Archive for May, 2017

Sweet Treat Trends For Your Wedding

Posted on:

Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? We’re seeing all kinds of wonderful ideas popping up at weddings this year. Give your guests the ultimate sweet indulgence by trying some of these top trends for wedding sweet treats.


Doughnut Wall

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw our first doughnut wall. Why has no-one thought of this before? It’s an absolutely genius idea and a great alternative to a formal dessert at your reception. You can use the opportunity to colour code your doughnuts to match your overall theme, or you and your other half could each pick a favourite flavour to offer your guests.

There’s the stunning visual effect that everyone will love as well as the quite literal ‘hand on’ experience when people get to pick their own doughnut. What’s not to love?


Candy Floss

Let all the fun of the fair come to your wedding venue! Forget chocolate fountains – candy floss machines are the next big trend for something fun and frivolous that appeals to everyone. There are plenty of companies who can hire out machines, or send someone to cook and serve for your guests. Did you know you can even colour match your candy floss to your theme?

As well as being a moreish treat, bags of candy floss make a great cost effective option as a favour for guests to take home with them. All you need is a stash of clear plastic bags and some personalised tags to commemorate the date.



Colourful and cute, vibrant coloured meringues look amazing when stacked together in lots of different hues. As well as being properly pretty, meringues are gluten free and offer the perfect option for a customisable dessert.

Simply provide big bowls of whipped cream, fresh fruit, sprinkles and sticky, sweet sauces and guests can tuck in themselves to create their own, ultimate Eton Mess. You could also give guests bags of mini meringues to take home as a sweet memento of your day.



These elegant treats seem to have taken over from the humble cupcake. We’re loving the trend for macaron wedding cakes where hundreds of individual macarons are arranged in tiers of stunning colours to create the illusion of a traditional wedding cake.

With the option of flavouring each colour and layer differently, there’s a wonderful opportunity to create a wedding cake alternative that everyone will want a bite from! Macaron towers can be created as small or tall as you like and are a stylish as well as a tasty centrepiece for your celebrations.


Sweet Cart

If you’d like to give your guests the opportunity to help themselves whenever they need a sugar fix, then why not consider a traditional sweet cart? You can choose all your favourite retro sweets and let your guests tuck in whenever they fancy.

Traditional stripy sweet bags can be bought online and printed with a personalised message so people can take home a stash of sweets when they leave your super celebrations. The best bit? A sweet cart will appeal to everyone from great granny right down to your youngest niece or nephew so you simply can’t go wrong!


To learn more about the latest trends for memorable weddings, give our knowledgeable wedding planners a call today. Why not arrange a private tour of our stunning country Manor house while you’re at it? Give us a call on 01242 245 071 or email to find out more about Manor By The Lake.

Take a look at more fabulous Wedding ideas on our Inspiration Page and on Pinterest!

Celebration Ideas – Multi-Generation Parties

Posted on:

Bridge the gap with some celebration ideas that appeal to all ages.

It’s easier than you might think to organise a multi-generation party that’s enjoyable for everyone from 9 months to 90 years old. Here are Manor By The Lake’s golden rules for throwing the perfect party.

Busy lives, work commitments and distance often put paid to family gatherings that involve absolutely everyone. Coming up with celebration ideas for an event that the entire family can attend can be tricky, but it’s not impossible, and if you arrange a party to appeal to every age group, you’ll have a full guest list before you know it.

Location, location, location

Pick a venue that’s accessible to the majority. It’s a lovely idea to hire a remote Scottish castle in the Highlands, but if half the family is based in Devon, you’re not going to make yourself very popular! Try and choose a location that is an equal distance from everyone, and if that’s not possible, then at least go with a venue that is close to motorways and train stations to make it a viable option. At Manor By The Lake we’re close to all the major road networks, and for guests travelling a distance, we’ve 12 gorgeous guest rooms so there’s no excuse not to make a night of it!


Even if you’re not planning a hugely formal affair, it’s still nice to receive an invitation, and it makes it more likely that the all important date will be pencilled into everyone’s diaries. There’s no need to spend lots on a printed invite, just create an e-vite using one of the many free websites available. This way, the younger members can’t claim to know nothing about the party as you can email them directly and know they’ll pick it up on their phones instantly! For the older generation, you’ll score points for being green and considering the environment.


shutterstock_386966821With a wide range of age groups to cater for, the menu can be one of the trickiest things to plan. In general, it’s always a good idea to keep things simple. A buffet allows guests the opportunity to pick and choose, and is a good way to satisfy children with finger food such as mini pizzas, sandwiches and fresh fruit. Adults can enjoy more elaborate salads, mezze, antipasti and summer favourites like poached salmon and coronation chicken. At Manor By The Lake we have award-winning chefs who are always happy to discuss menu choices with you.


