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Your bridal party are your “a-team” that totally have your back  on the day! They have named roles and should be chosen wisely.  These people mean a lot to you and your other half and asking them to be part of the main party will be a real honour to those asked.  Here are a list of their bridal party duties:

Maid/Matron of Honour/Chief Bridesmaid – This is the lady who the bride will rely most heavily.  Their duties include:

  • Delegating tasks to other bridesmaids and coordinating meetings
  • Arrange meetings for dress fittings
  • Organise the hen party
  • Help with general planning activities
  • On the day – take charge of the other bridesmaids and flower girls, assist the bride when she gets ready, billow and smoothes her dress prior to the ceremony and for photographs, finds a safe place for her belongings and takes the brides bouquet at the ceremony
  • Appear in the majority of formal photographs
  • May be asked to be a witness for the signing of the register
  • Ensure the guest book is sent round to all guests for signing
  • Ensure that all personal belongings are gathered together at the end of the evening and that everything is collected the next day
  • Assist the bride when going to the powder room

Bridesmaids – These guests are always female of any age from 8 years upwards.  The main job of a bridesmaids is to assist the chief bridesmaid with their plans, especially the hen party. The bridesmaids will help to gather all the ladies together for a bouquet toss. The bridesmaids would traditionally walk down the aisle after the bride, but it’s now becoming more popular for the bridesmaids to walk down first with the bride walking in last. This creates more anticipation for the congregation.  The bridesmaids are thanked in the grooms speech.  Choosing bridesmaids can be difficult as you need to think about all the ladies and girls in both immediate families, if you choose particular people you may feel that you need to choose others to make it fair.  If you decide on just a few ladies or girls, perhaps others that are close to you could be given important roles such as organising the hen party or reading a poem during the ceremony.  They will usually wear special dresses in the chosen colour theme and may have a floral bouquet to finish the look.

Flower girlsIf you have any under 8 year olds within your party you might want to ask them to be your flower girl.  Any little girl will absolutely love wearing a pretty dress and being an important person for the day!  A flower girl will walk down the aisle (usually first in the procession), scattering petals from a basket or carrying a miniature floral bouquet or wand.

Page boys – If you have any little boys in your party you might want to ask them to be your page boy.  Usually the page boy will accompany the flower girl down the aisle and may also act as the ring bearer.

Best Man – The best man (or men) is the main source of support to the groom throughout the planning of the wedding.  The biggest tasks for the best man is the organisation of the stag party, looking after those important rings on the day and of course the anticipated “best mans speech”!  Other duties will include collecting and organising any hired suits, coordinating the ushers, acting as master of ceremonies if required and potentially a witness for the signing of the register.

UshersThe ushers are there to assist the bride, groom and best man on the day more than anything.  They generally wear the suits chosen for the groom and best man to show that they are part of the bridal party along with buttonholes.  Duties may include, greeting guests at the ceremony venue, handing out order of services and seating of the guests for the ceremony.


Good luck choosing your wedding “a-team”!


Olivia x

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Ok, firstly, this is a big topic and I am NOT a florist but the points below may assist you when choosing your florist and wedding flowers and to get to grips with wedding flower basics.

Flowers can really make a wedding, the scent, the colour, the nostalgia, the opulence, the simplicity, they really give a wow factor to your special day.  Your chosen florist will be able to advise you on flowers that are in season, what flowers go well together, what foliage will work and what arrangements will work best at your venue and for your style.  I would always recommend getting on…you know what I’m going to say…pinterest, to gather images of what styles, flowers, colours and themes your really love.

