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Something old, something new

Something old and something new

It’s a Tradition

Something old and something new

All the occasions we celebrate are riven with traditions. Easter has the eggs and the bunny, Christmas has Father Christmas/ Santa Claus – and more besides – depending on the nation. And, of course, every family puts their own spin on these regular calendar markers. And weddings are no exception.

So here’s a quick tour round some of the classic wedding traditions from horseshoes, to chimney sweeps to the well-known rhyme featuring something old and something new and something borrowed and something blue.

Chimney sweeps

Back in the days when most of us had chimneys, to have a chimney sweep turn up at your wedding was seen as great good fortune. If he wished the couple good luck that was a very good omen indeed.

Remember Dick Van Dyke inn ‘Mary Poppins’?: ‘Good luck will rub off if you shakes hands with me’.

Chimney sweeps had, as Sooty the Sweep explains, this luck dispensing ability invested in them by King George II, when a sweep was the only one brave enough to stop his out-of-control carriage and save the king’s life. As a result the king issued a royal decree declaring chimney sweeps as bringers of luck that one should treat with respect.

Lucky horsehoes and edible traditions

Then there’s horseshoes – an ancient symbol of good luck of course. Since time immemorial we’ve hung them over doorways across the globe to protect the home from evil spirits. The giving of horseshoes to a bride is a tradition of long standing. Well before Christian times people thought that a horseshoe resembled a crescent moon and that made it a very potent fertility charm! But, more recently, in Victorian times the tradition became established as a way of bringing good luck to the newlyweds for the duration of their lives together.

Something old, something new - horseshoe and bride and groom

The wedding cake

Steeped in as much tradition as it is in fruit and brandy is the old fashioned wedding cake.

The wedding attire

The traditional white wedding dress is a relatively new one for British brides after Queen Victoria made them fashionable. As this Vanity Fair article explains, Queen Victoria made such a sartorial impression nearly 180 years ago that her example of wearing white is still considered mandatory by many a traditional bride. Further, Victoria’s choice of white bore no relation to any notion of purity. Victoria wore white for no other reason than that it complemented the delicate lace on her dress. Before Queen Victoria caused a sartorial stir women of the lower orders wore their best dress and those with a bit more money married in a colourful dress that they could recycle for other occasions. And IF, before Queen Victoria, a bride wore white, it symbolised wealth rather than purity – they could afford to have the dress cleaned.

A wedding rhyme – Something old and something new

There’s a related tradition that may have its origins much earlier than the white dress:

Something old,
Something new,
Something borrowed,
Something blue.

The origins of the rhyme are not clear but you can find references to it as an ancient custom in an 1876 edition of ‘Notes and Queries’. (Wikipedia) In Britain this old couplet is a direction to the bride on what she should wear. Originating here, the tradition has since spread across the globe.

Tradition holds that the something blue takes the form of a garter – and there’s yet more tradition behind that. In some wedding rites the bride had the garter plucked her. Saucy? Or Chauvinistic?

Additionally, something blue combines with something old as a device to baffle the Evil Eye – feared to render the bride barren. Preventing such an unfortunate occurrence is the wearing of something borrowed. Properly speaking this should be the undergarment of a women blessed with children so as to pass on her fertility to the bride.

When I got married, many moons ago now, I observed this tradition but in my own way. I borrowed a necklace, the new took the form of my dress and shoes and the blue was a garter.

This particular tradition is not ignored by popular culture. It made it into the ‘Friends’ episode: ’The one in Vegas’. Monica tells Chandler she has to have ‘Something old and something new, something borrowed and something blue before they can get married. So, to fulfil the borrowed part of the rhyme they stole a new blue sweater from a shop and for the old they pressed a used condom into service!

How about you? How did you meet the rigours of this something old and something new rhyme at your wedding? If indeed you met them at all. Or if you’re planning to tie the knot soon do you plan to?

Why don’t you let us know? We’d love to hear from you. Drop a note to: Our full contact details are here.

Tradition with a twist

The website of Wedding Ideas Mag has lots of ideas on how you can follow the rhyme while you can find a list of 12 modern day takes on the tradition in this article: ‘12 Modern Items to Replace Your Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue’.

Something old, something new - blue garter, wedding ephemera

5 fab benefits of weekday weddings

March 2021

A look at 5 fab benefits of weekday weddings over the traditional weekend

5 fab benefits of weekday weddings
It’s been the tradition for as far back as anyone knows, for weddings to take place on a Saturday. And there are historical reasons for that. This article from The Atlantic, on the topic of weekday weddings, quotes a rather interesting observation from Vicki Howard, a history lecturer at the University of Essex and author of Brides, Inc, about the wedding industry.
She posts that the work schedules of the couple and their guests had an inevitable heavy influence on the whole Saturday wedding norm. As she says, throughout history ‘agricultural seasons, factory hours, and other work constraints shaped the month and date people could take time out to marry.’

