Posts categorized: Ideas

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Alternatives to the Guest Book


Joss and I have been married for nearly 15 years. Before Instagram and Pinterest (I KNOW!), before booths, before people zip wired or skinny dipped at their weddings.

I still love looking back at the messages my friends and family wrote in the little spotty notebook I laid on a table. To be honest, I have no idea what some of them say but that’s not the point is it. If I were to do it all over again I think I would choose something a bit more unusual, so here are my Alternatives to the Guest Book…



ONE: Instagram | 

Give everyone your handles and a wedding# for example #kelnjossinstabook and then ask people to take a photo at the wedding and post it. Then simply print them how you wish using an app such as you could even make thank you cards out of them while you’re at it. 




TWO: Video booth | 

Such a great idea and one I’m pretty annoyed I didn’t think of all those year ago. Imagine the messages before the drinks compared to after, check out these messages on This one would be a must for me, what a stunner of a booth.



THREE: Wallpaper |

Get your guests signing wallpaper for your downstairs loo! How great would that be? Every time you spent a penny you’d be reminded of your day, you could even ask for people to do self portraits. All you need to do is put a massive piece of plain wallpaper up on a wall at the reception and leave a big tub of sharpies. 



FOUR: Books |

Place an atlas or a dictionary on the table and ask guests to write a message by a word or place that reminds them of you two.





If you’re looking for a venue that will let you be as creative as you like then you’re in the right place. Simply search the venues and use the enquiry forms to make contact. Truly Quirky Wedding Venues get booked up FAST so don’t wait too long!



blog, Ideas, real weddings /

A Tropical Matara Wedding with a Tortoise Ring Bearer

Tortoise at Matara


To be frank, this wedding is a total treat for the eyes.

Harri and Ranjana wanted a venue with an outdoor component. They had previously travelled to Japan and loved the ornamental gardens there and are also huge fans of all things botanical. When they heard about a Japanese garden venue in England in which you can get married they knew they had to check it out. It was of course, Truly Quirky, Matara!


Japanese Water Garden Matara


Most of their family and friends are based in and around London, but they knew they wanted to pick somewhere a bit further afield where people would stay for the weekend.

They first contacted Matara around 11months before the wedding and pretty much knew as soon as they had walked out of the carpark and into the gardens. “We saw two other venues but they didn’t even come close,  the moment we saw the bamboo and Japanese maples, we were sold.”


Group shot at Matara


Matara has a stunning Japanese garden so was a big sell, they also wanted to have their own personal ceremony as well as the civil ceremony.  The cloistered courtyard and woodland area seemed perfect. Furthermore, the big house onsite for the wedding party was also a huge draw – they didn’t initially plan on using it but simply couldn’t resist. Outside, the gardens also afforded an opportunity to encourage guests to explore.


The House at Matara


A few questions to the couple:

Top three features of the venue? Firstly, the Japanese garden with the pond for our civil ceremony, the woodland clearing for our personal ceremony, the house for everyone to get ready and spend the night.

Did you stay? If so where and for how long? Did any of your guests stay? We stayed the night of our wedding in the big house onsite along with the immediate wedding party, around 18 in total. Our parents stayed in the zen rooms (again onsite). We booked out the Hunters Hall Inn (across the road) for around 30 of our other guests to stay. The remaining guests found their own accommodation in and around Tetbury.


Bridal Selfie Photo


Groom Getting Ready Matara


What was the food like, did you get caterers in? We were initially told that we would need to use Matara’s caterers but after explaining to them that we wanted traditional Sri Lankan food they were happy for us to find our own caterers. We therefore had traditional Sri Lankan snacks for the reception followed by rice and curries for the wedding breakfast.


We need to know ALL about that tortoise ring bearer please! Harri had always wanted a pet tortoise, and we got one back in 2016. We called it Ravitoto, named after a stew we had while travelling in Madagascar – there is no tortoise in the stew but we just liked the name. He/she is only 2years old now and fits in the palm of your hand.

We decided early on that Ravitoto would be the ‘tortoise ring bearer’ but we knew he/she would need a little help getting down the aisle so we put him/her on a cushion and got my niece to provide the ride. Harri made him/her a backpack out of a tea-light holder and some gold sprayed ribbon and the rings sat in there. He/she didn’t seem to mind. By the way we use gender neutral terms for him/her as we don’t know Ravitoto’s sex yet – that will only become apparent in about 3 years time.


