8507 from the Alfred Angelo Modern Vintage Bridal 2014 Collection

Is This the Real Cost of Cheap Wedding Dresses?

It’s a sad day when you hear of any retail business close its doors for good. The shock news of Alfred Angelo, a global wedding brand, and Benjamin Roberts closing has left many retailers questioning what’s going on. Every retailer in the UK is under pressure from a shift on spending in-store to online, and that goes for bridal too. The retail landscape is shifting, but not necessarily in the right direction.

Who would have thought you could replace the experience of buying the most expensive, important and treasured dress of your life, that evokes feelings of joy and happiness, with a cold, online transaction? Who would have thought that going to a mass manufacturer with huge outlets across the UK, where you buy a dress off the peg, without fittings, consultations or advice, would replace the experience of a bridal shop advising and indulging you?

8507 from the Alfred Angelo Modern Vintage Bridal 2014 Collection
8507 – Alfred Angelo Modern Vintage Bridal 2014 Collection

Cheap Not Always Cheerful

But sadly, for some girls these cheap wedding dress options are attractive. If you have never done this before you could be excused for not knowing your designer wedding dress from your copied mass manufactured dress. But, not wanting to sound like a total dress snob, you really do get what you pay for.

Each week I have so many calls asking us to help brides ‘fix’ a wedding dress they bought online. Usually it either doesn’t fit them, the colour is wrong, it’s too short or just plain weird. We have girls crying down the phone to us, but sadly not one bridal retailer in the land would take on such a challenge. If it’s not cut right on the cutting table it will never fit properly at the fittings.

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Ghost Bus Tour in Edinburgh Hen Activity Idea

Outdoor Activities for Your Hen Weekend

Forget cocktails in a dimly-lit bar and male strip shows (they’re for later…), and embrace the great outdoors on your hen weekend. The ‘typical’ hen party is no longer a drink, dance and pizza in the early hours. It’s a chance to take part in once-in-a-lifetime activities – guaranteed to provide you with plenty of likes for Instagram. Lauren of Last Night of Freedom has rounded up the best outdoor activities for the ultimate hen weekend.

British Airways i360 Champagne Flight, Brighton

Brighton’s British Airways i360 is the newest and most exciting building on the town’s skyline.

British Airways i360 in Brighton

This is the world’s first vertical cable car, conceived and created by the same architects who designed our beloved London Eye. For those in the hen group with a strong stomach for heights, this glass capsule – 10 times the size of a pod on the Eye – will take you 450ft into the air, for stunning and unparalleled 360° views of Brighton.

It glides very slowly up the pole and has room for 175 visitors, along with a bar in the centre of the pod, licensed to serve all day and during the evening. Wine and views… bliss.

Water Wipeout, Bournemouth

This hugely popular activity is as challenging as it is hilarious, particularly after the bride-to-be takes a dunking.

Water Wipeout Hen Weekend Activity in Bournemouth

Our Water Wipeout outdoor hen weekend activity is for the brave and strong… and those who don’t mind getting wet. Reminiscent of Takeshi’s Castle, but set entirely on water, you’ll spend a couple of hours conquering two different lakes.

The ‘Action Loop’, located on the Castle Lake overlooking Corfe Castle, consists of 70 metres of inflatable obstacles and difficult crossings over the water. Your second destination, Woodland Lake, features several similar and exhilarating games. Action Tower, Gladiator Rings and Commando Rope will see you soaring above the water on trampolines and the like, ready for a well-deserved cocktail afterwards.

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Newcastle's Tyne Bridge at Night

Last Night of Freedom’s Stag and Hen Guides to Newcastle

Newcastle is a stag and hen do paradise. Continually growing in popularity as the years roll on, Newcastle has held the top spot for both stags and hens for over a decade; and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Boasting hundreds of fantastic activities and activity centres, a whopping range of accommodation options, several illustrious nightlife zones, and the fact that it’s home to the world-renowned Geordie Shore gang, it’s clear to see why Newcastle has earned its position at the top.

Newcastle's Tyne Bridge at Night

Stag and Hen Guides

But with so much choice it can be a difficult job for those poor best men and maids of honour to organise the perfect weekend in Newcastle for their best mate’s ultimate send-off. That’s why stag and hen experts, Last Night of Freedom, have put together handy, downloadable guides to planning the ultimate weekend in The Toon.

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Couple Blowing Confetti from Their Hands

Why You Should Supply Your Own Confetti

Flick through wedding magazines and browse Pinterest for beautiful images of weddings and you’re sure to see plenty of confetti throwing images. Have you ever wondered how they are so pretty? The majority of the time it is because the couple have supplied their own confetti for their wedding.

Traditionally guests would bring confetti to a wedding, but now it’s more common for couples to supply it themselves. There are still debates about who should supply it, so Shropshire Petals share their reasons why they think you should supply yours.

Why is Confetti Thrown at Weddings?

The throwing of confetti at a wedding marks the celebration of a newly married couple – a sign that the party is about to start!

Going back, confetti was traditionally grain, rice or flowers. Coloured paper shapes then became popular in more recent years, which each guest would bring with them in a small box. However, since we are all more environmentally aware, natural, eco-friendly confetti choices are now the preferred type to throw.

Why Supply Your Wedding Confetti?

Venue Restrictions

Most churches and wedding venues only allow the throwing of biodegradable and eco-friendly confetti in their grounds. Some don’t allow it at all unless it is off the premises.

Couple Blowing Confetti from Their Hands

Natural petal confetti not only disappears within a couple of days, it is also small and light, creating the perfect flutter as it falls over you.

Colour Match

One of the main reasons couples prefer to supply their own confetti is that they can choose the colours for their confetti moment.

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Woman having massage in spa

The Most Luxurious Hotels for a Hen Party Spa Weekend

Hen weekends should consist of two activities: spas and cocktails. It’s a rite of passage, one that stag and hen specialist, Last Night of Freedom, understands well. With that in mind, Lauren shares the most luxurious spa weekend hotels for an unforgettable hen do.

Macdonald Randolph Hotel and Spa, Oxford

Your hen weekend deserves only the finest of TLC – particularly in Oxford’s leading 5-star hotel, Randolph Hotel and Spa.

Woman having massage in spa

The world-famous university city is not only breathtaking, but boasts a huge selection of stunning shopping districts and cocktail bars. Randolph Hotel and Spa is a short drive from the popular Jericho area, and features a high-end spa. Voted one of the Best 50 Spas in the World, this luxurious oasis is super exclusive and oh-so-decadent.

Designed with your health and wellbeing in mind (perfect for a hen party…), The Elemis Spa features a Jacuzzi, ice fountain and sensation shower, as well as steam rooms and saunas. And, it doesn’t stop at the facilities. Expert therapists are on hand to provide rejuvenating facials and full body massages.

Macdonald Linden Hall Golf and Country Club, Northumberland

Nestled in the awe-inspiring Northumberland countryside, Linden Hall sits pretty.

Woman having facial in spa

Set in an 18th century manor, 14 miles away from the home of the Duke of Northumberland (ooh err) and a further 30 minute drive from legendary Newcastle, this is a super fancy place for a spa hen weekend.

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