You might want to think about the following:

  • Bridal bouquet/Bridesmaids bouquets– what flowers do you love? Have these put in your bouquet. Do you want something modern and spherical or would you prefer something more whimsical and organic? Some brides choose to put a little photo of a love one or add important pieces of jewellery of sentimental value.  You won’t be able to hold on to these all day so make sure there are some vases available with water to keep them looking fresh.  You could put them on the cake table/on a mantelpiece to add to the decoration.
  • Buttonholes and corsages – Buttonholes will match what’s in the bridal bouquet and are given to the best man, ushers, fathers, brothers and grandfathers (and any other male in your bridal party). Corsages are for the ladies to wear on their wrist or lapel, for the mothers, grandmothers, sisters (go for magnet fixings so clothing is not damaged by pins)
  • Ceremony arrangements – pew/aisle ends, long and low table arrangement, pedestal arrangements, floral archways and bay trees
  • Table centrepieces – There are so many different variations of table centrepieces to choose from. I always love tall arrangements because they give height to a room and look very showy and don’t hide guests faces when you are talking to them.  These may come in the form of tall cylinder vases, martini glasses or candelabras.  However, you may prefer pretty low level posies in a fish bowl vase, ordinary vase, oasis or in jam jars.  You florist will be able to advise on styles and flower types.
  • General venue flowers – You might want to decorate other areas of the venue with flowers for example, staircases, cake toppers, mantelpieces, window sills, coffee tables, bar area, doors, gardens, table plan and gift and cake tables.


Each florist differs so this is a tough area.  The more foliage you use the less it will be.  Out of season flowers will cost more as will opulent lavish designs that use more flowers and take more of the florist’s time to create.

Bouquet’s and buttonholes are a necessity but the above are really not, so be realistic.  Most florists will itemise every element and you’ll be able to cancel an entry you do not require closer to the time, if budget is an issue.

DIY flowers?

If you have someone in your wedding party who’s pretty darn awesome at flower arranging and can get to a wholesale flower market, then by all means have a go.  However, in general I would discourage you from providing your own flowers on the big day.  Flower arranging is a skill, that’s why florist’s exist.  They have trained to know how to put together arrangements in a aesthetically pleasing manner.  They are also a fresh product and will need conditioning.  You’ll be too busy getting ready and enjoying your morning – so in my opinion, if you are going to spend money, hire a florist! Your venue will be transformed and the place will look breathtaking!

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Inviting children to your wedding is entirely up to you both. Children are a huge part of family life and weddings are a big life event where they do play a part.  You may even have children of your own or you might have niece’s or nephews, young cousins and friends who have little ones.

At the onset of your wedding planning you and your partner need to think about whether you would like little people at your wedding or not.  By the way, this is totally your choice but for some reason this topic sparks hot debate between family members and friends which can put pressure on you either way.

Team | Child Free Wedding

This doesn’t mean to say you don’t like children at all by the way! There are many reasons that you may choose not to have kids attend your wedding such as giving the adult guest a chance to have a day/night off, you may have budget or capacity constraints or the venue you’ve chosen may not be child friendly.  Whatever the reason, you need to make your intentions clear from the get go.  I would advise calling and actually speaking to those who will be affected.  Explain that you’ve chosen your wedding to be a child free occasion and you wanted to give them plenty of time to arrange child care.  Do be mindful that if one of your guests have just had a baby, it’s important for the newborn to be with their parents, so this would be an exception.  You may also have your own children or close family members who are kids that need to be at your wedding.  You may have to deal with negative comments from family/friends.  If you do receive this sort of reaction, it’s not nice but do stand your ground.  Perhaps if those guests are being difficult and not accepting your wishes, they shouldn’t be attending in the first place.  In most cases you will find that your guests will appreciate your choice and will make arrangements to respect your wishes.


Team | All children are invited

On the flip side you may feel that your wedding won’t be the same without the little cuties! This is also a very valid response.  A wedding is all about love, family and friendship and children play a huge role here.  If you have a venue that has a large enough capacity, provides children’s meals, highchairs, family accommodation and you have the budget to do so then totally go for it! Children at weddings can get very restless, bored and tired.  Make sure you keep them entertained and looked after during the day.  You might want to hire a nanny so the parents can relax and enjoy, organise children’s activity packs for during the wedding breakfast or arrange a room to be filled with toys, games and crafts.  Just be prepared to entertain the children.  At the end of the day though, the children’s parents are responsible for them during your special day and that includes curbing any bad behaviour!


