#8 Fashion and Beauty with Jo Hoare

This week on the podcast I was joined by fashion and beauty writer Jo Hoare to share her expertise on how best to style yourself on the wedding day.

Jo has worked as a fashion and beauty writer for over a decade and has also written for bridal magazines.  She is perhaps a little wedding jaded but still has some great advice for brides and guests.

For brides she suggests making thinking about buying a designer dress rather than a wedding dress.  If there is a designer you have always wanted to own a dress buy perhaps this is the time to do it rather than spending that money on a traditional wedding dress.

For bridesmaid dresses Jo thinks that when choosing bridesmaid dresses there has to be some reality.  Remember that it is unlikely all of your friends will have the same body type and perhaps not all feel body confident in what you have selected for them.  Jo shares a tale of when she was a bridesmaid and the dress was back less and very low cut – not ideal for a G cup bridesmaid!  Perhaps consider what dress will best work for your bridesmaids body shape and size.  Jo is a bridesmaid this coming summer and the bride has given a colour scheme and the bridesmaid just have to select their own dresses in that colour scheme.

Jo strongly recommends looking after your skin in the run up to your wedding and getting regular facials booked in. She also suggests booking a make up artist to get you ready on the day.  A make up artist will know which products will best work when being photographed and that will survive the day.  It is a long day and the make up artist will be able to layer your make up so that it lasts.

Sarah Southern 

#6 Clare is Getting Married

Clare Burton and I have been friends since we were 16.  I have witnessed every relationship she has had for the past twenty plus years. So you can imagine my relief when Karl came onto the scene and she finally met the one she was meant to be with.  Clare is also a very close pal of Briony and Laura.

They became engaged in the summer of 2017 and will marry in June 2018.  They both live on Jersey in the Channel Islands and will have their marriage in the parish church followed by a reception on a venue in the north west of the island.

Clare spoke about how she feels different about her relationship with Karl since they became engaged and how firmer she feels with it and him.  She said that being engaged is a lovely feeling so no doubt this will increase once they are married.

We spoke about the odd tradition of asking the father’s permission of proposing to their partner.  It seems a little antiquated and removes the joy of telling your own parents that you are getting married! I know I would be very disappointed if I didn’t get to share that lovely news with my folks.

Clare and I discussed invitations and joining instructions.  Clare had not yet send the invitations when we spoke so I was encouraging her to get them sent out.  Also, I was advising her to include all the necessary information that guests will need to know when they are in Jersey such as hotels, transport and if anything is happening on Sunday. Although Jersey isn’t abroad it does feel abroad as you have to go to an airport to get to the wedding. As such, a little bit of extra information is required to make guests feel at ease.

We have Clare’s hen dos coming up so no doubt that will be featuring on the podcast soon!

Sarah Southern

#3 Julia’s a Bridesmaid…again!

My dear friend Julia has been a bridesmaid 8 times.  Yes, 8 times.  She has a wardrobe full of dresses that would rival Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses.  In episode 3 of the podcast I chat to her about her experiences of being a bridesmaid and what advice and tips she would share about being a bridesmaid.

After the bride the most visual members of the wedding party are, of course, the bridesmaids. They’re often dressed in the same outfit as each other, arrive with the bride and have often taken a hand in organising the day.  There is no denying they are a crucial part of the wedding day.

Julia has lived in the US and the UK so has experienced weddings on both side of the Atlantic.  She has organised hen dos, bridal showers and worn nine outfits for her eight weddings.  But Julia still loves being a bridesmaid and has really enjoyed being apart of her close friend’s big day.

When being asked to be a bridesmaid it is not just a case of turning up on the day, holding posey, wearing a matching dress and waiting for the compliments to roll in.  If you’re taking your role seriously you will be organising the hen do, helping keeping things run smoothly on the big day and probably helping keep the bride cool, calm and collected.

The big decision for bridesmaids and the bride will probably be the dress.  No doubt the bride has an idea of what she wants and how it will match her dress and the feel of the day.  It would be unusual for the bride to want her dearest friends to look below par on the day so work together to pick the best dress possible.  It is probably good to have a chat about who is going to pay for the dress.  Decide this from the get go and let everyone involved know.  If you want your bridesmaids to pay for their dress it is probably a good idea to discuss realistic budgets.

There are many options for bridesmaid dresses.  For my friend Laura’s wedding we used Maids to Measure who make bespoke dresses but there are some amazing options on the high street.  And high street might be a great option if your bridesmaids are spread far and wide.  For Clare’s wedding this summer I am living in London, her sisters are in Newcastle and she is in Jersey. Makes trying on dresses a little challenging as there are only a finite number of time we will be together pre the Big Day.

The other key element of being a bridesmaid is planning the hen do.  The joy of hen do planning will be coming up on a future episode.