 Hence the popularity of the weekend wedding and, in the chances are, the summer wedding too. That would add up. But now more than ever there is an active choice to make between a weekend or weekday marriage. Further into this post we give 5 fab benefits of weekday weddings!

Guests relaxing after the wedding - 5 fab benefits of weekday weddings

Never on a Sunday

A further factor in it not being the rule to marry on Sundays, is that of weddings only taking place in church. And on Sunday’s they’d have services. But of course, recent years has seen a huge decline in church weddings. With that there’s been a shift in both the day that weddings happened and the location. Something that’s seen off the never on a Sunday notion. 

The first elephant in the room

There’s no escaping the fact that, as soon as you talk about having a weekday wedding Nellie the elephant goes on a stampede. So, let’s try and control the elephant in the room.

Yes, it’s true that if you want a midweek marriage you’re going to have to ask your guests to take time off work to come to it. And for some that won’t be an option – but the opposite can apply too.

BUT: you can point out to your guests that they’ll get some valuable time to let loose from the Monday to Friday routine.  And, thanks to there being a wider choice of venues and suppliers available to you, sometimes at less cost, there’s reason aplenty to opt for weekday weddings. 

The second elephant in the room

Then there’s the second elephant in the room. Currently we are in 2021 and coming out of a global pandemic with numerous national lockdowns – Coronavirus and its effect on weddings

At the moment, ceremonies can only take place in England in exceptional circumstances, for instance, if the bride or groom is very ill. But changes are coming soon if we continue to progress as we have. While the government aims to stop social restrictions by late June, do bear in mind that anything can happen. Ergo, a small weekday wedding may not be such an inconvenience after all. And aside from that, because Covid-19 put our lives and weddings on hold, this coming year is going to see more couples having to compromise on days and dates. Why? Because we’re about to see a rush to the alter as couples who’d postponed move to get the marriage deed done.

Still in a quandary?

If by now you’re still on the fence with the whole weekend or weekday marriage thing, this article from Hitched UK on organising and planning a weekday wedding will help.  They proffer 5 fab benefits of weekday weddings. Read on for why you should give serious consideration to wedding on a weekday.

5 fab benefits of weekday weddings

  1. More choice of venue and suppliers
    You’re much more likely to have a larger range of suppliers with availability to choose from on a weekday than weekend.
  2. It’s a money-saving option
    There is often a separate rate for weekend and weekday venue hire. in fact, sometimes the price difference is often great enough to convince couples to wed on a Wednesday.
  3. Your guests could save too
    Most hotels and guest houses offer reduced tariffs on a weekday. And transport is often cheaper on a weekday. So if you avoid peak times, your guests could end up paying much less than they first thought.
  4. Avoid date clashes
    Wave if you’ve had invitations to two postponed weddings on the same Saturday! 
  5. Beautiful photos whether it’s a Saturday or a Tuesday
    When you look back at your photos you will never be able to tell if it was taken on a Saturday or on a day of the week. So don’t make a weekday availability put you off.

Covid-caused delays

Thanks to the pandemic, many spring and summer couples have had to move their weddings to later in the year or early next year. Thus, increasing the chances of a wedding date clash by a massive margin.

But choose a not-so-popular-but-just-as-amazing weekday wedding date and you increase the chances of you most loved family and friends being there with you.  And surely that matters more than it being on a Saturday?

Talk to us

Now things are getting moving again in the wedding world we’re itching to get going – with weekend or weekday weddings. Whichever it is – we’re on the starting blocks!

Anything you want to talk to us about – our availability, decor ideas, venues we have worked at, bespoke accessories etc. – do get in touch! All our contact details are here.

Now you’ve got that sparkler on the 3rd finger of your left hand you’ll want to keep it in tip-top condition. So, here’s some top tips for your ring care: Fabulous Functions UK

Caring For Your Engagement Ring

You’re engaged! Congratulations. Your significant other has popped the question. He – or she – has proposed. You’ve said yes and you’re now sporting a gorgeous ring. One that you’ll want to show off to all the world – and why not? This post is full of useful information on caring for your engagement ring.

Caring for your engagement ring- ideas on how to keep your engagement ring in perfect condition-Fabulous Functions UK
A square cut diamond engagement ring from the designer Holly Robinson of Holly Robinson Jewelley

Showing off your ring

We’re in a digital world, so that doyenne of the jewellery world, Beaverbrooks, has a useful article about how to take the perfect engagement ring selfie

Caring for your ring

Now you’ve got that sparkler on the 3rd finger of your left hand you’ll want to keep it in tip-top condition.

So, here’s some top tips for caring for your engagement Ring

  • Insurance

It’s easy to think that insurance is unnecessary and that we never use it so why bother? Yet, should your sparkler get lost, damaged or stolen, then having an insurance policy will help to soften the blow and finance the replacement or repair of your ring.  

In some cases the excess on your policy can be more that the cost of your ring repair, so it may be worth visiting your jeweller first and getting their advice on whether to claim on your insurance for the repair cost.

