Getting Married in The Great Outdoors. 


Imagine it: a gorgeous, lush landscape, a small gathering of guests, and you and your partner exchanging vows under a canopy of bright green leaves. Sounds amazing, right? Well, thankfully it doesn’t have to just be fantasy. Many national parks and outdoor public lands around the world allow people to have their wedding there. Getting married on public land give nature lovers the chance to exchange their vows in a place which they hold near and dear to their hearts. Let’s take a look at some of the perks of getting married out in nature. 

The Permit Costs:

One of the most enticing aspects of using public lands for your wedding is how little the permits costs. For example, in the US, it is only about 200$ to reserve your spot. In the UK, getting married on public land is free, but you will need to double check on if there are fees for any extras like using speakers or temporary event notices. So, for couples who are trying to keep costs down, getting married on public land maybe a great way to have an amazing venue at a fraction of the price. Plus, most of the money these spaces and parks take for wedding fees goes into keeping these wonderful spaces running. So, really, by choosing this route, you are giving back. Nice!

Saving on Decorations:

In much the same way getting married on a boat can help keep decorating costs down, so can getting married in public spaces. Mother Nature is a great decorator and by using what is on hand, you can have some spectacular and memorable decorations. Just remember, if you are going to bring in extra decorations, be sure to take them with you. Most public spaces have a “Leave No Trace” policy, so, if you bring it in with you, make sure it goes out with you. This is to ensure people can continue to get married in these public spaces for years to come. 

Odds and Ends:

As with any wedding there are always a ton of odds and ends which need to be taken care of.  While some, like making sure your guests are able to get to and from the event easily may be one of the first things which comes to mind, making sure there are enough bathrooms available is another story. So, remember to add in the cost of renting and removing toilets if need be. It may not be glamorous, but it is important. 

We have an entire DIY wedding planning course which will help you navigate planning your own wedding. It is full of all sorts of useful tips, tricks, and advice. Check it out!


Weddings Ahoy: Why You Should Consider Getting Married On A Boat

There is something inherently romantic about boats. Maybe it is the gentle rocking or being out in open water with all the potential that represents or all of the love stories revolving around boats that fuels this belief.  Plus, and let’s admit it, naval officers do look pretty swoon worthy in dress uniforms. So, it would make sense couples who are looking for a slightly different, but still classic, location for their wedding, would think of getting married on a boat. Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons to exchange your vows on the open water. 

Smaller Intimate Setting:

If keeping your guest list nice and trim is important for you, getting married on a boat is a great way to make sure you don’t go overboard, excuse the pun, on invites. Since space is limited, you can easily explain to your third cousin who you met once when you were kids on why it is only going to be nearest and dearest attending. Plus, it is a great way for those in attendance to get to know each other, if they haven’t met before, and for families to get better acquainted. 

Gorgeous Views:

Whether you live in a city with a great skyline or a more rural area, the view from a boat is going to be hard to beat. With the water mirroring either the perfect natural back drop or a fantastic urban sprawl, you can save on decoration costs. And you don’t have to worry about if it will be up in time, so it is one less thing to have to worry about. 

It Is Can Be Super Cost Effective: 

Many boats have great deals on weddings, and since everything is happening in the same place, you don’t have to spend extra on fancy transport to and from the reception venue. Add to that the money you will save on only having to print one set of directions per invitation. So, if money is a concern but you still want to have a wedding to talk about, why not look into a nautical wedding?

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Food And Wine: The Second Most Important Couple at Your Wedding.

How to pick the perfect wines to go with your carefully chosen menu. 

Next to the beauty of the ceremony and how gorgeous the bride looked, the thing most people will remember and talk about at any wedding is the food and wine. It is really one of the highlights of the reception and most people feel a ton of pressure to get it right when planning their wedding. Although it may seem intimidating at first, it is quite simple. 

