Ceremony Music: make or break tips

1. Choose someone reliable to be in charge of setting up and starting and stopping the music
2. Make this their one and only job so they are there when needed and there is no delay in music starting
3. Test any equipment well in advance, not just the morning of the wedding
4. Try out volume levels for entrance, exit and mid-ceremony music
5. The volume for the exit song needs to be louder than other ceremony music, get a few people to clap and cheer over it and turn it up even louder

6. Mid-ceremony music needs to be low enough to talk over and be heard if used during Celebrant speaking
7. Mid-ceremony music may need to be looped so test how smoothly your chosen song can be repeated
8. Instrumental music is best for mid-ceremony whether or not the Celebrant is speaking over it
9. If playing music to be sung over see tip no. 5
10. Choose rousing, exhilarating music for the exit song to best fit the relief and elation of the Bride and Groom

11. Never abruptly stop a piece of music, always fade out gradually
12. Leave your background playlist on right up to the second the entrance song is started to avoid an awkward silence which heightens tension and nerves and makes time go ever so slowly (see tip no.2)
13. Start the exit song the second the Bride and Groom kiss or the Celebrant has stopped speaking – whichever is sooner
14. Start the after ceremony music as soon as the exit song finishes
15. Don’t assume the person in charge of the music will think of these points even if they seem like common sense, don’t assume anything, write instructions, and rehearse!

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Picture this

You’ve chosen your professional photographer and come up with a list of must-have shots and group poses. You’ve done your homework and know exactly the style of photography you want for your wedding and have given the photographer a long brief to that effect. You’ve even bought your wedding photo albums. You may have decided to hand out disposable cameras for your guests to take snaps throughout the reception. You’ve bought a nice guest book for friends and family to sign and a special pen to go with it.

STOP!

What about…

Wedding Photo Booth

A photo booth that produces strips of passport photos, unlimited and free of charge to your guests! It’s set up and managed for you. Most companies will provide props.

Needed: Try to get a recommendation for the company you use.

Pro:

  • You can leave the professionals to it, totally hassle free
  • Tremendous fun for your guests, particularly i) squeezing multiple people into the booth ii) time pressure between snaps iii) taking loads of snaps and getting creative with poses
  • The booths produce a copy for the guest and a copy for the guest book
  • Booth prints look cool on your fridge as well as in albums
  • Quality print outs
  • Great if you and your guests like dressing up/getting creative

Con:

  • Close up shots only
  • Limited number of people per shot
  • Crazy rush to change wig/specs/mask in between shots can result in lots of blurred ‘fail’ shots
  • You’re reliant on the props provided – not tailored to your theme
  • More expensive than the DIY option, extra expense if you choose to have a professional photographer aswell

DIY Wedding Photo Booth

The homespun version of the above.

Needed: A backdrop of sorts, picture frames in various sizes, cut out boards, props, chalk and blackboards, a camera, tables, chairs, instructions for guests

Pro:

  • Complete control – you can tailor it to your theme and your guests, you can personalise it
  • A relatively cheap alternative
  • You can set up your booth outside!
  • Flexibility – You could use a digital camera, a polaroid camera, or even disposable cameras
  • Polaroids look cool in frames or pinned to the fridge or kitchen noticeboard as well as in albums
  • You can fit as many people as you like in the shots
  • If you supply a chalk board for guest messages you won’t need a guest book at all

Con:

  • Someone has to take the photo (This could be a paid pro but it defeats the money-saving aspect. This could be whoever is free, but they might take bad photographs!)
  • Stress over/time spent buying props
  • Stress over/time spent setting the booth up
  • Stress over the camera going missing/breaking
  • While digital snaps can produce multiple printouts, you only get one polaroid so you’d have to stop your guests from taking them home!
  • If you don’t use a polaroid, you might wish you had spent a bit extra and got more professional looking pics

Caricature Artist

An artist who will mill around your guests informally and draw funny pictures of them. The drawings can form a photo/guest book of sorts.