Good luck and do what you both want to don’t worry about anyone else!


Olivia x

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If like me you’re engaged to be married (congrats!) one of the most thrilling parts of the wedding planning process is the dress search!It’s a really exciting time and the dress is probably something you’ve dreamed of since being a little girl – am I right?  I started my search last week so this is all really fresh in my mind!  I had a lovely first experience and I’m looking forward to visiting more boutiques soon.

I wanted to share with you my top tips when embarking on your wedding dress shopping:

1/ Start thinking about what you want.  You know what I’m going to say – pinterest!  It’s a good idea to get a feel for what you like the look of in terms of style, colour, length, material along with accessories such as veils, jewellery and shoes

2/ Out of the photos you like, research the particular designers.  There are so many designers out there!

3/ Research what boutiques are available to you locally.  Also find out what designers they stock and if they match your search criteria.  It’s always good to get recommendations from friends to find out what the service and quality of stock is like

4/ Book in your appointments.  Start with your top three boutiques.  Give them a call and pre book.  Most shops only operate on an appointment only basis

5/ Only invite those people to the appointments that are important to you.  Don’t invite someone you think may be negative or make you feel bad.  You need your tribe around you who will be honest but will give you encouragement!  It’s so nice to go with your family/bridesmaids.  It turns into a nice day out!

6/ Before going put some makeup on and style your hair.  You’ll get a much better representation of the overall look – plus you’ll feel confident!

7/ Wear flesh coloured underwear and a strapless bra

8/ Take any accessories you have that you are thinking of wearing on the day – jewellery, shoes etc

9/ Try different styles – a line, sweetheart neckline, straps, no straps.  At my appointment I tried on different styles and now I know what I’m looking for for future visits.

9/ Try on gowns that you wouldn’t normally.  A lot of brides to be find their dress tends to be something they weren’t originally looking for.  It may surprise you!

10/ Comfort – is the dress comfortable?  Do you think you could wear this for 12 + hours? If not, it’s probably not right.  You want to feel as comfortable as possible without compromising on the look

11/ Trust your instincts.  You want to feel utterly fabulous in your dress, if you don’t get that initial feeling when you try a dress on, discount it.

12/Sleep on it.  If you aren’t 100% sure or not ready to purchase, sleep on your decisions and see how you feel about it the next day.  If you’re not as excited, then chances are it’s not the one for you.

Good luck finding the one!


Olivia x

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Today I’m going to share with you my top tips for creating a table plan that works for you both and your guests.

Creating the table plan or seating plan is arguably one of the most difficult tasks when planning your special day. It can be pretty challenging, daunting and time consuming but it’s got to be done!

Guest List

Before even attempting to start, you need to have your finalised guest list in hand. I provide a comprehensive guest list planner when you sign up for my course which helps you keep your guest list up to date.

Once you have your list and final numbers, it’s time to start plotting.  I would start looking at placing guests once you have all of your RSVP’s back.

Speak to your venue

Double check how many tables fit in the room.  Are they round or long? How many guests can be seated on the tables? Are you having a long or round top table and where will this be located? Can they send you a layout plan of these tables. Using their plan you can start placing guests.

To Name or Number?

Your guests need something to identify what table they are sat on.  You could number your tables or go for unusual names that mean something to you both like places you have visited, films or music you like, flowers – the choice is yours.  You will need to make sure you get the names/numbers made up and put in frames or stands (the venue may have these so do make sure you ask).

Plotting your guests

Now this is the hard part! I would always suggest putting your guests in groups where they know each other.  This puts people at ease straightaway. This isn’t always possible though and if it isn’t think about age group and interest to ensure there is flowing conversation.

Think about family groups and friendship groups, who you’d like closest to the top table and who you might want furthest away!

