Scandinavian Inspired Winter Wedding Trends

The warm, sunny bank holiday weekend already seems a distant memory and you can feel a slight chill in the air. In no time at all, you’ll be ordering gingerbread lattes, bundling up in your favourite, warm layers and celebrating the end of another glorious year with family and friends.

Winter is also a popular time of the year for tying the knot. We’ve noticed a surge in Scandinavian-inspired wedding trends. Our Nordic neighbours epitomise winter elegance by keeping things stylishly simple, making use of their natural surroundings and understanding how to stay chic and cosy in the cold.

So to give you a little nordic inspiration, here are ten of our favourite Scandinavian wedding suggestions…

1. Go Green 
Conifers are abundant around Scandinavian fjords. These evergreens have adapted to protect their roots from extreme cold. But on a lighter note, their needles work exceptionally well with Nordic-inspired winter weddings. Use them everywhere, from invitations to table decorations. Even a bouquet!

2. Keep It Seasonal
If you want to add a bit more colour, use seasonal flowers like amaryllis, or choose simple, deep colours like red and purple roses, paired with seasonal and regional greenery.  Using more shrubs than flowers could save you a fortune, too.

3. Keep It Simple
Scandinavian style is as cool as their climate, so lose the fuss and clutter when decorating. Less is more – more stylish, more elegant, and more affordable.

4. Don’t Be Afraid Of Red
When planning a winter wedding, it’s easy to be afraid of using too much red and green together for fear that it looks more like a Christmas party rather than your special day. But if the Scandinavians can pull it off, you can too! Just add a few different shades for variety, and you’re sorted.

5. Wreaths Aren’t Just For The Door
They make stunning, leafy crowns and garlands for your head. Ditch the tiaras and go for a more Nordic nature look.

6. Use Natural, Earthy Accents
Instead of using elaborate and expensive floral centrepieces, try using branches instead. Hanging branches are very popular as a Scandinavian wedding decoration, but why not position them in the middle of the table? Add some hanging candles for a more dramatic effect.

7. Accessorise Your Dress.
The best thing about getting married in cold weather – you can add more accessories… faux fur wraps, fingerless gloves, and scarves for a pop of colour all come to mind!

 8. Try Something A Little Different
We’re obsessed with these gorgeous wedding cakes from our Nordic neighbours. Why not impress your guests with a beautifully decorated Kransekake?

9. Glogg It Up
In Sweden, they definitely know the how to stay warm. The Swedish version of mulled wine (made with port, bourbon, rum, cinnamon and spices) is a delicious alternative to a glass of fizz for the wedding toast.

10. Smoking Starters
Experiment with your canapés by using fresh ingredients combined with northern herbs. Take a look at this amazing twist on our much loved blini.

Events Coordinator Louise Lobley

Louise Lobley, Events Coordinator at The Castle Hotel

We are pleased to welcome our new events coordinator, Louise Lobley.

About Louise

Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’ve worked in the travel industry for more than 15 years in various roles, including cabin crew, travel consultant and entertainments manager, both at home and abroad. I became an events coordinator 3 years ago and have experience organising everything from a meeting for 2 delegates to weddings for over 150 guests.

How did you meet your Husband?
My husband and I met working at a holiday centre here in Somerset. I’m a northerner originally and I settled down here in Taunton with him.

And how did he pop the big question?
I’m afraid there was no big romantic gesture. He was the first man who didn’t drive me crazy (he does now however), so we decided we would be together forever. We even went ring shopping together. I went massively over budget (as I continue to do to this day) and I made him ask me officially in front of a WH Smith’s after we bought the ring, which I wasn’t actually wearing because I hadn’t realised you have to order it in your size! I was very disappointed at the time.

Events Coordinator Louise Lobley on her wedding day

Tell us about your big day?
Close family and friends, ivory roses, pearls, gold decorations, Christmas dinner, fir cones, candles, mulled wine and lots of snow. It snowed on the actual day of the wedding and I have so many magical photos.

Why did you choose Christmas time for your wedding?
We love that time of year, everything about it. The decorations and festive fun, time with our families and, now that we have our little boy Harrison, it just gets better every year. The one downside is having my anniversary on the 22nd December always seems to mean I don’t get a gift because we’ve already gone crazy on Christmas presents!

 

 

 

12 Month Planning Guide for a Stress Free Wedding

Plan your own wedding in 12 months

So you’re planning a wedding! Don’t know where to start? Well look no further. Here’s my guide to taking the stress out of planning your wedding in 12 months.

12+ Months Before

  • Set a budget. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but once you’ve got an idea of how much you plan to spend, the shopping can begin!
  • Pick a wedding date and time – but have a couple of back up dates in mind in case your dream venue is already booked.
  • Start planning your guest list.
  • Ask friends or relatives to be in your wedding party – Best Man, Maid-of-Honour, Bridesmaids, Ushers, etc.

