Showing posts with label Advice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Advice. Show all posts

Thursday 21 May 2020

Why You Should Never Consider a Zoom Wedding

Nine years ago we nearly had to cancel our wedding because of a volcano. Grímsvötn in Iceland started to spout out ash, grounding all flights out of Britain. We were getting married in Provence, and a few days before our big day we realised none of our guests could get to France.

As we frantically researched train timetables, and scanned our wedding insurance, we realised we might have to cut our losses and cancel. I was devastated. We'd been planning our wedding for 18 months, and stretched ourselves financially. We could never afford to hire the same venue again. 

Luckily with 12 hours to spare, the ash cloud dispersed and planes started to fly again. Our wedding was saved, and as you can see from these photographs by Caught the Light, went ahead in style. Sadly for couples planning to celebrate their weddings this year, there's no easy fix for the coronavirus.

Thousands have already had to cancel their big day. Others didn't have time, so went ahead with a Zoom ceremony, encouraging friends and family to join via video link. For some, this was the only option, but if you have the choice, postponing is definitely the better decision.

In the midst of all the planning and logistics, and the excitement of choosing a wedding gown, favours and flowers, it's easy to forget the best bit; the greatest joy of your wedding is your guests.  

The sense of occasion in the venue as your friends and family wait for you to arrive, the cheers as you walk down the aisle as man and wife, the raucous laughter at the Best Man's speech and your Dad grooving on the dance floor with your two year-old nephew.

We were dazzled by the wave of love and support we felt from our guests, how genuinely thrilled they were to celebrate our marriage. 

It might feel devastating to delay your wedding day until this pandemic is over, but it's definitely the right decision. Waiting another year might seem a nightmare now, but try to pause and gain some perspective.

Those extra months will give you time to save more, you'll be able to create more DIY projects, the wedding dress sales post-pandemic will be amazing, and you'll actually be able to go on honeymoon.

And nothing compares to that moment when you walk down the aisle, and everyone you love is there to share in your joy.

Photographer: Caught the Light

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Monday 18 January 2016

How to Buy Your Wedding Dress For Less

As soon as you get engaged, people are going to start asking you about your wedding dress. Have you found one yet? Do you know what style you're going to go for? Which is your favourite designer? I had no idea. In fact, I found the whole process just a little daunting. There's a certain amount of pressure to go with a group of girlfriends, and drink champagne, and enjoy that moment when they put the veil on, and everyone cries a bit. That wasn't ever going to work for me, because I like shopping on my own, and I was very conscious that all my girlfriends have busy lives, and I didn't want to be all bridezilla and insist they came with me shopping every Saturday. So I did a bit of shopping on my own, and quickly realised that I didn't like most dresses. I also found it hard to organise appointments, and I got a bit fed up having to travel all around London to go to all the shops. Why can't they all just be on one street? So it was a grumpy bride that stumbled out of the rain into Delphine Manivet. That's where I found my gorgeous gown, the Anatole. But man was it pricey! And that's why I loved this email from a Before the Big Day Reader, Annie.

Hi - Just stumbled on your blog, I absolutely love it! That's been the best part of wedding planning reading all of these amazing blogs! I was just wondering if your Delphine Manivet wedding dress was the Rapheal style and if you were thinking about selling it at all as I am trying to buy a second hand one as it is over my budget but completely to die for! Annie x

Tuesday 23 September 2014

My DIY Wedding Ceremony & Advice

Before I got engaged, I presumed that the type of couple that wrote their own wedding ceremony were either massive hippy-types, or hugely arrogant of their own writing skills and a bit sappy. As we're neither, I'm not sure how we ended up writing our French wedding ceremony. It was partly thanks to our friends {The Ducks}, who hosted their own fabulous Caribbean-themed wedding with their own inspiring ceremony, and partly because we don't believe in God. With a church wedding firmly off the cards, and the civil ceremony so depressingly meh, we weren't left with many options. I did buy the Humanist wedding ceremony guide, but deary me, that booklet knows how to take the romance out of vows. So we wrote threw caution to the wind, and using the Church of England ceremony as a template {minus God}, we came up with our own. And now you can read it, and hopefully see that it wasn't a naff sludge-fest, but actually quite meaningful and dead romantic {my Boy's terms}. Hopefully it should still act as a decent template, should you be looking for one! Click here to take a look. You'll notice from the gorgeous Caught the Light pictures below, that we said our vows in a churchy-looking place. We were very lucky that our venue had an unconsecrated chapel, so we had the beauty of an historic building, without the religious obligations.

{Photo Credit} Our wedding by Caught the Light

Remember that to legally get married you have to either have a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony of some kind. We had our civil ceremony in London, so strictly speaking the French wedding didn't count. Although for us, it was our wedding day, and the 28th May is what's engraved in The Boy's wedding ring {mine is too narrow}.

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Thursday 10 April 2014

How to Beat the Bridal Blues

Planning a wedding can be downright painful ... and all the people pleasing it often requires can zap the spirit and joy out of being a bride. Bridal stress is also pretty unique. It is essentially temporary, yet is connected to much deeper family issues and emotional challenges. It can easily be triggered by practical issues and is exacerbated by family dynamics . There is often a decision to make, or challenge to resolve, at every turn of that journey to the altar. Every little nuance -- and nuisance -- can put you in a momentary tizzy. It is no wonder some women get the bridal blues. Check out this fab guest posting from Tamarisk over at Getting Fluent with Your Feelings. She's full of advice for the stressed out bride....

