Expert advice about wedding planning

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

 

Two of a kind

Two of a kind

Q. We're not really interested in a traditional wedding! How can we create a day that's different and reflects our personalities?

A. Lily Jones says: The best way to achieve this is not to be influenced by those around you. A wedding is an exciting time and everyone and their sister wants to get involved, but auntie's idea of a perfect wedding day is sure to be different from yours. I always ask my couples at the very beginning of their journey to list a few things they both love, then work out how to incorporate them into their day. So what if these little personal touches don't fit in with the overall theme? The biggest theme at your wedding is you! The little things you enjoy together, the little jokes you share, and the geek culture you enjoy – that's what makes you work as a pair. Make your day about celebrating you as a couple, and how you fell in love.

Try not to drown yourself in Pinterest boards that only show the colour scheme you have in mind. If you find as many ways as possible to incorporate “you” into your day, your wedding will be truly unique.

Lily Jones
www.lilyvanilli.com

 

The pawfect day

The pawfect day

Q. Our dog is part of the family and we want him to play a role on our big day without having to worry about him. How can we do this?

A. Ioana James says: From greeting ceremony guests, to walking down the aisle as dog of- honour, or conducting ring-bearing duties, everything is possible for your four-legged friend on your wedding day.

The easiest option is for your dog to attend the official photos. They normally take place straight after the ceremony and pet chaperoning companies, like Tail Tales, will take care of your furry guest before hand, as well as making sure they are photo-ready by the time you say “I do.” In fact, we're often to be found behind the photographer holding treats and squeaky toys to make sure you get the pawfect picture! This option is ideal for dogs who aren't keen on large groups of people, while still enabling you to enjoy quality, hassle-free time with them on this most important of days.

Your dog will have been fed, exercised, rested and genuinely happy to see and interact with you, and your guests. Then, before the wedding breakfast, we'll take them back home allowing you to continue celebrations without any worries.

Ioana James
tailtales.co.uk

 

Style it out

Style it out

Q. How can I turn my big day into a winter wonderland?

A. Claire Weedon says: An endless array of gorgeous styling choices are possible, from frosted silvery and sparkling tones to warm, rich tones and fabrics. You can even style it with a theme like The Great Gatsby, The Nutcracker or Twelve Days of Christmas.

Keep your guests warm and cosy with drinks like Winter Pimm's, mulled wine and cosy hot chocolate – although a glass of festive bubbly is always welcome.

Wedding favours can complement the season, with yummy gingerbread, shortbread and mince pies going down a treat.

Additional ambience can be found via music choices; why not add a festive saxophonist or jazzy Gatsby feel to enhance your guests' experiences?

The daytime light creates its own opportunities for photography, and the abundance of dark hours can be lit with magical fairylights for those show-stopping photos.

Be sure to check your venue has adequate heating, plenty of space for guests to hang up their winter coats and accessible grounds for a smooth running of the day. You may prefer holding the ceremony and reception in one place; it is winter after all, and transport between two locations may be unpleasant in bad weather.

Claire Weedon
www.theoldkentbarnweddings.co.uk

 

Check it twice

Check it twice

Q. How can I avoid disaster?

A. Claire Weedon says: Wedding day disasters are incredibly rare so don't panic. However, good preparation with a carefully considered timeline, agreed with your venue and suppliers, will help the day run smoothly for you and your guests.

We recommend a carefully constructed plan breaking the day down into segments – the morning, the ceremony, post ceremony, wedding breakfast, cutting the cake, first dance and the end of the evening. Fill in these sections with the relevant people and suppliers involved at each stage along with their mobile numbers. A checklist of any key items required, such as ceremony music, ensures the right people have what they need at the precise time they need it.

Book your suppliers early and make sure you read their reviews and see examples of their work. Trust your venue's recommended supplier list.

Wear your wedding shoes a few times so that they feel comfortable on the day and check dresses and suits thoroughly before leaving he shop.

Most importantly, remember to enjoy it and relax knowing you have meticulously planned your wedding and have assigned tasks to the right people.

Claire Weedon
www.theoldkentbarnweddings.co.uk

 

The butler did it!

The butler did it!

Q. How can I avoid disaster?

A. Michael Taylor says: In my experience, the happy couple will have been planning their wedding day, whether large or small, for a very long time. So when it finally arrives they expect everything to run smoothly, but sadly, this isn't always the case. The sure-fire way to avoid on-the-day pitfalls is to ensure that the pressure is off your shoulders and in the hands of a professional organiser. Most wedding days will involve caterers, florists, photographers, entertainers, venue wedding coordinators and so on, all looking after their own sections, each playing a major role in the success of your special day. Having someone to be your eyes and ears to ensure your exact wishes are met, while liaising between all elements of the day would be of great benefit to any couple. An experienced butler is just the person for the job. His single goal is to see everyone comes together – helping to create those allimportant special once in a lifetime memories!

Michael Taylor
www.weddingdaybutler.com

 

A smooth ceremony

A smooth ceremony

Q. How can I avoid disaster?

A. Karina O’Donnell says: We've all heard the horror stories. I've known photographers not to turn up, best men forgetting to download the ceremony music and hired port-a-loos blocked before the ceremony has even begun. The last thing the father-of-the-bride needs is to be wrestling with a plunger on his daughter's special day!

My advice to avoid disasters like these?

Don't take unnecessary risks. Rather than getting your friend to download the music onto a phone, pay that little extra for a professional PA system. There are too many variables when playing the ceremony music, especially for an outside wedding. Often the volume isn't loud enough for the guests to hear, let alone give the bride her cue!

Do ask your trusted suppliers for recommendations. Kent has a wonderful network of people, most of who will have worked with each other at some point. I've worked with some wonderful photographers, I know the shots they like to capture so we're able to work together to make sure we don't get in each other's way and they're less afraid of telling me if I accidentally do. Most importantly, they turn up! As for the big occasion, investing in an on-theday coordinator or toastmaster means everything is completely under control behind-the-scenes so you can enjoy it, stress free.

Karina O’Donnell
www.celebrant-uk.co.uk

 

Preparation is key

Preparation is key

Q. My fiancé recently proposed, and I don't know where to start with the planning. What's the first thing I need to book and the best things to think about after that?

A. Sarah Burwell says: Here are my top tips to help you through the planning process:

On your marks...
- Before you start booking anything, decide on a budget.
- Discuss with your fiancé how many guests you want to invite, where you want to host it and what theme or colour scheme you'd like.

Get set...
- I suggest you create a folder so you can keep everything in one place.
- The two most important things to purchase are a wedding planner and budget organiser.
- Plenty of apps are available, and you can even visit my website to download some for free.
- If you're still feeling overwhelmed, then you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner.

Go!

Now you've finished planning, you're ready to start booking your suppliers.

- Start with the venue. Some are booked years in advance, so it's best to start early – especially if you want to visit quite a few before making a decision.
- Once you've set the date, you should inform your wedding party and check for any availability issues. If you have a particular supplier that you absolutely must have at your nuptials, then it might be a good time to check that they're available too.
- Now you should start researching and choosing suppliers. Make a shortlist of your favourites so you have a few to choose from.
- You may need to order your dress and the groom's suit early because some can take several months to be made or tailored.
- This is a great time to book your honeymoon so you can get the best prices and availability on your chosen destination.
- Don't forget to take out wedding insurance to protect your spending and give you peace of mind!

Sarah Burwell
www.invictaweddings.co.uk

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