Catering Alternatives - Afternoon Tea

Anyone who's anyone knows that weddings don't come cheap even when you're consciously on a tight budget, particularly if you have a big guest list, quotes for things like catering can be eye watering. Generally the cheapest menu for a 3 course meal is around £24.95, that’s nearly £3,000 just for food alone for 120 before you factor in the alcohol....but now there is a fantastic array of alternatives which mean you can feed your guests in style without breaking the bank! If you think about meals that would sit well on a long summers afternoon, what better than the great British classic Afternoon Tea!

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Adored and popular in our nations capital London, Afternoon Tea has become a complete trend, with fashion inspired and children’s story themed versions to name a few, the idea has now firmly made its way on to the wedding scene and is really popular...what is more exciting is that you can find Afternoon tea catering starting at around £9.95 a head. Winner!

TOP TIP: Competition is TOUGH. All the best caterers get booked up quickly, some a year in advance, so act fast.

If you are having a small gathering and wanted that same afternoon tea vibe with a vintage style, Lula & Rye has a great selection of props that can help add to your day, including crockery and tea pots and lovely hessian table runners to add to that rustic feel

L+R

Wedding Skin Preparation

As a woman, I think each of us has an idea of how we want to look and feel on our wedding day. I think it’s important to feel the best possible version of yourself; by that I don’t mean that we need to lose 2 stone or make any drastic changes, it’s just feeling the best you possibly can on such a special day. Looking after your skin is one of the easiest but possibly most important ways to get you looking healthy, fresh and glowing for that wedding day. During my wedding planning, my sister Harry (of Harry Makes It Up Beauty Blog) recently found out that I ashamedly had no skin care routine whatsoever and took my make up off with baby wipes…she was HORRIFIED.

She immediately hooked me up with a few staple items…a cleanser/toner for removing make up, a cleansing milk, a moisturiser and a rich oil to use once a week. These basics should see you through.

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I started my ‘new’ regime in February before my wedding, so 7 months before and I can’t tell you how much of a difference it has made to my skin, it’s definitely softer and more supple, better late than never!

Are you trying anything special out for your wedding day skin?

L+R

Wedding Cake Alternatives – Naked Cakes

A simple cake lends itself beautifully to a rustic/homemade/DIY wedding, you could even give it a go yourself! A huge trend has emerged for these rustic looking beauties and is totally adaptable to your colour and/or flower theme with your chosen flavouring inside. image

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Original pictures here, from Pinterest

Nice flavour combinations include the classic Victoria sponge with vanilla butter cream and Strawberry jam, lemon curd filling with fresh raspberries, or a forest fruits decorated version. Before my wedding I tried to create this myself just to see if it was something I could potentially do for the big day (was a little harder than I thought hence there being no pictures attached). The one thing I would say is make sure you have plenty of mixture to bake as the idea is you cut through the middle of the cake to fill with whatever you choose so you need a big cake to begin with! Alternatively you could always sandwich 2 cakes together.

Are you tempted to make your own wedding cake?

L+R

Lula&Rye's guide to flowers on a budget

The cost of flowers can creep up quickly especially if you are having the wedding and reception in 2 different venues. Even if you have something small planned for a church like pew ends you will easily need a fair few flower arrangements for each end which all adds up to your overall flower budget. Here is a simple way to decorate your venues instead of using flowers...

Transform a wicker heart in to a beautiful and dainty accessory which will perfectly fit with most weddings (similar to buy can be found here). All I did to this was remove the white satin ribbon and replaced with jute twine (just follow how the shop bought one was tied) then added some gypsophila which is one of the cheapest buds you can find!

Et voila! These cost around £2.50 each to make and I think they make a really elegant decoration

We have these to hire out on Lula&Rye if you didn't want to have a go at making them! Have a look here for a few more Pinterest inspirations…

The best thing is, after a church service these can be transported back to the venue to be added to the backs of chairs around the party. They could also be given as presents to your friends and family who may want a piece of the wedding to take home.

A top tip for saving money on your flowers is to look at the type of flowers you're using, is there a cheaper alternative you can use or can you intersperse with a foliage? I've put together a little collage of inspirational images below of bouquets that are still beautiful without breaking the budget

All images from Pinterest

I think you'll agree that the above ideas look just as beautiful as if you had spent a small fortune on floristry, your bank balance will definitely thank you for it

L+R

Decorations

If you are struggling for decoration inspiration and you fancy collecting some of the décor yourself, try and look into bric-a-brac or second hand market stalls. I often go to my local garden centre when I visit family in the midlands and they are the greatest source of inspiration and you can often pick up items at a great price (especially with a little barter as they are generally cash only). You can find everything from napkins/table cloths to glasses to tea pots and even props like milk churns, old suitcases, jukeboxes and wooden crates. These little additions can be added to give character to a blank canvas marquee or tipi, village hall or outdoor wedding; they really help carry the theme throughout the day.