Tortoise Ring Bearer on Cushion


The colours look divine, please tell me all about the colours and how you chose them. We loved the idea of a destination wedding but realised that having all our friends and family there was more important. So instead of taking them to the tropics we wanted to bring the tropics to them. The theme was tropical – thus we went for bright colours, greens, oranges and pinks. The groom and groomsmen wore tropical ties whilst the bride wore a tropical dress in the evening. We encouraged our guests to wear bright colours and tropical patterns. Tables were animal themed.


Matara Reception Colourful


Colourful Sri Lankan Wedding Matara


Tips for another couple choosing a venue? Consider getting married on a Friday – we were initially cautious about this as we worried some people wouldn’t come but soon realised that all the people we would want there would happily take a day off work. Plus you get the bonus of having the whole weekend to recover and see everyone. It works out as cheaper as well. Your dream venue may just become affordable if you consider a Friday.
Consider picking a location a bit further afield – it does make things logistically tricky but you get the benefit of having more people staying around for longer.

Try and do as much stuff yourself . We ended up doing all the decorations, including the flowers, as well as the invitations ourselves. Although this was a bit of work it was really fun doing it together as a couple and made the day even more special. It also saves a lot in costs – money that you can spend on other important things like booze.


Tortoise Ring Bearer with groom


Photographer Kevin Belson talks about shooting this stunning wedding at Matara:

Was this the first wedding you shot at Matara? We have shot there a couple of times before over the last few years. We shot a Glastonbury themed wedding there in 2013 and a Sri Lankan/English wedding in 2015 and we’ve shot a couple of weddings at Matara this year

Did Harri and Ranjana ask for anything out of the ordinary in terms of their photos? They had a second ceremony led by the Groom’s sister in the woods which was beautiful and emotional. They also asked for the group shot around the pond. Of course the most unusual thing was “Ravitoto” the tortoise ring bearer. We’ve had pets before but never a tortoise.


Beautiful flowers at Matara ceremony


What was your favourite thing about the venue in terms of shooting this wedding? It’s a venue where you don’t have to worry about time of year or weather. There is a variety of amazing spaces indoors or out and it makes life easy knowing that you are going to get fabulous photos without really trying. But if you do try the images are on another level again.


Couple & Wedding Party Sofa

Pink orange Wedding Decor Matara


Which features of the venue really appealed to you as a photographer? The overall eastern theme. Having many diverse settings indoors and outdoors small and large providing different moods.


Sri Lankan Wedding Matara Watersdie


Where there any challenges at the venue in terms of shooting at Matara?Trying not to steal the Kef 104.2’s from the house. Beautiful speakers which would sound and look fantastic in my house.  Apart from that no. It’s an incredible venue. One of our favourites and the staff are really lovely too which for us is the most important thing.




Who made it happen?

Photographer Kevin Belson

Caterers  Sri L Catering

Flowers  Triangle Nurseries Arrangements done by friends and family

Evening Dress  Samsoe and Samsoe (Ranjana wore a Sari from India for the ceremony)

Suit  Harry Brown

Cake  Made by sister of the groom

Hair Suzanne Hale



blog, Ideas /

Totally fab & alternative wedding favours



I have something to admit. Wedding favours have never sat well with me. I have never understood them, I didn’t have them at my wedding because I thought they were ‘an American thing’, a waste of time and money. The thought of mini bottles of champagne bubbles makes me feel nauseous.  My best friend told me earlier this week she was given a condom as a favour once, not to mention the name places with her AND her husbands names spelt wrong…!

However this week I was looking for images of succulents online as I’m considering getting one tattooed on my shoulder.  I stumbled across the most fabulous alternative wedding favours I’d ever seen, living succulents in tiny hand thrown pots. They made my heart sing. I can totally imagine my delight if I found one of these beauties on my table at a wedding and I would treasure it and think of that wedding every time I spritzed it.

This find inspired me to look in to the history of favours, I wanted to convince myself that wedding favours can be really cool. After googling ‘the history of wedding favours’ I found a great post on the Wasing Park blog (a Truly Quirky Wedding Venue)  about a member of their team who had recently married and had the same feelings as me. Yep, she researched the history of favours too.