Have your numbers/names ready and using your guest list start placing people onto tables.  If you are a more visual person who likes to do things the old fashioned way, I would get hold of a large piece of card/paper and print each guests names out of slips of paper.  This way you can swap and change guests if you need to during the process.

You might want to use a spreadsheet, like the one I created to go with my course.

When undertaking this task, there are a number of considerations to make:

  • Disabled or elderly guests – It’s always best to locate these guests near the exit to the toilets/bar etc so it is easier for them to navigate around the room.
  • Children – Sit them in between parents so they can share the task of feeding them. Do you need to organise highchairs or extra space for prams? You might want to provide the little ones with an activity pack to keep them busy!
  • Family set ups – Do you or your partner have families that are split or have family members that are no longer with us. Give this part some real though and talk to those involved as to what they would feel most comfortable doing.  Perhaps opt for a round top table instead of a long if you would rather not make it obvious that things might be awkward etc!
  • Close family members/bridal party – Think about what guests will need to be placed the closest to the top table.


Display plan

In order for your guests to find where they are sitting you should create a display plan. Lots of venues will provide an easel for you to use.  You may want to consider using a mirror, board, frame.  You could even use escort cards.


Venue plan

You’ll need to provide your venue/wedding planner/caterer with your “behind the scenes” table plan which will be the layout of the wedding breakfast room, where your guests are sitting, indicating any children, highchairs, dietary requirements or special requests.  If you have opted for a choice menu, it’s useful to breakdown the choices in a key for each table so the venue are not in any doubt.  You’ll need to organise place cards for your guests if you would like them to sit in specific locations.  Again, if you have opted for a choice menu, it’s handy if you put that guests choice on the back (you wouldn’t believe how many people forget what they ordered!).  All of these actions ensure that the venue can serve you seamlessly.

I provide a guest list planner for you to keep organised along with loads of information on how to keep your guests happy on your big day over at my online course for only £35.

Happy Planning!

Olivia x

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Are you struggling to find that perfect gift for your bridal tribe? We’ve pulled together our favourites here as it’s always nice to thank those special guests who have helped you along the way.

I’ve put together an inspiration board on pinterest too if you fancy a nose!


It’s always nice to write a letter/card to your partner so they can read this on their special day.  It’s a chance for you to write your private thoughts and feelings, words of encouragement and love.  It’s a special moment and will get you very excited to see your love! Not on the High Street do a fab range of cards.

Gift wise how about a detailed scrap book of your life together from when you met and big life events? That would be such a thoughtful and personal option.  You could use a site like Photobox to create a photo book.  They currently have 40% off!

You could give a special piece of jewellery, cuff links, a pocket watch, a watch, a hip flask, a photo of you both in a nice frame.  You could have the gift engraved with a lovely quote or your names with the date of the wedding or perhaps thoughtful artwork.  Etsy provide a whole range of personalised gift ideas.

You could surprise your other half by booking an entertainer, fireworks or present them with a gift during the speeches.



A beautiful bouquet of flowers is customary to give to the Mother’s during the Groom’s speech.  You could ask your florist to provide these along with your other wedding flowers.

If you’d rather something different you could opt for an experience for both parents like a special meal out together or a theatre trip, perhaps a night stay away somewhere.  Try who offer unique experiences from afternoon tea for two to fun filled days out – they have it all!

If they have contributed to the wedding you might like to gift them a room for the night at the venue and throw in some bubbly and a nice card.


The getting ready part of the day is an exciting time.  You might wish to gift a pretty dressing gown/pyjama set along with a personalised hanger for their dress.  Try or The Little Lovebird.

Little love bird also provide personalised gifts for your maids – check it out!

I’ve seen these gorgeous little pocket personalised mirrors on Etsy

Untitled collage


Your ushers and best man need thanking too – you could buy:

Cufflinks to wear on the day

Alcohol – a nice bottle of boxed whiskey or port.  Majestic Wine do a great range of boxed gift bottles

Personalised bottle opener or glass from Etsy 

We hope this has given you some inspiration when thinking about what to buy your bridal party!