Wooden or tin boxes -Great vases for flowers or central table decorations

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Tea pots -Great to serve your tea in at the end of the wedding breakfast or equally cool for cocktails

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Tablecloths -Add a bit of character to a plain table with a crocheted or lace cloth

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Place mats - Perfect underneath plates or could even be used at intervals along the table in place of table runners

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Crates -Perfect for storing drinks or keeping favours together

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Tea sets -These can be used as a feature on your table as side dishes/tea cups & saucers or great for an afternoon tea wedding breakfast

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Check out your local papers or churches/garden centres on the weekends to see if they have anything like this going on

Have you sourced any of your own props?

L+R

Homemade Favours – Marshmallow Lollies

Quite a playful idea this one, super simple and quick to make but packaged prettily they look fab for little favours and can be enjoyed with coffee /tea after the wedding breakfast. They would even look nice placed in the middle of the table setting. All you need to make them:

Wooden Sticks (As many as you want to make)

228g of Chocolate (I used 2 x bars of Galaxy to make 8 lollies but I had some chocolate left over)

2 Marshmallows per person

Sprinkles of your choice!

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1. Start by adding 2 marshmallows to each stick then when you have the desired amount, leave in the fridge to harden while the chocolate melts

2. Melt the chocolate (I have a little chocolate melting device but you can melt in a bowl over some just boiled water)

3. Pour out your sprinkles liberally on a plate or any flat surface and prepare another small plate with cling film laid over the top

4. Dip each marshmallow lolly into the chocolate to fully coat, there’s no special way to do this, I just dunked then twizzled round a few times to get rid of any excess

5. Once covered in chocolate immediately roll in the sprinkles to make sure it’s fully coated

6. When finished, lay on top of the cling film lined plate

7. Once you have dunk and rolled your lollies, place in the fridge to set and enjoy!

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Are you tempted to make any of your own favours?

L+R

Wedding Perfume

When I was planning my wedding, a friend gave me a really lovely suggestion with regards to Wedding perfume, something that at the time I hadn’t even thought about yet. She said that 5 months before her wedding, on her birthday she received some Chanel No.5 perfume. That afternoon of her birthday, she was flying out to her hen do, so naturally as she was getting ready she used the perfume. When she came back she noticed that she was wearing the perfume for all her wedding related errands by complete coincidence, and most importantly not at work. On the big day, the perfume was part of the morning getting ready ritual. Now whenever she smells the Chanel fragrance, it takes her back to her wedding day and brings back all those amazing memories. I thought this was such a great idea and definitely something I took influence from!

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I did a bit of research to find out why smells can bring back memories and it seems that the part of the body responsible for our sense of smell is closely linked to the parts of the brain which are associated with emotion and memory…so just as the smell of freshly cut grass or the smell of home baking may take you back to your infant summers, your perfume could be the scent that for years to come will remind you of your wedding day….GENIUS.

A COUPLE OF TIPS…

- Don’t wear the scent for work

- Wear for all wedding related activities

- Search for a fresh or classic fragrance which you won’t get bored of over the next few months

- Buy a size big enough so that you don’t run out before the big day! (or if it is a smaller size make sure you can easily get hold of it again)

L+R

1 Item 3 Ways: THE LUGGAGE TAG

These luggage tags create such a nice 1st impression for your handmade/ vintage/DIY wedding. You can pick all sizes and colours, I bought mine from Amazon £1.82 for a pack of 50. Simply use some of the stationary that you have coordinated to help make the magic happen! 1. Save the dates

Create a unique save the date with just the stamps mentioned in my earlier stationary posts

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2. RSVP

Use the stamp to let your guests know how to RSVP to you and simply tie on to your invite

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3. Table name cards

I wouldn’t advise to use the stamp for this one as it will be fiddly and time consuming to stamp these one by one with everybody’s names, just use the sharpie and ask someone with nice hand writing to fill these out. There is a huge trend now for modern calligraphy, you could tidy up your handwriting with one of the courses from Lamplighter London. Tie to cups, napkin rings or cutlery

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L+R

Props and styling ideas #1

I am beyond happy that the trend for more handmade/personalised weddings has come into fruition, as I find this generally means there are lots of fun things that you can source or create yourself ! At Lula & Rye we have an array of fun props and styling ideas for your location to make it look unique, below are my favourite ideas to jazz up your wedding venue,  your venue doesn’t have to be all singing and all dancing, you can add that.

