Be sure to read on for advice and a few helpful tips on making the whole process as smooth and as painless as possible.
1) Don’t start planning anything until you’ve settled on a budget
It might be incredibly tempting to jump straight in and immediately book your dream venue once you and your partner have agreed on a date for your big day, but it’s crucial you take a step back and wait till you’ve managed to work out exactly how much you’ve got to spend in each area.
This way, you can identify which specific elements of your wedding you’d really like to splash out on and what you’re happy to scrimp a little bit on, so you can assign more of your budget to what’s really important to you and make your day extra special.
Use whichever method you like to come up with your budget, but we recommend using something like one of the many free online tools which allow you to easily keep track of how much you’ve spent throughout the process.
2) Do make sure you wear your shoes in
You’re going to want to be on your feet making the most of every lovely moment on your special day so you definitely want to make sure your shoes are comfortable!
Try to break them in as much as you can before your wedding by wearing them around the house with a pair of socks to prevent them from rubbing or giving you painful blisters when you’re trying to dance the night away with your new partner.
If you know you’re going to have a particularly busy day or that you’re not going to have time to break your shoes in properly, you should consider buying some inexpensive gel cushioning insoles for a nice extra bit of comfort.
3) Don’t forget to learn your lines
Whether you’ve chosen to write your own beautiful vows or stick with wonderfully traditional ones, rehearsing them beforehand will really help with eliminating some of your nerves.
You don’t have to spend hours learning them by heart as even just familiarizing yourself with the general gist and flow will take away some of the stress of trying to remember them.
If you do unfortunately stumble while you’re standing up there, which is perfectly normal under the circumstances and not something you should worry about, you’ll find it much easier to smoothly regain your footing if you’ve had a little bit of practice first.
4) Do think twice before you decide to go for a DIY wedding
The idea of putting on a DIY wedding might seem like a brilliantly creative way to get the exact kind of day you’re after and a great way to save money, but it’s essential to consider how much work you’ll really have to put in order to properly pull it off.
There so much that needs doing in order for weddings to happen, from hugely essential tasks like selecting a stunning dress to making tiny decisions on what kind of font you’d like on your place cards, that it’s very easy to get completely overwhelmed even if you’ve got a very creative background.
If you’re really set on the idea of a DIY wedding, it’s important to be realistic. Instead of doing the whole wedding yourself, pick a number of smaller tasks which you know you’ll be able to comfortably pull off in plenty of time.
Making your own wedding cake for example, is difficult to get right unless you’re a professional but if you like the idea of making something edible, why not decorate a number of charming mason jars and fill them with your favourite sweets? It’s so much more manageable and is sure to go down a treat with your guests!
5) Don’t forget to enjoy the planning stage!
Planning a wedding is naturally quite a stressful endeavour but always remember to have fun while you’re doing it!
Whether you’re having a girly day shopping for bridesmaid’s dresses with your best friends, scrolling through luxury honeymoon destinations with your partner or choosing your favourite floor fillers for your perfect wedding disco playlist, you’ll be making memories that you’ll cherish forever.
A bridal gift is a brilliant way to show each of your bridesmaids how much you care for them and to thank them for supporting you every step of the way.
Check out our great guide below for 10 brilliant bridesmaid gift suggestions that are sure to be a hit with your group and won’t break the bank.
Jewellery is such a brilliant option for a bridal party gift because it’s just so versatile. There’s a huge selection of timeless pieces for under £20 from luxury online retailers like Boho Betty to suit each one of your bridesmaids’ individual tastes.
For example, the delicately handwoven Sculler Pearl White Seed Bead and Silver Hematite Bracelet is perfect for any bridesmaid wanting to keep things simple but sophisticated with a lovely statement piece, whilst the bright crystal and smokey quartz of the vibrant Freezing Man Purple Beaded Bracelet is great for the life and soul of the party.
You could also opt to match your bridesmaids’ jewellery to the theme of your wedding or to create a pleasing visual effect by giving them all the same kind of jewellery, for which a stunning contemporary piece like these elegant Bellucci rose gold earrings would be ideal.
