Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Wedding Favours

The decision to have Wedding Favours is a personal one, but a token gift to say thank you to your guests for attending your Big day is always a lovely touch.

Traditionally, a gift of 5 sugared almonds or Bonbonnierre was given, and these represent health, wealth, fertility, happiness and longetivity, but these days couples tend to get a little more creative.

The history of this goes back to the aristocrats of Europe, notably France and Italy.
The bonbonnierre was actually a box made of porcelain, crystal, and precious stones, but in more recent times this tends to have been replaced by a gift box, an organza bag or the almonds wrapped in netting.

Modern gift trends can be candy, picture frames, personalised CD's with couples favourite music, the ever popular lottery ticket, soaps, candles, and drinks minatures.
What to choose a lot of the time comes down mainly to budget.

My choice for my Big Day was silk notebooks [wth a personalised message] for the ladies and lottery tickets for the gentlemen.
In the evening I had Love Heart sweeties in gift boxes, and a love scroll wrapped in green ribbon to co-ordinate with my theme.

It is also increasingly popular to theme your wedding, whether this be through colour choice or subject matter.
Favours are generally placed at each place setting for reciept during the Wedding Breakfast, but some couples choose to go round with a basket in the evening and hand out each small gift personally.

Whatever you choose try to inject a little bit of your own personality into your choice.
Here is a selection of my favourites.

Wooden All you need is love Key - Le Trousseau

Sweet Shoppe Candy Boxes - Caesars Wedding Favours

A popular choice at scottish weddings is Tablet such as above by Highland Favours
Or if you are really adventurous you could try making your own - Recipe

Wedding Coaster - J.S Favours

Wine Glass Charms - Gift wrapped and gorgeous

Golden Lottery Envelopes - The Wedding of My dreams

Sugared Almonds - Confetti

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feature Friday featuring Tracey Hatter Smith of Midway Media

Welcome to another of our fabulous Feature Friday articles! Today we're featuring Tracey Hatter Smith who owns Midway Media - Wedding & Event Videographers. 

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us today Tracey - can you tell us more about yourself and Midway Media?
I'm Tracey, 37 years young and married with 2 teenage children. I have a degree in Law and worked for many years within a legal environment before taking the plunge and a risk into a completely new area of videography!

I am pleased to say that I am an associate member with the Institute of Videographers (IOV), one of the largest organisations in the UK for recognising, training and promoting professional videographers.

Midway Media purely specialises in weddings, events and corporate filming across the UK and wherever needed. No job is too small! I run Midway Media with my wonderful husband, Barry and together we make a cracking team! Midway Media has now been successfully running for 2 years and its good to see that the diary for the years ahead is getting fuller and fuller. Every weekend this summer we have either 1 or 2 weddings to film with no break until the end of October! Out of season weddings are becoming more popular. I got married during the winter season not for any particular reason as I had always wanted a winter wedding anyway. I can honestly say that although I work extremely long hours, I love what I do. I'm certainly committed to the cause.

I am very passionate and dedicated about filming. Weddings have always been something of interest to me since I can remember. I get a buzz from every wedding I film and even more so when I finally see the end result before sending it to the client. There is nothing more satisfying than to receive a text or email from your client to say that they loved their DVD it was amazing to watch and the bride becoming all emotional at watching it and that they can't wait to show family and friends! Not that I wish our brides to cry even though they are tears of happiness but it shows the impact of what a DVD can actually do!

Where did the idea of running this as a business come from? 
I have always had an interest in filming but, for a few years prior to Midway Media being set up, Barry would film friends and family weddings while I would purely assist in the background! I finally took the leap at a family wedding with my new video camera working alongside Barry and, although I was very nervous (and I still get nervous now), I filmed and loved it.

From that moment, I knew videography was for me; it seemed as though I had a natural talent for it, as my shots were captured well and were creatively done. From this moment I've never looked back and when Barry was made redundant we invested everything in getting my dream business off the ground and running! It has taken a lot of time, patience and dedication from both of us to where we are today.  

