Destination Weddings in Europe

At one time, when people spoke about having a destination wedding and heading off somewhere away from home to get married, it was usually the Caribbean or tropical islands such as the Seychelles or Mauritius. But today, many people instead consider Europe for their destination wedding and with plenty of good reasons.

Why choose Europe?

One of the first reasons people choose Europe for their wedding destination is purely practical – there are no long haul flights involved. If there are kids involved or even older family members, those long trips can be a nightmare whereas most destinations in Europe are just a few hours away by plane. The similarity in legal systems also makes the job easier, ensuring that the marriage is legal in both the country it is held in and in the UK.

However, the biggest reason to choose Europe is the variety it offers. From the beautiful coastal areas of Croatia to the rolling scenery of France, the mountains of Italy or Switzerland or the sun-kissed beaches of Spain, there is something for everyone. And there are also plenty of luxurious villas and apartments in which to stay after the ceremony.

Perfect spots

The Amalfi Coast of Italy is a top venue for a wedding with its amazing coastal views – the Amalfi Drive is said to be the most scenic coastline in Italy and winds through the cliff tops. The food is top class and guests can visit the ruins of Pompeii while there or even spend some time in Naples.

The Loire Valley in France is renowned for its wine production so a wedding held here won’t need to worry about ending up with substandard drinks on the table! You can arrive in Paris and then travel to the valley with its historic villages and charming rustic villas in which to stay. Then there are wine tasting opportunities with a tour around a vineyard.

Novalja is a newcomer to the wedding destination list but is making its presence felt. This town on the island of Pag in Croatia is close to a top summer party zone, Zrce Beach. It offers a great combination of island charm, beautiful scenery and great nightlife. It is also known for its luxury villas such as the Ying Yang (courtesy of www.cro-exclusive.co.uk), which can accommodate up to seven people so allows the wedding party to all stay together, or you could choose something a little more private, if yoou’re looking to spend your honeymoon in Croatia.

If you prefer the city option, then Rome is without doubt one of the best. The ancient city is often said to be a living museum and offers the best photo opportunities possible. The food isn’t too bad either while the venues on offer range from villas to rustic castles and even historic piazzas in the city.

There are so many places in Ireland that make a perfect wedding venue that there is something for everyone’s tastes. With its fairy tale style cottages, castles and remote villages as well as beautiful scenery and friendly people, it is the shortest distance to travel and offers plenty to do as well as the wedding ceremony.

The Devil’s in the Details

When planning a wedding, there are hundreds of things to consider and for many couples, it is the small things that are left to the last minute. But as the saying goes, the devil’s in the details and getting these finishing touches right can really make the day. One of the most popular small details are wedding favours. But what are they and how to do you tie them into your wedding theme?

History

Wedding favours have a long and distinguished history. Back in the 16th century, couples gave a love knot made from ribbon and lace to each guest to represent their love and as a favour. A fancier version was used by the aristocrats in France and Italy and was called a ‘bonboniere’ or ‘bomboniere’. These were also used at birthday parties and other special occasions and were a small box made from crystal, precious stones, metal or porcelain that had a small sugar delicacy inside. This was the idea that led to the modern wedding favour.

Weddings were themselves considered lucky at one time and by giving a ‘bomboniere’ or other treat to guests, the couple were sharing their luck. Five almonds or pieces of candy were usually given to represent fertility, longevity, happiness, wealth and health. Later the combining of sugar and almonds was used and the treats were wrapped in paper or other pretty material.

Favours around the world

Today, there are many different traditions around the world that have their roots in the wedding favour. In Italy, sugar coated almonds are still used as well as chocolate covered ones while in Spain, guests receive a ‘detalles’ – this is a small gift for the ladies and a cigar for the men. In Russia, a favour will be a tiny picture or a candle and a small trinket while in Irish weddings, small bells are given as favours. Finally, in India, a handcrafted elephant is given to guests to share the wedding couple’s good luck.

Modern favours

Wedding favours has become big business around the world and this means there are a huge range of ideas to choose from. Some people also choose to make their own, sometimes with a specific gift for a specific guest.

If you are giving favours only to the ladies, another common tradition, then instead of sweets, why not give a small, scented soap? Little soaps come in various scents and colours so can be coordinated with the colour theme of the wedding or with the flowers in the bouquet.

Rather than traditional almonds, small heart shaped pieces of fudge are another modern version of the wedding favour and putting one in a small box with a coordinating ribbon around it makes for a pleasant sight on the tables. Even tiny cupcakes and macaroons are being put into little boxes for a delightful sweet treat and these can be given to the men as well as the women.

