Friday, 30 July 2010

It's National Wedding Day on Sunday 1st August 2010!


The NSPCC's Celebrate and Give is a chance for you to celebrate your wedding whilst helping vulnerable children at the same time.

TV's 'Wedding Fairy' George Watts is inviting the nation to celebrate weddings - past, present and future - as part of his National Wedding Day on Sunday 1 August 2010.

How it works
Weddings are all about a celebration of life together, but with National Wedding Day and Celebrate and Give, you can help make a real difference to the lives of children and young people. Here are our top five fun ways for celebrating and fundraising:

1) Hold a party and charge an entry fee or put a price on food and drink.
Here are some ideas for themes:
· recreate your honeymoon, stag or hen do
· invite all your wedding guests to a barbecue
· have a trial run of your wedding day
· if you're already married you could recreate your wedding day
· remake 'The Wedding Singer' with karaoke or even a live band.

2) Hold a wedding auction
· sell your wedding dress, shoes or bridesmaids' dresses to the highest bidder
· find homes for any unwanted presents or things you just don't use anymore.

3) Have a wedding cake sale
· hold a wedding cake sale
· invite your friends for a wedding-themed tea party
· for guests not interested in cake, try cheese instead.

4) Look to the future
If your wedding is coming up, why not use our personalised wedding favour cards instead of sugared almonds? Or use the NSPCC donation cards so your guests can make a donation to the NSPCC instead of buying you gifts.
5) Something simple
A great way to raise money is simply to set up an online fundraising page and ask your friends and family to donate online to the NSPCC. You can easily set up a page at Virgin Money Giving or JustGiving.

Share your stories!
Whatever you're planning for National Wedding Day on Sunday 1 August, you can share your own stories and photos with the NSPCC. Email and they’ll put the best ones on their website.

Help is at hand
For advice, inspiration and information, email the Celebrate and Give team or call on 020 7825 2814.

Thursday, 29 July 2010


Jesus Peiro is a luxurious couture designer who has been making his mark on the Spanish and European bridal market for a number of years now. As a designer he is committed to a high quality of bridal design with a finish that has been compared to Haute Couture. His contemporary designs will suite those brides looking for a luxurious unique wedding gown.

Jesus Peiro will be available to order from the Couture Room from August 2010.
If you would like to make an appointment to view and try on these premier gowns, or would prefer Couture Room to email you any images, you can contact them via the below.

The Couture Room are currently holding a massive summer sale for the rest of July and August, designer bridal gowns starting from £99! Ex samples all in pristine condition (some never tried on)!
Also, Bridesmaid dresses/flower girls and accessories starting from £10.
Plus 10% off any new bridal/bridesmaid order made with us in July/August.
Enquire in store for more information.

Couture Room
Exclusive Bridal wear
60 Mill Lane, West Derby, Liverpool L12 7JB

Telephone - 0151 2814066

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Shape, Sparkle and Shine!

Don’t rely on the myth that every bride stresses away the ‘pounds’ in the run up to her wedding day (believe me, my stress coping mechanisms found comfort in chocolate…and lots of it!)

We all know the benefits of healthy eating and exercise, so there is no greater motivator than that long walk up the aisle to get into the best shape of our lives! Every bride wants to sparkle on her big day, and by kick-starting a healthier lifestyle, you are guaranteed to tone up, burn calories, bust any pre-wedding stresses and shine, shine, shine!
Work, family and social commitments can often leave us short on time, and wedding financial commitments definitely short on cash.

Step forward Jenny Mercer of One Body Fitness, who offers three types of fat loss training to help even the most gym-a-phobe ladies amongst us, at a fraction of the celeb/WAG-esque personal trainer price.

Located within Stanley Park, Anfield, Liverpool, the training sessions are “Fun, Fresh and Fab.”

1) Drop a Dress Size Bootcamp
This is a 4 week program with 3 sessions per week (currently mornings 6:15am-7am Mon, Wed and Fri)
Exercises are group based, focusing on the whole body. The training sessions are ‘Fun, Fresh and Fab’ guaranteed to help you lose body fat, tone up and change your body shape in 4 weeks.

It’s not scary, or Army style; it’s made for women and will target all those problem areas we all have. I supply a full nutritional program alongside this, which is to be followed whilst on the camp. This is NOT a diet as diets don’t work; it’s a healthy way of living. You will receive a shopping list, recipes, and a daily plan.
Combining all of this together will increase energy, have you glowing, improve sleep patterns and release all those happy hormones back into the body. You will Look and Feel FABULOUS at the end!

Next camp starting Mon 2nd August 2010

2) Small Group Based Fat Loss Training Package
Train with a small group of friends and split the cost (min 4 people and max 6 people)
Have all the benefits of 1-2-1 training but also the motivation and support of your friends. Will each other on and have FUN whilst getting FIT!
(2 sessions a week for 8 weeks = 16 sessions)

3) 1-2-1 Fat Loss/Personal Training

1-2-1 exercise sessions with Jenny
2 Packages available

Visit for information on all packages, prices and breakdowns.

Good Luck and Happy Exercising! x

Monday, 26 July 2010

Handbags & Gladrags Vintage Fair Saturday 31st July 2010 at Kingdom

1. Of or relating to a vintage.
2. Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic.

If you're thinking of theming your wedding day with lashings of nostalgia and sophisticated-shabby-chic-elegance, then the last Handbags & Gladrags Fair is not to be missed!

Set in the glamorous surroundings of Kingdom Cocktail Lounge, there will be over 20 vintage clothing and accessories stalls to inspire and delight!

For the first time Handbags & Gladrags Vintage Fair are pleased to announce a cupcake room courtesy of Cupcakes in the City.

As usual FREE ENTRY all day with the first 50 entrants receiving a 10% off voucher to redeem at a stall of your choice. So make sure you get there early to pick the best pieces and the best prices. The fair runs from 11am - 5.30pm.

To be in with a chance of winning a vintage clutch worth £15, simply join the Facebook link below and tag Handbags & Gladrags Vintage Fair in your status confirming your attendance...a perfect Bridesmaid gift!

