Tag Archives: wedding

Part 5: Planning a Vintage Wedding: The Dress

18 May

Welcome to the final part of our planning a vintage wedding special and what a way to finish – it’s the all important dress!

You have a big decision to make here as you can go one of two ways. Real vintage or well…sort of…. modern vintage i.e. brand spanking new but with a vintage style. You are literally spoilt for choice.

First let’s start on preloved (wedding speak darhhhling for second-hand). A true vintage wedding dress isn’t as easy to find as you’d think. Firstly it depends on what era you are going for, even now the 80’s gets the vintage label in some circles, so you will need to be selective. If you are going way back it’s always going to get more difficult, so unless you have Granny’s dress waiting in the wings prepare yourself for a lot of leg work.

One of the best places to start is dedicated online website Preloved Wedding Dresses. They have over 10,000 new sample and used wedding gowns, some of which are truly vintage. You might also find a hidden gem of a vintage style dress that fits nicely into your not so vintage budget. You can also try The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, although they haven’t got a stockist in Kent their flagship store is in Central London. Run by renowned stylist, Charlie Brear, it’s well worth the trip into the big smoke to join its growing number of celebrity fans.

The Vintage Wedding Dress Company

The Vintage Wedding Dress Company

The Vintage Wedding Dress Company

The Vintage Wedding Dress Company

There’s also some vintage boutiques to try closer to home including Bridesdressrevisited in the little Kent village of Otford, where you can make an appointment to view their full collection of preloved dresses.

If second-hand just isn’t you then there are some brilliant designers who offer vintage style dresses. Here are just some of our absolute favourite dresses available now from Charlotte BalbierCandy AnthonyClaire PettiboneCharlotte Casadejus and Johanna Hehir.

Charlotte Casadejus

Charlotte Casadejus

Charlotte Balbier

Charlotte Balbier

Johanna Hehir

Johanna Hehir

Wedding dress by Candy Anthony

Candy Anthony

Claire Pettibone

Claire Pettibone

For more inspiration on planning vintage weddings in Kent then take a look at Vintage Kent Directory where you will find lots of suppliers to help you in your quest.

In case you ‘ve missed them check out the rest of the post in our vintage wedding series here:

Part 1: Vintage Music

Part 2: Hair & Make Up

Part 3: Vintage Shoes

Part 4: Tea Time

And if you are planning a vintage wedding don’t forget to share your experience with us here!


Behind the Scenes Part 1: English Country Garden Wedding

26 Apr

The setting was amazing, the bride looked breathtaking, the weather was finally on our side as the sun shone – it was the perfect day for the Bride and Groom.  For the Wedding Dolls it was 10 hours of busy, busy busy and we loved every minute of it. Helping turn months of ideas and plans into reality  and as the bride told us the day after, for what would be the wedding day they had dreamed of.

So for those that ask the question “what does a wedding co-ordinator actually do?” here is an insight into what The Wedding Dolls did on Saturday, behind the scenes…

When we arrive at the house at 10am (which is also the reception venue) we find the bride looking very calm and getting her hair done, as per the schedule! Elsewhere there is a feeling of panic in the house, especially as there will be 80 guests arriving in less than 6 hours time and there are 10 people who need to get ready. After checking everyone had what they needed we had a quick catch up with the photographer and then went down the garden to the marquee, where we began going through our to-do list to get the reception looking nothing less than perfect.

Our to-do list was slightly interrupted when we discovered the portable toilets for the reception guests were not working. After a couple of phone calls and some investigation the supplier was called to the house to fix the problem. Next was the news that the vintage wedding car the bride was borrowing from a neighbour had not yet arrived. Whilst I was helping the bridal party to get ready for pre-wedding photo’s Emma tracked down the car and tied on the wedding ribbon.

At this point I left for the church to organise the reserved seating for the wedding party and key guests as well as ensure the sound system worked for the service music. After the service the bride and groom had asked for a specific photo shot to be set up, involving cricket bats as they exited the church. To make sure they got what they wanted I briefed the Best Man and Usher on what I needed them to do. With limited parking the school next door had offered their car park so I was also there to ensure the gates were opened and guests knew where to park.

It was at this point Emma was making sure the bridal party left the house on time and called me so I knew they were on their way!

Check back tomorrow for Part 2.

Joanne x

Prettywild Wedding Stationery

17 Apr

Finding brilliant wedding suppliers right on your doorstep is one of the best things about working in Kent and today we can share with you gorgeous stationery designer, Suzanne Osborne, whose studio is just a stones throw away from Wedding Dolls HQ.

Suzanne launched Prettywild Design as a full-time business after working in design studios with clients including ITV, BBC and Abbey National, but she tells us “I’d always yearned to run my own business allowing me the freedom to share my ideas and love for creative event stationery”.