Needed: Phone or internet and credit card to book with. Try to get a recommendation for the artist you use.

Pro:

  • Captures your guests personalities as well as their looks
  • A very different type of guest book to flick through in years to come
  • Could be right up your street and your guests could love it
  • Drawings can feel more personal than photographs
  • Doubles up as entertainment for your guests
  • Drawings can be framed and displayed on walls
  • No risk of expensive equipment breaking or going missing

Con:

  • Drawings take longer than photographs
  • The artist probably won’t get round all your guests
  • Single portraits only, no group shots
  • Only produces one copy and your guests are likely to want to take drawings home with them
  • Caricatures are not very flattering
  • It’s not everyone’s cup of tea

Picture Frame Decorating

An activity for younger guests. They can make their own frames for you to use with photos of them from your day.

Needed: Cardboard, scissors, glue, glitter, other craft supplies, on a table covered with an oil cloth (for spills)

Pro:

  • Keeps younger guests entertained
  • A lovely gift from them to you
  • Saves you having to buy lots of frames
  • Cheap and easy
  • Personal

Con:

  • Could be messy
  • You might want someone to ‘supervise’

English country garden wedding: stationary

One of my favourite and a very popular wedding theme: English country garden party/summer fete. This theme usually has an air of nostalgia. Key features include bunting, Pimms, informality, afternoon tea, hay bales, homemade favours.

I *tried* to make my own wedding invitations, but they looked rubbish. I ended up using a design from Tickled Pink and asked them to change various colours and font sizes to suit our wedding (and my perfectionism) perfectly. This was a bit of an extravagance, but they are gorgeous and I’m still so pleased with them. I really wanted to set the scene with our stationary, and I think we succeeded in letting our guests know the type of wedding we were planning and what they could expect. Here they are!

A year has passed so I’m wondering which stationary would I pick out if I was planning my wedding now?

I still love Tickled Pink. Their designs are crisp and impressive enough for special wedding stationary yet so down to earth and unpretentious. That’s a pretty hard balance to strike, but they get it right. Check out these super pretty designs which would all be great for an English garden theme:

Vintage Hearts

English Rose

Lace and Roses

Winter Wreath

Heart Invites has a new stationary collection called County Fayre. It combines lovely pink and green bunting with a fine green polka dot background. I’m not overly keen on the font which is a bit too modern in a wild wild west way for my tastes.

Country Fayre Range

I’ve also found this beautiful hand-painted stationary available from Pip Pip Designs. Their range is small but gorgeously and quintessentially English. This is my favourite design of theirs:

Bunting Wedding Stationary

Victoria Whincup offers these delightful personalised invitations, hand-drawn and hand-painted through her Etsy shop. I particularly like this design, which feels organic, floaty and gives a great sense of relaxed informality. Do browse her adorable designs. Her style reminds me of Rob Ryan’s papercutwork which I love.

Pink Flowers

Giftwrappedandgorgeous bring you Kate Lewis Design Wedding Stationary. Her cake and bunting design is hand-finished with sequins and crystals but remains rustic with a bubbly, fun feel.

Applique Cake

For a more homemade look how about this from Tailored Wedding Plans.

Bunting Style Wedding Invitation

Vintage Brown Card Floral

Tailored Wedding Plans do great table plans too. This vintage glam look would have been great for my think pink wedding πŸ™‚

Crystals, Pearls and Vintage Style Lace

Another fabulously pink invitation is available from Beautiful Day through Not On The High Street.com

This design might be my most favourite of all! It combines bunting, cake, roses, and a bit of glam. Love it! This just shows how researching outside of ‘wedding’ suppliers and websites can yield the very best results!

Shabby Chic Bunting Party Invitation

I search for things like this one of two ways. Type your search terms into Google Images and click into the websites belonging to the images you like best. Chances are if a company does a bunting design, they will do other designs that fit with the English country garden theme too. Or search for local companies who specialise in bespoke or hand-painted stationary. You can link through to great Stationers through the websites of other wedding suppliers who share the same type of ethos or niche focus.