Also at the July Fair H&G will be holding castings for models for the next Handbags & Gladrags Vintage Fashion Show on Aug 26th. They are looking for women of all shapes and sizes, the only requirements are that you are aged 16 and above. Previous catwalk experience is not necessary. To attend the castings come to Kingdom anytime between 11am and 1pm on Saturday July 31st and remember to bring a pair of heels to show us your walk!

Heaven Scent

One subtle yet very important wedding task my groom happily got involved in was the selection of his wedding day aftershave.

The fragrance worn by a bride and groom is a delicate detail that conjures up special memories and emotions in years to come. Choosing a special aftershave to wear, something new to what you usually wear; is a great reminder of your special day.

So Grooms…

“The wait is over. It's been almost a decade since the launch of the last Marc Jacobs men's fragrance, so it is with great excitement that we announce the arrival of Bang exclusively to Harvey Nichols.
Marc Jacobs is one of this generation's hottest and most influential style icons and as with everything he does, his latest fragrance, Bang, has a sense of irony and irreverence. The provocative advertising campaign, featuring Marc Jacobs naked except from a bottle of Bang to cover his modesty, has got everyone talking and perfectly shows the confident and charismatic nature of the man behind the scent.
The heart and base of the fragrance is woody and masculine and developed with hypnotic white moss, peppercorn and patchouli. The captivating mix of spicy and peppery notes creates an irresistible fragrance that lingers on the skin.

In true Marc Jacobs’ style the fragrance is timeless and classic with a strong current of rebellion.”

Marc Jacobs Bang is available exclusively to Harvey Nichols from 1 August 2010.

Eau de Toilette 100ml £49

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Win a £6000 Honeymoon to Jamaica with Couples Resorts

Tell You & Your Wedding about your wedding day and win a £6000 honeymoon to Jamaica with Couples Resorts!

Closing date 30th July 2010

"Looking for a luxury honeymoon to celebrate your recent vows? You could be in with a chance of winning this fabulous Caribbean honeymoon in one of Couples Resorts stunning hotels. Just fill out our annual wedding survey and tell us everything about your big day.

Each Couples Resorts features luxury accommodation set in tropical gardens on beautiful beachfront locations. Enjoy fine dining from a selection of elegantly casual and formal restaurants, where gourmet cuisine is prepared by the Caribbean's most celebrated chefs.

Have the destination wedding of your dreams at a fraction of the cost with Couples Resorts and enjoy an intimate wedding ceremony, gourmet dining and a relaxing his/hers massage all with a bottle of champagne to toast your new life together - all included in the wedding package.

Scuba Diving & Water-Skiing, Tennis & Squash are all included in your stay, with state of the art equipment and full professional instruction. And if the groom's a golfer, unlimited golf on stunning courses is provided free of charge, including transfers. Or you can explore the world outside your deluxe hotel and enjoy private excursions from our resorts including the famous Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios."

For more information please contact Couples Resorts on +44(0)20 7749 9285.

Your fabulous prize will include: 7 nights all inclusive luxury holiday at one of 4 Couples Resorts (to see the list of all that is included visit plus Virgin Atlantic or British Airways Economy Return flights to Jamaica with transfers to/from airport.

To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, click here to take the survey.

Terms & conditions.

The competition is only open to You & Your Wedding readers and UK residents aged 18 or over and is limited to only one entry per person. Stays at a specific resort can be requested however it is subject to availability at the time of booking. Spa treatments are not included. Personal travel insurance is not included in the prize and is the prize winners responsibility to obtain suitable cover. The prize is subject to availability and must be taken before 30th November 2011 blackout periods apply (Thanksgiving and 20th December 2010 through to 30th April 2011). Dates cannot be amended once booked. The prize has no cash value and cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative, refund or any other holiday. The prize-winner must be one of the people travelling. Cancelling the booking negates the prize. The winner and their guest are responsible for their own passports and visas. The winner will be picked at random from all valid entries after the closing date. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Partner to confirm. Closing date for the competition is TBC Entries received after the closing date cannot be considered. The prize excludes spending money.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Simply Charming!

If you're not one of the decisive brides whose venue, proposal, or personal passion has already set the scene for your big day, then choosing a theme can be quite overwhelming: Vintage, Romantic, Elegant, Rustic, Glitz, Glamour, Enchanted, Bohemian, Beachside, City, Garden, Fairytale, Parisian, Classic…and that was just 2009!
There are no hard and fast rules on selecting a theme, or even in fact, 'labeling' your day. But to keep your planning on track and keep you focused, a theme, subject or scheme is essential. Especially when it comes to decorating your venue.
If something inspires you, and reflects you, you won't go far wrong in creating a wedding day to remember.

Kristi Baker of Simply Charming Events tells more…

Choosing a theme
One of the main issues when choosing a theme is your budget. If you are working on a small tight budget then a Vintage theme could be easily achieved; while a Dazzling Elegant theme could be harder. Try to choose a theme that means something to you and your fiancé. Personalisation is Key! I recently did a football themed wedding!

Make a scrap book
While looking through magazines, cut out pictures and write your ideas down in a book; this will make it easier in the long run when you go to buy items or if hiring a professional, to show your ideas. A scrap book will help you stay on track and not lose sight of any original inspiration.

Centrepieces are the focal point of the tables; where your guests will spend the majority of their day. With that in mind, they have a very important role to play! Our most popular centrepieces include martini glasses, fish bowls, mirrored plates, lily vases, and candelabras. Wishing Trees are a great alternative to guest books or table plans!

Add a personal touch. If creativity is not one of your strongest points, ask artistic friends and family to help out with place cards or table holders, to co-ordinate with your decorations.

Don’t overdo it
Keep things simple. Subtle touches really do create more of a WOW factor. A theme can be done without having to overdo it. Less is more!

Book a professional
We take bookings up to two years in advance. I would recommend you book your desired supplier ASAP to secure your date. Don’t forget to negotiate on the price; you may be surprised at what you can get. Also, make sure the supplier will come to your venue and set up for you, you definitely do not want to be stressing about this on the morning of your wedding.

