Cross Cultural Wedding Planning

If you are planning a cross cultural wedding & want to incorporate both of your cultures, read our tips on how to do it. Continue reading

Top 5 Wedding Venues for Cultural Food in the West Midlands

Here at the Alternative Wedding Group we strongly believe that all brides (and grooms) should get to eat the food that represents them on their big day. We do not believe in sacrificing cultural (or preferential) food choices for the sake of having a nice venue. Food is such an integral part of many cultures that compromising is just not an option.

With that being said, we want to highlight some of the best venues in the West Midlands that accommodate a variety of food choices.

Chesford Grange, Warwickshire  

Chesford-Grange-Strictly-Dance-Weekend

Chesford Grange is set in 17 acres of beautiful grounds and woodlands. The grand Kenilworth Suite can accommodate up to 400 guests for your evening reception and up to 600 for your ceremony. With full air-conditioning, a conservatory-style private reception area and foyer, it is perfect for mingling with your guests. Chesford Grange has partnered exclusively with Itihaas Weddings & Events based in Birmingham to provide authentic Asian cuisine.

Villa Park, Birmingham

Wedding Photography Birmingham

With facilities to host up to 604 guests, Villa Park is one of Birmingham’s top inclusive wedding venues able to cater for large weddings and celebrations. Your guests will be impressed by their state of the art design features, modern and spacious suites. They offer delicious Asian and Caribbean menus.

MacDonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham

Macdonald

With facilities to accommodate for up to 400 guests and boasting features such as glittering chandeliers, this venue will help to add to that unique sense of occasion on your big day. The venue is licensed to hold civil ceremonies and therefore you can have your ceremony and reception in one place. The wedding coordinators specialise in coordinating self-catered weddings and therefore is perfect for individuals wanting to bring it non-standard cuisine.

Ramada Park Hall, Staffordshire  *Star Pick*

ramada

This grade II listed Georgian hotel is one of the most elegant wedding venues in the West Midlands. The hotel is set in 5 acres of landscaped gardens, with distant views of the Staffordshire countryside beyond; a stunning backdrop to your wedding photos. They are also a licensed venue for outdoor weddings that take place in the beautiful garden pagoda. The venue can accommodate for up to 600 people. They have extensive Caribbean, Greek Cypriot and Asian menus making it truly inclusive.

Marriott Forest of Arden, Warwickshire

Marriott

This venue boasts manicured lawns and parkland with roaming deer, pheasants and rabbits. Licensed for civil marriage ceremonies and qualified for weddings of all types, including ethnic and military. The elegant outdoor marquee accommodates for up to 350 with the largest indoor space accommodating up to 250 people. This venue allows self-catering and also has a number of recommended Indian preferred Indian caterers.

If you know of any amazing self catering venues or venues that provide a range of cuisines please drop us a line at hello@thealternativeweddinggroup.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Complimentary Wedding Masterclass

COMPLIMENTARY OFFER! Wedding Masterclass Saturday 5th of December 2015. Planning your wedding? Overwhelmed with everything? Get help from the professionals! Let us advise you on how to plan your DREAM WEDDING at our one of a kind mini masterclass. From … Continue reading

Managing Difficult People When Planning Your Wedding

The Alternative Wedding Planner

As we constantly reiterate, wedding planning is mega stressful. Most people think that the planning part is the stressful bit when in fact it is often your friends and family that cause the most stress. Here are our top 7 stressful people you may encounter on the wedding process and how to deal with them.

  1. The random acquaintance that invites themselves

This person is generally someone you quite like but are not especially close to. You have never been to each other’s houses, you don’t even have her number in your phone. However, upon hearing that you’re getting married, she is overly excited and exclaims that she can’t wait to receive her invitation. As much as you genuinely wouldn’t mind having her at your wedding, you are only having close friends and family so she won’t be receiving an invitation. You would never have suspected that she would think she would be invited as you wouldn’t have thought you would be invited to her wedding. Sometimes people think they have a deeper relationship with you than you with them. Other times people just want an invite to a knees up so they can eat and drink on you.

What to do: Explain that due to being on a budget, only close friends and family will be invited and as much as you would love to share your special day with them, you simply cannot afford it.