Sarah Southern

#1 Laura Gets Married


Episode one of the podcast is me chatting to my best friend Laura about her wedding to Ben.  They married in 2012 at the Chateau du Ludaix in France.  Perhaps one of the most beautiful places I have stayed at a wedding.  The Chateau is own and run by Stephanie Holland and David Morton. Two wonderful hosts who made Ben and Laura’s wedding so personal and fun.  The Chateau can be hired with accommodation for 27 people and David and Stephanie can help secure local accommodation close to the Chateau for your guests.

Ben and Laura got engaged in the spring of 2011 and spent just over a year planning their day.  As Laura talked about on the podcast they decided to have an international wedding as the Chateau was a special place for them both.  There were of course a few issues in marrying overseas.  To legally get married in France you need to be resident there for 6 weeks ahead of the wedding.  Do check the legality of your wedding if you choose to get married abroad.  Check out the .Gov website for advice on marriage abroad.

Laura asked me to be her Chief Bridesmaid as one of her closet friends but also as I am an organiser.  There were a lot of evenings spent looking at spreadsheets with them (I say them, I really mean Ben) and working out how the day will run.  From the point of view of the guest, they knew that I was the contact person for the day of the wedding. Ben and Laura didn’t need to be hassled with anything.  I knew exactly what they wanted so could solve any issues that appeared during the day.

Laura and Ben relied on their friends to make their day as special as possible. They are incredibly fortunate to have some very talented friends. Katie Hillier designed the engagement and wedding rings, hair pieces and veil; Henry Holland designed the dress; Adam Reed did the hair and Cameron McNee did the photos.  It was lovely to have some of her dearest friends involved in those elements.  Of course not all of us have an award winning fashion designer as a best pal but no doubt there will be friends who can help with the day in their own way.  Whether this be flower arranging, designing the invitations, making a cake or photography.  Ask if they would like to be involved.  I’m sure they’ll want to help make your day as perfect as possible.

An overseas wedding can often fill a guest with dread.  Must they use their holiday allocation for someone else’s wedding? It can be a drag.  There are definitely ways in which you can reduce the stress on your guest for an overseas wedding, like Ben and Laura did.

Firstly, give your guests as much notice as possible.  Let them know what you’re planning so they can begin to think about how that fits with their own holiday plans.  Let them know the logistics.  What is the closest airport? Who flies there? Do they need to hire a car? Are there other guests they can buddy up with to save on costs?  Booking the flight at a bargain rate is certainly going to lure more guests to come celebrate with you.

Plan the accommodation. If you have hired a chateau like Ben and Laura did work out who is staying there and who else needs accommodation near by.  Ben and Laura were lucky in that most of their friends were able to stay in a youth hostel style accommodation with private rooms and en suite.  It was cost effective and within walking distance of Chateau du Ludaix.  Try and get a deal with a local hotel or B&B close by so guests have somewhere accessible to stay at a sensible price.  Also suggest a number of other places for people to stay that fit multiple budgets and types of groups.  What a single person wants will of course differ to a family of four.

Ben and Laura were conscious that people were having to spend more than normal to attend a wedding in France.  As such they didn’t encourage people to buy gifts.  This was a very sensible thing to do as it removed some financial pressure from guests.  Try and find ways that you can reduce the financial pressure on your guests.  Although I have no doubt they will all still buy you gifts it is a psychological mind set of offering them the option to save something.

Following Ben and Laura’s a group of us stayed in the Chateau for a week and had a lovely holiday.  This was a mixture of their friends and family and was a great way to keep the celebration going before they headed off on honeymoon.  See who wants to turn the wedding into a vacation and get people signed up!

Sarah Southern 

Wedding Guest Extraordinaire Podcast

Welcome! 2018 will be full of joy and weddings. We will of course getting to celebrate with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this May. Later in the year the Queen’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie will marry Jack Brooksbank.  A very exciting and happy year for the Royal family.

Of course other brides and grooms will be choosing to take the next big step in their relationship and get married. In June 2018 I will be Chief Bridesmaid at my friend Clare’s wedding.  This will be the third time I have undertaken such a role (well, one time as Chief Bridesmaid and one time as Director of Guest Experience/Chief Usher).

All of these bits of wonderful nuptials comes just as I am beginning to plan a new podcast called Wedding Guest Extraordinaire. Why Wedding Guest Extraordinaire? Well, I have been a guest so many times.  I have helped friends plan their weddings, I have been invited to weddings on the strength of my wedding game, I love a wedding and well, why not celebrate people’s love.

Join me each week as I chat to friends about their experiences of planing their big day, providing some key tips on planning your wedding, speaking to industry experts and generally getting excited about all the love.  For the ushers, best men and bridesmaids (and indeed guests) I hope there will also be some tips on how to be a helpful member of the wedding party to guarantee it is the most special day possible.

As I type I am in the depths of planning a hen do for Clare’s wedding as well as providing some essential support in choosing her dress.  And of course the key decision: choosing the bridesmaid dresses!  Expect to hear about Clare’s big day and indeed how fun the hen do is.

Do subscribe to the podcast and follow on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Sarah Southern