Suzanne says “At design college, I learnt the beauty of typography, played with paper, met my future husband and graduated with a 1st! A year later we got married – it was my first wedding stationery commission. Whilst studying I had Saturday job in a local stationery shop. It was a wonderland of beautiful fountain pens, greetings cards and office equipment, with a small print division. It was an inspirational family run business and I’ll always be grateful to the owners for teaching me the importance of good customer relations, hard work and how to wrap the wedding invitation orders!”.

Suzanne’s stunning range of designs can be customised or she will create an exclusive design just for you depending on what you require for your event. Take a look at her website for more information about pricing and ordering. You’ll be really glad you did!

Get me to the Church

29 Feb

Getting married in Church is now a whole load easier and certainly less official than it once was. You now have more choices open to you about which church you can actually choose and the type of wedding ceremony you want.

Out are the really strict rules and in are a lot of really relaxed ones. If you want to marry in your local C of E church it is relatively straight forward, however if you want to choose one away from where you live, you will have to prove a connection to the church parish in question. This can be through one of you having lived there previously or through your parents or grandparents.

Legal elements of a church wedding will be around £350 but if you need other church services including an organist, choir or bell ringers this will cost you extra.

We always find that Vicars are full of useful local information and are great for advice about choosing your favourite hymns and readings.  You will also get the chance to have a full rehearsal and have your banns read out in church before the wedding, which is often really special to couples in the build up to their big day.

In and around Kent there are literally hundreds of beautiful churches with fabulous settings.  If you want a quirky venue then local village halls, often close by to churches, are now becoming more wedding focussed and make a great blank canvas for themed weddings.  Churches are often popular as well if you want to have your reception at home as they offer the flexibility you need.  Some churches now even allow you to have your reception in the church itself, giving you a very unique take on the traditional church wedding!

Whatever you decide on find out more about choosing your church, available services and information about church weddings in general at your church wedding.

Image Credits: 1. Perfect Wedding Day 2. Weddingvenues.com 3. Shooting Hip

All the fun of the fair: Wedding Planning #1

19 Feb

It’s been a busy week at Wedding Dolls HQ.  We spent last weekend at the Wedding Fair at Bluewater, which was just fantastic. There were so many local Kent suppliers showcasing their beautiful and gorgeous ideas for making your wedding really special and it was great for getting lots of ideas and inspiration. However, afterwards one of our competition winners told us they felt slightly overwhelmed with the task ahead and all the decisions they needed to make.

But there is no need to panic! We often talk to engaged couples who have been to a few wedding fairs and still don’t really know where to start with the actual planning process. Our initial two-hour wedding consultation is perfect for this as it really helps to gather together your initial ideas and set you off on the right wedding path.  After meeting with us you’ll know some of the pitfalls to look out for and common mistakes people make when planning a wedding, as well as how to get the planning and styling stages right, which will save you time and money later.

The more confident ones amongst you will already be clear about what you need to do and have a long list of jobs at the ready, but if have you been engaged for a while and haven’t yet written a wedding related list here’s how to start.

Ok breathe, go slow and take it one step at a time. The first list you need goes from 1 – 6 and will be your basic wedding plan.

1. Set the Date.

You will need to consider what season you want for your wedding as they all bring different pro’s and con’s. Decide on a couple of potential dates, then Google them to check they don’t clash with bank holidays or large sporting events that you would sooner avoid.

2. Set the budget.

You can’t go any further until you know how much you have to spend overall. Then begin to breakdown your budget by using some average costs for the main things such as venue, catering, photographer and outfits.  See our blog post next week: Counting the Cost: Wedding Planning #2 to help.

3. Draw up your guest list.

This is going to be tough as you will need to agree on which guests make the grade.  The golden rule is the more guests you have, the more money you are likely to need!  It’s crucial to define your guest list early on so you know you are well within your budget outline and all your nearest and dearest are on the short list. This will also determine which type of venue you need.

4. Your Wedding Style.

It is here we can touch on the ‘style’ of your wedding.  You don’t need to know the exact style and every last detail at this stage but you will want an overall idea. Are you looking for the glitz and glam of a boutique hotel, a relaxed country garden party or do you want something really different like a teepee or a boat.  Think about your personalities and any likes and dislikes. You will both want to feel comfortable with the style and venue and it’s important you both agree now to save any upset, or added expense, later on.

5. Venue.

Next you need to find a venue that is going to suit your wedding style, budget and can cater for the number of guests you have. It’s no good hankering after the little country pub if your guest list goes over 100 or wanting a top London hotel if you have less than a £30,000 budget.  Draw up a short list of no more than five and then visit them all armed with your list of provisional dates.