Happy hunting stationary lovers!

Engagement: the long and short of it

The length of an engagement can be decided before the proposal even takes place. Indeed you might see this kind of agreement as a prerequisite. Say you’ve got your heart set on a short engagement. You might want to insist that no proposal takes place until the time is close enough to your preferred wedding date. If the proposal comes ‘too early’ for whatever reason – practical, emotional, financial; you might be stuck with a really long engagement.

The average engagement is for 18 months. This strikes me as a long time. Too long? While it’s pretty obvious that a short engagement could cause you problems in hiring all the suppliers and goods for your wedding, or mean that you have to compromise on the exact date, venue, or supplier; it’s less so why a long engagement would cause a problem.

Ways an engagement can be too long:

Wedding planning doesn’t necessarily become less stressful or less complicated the longer you allow for it. Quite the contrary. When you’re planning a wedding, you have to hold lots of information in your head at the same time to retain an overall picture of the event as well as every individual detail. I can tell you from first hand experience that this is remarkably similar to how a PhD student feels throughout their three or more years of project management and thesis writing.

The experience can be intense and can take over your world. You might find it hard to think of much else besides the wedding. you can fail to see the wood for the trees, with details multiplying with the time your brain is given to imagine the infinite possibilities of what could be. If you put the wedding planning to one side for a number of days or weeks, when you try to pick it up again, it can take you ages to become reacquainted with where you are with the different strands of planning. It can soon become overwhelming, even with elite organisational skills, folders, lists and multi coloured page markers and post its. πŸ™‚

You can end up spending more money. Chances are if you limit the planning time, you’ll limit the options you allow yourself to consider. The more options you expose yourself to, the more you will stretch the budget to acheive your dream day. If you are bargain hunting online, don’t be fooled into buying things you don’t actually need or have budgeted for, just because they are a bargain. This is easily done when you have wedding shopping fever. You see it on house building shows all the time. In an attempt to save money, online bargain hunting goes mad and impractical purchases end up costing much more because they have to be somehow blended into the scheme by yet more purchases, or adjusted to fit. You might not want to return items that aren’t quite right if the postage costs as much as they did.

Indecision sets in. If you’ve got loads of time, you can put off making decisions. Confronted with so many ways to go, you may find yourself unable to make decisions. This loss of momentum or sense of urgency can get you down, you can lose connection with your wedding, it can seem so far off it becomes ethereal, unreal. Ever watched paint dry? That’s what it would be like for me, as I just like to get on with things. I’m very impatient. If you are this way inclined, why put yourself through the wait? List your reasons and think about whether it adds up. Or are you putting it off to give yourself time to do all those things you think you’ll lose once married? Are you giving yourself time to get used to the idea of marriage? Are you giving yourself time to get to know your partner better, or to see if any cracks appear? It’s a good time to ask yourself the hard questions, and to be honest with yourself.

Your ideas can change. I found that I wanted to combine a few different styles in my eclectically vintage wedding. However, even within my fairly short 9 month engagement my ideas evolved so much that I wish I had had even less time so that I would be more likely to pick my theme and stick with it. When you are conceptualising the wedding at the beginning of your engagement you might be onto a fairly unusual theme or look, and by the time your wedding rolls around, you could have been to 10 weddings with the same theme as yours, and the mags could be proclaiming it the ‘in’ theme. Wedding trends come and go. If your engagement and wedding span more than one fashion season, you could end up oh-so-last-season. What may have been widely stocked a year ago might now be near impossible to find. The wedding industry is fickle.

Your life changes! Take any 18 months of your adult life and consider the changes that occured from the start to the end of that time period. Will your guest list be the same? Will your tastes? Will your priorities? Will your location? Will your family have seen new additions, or sad losses? Think about changes that might occur in other people’s lives. In the lives of your suppliers and the businesses you are depending on. They may go out of business, see a change in management, or direction. Their standards may change.

