Traditionally the bride’s sister or her best friend, the chief bridesmaid needs to be someone who is unflappable, organised and there to provide a shoulder to cry on during the ups and downs of planning a wedding.
What do you need?
Think about important moments during your day. At the ceremony, do you want an organist/a string quartet/a choir? Do you want music while your guests are eating? And, if the wedding includes evening entertainment, will you need to book a band or a DJ, as well as other styles of entertainment such as magician or a caricature artist?
How can you set the right mood?
Choose the musical style according to the formality of the wedding. A grand venue and formal meal will be best accompanied by a live band. A funky DJ is more in keeping with a civil ceremony and coctails. If the rooms are large, remember to check whether speakers will be necessary – and if they are permitted.
How can all tastes be catered for?
Your guests are bound to be a mixture of ages and they won’t all share the same taste in music. You’ll find choosing a mixture of classics and modern songs will appeal to most people. If you want the dance floor heaving, 70s and 80s disco tunes are always popular.
What is your budget?
The more performers you have the greater the cost so, if your budget is limited, think about keeping things simple: have just an organist for the ceremony; compile a CD of your favourite background music to play during the meal; and then book a DJ for the evening.
The key questions
Do they seem creative?
You need to find someone who shares your vision for your wedding. Arm yourself with pictures from magazines and expect to be inspired.
What time of year are you marrying?
Although just about any flower is available all year round – at a price – using seasonal flowers for your wedding will look right and save you money. Find out from your florist what will be available and in what colours.
How many flowers do you want, and where?
Be clear from the outset about how many floral arrangements you want and where you want them to go. Do you need a lot of flowers at the ceremony? Most time is spent at the reception, so this is where the majority of the flower budget should be spent.
How much of your budget is set aside for flowers?
It’s essential to find a florist who can come up with good ideas to suit how much you have to spend. If they trying to get you to spend more than you’ve allocated, this florist is not the one for you.
What flowers do you like?
Make a list of your favourite flowers. If the blooms you would like are particularly expensive, remember that just a few can make an impact if used creatively.
Photo Credit: Married in Sheffield
Styles of bridal bouquet
The bride’s bouquet is the ultimate wedding accessory and you’ll want the work with your florist to create something extra special.
Blooms, usually a variety of roses, wired together or casually hand-tied. They work best at a contemporary wedding with a simple, modern dress.
A tight ball of flowers, usually without foliage, suspended on a ribbon that the bride hangs on her wrist. These are also very popular for bridesmaids of all ages.
Small, simple and usually hand-tied with ribbon. Lily of the valley makes the perfect minimalist posy.
The classic bouquet, usually consisting of larger flowers such as roses and peonies loosely arranged and tied with ribbon.
A waterfall-like spill of flowers wired to cascade from a handle. This is the most traditional and formal of the bouquet shapes and suits full-skirted dresses.
Photo Credit: Pam Scott Photography
Have you asked around for recommendations?
Do you know anyone who has been married recently or have you seen a wedding album that you like? Look at the real weddings section on www.youandyourwedding.co.uk for inspiration or contact a professional association such as the Master Photographer’s Association.
How much of the day you want photographed?
Do you want photographes of every part of the day or just the ceremony and important moments such as cutting the cake? How much does the price drop if the photographer is there for only part of the day?
What is your budget?
Prices vary enormously and you’ll need to do your homework, comparing what’s on offer to find the best photographer. It is important that you like him or her too!
Popular wedding photographers get booked up quickly, so start looking as soon as possible.
Decide on the style of photos you prefer. Do you want traditional shots or a more relaxed, reportage style? Choose someone who specialises in your preferred look. Reportage photography may look easy but it takes a certain sill to capture unposed moments well.
The shape and colour of your bridal bouquet or posy will be guided by your dress.
Have you chosen a formal gown, which will be best complemented by an elegant bouquet filled with structured flowers and foliage? Usually these bouquets feature a single colour theme. Or will be wearing a cocktail, prom-style or flowing empire-lline dress, which will enhanced by gentle, delicate posies? For these styles, you could try wildflowers or cottage garden blooms in a mix of colours, loosely tied together.
Is a wedding abroad right for you?
Getting married abroad is becoming more and more popular and appeals to couples who have been married before or who simply want something informal in an often amazing location. A wedding abroad is usually a cost-effective way of marrying but you’ll have to accept that a lot of family and friends won’t be able to join because of financial or time constraints (which may, or may not be a good thing!).
Be a master of mixology: My guide to stirring and shaking the signature cocktails that have defined the decades.
1950s – MARTINI
Until de late 1950s, a Martini was nearly always made with gin, not vodka. Served ‘wet’ or ‘dry’, a wet Martini has more vermouth than a dry one. For ‘wet’, try a 1:5 or 1:10 ratio of gin to vermouth.
- 5-10ml dry white vermouth
- 50ml London dry gin
- Fresh ice
- Lemon twist or green olive to garnish
Pour vermouth into a chilled glass. Add gin to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir for 60 seconds. Strain through a sieve into the chilled vermouth. Garnish with a twist of lemon zest or green olive.
Marquees, tipis, yurts and Bedouin tents offer fantastic opportunities for unusual and striking decorations not only on Mallorca.
Fields and farms can provide the perfect setting. Often farmers will rent out a field for a day or weekend; some will even provide local produce. Ask if you can borrow straw bales for seating, and whether there are toilets nearby for your guests. Always check with the relevant authorities if you need either a marquee or liquor licence for the event, and make sure there is access for your tent hire company and any guests with disabilities. You can set up a small kitchen tent and hire catering equipment, although food prepared beforehand will mean less fuss.
Tipis and kata tents consist of a hand-crafted timber pole structure covered with natural canvas. The design allows for easy assembly and is intended to include a real fire in the centre. Giant Hat Kata tipis are huge and can be joined together to form beautiful arrangements with enough space for hundreds of guests. Hire companies can provide gorgeously rustic trestle tables and benches, which you can decorate with foliage and candies. During chilly evenings, lay vintage woollen or sheepskin blankets across the benches.
Favours are traditionally given as a thank-you taken to guests for attending your wedding.
From heavenly chocolates to personalised cards, you can make all manner of gifts that will please your friends, young and old. Think of unusual options that say something about you as a couple.
Decadent little rounds of soft chocolate, dusted with fine cocoa powder, melt-in-the-mouth truffles are simple to make at home. Prepare them just a few days beforehand, and keep them cool. Continue reading
The budget can be a major influence on your day.
But regardless of whether you have been saving for years or are strapped for cash, you can still have a glorious wedding. Don’t be tempted to borrow money for your celebration – in my experience this simply leads to stress and worry. It is better to start your married lives together without this burden. Continue reading
Planning a wedding is time-consuming and requires considerable effort.
You may have spent months, even years, preparing for your perfect big day, and carefully choosing your green products and services. And the bulk of this work usually falls on the bride. The result is a day to which a great deal of expectation is attached. Continue reading