  • Resist removing your ring in public
Advice for caring for your engagement ring -  Don't take it off in public places as you risk losing or forgetting it. Read the blog from Fabulous Functions UK

I’m always terrified of forgetting my rings on the side of a sink or losing them down the drain while washing my hands in a public bathroom.  So I never take them off when I wash my hands in public places.

  • Keeping your rings clean

In our day-to-day activities our rings gather residue from soaps, creams, body oils etc. But a periodic steam clean will remove these residues and return your rings to their former sparkly glory.

  • Protect your rings from harsh chemicals

Stones such as emeralds and sapphires are porous and harsh chemicals can damage their lustre. Thus, whatever rock you have, wearing gloves when using any chemical products is advisable to protect your ring.

  • Wear and tear on your ring

Diamonds are one of the hardest natural elements. BUT a cut and polished diamond can get chipped, so do avoid subjecting your diamond to undue stress and hard knocks. 

Do try and avoid wearing your ring in the gym, you can accidentally knock it during your training session – the ring band or shank can get cracked leading to a visit to your jeweller.

Do try and avoid wearing your ring in the gym, you can accidentally knock it during your training session - the ring band or shank can be cracked, leading to a visit to your jeweller.
  • Health check for your jewellery

The prongs on your rings can become loose with time, so we recommend a regular checkup at your jeweller. This will save you the pain of losing your precious stone.  

Advice for caring for your engagement ring- Give your ring a regular checkup to ensure the claws are not loose. Loose claws can cause your stones to fall out.

Ring envy – don’t have it!

Every girl has an idea of what her dream ring will be like.  Once you have your sparkler on your finger, don’t compare your ring to others. Therein madness lie. And anyway, whether it costs £5 or £5000, your ring is a symbol of your love. As such it’s precious and priceless and no one else’s ring can surpass it.

Learn how to care for your  beautiful rose gold and diamond engagement ring.  Every girl has an idea of what her dream ring will be like.  Once you have your sparkler on your finger, don’t compare your ring to others. Therein madness lie. And anyway, whether it costs £5 or £5000, your ring is a symbol of your love. As such it’s precious and priceless and no one else’s ring can surpass it.
A beautiful rose gold and diamond engagement ring from Holly Robinson Jewellery
Tips on caring for your jewellery

This blog from Goldsmiths has lots of tips on caring for your jewellery – in general – not only caring for your engagement ring.

And finally …

… Once more congratulations on your engagement. It’s a wonderful and exciting time. Now, enjoy planning your wedding and your own special journey to the alter.

This blog about the wedding planning timeline might be useful to you. And of course, we’re help too!

Call us on: 00 44 7511 842 45 or drop an email to:

Now you are wearing the sparkler from the love of your life, here are some tips on how to take care of  your engagement ring. Visit the blog at 
to read more
man with microphone - wedding speech

A Guide to Wedding Speech Running Order

The wedding speech running order

In our blog, Five alternatives to Champagne for the wedding toasts, we had a rummage through the off-licence shelves to bring you some alternatives to Champagne for making a toast along with the wedding speech.

The logical next step then is to have a look at the correct running order of the wedding speeches themselves.

Who goes first and why

It’s understandable to feel nervous about the wedding speeches. Aside from wanting everything to run to plan you may well have nerves about delivering the speech itself.

For great tips on how to deal with wedding speech nerves, do check out this guest post from life coach, Frances Barrone.  

It will give you some great tips on dealing with wedding speech nerves.

But this blog is about explaining what the running order is – and why.

The first thing to say is that, the tradition is for the giving of wedding speeches to take place after the wedding breakfast. But if we’ve learned anything from our recent posts about breaking with tradition, many modern couples are choosing to plough their own furrow.

Which is why, as this article on, points out: you can have the bride’s father make his address to the guests before the wedding breakfast commences.

Or you might do the whole lot before you eat so everyone can relax and enjoy their food. A particularly nervous speech-giver might appreciate this.  

Another way of doing it is to have a speech between the wedding  breakfast and dessert so guests aren’t having to sit through what might be a tedious block of speeches. And there won’t be any grumbling stomachs while the speeches are going on. This one is win-win all round!

It’s also worth noting that many couples change up the order of the speeches and also who gives a speech. Nowadays you’ll find the bride giving a speech, or her mother. Children who are brave enough to say something on behalf of the wedding couple may be invited so to do.

Then, after the main parties have spoken the floor is open to anyone who want to wish the couple well.

As the saying goes –  Your Wedding, Your Way!
So if breaking with wedding tradition is on your mind – go here.

Note too that having speeches isn’t the preserve of weddings. Birthday and anniversary celebrations can also call for speeches. And venue decoration. So if that’s where you’re at check out our venue styling packages here.

Traditional wedding speech running order

  1. The bride’s father

It’s common etiquette for the bride’s father to head the speech running order list. He’s afforded this honour because, traditionally at least, he’s the one that’s the founder of the feast. Or has at least paid for a chunk of it.