The tradition lies with the French aristocracy. During the 16th century they would pass guests ʻbonbonnièresʼ, delicately jewel encrusted boxes full of sugared almonds or sweets. This was a gesture of extravagance but it was also believed that sugar had health-giving properties. It seems that a gift of a bonbonnière was a symbol of care extended to all guests. Sugared almonds carried additional significance at weddings, as the bitterness of the almonds and the sweetness of the sugar was thought to symbolise the bitter-sweetness of marriage, which in my eyes is a wise message to pass on.

So with a new place in my heart for the wedding favour I offer you, in no particular order my Top Five Alternative Wedding Favours …


ONE | Living Succulents | Alternative Wedding Favours by ElfKendall on Etsy


Alternative wedding favours, succulents.


I found these on Etsy by ElkKendall. I read with delight that her husband makes the pots and she plants the succulents, which she calls jewels of nature, and to me they are.


TWO | Polaroid coasters or magnets | Alternative Wedding Favours

Alternative Wedding Favours | Polaroid Coasters


Recently I had that sinking feeling that I’m sure many of us have these days ‘I never see the photos I take anymore (sadface)’ so I’ve started using an app called Cheerz who print your Instagram images. I hang them on little lines with mini pegs, but that’s by the by, how about polaroid coasters for your guests, CUTE and alternative wedding favours.

You could choose images of you and your friends or you as a couple, or just things you love that will remind your guests of you and your day.


THREE | Library Cards with snippets of book facts on the back | Alternative Wedding Favour Ideas


Alternative Wedding Favours | Book Ideas


Great idea, love this, especially for a bookwormy couple. This one might take some time but I love the idea of these little library cards.


Four | Charity | Alternative Wedding Favours that save lives

Alternative Wedding Favours that save lives


These made my heart glow. These little charity wedding favours from Unicef provide six children with a school exercise book and two pencils, helping them to learn. The cards have space for you to write a message to your guests. Loads of charities do similar favours.


FIVE | Temporary Tattoos | Alternative Wedding Favours


Doris Loves Temporary Tattoos


Temporary tattoos always make me smile, kids love them, we love them, they are just great and you can take loads of photos of you being silly with them. These are a particular favourite of mine that come with Doris Loves Temporary Tattoo Station In A Box!

I hope this post has offered you some inspiration if you feel the way I did about the sometimes, dreaded wedding favour.

Yours Truly


(Top image of favours from JacksbrickBlog)

Advise, blog, Ideas /

5 Tips | Choosing music for your wedding | By Flauntino

Flautino Alternative Wedding Music | Choosing music for your wedding


Think about the last wedding you went to: how did it make you feel? Were you relaxed? Was it super-formal? Did you feel free to chat to people you didn’t know?

The atmosphere of a wedding is hugely important and will be the difference between you and your guests being relaxed and having fun rather than being worried and uptight. Of course a lot of that is down to good organisation but beyond that … the atmosphere is created by the people you have there, the food, the decoration, the venue, the staff and of course, the music!

These are all vitally important and should reflect your own style and what makes you happy. You won’t be able to make everyone happy so focus on what you love … hopefully everyone is there because they love you anyway. Choosing music for your wedding is a MASSIVE decision actually . . . but I can help!


Elmore Court | Choosing music for your wedding

(Couple at Elmore Court)

So how do you go about choosing music for your wedding?