What do you love most about your business? 
I love filming weddings and enjoy working with people. It’s the people that really make the DVD that little extra special for the bride and groom. I also get to go to many different locations across the UK and film a variety of weddings. No two weddings are the same.

What would you like to change?
I would change the look of our website on some of the pages by adding more visuals to the page to make it more visually appealing with less text. The pictures would be those taken as screenshots from our video cameras. This also gives a more examples of our work to the potential client.

What is your aim for the next year? 
I would like to double our bookings for next year and film more corporate work and attend local area networking meetings.

Where do you ultimately see yourself? 
As well as running Midway Media, I would also like to partake in some freelance camera work for local television. I would also like to cover an equestrian event as I am a keen horsewoman!

What are your Top 5 tips for new Business Women?
Tip 1 Speak to other women in business to find out how they got their businesses started and how they found success
Tip 2 Speak to a local business advisor who specialises in business start-up
Tip 3 Attend networking meetings and meet key people that can make referrals on your behalf (become a recommended supplier)
Tip 4 Find your niche market using market research and target area and set your objectives accordingly
Tip 5 Use social networking sites and the internet to increase business interest

If any prospective clients are reading this, how can they get in touch with you?
I can be contacted via my website at or by email at; I'm also on Facebook so they can "like" me on!/pages/Midway-Media-Wedding-Event-Videographers/117733244941078 or they can Tweet me on

Thanks so much for talking to us today Tracey - your job sounds so rewarding and I can imagine being in the middle of such a fabulous event every day is so exciting, as is doing something you love!

Remember, if you are a businesswoman and would like your company to be featured on our regular Feature Friday slot, please drop us an email at and put the words "Feature Friday" in the subject like and we'll send you on the info.  Also, check out our forum at - we love our Feature Friday women are all joining us there, and so can you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - The First Dance

Choosing you first dance can be an incredibly difficult or really easy choice.

The important thing is to choose something that has a personal meaning to both of you for whatever reason that is, and one that makes you happy.

There is also tends to be a lot of pressure today for the first dance to be smooth and choreographed.
Of course, you can take a class to improve your fancy footwork, but who cares about trodden toes, it is really about just being together, and being in love.

Most couples tend to learn the staples like the Waltz, the quickstep, but you can be a little different and choose a more spirited dance like the Mambo, or to a song you particularly love with a more catchy vibe.
Like this one by London photographer Julia Boggio and her husband James

The traditional pattern followed is that the Bride and Groom dance first, and then are joined by parents, and the other Bridal Party members.
During the first dance, the best man tends to dance with the Chief Bridesmaid, and the other Bridesmaids with any ushers.

Fantastic Perthshire photographer Shaun Ward shares his thoughts on first dances -

"One of the parts of the wedding I look forward to the most is the first dance the bride and groom have at their reception. This is the first time I really see them relax and may be the first time they have a chance to take in what has happened during the day."

"Personally as the photographer I am trying hard to create something unique that captures that moment when they forget about what is around them.
This involves working freely with a flashgun attached with cord to the camera or a static light on a stand or simply trying to use the lights available to create a nice image . These images are as much about trying to create the right mood on screen as the technical aspects."

A first dance is a moment that people worry about for months, but with a little preparation you can dance into a beautiful future.

Photo Credit : Shaun Ward

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feature Friday featuring Sarah Marks from Tiny Gems

Welcome to another of our fabulous Feature Friday articles! Today we're chatting to Sarah Marks who is the founder of Tiny Gems

Thanks so much for chatting with us today Sarah - can you tell our readers a little more about you and Tiny Gems?
Hello my name is Sarah Marks and I am the founder of I design and make my jewellery under the company name of Hemisphere Handcrafted Jewellery; many people ask me where I came up with the name Hemisphere. Picture the scene; I’d just started playing at jewellery making as a hobby and a way to de-stress from my very stressful full time job. I would sit in the lounge watching TV with my husband, a bead tray on my lap trying to be creative and tiny beads would be flying off in all directions. I said to my husband, where did that one go? He replied I think that one hit the hemisphere. And a name was born.