 It is more than likely you have heard the saying, “red meat, red wine. White meat, white wine”. While that is a good rule of thumb, it turns out it isn’t exactly right. There are certain bold whites which work well with red meat and sweeter reds which make chicken dishes shines. It turns out there are six basic flavours to know about when it comes to wine and what to pair them with. They are fats, acid, bitter, sweet, salt, and alcohol. Each adds its own special je ne sais qua to any meal. So, let’s take a look at which pairings work best together and which to avoid. 

Bitter and fats:

If you are serving a super fatty dish like steak or, say, a lamb stew, a nice, deep Malbec would pair perfectly with it. Not only does the fat from the food cut the bitterness of the wine a little, the wine will balance the fat of the dish out, so you experience some of the subtler flavours from both. 

However, stay away from pairing bitter wine with bitter foods. Anything flavoured with citrus will do nothing for the wine. Better go with a slightly sweeter wine or something acidic. 

Acid:

Speaking of acid, acid pairs well with acid. If you have your heart set on your favourite vinaigrette dressing for the salad, best to pair it with what people in the know refer to as a crisp white wine. The acidity in each seems to help balance each other out, creating an enjoyable tartness. 

Acid also works well with high fatty dishes, for a lot of the reasons bitter and fats work well together. 

Sweet and Salty:

Yes, we are putting these two together, because who doesn’t love the complex palate of sweet and salty. It is what makes sea salt caramel so tasty or why chocolate covered peanuts are still such a hit. They just seem to bring out the best in each other. So, if you are having a cheese course, why not think about offering nice desert wine? Yum. 

And of course, sweet and sweet work well on every level. So, when the cake comes out, make sure you have a tasty dessert wine on hand. 

Alcohol:

You are probably thinking to yourself, “but wait, doesn’t all wine have alcohol in it?” and while that is very true, some contain more than others. Wines with higher alcohol contents are great for fatty meals you want people to slow down and really enjoy. So, if you are serving fillet mignon, think about pairing with something upward of 15% alcohol content. The tartness of the alcohol will highlight the cut of meat while encouraging people to take their time and taking pleasure in the food. 

One Last Thing:

Don’t forget to take the “weight” of the wine into account too. Full bodied wines tend not to pair well with light food and vice versa. So, pairing a full-bodied red with a veggie quiche just isn’t going to work just like a super light desert white wine isn’t going to work with pepper steak. 

For more helpful hints and a printable cheat sheets to help with wine and food pairings and so much more, sign up for our course on how to plan your own wedding. Available in both desk top and mobile versions, it is like having your own personal wedding planner available 24/7! 


Spring Clothing

As the world wakes up with Spring, it is a perfect chance to lighten up your wedding clothes, both figuratively and literally. While winter weddings seem to be all about deep, dark colours and heavy fabrics to help keep people warm, Springtime offers the chance to brighten and lighten up everything from fabric choices to colour palettes. So, let’s take a look at all the ways this lighter, brighter season can inspire your wardrobe.

Shedding Those Heavy Dresses!

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again: one of the best things about spring is the warmer temperatures. So, you can start to ditch the heavy satins and velvets you needed in those colder months to keep warm. Don’t get us wrong, winter wedding dresses can be gorgeous and sumptuous, but they aren’t for everyone. Instead, start to look for chiffons and lightweight silks. And if you are afraid of getting chilly, why not borrow the idea of a shrug or wrap from the winter looks, just make sure to keep it in the same fabric family. 

Bye-Bye Wool. Hello Linen.

As you are starting to shed your winter clothes, don’t forget about the grooms. Sure, lightweight wool can be a great all year option, it is exceptionally breathable and comfy. However, opting for something which is a little more in tune with the season is your best bet. So, why not start looking at soft flannel suits or slightly heavier linens for their outfits? These lighter fabrics are perfect for the warmer weather and can be quite stylish without looking dated. 

Less Formal, More Fun:

Winter weddings tend to be a slightly more formal affair. Whether is it because of the heavier and more regal fabrics, or that it just seems ideal for at least cocktail attire being required, who knows? However, spring and its breezier fabric choices seems to help lighten the mood of any wedding. So, with bridesmaids, groomsmen, and guests, keeping the dress code a little less formal, like say garden party chic, the entire mood of the wedding gets a little less formal too. It can really help everyone relax and enjoy the party. 