6. Decision Time!

Now you need to make a final decision on your style, budget, venue and guest list. From here you can send out “save the date” cards and go in search of the all important dress.  If you need to start saving for your wedding then get a separate wedding account and work out your budget goals.

If you think you might need wedding planning help then now is a good time to chat with us to see what we can do for you.

Don’t forget the most important thing is to enjoy it all and don’t worry – if you follow our simple plan you can’t go wrong!

Good luck xxx

Win tickets to The Designer Wedding Show

8 Feb

It’s wedding show fever for us this weekend as we’ll be at the Bluewater Wedding Fair and the Designer Wedding Show.  So if you see us on Sunday looking a bit over-excited you’ll know why!

If you fancy winning a pair of tickets to the Designer Wedding Show then visit our facebook page. “Like us” then add a comment to the Designer Wedding Show post, including your wedding date, by 12noon on Thursday 9th February and you’ll be in with a chance of winning (or you can add your comment to this post instead).* We’ll let you know who has won on our facebook page and the winner will receive a confirmation email.

The Designer Wedding Show is at Battersea Park from the 10th-12th February 2012. 

The Wedding Show team told us what to expect from the show “It brings together both high-profile designers and less well-known names (those hard-to-find but brilliant-to-discover specialists) and presents the most covetable collection of 130 companies offering everything for stylish weddings. It makes the complex task of planning your wedding much simpler.

Alongside an exceptional choice of bridal fashion you will also be able to choose from exquisite stationery, beautiful millinery, stylish menswear, divine bridesmaids fashion, couture shoes, designer jewellery, stunning fashion for the mother of the bride, inspirational photography, scrumptious cakes, fabulous venues, smart gift lists and heavenly flowers.”

What more could you ask for! For more information about the show visit The Designer Wedding Show.

Good luck!


* The winner will be drawn at random from the entries received.

Wrap up a Winter Wedding

3 Feb

BBrrr as the temperature drops, if you are getting married in the next month or two, you’re probably worrying about how to stay warm, but not look like you’re about to ski down the black run. Well worry not, as we’ve got a selection of winter warmers for your delight from Wonderful Wraps, who have a fantastic range to suit all wedding styles.

To go all out in the keeping toastie stakes then you will almost certainly need to have a wrap or cape.

Marabou Bolero, comes in ivory and black (as shown). £115

Faux Fur Wrap, £139

Velvet Cloak with Fur Hood and Train, £599.

Wedding Faux Fur Muff, £40

The wedding muff may feel like an accessory too far for you as a bride, but they do look fantastic on bridesmaids, who can have one instead of a bouquet, and it will stop them from getting freezing when standing around waiting to be photographed.

We spoke to Katie Diamond from Wonderful Wraps who says “Normal postage times are 3-5 days but if an item is not in stock you will be emailed immediately and notified of the new delivery date. The Wonderful Wraps cloak is bespoke and so will take around 6 weeks, however in some cases we can reduce this, as our wedding range is made here in England. Customer service is paramount to us so we are on hand to offer friendly advice and help with every order”.

Spring 2012 will see the release of three new on-trend pieces as part of their wedding collection so keep an eye on their blog to find out more.

All images from Wonderful Wraps

Wedding Cake – Your Just Desserts?

1 Feb

So far, this week has been all about wedding cakes. Now never one to turn down cake in any variety I have been in my element, however, it’s ended up being wedding cake with a difference. We have been debating an answer to the question that brides ask a lot; “shall I have my cake as dessert”?


In theory this sounds like a plan to save some budget but you will need to “officially” cut your cake before you sit down to your meal. This allows the caterers time to do the cutting bit ready to serve after your main course. You will probably also need to choose a dessert type cake rather than the traditional fruit cake – chocolate in any variety always goes down well with most guests!

Fit this into your wedding schedule and choose the right cake and it can be a real winner.


However for something really different you can stick to a traditional dessert (which let’s face it, everyone thinks is the best part of a meal anyway) and then finish off with a cheese course.  “What are you talking about”, I can hear you muttering, “this is going to cost even more”! But ha har the magic part is your cheese course is actually your wedding cake.

Confused?  Take a look.


Chloe Browne of Caught the Light

Having a cheese cake works fantastically for a country wedding, especially if you are having buffet style catering and looks great as a centrepiece. It also gives you the option if you don’t want an after-dinner cheese course to use as part of the evening buffet, alongside other British produce including Pates, chutney and pies.


Prices range from around £150- £200 depending on the size of your cake and the cheeses you choose. For suppliers locally in the Kent area check out  The Cheese Box or Cheese Not Cake.

