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WHY WHITE? Wedding Guide

www.whywhite.co.uk

2009

6

STEPS

to Easy Wedding Budgeting

Home OR Abroad?

We help you decide......

How to choose your

wonderful wedding cake

HEADDRESSES & TIARAS

What styles will suit you?

Flower POWER

beautiful wedding bouquets for your special day

TIPS

FOR WRITING YOUR OWN UNIQUE WEDDING VOWS

Beauty& the

Bride

flawless make-up ideas to inspire and transform

Worldwide Issue 2009


Contents

4 Setting Your Budget 6 The Ceremony Planning Your Church Ceremony .. 6 Civil Weddings .. 8 Wedding Vows .. 10 Readings, Hymns and Music .. 12

14 Marrying Abroad 16 Invitations 18 Gift Lists 20 Beauty The Ceremony 6

Great Cakes 52

Hair .. 20 Makeup .. 22

25 Fashion Wedding dresses .. 25 Headdresses and Tiaras .. 28 Fashion for the Groom .. 30 Fashion for the Bridesmaids .. 32

Flowers 34 Your Dress 25 36

54 Copyright and Legal Information The Why White online magazine and Suppliers Directory are copyright Websites In Business Ltd T/A Why White? except where images or text has been supplied by wedding suppliers in which case the copyright remains with the supplier. All images used are either royalty free, royalty paid or have documented permission to reprint. The advice and guidance are provided on a best endeavors basis and we do not accept any liability for the advice and opinion offered. All brides and grooms should consult multiple sources before making any decisions related to their wedding. To Advertise with Why White? If you run a wedding related business and wish to discuss advertising opportunities with us please consult Whywhite.co.uk/Advertising or give us a call on 01732 522244.

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34 Flowers 36 Wedding Rings 38 Transport 40 The Reception Choosing a venue .. 40 Food and drink .. 42 Entertainment .. 44 The Speeches .. 46

48 The Photographer 50 Wedding Favours 52 Cakes 54 The Honeymoon 56 Top Tips To Enjoy Your Day 58 Wedding day Countdown!


Congratulations! You’re engaged.... told friends and family you’re exciting news....and now it’s time to get organised! Planning your wedding can be daunting, overwhelming, exhilarating, and just plain stressful at times! But don’t worry – there is an abundance of help out there to help make the experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible. Whether you choose to employ a professional wedding planner, or plan every minute detail yourself, “Why White?” can help you to achieve the day you and your partner dream of. We are here to inspire you and guide you through the process, so take a break, unwind, and read on......

Don’t miss out on updates and new inspiration If you received your copy of Why White from a wedding supplier or a friend you will need to make sure you don’t miss out on updated versions of the guide and access to our free members only website. Several times each month we add next inspirational articles to the guide or website. Visit www.WhyWhite.co.uk and simply enter your email address to be kept up to date and to get access free members only website.

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Setting Your Budget:

6 Steps to Easy

Wedding Budgeting 2

Once the excitement of becoming engaged has settled, the first step you need to take is to carefully plan your wedding budget. This may seem like a task better left to others....or even not done at all......but with the average wedding costs hitting £20,000, keeping track of your finances right from the start could save you much heartache. It’s not unheard of for spending to spiral out of control, so follow these steps to ensure your wedding budgeting is a piece of cake.

1

Decide on your total budget

This may sound obvious - but brides and grooms can have quite different ideas about how much is appropriate to spend on the total event! So make sure you’re both singing off the same hymn sheet as a first step. 4

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Who’s paying?

4

Insurance

Talk to all those who might be contributing to the costs, and decide who will pay for each part. It can be tricky getting down to the nitty gritty of the finances, but it’s better to have a frank discussion now to save embarrassment later on.

Perhaps not the most glamorous of tasks, but getting insurance could save you a packet if, for example, a supplier goes bust or plans have to be cancelled.

Traditionally the father of the bride pays for the main costs of the day, with the groom taking care of the ceremony fees and the honeymoon. But more often now couples are paying for a bigger chunk of the costs, and the groom’s parents often like to chip in too.

The reception will probably eat up the largest part of your budget, but decide which parts of the day are most important to you, and which you can afford to scale down. Do you want to arrive in grand style in vintage Roller, or will a lift from a friend fit the bill? Knowing the areas you could cut back on could help you avoid problems if there’s overspend.

You may even decide to dispense with a traditional wedding gift list, and instead have a “wedding account list” - allow your guests to fund individual parts of the day, like the cake, or transport etc. That way you’ll end up having the day you dreamt of, without breaking the bank.

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Start saving!

It’s best to set up a separate wedding account, and save a regular amount by direct debit each month.

5

Prioritise

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Keeping Track

Now you have your budget, make sure you stick to it! Try using the form on the right and fill it in each time a bill arrives – that way it’s easy to see if things are getting out of hand.You might find it helpful to include a 10% contingency too, for any hidden extras. Most of all......don’t forget....... your wedding should be a great day to celebrate your


PLANNINGIDEAS

love for each other, and that’s something money can’t buy.... it’s priceless. Links How to Have a Champagne Wedding on a Buck’s Fizz Budget - Paperback (April 2007) by Sarah Traynor

Before the day..... Engagement Ring Wedding Rings Insurance Dress Headress/ Veil Hair Accessories Shoes Lingerie Jewellery Hairdresser (inc trial) Make - up (inc trial) Grooms outfit Attendant’s outfits On the Day! Ceremony fees Transport Photographer Videographer Flowers Stationery Reception venue Food Drink Cake Entertainment Favours Attendant’s gifts And afterwards........ Going away outfit First night hotel Honeymoon wardrobe Honeymoon TOTAL To Advertise Here call WhyWhite on 01732 522244 or visit www. whywhite.co.uk/ advertisers

Estimate

Top tips for weddings on a shoestring A wedding doesn’t need to be lavish in order for it to be memorable and personal. Here’s some tips for turning your pennies into pounds:Actual

Call on family and friends – if they’ve skills you can use, don’t be hasty in turning them down. Folk normally love to help out, and a friend who’s handy with roses and greenery could turn out to be great substitute florist for example. Venues charge considerably less for weekday weddings – does it really need to be a Saturday, or would midweek be just as good? Hire or buy? Your dress is likely to only be worn once, so consider hiring it to save expense. Does your reception venue allow you to bring your own wine? This could save you a tidy sum Sparkling wine can be a fraction of the price of Champagne, saving you big bucks on your Buck’s Fizz and most will be none the wiser.

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Planning Your

and will need to check that you are eligible to marry in that parish. For example the Church of England allows marriage in the parish in which you are resident, or if you can demonstrate a strong family The first thing to do is to connection to the parish.You make contact with your don’t have to be regularly minister and find out whether attending church, or have been he is happy to marry you in baptised, to get married in his church. Discuss the Church of England. BE PREPARED dates – many However, each faith TO ATTEND popular churches is different on this SOME can be booked issue, so you’ll need to PRE-MARITAL check directly with the one or even two COUNSELLING relevant minister. years in advance, and coordinating the church availability and The same goes for divorcees, reception venue can be tricky although the various churches if you leave it too late. seem to have become more relaxed on this issue on The minister will probably recent years. The Roman want to talk to you both about Catholic faith remains the only your reasons for marrying mainstream Christian church

Church Ceremony Thousands of couples each year decide to tie the knot in a religious ceremony of some sort, whether it is a standard Church of England service in their local parish church, or perhaps a non – conformist service led by a Unitarian minister. Whatever the faith, couples usually have strong reasons for wanting to marry in a religious ceremony, and we can take you through some things to consider when planning your service.

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CEREMONYIDEAS

to exclude remarriage of those previously married with the ex-partner still living. Be prepared to attend some pre-marital counselling, where the minister helps prepare you as a couple for the highs and lows you might encounter in life as a married couple. Once you’ve agreed the day and time (marriages in England must take place between 8am and 6pm), you’ll be ready to discuss the type of service, and choose hymns and readings if relevant. The amount of freedom you’ll have in the format will depend on the particular church and minister involved, so be upfront if there’s something in particular you’d like. Chat about the type of musical accompaniment available too – is there a choir? Organist? And will the bells be rung? The Church of England and Roman Catholic Churches both usually require that the banns of marriage are read on each of three Sundays before the marriage date, within three months of the big day. These are just a way of publicly announcing your forthcoming nuptials, and give an opportunity for any objections (hopefully none!). They should

be read in both your parish, and that of your partner, and in the parish in which you are marrying if it differs. Most faiths will recommend a rehearsal before the day, with all the key players present, in the church so everyone knows where to stand and what to say at the right time. This can ensure there’s no surprises on the day, and hopefully will help to calm any pre-wedding nerves. So that just leaves the day itself! If you’ve planned your ceremony well, and have developed a good relationship with your minister, you should be able to remember this as the most meaningful part of your day. You may like to look up the following for further information about getting married in a religious ceremony:-

TOP TIPS It’s customary to invite the minister to the reception. He may well be unable to attend, but will appreciate the thought. Check out the capacity of the church, as if it’s too large and lacking in guests, it’s hard to create a good atmosphere Check with the minister his attitude to allowing a videographer, as some can see it as an intrusion Take time to get to know your minister if you don’t already, as your service will then seem much more personal Ask whether confetti is permitted, as many churches now prefer that it is saved for a location other than the church!

Church of England Church of Scotland Roman Catholic Church Baptist Church Unitarian Church

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Civil Weddings If a church wedding isn’t for you, or perhaps it’s second time around, then you’ll want to opt for a civil service. The ceremony is the most important part of your day, and there’s nothing that says it must be conducted in a Church to make it special. Here’s our guide to helping you create the perfect civil ceremony for you and your partner.

