A romantic real-life honeymoon in Italy and the Med

buy-our-honeymoon-H&C1

Newlyweds Harriet and Craig chose Buy Our Honeymoon to make sure their honeymoon was full of fabulous activities. We spoke to them to find out more about their perfect honeymoon experience…

buy-our-honeymoon-H&C1

Where did you go, and why?

“Our honeymoon was a two week mini-tour around the Mediterranean! After a relaxing night staying at the five-star Sofitel T5 hotel at Heathrow, we jetted off to Rome for a night before we embarked on a seven-day cruise. We went to Italy, Spain and France and we visited so many amazing places including Pisa, Florence, Cannes, Monaco, Barcelona, Palma, Pompeii and Sorrento. After our week of sailing, we flew from Rome to Verona for one night only to go to the Opera in the famous Arena. We then got a transfer to Bardolino on Lake Garda for a further five days before heading back home as Mr and Mrs Canavan.”

buy-our-honeymoon-Bed at Sofitel

Why did you choose that destination?

“We spent a long time trying to decide our honeymoon destination and plan a holiday to remember. We contemplated two weeks on an exotic beach in the Maldives, a driving tour of California, but in the end we decided to split our honeymoon into two parts so we would get the best of both worlds with a week crusing the Med (meaning we got to take in some culture and visit some amazing cities), followed by some time spent, with cocktails in hand, relaxing on the shores of Lake Garda in the beautiful Italian sun.”

buy-our-honeymoon-Lake Garda View

“We both absolutely love Italy so we found a cruise that left and returned to Italy meaning we could then easily fly to part two of our honeymoon! We cruised on the Norwegian Epic. An amazing ship carrying 4,000 passengers, that has been named ‘Best Cruise Shop’ for both design, food and on-board entertainment on several occasions. It’s really modern, and is full of swanky cocktail bars, so it suited us perfectly!”

[related]

What did you do there?

“Given the long list of places that the shop docked at during our cruise, it was hard to decide what to see and do with just one day in each city. We managed our time well and did some amazing excursions, which meant we saw a lot! We visited the leaning Tower of Pisa, explored Florence. We visited Monte Carlo in Monaco and had ice creams at Café de Paris! We spent our day in Barcelona doing the hop on / hop off bus tour so we could experience as much as possible. Our day in Tuscany took us to Pompeii — highly recommended! — and ended with an afternoon in Sorrento.”

buy-our-honeymoon-View - Sorrento

“We also got a couple of days at sea, so we could enjoy the ship. We visited the Mandura spa – the largest spa at sea, and got POSH passes, giving us entry to the special adults-only deck of the shop where you can sunbath on huge double beds whilst waiters bring round drinks and fruit kebabs. Pure luxury! One evening, we went to the Svedka ice bar on board; the world’s only floating ice bar! Another evening we went to Teppanyaki, a Japanese show cooking restaurant which was incredible.”

buy-our-honeymoon-ICE BAR

“After our cruise, we flew to Verona for a night at the opera, and a day exploring the city. It really is a wonderful place and we stayed at the gorgeous Hotel Antica Porta Leona. We even had time to secure a padlock with our wedding date onto the gate underneath Juliette’s balcony. We then headed to Bardolino, the gorgeous picturesque town on Lake Garda for five days of sun! We spent those days on the lake boating, swimming, taking walks (usually to find gelato!) and generally just relaxing after our busy week of cruising. We had the pleasure of staying in the Hotel Villa Katy, a family run boutique hotel of just 12 rooms. The views over Lake Garda from our balcony were just beautiful.”

buy-our-honeymoon-Bardolino

What was your most romantic moment?

“When we went to the opera! This really was incredible. Neither of us are fans of opera but it just so happened that there was a performance planned on the one night we were staying. The show was in the ancient outdoor arena. We started our evening off with a lovely meal and bottle of prosecco in the Piazza Bar, then went to see the performance. The atmosphere was wonderful and it was definitely a night to remember – even if it did rain and we had to buy plastic plastic ponchos to keep dry!”

buy-our-honeymoon-Verona Arena

It’s great for honeymoons because…

“We got to see and experience so much! Cruise ships are basically five-star floating hotels. The food is amazing, and there were 14 restaurants on board to choose from, all included in the cruise cost. The bars are beautiful and give off the real feeling of glitz and glamour. It is really exciting waking up in a new place each day, and stepping onto your balcony to look at the views. We then had all the time in Italy afterwards to just relax on the shores of the Lake. We really did get the best of both worlds! Bardolino is such a gorgeous town, full of bars, restaurants and plenty of local vineyards to explore.”

buy-our-honeymoon-Pool Bardolino

Why did you use Buy Our Honeymoon?

“We had so many possibilities of things to do on our honeymoon, so Buy Our Honeymoon was perfect for us. It meant we could split our trip into sections, such as ‘On board the cruise’ and ‘A night in Verona’, and then list out all the different dining options and excursions available.”

“We liked the idea that our guests could get us an experience, instead of simply putting money in an envelope. It also meant that we could easily see who had got us what, so we could take photos to show them on our return of us doing the activity they had purchased.”

“So many guests said how easy it was to use when buying a gift, and we thoroughly enjoyed creating our list. The support was great too, with very quick responses to any questions we had.”

buy-our-honeymoon-photo 1

Thanks to Harriet and Craig for sharing their honeymoon story! If you want some more alternative honeymoon ideas, just click here.

Get Stardust & The Princess Bride from Spineless Classics

spinelessclassicsfeat

Due to popular demand from fans, Spineless Classics is pleased to announce the launch of two fantasy novels – Stardust and The Princess Bride.

Spineless Classics creates unique designs using the full text of a book on a single page to form stunning pieces of wall art. The collection includes an extremely diverse range with over 100 classic titles. Every word from the book is included as well as all of the original formatting.

Stardust

Stardust, the magical creation by Neil Gaiman, tells the story of Tristan Thorn’s romantic quest to find a fallen star in the magical land of Faerie. The print’s design has a silhouette of Tristan leading the beautiful star, Yvaine, on a unicorn. The text of the book encompasses both this magical image and the title, surrounded by shooting stars. There is even going to be a limited edition in the UK with glow-in-the-dark highlights to give this print the ultimate fairytale feel!

Stardust

[related]

Another modern classic, The Princess Bride  is the tongue-in-cheek fantasy novel written by William Goldman. With a bit of romance, a bit of comedy, as well as adventure and fairytale, the book is filled with memorable quotes like “Inconceivable!” and “Hallo, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die!”. These and other classic quotes have been highlighted in red to stand out on the print for true fans to enjoy.

Princess Bride

The design for it was put to a vote on the Spineless Classics Facebook page. It was a clear favourite, and the final design sees all the main characters including Buttercup, Wesley and Fessik the Giant brought to life on the page.

Princess Bride

Available from the Spineless Classics website, both designs measure 70x100cm and cost £39.99 unframed. The perfect gift for your husband or wife-to-be on the morning of the wedding!

Reader offer

For your chance to win one of the new prints, simply tweet @spinelessclass and @wimagazine with your favourite romantic book quote. The closing date is 8th September, so get thinking, and good luck!

Be inspired by this adventurous real-life honeymoon in New Zealand!

Looking for honeymoon inspiration? Look no further! Real-life couple Frances and Tom had an incredible honeymoon in New Zealand, packed full of heart-racing activities, delicious food and stunning scenery! Bride Frances tells us about her trip of a lifetime and how it was all made possible by Buy Our Honeymoon…

be-inspired-by-this-adventure-filled-real-life-honeymoon-in-new-zealand-Frances-and-Tom-in-Queenstown

Where did you go, and why?

We spent three weeks in New Zealand, travelling around both the South and North Islands.  We flew into Auckland, straight down to Queenstown the next day and then worked our way back up to Auckland from there.

I had always wanted to go to New Zealand, and Tom had been before and loved it.  We wanted our honeymoon to be a real once-in-a-lifetime experience, and New Zealand promised that. It was somewhere a bit different, with plenty to do and lots to see.  Also we got married in December and wanted to go away soon after; going to New Zealand meant that we would get some sunshine for Christmas and New Year too.

be-inspired-by-this-adventure-filled-real-life-honeymoon-in-new-zealand-White-Water-rafting-Queenstown

What did you do there?

So much! As far as activities go, our first few days in Queenstown were the most adrenaline-fuelled: we went paragliding, jet-boating and white-water rafting on the Shotover River, which was brilliant fun.  We spent Boxing Day sea-kayaking in the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, and Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve doing wine and beer tasting tours in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay.

be-inspired-by-this-adventure-filled-real-life-honeymoon-in-new-zealand-Tongariro-Alpine-Crossing

We trekked the 19km Tongariro Crossing (also known as the filming location for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films) and did something called black-water rafting, which is where you drift through underwater caves in a rubber ring and look at the glow-worms on the cave roofs above.