Image Credits: 1. Caught the Light via Martha Stewart Weddings 2.English Cheesemaker 3. The Cheese Box 4. Cheese Not Cake

DIY Wedding Favours: Just take it easy

27 Jan

From our experience nothing makes Brides break out in a cold sweat more than deciding on wedding favours.  But worry not. Wedding favours kept simple and stylish will bring a cheeky grin to the face of your guests and leave you with a smug wedding smile. They are a great way to express your inner creativity and if you don’t mind doing the work yourself, they don’t have to cost a fortune either.

If you are willing to try your crafty hand then a good place to start is Martha Stewart Weddings which is brilliant for all things wedding DIY, or take a trip to a local craft fair (there are so many brilliant ones in Kent) for inspiration.  To get you started here are our favourite five ideas, which all have that personal touch and are not to complicated for any crafty beginners.

1.Vintage Personalised Sweet Bags

Get your own custom designed stamp made up and then use it to print your thank you message onto muslin pouches. Fill the pouches with old-fashioned sweets for a unique little favour. You can put different sweets in the bag depending on guests favourites.


2. Paper Flower with Dahlia Bulb

These eye-catching tissue paper flowers make lovely additions to your reception tables and can be made to fit in with your own colour scheme. They are really easy to make from the template on Martha Stewart Weddings and can be tied up with a planting instruction tag and ribbon to look like little leaves. At home, guests will peel back the petals to reveal a dahlia bulb which they can plant and enjoy.


3. Vintage handkerchiefs

A really lovely little gift which requires hardly any crafting at all, but does involve lots of shopping (now you’re talking I hear you cry) is the vintage hankie. Granny’s favourite is now making a huge comeback and you can easily get beautifully printed hankies from boot fairs, antique shops and online.  The fun really is in the collecting! When shopped out simply write your message on a little card, hole punch and secure to the hankie with a ribbon. Another take on this is to buy plain old hankies and use a personalised stamp with your own wedding message or pattern on them (see personalised stamp above!).


4. Honey Stirrer

Buying a little usual gift is a good way of guests remembering your big day for years to come.  A little honey stirrer is really lovely ribbon-tied to guest place names.  If you really want to go for it you can match them with little honey pots that can be adorned with custom-made wedding stickers. Check out Moo for brilliant sticker ideas and cheap printing too! Lovely to add that special touch to a country wedding theme.


5. Whole lotta love in a bottle

How about giving your guests an after dinner drink they won’t forget in a hurry?  Make your own infused vodka, put in miniature bottles and tie on your message. You can find loads of recipes online but our favourite is for Blackberry Vodka by the fabulous A Thrifty Mrs that has been tried a tested by your’s truly. It is easy to do but is time-consuming so don’t attempt if you are seriously lacking in patience or have left it until the last-minute. If you can’t stretch to making your own then do it the cheats way. Buy small bottles of juice or your favourite tipple, soak off the labels and put on your own designer stickers.

Have fun and let us know how you get on. See you in Hobbycraft Ladies!

Image Credits:

1. Martha Stewart Weddings, 2.Martha Stewart Weddings, 3. Photography by Chloe Browne of Caught the Light via Martha Stewart Weddings 4.Lindsay Flanagan Photography via Weddingwindow.com, 5. mydiyweddingday.com

It’s like rain on your wedding day …

19 Jan

White umbrellas against the door

Howling wind and torrential rain are to be expected as part of  the great British weather, and that’s just in July.  So if you are planning a wedding in the UK then you need to make sure you have a Plan B in case the weather turns nasty. However it’s not all bad news.

Sounds easy for us to say, but getting married on a wet day can be nothing to worry about. Rain can actually add to the artistic look of your photographs, and here Wedding Dolls friend and fabulous photographer Kay Young tells us why.

“Being a wedding photographer is an amazing job and to be part of a couples special day is a real privilege. I become so involved with the running of the day and always get caught up in the emotions (I have been known to shed a tear or two during the speeches), but photographing a wedding also comes with a big responsibility. My job is to create the best images possible that will last a life time, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Raining archway

So before the big day I do a pre-wedding venue check to spend time planning out different backdrops and suitable areas for shots as well as the all important backup plan in case it rains. The light is always amazing when it rains and can make for some moody and artistic images. Wet tiles on the ground create reflections, textures on wooden doors look fabulous and everything looks greener.

Umbrellas make fabulous props and I always bring a few along to each wedding.  Most venues, have lots of doorways, arches and porches and these can make for some intimate romantic shots with the rain falling in the background.”

So even if it is forecast to rain on your wedding day you shouldn’t let it dampen your spirits (see what I did there…) just be prepared, check out some gorgeous umbrellas from Olivier Laudus and take cover in the most stylish way possible!

Venues: Mountains Country House and Penshurst Place, both in Kent.
Bride and Groom - a wet wedding marchBride and Groom with rainbow