Replikate Face-Off: Paul & Joe Lyrisme Cape

When I heard there was a replikate available for Kate’s gorgeous Paul & Joe cape, which she wore in the Bhutan, I couldn’t quite believe it. Of all the items she’s worn, this would probably be one of the last I’d imagine would be copied. It’s an intricate design, and an item she only wore once. As soon as I heard about it, I had to order one right away to do a comparison between the two.

In all pictures, the original Paul & Joe cape is pictured on the left, while the copy is on the right.

I have to say, I was pretty bowled over by how well the replikate came out. I didn’t know what to expect, but the embroidery is really very similar to the original (obviously, some changes need to be made to stay on the right side of copyright). The colours are a little darker in the embroidery of the copy, especially in the greens.

The copy has the same unusual style of stand-up collar, a little thicker and taller than the original. The fabric overall is thicker and heavier, which means this might actually be a better choice for autumn and winter than the fairly thin Paul & Joe cape.

The fastenings are where the main difference lies – the original has hook and eyelets, whereas the copy has large poppers to keep the cape closed.

As you can see, on the back the detailing is still gorgeous on both items – with the largest difference being in the replikate’s centre embroidery, which creates a void at the nape of the neck not present in the original.

This is the bottom of the cape, and you can see the replikate stops before the hem, whereas the original continues the emboridery beyond it.

The original is much finer – and the lining is so thin you can see the embroidery through it. You’ll also notice that the original is ivory, whereas the replikate is a bold, winter white.

The care label marks the replikate as 70% silk and 30% cotton, while the original is 100% wool. The size on the replikate is marked as ‘large’, but it’s the same size as the original, which is ‘one size’.

Another slight difference is the fact that the copy has a slightly raised hem at the front, although both items are a similar length, as you can see in the first image.

All in all, if you’re looking for a copy, this is a fantastic one – the quality is great for the price, and I can’t believe how well they were able to replicate the beautiful embroidery. The original cost £380 – which was increased to £420 when they re-released. I spent £72.22 on this replikate, which for a saving of over £300, makes this a serious bargain. As a bonus, it also comes with a free belt like the one Kate wore with it in Bhutan!

(I have sold the replica cape now! Thanks to Jennifer for the tip and finding the cape on eBay!)

Bag ‘n’ Shoes: grey tote and French Sole pink woven Henriettas

I recently purchased a pretty new pair of French Sole shoes in their secret sale, and I love them! (And, pst – they have another, bigger sale on RIGHT NOW!)

French Sole Henriettas

They’re actually pinker than I thought they’d be, and to my surprise, I’ve found that even so, they’re more versatile than I thought! They go with the grey trousers I’ve been living in over summer (from Next) and blue jeans, which is perfect for me.

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Bags are also easy to match with pink – my favourite, nameless, grey foldover tote from eBay goes perfectly – which is handy, because I’ve been using it a lot lately thanks to its voluminous nature. In fact, it came to the cinema with me last night and carried my slippers (yeah, I’m not in my 20s anymore…)

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Handbag Heaven: Naughtipidgins’ Nest

You may remember my Bag ‘n’ Shoes post from last week, where I revealed my much-lusted after Fendi B Bag, a style I’ve loved for years but never thought I’d have the opportunity to own – particularly as they don’t make them any more! As I mentioned, I nabbed mine second hand, and sometimes this can be a daunting prospect, as you’re not always sure whether you’re buying the real deal… This is where the fabulous Shian from Naughtipidgins’ Nest comes in! The site is a handbag lover’s dream, chock full of designer gear from labels like Chanel, Mulberry, Dior, Jimmy Choo and more – all of them authentic, second-hand, designer bags, in great quality condition, at reasonable prices.

Chanel Gucci LV montageLouis Vuitton Roxbury Drive (£545) / Gucci Sukey Top Handle President (£435) / Chanel Glazed Calfskin Clutch (£1395)

I first stumbled upon the site after stalking Purseblog’s forums, particularly the Mulberry section. As you know, I’m a massive Mulberry fangirl so when I heard that there was a much-trusted, second hand seller of Mulberry, I was quick to check it out. I was desperately after the Mulberry Valentine’s clutch from this year (eventually bagged one on eBay), and Shian was so helpful that I check her site regularly ever since. (Seriously, she is lovely.)

As Naughtipidgins is nearing its 5000th sale (and planning to celebrate in fine style!) I thought it would be interesting to talk to Shian about the business for the blog. Because let’s face it, anyone with that many designer handbags in their vicinity is definitely worth talking to…!

