mother of the brideA few years ago a friend of mine asked for some help in choosing her Mother of the Groom outfit. Many weeks were spent on this, tens of outfits tried on, and finally a gorgeous, floral designer dress was chosen. This was an expensive and exclusive garment, so all was well and there was much excitement as the wedding approached. When the day arrived, it turned out that the Bride’s Mother was wearing exactly the same dress.

The moral of this story is to communicate with the Bride and all the other VIP’s involved with the wedding when it comes to looking good on the day. Mums have to choose their wedding clothes carefully as they are pretty much on show for the whole of the event.

Here are some general tips on getting it right.

It’s important to liaise with the bride, bridesmaids, and mother of the groom to achieve a coordinated look that will work well for photographs and with the overall theme and colour scheme of the wedding.
• Your dress should colour tone in with the Bridesmaid’s dresses, For instance an outfit in lilac, plum or light blue would tone in with the bridesmaid’s dresses if they are wearing a lavender colour.
• Try to avoid fashion fads and instead wear something that has timeless, classical elegance. A co-ordinated plain jacket and pattern dress could work, as can pale coloured suits with the outfit finished with a lovely hat. Remember the photos and videos will be around for a long time and you don’t want to look like a fashion victim.
• Be careful with the fabric of your dress. Linen is lovely and cool but it does crease. Silk feels luxurious. It may be best to wear a mix of natural fibres such as cotton or light wool.
• Finally ensure you are comfortable as well as stylish. Between greeting guests at the ceremony and reception, attending to the needs of the bridal party and dancing later, the bride’s mother has her hands full. Don’t wear anything that is tight fitting. It’s best to wear a medium-size heel when it comes to shoes. However, if you insist in wearing high heels, then slip a pair of fold-up flat pump shoes in your bag so that later on you can comfortably dance the night away.


Jo and Aaron on stepsJenna Cook (28) and Aaron Brown (27) are tying the knot at Hylands House, Essex, in April, following a two and half year courtship that has not been all plain sailing. The couple has a remarkably strong bond, are extensive travellers and met on the daily commute to work.
“This was in June 2012, although we didn’t start dating until the October. After some weeks of getting the train together he finally said hello to me as the train pulled up in London. Since then, we have spoken every day”, said Jenna. “From our first date onwards, we knew we had something very special”. For very strong reasons, Jenna had cancelled four dates before going ahead. “We had built up a very good friendship before having a relationship and still to this day, we think this is why it works, and works incredibly well.

“When Aaron entered my life, he was taking on a big challenge”, continues Jenna. “My Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, which has become terminal. I am an only child and so life was extremely sad and difficult. To let someone into your life at that stage means they have to be an exceptional person.”

In their first year together, Aaron planned lots of holidays including travelling to Mexico to help Jenna deal with the constant worry of cancer, hospitals and of taking care of someone you love greatly. A further challenge was ahead though, as Jenna found a lump in her breast and had to undergo surgery to remove lymph nodes. “I am not sure where I would be now if Aaron hadn’t come into my life.”

A World Adventure at Hylands

Hylands is already a special place for Jenna and Aaron. Jenna does a lot of charity work and did the ‘Race for Life’ on behalf of Cancer UK in the Park there. Hylands was also used as the romantic setting for when Aaron asked Jenna’s parents for their blessing in regard to the marriage.

With 120 day guests and an additional 150 people in the evening, the couple are using the magnificent red and gold Banqueting Room in Hylands House for the wedding reception drinks and the new Grand Pavilion for the wedding breakfast. Jenna will take advantage of the serene Bridal Suite for her and her party to get ready in on the day.

“The staff at Hylands House are very helpful and have answered all my questions along the way” said Jenna, ”the booking process was easy and I am looking forward to my day there.”
The Banqueting Room is lavishly decorated with 24 carat gold leaf swag and scroll decorations, silk lined walls and hand painted wall motifs and completing the luxurious look is a French marble fireplace. There are floor-to-ceiling windows to let the light stream in and give a stunning view of the back lawn, parkland and Serpentine Lake beyond. The Grand Pavilion has sparkling chandeliers and ivory drapes, a stunning bar, PA sound system and atmospheric mood lighting. Guests enjoy private views of the courtyard garden with steps leading to romantic walks in the Pleasure Gardens and landscaped parkland beyond.

