West Weddings

Tuesday Tips: 10 Steps to wedding-ready hair

Favourite summer activities such as swimming and sunbathing can cause serious damage to your tresses. But worry no more as the beauty gurus  from Hairtrade.com have provided ten helpful hacks that will turn your tired tresses into lustrous locks just in time for your big day.

Photo by Stewart McPherson

Whether you plan to go for an intricate updo or wear your hair down, now it’s time to give your hair some TLC. Just take a few simple steps including ditching the pony tail, switching to organic hair products or applying an avocado mask to improve the appearance of your tresses.

“People tend to stock up on SPF during the summer months but completely forget that hair needs protecting, too,” explains Joanne Dodds, beauty expert at Hairtrade.com. “After time in the sun, your hair needs time to heal and these tips make sure your locks are back to normal in no time.”

Photo by Stewart McPherson

1 Rinse with cool water

Rinsing your hair with cool water after washing will seal up the hair cuticles that have been opened by the hot water, therefore locking in the much-needed moisture gained from conditioning.

2 Say ‘no’ to sulfate

Sulfate is a common ingredient in shampoo, but it can cause problems for damaged hair, as it strips off beneficial oils. Minimise additional frizz by checking the label and opting for organic sulfate-free products such as Liz Earle or The Body Shop.

3 Go for a trim

Getting rid of split ends is the key to shiny hair and this is especially important if your hair is dry from heat exposure. Cutting off the ends will get rid of the most damaged parts of your hair.

4 Wash your hair after swimming

Leaving chlorine in your hair after swimming is a definite no, as it dries it out further. Make sure you wash your hair before sunbathing to avoid additional damage.

5 Try a DIY avocado mask

When blended with oil, avocado is a fantastic ingredient that adds nutrients to the hair, making the ends less frazzled and the hair shinier.

6 Give warm coconut oil a go

Heating up coconut oil until it’s a liquid consistency can make a fantastic natural repair mask for your hair. Run this through the ends but avoid the roots as much as possible to avoid greasy looking hair.

7 Use aloe vera

Although we tend to associate aloe vera with skincare, its repairing effects are also beneficial to your hair. This is a wonder product if your scalp and hair are sun-damaged – apply it to both and let it sooth and revive.

8 Treat dark hair to black tea

If your dark hair colour is looking a little lackluster, rinsing it in dark tea will help to bring back the colour that the sun has taken away.

9 Avoid ponytails

Wearing your hair down as much as possible will prevent the additional breakage that using a bobble can create. If you do go for a ponytail, make sure you wear it at slightly different heights each day to avoid too much pressure.

10 Read West Weddings

Ok, this one’s from us! Get some wedding hairstyle ideas from our latest edition of West Weddings magazine here.

Are you turning into a bridezilla?

Whether still deciding on the venue or quite far along with the planning, the pressure to have the perfect wedding can turn even the calmest of brides into a badly-behaved bridezilla in the run up to the big day.

Photo by Stewart McPherson

Once the excitement of the engagement wears off, you’re left with a long list of things to organise, including the wedding venue, outfits for you and your groom and entertainment. There’s so much to consider and plenty of options to choose from, but who takes responsibility for each?

Many couples happily share the list between the bride and groom, and even tag in family and friends to help along the way. For others, it’s the bride who overlooks the planning while the fiancé is happy to go along with her decisions.  Bridezillas, however, are brides who take charge of the wedding planning and are so determined to make their wedding day perfect that they don’t consider the consequences.

Bridal behaviour


As we all know, the term ‘bridezilla’ comes from the famous Godzilla – a terrible monster from Japanese horror movies  – and defines ‘a bride whose behaviour in planning the details of her wedding is regarded as intolerable’. But how far can a bride go in order to qualify as a dress-wearing monster?

A recent survey carried out by http://pokies.net.au interviewed 500 brides-to-be from across the UK and found that 1 in 3 engaged women is a bridezilla. In order to gather the data, brides were asked questions such as: ‘Would you trust your partner to organise the entire wedding?’ or ‘You’ve been cake tasting and you and your groom have opposite opinions. How do you decide on a cake?’

Why not take a look at the flowchart below to discover whether you’re getting close to becoming a bridezilla? If the answer turns out to be yes, it might be time you reconsider your priorities – wedding planning should be fun after all!

View Interactive Version (via Pokies.net.au).


