Monday, March 18, 2013

Wedding Venue Visit : Fetcham Park, Surrey

Its taken us a little while to blog about this one as we have been very busy bees planning for some gorgeous up and coming weddings this summer- we can't wait to share those with you!

In January we were invited up to the absolutely stunning Fetcham Park in Surrey owned by Parallel Venues. We worked with the lovely Laura Caudrey whose family own Parellel venues last summer to launch weddings at their other property in Hampshire, Cams Hall. See images from the Cams Hall launch here. We have never viewed Fetcham Park before so were delighted to be invited to have a look around. It was wonderful to catch up with Laura and of course, Frances- who completed her placement with Melanie at Bellissimo Weddings a couple of years ago and now works as the events executive at the glamorous Parallel Venues.

Built in around 1705, Fetcham Park is a magnificent Queen Anne Mansion and Laura decided to open the property up for weddings shortly after getting married at Fetcham Park herself. Laura and Frances really want you to enjoy the house and want you to feel comfortable and make it your own for the day. The house and grounds are exclusively yours on your wedding day so you are free to use the property as you wish (to a certain degree of course!) The team are happy to move furniture around and will help you to source suppliers and items for your day. Laura has even put together a collection of 'Laura Loves'. These are information cards about each of the suppliers she '...personally knows, loves and trusts' to ensure you as a couple can have confidence in the suppliers you are booking- and believe us, Laura really does know the best in the business! Bellssimo are very proud to be recommended wedding planners for Fetcham Park and Parellel Venues. Have a look at our Laura Loves below- a wonderful testimonial to the work we do.

It was a cold and snowy day when we visited but it was lovely and cosy inside with the huge roaring log fire in the hall- wonderful for a winter or Christmas wedding! What an entrance! As we approached it didn't look dissimilar to the image below.

Image courtesy of Christian Keenan

Image courtesy of Christian Keenan
Image courtesy of Christian Keenan

The grounds of the property are beautiful with wide green lawns and huge water fountains.

Image courtesy of Christian Keenan
Image courtesy of Parallel Venues
The inside is even more breath taking than the outside! This is the roaring fire that welcomed us in from the cold in the Grand Hall. As you walk in the Grand Hall creates quite an impression, and with the beautiful murals created the perfect setting for civil ceremonies and drinks receptions and then later on in the day, your evening reception.

Image courtesy of Eddie Judd
There is a Bridal prep room available upstairs for the Bride and her Bridesmaid on the morning of the wedding so the Bride can make a spectacular entrance down the magnificent staircase

Image courtesy of Eddie Judd

The transformation of the Grand Hall for you evening reception- wow!

Image courtesy of Eddie Judd
Fetcham Park is suitable for small and intimate weddings or larger, more grand days. The Shell Room is perfect for more intimate ceremonies and wedding breakfasts and looks out over the magnificent lawns and fountains, with french doors out onto the patio for outdoor drinks receptions.

Image courtesy of Eddie Judd

The Salon is perfect for larger numbers, seating up to 80. Its grandeur with gold leaf gilding and chandeliers makes the room an elegant and glamorous backdrop for your wedding breakfast.

Image courtesy of Eddie Judd
Thank you to Laura, Frances and Sandra for welcoming us to Fetcham Park- its stunning and we would love to be involved in planning a wedding there! p.s thank you for the chocolate and salted caramel brownies- they were divine!

For more information on Fetcham Park or Cams Hall contact us or contact Laura directly 01483 230337 or and take a look at their website to view an online brochure

Nicolle and Melanie

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wedding Traditions, Superstitions and Customs Part 1

There are many customs and traditions that are associated with weddings, although today they seem to be declining in popularity, often regarded as being too cheesy. But where did they come from in the first place and what is their significance? Traditionally brides have been thought to be very vulnerable to evil spirits so many of the traditions and customs are there to protect the bride from them. Traditions have also formed part of the etiquette of wedding days today so if you are planning your wedding it is important for you to know about the traditions so you can make sure you incorporate them into your wedding day.

Image courtesy of Big Bouquet Photography


It is thought to be unlucky for a woman to marry a man whose surname begins with the same letter as hers starts with. The following rhyme has traditionally reinforced this

To change the name and not the letter
Is to change for the worst and not the better

It is also said to bring bad luck by tempting fate if a bride practices writing her new name before the wedding.

Choosing the Day of the Week

Although today most weddings take place on either a Saturday or a Friday, these days were in the past considered as unlucky days to get married on. A rhyme was used to advise of which day to marry.

Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday the best day of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all

Choosing the Month

It is also thought that different months bring different meanings to the future of the couple’s marriage. The summer as a whole was seen as a good time to get married. This is linked to the summers association with fertility. Another rhyme was used to give advice on which month to get married in.

