The news of Hollywood A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s secret wedding earlier this month surprised us all. How had they managed to keep their nuptials under wraps? Escaping the buzz of Hollywood and the paparazzi for seclusion in South Carolina made it possible. It’s not just Hollywood celebrities who are at it: more of us are choosing low-key affairs, whether at home or abroad. With a small number of guests, you can spend money on the travel and accommodation, making it your dream wedding in a dream setting, at home or abroad.
If a big wedding here in the UK is what you’ve always dreamed of, here you will find everything you need for planning your big day. Start with the checklist – every couple needs it – and tick off as you complete things.
Your wedding day is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, day of your life. Set the date and budget wisely. Nobody wants to start married life with a huge debt hanging over them. Your dream wedding is possible, whatever your budget. Utilise friends and family where you can: whether it’s for travel, making the cake or filming the big day itself.
Head to a wedding fair for inspiration and to meet contacts. You don’t need to book anything on the day, but there are normally great savings to be made if you do. Ultimately, these fairs will help you decide on what you really want. From flowers and balloons to stationery and favours, your day should have you and your partner’s mark all over it.
The O Zone
It’s a thrilling time to be a bridal industry professional at the moment, with the wedding dress market currently brimming with wonderfully diverse, inspiring and unusual designs. The industry is being driven by demand from brides who want something interesting and original to wear on their big day, and aren’t prepared to settle for anything less. While this is exciting for boutique and bride alike, it can often be a little daunting for those embarking upon the search for their dream dress, which is where The O Zone steps in to offer a helping hand.
Company directors Christine and Deborah are dedicated to filling their boutique with a spectacular range of styles that are truly representative of what’s available on the market at large, with the convenience of being housed under one roof. Whether brides are looking for pretty, vintage-inspired lace; chic and contemporary styles from the continent or cupcake-cute, 1950s-style tea dresses, they will find it at The O Zone. Brides are not only spoilt for choice, but are also provided with the support and advice they need to find their perfect dress, with the expert guidance of a small team of dedicated consultants.
The staff at The O Zone haven’t forgotten about the groom, either. Classic morning suits, modern, lightweight tails and understated lounge suits are available to hire from what is now the only independent menswear hire shop in central Brighton. In addition to formalwear hire, The O Zone also offers a range of beautiful waistcoats, ties and cravats to purchase. Bridesmaids are catered for too, with over 50 styles by Dessy and Alfred Sung, available in a dazzling array of shades and fabrics.
The O Zone, 21-23 Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1RB, 01273 739500, www.ozoneweddings.co.uk
Jeremy Hoye is one of the UK’s leading contemporary bespoke jewellers and is renowned for his modern bridal pieces. Jeremy has designed and created his wedding collections for thousands of brides-to-be; his expertise from working within the industry over the last 20 years means he is an expert at making those all-important decisions. Jeremy is well known for designing pieces with an eclectic twist for those looking for distinctive jewellery that stands out from the crowd.
His ability to capture the essence of the traditional solitaire while keeping within his signature contemporary edge allows him to create timeless collections that feature not only solitaires, but also flush and pave set bands. Working in 18ct rose gold, white gold and platinum, all of his designs are made in his on site workshop.
Jeremy has led the way in incorporating more unusual stones in engagement and wedding rings, to create beautiful designs that are truly unique, with more and more of a demand for black diamonds, sapphires and rubies etc. A prime example of this is his beautiful, surreal ‘Triffid’ collection, a leftfield engagement/wedding band collection which is also available as a silver fashion range. Inspired by crystallised rocks, and using black, white and blue diamonds in 18ct and platinum pieces gives a dramatic yet wearable feel with the distinctive Hoye look.
The Tulip collection is also extremely popular – a contemporary classic. Delicate tulip petals hold the diamond in this simple yet perfect design, easy to wear with a choice of four different style wedding bands to match – giving you the option to create the perfect combination for your individual style. This is jewellery design that doesn’t date and made to be treasured forever.