Draped lighting – perfect for a venue with beams or pillars and look great when the sun goes down

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Bunting – Great for a vintage feel, totally transforms a marquee or village hall

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Huge balloons – either on the tables or hung from the ceiling

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Light up initials/signs – Amazing back drop to the wedding photos

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All pictures taken from Pinterest

Head over to Lula&Rye to get inspired for your big day!

L+R

Discover Pinterest!

If I could only give 1 piece of advice for wedding planning, over the setting up of budgets and guest lists hands down it would be to set up a Pinterest. You just set up with your email address and password of your choice then you are off! Start pinning…I would 100% recommend to categorise your boards so you don't have masses of pics to search through when you want to find something….I've listed a few useful categories below:

Total wedding inspiration - helps give you an idea of the feel and look of the wedding you want. You can think about the vibe and venue whether you want cute church/vintage theme/super minimal/modern chic. It will also help move the wedding planning forward and is also great for DIY tips.

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Then I would recommend smaller sub categories with more specific titles:

-Dresses

-Catering

-Flowers

-Decorations

-Table settings

-Colour themes

The world is your oyster!!

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The Pinterest boards you create are especially useful to take with you to any appointments where visuals are a must - it gets your point across in seconds. Head over to Lula and Rye's Pinterest where we have a host of wedding boards full of inspirations for your big day.

L+R

Venue Ideas

Particularly if you are on a tight budget, think outside the box on this one. Village halls can be completely transformed for fate type weddings or tea parties, or if your parents have a big garden or your local school has grounds could you have a marquee? We knew we wanted to spend as little as possible on the venue; this can be a huge chunk of the budget and you can pay in excess of £10,000 to have an incredible location on a Saturday. My parents have a field so we instantly thought why dont we just get a marquee and use our own land (you also won’t have a kerfew). My mum also started having a barn built in the field last year to house their airstream caravan, so we had the brainwave to kit this out with the marquee next to it. Pretty amazing venue sorted and we’re not breaking the bank.

**The only thing I would say about sorting something like this is there is slightly more to consider with the alcohol license and logistics like toilets but all easily sorted**

This was the barn during the build, it made the most incredible venue once it was finished and decked out, you really can make it beautiful! And perfect filled with Lula&Rye props

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MARQUEE TIPS

- Ring around a few marquee companies to compare prices, usually they will come out and do a free survey for a full quote

- Check what can come included in the price - we managed to get the lights, tables, chairs, bar, dance floor and table cloths all included in a fixed price

- The more you can bulk book the less stressful it will be to organise the deliveries on the run up to the wedding (this is what I’m hoping anyway!!)

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All pictures above from Pinterest

So get creative and save some pennies!

L+R

THE DEBRIEF

So it’s a couple of weeks on now and I still think about the wedding everyday in some capacity. I think for something you have worked so hard on for so long it’s hard not to keep thinking about it. I think one of the biggest things you mull over with your partner is how it all went down, could we have done anything differently/better. I can honestly say…. ….I WOULDN’T CHANGE A SINGLE THING

Yes sure there were decorations we missed out, I forgot the pew ends in the church, my lego bride & groom on the cake and the table confetti and I also poorly planned out letting my caterer know where the cheese was for the evening but it made it out ok, I honestly don’t think anyone noticed.

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This may be my perfectionist personality coming out but I have actually had those thoughts and feel bad that I missed some stuff out but after the amazing time everyone had I don’t think it made an ounce of difference. You are also probably the only person that knew those details anyway so it won’t matter!

The thing I realised, after all the DIYS and endless slog to make everything look ‘just right’ is that your friends and family are the ones that make the day anyway! Of course it’s lovely for everything to look nice but don’t let this stress you out on the run up and let the little things go…

L+R

My T minus 1 Week post, 2 weeks Late...

It’s so funny reading this 2 weeks on, this was my post that I forgot to schedule from a week before…if only I could turn back time!

"I must apologise for my absence over the last few weeks, my mind has been consumed with meal choices, cheese, pork pies, wedding cakes, disposable glasses and decorations mostly….but this is it, we are so nearly there!

