DIY weddings

When hiring wedding decorations you often have two options, do it your self or hire someone to do it for you.

If you are looking for a DIY wedding then the plan often goes something like this –

buy the stuff, decorate the venue, sell it all on eBay.

Sound like a great plan.  Except when you take a look at eBay you see that 100’s if not 1000’s of brides and grooms have had the same idea and eBay is awash with used wedding decorations. If you are lucky you will sell them but you are highly unlikely to get back anything like what you paid for them.

Wedding Sparkle offer a 3rd option.  Choose your wedding table decoration or chair covers from the huge selection they have on their website.  Place your order, pay and pick it all up from their Brighouse premises, Get your friends and family to help set up your venue and get the best man or the new in-laws to deliver it all back to their Brighouse wedding shop the following week.

You get the same top quality chair covers and wedding decorations as those wanting a full hire service but you save loads.  They call it Collect and Save and on Wedding chair cover hire in Yorkshire alone you can save over 50%.

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Indian wedding, Sikh centre Brighouse

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Winter wedding package

Winter wedding package

Save over £200 on you winter wedding

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Summer wedding decoration

Dunkenhaigh Hotel and Spar, Backburn Road, Clayton le Moors, Blackburn

Occasionally we get asked to travel outside our area; Blackburn is about 30 minutes outside of Calderdale.  The wedding was for a lovely couple with lovely parents and so we agreed to do it.

Saturday morning started early with a trip to Holiday Inn, Tong to pick up Fridays wedding.  We got there and met the grooms mum – who it turned out we knew.  We got showered with compliments about our Martini Glasses and flower arrangements.  The bride came out to share her delight and so a good start to the day.

The  Satnav took us via the motorway which seemed to take forever.  A stop off at the services for coffee was much needed and we arrived at the venue in plenty of time.  Wedding guests were everywhere – it was a big hotel and a quick chat with reception indicated that we were 3rd wedding that day!  So we got parked up, unpacked the van using the route which avoided getting in the way of the wedding guests and set up the venue.

It was a truly beautiful day, the venue had the air-conditioning on full pelt and the room was flipping freezing!   It seems to be an on-going problem with hotels – when you set them up they are either boiling or freezing, we set up in Cleckheaton the previous night and that too was freezing!

The couple chose to be a little different and had a back, purple and gold theme.  They made what some would consider risky choice of black chair covers – but they looked fabulous and we think it’s good to be different.

They added sparkle with Eifel towers with purple flowers, crystals, purple ribbons and LED’s.  The also decided upon gold crystal trees which did a stunning job of linking the wedding with the room.  We added swags to the top and cake table and everyone agreed that the room looked fabulous.

Summer wedding are great particularly those lucky enough to have summer weddings when the weather is glorious.  We provided a selection of giant games to amuse their guests in the garden and spend much time chasing away the children from the other weddings who kept creeping up commando style and knocking everything over.

We set up in under 2 hours and were back on the road.  Ignored the satnav coming home and took the scenic route stopping in a country pub for a late lunch.

The Sparkle team were in good spirits – it all went smoothly and looked lovely.  It gives you a real sense of pride to see the job through to the end.

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Wedding venue decoration

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From time to time a job comes along that makes you proud – really proud.  The Victoria Hall in Keighley is a huge room with a stage, when they put the seating away it is just a big empty room.

It comfortably seats 200 guests, the ceiling is 50 ft high.  They wanted a rock n roll wedding; they wanted the venue to be transformed – all of the venue not just the hall.

So what was the recipe for this transformation?

It took us most of Friday to set up the drapes, chair covers and balloons and then the lighting and sweetie table team came in on Saturday to finish off.

Overall the effect was breathtaking and the customer was delighted!

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Choosing your wedding decorations

In recent years the wedding centre piece has become increasingly important, over 12’000 people search for inspiration online from the UK every month.

So how should you choose?