Here are some of the challenges, and the tips, for brides-to-be:

1. Bridezillas are made, not born. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of your life – and you want it to be – yet planning a wedding is like working a second job as a project manager. You have to find the time to tend to a multitude of details as part of an already busy schedule while managing a plethora of people, family anxieties and demands, your groom, your emotions and an array of tricky wedding dynamics.

A bride has to include stress management, self-nurturing and time to chill out as an integral part of her wedding planning process. When you feel the stress building, take time out, go for a walk, slip into a movie, get a massage, go for a manicure, write in a journal, do something un-wedding. You have to love, honour and cherish yourself if you want to be loved, honoured and cherished by someone else!

2. Everyone has something to say about your wedding – and you are not alone in feeling you can’t win! You may be showered with congratulations and gifts, but you are simultaneously bombarded with unsolicited advice, wedding horror stories you don’t want to hear, and negative vibes from well-meaning friends and relatives.

People tend to see your wedding as a chance to fulfil their own needs and family dynamics erupt in every which direction because as the clan prepares to gather they begin to act out what it’s all about for them – not you! The issues are classic – mum wants it to be the wedding she never had, sister or best friend wishes it were her, your groom is afraid to stand up to his family.

A Bride has to clarify the wedding she truly wants, be assertive and set clear boundaries that no one can penetrate with words or attitudes. Learn the power of saying NO!

3. Getting married can stir up a lot of emotions. The process itself sets forth a period of growth and change that can be very confusing and nerve -wracking. Once you decide to marry you will begin the process of getting ready for marriage, and unresolved emotions about parents and family, past loves and concerns about the person you have chosen will come to the surface to be explored.

A bride can embrace the awareness that she is embarking on a journey of evolution from one part of life to another, and recognise and address the emotions and fears that arise. Trust they are natural and pay attention to any issues that might require support or counselling.

It is important to stay on top of your emotions and be honest with yourself during this time. Don't sweep things under the rug.

 Tamarisk Saunders-Davies runs a successful online counselling service for women, focusing on career-orientated women who are struggling with issues of self-confidence and self-esteem. She's also my best friend!

For more information and to read her blog, click here.

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Wednesday 11 September 2013

Five Top Tips on Buying Your Designer Wedding Dress for Less

Wedding dresses are crazily expensive - some surveys even suggest they count for 20% of some bride's wedding budgets. I really struggled to find a reasonable wedding gown that felt like 'the one', and in the end, my mum very kindly gave me my Delphine Manivet dress as a wedding present. It was worryingly expensive, and I spent months trying to find it second-hand, but at that time Delphine was a reasonably new she's stocked in Browns Brides! I managed to recoup some of the money by selling my gown to another bride, who visited me at home to try it on. I felt very sad to let it go, but it halved the overall price, and assuaged my guilt sightly. So in the spirit of saving money, and looking hot for less money, I thought I'd give you these top-tips for getting your wedding dress for less.

{Wedding Photographer Credit} Me on my French wedding day by Jemma Harding Photography}

 Find out whether your wedding dress designer does sample sales, and be the first in the door.

 Search on eBay. I know there are tonnes of Temperley London and Jenny Packham wedding dresses available, and most brides expect you to want to try before you buy. If your designer is French, search on French eBay {tip: you'll need to use the word 'robe' for dress or 'voile' for veil}. My wedding dress for my London wedding was designed by Australian dressmakers, Rose & Ruby, so I searched on Australian eBay.

  Check out wedding blogs that allow brides to list their wedding dresses. Once Wed is a US wedding blog with a great listings section, and Rock My Wedding in the UK also offers second-hand dresses.

 Scour the Secondhand Dress websites. My favourites are Sell My Wedding Dress and Preloved, but there are loads - just type "secondhand wedding dress" into Google.

 If all else fails, ask for a discount. You'll be surprised how often shops will offer 10%-20% off, and you've got nothing to lose by asking.

P.S. There is another option. Don't go designer! Tonnes of high street stores like Monsoon sell off-the-peg wedding dresses that look just as good as designer gowns. And if you don't tell...neither will I....

P.P.S. I have now sold both my wedding dresses!

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Monday 9 September 2013

How To Avoid Wedding Jet-Lag

Perhaps it's because I'm on holiday this week, but my thoughts have turned to honeymoons. My husband and I decided not to have one immediately after our wedding - our budget was bust, and we decided our money was better spent elsewhere {like champagne for our guests!}. And after all, a honeymoon is just a holiday, and we figured we could wait until we'd refilled our coffers. We couldn't have been more wrong. The feeling you get after your wedding is a unique combination of massive joy, extreme exhaustion, and huge deflation. It's like wedding jet-lag, and you need a honeymoon to avoid it. Just think, you've been planning your wedding for months, and now it's over. You need to get away, to get over the gap it leaves in your life! Obviously not all of us can afford to go on a tropical break, but even if it's a long weekend away, use your credit card, beg, borrow or steal...but book yourself a romantic break. And try to leave some money for new beachwear, or cheat and get married in your bikini - Pamela Anderson-style!

{Credit} Love this beach-ball confetti! Picture by Elaine Palladino Photography - more from this wedding on Ruffled Blog

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Monday 18 February 2013

Five Ways to Fabulous Wedding Inspiration

Can I let you into a secret? When I started planning my wedding, I wasn't even engaged. In fact, it was about six months before my boyfriend asked me to marry him. I was so excited about the concept of planning a wedding - all the creative fun of it - that I had a secret file of ideas on my computer. That quickly turned into a less secret file when I started Before the Big Day wedding blog {three months before my engagement}, and by the time my boyfriend finally put a ring on it, I was stuffed to the brim with wedding ideas and inspiration. But what if you're not like me, and you're newly engaged, and you haven't got the slightest idea of where you're going to find your wedding mojo, and get inspired? Or, if you're more like me, and have too many ideas, and you're not sure which is really 'you'? Hopefully these five wedding tips will help you on your way, out of the wedding maze, and into the land of {almost} perfect wedding planning.

