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8 unusual hen party ideas

When it comes to planning a hen party, the pressure’s on to find something that everyone – but especially the bride – will enjoy. The classics such as a city break, bar crawl or spa weekend are always crowd-pleasers, but what happens if the bride is keen to do something different?


Luckily, there are endless options out there for unique and unusual hen party ideas. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, creativity or mystery, we’ve put together a list of our 8 favourite hen dos with a difference.


1. Escape room


What better way to get the bridesmaids bonding than to lock everyone in a room together? Escape rooms continue to be hugely popular thanks to the balance of tricky challenges and team fun, and you can now find one to suit every type of hen group.


From being kidnapped by a serial killer for the horror fans, to Ancient Egyptian tombs for the history buffs, you’re sure to find one to beat. And what better way to celebrate your escape than with a bottle of bubbly afterwards?


2. Glamping


For brides that love the great outdoors, why not take the hens outside and organise a camping trip? This doesn’t have to involve mud, wellies and freezing tents either – there are some ultra-luxurious glamping options across the UK to ensure everyone stays warm and has fun.


Real beds, wood burners and hot running water are available in most glamping sites, not to mention beautiful views (and maybe a nearby pub). Take along some fairy lights to make it pretty and some marshmallows to toast over the fire and you’ve got the recipe for an amazing hen party with a difference.


3. Murder mystery


What could be a better combination than dressing up in your fanciest outfit, enjoying a three-course dinner and…catching a killer? Murder mystery hen parties are ideal for those who enjoy a healthy mix of luxury and drama, as hens compete to crack clues and solve the crime.


Get your 1920s gladrags on, sip on cocktails and enjoy delicious food as you mingle with fellow guests and professional actors, using your super sleuthing skills to work out whodunnit.


4. Wellbeing retreat


Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, so whisking the bride away on a weekend of meditation and mindfulness could be the perfect antidote to stress. Choose a location in the heart of the countryside for lots of fresh air and beautiful views, and book in some spa treatments and yoga sessions to give everyone a mental and physical boost.


After a couple of days to relax and regenerate, you’ll notice the difference in the whole hen party, and you’ll be adored by the bride for organising such a welcome break from wedding planning.


5. Wine tasting


If you’re keen to do some sipping at the hen do but aren’t a fan of the classic bar crawl, wine tasting is a far more relaxed and sociable option. Whether in a stylish city bar or a country vineyard, you’ll be able to enjoy a host of delicious wines as well as some tasty nibbles.


To add some extra touches, you could play some classic hen do games such as Mr & Mrs, or hand out some favours such as personalised bottle stoppers to each hen.


6. Scavenger hunt


Add the element of adventure to your bachelorette party by organising a fun scavenger or treasure hunt for everyone to get involved in. Challenges could range from getting a selfie with a stranger to creating a makeshift veil to finding someone with the same name as the bride.


The scavenger hunt can cover as much time and distance as you like, but be careful not to be too ambitious – you don’t want to tire everyone out! You could space out the challenges to have each hen check off an item every half an hour, or one in each venue.


7. Pottery making


For those unafraid to get messy and do something different, a pottery making class is a great choice for a more creative hen do. Expert instructors will demonstrate how it’s done before letting you get on the potters’ wheel to create a pot, bowl or mug of your very own.


You’ll then be able to have a go at painting your masterpiece – prizes for the best one! Afterwards, each hen will have a unique memento to take home as a party favour.


8. Life drawing party


If you’re hens of high culture (or you’re just feeling a bit cheeky), how about organising a life drawing class? Equipment is usually provided, and there’ll be an instructor to guide you and give you tips for creating your great artwork.


Not only will life drawing help you to hone your creative skills, but it’ll also guarantee a few giggles – especially if there’s free bubbly involved.


Looking for a beautiful Kent wedding venue to hold your big day? Take a look at what we offer at Bradbourne House.

A row of wedding dresses hanging up

Your guide to wedding dress shopping

Whether you’ve had your big day planned since you were six years old or you’ve never given it a second thought, shopping for your wedding dress can be stressful.


The amount of choice out there is overwhelming, from princess gowns to sleek styles and even elegant bridal jumpsuits. Not to mention the whole process of going into bridal salons, which can seem intimidating at first.


However, shopping for your wedding dress is one of the most exciting and emotional experiences you’ll have in the run-up to your big day. It should be fun, so we’re here to banish your worries and answer all the questions you have about wedding dress shopping, helping you to be prepared and most importantly, to enjoy it.


How far in advance should you get a wedding dress?


