Archive for October, 2016

The Work Christmas Party – Survival

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It’s that time of year again… time for the annual Christmas Party and all the accompanying shenanigans.

We totally understand the need to let your hair down and embrace the festivities, but trust us, there are some key Do’s and Don’ts that need to be observed.

Here are Manor By The Lake’s top tips for surviving your Christmas Party.

The Free Bar

shutterstock_120038515All the best parties involve a free bar so try and remember your limits. There’s a fine line between drink-related festive fun and Christmas carnage!

DO try and stick to one type of tipple as far as possible. Starting the night with a few pints, drinking wine with the meal, and then indulging in Jägerbombs and tequila shots can only end one way… badly! White drinks are your best bet if you want to avoid the mother of all hangovers, so stick to white wine, fizz, gin or vodka (and not all at the same time!)

DON’T walk around with a drink in each hand just because it’s free. We realise it’s tempting, but it’s not going to leave anyone with the best lasting impression of you.

The Dress Code

shutterstock_492269281If there’s no specific dress code mentioned on the invitation, ask around to find out what your colleagues are wearing. A comedy Christmas jumper might seem like fun, but may not be quite so funny if everyone else has turned up in a suit.

DO remember you have to work with these people for the rest of the year so try and retain an air of professionalism. Make sure everything is covered. Flashing the flesh in a revealing outfit isn’t the best idea (and that goes for the men too!) and whatever you do, keep those clothes on.

DON’T wear anything rude or offensive and definitely, don’t wear mistletoe. You’re asking for unwanted attention and if it’s you giving the unwanted attention, you could also be looking at disciplinary action in the new year. Not the greatest way to start 2017. And guys, if it’s an evening dinner, don’t feel a t-shirt will do. It may look cool through the day but you’ll feel extremely under-dressed at the table.

The Boss

Strike the right balance and you’ll end up looking like a model employee so be smart, not smarmy and try to make a good impression.

DO make a point of thanking your boss for throwing the party. Good manners will get you a long way in life and don’t cost a thing.

DON’T take the opportunity to throw in your top tips for how the office could be run better whilst under the influence of one too many Christmas tipples! However helpful you think you’re being, the Christmas party isn’t the time or the place to stake your claim on your manger’s job.

The Food

A well-organised party will have plenty of food for everyone, all served in a timely manner, but be sure to be prepared just in case the best-laid plans go AWOL.

shutterstock_271348052DO eat something before you leave the house. Regardless of whether you’re expecting a sit-down meal or a more informal buffet, you don’t know what the timings are, and with free drinks in plentiful supply, it’s a good idea to not start the night on an empty stomach.

DON’T kerb-crawl the buffet table. Resist the temptation to fill your plate, choose a polite but ample serving and step away from the food. You can always go back for seconds but hovering like a bird of prey over its next victim never makes a good impression.

With any luck, your canny employer has already booked your Christmas party at magical Manor By The Lake, but if you know they’re still searching for the perfect venue, why not give them a nudge and point them in our direction. Our fabulous festive party nights are a great way to party in style.

Call us on 01242 245 071 or email and we’ll be happy to talk through availability with you.

The Wedding Dress – Finding the Perfect One

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The question’s been popped, the bling has been bought, and now the real fun begins, finding THE wedding dress.

Our Manor By The Lake wedding planners have rounded up their top tips to help you in your quest to find the perfect one.

Identify the silhouette that suits you

It’s easy to get blinded by the many choices of wedding dress with magazines, websites, and even TV shows dedicated to this single piece of clothing. It’s really important to see beyond the skinny models, and think honestly about the style of dress that will suit you best.

shutterstock_335454452A clingy, fishtail number with intricate beading is bound to look amazing on a model, but if you’re a voluptuous, curvy girl, it won’t be the most flattering choice for your shape.

Think about the styles of dress that you own that receive the best compliments when you wear them, and also think about the least favourite areas of your body that you don’t want to draw attention to, as this will help narrow down your search.

Remember the top of the wedding dress gets more airtime

shutterstock_350957021A romantic lace train sweeping behind you is all well and good, but unless you’re getting married in a cathedral, the chances are, the bottom of your dress won’t get noticed anywhere near as much as the top of it.

When you’re signing the register, or sitting at the top table, the top of the wedding dress is all that is seen, and many photographs, particularly those that your guests take, will reflect this. Think about the bodice and detailing such as sleeves, belts and beading that will create a wow factor.

Don’t feel pressured to bring a crowd

Reality TV shows would have us believe that you need a cast of thousands to choose a dress and that turning up to the boutique with all your bridesmaids, friends, family and neighbours is essential. Don’t believe the hype! Too many opinions will just confuse you and create unnecessary stress.