We also had some fantastic meals, especially in Auckland, and had an amazing ‘Trust the Chef’ menu on Christmas Day, where we ate course after course of delicious food on the deck of an old boatshed overlooking Nelson Harbour.  And we did have some chill-out time — we enjoyed a sunny nature cruise around Milford Sound and we spent New Year’s Eve on the beach near Napier.

be-inspired-by-this-adventure-filled-real-life-honeymoon-in-new-zealand-Milford-Sound

What was your most romantic moment?

Well it certainly wasn’t the moment when I was washed out of the whitewater raft at the first rapid, and had to be rescued by a boatful of strangers while Tom made jokes about how he had been clumsy and “lost his wife”!

We stayed in a fantastic, top-notch boutique B&B in Queenstown called The Dairy — we loved sitting out in the hot tub with a bottle of wine, watching the sun set over The Remarkables mountain range.  It was absolute bliss and made any wedding stress, work stress and all the Christmas craziness we had left in the UK seem like a world away!

be-inspired-by-this-adventure-filled-real-life-honeymoon-in-new-zealand-Napier

New Zealand is great for honeymoons because…

If you are looking for somewhere a bit different, and lying on a beach with lots of other honeymooners isn’t your style, you should definitely think about going to New Zealand. It’s great for people who like being active and having a range of things to do — and you can be as active or as chilled-out as you like; New Zealand has something for everyone. The people are genuine and friendly and the only downside is you really won’t want to leave!

be-inspired-by-this-adventure-filled-real-life-honeymoon-in-new-zealand-Abel-Tasman-sea-kayaking-Boxing-Day

Why did you use Buy Our Honeymoon?

We had been living together already for a year so didn’t need the traditional sort of household gifts.  We knew we wanted to go to New Zealand but everything we wanted to do while we were there — to make the most of our time — would have cost us a fortune, so we thought that Buy Our Honeymoon was a perfect solution.  It meant that people could buy us specific experiences, meals or hotel stays, which guests really liked because it was so much more personal than simply giving us money (which we really didn’t want to do).

[related]

Many of the guests who had been to New Zealand picked the trips that they had enjoyed most themselves.  They also appreciated that we sent each guest a photo of us on our honeymoon (doing the specific activity they had bought for us where possible) with our thank-you cards when we got home. Without the contributions from Buy Our Honeymoon, we would never have been able to do everything we wanted to — and memories last a lot longer than towels and bed linen!

Feeling ready to get away with your h2b? Check out Buy Our Honeymoon and start planning your dream trip today, or visit our Honeymoon section for more inspiration!

Wedding gifts that can become family heirlooms from The Royal Mint

wedding-gifts-that-can-become-family-heirlooms-from-the-royal-mint-Baby-pack

Finding thoughtful and original presents for your close friends and family can be stressful, but fear not! The Royal Mint have fab ideas for every age…

Gifts for the little ones

Members of the bridal party, close friends who are expecting or have just had a new baby will love The Lucky Silver Penny, which offers a modern twist on the ancient tradition of crossing a new born’s palm with silver to bring luck and prosperity. These sparkling new sterling silver coins are dated 2014, the year of the baby’s birth, and beautifully presented in either pink or blue packaging with a pouch to treasure the keepsake in forever.

wedding-gifts-that-can-become-family-heirlooms-from-the-royal-mint-penny

New parents will also be delighted by the 2014 My First Coins Baby Journal, which contains the eight definitive coins of the year, accompanied by illustrations and poems which form a treasure hunt and space to record first milestones in their baby’s life.

wedding-gifts-that-can-become-family-heirlooms-from-the-royal-mint-Baby-pack

[related]

Ideas for the guys

A masculine 2014 Proof Sovereign makes a great gift for male relatives, groomsmen or the groom, and is perfect for passing down through the generations. The 22-carat gold Sovereign is the flagship gold coin of The Royal Mint, and is recognised around the world as a coin of distinction, elegance and good taste – perfect for the distinguished men in your life. Each one bears the classic St George and the dragon design that first graced its reverse a century ago and is presented in a stylish wooden display case.

wedding-gifts-that-can-become-family-heirlooms-from-the-royal-mint-male-coin

Presents for the girls

For your female friends, the UK ‘Britannia’ Silver Proof One Ounce Coin may be the perfect way to honour this special lady. The Britannia was launched as a sister coin to The Sovereign in 1987, paying respect to the Great British warrior queen, watchful guardian and ruler of the seas, renowned for her beauty and strength. Alternatively, bridesmaids looking for a little extra good fortune will appreciate The 2014 Silver Lucky Penny for any occasion, whilst engaged bridesmaids may appreciate their own Wedding Silver Sixpence.

wedding-gifts-that-can-become-family-heirlooms-from-the-royal-mint-male-coin

The Royal Mint continues time-honoured traditions with unique and special gifts, both old and new, to mark your wedding day. Why not include one in your celebration? Or for more great gift ideas, from cufflinks to bracelets and tankards, don’t forget to check out the Wedding Ideas Shop!

Get your very own designer sketch of your wedding dress by Justin Alexander

At Justin Alexander, every wedding dress begins with a sketch, and brides will now be able to preserve their memorable wedding dress with a customizable, made-to-order designer sketch of their own!

get-your-very-own-designer-sketch-of-your-wedding-dress-by-justin-alexander-premium-vintage-gold

An original designer sketch is the perfect gift to receive from a bridesmaid, family member, friend, or husband (especially as paper is the traditional gift for one-year anniversaries!). The designer will illustrate a Justin Alexander gown of the bride’s choice in pencil on an 8 ½” by 11” artisan piece of paper, bringing to life the wedding dress’ unique features, such as the delicate lace, feminine necklines and intricate embellishments that Justin Alexander is known for.  It’s a fantastic way to remind the bride where her big day planning began!

[related]

The sketch offers four beautiful framing options to choose from in various colors, with or without matting, with prices ranging from $150 to $329.

Sketch

The Original Justin Alexander Designer Sketch without a frame. The piece will be wrapped delicately and presented in a fitted plastic sleeve.

get-your-very-own-designer-sketch-of-your-wedding-dress-by-justin-alexander-modern-silver-leaf-9730

Modern

The modern frame has a smooth satin finish, which adds just the right amount of sophistication. The smooth antique coloring creates a distinct border to give every sketch a clean and classy look.

Formal

The formal frame’s moulding features a natural leafed pattern that is intensified by a rubbed finish, which illuminates the contours of every sketch with a sophisticated look and vintage feel.

get-your-very-own-designer-sketch-of-your-wedding-dress-by-justin-alexander-premium-antique-silver-8727

Premium

The premium option includes an ornate frame that is ultimate compliment to the hand drawn sketch. This embossed frame features a bold width and contemporary petal ornament that brings the sketch to life at every glance.

Find out more information at Justin Alexander, or take a look at more Wedding Fashion here!

6 sparkling wedding morning gifts to give your bride-to-be

Men, this one’s for you! You’re preparing to share the happiest day of your life with your bride-to-be, so how better to start that day than by giving her a beautifully sparkling gift to open in the morning? We asked diamond jewellery specialists 77 Diamonds to recommend some wedding morning gifts that will start her day with a smile and last as a shining reminder of the occasion.

6-sparkling-wedding-morning-gifts-to-give-your-bride-to-be-Diamore

The Diamore Pendant

Love needn’t be complicated: show the purity of your emotions with the Diamore Pendant (£402 including VAT). She’ll adore the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the diamond-set heart suspended on its delicate chain. This design lets the heart shape – and all it stands for – take centre stage. If you’re looking for a traditional and subtly beautiful sign of your affection, the Diamore Pendant is your perfect choice.

6-sparkling-wedding-morning-gifts-to-give-your-bride-to-be-Tea-Bracelet

The Tea Bracelet

The understated beauty of the Tea Bracelet (medium, £597 including VAT) makes it the perfect way for her to enjoy the special feeling of wearing diamonds, but in a very low-key and versatile way. With three round diamonds spaced along a fine chain – all brilliantly sparkling for a luxurious finish – this bracelet has an air of contemporary minimalism, but will always stay in style.

This piece of jewellery is perfect for your bride-to-be and is ready to complement her own individual look. Whether she enjoys getting all dressed up whenever she gets the chance or she has more of a casual style, thanks to its timeless versatility the Tea Bracelet will be the one thing she can always wear.

6-sparkling-wedding-morning-gifts-to-give-your-bride-to-be-Il-Sole-Mini

Il Sole Mini Ring

Leave her in no doubt about the way she makes you feel with the Il Sole Mini ring (£1,208 including VAT). This eye-catching token of your love will sparkle and shine with every gesture, so she’ll always be reminded of your special day. With a truly dazzling 89 pavé diamonds sprinkled across a gently-tapered band, the Il Sole Mini Ring is sheer celebrity-worthy luxury.

