Last summer, we at Blossom & Blush had an incredible time, but we grew the business and took on a lot more tents, and learnt some valuable lessons about bigger-scale bookings along the way.
We attended some wonderful wedding fairs across the region, and our Bell Tent Villages popped up at weddings and parties in East Yorkshire, Newark, Skipton, Cumbria, North Yorkshire Moors, Northumberland and everywhere in between! Here are a few of our tips that may prove useful to you in the days leading up to your wedding...
1.The power of a good team
Set up days can be long and physically tough, so motivation and productivity are key! You care and so should your set-up team. Being able to laugh and listen to what you want is so important and cannot be underestimated. Make sure you have a team of helpers who want you to have the best time, get your vision, and will support you fully.
2. Site access is essential!
A number of venues are down single track roads, which in themselves are fine, but when these roads lead to a sharp turn onto site then vans may well struggle. Thankfully our guys and gals manage to make it work but bear this in mind when booking a venue. It will make your life easier, and any other supplier you book with. You really don’t want to end up with your toilets down the lane because they can’t get access to the field!
3. Stay well fed and hydrated
Setting up a wedding is so much fun but is physically demanding, and in the height of summer it can be hot work. Keeping hydrated is so important, as is eating well throughout the day. It seems obvious, but so many times our team accidentally left drinks at home in the morning rush to our storage unit. When you’re on site in a rural location, popping out for drinks and snacks can waste a lot of valuable time and add extra pressure on a day when you need minimal unnecessary stress.
4. Keep covered
Hopefully it'll be nice and sunny when you are setting up, so remember to stay as covered as possible. Wear a cap to keep the sun off your head, the last thing you want is sunstroke in the lead up to your wedding. And as Baz Luhrman said, always wear sun screen; it is your friend! The lobster-look just ain’t classy! It’s not worth the risk.
5. Bugs bite!
If you are setting up anywhere near open water or in a heavily tree-covered area then bug spray is a must. As I write this I remember one particular set up in which I was so severely bitten both my calves swelled up and I had to have two days off work laid out on the sofa trying to keep the swelling down. Honestly, don't let this be you because it hurts and will ruin your day. Even if you don't usually get bitten, wear bug spray! I am one of those lucky people who is rarely bitten, but I was covered like a walking, swollen, miserable dot-to-dot.
6. Adaptability & Flexibility
It sounds like something you read in a job spec, but really, in wedding-planning these attributes are crucial if you want to actually enjoy the process. You probably have a vision, and passion and have spent months or even years dreaming it up. But just keep in mind that not everything will be possible, and be open to ideas. Sometimes where you envisage your marquee, bell tent village or decorations going will just not be possible. Ask the experts to support you in coming up with a plan. That's what we are here for. Remember that ground conditions change depending on how the weather has been. We’ve had situations where rain caused unexpected boggy ground and the whole site layout had to be altered. If you are willing to accept that this could happen and don’t set your heart on one specific plan, then it need not be upsetting if it does. Just stay open to whatever the outdoors brings, keep open communication with your suppliers, love the countryside for what it is, and you’ll still have a great time whatever the weather.
Make sure you have enough time to do everything you want to do. Write a list (as a natural list-writer, they seriously help in almost every situation. Day off, write a list. Holiday, write a list. Christmas shopping, write a list) of every element of your day. From table settings to decorations, these all take time. You don't want a rushed day, so get as much preparation done before you can get onto the site. Working out what time you can be onsite every day is also important. If you can get on at 9am, then be there for 9am. This gives you as much breathing room as possible should something take longer than you have planned.
8. Make sure guests are well-prepared
Glamping is awesome - we love our bell tents so much that in the summer we'd rather be in one than at home! Much more comfortable than a real tent, and just an all-round good-for-the-soul experience. But if your guests aren't used to camping and don't come well-prepared, they might not have as much fun as they could have had. A few important tips include: making sure they bring an extra duvet or blanket to sleep on top of as well as one to sleep under (air in an airbed gets cold at night and can make your whole body cold), bring warm clothing and waterproof shoes, and if noise or light is an issue, bring earplugs and an eye mask - the sun comes up and the birds start singing at 4 or 5am in the summer! Even in August, it can get as chilly as 4-5 degrees at 4am - being prepared for this possibility means you will be comfy and cosy, but failing to prepare could leave you shivering in the small hours. We will provide you with a lovely advice sheet to send out to your guests prior to your event to help them ensure they are well-prepared for UK Glamping!
Do you have any ideas? Anything that should be on the list? Feel free to comment, because anything you think of will help out others and save them from the dreaded pre-wedding stress.
By Josie Robinson, Assistant Manager 2018, and Kate Oxtoby, Blossom & Blush Owner
Whether your dream is vintage, rustic, festival or chic, an outdoor wedding offers wonderful opportunities to get really creative and wow your guests with stunning little touches that will have them talking about your wedding for years.
