Evening lovelies! I am super excited to have finally finished my wedding cocktail brochure, and it’s now available to download from my website!
Download by clicking the image below!
I’m a sucker for a cocktails at weddings, but they can be tricky to do. Especially if you’re trying to be a bit more DIY with your drinks reception! Traditionally, cocktails are made to order (drink by drink) by a bartender who knows their stuff. And that’s just not practical or possible for weddings, certainly not during a drinks reception…
The Cocktail Brochure
This cocktail brochure is designed specifically for weddings, or any large event where you might need to make cocktails in bulk. All the recipes are traditional cocktails that I’ve added my own twist to and adapted them so they can be made in bulk and served easily & quickly.
Here is a sneak preview…
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new cocktail brochure. And let me know if it proves to be a useful tool for you!
Don’t forget to Download!
To keep up to date with all things Lila Bailey, follow me on Instagram. I’m all about the autumnal vibes at the moment! And why not check out my last post too.
First thing’s first, the venue… If you’ve been keeping up to date with my Instagram stories over the past 6 months or so, you’ll know that our wedding venue is somewhat unique, beautiful, and – so far – incredibly stressful! I’ve never been one for the ‘easy option’ and my wedding has been not exception…
The Venue – Where are we up to?
For those of you who don’t know, we’ve chosen to have our wedding reception at my parents’ house in a stunning, old, (and currently semi-derelict) barn. (We’re getting married at a church in Tavistock).
The barn (when completed will be named ‘Chapel Barn’) has always been an incredibly special place. My parents have had plans to do it up for the past 10 years (since we moved to Devon) and they finally started by doing the roof back in 2017.
In April 2018 Euan popped the question and after initially deliberating over whether to use the barn, or to have a marquee in one of the fields, we decided on the barn. Which meant there was a timescale for the project and things needed to start moving pretty quickly!
The floor needed digging out completely (it used to be home to 3 giant corn mills!) so that was the first job. Then it was underfloor heating and re-laying the floor. That started in October and is the only thing that has been completed *sigh*.
We’ve had the windows & doors made, which have arrived in a less than perfect condition *sigh* so need to be sorted asap. Then they can be put in and we can finally get the second floor in! Then stairs need to go in and that’ll be the worst of the structural stuff done. Until that point, my blood pressure will remain pretty high…
The Venue – What has been difficult?
At the moment, the most difficult thing has been waiting for it all to get done. Mainly because until it’s finished, it’s hard for us to decide exactly where everything is going to take place! I’ve got a pretty good idea in my head of logistically how it’s all going to work, but until I’ve seen it in the flesh it’s really hard to be 100% certain.
The other thing which has been slightly hard is the size of the barn. It only seats around 100 people comfortably, and our ideal guest-list is more like 150… But, we knew this was the case when we chose the barn over the marquee (and was actually one of my reasons for choosing the barn… but more on that later).
The Venue – Best Bits?
My absolute favourite thing about the venue being the barn is that it’s so incredibly special & personal to us. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve worked for wedding venues, or because I’ve always thought of my family home as the perfect place to celebrate my wedding. Either way, I’m so grateful to be lucky enough to have this amazing barn to use!
I also love that I’m completely starting from scratch. Whilst it would be so (so so so so) much easier to get married at an existing wedding venue where everything you need is provided already, I cannot express how much I’m loving the challenge of putting it altogether myself. I am a wedding planner after all, so it makes sense!
Recently I’ve been looking into tablecloths and comparing prices, as well as all the fun bits like table decor and signs. It’s not an easy journey but fully worth it!
The Venue – Top Tips?
Okay, so top tips for your venue search…
Don’t pay too much – you’d be amazed at how many venues totally overcharge for the ‘privilege’ of using their space. At some point I’ll do a blog with a breakdown of venue costs etc so you can see what you should be spending.
Decide what is most important to you a find a venue which fits your needs. There are hundreds (and hundreds) of venues out there, so don’t compromise on the things that matter. Everyone will have different priorities, and that’s okay! So figure out what yours are before you start your venue search. The perfect one will be out there, I promise!
