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I love this story on the BBC News website today about the AutoWed Wedding Vending machine from a British company Concept Shed.  For £1 you get to get hitched quickly (not legally obviously), receive two plastic rings and a personalilsed certificate.  The machine prompts you for the type of union you require, straight, gay, lesbian or best friends for life and you have the choice to accept with ‘I do’ or to ‘escape’.  As one of the inventors said on Radio 4, it is a joke, but with more and more American influences hitting our shore, one day we could well turn our seaside resorts into mini Las Vegas’.

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Queens & Bowl

Add a touch of 1930’s or 40’s Hollywood glamour to your wedding dress with this stunning Valencia Marabou Stole by Sasso at Queens & Bowl.  It can be worn as a cape as it has front fastening or through the arms as a stole for a full on glamour effect.  The stole costs £199 and is made of  ivory marabou feather tails.  If you’re just looking for inspiration for vintage looks from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, check out the inspiration pages of the Queens & Bowl website that feature the key looks of Hollywood icons such as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe, who all oozed feminine style and glamour.

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Marks & Spencer

I always think that a wedding favour that your guests can take home and keep is a lovely way to keep the memories of your wedding day alive for you and your guests, which is why choosing something like this tealight candle holder from Marks & Spencer is a great idea and an absolute bargain at £3.50 each.  They come in five different colourways to allow you to coordinate with your colour scheme and could always be filled with a bag of five sugared almonds rather than a tealight if you want to keep with tradition.  If you have an artistic flair or an arty friend then adding a personal touch by writing your guests names on the tealight holder using a glass paint pen will make them even more special. 

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Perfect with a tea length or calf  length vintage style wedding dress, these corsage, peep toe platforms from Barratts are available in standard sizes as well as petite sizes 1-2 and larger sizes 9-10.  The lace detailing and peep toe gives them a lovely vintage feel with the ankle strap and corsage detail keeping the look very feminine.  The ankle strap is a muted metallic gold which compliments the ivory colour perfectly for a simple and sophisticated colour scheme.  An added bonus is that these shoes have received great reviews on the Barratts website for comfort, price (currently £45) and delivery, which is always helpful when buying online.

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Ian Stuart
So it’s the year of all things royal in the wedding world and I wonder if Ian Stuart had some knowledge of the royal wedding before the rest of us?  You would think so with his Revolution Rocks Collection with it’s regal aura that would sit comfortably with the aristocracy.  Layers of lace, ruffles and opulent finishing touches make this a truly stunning collection for all those brides who wish to bring an air of grandeur and drama to their day, or perhaps you just want to be a drama queen!  If drama is what you are after, but the princess look just isn’t for you, this breathtaking Harlequin wedding gown will certainly give you the ‘WOW’ factor.  The mermaid shape is stunning in itself, but the exaggerated loops make this dress truly unique and the matching bolero is all you need to accesorise this dress.  At £2,600, it’s not a bargain wedding dress, but it doesn’t have a royal price tag either!

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twobirds Bridesmaid

Unless all your bridesmaids are the same shape and size, finding a bridesmaid dress that will suit them all will be almost impossible.  There are plenty of bridesmaid dress suppliers that will have different styles available in the same colours but even these will be fairly basic dress styles, strapless, round neck, halterneck etc, which can still be difficult to suit all body shapes and they will often be in different materials so won’t always match well.  One dress that can be wrapped in over 15 ways is the perfect way to get a coordinated look whilst making the most of everyones shape, and that’s what you get from twobirds Bridesmaid.  The dress can be wrapped to give one shoulder, backless, front halterneck, back halterneck, sleeved, sweetheart and many more styles, without the need to make alternations.  The prices range from £205 to £240 and there are three style options available, the classic, the rosette or the two toned as well as plenty of colour options.  Although this is not a cheap option for a bridesmaid dress, the fact that it can be worn in so many different styles makes it good value for money and it’s also very well suited to double up as a maternity dress.