{Photo Credit} Ice-Cream Parlous Bistro Table & Chairs Set by The Atomic Attic

1. Find pictures that inspire you. They don't all have to be wedding pictures - for example this picture of two chairs and and a table got my creative juices flowing this morning. There's something about them that promises a future life together as a couple, sharing rose al fresco, and enjoying romantic trips to Parisian bistros. They'd start me thinking of a vintage French-themed wedding, maybe in the South of France, where you serve harvest-festival-style buffet tables of charcuterie, creamy cheeses and baguette. Your waiters could wear Breton-style t-shirts, and your wedding invitations could be reminiscent of bistro-style daily menus, with the table plan written in white ink on a vintage mirror. Wedding favours would be macarons, and you could have a photobooth stuffed to the brim with French-themed fancy dress; berets, strings of garlic, sophisticated moustaches and feather boas. Do you see what I mean? All that from just one picture!

{Photo Credit} M&J Photography - see the whole wedding..

2. Save the pictures that inspire you via Pinterest. If you haven't signed up yet, you really should! It's the best way to create mood boards for your different wedding ideas. My advice is to create one for every theme you're considering, and then one each for key extra items e.g. Favourite Wedding Dresses, Favourite Groom Looks, Bridesmaids Ideas. Take a look at my Pinterest boards to give you an idea. Once you've opened your Pinterest account, and added the Pin It function to your web browser, you can save every scrap of wedding inspiration in one place.

3. Have you discovered Etsy yet? It's a-mazing! Basically it's an online marketplace, where the most creative people in the world sell handmade or vintage items. It is chock-a-block packed with wedding ideas and inspiration, and I'd really recommend signing up for their weekly wedding emails, and reading the Etsy Wedding Blog. Folksy is another similar website which is quite a bit smaller, but more UK-based. I recently found these gorgeous botanical banners on Folksy, which completely inspired my friend's up-coming spring garden wedding.

{Photo Credit} Peony & Thistle bunting

4. Trawl the wedding blogs. I suppose I'm bound to think this, but honestly the wedding blogs are the best place for free wedding inspiration. Personally I recommend checking out the Real Weddings section of any wedding blog. That's where you can beg, borrow and steal other brides' wedding ideas, and keep up on all the latest wedding trends. My favourite UK wedding blogs include Rock My Wedding, Rock n' Roll Bride, Love My Dress and OMG I'm Getting Married.

{Photo Credit} Caught the Light - see more pictures of my wedding

5. Find wedding inspiration from your life as a couple
. Think back through your courtship, your first date, your first holiday together, where you got engaged, where you live, your hobbies, what you love doing together, eating together, watching on TV. Do you both love travel? Live in London? Love Chinese food? Did you both grow up in the countryside? Did you meet thanks to a shared love of music? All of these little details about the two of you as a pair, can grow into a big wedding inspiration idea. For example, on a trip to New York, a lady in a shop gave me a tiny vintage key. It happened to be one of the best days of our holiday, and the key always seemed a romantic talisman of that day. Two years later we celebrated our Secret Garden themed wedding, with a vintage key motif!

♥ Want to see wedding advice? ♥ Or how about more wedding theme ideas? ♥
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Sunday 19 August 2012

My DIY Wedding Ceremony Template

So here it is - our wedding ceremony template. Please do feel free to use it as you wish, and I'd be interested in any improvements you make, or opinions you have on how to make it better. We hope it would work just as well for a same-sex marriage. You'll see that I've deleted some of the details of the vows, so that you can fill them in with your own personal promises.




{Insert details of music to be played while the guests are being seated here}

BRIDE ENTERS {Insert details of Bride's processional music here}


OFFICIANT: Please be seated.

Good afternoon, and welcome to VENUE on this lovely day. We are / I am OFFICIANT'S NAME, and we’re / I'm an old friend of the X family. We’ve known X since X, and we’re delighted to preside over X and X’s wedding ceremony.

The wedding rings are making their way around the congregation. When they come to you, please silently say a prayer, or wish X and X all the best in their married life. This is a tradition known as warming the rings. You’ll need to pass them on fairly quickly, because we’ll soon be coming to the vows, when we’ll need them back!

X and X understand that marriage is a solemn vow bonding two people together for life. They’re thrilled to be making this vow in front of you all today.

They’ve chosen several readings that are important to them, for this ceremony. The first will be ready by READER ONE.


READER ONE: This was the passage X read to X when he asked her to marry him.

From Chapter 6 of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete."


OFFICIANT: X and X see marriage as the next step in their lives together, and it’s important to them that you’re all here today to witness this moment. X and X have written their own vows to each other. X, if you’d like to start.


I promise to love you with all of my being for as long as we live.

I promise to be your best and most loyal friend, to cherish you, to care for you [ ]

I promise to be romantic, [ ]

I promise to be a good companion wherever we are. And [ ].

I promise to be good company. There will be []

I promise to be a loving and caring mother should that day come. I'll

Lastly, I promise that we'll always be a team. What's mine is yours, financially, physically and mentally. We'll be [ ].

