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via The Life of a Wedding Planner – Stylish Events

Are You Royal Wedding Ready? Royal Brides throughout the years.

As regularly readers may know, we love to post guest blogs from our wonderful Interns here at Stylish Events, we are delighted to introduce you to our new Intern, Claudia.

Hi, my name is Claudia and I am lucky enough to be completing a six week internship with the lovely Dominique and Stylish Events team. The subject I have selected is something that has been in the spotlight for a few months now. THE ROYAL WEDDING!

Since November last year when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement, the nation has been on a countdown and a craze about what the wedding will be like. Like Kate Middleton, Meghan has been given a “style influencer” status – the ‘Meghan’ effect has started – meaning it is inevitable that her look will be replicated by thousands of brides in the next couple of years. Their beautiful and inspiring ceremony is to take place on May 19th at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. As we wait just a little longer to see what Meghan’s dress will look like, I thought we could look back at some of the trends that other royal brides have set over the years.

Credit Alexi Lubomirski

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrating their engagement in November. Credit: Alexi Lubomirski.

It was Queen Victoria who set the biggest wedding trend of wearing a white dress. In the 1800’s, it was tradition to wear a red wedding dress. However in 1840, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, she decided to wear white to her wedding to symbolise purity and innocence. It is said that she wrote in her own journal that it was a ‘white satin dress’ with lace and jewels, including Albert’s sapphire broach. From this moment, this trend has revolutionised the wedding fashion industry and has now become the norm. Queen Victoria’s dress has also been compared to Katherine Middleton’s dress, in terms of the vintage style and lace.

''A Century of Queens Wedding Dresses'' Exhibition , London.

Queen Victoria’s wedding dress. Credit: radiotimes.com.

Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, married in 1947 and are still a strong presence together today. The Queen was just 13-years-old when she first met Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark and instantly fell in love. The two wrote one another letters and their relationship blossomed from there, later becoming secretly engaged in 1946, however it was not until Elizabeth turned 21 that the engagement became formal. Around the time of the wedding, after WWII, the Queen purchased material for her wedding dress by using coupons, as rationing was still around. The style of dress that the Queen wore was a fit and flare ivory silk dress, which was designed by Norman Hartnell. The dress was embroidered with 10,000 white pearls, as well as silver thread, crystals and tulle. Her satin shoes matched this and were created by Edward Rayne. The couple then shared their honeymoon at Prince Phillip’s Uncle’s home.

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Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Phillip celebrating their wedding day  in 1947. Credit: weddingandweddingflowers.co.uk.

Prince Charles’ first wedding to Lady Diana Spencer was an extremely iconic day for many Britons, in 1981. Their wedding was like a fairy tale at St Paul’s Cathedral, that was fit for a Princess. When the Queen Mother married King George VI in 1923, she had a simple wedding dress, designed by the court dressmaker Madame Handley Seymour, which fit the Coco Chanel era. When Diana and Charles got married 58 year after this, Diana had a very different dress, made by designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, which characterised 80s style with its big shoulder pads, frills and a 25-foot-long train, which made headlines. This was the start of the late Princess of Wales becoming a fashion icon, which is what people say today about the Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle.

Credit Getty David Levenson

Prince Charles’ first marriage to Princess Diana on their wedding day in 1981. Credit: Getty / David Levenson.

Prince Charles’ second wedding was to Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005. Camilla’s look was perfect for a mature bride, with a simple embroidered pale blue and gold coat over a matching chiffon gown, designed by Robinson Valentine, as well as golden feathers in her hair.

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Prince Charles’ second marriage to Camilla in 2005. Credit: Getty Images.

One of the biggest weddings of the century so far is the marriage of Prince William and Katherine Middleton, in 2011. Like Diana’s wedding gown, the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding gown, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, has now become one of the most iconic royal wedding dressing in the world. She was given away by her father Michael Middleton, as is tradition. Her silk tulle skirt, 9 foot train and elegant long-sleeved lace dress with a satin bodice was a staple point in the wedding fashion industry and spurred many different designers to created ‘Kate inspired’ wedding dresses, which flew off the racks with brides soon after the wedding day itself. She also wore the Queen’s Cartier halo tiara and Robinson Pelham diamond earrings, giving a little sparkle which made her glow. Broadcasters reported that over 24 million viewers watched the TV coverage of the big day.

