Balloons at weddings are they back??

Balloons at weddings are they back??

Wedding Balloons

We generally tend to associate balloons with our childhood these days, some of my most memorable events growing up – birthdays, prom, christmas parties – they all had one decor item in common – balloons.

For a while now though we haven’t seen this helium filled spheres of fun as a stylish way to decorate our weddings but it seems they may just be coming back in to fashion! Several balloon suppliers are cropping up on the wedding styling boards and groups and quite a few recent events and weddings I have attended have had balloons present if not as a feature on the day, but what is so different now than back then??

Our balloon making friends are becoming more creative that’s what the difference is. Gone are the days of simple coloured balloons being attached to a paperweight and put on the centre of a table. They now come filled with petals and feathers, they have decorated garlands, they come in every colour under the sun, even the completely see through ones are something to behold and yes they really do look beautiful.

These images are from a recent shoot with Grapefruit Balloons, Rina wanted some new images for her website so I employed the help of Ellene from Stylenvy to help beautify the venue. I think I can speak for both of us when I say how surprised we were at how beautiful these balloons were and they certainly drew lots of admiring comments from all of the clients when they started arriving at the venue.

Amanda Forman Photography balloons
Amanda Forman Photography Balloons
Amanda Forman Photography Balloons
Amanda Forman Photography Balloons
Amanda Forman Photography Balloons
Amanda Forman Photography Balloons
Amanda Forman Photography Balloons
Amanda Forman Photography Balloons
Wedding Budgets & Planning

Wedding Budgets & Planning

One thing I was very lucky with when it came to my own wedding was the fact that my now husband planned it for the most part. I can honestly say though that if we had been on don’t tell the bride ratings would have plummeted because he got everything right, all the way down to the last little detail.

That doesn’t mean however that I don’t know what went in to planning it and what to look out for when planning your own wedding, there were several things we learnt along the way and many of these were little obstacles we had to overcome in either the very early or very late stages of planning.

In my 12 things to do now you’re engaged post I mentioned that one of the first things you should do is to plan a budget, I also said to get your guest list in order  and start considering vendors for your big day. To help you out with this I have created this spreadsheet (with the help of Numbers by Apple) which includes tabs for your budget, savings, guest list, vendors and to do list.

In this I have tried to cover everything you need to think of in your budget. We forgot to factor in several things when we were planning our budget, things like your hotel the night before our wedding, dress alterations and wedding lingerie (let’s face it we are so caught up in the dress we don’t even think of it).

Below are some of the main things to think about, there are so many though that I will go over each of them in more detail separately.


Your wedding venue

Your wedding venue will be one of the biggest spends of your wedding day and this is where I think you need to take most notice when it comes to your budget. There are certain things you need to consider, what is the maximum capacity for the venue – does this tally with your guest list, does the venue provide it’s own caterers? if so do you have to use them or can you outsource this to someone else, do they provide anything else such as a DJ or venue styling? if so is this to your taste? can you bring your own alcohol? if so what is the corkage charge (make sure to check that if there is no corkage charge that there is also no cost for this through the caterers so you don’t get caught out). These little things will make a big difference to your end budget, especially if you fork out for a venue that includes in their cost a DJ or decor but you decide you don’t like it – what a waste of money.

Amanda Forman Photography - Wedding Budget


Your flowers and venue decor

This is something to take some time to think about. Whilst you can have a look at different florists and wedding stylists you should have a think about the type of wedding you are going for. Do you want flowers everywhere or are you going for something with a more rustic feel and less of the massive floral displays. This will really make a difference when it comes to planning how much to set aside in your budget. If big floral displays are your thing but you are trying to stick within a certain budget why not consider having the flowers from your ceremony moved over to your reception venue? Another thing to consider is that some wedding stylists will have good contacts with florists and may even be able to do the flowers themselves so if you know you are going to need some help with styling your venue it is always good to connect with the stylist first. Check out Ellene from Stylenvy on my little white book page.


Your wedding stationery

Once you have chosen your venue and have the date and guest list sorted you need to get inviting those guests. If your wedding is over a year away it is worth sending out save the dates to your guest list – be careful though – make sure you stress test the list – if you think there is even the smallest chance you won’t be in touch with that person in a year then should you really be inviting them to the wedding? A save the date with no invite to follow could be embarrassing. Your save the date should just show the date of the wedding and the location so people can plan if they need to travel, no need to worry about timings, your main invite will cover all of that. For the rest of the wedding you will need things like table numbers, place names (it is a good idea to add peoples menu choices on to the back of these so there are no questions on the day as to what people have ordered) and of course not forgetting the table plan. We used Eaton stationery for our wedding invites and this is a supplier that I thoroughly recommend. They were beyond helpful to us.

AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning
AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning


Your wedding dress and his wedding suit

Now – THE DRESS – If you are anything like me then this is something you will have daydreamed about since you were little. Your ideas for what you want will have been constantly changing and to be honest, until you have been and tried on several different dresses your ideas will continue to change. Your budget for your dress, as much as you can try and keep it to a certain amount is going to change if you fall in love with a certain dress so my advice is, if you really cant afford the extra £500 or £1000 for the dress you are about to try on then don’t – because once you love it there is no going back.

The Bridesmaid dresses, think about how many bridesmaids you want, and at the same time take in to consideration wether or not you are paying for their dresses – this could end up being very costly.

The Groom and his groomsmen. Often the guys end up getting their suit as a rental and hire them from the same place. The groom should always stand out though so encourage your groom to choose a different cravat colour and pocket square, or even a completely different suit to the groomsmen – I recently shot a wedding where the groom wore tweed – it was fantastic. Again, when budgeting you need to consider if you will be paying for the suits for the groomsmen (hint – this is usually the done thing)


Your photographer

Other than your venue, your photographer is one of the first things you should book. We book at least a year in advance and dates from April through to September are our busiest times. I would always suggest to meet your photographer in person, or at the very least by Skype prior to booking. It is so important that you get along and that your photographer understands what you are looking for.

At the end of the day, after your wedding, the food is eaten, the vows have been made, the decorations cleared and the first dance danced. The only lasting thing that can be passed down from generation to generation is your wedding album. This is why it is so important to choose the right photographer for you, and to get your photos printed and displayed in a beautiful album.

AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning
AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning
Amanda Forman Photography - Magician
AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning


Your entertainment

Entertainment is a perfect addition to any wedding and it really gives your wedding the wow factor but what should you choose? There are so many options.

  • A magician will delight your guests and leave them talking about his tricks all evening (see my magician recommendation here)
  • Or you could opt for a caricaturist, we had one at our wedding and our guest loved it, they were able to take their images with them straight away and we got ours sent in the post after the wedding.
  • Musicians, you can opt for a harpist or violinists to play you down the aisle for that extra special addition. For the evening a band always goes down well. I have shot so many weddings where a band has been booked and can honestly say that those weddings have had the liveliest dance floors.

These are all additional items in your budget of course but they are all worth thinking about and will really add that something extra to your special day

I am going to leave this here for now. I will talk about each item on the wedding budget in so much more detail in separate blog posts but now of course for the bit you have been waiting for – the wedding budget planner itself. I have opted against adding any figures in to this – I don’t know your circumstances or the type of wedding you are looking for and if you have 50 people to your wedding your budget will usually differ greatly to a wedding having to cater for 100 plus people.

I have however added in all of the formulas so you just need to add in your numbers and it will work it all out for you. I have added everything you need to think about in your budget and if you don’t plan on having some of these in your wedding you can simply delete them. You will also find a tab for working out your savings so you can plan how much you need to save and when to make sure you are ready, a guest list tab and I have added a checklist for things you need to do in the run up to the wedding.

You can download the spreadsheet using one of the links below. Please enjoy and feel free to share this post with your fellow brides and grooms. xx

AFP - Amanda Forman - Budget Panning

A Handful of Wedding Planning Tips [Part 2]

Another Brief Introduction Welcome to the second instalment of the Wedding Planning Tips saga. For those lucky enough not to be aware of Part 1; it happened in blog post far far away; where topics such as Budgets, Guest Lists & Save The Dates were discussed. For...

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The Richmond Hill Hotel & Lovekyn Chapel Wedding of Ash & Ruta

I First met Ash and Ruta on a Sunny evening in June this year. I knew immediately that theirs was going to be a wedding I would remember. The way they look at each other, and how they naturally are so at ease together, always giggling and making jokes was so wonderful to see and their wedding day was no different.

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12 things to do now you’re engaged

12 things to do now you’re engaged

By the time you are reading this you may well have already skipped through 1 and if you are anything like me you will have gone right on to 2 as well. But just in case here are my top 12 things to do now that you are engaged. I did try and keep it to 10 but my indecisive nature kicked in and I decided to keep all 12.

1. Have champagne and call your family and friends, let them know the good news

Take a moment to enjoy this yourselves first. However when you are ready to tell people be sure to give your parents the good news first, this is always better and much more exciting in person but if you are away then a call or Skype works just as well. Then tell other family and friends. Only once you have told everyone closest to you then it is ok to post the happy news on Facebook, twitter and Instagram get the news out there and take joy in all of the well wishes you are sent – it’s an exciting time! #engaged #isaidyes #newlyengaged

12 things to do now you are engaged

2. Get booked in for a manicure and take an engagement ring selfie

You are going to be showing of your engagement ring to everyone over the next few weeks, make sure you are putting a well manicured hand forward.