Jeremy Hoye, 22a Ship Street Brighton, BN1 1AD, 01273 777207, www.jeremy-hoye.com
Sussex County Cricket Ground
The delightful PROBIZ County Ground, Hove, has been synonymous with first-class cricket for over 150 years. More recently however, it is recognised as one of the leading venues in Sussex for parties, celebrations and particularly weddings.
Sussex CCC is licensed for wedding ceremonies and can offer a range of on-site venues for your special day. The Boundary Rooms offer a flexible, modern venue complete with patio doors and decking which complement your celebration with a complete alfresco experience.
The Spen Cama Pavilion boasts a more traditional setting for a wedding, with both the Long Room and the Dining Room having recently been fully refurbished and extended. It also offers superb floor to ceiling views of the pitch, washed with natural daylight. The brand new kitchen facilities in the Pavilion add to the notion that the venue is gaining a fast-growing reputation for top quality food and service, which has contributed to last year’s nomination for the Brighton & Hove Business Awards in the category of ‘Best Place to Entertain Your Clients’.
This year has been a particularly busy one for weddings with 15 taking place, and even the odd cricket match doesn’t mean that you can’t have the date you have set your heart on with the two most recent weddings both taking place on match days.
Jonathan and Danielle Step chose Saturday 1 September and when Sussex qualified for a home semi-final on the very same day Jonathan was delighted. The happy couple were married in The Boundary Rooms on Saturday afternoon at 3pm before making their way across to The Spen Cama Pavilion to enjoy their Wedding Breakfast in The Dining Room. They then held the evening reception in the historic Long Room in the Pavilion later in the evening.
Danielle Step said of the venue: “I would say we chose the cricket ground because we wanted a more unique venue than a hotel or registry office, and Jonathan loves sports and always follows the cricket. After finding the cricket ground on the list of approved venues and having a tour around the ground we knew we had found our ideal wedding venue.
“We were looking forward to being able to get married so close to the pitch and our guests being able to enjoy the feeling of being at a cricket ground as many of them had never been. I know quite a few of our guests were excited to hear there would be a cricket match on at the same time and I think it makes our wedding truly unique.
“We didn’t have to make any drastic changes, the staff at the Club have gone out of their way to ensure our wedding was as close as we imagined it to be”. Sadly though, on the day Sussex lost out to Hampshire. An added bonus of this city centre based venue is the ample and free on-site car parking. All this contributes to a truly unique venue for your unique occasion.
Sussex County Cricket Ground, The PROBIZ County Ground, Eaton Road, Hove, BN3 3AN, 0844 264 0202, www.sussexcricket.co.uk
Hope & Harlequin
Hope And Harlequin’s exceptional vintage bridal collection offers the rare magic of finding something truly special and original to make you feel amazing in whatever way you choose to get married. Their ‘Hope’ made-to-order collection is based on the most stunning and beautiful dresses that have been in their archive… recreated with love and finesse for the perfect fit and look. Do it your way… it’s your wedding day after all.
Hope & Harlequin, 31 Sydney Street, Brighton, BN1 4EP, 01273 675222, email@example.com, www.hopeandharlequin.com
Butterflies & Bows
Butterflies And bows provide the whole package. From wedding flowers, wedding bouquets, table centres, chair covers, drapes, top table swags and backdrops to church flowers, garlands, favours, balloons and even marquees, cakes, catering and disco if required.
Using a wide variety of fresh or silk flowers and foliage to match your colour scheme, they create the exact feel you want for your special day. From classic to contemporary designs, they provide a very personal service from the initial consultation right up to your wedding day. They can also work within your budget and keep the prices keen as they do not have a retail shop premises.
Butterflies and Bows can provide one service to you or you can use them for all your wedding requirements – one supplier for everything – one point of contact! Package discounts are available on flowers, balloons and decorations. Call them now for a free consultation and costings, or take a look at the 4,000 photographs of previous work on their website alongside the many recommendation and thank you letters.