You are the person I've chosen to spend my life with and before all our family and friends today I want to say somewhat simply...I love you and I can't wait to be your husband.


I promise to love you with all of my being for as long as we live.

I promise to be your best and most loyal friend, to cherish you, to care for you [ ]

I promise to be romantic, [ ]

I promise to be a good companion wherever we are. And [ ].

I promise to be good company. There will be []

I promise to be a loving and caring mother should that day come. I'll

Lastly, I promise that we'll always be a team. What's mine is yours, financially, physically and mentally. We'll be [ ].

You are the person I've chosen to spend my life with and before all our family and friends today I want to say somewhat simply...I love you and I can't wait to be your wife.

OFFICIANT TURNS TO THE BEST MAN: Please could I have the rings

OFFICIANT: GROOM, will you take BRIDE, to be your lawfully wedded wife. Will you love her, comfort her, honour and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep you only to BRIDE as long as you both shall live?


OFFICIANT: BRIDE, will you take GROOM to be your lawfully wedded husband. Will you love him, honour and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep you only to GROOM as long as you both shall live?



OFFICIANT: Before X and X exchange rings, we have two poems chosen by X and X, and read by READER 2 and READER 3.

The Orange, by Wendy Cope
Read by READER 2

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange —
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled and shared it with Robert and Dave —
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

The One by Christina Rossetti
Read by READER 3

When the one whose hand you're holding
Is the one one who holds your heart
When the one whose eyes you gaze into
Gives your hopes and dreams their start,
When the one you think of first and last
Is the one who holds you tight,
And the things you plan together
Make the whole world seem just right,
When the one whom you believe in
puts their faith and trust in you,
You've found the one and only love
You'll share your whole life through.


OFFICIANT: May I have the rings please. These rings, now warmed by those you love the most, are a symbol of your marriage. These rings mark the beginning of a long journey filled with wonder, surprises, laughter, tears, celebration and joy. May these rings glow in reflection of the warmth and love you have for each other.

TO GROOM: Take this ring, and placing it on BRIDE’s finger, say:
With this ring, I thee wed, pledging my loyalty, love and life.

TO BRIDE: Take this ring, and placing it on GROOMS’s finger, say:
With this ring, I thee wed, pledging my loyalty, love and life.


OFFICIANT: As X and X have consented to their marriage and have witnessed the fact before this gathering of friends and family, having made promises to each other, marked by the giving and receiving of rings, I NOW DECLARE YOU HUSBAND AND WIFE. You may now kiss the bride!


OFFICIANT: X and X will now sign their wedding certificate, along with their two witnesses, while the string quartet will play Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music.

{Music: Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music}


OFFICIANT: Please all stand. X and X have chosen each other; they have declared their love for each other and their purpose to live together united as one. May they carry great peace and satisfaction into their marriage. And may they find today a new beginning together, with many years ahead of fruitfulness and joy.

I present, the new Mr and Mrs X!

{Picture Credits} All photographs by Chloe from Caught the Light

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Tuesday 17 April 2012

Choosing Your Wedding Venue - 6 Questions to Ask

You're engaged! Congratulations! So where are you getting married? If you don't have an obvious venue, this can be the question that strikes fear into a bride's heart. If you're finding it really hard to choose where to celebrate your wedding day, don't worry, you're not alone. I have two newly engaged friends, who are right now tearing their hair out over where to get married. They're both very different - one couple are looking for the perfect field and farm, the others are on the search for the best London landmark, with Kew Gardens high on their list. The venue is key to the type of wedding you'll be having, and that's why it can be the hardest decision. Until you know your wedding style, it's hard to pick your wedding venue. And until you pick your wedding venue, it's hard to pick your wedding style. Argh!! But fear not, help is at hand thanks to Before the Big Day. Here are five questions to help you make a decision.

{Photo Credit} Caught the Light

1. How many people do you want to invite?
2. Home or abroad?
3. Urban or countryside?
4. Decorated or empty?
5. Smart or casual?
6. Budget - big or small?

Or there is the Lucky 7th option....have two weddings like we did! One in France, and one in London. One large and one small. One expensive, one budget. One countryside, one urban. One inside, one outside. One casual, one elegant. The best of both worlds!

♥ Want to see some wedding theme ideas? ♥ Or how about wedding decoration ideas? ♥
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Monday 27 February 2012

Wedding Inspiration Boards on Pinterest

For me, this weekend has been all about Pinterest. After discovering it about a year ago, I've become mildly obsessed with creating wedding inspiration boards, and I'm thinking it might just be the new Twitter, Facebook and Wedding Blog bliss all rolled up into one! Check out my Before the Big Day Pinterest Boards for an instant overload of fabulous wedding inspiration. Plus sign up to Pinterest and start your own wedding boards. I'll be picking the best for the Before the Big Day each week.

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Tuesday 8 November 2011

100 Ways To Personalise Your Wedding

Prepare yourselves for 100 incredible hot tips on how to make your wedding stand out from the crowd. Too many weddings are same-y and unoriginal, and this Before the Big Day mega-list is your way to make sure your wedding doesn't fall into the same trap. It's a mixture of my ideas and those from the fantastic UKAWP wedding planners, who answered this wedding blogger's call with a storm of wedding ideas and inspiration. UKAWP promotes professionalism in wedding planning in the UK, so if you're thinking of hiring a planner, you know where to go to find a good one. There's tonnes of incredible wedding inspiration in this list, so do share the love and forward it to all your engaged friends. So.... what are you waiting for?.....Scroll on down for a wedding ideas overload!!