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Spring Wedding Menu Choices

As winter fades into spring and days become longer and brighter, menus also become lighter, tasty, and a little less hearty. This opens up a wider variety of foods to offer guests, including all sorts of fresh and colourful veggies, meat and fish which is a little less gamey, and desert and cocktail options which are sure to impress. Plus, you can still mix and match some of your favourite flavours from slightly colder months, especially if you are having an early spring wedding, with a bit of lighter fare to really wow your guest. Let’s take a look at some ways to make your spring wedding menu shine!

Asparagus:

This flowering plant, with its unique light and earthy flavour, is a staple of spring dishes. Thanks to its versatility, it can be featured in every course. Used in a soup or salad, it can either be prepared simply or paired with spring herbs such as lemon and tarragon to create a slightly more sophisticated starter. Bacon wrapped asparagus or even just grilled with a little olive oil and it compliments any number of main dishes, especially chicken or lamb. It can even be turned into ice cream, if you want to get really avant guard and showcase your foodie side. 

Meats and Sea Food.

While gamey meats like venison and heavier cuts of beef are great for winter wedding menus, lighter meats and fish are a better way to go in spring. Lamb and chicken, both of which pair amazingly with asparagus, are safe bets to offer meat eating guests, while the pescatarians will get a kick out of crab, which is in season. If your wedding is slightly later in spring, you can also offer guests salmon prepared in a variety of ways. Just be sure if you are going to offer heavy cream sauces for the main course dishes, to leave it on the side as some people are lactose intolerant. 

Cocktails and Mocktails.

While standard offerings like gin and tonics and gimlets generally are the cocktails which come to mind when planning what to serve guests, why not try something a little bolder or slightly more unusual? With a wide variety of fruits and herbs available, you can offer your guests tasty libations such as strawberry, rosemary gin fizzes or a blackberry lavender Champaign cocktail? The best part about most modern cocktails is, by simply substituting sparking water or tonic, how easily they can be made non-alcoholic for the kids and non-drinkers to enjoy. 

If you want more help planning your wedding, be sure to check out our wedding planning course. Not only do you get plenty of printables and insider planning tips, but you also have the opportunity to schedule a consultation with our experienced wedding planner to answer all of your wedding planning questions. 

Spring Weddings

While summer still reigns supreme as the wedding season, spring may be gaining on it. With lovely and temperate weather, a wonderful sampling of fresh produce and seafood options, and a rainbow of soft, romantic colours to chose from, it is easy to see why these months, earlier in the year, are becoming a more popular time to tie the knot. So, lets take a quick at why April and May are the perfect time to get married 

The Weather:

Let’s face it, spring weather can be spectacular and far more predictable than summer or winter. While neither too hot or too cold, especially in later spring, planning an outdoor event so much easier in April and May than in say June or July when temperature can soar, making it uncomfortable to really enjoy anything without air conditioning. Sure, you may have to make a contingency plan incase of rain, but a few tents and a patio will do the trick nicely.  

Foodie Dreams:

Even though we will be exploring this topic more in depth later this month, we have to mention how much wider and varied your menu can be during spring. Whether you want to mix and match some of the heavier options from winter with something lighter or just skip the heavy altogether, the amazing flavours available during these months are bound to make your taste buds sing. Add to that, all the fun and fruit cocktails you can offer guests, and it is practically guaranteed your menu will be a huge hit. 

More Bang For Your Buck:

Sure, we could have gone with fashion choices or colour schemes, and we definitely will later in the month. However, we wanted to make sure we touched very briefly on some of the other perks of getting married off season. One of the biggest draws about spring weddings is a wider variety of venues for your budget. With so many people clamouring for any and every available venue during the summer months, many of the popular venues are willing to negotiate on price to make sure they are booked for off seasons months. The same goes for entertainment and caterers too. So, if you have a smaller budget but still want a fancy wedding, having a spring wedding may be a great option. Plus, for any out of town guests, airline prices tend to be far more reasonable during this time of the year. 

