Tuesday, 27 December 2011


There is nothing more exciting and more fun than Christmas Day with the family and loved ones, is there? Let’s be honest, we all love it. The decorations, the food, giving presents or getting together with the family, one thing that I love the most, being an event planner is the decorating part! Over the holidays I have found many bargains which made our Christmas table decorations look great.
Me setting up the room

One of my most favourite parts of Christmas in Manchester, is the Manchester Christmas Markets. I adore them. The food stands are unbelievable, such as the pancake stands made in seconds in front of your eyes, with lashings of honey, whip cream, chocolate sauce; or the German sausages, or the mulled wine, you really can’t beat it! 
But the best part of all is the Christmas decorations on offer here, all hand made from different parts of Europe, from hanging decorations for your door, tree or fireplace or gifts and special sweet treats to give as presents, or stunning table decorations. If you want something really unique then at the Albert Square section sells beautiful handmade centerpieces of wicker baskets filled with plants, and Christmas decorations of red, gold and green looking very festive, with plenty of designs to choose from. We picked one up for a fiver! And it went down a treat, with everyone commenting on how beautiful it was.
Centerpiece from the Manchester Christmas Markets

There are several other stands as well selling reindeer's and penguins made out of wicker and twine which would compliment any Christmas setting or table centerpiece. However, when I saw these, I pictured them in the front garden, covered in snow, which put me off getting any this year due to the fact that there was no chance of a white Christmas. L

So when it comes to your table centerpieces, there are plenty of ways to make your table look beautiful without it costing the earth.
Firstly you need to start looking for decorations around early to mid November, as once you get to mid December all the good decorations are gone. Think of what colour scheme or theme you want to go for then your theme will fall into place. Common Christmas themes could be traditional Christmas such as gold, red and green colour's with Christmas crackers and matching colour decorations, or winter wonderland using different cool shades of blues, whites and creams, with white tree’s as centerpieces, branches in vases attached with lights, or a white theme so many possibilities, you don’t always have to go for traditional! 
Cottage tealights
I searched many shops, especially during times when the shops were less quiet so I could search the shelves properly to concentrate properly on my theme.
We chose a traditional theme using red and gold as our main colours. The main centerpiece was from the Manchester Christmas Markets which looked beautiful on top of a gold table runner and red table cloth. We even splashed out on some gold plates, and

little trinkets on the table such as snow globes, mini topiary tree’s, red ceramic tealight holders, shaped like a cottage which in low lighting looked stunning; and were bought for £2.00 each in the sale.

Though the best time to get your decorations is Christmas Eve or the few days after Christmas, that way for Christmas 2012 you will have great decorations done and dusted, that cost you next to nothing. On Boxing day I picked up lots of decorations for next year, some stunning little pieces which would brighten up any table and only cost me as little as 45p for some! I spend less that 6.00 on expensive decorations which would have cost in excess of more than 100.00 a few weeks earlier, so hit the shops after Christmas, and stock up for next year. You would be amazed at the bargains you can find, I know I was! 

Thursday, 15 December 2011


We all dream from an early age about getting married in a beautiful venue, all of your friends and family looking on, stunning decorations and amazing food. Although, besides the obvious factor's with chillier weather and dark nights, it may not be your obvious first choice. However there are benefits to getting married in winter that may make you rethink getting married in the obvious choices in summer and spring, where it is more expensive. Such as:
Wedding cake by JIM SMEAL
  • Venue hire in winter is much cheaper than in the warmer months
  • Availability is better, as less people get married in the colder months
  • Budget friendly
  • Discounts from suppliers such as honeymoons, accommodations, etc, 
Winter is also a very romantic time of year to get married. Picture snow covered grounds for your wedding photo's, roaring log fires, mulled wine and romantic candlelight. Also the bride can wear a cosy fur shrug around her shoulders for the ultimate winter look, and long white gloves to keep your hands warm for the ultimate winter look.
THEME'S AND DECORATIONS Also when it comes to decorations, there are several themes you can choose from.
By Preston Bailey
  • CHRISTMAS THEME - Using reds, greens and golds. The tables can be adorned with red or green table clothes, scented candles such as mulled wine, spices, foliage such as red berries and holly, and Christmas figurines.
  • WINTER WONDERLAND - Here you can use a colour pallet of blues, whites and silver. Table centerpieces of tall white tree's hanging small trinkets off the branches. Use blue lighting, white linens such as chair covers and table clothes, and splashes of colour of sliver and blue's for accessories such as chair cover sashes, table runners and napkins. 
  • ALL WHITES - A simple theme using whites, ivory, pale grays, off whites and creams. Use centerpieces of a mixture of white and cream flowers mixed with foliage, in tall vases. White candles, snowflakes and crystal table scatters to add to centerpieces and mirrors also work well. 

