#BWMadvice Bridesmaids

#BWMadvice Bridesmaids

#BWMadvice No.2 – Bridesmaids

In the immediate excitement of your engagement make sure you don’t get carried along to make any quick decisions about your wedding – especially with regards to your bridesmaids. Rushing in to ask your BFFs before you’ve even decided on the very basics of your wedding could prove a costly mistake further down the line because what you decide now directly affects your precious budget later! Each one needs a dress, flowers, hair, make up and transport not to mention a thank you gift so don’t start inviting every bestie in your contacts list.

There’s no rush. Take a step back and let the reality of your engagement sink in before making decisions you can’t change later on! Your friends will be there for you whether they are bridesmaids or not.

Congratulations if you’re starting 2018 with a sparkler on your finger. We’ve got an exciting year ahead packed with wedding planning tips and inspiration. Followtag and don’t miss a thing! #BWMadvie

Insurance – do we need it?

Insurance – Do We Need It?

Speak to an expert and get the full picture

Quite simply whether you choose to buy insurance is a personal decision but one you really should discuss to weigh up what’s right for you. Take into consideration how much you will be spending and all the ‘what ifs and maybe’s that could occur on the lead up to the big day. No-one wants to face the fact that something could go wrong but being covered should put your mind at rest and allow you a few less sleepless nights. Make sure you read the small print and check the policy is right for your specific wedding. 

High value items

If your new sparkler is worth more than your ‘single item’ value on your home insurance – get that dazzler insured separately. Just call your insurer and ask to add your ring as a separate item on your insurance. Take a photo of it and keep the receipt safely.

Are your suppliers insured?

You’d be amazed how many wedding business do not have insurance. Many think they don’t need it but if they’re worth their salt they should really have taken out at least a decent Public Liability insurance. Transport businesses, venues, marquees, food companies and certain other categories often require additional insurance and checks in place so ask if all their ducks are in a row before you hire them.

Honeymoon Insurance

I’ve recently been unnecessarily spending out on travel insurance for trips away, only for hubby to tell me we have a far better travel insurance policy already in place with our bank! I called them, made a few tweaks to our policy and for a small price upgrade we’re now covered worldwide rather than just in Europe. It’s worth checking with your bank for all those little extras they offered you, which you’ve since forgotten about, and check any policy you do have is adequate for your trip and destination.

Going on a cruise? – not all travel insurance covers cruising as standard so if you’re setting sail double check your policy and upgrade it to make sure you’re covered.

Please note: I am not insurance expert and your personal circumstances are unique to you so please check with a professional to ensure you take out the correct insurance for your needs.

(c) Buckinghams Media

When SHOULD you buy your wedding dress?

When SHOULD You Buy Your Wedding Dress?

You just got engaged? Congratulations! The venue’s now been booked a whole 18 months in advance and you feel oh so organised – the dress is the last thing on your mind. Some brides will even put off browsing for dresses as they believe it’s too far in advance; let me tell you a little secret…You can never start looking too early. (Unless of course you are not engaged, then that might be a little strange).

Are Wedding Suppliers Lying To You?

Are Wedding Suppliers Lying To You?

Are Online Portfolios & Galleries REALLY A Suppliers Own Work?

I am so angry!

So, so angry I feel compelled to stop what I’m doing and write this up for you.

Quite simply I am fed up to the back teeth of wedding suppliers who have the audacity to claim the work of others as their own or use images in their portfolio of work belonging to another. It is fundamentally dishonest and immoral and misleads brides into believing the work they are seeing on a business’ website is actually a truthful example from that supplier’s portfolio when it isn’t.

How truthful are website images?

Today, another wedding supplier (oh yes this has happened before) – this time a Leicestershire styling & events company – has approached us to attend our wedding fairs. They have completed our application form and ticked ‘Yes’ to our question ‘Do all the photos on your website show your own work?’ – but we have run our usual checks and the truthful answer is a resounding ‘NO – NOT ALL THE IMAGES ON THEIR WEBSITE SHOW THEIR ACTUAL WORK – THEY ARE IN FACT PAID FOR STOCK IMAGES OF SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK‘.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just one image – but there are over 10 images on one page alone and none of them are genuine examples of their own work.

Now there is nothing wrong in using stock images per se (they are used by reputable companies and household names large and small worldwide – heck we very occasionally use them ourselves and I’ve bought one today just to show you the type of image a media business will use from stock – see the featured image above. It coveys the message I’m putting across to you when I don’t have time to organise our own photo shoot!) but there is plenty wrong when any company clearly makes the claim that a stock image, or worse still, an image they have stolen from someone else’s website, is showcasing their own work.