2) The latest best-seller or a book that mean a lot to you
It might sound a bit unusual, but a book can make a fantastic gift for your bridesmaids.
If you can think of one in particular that you really enjoyed, maybe because it taught you something valuable about yourself or maybe just because it really made you laugh, write a small affectionate personalised inscription inside to each bridesmaid so they can experience that happiness too.
Alternatively, you could choose one of the latest best-sellers like Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (recently adapted into a successful mini-series starring Reese Witherspoon) or a chick-lit classic like Bridget Jones’s Diary for pure entertainment value.
3) Framed photo of you all
Sometimes, its the simplest gifts that say it the best. A lovely framed photo of you and all your bridesmaids is all you need to show them how much they mean to you.
This is a great option for all you creative types out there because there’s so many different ways you can approach it. Pick a frame that’s got space for one photo or one that’s got space for many, create a fun collage, get your photo printed onto a small canvas or if you’re feeling extra crafty, why not make the frame yourself?
Help your bridesmaid get ready for your special day in style with this adorable personalised make-up bag that’s made from a soft naturally textured cream canvas.
Plenty big enough to hold all they need to look gorgeous, each bridesmaid’s name will be printed lovingly over the sweet image of a pastel pink heart and funky black stripes.
You’ve also got the option to add a short-personalised message to the back of the make-up bag or purchase a matching tote bag for a small extra fee.
A cute monogrammed bottle of glossy nail polish is a small but thoughtful gift that any beauty obsessed bridesmaid is sure to love.
With nine different vibrant colours available, including Hot To Trot Red, You Nailed It Navy and Quicksilver Metallic, you can either treat each bridesmaid to her favourite shade or select the one that matches up to the theme of your wedding so you can all co-ordinate and look fantastic.
For a small extra fee, you’re also able to purchase a pretty make-up bag to go along with your nail polish which is ideal for storing everything they’ll need to look amazing on your wedding day!
With it’s smooth metallic surface and dainty heart engraving, this sophisticated tea spoon will make an excellent addition to any kitchen.
It’s a timeless gift and one that’ll be functional for years to come, so that every time your bridesmaids go to enjoy a cup of tea they’ll be able to fondly remember the incredible day you shared together.
Each teaspoon is dispatched in a very handsome presentation gift box tied with a silky organza ribbon at no extra cost.
Remind each of your bridesmaids just how much you appreciate them with this soft cotton tea-towel featuring an incredibly sweet poem about friendship.
The visually appealing combination of a smooth clean white background and the bright pink font means that the tea-towel will be a total standout piece in any kitchen and real talking point for anyone who happens to be visiting.
If you wanted to include a little something extra with your already brilliant gift, why not wrap the tea-towel around a bottle of bubbly for a celebratory treat?
For the bridal party who loves nothing more than a good gossip over a cup of tea, there’s no better gift than a beautifully decorated personalised ceramic mug.
A charming original watercolour illustration of a rose will accompany each of your bridesmaid’s names making them ideal for general use in the home or even during your wedding breakfast if you’ve gone for an appropriate tea party theme!
So whether you’re enjoying a happy drink after successful day spent dress shopping or that first nervous cup of tea on the morning of the wedding, each mug will hold plenty of memories for years to come.
Help your bridal party to stay looking their fabulous best all day long with one of these stylish grey marble compacts.
Each mirror can be loving personalised with any one of a huge range of wedding titles (including Bridesmaid, Hen and Mother of the Bride) in a pretty black font and comes already packaged in a silky black pouch for a real luxurious, designer feel.
A lovely and unique way to invite a friend to share in your special day, these beautiful bespoke candles are hand poured in the UK and made using only the highest quality natural soy wax.
There’s ten gorgeous different scents available from the earthy blend of Sweet Patchouli to the sweet rich aroma of Warm Vanilla and each candle has a burning time of around 40 hours so they’ll continue to smell fantastic long after the wedding is over.
The quaint sized glass jar topped with a gold coloured metal lid makes for a stylish addition to any home and when the candle’s finished, why not turn it into a quirky flowerpot or cute trinket holder?
Your wedding cake is a symbol of your new happy life together and so should be a fun, joyful reflection of who you are as a couple. As lovely and as elegant as the standard white three-tiered design is, there’s no need for it to be a part of your big day if you don’t want it to be.