Butterflies And Bows, 01342 892392, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.butterfliesandbows.co.uk
Perfection Bridal & Menswear
Perfection Bridal and Menswear is situated in Western Road, Hove. They have been trading from these premises for the past 26 years, so their experience and expertise is second to none. Stockists of the exclusive Perfection collection, a stunning range of dresses in beautiful fabrics at excellent prices, they also stock ranges from Maggie Sottero, Mori Lee and other leading designers. So whatever your style or budget Perfection has the gown for you, from simple sophistication to full Hollywood glamour.
As well as a fantastic range of bridal dresses, Perfection also offers a wonderful choice of dresses for your bridesmaids, in satins and taffetas, and an amazing choice of colours, available from age two up to a size 30. They can even match the men’s cravats to the bridesmaids’ fabric.
For the groom and his party, Perfection offers tailcoats, frock coats and lounge suits available to hire at a special package deal price of just £69.95 for jacket, trousers, waistcoat, cravat and hankie. Perfection’s friendly and helpful assistants will be happy to offer any help and advice you may require. So, if you would like more information or to make an appointment to try on, give them a call.
Perfection, 52 Western Road, Hove, BN3 1JD, 01273 323046, email@example.com, www.perfectionbridalandmenswear.co.uk
The Cricketers & Greene Room
Located a stone’s throw from Brighton Town Hall and the Register Office; The Greene Room offers a stylish yet comfortable setting for your wedding reception. Located in the heart of The Lanes and above one of Brighton’s most charismatic pubs (The Cricketers), The Greene Room retains the splendour of the period building within which it sits whilst adding some nice contemporary touches.
Whether you are looking for a formal wedding breakfast, a drinks reception with an upmarket selection of canapés or simply a place to boogie the night away, The Greene Room has all you need to ensure your wedding day is one to remember! They have a range of packages available for a variety of budgets and can create a bespoke package if you already know exactly want you want. For wedding receptions they can seat up to 35 guests for a lunch/dinner or host up to 70 for an informal buffet.
The Greene Room, Above The Cricketers, 15 Black Lion Street, Brighton, BN1 1ND, 01273 329472, cricketersBN1@googlemail.com, www.cricketersbrighton.co.uk
Since reopening under new ownership and after extensive refurbishment over a year ago, Blanch House, Brighton’s original Boutique Hotel, has played host to some very special wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and celebrations.
Situated in the bohemian quarter of Brighton’s Kemp Town and a stone’s throw from the beach, this historic Grade II Listed building, with an abundance of character, sets the scene as an ideal intimate wedding venue.
“Weddings can be stressful and with so much to organise our role is to ensure that every couple’s special day is tailored to what they want,” says Kerry Turner, co-proprietor of Blanch House. “With our dedicated team, who are passionate in providing excellent customer service, our goal is to make their special day as memorable as possible.”
Blanch House also offers exclusive use of the entire hotel and its 12 individually designed bedrooms to soon-to-be newlyweds, couples and their guests, including the Belle Époque Suite which seats up to 40 guests for a sit-down wedding breakfast or 75 for an evening buffet. Its champagne, wine and cocktail bar makes an ideal setting for both pre- and post-ceremony champagne and canapés. Head chef Sean Dickens has created a mouth-watering selection of menus, ensuring that all produce is locally sourced whenever possible, and is able to cater for all dietary requirements.
Newlyweds can take advantage of the bridal suite, Perrier Jouet – named after the champagne served at the venue. This features floor-to-ceiling windows, a roll top bath and balcony. Furthermore, newlyweds and guests can indulge in some pre- and post-wedding pampering as there is an in-house massage therapist who offers a range of treatments.
Blanch House, 17 Atlingworth Street, Kemp Town, Brighton, BN2 1PL, 01273 603504, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.blanchhouse.co.uk
Funky Buddha Band
Introducing one of the country’s premier function bands, specialising in music for weddings, parties and corporate events… Funky Buddha! Funky Buddha are a professional party band who provide outstanding music and service for weddings, parties and corporate events throughout the UK and internationally. This is music you are going to want to dance to. Guaranteed! Their aim is to help you create an event that you and your guests are going to remember for all the right reasons: a great atmosphere, great energy, and outstanding music. With clever arrangements, hot horn lines and beautiful harmonies, there is a lot to listen to and, most importantly, a lot to dance to.