  1. The mother/mother in law who wants to invite an unreasonable amount of people.

For many mothers/mother in laws the wedding of their child is another opportunity to relive their wedding or if sadly they never had one, to live vicariously through you. Not to mention a chance to rub their friends noses in it that their child has found love and getting married. As such they can become generally overbearing and annoying when inputting into the wedding. Most things can be ignored or tolerated but if they start making unreasonable demands on who you should be letting them invite it can become a major issue causing family conflict. Especially if they are inviting random people just to show off as opposed to because they genuinely want them there.

What to do: Calmly explain your desire to have an intimate wedding with just your nearest and dearest and that the neighbour from 15 years ago doesn’t really count. Provide her with a realistic number of individuals she can invite and let her pick who fills those seats. If she is adamant ask for a financial contribution towards the guests she would like to invite.

  1. The cousin who wants to bring her children

You don’t have any children (or you do but only like your own) and have subsequently decided that you would prefer a child free wedding. Children make lots of noise after all and won’t really value or appreciate the importance of the day. However, your cousin has four kids under the age of ten and everyone in your family who could baby sit will be at the wedding. Worst of all her children are known for being particularly unruly. She is insistent that if her kids cannot attend then neither can she.

What to do: This is a difficult one as it could lead to you potentially falling out with your family member. However, if you really do not want children you have to be firm but understanding. Offer to cover the cost of a babysitter service. Get in touch with other guests who have kids and get everyone to chip in for the cost of a babysitter service. If your cousin doesn’t want to use this option then you need to consider if having a few kids at your wedding is as detrimental as falling out with your cousin.

  1. The individuals who do not RSVP

Chasing RSVP’s is a tedious and frustrating process. You give guests ample time and ample methods to be able to RSVP yet there are still those who do not follow the clear instructions included in your invite. Typically individuals who have organised a wedding before will RSVP pretty quickly as they understand the process. However, others may just assume that you know that they must be coming because obviously you are a psychic and received their telepathic RSVP.

What to do: Put someone else in charge of chasing RSVP’s. A sister, an aunt, a friend anyone. Not only will it mean that your stress levels remain low, but receiving a stern phone call or email from a third party usually gets quicker responses.

  1. The bridesmaid adamant on bringing a plus one

It’s a few weeks before your wedding and one of your bridesmaids has started dating someone and has told you that she will need a plus one so he can come along. Problem is you do not know this person and more importantly neither does she. There are plenty of other people who you would prefer to attend but don’t have the space. However, your bridesmaid says she won’t come if she can’t bring her new boo.

What to do: This is a very upsetting situation primarily due to the selfishness of your bridesmaid. A real friend would not put you in this situation and as such you should definitely not give in to her blackmailing. If that means she is no longer a bridesmaid and you lose her as a friend then unfortunately that is her choice for putting you in an impossible situation. Stand your ground!

  1. The uncooperative groomsman

Before the wedding planning process started you and your fiancés friends got on like a house on fire. Yet, once the wedding planning process began, one friend in particular has become uncooperative. They don’t want to hire a suit, contribute to travel, book into the bridal party hotel, or pretty much do anything you have asked. Your fiancé isn’t really doing anything about it and is being a typical laid back man. However, it is infuriating you and messing with your arrangements.

What to do: Insist on your fiancé sorting it out. Calmly explain to him how upset his friends’ behaviour is making you and how important it is that he does the things you have asked. Let him know how much it is affecting your wedding planning experience. Mae sure you reiterate how much you like the friend and question if there is something deeper going on as you have always got on. Hopefully your fiancé will recognise the severity of the situation and do something about it. Make sure you do not spend the entire conversation bad mouthing his friend or you will come across as a crazy Bridezilla.

  1. The warring bridesmaids

Bringing a group of women together with only you as a common factor can be an automatic recipe for drama. If you have friends from different parts of your life, mixed with family members, there is no guarantee that they will get on. With differing personalities, lifestyles, strengths and weaknesses clashes are somewhat inevitable.  However, good bridesmaids will keep you out of it. If the drama becomes so major that you have to get involved it can create unnecessary stress that you simply do not need.

What to do: Your Chief or Maid of honour should really get all the bridesmaids in check. If she can’t or if she is part of the problem then ask your mum or an aunty to try and sort it out on your behalf. If you simply have to get involved take a calm approach. Explain to all involved how important it is that you remain stress free. Remind them of their roles and why they were chosen and how important it is that they get on for the sake of you having the day you dreamt of. Basically guilt trip them into behaving.

