Archive for March, 2017

The Most Stunning Flowers for your Spring Wedding

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Congratulations! If you’re having a Spring Wedding, then you’ve chosen one of the most beautiful times of the year to say ‘I Do’, and with it, the option to incorporate some truly stunning Spring flowers into your big day.

This week, we’re taking a look at the flowers that lend themselves perfectly to a Spring Wedding, and some floral trends that have given us a spring in our step!

 

It’s really important to bear in mind that the month you marry has a bearing on which types of flowers are available, and at what price. Whilst our wonderful florists are able to secure almost anything at any time of year, if a particular bloom you’ve fallen in love with isn’t in season, then you’re going to have to pay a massive premium to secure it. By choosing flowers that are in season, you’ll find you have access to much greater availability, and also be in a much better position to secure a good price.

Spring Wedding Stars

We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite flowers that are in plentiful supply during Spring to help you plan your Spring Wedding floral stars.

1. Tulips

Equally suited to a colourful, country, rustic wedding as to a contemporary style wedding, tulips come in a vast array of colours, meaning you’ll be able to easily find a shade that complements your colour scheme. They are elegant and streamlined and look stunning bunched simply together, or combined with greenery.

2. Ranunculus

Ideal for dreamy, romantic weddings, ranunculus are like a small peony and are very stylish and elegant. With their delicate close layers, they are absolutely stunning when styled simply with just a few other accent stems.

3. Peonies

Romantic, delicate and stylish. Peonies are a popular choice but can be extremely pricey so if you’re opting for a Spring Wedding, you’re in luck as these beauties are in season. They are never cheap, but at this time of year they’ll be at their most affordable.

4. Roses

Quite a traditional choice, the rose is a hugely versatile flower as it’s available in literally hundreds of varieties. With a wide range of colours and sizes to choose between, roses are perfect for use in everything from bouquets and buttonholes to centrepieces and dramatic arches.

5. Gerbera

Gerberas are quirky, bold and fun and ideally suited to a bride who is planning a colourful wedding day. With their daisy-like looks, these cheerful blooms are perfect for contemporary weddings and look wonderful when used as buttonholes and on wedding cakes!

6. Hydrangea

These large headed blooms can be a very cost-effective option as due to their large size, only a few stems are required to make a big impact! These look great as table centrepieces or created into hanging balls on ribbon for younger bridesmaids to carry in lieu of a bouquet or posy.

7. Freesia

These short stemmed flowers are highly scented and are wonderful in posies and bouquets. They are available in beautiful shades of lilac, yellow, orange, pink, white, cream, red and purple and it’s the red, orange and white varieties that tend to be the most highly perfumed.

Manor By The Lake Loves… Spring Wedding Floral Crowns

We absolutely love to see a bride or bridesmaids sporting a stunning floral crown. There’s something delightfully romantic about these wonderfully natural creations that are no longer only spotted at boho-chic weddings. The trend has spread and we now see plenty of stunning country brides wearing flowers in the hair instead of jewelled hair accessories and veils.

We love the fact that floral crowns can be as delicate, or extravagant as you like. From simple, small crowns of gypsophila, to full on crowns bursting with ranunculus, roses and gerbera heads, this is one trend begging to be indulged at a Spring Wedding.

  

At Manor By The Lake, we would love to help you plan a Spring wedding and we even have our very own in-house Creative Designer who can work with you to create bespoke floral arrangements for your special day! Give our super wedding planners a call today on 01242 245 071 or email weddings@manorbythelake.co.uk to book a private tour of our stunning country Manor house.

Find out more about Seasonal Weddings at Manor By The Lake here.

Get Creative with your Wedding Plans

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So, you’ve got engaged, the ring is bought, and a date set. You’re probably rapidly realising that planning a wedding is an epic affair, and one where spending on your creative ideas can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not careful.

 

There are plenty of ways to save money by putting your own skills to good use. Here are Manor By The Lake’s top tips for adding a personal and creative touch to your wedding day.

