Marquee Wedding Tips

I met my friend Louise from Oldtown Marquees for coffee and a chat (ok it was prosecco!) to ask her some questions about planning a marquee wedding, here they are with the answers and tips she gave…

Can I have my marquee at home?

If you have the space then why not put the marquee in your garden or the garden of a family member. This can be so much more relaxed, informal and convenient. Things you will have to consider is how much space there is for the actual marquee, where will everyone park, is there enough space or can you bus everyone in from another location.

Is there anything else I need to think about if having the marquee at home?

Toilets! A lot of people don’t think of this but will your guests leave the marquee and go into the house to use the toilets or would it be better to have toilets in or beside the marquee?  your choice!

What if I don’t have space at home?

No problem, we can suggest a venue you can use…

McShane Glen

A very popular venue on the North Coast with stunning views over the sea and situated just beside Ballintoy Harbour, with accommodation on site.

Killymoon Castle

This privately owned castle is set in stunning grounds just outside Cookstown. The original castle, which was built in 1671, burnt down in 1801. It was rebuilt in a larger version in 1803. This is a new wedding venue in Northern Ireland which followed on from the owners daughter getting married in one of our marquees there this year.

The Old Flax Mill

The Mill was originally built in 1786 and has recently been renovated to a very high standard, nestled in the countryside it’s a hidden gem and a superb location to host a marquee wedding.

Redhall Estate

Redhall dates from the 16C and is a country house set in it’s own traditional parkland close to, yet hidden from the A2 Causeway Coastal Route. It is easily accessible from Belfast International Airport (27m) and George Best City Airport (20m), the port of Larne and from Carrickfergus. The entrance is from the A2 Carrickfergus to Larne road, half a mile on the Larne side of the Ballycarry – Islandmagee crossroads.

What about furniture, can you provide this?

Yes, depending on the look you want to go for we can provide round tables and a top table which is the most popular option. If you are going for the more rustic look, trestle tables are commonly used, you can also fit more people in with trestle tables so you can go for a slightly smaller marquee which will keep costs down. Whatever your preference we can work with you to get the ideal layout.

I have seen sofas used for seating areas, can you provide these, also what are the options for chairs?

Yes, we can provide sofas if you would like a chill out area.  This can be sited at one end of the marquee with the bar and your dancefloor can be at the far end, a reveal curtain can also be used to keep this area separate from your reception area until it’s time to be seated for the meal.

Different options are available on chairs – chiavari are the most popular option with the comfortable seating pad it is a very popular choice for weddings, however if you are going for the rustic look our wooden chairs are also a popular option.

What about heating?  Is it necessary?

Everyone is unsure about whether to have heating. In the winter months it is almost always essential, in the summer it is hard to know until a day or two before. Heaters can be ordered a few days in advance so you can decide closer to the time. Our heaters have thermostats so for example if your ideal temperature is 18 degrees then we can set the heaters to kick in if the temperature drops below this.

Is there anything else I need to think about?
Flooring

You can opt for our luxury wooden flooring or go for carpet which is laid on top of our wooden floor. Our carpets come in a wide variety of colours.

Lighting

Chandeliers – are a popular option for weddings and for those who want to keep costs down.

Festoon lighting has grown in popularity particularly among those couples who opt for a more rustic feel for their wedding.

We also supply fairy lights which can go anywhere in the marquee but are most popular at the dancefloor area or behind the top table.

 Room dressing

 we can recommend companies we have worked with before.

I find it really hard to visualise the layout and how it will look, is there anyway I can see it before we decide on how best to lay it out?

Yes of course, we can do up 2d/3d layouts for you to show you, we can amend this to get the marquee looking just as you want it.

How do I book?

Prices are subject to a site visit, unless you are using one of the locations we have recommended above. We are very happy to meet with you to discuss your requirements in detail or this can be done over the phone or by email, whichever you prefer. Once you have decided what you want, we will send you a booking form, your date can only be secured and confirmed when we receive your signed booking form and 25% deposit. Changes can be made at a later stage but we do need as much notice as possible!

Why choose you to supply our marquee?

We specialise in marquee weddings, it’s what we’re good at, we are a family run company and pride ourselves on our service to our customers, don’t just take our word for it though, take a look at our Facebook page to see many more pictures of previous weddings and events and feedback from our past clients

Thank you to Louise for all this information, I’m already planning Olivia’s wedding lol!

Gemma x

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Spring Wedding Inspiration

 

When it comes to Spring Wedding Inspiration I think this recent photo shoot we were part of is perfect!  Nothing screams Spring like bright flowers and Italian Buttercream!  These pictures were taken by the very talented Steven Hanna, I’m sure you will love them as much as we do!

