Weddings trends from Europe for 2016 and 2017

Right now its June 2016 and we are travelling around Europe checking out what’s going to be trending in weddings in 2016 and 2017.

We are on the lookout for dresses, flowers, styling and props that are being displayed in the windows of shops around the hip parts of London, from Oxford Street to Camden Markets. We’re also keeping our eyes open for design and styling inspiration we see in cool street art displays and music from international buskers.

These posts will be updated frequently so stay tuned. You can also check out our social media pages on Instagram and Facebook for more.

A taste of what’s to come, check out this awesome terrarium light installation and paper cone and butterfly dress from the High Street in Kensington.




Groom’s Wedding song for his bride

Adam McLean had a wonderful idea. Why not write and record a song to surprise his beautiful wife (to be)  Cayley for their wedding day on 29th December 2015 at Old Forest School.

Looking for some serious romantic inspiration? Just watch the video below. It was a huge hit when Adam played the video during the speeches. The guests loved it and needless to say, Cayley was totally blown away.

Let’s get you fit, strong and confident for your Wedding Day

This guest post was written by Jason Whitelaw from Beyond Fitness.

This is going to be one of the most extraordinary days of your life! With all the things on your list of things to work on for the big day – have you considered adding yourself? Your wedding day is the perfect motivation to kick-start a healthier you, and get you in the BEST SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE!

At Beyond Fitness in Tauranga we have helped a number of brides and bridesmaids to look and feel amazing for their momentous occasion in as little as 6 weeks! We would love to share a handful of our favourite tips to help you too…

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We love and encourage STRENGTH TRAINING for women! If you have doubts about incorporating a quality strength training programme into your weekly routine because you “don’t want to become bulky” PLEASE READ ON! We understand that there are certain stereotypes that fit with the idea of lifting weights. The purpose of this blog is to assist females in busting the myths and understanding the benefits of strength training!

*** (If you’re still not convinced by the end of the blog – try asking Su-an! As we know she has recently become a great advocate for strength training)

We recommend doing strength training at least 2 x per week, and here’s why…..
Strength training helps burn calories – resulting in fat loss!

You burn more calories during a quality strength workout, as opposed to steady state cardio exercise! Why? Your body recruits more muscles and therefore needs more energy to perform the exercises.

Strength training can boost your metabolism by 15%

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Following a strength workout your body will also continue to burn calories, a process commonly known as the “after burn” – your body must work to re-build muscle which requires extra calories. This may mean that you needn’t stray too far from your current diet in order to achieve your desired results ─ as long as you eat good healthy foods in moderation. (We can help you with this too!)

Strength training will add definition to your muscles

When you push yourself to lift weights, your muscles will get stronger and denser (not necessarily bigger!) – you will burn the fat on top of your muscle, and you will get that “toned” look that many people are after.

Strength training to boost energy levels and improve your mood!

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Strength training elevates your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), leaving you feeling energised and alive. Strength training has also been shown to be a great antidepressant and tool for stress relief. It will give you a better night’s sleep, helping to calm the thousands of thoughts in your mind in planning for the big day!

A final note – we really encourage people to work out with their future husbands or wives / bridesmaids / groomsmen / friends / family members to share what can be an awesome experience and achieve great results together. There’s nothing better than having a loved one keep you accountable on your health and fitness journey.

Hopefully you can take something away from this blog, ladies. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Beyond team.

Jason is excited to be tying the knot at Old Forest School on the 3rd of Feb 2017! Jason co-owns and operates the exclusive Beyond Fitness Training Studio based in Tauranga. Beyond Fitness specialise in personal training, group training and physiotherapy.

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In Jason’s words – “At Beyond we help improve the quality of life through increased health and fitness”. If you are interested in one of Beyond’s ‘Wedding Training Packages’ or some personal training please contact the team to find out more…. We would love to help and be a part of the exciting time you have ahead in planning your big day!