Take a look at the five delicious options we’ve collected together and let your imagination run wild to create something that’s both unique and personal to you.
There’s no better way to really make a wedding cake your own than to have it lovingly decorated with a beautiful hand-painted design.
A delightfully smooth and sweet coat of fondant makes for a very versatile canvas that’s easily able to accommodate an absolutely huge range of designs, whether you’d like a favorite romantic quote, a treasured photograph of you both or a clever geometric pattern styled on your cake.
It’s possible to make the fondant or design any colour you want so there’s no need to worry about keeping everything bright and vibrant!
Sugar Flower Bouquet Cake
It’s the relative inexpensiveness and ability for almost endless customization that’s made the sugar flower such an endearingly popular choice of wedding cake decoration.
Bunching them together to create a bouquet is the newest spin on this longstanding trend and can really help to accentuate the effect your sugar flowers have been designed to create. You can combine lighter and softer colors for a fresher, more natural look or go for a more elegant style with something darker and a delicate white lace trim.
Depending on your preference, sugar flowers can be made from either fondant, sugar paste or buttercream so you can be sure that they’ll taste as good as they look!
Also known as a deconstructed cake, a naked wedding cake is one with none or very little icing (those which are iced tend to just be decorated with a thin layer of buttercream instead of the usual rich spread of fondant) so you’re able to see right through to the layers’ underneath.
Deciding on such a simple form for your cake will award your wedding with a real rustic, homely feel making it perfect for a smaller, more intimate wedding or one that’s being hosted out in the country.
Incorporating a seasonal fruit (either as a flavour or a delicious decoration) is a great way to give the cake a fresh spin and you could even colour the dough to help coordinate it with your theme or vary the size of each tier for an impressive visual effect.
To create the desired drip effect, your choice of topping will be artfully drizzled all around the side of your wedding cake.
Although it might sound as though it’d look quite messy and unappealing, the fact that the drips are a different colour to the rest of your cake and will by nature each vary in length, will create an interesting visual contrast that’s sure to leave everyone’s mouth watering.
For a rich, decadent look you could choose either silky chocolate ganache (in either milk or dark) or gooey salted caramel and incorporate a fruit like lovely sweet strawberries.
White chocolate on the other hand, is great for those who’ve decided on some kind of effect for the rest of their cake like a bright fondant or a sugar flower bouquet that they don’t want the drip effect to override. White chocolate is light enough to let everything else shine whilst still being an incredibly delicious presence.
Why just stop at one type of cake? Having a whole different sweet selection is an excellent alternative to a traditional wedding cake.
A variety of single tiered cakes, cupcakes, cake pops and macaroons are all very popular choices but you and your partner are free to mix it up anyway you like with the size, type and flavors of the cakes so everything is best suited to your individual tastes.
It’s also an excellent option for larger weddings or those with a lot of children in attendance as every guest is bound to find something they’ll enjoy.
Coming up with a centrepiece idea can be difficult, there’s so much else to think about and organise! Hopefully our guide will be able to provide more than a little bit of inspiration and take the stress off at least one aspect of the wedding planning!
It may sound overly simple, but don’t underestimate the visual power of the candle. Keep it minimalistic and elegant with a single pillar candle in a tall monochrome vase or cute and quirky by placing a few smaller candles in some mason jars for a more vintage feel. Choosing to include candles of various heights can lend an interesting visual effect to your tables and the absolutely huge range of colours that candles are available in means that no theme has to be left out!
Although the bare branch is something traditionally associated with the darker, colder months of the year a straightforward bit of customization means that this decoration is able to fit in beautifully with any kind of season or theme. A sweet spring or summer centrepiece can be achieved with bright seasonal flowers and few faux birds whilst a sprinkling of epsom salt and glitter combines to create a magical sparkling effect. Spray paint is a cheap and effective way of ensuring a nice personal touch and that your favourite colours are able to coordinate well with your theme.