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Prince William and Katherine Middleton on their wedding day in 2011. Credit: AP Association Press.

From Queen Victoria to Kate Middleton, royal weddings have always been a cause for national celebration and the world-famous balcony appearance by the bride, groom and the family is now an expectation. Most of the time, when an immediate member of the British Royal Family gets married, we tend to look back at previous royal weddings and compare them, as well as try to make our predictions for the upcoming ceremony. It was Queen Victoria who began the fashion of marrying in a white dress, Princess Diana with the puffy sleeves, Kate with the lace dress and now it is almost time to see what trend Meghan Markle will be setting for the next year or so.

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Royal Brides throughout the years. Credit: britishyoungroyals.

Beija Flor Events

I know.. it’s been a long time since our last post.

We are sorry for our absence however it’s for a good reason. We are having an incredible year of learning, working and meeting some great people. Now it’s time to reorganise all our socials, get back to blogging and sharing all of our outstanding experiences with you.

The first highlight of this year I would like to share is definitely my internship with Dominique Douglas at Stylish Events.

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The Life of a Wedding Planner

Are you thinking about becoming a wedding planner? Please read this lovely blog from someone who has attended our course, The Life of a Wedding Planner.

stylishOnce I’d made the decision that the Wedding Planner life was for me, I naturally got straight onto Google to find the answers to all my ‘What next?’ questions.

That’s when I came across Stylish Events’ ‘Life of a Wedding Planner’ day course. For the absolute bargain price of £99 I could spend 8 hours learning the in’s and out’s of Wedding Planning from the brilliant and successful Dominique Douglas. A real insight from somebody with experience in the industry, and a whole back catalogue of successful weddings and events.  Dominique offers a true and open look at the crazy and wonderful world of events, passing on her in-depth knowledge on a fast growing industry.

You’ll come away with a certificate, workbook and (in my case) a fierce determination to work within the Events world. If you’re thinking about becoming a wedding or events planner I can’t recommend the course enough…

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A Stunning Hotel in the Heart of Madrid

If you are looking for the perfect place for a short “City” break in the depths of winter, I can highly recommend the fabulous city of Madrid. And if you want somewhere perfect to stay, then you cannot do better than the Westin Palace Hotel on the Plaza de las Cortes.

Westin Palace Madrid Facade

A couple of weeks ago my husband, Dan, and I tooted off to Madrid for a short break. I contacted the lovely Sophie Clauzé, Director of Sales, who I met at the Private Leisure Forum in Interlaken, Switzerland in October 2015. I had a strong memory of Sophie telling me how wonderful her hotel was and she invited me to visit soon.

After emailing Sophie, she offered us a FAM rate and an upgrade to one of their suites, which was so lovely. I have to say the rooms are delightful and the view from our suite was one of the best at the hotel.

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Bedrooms and Suites at the Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid

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The view from our suite at the Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid

From the moment we arrived we were treated so graciously and made to feel very special. The hotel originally opened in 1912 and is known as the iconic “Palace” hotel. It’s right in the centre of Madrid in the “Triangle of Art”, within walking distance of the city’s most prestigious museums: Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia Museums, among others.

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The gorgeous entrance and lobby of the Westin Palace Hotel

As a special treat for Dan, I asked Sophie if she could help me get tickets to see Real Madrid v Athletico Madrid, who were coincidentally playing the same weekend we were there. Sophie put us in touch with Ricardo, one of the super efficient concierge team and he managed to secure two amazing tickets for us. I have to say that for Dan, it was a once in a lifetime experience and I loved it too. We even took our very first “selfie” together!

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Dan and I at the Bernabau. Sadly, Real Madrid lost 0-1, but it was a fantastic experience to be there.

