Saturday, 31 December 2011

Simply 2011: The Weddings

As 2012 holds out its hand we cast our thoughts back over 2011 and all of the fabulous weddings we have dressed, attended and adored here at Simply Bows and Chair Covers HQ. We thought we would share some memories of the more famous weddings of the last year with you in pictures tonight .....

It is fair to say that lace was a very strong theme this year, with everyone from Lily Allen and Reese Witherspoon choosing to embellish their dresses  and head dresses with lace variations and of course Kate Middleton's long sleeved lace dress became an iconic design and image worldwide.

Some of the other royal brides of 2011 including Zara Phillips and Charlene of Monaco, went for more simple ivory silk dresses.

We have loved seeing the range of designs shown off to the world this year from Kim Kardashian's wide-skirted Vera Wang number to Kate Moss' slinky Galliano gown and have loved sharing them with you!

Bride-to-bes getting married in 2012 and in search of inspiration need look no further than the Simply Bows and Chair Covers Blog... watch this space!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Simply baby bumps: Expecting a baby and getting married? Help is at hand!

There was a time when a bride would do her best to hide the fact of being pregnant when she married. But couture will always keep pace with social change. And with more conceptions now taking place outside marriage than within bridal gowns for the expectant mums are now much easier to find than ten years ago but in 2009 'Expectant Bride' bucked the trend and were the first company to offer exclusivity to pregnant women and only stock gowns for women expecting. We thought we would help out you lovely brides to be who are also set to be yummy mummies with a few helpful hints, tips and websites!

Wedding dress
Early Maternity Dress designs from Expectant Bride

The UK now have many fabulous dress designers who are specially trained to estimate how big the bride's bump will be by the big day, and design a dress accordingly.
Brides and Bumps Wedding Gown

Wedding dresses for the expectant bride should be made longer at the front so they do not rise up over an increasingly rounded stomach, and pulled in at the back to give a flattering shape and emphasis a small waist above any baby bump.

Gorgeous Bjorn & Me Grecian Style Gown

We would also suggest that the dress sides are hemmed to allow for last-minute alterations should growth exceed forecasts as often it can.

If you are a expectant bride to be looking for your dream wedding dress don't despair as the Simply Bows and Chair Covers team are here to help! Why not try some of the following companies who cater specially for women just like you!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Simply Charming: A love story to warm your heart this Christmas

Celebrating 20 years of marriage this Christmas are Sue and Alex Tatham... and why are we sharing this anniversary on our blog you may ask? Well it just so happens that Sue and Alex have a delightful story to share of how they met and came to be deliriously happy 20 years on.....

The couple first met in the most unlikely circumstances... as contestants on Cilla Black’s famous TV show Blind Date!

‘Looking back, even when I was asked to audition for Blind Date,  I never believed for one second that I would get to appear on the show. And I certainly never believed for one moment that I would ever meet the girl I would marry. Not in a million years.’ ‘Not in a billion years,’ Sue corrects him.
Alex was working as a trainee accountant when an office junior asked whether anyone in the office was interested in becoming a contestant on Blind Date and Alex thought it sounded like great fun and thought why not! Six months later he got a letter from the show inviting him to audition.

Meanwhile Sue had not thought the idea such fun and had in fact been secretly entered by a few of her friends whilst working as a recruitment consultant. The friends later recieved a rejection letter from staff at programme makers London Weekend Television. They insisted that any contestant must apply personally. Egged on by her friends Sue eventually agreed!

Blind date was a huge hit in the eighties watched by 18.2 million viewers every week!‘It was, in a way, the first TV reality show and I just thought I’d be showing off very heavily, that it would be a funny experience and would be something I could laugh about for the rest of my life,’ Alex revealed.
Alex, who chose a date, loved the attention and the 'whoops' from the audience while Sue was shaking like a leaf throughout the whole show as she was aired to the nation in competition with Lyn from Middlesex and Kate from Essex.

‘I don’t know why I chose Sue,’ says Alex, now 46. ‘She simply sounded very nice – and she was. Our date was to fly off to Ireland for a medieval banquet. We hit it off from the word go. Even on the plane flying out we discovered we both had exactly the same values  in life.'

After their first date they went down to London and Alex took Sue to London Zoo before later taking her out for dinner and by the end of the evening the couple had shared their first kiss.

The following day, after filming the Blind Date segment in which the couple regaled Cilla and the viewers with details of their date and hinted there was a definite spark, Alex knew he was falling for Sue... three years of courtship followed with Sue keeping her job in the West Midlands, while Alex stayed over 130 miles away in London to finish his accountancy qualification. Many a time the couple struggled with the distance but never gave up on their relationship.

