7 Top Tips for a Tip Top Wedding


wedding styling at Bridwell Park
Styling for a Tip Top Wedding


Weddings are wonderful – or at least they can be!  They tend to be a bit like buses – nothing for ages and then suddenly they all come along at once.  One of your friends gets married and then everyone seems to follow suit and they come in many varieties.  There are boho weddings, retro, boho retro, vintage, steampunk, traditional, country, city, industrial (!), destination, rustic and festival weddings.  There are weddings in country houses, city hotels, in museums, in barns, on beaches, in far-flung corners of the globe, in tipis, in domes, in marquees with guests camping, glamping, staying at the venue, staying nearby or maybe even going home…  But they all need one fundamental thing and that is careful planning.

  1. Ceremony – Don’t plan your ceremony too early in the day.  Remember that guests may need to travel to get there unless they are staying on site.  If you organise your ceremony for 12 or 1pm people will be hungry and drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea.  Canapes are expensive and will literally eat up your food budget if you aren’t careful.  If you organise the ceremony for 3pm, your guests will have eaten lunch and won’t be frantically hungry after the ceremony and will be happy to wait for the wedding breakfast without demolishing too many canapes!
  2. Get your numbers right – Decide on what sort of wedding party you want and invite accordingly. If you want a lively reception with lots of people dancing then make sure you invite the right numbers for the venue.  A room that is half full and a few people jigging around on the dance floor can look a little depressing!  A crowded dance floor encourages more people to get up and join in.  However, if you want something more intimate and a little quieter then invite accordingly.
  3. Entertainment – You can set the whole tone of your wedding reception by what sort of band / dj you choose – accoustic, folk, ceilidh, big band, disco.  And make sure you meet your dj and like his style before you opt for ‘Vinyl Richie’ or ‘Osama Spin Laden’.. it might just be better to go for Jake or Sam!
  4. Food – your chosen caterer is the key to your success.  Well fed guests are happy guests and they will remember your wedding for the fantastic food you provided.  I would advise to take advice from your chosen venue regarding caterers. They will recommend catering companies that have been on a regular basis and are tried and trusted.  They are recommended for a reason.  Go and have a tasting or two.. that’s part of the fun of choosing your wedding caterer!
  5. Budget – If you aren’t careful, your budget will run away with you.  The wedding industry is huge and you will be tempted by all sorts of ideas that you had not entertained to start with.  Have you thought about having a midweek wedding?  Or an offpeak wedding?  You can save yourself a packet by choosing a date that is not a peak season weekend.  There are also many ways to save on your budget which we will cover in another Bridwell blogpost. Decide early in the planning who is paying for what – it saves heartache later on.
  6. Planning – this is crucial to a successful wedding.  Write lists, checklists, go and meet your suppliers, get key suppliers in place early in the planning process and then you can relax.  Booking your venue is the most important initial step in the planning process, closely followed by caterers, photographer, band/dj and florist.  You can then relax and enjoy the process of looking for the all important wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses and all the little extras.  Work closely with your venue and keep your checklists up to date and you’ll be fine!
  7. Photographer – a good photographer is crucial and can really make the day.  Take time choosing the right one for you – go and meet them.  A lot of time on the day is spent with your photographer so make sure you like the way they work and their style of photography.  It is best not to fall into the trap of getting a friend of Uncle Rob’s to do it although, in the days of digital photography, this is not such a risk.  I remember a wedding where a friend of the bride’s was responsible for the photography and when she opened her camera, she realised she had forgotten to load the film!

So 7 Top Tips for a Tip Top Wedding – the tip of the iceberg but something to start thinking about as you begin to plan your dream wedding day.  I hope you have found this blogpost helpful and please feel free to share with friends and relatives wherever appropriate.

Weddings at Bridwell, Devon



Wedding styling by Blue Fizz Events

Bridwell Orangery - wedding venue
Top Tips for a Successful Wedding




From Oz to Uffculme – A Wedding from Down Under

Bridwell, Orangery Wedding
Franky and Rich at Bridwell, Devon


As soon as we drove through the main gates and saw beautiful Bridwell House, we knew that we were going to have an unforgettable weekend.  Ivar and the Bridwell Events team made us feel so welcome before they handed over the keys and it truly felt like Bridwell was going to be our ‘home’ for the weekend.