We did have plans to visit the museums and parks, but anyone who knows us well, will not be surprised that we spent most of our time shopping, drinking lovely Spanish red wine and eating the local jamon!

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A good bottle of Ribera del Duero and some amazing Jamon Iberico – perfect!

We loved our little break, in fact it was the first time in almost two years we were able to get away, just the two of us.

A huge thank you to Sophie, Ricardo and everyone at the Westin Palace Hotel for making it so special for us, and also to the team at Private Leisure Forum for introducing me to Sophie.

We loved our stay.

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The impressive dome of La Rotonda restaurant at the Westin Palace Hotel

Choosing a Signature Cocktail to Perfectly Match Your Wedding Style

My name is Nina and I am lucky enough to be doing a four month Internship with lovely Dominique and the team at Stylish Events.

As part of our internship, we are asked to do a blog on an area of weddings that interest us. The subject I selected is something that creates a nice finishing touch to every wedding: Signature Cocktails.

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Picture courtesy of Colin Cowie Weddings

I have always found it interesting to discover new recipes for exciting cocktails. In my opinion, a cocktail can be made in a way that is much more than just a drink that contains alcohol. A combination of different ingredients can bring that extra surprising flavour. In addition, the choice of your cocktail says a lot about your style and personality.

It might be a difficult choice to choose the right cocktail that perfectly fits your wedding style and your personality, so I hope the following suggestions will make your choice a little bit easier.

The first cocktail is: The Caribbean Mist, a perfect fit for a summer destination wedding on a stunning beach with the beautiful crystal clear blue ocean as your backdrop. Perfect for people who enjoy a refreshing and summer tasting cocktail. It’s quite easy to make and the blue/turquoise colour makes sure it perfectly fits with the stunning blue sky and ocean behind the chapel.

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Recipe:

1 Part Mango rum

1 Part Pineapple juice

1 part Soda water

Dash of Blue Curacao

Sugar for the rim

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Pictures courtesy of www.equallywed.com and tidetheknotbeachweddings.com and the recipe from somethingturquoise.com

The second cocktail is; The St. Germain,  a great choice for a classic, white and vintage wedding at a beautiful house or for a garden wedding. This cocktail is also called the White Cosmopolitan, which is usually enjoyed by the traditional classic female who loves to slowly sip a cocktail and indulge in the aroma and taste.

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Recipe:

2 parts of Vodka

1 part St. Germain

½ part Lime Juice

¾ part White Cranberry Juice

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Pictures are from www.vogue.com and burnettsboards.com and the recipe from www.stylemepretty.com

The third cocktail is: The Lavender Infusion, which is not actually cocktail, however, I believe is perfect for a spring wedding. It’s very easy to make and simplistic in style, but delicious. The lavender inside the champagne glass results in a light lavender aroma and a refreshing taste. The aroma of lavender is associated with relaxation and many people believe lavender attracts love!

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Recipe:

Glass of Champagne

Floral Lavender

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Pictures courtesty of lifeinbloomchicagoblog.com and Elizabeth Anne Design and the recipe from www.bridalmusings.com

The fourth cocktail is: Peppermint Love, a lovely choice if you decide to have a winter wedding. This cocktail is a combination of peppermint, espresso liqueur and baileys. Your guests will enjoy a nice coffee flavoured cocktail with the fresh taste of peppermint, which is a perfect for when the weather is a little colder outside.

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Recipe:

1 oz of Peppermint Schnapps

1 oz of Coffee-flavoured Baileys

½ oz of Espresso Liqueur

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Pictures courtesy of www.stevemoody.com and www.coastalvirginiamag.com and the recipe from www.bridebox.com

Our final cocktail is something a little different. Not every couple has the same taste, which is absolutely fine. You may prefer a fruity cocktail with a nice refreshing taste; he may want something a little more “manly” and doesn’t see the need for a fancy cocktail.  Marriage is often about compromises so why not start on your wedding day? This can be done easily with having ‘’his and her’’ drinks for your wedding.  In this way, both female and male guests can have the drink they prefer. However, do not mind when male guests decide to go with the fruity cocktail: everyone is different!

