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The official blog for Harlow Garland Weddings and Events. To search for posts or view all posts, head over to our library which is searchable and categorised! 

Must Haves for your Garden Wedding

Image by Samantha Donaldson for our Auckland Weddings Styled Shoot  via:

Image by Samantha Donaldson for our Auckland Weddings Styled Shoot via:

Your wedding day will probably be one of the most important days of your life and making sure you tie the knot at the perfectly planned wedding that represents you both is important. Having a garden wedding go smoothly can depend on whether you have the essentials for the guests. With gorgeous flowers and lush gardens, added extras can make all the difference in the running of the wedding. We have chosen the top items to have on offer at the outdoor wedding to make sure it goes smoothly.

A venue with it all Of course if you’re planning a garden wedding, the venue of choice will be stunning with colourful gardens and sprawling lawns. If the perfect venue is chosen, then choosing extra outdoor accessories and planning of the ceremony location will come naturally. If a venue is experience with hosting garden weddings, they will know what is best for a sunny or windy day. It would be handy of the venue had near trees to act as shade if the day gets warmer for example.

Garden games As we have mentioned before, outdoor weddings need to have a handful of extras to keep guests occupied. Hiring outdoor games such as lawn bowls, or old-fashioned petanque can make all the difference. Being able to offer these in shades areas will give guests more of a reason to play. These can also be fun for kids during photos or maybe the ceremony.

Beat the heat It may sound like the obvious, but having shade alternatives rather than just trees can often be forgotten. Offering some pretty umbrellas for the bridesmaids and other guests can be a great idea, especially if they look nice in the photos. Other shade options can include large outdoor umbrellas and gorgeous sunshades can also offer summery aesthetic for photos too.

Hydrations and sustenance The heat can do a lot of things to people, and dehydration and hunger can be it. Going with the garden theme, yummy fruits and fresh flavoured treats can keep guests going while playing garden games. Offering jugs of water and juice for them to self-serve can sometimes be better than having to leave the area for a drink.

Summer garden weddings are always stunning days when the sun is out and the warm air heats up the day. But making sure you have enough water, games and shade for all guests to recover with can be almost as important as the ceremony. Happy guests can make the day so much more amazing.

Engagement Party Interactive with Wedding Paper Divas

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Getting engaged should be a happy time in your life. But if you’re like most newly engaged couples, you can easily become overwhelmed by taking on too much too soon. What you should focus on instead is enjoying the moment.

You can do this by capturing your excitement as a couple with an engagement party! Traditionally, the groom’s parents plan this event but times are changing and this something couples are taking on.

If you and your fiancé are planning your celebration, check out this engagement party interactive by wedding stationery company, Wedding Paper Divas. It includes 50 amazing ideas with everything from fun party themes to irresistible menu options your guests will love.

Below we also made a list of to-dos to make sure you don’t miss a thing when planning your engagement party!

Ten to Eight Weeks before the Party

Agree on a Host Traditionally, the Bride's family throws the engagement party, but often the Groom's family likes to share in the festivities by co-hosting the affair. Part of the fun of an engagement party, is letting your two families get to know each other, as well as friends or extended family you don’t often see.

Pick a Date Generally, the engagement party is held three to four months after the proposal.

Compile a Guest List Make sure your invitees are also on the guest list for the wedding ceremony and reception.

Register... or not. Decide if you want to register (preferably for gifts in the low to middle range of prices – don't forget, the wedding is still to come), or include a note in the invitation kindly requesting no gifts. If guests do bring presents, wait until after the party to open them so as to not obligate or offend the other guests.

Four to Six Weeks before the Party

Send Invitations The tone of the party should be in keeping with that of your upcoming wedding. These can be as formal as you like but the engagement party is usually a more relaxed, playful occasion.

Decide on Decorations and Centrepieces If you wish, choose a theme that reflects you as a couple or something that reflects your two families. No need to go overboard though, the point is to celebrate your engagement. If you’ve already decided on your wedding stationery / theme motif, including it in the engagement party lends a welcome element of cohesion.

Plan a Menu Whether your party will be held at a restaurant or a private home, you should be mindful of any allergies or food specifications of your guests.