Advice on which month to marry in is given by the following rhyme:
Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will

The Wedding Dress

It is thought to be unlucky for the Bride to make her own wedding dress, although today it is very uncommon for Brides not to have dresses professionally made. It is also thought to be unlucky for the Groom to see his Bride in her wedding dress before she arrives at the ceremony, a tradition that still remains today.  Some also believe that trying on the entire outfit before the wedding day is bad luck so some Brides leave a single stitch undone on the dress until just before leaving for the ceremony.

Image courtesy of Valentine Low

Wedding Dress Colour
Today white is seen as the traditional colour to get married in but this wasn’t always the way. This tradition was started by rich families in the 16th Century and became the desirable colour to marry in after Queen Victoria decided to marry in white instead of silver which was the traditional colour for Royal brides to marry in. White was considered to symbolise maidenhood and after Queen Victoria wore white it became a symbol of wealth because only the wealthy could afford to wear a white dress which could only be worn once.
Before the white dress, bride’s wore their best dress so colour was just down to personal preference. A rhyme offered brides advice on the colour of their wedding dress.
Married in White, you have chosen right,
Married in Blue, your love will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Brown, you will live in town,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink,
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back.

Image courtesy of

The Veil

Traditionally brides wore veils to disguise themselves and therefore confuse the evil spirits and protect themselves. In Britain, wearing a veil became popular in the 19th Century as it was thought to symbolise modesty and chastity.

Image courtesy of Murakami Photography

Something Old, Something New…

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in your shoe

This is a good luck saying which dates back to the Victorian era and many brides will try and ensure that they have something of each in their wedding outfit.
The "something old" represents the link with the Bride’s family, the past and the couple’s friends. Something old is a symbol of continuity. To symbolise this a Bride often chooses to wear a piece of jewellery belonging to a family member or a garter belonging to a happily married woman in the hope that her happiness will be passed onto the new bride.
"Something new" symbolises a happy and bright future for the newlyweds. The wedding gown often represents the ‘something new’.
The "something borrowed" represents the fact that the Bride’s friends and family will be there for her on her big day but also that they will always be there for her in the future too. The ‘something borrowed’ is often lent by the bride's family and must be returned to the owner after the wedding to ensure good luck.
The custom of the bride wearing "something blue" dates back to biblical times when blue represented purity, faithfulness and loyalty. A popular way to incorporate ‘something blue’ is to wear a blue garter so that the blue is not seen.
Placing a silver sixpence in the bride's shoe was to ensure wealth in the couples married life.


Having flowers at weddings has been around for a long time, dating back to the Ancient Greeks. Bridesmaids would make garlands from flowers and plants to give to the Bride as it was considered to be a gift of nature and therefore very appropriate for a wedding.

In Europe, wedding flowers and bouquets became popular in the middle ages as it was usual to only bathe twice a year. This was due to the amount of labour involved in heating enough water for bathing and the expense of soap. Therefore for the special occasion of a wedding they came up with the solution of using floral and herbal arrangements to mask the smell of any bodily odours. This is obviously no longer a problem today but the tradition still remains.

Image courtesy of Arcade Flowers

The Bouquet

Traditionally the Bride throws her bouquet over her shoulder to unmarried female guests. It is then said that who ever catches the bouquet will be the next to marry. This tradition started in Medieval times. In medieval times, a bride didn’t expect to ever wear her dress again so it became a symbol of good luck to other women. After a wedding, single female guests would chase the bride to rip bits off of her dress. Over the years wedding dresses became more expensive and women wanted to keep their dresses as a memento of the day. Therefore Brides began throwing other objects as a distraction from the dress. The garter was thrown but the bouquet became the more traditional item to throw.

Image courtesy of Big Bouquet Photography
 More traditions, superstitions and customs to come in Part 2...


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

As Valentine's day is the most romantic day of the year, we couldn't let it pass without a little blog, being the soppy romantic ladies we are! A lot of people may believe Valentines to be marketing dribble to get you to buy things but we couldn't disagree more! Valentines day is a day that you and your loved one can celebrate your relationship and love for one another- a day to spend together and spoil each other, its a day to reflect on that very special thing you are very lucky to have in your life- love.

A lot of you, like us will be working today but we hope you're all celebrating in some way tonight or perhaps you're doing something special together at the weekend? Day to day life can be pretty hectic so Valentines day is the perfect excuse to take some time off to spend together.

Here's a little Valentines inspiration for you. Maybe you're having a Valentine's day wedding? How romantic!

Happy Valentines day everyone!


