Oh, the speeches! The good, the bad, & the ugly - I've heard them all in my time as a wedding coordinator so thought I'd give you some helpful hints & hopefully some inspiration. Got your pen & paper to hand? Then off we go...
OK so this might seem like a bit of a lecture, but it scares me how much debt people get into for the sake of just 1 day. It's easy to do though, especially if you're a bit of a Pinterest or Instagram fan like I am. All those wonderful ideas, which suppliers are keen to provide you with, at any cost. That's what credit cards & loans were invented for, right? Plus hopefully you'll only do this once....
STOP. Take a deep breath. You don't have to buy all of the things (as pretty as they are!)
One approach is to have a longer engagement. This way you can spread the cost & pay for things slower, in smaller amounts
Don't feel pressured into paying for something on the day at a wedding show or similar. On the day deals are great, but don't be afraid to take time to consider your budget & whether the service is one you really do need
Ask vendors if they can take payments in installments for the item/s you're interested in, again splitting the cost. Most people will work with your budget where possible, so don't be afraid to ask
Don't take risks with your wedding dress. if your budget really is that tight, then contact your local bridal shop & ask if they have a sale rail or outlet room. The prices of dresses from Chinese websites may seem appealing BUT you won't get what you paid for, plus you're supporting counterfeit items which take sales away from the original designers.
A lot of couples think that the DIY approach is a good way to stay within budget, & to a certain extent this is true. However it's stressful, exhausting, & will probably end up costing as much with you sourcing your own items as it would cost to pay a professional. Personally, I'd rather a calmer lead up to my wedding!
Finally, as strange as it seems, employ the services of a wedding planner! Honestly, the links that they have to tried & tested suppliers are worth their weight in gold. PLUS as a planner I have access to the best possible prices as my suppliers have worked with me so much, they're happy to pass on savings to my couples.
I hope you've found this post useful, I'd love to hear if you have other suggestions for keeping within your budget for your big day.
Something I've been asked several times recently is "should I invite children to my wedding?"
Now of course, it's personal preference, but you should also consider the style of your day.
If you're having a relaxed, informal wedding (such as we hold at Flaxbourne Gardens) then chances are it will be a child friendly day.
However, if you're going for a more formal, glamorous affair then it may be best to ask your guests to leave the kids with a minder, & enjoy a few hours out.
If you decide to invite the little ones to your big day. there are lots of ways to make sure that they don't become bored & restless. Here are a few ideas to consider:
You can hire professional childcare professionals, to provide a child minding service & keep the kids entertained through a range of activities - they offer things such as crafting, soft play, etc.
You could hire a bouncy castle or similar outdoor play (space & budget allowing).
You could supply some craft items (pencils, colouring books etc), placed on tables for your younger guests. This will keep them occupied during the wedding breakfast, speeches, etc.
If you're worried about babies or little ones interrupting your vows & ceremony, you could consider asking parents solely to the afternoon & evening celebration. Or again, an activity bag should provide a distraction while you say "I do".
Of course, parents should also be able to put your mind at rest & keep their children from causing a disruption - I remember leaving several ceremonies when my son was very young, to avoid disrupting the proceedings.
I hope you've enjoyed this blog, please do get in touch with any further ideas you have!
First of all, DON’T PANIC! It's not a problem. Below are a few things that haven't gone to plan at weddings I've been involved in, & the ways in which they were dealt. Of course, I'm not trivialising your feelings & need for it all to be perfect, merely pointing out there are quick & simple ways to address the issues. Anything else you think of, please do let me know, let's work on them together. Bxx
It’s raining? Traditionally rain on your big day is lucky! It also provides some great atmospheric wedding photos. Why not provide some personalised umbrellas if you’re getting married outdoors?
Perhaps some of the details are the wrong colour - for example, the cake ribbon, the floral centre pieces or chair sashes? Only you will notice. Don’t let it spoil your day, enjoy yourself and follow up with the relevant vendor afterwards to discuss if applicable compensation.