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Over on my facebook group The Wedding Planning Community, I recently filmed a facebook live session, including answers to my members burning questions.

For those of you who aren’t a member, I thought I would write down my top tips:



I’m not an organised person. How do I keep organised when wedding planning? 

Firstly don’t worry or panic if you feel this way. Here’s a couple of tips for you:

  • Set up a specific wedding email address
  • Keep a hard copy folder for brochures/confirmation letters etc
  • Keep a computerised folder for your guest list, table plan, stationery designs, budget planner etc (All of these templates and documents are available if you join my online course)
  • Set up a separate bank account

Should we have an open bar? 

Personally, I would say no and this is purely my own opinion.  I come from a venue background and have seen so many guests leave half consumed beverages to then go and get another – so wasteful and costly to you! It also encourages heavy drinking and potential drink induced situations and you don’t want that! You can also use this money on something else for the wedding such as entertainment or decor to enhance the day.  It’s nice to offer your guests a welcome drink, some wine with the meal and a toast drink and then the rest they purchase themselves from a stocked bar.  Obviously this is entirely up to you though and if it is something you’d like to offer to enhance your guests experience, then go ahead.

What can add to the ambiance of the day? 

Lighting, lighting and more lighting! I wrote a blog post on this last year, see here.

Wedding Favour Inspiration 

Favours are little thank you gifts that usually form part of your table design.  You don’t have to have them at all by the way, it’s just a wedding etiquette thing.  If you would like to though here are some ideas, again I wrote a blog about this.

When should I send Invitations?

If your wedding is a year or more away, I would suggest sending save the dates.  I will put a link below to one of my favourite printing/design companies,  Your main invitations should be sent 8 – 12 weeks before to include all the relevant information your guests will need to ensure that you receive your RSVP’s no later than 6 weeks before so you are nice and organised and can get numbers/dietary requirements to your venue/caterer and finalise your table plan.

I aim to provide a facebook live Q&A session every week over on my group.  So if you are a bride or groom to be and you’d like to chat to others in your position, post questions, offer advice, share your concerns, post your photos – come and join today!

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On Saturday 27th August 2016 I announced on social media that I had been working on a behind the scenes project for the past 18 months called “The Online Wedding Planner”. I was so happy to start spreading the news, however, I’m sure you are wondering what it’s all about?! So, I have put together a Q&A for you here to explain a little more in detail about what you can expect!  I cannot wait to be able to help couples plan their special day in a fun, exciting and stress free way.

What is The Online Wedding Planner?

The Online Wedding Planner is a step by step course to help you plan your wedding the easy way!

The guide has been designed for couples currently planning their special day, who want real advice and guidance from a wedding professional, that won’t break the bank!

Tell us more about the name?

The name means two things: Your online wedding planner is essentially me, Olivia.  I’m a wedding planning professional who owns an award winning wedding planning business, Host Event Management. I’ve planned and run hundreds of weddings during my career. I will be guiding you through the process at every step!

Secondly it also means it’s your very own online wedding planning resource.  Log in, and you have access to your personal wedding planning account.

The name is clear – it does what is says on the tin, so to speak!

Why I created the course?

In short, I wanted to be able to able to help as many couples as possible realise their wedding planning potential.  So many couples struggle planning their day, not knowing who to turn to or where to start.  I have planned and run hundreds of weddings, so have perfected the art of planning a wedding, giving you all the professional tips and tricks so you don’t leave any stone unturned.  I also wanted to bridge the gap between hiring a wedding planner (which can be expensive) and doing everything yourself and potentially struggling.  This way you get guidance at every step but still have complete control over the process.

Who is it for?

Any couple who is engaged to be married. Any couple that feel they need some assistance, advice and a strategy to perfectly execute a day to remember.  Whether you are getting married in 2 years or 2 months.

Why do you need it?