Outdoor food and barbecues are always great celebration ideas and are popular with every age group, but remember, whatever you opt for, make sure you check everyone’s dietary preferences and allergies. Shellfish, gluten and nuts are problematic for many people, so do your homework in advance to make sure everyone’s needs are covered and there are no dining disasters on the day.


To accommodate everyone’s needs can seem like a huge challenge, so try and think practically when booking. One of the best celebration ideas is to utilise our attractive gardens which always appeal to older relatives, whilst space to run around and let off steam without harassing the staff is also a good plan for your youngest guests.

Manor By The Lake is a fine example of a venue with lots of reception rooms, you’ll find the party naturally splits into quieter and louder pockets of guests after the food has been served. If you’re having entertainment, you may find that Granny would prefer a quiet corner in which to retire. Of course if Granny prefers to lead everyone in the conga around the dancefloor, then we’re not about to suggest you stop her!

Choosing somewhere that has accommodation and ample free parking means you don’t have to worry about taxis at the end of the night, which is a real bonus.


shutterstock_220920673Don’t be put off by the expense of hiring entertainment. Whilst a 6 strong band for a wedding may set you back a small fortune, there are plenty of cost effective options that will appeal to every age group.  Why not use the venue’s sound system to play a pre-prepared playlist and this way, you can make certain there’ll be tracks from across the decades to keep everyone happy and on the dance floor. We’ve found that a magician is one of the best celebration ideas and will almost certainly involve the audience in his show. Choose someone who is used to performing in front of children to ensure a performance that is suitable for everyone.

If you’ve got lots of young children to amuse, we can supply colouring paper, crayons and games to distract them. Older children can be kept happy for hours with an iPad to watch movies or play games, and teens will flock to a room with a Playstation or X-Box. Everyone enjoys the outdoor games we have if the weather is fine. If you’re planning to party into the night, book a babysitter and pack the smallest ones off to bed so that you can relax and enjoy the rest of the event, uninterrupted.

Hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas for planning your family gathering, but we’d love to talk you through the many options we can offer here at Manor By The Lake.

For lots more hints and tips on planning a successful family party, call Tina at Manor By The Lake
on 01242 245 071.

Food Fit For a Multicultural Wedding

Posted on:

Are you a newly engaged couple wondering how on earth to cater for your multicultural wedding? How you feed your dearest friends and family, whilst respecting traditions and reflecting who you are as a couple can be a conundrum when planning your wedding.

Our fabulous wedding planners at Manor By The Lake are here to take away your headaches with their top advice on multicultural weddings.



For many couples planning a multicultural feast, the simplest option is to embrace both your cultures and heritages by serving a fusion of both styles of cuisine. This way, there are familiar elements for everyone to enjoy and identify with, but also the opportunity to maybe embrace something new. Reputable caterers will happily incorporate your requirements and suggest dishes that will be a cultural compromise for couples not wishing to go for one type of food over another.

Some foods naturally lend themselves to fusion cuisine with Asian cuisines often blended – Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Japanese food all contain elements that marry well. However, that’s not to say a French / Russian blend can’t also be achieved!

Talk to your caterers and clearly explain what you hope to achieve from your catering and the elements that are most important to you. You should be offered a tasting event to try elements from your menu, and particularly if you have complex requirements it’s essential that you try the options before committing yourself to a menu, as food is one of the most costly elements of any wedding celebration.

Food Stations

If the thought of fusion food strikes fear into you, or you know that your mother will never be able to get her head around the idea, you can always opt for the simple option of providing a range of different dishes that guests can choose between.

If your venue can offer food stations, you’ll be able to provide your guests with a much wider choice of dishes, and so you can indulge many different styles with people able to opt in (or out) as much as they please.

If your Indian relatives will only eat Indian food, then their needs can be catered for, but if your wife’s Turkish family are happy to try anything, they can enjoy a mix of traditional Turkish kebabs and breads, as well as indulging in a range of Indian curries.

 Smaller Touches

Sometimes it’s just simpler to opt for one primary cuisine and serve it to all, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t introduce elements of another culture in a smaller way. When a Chinese groom married his Greek bride, a typical Chinese banquet was served including Cantonese chicken, seafood soup and an assortment of dumplings and noodles. Then, as a nod to the bride’s Greek roots, guests were given a shot of ouzo to finish, and a bottle of Greek olive oil as a gift.

 You could also use your drinks reception to offer canapés that reflect your family’s heritage. This is a really great idea if you’re concerned that not everyone will love more traditional foreign cuisines. Bite-sized nibbles give people a taste of a new cuisine, and if they don’t like it, it’s easy to decline and save themselves for the main meal.