Like the candle, the lantern is capable of being a very versatile centrepiece. Combining several smaller lanterns with our branch idea from above, particularly hanging them on the piece or arranging them into a pretty border circling its base, is great for achieving a more naturalistic look whereas a taller type of lantern, casting a softer light over everybody at the table, helps to create a more intimate, family feel.
If you or your significant other are any type of literary fan incorporating books into your centrepieces could be a novel way of expressing your love for each other. A small stack of love stories whether they’re classics like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or a something a little more modern like Nicholas Sparks’ total tearjerker The Notebook would be a unique addition to your wedding, and could even encourage some highbrow conversation amongst your guests!
Let’s face it, despite everyone’s best efforts that wait for food at a wedding can sometimes feel like an age. So why not give your guests something tasty to snack on whilst they wait? Edible centrepieces have become something of a trend in recent years with everything from mouth-watering fruit arrangements to sweet treats like mini macaroons and cupcakes or even an artfully arranged selection of cheese and biscuits having taken pride of place in the centre of the table. It’s a lot more memorable than a simple bread roll.
When experiencing your big day, it can be easy to get lost in the sheer amount of things you need to remember. A wedding day is a balancing act between enjoying the day to its full and keeping your guests happy. With so many people mixing together, it can be tough to take everyone’s wants and needs into account. Guests can be notoriously difficult to please, but there are ways you can plan your wedding to keep the maximum amount of people happy throughout the day, no matter what the situation is. Here’s some of the most common guest complaints and how you can deal with them.
Before sending out those important Save the Date cards, make sure you have a consensus as to when the most convenient date for your guests is. Obviously it’s your wedding and you should be able to have it whenever you want, but at the same time, you also don’t want a wedding with some of the most important guests missing. If you’re planning a wedding during a potentially busy time of year, such as Christmas, it’s best to check in advance if this is suitable for the majority of your guests. This way, you’ll avoid disappointments or complaining during the big day.
Consider the climate
One of the biggest factors in how comfortable your guests are is the weather. If your guests are too hot or too cold, it won’t take long for them to complain. Plan your wedding around what time of the year it is. The weather is always unpredictable, but an autumn or winter wedding will probably require an indoor venue. However, it’s important to remember than a warm climate can be just as uncomfortable as a wet or windy one, so consider using air conditioners during a summer wedding.
One thing that can ruin a wedding for your guests is being unable to eat the food that’s available. When thinking about what food you wish to serve, inquire with your confirmed guests to see if there’s any specific dietary requirements that you need to work out. The last thing you want on the big day is a vegetarian who can’t eat anything on offer or people having to avoid food due to allergies. As well as this, it’s good to get a general consensus about what your guests like to eat. If you know that the majority of your guests aren’t fans of seafood, for example, then you’ll have an idea as to what to serve.
A wedding is a full on day of fun, excitement and emotion. After the ceremony, many guests will be waiting to get stuck into the celebrating. Whilst it’s of course traditional for the best man and others to make a speech, what you don’t want to happen is guests getting bored waiting for speech after speech. When collaborating with those who are speaking at the reception, perhaps consider giving them a rough time-frame for their remarks, to avoid guests struggling through a half-hour speech. Short and sweet is often best for your reception, especially if there’s youngsters in attendance.
What can sometimes happen with weddings is guests seeing the bride and groom walk down the aisle but then never again for the rest of the day. During your reception, take some time to greet and talk with all of your guests, so they can personally congratulate you and take some time to catch up. They’re there for you, after all, and some will have travelled far to get there, so make sure you make them feel like their attendance is appreciated. A way you can make this fun is by having the photographer snap each greeting as you go round, giving you another fun memory for your wedding album.
When planning a wedding, your guests first impression isn’t limited to just the day. The invitation is as important as any other aspect as it gives you a chance to get your guests excited for the event. Because of this, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to give your invitations a more personal touch than the standard, shop bought examples.
Add something special
Everyone loves extras, so jazz up your invites by adding something that gets your guests ready for the big day. Including something like a personalised balloon that your guests can blow up and reveal the event details makes them a part of the experience, which, of course, they are. Your invitation can even be helpful for the guests themselves by including something like a map to the venue or a handkerchief invite that doubles as a pocket square.