For further details on services and items for hire, please visit

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Knowsley Hall Bridal Fayre - 3rd October 2010

A chance to meet the North West's Elite....

Date: 3rd October 2010

Time: 10:00 - 17:00

Location: Knowsley Hall

Enjoy a welcome glass of Champagne and tour of a truly stunning wedding venue, Knowsley Hall.

With catwalk previews of designer wedding collections and ideas from the North West’s finest wedding suppliers for everything from the flowers to the honeymoon.
An array of fabulous discounts and prizes including a romantic night’s stay and gourmet dinner for two at five star gold awarded Knowsley Hall.

Toys for the Boys - stag suggestions, cars, suits and boots and more. Try out our quad bikes, a spot of archery or even laser clay pigeon shooting.

The Bridal Gallery, Philip Armstrong Couture, David M Robinson Jewellers, Zoe Photography, Earth Florists, John Lewis gift list, Chillout Spa at Knowsley Hall, Myriad Travel, Stephen Bayliss Wedding Entertainment, Atmospheric Events, Daisy Hill Cakes, Dragonfly Couture Stationery, Merseysound Productions, Knowsley 4x4 Experience, The Leos Quartet, Vintage Choice Wedding Cars, Moss Bros Menswear Hire and much more...

Tickets £5 admits two, 10.00-13.30 or 13.30-17.00, proceeds to Alderhey Children’s Hospital.

To book call 0151 489 4827 or visit:

Knowsley Hall, Prescot, L34 4AG.

Flying the Knot!

Throughout many cultures, the symbolic meaning of the owl is linked with intelligence, wisdom, protection and independence. For centuries, man has used symbols to portray a message, and with the help of your Best ‘Man’, you too can portray yours! Incorporate a feathered friend into your wedding ceremony to bring a truly unique and special experience. Doves Schmoves! The auspicious Owl is where it’s at!

Let Spirit ‘the owl’ take you under her wing.

Wendy O’Neil of Flying the Knot glides us through the order of service….

“Naturally, we want your day to run as seamlessly as possible and we begin this by arranging a meeting between all those who need to be involved on the day. We like to do this quite near to your wedding date and arrange it in advance to ensure that it fits in with your plans.
On your big day we begin by arriving at your ceremony venue a little while before you do. This is to allow our owl, Spirit, a little time to absorb her surroundings and get to know where she will be working. We will have already met your Best Man (or whoever is going to receive your rings) at a previously agreed meeting, however, we’d like to reintroduce them to Spirit to reaffirm the delivery, including the ever important cue.
When your guests begin to arrive we would either, remain out of sight: if you were going to keep the whole thing a surprise, or would greet them at the doors of the venue, whichever is your preference. As your ceremony takes place, Spirit and her falconer will remain unseen until the point where she begins her work. She has a short cue, which your best man will deliver and at this point she will silently and elegantly fly along the aisle with the rings firmly held in place and gently land on the offered gloved hand. Your Best Man will unclip and release your carefully delivered wedding rings and then Spirit's falconer will command the cue again and she will return. It will be an amazing and moving part of your service, something your guests will not forget for a long time.
After you are married, Spirit and her falconer will be around to allow your guests the opportunity to ask questions and get to know a little bit more about her. They may even like to hold her and have photographs taken.

What about the Venue
Spirit does not need a large amount of space in which to fly, and therefore most venues are suitable. There is no need to worry - she will not pass any droppings whilst in flight.

A little bit about Spirit
She is a barn owl and is 4 years old. She is a mum and is a jolly good one too! Her preparations for work begin with a cold water bath, followed by a lot of feather preening, wing flapping and fluffing out of her body feathers. All of this takes her around an hour.
Her falconer will then take her up and put her in her travel box where she can have some quiet time before she begins work. She takes her work seriously and will deliver your rings with fastidious care. She will not pass any droppings whilst in flight and due to numerous biological factors, her flight is silent and graceful. Spirit is then put back in her box, happy that she has delivered a special package and made your day extra special and again has some quiet time before she arrives home. She will then be given her well deserved supper and probably spend the night relaxing on one foot before a long snooze. The fully inclusive price for this service is £350.00 for weekend weddings and £250 for week day weddings. We will assure you or our absolute best attention to detail and can promise that this will be an unforgettable experience on your very special day.”

If you would like Spirit to take part in your day, call Wendy on 0151 653 8882 or 07816 977920

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Ensuring Your Wedding Day is Picture Perfect

Wedding photography celebrates your special day for generations to come. So much time, effort and money is spent on weddings that it is only right to commemorate the creativity and attention to detail as the anniversaries go by. Not to mention those lingering glances, stolen kisses and shining smiles! Your wedding album should tell a story; your love story, of the most beautiful day of your life. It should speak a thousand words and convey a million emotions!
There are many different photography styles out there to suit you. So where do you start in researching a professional who’s right for you? What factors should you consider?

Rachel Ryan of Rachel Ryan Photography puts us in the bigger picture….

1. It's all about the light!

Natural daylight makes for amazing wedding photographs and also gives you the chances to have beautiful photograph on location. If you choose the time that you get married to take this into account it will pay off when you get your photographs back.

2. Make sure you feel comfortable with your photographer

I always arrange a meeting with couples at the time of booking as a ‘getting to know you’ meeting. Your photographer will be taking some of the most important photographs you will ever own and so it is important that you feel comfortable and relaxed with them.

3. Communication is Key

To avoid disappointment if there is a photograph that you really want; whether it be a group photo or at a particular location, tell your photographer in plenty of time so it can be planned in to the day.

4. Time

Remember to factor in time to your wedding schedule for your ‘Mr & Mrs’ photographs. The longer you give your photographer, the more shots you are likely to get!