What got you into the business (and how long have you been in business)?
“Downsizing my own collection when we moved from London to Lancashire in 2005. I started selling my own bags on eBay and both Buyers and Sellers seemed to like the way I took lots and lots of photos and described things very honestly. It wasn’t long before people were contacting me to ask if I could sell their bags for them and it really went from there. In May 2011 I decided eBay had served its time for the ‘Nest’ and set up my own website which has been incredible fun and I’m loving every minute of it.”

What’s your own collection like?
“Rather sadly depleted from its peak, but it is true… I really don’t need two different bags a day, every day of the week, each month of the year, any more! (At least that’s what I try to keep telling myself when my collection creeps up in size. An occupational hazard of the job, so I’m not too hard on myself). I now tend to keep a core of classics that I rarely stray from, and a varied collection of Mulberry (mainly older styles as it seems to take me a while to ‘warm up’ to newer ones). As long as they all still fit in my designated ‘personal-bag-space’ then I know I’m still in control, lol!”

Mulberry montageAlexa (£575) / Medium Daria (£475) / Ledbury (£365) All Mulberry

Do you remember your first designer bag purchase?
“Absolutely. Though I dabbled with a few Bally’s in my late teens, my first ‘wow’ moment was the first time I walked into Chanel Rue Saint-Honoré. I left with my first Chanel 2.55 and the rest is history.” (SO JEALOUS)

What’s your favourite brand? Bag?
“That’s such a difficult question to answer and I don’t actually think I can choose just one brand. Different occasions call for different bags and there isn’t one single designer that can do it all. I’d still say the classic 2.55 Chanel 10″ is my favourite style though and have been known to sit and stroke a lambskin for hours, lol!”

What’s the most unusual bag you’ve sold?
“I’ve sold a few ‘famous’ peoples’ bags and some quite amazing exotic skins over the years, but only ever sell things that I actually like, so being a bit conservative, I don’t think there’s ever been anything too ‘out’ there in the grand scheme of things.”

Misc montagePrada Saffiano Lux Bowler (£795) / Chloe Angie Tote (£795) / Hermes Vintage Box Calf (£975)

How do you authenticate your bags?
“Authentication is a time-served skill and takes a lot of experience, observation and research. You have to have observed, handled and examined a lot of bags, both genuine and fake, over a long period of time, in order to be able to discern the authentic from the counterfeit. Yes, some fakes are really rubbish and anyone can ‘tell’ but many are incredibly ‘close’ to the real thing and those who haven’t the knowledge or skill to identify the indicators can be very easily taken in. It’s ALWAYS a complete waste of money to buy fake, whether knowingly or unwittingly, as they will never match up to the longeivity, quality and ultimately, beauty and craftmanship of a genuine item.”

Where did the name of your business come from?
“It was my eBay ID, and as word spread, it stayed with me. How it actually came about in the first instance is a bit of a mystery really… not the easiest business name to say or spell, so, had I known I’d eventually have a business, I’d of chosen something a bit more relevant!”

What makes an iconic design in your opinion?
“That’s a good question as a lot of those bags you’d call ‘icons’ don’t actually stand the test of time in terms of style. Some do, but I’d say a true icon is a bag that is completely timeless.”

What are some bags that really hold value?
“In terms of financial value the bags that depreciate the least, currently and very generically, are Chanel Flaps, Lady Diors and Mulberry Bayswaters. Maintained well, these styles will retain the greatest value and in some instances appreciate.”

Montage most wantedMulberry Bayswater / Lady Dior / Chanel Flap

What advice can you give people on how to store and care for their bags?
“It depends on the finish. You would treat a lambskin leather differently to an LV canvas, but generally the golden rules are:

  1. Ensure you know how to care for your finish
  2. Make sure you have the right products
  3. Remember to clean and care for them regularly (which again will depend upon finish and usage)
  4. Store with stuffing inside their dustbags to maintain their shape.”

If you had to create a capsule designer bag wardrobe of five items (with no budget!) what bags would you pick? (Colours too!)
“Created for my lifestyle now… (10 years ago this would have looked different!)

  • Mulberry Bayswater in oak darwin with older style glossy postman’s lock plate – smart everyday bag perfect for work, play or anything life can throw at you.
  • Lady Dior medium in black lambskin leather with gold tone hardware – classic, great for day with shoulder strap or evening without.
  • Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM in damier ebene – shopping, gym, beach… you name it, its big and easy to use.
  • Chanel 2.55 flap 10″ in black lambskin with silver hardware – no more need to be said…
  • Hermes Birkin ostrich 32cm (preferably in chocolate) – just because I’ve never owned one!”