Here, we've created a series of eye-catching mood boards by pulling together some of our favourite photos of inspirational ideas for a gorgeous outdoor wedding...
Festoon lighting, chandeliers hanging from trees, candles and fairy light curtains are all straightforward and easy to get hold of but when used creatively they create breath-catching displays of warm light.
For a festival feel with a touch of glamour, opt for a tipi from Yorkshire-based Boutipi. Their tipis can be hired in a range of sizes to suit most price ranges, and they also offer some gorgeous added extras. A tipi wedding is perfectly complimented by a bell tent village - see here for details about our wedding village and campfire packages.
The devil is in the detail! Gorgeous little touches such as clever photo displays, table plans and lawn games don't have to cost a fortune but can add fun and flair to a day that is all of your own creation. Lanterns made of jam jars dyed in different colours and hanging in the trees can be made very cheaply but will create a magical, whimsical woodland feel.
At Blossom & Blush Bell Tents, as well as offering gorgeously decorated bell tent villages of up to 23 bell tents as glamorous guest accommodation, we also offer a range of added extras, and our selection is growing all the time! From haystack seating areas to super-size lawn games and fire pits, we can provide finishing touches to make your party sparkle!
We are already taking bookings for 2018, but do still have limited availability for 2017. Get in touch now to discuss options and prices.
We're always on the look out for quirky new ideas and suggestions for creating stunning outdoor events. If you're inspired by our style and taste, follow us on Facebook to keep up with our regular blogs and special offers!
Kings of Leon, Stormzy and Little Mix will be among the artists entertaining festival-goers at Burton Constable Hall on 26 and 27 May 2017.
The venue was selected for its proximity to the City of Culture and it’s stunning rural location just outside the city, a fantastic place for young people to experience a festival.
The US rockers said it was "going to be a great show, can't wait".
Little Mix tweeted: "YAAAAS!!!! We're headlining the #R1BigWeekend in Hull on 28th May. Bring it on! We seriously cannot wait @BBCR1 😝 the girls x"
All 50,000 tickets for the event are free with a large proportion due to be prioritised for Hull postcodes, making it an exciting addition to the 2017 City of Culture festivities for local people.
It is a fantastic scoop for Hull to host Europe’s biggest free ticketed festival, for which previous hosts have included Norwich, Hackney and Exeter.
The full line-up for Big Weekend 2017 will be revealed in the coming weeks, as will details of how to get tickets.
"Listen to Radio 1, and search on your phone, to find out how you could join the young people of Hull enjoying the biggest pop stars, playing the best new music, from the UK and around the world," said Radio 1 Controller, Ben Cooper.
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Outdoor weddings can be unusual, wonderful, fun and romantic experiences for all your guests, so if you're contemplating going for one, congratulations! However, there are some extra points to consider to ensure your day is pleasant and comfortable for everyone. Here, we've highlighted some of our top tips for ensuring there are no hitches when you get hitched...
1. Pick the perfect photographer Not all wedding photographers specialise in outdoor weddings. If you have gone for a rustic theme, or a festival style, you may be hoping for some particularly stylised photos. Ensure you pick a photographer who can provide you with a portfolio of pictures that match the style you are hoping for, and communicate clearly with them about what you'd like from your wedding photos.
2. Make the sun your friend Think about the time of your ceremony and wedding breakfast, as well as your photos, and consider what the sun might be doing at these times. Ensure your guests are not squinting into the sun to watch your ceremony; it may be worth timing it later in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat. The lighting can be especially fabulous for photos as the sun is starting to go down - talk to your photographer about this.
3. Have a Rain Plan. Consider what you will do if it does rain on your big day. Most wedding venues, especially in the UK, have a back up plan in case it rains, or perhaps you've arranged for a marquee. If you've decided to have your ceremony outside and wedding breakfast inside, you should be able to move furniture around before the ceremony in order to accommodate it indoors if needed. Make sure that any marquees or tents you hire are sturdy and can withstand wind and rain.
4. Assume it will be windy. Even on a beautiful day, wind can be an issue, particularly if you've picked a location with a view meaning that it's on a hillside or clifftop. Consider this when choosing dress fabrics for the bridesmaids dresses and for the wedding dress - you don't want your bridesmaids 'doing a Marilyn'! Also make sure your hairstylist knows your wedding will be outdoors so that they can plan styles that won't be dislodged by the wind. Make sure any decorations and equipment that you bring to your venue or hire can withstand the wind and won't present a danger to your guests.
