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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

Cape Town Travel | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

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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

Engagement Ring in Box | The Ivory Book | Rachel Dalton Weddings

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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

Orangery Wedding | Syon Park Wedding | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

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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

Berta 2020 Collection Berta Bridal Catwalk | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

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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

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

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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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We’re all a little guilty of taking where we live for granted. Which is probably why it’s taken me this long to spend a day at the Chewton Glen Hotel, a luxurious 5-star country retreat in the heart of The New Forest (and, conveniently, only a mere 10 minutes from my house!)

Popular with couples and families alike, Chewton Glen really does have it all. Immaculate grounds, beautifully classic interiors, attentive staff and (call me biased) arguably the most incredible location in the UK, with the beach, the forest and charming local towns all just a stone’s throw away.

(Side note: it is also a truly gorgeous wedding venue, but more on that another day!)

My sister and I recently visited Chewton Glen for a spa day to celebrate her birthday and it was everything we hoped for and more. Keep reading to hear our thoughts on the spa and everything we got up to during our day there.

The Spa Day

Chewton Glen have a huge variety of spa days available so there will be something to suit everybody. We opted for the Meze Spa Day, which included 3 luxurious treatments as well as full use of the spa facilities and breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

At £180, the spa day was exceptionally good value given the number of treatments it included and the gorgeous 5-star surroundings. You can buy their spa days as a gift and have the voucher beautifully presented in a gift box, which makes a lovely treat for whoever you are wanting to spoil.

The Spa & Facilities

Whilst the spa at Chewton Glen is a part of the main hotel, it has it’s own entrance which makes it feel wonderfully secluded. 

The spa is very classic in it’s design and features a huge indoor pool, an outdoor whirlpool, an aromatherapy sauna, a crystal steam room and a relaxing hydrotherapy pool. You’ll also find a nail studio and, if you’re after a more active day out, there’s tennis courts, a gym and a golf course.

There’s also plenty of areas to relax with a good book or a magazine, including an outdoor area with views that look straight out into the forest. I even dozed off on a lounger at one point!

The Treatments

Ahh… the treatments. With the spa day that we chose we received three treatments: a 45 minute back, neck and shoulder massage, a 25 minute express facial and a 25 minute express manicure or pedicure. 

It’s safe to say that the spa therapists at Chewton Glen know their stuff. All of the treatments were incredible – the massage in particular was exceptional and SO relaxing. The treatments we received featured OSKIA products which were lovely – Chewton Glen even have two bespoke scents for their products which pay homage to the surroundings of the hotel. PURE. BLISS.

The Food

Rest assured, you are well looked after during your spa day at Chewton Glen. When we arrived, we were greeted and immediately seated for breakfast in the pool bar, which included a generous portion of fruit, yoghurt, granola and miniature pastries, as well as a selection of fresh juices.

Lunch is served buffet-style, leaving you to come and go at your leisure, and features a delicious selection of lighter salads and cold meats, as well as hearty soups, bread rolls and jacket potatoes. There’s also a mouth-watering assortment of miniature desserts that are so good you must try more than one!

Stay Longer

Being so local to me, I’ve not yet been able to justify spending the night in one of Chewton Glen’s gorgeous rooms or suites HOWEVER if you are looking to make your visit last more than just one day then they have some incredible accommodation available.

For a particularly special treat, book a night or two in one of their beautiful treehouses, which offer a totally secluded and truly luxurious night’s sleep.

Overall, I couldn’t recommend the spa at Chewton Glen enough! Their spa days are the perfect invitation for a full day of relaxation – whether you are looking to spoil a friend/family member or simply wanting to treat yourself, you won’t be disappointed. The spa is luxurious and classic without being pretentious, the treatments are incredible and the staff couldn’t be more helpful and attentive. Why not spoil yourself and pay a visit!

July 9, 2019

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After a blissful few days of sunshine in May (hellooo bank holiday barbecues), June was well and truly unable to make up it’s mind when it came to the weather – with sun, rain and even a heatwave thrown in for good measure!