Do you feel:

  • Overwhelmed, not knowing where to begin with the wedding planning process?
  • Stressed about starting and not excited?
  • Baffled by the many wedding suppliers out there, not knowing who to turn to?
  • Not sure how to work out timings, table plans and logistics?
  • Unclear about what your wedding design will look like?
  • Like you don’t have enough time in the day, but can’t afford a wedding planner?

Do you want to:

  • Feel organised and on top of your wedding planning?
  • Enjoy the planning process?
  • Feel stress free?
  • Gain interesting ideas and inspiration?
  • Save on expensive wedding planning fees and have friendly help from your own home?
  • Become your own wedding planner by being reassured and supported at every step?

When is it launching?

I’m not giving an exact date yet but it will be Autumn 2016.  I will let all subscribers know first of all and then announce this on social media.

How can couples sign up?

Currently you can register your interest below or here to be the first to obtain the link to the course.  When the course goes live, you will be directed to a summary page with a video and information explaining more and a sign up button.

Then what happens?

When you sign up, you get immediate access to the course whenever you like.  Just log in and out when you have time, from the comfort of your own home.  It really is that simple.  There is no set time frame, you learn as and when you can, at your own pace.

What’s included?

So much is included! When you sign up to The Online Wedding Planner, you will receive:

  • 8 step by step sections including:

First steps of planning

Managing your budget

Finding the perfect venue

Managing your guests and their experience

Decor, theming and the finishing touches

Choosing your suppliers

The wedding timeline, schedule and checklists

On the day and post wedding

  • Video tutorials: I will be there saying hello in every section, summarising the key points so you don’t feel alone!
  • In depth course notes: Written course notes for you to read in your own time
  • Downloadable documents: Accompanying course documents for you to print off or save to help you plan
  • Exclusive access to “The Online Wedding Planner” facebook group: A place for the community to communicate, chat to other couples, share your stories, live Q&A sessions from me
  • One to one assistance is also available

What if I want just require one of the sections?

No problem – you can either take the whole course or whichever section you feel you need the most guidance.


You aren’t “buying” The Online Wedding Planner, you are investing in a resource that will essentially make your planning journey easier, leaving you time to enjoy your life and make the planning process a fun one!  More information will follow when the course goes live.

Want to be the first to find out more?

Do you think The Online Wedding Planner might be for you? Then please sign up below to be the first to find out news and information.

Any questions?

Please leave any comments or questions below or email me at


Huge thanks for the support that has been shown over the past week – I am so grateful!

I’m so excited to be able to help many couples on this exciting wedding planning journey! I hope to see you there when we launch!

Olivia x

Sign up below now

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I can’t believe this wedding took place a year ago…honestly, where does the time go!

Katie and Matthew were so lovely to work with and have the cutest daughter Isobel who looked so adorable on the day!

The ceremony took place at Lower Slaughter church at 12.30pm on Saturday 11th July 2015.   The reception venue was a traditional poled marquee in the grounds of Mucky Cottages in the village of Naunton in the Cotswolds.  The views were incredible and consisted of Cotswold countryside as far as the eye could see!

The theme was country rustic.  A handful of suppliers and myself arrived the day before to set up.  Wooden long tables, folding chairs, metres and metres of bunting and vintage crockery were styled to create the couple’s chosen look.  Fresh flowers came on the morning of the wedding and consisted of lots of wild meadow flowers cut into jam jars and vases.

The food included delectable canapes a mouthwatering barbeque and an evening cheese board feast, not forgetting  a selection of homemade cakes for dessert!

The wedding guests partied into the night with the sound of The Festival Foxes who perform in a Mumford and Sons style.

The day was so lovely and I felt very honoured to be a part of it!

Suppliers included:

Photography: Alice from The Vintage Wedding Photographer

Catering: The Woodland Kitchen

Furniture: Virginia’s Vintage Hire

Marquee: The Cotswold Marquee Company

Venue: Mucky Cottages

Vintage China: The Vintage Hire

Band: The Festival Foxes

Flowers: Redgrave & Lake 

Vintage Bus Transport: Alex Cars

If you are looking for help organising your Cotswold wedding, do get in touch.