The Venue

One of the great things about a civil ceremony is the wide selection of places you can choose from to tie the knot. Not only can you elect to marry in a register office, but in England and Wales there are a further 3,000 venues which are licensed to conduct the marriage service. This gives you a great opportunity to choose e.g. a location which may be particularly special 8

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to you as a couple, or is in a stunning setting, or even just perhaps offers something a little bit different. How about lounging with the lions at London Zoo? Or maybe a stately home is more your style? You can find a list of possible venues by contacting the General Register Office , but the only stipulation is that licensed venues must be permanent,

roofed, open to the public, and have no connection with religion.

Let’s Get Legal

It might one of the most keenly anticipated days of your life, but there are still a few legal procedures you’ll need to follow:•

The wedding can take place on any day of the week, but in England


CEREMONYIDEAS

and Wales must occur between 8am and 6pm •

You will need two other witnesses to attend the marriage, who are prepared to sign the marriage register The Registrar will require a “notice of marriage” authority. This give notices of your intention to marry to the local register offices of you and your partner and where you are marrying if it differs. This must be done at least 15 days before the ceremony. You will need to provide your birth certificate, and documented evidence of your age, address, nationality and evidence of the end of any previous civil partnership or marriage.

The Ceremony

Depending on where you have chosen to have your civil ceremony, the service may last anything from 10 to 30 minutes, or possibly longer in a licensed venue. Guests should arrive promptly, as the registrar may well have several ceremonies to conduct in a relatively short period of time.

Some couples opt to follow a format similar to a traditional service in a church, with music and readings (which must be non religious) while others go for the bare minimum. Speak to your Registrar about how much you can personalise the service and how much time is available. Most Registrars are happy to accommodate the couple’s wishes, within reason, and will ask you to declare that you are both legally free to marry. After this you will exchange vows and rings if you wish and are now legally married - there’s just time for some celebratory congratulations and photos before the party starts!

For more help in planning your civil ceremony, try taking a look at: Hudsons Guide Legal information you need about a civil ceremony in England Find your local register office in England Civil ceremony information in Scotland General Register Office in Northern Ireland Find out about civil ceremony arrangements in your county Information on civil partnerships

What should I wear?

The short answer to this is....”Whatever you like!” Some brides choose to follow a traditional path and wear a white or cream full length bridal gown, much as they would in a church ceremony. Others opt for a smart suit or dress, which can be worn comfortably on future occasions. The key is to wear whatever will make you feel special, and what suits the tone of your day.

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“CREATE VOWS WHICH REFLECT THE VALUES AND PROMISES THAT WILL BE IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOUR PARTNER”

Wedding Vows: Wondrous Ways to Say

“I Will”

Making your wedding vows – for many this is the most important and emotional part of the ceremony. It’s where you set out as a couple your promises to each other for now and the future, whatever that may bring. But sometimes it can get overlooked in the planning stages, and many couples might not realise that there’s an opportunity to personalise your vows. As well as the statutory phrases which must be recited in order for the marriage to become 10

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legal, increasingly marriage officials are allowing a more customised approach to the vows. These are said either before, or after the statutory phrases, and allow you to make promises which are truly unique to each other as life partners. But it’s a pretty daunting task. Where do you start? How do you decide the tone? What to include? And sometimes, what to leave out! Here’s some ideas to get you moving on the right path.....

Step One: Check with your Marriage Official Don’t spend hours losing sleep, agonising over your wording, until you’ve checked with the person conducting your ceremony. For example you’re unlikely to have as much freedom with the vows in a Church of England service, as you may do in a civil ceremony. And assuming you get the go-ahead, your marriage official will want to see the vows before the big day. To check they are comfortable with the tone and content. If personalising your vows is crucial for you, but your wedding official won’t play ball, then in civil ceremonies you may have the opportunity to find a Registrar who’s more in line with your way of thinking.


CEREMONYIDEAS

Step Two: What to Say This is your chance to create vows which reflect the values and promises that will be important to you and your partner as you travel on life’s journey together. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to write your vows. One way you might start is to think about your past, present and future lives together.Your past – what special moments have you shared? How did you meet? Have you been through crises together that have brought you closer? And now, when you see you partner – how do they make you feel special? What qualities do they bring out in you, and you in them? And as for the future – well it’s worth putting something in that shows the love and support you hope to show each other as you grow old together through life’s highs and lows. Step Three: On the Day Don’t underestimate the effect nerves can have on a usually confident, eloquent voice! No amount of practise can really prepare you for the big moment, so if you do plan to speak from memory, at least let your marriage official have

a copy just in case. Remember your guests are there to witness your promises to each other, so speak slowly and clearly, particularly if your venue is large. Most of all, speak them sincerely, with feeling and honesty. Personalised vows you have created yourself can be one of the most precious gifts you can give your partner. If the idea appeals to you, but you’d like some more help or encouragement in writing your own vows, check out these websites for some creative inspiration: My Wedding Vows and Wedding Vows Den. Good luck!

TOP TIPS Keep vows short – an essay won’t be appreciated Nothing too intimate Make sure the tone of your vows matches that of your partner Don’t be afraid of using humour, but a stand-up comedy routine isn’t appropriate!

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Readings, Hymns k Music

Choosing the readings and music for your ceremony may be straightforward – perhaps you have always envisaged your entrance, proceeding up the aisle with heads turned to the tune of Wagner’s Bridal March, sounds of the organist filling the church.


CEREMONYIDEAS

But on the other hand, many couples find the choice of music and any readings quite a struggle. They are emotive choices to make – they will set the scene and tone for your service, and give you an opportunity to share your personal feelings and character with your guests. The first thing you should do is talk to your marriage official – the type of service you are having will dictate to a degree the style of music and readings which might be appropriate. They may have some resources you can draw on for ideas, books with examples or recommendations for CDs you could listen to. Next you’ll need to start narrowing down your choices. Here are some things to think about...... Readings Incorporating readings into your ceremony is a wonderful way to enhance the feeling behind why you are marrying in the first place, and gives an opportunity for others close and special to you to become involved. In a standard Church of England ceremony, there is usually at least one reading, which is normally biblical. In a civil service readings can be based around just about any non religious theme, whether it be a poem, lyrics from a song or perhaps an extract from a book. It may also be a chance to add some humour into the proceedings.

In all cases, when choosing try to think about the message that reading is conveying about your feelings for each other. The passage should not be too long, but should still communicate an important theme without requiring further explanation. It goes without saying to think about the sensitivities of your guests and ensure that there’s nothing that could cause offence. Hymns These will only be appropriate in a religious ceremony, so speak to your Minister who’ll let you know where during the ceremony the hymns will be sung. When choosing, it’s best to include relatively popular hymns which the congregation are likely to know, unless you feel like performing solo! Some churches may offer a choir, which can help add to the overall tone and enthusiasm of the singing. If you’re no longer a regular church goer, perhaps think about hymns that were important to you when you were younger. CDs such as ESSENTIAL HYMNS COLLEC. DH by Love Divine (Audio CD - 1998) can be great for inspiration. Music Whether it be a church service, or civil ceremony, it’s likely you will be able to have music to enter and leave to, and possibly music while the register is being signed.

For a traditional church ceremony, classical music is probably more appropriate, and most couples go for celebratory, jubilant music to leave the ceremony. For a civil service, your choices are much wider – you may have the chance to choose music which has a particularly special meaning to you as a couple. If you want to be a little different , how about “I Do, I Do, I Do” by Abba, or “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” for an exit with attitude. Whatever your choices, readings and music are a way of conveying thoughts and feelings to your partner and congregation that normal words alone can’t do.

For more help choosing, try:Heartsongs: Readings for Weddings by Pinky Agnew (Paperback - 2 Mar 2006) Poems and Readings for Weddings by Julia Watson (Paperback - 1 April 2004) Music for a Church Wedding by Johann Sebastian Bach, Jeremiah Clarke, George Frederick Handel, and Felix Mendelssohn (Audio CD - 2002)

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Home or Abroad: We Help You Decide Ever dreamed of pronouncing “I do” on sun baked golden sands, with waves gently lapping the shore? Or perhaps a ceremony amongst The Alps, a true winter white wedding with roaring log fires and snowflakes delicately drifting is how you imagine your special day. More and more couples are choosing to escape abroad to tie the knot, but it’s not always straightforward. Read our guide to make sure you’ve taken account of all aspects before you pick your ultimate marriage destination. Marrying Abroad: The Positives! The obvious plus point is just 14

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the sheer range of amazing locations at your disposal, creating an atmosphere and experience you could never hope to achieve if you stayed at home. How about an Indian Experience, making your entrance astride a jewelled elephant at the Anantara Resort or perhaps on a reindeer sleigh ride through the winter wonderland of

Lapland? Weddings abroad often work out less expensive than marrying at home, but make sure you do your homework before you leave to check what’s included. The whole event can be considerably less stressful than organising a wedding at home. If you choose to go through a travel company, most will offer a wedding coordinator to make all those fiddly arrangements, saving you many headaches and sleepless nights. If you want a completely low key, low fuss day, then you can marry abroad with just yourselves and two other witnesses, which the venue can provide if you wish.


CEREMONYIDEAS

You can pick a destination where sunshine is more likely than showers! This could be handy if you want to get married during the winter season at home, but fancy topping up your tan at the same time. Marrying Abroad: Points to Consider You’ll be restricted on the number of guests who can share your day with you. Some might see this as an advantage - you won’t need to invite great Auntie Flo who you haven’t seen since you were three years old! But just be sure you won’t regret at a later point that perhaps not all those special to you were able to share in the celebration. A good way to get round this might be to have a party on your return. You’ll need to check out the legal requirements of the country you are visiting, as some can be more complex than others. Try the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for all the legal aspects you’ll need for marrying abroad. Don’t forget too that you may require a Visa. If you choose to marry in Europe, then the service is likely to be conducted in that country’s native language. This may not worry you, but be sure to obtain a translation of the vows so that at least you’re familiar with your promises.

When making the arrangements from the UK, you won’t have the benefit of face to face contact to discuss the finer details with the wedding providers. Just make sure that you put all your requests in writing by email if possible, and double check you’re happy with the arrangements when you arrive. So have you decided? Is home where the heart is, or are you already searching for your passport!

