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Posts Tagged ‘reception’

Here are some ideas for fresh and delicious summer drinks to serve to your wedding guests. These cooling beverages are just as easy to make in small quantities as large – so if you are just having a summer garden party or a large wedding reception, you can get stuck into making scrummy welcome drinks for your guests:

Homemade Ginger Beer – serves 8
1/2 tsp yeast
1 lemon – juice and rind
2tbsp grated root ginger
1 cup sugar
2l bottle

Add all the ingredients to a 2l bottle (an empty lemonade bottle works perfectly – but make sure it has a sturdy lid. many water bottles have short lids which have a tendancy to pop off when the pressure gets too high) and add a couple of cups of water. Shake well until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the bottle to about 2″ below the top, put the lid on really tight and leave the bottle somewhere warm for a couple of days or until the bottle goes rock solid. To stop the fermenting, pop the bottle into the fridge to chill. You will need to be really careful when you open the bottle that it doesn’t fiz everywhere… When you are ready to serve, strain the liquid into glasses with ice and garnish with slices of lime, or sprigs of mint.

If you want to make lashings and lashings of ginger beer for summer adventures, then buy those large waterbottles from the supermarket and multiply the ingredients in proportion to their size. You may need to leave more than 2″ space at the top to allow for more expansion.

Raspberry lemonade
The easiest way to do this is just to crush handfulls of raspberries and add to bought-lemonade. Add a few whole raspberries per glass for garnish.

As usual, my mum is the absolute authority on all things homemade and recipes. Here are two scruptious drinks I remember from my early days…

Basic lemonade
This recipe isn’t fizzy but delicious non-the-less. It makes a cordial that is much easier to transport to the reception venue and then add chilled water & ice.
1.5 lb sugar
1/2 oz citric acid & 1 tsp /tartaric acid  (get them from your local chemist)
Put into a large basin and add 3 pts boiling water. Stir well until sugar has melted
Add juice of 3 lemons + strips of rind from 2. Leave overnight, strain & bottle

You can sterilise bottles & lids and keep the cordial in cool cupboard, but it also stores in fridge for a couple of weeks or in washed-out milk cartons in freezer if you want to make it in advance.

Elderflower Cordial
The smell of the elderflowers in hedgerows at this time of year is overpowering. Pick a few flower heads to make a delicious alternative (a lot cheaper than) ‘Green Bottle’
3lb sugar
2pts boiling water
2oz citric acid
2 medium lemons sliced
stir well until sugar has melted, then stir in 20 large young elderflower heads (shake to release any insects!). Leave overnight, strain & bottle. Storage as per the lemonade above.

To sterilise bottles to keep the cordials in if you are making in advance: Simply wash glass bottles and their lids really well and put in boiling water. After a few minutes place them on a baking tray in the oven to get rid of any germs. Take them out and leave to cool before pouring the cordial in.

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When prioritising what you want to spend your money on for your wedding, little extras such as favours make a nice touch, but can often be just done for the sake of it, spending money on something with little thought. So here are some ideas for thoughful and personal gifts that cost less than £1 per guest:


Sew little fabric bags for each person for them to fill up at a candy bar during the reception (use left over fabric that has been sitting at your mum’s house since you were 5). Sew the persons name onto the bag, or add a luggage tag, and it can double up as a place card. Borrow storage jars of different sizes from friends, or search for them on freecycle, then visit the local cash & carry to fill them with different types of sweets – it makes a really colourful display. (Image above via Amy Atlas Events, NYC)
Time per favour: 15mins
Cost per favour: 5p for fabric, 2p for luggage label, 50p for sweets

Is your mother-in-law-to-be green fingered? Ask her to plant bulbs in little pots for each guest. A couple of narcissus bulbs would be perfect. The plant-tag with care instructions sticking in the soil can double as a name card. You will probably need a roll of sandwich bags available for guests to carry it home without spilling soil everywhere…
When the plant flowers later in the year (and every year after that) they will remember you both and your fabulous day.
Time per favour: 15mins
Cost per favour: 50p for mini plant-pot, 30p for bulbs, 5p for label

Home-made with love: For domestic goddesses, consider a homemade favour. If the thought of a weekend in the kitchen sounds like bliss, then why not make a batch of fruit jam for your wedding guests? Buy mini jam jars from www.freemanharding.co.uk, and add a handwritten label. (Or if you are uber organised, ask friends to collect up all their glass jars for the months before the wedding)
Time per favour: 15mins
Cost per favour: 5op for fruit, 2op for jar tops, 5p for labels

Give a charity donation of  £1 on behalf of every person – print them each a little card telling them which charity. If you have time you could make it one that is specific to them, or theme it around each table. Again, the little card can double up as a name placecard (see a theme developing here?)
Cost per favour: £1