As you might’ve guessed, the answer is as early as possible. You might already have an idea of your dream dress even before you get engaged, but if not, it’s a good idea to start looking for inspiration straight away.


Ideally, your wedding dress should be purchased at least 6 months before the big day, to give you time to go to fittings (the average bride has 3 fittings) and to get the dress altered, which can take some time.


What to know before wedding dress shopping


Know your budget

It’s essential to have a maximum price in your head before heading to the bridal salons, to avoid you blowing all your wedding budget in one go. Remember that this figure isn’t just for the dress itself, but also for any alterations that might need doing, as well as a possible appointment fee for the salon visit.


We can’t stress this enough: don’t try on dresses that are above your budget, even if they’re beautiful! You don’t want to risk falling in love with one that’ll break the bank.


Call ahead

If you just pop into a salon without booking and expect to be able to try on all the dresses, you’ll likely be disappointed, especially if you’re going shopping at the weekend. To ensure some one-on-one time with a sales consultant, and to get all the necessary information beforehand, make sure to call ahead and book an appointment.


Allow plenty of time

You might be lucky enough to find ‘The One’ on your first try, but you might still be unsure on your 10th or 20th gown. Don’t worry if this is the case, but don’t expect to be done and dusted within a couple of hours.


Pick a day when you have no other obligations, and you can spend as long as you like browsing a couple of shops and trying on dresses without any time restrictions.


Gather some ideas

You may have no idea what you’re looking for, and that’s alright, but it’s still a good idea to do some research beforehand. The more specific you can be with the sales assistants – whether it’s a preferred colour, shape or material – the more suited the options they can bring you, and the sooner you’ll find your dream dress.


Don’t take all your bridesmaids

It might be tempting to invite your whole bridal crew along to get a bit teary and take pictures of you in all the dresses. But chances are that a big group won’t be appreciated by the sales assistants, and a wider range of opinions might throw you off. It’s best to just bring along the two you’re closest to – maybe your maid of honour and your mum.


Bridal sizing is weird

Remember: bridal sizing is not like normal sizing. You won’t have the same size wedding dress as you do a normal dress on the high street, and that’s fine. For some reason, bridal gowns are always sized smaller, so be prepared to try on a bigger number than you usually do – and don’t stress about it.


The admin bit

A wedding dress is a big and expensive purchase, so both you and the bridal shop will need to protect yourselves in case anything goes wrong. You’ll most likely have to put down a deposit and sign a contract, so make sure you read all the small print about refunds, alterations and liability.


What to wear wedding dress shopping


Nude underwear is a must while trying on wedding dresses, especially if you’re going for the traditional white gown. Seamless and strapless undergarments are also a good choice to stop them from showing through the dress and ruining the look. Bring spares if possible – the more options the better.


If you’ve already bought your bridal shoes, make sure to take them with you so you can try them on with dresses. If you haven’t found any yet, take a pair with a similar heel height to ones you’ll be wearing so you can judge gown lengths.


Don’t go overboard with makeup and fake tan. You don’t want the nightmare of transferring a brown smudge onto the neckline of a £1,000 dress!


How to choose a wedding dress style


If you’ve started researching wedding dress styles, you’re probably overwhelmed with all the terminology already. Basque, trumpet, illusion, bateau? What do they all mean?


Try not to get bogged down with what’s on trend while you’re shopping, and just focus on what you like. Try on as many different styles as you want to, and even try on dresses that aren’t really your taste – there’s no harm in stepping outside your comfort zone, and wedding dresses will always look better on you than on the hanger.


Make sure to pick a dress that you can move, sit down and dance all night in. It needs to be comfortable as well as beautiful, as you don’t want to be worrying about the material ripping or not being able to have a slice of wedding cake when you’re having a blast at your reception.


Another key thing to keep in mind is the location and time of year that you’ll be getting hitched. If you’re tying the knot in a beautiful countryside garden in the height of summer, you don’t want to be overheating in long sleeves.


Who buys the bride’s wedding dress?


Weddings are steeped in tradition, and one of those traditions is that the bride’s family pays for the wedding dress, as well as the bridesmaid dresses. However, don’t feel like you have to follow the rules at all – more and more brides are choosing to buy their dress themselves, or split the cost with their partner.

A dinign table laid with crockery and flowers

Wedding breakfast ideas: What food should you serve?

Apart from seeing the happy couple tying the knot, we know that for guests, one of the most exciting parts of a wedding is the food. However, choosing your menu can be one of the most stressful parts of planning your big day.


The good news is that you have plenty of choice. The wedding breakfast (so-called because it’s the first meal after the couple are married) has traditionally been a sit-down, 3-course affair, but today’s newlyweds have practically any style of catering available to them.