Now lets not forget about the venue either. Remember that gorgeous wedding venue that you would love to get married in, but is way out of your price range? Why not see how much cheaper it is in the winter months. You may find it is now within your budget. As many venue's around Manchester and surrounding area's are eager to be hired out as they tend to be quieter at this time of year, they are eager to have your business. They may even add in some extra's such as chair covers, drinks packages or extending the hours you can hire the venue. 

So don't be put off by the cold for getting married in the winter, there are several perks such as snow covered scenery for your photographers, big discounts at the top venue's, and many suppliers offering discounts.
So whatever time of year you decide to get married, I am sure it will be beautiful. Though if you do have a tight budget and are looking for a beautiful and romantic atmosphere, think of getting married in the winter!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Manchester is a party city. We love nothing more than a good knee’s up. There are events going on in this massive city every single day. Whatever your event I am sure there is a venue out there to suit your event, budget and to match your guest list. I will show venue’s from all around Manchester and surrounding areas.

44 Washway Road, Sale, Manchester, Cheshire, M33 7QZ
0161 973 8800

Flixton Road, 
M41 5GJ
0161 912 3001
0161 748 9283
15 Westbourne Road, 
M41 0XQ
0161 278 9776


Church Road,
M41 6EP



Clippers Quay 
Salford Quays 
M50 3SN 

0161 877 8110


The Court House
Barton Road
M28 2PB
0161 737 6277

Weston Building, 
Sackville Street  
M1 3BB
0161 955 8000

The Printworks, 
Corporation street. 
Manchester, M4 2B
0161 831 6700



16 Peter Street,  
M60 2DS
0161 236 3333

Gorton Lane, 
M12 5WF
0161 233 3211

Oxford Street, 
M60 7HA
0161 208 1111

The Stock Exchange
4 Norfolk Street
M2 1DW
0161 839 6644

Sunday, 27 November 2011


The wedding dress… all us women ever dream about when we were little girls is getting married in a Cinderella style dress, to our prince charming, with a ball gown style dress, covered in jewels, and intricate details, and possibly with the white gloves. However, in reality, not everyone nowadays wants the big ball gown dress, it all depends on your body shape, the style you are after, and what you feel comfortable with. For instance, if you don’t like your tummy you wouldn’t want to choose a dress that is tight around this area would you? So follow my style guide and happy shopping.

Back in October, I attended the Manchester Wedding Show, where I got to see the wedding dress fashions of 2012. Dress shops from all over Manchester from such as The Confetti Box in Eccles, Fairytale Brides of Sale, strutted their latest collects from the likes of Maggie Sottorio, and Alfred Angelo to name but a few. The following images were just some of the gorgeous dresses shown. As you can see there are many different styles to suit all body types, and I am sure you will find a style that suits you best. 
This style suits the hour glass figure, as the dress hugs the body tightly and flairs out at the knee or mid thigh like a trumpet or mermaid’s tails, hence the name, mermaid. This is a great style for those who want to show off their sexy curves, or who have an evenly proportioned figure. Think Marilyn Monroe or Hollywood glamour.
However if your curves are more around your bottom area, have an apple shaped figure, or straight, boyish figure, then it is best to avoid this style otherwise this will draw attention emphasis problem areas.  

