#10 Harriet Gets Married

This week on the podcast I am joined by the comedian Harriet Kemsley to chat about her wedding to Bobby Mair.  Bobby proposed after dating for a number of year and they married after an 18 month engagement.  During the planning of the wedding they were commissioned for a tv show about their wedding on Viceland.

Harriet has had a very unique experience as few people will get to make a TV show about their wedding.  No doubt it added the pressure on in the weeks leading up to the wedding having to also write, produce and perform in a show about planning the wedding and have filming on the day itself.  But what a great experience to have!

Harriet and I chatted about choosing her dress, selecting bridesmaid dress and going skiing for her hen do.

Listen in as it’s a great episode.

Sarah Southern

#9 Get the Dress with Henry Holland

This week on the podcast I spoke to the award winning fashion designer, and the talent behind the House of Holland label, the incredibly brilliant Henry Holland.

You’ll remember from the very first podcast episode that Henry designed my best friend Laura’s dress.  It was a mega three-in-one spectacular design that meant changes through the day for Laura from long to mid length to cigarette pant.  It is my absolute favourite dress that I have ever seen a bride in.

Henry and I chatted about the process of designing the dress for Laura before chatting about those of us who don’t have award winning fashion designers on speed dial should do to source the perfect dress.  Henry firmly believes you should wear a dress that makes you feel special and reflects your personality but that doesn’t mean you should break the bank.  He shared a story about how one of his friends found her perfect dress in New Look.  He suggested trying on dresses from all price points from high end to high street and find the style that suits you and what you want and then locate that in the price bracket you can afford.  He also suggested getting a cheaper dress but then styling it with expensive shoes that you’ve always wanted.

For bridesmaid dresses he suggested finding the dress that makes you feel a million dollars and then have it made in the same fabric.  This way all the bridesmaids can have the same fabric but in a dress that suits their style and personality.

I asked Henry who his prediction for the Royal wedding dress would be. Like Patrick Grant, Henry thinks it will be British.  Perhaps a final design by Christopher Bailey at Burberry.  Let’s see if he’s right come Saturday 19 May when Meghan Markle walks down the aisle in St George’s Chapel.

We also discussed colour drenching, how lilac is the new millennium pink and his engagement and impending wedding.  It is a really great episode so do take a listen.

Update: The episode with Henry has proven very popular. The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, Hello!Huffington Post and Harpers Bazaar have all covered his prediction that Christopher Bailey at Burberry might be the designer of Meghan Markle’s wedding dress.

Sarah Southern 

#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 

#4 Briony Gets Married

This week our wedding expert, Sarah Southern spoke to Briony who married Paddy in the summer of 2012.  They had been dating for 8 years when they became engaged.  This was at Christmas 2011 when their son was almost 9 months old.  Sadly, this immensely happy  expereince was tinged with sadness as Briony’s father had passed away suddenly a few months earlier.

In the podcast Briony shares her experience of planning her wedding whilst dealing with grief and how she didn’t sweat of the small stuff as she knew it would just get sorted.  Briony and I really hope that his podcast is not only helpful for those planning a wedding in London, or looking to plan a humanist ceremony but that those who are having a challenging time can see that joy and happiness can prevail.

Briony had two ceremonies for her wedding.  The first was a civil ceremony at Hackney Town Hall for close family followed by a fish and chips lunch at the Britannia pub (now called the People’s Tavern).  This was the first formal family occasion they had had since Briony’s dad passed so it was a high emotion day and having a smaller event just with close family made that easier.

Briony bought her wedding dress for the civil ceremony from Maids to Measure, her shoes from Marks and Spencers and did her hair and make up herself.  She opted for a short 50s style dress and looked very chic.

Later in the year there was a larger celebration for the marriage with friends and family at The Roost in Hackney.  This was a humanist ceremony followed by a reception and dancing.  The Roost was a great venue to use on multiple floors and a bar which could be stocked with whatever you chose to buy.  Briony and Paddy opted for French Martinis which the guests (ok, me!) very much enjoyed!

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

#2 Elliot Gets Married

Elliot proposed to Tom after they had been dating only a year.  Swift one might think but I think Elliot knew pretty early on that Tom was going to be the one.   Tom, being a teacher, wanted the wedding to be in the school holidays.  Makes perfect sense as he also taught Saturdays!

When Tom and Elliot were planning their wedding I was living at Elliot’s so I was often involved in wedding planning chat.  They came up with some frankly bonkers ideas.  I was constantly saying to them ‘just keep in mind the guest experience’.  There is little point organising a day that will cost you a substantial amount of money and invite your nearest and dearest to then have them stood in the cold with no refreshments for most of the day.  My constant reminding of the ‘guest experience’ earned me the role of Director of Guest Experience/Chief Usher.  Let’s be realistic, there are few roles that are more important in the wedding party!

When planning your wedding do keep the guests at the forefront of your mind.  You might want to have a wedding on a private island in the Caribbean but can your guests afford to get there?  You might want to get married on Christmas Day but will your guests want to come along?  You might want to do a photo shoot in your wedding finery on the beach near the venue but your guests might not want to entertain themselves for two hours.  You might want an outfit change between day and night but do your guests really want to spend the day changing their clobber.

Enough of my obsession with the guest expereince, and back to Tom and Elliot’s wedding.

Elliot and Tom are a christian couple but were unable to marry in a church.  They had a small civil service for family at the venue in the morning and then a blessing in the afternoon which had hymns, readings, and a blessing from a vicar.  It felt very much like a traditional church wedding especially as there is part of Elmore Court that feels a bit churchy.

Do check what you can and can’t do in a civil ceremony before you get married.  There are certain songs and readings that will not be allowed.

Elliot and Tom pondered for sometime as to where they would get married.  Should it be in London, Warwickshire (where Elliot grew up) or Gloucestershire (where Tom’s family live).  London was soon ruled out when the cost of the day became realised.  It was then a case of finding the venue that best suited them as a couple.  Elliot hates a marquee so it needed to be somewhere that could fit in all the guests without the need for a tent. Elmore Court has a great space that has been built specifically for weddings and parties.  The people who own Elmore Court also run the Secret Garden Party festival so they had a great attitude to making the day happen as Elliot and Tom wanted.  They weren’t rigid in their approach which was great and allowed them to get their perfect day.

There are a number of rooms at Elmore Court so the wedding party plus close friends stayed over.  This meant the party didn’t end until the very small hours for some of us.  I did think I might not recover from the hangover after Elliot and Tom’s.  It wasn’t the funnest trip back home!

Tom and Elliot relied heavily on their wedding party to help deliver a really great day.  Don’t shy away from giving tasks to your best man, ushers and bridesmaids.  It is what they are there for.  You should be enjoying the day but make sure you have someone who can be the point person for the venue and guests during the day.  This will save you so much stress and guarantee that you get what you want.

Do talk though your ideas with you bridesmaids or ushers.  They might be able to save you a lot of hassle and money by bringing a reality to what you’re planning.  Tom and Elliot had some crackers ideas at times and I really did despair.  Sometimes you need a party pooper who will point out you are wasting money and it will have no impact on the day.

Tom and Elliot kept the guests at the forefront of their mind when planning this wedding and it really paid off. The couple had a brilliant day and the guests loved every moment of it.

Tom and Elliot’s wedding has also been great inspiration for some of my comedy.  Take a peek at my take on their day.

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