I have always had a love of all things crafty/arty and like to try experimenting with new things all the time. I am very happily married and have a gorgeous black Labrador of 11 years and a lovable cat of 13 years who are our children.

Tiny-Gems currently has a large selection of costume jewellery, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, sets, rings, hair combs, hair vines, tiaras, all made using highest quality materials, we offer a bespoke design service and are very happy to make amendments to any of our designs to meet your requirements. We have recently started to make one off bespoke fascinators on request to match special outfits which are proving very popular.

Tiny-Gems currently feature another designer – Debbie who design’s and makes her jewellery under the name beadsandglass. I met Debbie through doing local craft fairs and we both have very different design/production styles so we complement each other very well. This allows for more variety of products on tiny-gems although, occasionally, we have spooky moments where we make very similar items. Both Debbie and I are self taught jewellery designers and we love what we do.

We have recently become a supplier for, a wedding and events planner and are really excited about this new opportunity and working closely with them in the future.

Where did the idea of running this as a business come from?
I was a senior manager in the banking industry and had been so for 14 years, wrongly assuming I was in a job for life. I had recently been promoted and everything was fantastic when a bombshell dropped that my whole department was at risk of redundancy. This lasted for over 90 days with much uncertainty and upset for my colleagues and I. I was offered a job if I wanted one; however, I had completely lost faith in the company after the way everyone was treated. I eventually left at Christmas time 6 months after the bombshell had dropped and made the very scary decision after always being employed to begin a new career on a self employed basis. I am delighted that I was brave enough to do it and haven’t looked back once. Banking is now just a dim and distant memory which gave me the opportunity to start my own business.

What do you love most about your business?
Now that is a tough question, there is so much I love about it. I think it would have to be when I meet with someone to discuss their requirements for either a piece of jewellery or a tiara for their wedding or even a fascinator to match their dress for a day at the races. We discuss their ideas and I make suggestions and ask lots of questions to find out their likes and dislikes. I show them examples of my work and we work together to design an item that will be exactly what they are looking for.

Once the design is completed I absolutely love to see the delight on the clients face when they see their item. Tears of happiness are not unheard of, which makes all my hard work worthwhile. I also love sitting in my studio with my ipod on staring at rows and rows of beads and wire, just waiting for design ideas and inspiration to hit me. The worst day of my business beats the best day of working for someone else hands down every day of the week.

What would you like to change?
There are a couple of things I’d like to change; firstly, I would love someone else to handle all the website administration like listing items, photographing items etc so that I could get on with designing and making jewellery. I would imagine most people starting out feel exactly the same way until we all get successful and can employ people to do those things for us. Another change would be to have more hours in the day (maybe that one is a pipe dream and I’m sure I’m not the first to have requested this change).

What is your aim for the next year?
My aim for the next year is to increase tiny-gems activity with more promotion and getting more business contacts and affinities through local and national contacts. Along with expanding our product lines and getting more new designers on board the tiny-gems journey. To take 1st prize in the jewellery design competition I am entered into for tiaras and necklaces.

Where do you ultimately see yourself?
Ultimately I see tiny-gems as being the name everyone thinks of for designer costume jewellery and accessories nationwide.

What are your Top 5 tips for new Business Women?
Tip 1 - There is no such thing as can’t; you can do anything that you set your mind to the only limits to your potential are yourself or more specifically your own self doubt. With good planning you can achieve your goals. Set good clear goals and how you are going to achieve them to avoid getting distracted and flitting from one thing to another and achieving nothing.

Tip 2 - It’s not personal it’s business, don’t assume everyone wants you to succeed and will work to your timescales make sure you have everything in writing with your suppliers.

