Monday, 27 September 2010

Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress: Follow the '5 Ws Rule'!

Geraldine Pollock, Industry Expert and owner of Belles Bridal Boutique in Liverpool, invites us to share her Wonderful World of Weddings on this #Wedding Wednesday!

The newly launched Belles Bridal Boutique really is a Bridalistas Paradise. A personal shopping experience for 'you and your bridal entourage' with stunning European gowns, impeccable service from the Belles Angels and homemade sweet treats to aid that all important decision making!

"So - you’ve found the one you want to marry, now you need to focus on finding the one you want to wear. For many brides-to-be searching for a wedding dress can be a daunting task – but fear not, by following Belles Bridal Boutique’s Five Ws rule’ your journey can become the enjoyable experience it should be.

W number 1 is for...
Who will you bring with you when you search for the dress? The most important thing to remember is to bring people along who will be positive, encouraging and share your vision of the big day. There is no room for negativity in the search for your wedding dress!
You might want to bring along your mum, sisters or bridesmaids but remember an entourage is not compulsory. In my experience, many brides prefer to attend initial appointments on their own. And if you know what you want, then follow your instincts and bring in second opinions if and when you need them.

W number 2 is for ...
Where will you go to buy the dress? Before making any appointments at bridal boutiques it’s a good idea to decide on your budget. There’s no point in making an appointment with a shop where the prices of dresses begins at £3000 if your budget is £1000 – inevitably you will see something you love but can’t afford and you don’t need this kind of heartbreak.
Once you’ve decided on the budget do your research – look at bridal shop websites and find out which designers they stock. Look at prices and, if necessary, call the shop and ask the price range of their dresses – this will save you (and them!) an unnecessary journey.
Once you’ve selected the shops you want to visit plan your appointments carefully. Make several appointments for one day – you will be able to try on a range of styles in each shop and they will remain fresh in your mind to enable you to compare. Don’t forget to leave enough room for travelling between appointments!
Make sure that you feel as good as you can on the day and start from the outside in – wear nice underwear, put on your make-up (although go easy on the fake tan!) and take time to do your hair. It’s not every day you try on a beautiful wedding dress, so it’s worth making the extra effort.

W number 3 is for ...
What is expected of both parties, the shop and yourself, at the appointment? Most importantly, you need to feel comfortable with the shop, the sales assistants and the whole vibe – buying a wedding dress is a massive spend financially and emotionally, so it’s essential that you feel right with all aspects of the purchase. Ask yourself: do I feel that I can ask as many questions as I like about the dress? Do they understand what I want from my dress? Do I look forward to returning to the shop for fittings? If the answer is yes, then you’ve found the shop – if the answer’s no, continue the search.
A good boutique will make sure you know the timescales for ordering; payment terms and contract; alterations costs – are they included in the price of the dress, or are they separate? What is the timetable for fittings? If necessary, write the answers down to these questions and store them for future reference.

W number 4 is for ...
When should I start looking for my dress? Most shops will advise that you leave 20-24 weeks for ordering, delivery and alterations – and this is generally a good benchmark timetable. However, it is NOT set in stone – manufacturers can sometimes bend the rules and put an order through in less time, although it’s not an ideal situation and could create unnecessary stress.
Ignore wedding scaremongers who tell you that if you haven’t ordered your dress 18 months before the wedding you’ll be a naked bride – this is nonsense! The best advice is to start looking casually at websites and magazines and then begin the search in earnest about a year to 10 months before the big day.

W number 5 is for ...
Why are you doing this? Sometimes the ‘why’ can get lost in the wedding chaos, but this is possibly the most important ‘W’ of all.. It’s not about the dress, the favours, the latest flower arrangements – it’s about the fact that you’re marrying the one you love. Take the time to contemplate what’s important – and forget about what’s not – you’ll appreciate this advice in the long run!

Looking for the dress should be one of the most exciting parts of the wedding journey – so make sure you enjoy every minute of it: share the time with your family and friends, enjoy the ride and cherish the memories.

And finally...

W is NOT for...

Worrying about not finding your dress – you will, probably when you least expect it.
Weight – by all means tone up and lose weight if you really have to – but be realistic in your expectations and you won’t be disappointed if you haven’t dropped 3 dress sizes before the big day.