5. Catching the moment

I am passionate that wedding photos should tell the story of your wedding day and should take you back to how you felt the minute your photos were taken. Whilst group shots are important, catching the emotion of the day is what it's all about for me. In the photo above, the bride and groom had just heard their first dance song being played. This was a very special song for them and the way they are looking at each other captured that moment perfectly.

For further information or bookings please contact or visit the Rachel Ryan Photography page on Facebook

Chelly Chylumps
Hand made bespoke wooden children's name plaques, keepsake boxes, magnets and photo frames. Pieces are made to order so can be designed to co-ordinate with each other, any nursery or bedroom to match with any colour scheme.

For more information visit:

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Exclusive B2B Invitation!

A message from the Pampered Brides Team

The Pampered Brides Club is the UK's first ever Brides Club. Its aim is to provide brides like you with the opportunity to attend some truly fabulous and memorable events in the run up to your big day. We know each event will not only be of benefit to your planning but also a fun, relaxing and social occasion.
At each event you’ll meet up with like-minded, savvy, sociable brides and you'll spend guilt-free time discussing all things wedding. You’ll be pampered and given lots of treats because we think all brides are special and we know you deserve it with all the hard work and effort you’re putting into your big day. You’ll also be able to pick up all the latest tips and advice on how make sure your wedding is that bit more fabulous!”

Here’s what the team have to say:

"Brides all over the North West are having a great time, do you really want to miss out"
Rachel, Pampered Brides Team

"Why not make it a girls’ night out or a reason to catch up with your bridesmaids. Book your ticket now for this un-missable event"
Lindsey, Pampered Brides Team

Pampered Bride Launch Party - 27th July 2010 - FREE EVENT
Engaged? Great isn’t it?
Planning your own wedding? Well done!
Feeling a little stressed? That’s understandable.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find a way to have fun, de-stress, meet other brides planning their weddings and get some help - whilst drinking champagne?

Now you can – yes you heard us right – YES YOU CAN - with The Pampered Brides Club.

You’ll be pleased to know that we’re having a party to launch The Pampered Brides Club on Tuesday 27th July 2010 at the Amber Lounge, Stalybridge, Cheshire. We’ve arranged for lots treats and pampering and there’s a glass of Champagne with your name on it.

So if you’re looking for something new and exciting in the run up to your big day, look no further than The Pampered Brides Club.

DATE: Tuesday27th July 2010
TIME: 6.30pm - 10pm
LOCATION: The Amber Lounge, 62 Market Street, Stalybridge, SK15 2AB

CLOSING DATE: Friday 23rd July 2010

*This event is limited to one bride plus one guest


Saturday, 17 July 2010

An 'Ice' Surprise!

“Carving is easy, you just go down to the skin and stop” - Michelangelo.

I’m not so sure where the tradition of a bride and groom exchanging gifts on their wedding day originates from (any takers anyone?) but I know I like it!
A recently married friend of mine told her hubby-to-be the rule is ‘seven’ gifts throughout the day…starting how she meant to go on!

Traditionally, gifts between a bride and groom were a keepsake of jewellery, something attached with sentiment, to remind them of their special day. Nowadays, some couples are deciding on a ‘no gift’ policy as the day and the honeymoon are a big enough gift in itself. But if you still want to incorporate an element of surprise or unusual gift for your spouse into the celebrations, why not invest in a spectacular ice sculpture to give your wedding that ‘WOW!’ factor?

Glacial Art can provide you with just that. Founded by the extremely talented, artistic and imaginative Ice Sculptors, Mat Chaloner and Mat Foster (UK's own 2009 European Champions), Glacial Art can offer you an ice sculpture of any design of your choice, for your special event. From Ice Luges, to logos, bars to table centres, there is no limit to what they can create.

For our evening reception, I opted for an Ice Luge as a surprise for hubby. An ‘Ice Luge’ is a stunning centerpiece carved into a design of your choice. The added enjoyment of a Luge is the serving of chilled alcoholic drinks through the crystal clear ice! Any drink can be poured down the luge (champagne can be a bit frothy, spirits usually work the best) and can either be caught in a glass at the bottom, or more often than not people place their mouths at the bottom of the ice and gulp away! (This was the preferred method of all of our guests).

As we were engaged on the Queen Mary 2, upon consultation I asked the two Mat’s if they could design the ‘Cunard’ QM2 logo with the date and place of our engagement, 02/12/2008, Curacao. They emailed me a sketch of the design and it was perfect! Mat and Mat were extremely helpful, not to mention discreet, because of the surprise element.

On the actual night it was stunningly visual, glamorous and extremely good fun - hic! Customers supply their own drink, so I purchased apple, raspberry and original vodkas (and crossed my fingers hubby would not find them stashed in my wardrobe)! It was 'revealed' to hubby moments before our first dance....perfect timing for a little shot of dutch courage! Fergus and his Feathers team manned it for the first hour, until we all got the hang of it (a bit too much).

It was great fun, a great talking point (and the cause of most heavy heads the following day)!

For more information contact and

Friday, 16 July 2010

If Music be the Food of Love, Play on...

Music played an important part in Shakespeare’s plays and is often used to carry the plot. So what music should you choose to carry your own production?! Selecting the right music can certainly set the scene, mood and atmosphere, and deciding which music should be played at your wedding is one of the most important decisions you need to make when planning your special day. It's essential that the musician, band or DJ you hire delivers the quality, style and atmosphere you desire! Hit the right notes and your wedding day will be a day to remember….

Richard Hunter of Riverside Entertainment Agency ( shares his Top Ten Tips that’ll bring music to your ears.

1) Arrange your music once you have your date and venues confirmed. Popular musicians, bands and DJs can be booked up to a year or more ahead.

2) Think about what ambience you are trying to create at each part of the day. Your favourite rock band might not go down too well during the wedding breakfast over your guests chatter!

3) Book artists for the three important segments of the day; the arrival, breakfast and evening reception. This ensures there is no lull for your guests while you are busy with your photographer. Ask around for talented family and friends who may be willing to perform if your budget won’t stretch to this.

4)Try to hear your musicians or DJ before you book. Many bands/DJs will have a demo tape that they can send you, or a website with an audio link to sample songs. For a more authentic feel, check out their gig lists and go see them live!

