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Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Kent Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourkent.wedding

To view more Q&A's on a different topic, please select one from the list below.

Hot topic: Outdoor weddings

Local experts offer stellar advice on creating an idyllic outdoor wedding

Al fresco styling

Al fresco styling

Q. How can we use styling to really bring our outdoor wedding to life?

A. Holly Dallison says: An outdoor wedding is not without its challenges! Having a stylist on board can help with many of the practicalities while helping to ensure your vision is bought to life. Here are a few tips…

❤ If you're thinking of a ceremony backdrop, it should frame the bride and groom and encourage the eye to travel through into the view beyond, complementing rather than distracting from the natural environment.

❤ We've noticed a steady rise in the popularity of relaxed catering, especially grazing tables. Look for tables and chairs that are attractive without tablecloths and can be arranged in any number of ways.

❤ Continue the outdoors theme through your table decorations. Remember to incorporate earthy tones or bright pops of colour, lots of texture, height variations and textiles. Think clay pots, bark-covered tea light holders, moss and lush greenery. Couple these with vintage objects to create both interest and functionality.

❤ Every outdoor wedding needs seating so guests can relax. Turn this necessity into a feature using vintage pieces that create an eclectic and relaxed style. Or how about a chill-out zone?

❤ Consider taking the inside out. Weather permitting, try lining your ceremony aisle with a selection of layered vintage rugs.

❤ Because of the temperamental British weather, it's always good to have areas of cover, and consider nominating someone to move hired items inside should it start to rain.

Barbecue bonanza

Barbecue bonanza

Q. Our reception will be in a tipi in the family's field. What would be the best food to serve our guests for the wedding breakfast?

A. Kristi Collins says: Weddings in temporary spaces such as tipis are perfect places to move away from the constraint of formal dining and add your own style to a blank canvas. By nature, a tipi wedding connects you with the outside, so if the weather allows, make the most of it and go for either picnic style or a barbecue depending on whether you prefer hot or cold.

Picnics offer an element of surprise and delight guests as they decant packages of deliciousness. Tartlets, open sandwiches, pastries, pies and salads offer joyous little morsels of celebration food. From a practical perspective, food can be served cold and at your leisure, so there's no issue if timings run over, and the abundance of choice makes it easy for guests to make selections according to their dietary requirements or tastes.

If you prefer something hot, there's little more celebratory than the theatre of an outside fire and the smell of chargrilling. To me, there's also a certain authenticity to pairing barbecue food with your tipi venue. Whether it's the luxury of lobster tails and T-bones or a more casual cook-out, the sights and smells will evoke feelings of recreation, relaxation and liberation, all adding a relaxed and fun, festival style wedding vibe.

Gardener's world

Gardener's world

Q. We'd love to host our wedding in our back garden. What do we need to think about?

A. Simon Pollard says: When you're holding a wedding in your own outdoor space, it can add to your own garden's romance. Other than the obvious considerations, such as whether your garden is big enough to hold a marquee and whether there's adequate parking available, you should also give the following areas some thought…

❤ How does the sun travel through your garden? This may determine where your photographer will take your important photos.

❤ Is there adequate hardstanding for outdoor seating, the ceremony or arrival drinks?

❤ Are there shady areas, such as a pergolas, for a hot day?

❤ What walkways are there to direct guests to different places, such as the marquee or toilets.

❤ What flowers or shrubs will be in bloom? Will they need pruning or weeding?

❤ Which scenic backdrop will be used for photographs? Does it need any special preparation or additions?

❤ What's the condition of the lawn? Can this be used for entertainment?

❤ Ponds need to be covered or cordoned off.

❤ Does any additional planting need to be put in place or hired if you have a themed or coloured wedding?

❤ What preparations need to be made for any disabled guests – e.g., matting or ramps?

Bake meltdown

Bake meltdown

Q. I'm concerned that if this summer is as hot as last year's, my cake is going to melt in the heat of the marquee. What do you recommend?

A. Karen Ker says: A fondant-iced wedding cake should be fine in a marquee in all weathers. However, the following will help to ensure the cake looks as good at the end of the day as it did at the start.

❤ Don't position the cake in direct sunlight, too close to the marquee window or doors.

❤ If there is an air-conditioning unit, position the cake away from that too, as that will cause the cake to sweat, forming moisture on the surface making it sticky and damage any decoration.

❤ Avoid any hand-painted decorations involving cocoa butter, as this can melt if temperatures rise.

❤ Ask for the cake to be delivered as late as possible – either just before the ceremony or while it's taking place. If you do have your heart set on a buttercream cake, ask your caterer to keep an eye out in case it needs to be moved to the fridge temporarily. However, placing the cake in a shady area close to, but not directly in front of, an air-conditioning system will help.

Come rain or shine

Come rain or shine

Q. We'd really love to get married outside, but what if it rains?

A. Claire Weedon says: ❤ Think about your ceremony and reception locations: Rain doesn't need to dampen your day. When choosing your venue, it's always wise to consider the options available to you in all weathers. What facilities are available for you and your guests, such as covered seats?

❤ Planning: Consider your ceremony décor. Can this be used for both your exterior and interior ceremony? Is it weather proof in the event of a short shower prior to the ceremony? Is your venue happy to set up both the internal and exterior ceremony if the weather still looks uncertain? Also, are they happy to move any additional décor at the last moment if a decision is made to go indoors?

❤ On the day: Check the weather apps. The weather will often change and heavy rain in the morning usually clears away all the clouds for a lovely bright afternoon so don't panic if the rain seems to have set in. It's worth having a collection of large umbrellas just in case and maybe invest in your own wedding umbrella in the event of rainy photos – you may need to bring some extra shoes that you are happy to get wet.

Finally, be brave and embrace the weather, many magical moments have come from rainy days and your guests will be having a great day rain or shine.

A hire love

A hire love

Q. We're getting married in a church but can't decide whether to host our reception in a marquee or at a purpose-built venue. What are the advantages of choosing a marquee?

A. Michael Broome says: There are a number of advantages to marquee hire for your big day, chief among them being date availability and guest capacity. If you'd like easy access and views of the countryside with privacy, fresh air, plenty of natural light, additional outside space for games and props, easy parking and guest camping, then a marquee reception could be for you. You can personalise the space and be in complete control of your own timescales. Flexibility is a key attribute of marquee hire. A good hirer will work with you, listen to your wishes and ideas, as well as offering advice and making recommendations, ensuring a pretty straightforward process. Many will also assist in managing your catering facilities, furniture, power and toilet requirements, so an early meeting with potential suppliers is essential. They should hold valid insurance and supply you with a copy of their terms and conditions, which informs you of their deposit and final payment methods and timescales.