Bridal Diaries: Marie & Joe – Part 1

This week I’m excited to introduce you to one of A Whole Lot of Lovely’s brides to be, Marie, who will be marrying her groom, Joe, in September this year. With not long to go, over the next couple of weeks, Marie will be sharing with you a little bit about her journey so far from meeting her husband to be, to their engagement, planning their wedding and preparing for their big day.

So with introductions done, over to Marie to tell us more about their story in Part 1 of their Bridal Diaries feature…

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“I first met my partner Joe in the first year of infant school, he was actually my first ever boyfriend. Check us out in our picture together from Guitar Class! I told my mum back then that I was going to marry him – all be it I told her we were going to get married at the back of our village’s local Police Station(?). As things go, later in primary school I planned on marrying another childhood boyfriend at the back of the Fire Station – he turns out to be one of Joe’s best friends and one of the ushers at our Wedding …the things kids come out with! Joe and I went all the way through school together but went our own separate ways – in fact we didn’t speak again properly again until we had left school.”

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“Our first meeting as adults came on a random night out with the girls. I started up a conversation with Joe and took a liking to him.  He happened to tell me where he would be the next night, so dragging one of my bridesmaids along I took her to a local pub only to find after much waiting and drinking that he was a no show – which I still don’t let him forget to this day!  Months later our paths crossed again and during our conversation a friend of mine happened to interrupt and ask him where he was taking me out next…  from that moment on we have been together ever since.”

“As Joe is in the Navy we have always done the long distance relationship thing, seeing each other every weekend or every other weekend due to his work commitments. I’ve always tried to see this as a positive in our relationship – it has kept things exciting and even now I still get butterflies after not seeing him for a week or two.  It does have its drawbacks, he isn’t always there when I need him or just want a cuddle at the end of a crappy day and visa versa for Joe. However, we work hard to make the best of it.”

The Proposal

“I always said that if Joe ever proposed to me I sort of knew what I wanted in my head: just the two of us somewhere outside, romantic with a fairy light background, a total surprise.  Joe had arrived back early one Friday and arranged to pick me up from work. I’d had a really bad day to the point I had walked into Joes car crying my eyes out, mascara stained and not looking my best in a drab grey uniform.  On the way home, Joe asked if I’d like to go a different route home – I told him I didn’t care which route we went, I just wanted to get home and in the bath. After a bit of general chit chat and a bumpy ride down the country lanes, Joe pulled over in a dirt track lay-by. He started with what I recognised to be a proposal speech, to which I pleaded after the day I’d had “please, please don’t do this here!” Like a trooper he carried on bless him. I felt for him, he told me apparently he had planned a special setting, but seeing “the state of me” (his words not mine!) he thought the proposal would cheer me up. I said yes but I think he felt it wasn’t the proposal he’d planned or that I’d dreamed of, and he told me that he’d ask me again.”

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“A few months down the line in December 2010 we stayed at Joe’s quarters in Plymouth for his team’s Christmas party. The day after as we were suffering from a bit of a hangover Joe’s mum called him. I could hear her on the phone word for word, and I heard her ask him “have you done it yet?”… so much for a surprise! That night we had arranged to visit some of Joe’s friends who lived in Exeter. Driving out of Plymouth Joe seemed agitated and told me that he needed to go back to Plymouth. By this time it was snowing, and we arrived at a beautiful snowy seafront location. He asked me to take a walk with him. He took me to the Plymouth Hoe, where he proposed in the snow on one knee, with the stars twinkling above. Whilst part of me wishes I didn’t know it was coming, the proposal was pretty much perfect. We couldn’t wait to share the news with our friends and family!”

Dealing With The Unexpected…

“We wanted to enjoy being engaged before diving in head first into wedding planning, but to throw us completely off track a month later we found out we we’re expecting our first baby together so thoughts of a wedding we’re immediately dashed for thoughts of nappies, baby grows and pushchairs. Once our little bundle of joy Thomas arrived, we knew that once we got used to parenthood we wanted to start to try and arrange the wedding.”

“Then surprise number two came along and we found out that we were expecting again. Not only this but also that Joe was being posted to serve in Bahrain for 5 months. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for us as a family. It was a tough period for us all – it meant Thomas wouldn’t see his daddy, Joe would miss out on some of his most precious moments, and my growing bump. I knew it was probably harder for Joe as although it was hard for us, he was the one missing out and not having his family around. Thankfully, he made it back in December 2012 just in time for his second son Jack to be born.”

