Design your own drinks station


Hello everyone!

What qualifies me to write a blog post about a drinks station at your wedding?

I style weddings, we advise our clients’ about their drinks and we serve them, we have loads of props and useful accessories you can hire to use and I am quite partial to a cocktail or two myself.  So this post is a dream to write !


Drinks Station Boards Styling ideas


Most wedding venues will encourage you to have a drinks reception after your wedding service and all of the weddings we work on will incorporate one into their timetable.

Consider a cocktail hour?  Pimms is always a huge hit for a summer wedding and this year we have styled several weddings where we have had something for the guys and offered bottles of beer served from a rustic tin bath.   Nowadays a drinks staion concept has become part of the wedding decor as much as a functional item.

If you are hosting your wedding in a formal venue, then there are some basic questions to ask;  Find out about the types of drinks available and the glasses they will be served in.  Can you offer cocktails, wines, prosecco, beer? Iis there a soft drink option.  Do guests help themselves or is there waiter service?  Are these drinks served from a fixed bar or will they set up a separate area for you?  Do the venue provide the necessary glasses, dispensers, jugs, trays or can you supply your own?

Get creative and have a signature drink or cocktail for the wedding.

If your wedding is in a tipi, marquee, barn or you are able to have full creative input into the reception then happy days!  You can really go to town on this.




I love a glass drinks dispenser and we have five you can hire.  Perfect for a cloudy lemonade or a cocktail that can be pre-prepared.  I have used ours for Pimms, Mojitos, Tom Collins and Bellinis.  As well as looking brilliant they allow you to prepare drinks in advance and the glassware keeps them fresh and cool.

We have over 250 jam jars that you can hire and lots of antique glassware if you want to add a flourish of sophistication to your bar.  Hit the car boot sales and collect colourful mismatched tumblers.

Drinks Station Board styling ideas



Paper additions

The paper straw.  Still going strong and still a winner.  There are endless options available to choose from – a solid colour, stripy, spotty, formal – cheap and fun. Check out Esty and Ebay as these are often cheaper than wedding boutiques.

The cocktail napkin.  You could get them personalised.

Drinks stirrers.  Ridiculously easy to make yourself and the possibilities are endless!


Drinks Station Boards ideas



Adding fruit and herbs to the mix will be appreciated by your guests and add a flourish to any glass.  A raspberry, a wedge of lime, a sprig of thyme or lavender.


Drinks Station Boards cocktail ideas



Let your guests know what is on the drinks menu.  Make this fun or formal.  Write a drinks list or board or you can use smaller boards such as “please take one” or “help yourself’ or hung by ribbons around your dispensers.


Drinks Station Boards Glasses and Fruit Styling



We have tall milk churns that you be used as table legs with a plank of wood on top, think about old furniture, crates, tin baths… Once the main props are set up you can accessorise with signage and flowers.  It is often the smallest of touches can make a big impact.  Our props are all seen in use in our gallery page here to give you some ideas.


Drinks Station Boards drinks dispensers


If you have staff to serve your drinks to your guests, there are lot of tray options you can look at.  We have shallow wooden trays to hire, silver trays and large wooden rustic trays which we have used with great success.


Drinks Station Board - serving ideas

 Image credits – Scalingbackblog, Luna&Chloeweddings, OhLovelyday, StylemePretty, Weddingchicks, SimpleRegistry, Catchmyparty,

100layercake, Elizabethannedesigns, Etsy, Theglitterguide, Confettidaydreams, Weddingsillustrated, Cedarwoodweddings.









21:29 19 October 2014

The Vintage Inspired Afternoon Tea Party

50s High Tea Styled Shoot (248 of 892)

Hello everyone!

There is something very feminine and decadent about an afternoon tea party, especially if you add some bubbles to the proceedings.  Our vintage tea parties have been enjoyed by so many ladies over the last four years and we like to think that we have created our menu by listening to requests from our guests, tweaking sandwich fillings and we hope there is something to tempt every guest – see our menu page here

Our services are simple – we bring the tea party to you, whether that is at your home or at a venue of your choice.  It is a very popular choice for a hen party where the girls have a weekend tucked away in a Derbyshire cottage.  You choose your menu and we arrive laden down with your vintage china, linens, cutlery, bunting, food and teas.  We can set up and dress your tables for you or we can leave everything to you.  We return the following day to collect everything and best of all, you don’t have to wash up!  Simply pack the china away and we will wash it up for you at our studio.