Make sure everything you need is included, not extra. Sometimes a deal will seem too good to be true, which means it probably is!
Wet weather!! If your venue is perfect in the rain, then it’ll be extra perfect in the sun. This is the UK, and good weather is a luxury, not a guarantee. Hope for good weather always, but go for a venue that is prepared for the worst.
Most importantly… fall in love with it! You only get one shot, and feeling comfortable and happy with your decision is a total priority. You can absolutely fall in love with a venue as much as I’ve fallen in love with our barn, if not more!
So that’s the venue. Next up I’ll be sharing our suppliers, how we (I) found them, and some top tips for choosing yours!
If you want to see more from the barn, head on over to my Instagram page (@lilabaileyweddings) and have a watch of my ‘Barn Renovation’ highlight.
Check out my last post for a bit about my past year of engagement…
Aka the most wonderful place in all of the lands – plural. I’m not joking, The Bishop’s Palace is genuinely magical. I’m not sure if it’s the gorgeous towering medieval buildings, the incredibly beautiful gardens, the community spirit, or all 3! But I L-O-V-E it there. On one of my first days, a colleague said to me ‘it really gets in your blood’ and that has since resonated so much with me. It’s true – it honestly does get in your blood.
The Bishop’s Palace is run by a trust, meaning it’s a non-profit organisation. Any money they do make goes straight back into the trust to preserve the buildings & gardens and make it increasingly desirable and accessible to be enjoyed by all. And it’s so amazing to work for a company who runs on that basis. Plus, I have a huge number of amazing colleagues across many different departments, and we’re all left to get on with our work to the best of our abilities. No micro-management or lack of belief in our abilities (which, as you may know, is something I have had the displeasure of experiencing previously).
Obviously, people have to make money. But I feel that when making money out of people’s weddings becomes the focus of the business you may as well be working for an enormous corporate chain. Turning every wedding into a business development opportunity, for me, loses all meaning of what the wedding industry is about. And, as a bride-to-be I have actually rejected suppliers for my own wedding on that basis. Anyway, slightly off topic there. But my point is that at The Bishop’s Palace, your wedding is contributing to the preservation of an 800 year-old site, and I think it’s magical!
What I do
Now onto the fun stuff, what do I do all day? Well, as the Wedding & Venue Manager, I’m the face of the wedding and private hire department at The Bishop’s Palace. I deal with all incoming enquiries, and have a system in place for following up with enquiries and generating show-rounds. I’m also the person who conducts all of the show-rounds and (hopefully!) turns them into bookings.
A lot of my time is spent on the business development side of things. My first couple of months were spent focussing on a small re-brand of the wedding department to bring it up to a higher standard. I’ve also been accumulating previous wedding images, and over the next few weeks I’ll be submitting those to various blogs & magazines to get featured. I’ve created a specific ‘wedding’ Instagram for The Bishop’s Palace (@bishopspalaceweddings – go & give it a follow!) to keep the wedding department separate from the huge amounts of other things that go on at the Palace.
As the manager, I’m also responsible for all wedding & events staff. Making sure they’re working the hours they need to, approving holiday, managing office hours vs function hours, and keeping everyone happy! We have a weekly team meeting in which I have to give a brief overview of private events that are happening at the Palace, and once a month we have a management & trustee meeting for which I have to prepare a management report and be present at and contribute to the meeting (which usually lasts most of the morning).
Alongside all of that, there are various meetings with other team members (chefs for example) and meeting with local suppliers to build professional relationships. The list goes on! But that’s the bulk of it. And I couldn’t be anymore thrilled that this is my life!
I’ve had a lot of questions about how I’m finding the travelling, how long does it take, etc. To be honest, it’s really not that bad. It takes me 2 hours almost on the dot and it’s a really easy & pleasant drive. I’m only there 2 days a week (usually Mondays & Thursdays), so only doing the journey twice which makes it very do-able. I think if it was 3 days or more I would definitely struggle, but it’s not, so, yay!
