9 months to be made. Check with the consultants in store just so that you have an idea of timescales. You want to be totally happy with the end result so leave enough time for alterations and dress fittings.
If I remember correctly it was always best to order your dress 2 sizes bigger. This is because the dresses typically run one or two sizes smaller than your normal clothes, so try not to get hung up on the number. Play it safe and order a size that fits your current body shape. Any dress can be taken in, typically up to four sizes without affecting the look of the dress, but most can only be let out one full size. So chose wisely!
Take in pictures of what you like. You may have an idea in your head what you what, but when you try it on, it may not be what you expected. Don’t be afraid to try different styles and colours, you never know you may surprise yourself! Also don’t forget that whatever you choose, you might want to make sure that the rest of the immediate bridal party coordinate with your look.
Have an idea of what your budget is. Dresses can vary dramatically in price so if you have an idea of what you want to spend then stick with it. Don’t forget to account for alterations, your undergarments, shoes, a veil and/or hair accessories, jewellery, and any other accessories. The costs can soon add up, so take these into consideration otherwise you could end up going well over your budget.
As the title suggests I became a florist quite by accident. After 13 years as a teacher, I decided to have a hobby and go to night-school. I quite fancied graduating from cutting the cellophane off supermarket flowers and popping them in a vase (I also like gardening), so I chose floristry. What I found was that it was a bit like learning magic when you didn’t realise that magic existed! A world of colours and textures, add a bit of this to a bit of that and boom, something beautiful appears!
It was a pleasing surprise when Ella asked me to write a piece for her blog, as I still ask myself ‘does this look as if a florist made it?’ when I finish an order. I’m still learning the trade, but after 2 years and 100's of hours working with flowers, I do have some insight to share.
An average wedding will see me spending 10 hours resourcing, sourcing and messaging; 3 hours at the wholesalers; 3 hours travelling to the venue and setting up; 3 hours preparing and soaking the flower and then anything from 10 - 30 hours actually arranging the wedding flowers. So here are my top tips.
1. Remember that ‘A picture paints a thousand words’
You may not know a daffodil from a dahlia from a dianthus, but your florist will. As you approach planning your wedding flowers, send your florist a picture of what you like and it should be everything that they need to know. Once I’ve seen what a bride likes, I can make suggestions (such as excellent seasonal flowers or other flowers that will work well) or simply make an identical bouquet.
2. Trust the expert
Flowers are expensive - we are not driving in a Rolls Royce or buying designer hand bags. It’s just the cost of a beautiful, high quality product. Flowers from the wholesale Dutch market or even tea roses from Colombia, are a premium product and worth every penny. That said, we can tailor our choices to suit your budget (If you want to give me £100 and send me to the local supermarket I’m happy to do that). But first, we can try some cost saving measures such as smaller, leafier arrangements or just choosing cheaper flower options.
3. A good florist (in my opinion) should start with your wish list.
If it all adds up and you're happy, then go for it! If it doesn’t and you are still unsure, then don’t be afraid to ask about cost saving measures that will help you stick to a budget. Do be realistic though- there are 40-50 stems in a bridal bouquet and some flowers can be £3 a stem.
If you want to follow fashion and current trends, then the magazines are full of inspiration. From blush pink flowers, rose gold accessories, to horizontal/ oversized bouquets, even the classic cascade made famous by Princess Diana, has made a resurgence too. Personally, I’d say choose something that you love. Roses are always stunning and if you choose a neutral colour (cream, or pale pink) they tend to go with most colour schemes.
Flowers are not necessary for a wedding day, but they do enhance your experience. They add to the décor, the sense of occasion. They heighten the atmosphere and lend an air of romance too. There will always be family members or friends who would be thrilled to be gifted a centrepiece or posy. They needn’t be ‘just for a day’, so why not use them as thank you gifts for those who have helped out (I remember the endless list of gifts from my own wedding). We want to thank those who help out, so why not have a dual purpose item? If budget is no barrier then the sky’s the limit. Pedestals, arches, runners, even whole walls of flowers can be made. Just indulge yourself on your special day.