The fabric of this style of dress tends to be lightweight and easy to wear. Usually there is a fitted bodice with a long straight skirt. It hugs the body and is very flattering on tall or petite women.
This style doesn’t work so well for women who have fuller hips, as the dress would emphasize this. Also the fabric is quite figure hugging; therefore if you don’t have a slim line figure, this will show off all of your lumps and bumps. 

This is the most popular dress as it suits most body types. The bodice it fitted, and the skirt is shaped like an ‘A’, hence the name ‘A Line’. This is great for those women who want to hide their hips. However if you have narrow hips this will give you some shape.
However it’s best to avoid this style if you have a smaller chest as this dress will emphasize this. This can be fixed though with padding.

There were no Empire Line Dresses on this particular catwalk this year, though if that is the dress you would like to wear on your big day, wear whatever makes you comfortable. This was the style I wore on my big day. The hemline is right under the bust, and floats straight down straight to the floor.
For those looking to hide their hips, take it from experience this is a great dress to wear. It can also make petite brides look taller!
If you have a large chest and want to avoid attention, it is best to avoid this style. 

Otherwise known as the Princess o Ballerina dress. If you want the ultimate wow factor dress, with the big, full skirt, and too look like a princess, then this is the one for you.
This is a great way to balance those figures who are a little un balanced. For instance, if you have a larger chest, but small hips, this dress, just like the A Line, will balance you out.
However it is best to avoid this style if you are smaller chested as it will emphasize this and make them look smaller, have large hips as this will draw attention to them, or are petite as you may get lost in the dress. 


·         Spaghetti Straps – Minimizes large shoulders and shows off pretty necklines. Great to show off well toned arms

·         Strapless – Very in the moment. If you plan on wearing beautiful jewelry this is a great opportunity to show it off. If you are larger in the best, this option may not give you the best support

·         Short Sleeves – Great if you want to cover your shoulders. Great to show off toned arms

·         Long or short sleeves – You can wear these as part of the dress or worn as a jacket. Usually worm to conceal arms, if this is an area you want to avoid, or to draw attention away from your hips

·         Halter neck – Great for well toned arms and shoulders, If you are petite this style will make you look taller. Great support for those with a larger chest. If you have larger hips, this style will emphasize this

·         V Neck – Great if you want to show a little cleavage and for showing off jewelry

·         Bateau – If you have a sexy collarbone, this style will show this off

·         Sweetheart – Very romantic neckline, as it looks like the top of a heart, also great it you are larger chested and want to show off some cleavage

We can’t forget your gorgeous mother of the bride now, can we. The catwalk show certainly didn’t disappoint this year, with some stunning creations. I know it, is your big day, but you want your mum to look amazing and feel gorgeous as well. After all, she deserves a little pampering, and to look amazing in all of your photographs, doesn’t she.  

I have to admit, groom wear doesn’t really excite me so such. It does seem like the norm, that the man must wear a morning suit. This is completely untrue, if your man would like to wear a stylish suit, let him, be different and stand out from the crowd! And if you want to vary the colours a little, such as grey, or brown, navy blue, go for it! Also do not have to wear a white dress. Nowadays you can wear whatever you like!

So just remember this is just a guide. It is yours and your partners big day so wear what makes you feel comfortable. On my big day, I wore a cocktail, empire line dress, where as when I renew my vows next year, I will be wearing a white dress, but which style at the moment… I have no idea. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


It is not an ideal situation, but you can plan a wedding in 7 weeks. Like with any wedding, you must have a plan of action. Otherwise it’s a recipe for disaster. The earlier you start planning your wedding the better, however we do sometimes get caught up in the romance and want to get married sooner rather than later. That is what my husband and I did. I enjoyed not having all the stress and the long build up to our big day, and our day turned out great.