You need to have some basic information

  • What is your colour scheme?
  • What is your budget?
  • How many do you need?
  • Where are you getting married?
  • When are you getting married?
  • How formal will your wedding breakfast be?

Secondly are you adopting the DIY approach or are you getting professional help and if you are going to buy or rent?

DIY wedding centrepieces

Will it save me money?

This depends on your skills, if you know what you want and the time you have available.

Table decorations tend to be either tall and thin (like a candelabra) or squat (like a fishbowl).  This is to make life easier for your guests, wedding tables tend to be round, they seat usually between 8 and 10 people.  Your guests will want to see what is going on around your room, squat decorations allow you to see over them and tall decorations let you see around them.  Medium sized decorations tend to be head height and tend to be obtrusive.

Decide on the shape you are looking for.  Then try and source your raw materials.  Many people believe that they can buy stuff and then sell it again.  If you are lucky you can but have a look on EBay and see the hundreds of individuals and wedding companies trying to do this.  The truth is that something like a fishbowl has a very limited life – they tend to chip around the top.  Wedding decorations are also quite bulky and heavy and extremely fragile  so shipping costs can be more than the goods.

Avoid high street shops as you will pay dearly.  If you can, go to a wholesaler or take a look at online auction sites for local sellers who are happy for you to pick up. Once you have the basics decide how you will decorate them.  Flowers are a firm favourite; the next choice is real or fake flowers?  Real are of course seasonal – so you can only get what is available, artificial can be just as good as real and offer you a far wider choice.  Good ones are expensive, cheap ones look; well cheap artificial flowers look a bit rubbish.  Avoid getting your florist to do the flowers as this can be extremely expensive.

Transporting to your venue

You will not get 10 candelabras and 100 chair covers in your average hatchback.  You may need to borrow or hire a van.  You will also need to give careful thought to packing your decorations for transport, glassware breaks very easily!

Collecting from the venue

Most venues will clear down after your party, so you will find all of your stuff piled up in a corner.  If you are planning on a day of relaxation or jetting off on your honeymoon after your wedding then you will need to get someone to pick up your stuff on your behalf – they then have the problem of storing it until you have decided on what you are going to do with it.

Professional centrepieces

Often the easiest way forward but can be costly.  The company you choose should deliver, set up and collect on your behalf.  This means that they should also have public liability insurance in case something goes wrong.

Choosing your wedding centrepiece supplier

Many work from home, they will vist you either in your home or at your venue and show you a selection of what is on offer.  You choose it; agree a price and they will deliver it on the day.

Other companies have premises where you can visit, see the entire selection and then work with them to create your individual table decoration.  This should be your preferred route whenever possible.

  • They will have more stock
  • You will have a greater choice – you may go in thinking that you want one thing and come out with something completely different
  • They will often be more experienced
  • You can see what you are buying before your big day
  • They will often let you customise your items
  • They will help you find the decoration that you are looking for and if you don’t you can just walk away
  • Hoe sellers tend to work on pressure – sometimes it is tough getting rid of them
  • Do they have a good website?
  • Does the website have testimonials so you can see what other customers think?
  • Does the website have prices?
  • Are they on Facebook – is it kept up to date?
  • Are they local?
  • Can you visit them?
  • Do they have a local phone number or just a mobile number?

Things to consider

Once you have chosen you should insist on an itemised quotation so that you clearly understand what you are paying for.  They should also provide you with clear payment options and their trading Terms and Conditions.  Read both carefully and if you have questions don’t be afraid to ask.

Give them the full venue details including the contact details of venue wedding co-ordinator, insist that they call the venue to arrange the time for drop off and collection because on you r big day you will have better things to do!

Once it is all over always find the time to give them feedback and if you are happy tell them!  To see what our customers think about us visit our testimonial page.  To visit our workshop click here for details.

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Cheap Chair covers

We were asked to supply table decorations to a couple who had organised their chair covers online.  Search chair covers and you will find loads of companies offering chair covers for £1.00 or even less.  Sounds like a chair cover bargain?  Possibly not.