  1. First of all, break the wedding into its constituent parts: the ceremony and then what ever you choose to do afterwards … maybe drinks reception, dinner, then evening do (being the most conventional option!)
  2. Then think about what kind of atmosphere you want to create at each of those ‘mini-events’. The ceremony is usually calm, joyful and peaceful … jot down the words you would use to describe your ideal atmosphere. 
Then you need to make the decision between live and recorded music. Of course recorded music is the cheaper option. Personally I find it adds so much to the atmosphere to have live music.
  3. So think about genres … jazz, classical, pop, folk, funk, rock …. rather than straight away choosing your favourite song maybe think outside the box a bit and listen to a wide range of music and see how it makes you feel. Again … think about the atmosphere you’re after.
  4. Once you’ve narrowed it down there are various ways of finding someone to do what you’re after. If you have a really specific idea, google specifically … you can find pretty much anything these days! My friend wants a mariachi band playing punk music! If you’re not so sure then try one of the music agencies, speak to friends for recommendations and go to gigs to try out some new music! That has to be a fun part of wedding planning …some fun dates with your other half! Planning a wedding can be stressful and you sometimes you will lose the plot a bit, so use these dates to reconnect and have fun!
  5. Once you’ve found the music that suits each part of the wedding, make sure you’re clear with the musician about what you’re after … make sure you get a contract signed in case anything goes wrong and make sure you know whether they will charge a retainer fee if you want them at different parts of the wedding. Above all, make sure you love the music you’ve chosen and enjoy!

Flautino provides beautiful, serene music for wedding ceremonies, drinks receptions and dinners. The musicians dress in quirky baroque style costumes (think Keira Knightley in the Duchess with pink hair!) and play baroque chamber music by composers such as Bach and Vivaldi.

I hope I’ve helped with choosing music for your wedding.

Super classy | Super quirky | Super cool | Take a look at their website:

Words by Flautino!

Until next time you gorgeous lot.


blog, Ideas /

Truly Quirky Wedding Ideas | Quirky unique wedding dresses

You are getting married, so you need a wedding dress, you will start your search and you will ‘see a sea’ of beautiful dresses. I think you will know from early on if you don’t want a traditional wedding dress or a white wedding dress but you will look at them. You will look at them but your heart won’t flutter like it should. You should get the same feeling you got when your partner proposed, you should melt. So my pretties, don’t settle, you can have your quirky, unique wedding dresses.

Here are few of my favourites . . .


Florence | Oh My Honey

What can I say about Louise’s dresses, they ROCK! Florence has a simple sweetheart neckline, an amazing ombré, choppy tulle petticoat fading from ivory to candy pink bursting out from underneath, just WOW. This one will turn heads and is not for the feint of heart.

Oh my Honey Florence


1920’s Beaded Gowns | Leluxe

I first heard about these beautiful gowns from Ooh Mrs James, they are made by Leluxe Clothing and featured in ‘The Artist’. What I adore about these dresses is how they hang, they are so flattering, and let’s face it, they oooze style. I tried one on at a wedding fair I put on at Old Spitalfields and it was so heavy and just made me feel like a woman!


Leluxe Beaded



Yellow Wedding Dress | Alice Closet Italy on Etsy

Etsy Yellow


I don’t about you but colour makes me smile. This is a one of a kind dress, made with crepe cady (viscose blend) and with 100% silk organza in a rich yellow, it’s very sunny and golden at the same time. The bodice has a simple style, fully lined in cotton and boned. The skirt is made with a crepe cady with a long train and is embellished with 2 asymmetrical layers of silk organza on every side…perfect for a flowing and architectural effect, just stunning. You can find this dress on Etsy.


Kate Lace Maxi Dress| ASOS



At just £65 this stunner of a dress could definitely be a unique wedding dress, that colour, that lace, it’s on trend, it’s well priced and it could be with you within one day. You could even get it altered by a seamstress and would will sill be a bargain.


Retro Love | The Couture Company at Rock The Frock 

The-couture-company-unique wedding dress


Rock The Frock in London stock awesome dresses like the one pictured by The Couture Company who specialise in custom made, alternative, quirky, unique wedding dresses. All their awesome gowns are made in house, made in England and most importantly made for you by an experienced team at their Birmingham boutique atelier, each one being created in the finest fabrics, using exquisite detailing and flattering pattern cutting techniques.


See I told you! You can have unique wedding dresses you lovely lot.







Advise, blog, Ideas /

A Wedding Signature Cocktail by Jam & Tea

Kat Forsyth image for Jam & Tea


Having been not 1, not 2 but 3 amazing festivals already this year I was thrilled to see an abundance of cocktail bars and they all had fabulous signature cocktails on offer, it got me thinking about how great it would be to have a signature wedding cocktail and to offer your guests the a little instruction card as a favour. There are so many quirky drinks out there but this one made me smile, made me want to sip it in the sun.

“A signature wedding cocktail is a lovely idea” Helen of Doily Day’s.