FOR MORE HELP AND IDEAS, TRY CHECKING OUT THE FOLLOWING: The legal aspects of marrying abroad Up to date travel advice elevant to individual countries Advice on applying for the European Health insurance card, needed to receive subsided health treatment in Europe Advice on vaccinations Travel guide information across the globe

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Details of marrying at the Anantara resort All inclusive weddings abroad

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Wedding Invitation Wording - A Step by Step Guide Deciding on the guest list can often be the first bone of contention in your wedding plans! But let’s assume you’ve overcome that hurdle, and are ready to send out the invitations. The style you choose can set the tone for the whole theme of the wedding, and says something about you and your partner’s individuality. It’s the first impression your guests will see of your forthcoming celebrations, so you’ll want to get it right.

“It’s the first impression your guests will see of your forthcoming celebrations” 16

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The Style

Classical? Contemporary? Or something with a twist? Try to match the style of your invites to the overall tone and theme of your wedding. Many couples opt for a traditional approach, but if that’s not for you, then there’s plenty of other options to choose from, ranging from Perspex invitations, to photographic invites allowing you create stationery using one of your own special photographic images.

Beautiful invitations with a personal touch can be created by hand-making them yourself – www.imaginedoingityourself. com is a website which allows you to purchase everything you might need for your own designs. This allows you to create something truly unique, and be a quite cost effective choice if you’re working to a tight budget. Just allow plenty of time if you’re making them yourselves, as it’s easy to underestimate how long it can take.


PLANNINGIDEAS

Wording Etiquette

In essence, you can choose the wording to suit the style and tone of your day. Assuming you’ve included all the vital pieces of information, (names, time, date, venue etc) then really anything goes. But if you’d like to follow a traditional approach, then there’s a tried and tested format that’s expected:Mr and Mrs Andrew Joyce request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Elizabeth to Mr Philip Winters at St. Marys’ Church, Arnfield on 27th September 2010 at 2.30pm and afterwards at The King’s Arms, Elmsley RSVP (host’s address)

Invites are issued by the hosts, who traditionally been the bride’s parents. However, in current times this is often not the case, and the wording can be adapted to suit a wide range of family circumstances. For example:If you are hosting your own wedding: “Miss Elizabeth Joyce and Mr Philip Winters request the pleasure of your company at their wedding...”

divorced and remarried: “Mr Andrew Joyce and Mrs Julia Headley request the pleasure....”

Extras to Include

As well as the invitation itself, it might be helpful to think about including some of the following: • A map giving clear directions to the ceremony and reception, with parking instructions • List of local accommodation in case guests wish to stay overnight • An indication of whether children are invited or not – this should be clear on the invitation. If you don’t wish children to come, try adding a polite notice to parents like “We are sorry, but unfortunately we are unable to invite children to the wedding” to save any misunderstandings at a later stage. • Gift list ideas – this used to be a strict “no no” when it came to wedding etiquette, but it’s no longer a social faux pas to include this with the invitations.

TOP TIPS Order some spares in case of errors while writing Proofread extremely carefully, and ask someone not involved to read it too Check the correct spelling of guest’s names Send out in plenty of time – 10 weeks is the average

Or if the bride’s parents are

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Great Gift Lists:

Which type to choose? This can be great if you’re setting up home for the first time, or perhaps are aiming to collect a special dinner service or silverware. There’s the added bonus that stores often incorporate an incentive to hold your list for you, such as cash back, or a 5 – 10 % discount on any items that remain unpurchased from the list.

Choosing your gift list can be one of the really enjoyable parts of your wedding planning. Traditionally the list is held by the bride’s mother, who keeps track of purchases, but this can prove difficult to manage and one headache she can do without! Nowadays there’s plenty of alternative options, including those which perhaps fit better with your lifestyle and wedding planning.

Department stores

Lists held by main department stores offer the chance for you to browse around the store picking specific items that you wish to have on your list. The list is then managed by the store, and guests may choose an item either in person, by phone, or sometimes online.

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Honeymoon funding

If you’ve already set up home, or perhaps are finding it a financial stretch to fit a honeymoon into your wedding plans, then asking guests to contribute towards a honeymoon could be the answer. Many companies now offer a service where they allow you to set up a honeymoon request list, which can include not only the basic costs of accommodation, or flights, but also can list specific items such as contributions to a flight upgrade, champagne on arrival, or perhaps a visit to the spa. Some services are linked direct to the operator you have booked with, while others are totally independent. When you’re deciding who to go with, just check out whether there’s a joining fee, and some also operate a

service charge, which can be as much as 9%, so it’s worth checking what level of service you get for your money.

Shopping Centre Gift Card Service

This can be great if you’re not sure exactly what you want to put on your list and would prefer to choose at a later time to suit you.You’re free to spend the value collected in the participating stores, and gives great flexibility.

Online registries

Companies such as “What To Give” operate an extremely flexible online service, which allows you to place your whole list online, sourced from any company you wish. The items don’t need to come from an online source to be listed, and guests just consult the list to get ideas, and then check them off the list once purchased. Services like this offer great flexibility, allow you to log on at any time to keep track of how things are going, and come into their own if you have a diverse list of gift wishes which aren’t sourced from the same store.

Charitable Giving

This can be excellent if you already have your home setup, and wish to take a more


GIFTLISTIDEAS

ethical approach to wedding gifts. Online companies feature a range of charities.You choose the one or two you wish to benefit, then guests can donate as much or as little as they wish. Links Department stores wedding list service John Lewis Debenhams House of Fraser Honeymoon Gift Lists Send Us Packing Honeymoon Travel Counsellors Shopping Centre Voucher Service Cscenterprises Braehead The Harlequin

Online Registries What To Give Charitable Giving The alternamtive Wedding List Wedding List Giving

TOP TIPS Make sure there’s a range of items listed to suit every budget If your list operates solely online, then remember that not all guests, particularly older ones, have access to a computer

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Some guests might find a “general contribution” list a little impersonal, so have a few specific item ideas to hand just in case.

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and wedding fairs, it’s tempting to get carried away. But it’s best not to go for anything too far from your comfort zone. You should be true to yourself, and that way when you look back in years to come at the photographs, you’ll ensure it’s you that’s reflected in them.

3. Think 360 degrees

Your style will be viewed and photographed from every direction. So make sure that you’ve covered every angle and it looks just as good from the back as it does the front.

4. Inspiration

Collect together pictures of styles that you like to show your stylist. Think outside the box when looking for inspiration – wedding magazines are a great place to start, but also check out celebrity magazines and pictures from award ceremonies and film premieres for a red carpet look.

5. Timeless tresses

Bridal Hair: Ten Tips for

Lustrous Locks 1. Which style?

When choosing your style, think about everything from the style of your dress, to the tone of the wedding, to even the time of day. An elegant up-do shows off a slender 20

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neckline, making the face the focal point, while gently tousled loose locks reflect a romantic, less formal day.

2. Be yourself

Browsing through magazines

There’s no harm in wanting to appear “on trend” and fashionable in your wedding day, but remember that the photographs will be around for many years to come. Talk to your stylist about creating a look that will stand the test of time while still reflecting your personality and individuality.

6. Hair-washing

Many styles, particularly updos, are more easily created in hair that has been washed


BRIDALHAIR

the day before, rather than on the day itself. If you have an especially oily scalp and must wash it on the day, then try combing through a small amount of mousse to help in the styling.

7. Accessories

If you’re using a professional stylist, take along any accessories you’re planning to wear in your hair to the practice run to make sure the style is suitable. This includes the veil if possible, as the length of the veil can affect the impact of the style.

8. Dress style

Your stylist should be able to give you some good advice about what type of style would fit well with your dress, so take along a picture when you’re discussing ideas. It’s also useful to wear a top with a similar neckline and colouring to the finished article.

9. Face shape

Even if you don’t want a professional stylist on the day, make sure you chat to your regular hairdresser about the type of styles that might suit the shape of your face. Round faces look great with styles creating height and fullness at the crown and an off centre parting, while square jaw lines can be softened with a soft layered wispy look.

10. Long lasting

It’s easy to pick a style which looks fabulous as soon as you

hit the off button on the drier, but picking something that can last a whole wedding day can be a little trickier. Bear this in mind when practising your style, and check out how it looks after a normal day’s wear and tear. Remember you can work wonders with hairspray and gel, but it can’t work miracles!

USING A PROFESSIONAL STYLIST? USE OUR CHECK LIST QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DECIDE WHO’S BEST FOR YOU:

For more inspiration on wedding hair try taking a look at these sites: Wedding Hair Styles Den Wedding Hair Styles For guidance on which styles suit which face shape For more information about face shapes A free service which allows you to upload a photo and “try” a limited number of virtual hairstyles

Can I speak to previous customers who’ve used you? Do you have a portfolio of wedding styles? Will you come to the house or should I go to the salon? How long should I allow on the day? Is a trial run included in the price? What’s the deposit?

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What’s your cancellation policy? Do you have any other weddings that day? If coming to my house, will you bring all your own equipment? Why White?

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Beauty and the Bride: Wedding Day Countdown for a

Flawless Finish benefits, your skin will be rejuvenated, it will help in any slimming plan, plus it’s a great way to relieve tension and stress. All in all, you can’t lose.

Diet

In the run up to your day, it’s easy to get bogged down in seating plans and wedding dress dramas. But don’t forget on the day all eyes will be on you and your partner – if there was ever a time to look your best, then this is it! Use our easy month by month countdown to help prepare for a flawless finish.

Six months to go Exercise

If you don’t already have an exercise regime, then now could be a good time to start. Apart from the obvious health 22

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If you want to shed a few pounds, then there’s no time like the present! Set yourself a goal, but be realistic. Once you’re having dress fittings it will be best to try and maintain the weight you’ve reached, rather than just keep going. Consider starting a detoxifying program, to help eliminate those nasties which can make your skin dull and your body lethargic.