Another less ornate idea for the wedding favour is to buy each guest a Lottery ticket, roll it and tie it with a colour themed ribbon. Of course, don’t forget to make them all promise to give you a share if they hit the jackpot from the ticket!

Planning Your Wedding – Our Top Tips

Arranging your wedding is a huge job with a mountain of small details to plough through and hundreds of little decisions to make. Many people choose to make use of the services of a wedding planner to assist in the organisation but there are still plenty of things the two of you will need to sort out yourself. So here are some tips from those who have done it.

Cute To Do List

1. Have an overall plan

It sounds very grand but the best way to organise a wedding is to plan it from the top to have an overall plan that covers all the main elements and to which all the minor ones can be added. Write a list each of what you want to include or exclude from the day then put your heads together to combine them.

2. Get the right help

Whether you choose to use a wedding planner, family members or get your friends involved, getting the right help in organising the day can be crucial. You can get people looking at different elements for you, so for example if you are getting married in the capital, get some friends to scout venues in London for information then you can go through what they find, or if your budget can stretch to it, consider hiring a professional like G & D Events to make tings easier and maybe even track down the perfect venue that you didn’t even know about.

3. Consider your guests

While the wedding day is about the couple, your guests make up a crucial part of the event and won’t be the same without them. So when you begin choose venues, consider how people will manage to get to them. Can people group together and share a minibus? Is there plenty of places to park?

4. Look at your menu

The menu on the wedding day seems to end up being one of the biggest issues for some couple. Firstly, there is special requirements to consider such as gluten-free or vegetarians. Then there is budgetary issues to consider – be realistic about what you can afford!

5. Spend a little time at the venue

If you are going to have your most important day there, make sure you are comfortable and happy with the venue. Many places will offer a menu-tasting option, a sort of trial run of your menu – make sure you do this!

6. Make use of freebies

There are a huge amount of resources available online to help with aspects of your wedding and most all of them are free – make use of them! Whether it is to help with menu options, presents for guests or even table layouts, get Googling to see what you can find.

7. Consider handmade

For items like favours and even invitations, if you are crafty or know someone who is, then consider going handmade. This creates something unique and special and can sometimes be more cost effective.

8. Make sure the wedding is what you want

Too many people end up over considering their guests and end up with a day based around others. Make sure your day is about the two of you and that everything is as you want it.

9. Scrutinize speeches

Make certain you know what is going to be said during the speeches to avoid trouble or at least brief the speakers on what not to say – it is one of the biggest causes of family arguments!

10. Have a wedding day to-do list

If you have a list for the day of things you need to do for each of you, then you aren’t left with that sinking feeling you have forgotten something. Start the list as you are planning and add to it as you go.

So there you go, our top ten tips to help make your wedding easier to plan and cheaper at the same time.

A Dream Wedding…On a Budget

Wedding On A Budget

Most brides dream of their wedding day with their beautiful dress, adorable bridesmaids, gorgeous venue and mouth-watering food. Most of these dreams don’t come with a budget included and when the reality comes along, the cost of a wedding can mean limiting your dreams somewhat. But there are some tips to help make the most of the money you have to spend on your wedding to fulfil your dream without breaking the bank.

Expensive traditions

When you say yes to that engagement ring and the two of you decide on a date, the mind starts turning to both the big things like the venue and the wedding clothes but also the little things. These days, gorgeous-looking diamond engagement rings are just the start of the spending on your big day. There will be plenty of other little things you will need to buy before you’re married and, just like engagement rings, these little things can cost a pretty penny, so a level-headed approach to them is essential.

Wedding favours is one such example. The tradition of giving guests a small present to share the good luck of your marriage dates back hundreds of years. In recent years, all sorts of fun and funky ideas have emerged to replace the traditional sugared almond for a favour. And while coordinating with your wedding theme is great, be wary of how much money you spend on them. Guests will thank you for a small sweet or a lottery ticket, something small and fun but don’t get too involved in the moment and end up ending £10-20 per guest on a novelty item that they will never use again after the day.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen are an essential part of the wedding but be stern with yourself about how many you really need. Every bridesmaid is a dress, accessories, presents and other expense and while this isn’t the reason for not including someone, try to be practical about the number of people included in the essential wedding party.

Extraneous extras

There are many fun items to get for your wedding day but sometimes you need to regard them with a harsh eye. Buying a present for your groomsman and bridesmaids is a long-standing tradition and a great way to show your appreciation. But go for something useful or that you know they will like rather than a ‘jokey’ present that might get a laugh for 5 minutes, but will then never see the light of day after the wedding.

Even buying items for yourself, it is easy to get involved in the idea of having ‘bride’ or ‘groom’ emblazoned on everything but are you ever going to wear it again after your wedding day? For the bride, beautiful underwear is a must-have but also think about what you will wear again in the future or it is money wasted.

