Helpful advice and tips on all aspects of weddings so that you can plan your dream wedding. There is also information on certains pitsfalls to be aware of.
General Wedding Advice
General Wedding Advice
☼ Make sure you know when each service provider requires payment or deposits.
☼ Use friends and family where possible. You may have an Aunt or Grandmother who will bake your wedding cake for free rather than give a wedding present. An Uncle with a flash car to save on hiring wedding cars or a good friend who is an excellent photographer.
☼ Beware using friends and family if they are not terribly reliable. If they are not getting paid then they can be more likely to let you down or provide a poor service. Use only those you really trust.
☼ Don't be nervous about anything. The wedding is something you want to do, so kick back and enjoy it.
☼ On your wedding day, stay calm and try to observe as much as possible. All of your married friends will tell you, their wedding day passed in a blur and they can't all be wrong.
☼ Book as many suppliers as you can once you have booked your wedding ceremony venue. The sooner you book suppliers the more choice of suppliers you have. If you try and book a photographer 3 days before your wedding, you will only be able to get the photographers nobody else wanted. This applies to all wedding service providers.
☼ Select your attendants such as bridesmaids, best man, flower girls and page boys as soon as possible and involve them in the planning.
☼ Contact all suppliers one week before your wedding to make sure that they all have your booking and any details of any special requirements.
☼ Enjoy your day. It is your wedding after all.
☼ Don't decide to have a six inch heel on your bridal shoes if you rarely wear heels. Choose a size of heel which will be comfortable for wearing all day and dancing in. If possible wear the shoes around the house whilst the groom is not present to wear them in a little.
☼ Most accessories can be purchased after the wedding dress and this way you can match colours to suit your bridal gown and bridesmaids gown.
☼ If your bridesmaids are kind enough to pay for their own dresses and/or accessories don't abuse their generosity, overdoing things with tiaras, gloves dolly bags etc.
☼ Ring cushions are a great idea if there is a suitable candidate to carry the cushion down the aisle. Remeber to make sure the rings are tied firmly in place as children drop things and turn things upside down to look at them from a different angle. As funny as it may be in later years you do not want to see anybody scrabbling under chairs or pews for your wedding rings.
☼ If possible have a trial with your stylist and beautician.
☼ If you are having your hair dyed make sure that it is dyed a few days before so that you have time to change the colour if you do not like it.
☼ If you are having a spray tan or home tan make sure that you have a trial first if the treatment is not a regular part of your regime. Then yopu will know how long it takes to fade and when it will look at its best.
☼ Treat yourself to a pamper session a couple of days before the wedding to relax you. This may be something your bridesmaids and close friends will want to join in with.
☼ Use waterproof makeup where possible. There will likely be a few tears of joy shed during your day.
☼ Take into account the season you are bing married in. Do not choose a strapless dress with no jacket for the middle of winter and likewise be wary of a dress with lots of petticoats in the height of summer. You do not want to spend your wedding day shivering or sweating buckets.
☼ Try on lots of dresses in different styles until you find "the dress". You may be surprised with how different they look when worn.
☼ When you have your final fitting make sure that you wear your bridal lingeries and wedding shoes so that your dress is perfectly tailored to you and the clothes.
☼ Do not select the bridesmaids dresses until you have chosen your own bridal gown so that you can select colours that work well together.
☼ Make sure that you get a dress which suits your body shape.
☼ Take along a good friend who you trust to tell you if a dress you really like looks terrible on you. You will be able to avoid picking the wrong dress this way as they will see you as others will.
☼ When selecting bridesmaids dresses remember their body shapes as you will have to find a dress style which will suit all of their body shapes.
☼ Younger bridesmaids and flowergirls do not necessarily have to wear matching dresses to elder bridesmaids.
☼ Involve both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom in the dress selcting process if possible. This will make them both feel part of the wedding and when they know your colour scheme they can choose appropriate outfits for themselves. (Make sure that both mothers consult each other, regarding their own outfits. These are two people who you do not want turning up in similar outfits.)
☼ Allow plenty of time when visiting bridal shops. The hours will fly by once you get into the swing of things.
☼ Don't just stick to a fruit cake because of tradition. If you want a tier made of chocolate sponge instead go for it.
☼ Supermarkets often sell celebration cakes at a fraction of the price which bakers charge. All you have to do then is get a cake topper or sugarcraft flowers to complete tha cake.
☼ Make sure that either your venue or cake supplier provides a cake stand and brides knife for cutting the cake.
☼ Have as small or as large a cake as you want. Some brides only want one tier other cannot imagine a wedding cake without at least five tiers.
☼ Entertain other ideas for a wedding cake. You do not have to have a traditional wedding cake you could have a croquembouche or a number of cup cakes.
☼ If possible keep some of the cakes for those who could not attend the wedding or were not on the guest list.
☼ If you are being married away from home then ask your cake providers advice on transporting the cake safely and ensure that the cake is not crushed or tipped over in transit.
