Thursday, 31 December 2009

Designer Wedding Dress Sale

Last month I went to London for to visit some Bridal shops and coincidently there was a Designer Wedding Dress Sale on. Though the concept sounded a bit scary I thought it was worth a try...just in case. It turned out the sale, held at the Thistle Hotel in Marble Arch, was actully quite civilised and not manic as imagined. Designers included Caroline Castigliano, Christiana Couture, Fabio Gritti, Galit Levi, Jenny Packham, Ronald Joyce, Sharon Hoey, Toi Sposa ...and more.

The next sale is on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th January 2010. Here's a few tips for if you're planning to go:
  • Get in early! If you can't book an early slot, turn up anyway and you should be able to get in.
  • There is a lot of waiting! So give yourself a few hours and take snacks.
  • By sale, they don't mean really cheap, some dresses still cost £1000...but they are designer.
  • Be open minded and try on dresses you wouldn't usually try on.
  • Don't expect to find a specific dress - it's very pot luck.
  • Take your Mum or your bridesmaids, not only is it good to have spare pairs of hands, they can protect you from pushy sales people!
  • Wear nice underwear - you'll be stripping off in front of others.

I didn't find my perfect dress (though was very close to buying a half price Caroline Castigliano one, that was still way over my budget), but I'm glad I know I tried.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Gingerbread biscuits would make great winter wedding favors, no? 'Here's some I made earlier' using Delia's gingerbread recipe.

Have a wonderful Christmas!
Bridebug x

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Dreaming of a white wedding

Snow on your wedding day would be magical...but don't forget your wellies! White wedding photo by Top 10 Winter Wedding Photographer, Allister Freeman.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Winter inspiration: Budget friendly

With a wedding around Christmas time you can indulge in a romantic festive theme. It also means you could be looking for budget friendly ideas during an expensive time of year, so check out this Snippet and Ink post which has some great tips and stunning photos for inspiration.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Warm winter wedding

Unless you're going overseas to get married in winter you might be needing one of these!

Faux-fur shrug in black, ivory, pink, purple or green: only £65 at

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

On my coffee table: Wedding Bible

On Sunday we got the champagne glasses out and celebrated one year of being engaged! How time flies...and less than 7 months to go!

After the initial excitement and thoughts about our ideal wedding, the actual planning soon kicked in, and has been non-stop since February. A lot has been achieved, from booking our venue to practicing making buttonhole flowers. And there's still loads to do yet...

The planning has been easier by reading wedding magazines (not to mention help from Mum!), but also I've found Sarah Haywood's Wedding Bible so useful.

Haywood gives advice and tips for most (if not all) aspects in preparing for your big day. Tips on narrowing down your ideas in the inital stages, through to a 'checklist' for your wedding day - she's got it covered. On a budget? - that's covered too.

The best thing is that the book is from an English point of view, so I could easily relate to it. Try Amazon for a reduced price on this book and you won't look back. I hear the Wedding Planner is also really useful.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Real Brides Wedding Show 2009

Mum and I were on a mission to find Bridal hair and make-up services, when we went to the Real Brides Wedding Show at Westpoint, in Exeter last month. We were successful, plus we found inspiration for a few other wedding details such as, chair styles and vintage china for our reception.

The catwalk show of local bridal dress shops was the main event of the day, and I managed to capture some to show you. If you like any of the dresses, you can just about see the shop names on the screen behind the models.

Next Real Brides show: 20-21 February 2010

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Autumn inspiration: nature

I love the colours that Autumn brings, and if I was planning a wedding this season I would take inspiration from nature's burnt oranges, rich reds and deep browns. Leaves, conkers and fireworks could also be incorporated! Here are a few inspiration boards from Snippet & Ink, to show how this season's colours can warm your special day.

More Autumn inspiration boards at:
Brenda's Wedding Blog
Bliss Event Group
Style Me Pretty
Dainty in Vintage

Thursday, 5 November 2009

November sparkles

Remember, remember the 5th of November...  And I do because it's the Anniversary of our first date four years ago! Fireworks and sparklers create such a romantic atmosphere and would be perfect for a wedding this time of year.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Autumn inspiration: Halloween

On my way to a Halloween Party last night I saw a couple of Rolls Royce cars drive past; it was a bridal party on their way to their ceremony. Firstly, I thought how lucky they were to have such a clear blue sky in Autumn...then I wondered what theme a wedding could have on the same day as Halloween?

I love the use of pumpkins in this Snippet & Ink inspiration board - especially the ingenious ice bucket!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Save the Date: Inspiration

I like the idea of Save the Date cards (or emails) for giving potential guests plenty of notice about your wedding. Choosing the design also kick-starts ideas for your wedding stationary as they can be a teaser for the tone and theme of your wedding. Here are some of the designs that have inspired the design for my own DIY Save the Date cards.

I discovered Made By Michelle Brusegaard's pretty flower designs on my favourite online shop

Letterpress gurus Hello!Lucky now have a UK online shop full of inspiring wedding stationary.




On a more local note...Bristol stationery maker mhcreate offers personalised lithographic and digital printing.

So Sublime, in North Somerset, make pretty bespoke Save the Date cards (and stickers too!)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Setting the date

We knew we wanted to have a summer wedding, but our date was mostly determined by the availability of our chosen venue and the varying prices of the seasons. June, July, August tend to be more pricy, which is why Spring and Autumn weddings are increasingly popular. This September I went to a beautifully sunny wedding that it could have been mid summer!