Seed cards – a little book of 10 plantable forget me not seeds – 10 books for £9.99 – from Confetti.co.uk. Or you can get personalised ones – 50 for £39.99 – so if you know you have 100 guests it actually saves you money. If you have 90 guests, or 130, then the extras you could send to relatives or friends who couldn’t make it on the day along with their thank you card. They will feel so loved and appreciate the thought…much easier than sending cake to put under their pillow!
Cost per favour: Max 99p

Mini paper bags and cones are so easy to make – save £’s by making them rather than paying £1 each for fancy boxes and then having to pay on top for the contents… fill them with sweets, confetti, rose petals, chocolate, love hearts… you are only limited by your imagination.
To make a mini paper bag, get a book about the same size as the bag you want, wrap the paper (colourful, or in your theme colours) around the book as if wrapping a present, but leave one end open. Ta Da! Tape a little string/ribbon handle on the inside if required.
Time per bag: 5 mins (max!)
Cost per favour: 2p for paper, 5-10p for handle, 50 for contents…

Try to make the favour personal to you as a couple, or to fit with the theme of the day to make guests remember it, and to show them your appreciation for their presence (and presents!)

What other ideas have you come up with? Or which will you be doing? Leave us a comment below…

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You’ve got a very important date… Just don’t be late!

Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham carter all star in Tim Burtons version of Alice In Wonderland due for release in the UK on 5th march 2010, and we are very excited about it – already! We are predicting lots of spring weddings inspired by tea parties and general madness.

For planning your own Madhatters Tea Party, follow some of these tips:

Alice in Wonderland wedding theme

Key invites – Walt Disney Pictures; Keira’s blue wedding dress via FashionBride; Clock necklace from MadeNew; Eat me ring from Folksy; Oversized plant cup by Gitta Gschwendtner.

Things are not what they seem with these whacky but gorgeous details:

Stationery –Use labels for save-the-date’s and the seating chart, and include graphic images of curious objects on the invites. Use embossing and letter press for an authentic vintage look.

Play with size – As Alice kept growing and shrinking her perceptions were screwed – play with various sizes of objects around the venue, such as oversized planters and hangings, to tiny dolls-house sized objects in amongst table centrepieces…

What to wear – You don’t need to look as wired as Johnny Depp to pull off this theme – Be inspired by the pale blue dress worn by Alice for a non-traditional wedding dress & hire top hats for the guys.
Jewellery can be bold & colourful. Made-New make one-off pieces made from vintage jewellery and this one themed on watches is perfect for the white rabbit. Gift bridesmaids with these cute cake rings to wear with mis-matched colourful dresses – or have fun on your hen party making them with Fimo – remember that?!

Reception – Decorate the venue with chandeleirs by Madeleine Boulesteix, made from teacups, jelly moulds and vintage cutlery. Have jars of cookies, cakes & sweets on the table with ‘eat me’ labels – use these for dessert to save on the extra course… Have ‘curious objects’ around the venue  – especially great for kids

For more tea themed ideas check out our other tea party inspiration board

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As part of our ‘Advice from the Experts’ feature, venue stylists Pebble in the Pond have joined us as our style experts, giving you the advice you need to think through and develop your wedding style. Here’s Emma to give you the spotlight on getting started.

PIPteacups“When we sit down with our bride and grooms for our initial ‘get to know’ you meeting over a cup of coffee or two, we like to get under the skin of who you are as a couple – the best weddings in our view are when every detail reflects who you both are, creating that individual, unique day that no other couple could host.  We, being extremely nosy, like to get to know the following…

How much is the day about you two and how much about your family and friends?  Bringing touches of your family and friends into the day is a lovely way to make everyone feel welcome.  The family will love sweet peas from your grandma’s garden in vintage style tea pots to decorate the tables or dad’s home grown lavender sprigs tucked into a napkin.

What do you as a couple love doing?  Music fans, why not recraft old music sheets into cones to hold real petal confetti.  Teenage sweethearts?  How about some old school nostalgia with small, reclaimed blackboards to display table numbers and your table plan and recycled glass platters filled with old fashioned sweets – 80s disco optional!

PIPivyThink about where you are getting married and how you can make your day empathetic to that.  Getting married in a place piled high with history?  Transport your guests back in time by having a high tea served upon vintage crockery with china cake stands laden with goodies.Ivy from the garden is wonderful around candlebras and as a napkin decoration.  If the venue has a kitchen garden or fruit trees, would it be possible to offer some wonderful produce as take home gifts?  ‘Grow your own’ seed packets make gorgeous favours.  Getting married by the sea?  Decorative driftwood can make interesting tablecentres or why not use pretty shells at your place settings?