[related]

6-sparkling-wedding-morning-gifts-to-give-your-bride-to-be-Lily-Earrings

Lily Stud Earrings

A wedding day gift she’ll treasure forever, the Lily Stud Earrings (£715 including VAT) are simple, tasteful and classic – but with 54 round brilliant diamonds, they’re also undeniably dazzling. Imagine her opening her wedding day gift to find these stunning circular studs, beautifully presented in a box to do them justice; imagine the diamonds sparkling and dancing in the light as her face lights up too… we think you’ve found the perfect gift!

6-sparkling-wedding-morning-gifts-to-give-your-bride-to-be-Ballerina-Bracelet

Ballerina Bracelet

An elegant 2mm chain provides the foundation for 76 stunning diamonds in a bracelet that – as the name suggests – evokes poise, grace and beauty that stands out from the crowd. The Ballerina Bracelet (medium £3,490 including VAT) is the perfect way to give her diamonds she can wear for all of life’s most special occasions – including the most special day of all.

6-sparkling-wedding-morning-gifts-to-give-your-bride-to-be-Eliza-Studs

Eliza Stud Earrings

With their distinctive pyramid shape made up of six round diamonds, the Eliza Stud Earrings (£559 including VAT) will add a touch of sparkle to her features – perfect to help her feel her most radiant on her big day.

The modern shape of these designer earrings make them the right choice for your style-conscious bride, but the way the diamonds shine between your choice of carefully-shaped white, yellow or rose gold settings means the studs have a timeless appeal that will earn them a lasting place in her heart.

If your bride wants to return the favour, why not point her in the direction of these thoughtful grooms’ gifts? Don’t forget to see more wedding jewellery here!

Bag yourself some good luck with this quirky ‘something old’ idea

bag-yourself-some-good-luck-with-this-quirky-something-old-idea-bigeyephotography.co.uk

Tired of those traditional ‘something old’ ideas? The Royal Mint have got the answer and it could bring you some good luck along the way…

bag-yourself-some-good-luck-with-this-quirky-something-old-idea-bigeyephotography.co.uk

‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ – we’ve all heard the traditional poem, and many brides still try to match their wedding accessories accordingly. Some invest in expensive new lingerie, borrow antique diamond earrings, or don a blue garter to maintain the tradition and help ward off any bad luck. Others may prefer to splash out on a new scent, teamed with a vintage frock, blue shoes and a treasured family trinket to add their own interpretation and individual sense of style to the rhyme.

bag-yourself-some-good-luck-with-this-quirky-something-old-idea-rankinephotography.com

Many brides don’t realise that the final line of the poem is; ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. Traditionally the bride’s father would slip a sixpence coin into his daughter’s left shoe on the way to the altar, to bring her luck and wish the happy couple a long and prosperous life together. Many brides have chosen to continue this tradition today and no traditional wedding would be complete without a beautiful wedding silver sixpence from The Royal Mint. All genuine silver sixpences were only ever made by The Royal Mint, when it was located at Tower Hill in London.

The Royal Mint has selected the finest authentic silver sixpences, struck between 1920 and 1946, and presents each coin in a beautiful bridal-white gift box as a unique and unusual wedding present to represent something ‘old’ and which can be treasured forever.

[related]

Used to symbolise prosperity, love and unity, coins have a long standing history within many wedding traditions across the world. For many years it was the custom for the bride and groom to give each other gold and silver coins after exchanging rings, and this act is recorded in the first book of common prayer which was published in 1549. The Royal Mint’s gold Sovereign coins and silver Britannia coins are a perfect way for newlyweds to not only observe that tradition today, but also ensure that they have something ‘new’ in their possession at their marriage.

bag-yourself-some-good-luck-with-this-quirky-something-old-idea-Sovereign-coin

The masculine Sovereign coin is struck in 22 carat gold and still bears the highly distinguished St George and the dragon design that first graced its reverse a century ago. These striking coins make an ideal unusual wedding favour for any groom, and are perfect for passing down through the generations as a modern day family heirloom.

bag-yourself-some-good-luck-with-this-quirky-something-old-idea-BRITANNIA

The Britannia was launched as a sister coin to The Sovereign in 1987, honouring the Great British warrior queen, watchful guardian and ruler of the seas, renowned for her beauty and strength. A classic 2014 UK Britannia Silver Proof One Ounce Coin is the perfect way for a groom to honour his own beautiful and strong bride on her wedding day.

Looking for more gift ideas? We’ve got some more great alternatives to traditional toasters right here!

Free Mr & Mrs Emma Bridgewater mugs from Prezola

free-mr-mrs-emma-bridgewater-mugs-from-prezola-mugs

Be one of the first 100 brides to sign up to a Prezola gift list this month and receive these gorgeous Mr and Mrs mugs, worth £39.99, for free!

You voted Prezola as Best Gift List providers in the Wedding Ideas Awards 2014 and it’s easy to see why! Prezola is a fabulously easy service that allows you to choose items from over 100 of the UK’s favourite high street and online retailers. Plus you can add cash contributions, a honeymoon fund and charity donations, all on one list!

free-mr-mrs-emma-bridgewater-mugs-from-prezola-mugs

Choose from over 30,000 must-have products from all your big-name favourites including House of Fraser, Debenhams, Cath Kidston, Le Creuset, DeLonghi and many more! It’s the perfect solution, allowing some guests to contribute towards a honeymoon or your favourite charity, while others can purchase traditional gifts.

[related]

What’s more, if you’re one of the first 100 brides to register for a prezola.com gift list this month you’ll receive these gorgeous Emma Bridgewater mugs as a thank you! To be in with a chance of bagging yourself these cool cups, simply enter the code WM44 when you sign up to a gift list at Prezola until 10th June 2014.

If you love Emma Bridgewater’s vintage-inspired range, why not add a few more of her fab designs to your wedding gift list via Prezola? We love this retro-style radio for your iPhone 5 for £130.

free-mr-mrs-emma-bridgewater-mugs-from-prezola-radio

Terms and conditions • Entrants must be 18 or over and resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland who are not employees of Giraffe Media Ltd or in any way connected with the promotion • Register on prezola.com with the code ‘WM44’ between the 14th May and 10th June 2014 • Offer is restricted to the first 100 applicants • The Mr & Mrs Mugs will be delivered with your gift list delivery after your wedding • Prize is subject to availability • Prize winner must be a genuine bride-to-be • No cash or prize alternative • Prize is non-transferable • Prize is strictly not for resale

Goldsmiths’ Little Wishes collection has perfect gifts for bridesmaids

goldsmiths-little-wishes-collection-makes-perfect-jewellery-gifts-bridesmaids-carriage

Searching for the perfect gifts for bridesmaids? The new Little Wishes jewellery collection from Goldsmiths is perfect for every age…

goldsmiths-little-wishes-collection-makes-perfect-jewellery-gifts-bridesmaids-chain

Little Wishes by Goldsmiths is an exclusive new jewellery collection designed especially with the little ones in mind. Created to capture the imagination of little girls, this collection allows them to build their own special piece, while celebrating childhood milestones.

goldsmiths-little-wishes-collection-makes-perfect-jewellery-gifts-bridesmaids-carriage

You can choose from beautifully designed pendants and delicate earrings, but our favourite piece is the Build It Yourself charm bracelet with sterling silver charms featuring enamel or stone set accents. The sterling silver collection is nickel free, too, making it suitable for children over 36 months.

goldsmiths-little-wishes-collection-makes-perfect-jewellery-gifts-bridesmaids-heart

The charm selection ranges from classic hearts and stars to ballet pumps and books, making them perfect gifts for flowergirls or bridesmaids. Why not give them their presents to wear on the morning of the wedding?

[related]

goldsmiths-little-wishes-collection-makes-perfect-jewellery-gifts-bridesmaids-clover

With elegant pink packaging, it’s the ideal way to remember your special day and give your bridesmaids a lasting reminder of the ceremony. Available in selected Goldsmiths showrooms and on www.goldsmiths.co.uk now, prices start from just £19.

goldsmiths-little-wishes-collection-makes-perfect-jewellery-gifts-bridesmaids-star

Are you looking for ways to entertain the little ones on the big day? We’ve got some great ideas here. If you’re still choosing dresses, check out these top trends for summer bridesmaids.