“In July 2013 we decided that we needed to get back on track and set things in stone as we wanted to start living together as a family. Finally we were able to start planning our wedding… and it definitely wasn’t going to be behind the village Police Station!”

*          *          *

I hope you loved the first part of Marie’s story – a great reminder that marriage isn’t just about the wedding day, it’s about two people’s bond, how they face the unexpected and how they have a stronger relationship for it. Join Marie next time to find out how the planning for their special day has progressed since then in Part 2 of her Bridal Story.

Now over to you – what’s your story? How did your groom propose? Have you had to overcome the unexpected? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

And if you don’t want to miss out on Part 2 (as sometimes Facebook doesn’t show everyone business posts), be sure to sign up for A Whole Lot of Lovely Updates below, in the opt in sign up at the bottom of the page – you get a free guide at the moment too!

Emma xoxo

Organising Your Ideas and Using Pinterest

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So… you’re planning your wedding or other special occasion. You might have already read my previous planning posts {seven planning questions; bringing personality into your planning; finding ideas that are totally you – if not, take a look!} and now your knee deep in wedding magazines, glued to the internet and have a head full of ideas and inspiration for your special day.

I’m here today to help you assemble all of those ideas (before they turn your brain to ‘wedding mush’) into some sense of order, so you can map your ideas and inspiration and ultimately come out the other end with plans perfect for your celebration!

Creating A Mood Board / Pin Board / Scrapbook

If you want to assemble everything you’ve seen and loved into some sort of order one of these will help you. Effectively, they are all variations of the same thing. You can create a mood board on a large piece of cardboard or in a scrapbook or wedding planning book if you want to do this, using magazines and photographs {it can make a nice keepsake!}. Or if you prefer to browse online, you can create your pin board on a site like Pinterest and save on space {I’ll explain more about Pinterest later in the post}.

The idea couldn’t be simpler…

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Organise Your Images

You want to organise your images into specific elements of your special day. Below are some ideas of the categories you might want to split them into – some are wedding specific, so choose those that apply to you…

· Wedding Dress
· Bridesmaid Dresses
· Grooms Attire
· Attendants Attire
· Flowers
· Invitations and Stationery
· Venue
· Food & Drink
· Decorations
· Cake
· DIY Ideas
· Favours
· Attendants Gifts
· Colour Schemes
· Wedding Jewellery
· Honeymoon
· Vows
· Planning Tips

If you’re working on a board, allocate different areas of the board to different categories. If you’re using a book, separate your ideas onto separate pages. If you’re on Pinterest I’d suggest creating a different pin board for each element above. Feel free to add any others you’d like.

Keep your ideas streamlined…

It can be tempting to choose to stick / pin everything you see that you like. STOP! Don’t do that… it will only serve to confuse you and make you indecisive. The best way to select images is to ask yourself:-
· Would this work with the type of wedding I had in mind?
· Is it achievable within my budget?
You don’t have to choose to take forward every idea you collate, but they need to serve to give you a feel for the style you are wanting that element of your occasion to take.

Using Pinterest to Collate Your Ideas
You may already be familiar with Pinterest, and are already using it for collecting images of things you love or want to try. If so, it will naturally fit for you to set up your Wedding boards and organise your images through the application too. If you’ve not used Pinterest before, I’m here to give you a brief overview how it works and my top tips for planning.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an application which allows you to collate images you like and ‘Pin’ them onto a virtual pin board, where you can refer back to them at any time you like. It also is an excellent resource for researching new ideas, as it acts as a social community and allows you to search other people’s pinned images by category. It also allows you to follow the pin boards of people you find who’s content inspires you, and provides a constant feed of the images they pin for you to look through.

It is also **HIGHLY ADDICTIVE** – I jest not!

How can I sign up for Pinterest?

Visit the Pinterest Website to sign up online. Their website gives you an overview of how it works here.

Once you have an account, you can start pinning away. This is a useful YouTube Tutorial from Thrifty Ninja to show you the basics of pinning and using Pinterest. It talks through how you can set up a pinning bookmarklet in your browser that allows you to pin any image you see on the web. Also most blogs, online magazines and websites have Pin buttons next to images and articles so you can pin them directly to your boards.

