Aug 29th 2014

Top Five Wedding Mistakes

Planning a wedding is hard work….you’ve never done it before, it’s not your normal 9-5 job and you’ve got the added pressure of all of your friends and family coming along to the event, and who, lets face it, will probably be judging most aspects of the day.  We’ve listed out our top five wedding planning mistakes that brides often make so you can avoid them …

1 – There’s a reason wedding planners exist – to help couples plan their big day and to take away some of the pressure…plus they are experts and have probably organised hundreds of weddings.  Don’t be stubborn and accept some help.  If your venue offers you the service of their wedding planner take them up on it or think about working with one to carry certain aspects of the prep – like dealing with the venue and compiling all the RSVPs.

2 – Trying to please everyone – it’s not your mum’s big day, or your sister’s or your best friend’s.  It’s you and your partner who are the stars so ensure that you stick to the theme you both want, the flowers you like and the venue you want.  Don’t try and please everyone.

3 – Don’t go for a venue just because it looks pretty.  Make sure the venue you choose meets your needs.  Ensure that you visit it beforehand with someone – don’t make the decision on your own.  If you’re party animals and all your guests will literally be dancing all night make sure the dance floor is big enough, is there room for a band or DJ?  If you’re wedding ceremony and reception are at separate locations make sure they’re not too far apart.  Is the venue happy with your theme?  If it’s in the middle of the countryside are there enough rooms for all your guests?  There’s lot to consider so make sure your check list is all crossed off before you book.

4 – We’re all for making a wedding personal to the couple but please unless you’ve got the voice of Beyonce or Gary Below please don’t sing a song to your partner/guests as part of the speeches etc.  This can be embarrassing for everyone not least yourself – and we’ve seen this many times!  There’s a reason why you’re not the singer with Coldplay and it’s probably your voice.

5 – Finally don’t tell your guests every single detail of the day…leave some surprises for them and that way they’ll enjoy it even more!

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 Aug 23rd 2014

Beat Weather Event Blues

Beat Weather Event Blues

Well, as far as sunshine goes, I don’t think we can plan for all our outdoor events this year to be bathed in sunlight!  The only predictable thing about the weather is that we all know it can be shockingly unpredictable.  So, if you are planning an al fresco party or outdoor wedding day, you absolutely must factor in the possibility of poor weather conditions.  A little planning now could salvage your event from a soggy disaster later. Here are some ideas to help you beat weather event blues:


-If you are using a marquee, make sure that your hire company do a rigorous site visit before the event. Discuss with them the suitability of your chosen area, as you may find that the idyllic spot that you have in mind is on ground liable to flood if there was a downpour or that it is too near trees that could damage the structure in windy conditions

beating weather blues

-Choose your marquee flooring wisely – moisture can seep through, so consult your suppliers and opt for something fairly robust and that is insulated – you don’t want a waterlogged dance floor to scupper any killer moves!

-Draw out a plan of your site. If you are erecting marquees and providing portable bathrooms, make sure that you create paths between them that are canopied, should it rain, or provide shade if it’s hot.

-If you are using a marquee add a decked outdoor area for guests to enjoy the sunshine or, for a permanent venue, use a terrace area for some cooler outdoor space.  Parasols add extra shade in summer while patio heaters and cozy blankets keep off the chill off.

-TLC insists that all venues we use have in built air conditioning and heating systems to allow us to adapt the temperature inside depending on the weather on the big day.  Rooms and marquees will get warmer when everyone has arrived so flexible temperature control is essential and we monitor the temperature throughout the day.

Downpour Fun

Have fun with the whole situation. I know every bride wants a beautifully sunny day for their wedding but let’s face it, it can’t happen for everyone – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you set out with the idea of ’embracing’ whatever the weather throws at you, you can get through your day with a lot of fun and laughter.

-For wet weather, bridal party wellies are a must! Go flamboyant, bright coloured and patterned – or, if you’re really organised, get them monogrammed with the couple’s married initials.  We’ve never had any returned yet!

-Likewise, umbrellas – have bespoke brollies created for the bridal party, which will provide a colourful and dry backdrop to your wedding photos, and a great take-home gift for guests.

wedding decor ideas

-Make sure that you have an indoor and outdoor option for photographs.  We often erect a clear gazebo over terraces, so at least if the weather is bad the bride can keep dry whilst in the background is that million-dollar view of the gardens.

-Check the weather conditions ahead of time and plan.  Also, think about where the sun will be at different times of the day – your venue should help here – so you can position the marquee and your photographs to make the most of a sunset, but not have the sun blinding the bride during her photographs!

Handling the heat

If you are lucky enough to get a very sunny day for your wedding, that can also prove just as tricky, and planning to beat weather event blues is needed here too.

-An idea that I love is to present your order of service printed onto or attached to a coloured hand held paper fan.  Ideal to keep the ladies cool.  No dripping make-up here!