Tip 3 - Asking for help is a virtue not a weakness. Do not be afraid of asking as this could very likely avoid costly or timely mistakes; remember, no-one is fantastic at everything so play to your strengths and the strengths of those around you.

Tip 4 - Networking is absolutely necessary, meeting up with like minded business people is invaluable to discuss problems and pick up tips and hints that you may never have thought of like suggestions of suppliers to use or not use from the people you meet.  ou may even be lucky enough to forge great friendships as well as business contacts. If, like me, your business is craft inspired, get yourself along to local craft fairs even if you don’t make vast amounts of money to start with it is great mixing with like minded people and a craft business can be a lonely one so it’s a great way of meeting people and getting out of your studio.

Tip 5 - Aim high, the sky is the limit, have faith in your own ability.

If any prospective clients are reading this article and have fallen in love with your designs, how can they contact you?
I can be contacted via our website at, by email at, I'm also on Facebook where they can "like" me to get updates on new products at!/pages/Hemisphere-Handcrafted-Jewellery-at-Tiny-Gems/186496003750 or they can Tweet me at

Thanks so much for talking to us today Sarah - your designs are really beautiful and I think the way you started your business will resonate with a lot of people these days.

Remember, if you are a businesswoman and would like your products/service to be featured on our regular Friday slot, don't forget to drop us an email at with the words "Feature Friday" in the subject line and we'll get back to you with details.  Or check out our forum at - happy to see you there!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Planning your Honeymoon

Your Honeymoon is that once in a lifetime holiday that you want to enjoy to the fullest, and you will want to enjoy every romantic minute, but that can mean many things.

A sun drenched beach, the tuscan countryside, snowboarding in the alps, climbing a mountain, the Australian Rainforest, or a cosy B and B in the Scottish Islands, its all up to individual taste.

Traditionally, it was the Groom that organised this really special trip, but these days its usually a mutual decision.
But if you do decide to go traditional, its safest to drop some pretty hefty hints.
Before deciding, its important to consider what you both want out of your time away, a bit like making decisions fo the Wedding, so its an experience you will both enjoy.

Budget is a huge player in deciding where to go.
Get loads of brochures, and scour the internet for best deals.
Be very sure anything is ABTA bonded.
Take the advice of a travel agent, or consider an independant travel advisor like Travel Counsellors or the Travel Architect.

If you plan to change surname you can get your name changed on your passport prior to getting married, but won't be able to travel till after, or of course you can travel in your maiden name.
Make sure also that you have at least 6 months travel left on your passport before it expires.

Tips for Honeymoon Travel

- If booking Honeymoon packages there are likely to be some lovely added extra's at Hotels, make sure your travel advisor is aware.
- Make sure you are smartly dressed when travelling as you are much more likely to get an Upgrade this way.
- Make sure you let everyone know its your Honeymoon. Love is infectious and you never know what freebies may come your way.
- If you are changing your name on Passport beforehand, make sure the name on your travel documents matches. Many people have made this mistake in the past, and you really don't want that last minute stress.

Something else that is popular these days is having a Wedding Registry for your Honeymoon, where it can either pay for the trip away or or for some luxury experiences when you are away on your break

Whatever you do and where ever you go, it will be a beautiful beginning on the journey that is married life.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Feature Friday featuring Samantha Jones of Samantha Jones Photography

Welcome to another of our hugely successful Feature Friday articles - today we're going to be featuring Samantha Jones from Samantha Jones Photography

Hi Samantha, thanks so much for taking the time out to talk to us today - can you tell our readers a little more about you and your company? My company is Samantha Jones Photography - I decided to use my own name as I believe that my clients are buying "me" rather than a generic studio. I am based in Faversham, Kent and don't actually have studio which is one of the reasons that my prices are so competitive. My main business is wedding photography throughout Kent, Surrey and Essex but I also very much enjoy family portraiture. I have a small home studio set-up which can fit into the smallest of lounges! 

Where did the idea of running this as a business come from?  
I was working as a legal PA in London for nine years, commuting four hours per day to and from work. The opportunity came up to take voluntary redundancy and I seized it, knowing that my real passion is for photography and working with people to create beautiful images that they will cherish.