Pinterest Etiquette

Be respectful, be yourself, and give credit for anything you pin. It’s important that you never pass of other people’s images as your own due to potential copyright infringement. The best way to manage this is to pin using the pin button or your bookmarklet – the source will always be linked and listed then. Also in the free form text box as you pin, always give credit to the source. If you’re pinning from an image already on Pinterest, and there is no source listed, clicking on the image may take you to it. Avoid pinning images without the original image source listed where possible.

Personal Boards
These are pin boards that can only be seen by you and whoever else you assign access to. They are great for planning surprises and for collaborating with other people. You might want to consider personal boards for capturing your images of:-
· Wedding Dress
· Wedding Party Gifts
· Honeymoon (if it’s a surprise)
· Vows (if they are personal and sentimental)
Your maid of honour and best man may want to set up their own Personal Boards to pin ideas for the Hen and Stag party. You might want to invite your florist, wedding planner or bridesmaids to access one or two of your personal boards if you want to collaborate with them on ideas. At the time of writing this, Pinterest offers a maximum of three personal boards, so decide which are the most important to keep underwraps!

Top Three Planning Mistakes To Avoid when using Pinterest…

1. Don’t go pinterest mad and pin absolutely everything you see that you like! You’ll have a nightmare wading through your images and it could confuse your decision making. With each pin ask the two questions at the beginning of the post – does it fit with what I had in mind? Is it {or something like it} achievable for my budget?
2. DIY tutorials are great on Pinterest, but don’t get caught up with the novelty and decide to try and make every great idea you see. Planning a wedding is a busy time, so by all means be creative, but also be realistic over how much time you have to create DIY efforts. Enlist the help of family and friends if you come across a great DIY find that you just have to incorporate into your day!
3. Don’t give everything away. It is good to have elements of your day that are a surprise or a lovely little touch that they didn’t know about. It’s sooo tempting to share all of your exciting finds with friends and family… save something back so they get to fully enjoy your special touches on the day itself. That might mean keeping knowledge of your Pinterest addiction and page details to a minimum amongst your friends and family!

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I hope you’ve found this post useful, and feel inspired to organise your research using one of the techniques above. Pop over and take a look at my Pinterest Boards – there is plenty of inspiration you can Pin onto your own!I’d love to hear how you get on – leave a comment or drop me an email with how your planning is going. How are you researching your ideas for your celebration? Do you have any tips for other readers you can share?

Happy planning!

Emma xoxo

A New Year Guide to A Whole Lot of Lovely

guestsI thought I’d kick off the New Year with a little post to wish you a very happy 2014 and give any of you newbies to A Whole Lot of Lovely a peak at what my little business is all about.

First things first, a HUGE Happy New Year to you all. I hope you’ve had some really fantastic festive celebrations and are now ready to leap into 2014 headfirst and make it your year! If you’re newly engaged or a recently new visitor a particularly sparkly hello from me {she waves a little crazily} and thanks for joining me in my quest to share with you all A Whole Lot of Lovely from the world of weddings and special occasions!

You’ll find more about how A Whole Lot of Lovely started over on my home page - take a look at my story here to see why I devote a lot of my time to helping create that personal touch through beautiful stationery and special decorations and gifts.

So how can you get the most from A Whole Lot of Lovely? facebook-7First up, be sure to follow A Whole Lot of Lovely on Facebook – my Facebook page is where I share regular inspiration for your special celebrations from both my business and lots of other fantastic suppliers, including styling ideas, colour schemes, real weddings and celebrations, planning tips, links to super sweet DIY ideas and gift ideas. My page is here – be sure to change your settings so you don’t miss out on any of the lovely…

If you love your Twitter, follow A Whole Lot of Lovely there to catch up on some more of the above, and to hear the ramblings of a crazy lady {yep, me!} in pursuit of all things lovely. My twitter page is here.

Finally, if you’ve not already become addicted to Pinterest like me, I would definitely recommend it – it’s like a virtual pin board of your favourite things, Pinterest is perfect for inspiration and for storing visual information and ideas for future plans or projects you might have {watch out for my forthcoming blog post about using Pinterest when planning a special occasion}. You can find A Whole Lot of Lovely on Pinterest here – select follow to keep up to date with all my lovely pinning.