Exfoliate once a week to renew skin cells Consider monthly facials to keep your skin in tip top condition, and reduce any stress related break outs If you require a professional make-up artist on the day, start making some enquiries now

Body, mind and spirit

Give your body and mind a break, and build some relaxation time into each

You can really energise your body by upping your clear fluid intake to two litres a day. Try to reduce caffeine, and instead carry a water bottle around to sip throughout the day. Stress can take a heavy toll on your immune system, so top up with Vitamin C and zinc to give your body a hand.

Skin

Start a program of careful cleansing and moisturising every night

week. Try aromatherapy, yoga or meditation – all great ways to restore energy levels and help you think more clearly. Even just a night out a week with friends for some wedding free fun could be just what the doctor ordered.


BRIDEBEAUTY

Hair

If you have in mind a change of style, then start growing it out now if you need to If you plan to have a professional stylist on the day, then start researching now who you like, who’s available etc Treat your hair to monthly deep conditioning treatments.

3 months to go

Have a professional eye brow shape, and keep them in trim every 3 weeks

Hair

Decide on your hairdresser and start experimenting with styles. Try out any colour changes now Have a trim every month to encourage a healthy look

One month to go

Skin

Choose the make-up artist you want to use. Look at their

portfolio of work and make sure they know the type of look you’re after. If you’re doing your make-up yourself, then visit cosmetic counters, which will often give free makeup advice and samples to brides. If you like a bronzed look, avoid the sun bed and experiment with self tanner.

Skin

revitalize your skin Indulge in a facial, but have it at the start of the week and make it the last one before the main event

Hair

Have your final trim now so it doesn’t appear too blunt on the day

One week to go

Touch up on your hair colour

Have a final bikini wax and eye brow shape to avoid any redness on the day Reduce salt and alcohol intake to avoid water retention

Have a trial make up run, and take pictures of the finished look to check out how it appears in photos. If you’re doing it yourself, purchase any makeup you need and practise

Hair

Take your headdress and veil to your hairdresser, and have a run through of how it will all appear on the big day

Two weeks to go

Confirm any beauty appointments booked for the day itself.

Skin

Exfoliate your body all over to

Apply any self tan 2 days before the wedding.

The day before

This isn’t the time to try anything new, so just keep with your normal routine and add in: Wash your hair and apply light conditioner, as this will make it easier to work with on the day. Most stylists ask that you don’t wash your hair on the day itself unless you have a particularly oily scalp. Have a pedicure and


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manicure to show off your ring to full effect

While you’re having your makeup and hair done, wear something that doesn’t need to come over your head so your style won’t be ruined. A shirt that buttons all the way down is a good option.

Pack an emergency beauty kit for any last minute hitches. Include items like tissues, nail file, dental floss, nail colour etc

Put your dress on after applying perfume and allowed it to dry, as oils can stain delicate fabrics such as silk

Soak in a relaxing bath to gather your thoughts for the next day ahead

Most of all, allow plenty of time – you’ve spent many months preparing yourself to look your best, so make sure it’s not all wasted in a few hasty moments. Allowing three hours in total for hair, make-up and getting dressed should do the trick.

On the day

Finally all your preparations will come together. Here are some final tips.... Try to eat something to keep your energy levels up during the day

And finally......take a look in the mirror......have a few deep breaths to steady the nerves, and that’s it – you’re ready to go!


Divine

Dresses

Styling Guide Deciding the style of your wedding dress should be one of the most amazing parts of your wedding planning. Imagine the moment you’ll make your entrance - all heads will be turned, and hopefully the reaction will be WOW! So for gorgeous gowns and dreamy dresses, read our style guide to help you create a real show stopper.


FASHIONIDEAS

Let’s get started: think basics! When you’re thinking about the basic style of your dress, ask yourself these questions:• What’s the style of the wedding and venue? Formal, contemporary, or casual? • What time of year am I getting married? During summer months strapless gowns and light chiffon will keep you cool, whereas in cooler times faux fur wraps or boleros might be the order of the day • What’s my basic body shape? This last is probably one of the most important, because by working with your body shape, not against it, you’ll find something that truly flatters and makes you feel fantastic. Ball-gown styles particularly suit taller brides, while those with wider hips could try a “princess” line, where attention is drawn away from the hips by a fitted top gently flaring outwards towards the hem line. Many brides prefer a smoother, sleeker look to their dress, perhaps designed in shimmering satin that clings to the body line or a tightly fitted bodice with a figure hugging skirt finished with a fish tail. This can look stunning, especially if you’re lucky enough to have an hour glass figure! Colour Wedding dresses traditionally were made in white as a

symbol of purity, but nowadays just about any colour is acceptable. Many brides opt for an off-white, cream or ivory tone to their dress, so try on different hues to see which suits your complexion the best. You may also choose to add a splash of stronger colour, accenting just parts of your dress – a sash or a panel, with the main colour theme of your day. A bold choice is to opt for a dress totally in a strong shade of red, or black, which if it suits your personality can look sensational and adds real drama and impact. Dazzling Details You may want to opt for a fuss free, minimalist look, or perhaps have your heart set on a dress designed to dazzle? Interest can be added with delicate lace sleeves, intricate beading or enchanting organza and pearls. The view from the back is just as important as the front, and gives a wonderful opportunity for adding flair and impact to your design.You might even have the chance to make your dress completely personal to you, perhaps embroidering your initials intertwined with those of your partner on a sash or bow. If you like this approach, then just remember not to get too carried away by letting the dress take over the person inside, but try on different styles to see how you feel comfortable. Why White?

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Trains If you have decided to have a train on your dress, then lengths can range from a twelve inch circle that elegantly sweeps the floor, to cathedral style extension of eight or nine feet! The best thing to do is try on plenty of options to give you an idea of how you feel, but also think about practicality. You’ll need to manage the train not only in the wedding car (will it fit without becoming totally creased?), but also letting your hair down at the reception. One solution is to have a detachable train, or at least one that hooks up to the waist for ease of movement. In the Store If you’re buying your gown from a bridal store, try on plenty of styles, even those you hadn’t considered, and keep an open mind. Don’t let the assistant push you into something you don’t feel right in. On the other hand they should have a fantastic wealth of experience and tips to help you make the right choice. Take along a trusted friend

or relative to give you an honest opinion and don’t be rushed – check out how the dress moves when you walk, how does it look from every angle, and what’s it like to sit down in? Once you’ve decided on the one for you, don’t forget to wear your bridal lingerie when you go for your dress appointments as this can make a huge difference to the fitting.

Links Johnson Cleaners Almost New Wedding Dresses The Wedding Dress: A Sourcebook by Philip Delamore (Author), Camilla Dixon (Illustrator)

TOP TIPS It’s worth getting your dress professionally dry cleaned afterwards – they’ll package it properly and ensure it stays pristine for years to come Many stores offer a dress hire service – handy if budgets are tight Also consider second hand and charity shops, which can offer some superb dresses at a fraction of standard price If you want to sell your dress after the event, check out online services that will advertise your dress to a wide range of potential buyers

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Headdresses k Tiaras On your day you’ll want to look fantastic from head to toe, and your hair accessories play an important part in the total ensemble. It’s hard to know where to start as there’s an amazing range of styles and colours to choose from, so try these 28

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steps to help you make the right choice Step one: think about the tone, colour and style of your dress, and aim to tie your hair accessories with this Step two: look at your face shape and choose something

that will complement and enhance what nature has already started Step three: talk to your hair stylist. They will have a wealth of experience on what type of styling will suit your hair and will make sure hair accessories integrate well into your design.


FASHIONIDEAS

Once you’ve considered those aspects, start going to bridal shops, wedding fairs and looking online for inspiration. Use our guide below to help you narrow down your choices....

and decorations, allowing you to totally colour co-ordinate with your dress.

little glamour to your hair, and won’t detract from your hair if you have a particularly complicated style to display.

Dare to dazzle

Tiaras offer the ultimate fairytale wedding accessory to a princess bride. Traditional tiaras tend to be placed centrally and rise to a higher point in the middle, or for a totally regal look try a circular crystal crown

Headbands

If you’re after a less formal look, there are plenty of other options to tempt you. How about a delicate pearl headband, or a small crystal design worn to the side?

Fancy Something Floral?

Using flowers in your hair can look fabulous with the right style of dress. Talk to your florist about the possibility of using fresh flowers to create the style you’re after. They may feel that the flowers could wilt after a time, in which case silk flowers are a great alternative. Flowers can be sprinkled loosely through the hair, or formed into a particular shape using wires. Fresh flowers were often used in days gone by to decorate a bride’s hair and a simple floral circlet can look stunning with for example a medieval style dress.

Fascinating feathers

For a totally different look, feathers can make a fantastic finishing touch and the recent trend for fascinators means there’s plenty of styles from choose from.

Links Andrea Henderson The Daisy Chain Collection The Bridal Wear Company

Headbands can be really useful too if you’ve short hair and are finding it difficult to get a conventional tiara to stay put.

Hair combs and slides

Consider Colour

You don’t need to stick to silver, gold and crystal effects for your crowning glory. Plenty of styles offer coloured gems

If you don’t fancy a tiara stlye headpiece, consider a hair slide or comb, which can be decorated to match the theme of your dress, and look terrific with French plaits and chignons.

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Crystal or pearl hairpins are a subtle way of adding a Why White?

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Fashion for the Groom The bride tends be the star of the show, but it wouldn’t be a wedding without a groom. It’s not just Cinderella who wants to go the ball looking her best, but it’s not always easy for grooms to know the type of style appropriate for the big day. Here’s some thoughts to get you started...

Traditional Morning Suit

A traditional morning suit is the classic choice for many grooms. It’s appropriate for formal ceremonies, and lends an air of elegance and distinction to the proceedings.

choose cravats to colour co-ordinate with the bridal theme, and even invest in a made to measure waistcoat with a distinctive design to complement the look.

If this sounds appealing, double check that it fits with the style of your reception venue, and consider asking your guests to follow the same dress guidelines.