Misc 2 montageGucci D Ring Medium Hobo (£295) / Michael Kors Hamilton Tote (£235) / Anya Hindmarch Pleated Multi-Way (£195)

My thanks to Shian for so graciously answering my questions, and allowing me to use these images from her site. As of the time of writing, all of the bags with prices listed next to them were still available on the site, so get shopping… Plus, Naughtipidgin is soon set to celebrate the 5000th sale from the shop with a special gift certificate worth £100 at the Nest’s shop! All you have to do to be in with a chance is enter by making a purchase – and the winner will be announced in November.

If you have a bag you’d like to sell, you can check out the terms over here. And, see the amazing range of bags on offer here!

Visit Naughtipidgins Nest at http://www.naughtipidginsnest.co.uk.

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Living in the ’80s!

If there’s one thing I’m famous for amongst my friends, it’s wanting to dress up at the drop of a hat, and planning elaborate parties in order to justify some ridiculous outfit I’ve dreamed up. So I thought I’d share these photos from our ’80s party last year, which we organised as part of the joint 30th birthday celebration between me and my friends, who were all born within a couple of months of each other. What better way to celebrate a landmark birthday than with a throwback party to the decade when you were born?!

Of course, Ray-bans were the big thing during the ’80s (have they ever really gone out of fashion since?!), so the first job was grabbing a pair of replicas from eBay.

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Next, comes the big hair…

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Polka dots and bright accessories:

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I was channeling a pre-blonde Madonna here, of course…

I actually had two outfits for the weekend, but first was the small matter of hair and makeup:

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I thought I’d go subtle for the first day, so as not to scare people too badly…

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This is an authentic ’80s jumpsuit, complete with amazing power shoulder pads. The honest truth is I loved wearing this – it was comfy as heck and I thought it looked fantastic. Sadly, I don’t think the world is ready for a real ’80s revival just yet… I also bought these great electric blue snakeskin heels from New Look to complete the outfit. Unfortunately, at times, there was something slightly Michael Jackson-ish about my appearance:

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Day two was when I unleashed the full force of Madonna:

IMG_2377The Material Girl was in full swing!

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My husband wore a tracksuit – he loves it so much he’s worn it multiple times since then, because as all children of the ’80s, he feels the lure of the tracksuit like a Siren’s call.

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I had on a tutu, but you can only really see it in this incredibly unflattering side view of me singing along to Blondie:

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But wait! What about the catering? Well, of course, that was a major aspect of the fun! Where would an ’80s party be without a trifle?

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And a pineapple and cheese hedgehog?

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And a really awful photo of a Viennetta?!

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(When I was a kid, you knew it was a serious and important landmark event if there was Viennetta on the table!)

There also had to be quiche and vol au vents:

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And pink wafers, savoury mini eggs, and party rings!

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And, because why not, jello shots in the shape of lemon wedges!

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Sunday morning could only be cartoons and Pop Tarts time!

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It was great fun to relive our childhood days from a slightly different perspective, but I have to say my Pop Tart sugar rush was pretty intense…! I still can’t decide which ’80s outfit I liked the best, but it was definitely fun to research them and put them together. The first time round for me, the ’80s were all knee high socks, flowery skirts, and matching cardigans!

Birthday sundae outfit

On Monday last week my husband’s lovely co-workers organised a surprise trip for him to go to a local ice-cream parlour. I, of course, was a major co-conspirator, so I had to pop along as well! Here’s my outfit!

UntitledSunglasses, French Connection / orange, blue, white and silver textured jacket, Next / orange geo top, Next / jeans, Gap / red satchel, Accessorize / cat shoes, eBay

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If I’ve only learnt one thing recently fashion-wise, it’s the importance of a range of cute blazers when it comes to pepping up an outfit. I love the colours in this, and multi-coloured items make it so easy to match accessories, etc. I got this in the sale at Next, after having stalked it at full price for some time – and it was the last one left at half price. Bargain!

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They also match these orange-red cat flats I bought from eBay, which are sadly starting to show their wear, but I still love them. When I bought them, I had no idea they were copies of the Charlotte Olympia Kitty flats, but in all honesty I prefer the heel height on mine – which is to say, completely flat. Of course, if I win the lottery I will purchase the originals immediately! Also, please excuse the scratches on my foot – I was attacked by a bush on my parents’ driveway recently! At least it’s not as noticeable as what’s happened to my hand…

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Nope, no idea why I have cuts all over it, other than I was doing *a lot* of party prep and being incredibly careless. Good job I’m not a hand model! But ignore the cuts, check out the cute Dog Zodiac bracelet my husband bought me from Mulberry in the sale!