What do you love most about your business?  
I love the fact that I am my own boss and that no one day is ever the same as the next. I have met some wonderful people during my first year in business, attended beautiful weddings and celebrated the birth of many babies. 

What would you like to change?  
I would particularly like to change the perception that anyone with a digital camera can be a wedding photographer. I am finding recently that brides are trying to economise by asking a friend of the family, who has a decent knowledge of photography, to take their photographs. And then, afterwards, I hear that they are not really very happy with the pictures and regret their decision. That is one of my main reasons for offering "Rock the Frock" sessions, which are becoming much more popular now and involve getting back into your wedding dress and taking time to create beautiful and unusual shots which were not captured on the day of the wedding.

What is your aim for the next year?  
I love living in Faversham and my aim for next year is to become "The Faversham Photographer". I would love to be in the situation that every bride who is getting married in Faversham or the surrounding villages books me for their wedding!

Where do you ultimately see yourself?  
I would very much like to be in the position to employ an assistant at each wedding as carrying the equipment and setting up group shots can be quite tiring and I would much rather have the energy to be more creative. My ultimate aim is to be booking twice as many weddings as in my first year of business and then to expand accordingly.

What are your Top 5 tips for new Business Women? 
Tip 1 Never be too proud to take advice, you don't always have to act on it but you can learn so much from those already in business. 
Tip 2 Invest in proper branding and promotional materials and don't do it on "the cheap".
Tip 3 Attend courses and seminars which are applicable to your new business. Understand the power of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook and understand its strengths for your business. 
Tip 4 Embrace your competition and meet up regularly to discuss ideas and concepts. 
Tip 5 Don't give up ... be proud of what you have already achieved and always look to the future.

How can any prospective client contact you?
I can be contacted via my website at or I can be emailed at - I'm also on Facebook at or they can Tweet me at

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Choosing Wedding Suppliers.

From working in events over the last year or so, I have found that however well planned, there is always the possibility of having a few little technical hitches.
Usually these are swiftly rectified, and don't overshadow any of the day, but its got me thinking ! [ a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw moment! ]

"How well do we check out our Wedding or Event suppliers ?"

Do we look at a brochure or website and say, oooooooh they look good or do we delve deeper ?

Its definetely all about thorough research, price always has a part to play in a decision but get lots of brochures, samples etc, and book lots of appointments.
And I can't say enough about personal recommendation - ask friends, ask on wedding forums, read testimonials etc.
Take time and research at least 3 suppliers in each catagory of need.

For any supplier it is advisable to have in depth meetings.

For a photographer for example, ask to see lots of examples of different styles of his work.
For a cake maker, ask for tasting sessions of their product.
For a venue dresser, ask if they have dressed your venue before, and especially if they are doing chair covers, make sure they are sure their covers suit your venues chairs.
And the same follows through with each and every other person that plays a part in your day.

For someone that is providing services for you on biggest day of your life, its important that you have a connection, and you feel confident and comfortable that they will provide you with exactly what you are looking for, and so you both know you are on the same wavelength.

And while seeing a professional accreditation is reassuring, it doesn't necessarily make one particular supplier better than another.

A lot of the time, peoples tastes and preferences play a large part and while one may love their supplier, another person may have different views.

You really don't want your event to be overshadowed by avoidable incidents, so choose wisely.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feature Friday featuring Leanna Doohan of Creative Invites

Welcome to another of our Feature Friday articles - today we'll be featuring Leanne Doohan from Creative Invites, a wedding stationery company based in beautiful Donegal, Ireland.

Thanks so much for taking the time out to chat with us today Leanne - can you tell our readers a little more about yourself and your company?
My name is Leanne Doohan and my business is Creative Invites, a handmade wedding stationery business based in Co. Donegal in Ireland. The business has been going since 2005 and I bought it in early 2009. It was well-established and very busy but the previous owner had other commitments which meant she couldn’t continue running it. I hardly had time to find my feet when I took over. It was so busy and there was a lot to learn! In fact, I’m still learning every day!