5 simple ways your wedding day can help defeat dementia

5-simple-ways-your-wedding-day-can-help-defeat-dementia-Marina_Darren-140

More and more couples are finding new and unusual ways to support their favourite charity as part of their wedding day. We asked Anthony Townsend from Alzheimer’s Society why it has become so popular and to reveal the top five ways in which brides can help defeat dementia for good…

5-simple-ways-your-wedding-day-can-help-defeat-dementia-Marina_Darren-140

With over 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK, half of whom haven’t been diagnosed, our work is ongoing. So many people have a loved one who has been affected by dementia, which is why many happy couples want to make a difference during their happy day; to honour someone close to them and help raise awareness.

The kindness and support so many people give Alzheimer’s Society is extremely moving, and makes a huge difference to the work we undertake. Here are top five ways people have made Alzheimer’s Society part of their special day…

Wedding favours

Some couples choose to make a donation to Alzheimer’s Society by ordering from our special range of wedding favours – choose from pin badges, trolley coin key rings, magnetic picture frames or table cards. Placing these at your guests’ table settings will add an extra point of conversation and help raise awareness about dementia.

Rebecca and Leigh made a donation to the Society and chose to give our special pin badges to their wedding guests as favours. “Seeing everyone wearing the badges ignited something in my heart,” says Rebecca.

5-simple-ways-your-wedding-day-can-help-defeat-dementia-Rebecca-&-Leigh-2

5-simple-ways-your-wedding-day-can-help-defeat-dementia-Rebecca-&-Leigh-1

Donations instead of a gift list

You could send out our celebration collection envelopes with your wedding invitations, create an online collection page at JustGiving.com, or hold a collection on the day. Marina and Darren invited their guests to donate to us instead of buying wedding gifts.

“We’re not really wedding list kind of people, so the obvious choice for us was to ask for charity donations in lieu of gifts,” explains Marina. “Alzheimer’s Society is particularly important to me as my Nan had dementia before she passed away in 2007, a few months before I met Darren, so we felt this was a fitting tribute.”

5-simple-ways-your-wedding-day-can-help-defeat-dementia-Marina_Darren-437

[related]

5-simple-ways-your-wedding-day-can-help-defeat-dementia-Marina_Darren-174

A sponsored event during the honeymoon

Whether it’s a sponsored walk, swim, cycle ride or your own unique idea, take a little time to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society, and make your honeymoon just that little bit more special. Caroline and Steve did a sponsored 150 mile coast-to-coast cycle ride as part of their honeymoon, asking for sponsorship instead of wedding gifts.

“My parents have both accessed advice and assistance through Alzheimer’s Society over the past few years,” says Caroline. “Steve and I have gained so much pleasure in raising funds for Alzheimer’s Society, knowing they will be well spent and would encourage anyone planning a wedding to consider doing the same thing.”

5-simple-ways-your-wedding-day-can-help-defeat-dementia-Caroline&SteveHartridge-(c)-Ellie-Kurttz

5-simple-ways-your-wedding-day-can-help-defeat-dementia-Caroline-and-Steve-cycle-EK-(3)

Setting up a Tribute Fund

A Tribute Fund is an inspiring way to celebrate the life of a loved one, helping Alzheimer’s Society provide care today and find a cure tomorrow. A Tribute Fund collects together all donations made in memory of the honouree, giving a focal point to the kind support given to the Society in your loved one’s name.

A collection at your wedding would be a perfect way to do that. Tribute Fund holder Glyn tells us: “It’s lovely to think that we’re donating in memory of Mum, but the ultimate goal is to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society and the good work it does. It’s nice to feel that, through Mum, we can make a difference.”

Become a dementia friend

Finally, you could become a Dementia Friend and help make your wedding guests more aware of the needs of people living with dementia around the UK. Visit the Dementia Friends website to find out how.

Are you thinking of having a charity gift list for your big day? Here are some more ideas. Or what about an ethical honeymoon where you help others as you holiday?

Stress-free wedding website is a hit with real-life couples

stress-free-wedding-website-is-a-hit-with-real-life-couples-honeymoon-list

Want to share your wedding information and create an online gift list at the same time? Real couples love Zankyou – and here’s why…

stress-free-wedding-website-is-a-hit-with-real-life-couples-real-couples-pages

Zankyou has been working hard for the last few years to create an online wedding service that is useful for couples when planning their big day. Their free wedding website service and online gift list are proving popular among clients. And this is, in large part, down to the fact that, as one couple actually said, Zankyou ‘takes the stress out of many of the (normally tedious but necessary) arrangements.’

stress-free-wedding-website-is-a-hit-with-real-life-couples-Sarah-and-Henry

Having a free wedding website where you can post information about your big day, photos before and after the wedding and vital logistical information for your guests is essential in today’s digital world, where people are constantly checking information on the move.

[related]

And an online wedding gift list within the site, which lets you list anything you like, from a toaster to honeymoon activities or charitable donations, only adds to the usefulness of the Zankyou service. Just imagine – your guests contribute to the list and you get the money in your bank account to spend wherever and whenever you like!

stress-free-wedding-website-is-a-hit-with-real-life-couples-honeymoon-list

But we need to stop talking and let them have their say! Here’s what two real couples had to say about the service… “I found the website very easy to use and I could personalise my page according to my preferences. There was also a ‘wall’ where my friends and family could leave us messages and testimonials, which I really appreciated,” says real bride Anna. “Also, I was able to easily organise the guest list with Zankyou. By giving the link to my friends and family, they could access my wedding page and confirm their attendance. That was useful for me because most of my friends and family live abroad.”

stress-free-wedding-website-is-a-hit-with-real-life-couples-gift-list

Real couple Clare and Fraser echoed their thoughts. “We loved Zankyou as it was a trusted, well organised and friendly service. We searched high and low for a product that would allow people to donate towards our wedding but not towards specific products like the other websites. The site was very secure and we had to send a lot of different types of ID to make sure family and friends details were safe. The transfer of funds from your site to us was quick and painless.”

stress-free-wedding-website-is-a-hit-with-real-life-couples-wedding-website

Having feedback like this makes Zankyou proud of the way their service has grown and developed but the hard work doesn’t stop there. Their development teams are busy working hard every day to create an even better site. Why not check it out today and sort your wedding information and gift list in seconds? To keep track of your guests, check out our free wedding planning tools here.

Real stories: “Why we chose a Give in Celebration gift list”

real-stories-why-we-chose-a-give-in-celebration-gift-list-Hannah-and-Matt-Polly-Alexandre-Cancer-Research-2

When it came to their wedding gift list, Hannah and Matt decided to do something different. Instead of presents, they asked friends and family to donate to Cancer Research UK’s vital research through their Give in Celebration program and help beat cancer sooner…

real-stories-why-we-chose-a-give-in-celebration-gift-list-hannah-and-Matt-© Polly-Alexandre---Cancer-Research-

“We’d seen an advertisement for Give in Celebration and thought it was such a lovely idea,” Hannah explains. “We’d already decided that we didn’t want our guests to buy us gifts but had been told by many of them they wanted to give us something anyway.”

With more couples already living together before getting married, Give in Celebration is the perfect replacement for a list that might include unnecessary household items. As Matt lost his mother to cancer at the age of 18, it was important to the couple to pay tribute to her on their big day. “It seemed like the perfect solution, especially as it is a charity close to both our hearts, having both lost close family to cancer,” he adds.

[related]

Creating a gift list page through Give in Celebration is quick and simple to do and can be personalised with a selection of images and themes to fit with any wedding. “The fundraising page couldn’t have been easier to set up,” says Hannah.

“It took a couple of minutes and we thought it was nice that you get to choose if you want the amount people donate to be private or not.” Couples can also choose to include a message for their guests to make the page even more personal, and explain the story behind their Give in Celebration gift list.

real-stories-why-we-chose-a-give-in-celebration-gift-list-Hannah-and-Matt-Polly-Alexandre-Cancer-Research-2

And the response? “Our guests were more than happy to donate money to charity in place of a gift,” says Hannah. “The charity is very close to so many of their hearts, too, which made it even more personal and special for our big day.”

Give in Celebration allows guests to donate any amount of their choosing, so it is suitable for all budgets. “We were completely overwhelmed by how generous people were,” Hannah continues. “We’re so pleased we did it and hopefully it will help in a small way.”

There’s no doubt that setting up a Give in Celebration page is one way to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, long after the wedding butterflies have flown. Why not sign up today? Or to see more gift list ideas, click here!