Whether it’s Thai green curry or a chocolate fountain, couples can choose food that reflects their personality and fits in with the overall theme of their wedding. We’ve put together this guide to help you design the perfect wedding breakfast for you.


Our tips


Consider the time of year

If you’re holding your big day at the height of summer, it may not be the best idea to serve up soup followed by roast lamb. Think of what the weather might be like and whether your guests are likely to be milling around outside. Finger food is great for sunny days, whereas a festive feast would be welcome in winter.


Dietary needs

Thankfully, the majority of wedding caterers are now well-versed in catering for vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free guests. However, it’s always important to check that there’s a food option available for all manner of dietary needs and preferences. You don’t need the stress of worrying about a starving, grumpy guest on your big day.


Late night food

If you’re getting married early in the day and the wedding breakfast takes place soon after, chances are that everyone will be getting hungry towards the end of the night – especially after all that dancing. Making preparations for a nearly-midnight feast such as a pizza van or bacon sandwiches will ensure your guests go home very happy.


Do what you love

Our most important tip. When planning your wedding, it’s common for everyone and their mother to give their opinion on every decision you make. Just because the girls from work think you should have a doughnut wall doesn’t mean you have to (although that does sound good). Use your and your partner’s favourite dishes as a starting point and go from there. It will make it so much more special when your wedding breakfast is reflective of what you love.


5 amazing wedding breakfast ideas to inspire you


The traditional one

The classic wedding breakfast option isn’t going anywhere, and for good reason. There are few food options more indulgent than a 3 course meal, and sitting down together gives you and your guests the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company.


Traditional definitely doesn’t mean boring, either – a sit-down meal provides the opportunity for elaborate, creative plating that adds a sense of theatre to the occasion. You could also choose dishes with unique flavour combinations or unusual ingredients to step away from the norm. Equally, you can never go wrong with classic British fare – roast potatoes will always be a winner.


The sharing one

Food is a great conversation starter, so what better way to get guests bonding than with a selection of sharing platters? This family style of dining is great for a more casual wedding, and allows each table to sample a variety of different dishes in one meal. If it’s a glorious day, you could dine picnic-style, with nibbles and sandwiches laid out on colourful blankets and benches.


The finger food one

Ideal for warm weather weddings but enjoyable in all seasons, finger or fork buffets comprise a selection of small dishes that can be eaten in two or three bites, making them perfect for when guests are milling around with a drink in hand.


This style of wedding breakfast is good for socialising, as it allows for unbroken conversation, and can be a mixture of hot and cold nibbles. Just make sure you overcompensate for the amount of veggies in attendance, as the meat eaters will likely grab a bit of everything.


The build-your-own one

This trend started in the US but is gradually becoming a fixture in UK weddings. Guests can visit a make-your-own station to build a burger, decorate a cupcake or mix a cocktail of their very own. It’s a really fun activity to keep everyone entertained during the reception, and is a fairly low-maintenance way to do a wedding breakfast. For extra enjoyment, you could hold a competition to see who makes the most delicious treat.


The street food one

Having blown up in recent years, street food is now a staple in the wedding food scene. The amount of choice available for newlyweds is incredible, with feasts from all areas of the globe and a variety of Insta-worthy concoctions.


There’s no denying the novelty and fun factor of having a food truck at your wedding, and guests will love watching their meal be whipped up right in front of their eyes.


Don’t forget the drinks!


You may have decided on your dream wedding breakfast thanks to this article, but there’s still an essential component to consider: what are you and your guests going to drink? Wine is the classic choice for a sit-down meal, and Prosecco and Buck’s Fizz are popular choices for welcome drinks.


You could hire a mobile bar for a quirky touch, or even design a bespoke cocktail with your other half for your guests to toast you with. Of course, you’ll also need some non-alcoholic spritzers and juices for those who don’t drink.


If you’re still not sure about what to serve up on your big day, take a look at our wedding food and drink page for inspiration.


Wedding Speech Checklist: What Not To Do


Wedding speeches. Some people who are asked to do one revel in it. But let’s face it, most of us dread it. The pressure! This is your friend’s/sister’s/daughter’s most important day of their lives yet, and your speech should put the icing on the cake of this perfect day, but if not executed right, it might just ruin it. Don’t fret. It’s not Britain’s Got Talent and you will not get voted out. Remember that the guests couldn’t be more on your side. All they want is to celebrate the couple, and your speech could help them do just that. As long as you avoid a couple of pitfalls…


Wedding speeches have changed a lot over the years. Instead of your standard written speech presented to the guests, some people involve celebrities to perform the speech for them via video link, others resort to singing their speech, and a few years ago a maid of honour’s rap speech went viral.

