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With stormy weather currently dominating it’s way through the UK, today I’m bringing you a little bit of sunshine AND some incredible honeymoon inspiration.

I love any excuse to reminisce about an amazing holiday, which is why I am SO excited to be sharing more about a trip I took to Andalucia, Spain – and why it would be the perfect honeymoon destination. If you’re looking for a gorgeous honeymoon spot (or you’re just in need of a getaway!) this post is for you.

Casa Colina is a beautifully rural B&B in the hills of Andalucia. This was my fourth time staying here, and each time I’ve fallen a bit more in love.

I considered calling this a review, but my opinion of this place is pretty simple: I absolutely love it. Authentic, charming and so very relaxing, Casa Colina is the perfect place for a Spanish getaway. It lends itself perfectly to couples, making it the ideal spot for a honeymoon or mini-moon.

Here’s a few things you need to know about this little slice of heaven in the Spanish Countryside…

Andalucia Countryside

…There is something there for everybody

Part of the reason why I love visiting this area in Spain so much is that it’s so versatile. For the adventurers among you, I’d recommend renting a car and exploring to your heart’s content. The countryside location is very secluded so, if you’re hoping to see what’s further afield (and there’s plenty to discover!), you will need a car.

If, however, you’re looking to completely relax and switch off, Casa Colina is the perfect location. Book a transfer from the airport and enjoy a peaceful, stress-free getaway in the quiet countryside. Spend a couple of days relaxing in the sun, hiking in the hills and consuming incredible food and wine. You’ll leave feeling completely relaxed and renewed.

Spain Countryside Honeymoon

…Your hosts couldn’t be more welcoming

Casa Colina is owned by Niki and Paul, who moved to Spain from the UK several years ago. They go above and beyond to make sure every guest’s needs are catered for. Niki and Paul will be attentive whilst still respecting your privacy, making this the perfect honeymoon location.

The B&B is also home to their small family of rescue animals. Their lovely dogs, cats and donkeys will be sure to steal your heart!

Spanish Honeymoon Accommodation

…The accommodation is beautiful and authentic yet affordable

Located in a converted farmhouse, Niki and Paul have maintained the authenticity of Casa Colina in their renovation. Each of the four suites are individually designed and modestly decorated but have everything you could ever need.

The rooms, food and all-inclusive packages are also wonderfully affordable for the quality you receive. And no, this isn’t all-inclusive as you know it! Forget packed hotels and buffet food – Casa Colina offers an all inclusive option that includes beautiful accommodation, delicious, freshly prepared meals and an amazing selection of drinks. The PERFECT stress-free holiday!

…It’s a foodie’s paradise

If there’s one thing that you can guarantee at Casa Colina, it’s that the food will be out of this world! Niki and Paul have such a passion for great food, and they’re dedicated to serving traditional Spanish dishes made with seasonal, local produce.

Their evening meals are a 3 course set menu, and guests are invited to dine together on the veranda. It’s such a lovely and sociable way of eating – and you WON’T be disappointed by the incredible food on offer!

…You can totally switch off

Need I say more? Casa Colina is a secluded slice of paradise, nestled in the heart of the Andalucian countryside. For ultimate relaxation, switch off your phone (those #justmarried selfies can wait until you’re home!) and enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside.

A few days here will leave you feeling completely relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to take on newly married life together.

Follow The Ivory Book on Instagram for more wedding and honeymoon inspiration. You’ll find more travel and honeymoon blog posts here.

February 22, 2020

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Ask anybody in the wedding industry what the most important element of your big day should be and you’ll probably get a different answer each time. HOWEVER, there’s one supplier that everyone will agree should be a top priority: your photographer.

You see, SO much of your wedding day is about the here and now. It’s the atmosphere, the emotion and the feeling. A lot of elements at your wedding are designed to be enjoyed for that one day. So once the band have finished their final song and your guests have had their last sip of champagne, what’s actually left from your day?

Well, of course, there’s the INCREDIBLE memories that you’ll hold onto forever. But, when it comes to tangible items that you can cherish, the most important thing is your wedding photos.

Photography is such a diverse industry and an incredibly personal choice. A small amount of research and you’ll quickly discover how many options there are when choosing your wedding photographer.

Your photographer should be one of the first suppliers you book after securing your wedding date. So, to help you on your way, here are five questions to ask when choosing your wedding photographer.

Do you like their photography style?