We found trying to secure both the venue and the church for the same date was a juggling act, but it's all worked out fine. I can see the advantage of having the ceremony and reception at the same place if you have the option!

It can be hard choosing somewhere so far in advance (for us it was 17 months), but once you've put a deposit down you have your wedding date! Then it's time to start planning and booking everything else!

Some useful wedding venue sites:

On the weddings site for South West Tourism you can search by type of wedding, amount of guests and as well as by area.

A National site with many search results has very detailed descriptions, lots of photos, and a contact form to request a brochure for each venue.

An extensive list of wedding venues with useful descriptions can be found at

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Bloomin' lovely!

Over the summer I was inspired by the beautiful hydrangeas in various gardens in the South West. They are just perfect for decorating large spaces at your ceremony and reception or to create bold table centrepieces.

Hydrangeas are available for summer weddings in a variety of colours. You can buy small hydrangea plants in pots from nurseries, or by the stem from florists.

Watch my short video of the hydrangeas on campus at Exeter University...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Ethical engagement rings

Diamonds are a girl's best friend...but what if she likes to shop ethically? If you're choosing a diamond engagement ring you may want to consider where the diamond has come from.

For new rings it’s best to get a guarantee from a jeweller that their diamonds are conflict-free diamonds. For more information on ethical diamonds here's a useful article: 'How to steer clear of blood diamonds'.

Another option is choose an antique ring which allows you to be eco-friendly by re-using resources. Antique rings also offer you a wider range of traditional designs not often used in modern rings.

My fiancé and I chose an Edwardian engagement ring together from a local antique jeweller because we like how pre-loved diamonds are ethical, plus I love the style of vintage cluster settings.

We really enjoyed the experience of finding my ring, especially as we were looking for a ruby/diamond ring and one had just arrived, in my was meant to be! It was two weeks before Christmas and we were warmed not only by mince pies and mulled wine, but their caring service too. If you're in Devon I recommend the reputable Mortimers Jewellers, a family run business in Exeter, for a high quality range of antique rings.

Mortimers rings are available in both original and new settings in platinum, 18ct white and yellow gold. They have a large stock of ladies and gents wedding rings in platinum, 22, 18 and 9 ct gold, plain or engraved styles; and also provide wedding rings handmade to order.

To find an antique ring try your local antique jewellers or search for an online shop selling antique jewellery.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Girls night in

I’ve been out of blogging action for a couple of weeks due to a week away in Dorset followed by a week with a lingering cold. However, I have been gathering a lot of South West wedding ideas along the way and will be posting frequently from now on.

I have something up my sleeve for budget brides who live in Dorset or nearby, and a lot to report on my own wedding dress hunt...with only 11 months to go finding a dress soon is apparently of great importance!

Tonight my fiancĂ© is at a mate’s stag do somewhere in Somerset, so seeing as I have the couch to myself I'm going to endulge and watch Bride Wars...which I’ve wanted to see for ages.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Engagement day

For my boyfriend's 30th Birthday last November we planned a trip to New York City, also to celebrate our 3 year anniversary. Little did I know he had a wonderful surprise in store for me!...

We arrived in time to spend Thanksgiving with our New York friends which was lots of fun. On the Saturday they took us on a walking tour from Downtown to Uptown. Along the way we tried to get the perfect photo angle of the Flatiron; stopped for yummy cookies at City Bakery; and peered up at the iconic Empire State Building.

In the afternoon we watched iceskaters in a very festive scene outside the Rockefeller Centre, then when I heard that Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture was a few blocks away, I insisted we see it, totally oblivious to my boyfriend's plan to get me to Top of the Rock for sunset...

When we finally made it we were impressed by the breathtaking views of Manhattan all lit up. The warm colours of the sun setting and the glow of the Empire State Building was especially stunning. This was the moment he chose to surprise me! He started by saying there was a reason he wanted to bring me to New York and to this spot, then he romantically got down on one knee (amongst a crowd of tourists no less!) and asked if I would marry him - and I gasped 'Yes!'

I was so over the moon tears started rolling! He felt relieved that it was a success and told me how he'd called my Dad the day before to ask for permission, which made me cry even more! We were in a happy daze while a Rockefeller photographer captured the moment...

Afterwards we headed back to our friends place on Lower East Side where they congratulated us with a chilled bottle of Moet & Chandon (thanks guys!) - which we drank with blueberries from our Top of the Rock souvenir champagne flutes.

We continued the celebrations with cocktails and an exquisite dinner at Buddakan (the restaurant for Carrie and Big's rehearsal dinner in the Sex and the City movie!).

The next day we called our nearest and dearest to tell them the great news (well worth the cost of long distance calls!). A few days later when we landed back at Heathrow, I was still grinning - it was wonderful to be arriving home with a fiance.

Share your engagement day story! Leave a comment, or email me your story and photos for a post.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

South West is best!

Welcome to my blog about South West Weddings! I am a bride-to-be living in Exeter, planning a wedding for June 2010, in East Devon.

Since getting engaged in November 2008, I've been scouring the internet for inspiration and advice for our special day. Most the of the wedding blogs I found were American and I couldn't find any brides blogging about my region of England so...I thought why not start one?

Here I will share my findings of all things wedding related in the South West, as well as online suppliers, and my own wedding plans. Hopefully this will be useful for couples getting married in this region (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire).

Please share your ideas and recommendations with me too! You can email me via bridebug and follow me on Twitter.

We already have one big thing in common...getting married in the beautiful South West!