Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue... but most of all something you. MAXINE GORDON visits a York shop dedicated to helping couples plan their big day.

MOST brides would be happy never to look at a bridal magazine again after the stress of planning their wedding. The months spent poring over bridal magazines, traipsing through wedding dress shops, visiting caterers and choosing stationery can take their toll and even remove some of the sheen from the big day.

But for Sue Marwood, planning her own wedding only gave her a desire for more of the same. It was in the lead-up to her marriage to Jonathan that she decided to quit her job as a primary school teacher in York and enter the wedding business.

Her shop, The Wedding Box, opened in College Street in the shadow of York Minster three months ago with the aim of bringing a range of products together under one roof.

From stationery to favours, gifts for the best man and bridesmaid to confetti, the shop stocks a good selection of wedding essentials - many with a twist.

There are miniature whisky bottles with labels featuring the name of the bride and groom; children's favours boxes with dolly mixtures or jelly babies on the top; socks with groom, usher and best man written on them; rose petal confetti; and portfolios of handmade stationery. There's even a small selection of products for the hen and stag dos, including T-shirts featuring key words in diamant on the front such as 'Sexy bridesmaid' and 'Groom's mother'.

"I'm not selling anything tacky for hen parties, but something a little bit sassy," says Sue.

If it's something different you seek, The Wedding Box may well have it - because that's exactly the shop's aim.

Sue explains: "When I got married last year, I found York a great place for wedding dress shops but for the little extra touches I had to search high and low.

"The internet was good for finding things but I wanted to see the items before buying them to make sure they matched my colour scheme.

"I longed to find one place that sold everything I needed: and that's when the idea for The Wedding Box started."

The shop is in an enviable location in the shadow of York Minster and has a beamed interior and olde-word windows which invite customers to browse at leisure, or sit on the comfy sofa and study the portfolios of wedding stationery.

Before its new incarnation, the building had been an architect's office, a sweet shop and a home. "An old lady came in one day and told me this used to be her grandma's front room," said Sue.

The shop consists of two small rooms, but is stocked by at least 30 suppliers. Sue reckons she has more than 100 different stationery designs alone. And because she works directly with the designers, people can customise stationery.

"One couple liked a specific design but wanted it in a different colour. I called the designer and asked if it was possible, and it was," said Sue. Another couple are delighted that Sue has managed to find a designer to make medieval scrolls for their invites.

Increasingly, couples want the stamp of individuality, whether with a theme or colour scheme, and this is where The Wedding Box can prove invaluable. It has a section featuring jars of almonds and chocolates covered in sugar coatings in an array of colours, along with an impressive selection of packaging, flowers and ribbons to enable couples to make up their own favours.

They can even buy disposable cameras to fit in with their colour scheme - the range features ten shades from silver and gold to lilac and pink as well as ivory and white.

For confetti, there's everything from rice paper to hand-picked delphinium petals. And as well as designer stationery there is a range of highly affordable invitation and thank-you card sets available ready to buy.

"There's something for all budgets," says Sue.

Updated: 08:57 Tuesday, October 21, 2003