Black Tie Evening Wear

Lounge Suit

Even once you’ve chosen this route, there’s plenty more decisions to make, as styles vary from a classic black tailcoat with pinstripe trousers, to frock coats or even cream three quarter length jackets. The suit is usually teamed with a white wing collared shirt, cravat and waistcoat. Here is your opportunity to add a splash of colour and individuality - grooms often

For ceremonies towards the end of the day, “black tie” style suits can look stunning and add a touch of glamour.

Looking for a slightly less formal option, but still want lend a sense of occasion to the day? Then a modern well


GROOMFASHION

fitted two or three piece suit can look stylish and tasteful. They are often worn for civil ceremonies, and give much more flexibility to the groom in terms of colour and fashion.

The Highland Fling

The standard wear for Scottish grooms is Highland dress, and other nationalities sometimes opt for this route if there’s strong Scottish heritage in their blood.

Beach Style

There’s a wide range of options available to a groom for a beach wedding, from sticking with a traditional morning suit, to opting for a colourful Hawaiian shirt and shorts! The best bet is to take the lead from the bride, and ensure that the groom’s style matches that of his wife to be. Often couples opt for a beach wedding for a more casual, informal approach, so if this is what you had in mind, then there are plenty of options available. Comfort should come near the top of your considerations, particularly if you’re heading for tropical climes. A cotton and linen suit should be a cool combination, and teamed with a white linen open neck shirt can provide a smart yet practical solution.

There are reputed to be around 4000 different tartan designs, and the accessories are integral to the overall look. Grooms wear kilt hose (knee length socks), garter flashes at the top of the hose, sporrans, and ornamental sgian dubhs (knives in a sheath held in the sock).

Links Moss Favour Brook The Scotland Kilt Company

TOP TIPS Make sure the style isn’t let down by last year’s scuffed shoes. It’s worth investing in a new pair to complete the look Wear new shoes a couple of days before to break then in When choosing accessories like waistcoats, take a sample of the bridesmaids material to avoid any uncomfortable clashes. If you’re buying your wedding clothes, try to choose something that you will be able to wear afterwards. If not, then hiring might be a better route If you’re looking to hire, contact the shop at least 3 months in advance, or even earlier for summer weddings, especially if the ushers and other male members of the bridal party are to wear the same.

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The Guide to

Blissful Bridesmaids

Asking someone to be your bridesmaid is a special moment – you’re hoping that they’ll play an important role on one of the most memorable days of your life. So how should you go about choosing, and what problems might you face? Read on to find out ... Who to Choose

This should be entirely up to you. It’s usually close friends or family who have been important to you during your life, and who will be able to support you in your journey from singledom to married bliss. There should be plenty of entertainment to be had along the way, so fun loving characters will be a bonus! There’s no hard and fast rules 32

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about how many attendants you should have, but just bear in mind the style of your wedding, and also budgets can be a factor if you are paying for the outfits from your own pocket.

The Ahh Factor

Adding children to your list of attendants, either as flower girls or page boys, can really add the cute factor to your

day. Before you ask any little ones to play this role on your special day, just be sure that you feel they can handle the attention and excitement likely to come their way. Asking one of the older bridesmaids to be in charge of the younger attendants can be a good way of keeping things in order and dealing with any last minute nerves.


PLANNINGIDEAS

Also remember that children grow at a rapid rate, so try not to buy their outfits too early.

Who Pays?

This can be a tricky subject, so be upfront with your bridesmaids. If money is tight, then asking them to buy their dress, or at least contribute is the way to go. Bear in mind though that it’s only fair that they should have a much larger say in the style they go for if they’re part of the funding. Some brides choose to buy the dresses themselves, giving them more control over the final design. But whichever way you go, it’s much more practical to choose something that can be worn after the big day as well.

Divine dresses? Or maybe not!

If you thought choosing your own wedding dress was hard, then try picking one to match for a range of ages, heights, sizes and characters!

Here’s some ideas to help avoid a maiden mutiny... Don’t even think about asking your bridesmaids to wear something that you wouldn’t be happy to wear yourself! Designers are wise to the problems that brides can face, and many now offer a range of styles all made from the same fabric.You can allow your brides to choose the style that suits them from all within the same collection

Choose your material then have a seamstress make the designs up according to your friends’ wishes. This can be much more cost effective than having a bridal dress made, as the designs tend to be simpler. If you are sure you want all your attendants to wear the same style, then opt for an A-line design, that will flatter most figures Choosing the same dress but in differing colours can add real drama to the day, and allows bridesmaids to select something to suit their own individual colouring. Just make sure that the tones still fit with your overall colour scheme. Selecting the perfect dress to suit all your bridesmaids can be a real headache, but by treading carefully and being flexible you’ll find a solution that suits everyone Links Bridesmaids Direct Alfred Angelo UK Debenhams Childrens Suits

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fantastic photo opportunities. Want to avoid floral faux pax? Then use our guide to help you on your way to some fabulous flower power.

Keep It Seasonal

Choosing flowers that are in season will not only be cheaper, but they are also likely to be in better condition and last longer than out of season varieties. In springtime daffodils, bluebells and tulips will be in their prime, whereas in autumn chrysanthemums and gerbera look stunning in a display.

Finding Your Florist

You can’t beat recommendation, so ask friends, family and the reception venue for their own experience of local florists. Go along and talk to the floral designer, along with a picture of your dress and an idea of your budget.

Your Guide to Fabulous

Flower Power Once you’ve decided the colour theme of your wedding and the styling of the bridal party dresses, then it’s full steam ahead to organise the flowers. 34

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Bouquets and displays during the ceremony and at the reception can add a wonderful splash of colour to the event. They help to tie together the various stages of the day providing a common theme – as well as enhancing some

They should be able to suggest ideas and designs suit to your own individual requirements and style, but ask to see photos and testimonials from previous work too.

The style

The style of floral arrangements that are right for you is going to depend on your dress, the type of venue for the ceremony and reception, and last but not least, your own individual personality. Bridal bouquets can be anything from a simple wild


WEDDINGFLOWERS

flower posy, to an ornate trailing wired arrangement and the scale of your design will need to fit with the tone of your dress. For the ceremony, large pedestals of flowers set a wonderful scene in a traditional church, but with a more modern venue more contemporary arrangements look more in place. When thinking about flowers for the reception, try to tie these in with the formality and size of the room. For example, a grand stately home will probably require table arrangements with some height to match the stature of the room, whereas posies in simple milk jugs suit a more quaint country wedding.

Variety

Once you’ve talked to your florist about what’s in season, you’ll still be left with a bewildering array of floral varieties to choose from. To help you decide, do a little research on the true meaning of individual flower varieties: for example, lilies stand for purity, red roses for passion, while ivy represents fidelity.

theme by the time you consider your flowers, and hopefully the floral displays will co-ordinate with this. Rich reds and bold greens can look stunning at a winter wedding, whereas golden yellows or vibrant pinks are more appropriate for a summer celebration. Think also of the backdrop colours at your reception, and avoid too many white flowers in a pale coloured marquee, as they may get a little lost and won’t make the impact they deserve.

TOP TIPS Having flower girls scatter petals as you walk up the aisle may look so romantic, but the vicar might not be too keen! Check first before you decide on adding a floral carpet to his church. If you’re sharing the ceremony venue with another bride, make contact to try and share the flowers to split the cost Donate church flowers to a local hospital or old people’s home after the event

You could also try to incorporate flowers that have special meaning to you – perhaps he gave you roses on your first date, or you remember growing tulips in your childhood home?

Check whether flowers for the tables are already included in your reception package, and if so, whether you can pick the colour scheme for them.

Colour

Consider preserving your fresh bouquet afterwards using a specialist company

You should have already chosen your main colour

Links Flower Preserve Bloomin Gorgeous Flowers Wedding Flowers by Paula Pryke (Author)

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“Band of Gold” How to Choose the

Perfect Ring

There are few objects that symbolize the meaning of marriage quite like your wedding ring. The exchange of rings in your ceremony is a public statement of your trust and friendship in each other, and a symbol of commitment from both partners to each other.

It’s represents a circle of everlasting love, which you’ll wear hopefully for the rest of your life, so it’s worth spending some time to make sure you find the perfect ring for you.


WEDDINGRINGS

The Budget

There’s a ring to suit just about any budget, ranging from modest, to sheer extravagance. But you don’t need to break the bank to make your partner feel like a million dollars - the key point is to fix a budget, and then stick to it. Bear in mind too that the groom’s ring tends to be larger, and hence is likely to be more expensive.

The Style

Wedding rings traditionally consist of plain bands, and this is a classic choice, especially if your engagement ring is particularly ornate. But many jewellers now design rings with added detail or interest, such as a patterned band, or one containing delicate subtle diamonds. If you like this idea, make sure that you try them on with your engagement ring, to check that the two sit well together. If you’d like something less contemporary, then visit a specialist if you’re looking for a vintage style antique ring, or what can be more treasured than a family heirloom wedding band? If the groom is also choosing to wear a ring, then you might choose to have matching bands, although it’s purely a matter of personal choice.

The Material

The usual metals used are platinum, yellow gold and white gold, although others such as titanium are

sometimes used. Platinum is extremely durable but is also approximately twice the price of yellow gold. Gold is graded in terms of carats, with the higher the carat then the greater the percentage of gold metal in the ring, but also the softer the material. Individual personality, lifestyle and budget all come into consideration when choosing the material for your ring, but it’s usual to match the wedding band to that of your engagement ring.

The Fit

One size doesn’t “fit all” and jewellers should be able to provide you with ring sizers to ensure the perfect fit. Don’t panic if the ring is rather a tight squeeze during the ceremony, as fingers tend to swell at times of stress and excitement. If you’re going on honeymoon and wearing your rings in the sea, remember that your fingers will shrink in cold water – it’s not unheard of for them to slip off and be lost before the ink on the register has even had time to dry! Bespoke If you’re struggling to find exactly what you’re looking for, consider a bespoke ring designed especially for you, reflecting your own particular individuality. Costs vary but may not be as expensive as you might imagine.