 

Creative Invitations

Creating your own invitations can save you loads, and also gives you the option to create something beautiful and unique to you. There are plenty of kits available online where you can purchase everything you need to create beautiful invites, even if your creative skills are limited. Choose a style, agree on the wording, and then all you need to do is assemble the ribbon, lace, belly band and detailing by hand.

Or, online printers give you the opportunity to personalise a set template by choosing colours, fonts, and paper and envelopes that fit your scheme. You just need to upload the wording, and they will do the rest.

Finally, why not do away with printed invitations all together with a paperless option? This is a cost effective and environmentally sound choice that even removes the cost of postage!

Table Numbers

There are hundreds of ways to create table numbers or names without breaking the bank. Why not handwrite your table names or numbers, then position them in an old wine cork, pine cone or even an apple. These can be spray painted gold, silver or any colour that fits with your scheme.

Printed numbers and names can be created simply and easily from home, or created with wire, card or modelling clay. Why not use empty jam jars tied with ribbon and a printed card tag, or empty bottles of your favourite spirit?

Plant pots, bottles and cans can provide endless options for personalisation and can be painted, wrapped in ribbon, or covered in hessian for a rustic look.

 

Creative Favours

If you Mum makes a mean sloe gin, or your sister is a dab hand at illustrating, then you can enlist their skills when it comes to creating gifts for each of your guests.

If not, don’t worry… there are plenty of personal options that are cheap and easy to create. What about a CD of your favourite music, including the playlist from your wedding? Or perhaps create bags of sweets with personalised labels or a favourite quote?

Bags of seeds, pencils, herbs and cookies are all cheap to buy but can be customised and packaged to add a personal twist. Don’t feel obliged to go over the top with favours either. They’re a nice memento of the day, but by no means an essential element.

Place Settings

Gone are the days of simple white tent cards handwritten with everyone’s name! Today, anything goes. We’ve seen slate place mats with names handwritten in chalk, bunches of herbs with ribbon and card tags, and even individual miniature bottles of gin with guest’s names printed on the label.

The world is your oyster so get creative and think about ways that you can make unique and memorable place settings that will get people talking. There are lots of materials that you can scavenge for free such as leaves, feathers and pebbles to add a natural twist to your place names.  Or if you’re an enthusiastic baker, why not ice individual biscuits for each guest? Just remember to take into consideration the number of guests before your plans become too ambitious. Something intricate and time-consuming is fine for an intimate wedding with only 25 guests, but may get a little tiresome if your guest list tops 200!

Creative Cakes

There’s something wonderfully reassuring about a home-baked cake and all its imperfections! Don’t get fixated on a vision of patisserie perfection if your aunt makes the meanest Victoria sponge you’ve ever tasted! It’s not the Great British Bake Off! If you’ve got a friend or relative that loves to bake, then this is their moment to shine!

If you don’t have anyone able to bake you a cake, consider swapping a traditional 3 tier creation for a cheaper option if you’re trying to find ways to save money. Cupcakes, macarons, and doughnuts can be stacked to look like a tiered cake, and are normally a more cost effective option than a traditional iced wedding cake. If budget is

Decorations

Homemade bunting, coloured bottles, and spray painted fruit can all be created at home in the run-up to your big day. Enlist the help of friends and family – why not hold craft evenings where everyone gets together over a bottle (or three) of wine, to thread cones, paint feathers, or mould Papier-mâché balloons? If you give yourself plenty of time, you’ll enjoy these get-togethers, and it will give you a chance to catch up with people and share the excitement of the build up to your wedding with the people closest to you.

 

If we’ve fired your enthusiasm, why not talk to our fabulous wedding planners at Manor By The Lake to find out what other creative tips we’ve got up our sleeves.  And while you’re at it, why not arrange a private tour of our stunning country manor house? Give us a call on 01242 245 071 or email weddings@manorbythelake.co.ukto find out more.


