It's wedding season again: a time for flowers, beautiful dresses, and elaborate cakes. But there's also the potential for massive stress. If you're a bride-to-be, here are 14 top tips from industry experts to help make the process go smoothly.
1. Start early. 'Late planning will drastically reduce the options,' says Vic Alexander, Visiting Tailor at JB Bespoke. This could result in 'second best, poorer service, and far from a dream wedding.' He suggests starting well before the three-month mark.
2. Make the planning fun. 'With so much to think of, planning a wedding can be really stressful. It's easy to forget to enjoy the journey,' says Maria-Antonia Greenhill, Wedding and Event Planner of White Door Events. She encourages her clients to make a celebration out of as many planning events as possible. 'For instance, if you're having a dress fitting, meet with your entourage for afternoon tea or bubbly afterwards.'
3. Get organised. To do this, create a master document with supplier names, contact numbers, and other important details. 'Not only will you feel in complete control during the planning stages, you can print it and hand it to one of your trusted bridesmaids on the day!' says Maria-Antonia.
4. With venues, ask two questions. What kind of wedding do you want? And how many guests do you want to invite? 'Only once you know the answers to these questions should you start researching possible venues,' says Marje Ednie, Wedding Co-ordinator at five star Luton Hoo Hotel.
5. Take notes. It may feel a bit like being back in school, but take tons of notes when visiting venues or other suppliers. 'You're bound to forget the detail by the time you get home,' says Marje. With venues specifically, Marje recommends giving marks out of ten on things like style, charm, and budget.
6. Don't forget the groom. 'The bride must not forget her groom and the males in the bridal party, and leave them as an afterthought!' says Vic. He notes brides need to consider what the males will be wearing, how they will complement her and her bridesmaids, and the overall aesthetic.
7. Make a menu you would enjoy. 'Many future brides and grooms worry about the wedding breakfast menu, and get caught up in the details of others' preferences and dietary requirements,' explains Marje. 'I always advise couples to choose a menu they would like to eat and pick out their own favourite dishes.'
8. Get your clothes to the venue early. 'If hiring garments, it is vital they are well tried on in advance, in plenty of time before the wedding... and not on the big day of the wedding, when it's too late to rectify anything,' adds Vic. For children this is particularly important, as their size might have changed from when they were originally measured.
9. Avoid cake collapse. 'We have heard some real horror stories about the cake collapsing just before or during a wedding!' says Maria. To avoid this, she suggests having your cake supplier oversee the set-up of the wedding cake. Then try not to move the cake after it's been arranged.
10. Be smart with your budget. 'If budgets are tight, I would always advise clients to spend a bit less on elements such as wedding cars or favours, but to get the reception looking right. That's where you and your guests will be spending most of your time,' notes Maria-Antonia.
11. Think about the lighting. This is crucial to creating the right mood. 'Uplighters and candles are relatively low-cost effective ways of introducing lighting. Don't forget to think of outside lighting too – outdoor lanterns are really cheap and look amazing,' says Maria-Antonia.
12. Relax before the big day. It's easy to get swept up in stress surrounding a wedding. The solution? 'Treat yourself to a little luxury,' says Marje. If you're in a hotel with a spa, she recommends going for a leisurely swim the night before. 'It will leave you feeling refreshed and will help you get a good night's sleep.'
13. Consider flip flops as a favour. This is a favourite of Maria-Antonia. 'Women can kick off their shoes and dance the night away without the agony of high heels,' she says. Plus they last for years after the wedding, meaning they'll 'bring back fond memories'.
14. Make it about you and your groom. This is a special day, meant to celebrate a future together with the person you love. Experts stress the need to keep the day personal. As an added bonus, 'guests love attending weddings that are individual and will be pleasantly surprised by any unusual or quirky adaptions,' says Maria-Antonia.
Got a wedding to go to soon? These beautiful wedding guest outfits will do the trick...
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