Christmas Weddings in Essex

We all know someone whose favourite time of year is Christmas. They have their decorations up the first week of December (or before). They go buy stockings for everyone they know, partake in 10 Secret Santas and share posts on Facebook informing you how many sleeps there are until The Big Day. If you’re that person and you’re engaged to be married, why not hold your wedding at Christmas?

Jodie and Nicole’s Christmas wedding on 22nd December 2018.  Photograph by Boutique Wedding Films & Photography

Jodie and Nicole’s Christmas wedding on 22nd December 2018. Photograph by Boutique Wedding Films & Photography

It doesn’t have to be stressful - and your guests are going to love having something to think about that isn’t Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve! Read on for our tips on holding a Christmas wedding.

Be Organised

More organised than normal, we mean. Christmas is a busy time without a wedding to plan, so we recommend organising your wedding as much as possible earlier in the year. It might seem strange trying on winter wedding dresses in March, or planning white glittering decorations in August, but the more you do before December hits, the more you can relax on your big day! It might be an idea to do your Christmas shopping earlier in the year too…

Decide on Your Christmas Theme

Jodie and Nicole next to their Christmas tree.  Photograph by Boutique Wedding Films & Photography

Jodie and Nicole next to their Christmas tree. Photograph by Boutique Wedding Films & Photography

‘Christmas’ means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about the Father Christmas hats and multicoloured tinsel while for others, it’s about subtle gold or silver drapes and soft lighting. Talk with your partner about how you want to ‘theme’ your Christmas wedding - will it be a sparkling silver winter wonderland, or a bold red and gold grotto? Will you have carols and a Christmassy wedding cake? You could incorporate holly into your flower decorations, use Christmas crackers as wedding favours and even use gingerbread infusers to really get the Christmas theme going!

Are You Having a Christmas-Themed Wedding or Just a Winter Wedding?

How much Christmas is too much Christmas? Some couples want carols as part of their service, some want the Master of Ceremonies to dress up as Father Christmas, some want a choir. Others just want, well, a winter theme for their winter wedding.

Mulled Wine at a Winter Wedding

Plan Your Winter Wedding Breakfast Menu

Winter is the perfect time to be adventurous with your menu. Think mulled wine, Baileys or eggnog as a welcome drink or hearty hot chocolate as a dessert. You could have roast turkey for your mains, as it’s Christmas - or go with something more traditional like venison or pheasant.

Make Plans for Bad Weather

Andrea and Paul’s snowy wedding in winter 2018.  Photos by RM1 Photography.

Andrea and Paul’s snowy wedding in winter 2018. Photos by RM1 Photography.

Winter weather can be unpredictable, so make plans for putting guests up in hotels should it snow. Consider your outfits too - will your bridesmaids want to walk around in strapless dresses in December? Consider adding a wrap to their outfits, or choose a high-necked dress. Remember that guests may not want to hang around in the cold, so consider investing in a marquee.

Are you looking to hold a winter wedding at The Arlington Ballroom? Have a look at what we offer for weddings on our page, and get in touch via info@thearlingtonballroom.co.uk or 01702 711 350 (10am-4pm weekdays).

Say Yes to the Wedding Dress… on a Budget

Weddings can quickly become eye-wateringly expensive. With the venue hire, photography, catering and flowers, plus insurance and transport, it’s no surprise that the average wedding in Britain now costs around £30,000. One aspect that’s sure to be talked about for years to come is the wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses - but there’s no need to spend a fortune! Here are our tips on on getting fabulous dresses at an affordable price!

Shop on the High Street

The high street can be a treasure trove for beautiful wedding and bridesmaids dresses - without the eye-watering price tag. All of these Debenhams dresses are £60 or under, as are all of these Next dresses.

Go Vintage on eBay or at Local Fairs

What’s better than a new dress? A vintage dress! No one else will have one, after all.

If you’re in Essex, we recommend checking out Hotties Vintage Village fairs, or The Bearded Gypsy Vintage.

Online, eBay is a must-visit for two reasons. One, eBay has a plethora of vintage dresses on offer that won’t be available anywhere else. Two, a lot of people buy new dresses from big brands, but end up changing their plans. As long as you’re willing to take a risk with the sizing, you can’t go wrong!

Visit Brides Do Good

Have you always wanted a luxury label wedding dress? Visit Brides Do Good, a wonderful organisation that resells pre-owned luxury wedding dresses at up to 70% off, then donates up to two thirds of sales to charities working to end child marriage.

Ask Your Friends

The best way to find a bargain: ask your mates! If you know anyone who’s recently had their wedding, been in a wedding party or even works in the events industry, pick their brain for ideas. They might know a good local warehouse offering clothes at trade prices, or have the inside line to a cute local boutique. You won’t know unless you ask!

Midweek Weddings: 5 Benefits

Midweek weddings are becoming increasingly popular due to a rise in couples choosing quieter, cheaper wedding ceremonies and receptions than they have in years gone by. It’s easy to see why - the average cost of a wedding is around £27,000! So why have a midweek wedding?