In this specific case the business used the words ‘see some of our work’ followed by a photo gallery full of images, most if not all of which were not their own work. That is misrepresentation. And if a styling/event company is as good and busy as they claim to be, then why do they need to buy stock images when they should have plenty of ‘real photos from real weddings’ they have worked on??

We expect every business we work with to have real examples of their work or if they use stock imagery – TO BE HONEST & CLEAR that those images are merely ‘inspirational ideas’ and not their own work. For heaven’s sake that’s what Pinterest is built on – sharing ideas and inspiration – not claiming it as ones own!

How To Use Google To Check Images On A Supplier’s Website

I’m going to show you how you can make your own basic checks on your wedding suppliers to identify whether the images you are seeing on their website are actually the work of that supplier.

  1. Open the website in Google Chrome (ideally using your laptop or PC/Mac)
  2. Right click on an image
  3. Select ‘Search Google For Image’
  4. Google will provide a list of all websites where this image can be found.
  5. You need to check whether this is a stock image (trace it back to a stock website such as or or whether the image is also being used on other people’s websites and if so does the image originate from the supplier you are interested in or are they sharing a ‘generic’ image and claiming it as their own work.

After a few tries you’ll get the gist of what looks suspicious and what looks genuine. If the image is plastered across numerous websites the chances are it’s a stock image. Alternatively you may see a link to another supplier’s site claiming the work is theirs. You need to establish who is telling the truth! I have myself recognised a photo of one of my own preferred supplier’s hire items being wrongly used by a competitor claiming the prop item as their own! It’s quite shocking to see when it happens.

We aim to check EVERY business that wants to work with us. We will not use stock imagery to promote businesses that register with us or exhibit with us. That’s not to say things don’t from time to time slip through the net (we’re not the wedding police!) but we do our best to check that what a supplier is telling us is the truth – and you should do the same.

So for the record we are not interested in working with suppliers who are comfortable with misleading brides from the very moment they click on their website.

This is a standard we have worked to from day one and will always work to.



Let’s give it a go and test some images so we know what to look for.

The image below was sent to us by Lynne Gardner at Gardner’s Cakes.

  1. Right click on the image (PC/Mac or laptop)
  2. Select ‘Search Google For Image’
  3. You will see links to both Buckinghams website and Lynne’s website so you know it originated from Gardner’s Cakes website. You will also see a link to Zinc Floral Design’s page on our website – this is when Google has saved that page and our image has appeared on it for instance in the recent posts column or maybe the ‘related posts’ section. The image is probably no longer on the Zinc page but Google has archived it and is showing it in results. This is a genuine image from Lynne.


Now in contrast search Google for this image (below)

  1. Right click on the image
  2. Select ‘Search Google For This Image’

The image of the chair covers can be found on countless websites all over the world so the chances are this is either a stock image (and doesn’t reflect the work of anyone who has used it) or it has been ‘lifted’ from the website of the authentic owner and repeatedly copied and used, probably without permission.  (And if that owner sees this and wants to send me their credit info I will happily add them!)

Update:- I found the stock image website for this image

Don’t Jump To Conclusions

Remember suppliers and photographers share their images online all the time but usually only if they are credited so if you see their work on a blog or website it doesn’t automatically mean it is without their permission. Usually there will be a link back to the suppliers website. If an image has been shared across several blogs (real weddings for instance or styled shoots) then it will appear time and time again. But a stylist is highly unlikely to offer a real image of their work to be used by another stylist. The same goes for florists and cake makers. If you see the same bouquet shot on more than one florist’s website then you should be thinking something is a little fishy!

5 reasons why a supplier’s images might genuinely be on third party websites:

  1. Wedding blogs (but there is usually a link back to the supplier’s website)
  2. Collaborative shoots
  3. Wedding directories
  4. Sister companies
  5. Digital magazines

Furthermore, suppliers may use an official product image on their website or the official image of a brand they supply (e.g. a supplier might use the official ‘product image’ for a prop or hire item).

If you’re a new supplier reading this and just starting your website or gathering your images, you are better to use just 2 or 3 great shots of your own work than use misleading stock images. You probably mean no malice by bulking out your website but it really isn’t worth it. Everyone has to start somewhere and brides would rather go for a talented honest newbie than a dishonest old hand.

After all, who wants to hire a supplier that would happily mislead them from the get-go?!!!

Right Click Doesn’t Work

Some suppliers, especially photographers, deactivate the right click on their website to avoid having their work copied but if in doubt ask (or try and check images on their Facebook page instead) – I promise that any genuine supplier will be only too pleased to put your mind at rest and give you their references.