Whether you are looking for afternoon tea catering for a hen party, birthday party or wedding celebration, get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

All images below are from our own events, to give you a taster of what we do – from a picnic in the park to a ladies gathering for 100…

Karen x



VW split screen camper van wedding hire Midlands Derbyshire

Image – Emma Cleveley Photography.  Our styled photoshoot with our VW camper van

Styling a Vintage Wedding with Darby & Joan | Vintage Prop Hire, Derbyshire | Vintage China, Cake Stands, Silver Trays, Cutlery & More

Our eating and serving china – Kathryn Edwards Photography, Matt Brown Photography

Wedding canapés at Darby Abbey Village Hall

A selection of our canapés – Kate Henderson Photography

Portland House hen party pop up tearoomMe putting the finishing touches to a hen party table at Portland House – Image Emma Clevelely Photography

National Trust, Kedleston Hall weddingScones with jam and cream – which comes first?!  Our drinks dispensers are perfect for your tipple of choice – Image James Melia Photography

The Wonky Table

A Mad Hatters tea party at The Wonky Table

Village hall tea party

Village hall tea party for 110!  Image Emma Cleveley Photography




Being filmed with Claire from Steps for ITV



vintage glamour and beautiful classic china

Hen Party for 20 in Derbyshire

Featured image – our 1950’s high tea styled shoot with Kathryn Edwards Photograhpy

7:19 18 October 2014

Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Chocolate Beetroot cake receipe

I love baking.  Amazing to see what a little bit of time, eggs, flour, butter and sugar can produce.

But I really love easy baking – simple recipes with fewer than ten ingredients and those which are technically straightforward.  I am in awe of the cakes produced by my true cake maker friends but if I am honest, I run out of patience (and time!) and I just don’t have the skills needed to create a Bake Off Showstopper.

A couple of friends who no doubt will be reading this post will chuckle when I offer my baking wisdom – if it looks a bit lopsided or uneven, everything looks better with a dusting of icing sugar.  True fact.

Here is one of my favourite chocolate cakes, from Jamie Oliver.  Particularly loved by me as it uses almonds rather than flour, and, being celiac myself, it is a great recipe to have.  Gluten free baking powder and cocoa powder is easily available nowadays too – yey.  Plus a pretty fabulous way of  getting one of your five a day – or at least half of one…

If the earthy taste of beetroot isn’t for you, then you can substitute this with grated courgette (after grating, do make sure you squeeze out a lot of the liquid as they are a watery vegetable,  or the cake mixture will be too runny), or do half and half.


You will need

olive oil

plain flour, for dusting

300g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

250g raw beetroot (not from a jar)

4 large free-range eggs

150g golden caster sugar

120g ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon good-quality cocoa powder

Creme fraiche, to serve


How to Make It

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

2. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with olive oil.

3. Line the base with baking parchment.

4. Dust the sides of the tin lightly with flour, then tap the tin to get rid of any excess.

5. Break 200g of the chocolate up into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl.

6. Place the bowl on top of a small pan of simmering water over a medium heat, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water, and allow to melt, stirring occasionally.

7. Remove from the heat once melted.

8. Peel the beetroot (you might want to wear gloves to do this as they really do stain!), then coarsely grate.  Tip into a large mixing bowl.

10. Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a large clean mixing bowl and adding the yolks to the beetroot.

11. Stir the sugar, almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate into the beetroot and mix together well.

12. Use an electric hand whisk to whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.

13. Use a spatula to fold a quarter of the egg whites into the beetroot mixture to loosen, then once combined, fold in the rest but try not to over mix as you don’t want to knock out air.

14. Add the mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly using a spatula.

15. Bake in the hot oven for around 50 minutes, or until risen and cooked through.

16. To check if it’s done, stick a cocktail stick or skewer into the middle of the sponge, remove it after 5 seconds and if it comes out clean the cake’s cooked; if it’s slightly sticky it needs a bit longer.

17. Allow the cake to cool slightly, turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

18. For an added treat, when you’re ready to serve, melt the remaining chocolate (in the same way as above), then serve each slice with some creme fraiche and a little drizzle of the melted chocolate.


beetroot cake recipe from Jamie Oliver

 Image credits – Jamie Oliver & Pinterest

0:47 16 October 2014

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