5) Let your reception venue know what type of entertainment you will be having to ensure there is sufficient room for your artist to set up and perform (especially if you are hiring both a band and a DJ).

6) Find out what sort of lighting and effect (if any) will be supplied by your band and DJ in case you need to make additional arrangements for space and power supplies.

7) Let your artist/DJ know well in advance of your first dance and of any special requests you have in case they need to practice. Also let them know both the title and artist's name so they bring the right version with them. Especially if you’ve choreographed a routine to a particular track, as artists styles do differ.

8) Advise your musician and/or DJ well in advance exactly what you have in mind for your wedding and what you expect from them.

9) Get it in writing! Confirmation of booking, receipts for deposits and other factors such as duration of set, breaks and any unforeseen costs e.g. over-running.

10) Give your musicians or DJ directions and a map showing your venue. You don't want them arriving late or at the wrong place!

Riverside Entertainment Agency, (one of the North West's leading entertainment agencies) has over 10 years experience, with a portfolio of artists encompass singers, duos, bands, comedians, tribute artistes, magicians, childrens entertainers and much more. Their reputation has developed a strong and diverse client base from pubs and social clubs to corporate clients. Riverside Entertainment Agency works with artists and clients throughout UK, ensuring the right artists for your event/venue.

Tel 0151 427 7185

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bridal Confidence Coaching - Be the Perfect Bride and Shine from Inside!

Bespoken Dreams are very excited to feature our first ‘Industry Expert’, Michele Paradise of The Bridal Coach ( With a successful modelling career spanning over 20 years, Michele Paradise now shares her considerable talents and experience as a Style Coach and Critical Friend.

Every bride wants to shine on her big day. The preparations usually start the moment we’ve said ‘Yes!’ We give up guilty pleasures (or at least reduce to small measures). We dust off the scales, look after our nails. We colour our hair, whiten our teeth, but do we care enough about what’s underneath? Brides often talk about being ‘stressed out’, but what do we really do about it? How can we ensure when the big day arrives, we feel glossy, confident and new on the outside, and inside too? Michele Paradise, former model turned life coach is on hand to share her wisdom on how to exude confidence on your big day.

“The other day, I was thinking about my time as a catwalk model and how, in those days, each designer fashion show had a bridal finale. No matter what the collection was like, it culminated in a bridal dress finishing the show, and every model vied for the opportunity to be ‘the bride’ as it was literally the icing on the cake of the show. It would be the most beautiful; the most expensive and most coveted dress in the show and it was the ultimate compliment to be chosen, as you were inevitably photographed with the designer as you escorted him or her off the catwalk after their curtain call.

I had the good fortune to be a bride in many fashion shows and it made me think what it must feel like on a bride’s wedding day, to have that experience for the first (and hopefully last) time! How many women wear a long dress, high heels, a veil, carry a bouquet and have the eyes of their friends and family on them down the aisle and the rest of the day? The bride is the star of the show just like a designer catwalk show and she, above anyone else, wants to glide down the aisle seamlessly with confidence, elegance and great posture. But where do you go to get this kind of advice?

Well, I’ve spent years being a model and years training young girls who want to be models. Brides-to-be are under even more pressure than young models to look great in their wedding gown, heels, veil, with cameras coming at them from every angle throughout the whole day. This is a lot of pressure for someone who may not have worn heels and a long dress before. Even models who have done a bit of modelling would struggle with this kind of pressure with the eyes of friends and family watching their every move. Then you have to pose for the photos and look at them for the rest of your life…whether you like them or not! What you may not realise is that you have quite a bit of control over the outcome of your photos if you know a few simple techniques of the professionals. It can make all the difference between a good photo and an awful one and if you know your best angle, you can offer that up to the photographer (instead of the photographer trying to find it) for you are under pressure with time constraints and hungry guests.

So, invite me to spend a couple hours with you and your bridesmaids and girlfriends. We will learn how to walk in high heels elegantly and without pain, how to pose for the camera, techniques for staying calm no matter what goes wrong and how to enjoy every moment of your special day. We will have a lot of laughs, learn lots and you will go home feeling and looking better for the wedding and the rest of your life!”

Michele will be hosting 3 drop in workshops at the National Wedding Show each day in October 2010 (Earls Court, London and NEC Birmingham). Each session will cover different areas of Bridal Coaching so you can pick and choose which sessions to attend based on your needs. Follow the link for more information!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

A Romantic, Traditional Scottish Affair!

“Marcus proposed when he took me on a surprise trip to New York. We were in Central Park sitting on a bench, all wrapped up as it was November and freezing! He gave me the ring and asked would I marry him, it was perfect.”

Jillian and Marcus met in September 2001 when holidaying separately with friends on a beautiful Greek island. “I saw him and thought he was like Kelly Jones (Stereophonics) but taller, so I was hooked”! They tied the knot on 30th July 2005 in a privately owned 14th century Castle, in the heart of the Ancient “Kingdom of Fife”, Scotland.
From holiday romance to highland dance.....!

Tell us about the proposal
Marcus proposed when he took me on a surprise trip to New York. We were in Central Park sitting on a bench, all wrapped up as it was November and freezing! He gave me the ring and asked would I marry him, it was perfect.

Theme of Wedding
Scotland has long been known as a romantic venue for a wedding. As Marcus is from Scotland, Jillian wanted a traditional Scottish wedding with a romantic Castle theme. They fell in love with Fernie Castle, Fife, for its Turrets, Private Loch and Ancient Ice House set in the 17 acres of wooded ground.

Tell us about your dress
Jillian followed the example of earlier Scot brides and chose to marry in sky blue. Blue signifies constancy, love, modesty, purity and fidelity. “My dress was by Helen Marina ( . I saw it in a magazine, checked where it was stocked and it was the first dress I tried on in a small shop in Crosby now called Boutique Brides ( It was a bodice with a full skirt and train that could also be hooked up later in the day.”