Has a family member or friend made too much of the alcohol that's available? A quiet word with your wedding planner or venue manager & they will move them to a side room with a strong coffee, & gentle coercion to sober up.
Depending on what's gone wrong, the chances are that the guests won't notice, so it's not worth worrying yourself about.
Whatever you think is a problem, it's NOT insurmountable. As long as there's you & your beloved, promising your best to each other, then everything else is extra.
This is maybe the point to once again reiterate the importance of employing a wedding co-ordinator. With their help, all these hiccups can be dealt with without you even noticing.
There are lots of ways available for you to make sure that those you have loved and who have passed on can still be part of your big day.
Here are just a few suggestions, if you have more ideas I’d love to hear them! Bxx
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?”
Ah, many congratulations! You got engaged, time to get your best girls involved in the planning. Who's going to be your chief bridesmaid? Your "regular" bridesmaids? Your maid of honour?? What even IS a maid of honour?! Well you've come to the right place!
According to Google, the official line on these roles & their traditions is as follows:
The bridesmaids are members of the bride's party in a wedding. ... Traditionally, bridesmaids were chosen from unwed young women of marriageable age. The principal bridesmaid, if one is so designated, may be called the chief bridesmaid or maid of honor if she is unmarried, or thematron of honor if she is married.
The principal bridesmaid, if one is so designated, may be called the chief bridesmaid or maid of honor if she is unmarried, or the matron of honor if she is married.
So there we go, that's how - traditionally - the ladies in your special day are viewed. Of course, you've chosen them because they're your closest friends & family, which is a lovely way to have them involved in your big day.
On the subject of getting involved, traditionally they're there to assist you on your big day - holding your dress out the way, tidying your hair for photos, holding your flowers during the ceremony. However these days, bridesmaids tend to be a bigger part - organisation of your hen party being the main task before your wedding. They will also no doubt be on hand to help with any pre wedding jitters you have, maybe helping with seating plans, generally making life a little easier for you.
A subject that often comes up is who pays for bridesmaids dresses? Well, these days the girls pay for their own. But it's up to you to source the dresses, tell them the style & colour you'd like them to wear, ensuring the styles chosen are flattering to all those in your bridal party. remember though that not everyone has unlimited budgets so that's something to consider when choosing - perhaps leave the Vera Wang dresses for now?!
I hope this has been helpful, if you have any thoughts on this subject I'd love to hear them!
Photos here from my sister's wedding in September 2017 - what a fun day! Didn't stop laughing the whole time we were together <3
Middle photo credit to Leigh Spary Photography, gorgeous photographer with an eye for all things natural
At first glance, that big list of names can look insurmountable & an impossible task - trying to fit them all onto just a handful of tables. However don't panic! Over my years of planning weddings, I've found the following tips helpful for couples feeling overwhelmed at the task in hand.
Top table - it doesn't have to be a long table! If you'd rather have a round table, in the middle of the room, & that's a little less "in the spotlight" then tell your venue.
Another idea is to have a "sweetheart table" for just you & your new spouse, meaning you get to enjoy some time to yourselves, without the politics that top tables can bring.
Family rifts - in most family units, you'll find people who aren't getting on like you'd expect. If this occurs around wedding time, then go with the easiest option. Split them up, so there's no animosity over the entrees. With divorced parents, consider each one hosts their own table. This should keep everyone happy & amicable.
Kids tables - if you have a few children attending your big day, how about seating them at their own table? (Age appropriate of course! I'd suggest 7/8 to say 15 years old). A selection of colouring pencils & cards, meaning the kids can create cards for the happy couple - one of my couples recently did this, FANTASTIC idea & I loved seeing the creations afterwards. Placement wise, seat the kids table away from the cake & not on the main walkway that wait staff take, to ensure they're not tempted to dive into the cake or get into the way of the servers.