TOP TIPS Get your wedding rings insured before you leave for your honeymoon Choose something appropriate for your lifestyle Leave yourselves plenty of time to make your choice, and don’t rush the decision Consider buying your ring online, where you can examine a wide range of styles from the comfort of your own home. Some also offer a “try before you buy” service. Visit a specialist if you’re looking for a vintage style antique ring, or what can be more treasured than a family heirloom wedding ring? Avoid a style which is “of the moment” as it will date all too quickly Links Form Jewellery Diamond Geezer The Wedding Ring Shop

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Transport Choosing the transport to your ceremony and reception can give you the chance to opt for something a bit different. Want a little inspiration? Then read on…. Vintage Car – for a picture perfect arrival, how about a vintage wedding car? From a 1929 Silver Rolls Royce, to a 1964 Lincoln Continental, there’s a great range of cars to choose from which exude style and nostalgia from a by-gone era. Bear in mind that for some of these cars, the top speed won’t break any speed limits, so allow plenty of time to get to the Church on time. Also double check with the owner that they have a replacement car available in case of an unlucky breakdown. Prestige Cars – if you’re looking for something a little racier, treat yourselves to arriving in a stunning supercar. From an Aston Martin Vanquish, to a Ferrari F430 you’re bound to find 38

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something that’s sets the heart racing and the adrenalin pumping. It’s not an option for the budget conscious, but talk to specialists like Special Day Cars for advice on pricing

the Church or perhaps to the reception venue. Try checking out companies such as Memory Lane who offer a wide range of vehicles, including vintage omnibuses.

Helicopter – how do you fancy some extra glamour, thrills and excitement on your big day? Transport by helicopter could just be the icing on the cake. There’s a few logistical things you’ll need to think about (like does the venue have a safe place to land?), and it’s not a cheap option, but it certainly adds a Wow factor to your day.

Boat – if your venue is on the water, then arriving or departing by boat is the ultimate romantic gesture. You can also tie this in if you have a nautical theme to your day, or perhaps you or your partner have links with the sea. Your venue is likely to be able to recommend some suitable wedding boat hire companies, or you could also try the Yellow Pages.

London Bus – want to add a little humour to your day? Then arriving by London Bus could be just the ticket.You could also use it as transport for your guests, either to

Horse and Carriage – arrival by horse and carriage provides a romantic fairy tale entrance. You’ll need to think a little


TRANSPORTIDEAS

about the practicalities – for example, the extent of traffic, the weather and distance are factors, so talk these through with your supplier before you commit. If you’re still champing at the bit for an equine arrival, check out firms such as Horse Drawn Carriage Hire. Hot Air balloon – if you’ve a head for heights, then this is the one for you. It’s more appropriate for arriving at the reception rather than a church, and the timing can be a little tricky, but for sheer romance and charm, it’s hard to beat. DIY – if you live very close to your venue, then a stroll down the road can be a relaxing way to arrive at your ceremony, and can help clear the head of any last minute nerves. Alternatively there can be quite a cost saving if you drive yourself, or perhaps a friend might offer to take you in their vehicle.

STYLE TOP TIPS Think about the size of your dress when choosing your transport, as some might be a tight fit without causing multiple creases If April showers are on the cards, then an open top option might not be the best choice A convertible or a helicopter can look fantastic, but the same might not be said of your hair style by the end of the journey! Take something to protect your hair if you go this route.

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Choosing a Venue The style of your reception venue will reflect the whole tone of the wedding – so how will you decide? Something traditional, contemporary, chic or perhaps even a little wacky? Take the first step by thinking numbers – not only how many people you want to invite, but importantly what’s your budget. Once you’ve pinned this down, look at researching venues perhaps within a 30 minute radius of your ceremony venue if you’re marrying elsewhere. Here’s some ideas to get you started....

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Stately Homes and Castles

These offer some of the most spectacular settings for wedding receptions, with some breath-taking photo opportunities thrown in for good measure. A fairytale castle is a true romantic’s option, while stately homes often bring lavish interiors and a regal air to the party.


PLANNINGIDEAS

Hotels

Hosting your reception in a hotel could mean anything from the local inn in your childhood village, to feasting in opulent five star luxury. One great benefit is that hotels should be well used to catering for larger numbers, and usually charge per head so it should be fairly straightforward to see how it measures up against your budget. Larger venues tend to have a wedding coordinator, who will be your main point of contact. Hotels usually have restrictions on when the festivities will need to end by, but have the advantage that guests can crawl straight from the dance floor, into their bed.

Marquee

Hosting your reception in a marquee can look magical. They can be erected just about anywhere where the ground is suitable and there’s plenty of space to accommodate the marquee and associated roping. This might be at home, or is an option sometimes offered by venues where numbers are limited inside the building. Styles vary enormously, from tented formats, to those more akin to grand dining experiences complete with fixed floors and sparkling chandeliers. Check out what’s available with local suppliers, and take a careful look at their portfolio and testimonials.

Village Hall

Your local village hall can

prove a great cost effective way of hosting your reception, and a little attention to detail can still add great finishing touches to make it an ideal wedding venue. Think about adding balloons and ribbons to complement the party spirit, and perhaps a friend can help with floral decorations on the tables.Venues differ on their licensing agreements, so check this out if you want to serve alcohol at your event.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Celebrating at home gives you great flexibility. There are no restrictions on whether or not alcohol can be served – you can party till 6am if the neighbours allow! Your catering options may be a little more limited if space is at a premium, but there’s some enticing cost savings to be had versus a standard venue.

TOP TIPS If your venue is open to the public, there may be restrictions on when you can start the proceedings If the public are around during your celebrations, double check your bridal party will still have plenty of privacy – gate crashers won’t be welcome Read the small print – make sure you’re clear on what is/ isn’t included in the venue charges – what about table flowers, a toastmaster or evening entertainment?

Something a Little Different?

If you like to be different or just want to give a little extra interest to your guests on the day, then there’s plenty of alternative style venues to look at. How about toasting your partner at a zoo, or cutting the cake where Churchill once stood in the Cabinet War Rooms? Links County Marquees Wedding Venues Marriott Totally Wild Why White?

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Food and Drink:

20 Questions for your Caterers The food and refreshments will eat up a large chunk of your budget, and for the guests at least will be one of the highlights of the day they share with you. Whether the food is provided by the venue, or you’re choosing someone independent, then there are certain questions you should definitely ask before signing on the dotted line. Here’s our 20 questions for a meal to remember

1. Can we sample the dishes

before we choose? This is a must if you want to be sure of providing good quality food to be enjoyed on the day, plus to make sure it’s something you and partner will look forward to tucking into.

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2. Do you have testimonials for previous customers I can talk to?

3. How do you charge, and what’s included?

4. Do your charges include VAT?

5. Can I supply my own drinks?

6. What’s your cancellation policy?

7. If a guest drops out at

the last minute, how near the event can I cancel the place and not be charged?


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8. Do you cater for

special diets such as gluten intolerance? When you send out your invitations, ask guests to let you know if they have any special dietary requirements.

9. Are there special options for vegetarians?

10. What child friendly food can you provide?

11. Can you source organic ingredients, or those local to the area?

12. Do I need to provide

crockery, cutlery and glassware or is it included?

13. Is there a charge for any breakages?

14. How many waiters are provided for my number of guests?

15. What level of service

do the attendants provide? Is it silver service or something more informal?

16. What type of kitchen

facilities will you need to produce your menu? You’ll need to make sure that the menu you choose is suitable for the facilities available.

being dealt with that day, you’ll want to be confident that your booking will receive the time and attention it deserves.

18. What about tipping – is a service charge included?

19. How much is the deposit?

20. When is the final payment due?

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT....... If you’re looking for something a little beyond the normal convention, consider these options: A chocolate fountain – creating an elegant centre piece, cascading with rich chocolate to whet the appetite A blazing BBQ – this can be great for a do it yourself option at home, or why not hire a professional company for sizzling steaks or a hog roast? Anyone for tea? – if you don’t want a formal sit down meal, how about a relaxing cream tea, with delicate sandwiches and tempting pastries to keep your guests satisfied

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17. Do you have any other

bookings for the day, and if so, how do you deal with that? If there are other bookings

Links Chocolate Fountain The Hog Roast Company Lime Food Design

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Entertainment is needed throughout the day, before and during the ceremony, on arrival at the reception, while sitting down, after the reception, during the photos and to let everyone dance the night away. You will need different types of entertainment at different times, so you may need to hire musicians (pianists, harpist, string quartet or band), a DJ or disco, kids entertainers, a magician or a lookalike or two. In the evening you might want to have fireworks or launch chinese lanterns. Whatever you do it needs to fit the mood and the theme you are working to. To find entertainers you can use agencies who will have a good range to pick from or you might try looking locally. Word of mouth recommendations can be really useful so ask around. Make sure you see or hear examples of their work and that they have some believable testimonials.

That’s Entertainment! As much as it is your day, keeping your guests happy and entertained is still very important. From young to old you need to arrange to keep them smiling and give them a day to remember too.

If you are looking for something different why not hire a caricaturist to draw your guests? The drawings make a nice gift instead of the ordinary wedding favours. Hiring a Karaoke machine can make a change or alternatively hiring a jukebox to enable your guests to choose. Other ideas for entertainment include casinos, scottish dancing, comedians and small


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fun fairs. With a DJ you need to discuss the play list and approve it. Don’t pick all your favourites and do let them help as they should know how to keep people dancing. Make sure you cater for all ages at different times of the day. A band they will need a break so you need to plan what happens during this time. You may need a DJ to fill in or they might be able to play music through their speakers during the break. You will need to prime the band or DJ with special music for your first dance, last dance and parent’s dance. You may also wish to leave request sheets on the table to influence the music a little. Do ask for the volume to be kept at a reasonable level and make sure there are places where people can move to so they can chat with each other. Remember that the cost will normally go up the more members in the band you pick. A DJ will be typically a third of the price of a band but you may decide to have both to fill out the time.