3. Insure your engagement ring

I know, not one of the most exciting tasks but it is very very important. This is one thing you don’t want to forget. Make sure you know what your policy covers you for if the ring is lost, damaged or stolen. You may be able to add this to your current home insurance policy so look into that too, just make sure you do it.

4. Think about the big picture/get dreaming (what type of wedding do you want)

Discuss what type of wedding you want, small and intimate or a big wedding with all your friends and family invited. Will you have a theme, what colours do you like, do you want boho chic or glam, do you veer on the side of tradition or do you want something a little more out there. The date of the wedding will have a big impact on this so think carefully.

5. Make a budget and get saving

The boring but necessary part – and always leave room for movement – If you are anything like me – no matter what you budget you will go over it slightly (or in my case astronomically but it was so worth it) thinking back I would have been slightly more generous in my guesstimations on costings because some things were surprisingly more expensive than I had planned for. I will be writing a separate blog on this with a spreadsheet for you to use so keep an eye out for that.

6. Think about your guest list

This is oh so important. When me and Tom got engaged we sat in the spa at the hotel (following my manicure) and wrote on some hotel paper a list of all of the people we wanted to invite. We soon realised that we had faaaaaar to many people on the list and then realised that in our excitement we had completely missed out some people that 100% had to be on there. Either way it is an important task that needs to be done especially before you go venue hunting as this will help narrow down where you can fit all of your guests. Don’t worry though, this list can always be altered.

7. Get the calendar out

The first thing anyone is going to ask (you know it’s true because you will have asked this yourself to so many of your friends) ‘ when is the big day’ this is where your thinking on what type of wedding you want will come in handy. If you are going for an outdoor boho style wedding then winter isn’t really going to cut the mustard. If however you are looking for warmer tones, candles and winter Pimms as a welcome drink then November through January will be perfect. Another thing to think about is the wedding venue ‘off season’ many venues offer a slight discount between October to January as it is their off season where as it will be full price for a summer wedding and of course there will be less availability.
booking your wedding date calendar

8. Get yourself some wedding magazines and look for bridal fayres

This is one of the best bits, it is now perfectly acceptable to buy all of those wedding magazines you have been staring at longingly for years. Don’t hold back, buy a variety of different ones to find the one you really love. You can even get these in digital format if you really want to, although there is nothing quite as nice as sitting with a glass of wine in the evening and flicking through your favourite wedding magazine.

Bridal fayres are also a fantastic place to get ideas and meet local vendors. I am a firm believer in meeting suppliers first where possible to make sure you connect, the last thing you want to do is book someone and then realise they are not on the same wavelength as you when it comes to your wedding.

9. Go venue hunting

So, you know what type of wedding you want, you know the season or maybe even the month you would like to get married, now you need a venue. You may have picked some ideas up from your wedding magazines (many of them advertise fantastic venues – the local ones to you are always great for this), you may also have picked up ideas from the wedding fayres. You can also of course use trusty old google and then once you have a good idea of where you want, go and visit them. You can get a proper feel for the place when you go in person, you can meet the venues wedding planner and make sure you feel comfortable with them.

Before you make your final decision it is always fun to look for reviews from other brides on the venues, wedding blogs are great for this. Here are a few of my favourite wedding blogs;

Style me pretty

Rock my wedding

London Bride

10. Book in-demand vendors (photographer/band or dj/officiant)

With your venue chosen, your next step will be to book the most in demand vendors.

  • Your officiant – if you are having a religious wedding you will need to speak to your church about the process, these vary from church to church and religion to religion so be sure to ask
  • If you are having a civil ceremony you will need to give notice of marriage and make sure that they are available on the date you want to get married. If you are getting married somewhere other than your home county you will need to get in touch with the officiants in the county in which you get married (I will be doing another blog on this)

11. Send out save the dates

Now you know your date and wedding venue you need to let your guests know to save the date. This isn’t the official invite it is just something to ensure that people don’t book their family holidays directly over your wedding date, particularly if they are people you really want to be there. These should only go out to day guests if you plan on inviting someone only to the evening sending a save the date may be a little confusing.

12. Kiss your FIANCE

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART – Wedding planning can be overwhelming at times, take a moment to remember why you got engaged in the first place. Make time for each other and set a day a week where you have absolutely no wedding talk, just be together and enjoy it.


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