It was officially 1 week until the big day on Saturday and I couldn’t be more excited now (and maybe a smidge anxious!) everything seems to be coming together. However it’s hard to relax as if you’re anything of a perfectionist like me you’ll be thinking about all the tiny aspects that need to come together…I think I need to relax a little. All the major things are done now so if we have missed anything it won’t be the end of the world.

I have also been trying to eat more healthily in the run up to the wedding, not to lose any weight as my dress fits like a glove, but just to make sure I feel the best possible on the big day, and also to try and fend off any illness.

So from now I’m going to relax and enjoy the run up to the big day, as I’m sure the time will fly and it will be over before we know it; to make the most of it we are having get togethers on the Friday and the Sunday just to make the celebrations last a little bit longer before we head off to Florence for our honeymoon!”

L+R

The Mini Moon

After the wedding we had a couple of days at home to recover/relax/help tidy up then we headed back to London on the Monday…it had been such an amazing week at home finishing with the wedding I had to hold back the tears as we drove away from my mum and dads house!

But feared not as we were headed for sunny Florence and thanks to Owen (1/2 best man) and his wife Jo, we were fully equipped with comedy t shirts for the flight!

We had a brilliant time and ate ourselves into oblivion every day, heaven. We were so pleased to have a break after all the stress of the week before just being Mr. and Mrs. Henderson…

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L+R

WE DID IT!!

WE GOT MARRIED!! 

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Well I have certainly been quiet on the blog front recently, mainly because I was consumed with wedding prep right up until the big day! I had plans to document it up until the night before but you very quickly get consumed in trying to get everything just so, and even then I still don’t think we got everything done that we had originally planned! 

We had THE MOST FABULOUS TIME!! Seriously the best time of our lives. I’ll give you a quick run down of the run up and then i’ve picked a few of my favourite photos to give you an idea of what happened on the day.

So I finished work the Friday a week before the wedding, my mum drove down to London to pick me up and we stacked the car full of bits and pieces; alcohol, the dress, a trunk full of wedding day ‘bits’ and so on, then from Saturday it was all go go go, finishing off clearing out the barn, making decorations and favours etc and getting ready for all our suppliers to start turning up!

The Wednesday, mum treated herself, me and sister Harry to a spa day at Stapleford park, and that was lovely, we had worked hard for 4 days, had a spa day to rejuvenate, had a couple of treatments, then we were ready for the final 2 days of work on the Thursday and Friday.

Family also began to arrive from Wednesday, so we had a lot of fun and roped in everyone to help as there was so much to do! 

We had a rehearsal Friday night and drinks at the local pub (coincidentally the pub where we met 8 and a half years ago!) with friends to kick off the celebrations which was a perfect way to start the weekend! Afterwards, my bridesmaids came home with me and we had an old school sleepover to get excited. The Saturday morning I woke up the least nervous/anxious I had all week and said to myself to enjoy every moment, and I did just that. Rich had left a surprise bottle of Moët in the fridge for me and the girls, so we popped that about 9am and started with hair and make up.

The church service was lovely and I was a lot less nervous than I thought I would be to say my vows in front of everyone, Rich said he thought he was going to faint when I started walking down the aisle!

Afterwards we headed to the reception where we were greeted with saucers of champagne and from there it was just magical; photos, afternoon tea, mingling then an absolute party in the evening where I didn’t leave the dance floor all night, I even missed the hog roast. We partied all night with our nearest and dearest and it was absolutely amazing! 

I could go on forever about it, but i’ll leave you with these pics, a few of my favourites….

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We had to cut the cake on Sunday because we were having too much fun of the day. Really the best day ever x

L+R (Mr & Mrs Henderson)

Table Confetti

I did originally have the idea to jazz up my hessian table runners by adorning them with gold polka dots, but once I realised the enormity of the project it started to put me off, especially as my flat is teeny and it would be a massive struggle logistics wise. So I started to think about alternative options and my mum suggested table confetti…so I set off on google to research and found an amazing array on etsy, however due to it being made in the US the postage costs were ridiculous; so I set about on amazon to buy a stamper and some gold card

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The internet truly is amazing inspiration, for the elements I really liked, it’s generally really easy to pick up how they are made and do it yourself, Amazon is generally my go to place if Google doesn’t return many results.