Jam & Tea were generous enough to share one of their inspiring recipes ‘Ginty’s Fizz’ with Helen of Doily Days…


x 1 bottle Prosecco or Champers if you’re feeling flash!

x 4 – 6 shots of Hendricks Gin, add more or less gin to liking.

x 6 tea spoons of rose water.

x 1 handful of fresh, seasonal berries, Jam and Tea love blueberries, strawberries and red currants.

x 1 – 2 Cups of pink lemonade

x 1 Lemon, sliced

x A few sprigs of mint.

A sprinkle of edible glitter.


You will need:

A large, tall jug or a punch bowlA long mixing spoon.

Champagne saucers/jam jars.

Cute little spoons (to dig out the Berries).


1. About a half hour before you would like to serve your cocktail place the Berries, lemon, mint, ice and A very small sprinkling of edible glitter into the jug/punch bowl.

2. Add the rose water and Gin and leave to infuse

3. When you are ready to serve your cocktail, add the Prosecco and pink lemonade – ready to go…

4. Prettiest served in Champagne saucers or jam jars wrapped in lace.




For some amazing wedding ideas and inspiration keep an eye out for the latest edition of Doily Day’s Loves Wedding’s Magazine which will be launched in September and available at both of Belle’s Events Autumn Fairs.



Belle's Events
Advise, blog, Ideas /

Wedding Balloons Yes or No?

Brighton Photo Balloons


The Great Balloon Debate

Here goes – a topic I’ve wanted to broach for a long time. Balloons. Love or hate? Wedding Balloons yes or no? I think there’s a fine line between deflated kids birthday party, and helium filled balloon happiness. Who remembers the 1990 film ‘Stella’? Where all Bette Midler wants is a room full of balloons. Crummy apartment. Room full of balloons. Classic romantic proposal as far as I’m concerned. So yup, you’ve guessed it – I’m a lover. I go all doe eyed when I see balloons at weddings.


Big bunches of pastel coloured balloons, single, oversized red balloon. In my mind they’re more effective than a bouquet, walk down the aisle with your balloons, give balloons to the bridesmaids.



Sacco & Sacco


So it seems wedding balloons are Bang. On. Trend. “I must admit I’ve always been a little snobby about wedding balloon decor, thinking them unimaginative, cheap and tacky… but wedding balloon decor has had a super-cool makeover. Yes, balloons are back and they are chic-er than ever!” Sonia,


Bride with balloon


If you’re looking to get some amazing wedding balloons for your big day here a few sites to I can recommend for buying wedding balloons;

The Giant Balloon Company 

Pop Pop Papier 

Pearl & Earl 

Bubblegum Balloons

Photo Madly bride with wedding balloons


Words by Helen of Doily Days and myself.


PS: Here are a few links to some real weddings featuring the ultimate in quirky, colourful wedding balloons!

Bo-Ho Wedding – Bonkers Barn Wedding 

RMW  – Shoreditch Soul Mates

Love My Dress – Summer Garden Party




Ideas /

DIY Wedding Pom Poms Tutorial

Title Image DIY DOILY


I think you’ll agree that this is a very cute DIY wedding idea from Doily Day’s Loves Wedding’s magazine, DIY wedding pom poms with a doily twist! They really are so simple and effective. If you wanted to take it a step further you could grab some spray paint and go for orange, black, silver, neons, whatever takes your fancy really. I think I would be tempted to spray some doilies gold!

Invite your mates over one evening leading up to your wedding and I reckon you’d have enough to fill a quirky wedding venue in no time at all.


Step 1 Doily Pom Pom   Step Two DIY Doily Pom Poms Step Three DIY Wedding Pom Poms




There’ll be loads more tips and ideas where this one came from.

With thanks to Doily Days Loves Weddings Magazine editor Helen Ruff. 

blog, Ideas, Top Tips from venues /

Five Top Wedding Planning Tips from Conor, Events Manager at Smock Alley


Five Top Wedding Planning Tips . . .

Number One

Plan the wedding that YOU want
So many times when I meet a couple they ask, “what do people normally do?” or “what’s the normal set up?”. People need ‘wedding planning tips!’ and I always tell them the same thing, plan the wedding that YOU want to have. Don’t get hung up on what you think might be expected of your big day. If you feel like having fire jugglers and a BBQ, do it. It will really make your day yours and much more special than a cookie cutter version of a wedding.