Most importantly, if you want to get the most from A Whole Lot of Lovely, pop by on my website like you have today. My blog is updated every couple of weeks with a new post. I always keep a good mix of planning tips for weddings and special occasions, feature best bits from other lovely suppliers and providers, and share with you stationery, decorations and gifts that are available to order directly from me. You can subscribe to my RSS blog feed here. If you’re new to my site, or didn’t spot some of my 2013 posts, below are a few you can take a look at!

So, it’s lovely to have you with me for our 2014 journey! Grab a cuppa, put your feet up and take a little time to browse my Wedding Stationery collections, the decorations, gifts, wedding lovely and seasonal goodies in my Little Shop of Lovely, and if you have any questions, if you want to buy any items on the site, or if you’d like to book a stationery order in my diary, just drop me an email to enquiries@awholelotoflovely.com

Last but not at all at least, one thing to know about me is that I love to hear from you! Whether you’ve been with A Whole Lot of Lovely since 2013, or if you are a new visitor, come say hello in the comments below! Tell me what special occasions you have this year, and where you’re up to with your planning. Is there something you’d like to see covered in a blog post? … I can’t wait to hear from you!

Here’s to a very Lovely 2014… good to have you with A Whole Lot of Lovely for the ride!

Emma xoxo

{Image Credit – Wedding Party Celebration:- Photo Love Photography}

Lots of Lovely Best Bits – w/c 09.09.13

A Whole Lot of Lovely has been super busy this week. Amongst the orders I have been busy finishing off and shipping a fabulous Glorious Gatsby order for a Gatsby themed American Wedding, and some beautiful Save the Dates with a Vintage Beetle twist! Keep an eye on my facebook pages for pics after the couples have shared them with their guests.

Amongst all the pretty paper fun, I’ll be heading up north to Newcastle for the Great North Run this weekend, so today’s post has been scheduled ready for you as I watch the start of the race… I’m sure I’ll be pretty jealous that I couldn’t take part this year – it’s such a fantastic atmosphere up there and the feeling of achievement when you cross that finish line can’t be matched!

So hopefully whilst I’m stood in the cold, you’ll be nice and warm at home, so sit back with that Sunday brew and have a look at some of the best bits I’ve picked out to share with you this week. Enjoy!

- Emma xoxo

 

Finding Ideas that are Totally YOU

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Morning you lovely lot! This week I want to share some super words of wisdom to help you think about where to find your inspiration from planning your special celebration.

If you weren’t with us over the last two weeks, you may have missed some of my pre-planning thought provoking exercises that will help you make your special day unique . If you missed them, have a read as they will help make sense of today’s post:

With blogs, magazines, the internet in general and social media applications like Pinterest, you certainly won’t be struggling to find images and ideas for your special day and celebrations! But with the sheer volume of content out there, how do you make sense of it all and most importantly ensure the ideas you collect are the right ones to wow your guests and create those lasting memories you’re after? That, my lovely readers, is exactly what we’re looking at today.

In this series of posts, I can’t say it enough… it has got to be all about YOU. So first things first go back to your answers to the seven questions from week one to remind yourself of what you decided was important for your day, and also have a read of the words you came up with when you were thinking of your unique wedding concept last week. What was important to you, and how did you want your guests to feel? Use these ideas to guide you when collecting your ideas and inspiration.

Home-Emma-CaseOk, so now we have our concept as our framework, where should we look for ideas? My first rule of idea hunting is to look outside of the industry that represents what you’re doing. It is very easy to get sucked into the trap of only looking at wedding pictures and ideas to inspire you when planning your wedding day. If you do that you will find some lovely ideas, but the chances are that a lot of these things will be someone else’s unique ideas, and not your own. To create something meaningful to you, I would suggest you cast your net wider…

1. Your Lifestyle – There is no better way come up with fantastic personal ideas than drawing them from your own lifestyle. What type of fashion do you go for? What interests and hobbies do you have? Think about your home… what look does it have, what décor do you like? You can even stretch this as far as the colours and textures in your home. In my design work I often find prized possessions and family heirlooms can also be a great source of inspiration to bring into ideas for your special day.