 

Alternative wedding favours that can help save lives

alternative-wedding-favours-that-can-help-save-lives-James-Cannon-www-yourweddingguest-co-uk-308

Wedding favours are great but they rarely keep on giving after the big day. But Mind, the mental health charity, have an idea that not only lasts, but also makes a real difference to people’s lives. Let’s find out more, courtesy of real-life couple Laura and Ben…

alternative-wedding-favours-that-can-help-save-lives-James-Cannon-www-yourweddingguest-co-uk-308

By making a donation to Mind in lieu of wedding favours, you will help make sure that no one has to go through a mental health problem alone. They can also make sure that your guests receive a Mind pin badge, or provide you with small tent cards for your tables, to let your guests know about your alternative wedding favours.

alternative-wedding-favours-that-can-help-save-lives-www-yourweddingguest-co-uk-090

alternative-wedding-favours-that-can-help-save-lives-James-Cannon-www-yourweddingguest-co-uk-124Laura and Ben recently married and chose to support Mind at their celebration. “Ben and I met at the Glastonbury Festival in 2010 and soon bonded over music and other hobbies,” says Laura. “He’s a very caring and understanding man, and I have no doubt that being brought up by two mental health nurses contributed to his kind, non-judgemental manner and sense of calm.”

alternative-wedding-favours-that-can-help-save-lives-James-Cannon-www-yourweddingguest-co-uk-199-(2)

“Members of both sides of our family are prone to depression and anxiety, and following my dad’s recovery from prostate cancer, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He has had to undergo a long course of psychotherapy as a result and is now on the mend.”

[related]

“In addition to this, following months of severe anxiety I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in 2011. It was an extremely challenging time, but really demonstrated to me that I had found an amazing man who would be there for me whatever life threw at us.”

alternative-wedding-favours-that-can-help-save-lives-James-Cannon-www-yourweddingguest-co-uk-229

“Around six months of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for GAD followed and changed my life forever. When Ben and I started planning our wedding in 2012, we thought back through our lives and the pivotal moments that made the wedding day we were planning possible. We realised that without medical charities, it was possible that many of our family wouldn’t be there, and I certainly wouldn’t be so calm about planning our big day.”

alternative-wedding-favours-that-can-help-save-lives-James-Cannon-www-yourweddingguest-co-uk-322

“We decided that we wanted to give back in some way and so chose a few key charities to give to. Our tables were named after London Underground lines (Ben’s a bit of a train nerd) and so we bought a postcard of old underground posters for each guest and wrote a note on the back explaining that we had given to charities in lieu of traditional wedding favours. I don’t think anyone felt put out by the loss of a few sugared almonds when the money was going to such worthy causes.”

alternative-wedding-favours-that-can-help-save-lives-James-Cannon-www-yourweddingguest-co-uk-338

“My dad struggled to give his speech. Through his illness he has found himself very emotional and could not manage to say everything he wanted to about his feelings on our wedding day. However, he has certainly made progress, and without charities like Mind, who knows what the day would have been. I only wish we could have given more.”

If you would like to support Mind on your special day, find out more here  or call 020 8215 2316. Or for more charity wedding favour ideas click here.

7 ‘something blue’ gifts for the bride-to-be

Are you a bride-to-be struggling to find your something blue? Then take a look at these gorgeous blue gift ideas! You can either treat yourself to one, or leave this page up on your laptop ‘by accident’ for your h2b to find… we won’t tell!

7-something-blue-gifts-for-the-bride-to-be-www.mattpereira.co.uk

You’ll probably have heard of the wedding rhyme: ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’. This old English tradition of having four ‘somethings’ (as well as a silver sixpence in your shoe) on your wedding day is meant to bring good luck and prosperity to the newly-married couple, so it’s worth observing!

[related]

Many brides choose to incorporate the traditionally lucky colour blue into their outfit in some way – the most popular choices are tying a blue ribbon around the bouquet or having a blue garter (or one with a blue stone). If these don’t appeal to you, then why not try these beautiful blue gifts?

£149, H. Samuel
£149, H. Samuel

Blue jewels

One easy way to wear blue on your wedding day is to use a coloured stone in your bridal jewellery. Even if blue isn’t in your big day colour scheme, there’s no need to worry about clashing – the key is to pick the right sort of gem for your look. Stones like sapphire and lapis are a deep, royal blue, so they’ll be easier to spot – perfect if you’re looking to make a statement with your jewellery.

If you want a subtler blue stone, then choose aquamarine or topaz, which are a lighter sky blue – we love these diamond and topaz earrings from H. Samuel!

7-something-blue-gifts-for-the-bride-to-be-tiffany-£130
£130, Tiffany & Co.

This classic ‘Return to Tiffany’ bracelet is a modern way to wearing blue in your bridal jewellery – one side of the cute heart tag is enamel in the famous Tiffany blue! We’re finding that this bright blue-turquoise is becoming more and more popular as a wedding colour, so it could inspire your whole theme!

'Something blue' gifts for the bride-to-be
£160, Rachel Simpson

Wear it well

Another great way to wear blue on your wedding day is on your feet! More and more brides are choosing coloured wedding shoes as a fun, bright accessory – not only does this make for some great photographs on the day, it means it’s much easier to find classic bridal styles in blue. We love these ‘Lulu’ shoes in duck egg from Rachel Simpson.

7-something-blue-gifts-for-the-bride-to-be-dior-porcelaine-£18
£18, Dior

If you’d prefer something a little subtler, then choose ivory peeptoes and paint your toenails with this gorgeous pastel shade from Dior! It would also look great on fingers too, so why not give yourself a modern bridal mani-pedi the night before the wedding?

£89, Jo Malone
£89, Jo Malone

Pretty gifts

If you’re really not convinced by wearing something blue on the day as part of your outfit, then these clever alternatives could be the perfect choice for you!

This Rain and Angelica cologne from Jo Malone comes in a beautiful blue ombre bottle, and the light, fresh scent isn’t too overpowering for a wedding.

7-something-blue-gifts-for-the-bride-to-be-penhaligons-bluebell-£39
£39, Penhaligon’s

Check out this gorgeous bluebell bath oil from Penhaligon’s – pour a few drops into your pre-wedding bath to help you relax before the ceremony and to add a delicate floral scent to your skin. This will look amazing in your bathroom or on your dresser at home, too!

7-something-blue-gifts-for-the-bride-to-be-noble-macmillan-something-blue-£39
£39, Noble Macmillan

This gift is perfect for brides-to-be who are at the start of the wedding planning process – this pretty sky blue notebook from Noble Macmillan is great for recording all your planning notes or keeping a wedding journal!

For more wedding day traditions explained, take a look at this article – or, if you love the colour, check out these blue wedding themes!

10 grooms’ gifts to surprise your man with on the wedding day

When it comes to weddings, sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s not just the bride who likes a little romance – a surprise gift for the groom on the wedding morning can set the mood for the day and make him feel loved and appreciated. Here are some of our top picks for grooms’ gifts!

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-davidlovephotography.co.uk

Seeing as you’ll be wearing your beautiful new dress, and likely new jewellery and shoes, it’s only fair that your groom gets a little something special on the wedding day – apart from the gift of marrying you, of course! There are traditional options for the groom’s gift the morning of the wedding, but never underestimate the appeal of something small but meaningful to your man.

[related]

Buying something that reflects his hobbies is always a good idea – if he’s mad about football, why not buy him a season ticket to watch his favourite team play? If he loves a certain band, buy him tickets to see their live concert. It may seem obvious, but these touches will show your husband-to-be just what you mean to him.

Your gift doesn’t need to cost the earth, either. Your man will most likely be feeling a little jittery before the ceremony, so why not send him a bottle of whiskey and a box of cigars to share with his groomsmen and to calm his nerves? Or, have cooked breakfasts delivered to the hotel suite for the guys to enjoy while they get ready in the morning. Whatever you send, accompany it with a handwritten letter telling him how much you can’t wait to see him – spritz a little of your signature scent on the paper and he’ll be feeling romantic in no time.

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-daniel-wellington-watch-£179
£72.83 Daniel Wellington Men’s Quartz Watch

Traditional touches

If you want something traditional that you know your groom will love, then you can’t go far wrong with a watch. If he’s an old-school type, then a pocket watch would be a great choice – particularly if you engrave it with his initials or the date of your wedding. For the more modern groom, a wrist watch is the perfect gift for the morning of the wedding. Attach a note with the time of the ceremony (along the lines of ‘See you at 1pm!’) for a cute personal touch. See some of our favourite wedding day watches here.

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-personalised-round-window-hip-flask-David-Louis-Design-notonthehighstreet-£27
Personalised Hip Flask YOUR MESSAGE ENGRAVED FREE

A hip flask is another traditional groom’s gift – we particularly like this modern version from David-Louise Designs. You can also engrave it with your groom’s name and a personal message –  wrap it with a bottle of your man’s favourite spirit for a gift he’ll cherish.

Many brides will buy their grooms cufflinks for the big day, as they’re a gift that can be worn on the wedding day and for many years to come – plus they’re easy to personalise!

Posh Totty Designs
Posh Totty Designs

A personalised gift is something your groom can treasure for years to come. Give your groom something to complete his outfit on the morning of the big day. These cufflinks from Posh Totty Designs are perfect for the wedding day and can be worn again on special occasions and your anniversary, too. The personal message will also give him reassurance that you’re definitely coming, banishing any last minute nerves.