The time came when Alex decided to pop the question to Sue but just one nagging thought was holding him back before he bit the bullet. As befitting an Old Etonian from a privileged family, he led a very full social life of cocktail parties and dinner parties and he wondered whether Sue, from a less worldly background, could accept his determination to remain in the capital. ‘That was the thing I worried about most,’ Alex admits. ‘I had a very good social life and wanted to ask Sue to marry me on the condition that she move to London. I was so worried she’d say no!’ Sue however could think of nothing more perfect but dare not say it out loud so as not to tempt fate!

Alex’s planned proposal of marriage once he had summoned the courage was then indirectly scuppered by Princess Anne’s former husband, Captain Mark Phillips when upon about to pop the question Captain Phillips entered the restaurant and attention soon was upon him and the moment passed and Alex lost his bottle.

Ten days later the loved up young couple were babysitting Sue’s young cousin Ben when he asked, “Are you two married?” Ben replied with “Do you think we should be?” and Ben nodded with enthusiasm.”And that was that! A ring made of Ben's Play-Doh was made that night and the proposal took place!

Sue and Alex 20 years on
After meeting on the show and dating for three years, Alex and Sue married in 1991 in a traditional church ceremony, with Cilla among the guests in a televised ceremony.  ‘Sue and I were from extraordinarily different backgrounds, and we were brought together in a rather lovely way. ‘But for Blind Date, we would never have met and we are enormously lucky to have each other. I’m a very strong believer in what will be will be – and, anyway, that’s rather a good defence mechanism generally in life' said Alex. 

Sometimes fate just takes it's course... 

As we leave behind 2011 and enter 2012 we at Simply Bows and Chair Covers wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a fabulously happy (and romantic) New Year :)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Simply Charitable: We support The Sick Children's Trust

Simply Bows and Chair Covers work with many local charities to help them raise funds and make their events look spectacular!

Kristy Giblin who manages our West Northumberland and Cumbria office is also a member of the fundraising committee at Crawford House ran by The Sick Children's Trust as it is a charity close to her heart and has worked to raise nearly £2000 for them over the last year.

Kristy was invited along by The Sick Children's Trust to represent Simply Bows and Chair Covers at the Real Radio Xmas Party live with presenters Gary and Lisa on the air on Friday 16th December where they were raising funds for the charity and what fun she had.... She met some fabulous celebrities and chatted on the radio explaining what a great charity The Sick Children's Trust was and what people could do to show their support.

Gary and Lisa’s All Day Christmas Party was a sensational 12 hour marathon show in front of a live studio audience followed by The Three Wise Legends Christmas Special all to raise money for Crawford House.
Across the day Gary and Lisa were joined by Little Mix, Bob Mortimer, Michael Crawford, Amelia lily, Joe McElderry, Denise Welsh, Matthew Kelly, Liz McLarnon, Run Geordie Run and a host of other regional stars.

It was fun, it was family, it was North East. And a total of nearly £12k was raised!

 And here are a few photo's from the day....

The Little Mix Girls enter the studio

Gary and Lisa (The Real Radio presenters) with Caroline from The Sick Children's Trust and Kristy Giblin

Caroline from The Sick Children's Trust and our own Kristy Giblin

Jade and Perry from Little Mix signing The Sick Children's Trust Tshirts

Kristy on the microphone

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Simply Beautiful: 'Winder Hall' Venue Spotlight

We are delighted to bring you another fabulous venue in our Venue Spotlight edition of the Simply Bows and Chair Covers Blog. We interview Kate Wilson, Business Development Director at Winder Hall.
Winder Hall
What is your venue name, industry rating and where is your venue located?
Winder Hall Country House, Low Lorton near Cockermouth
Five Star AA rating

What facilities does your venue boast?
We have a hot tub overlooking the fells and a summer house with sauna. We don’t have lots of extra bells and whistles, preferring to concentrate on offering a totally relaxing, intimate atmosphere that guests return to over and over again for “time out” from daily hustle and bustle! Of course, we have beautiful bedrooms, a gorgeous oak panelled dining room, cosy lounge and beautiful grounds, enjoyed by those who stay with us and those who choose to book us exclusively for their unique wedding “house party”.
On the terrace at Winder Hall- dressed by Simply Bows and Chair Covers

Does your hotel cater for weddings?  If so, what numbers can you accommodate and what packages do you offer?
Yes we cater for intimate weddings of up to 45 guests for ceremonies and formal sit down wedding breakfasts. There is flexibility for more informal dining options where the whole house can be used for a buffet style celebration. Each wedding is individually styled to each couple’s wishes – we don’t do packages! We also hold a few marquee weddings a year where we can cater for up to 200 guests. Our dining room and lounge are licensed for civil ceremonies
In partnership with Simply Bows and Chair Covers and Fantasweets, we also cater for fabulous high tea hen parties from a special afternoon celebration at Winder Hall, to an exclusive full house party with pamper packages from Amethyst. For exclusive bookings (just as for weddings) the minimum stay is one night midweek, and two nights at a weekend.