2 – Your Venue – If you have already decided on where you want to hold your special celebrations, or even if you have only decided on the type of venue you are looking for, look for inspiration and ideas that are shaped by it. If your venue is a country hotel with beautiful gardens, look for English Country Garden ideas… if you have decided a fun filled outdoor celebration, keep an eye out for rustic country touches or fun fair ideas.

Your venue may well have some history or unique features that you could draw ideas or inspiration from, like this stunning floor from Emma Case’s photograph. I am thinking immediately how this could be worked into a motif on invitations and stationery for the day! When you know your venue, consider the room, look for ideas that will tie in with the colours, textures and space already in there.venue-floor-emma-case

3 – Design Trends – Use current trends to inspire you – colours, textures, and popular styling are all areas you can get ideas from. The key here is not to draw on ideas purely because they are in fashion. Challenge yourself around these – do they fit with your seven questions? Do they fit with your wedding concept? Are they you? If so, go for it! (If not, steer clear!)

4 – Nature - Get yourself outdoors to pick up some ideas and inspiration! You can turn this one into something fun with your other half… have a day out or a nice long walk either somewhere you enjoy being together or somewhere new. See what colours and textures spark your imagination. You might even come across something on your little day out that might feature on your big day.

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5 – Blogs, Magazines and Pinterest – Now I know I said before that we need to cast the net wider, but it’s ok to indulge in this if we do it the right way. If it’s a wedding you’re planning, then you will naturally gravitate towards this type of content… and enjoy it because there are so many fantastic photographs and images out there! A few of my personal favourite blogs for wedding inspiration are Rock My Wedding; Boho Weddings; Rock n Roll Bride; Elizabeth Anne Designs; Style Me Pretty; Emmaline Bride and Magnolia Rouge. I love to browse these on a Saturday morning with a cuppa to keep up to date on what’s happening in wedding world.

A great way to access blog content easily is to subscribe to a Blog Reading platform like Bloglovin – these sites pull all material together in one place to make it easy to browse ideas and inspiration in a simple format without having to trawl the internet yourself. To make life even easier for you, here at A Whole Lot of Lovely you will find a summary of some of the best bits from around the internet on my blog on a Sunday – keep up to date by subscribing for updates at the bottom of the page if you want weekly access to some particularly lovely posts from key wedding and lifestyle blogs.

There are also plenty of monthly wedding publications to choose from through from Brides to Wedding Ideas – many of these also now have a decent online presence too. The overriding thing to remember with the content that you will find online and in publications is that you need to stick to your wedding concept. A lot of the content you will see will be other people’s unique ideas, and whilst it’s great to be inspired by the colour palette’s and how other people’s days have been put together, if you find something you like challenge yourself before you save the link / cut out the picture / pin it… is it you? Would it create the feeling and emotion that you decided you were after? How would it make your guests feel? Do you have any personal connection to it? Seek out those ideas that really work with your wedding idea and reflect your personality.

So with a ‘Take me Out’ Paddy McGuiness style sound and lighting… the power is in your hands! I’ve armed you with some pointers on how you can make sense of everything out there, and how you can avoid the trap of merely repeating other people’s ideas. Now it’s over to you to peruse the pretty and find ideas and inspiration that fits with the wedding concept you have decided on.

Next week we’ll be looking at how we can collect these ideas and inspiration… from old fashioned scrapbooking through to getting the most out of Pinterest. For this week I’ll leave you with your keepsake card for the week for you to cut out or Pin using the pin button below.

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If you want to keep updated from A Whole Lot of Lovely on planning and lots of other pretty, you can subscribe to my updates at the foot of the page and you will receive a free Planning Guide just for signing up!

For now let’s share – I’d love to hear where your favourite places for inspiration and ideas have been… drop me a comment below and share with me and my other readers your favourite spots for inspiring content!

Emma xoxo

{Image Credits: all photographs used are done so with the kind permission from the talented Emma & Pete over at Emma Case Photography who captured these beautiful shots.}

Bringing Personality into your Planning

 

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Hi and welcome to this weeks instalment of Lovely Planning Top Tips! I’ve designed this series to help my readers and clients plan a truly meaningful celebration with lots of personality and memory making quality. To give you some fab planning tips I’ll be drawing from my experience in helping my clients pull personality and the real ‘them’ into their celebration stationery.