With the ever-unpredictable English weather it’s always worth considering that, if you are getting married in the UK during the summer months, there’s a chance that your wedding day could be a scorcher – just look at last summer for example! So with that in mind, here’s a few tips on what to do if there’s a heatwave on your wedding day.

Managing a heatwave at your Wedding | The Ivory Book | Rachel Dalton Weddings

If you’re outside, make sure you have access to shade

Sunshine on your wedding day can be a blessing for so many reasons. You can get outside for photos, have an outdoor drinks reception or even have your ceremony outdoors. However, just make sure that for all of the opportunities you give your guests to be outside, you also give them the option to be in the shade or indoors. This is particularly important for children or elderly guests who might struggle to be in the heat for too long.

Stay cool and calm during your bridal prep

Staying cool and calm whilst you’re getting ready on the morning of your wedding is always important, but especially so if you’re experiencing a heatwave. To help avoid getting too hot, wear loose, breathable clothing (a light bridal robe is perfect), open the windows to get some fresh air flowing and set up some fans to keep you and your girls cool. Also remember to drink plenty of water and take regular breathers if/when you need them.

Managing a heatwave at your Wedding | The Ivory Book | Rachel Dalton Weddings

Create a bridal look that will last

If you’re having your makeup done professionally on the morning of your wedding then your makeup artist should be prepared to use long-wear products on you to see you through the warmer weather. However, if you are doing your own makeup on the day then make sure you prepare your skin with a good quality primer before you start your makeup, and finish your look with a long lasting setting spray to make sure that your makeup won’t budge throughout the day. It’s also so important to wear an SPF on your wedding day, you’ll likely spend a lot of time in the sun and the last thing you want is to burn!

Provide plenty of water for your guests

As lovely as it is to provide free-flowing bubbles and delicious cocktails at your wedding, one of the most common mistakes I see as a wedding planner is couples forgetting to provide enough water. It’s always a good idea to have some water available for your guests both during your drinks reception and before your ceremony whilst your guests are waiting (especially if you are having your ceremony outdoors). If you are looking to ‘pretty’ up your water, put out some Kilner jars of water flavoured with fresh fruits and herbs for guests to help themselves to throughout the day.

Managing a heatwave at your Wedding | The Ivory Book | Rachel Dalton Weddings

If you are having a marquee wedding, make sure you are prepared

Marquees, and in particular clear-roof marquees, can get very hot and stuffy on warm days. It’s best to speak to both your wedding planner and your marquee provider to get advice on how to make sure that your marquee doesn’t get too hot – this could involve things like ventilation systems, draping or even just adjusting the timings of your day slightly. This certainly isn’t a reason to be put off marquee weddings (they are, after all, perfect for the summer) however it is definitely worth making sure you are prepared for the heat so that your guests remain comfortable all day.

Prepare some essentials for touch-ups throughout the day (for both you and your guests)

Setting up some toiletry baskets for your guests is always a lovely touch but it will be particularly well received on warmer days. Deodorant, blotting sheets, water mister sprays, and suncream are a few great things to include. And remember to pack yourself a small bag of essentials to stay freshened up throughout the day too. It’s also a lovely idea to provide handheld fans or sunglasses for your guests during the day, and flip flops at night so that they can kick off their heels and party the night away!

Managing a heatwave at your Wedding | The Ivory Book | Rachel Dalton Weddings

If there’s one thing you’ll never be able to control on your wedding day it’s the weather. You can, however, make sure that you are prepared for any possible extreme weather conditions that might arise. If you’re in the process of planning a summer wedding, I hope these tips help you stay prepared if there is an unexpected heatwave on the day!

To learn more about my wedding planning services, visit the Rachel Dalton Weddings website.

Images by David Wheeler Photography. To view more from this shoot and see the full supplier credits, visit the feature on Rock My Wedding.

July 1, 2019

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Yesterday marked 6 months since I officially launched my business, Rachel Dalton Weddings… how crazy is that!