The Week Before

Go Shopping, if Necessary If the party will be in a home, give yourself a comfortable margin of time to buy the food, drinks, party goods or anything else you may be contributing.

Prepare the Venue Make sure there are plenty of places for guests to sit and eat as well as an area to store gifts. For a party at someone's home, arrange to have the lawn cut and the house cleaned and be sure the air conditioning/ heat works. Let the neighbours know you will be having a party so as to preempt any complaints of disruption.

Lineup your Help Need some extra hands to get everything done? Involve the members of your wedding party if you've already chosen them, or ask for help from willing friends and family members.

Decorate Just because it's not the main event, doesn't mean you can't go a little overboard on the decor. Especially if you're using a house, this is your chance to turn an ordinary flat or home into an opulent reception venue for your engagement party for the evening, and if it's a family home, you'll always have the memory of how beautiful it looked! Look what we did to a Remuera flat (home to 6 boys!!) in just the space of a few hours!

We'd love to help you style your home or venue for your engagement party!

For further advice on planning your engagement, why not check out our Engagement Party Etiquette guide and once you're ready, our guide to Choosing your Wedding Planner!

Favour Ideas For Your Wedding Day

Favour boxes by Bespoke by Harlow Garland. Image by  Adelina Photography

Favour boxes by Bespoke by Harlow Garland. Image by Adelina Photography

Many couples opt to give each of their guests a wedding favour as a memento of the special day. Here are some of our favourite wedding favour ideas that you can easily create.

Mini Potted Plant

Mini potted plants are a great choice for your wedding favours that can also double as a place card! When choosing a plant, succulents are perfect option because they are easy for your guests to care for once home. Opt for small pots that coordinate well with your wedding colours and tie around a ribbon to add a card with each guests name.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers are the perfect favour option for a Spring wedding – and also double as a gorgeous piece of décor! Display bunches in metal buckets on a tiered stand next to your doorway. Once your wedding comes to an end, invite guests to take a bunch of the blooms as they are leaving.

Personalised Chocolate Bar

Personalised chocolate bars make for a wedding favour that everyone is sure to love. Choose your favourite store bought chocolate bars and personalise them by rewrapping them in paper that coordinates with your wedding theme and colours. Tie ribbon or twine around each one and add a piece of card with the bride and grooms name and the wedding date – here you could even also write a short message to each guest!

Candle

Candles are a thoughtful wedding favour that is sure to last well after your wedding. Choose one scent or a variety and if you are making your own, put them into containers that suit your theme – whether this is a mason jar or teacup.

Jar Condiments

If you and your partner are the foodie type, then jarred condiments are the perfect wedding favour idea. As they are simple to make in bulk, opt for your favourite jams, pickles and chutneys. Add labels with what is inside and personalise with each guests name!

Mini Wedding Cakes

For something slightly different than the traditional tiered wedding cake, opt for mini wedding cakes as your favour. Put the cakes into individual boxes and decorate them to coordinate with your wedding. This is also a great budget option.

Candy Station

Candy stations are becoming increasingly popular for wedding favours. Have a table with a variety of sweets where your guests can pick and choose their favourites and then put into bags to take home with them. For something extra, have your bags personalised with the bride and grooms names and the wedding date.

Bridal Shower Planning

Photo by Kate Little for Harlow Garland

Photo by Kate Little for Harlow Garland

Compared to a hen’s night, the bridal shower is a much more elegant event. In today’s modern times it does not always have to be the maid of honour that plans the bridal shower. It can often be the bride’s mother, sister, a close friend or even them all together. If the planning of the bridal shower happens to fall on your shoulders, we have put together a basic planning guide to make it that little bit more simple for you.

When To Have It

Typically, the bridal shower takes place two to three months prior to the wedding day. Any closer to the wedding than one month the bride will possibly be too busy with last minute wedding planning to enjoy herself. Always be sure to communicate with the bride to ensure a time and date that would suit her best.

Who To Invite

When it is time to create the guest list, it is always best to communicate with the bride to see who she would like to invite. Keep in mind that the people who are being invited should only be people who are also invited to the wedding. Sometimes brides are lucky enough to have more than one bridal shower thrown for them, in this case you may want to invite different people than those that have already been invited to another one. Although, it is best to always invite the bride’s mother, future mother-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law.