Manor By The Lake’s Diamond Buying Guide

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If you’re lucky enough to have recently got engaged, or perhaps you’re planning on popping the question this spring, the chances are, you’re now showing a keen interest in diamonds. Buying a diamond engagement ring is likely to be one of the most significant purchases you will ever make, so how do you make sure you get a good deal and invest wisely?

 

Here’s the Manor By The Lake guide to buying a diamond.

 

The Four C’s

If you’ve started researching diamonds, the chances are you’ll have already come across a reference to the Four C’s, and their importance in the diamond buying process. So what are they are why are they important? Read on and all will become clear…

Cut

Put very simply, the quality of cut directly impacts the amount that a diamond sparkles. Even if a diamond has a high colour and clarity grading, if it has a poor cut, it can appear dull. A stone’s sparkle depends on how well light can perform through it.

When a stone is cut well, light is returned out of the top face of the diamond (known as the table) and creates a sparkly effect. If the cut is too shallow, the light will be lost from the bottom of the stone, and if the cut is too deep, the light escapes out of the side. If you buy a certified diamond that comes with documentation, the cut will be specified but if the stone is uncertified, make sure you ask the jeweller to confirm the cut grade, and write it down for you on the receipt.

Cut is also used in reference to the actual shape of the diamond. The most popular is the classic round cut, but there are plenty of other choices such as princess, emerald, oval, pear, heart, radiant and cushion cut. If you’re looking to surprise your other half with a ring, it’s a good idea to find out what shape she likes.

 Colour

Probably the simplest to understand of the 4 C’s, colour is very simply the visible colour of the stone and is rated from D through to Z. The highest colour grade is D which is classed as ‘absolutely colourless’ and these are the rarest diamonds. E-F are classed as ‘colourless’ and G-J are regarded as ‘near colourless’. Diamonds classed from J through to Z are noticeably yellowed and considered far less desirable as their colour is visible to the naked eye. Of course, this also means that they are less expensive than their rarer counterparts. For some people, the size of the stone is of greater importance than its colour or perceived quality.

Clarity 

The clarity of a diamond relates to the amount of blemishes found within the stone. The classification runs from ‘FL’, meaning the diamond is completely flawless, through to I3 meaning the stone is heavily ‘included’. At the higher end of the scale, even if a diamond has blemishes, they will almost certainly be invisible to the naked eye and therefore only visible through a jeweller’s loupe. The more blemish-free a stone is, the more valuable it becomes.

Carat

Carat is probably the diamond characteristic that most people are familiar with and are most mislead by as it is often wrongly assumed that carat determines the visible size of a stone. Carat actually denotes the weight of a stone, so depending on the way that it is cut, the stone can appear larger or smaller than another stone of exactly the same weight.

What you see when a stone is set in a ring is the table (or face), whereas the carat weight denotes the weight of the entire stone. If a stone is very bottom heavy, the face of it may appear relatively small so it doesn’t automatically follow that a 1 carat stone will appear larger than a 0.75 carat stone.

If your beloved is set on a 1 carat stone, it’s also worth bearing in mind that a stone of 0.95 carats will almost certainly look as large as many 1 carat diamonds, but will cost much less, as prices step up significantly for whole carats.

Online versus In Person

With plentiful numbers of online jewellers that appear to offer more reasonably priced diamonds than high street jewellers, should you consider buying such a significant piece of jewellery unseen?

We think online jewellers are a great way to research your purchase, but if you’re a novice diamond purchaser, we really think you should go and visit some jewellers in person to understand exactly what you’re buying.

If you do want to save money with an online purchase, make sure you buy from a reputable company and only buy certified stones. Make sure you understand the delivery terms, and if you’re buying from a foreign site, consider whether you’ll need to pay any tax or duty charges when the diamond is delivered to you.

How Much To Spend?

Forget 2 month’s salary – that’s a neat marketing ploy from the canny folk at De Beers who have a near monopoly on all diamond sales so have a clear and vested interest in people spending money on diamonds!