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Dogs are my favourite animal, and I was born in the year of the dog, so of course, I had to have this… It was fate! And, it came in its own dustbag, gift box and lovely Mulberry bag, too – all for the bargain price of £20!

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I’ve been wearing it every day since – I usually hate bracelets and watches because of the constant feeling of something being on my wrist, or slipping around, but this is so delicate you hardly know it’s there.

Nailed it! Dotty manicure with Nails Inc Porchester Square and Ciate Minis

When I saw this pin on Pinterest a while ago, I knew I had to make my own version! Creating using dotting tools, this simple manicure doesn’t take too much skill to create, but it certainly makes an impact. So, I ordered some tools from eBay, and got to work…

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Thanks to Ciate’s Mini Mani Month, I had plenty of colours to choose from, so I decided to layer my Porchester Square mini from Nails Inc (which I got in my first GlossyBox back in November) with dots from Dangerous Affair, Power Dressing and Cookies and Cream.

First of all, I painted my nails with Porchester Square (really good formula, only needed one coat!) and then, when it dried, I dipped the largest dotting tool into my first colour, and just blobbed circles of varnish on the nail. A tip for this is to not use too much, as you end up with a raised bump of paint which takes forever to dry, and looks a bit weird. Dab on one colour, then allow to dry before placing the second – the paints will mix otherwise. And, it looks really cool if you can overlap some too!

Dotty nails

Here’s the finished product! I thought this was fun – and the colours really worked well together too, but of course, you can use any scheme you like for a special event. I’ll definitely be doing this again.

Anyone else tried the dotty manicure?

Christmas party daytime look: Nordic print T-shirt and ballet skirt combo

I can’t be the only girl who secretly wants to wear ballet skirts all the time, can I? There’s just something so beautiful and elegant about the soft layers of netting that will make anyone, even a heffalump like me who only barely knows what a pirouette is, feel like a prima ballerina! So I took the plunge and ordered a cheap skirt from eBay, figuring that even if it didn’t suit me, at least it wouldn’t break the bank in the process…

Stag Tee 2 enhanced

I have to say, I think it looks pretty good, even with my pear shape – the length is long enough to make it tolerable for winter, too!

Ballerina skirt detail

I paired it with my new Brat & Suzie Loose Fit Nordic Stag T-Shirt from ASOS (here), which I love, because it’s very festive and comfortable. AND, it’s not another Christmas jumper, but it’s still very seasonal. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas jumpers. But, as we all know, most of the time, the heating on in people’s houses means it’s actually too hot for a lovely thick jumper, and then what are you supposed to do? My answer: rock a festive T-shirt!

Stag Tee detail

Check out the adorable detailing, with the Rudolph-lookalike, and the Fair Isle style patterns. Love it! The colour is bang on trend, too.

I had to break out my latest favourite shoes, which I’ve been coveting for months now – these beautiful leopard print, pony skin* India flats from French Sole! (* Just so you know, pony skin is not actually made of ponies!)

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If you had told me last year I’d be buying a pair of animal print shoes, I would have thought you were mad, but somehow the trend has really grown on me – I think it’s all the vintage fashion I’ve been looking at recently! And the red trim is amazing, too!

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Of course, you know I love me some French Sole, right?! There’s just something about these shoes which are really Christmassy and festive – I guess it’s the implied warmth of the animal print, and the red trim which just screams FESTIVE TIMES ARE HERE!

This kind of look is the sort of thing I think would work really well for an informal, daytime Christmas party – it’s not too dressy, but it is playful and festive. And, you won’t be panting like a dog in your thick knit jumper when someone whacks the heating up!

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair

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On Saturday (1 December), my husband and I popped into Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, so I could get my hair did for our big night out (more on that later)! I managed to restrain myself from spending big, although I’m now kicking myself because my parents have planned a roaring ’20s Agatha Christie murder mystery night for New Year’s Eve (okay, I sorta suggested it… and already had the kit… shush). If I had known then what I know now, and all that – although I have to admit, I’m more of a ’50s-era fan! (Despite the victory rolls!) There’s been some fierce, flapper-related eBaying since then, but we’ll get to that later – onto the fair!

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The fair definitely lived up to its reputation as being affordable, and there were plenty of goodies on offer. I love vintage accessories, and although I don’t own any vintage clothing, that’s just a matter of time… I did try on a lovely long-sleeved white lace dress, but in the end I couldn’t get on over my hair – how about that for ironic?