☼ if your cake is heavily decorated with sugar icing flowers or designs get your baker to make a coupl of spares as accidents will happen and having substitutes will remove any stress that damage to the cake may cause.
☼ Be aware that some of your guests may have a nut allergy. So enquire as to the ingredients in your wedding cake and forewarn the guests that you cake may conatin nuts.
☼ Speak to suppliers about the mess issue. That last thing you want is chocolate smeared on your wedding dress.
☼ Find out what the chocolate fountain supplier brings for dipping into the chocolate.
☼ Enquire if your reception venue provides this service. It may come as part of a package.
Wedding Dove Release
☼ Discuss with the dove keeper the best way top release the doves. Some doves can be held and released from the hand while other fly out of a basket when you draw the lid open.
☼ You can save money by making the favours yourself or have them made by bridesmaids or your mother / the grooms mother. Everything you need can be sourced either in our directory or on the internet.
☼ Your reception venue may supply the favours as part of your wedding breakfast.
☼ Avoid giving nuts to someone who has a nut allergy. You don't want to make anybody ill.
☼ Provide small children with soft sweets or chocolate instead of hard bonbonieres that they make choke on.
☼ There are many different styles of brides bouquet, whether a simple tied posy or an elaborate teardrop bouquet. choose one which will go with your wedding dress.
☼ Choose the colours carefully to match or provide a striking contrast you and your bridesmaids dresses.
☼ If selecting flowers such as orchids which have a high pollen count ask your florist to remove any pollen carrying dust to prevent both staining and hayfever.
☼ If you are having flowergirls then a basket of flowers may be more practical and robust for children to handle.
☼ Insist that your flowers are prepared on the day of your wedding to ensure they are at their best.
☼ If you are travelling to a wedding destination source the flowers from a florist your venue recommends. Or if you are taking them with you arrange for cold storage to preserve the flowers as long as possible. A beer cellar is usually perfect for the storage of flowers.
☼ Consult with your venue as to whether extra flowers are required / permitted.
☼ If you are having centrepieces for the wedding breakfast tables get table sizes from your venue. You do not want to end up with a centrepiece that leaves no room on the tables for anything else.
☼ Do not discount silk flowers as they are a cheaper and longer lasting alternative.
☼ Expect to pay premium prices for flowers that are out of season, such as daffodils in December.
☼ Many guests will give you cash or a cheque rather than a present which enable you to get what you want.
☼ Some brides and grooms ask for cash towards their wedding or honeymoon in lieu of presents. Don't be afraid to do this with your guests.
☼ Brides and grooms often present their respective mothers with a bouquet of flowers at their wedding breakfast as a way of saying thanks for their help in planning the wedding. Gifts are often presented to best men and bridesmaids as well.
☼ If you provide young children with a small toy or colouring book as a table gift, then they will be entertained and will be quiet during the reception meal and speeches.
☼ Advise them of colours to avoid to prevent them matching or clashing with the bride or bridesmaids dresses.
☼ When buying or hire your wedding outfit make sure that you know how to correctly tie a cravat or bow tie.
☼ If hiring a kilt make sure that all the pieces are present and try it on to make sure it fits. Again make sure you know how to put on all the various parts.
☼ If you are travelling straight from your wedding reception to your honeymoon destination then have transport arranged so that you do not have to worry about driving.
☼ Do not plan a hectic schedule for your honeymoon. Kick back and relax, you will be tired after your big day and all the work you have done planning and opganising it.
☼ If possible take a copy of your marriage certificate or schedule with you. It may come in handy for bagging free upgrades or preferential treatment from travel comanaies and airlines.
☼ If possible choose your honeymoon destination as a place you have always wanted to go and have never visited before. It's ok returning to a honeymoon location but going somewhere you have already been five times before may take the shine off your honeymoon.
☼ Wait until you know the colour of your wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses before buying wedding jewellery.
☼ Choose your wedding jewellery carefully and if possible try it on before purchasing it.
☼ Remember to remove your engagment ring from your ring finger before the ceremony. You can wear it on another finger or give it to a bridesmaid for safe keeping.
☼ Choose lingerie that makes you feel sexy and attractive.
☼ Make sure that you are wearing your bridal lingerie for your final wedding dress fitting.
☼ Don't let your new husband catch you wearing bodyshaping underwear.
☼ If the singer or band has a wide repertoire then you can give a set list for them to play.
☼ If you are having a DJ then you can advise him of some of your favourite songs.
☼ If hiring a band or singer make sure that they can play your first dance song or have the facility to play a CD for your first dance.
☼ If you are hiring a bagpiper or harpist to play at any point during the ceremony make sure that you have heard them play.
☼ Ask the staff at your chosen venue who they recommend as wedding photographers.
☼ Make sure that you discuss any particular shots you want and insist that they be taken. Provide a list if necessary. Some wedding photographers can be set in their ways and have the attitude "I'm the photographer I know best". If they are unwilling to accept your input find a photographer who is.