Keep Your Costs Down

As we said, weddings are expensive - so why not save your cash and put it toward a house, your family or your honeymoon? Midweek weddings are cheaper than midweek weddings as venue hire is so much cheaper during the week. For example, at The Arlington our Friday venue hire is £450, and Saturday is £600 - but midweek is just £350. That’s £250 you could put elsewhere!

Small Midweek Wedding at The Arlington Ballroom Essex

Be Selective With Your Guests… Which Keeps Costs Down!

You don’t really want your great aunt’s son-in-law and his children at your wedding, do you? A midweek wedding is the perfect excuse to trim your guest list down to those who really matter - the people you know will make the effort to be there. Oh, and a smaller guest list will mean fewer mouths to feed at the wedding reception, fewer complimentary drinks, a smaller cake and possibly even a smaller venue! So you’ll be saving money as well!

That being said, if you send out your save the dates early enough, your guests will have more than enough time to book a day or two'’s holiday!

Have Your Pick of Suppliers… and Pay a Bit Less for Them!

All good suppliers, from photographers to make up artists to venue stylists, will be booked up every weekend for months in advance. But their Wednesdays or their Thursdays are probably free - and cheaper than the weekends! Why not use the money you saved on your venue hire to get in the very best venue stylist, or to splash out on the dress or cake of your dreams?

Save Your Guests Money

B&B, hotel and often travel costs are cheaper during the week than at the weekend. Your guests might not feel as ‘festive’ during the week as they might on a weekend, but they’ll be grateful for the reduced costs associated with your big day!

Marry On a Special Day

It’s not all about saving money! Did you get engaged on an anniversary, or meet on a special day? With a midweek wedding, you have greater choice of wedding dates, so you can take advantage and get married on a date that really means something to you!

Have we persuaded you that a midweek wedding is a good idea? Get in touch with us on 01702 711 350 or email info@thearlingtonballroom.co.uk to book a consultation. Browse our wedding page and options here.

What is a Humanist Wedding? A Guide for Secular Couples


Humanist weddings are increasingly popular, as non-religious or multi-faith couples wish to celebrate their wedding somewhere other than a religious building or a simple registry office. But what exactly is a humanist wedding? Simply put, humanist weddings are non-religious, or secular. There aren’t any rules per se, so couples can tailor their wedding to their exact specifications!

Are Humanist Weddings Legally Binding?

As of 2018, humanist weddings are not legally binding in England and Wales and couples require a civil ceremony as well as or alongside their humanist ceremony. Humanist weddings are legally binding in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and activists are pressing the UK government for change in England and Wales.

Are Wedding Vows Allowed? Is Music Allowed? What is Allowed at a Humanist Wedding?

Anything is allowed! You can have poetry readings, live music, a speech from a friend or loved one. You can write your own vows, incorporating your favourite music or poetry, or even incorporating something from a religious text that you do like. You can include elements of ‘traditional’ weddings - the white dress, bridesmaids, a bouquet… or not! It’s really up to you and what you want: a big appeal of humanist weddings is the bespoke element. Whether you’re an LGBT couple, a multi-faith couple or simply looking for something that isn’t ‘a church wedding’ or ‘a ceremony at a registry office’, you can tailor your wedding to you, as a couple.

What is a Celebrant?

Although popular in countries like Australia, the term ‘celebrant’ isn’t very well known in the UK. A celebrant is the person who conducts the ceremony, often writing or creating the ceremony. You can find a celebrant using Humanist.org.uk’s interactive map. You can also learn more about what celebrants are with Humanist.org.uk’s guide.

Can a Humanist Wedding Take Place Outside?

Yes! As we said, humanist weddings are not legally binding in England so you will have to have a civil ceremony as well.

Where Can I Have a Humanist Wedding in Essex?

Pretty much anywhere! Some people choose the beach, some choose their front room, some choose a traditional wedding venue. At the Arlington Ballroom, we’re always happy to host a humanist wedding! We’re also licensed for civil ceremonies, so you can always have a registrar conduct your legally-binding ceremony alongside all your preferred ‘humanist’ elements. We also host wedding receptions, so you can hold your wedding underneath one roof! You can learn about our wedding packages and what we offer on our Weddings page.

Black and White Humanist Wedding Ceremony at The Arlington Ballroom Essex

LGBT Weddings for Essex at The Arlington Ballroom, Southend-on-Sea

You’ve just got engaged. Congratulations! Now you’ve got to start planning a wedding… At the Arlington Ballroom, we do a lot of weddings, from huge parties to intimate ceremonies, for a diverse range of couples. We know your wedding is one of the most special days of your life, and our team works hard to ensure everything runs smoothly and to your plan. So why hold your wedding at The Arlington?

Jodie and Nicole’s wedding, December 2018.  Photograph by Boutique Wedding Films & Photography.

Jodie and Nicole’s wedding, December 2018. Photograph by Boutique Wedding Films & Photography.

Hold Your Wedding Ceremony & Evening Reception Under One Roof

We’re fully licensed, so you can hold your civil ceremony and your evening reception here! No faffing about with cars or moving your guests and less stress for you and your guests!