Olivia x






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Evening All!

I’ve been itching to write a post about one of my favourite places in the entire world – Jamaica, which is a fabulous honeymoon or special holiday destination, if you are currently considering your options.

I’m going to give you my own personal account of my experience here and hopefully offer some advice and tips along the way!



Our travel agent

We booked the all inclusive trip with Thomson Holidays.  There is a branch in my local town so it was easy enough to pop in and ask questions or add/amend the booking.  I must say, the customer service was excellent and there were no hiccups along the way.

The journey

We flew from Birmingham and took the 10 hour trip via a dream-liner.  These state of the art aeroplanes give you extra leg room, better air quality, get you there quicker, suffer less turbulence, have soft mood lighting and more importantly you receive complimentary drinks on demand, 3 meals and a selection of box office films to keep you occupied. I’m certainly not great when flying but I must say this long haul trip was absolutely fine and I actually enjoyed the experience!

Where we stayed

Montego Bay or “Mo’Bay” as it’s known was the destination for us.  With it’s white sandy beaches and turquoise sea you can’t get any better.  It’s probably one of the islands most popular resorts for tourists.

The Hotel

We picked Secrets St James Resort: Set on a peninsula surrounded by the crystal-clear Caribbean waters, this quiet oceanfront destination offers adults the ultimate in sophistication, relaxation, romance and the privileges of unlimited luxury at this AAA Four Diamond resort.

I honestly couldn’t be happier with our choice.  After touching down after the 10 hour flight we grabbed a pre booked private transfer which took us straight to the door (15 minute drive).  On arrival we were greeted by the concierge team who looked so fancy in their trilby hats! Our luggage was handed over and we were guided to the most beautiful reception area.  With its impressive chandeliers, wooden floors, designer furniture and the most gorgeous scent in the air we knew we’d hit the jackpot! Our concierge manager Mark gave us a cool towel to use along with a choice of either a classic Caribbean rum punch or glass of Champagne (we went for the punch!).  There were also homemade cookies available if we fancied them.  We officially checked in with the efficient reception team at their individual desks and then Mark walked us to our room, a ocean view suite on the second floor.

The room did not disappoint! Mark gave us a quick tour of the facilities which included a waterfall shower, his and hers basins, standalone bath with jets, four poster style bed with drapes, lounge area, TV with several satellite channels, private balcony and a free mini bar to use whenever we wanted. I loved how the bathroom just carried through to the bedroom, it was very open plan and airy.  The view was lovely out to the crystal waters.  I could not wait to get out there!  So that’s exactly what we did. We were swimwear ready in about 2 minutes and ready to explore!

Food & Drink

As the hotel was all inclusive we literally could eat and drink all day…not good for the waistline, but what the heck! The resort had many evening dining options including Japanese, Jamaican, Italian, French, Mexican and Seafood.  All the food was very good but I would say my favourite was the French.

Breakfast and lunch times were spent in the “World Cafe” which provided a plentiful buffet style of world foods to keep all guests happy.

There were many bars to choose from too which served cocktails, spirits, wine and beer.  My favourite was probably the Miami vice or rum punch!  My favourite bar was the piano bar.  Each night a pianist would play your favourite songs to sing along to.  Any one that knows me well will know that I love a good sing song so really enjoyed the late nights in there!

For those in between times when you fancied a snack you could catch the twice daily jerk chicken wagon at 12pm or 12am (and yes we did indulge one night after a few too many cocktails!) or the snack bar on the promenade.


The resort had everything you needed on site: 3 large pools, an air conditioned gym, an indoor and outdoor theatre, spa, shops, restaurant, bars, coffee shop, night club, casino, water sports centre, ping pong and a shuffle board – we spent hours playing this! They even had a wedding shop to help you plan your special day!