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

♥ Wedding Details  ♥

1. Think about what you love to do together and build that into your day. If you love to read, stack old hardback books on the tables to create mini-stands for your flowers, if you love chocolate {and who doesn't} how about sending out Willy Wonka inspired 'gold tickets' as your wedding invites? {Victoria Gordon, Without A Hitch Wedding Consultancy}

2. Turn the wedding day on its head. Instead of starting the day with the ceremony, have it in the evening before dinner. This way you get to greet all your guests, and you'll feel much more relaxed as you walk down the aisle. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

3. Put together 'welcome packs' for out of town guests, giving information on the area together with a little gift. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

4. If your guests will have to walk from the ceremony to the reception, consider providing them each with a single coloured helium filled balloon that matches your colour scheme. The vision of dozens of balloons all 'walking' their way through a country lane or a town centre (great way to make sure your guests don’t get lost!) is fantastic and makes for great photos. Once all of your guests have arrived at the reception, you could have someone ready to arrange them into two rows for you to walk through and as you reach each guest, they release the balloon into the sky, again fantastic for your photo album! {Ruth Hunter, Finesse Planning}

{Photo Credit} Jonathan Ong

5. Set up a craft area where guests can make something to take home (e.g. a brooch or bow tie). {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

6. Choose a signature cocktail and give it a memorable name. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

7. If you're having a Christmas wedding, ask each of your guests to bring a bauble for a Christmas tree. You'll use them on your tree every year, and it'll be a fantastic annual reminder of your wedding. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}   

8. Consider alternatives to the traditional wedding car. Many of my brides this summer have opted to walk to the venue when staying locally in the town. For those not so keen to risk the great British weather, I have had brides arrive in an array of vehicles from vintage Minis to a brand new Range Rover, thanks to a kind and generous friend/family member who was happy to act as chauffeur. {Claire Davies, Simply Perfection Weddings}

{Photo Credit} Mario Testino

9. Arrange family wedding photos, going back as far as you can, in vintage frames and display them at your ceremony or reception - it will provide a talking point for guests and create a lovely decorative feature. {Nicola Jones, Brighton Wedding Planner}

10. Ask your guests to circle words in a dictionary to remind you of their wedding day. Then ask them to write a message on a bookmark to explain why they picked each word. You'll always need a dictionary in your home, and you'll cherish this one forever. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

11. Rather than getting your guests to sign a traditional guest book, you could get them all to sign some pottery such as a large platter. This will give you a lovely and unusual keepsake of your day which you can display in your home afterwards. {Kerry at Snap Dragon Weddings}

12. Tuck handwritten notes into the napkins for your guests - write about your favourite memory together or simply tell them what they mean to you. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

13. What is your favourite book or film? Could it work as the basis of a wedding theme? I've seen fantastic weddings themed around the film 'Up' and 'Alice in Wonderland'. We themed our wedding around The Secret Garden. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

14. Instead of a traditional guest book, you could leave a card and pen at everyone’s place setting, with each one having a different sentence to complete such as, love is…, top tips for a happy marriage, or asking them to jot down a favourite memory of you both. {Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings}

15. Include your pets in your big day, either in person {doggy ring bearer?}, or as a motif on your menus? You could give dog-shaped chocolate wedding favours, or name your wedding tables after your pets. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

♥ Wedding Favours ♥

16. Create personalised fortune tellers for each guest. Instead of telling fortunes, write them up with fun questions about you as a couple. Then on the back, print the menu. DIY tutorial here. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

17. Get school-style name tape printed with your names and the date of your wedding. Then wrap up all your favours and bouquets with it! {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

18. As an alternative to favours {which can become costly as the guest list rises}, donate to a charity which is close to your heart. Charities will often send pin badges and cards for each guest explaining that money has been donated in replacement of a favour. {Claire Davies, Simply Perfection Weddings}

19. Personalised button badges and old-fashioned 3D glasses make great favours, and fantastic photo props too! {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

20. Ask your florist to design the table centres with multiple mini vases which guests can then take away with them at the end of the night, so they double up as favours and a lovely memento of your wedding day. {Stacey-Marie Chalk, Cherry Topped}

{Photo Credit} Marianne Taylor Photography

21. If the two of you love cooking, then why not create a little pamphlet of your favourite recipes, as a wedding favour. Or a list of your favourite restaurants? You could add little notes like 'This is where X proposed'. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

22. Only invest in favours if you really love them. Guests will only remember the truly great ideas. To save money, how about having a hen night at home making favours such as home-made jam, flapjacks or chocolate truffles? You can save money and have fun with your favourite ladies at the same time! {Kim Price at Roseberry Weddings}

23. Give your guests fancy-dress favours. Stick-on moustaches and silly glasses will raise a laugh, and get your guests talking to each other. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

24. Make your favours - bake cookies, make jam or brew up lemonade, and bottle it with personalised labels. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding

{Photo Credit} via Ritzy Bee

25. Horse shoe wedding favours represent how lucky you feel to have found each other, and every guest goes home a little luckier. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

26. If you can't get going without a cup of coffee in the morning, give each guest a mug containing a little bag of your favourite grind. This works for tea too. Ikea sells mugs for about a £1 each. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

♥ Wedding Decorations 

27. Decorate your venue with hundreds of paper lanterns. They're cheap and cheerful, and you can always sell them on after your wedding. If you tie in tiny LED lights, they'll even glow after dark. Friends of mine bought all of theirs from here. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