Wedding cakes are great fun, beautiful and varied but can also be very expensive. One of the best ways to have the cake you want while keeping within your budget is to buy a cake that has the right number of portions for your guests. So if you are inviting 50 people to the wedding, get a cake that offers 60 portions so everyone gets one and there are a few left over – don’t fall into the trap of buying a 100 portion cake and seeing almost a half go to waste.

These might all seem like little things, but combined, they can help you have a great day, without breaking the bank.

The Perfect Wedding Venue

Choosing the ideal venue for your dream wedding can be an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful one if the couple aren’t too sure what they’re looking for in a venue. Make the endeavour all that more enjoyable by considering what requirements you have in relation to the wedding.

How Many Guests Will Be Attending?

This is very important, as a venue too large will give an empty atmosphere, whereas a venue that’s too small will feel uncomfortable. You also need to consider as to whether the venue will be furnished, or whether you will need to consider table and chair rentals. Having an idea of how many guests will be in attendance helps make the choosing of a venue all the more easier.

Couples should also check what times are available, and choose one that’s suitable for the guests as well as themselves.

How Mobile Are Your Guests?

Weddings abroad are just as popular as weddings at home, but in either event the mobility of your guests should always be considered. Of course, it can be difficult to meet everyone’s needs, but if a large group of elderly people is attending, it makes sense to book somewhere with easy access.

Will You Want a Religious Ceremony?

The mixed culture of today means that there are many different types of weddings, so if you have a traditional ceremony in mind, it’s always worth checking that the venue is able to carry out your desired ceremony.

Many traditional religious ceremonies have to be held in a place of worship, so always ask the question when making enquiries. It also makes sense for the couple to consider each other’s religion. While many couples have the same religion, there are those who may have a different religion. If this is the case, then the necessary discussions should take place where both parties are happy.

How Much Are You Willing To Take On?

Everybody wants their big say to be perfect, so it makes sense that couples give it their all. But taking on too much can be very stressful, not to mention detrimental to the day itself. Firstly, a couple should consider what is vital for the day, and concentrate on these first of all.

Making a list in order of priority means that much of the hard work is done in advance, meaning the lead up to your big day is a less stressful affair.

If more help is required, you may wish to consider the services of a wedding planner. While some only offer assistance for looking over the whole wedding, there are some who will deal with certain aspects. This means that you can stay involved with the wedding, while getting some assistance to ensure everything goes to plan.

Overall, the booking of a wedding just requires research based on factors decided between the couple. Once the couple knows their budget and what kind of venue they will need, it makes the selection process a much quicker and easier process.

Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

wedding-thank-you-cards

Getting married can be a bit chaotic with so many things to remember and so much organising to do. Amid all the activity, there are some little things to do that are all about saying thank you to those who have made the day possible, whether this is friends, family, parents or even vendors who have gone out of their way to help you. After the day there are thanks for wedding presents to be dealt with as well as notes to those who could attend the day.

Getting Organised

The best way to tackle to issue is to organise your thanks along with everything else. It may sound mercenary to thank people for a present you haven’t yet had but by having preparation in place, it makes the job easier. Keep a list of guests and then add what present you received if you don’t do a wedding list, allowing you to make the thank you that bit more personal. Also keep a note of who does what in the lead up to the wedding so again, the thanks can be based around what they did rather than just a bland ‘thank you for your help’.

Another aspect of getting organised is to pick up some wedding thank you cards before the big day. Some people often choose thank you cards that matched their wedding stationary to create a complementing look. These are great for the present thank yous with just a little message added regarding the present bought. If you received cash, then thank them for it without mentioning the actual amount of money send, simply talk about what it is being used for.

Special Thank You

Then there are the bigger thank yous, to parents, friends and family who played such a big part in making the wedding happen. Here personalised wedding thank you cards can be a great idea, making sure that each card is specific to the person or couple in question.

It is often tradition to buy presents to go with these cards for the wedding party, to give on the day before the ceremony. Small gifts of jewellery are a popular choice for bridesmaids, best man and ushers as well as other relevant people.

For parents and others who worked hard on getting the wedding organised, then special photos from the day make a nice present. A picture of the couple and the person in question is great or simply a picture of the couple with a personalised message added to it is a great way to say thanks. You could go for a handmade present for mums and other ladies such as a small piece of jewellery in their favourite colour or a handmade soap set.

Photo collages are a great modern way to create a memento of the day which can be anywhere from a large postcard size up to a wall mounted canvas. A selection of images from the day with a personalised thank you message in the centre is a modern thank you that will be with the recipient for years to come.