Image credits
Mason Jar drinks-
Cake- Axioo Photography
Heart- EFC Photography
Cake pops-
Eiffel Tower-
Bride and Groom- Sonya- Feed Floyd
Balloons- EFC Photography
Pink Cocktails- Sara Androck Photography
Small Red Roses-
Heart cookies on a stick-
Red Shoes- Emma Lucy Photography
Heart Seating plan- Hannah Milard Photography
Red Roses-
Red Heart Hanging decorations-
Red Champagne cocktails-

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Wedding Sanctury 2013

Sunday 3rd March sees the return of The Wedding Sanctuary, a very unique wedding show designed to offer top design inspiration, personal style advice and the best one to one planning support available. The event has been organised by the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, an alliance that promotes professionalism within the industry and a body which we are very proud to be active members of.

This years event is being hosted at the prestigious RSA House, a gorgeous Georgian building combined with a contemporary style in the heart of London- a stunning venue for your wedding whether you're looking for a grand affair or a more intimate ceremony.

Image courtesy of RSA House

Unfortunately we are not able to make attend this year due to a clash of dates. However, at the first very successful event which was held in 2011, Bellissimo's Melanie was delighted to be asked to be one of the speakers for the day, presenting on how to get the best out of your wedding suppliers. Again, there will be speakers presenting through out the day at this years event on various different subjects useful in planning your wedding. The event is split into 2 sessions, 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm to allow each guest to benefit from a lot of personal attention from the experts and ensure each guest has a great experience. We look forward to the 2015 event where we will hopefully be in attendance again!

Most of these photos are from the pre wedding shoot at RSA House but some are from the 2011 event which was held at Somerset House and show just what a wonderful event it is.  If the usual crowded wedding shows really don't appeal to you and you want to benefit from one to one attention from the experts, then this is the show for you.

If you are interested in going to The Wedding Sanctuary, booking is essential as limited tickets will be available on the door. Visit The Wedding Sanctuary website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Photo Credits

Venue- RSA House

Styling & coordination - UK Alliance ofWedding Planners

Makeup- Mariam Jensen                                

Hair- Severin Hubert for Hepburn Collection 

Florist - Mary-Jane Vaughan      

Wedding Dresses - Johanna Hehir

Bridesmaids dress- TwobirdsBridesmaid

Stationery - Cutture

Accessories- VictoriaMillésime

Hire (tableware etc) - OptionsHire

Models- Chloe-Jasmine Whichello, Joseph Bader, Sjaniël Turrell 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top 10 Trends for Weddings in 2013

Now it can be said that at Bellissimo we don't subscribe to the following of fashions when it comes to weddings. It's YOUR wedding so we believe you should have whatever you want and like, whether its the height of fashion or not. However that doesn't mean to say that current fashions won't influence you and your decisions and it isn't to say that current fashions shouldn't influence you- as long as you like it! That's the most important thing- it is your day after all. We have noticed some popular "trends" emerging for weddings for the coming season or two so we thought we would share with you at the start of this new season what we think Brides will be incorporating into their day.

1. "Vintage" elements / influences 
Vintage wedding styling has been very popular for a few years with the use of vintage china and old fashioned accessories. However, we are seeing a decline in strong vintage styling, with many people now choosing to incorporate vintage items into a different overall theme rather than the whole wedding being centred around vintage styling. Don't panic - vintage is still very much here but we are seeing it being incorporated in different ways with subtle vintage accessories and touches, for example vintage style photo frames and post boxes.

Image courtesy of Damien Bailey Photography
Image courtesy of Tatty Lashes stationary

2. Clean lines - less is more!
We are seeing  more modern weddings coming through with cleaner lines and simplicity and less frills and detailing. They are equally as beautiful with a big wow factor and many still bringing in traditional elements but keeping it much simpler and eye catching. "Less is more" is definitely the motto for 2013 weddings. Weddings will remain decadent with the materials and items used but will be less elaborate in the amount of wedding dressing. 2012 saw lots of DIY 'Stuff' being incorporated into weddings- bunting, cupcakes, ti-pis, mason jars etc however for 2013 we are seeing the beginnings of a switch to classical elegance with the simplicity doing all the talking.

Image courtesy of Michele Austin Photography

3. The romantic look- peaches and pastels
This is quite an 80's colour scheme but it is having an resurgence but without the 1980's vibe! This time round it has a very soft and romantic ambiance but feels much more up to date and modern with less of the frills and not so much emphasis on the large sleeves and shoulder padding from the 80's! We're seeing lots of peach and pale pink roses and peonies making up beautiful, full floral displays.

Image courtesy of Erika Delgado Photography
The combination of mint green with the pale peach and pinks is also looking to be very hot in 2013. It has a very whimsical, romantic yet fresh summery feel to it.

Image courtesy of Three Nails Photography

4. The Roaring 20's
Whilst we think vintage is calming down, there are some eras which will be BIG this year! The iconic design led eras, the 1920's, 1930's and the 1950's will be huge this year. We're seeing lots of vintage cars and lots of Jazz bands being incorporated into weddings as well as lots of Art Deco fonts and styling in stationary and beautiful vintage Bridesmaid dresses. We can't wait to see the Charleston and Jives coming out. The decadence yet clean lines of the 1920's makes it a perfect theme for those who want a more stripped back yet romantic wedding.