Let’s start with the most important consideration – do you like the style of their work? Each photographer will have their own unique way of editing their images. Whilst you might really appreciate what they do, you need to make sure that their style is exactly what you’re looking for from the photos of your day.

One easy way to do this is to look through your recently liked photos on Instagram or Pinterest. Generally, the majority of things you like/pin are in the photography style you gravitate towards most. In other words, don’t choose a photographer who specialises in abstract photography if you have a Pinterest board full of fine art shots.

Photographers spend years honing their skills to establish a style that works for them. It’s important that you fully understand and appreciate their craft before you book them for your wedding day.

How much do they cost?

Wedding budgets are hugely important and they should definitely be carefully considered with every supplier that you book. Bear in mind, however, that the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. 

Request quotes from your favourite photographers and, if the price is more than you were hoping to pay, spend some time looking into why this might be. Perhaps the price of one package includes an album, whereas another photographer charges for these separately. Perhaps the photographer you are considering shoots film – a much more expensive medium than digital photography. An experienced photographer will happily chat you through a breakdown of their fee.

Ultimately, your wedding photographs are one of the few elements of your day that will truly last a lifetime, so it is always worth investing in a photographer who will capture your day perfectly. If you do spend more than you were hoping to on your photographer, your wedding planner will be able to recommend other areas to save money on and keep your budget firmly on track.

Do you get on well with your photographer?

Your photographer plays an incredibly intimate role in your day overall, so it is imperative that you get on well with them. From when you’re getting ready in the morning until your first dance in the evening, your photographer will witness every excited smile, emotional tear and nervous laugh. Therefore, make sure that you are fully comfortable spending the day with them.

Before you wedding, arrange to meet with your photographer and ask them any questions you have about the way they work. Although the quality of their work is a key factor, it is also so important that you get on well. They will feel more like a trusted friend by the end of your wedding day!

Have you seen a full album of their work?

It’s impossible for photographers to share a full wedding day album on social media. The reality is, the images you’ve been swooning over on Instagram will be just a small handful of the full galleries that they create for their couples. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer to see a full album from a real wedding they have photographed. This way, you can make sure that they capture all of the elements that are most important to you.

Each photographer will work differently – some may focus on group shots and images of your guests whilst others will be more detail orientated or especially focused on portraits. A full album will give you a better impression of their work overall and help establish the images that are most important to you.

What exactly is included when you book them?

Every photographer will have different services that they offer so take some time to consider exactly what is included and what additional services matter most to you and your fiancé.

Firstly, establish how many hours their coverage includes and check that this will allow them to capture every important moment within your day. Additional services could include anything from an engagement shoot (a great option if you are nervous about getting in front of the camera), a beautiful album of your favourite prints or a second photographer to capture even more of your wedding day. All of these are wonderful add-ons, so be sure to take some time to chat with your photographer about whether they are right for you and your wedding.

Overall, I can’t shout loudly enough about the important role your photographer plays on your wedding day. There are SO many different wedding photographers out there, so make sure that you find somebody who perfectly suits what you are looking for.

All of the images used in this post are from real weddings and editorial shoots that I have planned and styled as part of my Rachel Dalton Weddings portfolio. I have worked with the photographers credited personally, and I can vouch that they are all incredibly talented at what they do. If you are looking for a UK wedding photographer, why not check them out?

February 18, 2020

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I am SO happy to be sharing this beautiful marquee wedding with you today!

From the moment I met Caroline and Ben, I felt so welcomed into their beautiful family and I still smile when I think back to their stunning wedding day.

These two chose to marry at Caroline’s parent’s family home in The New Forest which, coincidentally, was just 15 minutes away from where I grew up. Their private home was the perfect setting for their Hampshire marquee wedding and, on a beautifully sunny day last September, Caz & Ben said ‘I Do’ surrounded by their loved ones.

Timeless, elegant and classic was the name of the game when it came to styling this gorgeous wedding – with heavenly white and green florals, accents of blue and an abundance of candlelight. And from the homemade honey favours to the movie-themed table names (a nod to the couple’s background in production) there were personal touches aplenty.

Caz and Ben threw the rule book out the window and had a bride’s best man, a groom’s best woman and a speech from the bride that will be sure to go down in history. It’s safe to say this fun-filled, heartfelt wedding is truly memorable.

Caroline and Ben, thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me with your beautiful day. Getting to know you and your families has been a pleasure!

Happy scrolling!

THANK YOU TO THE INCREDIBLE TEAM THAT MADE THIS DAY POSSIBLE:

Wedding Planner: Rachel Dalton Weddings / Marquee: Inside Outside / Photographer: William Bazlinton for Linus Moran Photography / Videographer: Chapter & Verse / Florist: Martha and the Meadow / Caterer: Ginger Catering / Band: The Capricorns / Wedding Dress: Halfpenny London / Makeup: Heidi Read Makeup / Wedding Cake: The Diamond Baker

You can read more about my wedding planning services on the Rachel Dalton Weddings website.

February 7, 2020

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There’s no denying that your honeymoon should be the trip of a lifetime.

For some, that means sipping cocktails on a beach and doing a whole lot of relaxing. If, however, you are looking to do something a little more adventurous on your honeymoon – this post is for you.

From hiking in Iceland to bungee jumping in New Zealand, you’ll find plenty of honeymoon inspiration in this post that the adventurers among you will LOVE. So keep on reading and get ready to kick off married life in the most exciting way possible!

South Africa

South Africa has to be one of the most diverse destinations to spend your honeymoon. Whether you’re looking in the bustling city of Cape Town, the wine regions of the Western Cape or even thinking of going on safari – there is something for everyone in this beautiful country. 

In Cape Town itself, you’ll find hiking opportunities aplenty – with Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak all standing proudly over the city. Along the coast, you’ll also find the opportunity to go on boat rides or (for the adrenaline junkies out there) even go cage diving with sharks! 

And a trip to South Africa wouldn’t be complete without a safari. If time and budget allows, it’s well worth a visit to Kruger National Park to see the big five but, if you’re looking for something closer to Cape Town, you’ll find plenty of safari opportunities nearby.

Allow a couple of weeks to immerse yourself in all that South Africa has to offer. With incredible food, stunning views and all the adventure you could ask for – you’ll be kicking off married life in the best way possible.

Italy

For a honeymoon destination a little bit closer to home, there are plenty of adventure-filled countries in Europe to explore. And it’s safe to say that Italy has a little something for everyone.

With its mountainous landscapes, Italy perfectly lends itself to activities such as hiking, cycling and quad biking. You can even take a hot air balloon ride to experience a stunning birds eye view of Tuscany!

If you’re after a more laid-back day of adventure, why not take in the scenery AND the local produce with a wine tasting tour or a truffle-foraging excursion?

Trust me, after all this activity you’ll have earned that bowl of pasta!

New Zealand

The ultimate adventure destination and a spot that remains firmly on my bucket list! New Zealand is a hub for adrenaline junkies and it’s no surprise why.

With bungee jumping, canyon swinging and skydiving on offer (and so much more!) you’ll be kicking off married life in the most exhilarating way possible. Couple this with incredible scenery and diverse landscapes and it’s no surprise so many people fall in love with NZ.

You’ll find plenty of gorgeous accommodation options available in New Zealand or, if you’re looking for a real adventure, why not rent a camper van and make a road trip of your honeymoon?

Iceland

If you’re looking for somewhere completely different to spend your honeymoon, look no further than Iceland. With waterfalls, volcanoes, natural hot springs and plenty of breathtaking landscapes, you’ll be totally spoilt for choice when it comes to #JustMarried photo opportunities.

For the adventurers among you, I’d recommend staying outside of Reykjavik and exploring some of the lesser-known areas of the Iceland. Go in the right season and you might even catch the northern lights!

If you have a couple of weeks to spend there and you’re looking for a real adventure, take a road trip around the Route 1 ring road. It’s one on my bucket list, for sure!

To help you plan your trip, have a read of my Top Tips for Travelling to Iceland and my Ultimate Four Day Itinerary.

If you’re currently planning an adventure-filled honeymoon, I hope you found this post useful!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more travel inspiration. For help and support with planning your wedding, visit the Rachel Dalton Weddings website.

February 4, 2020

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In all of my years working in the wedding industry, there’s one topic that I am by FAR most commonly asked about. That’s right, today we’re talking bridesmaid dresses.

I get it, girls! Finding bridesmaid dresses in the UK is tough.

First you’ve got the style. And when you’ve got a bunch of your besties that are varying sizes and shapes (maybe someone’s even got a bump to accommodate!) it’s difficult to find a style that will suit everyone.

Then there’s the colour. Does it match your colour scheme for the day? Does it suit all of the girls?

As well as all of these factors, there’s the price to consider. The cost of bridesmaid dresses can vary hugely and it’s a lot for you or your bridesmaids to spend on a dress they’ll likely wear once.

Girls, I HEAR YA! And I’m hear to help you with today’s post.

Nowadays, bridesmaid dress stockists are listening to us and making it easier than ever to get hold of beautiful gowns. With most online stores offering speedy delivery (and often free returns) it’s super convenient to order your girls their dresses and exchange them for an alternative size or style if it’s not quite right.

In this post you’ll find a HUGE selection of designers, ranging from high street to designer and everything in between. So gather your girls together, grab a cuppa (or better still, a glass of bubbles) and get stuck in!

ASOS

ASOS quickly became one of the go-to places to look for bridesmaid dresses in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. With vast collections including petite, plus size, maternity and tall, they make it easier than ever to ensure that all of your girls are catered for.

TH & TH

TH&TH are a relatively new, British company that design elegant, contemporary bridesmaid dresses which can be shipped worldwide. Although their collection is fairly concise, you will find something to please even the pickiest of bridesmaids and their easy to view colour options make these perfect for your girls to mix and match.

Watters

Watters are bridal designers who also have a gorgeous range of beautiful quality bridesmaid dresses. Ranging from contemporary to classic and everything in between, you can guarantee that you’ll find something all your girls adore. Watters bridesmaid dresses are available only from retailers.

Debenhams

Debenhams have been a go-to destination for bridesmaid dresses in the UK for years, with a wide variety of brands and styles available at affordable price points, and speedy delivery options if you’re running last minute!

Dessy

The Dessy Group have paved the way for bridesmaid dresses for years and, with exclusive collections from the likes of Jenny Packham, it’s a great port of call to show your bridesmaids a wide selection of styles. Dessy gowns are available exclusively from stockists, which can be found on their website.

Next

I was so pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of bridesmaid dresses available online with Next. Featuring extensive collections from Lispy, Oasis and many other brands, you’ll be sure to find something you and your girls love.

Rewritten

Perfect for the modern bride, Rewritten are British designers specialising in contemporary bridesmaid dresses that are designed to be worn again and again. With a selection of super-chic dresses, jumpsuits and separates in an array of colours, these will be loved by both your bridesmaids AND the planet. Win, win!

Monsoon

Monsoon have an great selection of beautifully classic bridesmaid dresses, many of which are available in-store as well as online. Specialising in embellished, beaded gowns at affordable price points – your girls will love them just as much as you do!

Chi Chi London

Chi Chi London is an online retailer that specialise in fashion-forward styles at affordable prices. With free shipping and returns on orders over £100, this is a great option if you are wanting your bridesmaids to try on a couple of styles before deciding on ‘the one’.

Jenny Yoo

Elegant yet contemporary, Jenny Yoo have a stunning collection of bridesmaid dresses. From light chiffons to statement velvet gowns, their fabric range is incredible and you’ll find something to suit every member of your bride squad! Some styles are available online, with their full collection available from their retailers.

Jarlo

If Jarlo aren’t already on your bridesmaid dress radar – they probably should be! Offering a gorgeous selection of stylish bridesmaid dresses available with speedy, worldwide delivery, you’ll feel spoilt for choice once you start browsing the gowns they have available.

Maids To Measure

Maids to Measure bridesmaid dresses are available both online and from retailers in the UK. Their designs are beautifully ethereal and feature a range of different styles and colours to suit all of your girls.

And a few top tips for finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses:

  1. Be open to your girls’ ideas… Remember, it’s them who have to actually wear it! Of course, you must also LOVE the gown they go for, but making sure your girls feel comfortable should be a priority.
  2. Consider Mixing & Matching… Mix & Match bridesmaid dresses are no new concept, so you’ll find TONNES of inspo on how to pull this off. Stick to matching tones that suit the rest of the wedding, and let your ‘maids choose a style that reflects them.
  3. Find your dress first… It’s important that you match your bridesmaid dresses to your dress, NOT the other way around.
  4. Fit is everything… Regardless of whether you spend £60 or £600 on a bridesmaid dress, it’s SO important that the fit is spot on. Visit a seamstress roughly 8 weeks before the wedding (just remember your bridesmaid shoes!) and make sure that the bodice fits perfectly and the hem is the perfect length.
  5. Give them a steam the day before… Make sure the gowns are all good to go the night before the wedding to avoid any last-minute panic on the day. Your wedding planner will be able to help you steam your dresses if you’re nervous to do this yourself!

For more information on my wedding planning services, visit the Rachel Dalton Weddings website.

Follow The Ivory Book on Instagram for more wedding inspiration.

January 31, 2020

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Goodmorning, lovelies! And a very happy Sunday to you all! I am interrupting your weekend to shout about our Pylewell Park editorial shoot which has just been published on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings! *Squeals!*

This modern bridal inspiration is the perfect example of what can happen when a team of suppliers flex their creative muscles a little. With a bridal cape, forest green accents and an abundance of pampas grass, we all completely embraced doing something a little bit different and, I hope you’ll agree, the finished product is spectacular!

Pylewell Park provided the perfect setting for this shoot, with it’s magnificent country house backdrop, forest surroundings and modern marquee. The setup is striking, fun and unique and it was a joy to create it with such a talented team.

Our bridal look epitomises the modern bride who is looking for something different, but still undeniably elegant. The statement bridal cape and gorgeously dramatic green gown provide two contrasting, modern bridal looks.

Grab yourself a cuppa and immerse yourself in ALL the bridal inspo!

Huge credit to an amazing team:

Wedding Planner: Rachel Dalton Weddings / Venue: Pylewell Park / Photographer: Samantha Davis Photography / Wedding Dress: Willowby by Watters from Ava Louise Bridal / Cape: Cupid Blue Bridal / Green Dress: Kimberley Stone Design / Florist: Clair Lythgoe / Venue Stylist: Fundoo Weddings / Makeup: Tara Sanger Makeup / Hair: Jeni Worsfold Hairstylist / Cake: Fancie Buns / Model: Sara at BMA Models / Tableware: Crystal Hire / Stationery: Lou Paper

January 26, 2020

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When I launched Rachel Dalton Weddings in 2018, it wasn’t just my job title that changed. I also shifted into a life of working from my home office which, in turn, meant adopting an entirely new approach to organisation and productivity.

I’d like to start by saying that I LOVE working from home. It suits me and my lifestyle so well and, through my career, I also have the luxury that I’m often out and about at meetings, site visits and, of course, weddings themselves. This means that I have the best of both worlds (in my opinion) and I’m usually out of my office a couple of days each week.

I have, however, found it tough at times to stay productive and to organise myself in the most effective way. I spent a lot of time last year learning about how I work best and, for 2020, I’ve completely streamlined my schedule to maximise productivity.

(Trust me to somehow bring up schedules before I’ve even got into the post #WeddingPlannerProbz)

Let’s get into my productivity and organisation hacks for 2020!

Organisation Hacks to be More Productive | The Ivory Book

Time Block your Day in a Planner

Whether you use an online diary or you’re a good old pen and paper gal (I hear you!) it’s essential that you plan out each day and use time blocking to get the most out of the hours you have available. This year I’m using a combination of an online diary for fixed plans, meetings, appointments etc. and a daily planner (I use the Lifestyled Luxury Day Planner) for a more detailed plan of each day. The planners are broken up into a to do list and an hourly schedule – which is perfect for assessing what you need to do that day and prioritising your tasks into manageable chunks.

Time blocking simply means breaking up your day into ‘blocks’ so that you can focus on one thing at a time, rather than having several tasks on your mind throughout the day. For example, responding to emails sporadically as they arrive in your email will remove your attention from what you were previously working on BUT if you set aside an hour or two each day to focus solely on your emails, you’ll blitz through your inbox in a far more productive way.

Whilst you’re time blocking your day, remember to also include non-work things such as lunch, a gym class, picking up your kids from school. All of these take up time in your day but, by planning effectively around them, you’ll increase your productivity hugely.

Plan for Each Day in Advance

Following on from my previous point, it’s a good idea to plan for each day in advance so that you know what your day is going to look like before you sit at your desk in the morning. Personally, I like to do this day by day (and plan out my day the night before) but I know that planning weekly works better for some.

Scheduling your time this way will ensure that you don’t waste any time each morning and you can get straight into your tasks for the day!

Organisation Hacks to be More Productive | The Ivory Book

Schedule Meetings Together on Days Where You’re Out of the Office

This one is a bit of a given, but try to arrange your meetings on the same couple of days each week to that you don’t lose too much time travelling between each one.

I don’t know about you, but travelling from meeting to meeting can really break up my day, and I struggle to properly get into any other work if I know there’s somewhere I need to be soon. To eliminate this, on my ‘out of office’ days, I fill the day up with as many meetings as I can and approach the day with much more productivity.

Plan Social Media in Bulk

We’ve all been there. You’ve got a gorgeous picture to share, an engaged audience ready to see your post, but you JUST can’t think of the right caption to go with it. Let’s face it, it’s probably the most time consuming part of social media.

In an attempt to banish caption writer’s block, I schedule all of my social media posts for the week in advance. This way, you can make sure your feed is looking #instaworthy AND plan out your captions in one go so that all you’ll need to do is copy, paste and upload!

Learn How You Work Best

Have you ever taken some time to assess how you work best? For example – do you know whether you’re an early bird or a night owl? Do you prefer working alone or amongst other people? All of these are important factors we should consider about ourselves when looking to maximise our productivity.

Personally, I know that I prefer to work alone and in silence (hence why you’ll often find me squirrelled away in my office!) however if you prefer to be in a more social setting – why not take your work with you to your local coffee shop and try working there? I also know that I am by FAR most productive in the morning, so I’ll always prioritise my most important task for first thing in the morning.

To see more from The Ivory Book, follow me on Instagram.

Images by Charlotte Bryer Ash Photography.

January 24, 2020

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I’m diving straight back into wedding content today so, if you’re newly engaged, this is a post you won’t want to miss!

Before we get into it, make sure you’ve caught up on my recent wedding planning posts, which you’ll find here and here. For more wedding content, you can also follow Rachel Dalton Weddings on Instagram for daily planning inspiration.

OK, onto today’s post and the next task on our planning agenda: guest lists. This is one of the first things that should be on your to-do list BUT one that’s often easier said than done.

Trust me when I say I UNDERSTAND what a tricky task this can be. In this post you’ll find some helpful tips to help you write a guest list that’s perfect for your big day.

How To Write a Wedding Guest List | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

There’s No Right or Wrong

As with many elements of wedding planning, when it comes to guest lists, there’s not a one size fits all approach. Your guest list could have 2, 20 or 200 names on it – the most important thing is that it’s you and your fiancé’s choice.

When you first get engaged, take a moment to visualise your day together before you start discussing your guest list. Are you both wanting a big, traditional day, or do you envisage an intimate, laid back affair? Maybe you’d prefer to do things just the two of you! Establish your wedding style and what you are both comfortable with, then work from there.

Dealing with Family Opinions

Sometimes it can feel like everyone and their dog has an opinion on who to invite to your wedding. The important thing is not to feel pressured by your parents/friends/very-distant-and-probably-not-invited uncle and stick to your gut.

Remind your family that, as grateful as you are for their input, your wedding day choices are ultimately up to you and your fiancé. If a family member is contributing financially towards your wedding, it’s sometimes courteous to include a few of their guest list suggestions – however don’t feel forced to let this influence your day.

To Plus One, or not to Plus One

The parameters for plus one’s are entirely up to you. Typically, you would include a plus one on the invitation if a guest is married or in a long-term relationship. Pippa Middleton famously enforced a ‘no bling, no bring’ policy at her 2017 wedding – whereby guests were asked to fly solo unless they were married or engaged. This is always an option if you’re looking to keep numbers down!

Ultimately, I’d make a call on plus one’s based on how well you know the guest and their partner, and how long the couple have been together. If you’ve got a few single friends, pop them together on the same table. I guarantee they’ll all be having far too much fun to notice they’re lacking a plus one!

How To Write a Wedding Guest List | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

Room for Little Ones?

I’m afraid this is another one that you’ll have to decide for yourself HOWEVER I can give you a few pros and cons to having children at your wedding. On the one hand, kids are adorable. Let’s face it, there’s nothing sweeter than a well-behaved flower girl following in awe as the bride is walking down the aisle. And don’t even get me started on the cute photo opportunities!

With that being said, children are unpredictable. A wedding day isn’t the most kid-friendly environment, so bear in mind that clumsiness and tiredness may come into play (we’ve all attended a ceremony with a crying baby, haven’t we!). If you do decide to invite children to your wedding, I would always recommend having a nanny on hand to entertain the children throughout the day – and make the day far more enjoyable for their parents!

Consider Having a Reserve Guest List

If your guest numbers are getting out of hand, consider drawing up an ‘overflow’ list of guests that you would like to invite if any guests decline your invitation. I’d always recommend this to massively over-inviting in the hope that some guests can’t make it!

Navigating an overflow list can be tricky. Make sure that you don’t send invitations in a way that will offend any guests – you don’t want anybody to know they’re on the ‘B’ list! The best way to do this is by including the same groups of friends on the same lists.

Draw the Line Somewhere

Remember that, when it comes to your guest list, you have to draw the line somewhere. Sometimes it’s easiest to give a blanket rule for where to draw that line (e.g. ‘family up to first cousins’ or ‘uni friends but not work friends’) but don’t feel like you need to apply a rule – or make this the same for both sides of your family.

The most important thing is that you invite all of the people who matter most to you and your fiancé. And once you’ve settled on a guest list, you can enjoy all of the fun things that wedding planning has to offer!

For more wedding planning advice, get in touch via the Rachel Dalton Weddings website.

January 22, 2020

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2019 was an amazing year for many reasons but one of the biggest changes I noticed in myself was my mindset.

My mindset towards my career, towards myself and to life in general. It’s been such a positive shift that I couldn’t help sharing a bit about the small changes I’ve made.

Let’s get one thing straight right away – you can’t change your mindset overnight. You can, however, CHOOSE whether you want to have a positive mindset or not when you get out of bed in the morning. Sure, there will be bad days, unmotivated days (and down right freakin’ terrible days) but, to a certain extent, we get to choose what our mindset is going to be.

Below you’ll find a few changes that I’ve made to improve my mindset and live a little bit more positively. I really hope that they can help you too!

1 . Appreciate the Small Things

In our fast-paced modern world, one of the things that I think gets easily overlooked is daily gratitude. When was the last time that you slowed down and paused to appreciate something small?

And I’m not talking about journaling or writing down what you’re grateful for (although if that’s your jam – do it!). I’m simply talking about stopping to take in a beautiful sunrise, a text from your mum that made you smile or those first few sips of tea in the morning. Start your morning with a grateful heart and I promise your whole day will feel a little bit better.

2 . Move Your Body More

This time last year, I’d have laughed in your face if you asked whether I was into fitness. I joined my gym in May, partly with the intention of looking like a Victoria’s Secret model by July (ha) but mainly to improve my mindset and get out of the house on days that I worked from home. After quickly realising the VS Angel life wasn’t for me and my 5’2″ frame, I stopped focussing on what the daily gym classes were doing for my body and realised how much they improved my mind.

Find a way of moving your body that makes you happy – be it a gym class, walking or dancing around your kitchen – and do it a few times each week. Learn to love your body, not for the way it looks but for what it is capable of. And watch your mind get healthier in the process.

3 . Slow it Down and Appreciate the Unknown

I’ve always been the type of person who wanted everything – and wanted it instantly. Perhaps it’s the planner in me, but I’ve always needed to know exactly where things are going in life. However last year, I finally started to let go of the things I couldn’t control. I said yes to unexpected opportunities – which often meant putting the firmer (okay, ‘sensible adulting’) plans on hold.

And, truthfully, it’s changed my life for the better. 12 months of unexpected turns has rolled on to another year of new opportunities – and I’m embracing them with arms wide open. Let go of what you can’t control. Don’t try to have your whole life perfectly mapped out (spoiler, it probably won’t go to plan anyway). Embrace the unknown and enjoy the unexpected.

How To Improve Mindset | The Ivory Book

4 . Combat Imposter Syndrome

I’m laughing a bit whilst writing this because I’m FAR from ‘combatting’ Imposter Syndrome (surely we’ll all struggle with this from time to time?) BUT I do definitely experience it less now than when I first launched my business. If you’ve never heard the term – ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is feeling unworthy or not good enough to do something, even when you are perfectly capable and eligible to do it.

It’s something that everybody will feel at some stage in their life HOWEVER it can get hella tiring carrying around that mindset forever. Wherever possible, push the Imposter Syndrome to one side and remind yourself WHY you’ve been chosen to do what’s scaring you. There’s no better place to learn than outside your comfort zone.

5 . Celebrate Your Successes

When was the last time that you shouted about something you feel proud of? When you talked about your achievements or celebrated your own successes? It’s so easy to see other people’s successes without looking back on what you’ve achieved, which can have such a negative affect on your mindset.

They say not to look back, but I would encourage that you DO take a moment to observe all of the things you’ve accomplished and celebrate your success. After all, if you can’t cheer yourself on then how can we expect others to!

Follow The Ivory Book on Instagram to keep up with my daily going’s on.

January 15, 2020

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If your left hand is looking significantly sparklier than it was a few weeks ago – CONGRATULATIONS! I hope you are enjoying every moment of your engagement so far.

I expect you’re looking to get started with planning your day (I don’t blame you!) so over the next few months I’ll be sharing some handy articles that will help guide you through your wedding plans.

Kicking things off, we’re talking all things venue!

Searching for your venue is one of the first tasks that you should tackle on your to do list and one of the most important elements to your special day. So to help, I’ve put together a few tips for finding your perfect wedding venue.

Four Seasons Hampshire | Tips For Finding Your Wedding Venue | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

If You’re Hiring a Planner, Enlist Their Help First

If you’re thinking about hiring a wedding planner, enlist their support before you get too far with your venue search. A wedding planner can save you SO much valuable time and effort when looking for your venue as they will have a far deeper knowledge of locations that match your brief than any google search! What’s more, they’ll be able to make practical suggestions during your site visit to help you visualise your day.

As a wedding planner, I love this part of the planning process. We are spoiled with some really beautiful wedding venues in the UK and, when you find the perfect place to say ‘I Do’ it can really help the rest of the wedding fall into place. If you are looking for support from a UK wedding planner, get in touch with me through the Rachel Dalton Weddings website – I would love to hear from you!

Decide on a Location

This really can make one of the biggest impacts on where to focus your venue search. Sit down with your fiancé and decide where geographically you would like to host your wedding. Consider things such as how far your guests will be travelling (and whether there are any important family members that aren’t able to travel) as well as whether there is a location you’d like to marry in for sentimental reasons.

Once you have a location narrowed down – for example a Cotswolds Wedding – avoid extending your search further afield (you’ll just confuse yourselves!).

Write Your Guest List

Before you look at any venues, have a draft of your guest list so that you can get an idea of numbers for your wedding. Every venue has a maximum capacity so deciding how many guests to invite will instantly narrow down a shortlist.

Budget, Budget, Budget

If you haven’t already, get that budget spreadsheet going! This is also a good time to sit down together and establish your priorities for the day, as these factors will likely get the biggest allocation of your budget.

Your costings for a lot of your wedding day will fall into place once you have confirmed your venue BUT it is vital that you have an overall budget breakdown before you start your search. You don’t want to blow your whole budget on your venue!

Choose the Style of Your Day (and Venue!)

Pinning fingers at the ready! Before you shortlist any venues, envisage the style of your day, and therefore the style of venues you are going to be looking at. If you’ve always dreamt of a traditional affair at a country house, don’t waste your time looking around industrial warehouse venues.

Take some time to look on Pinterest, Instagram and wedding blogs to get some ideas for the style you are drawn to. Keep this in mind and try to visualise your day as a whole whilst you are doing your venue research.

Four Seasons Hampshire Wedding | Tips For Finding Your Wedding Venue | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

Set a Wedding Date

If you can have some flexibility when it comes to your wedding date – wonderful! It’s great to have a few options in mind when you are enquiring with venues.

On saying that, it’s important to consider the year, season and even day of the week that you would like to get married on. All of these factors can come in to play when looking at venue prices and availability.

Decide What Type of Ceremony You Would Like

If you have your heart set on a religious ceremony, you will need to consider this when you are choosing where to host your wedding as you will need a separate venue for your reception. If you are looking to have a civil ceremony, speak to each venue and check which of their rooms have a licence.

Nowadays, there is much more freedom when it comes to wedding ceremonies, blessings, and saying ‘I Do’ in a way that suits you. Be sure to do your research – and enlist the help of a wedding planner if you need any guidance.

Establish Whether You’ll Need Accommodation Onsite / Nearby

These days, it’s almost inevitable that some of your guests will have to travel for your wedding. If this is the case for a large portion of your guests, I’d suggest having a look at the accommodation available at (or nearby) the venues you shortlist.

It’s also worth noting – if you’re making a weekend of your wedding and extending the celebrations over a couple of days, make sure that you have accommodation options available for you and your guests.

Decide How Much Freedom You’d Like

Different venues will have different processes when it comes to preferred suppliers. Often, they’ll ask that you choose from an approved approved list for caterers, production teams and sometimes more! If this is the case, check that the recommended suppliers align with the budget and style of your day. I’d also suggest asking each venue about their rules on alcohol, and whether they charge a corkage fee.

If you’re looking for more freedom, it may be best to choose a venue without a preferred suppliers list OR if you’d like to completely take the reins, why not go for a marquee wedding?

If you are looking for guidance and support with the planning of your big day, get in touch to have a chat about how I am able to help!

For more wedding related content, follow Rachel Dalton Weddings on Instagram

For lifestyle content (and a bit of everything else!) follow The Ivory Book on Instagram

Images taken by Kristine Herman Photography at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire

January 11, 2020

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