Happy Planning x

5 Minutes With The Alternative Wedding Group

Q: Who is the Alternative Wedding Group? AWG: The Alternative Wedding Group was founded by myself (Truchio Powell) and Daniella Genas-Ogunbanjo. We are a niche luxury wedding planning service specialising in coordinating show stopping alternative weddings for inter-racial, cross cultural, … Continue reading

Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake! How To Make a Statement with your Wedding Cake.

We LOVE cake. We especially LOVE wedding cake. You may not have given your choice of wedding cake much thought thus far but do not underestimate the importance of a wedding cake in creating a major statement on your big … Continue reading

Why Do I Need a Wedding Planner??

We often speak to engaged couples about their big plans for their luxury weddings. They mention how important it is to wow their guests and have a spectacular day, yet they sometimes seem reluctant to hire a wedding planner.
Continue reading

Help! My wedding is stressing me out!

Organising a wedding can be one of the most stressful things to happen in your life. Primarily because of the fact that people tend to go crazy at the mention of the word wedding. Previously sane, normal individuals can turn into difficult, hurtful, maniacs within minutes of an engagement ring being slipped onto your finger. Falling out with jealous bridesmaids, arguing with your tight fisted spouse about the spiralling budget, back handed comments from the in-laws about not being allowed to invite a second cousin twice removed are just a few of the stress inducing scenarios that many brides to be are faced with.

What is supposed to be the happiest day of your life can quickly turn into a weight around your neck if you succumb to the stresses and headaches of the planning process. If you feel like your wedding is starting to feel less like fun and more like major stress inducer try our top tips!

  1. Appoint a representative

People are usually the biggest cause of stress when planning a wedding. Constant questions, demands, opinions, requests, can all help to raise your blood pressure. Ask your maid of honour/chief bridesmaid/mother/mother-in-law to deal with difficult people. They care about you and your mental wellbeing and one, or all of them probably won’t mind helping alleviate some of your stress. As much as they are involved in the wedding, they are still a little bit more detached than you are. Dealing with difficult suppliers, demanding guests or an evasive venue manager probably won’t be as upsetting to them as it is to you. Ensure whoever you appoint is confident and able to stand their ground during difficult conversations.

  1. Turn off your phone

The majority of stress building communication will happen via your phone, so if you want to minimise stress, turn it off! Obviously you cannot keep your phone off forever, but if you start to get inundated with calls, texts, Watsapp messages regarding your big day, switch it off for a few hours.

The same applies to email. Put an auto-responder on directing people to your appointed representative. State that due to heightened levels of stress you will no longer be receiving email correspondence from friends and family in relation to your wedding. Obviously only do this if you have a designated wedding email address and not your work email. Also don’t forget to turn it off once you are back in action.

  1. Keep a journal

Writing about your experience of planning your wedding can be very therapeutic. You can moan and complain about all of the things that have gone wrong or all of the people that have annoyed you without any consequences. There are also lots of wedding and bridal forums that you can post to anonymously and moan with lots of other brides to be. You will be surprised by how many people go through the exact same experiences when getting married. Getting advice from other people in your situation may also help to calm you down.

  1. Exercise

Exercise has long been proven to be an excellent way to get natural stress reducing endorphins flowing through your blood stream. Do 30 minutes of exercise a day to keep those endorphins pumping in times of high stress. If you are already feeling highly stressed why not try a high impact body combat style fitness class. Kick boxing, boxing or any defence or martial arts type exercise class will provide a great release. Plus, you might even lose a few extra pre wedding pounds as well as tone up.

  1. Step away

Sometimes a great way of reducing wedding stress is to step away from it for a little while. Due to the excitement of the impending big day and a desire for everything to be perfect, it can be easy to get totally immersed in all things wedding. From the moment you wake up to the minute you go to sleep the wedding is probably on your mind. This does not help when you are feeling stressed and anxious. Plan a none wedding related day out with a few of your girlfriends, book a pamper day with your mum, go away for the weekend with your fiancé even if it is just to stay with friends in another city. The most important thing is whatever you choose to do, make sure that whoever you are with is informed in advance that wedding talk is banned. Having that day or two away from planning can provide your brain with some much needed time off as well giving you a renewed energy to get back to it.

If all else fails, Hire a wedding planner!

Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense, hiring a wedding planner to assist in the wedding planning process can alleviate a lot of stress. Not only will they take care of all of the suppliers for you, but they will have relationships with the suppliers which may garner you some great discounts. A little known fact is that wedding planners can also take charge of the invite list and chase RSVP’s which can be incredibly stressful. It is an additional expense but totally worth it for the peace of mind it gives you!