Where did the idea of running this as a business come from?
I can’t really say that it was my business idea as I didn’t set it up from scratch, but I’ve always done cardmaking and scrapbooking as a hobby. I also knew I wanted to own my own business and studied Business Studies and Marketing at college but I never made any business ideas a reality! It was only when I saw Creative Invites for sale that it clicked with me that this was something I would love to do!

What do you love most about your business?
This is a difficult one! There is nothing like the buzz you get out of being your own boss. Just having the control to get things done. Even when there’s a problem such as a late delivery, I enjoy finding a solution to a problem! I also love working with brides (and grooms!). They are very enthusiastic about choosing their wedding stationery. They’re at a very happy time in their lives and it’s wonderful to deal with that type of person. Getting married is usually a once in a lifetime thing so they are new to all the planning and everything that goes with it. Being a newly-wed myself, I can offer little tips and recommendations for other areas to do with the wedding and they’re always so grateful for any information that helps!

What would you like to change?
I’d like to work less hours and have my weekends to myself! But I doubt if that will happen any time soon!

What is your aim for the next year?
I have a lot of exciting changes planned for Creative Invites in the next six months alone. Customers’ needs and wants are changing and competition is increasing. This keeps me on my toes and means that I am always thinking ahead to see how we can be innovative and improve on what we do. Last year we received national recognition by winning ‘Irish Wedding Stationery Supplier of the Year’ with the wedding forum and we were voted in the top 5 wedding stationery suppliers in Ireland with the wedding forum I hope that 2010 brings the same success!

Where do you ultimately see yourself?
I see myself with a successful business that allows me flexibility in my work schedule. I want the Creative Invites brand to be well-known in Ireland but without losing the small business feel that people like us for at the moment. And I might get around to trying out some other business ideas…who knows?!

What are your Top 5 tips for new Business Women?
Tip 1 Surround yourself with supportive friends and family and never be too proud to ask for help.
Tip 2 Don’t try to do everything yourself – you can’t know everything! Get an expert to look after things that aren’t your area of expertise, whether that be your website, accounts etc.
Tip 3 Always listen to your customers but more importantly listen to people who aren’t your customers. Ask why people would buy from your competitor instead of you.
Tip 4 Network!! This couldn’t be easier these days with all the social media platforms out there. I have built up fantastic contacts with people in other Irish businesses who I’ve never even met!

 Tip 5 For women that work from home, don’t feel that because you are at home you have to do the housework as well. Separate work time and home time although it can be difficult when it is all under the one roof!

If a prospective client was reading this and wanted to get in touch with you, how can they contact you?
I can be contacted via my website or they can drop me an email to  I'm also on Facebook at or they can Tweet me at

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us today Leanne - sounds like a fantastically busy business and well done for such amazing awards! Long may the acclaim continue!

Remember, if you are a businesswoman working from home and you'd like your business to be featured on one our Feature Friday slots, email us at and put the words "Feature Friday" in the subject line.  Or check out our new forum at - happy to see you there!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In the Mood - Creating a Wedding Mood Board.

A moodboard is a collage of materials [images, text, colours, textures] which capture the ambience and feel of something you want to design or create.

As a wedding and event planner and co-ordinator, this is a useful tool to gather thoughts together whilst not having to commit to anything, and it is very useful when presenting initial idea's to a client.

From a brides point of view, this can be created by saving magazine clippings, drawings etc and storing them in a wedding planning folder, which in theory some of us have been subconciously filling since we were 5.

You can save an image of "The Dress", that gorgeous bouquet, those "must have" shoes, that cool car, or the "to die for" stationery you have been lusting over.
This just makes it easier to bring across what you really see as the look of the day.

Below are some gorgeous examples of how you could bring together your Wedding Wish List to create the vision you have.