Though, as we’ve seen in ‘Giving away the Bride’, this situation is not so common as it was.

Be all that as it may, this speech is the proud dad’s chance to welcome the guests he’s hosting and thank everyone for coming to share the celebrations. It’s also a formal welcome to the groom into his family.

The bride’s father’s speech should include a toast to absent friends and family before concluding with a toast to the newlyweds.

It’s usual for this speech to contain funny and heart-warming stories about his daughter. Indeed, it should glorify her! Yet it should mention the groom too and why he thinks they’re such a fabulous couple.

Visit this article on website for speech examples for the father of the bride

  1. The Groom: his speech is next on the running order

The lucky groom’s speech-making duties encompass a response to the toast proposed by the bride’s father to the newlyweds. It should also offer thanks to the bride’s parents for hosting the wedding – assuming that they have – and for welcoming him into their family. Not forgetting an expression of gratitude to his parents of course!

It also falls to the groom to give thanks to the key wedding party members, hand out any thank-you gifts and compliment the bridesmaids! He might also want to say a few words in praise of his new bride. If he doesn’t want a row on the wedding night anyway.

Here’s 11 top tips for making the perfect groom’s speech.

  1. The Best Man

Now we come to the last speech of the night and one that’s heavy with expectation. And perhaps some nervousness from the bride and groom’s quarter – given that the expectation is that the best man will pepper his speech with amusing anecdotes about the groom.

If you’re a best man preparing a speech, do be mindful of the audience when you’re deciding which stories to share.

It’s polite to remember the bride but refrain from giving her the same verbal roasting as the groom.

Here’s 18 Tried and Tested Jokes for the Best Man’s Speech to give you some inspiration. And if you want more than that then here’s 21 funny introductions for the best man’s speech.

In summary then:

When you’re planning, and arranging your speeches, traditional running order or not, it’s important you consider these points:

  1. Give some thought to how the person speaking ahead of you will round their speech off. If possible, discuss it with them. With a bit of co-operation, you can work a nice segue from their speech into yours so that yours starts by referencing the end of theirs.
  2. Get the preceding speaker to introduce you. That way you don’t have to make a clumsy self-intro and it lets you know it’s time for you to take the podium as it were.
  3. Confer with the other speech-makers on what jokes and toasts they intend including. This avoids repetition.
  4. Of course, the same applies with anecdotes. Especially if there’s more than one best man or if the bride’s father is a bit of a wag. Heaven forfend you bore the guests by repeating the same or similar stories.

So there you have it. The whys and wherefores of the wedding speech running order.

If you’ve got any good stories to tell about wedding speeches you’ve experienced or how you’ve seen the situation dealt with at weddings we’d love to hear about it.

Find all our contact information here or use our webform.

Who goes first when making wedding speeches? Here is your guide to the speech making running order -Fabulous Functions UK
Who goes first when making wedding speeches? Here is your guide to the speech making running order -Fabulous Functions UK

By the day- did you see the blog on ways to keep your nerves when making your wedding speech? Have a read and let us know if it has helped you.
Happy reading!

First dance song suggestions

The Wedding First Dance Song

After signing the register, your wedding first dance is the first thing you’ll do together as a couple.

Are you stressing over choosing the song? Are you worried it won’t be appropriate or the guests won’t like it? If you and your husband-to-be already have an ‘our tune’ then, so long as it’s clean and wedding party friendly, you probably don’t need to read any further.

Bridal couple dancing - wedding first dance

But, if you’re not one of those couples, then you could be agonizing over the piece of music to which you intend to step onto the dance floor.

Wedding First Dance

You need to tread carefully here – did you see what I did there? This could be as tricky as who you’re going to sit your great-uncle Fred next to – what with his repertoire of off-colour jokes and his habit of blowing his nose REALLY loudly.

You can of course play it safe with some classic first dance songs, or you can look for what’s trendy at the time of your wedding and go with one of those. Alternatively you can quickstep to your local dance school in an effort to impress the guests with some slick salsa moves. To mix the dance step metaphors somewhat.

Decisions, decisions, decisions
So if you’ve not yet started to think about this one then dig out your dancing shoes because Fabulous Functions UK is here with some foot-tapping tips to get you started.

The First Dance Song Suggestions

And, in no particular order, here are a few more suggestions for wedding your first dance songs to consider.

  1. When Love calls – Atlantic Star
  2. What a Wonderful Thing Love Is – Al Green
  3. Love of My Life – Brian McKnight
  4. Real Good Hands – Gregory Porter
  5. The Closer I get to You – Luther Vandross & Beyonce
  6. All My Life – K-Gi & JoJo
  7. If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys & James Taylor
  8. Amazed – Lonestar
  9. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
  10. At Last – Etta James

And if there’s not enough for you there, then You and Your Wedding have a list of 100 first dance wedding songs for every kind of couple.