With the popularity of Downton Abbey and the wedding which featured in the last series, its no wonder the 1920's has become a popular influence for weddings.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of
5. Lace
Lace is a classic embellishment which will never go out of fashion but in 2013 we will be seeing it every where- not just in dresses but running throughout weddings. Kate Middleton's wedding dress will still be a huge style influence for wedding dresses this coming season- big, beautiful and full of lace detail.

Image courtesy of AFP

6. Statement back dresses
Another huge trend we are predicting for 2013- our Facebook fans have gone made for the photos we have posted of dresses with beautiful statement backs to them. You will have your back to your guests throughout the ceremony so its lovely for them to be able to see your beautiful dress. 

Image courtesy of Ariel Ranae Photography

Image courtesy of Galia Lahav
7. Patterns
2012 has seen a few patterned bridesmaid dresses but next year they are looking to be really popular, with florals, geometric prints, paisley, stripes and spots. Patterns will run throughout weddings, being incorporated into the table dressing to add interest without the fussiness and having lots of 'stuff' on the tables. However, its important not to go too over the top- remember less is more and try to stick to two or no more than three colours featured for your bridesmaids to avoid everything being too busy. 

Image courtesy of Gabriel Ryan Photography
Image courtesy of Jonathon Canlas Photography

8. Dessert Bars
So sweetie tables have been big in 2012 but next year will see the rise in popularity of the dessert table. Dessert tables are a great option if you don't want a traditional wedding cake and cupcakes aren't your thing. A dessert table can also be a great way to display your wedding cake if you are having a traditional wedding cake. Make it a real feature of the room, plus its great for the evening as it gives your  guests something to nibble on if they're feeling a little peckish! We also think macaroon towers will be a bit hit this year- they have a real wow factor and are something a little bit unusual. You can do well to combine the sweetie table with the dessert table too for a great combination of little sweet nibbles to suit all your guests or why not sweet and savoury?

Image courtesy of Thayer Allyson Gowdy Photography
Image courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings

9. Naked Wedding Cakes
The back to basics theme has continued through to the wedding cake with sponge and buttercream cakes without royal icing becoming very popular. They are a more rustic option but very beautiful when adorned with beautiful roses but practically speaking we're not convinced that they are the best option- they won't keep very well and you will be testing your baker as it will have to be made very last minute!

 Image courtesy of 4 eyes photography

We have seen the emergence of Macaroon Towers in 2012 and we think they are going to be even more popular in 2013. They are a great alternative to a traditional style wedding cake and will really get a 'wow' when your guests see it. They can be in any colour to match the theme of your day and they can be made in a large variety of flavours to match your tastes.
Image courtesy of Allyson Meredith Cakes

Another type of cake we see emerging this year is Temeri cakes which are a fabulous alternative to cupcakes and having a really special sentiment, perfect for a wedding day behind them. Temeri cakes are inspired by Japanese Temeri balls which are beautiful handmade silk balls which mothers make for their daughters to play with. Traditionally it is said that the balls bring good fortune and happiness to the recipient. This sentiment Temeri cakes the perfect favour for a wedding.

Image courtesy of

10. 'Posh junk food'
People have grown bored of having a buffet for evening food. 'Posh junk food' and street food is becoming very popular. People are wanting their guests to be served food in a casual way rather than serving themselves. Having food vans is proving to be a popular option- for example, fish and chip vans, Mexican food, Paella etc We have also seen the idea of posh burger and chips or Kentucky fired chicken emerging, served in wrappers by usherette waiters. We think this will really take off as buffets have become a bit tired and guests would rather have something a bit different. With receptions often going on long into the night with more taking place on private land, we have seen people wanting to serve a 'midnight snack' to keep them and their guests going. Cookies and boozy hot chocolate have been favourites! 

Image courtesy of Damien Bailey Photography

Image courtesy of Trevor Pearson Productions

We're also seeing a change in the drinks being served at weddings with signature or bespoke cocktails being on the Menu. Select the Bride and Groom's favourite cocktails shaken or stirred to order, with a little help from your wedding planner as to what goes down well with guests. Its great to make it really personal by having a  menu made up of the Bride and Groom's favourites but remember, your favourites might not be every body else's! Our advice- keep them light and not too alcoholic and choose cocktails made from a variety of different base alcohols, for example a vodka based cocktail, a rum based cocktail and a champagne based cocktail. A good selection for a summer wedding could be a Mojito, a Cosmopoliton, Lychee Martini, Strawberry Daquri and Espresso Martini.

Image courtesy of Angela Ward Brown Photography

We can't wait to see all of these trends in real life in our weddings this year! They are going to be beautiful!