Posts Tagged ‘wedding planning tips’

Eco Green is an environmentally conscious, back to basics wedding theme. Starting with bridal wear and groom attire, ransack thrift stores to give a new lease of life to a second-hand wedding dress or a retro suit. Hold your reception at a wine producing estate at the heart of the Provencal countryside amongst vineyards, fields of flowers and olive trees. Ditch the traditional wedding car for a tandem bicycle and put on shuttle busses for guests to avoid them each taking a car. Create a 100% organic menu, using local produce and seasonal fruit & veg. For the colour scheme, mix fresh shades of green with olive green and yellow tones . For decoration think wood, pebbles, natural fibres such as cotton and linen, coconut husk carpeting, and lots of plants and foliage.  Send invites and save the dates by email and print menus and programmes on recycled paper.

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The Arabian Nights wedding theme encompasses brightly coloured décor evocative of both the middle eastern provinces and northern African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia. This extravagant wedding theme’s colour scheme consists of warm, bright tones of red, orange, pink, green, violet, electric blue, gold and bronze. Fabrics of differing textures and designs are mixed up together for a rich multilayered layered look. For entertainment, take the Arabian Nights wedding theme to the max with snake charmers, belly dancers and exotic instruments. For food, offer your guests a taste of the orient with Lebanese, and middle eastern spicy savoury specialities and deliciously sweet treats.

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Purple is an extremely versatile wedding colour scheme theme. From Lavender, to violet and all shades in between, purple is anenticingextrovert colour often associated with royaltymystery and creativity.

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Internationally renowned event décor designer Preston Bailey is most well known for the ultra feminine Fairytale Romance wedding theme. As illustrated in his book ‘Fantasy Weddings’, Bailey reinvents the modern day Cinderella, taking the theme to the max for a  total Fairytale Romance look. The Fairytale Romance colour scheme mixes shining silver, bright white, pale pinks and blues with warmer shades of gold and forest green. Candle light and ethereal lighting adds a touch of magic to this beautiful wedding theme. For a Fairytale wedding on the French Riviera, there is one particular venue which is ideally suited to the theme.; the magnificently romantic Château Garibondy.

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The Modern Luxury wedding theme oozes quality, glamour and class. Think the homes of the rich and famous, 5 star hotels, luxury villas and the ultimate in chic, modern design. Modern Luxury uses a warm colour scheme with dark and milk chocolate brownscream and ivory white and touches of sparkle. Turn the lights down low and add subtle amber lighting to create a golden glow. Go for a string quartet for your wedding ceremony, arrive in style in a black Mercedes S Class and severe refined cuisine at your reception with great French wine and Champagne.

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Mellow Yellow is a fresh, summer wedding theme combining both pastel and zesty shades of yellow with complementary colours such as green, white and silvery grey.

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Using a bold colour scheme such as Black & White, will differentiate your wedding from the next. Think Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel ultra chic monochrome. Mix up textures and styles; baroque velvet swirls and zebra print combined with matt black and patent white clean line forms. Choose a black and white wedding dress and dress your bridesmaids in black cocktail dresses. Ask guests to follow the colour scheme and start as you mean to go on making sure that your invites and save the dates follow the monochrome theme.

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When choosing a table plan for your wedding reception, try to think about what is going to work best in the space that you have to work with. Ask your venue for a floor plan of the reception room so you can figure out visually where and in what formation you are going to place your guests. As well as the room layout, the seating format you go for will also depend on the dining option that you choose (buffet or a seated dinner). To make the task a little bit easier, I have outlined below a range of different wedding table plan options with both advantages and inconveniences of each when appropriate.

  • U-Shape: The U Shape table plan is ideal for a seated dinner at a small wedding. The U-shape formation can be set up around a dance floor. The wedding party are usually placed facing the open end of the U-shape. The U-Shaped table plan is also great if you are planning on having any performances at your wedding as all present will get a great view.


  • Canteen Style: This sociable seating formation is ideal for large groups if you need to pack a maximum number of people into a space. The Canteen Style table plan can work well with both buffets and seated dinners. However, if you are really struggling for space, then a self-service buffet might be a little problematic as it could be a bit of a tight squeeze for guests getting out and back to their seats.

Canteen Style

  • Banquet Style: The Banquet Style seating arrangement allows guests to circulate freely between tables and works well for both seated dinners and self-service buffets. Banquet Style works best using round tables with a maximum of 8 people per table. Between 6 and 8 is the ideal number. Any more, then it becomes difficult to communicate. Banquet Style is also great for padding out large spaces, and making the room feel full and atmospheric. With Banquet Style, there are 3 different options in terms of the Head Table (where the wedding party are seated): 1. a long rectangle, 2. the Bride and Groom have their very own private head table, 3. the wedding party has a round table the same size as all the others in a prime spot.

Banquet Style 1

Banquet Style 2

Banquet Style 3

  • Ambassador Table & Royal Table: The Ambassador Table and Royal Table formations group all guests together on one huge table, oval for Ambassador and Rectangle for Royal. This table seating plan is really only advisable for small, intimate seated dinners or buffets.

Ambassador Table

Royal Table

  • T-Shape: The T-Shape is another good table formation for intimate seated dinners or buffets and is composed of a horizontal Head Table and a vertical table for guests.