Where To Have It

Where the bridal shower is held largely depends on your budget – and sometimes even your theme. Some people choose to reserve a space in a restaurant while others opt for a backyard event. If you are having the bridal party at a restaurant it is best to book it in as soon as possible to ensure your reservation.

Have A Style And Theme

It is important to decide what theme and style you wish to have for the shower. Whether it will be a brunch affair, cocktails, a sit down dinner or even a group activity. Group activities are becoming increasingly popular, such as a cooking or painting class. A theme and style also ensures the shower is cohesive, by the likes of colours, décor and even packaged favours for the guests.

Keep Track Of Gifts

With the bridal shower comes a lot of gift giving and the bride will often want to send out thank you notes to each person. To make this easier for her, it is a good idea for you (or to assign someone) to write down the name of the guest and what gift they gave to her. At the end of the shower you can then present this list to the bride – she will definitely be thankful for your help.

Click here for our blog post all about bridal shower history and superstitions.

Honeymoon Venue: Chewton Glen Country House

When considering an overseas honeymoon (or even a destination wedding), the venue selection can be rather harrowing with an entire world to consider. As part of our #honeymoonhumpday series, we're going to be bringing you a variety of venue profiles, honeymoon styles and tips every Wednesday to help you narrow your options down to somewhere truly amazing.

Today's venue is Chewton Glen Country House & Spa - a quintessentially English escape.

As the only privately owned five star hotel in the UK and only a two hour drive from central London, Chewton Glen is the perfect weekend getaway to include in your English honeymoon. On arrival, guests are escorted to their choice of suite with their own private golf cart, situated upon 130 acres of exquisite countryside. Whether you are after something traditional or more contemporary, there are rooms and suites to suit everyone, all with an emphasis on comfort.

What makes Chewton Glen truly unique though, are its treehouse suites, nestled ten metres above ground and offering impeccable panoramic views. Focusing on the finer details, the treehouse suites provide everything you’ll need so you never have to venture out. Every morning, a breakfast hamper is delivered through a secret hatch and treats you with everything from pancakes to salmon and cream cheese bagels. An outdoor hot tub on your private terrace, a bespoke walk-in shower, hot chocolate buttons and mini marshmallows (or a bottle of Pinot), complete the offering and make for superior comfort. Located within the rustic woodlands and tree canopies, these treehouse suites are an eccentric hideaway.

The hotel is situated between the New Forest National Park and the seaside, meaning there are countless activities to enjoy, should you decide to venture out of your couple cave. Whether you stay on-site and enjoy a game of croquet or archery, take a private tour of the New Forest by horseback, enjoy a short drive to one of England’s many coastline towns, or unwind with a break at the spa, the quiet English hamlet has something to offer any couple’s style, not to mention its crystal steam rooms and grand Roman-themed pool.

If you decide you want to explore further, take the opportunity to discover the magnificent attractions that surround Chewton, the likes of Stonehenge, the Exbury Gardens, the Isle of Wight and Winchester Cathedralall within close proximity.

Back at the hotel, guests are provided with a full range of dining options for any hour of the day. The Dining Room is where James Martin and Jean Christophe-Novelli, some of Britain’s most well-known chefs, learned their craft, offering everything from the typically English to the more contemporary cuisine.The Pool Bar provides guests with lighter and more delicate options.

Enjoy the great English tradition of afternoon tea served between 3pm and 4pm on the terrace, or, of course, opt for the 24 hour room service. An array of seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers are even harvested from their very own nursery as part of their commitment to ethical sustainability. Guests can pair any dish with their personal selection of over sixteen hundred individual wines from Chewton Glen’s multi-award winning wine list.

Its luxurious aspects, unique, finer qualities and unexpected details are what have earned Chewton Glen an array of prestigious awards, ranging from Best Large Hotel in the United Kingdom (2016) to Countryside Hotel of the Year (2016).

You will not be disappointed in Chewton Glen Country House and Spa for your honeymoon or for a relaxing British escape.