☼ Listen the photographers advice as they are the professionals and have done this many times. You will be doing it for the first time.
☼ Decide on a style of photography for your wedding and stick to the people who specialise in that style. A traditional photographer will have you at set locations in poses that they know works well. A reportage photographer will be buzzing about all day and will take hundreds of photo's to get enough good ones to fill an album.
☼ Only hire a photographer who you feel comfortable with. You will spend at least an hour of your wedding day and you don't want to end up with a smelly person who keeps trying to look down your dress.
☼ Find out if the photographer is part of any organisations such as the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) or BIPP (british Institute of Professional Photography). This may not give a massive guarantee of quality but the societis do not just accept anybody who owns a camera and calls themself a photographer.
☼ Only let a friend or family member be your photographer if you are confident in their abilities.
☼ Don't let your photographer talk you into a larger photography package on the day of your wedding. It is a common trick that unscrupulous photographers use to make more money. Brides and grooms are much easier to persuade when the sun is shining and they are full of joy at having just been married.
☼ Many brides have "boudoir" photos taken as a present for the groom. Only do this if you are having the pictures taken by a female photographer on a closed set. Get written assurance that your photos will not be displayed by them on their website / blog or any other social media.
☼ Brides and grooms often meet up with their photographer a few days after the wedding or honeymoon for an addition photo shoot where they can be pictured in different locations such as the beach and by riverbanks. Some even hav trash the dress photos taken where their wedding dress gets muddy or torn. You won't ever wear the dress again so why not?
☼ Find out the photographers rates for reprints or parents album.
☼ Some photographers will sell you a CD containing every picture they have taken of your wedding. Ask your photographer if they would sell you such a CD.
☼ Ask your photographer if they carry spare cameras with them. If the answer is no, then find another photographer. They are not prepared for emergencys and your wedding photographs may suffer if they have a camera failure or a battery runs flat.
☼ Ask what their procedure is should there be rain or poor light preventing outdoor photographs.
Stag & Hen Nights
☼ Have hangover remedies / cures on hand for when you wake up.
☼ Choose a style of Hen or Stag party that suits you and your relationship.
☼ Don't have them on the same night and plan to meet up at the end. Go your own separate ways and do your own thing.
☼ You may have a family member or friend who can make the stationery for you. This can be done in lieu of a wedding present.
☼ Your wedding reception venue may well provide you with place cards and table plans as part of their service.
☼ Most venues have a member of staff who will announce the start of speeches and other such occasions if you ask them.
Wedding Cars & Carriages
☼ Make sure that you will be able to climb into and out of the car gracefully in your bridal gown.
☼ Ensure that you will have plenty of headroom if you are wearing a tiara or having your hair up.
☼ If your wedding car is a cabriolet make sure that the roof can be raised in the event of rain.
☼ Do not expect to have a horse and carriage transport you several miles in a hurry.
☼ If you are having a horse and carriage then make sure they have a hood or roof for wet weather.
☼ If possible sit with the groom or someone of the same build in your wedding car to make sure that you are not squashed in. You do not want to arrive at your wedding ceremony with creases in your wedding gown from being crushed into a corner of the backseat.
☼ Make sure the driver knows the route to the wedding venue.
☼Make sure that the car company has a substitute in case your chosen car has mechanical problems.
☼ Before confirming any booking with deposits, make sure that both the ceremony and reception venues have the availability you require.
☼ Have a meal at your reception venue so that you know what the quality of food is like before booking.
☼ Ascertain if your reception venue allows you to provide your own wines and if they do ask what their corkage charges are.
☼ Find out if your reception venues includes such things as favours, place-cards, table plans etc in their meal prices.
☼ Make sure that you know what time the bar will close after your wedding reception so that your guests can organise transport home.
☼ Some churches and ceremony venues do not allow confetti. Find out what your venue allows.
☼ If booking accommodation for yourselves or guests. Have a look at the rooms to make sure they meet with your approval.
☼ Look around the grounds of your venues to see if they are well maintained and suitable for wedding pictures to be taken.
☼ Allow plenty of time between ceremony and reception to allow for travelling and wedding photographs to be taken.
☼ See if your venues have an in-house wedding planner to help with your big day. Most decent venues have someone dedicated to the job and they can be invaluable. (Beware that there are no extra charges for use of an in-house wedding planner).
Wedding Venue Decorations
☼ Let your personality show. If you think that less is more, have less.
☼ Make sure that you have somebody to set it all out for you. Either the venue staff or a specialist company would usually do the decorating of a function room. If you want to do it yourself that's fine but allow plenty of time to get prepared for the ceremony itself. perhaps a mother, sister or bridesmaid could be trusted to do it for you.
☼ Find out what formats your videographer can record to. DVD, Video, Blu Ray etc.
☼ Get a price for extra copies for your parents.
☼ Makes sure that only you can edit your wedding website or embarassing pictures from your hen or stag night could end up being shown.
☼ Create a fun wedding website that shows your personality.