Take your best friend or anyone you feel will be a true help to you and give honest feedback. N.B. your mum often isn’t the best person to ask! We know dozens of brides who felt pressured to pick a dress that mum preferred. Even if you’re fortunate enough for your parents to be paying for your dress, this doesn’t mean they get to choose it.

You have to pick something that you love, and feel comfortable with. It’s a lot of money to spend for a single wearing, so you need to feel you’ve picked the best possible option that suits you.

Set a budget, and stick to it!

It can be tempting in the heat of the moment to get completely carried away and commit to a wedding dress that you honestly can’t afford. Boutique managers will ply you with champagne and gush about a dress being perfect for you, but it’s not perfect if you can’t afford it. A good boutique will ask you what your budget is, and show you dresses that are within that price range.

Celebrity weddings and gossip magazines boast of £100,000 dresses being custom made by top designers. This isn’t the norm! Set a budget that’s realistic, and spend what you can afford. It is a special day, and you want to feel amazing, but do you really want to be paying off your wedding dress debt for months or even years after the big day? Probably not.

Don’t get carried away, keep your practical head on

Whatever wedding dress you choose, you’re going to be wearing it for a whole day, and it has to be comfortable, and also ever so slightly practical! We’re not being killjoys, but if you can’t breathe in the boned corset, then sitting through a 5 course banquet followed by a long night of dancing, it isn’t going to be a realistic proposition.

The right dress will make you feel confident, comfortable and stunning. If the sash is a bit fiddly and annoying at the try on, imagine how you’ll feel after wearing it for 8 hours! Don’t think ‘I’ll get used to it’ – it’s essential that you feel fabulous from the outset, and if you don’t, it’s the wrong dress!

If you need further help call our team and ask about our next planning showcase when we often have  top wedding dress designers present to discuss your choices, and whilst you’re there you can have a guided tour of our magnificent Manor!

To arrange a private viewing just call us on 01242 245 071 or email and we’ll look forward to showing you around our beautiful Manor.

For more creative wedding ideas visit our inspiration page regularly.

Top Ten Wedding Favours

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This week, our Manor By The Lake wedding planners are sharing their top tips for choosing wedding favours that your guests will love to receive.

We see too many gifts left behind on the table, so for unusual and unique ideas that will surprise and delight, read on!


1 Homemade favour treats

For a cost effective and personal option, ‘spread’ the love with favours of homemade jams and chutneys. Bottle in miniature jars and label with your names and the date for a personal touch. Leave the chutney for the men, and the jam for the ladies so that couples get to enjoy the best of both!

2 Favour seeds

A truly lasting gift, you can order personalised seed cards that guests can take home and plant. Wild meadow flowers are beautiful, or for something more unusual, why not gift chilli seeds or the romantic option of forget-me-nots?

sweet-bag3 Favour retro sweets

Popular with every age group, make up paper bags filled with Love Hearts, Sherbert Dib Dabs and Refreshers. Buy colourful paper bags and tie with ribbon, then print a label with a ‘sweet’ thank you message.

4 A little tipple favour 

If one of you is well known for your love of whisky, and the other a true gin fan, what better option than sharing your love with your guests with miniatures of each? To add a personal touch to your favours, homemade drinks such as sloe gin and flavoured vodka are easy to make, and can be bottled and labelled with your own message.

5 A recovery cure favour

When your wedding reception is the party everyone has been waiting for all year, then hangover kits make ideal wedding favours. You can buy them ready-made, or simply bag up your own kit with headache pills, water and bars of chocolate to see your guests through the worst.

6 Music favours

Choose the best of your reception playlist, not forgetting the first dance track, and compile a CD  to give to all your guests so they can relive the party again and again!

shutterstock_319930118_sm7 Find your fortune favours

For favours that give instant gratification go for personalised fortune cookies. You can create your own messages, and guests will love cracking into these together to see what their future holds.

8 Favour games

Get all your guests involved with a personalised quiz or treasure hunt. This takes a bit of planning, but it’s relatively cheap to print some cards that test their knowledge of you as a couple, or gets them up and about, roaming the venue for clues.

shutterstock_105525599_sm9 Biscuits, cake and cookie favours

You’ll never go wrong with a sweet treat that guests can tuck into and enjoy immediately. Order personalised bags and boxes and choose from gingerbread couples, moreish cookies, iced biscuits or novelty cupcakes.

10 Charity pin favours

We love the idea of giving something to a cause close to your heart so why not consider gifting a charity pin and donating money to a good cause in the process. Many of the large charities have lapel pins and badges ideally suited as small gifts.


So there you have it! Our Top Ten wedding favours ideas to help you and your other half choose something personal, memorable and perfectly suited to you and your gorgeous guests. For more quirky suggestions, check out this great roundup by wedding experts

To talk to our fabulous wedding planners about any aspect of your wedding call 01242 245 071 or email Book a private viewing and discover the magic of Manor By The Lake for yourself!


For more creative wedding ideas visit our inspiration page regularly.