Back in the summer, a friend of mine told me of her flatmate that was getting married. The problem was, she was getting married in 7 weeks! And she had nothing arranged, but the church and the reception venue. Luckily a family member of hers agreed to do the catering, so we almost had a reception planned… well not quite. Now it was time to concentrate on the smaller things.

I decided to offer my services as it would be great experience to help out at such short notice. Another challenge was the budget. The whole wedding had to be done for under £3000! This is not an easy task. After talking with the bride, there was very little that had been done. She had found a place to do her invitations in her theme colour’s of red and gold, and they looked really lovely. So I set about looking for suppliers for her and every few days I would e-mail her with the cheapest but best value suppliers I could find.

A friend of the couple agreed to DJ at the reception, and also the photography was done by a friend of theirs, who stayed for the whole day, and offered his services at a heavily discounted price.

About a month before the big day, the bride was still without a dress! This was a huge worry for me, as you can’t get married if you do not have a dress! So one weekend she went into a store which I suggested she tried in the centre of Manchester. If you walked past it, it really is one of those places which doesn’t look all that nice, and I can understand why people would think that. But when you walk inside, and walk to the back of the store, you will see where they keep all the nice dresses. I don’t know why you wouldn’t show off your nicest dresses as the front, though? In the end she picked a dress from here and she looked beautiful.

As the bride and groom were both French, their family and friends were flying over, so accomadation needed to be arranged. However, the only downside is that, they were not willing to negotiate the room rates any lower unless we could book a block of 10 rooms. So a tip for the future, if you do have a lot of family and friends coming up for the wedding, if you need more than 10 rooms, more than likely they will organize a discount. However, if you go through an event planner you might get an even  bigger discount.  
On the day of the wedding, the bride had her hair done by her make-up artist, but she hated it! This is a very risky mistake. You should always practice with your hair and make-up stylist first before the big day, as if you don’t like it, then you are not going to feel or look your best on the day, and that is not how you want to feel on your wedding day, is it? To make matters worse the make-up artist arrived late and as a result mean the bride got ready late. So they arrived at the registry office late and missed their slot, which was at 1:30pm. They were devastated, and were very upset. Though luckily, they were able to get married but they had to wait around for 3 hours, until 4:30pm to get married.

The reception was held at the Christ family church in Hulme, Manchester. The church itself is small but has a modern interior with wooden flooring and white walls. There was also a dressing room area, and a smaller room, which if you were to get married there also, you could use this room for your ceremony. The room was done up to look really beautiful. To keep within budget, white spandex chair covers were used and I have to admit they looked lovely. They had burgundy bows tied on the side, which looked very stylish. I wasn’t too keen about the spandex covers at first, but after seeing pictures of them and especially if you are on a budget, throw on a sash, and they are actually really pretty, not to mention cost effective. Also the rectangular tables were covered with matching white table cloths and burgundy table runners, and jewels and silk petals scattered across the table. The centerpieces consisted of tall thin vases with white roses, foliage and a red ribbon tied around the top.

At the back of the room the wall was covered starlight backdrop cloth, and the top table had beautiful gold and burgundy swagging. As the room was in an ‘L’ shape, the smaller are of the room was set up as the catering area. Later on, the bride went to get changed into her evening dress and made a grand entrance with her 6 or 7 bridesmaids, who all adorned different floor length dresses.

Regardless of how close your wedding day is, you can still have an amazing and personal celebration. The only downside is that certain venue’s and suppliers may not be available. Remember you will have plenty and family and friends who will be willing to lend a hand.Start delegating tasks for them to do and make it and family affair! If your aunt is great at making cakes, I am sure she would over to bake your wedding cake. Is your sibling or friend a graphic designer? Get them to design the stationary and seating plan. 

If you set yourself a timeline and stick to it you will be on track to have a great wedding or celebration. If you are getting married and need help with planning your big day, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Check out our prices and see how we can help you. 