To make an appointment at Belles Bridal Boutique please go to Tel. 0151 708 1996. We look forward to meeting you!"

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Perfect Wedding Breakfast with Amber Outside Catering

This week’s Industry Expert comes to you from Faris John Safar of Amber Outside Catering and Amber Wine Bar and Bistro, Liverpool.

With a wealth of experience from a highly acclaimed 4 Rosette, Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurant in Yorkshire, to an award winning Bistro in Sheffield and one of New York’s Premier Events Organisers, Loft 11, Manahattan, Faris’s passion for his work is clearly evident in Amber's philosophy.

"If something is at all possible then we will do it. I personally take great satisfaction in seeing how happy our customers are after an event. It doesn’t matter how big or small your event, with Amber, everybody gets the 5 star treatment!”

Bespoken Dreams caught up with Faris to get his top tips on selecting the perfect wedding breakfast...

A famous writer once said “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”
Can you relate to this to the ‘Amber Outside Catering’ ethos?
The whole of our team shares a love for what we do. Whether its our chefs love of creating fantastic dishes or our front of house teams love of making someone's big day that extra special. It's the love of what we do that reflects in our work. Without this love of food, drink and the whole event and catering industry in general, we wouldn't have achieved our great reputation and the outstanding results that we deliver.

Where and how did your catering career begin?
It began as a glass collector in my dads pub! It was then that I realised that a 9 to 5 office job was never going to be for me. I loved interacting with customers and seeing everybody enjoying themselves!

What inspires or influences your wedding menus?
The Wedding breakfast is a huge part of the day and as well as how lovely the bride looked, it's what people will remember and talk about long after the occasion. We have fantastic Wedding Breakfast menus which our Chefs have designed, they are often influenced seasonally with the quality of the ingredients and how our chefs cook them being paramount. We take time and effort to ensure that whether we are catering for tens or hundreds of guests. Every meal that goes out is nothing short of perfect. It's knowing that everything has to be 100% that inspires us!

Do you have any top tips for brides planning their wedding menu requirements?
Yes, think about your guests and think about what is going to be a 'safe dish'. What is going to please the masses rather than you personally. For example a dish like Venison, whilst a fantastic meat, might not be to everyones taste, then there's how to cook it- I myself and every chef I know would serve it pink, a lot of people wouldn't touch it less than well done! So your much better going with a dish like chicken or Salmon as a main course. A good caterer will know what seasonal ingredients will really lift a dish and bring out the best for the date of your wedding. Then of course, avoid messy dishes which could cause a few accidents!

Do you have a particular popular wedding day dish?
I'd say one of our most popular dishes is Goosnargh Chicken Breast with a sage rosti, baby root vegetables, French beans & onion confit Jus. It's popular because of all the reasons mentioned before.

What is the most extravagant request you’ve received and/or achieved?
We were doing the bar for an Indian Wedding, it was a very extravagant affair with no expense spared and they had a lot of unusual requests, which I'm happy to say we delivered. These included matching our cocktails to the same shade of blue as the brides dress, elephant ice sculptures & a cascading champagne fountain to name just a few!

What did you serve at your own wedding?
Ham Hock Terrine, Beef Sirloin with Fondant Potatoes, Vegetables, Brandy Sauce and
Raspberry & Chocolate Torte.

Other than your own, describe the best wedding you’ve ever been to.
Having friends from different religions I can honestly say that we've catered for and been to some amazing weddings...but If I had to choose other than my own it would be a friends Indian Wedding in Manchester, the venue itself was like something out of the Oscars with every food and drink you could imagine being available to guests.

What do you love about your job? What are the best bits? And the worst bits?
I honestly love seeing people happy, leaving with a big smile on their faces and knowing that its down to us! Word of mouth is everything to us and over 95% of our work comes from recommendations. I also love that everyday is different and enjoy challenges or requests which brides & grooms present us with. Nothing is too much trouble for us. I'm lucky that I genuinely do love what I do so I can't really think of any negatives? I suppose if I'm at an event where everybody is drinking and having a great time I just wish I could join in! Yes, that’s definitley the worst bit!!