High Tea Hen Party with Simply Bows and Chair Covers and Fantasweets at Winder Hall
What about events, both large and small, what numbers can you accommodate?
The numbers are similar to weddings. Less formal occasions where people enjoy a buffet mean we can cater for up to around 70 in the house. With a marquee the numbers increase to up to around 200. We will tailor any event to suit the style of the person booking, and we guide people on what works best within Winder Hall. We also offer wonderful party and wedding celebrations at The Saints Rooms, our Baronial Hall in the historic market town of Cockermouth, where we cater from 40 to 140.
Civil Ceremony at Winder Hall- dressed by Simply Bows and Chair Covers

Can guests stay over at your venue?  What accommodation is on offer?
7 beautifully appointed bedrooms, including 2 four posters. These contain iPod docking alarm clocks, flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi access, excellent tea and coffee facilities, bottled waters and stylish toiletries.
Winder Hall Views
 Tell us about your food/ menus/ wines...
We change our table d’hôte menu daily according to the freshest, local, seasonal food available. In keeping with the style and intimacy of Winder Hall, the experience is unique. Within the price of your dining, we welcome you with pre-dinner drinks and canapés, and invite you to linger over coffee after your meal. Three course dining £35 (two and four course also available)
We have an extensive wine list, ranging from reasonably priced Panul house wines to carefully selected special vintages and champagnes. Something for every taste!
Winder Hall Cuisine
 Do you have any sporting/ spa/ golf facilities on site?
Our summerhouse overlooking the fells has a sauna and an area to relax while you take in the views, and our hot tub offers an opportunity to sit back with a glass of champagne while you forget the stresses of daily life. In addition to this, we are delighted to assist with sourcing local facilities for our guests and advising on best places to go.

What sets your venue apart from others?
We feel it is our personal, friendly service, attention to detail and desire to go the extra mile for everyone we look after. The proof is in the pudding, so here are a few snippets out of the mouths of those who matter most!
Absolutely fantastic! Great food, fabulous service – what more could we ask for!” Lisa & Dave, July 2011
“We have had a wonderful time. Just like being at a house party. Great food and staff – we will be back”Eileen & Kevin, June 2011
It really is a secret treasure. Stayed in a lot of wonderful places, but never found such intimacy. Will definitely recommend and be back!” Laura & Dave, Manchester (February 2011)
We chose Winder Hall as the venue for our civil marriage ceremony purely by chance, Living only 15 miles away we had never heard of this enchanting place, which we feel is a good thing as it means it keeps its charm and secrecy over ”in your face” commercialism. Nick, Kate and the staff are pretty much what makes this an amazing place to stay (not that Winder Hall and its stunning views are anything less of a pull). Winder Hall is a place we love, … and when we open that door it strangely feels like were walking into a warm friendly home, If you are used to hotels etc where staff tend to be regimental and stuffy, you won't get that here. They will treat you as a close friend, nothing being too much trouble for them, as long as you feel relaxed and happy that is their aim. If it's warm, friendly staff and surroundings, stunning food and amazing food and views then this is the place to book.
Ian & Angela Cowan (December 2011)
“Thank you to Nick and all the staff at Winder Hall for making our ‘Dream Wedding’ a ‘Perfect Wedding’. Nothing was too much trouble; we hired Winder Hall for the weekend so we had total exclusivity for our family and guests. Our close family and wedding party arrived on Friday afternoon, everyone was made so welcome, and we all had dinner together. On Saturday the staff pampered to our every whim. The reception was exceptional the guests loved the food, and the fact that they could choose from an excellent menu. We then partied on into the night. We had everything we wished for in our wedding thanks to Nick and the staff at Winder hall, we cannot praise them highly enough. It is a fantastic experience” Love Pam & Derek Hawkins (July 2011)
“Words are not enough to describe the wonderful day we had. The wedding was perfect and will live long in my/our memory. Thanks to all the staff who helped to pull it all together. They were so helpful and the family atmosphere and amazing historic backdrop was the icing on the cake” Cheers Col & Ang (Oct 11). 
Outdoor dining at Winder Hall- dressed by Simply Bows and Chair Covers

Anything special that we should know about the venue?
We have been awarded the following this year:
Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence 2011
Breakfast & Dining Award 2011

And finally where can we get more information/ read more/ contact the venue?
Winder Hall Country House
Low Lorton
CA13 9UP
Tel: 01900 85107
Kate’s mobile: 07970 898180 (wedding enquiries)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Simply Debatable: Engagement rings for men?