I love them all and want to have lots of first dances. If you can’t decide on one dance that you both like then why not have all the songs you both love.

Have some fun and create your very own first dance mashup! Have a look at this couple and see what fun they had with their Wedding Dance mashup.

Enjoy this first dance mashup, could this be you wowing your guest with your first dance as a married couple, and what would you choose to dance to?

Your wedding first dance can be as choreographed as you want or you can be spontaneous and make up your moves as you go along. The essential thing is: have fun!

As a married couple you will have many firsts and your First Dance is one of them. Here are some song suggestions for your first dance as a married couple

Contact us

Should you wish to talk to us about anything wedding-related all our contact information is on our website here.

Bride having veil pinned to her hair - wedding traditions from around the world

Wedding Traditions Around the World

A Tour around the World to Find Some Exciting Wedding Traditions 

In this blog we take a whirl wind look at wedding traditions from around the world.  Everyone in Britain knows the Old English rhyme about something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. The rhyme serves to instruct brides on the good luck charms she should incorporate into her bridal attire. Kate Middleton was lucky enough to borrow a tiara, I had a necklace, and my best friend had a garter from her mother in law.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

That, along with a wedding party composed of the best men, groomsmen and bridesmaids, wearing white, cutting the cake and tossing the bouquet are traditions that form an integral part of the British wedding.

But for fun we thought we’d have a light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek look at wedding traditions around the world.  And share with you some of what delighted, excited, shocked and surprised us – in no particular order. You never know – you might see something you think you’d like to incorporate into your own wedding.

Getting into a lather

The Greeks take the term ‘Groomsmen’ somewhat literally. On his wedding day, the groomsman or men and best man turn barber and give the groom a wet shave. They also assist him to dress. The idea being to symbolise trust between the men. It’s all Greek to me

Get hunting

In Kenya, a group of women including the bride are covered up from head to toe and the groom must find his bride amongst them. IF he chooses wrongly, he is fined and must try again.. I don’t see us adopting this one, do you?

A stone’s throw

In the land of Oz they have a thing called a unity bowl. All the family members are provided with coloured stones that are unique to them – they identify them. The stones are added to a bowl on display in the couple’s house. The rationale behind it being that it shows how the family has ‘coloured’ the couple’s life. And it’s a reminder to them of every family member. Assuming you like your family this is rather nice we think.

A whale of a time with a tabua

On our whistle stop tour of wedding traditions around the world we land in Fiji; when a chap wishes to propose marriage he presents either the bride or her father with a wreath made from whale’s teeth. They don’t have De Beers in Fiji then? And wouldn’t a nice pair of cufflinks be so much easier for the prospective father-in-law?

Wow, wedding traditions around the world take a few quirky turns, read on to find out more..

Going down the pan

According to the French had a tradition that is both good – and bad. The good news is that it’s a tradition for the bride and groom to eat chocolate and drink Champagne after the reception. Sounds great huh? I know what you’re thinking – what’s not to like about that? Well! Before you get excited, the bad news is that the couple has to take these treats from a chamber pot.

It's a French tradition for a newly married couple to drink champagne form a chamber pot- Read more in the blog on Wedding traditions around the world- Fabulous Function UK

The point of all this is to fortify the twosome for the wedding night action with sufficient strength. But if someone was lax with the loo cleaner they might get a flush of a different kind. Not sure that anyone practices this these days, this is one I would definitely forgo!

Not a crumb

Jamaica has a tradition that is still followed today. The family must make sure that not a crumb of cake was left to fall on the floor or bad luck would follow the couple. ‘Now thinking about it, I do remember my mother carefully collecting all the crumbs of our wedding cake!’

The dove from above

We continue our look at wedding traditions around the world with the Philippines,  where the bride and groom set free two white doves at the end of the ceremony. This delightful tradition is a symbol of a loving and successful marriage.

So there you have it. Our round up of just some of the weird, wonderful and downright wacky wedding traditions from across the globe.

To find more on wedding traditions – read our blog on choosing which traditions you follow and which you change to create your won traditions. You can hop over to the website and have a read of Breaking with wedding traditions

Have you seen any traditions-in-the-making at weddings you’ve been to? Let us know and we can share them on our social media. You’ll find us on the usual social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or drop us a line on:

Until next time,


certificate of marriage - women's rights in marriage

Women’s Rights in Marriage

Changes are happening all the time but for women’s rights in marriage the changes seem to be rather slow.

In a recent blog, Changing Times in the Wedding World, we examined some areas of the matrimonial landscape – where changes are happening now or where they’re  predicted to happen. For instance many brides, recognising what an outmoded bastion of sexism and misogyny the practice of tossing the bouquet is, are opting to do it a different way.

So, in keeping with all that, we thought we’d take a look at women’s rights in marriage. Note here – that there’s no such thing as common-law marriage. No legal recognition of a common-law husband or wife exists. You might live together for forty years, it makes no odds – there’s still no special legal status. If you’re choosing to co-habit rather than marry we advise you to check out this PDF guide on family law and living togetherIt’s vital that, as a woman, you’re conversant on women’s rights in marriage.