8 – 10 Months Before

  • It’s time to start thinking about that dress… Let the shopping begin!
  • Plan the entertainment – String quartet while walking down the aisle, DJ, band for the evening or a magician to keep the kids happy?
  • Research and book your vendors – Photographers, florist, videographer, etc.
  • Contact rental companies if you need to hire anything for the day such as chair covers, crockery, marquees, tables, chairs & table centres.
  • Register for gifts if you’re thinking of having a gift list.

6-8 Months Before

  • Book musicians for the ceremony.
  • Shop for / order Bridesmaids’ dresses.
  • Start planning your honeymoon! The exciting bit 🙂
  • Send ‘save the dates’. Such a good idea to let guests know the date well in advance so they can pop it in their diaries early.

4-6 Months BeforeCool Wedding Invites

  • Shop for invites (and other matching wedding stationery) and, if you don’t already have them, chose your rings.
  • Renew passports and apply for any visas – for that wonderfully exotic honeymoon you’ve planned last month!
  • Have a ponder about your wedding cake and contact bakers / wedding cake makers. Think about flavours, colour, design – go online, there’s plenty of inspiration on Pinterest.

3 Months Before

  • Order your wedding cake. There are so many options; traditional tiered, cupcakes, cheese-cakes.
  • Order men’s formal wear.
  • Hire wedding day transport – limousine, classic cars, the Mystery Machine from Scoobie Doo (!!) the possibilities are endless!

2 Months Before

  • Write and post your wedding invitations.
  • Write your own vows.
  • Purchase gifts for your wedding party, anyone who has helped out, and for each other.
  • Book a hairdresser and have a trial run. Go with pictures and ideas. You don’t want any disasters on the day!
  • Book a make-up artist and have a trial run. Again it’s good to have an idea of what you’d like. Natural & minimal? Dramatic & glamourous?

1 Month Before

  • Have a final dress fitting; bring your Maid-of-Honour to practice how to hook up your train, so you can party the night away in comfort.
  • Confirm with Bridesmaids that their outfits are complete.
  • Start planning the wedding breakfast seating chart.
  • It’s Hen/Stag do time! Hopefully those Best Men and Maids-Of-Honour have planned you a fab time!

2 Weeks BeforePicture1

  • Review final RSVP list and chase any stragglers. You want to get those numbers locked down!
  • Provide a ‘must-have’ shot list to photographer for the formal and fun photos you can’t live without, include group shots, all your cousins, Bride’s family, Groom’s family, ‘Bridesmaids’ re-enactment shots, etc.
  • Create a playlist for the DJ or band with any special songs you’d like played or know will get your family and friends dancing.

1 Week Before

  • Provide your venue / caterer with a final guest list – highlight any dietary requirements and allergies.
  • Complete the wedding breakfast seating chart.
  • Print place cards and table plans and pass them to the venue for set up.
  • Confirm with all vendors any final details and make sure they have the Maid-of-Honour / Best Man’s number to call on the day rather than yours. You don’t want to deal with any issues on your wedding day!
  • Make sure your venue has a list of set up and arrival times for all deliveries, plus contact details.
  • Groom to collect formal wear.
  • Best Man should collect groomsmen’s outfits and distribute them.

2-3 Days Before

  • Organise the positioning of the wedding party for the processional and recessional.
  • Call the car hire company to confirm collection times and locations.

Day Before

  • If needed, decorate your venue for the ceremony or reception.
  • Chill out. Enjoy time with your family and friends before your big day.

Day Of

  • Eat a good breakfast.
  • Make sure you have plenty of time to get ready.
  • Make sure the Best Man / Maid of Honour / Ring Bearer have wedding bands to hold during the ceremony.
  • Get Married!!
  • Present parents, wedding party, any special helpers and each other with gifts.
  • Assign a member of the family to help the photographer gather people for group photos.

Post Wedding

  • Make sure you write and send thank you notes. It’s nice to include a photo from the day as a keep sake.
  • Take wedding dress to dry cleaners – you don’t want it to get smelly!
  • Change name on drivers licence, passport, banks / building societies, etc.
  • Create new email address.
  • And the all-important..… Facebook name change to make it official!

 

This is for a traditional wedding with 12+ months planning time. If you have less time then you’ll need to condense the ‘to do’ list.

Contributing Author: Elaine Fraschini

How to Plan Your Own Wedding

How to plan your wedding | The Castle Hotel

Once you’re engaged, (and the reality has set in that you really are getting married) shock soon takes over as you realise that you’ve got to PLAN a wedding! It can be a little daunting and there’s quite a lot to take into consideration.

When I planned my wedding, I was clueless about where to start or how to go about it. The only knowledge I had came from watching ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’… so at least I knew that SOME research needed to be done!

Since then, I decided to make a career of planning events and, though I’ve become quite used to what needs to be done, I haven’t forgotten the panic I faced when planning my own wedding. So, I hope to help you avoid the same experience with my handy planning list!