“We are basing our wedding on a very typical traditional family orientated one”, said Jenna “but with our own little stamp on it.” Every table is named after the places in the world which Aaron and Jenna travelled to during their first year together. “There are suitcases where people can put their cards and gifts and also a crate of flip flops so if the ladies feet are sore they can pop these on instead.”

The wedding dress is a traditional one, bought by Jenna’s Grandmother. Charlotte, Aaron’s sister is the Bridesmaid and will be dressed in pastel pink. Aaron’s brother David is the Best Man and there is a Pageboy and four Ushers. They will all be wearing Navy Suits and pastel pink socks. “We chose pastel pink to reflect back to Breast Cancer Care” said Jenna.
The food will be traditional fayre consisting of the families’ favourites and includes Prawn Cocktail, Soup, Sausage and Mash, Fish and Chips, Profiteroles and Cheesecake. There’s a sweet cart too, planned and personalised by Jenna herself, who has a very sweet tooth!

Jenna and Aaron’s wedding day is even more poignant than most. Aaron proposed in Venice in October 2014. “My engagement ring is engraved with ‘Always and Forever’ with a pink diamond on the inside of the band for my Mum, as she won’t always be with me in person but my ring will be” said Jenna. Aaron designed the ring himself.
The wedding ceremony takes place at All Saints Church, Springfield. “Both sets of parents got married in Church, so this feels right” adds Jenna.
The couple will continue their travels, with the next stop being Lanzarote, a familiar place to Jenna.


country styleGone are the days of simply picking a colour for your wedding day. Today’s couples not only tend to select a whole colour palette, but they also work to a theme when styling their dream wedding.

A trend appearing in more and more weddings is shabby chic / country garden with plenty of bunting, old apple crates and paper pompoms helping to achieve the look.

Have a look through some of our unique wedding styling ideas for your own country themed wedding…

• collect old jam jars, decorate with lace and twine and fill with gypsophila to display around your wedding venue
• use an old battered suitcase as your wedding card holder. Display a sign or mini bunting reading “cards” so your guests know where to deposit their cards
• why not turn an old rickety stepladder into your table plan! Decorated with handpicked, garden flowers with cards outlining who sits where, this can be a striking wedding venue detail
• if your wedding venue has pretty grounds or gardens, make use of them! Hold your drinks reception in the gardens, offer cups of tea and finger sandwiches to keep with the theme and keep the hunger away until the wedding breakfast
• make contact with a farmer who will be able to provide you with hay bales to position around your wedding venue grounds for country style seating for your guests
• fresh cut, garden flowers can be a more affordable yet perfect accessory to your country style wedding. If you or your friends or relatives are keen gardeners, why not grow your own and pick them fresh for the wedding!
• get your creative friends together for a fun pre-wedding styling party where you can make your own bunting, paper pompoms and signs for the day from old pieces of wood
• hessian is another wonderful and useful wedding accessory – use it as table runners or decorate your old jam jars with it; you can even wrap it around the stems of your floral displays around your wedding venue. The opportunities are endless!


Hylands Wedding Estate Bride & GroomStunning wedding venue, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford, is basking in glory once more as it has been awarded the title ‘44th best place to wed in the UK’ by luxury bridal magazine, Brides.

The Conde Nast publication, home to the likes of Vogue, gave its top 70 places to tie the knot in a special spring feature and Hylands was the only venue in Essex to make it on the list.

Tamsin Beeson, Wedding Planner, Hylands Estate, says: “We’re thrilled to be chosen by Brides magazine as one of the top places to get married in the UK. There were some really impressive venues in the line-up including the Kensington Roof Gardens, London, Warwick Castle, and Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire.”

Hylands Estate recently won Best Wedding Venue (Heritage) in Essex in 2014 and has also been shortlisted for a host of other awards too.

Hylands range of celebration spaces presents the perfect setting for intimate gatherings or lavish receptions. The venues overlook landscaped gardens and parkland beyond, providing romantic settings for a couple’s special day. The banqueting room is extravagantly decorated in a neo baroque style, with a marble fireplace and floor to ceiling windows. The room provides a stunning space for wedding parties.

The spectacular contemporary Grand Pavilion allows Hylands to accommodate a wide range of weddings, including cultural weddings too. The pavilion can accommodate up to 300 people and offers the latest in style and sophistication with romantic lighting and creates an ideal space for large receptions.

To find out more, visit, or call:01245 605500.