Friday, 22 October 2010

How not to invite children to a wedding

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Monday, 6 September 2010

When to send out the invitations

Many brides often ask when is the correct time to send out your invitations and when to set the RSVP date.

Traditionally the dates are as follows...
  • Save the Date - 1 year before
  • Formal Invitation - 8 weeks before
  • RSVP date - 3 weeks prior
These dates should, however, be used as a guide as appose to being absolute and set in stone.  You need to sit down and work out what is important for you and your venue.

My recommendations are more like..
  • Save the Date - As tradition, 1 year before
  • Formal Invitation - 10 weeks before (12 weeks if it's a very short engagement).  This allows people time to plan and request holiday's if necessary
  • RSVP date - 6 weeks before.  This allows the guest a few weeks to get organised and  you to accurately budget the meal and comfortably order favours and place cards for the correct number of people which in this economy is essential.  It also allows you plenty of time to chase the inevitable non-responses that we all dread.
Happy planning and remember, if you need any more advice please contact me.


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Fruit Cake or Sponge Cake?

So many brides these day's are opting for cake creations sculpted from sponge and decorated in all sorts of shapes and sizes from chocolate towers to cupcakes and even cheeseboards.

Putting the more adventurous creations aside, the happy couple are often left with the basic choice of what the tiers of cake should consist of Sponge (various flavours) or Fruit.  The initial choice and reaction by most couples is full sponge stating "I really don't like sponge", however, you are not eating the whole cake by yourself so my suggestion would be to carefully consider the type of guest you are inviting.

I attended two weddings last month both with a similar mix of guest from early 20's to elderly relatives.  1 wedding opted for a 1 tier fruit and 2 tiers sponge (Wedding A) and the other 3 tiers sponge (Wedding B).  At both the wedding the cakes were delicious, however, I did spot 1 glaring difference.  There was loads of sponge left at the end of Wedding B, but hardly any cake left at Wedding A!

Being the sad individual I am (and the fact I was the sober driver!!) I asked a several of people did they enjoy the cake?  and the general consensus from the elder generation of Wedding B was they would like to have seen a fruit cake as they don't get it very often nowadays and it's a real treat so maybe that's could have been why they had to put so much in the bin.

Also it is worth bearing in mind that Fruit Cake keeps much longer than sponge so you could potentially get the bridal party to dish out the left overs for some special guests to take home.

I appreciate that this is only a small section of market research but I worry we are forgetting what's important at our weddings is not only to organise an event to be proud of but to treat those who are nearest and dearest to us.

For more information on cakes or to discuss alternatives please look at my website or send me an e-mail

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

Cake Trends for 2010

Cake Trends 2010

Gone are the days of heavy fruit cakes for Weddings or Christmas and the iconic Gateux for your special birthday.  You are far more likely to see a giant stack of Cupcakes, an asymetric stack of vibrant coloured cakes, a sculpture of a object or a creation from chocolate taking the centrepiece at your wedding or party.

The evolution in the cake market has bucked the trend of the recession and I think is largely due to the consumers desire for uniquness.  No longer are we content with the small birthday party in the back garden or the family meal, we expect entertainment, limo's, chocolate fountains, party bags and a show stopping cake to set off any great party.

Choice is limitless when it comes to style, size and colour of your cake and while we were more constrained with the royal icings and the soft buttercream toppings this can no longer be said with the fashion of using fondants and flavourings.  Like modelling clay, fondant can be coloured, cut and manipulated into countless colours and textures to create jaw
dropping results.
I have been cake decorating professionally for only a short time (view my achievements so far), however, I have created numerous others for friends and family over the years . 

Already for the rest of this year I have comissioned....
  • Bunny Rabbit cake inspired by a child's favourite teddy.
  • 3 tier Wedding Cake with intricate monocrome decoration   
  • Comedy Wedding Cake
  • Dracula's Tomb for a halloween party
  • Naughty Santa cake
Remember anyting is possible as long as you have imagination....

'i-craft is fully vetted by the Environmental Health and is in possession of all relevant certificates and training including a diploma in Advanced Food Hygiene'

If you would like more information on this topic or would like to enquire about a cake please contact Irene via

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Planning your Wedding

All weddings start out with the same principle and message: 2 people joining lives together and inviting friends and family to celebrate the occasion.

So why then do budgets often spiral out of control and cause stress and anxiety?

Here are my top 7 rules of how to manage and maintain a budget.