Entertainment and Activities

Every day there was something to do from reggae dance lessons, yoga in the gazebo on the beach, stage shows, a nature walk, bike rides, cooking lessons – there really was something for everyone.

We had a go at paddle boarding and snorkling at the water sports centre.  You could hire a glass bottom boat or go on a jet ski at an additional charge.

We watched a hypnotist, the house band play, a circus perform, a famous steel band perform.  They even played movies at 5pm every day on the big screen if you fancied it.

My favourite evening was at the bare foot beach party.  A DJ played into the early hours of the morning whilst we danced the night away.  We toasted marshmallows and had so much fun!


The day after we arrived we were invited to the Thomson welcome meeting to find out more about the area, hotel and excursions on offer.  As I had been to the island before (many years ago), I knew that I wanted to go to places I hadn’t been before.  We choose to visit Ricks Cafe, Negril beach, Dunn’s River Falls and Nine Mile the birth and resting place of the music legend Bob Marley.  These activities work out more expensive than going direct to the local tour provider but you do have the peace of mind that you will be using reputable companies.

I absolutely loved the trip to Dunn’s River Falls and Nine Mile.  At Dunn’s River Falls you basically walk up 183 metres of a cascading waterfall.  It sounds a little crazy but actually it’s fine when you are up there.  All participants link up and help each other.  A good pair of water shoes are a must here as some areas are slippy.  We took the go pro up with us and took lots of photos.  Such a great experience and I’m not the most adventurous of souls but I managed it!

On our way from Dunn’s to Nine Mile, we stopped at The Ultimate Jerk Center a roadside restaurant serving some of the best jerk chicken I have ever tasted! The stop was topped off by us watching a game of cricket played by two local teams. They even asked if we wanted to join in!

As many of you may know, I love Bob Marley, so a trip to his birth and resting place was definitely on my list of places to visit.  We had to take a rather ropey trip up into the hills for this one! We got there in one piece and got to the museum which housed Marley memorabilia and Bob’s bedroom and family home. Going into the chapel where he was laid to rest was a really spiritual experience for me.  We lit some candles and I thanked Bob for giving us the most poignant and feel good music of all time (in my opinion)!

On another day we visited Negril beach a stretch of 7 miles of white sandy beaches.  We then popped down the road to Rick’s Cafe, a well known cliff top bar on the edge of Negril.  People get to free dive off the edge and it was great to watch the professionals and tourists jumping off the cliff which are 10ft (3m), 25ft (7.6m) and 35ft (10.6m).  NOT for the faint hearted! Reggae beats filled the air, we had a snack and watched the most amazing sun set.

My Top tips

Time of year – Try and visit outside of the rainy season.  The best times to go is mid December – mid April as this is the driest time of the year.

Health – Jamaica is currently an area which is affected by the zika virus.  If you are planning on starting a family or if you are expecting, it’s best not to travel to areas affected.  I used jungle formula mosquito repellent, I purposefully left my perfume at home as this attracts the mites and I started taking vitamin B complex a week before I went and throughout the stay.  I only got bitten once so I think all the preventative measures helped.

Get to know the locals – Jamaicans are warm, beautiful people.  We spoke to so many on our travels and they gave us insight into the best places to go and when.

Wildlife – The wildlife in Jamaica is just stunning.  We had parrots Rita and Bob at the hotel, several Peacocks and the sealife was incredible. Throw a broken up banana in the water and you’ll see so many fish!

Go Pro – If you have one of these take it! You can do some cracking time lapses (we did one of the sunset) and it’s great for any adventure based trips, especially involving water.

Sea shoes – Take some waterproof shoes with grip.  These are great for waterfall climbing and general sea use (I’m not a fan of water creatures!).

American Dollars vs Jamaican Dollars – I took a mix of both but American Dollars was fine at all places.


We had the most incredible stay at an island which is full of love and chilled vibes.  I would recommend this as a honeymoon/holiday destination to any one – couples, families or groups. I definitely shall be returning one day in the future.


One Love!


Olivia x