It is super simple to make and I think will add the finishing touch to the tables, simply cut out the circles with the stamper and divide into the number of tables you have

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L+R

The Hen Do

I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support through this whole process and there are these milestones that are part of the process but when you’re going through it you realise they are so much more than that.

My hen do plans had been a secret since the beginning and I had no idea at all what to expect, the girls did an amazing job keeping it all quiet, the only direction I had was to arrive at one of the bridesmaids houses at 1pm on the Friday and we would go from there.

Now being a group of 15, made it hard to book something as renters aren’t that keen to rent their places to a large group of girls so the girls mentioned they had been let down on the first place they booked and they were left with only 4 weeks to sort a replacement. They did an incredible job. The first night we stayed at my parents house as they were away for the weekend, the girls were nervous about telling me this but I thought it was perfect and it also acted as a little stop gap to get everyone together before we headed off on the Saturday.

Friday was full of games and laughter and an amazing paella was cooked by bridesmaid Levanah, then Saturday we headed up to Derbyshire to a cottage and in the evening we had a private dinner and night out in Derby. I had the best time ever!

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One of the most special parts of it, was on the Saturday morning I was presented with a book with a picture of me on the front and it was a memoir book and the girls had a page each to give a memory of me and them and a personal note for the big day…needless to say I got emotional.

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It’s the times like these when you reflect on what amazing friends you have and the huge part they play in your life. To my girls, I love you all dearly!

L+R

Hair Trials

If you are hiring someone to do your hair, make sure you get chance to have a consultation/hair trial prior to the big day, this is generally included in the price. I know I have DIY’d a lot of the styling details for the big day but anything to do with us (dress/suit/my hair etc.) we have spent a bit of money on, if you are confident to do hair/make up yourself I say go for it, will save you an absolute heap of money! I just know my hair, it is total fluke on the days where I think it looks half decent and don’t fancy the worry the morning of the wedding so I am in the more than capable hands of James White.

**For anyone getting wed in the midlands, James’ studio is based in Nottingham and he is nothing short of a hair genius! Definitely look him up!**

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Photo Credit: Rachael Connerton Photography

I went to James a couple of weekends ago, armed with my Pinterest board to have a trial and immediately he put me at ease with explaining that I didn’t have to absolutely decide what I was having, this was just to get ideas of what I liked. Phew, it’s a lot of pressure to decide in a few hours. James made me feel real comfortable to say what I did and didn’t like and within half an hour we had already tried at least 5 styles.

I would 100 million% make a pinterest board - you can instantly show your stylist what you have in mind (I already had quite a strong idea) or even if your ideas are more sporadic at least it lets them know what type of thing you like which they can try and even suggest ideas.

Don’t be afraid to say what you like! James was keen to get me to be really honest with the styles that he was trying, remember, you have to look at these photos for a lifetime!

Make sure you leave feeling confident that you have someone who will make a nice atmosphere on the morning of the wedding and most importantly helps you to look and feel amazing!

These are the fun parts of the wedding planning and help you to get really excited about the big day

L+R

The RSVP

All invites will be sent out with the request of an RSVP, however even with the best intentions some of your party may be under the impression that because in passing you have chatted about how you are going to dance the night away together, they don’t need to formally respond with a yay or nay for attendance.

Anyone who didn’t RSVP as per the invite by the date we added, I just emailed or text politely to get a definite answer. I wanted everything in writing (call me Bridezilla, I say organised!) and don’t feel bad for doing so, you have a lot of things riding on the confirmation of the guest list; numbers for your venue/caterer/seating/church it’s super helpful to have a confirmed number.

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I have updated everything in my nifty guestlist tracker (which I covered right at the beginning of my Lula+Rye venture) as and when people have responded to me. We also asked for song requests so this was an easy way to also document these!

Good luck

L+R

1-2 Month Countdown 'To Do' List...

Now all the invites have gone out and the RSVPs are flooding in, I’m finding this a really strange time as you are expecting to be stressed at the prospect that the wedding is so close and there must be lots and lots to do but I am actually feeling very calm.

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I even confided in a close friend who has been married a couple of years to ask if this is normal…to which she responded ‘It’s a funny time 2 months before as you feel like you should be so busy but actually you’ve got all the big things planned and the details can’t be done until the last minute!’

I have found it a great time to get in touch with all the vendors to run through/confirm final numbers/details/timings for the day. I have also just had my hair trial and final florist meeting. It’s a great feeling to know you have everything under control. Enjoy this time and the lead up, you have worked hard to get to this point and enjoy as everything starts to come together!

L+R