Describe your accessories
In keeping with the blue theme, Jillian wore a short veil that was also sky blue, embellished with stones. “My shoes were by LK Bennett. I wore a tiara, diamond necklace, earrings and bracelet.” (

Describe the Groom’s outfit
“Marcus, being Scottish, obviously wore a kilt. It was hired from a local shop near his home town and was blue to co-ordinate with the bridesmaids.”

We had three Bridesmaids. Their dresses were from Virgin Brides in Manchester, by the designer Lorenzo. They were long dresses and a deeper blue to mine.”

Other attendants
“The Best Man and my Dad also wore kilts, even though they aren't Scottish.”

Unfortunately, Jillian was disappointed with her floral arrangements on the day. “I won’t name the florist as that was the only hiccup of the day. I visited the florist six months prior with a picture of what I thought was the perfect bouquet, based around beautiful orchids; the bridesmaids’ (bouquets) were to be smaller. On the morning of the wedding, the bouquets arrived to which I asked my mum if she thought the button holes were a bit too big. The bouquets were basically the orchids and no other flowers added. Luckily, my mum is a trained florist so managed to save the day by "borrowing" some of the flowers from the castle.”

The Ceremony
Jillian and Marcus were married in a civil ceremony within the gardens of the Castle. “It was decided just half an hour before the service (to marry within the gardens) as it had been raining the day before, and the morning didn't look hopeful. But a blue sky appeared which was perfect. A lone piper did the Wedding March which gave me goosebumps! We had a string quartet through the service.”

The Reception
The reception was held in the Ballroom of Fernie Castle, overlooking the floodlit Loch. “We decided on a round top table so we could talk to everyone around us.” For the Wedding Breakfast, there was choice of Melon Royale or Smoked Salmon starter, Princess’s Chicken, Poached Tay Salmon or Beef for main served with traditional vegetables, and a selection cakes for dessert.

In keeping with their Castle theme, Jillian opted for a lavish fairytale castle cake made by Goodfellow and Steven in Broughty Ferry, Scotland

"The ladies favours were a little silver address book and the men’s, a miniature whisky."

“We had a live band in the evening and our first dance was 'The Way You Look Tonight' by Frank Sinatra.”

Jillian’s Top Tips
“Make sure you check with your florist just before so they understand what you want. Savour every moment as it goes so quickly!”

Photographer details
“I liked my album at the time but now that I’m training to be a photographer I think we could have got someone better.”

Where did you spend your wedding night?
“We stayed at St Andrews Bay Hotel and everyone else stayed at the castle”. Jillian and Marcus then celebrated their marriage with a luxurious honeymoon to Mauritius!

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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Once Upon a Time in a Fairytale Setting...

“Our song was a massive thing for us. We are huge fans of Billy Joel so had ‘(I Love You) Just the Way You Are’. It summed up everything we felt about each other - and still do!!!!”

Lesley and Richard Hunter wed in a romantic, fairytale castle on 26th June 2004. They met when Lesley, aged 17, booked a holiday for Richard and his friends in the travel agent where she worked. Some say it was their ‘passport to love….!’

Tell us about the proposal
Lesley was away on holiday in Greece with her Mum when she rang home to speak to Richard. “I was told there was something special waiting for me when I got home. Richard had booked a hotel in Liverpool and a meal for my first night back home, and proposed in the hotel room!”

Theme of the wedding
Lesley wanted a “very romantic fairytale wedding” and was inspired by the splendid Victorian Country House that is Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbyshire, North Wales ( The 260 acres of beautiful parkland made for a perfect setting. They were married in a civil ceremony within the Castle. Lesley chose lilac and hints of silver for their colour scheme. The evening reception was held at the Devonshire House hotel, Liverpool (

Tell us about your dress
Lesley’s beautiful dress by designer Maggie Sottero was both traditional and romantic. “It was a diamond white dress with crystals and sequins ruched to the side, with detail on the train.” Lesley purchased it from the former Liverpool Bridal House, now rebranded as the Liverpool Bridal Gallery ( and received “fantastic service and attention from Maria.”

Describe your accessories
Lesley had a matching Maggie Sottero bag ( to accompany her dress, and wore a pear shaped diamond necklace as her ‘something old’. “My tiara was from a friend as my borrowed item.” Lesley’s ‘something blue’ was a new garter.

Describe the Groom’s outfit
To compliment their theme, Richard wore an ivory suit with a long jacket, silver waistcoat and lilac cravat. It was hired from Groom within the Wedding House, Liverpool (

Did you have any other attendants?
Richard had two Best Men and two Ushers. They wore dark suits to contrast with Richard’s ivory suit, with lilac waistcoats to compliment Richard’s cravat. They were also hired from GROOM Liverpool.

Lesley had two bridesmaids who wore short, ivory satin dresses with straps and a lilac ribbon around the waist. “The dresses were handmade by a family friend.” Lesley was inspired by the bridesmaids at Tess Daly and Vernon Kay’s celebrity wedding. “I got an artist from an art shop in town to hand paint a lilac flower on each dress. They were amazing!”

Describe your floral arrangements
“I used a florist from Rhos on Sea, Wales called ‘Keith Smithies’, recommended to me by Bodelwyddan Castle staff. I think what swung it was (I was told) he always did the flower arrangements for the Queen whenever she visited Wales!” Lesley’s bouquet was a Princess style lilac roses, white freesia, lilac orchids and foliage. Lesley chose ivory roses for guest buttonholes. “I had two sets of flowers for inside the castle and a table arrangement for the top table. I didn't do any centre pieces due to the fact we were going back to Liverpool after the wedding breakfast.”

“I used a company called Beauford Wedding Cars. I had a beautiful silver Beauford and a silver Jaguar for the bridesmaids. We used Cannon BBT Coaches ( to take our guests from a central point in Liverpool to the castle, and then to the Devonshire Hotel after the wedding breakfast had finished.”

The Ceremony
“I used Trumpet tune to walk down the aisle and Trumpet voluntary for walking back. No confetti was allowed within the castle. I did have a reading done by my Aunty but unfortunately cannot remember the details! It was a civil ceremony so only lasted approximately 20 minutes.”