It’s been one heck of a 6 months but it’s safe to say that I have absolutely LOVED it. And to mark the occasion, I’ve had a little change up over here on my blog.

When I launched The Ivory Book (which is also now 6 months old – yay!) I promised myself that I would let it grow organically and evolve with me. So, with that in mind, you’ll notice I’ve made a few tweaks to the heading bar at the top of my posts.

I’ve scrapped my two least used categories and replaced them with a ‘career’ category. Don’t worry, this won’t become a place for jargon-heavy business posts about how you must run your business (although if I figure that out, I’ll let you know!), instead it will be a place to lift the lid on the realities of owning your own business, have an honest chat about self employment and give the occasional bit of advice about how to get started with a career in the wedding industry.

So today, I’m kicking things off with an honest post about what I’ve learned in my first 6 months of owning a business.

 

Not everyone will understand what you do… and that’s okay

This may not be the case for every business startup, but one thing which I’ve definitely struggled with in these first few months is people actually understanding what I do. Perhaps it’s the fact that wedding planning is still a relatively new career, perhaps its my ever changing routine that is hard to keep up with, but my friends and family still frequently ask me what I actually do day to day, and I’m okay with that!

 

No one is judging you as closely as you think

No one’s noticed that you haven’t posted on Facebook in four days, nobody minds that you didn’t upload to your blog this week, no one cares that you haven’t nailed that cohesive Instagram theme that you were hoping for. Everybody is busy focussing on their own business and their own life so PLEASE don’t worry that you are being scrutinised. Just keep your head down and focus on you and your business.

 

Self employment can be a lonely business

I’ll be honest, this is probably the part of self-employment that I was most nervous about before my business launched. I’m very lucky that I still work elsewhere two days a week so I still experience some of that office camaraderie, but being your own boss can feel very lonely at times. As much as I hate to use the dreaded ’N’ word, networking is important and having supportive friends in your field of work will be vital in your first 6 months of business. Talk to them, you definitely won’t be the only one feeling like this.

 

What I've Learned in the First 6 Months of Business | The Ivory Book


It’s important to celebrate your successes, even if they aren’t business related

I think there’s an unspoken rule when you run your own business (or perhaps just with life in general) that feeling proud of yourself is something to feel guilty about. In a world where there is criticism everywhere, personally I think it is SO important to celebrate your successes, whether they are related to your business or not. Last month when I had the opportunity to visit New York Bridal Fashion Week, you can bet I shouted about it just as loudly as when I secure a dream wedding planning client. Success in life is made up of so many factors, and it is OKAY to feel proud of yourself.

 

Your friends and family are even more incredible than you thought they were

It might just be me who feels this, but starting my own business gave me an entirely new appreciation for my friends and family and the support they give me. Whether it’s supporting your social media posts, giving advice or just being there for a cuppa or a FaceTime on those down days – notice and appreciate everything that your loved ones do to support you. They’ll prove themselves to be even more amazing than you thought they were.

 

You don’t just sit at home in your pjs

…Sorry to burst that bubble.

 

 

There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ week

When you’re self employed, there is no such thing as normal. Some weeks you’ll feel as though you’re working on overdrive, flitting between meetings and events whilst trying to stay on top of your inbox. Other weeks, you’ll find yourself sitting in your office with your fifth cup of tea that morning wondering why your phone hasn’t rung in days. The lows feel incredibly low whilst the highs feel exponentially high, and that’s a part of self employed life that you just have to make peace with.

 

Looking back is important

I feel like one of the most Instagrammed quotes out there is ‘don’t look back, you’re not going that way’ but in all honesty, I disagree. It’s so important to look back and see how far you’ve come, see everything that you’ve achieved along the way (no matter how big or small the milestones are) and celebrate your accomplishments. Use it to push yourself forward and achieve even more.

 



And on that note, here’s to another wonderful 6 months!

THANK YOU to all of the amazing people who have followed, celebrated and supported this crazy journey so far, it doesn’t go unnoticed and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with my latest posts and daily going’s on.

 


 

May 17, 2019

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