1.  BUDGET: Set your budget on day one of planning and factor in a 10% contingency plan.  A simple spreadsheet can be constructed to help keep track of things.  The main elements of your budget will be taken up by the following:
  • Wedding Venue
  • Dresses and Kilt Hire
  • Car Hire
  • Stationery and Favours
  • Florist
  • Wedding Band and Photographer
  • Cake
2.  COMPROMISE: Could you tell the difference between an expensive wedding or a well presented illusion?  My guess is NO.  Once you have decided on you budget and set up your tracker, I would suggest adding in all of your ideals it will then be crystal clear how much under or over you are.  At this point, you will more likely be over and there will need to be some tough decisions made
  • WEDDING VENUE: Downsize the full day guests or negotiate with your venue on menus, price and drinks.
  • DRESS and KILT HIRE: Is there a cheaper dress out there, or could you get someone to make something similar at a cheaper price? Does your Groom / Best Man / Ushers have their own kilts? You could have all different tartans and link them through the shirts etc. i-craft recommends Luck and Booth
  • CAR HIRE: Do you really need a car especially if you are having your ceremony and reception in the same venue.  Yes it's nice and traditional but question your value for money.
  • STATIONERY and FAVOURS: These can easily be tailored to your budget.  Set your colour scheme and ask for quotes with varying papers.  Any good stationery should be able to 'think out the box' and provide you with solutions varying in price.  The same applies to Favours. i-craft recommends i-craft
  • FLORIST: Be honest with your Florist about your budget, like the stationers they may be able to suggest a cheaper flower that will create the same effect.  Also, consider artificial flower arrangements for the tables that can be gifted to some of your guests, you could even add a little tag saying 'For Aunt Nancy, for making my bridesmaids dresses x' i-craft recommends Artemis Flowers
  • WEDDING BANDS and PHOTOGRAPHER: shop about a well established band or photographer does have the reputation, however, there will be others out there trying to establish a name who are willing to give a discount. i-craft recommends Dougie Thomson
  • CAKE:  Again the same applies for the cake supplier.  Some smaller companies will keep their price lower in order to gain the reputation and portfolio. i-craft recommends i-craft
3.  TIMINGS:  Two elements to consider here. Before the day and on the day.  Before the day ensure you give yourself time to shop around, however, don't get bogged down and spend weeks on insignificant details.  Use the same principles as in business, set yourself a deadline and stick to it!  On the day, entrust someone with the job of ensuring your wedding runs to schedule, this may be a member of the bridal party or you may choose to use the services of a wedding planner.  This person should ensure the photographer doesn't take to long, the meal is served on time and the first dance and buffet are served at the right time.
i-craft recommends: Plans and Presents

4. CO-ORDINATION: Having a theme and colour scheme is free of charge, use it to your advantage as a well thought out wedding can look stunning. This can be incorporated through the dresses, flowers, stationery, cake, groom's outfit, napkins on the table, and favours.

5.  COMMUNICATION:  Often frustration occurs when people start 'assuming' what is happening.    Most people are excited for the happy couple and just want to help in what ever way possible so when asking for advice remember that many people take this as a green light for continuing to advise.  Be assertive and include both sides of the family where possible but don't let people push you about. 

6.  SEATING PLAN:  Take your time to decide on who sits where.  Before I started designing stationery I worked as a Master of Ceremony within a hotel and the best weddings were always the ones where the tables got on well with each other.  It can be a difficult thing to achieve as family's all have the loud one, or the slightly embarrassing one, but in general you can set members of the opposite families at the same table to allow them to 'network' and get to know one another.  This lets people break the ice during the meal and get down to some serious partying once the music starts.

7.  BEWARE OF DIY:  If you have a crafty or artistic side then I would definitely encourage you to venture down the DIY route which will ultimately save you money, however, don't under estimate the time it takes to source and make your own items.  One of the other pitfalls is assuming that something is really easy and although I am a big fan of e-bay and web sourced items, if you have specific ideas it is often better to obtain samples first as they can sometimes not live up to your expectation.  You could also spend an awful lot of time and money discovering that it is really hard to make your own soap, candles, tablet etc and once its packaged it looks like something a 6 year old would be ashamed of!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Cakes & Goodies

I'll keep my blog short and 'sweet' this week as I am wrapping things up in preparation for holiday's.

I-Craft has many different sides and over the last few years due to demand and special commissions I have launched my Cakes & Homebaking range.

Here is a sneak peak at what I can produce.

Handcrafted Novelty Cakes

Sculpted sponge cakes in various designs, shapes and sizes.


Handcrafted Cupcakes (Alcoholic or Non) made with natural ingredients and packed with flavour. 

Other items available include: Shortbread, Tablet, Gingerbread, Fruit Loaf, Cookies, Lollipops and many many more.

Available for stalls and fayres, great way to boost fundraising.

contact for all enquiries

'I-Craft is fully vetted by the Environmental Health and is in possession of all relevant certificates and training including a diploma in Advanced Food Hygiene'

Special Offer

FREE box of cupcakes for anyone who successfully recommends a venue for a homebaking stall. Terms & Conditions

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Black and Pink Inspiration

Inspired by one of my clients wedding I have put together a montage of all things monocrome and pink.

All items supplied or crafted by i-craft -

Wedding Cakes

Sumptious towering cakes are back in fashion. This one is made from 6 tiers of decadent sponge and topped with feathers and handcrafted sugared roses.


Vintage, Decadance or Floral Inspiration will give you initial sneak peak on what's to come.

It is becoming harder to come up with original keepsakes to gift as favours.  Why not consider giving bottle openers as this will be used for many years to come and your wedding memories will stay alive.

Mini Cupcake Canapes

 On arrival at your wedding why not present your guests with mini cupcakes canapes flavoured with strawberries and dark chocolate to co-ordinate your theme?

Purcahse paper napkins in pink and black and ask your venue to fold them into the traditional white linen fan napkin.