If you liked this blog, be sure to take a look at our course on how to plan your own wedding!

Destination Weddings

The idea of exchanging vows surrounded by old world charm and ambiance can be an exciting thought for many people. With destination weddings gaining in popularity, the idea of a romantic and atmospheric ceremony in Europe is becoming a reality for more and more couples. Usually when people imagine weddings in Europe, France; Italy; and Greece seem to be the first places most people think of. However, when it comes to lovely and romantic locations, Europe is spoiled for choices for gorgeous and unique locations to exchange your vows. Whether you are looking for something tropical and exotic or are more of an old world romantic, there is bound to be a location which is as extraordinary as your love story. 

Straight Out of a Fairy-Tale: 

Most little girls at some point dream of being a princess and getting her very own prince charming. If this still sounds like your dream come true, why not think of getting married in the Czech Republic? Not only does this beautiful county in central Europe have the largest castle in the world, Prague Castle, it also hosts a number of towns which look like as if they just popped straight from the pages of a fairy tale. One of the most magical is Cesky Krumlov. Located in the southern part of the country, this medieval town is the perfect back drop for a love as timeless as yours. 

Mediterranean Passion:

There is something about the heat and passion of the Mediterranean countries. With flavorful food, warm weather, and colorful landscapes, it is easy to see why this region has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful and passionate in the world.  However, instead of opting for a wedding in Italy, why not head to Spain? With a unique blend of European and North African architecture, getting married in Spain will offer an exotic feel to a traditional ceremony. Plus, with Spanish wines garnering more and more attention, which pairs well with their flavourful foods, you can treat your guests to some of the best wine on the market while delighting their tastebuds.

Modern Royals:

Many couples are borrowing ideas for their weddings from the younger generation of the British royal family. So why not take another page from their book and get married in an actual British castle or palace? While the UK has plenty to chose from, Wales boasts the most castles in the world. With over 600 to pick from, and some of the most exquisite countryside views, it wouldn’t be hard to feel like modern day royalty here. Plus, with a naturally poetic accent and a musical quality to the language itself, it will feel like any local officiant is singing your vows to you. What could more romantic and special than that?

With these, and plenty more under the radar choices to pick from, Europe offers a number of destinations to help you and your partner create a one of kind wedding to encapsulate your one of a kind love. So let your imagination run wild. 


Small Gestures to Show You Care.

While in may be the shortest month of the year, February is the month of love and romance, thanks to Valentine’s Day. You can’t go anywhere without seeing pink and red hearts, flowers, and chocolates, reminding you to spoil the person you love on Feb 14th. However, some of the most romantic things you can do to show your partner how important they are to you which won’t break the bank and can be done anytime of the year. 

Make Them Dinner:

Imagine it. You get a text from your spouse telling you about a horrible day they have had or maybe they are just feeling a little down. What better way to cheer them up and make them feel cared for than to have their favourite meal ready and waiting for them when they get home? And if you aren’t the best cook or their favourite meal is a little out of your skill range in the kitchen, even just making dinner is a great way to remove a little stress and let them feel pampered in a small way. You can even up the ante and clean up afterward while they relax on the couch with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. 

Random Love Notes:

Thanks to technology it easier to stay connected throughout the day. Sure, a quick “hey just thinking about you” text can be great, little hand-written notes can be better. So why not add a little note telling them how much you love them in their lunch or write it on the bathroom mirror after you shower. Or maybe you know they have a big presentation at work, slip a quick note telling them “You can do it” or “you’re going to be great!” into their briefcase. It will bring a smile to their face and remind them the most important person in their life believes in them, and that can make all the difference. 

Surprise Picnic:

This one may take a little more planning but can be a fun way to have a little minibreak. Pack up some cheese, crackers, fruit, and other goodies, grab a bottle of your favourite wine, and a big blanket for lounging on and head for a secluded area somewhere outdoors. Or, if the weather isn’t permitting, why not have a picnic in your living room? Just make sure you turn off your phones so you can disconnect from the rest of the world and reconnect with your partner. 