Number Two

Seek advice from friends and family but do not let them influence you too much.
Friends and family are an asset and will bend over backwards to help you have a wonderful wedding. However, learn to be decisive with them. They may have some wedding planning tips you don’t want to hear! With so many opinions coming at you it can be easy to get confused, overwrought or worse, upset. It is, of course, well intentioned advice but it can sometimes sound like criticism. Listen to ideas and suggestions then as a couple make a decision.

Number Three

Mistakes will happen!
No matter how well you plan a wedding something will go wrong. I have dealt with rainstorms, lost grandmothers, forgotten wedding licences, a drunk father of the bride and a lost engagement ring amongst other things. Hopefully, nothing so dramatic will happen on the day of your wedding but it very well could. Take it in your stride, its not the end of the world and trust me, the next day it could well end up as the hilarious highlight of the day.

Number Four 

Be flexible in your plans
Weddings take months of planning. From dresses, to menus, to venues, to flowers. Each detail is carefully considered and arranged. But when the day comes do not get hung up on details.Be relaxed in your approach. Time lines will slip, people will be late, maybe dessert isnt exactly how your remember at the tasting. But at the end of the day these things are trivialities and the most important detail is that you love each other and you are married. When it comes to wedding planning tips you can’t go far wrong with the immortal words of The Beatles, all you need is love!

Number Five 

Enjoy it!!!!!
I can not stress this enough. I have from time to time seen some brides and grooms get so hung up on time lines and plans that they seem to almost miss the fact its their wedding day. They are constantly looking at the next part of the day rather than enjoying the moment they are in. This is such  mistake. Delegate jobs to others to worry about and NEVER wear a watch or have your mobile to hand. You need neither.
Events Manager at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin.
Pennard House Happiness
Advise, blog, Ideas /

BOOM! Shake shake shake the ROOM! Doris Loves #Top3Tips

Doris Loves  Light Up Letters BOOM


Amanda of Doris Loves is no DJ, she’s no technician, she and her divine husband Darren are the creators of the most awesome ‘LIGHT UP LETTERS‘ on the wedding hire market. Doris Loves has exhibited at each and very one of my wedding fairs and the reaction to the light up letters is always the same . . . W.O.W. These lovely pair can make a Truly Quirky Wedding Fair dance floor BOOM!

So, here we go, the lady herself offers her Top 3 Tips for making your wedding dance floor B.O.O.M

Tip1 Think about the lighting.

To guarantee an empty dance floor, turn the lights up, nobody feels like approaching a BRIGHT dance floor. When people throw those shapes they want atmosphere and they don’t want to feel like they’re under one giant spot light. Dim the lights, any good venue will be prepared for this. Just don’t forget to ask.

Tip2 Signage, spell it out to your guests.

Here’s a great example from Pinterest, it sets the scene for your guests and lets them know just what your expecting. I particularly like ‘Dance Offs should take place where appropriate, and often!’


DorisBOOM2 Sign


Want to tick off tip one and two it one easy hit? Then hire our ‘Light Up Letters!’ They are another great way to create a great lighting atmosphere, but with over 70 battery powered letters in stock, you could spell out the word M.O.V.E // D.A.N.C.E // D.A.N.C.E.F.L.O.O.R. then theres no way of missing it!

Doris Loves Light Up Letters PARTY

Tip3 The 2nd song.

The scene is set, the dance floor is looking fantastic with it’s atmospheric lighting and light up letters. You’ve spelt it out clearly to your guests, your expecting some serious shapes to be thrown.

You’ve thought long and hard about your first dance, you’ve picked the perfect song, everyone starts joining in at the end, everyone is swaying away… and this is when you hit them with the ultimate dance friendly song! This way they can’t resist staying and dancing the night away.

So there you have it ladies and gents, if you want to keep your dance floor BOOM-ing follow these tips and your sure to have an absolute blast out there (and some footage you’ll watch again and again).




blog, Ideas, Meet the venue /

An exclusive interview with Simon Baring of Elmore Court!

Simon - Working at a wedding venue - we think!