You should spend as much as you feel comfortable investing, making sure there is a little of the ‘ouch’ factor! It should feel like a significant purchase – after all, if your other half is going to wear it every day for the rest of their life, you want to make sure it’s something that they and you are happy with. The chances are, you’ll need to consider what’s most important to you – size, or quality? Compromise on perfection if you want a more substantial sized stone, or forgo the bling factor for something that you know is a damn fine stone. Whatever happens, you need to feel comfortable with your purchase decision.

So, now you’re fully armed and ready to make an educated diamond purchase, the next step is planning your dream wedding. For heaps of advice and inspiration, why not talk to our fabulous wedding planners at Manor By The Lake. While you’re at it, why not arrange a private tour of our stunning country Manor house? Give us a call on 01242 245 071 or email weddings@manorbythelake.co.uk to find out more.


5 Romantic Reasons for Choosing a Dusk Wedding

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With summer on the way, we’re looking at weddings with a difference and the option of holding a super romantic dusk wedding ceremony. With summer the traditional season to wed, why not look to a twist on the expected, and invite your friends and family to a magical dusk wedding this year.

Here are our top 5 reasons for choosing a late afternoon ceremony for your wedding.

 

1. Plenty of time to prepare

Practically speaking, dusk is the ideal time to wed as you have almost the entire day to get yourself ready! There’s no rushing around to get ready for a late morning ceremony, starting your hair and makeup when it’s barely breakfast-time, but instead a leisurely day of laid back preparations allowing you to avoid last minute panics.

It also gives your guests plenty of time to arrive, and check into their overnight accommodation if they’re making a night of it, plus it means that people don’t have to travel in their wedding finery. For you and your bridesmaids, why not book a relaxing morning massage, or go for a swim to help soothe away any wedding day nerves, safe in the knowledge that you’ve still plenty of time to make yourself gorgeous in time for the big ‘I do’.

2. Romantic Dusk Ceremony

We love dusk as it’s probably the most magical moment of the day. That fleeting time between daylight and nightfall when the light is truly special and it captures the essence of a British summer day.

If it’s a hot day, the temperatures will have lowered by sun fall, meaning you’re not trapped in a stunning ballgown dress, getting hot and uncomfortable with every passing minute.

Sunset throws up magical colours in the sky, providing a truly beautiful and natural backdrop for an outdoor ceremony and helping set the scene for a wonderfully romantic and memorable event for the bride, groom, and guests.

3. Candlelight dinner

Following the ceremony, enjoy drinks and dinner by candlelight to enhance the romantic mood as the day transitions into night.

Pack your venue with twinkling tea lights and gorgeous pillar candles to capture the romance of the evening. For a truly beautiful ambience, why not include scented candles in your table settings which allow you to enhance the mood. Go for rich, romantic rose scents, or clean, crisp citrus fragrances as part of your overall decor and theme.

4. Soft photography

Talk to your photographer to understand how best to capture the mood of a romantic dusk wedding. The lessening light means your images will need to be carefully planned to make sure you get the most from your setting at exactly the right moment.

We recommend meeting your photographer to discuss how you want your images to be captured, and what shots you’d like taking both before and after the ceremony.

Personally, we love a hazy, soft focus wedding photograph which is perfect for dusk ceremonies. Sunsets make a wonderful backdrop for formal photographs and introduce stunning colours to your images that simply aren’t possible at other times of the day.

5. An interesting twist

Mostly we love a dusk wedding because it’s something slightly different and unexpected. We’re always keen to embrace any new bridal trends and for us, a dusk wedding offers a wonderful option to break with tradition.

Whether you’re planning an indoor or outdoor ceremony, the magical, beguiling sunset hour is a truly stunning and romantic choice.

At Manor By The Lake we love a dusk wedding! For more ideas on how to create your perfect day, take a look at our Dusk Wedding Pinterest Board or talk to one of the team. We have just a few dates remaining for 2018 so why not give our amazing wedding planners a call today on 01242 245 071 or email weddings@manorbythelake.co.uk to book a private tour of our stunning Victorian Manor House.