Yet another American wedding trend is making it's way across the pond to us.... Engagement rings for men!

In the States this is not a new idea and many men now wear engagement rings without question as do many male celebrities. Crooner Michael Buble and his fiance were recently papped with  matching engagement rings...

British jewellers are understandably thrilled at the news of this wedding trend set to hit the UK but it seems the ladies of the country are less keen..... maybe we love the romance of the traditional way of doing things? Or perhaps we would prefer the money spent on one big sparkler for us rather than the cost being split between two rings?!

Simply Bows and Chair Covers blog readers..... what are your thoughts?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Simply Nutcracker: Belle Bridal Autumn 2011 photoshoot

Simply Bows and Chair Covers can style any event or wedding working with you to develop your theme.  

 Here is a peak into our traditional Christmas photoshoot we did with Belle Bridal magazine last year for their Autumn edition. It's the magical extra touches that can truly make  your wedding or event! 

Nutcracker  styled wedding ceremony
A Tradional Christmas wedding ceremony set up.

Old fashioned toy soliders on tartan!

An intimate wedding breakfast set up ( guarded by two life sized toy soldiers!)

These ideas & styles featured in the Autumn/ Winter 2011 addition of Belle Bridal. Thanks goes to the following local businesses for contributing to a fantastic photo shoot! Jesmond Dene House, The Finishing Touch Company, Charlie's Missus Photography, Love Lily Cakes, Your Personal Touch Wedding Planning & Simply Bows & Chair Covers !

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Simply Classical: Dissington Hall

We are very proud to be preferred supplier to the splendid Dissington Hall. This magnificent wedding venue in Northumberland is just a short drive from Newcastle.  Exquisite marquee weddings and marriage ceremonies are held in this beautiful country house setting. Yours will also be the only wedding held that day therefore exclusive use is guaranteed.

We interviewed the Events Manager as Dissington Hall to give you a special insight into this fabulous venue...

What facilities does your venue boast? 

Dissington Hall offers you the chance to escape with your party to the calm and classical surroundings of a magnificent Georgian estate. With exclusive use of Dissington Hall and its beautiful grounds, your event will become a special occasion.
We offer fine cuisine, a comprehensive wine list, a private bar, superb conference facilities, dancing to live music or a disco, beautiful suites of period rooms, a heated marquee, and a civil marriage licence.
Dissington Hall is a family run business with a skilled and highly professional approach to your event, be it a family wedding reception or a high-profile product launch.

Does your hotel cater for weddings?
Most receptions involve arrival drinks in the Library or, in the summer, on the Terrace and East lawn. This is followed by the wedding party welcoming the guests to a seated meal for between 40 and 160 guests.

The food is of the highest quality and menus can be tailored to suit your needs, excellent selection of wines and we also offer good value drinks packages.

The day-time reception blends into an enjoyable evening function with finger buffet meals for up to 200 guests, dancing and a late licence allowing your function to end at around midnight. 

Tell us about your food/ menus/ wines...
You can create your own special three, four or five course meal from the options in the Wedding Pack.

The following is an example of a Five Course Deluxe Menu

Served at the table using family service
Prawn, Mango & Avocado Saladette
Fresh prawns and mango marinated in a light white wine and dill vinaigrette served over half an avocado
- o -
Home-made Elderflower and Champagne Sorbet

A light and refreshing course to cleanse the pallet
- o -
Prime Fillet of Beef
Served with a cracked green pepper and cream sauce.
Accompanied by Baby New Potatoes and three fresh seasonal vegetables
- o -
Strawberry and Red Wine Brandy Baskets
Overflowing with fresh Strawberries marinated in red wine, dusted with sugar, topped with a strawberry and rose water cream garnished with mint leaves, served on a lake of Strawberry Coulis
- o -
Selection of Cheeses and savoury biscuits, garnished with fresh grapes
- o -
With tea served as an alternative

What sets your venue apart from others? 
We offer exclusive use of the Hall. We are only 20 minutes for the centre of Newcastle in a rural setting with exceptional service.