The tradition of speeches given by specific people is also no longer set in stone. The father of the bride, the groom and the best man are now joined or replaced by brides, chief bridesmaids, best women, mothers of the bride and mothers of the groom. 

Whichever role you might be fulfilling at the wedding, you’ve been asked to give a speech, and that’s no mean feat. Here are five top tips on what not to do.


It’s not you, it’s them

Most of us love talking about ourselves, and oh, how tempting it is to fall into that trap when you prepare your speech. But remember the first rule – it’s about the couple, not about you. So when it’s your son or daughter who’s getting hitched, start by sharing your memories of them as a child. Don’t make this a moan about what a difficult toddler they were, instead share specific anecdotes that either make the guests laugh or make them go ‘aaawww’. Tell your guests about different times in your child’s life, ending with the time when they met their partner. Whatever you might think of their partner, for this once, put them on a pedestal. They are after all the person that your child has chosen to share their life with. Whatever you do, make sure your speech oozes with the love that you have for your child.

For the bride or groom, it’s all about love here. You can share with the guests how you met, why you were attracted to him/her when you knew they were the one and how they have changed your life. Don’t be afraid to declare your never-ending love for your new husband or wife. The crowd will love a little display of romance, deep down everyone does.

As the best man or woman, you have the trickiest task of getting it right, but when you do, you’re on to a real winner and the crowd will love you. Guests want a character sketch of the bride/groom that is enriched with humour. The trick is to lightly mock the groom/bride but to always do this with style and genuine affection. By all means, drag up some embarrassing anecdotes, but always ask yourself: ‘how would I feel if they would tell this about me?’. Always keep it light and positive.

The best man’s/woman’s speech should move smoothly from mockery to affection. Tell the crowd about the person’s husband/wife, how they met, how you knew this person meant a lot to them, and don’t forget to shower the husband/wife with compliments. You might like to end on a contemplative note, for example by imagining the happy couple in 50 years’ time.


Don’t lose any friends

Whichever relationship you hold with the couple, try not to offend either of them or any of the guests. So as a parent you might want to avoid telling stories about your child’s potty training and spotty teenage days, or anything else that will make your child’s toes curl in their beautiful new shoes.

Absolute no go’s for whoever is speaking are stories involving exes and those mentioning sex. Go easy on those anecdotes that mention alcohol and drugs, remember you might not embarrass the bride or groom, but you might shock those close to them. So, best to avoid mentioning the stag/hen do altogether…

Always use your common sense; it’s never funny to make racist jokes or comments about any of the families’ cultures or traditions. Leave out all profanities or jokes that are on the obscene or offensive side.

If one half of the couple has been a bit obsessed with the wedding preparations, don’t mention this. There’s a probability they might just be keeping it together now the day is finally here, and your ‘funny’ mention of the word bridezilla could be enough to send them into floods of tears, or worse, a full-blown tantrum.


Avoid the cheese

There’s nothing more difficult than trying to be funny. But if this doesn’t come naturally to you, try to avoid falling into the ‘Google speech’ trap. Cutting and pasting cheesy example wedding jokes (or whole speeches for the desperate) is never a good idea. So steer well clear of pretty awful one-liners such as “I’d like to start by congratulating (Name) on their excellent taste in speech givers”, or “Gosh, what an emotional day it’s been. Even the cake is in tiers”.

Guests will immediately spot the lack of authenticity. They might laugh out of politeness, but you will not make them cry with laughter. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural comedian. Stick with anecdotes, just tell the crowd what happened in your own, authentic way, and no doubt they’ll love it.

Throwing a cheesy game into the mix is also best avoided. You might be tempted to make the couple play a round of Mr & Mrs or The Kissing Game, but the likelihood is high that you’ll make them feel uncomfortable and embarrassed on their big day. Having said that, doing a sweepstake amongst the guests on how long the speeches are going to last, could actually be a fun way of breaking the ice.


Nobody likes the sound of your voice that much

This one is easy, keep it short – a wedding speech is not a eulogy! In the words of Richard Branson “When will people realise that a short speech is so much better than a long speech? Most of what anybody has to say of great note can fit on one side of the paper”. A simple rule here is to stick to 5 minutes, which equates to just over a one piece of paper. 10 minutes is the absolute max, after that, even the best speech givers will have lost the crowd.


Never wing it

Even if you’re a confident speaker and the best ad-libber around, never ever wing your wedding speech. Remember that this is the couple’s most important day of their lives so far, so you must respect this and do it justice by preparing the hell out of your speech.