Monday, 31 October 2011


Happy Halloween everyone! We had an amazing time setting up for the Halloween party. Though one thing I can safely say is that you cannot start shopping early enough! We started about 2 and a half weeks ago, when the shelves were full, and you could take your pick, and there was hardly anyone interested in Halloween at that time as like most people, they thought it was too early. But if you want a fab looking event, being organized is key to a successful party. So my tip for your future events, it get your decorations early! That way, down the track, as the day gets nearer, if you may need extra spiders, or pumpkins, you won’t be caught short when all the shelves are bare, or just left with the tacky, cheap looking decorations, that you don’t want!

So to set up, we arrived at the house around 11am in the morning armed with bags of pumpkin lanterns, lots of fake spiders, insects, cobwebs, candles, skeletons, skull heads, you name it we had it!
The first thing we had to do was to clear out all of the ornaments and picture frames from the fireplace, shelve and window displays so we had a blank canvas to work with. The family were kind enough to go out and do their food shopping whist we setting up, and left us too it.
Over the door frame we hung up a large sign with the words, ‘KEEP OUT’ across the top. Hanging from the sign were long black streamers to cover the door way. On the floor we lay, what were supposed to be plastic table cloths, but they were so enormous that we decided to lay them on the floor, as they had blood splatters all over them which every effective.
Though after we thought we had finished setting up, we looked across the room, and realized that we didn’t have enough decorations. So we had to make a mad dash out to the shops and get as much as we could. The shops very were busy with everyone buying the last of their Halloween d├ęcor and costume accessories, but luckily Halloween was still a few days off, so not everything was completely sold out!
So back at the house, the family came home from shopping and absolutely loved what we had done, but we but we still had more to do and so we got to work adding to the rest of our decorations. About an hour later their toddler woke up from his afternoon nap, so we had to decorate around him, which was a bit of an unplanned challenge, however he seemed to really enjoy the living and dining room being turned into a haunted house.
On one of the main walls we had paint and wallpaper friendly stickers of a witch on a broom and a haunted house with bats flying around it. (When you peel them off, they leave absolutely no marks!) On the shelf underneath we hung cobwebs to make it look more eerie. On top of the cobwebs we placed lots of old looking bones and skulls. Also clustered together we had lots of candles that were used to light up the room, complete with pumpkin lanterns which made all the decorations look especially spooky. One of the doors had a large sticker on it that had ‘keep out’ written in blood. Yeah we were really going for an unwelcoming look!

Around where the bay windows held one of the food displays stations. Here we did actually use one of the blood splattered table cloths for its actual purpose! We had food trays in the shape a haunted house, Halloween colours. In the compartments we placed eye ball and pumpkin shaped chocolates with mini Halloween character shaped chocolates all foil wrapped. They looked great! Cake HQ also helped us set up, and she made plenty of amazing Halloween cake pops, cupcakes, and cookies, which all tasted divine. We placed candelabra’s either side of the food, so give it all a spooky feel.

On the wall opposite in the middle of the wall housed the fireplace, which we used as a focal point. Draped over the top we had lots of hanging cobwebs, with spiders, and bugs attached, and either side stood two tombstones with glowing red eyes in the dark, which looked great. Inside the fireplace we placed pumpkin shaped lights amongst the candles. And lay around the bottom were objects such as bats and fake body parts, which all looked very disgusting.

As the family had been avoiding the living room, for the past few hours, when we invited them to come in and see what we had done to their living space, they were over the moon. The kids especially loved the cobwebs and glowing tombstones and everyone adored the Halloween shaped cakes!
All the guests at the party loved the set up, and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

If you have a party coming up, why not get in touch today at:
And see what we can do for you. 

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Halloween is coming..eck!!

Halloween is definitely one of the most funnies times of the year! You get to dress up, scare your friends and eat lots of candy and chocolate. Most of us will be attending many events in and around the neighborhood, or at a friend’s houses, where for one night only, you can decorate your venue to look as disgusting as possible, and also serving horrible looking food – just as long as it tastes nice!  So whatever you get up to this Halloween, let your hair down and have a great night! Happy Halloween!