We also LOVE these map cufflinks (you could pick the place you’re getting married, or where you first met) – engrave them with your wedding date and he’ll never forget your anniversary!

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-Personalised-Our-Record-Print-gettingpersonal.co.uk-from-£29.99
From £29.99, gettingpersonal.co.uk

Thoughtful artwork

If you and your husband-to-be are equally houseproud, then getting something that you can display for all your house guests to see is a sweet idea. We love this framed record of your first dance song – this would be a particularly great gift if your man is a music buff.

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-personalised-giant-photo-booth-print-The-Drifting-Bear-Co-notonthehighstreet-£65
£65, The Drifting Bear Co. at Notonthehighstreet

Avoid the stereotypical ‘Mr & Mrs’ silver frame (which you’re sure to get from an aunt or grandmother anyway!) and instead go for a piece that packs a little more punch. We think these photobooth-style frames are seriously cool – plus, they can double up as wedding reception decor! Just fill them with pictures of you and your h2b, display them in your venue, and then hang them in your home afterwards!

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-moltonbrown-stowaway-cruise-collection-£46
Molton Brown Men’s Stowaway

For the honeymoon

If your man already has everything he needs for the wedding day sorted, why not think ahead and buy him a gift he can use on your honeymoon? A pair of designer sunglasses would work for a beach honeymoon or a ski break, and luxurious toiletries in a leather washbag will always come in useful. We love this Stowaway set from Molton Brown.

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-FYEO-portrait

If you want to treat your groom to something a little saucy, then you should definitely consider booking in for a boudoir photoshoot. Companies like FYEO Portraits do sexy shoots especially for brides, and package the photographs in a gorgeous keepsake album for you and your groom. Leave it in his bedroom with a note reading ‘Meet me at the altar!’ and he’s sure to be feeling ready for the honeymoon!

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-personalised-10-things-i-love-about-you-box-posh-totty-designs-interiors-notonthehighstreet-£18.50
£18.50, Posh Totty Designs Interiors at Notonthehighstreet

The little things

If you’ve already got your groom a present, or you’ve agreed that you won’t spend a lot of money on each other, then why not choose one of these little added extras just to show him you’re thinking about him? This personalised ’10 Things I Love About You’ box is a keepsake that you’re more likely to keep hold of than a handwritten letter – plus it’s something you can get out on every anniversary to remind yourselves how special your relationship is.

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-donts-for-husbands-waterstones-£3.50
£3.15 Don’ts for Husbands

This book may have been written in 1913, but it’s still full of hilarious advice! The writer’s pearls of marriage wisdom include: ‘Don’t take it out on your poor wife every time you have a headache or a cold. It isn’t her fault, and she has enough to do in nursing you without having to put up with ill-humour into the bargain!’ This is a light-hearted gift that’s sure to have your groom giggling to himself as he gets ready.

10-grooms-gifts-to-surprise-your-man-with-on-the-wedding-day-Burgundy-Shirt-Stays-£15.95-marc-wallace
£15.95, Marc Wallace

Finally, a practical gift for the man who has everything – we bet he won’t have these! These shirt stays will stop your man’s shirt from becoming untucked by clipping it to his socks – genius! Even if he’s not a fan, you’ll both have a laugh when he undresses at the end of the night!

If you’re looking for more grooms’ advice and style tips, then check out our Grooms section – or, for gift ideas for the rest of the male members of the wedding party, take a look at this article!

READ MORE: What to give your husband-to-be on your wedding day 

9 modern bridesmaid gifts that your girls will love!

It goes without saying that your wedding day will be about love – but it’s not just the connection between you and your new husband that you’ll be celebrating. Weddings are a wonderful opportunity to show your family and friends just how much they mean to you, so why not treat your bridesmaids to something a little special? Here are nine modern bridesmaid gifts to give your girls!

9-modern-bridesmaid-gifts-that-your-girls-will-love-mirrorimaging.co.uk mirror Imaging Photography240 copy

When it comes to buying gifts for your bridesmaids, don’t think you have to spend a small fortune to show them how important they are to you – especially if you have a large number of girls in your bridal party! We always think that small gifts from the heart or with a personal touch are better than extravagant, meaningless presents.

[related]

Don’t worry about buying different presents for different girls, either – particularly if you have bridesmaids of different ages. If you’ve got young bridesmaids or flower girls, then why not take a look at our article on gifts for children? Another option is tailoring your presents for each of your maids, which not only means you can buy gifts that match each of their personalities or interests, but also means you can spend a little more or less on each gift – they don’t need to know the budgets are different!

9-modern-bridesmaid-gifts-that-your-girls-will-love-crystal-square-studs-accessorize-8
£8, Accessorize

Modern jewels

Jewellery is a traditional gift when it comes to bridesmaids, but we recommend that you put a little thought into your choice. Often brides will think they’re being clever by buying their girls jewellery that perfectly matches the bridesmaids outfits, but this sometimes means that the jewels in question never get worn again. We much prefer the idea of getting them a little something sparkly that they can wear over and over – even if they don’t actually wear them on the day.

9-modern-bridesmaid-gifts-that-your-girls-will-love-ivynixon-etsy-24.99
£24.99, Ivy Nixon Jewellery at Etsy

If you want your bridesmaids to have a specific reminder of your day, but don’t necessarily want to engrave or personalize anything, then we love the idea of giving them a piece of jewellery with a knot theme, like this cute ring from Ivy Nixon. Just attach a little card saying ‘Thank you for helping up tie the knot!’ and you have the perfect bridesmaid gift!

£8, Snapdragon at Notonthehighstreet
£8, Snapdragon at Notonthehighstreet

Personalised touches

Personalising a gift is a great way to make it extra special. We think that little items like this compact mirror are a great option – plus, it’s perfect for touching up makeup during the reception! Buy things you know your bridesmaids will use, and they’re sure to smile every time they pull it out of their bag.

£8.50, Rosie Jo's at Notonthehighstreet
£8.50, Rosie Jo’s at Notonthehighstreet

We love these mini tote bags from Rosie Jo’s – fill them with cheap wedding day goodies such as lip balm, sweets and perfume to use on the day, and they can use the bag afterwards!

9-modern-bridesmaid-gifts-that-your-girls-will-love-photoframe-bhs-15
£15, BHS

This gift is easy and cheap to personalise – just fill it with pictures of you and the bridesmaid together! Either that or leave it empty for your bridesmaid to fill with photos of the wedding day.

£16.99, Yankee Candle
£16.99, Yankee Candle

Luxury for less

Every girl likes to be pampered a little, so why not give your bridesmaids a luxury treat? Buy her a salon or spa treatment like a manicure or facial – or, for a touch of luxury on a budget, buy her a beautifully scented bath oil or candle. We love this Wedding Day scented candle from Yankee Candle – it comes in a range of sizes and will act as the perfect reminder of your wedding day!

9-modern-bridesmaid-gifts-that-your-girls-will-love-the-pink-collection-hotel-chocolat-27
£27, Hotel Chocolat

Another option is to treat her to a little something sweet – take a look at this collection from Hotel Chocolat! It comes with a mini bottle of sparkling rosé, a box of pink Champagne truffles and an Eton Mess slab – perfect for a girly girl with a sweet tooth.

£23.50, Benefit
£23.50, Benefit

Beauty buys

We don’t know about you, but here at Giraffe HQ we always love receiving make-up as a present! This gift is an especially clever option if your girls are doing their own nails or makeup on the day. Just choose a neutral set – this not only makes it more likely to go down well with more bridesmaids (your older sister might not be into neon bright eyeshadows!), but it means that they then have the option to use the kit on your wedding day.

9-modern-bridesmaid-gifts-that-your-girls-will-love-essie-set-12.95
£12.95, Essie

Nail polish is another great gift idea. We love this set from Essie because it comes with Fiji, a brilliant creamy pink that would be perfect for your bridesmaids’ wedding nails. After the big day, your girls can jazz up their wedding manicure with a sparkly pink topcoat!

For more great bridesmaid advice, take a look at our Bridesmaid section – or, if you’re looking for gift ideas for your parents, check out this article!

This real-life couple had an amazing Californian getaway with Buy Our Honeymoon

Real-life couple Siân and Callum had an incredible honeymoon travelling around California – and best of all, their guests helped pay for it with Buy Our Honeymoon! Read on to find out more about their trip and why they chose to have their guests contribute…

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-Anaheim-3

Where did you go?

For our amazing honeymoon we went on a road trip of California over 22 days, visiting San Diego, Palm Springs, Anaheim (Disneyland!), Los Angeles, Pismo Beach, Monterey, Yosemite, Napa and finishing off in San Francisco.