For the guys, why not try a simple “Jack and Coke” – no recipe needed here!

And for the ladies, how about a “Blushing Bride” – strawberry vodka, champagne and cranberry juice.

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I hope this blog has given you a little inspiration on how to match your signature cocktail with your wedding style. If you have any other suggestions, please do let me know.

Cheers, salute, proost, salud, Zazdarovje, Gan bei, santé

Nina

“The Life of a Wedding Planner” with Dominique Douglas

A huge thank you to Holly for this lovely review of our course.

Forever in a Day

As I’m sure you already know after reading the “Home” or “About” pages of my wonderful (well, I think it’s wonderful…) “Forever In A Day” blog, my main goal in life is to set up my own business as an independent wedding planner. Now, when I realised that this was in fact the ultimate future career path I wished to achieve (rather than some sort of naive dreaming), I then took some time to deliberate how I could actually accomplish this goal.

The first thought that popped into my mind, was increasing my online presence through the creation of the “Forever In A Day” blog and accompanying social media sites, in order to get my name out there as someone who was passionate about wedding’s, whilst showing my determination to reach my Wedding Planning goal (which, I hope you will agree, has been relatively successful!).

Once I got these sites up and…

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How to Choose the Perfect Diamond Engagement Ring!

For our next installment of “Intern Blogs” we are delighted to introduce you to Gemma, who has been with us since September 2015. Over to you Gemma, to tell us more about an area of weddings that you love (and we do to!) – Diamonds ……

Gemma’s Blog
My name is “Gemma”, which is derived from the Italian meaning ‘precious stone.’ And whilst unfortunately, to my knowledge, I do not have any Italian ancestry, I do, however believe that this inspired my love for gems. I like to think my parents chose my name as they see me as precious to them, but the fact that they named their second child, Joshua, which means ‘saviour,’ casts a shadow of doubt.

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Stunning diamond cluster ring (left) and diamond heart-shaped single stone ring (right). Pictures courtesy of FEU Diamonds www.feudiamonds.com

So, for this blog I decided to investigate one of my favourite things – DIAMONDS – and their influence on the wedding market.

‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ is a well known quote by Marilyn Monroe and it appears the bridal community have embraced this sentiment with open arms. Despite the increasing popularity of other precious stones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires, diamonds still remain the ultimate favourite for engagement and wedding rings.

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Photo courtesy of Kate Nielen www.katenielen.com taken at a Stylish Events Wedding.

A diamond is pure crystallised carbon brought to the surface, encased in solidified magma, during a volcanic eruption. Amazingly, a diamond can only be cut by another diamond as it’s the hardest substance known to man. They are mined across the world and particularly prevalent in Australia, Russia and South Africa.

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Three popular engagement ring styles (left to right) – diamond single stone ring; modern 3-stone diamond ring; marquise diamond ring. Picture courtesy of FEU Diamonds www.feudiamonds.com

With Diamonds representing strength, endurance and beauty it’s hardly surprisingly that in 1939 De Beers, a diamond company, decided to harness this idea and market the diamond as the ultimate symbol of unbreakable love. Using the clever slogan of ‘Diamonds are Forever’, the diamond industry was on the up! By the mid 1940’s sales had increased by half and the diamond was the most common style of engagement ring. Still to this day the diamond is the most popular choice and even now, in 2015, De Beers promotes it’s products using the phrase ‘A Diamond is forever.’

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Picture courtesy of www.brides.com

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Vintage style with surrounding diamonds on the head and shank. Pictures courtesy of FEU Diamonds www.feudiamonds.com

A diamond’s worth is determined by a number of factors, however together we can navigate our way through the jewellery jargon by focusing on the following four caterogies, affectionately known as the 4C’s: Colour; Clarity; Cut; Carat Weight.

Colour
The colour of a diamond can be anything from colourless to brown and it is the responsibility of the Gemological Institute of America, GIA, to compare each diamond against a master set in order to determine the grading. They are graded from D (colourless) down to Z (dark brown). The higher the grading, the better the colour, and more often than not, the greater the worth.