So practise, practise, practise, and then practise some more. Read the words as many times as you can (around 200 times will make you say it without thinking) and practise delivering the speech so you get your intonation, body language and timings right. A good idea is to deliver the speech beforehand to someone who knows the couple and take their constructive criticism on board.

And whatever you do, don’t get drunk before your speech as you think it might help with your nerves and make you a better speaker. It won’t.

First Dance Wedding Song

How to Choose Your First Dance Wedding Song

When it comes to first dance songs, there’s a lot of pressure on the bride and groom to make it a good one. You may have attended a friends wedding and they used the song you had your heart set on, or you may just have no idea what song you’d like. Your first dance is an opportunity to show you and your other half’s personality and it’s the part of the day where everyone comes together to celebrate your love. But how do you choose the perfect first dance song? Not only has it got to have the right mood, but you’ve both got to like it and it also has to be a great song that will keep the party pumping.


To make things easy, it’s always advisable to choose a classic first dance song, one that will stand the test of time. You’re most likely to like it forever rather than the latest cheesy one-hit wonder. If slow dance songs aren’t really your thing, don’t be afraid to increase the tempo a little bit with a faster less traditional number. An upbeat first dance song will not only bring a smile to everyone’s faces, but it’ll also mean your friends and family will want to join you on the dance floor sooner rather than later and save you both from an awkward 3 minutes of solo dancing. If you and your significant other have the same taste in music deciding on a first dance song should be a little easier. If your favourite hits are completely different it might be a little harder and a compromise may be required. Whether you’re looking to have a romantic slow-dance moment, an immediate dance party or a first dance that doesn’t take itself too seriously, here are some ideas for wedding first dance songs.


1. Ed Sheeran – ‘Thinking Out Loud’

2. Etta James – ‘At Last’

3. John Legend – ‘All of Me’

4. Elvis Presley – ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’

5. Eric Clapton – ‘Wonderful Tonight’

6.  Ellie Goulding – ‘How Long Will I Love You’

7. Labi Siffre – ‘It Must Be Love’

8. Al Green – ‘Let’s Stay Together’

9. Elton John – ‘Your Song’

10. Elbow – ‘Mirrorball’

11. Tony Bennett –  ‘The Way You Look Tonight’

12. Frank Sinatra –  ‘It Had To Be You’ 

13. Frankie Valli –  ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’

14. The Beatles – ‘Something’

15. Lonestar – ‘Amazed’ 

16. Nora Jones – ‘Come Away With Me’

17. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross – ‘Endless Love’ 

18. Adele – ‘Sweetest Devotion’ 

19. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling from the La La Land Soundtrack – ‘City Of Stars’

20. Stevie Wonder’- For Once In My Life’ 


If you’re more self-conscious about doing your first dance ask your DJ to play your favourite tune, hold on together for 30 seconds and then ask everyone to join you on the dancefloor. The 30 seconds are for your wedding photographer to get some wedding photographers of the two of you together. And if the pressure of choosing a song gets too much, remember it’s your special day and you don’t have to have the first dance at all if you don’t want to.


Wedding Trends

Wedding Trends 2019

You’ve said YES and the dust has started to settle. Now it’s time for the hard work to start. Your head is spinning with schedules, seating plans, mood boards and seating arrangements (where on earth is strange Uncle Pete going to sit?) The initial excitement about organising your special day may have started to fizzle slightly as you run out of new ideas and inspiration.


Do not fear. We’ve put together all the top wedding trends for 2019 to help spark up your creative juices and give you and your future groom a fresh approach to your wedding day.


Dried Flowers

This year sees a growing trend for dried flowers, a perfect way to bring the outdoors indoors without the worry of having to tend to live blooms and foliage throughout the day. They’re also ideal for weddings in hotter climes as extreme temperatures can cause wilting in fresh bouquets.

Easier to transport and store before the big day, think about using dyed pampas grass, strawflowers and bunny tails, in contrast with aromatics like Greek oregano and Lavender for a dramatic wild and wispy look.

Dried flowers can also be matched with buttonholes, hair circlets, table decorations and centrepieces. Amaranthus Hanging makes a stunning floral wall hanging.


If you’re not completely convinced try mixing dried and fresh to create striking textures.

Colourful Confetti

With creating Insta worthy images playing a huge part in informing wedding trends a pop of colour in the obligatory confetti shot will ensure you stand out. Bold, bright and beautiful (and of course biodegradable) confetti will add a touch of festival vibes to the day.