5. Ensure your guests are as comfortable as can be. Prepare for different weather eventualities. If it turns out to be hot and sunny, will your guests have plenty of shade? Consider purchasing some light-coloured umbrellas that can double up as shelter come rain or shine. You might also consider prodiving some little fans in case it is especially hot during your ceremony. Uncomfortably melting can be worse than being cold, and for some guests it could even be dangerous. Ensure there is shade and water on hand and don't leave them sitting in direct sunlight for longer than a few minutes without any option for shade. Make sure there is plenty of sunscreen on hand too - remember that sunburn + alcohol can be a disasterous combination! If it's looking like it could be a chilly, windy or wet day, try to contact your guests in the run up to your wedding and ask them to make sure they have extra layers. Consider also purchasing a few blankets that can be handed out for older guests if they do get chilly. Portable plug in fan heaters can make all the difference, so consider renting these.
6. Make it Sparkle Outdoor weddings can be stunning if you've picked a gorgeous location, but it's always worth ensuring everything is up to scratch at your chosen venue, and adding a few little details... visit the site in the run up to your wedding and make sure the grass is in good condition, flowers and trees are looking great, and think about any little extras you could introduce to really add an extra sparkle. Potted plants and flowers can add a bit of extra colour if your location is lacking in flowers, and consider how the whole area will look after dark. Fairy lights, lanterns, candles, and festoon lighting can make all the difference and turn a dark field into a magical wonderland - but remember to think about a power source for these items.
7. Make sure everyone can hear the ceremony. Outdoor weddings can present challenges where sound is concerned - wind, waves, rustling trees, singing birds, crying babies, and jingling decorations can all drown out the sound of the bride and groom making their vows. Remember that everybody present will really want to engage with this part of your day, so consider investing in a soundsystem that includes clip microphones, and make sure they work and you are comfortable with their use before your guests arrive.
8. Banish bugs Citronella candles make a big difference to the number of insects that might be bugging your guests - invest in plenty of little ones and place them stretgically around your venue, bearing in mind that drunk people and flames don't go brilliantly together.
9. Get the creative juices flowing Make sure your guests don't become dehydrated - remember that not everyone can handle alcohol in the sunshine. Offer fun alcohol-free drinks such as virgin cocktails, punch and fresh lemonade, and don't forget the water! For those who do enjoy an alcoholic drink, cosider some fun summer cocktails that are suited to daytime drinking: pimms & lemonade, mojitos, and prosecco & cassis are all-time summer favourites.
10. Keep catering in mind Ask your caterer about their experience in outdoor catering - how will they keep food at the appropriate temperature? Anything that needs to be kept in a fridge usually is unlikely to keep well in the heat, and meat or fish need to be eaten immediately if it's a warm day. Consider whether the meal you plan to serve is something that will fit in well with a hot day. A roast dinner might not be quite what people fancy if the temperature is soaring above 28 degrees. But also make sure the meal is sufficient for the level of alcohol you expect guests to consume! No one wants their guests to be asleep by 6pm at their wedding!
One of the best things about glamping is the opportunity to enjoy the moments of peace and tranquility encountered in the outdoors that you just wouldn't experience if you were at home or in a B&B.
We are always particularly stunned by the lilac-blue twilight that follows a stunning sunset. It never ceases to amaze us that this special time of the evening happens every single day, and yet we only truly notice its beauty when we are out in the open on a camping trip, quietly watching the day come to a close with a glass of wine. What bliss we miss when sitting on our sofa at home!
Here, we provide a round up of five of our favourite experiences of sunset in the UK. The photos here are all our own, taken during camping trips to these fantastic spots. So pack up one of our gorgeous self-hire glamping tents, and take yourself and your loved ones off for a few days of luxurious tranquility...paradise is on your doorstep.
1. Waterside Farm Campsite, Ullswater, Lake District
This is one of our favourite spots in the Lake District, and with good reason. The campsite itself is lovely, with great facilities and a fantastic location, just South of the pretty village of Pooley Bridge on the North Eastern corner of Ullswater.
The scenery around Ullswater is stunning, and a twilight drive around the lake with occasional stops at the little shingle beaches by the roadside will enable you to take in its full drama in the purple half-light.
But, if you're lucky enough, make sure you spare an evening after a sunny day to simply sit on the little beach just beyond the Northern side of the campsite. In this spot, you are facing West, and the sun sets just behind the lower hills across the lake. With a scattering of little white boats, and the occasional duck gliding gently through the twilight waters, this moment will fill you with a sense of absolute serenity before the sun sets, giving way to a sky full of stars. Retire to your cosy bell tent with candles, hot chocolate and a satisfied soul.
2. Lochinver & Elphin, North West Highlands, Scotland
The North West Highlands offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK; stunning beaches, epic mountains, and gorgeous little fishing villages. Elphin is a small village in a valley nestled in amongst some of the most spectacular mountains in the area, and the small coastal town of Lochinver is not far away, with great sea food and fantastic beaches.