Things to consider:

  • Set your budget – this should always come first
  • Select the date
  • Choose a venue
  • Number of guests – ceremony and reception
  • Theme/Colour scheme (FUN!)
  • Flowers
  • Decorations
  • Wedding party (bridesmaids, best man, etc.)
  • Hen/stag do
  • Honeymoon
  • Don’t forget to check your passport expiry dates!
  • Stationery
  • Photographer/videographer
  • Attire
  • Save the dates
  • DJ/band/entertainment
  • Reading and music
  • Travel
  • Reading of the Banns
  • Take out wedding insurance

There are some great websites and books out there to help you plan. I’d suggest either buying a wedding planner/folder, so you have a place to keep all your important info, or creating a spreadsheet…depending on how you are inclined. I know a spreadsheet might be a horrifying thought for some!

I went all Monica Geller (from Friends) on my our wedding and went to town on the old spreadsheets. That was mainly because I couldn’t find a wedding planner that suited my needs. I wanted a count down, so I knew when to do what and I wanted somewhere to collate all the info.

Two books which I found very helpful were: Wedding Planning for Dummies (links below) and The DIY Wedding Manual: How to create your perfect day without a celebrity budget.

But there are so many free helpful websites and blogs available too and, of course, PINTEREST. I love this site and whiled away far too many hours in the rabbit hole that is Pinterest. If you haven’t experienced this site, it’s a wonder of online mood boarding and inspiration. You didn’t know you wanted or needed it until you’ve been on Pinterest!

The first thing I would suggest doing would be to set your budget and how much you want to spend on the different areas of the wedding. Once that’s done its plain sailing.

In my next post, I’ll give you a helping hand with a countdown and how to get the ball rolling.

    

Our 3 Favourite Personal Touches

Personalise Your Wedding Accessories & Gifts

It is the same with any wedding, you want to make it your own, using personal touches that can propel the day from pretty special to pretty spectacular! Here are three amazing ways which can totally add that personal touch to your special day!

1. Personalised HangersPersonalised hangers for your wedding day

If you are starting the day with your bridesmaids & plenty of bubbles, give them personalised dress hangers! Each can be individually styled with their name and you could even add the date for that extra touch! As an added bonus, these hangers make great props for photos. A perfect and practical memento for your bridesmaids!

Personalised Details2. Individual Drinks for Your Guests

What about those welcome drinks? The first drink you offer to your guests once you have said the I Do’s and the knot is tied. A brilliant personal touch, that I’ve seen, is using personalised, individual bottles of Fizz with decorative straws. You could ask the bar staff to serve or simply leave the guests to it, adding a bit of fun to the day!

 3. Make Your Guest Book Into ArtAlternatives to wedding guest books

Finally, if you’d like remember all of your guests, but want something a little more exciting than your standard guest book, why not use a personalised drop top guest book!

This is a super cute way of creating a memory that can be hung over the mantelpiece for a lifetime! Giving the guests a small heart to add their names or best wishes and ask them to drop it into the box (Make sure they post it the right way though!)

You will even be able to add fit this to your wedding colour theme and style. Such a great way of displaying your memories instead of a traditional guest book that will gather dust on top of your wardrobe!

 

 

 

 

Weddings Are Mixing It Up!

Wedding Venues in Somerset

Castle Hotel Wedding Coordinators

Best man… so last year. Best Woman is the way forward!

As weddings continue to break with tradition and are becoming more personal to the bride and groom, it make sense that the traditional wedding party concepts would change as well.

If you’re a Groom and your best friend is a girl, why not have her as your ‘Best Man’ and vice versa. Your best guy friend could share your special day as your Man of Honour… Chief Bridesmaid… Chief Brides Man… name it whatever you’d like! Afterall, your wedding party should be made up of the people you love the most, those who have been there to share your most memorable life events.

This is the biggest day of your life, so you don’t have to stick with tradition. Traditional weddings are beautiful but, if you want your personalities to shine through, then why not include your best friend in a non-traditional role?

Weddings in Somerset
Groom & Best Man, Photography by Wiltshire Wedding Photography – Jamie McDine

This is exactly what we did. My husband Zeppi’s best friend is a girl named Jodie. We all met at university and they’ve been inseparable since. I’d say she was one of the lads but I don’t want to do her a disservice.

Jodie planned Zeppi’s stag do (again, a mixed event, guys and girls) which pleased everyone not just the Groom. She was there to offer advice and support throughout the whole wedding planning process and got Zeppi through a nervous morning on the big day. Her speech couldn’t have been funnier, and she started off the dancing at the reception with the help of our Maid Of Honour. They got everyone up on the dance floor for the ENTIRE night! We couldn’t have asked for a better ‘Best Man’.

And yes, she wanted to be called the ‘Best Man’. Jodie said, “I wanted to be the best man, not the best woman, because we all know the best woman today is Elaine.” Awwww! Oh yes, she was good! That’s just one of the many witty lines from her speech. She made us laugh and she brought us to tears as well as poking fun at the Groom as only a Best Man can.

I’m all for mixed wedding parties, as you can tell. But bride’s-to-be, let me tell you, it gives you peace of mind when your groom goes off on his stag do, knowing a girl has organised it! You know he won’t end up naked, chained to a lamppost or on a train to goodness-knows-where! 😉

So, break with tradition and make your wedding as unique as you are!