Confetti made up of rainbow colours rather than the traditional block colour palette and metallics, including coppers and rose gold will feature a lot in 2019.


Illustrated Wedding Invites

The wedding stationery you choose will set the tone for your special day. As soon as your invite pops through your guest’s door they’ll have an idea about the vibe of the day. Your invitations are a way to make a real statement.

This year it’s all about the personalised touch and commissioning illustrations that reflect who you are as a couple. From original illustrations of the venue to drawings of you and your groom, whimsical freehand drawings will make for a romantic touch. It’s a lovely way for guests to have a peek into what you might have planned on the day.


Illustrated invitations can be completely unique and reflect all the elements of what makes your relationship so unique and special. Take a look at Polly Crossman’s intricate designs bursting with botanicals.


Classic Wedding Dresses

After years of decorative embroidery and lace detailing it’s time for dresses to be modern chic. Meghan Markle’s sleek tailored wedding dress with no embellishment has set the trend for the timeless and classic.

Dresses that compliment natural beauty and create a silhouette that perfectly suits a brides shape will be hitting the aisles this year.


Coral Colours

With Pantone announcing its colour of 2019 as ‘Living Colour’, we’ve fallen in love with this vibrant hue. It’s the perfect colour to incorporate in full or to add accents and flashes of colour. From coral coloured shoes peeking out from beneath layers of silk organza to cake toppers, flowers and decorations, this warm colour will add a joyful but calming touch to your day.


It works well across all seasons and contrasted with turquoise and teals it will be sure to add a smile to your guest’s faces.


Glitter Bar

Add some shimmer to your day and an interactive fun element for your guests to get involved with. From toddlers to grannies, everyone loves a bit of glitter. We love glitter and think every wedding should have a glitter bar. Glitter bonds people together (literally if you spill the glitter adhesive). It’s a great talking point and an opportunity for your friends and family to let go and partake in something a little risque with no risk involved.

Creating your own glitter bar is easier than you think. Grab some glitter in lots of colours (the biodegradable variety of course), some dedicated glitter gel (Vaseline works perfectly), a mirror and away you go.


Gospel Choir

There’s no escaping the pure joy a gospel choir creates. This wedding entertainment trend is booming thanks to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle having one at their wedding. Music is a great way to entertain your guests in the evening and at the reception. A choir could welcome guests as they arrive or during the ceremony.


Epic Veils and Capes

Bridal capes aren’t new, but innovative and fresh designs of this classic garment will be walking down aisles this year. From sheer embroidered to a ruffled 70’s cocktail number, bridal capes are perfect for the non-traditional bride looking for a unique accompaniment to her dress.

Priyanka Chopra’s spectacular 75-foot raw tulle veiling, held by six handlers as she walked down the aisle in Jodhpur towards her now-husband, Nick Jonas, has also set a trend for epic veils. Designers are encouraging that brides see veils as not only an add-on to the gown but as a part of the overall look.



One of the key wedding trends in 2019 will be about creating weddings and ceremonies with a reduced environmental and ethical impact.

Events such as weddings typically require a lot of resources so they have the potential to create a ton of waste and pollution. According to a Pinterest study, millennials and Generation Z are more interested in sustainability than those over the age of 38. So, it comes as no surprise to note that searches for sustainable wedding ideas have increased by 181%.


Statement Headpieces  

It’s all about the accessories and headpieces bringing the wow factor to weddings this year. From oversized floral to celestial crowns (think Beyonce Met Ball), this year is the year to go BIG.


Baroque-style embellished crowns have also become increasingly popular in recent years and thanks to Meghan Markle, tiaras are making a comeback too. We predict brides will be even bolder with their choice of headpieces in 2019.


Wedding Menu Trends 2019

Everyone loves a good wedding. The beautiful couple, the romance, the dress. But let’s face it, planning a wedding can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to choosing what food to serve your guests. When you invite friends and family to your wedding you’re asking them to come and be with you at a meal time, which means you need to feed them with something that they not only like, but is also suitable for their dietary needs. Your wedding spread doesn’t just fuel the party, it’s the perfect opportunity to infuse your personality and style into your special day and ensure your guests have a truly unforgettable experience.


Over the past couple of years, there’s been a  trend towards the more exotic and out of the ordinary, but 2019 is seeing a distinct shift back towards the more classic and traditional menu. From aesthetics to flavour here are some of the top food and flavour trends to watch out for this year… 


1. Homely Food

The recent trend towards a healthier outlook may conflict with the reported preference towards more homely comfort foods, but healthier versions of comfort foods are starting to make a regular appearance on wedding menus. The rise in demand for comfort food relates to the familiar and joyful experiences they provide, conjuring up emotive words like ‘smothered’ and ‘loaded’.

