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Wedding Planning


Seasonal style

Seasonal style

Q. We're getting married in the autumn and want to reflect the season in the look and feel of our wedding – what would you suggest?

A. Valerie King says: Following the long hot summer, we've been looking forward to the bright clear skies and beautiful vibrant, rich earthy tones of autumn. It's a great season for weddings providing a wealth of natural material for the big-day styling. Here's a few ideas to help inspire you:

- For your colour palette choose tones which reflect the natural seasonal changes, with accents of golden yellow, terracotta, burnt orange, bronze, deep red, russet brown and warm green.

- As the evenings draw in, create ambience with glowing candlelight and fairylights throughout your venue. Using brass or copper lanterns and candleholders works beautifully with a warm colour palette and weaving fairylights through trees is a fabulous way to illuminate the changing colours of the autumn leaves.

- For your ceremony décor use bold backdrops with autumnal floral installations and coloured muslin or cheesecloth drapes. Decorate the aisle with lanterns and vintage rugs in red and orange tones and include some beautiful handwritten signage on reclaimed wood as a lovely personal touch to welcome your guests.

- Fill copper and brass urns with seasonal or dried flowers in warm tones with vibrant pops of colour. For a harvest theme, wheat sheaves, dried oats, poppy heads, dried ferns, and grasses will add extra texture to your floral arrangements. Make the most of the displays by reusing them after the ceremony to decorate the reception.

- For the table styling incorporating brown glass apothecary vases or stoneware ones to display vibrant autumn florals provides a striking contrast. Dinner candles in warm accent colours such as orange, ochre and rich red, look incredible paired with cheesecloth or linen table runners and napkins in complementary tones.

- Bring the outdoors in by adding natural elements from your surroundings. Forage and gather dried leaves, pine cones, acorns and seasonal fruit to add a natural warm hue to the table décor and place settings.

- Add a textured element to your table plans and place cards by using paper made from recycled material and eco-friendly fibres or seeds with the addition of beautiful handwritten calligraphy to impress your guests.

- Include rustic elements like hay bales, baskets and vintage crates filled with apples and pears and a variety of pumpkins and squashes to add depth of colour and texture to your venue styling.

- Create a cosy and inviting chill-out area for your guests using vintage cane furniture or velvet sofas with warm throws, vintage rugs and cushions in orange, russet, red and yellow tones.

- It's the season for fires, hot punch and toasting marshmallows, so to keep your guests cosy while they're outside, provide baskets filled with blankets to snuggle up in.

Valerie King, Samphire Vintage Props


The great blue yonder

The great blue yonder

Q. We got engaged during lockdown and haven't started planning our big day yet. With the horizon now looking brighter we're keen to get cracking and are hoping to have an outdoor wedding. How do you see the shape of things to come?

A. Vicky Plum says: Vicky says: After the past year of lockdowns appreciation of the great outdoors and enjoying the freedom of natural spaces has grown. This has led to increased demand for al fresco weddings for relaxed togetherness and connection with loved ones surrounded by nature and fresh air.

Couples are becoming more mindful and interested in exactly how and where their money is being spent, wanting locally grown seasonal produce and flowers, as well as services and products that support local small businesses. The wedding is an expression of their personal choices and what they stand for and no matter what the budget is, many newlyweds-to-be are definitely a lot more interested in making their wedding more sustainable and ethical.

Outdoor weddings are all about creating a relaxed flow rather than having a rigid plan and timetable. This is often reflected in the décor and styling choices too. In general, those who opt for an outdoor wedding want style-savvy simplicity, a natural backdrop and lots of meaningful and mindful details personal to them without rules and formality. Creative ideas for minimum waste, maximum use and impact can include:

- Moveable ceremony backdrops and props that can double up for both the ceremony and celebration.
- Wooden poles for hanging dreamcatchers, ribbons or flowers that can also be set up later elsewhere. Hang small flower-filled glass bottles from the branches of trees and reuse them to decorate the tables or other areas later on. Personalised items can also be part of the décor and double up as favours for your guests too. 
- For the catering, food trucks offer a stylish alternative to formal dining and rather than having a set table plan, couples can opt to eat with their guests instead. Think rustic wooden trestle tables, with soft material or cheesecloth runners instead of tablecloths to add to the natural feel.
- Outdoor weddings provide extra scope for creativity, space and freedom to add natural touches to the décor and styling. Many choose their wedding date to tie in with their favourite season in order to reflect the natural backdrop such as a daisy meadow and wildflowers in the spring or a meadow with savannah grasses for a late summer celebration; perfect for a boho theme.
- We're definitely noticing more requests for low pallet tables and seats outdoors with rugs spread over the grass so guests can relax and chat. Dried flowers are popular too and are a great keepsake. There's also increased demand for glamping accommodation to extend the celebration over the whole weekend.

Vicky Plum, Wellington Wood


Small but perfectly formed

Small but perfectly formed

Q. We're planning to get married early next year and want our intimate wedding to be the best day of our lives. Is that still possible with the current restrictions?

A. Kimberley Hall says: Iona says: We found the smaller autumnal weddings that took place before the second lockdown weren't affected by the restrictions on guest numbers. Kimberley Hall is more than a venue it's a much-loved family home full of character and with a variety of beautiful rooms that can be used throughout the seasons and adapted to suit celebrations of all sizes. You can also choose to have an intimate wedding followed by a celebratory party at a later date. Whatever you do, it's important to be able to add your own personal and creative touches, such as family photographs, bunting, flowers, decorative foliage or a seasonal display. Our Music Room is perfect for this with a big arched window and views of the terraced garden that looks on to the lake. Full of natural light, you can enjoy the warm glow of the setting sun and a roaring open fire as you dine beneath the 18th -century plasterwork and magnificent chandelier.

Kimberley Hall, Kimberley Hall