If you would like more information or to contact Jason…

ph: 07 571 6745


We know there’s no shortage of ideas and opinions when it comes to selecting the perfect wedding dress for your big day. Here’s four basic tips from us:

  • Make a look-book
    Start collecting images that you like. Tear out photos form magazines to paste into a scrapbook or setup a Pinterest board. Either way just start collecting ideas and images that appeal to you.
  • Sort out your budget
    Be really clear on how much you want to invest in your wedding dress. It will help when you’re making decisions about where to buy and the designs or labels that fit within your budget.
  • Think about your wedding location
    Where you get married will have an impact on your wedding dress decision. Getting married outdoors at the beach or inside in a more formal setting? You want to look fabulous but also remain conformable throughout the day.
  • Consider the temperature
    Depending on the time of the year you get married you may need to make allowances for being very hot, in the height of summer, or for being a little cooler, if it’s very early or late in the wedding season.

If you are still looking for some more wedding dress inspiration check out the  beautiful dresses from some of the stunning brides who have got married at Old Forest School.

Frilly, frolicking fields of flowers

At our wedding venue we see plenty of beautiful flowers. Flowers are an essentialpart of any wedding. From bouquets to button-holes to flower crowns to table decorations. Flowers are everywhere at weddings.

The choices and styles are so wide, from formal structured and traditional flowers to unconventional and colour clashing to bohemian simplicity.

Whatever you chose, it’s almost impossible to get wrong. Beautiful, scented bunches of gorgeous flowers are just so summery and dreamy.

Here’s some idea kick-starting, inspiration for you from some of the recent weddings at Old Forest School.

The coppers arrive at wedding venue

We’ve had some new guests arrive at our wedding venue; The Coppers. A quartet of beautiful Red Shaver Hens, that have been named because of their colour (copper brown) and the fact they look a little like a detective on a fresh crime scene. Incriminating looks, ponderous expressions and some accusational neck thrusting.

Holly has named them because her love of British crime shows.

We have Barnaby from Midsomer Murders.

Lestrade from Sherlock Holmes.

Lewis from the show by the same name.

And one for the true aficionado of British crime drama, Gene Genie from Life On Mars.

The Coppers have just started laying eggs for us, those clever girls. So they now have a brand new sign on the gate of the chicken coop.

Look at for them next time you visit Old Forest School, they might be on their beat (free ranging).

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New Zealand Weddings Magazine visits OFS

Vintage wedding venue Old Forest School was super proud host the team from New Zealand Weddings magazine during their Bay of Plenty styled shoot. If you want to see more get yourself a copy of the Spring 2015 issue of New Zealand Weddings Magazine. There’s some great content inside for anyone planning a wedding, like, what’s new in the world of weddings, some real wedding inspiration, lots and lots of fashion and makeup ideas and plenty more.

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The team of New Zealand Weddings Magazine captured some beautiful images in a number of places at Old Forest School. Inside the Schoolhouse, outside the Tin Shed, under the Sycamore tree and in the Big Barn. Casey from The Heirloom as usual did an splendid job of the styling and flowers to make the Big Barn look amazing. Michaela used her amazing calligraphy skills to write some inspiring and beautiful phrases, you can see more of her work at Rose aka Little Miss Rose, shared some tips for capturing beautiful images in an outdoor setting on page 162. Even Holly got in on the act, sharing one of her fabulous recipes “Sweet Berry Pie Jars”which features on page 138.

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It was a really fun day and we look forward to having New Zealand Weddings magazine visit us again. As everyone knows, one trip to Old Forest School is never enough.

Photography for the magazine shot at Old Forest School by Carolyn Haslett Photography.

Cakes, cakes and cakes

Cakes are a central figure in the formal part of your wedding celebration. But there are so many cake options, and so little time.

It can be a difficult task choosing the perfect wedding cake, you’ll have to struggle through hours of sampling and tasting delicious cakes. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. And nowadays there are so many options, from delicate traditional cakes, to rustic cakes, to hand painted cakes. What about gluten free? Or sugar free? Iced or nude? And then once you’ve actually selected your cake, you then have another decision to make. When is the right time to cut and serve it? We’ve seen couples use their wedding cake as part of an afternoon tea, or before speeches or after speeches, at the same time as dessert or instead of dessert.

If you start to feel overwhelmed, remember the  most important part of wedding cake selection is to ensure you enjoy the journey (tasting).

