Posts categorized: Top Tips from venues

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SS2017 wedding trend predictions by Katherine Hudson



There are few people to rival the creative style of Katherine Hudson who founded the The Arabian Tent Company in 2004. The heady vibe of festivals and marquee parties captured her imagination, she was hooked and decided she had to try and put on her own event. She searched the UK for a suitable party tent, and finding nothing but white PVC marquees, Katherine realised she would have to try a little harder if she wanted to do something truly special.

Katherine set off to Morocco to talk to a man about a tent! The Moroccan tent she first bought (and infamously drove back to the UK strapped to the roof of her van) may not have been anything compared with the wondrous interiors The Arabian Tent Company boasts today, but it was the beginning of something exciting and different. Word soon spread throughout the party world and people all over the country started to request the marquee for all sorts of festivals and events. The more tented parties she threw, the more her inspiration grew. Soon she decided to design her own marquee linings and collected cushions and furniture, ornaments and feathers, candles and lanterns to adorn the interiors.  This was how the Arabian Tent Company was born, how it grew, and (for the most part) how it continues to grow today.

With the largest collection of unique marquees in the UK, a wonderful team of creative and skilled marquee crew, drapers and event specialists and a whole lot of passion and attention to detail, The Arabian Tent Company are proud to have supplied magical marquees, cosy furniture and interesting props and furnishings to some of the UK’s most spectacular parties  and weddings for an entire decade.

So Katherine, what do you think the colours of SS2017 weddings will be?

SS2016 is all about pretty pastels and sparkles, so I think we’ll be getting a bit more dark and moody next year and predict aubergine will feature along with a variety of greens and woody hues, but I reckon the shimmer is set to stay.


If you think there is going to be a popular theme occurring for couples planning for next year what might it be?

I feel couples are veering away from a set ‘theme’ as such, and instead are drawing inspiration from fashion, celebrity weddings (we have clients recreating Kim Kardashian’s flower wall this year!) and Instagram! It’s more about a ‘look’ that people want at the moment for the décor than a theme, but there’s a riot of colour being used at weddings and events this year inspired by the Rio Olympics, which has gained momentum from the Mexican décor and food trend we’ve been enjoying for the last couple of years. For SS2017 wedding trend predictions regarding food I reckon street-food will still be a very popular way of feeding your guests either for the midnight nibbles or even the main course itself, I think we’ll see more South American influences in our wedding themes, although I think this is unlikely to be a ‘theme’ and more one element of the day, creating the overall effect of a kaleidoscope of trends.

Backdrops for ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular, how do you go about styling something like this when you’ve not known the couple for long at all?

Creating something beautiful that works with the rest of the décor and other elements of the wedding is the best place to start rather than trying to make it too personal – it might be needed to hide something unsightly behind the ceremony area, or just create a pretty canvas for photographs to be taken.  Tying it in with the rest of the décor and finding out if the wedding dress lace or chiffon?  Are they mainly using flowers or foliage?  And if in doubt – you can’t go wrong with flowers!

 Katherine’s SS2017 wedding trend predictions

What are your favourite wedding trends of this year?

Weddings this year are looking so pretty!  I’m loving the delicate blush, cream and white palette that we’re seeing, and I’m loving the metallic trend too – it makes the pastels pop.  I’m also a huge fan of the rustic/ woodland look that is continuing and evolving at the moment.  Bringing the feel of nature into your wedding has such a calming, authentic feel to it.

How do you feel about balloons at wedding?

I’m not a huge fan of balloons in the traditional sense and consider them lazy decor, but who could not love the larger-than-life matt-finish versions we’ve seen blowing over from the States recently, with their tassle garland tails and pretty pastel hues. Definitely a fan of those and so they will remain as one of my ‘to stay’ SS2017 wedding trend predictions!

Bubblegum Balloons

Do you think photo booths are going to become less trendy over the next few years or do you think their popularity will increase?

Over the last few years photo booths have become a must-have at weddings and for good reason – not only is it a fun thing to do when you’re feeling merry to don a silly hat, wig and glasses and take pictures with your besties to immortalise your involvement with the party.  It’s a bit like sending a postcard from the wedding!  I’m a huge fan of interaction at weddings and think that the more of it that can be created – getting your guests involved with what’s going on around them, makes for the best wedding parties – and photo booths definitely tick that box, so I can’t see their popularity fading, especially with our fascination with selfies so I expect them to grow in popularity.
Are couples opting for less dramatic cakes again or do you think a colour eruption is upon us in term of edibles.
Although it really depends on the couple with this one, with the ever-rising trend for ‘naked cakes’ festooned with flowers and fruit rather than frosting, and the rustic/woodland inspired weddings this year, I do think in general the trend for cakes is for ones that look like food, rather than art.




For inspiration and SS2017 wedding trend predictions right now visit Katherine on Pinterest, you better pour a drink and make yourself comfy though.