We are so glad that we hired Bridwell Park for the long weekend as it meant that we could make the most of the house with a few of our closest friends before the main wedding celebrations started… watching Robin Hood Prince of Thieves in the cinema room on Thursday night was a particular highlight.

Once all the decorating was finished and looking exactly how we had dreamt it, all the deliveries completed and we had figured out where to put the copious amounts of booze and mixers (thank goodness for the large fridges in the Orangery!), it was time to relax and welcome our guests. There was something very special about seeing our guests in awe as they arrived and walked through the house… this is why we had chosen Bridwell! Having Friday night drinks in the conservatory was the perfect start to our wedding weekend. It brought everyone together and enabled new friendships to blossom. The house has such a special vibe, which was echoed in how much all of our guests were enjoying themselves simply by being in such an extraordinary place… and this was just the beginning!

The 6 am girls-only yoga class on the morning of our wedding was such a fun idea, and despite wishing we hadn’t enjoyed ourselves quite as much the night before, it will be something that I will remember with such fondness. Yoga, followed by a beautifully cooked English Breakfast by a local Devonshire chef, followed by a lovely long soak in a bath tub in one of the most gorgeous bathrooms I have ever seen, helped calm any last minute nerves… I was so calm in fact that I was ready nearly an hour before the church ceremony, an early Bride, unheard of!

As a surprise, we had hired local vintage double decker buses to collect all our guests from the house and local accommodation to take them down to the church in the village, and what a beautiful sight that was seeing the buses outside the house. Once all the official duties were done it was back to the house and, despite the inevitable downpour that occurred just as the guests stepped off the buses into the house, there was a warm welcome awaiting them in the conservatory, in the form of cocktails and a local guitarist. Having so many rooms available downstairs for guests to mingle was a lifesaver when the heavens opened. Thankfully the shower was short, so it didn’t have too much of an impact on the rest of our day. When the Master of Ceremonies (my brother) announced it was time to move into the Orangery for the wedding breakfast I wish that we’d been in there to see our guests’ faces when they saw how stunning the Orangery looked, and to get their reactions to our wedding favours… are we the only ones who get super excited about Percy Pigs!?  As soon as we sat down the sun streamed through the conservatory windows behind the top table, and although the back-lighting was our photographer’s nightmare, it looked beautiful! The Wedding Breakfast went by far too fast in a blur of exquisite food (I would have the chocolate brownie everyday if I could), and hilarious speeches – who knew my dad or the best man could be so funny!

Having the large garden outside the conservatory was the perfect spot for the hay-bale sofas and fire pits for our guests to huddle around as they waited for the band to set up. While Rich and I anxiously waited for the moment of truth to see whether we had remembered our wedding dance, our guests were happily throwing bean bags onto wooden boards with caricature pictures of Rich and I, and creating their own cocktails at our cocktail station.  Time was up and it was time for Rich and I to perform the dance that we had learnt and been practicing over the last 6 months, but as I forewarned our guests, we had not practiced with me wearing my dress, which had a very long impractical train, or with the live band who decided to play the Beatles track a lot quicker than we had been used to! Despite all this and nearly hitting my head on the antler light shade, we made it through the full 3 minutes! The band were fantastic and on numerous occasions, it felt like nearly all of our guests were up dancing – even my 90-year-old great Auntie was up dancing for most of the evening! I think that most people could have happily danced all night long, and at Bridwell we really could have done!

Bridwell Orangery Wedding
The First Dance in the Bridwell Orangery

Sadly the continuous rain on Sunday put a slight dampener on our BBQ lunch, but it didn’t put off our guests who wanted to have one final excuse to be in the house. Again we were so thankful that there were so many rooms for the guests to spread out in to escape the classic British rain!