28. If you're getting married on a farm or in the countryside, use straw bales as seats. If you cover them with old tablecloths, it'll fit in with a vintage-themed wedding.  {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Nikole Ramsay

29. Using unusual containers for flowers, such as old fashioned bottles, jugs and glass jars, can add a lovely kitsch look and can be picked up for a bargain at charity shops or boot sales. {Victoria Gordon, Without A Hitch Wedding Consultancy}

30. Bright table cloths can make a real splash at your wedding reception. Choose a colour to contrast with the flowers and napkins. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

31. Use fruit instead of flowers to decorate your wedding tables. Paper bags filled with cherries, or baskets filled with apples make a fantastic display, and your guests can either eat them, or take them home as favours. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

32. Children's blackboards are a great way to communicate with your guests. Write little messages like 'Love is Sweet' or 'All You Need is Love'. You could also use a large one for the menu. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

33. Have you considered getting married at night? You could say your vows by candlelight, and then lead your guests in for an evening reception. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

34. Paper is a great way to decorate your wedding venue. Not only is it cheap, but it's incredibly versatile. DIY your bunting, pompoms, and streamers. For tutorials, search the wedding blogs. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

35. Christmas weddings can allow couples to be more creative with décor and centre pieces by using Christmas decorations in the shops and incorporating these into the day. Often with winter weddings, couples can spend less on flowers and maximise the offerings already in place in the venue. {Claire Davies, Simply Perfection Weddings}

36. Use ribbon or lace to decorate your ceremony and reception. Wrap ribbon around candles and napkins, or use it to decorate the aisle and canapés trays, etc. {Erikia Unbehaun, Flutterby Events}

♥ Wedding Flowers 

37. Instead of carrying a bouquet, ask your florist to make you a crown of flowers. It'll give your wedding a pagan feel. Bridesmaids could be given corsages instead of bouquets in another twist on the norm.  {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Caught the Light

38. Make use of your mother or grandmother’s jewellery by pinning it to your bouquet. It'll make your posy so much more personal, dress it up and act as your something borrowed. {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

39. Instead of the usual fresh cut flowers, how about using herbs or unusual pot plants to make a nice arrangement. Guests can then take parts of your display home with them at the end of the day. {Victoria Gordon, Without A Hitch Wedding Consultancy}

40. Make your bouquet personal to you by choosing a flower that has a special meaning. {Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings}

{Photo Credit} Martin Hambleton

. If you're worried that your wedding flower budget is getting out of control, keep things simple by just picking one cheap bloom. Clouds of carnations or baby's breath look just as beautiful as more expensive mixed bouquets of roses and peonies. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

42. Choose flowers that are in season to keep the cost down. If you have plenty of time and some garden space available you could even think about growing some English country garden style flowers yourself. Not only would they look lovely, but the garden would then be a fantastic reminder of your wedding day too. {Kerry at Snap Dragon Weddings}

43. What about an alternative wedding bouquet? I've seen them made from butterflies, buttons, paper, flowers created from coca-cola drinks cans, lollipops and more.... {Victoria Gordon, Without A Hitch Wedding Consultancy}

44. Try to be clever with the decoration pieces that you are using for the wedding to maximise their use. Can the flowers be moved from the church and repositioned? Are there vases that could be used for the bridesmaids bouquets in the wedding breakfast room?  {Caroline Hale, Pomp and Ceremony Planning}

♥ Wedding Venues 

45. If your wedding is going to span the whole day, your guests will appreciate a separate space to the revelry, where they can relax for a while. Personalise this area by having a screen showing you and your partner's favourite romantic movies. {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

{Photo Credit} Caught the Light

Choose an unusual venue for your wedding - from steam trains to aquariums, there's a world of choice out there for something completely different. Or you could hold your reception in a stylish restaurant for a sophisticated and unusual wedding celebration. {Nicola Jones, Brighton Wedding Planner}

47. Consider a weekday or Sunday wedding. Venues often offer lower rates for these days and it may just enable you to afford that perfect venue that was previously just out of budget! Dont worry so much about people taking a day off work, those who love you will do it in a heartbeat. {Kim Price at Roseberry Weddings}

48. If you're worried about having to invite large amounts of family members, choose to have a destination wedding. It'll immediately bring down the guest list to only your nearest and dearest.  {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

49. Hire your local village hall for a vintage, old-school feel. Dress the room with family and friend or you cut costs even further and go outdoors…providing blankets for people to sit on and have a wedding picnic. {Jane, Planned for Perfection}

50. For a truly unique wedding, the best setting is a dry hire venue – one where you literally just rent the four walls. You can then fill it with things you have chosen yourself – right down to the cutlery, meaning your day will be a true reflection of you and totally different to every other wedding. This type of wedding takes a lot more organisation and shopping around, especially if you are on a tight budget, but is well worth the effort. {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

51. Consider making yours a winter wedding. Venues and suppliers often offer lower rates for off-peak weddings. Not only will you save money across a lot of areas, but you're more likely to get a higher turn-out for your celebrations, when you're not competing with the rush of summer weddings and holidays. {Kim Price at Roseberry Weddings}

{Photo Credit} Laura Babb

♥ Wedding Entertainment 

52. If you need a performer or an artist, why not call upon your local drama academy or art school. They will be much cheaper and they will so appreciate the opportunity. {Rachyeta Singh, RS Wedding Consultants}

53. If you want to have some unique touches at your wedding, allocate some money in your budget for it. There are a lot of things you could have, but do you really need a chocolate fountain, ice cream tricycle, caricaturist, magician, candy bar, fireworks and a photo booth? Just pick one! {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