PIPorangeIn planning a ‘greener’ wedding obviously seasonal is key and something we always bear in mind – there’s nothing more refreshing than arriving at an early spring wedding to be greeted at your table by ribbon wrapped, terracotta pots filled with scented narcissi after a long, dark winter.  Likewise at an early December wedding, we can’t resist throwing in a touch of the ‘C’ word – cinnamon bundles tied with organic cotton lace, fragrant dried orange slices or vintage style tea cups filled with soy wax candles….”

How the Pebble in the Pond service works

Pebble In The Pond logoHere at Pebble in the Pond, we can help you with as little or as much decoration and detail as you require – we pride ourselves on working with you to develop your own ideas, as well as throwing in a few of our own, to make your wedding as unique as you are.

We are a wedding venue stylist and have a wide assortment of beautiful accessories to compliment your day.  These range from organic cotton tablecloths and vintage style print and lace table runners through to recycled glass centerpieces, vintage style crockery (tea cups and saucers, tea pots, cake stands etc), candlesticks, baskets – the list goes on.

All the items are for hire however we also offer a styling service where we can come and set up your venue the day before or the morning of your wedding so that you can enjoy your day, confident that when you arrive at your chosen venue it will look fantastic.

We also offer a wonderful range of unique and individual handmade favours which can be personalised to you.

In everything we do we try to be as environmentally friendly as we can.  As many of our materials as possible are organic, reclaimed, fair-trade or locally sourced.  We support local artists in the creation of our wonderful pieces and we give 5% of our profits to charity.

Styling by Pebble In the Pond

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Vintage wedding ideas are becoming more popular. Why not have a wedding with a tea party theme…

Personally Tea has been part of my heritage as my Dad is a tea taster for a major brand, and my parents are from Yorkshire and drink gallons of the stuff. Between our wedding and reception we held a tea party in the church hall so we could invite a larger number of people. Friends and family brought a plethora of cakes and we were served tea by the Mothers Union.

Vintage Tea Party Wedding IdeasIdeas for a tea themed wedding:

This table setting from Country Living (1) could be easily created with rented tea sets, flowers from the gardens of friends, and a selection of cakes and cucumber sandwiches!

Extend the party by giving your guests tea favours – fair trade of course.  The bags from Fair Trade Teas (2) are a special wedding blend in a silk bag.

Hire vintage sets from the vintage tea company (3) for an elegant picnic or tea party theme.

Tea was introduced into Britain in the 1650’s and since then has played an important part in British tradition and culture. Made fashionable in 1660 by Queen Catherine of Braganza, tea very quickly moved from luxury to staple. Ladies of leisure in Victorian England used ‘afternoon tea’ as a means of filling the gap between luncheon and dinner by inviting friends over, and this soon heralded manufacturers to create elegant designs for the occasion.

Vintage Tea ideas for your wedding gift list

There are some gorgeous tea sets and accessories available that you can add to your gift list:

Ester Coombs creates decorative cake stands (1) from vintage tea cups and saucers and then illustrates them with graphic patterns.

Juliette at Home create scented candles and soaps (2) inspired by the English tea party. We love the rhubarb and custard kitchen candle.

Vintage cake forks can be found on Ebay – for the full tea party experience!

Try more exotic teas such as blooming jasmine from Emeyu teas (3)

Tea cosies (4) can be made from recycled fabrics and yarns to complete the set.

Kaoru designs ceramic tea sets (5)specifically to keep specialist artisans in business. The ceramic industry has been in decline in the UK as manufacturing moves overseas, but these designs keep skilled workers in trade so they can pass their skills to the next generation.

You can easily add any gifts to your wedding list with the new Wedding Notebook gift list service that will be launched soon, so you can create a new home as independent as you are!

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The hit US TV show ‘Get Married‘ give couples ideas and inspiration for their weddings, from Hollywood glamour to water themes and destinations.

Last night’s episode focused on the growing trend of Green weddings and you can check it out here (select Tue 5th May).

Keep your wedding eco chic by choosing aspects that create an impact with minimal effect on the environment.
– Using flowers such as hydrangeas mean you get a great display with just a small number of blooms (left)
– Use candles as a table centrepiece, which will be used after the wedding – just make sure they are soy wax, which doesn’t contain petroleum and so burns cleanly. You could collect wine bottles from a local restaurant (or collect your own if you have a long engagement) to hold dinner candles or single stem flowers.
– If you do use flowers, collect vintage vases from second hand shops or car-boot sales for a creative collection of different shaped pieces. You can give the centrepieces to guests who have helped with aspects of the day as their thank you.

– Choose flowers that are in season and locally grown to cut down on the miles they have travelled. Your florist will be able to advise you on what will work well for the season of your wedding. Remember you can create colour with foliage…
– There are some gorgeous silvers and red from leaves that can work with a minimal use of blooms – cutting your budget too.

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