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Don’t forget you need to book ahead as good musicians and entertainers get booked up months in advance.You will also need to agree a contract on timings and what you expect of them. This avoids misunderstandings and surprises. Why White?

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Wedding Speeches Come on Speak up! The wedding speeches are one of the focal points of your reception. A moment for tears of joy, laughs and some embarrassment for the groom. The speeches are normally introduced by the MC or head waiter at your reception, who introduces the father of the bride, followed by the groom (sometimes the bride) and then the best man. Each person has a set of tasks to perform as well as providing some entertainment.

The Father of the Bride

Welcomes everyone to the wedding and thanks them for coming. He then welcomes the 46

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groom’s family into their family, before switching to the beauty of the bride. At this point some pearls of wisdom about how to survive married life are appropriate and can raise a smile or two. A short memory of his daughter growing up fits in nicely too. Finally he traditionally toasts the health and happiness of the bride and groom and hands over to the groom.

The Groom

Replying to the toast on behalf of “my wife and I” the groom welcomes everyone. Welcomes the in-laws and thanks them for raising a wonderful daughter. This leads to either a poem or saying something special about the bride. The groom’s final task is to thank the people who have helped make the day special (often with flowers and gifts) before toasting the bridesmaids. Then with a quick


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introduction he nervously hands over to the Best Man.

• •

The Best Man

Replying on behalf of the bridesmaids, the best man normally compliments everyone on the top table. He might also thank the groom for his wise choice in picking him to be his best man. Then the fun normally starts with a range of stories which are normally jokes at the groom’s expense. He also has the responsibility to read out the cards from those who could not attend. He will then make amends by toasting the happy couple. Finally introducing the next event such as cutting the cake or any gift giving that hasn’t already been done.

The Bride

Some brides decide to speak as well and either join the Groom for a double act or say a few words before the best man. This is very much a personal choice but does need to be planned in advance. Particularly if you have a toastmaster or MC introducing each person.

The speeches

Making speeches can be frightening but a few simple tips can make the process much less of a worry. •

Don’t drink too much Stand up straight and act confident even if you are not feeling it. Enthusiasm and standing well can hide your nerves. Don’t speak too quickly. Don’t be afraid to pause and don’t forget to breathe. Wait for the laughs to fade a little. Enjoy it and give people a chance to enjoy things too. Finally remember you have an audience that wants you to do well.

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Timing

The speeches are normally given after the meal has been served. However some people have started to give the speeches before the food so they can enjoy the meal without the nerves.

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Make sure you have some bullet point notes to help aid your memory but try to commit the speech to memory. Practice then practice some more. Why White?

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Snap Happy: How to Choose the Right Photographer for You Most couples hope for fabulous photos on their special day. They record everlasting memories of a momentous event, a snap shot in time to be treasured and revisited for many years to come.

So choosing the right photographer should be one of the most important decisions you’ll make. But how do you go about ensuring that they’re the right one for you? First impressions count You’ll know fairly quickly within meeting a potential photographer whether you “click” and have a good rapport with each other. This is crucial, as nerves and excitement can get the better of you on the day. Finding someone you feel at ease with and trust will show in your pictures, and could make the difference between average shots, and stunning images. Recommendations Ask around friends and family to see if there’s anyone they 48

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would recommend (and perhaps also any that should be avoided!). Don’t forget though that sometimes it comes down to personality, so check out why a couple were disappointed with a photographer before rejecting them. Style Do you have a particular style in mind? Classic black and white, or perhaps sepia? If you do, then try to find a photographer who specialises in that style, and view

examples of his or her work Say what you want! This may seem obvious, but if

you want plenty of informal, casual shots, then make sure your photographer is clear on this. Many work to “set piece” pictures, so if a more informal look is important to you, then you’ll need to be specific on this. Some of the best shots can come from the photographer mingling with the guests and snapping as they go, so check whether they operate in this way.


WEDDINGPHOTOS

Prices Get down to the nitty gritty - photographers all differ in how they charge. Some may take unlimited shots, with others you may be limited. And how many final prints are included in the cost, and what is the cost of reprints? Some photographers include an album in their price, while for others this is extra, so make sure you know what to expect.

Budget If the quote from the photographer you really want comes in over budget, then think about ways you might be able to economise. He might offer a reduced package with fewer photos, which you could supplement yourself with reprints from friends and family. A popular option is to include disposable cameras on each table at the reception,

allowing guests to take great informal shots throughout the proceedings. Where to look? As well as recommendation, or directories such as Yellow Pages, Wedding Fairs can be useful for seeing a number of suppliers in one place. The Master Photographer’s Association can also provide lists of possibilities in your area. Most of all, take your time to choose, and if you use the pointers above, you should be well on your way to finding the perfect photographer to “capture your day.....your way.”

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For more help and advice try the following: For members of The Master Photographers Association For listings of photographers in your area specialising in weddings For listings of local suppliers

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Fabulous Favours for your Wedding Giving a wedding favour to your guests is a wonderful way of thanking family and friends for the love and support they have shown you, and can provide a memorable keepsake of your special day. Favours have been gifted at weddings for centuries, starting with the French aristocracy. They gave bonbonnieres, which were sugared delicacies in beautiful crystal or porcelain boxes to their guests as a sign of their wealth and royalty, since sugar was an expensive commodity. This evolved into the practise of giving five sugared almonds presented in delicate lace bags, to represent the gifts of five special wedding wishes: fertility, health, wealth, happiness and longevity. The giving of traditional sugared almonds is still 50

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popular, but the broader choice of wedding favours available is immense – some might even say overwhelming! Try using the guide below to help you narrow down your choices... Themed Favours If you have a specific theme to your wedding, then it makes sense to try and tie in the favours too. In Google, try typing in your theme, followed by wedding favour, and this should be a great starting point. From “beaches” to “butterflies” there’s something for everyone.

Edible Favours This is a popular choice for favours, and you’ll find a wide selection available. How about handmade seashells crafted in marzipan, or chocolate champagne bottles to create a little fizz and sparkle? If you do go for edible favours, check that the “use by” date is well beyond the wedding date, and that they’re not displayed in the sun. Favours for Men Choosing favours for women has always been straightforward, but not so the case for men. However these days there are a number of companies who carry male


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related wedding favours.You could go for an elegant bottle stopper, chrome luggage tags, or a golf related gift. Favours for Children Any children at your wedding will love favours meant especially for them, and if you opt for something which keeps them occupied, then no doubt the adults might appreciate the thought too! A popular choice is a children’s activity bag, containing puzzles, games and toys and these can be tailored to the age of the recipient.

a really personal touch to your day, and you can get crafty and creative with ribbons and tags.

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Personalised Favours You’ll find that many of the favours you come across can be personalised with the bride and groom’s names, date of the wedding and perhaps even a photo. Charitable Giving Many charities now offer the option of donating an amount for each guest, in place of a standard favour. They will provide you with thankyou cards to place at each guest’s table, along the lines of “A donation has been made to this charity on your behalf to celebrate the marriage of Julia and Stephen on 22 June 2009”. This takes the headache out of choosing which favour to purchase, while benefiting a good cause at the same time.

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Homemade Favours Making the favours yourself will make your gift totally unique and original, and could be a good choice if you’re on a tight budget. Homemade cookies or cup cakes will lend Why White?

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Wonderful

wedding cakes As soon as people enter the room of your reception, they scan the decorations and their eyes settle on the wedding cake. Hopefully if you get it right they mouth the word “WOW!”. Even if you hide it away the cake soon becomes the centre of a key photo opportunity “The cutting of the cake”. Be prepared when you look for your wedding cake for the endless possibilities of types, flavours, shapes and decorations. It can be confusing so make sure you put some thought in before visiting cake makers.

Types and Flavours

The options start with picking the flavour of the cake from rich traditional fruit cake, sponges, chocolate cakes to the moist carrot cake. Can’t

make up your mind? How about different flavoured layers?

Icing and Filling

Sponges normally have flavoured buttercream filling. Different flavoured and coloured icing often covers the whole cake. Fruitcakes would be covered in marzipan and then sugar paste icing. Chocolate cakes might have chocolate marzipan or a chocolate buttercream.


CAKEIDEAS

Colours

As well as colouring the icing, you can adjust the colours with ribbons, decorations like sugar flowers. There are lots of options to match your theme and add the wow factor.

Shapes

The shapes of your cakes do not need to be just round or square, you can go for diamond, heart shape or anything you wish. Remember that unusual shapes will increase the cost. The other way to alter the shape is to add height. These can be layered or stacked on supports creating tiered cakes.

Trends

Current favourite among brides is the wedding cake made from individual cupcakes or muffins. This can reduce the cost. By nicely arranging cupcakes they can be unique works of cake art. Stands are available to present the separate cakes as a whole cake. Other recent ideas have included the cake made from whole round cheeses like Stilton stacked in size order and decorated with flowers, grapes and other fruit.

own cake. Next is to find a cake maker who is willing to decorate a quality shop bought cake, turning it into something special. Why not have a fantastic cake for display and the photos, with a less decorative cake kept in the kitchen to add to the number of portions.

Allergies

Remember you may have guests who need nut-free or gluten free cakes. This can be catered for in a separate cake. Gluten-free flour can be tricky - so check your cake maker has made gluten-free cakes before.

Final Thoughts

Choosing your cake can be a great deal of fun. Make sure you have a chance to taste some sample cakes and expect to see a portfolio of their past cakes.

Links For more cake information. For cake sizes table.

Cost

The cost does depend on the all the options above. For a small cake you might pay ÂŁ250 upwards while a medium size cake with three or four tiers maybe ÂŁ500 or more.

Making Savings

The obvious way to save money is to make your

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The Honeymoon Checklist If you’re hoping to get away after your celebrations, then planning those finer details can sometimes be the last thing on your mind. Use our handy checklist to make sure you have a heavenly honeymoon.

Can’t decide?

You might have different ideas from your husband on what constitutes the perfect honeymoon, but don’t let this be a source of stress. Many couples opt for a two centre style break, perhaps an active week on safari followed by lazy days relaxing on the beach.