This year The Grape Vine Events will be planning a family Halloween party, which we are particularly excited about! Mainly as we get to decorate another person’s house, trash it, and make it look as disgusting and scary as we like! The family want a party suitable for adults and children, with games  such as apple bobbing and jack-o-lanterns carving, and of course there will be a prize for the best costume!


Although Halloween is a great, fun holiday, many of us do not know why we actually celebrate Halloween. However this holiday dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). Around  2000 years ago during the time of The Celtics, (from Ireland, UK and Northern France) the New Year was celebrated on November 1st. They believed this day symbolized the end of summer and the start of the dark, cold winters, which back then was associated with higher mortality rates. During the festival, people would light bon fires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits.

The Roman Empire ruled most of Celtic Territory by around 43 AD. One of the festivals they celebrated at this time of year was to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is an apple, where it is believed that this is where the tradition of ‘bobbing for apples’ comes from, which is still played at Halloween parties today.

Around the eighth century, Pope Gregory III declared November 1st All Saints Day, a day to honor the saints and martyrs. The night before was named All Hallows’ Eve, which over time evolved to what we now know as Halloween.

On the night before the New Year, it was believed that the boundary between the living world and the dead becomes blurred, where ghosts could return to earth to cause trouble and damage crops. The Celts also thought that whilst the spirits were here, Druids (Celtic priests) could make predictions about the future. People would generally find these predictions a great deal of comfort during the cold, dark winter months.

By 1000 AD the church made 2nd November All Souls’ Day to honor the dead. The day was celebrated with big bonfires, parades and wearing fancy dress costumes such as the devil, saints and angles. This would probably explain why today we dress up in scary ghoulish outfits.

Today’s Halloween celebrations are much more fun! It has now evolved into a secular holiday and more child-friendly holiday, where families’ friends and communities get together to throw spooky parties, play games and children go trick-or-treating.


The aim is to look as scary, ghoulish, deathly, or downright disgusting as possible. It is also a goodtime to trash the popular looking dress up characters, such as cheerleader to a dead cheerleader, or bride, or a dead bride covered in blood, ECT. Here are some examples: 

  • Vampire 

  • Witch 
  • The Devil 
  • Evil Bride 
  • A Ghost 
  • Skeleton 
  • Werewolf 
  • Frankenstein 
  • The Grim Reaper 
  • A Zombie 
  • Scarecrow 
  • A Mummy 
  • A Dead Nurse 

  Or popular horror film characters such as:

  • Freddy Kruger 
  • Jason from Friday 13th 
  • ‘IT’ the Clown 
  • Jack from The Nightmare before Christmas 
  • Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas 
  • Uncle fester from the Addams Family 
  • The Scream Mask Character 


To make sure you throw a great Halloween party that’s one to remember, you will need to have great decorations! You want your guests to be wowed yet scared at the same time, as they arrive at your home.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are some ideas in how
to decorate your home. 

  • Place pumpkins with candles or torches inside them so that in the dark, they glow and look spooky! 
  • If you have any tree’s in you’re front or back garden – even better – place scary looking lanterns, or hanging skeletons, or ghouls from the tree’s. 
  • Like size cut outs of skeletons, or ghosts hanging the ceiling also look particularly effective 
  • Rubber or plastic spiders, bugs, snacks, skulls 
  • Scene setters – great to stick on the wall! These can come in different types of scene’s for Halloween such as: Ghosts, rows of skeletons, haunted house scene, pumpkin fields, zombie scene’s 
  • Hanging garlands such as rows of pumpkins or skulls, or just simply saying ‘Happy Halloween’ 
  • Hanging cobweb curtains 
  • Window stickers such as blood stickers 
  • Glow in the dark stickers, or hanging decorations such as skeletons, spiders, zombies 
  • Food displayed in large eye ball bowls, skeleton heads or in purple, orange and black 
  • Also stick to Halloween colours such as black, orange, green and purple!
So whatever you get up to this Halloween, I hope you have a great night and make sure this is one to remember!

See you next week, where we will be blogging about our Halloween antics!