Women’s Rights in Marriage
As the website Rights of Women points out, ‘for a marriage to be legally recognised in England and Wales it must comply with certain legal requirements. Even if your community or religion recognises your marriage, it may not be a lawful marriage according to English law.’

It does matter whether your marriage has legal recognition or not. There are significant consequences regarding financial and property rights if a union is not a legal one.  If the law of the land doesn’t recognise your marriage you’re in a financially vulnerable position. For example: you may have neither claim to stay in the marital home nor access to financial support from your spouse (husband or wife).

NB: What we’re referring to here is a co-habiting relationship that hasn’t been formalised in any way. This is not the same as a civil partnership. There’s an important distinction and more on that at the bottom of the post.

Therefore, it’s vital that you:

  1. Are clear on whether your marriage is legal in the eyes of English and Welsh law.
  2. Understand the legal consequences of marriage

Who can legally wed

marriage certificate on a desk and people's hands

To enter into a legally recognised union the two people concerned must be:

  1. Not closely related. So, you cannot marry your sister or brother. It’s legal to marry a cousin – even a first cousin. There are though potential consequences of such a marriage that should have all due consideration
  • Over the age of sixteen years. If you’re under 18 years old you’ll need your parent’s consent.
  • Not married or in a civil partnership already. That’s bigamy!

If you don’t meet any of these criteria then you can’t get married. Simple. Should a marriage take place with one of these factors applying, it’s a null and void union. This means that, as far as the law is concerned, the marriage never took place.

NB: From 29 March 2014, same sex couples can get married in England and Wales.

Where you can get married

As the law stands, to get legal recognition of your marriage it must take place at one of the following places:

  1. A registry office
  2. An approved premises
  3. An Anglican church – that is to say a church belonging to the Church of England and Wales
  4. A registered building

Now we say ‘as the law stands’because change is in the air. As we pointed out in our blog ‘A Shake-Up in the Marriage Law’, long overdue reformation may be on the way. Reform that will make it simple for you to marry anywhere you choose – in the middle of a meadow if that’s what you want. Whereas, as the situation stands, you can only tie the knot in the great outdoors if the marriage solemnisation happens beneath a structure with a solid and permanent roof. A gazebo for example.

For the full guide on the law and women in marriage go to Rights of Women.Org

Civil Partnerships

Further potential changes to the structure of heterosexual relationships came via a landmark legal case in 2018 described by LGBT and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, as a victory for love and equality. 

Until the couple concerned took their case to court, heterosexual couples had two choices: to marry or to co-habit. Whereas, since the civil partnerships act of 2014, same-sex couples only can marry or opt for a civil partnership. 

The Supreme Court decreed that the civil partnership act is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Of course, this judgement doesn’t oblige the government to change the law, but it does make it more likely that they will.

Why choose a civil partnership over co-habitation?

There are valid reasons why couples might opt for civil partnership over either marriage or co-habitation:

  1. The institution of marriage: whether a civil ceremony or a religious one is imbued with ancient associations with patriarchy and women as property. And many modern couples object to that. Civil partnership is free of any such connotations.
  2. A civil partnership brings with it legal and financial protection for both parties in the event of a relationship breakdown. 

Whether you’re marrying, having a civil partnership or simply have a great excuse for a party – we’re here to make your venue look fabulous. Get in touch to find out more!

What rights do Women have when they marry - Fabulous Functions UK
Women’s Rights in Marriage
Asking guests to pay to attend your wedding is a controversial subject! Would you ask your guests to pay to attend your wedding? - The UK marriage laws could change allowing couples greater choice in where they can have their wedding ceremonies.

Asking Guests to Pay

Who pays for the wedding?
Asking Guests to Pay to Attend Your Wedding

Asking guests to pay to attend your wedding is a controversial subject! Would you suggest such a thing?

The question of paying for a wedding used to be a simple affair: it was the responsibility of the bride’s father. End of story.

This tradition dates from a time when the view of girls was one of them being an economic encumbrance. Outside the working classes, girls were not allowed to work. Thus they were rendered an economic millstone around the necks of men. So, brides’ families had to pay off the groom’s family with a dowry to persuade them to take their daughters off their hands while making sure they were taken care of. It wasn’t a matter of love actually. And still isn’t in some cultures.

And then, as this article from Offbeat Bride points out, even when dowries went out of style the business of the trousseau remained. That being the wedding dress, the accoutrements for the wedding, plus the cake and a whole lot of other wedding elements. Perhaps you have heard your mum or gran talk about her ‘bottom draw’? Over time she would buy items such as linen, tableware etc. and put them away for when she had a home of her own.

Asking guests to pay to attend your wedding is a controversial subject! Would you ask your guests to pay to attend your wedding? - The UK marriage laws could change allowing couples greater choice in where they can have their wedding ceremonies.