When you’re thinking about the length of your engagement, think about what would work best for you and your partner. Forget about the norm, the average and what your parents expect. While an engagement of 9 months is perfectly adequate, the benefit of a 12 month engagement is that you will get to see things at the same time of year as your wedding date. This can give you a much more accurate picture of how things will look and what will be on offer when your big day comes. Having said that, if you just cant wait to tie the knot, I’d advise no less than 3 months to plan your wedding. It can be done, but I’d stick to these rules to see you through.

Rules for a successful short engagement:

  1. Choose a theme/style/look/concept and stick with it. Do not hesitate. Things will jump out at you. Go with your gut instinct.
  2. Draw up a battle plan. You will need a schedule so that you don’t leave vital jobs too late. Pin down deadlines for EVERYTHING.
  3. Delegate. You can be Head Planner AND have as many little helpers as you like! Give your nearest and dearest specific tasks. Whether it’s sourcing a good band, doing a price comparison of florists, or picking up the invitations. Give your assistants a brief, so that they know what you expect.
  4. Prioritise. With a short engagement you might have to trim down the list of to dos. Think about what matters to you both. What can your day do without? Simply strike things off that list rather than stressing over compromises, and you’ll feel relieved and empowered.
  5. Enlist the help of professionals. I don’t mean a wedding planner. Your team of suppliers need to be professional, trustworthy and helpful. You may find an indispensable venue coordinator, celebrant (me!), or caterer who goes above and beyond to help see you through the planning process. If you can leave them to it in the run up to the wedding and on the day, great. If you are finding yourself chasing them, and picking up their slack, replace them.
  6. Be prepared to compromise. I mean really compromise. If you can take a more laid back attitude to the specifics, you can still get exactly what you want. It’s all about the overall effect, the essence of the day, the feel of it. Keep these things in mind rather than brand names, bestsellers, or expense as a guide to what’s right for you.
  7. Keep calm and carry on. If you get super-stressed you’ll become indecisive and snappy. Take time out from the planning to relax, and reconnect with your partner about why you are getting married. Keep perspective, take a deep breath, eat some cake, and get on with it. It’ll all be worth it.

And finally… Don’t be a slave to must have and must do lists, budget sheets, or timelines set by wedding companies. Every wedding is different so draw up your own lists and charts. If it seems overwhelming, change it, until it no longer does.

A season to wed

There’s no question, July and August are the most popular months for weddings. 6 out of 6 of my first wedding enquiries this year have been for those two summer months. If you’re hankering after an outdoor humanist wedding, or are hoping to serve a hog roast in the balmy evening at your reception you might think you HAVE to choose one of these 8 weekends most likely to guarantee warmth and sunshine. You might just LOVE summer, the brightly coloured exotic blooms, the long days, the happy childhood memories of frolicking through long grass and jumping on hay bales. Your choice might be practical and connected to your honeymoon dates. I’ve nothing at all against summer weddings, but here’s some food for thought about the more neglected seasons.

SPRING

If you ask me, seasons in Britain are a matter of personal taste.I adore the spring. For me, there is nothing that beats that feeling of gardens coming to life, the relief and excitement shared by the birds, the bees, and the trees. Nothing beats the fresh smell of spring air, the urge nature gives you to clear out the clutter, and to start exercising more. I love the spring weather. Being an April baby my birthday has known snow, amazing sunshine, and many rainbows.There is something quintessentially English that is captured by springtime. Particular garden flowers, a particular air, a particular call to nostalgia, as if spring was the fuzzy round cornered 80s snap to summer’s pristine and crisp high definition shot. While every summer we heap our hopes up of mediterraneanesque glory only to complain when the British weather doesn’t live up to our dreams (or that it’s too hot); spring encourages us to roll with the punches, take it like a Brit, and come rain or shine, wed outdoors, party like its 1999 with wellies and umbrellas. Chances are, if you pick a day in spring for your wedding you will get a mix of sunshine and showers. To my mind, this is less depressing than an August day promising non-stop sun and delivereing non-stop drizzle and grey skies. If you’ve got your heart set on marrying outdoors, you have two options: draw up a contingency plan for wet weather; or screw up Plan B and get wet. Getting drenched might actually be the most romantic thing you’ve ever done.