Give calligraphy a go
Difficult to master but well worth it, calligraphy can give your invites a sense of authenticity that you won’t find on traditional invitations. As writing a personal invitation for every one of your guests can be very time consuming, this method could be best suited for a smaller wedding, rather than a huge event. Some companies will be able to do it for you, although this can potentially be expensive if you’re on a smaller budget.
Think outside the rectangle
When you picture a classic invitation, you’ll most likely think of a standard rectangle shape, that easily fits into an envelope. An easy way to stand out from the crowd is to change the shape of your invitations to something more unique. Have fun with the size and shape of invites by experimenting with circles or other custom shapes. This is easy to do and shouldn’t affect the cost of sending them out, and your guests will remember them long after they’ve sent the reply.
Wrap it up
Whilst a wedding invitation can get you excited for the big day, sometimes it can feel like just another greetings card. Wrapping your invites in something personal or unique can really complete the package. Using a small muslin bag or a simple piece of twine or lace can add that little extra something to an invite. If you’re on a bigger budget, a leather pouch can add a huge amount of authenticity, making sure that your guests know that your wedding cannot be missed.
Nothing screams “wedding” better than gold, so why not add some to your invites. Whilst this can be an expensive option, it does give your invites a little bit of extra class that your guests are sure to respect. Gilded words with a stylised font can look impressive or, if you’re going for a more subtle look, you can add a small picture of signature to the bottom of the page.
When picking a menu for your reception, you can drive yourself mad trying to think of dishes that will please everyone. With so many guests with so many tastes, you might think it’s hard creating the perfect combination of foods and flavours. However, recent trends in wedding menus mean it’s easier than ever before to create something vibrant, modern and delicious.
If you thought the cupcake craze was going away, think again. Cupcakes make the perfect entrée, with many chefs even branching into savoury versions. Mini meatloaf topped with rosemary and mashed potato “icing” or a tomato and basil parmesan mix can make a great savoury addition to a meal. Don’t be put off if you hear about cupcakes working as an entrée – they might just be the perfect savoury snack.
Individual wedding cakes
If the royal wedding rumours are true, then this could be the hottest trend to try at your wedding. While it seems a little “out there”, an individual, smaller wedding cake on each table will allow your guests to cut and admire their own dessert, rather than have something simply handed to them on a plate. This also allows you to personalise cakes, especially if you have one family or group of friends per table.
If you’re looking to inject your reception with a Spanish influenced, tapas might be the right road for you. Perfect for a more relaxed wedding, tapas allows guests to mingle and try all sorts of different flavours such as paella cups, garlic shrimp skewers and lime fish. If you want to keep your menu tied together without forcing your guests to sit at one table all night, then tapas is perfect.
The trend of mini-foods has dominated weddings in recent years, providing a quick and light snack or an interesting starter. Some will say bigger is better, but with ideas such as salads in shot glasses or fish and chips in a newspaper cone, mini might suit your wedding much better. A plate of mini burger sliders also makes an ideal starter if you’re planning on a big main course.
Food trucks and street foods
Usually relegated to music festivals or the side of streets, street foods are now one of the hottest things in the culinary world and are even making their way into weddings. Food trucks can be great if you want to put a unique, kooky spin on your reception cuisine. Enjoy another culinary trend with pulled pork or other high demand foods. You might even consider the option of hiring food trucks for right after the wedding ends, making sure guests don’t go hungry before the main meal.
Gearing up for your wedding can be one of the most stressful parts of the whole experience. With so many different things to plan, getting everything perfect can be a daunting task. However, a few simple steps can make planning your wedding as enjoyable as the big day itself.
Take your time
Your wedding is certainly something that shouldn’t be rushed, so leaving enough time to plan is important when creating the best day you can. This time can vary, with some couples starting the planning well over a year before the big day. There’s really no limit to when you can start, giving you time to save more money and ensure your wedding is as memorable as possible.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to please everyone and make everything perfect. However, it is important to prioritize your needs and the things that really mean something to you. If the photographer or DJ are what you want to get right, focus on booking those aspects first, rather than worrying about what guests are going to think.