Who would be your dream top table wedding guests?
I can't stand stuffy weddings! As well as my close family it would have to be some people who know how to have a laugh, get a party going and have a good few drinks so here goes...George Best, Frankie Boyle, Keith Lemon, The Gallagher Brothers and Girls Aloud...just for my mates to have a good look at, of course!

For more information please visit

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Rock and Respite Unique Fundraiser Event This Sunday...

Date: Sunday, 19 September 2010
Time: 2pm-11pm
Venue: Sound Control, Manchester

Rock and Respite brings the cream of up-and-coming bands together in a unique fundraiser for Manchester’s celebrated Francis House Children’s Hospice.

The event seeks not only to raise some much needed cash but also to bring the hospice and its work to the attention of a new, younger audience. And for this reason, Rock and Respite have kept the ticket price nice and low. It’s not just about the money; it’s about spreading the word.

Francis House provides essential respite and terminal care for families with children suffering from life-limiting conditions and illnesses; all in a loving, comfortable and fun home-from-home environment.

Crucially, Francis House provides all this care free of charge to anyone who needs it. And plenty of people need it.

There are now well over 200 very poorly children and their families depending on respite care at Francis House and as that number increases, the amount of time each family can use the facilities steadily decreases.

So, to keep pace with demand, additional accommodation at Francis House desperately needs to be built. Of course, this all costs cold, hard cash and it’s where Rock and Respite wants to help.

The inspiration for Rock and Respite comes from Elizabeth, the severely disabled, seven year old daughter of the event’s organiser, Manchester photographer, Stephen Campbell.

Just like her friends at Francis House, Elizabeth loves music and when her father saw how positively even the most unresponsive children react to their music therapy, he knew using music to raise money and awareness was the way to go.

Bands lined up to play Rock and Respite include (in alphabetical order): Blind Atlas, Clint Boon (DJ), Exit Calm, Frazer King, Kid British, Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six, NO*TOKYO, Sonic Boom Six, The Hidden Revolution, The Jessie Rose Trip,The Lovely Eggs, The Suns, The Switch, The Travelling Band, This Morning Call and Twin Thea.

Early Bird Tickets are available now from Ticketline priced at £6 in advance (plus booking fee), £7 on the day.

For more information visit

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Say 'Cheese'!!!!! Facebooth Photo Booth Hire for Weddings...

Days after our wedding I PORED over albums that friends had very kindly and speedily uploaded onto Facebook. It was fabulous to relive the day so quickly. So image my delight to find a photo booth hire, Facebooth, that enables guests to upload their photo booth pictures straight to their personal Facebook account in just a few seconds!!
Facebooth is a modern, fun alternative to the dated disposable cameras and guestbooks. Perfect for evening receptions, your guests can cram in, dress up, and have a right old laugh! Capture those special moments that may be missed once your wedding photographer has left the party. A perfect meeting point for a new Mr&Mrs to take five during the evening and capture a tender moment or two!

Facebooth tells more....

"Our Photo Booth Hire, Facebooth, is now available in Liverpool and across Merseyside. The photo booths are portable and are supplied with our own experienced staff to manage your guests and advise as necessary. What makes our service that bit extra special however, is that we have a live internet connection enabling guests to upload their photo booth pictures straight to their personal Facebook account in just a few seconds!! WOW!!!

We require an area of approximately 3m x 1.5m and it can be used in a variety of locations and events to suit your particular needs. (so long as it is dry!)

· Accommodates up to 4 people (6 at a squeeze) at a time -
· Great for Private Parties, Weddings, Charity events, Corporate events and Promotions
· Professionally supplied and operated by experienced and qualified staff
· fully insured against public liability

To discuss your Liverpool or Merseyside event, whether it be a wedding, end of term party or works/corporate party, please contact us to discuss how we can incorporate the mobile photo booth at your event. If you want a professionally suppled and operated photo booth in London, Liverpool, Manchester or Scotland, then our 'facebooth' is the best available as it has the facebook facility AND it comes with a free box of props containing feather boas, hats, glasses etc etc.

Booking is simple. You check availability with us, complete a booking form, pay your deposit by debit/credit card and thats it...your very special party photo booth is booked!

For more information visit

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Industry Expert: Anneka Ireland Videography

"We produce a personal, contemporary and creative wedding video tailored to unobtrusively capture your special day on film."