AUTUMN

We all love the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot, and the auburn beauty of avenues of turning trees. Autumn gives us some of the most gorgeous late afternoon dappled light when those last rays of sun hit your face to remind you that it’s still there. As the weather changes, what could be more romantic than cosying up with your new spouse, snuggling red-cheeked in front of the first open fires of the year. Autumn is the season of plenty, of bounty, of harvest – the perfect recipe for a wedding feast. If you’re not overly keen on a strapless dress anyway, why not consider the vastly enhanced options for autumn and winter brides? Shrugs, fitted bridal coats, long-sleeved dresses, wedding boots. Don’t try to conform to the cliches of a summer wedding if you’re marrying out of summer. Think about what is appropriate to the weather, and the changed natural scenery.

WINTER

If you’ve seen Love Actually you’ll know what I mean by winter romance. Falling snow, candles and fairy lights twinkling and reflecting and glistening pure angelic white, ice sculptures, vodka ice bars, ice hotels, eskimo hats, ice skating, everyone in the christmas spirit of giving, hugging, eating and dancing. Sparkle sparkle sparkle! Lots and lots of couples get engaged over Christmas and New Year because it’s a very romantic and momentous time of year. Things come to a head. You are filled with a sense of hope and possibility. It’s a natural time of change in our lives, when you wouldn’t just be entering a symbolically new beginning with each other once as husband and wife, you would be entering a really new beginning, by entering a brand new year. The brilliant thing about this earth is that where there is winter there is also summer. You just have to go down under. So why not consider a honeymoon in the lower hemisphere? South Africa, South America, New Zealand? Likewise, marry in the autumn and you can honeymoon in someone else’s spring.

I hope I’ve shown that giving a bit more thought to which season to marry in can throw up some really fun wedding theme ideas. There are also practical reasons to get married out of summer. It might save you a lot of money. This goes for venues, all suppliers, and honeymoons. It opens up food options – choose the food that’s in season and can be sourced locally for a feel good, top quality, interesting twist on the trad wedding breakfast. Your flowers will look better if you opt for those in season and grown in Britain. Much better to have healthy, affordable, blooming flowers than poor, drooping, not quite right imported flowers. The beauty of wedding planning is in seeing the different elements blend together in perfect harmony. This is easy to achieve if you follow this one golden rule and go seasonal and go local! Choose food and drink that is in season and it will never look out of place. These guiding principles can help you acheive a really stand out wedding. Guests love to be surprised by difference, by the little touches. Consider commissioning small pieces for your wedding by local artisans. Be it rings made with local metal or stones, the wedding jewellery, or gifts, the Bride and Groom’s glass charms, a sculpture, carving, or stained glass piece. You will treasure bespoke one off pieces that featured as part of your ceremony or reception long after your wedding, far more dearly than items any Bride and Groom can buy at wedding shops on the High Street. Give some thought to the little things, and they might turn out to be the things that really matter. You might go to 6 weddings during the ‘wedding season’ so make yours stand apart from the crowd. Choose your season, and then choose your date.

Congratulations to all those newly engaged couples who are just setting out on their wedding planning adventures!

Top Ten Wedding Fails

Lots of things can go wrong at weddings. It’s a big day, the pressure is on, there are lots of eyes and ears scrutinising detail and quality. Most of the time, the little mistakes or mishaps make the wedding. They are memorable moments you look back on with fondness or a good sense of humour. But let’s face it, some weddings contain moments of sheer embarrassment, mortification, or worse. Those things you really wish hadn’t happened, and really want to forget, well that’s what this list is for. For brides and grooms to be if you are worried about everything running perfectly smoothly on your big day, this might help put things into perspective. Don’t let this list get you down, chances are none of this will happen. But if you want to be safe and not sorry consider my tips for avoiding disaster. And keep in mind that the wedding is for all its bells and whistles, ultimately a means to an end. Marrying the one you love and living happily ever after.