54. To help break the ice at dinner, why not have your Best Man host a quiz about you both? Each table would work together as a team, and you could offer a prize for the winner. {Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings & Ruth Hunter, Finesse Planning}

55. Make the arrival of the wedding cake an event, by asking your caterers to turn down the lights and bring it in decorated with indoor fireworks. At our wedding, we even asked the DJ to play 'Eye of the Tiger'! {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Martin Hambleton

56. Set up a guest booth with personalised props and/or boards for your guests to write messages to you on. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

57. Instead of a DJ, get all your guests to choose 3 or 4 'floor fillers' that they love and collate them into an iPod playlist. That way you can have purely music you love, and know everyone will enjoy. {Rachyeta Singh, RS Wedding Consultants & Nicola Jones, Brighton Wedding Planner}

58. To help introduce guests to one another and add an element of cheeky fun, write a short but funny 'one liner' about each guest on the back of their place card. People will then ask what their 'one liner' means and it works brilliantly at breaking the ice. Alternatively, if you have a group of friends on one table, they’ll all understand the little jokes and it really gets the atmosphere going. {Ruth Hunter, Finesse Planning}

♥ Wedding Food 

59. Maximise your wedding cake by incorporating this into your wedding breakfast and serve as dessert. If your venue is happy to allow this, you can save considerably per head. In addition to this, you could also ask the venue to 'dress' the plates so the cake is served with fresh berries and cream at a fraction of the standard dessert price. Cupcakes also work well for this option too! {Claire Davies, Simply Perfection Weddings}

{Photo Credit} Nikole Ramsay

60. Consider having your speeches during your drinks reception when the champagne or prosecco is flowing, this has the double benefit of helping your wedding party to relax for the rest of the day, and means that you can save on an additional glass of bubbly during your wedding breakfast. {Stacey-Marie Chalk, Cherry Topped}

61. Rather than having a traditional wedding cake you could decide to serve chocolates and your favourite drink as a night cap later on in the evening. You could also set up a tasting bar for guests to sample different varieties. {Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings}

62. Dessert tables are a hugely popular trend right now. If your budget won’t stretch to having yours professionally catered, why not ask 4 or 5 friends who are handy in the kitchen to bake some goodies as your wedding present. You can then put your own DIY decoration skills to use to create a stunning – and much more personal – display. {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

63. Cocktails are actually cheaper than straight champagne. So choose a Bellini as your signature cocktail, and mix it with prosecco. No one will ever know the difference. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}  

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

64. What's your favourite late-night snack? Serve it at midnight to all your guests. Hello mini-pots of Haagen Daas!

65. Instead of having a traditional wedding cake, why not ask your guests to take part in a Cakey Bakey! Each guest can bring any type of cake, the more extravagant the better, and the bride and groom will judge the cakes on the day. They can then hand out awards/rosettes during the speeches and have different categories. The winning cake is then used as their cutting cake! {Ruth Hunter, Finesse Planning}

66. Food and beverage is a large percentage of your wedding budget, so if you're struggling to cut down on guest numbers then why not have a later ceremony followed by an elegant black tie affair with cocktails, canapés and bowl food instead of a 3 course sit down meal. {Stacey-Marie Chalk, Cherry Topped}

67. Keep it seasonal - from food to flowers, this will reduce your costs and ensure your wedding is in keeping with the weather and time of year. Hold a BBQ in the summer and have an open fire with marshmallows in the winter to make the most of your day. {Nicola Jones, Brighton Wedding Planner}

68. Instead of a dessert or sweet table, you could have a fun DIY station to decorate your own cupcakes. There could be a variety of different and more usual flavours with a selection of icings and toppings.{Melanie, Cranberry Blue Weddings}

♥ Wedding Ceremony Ideas 

69. As part of your wedding ceremony, seal love letters and a bottle of wine in a box. You could even hammer it closed! The idea is that if you're having trouble in your marriage in the future, you can open it up and be reminded of what brought you together. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

70. Write your own vows, keeping it relevant to your life together. {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

{Photo Credit} via The Loveliest Day

71. If you've got page boys, give them flags saying 'Here Comes the Bride', and encourage them to walk down the aisle ahead of you and your father. It'll get everyone smiling, and take the focus off you a bit.  {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

72. Not everyone gets married in a church, but you might want to create your own 'alter' as a focus for the wedding ceremony. There are tonnes of ways of doing this, from hanging multicoloured ribbons, or crepe paper, a gorgeous piece of fabric, or lots of paper pompoms. I've even seen it with birdcages and lanterns hanging from a tree. Anything to create a focal point. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

73. If you're not working down a traditional aisle, why not create a circular, snail-shaped one. That way all your guests get a good look at you as you walk down the aisle, and you'll say your vows in the centre of all your friends and family. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

74. Create a fun and unique ceremony procession. Walk down the aisle to one of your modern favourites then mix up the running order a bit so guests are left surprised and stunned! {Erikia Unbehaun, Flutterby Events & Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

75. If you already have children try to involve them in the ceremony. Many celebrants can adapt your wedding ceremony to include a blessing for you all becoming a family as well as the marriage. You may find that they will include this in the price too! {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

{Photo Credit} Martin Hambleton

♥ Wedding Stationery 

76. I love seeing personal touches at weddings so how about making your own invitations and hand writing them? The hand written word is very rare nowadays and your guests would really appreciate the personal touch - and you might even save some money in the process! {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

77. Have an engagement shoot and use the photos for your 'Save the Date' cards and/or table numbers {Suzie Prout, RSVP Wedding}