The Reception
The wedding breakfast for approx 80 guests was served in St David’s restaurant within the castle. Guests enjoyed Bucks Fizz on arrival with a three course meal of Soup of the Forest. Welsh Beef with Vegetables and Potatoes and Chocolate Profiteroles for dessert, with a selection of wines on each table.

To really personalise their day, Lesley sourced the cake and wedding stationery from family members. “I had a three tiered heart shaped cake with a lilac ribbon around and matching flower detail, identical to my wedding bouquet. This was made by my Aunty and was a wedding gift.”

“The place settings and wedding invitations were handmade by my cousin, Nicky. They were beautiful with a lilac rose on each of them.” The Thank You cards were supplied by Terry Tang Cakes Designs, of Wavertree, Liverpool (

Richard runs his own entertainment agency, Riverside Entertainments, (, so had the pick of the best when it came to sourcing their own! “We booked a group called Dalima who got the night-time going, and had a fantastic disco with quality PA and lights called Tony Lee Roadshow.”

Lesley’s Top Tips
“Get a wedding file and book well in advance; be organised so there is no additional stress on the last minute! Also, reconfirm everything you have booked the week before.”

Does the Groom have a top tip?
“To try and relax and help if help is needed by your future bride!”

Big Day Beauty Tips
Lesley opted for a natural look but with enhanced eye make-up to stand out in the photographs. “My friend Gaynor from Perfections hair salon, Liverpool (0151 228 7676) stayed in the hotel the night before and did my hair and make-up (on the actual day).”

Special touches or magical moments!
“Our (first dance) song was a massive thing for us. We are huge fans of Billy Joel so had ‘(I Love You) Just the Way You Are’. It summed up everything we felt about each other - and still do!!!!”

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
“We went to Orlando. We did a week in Florida and got a convertible and drove down to Sarasota for our second week.”

Photographer details
Lesley and Richard used The Image Gallery, another recommendation from the Castle ( Lesley says of the husband and wife team, Kath & Peter O’Reilly, “they were fantastic. It was a lengthy process but they captured every little detail of the day and the wedding album is still fantastic to look at even now!”

How did you research your wedding?
Lesley visited lots of wedding shows, noting the Confetti show (then at the Liverpool Echo) being particularly good. “I collected all sorts of info and made a wedding file, with each area of the wedding sectioned, and collected until I found what I wanted. A wedding file is a must!”

Hen Party
Lesley's hen party was a glamorous and fashionable affair with 20 plus friends celebrating at Ladies Day, Ascot. Betting and Bubbles! She also enjoyed an evening with family and friends at the Christakis Greek Taverna on York Street, Liverpool ( for a night of Greek cuisine, plate smashing, belly dancing, disco and ouzo!! Very lively and lots of fun! Richard and his stags enjoyed a few nights away in the cosmopolitan Benalmedena.
On the penultimate night, Lesley and her close 'hen's' stayed in hotel nearby to the Castle.
“We stayed overnight in St. Asaph, North Wales, in a fab hotel called the Talardy Hotel ( All the rooms were themed from where the owner had been in the world, (African, Japanese, Chinese, Italian...) Definitely worth a visit!”

......And the bride and groom lived happily ever after!


Monday, 5 July 2010

A White Wedding in the Bright Light City!

“The waiters came out with roses, and when Stephen proposed I burst into tears. The waiters and all the other patrons of the restaurant then burst into rapturous applause, whilst I was still sobbing and sniveling”!

Kimberley and Stephen Moss met in 1997 and were married in Las Vegas on 2nd April 2008. The ceremony was at the Wedding Chapel at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, and the reception followed at the hotel’s exclusive China Grill restaurant. The blissfully happy couple then toasted their special day with cocktails in the Mix Bar on the 65th floor, overlooking the Las Vegas strip. Following that, the wedding party hit the casinos!

Tell us about the proposal
Stephen proposed over a romantic meal in the restaurant at the top of the CN tower in Toronto, Canada. The waiters came out with roses, and when Stephen proposed I burst into tears. I was mortified when the waiters and all the other patrons of the restaurant then burst into rapturous applause, whilst I was still sobbing and sniveling!

What inspired the theme of your wedding?
We decided a big church wedding wasn’t for us, and that we’d like to go away with close family for a small ceremony. We’d always fancied going to Vegas, so we decided to go for it! The colour scheme was baby blue and silver, simply based on the colour of shirt and suit that the groom chose for his outfit.

Tell us about your dress
I had a Pronovias “Agnes” dress. It was a fitted, silk and chiffon floor length lightweight dress with spaghetti straps, perfect for travelling. It also had a heavily sequined body which gave it a bit of sparkle – perfect for an evening wedding in Vegas!

Tell us about your purchasing experience
I went to London on a few occasions and had appointments at Vera Wang, Pronovias, Johanna Hehir, Candy Anthony (for funky 50s style wedding dresses), and Jenny Packham. I had finally narrowed down my choice to two Jenny Packham dresses; one was a floor length slinky evening number, and the other was a short silk ‘’Jackie O’ type dress.

My mum and I just happened to pop into Emma Bridal shop ( in Old Swan, Liverpool, as I was looking for some shoes I’d seen in a magazine. It was then I saw “The Dress”. It was a Pronovias dress that I hadn’t seen in the London store, and was very like the slinky Jenny Packham dress, but more “me”. I couldn’t believe that after all that to-ing and fro-ing to London, I’d actually found my dress by accident, on my doorstep.

Describe your accessories
I had Benjamin Adams “Marilyn” shoes, which I saw in a magazine and knew I had to have. I got them and an accompanying handbag from Elegant Steps in Oxton, Wirral ( I also bought a veil from there that matched my dress perfectly, but when I tried it on with the dress, I found it was a bit too much for the type of wedding we were having. So I bought a vintage looking hair slide and earrings from a supplier at a wedding show at Tatton Park, Cheshire.

