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!