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-Palm-Springs-1

Why did you choose California?

We originally set out looking at Hawaii as our honeymoon destination, but after finding out that to get there you have to change planes in California, we thought “ooh, California! That could be interesting!”

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-Anaheim-4

We have always loved the idea of visiting all of America so what better way to start than our honeymoon. What started out as a two-week holiday turned out to be a 22-day tour of one of the most amazing places we could ever imagine.

The more research we did, the more places we wanted to visit and things we wanted to see – I don’t think we even scratched the surface. It was months and months of planning and we changed our itinerary so many times! We would do exactly the same trip again in a heartbeat — the planning really did pay off!

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-SF14

What did you do there?

How long have you got?! We did anything and everything you could think of – dining in the most amazing settings, watching the sunsets, visiting the world famous San Diego Zoo, hiring a private speedboat (Callum got very accelerator-happy!), going to a drive-in movie and sheltering from the 120-degree heat in Palm Springs (!).

[related]

We spent far too much money in Disneyland (one of the highlights of the trip), and we also got to see the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame and Universal Studios in LA. We spent the most amazing 4th July in Santa Monica cruising Venice Beach on a tandem! We also drove along the Pacific Coast Highway and saw some of the most unbelievable views, and managed to catch a glimpse of a blue whale while whale watching.

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-SF17

We visited the Monterey Bay aquarium, climbed waterfalls in Yosemite, travelled on the wine train and had a private lunch and wine tasting in a vineyard in Napa, saw the sights of amazing San Francisco including Alcatraz, visited the giant redwood forests and Sausalito – and, finishing off with probably the best moment, flew UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge in a helicopter! I could carry on for days but they are the highlights….

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-Pismo-3

What was your most romantic moment?

For a bit of downtime we had a stop off in Pismo Beach to break up the journey up the coast. We researched things to do in the area and came across a little spa in the middle of nowhere in a town called Paso Robles – we hired a private hot tub, bought a bottle of fizz and just relaxed together. It was amazing and is bringing a lump to my throat just writing about it now. It’s the little things you find away from the crowds that made us realise just how lucky we were.

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-Yosemite-9

It’s great for honeymoons because…

Its great for honeymoons because there is so much to do and see. It’s not a beach holiday, so if you want to just relax it’s probably not the place for you (though we did get a lot of relaxing in too!), and best of all you can then say you’ve done all these amazing things and experienced everything with your new husband or wife. It was the best start to married life and has made us want to do more travelling together. What more could you want?

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-Pismo-4

Why did you use Buy Our Honeymoon?

We’ve been living together for years and, as clichéd as it sounds, we had everything we needed in the house. So instead we thought we would focus on a dream honeymoon and after finding the Buy Our Honeymoon website I was adamant that it would be perfect. Callum was unsure at first but, as a good fiancé does, he trusted me!

Building the site was so easy, and you can make it look exactly as you want. We think by finding things to put on our list we ended up doing more than we would have done without it and it genuinely made our honeymoon. When the invites went out we were anxiously waiting for RSVPs but the excitement started when we started receiving emails about people buying things off the list!

this-real-life-couple-had-an-amazing-californian-getaway-with-buy-our-honeymoon-San-Diego1

The generosity of our guests was unbelievable and every single person has said what an amazing idea it was. When we returned we put photos of what each person had paid for in our thank-you cards so they could see where their money went. It was so much more personal than people just giving money towards a holiday and our guests loved seeing everything we had planned. Our best friends are getting married next year and they have already started setting up their list!

Want more honeymoon inspiration? Check out our Honeymoon section for more planning advice – or go to Buy Our Honeymoon to start setting up your list!

Leather rhinos, please! Weird wedding gift lists revealed…

tattoo-vouchers-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-Leather-Rhino-Tattoos-Aston-Martin-Maple-Flippers

The great thing about being able to add any item from any retailer to your wedding gift list is that lots of you do. Some even see it as a challenge! Here, Annie Stiles who heads up personal shopping at Prezola shares a few weird wedding gift lists…

tattoo-vouchers-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-leather-rhino

Leather rhinos

These fabulous footstools don’t come cheap at around £300, but after featuring one on Facebook last year we’ve been inundated with requests for Omersa’s animals. They do a hippo, too!

leather-rhinos-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-Leather-Rhino-Tattoos

Tattoo vouchers

We were pretty surprised when one couple asked for vouchers from their local tattoo parlour to be added to their wedding gift list. We were even more surprised when they were the first thing to sell out!

leather-rhinos-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-Aston-Martin

Aston Martin Vantage

We thought we were managing Jordan’s latest wedding when ‘Kate from Essex’ added an Aston Martin to her gift list. Sadly it was never purchased and so we didn’t get to give it a spin around the warehouse. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of ambition (or humour) with your wedding gift list!

[related]

leather-rhinos-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-Maple

Your very own tree

You’d be amazed how popular these are and we had to change our delivery terms and conditions last year after an eight foot Japanese Maple arrived at Prezola HQ. Very romantic to plant a tree in memory of your wedding day and we’re more than happy to oblige. We just like to have them delivered directly to you now!

leather-rhinos-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-Flippers

Matching flippers

Our honeymoon fund is unique in that couples can add specific honeymoon elements such as cocktails at the beach or a romantic dinner for two. Adding physical gifts alongside honeymoon contributions helps to accommodate guests who’d rather give you a physical gift and we often see luggage and travel accessories being added. One lucky couple just received matching fluorescent flippers for their honeymoon in Dubai!

leather-rhinos-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-Hunter

Posh wellies

We do like wedding gifts that can last a lifetime and we’ve seen a good few people adding Hunter wellies to their gift lists recently; possibly due to the atrocious weather we’ve been having. Best to choose different colours unless you want to look like your parents!

leather-rhinos-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-Pet-accessories

Pet accessories

Lots of you are including pets in your big day, and we’ve seen that reflected in your gift lists, too. Guests seem more than happy to oblige with a good number of diamond dog collars coming through the doors at Prezola HQ recently!

leather-rhinos-please-weird-wedding-gift-lists-revealed-Mini-saucepans

Mini saucepans

A relatively new phenomenon is really tiny saucepans. We’re not talking milk pans, but literally so small that you couldn’t get a whole egg into it! Not entirely sure what they’re used for but they’re certainly very popular. We blame Nigella!

Winner of Wedding Gift List of The Year at the Wedding Ideas Awards 2014, Prezola is now the UK’s leading independent wedding gift list service. Couples can add any item from any retailer to their gift list alongside a honeymoon fund, cash contributions and donations to any UK retailer.

Need some more gift list inspiration? Check out our gift list pages today!

Your year in wedding planning: what to sort 6 – 4 months before the big day…

The big day is fast approaching – there are just 6 – 4 months left to go before you tie the knot, but if you’ve been following our tips so far, you’ll be well on track with your plans.

You’ve made decisions about the big things – the venue, your dress, the groom’s attire. Now it’s time to focus on the smaller – but still important! – details.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-rachelhudson.co.ukS&T-14copy

Do me a favour

So what exactly are wedding favours? You’ll almost certainly have come across sugared almonds in bags given to guests –  traditionally, this favour represents fertility, longevity, health, wealth and happiness. Many brides still choose this option today but if you’d like to say thank you in a different way, then there are literally hundreds of alternatives to offer as wedding favours.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-sarahleggephotography.co.ukPennyDougal-106

Right now we’d say that miniature bottles of alcohol, seeds, plants, and personalised cookies and biscuits are popular with our real life brides and grooms. Depending on your talents, the time you have available and your inclination, these can either be bought or made. Making your own favours shouldn’t be a last-minute decision – far too stressful! If you’re going to DIY any part of your wedding, you need to plan it well in advance to give you time to practise and perfect your design. And DIY isn’t always the cheapest option – you’re going to have to budget for a few test items.

[related]

If you’re not confident about your DIY skills, don’t worry; you can still give your guests unique wedding favours.

We always like the idea of favours doubling up as place cards by being personalised with each guest’s name. Use some coloured card and a heart-shaped hole punch to create your own tags. Alternatively old-fashioned luggage tags tied with brown string look authentic if you’re planning a vintage-inspired day.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-staplephotography.co.ukWedding-HighRes-392

Our three top tips for favours

  1. Give yourself time – if you want to create something unique and personal, build in the necessary time to get it right.
  2.  Use your wedding cake – Buy some little boxes to match your colour scheme and ask your caterer to divide the cake into these so guests have a take-home treat. (Of course, if you put your favour budget into your cake, you could afford to spend more on it.)
  3. Hand around your favours yourself which gives you the chance to thank each guest individually. A great time to do this is with your new husband whilst your guests are eating dessert.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-taylorbarnesphotography.co.ukClarkeCliftonClubBristol-557

A gift for your wedding day

Your guests are almost certainly going to want to buy you a special wedding present to start you off on married life together – but what do you ask for? You may have all the domestic kit you need but would love some financial input towards your honeymoon, your mortgage or just for a rainy day.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-kerriemitchell.co.uk2013-04-2000554

The way around asking for cash – short of having money pinned directly to your wedding attire! – is to get your friends to put the word around before your big day. It’s becoming increasingly the normal to ask guests to contribute towards something relevant to your wedding – like a dream honeymoon for example.