We can honestly say that our wedding was one of the best days / weekends of our life, and we truly believe that Bridwell was a big part of what made it such a spectacular occasion. We have had nothing but glowing compliments from all our guests about how perfect everything was, and how extraordinary the house was as a wedding venue.

Thanks to Franky Templeman and Richard Linstead for this fabulous blog post


Bridwell Weddings, Devon
Lovely pic in front of the Main House, Bridwell Park, Devon

All photos courtesy of Kate Cowdrey Photography www.katecowdrey.com @katecowdreyphotography

Franky and Richard got married at Bridwell on Saturday 3rd June 2017.  They were an absolute delight to work with during the run-up to the wedding and the most beautiful couple.. both so tall!  In fact, the whole family were tall and good looking!  It was quite a feat organising the whole thing from the other side of the world, so incredibly well done to you all.

We are always thrilled to hear how much guests have enjoyed their time at Bridwell and thought a guest blog post from the occasional bride would be a fun and interesting addition to the Bridwell Blog.



Sugar-Free Retreats at Bridwell

sugar-free low-carb retreats at Bridwell, Devon
Sugar-Free Low-Carb at Bridwell, Devon

I have been an advocate of sugar-free for the last 3-4 years.  As a nutritionist, I see clients with a range of ill-health, including diabetes.  Reducing our consumption of carbohydrates, sugars and, most importantly, processed foods, dramatically improves our health.

We all need to be cutting our sugar consumption. In 2015, The World Health Organisation set new guidelines.  It recommended adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits, which roughly equates to 6 teaspoons per day.  Pour this into a glass and you can see it is quite a substantial amount, but shockingly, some low-fat yoghurt desserts can contain more than the maximum set per day.   Looking at the amount of sugar in our food, is it easy to see why we are on average consuming 30-40 teaspoons per day!

I am extremely fortunate to be working with Lord Mountbatten on a very exciting project.  Bridwell Sugar-Free Retreats offers 5* luxury, in the stunning grounds of Bridwell Park, combined with educational and practical cookery workshops to help those who wish to improve their health and weight.  We will be making a wide range of sugar-free and low-carb foods, including chocolates, cakes, desserts and snacks.  Who said sugar-free is restrictive?!

We are seeing the biggest rise in obesity and Type 2 diabetes we have ever seen, we are now at epidemic levels.  Between 50-70% of our society are obese or overweight.  We are now seeing children developing type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.  We have an abundance of food, including healthy and fresh food at our disposal, yet we are suffering from more disease, including cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s than ever before.

Our diet is full of processed, high sugar, high carbohydrate foods.  We are snacking more than ever before, which constantly stimulates in insulin response.  We need stop following the food manufacturers and start eating real food.

I love making this way of eating real for people.  My focus is on creating family favourite meals and snacks to satisfy not just our palate but also our mind and emotions.  The retreat will focus on making this way of eating a sustainable way of eating for the whole family.


Sarah Flower is a leading UK nutritionist and author of 16 books, including The Sugar Free Family Cookbook and The Low Carb Slow Cooker Cookbook.  She is currently writing ‘Eating to Beat Diabetes’.  To find out more about Sarah’s work, visit www.sarahflower.co.uk.  You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @MsSarahFlower and join her Facebook Page – EverydaySugarfree

sugar-free retreats at Bridwell
Sugar-free Berry Cheesecake




Bridwell Wedding Open Day – Saturday 5th August

Wedding Open Day at Bridwell
Wedding Open Day at Bridwell


Calling all brides to be and newly engaged couples out there… Are you looking for your dream venue?  Call us and make an appointment to come and view beautiful Bridwell on Saturday 5th August.  We would be delighted to sit down and chat through your wedding plans.  Bridwell has so much to offer and it really needs to be seen to be appreciated.  With a full season of weddings, this Saturday in August is the perfect opportunity to come and view at a weekend.

Let us help make your dream wedding a reality!

Drop our Events Team an email or give us a call on the number below to make sure you don’t miss out. Bridwell is located just off Junction 27 of the M5 in Uffculme, Devon not far from Exeter and Taunton.


01884 842430

Bridwell Park, Uffculme, Cullompton, Devon EX15 3BU