During the drive I mostly listen to podcasts which is actually a wonderful use of my time. The times of day that I’m travelling are also, in my opinion, ‘lost’ times of day anyway. In the morning, I would just be in bed for a bit longer and have more time to get ready. And between 5pm-7pm all I’d do is probably cook dinner and maybe do some chores or go to the gym. Euan has dinner covered on those evenings and chores & gym can be done on another day!
And that, is that!
So, there you have it! That’s what I get up to on most Mondays & Thursdays. If you want to know anything else, just drop me a line. And please do consider The Bishop’s Palace as your wedding venue if you’re getting married!
Okay, so as a bride-to-be how many times has ‘all this, just for one day’ been said to you? Have you even thought it yourself? I have already had so many people accost me with questions about it ‘just being for one day’. Well, people, I’m about to take you on a journey of discovery.
Newsflash! It’s not just about one day.
Just for one day? Part 1…
Firstly, it’s not ‘just a day’. It’s the foundation for your marriage. The day it all started. A celebration of your love. A chance for you to show the people around you how much they mean to you, how much you mean to them, and how much you (as a couple) mean to each other. It’s pretty symbolic.
Not to mention the family & friends reunion side of it. Tell me another instance where you get to sit in a room with all the most important people in your life. In one place. Altogether. For a happy occasion. You can’t? That’s because there isn’t one.
Just for one day? Part 2…
Secondly, why wouldn’t you want an excuse to dress up in the best and most expensive clothing you can afford, drink amazing wine, eat wonderful food, and dance the night away? And whilst smiling the entire time! That sounds like the perfect day. What’s not to love?!
Just for one day? Part 3…
Seriously though, it really isn’t just about that one day. Thirdly, and most importantly, it’s about the journey.
It’s about that indescribable feeling of being proposed to, and the tears of excitement and happiness as you share the news with family & friends.
It’s about deciding who you want to stand beside you on the day, and watching their expression as you tell them.
It’s about working with your partner and making decisions about your day which reflect you as a couple, and learning more about each other as you do so.
It’s about listening to and respecting your partner’s thoughts & visions for your day and coming to conclusions that you are both happy with.
It’s about wedding dress shopping with your mum and girl-friends, drinking bubbles and squealing for no particular reason, just because.
It’s about the days out with you girls/boys and giving them a chance to show you how much you mean to them.
It’s about sharing your excitement with your parents, and watching how happy it makes them to see you so elevated.
It’s about all of those little things in the build up. All of the decisions you make because of the wedding. All the conversations you have and all the memories you make along the way.
In my last post, I explored the 4 things worth spending the majority of your wedding budget on (you can find it here). This post is about saving money…
Saving your money
Stationery. Don’t get me wrong, I love stationery. And because your stationery the first time your guests get to see a glimpse of your wedding day, it is a really important added touch. But it is an added touch, and whilst everyone needs to know where to be and when, there comes a point where all those stationery extras become a little unnecessary.
The Guestbook. Again, having a guestbook is a lovely touch and a great way to get creative. But let’s be realistic for a second. You don’t need to spend much on a guestbook. There are many different guest book ideas, none of which cost too much, so don’t try and overcomplicate things by coming up with some elaborate guestbook plan. Save your hard earned cash for putting towards one of the budget priorities, because – let’s face it – your guests really aren’t going to notice or care about how much money/time/effort you put into the guestbook. They’ll be more interested in the booze – trust me.
The Wedding Favours. Personally, I adore the idea of wedding favours. Anything miniature and you’ve got me hooked. That was – however – until I was looking into having gin miniatures as wedding favours at my own wedding. I was going to end up spending £250 on essentially a large shot of gin per person, and for what? The idea is great, and the gin miniatures would’ve been super cute (for about half a minute). But is it worth £250? I’m not saying don’t bother with wedding favours at all, I think they are a lovely touch. Just be clever about it. Instead of spending £1.50 a head, trying spending 40p. Every little saving hack helps!
Those extra bits. The list of ‘extras’ you can add to your wedding day is honestly endless. Baskets of flip flops, sparklers, sweet stations, additional decor, the list goes on… And if your budget allows, then go for it. But if you’re trying to cut back on your spending then trust me, these things are not a priority. A lovely touch, don’t get me wrong, but should in no way be the focus of your time, energy, and money.