This is how it works … you order your covers online by credit card and you agree that all damages will be deducted.  They send you them by courier, you use them and then you send them back within 2 days.   The sites claim; “Do It Yourself option which means you can cut out the cost of having to pay someone to fit your chair covers for the wedding, the wedding chair covers are manufactured with four pockets so they can be easily fitted to most chair types”.   Sounds great, what can possibly go wrong?

The customer unpacked the chair covers and asked the venue to put them on – the venue said they would but understandably said there would be a charge.  For anyone who has never done it, fitting stretch chair covers is time consuming and back breaking.  To do covers and sashes for 100 chairs will take you at least 2 hours – possibly more.  If you stop and think about it you have probably got better things to do on your wedding day 😉

So the bride and her mum started to put them on.  First of all they were not particularly clean, the cheap chair companies claim that the covers will be “light laundered” whatever that means – from the look and smell of them we were not convened that they had been laundered at all. Secondly you could see through them, hotel chairs tend to be rather garish (it’s why we cover them up!) and you could see the quite clearly the red and gold stripe through the fabric.   The bigger problem was that the cheap stretch covers were extremely small and particularly stretchy.  Wedding Sparkle stocks 4 styles of stretch covers because the difference in chair size from venue to venue is massive.  The cheap chair cover one size fits all proposition simply does not work.

As the covers went on they started to give way at the seams, I am not talking about the odd one or two but the majority.  We have provided covers at the venue before and whilst the chairs are high backed – they are not particularly wide, so we were surprised by this.

The customer had signed a contract and agreed that all damages will be paid for at £4 per cover – the cheap chair company charge this upfront.  What is damage – well anything they decide really.  They say that anything not removed by light laundering.  From our experience when people go to weddings the gents clean their shoes and the ladies slap liberal amounts of fake tan on their legs – guess what – the chairs take heavy collateral damage which needs professional cleaning is needed.

Let’s do the maths.

Hire cost of 100 chair covers for £1 = £100

Damage deposit = £400

Total paid = £500

For the example we saw 80% were damaged just getting them on – let’s assume this is extreme and say 25% are considered damaged by the cheap chair cover supplier

25 x £4 = £100

Your total cost would be £2 a cover – which is what most reputable companies will charge you – including delivering, fitting and collecting.

Collection is another issue, cheap chair cover suppliers hire you your chairs for 2 days, for every day late back they charge you £20 a day (note this is actual day not working day).

Most people get married on a Saturday so the cheap internet chair cover company will deliver them on a Friday (most couriers won’t deliver on a Saturday) which means that you have to get them back to the company by Monday – unless you are prepared to drive them to the depot then this is simply not possible without incurring additional same day courier fees.

So going back to your maths you are paying an additional £20 so the total actual cost of your cheap chair covers is £2.25.

In the end we took the cheap covers off and used ours.  Crap covers look bad for the couple, the venue and the wedding decorator suppler and we didn’t want the guests thinking that the chairs were ours.

Wedding Sparkle don’t do cheap chair covers like this because they are a con, please don’t fall for it and always read the small print.

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Wedding Sparklechair covers 200g/ M2 polyester/Lycra mix, this means that they are thick enough not to see through them and fabric mix ensures that they have sufficient stretch but at the same time maintain their shape and have “cotton” like appearance.  Cheap covers have are 100g/M2 or less and have a higher Lycra content – which makes them thin shiny (like tights!).

We get them professionally laundered (cleaned to hospital standard) and insist on using a fabric conditioner that makes them smell fresh.  Only in EXTREME cases do we charge for damage – we have supplied over 5000 of covers this year and have only charged for 4 covers.

We always check with the venue prior to your event to ensure that we bring the right covers and that they are the right size.

We put them on, make sure they look nice and then pick them up the following day.  We charge £2 for stretch and £3 for fitted (because we have to press them).

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