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Picture courtesy of www.ninaellejewels.com

Clarity
The GIA also grades the clarity of the diamond based on the number and location of the internal flaws (inclusions) and surface characteristics (blemishes). These features are only taken into consideration if they are visible under 10x magnification. There are eleven grades of clarity ranging from Flawless to I3. The higher the grade (i.e. the closer it is to flawless, generally the greater the worth of the diamond.

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Picture courtesy of www.ninaellejewels.com

Cut
Defining the cut of a diamond is somewhat difficult as it considers the overall appearance and quality of the diamond. The GIA grades the round brilliant diamonds from Excellent to Poor by assessing many features including brightness, symmetry, and polish. (Note, the cut of a diamond is not the same as it’s shape). The round brilliant diamond is not the only shape of diamond; there are a number of other exciting shapes too! The radiant, pear and marquise are also typically used in rings – some people even have a heart shaped one!

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Common shapes of diamonds. Picture courtesy of www.thediamondauthority.org

Carat Weight
Carat weight is the standard unit of measurement for diamonds. It is measured in the GIA laboratory and rounded to the nearest hundredth of a carat. As a rule of thumb, one carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams and again the greater the number of carats the higher the price of the diamond.

The 4C’s define the quality of the diamond and influence it’s worth. Nevertheless, De Beers is correct in the sense that a diamond IS forever. So where do we go from here?

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Photo courtesy of Kate Nielen www.katenielen.com taken at a           Stylish Events Wedding.

The world of rings, diamonds, jewellery and quite frankly weddings themselves is a minefield! Please don’t be put off by the vast amount of choice; you would think that the more options you have the easier the choice – but that’s really not the case. It’s ok to find the experience daunting, but it’s not ok to choose a ring because your friends like it, because your future mother-in-law says so, or because you can’t decide so you just picked any old one.

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Picture courtesy of www.brides.com

A ring is yours to keep for eternity; a symbol of your love and commitment to your partner. If your partner chooses it, and it’s perfect, then good for you! However, many couples go shopping together whilst some women leave carefully placed magazines around the house or accidentally leave a ring on the computer screen!

Shop around; have fun; make a day of it! Whatever takes your fancy. You don’t need to buy the first one you try on – take your time and try a few. Cliched as it sounds – everyone is different. If every single bride, liked the same kind of ring, the world would be a very sad and a lot less sparkly place.

I like the vintage style rings, whilst my best friend likes the heart-shaped diamonds and my cousin is drawn to the 3 stone ones. All three of us like different styles, but that’s what makes us different. So, use your ring to celebrate you personality and choose a ring that suits you. Your ring is yours to keep; pick one that makes you happy. If you look down at your hand and smile when you see it, then you know you’re on to a winner.

Fingers crossed that my future husband will read this blog and make detailed notes! Vintage please, no pressure and good luck!

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Picture from www.bridesmagazine.co.uk courtesy of Instagram/ jillygolightly

Aso Ebi – The Colourful Custom of Nigerian Weddings

The next few issues on our blog will be from our current Stylish Events Interns, Robert and Gemma. We set them the task of writing a blog on an area of the wedding industry that interests them and that they would like to share with our followers.

First up is a blog from Robert, who has been with us since August 2015. Robert decided to investigate the Nigerian wedding tradition – Aso Ebi. Some of you may know that our Director, Dominique, grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, so she was delighted to be able to celebrate an African wedding tradition on our blog. Over to you Robert…..

Robert’s Blog
I can’t count the number of times my friends have told me that I’m going to end up marrying a Nigerian girl. I’m a British-born Ghanaian and, having lived in London all my life, I’ve grown up and made friends with many Nigerians over the years so getting married to one wouldn’t be the strangest thing ever. I actually wouldn’t mind getting married to a Nigerian, especially since I’d get to see and experience one of my favourite wedding customs – Aso Ebi.