Anneka Ireland Videography produces professionally filmed and edited wedding films.
Bespoken Dreams caught up with Anneka to get an insight into her wonderful world of wedding videography.
Lights, camera, action...

How did you get into the videography business?
After I left university I knew that I wanted to work with moving image but was unsure of where to start so I found another wedding videographer at a wedding fair who trained me up.

What inspires your style of filming?
The passion to capture the moment as it happens.

Videography is much more than a luxury for weddings because....
It captures your special day on film and will be a keepsake for generations to come.

Wedding preparations have really evolved over the last decade. How do you feel videography has changed over the years?
It began with a large video camera that Uncle Bob owned and thought it’d be a good idea to film parts of the day, now it has evolved into a more professional, elegant and essential service to have at your wedding.

What are the most requested songs from Bride and Grooms to accompany their DVD?
Greatest Day by Take That, Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez, Chapel of Love by Dixie Cups and L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole.

What do you love most about your job? What’s the most challenging?
I love the adrenaline and responsibility I have on the day. I love the fact that everyone is there to celebrate and enjoy themselves and I am there to capture that emotion on film.

What’s the most extravagant wedding you’ve filmed?
An Indian affair with no expense spared!

Any Bridezilla moments?!
Yes, many! They tend to happen first thing in the morning, but soon calm down after the ceremony.

Videographers and Photographers: Discuss!
When asked if a wedding videographer has been booked, some people reply “I don’t need one, I have a photographer”, but they are completely different services. A photographer is a vital on the day, to take beautiful stills and document your day – but its also important to consider having it filmed. I have met many married couples who say one of their regrets is not having booked a videographer. Having a wedding film by Anneka Ireland Videography will capture your day in a contemporary, creative and obtrusive style using state of the art HD cameras. As your day will go so fast, its hard to remember everything that happened, so you can relive your day. It will be something you will want to watch time and time again with family, friends or together.

Do you have any top tips or words of wisdom for our B2B’s?
Try to remember to smile – a stressed out bride with a frown never looks good on camera! I also recommend that you look at various wedding videographer/ photographer styles, and choose the one that suits you, but stay clear of ‘bargain/budget’ companies as you really do get what you pay for.

Who would be your dream top table wedding guests to film?
Russell Brand, Matt Lucas – any comedian to step it up a bit.

For more information please visit

Sunday, 5 September 2010

One for the Boys...Grow a Mo Stag Do!


If you're getting married December onwards and are looking for an alternative way to celebrate your forthcoming nuptials, why not rope in your best men, ushers, family, friends and colleagues to grow a moustache for the month of November and raise money for prostate cancer?

The one stag do where not just the groom stands out!

Movember is an annual, month-long celebration of the moustache, highlighting men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer.

Mo Bros, supported by their Mo Sistas, start Movember (November 1st) clean shaven and then have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their moustache. During Movember, each Mo Bro effectively becomes a walking billboard for men’s health and, via their Mo, raises essential funds and awareness for Movember’s men’s health partner – The Prostate Cancer Charity. At the end of Movember, a series of Gala Partés are held to thank Mo Bros and Sistas for their support and fund raising efforts.

Movember has continued to grow each year, both in terms of participation numbers and funds raised. In its first year, 30 Mo Bros took part in Movember and last year, across the globe more than 173,000 Mo Bro & Sistas got on board, raising more than £14 million across the Movember’s men’s health partners globally.

To date, Movember has raised over £30 million globally for the fight against prostate cancer and depression in men. And, more importantly, as a direct result, male awareness of health issues has improved with Movember helping to spread health messages directly to millions of Mo Bros & Sistas around the world.

Going forward, Movember will continue to work towards helping to change established habits and attitudes and make men aware of the risks they face, thereby increasing early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment.

For further information, visit The Movember Foundation.

Start a Team
Step 1: Choose a team name and register online
Step 2: Recruit friends, family and colleagues to join your team
Step 3: Once registered, all team members will be sent advice on how to raise funds
Step 4: Grow your Mo
Step 5: Gather donations to help the fight against prostate cancer
Step 6: Attend an official Gala Parté or host your own end of month party

So PLEASE be tash-tastic and get involved in this fun and very worthy cause!

Mo Sista xxx