  1. Bad Musicians – This is a problem with all live music, but especially risky with church organs. Top tips: listen to the musician you are hiring beforehand. Try to go to a live performance instead of trusting their demo cd or website audio clip. Don’t use a church organ or bagpipes unless the musician is highly skilled and can pull it off. If money is tight, and you are using amateur musicians, choose simple songs or songs they can already perform well.
  2. Moody Blues – You won’t be able to enjoy your day if you are in a bad mood. There are so many reasons you might be: if disaster does strike, if you have a fight with your betrothed/mother/sister etc., if you’ve had very little sleep, if you feel unwell, if you are hormonal. Top tips: adopt a zen aura and let things that would normally bother you, slide off you. Take a herbal calming remedy. Try to relax the week before the wedding. Treat yourself, have a massage, a lovely bath and early night the night before. Plan and organise so you’re not running around like a headless chicken. Put some time aside for you and your partner to remind yourselves why you’re getting married and how much you love each other.
  3. Punch Ups – They say it’s not a real party until something gets broken, until there’s a fight, or unless someone is sick. Well weddings are all about love and apart from striking totally the wrong negative chord, fights be they verbal or physical detract from the important people, the Bride and Groom. Top tips: if you think someone might cause a fight, don’t invite them. Carefully arrange the seating plan to keep rivals apart. Don’t serve endless free alcohol.
  4. The weather – I’m not just talking about grey skies or a bit of rain. What if your day coincides with a hurricane, a storm, or a blizzard? These are things we simply can’t control, but you can do two things. Top tips: look into wedding insurance in case you have to postpone entirely to another date. Have a contingency plan which includes guest transportation and communication system for relaying the change of plan to everyone.
  5. Bridal Party Injuries – what better way to spend your first night as a married couple than in hospital? Top tips: keep an eye on clumsy relatives, badly secured platforms, uneven floors, avoid flimsy chairs and tables, steps and ledges! Beware long veils and dresses being caught in doors or go for a shorter dress, shorter veil, or no veil.
  6. Damages – This would include ruined wedding cakes and wedding dresses, those icons of the wedding day that above all must be pristine (at least for the photos). Top tips: falling over will often have the knock on effect of ruining cake and/or dress so see top tips for Bridal party injuries. Transport the cake and the dress carefully being mindful of sources of dirt, dust, bleach, oil, ink, blood. Dresses can snag on any sharp point including jewellery, heels, doors and flooring.
  7. Jokes Gone Wrong – Really wrong. The Best Man’s ‘funny’ speech that simply puts the Bride down whilst listing the Groom’s ex girlfriends. The wedding that can’t take place because of the missing Groom following a badly thought out stag do prank. The video reel your parents put together of your worst childhood memories. The honeymoon suite pranks that just kill the passion. Top tips: trust the people you give the privilege of speaking at your wedding to. Surprises are great, but if you suspect your well meaning relative or friend might not be on the same page as you and your bethrothed, double check what they have in mind! The day is about both Bride and Groom. No one wants to be sulky on their wedding day.
  8. Exes – Some exes become friends, some harbour resentment and grow bitter and choose your wedding day to strike! Top tips: think carefully about inviting exes who are friends but who haven’t become friends of your spouse. If you have a potentially devastating ex, mention them to the doormen, have someone look out for them, keep your wedding quiet!
  9. Food Poisoning – Don’t want your guests’ lasting memory of your wedding to be their toilets? Top tips: use a reputable caterer- check their hygiene certificates. Watch out for food kept warm or left out for long periods of time. Beware of rice. Sample the food before signing the caterer, or use a venue or supplier you are familiar with.
  10. Changing Your Mind – Lots of couples get cold feet, but what if you really don’t want to go through with it? Top tips: don’t leave it until the wedding day to make a run for it. Be brave enough to break things off after the engagement if you decide you’re really not marrying the right person. Everyone will understand, and if they don’t you shouldn’t care, it’s your life, you have to put yourself first. Give yourself an engagement period long enough to learn more about each other and to discuss all the big stuff that really can make or break a relationship when things get serious.