If your cultural roots embrace sweet treats, then favours, or a dessert table can be used to embrace your cuisine. We’ve hosted American families who insisted on S’mores, cookie dough and Oreo’s as part of their dessert table as well as Middle Eastern couples who’ve shared traditional baklava and halva with their guests as they enjoyed after dinner coffee.

If you’re planning a cultural wedding and are wondering how to cater successfully for all your guests, give our knowledgeable wedding planners a call today. Why not arrange a private tour of our stunning country Manor house while you’re at it!  Give us a call on 01242 245 071 or email to find out more about Manor By The Lake.

The Baby Shower – Bring on the Babies!

Posted on:

Originally an American tradition, baby showers have become a growing trend in recent years in the UK. So, our lovely event planners at Manor By The Lake thought they’d pull together their top tips to help you throw a beautiful baby shower.


Who should throw a baby shower?

Usually, the mum to be’s best friend will do the honours as it’s considered poor form to throw yourself a party where you’re hoping to be ‘showered’ with gifts! If no one has offered, we think it’s ok to drop a little hint.

As well as being a lovely opportunity to receive gifts for your new baby, it’s actually a great chance to talk to other new mums and mums to be and help prepare yourself and build a network of support for when your baby arrives.


Who should you invite?

There are no hard and fast rules as to who you should invite to a baby shower, but it makes sense that your closest girlfriends and family members are on the guest list. Work colleagues, NCT friends and neighbours who you see regularly will probably also want to be involved.

If you’re throwing a baby shower for a friend as a surprise, you may want to take advice from her other half, or mum, to make sure you don’t miss anyone important off the guest list.

Send out invitations around 4-6 weeks before the event. Email or posted invitations are perfectly acceptable and chase RSVPs the week before so you know how many to cater for.


What happens at a baby shower?

A lot depends on the type of person your expectant mummy is. Some people love the idea of playing baby-related games, such as giving each guest a piece of string, and getting them to guess how long it needs to be to go around the bump! Or you could hand out baby magazines, and get people to choose the baby models they think will look most like the new arrival.

For those who aren’t keen on playing games, why not use the opportunity to make something useful and personal for the new parents. Buy an empty notebook, and pass it around so that everyone has the opportunity to write a piece of advice for the new mummy and daddy.

Whatever type of shower you’re throwing, it’s always nice to have some baby related decor to make the occasion feel special and to celebrate the impending arrival. If you know the sex of the baby, a simple pink or blue theme works a treat, or how about a gender reveal during the baby shower? We loved the story of one mummy who had a cake baked with a pink sponge and a plain white icing. Guests had to wait until the cake was cut to discover if the bump was a boy or a girl.


Fabulous food and drink

No baby shower is complete without some tantalising food and drink, but this isn’t the moment for a formal sit down affair. Finger food is ideal for people to nibble on, and afternoon tea is a very popular choice. We think cupcakes, cream teas and mini sandwiches served with champagne and non-alcoholic fizz make a great option and can be served at almost any time of day.

If you’re planning a baby shower this year, for you or a friend, talk to our events planners about the options we can offer at our stunning Manor house.

Give us a call on 01242 245 071 or email to find out more and arrange a private tour of Manor By The Lake.

Choosing Your Wedding Perfume

Posted on:

We love the idea of brides choosing a new perfume to wear for the first time on their wedding day. From that day onwards, every time you spritz that scent, you’ll be transported back to the wonderful memories of your special day. So what should you consider when buying a perfume to wear at your wedding?


Manor By The Lake’s wedding planners are here to give you some useful advice.


As you’ve no doubt realised, weddings are all about planning, and choosing a new perfume for your big day is no different. Many brides-to-be are undecided as to whether they should stick with a familiar perfume on their wedding day, or opt for something new that will forever be associated with their wedding day. Personally, we think it’s a lovely idea to choose a new fragrance but as with any purchase for your wedding day, it requires careful thought.

You should firstly think about the season and style of your wedding. For romantic, Summer, English country weddings that feature an abundance of fresh flowers and an outdoor reception, a floral scent would be ideal. If however, you’re getting married in the Autumn, or having an evening ceremony, then you may wish to consider a more dramatic scent, something with warmth and sensuality such as amber or sandalwood.

Remember that when you’re trying new perfumes it’s important to allow time for the fragrance to develop on your skin. When you initially spritz a perfume, it’s only the top notes that you’ll be able to smell, so leave it an hour, and then see how the scent has developed. It may be that you don’t love the base notes as much and you need to consider alternatives. Whatever you do don’t rush your decision. Take time to appreciate each scent you try and if necessary, try them more than once to be sure of your choice.