With a variety of different options, you will be able to tailor the music to suit your event. New for 2013, Funky Buddha are offering The Wedding Package – ceremony music, cool jazz for the canapés or ‘chillout’ music to set the perfect mood, followed by the ultimate party band.
Funky Buddha think it’s really important to see a band live before you book them. That’s why they hold regular public showcases in Brighton; it’s a great opportunity to meet the band and see them live. Their next showcase is at The Brunswick, Holland Road, Hove on Friday 26 October.
Funky Buddha Band, 07799 642 575, email@example.com, www.funkybuddhaband.co.uk
This breathtaking Regency palace offers a unique venue for civil wedding ceremonies and receptions in the heart of Brighton. Built as King George IV’s pleasure palace when Brighton was the heart of fashionable Regency society, the Royal Pavilion was also used by King William IV and Queen Victoria. Today it has been restored to its original 1823 splendour with Indian architecture contrasted with interiors inspired by China.
The historic Red Drawing Room is the venue for civil ceremonies at The Royal Pavilion. Retaining much of George IV’s original 1820’s decorative scheme, the room features red dragon wallpaper and palm tree pillars. The Red Drawing Room can be booked for wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships throughout the year and can seat a total of 44 people.
Situated on the first floor above the Red Drawing Room the King William IV Room offers an elegant setting for both day and evening receptions. Decorated in Chinese style, this room features beautiful hand-painted wallpaper and Chinese lanterns. The room accommodates 60 people for a seated dinner.
The Royal Pavilion Functions Team has over 17 years of experience and is pleased to offer a friendly and personal service. From your first site visit to your special day they are on hand to help make sure everything runs smoothly. They can also recommend local suppliers who have previously worked at the Royal Pavilion.
The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, BN1 1EE, Functions Team: 03000 290905, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.brighton-hove-pavilion.org.uk
“We just wanted to say a massive thank you for last night, we had the best time at our wedding! All the staff were so friendly and helpful, and everything was so well organised. We really appreciate all the hard work you put into the afternoon and evening and the food was delicious! Thanks again for everything
– Laura and Oli”
“Having such friendly staff (who also know what they are doing and have a can-do attitude) made such a difference to our and our guests’ experience of our very special day.
– Sarah-Jane and Mike”
“My wife and I had such an amazing reception at the Latest Musicbar, the help we had organising the event, the food cooked in-house, the staff (with great character) and most noticeably the value of the entire day and night. We, and all our friends who attended, had such an amazing night that the reception will go down as one of the parties of our lives. Finding the Latest Musicbar was a godsend, all our guests and ourselves will be remembering the venue and recommending it to anyone who needs a location for a great party in Brighton. Once again, thank you Angi and your team. – Sam & Louise”
“Dear all at Latest Musicbar. Thank you for looking after us and creating the space for us to have such a wonderful wedding. Love William and Peter”
Latest Musicbar pride themselves on hosting the best parties in town. Whether you want your wedding party to be a big bash or something more intimate they will work to your budget and cater to all your requirements to make your event a real night to remember. You can hire one or both floors of the venue for parties of up to 200 people, provide your own catering or let their fabulous chefs take the strain. The space can be professionally decorated or kept simple with linen tablecloths, flowers and candles supplied by the Musicbar at no extra cost.
As Latest Musicbar is also a renowned live venue, they do love a band for a party. They can help you source entertainment including bands, DJs and cabaret performers, plus use of their PA and DJ equipment is included in the hire fee. Just tell them what you want and they will do their utmost to make it happen.
Latest Musicbar, 14-17 Manchester Street, Brighton, BN2 1TF, 01273 687171, email@example.com, www.thelatest.co.uk/musicbar