 Who are you and what is your role at Elmore Court?

My name is Simon and I’m the admin and accounts manager (among several other things) here at Elmore.  I also do some sales, PR and technology management.  I’m also the sound engineer and occasionally nightporter!  Think of me as a slightly less flamboyant, less scented and possibly more practical version of GustavH from The Grand Hotel Budapest.


How did you get involved with the venue and how long ago was that?

I’ve lived here in this beautiful place for 5 years or so, previously doing my self-employed DJing, music production and booking agency business. This was before the idea of the venue was conceived.  I come from a shared music industry background with the owner Anselm, who is one of my great friends.  Turns out I was in the right place at the right time with the right skills to fill a heap of roles here when the venue became a reality.


The venue is ‘Truly Quirky’ we know that already but what do you feel makes it stand out from the wedding venue crowd?

Honestly, I haven’t experienced that many other wedding venues, but from what I’m told by the people that look at several and then book here, it’s largely our attitude combined with the unique and wonderful Gillyflower; as well as our flexibility and willingness to accommodate all types of weddings, people and ideas.  All are welcome at Elmore, everything is possible and we aim to give people what they want and then some…


Elmore Court-5-140607 - Rickards and Abbot, MTM Studio, Weddings and Events (1)

If you could choose one song/album to listen to while you’re doing what you do at the venue what would it be?

I haven’t managed to get past Todd Terje’s album of 2014 called ‘It’s Album Time’.  It’s a fantastic energetic album that keeps my foot tapping and my mind flowing!


What’s the best thing about working at a wedding venue as special as Elmore Court?

Seeing so many happy people every weekend!  Plus, getting to try snippets of what our brilliant kitchen team put out.

Simon 3

If you were planning your wedding at the venue what would you choose in terms of styling and flowers?

I would most likely leave the styling side of things to my better half! But, if I had to choose, the 3 most important elements of a wedding for me would be:

  • A swift and painless ceremony with lots of joy, laughter and good songs! Speeches too must be short, sweet and punchy. Nothing worse than when things start to drag on awkwardly.
  • Great food and drink, served quickly and not too showy. No being trapped at tables while endless courses are served when everybody just wants to start the real celebrations!
  • The company… the mix of people is vital to everybody having a great time. The Bride of course must attend or my wedding wouldn’t be much fun!



And lastly, have you ever had a sip of champagne on the job? Yeah you have!

I’m more of an Ale and whisky man personally- bring on the local Stroud Brewery Organic ales!  But yes, I have been known to partake in a little sip here and there!

Nice getting to know you Simon!



Advise, blog, Ideas /

My #top10 wedding fair tips for exhibitors & visitors



“I love you because you are EXACTLY like everyone else,” is not a marriage proposal to set the heart beating faster.

We love each other for our uniqueness and quirks and, as such, traditional wedding receptions involving crisp white tablecloths, salmon for starters and a three-tier white cake are swiftly becoming a thing of the past. Couples are crying out for new ideas, quirky, inspirational suppliers and venues who allow them to reflect their personalities on their big day.

When I was planning my wedding this time eleven years ago (ouch!), I went to a wedding fair with my mum and we had to flee offers of tacky cars, chocolate fountains and cream chair covers and vow that we would do it all ourselves.


brighton wedding photographer


Family and friends were involved in making a day that reflected Joss and I. My mother-In-law designed and made me a beautiful 1950’s style lace dress, which I will treasure forever more. My boss drove me in his jeep (and arranged champagne and mixed a brilliant CD!) A friend arranged our photographer and another organised a Moroccan menu.


The Quirky Boutique Wedding Fair


No offence to Joss but since then my mind has often happily drifted off into thoughts of planning another wedding and if my big day was coming up in 2015 I would be thrilled at the imaginative and original companies there are out there now. On May 10th I have planned the third ‘Quirky Boutique Wedding Fair’, it’s the wedding fair of my dreams, the one I wish I could have attended. I like to think that it will play a part in helping creative, stylish couples create a wedding that they will cherish because it reflects them.

Three years ago I launched Belles Events running unique, quirky, vintage weddings fairs across Sussex & London. When I planned my own wedding I would have loved to have found any of the inspirational, talented, and friendly suppliers I now know because they are all committed to thrill couples who want something a little bit different’ As they say on Twitter #lovemyjob.