  • Dinner Dance Style: The Dinner Dance Style is similar to the Banquet Style with the difference that the tables are arranged around the dance floor. As with Banquet Style, 3 different options are possible for the Head Table. A long head table tends to work best however for the Dinner Dance seating formation.

Dinner Dance Style

  • Hollow Square: Although the Hollow Square table plan is more synonymous with board meetings, this table formation can work as a particularly sociable seating arrangement for a wedding.

Hollow Square

  • Cabaret Style: Cabaret Style is a great alternative to Banquet Style if you intend on having a live band, a dance performance or any other type of entertainment on a stage. Cabaret Style works best with either hexagonal, octagonal or round tables.

Cabaret Style

  • Chevron Style: The Chevron Style seating arrangement is another great space saver and can be used as an alternative to Canteen Style for both seated dinners and buffets.

Chevron Style

If you have decided on one of the table plans above which necessitates a head table (otherwise known as a ‘top table‘), you might be wondering who should be included on this all important table. Traditionally, the top table is composed of the wedding party and is arranged as follows:

Traditional Head Table

However… today, many families (like mine) are fragmented and re-composed following separations and divorces so the above top table plan may not at all work for you. There is therefore no reason whatsoever why you can not organise your top table in any way you please and include brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents and close friends if you wish.

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The Feminine Aristocracy theme encompasses the decadence and luxury of  France’s upper class during the time of Marie Antoinette. This extravagant wedding theme uses a rich colour scheme with deep pinks, purples, teal, cream, and gold mixed with mustard yellow.

You can really take this theme a long way; ask your guests to match their outfit according to the theme, dress your waiters and waitresses in period costume, make an entrance by horse and carriage, have a masked ball for your wedding reception, the sky is the limit!

Although Paris and its surrounding area is more famous for venues in keeping with the Feminine Aristocracy theme, the French Riviera has a fabulously regal venue which would be perfect for a Marie Antoinette themed wedding; the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

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1. Send your invites & save the dates by email
Wedding stationary can be an extremely expensive affair if you go for a tailor-made option. You could end up paying as much as 2 euros per card excluding postage which means for a 100 guest wedding you could end up paying as much as 300 euros on invites and postage or double that if you have decided to send out save the dates too. If you are computer savvy, you could create your own invite using adobe Photoshop, illustrator, Microsoft’s Publisher, Powerpoint or Mac’s iwork Pages programme that you can either send as an attachment or paste into the body of an email. You could even get a professional invite made for you by a graphic designer for around 100 euros.
2. Hold your wedding on a week day
Saturday is the most popular wedding day as it does not necessitate guests getting a day off work. Due to the fact that it is the most demanded day, Saturday is also the most expensive. There can be considerable discounts to be had in certain wedding venues on week days.
3. Have your wedding off season
Between the months of October and April, venue prices will be considerably less than during the summer months of May to September. An Autumn, Spring or Winter wedding can be as beautiful as a Summer wedding and you can theme your wedding to match the season. In addition, both flights for guests coming from abroad and accommodation will both be cheaper off season.
4. Be your own DJ
With an ipod or computer and a decent sound system, you have everything you need to be your very own DJ at your wedding reception. For song ideas why not ask guests to each request a song in advance and integrate them into your wedding play list. You can even ask guests to bring their own ipod and organise an ipod battle. An ipod battle is when two people compete to play songs that they will believe people will be most receptive to. The winner is the one who gets the most people up dancing.
5. Hire trainees
By contacting educational establishments you can source a load of different suppliers. For hair & beauty, contact a beauty school, get in touch with a catering college for food at your reception, for photography contact an artistic establishment, for filming a school with an audiovisual department, a music conservatoire for a string quartet, a college with a florist course for your wedding flowers… Hiring a student will be considerably less expensive or even completely free and you will be giving a young person a step onto the professional ladder.
6. Play on the shabby chic, vintage look
Vintage shabby chic is so in right now and can be a brilliant money saver as a wedding theme. Go to second hand stores for fun fabrics, decorative objects or even furniture. The possibilities can go as far as your imagination. For a total vintage look, customise your mum’s old wedding dress or look for one in a thrift store.
7. Abandon the seated dinner for a cocktail & canapé party
If your guests are predominantly a young crowd then you should consider going for a cocktail and canapé reception rather than the traditional seated dinner. With a choice of cold and hot, savory and sweet options, allow approximately 15 canapé pieces per person. Include a cheese, cold meets and bread buffet and a pasta bar to provide more substantial options.
To make sure that your food and drink budget does not get out of control, you could think about asking guests to bring either a bottle of wine or champagne to your wedding reception (1 for each couple). Depending on the type of venue you go for, you may however have to pay a corkage fee.
9. Rent it
Renting at your wedding does not have to stop at the car and the mens’ tuxedos, on the internet there are load of companies who specialise in the rental of bags, jewelry and accessories. You can even rent a designer wedding dress that you would never to be able to afford normally.
10. Utilise your entourage
If you have an opera singer friend, if you know an amazing cook, if your future brother-in-law is a budding photographer, your cousin is a hairdresser or your sister is fantastic at handy crafts, then use the talents of the people in your entourage to help you organise your wedding.

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