-In extreme heat (well there is a chance in the UK!) serve plenty of iced water in funky coloured bottles and hand round iced towels for guests to freshen up with.  Also, consider cool-air systems in your marquee and plenty of shade on the lawn – yurts, canopies, anything to keep the heat at bay!

Catering the climate

Keeping your guests comfortable is of the utmost importance, and so adapting your wedding or party catering, to beat weather event blues of the culinary kind, is key.

-For cooler days, go for a variation on mulled wine or even mugs of hot chocolate are popular, and we are serving lots of mini handmade pies in individual dishes this year, duos of soups in one bowl and lovely sticky pudds with individual jugs of custard.  Traditional and popular.

Beating weather blues catering

-If it’s warm, iced glasses of homemade lemonade or mini fruit iced lollies (vodka or Pimms lollies for the adults) are ideal and to keep them shaded, provide your lady guests with lightweight Chinese style parasols.

-Think lighter options with a cold starter and dessert for the warm weather and consider serving a chilled cocktail on arrival or, as is popular in Mediterranean countries, offer guests a glass of good chilled red or rose wine.  Serve mini artisan ice cream cones or have an ice cream van at your reception – vintage and popular with the children.

One thing is for sure though, as a seasoned event organiser and someone who plans meticulously to beat weather event blues, my motto has always been ‘We’ll weather the weather, Whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not!’

If you enjoyed reading about how to beat the weather event and wedding blues, you might enjoy this post too:

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 Aug 20th 2014

Bespoke Carousel Bar Takes Centre Stage!

Fabulous new pictures on line.  We built an amazing revolving Carousel bar – a stunning focal point to the party.

party decorparty decorparty decor




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 Aug 19th 2014

‘In the Hot Seat’ interview with Hospitality & Events North Magazine

Check out Liz Taylor’s ‘In the Hot Seat’ interview with Hospitality & Events North Magazine….what has been the most challenging event in 30 years??

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 Aug 12th 2014

Wedding Tips & Trends in Didsbury Magazine

Grab a copy of Didsbury Magazine, Hale & Bowdon Magazine, MediaCity Magazine or Bonus Sapor for TLC’s wedding trends this summer. Here’s a sneak peak:

wedding trends wedding trends



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 Aug 1st 2014

Tips for an Al Fresco Party with Style

Relax, sit back and dine al fresco!

If you’re planning on entertaining guests ‘al fresco’ this season, make sure that you take a look at some of the top tips I’ve picked up over the years….

Whatever you do, don’t compromise the freedom of dining outside by going formal.  Al fresco dining should be relaxed and low-key.  By making sure that everything, from the seating, to the music, reflects this, you’ll find your guests will soon kick back and enjoy the informality of it all.

Make sure that everyone is comfortable and that there is plenty of seating available.  Get any wooden garden furniture in tip-top condition by oiling or varnishing it weeks ahead of your event.  And don’t forget, for that bohemian or festival feel, hay bales are an excellent source of extra outdoor seating, just make sure to throw a blanket across the top and front, to avoid any spikey mishaps!

Reflect the relaxed atmosphere of your event, by serving lots of flavoursome but simple foods.  For a large number of guests, offer wooden platters of bite-sized savoury finger foods such as gourmet mini hotdogs or burgers, complimented with a variety of mustards and relishes.  If a barbecue is more your style, in addition to a selection of locally sourced meats, consider your vegetarian guests by grilling thick slices of halloumi cheese – delicious with crusty artisan bread and a crisp salad.

If the weather is on your side, the only dessert option is, of course, ice cream.  There are some terrific vintage ice cream vans available to hire and some will even create a unique flavour just for your guests!If your event is during the day, make sure that you have created an area of shade, or, dare I say it, shelter!  In addition to the usual sun shades, drape brightly coloured fabric across larger, over-hanging branches or erect canvas ‘sails’ across more open spaces.  Alternatively, a lovely idea is to present your guests with a practical and elegant keepsake of your event, a bespoke cotton or lacquered paper parasol, perfect on a lazy, sunny afternoon.

So once you have an area for your guests to chill-out, your next challenge is how to keep your drinks cool!  A rather stylish way to cool your bottles is to place them in an old-fashioned style roll-top bath with ice but if you’re after something even cooler (!) I would recommend investing in a large block of ice, rather than ice cubes for your event.  The block will melt more slowly and watching your bar tender chipping at the ice with a pick, adds a certain drama to the whole process!

And finally, I have to mention one of my secret al-fresco- event weapons – a hands-free wine glass holder (£4.49 for a pack of 4 from Lakeland).  Too many gardens across the country have been accidentally ‘watered’ over the years with vintage champagne and fine wines, so, no guest should be without one!  Rather than trying to balance a glass on a bumpy lawn, this simply ingenious spiked gadget, holds your glass in place, ensuring not a drop is lost to the grass!

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