78. Toss out traditional save-the-dates and create a home made video with information on your upcoming wedding. Send a DVD to each prospective guest. {Erikia Unbehaun, Flutterby Events}

79. Your wedding stationery sets the tone of the day, but unique creations are rarely economical. You could look at creating a 'wedsite' instead – a totally personalised wedding website which allows you to send your invitations, track your RSVPs and gift list as well as keep guests informed of the travel and accommodation details. Not only will you save money, but you’ll get extra environmental kudos for going green! {Isabel at Isabel Smith Wedding Design}

{Photo Credit} Stone Crandall Photography

80. Think outside the box for how you print your wedding stationery. Why use paper, when you could use plywood, fabric or even balloons {the invitation appears as you blow up the balloon}. Some of my favourite Save the Dates have come printed on tea-towels and magnets. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

♥ Wedding Budgeting Tips 

81. Budget! Budget! Budget! Budgeting may be the least fun, and most difficult part of planning to face, but budgeting early and honestly will mean you steer clear of exposing yourself to ideas you can't afford. Establishing a sound budget that reflects what is most important to you as a couple will ensure you get the most out of every penny you spend! {Kim Price at Roseberry Weddings}

82. Let your guests send you packing with honeymoney. Honeymoon gift list sites can be a smart way to have guests contribute to your honeymoon fun. This can save you money on what could be a very pricey trip, but you can also personalise your web page and have your guests contribute to different parts of your trip, making this more unique. {Aimee at Aimee Dunne}

{Photo Credit} Jose Villa

It's the personal touches that can make a wedding unique, so why not think about a workshop activity for your hen do. You could have a fantastic afternoon learning how to arrange flowers or make stationery and then put your new skills to good use for your wedding. {Kerry at Snap Dragon Weddings}

84. Hire a planner! Most brides think that they cost the earth, but we save you time, money and stress as well as working with you to make your wedding day unique and ensure that it’s about what you want rather than what your family think you should have! {Jane, Planned for Perfection}

85. Beg, borrow or steal (ok maybe not steal!). Bridesmaids and friends may have already been married and may have anything from a veil or tiara, to something more unusual or unique that you could ask to use on your day. {Aimee at Aimee Dunne}

86. Hire Don’t Buy. It's possible to hire beautiful pieces to create unique and quirky decorations, for much less money that it would cost if you bought them yourself. Vintage china looks great for a relaxed tea party theme. {Caroline Hale, Pomp and Ceremony Planning}

{Photo Credit} First Light Wedding Photography

87. Search online for the cheapest suppliers. We found tissue paper for our DIY pompoms for a fraction of the price on eBay, and large round white balloons for much less too. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

88. Use your friends' talents. Think about any skills your friends might have, from being creative and crafty, having beautiful handwriting, floristry skills, or handy with make-up; you could put these skills to  good use you save on otherwise expensive suppliers. This also adds a unique and personal touch to your day. {Aimee at Aimee Dunne}

89. If your church ceremony is followed by another wedding, discuss with the bride whether it is possible to share flower costs and rental for other props etc. {Rachyeta Singh, RS Wedding Consultants}

90. Instead of buying expensive thank you gifts for parents, attendants and so on you could buy some lovely food and wine and host a dinner party to thank them instead. {Kerry at Snap Dragon Weddings}

91. Think about food miles. Ask your caterers to use only local ingredients from local suppliers when creating your menu. You will find that sourcing food locally cuts down on the food miles and ultimately cuts down the cost. {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

{Photo Credit} Rebekah Westover Photography

♥ Ideas for the Groom & Ushers 

92. Don't just match the ushers ties, buy them matching socks. It makes for fantastic pictures. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

93. Sew a message into the inside of your husband's jacket. He won't see it till he's getting ready, and it'll be a lovely way to get a message to him before you walk down the aisle. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

94. Write on the soles of your husband's shoes. If you're having a church service, when he kneels down for the blessing, the congregation will be able to see your message. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

95. Don't forget to remind your ushers to decorate your going-away car. Tin cans and an old boot are traditional, but ribbons and pom poms are the new fashion. You'll need a Just Married sign too. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Amy Carroll Photography

♥ Wedding Dress & Accessories 

96. Don't buy 'wedding' shoes. There are lots of companies that supply shoes specifically for weddings. Why not choose a pair from the high street? They'll be less expensive and you could choose a unique colour to match your theme. Who says your shoes have to match your dress?! {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

97. Don't buy a wedding dress. If you're looking for a really simple gown, then you might just find a white dress for a fraction of the price. Remember the word 'wedding' often adds 15% to the price. Also, consider buying your wedding dress second-hand, or from a sample sale. There's plenty of websites out there, just google 'second hand wedding dresses'. Get in touch with your favourite designer and ask them when they host their sample sale, or wait until just after Christmas when everyone reduces their prices. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

98. Line your wedding shoes with a pattern that fits in with your wedding day. Or stick lucky pennies to the soles. {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

99. If you're a creative bride (or have creative friends!) consider buying your dress 'off the peg' and customising it yourself. Adding a few special touches can make your dress unique without breaking the budget. {Caroline Gould, Endless Love Wedding Planners}

100. Challenge the norm by wearing a non-white wedding dress. Soft blush and pastel shades are in fashion this season, and there's a suggestion soft patterns might be in trend for 2013!  Go on, I dare you! {Georgia Tolley, Before the Big Day Wedding Blog}

{Photo Credit} Elizabeth Messina via Once Wed

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