Love Letters: A Throw Back to Romance.

Every so often an article about the most romantic love letters of all time goes viral. It makes people nostalgic for the past when traditional mail was more common, and life seemed a little slower. There is just something about a handwritten missive, declaring your love for the person you wan to spend the rest of your life with. Here are some helpful hints on how to write the perfect love letter for the one you love. 

Use your own voice:

It may be tempting to try to be poetic and flowery. Don’t. Try to write it the way you speak or write things. Not only will it be easier for you to get your thoughts and feelings out, it will also be more authentic when your partner reads it. By writing it in the way you would naturally express yourself means that for years to come, when the letter is lovingly reread, they will be able to hear you. And what could be more romantic than that?

Go Beyond The Physical:

Sure, you could look into their eyes for eternity. Or maybe you think their smile lights up the room. However, also make sure you tell them about how much you adore the fierceness of their spirit or their zany sense of humour or any of the many little quirks of theirs which make them so uniquely loveable. While it is important to make sure your partner feels beautiful and desired, it is equally important to make sure they feel respected and important. 

When You Knew:

There is usually a moment when most people knew for sure they were in love. Why not tell your special someone the moment you knew they were the one for you? Sometimes it a big moment, like when they stepped up and were there when you really needed them. Other times, it is something which would seem so normal to anyone else but made you realize there was no one else in the world for you. Whenever it was, letting them know is a sweet way to tell them how long you have been in love. 

Past, Present, Future:

Make your love letter a road map of your relationship. Start with a sweet memory of when you first started dating or maybe the first time you saw each other then move on to how amazing the life you have created with one another is and finish with some hopes and dreams for the future. This will show not only how treasured the memories you together are, but also that you are excited about what the adventures wait on the horizon for you both. 

The History of Valentine’s Day Cards.

While the origins of Valentine’s Day maybe a little confusing, with several different stories circulating about various men named Valentine being martyred in the early days of Christianity, one thing is for sure, it is now a day when love and romance is celebrated with gifts and tokens being exchanged. One of the most common of these trinkets being cards. So, lets take a look at the history of the Valentine’s Day card and how they became the face of a holiday. 

Their Medieval Origins:

The earliest example of a Valentine Day’s card still around is a love letter written by the Duke of Orleans to his wife in during the 14th century while he was a prisoner in the Tower of London. He wrote her a love poem after he was captured in battle. A few years later, Henry V hired the poet John Lydgate to write his wife, Catherine Valois, a Valentine’s message. Both of these letters are on display in The British Library, for all to see.

Rising In Popularity:

For the next few centuries, Valentine’s missives were exchanged primarily among the upper classes. However, starting in the 17th century, it picked up steam with the middle class, wanting to be fashionable. By the 18th century, it was common for people of all social classes to exchange little love tokens and notes to friends and lovers. It is here that we see the real beginnings of what would become the modern celebration of Valentine’s Day. 

The Victorian Mass Market Cards:

By the middle of the 19th century, Valentine’s Day was here to stay. With the advances in printing technology and cheap postage made exchanging and sending cards much easier. While many were more like the cards we know today, these early massed produced cards could be elaborate works of art, with little inlays and pockets for hiding small tokens of affection or even engagement rings. By the end of the Victorian era these over the top offerings went out of fashion and were replaced by simpler greeting cards, especially as flowery declarations of love were no longer socially fashionable. 

Valentine’s Day Cards In America:

Just like in Britain, Americans began to really start celebrating Valentine’s Day in the 1700’s, mostly sending handwritten letters. However, in the 1840’s a woman named Esther Howland began to sell the first mass produced cards, complete with lace, ribbons, and colourful pictures on them. Today, Howland is known as the “Mother of the Valentine” and set the stage for the cards Americans exchange today. With over 1 billion Valentine’s cards sold each year, it is the second most profitable day for the greeting card industry behind Christmas.