Describe the Groom’s outfit
Stephen bought his grey suit from Hugo Boss in London. He was looking for a “rat pack” style fitted suit and found a perfect one there. When he saw that the style of suit was called the “Gable Vegas” style, he knew he had to have it! He paired it with a baby blue fitted Ted Baker shirt which he wore without a tie, and brown brogues.

I had one bridesmaid. Again, we went all around London looking for a suitable bridesmaid dress, but found her dress in Coast ( by accident. It was a fitted floor length, simple silver/grey dress which matched the groom’s suit very nicely.

Did you have any other attendants; what did they wear?
The best man wore a grey Ted Baker suit, baby blue Ted Baker shirt and brown brogues.

Describe your floral arrangements
The flowers were cream roses with pink tips and were included in the wedding package provided by the hotel. I took diamante pins from the UK and inserted them into the centre of the flowers to add more sparkle.

As we were married in a hotel, we didn’t need transportation. However, a limo was provided by the hotel to take us to and from the courthouse before the wedding to pick up our marriage licence!

Were there any special moments during the ceremony?
There was a baby grand piano in the wedding chapel. The pianist provided a list of standard song choices for the wedding. However, Stephen and I decided we’d like to have songs throughout the ceremony from artists that we’d been to see together in concert. So I contacted the pianist a couple of months before with a list of songs by Paul Weller, Bryan Adams and Aerosmith that we’d like him to play. He arranged this and played them beautifully throughout the ceremony.

The Reception
We had our wedding breakfast at the China Grill restaurant, in the Mandalay Bay hotel. We hired a private room, and had a huge circular table with all the guests around it. The restaurant staff arranged the table to my table plan, with the place cards (made by and the favours that I provided for them. They also scattered baby blue dried petals that I had brought from the UK across the table.

To tie in with the Vegas theme, we had playing cards made with our names and the date of the wedding printed on the back ( which I put into silver organza bags ( We also had small chocolate wedding trivia favours which I tied up in baby blue ribbon, also from Confetti. My mother-in-law bought lots of Vegas mementos – key rings, matches etc and put them on the tables as gifts for the guests.

Wedding Stationery
The invitations, memory box and wedding album were hand made by in Wigan, and they turned out beautifully.

Wedding Breakfast
Caesar salad – ginger aioli, spiced roasted cashews & crispy wontons.
Baby Lettuce salad – grilled hearts of palm, marinated artichokes, warm tempura goats cheese & Chinese apple vinaigrette.
Duck spring rolls – Chinese black vinegar sauce.

Pan seared duck breast – wild mushroom risotto and foie gras sauce.
Mizo Glazed Salmon – rock shrimp lo-mien stir fry.
Angus Beef Filet – crispy potatoes, whole grain mustard & hoisin sauce.

Wok sautéed vegetables and Wasabi mashed potatoes.

Desert Tri Star:
Specially designed desert sampler.

The food was served in such a style that people could help themselves and therefore could try everything. Menus were printed out by the restaurant and added to the place settings so people could tell what they were eating! The food was gorgeous.

Did you celebrate back in the UK?
Stephen’s parents were generous enough to throw a party for all our friends and family in a local social club!

Tell us about your cake
For our Liverpool celebration, my mum very generously bought us a three tier wedding cake made by Terry Tang, Wavertree, Liverpool ( It was decorated in baby blue and diamantes to match the colour scheme of the wedding. The tiers were chocolate, carrot and banoffee flavour.

At the party on our return, my mother-in-law had booked a group for us – but they didn’t turn up as they’d been double booked! The bar staff managed to get a DJ at the last minute to provide us with some music!

Special Touches
We made our own wedding rings at the Wedding Ring Workshop, in Hatton Garden, London. It was the most fabulous experience, and competitively priced. I would recommend that anyone do it (

Big Day Beauty Tips
There are local make-up artists and beauticians in Vegas who will visit the hotel rooms and make you up prior to the wedding. However, I wanted my make up to look more natural so I booked make up lessons with Bobby Brown, Benefit and Chanel before I went and used the best bits of all of those. A hairdresser in the hotel did my hair, and my bridesmaid and I had a hair trial a couple of days before the wedding, that also served to do our hair for the hen do!

Where did you spend your wedding night?
We had an upgraded Jacuzzi suite in the hotel we were married in for the week.

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We had a week in Las Vegas with the family. We then flew on to San Francisco for five days, drove to Yosemite National Park, to the coast to Monterey and to Los Angeles, staying in few nights at each stop. We then flew back to Vegas for three days on our own!

Photographer details
The photographer was provided by the hotel. We were delighted with the pictures and were amazed by the speed of delivery. We were married at 5pm and had an appointment at 10am the following morning to collect our photographs! Luckily, the photographers wanted to use one of our pictures for their promotion, so we got a good deal on the photos!

Did you capture your big day on film?
The DVD was included in the wedding package. There were cameras hidden around the wedding chapel, filming the ceremony. We literally came out of the chapel after the ceremony and we were handed a bag containing a bottle of champagne, champagne glasses and the DVD already edited and produced! Very Vegas! The video is only of the ceremony of course, but it is cool.

How did you research your wedding?
For the wedding chapel, hotel, restaurant etc there were many hours on the internet!! I reviewed and traveller photos.
For wedding dresses, invitations, favours etc I looked at lots of magazines and went to every wedding fayre I could!

Hen/Stag Parties
For a UK hen do, the girls from work arranged a cheerleading lesson in Leeds from, which was a good laugh.

In Vegas, the boys went off to a gun range, whilst the girls spent the day in the Spa. Then the boys went gambling at the “Pussycat dolls” Lounge at Caesars Palace, whilst the girls had a nice meal at Olive, a fab restaurant overlooking the dancing fountains at the Bellagio. Following that, we met up for a ‘HAG’ do at the Rockstar Karaoke at the House of Blues. It’s karaoke, but you’re backed by a live rock band. The whole age range of the group had a ball there. If you’re having a Vegas wedding, I’d definitely check it out, it’s on every Monday night!