Times have changed

But times have changed. Women are now much older when they marry. They also, as a rule, have economic independence. In the times when girls and women were chattel they had to marry when little more than children. For that reason, the dowry and trousseau were there to help the groom support his new wife and their ensuing children in their early years. These days though couples often co-habit before they marry so enter married life with a complete household. And so the need for this outmoded tradition is negated.


But as Western society became a more capitalistic and materialistic one the possibilities and expectations of what a wedding can involve have increased manifold. As has what it all costs.

Asking Guests to Pay to Attend Your Wedding - pews in a church with flowers on them
Asking Guests to Pay

A changing pattern

In recent years, these economic changes have had a knock-on effect on the way we do things. There are still circumstances where the bride’s father pays for everything but we now also see:

  • Both sets of parents contributing
  • The couple contributing
  • The couple paying
  • A combination of the above

Get the guests to pay

Or – there’s asking guests to pay to attend your wedding ‘What!!’ I hear you cry. Are you serious? Well yes, we are. Or rather one couple from Derbyshire are.

Ben and Clare recently hit the headlines with their plan to charge their guests £150 each to attend their wedding.

Why? As it says in the article: ‘Before Ben, 37, proposed to his girlfriend, Clare, 37, he knew that she’d say that they couldn’t afford to get married should he proposed, so naturally he thought of a plan.’

Before this blog goes any further we feel honour bound to point out that there’s not any such thing as ‘can’t afford to get married’.

You might not be able to afford a country house hotel with all the bells and whistles but that’s the not the same thing at all as not being able to afford to marry. All of that stuff is wonderful and special, and we exist to help you achieve it! But it’s not fundamental. The only thing that’s crucial is a legal civil ceremony. Everything else is icing on the wedding cake.

Anyway, to return to this story. Before you’re overcome with outrage at what you could view as being tantamount to an entry fee to a wedding let’s take a step back, draw breath and consider a few things that your guests will be faced with. And no doubt you’ve faced them too.

  1. Extended stag and hen celebrations:

We spoke earlier of how sophisticated wedding proceedings have become. So too have hen and stag nights. These too have morphed from a plate of sandwiches in the pub or maybe a curry, to spa weekends for the girls and weekends in Bulgaria for the boys. We’re sure a good percentage of you out there can put your hands up to having to dig deep for something like that.

  1. The wedding venue: Out is the village hall or public house function room. In is the country house hotel/the glamping wedding or the foreign wedding – to name a few of the options now available to you.

None of these weddings will be ‘free’ to you as a guest. You’ll get a meal yes. And there might be a free bar. Happy days. But you’ll have to factor in:

  • Travel costs to the idyllic beachside or heart of country location
  • Accommodation costs – because you can bet, what might be your bottom dollar, that you won’t be able to afford to stay at the wedding venue.
  • Taxis to and from venue and said accommodation

Not forgetting of course your outfits and the wedding gift. Oh – and perhaps a babysitter too. How much are you up to now do you think?

Now does being asked to pay to attend a wedding seem so outrageous? Or indeed asking guests to pay to attend your wedding.

A recent Vodafone advertisement, featuring Martin Freeman, lampoons the foreign wedding scenario (and its cost to the guest) in entertaining style:

That’s a lot of hidden costs to a wedding invitation. A whole lot more we’ll wager than what this particular couple are suggesting. And at least it’s honest and up-front. Not to mention, when you stop to think about it, a whole lot cheaper!

What are your thoughts on this? Are you asking your guests to pay for your wedding? We’d love to know.

Drop us a line at or find our other contact details on our website here.

Or find us on social media. We’re on Facebook here and Instagram here.

Changing Times in the Wedding World - Flower man at a wedding - breaking with wedding tradition

Changing Times in the Wedding World

Changing Times in the Wedding World

Changing Times in the Wedding World - Flower man at a wedding - breaking with wedding tradition
Changing Times in the Wedding World

Marriage certificates and other changes in the wedding world 

‘Come gather around people, wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’ ‘

That was Bob Dylan back in 1964. Well now, in 2018, fifty-four years after Dylan’s protest song, a key protocol of the marriage certificate might be about to change. And it’s not before time too!

Your marriage certificate

At the time of writing, marriage certificate documentation records only the names and occupations of the fathers of the newly-wed pair. Like they did it all on their own? Quite the opposite is true as we all know. As this 2018 article from Good Housekeeping points out, this out-dated protocol is a hangover from times past that viewed women’s occupations as non-existent or of no consequence. There has though been campaigning in Parliament to change this lamentable situation. About time too we say. This is the 21st century after all!

Late in 2017, the Sunday Times reported that the proposal had been ‘signed off with a spokeswoman confirming existence of the desire to include mothers’ details. Further they’d also appear on civil partnership certificates. So here at Fabulous Functions UK we propose a toast to the equal recognition of mothers both brides and grooms on marriage certificates.