Sunny days: a styled shoot at Hamswell House

It may be a grey day outside but when we saw these beautiful images, we were immediately transported to sunnier times!
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This styled shoot took place at Hamswell House outside Bath. We love how this gorgeous venue has the most amazing countryside views, and the wonderful juxtaposition of stone against greenery.
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It was photographed by Irene and Dave from Neumann Graham, with make-up by Nicola Jane. Kelly Louise Coppini and Artur Novikovas were the happy couple for the day.
“Irene and Dave chose Hamwell House because it’s a stunning venue and quite local to us all,” explains Nicola Jane. “This was my first time to work with Neumann Graham, and hopefully we will be doing more stuff together in the future.”

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 *Sigh*. So dreamy!


I do in the open air!

Clevedon Hall - Gazebo - Side View large print

We’re really excited to share with you the news that one of our favourite local wedding venues Clevedon Hall (where we were lucky enough to do our summer shoot last year) has recently made its wedding offer even better. With the arrival of a new outdoor wedding area, you now have the option to make your commitment to each other in the open air.

Clevedon Hall - Gazebo - Aisle View large print

The venue has built a gorgeous wooden gazebo that’s set in the grounds right next to the lake, with panoramic views of Clevedon Bay. Brides enter along a specially curved path that sweeps through the garden, to take advantage of it in all its flower-filled glory.

The gazebo is also next to an unusual wooden sculpture, made from a tree that was destroyed in a storm and which has now been beautifully carved.

All this is in addition to the licensed rooms on offer in the Grade II mansion house, which also includes 25 en suite bedrooms and food cooked by a chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants. Sound like your kind of ceremony backdrop? Give them a call today on 01275 795895 or visit the website for more info.


Fashion Friday: gorgeous gowns from Alie Street

We were introduced to fashion label Alie Street recently, and we love its clothes so much that we’re sharing them with you today.

Alie Street ‘Pippa’ dress

The sister company to maternity bridal label Tiffany Rose, Alie Street is a proudly British brand, with all of its beautiful dresses made right here in the UK. This means no sweatshop labour, and the very best quality fabrics, something which we think is very important.

Alie Street ‘Bella’ dress

Also, let’s talk more about the fabric: we’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Alie Street ‘Bella’ dress up close, and it is made of the most soft, strokeable material that we’ve ever seen, from the jersey of the skirt to the lace detailing on the sleeves.

Alie Street has a range of dresses from day wear to wedding guest and red carpet, and in this are some fantastic choices for your bridesmaid dresses.

Alie Street ‘Olivia’ dress

The company describes its designs as “inspired by classic elegance, natural beauty and the concept of finding a dress that always looks good on. We strive to use unique colour palettes, sensuous textures, intricate laces and artistic prints.” Something we think your bridesmaids would like!

Alie Street ‘Anya’ dress

Alie Street dresses start from £99, are available in sizes 6-20 and the full collection, including its range of wedding dresses, can be found at www.aliestreet.com/uk. Happy browsing!

The Weekly on Weddings podcast – listen now!

Last month, editor Helen was invited to be part of the Weekly On Weddings (WOW) podcast, a weekly podcast that talks about all things nuptial.

Each week the WOW cast looks at interesting news stories from the world of weddings, with a focus on wedding businesses in the south west. Presenter Kyle Hannan also chats each episode to an industry insider from the region, who shares their thoughts, tips and tricks for running a successful wedding business.

Helen and Kyle met up in Bristol, and despite having to move locations a couple of times to find a coffee shop with minimum background noise (and being questioned about what they were up to by an ex-police officer!), the interview went well and Helen was very flattered to be considered an industry expert!

The WOW cast is produced by Bristol-based company nowWOW, who offers a range of innovative broadcasting services for your wedding, from live streaming of the actual event to video messages and gathering clips, images and other moments from the big day on a specially-created website plus your social media.

You can hear the episode that Helen features in here, and also listen to the other podcasts in the series and subscribe to future episodes here. If you’re interested in being interviewed for a future episode, then contact Kyle on ecomediauk@gmail.com.

A date for your diary: open days at St Audries Park and Clearwell Castle

Looking for a stunning wedding venue in Somerset? If so, the beautiful St Audries Park should definitely be on your list. This picture-perfect manor house is set in 100 acres of countryside (which includes a deer park!) just outside Taunton, and is available as an exclusive use venue for your ceremony and reception.


The good news is that St Audries is holding an open day on Sunday 19th June. Appointments are available from midday to 4pm, and will give you and your partner the chance to have a wander around the beautiful house and grounds, and chat to a wedding co-ordinator about what the venue can offer you for your celebration. To book your appointment, call 01984 633633 or email info@audries-park.co.uk.

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If you’re planning a Gloucestershire wedding, then St Audries’ sister venue Clearwell Castle is also opening its doors on the following Sunday, 26th June. To view this perfect little castle in the Forest of Dean, give Emma a call on 01594 832320 or email her at info@clearwell-castle.co.uk to book your slot between midday and 4pm.