Stay as a team
When planning something as big as a wedding, it’s easy for a couple to become divided in their opinions, especially if they have family and friends influencing them. It’s important to remember that this is your day, so decisions should be made by you and you alone. If there’s a direction you want to go in for your wedding, follow your heart and go for it.
Control your budget
When thinking about the money side of things, remember to leave some money aside for unforeseen circumstances. Ideally, you’ll want to put around 5% of your budget aside for potential expenses such as printing out new invites, umbrellas for a rainy day and ribbons for the wedding programs.
Never be afraid to ask
If you’re planning with a wedding vendor, they should be your most trusted person during the process. If there’s a direction you want to go in or something you want to change, you should feel free to explore all options with them, no matter how minor. A good wedding vendor will take all ideas into consideration, so don’t be afraid to ask. It’s your wedding after all.
When thinking about where to go on your honeymoon, the sheer amount of great, romantic destinations available can be rather daunting. Trying to decide between one place or the other can be tough when you’re considering factors such as price and what you and your partner want. Here’s the pick of some of the best destinations.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Italy when you first set foot there. Its 20 different regions all offer something romantic and relaxing that could give you the perfect honeymoon. Whether it’s the floating city of Venice, the al fresco dining of Florence or the sun-kissed coasts and cliffs, Italy has has something to offer for every newly-married couple.
A place of sun-soaked relaxation and legendary beauty, Hawaii has been a classic honeymoon destination for generations. Hawaii’s laid back atmosphere and jaw-dropping views combine to make a destination that lets you relax after your big day and experience new and exciting things all at the same time. The Waikiki Beach provides a great surf spot with Big’s Island’s fearsome volcano adding some fiery thrills to your stay.
If you want be as isolated from the real world as possible, the Maldives is a perfect place to run away to after your wedding. Spend your time snorkelling above colourful reefs or relax in an over-lagoon bungalow in the Indian Ocean. Kate and William chose this spot for their honeymoon, so you can rest at ease knowing that the destination has been approved by royalty.
A quintessential island paradise, Fiji is perfect for when you want to go off the beaten track. With the island being so isolated from the rest of the world, it has retained its culture in a way that no other country has. When you’re lying at on the beach with your partner, surrounded by nothing sand, sea and palm trees, you’ll realise that you made the right choice in Fiji.
Jamaica is a country with something for everyone and provides a unique honeymoon that many wouldn’t have even considered. The culture permeates every part of Jamaica, so you can’t help but be swept up in the music, food and atmosphere. Spend your first married days among wide beaches, lush hills and sparkling waterfalls.
The happiest day of your life could also be potentially the most stressful. Keeping track of the many friends and family that you’ll see throughout the day seems like an impossible task. There are, however, a few simple things you can do to keep your
guests excited over a long day, so your wedding will be rocking right up until the end.
Keep on schedule
Anyone who’s ever been to a wedding knows how tedious it can be when you’re spending time waiting for the next thing to happen. You can avoid this by letting there be no longer than 30 minutes without anything happening and making the day move in single, hour long chunks. Obviously there are some things that are out of your control, but as long as your guests aren’t standing around doing nothing, they’ll stay interested.
Making sure you don’t pile on event after event is important at a wedding. When the guests are sat down, consider layering the speeches in-between courses, rather than dumping them all at once. This way, the guests aren’t forced to sit through 20 minutes of talking at a time, giving them something to look forward to.
Don’t just dance
The reception can often contain a long period of dancing, so consider breaking it up by cutting the cake. This way, there isn’t a full 90 minutes of solid dancing, so guests won’t get burnt out by the end. Cutting the cake will give guests a chance to refresh, then get straight back on the dance floor.
End on a high note
Sometimes, its good to leave them wanting more. Think about making your grand exit just as the party is reaching its peak. This way, your guests will leave with a lasting memory that they’ll never forget, rather than just filtering out at the end an hour after that party has died off.
Throw an after party
If you’ve got a lot of families coming along, you might want to wrap up your actual reception at a reasonable time, meaning you’ll have less sleepy kids needing to be taken home. An after party means you can invite those who want to continue the celebrations and keep on partying in a less formal setting. This way, the reception drags on less and you can end on a bang.← Older posts