As wedding fair season has just begun I thought I would share my best wedding fair tips for exhibitors and visitors |

My top 10 tips for visiting Wedding Fairs | 

  1. Look around for fairs that suit your style, there is no point going to a fairy tale wedding fair if you want a gothic wedding. There are so many fabulous fairs out there BUT there are some terrible ones too, search on line and choose your search words wisely.
  2. Take your time, don’t rush, remember that the suppliers have paid to attend and are there to talk to you and find out what you want.
  3. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. You can often leave the fair by getting a stamp on your hand. Sometimes taking a break is a good idea, go for a walk, and come back after you have thought of what you want to find out.
  4. Take business cards of suppliers you like the look of so you can contact them after the day and tell them where you saw them. Find their Facebook Pages and link up with them on Twitter and Pinterest.
  5. Ask if the supplier is offering a discount for bookings made that day, often you will save yourself up to 15%.
  6. Take people along that want to be there. If your partner isn’t up for it, don’t drag them along; it will just annoy you, and them! Equally, if your partner does want to get involved don’t whatever you do leave them out of it.
  7. Take cash, you never know what you might find. Some suppliers take card payments on the day but wouldn’t it be awful to miss out on something special?
  8. Don’t feel pressured, but don’t miss out, if a photographer you adore has your date available, consider paying a deposit on the day.
  9. Don’t freak out! If you have always dreamt of one particular hairstyle for example and you see someone doing demonstrations, get involved, open your mind and you might be surprised about what you could achieve.
  10. Remember this. You only get married once, hopefully, enjoy this, don’t get stressed; all that matters is that you are marrying the person you love.

My top Wedding Fairs tips for exhibitors | 

  1. Look around for events that suit your style, there is no point paying to attend a wedding fair that won’t attract the couples that will love what you do. I have to turn away businesses that I know will not do well at my events, it’s a hard thing to do but I don’t feel that having a very traditional dress company exhibiting would be fair.
  2. Before you book for a fair speak to the organiser and find out how they will be advertising, how they run the fairs, for example do they have limits on services such as florists and cake makers, do they provide parking?
  3. Make sure you have business cards available with your Social Media details on them.
  4. Think about offering a discount to couples that pay a deposit or book on the day.
  5. Consider getting a card payment devise for larger fairs or allow couples to pay deposit my Paypal on your phone or iPad.
  6. Use fairs as networking opportunities, there are lots of other suppliers feeling like you, make fiends, before the fair opens walk around and exchange cards, offer to get them a cup of tea if they look nervous.
  7. Make your stall stand out, bring beautiful, ironed fabric to cover your table, adorn it with things that make a statement about your company, think of your stall as your little shop for the day.
  8. Don’t expect bookings/sales on the day, couples like to go away and discuss what they have seen on the day. If they liked what you had to offer they will contact you after the fair.
  9. Remember that couples can sometimes be nervous, make them comfortable by asking about what they have planned already and where the are getting married.
  10. Help with advertising the fair, use your social media to talk about the events and maybe you could display a poster for the organiser. After all, every little bit of advertising help you and them.

I hope you find these tips helpful, happy planning.

Yours Truly



blog, Ideas /

5 alternatives to guest books…unique wedding ideas.



I really love looking back at the messages my friends and family wrote in the little notebook I laid on a table at my wedding but if I were to do it all over again I think I would choose something a bit quirkier…

  1. Ask your loved ones to leave a message on your initials, buy old or new letters, the ones above is from Etsy.
  2. Video booth – Such a great idea, imagine the messages before the drinks compared to after!
  3. Wall paper signing for your downstairs loo! How great would that be? Every time you spent a penny you’d be reminded of your day, you could even ask for people to do self portraits. Equally fun, a colouring in book – I found this on Etsy, see below on the left, imagine all those little dudes and dolls coloured in and signed.
  4. Get guests to sign your favourite book – now this is one for you bookworms and something that would be so gorgeous to pass on through a family.
  5. Vintage crockery signing – if you like a bit of retro china on your walls, why not get your guests to leave a message on theirs after their cake.

I hope you love these unique wedding ideas as much as I do.