Last week on the blog we looked at the seven questions to think about before you start the planning process.  If you didn’t catch it, have a read here, as your answers to the questions will help you with the next step of our planning.

This week we’re looking at the next steps and how to come up with a unique wedding concept that is all about you. Feel free to replace wedding with ‘baby shower’ or ‘hen party’ or ‘birthday party’ as each of the planning top tips I’ve created for you can be translated into planning any special celebration. Yep – you can thank me later!

If you want to plan a really personal celebration, read on to join me and take the next step on our planning journey…

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So you’ve thought about the vision for your special celebration – the what’s, the where, the when, the who and the why (it’s all here if you still need a read!). Next up is time to start focusing on the concept of your celebration itself.

So what do I mean by concept? I mean the ideas that bind all those finer details of your day together. I always try and get a feeling for my customer’s wedding concept when I start working with them. We explore what’s important to them right at the beginning, and when I work that way with a client, the end result really wows their guests, and gives meaning to their special day.

When planning a wedding, you’ll probably get lots of people asking you all about it, and some of them will be bound to ask about the T word… what your ‘theme’ is. A theme is a style choice that runs through each aspect of your day. It can be a colour or a particular look. I’m here to tell you… don’t worry about a ‘theme’! By jumping in and choosing details and a theme without creating a concept that is personal to you, you can end up with a disconnect between your celebration style, and you. Ultimately, you could really miss a trick in making something memorable for you and your guests. But you don’t need to make that boo boo, because you know now! Before you get involved in looking into the wealth of ideas and details out there and choosing a ‘theme’, I’m suggesting you revisit some of your answers to your seven questions from last week, and then follow the little brainstorming plan below, to create your own very personal concept.

1. Recap what you’ve decided so far. First things first, have a read of your seven answers from last week. You have an idea from those seven questions the type of celebration you are looking at planning.

2. It’s all about the emotion. The next thing for us to elaborate on is the first ‘what’ from last week – what feelings and emotion did you want your celebration to have? How do you want it to make your guests feel? As you think of these answers, write these words down.

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3. What’s your style? If you want to make this celebration personal it needs to reflect your own style. So what is your music taste; your fashion taste; the style of your home… or the style you’d like it to be? What are your personalities like? If you’re not sure, ask your friends and family to help you – what is their perception? What words do they come up with? Don’t panic if as a couple you like different things… dig down deep to unearth any common style interests, and make a note of pertinent words that describe all of these things.

4. It’s all about your relationship. If you’re planning a wedding, it makes sense that you focus on what is important in your relationship too. Maybe you have shared interests or hobbies? You may prefer to think more generally about shared memories or things that mean something to both of you or remind you of your relationship. Again, as you’re thinking of these things, write them down.

5. Word Perfect. Turning all of these elements into your big concept can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. All of the words you have written down give you a list of things you either want your wedding to be, or that you can incorporate into your day to make it all about you. First of all, have any words come up more than once? Highlight these, as these will be important to your concept. Brainstorm the words you have and make sure you understand what they mean. Different people can have different ideas so check the standard understanding with a thesaurus. You want to be confident if you ask for a ‘chic’ cake at your bakery, they have the same interpretation of word.

6. Perfect your Concept. At the end of your brainstorming, look to come up with several common words / special things to you, that encapsulate the concept of what you’re looking for, for your big day.

These things are all about you, and all about how you want your guests to feel. Yep, that’s right, you’ve gone and done it and created yourself a wedding concept! (Big pat on the back time me thinks – you definitely deserve a little glass of vino in celebration!) Stick with me because next week’s Top Tips will move onto looking at the best ways of sourcing inspiration and ideas for your special day based around your wedding concept. Don’t forget to drop by to check it out!

Don’t forget to pin your keepsake card onto your planning Pinterest board, or cut it out and keep it in your wedding planning book. You can just click on the Pin button below and choose the keepsake card photo.

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I’d love to hear whether you found this weeks tips useful… leave a comment below or drop me an email to let me know how this has helped you in your planning. Or perhaps you have a question? I’m all ears…

-Emma xoxo

{Image Credits: all photography images by Emma Case Photography - thank you to the lovely Emma & Pete for allowing me to share some of their beautiful wedding photography with you in this post. Check out their wonderful work over on their website.}