In Conclusion

I really hope you have found this helpful. Dishonest suppliers are not the norm – most suppliers are wonderful, talented individuals that only want the very best for you and your wedding but anyone who would happily mislead you about what is and isn’t their work has no place being on your wedding team.

Leave me a comment below or contact me directly with any questions, your own experience (supplier or bride) or if you need some help.

Happy ‘safe’ planning!

EJ xx


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12 Questions To Ask Your Cake Maker

12 Questions To Ask Your Cake Maker

Wedding cake maker Helen Alborn is based in Leicestershire and one of our ‘Be Loved’ suppliers. She has been awarded 5 stars from the F.S.A. and was a Regional Finalist in The Wedding Industry Awards in 2015. She prides herself on using only the freshest ingredients for all her creations.

Semi-naked wedding cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Semi-naked wedding cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

1. Is my wedding date available?
Small wedding cake suppliers book up fast especially for summer months so once you’ve confirmed your venue it’s time to book in your cake. This isn’t a confirmed booking until a deposit is paid and the final design and flavours can be discussed during a consultation.

Blue Hydrangea Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Blue Hydrangea Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

2. Can you help if I have a fixed budget?
It’s best to explain your budget right from the start before sending a photograph of a cake extravaganza you’d love. Remember it’s the intricacy of the design and time it takes that effects the overall cost. Some decorators will say prices start at £x and others will work out a solution which fits your budget and theme.

Patel Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Patel Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

3. Do you offer cake tastings?
It’s usual to be invited for a cake tasting and a consultation at a convenient time to discuss design ideas. You will be asked what flavours you’d like to try. Some bakers may charge for this service but this is usually deducted from the price should you proceed to order a cake.

Button Bouquet inspired wedding cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Button Bouquet inspired wedding cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

4. Do you bake your own cakes?
This may seem an odd question but it’s fair to know exactly what you’re paying for. Professionals bake cakes from scratch using fresh ingredients and offer an extensive range of flavours and fillings including for those with dietary requirements. Others may only use cake mixes perhaps adding fresh milk and eggs and some simply decorate ready-made cakes.

Wedding Cupcakes by Helen Alborn Cakes
Wedding Cupcakes by Helen Alborn Cakes

5. Are you registered with the council and what is your food hygiene rating?
All cake suppliers should have no problem with you seeing their kitchen and showing you their business addressed star rating issued by the Environmental Health Department of their local council. This provides peace of mind that your cake baker reaches the high standards you’d expect for hygiene, but remember this is no guarantee of food quality.

Wedding Favour Cookies by Helen Alborn Cakes
Wedding Favour Cookies by Helen Alborn Cakes

6. Can I see a portfolio of recent cakes?
Every cake supplier should happily show you photographs and reviews of actual wedding cakes they’ve made recently for clients and this will give you a good idea about their skills, quality, consistency and versatility. Social media has made this easy for you to research in advance using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Just make sure it’s their work you’re seeing!

Mice Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Mice Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

7. How will you display our cake?
Many venues have cake stands that you can use and cake suppliers may also have a selection of stands to hire for a small charge. These may require a deposit, refunded on the safe return of the stand. Your supplier may also liaise with your florist if you’d like to use fresh flower arrangements.

Lily Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Lily Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

8. Do you deliver?
Most cake suppliers will insist on delivering and setting up your wedding cake to guarantee it arrives in perfect condition. Local delivery is often included in the price.

Wedding favours by Helen Alborn Cakes
Wedding favours by Helen Alborn Cakes

9. Are you insured?
All cake suppliers should have full public liability insurance. If in doubt ask to see their Certificate of Insurance.

Helen Alborn Wedding Cakes and Favours in Leicestershire
Helen Alborn Wedding Cakes and Favours in Leicestershire

10. How long will my cake last and can I freeze leftovers?
Provided your cake hasn’t been frozen prior to it being decorated there should be no problem freezing it. Your supplier will normally provide boxes and instructions on how best to store your cake.

Ivory Roses Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Ivory Roses Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

11. When do we pay you?
After a cake tasting and consultation, a quote will be put together and sent to you itemising everything that was discussed including the venue, set up time, cake flavours, design, stand hire, delivery, terms and conditions etc. A non refundable deposit is usually paid to confirm the booking and your supplier will indicate when the final payment is due.

Buttercream Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Buttercream Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

12. What happens on the delivery day?
Your cake should be delivered and assembled at your venue at the time and place arranged. An Allergy Advice Sheet will be given to the venue indicating any common allergens which may be present in the cake should any guests need to know, along with details of inedible content and storage boxes for leftovers and decorations.