In Judy's Vintage Fair 1

One of my favourite things about vintage fairs is how beautifully all the products are displayed. I spent most of my time taking pictures of everything rather than looking properly, in the end!

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I love vintage homewares, and I even spotted some Babycham glasses just like my nan used to break out at New Year’s!
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That brought back some memories, I can tell you! I also coveted these gorgeous phones, and there was plenty of pretty crockery to be had.Vintage Fair 6 Vintage Fair 2

In Judy's Vintage Fair 3

I think for sure the highlights of the show for me were these pair of frankly amazing hats…

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I especially had my eye on the bottom one – I don’t even know what this style of hat is called, but it’s lovely. I think the price was £50 – sadly too much to spend on something I know for a fact I’ll never really wear (as opposed to things I know I probably won’t wear but take a punt on anyway in case one day I wake up thinner, more daring, and more likely to be invited to lounge around a casino in Monte Carlo or something…)

These babies, however, were in my price range, and something I know I would wear…

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So I bought the lovely silver one on the right – £6! Bargain!

Did anyone else visit the fair at the weekend? Or any other vintage fair recently? Let me know what you bought! And if you know what that style of hat is (and where I can get one, just for future reference, y’know), leave a comment – I’d be everso grateful!

How to theme your royal wedding party menu

Tea in a Meißen pink-rose teacup

Image via Wikipedia

When it comes to preparing your menu for your Kate and William wedding-watching party, I reckon there are a few themes you could employ to keep the nosh in the spirit of the day.

My personal choice is the English afternoon tea idea – you can’t get much more patriotic than cucumber sandwiches and scones. It’s also ideal for a buffet as it’s all finger food. Take inspiration from some of London’s great hotels which offer afternoon tea – you can read the Ritz’s menu here. I’m thinking smoked salmon sandwiches, fairy cakes (not cupcakes, fairy cakes are more English), and plenty of nice china. Oh, and doilies – I’ve already bought mine from eBay (to avoid the rush, dontchaknow).

A more alternative idea is to page homage to the location where the happy couple were engaged – Kenya! Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pin down Kenyan cuisine or get some of the staple ingredients, but a quick look online should help. You could try serving some exotic animals instead (there’s an online butcher here) – I’ve seen loads of episodes of Come Dine With Me recently where they’ve been chowing down on zebra, for some reason!

Perhaps you could try a menu composed of Will’s childhood favourites? Sadly, we have no idea what Kate Middleton enjoyed eating as a child (WHY NOT? Did no one THINK to ask her this vital question?) so this idea seems a little lopsided to me, but hey. I seriously doubt that cottage pie as most people know it will be gracing the banqueting tables (although I wouldn’t put it past a chef to try a ‘deconstructed’ version or some such nonsense), but it would make for a nice, easy hot buffet lunch. And pate and smoked salmon canapes – and champagne… I can do that!

You could always try to replicate some previous Royal weddings. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) enjoyed a meal of Consommé à la Windsor, Suprèmes de Saumon Reine Mary, Côtelettes d’Agneau Prince Albert, Chapons à la Strathmore, and Fraises Duchesse Elizabeth in 1923. In 1947 for the marriage of Prince Philip and our present Queen, diners enjoyed “Filet de Sole Mountbatten; Perdreau en Casserole, Haricots Verts, Pommes Noisette and Salade Royale; Bombe Glacee Princesse Elizabeth; Friandises; Dessert”. However, I’m not sure harking back to Will’s parents’ wedding would be in the best of taste, so best to avoid the dishes that appeared at their wedding breakfast in 1981: brill in lobster sauce, chicken breasts garnished with lamb mousse and strawberries with Cornish cream. Mind you, that last dish sounds pretty good…

Considering it’s, y’know, just another wedding (in the grand scheme of things, anyway), you could just serve your idea of fantasy wedding fayre. If you’re already married, maybe serve a few of the dishes you enjoyed on your big day. If you’re not married, maybe come up with some things you’d love to have for your wedding. Or just go with your classic wedding breakfast menu, which seems to be pate, soup or melon for starters, overcooked chicken breast in a mushroom sauce for your main, and something gooey and chocolatey for pudding (this is based on my memories of weddings past and looking through FAR too many brochures for my own wedding!) And don’t forget that wedding cake…

Finally, you could serve something based on the couple’s actual meal. No information is available about this yet, but there’s loads of speculation online. This is a particularly good article (and here) that details previous wedding menus and discusses some British produce that could be served – nab some ideas!