Sites like Buy our honeymoon enable guests to buy certain experiences for the couple while they’re away, from a private candlelit dinner on the beach to swimming with dolphins. Writing a thank-you letter about such a fabulous experience won’t be difficult!

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-alexa-loy.comalexa_loy_photography-1405

Or what about a new kitchen or bathroom? Some gift list websites enable guests to buy vouchers for popular high street stores. If you are given a lot of vouchers, though, do remember to keep an eye on the ‘use by’ date.

Asking guests to donate money to a chosen charity is also a nice idea, especially if you have a personal link with a particular cause.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-1950saccessory-peeptoes!www.sarareeve.com

Walk this way

What girl doesn’t love a fabulous pair of shoes? Your wedding day is the perfect time to really indulge your love of footwear – in fact getting your bridal shoes right is a key part of your wedding day look. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they won’t be on show much so they don’t matter. These aren’t just any old shoes – they have to be multi-tasking.

First of all, they have to be the right height. You need to feel confident when you’re walking down that aisle, so if you never wear super high heels, don’t start now – just buy a pair for your honeymoon instead. If you want height minus that wobbly feeling, go for wedged or thicker heels. Thin stiletto heels are the hardest to walk in and can get easily caught in uneven ground – be sure you’re buying the right type of shoe for you, as a wobbly walk down the aisle isn’t a great look!

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-beckymalephotography.comJules&ChrisHiRBeckyMalePhotography-450

Secondly, you need to decide whether you’re going to complement or contrast. Complementary shoes will be a similar colour to your gown and probably be made of satin. They will also feature similar details to those in your dress, like lace, pearls or diamante. Contrasting shoes, on the other hand, make for fabulously fun photos and give your guests – and your groom – a big surprise! Bright, bold shoes look fabulous peeking out from beneath your dress or making a statement with a shorter vintage-style number. Aruna Seth are the experts at creating coloured bridal shoes – their Faralla design is a favourite of real brides and celebrities alike. For a more budget-friendly option try Rainbow Club’s dyeing service – their Colour Studio can match any shade you care to think of.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-bluedaisyphotography.co.ukWI-121

Finally, you need to think about your venue and the time of year. You don’t want to wear strappy sandals in winter and in summer you may find that your feet swell up uncomfortably in restrictive courts. Winter brides may look for more security, so we recommend shoes with straps, or even a pair of back-up shoes – ivory wellington boots, for example, are pretty and practical to wear during outdoor photos.

Are you getting married abroad? Then sparkly flip-flops should be top of your list. Struggling across sand in high heels is not the way to go. Plus, it goes without saying that for a beach wedding, a pedicure is an absolute must!

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-avantiphotographics.comSD0180

A symbol of your love

An unbroken circle, your wedding ring represents the unity you have together. Now is a good time to choose your wedding rings – think about budget, durability, colour and style.

You’re going to be wearing your rings for many years to come, so it’s worth allocating a good slice of your budget towards them. Platinum is one of the most popular choices for wedding rings because of its hardness, rarity and beautiful appearance. For those who want the characteristics of platinum without the price tag, palladium is a great choice. Granted its own hallmark in 2010, Palladium is more hard-wearing than white gold but softer than platinum, pushing it into a less expensive price bracket.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-ashworthphotography.co.uk_1250_007

Grooms now have more choice than ever before when it comes to wedding rings and don’t have to opt for a coloured gold band. If your man is looking for something a little bit different, why not choose the lightweight titanium or striking black zirconium? You can even have wood laid into precious metals nowadays.

Whichever type of ring you choose, consider having a special message or your wedding date inscribed inside, to make them even more personal to you.

You’ll find more tips about choosing the perfect wedding ring here.

your-year-in-wedding-planning-what-to-sort-6-4-months-before-the-big-day-www.rosewarnecoxphotography.co.ukIMG_4635

Start planning your honeymoon

The honeymoon may seem like a long way off – particularly when you’re busy wedding planning – but you need to start thinking about honeymoon destinations, and potentially, vaccinations. Ask your doctor if your chosen country requires you to have any injections and if so, get these arranged as soon as possible – you don’t want to have a reaction that leaves you feeling lousy just before the wedding. You may also need to take anti-malaria tablets if you’re going somewhere tropical.

Once you know where you’re off to, consider what clothes you’re going to need and ask a member of the family to take your luggage to the reception venue if you’re leaving for honeymoon straight after the party.

9 perfect presents for children at weddings

You’re almost certainly going to want to give a present to your bridesmaids and pageboys on your wedding day, to say thank you for being such an important part of the wedding party.

9-perfect-presents-for-children-at-weddings-emmamoorephotography.co.uk-Catherine&James064

There may be other children at your wedding you also want to give a little something to. Maybe there’s a new baby in the family and you’d like to present a gift, or a young one is celebrating their 18th birthday around your wedding day.

We’ve put together a selection of present ideas for you to consider, for both boys and girls of all ages.

9-perfect-presents-for-children-at-weddings-kitten-necklace

Precious pieces

Get your young bridesmaid’s jewellery collection off to a stylish start with one of these sweet little pendants from Alexis Dove featuring kittens and bunny rabbits. You can choose from silver, rose gold or gold vermeil, and you can personalise the piece by writing the recipient’s initials on the base. Prices start at £75.

9-perfect-presents-for-children-at-weddings-pearl-bracelet

Pearl bracelets are a classic gift that will have any little girl feeling very grown up – it’s a piece of jewellery she’ll be able to wear forever. We think this one is a snip at £16.96 from The Handpicked Collection.

If the girls at your wedding are the crafting types, you could give them these little wooden hearts with a Scandi design by Hanna Francis. Just push out the heart and use the supplied ribbon ready to hang as a decoration (RRP £8.50). This would look lovely on a bedroom wall. After the wedding they could be decorated and painted in different colours – we think silver or gold would look fabulous. Order direct from the Hanna Francis website.

Cupcakes, anyone?

With the popularity of The Great British Bake Off, baking has never been more popular. Why not give your bridesmaids and the pageboys a cookery day learning how to make cupcakes? We’ve found numerous venues around the place offering day courses (children need to be 12 and over) and prices start at just £29.

9-perfect-presents-for-children-at-weddings-off-roader

One for the boys

A lot of little boys love cars and building things. How about combining the two and giving them a Lego Technic car to make? Lego is always popular and it’s good value. This Mini Off-Roader comes with all the pieces they’ll need and they can sit and make it quietly (well, there’s always hope!) whilst the wedding speeches are going on. We think it’s a bargain at £7.99 from the Lego Shop.

[related]

What about paintballing? The boys will be kitted out in special overalls and supplied with a semi-automatic gas-powered paintball gun. Buy a Gift currently has an offer on at £10 for a group of eight people, which we think sounds like a complete bargain – all you have to buy on the day are the paint balls themselves. This activity is available all over the country and it’s suitable for children aged 12 years and upwards. You can always get the girls involved in this one too – they’ll love the opportunity to show up the boys at their own game!

9-perfect-presents-for-children-at-weddings-jadelangtonevans.co.uk-1(4)

For younger children

Make the place settings at your wedding reception extra special by organising these named mats from Scarlett Willow. Have the name picked out in green or pink, whatever suits. Sure to give a thrill to the child as they find their particular place and a reminder of your wedding day afterwards. It’s also a practical gift as the mats are large so parents will be delighted at the chance of keeping the family table that bit cleaner!

9-perfect-presents-for-children-at-weddings-placemat

For older kids

A Junior Driving Experience can make a seriously exciting gift for teenagers. This is a bit more expensive at £69, but they do get to drive an Aston Martin! The session lasts about two hours in total and is available in numerous locations around the country. Suitable for ages 11-17 years.

9-perfect-presents-for-children-at-weddings-sarareeve.com-Sophia&Robin-0116

Don’t forget!

Have a photograph taken of yourself and your new husband with all the kids at the wedding, as well as your bridesmaids and pageboys. If you want, you can then get copies printed out and framed and send to the children involved – it will really make them feel they played a special part on your big day and it’s a lovely keepsake.

Hopefully these ideas have inspired you! We also have some great children’s favours in the Wedding Ideas Shop, including activity books and animal-shaped sweet boxes – take a look!