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TIPS & TRICKS FOR YOUR WEDDING

I'm so excited to write today's post. I've been thinking about which content to put in this blog post for hours, because it's about something I absolutely love; particularly the planning side of it: weddings.

It's almost been two years since I married my gorgeous husband, and it was quite literally the best day of my life. I know the summer months are popular for weddings, so I thought I'd revisit mine and share some tips and tricks that might help you with yours.


  • SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP
    This is one I can't stress enough. Don't settle on the first thing you come across; in any areas. Even down to the tiny things like favours. I almost spent £50 on 100 Bride & Groom favour boxes - I ended up getting the same design for £10 on eBay! My dress was retailing over £1000 online, and my budget was significantly lower than that. I searched local stockists and managed to get it for £660! 

  • THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
    Food was definitely not on the list of top priorities on my wedding day. Obviously, I wanted the guests fed and watered, but I really didn't want to break the bank on main meals, buffets or cake (wedding cakes can be so expensive!). If like me, food isn't something you want to be worrying about, find a venue that includes food in the package. We had finger bowls for guests (who could have up to 3) and a buffet in the evening - our entire wedding, with venue hire, food, dj etc for 60 people. was only £2000! As for the cake? We paid £60 for ours from Marks and Spencer. Got some fancy ribbon, edible glitter and a cake topper - and we had a beautiful wedding cake, for a very reasonable price.

  • LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
    One piece of advice I always give to brides and grooms is: get a videographer. I know they're incredibly expensive (usually - I have a tip for that!), but it was the best decision I ever made in terms of our wedding budget. I managed to get our videographer for just £250. He was relatively new to wedding videography, and I thought for that price, it was a risk worth taking. I spent hours finding someone who seemed trustworthy, and good with a camera. This was our wedding highlights video: Zoe & Hayden. I couldn't have been happier with it.

  • TREASURE THE MEMORIES
    When the wedding's over, and you finally start to wind down - the photos will start pouring in on social media. You'll be trying to save them left, right and centre. Trying to remember who posted what on where. Setting up a hashtag on Instagram is a great idea - but not everyone has it...it becomes mayhem. Using a service like Wedding Photo Swap is the best thing you can do. Guests can upload your wedding photos in one place, and it's so much easier to access them all. The best thing is? It's free! You can upgrade for a small fee if you need extra storage space for photos, or you want your photos avaialble for longer.

  • HERE COMES THE BLOG
    One of the things I look back on the most, in particular during bad days and arguments (guys, they happen!), is our wedding blog. We made a website for our wedding where all the information about the ceremony, reception, gift list etc was listed, and one of the features was a blog. Me and my hubby did a separate blog every week, and reading it back, feeling the excitement as so many amazing things were happening - it's just magical. It was completely free and this is our website (and blog!) for anyone interested: Our Wedding Blog.

I could definitely go on about my wedding for hours - I thought I was a certified wedding planner by the end of it! Another tip I feel like everyone should know, but sometimes it gets lost on the way: this wedding is yours. The only people this wedding is for are you and your partner. People will moan. People will ask for what they want. But remember: this day is your day. You can be selfish. You don't want to invite John down the street, but your sister does? Don't invite them. You don't want buttonholes but your mother-in-law does? Don't get them. Don't lose what you want to please other people - and you'll have a great day.




                                                                   THIS IS A SPONSORED POST IN COLLABORATION WITH WEDDING PHOTO SWAP.


REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY | THE YEAR OF LIVING AWKWARDLY BLOG TOUR

The Year of Living Awkwardly
Rating: 4/5
Buy/Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Simon and Schuster (out now)

It's Chloe Snow's sophomore year of high school, and life has only grown more complicated.

Last year, Chloe was the star of the musical. This year, she's just a lowly member of the ensemble. Chloe’s best friend, Hannah, is no help: she’s been sucked into the orbit of Lex, evil Queen Bee of the class. Meanwhile, Chloe’s dad is busy falling in love with Miss Murphy, and her mother is MIA in Mexico with her much younger bullfighting boyfriend, Javi... 

If only Chloe could talk to Grady about it - he's easy to talk to. Or he was, until he declared his love for Chloe, she turned him down because despite all her rational brain cells she can't seem to get over Mac, and then Grady promptly started going out with Lex.

As the performance of the show approaches, Chloe must find a way to navigate all the messy elements of her life and make it through the end of the year.