The party animals - If you have friends or family who like to have a few drinks, then get rowdy, it's probably best to split them out across several tables where possible. Otherwise they can egg each other on, a kind of "pack mentality", making it a little uncomfortable for anyone within their earshot. Also seat them further from the bar, so that they're not easily supplementing their table drinks with shots etc!
The more mature guests - Ah bless them, love having the grandparents, older aunts & uncles, lifelong family friends etc at weddings. They often have a very different view on the day, that they're not afraid to share with people. Suggestion for placement is seat them together where possible, as they'll have the most in common. Put them as close to the top table as possible (so that they can clearly hear the speeches) BUT remember not too far from the loo either!
I hope you've found this article useful? You may think you don't need a seating plan, however any sit down meal needs plan so that serving staff know who has specific dietary requirements, so please bear this in mind before throwing out your planning sheet!
Above all, enjoy the process, & if I can be of any service let me know :)
Here at Beckie Melvin Events, I'm very lucky to work with 4 venues who are about as different from each other as you can get! At each event I'm able to offer up 20-30 wedding suppliers from all industries, ensuring that whatever aspect you're planning of your wedding, a visit to one of my wedding shows is sure to inspire you.
Every show is free entry, with family friendly stands, so if you want to bring the kids with you then they'll be as enchanted with the wedding suppliers as you are.
So, who will you find at a Beckie Melvin Events wedding exhibition? Well, there's a big selection that's for sure! Everything from wedding photographers, wedding cake makers, wedding florists, wedding DJs, wedding decor suppliers, wedding entertainment such as magicians & singers... then there's the light up letters, dance floor hire, wedding stationers, wedding dress suppliers, groomswear, honeymoon & travel agents, wedding ring suppliers... honestly what more could you want?? Oh, plus representatives from at each venue to give you free guided tours of the facilities & help you envisage what your dream wedding would look like if booked there.
If you'd like to see who's exhibiting at the next wedding show in your area then either see our page here detailing recommended suppliers or join our Facebook page for regular updates.
Well now I've got you all excited, don't forget to pre register at one of the upcoming wedding shows & let's get your dream wedding day planned!
I look forward to meeting you soon.
I want to start this post by saying that you won’t find any weight loss companies at any of my wedding shows!
Lots of companies prey on women’s insecurities, making you believe you have to look a certain way to be beautiful on your wedding day. You don’t need to lose weight to be a beautiful bride. You are enough. As long as you are happy and comfortable in your own skin, then you will glow on your big day.
Most, if not all, bridal shops sell dresses to suit ANY body shape. Plus those working in the shops are trying to help you find the perfect dress to suit you.
Do your research on wedding dress shops in your area, perhaps consider meeting them at local wedding exhibitions to see their range and to make sure you’re comfortable with them.
Don’t buy a wedding dress online, especially not from China. The quality is dire at best, the designs are “knockoffs” (counterfeit) with images stolen from real designers. You won’t receive the dress that you have ordered, link here to a website specially specialising in raising awareness of counterfeit sites. https://www.facebook.com/BridesBeware/
All bridal shops cater to any budget, with dresses including now discontinued lines or ex samples at amazingly low prices.
Don’t be shy, and Enjoy yourself! It’s meant to be an exciting part of the wedding process.
I hope you’ve found this blog post interesting, below are some links to wedding dress shops that I work closely with across Herts, Beds & Bucks. For anything else you’d like to know, please get in touch.
Roses Gowns in Bedford - rosesbridal.co.uk/
The Dresss House in Luton - www.thedress.house/
George James Bridal in Bedford - www.georgejamesbridal.com/
Kate Joseph Bridal in Bedford - katejosephbridal.co.uk/
Sara French Bridal in Potton - www.facebook.com/sarafrenchbridal/
Woburn Bridal in Woburn - www.woburnbridal.com
Dress in Love in Hatfield - dressinloveweddings.com
Photos from Millie & James' big day - we had SO much fun!
I'm a qualified wedding planner dedicated to designing & creating weddings for alternative couples. Because everyone deserves a wedding as unique as they are