Your Truly



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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
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Katherine’s Top Ten finishing touches…


2. Philip Vokers credit - Interactive giant props


It goes without saying that both of you will always remember your wedding. Whether the Best Man’s speech set the reception party alight or sent the bride’s parents into apoplexy like a scene from ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, you will always remember every detail. After all, it was you who agonised for months about the wedding arrangements, from the choice of table linen to the flowers in the church and the niceties of the seating arrangements. But when you look back on it all on your honeymoon over a sundowner on a white sand beach somewhere in the Indian Ocean, the last thing you want is even the slightest tinge of regret. Not the merest whiff of the dreaded “If onlys”. Not the tiniest doubt about those special extras that would, could, should have rounded off the perfect wedding.

It’s easy to forget when planning for a wedding that a few original touches – touches that needn’t be expensive – could make the difference between a wedding that everyone enjoys and a wedding that everyone talks about for years to come. Not just you but all your guests as well. Touches that express your own unique personalities and that will add a touch of magic to the occasion that your guests will never forget.

Over the years, we’ve come up with a fair few ideas ourselves and have been able to see at first-hand which ones light a spark and which ones don’t work so well. So here is our recommendation of the Top Ten Finishing Touches that will make your wedding an occasion that everyone will remember.

1 – Wishing Tree

All your guests will be wanting to send you their heart-felt best wishes and there’s no better way of capturing them all for posterity than on a Wishing Tree. Choose one in your garden or venue, or buy (or even hire!) one especially for the day, place it in a decorated pot and cover it in red ribbons. Then get your guests to write their wishes for you on tags and attach to them to the tree. It’s such a simple yet effective way of creating a natural wedding feature and allowing your guests to express their love and goodwill. The only thing to remember with this is that with this…bigger is better!

1. Medford Williams credit - Wishing Tree 1


2 – Interactive Giant Props

Injecting fun and playfulness into your big day is such a winner, and with this in mind we created these giant letters for you to proclaim your love with and this Secret Garden style ‘door into another world’ as a theatrical entrance with both being a brilliant backdrop for wedding photographs. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have great pleasure in introducing to you to Mr & Mrs…”

2. Philip Volkers credit - Interactive giant props 2


3 – DIY Signboards

Creating your own personalised signage is a great way of stamping your personality on the day while also injecting a bit of cheeky fun. Whether it’s chalk paint on heart-shaped wooden cut-outs or painting the name of your own Night Club for disco time, there’s no end of possibilities.

3. Philip Volkers credit - DIY Signs


4 – Create your own Accessories

At the reception have your own ‘Creation Station’ where guests can make their own fascinator or buttonhole using some pre-made discs of card mounted on clips or safety pins. Then let them choose from feathers, buttons and trims to create their own decorations to wear which they can also take away and be a lasting reminder of your wedding.



5 – Interactive Favours

Traditional wedding favours tend to get left behind at the table, so why not make them more interactive and original so that guests can enjoy them right there and then. Some of the best ones are tiny bottles of the happy couple’s favourite tipple, to toast them with or comedy fancy dress accessories like moustaches, sunglasses or stick-on tattoos. Think about items that will add an element of fun to the dinner or break the ice before the wine starts to flow.

5. Infinity Photographic credit - Interactive favours


6 – DIY Photo Booth

These are all the rage at the moment and do produce a very amusing set of pictures of your guests. However, rather than an actual booth, our decorative tents lend themselves to setting up an area with polaroid cameras – perhaps in the lounge area of a wedding as they did in the picture below – and let your guests do the rest. Or if you want some help from the professionals the ‘Pop Up Photo Parlour’ can deck you out with props and backdrops and combined with those fancy dress favours and you’re already well on the way to an unforgettable party.

6. DIY Photobooth


7 – Signature After-Dinner Drink

As an after-dinner tipple, have a friend or two walk around with your favourite after-dinner drink. A signature drink that you or a friend have made always goes down well – homemade sloe gin, vodka or pear wine are perennial favourites. Or you can take it a step further with professional waiters serving a whole range of tequilas in Mexican attire purveying bespoke tequila shots and educating guests in its ingredients, and serving them with a flourish (see for more details).


8 – Bring your Own Pudding

Not everyone eats pudding, although undeniably some people love them! Rather than having your caterers serve everyone with desert, ask your pudding-mad friends to contribute by making their favourite. Then put them all together on a table (or even their own tent!) with a note about what it is and who made what and the ingredients.

This not only minimises waste but also gets guests congratulating each other for their pudding prowess and swapping recipes.

8. Sophie Lindsay credit - Bring your own Pudding


9 – First-dance Confetti

Everyone loves confetti, whether it’s dried rose petals or something more colourful. So why not save the confetti moment for your first dance? As you can see from the picture below, it can make for some amazing first-dance photographs.

9. First Dance Confetti


10 – Midnight Treats

If there is a favourite snack that you love, share it with your guests! Like a toast-station brought out at midnight with Marmite or Nutella, a pile of hot Cornish pasties or mini pots of your favourite ice cream handed round. And for a sinful but satisfying snack, a chip van with your favourite sauces works a treat. Yummy!

10. Midnight Treats 2

With thanks to Katherine Hudson, founder of The Arabian Tent Company which was born out of a love of festivals and outdoor parties.

(Photo credits to Medford Williams - Wishing Tree,  Philip Volkers  - Signs & Accessories, Infinity Photography - Interactive Favours, Sophie Lindsay - Pud Tent)