Flag and Bunting Store

Ok, you’ve been planning your wedding for the last couple of years and had everything booked, sorted and organised, then along come William & Kate announcing their wedding day as Friday 29th April.  Does this mean your day will be overshadowed by their celebrations?  Absolutely not, and if you can’t beat them, join them.  Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to bring out your patriotic side by hanging up the bunting and planning a right royal knees up of your very own, and it doesn’t need to cost a royal mint!

Flag and Bunting Store

 Of course bunting is a must, choose from this red,white and blue bunting, which come in various lengths starting at 8.6m for £10.50 from Flag and Bunting Store, or go all out with this union jack bunting also from the Flag and Bunting Store which also comes in varying lengths starting with 6m for £7.99.  The same company also sell pack of 12 hand held flags which would be perfect to hand out to your guests so that they can wave about to celebrate after the ceremony rather than throwing confetti.

Flag and Bunting Store
For your bridesmaids, rather than asking them to don Gerri Halliwell style union jack dresses, try royal blue and red dresses so that they can wear the colour that suits them, and then accessorise them in the contrasting colour shoes, jewellery and flowers for a bold, striking look against your white dress.  Debenhams have a great range of bridesmaid, prom and evening dresses that are available in red and blue to keep the look coordinated. 
Choose favour boxes like these from Confetti and other reception stationery in bold reds and blues that will compliment white tablewear, using alternating blue and red ribbon on white chair cover  will also give a dramatic effect to your reception.

Using red, white and blue floral dispalys for the  reception tables can be difficult as blue flowers tend to be light blue, although deep blue delphiniums are a good choice if they are in season otherwise they could be pricey.   Artificially dying white roses or lilies is also an option but again this can be pricey, s0 unless you have the royal budget then another use striking blue vases with red and white flowers to achieve the royal look.

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For those romantics who’ve always dreamed of a night-time wedding, taking your vows under the starry skies, there is good news ahead.  You will no longer be constrained to the current hours of 8am until 6pm under the Marriage Act of 1886 as there are plans to allow 24hour weddings in England and Wales as part of the Protection of Freedoms Bill.  Currently if you want to marry at night, a trip to Las Vegas is the only way, or perhaps a winter wedding as late in the day as you can to allow dusk to fall, but a midsummer wedding will be possible under the new plans allowing for a late wedding followed by the celebrations immediately after.  This is perfect if you don’t want the pomp and circumstance of a traditional wedding breakfast and would rather get on with the party or if you’re planning a gothic theme to your wedding and want the drama of darkness as your guests arrive.  Most guests will only see the romance of a scene like the castle above (Comlongon Castle in Dumfries) when it’s time to leave rather than when they arrive, and who really looks behind them as they leave?  There are no dates in the plans at the moment, but with the current government trying to encourage marriage, lets hope it will be sooner rather than later.

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Confetti in Administration

Wedding giant Confetti have gone into administration today and its network of 5 high street stores are to close.  This came as a bit of a shock to us as the Confetti website has been around for as long as we have been in the wedding business (since 1999) and has seemingly grown from strength to strength.   Confetti started life as a wedding web portal and had a major revamp of its website last year which I did criticize on this site.   Lots of tweaking over the last year has however brought the website back on top again and it now must be sitting in the favourites bar of most bride to be’s as a useful planning and accessories resource.

It is no surprise that the wedding industry has taken a particularly bad knock during the recession and I guess having 5 prominent high street stores made it more difficult to cut its operating costs.  48 of the 94 jobs are going and the remainder will support the web store as it seeks to find a buyer.  It will be sad to see Confetti go completely and I hope somebody comes along to snap one of the leading wedding brands up.  If it is rescued I imagine that any taker will be much more cautious to turn a successful online store into a bricks and mortar one again.

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H Samuel

How do you reward a little fairy princess for being your flowergirl with a gift she’ll cherish?  With something that she can keep to remind her of her very special day of course, and if you have a flowergirl who loves fairies (and there aren’t many that don’t) then this sweet picture frame from H Samuel is the perfect place for her to keep a photo to remind her of your big day.  The Fairy Princess Garden Frame from H Samuel costs just £12.99 and stands 14.5cm high.  It features three pink and lilac fairies in a garden scene with three pink butterflies fluttering around the frame.