A week of beauty: we review Dr. Hauschka and Shavata

Editor Helen was recently invited to two lovely beauty sessions in Bristol, courtesy of Dr. Hauschka and Shavata.

With winter well and truly behind us, my skin has certainly been feeling better for the recent sunshine, but was also definitely in need of some TLC. So when Dr. Hauschka invited me along to Harvey Nichols in Bristol to try a treatment with its leading therapist Tara O’Rourke, I jumped at the chance.

Dr. Hauschka is a German brand that was established over sixty years ago. All its products are 100% natural and organic, made without use of parabens, mineral oils or other skin nasties. The company has its own medicinal plant garden in its factory in Germany, where many of the plants are grown organically and mostly according to strict biodynamic principles. Dr. Hauschka’s eco credentials are further boosted by its commitment to using fair trade products sourced from around the world and supporting local growers, as well as using green electricity in its manufacturing and recyclable packaging. I was therefore excited to see if its products felt as good as they sounded!

Tara has over 8 years’ experience in holistic therapies and is a qualified Dr. Hauschka skin therapist, as well as a homeopath. She started off my treatment by asking me what my skin regime was, as well as general questions on health, diet and fitness, and whether I had any skin problems I’d like to address. She then tailored the treatment to suit.

I have to admit that the next 45 minutes were so relaxing, they passed in a bit of a blur! I do know that my skin was cleansed, and then warm water compresses (that smelt delicious) were applied. My face was lightly stroked with fine brushes to stimulate lymphatic drainage, and then a nourishing mask was applied. All of this was done with wonderfully soothing movements from Tara that definitely contributed to my relaxed state. As well as the facial, Tara also gave some attention to my legs, arms and feet, making me feel good from top to toe.

Once the treatment was finished and Tara had given me time to rouse myself from my daydreams, she then gave me some advice on Dr. Hauschka products that would suit my skin. The legendary Rose Day Cream was my recommendation, as well as the matching Rose Night Serum. I’ve been using them for the past few days and can confirm that the wonderful softness I experienced after the facial has continued!

Dr. Hauschka Skin Care; Dr. Hauschka Kosmetik

Next stop in my week of beauty was a session was a brow shaping session at the Shavata Brow Studio in House of Fraser. I am pretty lazy in my eyebrow maintenance: my brows are fair so I can get away with just the occasional plucking session. So while I didn’t want anything too drastic — I wanted to keep my eyebrows’ basic curve and thickness — I was excited to see what the technician could achieve.

Eyebrow shaping the Shavata way doesn’t involve plucking or waxing, but instead uses threading to remove the unwanted hairs. My technician Farrah showed me how this amazing technique works: a fine cotton thread is doubled up and held at one end in the mouth, while the other end is twisted and used to ‘spin’ the hairs off. The sensation is similar to something buzzing over your skin; it’s not painful, it just feels a little odd at first. I was amazed at how quick it was, too: within 15 minutes both brows had been beautifully shaped (to look like sisters, not twins, one of the first rules of Shavata eyebrow shaping!). I feel that they really frame my face well and make me feel groomed but without looking too overdone.

I can definitely recommend both of these treatments for brides-to-be. The Dr. Hauschka facial would be a wonderful pre-wedding treat to get your skin into tip top condition for the big day, as well as a good investment for your future skin maintenance. The Shavata brow shaping was quick and efficient, but made a big difference to how my face looked.

You can find Dr. Hauschka products for sale in Harvey Nichols in Bristol’s Cabot Circus, where you can also find out more about treatments using the products. The Shavata Brow Studio is located on the ground floor of House of Fraser, also in Cabot Circus, where a brow shape costs £17. Other treatments are also available such as lash and brow tinting. Helen was the guest of Dr. Hauschka and Shavata and received these treatments for review purposes, but all thoughts and opinions are her own.


Wedding Wednesday: behind the scenes at a photoshoot

To complement the lovely video she made of our summer shoot at Tracy Park, Hannah from Button Media also compiled a ‘behind the scenes’ post for us.

Featuring interviews with photographer Stewart McPherson and a chat with West Weddings’ editor Helen, it’s a sneak peek at how we put together our photoshoots, as well as some top tips at the end for couples planning their wedding. Enjoy!

Summer style on screen!

To complement the summer 2016 issue’s boho-inspired photoshoot at Tracy Park, we have a special bonus treat for you – a gorgeous video!

Shot by the talented Hannah Lang of Button Media, this is the perfect snapshot of the day. Hannah filmed it just as she would a real wedding, capturing the essence of the event and editing all the footage into a fantastic selection of highlights.

Hannah also recorded a special behind the scenes video too, which we’ll be sharing with you soon!