In terms of mountains, Suilven offers a spectacular day with almost 4hrs walking to reach the base of the mountain, and another 4 hours out, but once you reach the base of the mountain, the climb up to the ridge is steep but quick, and upon reaching the top, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view out to sea and across the highlands. For those looking for a more technical challenge, the ridge of Suilven is thrilling!
Another favourite in this region is the fantastic An Teallach which truly offers something for everyone - the scenery is incredible, the scrambling options range from grades 1 to 3 and all scrambling sections can be avoided by taking one of the small paths around the sides. Please be aware though, mountaineering requires skills and equipment and should never be tackled without sufficient knowledge and experience. If you don't have this but want to get out on the hills, consider hiring a guide.
After enjoying your epic mountain day it's worth remembering that the best part of it is yet to come, and in the North West Highlands, the sunset is something to savour. From Elphin, the sun can be seen setting just over a loch and behind Suilven. There are no campsites in Elphin, just a couple of B&Bs and a tea room, but Lochinver offers the fabulous Clachtoll Beach Campsite close to the fabulous beach of Achmelvich, and some fabulous spots to enjoy the sunset. The best time to visit is in May when the weather has started to warm up but the midges are not yet in full season. Take walking gear, a wetsuit, and a bell tent for maximum enjoyment in this, the biggest adventure playground in the UK!
3. Cayton Bay, Near Scarborough, East Yorkshire
Yorkshire offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and this one is our favourite. Tucked away between the tourist hot spots of Filey and Scarborough, Cayton Bay is a much quieter, more calm, and unspoilt little bay that is very popular with surfers. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, and because it is less well known than other local beaches, it is very rarely packed, even on the hottest summer days.
There is a small car park at the top of the hill, not far off the main road between Scarborough and Filey, and a little surf hire shop. From there, it's a five minute walk down a steep footpath to the bay. And what a bay it is. Sandy, clean, unspoilt. The water is cold, freezing in fact - it is the North Sea, but as North Sea beaches go, this one is stunning. There is a delightful walk through the woods that can be done on the cliff tops, and later in the day, it is well worth sticking around for sunset. This beach is on the East Coast so the sun sets behind you, but as the sun goes down over the land, it casts beautiful hues of pink, lilac and yellow across the horizon making this one of our favourite places to be at dusk.
The nearest campsites in Cayton Bay are large and commercial caravan sites; fine if you like that kind of campsite, but if you prefer something a little more intimate and quirky, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better campsite locally than Humble Bee Farm. Humble Bee offer their own lovely glamping tents and pods, which are a great option if you don't want the hassle of setting up and taking down yourself.
4. Henry's Campsite, The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall
We arrived here by mistake after making the fastest escape possible from a family campsite complete with club house, play park, caravans and swimming pool - not to our tastes at all. Desperate for something a bit more peaceful and characterful, we stumbled upon Henry's Campsite in a last minute online search by the side of the road, and what a find it was!
Henry's offers private pitches each surrounded by beautiful tropical plants. The site is a quiet, tranquil little community but has a very cute little bar and cafe, a shop and games room. The open-air pot wash area gives you that lovely feeling of communal living, and the shower and toilet facilities are clean and smart. The site is covered with quirky little signs and paintings reminiscent of boho boutique music festivals, chickens roam giving a wonderful sense of being on a farm, even though you are right in the middle of a village, and it is conveniently located a five minute drive away from one of the most delightful beaches in Cornwall - Kynance Cove, a gorgeous little spot well worth exploring if you are in the area, although beware of tides when swimming here.
The best thing about Henry's Campsite, though, is the sunset. Whilst it is sheltered and not a cliff-top spot, it is somehow perched in just the most perfect position to catch a panoramic sunset, rivalling any we have seen in the Mediterranean and Carribean! This site is best visited in September, when the weather is still gorgeous but the crowds have returned home to get the kids back to school.
5. Celtic Camping & Bunkhouse, Pwll Caerog Farm, Berea, St David’s, Pembrokeshire
This is a fabulous campsite composed of wide open fields perched high on the cliffs of the Pembrokeshire coast. Being West-facing, the evening views are simple, uninterrupted vistas of the sun setting over the sea. It's a wonderfully spacious campsite that is ideally placed for exploring the gorgeous Pembrokeshire coast and the popular towns of Tenby and St David's, both a drive away, As we discovered though, this site is best experienced in a bell tent.
We took our normal tent on this trip, alongside friends who had a bell tent. As this is a cliff-top site on the Atlantic coast, it has no shelter and can get quite windy at times. They were cosy and warm in their beautiful bell tent, whilst we didn't manage a wink of sleep as the wind rattled the sides of our flimsy blue tent, at one point lifting it half off the ground. This was when we decided to purchase our first bell tent, and we have never looked back! Cliff tops sites offer some of the most fantastic camping experiences and views in the UK, but we would always recommend when opting for a cliff top site that you do so in a bell tent or camper van, otherwise the experience can be somewhat tainted by the wind!