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Photo courtesy of naijaglamwedding.com

Aso Ebi is an outfit made from matching coloured and patterned fabric that all members of a party wear at a wedding although it can also be worn at party, funerals and other social events. For ladies, Aso Ebi consists of a gele (a head wrap), a kaftan and a wrapper whilst men’s outfits consist of a fila (a cap), a kaftan and trousers. Some of the most common material used are ankara (a patterned cotton material) or lace.

Tracing its origins back to Nigeria’s Yoruba tribe, Aso Ebi was originally worn only by the family of the bride and groom as a way to easily identify the relatives of the celebrants. As time went on, Aso Ebi was no longer restricted to family members but soon extended to close friends of the bride and groom although the colour would be different. For example, the Aso Ebi worn by the bride’s family might be blue and white, while the groom’s family wears green and purple, the bride’s close friends might wear yellow and red and the groom’s close friends wear blue and orange. The colour combinations are infinite!

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Pictures courtesy of bellanaija.com

Unlike in the West, where suits and dresses are bought ready-made from shops, each Aso Ebi outfit is custom made for the wearer. The bride chooses the colours and fabric to be used for the Aso Ebi and then purchases several yards of the material. She then resells lengths of this material to her guests with a small profit on top which goes towards costs of the wedding and/or ‘thank you’ presents for those who buy the material. For more prominent family members and guests, or if the family is affluent enough, material is given as a gift for free. Then it’s off to your tailor to get your outfit made!

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Picture courtesy of theasoebijunkie.wordpress.com

What I love most about Aso Ebi is its fusion of oneness and individualism. By wearing Aso Ebi, you visually show your support and encouragement to the bride and groom. By having each outfit tailor-made, it allows each person to impart their own individual flair and style into their outfit.

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Pictures courtesy of weddingdigestnaija.com, singleingidi.com. RHphotoarts and selectastyle.com

Clothing worn to African weddings have always been and will always be vibrant display of colour. And even in the sea of colours you’ll come across you can be sure that Aso Ebi outfits will always a wave of awe surging through you no matter how many different ones you see.

My internship at Stylish Events will, sadly, finish in December. This means I will begin my journey to become a fully fledged wedding planner. I certainly hope I will get the opportunity to plan lots of Nigerian weddings.

Aso Ebi

Picture courtesy of coordinatedforyou.wordpress.com

Perfect venues for an Italian destination wedding

Dominique and I are just back from our incredible Italian Study Tour, during which we visited three amazing venues, each one different from the other and all gorgeous for a destination wedding. We will be doing a more detailed blog on each of the venues we visited, but we wanted to give you a quick look at the splendour of what we saw, tasted and experienced.

We had the pleasure of sharing this unforgettable adventure with two other members of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, Steven Pellier of Steven Pellier Weddings and Louise Perry of Louise Perry Weddings; a wedding blogger, Jessica Barrie from Deluxe Wedding Blog; and a great wedding and fine art photographer, Kate Nielen, who took all the venue photos you see below.

Here are a couple of selfies of the team:

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We spent the first two days at Villa Balke and Hotel Marad, on the Gulf of Naples overlooking the Isle of Capri, with Mount Vesuvius in the background. Villa Balke is bright and modern with a seaside feel. It has so many possibilities for an amazing wedding, including a fantastic pool party area.  It’s also very close to a variety of tourist destinations, so perfect for a three or four day visit to this region of Italy.

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Villa Balke

 

Our next destination was the Tuscan countryside just outside Florence. We visited the stunning Villa Mangiacane, enjoyed the locally produced wine and the inventive cuisine of the resident chef. This romantic, elegant venue left us all speechless on more than one occasion!

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VIlla Mangiacane

 

Last but certainly not least, we visited Il Borro. Situated a little further into the Tuscan countryside around the town of Arezzo but just one hour from Florence, this magnificent estate is owned by the Ferragamo family. It has so many different options for your ceremony and reception, each more stunning then the next – and even its own church. Amazing!

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Il Borro

 

All photographs from Kate Nielen Photography

The hospitality we received at each venue was outstanding and we wish to thank our host venues for their warmth and friendship. We can’t wait to return very soon.

More to come on each of the venues and our experience in Italy!

Love,

Anna and Dominique