Expect to see healthy variations of classics such as Hot Pot, Macaroni and Cheese as a wedding is the perfect time to indulge in and experience those warm and nostalgic, fond feelings.


2. Personalisation

Offering an experience that feels tailored and personal will ensure that your special day is an unforgettable one for your guests. With diet choices like veganism and plant-based growing an impressive 360% in Great Britain over the last decade, menus need to reflect the change in eating habits. The fact that 26% of people consider themselves something as extreme as a picky eater, means your guests are likely to be looking for more choice.


3. Localisation

After recent food scandals and greater awareness about sustainable living, guests are looking for alternatives to the industrial food system and mass production. Guests are increasingly looking to fresh local produce and clarity about where their food came from.

Just like location and flavours, guests are looking to experience something out of the usual. Beer and wine from local microbreweries and distilleries will provide your guests with a truly local experience.  Another growing trend in restaurants is offering locally made spirits.


4. Grazing Tables

Grazing tables are brilliant for creating an informal vibe at a wedding and ensuring everyone gets a little of what they fancy. If there’s one thing that gets guests mingling, it’s a table piled high with delicious food choices. Whether you chose to skip the canapés and offer grazing tables as a cocktail-hour option, replace the main course with a family-style spread, or bring them out for late-night snacking, this is a fun and delicious way to look after your wedding guests. This is your opportunity to showcase local seasonal food and produce and adding personalised signage, flowers, herbs and greenery will guarantee a show-stopping spread.


5. Miniatures

This year no food is off limits in miniature form. What’s cuter than a massive cheeseburger? A tiny one. Instead of going for traditional canapés at your cocktail hour, consider shrinking down a few of your favourite mains. If you love ramen, do a soup shot. If you’re head-over-heels for tacos, ask your caterer to fashion bite-sized versions. Just about anything can be made miniature.


6. Late-night Wedding Food

Wedding receptions are now lasting longer, with 23% more couples opting to extend their festivities to run into the small hours. Looking after guests through the evening part of the celebrations is a rising requirement to keep everyone fully energised. After all the dancing and emotion of the day, typical late-night heavy snacks like pizza and bacon sarnies just won’t cut it anymore and are being replaced with unique eats that reflect a couple’s favourite comfort foods.

Adding a mix of sweet treats to balance out the savoury nibbles will also keep energy levels high and obviously a small taster of a tipple, or two.


7. Bowl Food

A big feature at Harry and Megan’s wedding, bowl food is here to stay in 2019. Larger than a canapé and around a quarter of the size of the main course, it’s served in miniature or hand-sized bowls and comes ready to eat with a small fork that can be eaten standing up.

The concept isn’t new, Asians have been practising it for centuries in different forms: Vietnamese Bo bun, Korean bibimbap or Japanese chirashi.

The star bowl food comes from Hawaii, The Poké bowl is healthy, pretty and tasty. Typically consisting of small dice of raw marinated fish, thin slices of fresh vegetables, and rice or quinoa. This trend is not for everyone and has been described by The Telegraph as “good news for dry cleaners.


8. Vegan Wedding Food

2019 heralds a shift towards more inclusive options. With more than an estimated two million people in the UK living with a diagnosed food allergy (Food Standards Agency, 2017) menus are now being considered from a reduced-allergen focus entirely. Guests will like to know that their dietary requirements will be taken care of whilst still being able to enjoy a delicious meal. The core of this trend is creating a menu that works for everyone, so the same experience can be relished regardless of dietary requirements or allergies.


9. Edible Flowers and microgreens

Bringing a touch of the outdoors inside will be a huge trend this year. Expect to see floral flavours incorporating into and adorning cocktails, cakes and favours. Bold flowers are set to continue to decorate the wedding plate in a big way this year. Flowers make a perfect decoration for food photos and Instagrammers.

Contributing powerful aromas and flavours to dishes, this trend will delight and surprise your guests. Some are spicy, and some herbaceous, while others are floral and very fragrant. From calendula, dandelions, hibiscus and roses, there’s sure to be floral addition that will perfectly compliment your menu choices.


10. Elevated more formal food experiences suggests that after years of seeing the wedding industry move towards an ‘unconventional’ food experience, they’re seeing a trend towards a traditional plated experience with elevated service,” says Bill Coyne, director of business development at Cloud Catering & Events. “As the industry continues to seek exciting, innovative new ways to integrate food and beverage into weddings, there seems to be an appetite and nostalgia for formal dinner service’, much like the trend towards more traditional and homely dishes.  