It’s a toss up

Changes to marriage certificate protocols aside, many brides these days are looking for different ways to do things.

Earlier this year, in tossing the wedding bouquet, we examined the reasons that lay behind the ages old tossing-of-the-bouquet tradition and suggested that you might want to throw away this particular tradition – a bastion of sexism and misogyny.

This is what one bride decided to do:

‘We asked all the married couples to come out on the dance floor. Then the DJ whittled it down to the couple together for the greatest number of years (40 years for the couple at our wedding) and we gave it to them. I saw it done at a wedding years ago, then it went to a couple married for 60 years, and it was such fun. People were a bit confused when we asked the married couples to come out on the floor, but then once they got what was happening they liked it. Also, it saved our single friends the embarrassment of the whole “traditional” ritual.’

But that’s not the only way in which couples are breaking with tradition and doing it their way in these changing times in the wedding world.

Grooms are having a Best Woman instead of a Best Man at their side. Meanwhile brides are having their mothers walk them up the aisle and inviting their grandmothers to be their chief bridesmaid. And why not? The traditional nuclear family has morphed into something much more fluid and that’s brought a blurring of traditional gender roles at weddings.

Feminism is playing its part in the shifting wedding landscape too. After all, as Lauren Bates, back in 2014, in her Guardian article ‘How to have a feminist wedding’ mooted: ‘… surely at least a small part of being a feminist means forging new paths through old traditions?

Traditions and customs

If you’ve been to a wedding recently where the couple broke the shackles of tradition – or you’re planning on doing that yourself we’d love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook or on Instagram  or drop us a line on:

Changing Times in the Wedding World

Asking guests to pay to attend your wedding is a controversial subject! Would you ask your guests to pay to attend your wedding? - The UK marriage laws could change allowing couples greater choice in where they can have their wedding ceremonies.

A Marriage Law Shake-Up

A Marriage Law Shake-Up

A shakeup in the marriage laws - The UK marriage laws could change allowing couples greater choice in where they can have their wedding ceremonies.
Church Wedding – A Marriage Law Shake-Up

As of July 2018, according to a survey run by Bridebook, the average cost of a UK wedding is an eye-watering £30, 355. Not an insignificant sum for anyone. But moves are afoot to give the law on where you can be legally wed a long-overdue shake-up. A stir that will make it possible to cut the price of getting married.

There was a time  when the only place to marry was in church. Then, as this BBC article on ten key moments in the history of marriage, points out, it took the Marriage Act of 1836 to allow non-religious marriages in Registry Offices. It took until 1994 for an updated Marriage Act to allow you to have a civil marriage somewhere other than a registry office. Approved premises, licensed for the purpose by local authorities – as they’re known in the trade.

You see then, the limited choices open to a couple wanting to get hitched. Given that we’re now in the 21st century, change is overdue. Indeed, as this BBC article points out: ‘  the 2015 report found that laws relating to marriage venues in England and Wales, some of which date from the mid-19th Century, were “badly in need of reform”.’


So what might couples planning to marry expect such reforms to give them? In a nutshell – the reforms should make it cheaper and simpler to marry in the law’s eyes.

As the situation stands, you can only tie the knot in the great outdoors if the marriage solemnisation happens beneath a structure with a solid and permanent roof. A gazebo for example. So, no saying ‘I do’ in the middle of a wild-flower meadow for you – no matter how much it’s your heart’s desire.

Further, the law requires you and your intended to specify the building you’re having your ceremony in. There are also restrictions on consuming food and drink in the area before and during the event. And it all dates from 1837. So it’s definitely time to think it out again. As Fagin (Oliver Twist) famously sang.

Returning then to the BBC’s report. According to the Treasury, such anachronistic red tape pushes up the cost of weddings and is even off-putting for some people. They argue that relaxing restrictions will make it cheaper and easier for people to marry. What’s more the move has potential to support more people to get married.

‘Relaxing restrictions would make it cheaper and simpler for couples to get married, potentially supporting more people to get married’ it said.

Garden-wedding-ceremonyFor years now, Scottish couples have enjoyed greater freedoms in where they can do the marriage deed. Freedoms not extended to England and Wales. Hence this review of English and Welsh wedding venues announced by the chancellor in the recent budget will examine lifting restrictions on:

  • Al fresco locations
  • Temporary structures

Thus, making exchanging vows in your own garden under a temporary arbour of roses possible. Something that a marriage law shake-up could bring about.

The treasury hopes too that, alongside offering more choice, such a move will lower venue booking costs and boost the hospitality sector. And, as this blog from Elmore Court, points out, it heralds a new dawn for outdoor weddings.

We’ll raise a glass to that!

As an update to this blog

As of  July 2019 the Law commission have begun working on a review of the Marriage Laws so we may well see some much needed changes. A marriage law shake-up for sure.

As we know these things take time so  don’t hold up your marriage plans waiting of it to change.

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