Think Outside the Box!

“perhaps an active week on safari followed by lazy days relaxing on the beach”

If relaxing on a golden beach, sipping ice cool cocktails before a visit to the spa is your vision, then there are plenty of fantastic destinations to choose from. But if you’re looking for something a little different, then try the internet to search for ideas. How about mountain biking through the Scottish highlands, white water rafting in New Zealand, or for a wine lover’s dream sampling the delights of the french Champagne region?

When to go

Rather than travelling to your destination on the wedding day

itself, consider overnighting in a local hotel first. This will give you the maximum time with your guests, some of whom you might not see again for some time, plus allows a little recuperation after the day’s festivities.

Three’s a crowd

If family or friends are travelling with you for your honeymoon, perhaps if your’e marrying abroad, then make sure you build in some time for you two as a couple as well. Your guests will understand that you’ll want to make the most of this special


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time

Vaccinations

Don’t forget to pack your drivers license as you’ll need it if you want to hire a car

It might not be pleasant, but having the correct vaccinations could save you considerable medical problems later on. Check out netdoctor.co.uk and your local GP to find out which are needed for your destination, and allow plenty of time to fit them in as some require more than one jab. Sometimes the innoculation can make you feel a little under the weather, so make sure the timing of the last one isn’t too close to the big event.

Its hot, hot, hot!

Married or Maiden Name?

Travel Insurance

This is an absolute must if you’re travelling abroad. You’ll need to cover not only your belongings but also any medical costs you might incur. If you’re marrying abroad too then don’t forget to include the cost of rings and any gifts.

Driver’s License

If you’re heading for sunnier climes, pack plenty of sun

Links Honeymoon Collection Sandals New Zealand Grape Escapes

If you need your passport and want to travel under your married name, then make the necessary arrangement with the passport office at least 3 months in advance. Any airline bookings will need to be made in exactly the same name as will appear on your passport.

Burglars Beware

cream and take a wide brimmed hat.You can still return with a beautiful bronze glow, but wasting time on your honeymoon with blister burns or sunstroke is no-one’s idea of fun – plus it’s a real passion killer!

While you’re away can be a prime time for burglars to help themselves to the beautiful gifts bought for you by family and friends. It’s best to ask a friend to look after them while you’re gone.

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reasons you and your partner have chosen to get married, and hopefully you’ll be able to get things back in perspective. Just in case you do get bogged down in problems, it’s worth appointing a trouble shooter, who you can trust to deal with any issues, leaving you to enjoy the big day.

Food Glorious Food

Top Tips To Enjoy Your Day You’ve planned, sweated, and maybe even despaired at times .....now comes the time to enjoy yourself! Take advantage of other couples’ experiences, and read some top tips for how to make the most of your day. Take your Time!

This is a day you will want to remember for the rest of your lives...so take your time to take it all in. The day will rush by before you know it. Nerves can get the better of you when walking up the aisle, which can make it seem like a 100m sprint race! Pace yourself slowly up and down the aisle, and enjoy the moment surrounded by family and friends.

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Check out the Sporting Fixtures

When setting your date, it’s worth double checking that you don’t clash with any major sporting events, which may leave your guests more interested in the latest World Cup footie scores, rather than the finer details of the groom’s speech. If your wedding does clash with a major televised event, you’ll need to decide whether to arrange a special area so guests can catch up on TV in a spare moment, or alternatively ban sporting talk altogether!

Perfection Isn’t Necessary

Little things may well go wrong on the big day, and after months of planning, this can sometimes feel like the Titanic is about to sink. But STOP and try to take a step back. Think about the real

Wedding day nerves can be a killer when it comes to your appetite, but however hard it may be, try to eat breakfast, or a light snack depending on the time of the wedding, before you leave for the ceremony. An empty stomach will only make you feel more tense, and it’s too late to worry about calories and fitting into the dress! Many couples often don’t feel that hungry during the reception meal itself, so that’s another good reason to stock up on some fuel earlier in the day, particularly if you plan to party on in the evening.

Have a Plan to Calm Those Nerves

Racing heart? Wobbling knees? If this sounds like it could be you, then having a plan in advance for how to deal with those feelings could help you out in your time of need. Ask a friend to keep some Bach’s Rescue Remedy in their bag for you, which is a homeopathic formula that many find helps calm the nerves. Lavender oil is also reputed to have a similar effect. They are available at Boots, Holland and Barrett and high street chemists. If you’re


TOPTIPS

really worried about nerves, you may find a session with a hypnotherapist before the day could help. They will place you in a state of deep relaxation, and then show you how to bring yourself into a calm state if you need to.You can find a therapist at The Hypnotherapy Association.

Above all, try not to get bogged down in the minute details, take time to enjoy the day....and relax and take it in your stride!

Don’t Fear the Tears

The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Weddings by Joshua Piven

There could be times during your day when you become overcome with emotion, and this is perfectly natural. Don’t worry if you shed a few tears, but possibly do prepare yourself by wearing waterproof mascara. Emotions can often run high during wedding vows, and if this particularly worries you, then try looking slightly to the right of your fiancés eyes, rather than directly into them, which may help.

Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Mishaps may happen, but a friend with deep pockets or a large handbag could save the day. Ask if they would mind concealing an emergency kit on their person, to help you avoid any hazardous hairdo’s or troublesome teeth.You might like to include things like hairbrush, hairspray, compact mirror, aspirin, sewing kit, clear nail varnish for ladders, spare hosiery for when nail varnish just isn’t up to the job, a nail file to stop snags, white chalk to mask stains, tissues, and dental floss for those photographic close ups.

For more help on dealing with wedding day nerves and last minute worries, try the following:-

Calm: 36 Pieces To Soothe, Relax and Inspire [CD Box set]

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The Little Book of Calm, by Paul Wilson

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Wedding day Countdown!

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when organising a wedding – there’s so much to think of, all needing to be tied to just one particular day. Where do you start? The most important things to start with are fixing the ceremony and reception venue, as everything else follows on from this. After this try to spread out the bookings, so you’re making one or two important decisions each month, rather than everything in one go. Try using our handy month by month wedding planner to keep you on the straight and narrow. Checklist

✓
 q

Straight Away: Decide your budget

q

Open a wedding account and save a fixed amount each month

q

Choose your style of ceremony – religious or civil?

q

If marrying in a religious ceremony, talk to the relevant minister about dates (civil ceremonies cannot be booked more than 12 months in advance)

q

Research reception venues and book a date to tie in with possible ceremony dates

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Ask your friends/family if they would be your bridesmaids or best man

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WEDDINGCOUNTDOWN

Purchase wedding insurance Decide numbers and start to draw up a guest list

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Decide on bridesmaids dresses

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Book your florist

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If your fiancé is hiring his outfit, make sure he’s contacted the shop and made the booking

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12 months to go:

5 months to go

Try out some caterers if the is not being provided by the venue itself

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Buy your wedding lingerie as you will require it for dress fittings

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Book the photographer/ videographer

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Choose who will provide your cake and discuss designs

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Finalise your food choice with the caterers

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Check your passports are still valid if you’re going abroad

Finalise guest list

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Arrange for any name changes on your passport to be made, and check out any visa entry requirements

If you’re having a civil ceremony, book the venue and Registrar 10 months to go Make sure you have booked the caterers by this point

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Book your honeymoon and travel insurance

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Start trying on dresses to get a feel for what you like

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9 months to go Decide your overall colour theme

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Book any extra entertainment you would like for the reception

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Order your dress

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Decide on your transport to/from the ceremony

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6 months to go Decide on your style of wedding gift list, and start adding to it as you see things you like

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3 months to go

4 months to go Choose your entrance, exit music and check it’s suitable for the ceremony

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Let your marriage official have details of any hymns or songs you would like during the service

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Pick any readings or poems to be read during the service, and check with your marriage official that they’re happy with them

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Decide on hair accessories (veil/tiara/floral combs etc)

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Send out your invitations

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Book your makeup artist, or visit make up counters for advice if you’re doing it yourself Decide on your hair stylist and try out any colour changes now

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Book any additional items you need that are not being provided by the caterers, e.g. crockery/cutlery/chairs etc

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Print or make your wedding invitations

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Investigate any vaccinations which may be needed for a wedding or honeymoon abroad and book them in

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Investigate local accommodation options in case people want to stay over

Let your printer have the details of the order of service and menu

Purchase your wedding favours Do your table plan 2 months to go Write your vows if you are personalising them, and check them out with the ceremony official

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q

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Decide on your wedding rings Write the guest place cards

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1 month to go Have a trial with your makeup artist, and take photos, or have plenty of practise if you’re doing it yourself

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Have a trial with your hairstylist, and take along any hair accessories and veil

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Collect the wedding rings from the jeweller

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Write your speech if you are giving one, and check that your fiancĂŠ has one planned too

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Purchase thank you gifts for the attendants

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Have your final dress fitting

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Double check time/ date details with all suppliers: photographer, transport, florist etc

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And finally.....enjoy a fantastic, memorable day!

Organise a ceremony rehearsal

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1 week to go

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Have any waxing and eyebrow shaping to avoid any redness on the day

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Collect currency

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Pack your honeymoon case, and a separate overnight bag if needed

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Arrange for luggage to be taken to the first night destination

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The day before Wash hair and apply light conditioner

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Have a pedicure and manicure

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Pack your emergency kit

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Confirm final numbers with the caterers

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Arrange for cake to be delivered to reception

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Confirm any beauty appointments for the day

q

q

Have your final hair trim and colour

Soak in a relaxing bath to gather your thoughts for the next day ahead

q

Order any currency you might need

q

q

Buy any wine and refreshments if you are providing these yourself

Arrange for someone to collect flowers/have them delivered

q

Allow plenty of time to get ready

q

Why White?

Wedding Planner by Frances Lincoln Publishers (Author)

2 days to go

2 weeks to go

60

Have your hen/stag celebrations

On the day

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