LGBT Wedding Reception Essex.jpg

Fabulous Art Deco Wedding Venue in the Heart of Southend

Completely renovated in 2012, our Art Deco ballroom is an elegant, sophisticated venue perfect for the discerning couple! It fits between 80-250 people and we can arrange a live band, a DJ, sweet carts, a dance floor and literally roll out a red carpet! We offer buffets and sit-down meals, and have two bars - so you can allocate one as a cocktail, Champagne or gin bar! We can also help organise professional cocktail demonstrations - just ask.

Small Weddings & Midweek Weddings Welcome

We know that not everyone wants a blowout Gatsby-style wedding (although we can do those!). Our venue has a maximum capacity of 250 people, so your day will be intimate. We also offer midweek weddings, as we’re mindful that many couples plan a wedding on a budget or would prefer a quiet ceremony.

Small LGBT Wedding Ceremony in Essex.jpg
Pink Themed LGBT wedding.jpg

Interested in looking around our ballroom to discuss wedding options? Give us a call on 01702 711 350 (10am-4pm), or email info@thearlingtonballroom.co.uk. Learn more about our wedding packages on our Weddings page. You can view our cocktail menu here.

How to Add Hygge to Your Life (even when you're very, very busy)

The Danish word ‘hygge’ (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’) roughly translates as ‘cosiness’. The concept has taken off in western Europe and Essex in the last few years as the Danish are consistently rated as some of the happiest people in the world, despite their long winters and harsh weather. Basically, achieving hygge means taking time to try to be present to enjoy the little things.

Hygge doesn’t mean buying anything, eating a certain way or decorating your home in a certain style. It just means taking the time to enjoy life however you want to! We know how hard it can be to take time for yourself in the busy months leading up to Christmas, especially when you have a demanding job, young children and British weather to contend with - so we’ve put together a quick guide to adding some hygge to your life.

Smell the Roses (or the scented candles)

What’s your favourite scent? Can you find it in the form of a scented candle, incense stick or perfume? Filling your home, car and even your pockets with something that smells nice will boost your spirits on gloomy days. Even if you just buy the same shampoo you took on your holiday and use that in the winter months, you’ll be reminded of summer every time you wash your hair!

Put Your Phone Down

Just for five minutes. Social media is a fun way of keeping up with friends (and showing off a bit, let’s be honest) but research has shown that too much social media can lead to a decline in mental health including feelings of isolation and a drop in self esteem. So instead of spending five minutes Instagramming your gorgeous dinner, why not take five extra minutes to eat it slowly and savour every mouthful? When you’re out with the family, concentrate on what you’re doing instead of photographing what you’re doing. Your brain will remember the day without 10 accompanying photos, promise.

Spend Time With Friends

In person, not online! We know the run up to Christmas is hectic, and taking the time to meet up with friends can become more stressful than it is relaxing, especially if you have to organise childcare or travel long distances in iffy weather. So why not meet for a coffee during a lunchbreak instead of dinner at the weekend? How about a phone or Skype call or FaceTime while you’re both watching the same TV show? If you’d like to get together for a dinner party but can’t decide who should host, why not go out to a local party night? A good chat with a friend or a group of friends will lift your spirits by miles.

Friends Meeting for Coffee

Why are Continuing Professional Development Courses So Important?

Continuing Professional Development courses, also known as CPD courses, are an integral part of many industries. No matter where you are on the career ladder, it’s important to keep learning from others in your industry.

By holding and attending CPD courses, even for subjects that don’t seem related to your day-to-day tasks, such as first aid or human resources, you are maintaining standards of professionalism in your company and throughout your industry.

At The Arlington Ballroom we hold a great deal of networking meetings with Southend Peers and Southend EBN so we know first hand how hard entrepreneurs and small business owners work. We know the effort that goes into your training, networking, public relations, human resources, insurance and much more. We know that attending or holding a CPD course may sound like a drain on your time, but the right course really will continue your professional development! This is true whether the course is on something generalised, like first aid or social media, or on something incredibly specific to your industry, such as a RICS or Corgi-certified course.

If you’re interested in holding a CPD course at the Arlington Ballroom, email us on info@thearlingtonballroom.co.uk or call 01702 711 350 and our Events Team will see how we can help!

CPD course Essex.jpg

Why Book Your Prom Before Christmas?

We know, we know. Prom season is high summer, when the evenings are long and you don’t need four jumpers to leave the house. So why are we talking about proms in October? Well, venues book up really fast. There’s only a few weeks in June and July when schools and colleges want their prom, so competition is high!

At The Arlington, we know from experience that you’re best off booking your prom before the Christmas holiday, because revision and exams take up so much of January and the spring time. It’s also a good idea to collect deposits as early as possible for events with so many people, because collecting money and keeping track of who’s booked what can quickly become a bit of a headache!

If you’re doing your GCSEs or A Levels in a school or college in Southend, Leigh or Westcliff and want your prom in a classy, sophisticated venue, learn more about our proms on our Events page and get in touch with us today by calling 01702 711 350 or emailing info@thearlingtonballroom.co.uk.

Sweet Cart Prom The Arlington Ballroom Southend
Lilac Couch Prom Southend-on-Sea
Prom Dinner at The Arlington Ballroom Southend