This free form loose bouquet from Sally’s Floral Studio gives a beautiful romantic garden style and just oozes freshness!  These colours with the foliage totally work!

The Four Seasons Suite at Galgorm Resort & Spa was the location for the photo shoot and what a perfect setting it was!  The colour carried through to the tables with Sally’s flower dressing on the crystal  candelabras.

Then we have the beautiful bride and groom, Claire’s stunning dress was provided by Castle Couture in Galgorm.

It’s no secret I love fresh flowers on cake, it brings everything together beautifully.  The wooden tree slice was the perfect addition from Rathbollen Unique Wood Crafts.

Find us in The Great Hall 1-6pm on Sunday 4th March, come along and enjoy some cake, while it lasts!

Gemma x

 

Naked or Semi Naked?

 

We get so many questions about naked/semi-naked cakes, what flavours can you choose? Does it still taste fresh if it’s uncovered?  What’s the difference between naked and semi-naked?  Hopefully by the time you’ve read this blog your questions will be answered!

Naked/semi-naked cakes were something I originally steered away from!  I thought how could they possibly taste nice and fresh?!  To us, taste is equally as important as how our cakes look!  We decided the only way we would make naked cakes would be to bake them at the crack of dawn on the morning of the wedding!  This would ensure our couples could still have a fresh, moist cake that their guests would enjoy eating!

Another way to ensure a naked/semi naked cake maintains it’s freshness is to deliver at a later time on the day of the wedding.  We arrive in the afternoon before call through and stack and dress the cake at the venue.  This way it isn’t sitting out all day!

So what is the difference between and naked and semi-naked cake?

A naked cake is completely uncovered, whereas a semi-naked cake has a thin layer of buttercream with some of the sponge showing through.

In terms of flavours, I tend to stick to the same colour sponges.  I just think it looks strange to throw a chocolate layer into the mix – you can always have a slab of something different in the kitchen, for example, Chocolate Guinness or Malteser.  Within the cake we generally do a vanilla layer, raspberry & white chocolate and then lemon or orange sponge.

You can choose to dress your cake with fruit alone or you can also add fresh flowers, which I think just brings all your colours together beautifully.

So when people ask if you can have a naked/semi-naked cake and it still taste nice, your answer is yes!  Although it’s all in the preparation!

Gemma x

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Sarah & Anthony

Christmas Wedding

23rd December 2017

I do love a Christmas wedding and I know many of you do too, so I caught up with one of our  recent brides, Sarah Xuereb née Wallace, to hear all about her special day!  Sarah & Anthony chose the stunning Galgorm Resort & Spa as their venue for both their ceremony and reception!

I asked Sarah about her experiences with all her wedding suppliers, here’s what she had to say!

“We had Rose as our wedding co-ordinator at Galgorm, she was absolutely amazing throughout, from the first day we met to look around the venue to the moment I walked down the aisle (and afterwards!) there wasn’t a detail she hadn’t thought of and was a totally calming influence throughout (especially in the last couple of months!). Rose made every element so personal and really gave the impression she genuinely cared – a true wedding fairy godmother!”

Tippy Logronio did all our makeup and even stayed after the ceremony for vital touch ups – she was such a lovely presence to have on the morning of the wedding and we all loved getting ready with her! Lynette Murray did my bridesmaids hair, again a really personable service and a great hairdresser, I loved my girls’ hair.”

I had my own hairdresser from Kevin Kahn’s salon in Bangor (Bobby Gandy) as he has been doing my hair for years, it was really special as I have known him for so long – Bobby was also a guest at the wedding and was on hand for minor adjustments during the day.”

“I was so fortunate to have a custom made Suzanne Neville dress and veil.  Living in London meant I was able to have the ultimate experience of choosing my dream dress from the Suzanne Neville flagship store in Knightsbridge.  My toile appointment with Suzanne was particularly special and I could not have been more pleased with my dream dress, I felt like a princess all day!”

“We used fairytales as our event stylists who were also amazing!  We had one initial conversation with Barbara and from then on she literally made our dreams a reality – I had a lot of ideas and Barbara immediately knew how best to implement all of them in the most magical way.”

The stunning flowers were supplied by Sally’s Florist.

“Receiving the bouquets from Sally was a really emotional moment on the morning of the wedding which I hadn’t really considered beforehand but when I saw them with the button holes I did have a little tear! They were so beautiful and again Sally and her team managed to take a vision from my head and make them a reality. Sally and Barbara worked so well together and the flowers for the ceremony, centre pieces and top table were just so much more than we could have wished for – we loved them!”