Getting married this year? We’d love to hear what you’ll be serving on your special day.

Your Guide to a Beautiful Spring Wedding

Kent is the Garden of England, with breathtaking countryside, stunning coastline and world-famous attractions. Now that winter’s fading away, it’s the perfect setting for a Spring wedding. You may be thinking that Summer is the traditional go-to wedding season, but there are so many reasons to have a Spring wedding. And if it’s good enough for Beyonce and Jay-Z who got married on 4th April, it’s good enough for us!



1. Delicate Palettes

We adore pastel colour schemes. Subtle greens, pinks, blues and yellows complemented by the backdrop of the natural beauty of the season. A blush theme can be so romantic. Fresher and brighter shades can be a unique change from the rich heavy jewel colours of Winter and Summer.

Spring is also the perfect opportunity for your guests to wear something a little different from the usual summer wedding attire and really let your and their personality shine.


2. Fresh Flavours

Spring brings with it an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, providing a fantastic choice to create a delicious seasonal wedding menu. When it comes to wedding food ideas the variety of British produce available in Spring makes for some exciting ingredient choices. Spring Lamb, gooseberries, rhubarb, radish, Jersey royals, samphire, asparagus and a plethora of seafood including lobster and crab, will bring a fresh, sophisticated element to your day.

This is your chance for you and your guests to experience something a little different when it comes to flavours and ingredient combinations.


3. Spring Blooms

As Spring starts to bloom so do the most beautiful flowers. In addition to gorgeous Peonies being in season, you can choose from Roses, Hydrangeas and Tulips. Pale pinks and warm yellows; you’ll be spoilt for choice when discussing options with your florist.  

Delicate blooms and sweet scents. Here at the house, our Orchard will be in full bloom and the driveway bursting with Daffodils.


4. New Beginnings

Spring is synonymous with rebirth and full of new energy as we leave the darker colder months of Winter behind. So, what better time to get married? Spring is a time of renewal and new life. Guests will have something to look forward to after the cold short days of winter and be in a brighter more positive mood as they look forward to the warmer months. And of course, it’s a time for new arrivals like the fluffy goslings who’ll be arriving at this time of year on our lakeside.


5. Less Demand

If you’ve set your heart on a venue, chances are that lots of couples have too. High demand and competition during the peak summer period may mean you miss out on the dates you want. If you’re booking at short notice missing out on your dream venue completely. Suppliers and your guests will find it easier to book accommodation at this less busy time. You may even be able to pick up some out of season discounts and packages.

The cheapest months for your wedding would be January, March, April and November. During these months, vendors are typically more available and less expensive.


6. Greater Availability

Got your eye on a leading local band? If you’re getting married in spring, it will be a little easier to secure your favourite suppliers. Unlike the summer months, where you’ll find some suppliers getting booked up in advance, spring wedding dates are more widely available. With more availability come potential discounts. Friends will also be thankful that weddings are spaced throughout the year as there aren’t so many other commitments as the Summer Holidays and weddings to attend every weekend until the start of October.

Believe it or not, you’re a bit more likely to get some better wedding presents when you get married in early spring. After ‘dry’ January is over, people have more money to send again, but it hasn’t yet hit summer so guests aren’t bogged down with expenses from holidays and other weddings.


7. Eggsquisite Decorations

In Spring wedding table settings can have a more relaxed feel, or you could go full on Easter themed. If you’re creating Wedding Favours – seed packets are a cute and different idea to include and ideal for Springtime. You could also give away small baskets full of decorated Easter Eggs. A creative touch that guests won’t forget.


8. Great Light

Lighting is everything when it comes to photographs on your wedding day. It may sound strange, but the fresh bright light of Spring is perfect for capturing stunning photographs. Cloud cover provides much better lighting for stunning shots than highly sunny, cloudless days.


9. Perfect balance of hot and cold

The milder temperatures of Spring means that getting married at this time of year is ideal as you’ll be able to benefit from the best of both worlds. The perfect temperature. A combination of indoor and outdoor wedding photography will create opportunities for a variety of memorable shots.

There’ll still be a chance of rain, so be prepared with umbrellas and wellies that you and your guests can pop on if needed!


10. Stand out from the crowd

Who doesn’t like to stand out? Your wedding is a chance to really let your style and personality shine through. Choosing a Spring wedding will offer your guests a unique and unforgettable experience. Marrying out of the usual Summer period will add a real twist to your special day.

Each season has benefits and advantages, and Bradbourne House is the perfect backdrop regardless of weather or season.