If I could plan my wedding all over again

My wedding day felt truly magical. It was powerfully romantic and emotional, and reflected our tastes and styles to a tee. But there are still things I would’ve done a little differently if I could do it all over again. I hope Brides and Husbands to Be will find these reflections useful but my final word on wedding planning is that whatever your choices for the day, perfection is to be found in your lovely new spouse, the occaision itself, and the love and happiness you will feel coming off everybody that special day. So don’t be hung up on perfection in the details, quite often the things that go wrong are what we remember most fondly.I’ll pretend I’m granted three wishes like Wedding SOS in reverse.

Change number 1: I know I have a tendency to run late. I should have planned better so that we had less to do the morning of the wedding. I ended up not paying any attention to my fingernails whatsoever! No nail varnish, certainly no manicure :S although it was lovely that my sister painted them for me before the evening meal, mmmm pampered! I had no breakfast to speak of even though I took pastries to the hairdressers with me. I tend not to eat when I’m in business mode. We (mom, bridesmaids, etc.) had to rush exchanging our little gifts to each other at the hotel, so I wish we’d done that the night before too. The rush of the night before was really enjoyable though. Highlights included the best pizza ever (because we were knackered and starving), touching gifts from my mom, and hilarity in the bath involving fake tan and hair bleach. As I prepared to go to bed, in our lovely hotel room, set out my jewellery, perfume, and card from H2B to opened as soon as I woke up, I felt like a princess already.

Change number 2: You can’t control the weather πŸ™‚ but there were things I could’ve controlled that day which I didn’t. I didn’t think I’d have to maker certain things clear but it turns out you can’t be too clear setting out your expectations. We hired a wonderful vintage car, imagining a slow drive down country lanes from the hotel to the village hall. I was running late, but the driver had already decided he’d take the dual carriageway (it felt like it took forever) instead of the country lanes. He was concerened about traffic. As we raced up the A38 with the rain sheeting down, my heart sank. This was not what I wanted 😦 So, make sure you tell your driver the route you want to take! We did have a laugh about the vintage window that wouldn’t close. My sister bless her held the wind up handle all the way to prevent too much rain coming in onto my dress.

Change number 3: Think twice before using a friend or family member as one of your suppliers. Not least because you might really miss them being part of the day as a guest, and feel bad that they are working so hard instead of having a lovely time. I will treasure the few photos other guests took that have our photographer in them! With the photographer you might think you’ve been crystal clear with what you want and don’t want, but again, you can’t be too explicit. Think about which things might appear in the background of your pics unless they’re taken at a certain angle. Our wedding was at a village hall, it was great, but still a village hall. It’s hard to cover up things like strip lights, bins, and exit signs so it’s in your photographer’s hands to make them ‘vanish’ from your photo album πŸ˜‰

I was relieved that my ideas for an eclectic vintage/country garden/English rose wedding came together so well. A final tip for all you wedding dreamers out there would be choose something quite specific for your theme. My idea of the theme kept evolving. I understood what I wanted but I was about the only one. It was really difficult to describe to the guests what they should wear to fit in with the theme. I stressed about the dress, make up and hair coming together properly and about the colours, oh the colours. I wanted dusky pink, we couldn’t get dusky pink roses so we ended up with slightly peachy roses. I wanted sage green, but what’s the difference between sage and olive green? And then the patterns. Would the lace on my dress match OK with the damask on my mom’s dress and the groom’s Liberty print hankerchief? Breathe. If you’re unsure, keep things simple. If you’re game, go for it. The details make up the overall image of your wedding in your guests eyes. They won’t be judging things item by item. Just have fun. Happy planning!