Starling Entertainment co ordinated and managed their bands and entertainment.

“We had Belfast Gospel Community Choir welcoming guests and singing during the ceremony which was so special, Ionian string quartet during the ceremony and drinks reception, we also had a piper who piped me down the aisle and Manouché boys in the evening as well as a dj. Neil from Starling was so professional and provided such an honest and reliable service which we really appreciated – he even managed to incorporate Kaylee Rogers who has the voice of an angel to sing my bridesmaids down the aisle – Nothing was too much for him and we felt totally confident in his service the entire time.”

Sarah & Anthony chose Steven Neeson as their Photographer.

“We were so lucky to have Steven Neeson as our photographer, again – another amazing vendor! Steven was not only impeccably professional but also provided the most personal service we could have wished for. He is so incredibly talented and creative and we felt truly blessed to have him capture our special day.  We used Familiar Joy for our videographers and can’t wait to see the result!”

“Last but definitely not least we of course had Gemma’s Cakes for our beautiful cake – not only was it delicious but looked exactly as we had hoped, all our guests commented on how unusual and yummy it was!”

“We really could not have wished for a better set of vendors, every single one made our day more special and if I am honest I miss speaking to a lot of them every day which I think just proves how personable and genuine every single one was!”

“I have always dreamt of a winter wedding, had most of Anthony’s family not been travelling from London and Cyprus we would have gone for Christmas Eve but decided the 23rd was best to allow everyone to travel home afterwards. For anyone planning a Christmas wedding I would say definitely incorporate Christmas, it is such a magical time of year, but it isn’t necessary to have a Christmas “theme.” Cosy fires, fairy lights and candles were the three biggest elements to our day and really helped to create our enchanted, magical fairytale dream!”

A huge thank you to Steven Neeson for sharing his stunning photographs throughout this blog and of course to Sarah & Anthony!

Gemma x

 

 

How it all started!

Hi Everyone!

I thought my first blog should be a little introduction to us and how we got into the crazy world of cakes!  If you prefer short and sweet, I will be honest you aren’t going to get it here!

In the very beginning….

So you would be forgiven for thinking that John and I met through our love of baking and decorating cakes, that would also make a lovely story but no it didn’t happen that way!

John and I met when I was 17 and he was 19, we got married on my 21st birthday, looking back I’m sure people thought we were really young!  It didn’t feel that way to us!  At that time I was working in admin in the Housing Executive and John was working for Moy Park, that’s what his degree was in, Agriculture!!  A world away from cakes!!

We were married four and a half years before we had our much wanted daughter, Olivia!  Jack arrived just over 2 years later and our family was complete!  Honestly, complete lol!!

When Olivia was turning four I really wanted a ballet themed cake for her!  She’s been taking ballet lessons since she was two and a half!   I had seen one in M&S about six months before her birthday, but could I find one?!  I decided I would make the pumps myself, sure how hard could it be?!  John came home from work and was impressed with the pumps!  I am an all or nothing kind of girl so I decided to make the cake and ice it as well!!  The party came and went and so did the cake, all gone, every slice!  Everyone was so encouraging I decided I might have  a new hobby, whereas John decided I might have a business!

By this time I was working as a Wedding Planner at the stunning Galgorm Resort & Spa and John was working in machinery hire!  Neither of us really saw this coming!

A month after Olivia’s party I set up a Facebook page, with the few pictures I had!  Overnight I had a business, I even took an order for a wedding cake!!  For the next 8/9 months, until I left my job I spent my time taking orders and teaching myself with every order, what did we ever do without google?!

Looking back, when it came to leaving my job, I’m sure people thought I was crazy, if they had seen how little I had in my diary they really would have!  The orders kept coming! It got to the stage that John was coming home at night asking if he could help!   It turns out he’s a natural at the baking!!  So much so, four months later he left his job and became a full-time partner in the business!  This was a little more scary!  It wasn’t like he loved his job and would miss it but there was the financial worry!  Again the orders came!

What happened next….

We were then introduced to The Wedding Centre in Randalstown!  They were looking for a cake supplier!  We jumped at it and we really worked hard to grow the wedding cake side of the business.  We’re still there!

Each year the business grew and two years after leaving my job Galgorm Resort asked us to supply them with wedding cakes, what a huge compliment!

We are still growing!  In our fifth year, 2017,  we were awarded Wedding Cake Designer of the Year in the Wedding Journal Reader Awards!  As we step into year six with plenty of plans, I’m excited to see what comes next on this amazing adventure!

Hoping you will join us!

Gemma x