And if you want more options and inspiration check out…


Nona’s Homemade Cakes 

Sweet Deer Hand Painted Cakes

Sugar Tiers Cake Design Community


Let there be light – Light Viking

This is a guest post by Darcia from Light Viking.

Special events are magical…. Surrounded by loved ones, dressed up to the nines, with lovely food and drinks to enjoy.

It’s important for your venue to provide a fantastic setting to ensure yours and your guests’ comfort – from our experience, Old Forest School – Vintage Venue are most definitely one of those venues. Being set on a historical school site offers so many options not often available at large gatherings – for example, having a pool to swim in, tennis courts, a cricket pitch – good golly – such fun!

For us personally, our favourite aspects of Old Forest School aside from the delightful hosts, are their gorgeous barn, the seriously cool touches of authentic vintage to be found dotted about the venue, and the strands of festoon lights draped romantically across the party areas. The latter of which brings us to our favourite discussion – event lighting.

Event lighting sounds very grand, but unless you are looking for something akin to a big stage production, many whimsical and gorgeous lighting touches can be added to your party without breaking the budget. Here are 3 ways to light up your event…

1. Fairy Lights – there are seemingly a gazillion fairy light options available these days… and many ways that the humble fairy light can transform an area. An extremely simple DIY is a jar with a strand of the battery operated seed lights woven through marbles or glass beads, offering a sparkly little glow for table settings or pathways. They could also be suspended from above, placed on shelves – you are limited only by your imagination with these quick and easy little wonders.

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This amazing table setting was created by Tricia Saroya, North America. And whilst it is insanely gorgeous, if you deconstruct the elements, it is completely achievable should you desire – just be sure to practice before the big day…. And allow plenty of time to create!

2. Candles – so versatile, and by putting them into vintage jars (or any jars for that matter) you can keep mess and danger to a minimum. Battery operated candles are available too, and can be quite difficult to tell from a real one.

A very easy DIY, as seen here, is simply candles, jars, a holder (could be a basket, a wire basket, a wooden crate – there are many potential options), some pretty blooms, and a place to display your creations. Sand in the bottom of the jars helps to stabilise the candles, and will also catch any wayward wax if you are using real candles. If you use some scented candles, you will also add another dimension – essential oil candles can set the mood perfectly.

3. Include a budget for a Lighting Stylist to transform your event. A lighting stylist will have a variety of lighting elements on hand, and many will have styling packages available, including hire, setup and deconstructing after the event. Hiring a Lighting Stylist will eliminate the need for you to source, purchase and set up your lighting, and give you quite a bit of bang for your buck, because a lighting stylist is, by very definition, someone who lives and breathes beautiful lighting scenarios. Additionally, they will quite often be incredibly creative, assuring you of a unique and bespoke style for your event. From the beautifully basic, to the out of control gorgeous, the right lighting stylist will be sure to meet your requirements and budget with a serious touch of fancy and bling.

So, if you are a DIY kinda person, or prefer to have your lighting dreams brought to life by a professional, there are endless lighting options available. Be sure to check what your venue offers in terms of “additional lighting” they may also be able to recommend a Lighting Stylist if you choose to go that route – word of mouth is often the very best reference.

Most importantly, when all is said and done, your event is about you and your loved ones enjoying one another’s company, and creating memories to be cherished forever more.

About Light Viking: Established in 2013, Light Viking is a Bay of Plenty company who manufacture Vintage Style Marquee Lights, and provide Lighting Styling services. They have a variety of decorative lighting options for hire.


Meet Anita – full time entertainer, part time bar manager

Ask anyone who has been to an event at Old Forest School and they will tell you one of the highlights is Anita.

Anita runs the Redwood Bar at Old Forest School, she is infectiously happy, bubbly and has a knack of getting people laughing. She’s full of energy and works tirelessly to keep guests happy and well-watered.

If you’re interested in a little adventure ask Anita about her selection of signature cocktails and punches (both alcoholic and driver friendly).

Anita from Forest Bubble Bar
Anita from Forest Bubble Bar
Forest Bubbles Bar
Forest Bubbles Bar
Forest Bubbles Bar
Forest Bubbles Bar
Forest Bubble Bar
Forest Bubble Bar