THE WOMAN ON THE RECEPTION DESK KNEW | FLOORED BLOG TOUR

Floored
Rating: 4/5
Buy/Borrow: Buy
Source: Review copy courtesy of Macmillan (out now)

The Breakfast Club meets One Day in Floored, a unique collaborative novel by seven bestselling and award-winning YA authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

When they got in the lift that morning, they were strangers. Sasha, who is at the UK's biggest TV centre desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he's by far the richest – and best-looking – guy in the lift; Velvet, who regrets wearing the world's least comfortable shoes to work experience; Dawson, who isn't the good-looking teen star he was and desperate not to be recognized; Kaitlyn, who's slowly losing her sight but won't admit it, and Joe, who shouldn't be there at all, but who wants to be there the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year . . .

THE MAGIC OF THEATRE | THEATRICAL BLOG TOUR

Theatrical
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: BUY
Source: Copy courtesy of Usborne (out now)

Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she's determined to make it without the help of her famous costume-designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope's focus, she's soon struggling to keep her cool...and her secret.


From a very young age, I've always been mesmerised with theatre, so when Stevie approached me and told me Maggie Harcourt was writing a YA book based in a theatre, I knew I just had to read it.

The story follows a teenage girl called Hope who's dream it is to work backstage at a theatre. When she's offered an internship doing just that, at one of the most prestigious theatres, Hope can hardly believe her luck. There's just one small problem: Hope can tell no one. It's not that doesn't want to; she just feels like she can't. Her mum is a famous costume-designer...and is slightly disapproving of Hope's choices to say the least. Hope wants to feel like she's achieved her goal without using her mum's fame to her advantage; and that is why she wants to do this on her own.

After Hope lands the internship at the Earl's Theatre, her web of lies and secrets grows substantially. And she suddenly feels out of her comfort zone, and wonders if she's good enough for the job at all. This is only magnified when she discovers that some very famous people are working on this adaptation of Piecekeepers...

And then she meets Luke. And if she thought she was in over her head before, she's definitely struggling to keep her head afloat now...

I absolutely adored Hope. She was a really likeable main character; and ones that you're left rooting for are my favourite. I think I identified with Hope so much because she reminded me of myself. When she cried, I cried. When she laughed, I laughed. When she succedded, I wooped with joy. And aren't books like that just magical?

Talking of magical, this book left me with an even deeper love of theatre than when I first went in with. Finding out so much more about how a production is brought to life; the struggles it faces; the time and effort it takes; the work that's put in - it has given me a new found respect for theatre.

I have always found something magical about theatre. Even from the age of 4. I don't remember my mum taking me to see Grease at the West End, but apparently the entire train carriage remembers 4 year old me reenacting, "keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers" for them.

I had fallen in love with theatre from that tender age, and have been in love since. I've been lucky enough to see many shows at the West End and on Broadway, so when Stevie asked if we could share our favourite theatre experiences - I was stumped. How can a theatre-goer just choose one? They're my babies. Was it when I watched The Woman in Black and a ghostly figure touched my arm? (True story!) Was it when I watched Legally Blonde and turned into Elle Woods for 2 hours? Was it when I watched Sweeney Todd and swang my razor high with Benjamin Barker and Mrs Lovett? Was it when I flew a kite with Mary Poppins and co? Was it when I clicked my heels and murmured, "there's no place like home" to return home from Oz? Was it when I fist-pumped with rage and passion at Made in Dagenham?

Two memories sprung to mind when I thought about theatre:
  • Visiting The Globe for the first time.
  • Seeing Wicked for the first time.

I hated Shakespeare pre-GCSEs. I couldn't understand the language. I refused to understand it. And then my godmum took me to The Globe. Standing tickets are only £5 in The Globe, and it's the most beautiful theatre I've ever seen. I touched the stage, I took in the scene, and then The Tempest started. I understood every word. Why had I deprived myself of Shakespeare for so many years? This man was a genius - needless to say I aced my Othello essay the year after.

And Wicked. Nothing could have prepared me for Wicked at the Apollo Theatre. My godmum had forked out a lot of money for us to have the best seats in the house. The opening number started and I cried. I cried, and cried, and cried. How could something this magical exist? After that performance of Wicked, I've cried at every curtain rise (and fall), at any theatre since.

Theatres are much like books to me. I go to escape. To get lost. To be someone else for a few hours. Next week, I'm going to be Veronica Sawyer for a few hours (how very!)...Bring on Heathers. I'm going on my own. Front row. Centre stage. And seeing Carrie Hope Fletcher. I couldn't be more excited if I tried.

If you love theatre, and you love reading, this is most certainly the book for you.


Check out the other stops on the Theatrical blog tour here: