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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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With a new year (and a new decade – still not over that!) comes new reflections. And today, I’m reflecting on the incredible travel opportunities that came to me in 2019.

Truthfully, I felt a little bit silly putting ‘travel’ as one of the categories on this blog when I created it in 2018. Even though there was so much of the world that I was longing to see, I was (and still am!) far from a seasoned traveller and, with no 2019 trips on the horizon at the time, I had a feeling that it would become a slightly neglected corner of my blog.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. 2019 saw me not only overcome my anxieties towards travelling but completely fall in LOVE with seeing the world. Granted, this list will still seem short to a lot of people, but for me it was a huge list of opportunities and one that I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced.

The year involved an amazing mixture of trips – some to places that I’ve been to multiple times and some to completely new locations. It’s safe to say, I ticked a LOT of things off my bucket list and well and truly caught the travel bug in the process.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

Iceland Travel | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

ICELAND

Oh, beautiful Iceland. Jordan and I booked a (slightly spontaneous) trip to Iceland at the start of the year (with a view to it being our only trip of 2019 – ha!) and we quickly became completely enamoured with this incredible country. It was completely different from anything either of us had experienced before and, if you are toying with paying a visit, I can’t recommend it enough.

We explored all along the south coast of Iceland and had four incredible days of waterfalls, glaciers and hot springs. You can read our full Iceland itinerary here as well as my tips for travelling to Iceland here. On New Year’s Eve we got into a discussion about our favourite holiday destinations of all time and Jordan and I both agreed, Iceland won it for us. I’m already itching to get my snow boots back on and pay another visit.

Andalucia Spain Travel | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

ANDALUCIA, SPAIN

From snow boots to sangria! In June I paid a visit to a quiet corner of the Spanish countryside with my best friend for a few days of total relaxation. We stayed at Casa Colina, a beautifully rural B&B in the hills of Andalusia, where I’ve been lucky enough to stay a few times over the years.

This holiday was all about switching off and regaining my energy in the middle of wedding season. I went for a few days without social media, and instead focussed on enjoying the sunshine, hiking in the hills of the Spanish countryside and consuming all of the incredible food and wine I could manage. Perfect.

New York Travel | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

NEW YORK

My favourite city on earth and the place that probably holds the biggest piece of my heart. I felt SO very fortunate to be asked to visit New York not once but twice in 2019 for work and it was every bit as incredible as I remember it being from my previous visits.

There’s a buzz about New York which can’t quite be put into words. A dizzying magic which has to be experienced to be believed. I’m going to be sharing more about travelling to New York over the coming months, but if you’re looking for a city break and you’ve never seen the city that never sleeps – book a trip and see it for yourself!

Spain Travel | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

DÉNIA, SPAIN

My second trip to Spain in 2019 took me to the hills above Dénia with Jordan’s family. We rented a villa in Monte Pego which was beautiful and only a short drive from lots of beaches and towns. If you are looking for a place to visit for a family holiday, this is the perfect location!

Our trip was full of watersports, beach days and hiking (side note, take LOTS of water if you decide to hike a mountain!) and it was the perfect way to switch off and spend quality time together.

Safari Cape Town | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

Cape Town, South Africa

Rounding things off with our biggest trip of 2019! When Jordan’s cousins (who live in South Africa) got engaged in the Spring we suspected that a trip to Cape Town for the wedding may be on the cards sometime soon. On saying that, we certainly didn’t expect it to be as soon as September!

After almost eight years with my Zimbabwean boyfriend, I was desperate to finally see Africa so we set about planning a trip around the Western Cape, finishing things off with an incredible safari. From the waterfront to the wine regions and everything in between, I completely fell in love with South Africa and I will DEFINITELY be back!

Cape Town Travel | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

2019 was the best year of my life and so much of that is down to these incredible trips. When I look back on the year, I will always have such happy memories – my only regret is not buying an annual travel insurance policy!

Although I don’t have much travel planned for 2020 at the moment, there’s still plenty of time yet and there are still LOTS of places on my list! Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with my daily going’s on and any upcoming trips.

January 8, 2020

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Welcome to the my very first post of 2020! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and if you got engaged over the festive season then HUGE congratulations to you and a very warm welcome to the world of wedding planning!

If you have landed on this post because you are looking for a wedding planner, head over to the Rachel Dalton Weddings website where you will find a little bit more about me and the services that I offer. I am a UK wedding planner specialising in timeless, luxury weddings and it would be my pleasure to help you plan your celebration.

Ok, shameless plug finished. Let’s delve into the post!

I completely understand that the weeks after you get engaged can feel overwhelming. You want to celebrate, but you also want to start planning (and your friend-who’s-getting-married-after-you-but-has-EVERYTHING-organised-already is badgering you to get suppliers booked!). So here’s the things you need to do as soon as you get engaged.

Wedding Bouquet | The Ivory Book | Rachel Dalton Weddings

1. Celebrate!

First things first, take some time to celebrate with your new fiancé! There’s no pressure to get planning the moment that you get engaged. Spend some time in your newly-engaged happy bubble, tell your loved ones the happy news and, if you’re having one, host an engagement party to extend the celebrations!

2. Hire a Wedding Planner

I might sound biased here, but if your budget allows for it then hiring an independent wedding planner will give you invaluable support throughout your engagement, and especially during the early stages of wedding planning. From venue sourcing and supplier recommendations to styling advice and management of the logistics of your day – an experienced planner will offer reliable guidance and save you time, money and hassle further down the line. Your wedding planner will prove to be a constant support in the lead up to your day, so make sure you choose somebody that you trust and connect with.

3. Set a Budget

The budget for your wedding is one of the most important factors to consider, especially when you begin to book your first few suppliers. Money is never an easy topic of discussion, but it is absolutely vital that you have ‘the chat’ early on so that you and your fiancé are both on the same page when it comes to what you are budgeting for the wedding. If you are receiving contributions for the wedding from any parents/family members, it’s also important that you include them when you are agreeing on a budget. Your wedding planner will be able to create a detailed budget breakdown to constantly refer back to and update throughout the planning process.

4. Get Inspired

This is the really fun part! Whether you’ve been Pinning table setups for years or you have no idea how you visualise your day looking, it’s always a good idea to do some research into the design elements that you are drawn to. Pinterest, Instagram and blogs are great for this – but you can find inspiration anywhere! From your initial likes and dislikes, you can then begin to form a cohesive style for your day that suits the wedding you are having.

5. Write Out your Guest List

Guest numbers can have a huge impact on your day – this needs to be considered for your budget, your venue and factored into most decisions for the day, so it’s vital that you settle on a guest list as soon as you can. Remember, your guest list is ultimately you and your fiancé’s decision, so try not to let other people’s opinions sway who you decide to invite. You have to draw the line somewhere, so don’t be afraid to take people off the list if the total numbers are getting too high!

6. Take Out Wedding Insurance

I’m going to write a whole separate post about this, as I feel that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to exactly what wedding insurance is for, but it’s such an important step and one that you should do soon after you get engaged. Make sure that you take out the correct level of insurance for your wedding – it can cover all sorts should something go wrong. You should never need it BUT if you do, you will be grateful to have it.

7. Set a Wedding Date

Most people can have a degree of flexibility when it comes to choosing a wedding date – which will be helpful when it comes to deciding on a venue. You should, however, have a chat early on about the month (or at the very least, the year!) in which you would like to get married. Perhaps you’ve always dreamt of a winter wedding, maybe you’d like a longer engagement to allow you to save for your dream wedding. These are all things to consider when choosing the right wedding date!

8. Begin the Venue Search

Before you begin your venue search, sit down together and create a list of your ‘must haves’ for your wedding venue. It’s very rare that you can find a venue that ticks every box and you may need to compromise on a few of the factors which are less of a priority to find the perfect location. Again, hiring a wedding planner can really help with this step, as they will be able to shortlist the venues that best suit your criteria – saving you valuable time.

9. Schedule Regular Catch-Up Meetings with your Fiancé

Finally, remember that planning your wedding should be a team effort and it’s important to set aside designated time to catch up on how your plans are going. Your wedding day should be the perfect reflection of the two of you as a couple, so consider each other’s opinions when you are piecing together your special day.

If you’ve just got engaged and you are looking for some support, get in touch to discuss how I am able to help.

Images by Kristine Herman Photography

What To Do When You Get Engaged | The Ivory Book | Rachel Dalton Weddings

January 3, 2020

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I am so excited to be sharing this incredibly special Syon Park wedding with you today!

On a gloriously sunny day this June, Ashley and Dan celebrated their love in an incredible London wedding venue. And with some of the bride’s family travelling all the way from Bermuda, Ashley and Dan’s loved ones really did come from far and wide to celebrate with them.

Their heartfelt and personalised ceremony in Syon House perfectly epitomised Ashley, Dan and their two beautiful daughters.

The Great Conservatory of Syon Park provided a show-stopping space for the couple’s evening reception. I’m not often lost for words (ha!) but this orangery venue truly blew me away the first time I stepped inside.

When it came to styling, Ashley and Dan chose a classic colour palette and an abundance of heavenly florals. The end result was nothing short of breathtaking!

So many personal touches were subtly woven into their day – from the Dior perfume favours that the ladies received to the obligatory shot of coffee Patrón for Ashley’s hen’s in the speeches. And when the wedding of a professional footballer falls on the date of the Champion’s League Final, we stopped at nothing to make sure that we could live-stream the match for Dan and his teammates. A Rachel Dalton Weddings first, for sure!

This beautiful day holds special memories for me for so many reasons and I am so happy to be sharing it with you. Thank you, Ashley and Dan, for trusting me with your wedding plans and welcoming me into your celebration.

Enjoy!

Sophia Webster Wedding Shoes | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Groom Suit | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Sophia Webster Shoes | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Bride | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Bride Bag | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Syon House | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Ashley & Dan | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Ceremony | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Wedding Ceremony | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
London Wedding | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Syon House | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Just Married | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Bride and Bridesmaids | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Groom and Groomsmen | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Elegant Wedding | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Luxury Wedding | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Syon Park Conservatory | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Luxury Wedding Cake | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Luxury UK Wedding Planner | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Wedding Inspiration | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Orangery Wedding | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Personalised Dancefloor | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
The Great Conservatory | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

Thank you to the incredible team that made this day possible!

Wedding Planner: Rachel Dalton Weddings / Venue: Syon Park / Photographer: Liza Edgington Photography / Videographer: Songbird Wedding Videos / Catering: Richmond Caterers / Flowers: Jennifer Poynter Flowers / Cake: Hayley Elizabeth Cake Design / Bridal Gown: Suzanne Neville from The Wedding Club / Hair: Chloe Molly / Makeup: Emma Devine / Production: Cinemattag Productions / Yes Events / Dance Floor: VNV Live Events / DJ: DJ Charles / Magician: Magic by Alfie / Acoustic Duo: Soul to Soul Acoustic / Photo Booth: The Proper Booth / Stationery: Silk Beau

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

Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

November 8, 2019

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Nothing quite compares to the feeling you get when you achieve something that you’ve dreamt of since you were about fifteen. Nothing, except the feeling when it happens for the second time. In the same year.

That’s exactly what occurred when I had the opportunity to attend New York Bridal Fashion Week once again with Anna Bridal for the Berta F/W 2020 runway show.

A million thank yous still wouldn’t be enough to express the gratitude I felt to be taken on this trip. It was such an honour to attend the show, which firmly remains the highlight of every NYBFW season, alongside buyers and press from across the globe.

This season, Berta (literally) went above and beyond where any bridal designer has gone before by hosting the show on the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Centre. And I couldn’t think of a more apt location for a design house that, season after season, is always thinking one step ahead.

Staying true to the iconic style of Berta, the Napoli collection features innovative fabrics, intricate embroideries and mesmerising beadwork that could only be synonymous with the Berta brand.

Once again, I left the show feeling enchanted and awe-inspired – so much so that I couldn’t not share some of the pictures I took from the runway. Have a scroll and, whether you’re a bride-to-be or not, I’m sure that you too will fall head over heels for the collection.

Beaded Wedding Dress Berta Bridal Catwalk | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Ballgown Wedding Dress Berta Bridal Catwalk | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Boho Wedding Dress Berta Bridal Catwalk | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Statement Wedding Dress | Berta Bridal Catwalk | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Long Sleeve Berta Wedding Dress | Berta Bridal Catwalk | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings
Low Back Wedding Dress Berta Bridal Catwalk | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

The Muse by BERTA collection is available NOW at Anna Bridal Couture.

You can read my post about last season’s Berta catwalk show here.

Berta Bridal Catwalk | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

October 31, 2019

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Oh Autumn.

Perhaps it’s the winding down of *busy* season in the wedding industry. Perhaps it’s that I come from a family of teachers who recognise September as the turn of a new year. Or maybe it’s the child within me that grew up in (arguably) the most perfect place to enjoy the falling of leaves and the crunch of acorns underfoot. 

There’s definitely something about Autumn that sparks the feeling of a fresh start.

Which, I hope you’ll agree, makes this the perfect post to resume activity here on The Ivory Book after a pause in posting (thank you, wedding season!) – and say a big hello to the new season and an even bigger hello to you for joining me. 

Make a cup of tea and get yourself cosy, we’re going headfirst into PSL season!

Autumn is like New Year’s Eve (but with far less pressure)

I could write an essay on the things I love about Autumn, but undoubtedly the thing I love the most is that it’s the season for new beginnings. It’s the turning of a new leaf, without the gravitas and pressure of a new year. Autumn, and the three months that follow it, offer the perfect wind down to the end of the year – an opportunity to reflect, reassess, and prepare for the year ahead.

As I’m currently writing this, my wedding season has drawn to a close, I’ve been on a post-summer trip of a lifetime (plenty more on that coming your way) and I’m wrapped up in my warmest knitwear gathering my thoughts on what’s been a whirlwind few months. 

I arrived back from my trip right as Autumn started to show it’s face again which I couldn’t have been happier about – and not just because it meant I could get my burgundy nail varnish out for the first time in a while. It gave me the chance to declutter (both my office and my thoughts), shift my attention to the areas of my business that get put on the back burner during the summer, and make a few little changes.

Why Autumn Might Be the Best Fresh Start of the Year | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton

First things first, let’s talk business. Rachel Dalton Weddings will be turning one in just under a month (spoken in a very proud mum-like way) and I am SO delighted at what I’ve achieved with my business over the past twelve months. I’ll be going into my exact feelings towards turning one over the coming weeks – but whilst there won’t be too much change happening within RDW, I feel so excited and energised about entering the next chapter.

Secondly, The Ivory Book. Let’s be real here, there’s been a love-hate relationship with me and my blog over the past year (more on that here) BUT I am slowly but surely growing in confidence when it comes to blogging. Now that things have quietened down wedding-wise, I’ll be dedicating a whole lot more time to The Ivory Book so stick with me! There’s a lot of content coming your way soon!

And finally, a few personal bits and pieces. I’ve got a new car (*cue excited squealing*) which I am SO happy about. Next month also signifies a month full of birthdays within my family/friendship circle (including my own) so, although it will likely be a quiet one this year, I am still gearing up for a lot of celebrations!

Needless to say, it’s been a transitional time recently – but one which I am welcoming with open arms and cinnamon-scented baked goods. 

There’s three months left, not only of this year but of this DECADE, so make a conscious decision to fill them with positive changes that your 2020 self will thank you for. And however you choose to celebrate the changing of the season, I hope you embrace every minute of it. 

October 21, 2019

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Yep, you read that right. A wedding planner is writing a blog post all about NOT enjoying planning a wedding.

No, you’re not going mad (and I’m not considering a career change!), I was inspired to write about this topic after reading this very honest blog post from blogging extraordinaire and bride-to-be Victoria (AKA In The Frow) about the elements of wedding planning that she just wasn’t enjoying.

It was a refreshingly open article on a somewhat taboo subject. There’s a common misconception that every woman should love being a bride-to-be, but this certainly isn’t always the case. Wedding planning entails a LOT of work within an industry that you often don’t know much about until you get engaged. It’s big decisions, multiple communications and huge apportionments of money and, more often than not, it will occur during a time in your life where you have many other big things going on.

So here’s a few tips on what to do if you find that, actually, wedding planning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

Voice how you’re feeling

Communication is key when it comes to so many aspects of a relationship and planning a wedding shouldn’t be any different. Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and don’t be afraid to explain that you’re just not enjoying things like you expected you would. It might also be good to speak to a friend or family member who isn’t directly involved in your wedding plans to chat through the things that you’re struggling with. 

One thing is for sure, bottling up your feelings when you’re finding something tough is never a good solution and sharing things with the people close to you can often shed some much-needed clarity when you have a task to tackle.

Hire a Wedding Planner

People can be put off hiring a wedding planner for all sorts of reasons but, if you ever hit a stage of planning where you stop enjoying the process, ask for help from a professional. They will be able to recommend the best suppliers for your wedding, save you valuable time, effort and money and put the necessary processes in place to ensure that your plans stay on track.

Different wedding planners offer different services and your chosen planner should be able to suggest the best service for you based on the stage of planning you are at (or create an entirely bespoke service based on your requirements). You can learn more about the services that I offer with Rachel Dalton Weddings here.

Take Time Out from Wedding Planning

The average wedding takes 250-300 hours PLUS to plan. And if you work full time, the chances are you’re dedicating your evenings and weekends to those hours of planning which can easily start to take over and take it’s toll on your relationship.

Treat planning your wedding as you would any job and allow yourself some well-deserved time off from it every now and then. A date night where you don’t talk about the wedding, a weekend break where you also have a break from wedding emails or a morning commute where you don’t let yourself spend the whole journey scrolling through Pinterest for styling ideas. 

As important as planning your wedding is, it’s also important to step away from it every now and then and simply enjoy being a fiancé.

Get Organised

If you haven’t already got a spreadsheet for everything to do with your wedding, this is your cue to go and make one! It is vital to put a process in place to stay on top of things when it comes to your suppliers, your budget and your schedule for the day. This can also be a shared document with your wedding planner which you can both contribute to and stay regularly updated with your plans.

Getting organised with this as early as possible will help keep you on track throughout the planning process and help you enjoy wedding planning much more.

Remember What is Most Important

In the midst of wedding planning, it’s easy to get caught up on the small things (meltdowns over linen choices, anyone?) and lose sight of the most important part of being engaged: you are getting married to the person you love.

When things seem especially tough and all you seem to be able to do is focus on the small details, take a step back and think about the bigger picture. Regain perspective, remind your partner how much you love them and know that if, at the end of your wedding day, you are married to the person you love, you have had the best wedding day possible.

So there you have it! I hope this reassures you that if you are finding wedding planning difficult, you definitely aren’t alone.

To chat through the elements of wedding planning that you are struggling with and discuss how hiring a wedding planner might help you out, visit the Rachel Dalton Weddings website or get in touch here.

August 15, 2019

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Eat Breakfast

The chances are you might not have much of an appetite on the morning of your wedding, but please please PLEASE try and have a decent bit of food before you walk down the aisle. An empty stomach with a couple of celebratory glasses of bubbles is never a winning combination!

A cooked breakfast, fresh fruits or pastries are good options to keep you fuelled up until your evening meal, and if your ceremony isn’t until later on in the day then it’s always a good idea to have a couple of trays of sandwiches for you and your girls to snack on over lunchtime. And whilst it’s always lovely to have a glass of bubbles whilst you’re getting ready, remember to drink plenty of water on the morning of your wedding too!

Suzanne Neville Bronte | Wedding Morning | The Ivory Book

Allow Plenty of Time

This goes without saying, but make sure that you allow plenty of time for getting ready. Liaise with your hair/makeup artists to work out how long you and your bridesmaids will each need to get ready and put together a schedule so that everybody knows the order in which they are having their hair and makeup done.

As well as this, factor in time to eat and plenty of time to put on your dress (I always recommend allocating a minimum of half an hour for this just in case!) as well as allowing plenty of time to get to your ceremony venue. The time will fly by quicker than you imagine and one thing that you should never feel on your wedding morning is rushed.

Create an Atmosphere that makes You feel Calm

Whether that’s blasting out music and giggling with your closest girls or listening to a chilled out playlist and spending some time by yourself, it’s important that your wedding morning runs exactly the way you want it to and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do.

Spend the morning with the people that you want to be there – that could mean your family, your bridesmaids or your fiancé (yes, despite what people might try and tell you, you ARE allowed to spend the wedding morning together if that’s more your thing!) Most importantly, don’t let yourself feel overcrowded at any point, the atmosphere on your wedding morning should be completely calm.

Bridal Details | Wedding Morning | The Ivory Book

Set Aside Some Details for your Photographer

Detail shots on the morning of your wedding are so lovely and a wonderful way to remember those few hours you spend getting ready. To help your photographer capture the right things, set aside items like your shoes, your jewellery, your perfume and your garter as well as your dress and veil for them to style up.

If you don’t think you’ll remember to do this on the morning of your wedding, delegate this task to your wedding planner or a trusted bridesmaid the night before!

Stick to your Trusted Skincare Routine

Repeat after me: my wedding morning is not the time to try out new skincare products.

You never know how your skin is going to react to new products, so always allow at least 4 months to try out any changes to your usual skincare regime before your wedding and, on the morning itself, stick to the products that you know your skin loves! The same goes for your hair routine – if you’re thinking of dying it or going for the chop, make sure you test it out WELL in advance.

Wear Something you Feel Comfortable In

On the morning of your wedding you want to feel as comfortable as possible, so why not invest in a beautiful bridal robe or some gorgeous pyjamas, so that you are not only comfortable but you also feel happy having your photo taken.

It’s also worth noting here that if you are wearing a gown with a low back, don’t wear a bra for a couple of hours before you get into your dress. That pesky mark that your bra strap leaves behind can take a surprisingly long time to go away!

Bridal Clutch Bag | Wedding Morning | The Ivory Book

Pack Up a Few Essentials

It’s always a good idea to pack up a few essentials such as tissues, lipstick, deodorant, perfume and lip balm (and your phone, if you’d like it nearby on the day) into a small clutch so that you can freshen yourself up throughout the day. 

I’d recommend leaving this with either your wedding planner or your mum/bridesmaids so that you don’t have to focus on carrying it during the day. A great place to leave this is tucked under your space at the top table so that you can discreetly head off to freshen up during your reception!

Take a Moment to Yourself

Lastly, but by no means least, remember to pause and take in every moment of your wedding morning. It is such an exciting time filled with so much adrenaline so I would always recommend stepping away for a moment and pausing to take it all in.


Image Credits

Wedding Planner: Rachel Dalton Weddings

Photographer: Liza Edgington Photography

Gown: Suzanne Neville

Shoes: Sophia Webster

Perfume: Dior

Visit the Rachel Dalton Weddings website to learn more about my Wedding Planning services.

July 12, 2019

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