Whilst it’s tempting to try everything in the perfume hall, bear in mind that the fragrances will mix together and it will become harder to identify the ones that you like. Limit your on skin tests to no more than three so as not to create confusion. It’s also a good idea to ask for a second opinion, and we would always recommend letting your groom have a say as it’s really important that he likes your choice.

When you start your search, you should think about the perfumes that you’ve previously worn and loved and try to identify any common attributes. You may come to realise that you have a natural preference for woody, spicy scents, or perhaps light, citrus fragrances are more you? If you have some idea of your preferences, it will help guide you when you begin your search for your wedding perfume. We would say that now is not the time to go for something completely different that’s a massive departure from your usual fragrance. Whatever you choose should complement your personal style and be truly ‘you’.

So what’s our favourite wedding fragrance? We’re loving the brand new fragrance from Jo Malone, Star Magnolia, that has ‘wedding’ written all over it. Described as “Delicate white blossoms bursting with Spring’s sparkling charm. Star Magnolia is in bloom. Tantalising. Flirtatious.” We think this is absolutely beautiful and love the fact that as well as the cologne, the scent has also been formulated into a limited edition hair mist. Gorgeous.


At Manor By The Lake we’re wedding experts and perfectly positioned to help you plan your perfect day. Why not give our amazing wedding planners a call today on 01242 245 071 or email to book a private tour of our stunning country Manor house.

Everything You Need To Know About High Street Wedding Dresses

Posted on:

We’ve all gazed wistfully at stunning wedding dresses from the likes of Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier and Marchesa but in reality, few of us have dress budgets to snare these fabulous designer dresses which often start at an eye-watering £5000 or more.

For years, brides have been persuaded to part with huge sums to secure the dress of their dreams, with even mid-range designers routinely charging anywhere from £1500-£4000 for their bridal gowns.  Well, now help is at hand as many of our favourite High Street brands have cleverly spotted a massive gap in the market, and have developed their own bridal ranges.

Here is Manor By The Lake’s guide to the best wedding dresses available on the High Street.


  1. Phase Eight

Available to buy online, in Phase Eight stores and in larger department stores such as John Lewis, Phase Eight have developed a range of wedding dresses from vintage 50s inspired short styles, to full-length gowns with beading and sequin work.

Dresses are priced from £250-£595 and are available in sizes 6-20 meaning there are plenty of options for brides of all sizes.

We particularly love the heavily embellished ‘Hope’ dress which has a very Gatsbyesque feel to it with its beautiful beading, sheer top and flattering silhouette.


  1. Topshop 

Known for its affordable styles and on-trend designs it was only a matter of time before Topshop jumped on the bridal bandwagon. With a range of strapless, tie-shoulder and Bardot styles in white and blush pink, there is a limited edition range of dresses available from £350-£795.

Also available from Topshop is the range from Hope & Ivy where fashion forward wedding dresses are available from just £140. Perfect for the bride who’d rather invest more in her destination wedding rather than her dress.

Our favourite? The gorgeous Topshop tulle midi dress priced at £425.


  1. Debenhams

Debenhams offers a relatively broad range of wedding dresses from a number of designers with own brand Debut dresses starting at £220 for a classic full-length white dress. We think the Ben de Lisi range has some stunning dresses that look uncannily similar to boutique brand styles priced at five times as much!

One to watch? Nine by Savannah Miller is stocked exclusively at Debenhams and offers beautiful dresses with a bohemian twist. This is the first bridal collection from Savannah (sister of the ever-so-slightly more famous Sienna) that celebrates both form and function to create elegant, chic dresses for modern brides. Designer dresses without the designer price tags! We think the Eligenza dress currently on sale at £336 is an absolute steal!


  1. ASOS

Whether you’re running away to Vegas, tying the knot on the beach, or hoping for a country chic celebration, online favourite ASOS has a fab range of wedding dresses to choose from.

With the prices starting at a very reasonable £65 we think having a second dress for your evening reception is a must! For a dramatic entrance, you can’t go wrong with the ASOS trumpet hem maxi dress at £200.


  1. Monsoon

Monsoon has long been the go-to shop for brides hoping to get their bridesmaids kitted out on the High Street but now you can sort everyone from flower girls to the bride herself under the same roof!

There are 22 gorgeous dresses all exclusively designed in London that feature romantic lace and beautiful beading. With a choice of midi, maxi and full-length dresses, you can be as traditional or unique as you like. We love the fact that you can also buy veils, jewellery, hair accessories and shoes to complement your chosen dress. Prices range from £229-£499. Our top tip? The sleek, sophisticated Veronika embellished dress with its crossover design and a tempting price tag of £249.


At Manor By The Lake we like to think of ourselves as wedding experts and would love to guide and advise you on every aspect of your big day. Why not give our totally talented wedding planners a call today on 01242 245 071 or email to book a private tour of our stunning country Manor house?